I Bet You Have Done CrossFit to Justin Bieber and Didn’t Even Know It

I recently had a conversation with one of the coaches where I do CrossFit about music. He wanted to do an experiment where he did not play any music during class. I want to say I encouraged this idea, but well, I did not.  I have been in class once or twice without music and bitched the entire time. I suggested perhaps he phase it out once the workout starts to see if anyone even notices. Much to my chagrin, the Great Music Experiment never happened (which, if it had, this blog may have been written very differently. Not to point any fingers, Ricky!)

Anyways, working out often is synonymous with music. We cannot workout without music, or more specifically without the right music. I agree with this… to a degree. There are tons of articles out there in regards to the benefits of listening to music: how the beat of music can match the cadence of your heartbeat. Or how the right tempo or song can boost your effort: the faster the beat the faster you move.

In my own experience, music does matter to me when I am working out solo. With running, I need music that gets me hyped up the same way it does when I am home procrastinating on putting laundry away. I blast Spotify to get me moving because for some reason, the idea of moving around my room putting items in the closet and drawers without music sounds like pure torture. There is something with music that gets me motivated.  When I think about kickboxing, I would not want to be punching a bag with a sappy Celine Dion song playing. Hearing “My heart will go on” are not the most inspiring words to give a swift left hook to the bag. When I take cycling classes, I strongly believe in the concept of “shared energy” which music is a big attributing factor. It gets people excited, nostalgic even when an old favorite comes on, and gets people to pump those legs harder.

Yet, when it comes to my steady favorite, CrossFit, I want to ask, how important is music to the workout? I may notice what is playing during the strength portion because there tends to be sets with rest in between. However, when it comes to the workout portion, I notice what is playing for maybe the first ten seconds, but after that, I could not tell you if it was Justin Bieber playing or Metallica. (And for the record, if you are rolling your eyes at the Bieber reference, I defy you to deny that he actually has talent). At any rate, I am curious, who else experiences this in CrossFit or am I on my own lonely planet? What other workouts do you feel music is more of a supporting role than a lead?

The more I think about this topic of how important is music to working out, particularly CrossFit, I come up with question after question. I could attempt to answer them, which I have contemplated the reasons within the confines of my own brain, but it brings me deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. So in the spirit of interaction, I am deliberately leaving much of this open ended. I would LOVE to get feedback from all of you as to your thoughts and perspectives.

Let’s start with the obvious: why? Why do I not notice what is playing? I mean, I am aware something is playing, and I am fairly certain if the music stopped, I would notice (mainly because I would hear my breathing coming through in full force). So what is it about CrossFit that is different than other workouts? Like cycling, it’s shared energy, yet it does not seem that music is the driving force. So if it is not what creates energy, what does? As I ask that, I suppose the answer is fairly obvious. With cycling for example again, it is instructor lead. They drive the pace and the intensity. For the most part, you are pushing yourself just as hard as the person next to you. Sure, you may require less resistance on the bike than the next, but generally speaking, people are moving at similar speeds. (It is not like driving 50 on a highway with someone coming up next to you going 80).

Perhaps with CrossFit, it generates a different kind of energy.  It generates a sense of competition WHICH IS A GOOD THING. It could be competition with the clock, competition with fellow athletes or competition with ourselves.  In all instances, I believe, as is the case with me, perhaps I am more focused on other variables. I am focusing on keeping good form. I am focusing on mentally pushing through some difficult reps. I am focusing on not burning out too fast and losing my lead on the person next to me. Are these valid reasons why music really does become background noise?

Is it that with CrossFit, it is not about just getting a workout or burning calories?  Is it that it is so varied, you do not get into a rhythm like other sports? If I compare it running, I tend to want to get to a steady running pace and stick with it. I also recognize though there are all sorts of training to do with running, from intervals to sprints. For all you avid runners, I am curious, does music, particularly what music is playing, factor into how well you train?

The funny thing is, I know a lot of coaches who put a lot of time into playlists for classes. I am wondering though, is it necessary? Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to yell out “what the hell are we listening to?” I’ve worked out to music that sounded more suited for the bedroom (and I voiced that complaint). But again, in looking back, I really only think part of the class I am even aware of what is playing. There comes a point, as I said usually within seconds of when the clock starts, that what is on that playlist does not even matter, at least not consciously.  On the flip side though, does it somehow impact us even if we are not cognizant of what we are hearing?

I can go on more about this, but I suppose I should ask a telling question that will either validate or disclaim this blog post. For those who CrossFit, can you name a song you heard while you were last getting your sweat on?

 

*In lieu of not yet having a trademark to put on my blog, consider this a small Public Service Announcement. I am all for sharing my writing (in fact I am flattered!) Please just give credit where credit is due. Thank you.

