Tag Archives: crossfit

Facing my Fears

I am competitive, I am an extremist, I am passionate, and I am motivated. These are things I have been for my entire life and character traits that my parents talk about me having as a baby. These are the things that drive me to do what I do. They make me stubborn and impatient, but they make me love life and they make me really really good at the things that I choose to do.
Crossfit has been a major part of my life for the past 3.5 years. I’ve played every sport I could (with the exception of those I wasn’t good at) and I’ve never come across a sport quite like it. I’ve also been through all the stages of Crossfit. I no longer try to stuff it down people’s throats…I could care less who does or doesn’t do it and I could care less when women say they don’t want to get bulky from it. (sort of)
I know what it does for people…not just physically. I’ve seen firsthand the confidence built through the completion of someones first pull up or the first time they dead lift over their body weight, over 200 lbs, or even over 300. I’ve seen the excitement in someones eyes the first time they get a muscle up, and the confidence built the first time they do something they never thought they could do before. And I’ve experienced it myself. Over and over and over again. The first time I got a muscle up, the first time I could clean my body weight, and the first time I was able to walk on my hands down the length of the gym. Things I never imagined I would do. With a gain in physical strength, came a tenfold gain in mental fortitude and confidence. The ability to get through your most difficult workout, while in pain or while you want to cry, either makes everything else in life seem easy, or gives you the determination to get through difficult times. I’ve never seen anything build confidence and mental strength the way that I have seen crossfit do it. So…for the past 3.5 years, I’ve been in love with crossfit.
That all changed when I moved to Denver.
It happened somewhat gradually but way faster than I remember it. I no longer had my gym, my support system, and my friends who pushed me to be the best that I could be…and I was thrown into a completely different environment in my personal and social life than I had experienced in a while. I started an unbelievably intensive graduate program that kept me in the studio standing or sitting at a table, often for 10+ hours a day. My body was hurting, my heart was hurting, and my head was hurting, literally. I created a basement gym so that I could do CrossFit whenever I had time. The first few weeks of school I ceased to workout at all. I had no motivation, no drive, and certainly no energy. I had never really experienced this before. My entire life, working out had been an outlet and had been something that made me feel better. The last thing I wanted to do was workout at night when I got out of school. I stopped caring. I stopped wanting to do crossfit even though I’d force myself. Like I said before, I’m an extremist. I have two speeds. go and stop. so instead of crossfitting full time, all the time, I stopped. I mean after the first few weeks of school I got my shit together and worked out. but my workouts consisted of 40 minutes on the treadmill or c2 with high reps at low weights of lifts every 5 minutes or set distance.
I’d do crossfit when I’d go back to colorado springs but it wasn’t a priority and it didn’t feel the same. I had stopped caring about my performance (to a certain extent) and I had honestly stopped caring a lot about myself. I told myself that I was putting school first, that it was okay because I needed to change my priorities and that I couldn’t always be a competitive crossfitter. I still don’t know if I was lying to myself or if these things are true. But I know that I stopped caring about something that has been unbelievably influential in my life for the past 3 years. (this is not abnormal for me…this happens a lot because I go through stages so I took it with a  grain of salt.)
But I got more and more depressed. I liked school, but not the way that I had loved crossfit. I function with high levels of passion day to day…without which I don’t see the point of doing something. I wasn’t passionate about school the way that I was about crossfit. The idea of choosing something to do for the rest of my life is revolting. I can’t imagine it and it makes me want to either crawl into a hole and die or run for my life into the mountains.
I ignored a lot of these emotions and at the beginning of winter break I had begun to enjoy my life in Denver… going out with friends and working my ass off at school. I was good at it. I was nominated for an award.
I made the decision not to compete this year because I felt like I would be putting too much pressure on myself because I wasn’t able to train. I had stopped taking care of myself. I was skipping meals because the time flies by in the studio and I had dropped around 10 lbs…probably of muscle. In a vain sort of way, I liked it. My abs looked good but I wasn’t beating everyone at every workout and I sure as hell didn’t feel good. Shockingly, I didn’t care. This was the most upsetting thing to me. I stopped caring. I was becoming apathetic- An emotion that I despise more than anything else really.

