CrossFit Open: It Is Not About a Number

Foreword: For those who are not in the CrossFit world, there are still some points that you can relate to in this post so please, read on. And in case you are wondering what the hell is the CrossFit Open? Think of it as like the equivalent of the qualifiers for the Olympics. There are the elite (like the top 1%) who will actually qualify, but it is open to anyone who does CrossFit. 

Also, 18.1 is the numbering convention of workouts (2018, 1st workout). The workout was 20 minutes of as many repetitions of:

8 Toes-To-Bar

10 (5 each arm) Dumbbell clean and jerks

14 (men)/12 (women) Calorie Row

 

For someone who resisted signing up for this year’s CrossFit Open as much as she could, I have to say, as much as it pains me, I am…. gratified that I did. And if I am being totally honest, I have to acquiesce that I did not hate it. I mean, I did legit feel like I might black out at least twice during 18.1 (breathing would have prevented that!) but I got it DONE! And more importantly, I am satisfied with what I accomplished. This experience of course inspired me to share some words of wisdom. (Or is it wisdom? It may just actually be reality checks. You can be the judge of that).

  1. Strategy, strategy, and strategy.
    I knew that rowing would be the most challenging part for me and the most time consuming. And had this been a year ago, I would have been a total stress case and just focused on how bad I am at rowing. Not this year. I did not let rowing mess with my confidence and instead I strategized. It was about mitigating the weaknesses to not let them define my performance.Fortunately, I also was able to go to a very timely rowing clinic the Sunday before 18.1 was announced, and I FINALLY learned what is meant by “it’s all legs”. I never had figured that out in all the 6 years I have been doing CrossFit.  I always swore my legs were strong based on what  I could squat and deadlift, but it seemed irrelevant anytime I got on the erg. Now that I had picked up a new rowing technique that was indeed 80% legs and did not require my shoulders to get to work, I took that knowledge with me into The Open.Now, the knowledge and technique did not mean that I became any faster in the last week. It just meant that I could be more efficient on the erg, and that when I got off, I was not wrecked. And I was able to save my arms and shoulders for the other 2 movements that needed them. That was part of my strategy. I was not after speed per say (because height and weight is a real disadvantage with rowing). I wanted to be efficient and not wrecked after each round.

    When it came to toes-to-bar, I stuck with sets of 5-3 from the get go. I could have done all 8 unbroken for a few rounds at least, but I wanted to preserve my grip. And so I was still able to fly through them in record time (not to toot my own horn but to toot my own horn, someone asked me after seeing me do them if I was a gymnast).

    For the dumbbell clean and jerks, I realized after the first set of 5 with my right arm that I needed to break before switching sides. If you want to expose any weakness, do a movement with a dumbbell instead of a barbell btw. I did not want to fail on any or have to break in the 5.

    I stuck to my strategy like peanut butter on bread and my rounds were fairly consistent. And for that, I am happy. I have done this and seen people that even when they strategize, they do not execute on it. They may start off fast and furious and feel good the first few rounds and then drastically decline. I did not want that to happen. And it didn’t. Cheers.

    I felt pretty calm during 18.1 which says a lot. Past years I think I was spastic and inconsistent and far more psycho about it. Being able to stay focused on strategy takes discipline and trusting the process, which is something we all can and should do more of.

 

  1. Efficiency is just as important as being fast and explosive.
    As I mentioned with rowing, it was about being efficient. Hopefully over time I will get better with being able to go faster for meters or calories, but for now, focusing on being efficient is more important.For a workout such as 18.1, when it is twenty minutes long, being efficient means being able to sustain a pace. Some people have a tendency to go fast and hard out of the gate and burn out pretty quickly. I see this in workouts.  I often am lagging behind others and then find I have lapped them. It is usually because I was pacing and being efficient while they may have over-estimated how much they had in their tanks.  And I think this comes with experience in CrossFit. It has taken me probably 5 years to figure that out. I used to have this idea that being first at the beginning meant I would have a faster time, but it does not always correlate to that. One of my goals has been to be more efficient and consistent.There are still times for being fast and explosive, for sure! It just takes some experience to know when. I went for that tactic when I had about 10 seconds left to get on the rower and get a calorie or two before time was up. But again, if I had rowed like that during the workout, I would have gotten about half the rounds I did.

