Tag Archives: changes

2016 Team Training

So on Saturday we had our annual Team Shawn Hammonds team training and it was awesome. Last year team training was during the middle of a ice storm so a lot of people couldn’t make it in. This year, it was a cloudy but other wise great day. We had our an pancake breakfast before to raise money for our grappling for gold fund to help competitors go compete at the big stages.

So team training started about 11 and it was already hot in the gym and I am a person who doesn’t tolerate the heat well. We had a lot of promotions across the association, but shout out to Chandler who received his black belt and Nathan who received his purple. They were both well deserved promotions of these two great guys.

Then we had the seminar portion of team training where we rotated to 4 different black belt to hopefully learn something that we could add to our games. I will say that I learned bit and pieces that I can add to my game, there was a move that my legs are just no long enough to do well. Thank you Rachel, Javier, Brian and Chewy for the great techniques that were shown. Going to try and drill those this week.

Then we had time to roll, i got a lot to good rolls in felt good against a lot of people. Means all of the work that I am putting in is paying off. After we got done rolling, there was a shrimp boil. The food was amazing. I’m still thinking about that food it was so good. So a good team training day had by me.

Can you find me in the photos?

My team runs deep.



Looking back on this year

So as we come to the end of the year, it is time to reflect back over what has been done. This year, I tried new things by completing a half marathon as well as leveled up in Jiu-Jitsu back in September.

All year I have been working to lose weight and it really didn’t go that well. I tried Paleo through about May and I did see about a 6 pound drop during all of that time.  It was really difficult to not see any weight loss on that diet after all of the research saying that I should see some more than that. I have been working hard to see weight differences, but I am not seeing drastic  change on the scale. What I have seen though is a differences is in inches and body composition. Around September I stared going to the Transformat10n Lab here in Nashville. By going to the Lab, I realized that I was not eating enough calories in the day so my body was retaining the fat vs burning it to make me lose weight. Now I have an accurate account of how many calories that I need to intake to lose weight. So now this going to be a game changer for me next year with my diet and eating habits. I have really started meal prepping, now a day so I know how many calories I am eating at any time. That has been a great help to me, so I can know how many calories I am eating to make sure that I get enough.

Long Distance Running I have learned is not for me. I can appreciate the people who enjoy it, but I think i rather do some other type of activity. Going into the new year I will probably try to do some 5k, but not much more than that. It takes away too much training time from what I really enjoy most and that is being on the mats.

This year, I have learned so much about myself through doing jiu-jitsu. I really do get antsy if I go too many days without being being on the mats. There is really something peaceful about it for me and I am so happy that i took that leap over 2 years ago to get started. I feel like there is nothing that make a person feel more alive then getting their ass handed to them on a regular basis. I can’t wait to see what next year will have in store for me. I know that I am going to keep moving forward and keep the monument that I gained this year. 2015 was truly a great year but I know going into 2016 it will be even better. There is going to a leprechaun domination. I plan on doing more next year and getting better.  In the new year I will also be posting my meal prep menus as I have had a lot of comments of what I am eating though my pictures.

Leprechaun out

What took almost 2 years, a lot of work, dragging my butt to gym when I didn’t want to..

is me getting my Blue Belt. Yeah, that’s right, on September 1, 2015, I obtained my blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I had no clue, that was going to be the day that I got my blue belt and quite a lot has changed for me since I got it. I am in the best shape that I have ever been in my life and still getting better every day. When I first started, I was a month out from having finishing my masters so I wanted to find something to do with my newly found free time.  I had remembered Nashville MMA from when I was younger and they used to be in 100 Oaks mall. I didn’t have the time or money then, but always said one day I will go do it. I started on September 10, 2013 with the intro to MMA class, because I didn’t have a gi at the time and I felt like death after that first class was over.

Now after 10 competitions and almost 2 full years of training, I have obtained the rank of blue belt, which is a huge step, most people who start never get here, but I have stayed with it for 2 years and it something that I plan on continuing to do as long as I can. The end goal for me is always black belt.  I have learned so much about myself over these last 2 years. I am able to do so many things that I thought I wouldn’t be able to do. I have learned that my weight and height can be advantage where in a lot of other places they are not.  I have learned how to be more social and have made a lot of friends that I trust to release when I tap. I have learned so much about they call the gentle art.

