Your Body: Performance vs. Self Image

I get to work with a lot of people every day! I really feel like I have one of the most fulfilling jobs out there!  Getting to train people and watching them see their own potential and gain a passion for fitness is like the gift that keeps on giving.  However, there are stressful times too.  Both for the athlete, and myself as their coach.  I have had countless occasions when I have been approached with depressed, overworked and frustrated people!  They are usually like this because they are unhappy with their body.  It doesn’t look the way they want it to or they don’t weigh what they want to, even though they are putting in their workouts.  They all want to know what they are doing wrong and they want to know how to fix it.  So, maybe this post will save me some of those conversations in the future:

1.  Be freaking realistic!!!  There are different body types out there.  Even within a family!  My sister and I look a LOT alike.  But we are shaped totally different.  My body will never be built like hers, and hers will never be built like mine.  If you are short and stockier, you will never have the body of a supermodel.  There is no reason to get depressed and sit around with a 1/2 gallon of ice cream over it!  Some people are built to be super skinny and have a really hard time gaining muscle.  They will probably never be huge and buff.  Its not part of their genetic make up!

2.  Accept your body for what it is.  In a yoga class I was told to thank my body for the hard work it does for me every day.  This helped me realize a few things.  First, my body is incredible.  Not because of how it looks, but because of what it can do!  I can walk around, I can pick my kids up, I can lift and jump and run.  I am SO grateful for that!  Second, if I am able to do the things I love then what do I have to complain about?!  That I have a dimple under my butt cheek?  Are you kidding me!?!?!  There is NOTHING more attractive than a woman who is confident in her own skin.  I am strong and I am healthy and I could give two craps for what my scale says.

SO, you’re wondering “how does this tie into performance?”

Here is my golden rule.  Performance rules!  Worry about performance first! Stop placing value on your pants size or your weight.  Take that dream body image you have in your mind and throw it out the window.  It does not motivate, it de-motivates.  Instead, switch that image to a performance goal.  A weight you want to lift.  A skill you want to get better at.  A workout you want to PR at.  Then come to me and say “what can I do?” Now we’re on to something.  This is something we can work with.  If you get stronger, faster, more explosive, better technically, YOUR BODY WILL FOLLOW!  It will not be Halle Berry’s body, it will be YOUR body!  You need to love this body.  You need to be your own super model.   IMG_1165

Count not what is lost, but what is left

front squatI remember in 3rd grade racing my PE class for a lap around the track.  The wind blowing in my face, pumping my scrawny little arms, long legged, knock knees flyin’ everywhere.  I finished 20 seconds ahead of everyone, even the fastest boy.  I don’t remember that teacher’s name, or what he/she looked like, but I do remember what was said.  I was told that I did a great job, that I was fast and most importantly, that I was an athlete. From that moment on there was something different in me.  I developed a desire to win.  A desire to be the best.  That desire has pushed me and helped me achieve so many things in my life.  But it’s also plagued me.  And until recently, I hadn’t realized that there is a price to pay for being competitive.

My price…I fear failure.  I fear it so badly to the point where it hinders my performance and makes me pass up on things that I would normally do and enjoy.  I get so into my head about things.  Physically I know I am able to do these things, but I think “what if I can’t?” or “what if I don’t beat that PR?”  The problem that I have when it comes to competing is that I feel my performance is a reflection of my self worth.

Some of you will tell me to man up or grow a pair, and I do most of the time.  I put on my big girl panties and get the job done, but that doesn’t take away the mind games.  Now comes the part of my post where I write about these great solutions and how I’ve overcome this.  Except, I don’t really have all the answers.  I mean, just because I write doesn’t mean I know everything.  I just have to post a bunch of crap and make sure it sounds good.  I have, however received some answers as I’ve been composing this little post (that as I’m reading, makes it sound like I’m a freakin’ wuss).

My realization…What if I don’t win?  What if I don’t get that PR?  So.Freaking.What?!  I need to turn this around.  Instead of fearing not being good enough, I need to revel in it.  Not being good enough means only that I can get better.  It means that I have something to strive for.  The best will always be beaten eventually because being the best at something can’t be sustained forever.

