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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Tainted Workout Experiences Diminish What Could Be Life Changing

For many people, it takes every bit of courage they have to show up to a gym or a yoga studio or a CrossFit class or whatever workout they have finally decided to try. For many, it is a triumph to get through the door. And for some, their first impression has them running like a bat out of hell right back out.

Customer service is a skill, a skill that not everyone has. To me, it is common sense. When it comes to fitness, it is all the more important to have that skill, ESPECIALLY for those people who it did take every bit of nerve they had to walk through that door. So. You show respect, you listen to what the other person says and you encourage. You do not belittle. You do not body shame. And you do not judge. At all. When it comes to health and fitness, someone’s first interaction is what can inspire them to want to take more steps when they have a positive experience versus what can traumatize them when it goes terribly wrong.

Let me tell you about my first CrossFit experience 6 years ago. Spoiler alert. It was awful, demoralizing and infuriating.

I was about 5 months out from a broken foot, prior to which I was doing high impact workouts like running and kickboxing. I tried to find a workout I could do while I was in a cast, but the thing about a cast is that you cannot get it wet. Working out results in sweating which can result in mold. Gross. So it was not an option. I was at one of my lowest points with a hella lot of life’s stresses yet I was not able to use my go-to therapy, fitness, to deal with it.

Needless to say when the cast came off 6 weeks later, I was ecstatic. I thought I could get back to my workouts, but go figure, that did not happen. I wanted to kickbox and run again like I did before I broke my foot, but I could not. I had so much muscle atrophy (my leg was half the size of the other) that anything involving my feet (i.e. everything) caused soreness, swelling and pain and just overall muscle fatigue. I was really frustrated because I probably gained 10 pounds (I lost almost all my muscle tone. Everywhere. Muscle tone that I worked my ass off to gain. So to say frustrated is an understatement).

I was at a loss as to how to get back into shape. A friend of mine, Nikki, who had been doing CrossFit a few years and had just started coaching, suggested CrossFit as it is totally scalable. She was really enthusiastic about it which got me excited about it too.

I found a CrossFit box to try out (a friend of a friend coached there), and so I set up a 1:1 consultation with the owner /coach. I was eager to go but also intimidated. CrossFit just sounded scary and I did not know what to expect. Well, what I did get was definitely not what I expected. Upon meeting him, I immediately got bad vibes from him.  It was very clear to me that he was one of the most arrogant, condescending, unqualified people the universe ever could have brought to me as an introduction to CrossFit.

He had me do a baseline workout that had rowing, air squats and push-ups. He was telling me repeatedly to go faster which I was not comfortable with as hello, I was recovering from an injury. My foot was sore. My knees were not properly aligned.  My stance was wide. I felt ridiculous. When I got done with the workout, he had the AUDACITY to tell me that my form was shit. Which mind you, not once did he give me any cues or guidance as to “how” I should be performing the movements. It was all “Move faster!” Super helpful, Guy.

And it got worse after that. He made repeated insulting comments about my height. For example, he asked if I wore heels all day to work and quickly said “well yeah of course you do. You are short.”

He asked me how I broke my foot, and as I was responding, I only got this far, “I was running—“

“Oh yeah no wonder you broke your foot running. 70% of runners have bad technique.”

“No, d-bag, I was not running recreationally. I was running in chunky flip flops through an airport to c catch a flight and rolled my foot.”

He made an assumption that I was a totally incompetent athlete and naturally my injury was due to my lack of skill. Prick.

At any rate, I could not get out of there fast enough. I walked out of there seething with anger and contempt. I was ready to write off CrossFit completely because this guy did a shit poor job of representing. And without any other benchmark, I was just done.

I talked to Nikki, and she was as appalled as I was. She reassured me that he was not representative of CrossFit and to not give up on it because of him.

Obviously, we all know my CrossFit journey did not end there. I am grateful I had the guidance from Nikki as I did indeed find another box with a polar opposite experience. The coaches understood my injury and my limitations. They were encouraging and positive. They were the true spirit in which CrossFit is intended to be. Coach D-Bag obviously should not be coaching or owning a box, and I was relieved to know everyone is NOT like him.