I survived my belt test with probably close to 30 people including 7 black belts on the mat the night I got my blue belt. This isn’t something that I plan on stopping anytime soon. I may take a week of to let my body recover so I can come back stronger, but I am fully committed to continuing to do jiu-jitsu.

I do want to say thank you to my professors and teammates, who have all taught me something a long the way. That you understand that I can’t see without my glasses on so you come grab when we are rolling. It has been a great two years and this is something I will continue doing. I have learned to fight to the death and to never give up.


This is a picture of me after my belt test with all of the black belts. I survived and they are holding me up after the aftermath with my shinny new blue belt.


Leprechaun Out,

white to blue


IBJJF Summer Atlanta Open 2015

Another day another competition down,  I competed again this summer in the IBJJF Atlanta Summer Open.  This is the first time it was a two day tournament in Atlanta so I competed in Sunday morning, instead of late in the afternoon. So I got to venue around 9:30 as my division was scheduled  to go at 10:50. So got there got changed and then started to listen to my music before going into the bullpen. I had a division of 5 this time and I didn’t get the bye so I had 3 matches to get to gold, while everyone else would only have 2. So I was like bring it on.  I got ready and the ring coordinator for ring 3 called us over and got us all together. I was going to have the first match because I didn’t get the bye.

Match 1- Before the match, Rachel is like get your throw and so I go on the mats, get my grips and throw her. She catches me with a lasso grip, while I’m on top and she holds it. She asks her coach and then she finally lets it go, I stay on top and up by points to with the match. The Link to the match is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx_5zvFzGOg

Match 2 – Going up against a taller female this time, we go back and forth, she is up by points, but I get my second wind and come back throw her twice, then go to back mount then to full mount to come back from behind to beat her. I am still trying to figure out what she was trying to do when she was jumping. The link to the second mach is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cybFdzszPiw

Match 3 – Had another good opponent, we stood up, battled for a while, tried to throw her, got her in half guard and then just battled for the entire round. This was my finals match, she came out victious, but i still felt like a winner. Has gone what I had set my mind to and won 2 out of 3. The link to the finals match is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJUrRVd7-lE

It was a good day, had some good battles and already planning my next competitions out. Here is the my podium picture.


You can’t teach heart and fight until the death,

Leprechaun a.k.a ninja

Frustration at Local Competitions

So I am a bit frustrated I realize that I am not a small girl, I have never really been one. I also understand that I am not tall and at times can be quite intimidating. Something that I have noticed at these smaller competitions is that I only seem to get one match and that is all.  Usually this match is in the gi as well. Girls in the lighter divisions may be able to get multiple matches because they are closer in size. It appears that once you are in the big girl division, it seems like you only get one match as there is not willingness to match up big girls with others as there are not as many at tournaments. I have been to tournaments where I have only received one division for the same price I have seen other do three because they need someone a fight.

So my frustration is at where a division is let’s say 150 and up, but then they give the girls the option to fight someone if they may outweigh them by 50 to 100 pounds.  You knew coming into this competition that that many be a possibility you could fight a 250 pound girl. I have been to competitions where they have split the division at 200 so I am left with one while the 150 to 200 has like four girls competing in it.

There has been this movement to equalize women’s pay compared to the men which is true in jiu jitsu. But we also need to talk about the issue of women only wanting to fight women who are there size. Now maybe this more of a local thing around here, but at the last competition I was, I was not able to do my no-gi division because the girl that I was supposed to fight had her coach decide not to fight me but fight someone else. The only way I was able to get a gi match was having a blue belt fight me as the other two white belts were scared and/or the organizers decided to cut the divisions due to my weight.

Now I realize my weight is my issue and its something that I struggle with everyday. Trust me, if I could weigh less I would, but it just isn’t something that is going to happen overnight.  But it also doesn’t make sense why people are allowed to turn down fights because they don’t want to fight with someone who weighs more than them. What are they going to do when they compete in an absolute, say I can’t fight that person cause they outweigh me by X amount.  That is just like me saying, I don’t want to fight someone just because they are taller than me, which is basically everyone who I come across in competition. I train and pay my money  to compete just like everyone else, so I don’t see why they are allowed to choose who they fight and I get stuck getting a refund because they don’t want to fight.  I want to fight, I train to fight and for these girls to just get a pass is just frustrating and annoying.  I will fight whoever they put in front of me, I don’t look at size or height, just the challenge that lays ahead.

