one day it'll all make sense.

Archive for May, 2014

broken and rebuilding

First… salad may be healthier than a burger and fries, but much harder to eat while driving…  Even texting only requires one hand.


So, another Henry’s Exposure Show is in the books.  THe weekend was perfect blue skies and toasty warm temps, which did not work to our advantage.  After the seemingly endless winter, I really don’t blame people for opting to spend time outdoors rather than rummaging through my “Deal Zone”.  This being said, we did have some super-busy stretches with a line 30 ft long for 3+ hours on Saturday.  I s’pose when you bring Chris Hadfield in as the keynote speaker, you can expect some decent attendance.  And some decent customer temper tantrums too.   The only total wench I ran into this weekend insisted repeatedly that I was NOT going to make her pay the tax.  Bite your tongue Kate…  I looked past her and asked who was next.  She paid the tax.  All in all, good times and good weekend.  Except for having to toss most of the food I brought when the “waiting list” for a fridge appeared to be smoke and mirrors, and I wrecked my back somehow.  Spent 15 hours Thursday hauling boxes and bins.  Messed around with some over-head squats with the 9ft rolls of backdrop paper with a fellow CF friend, all good.  Then Saturday night, when I’d had enough of the hotel life and opted to drive home, something slipped in my back while on the highway.  SO annoyed 😐  After 4 non-crosffit days, I was super-bummed to have to extend the break cause of my back.  Sometimes it seems as though it never friggin ends.  Physio squeezed me in yesterday thankfully and I was nuked (heating pad) and shocked and things loosened up a bit.  This morning though it took probably 10 minutes to get coffee started cause every time I reached to grab the filters from the cupboard, I ended up on my knees waiting to be able to breathe again.  Arg.  The coffee filters have been relocated to the counter.  They can stay there till this goes away.

Today I couldn’t take it any longer and headed to the box.  “I’m here 🙂 but I’m broken :(” I told Coach Dave.  As always, he didn’t miss a beat.  Today was deadlift day (LOVE) which I clearly was in no shape to do, so I played along with the prowler push and sled drags in part 1 which both felt ok.  Probably because there was hardly any weight on them, but my legs still felt it.  Then I crawled my way onto the GHD machine for back extensions and sit-ups.  After all that mobility, my back felt good 🙂  “Aren’t you glad you decided to come??” asked Coach Dave?  There wasn’t much that would have kept me away today 😉

Got a text from Coach Sharon yesterday “It’s yours!!”  😀  The “It” she is referring to is my very own condo!!  Pack your castle Dr. Tom!  We’re moving!  WOOT-WOOT!  Gave my notice today at my apartment and now it’s just about the waiting game until the July closing date…  but my life is taking shape 🙂

Speaking of shape, well sort of, I’m overdue for a nutritional reset.  I’ve had this in the back of my mind for a while now, but after a weekend where my good healthy intentions went down the toilet after having to throw out much of the food I prepped for the show and the more than once that M&Ms found their way into my mouth while I was simply reaching for a few raisins and almonds…  NOW it’s really time.  There’s no hiding when I sneak chocolate.  My face breaks out like a teenage boy.  They weren’t even that good.


Anyways, focus McDowell.  I had been thinking about getting back into the Zone Diet, but I wasn’t ready to commit to weighing my food.  ALSO, while it’s very portion-controlled, I didn’t find that one strict enough to keep me completely away from sugar.  So… I’ve made a 30 day promise to mysefl in the form of Whole30.  Today is day 2, wish me strength!  Last night I made a batch of Chorizo meatballs that were AMAZING!  This came after the realization that I just don’t think I’d make it 30 days on salad alone.  Also made a batch of cilantro lime cauliflower rice that came out better than ever.


Maybe because of the absence of sugar in my life yesterday?  Everyone has their own set of challenges…  so far I’m fighting to not think about Quest bars, and maybe a weird one – GUM!  The Quest bar thoughts make me realize I was eating them too often.  Woke up yesterday (day 1) already thinking about wanting something sweet.  Damn you M&Ms!  Got past it and thankfully woke up without that thought today.  Rule of thumb – unless you make it, raise it, or pick it… pretty much everything has sugar in it.

