Toeing a line between excuse and reality

It’s been exactly one week since I started BFF’s plan. Well…I guess almost a week. Last Friday, I was super pumped up with some music I found on Spotify that I got home and decided to go for a run. Not the best run in the world, but a run nonetheless. And then Saturday was when the real ass-kicking began.

I have vigilantly weighed, measured, and tracked what has gone in my mouth, while continuing to exercise (and not increasing calories by whatever FitBit/MyFitnessPal told me I burned). Then my schedule was thus:

Saturday – 2-mile run with BFF

Sunday – 4(ish)-mile run with BFF

Monday – Couldn’t move, so rest day

Tuesday – Short morning strength session

Wednesday – Short morning strength session + evening Vinyasa (super challenging)

Thursday – Short morning strength session

Friday (today) – rest day + cheat meal

Friday is also my traditional weigh-in day. After all the effort put in this week, I was anxious to hop on the scale. I woke up, emptied out (ahem), and hopped on. And…

What…?

Up 0.6#.

I was both shocked and not at all surprised. I mean, what has been my pattern recently, anyway? Exert effort, body works doubletime to shut it off. What it FEELS like is that I’ve just messed around so long with diet and exercise that now just everything is out of whack and nothing wants to work. The level of frustration just exploded.

And then I had what is most likely my final WW coaching call (I ended up canceling/nonrenewing, effective next week). And while Coach LG was very nice and helpful, her reaction to the weight gain was more of “What could be happening?” than going for “What did you do wrong?”

Which is fine. Which is what they’re supposed to do. But I also feel like the “What could be happening?” question just kind of gives you something to blame the gain on that is not yourself.

For example, last week, I had a tough week and was up 1.5#. I was/am super constipated (TMI, sorry). Coach LG’s suggestion? Well, it’s clearly the constipation, and just keep doing what you’re doing.

Okay!

This week?

Well, you have been exercising a lot more than your body is used to. Your muscles are probably holding on to a lot of water right now. And it’s nearing that time of the month. And you’re still constipated. Keep doing what you’re doing, and I’m sure this is a fluke.

Okay!

But I gotta wonder…does this method totally take all responsibility off me? This week, I tend to agree. I’ve been sore beyond belief and I’ve been drinking a ton of water. And my PMS is in full swing (sorry, The Boy). But if you gain and gain and gain…it can’t always be water weight or PMS.

Really, this method toes the line between reality and excuse.

What is reality?

Well…

  • Even double doses of magnesium isn’t helping my….daily rhythm.
  • My period’s due to start in about 4 days.
  • I have worked out hard 3/7 days, and done strength circuits 3/7 days.
  • I have craved salt.
  • I have tracked food, and stayed within budget, but of course can always measure more carefully.
  • This is the first week since March that I have eaten dinner every night.
  • I had four meals out this week: 2 dinners (Saturday + Sunday) and 2 lunches (Tuesday and Wednesday), plus some soft serve on Saturday, though tracked to the best of my ability.
  • I have not slept well on most nights.

And that’s the god-honest truth. What’s most important right now is being honest with myself. I have even sent nutrition screenshots to BFF to keep me on track.

I hope these are not excuses, and I hope that I AM being honest with myself. But who knows…maybe my muscles ARE being shocked and holding on to a crapton of water. We shall see.

In the mean time, I’m trying not to get wrapped up in fads. Facebook is hard. A few years ago everyone was preaching the virtues of intermittent fasting. And now–surprise, surprise–those same people are preaching the virtues of flexible dieting (i.e., If It Fits Your Macros). These sorts of people and philosophies make me SUPER uncomfortable and self-conscious. Like I’m doing something EXTREMELY wrong, and THIS IS THE ANSWER. I really don’t want to fall down that rabbit hole; while macros are important, I’m not interested in obsessively hitting each goal exactly.

The goal here is to live life, be healthy, look hot, and not obsess/encourage further eating disorders.

Triggers, man.

DK OUT.

PS, have a great and healthy weekend, all! ❤

Crossfit 101: Don’t cheat on burpees

Nate and I show off our badass muscles.
Nate and I show off our badass muscles.

I’m not sure why they’re choosing now, but lately people have been telling me more than usual either that I’m looking good or that I’ve gotten crazy strong really fast.

Now, as I’ve stated multiple times, I don’t think anything with me or this crazy journey I’m on moves fast. But one thing’s definitely certain: There was definitely a point, and it was kind of recent, when I stopped making excuses for why I had to stick with a 45# weight for most WODs. And then, soon after, I stopped making excuses about why I wouldn’t try something just a little bit heavier.

When friends tell me that I’m really strong, this question normally follows: Where did it come from?

Just because, to them, it came out of nowhere.

I never really had an answer for them.

But now that I’m thinking about it, I guess I do.

It was a long process, and I’ll tell you about each little milestone that ended up being a major milestone.

When I first started Crossfit, I hated burpees. Hell. I still do hate burpees! Buck furpees! But when I first started Crossfit, I would look at the WOD the night before (which I still do, actually), and if the WOD included ANY amount of either burpees or running, I would devoutly SKIP that WOD. Yup. I didn’t care if that meant I came in once or twice a week. I would not—I repeat, WOULD NOT—do burpees and I would not run.

Then, one day I decided that I was sick of skipping WODs. I mean, I was paying for the membership, right? Why should I skip a WOD because of stupid burpees. So I told myself that I’d come in, but I’d scale the burpees. Because I could always scale. And who wanted to do howevermany burpees were on the docket anyway, when it literally takes me twice as long as everyone else to do the movement (this is still the case; back then, it was probably closer to three or four times the average burpee-doer)? Not me.