I have been trying to pick apart why I made the decision not to compete in the first place and what exactly changed my mind. I’m petrified of failure. always have been. I’m afraid of losing, of stepping up to the bar and trying my hardest and that not being good enough. I’m afraid that I am not actually trying my best…that there’s always one more rep in me, always something I could have done better… Admitting this feels horrible. I am supposed to be inspirational and ‘coachy’ but I guess we all have our weaknesses. Those who know me well probably already know this. I’m lucky that there are a lot of things that come naturally, especially fitness related. If I’m not good, chances are I  don’t do it. Simple. It’s made for some really great times and a lot of ‘wins’ but it’s also kept me from doing things because I’m afraid that I will fail.
I’m working on this. I’d like to get out of my comfort zone a little more and maybe that is why I love Crossfit so much…while I am naturally pretty adept at moving heavy loads…theres always something to improve upon, always something that I am not good at. By competing again, I’ll be forced to face that. While I’ve been unbelievably competitive my entire life, I’m no longer competing with anyone else, I’m competing with myself. When I step up to the bar, my heart pounding, and my body shaking, there is no one else in the world. It is me and the workout. And that workout is as honest as anything gets. It will divulge my weaknesses, it will showcase my strengths, and it won’t let me bullshit or lie or cheat. If I don’t respect it, I’ll end up flat on my back by the end. But if I do, and if I give it my all, well now… the possibilities are endless.

After a rough first semester emotionally and some loss of fitness, I signed up and couldn’t be happier with my decision. I’d like to qualify for regionals again and I’d like to help my gym qualify a team. But If I don’t, that’s life. It doesn’t make me any better of a person and it doesn’t mean that I’ve failed…something I’m slowly starting to realize.

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Holding On

I used to be really strong… and by that, I mean I used to be able to hide things really well. I would pretend like everything was okay when it wasn’t and I never cried, ever. I used to run into my bedroom and pull the covers over my head. I’ve changed since then, sort of…I might metaphorically pull the covers over my head I suppose. I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve. I want to be able to control everything. I want everything to go my way, all of the time, and I want to fix problems- especially the problems of the people I care about. And I will go to any length I believe is necessary to try and fix those problems. I believe everything should have a black and white solution (but I know that’s not the case) and when I can’t find that solution or can’t fix the problem, well, I freak out. I’m self- destructive and my coping mechanisms aren’t always the best. I have unbelievably vivid memories of coping with things as a kid..or not actually coping with them. When I’m freaking out and trying to deal with something now, those memories come flooding back. I’m the first to admit that I desire to control situations and the first to admit I’m not always right and that I don’t have all the answers. I wish I did and I try to find answers to problems that don’t necessarily have one. We are shaped less by the good things that happen to us than we are the bad and without those bad times, we wouldn’t know how good everything actually is. It really doesn’t matter how many times you fall down…as long as you can pick yourself up afterwards.
So lesson of the week is to keep your head up…allow yourself to freak out, because you undoubtedly will when things get tough. What matters is how you handle everything after sh*t hits the fan. A friend told me today that it seems like a lot of people’s lives are spinning out of control. We have a choice…stay on for the ride and handle things as they come, or give up and jump off. Your choice.

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blueberry Banana Bread Muffins

So I’ve had a number of requests for the blueberry banana bread muffins. the recipe is already on here but I will post it again. The first recipe had some problems with it because I forgot to put some of the information. My bad. Keep in mind that I approximate most measurements. Especially with little things like cinnamon and vanilla. Do what feels right.

BANANA BREAD MUFFINS
(these can be made as muffins or a loaf of bread. I usually make muffins so the baking time will differ slightly.)

In a blender (Or if you are a normal person, a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor and use a blender, mix the bananas first. This will be a fairly thick ‘batter’)
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup roasted/salted cashews
4 ripe bananas
2 tbs olive oil (I use ‘light’ vanilla infused olive oil. The light just means it’s light flavored and throw two vanilla beans in a jar and let it sit for a while.)
1 tbs melted coconut oil
1 cup raw unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
If it’s too thick you can add a 1/4 cup of water.

