Monday, February 28, 2011

Hard Work is Contagious

This is a story about a guy who attends my gym. He has no idea I'm writing this, and would probably be creeped out if he did! He and I often overlap times and are sometimes in the same workout class. Sometimes he spends hours at the gym, working on skills, strength, or whatever. He's not the fastest or strongest guy at the gym, but in the past few weeks I've noticed a huge change in him.

He's slimmed down a lot. He's getting faster and lifting more weight. And in the past week, after each workout, he has been heading out the back door to run a mile. AFTER THE WORKOUT! I remember hearing about it- someone said to me "Hey, guess what? *&%^% ran a mile after yesterdays' WOD." "What?!" I said.

Then he did it again (carrying a 20lb ball). And again (in the snow!). And then? People started to run with him. It started with one girl. Then two. Today? Five people ran with him, including me. I don't think he even realizes what he started. He's just a guy, trying to better himself, and in doing that, it caught on. I know I'm not going to let another day go by where I see him head out the door after a workout without me. I'm not going to fall behind! He raised the bar for himself, and that makes me want to raise the bar for myself. Thanks guy at the gym for showing me that the best way to get people to do something is by example.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I wish I could do the things I think other people should do with as much ease as it sounds in my head. How is it that I know what is best for everyone else, yet I can't even get my own shit together? Lately I feel like a phony. I want to be living this clean lifestyle of no sugar, grains, dairy, or legumes, yet I keep not doing it. Something keeps "coming up."

Its very frustrating because I feel like every night before going to bed I have the best intentions for the next day. And then I go to work and there is a full catered breakfast with warm cinnamon rolls. Or a catered lunch with mini-red velvet cupcakes. Or there is a party. Or the boyfriend wants dessert. Or or or or or! Its maddening. Especially because I know what I need to do. I know I'm capable of saying no to these things, yet I keep putting it off for "tomorrow." Tomorrow hasn't come in over a month! And I wondered how I got to be so fat.

Now that I know my body's ability to lose fat depends 100% on what I put into my mouth, I need to quit putting the wrong things in my mouth. My exercise has been solid. I'm getting stronger, no doubt, but I no longer want to be the girl that's been doing crossfit for 6 months and hasn't lost any weight. I've seen some pretty cool transitions in other people in the short time I've been going to the gym, so its time for me to get my head in the game.

The owner/trainer at the gym is always telling us that the workouts are 90% mental. I totally believe that. Same goes for eating as I should. I have no grand declarations about how I'm going to be good for the next week/month/year, I'm just going to do it. Plain and simple. I'm going be true to my word, stop feeling like a phony, and just do it.

Ok, I'm off to go run because its 52 degrees in the house. Our oil heat tank decided to run out right before a February blast of cold air and snow...and we just filled it 6 weeks ago? So yeah, not going to fill that sucker again, ever. Hopefully we are getting a new gas furnace soon. So, until then, I just keep moving and build and occasional fire in the wood stove. Just like the cavemen did. :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Dreaded "Murph" and a 5K

I've mentioned how great my gym is, but part of what makes my gym so great is the owner/trainer (O/T). He likes to keep us on our toes. Each week, the workouts for each day are posted on the big white board, so on Monday, you can see what is in store for the rest of the week. This sometimes is a bad thing because people (myself included) plan their 'rest day' on the day with the workout that they like the least. Nothing pisses off the O/T more than that! He threatens to stop posting the workouts on the board because it irks him so much. Anyway, last week there was a "surprise" day.

I chose to roll the dice knowing full well that if it said "surprise" he most likely didn't want anyone to not show up because of what it was. What did I walk into? The most dreaded CrossFit workout (based upon hearing what it entailed) I knew of. CrossFit has benchmark workouts which you use to gauge your progress and compare yourself to others. Most of the benchmarks have female names, and are referred to as "the girls." They are workouts named after bad ass chicks. Other benchmark workouts with guys names are called "hero" workouts and they honor a soldier killed in battle.

I showed up on Thursday a little bit before the 5pm class. Normally, the 4pm class is well over with, and people are just chatting. Not this time. The workout was in full swing. I saw pained faces and a guy wearing a weight vest performing pull-ups. That's when it hit me, our surprise was "Murph." For those of you not in the know, Murph is a big ole' sandwich. A mile sandwich. What best to put between two pieces of mile bread? How about 100 pull-ups? Ok. Hmmm, something is missing. Let's add 200 push-ups as well. Ok. Still not quite right. Oh, I know! Squats! Let's add 300 squats. So there you have it:
Run one mile.
Perform 100 pull-ups, 200 push ups, and 300 squats (break them up however you choose)
Run one mile.
Oh, and if you have a kevlar vest or weight vest, wear it.

