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!

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

Dear Universe: I Got This

Foreword:  Can I first take a minute to say THANK YOU? I have been confident in my decision to leave my corporate ­­job and start a new journey. I expected SOME support from my close friends and family. I had NO IDEA that the support would literally come from every single person I have talked to, interacted with and who have been following my posts (and last week’s blog). You would think that as an adult hearing another adult say “I am proud of you” would not give you warm fuzzies, but guess what? It sure as shit does. Having so much validation from everyone has not just humbled me, but has given me such a confidence boost. It is also keeping me accountable and motivated because I feel like this is not just my journey, but something bigger that is going to inspire many people.

Also I really need to work on an elevator pitch for what it is I want to do. For now, let’s just say a fitness coach.

I believe that many of us approach change with practicality. We like to have a backup plan, Plan B, planned out just as well as Plan A. So it is really not surprising that quite a few people have told me (upon learning that I am venturing into something very new, very different), “Well you have great skills and if your plan does not work out the way you want it to, you can always come back here or find another corporate job.” I am very grateful that I am respected and valued enough to have that option, yet I am not allowing myself to even entertain it, not even for one micro second.

I am a strong believer that what you put out to the universe is what you get back. So if I even tell myself or I tell someone else or I tell the universe straight up that I am ok with returning to a job similar to the one I am leaving, then I am essentially giving myself permission to not succeed at my journey ahead. I cannot give myself a fall back plan that  involves returning to a job that does not inspire me. I have to believe in myself and my abilities (and divine timing) that I am on the path meant for me. I have to believe that I CAN (and will!) succeed at my dream. I have to believe that I do not belong in a traditional corporate environment and that I should not ever go back again (unless it is because they want me to coach their employees for healthier living! #shamelessplug).

I have nothing but excitement for what is ahead of me, which if you know me, speaks volume. I am not someone who typically goes with the flow or just “trusts”. It has taken me a long time to get to where I am, and I am choosing to focus on the positive. By giving myself permission to return to the corporate life is like telling myself I may not be good enough to do what I want to do. I would never say that to a friend or my sister or a niece or a nephew that they “may” succeed. I would tell them, “Absolutely! You got this!” So why would I tell myself anything less?

I had an epiphany watching a recent Facebook live that one of my respected leaders at Pruvit (the company I am an independent promoter for) posted.  She talked about how when she herself chose to take a leap of faith to promote, she had a lot on the line financially. She really did not even have the money for the small investment to get started. She did it though, and she told herself that she would and HAS to sell the product she was investing in. And she did. Pretty damn quickly too.

When she was telling that story, I realized I had the complete opposite mindset when I started promoting. I told myself that the worst case scenario was that if I did not sell the initial batch ketones I had to purchase that it was just a little bit of money and no major setback. And guess what? It took me months to completely sell them. Why? Because I gave myself an out. I told myself “it is ok if I do not succeed.” And after hearing my leader talk and having many conversations this past week with many people about my sort seemingly crazy but admirable career change, I realized that I need to ditch that thinking, with ketones and with my future business. I need to tell myself that I HAVE to do this. And I will. I believe that 100%. And I have to do it without a backup plan or contingency thinking.

I also think that we give ourselves permission to not succeed because it is easier on our ego. It is far harder to give something everything we have and not succeed than it is to maybe give half our energy and fail. Because then, it’s like, “Well I didn’t really commit to it.” Or “I knew it was risky, so I’m ok that I did not do well.”  If I am walking away from a solid income and stability, why on earth would I want to take any chances that I cannot replenish that? Girlfriend would have to be crazy. Which I am not. I am practical and sensible, yes. And even pragmatic. In this scenario though, where it is my livelihood and more importantly my happiness and mental sanity, I am completely committing to this. I want to. And I have to.

