On CrossFit, Coaching, and Progress

When I first started CrossFit everything was a new experience. Now 3 years into it and every workout is still a totally new experience.

2014 was an interesting year for me. Every year I since I started my health journey I have been able to look back and say I’m stronger… faster… lighter… than the year before. I don’t know that I can do that this year. This year was all about having my excess skin removed, letting my body recover, and trying to learn what this new body is capable of. I am finally getting back to where I am just about as strong and as fast as I was before surgery. I weigh 10 pounds more than I did the day I had my surgery. So I’m not stronger, faster, or lighter than I was last year. In this new year time of reflection and growth it is hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that I haven’t made any significant progress in those areas I’m used to using for measurement.

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I have been following some CrossFit Open Prep Programming for the upcoming Open season. We have been doing strength cycles for the last few months and now are starting to get more into metcon conditioning in preparation for the Open. I felt like I was finally hitting some old numbers and even PR’d my squat clean after one of the cycles, but as we started repeating old open workouts I’ve battled with frustration that I’m not even hitting some of the old PRs on those WODs and some of my skills have completely slacked off. The rational side of me realizes my body has been through hell and back this year. And I haven’t been able to work my weaknesses as much as I’d like. And that after all I’ve been through I should be glad to be within striking distance of where I used to be. The emotional side of me gets caught between the two extremes of being completely pissed that I’m not better… and wondering why I should care so much at all.

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Then I realize that being frustrated just means that I care. I love having goals and working towards them. And sometimes those goals can’t be measured the same way all the time. I may not be stronger, faster, or lighter than I was last year. But I have learned a lot about myself this past year. I learned that I do care and I want to be the best athlete that I can be. Not just for me, but for my athletes. This year I learned that I love coaching even more than I love competing. I used the think that the best feeling in the world was finishing a workout I wasn’t sure I was capable of finishing… not true. The best feeling in the world is knowing an athlete is capable of something great and finally getting them to realize it.

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As a coach I’m always encouraging our athletes that consistency is key. Doing the work day in and day out makes the difference. And while I don’t hesitate to tell our athletes that, I often don’t remember it for myself. It’s like I forget that has been what has gotten me where I am today. When I started CrossFit I struggled to squat just my body weight. Now I can squat with more than weigh on my back. It didn’t happen overnight. So, I’m taking my own advice and remembering doing the work makes the difference. It isn’t always easy, but it will be worth it.

So, I’m going to develop a structured plan to follow to reach my goals. This includes regularly working on my weaknesses like pull ups, toes to bar, double unders, and rope climbs. This is my year. I’m going to take what I’ve learned as a coach and apply it to my goals.

What are your fitness goals for 2015?

Learning Balance, Finding a Healthy Relationship with Food, and Loving My Body

As you all know, I’m a big dreamer. I love to set big goals. For the longest time my main goals have been either weight loss or body image related. Lose XX number of pounds, fit in a size 12, be “normal” on the BMI Scale. Even though my goals have gone from get skinny to get healthy and from “weight 175” to “be strong” – It still all relates back to my personal body image. Almost everything I have done for the past 4+ years has somehow been related to these goals. Heck, I even turned it from a hobby into a full blow job! I guess what I’ve really been thinking about is where is that line? When do you go HAM on reaching a goal and when do you say ok I’m just going to be ok with where I’m at?

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile. I see some of the fittest people I know come into our CrossFit box. People who workout hard 5 days a week, eat strict meal plans most of the time, are the picture of health and fitness… and they still aren’t happy. They want abs like so and so, or a butt like Stacie Tovar (I mean, who doesn’t?! #strengthisbooty after all…) I’m guilty of the same thing from time to time. I am guilty of negating the progress I’ve made by focusing on the things I’d still like to change.

When I first started out on this journey I was morbidly obese. I needed the structure and discipline of adhering to a strict plan. I was motivated and had a lot of fat to lose. I had specific health related milestones I wanted to reach. I went from one side of the road to the other. I used to eat whatever I wanted, and that’s what got me to 50% body fat! I needed some intervention to turn that train around. And I did (for more about my journey check out my “Before & After” page)

Read how my health journey has helped me learn balance, find a healthy relationship with food, and love my body.

Even before my surgery, I started to realize I was happy with myself. The surgery was just the cherry on top of my body acceptance sundae. It just helped me to be able to see the body I had built underneath all that skin, and that body is beautiful. And when I realized that I was happy with my body, all size 14 and 200 pounds of it, instead of being happy I felt confused and slightly panicked. What am I supposed to do now? Where do I go from here?

After over 4 years, I was suddenly on the other side of the spectrum. I had gone from 50% body fat to 20%,  I went from not being able to do a proper air squat with my own body weight to being able to load up a barbell with my body weight and back squat it. Throughout the last few years I went through strict Paleo, Whole30, and spent the better part of the last year on detailed meal plans through a nutrition coach. It was a lot of restricting. Suddenly foods became “good” or “bad” and meals became either “on plan” or “off plan.”

Food isn't good or bad, it's just food. How I learned balance, found a healthy relationship with food, and started to love my body.

