Mineral Baths Got Me Like…

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Ridiculously Irrational CrossFit Fears

So many of our fears can be irrational or debilitating.

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Fear 2.0

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

To All You Creatures of Habit: Go Towards The Unexpected

 

A few weeks ago, a close friend of mine was raving to me about a product, keto/os, she had been trying and was 100% sold on. She had all this sudden energy and new found excitement and lust for life. She was so smitten with it that I naturally wanted to try it. I barely needed any other information because hello? Who wouldn’t want more energy? I got my ketone samples a few days later and within a few days, I completely and utterly understood why she was elated over ketones. I too was hooked.

My friend gently nudged me about how I would be perfect to promote. She told me I embody health and fitness. I love CrossFit and I love working out and she was positive that it would be a natural step for me to take. I was hesitant to say the least primarily because I do not consider myself to be the sales type AT ALL. If anything, it is nothing I ever envisioned myself doing. Yet, something about the proposition was appealing to me. I could not deny that she was right about my passion, and let’s be honest. Any chance I get to talk about it, I gladly do whether it is in a meeting at work, bumping into a friend or chatting after a workout  with my fellow athletes. When she pointed out that is it not a sales thing when it is something that is an authentic part of my life, I knew she was quite right. It’s a lifestyle I am completely on board with and essentially really all I am doing is sharing that with others. She’s a smart woman who I trust (and for the record, the only person I would trust to lead me on this journey) and so I signed up. I got myself samples and well, here I am, just a few weeks later. I am not the top promoter by any means (YET!) , but I definitely am an improved version of myself.  And here is why.

It’s like this crazy confidence booster.  The primary way that I have been generating hype and interest is by posting on social media. I have had quite a few unexpected people reach out to me asking, “OK, Missy, I am intrigued. What are these ketones you are taking?” It is gratifying to me and a testament to my character, to my integrity that friends and acquaintances (even family!) trust and respect me enough to know that if I am raving and posting relentlessly about anything, it is because I completely believe in it. I am not trying to scam anyone or stimulate interest on something that I think is mediocre. I have had people reach out to me who I haven’t exchanged a single word with in years. I am humbled knowing that they trust me. I am humbled that they are not shying away from reaching out to me. I am humbled knowing that they do not view me as like an annoying infomercial on social media. One woman in particular, who I have not seen in two years, even told me that she reads my blog posts and gets inspired (in addition to wanting to learn more about ketones). Total bonus. It really fills my heart with this new warmth and bliss knowing I am having an impact on others.

Similarly, for those who have tried keto/os (the product I am promoting) l I have received so many messages telling me how much they are loving it. They are experiencing the same things I am that are almost hard to describe. They are full of energy, full of excitement and vigor. They are feeling stronger when they workout and are just overall feeling recharged.  It is so gratifying for me to know that I am playing a part in sharing this with people and guiding them to embrace this lifestyle. It’s filling a void I suppose I had without even knowing it. I have always been passionate about health and fitness and I always derive enjoyment whenever people talk to me about it or ask me about my experiences or for advice. With ketones, it harnesses those same emotions and qualities, but it is on a whole different level. People are taking my recommendation on a product that sounds like it is too good to be true (spoiler alert, it is that good! And there is nothing fantastical about it.  It is as real as it gets). Our bodies are sacred and I completely understand why people are cautious about what they put into them. So along with their own research and my little humble opinion, they are deciding to try it. And I thank everyone who has. I thank them because it is truly the highest form of flattery.

