Put the “Shoulds” On the Shelf

We all have things that we feel we “should” be doing: people we should see or call, places we should go, things to get checked off the list. I have always have a bad case of the “shoulds”. “I should be fitter, leaner, happier, smarter…” or “I should be working out; I should go for a run; I should be saving more money”. You might be able to relate. Lately I have been really trying to “shed the shoulds” (Thank you Jessica Tomlinson for this amazing saying).

I’ve been turning those “shoulds” into “should-nots” and saying “No” to my inner self, the self that keeps telling me that I should be able to do it all. No,  I actually cannot do it all and some things must be put on the shelf in order to maintain my health and mental well-being. I’ve surrendered to the fact that some days I am just too tired to work out and even when my mind tells me I should be training, I can kindly tell myself, “No”. I am in the midst of grieving my former body – the one that could do 20+ pull-ups and effortless bike sprints and 800m runs. My legs are losing their size and therefore cannot squat as much weight as they used to. I can still squat though, so I am grateful for that.

I’ve had to say no to events which I felt guilty about, I struggled to keep the shoulds from creeping in. I remind myself that it’s okay to say no. By saying no I am actually empowering myself to not always have to say yes, to not feel guilty if I say no, or feel like I should be saying yes. This process, and the ability to say no, are always a work in progress. It takes practice and confidence-building to do this.

When I first began writing this blog I wrote about how every person’s balance is different. Everyone has their own way of handling and viewing life. It takes a long time to find what balance is right. I feel like I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel that is the beginning of me finding my balance.

balance-scale

My Athletic Journey

I have been struggling lately. I am caught between the world where I am an athlete training for the next event – intensely focused on fueling my body correctly, concerned with getting the appropriate amount of sleep, intent on perusing my personal best with the barbell day in and day out – and the world where I barely touch a barbell, feel weak when I train, and feel my body getting soft in all the wrong places. I’m not complaining, just kind of stating where I’m at in my head space and trying to write through it as a way of figuring out where to go next.

I must apologize for this post being lengthy. It was written partly as therapy for me [smile!].

It all began back when I was about 15 years old. My Dad had some weights and equipment in our basement and a few body building guides. I asked him to show me how to lift some weights. I began by lifting small dumbbells and progressed to heavier ones. I was so intrigued by what the human body was capable of, but more than that, I loved how exercise made me feel. Through high school I went to a nearby fitness facility and worked out at home and ran during the summer.

When it came to time to go to college I knew I wanted to study the human body in some way. I chose Plymouth State University because I felt at home there, in the mountains, surrounded by natural beauty. It was so comforting. There I studied applied health and fitness which was part of the Health & Human Performance Department. Through experience-based learning I became an health and fitness connoisseur and soaked it all in. I was a personal trainer and heavily involved in the faculty fitness program offered by the University. I thrived.

College days. The was the descent down Mt Washington. Eating trail mix, of course.

College days. The was the descent down Mt Washington. Eating trail mix, of course.

Upon graduation in 2008 I was up in the air about what I wanted to do. I was just beginning to learn about CrossFit and that seemed interesting. There were 1 or 2 gyms in New Hampshire at that time and I remember talking to my Dad about “opening a CrossFit gym” and how cool that would be. I decided that my lack of business knowledge and real-world experience were limiters and I took a job at PSU instead. I taught for a year in the HHP department and continued my own fitness pursuits. I took up yoga, continued to lift free weights, and walked and ran a lot.

Then I moved to Oregon to get my masters degree. While I was out there I joined a CrossFit gym. My brother Kyle was back on the east coast starting his own CrossFit gym as a business pursuit. I became obsessed with training, nutrition, and everything in between. I tried to link all of my grad school research to physical activity, exercise, and nutrition in some way. It all came together. When I returned to New Hampshire I was on board at The Fort CrossFit, full force. That was 2011.

Fast forward a few years. After dabbling in a few local competitions here and there I decided I really wanted more from myself as an athlete. I knew I was capable of more. I asked Kyle to begin programming for me in preparation for a competition in December and then the 2015 CF Open. I had some weaknesses and holes in my performance that needed to be worked on. Upper body pulling and pushing were the most glaring weaknesses. I trained alone from September 2014 through March 2015, working on making myself better.

December 2014 in Vermont.