Committing to something obviously is not solely a way of thinking. I still have a lot of hard work cut out for me. I have to commit every fiber of me to this. Probably just as importantly, I have to work on a little thing too called confidence. If I believe in myself and my plans, then others will too. (People snuff out doubt and weakness like hounds, and that just comes back around in the universe). For the first time in my life, career wise, I am being very brave. I have no room for giving myself an out, even if it is hardly detectable.  Instead, I will stay focused, stay positive, and hustle my buns off. Because there is a lot of amazing, fulfilling, beyond- my dreams success waiting for me.

Sometimes You Just Need a Kick in the Butt From the Universe

I have been waiting a long time to write this. Actually, I have been waiting a long time to post this. I have been writing this far before I even knew this post would be a thing. Because I have been manifesting for this to happen. I have been 100% believing that it would. I just did not know when. Or how.

I am leaving my corporate job.

 

Microphone drop.

 

I have put it out there that I want to leave and have been mentally getting myself ready to do that. So getting the push to go has not been scary for me. It’s been liberating. I have known I would leave, I just did not know when or how. When I got the news I am part of a surplus, I felt gratitude and relief. It is so easy (and if we are honest with ourselves, how many of us are feeling this way?) to stay complacent and not act. Because to act is to go into the unknown. It’s to go into something that is seemingly less stable or unpredictable (but let’s be real, how many corporate jobs are truly secure anymore?). I have been dipping my toes in other ponds for a while and now the universe is giving me the push to GO ALL IN.

 

While I have been remarkably and surprisingly cool, calm and collected, when I really think about what I am giving up, I have moments of “what the F am I doing?” My entire career all my job choices have been made on two very basic things: stability and money. I was taught at an early age to never be without them so as soon as they were in my control (aka I started adulting), I made decisions based on that.

 

Yet, every time in my life I have accepted a new job, I always had this knowing feeling it was not right for me. I of course pushed those feelings down as far as I possibly could. Today though, I am at the point in my life where I simply choose to no longer ignore that. It will not serve me going forward.

 

I am a firm believer in timing. I should say that this life changing decision was not one I made on a whim or on a feeling. It has been years in the making. With the help of my spiritual healer, she has taught me to trust in myself, my abilities and the universe. To trust that I would be guided at the right time to make changes, and that until then I need not worry about it or proactively seek out whatever it is I am meant to do. I have spent years working on myself and overcoming my own demons and roadblocks. I have also manifested the shit out of good things to come my way because I have known in my heart of hearts that I was playing a role in my job that was not something I wanted or could sustain.

 

And so the day has come that I am going to start my transition into a new world. A new world of opportunity of positivity and validation. A new world of doing something that I know will have an impact on many people. I am finally being true to who I am and who I want to be. I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up!

 

For decades I have had so much passion for health and fitness. I am one of those people that actually freaking loves to workout (I know, weird huh?) I absolutely love talking about working out and I can’t really understand those people who do not love it. One of the great things about being an Independent Promoter for Pruvit is that it has forced me to broaden my network. Conversations I am having, regardless if people are interested in ketones or not, have lead to being inspired over and over again. There is no shortage of inspiration in this world when you take the time to hear other people’s stories.

 

I feel like ketones are my gateway drug to so to speak. It has given me a taste of that euphoria of helping someone feel all the feels. It has given me a taste of what it would be like to really listen to someone and understand what it is they need, or what they are missing. I am also starting to realize and understand that while I have that drive and grit to workout and to not shy away from it, not everyone does. There are endless valid reasons why people fear it. Or maybe they want it but they do not know where to start. Maybe they feel like a fish out of water at a gym, which I get because I am completely uncomfortable when I step into a Home Depot. And it’s like everyone there KNOWS I do not belong. And so I quickly find what I need (by find, I mean I have to have someone direct me) and then I get the hell out as fast as I possibly can. That’s how people feel about working out I believe if they have any kind of hang up or roadblock.

 

Or maybe someone wants to workout but they are overwhelmed by choices or they do not know what type of workout suits them. So instead of trying them out, they may not do a thing. Which by doing nothing is really doing something. We have choices and there are so many options out there. I want to be that person that helps someone find what they like so that they can make their dreams and goals a reality.

 

I want to help people stay accountable and be that extra support they need to become healthy and fit.