 

  1. Ask “How did you do?” instead of “What was your score?”
    I am deliberately omitting my score from this post or anything I post on social media. I am making a concerted effort to shift the focus of the Open on people’s accomplishments and not their score. For a few reasons.Disclaimer: Everyone has a different school of thought when it comes to The Open. Some people want to measure against others as a benchmark. Some want to be #1. Whatever it is, it’s all good with me. I personally subscribe though to the school of thought that for some, if the focus is on a number, it diminishes the work they put into that number no matter what that number is.There are people who could never do a toes-to-bar before the Open and guess what? 18.1 forced them to get over their fear or out of their head and go for it. And to me, even if they get “just” 1, that 1 rep is a freaking amazing accomplishment. Going by a number alone does not always tell the full story.

    So I have been asking “how did you do?” because I want an answer that is not just “200” or “250” or “300”.  Tell me about your triumphs. Tell me about what proud moments you had. Tell me what you learned you need to work on.

 

  1. Rep schemes and order of movements in The Open can drastically change anyone’s score. The Open workouts could easily have different results if the rep scheme is different or the movements show up in a different order. Imagine if the toes to bar reps had been higher. Maybe they were 15 reps per round. The scores could drastically change for those who find toes to bar to be more of a struggle or had the rowing calories been higher, that too could have shifted people’s scores.Look at 17.4 from last year. The workout was an AMRAP 13 of:­­55 Deadlifts
    55 Wall balls
    55 Calorie row
    55 HSPU (handstand push-up)

    When I did this last year, I struggled through wall balls and rowing, two of my weaker movements. (Height matters!) I never made it to HSPU, which is a bummer since I am actually respectable at those. And there are people who got a higher score than me because they did get through rowing, even if they could not do a single HSPU.

    But say the order was reversed and HSPU was the first movement. That would have meant that a lot of people who did RX would have to had to scale. And even people who struggle with HSPU may never have gotten past them. My point, which is not to knock anyone, is this. There is an element of the luck of the draw so to speak. An open workout can easily play into strengths just as easily as it can into weaknesses. So does that mean someone is better or stronger because they happened to have been able to get even just 1 HSPU than someone who never got off the rower? Absolutely not.  Does it mean you are less strong because a weaker movement showed up first? Absolutely not. It’s just the way the WOD was programmed that was a more favorable order in a chipper (or less favorable depending).

 

One week into the 2018 CrossFit Open and overall I am far less mental about it than I have been in prior years. It has been a big shift for me in mindset which is really why I finally allowed myself to be okay with signing up.  I am treating it like it is really about me (I mean, I have an element of being competitive but I am not letting that get the best of me). It is about overcoming hurdles and acknowledging and celebrating what I do, no matter the score.

We have 4 more workouts to go. My goal is to stay sane. Stay positive everyone!

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When Did Social Media Become The Jerry Springer Show?

Ok ,soooo the title is a tad bit exaggerated but it got your attention, didn’t it?

I have no shame in admitting I love social media. For the most part.  Although, with social media being a quick and easy way to reach many people, there has become this acceptance or license to use it for a few different things that really, in my humble opinion, are beyond what the boundaries should be.

 

  1. Being overtly sexual.

Ok so just don’t do it. People generally do not want unsolicited comments and messages that are sexual. I wrote a whole post on that which is here.

 

  1. Medical diagnosis/advice.

It is one thing to ask for suggestions on things like what stretches to do for a tight hip flexor or asking if anyone has a recommendation for knee sleeves. It is another to detail symptoms of extreme pain in your back expecting someone to give a medical diagnosis. OVER SOCIAL MEDIA. What happened to calling our doctors and scheduling an appointment?

 

Comparing one’s symptoms to someone who comments is not exactly an approved way to diagnose. Just because someone has similar pains or symptoms does not mean their diagnosis are identical.

 

And I know people have the best of intentions in their comments, but they are not medical professionals. Go find out what is going on with you so you can heal and back to your regularly scheduled programming.

 

  1. Aggressively pushing your beliefs onto your followers.

I see a lot of posts about important topics that 100% should be socialized.  Often though, the commentary that someone posts along with it is this sort of “you are stupid if you do not agree with me” kind of mentality. (Politics and gun bans immediately come to mind). It is admirable to be passionate about a cause, but insulting one’s followers’ intelligence in an attempt to persuade them is 1) not effective 2) puts them on the defense and 3) is disrespectful.

 

Take vaccinations for example. I see a lot of posts from both camps: anti-vaccinations and pro-vaccinations for children. I personally, for the record as someone who has no kids, have no opinion on the matter which is why I am using this as an example.  If someone wants to sway people in the other camp, do so with kindness and education. Do not do it by telling them they are terrible parents if they do or do not vaccinate. Because again, 1) it is insulting 2) it is not effective and 3) it is disrespectful. Nobody wants to be told they are a bad parent and they are not likely to be open to considering anything after a comment like that.