December 2014 in Vermont.

I learned a lot during those months. I got super strong and fit. I focused on nutrition and sleep and I got lean and slept like a rock. During the 2015 Open I improved by 444 spots in the northeast region and finished in the top 600 women. It felt amazing, but there were definite trade offs. My social life definitely suffered a bit. As someone who loves enjoying a margarita with friends, this was something that had to be put on the back burner the majority of the time. I also began to have a nagging left shoulder and wrist that I (mostly) chose to ignore because I didn’t want it to mess up my training. Looking back in all of this I realize that I created an illusion of health. Outwardly it would appear that I was living a very healthy lifestyle, but there were many aspects of my health the were suffering. It would just take a while for me to figure that out.

 

Open Workout 15.1

Open Workout 15.1

Eventually my wrist just broke down. I ended up with tendinitis and soft tissue damage that took months to heal. I could not grip a barbell, dumbbell, pull up bar or ring for about two solid months. My inability to train at a high level got to me mentally and I ended up feeling bummed out about life in general. I was able to begin a dumbbell/bodyweight program midway through the summer which helped to get me feeling good about training again, but it wasn’t the same. It was like the fire had burned out. Additionally, the intensity and stress of the previous months’ training caught up with me and I began to feel broken down emotionally. In some ways I felt like I was losing my identity. If I wasn’t a CrossFit athlete, what was I?

I tried to get back into the groove of training hard after signing up for a competition in VT that I’d done the previous 3 years. I jumped back into an intense training program, yet found myself disliking training and literally crying when it got hard. I felt like a complete failure. I felt like I was letting down my coach, people who looked up to me, and myself. I withdrew from the VT competition and stopped training so intensely. I was desperately trying to find the fun in training again, but I was even struggling in group classes. I was also feeling fatigued pretty much all the time, I was beginning to have trouble sleeping, and I got sick about 5 times from November to December.

Around December 2015 I finally decided to just stop. STOP. I needed a break. Like a real break. Looking back, it had been about 5 solid years of CrossFit without taking time off except for built in rest days and a week here and there. I also realized that I tend to be very hard on myself. I never follow the rule I give others…”Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” I am a good athlete, I am a good friend, sister, daughter, girlfriend. The amount of weight I squat or clean and jerk does not determine how useful I am or my self-worth or the amount of knowledge I own.

O2X Challenge at Loon Mountain. October 2015.

O2X Challenge at Loon Mountain. So challenging and so fun. October 2015.

So now it’s April 2016. I did not sign up for the CrossFit open this year and I have done about 3 intense workouts in the gym since Christmas. I have been enjoying yoga once or twice each week and trying to get outside more to be in nature. After about a month to 6 weeks of not training the intense feelings of stress and doom began to subside. I started to relax a little and even took a long weekend away in North Conway, one of my favorite places in the whole world.

I am definitely grieving a little bit for the “old me” – the me who could crush sets of 20+ pull ups, squat clean a heavy barbell smoothly, and sprint on the assault bike with ease. I am trying to remain focused on the positive and the goal of healing my body. At this moment in time I really don’t have the desire to train at a high level. I am happy if I get in 30 minutes of biking  and can keep a smile on my face.

As a fitness and nutrition coach it’s difficult to admit that the lifestyle is not always rainbows, heavy squats, butterflies, and perfectly-portioned food. I think the the perception of people in this business is that we all have our shit together when it comes to our own personal fitness and nutrition. While I have a ton of knowledge, I definitely do not have it all together all of the time. At the moment  my life is changing. Although I value fitness and exercise tremendously, training as hard as I can is just not in my deck of cards at the moment.

I’ve been working with a few helpful coaches of my own, women I admire and look to for advice and knowledge. With their guidance I am discovering ways to heal my body, to feel fulfilled, and to respect the process I am going through. As a coach it feels so nice to be coached! It feels good to let go of the control and let someone else guide me at the moment. I couldn’t do it without these influential women.

I believe that these changes are all part of some larger purpose and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that I am not the only one who goes through changes and struggles like this. I think that I will be able to help others on their journey and I am really looking forward to it! I also believe that I will be back in action at some point; I want to feel that desire for lifting heavy and getting sweaty and having fun. It will happen, it might just take a little while.

What has your athletic journey looked like? Have you struggled with changes like these?

