How Do You USE This Thing?

So admittedly…it’s been FOREVER since I’ve written something.

And I’ve wanted to – no really, I’ve wanted to write something…I just didn’t have the words. To be honest, I still don’t have the words. But I figured, even if I don’t have the best things or the “right” things to say, that in this space…saying something is better than saying nothing at all. Who knows, there may be a person or two out there who can identify with what I’m going through.

So what am I going through, exactly?

Well…in short…I’m comparing who I am to who I used to be. I used to be a solid 60lbs lighter. I used to be a person who ran at least 15 miles per week. I used to be someone who had a BOOKED running schedule. I used to be a regular(ish) blogger.

And I miss that person. No, if I’m going to be honest, I miss the way that person looked. I loved running, hell I STILL love running. I went for a run this morning and felt that familiar glow and sparkle…that feeling of peace and the satisfaction of completing a run. But my eating habits have changed along with a number of things…and yes I have gained that weight back, but with it I have gained a couple of other things.

…like muscle and strength

…like a love and appreciation for the power of the female body

…like the ability to see in myself, even my heavier self, an athlete

…like an appreciation for and a commitment to regular physical activity

…like the ability to cook real meals (versus those pre-packaged messes I used to eat)

It’s a journey they say – one filled with ups and downs. So this might be a down swing for me…and I’m trying my best to fight my way through it. Someone close to me told me to focus on appreciating me NOW and not looking back on the me THEN. And that’s been good to reflect upon. We never really stop and admire who we are – when I look back even to my smallest days I know this to be true. I remember being happy with my progress, and feeling great – but not really being full on satisfied. I still wanted and tried to push for more. Looking at those old pictures now though? Man…I was FINE! And I still am. *smile* but I want better. Not to chase an image, but to chase a feeling.

That feeling of looking in the mirror and seeing the person you believe yourself to be reflected back to you. I had that at one point. I am working on finding her again. And as I continue that search for her, I will try to share my story along the way. Inch by inch. Mile by mile.

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Dusting Off the Keyboard

You know it’s been awhile when my browser history doesn’t even remember my web addy.

single tear for the forgotten blog

single tear for the forgotten blog

But I did that to myself…and to those of you who still read this – sorry y’all! To say that life has been crazy would not be an accurate enough statement…because in truth life has been LIFE. I’ve thought about writing, but then wondered what would I write about? If you follow me on Instagram I’m sure you’ve noticed a steady dwindling of fitness related posts and more of my personal self spilling over..and with it tons of selfies, lol.

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My selfie game is strong.

Let us take a walk back in time, shall we? I’ve been in this very strange place over the past year or so since I’ve stopped running regularly. Change of jobs, refocus of career, but more importantly a change in my exercise and food routine. I still haven’t quite landed into a regular pattern since I’ve stopped running. CrossFit kinda came in and with it a new community and new “norms” and apparently a new interest in lifting heavy things. How running fit into that lifestyle was quite easy…it didn’t. *shrug* Part of me felt kinda weird writing for a blog entitled TheCurvyRoadRunner, when I technically don’t really run like that, nor do I consider myself a runner. The Curvy CrossFitter or The Overweight Oly Lifter don’t really work for me either, lmao…I’m none of those things. I’m all of those things. I’m just me. I like to run…and lift weights…and these days it seems I’m gaining a new love for yoga. I just like DOING THINGS. There’s a lot the human body can do if the human mind and spirit would only endeavor to try.

My weight has fluctuated, and I’m on the heavier side of the scale…but I’m stronger than I’ve been in awhile. And I’m challenging myself to do things that I never thought I would…like handstands. Something so simple, right? Yet…here I am at 270 lbs (yea I said it) doing handstands. Who said I couldn’t do that? Apparently I did. So I’m about changing that. I’m for challenging the notion that I can’t do ______. I can. Or at least I can try, right? And with trying…you get better.

handstanding in 4 inch heels? don't mind if i do!

handstanding in 4 inch heels? don’t mind if i do!

