This video says all that you need to know about why I'm [finally] giving up flip flops--forever
Not because I'm some amazing "athlete" and "athletes don't wear flip flops," but because I want my body to function as optimally as possible (and feel as good as possible)--and I think that proper alignment starts with the feet (read more in my "Lets Talk About Feet, Baby"
Oh, and if you're not familiar with him, the creator of this video is Kelly Starrett
, THE go-to guy for all CrossFitters seeking mobility help (and my #1 fitness/online crush). You can learn more about his "mission to get you guys to stop destroying your feel and ankles" on his blog, here
I hope you'll join me in giving up flip-flops this spring! Or maybe just working to reduce the amount of time you spend wearing them...?
PS. Notice that I didn't say cute strappy sandals with backs of some sort...just flip flops ;)
CrossFit couples counseling: Sledgehammer Strikes. Ben on the left, me on the right.
In our household (er, apartmenthold), the term "CrossFit Widow" is thrown around a lot. Mostly by me. Well, only by me. But, I've found that this term perfectly describes what I've gone through in the 4+ years since my husband, Ben, has been doing CrossFit
--and especially in the 2+ years that he's been doing it more competitively.
Here's the thing: I love CrossFit.
I really do! I think it is super fun and it's an amazing
workout and a perfect yang to yoga's yin and all of that (read more about why I do it here
)--but my love for CrossFit has NOTHING on Ben's love for it. I go to class, workout, come home, and I'm done. Ben goes to class early to do an extra-long "mobility session," then he does class, then he stays after class for 30-40 minutes doing something extra or working on a specific skill, then he comes home, and proceeds to watch CrossFit videos on the iPad all night. Or if he's not watching a video, he's reading a CrossFit blog, or the CrossFit journal, or checking out other CrossFit gyms and what workouts they're doing, or writing down workout plans for the next 6-weeks, or recording what he did that day.
Our apartment is covered in little scraps of paper with weekly workout schedules on them. We have a set of kettlebells in our dining room (no joke! picture below!), we have a rowing machine in our bedroom (no joke, picture below!), and the corner of our living room is filled with an abmat, "slamball," medicine ball, foam roller, etc. (again, picture below). He also recently asked if I thought we could fit a squat rack and a few weights in our 975 sq. ft. apartment. Ha!
So yeah, I call myself a CrossFit Widow. At times, it feels like I've lost him completely to his love for CrossFit. Maybe I'm being a *bit* dramatic, but CrossFit IS
the other woman in his life, and I know that I'm not the only person out there who feels this way.
Therefore, today I've compiled a list of 10 tips for others who may be in the same--or a similar--boat. I hope that by sharing the things I've learned over the past 5 years, I'll be able to save some of you from the many disagreements that we've had over our CrossFit love triangle...
A How-To Guide for CrossFit Widows/Widowers: 10 Tips for a Better Relationship
1. If your partner does CrossFit (or starts doing CrossFit) and you don't already do it, start. Even if you just go every once in a while, understanding CrossFit and being able to talk about it with them will do major things for your relationship. I can't imagine what would happen if I didn't do CrossFit (no conversation at the dinner table?). This will save your relationship! And I'm only half-kidding when I say this...2.
Every once in a while, watch a CrossFit video with your partner. It makes them really happy when you do this.3.
If your partner wants to buy equipment that isn't *too* expensive and fits in your home, let them. Honestly, it's one more reason for them to stick around/workout nearby, and it can be a really fun way to do workouts together. 4.
Learn the names of the previous CrossFit Games
winners. If you don't, you'll often feel very left out of conversations with friends (or, won't understand when your partner names his/her equipment after people...).5.
Cheer them on when they're doing really well, but when they're not doing well or are frustrated, don't cheer them on. I learned this the hard way.6.
Always "ooh" and "ahh" at all of their tales of PRs, amazing newly-acquired skills, pictures on blogs, and big muscles (hehe!). They love it and it brings you closer if they can constantly talk about CrossFit around the house. 7.
Take lots of pictures of them doing CrossFit. Post them in a public place. CrossFitters LOVE seeing pictures of themselves lifting weights or jumping on boxes. 8.
