I am not weak.

… despite what others may think.

I am an empath and it makes many people uncomfortable. I get it. It can be overwhelming. Try living with it every single day.

However, because I am sensitive and feel more deeply than others and express my emotions in ways that others are not used to or are incapable of, that does not mean I am weak. It does not mean I am unable to work or run a business. It means that I approach life in a way that may not work for others. It gives me a unique advantage to really see and feel what others need and want, and as such, I move forward in an unorthodox manner. This is what has made me successful in everything that I’ve ever set my mind to. The passion for life that I possess is deeper than most can handle. At times, it can be too much for me to handle.

Everything I do is for others. It’s in my nature. It is my mission, which I have known since I was a little girl. It wasn’t until I found CrossFit that I realized how to make it a reality.

This year has been one of challenges, successes, losses, and enlightenment. Some of it amazing and exhilarating, others devastating and disappointing. Such is life!

Last night, while sitting in a dimly lit room and after many cups of tea, the following stream-of-consciousness passage came out in a moment of vulnerability. It will make others uncomfortable because of its raw and personal nature. This is who I am and I will not apologize for being real. However, I have redacted a couple lines because, as a business owner, I have to somewhat censor myself so as not to cause any problems.

I feel broken,
but I’m not.
I feel depressed,
but it’s not dark.
Emotions have come about,
as the world begins to implode.
My world.
Your world.
Our world.
This year our country lost hope,
and gained fear.
This year I lost my husband,
but gained a friend.
[redacted]
[redacted]
She left me when I needed her most.
It’s funny, the only person that has my back,
is the very person I hated not too long ago.
It hurts;
I hurt.
My need for a partner in love
is overwhelmingly strong.
It hurts.
My body aches for the gentle touch of a caring hand.
My heart desires companionship
to share the joys and pain of life.
I hurt,
but I’m not broken.

I am writing and sharing all of this to show that highly emotional people are still functional. They are CEOs, they are talented artists, they are your mothers and fathers. We just function in a different way. We may hurt, we may feel deeply, but that does not make us weak. It takes a lot of courage to express raw emotions in a world filled with assholes. It won’t stop us from doing what needs to get done.

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The Real Face of Depression

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I am a coach. I am a motivator. I am also depressed.

I know you’re probably wondering how someone can be a coach and motivator, yet be depressed. Yes, it seems like an oxymoron, but I’ve been this person for quite some time. I have wanted to write about my secret for a while, but was unsure as to how it would be perceived or if it would affect my job as a coach or my relationships with others. However, those that have known me for a while know that I’m not one to do things the “normal” way, so this is why I’m finally writing about it.

I’ve always held the philosophy of “be true to yourself” and to do things my own way, and to trust in myself that I will get what I need and where I need to go if I follow my own path. It doesn’t always work out, but most of the time it does. As a result of my philosophy, I won many state titles in gymnastics, I won a national piano competition at the age of 14, and I also earned many achievement awards at all of the schools I’ve attended. I’ve also had some pretty cool jobs, which I got without a college degree. Whenever I listen to my gut instinct, I succeed. When I allow others to dictate the process or influence me too much, I tend to fail – this is part of the reason how I got to where I am today.

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(I’m working on this.)

What I write in this post is not of the norm, especially for fitness coaches, because fitness coaches are supposed to be happy, uplifting people that know how to make others’ lives better. They’re supposed to have their shit together. Most people would and will freak out because of how open and personal I am and can be. But that is who I am, down to my very core. I am honest, raw, and sincere. I don’t sugar coat, and when I have to, I feel like a fraud.

I refuse to be mediocre; I strive for excellence. Unfortunately, this has been a bit difficult with this depressive cloud following me as of late. I’ve had to put on my “happy face” for so long that it’s worn me out. I’m exhausted, but I have to keep going.

 Physically I smile

A few months ago, a friend of mine talked about wanting to start a campaign called “The Real Face of Depression” to bring awareness to the world that depressed people aren’t just those in the corner crying and pulling their hair out like you see in most depictions, although sometimes we may feel that way. Depressed people are everyday people – they are your co-worker, they are your friend, your neighbor, and in my case, a fitness coach. We look happy on the outside, we have big smiles in our pictures that come up on Facebook, we are the new moms smiling and playing with precious little babies, we are top CrossFit athletes at The Games.

