The View From The Top Of The Rope

Hungry?  Sorry.  I got nuthin.  Maybe try this?


I accomplished my first ever rope climb about a week ago.

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And, that got me to thinking (which in itself can be problematic) about “the view from the top of the rope,” as Coach Ben put it. Which then got me thinking about the entire process of accomplishment. Then I got wrapped up in second guessing what I wanted to say which ultimately ended up with me opining about nothing cohesive or actually useful.  I’d rather just shut up than accidentally sound like a David Wolfe meme.

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But, back to the subject of success. When we moved from New Mexico to Texas I was grossly overweight and on antidepressant and anti anxiety medication.  Within a year of our move to Texas I discovered CrossFit, which is sort of only halfway true because Matthew had been CrossFitting for nearly two years by then and could do all the things. We all know the story. My time at CrossFit Toro Grande could best be described as teaching a person how to drive for the first time.  There’s a lot of fits and starts, stalls, shredded clutch bearings, confusion, whip lash, and frustration.  Basically, every workout looked like this.

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The progress and measurable gainz were steady and motivating and it dusted off an aspect of myself I’ve grown to really enjoy and identify with.  Now we live in New York and I workout at CrossFit Mount Kisco and the workout scenario still looks like that, only now I’m using more weight, and going faster!   All the work and all the time and all the foundation that was laid all those days in Texas combined with focus, intensity, and charisma of New York have coalesced in a rain of personal records unlike anything I had ever expected to see, all leading up to the surprise PR of 2016: The rope climb.

Moving to New York  jolted me into a new and refined focus for my body goals. When you have no social circle, you’re new to town, and the only thing you know how to do is clean toilets, cook food, and do CrossFit you quickly find oneself at a crossroads: Cloister myself at home and go back to a life of excuse-driven emotional eating and watch everything I worked for over the previous months disappear, OR get my ass back into a gym. Given the relative newness of my active lifestyle compared to the longer backstory of, y’know, not that, history favored eating.

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Consequently, it is of remarkable noteworthiness that Dignity intervened and with a hand on her hip and an annoyed look on her face said, “George.  Really?” to which I replied, “What?” all indignant and shit. Then Self said, “Listen to Dignity, George, she’s on to something here.” and I was all, “Why are you guys ganging up on me?” and that’s when Pride swaggered in rolling her eyes and barked, “Quit being a twit. You’re gonna get fat again.” Dignity shot Pride a frown and interjected, “What Pride means is all the work you put in over the last couple of years will be lost and I’d hate to see you start at level zero again.” And Pride backed it up with, “Oh for gawd’s sake put the ice cream down.” Now, like, no one takes my ice cream so I got all pissy, but that’s when Self Control stepped in and swatted the ice cream out of my hands and took a selfie with my phone.

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“Is that what you want?” Pride asked, an insufferable know-it-all smirk on her ageless face. I chewed my lip and thought for a moment. “No,” I replied quietly. “I didn’t hear you, what was that?” asked Self, clearly enjoying herself.  “No,” I repeated more confidently. Self sat back and crossed her arms and gave Dignity a knowing look, “Finish her,” Self muttered to Dignity.  Dignity looked me dead in the eye and said, “It’s not me.  It’s you. Either you get back to the gym or I’m leaving you forever.” My eyes flicked open wide as I considered the implications of Dignity’s threat.  No Dignity? If Dignity moves out so does Pride cuz those bitches are tight. And Self Control will follow Pride and Dignity like a little sheep and if Self Control goes all the rest of the Sorority of Gamma George Gamma will depart for sunnier shores and all I’ll be left with are the freeloading hags Depression, Anxiety, and Excuses.  Uhhhhh…. No thank you.

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Success Step 1: Having enough dignity to stick to my goals, even in the midst of ultimate upheaval and change.  In fact, goals really are nothing more than change maps.  Goals cannot exist without change.  So, goals.

Success Step 2: Trusting in the process that has yet to fail.  The process of show up, do work, repeat.  Apply liberally to all areas wanting improvement, which, if you’re me, is in all the areas.

Success Step 3: Letting Pride be a source of motivation, but that’s it.  Pride can be duplicitous and cahoot about with Negative Self Talk who we all know is besties with Poor Self Image and seriously if they get to talking it’s like no one else can get a word in edgewise.   Don’t confuse Pride with Dignity.  Dignity is in this deal for the long haul physical and mental benefits.  Pride is in it for smaller pants as soon as possible.

Success Step 4: Try.  Try.  Try. Try.  Try the heavier weight.  Try the longer run.  Try the leaner meat. Try the sauteed kale.  Try to string one extra rep into that series of ten reps to get to eleven, then twelve, then thirteen and so on.  Try not putting the wall ball down. Try. Try the rope climb for the elevendieth time even though you’ve never done anything other than fail.  Failure is more indicative of success than the actual success is.  (Ugh.  I still sound like David Wolfe, don’t I.)

Success Step 5: Humble pie is my new favorite food.  See Success Step 3.

Success Step 6: Let your coach be critical and encouraging. If there’s nothing to criticize there’s nothing to improve on and if I can’t be receptive to criticism and correction then I’ve already failed completely.   Let your friends be encouraging. Be encouraging to your friends. Change, “Yeah, well I scaled” to “Yeah, I did the work.”  Be generous giving high fives and gracious when receiving them. Be truthful with your reps and with your scores! Not every day can be a Pollyanna romp through a daisy filled meadow, but what we are supposed to learn from Pollyanna isn’t that everything is joyfully perfect but that joy can be perfected in everything.  (Oh my, look at all the animated singing birds flyin around!)

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What does the view look like from the top of the rope?  I can see all my goals laid out like a landscape, some are closer and some will take longer to get to.  That mountain way out in the distance? That’s Muscle Up Mountain, and one day I’ll get to summiting it.  For now, I’m navigating the Pull Up Foothills, which shares a border with the Valley of Unscaled Push Ups. Somewhere between the two I expect is the verdant glade of Double Unders.  Beyond the Crest of Chest To  Bar pull ups, before reaching the white water rapids of Strict Hand Stand Push Up River is the broad expansive plateau where RXville lives in peace and harmony with StrictMovementopolis.  And, all along the road I’ll be traveling I will be visiting the villages Cardiosskill, Endurancetown, and the federated municipalities of DontEatStupidCrap Castle.  It’s a pretty great view.  It’s a view that says I’ve got a long journey still ahead of me. The top of the rope isn’t the end of a climb, it’s just a new way to see where I’m going. So…. Off I go!

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via openwalls.com

 

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Time Flies When You’re Pretending Things Are Different

Hungry?  Get cooking with this new Paleo Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen.


You know how life likes to throw curveballs? And, how sometimes those curveballs are really fully ripened spiked durian fruits? And, those durians are being shot out of a rapid firing high velocity canon directly at the peace and tranquility of your delightfully comfortable life?  And, your only shield is a pair of cheap sunglasses and a gobsmacked look on your face?

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2015 was the year of the durian curveball.  I think it’s worth reviewing some of these for the purposes of being grateful things weren’t worse and to take time to make fun of it all since everything in hindsight can be laughed at.  Right?  Right.

That time when I hurt my back and said it was a post pregnancy issue. 

I was riding high on the Gainz Train in Small Group Training when the unexpected happened: I hurt myself.  For someone with such a highly developed sense of self preservation it seemed unlikely that I would ever be able to do that, but there it was.  I hit a box jump wrong and now my low back was right and thoroughly effed.  After roughly a week of trying to resolve the matter myself using liver-shriveling doses of ibuprofen and ice packs I went to a chiropractor.

Dr Chiropractor very cheerfully tried to fold me neatly into thirds, then into a concertina and then into a pentagram.  When he was unsuccessful he cheerfully went after me with a pronged electric hammer of some kind, stuttering it across my hip flexors, striking a series of previously unknown verbal triggers that caused me to spontaneously lash out in a sort of situational Tourettes.  While we gained perhaps a brief increase in range of motion it was offset by the spectacular pain that entombed me from floating ribs to lower ass cheeks.  Finally, Dr Chiropractor rubbed his chin and said something profound.

“Your psoas won’t release,” he said, smiling.

“CRAP! BALLS! *grimace* What, like it’s holding a grudge? SACK! SACK! SACK! *grimace* Or, it’s spasming like a toddler tossed into a shallow pool full of YooHoo and M&Ms? FUUUUUUUUUUDGECICLE ICE POP!!!” I replied through gritted teeth.  Here Dr Chiropractor stands up and points at one of many professional diagrams of the human body.

“This is your psoas,” he smiles, pointing.  I nod even though I can’t really focus my eyes.  “Normally it’s like this,” he laces his fingers together somewhat loosely indicating a supportive, though flexible muscle.  “Right now yours is like this,” he smashes his hands together into an angry fist.  This gives me my first visual queue explaining the source of the relentless, blinding discomfort.

“SSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIIII-TUH!” I said, grimacing. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.  How do we get it to unfist? YOW WOW OW COW!”

“Well, I think your L5/S1 is putting pressure on a nerve cluster and your psoas is taking a defensive response.  But, to be sure we need to get an MRI to make sure it’s not bulged disc before we start any adjustments.”

Bulged disc. Bulged disc?  How would a fairly healthy, if not slightly overweight, woman in her late 30s come across a bulged disc, you ask?  Well, as it happens, the gift of childbirth is a gift that, for some, can give well past the third trimester into an infinite timeframe of bodily adjustments known hereafter as the fourth trimester. I was in my 4th year of the fourth trimester and the consequences of my second pregnancy were still being discovered, much like one discovers a new dinosaur skeleton: Slowly, over the course of many years using a hand brush to whisk away layers of sediment (aka adipose) to reveal the skeleton trapped in rock (aka years of relative inactivity).