Another really rewarding aspect of this new journey is all these people I am getting to know that I would probably not otherwise have crossed paths with. I am meeting so many other women (albeit virtually) who are promoting for keto/os and every day I find myself absolutely inspired and awestruck by them. (For the record, there are plenty of men who are also part of the keto/os family). It is really special and unique to be promoting for something along with all these other women who are so completely and utterly vested in. We chat all the time about the importance of being positive, manifesting our intentions and what we want from the universe. I realize it sounds really cheesy and like I am in a hippie time warp and maybe it is and maybe I am. For me though, it is nurturing this part of me that clearly is shouting to be heard. We share information on ketones,  we seek advice, we share successes (and failures).  Through it all, it’s like there is this understood and agreed upon no-negativity policy. Sure we vent about frustrations but we do not spend much time in those lows. We learn, we encourage and we move on. We all live in different places across the country (Kentucy, New Mexico, New jersey to name a few..) and we all lead very different lives. We all also have our own different angles and spin on how we promote ketones. Yet we all have this common ground and respect. It is the most unique “work” environment I have ever been in. Perhaps I am in a bit of a euphoria because I do not look at this like a job (and yes I am not solely supporting myself on promoting). But it is like a dream work environment where EVERYONE seems to be on the same page. It is not something that happens everywhere, and I am no fool to ever take it for granted.

I am a total creature of habit, which can be good but it also can be limiting. Promoting is something that is so far out of my comfort zone and completely out of my norm, yet in this short time, it is already opening my eyes to things I would not have been receptive to otherwise. It is reminding me that it is ok to go after things even if they seem to defy my norm.  (If you read my blog last week, this nicely ties together. Link here). It is reminding me to trust. Trust myself. Trust the universe. Trust that things happen for a reason. I have no idea where promoting ketones will take me. I have no idea if it is my end game. I have no idea if it is short term or long term. And all of that is ok. Right now, it is in my life for a reason and I am going to get the most out of it. The most important aspect in all of this is that it is something I am not doing on my own. I get to share it with all of you and so I thank you from the bottom of my heart for going along with me.

 

 

 

 

As Much as I Love Being Injected With Cat Dander, Time to Battle Allergies Differently

Allergies will get me every time. I fight them every day (with nasal spray, an inhaler and prescription drugs. I am like a superhero, Allergy Girl!). I fight them every month with good old allergy shots (I have lost count of how many times I have had a tube of cat dander injected into my arm). While this may sound like complaints, I recognize that I am fortunate that allergies are my biggest chronic health issue (knock on wood). Having said that, you should know I am allergic to virtually all environmental things plus household things like mold and dust mites as well as a few foods. I sniffle so much that I don’t even notice that I do it anymore. So it is not surprising that if I could, I would prefer banishing allergy fighting from my every day super hero battles.

When a friend recommended I call a Natural Allergy Healer, I did so with few questions asked. I looked up the site and saw some verbiage about Bioenergetic Intolerance Elimination (BIE). I also read reviews of people who had been treated by her and were raving about how she was able to cure allergies that modern medicine could not.  While part of me is skeptical of something that is based on Eastern knowledge and non- traditional medicine, I figured I have nothing to lose (and a whole lot to gain).

I am two sessions into BIE and while I still have a few more to go, I am fascinated by it and feeling optimistic.  I have been wanting to rave about what BIE is but have been unable to do it any justice in my explanation. So I turned to my bestie, google, and am excited to be able to share with you what I am learning.

Before even starting the BIE treatment (definition on BIE coming later), my healer  first had to establish what I am allergic to and then decide which ones of those she could focus on first. To do this, she performed muscle testing. You are wondering, “What is muscle testing?” Amy B. Scher, Author and Energy Healer, explains it well on her blog .

Muscle Testing: Getting Answers From the Subconscious Mind

Much research has revealed the power of our subconscious minds. The                   subconscious mind is like a human computer, recording everything that has happened in our lives. Through my studies, I have come to believe the subconscious mind knows exactly what is going on with us, and how we can heal from it.

What is Muscle Testing (aka applied kinesiology)?

The body has within it and surrounding it an electrical network or grid, which is pure energy. Because energy runs through the muscles in your body, if anything impacts your electrical system that does not maintain or enhance your body’s balance, your muscles will virtually “short circuit” or weaken (don’t worry, only temporarily). Things that might have an impact on your electrical system are thoughts and emotions, foods, and other substances.

Using your muscles, we can find what events or emotions “weaken” or “strengthen” your body. This process is called applied kinesiology, but often referred to as “muscle testing.” It’s simply a really cool way we can ask your body questions and get clear answers – like a telephone to the subconscious mind.