For awhile I’d considered changing the name of this blog. I know the name I want it to be…Find Your FIt….because I think that’s what this journey has really been about for me. Figuring out what I want to do, how I want to do it, and what being fit looks and feels like to me. So I suppose you can say I’m “back” though I won’t be posting daily. For my own sake and sanity, I’ll at least try to use this space to share my own thoughts and experiences as I go about finding my own fit.

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Dear New Years Resolutioners….And Gym Regulars

Welcome to a new year of fitness. I see you in the gym, working out hard every day (sometimes several times a day), trying new classes, and searching for a healthier and fitter version of yourself.

To the gym regulars…I see you too. The look of annoyance and utter disdain…the side glances at gym newbies…the audible displeasure at how crowded the gym floor or locker room may be.

The gym is a place for all people, of all shapes, sizes, and athletic ability. It’s where folks go to sweat, do good work, and push through plateaus. It’s hard enough in a world of fast food convenience and sedentary complacency to make your way to the gym. Whether you’re a noob or a vet, there’s a place at the gym for everyone. What bothers me most about this time of year is the way some, and I will say some, gym regulars make comments aloud – either on the gym floor or in the locker room regarding noobs. Hey, if someone decided that 2015 was the year for them to lose that last 20 lbs, or to gain a little more energy, or to try yoga – CHEERS TO THEM!!! It’s not your place, vet, to make someone who’s probably already nervous as hell that much more uncomfortable. It’s mean, rude, and really…really annoying.

To my newbies, I hope this year you find yourself getting ever the more closer to your goal of a healthier you. Workout out, eat well, hydrate, rest, and repeat. Have fun with it, make new friends. In no time you’ll know the lay of the land at your local gym, which instructors you like, and which trainers are really cool (et ehm…ME). 😉 But most of all never forget, no matter how long you’ve been a member at a gym, everyone was new once. So be nice to one another, aight?

Now go be active. 😀

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Welcome 2015!

Happy New Year to you lovely, beautiful people out there! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that you’re as jazzed as I am for what lies ahead in 2015.

Now, it’s been a minute since my last post, and a couple of things have been happening. The biggest and most exciting thing has been my latest job – I’m now a trainer at a local gym. I started in December and so far I really enjoy it! The more I’m around like minded folks, the more I realize that I just LOVE being in the fitness world. Also – I just get a kick out of talking to people about fitness and helping them figure out the best way to get to their goals. There are just so many ways to be fit and healthy – it’s so awesome to hear what other people think about when they think of being fit.

BOOM.

BOOM.

Another thing that’s happened recently…

Mohawk!

Mohawk!

Cut my hair, kinda love it. Makes me feel a lil more badass and I think I look extra cool when I’m lifting heavy things. I feel very Grace Jones/Xena Warrior Princess these days, lol. So the look just fits. 😉

I’m trying to take it back to basics over the next couple of months. I really miss running…but I hate the treadmill. (snoozefest) So I bought a new toy since I lost my Timex Run Trainer 2.0 and have been running on weekends where I can.

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Haven’t tested the watch out yet – just got it this weekend, but I plan to share my thoughts on it shortly.

 

It’s good to run again. Fun and relaxing as always. Having some kinda goal in mind usually helps keep me on my A game, but I haven’t decided if I really want to run a race this spring. I miss half marathoning, but realistically speaking I want more time running outdoors as part of my training. Meh. Maybe I’ll finally run that Philly Half Marathon this November. I’ve only been trying to do it for several years, lol. Maybe this is the year I don’t wait until the last minute to register. Maybe.

Want to know something really random? CrossFit helped me with my running last year. Seriously, it did! The metcons (metabolic conditioning) we did helped keep me on point with my aerobic ability and the strength training helped make me stronger. That kinda stopped when I switched jobs and focused on lifting exclusively, but that’s the ebb and flow of life – right? I’ll be doing some of my own programming over the next couple of weeks until the weather gets warmer and I can go back outside to run again.

Btw, this blog is 4 years old! Can you believe it?? Nope, neither can I. 😀

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