The majority of my depression stems from my experience with the gymnastics coach that I had between the ages of 10-16, the most important formative years of my life. He is a terrible person; he is a pedophile. He went to jail for the things he did, but he is now out. Before you jump to conclusions as to why my teammates and I didn’t leave, it wasn’t that easy. The charm he had and the ability to manipulate was impressive; no one was safe.

Throughout my life, I have gone through phases where I am able to deal with the trauma of the past (that of my gymnastics career, but also from the recent past), but there are also times where I am heavily affected by it. I am currently in one of those phases.

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I feel heavy, I feel lost. I feel scared, I feel anxious. I am so fucking angry.

My body literally hurts because my soul is hurting.

There are days where I’m coaching and I have to fight so hard to hold the tears in, and all I want to do is to go home, hide under the covers, and cry.

There are days where I want to drop everything and leave without saying goodbye to anyone.

This shit sucks, but I have to keep going.

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What keeps me going are the people I coach, and the little girl that I mentor. For the short time that I’m with these people, I have a glimmer of hope and happiness. Yes, it is and can be difficult, but for those moments I don’t feel as heavy or lost or scared or anxious. I cannot and will not let my depression affect the lives of others.

This is my own battle. I have to keep going.

I am in a dark place, but I know I will get out. I know that I am mentally strong; I just lost it momentarily. I am receiving the help I need to find my way back, but it’s going to take some time. I am so beyond grateful to my friends and family and the support system they have created for me. Writing this and sharing my thoughts and feelings with others helps.

There are going to be those that judge me for expressing my feelings, and that is fine. There will always be naysayers and those that think they know how you should live your life. This is who I am and I am not ashamed of it.

This is my story. This is the real face of depression.

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Everyday I’m Hustlin’?

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-Sylvia Plath

Hustlin’. This has been weighing on my mind lately because I often feel like I’m never doing enough or I’m never enough. I suppose it’s because of the American standard that you’re never doing enough unless you’re always busy. I’m tired of this mentality and am working towards changing it.

It’s been about 2 months or so since I really got Silent Strength Fitness off the ground. I left my cushy job at UCSB the day before Thanksgiving 2014 and from that time until the end of the year, my time was spent planning, strategizing, organizing, and most importantly relaxing, recuperating and taking care of myself.

My last year at UCSB was a crazy one, but definitely a great one. During this time, my superiors allowed me to run with my skills and abilities, and it was such a nice feeling to see how much respect and trust they had in me. I was part of a team of two that planned four retirement parties that were all happening in one month, I covered my supervisor’s program while she went on maternity leave for four months, which included planning a week-long annual review conference for 30 people, I covered my student assistant’s job after she left abruptly after the devastating massacre that happened in Isla Vista, and trained a co-worker on all things procurement for our department. A lot of this all at the same time, all while doing my own job. I’m not looking for sympathy, just providing an example. Oh, did I mention that I was coaching CrossFit for two hours after work four days a week? Again, I am not bragging.

I envied my friends that worked their cushy 9-5 jobs and were able to go home, cook dinner, and watch TV before getting into bed at 8:30 or 9pm. I don’t know what that is like. Ever since I was a child I’ve been on the go, either to gymnastics practice or piano lessons, or when I worked in the music industry, working 8-10 hours in the office then taking clients to dinner and drinks and then to a show getting home around 2am. I’ve always been busy and I hate it. I’ve been trying to break this cycle for as long as I can remember.

This is why I left my cushy and wonderful job. I’ve always felt that a happy life entails doing something you love, doing something that is fulfilling to your soul. Yes, my job at UCSB was wonderful, but it was not fulfilling to my soul. I know many people would disagree with me about what a job should be like, and to those, I will agree to disagree. My husband is an attorney and he says that hates it (although, I think he secretly loves it), but he is great at it.

As a child, I had a dream of becoming a teacher and was on the path to college to become an elementary school teacher. However, as I became an adult I saw myself less and less standing in front of a classroom. That thought didn’t feel quite right. I wanted to do more. I wanted to work with more people, not just children.

After finding CrossFit, I realized that it was not in a classroom that I wanted to teach, but in a gym. Through fitness, I am able to teach a variety of people the world has to offer, and it excites me so. The best part is that these people want to learn, and they are eager to learn. They aren’t forced to come to my classes or sessions (well, maybe sometimes their SO forces them, haha). They come to my classes to be better people, to better themselves. That is why I want to teach.

