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.

Success

Things are continuing to go really well on my new “loads of food diet”. (that’s what I’ve decided on calling it)  I took my weight on Saturday and gained 1 lb but lost 2% of body fat!!!!  I was so excited.  You know what that means boys and girls?!?!?  That I have in total, so far I have lost 2.9 lbs of fat and have gained 1.9 lbs of muscle!!!  Woooo freakin hoooo!  Never thought I would be happy about seeing a higher number on the scale but I am really hoping to lose about 2-3 more percent of fat and gain about 4 more lbs of muscle.  (For those of you who wonder about how I am eating loads of food and loosing fat please refer to my last post.)

In other news, I am doing my first little competition this weekend.  Its a team WOD and we have 4 ladies that make up our little team called “3 squats and a snatch”.  I’m excited but kinda bummed because I have been having a lot of wrist pain.  It hurts when its bent back and has any weight on it.  So basically any load bearing exercise bites right now!!  No bueno.  I have been stretching, rolling out my forearms really good, heat and ice, fish oil….does anyone out there have any other ideas???

So to the point…What I really wanted to write about today is competition within the gym.  I have been kinda sad lately because a lot of the members are getting really down on themselves for not being able to do what other people are doing in their workouts.  Let me just tell everyone of my first crossfit experience (as embarrassing as it may be)…I was doing the baseline workout.  Not the hardest WOD in crossfit by FAR.  you do a 500M row, 40 Squats, 30 sit ups, 20 pushups and 10 pull ups.  I completed my row and did a few squats and that was it.  I was outside sitting my rear end on the curb.  I was dizzy, I felt weak, I was just trying not to throw up in front of my trainer.  It took me about 17 minutes to do baseline that day.  Now, I can do it in like 5 minutes. The point being, everyone sucks at first!!  Everyone has to start somewhere.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.  I still have things that I have to work hard on every day and I have been doing CF for 4 years.  If you are walking into a gym for the first time expecting to be the best, you are going to be humbled very quickly.  A box is a humbling place for everyone.   So go in, do your workout, don’t compare times, don’t focus on the people who are doing the heavy stuff, or the crazy gymnastic stuff.  Go in to have a good time.  Go in to make YOURSELF better.  Be proud of every little thing you accomplish.  A hole in your spirit can be dug very quickly if all you do is measure yourself against other people.  If you only did 1/2 a workout, be proud of that.  But strive to do a little better the next time.  You will get better each time, I promise!  So keep your head up, set some personal goals and for goodness sake, pat yourself on the freakin’ back already!  You are doing crossfit!!

shrink that waistline!

How is everyone doing on their abs challenge?  I’m loving going into the gym and seeing everyone doing planks and sit ups!!!  Thanks to everyone for participating and don’t you worry!  There is another challenge coming right around the corner!

6 pack abs.  The most coveted section of body known to man/woman.  Why are these stupid little muscles so stubborn?!?  Even after 2000 sit ups.  How do you get rid of the belly flab?

The secret to having a hot body is this…STOP LOOKING AT THE SCALE!!!!  This is where most people get it wrong!  There is no magical number that you need to weigh.  There is no size that you have to achieve to look good.

This is what you NEED to do…

1. take your measurements.  waist, hips, chest, arms and legs.  Write it all down

2.  Get your body fat tested!  Healthy for a girl is around 20-25%  for a guy 15-20%.  But!!!  if you want to see definition in your muscles and have that 6 pack, girls you need to be around 12-15% and guys 10%.  And remember skinny fat??  Just because you weigh 115 doesn’t mean you’re not fat.  Or just because you weigh 150 doesn’t mean you are fat.

Now, get all of these numbers accumulated and dated.  Put them in a safe place and after 30 days of serious diet/exercise commitment, check them all again!

Keys to lose belly fat: exercise!!  Lifting heavy weights!! So many people underestimate how important it is to bring back the basics!  Back squat, dead lift, clean and jerk.  All of these are intense core workouts.  Of course the sit ups work well too.  And not those sissy crunches either!  Full range of motion sit ups.

Diet!!  Cut down those carbohydrates.  Weigh and measure your food.  Try to stay around 75 to 100 grams of carbs per day. Give up bread and grains and sugar!!  make sure that you are getting all of your carbs from mainly veggies.  If you give up these things I promise!!!!!  you will be looking smoking hot in no time!!!

AVOID!!!!  diet pills and other fad diets.  Every time I see an advertisement for some instant weight loss cure that lets you eat what ever you want and not exercise, I wanna punch someone in the mouth!  People really believe this crap!!!  Don’t buy into that stuff.  Its sooooo bad for your health!

Now go and do people!!!  and let me know how its working out!

Couch to in shape in 6 weeks

We’ve all seen the couch to 5k programs.  That’s nice in all, but as you know, from reading this blog there is way more to being in shape than running (especially running at a slow pace).