Now that I've done it, I can honestly say, it sounds worse then it really is. Sure it was long, sure my arms were jello, and I'm still sore, but it was not the hardest workout I've done at CrossFit. I'm glad I did it. Who knows, maybe next time, I'll do the workout with the vest on!

Yesterday, 2 days after Murph, was the 5K. My goal was to get under 30 minutes since my last Greenlake run (5K) was 30:23. I finished in 30:33! I was so close! Running in the morning is tough for me, always has been. It seemed like an incredibly fast race as well, everyone was flying by me like I wasn't moving. I'll just have to sign up for another 5K in a few months to try for the sub 30 again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pay Now, or Pay Later

Long term is a concept I often struggle with applying to my own life. I understand the concepts and benefits of thinking long term- especially when it comes to things like resource protection and financial planning, but when it comes to my body, I fail big time. I always seem to defer to short term gratification.

At the nutrition talk I attended last week, one question that came up was the expense of eating clean. Buying grass fed meats, organic fruits and vegetables, nuts…those are pricey items. A box of macaroni and cheese can be had for about a buck (I’ve even see it as cheap as $0.77 per box!).

So, let’s say you choose to not spend your money on real food, because, hey, you have a house payment, a car payment, you really like those shoes you saw at Nordstrom, and a box of neon orange “macaroni and cheese” tastes better then some lettuce and organic chicken. Fast forward 30 years…you are obese, have been diagnosed with type II diabetes, and just discovered you have stomach cancer. You are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in health care bills. Not to mention in the past 15 years the quality of life you have lived has been so poor. You stopped traveling because flying is a hassle. You don’t enjoy the outdoors because you can barely walk more than a couple of hundred yards before getting winded.

Rather lets say when you were 30, you got a wake up call and decided to give up the crappy “American” diet backed by the special interest groups that could not care less about your health, and chose to buy real food items that were more expensive. You had to let the shoes at Nordstrom sit there for someone else to buy because you knew grass fed beef made you feel better than macaroni and cheese. The next 30 years are nothing but non-stop action and continuing to find the “best shape of your life.” No monthly prescriptions, no doctor bills, just excellent health and a fun life.

Which one do you choose? I know which one I choose, however, its the hardest one to follow.

This concept can be applied to so many of life’s situations- pay now or pay later. In my years on this planet, it seems as though the “pay later” is the worst of the two options, yet picked the most. Nobody wants to pay, so it’s logical to put it off as long as possible. But, the longer you put it off, the more interest there is, and in hindsight, you see it would have been cheaper to just pay the full amount up front.

Fortunately, I'm able to see the benefit of spending a little more on my food to save on health costs down the road. What I'm struggling with is choosing the hard road in my everyday life. Each time I give in to something I want, it delays my progress. In order to have the things I want, I must do the things I do not want to do. So, here's me...starting to pay up.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where I've Been, Where I'm Going

Last Tuesday, I joined several members of my gym at a nutrition seminar at another CrossFit location. The speaker was Todd Widman, and I'm sure if you google him lots of good stuff will come up. He had great energy, and as much as I'd like to think I know why I'm choosing to live a Paleo lifestyle, its really nice to get more information on the subject, and new perspective from time to time.

Probably the thing that stuck with me the most from his 2.5 hour talk was his theory of 23:1. There are 24 hours in a day. Since my main activity is CrossFit, I'm exercising about 1 hour per day. That means I have 23 OTHER hours to mess that all up. Food (aka fuel) is the most important part of being the me I want to be. I'm sure this isn't news to everyone, but it really struck a cord with me when put in the context of 23:1. Like I've heard so much recently: "you can't out train a bad diet."

The talk had excellent timing, as our gym will be doing a nutrition challenge starting on Monday. I'm very excited. I need a good kick in the butt. So on Monday, we all measure our body fat vs. lean muscle ratio. Whoever changes the most in one month as far as less body fat/more lean muscle gained wins (one boy, one girl). The recommended way to eat during this month is either Zone or Paleo. I'm going all out, like I did my first 30 days with super clean eating and as little sugar as possible. I know it can be done!

I'm on day 7 of my burpee challenge, and my friend Lea has joined me. I think she's on day 6. I actually feel like I'm getting better at them! We'll see how the days go when I'm past 40.

Next weekend I'm running a 5K here in Seattle with one of the girls from the gym. My goal is for a sub 30 minute 5K. I'm hoping with the energy of the race, I can do that, especially since I was so close a few weeks ago!

On March 20, I will be participating in the Big Climb, where I will run up all flights of the Columbia Tower (the tallest building in Seattle).

So yeah...lots going on here. Now that things are settling down a bit, I'll be updating more. Beast mode.