Personal Responsibility

Don’t do CrossFit because you’re going to get hurt.

What? CrossFit is going to hurt me? 

Since I started CrossFit almost 2 years ago, I’ve heard this–on average–about twice a week. Also in the “Heard Fairly Often” category:

“What if it pushes you too hard?”
“What if it makes you do things you’re not ready to do?”
“What if you can’t do it?”

Here’s my problem: CrossFit is not a person. It’s not a thing that lifts it’s infinitely heavy fists and demands that you snatch 205# 700 times for time. It’s a damn program. It’s a program that’s designed to be infinitely scalable for any one at any level of fitness. 

CrossFit doesn’t push. 
It doesn’t make me do things I’m not ready to do.
It doesn’t hurt me.

I DO. 
I have complete control over what I do every time I walk in the box. CrossFit has nothing to do with it. I have a responsibility to myself to keep my body safe and healthy. 

So when I walk to the white board and I see that the prescribed weight for cleans in the workout is 140# and I know that’s my 1 rep max…maybe it’s not the best idea for me to try to hit my 1 rep max 40 times. So I scale. 
Why? 
Because if I try to hit my 1 rep max 40 times, the chances of me hurting myself increases exponentially. 
BECAUSE COMMON SENSE.

CrossFit doesn’t hurt you. You hurt you. Your ego hurts you. 
You walk in and you know 140 is your max, but everyone else is doing it so you decide, “you know what, fuck it. I’m gonna do it, too.” 
Comparison is the thief of joy. In CrossFit, comparison is the thief of health. 
You were so busy trying to keep up with everyone and show that you’re Billy BadAss, you lost sight of your own personal responsibility to keep yourself safe. 
And now you’re sitting at home, 
injured,
blaming CrossFit. 

CrossFit can hurt you? 
You can get hurt walking down the sidewalk today. 
You can get hurt crossing the street. 
You can get hurt driving your car. 
You can get hurt drinking too much at an LSU tailgate and then trying to go taunt the visiting team.
But you take extra precautions doing those things so that you can avoid injury. 
Because you have a personal responsibility to protect yourself.
That responsibility doesn’t stop when you step in your box. 

Getting out of the dark place

If you’ve been doing Crossfit for a while, you know about the dark place. 
It’s the place that we all have to go sometimes.

You see the workout and you develop your strategy. 
3…2…1…GO.
And then everything goes to hell.
You lose all control of everything.
Your abandon all strategy and it’s a freakin’ free for all.

You start to panic.
Everything is going to shit and everything’s closing in around you.

That’s when you have to go to the dark place.
It’s different for everybody.

My dark place is quiet.
I can only hear myself and the non-sound of time running out.
I can’t really see anything but my weights.
Usually when I get to the dark place, I’m beating myself up.
“why didn’t you stay on pace?”
“why did you think this strategy would work?”
“what are you doing?”
“just stop.”

But after a few seconds, my voice calms down.
“just keep moving.”
“just keep moving.”
“move.”
“move.”
“don’t look at the clock.”
“move.”

My dark place is painful. Everything hurts there.
It hurts to breathe.
Hurts to move.
Hurts to bend.
Hurts to run.
Hurts to think.

“keep moving. keep fighting.”

TIME.
It’s over.
I’m out of the dark place.

Back to regularly scheduled programming.
Until my next visit.

Source: Jayde Quilty

Whining and Bellyaching

“I don’t have time.”
“This is too hard.”
“I can’t.”
“I’m too weak.”
“I’m not in good enough shape yet.”
“It’s too time consuming.”
“I’m not on your level yet.”
“I want to lose weight, but it’s so difficult.”
“I love carbs too much.”
Blah. Blah. Blah.
This all comes down to wants and needs.
Simple economics.
Can you give up the things that you want for the things that you need?
I want to eat cheese enchiladas for every meal everyday and not get fat.
I want to lay in bed for my whole life and still be able to run miles and beat myself.
But I can’t.
It’s not what I need.
Can you not watch Real Housewives for an hour to use that hour at the gym?
Can you substitute spaghetti squash for pasta?
Can you give up the easy for the more difficult?
Can you get your ass off the comfortable couch and start finding the pavement more comfortable?
You can do all that shit. But will you?
What are you willing to give up to be more healthy?
Or are you good with just whining and bellyaching?
It’s time to stop “trying.”
Stop trying to run. Trying to start crossfit. Trying to eat clean.
Start running.
Start crossfitting.
Start eating clean.
Start focusing on health.
Start doing.