In a bowl:
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup almond meal (there are a few different kinds of almond meal. My favorite is the raw kind and it’s available at a natural grocers. It is also the cheapest.)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
3 tsp vanilla
cinnamon (not sure how much I used…whatever seems right)

Mix the two together and then add a container of blueberries (or two.) I also sometimes add chopped bananas. The more blueberries, the more moist the bread will be…which can be good or bad depending on what you like.

I also add vanilla protein powder sometimes which I thoroughly enjoy.

Bake at 375 for around 25 minutes. Test with a toothpick or knife.
Enjoy 🙂

An update and some of the things I’ve learned in the last 2.5 years of CrossFit

Sorry it’s been a while… it was a hectic week. Chris and I had a great time in Telluride but it was cut short by the Waldo Canyon Fire outbreak. Everyone we know is safe and back in their homes as of now but our thoughts go out to those whose lives were torn apart because of it. Here are some photos of our little adventure….

Some of the most important things I have learned in 2.5 years of being a CrossFit athlete and a coach.
(in no particular order)

Don’t cheat-
You aren’t only cheating yourself, you are cheating your coaches and your fellow athletes. People will start to notice and you will never lose that reputation. Just don’t do it…under any circumstance.

Take care of your hands- While you may think it is ‘cool’ to rip, it’s not. It’s actually the opposite of cool. It totally sucks. Be smart, don’t rip. Wear tape when you need to and lay off bars when you have to. Hand care if all about prevention and maintenence. File your callouses down and keep your hands moisturized. And when you do rip, because you will, don’t be a little bitch about it. Don’t lay in the corner and cradle your hands or whine when you have to wash the chalk out…we’ve all been there and I can guarantee yours are nothing compared to when I tore every callous off my hands at regionals and had to shower for 2 weeks with gloves on…take it from me, avoid rips at all costs.

Scale as needed- this is not advice, this is me telling you what you have to do. I don’t know how many times I have seen little boys (I say this because they are acting like little boys when they do it) come into the gym on heavy days and refuse to scale the weight because women are lifting more than them and try to pick up 255 lbs for reps. I don’t need to go into the horrible form used and the stupidity of the entire situation. Moral of the story, two days later they walk in with back pain. This is just f***ing stupid on so many levels. Everyone is not created equal…sorry guys. Scale when it’s too heavy, when it’s something you don’t know how to do (high skill), scale when you are injured, and scale when we tell you to. This is not an option. Scaling doesn’t make you a bitch, it makes you a smart athlete.

Warm up and do mobility- I don’t feel like going into this. Warm ups are important (so is cooling down.) Ever play sports when you were a kid? Remember that 30 minute warm up and cool down your coach put you through? (If they didn’t they were a bad coach) Yea, it’s just as important today. Just do it and you will thank me.

Perfect practice makes perfect- I’ve talked about this before. You are not going to get better if you practice crappy technique and poor form. It’s a fact. No excuses. If your technique sucks, lower the weight or scale the movement until it gets better. A 3/4 depth squat with 200 pounds is not a squat. A full depth squat with 95 pounds is a squat. Get over it.

Post workout nutrition is very important- there’s a lot of science-y stuff that goes into this and I don’t feel like explaining it. (mainly because I’d have to go back and read science-y articles and I just don’t care right now.) You will recover faster (so that you can work harder the next training session) if you eat something immediately after you workout. I don’t want to hear that you feel sick and you aren’t hungry right after a workout. If you want to optimize your recovery and performance, do it. If you don’t care about performance or recovery, don’t do it. It’s that simple.

Competition brings out the best in us- I once told the story of the Colorado Open Masters competition that Ma was in. One of the most inspiring moments I’ve ever witnessed. These types of things happen all the time at CF competitions. I’ve been an athlete my entire life and have never witnesses the type of sportsmanship and camaraderie that I have in CrossFit. It brings me to tears consistently and I believe that competition allows us to showcase this. It lets you push yourself to places you never thought you’d go and shows you what an amazing community we have. Competition is amazing and everyone should try it, regardless if your level. One day I will write about why I think competition is so important, but for now, this will suffice.

