Where Have You Been?

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Life can be demanding. Most of the population of this world has jobs, family, friends, and a multitude of other obligations that keep us generally busy. Strangely enough, we are not just people who get to spend twenty hours a week at the gym perfecting our movements. We get it. You had to take some time off from CrossFit. Maybe you were injured. Maybe you were tired. Maybe you were on a month long trip to Europe (if that’s the case, we are a little bitter). Whatever the reason for your absence in the gym, it happens. We do, and should, have other things to do besides CrossFit, right? So, now you’ve recovered, rested, or returned from your trip. Great! Now what? Jumping back in can be a little scary, and a little frustrating. Here are some tips on how to jump in with both feet, without breaking your ankles.

Take it Slowly

You do not want to return, only to be sidelined again. Sure, our bodies are pretty capable machines; however, depending on the length of your absences, your endurance, strength, flexibility, or agility may not be at the level it once was. You do not want to walk in to the box on your first day back and attempt to PR Murph. Your coaches don’t want that either. It will take a little bit of time for your body to remember what this CrossFit stuff is all about. Don’t jump on the rig and try to knock out 50 unbroken pull-ups. That’s the quickest way to land you on another month long break, or worse. I’m not saying you have to go all the way to zero on your level of ability, but you need to take it slowly. Knock down the weight on your bar, shorten the number of pull-ups, maybe even knock a round off (make sure you talk to  your coaches about this… you don’t want to be a cheater!).  Muscle atrophy can occur rather quickly. It’s important to remember that while your mind may be ready, your body is not. Be smart.

Don’t Get Frustrated

When you left, you were killing it. Every workout was great. You were smoking the competition left and right. Now  you are back, and taking it slowly, and trying to breathe, and that new kid in the corner is running laps around you, sometimes literally. It can be frustrating. Here’s where that whole mental focus thing comes in. It won’t take years to get your muscle mass back, or your aerobic ability, so just be patient. So, maybe the new people are faster than you. Does it really matter? Nope. We go to the gym to be the best that WE can be, right? Don’t lose your mind, or your focus, on the fact that other’s are faster than you. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are improving your ability, doing it safely, doing it the right way, and taking care of you. Injuries happen. Life happens. Just walk back in and don’t worry about the “competition.” There will always be someone faster than you. It’s CrossFit.

Celebrate Your Success

When we are reconditioning ourselves to the gym, we can quickly forget that we are hitting milestones along the way. Maybe you are not at the level you were when you left, but you are making strides. We love to celebrate our successes when we are starting out. Coming back is no different. No matter what life circumstance took you out of the gym, there are always moments for celebration. Reaching your previous lifting weights, or getting that muscle-up back, or completing unbroken double unders are all causes for excitement. Don’t get bogged down in what you use to be able to accomplish. Enjoy the ride back up.

Life gets in the way. Things cause us to not be the gym rats we once were. It happens. The most important thing is that your walked back into the gym That you reclaimed what was once yours. Now is the time to focus not on what your once had, but what you can be. Take it slowly. You are not going to PR the first day (or week) back, nor should you. Focus on the journey. Focus on improvement. Focus on accomplishments. The rest of the stuff will come on its own.

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Why You Shouldn’t be Scared of the Open

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Oh, you think I’m late? You think I’m referring to the Holidays? False. It’s Open Season! It’s that glorious time of year when we CrossFitters gather around our smartphones, tablets, and laptops, wait with anticipation as the WOD is released, and then marvel at how fast the elite athletes complete it. We make our yearly donation to CrossFit headquarters, sign up, make an athlete profile, and then wonder what in the world we were thinking. Hundreds of thousands of athletes sign up each year, and the tiniest percentage possible actually make it to Regionals. From there, an even tinier amount make it to The Games. But we watch, and participate, and see how we stack up. It’s all in good fun, right? So, why are you so scared to sign up?

