perspective

I Took the Dare! (And Now I’m Daring Myself!)

2019 was my Year of Fearless.

Some days, that word pushed me to do new things.  To live a little differently.  To take a breath and leap when I would usually just step back or walk away.  I still have many of the same fears, but they don’t hold me back quite as much or quite as often.

All in all, the fearless served me well.  I changed and grew in fearlessness, at least a little bit.

Now another turning of the year.  What should follow my year of fearless?

Last year, as I selected my word, I spent a lot of time thinking, considering options, weighing possibilities.

This year was a no-brainer.  It almost slapped me in the face. I picked up a set of notebooks while Christmas shopping, and there it was. So NOT me. But so needed to be!

The story began a while ago, in one of our gym-girl group chats.  Someone (not me!) asked for a challenge, which became a dare, which turned into a quite funny mid-November-damp-overcast-chilly-afternoon episode of me running a lap outside around the gym in a swimsuit.

 

Yup, I stripped off my gym clothes and took off running.  I mean, I’m a tank-top and shorts girl at the gym so the bathing suit was not much less than people see me wear most days, but still. Running through the parking lot in that for no apparent reason had me shallow-breathing-freaking-out through the entire class.

Growing up, whenever there was a game of truth or dare, I would quickly and silently slink out of the room.  If I had to play I always chose truth. Dare left too much to chance.

And so, my One Little Word of 2020 is….Dare.

Dare to live big. Dare to do crazy things.  Dare to continue to figure out who I am, and then dare to show people. Dare to put myself out there.

Dare to make big plans and, sometimes, dare to let go of the plan and see what happens. Dare to live in the moment.

Dare to dream outrageously. Dare to set big goals. And, maybe one of the things I fear most… dare to fail.  Dare to flop.  Dare to fall short.  Dare to (eek!) disappoint, then dust myself off and dare again even more relentlessly.

I’ve set my goals this year.  I set some that are all but surely out of reach.  This is totally out of character for me.  When I set goals, I usually pick something that I am relatively sure I can accomplish with a reasonable effort.  Not. This. Year.

The quote that I wrote in the front of my goal book:

“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”

-Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Some of them do scare me.  But in some ways, that’s exciting.

What word is guiding you this year?

Looking forward to sharing the dares as the year goes along!

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perspective

Never Say Never

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“I’ve eaten the same thing for lunch every day at work for the last eighteen months,” I told her.

“You mean you eat one thing for a week, then switch to something else?”

“No, I’ve eaten the same thing every single day, week after week after week, 99 percent of the time.”

“Oh, I could NEVER do that!” she responded, in a mix of disbelief and exasperation.

Hm.

Well, I thought, this is a person who appears to be healthy and fit.  Maybe she can eat different things all the time and maintain her health.  Maybe she doesn’t struggle with using food as entertainment / food as comforter / food as problem solver like I do.  If not, good for her.  For me, what has worked with sorting out my nutrition is basically monotony.

I figured out what seems to work and for the most part I stick with it.  Fat-free higher-protein yogurt and coffee with measured creamer for breakfast, chicken Mike Nuggets and protein chips for lunch with lots of infused water. A handful of beef jerky if I am really hungry between meals.  Dinner has a little more flexibility but I prep protein each weekend and choose from there.  If I keep to this all week and don’t go insane over the weekend, my energy, my strength, and the scale number tend to stay in the range where I feel good.  What works for me won’t work for everyone.  Maybe it won’t work for anyone else at all, and that’s fine.  Not a big revelation there, really.

But, what really stayed with me was the word NEVER.

I could NEVER do that.

What would I say I could NEVER do?

There are the nevers I just don’t like.  For example, I could never eat shrimp for breakfast.  I could never own an orange car.  I could never be a school bus driver.  Never is really too strong for all of these…If I had to do any of these things, I would.  But I’d really *really* rather not.  Maybe this is the type of never my friend was mentioning when it comes to my monotonous lunches.

But then I also think about other nevers I have said in the past.  I could *never* do CrossFit.  I could *never* run a half-marathon.  I could *never* weigh under 200 pounds again. All of these nevers have now gone from to-do to ta-da! All of them took effort.  All of them took facing fears.  All of them took questioning myself and the limits I place on me.  These are not just preferences.  They are self-doubts.  Limits.  Roadblocks by choice.

Some of these once-upon-a-time nevers have become among my proudest accomplishments.

As George Addair said, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”

As I think about my goals for 2020, I’m listening for the nevers in my self-talk.  Are my nevers “I don’t wannas?” Are they “I’m scared to try”?  Are they “I’m scared to fail”?  And if they are fears, maybe that’s a sign I need to put them toward the top of my to-do list?

What are your nevers?  And what are they holding you back from?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

celebrations, dare to be different

Toasting A Year Without Alcohol

“So, are you going to the party this weekend?”

