fitness and nutrition, perspective

Going the Extra Mile

It’s a phrase we hear often…someone who “goes the extra mile.”  But what does it really mean?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that phrase for the past few days.  I went to the gym on the day after Thanksgiving.  There wasn’t a workout at the times I could make it.  So, I took advantage of the open gym and walked in between classes. My goal was 10,000 meters.  My legs were screaming sore after a long Thanksgiving Day workout so I started by hopping on the bike erg and did a pretty quick 5,000 meters.

Then, moved over to the rower for a somewhat slower 3,000 meters.

Finally, I faced down the dreaded ski erg and did 2,000 meters, split in half.  (Ski is much more challenging for me!) I had stretched in between, so I was feeling pretty good and sweaty by this point.  I had a few minutes left before I had reached my hour-at-the-gym benchmark, but I had already met my 10,000 meter goal.  What to do?

Enter the Assault bike.

And on that, I just decided to do skip meters and do a mile. And as I rode, I got to thinking about the extra mile…which is what brings me to this post.

To go the extra mile is to go beyond what is required.  What is expected.  The minimum.  As my kids say (or used to say, since once I understand this kind of thing it is definitely past its moment) you can be basic or you can be extra…regular or over the top, I guess.

There are areas of life where I want to work harder to go the extra mile.  Friendship. Family. Fitness / Nutrition.  Those are probably the big three for me right now. Ones I want to work on.

How can I go the extra mile?

-Send a note or out-of-the-blue text to a friend who may need a pick-me-up (and couldn’t we all?)

-Remember to get all the things my family needs as I shop / do errands, etc.

-Check in with family and friends more often

-Make time for meaningful conversations and traditions as the holidays arrive

-Commit to both staying consistent and challenging myself as I workout

-Get serious about nutrition; buckle down (instead of backing down) in the face of challenges

-Give in unexpected ways: time, care, gifts, resources

I am not going to lie.  There are many areas of life where I am struggling to meet basic expectations.  But, at the same time, I feel a deep level of fulfillment when I exceed what I and others expect of me.  Over the next day or two I’ll be planning and making moves to get these things in motion.  Even just this list with a daily checkoff can be a step toward accountability and progress.

So, readers, how are YOU going to go the extra mile in the next month or two? How can you extend kindness, comfort, or even badassness to make your life and the lives of those around you a little more over-the-top-amazing? Tell us in the comments.

Here’s a glimpse of the sunrise that surprised me mid workout that morning, a brief break in a week of dreary rain. Be the unexpected, the surprising light for others and yourself.

fitness and nutrition

Chick 2 and the Birthday Burpees

This time last year, I was still pretty new to CrossFit.  So when I stumbled into my box on my birthday for a workout, someone told me it was time to do my birthday burpees.

Now that I think back, there was some snickering around the box that morning about birthday burpees.  But, I am pretty gullible, and I was anxious to be part of the community.  I also don’t like to seem like I am slacking or afraid of hard work.  So, I went over into the beginner’s corner (what I call the side area of the gym where I often retreat when I am doing particularly sloppy / awkward movements), and started at it.  I did them a few at a time, very slowly, spread throughout the workout, probably cursing each one, but I did my 44 burpees.  Maybe halfway through the 44 someone saw what I was doing and told me that it was all a joke.  But, I did them anyway.  Why stop part way through?

Here it is, my birthday week again.  It’s been over a year at CrossFit Pure.  My birthday fell on a Sunday this year so I didn’t have anyone to tell me to do burpees.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am working on health and weight loss.  I also have some challenging injuries that limit my ability to do some of the most dominant CrossFit movements (squats, deadlifts, etc.)  To be sure I am still getting a solid workout, I often add things on my own in addition to scaling and adapting movements.  At times, I challenge myself to do certain moves each day during a week as extras, like 50 sit ups, 50 slam balls, and so on.

During my Monday workout this week, I decided to do some extra burpees. Burpees kick up my heart rate better than nearly any other movement.  Monday was a shorter workout so I was able to do 50 spread throughout my gym time, mostly before and after. I thought I would do 50 each workout day this week. On the way home, I thought to myself that, given it’s my birthday week, maybe I should go a little bigger.

How could I challenge myself?  What could my birthday burpees be this time around?