Surrender-life-quote

Just do.

There are times in life, or events you go through, that remind you of how precious life is. At the end of the day it comes down to the people you love, the experiences that give you joy, and work that keeps you learning and wanting more. It can be challenging to remember this on a daily basis; we get caught up in the mundane motions of our schedules and obligations.  That is, until we are sobered by those events in life that bring us back to reality.

One of my goals for this new year is to have more of those experiences that bring me joy. To do more things, small or grand, that make me smile, not just in the summer time, but during what remains of this winter, and then spring and fall. Just do.

What are things in life that bring you joy?

precious life

 

2016 Goal Round Up

I can still remember the New Year’s Eve of Y2K. I was in middle school and I was on AOL Instant Messenger chatting with my friends about whether or not the world was going to end. Surprise! We survived! Now it’s 2016 and although it’s been many years since I used AOL or IM, I’m still on the computer communicating in another way, my blog. In this post I want to share my goals for this year.

  1. To actually be healthy. Not just live under the umbrella of things people do to lead a healthy lifestyle, I actually want to truly feel healthy. For a long time I have been a CrossFit athlete and coach and I have experimented with my own diet and helped others do the same. I live what appears to be an exceptionally healthy life. However, it seems to have all caught up with me. A little too much stress crept its way in somewhere along the way and I turned my cheek. I did not recognize the signs that were all there and pushed deeper into my training. I got ripped and was the strongest I’ve ever been. But now I am tired and run down and I cry easily. At this point I have decided that my health and the balance of my life need to be my priority. I’m taking a break from AMRAPs and EMOMs and snatching and kipping pull ups. I am going to reach my goal of being healthy by honoring what my body is telling me, by eating foods that make my cells happy,  by sleeping as much as I can, by doing yoga, and by lifting some weights. I could go on about this goal forever, but the bottom line is, I want to feel really good again.
  2. To read more books. Last year I wrote about how I wanted to read more. I have definitely done that and it’s something that I want to continue to do. Reading allows me to escape, to think about different things, and to stimulate my mind.
  3. To be outside a lot. I grew up outside; summer, winter and in between. When you’re an adult with responsibilities it’s sometimes hard to find the time to get yourself outdoors. I haven’t skied in over two years. I only went out on the snowshoes a few times last winter.  I believe that the human body, mind, and soul actually crave nature. We move further from health when we create barriers between ourselves and nature. So this year I’ll be breaking down more of those barriers, particularly in the winter by hiking, using my snowshoes, and hopefully getting some turns in on the slopes.
Hardy and me, playing on the beach.

Hardy and me, playing on the beach.

Getting Real About Nutrition and Exercise

Holy Donuts from the Holy Donut in Portland, ME. These are the bomb.

Holy Donuts from the Holy Donut in Portland, ME. These are the bomb. A treat for me a couple times a year!

It’s January 2016. The start of a brand new year. During the last week or two many of us have given some sort of thought to our health and weight. Maybe you’ve thought about getting healthier in general; eating better, sleeping more, stessing less. Or maybe you’ve thought about what it will take to lose some weight. These days there is a lot of conflicting information about how to do any of this. Additionally, nutritional needs can vary greatly from person to person. I’ve had many people ask me about weight loss and “getting lean” and I always try to give the most honest answer. The answer will also typically include the words, “It depends…”.

Over the last year or so more and more athletes have been seen indulging in donuts, pizza, and even beer. WAIT! I thought they only ate salads and steamed chicken!? Talk about confusing. The tides are changing and while a few years ago everyone was on the Paleo wagon, there is more and more evidence that performance athletes might needs more than meat, veggies, and healthy fats. There are two key words in the last few sentences: indulging and performance. 

So while Mat Fraser and Brooke Ence eat their pasta and donuts and Ben & Jerry’s, keep in mind the amount of work and energy output they have endured. Literally hours per day of training and movement. This means that they have earned the right to occasionally indulge in these foods and actually might need to eat these to get the amount of calories required the perform at such a high level. Additionally, their goal is performance which doesn’t necessarily translate to healthy! Junky food actually puts more stress on your body. This is why treats need to be occasional. Most of us cannot get away with eating treats all the time while still looking and feeling they way we want to.

