Crossfit Training Like a BOSS

I been runnin. I been runnin.

Big news update: I'm training for a crossfit competition this summer. Very excited. It's been a long time in the making. Here is a little interview I did with myself and a few pictures I took of myself (awkward).

How long have you been training?

  • Good question, me! I've been doing crossfit and similar style workouts (HIIT, Tabata) for nearly 4 years. At that time I had been working in a new job for several months and was finding it hard to find time to work out. So I joined a lunchtime class at my gym in the hopes of doing a really hard workout in a small amount of time.  Crossfit seemed like a great bang for the buck.

Did it work? Is crossfit a great bang for the buck?

  • Yes and no. Like any workout, crossfit is all about what you put into it. If you train hard and show up regularly, you will definitely see results. As in, you'll be stronger and you'll get better at it and you might even get addicted (like me). But it won't build you gigantic muscles overnight. And like any workout, it doesn't solve everything. Food is a big factor if you're hoping to lose weight. I lost 5 lbs pretty easily in the first month I tried it, but after that, nothing.

My gym. Where the magic happens.

What exactly is crossfit?

CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity.
— crossfit.com
  • Ok, I kind of needed to look this up. I know what it is at MY gym, and that's the only place I've done crossfit (so far). Crossfit workouts are intense, it's all about lifting as much as you can, as quickly as you can, in the shortest amount of time. The workouts are timed, so there's a fun, competitive component. And we write down our times and weights afterward. I keep my own book to record my 1-rep max for the weight lifting and a few of my scores and workouts. That's all about measuring my own progress and keeping myself motivated. One important thing about crossfit is the people. It's really fun to get together and do hard workouts with a group of motivated people (not muscleheads), just regular folks. I love it.

Why doesn't crossfit make you lose weight?

  • Honestly, I don't think crossfit ever promised to help anyone lose weight. So that's one thing. It's a high intensity workout that combines cardio and weights. It does not care about calorie burn so much. I think it's more about making you a powerful, dynamic person.
  • In my case, I learned this the hard way. After losing that first 5 lbs I quickly realized that the weight was not melting off. I got discouraged by the scale, so I stopped getting on it. Bad decision? Maybe. I certainly didn't lose the baby weight I was hoping to lose. I did the opposite, in fact. One year after starting my crossfit journey, I weighed the most I've weighed post-pregnancy.

What do you do if you want to lose weight and do crossfit?

  • I think you need to separate your crossfit journey from your weight loss journey.
  • For me, I needed to tackle my food game, big time. I won't get into the details of it (less caloric intake, basically), but I will say it was helpful thinking about how much you needed to eat for that day. On workout days, I ate more, especially protein, in the mornings. On other days, I stuck to my plan. Finally by the 1.5 year mark, I was slimmed down and feeling really good about myself and my workouts. I was kicking ass. And that's exactly when I got pregnant again.

Can you do crossfit while pregnant?

  • Yes! Obviously, check with your doctor first. My care providers (midwife and physical therapist) wanted me to be careful not to raise my heart-rate too high. So sometimes I needed to take longer breaks between sets or modify a movement or walk instead of run, etc. But I stuck with it and tried to basically do the same workouts as the class, just modified.
  • My coach, Heidie (pictured here being amazing), also did crossfit while pregnant. She was very inspiring. If you ask her if you can do this while pregnant she will tell you Absolutely! And she will tell you about how she went into labor while doing double-unders. It's a cool story. I won't ruin it. (She had a baby afterward and he's a very sweet two-year-old now.)

I can doooo it! 8 months pregnant, going to class.

I did it! 2 years later.

What are your goals with this?

  • My biggest goal was to go and compete. And I'M DOING IT!! After I had baby Hank, I resolved to get back into shape (and better than before) and enter a real competition. I got back in the gym at 3 months postpartum and all my workout buddies were preparing for the Crossfit Open. I really wanted to join, but I was like a floppy fish at that point. The following year I entered the Open, and I didn't do too bad. Out of the 8 or so competitors at my gym, I usually finished 5th/6th/7th. That was about 6 months ago. For the summer games, I am competing as a team with the lovely, Janelle. I'm hoping we finish in the middle of the pack. The middle-middle. Not bottom-middle. Ha!
  • So over the years my goals have gone like this:
    • Workout regularly (check)
    • Lose weight (check)
    • Get back into shape after having baby (check)
    • Compete!

Me and Janelle!

So that's my story, and off I go to THE GAMES on August 20th!!!

I'm Glad We Did This Thing: An #hmvlifechallenge Wrap Up!

I received the best message after my 30 Day Challenge wrapped up on July 15th. It came at a great time, because as I will explain, the end of this challenge, the #hmvlifechallenge! was bittersweet.