Flash forward two more weeks.  A five day taper of steroids got the psoas relaxed (and suspended all weight loss for 6 months), a change in diet, an MRI that I slept through, and orthopedic spinal surgeon consult yielded that not only was my disc not bulged, there were no other points of concern in the MRI to suggest anything other than a thoroughly pissed off L5/S1.  Add to this several more firing squad sessions with Dr Chiropractor and his pronged hand gun and I was ready to slowly get back to working out.  My coaches set the tone for my 2015 with one simple gesture: generosity.  My small group coach came up with 4 months of progressive rehab programming to rebuild my midline and stabilize the back.  My regular class coach and gym owner suspended my regular membership saving me several hundred dollars until I could re-enter general population again.  I wasn’t going to waste this precious opportunity so I worked out within the bounds of the programming and let me tell you, I was frankly shocked that such simple moves could yield such remarkable feedback.

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All I could think about when at the gym was getting back to Dr Chiropractor and his remarkable collapsing table.  When I was at the chiropractor I was thinking about getting back to the gym to keep moving forward, even if it meant routine visits with the Airdyne.

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I’ll never ever forget retesting the WOD that I hurt myself on: an 8 minute AMRAP of ascending reps of power snatch and box jumps.  I have never experienced true heart pounding driven fear over an inanimate object like I felt jumping on that box.  Even now my relationship with the box is completely dysfunctional.  But I did it! And that four months was a complete blur.  It was now early May and second high velocity durian had been fired as was due to make landfall shortly.

That time my husband came home and said he accepted a new job.  In New York.  

There are conversations that fall under the category of “necessary but uncomfortable” and then there are others that fall under the category of “Oh, I thought you were kidding.”  The New York job conversation was of the latter sort.  When he first told me about the company’s interest I blew it off as a “Haha, good luck getting us out of Texas you godless yankees!” I hadn’t anticipated on the job being both interesting and profitable. Leaving Texas had never been part of my 2015 Consideration Paradigm, but that’s the funny thing about paradigms.  They tend to shift.  I didn’t say it was funny “haha”.

As a stay at home professional domesticateer I have taken the approach that if my man is happy then the family is happy, especially given that the lion’s share of sacrifices are born on his shoulders.  When he came home and said, “I’ve accepted the job.  We are moving to New York.  What do you think about that?” I admit I felt deflated like a mylar balloon in a cold car, but what I said was, “We are the barnacles on your career boat and we will happily motor into new waters with you.” And, I wasn’t lying.  But, seriously, wow. We were leaving Texas and that made me inexpressibly sad.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that happy Texans hardly see the offer of, “You can visit me in New York! We can go see the city!” as an actual enticement.  They have the whole state of Texas, for chrissake. Why do they need to see an overpopulated urban jungle that lacks queso and relies on public transportation?  Only one person was honest with their reply: Coach Gene.

Gene: Where are you moving?

Me: New York.

Gene: Why?

Me: Matthew’s income is pivotal for our survival.

Gene: How are you going to live in such a tiny fucking state?

Me: It’s not that tiny.  It has the Adirondacks.  Plus, you could come visit me.  We could go see the city!

Gene: No.

In the distance I could almost hear the next durian being shot.

That time I had to get the house ready to be put on the market by myself.

Matthew left to start his new job on Mother’s Day weekend.  I was busy trying to follow the guidelines for the Mystical Voodoo of House Staging in hopes of making our house marketable and appealing.  As if by some dark magic our kid-assaulted and glitter-infused furniture would look less crappy if I took all the family pictures off the wall and had the front door refinished.  In one of the most brilliant Mother’s Day coups of all time my selfless friends, Chuck, Ally, and Matt poured into my home and knocked out a laundry list of niggling little repairs. You know, those kinds of repairs that if we were still living in the house would probably still be undone, but because we were selling it I was 100% sure that someone looking at the house would notice the uneven nature of the seal on the shower door, or the slightly wiggly door knob.  That kind of stuff.   The biggest thing was our front door faced full west (which turned out to be a whole other issue) and the wear of heat, humidity, and sun had done a number on the finish.  Chuck, selfless, giving, caring Chuck sanded and refinished the front door.  This wasn’t no average 8 foot door, no it was a tall 10′ solid wood door positioned in full sun in May, which was high 90s, he stood there, enduring the heat and misery and refinished that door.  That will live in my memory as one of the most giving gestures I’ve ever personally experienced.

By whatever skin on my teeth was left we made our listing deadline, only to have our listing pictures get taken on a dreary, rainy day.  And, everybody knows that dreary rainy pictures make shitty furniture look exponentially more shitty. But there was nothing else to be done.

POW! Next durian!

That time I had to keep a house in show-ready condition with two kids still living in it.

This is a particular brand of hell on earth.  How do you scold your children for living in their own house? It’s very difficult to do it and still make sense.  How do you keep the yard in pristine manicured condition  while wondering what kind of Armageddon is taking place inside? You put on headphones and pretend that the laws of nature and entropy don’t apply to you.  How do you feed your children healthy nutritious meals when you don’t want to smudge up the cooktop?  You don’t.  You feed them a strict diet of Lunchables and Sonic until they plaintively ask when they’ll be getting some grapes and scrambled eggs.  How do you not start panicking when it seems like all the houses around you are selling in one day and yours has been on the market for two weeks? You make yourself a boil on your realtor’s ass until her only option is to drive by several times a day and throw Starbucks at you as a defensive gesture.  How do you survive imbecilic ideas like backyard renovations mere days before leaving for NY? You start bawling in front of one of your friends like a blubbering sack of sad and they offer to help finish the work. How do you deal with a giant black mulch fart stain all over the driveway? You ask your friend’s husband if you can borrow his power washer only to find out he’d rather do it himself because it’s “relaxing”.   How do you manage a moving company coming in and packing your entire world up into boxes loosely labeled “upstairs” and “downstairs” and “garage”? You send your children to the neighbor’s house and dart uselessly from room to room laughing nervously and trying not to chew your lower lip off from unfiltered anxiety.  How do you handle the moving company driving up two massive trucks and playing tetris with all your worldly possessions? You sit in a lawn chair destined for the garbage and slam Topo Chicos singing Talking Head’s Once In A Lifetime.  How do you handle that your house still hasn’t received an offer but it’s time to go? You walk through each room making sure no lights are on, choke back excitement and terror, and go. Bye, house!

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BOOM! Durian!

That time I thought it’d be just as easy to drive to New York as fly and have the car shipped.

No one said I was good at ideas.  I’ve never claimed to be, so no one could point any fingers and say otherwise.  So, plotting a five day route from Texas to New York was fully in keeping with my talents of poor consideration.  We got to New York unscathed and my Texas bestie and co-pilot was still friends with me.

That time my last link to Texas flew home and I realized I had just moved to New York.

Now there’s a feeling.  She gets in the  car and drives to the airport and I go back inside and ugly cry.  There are trees and squirrels everywhere.  Nobody makes eye contact here.  It’s barely in the high 80s and everyone is acting like they’re living on the surface of the sun.  My children want to go out and have fun and I have no idea where to take them.  We are up to our eyeballs in boxes and need unpacking.  So, we started with the basics by finding to the grocery store which was a woeful uruk-hai breeding pit of Isengard compared to the ethereal elvish kingdom of all which is good known as H-E-B.  Salsa aisle? Nope.  BBQ aisle? Ha! Breathtaking stacks of meat? Not quite.  What are rainbow cookies? Oh Lawd, what the hell is espresso soda?  OMG!! THERE’S NO TOPO CHICO!! Add to that my grocery cart wheels were so gummed up with hair, bitterness, and broken spirits that it was incapable of making right turns, so my children and I circled the store making only left turns until it was time to give up and leave.

Next we tried out the neighborhood pool but found it was guarded by a little old Italian man whose only goal was to preserve the quiet, peaceful, non-kid aspect of the pool.  After a testy inquisition related to where we lived in the neighborhood specifically, and did we know the people who lived there before, and were we renting, and what did our landlords say about pool access he let us across the threshold.  My kids have only known our neighborhood pool in Texas which was a roiling octagon of children, families, and good times.  They grabbed their pool rings and jumped into the pool.  LOIM (Little old Italian man) jumped up and declared there was to be no jumping.  Next, they got out some diving toys.  LOIM jumped up and declared there was to be no toys at the pool.  They played and splashed around and LOIM was insistent that they stop that immediately because it was getting the pool deck wet.  For serious. LOIM was very frustrated with us and directed me to the list of rules that were posted on the clubhouse door – no less than 40 rules printed on a single 8×10 piece of paper using a small ass font.  Now, at that moment I came to a crossroads: Do I let mama bear out and maul the LOIM for being the physical manifest of every preconceived douchey notion of what a New Yorker is? Or, do I let it go and make a point of only going to the pool when he’s not there?  Choosing the latter, and most likely staving off potential assault charges, we took significant precautions to only go to the pool during the hours LOIM was off duty, which weren’t many.

Then there was that whole debacle related to trying to get my NY driver’s license and vehicle registration. Four trips to the DMV and spinning the malevolent Roulette Wheel of Arbitrary Requirements to get it done.  Four trips.  Four. The third trip was when I was supposed to get my driver’s license, but they decided I needed to get my marriage certificate to prove the link between my birth certificate name and my social security card name.  Standing there, looking at the DMV worker I realized we were both completely drained of hope.  I had already been there for close to two hours, stood in three separate lines, produced enough proof of identity that even I didn’t want to be me anymore and they wanted one more thing.

“You’re serious?” I whispered, closing my eyes.

“We have to be able to prove you are who you say you are,” She replied flatly.

“That will mean I have to come back here a fourth time,” I pointed out, the will to live leaking out of my pores.

