It Only Works If You Do

There are so many different diet plans, training programs, fitness groups, self-help books and programs, business and marketing plans, and any other kind of program or group that claims to be the “best.”

So many of us struggle and change from one thing to another.  We wonder why we aren’t getting what we want.  We move from one program or group to the next, with little to no real commitment.  We seek instant gratification.

We want less work, and more reward.  Less time, more results.  Less pain, more gain.

The quick fix.

The problem with so many of the diet pills, training programs, self-help groups, etc, is that most, if not all of them, are temporary, short-term fixes.  They address the superficial issues at hand, hence why they are a quick fix.  We are able to experience that instant gratification.  And, because of that, we find ourselves looking for the next quick fix over and over again to relive that instant gratification, because, let’s be honest, anything with instant gratification is too good to be true, and doesn’t last very long.

Anything worth doing, with real long-term results, is really hard and takes a lot of time.

Life only works if you do.

If you want something in life, you have to actually EARN it.

Now, yes, there are those few exceptions, and those few lucky people who actually get handed success on a silver platter.  Good for them.  Let’s not dwell on those lucky few.

I am not lucky by any means.  I do not have a high metabolism.  I do not naturally build muscle.  I was not born with any special gifts or “God-given” talents.  I don’t have a trust fund, and I definitely haven’t won the Lottery (yet…). 😉

That saying, “Hard works beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” has always resonated with me.

I used to get really annoyed and upset when people told me “how lucky” I am.  I’m so lucky that I lost the baby weight.  I’m so lucky to have a gym.  I’m so lucky I get to just workout all day.  I’m so lucky I can do muscle ups.  I’m so lucky…

Now, I just take it as a compliment.  I must be doing something right if all of these people think I’m so lucky in life, right?!

Clearly, all of the hard work that I’m putting in is paying off.  😉

froningThat’s the thing about hard work and success ~ Those who make it look easy are usually the ones who work the hardest behind the scenes.

The easier it looks on the outside, the harder they’re working on the inside.

The CrossFit Games athletes this past weekend are a prime example of that.  Rich Froning has won his 4th consecutive Games, and makes it look easy.  It’s almost frustrating to believe how easy he makes it look.  But, the countless hours and torture he puts himself through is way beyond what most of us are willing to endure to get to where he is.  Same for all of those athletes who earned their spot at the Games.  Hours upon hours upon hours of grueling training.

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet made the 21-15-9 Complex look so easy breezy.  She did every set of chin-camille-pull-up-2013over-bar pull ups, chest-to-bar pulls, and bar muscle ups unbroken!  And, she was the ONLY person, male and female, to accomplish that!  But, that girl works crazy hard, and there’s a damn good reason why she is a master of that pull up bar!

The harder you work, the more luck you will have, too! 

Roll up your sleeves, and let’s get those hands dirty! 😉

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Highlights

10299486_10203517155632522_507631976_nAll too often, we can get caught up in our own lives, and forget that everyone else is going through stuff, as well.

We tend to think that the grass is always greener on the other side.  Everyone else is so much happier than you, is getting so much more done than you, is craftier than you, makes better dinners than you, has a happier marriage than you, has more money than you, travels more than you, and overall has a better life than you.

Why do we always think that we are alone?  Why do we feel like we are the only ones struggling?

It’s because out in the real world, through our every day superficial encounters, we only share the highlights of our daily lives.  We share the good stuff.

On Facebook, we only post the smiling faces, the cute moments, the flowers we got, the vacation we finally got to go on, the new earrings we bought, and the big PR at the gym.

We all do it.  And, there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

I do it every day, myself.  I only post the super cute and happy pictures of Bailey.  So, most people would assume that Bailey is this perfect, easy-going toddler with a perfect childhood.  But, she has tantrums everyday.  I’ve yelled at her before.  I’ve lost my patience with her at times.  She has kicked and punched me and Spencer before.  She deliberately disobeys us to test her limits, and has had timeouts and spankings.  But, I don’t post those moments.  None of us do.

We only post the good stuff – The highlights.

Don’t base your judgments on people on their highlights.

We are all struggling.  We all have hardships.  We all have bad days, bad relationships, bad jobs, bad commutes, bad accidents, bad finances, bad luck.

We are all fighting our own battles each day.

We only share those battles with those closest to us, though.  Only a rare few truly know our whole story.

People often assume that my life is perfect – I have this perfect body, perfect job, perfect family, perfect life.  People tell me how lucky I am to have the body I have, to be able to do the things I can do, to have the husband I have, to have the job I have, and the have the life I have.  I am so lucky…

Luck.

