Sunday, May 19, 2013

Crossfit and Women Athletes

I can't speak for every Crossfit gym across the country, but it seems to me that there is a push for women athletes in Crossfit. Not so much like we need more, although there is a bit of that. But everywhere you look in Crossfit environments, everyone is cheering for the women. I have to say, I'm really proud to be a part of a sport and organization that supports women being strong and athletic.

So many times in athletic competition based settings there are only so many sports where women are 'allowed' to excel, gymnastics for one. But if women excel in a male dominated event, like say NASCAR, they are pretty much written off. Entire leagues created for women's sport are often completely forgotten about. WNBA? Is that a TV station?
But that's not Crossfit.

Women athletes are talked about with the same idolized awe as the men. There is a specific division where men and women compete side by side on a team.

It's awesome and empowering, even as a woman that would never make it to the Games. I'm so excited to see women seen as athletic and that to be a good thing. For someone to call a woman a 'beast' and mean that she is awesome and strong. And not implying that she's ugly. It's an environment I'm okay with my daughter growing up around.

Every once in a while you'll hear someone call a woman a man. As if only men could be so strong. Men don't have the market cornered on being strong and powerful anymore. Just like women aren't the only people on the planet that can be wimpy and passive. Using anatomy to determine personality and strength is just as insulting as using age or nationality or skin color or any of the many stereotypes that we are working so hard to break down.

It's nice to know that some sports are helping to bring down those walls. And that my kids will be growing up in a world where being strong isn't just a man thing.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Personal Paleo Challenge Day 1: Fighting!

In the last few months, I've gotten really bad about wanting to start a Paleo Challenge and actually doing it. It seems like a really good idea on Sunday. But come Monday morning, I'm still headed toward to my chocolate Rice Chex and sugared flavored coffee creamer.

It's really easy to think about all the things you want to change and all the things you need to do differently. At least it is for me. I can come up with a good plan for what I should be doing in a heartbeat. I'll research it until I could be a professional. But execution is something very different.

I could blame a lot of things, bad habits, lack of willpower, no self-control, tasty tempting cupcakes. Whatever the excuse, it's still just an excuse. It's a matter of me just not doing it.

Today is different. Today, I have a team. The family is getting in on it the plan. And while we aren't doing a Whole 30, the plan is about 90% Paleo, which is more reasonable for us.

For me it's about weight loss. I need a plan that will keep me motivated and something I feel I'm capable of sticking to. It's no good coming up with a great plan, starting, and then realizing it's just too much for me to take on long term. For me to get the best results without getting frustrated, I have to start with a few extras. My big one is peanut butter. I just don't like almond butter. It's not a good substitute for me. And an apple with peanut butter is a staple in my diet. My other big extra is rice. While a grain, it has a weird 'not as bad' thing about it. At least that's what I keep telling myself. And it's better for me to include it while I dump all the other processed things and then worry about it after I'm in a more comfortable place with all the changes.

And really that's the best way to come up with a plan. Some people are the type that can make a big change all at once and not look back. Some people need to do things slowly, building a foundation and working from there.

Monday, January 7, 2013

That time of year...

It's that time of year again. Oh you know what I'm talking about. We've been making the list all year with the tag, I'll do that at the New Year. Whether or not you've written something down, everyone has something that they plan to 'work on'.  I do.

There is something about the New Year that makes me always feel guilt about not making it to where I meant to be. I had lofty goals of health and weight loss last year. I lost 18 pounds last year. Not so shabby really. But when I compare it to what I wanted to do, I feel lacking.

In today's world of social media, it's really easy to feel lacking. After all, no one blogs about the crappy things. Who wants to read that? If I wanted to feel bad, I can manage that on my own. I want to see happy perfect people that I can aim to be like. And as I aim to be like them, I often get stuck thinking about where I'm not.

I don't think about the good things, like how I've lost 18 lbs and kept it off. Or how I've been doing Crossfit (mostly) regularly for almost a year now. I'm stronger and far more confident than where I was last year.

It's easy to forget those parts when I think, why didn't I lose 20 lbs? Why didn't I go to Crossfit more? Why didn't I stick to my healthy eating plan over the holidays?