We worry about being judged. We worry what our fellow athletes will say. We worry about people watching us. In the gym on a typical day, no one is watching (they are drowning in their own sweat), no one is talking about us, and no one is judging us (we are keeping track of our own reps and our own score). But now it’s official! Right?! Here’s the thing, if you’re doing it correctly and being true to your reps on any given day, the open isn’t any different. Don’t worry about the judge. They are there to help you, motivate you, and give you a break from counting. If it helps, just call them scorers. Feels a little easier to the ego!

Yes, the workouts are harder. There are no modifications in the open! If I can’t do something, I’m stuck there. So what! Chest to bar pull ups are my nemesis. I don’t know what it is, but I struggle greatly with them. Last year, the second workout in had chest to bar pull ups. There were to be several rounds of overhead squats and chest to bar pull ups. I knocked out my squats, and approached the pull up bar. I had somewhere around ten minutes to complete chest to bar pull ups. I got 4. FOUR. I struggled and pulled and failed and screamed and celebrated. I was mad and elated at the same time. That was the most chest to bar pull ups I had ever done. I was so proud of every single one of those, and when time was called, I was still on that bar, fighting for every rep. I didn’t quit or call it a loss. I kept fighting. It taught me so much about myself, and a weakness I had. Each WOD has a story like that for me, and countless other athletes. Am I ever going to make it to The Games? No. But, I’m a better athlete because of them.

The Open enhances the community of CrossFit more than you can imagine. Right now you come in the gym every day at your “usual” time and hang out with the “usual” crew and have a good time. There is nothing wrong with that. I’m a nooner. I love my noon crew. Generally, when you have athletes competing in The Open, there is a different block of time set aside. You come in during that time, with a whole group of athletes, and compete together. It not only allows your to meet new people, but to learn from other athletes, and develop a new bond. Not only do you suffer through daily WODs, but now you’ve survived The Open together. It’s a union that is not quickly forgotten. You get to see how other athletes perform, find out what tricks and tips they have up their sleeves. You get to learn more about how we function as a community, and continue that bond of friendship.

So, this year, don’t be afraid. Forget about the judges and the WODs. Forget about the skills you aren’t good at, or how slow you may be. This is about achievement, strength, and community. This is about learning who you are as an athlete and learning from other athletes. This is about fellowship and fun, and pushing yourself to limits you didn’t know where possible. So make a donation to CrossFit headquarters and throw your hat in the ring. You won’t be disappointed.

Ready, Set, Goal!

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It’s that time of year again! The time we sit down to reflect on what the last year looked like. The time we sit down to wonder what the next year will hold. In the midst of reflection we see our joys and triumphs, but we also see those things that didn’t quite work out for us. We get to decide what things we want to tackle in the upcoming year. In the world of CrossFit, this could be a long list of movements, weights, and times. Whatever it is you are working on, the time is now!

Everyone needs to set a goal. They can be big goals, they can be little goals, but they need to be there. The difference between the exercisers and the athletes are that athletes have goals. We are CrossFitters. We are athletes. So, what are you working on? Have you finally figured out  the form of a clean and jerk, and now it’s time to add some weight? Do you watch butterfly pull-ups with ravenous envy? Is it time to throw your hat into the competition ring? Whatever it is, you need to sit down and make a list of things you want to accomplish. Here’s the catch though, you can’t just make a list. There are certain components to making a goal list. That’s what separates it from a wish list.

When you sit down to decide on your goals, you will have two types: short term and long term. You are going to have some goals that you only need a month to work on them, and others you are going to work all year, or maybe even longer. It is important to break them up into sections, and work on a few things at once. Come in to the gym every day and work on a set skill. Once that is accomplished, move on to the next thing. You want to make sure that you break them up into manageable chunks. The reason most goals are not accomplished is because we get overwhelmed with the process. By distinguishing between short term and long term, you have a more directed focus and a more direct path to accomplishing those goals.

