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My excessive energy, extreme narcissism, and intense love of neon-colored spandex is both managed and fueled by my addiction to fitness. I push myself to extremes and I push other people's buttons. Obviously I needed my own blog.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

5 Year CrossFit Anniversary Post 5

In honor of my 5 year CrossFit anniversary, this week I am sharing five things that have changed since I started. The fifth are my friends.

When I started CrossFit in 2013, I didn't know how to make friends. I was 26 years old and apparently never learned this essential skill, and apparently it was the root of 99% of my issues. I had some friends but for the life of me I can't figure out how or why they wanted to spend time with me. I was a real gem back then. Read: a huge pain in the ass and a loose cannon.

If you go back and read some of my first posts about CrossFit, I talk about being nervous about having to sit alone and be awkward until class started. It sounds a little stupid to me now, but it never occurred to me to walk up to anyone and just introduce myself. And that wasn't just at CrossFit. I confidently navigated work situations, but the whole meet people, decide you like each other, and then start hanging out thing was really out of my wheelhouse.

Friday, June 22, 2018

5 Year CrossFit Anniversary Post 4

In honor of my 5 year CrossFit anniversary, this week I am sharing five things that have changed since I started. The fourth is how I face my fears and tackle the unknown.

When I started CrossFit in 2013, I was dealing with some serious imposter syndrome. I felt like I was pretending to be successful at work (I was actually succeeding at work and worked really hard) and pretending to have my shit together personally (I was actually really struggling to keep it together). Feeling inadequate is still something I struggle with on a regular basis. My biggest fear, besides home invaders, is that people will figure out that I don't have it all together and that I'm a hot mess and decide that I can't do my job or take care of my dogs and take everything that I've worked for away. I am actually quite good at my job and I manage a team of 4 people, who regularly give me positive reviews as a boss. I am a fantastic and responsible dog mom. I know these things rationally but don't always believe them. I still wrestle with self-doubt but it used to be closer to self-loathing. I was just waiting for someone to realize that I was a terrible person who sucked at everything and for that someone to announce it to the world.

I've always been someone who has been uncomfortable with not being good at things. I used to hate to go to ice skating lessons because I didn't know how to do the cool or fancy things that other kids could do. I would try to distract the instructors with my charming conversation skills (I was 4) to avoid having to skate at all. I eventually quit. Years later, I decided I wanted to play ice hockey and the same feelings of inadequacy came flooding back. I eventually quit that too. I developed a tendency of intentionally avoiding new things because I was afraid I'd be bad at them.

That's a big reason I flip flopped on leaving Equinox and joining a CrossFit box. I was intrigued by CrossFit, but also scared of it. I wasn't afraid of getting hurt. I was afraid of not being good and being judged.

Tons of shit at CrossFit is scary. It was scary to walk into the gym for the first time, feeling overweight and out of shape. It was scary to be the newbie in a room full of strangers who could do so many things that I couldn't (yet). It was scary to try to climb a rope for the first time since elementary school. It was scary to take off my shirt at a place where many people have visible abs because what if they thought I looked gross. It was scary to be vulnerable and admit that I didn't know what to do and that I needed help. CrossFit was scary because it was filled with daily opportunities to face a fear and the unknown.

Honestly, the best thing I have ever done was just show up to the gym each day. I did what was asked of me. I trusted my coaches. I did things that scared the crap out of me because I wanted to be a part of CrossFit. That first year, I got really used to being uncomfortable.

Screenshot from a 2014 video of me climbing a rope at CFID

CrossFit forces you to get out of your comfort zone. That's why it's life changing. Climbing a rope was a big deal to me because it felt impossible for a long time. I'm not a big fan of heights and there's been some moments where I'm worried about falling, but I was most afraid of failing. In my head, I'm often still a fat kid who thinks she shouldn't be able to hold her own bodyweight up while dangling in the air. But I've learned to climb the 16 foot rope and I can do it several times in a workout. Sometimes, when I'm reaching up to touch the tape at the top of the rope, I almost can't believe that just 5 years ago I couldn't do this. CrossFit provides me with tangible proof that I am capable.

