fitness and nutrition

Max Mentality, Part 2

I’ve written before about my inability (or unwillingness) to hit my max effort. I instinctively shy away from redlining. Sending it. Whatever you want to call it.

My comfort zone is running along between 60-80 percent most days. It’s my sweet spot. My happy place. I don’t feel out of control there. I’m putting in work but I can keep going. And frankly, I can stay at that place (and that pace) for a long time. Long endurance work is my strength over short sprints at high intensity. I’m much more turtle than rabbit.

I listened to our box’s CrossFit podcast the other day and they were talking about the upcoming CrossFit Open. Our coaches were trying to describe it, to prepare people who haven’t been a part of it before. The Open is CrossFit’s yearly(-ish) community testing event. You can see how you stack up against many others in the sport, and if you’ve been a part of the community for a while, you can see how you are progressing against yourself, year-over-year. For that reason, there’s a special competitive spirit in the Open. You have a judge and more eyes on you than usual. People push themselves to their max. After such punishing workouts, you often see CrossFitters rolling on the floor, struggling to breathe, even throwing up on occasion. If you haven’t witnessed it before, it can be surprising. But to many of us, it’s just another Open workout at the box. Just with extra sweat and a DJ.

The coaches took a minute to talk about this and made a point to say, if you haven’t gone to that max space, that rolling-on-the-floor-unable-to-breathe-uh-oh-I’m-gonna-puke place, you should try it. I’m thinking to myself, why does that feel so vulnerable? Like going there would take a special brand of courage I’m not sure I have?

I have been wrestling with what to expect of myself this year. I’ll write about that in depth in another post. But I have noticed that our new programming is giving me opportunities to dip my toe into maxing out. I haven’t “redlined” or “sent it” or thrown up in a conditioning workout. But in small ways I have hit failure. I’ve attempted some lifts lately that I’ve failed on. (Usually I don’t venture close to this point!) One I attempted again after I failed it and made. Another I didn’t. I recorded these weights in my notes, something I haven’t done in a long time. Perhaps that’s a sign that I am ready to get more systematic about keeping track of my progress.

Maybe the most glaring instance happened the other day, when we were working on jumping in skill progressions. We usually do a few broad jumps in warm ups and they are something I feel weaker at compared to many. On this day, we did a series of broad jumps for max distance, then rotated to other movements, then back to broad jumps. We did this several times. Each time I got back to the jumps, I felt better about them. In warmups they don’t feel natural, but working on them a few times did. On my third series of jumps, I really tried to push myself to jump longer. And of course, on the last jump, I landed on my heels then fell back into a roly poly ball on the floor. Nothing like going tail over tea kettle with 20 sets of onlooking eyes. Was I embarrassed? A little. But I also laughed. I smiled as I got up. I realized that I had actually pushed myself beyond my comfort level. So I couldn’t hold the landing? Ok. I know what to work on. A friend told me to engage my core, which I did the next round and didn’t fall. I’ll get better at it, failing forward. Inch by inch. Progress.

A little snapshot of going bigger. It might feel foolish. I might fail. People might see. All part of the doing and growing that this year holds for me. What will I fail at next?

working women

Business Isn’t for the Faint of Heart

Holy smokes are you buckled in for the ride of your life? That’s pretty much what every business owner is doing each day they wake up in the insane life we live today. They buckle up for the crazy ride just like a healthcare worker. Ready to face the unknown. Ready to deal with defeat.

Don’t get me wrong business isn’t easy on normal days but these uncharted waters are not for the weak, inexperienced or underfunded CEO’s. A business owner during this tough economic climate has got to lead with confidence, control and commitment.

They must make sound decisions, fast. They have to think about their passion, their purpose, their drive, their team, their community and they have to take action in what seems like an instant. Profit is out the door for the most part.

Lives are on the line no matter what business you are in. There is something essential in everything we do, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Life may get paused but it can’t halt forever. Leaders need to face fears. Leaders need to help people around them. Leaders must rally the troops. Selfless acts in uncertain times show character in CEOs who step up when it counts. Troubled times will also highlight those CEOs who hide or make selfish decisions when the road gets bumpy.

Many good leaders will fail during this challenging time. And if they do fail, it’s temporary. A good leader will find their way to higher ground. It may take time, but one will build resilience and emerge stronger.

To all my fellow business partners, leaders, and colleagues, I applaud you. Those tough decisions had impacts, we know that. I also know you made the decisions that caused the least impact possible to your surroundings. If failure is lurking, embrace it. Failure is just an opportunity to rebuild, rebrand, rejuvenate your passion. Your power. Your footprint.