I feel fortunate though that I did not give up. I had enough confidence (and quite frankly, fury) to not allow one jack ass to make me think less of myself or my abilities. But the thing is, not everyone who has had a similar experience bounces back. For many, it truly is so traumatic, they give up completely. When you have an emotional and demoralizing experience, logic can shut down. While there are a million yoga studios and Pilate’s studios and CrossFit boxes, for someone who had trepidation to even show up, he/she is not likely to want to go to another. Our brains start to associate everything similar with one horrible experience, and the rest become guilty by association.

And so I share this story not for sympathy for me (as despite my bitter undertones, this was just a blip in my journey) but to bring awareness that this type of experience is NOT acceptable. And should you or someone you know find yourself in that situation, know that it is NOT necessarily a reflection on the sport/exercise as a whole. One person should not carry so much power to taint what could be a really important, life- changing step.

 

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.

Sometimes It Takes Stitches to Find the Right CrossFit

I have done a lot of really clumsy, stupid, embarrassing shit that I normally can just laugh off without thinking twice about it. I have had countless near accidents that were probably a hair away from cracking something open or needing stitches. Basically I have tempted fate many MANY times, and it finally caught up with me. In the most embarrassing way I ever could have imagined. It also gave me cause to pause (and re-evaluate).

As you probably know, I have been on a serious quest to find a different CrossFit box to switch to. I have taken this more seriously than when I have gone car shopping or even job searching (well in a past life at least!)  It is my health and well-being that are going to be affected and well, I take that very seriously.

Finding a CrossFit box is more than just finding a place to workout that has the right class schedule and is less than 7 miles from where I live. It is about finding the right environment, coaches and programming that are going to keep me getting progressively stronger all the time. I want to look and FEEL better every year because I do not want my 20’s or 30’s to have been my peak. (I say this about my experience, but I also encourage everyone to take that into consideration. A lot of people stay at a box often that is not the right fit for a slew of reasons, one of which is they may not even know what better is. This could be another blog post in and of itself so I digress).

I had found a box that I was going to try for a month, but I was not 100% sure if it was the right fit for me. I figured I would not know until I tried and was set to do just that until I had posted a blog I wrote earlier in the year called “4 Common Reasons CrossFitters Divorce Boxes” (link here) to a CrossFit Masters group I am in on Facebook as the members share information and questions. Anyways, I am glad I did it because an owner of a box that is just under 7 miles from where I live reached out to me to drop in. I think he just really wants masters athletes there which I am happy to represent (although after my embarrassing incident, he is surely going to reconsider).

I did drop in and I did like it. I was excited too because he invited me to come back the next day when he would be working out. I should mention, he’s a Regionals/Games athlete. I felt like I got invited to hang with the cool kids. So when I got there for my second drop-in, it kind of felt like meeting CrossFit celebrities. (It was him and 3 other equally bad ass coaches). Despite feeling intimidated, I was digging the vibe. It was a bit exhilarating to know I would potentially be a member at a box where there is that kind of caliber (and for the record, I am NOT insinuating I am ever going to be a Games athlete! I just mean it is inspiring as a unicorn to be working out alongside that talent and coached by the best of the best).

The workout that we were going to do had chest-to-bar pull-ups.  After the warm up, I figured it would be wise to do one or two before the actual workout since truth be told, I am not the best at them. I hopped up on a bar and swung (probably violently as I tend to do that to make sure my chest makes contact with the bar). It happened pretty fast so I’m not 100% what went down (or up) exactly, but at some point in my swing, I smacked my forehead at full force into another bar maybe 6 inches above the one that I was on. Yeah, I somehow managed to not see that when I picked my spot to do a pull-up.

I do not even know how to explain the pain of having my head go crashing into pure metal other it felt like this sort of slow shattering sensation. It was then very quickly followed by pure shock like “What the FREAK just happened?”  It is also possible that due to shock or denial, had someone not said “hey get down, you are bleeding” I would have proceeded to attempt another pull-up. (I never said I am the brightest bulb on the porch).