“I don’t think so…”

“Why not?”

(Pause…stare…long enough to be uncomfortable…finally blurts out)

“Um, I’m taking a break from drinking right now.”

Just one of several moments that stand out in my mind as I’ve worked through a year without alcohol.

A year without alcohol.

I don’t really want to say a year into sobriety. I think of sobriety as something different. A different level of commitment, perhaps. And I do think I’ll drink again someday. So, right now, it’s just been a year of taking a break.

What has it meant?

At first, it was for my weight. Daily beers add up. Or two. Or three. Once in a while, even more.

When I started the keto diet in January 2018, I just wanted to keep my carbs down, so I switched to vodka. Or hard seltzers. Less carbs, but still drinking my calories.

When I started Stronger U in August 2018, where I learned more about calories and alcohol and the effect it had on my body, I decided to try to give it up for a while. Labor Day weekend turned into a month.  Then I figured I would try for Thanksgiving, then join in the customary wine we have at family gatherings… but once I got there, not drinking turned out to be just fine with me.  I only had to turn down wine a few times, then people left me alone about it. Christmas, same.  And so on.  Summer may have been the hardest, with beer and refreshment season in full swing.  But, once I hit about 6 months, I knew a year was an attainable goal and I wanted it.  And now I am here.

I do believe it has played a significant role in my weight loss and body reshaping. I know it has taken a lot of my belly away.

Beyond that, what else has it meant?

I do come from an alcoholic family.

I have “flirted with” or tiptoed on the edge of alcoholism several times throughout my adult years. I’ve always been able to pull myself out of it, sometimes with the help of family and friends.  Still, since I was 21, I’ve never been more than a few weeks without a drink, except when I was pregnant. So a year is satisfying personally, knowing I have some measure of control over consumption.  (And yes, there were plenty of times I craved a beer this year for whatever reason, but decided not to have one).

What about my friends?  I did stumble over my words when I first started sharing it. But for the most part, people have been nice or just nonreactive about it.  A few have even been curious. I’ve found a few people who have used it as a conversation starter, to talk about their own relationship with alcohol.  Some friends who are trying not to drink have looked to me for support at social gatherings.  It’s easier to not drink if you know others are doing the same thing, whatever the reason might be.

What’s been a bit surprising is how few people really care. If people notice or ask, I usually just say I’m taking a break from drinking.  But, most of the time when I was drinking before, it was a beer (or three) by myself at home at night.  Alcohol wasn’t a huge part of my social ties or traditions.  I think people who have after work drinks with friends or other routines and rituals involving alcohol might have a harder time. I’m grateful it has been simple, and has cost me little while I’ve gained insights and energy for new challenges. 

I don’t miss waking up with a hangover.  I don’t miss feeling out of control at times.  I don’t miss wondering if I’ve waited long enough to get behind the wheel of a car. I don’t miss my beer gut.

If and when I drink alcohol again, I hope I look at it just as I would any other indulgence: a treat to be enjoyed once in a while.  Until then, I’ll be toasting with my mocktails, offering to be the designated driver.

If you’re trying to drop some pounds or wonder if you can go without alcohol, I encourage and challenge you to try it for a week or a month.  You might be surprised what you learn.  Share with us in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

celebrations, fitness and nutrition

3-year Anniversary

It’s hard to believe I’ve stuck with CrossFit for three years now. Three long years, but three of the best years. I c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-e-d my CrossFiterversary this week. Whoo hoo!

Not only did I get in shape, I got stronger. Physically, mentally and emotionally, all of which are transferable skill sets. Ironically, I repeated my first CrossFit Open WOD, 17.1, this week. What a great way to visualize my progress. This time around I did box jumps instead of step-ups. This time I used 35# weights instead of 20#. This time I did more reps overall. Hard work does pay off. It’s not at all overnight success!

This week I also celebrated friendships. One person in particular I met on day one. We didn’t talk really. I was the newbie, he was the veteran. Time passed. Hard work was put in. Trust was built. Now we work out side by side, joke around daily, and pass time on weekends. That’s the community aspect of CrossFit. Good people working hard, building bonds over time. It definitely isn’t a cult. It is just like-minded people grinding together over and over and over. In time relationships bud and they tend to be solid. You see each other at your best and your worst and everything in between.

My lifting skills make doing yard work easy peasy. Need to put out 124 bags of pine mulch at home? No problem. My back can handle the bending, lifting and twisting. My stamina will keep me going and my energy level is that of a thoroughbred race horse.

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My mental gains are hard to quantify but I will share that my daily workouts which test almost every fiber of my body, mind and spirit give me foresight. The ability to see ahead and know mental strength gets you through the hard times. Mental strength can be developed. You can convince your mind you are capable of whatever task needs to be completed.

