Category Archives: crossfit

Diary of a Strong Mom

Before I got pregnant, I was working on getting stronger. Pregnancy kicked my butt when it came to strength and having a newborn was its own WOD*. Also, don’t get me started on sleep deprivation and exercise.

But now things are getting better. Sleep is improving. Diet is (almost) back on track. My deadlines are all under control. I’m feeling more and more like me. So of course, instead of accepting and celebrating that, I want to turn my sights – and my very limited amount of free time – on regaining my strength and becoming the Badass Mom Who Can Lift a Car Off Her Kid (TM) that I’ve always wanted to be.

I have the equipment, I’m working on building the program, I have the time three days a week at least (I just have to jealously protect it), now I just need the accountability. It’s been much too easy to push starting off on tomorrow (tomorrow, always tomorrow**), but my reasons are becoming excuses. The problem is that I have started a number of times already, only to get derailed for one reason or another (see: exhaustion).

I’ve been thinking of posting once or twice a week here re: fitness and what I’m doing, thoughts, goals, etc. I’m on the fence because I know some people are not in a place where they can exercise and seeing stuff like that might not be helpful. I know seeing fitness stuff just stressed me the fuck out until a month or two ago. And/or it might just not be interesting to y’all. I have the speckruns.tumblr, after all, and could post there.

But, at the same time, maybe some of you are in the same place. I would love to have/find some buddies and work towards our various goals together. Plus, this blog has never really had a singular focus aside from what I’m focused on at the time. It all started as a book review blog, then became a Whole30/Crossfit blog, which turned into an account of my time doing the Autoimmune Protocol, then morphed into a TTC blog, and is now all things Lady Jr and gay momhood. Adding in a layer of strong!mom seems like a natural evolution.

Anyway, that’s all to say: if y’all have a strong opinion about whether or not you see strength training posts showing up on your dash, now is the time to chime in. ❤

* Workout of the Day, a Crossfit term. WODs are short, intense, and you spend every second dreading the next and wishing it was over.

**Morgen, morgen, nur nicht heute, sagen all die faule Leute

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Frustrated with Crossfit

Throughout the TTC process, I spent a considerable amount of time daydreaming of continuing to do Crossfit while I was pregnant. Because obviously I would. I foresaw nothing stopping me but maybe my doctor, whom I would then cheerfully school on the adaptations I would make and the benefit of continued exercise. Otherwise, aside from dropping the weight on my lifts, everything would be exactly the same.

Aaaaaahahahahahah.

Yeah no.

I am so frustrated with my workouts. I have cried after every single class these past two weeks because I’m so slow, so weak, so behind everyone else. Or I can’t even do the movement. I told my coaches early hoping they would work with me, but so far, nothing. I’ve been left to my own devices on multiple occasions and I’m this close to throwing in the towel.

It doesn’t help that we’ve just been doing a lot of stuff I shouldn’t be doing lately, like 1RMs (1 Rep Max, again as heavy as you can possibly go) and workouts at 100%. Take last night, which was the final straw: a 1RM weighted dip and then a 100% full out mile run or 2k row. Hahahah – no.

I tried to do the dip anyway (because I’m smart) and was the only one to fail at it. So I got to spend 30min in the back of the gym while the rest of the class worked on their 1RMs. I ended up doing the 2k row and then just leaving because I. was. done.

It’s hard to tell how much of my frustration is hormonal. I know second trimester is when I’m supposed to start getting extra sensitive, and holy fuck am I sensitive about this. I also don’t know how to dial that sensitivity down.

But I can’t keep doing this. It’s everything I hated about sports growing up – constantly being the slowest and worst, being ignored or skipped over in any group activities. I had hoped Crossfit would be a better environment during this, especially our box, but it looks like I was wrong.

I’m not rage-quitting yet, but I am going to ditch the classes and sit in on Lady’s one-on-one training for a few weeks instead and see how that goes. I am a very competitive person and I may just need to take myself out of that competitive space if I can’t turn that off.

I hate the idea of quitting Crossfit, but as Lady reminded me last night, it’s not worth doing if it isn’t fun.

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Filed under crossfit, depression, gaybies, pregnancy

March is the new… February??

Despite everything awful that was February, my goal to make up for January by restarting the year in February instead actually worked out relatively okay. It could have been worse – far worse – and the fact that I managed to keep myself going on more than just one goal and actually make progress when all I wanted to do sometimes, all I could do, was function enough to not lose my job, was pretty impressive. Or at least, I’m trying to believe that.