From the beginning, set up parameters re: how long a workout can last on the weekends. Say, "please be back in 2 hours so that we can spend time with each other." Trust me on this one--if you don't do this, their weekend workouts will often take up the entire day. This is not a joke, it has happened to me many, many times. 9.
Buy them CrossFit Reebok
gear. It makes them really happy and reminds them that you're around, and that you'd love to hang out with them whenever they're done CrossFitting ;)10.
Whatever you do, don't out-CrossFit them. I've never done this, so don't know what would happen, but if I became even more into CrossFit than Ben, I think the world would explode. I wouldn't dare try it (and honestly, really don't want to).
So there you have it! hope my fellow-CrossFit Widows/Widowers find this helpful!
If you're looking for more CrossFit relationship advice, check out my past post, "10 Ways to Prepare Yourself for Dating/Marrying/Becoming a CrossFitter."
What. A. Weekend.
Even though I didn't compete in the SuperFit Games,
I was so exhausted when we got home last night that I honestly felt like I did. Kind of lame, I know, but honestly, I was just extremely
worn out from all of the yelling/cheering, fingernail-biting, early wake-up calls, rushing around from event-to-event to see everyone, and loud music/intense energy/adrenaline pulsing throughout the building the entire weekend.
If you've never been to a CrossFit
competition, I have to tell you that there's really nothing like it. It's wild to watch so many people push to (or even past) their physical and mental limits time and time again over the course of a weekend. Every year the weights get heavier, the competitors get stronger, and my yelling gets louder--but there's always a similar, basic love of the "sport," the competition, the thrill, connecting everyone who travels to Charlottesville for the SuperFit Games.
So anywho, instead of waxing on about the competition for hours, this year I thought I'd just share some of my favorite snapshots from the weekend. Hopefully, these images capture a bit of the spirit of the trip...
Whew. Now back to reality, right?
Oh, and if you were wondering, all of the guys that we were cheering for did FABULOUS job. Ben set a PR in almost every event, and I was very, very proud of him ;)
I hope your weekend was also full of excitement, adventure, and whatever is is that you're passionate about...
On Christmas Day, Ben and I went to my old high school track for an outdoor workout. Since we didn't have any weights and Ben is seriously training for an upcoming competition, he decided to use me as his weight--something he's wanted to do ever since one of his good friends took pictures of himself doing "Wife Squats" on his honeymoon last year. So, Ben designed the following CrossFit-esque workout:3 rounds of:
10 strict chin-ups
10 wife squats
10 wife lunges
40 meter wife piggy-back shuttle run
Everything with the word "wife" in front of it was done with me, his up-for-anything spouse, on his back (in the manner of the image above). Needless to say, this workout was crazy. We alternated rounds, so I would go from being on his back for much of his round, to doing it on my own, to getting back onto his back--which is much harder than it looks in the picture. As you can see from the image above, the entire experience was story-worthy, and Ben demonstrated his "wife squats" for the family later in the day on Christmas. Of course my Dad, never one to be left out of a crazy experience, jumped on for the second round, allowing Ben the chance to show off with some "Father-in-Law" squats, as well. It was quite the show!
So anyways, after posting the above image on Facebook
, one of my clever friends shared the following video with me, offering it up as a new "sport" for Ben--The North American Wife Carrying Championship
Can you believe it? This is real!
It's like a Tough Mudder
with your wife on your back! And they've figured out an amazing method of "wife-carrying." I think this is utterly hysterical and hope that Ben and I will get a chance to compete some day ;)
Image via www.dailymail.co.uk
I hope your day is full of laughter and support--literally and figuratively...
So cool! CrossFit DC
(my CrossFit box and Ben's home away from home) is featured on the CrossFit Main Site
today! For those of you who don't know, this is a big deal in the CrossFit world :)
You can check out the video here
(sadly I can't embed!) and view a screen shot of Ben (aka Sebastian) finishing the workout below. Congrats, everyone! You rocked it and definitely put CFDC on the map.
And if you've ever asked me what a CrossFit workout is like, this
will give you a great idea...
