Why Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Last night was kinda tough on me. It was my last night as a member of the CrossFit box that I’ve been a part of for the past year. Now, people leave gyms and stuff all the time. You relocate, get a new job, find another gym, stop working out all together…etc. But this was different for me.

A year ago I decided I wanted to get into CrossFit in spite of all the negative articles and crazy videos out there that spoke to the high injury rate. I took the plunge, and literally on a whim decided to join this particular box with a friend. It was the best decision I could have made. At my box I found something more than CrossFit.

I found community.

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My team from our Battle of the Box

 

Here were a group of people, of all fitness levels and abilities, willing to come together and push their boundaries. We sweat, suffered, cursed, and cheered one another through wod after wod. We encouraged one another to push ourselves further and congratulated one another as we hit new individual milestones. I made some good friends here – coaches and athletes alike.

Coach Bobby. 'Nuff said.

Coach Bobby. ‘Nuff said.

It was at this box that I saw that CrossFit is MORE than the wod – it’s the entire experience. From the moment you walk through the door, to the moment you leave at the end of a workout…it’s this strange euphoria. I’ve learned a lot from the coaches at this box…the importance of mobilizing, how to properly prep your body to do physical work, knowing when and how to scale a workout down, and knowing when to check your ego/expectations when you need to drop the weights down a bit.

When I think about the lessons that I’ve learned, just in a short year, that knowledge and experience has proven to be invaluable to me. Even as I prepared for my NASM personal trainer certification, the practical experiences, conversations, and explanations of the human body and how/why it works the way it does – all things I learned from working out with the stellar coaches of CrossFit Praxis, made me feel that much more confident and prepared to take one of the toughest and most highly recognized personal training certifications in the nation.

It was also during my time at Praxis that I fell in love with the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. I never saw myself as a lifter, let alone an athlete, but…in time that self-perception changed.

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All these things and more I got from just 12 months at a CrossFit box. No…not, just a CrossFit box, an amazing CrossFit box. So, naturally the decision to leave was a tough one. And what it all came down to was finding the best fit for me in light of switching jobs and locations. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed at least a single tough girl tear as I walked out of Praxis as an official member for the last time.

And perhaps I was a little off with my original statement about breaking up, because it’s more like – wod ya later. 😉

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I Want to do ALL the Workouts…ALL of Them

I need a minute to complain. So hear me out for a lil bit – just humor me on this one. There is simply not enough time in the day to do all of the physical activities I love to do. There’s not even enough days in the week to plan out a schedule that allows me to feel fully fulfilled with the workouts I do have. It’s annoying. So I’m pouting right now.

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If only…but yes, this is how I often feel.

Running has been my main hitta, my number one, for about 3-4 years. But then? CrossFit. And then? Olympic Weightlifting. I kept telling myself that I’d find a way to run still, that my forray into the world of wods and 1RMs wouldn’t stop me from hitting my favorite trail a couple of days a week. That I’d still find time to incorporate yoga into my routine. Lies. There are so many options…sooooo many. Of course I find happiness in several of those options, but I’ve yet to find the right balance – the right mix of things. Oh, and still manage to go to work, eat, and ya’know…live.

Here’s the real rub though…to be good at something, ANYTHING, one must put a good 85-90% of their efforts towards that. I’ve never been good with ultimatums though, so naturally I am having a rough time with that kind of logic. Oly makes me happy. Running gives me peace. CrossFit gives me community. Yoga gives me clarity. It’s beautiful that I can get all of these wonderful, beneficial things from such varied forms of working out. But how to successfully enjoy them all in a way that is not detrimental to my goals? And body?

Truth moment? I need to revisit my goals. Which is right on time actually, as I spent the majority of this year working on and working towards the goals I’d set for myself last year. I took a break from running to dedicate myself to CrossFit. I dedicated myself to CrossFit to figure out which competitive lifting style (strongman vs powerlifting vs Oly) I wanted to pursue further. Well? The verdict’s in and the lady has chosen Oly. Now that I’ve discovered what area I want to focus on, I’m hoping to build out a schedule that’s a little more realistic of time constraints and my rather divergent interests. Any trainer or coach will tell you that when it comes to setting goals for yourself, you need to make them SMART:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timely

S.M.A.R.T. Reason being, if you start out with goals that are too vague and unrealistic, then you’re gonna bomb out. Know what you’re working towards and chart a course for getting there. I don’t always use SMART goals, but when I do, it makes my life a lot easier, as I have checkpoints along the way to map my progress. I start big, with my ultimate goal, and will work my way backwards from there. Detailing my steps helps to see what the steps are to get me to the goal. Then I assign a timeline to it. Or, if it doesn’t seem realistic…I’ll adjust. So, if right now my main issue is figuring out a way to do all of the physical activities I love to do, then I need to prioritize those activities and figure out what my baseline of participation needs to be for maximum happiness and wellbeing.

I’m thinking ahead to 2015 already…and I think my BIG goals for the year will be:
1. Participate in an Open (Olympic lifting competition)
2. Run a race – either a 10-Miler or a Half Marathon
3. Maximize the hours in a day to work, play, sweat, and rest.