But what about when the best are beaten? Does this mean that they are all of a sudden “less” of an athlete? Michael Jordan won 626 games with the Chicago Bulls, but in that time he lost 358 times.  Do those losses mean that he isn’t the greatest athlete in the “history of the world” (as my husband puts it)?  No.  He is the greatest.  And there, my friends, lies my answer.   The greats will always lose, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are great.  I will lose but it doesn’t mean that I’m not good or strong.  Losing is natural but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.  So compete!  And when you lose (because you will) pick your butt up and train harder.

The Whiteboard Obsession

Here’s the dirt.  Mainly for crossfit newbies, but I see it happen with you seasoned folks as well.  It even happened to me.

Crossfit sometimes gets a bad rap because of the volume of injuries.  So, why so many injuries?  Its because most of us are a bunch of prideful b holes that would rather kill ourselves trying to do something we probably shouldn’t be doing.  “RX or die!” You know who you are.

The Shrine

white board

Example #1

I can remember a time quite a few months ago training a newbie. It was probably his first or second week of training and the workout had 135 lb clean and jerks.  Now this kid had never really done clean and jerks before but he was hell bent on doing this workout RX.  In warm ups I had him show me a few at 95.  Looked pretty good.  Not Olympic status by any means, but ok.  Then 115.  ehhh.  115 was probably pushing it.  I walk off to go check another person’s form and see him trying the 135.  Back arched big time on the pull, leaning back like crazy on the catch.  I can see it in his eyes “I got this up so I’m going for it.”  Oh geez!  So now I have to tell homeboy that just because he can lift that up doesn’t mean that he should.  Then comes the fit throwing.  Then comes the “I’m just going to do this until it gets to heavy and then drop the weight”  Which is all well and good with me if your form’s okay but his wasn’t.  So now I’m the bad guy.  Next thing you know, kid can’t even come back to workout for a week because his back is so sore. People!  When your trainer suggests you drop the weight, you need to listen!!!!!

Example #2

Excited guy that hasn’t ever done a crossfit WOD but has to prove to me that he can do 3 dead hang pull ups in a row.  Yay!  Lets have a party.  I’m happy you can do 3 pull ups in a row.  But when you have to do fran, there is no way you are going to dead hang your way through that shiz.  When I say use a band, just use one.  Please.

I am all for getting you stronger.  That is my job.  Its what makes me happy. It is also my job to scale your workout to what would suit you best.  Especially to help you avoid injury.

Example #3

Those souls that walk straight into the gym and stare at every score and modification of every person that ever worked out.  Is crossfit a competitive sport?  Absolutely.  But you should NEVER focus on what everyone else is doing.  You need to start being competitive with yourself.  Keep a journal to note your progress.  Who cares if “joe bob” did helen in 8 minutes.  For all you know “joe bob” didn’t get his chin above the bar on his pull ups. or didn’t get his kettle bell over head.  You need to focus on you, not the stupid board.  Some days you may have an off day, and that’s okay.  We all do now and then.  If you’re not feeling the prescribed workout, then don’t do it.  But if your form is good and you’re just being a wuss, I will probably make you do it RX anyway.

So kids… Do YOUR best, not someone else’s!

That is all :)

(PS, if I used you in these examples, I’m sorry:)

Top 5 things you should work on to become a better athlete

5. Running.  Sprints preferably.  Have you ever run 400 meter sprints?  It sucks pretty bad.  But its really great for you.   Do sprints once or twice a week.  Occasionally do some long runs.  Very occasionally.  Running long distances doesn’t make you a better athlete in case you were wondering.  If you do lots of sprints, then you can pretty much run any long distance you want because you have awesome lung capacity and strong legs.  I don’t know why people don’t get this…

4.  Mobility.  Yep, getting flexible. You don’t need to wrap your leg around your head or anything, but get comfortable in a low squat position with your weight on your heels and your chest up.  Now, there is such a thing as too flexible.  Your muscles need tension to get up from out of a squat or do a heavy dead lift.  Sometimes people who are overly limber have trouble going heavy.