 

  1. Publically bashing people.

There is this thing called diplomacy. It is ok to tell a story and give perception and insight, when done respectfully. I do this as much as I humanly can when I blog (because believe me, there are times I reference personal stories that it takes every ounce of my being to not let the New Jersey come out of me).

 

It is another thing to air dirty laundry, spew just pure hatred directed at someone and play the victim with the right to say anything and everything without a filter.

 

I for one do not want to see a public feud between supposed friends/family on Facebook (and sadly I have seen this many times). If someone has an issue with someone else, but cannot exercise diplomacy when in a public venue (because Facebook is public any way you look at it. It is not a conversation between 2 people when you have even just 1 follower).  Take it offline.  End of story.

 

 

  1. Rewarding bad behavior.

 

On Social media, often what happens in the case where someone, for example, publically bashes someone else, people who think it is a little crazy town most likely are just going to scroll right past it without commenting.  The people who do take the time to comment are buying into whatever the person is selling. Perhaps the person posting felt someone said something really rude to them or they had a big fight with their parent or friend or whatever it is. Again, if they are not telling a story or making a point respectfully and with diplomacy, they are likely victimizing themselves. And so people comment like “You are inspiring! The other person is the devil!” or “OMG you are so great! You are sooooo right to be sooooooooooo upset!”

 

They are not challenging them for the other details (aka the other side of the story and or the details that perhaps were conveniently left out). Nor are they saying, “Hey, maybe you should take that post down and go talk directly to your friend.” They are just validating whatever the person is saying and feeling. They are essentially rewarding bad behavior. And all that it does is make the person feel righteous.

 

I can totally go down a rabbit hole with this one. And I will.

 

It perpetuates the problem that people think it is ok to be unfiltered, hateful and acting victimized. We obviously cannot prevent people from posting such things. We can though opt to NOT comment on them. People posting like that WANT the attention. So duh, if they are not given attention, maybe they will stop posting.

 

 

There are always boundaries. There are things that make sense to do on social media and then there are things that cross the line into perverse, ignorance, hate, and lack of sensibility. I try to govern my life outside of social media by all that is good. Good energy, good people, good discussion and just plain old respect. Facebook can go so far past what is good that perhaps it can be reined back in a smidge or so.

 

 

 

 

Think You are a Leader? 5 Things You Ought To Check Yourself On

Foreword: I am using the word “leader” quite loosely in this post. I have very strong opinions of what a GREAT leader is. I also know that many people are self-proclaimed leaders when in actuality they do not know the first thing about being a leader. So when I have references in the negative about a
“leader” in this post, please know it is that latter group that I am referring to. I also do not mean to insinuate that any one of my readers is a bad leader

I also apologize in advance for the rants (they are too good to omit though right?)

The other night when I was hanging out with friends, the topic of zodiac signs came up. A friend said to me, “Oh you are a Leo. You must be stubborn.” I laughed and said, “so they say”. Because really, do stubborn people ever admit they are stubborn? I followed up with this though, “I am definitely stubborn when it comes to the principle of things and being ethical.  I have a hard time letting go of something when I do not agree with it.” Which is where this post came from. Leadership is something I take oh so seriously and it drives me insane knowing there are people in this world running around proclaiming to be leaders. They mistake their rank or title for leadership. They mistake teaching the ropes on social media as coaching. They mistake publicly bashing people (on their team!) over Facebook with “being organic.”  Ok, I digress a little bit. But the point of that last statement is that being a leader means knowing the difference between being diplomatic yet honest with being disrespectful and malevolent.

Without further delay, let’s get into what a good leader is NOT.