Trying my hardest doesn’t always mean winning and I am my own worst enemy- There is a lot more to this but the way we talk to ourselves is a reflection of so much more. After a workout do you scold yourself? Tell yourself you sucked, that you could have done better? I do… a lot of the time, and It’s something I am working on. Instead of doing this try looking at the positive, at all the things you did right and how hard you pushed yourself. We aren’t going to have perfect days every day, but we are capable of trying our hardest. If that means just finishing a workout, that is okay.

Why I love CrossFit.

It’s hard to talk about crossfit with someone who doesn’t crossfit…and I’m sure we’ve all been there. Now, imagine that you are a crossfit trainer/competitor (me) and your family doesn’t actually like that you do crossfit…sounds fun, right? right.

So I would even go as far to say that my family hates that I do crossfit. They may say this is an exaggeration but I don’t think it is. My mom hates that it’s a cult and I think she secretly dislikes the fact my muscles are fairly large and that I lift weights. My dad just hates that I lift weights at all because I had back surgery (I’ve talked about why lifting is important before) and he also would prefer that I have a runner’s body. My grandmother…well she just hates my traps. While this may be funny and somewhat absurd (it’s my life and my body, it doesn’t matter what they want me to look like) it’s frustrating because crossfit, like it or not, is a large part of my life. Eating well and working out are a struggle for many and people do it because they sort of have to if they want to ‘look good.’ I do this stuff because I love it and it’s not much of a struggle. I find it quite easy to eat paleo and to workout as much as I do. It’s just part of who I am. Not being able to share this passion with my family can be heart breaking. Mainly because many of the experiences I have had in the past few years have changed me as a person. I am lucky to be able to work with some amazing people who are both family and friends but I am beyond jealous of those whose parents come to watch them compete (my mom has come to some competitions…she usually leaves because she doesn’t like watching me lift heavy things) and whose parents actually workout with them, who congratulate them on PRs on their lifts rather than telling them not to lift heavy. I actually try NOT to talk about CF around my family or anyone who doesn’t CF for that matter.

I snatched 155# today. For me, that’s unbelievable. I have been wanting to snatch 150+ for a really long time and I thought I’d never be able to do it. If I told my parents this or sent them the video, they’d actually get angry with me. I want to share my (non-academic) accomplishments with them and I want them to be proud of the work I’ve done in CrossFit…but they don’t get it. They probably never will because all they see is that my shoulders and quads have gotten a little bigger.

Video of me snatching 155#
http://www.facebook.com/v/3298664508535


I adore my parents, they really are my best friends and they have supported me in everything I have done my entire life. I just know the impact that CrossFit has had on my life and I wish I could share it with them, and I wish they could understand the difference it makes and what it is really about because it is more than working out. The change that occurs in someone is mental more than physical and it’s an unbelievable thing.
CrossFit is not for everyone and I don’t think everyone should do it…but it does change you in a profound way.

Cherie Chan wrote the perfect article, “Why CrossFit Ruined My Life” It is all so true…
I have learned to see food as fuel and I am incapable of eating something ‘bad’ without feeling it’s effects. I will forever keep gluten and dairy out of my diet (for the most part) and think in (somewhat) of a block system.
I have a very different understanding of what people should like like. I criticize the fronts of women’s magazines because the bikini bodies look like crap and the models couldn’t lift 100 lbs.
I have seen people push themselves farther than they ever thought they could go, and then go further. I expect everyone to do this, every day, all the time. The confidence that people gain through doing their first rope climb or dead lifting twice their body weight is unreal and it transfers over to other aspects of their lives.
I share blood, sweat, and tears with my crossfit family and have a deep respect for those who give it everything they have, every time they walk into the gym. I don’t see other people (with the exception of ‘elite’ athletes) the same way.
I will forever be obsessed with getting better at my weaknesses and I no longer workout to ‘stay in shape.’
I am not very good at wearing clothes that don’t stretch…My shoulders and quads are too big and my waist is too small.
My hands are calloused and I have bruises and scrapes on my legs.

