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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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?

Confrontation is a Gift Even If It Feels Like a Punch To The Gut

I want to share a story with you that I have not shared with many before.  It is hard to openly admit when I have royally messed up, but it is something that I also am grateful for. And if getting past my pride can give us all pause to cause, then I of course will divulge.

Last spring, my boss at the time swung by my desk and impromptu asked if I had a few minutes to chat. Now, I was  (and still am) close with her. I knew instinctively this conversation was not going to be pleasant.

When we get settled at a table outside, she cut to the chase and told me that she has been hearing that my team has been complaining and frustrated that I was micromanaging them. Which for anyone who has ever managed can attest that being called a micromanager is quite possibly one of the worst insults professionally you ever will experience.

She did not give me a lot of details or who said what. She told me because she wanted me to talk to my team and to handle it on my own. I have had other situations at work having to confront people so this concept was not new to me. It was still extremely anxiety ridden and intimidating.

This conversation with my boss took place on a Tuesday and I had decided I would address this directly with my team on Thursday at a scheduled meeting. Now, my team at the time was 4 people (3 of whom were expressing they did not like me micromanaging). I literally lost sleep over this for multiple nights. I went through so many stages trying to process this issue and I had so many questions.

I started with feeling indignant. I was NOT a micromanager and screw my team for saying I am. If I do micromanage, it is because THEY deserve it.

That line of thinking did not last long. At all. I had to really change my mindset and accept that there could be validity in what they were feeling.

One of the most important things I realized though is that it really did not matter if they were right or if I was right. It was about this unsaid tension between us that if I did not respectfully and diplomatically address with them, it was not just going to away nor was I magically going to have a solid, trusting team. Because the thing is, once someone labels you as anything whether, it is a micromanager or lazy or fake or an all out bitch, everything you do in their eyes will prove why you are. And I did not like feeling that my team was going to repeatedly snicker behind my back and analyze everything I say or do. As a manager and more importantly as a leader, it really matters to me to be respected. You do not have to like me necessarily or agree with my choices or directives, but at least understand to a point that my character is not in question.

I felt extremely vulnerable and I also felt like I failed as a leader, which lead to so much self-doubt that it had me question if I had any right to be a manager. It was very humbling to say the least and was quite crippling.

I scripted what I wanted to say to my team ahead of time. I wanted to be honest and upfront and make them feel like I was open to hearing their feelings and issues without them being judged or concerned that I would somehow retaliate against them. I wish I kept the script because I would have 100% enclosed it in this post. So I am going to do my best to recall the important points and discussion:

  • I let them know that I am not the type to dismiss feedback and that I take it so seriously. And I would never use it against them. If they are feeling like I am micromanaging, I want to talk about it openly.
  • I told them honestly that having to hear from my boss that my team felt I was micromanaging was very difficult to hear. It actually was harder coming from her instead of my team. It made me feel like I intimidated them so much so that they could not come to me. Yes, feedback is hard and yes, I may have been taken off guard. And yes, I may have needed time to process it when they addressed it, but I would look at it through their eyes as much as I would through my own.
  • I also let them know that I cannot fix something if I am not aware of it. I also did throw in what I feel is respect of coming to me directly instead of talking behind my back.

I joked with them to cut the tension a bit that I was essentially initiating my own intervention (which got a chuckle out of them). I asked them to share with me examples of times they felt I was micromanaging. And you know what? The things they recounted were not as hard to hear as I expected. More importantly, they were completely resolvable. One that stands out is that they wanted me to chime in less on calls with clients. They wanted to earn respect from them and not have anyone perceive them as incompetent because their manager was always talking for them. Ok, guys, done.

Our discussion was so positive. We tackled an awkward topic with dignity and directness. Not one person took it as an opportunity to shit all over me. They talked to me openly and with maturity. I never felt like they were attacking me despite that I knew they were really frustrated and demoralized. And that is how discussions should go.

Also, two of them in 1:1 meetings I had praised me for holding that meeting. They told me it took courage, and they were thankful that I did. Part of it too is people often forget managers are human too. Seeing me so vulnerable gave them a different level of reverence.

I also stressed to them that I do not have it all figured out just because I am a manager. I am constantly striving to grow and evolve. And feedback as hard as it is to give, is actually a gift. So many times we view feedback as a bad thing. Because we seem to have fallen into a culture of thinking confrontation is a negative. And in actuality, when you can figure out how to confront someone in a positive, RESPECTFUL way (I am deliberately using that word multiple times to make the point that it is ESSENTIAL!), you are helping them. Ignoring issues is counterproductive.

