BadAssChickLove – Featuring Jessica Camacho

BadAssChickLove began as a weekly recognition on twitter of the women out there who do some amazing things in the world of functional fitness and nutrition. While it will continue on Twitter, each month I will feature someone worthy of BadAssChickLove on the blog.

For the very first feature I bring you Jessica Camacho. Jessica is both the brains and braun behind the popular blog Girl Walks Into A Bar(bell). She embodies what it is to be functionally fit, working out and using that fitness to make the world her playground.

Tell us about your workouts for a typical week.

I structure my workouts according to the season. Sort of. In summer, I mountain bike and (try to) climb. In winter, I snowboard… provided I’m not nursing a sprained ankle from back tuck practice on a trampoline, like I’m currently doing right now! Despite the season, one thing is consistent: I powerlift on the regular. I like the structure of a dedicated strength program so I squat, bench, deadlift, and press once a week in that order. Wendler’s 5/3/1 works well for me, mentally, so I gravitate towards his programming. My accessory strength exercises vary according to the sport I’m playing that season. For example, during climbing months, I’ll “accessorize” with pullups or grip exercises. During riding months, my accessory work is legtastic with barbell good mornings and lunges. After strength, I’ll do a CrossFit type of metabolic conditioning but I’ll usually cap it at 10-15 minutes. That being said, I like my workouts to relate to my sports so if a movement doesn’t correlate to anything I’d use in the outdoors I tend to sub it out… like kipping pullups. ūüôā I sub those out for strict pullups.

 What motivates you to work out?

I just FEEL GOOD after a heavy lifting session! Everything from the way I sit, to the way I carry groceries up a set of stairs just feels better when I work out. I also have a lengthy family history of diabetes and heart disease so living a healthy lifestyle is one way I’ve tried to inspire my family while metaphorically flipping amputations and cataracts the bird, if you know what I mean.

 Have you always been athletic?

Uhh… NO.¬† I could never clear the high jump or serve the volleyball over the net. And this one time, in 6th grade, I tried to catch a softball but it ended up hitting me in the face and breaking my glasses. My parents were like, “Give it here! We’ll just solder it fixed.” So, no.¬†I was a total nerd growing up. But I was able to skip college-level math classes because of it so things even out, I guess!

 Tell us about your nutrition.

I would say 90% Paleo. I mean, we cook and eat Paleo, drink our coffee black, make my own shampoo, and one day I’ll have backyard chickens. But, I do save room for Mom’s homemade cultural foods or some aged cheese sprinkled on my stuffed 3-egg omelet every once in a while.

 What athletic activities do you participate in other than a typical work out?

Mountain biking, trail running, sometimes climbing, snow shoeing, snowboarding, hiking, and my husband and I just got a whole split board setup so I guess I’ll be trying to pick that up this season, too!

 Do you have any specific goals set for yourself ?

I love setting goals! I want to learn Orienteering and do an Adventure Race in 2013, snowboard Silverton with my husband by 2014-2015, and learn to surf in Costa Rica!

¬†What’s one thing that everyone should know about you?

I work hard and I play nice.

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Is Your Fitness Functional? – Part 2 “Why A Different Gym?”

At Riverside Military Academy, we had an old school gym. Brick walls, fencing and iron made up this inside of our gym. Hard rock pumped loudly from a stereo and men (really just boys) sweated and screamed while they forged their bodies. At wrestling practice, we performed metcon style work outs that were considered tougher than the workouts that other sports did. Ever since then, I have never cared for typical “globo gyms” and when my friend and I opened a martial arts school years ago we did it in a warehouse complete with roll up door.¬†So when some friends turned me on to crossfit a little over a year ago, I was immediately drawn into the old school nature of what they were doing. I found out that I am not alone.¬†

Crossfit is growing at a rapid rate. The number of affiliated gyms grew from 18 in 2005 to almost 1,700 in 2010. There are people out there who were just tired of the globo gym, people who see the results of a functional work out.  Patrons who not only want to look better but want to perform better, whether it be in a sport or the game of life. While crossfit gets the mainstream attention, there are many other lesser known programs out there. RKC has been around for much longer and is considered to be the pinnacle of kettlebell training. MovNat gets straight to the point by training with functional movements in nature, cutting out the middleman that is a gym and lifting rocks, logs, climbing trees and more. Facilaties like Gym Jones  in Salt Lake City, Utah have been quietly starting their own revolution.

In high school, wrestling practice had shown me what jumping rope, rope climbing, fireman¬†carrys, stadiums and other functional exercises could do for your level of fitness. I was quickly introduced to new equipment such as sandbags, sledgehammers and tires. This all appealed to the fitness rebel in me. I was hooked.¬†There is something great about working toward real fitness (not mirror fitness) in an environment where pushing your limits is encouraged. ¬†It brought out something inside of me, something primal. That is why I work out at a “different gym”. But are all of these programs created equal? Stay tuned all week for more installments of ¬†“Is Your Fitness Functional.”