“A fourth time? You’ve been here three times for this task alone?” She asked, her eyebrows arching ever so slightly to indicate an unexpected emotional response.

“This is my third trip. To try to get a driver’s license. Because I fucking live here now,” My voice stayed calmed as I pressed the palms of my hands into my eyes to keep them from bulging out of my skull from the pressure of repressed rage.

“Well, let me see what I can do,” She said, turning around, causing the entire line behind me to audibly groan.  She whispered to someone standing in a corner wearing a sweater vest who looked at me, looked at the papers, looked at me, shuffled the papers, said something quietly to the lady, looked at me and flipped through the papers some more, looked at me again and hit my papers with a random stamp and handed them back.

“Here,” said the DMV lady, with the barest hint of a smile, “Take these to that line over there to get this finalized.  Four trips is too many.”  What a relief to know that even the DMV had limits as to how far they’d torture the population.  Off to the line I went, finalizing my driver’s license process.  A fourth trip was still required to get the vehicles registered appropriately, but at least the massive hurtle related to initially getting into the system was, y’know, hurtled.

It was after this series of activities that it occurred to me that it was going to be my job to give my kids a good experience and that this  good experience wasn’t going to plop out of the sky like bird shit on an unsuspecting beach goer.  So, we shifted gears. We went to the Natural History Museum in the big city!

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We rode a ferry and went to the north shore of Long Island!

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We went to the south shore beach in Long Island!

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We painted extensive works of art on the backyard table!

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We went hiking in our new town!

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We visited historical farms and pumpkin patches, and found wild raspberries growing behind our new house.

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Next durian, please

That time I found out my 4yo was expected to attend Kindergarten in the fall. 

Oh hell no.  She needed another year of preschool! She was my baby! They wanted me to send my tiny little 4yo to big bad kindergarten? Oh, the emotional turmoil and paperwork that came with this decision.  Nothing like choosing your pediatrician based on appointment availability, amiright? Of all the strange and unexpected things that had happened, this was one thing that got the most mental anguish when, in fact, it wasn’t necessary.  Granted, she’s led Beelzebub’s dark army on a rampage of poor choices, including grifting at lunchtime and a brazen B&E on a classmate’s backpack, but mostly she’s met the challenge with fortitude and determination.   She thrives, and continues to do so.  And, if it wasn’t for her in school I wouldn’t have met a couple of truly awesome women! So, yeah, that durian didn’t turn out to stink so bad!

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Final durian of 2015!

That time I found a new Crossfit home that was different than the one I thought it was going to be. 

Kids were in school.  Husband was a work.  House was unpacked.  I was getting fatter, and I could feel the vestiges of anxiety starting to take root again.  Now the decision matrix became whether or not I was going to go back to working out or start exploring the depths of ice cream sammich varieties and pharmacological solutions for anxiety.  I stopped by Crossfit Mount Kisco and was greeted by a clip board toting young lady more concerned with optimizing her cleavage than either coaching her crew or answering any of my questions.  So enraptured was she with her top and how much mileage she was going to show of her boob connection superhighway that I was almost compelled to offer suggestions, but instead I left feeling not terribly impressed.  I tried again a week later with even less luck getting information.  I assumed Crossfit Bedford Hills would end up being my workout home, so I toddled myself over to Crossfit Bedford Hills.  They were very very friendly, charged me $20, and then made me do terrible things.

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That went about as well as could be expected.

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But Crossfit Mount Kisco was just so darn close I couldn’t give up on the idea.  So I checked in again and met  Coach Phil.  Class was running like a machine, everyone was giving it their all, and Phil was holding an athlete’s baby so she could workout with full peace of mind.   Phil was very friendly, charged me $0, and then made me do terrible things.

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I remember thinking that first week how fit, fast, and happy everyone was.  In that trifecta I was at least happy, so I figured this must be the place to be to become fit and fast.  This was a case where first impressions were so entirely overwhelmed with first experience and that durian sailed over the fence and landed somewhere entirely untroubling.  Crossfit Mount Kisco was home and that has turned out to be an unquestionably awesome decision.  They accept tolerate me with greater aplomb than is probably warranted.


2015 seemed to fly by as I dodged durians.  I found myself wishing for the end game, for when the situation would rectify or be different.  I lived 2015 always on the hope of tomorrow and not so much with the appreciation of today.  I can’t promise 2016 will be much different, but since we’ve made some very nice friends, found a gym packed with amazeballs, found our routine, discovered Fresh Direct grocery delivery service, have proper coats, and have each other my goal is that I’ll be more cognizant about being in the now, as it were.  Appreciating each day’s gifts, even when they are smelly and wilted.  Even when things are unexpected and frustrated,  crazy and coming off the rails our little family laughs more than it doesn’t and for that I’m very grateful.  Our first full year of living in New York will be great and I fully intend to do as Weird Al advises: Grab life by the lips and YANK!

Giddy up, y’all.

Nutrition Challenge: Level Zero

Hungry?  Try this: Chicken Tikka Masala.  I tweak it for paleo by exchanging chicken breast for boneless skinless chicken thighs, omit the yogurt, and trade the heavy cream for skimming the cream out of a can of organic unsweetened coconut milk.


 

I hurt my back.  One thing is for certain, my psoas is firmly locked in a spasm, and while I work through this issue safely with a very good doctor I am, for the time being, taking a forced break from CrossFit for an undefined period.  Instead of kicking around being miffed that I can’t go spend time at my happy place with all my happy friends doing happy lifts, I’m taking this opportunity to look at my eating as a CrossFit-esque workout.  Often times a workout written on the board looks ominous and impossible, and before I know it I’ve done the whole thing and I’m not dead.  So, even though being focused and particular with my eating looks difficult, if I pace myself, stabilize my midline, and BREAAATH I should prove victorious.

January is the penultimate season of nutrition and eating challenges.  People hunt for an accountability buddy, make goals, pick a diet program/idea/concept and go for it.  And, every February 1 profits at Dunkin’ and Shipley Donuts soar.  Make no mistake, I’ve participated in my fair share of these challenges, and they can be marvelous for any number of reasons.  If even only one person out of a thousand are successful, that’s one more person who has turned their life around for the better.  And, the other 999 get applause for trying.  Thanks to a fender bender turned insurance deductible payment any plans I had for joining in a nutrition challenge for 2015 have been sidelined so I have been watching from the outside and some thoughts have come unbidden into my head, which of course, means they have to be expressed.  Publicly, if possible.

Every challenge needs levels.  A scaling option, if you will.  Joe Bag O’ Donuts may never have had any real experience in “clean eating”, so the chances of him washing out of a nutrition challenge are higher than they are for Debbie McKnowitall who has a firm grasp of the produce department.  One doesn’t start CrossFit with a 250lb overhead walking lunge, so why would there be an expectation for one to go from eating a diet of beer and queso to sipping kombucha while shopping exclusively at a seasonally-varied, organic, and expensive farmer’s market?  From my perspective, nutrition challenges are really mental muscle building challenges, and to build a truly strong muscle takes time, practice, work, and effort.  If you want to see a nutrition challenge participant give up right before your very eyes start talking about the differences between grass fed beef versus grass finished beef. Or, try my other favorite about the horrifying dangers of bacon drippings from grain-fed production pig bacon compared to the peaceful safety of fats from pasture-raised organic pig bacon.  They will straight up cut you with eyeball lasers.

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What about changing the nutrition challenge paradigm? What if a nutrition challenge offered true education into the why and why nots of food, starting with simple concepts and moving up through the varied levels of complexity into elite levels.  Just because a nutrition challenge can tell a person what to eat and why doesn’t truly educate that person on the HOW.

 

Level Zero: This is the person who has never considered the dangers of seed oils, considers gluten to probably be a craft supply, and, in general, doesn’t give a lot of thought about what they are eating.  This person is not dumb. This person is uneducated. This person maybe has started working out and is beginning to warm up to the idea that you can’t out-train a bad diet and they want sustainable gainz more than they want a cookie.  They’ve heard about the Paleo/Zone/Atkins/SouthBeach/Whole<insert number> diets so they’re gonna do that and they’re going start by joining a nutrition challenge.  But, how do you take a person who has habitually shopped on the inside aisles of the grocery store and change their habits? (Yes, yes, I know only that person can change their own habits, but on a simpler level they can be facilitated along with a little compassion and a little education.)  This  person should not get immediately tossed into the organic, locally sourced, label-reading macro-counting shark tank. My experience with converting to the Paleo eating style was gradual, and over time it matured and refined, and is still a work in fine-tuning progress.  Moving a person from the center of the grocery store to the outer edges will be the most difficult accomplishment for anyone who is changing the way they eat.  This is a significant shift in thinking that also addresses the pitfall of trying to validate desserts, pancakes, and breads because they are, technically, paleo or gluten free.  To truly change the way one eats one has to be willing to consider that replacing regular pancakes with a paleo pancake(which, honestly, is a CREPE for the sake of Cordain Almighty) doesn’t address the mental space of how to change the choice paradigm. This is where I learn to stop and ask myself the big question:

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Do I eat PANCAKES or do I eat PROTEINS and VEGETABLES?

As far as my unscientific observation can tell, eating the same exact way during a nutrition challenge as prior to its onset, only churched up because now it’s “healthy”, is as uselessly destructive as quitting half way in because it’s “not working.”  A Level Zero challenge would offer education into whys of adopting certain foods while eschewing others, even if only temporarily.  It does not put stress and pressure on buying organic, instead it puts the focus on learning how to shop, cook, and eat the whole food. It would offer skill building in menu planning, prep planning, meal execution, and how to manage the change to or how to establish a grocery budget.  Field trips to the grocery store would be a nice optional, um, option.  Most of all, it would provide a judgment free village of supporters while the individual fights for their freedom from processed foods and sugar addiction.