Crossfit has not ruined my life… it has saved my life. It has changed the way I see food and it has made me a better person and a better athlete. It breeds respect, honesty, diligence, hard work, and sacrifice. There are not many things in this world that I believe have the same impact on people’s lives that CrossFit can have. (There are a lot of exceptions here guys…I believe that any elite athlete, body builder, or branch of the military, etc…can produce similar results mentally)

I will never forget the Colorado Open Masters competition last year. All but one of the women had finished the workout and I believe the last woman was a 3 time cancer survivor in her 60’s. The clock was about to run out and she had her last run left. There was no way she would finish the run in time for it to count towards her score but she took off for the run anyways. Soon after that, the 10 or so masters women who has just finished a grueling workout, got up off the ground and started to run after her. They all finished the run together. It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. I’ve never experienced the sportsmanship and camaraderie that I have in crossfit, in any other sport. It’s an amazing thing and I hope that one day, I will be able to share this with my family. Until then, I have an unbelievable group of friends (who are my gym family) that understand and support me.

The Unbelievable Power of the Mind.

When i go to Miami, I am around a lot of people who don’t have the same aesthetic values as I do. I am uncomfortable, instantly…as soon as I step off the plane. Uncomfortable in my own skin, uncomfortable with the temperature, and uncomfortable with everything around me. It’s like as soon as I get to Miami, I gain ten pound of fat and look in the mirror and hate everything I am. This has happened to me since I was a little girl and it’s a hard one to get over. It could be why I can’t stand Miami. It’s different there and I begin to see myself the same way that I think that everyone around me sees me. Whether or not it is an accurate portrayal, who knows…well I do know…but that is besides the point. From my grandmother telling me not to lift anymore because my muscles are big, to walking around in the heat with my thighs rubbing together (It’s ridiculously hot there all year round and I hate the heat). This has once again happened to me my entire life. My grandmother asks to look at me every time I see her…as if I was a model trying on clothes for a clothes designer (get the picture)…more commonly than not I get a “Mamita, you look great have you lost weight?” and the answer is usually yes, however, there is always that ‘are you still working out’ comment that sneaks in. (This is what I really want to say…I have muscles…get over it…they are awesome and I can do lots of fun things with them…I have been built like this my entire life and I’ve come to grips with the fact that I am an athlete. You should too) I am uncomfortable in most of the situations I am put in and it becomes an inner battle that I fight with myself every time I go there. The power my mind has over my body is unreal. The only place I am comfortable in Miami is in the crossfit gym and I am lucky to have a few friends who run a great facility who let me hang out. Check it out if you are ever down there (CrossFit Gables) Anyways, I go from unbelievably confident, strong, and happy with who I am to questioning myself and someone who I don’t recognize. It’s absurd and I know it, but it still happens. I hope that one day I won’t let this happen to me, but for now, it does.

The dark side of my mind takes over. It happens to the best of us and we can’t always control it. What we can do is do our best to get ourselves out of that situation. To ride it out and know that in the end, we can go back to being ourselves. I’d like to say it’s easy to stop thinking a certain way or to believe yourself when you know whats right…it’s not. We all have our demons and those little devils sitting on our shoulders whispering a whole bunch of SHIT into our ears. At some point we have to stop listening.

The same power of mind comes into play when I step up to the barbell. For the most part when I know I’m getting close to a max I stop counting and just add incrementally. Knowing the weight allows that little demon that sits on my shoulder to start whispering, “You aren’t strong enough, there is no way that you can get that weight overhead…you are weak and you will hurt yourself. You aren’t good enough to make that lift.” Every made lift makes that little demon shrink. Every time I step up to the bar confidently and do my best, he shrinks even further. It can be, like many things, a choice. However, it takes time. confidence doesn’t build over night and I think that without those bad days, it would be really difficult to have the really great ones. If you don’t step up to the bar and tell yourself that you are going to make the lift, I can guarantee that you will miss it and that stupid little demon will grow bigger and bigger.