Goals have time limits. In CrossFit, we live and die by the clock. Goal setting is no different. It is really easy to say you want to add 20 pounds to your snatch. What does that mean? Some time in the next twelve months? Put a date on it. By June 30th I will snatch X pounds. This puts some pressure on you to accomplish it. It gives you a point to focus on. It gives you drive. If that goal doesn’t get mastered by the time you set on it, not big deal. Make a better plan, change the date and keep working. Without a time limit or a set date, it makes it really easy to push it back and not work on it. Know that date is looming out there, and crush the goal before time expires.

Accountability is key to tackling a goal list. You can make a list and tuck it in your underwear drawer and move on. If no one knows what your goals are, no one will know if you don’t accomplish them, right? Don’t be that guy. Share your goals with your friends, with your trainers, with the gym! The good news is, 918 CrossFit is bringing back the goal board! In our new space we will have the goals board posted for each month. Write your goal up there, and ask for your gym-mates to hold you accountable. Not only does it give you someone to answer to, but it give you a whole mess of people to celebrate with when that goal gets erased off the board!

As with anything we do in the gym, we want to be effective and efficient. Set goals that are realistic, manageable, and challenging. Push yourself to new levels, and hold yourself accountable. Face your goals with excitement, determination, and honesty. Now, go make that list, and this time next year you will be astounded by what you can do.

CrossFit: Is it Really for Everyone?

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There is a lot of buzz around CrossFit. There are the lovers. There are the haters. Then there are the ones who do not think they could ever do it. I have been asked three times, just this week, “Really? Can anyone do CrossFit or do I need to be in shape to start?” Preconceived notions seem to surround the sport of CrossFit. Those on the outside seem to fall into two camps. They either watch The Games and think that every workout in a box looks like THAT, or they look at the people who walk in and out of a CrossFit box and think they have to look like THAT. Here’s the inside scoop: The Games athletes can only complete workouts like THAT from doing CrossFit, and the people look like THAT by doing CrossFit. You have to do it. The catch is, you have to start somewhere, and very few of us have started CrossFit in the shape we are in now.

When I am asked the question, “Is CrossFit really for everyone?” I generally encourage the asker to come try it out. I wish people who are interested in CrossFit would come to their local box and look around. In any give class that I have trained I have athletes that have scaled the workout up. They have added weight to their bars; they have added in an extra movements; they have made the workout just a bit harder to meet their training needs. I also have athletes who are keeping everything as prescribed. They work their tails off to tackle the WOD as it is written, and do it as quickly as they can… even if that’s not so quickly. I also have athletes who have scaled everything. They have deloaded their bars; they have replaced movements with ones that are more their speed; they have made the workout fit their training needs. There is not ONE way to do a CrossFit WOD. Every movement can be modified to meet the training needs of the specific athlete. For example, I have an athlete who is a regular at one of my classes. He has very limited mobility due to some health issues. While he is not able, at this point, to complete a workout as prescribed, he shows up, does the work to the best of his ability, and has already shown great strength gains in the work he has done.

CrossFit is functional fitness by definition. What this means is that the movements we do in CrossFit are movements you do in your daily life. A deadlift? Simply picking something up off the ground. A squat? Sitting down. A push up? Getting up off the ground. Don’t be scared of weights. You won’t start there. No one does. You will start at a level of fitness that is acceptable for you. Many athletes have limitations. Limitations can be worked with. Don’t confuse limitations with excuses. You don’t want to do CrossFit because you are overweight? That’s an excuse. You don’t want to do CrossFit because you have an old injury? That’s an excuse. You don’t want to do CrossFit because you don’t move well? That’s an excuse. Don’t let your excuses motivate your life. If you want to change your life you have to take the steps to do so. Don’t be scared of work. Is CrossFit really for everyone? Yes, but it starts with you. Don’t make excuses, make changes.

Run? I Thought You Said Rum!

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Anyone who has worked out with me, near me, or in a five mile radius of me, knows I HATE running. Hate. I’ve never been good at  it. The entire time I run, from a short 200 Meters to 3 miles, my mind repeats a chorus of “This sucks.” Running is my nemesis.