But my theme to this blog is Own It!

I made my choices. And I'm going to own them.

In addition to that, I'm moving on. It's a new year. All that was last year. There isn't a reason to dwell on it. Remember the good. Forget the bad.

My resolution is to not compare. I will not compare myself to other people. And I will not compare my reality to the imaginary. I resolve to live in the now.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's been a while

So... yeah. It's not that I don't love you. I just kinda ran out of things to say, that I hadn't already said over and over. It's okay though. I can tell we are the type of friends that can go months without contact and just pick up where we left off like nothing ever happened. It happens a lot to grown-ups, I've discovered.

You get sidetracked. Life gets in the way. Things are busy. There's this family thing. And the next thing you know it's been 4 months.

But I've missed you! We should totally get a cup of coffee sometime. You know when someone else is watching the kids and we have time to talk. ... I can't think of when that might be either. So I guess we can stick to the blog.

Life happens. Schedules change. Stuff gets in the way. It's easy to let fitness and health decisions to lapse first. I know, you should see what I've been eating lately.

A month ago we moved, only about 10 minutes from our 'old' house. So to save money we decided we could totally do it ourselves. It worked a bit like a Crossfit WOD. It looked good on paper. Right before, I panicked. During, I didn't have time to worry about, I had too much to do. Once it was over, it didn't seem so bad. And I was grateful that I had been doing Crossfit, those boxes, couches and mattresses were heavy, but I managed my half. So much so that when our new neighbor asked if we needed any help, while we were carrying a heavy hutch, my husband said, "No, we got it. Thanks!"

Hmmm, Crossfit might be backfiring on me.

But during the few weeks it took to do it ourselves, we didn't have time for Crossfit. By the time it was meal time, we were too tired to cook. In fact, we were just plain ol' wore out. So it was fast food and pizza, which we all know are just gateway foods to cookies, cakes and candy.

So our healthy lifestyle has all fallen apart. No exercise, icky food. It's a mess.

It happens.

It just means we have to get back at it. Life gets in the way of your best laid plans. It doesn't mean you quit. So long as you don't quit. Time to get back at it. Even with the holidays. No reason not to start back today.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mad Men Tricks

I started watching Mad Men last night. I'm a little late to the game, I know, but there was something I noticed right away that I feel the need to point out.

Ad people are trickesters.

It isn't new knowledge. We all know that commercials and ads are designed to get us to buy the products they are peddling. But the first episode of Mad Men shows exactly how much they can't be trusted. Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen it.

In this episode, smoking had been outed as causing cancer. (Common knowledge now, but in the 60s when 'everyone' smoked, it was ground breaking.) The ad guy and the cigarette company is in a panic because they are about to lose business, and suddenly they aren't allowed to promote smoking as being healthy.

Enter the tricks. How can big tabacco convince the buying public that their product is safe, even if it isn't? They decide to by pass saying it's healthy (because legally they can't) and they decide to play up how naturally it's made. They decide on the slogan, "It's toasted."

It brings to mind breakfast toast or fresh nuts, doesn't it? Both are things most consider healthy.

It makes me realize how much faith I put into advertising. I'm pretty skeptical to start with, but I still fall for the "part of a healthy breakfast" line from time to time. Or the milk and cookies routine. Milk's healthy after all, why not spice it up with a cookie (or 6)? Hmm. And I'm hard pressed to turned down cake with love baked in. Who doesn't want a little bite of love? It'd be down right rude to turn it down.

Luckily, I have DVR and can record any TV I watch and skip right past the ads. But they are starting to crop up other places now. The web is really starting to get a good method to advertising. And it's getting harder to avoid someone trying to convince you their products is the best.

When it comes to food and your health, do your research. Obviously don't trust the people trying to sell you their product, particularly if they are adamant about how healthy it is. Apple farmers don't have to convince you to buy apples. Truly healthy foods don't come in package. They are made by nature.

The only way to know if you are eating right is to learn about your food. The more you know...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I hate running!