Business owners don’t get unemployment but they help file for their employees in this challenging time. Businesses may have shut down but still paid employees for as long as they could. Restaurants stayed open to feed people when they may have lost 90% of their revenue and not know how they will make their rent next month. Landlords offered shelter to those who didn’t have funds to pay when rent was due. So many selfless acts go on each day. Many nobody will ever see.

True leaders do without glory. They do what needs to be done and worry about what ifs later. That’s what they do even if it may just be the crumbling of their lifelong work.

I also caution you to be aware of those making decisions to financially benefit themselves at another’s expense during this pandemic. In troubled times this happens when a CEO may not see the big picture. Their short term decision may have long term consequences. Price gouging and hoarding may be two prime examples that come to mind.

Many may never see the crazy shit from the CEOs eyes. I write this note for those to catch a glimpse of the insanity. The burden placed on entrepreneurs who have heavy stakes in the business game. Many think entrepreneurs have it all. In reality they risk it all including the shirt on their back. Personal savings, home equity used as personal guarantees, and so on.

It’s a tough world for everyone right now. Be a nice human. Support your communities where you can. We will all survive this mess. Some of us may have battle scars while others may have bad hair. Either way the vast majority will survive. That is enough to be thankful for.

Enjoy the shit show of today.

fitness and nutrition, hustle

I Felt the Drop…

It was crushing to say the least when I saw the 20.2 CrossFit Open workout. I felt the drop in the pit of my stomach immediately. If that wasn’t enough, I felt the drop again after my first attempt.

Double unders and toes-to-bars were listed as two of the three movements in 20.2. Both are hated movements by me and I got them both in one workout. How will I ever move past the mental mountain I created for myself?

It started with my normal Friday workout attempt accompanied by hundreds of failures. Not joking!

It took 20 seconds to complete 4 35-pound dumbbell thrusters and then I had 19 minutes plus to keep going. I only needed to get 6 toes to bar to move on. Well I got one toe, one shoe lace, and many feet above the bar but I couldn’t actually get my toes, shoes or any part thereof to hit the bar in unison to count a single rep per the Open standards. Talk about defeat. My hands hurt. My shoulder were fatigued. My lats were achy.

I was a bit ornery for a few hours after. To take my mind off of my poor performance, I watched some videos on strategies. I did some stretches. I thought about if I would try a second attempt. And luckily I had a Jell-O shot with friends that day so my mind maybe forgot about by failures briefly.

I had a weekend away from technology and the gym so I was able to recover and reset my mind. Fast forward to Monday. A redo is a thought but not a definite yes. Let’s see how my body feels in the morning. Met my buddy David at the box and he was going to do the workout again so I decided to give it a go along side him hoping to springboard off his momentum.

It worked. I got my six toes to bar one by one. They weren’t pretty and they were not strung together. Rather it took me 12 minutes to get them. What that meant was I got to proceed to the next movement which was double unders. Which guess what? I couldn’t do those either. Sigh.

Lord help me! I practiced some calming methods that I read about on the internet. I found a focal point and jumped in what seemed like slow motion. It somehow worked.

Lo and behold, I got one double under. Then 2 in a row. Three in a row. Back to one. Up again to 2. Somehow I made it to 24 and that was a personal best. Something to celebrate. I had many whip marks to go along with all the added attempts but who doesn’t appreciate battle scars?

Round 1 was complete. I chipped away at my mental mountain. I completed four more dumbbell reps which were easy for me. Then back it was to toes-to-bar. Can I get a few more?

My minutes were dwindling but every rep counts. I completed 5 more toes to bar. 43 total reps which isn’t a lot but but it was a lot to me. Another RX WOD for this girl.

I felt I was setup to fail by Mr. Castro. I didn’t let failure stand in my way. I fought back with pure devotion, strength and tenacity. I conquered my battle and set my personal bests.

This is what the Open is for me each year. It’s is a way to show my strengths, my weaknesses and my depth as an athlete. My ego hurt a bit this week. My ranking dropped significantly but I still have three more weeks of workouts to battle my way back up in the ranks.

I hope this story shares a level of me with you that some may never see. Some may choose not to see. But for me it showcases the lows and highs. Life is full of ups and downs just like sports. These examples or experiences are part of who I am. Nobody is perfect. What one shares online is optional. You can choose your filter. This story is raw and real. It’s authentic.

This is my Open book. My CrossFit Open story book. Year after year I write and I document my progress, my emotions, my highs, my lows, and my motivation.

One day somebody will be inspired by what they read. Until then, I will keep writing and working hard. I am in the Open. I am 47 and somewhat fit. I enjoy my Open challenges with friends in my gym community. Come on in and see what the fun is all about. You can find a CrossFit box in your area.

#intheopen
#crossfitmom
#fitisthenewfab
#hwpo
#kt247
#1095days