The community is like no other. Lawyers or doctors by day. Karate instructors or dancers by night. No matter the occupation most sweat the same. Most battle to complete the workouts. Friendship builds. Trusts builds. Comrades emerge. You can’t find that at a local bar or neighborhood for the most part, as one common denominator is missing. The love of fitness/CrossFit and that crazier-than-ever attitude that goes along with the box community.

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Add in some cool coaches, nice equipment, good programming and you get CrossFit Faded Glory. My home base box.

It’s been a journey for me to say the least. I started pushing PVC pipes before bars and dumbbells. Now I will stack those weights on for a heavy snatch or deadlift.

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I had to learn how to get my eating to complement my training. I had to find my routine. The routine that I could make work over and over again. It took time. Keto, paleo, macros, oh my.

I rise early. Before the sun rises. I fuel my soul for the day before my family even thinks about starting their day.

I get the blood pumping early. I laugh. I giggle. I sweat my ass off. I put in extra work. I get dirty. After it all I’m  ready to conquer whatever crazy comes my way in the day.

And trust me most days of my life involve some sort of crazy. Most I can’t type without offending people, but since my life deals with people there is bound to a mess at some point in each day because people are just messy. Emotional messes. Physically messy. And sometimes even all over place with messy attitudes and emotions. Hence my new vocabulary word: human cRapital…

Thank goodness I found CrossFit. The constantly varied workouts and challenges are a perfect fit for me. The crazier the better.

This past year as I reflected I noted inspiration as a key contributor in my journey. This year I was introduced to a gentleman named Jeremy who modifies his CrossFit workouts. He modifies them because he is in a wheelchair. Talk about amazing. He has brute strength, a big smile and a positive attitude. He grinds just like the rest of us. He sweats just like the rest of us. He doesn’t make excuses. He gets it done. I love watching him workout. It’s a true inspiration.

Then you look another direction and you see Big Brandon. The mammoth lifter in the box but with a heart of gold. Willing to spot you, laugh with you and most importantly teach you to get better. There are so many versions of beefcake Brandon in a box.

There are even the couples who sweat together. The aging couple working on their fitness to preserve themselves for their grandchildren. So inspiring they want to make me set a goal of the senior Olympics when I am older.

You could be the girl who waits a year to even step into the box. Thinking you don’t meet the athletic standard or fit. Then you try it and see success. Before you know it you lose 100 pounds and people want to know how.

Crossfit. Routine. Community. Hard work. Discipline. Again, why CrossFit is my thing.

So many stories that I can’t type them all. But the point is you can do CrossFit, too. No matter your shape or your size. You can start your journey and see where your path takes you.

I can’t wait to hit the five-year mark. Looking to stay injury-free and able to compete a few times a year in the sport I adore.

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Get out and get moving. Try a CrossFit class. Most boxes offer a free trial of some sort. CrossFit gyms are all over the world. And a snatch is same in the US as it is in Tokyo. A jerk is also translated the same from country to country.

As I wrap up this post, I almost didn’t post it. I said “three years is no big deal.” One year was a milestone. Two years equaled consistency. Three years was what?

Three years is the sign of true commitment. Committing to me. My health. My fitness. My achievements. My longevity. I can do more now and I know I have become more youthful. As crazy as that sounds I feel vibrant and young. Heck, I even compete with people in their teens and twenties. And in some instances I can keep up. What an accomplishment that is.

Cheers to another year of CrossFit for this fittish chick!

Can you find me in this sweaty handstand sandwich?

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fitness and nutrition

Train, Train, Train

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It all started in July, when I ran my best 10k time at the Peachtree Road Race on 7/4/19. I was bitten by the running bug…sort of?!?!?!

How can I get better? What’s my next goal? I really don’t enjoy running and I really don’t have a runner’s physique. Oh well, we will put these thick thighs to the test in a couple of months.

I got an invite to do a 1/2 marathon. Boom. I signed up. I asked a few friends to join in. Now it’s time to train, or pretend to be trained, by the starting gunshot.

I progressed with weekly walk/jogs on Sundays with whomever I could get to train with me and I added in some extra meters on the air runner at my box when I had time.

3 mile run/walk on a stretch of road with gym buddies. 6 mile walk with the girls. 5 mile pacer in the park. Sundays at 7am are now my training runs. So many miles. Sprints were tossed in as well as some time on the air runner. Hoping to get better form and a better pace. Not to mention looking for longer stretches of mileage without taking a break.

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Two new pairs of shoes. Nike Air Pegasus 35’s which I ran the Peachtree in and Nike Zoom Romero with a little more cushion. I was told to alternate them in my training so I could decide which one I liked the most and then the one pair wouldn’t be worn out. Wonder which ones will make the cut for race day?!?!