I am SUPER excited and very honored to be featured in the Washingtonian's Open House blog
this week, in a column entitled "DC Inspired."
The column is written by the amazingly talented Meg Biram
, the founder of Mimi + Meg
, and an inspirational blogger, entrepreneur, and artist (check her out!
You can read the article and view the look that Meg pulled together to complement the painting here
She is one creative lady and I'm flattered that she would pull inspiration from one of my paintings :)
Thanks to Meg for the write-up and thanks to all of YOU for your constant support!
I get asked about CrossFit
about 2-3 times per week (especially since the NPR story about it
aired in DC...). What is it? Why do you do it? What kind of stuff do you do in class?
And although I'm not going to answer all of these questions here today, I did want to share the main reasons that I enjoy this crazy, addictive workout, in a list I'd like to call, "The Top 5 Reasons Why I CrossFit." If you, too, are a CrossFitter, then you'll probably be able to relate to these items (and if you're not, you should give it a try!)...The Top 5 Reasons Why I CrossFit 1. It's the best workout I've ever gotten. Hands-down.
Where else will you be sweating profusely after the warm up, and then continue to workout for another 1.5 hours? Where else will you do a workout that includes suicides, a partner wall-ball burpee, or box jumps? Where else will your normal hands turn into claws after gripping two 60lb dumbbells for a just a minute (while doing Romanian Deadlifts)?
After an intense CrossFit workout, I'm spent for the day. My legs are jelly, I'm starving, and all I want to do is sleep. It wears me out physically and makes me sore to the bone--in the most satisfying of ways. I can feel myself getting stronger every time I go to class, and that's a really gratifying, empowering experience.
Looks a little like yoga, doesn't it?
Yes, my shirt does say "Strong is the New Skinny." I'm obsessed with this slogan ;)
2. We do things like "The Squat Cycle," and "The Smackdown."
While being an amazing workout, it's also super fun--we did the CrossFit Open
, a local team CrossFit competition (the "Smackdown"
), and are now doing a "Squat Cycle"
together--all in the name of improvement, fun, and fitness (I know, I sound like a total dork!). These events also give us goals to work towards and ways to track our improvement, which both help to motivate and keep us coming back ;)
Ben squatting (as a part of the Squat Cycle) a few week ago...
My "Smackdown" team.
Ben's "Smackdown" team.
3. Tire flips.
Now that I've done them, I'm obsessed with them. What am I talking about? Check out this video of a recent workout that we did at CrossFit DC
. To fully understand what I'm talking about when I say that CrossFit is the best workout ever, please note that we did this workout AFTER doing a really long (and exhausting) warm-up, and about 45 minutes of heavy back squats (yes, this means squats with a barbell full of heavy weights on our backs). Needless to say, we were a *bit* tired when we started this team metcon...
4. The community. I've met some of my favorite people in DC through CrossFit. We do partner and team workouts together, we get together for the holidays (NYE, Memorial Day, July 4th...), we go out to eat together, we head to the pool for "recovery days" (aka, sitting in the pool or on a towel talking about CrossFit) together--and the best part? We all like to live healthy lifestyles, so you don't feel bad going home to go to bed early, or passing on drinking, or ordering something healthy to eat, or leaving early to go do yoga...
5. Because it makes Ben so. darn. happy. I mean, will you look at this guy?
Have you ever seen someone so happy to be working out?
Ben's first CrossFit ice bath (don't ask why he wanted to wear my malas...).
Guess what? CrossFit DC
was featured on the radio
here in DC yesterday (and again this morning), and Ben and I make an appearance in the story! It's a fairly short segment, but I think it's really well done and that it's lots of fun to hear a bunch of my CrossFit friends--and my coaches--on the radio. The other cool connection here? The story was done by one of my fellow Tranquil Space
yoginis, Emily Friedman. Totally unprepared, I just walked into class last week, and there she was with all of her equipment! It's a small world here in DC--especially in the fitness community ;)
Anyways, if you haven't heard the story yet, you can take a listen here.
Ben after one of his first CF competitions, years ago...