First off, check your diet plan.  I’ve been following the primal blueprint and i LOVE it. It breaks it down so simply.  Eat loads of lean protein and healthy fats and only 50-75 grams of carbs per day.  A few days ago I talked about the food diary I’ve been keeping.  I can’t even express what a difference having that tool has helped me!  Stick to the diet and you are on the fast track to fat loss and health!!

Next, get yourself some new shoes or a new workout outfit.  Something to motivate you to get dressed for your workout.  Getting there is always the hardest part!

Figure your plan.  Are you going to workout at home, at a large gym, or a crossfit gym.  If the first two, then your approach will take more planning.  If a crossfit gym, talk to your trainer and they can customize a plan for you and keep you accountable!

Now, start slowly!  Especially if its been a long time since you’ve worked out.  So many people are so excited at the beginning that they get dizzy, faint, throw up etc.  This can be a huge stumbling block.  If you go for your first workout and it makes you sick, you will be less likely to continue it.  So, do some slow rowing or inclined treadmill for about a week just to get your body used to moving and your heart and blood used to pumping. If you feel good this first week, you can up your intensity on the treadmill or row machine or other type of cardio.

After this week of light cardio you will start to incorporate body weight movements. This means squats, push ups, planks, sit ups.  Get comfortable with these movements!  Try doing circuits with these movements.  Example- 4 rounds of 25 squats, 20 sit ups (not crunches!)15 push ups and 30 second plank hold.  So in case this is hard to understand…all of the above exercises would be considered 1 round.  Find other body weight movements and mix and match them all like we did above.  Lunges, assisted pull ups, hand stands, jumping squats, burpees.  There are endless combinations. You want your whole circuit workout to be about 20 minutes long and try to keep it at a good intensity.

Week three you should start incorporating light weights with your body weight movements.  Try some weighted lunges with a dumbbell in each hand.  Try stepping up onto a box about 18″ high with your dumbbells.  Find a trainer or study proper technique and do some deadlifts, back squats, bench press, shoulder press with a light-ish weight.

example of a workout for week 2 rounds of 50 weighted lunges with 10 lb dumbbells (1 lunge equals 1 rep, so 25 each leg) 150 jump rope singles and 20 push ups.

Week four continue your light weight/body weight movements but now find a day to do some interval training outside or on the tread mill.  Interval training is a more intense and specific workout than just jogging on a treadmill.  Example of interval training.  Sprint your fastest 100M then rest for 90 seconds.  repeat until you’ve completed 8 rounds.

Week five, up your weights with your bigger lifts (deadlifts, bench and shoulder press, back squats) even if its only by 10 pounds.  Pick two days (not consecutive, though) that you will do stregth training.  Do 4 rounds of 10 back squats with each round getting a little bit heavier.

Weeks six it all comes together.  Workout week should look as follows

Day 1   Body weight workout (no longer than 20 minutes) followed by and interval workout

Day 2  Heavy weight training day

Day 3 body weight workout

Day 4 Rest!!!

Day 5 Body weight workout followed by interval training

Day 6 Heavy weights day

Day 7 Rest!

None of these workouts will exceed 45 minutes.  Interval workouts are only about 15 minutes long, but keep in mind they are always at a high intensity. And make sure that you are drinking enough water and getting enough protein!

There you have it!  Be ready for that swimsuit season!!

 

Oh, the temptation!!!

The Crossfit open has finally come to a close.  I’m not too satisfied with how I performed but I was about 380 something in the region out of like 1000 girls.  So I guess that is something to be happy about.  I know that next year will be so much better, though!  I’ve got a lot of fine tuning to do and I’ve got a plan!

The primal diet has been going well. Keeping a food journal has made me so much more aware of what I take in.  I found myself saying no to a cookie because I knew that I was at my carb limit for the day. That’s never happened in my life.  But one thing that I’m MOST proud of this day was my willpower on Friday night.  I helped in the kitchen at a friend’s wedding reception and there was a dessert bar!  Let me tell you, I had to cut, place, arrange hundreds of beautiful desserts.  the most moist brownies with mint filling, cupcakes, cheesecakes, CAKEPOPS for goodness sake.  I thought I was going to pass out.  All of the other kitchen girls were sampling the desserts and I am proud to say that I did have one!  I didn’t even lick my finger when I had loads of chocolate icing on it.  Its amazing, though, the inner demons that I had that whole night.  “Oh, one dessert isn’t going to sabotage my diet”  or “If I eat one of these, I’m going to be so upset with myself”.  I don’t know why sugar has such a hold on me.  It was nice to pass on them.  I found myself eating red pepper spears and staring at the carrot cake.  Come on carrot cake has carrots in it! It has to be healthy, right?! ;)    Now, I don’t plan on totally omitting sugar from my diet 100%.  I just knew that if I had one dessert that night I wouldn’t be able to stop myself.  I’m not ready for that yet.  Soon though!