So far I’m voting for the Air Pegasus but time will tell.

I like shoes and Nike shoes might be an addiction so I won’t complain about buying another pair. Maybe the Pegasus 36’s. We shall see.

I almost forgot, I got a sweet note from one of my training partners this week. It was a great way to celebrate the the training journey with a friend. See the photo for a glimpse of my note.

I’ll try to post each month on my training progress. Stay tuned.

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fitness and nutrition

New Fitness Tricks from Chick 2

Sometimes progress is hardly noticeable.  Other times we make giant leaps forward.

Whether it’s a time of strides or just moving along, I keep showing up as often as I can at the gym (which means most days).

I know I can get lazy.  I forget to try things I haven’t been able to do in the past. This is one reason it is so important to have coaches and workout friends who know you and encourage you along. This also makes it harder to be complacent, to just coast. It reminds me to keep goals fresh and in sight.

With that in mind, here are some new tricks I’ve learned lately: (see our instagram for additional video!)

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Toes-to-bar

This one was a complete surprise.  Chick 1 was brushing up on the skill and told me to give it a try.  I hadn’t tried since probably February or March, and never really got too much coaching.  But, I gave it a go.  First try was bad.  Second try was much closer to the bar…and then, on the third attempt, I did it!

Only a few days later I did 27 toes-to-bar in a workout, one at a time.  It’s exciting when something clicks.  New tricks are fun!  But, I ripped my hands horribly so now I’ve invested in grips to protect them.  (This feels like a sign of a real CrossFitter!)

Burpees over the Bar

I’ve written about jumps before.  I’m still doing 12-inch box jumps.  I jump over dumbbells.  But a couple of weeks ago I finally did burpees over the bar, jumping over a barbell with plates loaded.  It’s not a fluid motion, but I got it done!

 

Wall Balls

I’ve struggled with these most of my CrossFit life.  They exhaust me and my form deteriorates quickly, which leads to back strain if I am not mindful.  But, after a lot of work, I’ve finally started moving from the 10-pound to the 14-pound ball.  The sets I have to break them into are usually very small, but I am coming along.  (I still dread them in ways that I *don’t* dread burpees.  This is a mental challenge I need to work through. Practice saying: Wall balls!  YAY! I LOVE WALL BALLS!)

Handstand

I did do some special training videos working toward handstand strength and technique from Performance Plus Programming through Barbell Physio.  With help, I got an assisted handstand and need to keep pushing forward on these.  I can’t kick up yet, but I will sometime soon!

And a couple of other gym-related breakthroughs:

Chick 1 and I made it through a partner WOD without incident.  She will tell you that I yell at her during partner workouts (true!) and that does not work out for the overall good.  But, on a recent Saturday we ended up partnered and managed to make it through it.  Big stuff!

Finally, despite my spongy midsection and crepey drapey loose extra skin, I removed my soaked tank top at the end of the Peachtree Road Race in front of the 60,000 other runners and volunteers gathered in Piedmont Park.  I don’t think I’ll ever have firm, taut skin so although I am proud of my progress, showing my midsection is still cringe-inducing.  But, I decided to just do it since I was crazy hot and two of my running partners were already down to sports bras and shorts.  I’m pleased to report that everyone lived through this experience and no one has lasting vision damage (that I am aware of).  A bit of body confidence is a great feeling.

As much as I celebrate these, I also have friends and coaches pushing me to move forward.  Add more weight to the bar.  Start putting some moves together.  It’s easier to get used to my scales and just keep practicing the new stuff, but my coaches and friends at CrossFit Faded Glory are always pushing me to be better.  And even though I don’t always remember to try new tricks to see what I am improving at, every day I show up and do the work I am getting better.

What are your new fitness accomplishments?  Any new goals you’ve set?  Let us know in the comments!

 

fitness and nutrition

It’s a 1/2 but it’s a start

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Today I registered for my first 1/2 marathon. I might be crazy but in about 4 months I will walk, jog, or crawl over that finish line.

I will blog about my training along the way and of course the emotions that will go along with the whole process as well.

I have 5k’s, 10k’s and one 15k in my past, but never a half marathon. My running spans over 20 years but I’ve never been a runner, if that makes sense. I am more of a 50-yard-dash kind of girl. Quick and easy and over before you know it. I also never really ran any of those races start to finish…they all had a mix of breaks built in.

Why a 1/2 marathon? I got a push from my oldest son to sign up and guess what? I took the bait. Now it’s time to see if I can get some friends in the mix.

My most recent 10k time was 1 hour 16 minutes in the July heat. I am aiming for 2 hours 30 minutes for the half marathon. Can I do it? Let me know what you think my finishing time will be. An online bet of sorts. Send us a message with your best guess!

Wish me luck! And don’t forget to send me tips if you are an avid runner.