Level One: This is a person who has successfully changed their eating. They are confident in their eating spaces of what works and what doesn’t work.  They have a basic understanding of what food does to their bodies and how it affects their day-to-day performance.  They’ve broken their inside-aisle habits, only darting in for simple things like coffee, cooking oils, and spices.  This challenge is for shifting into a higher gear of nutritional enlightenment.  Now we talk about things like probiotics and gut healing, organic coffee, bullet-proofing coffee, the Dirty Dozen, grass fed and pasture raised animals, and making more hoity-toity choices with oils and fats. Now might be a good time to integrate bone broth and introduce the most basic idea of nutritional macros. Hey, even here one could talk about the occasional Paleo dessert treat!  This level also needs to continue to address the ongoing struggle and toils of budget and planning processes.  As many of us have come to learn, if there is no plan there is no success.  The goal of “eating right” will always be an un-hittable moving target without a plan.  This nutrition challenge puts some gas on the fire, and theoretically builds additional confidence and momentum to continue making refinements and improvements.  Here is where the biggest connection between fuel and performance is made.

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Level Super Elite Shiny Gold Star: This is Olympus.  This is the level where you give a whole lot of shits about pasture raised, organic, grass fed, humanely farmed, sustainable, GMO-free, pesticide free, and ethically harvested. This is where you may have a plate full of paleo pancakes (CREPES) and know exactly what you’re doing.  This is the level where you learn how to integrate MCT oils, and balance macros for optimal athletic and life performance. This is where you know how to use protein powder supplementation CORRECTLY!  This? This is nutrition nirvana – the state of highest enlightenment. It’s possible that you may develop dread locks and start lacto fermenting your own food for the coolest gut-bacteria farm on the block.  By the end of this challenge you’ll have this nutrition gig nailed down better than Kiss playing their greatest hits.

 

Only a very rare sort of individual has a Bugati for their very first car.  Most of us start with something closer to an impound reject and move up to nicer cars as opportunity and budget allow. Learning how to fuel the body isn’t any different.  One has to change and adapt their thinking from the old, grooved patterns.  I believe that success comes from building upon one small success at a time.  Today, I chose to drink bone broth first thing in the morning because I know it will help stem sugar cravings for the rest of the day.  Today I made a choice to focus on eliminating inflammation causing foods to help heal my back and psaos.  I could not have made these choices if I didn’t have several flights of stairs built out of prior success, education, and elucidation.

This is by no means a screed against nutrition challenges, either. They serve a vitally useful purpose for people who seek motivation, accountability, and instructions.  What I’m suggesting is to take the idea of a nutrition challenge and break into manageable, forgive the pun, bite-sized pieces.

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So, It’s Been A While

Hungry? It’s going to be cold and inclement the next few days, so howzabout some soup? Try this: Chile Chicken Verde with optional Chicken Stock Cash Out 


It’s been a while since last I wrote. Not for a lack of topics, but more for a lack of focus, somewhat a lack of time, and frankly, a lack of laptop that works consistently.  My poor little MacBook Pro that was shiny and nubile in 2007 is now shuffling along with a tennis-ball-assisted walker, occasionally choosing to not wake up, occasionally losing stuff, occasionally crapping its pants. And yet, I cannot bring myself to ask for a new one because I’m cheap and until this one is dead in the ground I’ll ride this geriatric pony into the sunset.  But, I digress.

Cooking.  There has been so much cooking.  So very, very much cooking.  Enough cooking to make me line up to heartily agree with this article.  Not charming, sexy cooking like they do on TV shows where you take one bite, do an exaggerated eye roll, and mumble around your mouthful about how it’s SOOO GOOOOOD! at which point you take a cunning tray of food onto your trendy deck populated with trendy people all sipping trendy wine and blithering about how sharing food with friends is, like, the best thing EVER.  No, I was doing straight up nutritionally dense production line style cooking, and let me tell you, that takes a lot of sexy out of the process.  Fortunately, it didn’t take good flavors out. At least, I don’t think it did. I learned so much about making a single plan that could be tweaked for stricter Paleo, or Auto Immune Protocol, or loosened up for the joy of a brief cheat meal.  I also learned that I really don’t want to lose whole chunks of my life in the kitchen cooking for others, but would much rather spend that energy teaching others planning and prepping skills.

Most people know how to cook.  It’s not a testament to the quality of their cooking, so much as it is an acknowledgment that most people can boil water and cut themselves with a dull blade, given the opportunity.

Where most people struggle (myself included) is in the planning and prep phase of the cooking process.  All of those cunning books advertising the 10, 15, or 30 minute meals? They are LIARS.  Propagators of the worst myths in modern homemaking. Most times they a) fail to represent the amount of time required to prep for the actual cooking of the recipe and, b) assume everyone can efficiently mince an onion and know what “sauté” means.  Let’s be honest: Sauté is a euphemism for “high heat and a pound of lard” and nothing but awesome can come from that combo, amiright? But, back to the subject of planning.

January is the most exhilaratingly evil month of the calendar year (after February because of Valentine’s Day, and March and November because of the time change, and April because of taxes) because that’s when a huge portion of the developed world “recommit to a healthy lifestyle.” They crowd our gyms, our produce departments, our running trails, and feed our sense of superiority for not being “that guy.” Instead of feeling territorial and judgmental we really ought to be their greatest champions and cheerleaders.  Instead of grumbling because a de-conditioned ass clown forced us to slow down or move over or (god forbid!) share equipment, we should be doling out the high fives like rappers throwing around benjis in a strip joint. They are doing what we did at one point: Getting off our butts and getting moving.  They are trying, heaven bless them, they are trying. So, it is with this spirit of giving towards my fellow man that I offer my approach to menu planning, grocery budgeting, and getting every last possible mile out of your effort.  I don’t assert myself as being the best at the efficiency game, but my process works pretty well for my little microcosm, and it may resonate with enough to be helpful.  Also, it’s possible to get too efficient.  At least, I’m pretty sure that’s possible.  Just as nature abhors a vacuum, when I am diligently efficient in one area usually another area of my responsibilities buffet suffers (*cough*MOPPING*cough).  But, again, I digress.

Phase 1: The Plan

And, just like the Russians, a budget conscious person should not saunter any where near a grocery provider without a plan.  It’s the same principle as going to the store hungry: DON’T DO IT.  Without a plan, it’s easy to wander the aisles making plan-less choices, buying food at random, and getting home and wondering why the heck the grocery budget is always red lining.  A plan constitutes three (3) basic parts:

The Menu – a piece of paper onto which is written a list of food items to be consumed over the course of the day.  My menu typically covers the most common meals of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Other menus may only require breakfast and lunch or just dinner or just taquitos.  It just depends.  I know my weeks well enough in advance to know when I need to schedule a crock pot meal versus when I can put more effort into the meal process, and I use this intel to optimize my menu plan.

My menus typically are connected by ingredients to maximize both the mileage of those ingredients and also to minimize food waste as much as possible.  When I make my menu I consider the broader implications of my recipe choices as they relate to other meals.  If I’m buying spinach solely to use in a quiche (that’s an egg pie if you weren’t sure) then I’ll make sure to plan spinach into another meal to ensure that any available/extra spinach is used.  If I’m cooking bacon I’ll save the drippings to use as an optional fat content instead of butter or oils.  If I’m grilling a london broil steak there is a guarantee that steak caesar salad is for lunch the next day. Get the idea?

The Recipes – if you are a recipe follower, you need these lined up and ready to go.  When I’m following a recipe I’ll write the book and page number next to the menu item, or note that it’s bookmarked on one of our handheld devices. Anything that requires a recipe should be part of your prep process described below.  There’s nothing worse than getting home to cook that super fab looking recipe only to find out you were supposed to have marinated that piece of fish for the last 12 hours, or that it takes 45 minutes for the cauliflower to sweat.  Those are the moments when it becomes hugely tempting to give up and order pizza, but with the right prep to match the plan these incidents are greatly reduced.

The Grocery List – Duh, right? Without a list at the store it’s almost impossible to remember everything that’s needed for the forthcoming week’s menu, and multiple trips back to the store impact both the budget and the plan in unhelpful chocolatey ways.  My grocery lists fit nicely onto a standard 8.5″x11″ piece of paper and are organized by categories:

» Produce
» Meat
» Dairy
» Canned/Pantry
» Misc

Organizing my list this way allows for two things: First, I get through the grocery store quicker because I’m not pacing back and forth across its length as I go item by item down my list; Second, it allows me to hand my list to my spouse and send him to the store with reasonable expectation of having everything necessary come home, even if he adds several packages of beef jerky and an assortment of hot sauces to the bill.  Fifthly and lastly, it keeps me out of the middle of the store where all the prepackaged garbage lays in wait to wreck my clean eating prospects.

Phase 2: The Prep

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Prep work is what truly separates the successful from the slightly less successful.  If you can knuckle in and do the prep work your week of cooking will significantly simplify.  Based on my menu, I will chop the produce necessary for each meal and bag it up into ziplock bags, label it for the day of the week, and BOOM.  That 10 minute meal that looked so awesome? Yeah, NOW it’s a 10 minute meal.

Salads take work.  Salads are a PITA, as the kids say these days.  If salads take too much work they don’t get done.  And, I have yet to meet a person who finds their zen putting together a dinner salad each night.  My salads have five (5) general ingredients: greens, onion, bell pepper, cucumber, radish, and tomatoes.  If you chop lettuce too early it rusts, and while it’s still fine to eat it looks like ass and no one wants an ass salad.  Cucumbers can become ookey thanks to that lovely seeded center.  Radishes dry up and become dull when cut.  So, now what? I store my greens in ziplock bags lined with paper towels to help control humidity. That gives me a couple of extra days of life.  Cucumbers I cut lengthwise into quarters and cut out the seeds, and then chop into salad sized pieces, most often using the kitchen mandolin, and store in a plastic container. Bell peppers I cut/chop into a plastic container, and radishes get chopped and added to a container of cold water where they don’t dry out and get sad. Now when it’s salad time it’s just a matter of pulling out my mini buffet of produce and putting it all together.

