Women Who Lift: Meet Mandy

Welcome to my feature: Women Who Lift. If you are interested in being interviewed for the series, please email me at jennifer@metamorfit.org  I would love to spotlight you. You don't have to have a blog, you just have to be a woman who lifts!

Today I am spotlighting Mandy. Mandy works out at my box CrossFit En Fuego, but we haven't worked out in the same WOD more than a small handful of times. I really connected with her via social media. She's very inspirational. She sets goals for herself, makes a plan, and meets those goals! She also has a lot of fun along the way. You can check out her blog here: Formula Fitness


Meet Mandy

Name: Mandy Phillips
Age:  28
Occupation:  Teacher and Entrepreneur
Location: Land O’ Lakes, FL
Favorite WOD: Anything weightlifting related,  CrossFit Total, Grace, and Linda
Favorite Lift:  Deadlift
Deadlift Max: 250 lbs
Back squat Max: 155 lbs
Overhead Max: Which lift? 115 lbs (Clean and Jerk)
Favorite Girl?  Grace or Linda
Got Muscle-ups? No, not even close….but that’s okay, one day I will!
1 mile run: 11 minutes exactly (running not my thing at all, but trying to change that!)

How long have you been CrossFitting? I am actually right at the 3 year mark! Started in September 2010, but have had to take a few breaks due to grad school and a torn ACL needing surgery.

What keeps you coming back/motivated? I am competitive by nature and my biggest competitor is myself!  I love challenging myself in an environment that pushes me, while having phenomenal support from fellow CrossFitters and the amazing coaching staff at CrossFit En Fuego.

How did you find CrossFit? I was brought to CrossFit by some co-workers that had been going.  So thankful they brought me!

What is your athletic background?  I have played sports my whole life.  Tried every sport I could as a child, but found my niche in softball, volleyball, and golf!  Notice little running involved in all of those.

How has CrossFit changed your life, lifestyle, level of fitness? CrossFit has dramatically changed my life!  I am always looking for ways to further myself and increase my health.  I have lost weight, gained muscle, and just become more confident in my body and fitness overall.    Also, it has made my relationship with my husband even stronger!  He recently started CrossFit in Feb. 2013 and we have never looked back!  Took be a long time to get him there, but now we are a team and love focusing on our fitness together!

What is the one thing you have done at CrossFit that you never thought you could do? (muscle up, double unders, heavy deadlift, run a mile, etc.)
Double Unders were a struggle for me for a long time.  I am able to do those and am currently working to lose the single I have in between my doubles!  Running has always been a struggle for me and with the help in my fitness gained through CrossFit, I am now training for a half marathon!  This is certainly something I thought I would never do!

What motivates/inspires you?  I am truly inspired by others!  I love watching people push themselves to do things they thought they would never be able to do.  I love watching people hit an obstacle and persevere through overcoming it!  This is what pushes me to do the same!  This is the exact reason I have started training for the half marathon and I have even started blogging about my fitness journey (formulafitness.org).  The feedback I have gotten from this truly pushes me to continue training because I know I am inspiring others as I achieve my own goals!  Love being a motivation to others!  That is what motivates me!

What is your proudest CrossFit achievement?  Before I had my ACL surgery, I was able to achieve a 500 lb CrossFit Total.  That is a combination of my max lifts on deadlift, back squat, and strict press.  That was always the number I wanted to hit and I did it!  Now my goal is to get that again!

Name one goal/personal achievement you would like to achieve through CrossFit? My next main goal is to complete an unassisted pull up!  I have always had a hard time with pull ups, but am getting closer and closer everyday to lose those bands and achieve this goal!

What goals have you achieved in CrossFit? Some goals that I have achieved are lowering my body fat %, increasing my strength on my lifts, and increasing my endurance through workouts!

Hobbies/Interests outside of CrossFit? Outside of CrossFit, my husband and I really love hanging out with friends, traveling, and working on projects for our new home!  Sports of course are always a huge interest for us too!  Go Bucs, Rays, and Bulls!

Do you follow a special diet? Paleo? Whole30? I have followed many ways of eating healthy before (WW, watching caloric intake, Low Carb, and Paleo).  Currently, I am doing Paleo, but trying to figure out how to continue this while training for my half marathon.  I have gotten a new Polar Heart Rate Monitor that has helped me track my calorie expenditure, but now I have to learn how to incorporate this into my diet!

What is your favorite meal?  I am a huge steak lover and actually I think one of my favorite meals is what we had for dinner last night.  Chimichurri Steak, Sweet Potato, and Asparagus….yum!  Recently a close runner up has been Meatballs, Spaghetti Squash as “noodles”, and homemade spaghetti sauce!

Any advice for new members? My advice for anyone thinking about doing CrossFit or just starting is to just do it!  Don’t be afraid!  The number one thing I love about CrossFit is that they scale all workouts to your current ability, while pushing you slightly past that point to continue to challenge you.  Don’t get frustrated you can’t do something or because others around you can and you can’t!  Who cares!?  They are not you!  They have not lived your life!  You are you and you define your competition!  Push yourself to be better than you were yesterday, then you can look back and see how far YOU have come!