It’s only day 2, but the other thing I’ve noticed is my fuzzy brain is fuzzier than ever.  Went to my store today to catch up on a little project I didn’t get to yesterday.  Walked through the door and forgot why I was there.  Left the store in my work shoes.  Stopped for some groceries on the way home, forgot half the stuff I had gone in for.  Hopefully this bit improves or I’ll be wandering around lost somewhere by the end of the 30 days!

Ever done Whole30?  

What did you think?  

Is fuzzy brain common?

Well planned, but Fail.

Even the best plans can fail. Checked into my hotel tonight for my marathon four days straight of working every waking hour at the Henry’s Photography Expo.  Every year my company provides us with a massive “buffet” of crap – cookies, brownies, chocolate, candy, donuts… Oh! And pizza for lunch.  Every year, I go into a food prep frenzy the day before.



When does all my hard work go out the window?  When I go to check in and the receptionist tells me “we don’t have fridges in the rooms anymore.  I can put you on the wait list though.” What?!?!  That’s just dumb. Hopefully everything survives through the night and I’ll just be refilling my zip locks with ice until they get it together and bring me a fridge.  😦


work in progress

I have so much to write about its overwhelming… I don’t even know where to begin.

I’ll deal with WOD details first.  Tomorrow the box is closed for some Canadian holiday.  I’ll try to sort out all the other crap in my head then.

Sun May 18:

7 Rounds, for time

– 200m run

– 10 front squats (no racks)   #65

– 5 power snatch   #65

– 1 rope climb

– 1 muscle up    blue band ring dips x 5

– 5 HSPU    feet on 20″ box

– 10 pull-ups    Rx rounds 1-4, ring pulls 5-7

Time – 38:35

Jeezuz!  After taking Friday and Saturday off to cheer on / team photographer my CF Division crew at Canada East Regionals, this WOD was quite the WELCOME BACK!!  That being said, after 2 days surrounded by the top talent Eastern Canada has to offer, I found an even greater appreciation of being a part of something AWESOME.  And I was PUMPED to pick up a barbell!

Actually made it through all 7 rounds of 5 reps of the power snatch.  My nemesis.  If you’ve ever seen me try, you know what I’m saying.  Thankfully I was smart enough to proof read this portion of my post and re-word it more than once.  Let’s just say, I started out all pretty on these, but by probably round 5, I had kinda mutilated the movement into a wide-grip clean, with a strict press to get the bar overhead and land in the catch position.  Once again, take a pic of the set-up and the result and all looks great.  It’s the mess I throw into the middle that get ugly.  Thank gawd it was only #65.  See?  A whole several sentences and I only said snatch twice.  When there are also words like “pretty”, “ugly” and “if you’ve ever seen my” in the general vicinity, I figured it best to dance around things.

Thurs May 15:.   7:30 am / 6:30 pm

Part 1.

Back squats – 3 x 8 @ 60-70%  #95

– 1 AMRAP  #95  21 reps / 41 reps

Part 2.

OTM, 14 minutes:

even – bent over row. kettlebells 12kg x 10

odd – ring dips  black band x 8

Part 3.  **done first

3 rounds:

30m prowler push

400m run/row

At my usual 7:30am WOD my back squat AMRAP was an epic FAIL. Felt I was moving well.  The 3 rounds of 8 were good. Then the AMRAP. Reps 1-13 were golden, rep 14 my brain checked out and I just sorta sat down.  Coach Dave caught my bar, told me to shake it off and continue. All good.  Got to 20, then 21, then round 22 the same thing as before.  Annoying.  Brushed it off and set up for part 2.  But I wasn’t satisfied so I headed back to the box after work for a back squat do-over.  This time the three sets of 8 felt hard, even though I used the same weight, but my AMRAP was a redemption when I pushed through 41 reps.  Success.

pick up the slack

OH WOW!  I have sooooo much catching up to do and even more randomness to share!  Crossfit has been AMAZING the last week and a bit.  We seem to have started some new phase where Coach Dave has taken the regular dose of insanity and amplified the hell out of it.  Like, some days it feels like we’re stacking 3 separate WODs right on top of each other and attempting to squeeze them into an hour time slot.

