Go All In

What happens if you "go all in" to this CrossFit adventure? 

If you're like most, you started CrossFit to get into better shape, you were tired of not seeing results from what you were currently doing and you were getting bored with your workouts. 

You completed Foundations, you found out you were not in as good of shape as you thought you were (it's ok, we felt the same way when we started too), and you could barely complete a 7 min workout without feeling like your body was going to hurt for days. 

You decided to give it a try & signed up for a membership. You now go to classes 3-4x a week, you've gotten a little bit faster, a little bit stronger and you can do 10 double under now and you've begun talking to those in your classes! You've noticed some new muscle definition in your body, your legs are sore most days because "CrossFit people squat all the time". You share with a few others that you are doing CrossFit.

For many people, this is where CrossFit ends and they go back to their every day lives. That 1 hour at the gym is fun but they are a little bit hesitant to go to attend a class time out of their regular schedule or go out for a beer with their gym friends or spend some time hanging around after class to work on their 2017 goals. That's ok!  

But what happens if you go all in? 

You'll find that you'll love CrossFit even more, you'll talk about it more, you'll talk about it enough that you're significant other will come try a class, your co-worker will ask what you do at workouts (and if he or she doesn't, you'll talk about it anyways). You'll find that you will begin to talk to your regular WOD crew about things  non-fitness related. You'll go out for a drink after class (The Lift on Wednesdays, Happy Hour Fridays) You'll attend the special WODs (Memorial Day, Hero WODs, Charity Events), you'll participate in The Open. You'll add CrossFit friends as Facebook friends. You'll create group messages with your CrossFit friends.

Pretty soon, you're CrossFit friends will be friends. . You'll find that you're hanging out with people interested in bettering themselves on a daily basis. You'll find that your life won't be separated by CrossFit and Life but it'll become a part of your lifestyle. Your fitness hour will be just as much your social hour. You'll spend way longer than that hour in class.

You'll begin to watch CrossFit YouTube videos, you'll read articles on how to get better at a certain lift, you'll research which jump rope is best, should you where lifters or go with the Nano or Metcon for your shoe. 

You'll grow more confident in yourself. You may then demand more out of the your career, you may look for a different career all together. You may decide to end the relationship you've been in for too long or finally get the courage to ask that special person on a date. 

What happens if you go all in with CrossFit? Anything, anything is possible. 



Change Takes Time


It's a new year, which means, we have many new faces coming into the gym hoping that this year is the year for them to improve their health and fitness, to stick to something and to finally get healthy. 

Last week, we set goals in the box, specific to our performance, and wrote them down on the goal boards for everyone to see. Those goals will not be met overnight, it's going to take a lot of hard work and being consistent each week, even when the goal seems so far away. 

For both the newbie and the current athlete, we want to remind you: Change takes time. 

As coaches, we often get asked and hear, "what do you eat?" "how do you train?" "I wish I could lift as heavy as you." "It looks so easy for you."

Here's the answers: We train like you. We started with a band for pull ups or doing half rep strict pull ups (not knowing these weren't actually pull ups), we started with an empty bar. We struggled along with progressions for HSPU and Muscle Ups (and still may be working on these, years later), Each of us eats a bit differently but we've found, by trial and error, what works for us and what doesn't.  We didn't get this way over the course of a few months or even a year. It's been years in the making. And we're still working just as hard. We are not done. You're never done.

In the 2007 photo above, I was in, what I thought, was the best shape of my life. Every bride's goal is to look good for their wedding because 'the photos last forever'. I weighed 119# in that photo, I ran hours a day and I used 8# dumbbells and couldn't do a single chest to ground push up. 

I started CrossFit in 2011, still running marathons and weighing between 119-121#. I wanted to lose 10# to be a faster runner. Why? That's what all the marathon books told me to do, so I began watching my portions. I lost .2# in 4 months and I also began feeling pain in my hip when I ran. So much that I had to drop out of the 2010 Chicago marathon 16 miles into the race. I had never, in all my years of running, dropped out of a race. I began searching for a solution. The answer was simple: lift weights, get muscles and eat food.

