Beauty and the Beast

The reason that I decided to give CrossFit a try almost a year ago today was mostly aesthetic. I was not really getting the results that I wanted from my personal trainer and the classes offered at the gym. The main reason I was not getting results is that I was not going to the gym on a regular basis. It was not fun. I remember every “body pump” class I went to that I would look at the clock almost every five minutes to see “how much longer.” When you dread doing something…..well you don’t do it.

When I started CrossFit I was in awe at how sore and short of breath I was even after a ten minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible). At first my motivation for going to CrossFit was that I knew it was going to be a good workout and that I was inching one step closer to my aesthetic goals. I knew that I was going to work hard the whole time. When I had a personal trainer I knew how to hit a topic that they enjoyed talking about, hence distracting them from the task at hand (I was a master at that). At CrossFit there is no talking during the workout. There is a timer, a task and competition. Nothing makes me work harder then competition either with myself, the clock or others.

As I started to attend CrossFit more and more it started to become less about how in shape I was going to get but what I was going to be able to do. It started to become more about how much weight I was gonna clean or how many ring rows could I do in a row. Then something crazy happened. I stopped worrying about how I was looking all together because I knew that I was working my butt off, I was going to the gym consistently and I was getting better. CrossFit has gotten me to not only go to the gyms on a consistent basis but to want to go. CrossFit has not only given me fitness but also self-confidence. I know I am not alone in this transformation by this video that I found on NClab

Check out this AMAZING and INSPIRATIONAL video below:

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Epic Fail…..

Ever since I stopped gymnastics I have had a healthy fear of hurting my back. I have no idea where that fear came from. Since developing this fear I am anxious about anyone touching my back or picking me up. (I am 5ft nothing and often times people think it is fun or cute to pick up the tiny person….I have no idea why). This fear has followed me to CrossFit.

Before joining CrossFit I had never really done any of the Olympic lifts before except maybe the back squat. The idea of the Olympic lifts made me really nervous when I first started but I have grown to be more comfortable and like them. Part of the affinity that I have towards the Olympic lifts is that I am relatively good at them for just starting out. This is thanks to my background in gymnastics, my core and just good lifting genes. My 50+ mom deadllifts over 250lbs. Ask me to run a mile though and I am out. I was not built for that kind of aerobic activity which is why I love the CrossFit workouts because most of them consist of very little pure aerobic activity.

My healthy fear of my back helps keep me tuned into my body and focused on what I am doing. On one rep max days I try to never push myself to my absolute max. It is my max with good form. If I feel a twinge in my back or that I am doing it wrong then I am done. In the WOD’s that are mostly lifting based I try to use a weight that I feel is challenging but I can still have proper technique for the entire workout.

So why am I sitting here talking about my back you say……well I broke a couple rules two weeks in a row. The first was last week. We were doing a crazy hard WOD and I was trying to Rx it. The weight felt a little heavy so I chose weights on the bar so I could strip down to a lower weight relatively quickly if need be…..and halfway through the workout when I felt my form falter I should have done that but that little thing called pride kicked in. All the ladies in my class were doing the workout Rx and I didnt want to be the only one that didn’t. So I pushed through and only had a little soreness in the left side of my back to thank for it. No biggie. The next day I contemplated taking the day off to rest but it wasn’t a lifting workout….so I persevered mainly because I love CrossFit….in retrospect I probably should have just taken the day off.

Fast forward to Tuesday……I was working a baby shift at work (8hrs) and contemplated going then not going. So I rushed out at 0715 not quite giving myself enough time for the tremendous traffic that is Northern VA/DC. So I was late….I hate being late. I rushed through the warm-up as well as my warm-up for front squats which oh by the way was the same thing that made my back sore the other week. On top of the that I was coming off of night shift. My body hates everything about night shift. It hates preparing for night shift and also coming off of night shift. It does not matter if I work one night shift or three, my mind and body is confused for about a week. I am nauseated, tired and foggy.

Having known that front squats is what made my back sore the week before…..I was focused like a laser beam on technique, core and body posture. Then on the 3 squat of the last set I let myself relax….big mistake. Instant pain exactly where I was sore the week before. The positive note is that I stopped right there. I did not push through….which may sound easy but it was super hard for me to do. I hate stopping in the middle…it feels like quitting but it was the right thing to do. SO….what have I learned from this experience……..

