getting fit and taking gains

Tag Archives: Fitness & Wellness

On Fri June 28 I did nearly three rounds of Bowe WOD, but I didn’t finish all four rounds because I blew up my brachialis (or at least I’m making an educated guess that it’s the brachialis). Ever since I’ve been nursing my left arm, doing everything possible to speed up the recovery process: voodoo flossing, icing, heating, compressing, elevating. I haven’t worked out at all since that day, which initially was incredibly frustrating. Some people don’t really seem to understand, probably thinking that I have something more akin to soreness and should just work through it. Nope, I’m broken.


You may recall that I’ve had problems with my left shoulder and push-ups before. When I came back from the laps of round three I told my coach that my left arm was bugging me. He kept an eye on me and encouraged me to halve the push-ups (52 per round is Rx); of course I was being a dumbass and did 32 because I’m one giant ball of ego. When I couldn’t do anymore I tried elevated push-ups on the box, then gave up and moved on to box jumps. One armed box jumps. That was the point where even I had to admit that I was done. I laid on the floor facing the wall and suddenly found myself struggling to hold back tears. WTH?! Why was I so upset by this?! But I was. I felt utterly defeated. I was crushed. I went home furious at my injury and completely pessimistic about my recovery.

voodoo flossing arm

Since then I’ve done a lot of thinking. This isn’t my first injury but it’s my first really bad injury. It’s the first one that is causing me to take a two week hiatus from all forms of working out (although I am doing mobility work). And in the time that has passed I’ve come to some conclusions…

  1. It’s not the end of the world. I’m taking care of myself and actually enjoying the break. It’s kind of relaxing to come home from work and just hang out with Wally instead of racing off to the gym.
  2. While I’m obviously doing everything possible to recover, I’m also refocusing on prevention. That means a lot of mobility work and also a readjustment of my priorities. I’ll be spending a lot less time at the gym than I had planned this summer. The last thing I want is a chronic problem.
  3. I’m recognizing my own cognitive weaknesses as an athlete and addressing them in ways that force me to change my thinking. Clearly I don’t recognize my body’s signals to stop and I can’t trust myself to say “when”. This is something I’m going to learn over the next few months.

It’s strange to say, but this injury was probably the best thing that could have happened to me right now. I’ve been forced to slow down, reevaluate, and reconfigure. I’m feeling much more in control and relaxed about my fitness future, not to mention confident that I’ll come back not only a healthier athlete but a better one.


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.

Apparently I workout too hard, too often. I can’t wrap my head around this, actually, but it has been said by those who would know. Plus I’m way too competitive and strong-willed to admit it to myself. Which is why I have this problem!

Lately it seems like everything is broken. It all started with my right knee. I did one meeellion wall balls (ok, 150 at 8lb) for 13.3 and then for two weeks my knee was crap. Then I did something…oh yeah: 130 pushups a couple weeks ago and now my left shoulder is crap (but my right knee is fine, so ha!). Needless to say this rains on my parade and slows my roll. How am I supposed to be a total badass when I’m always dealing with injuries?!

So I listened to my people. And my body. I’m going to spend more time rolling and stretching. I’ll also spend time at home practicing lifting technique. And I’ll stop pushing myself to get the same scores and weights as others in the box. I’ve gotten so used to PR’ing every lift that I’m pushing myself beyond my skill level. And when my form deteriorates I’m putting myself at risk for injury.

So yeah. Bummer face. But I’d rather have a long-term future than short-term ego boosts.

For those of us crazy enough to have signed on for the Crossfit Open, we’re privileged to be faced with this

10 minute AMRAP of:
5 Shoulder to overhead, 115 / 75 lbs
10 Deadlift, 115 / 75 lbs
15 Box jump, 24 / 20 inch

Deads are cool by me and I finally overcame my terror of box jumps, but the shoulder to overhead? I’m too new at CF to know how that will go. Nonetheless I did my homework and Mobility WOD has a video out on how to go about this week’s battle. 13.2 aside, I think this is a great primer on how to efficiently perform at both box jumps and deads. I hope I remember the finer points as I shoot for at least 4 rounds (I know, low expectations).

And since WordPress now sucks monkey balls and won’t let me embed the video, here’s a link. Enjoy!

Meeting people is hard when you’re a grown up (I admit, calling myself a grown up feels both uncomfortable and dishonest). Young people, take heed! Once you’re out of college it suddenly becomes work to make friends. All of the built-in social systems of school disappear and you either learn to share your co-worker’s obsession with goth morticians or you get out into the community and meet new people. Unlike college, however, you have to be your own social director.

