Watching TV led to a profound discovery this week. Those are words I never thought I’d write in a blog on paleo and crossfit! My family and I are currently addicted to the TV series “Smallville”. We are watching it from the start and up to about season 3 (of 10 that have been made). For those of you unfamiliar, it is the story of Clark Kent as an adolescent, growing up and learning about life on the way to becoming a superhero. Yesterday, while watching, I realised something totally amazing….Clark has no idea he can fly. He has no idea that he will not only fly, but become famous for that very ability. He has no concept, not the faintest glimmer of belief or even a dream that he will be able to this amazing thing as easy as breathing one day in the future. It’s unimaginable. Why is this so profound I hear you ask and what the hell does it have to do with crossfit!? I can’t believe in my wildest dreams I will ever do a muscle up. I cant even do a pullup without a band. When I started crossfit I couldn’t ever imagine doing a handstand let alone a handstand push-up. Now, not only can I do a handstand, I did my first negatives this morning; one step closer to the unimaginable. It got me thinking. I am just like superman! No I can’t fly, but I can’t even begin to realise what I am capable of in the future. I will be doing things I never dreamed I could do. What an exciting concept that its! The power of positive thinking and not limiting our amazing capabilities with flawed self beliefs. Watch this space, for amazing things are going to happen! One day, may even see me flying (crossfit style) on the muscle up rings!
The power of self belief and how it can lead us to achieving the unimaginable was never more evident to me than yesterday. My training buddy and I went to watch a local crossfit competition and support some of our training buddies who were competing. There were some amazing athletic performances, but these weren’t the most inspiring things for me. There were two incredible moments of heart bursting pride that stood out to me. The first was watching an unknown male competitor fail repeatedly whilst trying to do pistols. He failed and failed and failed again, and every time, despite his failure, he got up and tried again. His tenacity and determination were simply inspiring. There’s something in that for all of us. The second was seeing 2 training buddies, who had confessed some serious concerns with clean and jerk weights in one of their workouts, lift way beyond their self thought capabilities, not once, but multiple times. The sheer exhiliration they exhibited at their fabulous success and the pride we felt for them was simply joyful. We can all be superheroes, we just need to believe that we can, one small, ecstatic step at a time!
My favourite thing about working out on a cold winters morning is the way you can see the steam rising off everyone at the end of the WOD. There is something both ethereal and tough about it, reminiscent of an epic movie scene where warriors have fought and won against an undefeatable foe. That feeling of oneness and community the warriors feel after passing through an insurmountable challenge by each others sides is not unlike the feeling of comraderie and mutual bonding that comes when working out with the others in our box. There is an emotional bond formed when we push to our limits side by side. I have experienced this and seen it in others, the way being brought to your physical limits makes us vulnerable, brings out our inner self, our self beliefs, our fears. We share something personal and intimate with the people we train with when we expose our soft underbelly. When this happens and we find encouragement it can result in an amazing sense of acceptance and a remoulding of our inner negativity to a more positive place. It may not happen in one workout, but over time we are slowly reconditioned to believe we are good enough, we do deserve this, we are worthy. I believe this to underpin the very heart of crossfit and the way it can be empowering and uplifting, despite being at times seemingly insurmountable. It is one of the reasons I truly love it more than anything I’ve ever done.
There are other things I love about the winter mornings. I love the quiet of the early morning, dark, peaceful, solitude. Alone with my thoughts as I have my short black, put on my training garb and head out to the box before the sun has risen. No fighting with traffic on the road, it’s a relaxed drive in. Huddled crossfitters, rubbing their hands together, some with their hoods up, quietly chatting together at the start of the day, waiting to see what the WOD has in store for us that day. Nothing makes me feel more alive than my heart pounding in my chest and my lungs bursting for their next breath. After a morning WOD I feel warm, energised and ready to face the day. Yes, there are some mornings I battle with the early start, but knowing how fabulous I’ll feel after gets me out of bed every time. At the end of the day after work I can come home and relax with my family without feeling like I have missed out on my personal time or family time. Feeling energised, positive and balanced, I thank myself for getting out of bed before the crack of dawn and I thank my fabulous crossfit Adelaide morning crew for making it such a fabulous part of my life. 🙂
Some of the usual culprits. Those of you missing (including me!!) are there in spirit. 🙂
Everyone has a story of the journey in their lives that got them to this point in time. We often make alot of assumptions about those around us, judging a book by its cover, so to speak. I train with a lot of lean, amazing looking chicks. I have often thought how easy it is for them, with their inbuilt love of healthy clean eating, Not having to fight the daily battles with food like I do. There might be one or two others that battle their food demons and understand, but the others would never get it. Then I had a conversation with one of these girls after we had struggled through a particularly difficult WOD together. She is beautiful with a to die for figure and beautiful personality to boot. I’ll admit to you (here in confidence) I’ve often envied her shape and wished I could look as amazing. Much to my surprise, she told me she used to weigh 30 kg more than she does now. It really made me think, I had just assumed she was naturally buff and that it required little effort. I had just assumed she would never understand how hard it can be for someone like me. Hell, how wrong was I making all these assumptions! She might not look like me on the outside, but she understands what it’s like to be in my shoes. She still carries many of the doubts of the big girl she used to be. She has worked hard and still works hard to have her amazing body and glow of health.
