celebrations

Showing Up for Me

My friends and CrossFit community mean a lot to me.  My coaches are an important part of my progress. There are so many people who are important on my health journey. 

But in the end, when I go to workout, I show up for me. All the different versions. 

I show up for the grouchy one.  The tired one. The clumsy one. The one who doesn’t think she can do it.  I show up for the feisty one, the nervous one, the one who is just going through the motions.

I show up for the one who loves burpees and power cleans.  I show up for the one who forces herself to do thrusters and running.  I show up for the one who mumbles and grumbles and at times dawdles and always has to run to the restroom just before the countdown to zero.

I show up for the one who sometimes forgets how far she has come.  I show up for the one who thinks she will lose her momentum if she misses a single day. Who forgets that an off day won’t set her back 5 years.  

I show up to meet her.  Who will she be today? I show up to see what’s new and how she has changed.  Some days she surprises me. I show up to encourage her, to lift her through it.  

Keeping the promises I make to myself is as important as any other commitment I make in my life. A recent podcast featuring Ed Mylett reminded me how important it is to move, to detach from outcomes and focus on the process, and to follow through on the promises I make to myself. 

There are a few precious people I would put myself on the back burner for.  This is a huge change from how I used to be. I used to be willing to back burner myself at a moment’s notice for anyone who even asked. People I hardly knew. Heck, some of them didn’t even ask – I volunteered!  It was almost a point of pride to be that way. 

But the extreme selflessness I prized in myself cheated me of my strength, my energy, and my growth.  I am learning that I am better if I rank myself high on my priority list. And that means showing up for myself.  Even when it is hard.  Even when I am going it alone.  Even when no one high fives me.  The people who I would set it all aside for notice.  And they celebrate how I am changing. For the better. 

I can’t drink from an empty cup.  When I am there for myself, my cup runneth over, and I have more of me to go around. 

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adventure, working women

Look Pretty, Play Dirty

Can you look pretty and play dirty? Yes, you can. As an adult you can dress up and go to the office and turn around and play in the mud when you get home. As a teen you can go to the ball field by day and put on a prom dress by night. You can be up to your elbows in soil or manure then rinse off, quick change, lip gloss and off to a date. Lab coats and litmus strips by day can become Lush and Louboutins by night without much effort. Like “I Dream of Jeannie” in TV history, we wiggle our noses, blink, and change happens almost before your eyes. It seems pretty easy.

I have a Jeep. It has big tires and it’s meant to get dirty. It’s a recreational vehicle. Great to take to the beach and get sandy or mountains to get muddy. Perfect to take me up snowy roads and hold all my equipment too. Then of course it can also make the commute to the office or a business meeting. It can clean up nice with a good washing thus be able to look pretty after playing dirty.

My Jeep is still a dynamic piece of machinery. Built with strength in mind. Robust. Rugged. Eye catching. People can reflect the same.

I think about this vehicle and its contrast to people. Does your vehicle say something about you, your spirit, your identity? Maybe in some ways it mirrors or accents you. I like the rugged, beefy look. Others may choose something sleeker.

Even if you choose a car for efficiency, you can add some spice to make it reflect your spirit. Stickers, license plates, ornaments for the rear view mirror and more. Bike racks, kayak rigs, and all those accessories show that you’re ready for outdoor adventure. It is all in the details. Why be generic? Many of us spend a lot of our waking lives driving around. Shouldn’t it make you smile? Be an extension of who you are? Not just functional, but fun and even flashy, too.

Can a female athlete be competitive on the field, but turn around and be a beauty queen? Of course. One may have thick thighs, robust shoulders, and undeniable strength as an athlete but turn around and clean up ever so nice after a tough day on the field or In the gym. Much like my Jeep. Pretty doesn’t have to be dainty and reserved. Something nice to look at without much substance. As much as others may try to pigeonhole us to be just one way, we can resist and embrace all of who we are.

People are versatile just like my Jeep. Big tires, thick thighs they are both purposeful in their own way. In honor of my look pretty play dirty mantra, check out the new decal riding around on my Jeep these days. There may or may not be another underlying message in the decal.

Despite the rollout of the new Bronco by Ford, I am still a Jeep girl. Still waiting for the Blazer to roll out but Jeep girl it is for now. Who knows what my next evolution will be?

From off road to off work to off the field I am always embracing the look pretty play dirty mantra. What’s your mantra?

fitness and nutrition

My Dumbbell Museum

A few days ago I shared about some “vintage” Easter treasures that have found new life in our home during the coronavirus pandemic.