So, I decided to go a lot bigger, shooting for a goal of 10 times my age in burpees.  So, 450 total for the week.

As I sit here on my birthday, I am happy to say I reached that goal, and even BEFORE my actual birthday.  I learned something each day, too.  Here’s a snippet:

Monday: The first 50 burpees, completed before I set the actual goal.

Lesson: Sometimes you start something without a goal in mind, then the opportunity to create a measurable goal comes to you.  Embrace it, and challenge yourself beyond what you think you can reasonably do.

Tuesday: Another short workout, so managed to add in 100 burpees on this day. I set that 100 burpee goal when I walked in the door that afternoon, given that the workout was brief.  Plus, I decided that if burpees were part of the regular workout, they did not count toward my personal goal, so I had to push myself on the days when they weren’t programmed. (We don’t see the next day’s workout until the night before.) (Total: 150)

Lesson 1: Set intermediate goals that help you along the path.  When you have the chance, take a bigger bite out of the goal than you normally would if you were doing the same amount each day.  You never know what life will throw at you.

Lesson 2: Making up my mind before I started also helped me push through the after workout burpees.  The workout we did pushed my upper body to exhaustion.  So, when I dropped to the ground after it to finish my birthday burpees, I laughed out loud since I couldn’t push my body back up.  But, I had a goal to achieve, so I shook them out, took a few minutes to rest, then got going again.

Wednesday: Did 50 burpees during a crammed schedule kind of workout, then 25 at home. (Total: 225, halfway there!)

Lesson: My schedule was off this day.  Arrived at the gym late, couldn’t do the programmed workout due to injuries so had to pull one up from previous weeks, had a doctor’s appointment just after gym, and so on.  We all have these days where it is hard to fit things in, but we have to do it anyway.

So, I did 10 burpees in the driveway at 6:00 am while I was waiting for my daughter to get in the car. (This stunk on concrete but I was SO much more awake on my drive!) I was at the gym for less than an hour total but still got 40 burpees in.  Then, I did 25 more at home that night.  Those were also awful since I wasn’t in my gym clothes and trying to do them on carpet or tile is just different.  But, I did them. Striving toward goals means doing things that aren’t ideal or just plain stink sometimes.

Thursday: Another 100 burpee day. Did all 100 before the workout. (Total: 325)

Lesson: Most of the week, I did my burpees in sets of 5, EMOM style.  (Every Minute on the Minute, do 5 burpees.)  I didn’t wear out too much this way. I just chipped away at it. Take bite sized pieces from your goal.  This day I did them for 20 straight minutes, since my schedule was off again.  (I don’t usually have this much time before a workout).  One of our CrossFit coaches saw what I was up to and said, “look at her, over there doing burpees like it’s her job.  Like it’s her JOB!”  And this week, it really was my job.  It was my commitment to myself.  It’s also so helpful to have people notice along the way and encourage you!

Friday: 75 burpees. These were the hardest of the week. (Total: 400)

Lesson:  What I dreaded all week happened Friday.  There were burpees in the workout.  So on top of the 36 in the workout, I did the additional 75 that I needed to do for my birthday goal.  I was so tired after a long week, hadn’t eaten as much as I usually do so I felt sluggish, had a busy day at work, and so on.  It was a true mental challenge to get through these, especially since I did all 50 after the workout.  Again, sets of 5 EMOM style.  I nearly cried about 4 times but I just talked myself through it.  It was a slog and a true mental test. I just kept focusing on the next five.  Thankfully, the end was in sight at this point.

Saturday: 50 burpees.  Mostly all after a challenging workout. (Total: 450!)

Lesson: For these, some of our awesome gym ladies jumped in and did them with me.  We all challenge each other at times, so this was a great lift (and an amazing support since burpees aren’t much fun for anyone!)  This also made me push harder, since these ladies are all faster at burpees than I am and were doing them until I was done.  So, my EMOM style meant everyone else was doing more! more! more! I had to do the last 20 without a break so everyone could stop!  This is one small example of how our community makes you push yourself out of solidarity and encouragement.

I was so happy to get over the finish line.  I screamed in relief and joy. I am so thankful for what this body and mind can do.  There were several times this week when, through the pain and “I don’t wannas,” I reminded myself to be grateful for the strength to do this.