I write this for those of you doing the nutrition challenge. The next 9 weeks are going to be tough and for a lot of the time, you will have a little demon sitting on your shoulder telling you things that you don’t want to hear…trying to convince you that you are a failure and that you can’t do it…I’m here to tell you that you can. Every good decision you make and every hard workout pays off in the end. The little demon shrinks, you get stronger and leaner, and your performance increases. It is worth it, I promise. Have faith in your coaches and most importantly, yourself. You CAN do it.

As for me, I weighed myself and did my body fat. I won’t put you through the pain of knowing how much I weigh, but my body fat is at 16%. Which is pretty awesome and I’m quite happy with that. We’ll see what the next 9 weeks bring…

Meal Plans and Things

So for the nutrition challenge I have come up with a meal plan for myself. (I can do this for anyone who is interested but only if you are willing to follow it. I’m not going to waste my time coming up with something only to have you eating too little or too much every day) I am doing this to lean down. Its mainly a vanity thing because my performance seems to be okay but I would like to be more efficient at things like running and handstand pushups so being a little lighter may help. I’ll actually be eating more than what I was eating before so we’ll see how it goes. Cleaning things up and taking out all the nuts I was eating. I’m going to do it for a week and adjust as needed… if my performance goes down, if I feel like crap, etc… I tend to adapt really well to whatever I put my body through so I don’t see there being much of a problem other than the fact I am in love with almond butter and I am eliminating it. I will have one cheat meal on the weekends where I will stuff all the almond butter that I missed throughout the week into a few short hours (joking). But I will probably have some almond butter and fruit during that time.

I had an eating disorder when I was younger. And by when i was younger, I mean for the majority of my life. A good ten years or so. This is part of me. It always will be. I think about and approach food in a much different way than most people. It has taken me a while to be able to talk about it and to accept that. Whatever. It is what it is. I know what I can and what I can’t do and what I need to do in order to have a healthy relationship with food. I have done a pretty good job with it every since I have started CrossFit. Paleo changed my life and I can honestly say I never thought I’d be able to think of food as fuel for my body…now I do. That changed happened with Crossfit and I will be forever grateful. So while weighing and measuring food and eating so strict may seem like bad habits for someone like me to some, for me it is not. For me, it is a way to force myself to eat enough and to eat the proper foods to reach my optimal performance and body composition. I am lucky that I put performance above anything else…another thing CrossFit has given me. So while my meal plan may have some pretty specific measurements for the carbs…I don’t measure my veggies. I know that I can’t possibly eat too many of them for the ‘blocks’ that I eat. I approximate my vegetable intake. I measure my protein so that I can control my consumption and I am currently watching my fat intake so that I can lean down a bit. Normally I don’t measure anything and just sort of go with how I feel and have a pretty good understanding of how many ounces of protein I get…I am currently forcing myself to eat more than I normally do. Once you do this for about a week you will have a pretty good idea of what your blocks look like. I always have a shake post workout. If I workout two separate times during the day I will have two progenex shakes. (These don’t count towards my blocks for the day.) I normally just have an extra long training session and double up within a few hours and stick to one shake. I do two-a-days for most of my training sessions and stick to one WOD only when I have to or I’m just destroyed. Most of my two-a-days have one main WOD, a lift in the Wendler strength format, an olympic lift skill that tends to be in a every minute on the minute format for anywhere from 7-15 minutes- low rep and heavy usually, as well as some sort of other workout that complements my first WOD. I also tend to scale up the first WOD, higher weight or skill depending on what it is. I take fish oil with breakfast and dinner and try to drink a few glasses (at least) of water with every meal as well as throughout the day.

So my meal plan is as follows:
Meal 1: 3 blocks

1 C eggwhites

2-3 C spinach with red onion

2 Tbs paleo ketchup (I have no idea how many carbs are in this. It is essentially glorified tomato paste)

1/2 Tbs coconut oil
Fish oil

PreWO: BCAAs

PWO: Progenex with coconut water

Meal 2: 4 Blocks

4 oz chicken with mustard

1 C pepper

1-2 mini cucumbers

1/4 avocado

Meal 3: 3 Blocks

6 egg whites

2 C veggies with mustard

1 Tbs Olive oil

Meal 4: 4 Blocks

6 oz fish (salmon)

2/3-1 sweet potato

2 Tbs coconut oil