Get Yourself Scanned

As many of my fellow boxmates will be getting a body scan next week, I want to share my opinion and words of encouragement.

Most people I know, including myself, when they get their first body scan walk are surprised by the results. So I write this blog to not be a pessimist but to hopefully spare you from the mild trauma that many of us have experienced.

 

Getting a scan is much like getting an estimate on that pesky scratch on the driver’s side door of your car. You know it will cost money to fix and so you procrastinate. You finally bring it to a body shop for an estimate expecting it to be about $400 to fix. The quote you get is $800. That sticker shock is the same feeling you likely will get with the results of your scan. You think you know how much you weigh and roughly what your body fat to lean tissue ratio is. There’s a good chance your actual numbers will be off from what you are expecting. Do not freak out about this. It’s normal. More importantly, it is part of a process. Read on.

 

In my unsolicited opinion, there is no point in finding out what your numbers are just for the fun of it. Because quite honestly, it generally is not fun. People tend to be surprised by what they see the first time they do a scan (again this is based on my own experience and that of many, many people I have talked to who have also done it).  To put this in perspective, what adjectives come to mind when you think about getting on a regular old fashioned scale? I do not think I am alone when the first word that comes to my mind is “traumatic”. So unless you are really thick skinned, much like what the scale tells you, be prepared for some possibly harsh numbers.

 

Having said that, it is key to remember that it is not about where you start; it is where you go. Do not focus on the total pounds you weigh or how much fat you have in your leg or your arm. Focus on using this data to spark some serious motivation to make a change. Come up with a plan and stay dedicated to working towards changing those numbers.

 

More good news! Unlike weighing yourself on a scale, you get a very detailed report from the scan that supports your numbers (because remember, you will find out not only your  total body weight but the weight of your bones as well as your fat and lean tissue). You start to become more analytical about it and understand exactly what is behind those numbers.  This is a good thing even if it pisses you off when you first see it. You can use this data to see specific areas of your body that you want to change.

 

When you schedule your first appointment, you should think about setting up your next one. Like I said, it is about where you go. To see a before and after will be far more rewarding that than the initial depression that may set in when seeing your first scan results.

 

I have gotten scanned 3 times in the last few years. Between the first two, I made changes to my diet and lost about 4% body fat and about 8 pounds of fat (those are big numbers when you are 5 foot tall). Between my 2nd and 3rd scans, I was motivated to go because I had noticed via the scale that my weight was increasing. I was panicked thinking I was gaining fat. In actuality I was gaining muscle. (This is good to know that as you lose fat and gain muscle, it is possible that your total weight will increase). I had introduced about 3 extra ab workouts per week  during the 2nd and 3rd scans and lost 2 lbs of fat alone in my stomach area. Again, that’s a big number!

 

Ok so in case you haven’t figured this out for yourself, the moral of the story is (drum roll please…): Do not let your first scan deter you. Accept the numbers for what they are, and use them to fuel you to take your diet and training to the next level.

 

 

 

Fear

It’s been a week box of retesting 1 rep maxes.  Snatches. Squats. Cleans. Jerks. You name it. What do they have in common? Fear. 1 RM brings out fear in the best of us. There is the fear of failing. The fear of letting the mental override the physical. The fear of committing to a movement. The fear of experiencing what suck really feels like. 


The thing is though, we use fear as a reason to not push ourselves. It feels safer that way. Or maybe it feels easier. It’s better to successfully press 100 lbs and not even try 105 (that’s just crazytown) than it is to attempt 105 and fail.  Psych! Read that and tell me it makes any logical sense. If you do CrossFit, it’s a safe assumption that you are there for the challenge. We don’t walk away from a metcon typically saying “that was fun”. We are there for the suck. The suck is what makes all of it gratifying and challenging and therefore fun.


Fear means getting comfortable being uncomfortable.  In CrossFit, the whole idea is to push ourselves beyond our limits. We can never do that if we stay comfortable and never get on the other side of fear. 


To take this one step further, let’s get into the difference between feeling challenged and feeling like you are doing the near impossible. There is a fine line between the two yet the distinction is so powerful. Take back squats for example. If you have ever done a squat cycle, this should sound familiar. The volume and load methodically increases and decreases throughout the cycle. You slowly build strength. When you are in one of the last weeks of it, you’ll likely be doing reps at a high percentage of what your starting 1 RM max is. Or you may be doing higher reps at somewhat lower percentage. It’s not likely you will fail (even if you fear you will) as squat cycles are brilliantly programmed to avoid this. So you go through the reps, and no, they are not easy, but you do not fail.