I want to do this because I know how amazing someone can feel if they take action. It is common and very easy to talk about wanting something, but never do it. Then as soon as you do, and you start seeing results, you ask WHY did I wait this long?
Between what I see myself doing and the skills I am fortunate to have learned over my current career are all lining up to make me kick ass at my dreams. I wish I knew what my “job title” is, but that will come as I work more on the business and marketing side of my journey. (Which p.s. I do not see myself being called a health coach. So for all you marketing geniuses, I am open for suggestions as to how to brand myself).

 

I always thought I would transition into a new career when I had every last detail sorted out and not a second sooner, but I am realizing I don’t need that to go all in. In fact, over just these last 3 days of talking to my colleagues about leaving, I am getting even more validation and support that I ever anticipated. I keep waiting for someone to tell me I am crazy or stupid or reckless. But guess what? Nobody has said that. It’s validation that because I am SCREAMING into the universe that I am more than ready to trust it, and that is what I am getting back. Nobody is trying to talk me out of it because it is meant for me to be taking the biggest leap of faith ever. Being open and honest not just with myself but with those I work with, interact with, friends, family, hairdresser, you name it is opening me up even more for what is in my power to have. The universe gives back what we give to it, and that is why I am more than confident in knowing I am making the right choice, the best choice, for myself.

If You Want It, Manifest It and Make It Happen

I have so many thoughts, ideas, and inspiration percolating in my little Beetltejuice sized head, IT IS INSANE!

I almost did not blog this week (and well I didn’t blog last) because I do not even know how to put on paper (figuratively speaking that is) what my thoughts have been. So I am going to do my very best to share with you where I am at because well, it has taken over my brain. And you should know.

The truth of the matter is I know in my heart that I am meant to be sharing more of myself and my soul with the world. I have so much to give to people that I am only now just really tapping into. (And for the records, ketones has had a big part in that. I finally am doing something where I am getting sincere thanks and gratitude relating to wellness).

I have spent A LOT of time networking over the last few months. Which sidebar, I must acknowledge and THANK all the amazing, supportive people out there. Facebook and social media can be a very powerful tool to connect you with people you would never otherwise have access to. And for that I am so grateful. I am finding validation and guidance from so many of you that I am fortunate to now be in the acquaintance of.

I saw the sign.

It’s no secret I am spiritual. I ask my angels all the time for messages before I go to sleep at night, and I always just expect they will be given in my dreams. That is not always the case. Often we get messages from unexpected people, strangers even. I was looking for guidance on well, what is my purpose in this world? I asked for a clear sign and I got it.  It took me a few days to realize it, but it was there, clear as day. It was in a chat with someone I recently added on Facebook. Signs show up in unexpected places and forms, but never discount them. (And it goes to show that even our angels and guides are keeping up with the technological times!) This sign has lit something in me to really change gears and follow my passion.

All signs point to…

My eyes light up when I talk about CrossFit, fitness and health. There’s such an adrenaline rush when physically working out and then there is also like this crazy mental stimulation when I get to relive and relate to other people.  I have always just thought it was a hobby for me. I am realizing though there is no reason I cannot do more with it than classify it as an interest.

I want to be the one that you go to when you are in a health rut and need someone to motivate you to reach your goals and dreams. I want to be the one who works with you to come up with a plan to get there. I want to be the one that you see as inspiring. I love hearing of your wins and successes and I also love being able to help you overcome challenges.

All signs point to I want to coach. I feel like I have actually known this on some level for years, but I have pushed it down. Far far down.

What I do not know…

What I do not yet know is what I need to do to get there. I have been researching taking different certification programs for coaching. I also should add that I have not yet defined what kind of coach I want to be. I am hesitant to call it a Health Coach because that could mean different things. Health coaches can vary from focusing on nutrition and weight loss to focusing on someone’s overall well- being to a slew of other awesomeness.  I also have been contemplating getting some kind of Personal Training certification to help me be more rounded and possibly able to advise or coach clients. P.S. I am open to suggestions on certifications and courses as while I have been searching, I have not yet found “the one”.