This brings me back to the topic at hand.

I often hear that so-and-so is a hustler (and good for them) or that you have to hustle to get where you want to be. I get it. I did it. Been there, done that. But, you know what? IT KILLED ME. I was so unhealthy both physically and mentally. I have learned over time what works for me, and what does not work for me. No one else can decide that. Constantly stressing myself out trying to get EVERYTHING done all by myself to prove that “I’m doing it” is not worth it to me. There are other ways to get things done without all that nonsensical stress.

I have been fully immersed into my business for just over two months. TWO MONTHS. In these two months, I have created a solid roster of personal training clients and a successful boot camp. The most important part to me about this is the wonderful and kind words that my clients have said to me. I am helping them change and improve their lives. That is why I do what I do. And in turn, it is changing and improving my life.

I guess the purpose of the post is this: Everyone has their own way of hustling. I may not be moving as fast or seem as busy as others, but I know what I want, and I know what needs to be done to get there. I make shit happen, and do it in my own way. I am not going to sacrifice my health and well being (again) by doing it the “American Way” (read: constantly stressed, unhealthy, always busy) because that is what is standard in our culture. No, thank you. I’m done with that.

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My new career is allowing me to spend more time with my senior puppy (she is currently sitting on my feet as I type this). It is allowing me to spend time with my husband during lunchtime. It is allowing me to have more time to myself, and allowing me to breathe. It is allowing me to reconnect with myself. I am still healing.

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We need to appreciate the work we’ve done and what we’re doing. It is smart to look and plan into the future, but we also need to appreciate where we are in the moment. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re doing it wrong if you truly believe it is right (that is, unless you’re doing something illegal. Ha!). Our internal voice knows what’s best for us, and that is what and to whom we need to listen.

I’ve already done a lot in two months, and I am excited to see where I’ll be in the next six.

I observe before I attack. I am not going into this blindly. I am doing this the right way. My way.

Be well, my friends.

Stress and Depression Are Dumb. So Are Injuries.

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(My limited ROM in my knee doesn’t allow it to bend like I want it to causing me to squat incorrectly. Oh, and that whole only having 4 lumbar vertebrae – as opposed to 5 – also doesn’t help the situation.)

[TL;DR since I didn’t expect to write this much: overwhelming stress from work and my knee injury caused me to get chubby and depressed creating a vicious cycle.  Didn’t realize how chubby I got until I saw a picture of myself taken yesterday.  Knee surgery on Friday, June 20 to fix torn meniscus.]

So, tomorrow is the big day – surgery day!  This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time, but wasn’t sure if it was something that I should do.  I’ve had pain in my right knee since my ACL reconstructive surgery back in 1998, but I just learned to deal with the pain.  I would say about 5 years ago, prior to my starting CrossFit the pain started getting worse, which is why I decided to start exercising again.  I figured my being inactive for about 10 years was causing all of my knee and back pain.

I started CrossFit in January of 2010, and at first I couldn’t run.  It hurt and my endurance sucked balls.  After a few months of CrossFit and getting my body moving again, my knee pain slowly went away and I actually didn’t mind running.  I’ve had a couple of injuries (strained right Achilles, Bankart tear in my left shoulder) during my time with CrossFit, but they were caused by me doing stupid things while playing adult co-ed softball (I have since retired in case you were wondering).  As with any injury or life-changing situation, I felt a bit depressed due to the immediate change in what I was and wasn’t able to do.  The depression slowly went away as I found ways to workout around my injuries – I got really good at pull-ups during my Achilles injury and my legs got really strong during my shoulder injury.  So, you’d think that this current injury would be no prob.  Nope, completely the opposite.

Rewind to late 2013/early 2014 – I was finally starting to feel good again, normal even, and not feeling any pain.  I also felt like I was finally getting my eating habits under control.  As such, I started to increase my training and pushing myself that much harder.  No excuses.  My first full week of training after my shoulder injury was the first week of the 2013 CrossFit Open, so when the 2014 Open came around, I wanted to be ready and injury free. I started deadlifting more, my front and back squat weights were increasing.  I was stoked.  I did well in the Open – I ended up in the top 27% in the world and 29% in the region – and was proud of what I accomplished (I also placed 36th in the SoCal region for 36 year old women! Haha, if only CrossFit were categorized by age…).