As I type this, many of my friends are running very long distances. I have several friends running the 2014 Hood To Coast in Oregon. It is a very long twelve person relay from Mount Hood to Seaside, Oregon. I also have several friends running the Seawheeze Marathon in Vancouver. I have watched several of them train over the last several months. I have watched them sweat, breathe, and ache into their goals. Through their training, I have been inspired. Now, hold on! I’m not running a marathon, or long distances or anything. I mean, Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?

Here is the realization I have come to recently. It was after a week’s worth of endurance WODs at my CrossFit box. After each ridiculously slow performance, I was laying on the floor, trying to catch my breath, talking to my friends who had finished minutes ahead of me. I was frustrated. I was tired. I felt old. I was screaming in my head, “I work out four days a week minimum. Why on Earth am I struggling so badly?!” As I came home on a Thursday afternoon, feeling really sorry for myself, I had an epiphany.

The epiphany started  as I was thinking about my lifting. I was proud of how far had come. There was a time, when I started, that the bar was just fine. No plates, just the bar. Then I started adding a little weight, but my goal on my power clean was 65#. That was the weight that was programed most of the time, and I was dying to achieve that pretty little RX next to my name on the whiteboard. So I worked, and I worked, and one day, I was able to clean 65#. Here I am, at least two years removed from that moment. I can clean 65# very quickly and easily. It’s not even a thought in my mind. So, how did I get to that point? Work. I did the programming at the box, of course, but I also worked on my lifts on my own, after class or on a rest day. I worked on it.

Why do I think running is going to be any different? Now, I am a much better runner than I was 3 years ago when I first walked in to the CrossFit box. I couldn’t even run the 400 meter warm up run back then. That has obviously changed; however, I am still super slow. So, that’s where I am now. Time to work on my running. Several days a week, before or after a WOD, I’m going to be running.

I’ve learned through my three year CrossFit journey, if you want to get better at something, you have to do the work. Success is never going to fall in your lap. I’ve designed a schedule for me, and will follow the CrossFit endurance program (thanks to our awesome trainers at 918 CrossFit) and I’m going to run. A lot. If anyone wants to run with me, come on (you just better be slow) or at least be there to provide oxygen when I finish.

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Calm Down People

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I am a Christian. Probably not the best one, but who is, right? I do my best to live like Christ daily. I fail. I stumble. I’m supposed to, because I’m human. Here is a hint, we all are!

In the last week I have seen several very judgmental blog posts by Christian authors. One of them talked about modesty, but most of them have commented on the movie/book Fifty Shades of Grey.  These articles are full of condemning words and a list of do’s and don’ts. First, let me say, I get it. I know where you are coming from, authors. I know what you are saying, and some of it I agree with, not only because I’m a Christian, but because I’m a person.

Here is my issue with these articles. They are so judgmental. There is a consensus among non-believers out there that Christians are judgmental, and that our faith is simply a list of things we cannot do. I have to say, from reading these posts, I agree. So, here I say, “Calm down, people!”

Fifty Shades is not a book I have read. I have friends trying to get my to read it, but I haven’t. The main reason I have not read it is that I have heard the literary quality will make me want to throw it across the room. I’ve heard this from people who thought Twilight was well written, so I’m certain it’s true. I do agree with these blog posts that this movie/book has a very non-Christian depiction of sex. I have not had any contact with it, but sure, it appears this is not a healthy relationship. I will ask you this though, what movie depicts a Christian depiction of sex? Only a handful of movies I can think of show what would be acceptable sexual behavior in keeping with the Bible, and those would probably be movies without any sex in it. 

I’ve seen these authors begging us to boycott the movie. Which, as stated previously, if we are going to boycott that one, I guess we can forget ever going to a movie again. I sure am going to miss the popcorn. However, more than asking for a protest, they are shaming the people who do go see it. I’ve read some vile things written about the “type” of people who would enjoy this movie or who have read this book. One article called these women “lustful” and “pornographic.” Sure, this plot is full of lust, and from what I understand the book would have made Harlequin novel writers blush, but again I ask, what is different from any of the other movies and books on the market.