How badly do you want it?

“First they’ll ask you, ‘why?’, then they’ll ask ‘how?'”
That was one of the first quotes I read when I decided to not be fat anymore. It’s still one of the truest things I’ve ever read.

When I started committing to being more healthy, people asked–and still ask–why?
Why order meat and veggies when you could order fried chicken?
Why spend an hour or two in the gym on Friday night when you’re missing out on free drinks at Fred’s?
Why?
Why?
Why?

When I really committed and I started seeing results, they started asking, “how?”
How did you lose the weight?
How do I lose weight, too?
How do I lift more?
How do I get a butt?
How do I lose belly fat?
How?
How?
How?

To be honest, I just did. I improve on things everyday. Most days it sucks, but it’s always worth it. I get tired. My bed is just as comfortable as yours is. I don’t want to get out of it in the morning and run, but I do. Some days, I want to just go home after work, but I don’t. I go to the gym.

A lot of days, I want to eat all the cakes. But I eat carrots instead.
Everyday I want to drink all the diet cokes. But I drink water instead.

How did I do it? I just weighed my options.
Do I want to be sick or do I want to be healthy?
How badly do I want to be healthy?
Is being healthy worth giving up the things that are making me sick?

Answer:
I want to be healthy.
I want to be healthy really badly.
Being healthy is worth giving up the things I want for the the things I need.

Everyday is progress.
I’m not perfect. Sometimes I eat the damn cake and I drink the damn diet coke.
But everyday I get a little better.

And that’s good enough for me.

So if you’re like me and you’re wondering how, ask yourself:
“how badly do I want it?”

And then go get it.

Fitness Shaming

A few weeks ago, the CrossFit main site posted this photo:

Lee Ann Ellison. Photo by Nick Stern

I didn’t think anything of it except, “Man, when/if I get pregnant, I hope I can do that!” I wrote a comment under the photo that said something to the effect of “you go, mama!”

I was shocked 3 hours later when my FaceBook was bombarded with notifications from this photo. Users called her “selfish” and a “bad mom”. They said she was “putting her child’s life at risk all to look good.” One of them said “I guess killing your baby is worth it to have washboard abs.” 

Appalled would be the correct word to describe how I felt. Appalled that people could not only be so ignorant and misinformed but also so hurtful to someone they don’t even know. An interview with Lee Ann later described her fitness journey: This is her third pregnancy. She has been an avid crossfitter for a number of years and she was cleared by the doctor to continue any exercises that she had participated in prior to pregnancy with modifications as needed. Lee Ann said, “this is the way I’m able to maintain my sanity. My sense of normal.” Because, let’s face it, it’s not everyday that you grow a human. 

After I finished feeling appalled, I felt angry. So people were really going to troll this woman and berate her for her own personal fitness choices, but not say anything about the people eating 15 double cheeseburgers at McDonalds? They’re going to assassinate her character for wanting to stay in a good physical condition? Seriously?

A few weeks later, this photo hit my FB News Feed:

Once again, I saw it and was inspired. I thought to myself, “Man. I know I work full time and am a student, but I’m not responsible for 3 whole lives, a husband, a household, a full time job, AND making sure I work out. She’s right. I shouldn’t make excuses.”

And again, I was shocked hours later when I saw that people had been attacking this woman. Accusing her of “fat-shaming” and “bullying”. They called her all kinds of derogatory names. They attacked her character. 

For the second time in less than a month, I was appalled. I was angry. Really angry. I felt terrible for Maria Kang. All she was trying to do was motivate people and now these ridiculous people were taking shots at her as a mom, a wife, a person. A HUMAN. 

Last week, I posted this picture:

In case you didn’t see it, the left is me a year ago at 175 pounds. The right is me today at 175 pounds. The only difference is how I eat and how I exercise. Why did I post it?Because I was obsessed with the scale and a lot of my friends are, too. And I wanted to show them (and myself) that the freakin’ scale doesn’t matter. 

The scale can’t show me how hard I work, how much I’m loved, how much muscle I’ve gained, how much confidence I have, or what a good person I am. 

The scale is so limited in what it can do that it can only show me my relationship with gravity. 

My friends liked my photo. The awesome people who like the Eat.Pray.WOD page liked my photo. The best part about the photo was not even seeing the change in myself. It was seeing the change through other people’s responses. There were so many “oh my gosh, this gives me hope that I’m changing, too” and “the scale wasn’t changing but I could see the change!” and “thank you for posting this, this is what I needed today.” 