1234818_620031001351898_859844514_nThe funny thing about luck is…the harder I work, the more luck I have… 😉

Again, most of you only see my highlights.  You only see the posts of me getting a new PR, or smiling with Bailey, or seeing the gym busy every day with new clients.

You see the good stuff happening.

What you don’t see, are the humble beginnings, the sleepless nights, the worries, the stress, the sacrifices, the fights, the struggles, the meltdowns, the disappointments, the heartaches, the frustrations, the fear, the countless hours, the blood, sweat and tears.

A rare few of my closest friends know that side of my life.

The truth of the matter is, though, none of you really need to know all that stuff.

But, the point I’m trying to make here is that our highlights are merely a small glimpse into our lives.  Appreciate and celebrate those highlights.  But, by no means should you ever discredit them.  Don’t ever assume they are just lucky.  Don’t assume their life is “easy.”  Don’t assume that your life is harder than theirs.

Just as you would never want us to assume that being a stay-at-home mom is like a vacation everyday, or being a teacher is the best schedule ever with all of the weekends and holidays, or being a lawyer you’re probably an a**hole, or being divorced you’re probably damaged goods.

Assumptions are bad.  Especially when you’re basing them on such superficial things.

Until you really know what someone has gone through to get there, leave it alone.

Just as you are struggling right now to reach your next goal, or to get through your current hardship, so too are all of us.

Highlights get us through the day.  It’s what makes the rest of the crap worth enduring.

The next time you are seeing someone’s highlights, rather than make assumptions about them, why not appreciate it for what it is, and leave it at that.

People are beautiful, damaged human beings.

We need to celebrate each other a lot more, and judge each other a lot less.

Open Arms

291708_4875163839951_1369268_nBeing a CrossFit Co-Owner and Coach, I see and hear A LOT!

I know so much about my clients, both athletically and personally.  Not only do I know their 1 rep max Front Squat and their “Fran” time, but I also know about their struggle to care for their mother fighting cancer, I know how their husband proposed, I know that they are working two jobs to make ends meet, I know about the cheating wife, the monster-in-law, the traumatic childhood, the husband away on deployment, the daughter with special needs, the car accident that took away their parents, the daily struggles of being a single parent, the insecurities they have in a swimsuit, the demons that haunt them.

I know everything.  Being a coach isn’t just about training people in fitness.  It’s also about being a mentor and therapist in many ways.

I know when my clients are having a bad day, when they are sandbagging a workout, when they need me to yell at them, and when they need me to hug them.  I know when I can push them, and when I need to back off.  I know what drives them, and what pushes them away.

And, I have heard so many amazing stories.  So many feats of courage.  So many heartbreaks, tragedies, hardships, and downright sh***y things.  And, believe it or not, sometimes it’s the person with the brightest smile and seemingly “perfect” life who has the saddest stories to tell.

So often, when a client pours her heart out to me, she then assumes that everyone else at our gym is living an awesome, carefree life.  She thinks she has it harder than everyone else.  She believes that no one else is going what she’s going through.

She feels alone.

I think this is why so many people often feel ashamed or embarrassed about their lives.  They think they are the only ones going through whatever it is they are dealing with.

The grass always looks greener on the other side.  And, many of us feel the need to put on a front and fake perfection in order to be like everyone else…When in actuality, we are all faking it, and we are all hurting inside.

Facebook is by far the biggest culprit of this!  Check out this short video:

I can tell you, from firsthand experience, from ALLLLLLLL of the thousands of stories I have been told by hundreds of clients ~ YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!

Heck, even I have sh***y days and a few demons lingering around.  My life is not perfect by any means, and I still have hardships from time to time.  Last year, I went to therapy for over a year to overcome a traumatic experience in high school.  My father is a food addict with Diabetes Type II.  My brother is an Alcoholic living with my parents.  Spencer and I fight sometimes.  I’ve yelled at Bailey before.  I’ve done things that I am not proud of.  I’ve said things to my mother as a teenager that I wish I could take back.

Sh** happens.  Life happens.

You are not alone.

You don’t have to pretend.  In fact, of all of the places, the CrossFit gym is the last place you need to put on a front and hide your life.

Why do you think we all come here, anyway?!!  That’s right – To sweat out all that bullsh** from the day, to grunt out all the pain, to lift up our moods, to run off some steam, and to fight and support each other through it for that hour.

That one hour – We get to be together as one, and through all of our personal struggles, we get to escape our lives for that moment, and just be.  We get to turn it off, and for that one hour we can be together as a family and help each other through it.