 

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To All You Creatures of Habit: Go Towards The Unexpected

 

A few weeks ago, a close friend of mine was raving to me about a product, keto/os, she had been trying and was 100% sold on. She had all this sudden energy and new found excitement and lust for life. She was so smitten with it that I naturally wanted to try it. I barely needed any other information because hello? Who wouldn’t want more energy? I got my ketone samples a few days later and within a few days, I completely and utterly understood why she was elated over ketones. I too was hooked.

My friend gently nudged me about how I would be perfect to promote. She told me I embody health and fitness. I love CrossFit and I love working out and she was positive that it would be a natural step for me to take. I was hesitant to say the least primarily because I do not consider myself to be the sales type AT ALL. If anything, it is nothing I ever envisioned myself doing. Yet, something about the proposition was appealing to me. I could not deny that she was right about my passion, and let’s be honest. Any chance I get to talk about it, I gladly do whether it is in a meeting at work, bumping into a friend or chatting after a workout  with my fellow athletes. When she pointed out that is it not a sales thing when it is something that is an authentic part of my life, I knew she was quite right. It’s a lifestyle I am completely on board with and essentially really all I am doing is sharing that with others. She’s a smart woman who I trust (and for the record, the only person I would trust to lead me on this journey) and so I signed up. I got myself samples and well, here I am, just a few weeks later. I am not the top promoter by any means (YET!) , but I definitely am an improved version of myself.  And here is why.

It’s like this crazy confidence booster.  The primary way that I have been generating hype and interest is by posting on social media. I have had quite a few unexpected people reach out to me asking, “OK, Missy, I am intrigued. What are these ketones you are taking?” It is gratifying to me and a testament to my character, to my integrity that friends and acquaintances (even family!) trust and respect me enough to know that if I am raving and posting relentlessly about anything, it is because I completely believe in it. I am not trying to scam anyone or stimulate interest on something that I think is mediocre. I have had people reach out to me who I haven’t exchanged a single word with in years. I am humbled knowing that they trust me. I am humbled that they are not shying away from reaching out to me. I am humbled knowing that they do not view me as like an annoying infomercial on social media. One woman in particular, who I have not seen in two years, even told me that she reads my blog posts and gets inspired (in addition to wanting to learn more about ketones). Total bonus. It really fills my heart with this new warmth and bliss knowing I am having an impact on others.

Similarly, for those who have tried keto/os (the product I am promoting) l I have received so many messages telling me how much they are loving it. They are experiencing the same things I am that are almost hard to describe. They are full of energy, full of excitement and vigor. They are feeling stronger when they workout and are just overall feeling recharged.  It is so gratifying for me to know that I am playing a part in sharing this with people and guiding them to embrace this lifestyle. It’s filling a void I suppose I had without even knowing it. I have always been passionate about health and fitness and I always derive enjoyment whenever people talk to me about it or ask me about my experiences or for advice. With ketones, it harnesses those same emotions and qualities, but it is on a whole different level. People are taking my recommendation on a product that sounds like it is too good to be true (spoiler alert, it is that good! And there is nothing fantastical about it.  It is as real as it gets). Our bodies are sacred and I completely understand why people are cautious about what they put into them. So along with their own research and my little humble opinion, they are deciding to try it. And I thank everyone who has. I thank them because it is truly the highest form of flattery.

Another really rewarding aspect of this new journey is all these people I am getting to know that I would probably not otherwise have crossed paths with. I am meeting so many other women (albeit virtually) who are promoting for keto/os and every day I find myself absolutely inspired and awestruck by them. (For the record, there are plenty of men who are also part of the keto/os family). It is really special and unique to be promoting for something along with all these other women who are so completely and utterly vested in. We chat all the time about the importance of being positive, manifesting our intentions and what we want from the universe. I realize it sounds really cheesy and like I am in a hippie time warp and maybe it is and maybe I am. For me though, it is nurturing this part of me that clearly is shouting to be heard. We share information on ketones,  we seek advice, we share successes (and failures).  Through it all, it’s like there is this understood and agreed upon no-negativity policy. Sure we vent about frustrations but we do not spend much time in those lows. We learn, we encourage and we move on. We all live in different places across the country (Kentucy, New Mexico, New jersey to name a few..) and we all lead very different lives. We all also have our own different angles and spin on how we promote ketones. Yet we all have this common ground and respect. It is the most unique “work” environment I have ever been in. Perhaps I am in a bit of a euphoria because I do not look at this like a job (and yes I am not solely supporting myself on promoting). But it is like a dream work environment where EVERYONE seems to be on the same page. It is not something that happens everywhere, and I am no fool to ever take it for granted.

I am a total creature of habit, which can be good but it also can be limiting. Promoting is something that is so far out of my comfort zone and completely out of my norm, yet in this short time, it is already opening my eyes to things I would not have been receptive to otherwise. It is reminding me that it is ok to go after things even if they seem to defy my norm.  (If you read my blog last week, this nicely ties together. Link here). It is reminding me to trust. Trust myself. Trust the universe. Trust that things happen for a reason. I have no idea where promoting ketones will take me. I have no idea if it is my end game. I have no idea if it is short term or long term. And all of that is ok. Right now, it is in my life for a reason and I am going to get the most out of it. The most important aspect in all of this is that it is something I am not doing on my own. I get to share it with all of you and so I thank you from the bottom of my heart for going along with me.