And then the trolls showed up. People started sharing my photo calling ME names. 
A bully. 
A fat-shamer. 
Saying that my only goal was to diminish other people’s self esteem. 
That I should “put some clothes on because I’m not as hot as I think I am”. 
One girl went so far as to say that I’m a liar. She said, “she probably had surgery because there’s no way she could do that in a year.” 

Fitness-shamers.

These people literally are going out of their way to shame people who make changes with their lives.

This time, I’m not appalled. I’m not even angry. 
I’m sad for them. 
I’m sad because if these fitness-shamers spend half the time they spend shaming others on things that would make their lives better, they’d be better people. 
I’m sad that they have to hide behind computer screens to say ugly things to people that they don’t even know.
I’m sad that they feel entitled to opinions about things that don’t concern them.
I’m sad that they blame their lack of self-esteem on anyone but themselves and manifest it by saying hurtful things about others. 

But I’m proud of me. 
I’m proud that I realize that these people and their opinions really don’t matter.
I’m really proud that I’m making my own lifestyle changes and increasing my own self-esteem.
I’m super proud that I took a freakin’ photo in a sports bra and posted it online for God and everybody to see.

I work hard.
I play hard.
I have fun.
I screw up.
I get back on track.
I work out.
I work out more.
And I’m happy.
So sorry, not sorry, fitness-shamers. Better luck next time at finding someone who cares. 

The Cost of Fitness

I want y’all to know that I’ve been trying to write this post for days now. Literally.

Recently, a guy I know from high school posted something on facebook to the effect of:
“I had heard a lot of good things about crossfit being this great workout so I tried it and it was okay, but not that great. I’ve seen results based on the workouts I’ve made up myself, so my opinion is to save yourself the (insert ridiculous amount of money here) and just workout on your own.”

Y’all, this guy is an insufferable asshat. He’s been a dee-bag since I’ve known him and growing up hasn’t done him any favors.

Right, Rich?

Which is why it completely pains me to say that he’s right. 
Ugh. That left a terrible taste in my mouth.

You do not have to be a part of a box to crossfit. You don’t have to do crossfit to be in shape. And you don’t have to pay dues to anyone to workout. He’s right. 

But, I’m going to attempt, with my most honest and concentrated effort, to express why I–and a lot of other people, I think–pay our dues every month to do this crazy crossfit thing. And I’m going to give it my best because the last thing I want to do is take this…thing…that I hold so close to me and make it sound like some douche-y, fad thing. 

I do crossfit because I love it.
But I fell in love with it because of the people it brought me to.
I don’t make it a secret that I love my box and the people there, but I don’t think people really realize how much they matter to this journey.
I would not have stuck with this if I couldn’t count on Andrew’s dirty jokes, Stephen laughing at me while I fall off a box, Lauren making me keep my elbows up, Jess forcing me to use my hips, Mama Melissa reminding me to register for class, Jarrell yelling at me in general, and countless other people cheering me on. 
Yelling for me. 
Encouraging me. 
Making me pick the bar back up when I didn’t want to. 
When I felt like I couldn’t. 
Getting down on the floor with me after they finished their WOD to do pushups with me and push me through. 
Bringing me chalk.
Sharing their protein.
Cutting the ripped skin from my hands.
Never forgetting to tell me good job.
Even when I came in last. Which is often.

I need them. 


When I pay my dues, I never look at it as a hassle. Ever. Because I know that those dues take care of my crossfit parents, Andrew and Melissa. I know they take care of our box. I know they take care of my crossfit family. And that’s worth my money to me. 

Because I couldn’t do it alone. I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t have them to support me and guide me.


And no matter where I go, there are branches of crossfit family everywhere. People who understand what you’re doing and want you to succeed. Who will sacrifice time, sweat, and pain to help you, even when they don’t know you.
And that’s an incredible thing to me. 

I want to be that for other people. I want to help them be their best. And then exceed their best.


The thing is: crossfit is what you make it. If you don’t immerse yourself in the culture and community, you’re wasting your time. 
If you don’t go balls to the wall everyday and shatter your limits,
If you don’t yell and cheer for every PR,
If you don’t push your boundaries and encourage other people to push theirs,
If you don’t take time to clean up your weights and lay in a sweat angel on the floor,
you’re just wasting your time. You’re wasting your money.