My healer used a muscle testing method where I would sit on a chair, with my legs uncrossed. She would have me touch my thumb to my pinky on my right hand. Then, she would hand me a vile with an allergen in it which, with my left hand, I would hold against my right forearm. She would say something to the effect of “strong, stay closed, weak open”.  Essentially, if she could detach my fingers (this being “weak”), then it would indicate an allergy. If my fingers stayed closed, that’s the “strong”, indicated not allergic.  Ok, I fully realize this sounds a bit fictious or that perhaps someone could easily control themselves whether their fingers stayed open or closed, but trust me, I fully believe muscle testing is the real deal. I would tell myself desperately DO NOT let her open your fingers, but it would fail vile after vile. For the record, I tested allergic to the same things that my traditional allergy doctor verified (and then some) through skin testing. She identified a multitude of allergens like trees, grass, flowers, weather smog, mold, and the list goes on and on.

fingers.jpg

My healer had to then figure out from all those allergens, which she should treat me for first. It would be too much on my body to do them all in one go. If you can allow yourself to accept the theory of kinesiology, it really is not so crazy. Substitute in the definition  cited earlier  “allergens” for “events or emotions”, and that’s what she did. Doing the same muscle testing, she would have me hold viles of what I tested positive on to my arm, and she would ask my body (yes you read that right, she asked my body), “Is it for Missy’s higher good if I treat her for <insert allergen>? Weak for yes, strong for no.”  She went through different combinations and in my first session, she whittled it down to treating me for grasses (about 40 different varieties).

After she figured out what to treat, she started the BIE itself.

(Taken from Back to Wellness):

What is BIE?

Bioenergetic Intolerance Elimination is a simple, natural new approach that enables one’s body to recognize sensitivities or intolerances, assisting in recovery from associated allergy-like symptoms, without the use of needles or drugs.

How does BIE work?

A lightweight state-of-the-art device is used to transmit a low electronic frequency directly onto various acupuncture points (without the use of needles) on the body to stimulate and clear any blockages in energy known as stressors. During this procedure the client is exposed to the frequencies of the substances they are intolerant or sensitive to (not the actual substances themselves). While the blockages are clearing, the body’s cells can adapt to recognize the stressing frequency. When this non-invasive and painless procedure is complete, the body will hopefully no longer see the sensitivity or intolerance as a threat when exposed to it, therefore no longer producing any adverse reactions.

BIE is completely pain free and non-invasive, and it is super quick might I add (a few minutes tops).  The only thing I had to following the session was to stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water.

Truth be told, I was not totally convinced after my first session that BIE had worked. The first few days after, LA had horrendous winds which always aggravate my allergies. I was congested, had a headache and constantly carrying a tissue. By the end of the second week, I was noticing a slight decrease in symptoms. I also conducted my very official verification of how bad allergies are by texting a few of my friends who usually suffer allergies the same times I do.  One had responded that hers had been horrible, and I was pleasantly surprised that I would not describe mine as such. Maybe there is something to be said for BIE…

Two weeks after my first session, I went back for my second BIE treatment. She went through the same muscle testing and guess what! When she retested me for grasses (which is what she treated me for in my first session), my fingers amazingly did not open.  She went through the same exercise of determining what to treat me for and my body decided on weeds, a few household allergens, histamine, smog, and wind and barometric pressure. (Yes even weather can be allergens!) While I was there, I asked if she could test me to see if I am allergic to lip gloss. The few times I wear it, I end up with the most dried out, blotchy looking lips ever. They are painful and ugly so I generally go all natural. I was astounded that she was able to test me with the tube of lip gloss itself and yes, she confirmed I am allergic. While I am prioritizing it low, I am adding it to my list of allergens I want to banish.

I completely buy into what all the cited references say about BIE and muscle testing. I personally believe in BIE  because I believe in energy. Energy in the world, energy in others and energy in ourselves.  One of my life guiding principles is making decisions based on energy. I pick up on the energy of other people and I pick up on the energy of the universe which often tells me what I should or should not do when faced with a tough decision. So to me, it is not that farfetched to believe that we have energy within our bodies that can easily be off-balance (and can just as easily be restored).