We often assume people want to critique us or tell us less than pleasant things because they come from a place of hate or a place of jealousy or we think they are projecting. That is bull shit. Whether it is your boss, or your employee or your friend or you sister or your father, that takes the time to respectfully tell you something, remember two things. One, they are coming from a place of love. They are not trying to deliberately hurt you because they get off on seeing you upset. Two, confronting someone is just as emotionally taxing on them as it is on the person receiving the message. So if they are doing it, it is because they have a justified reason (because remember, they could ignore it and save everyone a lot of heart ache).

We have to stop thinking confrontations are bad. You know, a lot of people equate a friendship or relationship of being solid with never having any fights or disagreements. And in my opinion, that is not necessarily true. People hold back and play it safe and I challenge that if they actually do address things head on, each person can grow and that relationship if anything can get stronger.

I share this story because I whole heartedly believe we need more healthy confrontations. Truth be told, much of this has been sparked lately with seeing too many public feuds on social media and it infuriates me quite bluntly.  I am tired of seeing people air their dirty laundry publically.

Everyone has a platform the second they login into Facebook and post something. Everyone has the ability to persuade their following to love them, to respect them, maybe even to fear them or dislike them. Everyone has the ability to pick and choose what they share with their following to get or stay in their good graces. Everyone has the ability to tell very one-sided stories to get that validation or vindication. They receive an outpouring of comments like “Haters gonna hate!” (which seriously, can we leave that expression in 2015?) or “You are so brave to share this!”

Bravery and strength is confronting the person who you feel wronged by directly and privately. Going on social media and telling half a story that is slander against someone else is cowardly. Talking to everyone else but the person in question is not brave. It is avoidance.

I could have chosen to ignore what my boss told me about my team. It sure as hell would have been a less painful process. I could have chosen to just talk shit about them to anyone at any chance I got to make myself look and feel blameless. I could have also selected who I told that I would know would assure me I was right and that I was dealing with immature and negative people. Because obviously if someone tells me something that hurts, the issue is them and not me. But guess what guys. We all have accountability in every situation we are in.

But I never even entertained that option. Professionally and personally, the people in my life who have the most impact are the ones who call it like it is, good or bad. The harrowing and the traumatic situations are the ones that I grow the most from. I am constantly evolving as I really believe we all should be. And we cannot do that if we are not open to having very honest conversations.

 

 

 

 

Strong, Beautiful Women: Handle It.

 

We are entering a year that is predicted to be THE YEAR of women’s power rising. I strongly believe that. Yet, for as true as that may be, we are still fighting antiquated ideals and perceptions. One of them that has really been triggering something in me is how often the line between being complimentary and downright inappropriate still happens. I know this happens to men just as often as it does to women but for the sake of this blog, I’m referring primarily to men being inappropriate with women. It is also specific to social media. There are so many turns this subject can take, but for now, this is where my outrage, confusion and disgust are originating from.

Somewhere along the way as we celebrate women for their triumphs, their journeys, their fitness, and their bodies, there are men who seem to believe that those photos and videos that are posted on social media are personal invitations to warrant sending sexual messages. And this disturbs me on many levels.

I realize that as a society and culture we do have an unhealthy fixation on our physical appearances and a whole lot of body image issues to support that. The thing is though, there is so much campaigning against this that shows itself in so many forms. Women of all  shapes and sizes are sharing their stories which takes damn courage and bravery to do.  Scroll through your social media feed and notice how everyone looks different. We are no longer just paging through magazines where everyone seems to be the same or fitting into a mold that fashion dictates. We have this amazing ability with social media to showcase strength, beauty and vulnerabilities.  We have the ability to see what every day people are doing and not just celebrities and models.

My point is that all this celebrating should be just that: celebrating. It should not be an incitement for anyone to perceive that women are looking for sexual advances. And for anyone who says it is a shared responsibility between the person who posts and the people who view, I agree we should use discretion and we should be cognizant of the messages we are sending. Yet, this does not mean that it is ok for men to be downright creepy.

I can speak to personal experience based on what I post, and I can assure you I am never promoting sex or provocation. I am promoting myself, fitness, CrossFit, my story, my challenges, even ketones. Nowhere in there is a hint or suggestion that I appreciate messages from men telling me that they love how I look in yoga pants or to send them a picture of me doing a handstand in a bikini (and then he will buy what I am selling. Not a ketone slut, thanks). This shit really happens and I have NEVER insinuated that is the attention I want. If someone were to tell me I was “asking for it” or I have to expect that, I would strongly encourage them to rethink that.  For the majority of my audience, they are respectful. They even get inspiration from my posts and photos. This is the point. Most can handle a bicep flex or an amateur bathroom selfie of abs without taking that to mean I am being provocative. Why do I need to change my behavior? Why can’t the men who think they have free reign to say whatever insulting things they want, change their behavior?  And again, my “behavior” is not scandalous. I post with respect for myself and others.