When I got down from the bar, I went totally numb at that point other than a little tingling in my nose which thankfully I did not break. I was being asked if my head hurt while we were attempting to stop the bleeding. I felt no real pain at that point. Just sheer and total humiliation. (And I probably said at least a dozen times, “I am fine. I am just so embarrassed.”) My ego hurt far more than my head, at least for the ten minutes until I left to go to Urgent Care.  I was also annoyed that I did not even get a workout in which made me even more so embarrassed. (Have I mentioned how embarrassed I was??)

Anyways, I did have to get stitches (3 of them) but it could be worse. I did not break any teeth. I didn’t crack my skull. It is just a bit of a gash prominently on my forehead that may or may not scar. (Also for the record, I typically cannot hit a target to save my life. You should see me trying to do wall balls. Yet, I somehow managed to hit my head dead center. I aced that one).

So I will probably be known as the new girl who needed stitches from a pull-up, but it also made me realize a few things.

For the first few days after my sweet little injury, I was freaked out about the realization of just how many things can go wrong. Because like any sport, there is always the risk for injury. I have already had my share of injuries, and really wanted to believe I was beyond that. I realized I could either continue to wallow in self-pity and fear what may or may not happen, or I could just get over it. I chose the latter. I knew that it would take more than 3 stitches to keep me away from CrossFit.

Despite how much of a drama queen I may feel like, it has made me very aware of something that I did not really want to admit to myself. I had lost my zest for CrossFit. Over the last few months, I have not been enjoying it. I have just wanted to get in and get out.  I have not really cared a whole lot about what my WOD times have been or how many reps I have done or even how much weight I have used or if I felt stronger than yesterday. And that is no way to be.

The fact that I am still looking forward to going back and becoming a member is very indicative of how much I am in need of a change.  The reputation of their box is astounding and getting a small taste of it has like reawakened the bad ass hidden in me (well I guess re-awaken is up for debate. I am not a bad ass, I just want to feel like one. Again).

I know that when I can get past this little blip (because in due time, it really will be just a blip), in the long run, I will get stronger there. I also know that I am sure to discover my areas of weaknesses and problems with technique that will be hard on the old pride too, but a necessary evil to get better. If I can handle walking out of a box after 15 minutes to get stitches, I can handle anything.  My point? The experiences that leave us humbled are often the ones we need the most.

 

 

The Beautiful Mind of a Disjointed Boss Babe

A month into my new life (which hot damn, that month has gone fast!) and I am just a big ball of emotions. All the time. How am I feeling exactly? I wish I could answer that in one or two words. I can’t though because every day, every minute brings me something different. Liberated.  Scared. In control. Not so in control. Happy. Definitely happy.  Overwhelmed. Motivated. Accountable. Grateful. Humbled. Inspired. Inspiring. Empowered.

I have moments where I feel extremely grateful without a care in the world. Like this past week when I took an impromptu trip to visit my brother and his family. Being able to be in the moment with my niece and nephews and just appreciate how lucky I am to be their aunt brought me more holiday joy than anything else possibly can. While I know it was my choice to move across country and away from my family, that does not mean it makes that distance any easier. I miss out on so many milestones and events like my nieces’ dance recitals and my nephews’ soccer games or just being able to baby sit on the fly. I got to attend my nephew’s kindergarten Christmas pageant on Friday which was the most adorable thing ever. I got to meet his teacher who told me how excited he was that he selected me to send a gingerbread boy to as part of a school project on geography. I got to just feel like I had a bigger part in his life. With my new journey, I have the freedom to do more of that which is just pure gold.

I also have moments where I get so freaked out because well studying is hard (and I have not done it in forever). I get serious butterflies when I think about having to pass an exam in another few months. What if I do not pass? Then what? What if I do pass?  I have moments where I wonder if I am focusing on the right thing at the right time. I assumed initially doing the ketone slaying thing would make the most sense because that has a more immediate sense of potential versus coaching which still feels like something far off in the distance. Something I am clearly not ready for.