Push Away the Screen: Muscle Ropes Review

Earlier this week I received a special box in the mail! The kids noticed right away that stamped on the side of the box it said Muscle Ropes and before I could grab my phone out of my purse to take a picture, the kids and the dog had the rope out of the box, spread through the house and out in to the backyard! I received this rope on behalf of a campaign I am working on with Fit Fluential so I knew it was coming, I just wasn't sure what type of rope I'd be receiving! What arrived for me was the 30' Aftershock!! In addition to the muscle ropes, they also make and manufacture (in the USA!!) a climbing rope, a utility rope, and a giant jump rope (note to self...I wonder if double unders would work with this??)

Matthew was the first of the family to get to play with it. Crazy dog was picking it up, throwing it in the air, catching it, then throwing it back up again. Sigh.

I took the rope from the dog, gathered it back up and tried to decide where a good place would be to set up my Muscle Rope. No directions came in my box, only the rope, but I had done rope training both at my previous gym, and at my current CrossFit Box, CrossFit En Fuego. From past experience I knew I had to be able to put my rope around something and looking through my backyard, I thought one of the supports for the swing seemed like a good idea!

Haley really wanted to get in on the muscle rope action and she thought that pulling the rope would be a good form of exercise and she was right! She dragged and tugged that 30 foot rope back and forth through our backyard, chasing after her brother and sister for quite a while.

And just when I thought it was going to be MY turn for the rope, my husband took it from Haley and decided to use the Muscle Rope as a lasso.

I realized that my family had some up with 2 activities for the Muscle Rope that I had not thought of! Muscle Rope Pulling and Muscle Rope Lassoing. James and the lasso quickly turned in to "Daddy the Muscle Rope Monster" and he chased the kids and dog through the backyard, while swinging his lasso. It was really fun to watch. But eventually they got tired and then it was my turn!!

With my Muscle Rope securely wrapped around the wooden swing post, I was able to show the kids quite a few moves that I knew. What moves do I know?? I know how to do the Conga Drums, the Evil Santas, the Mickey D's. But until I watched the video below, I didn't realize that the exercises I did actually had "real" names! And the video also showed me lots of other fun things I can do with the rope.

I didn't get to play with it for long. Haley wanted it back.

And then Ella and Ronin wanted to play "jump over the Muscle Rope."

I think it's safe to say that my family LOVED the Muscle Rope. I did too. My only issue is that it's not quite long enough for me. I would have preferred the 50' rope. But the 30' is great for my kids and if this is what will get them to push away the screen, then I'm all for it. So is Matthew.

Muscle Ropes is a small business founded in July 2011 with a reputation for excellent customer service, and with a 30 day money back guarantee on all products, you should really give Muscle Ropes a try!

As I mentioned earlier, I have used ropes in my different circuit classes, but Muscle Ropes are used routinely by all branches of the US Military, firehouses and Police Departments train with them, and this winter they will be featured in 3 episodes on an upcoming TV show (which show do you think it is??? I'm guessing the Biggest Loser.)

You can follow them Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Have you ever worked out with ropes before?? What did you think of the workout??

A WOD to Remember

I remember exactly where I was on September 11, 2001. I remember what I was wearing. I remember exactly what I was doing. The memory forever ingrained in my mind.

Last year when my family traveled to New York City for our appearance on the Today Show we went to the World Trade Center Memorial and I was taken over by emotion. It was so surreal to see the thousands of names etched in to the marble and the water just dropping over in to an endless pit.

Today, on the 12th year since the attacks on New York, and Washington D.C.  I will always remember where I was. Who I was with. What I was doing.

Today I spent the morning remembering the victims of 9-11 by participating in a 9-11 Tribute WOD.

In a CrossFit Hero/Tribute WOD, the numbers signify something. Today's numbers signified a lot!

40 tire flips (to represent the 40 people killed on flight 93)
60 Box jump overs (to represent law enforcement killed)
110 Stair Climbs (to represent the number of flights of stairs in the WTC)
184 Wall Balls (number of people killed in the Pentagon attack)
343 Double Unders (number of Firefighters killed)
2,819 meter row (number of people killed in the WTC)
2,996 meter run (total number of people who died)

I cried quite a few times. Not full out bawling my eyes out, but I cried. Especially on the stair climbs. I was so hot, and sweating profusely, and my legs hurt since this was the last of the circuit for me to complete. My calf muscles started to cramp up a little bit, and then I remembered something that my CrossFit Coach (Pete) said right before the WOD.

"on 9-11 firefighters were going up, and civilians were going down.

There was no chaos. Everyone was polite.

There was no pushing. So take your time on the stairs.

Be nice. No pushing around people.

This isn't a race."

This isn't a race. What great words. Simple words. I often think that we forget about just being nice. We're all so caught up in "the race" that we forget about the time that we spend with people who make up our race team. More than just our family and friends, but those people that let us out in front of them in traffic, honk their horn as we're running down US41 (yes, I appreciate the horn honkers), the stranger who compliments you on your dress or hair.

Faced with the uncertainty of what awaited them at the top or bottom of the stairs, the heroes and victims of 9-11 were polite to each other.

And that is what is making this a WOD to remember. I'll remember how nice everyone was at my box today (and everyday) but when you have dozens of people; stinky, sweaty, some moving slower than others all in formation, moving up and down steps, with no one saying a word, that leaves an impression.Visions of men and women in my box carrying babies, and punching bags, and sand bags, and kettle bells. Up and down, up and down. Again and again. And when you look at this video and you see the man carrying the big bag, know that that is my Coach. He's a firefighter. He risks his life every time he reports for duty. He will risk his life to save a stranger. And that's what 343 New York firefighters did on 9-11.

That is what I'll remember.

What did you do today to remember the victims of 9-11??