Screenshot from a 2014 video of me climbing a rope at CFID

The gym is the space where I can try new things and fail at them while I'm learning. There are things I'm really good at (doubleunders) and things I really suck at (handstand push-ups), but I had to let go of ego and put the work in to get good at those doubleunders. Sometimes I feel like a strong badass and totally have my ass handed to me during the same class.

CrossFit gives me the opportunity to build my confidence and be vulnerable every single day. It keeps me humble, it keeps me hungry. It let's me prove to myself that I am enough.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

5 Year CrossFit Anniversary Post 3

In honor of my 5 year CrossFit anniversary, this week I am sharing five things that have changed since I started. The third is how I spend my evenings.

When I started CrossFit in 2013, I spent a lot of time in bars. I was going out 5 or 6 nights a week. It wasn't unusual for me to work all day, go to happy hour at 7, go back to the office until 10:30 and then go straight to a bar on the UES. I was maintaining "regular status" at four different establishments. It's safe to say that I drank a lot.

I lived alone, I was in my twenties, and I was in New York. I wasn't the only person in those bars every night. CrossFit gave me something to look forward to in the afternoon and evenings. But I was definitely still going to happy hour either before or after class.

I moved to Georgia in May 2014 and I had no friends. The only people I knew in Atlanta were one girl with whom I went to college who seemed to like when I visited her but shut me out as soon as I moved down here, and my then-boyfriend's family. I was dating my boyfriend long distance. I had no social life. Suddenly I had a lot of time on my hands.

I was at the gym a lot. Since I worked from home, it was the only human interaction I had all day. I went to sleep pretty early because it's not like I had anyone keeping me up, matching me drink for drink. I've never been good at CrossFit, but during this 10 month period, I improved like crazy. I got my first handstand. All my lifts went up. I squatted 200#. It was a magical time.

In the fall of 2014, Eric and Brandon bought CrossFit Identity and brought over a lot of members from CrossFit Decatur. The majority of CFID's original membership were married with kids. A lot of the new members were single and into going out. I think the community has a nice blend of people in all stages of their lives, but I remember being pretty excited about the new demographic. On a side note, being a member at CFID has shown me that you can be happily married with three kids and still be the coolest couple ever, so my fears about marriage and children are largely unfounded.

My boyfriend and I broke up the following summer and I decided to make up for every single night I stayed in while we were together. I became a regular at some Atlanta bars. (You can see my smiling face on the back TV at Moe's and Joe's.) I made friends with the people at my apartment complex. I was back to going out regularly. I definitely woke up with a lot of hangovers, but my dogs kept me in check. And bars close a lot earlier in Atlanta than they do in New York.

Somewhere over the past year, I found more of a balance. I do enjoy going out and I am so thankful to have so many friends here in Atlanta, but I stay in most school nights. I rarely drink at all during the week. Having wine with dinner on a Tuesday just isn't my thing. I train at 5:30 AM two days a week and I need to get to bed early to be able to perform at that ungodly hour. I'm singlehandedly keeping the rosé industry operating Friday and Saturday, but I box it in.

CrossFit has given me an opportunity to socialize daily without alcohol. It has also given me the greatest group of friends to drink with. CrossFit can be contradictory.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

5 Year CrossFit Anniversary Post 2

In honor of my 5 year CrossFit anniversary, this week I am sharing five things that have changed since I started. The second is how I eat.

When I started CrossFit in 2013, my diet left a lot to be desired. I ordered Chinese from Hunan Delight thirty-eight times that past year. THIRTY-EIGHT TIMES! (There was an intervention in 2012.) ConEdison contacted me every 6 months to inform me that the gas might not be working in my apartment because the stove had not been turned on during that period. There was a lot of skipping meals followed by epic binges.

