getting fit and taking gains

Monthly Archives: May 2013

“Comparison is the death of joy.”

Mark Twain

The whiteboard. That 2’x3′ piece of laminate has been my teacher and the lessons are not always fun. When I first started Crossfit I would zealously check the board every time I went to WOD, especially since I always go to the last WOD of the day. Who posted what numbers? Of the women I use as benchmarks, who did what? Then I would use their numbers as my goal. This was sometimes bad.  My first overuse-injury-of-stupidity was a direct result of me pushing myself to a benchmark that was based on another persons performance. That would be the shoulder injury, by the way, where I determined I would do at least 13 rounds of Cindy. I got 13+ and a bum shoulder for 2 weeks. Not the win I was hoping for!

A blank whiteboard

Nemesis? Or training tool? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Using someone else as a benchmark is perfectly healthy as long as you recognize that you must scale. Why scale? For one thing, it allows you to develop the power and strength that will get you up to Rx and Firebreather status (read that article, it put scaling into a whole new light for me). For another, scaling prevents injury and caters to your current abilities. Looking at whiteboard numbers says nothing about a person’s mental, physical, and emotional status on that day. Maybe I got crap for sleep last night or am slightly hungover. There’s no way I can compare my performance to someone who slept a solid 8 hours and sipped on water all evening. Sleep, food, hydration, recovery, stress…all of these things will affect performance. And what about genetics?

I’m stuck blessed with the genes I got, with only some leeway when it comes to gene expression. Somebody else might physically look like me — similar body type, height, weight — but odds are that their genotype is dramatically different than mine. I personally am a mesomorph with a familial tendency to build muscle quickly and lose it slowly, making me excellent at weightlifting and other strength-based exercises. Someone else at the box might be a mesomorph who builds muscle slowly but has a greater capacity for endurance. Or maybe they develop explosive power more quickly than I do. One day we might reach the same exact level of fitness but we’ll always have unique weaknesses and strengths, not to mention lives outside the box.

Eclipse an undefeated British racehorse and ou...

Eclipse, an undefeated British racehorse and outstanding sire. First known racehorse with an over-sized heart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s not forget that observable traits are extremely poor predictors of performance in all species; look at racehorses! Secretariat had an over-sized heart (nearly three times normal size) as well as a huge stride length. The combination of these traits gave him both enormous speed and enormous stamina, allowing Secretariat to set records that still stand four decades later. Thing is, nobody knew about his heart until he died and was necropsied, which means breeders seeking to duplicate Secretariat’s phenotype would have been hard pressed to produce a winner on stride length alone.

Back to the whiteboard. I still check it. I still make a mental note of what I’d like to post up there but, having suffered the consequences of WODing by the whiteboard, I no longer hold myself to that benchmark. I’ve got my own variables to account for, which means my performance goals are fluid. It’s all about me! The competitive side of me still wants to post the best numbers, but the other 60% of me [usually] wins and instead I focus on making that WOD the best laid stone in the yellow brick road of my fitness future.


I’m always jealous of people who can eat eggs. I could eat eggs, too, up until about 2008. Then I developed food allergies and could no longer consume eggs or dairy. Well, I could and did but I really paid the price for it. Eggs cause me to get itchy and develop hives. Classic allergy symptoms. Dairy gives me asthma. And eating either category causes me to become allergic to animals, which I’m completely not OK with. I would rather cut out the most convenient form of tasty protein in existence than live without my animals.

So I completely cut out eggs and dairy in June 2012. Now when I consume them by accident (and very, very occasionally a tiny bit of dairy on purpose in something like chocolate) I really feel it! Going paleo definitely made it easier to avoid these things since primarily I was consuming them in baked goods or sandwiches. Now when I eat baked goods it’s vegan (because no eggs/dairy), which means almost never because ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!

English: Three chicken eggs of contrasting col...

Eggs. My nemesis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Where I’m going with this is breakfast. The first meal of the day typically centers around eggs, which is awesome for everyone except me. Going out for breakfast is such a b*tch, ugh.

My breakfast is often not much different than my lunch: sausage links, lunch meat, hamburger/sausage patties, peanut butter. I’ll usually throw in some fruit too, like a banana or apple. But! Recently I found a recipe for butternut squash breakfast porridge on The Urban Poser. There are also instructions on how to perfectly roast your squash. I add pecans, shredded coconut, strawberries, and coconut milk. It’s delicious. And! It keeps me full until lunch. This is, indeed, amazing.