Then comes the retest day. You start working your way up to your starting 1 RM and then you test the waters and increase the weight to get a new PR. When you get to that say 110% of your 1 RM, the difficult y of that squat should feel subtly yet distinctively harder than when you squatted during the cycle. There’s that defining moment right after you complete the descend and start to stand back up. It’s that really sticky make or break moment where you dig deep inside and push like hell through it. And you do it! Yet, when you are on the ascend there’s a split moment where you make the choice to give in or keep going.  If you give into it without trying, you have gained nothing. If you power through it, you may actually experience a really wickedly awesome moment. Even if you fail trying, it will benefit you far more than not trying at all. Giving into fear just kills the drive and motivation to ever push harder. Fear despite the connotation, is actually a good thing, if you let it power you as opposed to inhibit. If we wanted to stay comfortable all the time, we would not  be in CrossFit. 


Those sticky moments are uncomfortable. The first time you experience it, it may even be intimidating and feel icky. I encourage everyone to find that sticky moment. It’s difficult to even explain that feeling. All I can say is once you do, you will fear those moments less. The element of the unknown is gone and you will feel far more confident to keep testing yourself. Find that and then watch and see all that you will accomplish.



The Spiritual Side



 Disclaimer: This is quite the departure from what I typically blog about.  If you trust that I have not lost my marbles, then indulge yourself and please, read on.


Psychics, mediums, spiritual healers… they completely amaze and awe me. I utterly dig that world and totally believe in things out there beyond what we know in the physical world.(I confess to reading my share of books on the topic as well as going to see Theresa Caputo’s live experience once. Ok, fine, I have gone twice). I do not consider myself to be a religious person, but spiritual? Absolutely! That is, in my own way.  I believe life is a series of lessons to continuously make us better people. I believe in always striving towards something and constantly improving to be the best we can be. I am very much in touch with the things I want and need versus those that are superfluous and superficial. I am quite self -aware and have taken a lot of steps to truly understand what motivates me, what upsets me and what brings me happiness. I also believe with all my heart that there are things and beings out there that work to shape us and our lives. It is what we do with the messages they give us that can truly impact how we live our lives. 


I recently escaped LA living for a few days in Palm Desert with my bestie from college. After about 2 years since last seeing each other, all we wanted was tranquility, relaxation and having the chance to catch up. Upon checking into Two Bunch Palm Palms (http://www.twobunchpalms.com/) we noticed sign up sheets for different classes and workshops offered that day. We honed in on the one calling our names, Spiritual Healing.  


Donna, the Spiritual Healer, was warm and wonderful. She said 3 things in particular that resonated with me that I want to share with you. Regardless if you think the method in which I acquired this info is hokey or not, hopefully you find some inspiration in it.


First, she spoke about this concept that most of the world’s population is asleep. Only about a 1/3 of us are awakened (I am proud to be part of that 1/3). What does this mean exactly? People who are asleep are not in touch with spirituality and probably do not have any desire to be. As I said earlier, I equate spirituality with a personal path of growth. So if someone is asleep, then it’s quite likely they are not open to learning more about themselves.  As Donna was talking about this, a flood of “types” of people went through my brain. There is the type of people who are not accountable for their lives or “bad luck” as they call it. They are the victims of life time and time again without ever trying to understand their part in. Don’t get me wrong, I am not justifying bad things happening to good people. I am though suggesting that when people have patterns, it is usually something in themselves more than the other people or situations.   There is also the group of people who think they have life all figured out. Yeah trying going to those people when you are a crossroad and want some good perspective. Often people I have encountered in my own life who are asleep are not people who are part of my life for long. As I am part of the awakened population, the older I get, the more increasingly difficult I find it to relate to people who are not on some kind of life journey. 


The second message Donna said that I found to be particularly powerful is that miracles come from having gratitude. Often we fall into feeling entitled to things. Anyone who has ever managed people can for sure relate to this. It is like there is a notion that some kind of scientific calculation of doing A and B will get you C.  It does not always work out that way (and usually getting pissed when it doesn’t happen does not result in things magically going your way). On the flip side, when you truly appreciate what goes into something, like hard work, good will, and respect for yourself and others, it creates a more positive space to be in. Being positive, modest and gratuitous is what will get you those miracles you desire. 


Lastly, she reminded us that it is ok to be selfish with our time which includes giving ourselves permission to not be around negative people.  We lead busy lives where we interact with many people, whether it’s coworkers, classmates, fellow gym goers, other shoppers… you name it. There are plenty of negative people I cannot avoid nor can I change (like at work) so when it comes to my personal time, I reserve the right to be picky about who I spend it with.  One of the things I have come to understand about myself is that I seek a connection in my friendships and relationships. I treasure spending time with people who leave me feeling gratified and content. I like being around people who call me out on my shit and help me on my journey of being the best possible version of me. I am not perfect nor do I strive to be. I do strive to minimizing the negative in myself and so being around anyone that brings that out in me, are simply people I chose not to be around. I say this because I know how hard it is to say no to invites or people since we tend to have a strong sense of obligation. Giving yourself permission to be selfish with your time is actually quite liberating. 


These are all things I have heard before Donna expressed them in some form or another. They easily are forgotten as often old thoughts prevail. I do truly live by all 3 of these ideas and I find myself continuously happier the more I practice them. So I share these as perhaps these simple reminders can somehow bring you the same.