You Can’t Run and You Can’t Hide From Birthdays

I recently had a milestone birthday and anyone that knows me, is fully aware I was freaking out about it. Big time. Like heart palpitations kind of freaking out.  Rationally, I know that age is just a number, but emotionally I have a big time hang up about it.  I am a total ageist. It is terrible. And I am working on it. I often find myself falling into thinking people should be doing things at a certain age or not doing things at a certain age. I generalize and stereotype about age far too much (but millennials make it so easy! I kid…) I worry too much about my own age and are my choices appropriate for how old (or young) I am?

So for all the anxiety I had leading up to August 11th, once the day came, I decided to put my big girl pants on. And. Let. It. Go. I spent the weekend in the desert with 5 of the most amazing friends I could ask for, and it made me grateful for them and for all that I have.

Aside from being a tad jealous of 20-year-old girls who can wear sundresses and shirts sans bras while still having their ta-ta’s where they are meant to be… And aside from having an earlier bedtime than teenagers… And aside from defining “sleeping in” to be not waking till 7 am.  I am quite proud of who I am and where I am. In addition to being alive and healthy (which believe me, I am being 100% sincere about that and not sarcastic), here are just a few of the reasons why.

  1. I am grateful to have gotten to where I am through independence, growing pains and integrity. I am proud of my journey. I am proud of my story. And I am not making any excuses for any of them.
  2. Being stronger today than I was when I was half my age and having far more muscles. (Yup, call me arrogant but I damn proud of every muscle I have earned).
  3. That I did not peak in high school and that my best stories and memories do not begin with “when I was 16…”
  4. Not having to cram 4 girls into 1 hotel room. I like my space.
  5. Every year, I become more and more positive. I am grateful to be shedding so much negativity and self-­­ doubt that I have carried through my 20’ and 30’s.
  6. My squad! My squad is the best ever. I am blessed for all the amazing people I surround myself with. No more hanging with people who do not bring out the best in me (or vice versa).

 

  1. I am leaving lucky #7 to be the last because I feel so passionate about it. The biggest thing that differentiates myself from when I was 30 or 20 is the trust I have in myself. The more spiritual work I have done, the more I have come to trust my intuition. I am very much driven when it comes to decisions and people and places based on how I feel. There are plenty of times I have had simple invitations that I had no reason not to oblige other than I was not drawn to it. So I have learned to listen to that. Because sometimes by not being in a place is to save you from something or to put you in another place that is the right place. When something feels forced, it is often because you are not meant to be there. I listen to my intuition and I also release the guilt of following my own path and journey. This is something that took decades to reach.

It is the same deal with who I chose to have in my life.  I have blogged a lot about energy and how important it is to feel the energy around you. To feel what someone else is giving off. To recognize what feels good and what feels negative. And when it is the latter, I have gotten far better at walking away. As I get older and my own journey takes me to unexpected places, I want to share that with people who I am connected to out of love, spirit and mutual respect. As I just turned 40 (I was wondering if I would be able to get through this blog with omitting my actual age, at last I cannot without being inauthentic) and I can feel so much change around me, I have learned to trust myself. To trust that I am moving closer to where I am supposed to be.  To trust that to get there I have to let go. So 40, bring it. I dreaded you for years, but I am now ready to own it. I have far too much pride in who I am to define myself by a number anyways.

 

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Mineral Baths Got Me Like…

Spending time in mineral pools and baths this past weekend did something to stimulate a deeper interest and understanding in what keeps people coming back and making sacrifices to get what they want. I will also cut to the chase as it really is quite simple: how badly do you want it?

My friends and I were comparing our stories of our first times… we each stepped into a CrossFit box. None of us walked in and thought, “Wow, yes this is home! We have found the motherland!” We all felt confused, overwhelmed and intimidated. Warm ups were difficult to follow. Understanding the movements had us like what is happening?  A clean is what? You want me to bring my knees to what? Many people try CrossFit and find it is not for them. So they quietly retreat back into the night. I did not know that CrossFit was for me for probably 6 months. I loved it yes, but I also felt like a fish out of water. So what kept me, and my friends, and other athletes from giving up on CrossFit? What kept us coming back?

What makes me different than someone else? What gives me the motivation to go back that someone else does not have? And while I am predominantly referring to CrossFit in this post, feel free to insert your sport of choice (albeit running, kickboxing, Pilates, etc).

There are so many other components or factors that go into the perfect formula for getting on track:

  • Having stellar coaches who pay attention to you and put you at ease.
  • A supportive community that keeps you accountable and builds camaraderie that draws you in.
  • A box that is logistically feasible to get to.
  • Programming that you can get on board with.
  • Having gorgeous workout clothes (oh wait, that’s just me)

 

But if you do not have the will and the confidence to go back, none of these other factors will be enough to keep you going. Where this is a will there is a way.

