The thing about: Notebooks

Y’all know my story for the most part. Got fat. Tried to lose weight. Failed. Gave up. Tried again. Failed. Gave up.

Until I found CrossFit.

And I’ve talked a lot about how great CrossFit is: from the workout itself, to the coaches, to the community, it’s awesome.

But I’ve never really touched on what made me stay. 

So let me start with touching on why most people quit their fitness journey: results.
In today’s society, everything is so instant. You can pretty much do/get anything you want instantly. Unfortunately, for most of us, our fitness level does not change instantaneously. 

Too often I hear: “I started running and I did it for about 2 weeks, but nothing happened so I quit.” 
2 WEEKS!? 
Excuse my outrage, but that’s actually a direct quote…from me. What a lame-ass I was. 
Did I really think running was gonna change me in 2 weeks? Ya damn right I did. I mean, look at those little teeny chicks running in sports bras everyday! 

When I came to RSCF, my intro coach was Lauren. She’s the only girl coach at the box, she’s super strong, super nice, and a badass. So she’s basically my idol. At our second intro class, I noticed her recording her workout and her time in a little, teeny notebook. So what did I do? I went out and bought a little, teeny notebook and did the same thing. 

Now you’re like, “why the hell did you tell me that?” 
This is why:
That little, teeny notebook kept me coming back to CrossFit. 

I wrote down EVERYTHING in there. I kept track of my WODs, my results, how I modified, if I RX’d, if I PR’d, how I felt, what hurt, what felt better, words of inspiration, bible verses, shopping lists, paleo recipes, everything. 

Now you’re asking, “Okay, Ace, but how did that help? Get to the freakin’ point already.”

The notebook basically showed me that even if I couldn’t physically see progress or I was having a crappy day, progress was made. If I had a crappy WOD, I could turn the page back and see that I PR’d my back squat just a few days before. Maybe I’d run into the scripture that I needed as an affirmation. Maybe I’d go all the way to the beginning and see that, when I started, I couldn’t clean 60#, and even though I had a crappy day TODAY, I can now clean AND jerk #125. 

The notebook shows me progress. 
The notebook always reminds me that today, maybe, I didn’t have a great day, but I’m better than I was yesterday.
The notebook is a reminder of where I started, how far I’ve come, and how much farther I have to go. 

Which kicks ass.

And every WOD, I look forward to putting my results in the notebook and watching me beat me. 

So it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. CrossFit, Zumba, Jillian Michaels, whatever. Record what you’re doing. Write down how many minutes you could do unbroken. Write down how many reps you got today. Take note of how you feel before and after. And watch yourself get better.

The notebook won’t let you quit. 

I love the quote:
“It takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing. It takes 8 weeks for your friends to notice. It takes 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice. Give it 12 weeks.” 
The notebook always notices.

So if you haven’t already, go get you a teeny notebook. Write in it. Don’t lose it (I totally lost my first one. I was depressed for a week. I don’t even want to talk about it.) and get your butt to work. 12 weeks. GO!

In case you thought I was kidding about recording EVERYTHING. 
My students said I need to post a picture today because I “look really pretty today and my readers shouldn’t have to always see me when I work out.” Uh, thanks?

Thankful Wednesday on a Monday?

I normally do Thankful Wednesday on…uh…Wednesdays, but I had to post this today. 

Most of you know that I’ll be starting a new adventure this summer. I’ll be heading to Graduate School at LSU where I’ll study Kinesiology. I am super excited about it and I’ve been really looking forward to it. The one thing that’s really been stressing me is: how am I going to pay for it and how am I going to survive while I’m in graduate school?

I am a teacher and while, yes, the paid hours are pretty good, most people don’t really realize how much time and unpaid hours it takes outside of school to be a good teacher. There’s 
more grading, 
more planning, 
planning for the unplanned, 
developing alternate assignments for gifted students, 
and developing alternate assignments for students who need extra help. 
It’s kind of a lot. And that’s just when you teach one subject. If you teach two or more subjects like me, take everything I just said and multiply it by 3. 
And let’s not even talk about how it’s been made so complicated for me to finish my certification program. Gotta be kidding me!

So over the weekend, I did a lot of thinking and a lot of discussing my options with Mama Nancy and Daddy Carlos. 

And, finally, we came up with a plan:
Begin my program this summer and continue with a minimum 9 hours of coursework every semester.
No teaching next year-I want to make sure that I can focus on school and getting the best grades (and experience) I can.
Re-prioritize my budget to shrink down bills and consolidate money to save.
Ultimate goal: complete grad school program in a year (year and a half-max) and return to the Lone Star State.