What I also do not know yet is what would my services be? I have gone to career coaches, for examples, whose sessions have varied. Sometimes they are discussions and advice to give me a plan as to how to handle a specific issue. Some have been with tangibles like giving me cards and exercises on developing Performance Plans for my team. So when I think about coaching, what is a session with a client going to look like? Is it to help people come up with a sustainable fitness plan? Is it therapy-ish style? Do I even need to know that right now? I suspect I will figure all that out the further deep  I go.

I suspect that my services may evolve as I learn more about coaching. I am grateful for all the leadership and communication trainings I have taken over the years because I am confident in my abilities to listen and coach. I have learned so much about the importance in choosing my words carefully and about guiding people instead of just immediately problem solving for them. I want to take these skills and apply it to more wellness coaching.

I may be in the early stages of piecing it all together or who knows? Maybe it is closer to coming to fruition than I realize. I am excited to start really jumping into this world to find my niche. I am ecstatic to share this with you as I always welcome the positive vibes I get from you.. So while I research and manifest, stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

5 Ridiculously Irrational CrossFit Fears

So many of our fears can be irrational or debilitating.

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Fear 2.0

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

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

 

It’s been a week box of retesting 1 rep maxes.  Snatches. Squats. Cleans. Jerks. You name it. What do they have in common? Fear. 1 RM brings out fear in the best of us. There is the fear of failing. The fear of letting the mental override the physical. The fear of committing to a movement. The fear of experiencing what suck really feels like.

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

 

The thing is though, we use fear as a reason to not push ourselves. It feels safer that way. Or maybe it feels easier. It’s better to successfully press 100 lbs and not even try 105 (that’s just crazytown) than it is to attempt 105 and fail.  Psych! Read that and tell me it makes any logical sense. If you do CrossFit, it’s a safe assumption that you are there for the challenge. We don’t walk away from a metcon typically saying “that was fun”. We are there for the suck. The suck is what makes all of it gratifying and challenging and therefore fun.

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

 

Fear means getting comfortable being uncomfortable.  In CrossFit, the whole idea is to push ourselves beyond our limits. We can never do that if we stay comfortable and never get on the other side of fear.

 

 

 

To take this one step further, let’s get into the difference between feeling challenged and feeling like you are doing the near impossible. There is a fine line between the two yet the distinction is so powerful. Take back squats for example. If you have ever done a squat cycle, this should sound familiar. The volume and load methodically increases and decreases throughout the cycle. You slowly build strength. When you are in one of the last weeks of it, you’ll likely be doing reps at a high percentage of what your starting 1 RM max is. Or you may be doing higher reps at somewhat lower percentage. It’s not likely you will fail (even if you fear you will) as squat cycles are brilliantly programmed to avoid this. So you go through the reps, and no, they are not easy, but you do not fail.

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

 

Then comes the retest day. You start working your way up to your 1 RM and then you test the waters and increase the weight to get a new PR. When you get to that say 110% of your 1 RM, the difficult y of that squat should feel subtly yet distinctively harder than when you squatted during the cycle. There’s that defining moment right after you complete the descend and start to stand back up. It’s that really sticky make or break moment where you dig deep inside and push like hell through it. And you do it! Yet, when you are on the ascend there’s a split moment where you make the choice to give in or keep going.  If you give into it without trying, you have gained nothing. If you power through it, you may actually experience a really wickedly awesome moment. Even if you fail trying, it will benefit you far more than not trying at all. Giving into fear just kills the drive and motivation to ever push harder. Fear despite the connotation, is actually a good thing, if you let it power you as opposed to inhibit. If we wanted to stay comfortable all the time, we would not be in CrossFit.

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

 

Those sticky moments are uncomfortable. The first time you experience it, it may even be intimidating and feel icky. I encourage everyone to find that sticky moment. It’s difficult to even explain that feeling. All I can say is once you do, you will fear those moments less. The element of the unknown is gone and you will feel far more confident to keep testing yourself. Find that and then watch and see all that you will accomplish.

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

 

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