I also have gone the traditional Western route for treating allergies for years and years. I am by no means saying that medication and shots do not work. Plenty of people reap full benefit of those treatments and can ultimately be allergy free (and treatment free). I simply am not one of those people. When you get allergy shots (which is your own customized concoction that your doctor puts together based on what you are allergic to), your doctor slowly and gradually increases the dosage of allergens in each injection. The idea is you slowly build a tolerance to them which makes you progressively less sensitive to them. Everyone who gets shots responds differently. The duration of the “build- up” period can vary in the dosage and frequency. Following the build- up period starts the “maintenance” period, where ideally has an end date, and patients no longer need treatment.

To put this in perspective, I had to reach twice the average dosage in the build- up period to even start maintenance. I have had consultations with my doctor and he has said I will most likely never be free of allergy shots. I have been on maintenance about 3 years, which for me means that I am going for two shots every 3-4 weeks. (I do not want to say the shots are horrible but they are by no means pain free. So like I said earlier, after countless shots, I would not mind never having them again).

Even with shots, I am still sensitive to allergies. If it rains or the wind blows, I am sneezing up a storm. My bathroom looks like a pharmacy. I have to puff on my inhaler prior to exercise. And even while my health insurance covers most of the cost of shots and my allergy treatments,  I have still contributed my fair share to their expenses.

Given all those reasons, I have no strong argument to NOT try BIE. Even the cost of BIE is minimal considering if it alleviates allergies, then it alleviates the ongoing cost I am paying to live semi harmoniously with all my pesky allergens. I also simply relish the idea of being able to be outside in nature, WHICH I LOVE, whenever I want.

sneeze.jpg

I have another session scheduled in two weeks and I will report back! If you are intrigued and live in LA specifically, I highly recommend the healer I have been going to in Studio City. You can find her info here.

One Week Left in the CrossFit Open: Time to Get Smart

Foreword: What is the CrossFit Open? Well according to the CrossFit games website https://games.crossfit.com/about-the-games it is a test to find the “Fittest on Earth”. To get there, the first step is the Open which anyone over 14 can do at affiliates around the world. Thousands and thousands and thousands of athletes register not to make it to the games, but to test their own fitness for 5 weeks enduring 5 grueling workouts.

With just one mysterious and sure to be harrowing workout left in the 2017 CrossFit Open, it is the perfect opportunity to regroup and remember what is important as we go into the final stretch. To date, I have seen so many inspiring moments that make me pretty emotional actually. (I love seeing my fellow athletes triumph and conquer).  I have also been witness to many of the downsides of the Open. In all the hype, it is quite easy to lose focus. Many athletes forget that The Open is not about where you place on the leader board. It is about how you tackle it, both mentally and physically.  It is about exposing weaknesses so that you stop running from them and start working on them. It is about how you did compared to yesterday and about where you want to be tomorrow.

  1. There is no shame in scaling. There’s a misconception that when it comes to the scaling option that it will not be challenging or it is seemingly easy. For those who are not quite at RX but (they perceive themselves) to be above scaled, they often are torn as to which to do? Do you go out of your comfort zone to RX or do you scale and just haul ass? The question should be, which makes sense for you and your goals?Athletes need to understand there is no shame is scaling. People often want so badly to RX because they think it has more prestige. Maybe it does but it is not about prestige. It is about doing what your body can handle and using it as a benchmark. Take 17.4* for example. The women’s deadlift weight was 155 (RX) versus 95 (scaled). If 155 is close to your 1 RM, my personal philosophy is why why WHY would you want to do that? You may get a few reps but you probably will not advance to the next part. 55 reps are A LOT which will inevitably lead to form being compromised (which is not a good thing)-if you can even lift the bar after a few reps. A friend of mine thought the scaled would not be hard at all, and despite that her 1 RM is about 160, she contemplated doing RX. Fortunately (and thankfully after our coach told her hellll no), she did decide to do scaled. And guess what? It was still a challenging workout despite that it was not RX. And guess what else? She killed it scaled and walked away feeling gratified.
  1. The Open is not the end all be all. Many athletes get so hell bent on achieving greatness in an Open workout as if it is the only ever true defining moment. The Open ought to be viewed as a milestone to set new goals to work towards for the next year. The Open is not the last chance to successfully ever complete a movement or get a new PR.  Doing 17.4* twice in one day just to attempt to get your first ever Hand-Stand-Push-Up (HSPU), for example,  is not advisable and can be argued that it is rather foolish. (athletes get Rhabdo making choices like that).  Not to mention, that perceived ego is what gives the CrossFit community a bad rep.