Unfortunately, due to the increase in my training and my limited abilities and range of motion in my right knee due to my previous ACL injury and surgery, my knee started acting up again.  I hit a point with my squats where I couldn’t increase the weight anymore.  I was cautious with my training and slowed down when it hurt and forged on when it felt good.  As a precaution, I decided to get an MRI to make sure that I didn’t re-injure my ACL.

My friend Black Widow (BW) and I are pretty similar in abilities and height, and well, when I had long hair people would get us confused, so, we’re a pretty good match for partner competitions.  We signed up for the Dynamic Duel partner competition this past April 26, the weekend after my MRI.  That was my last full-on workout. Sad face.

The Dynamic Duel consisted of lots of heavy squats and my knee did not enjoy them.  I had practiced the 95lb squat cleans the Monday prior to the competition and felt pretty good about them, and felt ready for the comp.  Unfortunately, the overwhelming stress at work didn’t do my body good.

My supervisor went on maternity leave a couple weeks early leaving me with the added stress to figure out some of the tasks that I was to take over while she was out.  The week prior to the competition was her program’s HUGE annual review week-long meeting that I had to take over with the planning and organizing on top of my regular job.  I didn’t sleep much, my meal schedule was off, and I was working tons of overtime.  I was T.I.R.E.D.  Regardless, I was looking forward to competing with BW.

The first WOD of the competition was difficult but we managed to get through most of it.  My body was tired, but nothing felt off.  The last WOD of the day was squat heavy and it messed me up.

The WOD was:
Every minute on the minute for 10 min:
1st partner starts with 7 goblet squats with a 35lb kettlebell, then does 5 kettlebell swings.
2nd partner then does 95lb squat cleans for the remaining time in the minute.
At the top of the minute, the partners switch.

10169191_10152330702245700_648059738262056476_n(This was me waiting for my turn at squat cleans looking at BW while she was doing her goblet squats like, “I don’t want to do this anymore”.)

photo (4)(At home after the comp. I felt super old and broken.)

After the end of that WOD, my knee did not feel right.  I could barely walk and it hurt so bad.  I took a week off from working out to give my body a rest.  After two weeks, I still felt off.  This is when I received the results of the MRI.  Verdict: a small medial, posterior horn meniscal tear.  So this is the pain that I’ve been feeling for YEARS!  After receiving the results, I decided to give my body a break.  I’ve been definitely feeling physically older, and I attribute a lot of that to the stress that I’ve been feeling at work.  I had planned on doing upper body workouts and still exercising regularly.  Nope, that didn’t happen.  Stress got the best of me.

I stopped working out.  I started eating horribly.  I still wasn’t sleeping well.  I started to become depressed, which led to not wanting to workout, eating crap, and no sleep.  It’s such an effing vicious cycle.  Oh, and guess what?  Work got even MORE stressful.  So not only was I doing two positions, my student assistant quit and I, therefore, had to take on her work.  Oh, I was also voluntold to assist with planning four retirement parties all in the month of June.  Sure, I’ll do three positions and plan huge parties at the university on top of my coaching and operations duties at the gym.  Sure, no problem at all.  So you can imagine how vicious the above-mentioned cycle got recently.  I need to learn to not be so nice and to say no.

Yesterday, I had BW take pictures of me doing various squats from all different angles, so I could compare the differences in my body mechanics before and after surgery.  I knew I was getting a bit soft in the middle but I was not expecting to see what I saw in my squat pictures – my big ol’ gut chillin’ right in front of the camera (see below – enjoy!).  It’s gross and embarrassing and I’m upset that I’ve let myself get to this point.  This is what stress and depression has done to me.  Ugh.

photo (3)(Chubby little Ninja with giant spider bite on her leg that you can see bulging out!)

I am very much looking forward to having surgery and getting back in the gym and using my entire body.  My doctor said that I will pretty much be ready to start working out again after two weeks.  I sure hope so!  I also recently (as of yesterday!) hired a new student assistant to work for me over the summer and can start June 30, and I also found out that my supervisor will be coming back part-time July 1.  So, things are looking up!  As much as stress and depression are dumb, I do learn a lot from what I experience during those rough times.  Although there were days where I wanted to crawl into the fetal position and cry for days, or stab a beeotch in the ear, I forced myself to keep my head up no matter how difficult it was.