Our job as Christians is to love. Our job as Christians is to accept. EVERYONE. Not just those people who fall in line with our beliefs. You don’t have to go to the movie. I don’t know if I will or not. What I do know is that if I chose not to, I will not be any better than any other woman in this world. It is when we Christians begin to put ourselves on this pedestal of righteousness that we lose those we are trying to reach.  Don’t judge what I wear, or what I read, or what I do. That is not your job. Your job is to love me and to be kind to me. Your job is to accept me, not to shame me, publicly or privately. We will never show them Jesus by giving them a long list of what not to do.

My Inner Voice is a Wh*re, and Yours is Too

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This was a day that my inner voice was winning.

This was a day that my inner voice was winning.

Photo Credit: 918 Crossfit
 

Sorry for the expletive in the title, but it’s true. Seriously, mom, I’m sorry. Don’t text me how inappropriate it was. There was no other word that was correct.

I have known that my inner voice was a big fat liar (see, it doesn’t quite have the same impact) for a very long time. The only problem is that this voice is very convincing. You know the one. It’s the voice that begins to scream maniacally during your workout. Sometimes the screaming begins at the start of the workout, sometimes it begins in the middle of the workout; nevertheless, it always happens. As most of you know, I have been doing CrossFit for three years (my anniversary was just last weekend). I really thought by this point the inner voice would become more quiet or subdued, but she keeps getting louder. I have searched often for articles about mental toughness. I have sought tips on how to improve my mental game. I have even joked with my coaches about needing a sports psychologist, an idea I still haven’t ruled out. The mental part of my game is the absolute weakest part.

I have talked often on here about letting the opinion of others get to me, and only recently discussed that with my age, that pull is loosening it’s grip on me, and that’s true. But that voice keeps screaming at me during my WODs. You know the one. It’s the voice who tells you to quit, the one who tells you that you can’t do any more pull ups or  your hands are going to rip off. The one who tells you that three rounds are fine, and there is no real reason to do five. Just quit. You’re tired. You’re never going to beat____ (fill in the blank with the name of the person you are chasing).  Does anyone else have this voice?  Surely it can’t just be me.

So, why am I writing this? To lament? To complain? No, along with my new found social freedom, I am losing the ability to listen to my inner voice. I have simply stopped caring what she says. I have realized that she is, in fact, a whore. When she begins to tell me I’m not good enough, I tell her it’s how I learn. When she tells me I’m not strong enough, I push out a few more reps. When she tells me that rep was good enough, I “no rep” myself and try again.

Just today I did a WOD that kicked my rear. It is full of my weaknesses, but things I am trying to improve, so I work on them. To those familiar with CrossFit, I completed Mary: 20 minutes AMRAP of 5 Handstand Push ups; 10 Pistols (1 legged squats) and 15 pull ups. I was slow. I got stuck in the bottom of my right leg pistols most of the time, and had to redo them. I got stuck on my strict pull ups. And, instead of saying “close enough” or moving on to the next rep, I redid that rep. My inner voice was screaming at me to call it done. To move on. But I didn’t. My score was low. It was not impressive, but it was mine. It was reflective of the work I have put in on some of my weakest skills. It shows me where I am and where I need to go.

My inner voice does not know me at all. She does not want me to succeed. She’s too weak to keep up with me, and she needs to learn to shut her mouth. When I shut her out of my head, I can go further. I become better. The only way to be better in this crazy sport is to train your weaknesses. Confronting the skills that hold us back, slow us down, and make us write crappy scores on the whiteboard. Does it suck? Sure. Can I make a million excuses? Yes, and some days I try. But, every day I walk into the gym, remind myself my inner voice is a whore, and workout. I have no problem telling her she sucks. Maybe one day she will just give up. Personally, I hope she does.