Or am I? I met with a potential client (and while it has not panned out with her, it is still an experience I needed), which was way earlier on my timeline than I expected. When opportunity knocks though, you don’t tell it, “Oh my I don’t think I am ready! Can you come back in a few months?” Because let’s face it, opportunities come around for a reason. I will never be 100% ready so if I waited for that, I will miss out on so much. Anyways, I digress. I realized talking with her that yes, I have a lot to learn in the coaching business, but I actually have more to offer than I gave myself credit for. My point is, I am realizing I often short change myself instead of remembering I can do this!

Overwhelmed is another common emotion for me these days. I have so much I want to do that I feel like I am not actually doing it. Writing for example. I have always loved writing ever since I was a little girl writing quite possibly the worst short stories ever, probably (most definitely) loosely based on Sweet Valley High characters. I ignored writing for many MANY years because I really just did not know what my medium or voice is. And now, I feel like I have finally found it or at least am damn close to finding it. I have not figured out how to monetize writing, yet I have this sort of instinctual feeling that I could be on the verge of some break through with it. Or, is it just wishful thinking? (I reposted a blog yesterday that I wrote earlier in the year to a CrossFit Facebook group I am in and got almost 3,000 views. IN ONE DAY! I feel like a rock star who is being discovered. So let’s hope it is not wishful thinking!)

Pretty much at most times I am guilty of feeling like there are a million things I should be doing. Do I need to be learning more on becoming a coach? Do I proactively have to start putting together a plan? What do I need at a minimum to start? Do I need to read articles about monetizing blogging? Should I be reading books? Am I not dedicated because I took an hour a week to watch “Outlander” when I could have spent that time researching? (Who am I kidding? Jamie takes priority!)

It goes on and on and it’s overwhelming

I am definitely happy in my new venture albeit more freaked out than I think I care to admit to myself. While it is nice to be liberated and chose how and when I utilize my time, it is overwhelming. I have days where I sit down and I will literally be having 2 conversations with customers, my personal Training textbook open and Word open with 2 lines to a possible blog post. And I end up snacking. Which is a whole other conversation.

Anyways, my point is, taking on a new adventure, a new life really, is so many things. When friends and family ask how I am, it’s inevitably a minimum of a 15 minute conversation. It is quite apparent from this blog, this journey is very disjointed. Which is a good thing. Journeys are not meant to be cut and dry. Turn here, go there. Journeys are meant to be teaching moments. To challenge us. To make us question ourselves and our paths. To make us persevere. To make us appreciate what we have. This is the first time I really have had no set income which for now, is ok. I am enjoying little moments in a totally different way. I do not have this heart achy feeling of doom like I am stuck in something I do not want anymore. I can go for a leisurely lunch on a Tuesday and walk around a farmer’s market. I can sit on an outdoor patio at a local coffee shop in December (#braggingrights). I can face time with my sister and her kids at 2:00 on a Thursday without having to sneak off to a conference room for just a few minutes before rushing off to a meeting. I can workout at 9:00 or noon or really whenever I want. I can choose to fear what I do not know or I can chose to go with it and trust. Yes this journey is scary at times, but for right now, I am overall loving it.

7 Rookie Mistakes CrossFitters are Guilty Of

I am coming up on my 6 year CrossFitversary and one thing I know for sure is that I have not perfected it. At all. I know there are so many tips and tricks out there for how to have optimal workouts that do not even necessarily have to do with actually learning the “how” in movements and skills. I am sharing with you 7 common rookie mistakes that we all have made or will make at some point. Let’s change that shall we?

 

  1. CrossFit should never get “easier”.

You may improve at a skill like pull-ups or double unders. You may be able to increase the load you lift, but that does not mean CrossFit gets “easier”. It means YOU get STRONGER, and so you need to always be scaling your workouts UP and challenging yourself.

  1. Ditch those running shoes when you walk into a box.

You would not wear weight lifting shoes to go running so why would you wear running shoes to lift weights? They just are not constructed to be meant for what happens inside a box. I have seen people come in running shoes that I am convinced would actually fly them to the moon.