This is not one of those things that you can do half assed. You have to come in here, every time, and decide that you are going to be better than you were yesterday. 
And your family is going to hold you to that decision.

photo credit: http://www.crossfit.com

If you can go it alone, I applaud you. I am impressed by you. Maybe you are a far greater athlete than I. But I thrive with my family. I tried a lot of things alone before I came to crossfit and none of them stuck because I needed those people. I needed their help to make me who I am today and help me determine who I will be tomorrow. 

I pay my dues to my community dedicated to sport of fitness because it helps my family grow. 
Nothing could make me more happy. 

Judging and cheering on Jarrell (maybe during 13.1?) Photo credit: http://www.mikebuckphotography.com


A Jock and A Beauty and their lives changed forever

Excuse the Breakfast Club reference in the title, I’m in a John Hughes kind of mood. Today I have a very special post. I mentioned last week that my very good friend Kristie was coming to visit me. She did and we had an amazing time catching up. She has been a really great friend to me for a really long time. (PS: I’m the jock, she’s the beauty)

The very first time I ever met Kristie

Football Season 2008

Football season 2008.

Granada, Spain, 2009

Because Kristie is an awesome friend, she wrote a guest blog for Eat.Pray.WOD.
Without further ado…
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As I rode around with Aislinn in her car the other day, I suddenly blurted out, “I want to write a guest blog post!” 
She told me to figure out what I wanted to write about. 
Ugh, I have to have a topic? Can’t I just ramble? 
But I guess if I wanted to do that, I could start a blog called Kristie Talks About Crap That Is Occasionally Relevant. 
And that name is just too long.

But today, after attending a graduation ceremony with damn good commencement addresses (School of the Arts people are pretty creative, it turns out), I realized I did, in fact, have something specific to say. So here goes…
Aislinn is one of my best friends. This has been the case for a few years now. And one of the things that makes our friendship is so strong is that we support each other’s healthy decisions and voice honest concerns about the unhealthy ones. 
No judgment. 
But not all of the friendships we’ve had have been so supportive. 
Jealousy is real, and it is ugly. 
Some people just aren’t good at being supportive of others’ success. But here’s the thing…
Someone else’s success is not your failure.
Aislinn and I were discussing the ways in which CrossFit has changed her social life. Chances are, she’s not going to go out drinking late on a Friday night anymore. The reasons for this are twofold: one, she’s a grown ass woman. Two, she’s trying to make sure she’ll be able to give her all in the box the next day. 
Who the hell wants to show up to a workout hungover? 
No one. 

Well, some people, but not us. A

And who would rather be hungover than get up and get high on exercise endorphins? 

Well, some people, but not us. 

And a lot of other people can’t, or won’t, understand this change in priorities. 
It’s tough to watch a friend revamp their lifestyle. For many of us, it makes us call our own choices into question. Am I lazy because I don’t wake up early and work out? Am I being judged for eating this pizza? What the hell is cleaning if not something one does with a duster and vacuum? If we are that person, we have 3 options. 
The first: we can try to bring our friend back into their former lifestyle that fits more comfortably with ours. 
The second: we can support our friend’s change in priorities and find new ways to spend time together. 
The third: we can be supportive AND use their dedication as motivation to start pursuing our own long-neglected goals.


I’ve chosen the third option. I was dubious when Aislinn began CrossFit. She got so involved so quickly that I was pretty certain it was an exercise cult that would slowly suck out her brain and mix it into her protein shakes. 
For real. 
But then I saw the changes in her. She was so passionate about CrossFit that it affected all aspects of her life. She changed her diet, she changed her sleep habits, she started a kick-ass blog that should have paid sponsors, like, yesterday. And, seeing how Aislinn has started moving full-throttle towards becoming her best self, I’ve been motivated to get my own ass in gear. I did a CrossFit intro WOD, and it reminded me how competitive I am. And it made me start doing my LEAST FAVORITE exercise: running. Running is an asshole, and I hate it. Except now, I crave it. I compete with myself daily. I started off running one mile. I’m up to three. In under 30 minutes. For me, that’s BEASTING. I feel incredible inside and out. I want to run further, faster. I want to strength train to add muscle to my new, sleeker frame. I want to do yoga to increase my flexibility and keep variety in my workouts. I want to be my healthiest self. Aislinn’s success is turning into my success, too. 
I hope y’all find it’s doing the same for you.
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Holy crap. I can’t even believe that anyone would write such sweet things about me, but I am so thankful to have this girl in my life!