    Similarly (and in my own personal experience), for 17.3*, I knew going into it my goal was just to get to the chest of bar pulls up in the 4th round, and then gracefully call it quits. I was asked why I didn’t even try to snatch 95 pounds, and my response was because it’s 20 pounds over my 1RM. It’s like a 0.00421% chance I could snatch it. If I ever want to challenge my 75 pound PR, I rather do it strategically and not in an open workout where not only am I beyond my capability, I would be extremely fatigued with bad form (which would  be compromising to my health even if I failed). I would prefer setting a new PR on any old day when the strength portion calls for snatches.  I would be able to SMARTLY work up to (jumping from 65 pounds to 95 pounds as was the case in 17.3* is a ridiculously big jump for an average munchkin like myself). I do not want to go that heavy when I am racing against a clock. I am confident I can snatch more than my existing 1 RM, but I don’t need the open as the forum to try it.

    There are plenty of chances after the Open to reach your goals, so do not put unrealistic pressure on yourself to achieve something when you are quite frankly just not ready for it.

  1. Focusing on the “can’t”. There are always going to be times that even the best of the best will come across movements they struggle with or simply cannot do. Bitching about them though is counterproductive. There were a lot of complaints, for example, on social media about how unfair it was to have pull-ups in 17.2* for the scaled workout. “But I do not have pull-ups!” and  “This is ostracizing a lot of the CrossFit community” and other sentiments were expressed. If you look at the history of the CrossFit Games, the programming gets increasingly more difficult every year. Take last year’s Games where ring hand-stand push-ups  and the peg board were introduced. Many of the most elite competitors struggled with them.  It took them further out of their comfort zone which is the point.  I strongly believe it is symbolic of how much more evolved CrossFit is getting, and that the standards are constantly being set higher and higher. It demonstrates there are always scales with varying degrees of difficulty to achieve. Never stop at the next progression and never focus on not being where you want to be. If you can only get jumping pull-ups today, that just means you will work harder to get to pull-ups. And once you get pull-ups, you will find yourself one day doing weighted-pull-ups and bar muscle ups. It is about where you go and not where you start.

 

For the most part, I kept my sanity throughout the Open. Yes, I had moments where I wish I did better (like why the hell was it so hard to lunge with two 35 pound dumbbells? And why am I a snail on the rower? I wanted a HSPU!).  What prevailed for me is constantly reminding myself that this last year has been the first year since I started CrossFit that I have not been injured.  It is like every prior year of CrossFit for me was practice and full of mistakes, bad form and bad judgment. This is the first time in ages that I consistently have felt healthy and strong. In my recovery, I have focused on solid form, training smartly and progressively gaining strength back (and beyond). So during the open when I had moments of self-doubt or longing to be higher on the leaderboard, I reined them in by telling myself well this is far more than I would have been able to do a year ago. And I am damn happy with that. I cannot worry about how I ranked against other people because as we have established, it is not about that. It is really about me. I want to walk away feeling good about what I accomplished and not beating myself up for what I fell short on.

snatch.jpg

Do not become one of those people who are ruled by the whiteboard or the Open. It is just 5 weeks and 5 opportunities out of hundreds a year where you will have endless chances to continue to be a bad ass. And to continue to be an even more fierce bad ass than you thought you ever could be. Go into this last week of the Open with an open mind and a mature perspective. Do not worry about what the person next to you is doing. Do not worry about what you cannot do. Focus on what you can and you will leave this crazy experience feeling accomplished.