Unless you are performing at a level similar to or near Mat or Brooke I suggest you go easy on the donuts, pasta, and Ben & Jerry’s and opt for the grilled chicken, sauteed broccoli and a sweet potato. If you are going to a CrossFit class three days per week but doing nothing else for activity outside of that and you want to lose weight, your nutrition must be on point. That means an occasional treat or small indulgence. I am a huge fan of this rule: Be active on most days each week. This means 4+, ideally 5 or 6 days. This doesn’t mean you have to go to CrossFit everyday. This means adding more activity to your daily life. A walk a lunch time instead of scrolling Facebook, a snow shoe hike, a day or half-day of skiing, ice skating, a dance party with your kids or a yoga class. Another way to get more activity is to arrive at the gym 30 minutes early for an extended warm up on the bike or rower.

If you’re consistently logging activity on most days of the week, you might be able to handle an indulgence each week. As in a cookie, beer, or glass of wine (or 2). If you’re working out more than this or are training for an athletic event or competition, your diet has to supply your body with all the nutrition and energy it needs to perform the best it can.  So if you’re training for 90 minutes to 2 hours or more each day it’s a good bet that you can have a donut or pizza now and then if you so choose.

HOWEVER…this all hinges on what your body can tolerate. It sometimes takes some experimentation and elimination to figure out what works for you! If you are lactose intolerant or have a gluten sensitivity, or if you have an autoimmune condition (celiac, Hashimotos, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc) there are probably foods that you must avoid in order to feel and function at your best, including donuts, pasta, and pizza and more. If you have special concerns your diet might need to be tailored to fit those concerns. Also, if you have a significant amount of weight to lose and that’s your goal, as I stated above, your nutrition must be on point most of the time (consistency!) – good quality protein, lots of veggies, some fruit, good starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, potatoes, butternut squash, and carrots.

If you’re not sure where you fit in, talk with one of your coaches or email me! I’d be happy to hep guide you in the right direction.

Quitting Coffee and Finding Balance

I am on Day 6 of NO COFFEE and NO CAFFEINE! I am pretty proud of myself. I am most surprised by how freeing it is. I no longer need to worry about where my coffee will come from when I travel or go camping. I know that I can survive without it. Yesterday (Day 5) was the most trying. I actually found myself craving the coffee, the flavor, the warmth, the buzz. Yesterday was the perfect chilly November day and with no coffee it wasn’t quite right. I knew that I could expect more of the same from today, so I was more prepared. I planned for a yummy snack (homemade gluten free banana muffin) and tea in the afternoon, about the time I would start to crave coffee. It wasn’t the same, but it got my mind off of it. I’ve also been trying to drink tons of water which helps.

Beautiful almond milk latte.

Beautiful almond milk latte.

It hasn’t all been negative. Like I said, I feel freed from the grips of the caffeine fix. My sleep has been a lot better – sounder – and my sinuses feel clearer. My goal is to be coffee/caffeine free for at least 3 whole weeks. I’d like to take it longer, maybe 1-3 months. I also think that when I go back to drinking coffee it might be a weekend thing and I might try to invest in some high quality grinds. We’ll see…

I have also been having a bit of a revelation when it comes to my goals as an athlete. I’ve been into CrossFit for over 5 years now. After discovering CF in 2008 and attempting to piece WODs together using the “hopper method” I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. My goal was to look like Miranda Oldroyd and make it to a higher level of competition.  A lot has changed between then and now; it’s been an evolution over the course of 5+ years. After putting the pedal to the metal last fall and winter in hopes of finishing better overall in the 2015 Open I succeeded in that goal. However, to chase goals there is usually sacrifice involved. I did not have as much time to work with people on their nutrition or run special programs like the Body Transformation Project. I also felt limited socially and felt guilty going out to have a few drinks or staying up too late. Nights before training were off limits as far as social engagements. I enjoyed training that intensely and I was very focused during that time, but after the Open, there wasn’t enough drive to keep me going.

Some people live and breathe for performance and competition. It’s amazing to see the drive and athleticism and the talent these people possess. I realize that I just don’t really want that for myself. It only took 6 months for me to feel like effects of training at a high level. I ended up burnt out. My wrist injury over the summer kind of sealed the deal for me. Despite having a relaxed summer of training and my nagging wrist and shoulder I decided to register for a competition in December. I registered because it was tradition. For the last 3 years we’ve traveled up to Vermont for a day of awesome competition and fun with friends and fellow athletes. We go out for a big meal after and get to spend a weekend away.