No matter how exhausted or pissed off I was from work, I found solace at the gym and from my members.  It’s amazing how much better I felt once I got there and saw my CrossFit family even after working 8-10 hours and being at the gym for another 3, and getting home around 9pm. So big THANKS and giant internet hug to my CFSB family. Y’all are pretty neat, and I look forward to working out with you again soon!  I’ll get through this, I always do.

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Patience and Persistence Leads to Progress: Maira’s First Year in CrossFit

BeforeAfter1Left: May 2013, Right: April 2014

April 15, 2013 is the day it all began. Actually, it began a few days before she joined her first class. Taking the initiative to make the call to sign up for a basic movements course in CrossFit is a HUGE step. It’s easy for some, but nerve-wracking for most. When I first saw Maira and her friend walk into my class, they both looked scared, hesitant, and had the look of “what the hell am I doing here?” all over their face. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, or how long they were going to last. That didn’t change my coaching them, but it was something that stirred in the back of my mind. As with the majority of the female athletes when they first start, they gave me every excuse as to why they couldn’t do this or that. (Thanks society for fucking up our self-esteem!) Working with them was a challenge as they had never done anything like this before and had never been encouraged to step out of their comfort zone in this way, and it was my job to break them of their negative thoughts and to convince them that they could indeed do all of this “crazy CrossFit stuff”.

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After a few months or so into it, Maira’s confidence began to grow, as did her willingness to push herself harder and further. Her negative mindset began to diminish as well. As such, she began to post pictures of her lifting on Instagram, and of course, the haters came out to express their ignorance. Did it stop her? Absolutely not. It only made her stronger – mentally and physically. (She took screenshots of some of the messages people sent her and sent them to me. It was pretty ridiculous.) She started eating better, she was smiling more, she had more energy. She was running! She was seeing results, which increased her drive to do more. Now that she was becoming more comfortable with the movements and with who she was (which is awesome, btw!), she no longer wanted to just look good, she wanted to get stronger. This pleased me so.

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Other than the community aspect, what I love most about CrossFit is that it changes and challenges your mindset and every negative thing you’ve ever been told. The workouts that we set before the athletes present a challenge. These challenges suck, but it gets easier. It gets easier in a sense that we approach them differently than how we did at the beginning of our CrossFit journey. It is our choice as to how we approach these workouts (aka challenges), and you soon figure out that having a shitty mindset gets you nowhere fast. This also translates into real life.

 

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Maira is a twenty-something single mama of a beautiful 6 1/2 year old girl. She also works multiple jobs and has to deal with the usual stress that comes with a “baby daddy (BD)”. Over the past year that I’ve known her, she’s dealt with a lot of drama (even the death of her best friend), but this woman is relentless. There have been days where it looked like she wanted to cry because she was worried and/or stressed about finances or the BD or whatever, but she still came to the gym and did work. In return, I think this new mindset that CrossFit presented to her allowed her to tackle life’s challenges in a positive way.

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Now, after a year, Maira is getting PRs left and right and out-lifting some of the guys at the gym. She’s even lifting with some of the big dogs, too! It brings me so much joy to see how much progress she has made over the past year and to see turning her into the beautiful and confident woman that she was meant to be. Nothing’s gonna stop her!

Maira, I am so very proud of everything you have accomplished this year, and I look forward to many more years with you! Get it, girl.

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CrossFit Open WOD 14.1: Do More. Suck Less.

Do More. Suck Less

The 2014 CrossFit Open began last Thursday. This is a huge time in the CrossFit world. It is a time where we get to see what we’re made of, and to compete with CrossFitters from all over the World. If you have no idea what The Open is, click HERE.

I had planned on doing each of the WODs only one time, no re-dos. I like to treat the Open WODs as a regular competition where you only get one chance to give it your all. Wellllll, my performance last night is an exception. The odds were not in my favor – I was tired all day, most likely because I didn’t eat much and decided to lay down and woke up only 20 minutes before I was to perform the WOD, aaaaand my monthly friend was being a bitch. Whah whah. I was also doing the WOD at another gym in town, and while I was not in my element, I think the big factor there was that I didn’t have my CFSB family there for support. They’re pretty awesome. I’m not making excuses, just giving a glimpse into the state of mind I was in. I tried to shake it off and do work. Unfortunately, my body had other plans.