My main goal was to ease back into things after the sucker punch that was January. I made small goals like hitting the weights, biking to work, and going on runs at least twice a week (each). Small walks every day. Take time to breathe and think. And a larger goal of finishing the first draft of my WIP by mid-February and sticking to the Whole30 for 28 days.

I did all of those. Well. To an extent. I only ran once last week, but I did everything else and even returned to Crossfit. I finished my first draft just a little past mid-February and now I’m doing the read-through and marking up all the bits, big and small, that need to be fixed before the final draft goes to betas.

I did falter and mostly stop the Whole28 at day 22, though, and I’m okay with that. Subsequent Whole30’s are always the most difficult because you don’t see the biggest changes anymore. I wanted to do a reset, to remind myself that eating lots of bready stuff and alcohol and treats doesn’t feel good, and strictly as a reset it was a success. Even though I fell off the wagon early, I have still mostly stuck to the Whole30 rules for the rest of the month and I intend to at least continue avoiding all the treats and sweets at work.

My goal for March is simple: to continue and expand upon what I was able to do in February. My fitness goals are going to shift a little, because there’s no way I can lift/bike/run 2x a week while adding Crossfit right on top of that. Something will have to go, and it will probably be running. But not completely, because I have a ton of Zombies, Run! workouts to do and I loves them, yes I do.

As much as I want to believe I can finish my read-through and edits by mid-March, that’s just not going to happen. So I’m shifting my deadline to have this done for betas to April 1st instead and they can all decide for themselves whether the 300page behemoth I drop into their inboxes that day is a joke or not.

Other things I started in February: trying to find a therapist. You know, I had kinda hoped deciding to get help would instantly result in help getting had, but apparently not. So while I am more emotionally sound, I will put my efforts into this and hopefully it will pay off before I feel like I’m going crazy again.

Also, French. If anyone has any tips or tricks to fitting French learning into each day, I would appreciate it. I do Duolingo, but if I don’t get it in first thing it often doesn’t happen. This may just be a priorities thing, but any little bit helps.

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Filed under crossfit, depression, diet, fitness, goals, n steps

Hellooooo Crossfit

I stopped going to Crossfit almost a year and a half ago because a) we needed to save money for gayby, and b) I wanted to focus on strength training. We were originally only going to be out of it for six months, but that stretched into so many more months due to Newton’s first law of motion. Then I was concerned about starting up something so intensive again while TTC. Then it was just too hard to coordinate around work, when work decided to be suddenly very strict about time.

I’d been flirting with going back for at least the last six months. I proved to myself that I could strength train on my own, but every attempt at metcons fell flat on its face. I need a bunch of other people, a clock on the wall, and a yelling coach for me to actually dig in and do them.

Then I was thinking back over the past few years, about my depression, anxiety, and how they’ve both diminished and grown again, and what else has changed in that time. My diet has largely stayed the same, minus a few things here and there, but it’s still predominantly vegetable-based with lots of extra fats and animal protein. TTC has taken over, and I’m sure the stress from that hasn’t been helpful. The only other major change was first introducing crossfit, then quitting it more recently.

I thought: I still work out. I lift. I bike. I run.

But that’s not quite the same, is it? My workouts lack intensity. Especially consistent intensity. And you can’t discount that badass feeling you get when you RX a WOD (that is to say: do a workout exactly as it’s written, no lighter weights or fewer reps).

And I kind of had this mini revelation. Maybe it had really been too long without all that. Maybe it wasn’t just the change in diet that had been so beneficial for my depression and anxiety. Maybe it was also the intense exercise program and the community that came with it.

Within minutes of that revelation I was googling boxes (i.e. Crossfit gyms) and looking up class times and doing the necessary budget calculations to see if I could go back. And then an hour or so later, I went to a nearby box on my lunch break and did the WOD (Workout of the Day). It was awful. And painful. But I did it (RX!!) and I survived.

And I felt something I hadn’t felt in over a year. Out of breath, yeah. But also pride in my body.

I don’t know if going back to Crossfit now is going to affect my cycle or TTC. Frankly, right now, I don’t care. Whatever I was doing before clearly wasn’t working, so this can’t hurt. And besides, we’re going to break soon, so I’ll even have a few months for my body to get used to the new.

I am tired and depressed and I need to take care of myself. I have already sacrificed so much for the TTC process. It’s time to take a little bit of that back.

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Filed under crossfit, depression, fitness, TTC

How Much I Hate Losing Weight: Let Me Count the Weighs

I made the mistake of weighing myself last week. I’d been so good about the scale ever since January, even going so far as to put it away in the closet. Then it slipped back out again due to my curiosity (and subsequent consternation) sometime in May and now it’s back in the bathroom, waiting for our morning feet.