3. Gymnastics.  Body control is where its at.  Muscle ups, hand stand walks and push ups.  People who have great body control are usually pretty good at everything.  Get good at gymnastics and you’ve got a good thing going for you.

2. Heavy lifting.  You’re not going to get stronger if you’re not trying to get stronger.  Lift heavy, often.  Almost every day.  Back squat, front squat, dead lift, bench press.  Get buff already

1.  Olympic lifting.  “The snatch is the carry over to every athletic endeavor in your life.  You are mobile, fast, conditioned and have control of your body.”  Rudy Nielsen.  So…snatch and clean and jerk is where its at.  Practice those every day.  And find a coach and/or record yourself so you can make yourself better.  No point trying to get good at such technical moves if you don’t critique it.

Now, I have one more, but I thought that “top 5” sounded way better than “top 6”.

Mental game!!  When your body tells you “no”, but your mind tells you “yes”.  Or sometimes your mind and body are saying “no” and its sheer,stubborn will power.  What ever it may be, you need to stay determined.  Push your limit. Every time

Disclaimer:  This is my opinion.  If you have a different idea on what the top 5 should be, write your own blog about it :)

Celebrating my way

So, today is my birthday.  yadda yadda yadda.  It is normally a tradition at our box to do a birthday workout.  Some horrible long drawn out thing that makes you re-think the plans you have for your night.  But since its my 30th, what better way to celebrate than getting my butt kicked everyday of the week?? :)  Call me masochistic, but I really am excited about this!! I asked 5 of my trainer friends.  Roy, the beast from previous posts and guest writer for bigdogwods.com  (which is a private blog!  what the f Roy!?),  Tom from http://whothefistomcolvin.blogspot.com/  and some other crazy friends of mine to program me some workouts of their forte. So I will have a workout or two each day to ring in my new year, and hopefully my most successful year “physically speaking”.  This has also got me thinking, dear reader.  If its your birthday or any other special reason to celebrate, and you want to join “club punishment”  (ha!  Totally just came up with that right now, and I like it!) comment on this blog post or send me a message and I will write you a kick a workout on the house!  Only condition is you have to post a pic of yourself afterward to my facebook page!  Cheers!!!! 

diet revisited

So, since the “loads of food” diet run, things have been moving along.  I don’t have the time/patience/energy/desire to keep track of every single thing that I put into my mouth, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve given up completely.  I did do a solid few months of weighing and measuring and luckily I can kinda eyeball what I “should” be taking in.  What am I doing now, you ask??…well, I’m pretty much eating whatever/whenever I want but keeping it clean.  Breakfast/pre-gym meal is still fruit, like an apple or banana and almonds and raisins.  That seems to do the trick right now.  Sometimes I will have an egg sandwich with whole grain toast.  When I get home from the gym I usually eat a ton.  Today I had last night’s honey-lime enchiladas (even though it was only 10:30 in the morning) and boy, did that hit the spot. I’ve been on this diet path, as most of you have for a while.  I’ve been doing a lot of pondering on what I should or shouldn’t eat and I had a mini epiphany the other day.  This may be totally common sense to everyone else, but to me it really has hit home and I’m feeling much better about this whole idea.

Most people diet because they want their body to look a certain way.  We at Buffbetty (or just “myself” at buffbetty, but I think “we” sounds pretty rad) don’t diet because we want to look good.  Oh no, we diet because we want to be beasts!  And “diet” doesn’t necessarily mean cutting calories, or doing some trendy crap.  Your DIET is EVERYTHING that you put into your mouth.  If you sit around drinking starbucks and eating donuts, then you’re on a diet of starbucks and donuts.  My “diet” is meant to be fuel, its gas in the tank, its what builds my muscles.

So back to my mini-epiphany… “I am not concerned with what my body looks like.  My concern is how my body performs.”   If I am tearing it up every day and progressing, then the look good part will come naturally.

But as I say this, I also add in that I am not sitting around drinking starbucks and eating donuts.  At least not every day…  But I pretty much eat clean food.  A lot of clean food.  Stuff that I prepare and not take out.