Decision: made.

And with all that stressful decision making out of the way, I wanna take a moment to say how THANKFUL I am for my parents for putting up with me and my crazy life.

So thankful for these guys! (And no, that’s not me with my daddy-it’s my sister, Celina. But it’s the best picture of our dad!)

Mom and Dad,
Thank you so much for always supporting my crazy dreams. I know sometimes it feels like I change my mind every other day, but thank you for always keeping me grounded and focused on the things that I need to do. Thank you for always filling up my gas tank before I head back to Louisiana from Texas. Thank you for always making sure that my meals are paleo when I come home and for keeping my room open for me when I visit. Thank you for never erasing the height marks that Anthony, Brittany, and I made in my bathroom (although, to be honest, we made them in brown eyeliner pencil, so I’m not sure they’d come off anyway). Thanks for letting me sleep in when I’m home even though “sleeping in” now is 730 am. Thank you for the endless pots of coffee, always answering the phone when I call, and daily morning text messages. Thank you for making continuous strips of bacon, taking me shopping when I need new clothes, and Sunday afternoon phone calls. Thanks for all the “phone call favors” you call in to St. Jude for me and always praying that I’ll find happiness in whatever I do. Thanks for being involved in my crossfitting and always asking how it went, what I’m doing, or what PR I’ve hit recently…even if y’all do think every lift is called “snatch”. Oh, and thank you for finally reading my “blog-journal-thing”. It means a lot to me that you guys realized I write good stuff sometimes. 

I love you both, big big.
-Aislinn Alysse

Stop talkin’ ’bout it. Be about it.

I’ve been in kind of a funk, y’all. 

Not like an, “omg, I’m so depressed, I hate my whole life” funk, just like a, “am I really happy? Could I be doing things that make me happier?” funk. 

I guess for the past semester or so (I’m a teacher, I still think in terms of semesters. Sue me.) I’ve been a little stressed, pretty overwhelmed and just in a funk. Maybe it’s a, “I’m at an impasse in my life and I need to make some decisions, but I’m scared about what to do and how I should do it” funk. 

And I really don’t wanna make a decision that’s gonna irreparably fudge up my life. 

BUT. As I was watching my new favorite show, Nashville, I heard this and was pretty inspired.
“I know it’d be real scary to think about losing everybody, but wouldn’t it be scarier to lose yourself? There’s thinkin’ about doin’ something and then, there’s just doin’ it.”

And that’s pretty legit if you ask me. I could talk about doing shiz all day, but if I don’t do something to push myself in the direction of what I want, then I’m really just that: all talk. 

So I’m going to do myself a favor and stop looking at all the things in my way of doing what I’m supposed to do and just do it. I’m gonna stop talking myself down by saying things like, “I really want to but…” and “If I could, I would.”

There are no buts. I can and I will.

And I’m really hoping that doing instead of thinking about doing will lead me to my goal and keep me, me. 

Making decisions is hard, being a grown up is scary (and sucks), but I think maybe I’m getting the hang of this thing. 

Clearly a grown up. Right? I don’t know. Maybe.

Stop talkin’ ’bout it, be about it. 

Religion: Crossfit

It is said that there are 5 topics that no one should discuss in the company of others.

I’d be lying to you if I said I knew what all of them were, but I know for fact: one of them is religion.

Since I have no problem being controversial–I’ll pretty much talk to anyone about anything–I decided to talk about this after someone brought this to my attention: the name of my blog is Eat.PRAY.Wod.

And the remark was, “Aislinn, it’s so weird to me that your blog is called eat.pray.wod and you’re, like, the least religious person I know.”

And she’s right. 
Breaking news: I don’t follow a specific religion. I was raised Catholic and I find comfort in the consistency and artifacts of Catholic church and I find good lessons and morals of the story in the Bible, but you will not find me there every Sunday. You won’t find me at anyone’s bible study or Wednesday night service. In fact, the place you’ll mainly find me any time I’m not at work is in the box.

I was raised by my awesome parents to believe that every place is as good place as any to worship. Any time is a good time to thank God. And that if you wake up everyday and do good things and try your hardest to always do the right thing, then, in God’s eyes, you have succeeded. Of course, you will always fail to live perfectly, because no one is perfect. But if you do your best to do right by yourself and do right by others, ultimately, you’ll be just fine. As a kid, my mama used to remind me (and she still reminds me every time we talk–which is everyday) to say my prayers to God and St. Jude (and, since 7th grade, my grandma) for myself and others. Everything else will fall into place just where it needs to be.