The easiest way to meet people as an adult is to join clubs or community groups. If you go to church this is pretty easy, but if you don’t go to church you need to think about the things that interest you and see if there’s a community group for that interest. Luckily for us non-churchgoing folks the gym is a great place to meet like-minded people. I’ll admit that joining a CrossFit gym was 40% motivated by the ability to make friends who are also into fitness (specifically CrossFit) and being healthy. Obviously there are different levels of commitment to this particular religion, ranging from people who merely donate their money to the gym (since they never actually use their membership) to people who have veins bulging out of their skin since their BF% is close to zero and they spend their entire paycheck on supplements. But at least these people have a similar interest! Fitness! Health! Bacon! The added bonus is that hanging out with fitness-oriented people keeps you fitness oriented. And they totally agree that peanut butter dipped bacon is the most delicious thing they’ve ever heard of.

Take a journey into the things which you are carrying, the known—
not into the unknown—into what you already know:
your pleasures, your delights, your despairs, your sorrows.
Take a journey into that, that is all you have.
— J. Krishnamurti

In the past I’ve always failed at fitness. I would be gung-ho for a few weeks, hitting the gym according to my neatly marked gym schedule and studiously avoiding anything with carbohydrates. I would food journal for a few weeks to remind myself of what I’m stuffing in my face and peruse the websites of favorite fitness clothing brands, promising myself that I would buy a new outfit after sticking to the plan for 3 months. And then I would  skip a few (weeks) of my workouts, backsliding to where I started.

The problem was that I wasn’t doing what worked for me. Instead I was following the highly espoused advice of every fitness guru out there: eat 5 meals a day, don’t eat this, eat lots of that, count calories, no carbs of any kind, ketogenic,  no potatoes, workout on this schedule, CARDIO!, drink tons of water, no sweeteners, do a cleanse, have cheat days….etc. You can’t make a square peg fit into a round hole, and I always found myself hating whatever I was doing. So I would quit. Solution? Do what works for me!

As a result of this epiphany I stopped doing cardio for any reason other than exercising my dog. What’s the point of running more than 3 miles if you own something with wheels? Besides, cardio doesn’t do a damn thing for my physique so the only benefit I got out of it was better lung/heart function (which admittedly is a good thing). Does cardio work for you? Cool! Enjoy your run while I do box jumps and power cleans. Weight lifting and Crossfit work best for me and give me the best results. And I love doing it so I’m more likely to stick with it! Do I have a set schedule? Nope. I go when I can with the goal of 3 workouts a week. Sometimes I don’t go at all because things come up, but then I actually miss my workouts and am fired up to go back.

Marine Style Physical Fitness Competition - Pu...

(Photo credit: United States Forces – Iraq (Inactive)

I hate counting calories. I do a lot of my own cooking, which means I can’t just scan a box and add it to my daily total. I had to input the whole recipe and then determine a serving size just so that I could log the damn calories. No. Instead I do paleo, where I can eat as many veggies as I want and a 6-8oz serving of protein. And I don’t do the super strict paleo either. I eat potatoes and sometimes I even *gasp* eat bread! Every Friday night I go out for a beer (o two) and burger with some friends. Is that my cheat day? Nope, it’s just the day I go out. Instead of being so strict on myself that I need a cheat day for release I just go with the 80% rule: eat right 80% of the time. I do use sweeteners (Stevia) and I do eat potatoes sometimes and I won’t turn down a vegan baked good. Luckily (sort of) my food allergies are pretty clear cut, no dairy and no eggs, which eliminates a lot of the foods I would otherwise indulge in. If I could still eat cheese I would have a problem.

I also recognize that I have very little self-control in certain situations. At least 90% of the time I will drink beer if it’s a microbrew and it’s available (both are usually the case in WA). I will eat dates if they’re in the house, although I can limit myself to a single serving. Ice cream (even non-dairy) is the devil: I’ll eat it and then feel like puking. I know that going in and I still eat it. I have no self-control with ice cream so I try not to keep it around! If I go home and get into relaxation mode I will not go to the gym, so I have to either go straight to the gym or go home, change, and leave immediately. No relaxing, no sweatpants, just moving.

It's the picture of Italian ice-cream in a sho...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do what you know will make you happy. Avoid the things that will weaken your motivation. Strategize ways to beat your own weaknesses.