I used to be blown away that a lot of legit, top of the top athletes sit around eating pizza and drinking beer.  Like everyday.  But what is most amazing is that their bodies are freakin legit as well.  Mmmhmm.  Take into consideration this photo of Brandon Phillips.  Who at the Outlaw way camp told us straight out that he does workouts while he’s drunk and eating Taco Bell at the same time.  Well, that seems to be doing a body good ;)  The man himself…

So, I’m kidding. Not about Brandon, because that was totally true, but I’m sure that can’t be optimal fuel for everyone!  But seriously,  as long as you avoid fast food, soda and junk on a regular basis you will be just fine if your workout routine is top notch.  Could you be the best ever by mapping it all out and measuring and getting wrapped up in it?  Maybe.  But for kids like me who don’t have the time, this is working pretty darn good.  Til next time.

Crossfit Etiquette

I think this post has been a long time coming. It will probably ruffle some feathers, but if it does, that just means you’re guilty. Here you have it.  Official tips to not be “that guy” or girl at the gym.

1.  Wear proper clothing.  Consider your workout before you get dressed.  If you wear tiny shorts and floss for underwear and that day just happens to have a lot of sit ups, you’re gonna get caught in a compromising situation

2. If you’re not a trainer, don’t try to be.  Yes, you may have done the exercise a ton times, but go there for your workout and to learn.  I’m not talking about giving tips to other members, but try not to make it a mini session of lift coaching.  If you want to be a trainer, pay the thousand bucks, take the course and make it official already.

3.  If you’ve never done crossfit before but think you’re the baddest thing to ever walk the earth, you’re gonna be humbled, quickly.  There are probably girls at this gym that can lift more than you.

4.  Listen to your coach when he/she is scaling your workout!!  This one gets my blood boiling!!!  Yes, you just showed me that you can jump up and do 2 dead hang pull ups is a row.  Good for you.  That doesn’t mean that you are going to be able to do Fran without killing yourself, or wishing you would have.

5.  Be humble.  Especially if you’re pretty good at it.  I get it.  You’re proud of yourself because you used to be fat, blah blah blah.  There is nothing more unattractive or off putting about the sport than seeing a cocky, puffed up moron walking around bragging about his/herself.   Interact with everyone at your gym in a supportive way.

6.  Don’t be all crazy and try to draw a bunch of attention to yourself.  Should you be excited to be with your friends doing a super hard workout?  Of course!!  Save the yelling for when you PR or are lifting something heavy.  Don’t walk around yelling like a 2 year old.

7.  Don’t sit your butt on someone else’s equipment!   If someone is out for a run and comes back in for their wall balls to find your sweaty a$$ sitting on their med ball, that’s just sick!  Sit on the floor or in a chair people!  And don’t EVER squat to a med ball unless totally necessary for mobility purposes.  And then clean that stuff off already.  Those med balls go right by our faces!!  and the same goes for barbells too!

8.  Keep your gas to yourself and don’t pee all over the stinking toilet!  nuff said.

9.  Stop trying to talk gym owners into giving you a deal!  This isn’t LA fitness!  There aren’t millions of dollars coming into this corporation!  You are getting personal, 1 on 1 coaching.  your workouts are planned for you.  the trainers know you personally and think about ways to make you better, even when they go home at night.  they have rent, insurance, employees and families to support.  Just pay it already!

10.  This isn’t boot camp.  Don’t get down and scream in people’s faces.  Encourage, support, cheer them on, but don’t rip them apart.

11.  No headphones unless you are doing a long run.  Makes you look like you’re too good to talk to anyone.

12.  Respect the equipment and put your crap away when you’re done

13.  Introduce yourself to the newbies.  you were the new guy once too!

14.  don’t bring a friend and do lame workouts on the side.  ie crunches, those weird stand back to back passing a med ball movements, dumbell curls etc.

15.  Don’t drop your bar bell from overhead so it bounces into the wall, or worse, someones leg.

Most importantly!!  Go in and have a good time.  Don’t get down on yourself for missing a weight, or messing up a movement.  Just keep working at it.  That’s the beauty of CrossFit. No matter who you are, there is always something that needs to be worked on!