 

 

 

 

Why Do We Need to Always Explain Why?

 

I have recently been struck with a realization that we find ourselves feeling like we need to justify gaps in our own lives to other people. Similarly, we feel compelled to explain “why” to people when really, it just is not their concern. It is like if we deviate from a plan or from what other people expect of us (even what we expect of ourselves), we feel like we need to rationalize it. I do believe though that our culture, our society, has the capacity to overcome this.

I know, you are thinking, “Tell me more, Missy.” I was having a conversation recently with a friend who is looking for her next career move. She took some time off from her last job, and so I asked her, “What will you tell companies if they ask why there is a gap in your resume?” She said simply, “I will tell them I took some personal time. The end.”  I pondered this for a moment as my brain usually wants more concrete answers. As we chatted more, I fully understood and agreed with her point. Why does she owe anyone an explanation? We are so used to always having to tell people a story when in actuality, it is not any of their business. For someone who is smart, accomplished, competent, likeable, savvy, why does she owe to anyone to explain a mere gap on her resume? Because  the truth is, LIFE happened. And specifically what that means, well that is really nobody’s business.

Throughout my career, I have always been cognizant of not having a gap on my resume. The truth is, I took some time off to do short term jobs a few years after college (and working my first real job in finance) because well frankly, I was 25 years old. I was unsure what I wanted to do.  I was young. I was disenchanted. And I wanted time to figure out where to go and what to do next. But no way in hell was I going to tell any potential employer that. I was far too worried they would view me as someone who was not motivated or ambitious or worse yet, a total flaky scatterbrain. Instead, I stretched the truth a tad and said that I worked for a family business for a year.

I remember going to interviews with my standard story. “I was living in Pittsburgh and I really wanted to move back home to New Jersey. The timing worked out as our family business was in need of some extra help.” That always satisfied the interviewer, and I did get a “real’ job once again when I was ready.

Looking back, as this was probably around 2004, maybe at that time, it was still expected that no gap go unexplained. Today though, I would like to think that our culture has changed.  I do believe there is a higher acceptance of understanding that just because someone went off course does not mean they have less to offer. I wonder if I were to interview for a job tomorrow with a revised resume that does not reflect a year of working at a family business (and oh my, instead has a gap!) that I could be blunt and just say, “Well I was 25. I was not really loving my job anymore.  My boyfriend moved to West Virginia. I didn’t want to be in Pittsburgh anymore and so I moved back home.”  I would  be surprised if at this point in my life  that my 25 year old self would really work against me. I have a few years (ok fine shut up, more than a decade) of experience since then that would more than make up for it.

What if I actually gave no explanation of the gap and simply said, “I took some personal time off. The end.” Would anyone would even blink an eye? And really why should  it matter if someone takes time off at 25 or 35 or 55? People have their reasons, which there is no limit to what those reasons could be. It is their reasons, their stories. Why should getting a job depend on them providing personal details to a complete stranger? People’s character and ambition should speak for themselves and overcome a gap.

And it isn’t  just jobs where we have this expectation of having to explain ourselves. It goes beyond that. Look at dating.  How many times have you felt (or heard friends express) the dread of having to explain why you haven’t dated in FOREVER? Why do we feel compelled to rationalize our single lives? Maybe instead of blaming it on long work hours or the city you live in is just the WORST for dating., you simply just say, “It just hasn’t happened yet.”  That is the truth and so is saying, “Because I am awesome and have yet to meet someone as awesome as I am.” You get my point. We have such a tendency to feel like less of a person when we feel as if we fall short of expectations, and that simply should not be the case.

The gaps and “need’ to explain go on and on. Why did you take time off before going to college? Why did you wait 5 years after you got married before you had a baby? Why did you wait 4 years before you had your second baby? Why did you wait so long to get married?

The reality is people feel compelled to explain themselves or their situation because of the fear of being judged. And another reality is that, we all want to know “why” because we actually do want to judge, bad or good. We want to know WHY because we are trying to assess if there is something shady that we must uncover. Did you not work for a year because you nobody wanted to hire you? Have you not dated in a while because you are bat shit crazy?  Did you not go to the happy hour because you are trying to make some kind of statement?  My point is it all feels very cynical. We make judgments and assumptions based on very little information.

And the ironic thing is, often when we have these gaps or chose to go against the grain, contrary to popular belief, we come back from them as better humans. We often learn so much about ourselves and about others that we never would  have gained had we stayed on a straight path. We gain knowledge and insight, even if the gap or break we took was due to something tragic or sad, we come back stronger and better. I encourage people to stop viewing gaps as something damaging. Start looking at them with respect and admiration.  Start appreciating what they can do for a person, for a soul. There is something to be said for life experience when we deviate from the expected.