I recently pulled myself out of that competition which was a difficult choice. I felt guilty for not upholding my commitment to myself and my training plans. After the guilt wore off I felt like a weight was lifted and a bunch of pressure released. I’m not saying that I don’t want to push myself and be the best that I can be, I’m saying that I just need to be more realistic and shift my focus to where it needs to be right now; my work, my clients, the programs I lead – those are the things that need my full attention.

It boils down to the concept of “you can’t do it all”. That’s life. To me, it’s one step closer to balance. Letting go of things you aren’t (i.e. at this moment in time I’m not a competitor) is freeing and it clears space for more positive and productive thoughts in your mind. Rather than feeling guilty about unrealistic expectations you set in your mind, you can focus on what’s really going on. I am excited to have more time to focus on my health – my real health – eating more veggies, getting more sleep, fixing my allergies and sinuses, organizing my obligations so I am less stressed. I am excited to train when I schedule it, but it won’t be the end of the world if something comes up and I have to put it off until tomorrow. #reallife

Have you ever experienced a turning point in your career or with your life goals? Post your thoughts in the comments here or on Facebook. I’d love to read about your experiences and advice.

I’m Quitting Coffee

This is scary for me. I’m quitting coffee. I am fairly certain it’s contributing to my lack of energy, sleep issues, and allergies. I have been addicted to coffee since college. I drank Green Mountain coffee from the cafe at Plymouth State University. Every. Single. Day. Nothing stopped me, I woke up looking forward to it. To this day Green Mountain remains my favorite brand of coffee.

When I lived on Oregon I got super spoiled buying amazing small batches of organic, fair trade coffee and learned a lot about different regions and roasts; flavors I liked and didn’t like. It was like learning about wine. There’s really no better place to stay hooked on coffee than the Pacific Northwest, as a grad student no less. There was a Starbucks IN THE LIBRARY! Double Americano – don’t mind if I do!

When I go camping I worry about where I will get, or how I am going to make, my coffee. When I go away with friends for the weekend I always bring the coffee. It’s bad. There is no question that I am addicted. I feel like it gets me going in the morning.

For about a month now I have been making myself drink a glass of water when I wake up instead of immediately heading for the coffee pot. I will admit that I feel more alert and just generally “better” when I do this. I’ve also cut down the amount of coffee I drink. I have one mug, probably about 16oz. per day, instead of 24+ ounces. Last winter, my doctor told me I needed to cut back. I heeded her recommendation for about 1 month. It’s funny how we slowly fall back into habits.

I am quitting coffee this week. I am going to focus on drinking lots of water. I am anticipating headaches which I will deal with using my essential oils. If I am craving something warm I will have tea instead. My main motivation for challenging myself to do this is to see if I feel better without drinking coffee. The only way to truly know if something is giving you issues is to eliminate it for a little while. If the solution is simple, why not do it? It makes me sad though because I feel as though I am breaking up with an old friend. Maybe the breakup wont last forever…

Have you ever quit coffee or something you truly enjoyed but was a burden to your health? Let me know! I could use some tips.

 

 

Back to the Basics

These days I have been thinking about the basics of living a healthy life. Food, water, sleep, activity, and stress. How are you doing with each of these areas? There are so many conflicting messages, so much information to study and decipher, so many numbers to remember, especially with food — eat this, don’t eat that. I’m confused, are you?

When you boil it down it’s pretty simple. When you eat food the body breaks it down and uses it for various processes necessary for survival. It’s your energy and your life force. So how has food become our enemy? Well, that’s the topic for another entire blog post. Over the last 2 years my personal challenge has been to make food “not the enemy”, if that makes sense. Relax, take a breath, take a bite, chew, swallow, enjoy. It’s only food. But it’s not just about food. I know that when I am stressed out or I rush while eating I don’t digest my food as well. I also know that when I am sleep deprived or dehydrated I feel extra hungry and crave cookies. Health is a big web of relationships.