But, instead of directly helping someone through her nasty divorce, during the WOD you are helping her through those last 10 reps to prove to herself that she can not only get through the WOD itself, but she can also get through this divorce.  By encouraging and supporting her through the workout, we are inadvertently supporting her through her tough time.

Running alongside a member in the last 400m, you are inadvertently telling him that you are by his side, both inside the gym and in life.

Cheering on a member during the workout, you are inadvertently helping her gain self-confidence.

The things we do for each other inside of the gym have a HUGE impact on our personal lives, whether we realize it or not.

So many people write about how CrossFit has saved their lives.  But, the truth of the matter is, CrossFit has saved ALL of our lives in some way or another.

None of us have it worse.  None of us have it better.  It’s a relative thing.  We all have struggles and hardships.  We have all experienced difficult times at one point or another.

The question is ~ Are you going to be a victim, or are you going to be stronger?!  I don’t like the word survivor, personally, because it implies a victim.

Remember that you truly are not alone in this world.  You are not the only one.  Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed.  Don’t assume others have it better, either.

You have one of the best support systems ever ~ Your CrossFit family!

CrossFit is here with open arms.

Embrace it.

Empowerment

couple-in-movie-theatreThe other day, Spencer and I were lucky enough to have a couple hours to ourselves, so we went to the movies!  A rare treat for parents, as many of you can relate! 😉

We saw “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” and it was awesome.  Definitely not disappointed.  But, before the movie started, there were the usual commercials and short video documentaries that they always show while the theater is filling up.

While we were watching and waiting, there was a commercial with all well-known male actors, such as Daniel Craig, Ryan Gosling, and Bradley Cooper.  It was a message about sexual assault, and about a woman’s right to consent, as well as to say, “No.”  It talked about being a “real man,” and respecting women.  Overall, a great message!

And then, I thought about all of the other wonderful messages celebrities try to be a part of.  Celebrities are always speaking out for causes they believe in, and movements they are passionate about, and it’s all well and good.

Awareness and education are great things.

I think back to the whole “Body Image” movement, though, and how the intentions are great, but there are huge holes missing, and it’s the same thing with these messages.

While having well-known men talk about respecting a woman’s body and wishes is great, unfortunately, seeing this commercial on the big screen isn’t going to stop someone from actually doing it.

There’s a lot of talking about it, saying all the buzz words, a lot of “dog and pony shows,” and a lot of superficial actions…Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost touch with reality.

I think we’ve reached a point in our time that we are too “movement-happy” and have forgotten where all of it actually needs to start ~ At the home!

Now, of course, not everyone is fortunate enough to have awesome parents or caregivers, or an awesome upbringing.  But, the majority of us are good parents, however I think sometimes we can put too much power and/or responsibility into other people’s hands, when we should be keeping it in our own hands!

A great example is this cartoon:

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Now, again, I’m going to put in the disclaimer that there are always exceptions and individual cases, so by no means am I trying to put us all in the same group here.  I am talking about the majority of us, though.

I was thinking about the sexual assault message that the fine men shared on screen, and I thought about my daughter.

How will I help her be comfortable and confident with her body, and respect herself enough to make a man wait to be with her until she is really ready??!!

It scares me…A lot!  Bailey is only 2 years old, and yet I know it will feel like tomorrow when I’m watching her ride off in a limo with her boyfriend to Senior Prom!

What steps am I going to take these next 16 years to prepare her for that night?!

I sure as hell ain’t going to rely on celebrities and social media.

I’m going to try my best to encourage Bailey to take some form of martial arts so that she can girlsdefend herself.

I will love my body and myself, so that Bailey learns to love her body and herself.

I will teach her that she has control over who touches her, so if she does not want to hug her uncle one day, then I will not force her to.

I’m going to support and encourage her in sports and academics so that she feels confident and successful.  I will be her biggest cheerleader, and not her coach.

I am going to let her fail and lose, and have disappointments, so that she learns to get back up and fight for it.

I’m going to communicate openly and candidly with her, and build a trust between the two of us so that she will feel safe to come to me with heavy topics.

I’m going to educate her and teach her that every action has a consequence, and I will hold her accountable for her consequences.

I will be her mother, not her friend.

For the next 16 years, I am going to try to do everything possible to empower Bailey for that day.

I hope she learns to love CrossFit, too.  I certainly do not expect her to be competitive like me, but I do hope that she makes it a lifestyle for herself some day!

10335670_10203683621234058_1011571836_nBeing physically strong and capable has so many positive effects on a person’s life.  Not only do you look great, but you feel great, have more confidence, build stronger relationships, tend to be more on-task, more motivated, have a sharper mind, and have better moods.