Sunday after completing a little partner version of the hero WOD “Glen”, I put in a few hours at work and headed off to hockey.  My legs were not impressed.  Tough.  Deal with it.  I ran as hard as I could regardless.  In the first period I don’t know what happened, but I totally checked a girl.  Like, pretty hard.  We’re talking a non-contact league :-s Yet somehow got away with it.  My team called me on it.  Only response I could come up with… “sorry!  I played all winter with boys!”  Speaking of hockey, back at it tonight.  My legs are really going to hate me this round I feel.  Plus this is my young team.  Like, other than me and the coach, the next oldest girl is 2nd year university.  These girls will force me to get my sh*t together by the end of the season I’m sure.

Tomorrow will be a rest day.  Legs… I promise!

Tuesday May 13:

Part 1.

AMRAP in 6 minutes

15 wallballs    #12

15 burpees

Result – 90 reps

Part 2.

Deadlifts – 3 x 6 @ 60-70%, 1 x AMRAP @ same weight   #145, 16 reps

Part 3.

OTM, 12 minutes:

Odd minutes – 5 pull-ups

Even minutes – 10 push-ups

First round of burpees, I wanted to just lay down and stay there until the 6 minutes were up. It was hot and humid in the box even at 7:30am. Day 3-in-a-row of crazy awesome WODS. (yes, I know. Excuses, excuses…) but I was dizzy as fawwk for whatever reason. I ate clean yesterday and drank at least 2 1/2 litres of water, so I’ve got no scientifical explanation. Didn’t stop though. Didn’t kill it, but did manage to keep each of the 3 rounds of 15 wallballs unbroken. It was just the burpees that were screwing me up. Plus my mind was elsewhere. Second round of wallballs, I messed up my timing for a catch and got the wallball in the face. Good times! Get it together mcdowell!!! Was the message I took from that. Then came the good stuff 😀 I loooooove deadlifts. Increased the weight today, but my ARAMP was the same rep count as last week. Coach Sharon often asks “can you feel your hammys engaged?” when we are setup to deadlift. OH COULD I EVER!!! After Monday’s killer little WOD compilation, my hams and glutes were SORE. At least I wasn’t alone… when getting acquainted with the foam roller pre-WOD, I laughed as every new person arrived and said the same thing “how SORE is your BUTT?!?!” haha


Monday May 12:


800m run

Part 1.

OTM, 12 minutes: 5 Back squats @ 60-70%   #95

OTM, 10 minutes: 5 strict press @ 60-70%    #55

Part 2.

3 rounds, for time:

400m run

20 weighted lunges   #35 bar, front rack

20 push-ups

I like running.  Rarely am I one of the whiners when a WOD is posted that involves any opportunity to get out and pound the pavement a little.  This morning however, walking in at 7:30 to get kicked out the door for a 800m run while we all were still wiping the sleep out of our eyes was not something I met with my usual enthusiasm.  My legs were struggling already.  And the WOD hadn’t even started.  It was a long one too!  The rep scheme was heftier than last week and I added #10 to my back squats and #20 to my strict presses.  The squats felt great.  My shoulder didn’t even complain about the presses although they got challenging in the last few sets.  Then came part 2.  Arg.  More running.  After this WOD was in the books, DK and I stood around like zombies at work, both completely spent!  We both loved it.


Sunday May 11:

Team “Glen”

50- Clean and Jerks #155/#105    #75

A little Run 😉

15- Rope Climbs

A little Run 😉

125- Burpees

– Teams of (2) – 1 Athlete working at a time – Both Athletes must run together

No mistake made this week on my partner selection.  As soon as I saw there was running involved, I gave a fellow runner girl the look:

partner WODOk… hopefully not that creepy.  We killed it.  I felt like I was moving the bar really well for the clean and jerks.  We both opted for the scaling version of the rope climbs.  Then came the burpees.  Ahhhh wonderful burpees.  Ever done Glen?  Or ever come back from a run and thrown yourself into a round of burpees?  Please tell me I’m not alone in the feeling of almost floating?  I’m telling you!  I had a Chris Angel moment.  The first set of 10 burpees felt like I was hovering down to the ground and floating back to my feet.  I CAN FLY!  It was awesome.  Then the 2nd round, my fairy dust started to wear off.  By the 3rd, I was crashing to the ground uncontrollably and peeling myself off to wobble back to my feet.