 

*To see the 2017 workouts, click here

 

 

4 Common Reasons CrossFitters Divorce Boxes

*Foreword: Since I anticipate being asked by several inquiring minds if this post means that I am not happy and switching boxes, let me clear the air and emphatically say, no… and yes. No, I  am not unhappy. Yes, there is truth in that there is a possibility I may make another box change, but that possibility is always there. (Ok so I just answered that like a politician…)  Your next question is, am I directly correlating the points below to where I currently CrossFit? Again, no and yes. I have been a member of 3 boxes, I have dropped into at least half a dozen other ones and I have friends at boxes around the country. So know that this post is not commentary on any one box in particular. It’s my collective experience and feedback.  Of course there are parallels to where I CrossFit now (admittedly both negative and positive, but that’s also any box).  When you read this blog, you will see that CrossFit is not cut and dry and it’s a journey. If this post causes any waves, I view that as a positive. I am ok with being  a wave.

Anyone who loves CrossFit will attest that it is a journey, and that is why it is not surprising that many of our journeys take us from box to box. It is really easy to fall in love with CrossFit and to fall in love with the box you sign up at. It is also just as easy to fall out of love. I wish there were published stats as to the percentage of athletes who switch boxes but if I had to guess  in my unscientific opinion based on experience and observation, I would venture to say it happens more times than not. Possibly at least 50% of the CrossFit population changes boxes. I personally have switched boxes twice in pursuit of adjusting to my own journey and doing what made the best sense for me at those times.

This begs the question obviously: what do athletes and members look for in a box? More importantly, what keeps members loyal and happy?

  1. Coaching.  Strong, great, dedicated coaches are an absolute must have. Great coaches can really keep members happy. They have positive energy and are encouraging. They are 100% focused while coaching. They treat members equally. They know athletes’ strengths and weaknesses so that they can give proper cues and instructions.

    When I think about why coaching is so important, I find two distinct reasons: One is to of course keep athletes safe and continuously progressing.  We perform complex and technical moves that when not done correctly lead to a high propensity for injury. NOBODY wants that, and so we rely heavily on stellar coaching.

    The other reason is because CrossFit  is a business and athletes are paying members. We expect the same professionalism we would get anywhere. This may be harsh but it needs to be said. Just like coaches expect a positive attitude and a can-do mentality from athletes, it’s reciprocal. Coaches expect athletes to come in and give it their all, and that is no different than what athletes expect of their coaches. Athletes do not want to be coached by someone who is paying more attention to their phone than the athletes working out.  And I get it. We are all human, including coaches. People can’t be “on” 100% every day. Off days will happen, but it should be the exception, not the rule.

    When an athlete feels like their coaches are checked out or not giving them the right amount of attention, it is to be expected that they are going to sign divorce papers to find a better suited box.

  1. Programming. This is possibly my #1 criterion these days. People want to get the most out of the hour they spend a day at their box. They want programming that is methodical and part of a bigger plan. Athletes want to constantly be challenged and see improvement.  Athletes want consistency without getting burned out. We want to be pushed beyond our limits smartly, and conversely, we do not want to walk away from a workout feeling like it was a warm-up.

    It happens that athletes may even outgrow programming at their boxes. I have seen blogs and posts and have had conversations on this topic.  Often athletes find they need to switch boxes to either train with more competitive people or have more competitive programming. I do not look at it necessarily as a slight to any box. Every box has to cater to a different demographic. For example, I drop into a box back east where many of their members do not have prior weight lifting experience and can get spooked by heavy weights. So their programming caters to that.

    If I am being honest, one of the reasons I have left th­­­e first two boxes I trained at was because of inconsistent programming. The programming each day was good, but collectively I did not find it to have a long term plan. While I respect there are benefits to having different coaches program on a rotating schedule, I found, for me, it did not work. Some months might be heavy on gymnastics while others may be highly focused on squats. I rather do everything regularly but more strategically and evenly distributed. I am highly prone to injury (and I am no spring chicken) which means I need to treat all muscles equally. I cannot afford to favor or discriminate.