I found this article (which I recommend reading in full for more details) http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/heres-why-you-should-never-lift-heavy-running-shoes.

There is a key point made in the article, “Running shoes and weightlifting shoes are on opposite ends of the footwear spectrum, and those differences impact your performance. The most basic—and most important, when it comes to lifting—is that running shoes are cushiony, while lifting shoes are hard.”

  1. Not taking advantage of an extra few minutes to stretch.

I see this often and it makes me a little nutty. Athletes arrive a few minutes early to a class, and just sit around or socialize. Stop that! Stretch and work on mobility. Even those 2 or 3 minutes of stretching can make a world of difference (and your body will thank you and even perform better).

 

  1. Focusing on going heavy instead of moving well.

Guys (and girls) I get it, your egos may suffer a bit at the beginning. A guy at 180 pounds may be lifting less than a 120 pound female.  And that might hurt a bit. IT IS OK. That will pass. You’ll get stronger faster if you actually take the time to learn how to do movements correctly.

And for those who have been doing this CrossFit thing longer, you are not exempt from this reminder. I always say it is better to go lighter and have good form than go heavy and look like an a-hole.

  1. Mtyh: The strongest CrossFitters are those who have been doing it the longest.

Newbies sometimes think that the number of years someone has been doing CrossFit automatically puts them at the same level as others with the same tenure. For instance, everyone at the 1 year mark should be able to do strict pull-ups, handstand push ups, and Fran under 5 minutes.

Years doing CrossFit is the not the defining factor for how strong someone might be. This would be fake news.

Yes, years may equate to being more proficient or have better form, but it is not universal. In fact, so many people when they start, unlike my point in #4, focus so much on going heavy that they end up hitting a plateau. Because their form is no bueno they aren’t going to get any stronger. And often leads to injury (take it from me) which sidelines people, setting them back a bit.

My point is this. When you start CrossFit, do not worry about how long you’ve been doing it or how long your boxmates have.  Or what you “should” be able to do. Everyone has different time frames and all you should do is focus on yours. That is how you will keep kicking ass. And if you do feel like you are not where you want to be, then use that to light a fire under your ass to set and hit some goals.

 

  1. “It looks easy on paper.”

 

If you ever say this, then it is likely you are going to eat those words. Even basic movements on paper might look easy peasy until you try to do them for time or max reps. Here is a workout I did a few months back that on paper, a lot of people underestimated how hard it would be because the weights were not heavy (and by not heavy, cleans in particular, were scaled downed significantly compared to the weights that they typically are for RX workouts).

 

Seven Rounds For Time:

15 Kettlebell Swings 1.5 pood/1 pood
15 Power Cleans 95#/65#
15 Box Jumps 24”/20”

 

When you go to a box that has solid programming, you learn to TRUST it. In a workout like the one above, there was a method behind it. While the weight was light (and box jumps low), it still was a lot of volume.

 

And when you do have those rare days that are really as easy as they are on paper, trust that it is part of a plan. We all need days where we do not go all out, and it will show in good programming. They make allowances for that to help us recover (and most likely get our money’s worth the next day).

 

  1. ­­­Always CrossFit with the same people.

When you find the people who really push you to workout, yes, they are going to 100 percent keep you coming back. I get that. I mean I am loyal to my 6 am peops because we just have an established vibe and support system happening.

And I get that people often pick a consistent class time based on logistics and schedule. For shits and giggles though, every now and then, try a different class. Or if you are always in the same class and you tend to pair off with the same person, try mixing it up. Share a rack with someone different. Do a partner workout with the person you spend the least amount of time with.

You may be surprised and learn something new from someone different or find you push yourself harder. Maybe you always workout with someone at your same level. Maybe though you could workout with someone who is stronger or faster than you. You will be surprised at how that energy will push YOU to do that much more.

Mix it up.  Get out of your routine and comfort zone with who you workout with. As CrossFitters we might be beasts, but we won’t bite.

 

Ok my CrossFit friends. Change perspective a bit, because really that is all that these 7 are asking of you. And go get it.