What we look like on the outside is one thing, but more important is how we look on the inside. Some days, I am an elite crossfitter. It’s true! In my mind, I am buff, strong and unstoppable. On those days watch me roar! On some days I think I am an overweight, weak, unfit, give up before I start type of girl. On those days watch me fail. It is all about my self belief. It is all about having faith. I really learnt this doing the crossfit open workouts this year. I entered the open feeling immense doubt about whether I was good enough, intensely worried I would be humiliating myself 5 weeks consecutively. I was so anxious before the first workout you would think I was trying to qualify for the regionals! Well, I managed to lift weights I had never done before, push myself harder than I ever thought I could go, and surpass all sorts of self imposed limits I had placed on myself. I impressed even myself and I’m the hardest person of all to impress. Even on the last 2 workouts which contained movements I couldn’t do, I spent several minutes, futilely attempting said movements, supported by my training crew so positively, that it could be nothing but a positive experience.
And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about? A positive experience? Feeling better about yourself? Feeling happier in your life?
And that has been one of my greatest discoveries in this life…Positive thinking, that’s the secret source of power of all superheroes. (Let’s face it, it takes a lot of self confidence and inner positivity to fight crime dressed like this on a regular basis!) 🙂
I am really have a tough time of it at training at the moment. My body has not yet adjusted to this new approach to eating and I am still trying to work it all out. I feel as if I’ve gone from finally making some progress, to way back to where I started. It is pretty demoralising. 😦
This morning we did a monthly milestone workout. It was that delightful 13.5 open workout of 15 thrusters, 15 chest to bar pull-ups repeat by 3, scale as required. In my case that’s 25kg thrusters and pull-ups on the band, but even scaled it was disaster! I kept stopping, felt it was all too hard, had a panic attack (seriously not kidding) and nearly started bawling before the final lot of pull-ups! The only saving grace was the mantra in my head “I will NOT cry at crossfit!” At the end I finished miles behind my training buddies and felt the pits. I have finished last plenty of times and felt proud that I had made it through a tough work out, so why was today different? I really felt like I gave up in that workout this morning and did not give my best. Sure it was hard, sure I am not at my peak energy levels, but it was ultimately a problem in my thinking that undid my physical performance. I had given up before I’d even started. I feel shame for my effort not pride.
So what is the moral to this sad tale of woe I write for you? It is not how I compete against anyone else that really matters. In the end my feelings of pride come from giving my best, knowing in my core that I gave it all, kept on pushing, didn’t give up. Even if I finish last, if I’ve left nothing in the tank, who can ask for more!