14.1 is as follows:
AMRAP (as many reps as possible): 10 minutes
30 Double unders
15 Power snatches @ 55lbs

Both of these skills are fairly easy for me. However, there are days where I just can’t seem to do double unders, and you guessed it, last night was one of those nights. I kept tripping on my rope and couldn’t get a consistent rhythm with my jumping. I think my nerves got me rushing and I just lost control. It got so bad to the point where I stopped a few times to laugh because it was so ridiculous and embarrassing. I was also so close to quitting since I knew that I was going to do it again. However, I couldn’t quit. I couldn’t show my athletes that I was a quitter. I managed to finish the WOD with 4 rounds + 27 reps. I was hoping to get close to 6 rounds (270). I was so disappointed, that I had to do it again.

I dreamt about double unders all night. I woke up with sore trapezius muscles, or what we at CFSB like to call “shrug pieces,” because of all the shrugging in the snatches from my first attempt. I also wore my “Do More Suck Less” shirt as motivation.

14.1 Pace Chart

Tall Guy mapped out pace times for every outcome of rounds. He’s such a nerd; I love it! It’s all about strategery! It definitely helped to give us an idea of where we were in the middle of the WOD. I was doing pretty well and was on a good pace to complete 6 rounds. However, around the 3rd or 4th round it got tough and I lost time, but I hung on. I was able to do all of my double unders unbroken for 3 of the 5 rounds because I forced myself to slow down and find a consistent rhythm. My snatches weren’t too bad, but I could’ve used my legs and hips more. The last set of double unders were pretty funny. I felt like I was on the verge of complete body failure. My arms didn’t want to move, I felt like vomiting, I felt my head spinning, and the cramps. Holy cramps! Why do I do CrossFit again?! Well, I survived, and I am pleased to say that I got 5 rounds + 17 reps for a total of 242 reps.

Now, many of my new athletes have asked why they should sign up for The Open. There are so many reasons why people should do it, but I will list my top 3 reasons, which all feed off one another.

1. Accountability. In my opinion, on average we all don’t push ourselves as hard as we should during regular workout days. It’s either after work or school, we’re tired and hungry, and we just want to get the workout in and go home and go to bed. There are also days where we just don’t want to go and instead go straight home. I know what my athletes (and myself) are capable of, and I’m not always seeing max effort. Signing up for The Open holds us accountable in that we are required to submit a score by Monday at 5pm. We have 4 days to complete the WOD after it is announced and therefore have to put the effort in and make time to do it.

2. Focus. Participation in The Open really challenges our focus. Last night my focus was shit, and therefore I had to force myself to really focus during my second attempt. For those 10 minutes of hell, you cannot let any self-doubt, any negativity enter your mind or it will take you over. Case in point, my performance last night. Calmness, focus, and drive are all that can be there. However, when we allow ourselves to really zone in, it is amazing what we can accomplish. I have two athletes who were planning on not doing 14.1 because they had never done double unders. After much coercion and pep talking, they did it. Athlete 1 ended up doing 2 full rounds (for a total of 60 double unders!) and Athlete 2 practiced them this afternoon and got 20. I’m so excited to see what athlete 2 will do tomorrow when she attempts 14.1.

3. Mental fortitude. Anyone that does CrossFit has to have some level of mental fortitude. It is not possible to do these workouts without it. However, The Open presents another level to which you can see what you are made of. I think my absolute favorite part of The Open is seeing how far people push themselves regardless of how much blood, sweat, and tears are pouring out of their bodies. The Open is a test of fitness – not only fitness of your body, but fitness of your mind. How far can and will you go?

I am very excited to see what my athletes are going to accomplish over these next 5 weeks. It brings me so much joy to see them overcome their self-doubt and kick ass. I coach some of the greatest people I have ever met, and as such, they make me want to work harder and be better. CFSB rules!