What They Don’t Tell You

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As I approached my 35th birthday in the last few months, I have undergone this change. My way of thinking is different, my approach at life is different, and how I interact with people is different. I literally and figuratively feel different. I can’t explain it. I don’t know how or why, I just know I’m different. I’ve reached this point in my life where I just don’t care about the thoughts, views, and opinions of others. Please, don’t misunderstand me. I care and value what others think and love sharing ideas and opinions with friends and strangers alike. That is how we learn; however, I don’t care about the thoughts of others on the topic of my life. It doesn’t matter to me if someone doesn’t like me, or I’m not the first thought in someone’s mind. I don’t care if I’m not invited somewhere, or if someone thinks I’m mean. I have other things to worry about. Which brings me to my topic today.

As we have learned in the past, there is a big group of people somewhere deciding things for everyone. We call them “They”. They say we should…. ; they say you shouldn’t….. The question has always been raised, who are they? We really have no idea, but we continue to take their advice. So, I am going to throw my hat in the ring of giving advice and becoming a they.

1. What they don’t tell you about growing up:

It’s a process. It is not something that happens at 21, 25, or even 30. You should be constantly developing and changing. You should be broadening your mind, meeting new people with different lifestyles than you. This is how we learn. You cannot stay in your bubble forever, with only like minded people. Explore. Talk. Learn. Travel. As we drove through small town Mississippi last week, we stopped at a cute, small little store to use the restroom. There were two teenage girls coming out of the store who had obviously walked from their houses to get a soda, and were walking back. They were whispering and giggling as they walked. I smiled as I thought about teenage girls and what they were probably whispering about. I then said a little prayer for them. I prayed that they have a chance to explore the world and meet new people outside of their tiny town. This town took less than two minutes to drive through and was super isolated from any big cities or anything remotely resembling culture. Please note, there is NOTHING wrong with coming from a small town, but being able to see and experience the world around you is what it’s all about. You should look back every 5 years and be a different person, in some way, than you were previously. We should be constantly evolving in how we view the world and ourselves. If you’re not, what’s the point.

2. What they don’t tell you about boys:

I thought when I got married, nearly 12 years ago, I would learn all about boys. Sure, it was different. I learned that when boys say they are not thinking about anything, it’s the truth. I don’t understand how that works, as I am gerenally thinking about 15 things at once; but it’s how they work. I learned from my husband that boys don’t really require much. Food, beer, television, that’s about it. Then I gave birth to two more boys. I learned a lot more. The fascination with the penis begins a birth. It’s the weirdest thing. The baby can’t sit up on his own, but can hold on to his penis for dear life. And they never stop holding it. The amount of times I say “don’t touch yourself” a day would make  you laugh (unless you are a mother of boys, then you will understand). I learned that the fascination about gas starts early as well. Fake burps, farts, and then of course, real ones, are daily laughs among three of the residents of this house. What they also don’t tell you is they are just as much drama as the girls. When people say, “Hey, but at least you don’t have the drama,” I laugh. My SEVEN year old had a full on melt down about his hair the other day…. It’s not just girls.

3. What they don’t tell you about life:

Sometimes doors shut that you thought would be opened. This week I have encountered three firmly shut doors I thought were opened. I had even received phone calls two weeks prior that informed me the doors were opened. I returned home from vacation to shut/locked doors. (Not just in my house, because that’s a good thing). So now what? I thought my career was headed one way, and now it’s not. So, remember when I started this blog, and mentioned that I had a goal of writing a book…. The second I found out about the locked doors in my career, God whispered, “Remember the book.” Uhhh…. yeah, I do. But then my head starts screaming, but it’s going to be SO hard. Not the writing part, but how do I even get it published? And not the publish it yourself crap, I mean a real, legit publisher. Where to I start? Do you know how many times I’m going to be turned down? So, then I realized, I’m scared. I’m absolutely, unequivocally scared out of my mind. Sure, I’m not sure what type of book to write, or what I even want to write about, but I can spend some time working on that. I really don’t know what happens if I actually do it. I’m scared. So, should that stop me? Probably not. Has it up to this point? Yes. So, what they don’t tell you about life, is that the really good things, the stuff you are probably supposed to be doing, is scary. It’s hard. It’s going to be ugly. But maybe, just maybe, it’s worth it.  We’ll see.