add it to the list

Potluck Saturday at work 😀  The wonderful aroma of roasting butternut squash is slowly making it’s way into my office… mmm…  The Saturday potluck idea was something we started a few years ago, but after a few broken attempts, DK and I came to the conclusion that we are the only ones really willing to do the cooking part as well as the eating part and it’s a better situation if we just have a party of two.  It’s no fun to get all excited and put in the effort to find the others idea of potluck is to show up with a bag of buns or a tray of day old cupcakes.  Lesson learned.  Today will be amazing.  I think I’ve mastered the pulled pork and DK makes the best roasted butternut.  😀


#springishere!  (finally!)  In time for a little Friday post-WOD coffee sesh in the sunshine 😀

Fri. May 9:


AMRAP in 30 Minutes:
2- Power Cleans #225/#155    #85
3- Front Squats #225/#155    #85
4- Deadlifts #225/#155   #85
5- Strict Pullups   thin blk band 😀
400m Run

Result – 8 rounds (a little over the 30 min. mark) 😀

WICKED WOD!!  This one could make the “all-time favs” list.  I felt pretty bad-ass crushing all of the pull-ups with just the little band.  Resisted the urge to put my foot on the box as I got tired for a little push-off action too.  I did underestimate the run portion though!  Expected that part to be the “rest” bit.  Wrong.  Sure, the first few rounds it was a nice and easy trot around the building… but the last few rounds it felt twice as long, as if it had somehow become uphill, and like I was pulling a piano.  I looked at the clock as I was cranking out my 8th round of pull-ups and thought “1:16 to go… I can get in the last run!”  So I literally ran from the bar, out the door, and turned things UP to try to make it back to beat the buzzer.  Kept a good pace for the first 100m… then the ground tilted and the uphill feeling began (or so it seemed)… brushed it off and kept pushing… made it to 200m, then 250m, then 300m… I think that’s when the piano-pulling came into play.  It was rough!  Thoughts going through the old head – “you won’t die… when did it get so hot… just keep going… can’t breathe… almost… there…”  Haha!  It was AWESOME!


Thurs. May 8:

Part .1 Back Squats: 2 sets of 10 reps (50%-60%) immediately after perform AMRAP Back Squats with the same loading   #95, AMRAP – 35 reps

Part 2. OTM for 12 Minutes
Odd Mins: 10- 12 reps- Barbell Bent Over Rows   #55
Even Mins: 8-10 reps- Ring Dips    thin blk band

**note to self – when ring dips are on the menu, bring tall socks in case the band option presents itself.  Bare shins are not the way to go.

abs? or chocolate?

what makes you happy?  The short list for me… sunny days, running outside (finally), ball hockey, lifting heavy sh*t, and recently… chocolate.  Like, the dark kind.  With almonds, but not covering them.  The chocolate covered kind taste like dirt.  Just my opinion.  My blog.  Deal with it.  Back to the chocolate.  WTF?!?!  I never used to be a chocolate girl, but lately I have random cravings.  No, I’m not pregnant.  And not a fan.  The worst part is:


Sigh.  I’d like to see my abs more.  Like, more than chocolate.  So suck it up McDowell.  Choose the abs.

Kitchener ball hockey starts tonight 😀  Excited, with a little bit of nervous in there too.  New league.  All new group of girls.  And we play at 9:00pm.  aka, the second period should start around my bed time.  In the words of Coach Dave “It’s GOOD for you!” and I know it’s true.  This being said, the stairs to my lunch room are NOT my friend today after this morning’s kick-ass little WOD.  Some, hoepfully come game time, my legs are ready for action.  Went through the same sort of thing Sunday with the morning dose of 101 squat cleans followed later by a “run-like-you-stole-it” session of hockey and all was good.  Today is day 3-in-a-row though…  Here’s my over-due recap.

Tuesday May 6:

warm-up: with a partner, 3 rounds 250m row – 30m sprint – 30mX2 farmer’s carry (yellow tape?)- 30m sprint

worst part?  The post-row sprint.  No question.  Kept my row split around 1:46 though 🙂

Part 1. Deadlifts: 2 sets of 8 reps (50%-60%) immediately after perform 1 sets of max reps Deadlifts of the same load  #135   1 set max – 16reps
Part 2. OTM for 12 Minutes:
Odd Mins: 4-6 reps Strict Pullups  4-5
Even Mins: 8- 10 reps Pushups    10

Last rounds of each, max reps – 7 / 20

Even before walking into the box today, I had my mind set on #135.  My 1RM is still sitting at #225, so I went for the higher end of the scale with 60% and felt AWESOME 🙂  Can’t wait until we get a chance to test on these again.  I think I’ve got more in me than #225 now.