My kids get corrected every time they use the word 'hate' when describing things. They obviously don't hate each other. They don't hate school. They might not like each other. And there are certainly times they don't like school. But hate is a word they don't really understand. So I remind them, that they don't hate. They just dislike.

So fine, I dislike running.

I really really really dislike running.

I do it anyway.

If it were up to me, the world would turn just fine without running, but apparently it's good for you.


So when a workout comes up that has running in it, I start to negotiate with myself if I really have to go. I mean, I should clean the bathroom. That laundry isn't going to fold itself. And the baby kept me up half the night; I really am too tired.

Hold there. We'll come back to that.

There are so many Crossfit movements I'm not good at... yet. I could list them, but you don't have the time. What's important to note about these movements is there is always a scale down. Pull-ups to using bands with your pull-ups, to jumping pull-ups, to ring rows. Box jumps to smaller boxes, to step ups. Weight can get lighter. Those kinds of things.

You can't scale running. You can go slower. (That's me!) Or you can walk. Walking isn't running. They have their own Olympic event, so it must be true. So when there is a workout that has running. I know I have to run. I still end up walking some, especially if there is a lot of running, but the idea is to run as much as absolutely possible. I wont get better if I slack.

So back to the excuses. Sometimes if I can find a really good one, I'll cling to it. The baby is a sleep. (Never wake a sleeping baby!)

I'll be damned if the next workout doesn't have a longer run... every time.

How do they know?!

And I've used my good excuse, and my rest day, because I didn't own it. So I try not to cherry pick my workouts. Even if it looks horrible and has 200m sprints for time, it's important to stick with it. I can't get better if I don't stick with it.

Not all workouts are going to be my favorites. And if I only do my favorites, I'm never going to get better at the hard stuff. And it will always be the hard stuff.

I suspect there will always be hard stuff. My goal is to make it look easy. When someone tells me, I make a movement look easy, I think that'll be the coolest day ever.

In the meantime, I hate running, but I do it anyway.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Eating Clean

My family eats pretty clean. Some people don't really understand what that means. And it might be partly because it means different things to different people.

In general, it means not processed foods. The edges of the grocery store. Nothing out of a box.

You can add to that, organic. It makes it a bit more complicated. Harder to shop for. And if you aren't following sales, more expensive.

You can add to that Paleo, vegan or some other label. And once again it gets a bit more complicated.

At my house, clean means Paleo or a version of.

Eating Paleo isn't like what the media wants people to think. It isn't a meat based diet. It's very much a veggie based diet but always with a good helping of fat and protein. The easiest (and in my opinion tastiest) source of healthy fat and protein is meat. Yum. But to eat Paleo you have to give up a handful of things that have been proven to be harmful, like grains, specifically gluten but all grains are cut out if you eat Paleo.

I also cut out dairy. Most Paleo types do. Some call themselves Primal instead of Paleo and they keep dairy. Really it's all a matter of semantics. And finding where you fit on the eating clean scale.

For me, it isn't about fitting into a label. It's about getting away from cheap, unhealthy food. It's hard to know these days with media shoving down everyone's throats what is healthy and what isn't. After all, all cereals are "part of a healthy breakfast", never mind their sugar content and the fact that their nutrients are added by chemicals, not nature. Kool-aid has less sugar than soda, don't mind the Red 40 or Yellow 5. Then there is the whole grains vs enriched wheat flour. High fructose corn syrup. Brominated Vegetable Oil. Aspartame. Nitrates.

And yet everyone still wants you to think you can eat their food product and still be healthy. But it's obvious that's just not true.

*sigh* So how do you know what's healthy? What makes a clean food?

My rules of thumb.

1. If it can be sold without a nutrition label. It's clean.
2. If the food will go bad before the end of the week, even if kept in the refrigerator. Then it's probably clean.

The rest should be eaten sparingly or not at all.

I very firmly believe that our country's obesity problem would start to resolve itself if people ate clean. No more boxed food. No more fast food. Learn to cook for yourself. By the time you wait in line at the drive through and get your meal home, you could have cooked a healthy clean meal for your family at home. And there is a lot less waste from all those packages.

When you eat better, you feel better. And you lose weight wether you mean to or not. Bonus.