Lately I have been racking my brain trying to understand the struggles, intricate relationships, and misunderstandings we all have with our food. It’s a tough train of thought to follow so I don’t suggest going too far down the rabbit hole unless that is your sort of thing. The one thought I have had over and over again is “get back to the basics”. The basics besides food (sleep, water, stress, exercise) can also be very helpful when trying to “fix” your food situation. The basics, applied on a consistent basis, are the key to it all, the “magic bullet” if you will.

There is no pill, potion, cleanse, exercise program, challenge, spa treatment, or concoction that can replace consistent effort. By consistent I am not talking about 30 days, or 3 months. I am talking about years. Y-E-A-R-S. As I mentioned above, I have spent the last two years of my life making food “not the enemy”. Actually, I should retract that statement because it has been many more years, more like 10 years. Do I still struggle from time to time, of course. I know that if I eat sugar I want more sugar. Do I still occasionally eat sugar? Hell yes because I love ice cream and margaritas. Do I know when to quit? Hell yes because I know if I go too far into the abyss I begin to feel reallllllly bad.

If you have a specific goal in mind, instead of thinking about years, think about tomorrow and this weekend. What are the steps you need to take to set yourself up to eat well? Do you need to go grocery shopping; throw something in the crock pot; chop some veggies; plan a few meals for your busy nights? What can you do in the next hour to set yourself up for success? Maybe you need to drink a few glasses of water instead of grabbing a coffee at Dunks – hydrate and save money. Maybe you need to turn off all your electronics and create a wind-down routine before bedtime or get into your bed 30 minutes earlier. Maybe you need to find your way back to a consistent exercise routine.

Let’s get back to the basics:

  • FOOD – Are the meals you are eating on a consistent basis made up of quality meats, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and some starch?
  • WATER – Are you drinking enough water (at least 1/2 body weight in ounces per day)?
  • SLEEP – Are you getting quality sleep (7-9 hours uninterrupted in a dark room)?
  • STRESS – Are you actively seeking ways to manage stress?
  • EXERCISE – Are you getting an appropriate amount of physical activity for your goals? Is too much exercise contributing to your stress?

If you answer “No” to any of these questions, you have found your starting point. Back to the basics you go. If you need help, ask. Maybe you need your spouse to get on board with food prep – perhaps it’s something you could do together to make it less cumbersome. Do you need to change up a relationship with a friend who always seems to sabotage your efforts? If you need ideas because you’re bored with food, ask your friends about what they eat. If you are feeling stagnant with your training in the gym, talk to one of your coaches about the best path for you.

The best thing you can do for yourself is simplify all the “noise” by getting back to the basics. You don’t have to be perfect. No one is perfect, but I’m guessing you want to feel good and be happy. Trust the process, embrace the journey, and commit to yourself. You get one life, commit to making it the one you want to live.

Write that sh*t down! It's totally helpful to keep track of this stuff: food, feelings, training.

Write that sh*t down! It’s totally helpful to keep track of this stuff: food, feelings, training.

The Dog Days

Ahhh, good old summer time. The magic of summer was definitely a bit more apparent when I was a kid. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still the best time of year, but now I am an adult. So just because it’s 90 degrees with 1,000,000 percent humidity doesn’t mean I can waste the day away swimming and sunning, work duties are lurking. Good thing I have a great job that doesn’t require me to wear business suits and restricting clothing. Spandex, anyone?

Relaxing by the lake on 4th of July

Relaxing by the lake on 4th of July

These days I cherish my weekends. Mostly because it gives me a chance to regroup and prepare for my week. I have an easier time recharging my batteries while I am alone, I guess that’s the introvert side of me. It’s also probably why I feel so connected to nature and the quiet that comes along with it.

The plan for this coming weekend is to get a nice day-hike in on one of the days (weather-dependent) and enjoy some quiet time around the ‘hood. I’m starting to get anxiety over the fact that we’re already into week two of July. As a kid the summer seemed to drag on forever. Now it’s like a flash in the pan. You must make the weekends count. What about the week days though? Is summer the time to live a little? Should we disregard the 9:00pm bedtime to enjoy a cocktail by the water with friends, or go for a go for a jog at 8:00pm because it’s still light out and we can? For a creature of habit like myself this is a difficult thing to do. Getting up at 4:30am is also a deterrent. The jury is still out on this one. Gotta find a balance I suppose. See what I did there? 😉

My wrist is starting to feel better and I am making progress which is a good thing. Some movements still really bother me but it’s significantly less painful. My chiropractor has been working his magic doing some soft tissue and trigger point work on my forearm from my elbow down to my hand. There’s a lot of gnarly stuff going on in there. I was recently thinking about how I tend to hold my iPhone with my left hand and scroll using my thumb. I am thinking that this has played a role in my wrist issues as well. Making a conscious effort to limit the mindless scrolling on the phone. It’s unnecessary for many reasons.