And I’ve learned, growing up, that a lot of people don’t agree with me.

But that’s okay. 

This is the part where it’s going to get controversial. 
Since I found CrossFit and started this journey, when people ask me what my religion is, CrossFit is my answer. 
But before you get all nuts on me and start imagining that I’ve got a shrine to Coach Glassman and I pray to the CrossFit gods of Thrusters, let me explain.

Before I started this thing, I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was way overweight and my health wasn’t good. Here I was with this whole body and health, given to me by God and I wasn’t taking care of it! And because I wasn’t happy with the way I looked, it was taking tolls on other parts of my life, too. I was depressed, I was angry, I was all kinds of things. Things that didn’t make my life good. 

Then I found the box. 

And never in my life have I been so convinced that I am doing good with the tools God gave me. As I changed my body from something I used to hang clothes on to an instrument of strength and movement, I also started changing psychologically. I started building strength mentally. I started thanking God at random for all the good things-no matter how big or how small. I learned to pick my battles, not sweat the small stuff, and help those who can do nothing for me. When I start a WOD in the morning, I say a prayer in those first 5 seconds of the countdown. And throughout my day, as obstacles come my way (and sometimes they hurl themselves at me) I remember that prayer and I remember everything I physically accomplished. And suddenly, that obstacle doesn’t look like such a big deal anymore. 

Yes, I still make mistakes. I get frustrated. I get aggravated. I get mad. I don’t perform the way I feel like I should. But it doesn’t stay. And I do my best to find the lesson. And do better everyday. 

So, no, I’m not religious. Yes, I am spiritual. No, you probably won’t find me at church. Yes, I have tremendous amounts of faith. Yes, I believe that if you put good in the world, you will be repaid with good. 

Have faith in others. Have faith in yourself.
Do good things.

One of my favorites 🙂

CrossFit Family, First

With the CrossFit open beginning tomorrow (holy crap, is it here already? I am so not ready for this), I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this whole CrossFit…thing. 

I write about it.
I talk about it.
I watch videos about it.
I drool over Neal Maddox while he does it.

But why is it so important to me? What makes it such a big freakin’ deal?

Well, probably because I’ve immersed myself in it. For me, CrossFit is more than a gym and it’s more than a WOD. I do not show up, work out, and leave. 

Crossfit is legitimately an experience and I really feel like, if you’re going to get the best results, you have to buy into it.

You have a duty as a crossfitter. As a member of a box, you are blessed with a huge responsibility.

You have to participate.
Come in. Warm up. Roll out. Row some (even if you’re like me and hate it). Get mentally ready for this (undoubtably) awful WOD. 3…2…1…GO! Push yourself. Work hard. PAIN. Sweat. Work harder. See finish. Reach finish. Lay on the floor. Try to get up, fail. Lay on the floor for a while longer. Try to get up again. Walk around. Think about how much that sucked. Be proud of yourself. 

You have to encourage.
It’s not just you in the box. You’re not the only one dreading the next 2-25 minutes of misery. You’re not the only one who hurts, who thinks about giving up, and who is having a mind/body battle. So you have to encourage other people. You have to sit there and yell at them to finish. You have to remind them that there are only X amount of minutes left or X number of rounds left until this torture ends. You have to push people to reach their potential when they don’t have the strength to push on. 

You have to be a student.
We have coaches for a reason. They are there to encourage and motivate, but they’re also there to teach. Teach us how to be better. More efficient. Faster. Stronger. But you have to listen. Sometimes they tell you great things. Other times, they tell you things you don’t like to hear. But they’re your coach and they know their shiz. You are responsible for putting their coaching into action. Watch other people. Think about what they’re doing compared to what you’re doing and how you can improve yourself.  Become a student of the sport.

You have to be a teacher.
Just because you’re not a coach doesn’t mean you’re not a teacher. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched other, more experienced crossfitters to figure out how to do things myself, where things are, and what to do with them. I watch how they behave and modify my behavior accordingly. Etiquette is important no matter the time or place, but box etiquette is something that has to be learned from each other. 

All in all, you have to be a part of the community. 
Community is what sets CrossFit apart from other stuff. We know each other on purpose. We’re not “people who do crossfit”, we’re crossfitters and we’re part of this crazy community that supports each other, identify with each others’ struggles and celebrate each others’ victories. And that’s crazy awesome. We’re empowered by each other through the things that we can do. 