  1. A good leader never wants someone on their team who does not want to be there.
    I have never believed in holding anyone back or preventing someone from pursuing other options or doing anything to advance their career. Sometimes being a leader means accepting that you will be a stepping stone. People change and morph as do their needs. Just because someone does not need us anymore, does not mean we did a terrible job leading and coaching. It just means we gave them what they need to keep moving. Keeping anyone who wants to be there creates resentment and imbalance in a team. If someone finds another opportunity that aligns with their goals, a good leader supports that. It is not a personal attack necessarily. And if it is, then that leads me to the next point.
  1. A good leader recognizes a learning opportunity when they see one.
    Deflecting or projecting an issue that someone brings to a leader’s attention is most likely indicative of an insecurity, arrogance and just being stupidly lacking in self- awareness. There are moments that come our way that are blessings not punishments. Having someone express a concern, even if it IS directly targeted at you, is your chance to rise above it. There may just be some truth to what they are saying and if you are a good, solid leader, you will think about it from another perspective.If someone cannot handle feedback, to be totally blunt, they have no business being in a position of leadership. Period.And furthermore (oh snap I used “furthermore”), if someone cannot handle feedback from a manager, a peer, a subordinate, anyone in the workplace, chances are they cannot handle it anywhere else in life. Which I will say for the millionth time, that is indicative of immaturity and a lack of self- awareness. I have zero patience for people who are always the victim. It is never them.
  1. A good leader does not dismiss someone’s opinion or feelings.
    Anytime we communicate with someone, whether it’s a boss, a peer, a friend, a spouse, a customer service rep (seriously, who likes being told as a customer you are wrong?), we want to at a minimum feel validated. Whether you agree or not is beside the point. People want to feel heard. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to have a conversation and have your points completely not understood and ignored. Literally it is like talking to a wall. A wall that you probably want to punch. So, if a “leader” is completely missing your points, know when to take that battle up with someone else who can influence them or merely just walk away (and plan your escape route. Seriously). Some battles are better left untouched.
  1. A good leader does not manipulate.
    Manipulation can come in many forms and pretty much every time it is a control thing. To my first point earlier, keeping someone on a team when you are the only person who has the power to relinquish them is straight up manipulation. Telling someone how much you have done for them and how much they owe you is manipulation.  Telling someone in one breath how highly you think of them and in the next how much they have disrespected you is also manipulation. Be honest and be real. People think they are sugar coating things when really they are trying to either confuse the hell out of someone else or manipulate a situation to make them feel like they are back in control (which for real, who wants to deal with that?)
  1. A good leader does not have an attitude of entitlement when someone wants to leave.
    Warning: This one gets me especially fired up.
    Sure, there is going to be disappointment at losing a good resource, but good leaders do not harbor resentment about it. A good leader knows that people will move on at some point and no matter how much they may have done for that person, they have the right to move on.Putting in a few days or a few months or a few years training someone does not make them yours. They are not indebted to you.

    And having someone leave is not even always a bad thing. It could be opening an opportunity for you or someone else. Because often you have to let go of something to get what you really need.

    Really though, I am calling bull shit on anyone who feels that they cannot release you because releasing YOU is DISRESPECTFUL to THEM. Putting in time training is part of the job description and it is not wasted time (for anyone). I get so fired up because I once had someone who refused to release me because she felt like she put in months of her time training me which is time lost that SHE will never get back. (Those were her words, not mine).

    Case and point. That shows immaturity and spite, which again, are not exactly cornerstones of being a leader.

    Being a leader is not an easy thing even for those who have that gift innately. It takes cultivating, training, real life experience and most importantly a whole lot of humility (and a whole lot less of ego). I am grateful, truly, for my past corporate life. I was given an opportunity to lead and it is something I have always taken seriously.

    Leading is not about me. It is about other people.  It is about inspiring others around me and not draining them. The main common theme of every single example above is that it shows a mentality of only thinking about oneself instead of others.

    Having a “me me me” attitude is the antithesis of a leader.

    There are a lot of things you can fix in this world when it comes to issues with people, but you cannot fix  those who are ignorant or irrational, especially when they are in the height of their “it is all about me” way of thinking.

    Perhaps for some of these “leaders” they will have that “Oh snap” moment and have some over due self-reflection. I just know for myself, I cannot stick it out around those types waiting for them to figure out. And neither should you. It is okay to walk away from a “leader” when they are downright irrational and overly emotional. As the kids say today, you do you.

Six Types of People Who Will Suck the Soul Out Of You

Foreword: I was about half way done with this post when it dawned on me. I am sure I am not the first person to write about this topic. And so I googled it and sure enough, I am not. Fortunately, the ones I came up with I did not see on the half a dozen articles I found so at least there is that!

I know I am not alone in feeling like the energy around us recently has been out of sorts. It is almost hard to explain but if you have expereinced it, you know what I mean. And if you think I sound just bat shit crazy (which may be true), the important thing to know is that it sparked me thinking about energy. And often what we are picking up around us is not even ours. It may not even be that of someone standing ten feet from you, but it is coming from someone who orbits the same world you live in.