So I started coming in. And I scaled the shit out of burpees. At first, I would ask if I could scale, and the coach would give me a number to do, and I would begrudgingly do them.

Then came a point where, if I asked if I could scale a movement, I got THE FACE. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that head-tilt/raised-brow/jaw-gaping look that you get when you ask to do something that the coach knows is absolutely stupid, and the answer is an obvious “no.” When it came to that point, I realized that nobody would let me continue to scale burpees. So that meant, either I start skipping WODs again, or take matters into my own hands. And since WHEN am I not stubborn? Obviously, I took matters into my own hands.

I didn’t tell anyone, but I started “scaling” burpees; i.e., I started cheating at burpee WODs. All of a sudden, I was finishing with great times, and I was feeling pretty good about my “scaling.”

(Note: Even though I was indeed cheating myself out of burpees, one good thing that came out of this was that I began to feel more confident in what I COULD do, and my burpee form improved immensely.)

I continued “scaling” burpees probably until mid-January. And then, after finishing a WOD without scaling burpees, I would go up to Dean and proclaim to him, “Guess what?! I DIDN’T CHEAT ON BURPEES!” And he’s like, “You were cheating on burpees? What is WRONG with you?”

But whether I knew it or not, and whether I liked it or not, this seemed to be one of the major catalysts to me making some major progress at the gym. I wasn’t cheating on burpees. I was doing them all. Just like everyone else. It no longer gave me extreme anxiety to come in and do them (I still have anxiety, but not as much as I used to), even if I disliked them. I even came in and tackled the 100 burpee pull-ups, and freaking FINISHED it.

Meanwhile, since I wasn’t scaling burpees anymore, I felt more comfortable trying to go heavier or not scaling other things, either.

Somewhere along the 90-Day Challenge (which I did not participate in, but did do a lot of those benchmark workouts), I did Fran at 55#. And I remember thinking afterward, Boy did that suck, but I totally could have gone heavier. So the next time it came around, I decided to go at, what I have dubbed, half Rx. That’s right—I did 45 thrusters at 65#. And I’m not gonna lie, it kicked my ass. But I did it. I did it, and I didn’t necessarily think that I could, or that I would be able to.

Then, I realized that I shouldn’t be intimidated by WODs that have movements I can’t do, or need to scale. What I was then determined to work on was the movements I could do, and do them well. And try not to scale. Heavy deadlifts? Why SHOULDN’T I go Rx? Give me a reason. If I can lift more than that more than once, why the hell not?

75# sumo deadlift high pulls? Why the hell not? Just the other day I did a bunch of 75# power cleans. (Okay, this logic didn’t really work in my favor, but I still did it.)

You need me to do an AMRAP that has 65# push presses? Why not? I did FRAN—45 THRUSTERS—at 65#. 

It’s like, I did it once, and so I know I can do it, so why not do it again?

And that’s pretty much how it’s been going.

Okay, I can swing a 100# kettlebell Russian-style for 30 seconds without stopping. Why shouldn’t I use the 35# bell for the WOD? It’s only 90 swings!

Okay, I can do 10 lunges at full ROM, why am I telling myself I can’t do 10 sets of those 10? (And just this week, I did 150 full ROM lunges!)

And then all of a sudden, I started getting some crazy PRs. Like, CRAZY PRs. Deadlift PR—check. Running PRs—check. Squatting PRs—check. Rowing PRs—check. The most impressive one? I went from having a 1RM overhead squat of about 55# to having a 3RM overhead squat of 80#.

I have been amazed by what my body can do when I (a) put myself out there, (b) have a little courage, (c) and believe I can do it.

So yes. Lately, I’ve been feeling strong and really, really good about where I am in the gym. Everything seems to be slipping right into place here. And I’m really hoping that this progress will continue. But if I have any advice to anyone who wants to make that leap and get to the next level of their training, it is this:

Don’t cheat on burpees.

Conflicting feelings

 

Wanna see a heinous face? Just watch me PR a 3RM deadlift.
Wanna see a heinous face? Just watch me PR a 3RM deadlift.

I want to know: If I PR’d, why do I still feel down?

 

Tuesday’s WOD was all about strength, which are honestly some of my very favorite workouts. I almost always leave feeling SUPER empowered, and in awe of the strength of my “classmates” (wodmates?). But for some reason, Tuesday really got me down. My legs and shoulders were on fire from Monday’s 20-minute AMRAP, and the dynamic warmup didn’t help. Then there was the part where we were supposed to be back squatting our bodyweight.

I had actually been looking forward for a while to a back-squat redo. Last time we found our one-rep max, I felt like I went heavy, but not heavy enough. And this was a while ago, and so I felt like I could really push myself Tuesday—that if I couldn’t get 75%, I could at least get 50%.

I couldn’t even get 50%. From the moment my shoulders touched the bar, I knew something was up. And I maxed out at seven reps of 95#.

See, normally, I would be over the moon about this. I get high on PRs, and this was definitely a PR (although, strangely enough, I am able to front squat more than I can back squat…strange). A few months ago, my one-rep max was 90#, and Tuesday I did SEVEN reps of 95# (which, then, would mean that my one-rep is now theoretically around 115#). Really, I should feel pretty freaking awesome about this. But I don’t.

I finished, and I didn’t feel strong. I felt like my ass was kicked by the bar. And now I’m all stiff and sore.

Why is this? Why am I not feeling ridiculously elated that I hit a major PR?

I think part of it was the bodyweight requirement. I really, really wanted to kick some serious ass with this one. My deadlifts feel strong (and are by far my best weight to body-weight ratio lift), my front squats are getting stronger, my snatches aren’t horrible. I’m thinking the best I can do is continue with good nutrition and persevering on the WODs.

What do you do when you’ve done great but still feel like you didn’t perform your best?