I kicked off this past weekend with a trip to a new Chiropractor (to work on my messed up lower back and sacrum issues), and then proceeded to spend the rest of the weekend at a crazy intense CrossFit competition, the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate Challenge
, where Ben was competing with the CrossFit DC
Team. As I watched people push past their limits time and time again--falling onto the floor, panting and sweating their faces off after every event--and as I lay on the ground rolling out my lower back with a lacrosse ball between events, I started thinking a little bit about our physical bodies--how strong they are, but also, how much care and attention they need in order to stay healthy and avoid burnout.
Not that these competitors were burnt out. In fact, many of them are just ramping up to go to regionals, so are completely motivated and in peak physical condition, but I know that Ben has been feeling like he needs a mental and physical break from the "competition season," and that burnout can happen to anyone in any activity or field. I often see yogis who get burnt out, usually physically, who need to take a break from their typical practice to let their bodies rest or heal. Often this is caused by overuse or incorrect alignment injuries, but also by sickness and exhaustion, for those "go-go-go" types who push themselves to their edge every day, doing long, advanced practices on a daily basis without ever giving themselves a day off, or a day for a more gentle practice.
Similarly, we all know that this happens at work for many people, when ramping up for a big project, event, or presentation, or when trying to meet a big deadline. Often we eat, sleep, and breathe whatever it is that we're giving ourselves to, whether it's work, a yoga teacher training, getting ready for a marathon, or a CrossFit competition, and somewhere along the way, or often when it's over, we find ourselves completely burnt out. What to do when this happens? Here are some of my favorite ways to fight burnout (physical, mental, and/or emotional!):1. Take a staycation.
Trust me--it works! This means a day that you call in to work (if you don't work for yourself!) and do absolutely nothing
. Stay in bed all day if you want. Read a book. Watch a movie. Get a mani/pedi. Go to a coffee shop with the newspaper and stay there all morning. Whatever you want! Just make it a day of rest and a day of doing nothing
. 2. Give yourself a week off from whatever is causing your burnout.
If you can't do a week, do a couple of days. If you can't do a couple of days, do at least 1 day (see #1, above!). But if possible, take a week. This means if you're a yogi struggling from a tweaky wrist or shoulder, take a week off from your active yoga practice. This doesn't mean you can't still do yoga, but it means you need to take some time off of an active practice, off of chaturanga and down dog. So do legs up the wall at home. Go to a restorative or yin class. Hang out in pigeon
when you get home from work, or work on your meditation practice. Read yoga books if you want. Just give yourself some time off from your normal yoga routine!
As much as possible. Never sacrifice sleep for anything--it's a shortcut to burnout and will only make things worse. Sleep is of upmost importance! 4. Pamper yourself.
If you're suffering from any kind of burnout, taking care of yourself will make a big difference. This means get a massage, go to a restorative yoga class, go to a spa and get a few treatments, take a long bubble bath while listening to calming music, or take a blanket to the park, bring a book, and relax in the sun (wearing SPF, of course!). Schedule a dinner date at your favorite restaurant, or enjoy a scoop of your favorite ice cream while watching your favorite movie in your PJs. Do whatever it is that helps you unwind, and let yourself enjoy it! Let everything else go and just enjoy the moment.5. Do something creative in order to reflect and unwind.
This could be writing in a journal, painting or collaging, doing a craft or DIY project, taking a walk with your camera and capturing inspiring images, writing a poem, or playing an instrument. Whatever it is that inspires and feeds you! You will be amazed at how different you feel after taking some time to create :)6. Mix things up--do another activity or project!
If you're burnt out from training for a marathon or doing CrossFit, but still want to be active, mix things up by taking a yoga class, going on a long walk or leisurely bike ride with a friend, or going for a swim. If you're mentally burnt out from a specific project at work, turn your attentions to cleaning your office, tacking some of those long-standing "to-dos" that you never actually handle, or grab a coworker and head outside for a walk or a long lunch in the sun. Take a break to do something different, and when you come back, you'll be a lot more motivated to get back to what you're doing. 7. If you can, take a vacation.