  • I LOVE CrossFit. I almost had a mini-melt down in my head because I couldn’t finish the WOD and because I knew that I was going to have to take some days to rest. Lucky for me some of those rest days involve my family visiting from out of town to keep me busy.
  • Warming-up is as important as the work-out. (this statement alone lets me know I am getting old. I have been known to skip stretching before and after working out because “it’s a waste of time”)
  • Don’t let pride push you down!! Had I been truthful with myself and stripped about 5-10lbs off the bar mid-work out last week I probably would not be writing this post. I still would have gotten a good workout and been pushing myself to be better without the possibility of getting hurt.
  • Sometimes I think that since I am lifting weights and not “flipping” around my focus on what I am doing is not as important but that is totally wrong!! When you are moving heavy weights you better be thinking about what you are doing at all times!!!
  • A set-back is not a forever-back. I think one of the reasons that I get frustrated with a set-back is that I think it is going to keep me from reaching my overall goals and that is just not true. Missing four or so workouts to get back to a 100% is not going to make a difference in the long run but constantly being injured will. I need to change my perspective and take advantage of this time.
  • What has really inspired me of this week is Lindy Wall – She fractured her L-5 vertebrae and was told that she would never squat again. This year she will compete in the CrossFit. Talk about amazing….check out her story
  • I was totally proud of myself for not pushing through the work out….so unlike me and I know it made a big difference. In the same breath I probably should have taken off from work. I have a very physical job and I went the day of and the day after I hurt myself and…..I made it worse. I just hate calling out of work because when the team is short everyone suffers but I also have to remember to take care of myself.
  • Technique, Technique, Technique…….

My promise to myself is that I am going to let myself heal, not let pride push-me down, focus on my technique at all times and come back better then ever. Oh yeah and I am going to make this damn front squat my best lift. Here is a picture in honor of the damn front squat that knocked me down but not out….

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Front-Squat

I also like this picture because one day I will also have abs that look like this……

Butts, Boobs and Thighs…….

I have never been fat and I have never been what you call skinny either. I think that the correct terminolgoy to describe me would be “stocky” or “athletic”. Despite being an athlete and pretty fit for a large majority of my life my weight has always been a focus for me even from a young age. My goal to lose ten pounds has been on my new year’s resolution since I graduated college (always the same 10lbs). Part of this focus is because of the sport I chose to do as a child and the other is due to what society deems to be beautiful. The focus of society and my inability to find a great fitting pair of jeans is what caused me to loathe my muscular thighs throughout most of my life.

My focus on weight started early. Being a competitive gymnast wearing nothing but a leotard, how you look is often impressed upon as how strong you are. This unfortunately is the focus of many sports for example ice skating, ballet, and so forth. Some of this focus of physical looks is probably a reflection of societal values as to what is considered “beautiful and fit”

I remember at 10 years old my coach at the time basically telling me to lose a couple of pounds. Wanting to be a great gymnast I took this very seriously and focused on my diet. In high school the gym I went to weighed and calculated your body fat percentage on a regular basis. Despite being less then 10% body fat I was always “1 lb” over my “desired” weight. This infuriated me!! I used to work out on my off days from gymnastics which wasn’t more then two days a week since I was practicing five days a week for about four and a half hours each practice. Despite what I did with my diet and exercise I was always 1 lb over my “desired” weight according to whoever it was doing the measure.

This focus on food and looking a certain way carried on into adulthood to the point where I felt a little bit guilty each time I ate a tasty treat. Of course that didnt stop me from eating tasty treats. I have never had an eating disorder. In the past I just put too much focus on how I thought I should look and how much I should eat which I unfortunately think is an issue for many women and men. People internalize looking a certain way with a better life….happiness…etc…. As an adult after college I played with many diets and exercise routines. I tried to do a lot of cardio to “slenderize” my bulky muscle but I hate straight cardio!! Did I say I hate “just cardio” well I do a lot!!  It was like a game to try to get myself to go to the gym. Because I didn’t like what I was doing so I often didn’t go.  I also tried many diets to loose weight to no avail. The one that I stuck with the longest was “myfittnesspal” where you enter everything you eat and total up your calories for the day. The program had me on 1500 calories a day which I stuck to pretty often. Not only did I not lose more then a pound or too but I was always hungry, often lightheaded and always thinking about FOOD.

All of this changed though when i started the Whole30 and CrossFit. On the whole30 you are not supposed to weigh yourself but I did. I just wanted to see how I was doing…..but what I realized after the whole30 is how good the right foods make me feel. I don’t eat Paleo because I have to or because I am trying to loose weight but because I want to!! I feel better physically. I no longer feel guilty when I eat a treat because I know that 90% of the time what is going into my body is 100% good for me. I also do not crave the treats as much any more because I like what I am eating and it is satisfying…thank you FAT!!! I actually do not even weigh myself anymore nor do I have a desire to. This is a big accomplishment for someone that weighed themselves at least once a day. Between doing CrossFit and eating Paleo I know that I am doing right by my body and that is enough for me.

What I love about CrossFit is that when you walk into the gym you see women with butts, boobs and thighs!!! They have curves, they look like women and they are strong as hell. CrossFit has helped me to learn to focus on not going to workout to look a certain way but to become stronger, have fun and reach goals. My focus is no longer to to lose five pounds but to be able to strict press a 100lbs or be able to do a muscle up. I no longer loathe my muscular thighs but feel lucky to have them because that is what makes me strong on those olympic lifts.

Thanks to CrossFit and Paleo I am the most fit and happiest I have been in years and free of the nagging new year’s resolution to lose 10lbs

LOVE THESE PICS!!

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