I don’t just bulldoze through people either, in 9 competitions I have only won one match and that was just a few weeks ago. I guess I am intimidating for my size. I realize everyday that I am 5 ft and about 240 pounds and built more like a line backer than figure skater. I can’t grow any taller and my goal weight one day won’t even been that low, like these girls are at now. One day I would like to fight MMA, but if I can’t even get a no-gi match right now at these competitions, I will probably be hard pressed to find a mma fight at over 200. I’m just going to continue to do me, and if girls are going to be scared, then be scared, your missing an opportunity to better yourself by not competing with me.

Leprechaun out


Just an update

Well now I am a month out from the Country Music Half Marathon and my training has been going great. My new shoes have helped so I am really excited about the last few weeks of training. I am still fundraising for the race and I have a little over a month to finish fundraising. The link to my St. Jude fundraising page is : http://heroes.stjude.org/rachelleh

In Jiu-Jitsu related news, people are now starting to be able to tightly lock their guard around me as I am loosing weight. Yay for me while also, now I’m going to have to work harder to break their guard. Everyday I am seeing small improvements so that pretty cool to see how far I have come over the last 18 months. I know I still have so much to learn but I am definitely still enjoying it. We recently moved locations, which actually makes it a bit easier for me to go during the day so I am definitely going to enjoy that once my half marathon training is over with.

In food related news, I can no longer stomach pork, it seems that i now have an intolerance to pork, which sucks, but i rather not eat it then deal with the side effects. This combined with my lactose intolerance makes it definitely fun to go out to eat with me.

In weight loss related news, other people tell me that I am slimming down, but I don’t quite see it yet. I know that my clothes are fitting a lot looser these days, but the number of the scale isn’t moving much. I have been doing so much of this on my own so I am going to be looking to some professional help in the next few weeks to see where I can improve.

I’m going to keep on moving 🙂

Don’t forget to Donate 🙂

So I went running shoe shopping today

and yeah I didn’t know how much running shoes can cost. I went to the running shoe store in bentwood today to get fitted for some shoes because I have started to have some issue with the Nike’s I bought back in January. So I had been told that this store would really be able to fit me which they did. I knew going on a Saturday I would have to wait for a while which I was fine with because I didn’t have really any plans for today. So I waited. Then my name was finally my name was called and I got to work with this guy named Alex. So he tells me what they do here to make sure that I get right pair of shoes for my feet. So first he measures my feet and so he tells me I have wide feet. I’m like yeah I have feet like a duck. So he continues to do what I have watched so many of the different people since I have been waiting.

So he tells me he has got what he needs and is going to bring out some shoes for me to try and see how they fit. So i wait and then he shows me the first pair and the first thing that my eyes see are the pink on the shoes. And I’m like really dude pink , so they were nice but where kind of too hard. So I go on to the next pair, they are purple and sea foam green but  these shoes actually fit well. Now I realize that I have wide feet and it is going to be harder to find shoes in my size since I do have smaller fit. But I just can’t get down with wearing purple or pink on my shoes, so I ask him if these shoes come in any other colors and he is like no, we would have to order some in a different color if they would have them in a different color.

I then ask if they have any men’s shoes that would fit me. I can tell dude is a bit reluctant to show me some, but at this point I’m like on my principle I won’t by women’s shoes. So he brings out just one other pair of the only ones he say will fit my feet. I’m at the point of like really. I have been in the store for over an hour now and he has only brought me out 3 pairs of shoes. I do find it hard to believe that in a specialty running shoe store that there would only be 3 pairs shoes in the entire store that my feet would fit.

I know I have a wide foot but seriously only have 2 shoes and then only have 1 mens pair that I would fit, I find very odd. Maybe that is how it is, but still weird. So I say I will get men’s shoes because they do make me pick my feet and they did work for me. So I go up to register and they are like the shoes are like 160 and I’m like huh. I have never spent that much on a pair of shoes and I wasn’t about to start now.  So I tell them, I will think about it and come back. I come home and look online and found the same exact shoes for half the cost online. So I bought them online and save 80 dollars.

My bigger issue is why do running shoes have to be gendered towards men or women. All of the women’s shoes had more feminine color pallets and men’s had much more masculine color pallets. The dude helping me thought it was weird I carried about if the were men’s or women”s shoes. Maybe I should care more about the feel, but for me it is more about my identity. I don’t wear anything feminine so why would I compromise and buy a shoe that is of a feminine pallet. That is probably another rant for another day but now I will just wait for my new shoes to come in the mail and continue to run in my nikes tomorrow.