It’ll get me back into running again and allow for me to push myself with the weights. Integrated training. It can work. At least I hope to stop whining about not having the time to run. *shrug*

Anyone else out there have that same issue finding balance? Or is it just me?

Why I Love Olympic Weightlifting

I’m approaching a year of CrossFit…and you know what I’ve learned? I really…REALLY love Olympic Weightlifting (“Oly” for short). Love it to the point where I’ve actually stopped participating in CrossFit wods at my box and have been Oly training exclusively. Hadn’t thought I’d get this into the sport, but yes…I am a big fan.

Where CrossFit builds workouts (wods) around several different types of sports (gymnastics, powerlifting, oly, running, strongman, etc) with the goal of building athletes that are functionally fit, Oly focuses on two lifts. The clean & jerk….and the snatch. Both lifts are very explosive and require a great amount of control – both of your body and of the weight on the bar.

Both sports produce amazing athletes. Both demand you to face your fears and dig deeper.

Oly just speaks to me more. I’ve tried to deny it. To ignore it…nope, I’m a CrossFitter!!! But let’s be honest here, I spend more time thinking about or looking at Oly vids than I do anything else. When I go into the gym I get annoyed when there are guys deadlifting on the only pad where you could actually do Oly lifts – meanwhile there’s a perfectly good deadlifting area in another part of the gym that is hardly ever used.

I like lifting heavy things…while being smart about it, of course. I learned several months ago that I need to “respect the bar” at all times – I dropped a bar with about 160 lbs on it and let it roll away…and right onto my shin. It wasn’t a major injury, just a little blood. But I’ve got the scars as a reminder of the importance of respecting that bar and minding the bar at all times.

With that said, if you’re thinking about getting into lifting…I would say to give it a try. Make sure you’ve got a good coach to teach you the basics and make sure you are safely progressing along. It’s not as scary as it may seem, but it is something that does take a certain amount of time, dedication, and attention. If I can do this…YOU can too. If it’s your thing – of course. 🙂

Here are some clips of some of my fave ladies from across the globe kicking ass. Various ages. Various nationalities. Various body types. Same level of awesome. Be inspired.

Tatyana Kashirina – Russia

Lidia Valentin – Colombia

Zoe Smith – UK (she’s only 20!)

Holley Mangold – USA 

Fitness = Bubble Butt + Thigh Gap + Body Shaming?

I was on Pinterest this evening, looking for some worthy motivational and inspiration messages to both share with you all and to keep in my personal collection. It’s been awhile since I’d been on the site, but I happened to type in “Fitness” as my search term and these were some of the top images that popped up:

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Nitpicking…dissecting…and shaming of the female body as a way to inspire fitness? Is that really the way we want to go? Is this truly inspirational, or are we playing on the fears and worries of many women who may already have a number of body issues. Is it not enough that we are bombarded daily with society’s standards of what beauty is? So now we have brought that same comparison and shame to the world of fitness. Now, don’t get me wrong, I recognize that you can tag a photo with as many keywords as you’d like and perhaps I just got the unluck of the draw this evening, but as I’ve been observing the fitness movement that is sweeping the nation, I can’t help but think that there is a bigger issue that we are just NOT addressing.

If we’re going to talk about physical fitness, we are going to also have to talk about health – mental and emotional. Shame and fear are both terrible motivators. Health, true and lasting health, should come from a place of love and understanding. You want to be a better, healthier person because you love yourself and perhaps even because the love you have for those closest to you motivates you to take certain steps to ensure you can maximize the time you are able to spend with them. Understanding comes in as you recognize that there may be ebb and flow in your day to day healthy living, but that these changes are natural and a part of life. Personally, I do not think that chasing after an ideal body part(s) or running from the fear of cellulite is a way to have sustainable and healthy weight loss and fitness goals.

And what really gets me in the midst of all of this – is that all of these “fitness motivation” imagery is more or less targeted at women with a very distinct message..

“Who you are isn’t good enough. You need to have these physical qualities to be considered healthy/fit/sexy.”

*yawn*

*yawn* …riiiight.

The feminist in me isn’t buying that one bit. And while I know from a professional and personal standpoint, that naturally as you reduce caloric intake and increase calories burned (aka good eating and exercise habits) you will see a physical change in your body – depending on HOW you’re exercising and WHAT you’re eating, results WILL vary. And that’s not even getting into what kind of body type you may be. Fit looks different on every…body. Why then, do we insist upon driving home such a narrow and frankly superficial view of what fitness is. And further more…who the HELL are you to tell me what’s wrong with my butt/hips/thighs? I really…REALLY wish that society would spend LESS time concerned with the female body and MORE time focused on promoting holistically healthy imagery, guidance, and examples of the multiple avenues to fitness.