I began the German Body Comp program a few weeks ago. It’s been really nice to slow things down, but still be getting an amazing workout. In CrossFit I think we get caught up in speed and intensity. I mean, it’s very important to find that intensity to get an appropriate training response, but that doesn’t mean pedal to the metal all the time. The GBC requires every movement be done with tempo, so it’s actually very challenging to do that – for all kinds of reasons, haha. I am considering this summer my “off season” from the sport of fitness. I am getting the itch to get back in the game and my goal is to able to work with a barbell again by mid-August/September-ish. So, look out, I am coming back.

I hope you are having a fantastic summer and you’re living A LOT! Go out on a weeknight, stay up late now and then, drink a margarita on the weekends, and put down the phone. You’ll wish for this come January! Enjoy the photos…

My loon buddy on the 4th of July. He looks relaxed.

My loon buddy on the 4th of July. He looks relaxed.

We could be a Sperry Topsider advertisement.

We could be a Sperry Topsider advertisement.

Since working is not optional I use a combo of peppermint and orange essential oils in my diffuser to pick me up when I want to take a nap in the afternoon. You should get in on this!

Since working is not optional I use a combo of peppermint and orange essential oils in my diffuser to pick me up when I want to take a nap in the afternoon. You should get in on this!

Goal Updates and Injuries

My last post was about my goal to get outside in nature this summer. So far I’ve been doing well with that goal. We have already gone camping once this season and it was awesome. It was extremely relaxing and after only a couple days in the woods I felt like I had been on vacation. I was completely unplugged from the phone and computer which was the best part.

Our site at Covered Bridge Campground. So peaceful.

Our site at Covered Bridge Campground. So peaceful.

My in-the-gym training has not been going so well, however. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how desire for training goes through peaks and valleys. For me it’s very motivating to have some kind of event to train for. Last fall it was training to prepare for the Winter Throwdown at Champlain Valley in December. Although I didn’t do well at that competition, I became a much better CrossFitter while completing my training leading up to it. My focus was on fixing some issue and building more strength, particularly in my upper body pushing and pulling.

Then we transitioned to training for the CrossFit Open and I continued to progress. I drastically improved my ranking compared to last year. I finished in the top 700 of the North East Region this year; I finally got my muscle ups; I worked on my Olympic lifts consistently; and I got stronger mentally.

When the Open was over, I took a week off from training and going hard. Getting back into it after that week was tough, like the week after you get back to reality from vacation. I’d been strict with my eating leading up to the Open so I could stay lean and feel my best. I loosened up the reigns with that a little bit with that too. I try not to let myself stress about food anymore – maybe you noticed the Coronas in the photo above! After all, it’s just food. It doesn’t control me and it’s one of life’s necessities.

So after lots of hard training through the winter and push through many aches and pains, my wrist tendonitis has finally come to a tipping point. A few weeks ago I pushed it beyond its limits. If wrists could talk it would have told me, “Please, no more.” I listened. I got three different opinions: an MD, a Chiropractor, and a Massage Therapist. Combining all three opinions I have developed a plan for resting, healing, and rehabilitating my wrist. Oye!

arm cast 2015

The wrist splint I wear when I sleep.

 

It’s a huge bummer, but it’s also a wake up call that I truly needed. It’s something you read and hear all the time, “Keep your body maintained”, “Do your mobility”, “Have body work done”, “Make modifications if something’s bothering you”… but sometimes we just don’t listen. I didn’t listen. I just kept pushing it and pushing it.

It will take a little while for me to be back in action, but I will get there. For now I am just trying to accept it for what it is and enjoy what I can do. Lots of squats, running, sled dragging, and hiking are in my summer training plans. I am focusing on the positives of slowing down a little bit, but don’t get me wrong, it’s super-tough and I often feel the itch to pick up a barbell. All in due time I suppose!

chocura 2015

Representing OPEX at the summit of Mt. Chocura