As I mentioned earlier, I cannot quite say in all honesty that I really loved CrossFit the first few months. I mean, I did not hate it, but I also do not think I really “got it”. I kept going though. Why? Why did I stay with CrossFit over trying something else or giving up completely?  I had an overpowering desire to get my muscle tone and strength back. I lost so much of it from having a broken foot that I was pretty depressed about having years of hard work reversed in just a few months. I missed being able to run (well I did not actually miss the act of running but I wanted the choice to run to be mental and not a physical limitation). I had that will. I had a taste for what it felt like to be fit and happy in my own skin. I wanted that again. Very badly. And I knew that CrossFit would keep me accountable.

For anyone to keep going, they need to find their own motivation and use it to fuel them. I believe it is different from person to person. It could be that you got a reality check at the doctor’s office. It could be that you found you got winded just playing with your kids. Maybe you have 10 pounds left of baby fat to shed. Whatever your motivation is, you need to have the mental will to implement it. You need to want it badly enough that no excuse is going to interfere. Not even those summer bbq’s or chili dogs at baseball games are going to take you off your course. You have to want to hit your goals, to get healthy far more than you want anything else.

I remember coming out of 2 weeks of Fundies and going to my first “real” CrossFit class. I was completely over stimulated and did not enjoy it one bit. I easily could have declared that CrossFit is terrible and never go back. But I didn’t. I had that passion to keep going and see it through. It is far too easy to have one bad experience and rule the whole damn thing out. Maybe you try one yoga class where you did not like the instructor or the vibe of the class, but you generalize that all yoga sucks. And so you never go back. Well maybe it was just the wrong studio or just the wrong day for you. You should not give up. Go find another one. Same with CrossFit. People often feel like they did not connect with the energy of the class or found one athlete to be arrogant and territorial. Or they thought the programming that day was too difficult or too scary. So they do not return.

hat I suspect is really happening in some cases in my unprofessional, pure speculative opinion is that we often WANT a reason to quit. Because it is so damn hard to be healthy. We know there is no short cut for losing weight or getting healthy. It does not happen overnight.  This is not ground breaking news. Yet, so many people give up and give in without really fighting or what they want.

(Please note, I am by no means insinuating this is 100% of the time. I recognize people may have addictions or illness, for example, that may limit them. This post is not about that population).

It is like when your mom told you as a kid to try asparagus or fish. You stick your tongue out, lick it and say “I don’t like the texture. I can’t eat this.’ It’s the same deal with working out sometimes. We tell ourselves we should try it and do it, but we LOOK for that reason to validate that we should not ever do it again.

That is what distinguishes those who go back, every day, from those who do not. We want it. We want it badly. We may not love it when we are in it but we sure as hell love what CrossFit does for us.

5 Ridiculously Irrational CrossFit Fears

So many of our fears can be irrational or debilitating.

I know all too well what an irrational fear (well in my mind it’s rational) can do to a person. Just look at how traumatized I get by finding a water bug in my condo. To me, it’s totally rational. They are scary ugly crunchy little turds that have no business being in my home. What if I step on one in the dark? What if one crawls over me as I am rolling out on my floor? What if I choke on the fumes of the Black Flag I spray to kill one? (I probably use half a can per bug. No bueno). What if one craws unbeknownst to me into my gym bag and I transport it into my car and it crawls over me driving and I crash? I know, this sounds dramatic. But these thoughts are honest to god what goes through my head every time I see one or I think I see one. The fear is REAL!

But I get it, to most of you, it’s an irrational fear. (And no, this blog is not going to be about my fear of water bugs although BELIEVE ME, I could easily write 1000 words on that topic!) Much like my own water bug phobia, I have been around CrossFit long enough to have heard, seen and experience what I consider to be irrational fears.  I write this partially because I find them shamelessly amusing as well as to be a hindrance to progress.

 

Disclaimer: There are legitimate fears in CrossFit, like tripping on a box jump or hurting your back on squats. But that is a different topic for a different day. The spirit of this post is to call out some common irrational fears so that we can stare them down and move past them.

 

  1. Fear of looking awkward or not “fitting in” at CrossFit.  I have been there. I would say this is common for a lot of newcomers to CrossFit. Often, we worry of trying something and either failing or just looking sloppy doing it. So we don’t do it. Which is just silly. Mastering a skill or a lift does not just happen by osmosis. It takes failing to reach success. I think we all probably know this consciously but when it comes to the moment of “should I or shouldn’t I?” the fear of looking silly or awkward can take over and prevent us from even trying.