  1. CrossFit is a business. I alluded to this in my first point about coaching. Members pay for a service so like any other business transaction, they shell out anywhere from $100 to $400 a month to get something back in return. So in addition to remarkable coaching and programming, there are many other factors that play into expectations when it comes to thinking of CrossFit as a business.

    It is like when I go to get my hair done or my nails done (yes I love my nails), I expect  the space to be clean, sanitary and safe. It shows pride and maturity by having a smart, positive space. Being a business also means that there is a schedule that works for athletes. Logistics play a big part in why people join a box and why they leave. Unlike global gyms where you can go whenever you want, having a class schedule that works for you is key in picking and staying at a box. When class schedules change (or jobs change or athletes move houses), it will happen that a box switch is inevitable.

    Being a business means constantly changing. I work for an Entertainment-Telco company, and I see this theme loud and clear every day. If we still sold only traditional cable and installed land lines, we would be out of business. To change, that means the owners and coaches need to be attuned to what the trends are, what the CrossFit market demands are, and what members and aspiring members require. CrossFit is ever evolving and continuously exploding which is a marvelous thing! Keeping up with it though I can appreciate,  is not easy but it is an absolute necessity. This is the perfect time to mention a perk of having a diverse membership. We come from all different walks of life with different skills and talents to offer. People who CrossFit WANT to help their box not because they expect monetary compensation. They want to help because it is their community and they have a vested interest in assisting to make it the best ever. Members are essentially a whole pool of business resources that should be tapped.

  1. Speaking of community, that is another reason it itself why people join and leave boxes. It is like dating: sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince. Much like how boxes have to cater to their demographics, athletes need to find the demographic and vibe that works for them.

    Community in the world of CrossFit also implies that members look for more beyond just the classes, coaching, programming and the business side of it. Most boxes heavily promote their members and offerings on social media. They keep people connected so even if you go to 6 am class, you still may interact (albeit virtually) with the 7 pm class. Community also means Paleo challenges, burpee challenges (yes this is a good thing), social events and a slew of other non-workout specific activities. They all promote happy and healthy living, which is fundamentally what CrossFit is about.

    Good boxes in my opinion are inclusive. Anyone should feel welcome in any class they walk into. The responsibility of this does not just fall on the coaches and owners.  It is something that all members need to be accountable for.

Even though I do not personally own a box, I would be willing to bet many owners would agree that enticing members to join a box is hard and keeping them is even harder. My advice to owners and coaches for whatever it is worth is to listen to your members. Listen to your colleagues. Listen to what social media says. With boxes sprouting up everywhere, there are a lot of options for athletes. People will leave if they do not feel like their needs are being met.

To athletes, know that every box is unique and sometimes it takes being immersed in one to decide if it suits you or not. Athletes who CrossFit ultimately want to be their best selves mentally and physically, and should have the freedom to decide what environment, what box, will best foster that.

When I left my prior two boxes, I had very different experiences with the owners. One treated it more matter-of-factly  and basically just gave me the terms of my termination and the terms if I were to decide to rejoin. The other appealed more to the human side of me. He was heartfelt in wanting me to stay and was genuinely interested to know why I was choosing to leave. He listened to my feedback and vowed to make changes and even offered me a free month to give it another chance. While I politely declined, that box has been thriving, and so I would say it’s a testimony to his abilities as a good business owner.

Anyways, I digress.  I have so many points I can still make but I will leave you with this. Like anything else, there are pivotal points in any journey where you need to reevaluate where you are and where you want to go. Both times I switched boxes they were really hard for me to do. It is like switching jobs or moving or starting/ending a relationship. There are pros and cons but ultimately you have to do what’s best for you. I strongly believe if people can find all of the 4 mentioned things (good coaching, good programming, a business centric box and community) they are more inclined to be a loyal happy member.