You’ve Got Some Kool-Aid on Your Shirt.

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I have seen four articles today about CrossFit. Two of them were very con and two of them were in response to those. I’ve seen my friends’ social media sites blow up in response to these articles. As you can guess, I’m friends with a lot of Crossfitters. I’m also friends with a lot of people who do not do CrossFit. Strangely enough, I do not discriminate.

So, the gist of these anti-CrossFit articles are as follows: “It’s really unsafe and those who do CrossFit are just going to get hurt and are in some sort of cult.” Ok, so I may be paraphrasing, so ignore the quotation marks… but still. That is the point. For the sake of being fair to my readers here is one of the articles. I have decided to throw my hat in the ring of “those who blog to defend CrossFit.” Enjoy.

Many of the points of this article is that it is dangerous and people can get hurt. And to that I say, yes. Yes they can. I agree with you Erin. CrossFit can be dangerous IF you don’t know what you are doing. IF you don’t listen to your body. IF you don’t listen to your coaches. IF you don’t have a good coach. There are easy ways to remedy these situations. I’ll start at the back and work my way forward.

Is your coach in the room when you are working out? If the answer is no, you don’t have a good coach. Is your coach paying attention to the athletes while they are working out? If the answer is no, you don’t have a good coach. Is your coach correcting form and range of motion for athletes as they are working out? If the answer is no, you don’t have a good coach. Surely, you get the drift at this point.

Are you listening to your coach? Did they tell you to start light and work your way up? Did they tell you to focus on form first before you try to max out the lift/move/weight? If they did, and you didn’t listen, that my friends is on you. Have you ever worked out before, but think you will try to do 25 kipping pull-ups even though you can’t do one strict one, then that, my friend, is on you. Coaches are there for a reason. Don’t cry foul for an injury you caused.

Are you listening to your body? Is your shoulder pulsing with pain every time you put it over your head? Is your knee burning every time you squat? Are you just plain tired? Then stop. Rest. Quit. Do whatever you need to do to make the pain stop. There is always going to be pain in athletics. You are always going to be tired and have some muscle fatigue. That is part of pushing yourself, but only YOU know your body and what it can handle. If you get to the end and realize you could have pushed through that a little harder, then next time do it, but you have to do what is best for you. We watch the Games competitors on our iPads and T.V.s and know they are pushing through the pain, and think “I can do that,” but see, I can’t. You know why? Because, I don’t train 8 hours a day everyday. If I did, I would be more aware of my limits and thresholds. I don’t try to overhead squat 135lbs because I can’t even jerk 135lbs. I know my limits. If you don’t, again, that, my friend, is on you.

Another point to Ms. Erin’s story is that CrossFit is some kind of cult. You’re right. It is. Here’s the deal. You can’t do what we do every day, sweat, bleed, and cry next to each other without some bonding. We stare at the whiteboard together and feel the same fears, anxieties, excitements, and pain. We know how awful 100 burpees are, and we cry through them together. We make eye contact with our fellow athletes, shake our heads, and keep going, because they are. We applaud those super fast scores, as well as the super slow scores, because we did it. Sure, there are some athletes that come in, “do” a workout, crap out on range of motion or reps, and post incorrect scores or reps, but that’s on them. That’s not the sport’s problem. That’s the athlete’s problem. We are a cult because we know. We have been in the trenches with each other and faced our weaknesses. We talk about it all the time because it’s what we do. It’s alive inside of us.

If it’s not your thing, that’s fine. It doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to be active in this world. You can run, do yoga, go to a barre class, go to a globo gym, or walk in your neighborhood. There is no wrong or right way to do something, but don’t hate on us because it’s what we like to do. I’ve generally learned that when someone is hating on something else it is generally out of jealousy. So, I’m sorry Erin Simmons that you are jealous of what we can do. I hope you find fitness success elsewhere. Do us all a favor, and stay out of our box.

The pic above is some of the members of my cult. The awesome athletes of 918 CrossFit. Photo Credit to 918 CrossFit.