And just so you know, I was drinking a beer as I wrote this. Because I wanted to remind you that I’m not THAT paleo.

High five, JB

High five, JB

I’ve never really understood the whole YOLO thing. Perhaps it’s because I’m not of the acronym-ize everything generation. Possibly also because I like to use fancy words in conversation, much less actual words. I definitely snort [not so] quietly when I hear kids say, out loud, “OhEmGee!” or “I just ell-oh-elled!” They’re called words. Use them. Some say that they’re the only thing putting you higher on the food chain than a chimpanzee.

Maybe I’m just not cool enough to YOLO. Or maybe The Lonely Island, Adam Levine, and Kendrick Lamar have it figured out and all those teens are totally wrong. I’m pretty sure it started in some song, apparently by Drake (I had to Google it); that probably started the whole thing. Just the other day I saw some kid with a hoodie that said You Only Live Once on it. I should get one that says “You Only Live Once [So Stop Being a P^ssy and Lift Heavy].


I love my box. For you non-Crossfit people out there I’m referring to my gym, not part of my anatomy. Gross.

One of the things that attracted me to Crossfit was the community atmosphere of the entire franchise, and this was evident on my first day at Silverdale Crossfit. I went into the free WOD, which I’ve since learned is always a running WOD and I now avoid like the plague, and barely survived. I was literally the last person done, but as I finished my last round at least three people joined in with me and finished it with me. Meaning they had finished WOD and were now working out with me for moral support. How cool is that?!

I have tons of fabulous new friends since I joined SCF! And we’re all super sexy, too. Cause we do Crossfit.

It’s not easy to find a good gym; if it were people wouldn’t right articles about how to do it. In my experience most gyms feels impersonal and intimidating for newbies, not to mention overwhelming when you have no idea what you’re doing. Going to other gyms was always a monumental feat of self-motivation for me. Now that I’ve discovered SCF I’m eager to go to the gym! When I don’t go for too long the coaches start FB’ing me and asking what’s up. When I miss a workout my friends text me for the 411 and say they missed me. And when I do go I’m welcomed with hugs and smiles and all the support I need to make it through a tough and technical workout. Another massive benefit: someone else does the programming. I like showing up and being told what to do by someone who can make sure I do it right. I’m pleased as punch that I found an awesome gym, and I can only hope that others looking for a fitness place to call home find the right fit.

As you may have noticed, I have a tumblr account. I opened it in Aug 2012 to keep myself motivated by posting pix and to keep track of useful links I found, as well as tasty recipes. As is expected I followed numerous blogs, all geared towards fitness. Eventually, however, I became frustrated with the material that was popping up on my dash: skinny girls with zero muscle, women who have a literal one in a million body type being idolized as an ideal, the words “tone” popping up whenever a skinny girl showed up in a bikini. Why were so many girls/women coveting a body type that they would never have? And I mean never in the sense that you can’t change your basic skeletal and muscular phenotype, so why pine for a body that’s impossible for you to have? Why not love your own body? This graphic (which I found on tumblr) is a pretty good attitude to take towards your body.

You're human, therefore you're totally sexy

You’re human, therefore you’re totally sexy [btw, not my image, no idea where it came from, help?]

This, right here, is the story of my life. I’ve decided that everyone needs to think they’re more awesome, because very people people appreciate the awesomeness of themselves.

I need this on a shirt

I need this on a shirt

Guess what I finally get to do after months of waiting for the time to free up? Lifting! xD

And the angels sang as light shone upon the rubber bumper plates and it was good

I’ve been waiting and waiting for my schedule to change in such a way that made morning lifting possible. Now that I have a new job, this is a reality. And I’m super excited! Now I get to go in before work four days a week to lift heavy shit: squat, shoulder press, floor press, deadlift, pull up, power clean, snatch, front squat. It’s magical.

Coach Tony, who is doing my programming

Coach Tony, who does my programming

There’s nothing more awesome than walking in, warming up, and putting up a new PR. And just knowing that I’m systematically working towards a stronger body is gratifying. Augmenting my WOD schedule with lifting is only going to make me a better Crossfitter and it’s just one dimension of the multi-dimensional plan I have to be the best athlete I can possibly be. Another dimension involves running. Less excited about that.

lifting in the morning