Keep this in mind over the next 5 weeks. We’re competitive. Everyone wants to be crowned “the fittest on earth” but we’re a family first. 

Hope everyone performs like a badass tomorrow (or whenever you decide to do your WOD) and beasts it. Be your best. Work hard. Push so hard you pass out ‘n’ shiz. Then tell me all about it so I can brag on you. 

The only sport where the last to finish gets the loudest cheers.


This ain’t yo’ grandma’s lifestyle

This is probably going to be a really weird post, but I’ve GOT to talk about it.

I am busy. I have a ton of shiz to do everyday. I have a full time job, I have about a million on the side money making schemes, I run this blog, make times for friends and family, find time to support my kiddos (students), find time to lesson plan, grade at least 184 papers, cook, clean, get my grad school shiz together, pick up a second job and I train for CrossFit. (reading this all written down just exhausted me)

I have a crazy schedule. Seriously. A friend of mine just told me today that I’m the “queen of multitasking”. 

My schedule usually goes something like this:
3 am: wake up
3-445 am: cook and package all my food for the day, get dressed for workouts, pack my bag with clothes for actual work, make sure I have everything (I always have to check twice…mainly because I’m forgetful)
445-455 am: drive to Red Stick CrossFit 
5-6 am: WOD
6-615 am: Get ready for work in the RSCF bathroom.
615-630 am: Drive to work
630 am-245 pm: Educate kiddos ‘n’ shiz
245-300 pm: Drive back to Red Stick CrossFit
300-500 pm: Strength workout or work on shiz I suck at.
500-515 pm: head home
515-545 pm: Cook and eat dinner
545-730 pm: work on whatever the hell else I’ve gotta get done that day
No later than 8 pm: BED. 

And I try to fit everything on my to do list in during the day. And sometimes, my to do list is LONG. Don’t get me wrong, I make time for friends and all that, but I gotta make sure I get the things I need to get done, done.

I said all that to say this: this is my schedule because I want it to be. 

Do I have to workout at 5 am? No. Do I have to package all my food? No. Do I have to go to bed ass early to be up early? No. I do it because I WANT to. Just like I want to be fit, I want to be healthy, I want to be happy, and I want to be the best me I can be. Yes, this schedule is hectic and crazy, but I love it. I get to do shiz that I love all day (minus grading papers. I hate that).

Things I don’t like: 
When people bust my balls about my schedule. I have a limited window of time to hang out with people and I will hang out when I have time. But don’t bust my balls because I’d rather be sleeping when you want to go out drinking. I don’t drink anyway (with the exception of special occasions. Or a long day at work. Or students that drive me to drink.)

When people try to call me a “granny” or “grandma” because I go to bed early and need my rest. Chances are, your granny doesn’t deadlift 250#. *unless she does, in which case, your granny’s a badass.* I’ve literally had 4 people call me some form of “granny” in the past 4 days. I get sleep because I need it. I have to rest my body because I need to prepare myself for a long day of extreme hyperactivity. (if you’ve ever seen me at 5 am workouts, you know exactly how hyper I can get) Forgive me if I’d rather sleep than go out drinking and have random guys air hump me and call it dancing. I’m honest. I will tell you when I can hang out and I’ll tell you when I need sleep. Trust me, you don’t want to hang out with me if I’m tired anyway. I get really cranky.

When people tell me what should be important to me. This is the one that I struggle with the most. I have always been a people pleaser. I like to make others happy–and a lot of times, its to a fault. I used to literally sacrifice the things that I wanted to do, goals that I had, and things that would make me happy, to do things for other people. I made a resolution earlier this year that I would be more selfish (you can read about that here). Long story short: I would stop letting people dictate what I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it. I will do the things that it takes to reach my own goals and make me happy. By any means necessary.

I have finally gotten to a point where I really love my life. I really love what I’m doing, what I’m going to do, and the goals/dreams I’ve set for myself. The last thing I appreciate is people trying to throw me off that track. 

Because of this journey, I am a better, happier person. My friends and family have noticed. I’ve never been as happy as I am when I’m running through this crazy schedule everyday. I may sometimes be exhausted. I may be overwhelmed. I may feel like I can never do everything I need to do. But I have a genuine smile on my face. I wouldn’t trade this psychotic, overwhelming schedule for anything and I only want people with me who want to keep that smile just that: genuine.

See that? That’s genuine. I wanna keep that!