Being Content with Mediocrity in a Community of Overachievers

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Team Ninja & the Goon

One thing I find interesting about CrossFit and the Olympics is that you are constantly reminded of your age. The majority of the commentators I’ve heard while watching the Olympics have mentioned that one’s athletic career is pretty much over once the athlete has reached their 30s. Hell, if you’re an Olympic-level gymnast, you’re done by 18 (21, if you’re lucky). With regards to CrossFit, you are constantly reminded of your age when your body just doesn’t want to move like it used to – you feel your knees and back ache often and that’s just during the warm-up! Actually, I’m pretty sure the constant reminder is when you see these damn youngins walking around with their perfect bodies not realizing (or caring) what’s coming for them in about 5-10 years. Ha! Yeah, go ahead and continue to think you can eat like that… just you wait! (Insert evil laugh here.)

When I mention “age” I am also referring to what got you to where you are at a particular age. At ages 14-16 years, I was in my prime in gymnastics – flexible, nimble, beautiful six-pack abs; at age 18, I was still pretty good and still had some of my six-pack abs; at age 19 I moved to California and basically didn’t work out until I started CrossFit at the age of 32. I also had a terrible diet. Imagine what sort of shape I would be in had I had CrossFit as soon as I finished my gymnastics career. Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

Well, here I am at the ripe old age of 36, and after 4 years of CrossFit, mixed in with two major injuries (from softball), I am feeling the strongest I’ve ever been, all the while feeling my body getting older.

This past weekend, Tall Guy and I competed in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre down in Ventura hosted by West Coast Strength and Conditioning. It was a co-ed partner competition with RXd, Modified, and Masters divisions. We still have a few years before we are considered masters competitors; however, we are at the upper end of the regular divisions, which is one thing that I love and hate about CrossFit. I love that I get to compete against people much much younger than me (and it feels pretty good to beat them, too), yet at the same time it’s no wonder when they do beat me (and at times I feel like they should beat me). Some of these “kids” are just out of college having competed at D1 schools, other competitors took part in past Regionals competitions, and many are also contenders to make it to Regionals this year.

What I also love and hate about CrossFit is that there are no weight divisions. So little 130-pound me often competes with women that have easily 20+ pounds on me. Me having to push jerk 95lbs 40 times is not the same as someone that is 155lbs. I think it’s pretty cool that I can lift as much weight as women that are bigger than me, but at the same time it sucks because they have a distinct advantage.

Many of the competitors this past Saturday looked like they were in their early to mid-20s with some that looked around my age. Many of the women in my division had beautifully muscular and toned bodies to the point where I would find myself staring at them. They sure are fascinating specimens of the female body! Dayam.

During the competition, while I was out of breath, trying not to vomit, and my body hurting, I looked around and saw these young competitors just plowing through the WODs and all I could think was, “This isn’t fair, I got like 10 years on these bitches! This isn’t fair, I’m lifting half of my body weight here and they’re not!” Yeah, I know I need to work on my mental game; however, this perceived “unfairness” pushed me to work harder, to not give up, and to also appreciate my effort and placing in the competition. Not only was I one of the smallest competitors in my division, I had the tallest partner – one I had to carry twice for the distance of 60 feet each time in the middle of a WOD. So, yes, I’m gonna say that I had to work a little bit harder than others. I’m not writing this to complain, but to merely breakdown how interesting, shitty, fair and unfair CrossFit is and that’s why I love it.

Tall Guy and I had 3 goals going into this competition: 1) Don’t get injured; 2) Don’t get divorced; 3) Don’t get last place. I am pleased to say that we succeeded in all 3 goals. We ended up placing 31st out of 46 teams, he didn’t crush me during the partner carries, and we are still married. Not bad for some old farts.

The competition WODs for the RXd division were:

WOD #1
10 min time cap:
21-15-9
Deadlift (245#/155#)
Box jump (30”/24”)

Our time: 9:16 (20th place)

WOD#2
22 min cap (partners split the reps)
200 Double unders
Partner Carry 60 ft (girl carry guy)
120 Sandbag Shouldered Squats (80#/60#)
Partner Carry 60 ft (guy carry girl)
80 Shoulder to overhead (135#/95#)
Partner Carry 60 ft (girl carry guy)
40 DB Snatches alternating hands (55#/30#)
Partner Carry 60 ft. (guy carry girl)
200 Double unders

Our time: 21:51 (34th place)

Floater:
For calories: 3 min Airdyne + 3 min rower (switch during 1min transition)

Our score: 198 (32nd place)