There’s another area in our home that has found some new life as we have become more and more isolated.  All the members of my family have lost access to our gym and fitness facilities / practices, so our makeshift basement gym space has become a hub of activity on and off from 6:30 am (my exercise time) on throughout the day.

As with many things in this new “normal” we are making do with what we have. Stuff is coming out of corners, emerging from piles, being excavated after years of gathering dust.  Most of our gym stuff is old, inherited, or has other stories.  Here’s a glimpse of my fitness lives through my gallery of dumbbells.  And these are only the ones that I use(d)…those above 25 just aren’t on my radar at the moment.

Starting with the smallest:

Empower handweights: 2.5 lbs

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I used these when I was trying to walk my weight off.  Before running, before CrossFit, before any of it.  I would pump my arms up and down as I walked. Not sure how to use them in my current routines but anything is possible!

Reebok coated baby dumbbells: 5 lbs

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These are from my “aerobics in front of the TV while the kids are napping” phase.  Seems like not that long ago, but it really was.  I showed these to my son this week and he remembered watching me do my little routines with them from the stairs. Now they are paint-splattered and worn.  But, I remember holding the weights over my head and lowering them behind my head to feel my triceps burn. They work for T-raises and other isolated accessory movements.

Super Star Orbatrons: 11 lbs (yes, 11 pounds which makes them extra awesome!)

These babies, with their sand-filled copper sheen, date back to my childhood. They’re almost as big as my head! And I use them almost every day. I know, you’re jealous.  They’re fabulous. My dad would sit and do curls with these at the dinner table while he was reading the paper.  He was always fighting to retain any bit of strength he could on his ultra-arthritic arms. So these have sentimental value.  They are big and clunky. They are round, which adds a challenge when I am trying to balance on one in pushup position while picking up the other.  But they make me smile in all their 1980’s style glory.

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(Pause to note: I am reallllyyyyy missing 15-pounders right here. I often used those in weighted situps and some of the slower accessory movements.  I keep scanning the internet for used ones almost daily!)

Metal Hex Dumbbells (on bench): 20 lbs.

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These came from my in-laws. They at least have flat sides so they don’t roll around like the 10s do. These are my go-tos for overhead presses and many other movements.   Not much to say about them but they are durable and well used.

Rubber Hex Dumbbell: 25 lbs.

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Finally, the only “new” dumbbell in the bunch.  I bought this when I was at my first CrossFit gym.  That gym had nothing between 20 and 35 pounds, and that span was too big of a jump for me.  So, I bought myself *one* 25-pound dumbbell. I hid it in the ladies dressing area when I wasn’t using it.  It was not too long ago that picking this up was a feat!  I remember doing my first 25-pound single-arm snatch with it only a couple of years ago.  Now, I mainly use it for snatches.  Using it still gets me winded.

I don’t have 30-pounders which stinks.  We have 35s but they are metal.  I’m not especially confident (and I am truly clumsy) so I tend to leave everything over 25 alone, especially since I don’t have a coach watching these days.  But that’s ok.

I move every day, I lift weights, and I’m making do with what I have.  I guess that’s a motto for me at this point fitness-wise.  Making the best with what I have, and hoping for the best as time goes on. It’s not glossy or shiny or perfect or new, kinda like me. As with these dumbbells, there are many ages and pages to my fitness story.  This chapter will be a memorable one.

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fitness and nutrition, friendship

Just Show Up and Jump In

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“Our third teammate unexpectedly dropped out at the last minute with a sick kid.  Can anyone make it?”

A post to our gym community in the wee hours of a December Saturday morning.  I thought about it, but plans were already in motion for a day of chasing my daughter and her friends as they volunteered to help with a younger girls’ lacrosse team.  I sent my good wishes…hope someone can step in!

Then the text came in, just to me:  “Can you do the comp today and then come get the girls?”

A pause.  A stomach clench. My only job was transporting my kid and her friends and and now a friend was offering to take all that over so I could help on the team.  So how could I say no?  More stomach clench, I texted back.

“Ummmmm ok.  If that’s the best solution.”

(Inner voice of doubt saying:  “There must be a better solution!”)

From that moment, the whole day took a turn.  What are the workouts?  Do I need a shirt? I was already on the way to the gym…thank goodness I wore black shorts.

I turned the car around to head toward the competition site. The doubting voice crept in again…I haven’t eaten well!  How many burpees?? One rep max complex?!? I haven’t showered and shaved! I can’t do those weights!  I haven’t practiced!