In the 2017 photo, I see nearly 6 years worth of hard work. Every single one of those muscles I worked for. I am strong. I am healthy. You can't fake muscles, you can't fake strength. I don't see what others see, until I look back at photos from before CrossFit. In 2007, my forearm is bigger than my bicep, I wore extra small tops. Today, my biceps (are big) and are proportioned to my forearm, I have traps, and I have wings in the form of lats. I often can't fit into shirts with buttons, I've cut elastic out in dresses because my obliques are bigger and now need a larger size in lulu tops because my shoulders and arms continue to grow.  I can deadlift 265#, back squat 210# and do 25 pull ups unbroken. I weigh 138#. Today, I know I'm in the best shape of my life- for today. It's exciting because if I keep this up, I can continue to say that I am in the best shape of my life each year I get older.

It's an exciting time here in the box, we have so many athletes hitting their 1 year CrossFit mark, they may be a bit discouraged because they "can't do x yet" (fill this in with pull ups, clean 125#, a handstand push up, or double unders).

Keep working! Keep showing up. Your progress and efforts are not meaningless. It's a journey. A long, beautiful journey.  You work for each milestone, you don't get any of them given to you.

To the new athletes just coming into group classes: Every sore muscle, every hard workout, every full effort put into your hour here, it's building a foundation. For some, the foundation takes a long time to build, but it's worth it. Promise.



You are different


You are different from most others. Not because you CrossFit, this difference was already a part of you, it's what drove you to CrossFit. CrossFit has validated your assumptions and quenches your thirst on a daily basis.

You are driven by a challenge. If one would interview those who walk through these doors, you will find the following traits:

you are a perfectionist

you are competitive (whether in sport or career) 

you set goals

you expect more out of yourself

you do not settle

you have overcome some awfully hard things in your life already, this doesn't make you a victim of your circumstances but a fighter

You know that this journey won't be easy, you don't want that. You want hard. You want a challenge. You want to fail before you succeed. Some who come here know this about themselves already. Others, it's what breaks them down and shows them they are capable, they can't be perfect at something right away, that they have to start at the first progression and master that before they can more towards the next progression to get where they want to be. It's every day effort. It's putting in work when you'd rather skip because it's a movement or skill you are not good at (take today's handstand walk practice). 

CrossFit doesn't make these type of people. These types come to CrossFit. If you are reading this, chances are, you are one of them. CrossFit simply ignites the flame to set their soul on fire. The beautiful thing about this is while it starts in the box, it bleeds into every area of one's life. These types of people expect more out of themselves and ultimately out of others. 

This part of your personality gets to come out of hiding. Maybe it's been hiding due to a poor work environment or a bad relationship or you not allowing yourself to be a priority anymore. In the beginning, as coaches, we see this part of you only in the hour we have class, maybe only in the last few minutes of a workout. Then it gets put back into a deep pocket of your soul as you walk out of the box.

But as you get stronger, mentally and physically, as you find that part of you, it gets harder and hard to put it away as you leave because you feel so amazing (hurting, and breathing hard and want to give up but still amazing) that you take that courage and confidence and test them out in your work, in your friendships and relationships, and on yourself.

People begin to notice your physical changes but also your take charge attitude, you get shit done. You set your goals and standards high. Some of these people in your life won't like this, they will say you've changed. You haven't, you've simply allowed yourself to be who you were all along. You may change jobs, gravitate to hanging out with others who share your same goals, maybe you will end a relationship that wasn't good to being with. You are letting go of those things that have held you back because you now truly believe you can.

If you are reading this and you aren't a part of our community yet, but a friend has urged you to try a class or to sign up for Foundations that's because they see it in you. Listen.

You are different. Accept it. Embrace it. 



Food for Squat: Open Letter Part 1

Lately, we sure have been seeing a lot of open letters floating around the ol’ interweb, am I right?!

“An Open Letter to the Mother On Her Phone at the Park..”

“An Open Letter to the Man In front of Me in the Grocery Line..”

They’re so addicting to read, don’t you think?! I CANNOT HELP but open nearly every one of them that is plastered all over Facebook, even when the content doesn’t apply to me in the very least. Totally a guilty pleasure! I love them, and usually there is some sort of good moral lesson… something to remind ourselves to be easier on ourselves or more forgiving/understanding of others or less judgmental in the world. It’s usually a “Hey you. You KINDA look like a shit-show over there, but I want you to know that I’m really rooting for you.” Ya know?