If the meat I need is not currently in the freezer and gets bought fresh at the store, I will immediately freeze it – unless I’m using it within the next 24 hours.  Why, you ask? Because life happens. And, although I may have planned a lovely sweet potato pork chop skillet for Wednesday doesn’t mean that something might not happen to delay that menu item and potentially render the meat spoiled by exceeding its expiration dates.  Save the money, save the hassle.  Vegetables are cheaper to waste than meat, although wasting either is not ideal.

Prep work allows you the opportunity to get ahead.  While you’re already chopping all these veggies and portioning out meat, now is a good time to put together some crock pot meal kits and jam them into the freezer for that inevitable moment when you either run out of food or don’t have time time to cook that evening.  Thaw those kits the night before and start them cooking in the morning!

My big prep day tends to be on Sunday afternoons.  That’s my big 4-6 hour day of prepping and pre-cooking so that I’m not spending much more than an hour or less in the kitchen during the evening meal. It doesn’t work every single time flawlessly – this isn’t one of those absurd life hacks that you see on BuzzFeed – it’s a process that takes practice, and commitment, and willingness.

Phase 3: The Performance

 With a plan and prep work phases complete, this opens up the week to not be overwhelmed with cooking chores because if we were all honest with each other it’s not the cooking that everyone hates: it’s the cleaning up afterwards.  Maybe there’s a few weirdos who look at it inversely but I’m pretty sure they don’t read this blog.

This is just a highlights version of the bigger conversation.  With all these diet challenges and nutrition challenges and “new you” challenges I see everyone start out super pumped, running down to Whole Foods and buying up a list of “recommended foods” for the same price as a car payment, coming home, toasting their last bottle of wine before things “get serious tomorrow.” Then, they get up, look in the fridge full of food that has no plan, their shoulders slump with Frustrative Intense Nourishment Block Syndrome (F-IN-BS), and they slink off to Torchy’s for a taco and decide to “get serious tomorrow.”   You CAN do this! You CAN succeed with changing your eating! You CAN! Start with a plan, start practicing with prep, and start seeing how it works for your meal times and tweak accordingly.   If this topic is at all piquing your interest let me know and I’ll write up more detailed, um, details and we’ll make this a “thing” for January. February is reserved for celebrating The Spouse’s birthday and complaining about Valentine’s Day.

Rule Three……SaNdlOt science is born

Rule # 3–  Have FUN.

There are two common dimensions within CrossFit….I’m on that number three ish. There are many details to argue that lie within these three, but if you’re drinking the cool-aid, right now you are living in one of them. For the record, there are people I love dearly gettin fit in all three. Nobody is perfect….

One dimension is looking for the edge on success in CrossFit. Specific programming with waves and percentages. Every detail outlined and laid out. When to workout, when to eat, how much, supplementation, when to supplement, how to incorporate your food into particular days based on your training, how to breakdown the science of success within your pursuit of CrossFit MegaStarDumb!? There are as many schools on this subject as there are seconds in the day. All using various measures to gauge success.

One dimension screams…..GET OUT OF THE BOXXXXXXX!!!!!!! This side prescribes itself to the notion that we train to apply our newfound level of fitness in the world outside of the box. It sells you on the fact that you should hit it and quit it, then get out there and just L.I.V.I.N. (in my best McCONAUGHEY voice).

I got no patience for allowing a program to run my training or my life…much less validate my fitness! There are nuggets of greatness within most of what I see in the Ivan Drago Dimension (see what I did there?). Most of it though bores the ever loving fucking piss out of me and is too busy looking cool. It is a dimension with entirely too much structure required in a world constantly at odds with it. It frankly feels way too much like a job….fuck that, I got jobs, one of which is coaching, it is THE ONE job that I am most passionate about, it is a honor, and one I take very seriously. That being said, I do not confuse my job as a coach with my “training” ever….ever. Nor do I confuse the idea of a job with work. I love WORK, work is how I validate my life….straight blue collar baby. I can also get hip to the idea of enjoying being outside the box. I do realize that for some their time in the box is just that and nothing more. I don’t understand it, but I do hear you. I also hear your bullshit. I like trees and shit, I can even tolerate you five finger vibrate shoe fuckers for moments of shenanigans, but I won’t allow myself to be mediocre or a creature of convenience within the box, using the ” say bruh, when is life gonna ask me to do double unders, or who cares about muscle ups? I’m all about the REAL world.” Look here fucko, keep making excuses, and I’ll keep being mindful of the fact that I am never not in the real world.

My third dimension…..OUR dimension was born from early mornings of work, philosophy, and theory. There is no bullshit at 4:30 in the morning, and me and MAV’s talks are specific to CrossFit at times, but always come full circle to life and keeping shit simple. So here it is….Sandlot- Be better than yesterday, every damn morning. Require more of yourself, you’re worth it, and capable. You are only as good as your worst quality. Face that, and fix it, you’ll become a better person. PERIOD. There is nothing you cannot do. PERIOD. There is no science or equation that substitutes or replaces hard honest work, done every single fucking day. It is okay to train because you love to fucking train, you don’t have to apologize for it, so don’t. Fuck people who would dismiss your choices because you have decided that what everybody else does, does not apply to you….you are not everybody else. Have the ability to identify what and where you need to work, with brutal honesty. Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Validate your work through simple measures.. am I faster? Am I stronger? Can go further than I did last time? If the answer is yes, keep it up. If the answer is no, fix that shit, and I don’t mean reinvent the wheel. Just fucking fix it.  AND FOR FUCKS SAKE, HAVE FUN!

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My Damn Mojo!!! You seen my damn MOJO!?

It is enevitable,,,,,we hit the wall, we plateau, we stop fucking following rule 3. Somehow, somewhere we find ourselves in a CrossFit slump. The magic seems to be gone……..perhaps you and the WOD have “lost that loving feeling!” See what I did there? Our CrossFit swagger is nowhere to be found……I’VE LOST MY MOJO!!!!! HAVE YOU SEEN MY MOJO!?

One of the reasons I LOVE CrossFit is because it IS a proving ground for how to deal with adversity, not only in the BOX, but in life as well!!

For the next part of this installment I will be using LifeFit. My intention is to show how what we do in the box parallels what we do in the rest of our daily lives.

LifeFit is not easy, fact. LifeFit never gets easy, fact. Chewing on this for a moment makes me realize how we condition ourselves daily to become accustomed to a particular “life.” Now quickly the rules for first timers. Rules of LifeFit:
1- Don’t Die
2- Safety is Paramount
3- HAVE FUN
The only situation in LifeFit that trumps a rule is the rule before it. PERIOD. Now is this an oversimplification of LifeFit? It is for those of you conditioned to be full of shit, excuses, and just plain afraid of greatness. We ALL slip from time to time, that’s why there are fucking rules. Get your head right and get in gear!

I may be quickly getting to the ever loving point…..and it excites me!!!

In LifeFit NEVER forget the rules!! Especially when you or those around you become full of shit, doubt, and or excuses!! Combine this with an absolute certainty in LifeFit that consistent hard work will always win!! Stop hatin’ and start participatin’!! You will never have success if you don’t get in the game, and you NEVER quit, ever. This is where we find our MOJO, or is it? NO IT IS FUCKING NOT!!!!! Dammit!!! It’s YOUR MOJO, you don’t find it, YOU MOTHERFUCKING REALIZE IT!!!! Let that truth bomb marinate on your mind for a moment………..now let it marinate a bit longer……

You fired up!!! I fucking am!!!! Currently I’m doing fucking hot laps around the waiting room where my Airrosti magician Jeremy Robillard will call my name shortly. Don’t have much time!!!

Here it is. In LifeFit, it’s not rocket science, in fact….fuck science, fuck gear, fuck finding “that” program, fuck anything that allows LifeFit to become complicated, and especially fuck anything that makes following rule three difficult/impossible. Do Work!!….consistently, EVERY fucking day know that you gotta show up to blow up!!!! Never forget that we all start somewhere, and that somewhere is different for every single one of us….EVERY single one of us!!!! Have a LifeFit goal/s, make them grand!!!! Make them for you!!!! As you work, realize your MOJO!!!!! Celebrate it!!! Give it some walking around money, and show it the fuck off!!!! IT’s YOURS!! For fucks sake, have fun and keep it simple. Our MOJO isn’t complicated, do not make it more than it is. Set your goals, do work every single day, be patient, never quit, ever!!! On the mornings that we wake up feeling like we have lost our MOJO, never forget, we will never LOSE our MOJO, at times we simply have to realize it is right there waiting for us to follow the rules and remember why we do what we do. Train triumphant!!! Every single day!! LifeFit is gonna kick you in the balls/ovaries…get a cup. LifeFit is gonna punch you in the head……get a helmet. LifeFit will become hard, complicated, and will lend itself to doubt, insecurity, worst of all excuses for mediocrity…….GEAR UP fucker, your MOJO is right there with you wait in’, and that MOTHER FUCKER is a peacock….you gotta let it fly!!!!

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The Greater Central Texas Crapping Swallow

Hungry?  Try this: Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Zucchini.  Not one of mine, but a true entry in the winner-winner-chicken-dinner category of meal options.