Yesterday, I spent the entire day at the lake with some dear friends who also have a boat. I got to wake-board for the first time in my life (I actually got up on the first try), and then we had tube wars. Tube wars are effectively inter-tubing behind the boat with two tubes. The point is to try to knock off the person on the other tube while the boat driver is trying to get you both to fall off. We played two on two. I won one and tied about four rounds by taking someone with me every time I was going down.

So, today I am so very sore and all I can think if is how much I want to tell Hannah that I got some incredible exercise yesterday. I also weighed myself yesterday and I only gained 2 pounds on vacation, so I ended the challenge at a net 8lb weight loss. Less than the 15-20 I had hoped for, but progress nonetheless.

Hannah, thank you so much for this challenge. Three years ago, I participated in an Under Armour challenge that was similar (I was in much better shape then, so my goal for that challenge was to do one-arm, one-leg pushups, which I did). The thing I loved about it was the sense of community among the participants at every level of fitness, and the love and support we all received (and gave). I am still friends with some of those women whom I met during the competition and I am ever grateful for their friendship and support.

The reason for the novel post is to say, Hannah, that the same sense of community and support that I loved so much about that event is the way I have felt about this challenge, even though I was on vacation for the last two weeks of it.

Thank you for encouraging me to think more about my own health in a time when it has been getting me down (I had just had that depressing Dr visit where my doctor told me that were I to gain 3 lbs, I would officially be classed as obese...that did nothing for my self esteem), and thank you for making it fun and exciting.

This is a great group of ladies and I can’t wait for the next round of challenges so that we can see/learn more about each other and continue to grow. Thank you for being my motivation during the last month, Hannah.

Xoxo
— EF, 30 Day challenger

Wow. Talk about motivation. Talk about some radical self-love and yeah, a lot of love coming at me too. I'm overwhelmed.

Sometimes with these group challenges when people start dropping down in participation it can feel like "no one cares" and why should I when no one else does? Well, of course, that's ridiculous. People still care. Our group had 13 members. Everyone posted stuff at first. Everyone set goals. By days 20-30, I only saw regular posts from about 5 people. But I'm almost certain that 12 of 13 were still checking in and occasionally "liking" or commenting. That's pretty cool. Would it have been better if more people kept actively engaging, sure. But realistic?

I think it was a lot of feeling like ugh I don’t want to put myself and my struggles out there when others aren’t. ... After while it felt like ok, others aren’t posting much so I can not feel bad.
— 30 Day Challenger

So why would my mind go straight to "no one cares"? Probably some subconscious trick to give me permission to quit. Also an excuse not to post anything, not to stick my neck out. I heard this from others too.

Someone smarter than me can think up a way to deal with this phenomenon. How can the group keep each other feeling motivated and supported? That's the heart of the 30 day challenge in my mind. Finding that sweet balance of positive encouragement and open vulnerability.

Setting that aside, however, lots of cool stuff was happening in this group. Here are some of my favorite comments and tidbits in no particular order:

  • SS, attempting new workouts: "I dug out my ballet shoes and am going to attempt a class for the first time in 3 years! Wish me luck!"
  • EF, making badass choices: "Thanks...Not nearly as fit as I want to be, but I remember how self conscious I was wearing two piece bathing suits before I had kids and realized that no matter what shape I am in ten years from now, I will probably wish I had the body I do now...so I am belligerently wearing two piece bathing suits this summer in honor of future me. lol"
  • hmv: "It's been good having this challenge in the summer months because I tend to overdo it in the summer. It's just so fun and vacation-y and friends are around. But I'm trying to learn that that doesn't have to mean tons of food and booze. You know?"
  • SMS: "My alarm clock woke up early this morning ... so today's breakfast is after a beautiful morning run. Never thought I'd say that and mean it!"
  • SS, again: "I'm planning on going to ballet again tomorrow night"
  • CJ, after my self-esteem breakdown: "When I see you, I see a strong, confident, amazing lady. Isn't it difficult when we struggle to see that in ourselves? You're doing great."
  • DH, on self-love: "I'm doing well at some goals and sucky at others, but I'm choosing to be self-compassionate instead of judgmental. Some days I rock and some I'm just tired, like today. But all days I'm worthy of love and belonging just like everyone else."

Will I do another 30 Day Challenge? I think so. Selfishly, of course, I got a lot out of it. I lost 4 lbs, I got tips on workouts and recipes and getting better sleep, and I learned a few things about myself. At the beginning I worried that starting this group would force me take the lead and that kind of puts me in a vulnerable place (which did basically happen). But my fellow challengers responded with so much love. Just massive truckloads of love. It was the best possible outcome of being the de facto leader.