It is MY responsibility as Bailey’s mother to show her, teach her, and offer her opportunities to learn and grow, find her strengths, and be empowered.

I guess, in many ways, though, I’m making my own movement here on this blog.

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about personal responsibility.

I think we need to bring it back old school, folks!  

It’s not Dove Skincare’s responsibility to make my body image healthy.  It’s not Daniel Craig’s responsibility to teach your boy to respect girls.  And, it’s not Jamie Oliver’s responsibility to get our kids and students to eat healthier.

It’s YOUR responsibility.

It’s MY responsibility.

All of these messages and movements are great “ice breakers,” and when the day comes that Bailey and I are watching one of them on TV or at the movies, it will be my responsibility to use that opportunity to talk with her about it.

Maybe that’s the step so many of us are missing?  The follow through with those great messages.  Not taking advantage of those opportunities to talk about those topics.

Either way, the buck stops here.

It starts and ends with you.

The Bus Stop

The other day, I was sitting with some fellow CrossFitters at the gym, and we were just talking about this and that.  And then, one of them shared a great story.  He was at a presentation a while back, and the speaker asked the audience this question:

Say you were driving in a Miata, and suddenly you come to a bus stop with three people.  One is a long-time best friend who once saved your life long ago.  The other is an old woman who you can tell by looking at her doesn’t have much longer to live.  And, the third person is the love of your life, and you know that if you two reconnected, your entire life would soar in a different direction.

Who do you choose to get into the car with you?

Your friend?

The old woman?

Or, the love of your life?

Think carefully…

Take your time…

Have you picked one yet?

Who did you choose?

Now…I’ll be honest, I picked the love of my life.  One CrossFitter chose the old woman, and the other two in our group also chose the love of their life.

And then, the story went on…

He proceeded to tell us that as many people tended to choose one person, there was one woman in the crowd who finally said…

“I would get out of the car, hug my friend, and then I’d give her the keys and tell her to and drive the old woman to a Hospice, and I would stay with the love of my life at the bus stop.”

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Damn!  Why didn’t I think of that?!  😉

So often, we restrict ourselves.  We put limits, build boundaries, and keep ourselves inside the box.  We tell ourselves we can’t do something because of x, y, and z.  We make up these bullsh** stories as to why we can’t do things, or have things, or achieve things.

We start to believe our own lies and limitations.

How sad to think that our own worst enemy is actually our own self.

I see it allllllllll the time in my business.  So many people tell me why they “can’t” do CrossFit.  Or, CrossFitters telling me why they “can’t” do something in the workout.

The truth is, more times than not we are putting those restrictions on all by ourselves, and most of them are due in large part to past painful experiences.  We were hurt or disappointed in the past…scarred…and now we are protecting ourselves.

When he was telling us the story and asked us the same question as the speaker, we all put that limitation on ourselves when we only chose one person to get in the car with us.  He never told us we couldn’t get out of the car, or that we couldn’t give the car to someone else, or anything like that.  He never gave us any kind of restrictions.  We just made that assumption and accepted that one person was our only option.

We did not think outside the box.

And, the funny thing is, as a CrossFit coach, I am constantly thinking outside the box in order to scale and modify the movements for individual needs and abilities.  So, it actually frustrated me that I “fell for the trick.”

It made me realize, though, how much I actually restrict myself.  I’m so good at thinking for others, helping others, and showing them new and better ways, but when it comes to myself, I am still a work in progress.

Slowly, but surely, I am loosening the ties, knocking down doors, and opening windows for myself.

Recently, I strained my back during a heavy Clean & Jerk workout.  I didn’t do anything wrong, per se, it was just one of those injuries that, unfortunately, in the competition world, it just happens from time to time.

Now, I am being tested as to how well I can think outside the box.  I rested for 3 straight days, and then yesterday I did a scaled workout.  I felt sore today, and honestly, very discouraged.  After talking to my chiropractor, though, he gave me a good pep talk and reality check.

Fortunately, my back injury is not so severe that I can’t do anything.  I can do some movements.  I just have to take the time and patience to figure out what those movements are.

So, I can either feel sorry for myself, sit in the Miata like a lump, and choose one person.

Or, I can accept this new challenge, get out of the damn car, and be proactive!

So, I came to Open Gym this morning and did some strength work.  I can do strict pull ups, strict push ups, sit ups on an AbMat, air squats, and even Bench Press without any pain.  That’s five movements I can do with my injured back.  Tomorrow, I will test some more, and add to the list.  Each day will be a new adventure, and a new way of training for me.

Every setback is just a pathway for a great comeback.

Get out of the Miata.

You DO have other choices.

You always have choices.