Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Converted

One can't help but be inspired when surrounded by hard-working, positive people. Since becoming a member of the Crossfit Ventura community, and by default a member of the global Crossfit community, I have affirmed this assertion.

But at first glance, I was a bit skeptical of the cultish-like feel that Crossfit emanated. I thought Crossfit may be something like a pyramid marketing scheme. I feared that I may be entering the Landmark Forum of fitness. I asked myself, "Could I really become a Crossfitter?"

My skepticism grew as every person I asked about Crossfit said the same thing, "It has changed my life, I am stronger than I have ever been, I eat in the Zone, and feel great." They had their own language and threw around terms like "clean and jerk," "snatch," and "WOD." Talking about "doing Josh" and "conquering Fran," or getting their asses whipped by the "filthy" were typical topics. Just like when Happy Gilmore was learning to putt, they joked that Crossfit was "all in the hips." I clutched my purse and hoped the sexual innuendos might stop.

I wondered to myself, "Does anyone dislike Crossfit out there?"
I found that the answer to this query was a resounding "YES."
But I was immediately reminded by a Crossfit lover that "...Crossfit isn't for everyone." He said that "... some people just don't like to work so hard they may puke; they don't like to feel they have accomplished something great everyday; they don't like to have a close community always supporting them..." I laughed and nodded at his sarcasm, but on the inside I was afraid that I would never be a Crossfitter.

Soon enough though, I fell down the rabbit hole; I realized that Crossfit was for me. Being a somewhat retired competitive athlete, the excitement of being on a team had been missing from my life. Having athletic goals was not a priority for me any longer. Crossfit brought that back to me. It brought friends who were goal-oriented, hard working, driven, concerned about their health, and supportive of each other to the forefront of my consciousness.

Now, I feel born-again, but in the church of sport.

After returning from a gig as a spectator at the Crossfit Games, this week I find myself among the converted. I caught myself making "snatch," "box," and "clean and jerk" jokes. I laughed at the rather vulgar shirt slogans (censored). I hugged my sinewy, healthy friends and vowed to place in the Southern California Qualifiers or to be on the Affiliate Cup Team next year. I told myself I would do a muscle-up by the end of this year. I wrote in my journal that I would be a badass when I could do ALL benchmark workouts as "Rx'd" (prescribed).

Then, before I went to bed last night I laughed and realized that it's too late to turn back now. Without even realizing it...I have become a Crosfitter.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Bad habits

Establishing good habits is sometimes hard to do because first one needs to break the bad ones!
Breaking bad habits usually dies hard, even for the most self-disciplined.

For example, a very close friend of mine tried to quit drinking coffee recently. A few weeks after he had stopped, while telling me that he banished his caffeine addiction, I noticed that his breath smelled like cigarettes.

Rule #1: Do not replace a bad habit with another one!

Another example comes from the annals of my friends as well. In an attempt to curb television consumption, said friend got rid of her cable television service. Although she had good intentions, she quickly discovered Hulu (online T.V.) on her computer. Let's just say that her appetite for juicy reality shows has grown.

Rule #2: Doing the same thing in a different way does not mean one has kicked the habit.

Last month, in an attempt to purge my diet of all refined sugar, and stick to the zone i.e. a healthy, balanced diet with controlled portions, I tried to keep the above rules in mind. My goal was to eat healthier and to see whether or not my athletic performance would improve measurably.

The results are indeed interesting.
On most accounts I succeeded. I did not replace my love of sugar and baked goods with a smoking stick of tobacco or pole dancing, however I did discover a new milk with about 2 tablespoons of honey. I relished the times when I could scrape the cooled honey off the bottom of the glass. I pretended it was ice cream. I often thought, "Am I violating rule #2?" Usually that thought was immediately followed by this one, "I don't give a crap, this tastes good!"

As far as measurable improvements in my performance, there were definitely strides made. My maximum kipping pull-ups have gone from 3 broken to 12 in a row (possibly because I am 5 pounds lighter). My squat clean increased 50 pounds. I dropped 2 minutes on the benchmark workout called Michael.

As a present for last month's strict adherence to the zone, I have given myself permission to eat whatever my heart desires until the 4th of July, after that, I will go back to the zone. The funny thing is, my first "freedom to eat crap" day was yesterday and I still ate in the zone (except for two peanut butter cups given to me by a fellow crosssfitter Lindsay). Today, I went to the store and didn't even go for the sweets.

Why, when I am now free to eat whatever, am I not choosing the sweet stuff that I missed and vowed I would eat as soon as I could? The reason is this: now I have a new habit--eating healthy.