It’s generally awesome when Friday arrives, especially if I have the weekend off work. Free time to spend with family and friends, training sessions without having to rush off to work watching the clock the whole time. Time to chill, time to relax, time to eat and drink! Hold on, time to eat and drink? And therein lies the rub. I like to eat. I like to eat when I’m sad, happy, stressed, tired, celebrating, relaxing. No matter how well I’ve stuck to my intended eating plans throughout the week it more often than not falls into disaster on the weekend. Food is my reward for making it through the tough week that was. And I’m not just talking any old food. I’m talking takeout, pastries from the local delicious bakery, Brie and crackers by the kilo, not to mention a few glasses of chilled white to boot! I love the weekend, but the weekend does not love me, and lets face it, I am responsible for having developed some pretty average habits for my health, having used the weekend as the supporting excuse to justify all types of behaviour. Lets face it, if you can’t have fish and chips for dinner on a Friday night, when can you? Worse still, once I’ve fallen off the horse on the weekend, I label myself as having failed (yet again) and keep on throwing down the poor nutritional food choices in the week that follows. 😦
So here is my dilemma, here I am on day 5 of my new approach to food and life. I finally made it back into the box this morning after 2 days off with some of the worst muscle soreness I have ever experienced (and I’ve run a marathon!) The session hit one of my goats (and yes there are many!)…overhead squats. To add to the delight the end part of the session was a delightful combination of 500m rows and 15 overhead squats, on repeat, without a rest. Normally I row like a beast, but those sugar withdrawals are in full force, I felt like a flat, deprived of energy, weakling on that rower. And as if overhead squats weren’t bad enough, combine them with some cardio and you might as well double the weight on the bar! It was pretty average. My training buddy and the other guys at the box were awesome though, encouraging me through the last round which I pretty much did after everyone else had finished! Mmmm… What did I take out of that experience I hear you ask? Maybe it’s all too hard. Maybe I need to get back on all that bread and other carb/sugar loaded foods, cos at least I can train when I eat those. I thought about it a bit harder. The purpose of the dietary change is to help my training performance and general energy levels. I was fully aware when making these changes that the first 2 weeks would be damn hard and I would likely feel like a pile of crap. So why not actually walk the talk and stick to it, be as tough as I imagine I can be, wait and see what I feel like in a couple weeks. So that’s what I’m gonna do. Watch this space, my six pack will be visible one day, it’s there now, I just need to give it some time to work towards it’s grand unveiling!
In the case of today, every muscle in my entire body (with the exception of my face) is hurting simultaneously. A reasonable amount of squats and pull-ups yesterday have resulted in a form of borderline muscle melt down. I haven’t been this sore since I ran a marathon. I am struggling to get up and down from a chair without paid nursing support. I got stuck halfway out of my sports bra and had to call my husband for help with extrication. I had to seek outside assistance to get the lids off 2 jars whilst cooking dinner. Crossing my legs during a meeting at work today became a highly painful manoeuvre that I regretted almost immediately, but provided much amusement to my work colleagues as I tried to rearrange myself in a position that didn’t have me audibly screaming. The funny thing is, although severely challenging in the cardio respect due to poor energy levels, I didn’t think I had thrashed myself to the level usually required to end up in this state! In addition, the sugar withdrawals have kicked in. Flat, ditzy and depleted of energy, I am feeling downright average.
As a result of these things in combination, this mornings WOD proved to be a disaster. I rarely feel regret with getting into the box on those days where it’s a major effort to get out of bed, but this may be the one day in exception. I couldn’t lift weights that normally feel easy, I had no self belief and my legs felt weak, sore and powerless. Oh and the whining, did I mention the whining. Hell, there was a magnificent show of whingeing, whining and general self deprecation that went along with it. By the time I left I wasn’t embarrassed by the workout performance, but by my sad need to continually make a point of drawing everyone’s attention to it!
Either way, nothing worth having comes easy. Time to hang on, wait it out and work on the positive mindset! I went to the box despite feeling like crap. I made it through the WOD, might not have felt great, but I made it. I ate well today. I am another day closer to feeling energetic, healthy and fabulous. I am another day closer to being off the damn sugar train.
One of the main reasons I have decided to change the way I eat is to improve my performance at training. I am addicted to crossfit. I really enjoy it, despite the pain and suffering I endure. It makes me feel strong, capable and pretty awesome at times. At other times it can make me feel like I have a VERY long way to go! This mornings WOD occurred after I had has 2 very late nights at work over the weekend, not enough water in and poor fuel choices. It started out well with some highly satisfying back squat action. It was all downhill from there. A seemingly benign looking combo of pull-ups, kettle bell swings and 400m runs. As a result of the poor sleep, dehydration, poor fuel, I hit the wall early and hell did I suffer through that workout. I know in the past that these things make a HUGE difference to the level of suffering (let’s face it with crossfit there is always a degree of suffering!) I will try and remember that feeling I had during this mornings workout the next time my bad carb cravings fear there ugly heads!
Today I am going to try a new recipe, Amanda Allen’s raw cake. Amanda Allen is this awesome chick, world class crossfit athlete and trainer at my box. She is a magnificent example of healthy eating and good lifestyle and what it can do for you. She’s 42 and giving the the girls in their 20s a run for their money. That’s a picture of her above, pretty awesome right! I get that I’ll never be that buff, but hell, I’d be damn chuffed to have that glow of health and energy level! Anyway, so here’s AA’s recipe for “raw cake”….looks like I can have my cake AND eat it too! 🙂