Well I have my own Open Letter to You, lady or sir who is trying to stick to your eating plan. Now, I still want to let you know that from my vantage point, you still look like a shit show. You’re trying hard but you’re not getting anywhere (and if we’re all being honest over here, this is more or less a letter to myself!). But instead of just writing the typical “Don’t be so tough on yourself! Have a cookie, you stud muffin!” I actually have TWO open letters to write, and you must decide which side of the spectrum that you land on at this time in your life. 

Now, if your detective instincts have told you that this is a two part blog entry, then you are correct (or you read the title of this blog). Part One will be revealed today, and you’ll have to come back for my next blog entry to read Part Two. Without further adieux…

Part One: An Open Letter to You, Lady or Sir Who is Trying to Stick to Your Eating Plan:

I see you over there. You’re sitting in the corner at your friend’s backyard barbeque, quietly sobbing directly over your lettuce and tomato salad that you brought just so you could stick to your diet. You long for the burgers that everyone else is eating… Your mouth waters as everyone else scoops mountains of potato salad onto their plates...  You love potato salad.

You secretly call your friend a B-word as she skips around the yard, with a FULL CALORIE beer in one hand and a giant double cheeseburger in the other, all while wearing a skimpy bikini, and of course, looking like a freaking movie star. B-word. 

As you’re sitting there in misery, the thing you fail to see is all of the progress YOU have made! You’re losing weight in the trenches of summer gatherings (or at least not gaining!!)! You have made it to 5 days of your CrossFit workouts each week for the past 2 months! You’ve hit a new P-FREAKIN-R on your deadlift, you wondrous being, you!!  But all you’re focusing on in this moment, at this BBQ is all of the things that you aren’t. You aren’t at your goal yet. You aren’t skinny enough. You aren’t strong enough.

Well, let me tell you something, sister (or brother)… You are way more than enough. You are amazing. You are fantastic. And even if you think you may need to lose 10 lbs. you’re still a freakin’ rock star, and you know why?? Because you are YOU. YOU are not defined by how much you weigh or what size of clothes you wear. Let me be honest here... your friends PROBABLY won’t even notice much if you do happen to lose those last 5 lbs. unless you specifically tell them. You know why?? Because they love you no matter what and your weight is not the biggest thing they focus on when they see or think about YOU.

OF COURSE it is always awesome to be working on improving yourself, and I’m certainly not tell you to stop doing that. But I do want to tell you, if this is something that you need to hear, that it’s okay to sometimes be easy on yourself and to enjoy life and to HAVE THAT FREAKIN PIECE OF PIZZA at your friend’s birthday party.

It’s okay to relax about that one meal you’re having and then get right back on track tomorrow. You will not die. Your weight loss will not be sabotaged for all time. But if you spend ALL of your time worrying about weight loss, then you will risk missing out on experiences and time with friends and family. Trust me, I’ve gone through phases in my life where I’d avoid going out to meet friends for a drink because I was trying to lose weight, and I had put SO MUCH pressure on myself to lose weight that the number wouldn’t budge.

Do your workouts. Eat healthy on the norm. Enjoy yourself when you decide to splurge.

You decide if this is the kind of pep talk you need today. If you’re looking for a different kind of pep talk, come back and read my next post. It’ll be a doozy.

Until then, here’s one of my very favorite side dish recipes.. I could eat in every. Single. Day.

Shaved Brussels with Bacon and Pecans

  • 4 c. Brussels sprouts, shaved/shredded (you can buy these shaved!)

  • ½ lb. bacon

  • ¼ c. chopped pecans

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and carefully toast the chopped pecans in the dry pan for a couple of minutes. Remove the pecans.

  2. Put the pan back on medium heat and cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel.

  3. Keep a few tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan and add the shredded Brussels. Turn the heat up to medium high and season the Brussels with salt and pepper. Cook 4-5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

  4. When cooked through, stir in the cooked, crumbled bacon and the toasted pecans.