I kind of knew what to expect because my skirts have been sitting higher and my stomach has been looking a wee bit too paunchy. But seeing the number kind of hit me right where it hurts. 170. Ouch. I haven’t been that heavy since… actually I can’t even remember. I’ve hovered between 150-165 all of my adult life (let’s just not talk about middle school, okay?) and it was when I hit 165 right out of college that I knew I needed to do something about it.

(For context, I’m 5’9″)

The weird thing is that I don’t feel that heavy. When I was 165 back in the day, I actually felt chubby. I had a big ol’ paunch and flabby arms and hated everything about my body. Now I’m mostly cool with it. Granted, I’ve spent a lot of the intervening time just learning to love my body as it is, but also some of that time was focused on weightlifting, which has definitely left it’s mark.

That said, as much as I want to attribute the weight gain to pure muscular gain  (yeah!!) – because the scale can and does lie – the skirts do not lie. When your skirts start feeling too tight – especially a-line’s – then it’s probably time to take a sober look at your lifestyle and reevaluate. And, alas, I know exactly where this has all come from. I was very hesitant to restrict calories while we were TTC, so I might have gone off the other end. Add to that depression and slowly, but thoroughly, ditching cardio in favor of short lifting sessions… well.

All that needs to change. My wife has also gained a wee bit of weight and got a firm kick in the ass at her last physical. So at least I won’t be alone in this endeavor. I floated the possibility of a return to Crossfit to get our asses back in gear, since that worked very well in keeping us fit and at a reasonable weight for two years. It’s actually been a full year since we stopped going, and I still miss the sweat and pain. God, crossfit sucks is wonderful.

But I digress.

The mere threat of returning to Crossfit seems to have been enough for her to start changing things up. So I set a date: we both need to lose 5 pounds by October, or else we will have to go back. While I actually like Crossfit, I am reticent to drop the big wads of cash we don’t have to go back. So I would actually prefer not to return. But to do that, I need to get my ass in shape.

Thankfully, I know of several tried & true ways to lose a few pounds and start feeling better. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they’re easy. Number one, of course, is diet. I need to shore up my diet. It’s already about 90%, but I need to get that extra 10% to lose fat. Right now I’m cleaning up the edges, taking less snacks to work, keeping carbs low, and keeping dinner light. After my birthday I’m going to cut out alcohol. All that might be enough. If it’s not, I will turn to the Wahl’s Protocol Plus, a ketogenic fasting diet, because a) I’ve been curious about that diet for a while now and b) fasting diets have performed very well at just ditching fat in clinical trials.

Number two: exercise. While I thought I had been doing enough with weight lifting, biking to work, and long walks, a closer look simply proves that it wasn’t enough. All of those things are all well and good for health and maintenance, but what I was lacking – and what Crossfit had in abundance – was anything high intensity. I wasn’t getting sweaty or out of breath or making my heart pound. I was going to the gym 2-3 times a week, lifting heavy, and then leaving. Again, perfect for strength. But not enough.

To fix that, I’m biting the bullet and adding in Crossfit-style workouts after I lift. Three times a week I will work really really hard for 10min. I will not be afraid to sweat (and subsequently stink a bit at work). I will not be afraid to push myself and breathe hard.

I’ve done two already this week and damn am I out of practice. I can already tell that I desperately needed this. And without TTC for a few months, I don’t have to worry about pushing myself too hard.

(What do these workouts look like? Well, whatever I can manage to adapt to the big-box gym. Tuesday was 5 rounds of 10 x squats, push-press, & bent row. Today was 15-12-9-6-3 of deadlift, hanging leg raises, and push-ups. I don’t know what the third one will be yet, but I’m leaning towards including double unders.)

We each took measurements earlier this week so we would have a better guide than just the scale (scales lie!). Waist, hips, and thighs. Ideally, waist will go down the most, hips a little, and thighs probably won’t budge. All I want is for my skirts to fit properly again, so I’ll be looking out for that, too.

 Also: I know we’re both healthy. I know that weight and fat and all that doesn’t actually mean anything if you’re active and eat right. My wife’s actual numbers (cholesterol, triglycerides, etc) were fucking phenomenal. Our society and culture has a terrible fixation with being abnormally thin. I don’t want to be thin. I want to be strong and muscular. But I also don’t want to buy new clothes. So this is purely a monetary endeavor.