Later that day, it was fun to clean up, dress up, and have a tea party, again with some of my amazing friends from my box. Then, family celebrations as well.

The big takeaway:

It was a week of CELEBRATING WHAT MY BODY CAN ACCOMPLISH at age 45.  Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting slower or weaker.  I can set goals, push through, and have people cheering for me and pushing me along the way.  It is a metaphor for life, goal setting, achieving, and setting new ones (which is what I am doing today!)

Maybe next year I’ll do burpees all month.  Maybe by then I’ll be doing my burpees completely correctly. Or maybe it will be something else that seems like the right mountain to climb. Who knows.  I’ll see where I am and set a new challenge.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a tip of my party hat to Chick 1.  If you’ve been reading her blog posts, you know that she is a goal setter and a goal getter.  I didn’t really understand much about making progress toward goals until I watched her in action.  She is a marvel in what she chooses to strive for, how she accomplishes it, and the way she holds herself accountable. I’m still practicing this whole goal thing, but her showing and sharing that process has been a gift to me that will keep unfolding for years to come.

May 45 bring all the growth that 44 did, and more!

giving

Paying it Forward, Chick 2 Style

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Travel is such an important part of life. It’s a great way to spread your wings. I learn something new wherever I go.

This summer, I’ve had opportunities to visit a number of different cities.  I traveled to family celebrations as well as chased my daughters as they pursue their passion for lacrosse.

Whenever the schedule allows, we try to take time to enjoy the cities we visit.  Sure, we hit the famous spots and that is always fun.  On a recent trip to Nashville, we loved walking in the evenings, listening to lively music spill from the honky tonk windows and rooftops onto Broadway.  We spent time on the beach at a tournament in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, and rode roller coasters for a day at Cedar Point while visiting Cleveland, Ohio.

In addition to the major attractions, there are a few other things I try to do to get a closer sense of a place.  If I can, I shop a local market like Cleveland’s Westside Market. I try to get out into nature by visiting a park. Finally, I make an effort to have a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop.

We just returned from a few days adventuring in Nashville.  During my time there, I stumbled across Caliber Coffee Company.  I liked it so much, I went there two days in a row. Although the coffee was excellent, it was the friendly employees and energy that brought me back for the second time.

As you get to know our brand, you’ll see that the 2 Chicks are serious about giving.  We have given our books to kids in hospitals, food pantries, and low-income schools.  We’ve had support from generous readers and corporate sponsors.  This is just the beginning! We are always looking for new and inventive ways to give.  So, when I saw this board at Caliber and read that it was a way to pay it forward, I had to ask for details.

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Every sleeve clipped to the front and back of this ‘Shot of Grace’ board is a cup of coffee that was bought as a gift that day.  Some sleeves have names of local people on them. You can call or text the person you’re treating and let them know they have a coffee waiting.

But it was the other gifts that interested me even more. These sleeves are less specific. Instead of a certain person, they are made out to someone in need…a single mom…a freshman at the local community college…a newcomer to town…a daycare employee…a first responder…a step parent…a fireman…someone having a bad day. I imagined the smiles these tiny bits of thoughtfulness would bring to someone who needs a lift.

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I immediately thought of the 2 Chicks and our passion for giving. My imagination started spinning…who could I connect with using this opportunity? It didn’t take me long to decide.

I couldn’t resist the chance to encourage someone who may be thinking of telling their story.  The Chicks have found such amazing power in storytelling.  Although I don’t know where it ended up, I hope the coffee brightened someone’s day and encouraged them to share whatever unique and powerful story they have to tell.

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It also made me start to wonder again about new ways the 2 Chicks might connect and share.  I can easily get bogged down in details and logistics, but maybe giving doesn’t have to be as complicated as I think. As I was reminded again only yesterday, paying it forward isn’t only about the the news stories we see about the drive-thru at Chick-fil-a. Even more importantly, it’s the small, sincere acts of caring that are never noticed by the cameras but have an enormous impact nonetheless.

What are some of your favorite ways to pay it forward in your life?  What random acts of kindness bring you the most satisfaction? Let us know in the comments, readers!  Cheers!

-Beth, (aka Chick 2)

#2CHX  #2ChicksGiving #Payitforward #travel #lifelessons #reflection