 


 

We have lived in Texas only two years, but in those two years I’ve really enjoyed experiencing all those unique things that Texas has to offer that, to me, are new, but to every other resident are a plague on survival.  For example, summer.  Summer in New Mexico is hot and dry, and regardless of your opinions of the added oppression of humidity, 100+F is just freakin’ hot.  When we first moved to our home here in central Texas I had taken the kids to the neighborhood park where two other fathers were sweating and swearing about the midday heat.  When I asked if the heat gets worse they looked at me like I was special brand of stupid and nodded emphatically.  One dad followed up with a careless shrug and said, “It’s not bad if you can regularly get out in the heat and get used to it.  Then it’s endurable.”  I thought he was a) serious and b) telling the truth.  Turns out he was a master weaver of terrible lies for the very next day I took myself on a exploratory bike ride leaving behind me a trail of sweat and fat renderings.  My knees were sweating.  My ears were sweating.  My EYEBALLS were sweating.  It was magical, and my body transformed that day, like a superhero who gets blasted with corrosive chemical lubricant and gamma rays, because I biked almost everywhere that summer and the following summer.  The kids would fit snugly in the bike trailer, each with a cup of crushed ice to suck on to keep cool and hydrated, and off we’d go to the pool or the grocery store or a park or to crossfit or to the movies. I never minded having to travel by bike.  In fact, in the grand human quest for validation this really fit the bill with people either being impressed with my stamina or being impressed with my stupidity.  Either way they were impressed so that was a tic in the win column.

Another unique feature of Texas is the different bird population from what I was used to in New Mexico.  Rare are the giant fat Western Blue Jays whose rage-filled honking bristled the air, and in their place is an incredible population of smaller, cuter, sweeter tweeting birds that are a joy to listen to when sitting on the back porch.  Among this collection of birds is what I’m assuming is a common barn swallow.

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Or, as I’ve come to know them, the Greater Central Texas Crapping Swallow.  But more on that in a moment. I’m going to do this spectacular thing where I draw a parallel between life and a bird that craps magnificent piles of crap by the front door.

We bought our current house at the very dawn of summer in 2012.  March 2013 heralded spring and by the late month and I had cheerfully pointed out that it looked like a pair of swallows was building a mud nest in the alcove over the front door to my visiting parents.  (During this little show and tell episode, one of the swallows took the opportunity to tour the interior of our home that fine late evening.  After chasing it upstairs, and finally corralling it in the media room I ended up opening the windows and using the lit-up screen of my iPad to effectively swat the intruder back out into the wild suburban jungle.) My mother assured me that this was definitely NOT something I wanted to allow due to a number of sanitation risks, not to mention the unsightly mound of bird leavings, so with some guilt we knocked down the partially constructed mud nest.  Two days passed and it was clear the swallows were not deterred and began reconstruction in the exact same spot, and over the next three weeks we were locked in a battle of wills: The swallows persisted in building up a nest, and we continued to knock down their efforts.  Then, one day as I was exiting the house through the front door I did my habitual glance upward to make visual contact on the swallows so they wouldn’t dart into the house and was stunned to see a fully completed mud nest tucked over the entry archway, complete with a decorative downy feather edging.  The realization of having been DUPED BY TINY BIRDS dawned on me with the light of a nuclear blast: I had only looked for the nest we could see when ENTERING the house, and never checked any of the other three architecturally available surfaces that comprised the entryway alcove.  And there, 180 degrees from the nest we insistently knocked down was a completed nest now hosting eggs and two very smug looking swallows who gleefully crapped a monstrous pile of crap over the course of the next few weeks, which only got bigger once the babies learned the art of high altitude defecation.  The swallows had worked double time building a decoy nest to keep our destructive broom handle busy while they cleverly built their actual nest on the opposite sides.  A small bird had more creative solution awareness in its peanut brain than I had in my ostensibly greater intellect.

In my mind I saw these two swallows flying off to the greenbelt to sit on tiny velvet wingback chairs, their feet propped up on tiny tufted footstools, sipping earl gray tea, enjoying crustless cucumber sandwiches and smiling ruefully and knowingly at each other as they discussed in deeply intellectual words how they were getting the better of me.  It was an insulting mental image.  As we watched the evolution of the nest with the eggs hatching, the tiny baby bird heads peeping over the edge, the baby birds growing and fledging and crapping with the best of them I decided that there had to be a lesson in this experience.  The swallows had a single, pin-pointed goal: to build a sturdy nest in a safe place, free from the threat of egg-stealing bats, vandalizing robins, and the Godzilla inclinations of the homeowner for the sole purpose of procreating other swallows to continue the endless life cycle of dive bombing squirrels and crapping on doorsteps.  Their goal was unshakable, and, clearly, unstoppable. Therein was the lesson.

As I find myself caught up in the cyclone of obsessing over weight loss, food, and weight loss I am reminded of these persistent birds.  I knocked down their first nest and they calmly shrugged their bird shoulders and agreed that they picked the entryway of an asshole in which to build their nest, but given that it was such a splendid entryway it would be advantageous to find a way to accomplish the goal in spite of the homeowner’s clearly demonstrated preferences. Similarly, I’m trying to build a solid nest of good choices that will yield a healthy offspring of good results, but, either by my own hand or by the intervention of the intergalactic douche-nozzle, Fate, my nest gets knocked down.  A lot.  That leaves the question of how to build a decoy nest while simultaneously building the real and lasting one.

Life has this consistent habit of changing. One day may go beautifully as planned, and then next five will be like a cartwheeling firecracker of unpredictability.  Historically, my ability to adapt and evolve with the flow of life has consistently been poor.  Let’s be honest: laughter and poor diet are a sad substitute for laughter and, well, NOT a poor diet.  Like the swallows, I want to build the decoy nest of daily chores, activities, plans, and ideas that is secondary to the long-range goals of exercise and eating right.  And, while life perpetually knocks down the semi-accomplished decoy nest it will be theoretically too busy to notice the ongoing construction of the permanent nest.  Some things don’t have to be subject to a well-aimed broom handle or pressure washer.  Some things can continue on steadily regardless of all other environmental variables.  I can always find a way to exercise, even if it doesn’t include getting to crossfit exactly on the schedule that I want.  I can alway choose to eat the right foods, even when we are scraping the dregs of fast food for a quick meal.  I have come to accept that every day will not conform 100% to my expectations, but that doesn’t mean I am allowed to throw my hands up and abandon all good choice making.  Good choices are the permanent nest in the frothing sea of knocked-down decoy nests.

There it is.  The life lesson of the Greater Central Texas Crapping Swallow.  A tenuous connection, I grant you, but a connection nonetheless.  Also, there’s no life lesson relating to the giant pile of bird crap we are dealing with for the second spring season in a row.  Crap is crap, and periodically it has to be mucked out to make room for fresh crap.  As a mother of young children it holds to my belief that it will be many many years before I am no longer dealing with poop in some form or other.

Short and Sweet. WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY

WHO:

Who am I? ME, it is the easiest most comfortable who I can be. I don’t ever have to apologize for being ME or second guess the choices made for ME. I can accept anybody loving or hating me being ME for ME.

WHAT: (this is my favorite)

What I am changes.
I call it growth.

What I am NOT will NEVER change.
I am NOT to be FUCKED with.

WHERE:

Many people that I admire have a VERY clear path set out for themselves for where they are going and want to be…….I don’t give a flying fuck for “where.” I have chosen to make my own path with the full understanding that “where” is going to change. I am going to find myself lost at times, alone at others, having to back up, change directions, ALWAYS following MY OWN compass……..I am obsessed with HOW I choose to get to “where.” For one simple reason, I refuse to validate my life or happiness by getting to “where.”

WHEN:

RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!!!! Matter of fact yesterday, that’s when.

WHY:

To make sure that every night in my head movies that the ME of today gets FUCKING owned by the ME of tomorrow! EVERY MOTHERFUCKING NIGHT! Never quit, EVER…BETTER EVERY DAY!

untitled

 

 

Cliff Notes of Motivation

Hungry?  Try this: Cheddar Chicken Chowder.  It’s delicious.  Creamy.  Filling.  And definitely NOT for the calorically faint of heart. And, sort of not exactly in keeping with what’s posted below.  Do as you will, not as I say.

 


 

You guys I think I’m going to black out right here and let the expanded metal outdoor table press designs into my fleshy face.  I just spent the last 2 hours typing up this thoughtful and profound post about how I was going to cease the abuse of self and open up to motivation both constructive and purposeful. Except then my browser just decided, “Heh.  Eff you.” and my entire post was lost.  The. WHOLE. THING.  Even that really cool part where I quoted Herman Melville all in context, for crying out loud.  I don’t have another two hours to dredge that giant pile of awesome back out of my brain, so I’ll give you the Cliff Notes.  With turtle pictures.

1) I’m going to focus in on the important bits of my goal scheme, namely the eating and exercising portions.  Then I’m going to shoot an ever-loving bazooka of motivation at those goals and see what happens.

ShirtturtleGirls

 

 

2) I’m going to quit with this whole “tomorrow I’ll get after it” vomitous lie I’ve told myself every day since January 1, 2014.  Since I’m not living in the musical Annie, and even though tomorrow is only a day away it’ll never be tomorrow if I keep using tomorrow as a scape goat.  Tomorrow is today, ya dig?

funny-soon-turtle-ish-pics

 

3) I’m going to aggressively defend and protect my goals and my plans to achieve those goals.  That may mean that laundry gets done over the course of three days instead of a single afternoon, or that we eat left overs more often than before, or that the kitchen doesn’t get cleaned every night (gasp! THE HORROR!).

come-at-me-bro-i-will-turtle-slap-the-shit-out-of-you

 

4) I’m going to stop eating crap foods as of RIGHT THIS FRIGGIN’ SECOND! Crap foods aren’t helping me accomplish crap.  I want protein and vegetables, STAT! And water.  Water would be nice, too.

funny-ermahgerd-turtle-mash-pics

 

5) I’m not going to let my changing blood chemistry over the next few weeks overly impact those around me.  I’m going to try to stay cognizant that working out the sugars, caffeine and other garbage from my body will probably result in a roller coaster called The Terrifying Emotional Doom BatShit Ride that everyone rides blind folded, backwards, and upside down.  It’s my job to maintain enough self control to not  snap the heads off my friends and family and pour rivers of acidic vitriol down their gaping neck holes.  No.  I commit to being as nice as circumstances will permit.