Monday May 5:

warm-up: 30 seconds jump rope, 30 seconds burpees, 60 seconds jump rope, 60 seconds (ummm… drawing a blank.  push-ups?), 90 seconds jump rope, 90 seconds wallballs

Part 1. OTM for 10 Minutes: 5- Back Squats (60%-70%)   #85
Part 2. OTM for 8 Minutes: 5- Strict Press (60%-70%)   #35 (baby-ing my still grumpy shoulder)
Part 3. AMRAP in 7 Minutes
3- Hang Clean #135/#95   #55
6- Pullups    sit-ups
9- Box Jumps

Fun little WOD 🙂  AND I’ve come to the conclusion that any day that involves cleans/snatch should start with wallballs.  Seems to be the best method for me to get ready to do anything that involves opening my hips.  I went super-light with these today to give my shoulder one more day of chill-out time.  I wanted to kip out some pull-ups, but sucked it up.

Sunday May 4:

In 30 Minutes with a partner:
1- Bear Complex

The Bear Complex:
Power Clean
Front Squat
Back Squat
Score is based on number of poundage you and your partner lift

Result – 8565 lbs

As I briefly mentioned earlier, I put in 101 squat cleans.  The shoulder was really not in to the overhead portion of the bear complex.  Totally shitty of it to complain in my mind.  I LOVE this movement!  😦  arg.  But after a few warm-up reps I realized I was going to have to ditch it and squat clean instead.  Still worked friggin hard.  We added weight in increments over the 30 minutes and I focused my mind on completing 5 reps unbroken for each round I got in.  After I ran like hell later at hockey and got into my car to drive home, my ASS felt like I’d been attacked with a meat tenderized.  WICKED!  😀

call it team building ;)

Today is a rest day.  Prepare your blog-reading taste buds for a sh*t-storm of randomness.

So, back to the interview process in search of a new sales associate.  I don’t enjoy interviewing.  Made the mistake once of booking 4 interviews one Saturday, back to back.  Wanted to die by the end.  The routine shhpeal got pretty condensed by the time the last kid came in.  I was starving and probably kinda bitchy and basically was at the point of “So?  What have you got that’s better than the last 3?”  Haha won’t do that again.  Here’s a quick little list of the questions I wish I could ask:

– Are you a hockey fan? No – I can deal with that / Yes – What team? (Habs/Senators, interview over.)

– If we were to hold a work pot luck, what would you bring?

– Are you a vegetarian? (If so… interview might end right there. The store has already reached its meat-hater quota)

Now the really important stuff:

– So… do you Crossfit?

– Can you do Double Unders?  AND can you teach me?

– What’s your Fran time?

DK and I need to know.  I mean, come on…  Today he brought the steak and I brought the fixins:


Thankfully this was crazy-delish cause another of my staff went to Dominos for lunch and is sitting beside me in the office while her garlic cheesy bread smell invades my nose.  Rude.  Mmmm… garlic…

For next Saturday, brainstorming has already begun.  Pulled pork has come up more than once.  And roasted butternut.  Maybe avocado broccoli slaw… Just hoping I can recreate the last batch that came out of my crockpot.  Amazing.  We used to get take-out from time to time but have recently decided that we just cook better.  Dear Hogtails… the love is gone.  The last few visits have involved dried out pork/beef.  That just won’t do.  I’m breaking up with you.