Which brings me to yet another question…what is fitness anyway? What does it mean to be fit? These are questions I’m posing to myself and you as well. What are the goals that you’ve set for yourself? And why? What is your motivation? What drives you to get up in the early morning or go out after a long day at work and put in some time at gym? I hope, that after some thought and reflection, that the answers you come up with are ones that make you happy and will do no harm in the long run. I want everyone to reach their highest self, to be the best they can possibly be. Fitness looks and feels like whatever works best for YOU. Perhaps isn’t thigh gap, or super chiseled muscles. Maybe it’s a dress size or two less coupled with the ability to run around with your dog or kids a little more. Maybe it’s reducing the number of medications you need to take. Or being able to walk or run up a flight of stairs without losing your breath. It could be something as simple as being able to bend over and touch your toes.

It could be any of those things.

It could be all of those things.

But it’s YOUR choice…and you have the power to decide what fitness feels like for yourself. Please, don’t let society or family and friends try to define your personal goals and aspirations for you. You’re the architect here. Make sure you are building on a solid foundation.

Does anyone even hear me out there? Am I the only one who’s kinda over it? What do you all think?

So…I Broke the Scale

Lol, well not really. More like, my scale went wonky and decided it wanted to end our almost 3 year relationship. It was a sad affair really. I should have known something was amiss when, at my last weigh in, it said I’d lost a whopping 10 lbs that week. On chipotle and starbucks? Nah bruh, I don’t think so.

10 points if you can name this movie.

10 points if you can name this movie.

So yea, I had to get a new scale. It arrived yesterday. And IT was hellbent on telling me the truth. All 275lbs of it. WAAAAAHHHH. Yea, I gained some weight back. My life, the roller coaster. It was bound to happen though. I’ve been having WAY too much fun indulging my inner foodie and scotch lover. Not to mention I’ve grown allergic to cardio since starting crossfit and then switching over to mostly olympic lifting. The motivation to get out bed in the wee hours of the morning to run just…meh. My bad tho. Clearly I know better, but like most of us, sometimes you fall backwards and need to reassert why you do what you do in the first place.

New scale. Renewed focus. And the foodie card can only come out for truly extraordinary purposes. Like my birthday…which is less than a month away (Nov. 20th).

Yup. The entire month of November is my birthday.

Yup. The entire month of November is my birthday.

In other news, life is good. Settling into the new gig, can’t believe 4 months has passed so quickly, but indeed it has. There was this huge project I’d been working towards since day 1, and with that out of the way, I’m hoping to get into my own lovely groove. I’ve not yet put my trainer talents to work, mostly because my schedule has been all over the place, but we are hoping for (and claiming) a stable schedule beginning now!

Till next time!

Breakthrough Days

I had a breakthrough today in Oly practice…

I’ve had this mental block around this ONE particular lift…the snatch. Considering there are only two lifts in olympic weightlifting (the clean & jerk…and the snatch), I’d say the mental block has been pretty significant. For whatever reason, just could NOT get my head around this lift. I know it was a block.

A block caused by fear. This lift just scares me. Which is funny, because I think it’s one of the most beautiful lifts. Can I call a lift beautiful? Mmmm…yea, I think I’m gonna do that. But yes, it’s just a really REALLY amazing lift to behold. It’s power, speed, balance…all in a movement that is done in a matter of seconds.

See what I mean?

Tonight one of my box mates declared it a breakthrough day for himself. I guess some of that good vibes trickled in over to me, because when I got good and moving with the workout…I was hitting weights for the snatch that were damn close to my 1 rep max…like 5-10 lbs away. Doing heavy work, under fatigue, and coming so close to my 1RM with better form and more confidence than in the past?

Breakthrough, I tell ya.

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*giggle* Cracks me up every time.

But yes…breakthrough tonight. And it felt good. Better than good, it felt GREAT. I feel the fear diminishing. I know I can do it. Seeing the proof of that belief just makes it all the more real.

Find Your Fit

My mind has been all over the place lately. I’ve had so many things I want to say/write about and yet, I don’t know how to start or where to begin.

This blog is changing. If I’m honest, it’s changed and has been changing over the past year or so. It’s changing because I’m changing. I’ve changed. I’ve grown.

When I started writing, it was about running. How to do it. Why to do it. The reasons I love doing it. I was an absolutist. If it wasn’t running or yoga…meh, not interested. 

Then came CrossFit…and you saw so many posts about that. Lifting heavy things. Double unders. Squats. I was, ever so briefly, a CF fanatic. 

Any then I found my way to olympic lifting – or oly for short. I love it. But I’ve learned something along my journey.

There’s more to life, to fitness, to wellness than being crazy about any ONE exercise routine. Being healthy…now that’s the goal. That’s MY goal.

I don’t want to be a runner girl, a crossfit girl, a yoga girl, or even an Oly girl. I want to be fit. And fit by my own standards, not anyone else’s. What that looks like? Well, I’m not sure…and I’m not in a hurry to define it. There is no ideal weight or physical form that I am pursuing. I am doing things I love to do, and enjoying the physical progression of the experience. I’m finding my fit.

That’s what life is for me. Finding my fit. Be it hiking, biking, lifting, running…I’m on a quest for self. 

So this blog is going to have to be a reflection of that quest. It’s only my hope, that through finding my own fit, someone out there may be inspired to find theirs.

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