Ice Week in the South

So I’m been at home for the last 48 hours due to the ice storm that has covered most of the south. I haven’t left my house since Sunday where I actually spent most of the day in the bed because I was tired and worn out from not sleeping well over the last few weeks. So I took the day to catch up on my sleep.

Things that happened: I complete the Hot Chocolate 5K on Saturday morning in 50:31. It was freezing cold and I thought my toes were solid rocks when I started but I made a good pace. I still am working on picking up the speed, but I still have 10 weeks before my half marathon.

My training is going well, last week I ran my first 3 miles under 50 minutes. My goal is to get my mile under 15 minutes because that will put me on pace to finish the half marathon under the pace limits. That is my current goal.

In other news: my birthday is Thursday and I will be 25. There was a time in my life that I never thought I would make it to the age of 18 so to be here at 25 and enjoying life is awesome. I went thought a lot of pain and anger when I was younger so I am very happy to make to the age of 25 with all of the great fiends I have these days.

So my birthday wish this year is to have people donate to St. Jude as I am running the County Music Half Marathon as a St. Jude Hero. I want to thank Lynn M. T as she was my first donation to my  fundraiser. And I want to challenge everyone reading and wishing me Happy Birthday this week to donate on this ice storm week in Nashville.  You can donate here:   http://heroes.stjude.org/rachelleh

I have been sledging this week…and I also have an ice burn.

Until next time…


Paleo: Week 4

Yay. I have made it to week 4 with being on Paleo and man does it feel good. I feel like I have learned a lot by myself and how to cook over the last 4 weeks. I wouldn’t really call it a diet, but more a lifestyle change . I got through the the first 4 weeks with some basic cooking skills, but this next month I am going to try and make more complex recipes than what I have done this past month.  The pros of doing this have out weighed the cons for sure. This is something that when you break it down really means I am losing grains because I already am lactose-intolerant. And doing this 80/20 means I can still eat those things that I want to eat, but I am going to make sure it is worth it when I do eat it.

This has been eyeopening and just seeing how much money I have saved by eating most of my meals at home has been crazy.  This is something when I first started I was like oh it will help me lose weight and I definitely have seen that start to happen. When I started on this 4 weeks ago,I was like I am not going to weigh myself for a month so that way I could see if it was truly a weight loss change or a body composition change. So today is that day and I got on the scale .

As of this morning, in a month I have lost about 4 pounds, which equals out to 1 pound each week. That is just really crappy , when I have more than reduced my calories and even starting working out more. My goal was always do this for a month and then see where I was at. So for how far i reduced my calories I should have had more weight loss than that. I can say that my body composition has definitely changed and my clothes are becoming a lot looser. So that is a positive, just sucks to not have seen as much difference on the scale. So I had myself my pity party this morning, but I am going to keep on going. Because I am not going to let this define me.

I know a lot of this could be due to my PCOS because it is the devil and hates me. But I have a doctors appointment on Friday, and so then we are going to have a come to Jesus meeting to figure out what is going on.

I am not going to let this win, I am going to keep going. I can’t and won’t let this stop me. This year is going to be the year of change for me and I’m going to keep going because all I can do is keep moving.

I just want to say a quick thanks to anyone who has asked about my journey or have told me that they have seen a difference. You really don’t know how much that means to me and how it keeps me motivated, especially on a day like today where I am struggling but I know I have people behind that will stand with me through this all. So Thanks.

Leprechaun out 🙂


Yes I am wearing my hair differently now….

NSV: My belt is starting to fit

So when you first start jiu-jitsu you usually get a belt with you gi. The first gi I had was an A4 an the belt didn’t really fit around my waist. When I got my A5 gi, I got another belt that was at least able to be knotted when worn around my waist. But I never had enough belt to make the belt tight. So my belt usually would fall off after 2 minutes just because i couldn’t tie it tight enough. So tonight as I was putting my belt on, I realized that that before I tied the knot I had more belt to grab. And true enough my belt is no longer knotted at the end, there is actually some length for the tails. It was a good feeling and just make me want to stay the course.

NSV means Non Scale Victory.

Here are the pictures of my belt and my gi jacket starting to close too 🙂


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