LOLturtle - I_m Nice

 

6) I will not try to escape the confines of my goals, especially using the excuses of “I’m on vacation” or “Gotta enjoy life every one in a while” or “YOU CAN’T OUT RUN ME, FAT KID! GIMME THAT CAKE!” For me, cheat days turn into cheat months.  Or cheat half years.  Clearly, it’s been demonstrated that I cannot cheat because cheat becomes a way of life.  I need my way of life to be different.  Y’know.  Less cheat-y.

break-away-turtle

 

So there it is.  My motivation has been in a deficit for long enough.  I’m losing my gains, and gaining blobby blobs of blob which is the inverse of what anyone wants during pool season.  If my plan is to fit into single digit pant sizes by the time I’m 40 I’d better shake the lead out and get moving.  Good Crossfit+ Good Food + Good Love + Good Friends + Good Laughs = Happy George.

SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO BE THE BEAR WHO SMOKES HONEY FLAVORED CRACK

 

Those that I am friends with are aware of some recent endeavors into the other modalities of “fitness” offered in this CRAZY world of gettin’ FITTEREST.

I have one day a week set aside as active recovery, and recently decided that on those days I would choose to do something outside of my comfort zone.

Spin class…check! Holy camaoley those GO LANCE fuckers can have it. Never much cared for riding a bike, really don’t care for riding it while listening to house music in a dark room with pulsating lights. That being said, the folks taking the class were cordial, and the instructor took the time to make me comfortable with what was about to go down. They did not earn a convert, but did earn the respect due for a group that rides the piss out of a bike going nowhere while stuck inside a dance club, traveling up and down hills that don’t exist. There were more shenanigans involved at this mecca of misery, but that frankly could be its own post all together.

Next up…….ZUMBA!!! No way I could allow myself to have an opinion on an activity without giving it a shot. 12PM…Wednesday…Golds Gym…Bee Cave, TX. The Zumbanites were not the most welcoming bunch, and the Zumbaness seemed shocked as I held the door for her, that I was not only aware that there was about to be a ZUMBA class, but that I was in fact there to Zumba my little heart out. Fucked from jump street. I have described my experience as feeling as if I were a monkey attempting to fuck a football, greased with Crisco, while listening to Justin Bieber, in a room full of other monkeys who by some fucking miracle could fuck their greased football no problem, and finally, led by THE monkey who not only could fuck her greased football, but could do it “NO HANDS.” Took EVERYTHING I had to not walk out. It was the longest hour of my life. As it turns out the Zumbanites and Zumbaness are good people, they congratulated me on sticking it out, told stories of how difficult it was for them at first, and encouraged me to continue to give it a shot. Sound familiar? Guess what….. ZUMBA is difficult…..and…..FUCK ZUMBA…..that being said, I may or may not have a ZUMBA DVD enroute to my house at this time where I may or may not practice ZUMBA until such a day comes where I can return and redeem myself!!! (think ROCKY III)

I collect myself, change, and head for the door. It had been well over two years since I had been inside a “GYM”, and Gold’s was exactly how I remembered it……with one exception…….as I am nearing the door, I notice an area tucked back in the far right corner…..looks like a ROGUE rig…..I move in to inspect….yep, ROGUE rig, and a complete affiliate package for I would say 15 along with it. There is a partition wall around it, and entry is restricted to times that an employee of GOLD’s is present. IN BOLD WORDS ON THE WALL ABOVE IS THE WORDS “GOLD’S FIT” I’m fucking dying over here. I meet Frank. Frank has on some nanos, a pair of Reebok wod shorts, and a pretty dope tat sleeve on his right arm. What Frank does not possess is a level one trainer cert., CrossFit exposure, or a fucking clue as far as I can tell. I ask about all the cool toys they have. Bars and bumpers…Frank says they’re  too risky for clients. Rings on the rig…any activity other than ring rows is put on hold for now, “they had an accident during an attempted muscle up.” Boxes, kettlebells, wall balls, rowers, pvc pipe, parallettes, ab mats, dumbells, chalk bucket, clock, and even THE BOARD all in the heezy. Frank tells me its legit and that I should come in and check it out. I thank him for the tour, his time, and I bounce. I am conflicted about what I really feel in respect to GOLD”S FIT and even Frank. During the exchange that ensued after my “I did a Zumba class” post that included a tidbit about what I saw, it was suggested by a friend that I check out a class……….

Monday 12PM, this is going down. Schedule says its Frank’s class, so I’m in. I arrive early and con my way in once again. I sign a waiver at the front desk this time and then head to the Gold’s Fit compound. I’m early and its sealed off. I lean against the partition and am looking at the equipment. The bars and bumpers have disappeared…..not surprised…..too risky, is tooo tempting I suppose. Finally some folks start to congregate, and then one lets themselves inside the compound, and then another, and then three more, these motherfuckers are crazy for some Gold’s Fit. I sit on one of the ROGUE boxes being used as a barricade and wait for my escort to arrive. A blond-haired fella in a blue Gold’s shirt walks up says hello and asks if I am there for the class. I tell him that I am and he asks that I sign a waiver. I tell him no worries and that I had filled one out at the reception desk. He explains that the Gold’s Fit class requires its own waiver to be signed prior to taking a class. I oblige, he thanks me and then walks off. The class has no instructor, but is beginning to go through the warm up of PVC pipe movements posted on the board. I grab a PVC and start through the movements listed. I make eye contact with the others and say hello to each person as I do. Luke warm at best would be the description given to my reception, but I convince myself that it is probably due to the anxiety over the three separate WODS listed on the board and move on. Our instructor arrives, her name is Kara. She says hello, asks me if it is my first time, and then welcomes me to my first Gold’s Fit class. This is where shit starts to get real, and by real I mean REAL fucked up.

Quick SITREP:

I have had my Level One Cert. for 13 months and 13 days (my mind just exploded over the 13/13 split….) and THE only thing I love more in this world than Coaching, is my Family. PERIOD. That being said, there are RULES! Rule ONE-it is a biggie-DON’T DIE!!!!! This rule supercedes EVERY other rule. PERIOD. Rule TWO- a very close second, but you can’t beat don’t die- SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT!!!! Safety will be first and foremost in everything we do. It takes precedence over ego, “usually”, “normally”, “but I wanted to..”, or any other rationalization used to ignore it, with ONLY ONE EXCEPTION, yep you guessed it rocket….DON’T DIE! Because if we fail at rule one none of this shit matters, so in the face of DEATH and only FUCKING DEATH do we disregard RULE TWO!!! PERIOD. There are more rules and then a sub list called “Certainties of Life,” but I promised this to be a quick SITREP. Final thought. If you are still reading and have found THE rules to be a bit extreme or maybe you rolled your eyes a bit as you read them, thinking…Chuck needs to relax, or maybe…this guy is being a bit dramatic….think about what I have presented in the above 12 lines, as rules to apply in EVERY aspect of our lives, and then if you still have that funky attitude…..STOP reading at the line break, and start doing the following, because frankly you are wasting my fucking oxygen and have claimed your spot in the 80% (another time). Stop wearing your seatbelt, PLEASE. Start dating randomly on Craigslist, as often as possible, PLEASE. Start playing with plastic bags, but only as headwear. PLEASE. And finally, GO TAKE A FUCKING GOLD’S FIT CLASS, you’ll fit right in.

Kara, Kara, Kara……we begin the group warm up. 10 airsquats, imagine how our airsquats were when we first started, or if yours were perfect, how EVERYBODY elses are when they first start. Now imagine that, not only going uncorrected, but by all accounts being “correct.” We are just getting warmed up. Punter kicks, opposite hand opposite foot..check…maintain straight leg…who gives a shit, its all about how high your foot gets. Push ups….do whatcha got to do, half down half up…we can call that the active hold up….worm, yes, just be fast, all the way up, all the way down, maintaining a straight back…..why? Let us move on to the WODS…..WOD one and two will run together, for time, I guess…..there was no explanation/benefit/strategy/goal as to why we were doing this WOD/S.

