Why some people are fitter than you are

 

andrea ager

 

If I was a statistics girl (I’m not at all, but I’m gonna go there for a sec) I would say that 25% of the people that walk into my gym have a mindset to kill it.  To dominate.  To work their tails off.  They also are consistent with this mindset.  Not just until they get to a certain weight, but for their whole lives.   The remainder of people come in out of obligation.  Because they know they have to if they want to be healthy. Because they want to fit into a pair of jeans or wear a bikini. They just do what they’re told.  I’m going to throw out an observation and say that group B (the 75%) are also cereal dieters.  They follow trends.  They can lose a lot of weight but then gain it back just as fast.

Two people can start working out at the same time, do the same workouts, eat basically the same type of diet but have completely different results. Why is this?  Why do some people get fit way faster than others?  Why do some people, despite working out every day, stay the same?

Trust me, there are a plethora of answers to this question.  But the one I want to tap into today is mindset.  The difference between a fit person and an unfit person is fit people have constant determination, perseverance, strong will power and an urge to dominate.

Every time a person comes to me and says they’re not competitive, its almost as if they are throwing in the towel.  Think about all of the amazingly in shape people you know.  I guarantee they are some of the most competitive people you have ever met.

Your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  The difference between you doing amazing things or you being stagnant is all in how you talk to yourself.   If you are walking up to the bar and this is your inner voice…”oh crap, this is heavy.  I’ve never done this before.  I don’t think I can do this.  I’m going to look stupid.”  Well guess what?!  You’re right!  You will do all of those things if that’s what you’re telling yourself.

Where as a competitive person walks up to that same bar and says “All Freaking Day!”  Guess who’s in better shape

They are doing the same movements as you are but their workout is more beneficial because they have more energy output than you.  Meaning they are more explosive.  They are pushing themselves to their limits, where as you are just doing your workout to “get it in”.   Think of the body of a sprinter.  Their energy output is 100% for short periods of time.  They have amazing physiques.  Think of fit people as sprinters.  The non-fit people would be like a jogger.  The harder you can go, the better you will be.

How is else is a fit person different?  Fit people go into withdrawals if they miss a week at the gym.  Fit people will skip girls night out because they have to get their workout in.  Fit people stay after class to work on weaknesses.  Fit people research movements they want to get better at.  They will make an excuse to GO to the gym.  When they calculate weight for their sets and it comes up at 136 lbs, they automatically do 140.  They don’t skip reps.  When something burns or is hard, they push harder. They eat a ton of food because they want to smash their workout.  They are confident.  They don’t whine when something is hard.  They don’t need a coach yelling at them so they put in 100%.  They push themselves to exhaustion.  They are leaders.

Obviously, being fit isn’t always easy.  It isn’t something people are born with (most people anyway).  Its a decision.  Its will power, its mindset and its borderline obsession.  Its a skill that needs to be practiced and it comes along with a lot of sacrifices.  Not everyone has what it takes, or we wouldn’t be the most obese nation in the world.  But now you know you can change it.  You CAN be the person you want to.  Its not about achieving a body type, its about how you view life.  Are you going to grab it by the horns or are you doing to be part of the herd?

And before I get load of comments, No, that first picture is not me. I won’t lie and say I wish it was though ;)

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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

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:)

Second feels more like 1st loser

So typically I have a lot of uplifting things to say here, but I’m really not in the mood. I had my little fundraiser/team competition last weekend.  It was so fun and for such a good cause.  A load of people were there competing and the workout was pretty intense.  We went in heats.  Our team ended up being in the second to last heat, which was pretty crappy but whatever.  What we didn’t expect was for them to turn it into an individual competition, and that’s exactly what happened.  I am super competitive but I guess I just didn’t have it.  I was ahead for most of the workout, but the last 30 seconds totally killed me.  I was literally dry heaving near the bushes after I peeled my butt off the ground.  I ended up getting beat by a few reps by my friend, Marianne.  You beat me girl, fair and square.  But I have been getting some serious heat for losing!  I’m sorry that I sucked everyone, now get over it!  However, there were some pretty legit girls there and they were younger and buffer (with 6 packs even), but we totally took them down!  New competitions are coming in October in which I team up with Freaking Roy from the gym.  Now for this I am feeling the pressure.  He is a total bad @#$.  I can’t go down this time.  Roy doesn’t go down.  I think my plan will be to bring a rope and tie it around myself so he can drag me along.  Either way, I gotta get out of my stupid head and make this happen.

Enter Roy:

See what I mean?

Just kidding.  A fire has been lit and I am seriously serious.  Training, getting ready, lifting heavy.  Marianne, Judd believes that you are a “Lance Armstrong-like” anomaly.  I hate having to compete against you.  I feel like I am the julie foucher to your annie thorisdottir. But this time, I’ve got Roy.  hahahaha.

In other news, I lost a pound.  I am so ticked.  I thought I was eating enough and I guess it just wasn’t so!  I am back at 135.  That 140 seems so far away!!  With losing that pound my body fat stayed exactly the same which means that whole pound was muscle!  Son of a!!!!!  I am really going to have to up my calorie intake, which seems impossible right now!  Well, off to go put some food in my hole!!!

PS I clean and jerked 140 lbs today.  yep

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!!

Changes!!

So much has changed in the last month!

We all know how I am an avid primal eater (for the most part).  Recently I have taken it upon myself to steer a little off this strict path and do some experimenting.  Since a recent nutrition class at my gym, I was introduced to a new way of eating.  Thanks so much to Gregg, who taught that class and has been challenging me and keeping tabs on me because it has definitely spruced things up.  What am I doing, you ask??

In previous posts I have written down everything that I had eaten over a space of a day or two.  A day normally consisted of 1200 calories a day and I was primarily focused on low carbohydrates.  Well, after a month on this diet, this is how I ultimately felt…

My times at the gym were getting slower, I was tired.  SOOOO tired.  I was weak. I was scatter brained.  I was seriously thinking that there were major things wrong with me.

After talking with Gregg he basically told me that my body was starving.  I never thought that could be what it was.  I didn’t really feel a lot of hunger.  I ate plenty, or so I thought.  There was the jerky and nuts snacking and more snacking, and more snacking.  This didn’t amount up to very much.  Especially with what I needed my body to do.  I am at about 135 pounds.  My goal is to gain 5 pounds of muscle.  so I am really trying to gain it the right way and its pretty tough to do!  Who would have thought gaining weight would be hard! hahaha! In order to do this I have to test my body fat every week and make sure the weight I am gaining, is in fact muscle.

I am eating so much now.  So much that I almost want to barf.  I probably eat about 2400 calories a day.  That’s 6 meals at 400 calories.  I am eating the minute I wake up and before bed.  Basically every 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  This is an insane amount when all you are eating is clean food!!  I have strayed from primal.  I am giving this new diet a month to see what changes occur.  I now eat whole, sprouted grains.  Oatmeal in the morning, bread for lunch, brown rice.  Lean proteins (not so much beef and bacon :(  and LOADS of veggies and fruit.

So far here is what has happened.  This whole week has been a week of pr’s.  For any of you who speak the crossfit lingo…I did fran in like 4:19, Helen in 9:40, fight gone bad score was 332.  My broad jump increased from 92″ to 97″. I did 69 double unders in a row.  L sit time was 1:01.  My back squat 1RM was 165 and this week I did 185 three times.  I have so much energy I can jump out of bed in the morning.

I thought for sure that eating all of this food would fatten me up, but its done the opposite.  I have gained 1 pound and lost 1% of body fat in the first 9 days!  HUGE!!!!  I can’t wait to get to the end of this month and see what happens.  I will keep you posted!

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!