Top row: 4th of July run with Carolyn. ED inspiring her family. CJ pouting about her poor performance.
Bottom row: After pic of hmv. Lunch ideas shared by SMS. The 30 Day Challenge pics of the day.

Thank you, everyone, for participating or following along. It's been fun!

Want to join me in a future #hmvlifechallenge? Leave a comment below or click "Contact hmv" on the banner above!

Previous #hmvlife challenge posts: click here!

Creating new patterns: A 30 Day Challenge update!

As I've mentioned, I started a 30 Day Challenge group (#hmvlifechallenge). You can find us posting on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Mostly Instagram. Each day has a theme, and the group has been posting great things every day.

Not everyone posts pictures, that's ok, the idea to keep thinking about your fitness goals and hold yourself accountable each day.

Recently the themes have been:

  • Day 7 Motivation
  • Day 8 Family
  • Day 9 Pattern

Motivation! These little smurfs are my motivation. Get healthy, feel young, be happy!

I didn't necessarily do this intentionally, but these three worked really well together. People were posting about how their families were motivating them to stay active and healthy for years to come.

 

Several of us are parents. It's hard to stay fit with kiddos. But look how hard we are trying!
 

 

 

My friend, Elisabeth Doherty, has twin boys. TWINS! She works. She works out. She travels for work. She has twins. She's basically superwoman.

 

 

Another friend took these great pictures of a hike she was on with her dad on Father's Day; her Motivation was to keep seeing these amazing views. I can see why!

We all come from different places, but our motivation is very similar. We are trying to make life better. And healthier. And longer.

And it's hard. That's another interesting theme I've been noticing. Why is this noteworthy? Because we don't act like it's hard. We act like we could lose weight and get healthier if we just wanted it bad enough. That's ridiculous. It is hard to stay committed to one's goals. It is hard to make good choices every day.

Another theme: creating healthy patterns. Day 9's theme was "pattern." To be honest, at first I was thinking people would post about the patterns on their clothes or some pattern they spotted on a run. Not even close. We are too clever for that shit.

We talked about setting better patterns in life (JSC). We talked about making small, incremental changes to get to where you want to be (SMS). Really it wasn't so much about patterns, as habits. Getting in the habit of healthy eating (EF). Making a habit of caring for ourselves and our families (SS).

As we keep going on this challenge I'm going to be thinking a lot about creating habits. Can I sustain the weight loss and low carb dinners every night? No. But I think I can get enough good ideas and inspiration to start setting a new course. Ultimately I needed to be inspired to WANT to eat healthy and to WANT to get to the gym and walk more. At the end of the day, I want to live in a manner that makes me happy. I am figuring out exactly what that means.

 

The 30 Day #hmvlifechallenge! Part 1: Getting started

I started a 30 Day Challenge group, and it's a-freakin-mazing. I'm going to blog about it, you know, for posterity. But you can also follow along on my Instagram @hmvlife or Twitter or Facebook. The "group" lives on Facebook, and we check in there daily. The rules are simple:


1. Set your own goals
2. Post something to the group every day
3. Encourage others
4. Kick ass

If you like to take pictures, you can join in the photo challenge on FB, Instagram or Twitter. Here is the photo challenge, one word for each day:

I did another 30 Day Challenge with my friend from grade school (thank you Facebook, for these interesting connections). And from these experiences so far I have gleaned a few general observations:

  1. The 30 day aspect is important. Limit the time, focus the energy. By around day 20 I found it hard to stay committed, but the group helped. After day 30 hardly anyone posted. That's ok. That's why it's limited.
  2. Wow, so motivating. It is SO motivating to stick to your goals when you have a group of people you're working "with" (even if just online). And posting something every day keeps you in check too.
  3. Wow, so much learning from others. Our group is smart.
  4. There's something fun about NOT knowing other people in the group. You don't have to know them personally to support them in what they're doing. And that blind support is kind of exciting and fun.

I'll post more specific updates later. For now, here's a few of the amazing goals that people have set for their 30 Day Challenge aka #hmvlifechallenge

Day 1: Goals.

  • Work on core strength
  • Eat breakfast every day
  • Try 2 classes at my gym
  • Eat when I am hungry
  • Take 30 minutes to myself each day
  • 3 new PRs on the weights
  • Track food daily
  • Lose 4 lbs
  • Lose 20 lbs
  • Drink 6 glasses of water a day
  • Karate 2x a week
  • 28 day squat challenge
  • 30 day yoga achallenge
  • Try one new recipe each week
  • Floss every day
  • Half plate veggies at dinner
  • Cut added sugar from my diet 5 days/week

...aren't these amazing?!

And lastly, I leave you with this sweet face. Here we go!!