A real vacation. As in, go out of town and leave everything behind for a little while. Pretty self-explanatory, right?
I hope this gives you some ideas!
I'll definitely be doing some of these things myself over the coming weeks as I try to heal my body and this injury, once and for all--and I think Ben will be joining me, as he said the following to one of our coaches after his last event on Sunday: "Okay. Now can I relax? I don't want to push myself like this again until at least
July." Hehe! The poor guy needs a break!!!
I hope this inspires you to give yourself a break when you need it, too!
So here's to taking time off when we need it...
My smackdown team, ready to go :)
Well, I competed in my first CrossFit "Smackdown"
on Saturday. My body is very aware of this fact, as I am so sore that I feel like I've aged 100 years--and was then repeatedly run over by a truck. Lying in bed hurts, walking and kneeling hurts, bending over hurts, and child's pose
is one of the most painful poses ever. I don't think I've ever been this sore--and maybe I was, back in high school during the first week back to basketball or volleyball practice at the beginning of the season (?)--but I seriously don't remember being this beat up. I guess I'm getting old, right? Anyways, here's what I really want to say about participating in this event over the weekend: I hadn't realized how much I missed the competition aspect of sports--the adrenaline pumping, the nerves and excitement around pushing yourself to the limit, being a part of a team and cheering on your teammates, and doing your very best for the team as a whole. There's simply nothing like it.
Ben deadlifting--notice his tattoo sleeve :) I LOVE it!
Many of you out there are probably in a similar boat--you may have played team sports when you were younger, or competed in track, swimming, or cross country, and then after high school or college, you may have moved on from those activities without thinking that much about it. Even if you still play in adult leagues through work or with friends (which is really fun!), the crazy, push yourself-to-your-physical-limit-for-the-sake-of-competition is mainly gone from your daily or weekly routine. Practices, scrimmages, and games where you leave your heart out on the field or court may be a long-lost memory, and although you don't think you miss it--or don't ever really even think about it--you may really
That's what happened to me. I had completely forgotten about what it felt like to compete as a part of a team and to really try to do your best for the team
. I know this sounds dramatic, but I don't think you can replicate this sort of feeling in many ways except true
competition. And that's one of the main reasons that I think CrossFit
, and especially competing in CrossFit competitions, has become so popular. I finally get why Ben loves competing so much, and although I'm not going to start doing the same (um, I have a LONG way to go before I could ever be as strong as the female competitors, and don't think I really want to be there...!), I really do get it now. Those who compete in triathlons, marathons, or extremely competitive adult leagues (not kickball teams where you drink beer during the game...) may still have this feeling on a more regular basis, and now I get the drive to do that, too :)
Moi during burpees.
The other amazing thing about CrossFit, and specifically about competing and really pushing yourself in a CrossFit way, is that I probably only did about 7-8 minutes of work total during the events. It was a team competition, so we were switching off and each time that we went, would push ourselves to the limit and then get a short break while our team members went. You would think that this would mean each of us didn't do that much, but I found it to be quite the opposite--when we did go, we would give it everything we had for 1 or 2 minutes, and when we had nothing left, we would give it over to someone else. There's nothing else like that! Pushing yourself until you have nothing left for a short interval? Using up ALL your physical power and energy in 1-minute? Crazy. The fact that I'm this sore from 7-8 minutes of working out is definitely a testament to CrossFit as a whole.
Oh, and as a sidenote, did I mention how much fun it is to dress up for these things? People had AMAZING costumes (there was a team wearing tarzan-like togas and the "Honeybadgers" had real fur stapled to the back of their t-shirts), and everyone got really into it. I also realized that I missed that--the excitement of getting up early, nervous tummy and all, and getting all decked out for a fun physical competition...
Moral of the story? I think a little healthy adrenaline, nerves, and kicking your own butt (physically, of course) can be good for the body. You know how we talk about pushing yourself to the edge in yoga? Same thing here--only you're doing it for a team and in front of a lot of people cheering you on, so it's a different sort of sensation, both physically and mentally. I think competing is a great yang to yoga's yin, and encourage all of you out there to find a competitive outlet if you miss this part of your past life...