    My two cents on this (besides the standard “Get over it”) is to remember this. EVERYONE in my opinion who steps foot into ANY CrossFit box is bad ass. It takes guts just to get there so the fact that you show up is half the battle. A good citizen of CrossFit will support and encourage you to push yourself. And if you find that your fellow boxmates are actually mocking or being anything other than supportive, you may want to think about going to a different box.

    The fear of looking awkward will keep us in our comfort zone. And we all know where the magic happens and it ain’t in there!

  2. Fear of the snatch. This is 100% a legit fear. Why is it so scary? Is it the concept of having to lift a barbell from the ground to overhead in one quick movement? Is it being insecure in strength and skill? For me, it is a combination of those, or maybe it is a fear of commitment. I have a really hard time committing to the barbell when it is to be snatched. I find myself setting and resetting half a dozen times before I even lift. Who else does this? All I can say is, they frighten me.
  3. Fear of not knowing what the WOD is before getting into the box. The panic that ensues when the next day’s workout is NOT posted before bedtime. You all know what I mean! The texts, the facebook posts… It is like we cannot function in the unknown. Let’s admit it, CrossFitters can be control freaks! It’s ok to be a little fearful of the unknown. It keeps us on our toes.
  4. Fear of agony and pain. Raise your hand if you ever left a CrossFit class and said, “That was easy.” You may say “that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be” or “I actually kind of liked it.” But if you are walking away thinking it’s easy, then most likely you are not allowing yourself to get into that “hurt so good” beast mode. Possibly because you fear what it feels like to experience that suck so much. But hey guess what. It is part of CrossFit. Do not fear it. Embrace it.
  5. Fear of bands. Using a band for pull-ups, ring dips or other gymnastic moves can be super awkward. We all have struggled getting the right footing on those suckers. I would say some of us even have trepidation in using them. Perhaps we fear somehow slipping or getting catapulted by the band clear across the box. I am fairly certain that will not happen so get used to them. (But not too used to them because you are a bad ass who will not need a band forever. Mic drop please. Boom.)

Fears. We all have them. They can be silly and they can be overwhelming. I get into my own head A LOT, but I also in all sincerity believe CrossFit is my safe place. Above and beyond any silly fear I have, it is the place I have seen so much growth and progress. I focus on that these days far more than the “what ifs” that fear can lead to.

I also found this article which is in the same vain as my post. Check it out!  http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/945851/crossfit-dont-fear-the-fitness

 

Fear 2.0

Disclaimer: Hi friends! I admittedly have writer’s block. Well, that’s not entirely true. I actually have A LOT of topics whirling through my brain faster than I can really process them. So, since they are not quite hatched and ready to be written, I looked back at posts from last summer. I came across this one and thought that it is very fitting. The blog in its entirety I still stand by. I do believe fear is one of the biggest obstacles people face in CrossFit when it comes to progressing and reaching goals (and any other sport really). It had me thinking though how it ties to so many other things in life. I know I am in a period of transition and change in many ways so what if I took the same post and added a little extra commentary? It sounds grand doesn’t it? Well then please, read on. 

Note: I have deliberately made a distinction as to what was in the original post compared to today’s, with the latter being in italics.

 

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.

Fear keeps us from reaching goals. Sometimes you have to be uncomfortable to get to where you want to be. Sometimes you have to let go of a friendship or relationship to allow space for new ones. Sometimes you have to experience the suck of a diet or giving up your favorite vice to reach your health goal. It is a give and take in life in general in my opinion. We all know you don’t get things for nothin’.  If you want something badly enough, how uncomfortable are you willing to get to achieve that?

 

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.

Think about what you procrastinate on. Is it laziness? Is it being overwhelmed? Or is it perhaps the fear of pushing ourselves? Do we not push ourselves because to push ourselves means it might hurt in some way albeit short lived or not? The thing is though, sometimes pushing ourselves leads to new great things, but we fear the unknown. I know I have been guilty even of pushing myself with the topics I should to write about out of fear of being judged or too vulnerable. Yet I know the times I do push myself to go a little deeper or a little more into unchartered waters, I often get great results and inspire others.

 

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.

Even if you do fail, it is not the worst thing in the world. If anything, it fuels you to want it even more. Failing also just means when you do succeed, you will appreciate that glory and gratification exponentially more.

 

Then comes the retest day. You start working your way up to your 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.

If we wanted to stay comfortable, we definitely can. Many of us do and are content. But is content enough for you? Are you ok with having the same 1 RM in any lift for life? Are you ok staying in a job that leaves you content but perhaps not inspired? Is comfortable more important to you than happiness?

 

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.

Well said if I do say so myself. I encourage you to proactively find those sticky moments. Choose to work through them. Choose to not let fear deter you. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. The reward will be infinitely invigorating and satisfying.

 

Original post here: https://prthislife.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/fear/