The Words I Would Say

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My sweet Aiden accepted Jesus as his personal savior this week. I’m thrilled, proud, and excited for him. I’m also worried. There are so many things I want to tell him. So, I thought I would start here.

When I was pregnant with him, I read, heard, and found a lot of advice that said I should write a letter to my unborn child. I should tell him things I wanted him to know. I tried. It didn’t work. As I have said before, I love writing, but I was at a loss for words when it came to this experience. There are so many things I want my children to know. There are a lot of things I want to teach them, shield them from, guide them through, but they are all pretty situational. I couldn’t give blanket advice to a child I did not know yet.

Fast forward seven years to when I was driving home from a day out with my boy. He was quietly sipping his chocolate malt, and I was driving, thinking of many things. Sweetly, I heard his voice say, “Momma? When can I get baptized?” I smiled and said, “Let’s talk about this when we get home.” Mainly I wanted to gather my thoughts, and not totally botch it. I mean, this only happens once. So, we got home, sat on the couch, and had a conversation. At the end of this conversation, he convinced me he understood what this meant, he understood the life he was claiming, and he was ready for this step. We held hands, prayed, I cried, and then we called his dad at work.

As we approach his baptism, there are so many things I want him to know about this decision. While I know he understands what he is saying and claiming for his life, he doesn’t know the magnitude of this life. I want him to know, that this doesn’t make his life easy. He’s going to face trials, tribulations, and pain. He will be mocked because of his faith. He will be called weak. He will be told he has pinned his beliefs on a “fiction book” and a “silly theory.” He will be told it’s foolish. He will be told his God is not real. Sometimes, these words will get into his head. He will doubt, question, and wonder, and that’s ok. It doesn’t make him weak. It doesn’t make him a fool. Doubt doesn’t make him less of a Christian. It makes him human, which is what he is.

I want him to know not to follow “religion.” Religion is flawed, because religion is of man, and man is flawed. I want him to know that the human faces of religion will fail him. A lot of awful people have done a lot of ungodly things in the name of religion. People will use the guise of religion to hate, discriminate, and harm others. Religion is not what we follow. Our faith is in God. Our truth lies in the Bible, in God’s Word. Our faith does not lie in religion. It does not matter if he is Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Episcopalian, or Non-Denominational. What matters is that his faith is in God. That he knows Who is guiding his path and leading him through life. Don’t look to religion, son, look to Jesus.

I want him to know, he doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s not possible. The only perfect man who has ever walked this Earth was Christ, and he is not Christ. He is Aiden, a man, who will fail. He will have faults, flaws, and imperfections. It’s ok that he is not perfect. He needs to strive to live in the image of Christ, but he does not have to be perfect to be a Christian. If he’s anything like me as an adult, which I am certain he will be, he will be immensely flawed. Accept it. Love who you are, and constantly seek God. If you ever meet someone along the way who tells you that you are not a Christian because of _______ (fill in the blank) run away from them. They do not speak the truth.  The only thing that is required to be a Christian is the faith that Jesus is your savior.

There is a song by the Sidewalk Prophets entitled, “The Words I Would Say” (where I got the title for this blog. Thank you, Sidewalk Prophets). When I hear this song, I imagine a scenario. It is one that is much like a moment I had when I was in college. I called my mom late at night, drowning in stress, certain I couldn’t continue. When I hear this song, I picture myself 15 years from now, awake in the middle of the night, worrying about my sons. I’m sure it will happen. When this scenario occurs in real life, I hope I can say these words. This is the only advice my boys need in life, and I want to repeat it to them as much as possible:

“Be strong in the Lord, and never give up hope. You’re going to do great things, I already know. God’s got his hand on you, so don’t live life in fear. Forgive and forget, but don’t forget why you’re here. Take your time and pray. These are the words I would say.”

Aiden, I love you. You have always been a treasure, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this path you’re on is going to lead to amazing things. Keep your sweet, little, chubby hand in God’s and you will be just fine. I already know.

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