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Road To A Championship: Part 1

Posted on March 11 2017

Road To A Championship: Part 1

Road To A Championship: Part 1

Author: Monique Ames

Owner of CrossFit Evolution/Manager/Coach/Kids Coach/Macros Coach



 CrossFit HQ Certified
Performance Weightlifting Coach
CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting Coach
CrossFit Nutrition certified
Precision Nutrition Certification in process
+20 years experience in training, managing, & leading others
+12 years experience working with kids ages 3-13
2016 Masters US National Weightlifting Champion
2016 Masters Pan American Weightlifting, Silver
Director, CrossFit Risk Retention Group

Former: U.S. Marine, Martial arts tournament fighter, & Law Enforcement Officer

Monique Ames


About the Athlete and Author 

I am not a stellar athlete. I’m not gifted with any athletic prowess. Even my training desire and willpower is not that strong. I am just a regular woman, who’s turning 45 this year, who enjoys training a lot and becoming her best every year.With that said, I do track my training and I always have. If I didn’t, I would have no way to know if I was progressing, stalling, or worse,  slowly going backwards. I also need to plan the attack on my training, every single day, or it just won’t get done. In my experience, I’ve found that planning out one’s training daily and weekly is how one makes gains and avoids getting bored. This is also why I track my nutrition. If I didn’t, I would be back in the 75+ kg weightlifting class (before Flexible Dieting, I weighed 170-175 lbs, but that’s another story).


Monique Ames rope climb


You don’t need to be an elite athlete to track your training.

I used to record everything in a blank notebook. However, I would easily get bored writing down all my stuff and I would constantly skip logging my food, my mobility, and how I was feeling. In the moment, it never seems like a big deal, to skip logging a couple days or gloss over the less than stellar performances. However, when you miss a lift, go slower in the WOD, can’t pull tthrough your muscle-ups, or just feel like hammered shit, you’ll wish you had more detailed notes on your daily performance to guide you out of your funk. And when you are feeling great, making lifts, killing your metcons, and eating well it’s just as important to record everything! When you aren’t training or feeling as well, you’ll wish you had those notes to look back on and compare to see if you can identify what was working so well for you. We’ve all heard the saying,  “Knowledge is power.” and it IS! The more data you have about your body and performance, the more educated you are about your body and the better you can dial in your training, nutrition and lifestyle to make sure you continue to make progress toward your goals! To put it plainly, if you’re not tracking your workouts, nutrition, sleep, etc. then you aren’t approaching your fitness as intelligently as you could be.


What’s In the Gym Gypsy Journals?

Every woman I know is ridiculously overbooked every hour of her day. Between spouses, kids, aging parents, jobs, household chores, commuting, and cooking,  it’s no wonder it’s too easy to neglect our training and nutrition. A properly organized journal will help, because as women, we know that if we say we’re gonna do it AND we write it down, damn it, we are gonna do it! It’s as sure as eating chocolate when it’s in the house. It just happens.




Here’s what you get:

  • Top 3 To Do
  • Top 3 Appointments
  • Top 3 Daily Intentions
  • Health Inventory: yoga/mobility, mood, body weight, sleep amount & quality, fatigue & soreness, and stress & motivation level.

Then there’s 2 huge blocks of space to record your Strength/Skill Work and also your Conditioning. I record all my extra training on the left side and the class wod on the right. My left side usually consists of easy cardio, basic warm-up, gymnastics drills, daily back squat, and every other day, snatch. My right side consists of our class WOD which is strength training first, then the WOD. I’ll also record my cool-down and/or extra cardio here as well.

Below all that, there’s a Nutrition section to record up to 5 meals. I actually use MyFitnessPal for tracking since I am a Macros/Flexible Dieting girl (shameless plug alert: learn more about my program, see my before & after, and how to sign up with me). So in this Nutrition space I record my total calories, my feels for the day, and even extra notes.

There’s even more Bonus materials included, like a kilo-lb conversion chart in the back, PR pages, monthly calendar, monthly goals, important monthly dates, and… some inspirational quotes sprinkled in randomly, so it’s exciting when you see them.