Today is Sunday, and I’ve fasted today.  Mark Sisson’s book talks about fasting every once in a while.  I plan on doing a 24 hour fast every Sunday with Saturday night being my cheat meal :)  I’m feeling so great and the results are so fast, its amazing.

Since weighing in 13 days ago, I’ve lost 8 pounds.  Keep in mind, I didn’t officially start this primal diet until 6 days ago.  My goal is not to be skinny, though!  My goal is to lose body fat and build muscle mass.

Progress for the last couple of days…

Friday I had 1393 calories

protein= 100G  Carbs=55g (YAY ME!  that was hard)  fat=78g

Saturday    1530 (whoops, went over by 150 calories)

protein=86        carbs=77            fat=101

why you (and I) shouldn’t stray from the diet plan

I did the Spartan Race was this weekend.  It was an awesome event!  The only thing that could have made it better was if i wasn’t so stinking sick!!  I totally sabotaged myself this past week and my body seriously paid for it.  We had a bout of sickness running rampant in our house which kept me away from the gym for a WHOLE WEEK!!!!  Stupid virus.  Well, I don’t know about you, but I find it really hard to stick to a good diet while A: being sick and B: not getting my work out on.  My whole week consisted of gatorade, sprite, saltine crackers, and bread stuff.  Talk about gaining 5 lbs.  (not sure if I did or not.  I haven’t braved the scale yet)  All of this sickness right before this awesome race.  Towards the end of the week I started to feel much better.  I even went to a Valentines Day fondue party the night before race day.  BIG MISTAKE!!  I ate more junk than I have in the past year!  Let me just say that it didn’t sit well in the gut.  I was up all night racing to the bathroom.  Even up to the starting gun I was still having issues.  I was so dehydrated and crampy.  But, I am not one to bail out.  The part I like most about races like that is the mental toughness that it builds.  If I gave up just because I was sick that would totally be defeating my point.  The struggle through the race (obstacles and stomach issues) was something that helps build my character.  It helps me to know that I can do hard things.  That if I put my mind to something, no matter how tough it is, I can pull through.  I could have stayed home in bed thinking about how much fun my team was having, wishing I was there.  But I put on my big girl pants and finished that race.  And let me tell ya’ it was 8.5 miles and 24 obstacles of pure awesomeness.

here’s the crossfit santan crew.  We totally represented!  Out of 150 teams, we took 12th place!  Not sure where my black shirt was. oops

 

 

There are three morals of this story here:

1. when you’re sick and miss a week at the gym, it really sucks.  Working out helps to keep your diet on track.

2.  When you are an avid paleo or healthy dieter, pigging out on sweets will make you feel really bad.  REALLY bad.  Just an affirmation on how our guts have acclimated to modern food.  People who sit around and eat junk all the time can totally tolerate it.  But people with a healthy diet can’t.  Makes bad food seem really scary

3.  When something is hard and you really don’t think you can do it, find that extra kick in the pants and do it anyway.  Being involved is way better than sitting on the sidelines.  Its better to struggle through something and make it than it is to sit on the sidelines and wish you had.  The confidence that you build will help you through every trial in your life.

effort makes all the difference

We all know there is no such thing as perfection. Even the people that can lift a ton of weight and have the best bodies need to work on something.   Now, we know I train people, and I LOVE my job.  LOVE LOVE LOVE it.  I love helping people learn. I love seeing their confidence grow. But… Let me tell you one thing that frustrates me…(and if there are any other trainers out there, please chime in) What frustrates me the most is when people come in and want to change and want to get better but only want to put in minimal effort.  They say that they aren’t seeing results and they aren’t getting a lot stronger.  This really gets me riled up because I know how good they could be.  I know if they pushed it a little harder they would break out of their funk.  But in order for this to happen, they need to prepare themselves for it.  It may sound crazy, but you should do some serious soul searching.  What is it that you want out of your workouts?  Are you looking to get stronger, faster, more muscle, more skilled or just lose weight?  Figure out your goals.  Write them down.  Short term first.

Example (me and my muscle up)  I tried relentlessly for 6 weeks.  There were times when my arms hurt so bad that I couldn’t lift my kids.  There were times when I thought “this is stupid and pointless” and “I’m not strong enough”.  But what mattered was that I didn’t quit.  I had set a goal.  Even though it didn’t happen by the deadline that I wanted it to, it still happened.  And let me tell you how rewarding it was to accomplish that goal that I worked so hard to achieve.  It taught me a lot about my character.

As a trainer I can motivate and teach you how to do something.  I can tell you when you’re doing it wrong, but I can’t put in the work for you.  If there is something that you’re struggling with PRACTICE IT!!  Take 15 minutes or so a day and work on it.  DON’T say “I can’t”.  If you say you can’t then you won’t, I promise you.  Set a goal, be optimistic and don’t get down on yourself.  So whether it be to up your max in your deadlift, finally do kipping pull ups, double unders or a faster race pace, you can do it!  It takes work and time but if you are determined then it will happen!