I had become one of those Diet Martyrs… “Oh, guess I”ll have to skip the Christmas cookies this year” or “Man, I wish I could eat that” or “I can’t believe I ate that!” followed by a big serving of guilt and shame. While I never thought I had a full blown eating disorder, I saw an article about Orthorexia and found myself nodding my head in response to the list of possible symptoms. I had some disordered thinking and unhealthy mindsets when it came to my relationship with food. I was in the mindset of I can’t have it because It’s not on my meal plan. I followed a specific meal plan, eating the same safe foods over and over again. I was afraid to stop counting calories, measuring portions to the ounce, or following a rigid meal plan. Because if I didn’t have a plan it meant I would gain back all the weight I’ve lost and suddenly be fat again *eye roll*

How losing weight became less about the number on the scale and more about how I felt about my body.

I guess what I’m saying is I am finally happy with my body. I feel a sense of peace with where I’m at right now. I’m healthy, I’m fit, and I’m happy. Society still tries to tell me I’m plus sized, so what. This plus sized girl rocked a bikini in Florida last month! I still have stretch marks and squishy areas. I know that if I want to take my body to the next level it would require more restricting and while I know I could do it, I’m not in a place where I’m willing to do what it would take. Could that change next month? Absolutely. For more about the cost of getting lean check out this article from Precision Nutrition.

 I’d like to challenge you to take a look at yourself and your goals. If you are restricting yourself or beating yourself up about your body or how you’re eating, why? What are your goals? If you have a hard deadline goal like doing a bikini competition, by all means eat according to your goals this holiday season. If you have serious health risks that are obesity related or a history of unhealthy binge eating than maybe you need to structure your eating a bit more. Whatever you do, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and in a healthy way. Super restrictive diets aren’t great for your mental health. Food isn’t something to fear. Take time to Learn balance, find a healthy relationship with food, and love your body.

You are worth it.

Do you struggle with Balance or a Healthy Relationship with food?
What are some things you can do today to love your body?

My Favorite Cyber Monday Deals

In the past I’ve gone out on Black Friday and fought my way through the crowds for some crazy deal. But now, ain’t nobody got time for that! I have become a total internet deal stalker. I’m all about the online deals! I’ve found them to be even better deals than you get in store… plus you don’t have to wonder if they will have what you want in stock (for the most part). I’m going to share some of my favorite Cyber Monday deals with you, hopefully you can save a few bucks on things for those on your list or for yourself!

Reebok – 40% off Sitewide use the code “HOLIDAY”

Ok, this is the BIG one for all my CrossFit loving friends! Most Reebok sales exclude all CrossFit gear, but this one only excludes customized shoes and the new Honor pack… That means you can get the Nano 4.0 for just under $72, and free shipping!! That is a steal!!

nano4I have these and they are by far my favorite CrossFit/Fitness/Every day shoe. Totally worth the investment! You can also get some of the newly released JUNK Brand Headbands for 40% off as well, coming out to just under $11! I’m totally digging this Burpee The Snowman one…

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Also be sure to check out the Online Outlet section, you can take an additional 40% off the already reduced prices!

Maurice’s – 30% off Regular Priced Merchandise Use Code CYBER1214

Ok, let’s talk jeans. The only jeans I will wear lately are the Maurice’s Brand Denim Flex. They fit my quads/thighs/butts comfortably and they come in SHORT so I don’t have to drag a foot of material across the floor! They are cute and comfortable. They should be around $20 with this sale!IMG_7095

I am also loving their comfy casual look of their tops. Lots of people asked about this sweatshirt:

And Yes, it is from Maurice’s and it’s on sale for $20.99! They are also having 40% off their activewear line. Check it out!

Thick to Thin – 20% off, Free shipping (to the US) AND Free gift for orders over $100! Use code smallbizsaturday

t2tAndrea is my BFF. and I love her stuff! She just released a bunch of new designs and they are amazeballs. Check it out!

MODCLOTH – 25% off Sitewide use code CYBERMONDAY

Modcloth is one of my favorite places for dresses, accessories, and cute unique gifts and housewares.

I mean, who wouldn’t want this Ryan Gosling T-shirt?

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They also have a collection of vintage inspired t-shirts like the Bayside Tigers (Saved by the Bell!) and Uncle Jesse from Full House! I love it! They have tons of housewares and adorable vintage type clothing. This is where I got my fancy dress when we went on the Disney Cruise in January, which apparently I never got a picture of… Lame!

HumanX Gear-  50% off X3 Gloves & CoreFlex Belts! Use Promo Code “CMM50” to enter for the discount!

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I love my CoreFlex belt! They are also offering free shipping all day (no code needed)

25% OFF SITEWIDE* ON HONEST.COM

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I love the Honest Company! Payton uses their Bubble Bath, Shampoo, & Conditioner. All of their cleaning products are great as well. I love products that work well without all the extra chemicals and stuff.

Fabletics

Ok, this isn’t a huge Cyber Monday deal but I just had to share… Fabletics released their new December line today. If you are new to Fabletics you can use my link to get your first outfit for 50% off! I just snagged up this sexy little number

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I love love love the mesh cut outs! This full outfit is just $49.95, but if it’s your first outfit it is just $25! What a steal!

What sales are you shopping today?