And as long as we let them orbit in OUR world, we are allowing their energy in. Which made me think long and hard about the types of people who we would no doubt benefit from saying adios to.

  1. The person playing the victimI have met people who have gone through some horrific shit yet when they tell me about it, they will be sure to say “It is ok. I do not want to live in the negative or let it take over my life. I am moving ahead and grateful for what I do have.” Those people, hold onto them. They will raise your vibrations and be that good energy you want. It is the people who do the opposite. The ones who are constantly complaining. The ones who repeatedly are being “targeted”. It is never anything they do. They cannot help that they have a mean boss, a mean neighbor, a mean co-worker, and mean friends. Everyone is always mean to THEM and they are just PERFECT. Yeah, right.

Those people, the victim people, they are exhausting and will suck the soul right out of you. Turn around and walk away. And do not look back. No matter how hard you try to be nice and to be a friend, they are always going to find fault in you. Because remember the last 10 friends they had they slowly divulged over time about how they wronged them? Well guess what, you are being primed for #11. And who the fuck wants that drama?

  1. The zero accountability person.

I almost did not include this one because well, I could easily write 5000 words on this alone. I am an adult though and I promise I can be concise on this point.

The zero accountability person is likely to also be the person playing the victim. Because when someone has a victim mentality, it is NEVER anything they did.  They are just innocently going through life being awesome, kind and selfless who just happens to have bad shit happen to them. All. The. Time.

There is a strong correlation to happiness and taking a long, hard look at ourselves.  Happiness is not just something that happens. And being on a quest for happiness does not entitle anyone to be a total jack ass to people or to self-sabotage.  Our quality of life is a reflection of owning the good, the bad and the ugly.

So if you find yourself around someone who never takes accountability, if you do not separate yourself from them, you are 100% likely to legit go crazy.

  1. The person who tries to talk you out of your dream.
    Going into fitness and coaching, I have gotten an unprecedented amount of support. I have had people who have questioned or raised concerns about elements that I may not have thought about. That I welcome. Please, help me think through details I may not have considered. That is cool. That is being a friend.

If I did though encounter someone who told me that I am absolutely insanely stupid to pursue this dream, I would obviously first punch them, and then start second guessing my decision. Crushing someone’s dream is demoralizing to say the least. We need to support each other.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If I told anyone that I was leaving my corporate job to become an exterminator, they would have laughed in my face. And rightfully so. I go into a 3 month trauma when I see a water bug so no way could I be an exterminator. A good friend, even if they do not agree with the dream, will at least try to understand what you are seeking. What is it you are missing that you want something else? If the dream is misaligned, they will help you find a more appropriate one without just quickly denouncing it.

  1. The Social Media public basher

You know the people who vacillate between extremes? Like one day they are posting about how much they love avocados and puppies and the next day they are bitching about their ex-wife and how she is stealing custody from you. Yeah, to me, when they go to that extreme, it is negative. And it is not that they are not in the right for how they feel but I do not always trust those who are not using sound discretion in what they post.  It is social media not an episode of “Judge Judy”.
Not to mention, if you see someone who is bashing someone openly and without tact, what makes you think you will never be in the hot seat?

 

  1. The person who gets all their Intel from Facebook (aka the gossip)

Ever have a conversation with someone who is catching you up on all these people you are mutually acquainted with? And you start wondering how is it that this person has managed to know so much about all these people? Then, in one of their mesmerizing stories, they mention they saw something that a friend of a friend of a friend posted about  on Facebook.

 

Move along, sister, move along.

 

  1. The ageist.

Disclaimer: I am the BIGGEST hypocrite for including this one. Full disclosure I am a total ageist (but I swear I am working on it!). I make fun of millenials any chance I get and am in total awe of anyone over 50 with a 6 pack. But having said that, I know it is not right.  And I am grateful for everyone who proves me wrong every single freakin’ day.

There is such a tendency to associate expectations based on age. Like nobody can possibly have their shit together before 30 and nobody possibly truly learns to love themselves until age 40. And 60 year olds should stick to crocheting and watching “Golden Girls”. (Ok bad example, those chis are the best. For all ages!)

 

Ageists will take self -imposed expectations and unfairly places them on others. “Anyone over 30 who is not married is hopeless” or “He is 25. He does not know what life is.” If you go to an ageist for advice, are they going to look at you fairly or are they going to make biased assumptions about you based on age? Just something to noodle over if you find yourself in the company of an ageist.

 

We all have dreams and we all have passions. We need to really consider the people around us and ask ourselves: are they inspiring us or are they draining us?