I also get many comments and messages from men who know how to pay a compliment without me wanting to throw my laptop at them. It is quite easy to be respectful. Men can tell a woman she is pretty or that her fitness is inspiring or she looks great. And leave it at that. As most do. (Thank you to the good ones out there!)

So to be crystal clear, it is one thing to be complimentary and tell a woman you think she has a pretty smile or she looks strong or has great eyes. It is another thing to send a woman a message telling her you think she is sexy as fuck or asking if it is ok to send inappropriate photos.

Women are getting messages and comments from men with graphic photos, crude comments and slimy solicitations. And for the record (for those who ever think a woman is “asking for it” with her choices in clothing), it is not always what a woman is wearing or not wearing that leads to inappropriate messages. Women can post pictures in sweatshirts and baggy pants with a messy bun and men will still tell them they like their curves or want to know what they look like underneath all those clothes.

I used to joke that a job hazard of mine was getting sexually harassed every day, but I realize now it is not actually funny. Because it happens a lot. And not just to me. Women should be able to do their thing without fearing the response they get. I personally do not ever want to hear a post of mine “was asking for it” or that I have to expect the responses that I receive. I absolutely DO NOT. The solution should not be that women, tasteful respectful women, should have to censor themselves. The solution should instead involve that the men who think it is acceptable to be downright  bad-mannered, insolent creeps should be schooled to know it is not ok.

4 Reasons Athletes Stay at a CrossFit Box When Perhaps They Should Consider Switching

Foreword: I want to stress something key because I do not by any means want to sound self-righteous or like I know how to run a CrossFit box. I am basing this post on my own experiences and conversations I have had with many other CrossFit athletes.

I have blogged about why people leave CrossFit boxes (link here) and so it only makes sense to follow it up with reasons why people often stay, even if they really do need to leave.

  1. Loyalty. This is legit a common reason. Often members feel like they would be abandoning their box or owners or coaches by leaving. They have been there perhaps from the beginning or they feel that the they owe it to the box to stay. Perhaps they have seen gains or perhaps they are friends with the owner.Guilt comes along with loyalty and I totally get that. It is like any relationship or friendship. We feel like the other person stuck by us through some tough shit and it would make us pretty crappy people if now that we are not “in need” we are abandoning them.

 

  1. Athletes don’t know what “better” is. 

    I see this often with first time CrossFitters. They love CrossFit and where they are but they also have no benchmark to compare it to. So they stay.For many, their first choice was stellar and they may be there until the end of time. Which is amazing. It just does not always happen like that for everyone.

    I bring this up because at some point for many athletes, they do get a taste of what else is out there. Often it is in the form of a drop in. Maybe athletes go home to visit and drop in at a local box. They start comparing that box to their own and notice the short comings (I like to refer to this as “box envy”). Maybe they experience more methodical, dynamic warm ups that they do not get at their home box. Maybe they notice the coaches are giving far more specific cues. Maybe it is the physical space and they are jealous of the high ceilings for rope climbs. You get the idea. It can be a million difference reasons that attribute to box envy.

 

  1. Fear of losing the community we have come to love. 

    I have experienced this and I have heard people say the same countless times.  “I am not happy anymore at this box, but I do not know want to lose the friendships and community I have built here.” And I think there are a few ways to look at this.Evaluate your goals. Are your goals being met even if perhaps the environment leaves something to be desired? Can you reach your goals if you stay even if it means having to compromise on something else to stay with your community

    People and circumstances in life are fluid. This is just a given. It is like when we stay at a job even if we hate it, but loves our boss. And then that boss leaves and we feel shafted. I look at it like yes the people we are around are extremely important, but the fear of losing them is not always a reason to stay. We get very comfortable with our workout buddies and coming into any class and feeling familiar. Anyone in your community though could leave at any time. It just happens. I personally feel that it is a balance and if you truly are not happy or not getting out of CrossFit what you want, I do not think the community should necessarily be the thing that keeps you.

    Also, remember, the community you built, that did not happen overnight. You had to build that. And you can build it again.

    Guys, I get it. I’m a few days into my latest box change and I have not yet found my community. I think the other athletes are still trying to figure out what my deal is or if I am just dropping in from somewhere far ,far away. And that is totally cool. Camaraderie happens organically.

 

  1. We feel like we are “cheating” if we go for a test drive. 

    There is guilt even before we make a decision to leave. Typically athletes want to have their next box lined up before making a switch. Naturally we start doing local drop-ins to kind of test drive other options. But heaven forbid the box we go to even has an inkling that we are thinking of switching. We fear being ostracized or not coached (because why should they bother investing in us if we are half way out the door?) And so often we just stay. We stay out of fear of being almost devalued. We do not even look because of this fear.In my humble opinion, if that does happen, that your box sort of turns on you, then take that as a sign you DEFINITELY should be switching boxes. I have had both experiences.  I have had an owner who wanted to know why I was leaving so he could make some changes and address them. And I have had owners who were basically like “ok cool got you cancelled.”  (aka don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out).