Cool. But How Does That Give Me Gains? And How Did it Help Me Come Back from Pain/Injury?

Okay, so here’s my personal story and why I love this journal SO much!!

I use all the tracking parameters in the journal because, well, it’s easy.  It’s already there! I can easily look back over daily and weekly training cycles to see if I am lifting more or less, if I am injured or in pain, if I am doing mobility or not, if I am eating enough or not, if I’m sleeping enough etc.. 


Monique Ames snatch


I am currently training for USA Weightlifting Nationals Master Championship, in March 2017. Back in December 2016, I switched out my daily back squats for front squats and added some new stuff to my training. At first, it worked, I got stronger by mixing up my regimen. My goal going into Nationals was to break the current National Records, and as the 2016 National Champion (age 40-44, 69kg class) going into 45-49 age group this year, I had a good shot.

During this same time, I started skipping my daily mobility/yoga/stretching because I only have so much time in my day to train. So, something had to go while I increased my training load and mobility was what got swept to the side. Add in the holidays, big meals/excess sugar, stress, moving my gym’s location, falling off the macros bandwagon a bit, and taking a few trips out of town, well, things started to go a bit sideways.

When you stop doing some very important things that your body needs, like eating well and doing mobility (especially when your ass is 44 years old), while also adding in extra work, your body starts to rebel. I ignored the warning signs. As a weightlifter and CrossFitters, pain is part of it right? Pain? What pain? We’re used to that! Well,I ignored the pain for a while but eventually my body just quit. One day, squats were in the programming but my body flatly refused.  When I say I couldn’t squat, I mean I couldn’t AIR SQUAT. That was a very bad day and it was less than 1 month from Nationals. Not good.


Monique Ames clean


To give you a little more back story, back in mid-January, I started having significant quad/hip pain that I would work through because I was still hitting my max lifts. In early February, my body started shutting down. The pain was then severe and I watched as my heavy squats  numbers went down. My snatch and clean and jerk numbers soon followed. It even hurt to deadlift and I had to start modifying my CrossFit WODs. And then I lost the ability to air squat, do burpees, box jumps, & double-unders.

At this point, I grabbed my Gym Gypsy Journal and really analyzed what I had been doing over the last 30 days. How did I get to this point? When I took the time to look over all my daily notes and training,  it was blaringly obvious. Poor nutrition. Reduced or non-existent mobility/yoga. No cool-downs. Lots of extra training. New techniques. Additional drills.

All this extra work because I want to be a weightlifter and a CrossFitter :D


Monique Ames kettle bells


Once I saw the issues, I had to immediately start rectifying everything. Adjustments were made to my training and my nutrition. Sports massage was scheduled 2x/wk for the month leading to Nationals. Why so much? Because at this point, I had many things wrong with me: psoas, deep quad pain, no hip drive, & no turn around to get back under the bar. My legs hurt!

Had I not been able to look back at my declining lifts, sporadic mobility, etc., I would have likely decided to drop out of Nationals. As I write this,  I am currently 1 week out,  and even though I am squatting at 65% of max,  my lifts are still good enough to do this. I won’t be breaking any records this year, but I have worked around my issues the best I can. So, I am going for it!
Now you know my story and why I need this journal for all my tracking purposes. Without tracking, you can’t make consistent gains, break a plateau, or quickly recover and come back from an injury.

What else can I say,  except this is the BEST training journal I’ve ever come across in my 10 plus years of CrossFit. I’m 45 this year and I have been working out & tracking my training since my early 20’s. Before CrossFit, there were no journals, just notebooks in the globo-gym world. And we all know what our general idea of fitness was back then. Our idea of fitness is better now. Our training and development as athletes is better now. Our nutrition knowledge is better now. We’re better. We deserve a better training journal, not just a cheap blank notebook.


Monique Ames doggo


Use my code GGMonique to save 10% off your order from

Contact me via email at if you have any questions about the journal, joining my gym, or signing up for my Macros Program.


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