Yesterday DK and I were just hanging around the store in the evening when apparently our customers had better things to do than come look at cameras.  As usual, we were talking about the morning’s WOD.  Then what body parts were sore, to include a bruise comparison session.  Next, we discovered that if we rearrange a section of the store temporarily, there’s a great spot to work on handstand holds.  Golden!  Then a light bulb went off over my head…  “we should get a ROPE!” came out of my mouth.  DK gave me the most confused look, then caught on to my thought train.  “YES!!  That would be awesome!” was his response “we could call it team building!”  But although we discussed where we could put it and how we could pull it off at length, the closing comment of that fun little daydream was “We’d both have to look for new jobs”  :-p  That sucked the wind out of our sails, but the daydream continued anyway.  We’re both nuts.  But at least we’re not alone I guess.


spring clean… and jerk

Goal for today – don’t wimp out on water consumption.  Especially over the course of the day rather than the realization when I arrive home that I probably haven’t had as much water as I should which is followed by a little game of “catch-up” which likely has something everything to do with my waking up 45 times during the night to sleep walk to the washroom.  So far, so good – 2 litres down on the path to 3.  I was pretty good yesterday too.  On this mission cause A – “It’s GOOD for you!” Coach Dave and B – there’s been more dizzy moments creeping into my life lately than I have time for.  Not cool.

Its Friday

Friday May 2:

Part 1. “Death By Power Cleans”
OTM complete 1 more Power Clean, #135/#95    #75
For example, Min 1 complete 1 PC, min 2 complete 2 PC, min 3 complete 3 PC for as long as possible. Post scores as total rounds + partial reps.

Result – 10 rounds + 9 reps
Part 2. Front Squats
For time:
4 sets of 15 unbroken Front Squats, #165/#115 – no racks.    #85

Just noticed the “for time” part!  Oops!  I definitely took my time…

You know what else Friday means… Coffee morning 😀  Unfortunately Coach Sharon was sick today 😦 but Coach Dave did a pretty good job in her place.



Thursday May 1:

Rope climb and do push-ups non-stop for 30 minutes.

The objective here is to climb and push until you can’t do neither.

Thoroughly exhaust both functions within 30 minutes.
Report the details of the experience both today and the effects tomorrow.

Count the number of trips up the rope and the number of push-ups within the half hour.

Remember the CrossFit push-up is a very rigid body, deep, controlled movement.

No cheating on the push-up!!

Coach Dave was in a “constantly varied” sort of mood today I think.  Started with a warm-up of 5 minutes on the rower and 5 minutes of double unders practice.  Then he turned us loose but not before changing up the push-up scheme to “Mix it up!”  I did 20 push-ups (perfectly I might add, no cheating) after my first two rope climbs.  Then the third round I did 5 ring dips.  Fourth round intended to attempt a few handstand push-ups which turned in to handstand holds until I was giggling so much I just couldn’t keep my shoulders locked out.  Then rounds 5 and 6 I worked on pistol squats.  I think I have found a new love…  Not many times do I find myself making a comment like this, but I think after months of working on them, I’ve kinda “got” my pistol squats.  Not saying I’d have even a moment of excitement to be up against the 3 rounds of 50 that appeared on the program for the upcoming regionals… but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made.  Wanted to work on my kipping pull-ups again but my hands said “oh helllll no!”  To round things out I got in 20 more push-ups to finish off round 7.  Then Dave few one of his little “treats” our way in the form of 60 seconds hard-as-hell on the rower.  A little competition for max meters.  Pretty sure this kid was top of the leader board for this one 😀 281m baby!!  I love rowing… just need to work on my endurance.  Had to slap on my game face for this one.  Went HARD from the “3, 2, 1 GO!!” but my legs and lungs were begging for mercy after 45 seconds.

Post-WOD I had every intention of a little blog-action, but I had a date with Coach Sharon to go look at condos.  Hopefully soon I will get out of the renting game…  They were all pretty sweet.  Like, to the point I’ve roped my dad into coming out to take a look this weekend.  Then I was off to Sport Chek to deal with shoe mountain.  Yes!!  Bring on the shoes!  No hanging clothing this round 😀  I like the days where I feel accomplished when I leave.  I should have taken a pic of the monstrosity I walked into, and an after shot of the nice empty back room I left after my 5 hours.  Good good.

Wednesday April 30:

Part 1. Clean and Jerk: O.T.M for 9 Minutes
Min 1-2-3 at 85%    #75
Min 4-5-6 at 90%   #85
Min 7-8-9 at 95%   #95
Part 2. Front Squats: 4×4 across   #105
Part 3. Amanda
9-7-5 Reps of:
Muscle ups     kipping pull-ups (like, for REAL! Sets of 7 and 5 – unbroken!)
Squat Snatches, #135/#95   #55

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