    This personally has never stopped me from looking around. I am on my 4th box (and I really believe this could be “the one”). If anything I had actually been fairly vocal about it this time around which thank goodness I was. The box I have switched to was not even on my radar as an option, and because I had posted in a Facebook group about looking for a box, one of the owners actually reached out to me. So sometimes, you just have to get over the fear because that could potentially prevent you from finding what you really need.

 

Deciding to do CrossFit in and of itself is not a trivial thing. Many of us CrossFit because we want to be the best versions of ourselves. We want to constantly push ourselves beyond what we think we are capable of. We CrossFit because we want to be healthy, fully functional people at all ages. We CrossFit because our health and fitness are freakin important.

Switching boxes is also not a trivial thing.  I cannot stress enough the importance of being at the right box for YOU. Switching boxes multiple times does not make you needy or high maintenance. It is you recognizing what your needs are at that point in time. What you needed last year may not be what you need today. There should be no shame in making a decision to leave a CrossFit for another because at the end of the day you only get one body, one brain, one life. You have every right to do what is best for you even if you feel that there may be some drama or baggage associated with it.  I say screw it because nobody can tell you what is right for you but you.

2018: Let’s Get Real

Well hello 2018. I am looking back at this past year and for probably the first time in my life, I can say it was a good year. And I do not mean that I have never had a good year before. Because I have. The difference is I used to (note past tense) fixate on the bad parts. Forget if I got a promotion or if I hit a new PR at CrossFit, I would gravitate towards the bad shit that happened. And when you have bad shit happen, it can become a cycle you just cannot get out of. I used to very much be “Woe is me! Why do bad things happen to good people?”

And today I am more like, shut it, sister. It ain’t all bad.

Don’t get me wrong guys. I am by no means minimizing the not so fun things that have happened to any of you this past year. I have had my share of sadness and stress this year as well (things I have not even posted about on social media or blogged about). I have lost someone who was like a father to me. I have seen friends and family go through some pretty scary health stuff. I have almost lost people I have loved. I had plenty of restless nights and a whole lot of tears in 2017. 2017 was not all rainbows and unicorns, I had a lot of heavy and heart wrenching shit go down. I say this not for sympathy or pity but because I 100% get what it is like to have to go through really unpleasant stuff.

 

The thing with New Years is that as that as it gets closer, we all just are ready for it. We want to escape whatever the last year brought us. We want fresh beginnings. We want 2018 to right every wrong from 2017.

But we also have expectations without doing our part. We cannot expect 2018 to bring us all our hopes and wishes if we do not release 2017. We can choose to leave our baggage or travesties or whatever negativity was there but we often take it with us. And then the new year becomes an extension of the previous year.

So if we really want 2018 to be our year, we have to accept all that has happened in 2017. We have to leave it behind. We have to also give ourselves permission to not carry guilt from whatever mistakes or failures we feel we had into 2018. (I may be sounding like I have watched too much Long Island Medium)­.

To me, a new year is a great time to reevaluate ourselves, our lives, our relationships, our jobs, our health routines, our finances. All of it. Whatever it is that we feel may be holding us back from what we want. We probably should have reevaluated them during the year, but let’s be honest. We get complacent. And it takes a milestone, like a new year, to light a fire under our asses. We get awakened when we realize  “FUDGE! A new year and I am still doing X.” Or “A new year and I still have not done Y”. You get what I am saying.

A new year also mean we cut a lot of things from life. We cut out toxic relationships or toxic food or toxic habits. Which we absolutely should do, but we need to do more than that. We also need to really get in our own heads and understand “why” we had those things in our lives in the first place. (When we don’t, it is why we have patterns. Look at dating. The horror!). When we just let things go without understanding the “why”, they are like boomerangs. They will come back to us in some shape or form.

We also forget that a new year is an ENTIRE YEAR. Which means it is 365 days. There is such a tendency to get pumped for January and go after our goals like we are sprinting instead of treating them like a marathon. Then before we know it, we forget even what our goals were. I am not going to give you a how-to set a goal because that is a post all in itself. What I really mean to convey is that it is ok if our goals take more than a few days or a few weeks or a few months. Just do not give up on them. We get discouraged so easily because we fixate on what we still have to do instead of appreciating and applauding what we already have done. Deciding to make a change takes a lot of self-awareness in and of itself and that’s no small feat. Knowing is half the battle, G.I. Joe.

It is like we view a new year as if it is this being sent from the gods. Like it is this creature that is going to bring us everything we want. Call me Debbie Downer, but it is no such thing.  It is just another 365 days in which we can choose how we want it to be. We give a new year so  much power when really we need to give that power to ourselves.