The TL;DR version? I need to lose 5 pounds in the next month or else. Cheer me on!

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Filed under crossfit, diet, fitness, goals, weight loss

Self-Comparison with a Side of Self-Doubt

Most everything is going swimmingly, but there’s one particular thing I can’t seem to shake that’s been bugging me off and on and off and on and on and on and on. Sometimes I don’t even know what it is that’s bugging me, bringing me down and making me snippy, but watching the Crossfit Games yesterday, the commentators mentioned that one girl – who was doing phenomenal – had only started Crossfit a year ago and it clicked.

I’m jealous. I’m also frustrated. I keep hearing stories about girls and guys who start up crossfit or running and within a handful of months they’re up to maxing out their fitness, throwing down pull-ups like it’s out of style, or running bloody marathons. Not that I would ever run a marathon – that’s a firm decision I’ve come to in the last year – but it’s that whole immediate transformation that’s bugging me.

It leads me to wondering: what am I doing wrong? I’ve been at Crossfit for a solid year now. I’ve certainly come a long way – I can actually run 3 miles, I can deadlift 215, I can squat 170, I can do a manly push-up (although it’s still not completely pretty), more and more of the workouts I can complete rx’ed (as prescribed – meaning, at the weights and number of reps that everyone else is doing). I should be proud of myself; last year I was struggling to jump onto a 10″ box, and now I can jump 28″. Last year I couldn’t run 400m without getting winded, and now it’s just a warm-up. Etc, etc.

But then I look at my times on the board and I’m slower than and lighter than almost every other person and class. Girls who’ve been there for less time are shooting past, barely stopping in our class to wave hello. People are going on to compete at serious weights who’ve been there the same time I have.

And I put my head down and I try to train harder. More often. Eat better. Sleep better. Less alcohol. More active rest. Sunday running and weightlifting. Monday crossfit. Tuesday weightlifting. Wednesday crossfit. Thursday rest. Friday crossfit. Saturday crossfit football…

I know know know comparison is the thief of happiness. But it’s so hard not to do it. It’s so hard not to wonder what it is I’m doing so terribly wrong instead of reaffirming what I’m doing right and how far I’ve come. Lady is concerned I’m pushing myself too hard and I’m trying to decide if this obsession to be better, faster, stronger is healthy or not. Because I don’t feel like I’m pushing myself hard enough – but am I really in the right place to judge that?

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Bruises

Sometimes, in Crossfit, I get discouraged. Sometimes, I see the other girls in my class lifting heavier weights than me, doing the workouts faster than me, completing more reps than me, and I feel inadequate. Sometimes – even worse – when online, I chance upon a board here, a facebook comment thread there and see the times, weights, reps other people are pulling and I lose all faith in myself.

That guy’s deadlifting over 300 pounds – how can I even compare?

That girl has a 250 pound back squat – and she’s been doing this for less time than me!

That girl can run a 5k in 21 minutes and handstand walk and throw down 20 consecutive push-ups – I might as well quit now.

And on and on. I sulk for a while, self-hate, and sometimes even feel so crummy about everything that my workouts suffer. Usually these bouts of self-doubt last for a few weeks.

How do I snap out of it? I wish I had a magical answer, I wish I could say I just come to terms with it, but typically it takes a number of things converging at once; a super good workout, an avoidance of said boards/blogs, and seeing other athletes struggle. Knowing that we’re all in this together, fighting to be better, never satisfied with where we’re at – that helps too.

We should be proud of where we’re at, because it means we’re moving, we’re improving, and we’re struggling. I was so happy the first time I ran a 15min mile, because I ran a mile. Then I got discouraged because I couldn’t push past running three miles –  at least, until I realized a friend was jealous that I could even do a mile. I told her to keep at it, keep struggling, keep accumulating bruises, not to get discouraged. How hard it is to take our own advice.

My fiancee and I joined a strength class at our gym which started last week; the first day we were asked our starting max numbers for the backsquat, benchpress, and deadlift. Although our numbers were piddly compared to others in the class – laughably, so, even – no one laughed. No one made fun of us. We were all there to improve our lifts, after all; they had all been there.

I can’t say I’m not jealous of their numbers. It’s hard not to be when they’re backsquatting more than bodyweight and I’ve only just crossed the 100lb threshold. But I try and focus on improving, on dragging that barbell up my shins in the deadlift, and not on how the girl next to me uses my max for her warm-up. I tuck my head down and put in the effort that will get me to where she is – eventually, some day. Because that’s what it takes, so that at the end of the night I can be proud of those bruises on my legs.

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