WHAT. HAVE. I. DONE?!?!?!

Well, I was helping friends. I could do at least something and I would give my best. Just show up and jump in, I told myself.  Just show up and jump in. Every time I wanted to turn the car around, I’d tell the doubting voice to pipe down. Just show up and jump in.

And so, I got there about 15 minutes before the first workout.  Quick chat. Waited in the bathroom line, switched shirts, did a few stretches and bam, jumped in and competed.  Looking back now, it is awesome to be fit enough to just get there and give it a go.  Granted, I couldn’t lift as heavily as I would have liked to, but I jumped in and did what I could.  My two Ginger Thruster teammates did the heavy lifting, and lift they did! It was awesome to watch and be a part of.

By the time our first workout was over, some people were just seeing the early morning SOS post.  My friend Milagros asked if I needed anything – extra coffee and water, really.  She showed up with all that, plus some snacks and some needed encouragement.  Another part of the network coming together to solve a need.

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We pushed ourselves. We laughed a lot.  We fought for all the reps, strained for every pound.  I’ve never done so many jumping pull-ups in my life. It was a great day.

One great thing about this competition is they have a box member who is an amazing photographer, Davison Wheeler.  He generously shared nearly a thousand photos of the day, including the ones in this post.  It’s equal parts amazing and humbling to look at the people competing – their stamina, their strength, their skill.  When scroll through to find I the pictures of me, what I noticed is that I am often cheering for my teammates.  I may not be able to lift a huge number of pounds, but I try to lift spirits when I can.

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And a lot of that comes from just showing up and jumping in.

 

 

 

 

fitness and nutrition

I Like to Lift

I like to lift weights. There is something about a power snatch that gets my blood pumping.

That same power snatch makes me feel like nothing else stressful in my life matters at that moment. It’s just me and the bar. Of course I have to pay attention to only the bar so I don’t drop the weight on my head! (Photo: Davison Wheeler Photography)

Dumbbells are not my favorite but they serve a purpose. They help me move weight in a different manner than I would if I had just the bar. It lets me focus on defining my muscles in a different way. Although they are not my favorite they are a big part of my weightlifting regimen.  (Photo: Davison Wheeler Photography)

Cleans and jerks. I can definitely say I despise cleaning and don’t have room in my life for jerks but I do work on clean and jerks in the gym weekly. Getting my elbows up and transitioning the heavy weight above my head takes a lot of physical and mental energy. Some days are good while others just suck. Most depends on how well I stretch my wrist and if I can fully commit my mind the way I need to. Self-talk can make or break you on this movement.

This picture is just a random placeholder for me in action. First, I love my shirt. Second, the flair on my arms were for a costume day we had. And finally, I was wearing my taco shorts and who doesn’t love tacos? Which leads me to a shameless plug for Feed Me Fight Me. They have the most comfortable booty shorts for weight lifting girls like me with thick thighs.

Ah the deadlift. A simple but powerful movement that does require the right technique and weight to not throw out your back. It’s a delicate balance but a challenge I like. This picture is a throw back to a 2019 competition I did and thoroughly enjoyed the deadlift ladder.

I also like to bench press. Many girls don’t but I don’t mind it. For some reason I couldn’t find the right photo to post so let’s just go with the fact I like to bench press and chasing the guys weight load. It gives me motivation not hair on my chest.

There are many other lifts I like and many that I just do to keep my fitness up. That being said I have thick thighs and broad shoulders from the lifting portion of my life. I love the strength my body has and for that I embrace thick thighs and strong shoulders.

It always amazes me when a stranger asks me what sport I do. I could be on a plane or at a business meeting. The scenery may change but the question is the same. Now my answer is always I lift weights or do CrossFit.

Some don’t know what CrossFit is so they can relate to weightlifting. Whatever the case I either get a male comment of “how much weight can you squat?” or a woman may say “oh,” as in that’s not feminine. These reactions crack me up.

Many women at my gym are strong and powerful. Some are thick and some are thin. It doesn’t matter. I am far from the strongest but I enjoy striving for better. My counterparts are strong mentally and physically and they can challenge those who are not committed to fitness or healthy living.

Lifting weights has benefits. My friend Sarah started at the gym to increase her strength to fight off her body weakening due to a health condition. Lifting weights can help people regain control of their body after an accident or injury. So many more benefits but hopefully you get the point.

Like I said above, I like to lift. That’s my story for today. Hope you enjoyed the pics and a glimpse of my lifting preferences.

Enjoy today.