1) 4 ROUNDS OF:

15- Kettlebell Deadlift ( heavy as you can go)

7- Box Jumps (as high as you can get)

2) 4 ROUNDS OF:

15- Kettlebell Swings “Russian” (instruction given, “get the bell as high as you can, overhead if possible.” make sure its heavy)

20- Sit ups ( bottoms of feet together, knees out flat against the floor, all the way back, come up and touch your feet

I ask for clarification on the “Russian” swing and am told that the bell at eye level is good enough, but go higher if at all possible, shooting for the bell overhead, I give a hearty DA!! Russian, American, who gives a shit lets roll motherfuckers (in my best sarcastic typing voice). That’s it for instruction/standards/didn’t ask if there are any questions, lets get started. I am bothered that Kara did not go into any details or provide any cues/reminders for the class on any of the movements. Straight up troubled that she advised me to go heavy, take the bell overhead, and not once went through the movements to make sure that I wasn’t about to kill myself or anyone else (we got a first timer over here). THANK THE LORD THAT I GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THE FUCKING RULES!!!!! 3-2-1 GOOOO!!!! The class goes to work, there is nothing funny about what goes down, forget about no repping someone, deadlifts are being done breaking every rule you can imagine , (SEE RULE TWO), by each of the participants. Rounded back, and lifting with your back was in full effect, with not a word from Kara….not one fucking word!! I am moving slowly, shocked at whats going down. As I transition to box jumps, there are box jumps already taking place. I open all the way up on the top of my ROGUE box and take a look around. Fast is what matters here. Feet hitting the lip and pushing away…open all the way up on top with feet flat on the box showing control….whatever motherfucker!!! Truly amazed that boxes and participants didn’t go flying (God bless stall mats). In Kara’s defense, she didn’t give any standards…….well maybe Kara is in over her head. The class is transitioning into the second WOD of this two’fer and IT IS A SWING FEST!! If I ever go to another GOLD’S FIT class I’m wearing a fucking helmet, seriously. Any assumptions being made at this point are probably spot on, and I dare say, perhaps not even scary enough! I will confirm Kara’s silence on this matter, and ask you to think of EVERY single wrong way to swing or even think about swinging a kettlebell……picture painted, and the picture is titled “SWINGIN’ BELLS, A SPOT ON INSTRUCTIONAL GUIDE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THOSE WHO TRUST/PAY THEM TO GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THEM!!!!!”

We all finish the second WOD and are asked to gather around to go over WOD THREE. Holy fucking shit Batman!!!! She might be late to the party, but it looks like Kara has got her head in the game and will be a proper steward for our third installment. Could it be that I will have to decide if I have it in my heart to forgive what has transpired up to this point? Nope, just nope……She points to the board and recites:

4 ROUNDS FOR TIME OF:

400 meter run buy in:

15- front rack kettlebell  squats (one each hand)

15- burpee knee to elbow (no pull up bar required)

Finish with 400 meter run buy out

 

There is a lengthy argument as to where we run to for a 400. Kara certainly doesn’t fucking know, and lets face it, at this point does it REALLY matter. The class decides that we will run to the mailbox and back. Perfect. Kara once again asks for our attention to go over the rest of the WOD. Front rack Kettlebell squats she explains will be done with two kettlebells, one in each hand. She bends over grabs one, stands up, puts it in the rack position, and then squats to retrieve the second…….Houston…we have a problem….she can’t get the second kettlebell into position. Wasn’t for a lack of trying though……bless her heart. I almost felt bad for Kara, and then she simply dismissed that second kettlebell with a quick, “well YOU will have two”, and then simulated holding the second kettlebell along side the first while performing a squat? Fuck Kara. She puts down the real and imaginary kettlebells, and then explains that the next movement will be burpee knee to elbow. I fully expect that we will be doing these bad boys at the rig and turn to face it, and Kara looks at me like I’M dumb, the class registers her “pity” towards me and follows suit. Plenty of people in this world would agree that I am on my best day “dumb”, but in this case if I am in fact dumb, these fuckers are a special kinda dumb, the kind reserved for politics and daytime television. She sighs, refocuses, and explains that in the knee to elbow burpee that it is important to make sure that when squatting down before you kick your legs out that your knees and elbows make contact…..Imagine a frog jumping up and down on its back legs, with its front ones dangling in front of it. Once contact is made kick your legs out to the plank position, and then ….stand up and repeat. At this point I am considering screaming at the top of my lungs and running head first into the wall, praying that I am knocked unconscious. Part of me is convinced that this is all an elaborate joke and Ashton Kutcher is going to come out of nowhere and tell me I just got punk’d. I decide that I am going to hold out for Ashton (could use someone to smack around) 3-2-1 GOOOO…we are running, and honestly it was nice to do something that wasn’t scaring the shit out of me. We get back in and its front rack kettlebell squat time baby!!! Be afraid, be very afraid. Above I had stated that if I were to attend another class that I would make sure to wear a fucking helmet, and now I  have added steel toe boots! It would be hilarious to watch on video (where you at Ashton), but I’m in the mix and kettlebells are going fucking everywhere. Kara’s inability to hold two kettlebells is shared by at least half the class, and like Kara, it wasn’t for a lack of trying that they couldn’t “get” it, and just like Kara most of them elected for the second invisible kettlebell to work with. Miracles happen every single fucking day, on this day it is demonstrated in the fact that not one Gold’s Fit fucker went to the hospital. We move on to the burpee knee to elbow. This shit IS funny, the only fucking time during the entire class that anybody seems to give a shit about the “standards” is when doing these knee to elbow burpees (where you at Ashton). Kermit the motherfucking frog couldn’t have done them with more precision, it was impressive……and then, back to the kettlebells. Like I said, nobody was hurt, miracles baby, we have all completed our 400 meter buyout run and are back in the Gold’s Fit compound. I am grateful to be alive and am letting all of it soak in. The GFFuckers are talking and patting each other on the back. I grab a foam roller and plop down, a few GFF’ers cruise by, I smile and nod, nothing, must be invisible. Fuck it…..Kara approaches, in my mind I am praying that she doesn’t ask me about my thoughts on the class. I smile, she fakes one, gives me a pathetic “good job”, asks if I had signed the waiver, gets a yes, along with, a lot of good that would do now if I hadn’t and HAD hurt myself. She looks confused and returns to her group(ies). I finish rolling out, decide that if Ashton was gonna show it would have happened already, and go to put up my foam roller. I thank the class and Kara for my first Gold’s Fit experience, and then consider either robbing a bank or a quick trip into the ladies locker room, because I am convinced that I am invisible at this point. I realize that for a number of reasons either one of those would be a BAD idea and decide to get my things and GOOOOOOOOOO! I’m not even mad at you Gold’s, I enjoy the irony TOO much to pretend to be upset. I am very afraid for the people participating in your CrossFit rip-off though.

 

Flash forward three months. This experience confirmed some points worth noting. CrossFit has taken an onslaught of attacks in the last six months, even more than normal, and my friends that can be quite a bit at times. Here is what my experience has confirmed. CrossFit works, and there are a lot of folks in the mega gym traditional setting who want to find a way to “get in” on it. I have read reviews where people have stated that they are doing CrossFit during these classes. These folks trying to ride the coat tails are also the same folks who have worked to discredit CrossFit by trivializing its potential and results, and even worse by demonizing CrossFit as a reckless, mindless fad, that can only guarantee to hurt you, and or possibly kill you. FUCKHEADS, CrossFit is the safest, most responsible “workout” I have ever participated in. Fundamentally at its core it values standards in movements, preaches virtuosity in the movements, presents scaling and modifications for every fucking possible scenario to ensure those participating are doing so in the safest most responsible way possible while working to maintain the goal and intensity prescribed for the WOD. I realize that accidents happen, that’s life bitches, but you’d be a liar or “driving out of your lane” to speak as an authority in efforts to discredit CrossFit.

 

Now the best knowledge bombs I received early on in this matter happened during my Level One Cert. First, Kurtis Bowler, owner of Ranier CrossFit and Seminar Staff Leader, at the closing of our certification explains, (not quoting) don’t be THAT guy, be a proper advocate for and representation of CrossFit and its community. It was an appeal to remain mindful in the fact that there are other ways to pursue a better you than just CrossFit……I know, it’s tough to swallow at times, but it is true. It is understanding that when we are out in the world not to be a dick about what we do, it really is okay that the person you are speaking with believes their Body Pump class is like CrossFit, instead of being a dick, smile, admit that there ARE similar elements, and then encourage them to come and give it a shot. If you REALLY LOVE your beloved CrossFit, put your money where your mouth is and offer to attend a Body Pump class as well. If you are unwilling to do this and still feel it necessary to argue…….you’re a dick……stop it. Second, Jevon Ikner of CrossFit Westlake, in a chat about CrossFit and my concerns about the influx of people out to capitalize on its growing popularity, I shared that in no way did I feel that it would be responsible for me to begin coaching quite yet or entertain the idea of opening an affiliate, I explain that I “care too much” about CrossFit to “be one of those people.” He laughed, tells me that the cream WILL rise to the top, and that in moving forward going down the road remember “to just stay in your lane.” Fucker!!! The truth and simplicity in that statement resonated then, and EVERY single day of my life since then it has been applied and has grown to be the very compass of how I approach not only CrossFit, but my entire life. So, the point and the realization is this, I welcome the challenge of going outside my comfort zone and experiencing other activities, workouts, classes, or any other (insert  idea here). I do so looking to test how my work in CrossFit translates to these experiences. I do so unashamed of drinking “the CrossFit cool-aid”, and realizing that the very best thing I can do for my beloved addiction while being out and about is to BE everything I LOVE about CrossFit. I will work to perform as prescribed no matter what, I will not quit (no matter how uncomfortable Zumba gets), and I will embrace and support those around me participating as my very own family. What I will not do, is speak as an authority against anything that I have not experienced for myself, I will not dismiss or trivialize anothers efforts simply because they are not in line with my own. If I feel the conviction to discredit anything it will be after I have experienced it for myself, otherwise I keep my mouth shut. In a world where there are far more people choosing to do nothing than those who are doing something, anything, I argue that WE are ALL on the same team! GO FOR IT!!! So long as it is responsible, positive, and done with integrity and honor, have at it. Shake weights, Zumba, Body Flow, Naked hot yoga, CrossFit, Body Building, Boot Camps, Spin,…………….OWN IT, DO WORK, you’re way ahead of the curve already! I celebrate you. I only ask this….STAY IN YOUR LANE!! If you come into mine, looking to attack my passion and work in an effort to discredit the incredible people I call my brothers and sisters…I WILL crash your motherfucking car with the sort of absolute intensity best described or imagined as you being trapped in a china shop, slathered in honey, with a bear that has been smoking honey flavored crack cocaine for a week straight, and he just ran out of rocks…….fucked.

BEAR