One morning I woke up one Saturday hungover and didn't eat per usual, and I pinned myself under the lady bar. I realized the reason I always felt like garbage was because the majority of the calories I consumed came from alcohol and dumplings. I slowly started cleaning up my diet.

I followed a pretty common CrossFit diet trajectory. I decided to embrace the Paleo diet after dabbling in it in the past. I tried another Whole30. I remember coming home at around 11 PM after going to the 9:15 PM CrossFit class and being so damn tired that I would throw a bag of veggies into the microwave and just cover them in coconut oil. I'm not sure I ate protein besides bacon. Someone pointed out to me that cocaine is Paleo but oatmeal is not, and I started to question if it was really that bad to eat Greek yogurt. I switched to Primal and ate a lot of Kerrygold butter.

My diet got better when I reconnected with an old boyfriend who tracked everything he ate in MyFitnessPal like he would be executed if he didn't. I still followed a mostly Primal diet on weekdays but then we would binge eat all weekend. Nothing like two former fat kids in love and let loose in a Publix. We would strategize the cocktail hour at weddings to make sure we maximized our hors d'oeuvres intake. He would beeline for the bar and get drinks while I filled up two plates and found a table. Then we would alternate returning for our favorites while the other person held down the fort.

I tried to follow macros but was still very wary of carbs. I tried using a Paleo meal service but got discouraged when I realized the macro calculations were significantly off. I started prepping my own meals, which sounds like crazy talk to anyone who knew me while I lived in New York. I ended up hiring a macro coach and had some success with her. I'm not very compliant on weekends or when I travel, and it was only after I acknowledged and embraced that fact that I started to see real progress.

I learned that I could eat anything as long as it fit my macros. I went from being scared of carbs to putting Gatorade in my protein shake and eating Jolly Ranchers during workouts.

I tried reversing and a bulk, which left me a lot heavier than I would have liked but it taught me a lot about how I eat, what my triggers are, and what I can do to set myself up for success. After being able to make almost anything fit my macros, I realized I like eating whole foods, and I enjoy chicken and broccoli. I track from 7 PM to 6:59 PM so my dinner informs the remaining 24 hours. This switch has been the most helpful.

Right now I am using macros from Affinity Athletics Coach Delta and trying to be reasonable on weekends. To be honest, that usually means eating small amounts to offset the amount I drink in the pool. I prep almost all of my own foods when I'm home, but do eat out frequently because of my work travel. I will always make room for tacos. I still enjoy margaritas.

CrossFit has made me see that what I eat (or don't eat) has a direct impact on my performance in the gym. You really can't outtrain a shitty diet, abs really are made in the kitchen, and it's really hard to get bulky because I've tried.

This is just proof that I do sometimes use my oven:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

5 Year CrossFit Anniversary Post 1

My 5 year CrossFit anniversary was Sunday. It was also Father's Day so I didn't want to steal my dad's thunder, but it felt like a momentous occasion. A lot has happened and changed in five years, and I credit all of the good things to my decision to start CrossFit.

I chose my CrossFit anniversary as the date I started CrossFit Essentials, basically the same on-ramp, foundations, 101 you took at your CrossFit, because it was the day I committed to being a member at CrossFit Hell's Kitchen. Earlier that month, I had convinced my friend and then-co-worker Selby to take me with him to a class. We did Nicole. I got stuck in a pull-up band hanging from the rig. Years before (in 2010), an old boyfriend took me to a soon-to-open aspiring CrossFit affiliate in Connecticut. None of the things I love about CrossFit (the community, barbells, lady wolfpacks of badass women) were there because it wasn't actually open yet and so I kept my Equinox membership for three more years. Sometimes I regret that, because what if my first CrossFit experience was awesome and I had started back in 2010? But I don't think I was ready for it yet. I needed to become an ultrarunner and continue to make terrible life decisions for a while.
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