Lessons from the 2014 CrossFit Open–14.4

Linds_muWeek 4: “Good enough” isn’t good enough for me.

I got my first muscle-up on December 21st, 2011. This is approximately 2 years and 4 months ago. (I tattooed the date to my arm… No I didn’t! But I did write it down). As most of you are aware, it’s kind of a big deal to get your first muscle-up… especially if you are a girl (sorry boys). When I was newer at CrossFit, this movement was one of those things that I never thought was possible for me. I thought it was reserved for only the most elite girls. However, after lots of time, work, failed attempts, more time and more work, it happened! It wasn’t graceful or easy looking, but it was still beautiful. It was a good moment and I remember it well.

Fast forward to now… 2 years and 4 months later. Muscle-ups are still one of my biggest weaknesses. I can do them, yes… and that was good enough for a time, but it’s not good enough for me now. 14.4 served as a big reminder of this. In the 14 minute workout comprised of several different movements, I got to the muscle-ups with 4 minutes remaining. I ended up getting only 4 muscle-ups, and I had 2 misses. It was disappointing, especially because everything else in the workout seemed so easy.

Honestly though, I wasn’t surprised with the outcome. I knew going in that this would likely happen, but still hoped that I would have a miraculously good day where all of a sudden I could string my muscle-ups together… something that rarely ever happens. Maybe I could do 4 a minute… again, something that happens only when I’m fresh. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who hopes for CrossFit miracles!) This being said, I couldn’t be too disappointed, but it still sucked. I knew that I should be better at them by now.

Looking back, I realize that I have allowed my ability to do muscle-ups keep me from actually getting good at them. I practice them only when I’m told and even then I don’t work at them with urgency because it’s hard and uncomfortable and just plain frustrating. Somewhere along the way, I decided to settle with “good enough”. Isn’t it funny how “good enough” is rarely ever good enough? We say it is, but I think we know deep down that it isn’t, at least not for me. It’s something I say to make myself feel better about where I’m at. It’s an excuse to stop trying.

With 14.4, I got lucky. My score was “good enough” to keep me from dropping too far in the rankings, but I was still left with the reality that my muscle-ups (among other things) needed a lot of work. I don’t want to be someone who settles with simply being able to do things. I want to be able to do them well! This doesn’t mean always being dissatisfied with myself… that’s no good either. For me, it means an honest evaluation of where I’m at, and making an effort to work on my weaknesses… to improve myself.

There is nothing glamorous or fun about practicing the things we aren’t good at, but eventually we will see the results of our efforts. It may take a long long time, but we will. We will do the thing we thought we’d never be able to do and then, with more time and more work, we will do it better. When this happens, I believe it will all be worth it.

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” -Bruce Lee

 

“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”

Scott_dl
Scott likes to say this too…

“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”

I have come to really love this line. I often forget about it until it’s too late, but when I remember, oh how it has the ability to change me in the moment!

The saying is used often in the military… moving too fast or rushing things can be life threatening to soldiers, but moving carefully and deliberately is really moving as fast as you can without increasing the risk on your own life.

Though I am not nearly in the same place as those who serve in our military, I can certainly apply this saying. I’m sure that each of us have been in so much of a hurry, that in our rushing we become more clumsy than ever. I always forget something, drop my keys multiple times, burn myself with my hair straightener or spill my coffee. It never fails! When we are trying to go faster, slowing down seems counter intuitive doesn’t it?

The same goes for my workouts. I love the competitiveness of CrossFit and the fast pace… it’s part of what makes it so exciting. However sometimes I get so accustomed to moving quickly that I forget how to slow down when I need to. I find this happens most often in a competition setting, where I am typically more nervous, distracted and outside of my comfort zone. I end up forgetting where I’m at in the workout, fumbling around with the weights, or missing lifts because I’m rushing.

In workouts where double-unders or changing the weight on the barbell is involved, I especially have to remind myself “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” If I keep these words in mind, my transition time becomes one of breathing, slowing my heart rate down and focusing on what is to come, rather than getting more flustered, getting tangled up in my jump rope or dropping weights.

I really don’t consider myself that amazing of an athlete. I have come a long way and I can be competitive, but what I feel like I have most to rely on is not my physical capabilities, but my mindset. Sayings and mantras that remind me to stay calm, to breathe, to focus, to not give up, and to think about what I’m doing and my pace rather than worrying about those around me… these are the things that I feel make me most successful.

Even with my mind right in a workout, it still may not be enough to finish on top, but it is more than enough to be able to say that I didn’t give up. This to me is success. If my body fails me, so be it. I need to keep training and working on my weaknesses, or maybe it just wasn’t my day. If my mind fails me, well… to me that’s quitting and is the worst kind of loss.

Slow is smooth and smooth is fast… there’s hardly anything physical about it. It is a conscious decision to slow down just enough to be able to move well so as not to get too frazzled or stressed. Feel free to steal it… practice saying it when you are rushing… in your workouts or just in your day. I think it might help :)

 

Lessons from the 2014 CrossFit Open–14.3

Linds_DL
Week 3: God sees me.

After several years of letting my CrossFit training be the priority in my life, I finally decided to loosen my grip a little bit and make room again for people and other things that are important to me. I have always wanted to have kids, but when I began seriously training, this desire got pushed further and further into the future. I was becoming a better athlete and I didn’t want to lose what I had worked so hard for. In my mind, being pregnant and having a baby would knock me back to square one. This scared me… and still does to some extent. Who would I be?

Last summer, something switched in me… perhaps it was turning 30, but whatever it was, I was ready. I’ll tell you honestly, trying to get pregnant is exciting at first, but then after a few months have passed and nothing has happened, it gets kind of stressful. One can turn into a bit of a crazy person who pees on ovulation sticks and takes their temperature and suddenly wants to have sex every day for 2 weeks straight… no, I’m not talking about Jeff (though I’m sure he didn’t mind the last one). Anyway, to my surprise, it eventually happened. I was filled with excitement, and then almost immediately with fear of losing it. A few weeks later, conveniently just before Christmas, my fear was reality. I lost it. I am not saying this for sympathy… really I’m not. I know we all have hard stuff that we have gone through, or are going through. In fact, I’m not really sure why I’m saying it other than not many people talk about miscarrying, I’m realizing, even though I know it’s rather common. However, it is truly heartbreaking and awful, even when you are only 6 weeks in. So what does this have to do with 14.3? Geez, Lindsay, get to the point!

The point is, my thoughts pre-Open were elsewhere. This year, I would have rather been pregnant than go to Regionals. I felt as though I should have been pregnant and that this was taken from me, and I was struggling with what to do with where I was at. What I came to somewhat understand and be ok with was that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I didn’t want to go through the Open all bitter and mopey, because really, that would be no fun at all (for me or anyone around me). I decided I wanted to do as well as I could, so I was going to try hard, enjoy myself and the Open, and not let the pressure of making Regionals consume me as it had in years past.

After the first two workouts, I was sitting pretty good… among the top 60 women in SoCal, and I was having fun. Then came the announcement of 14.3. Deadlifts and box jumps! Have I mentioned how much I love deadlifts (lots and lots of heavy ones) and box jumps (but maybe not as many)?! Seriously guys, I could not have asked for a better workout. I loved it and I did well on it… and for the record, I got really sore.

So I did 14.3 on Thursday night and that following weekend, I went on a women’s retreat with my church. I remember it was that weekend because I was having trouble walking around the camp where it was held. The retreat was amazing and refreshing for lots of reasons, but something I realized I had been feeling for a long time was that even though I believe God can do amazing things, I thought maybe my life wasn’t spectacular enough… or on the other hand, that maybe it wasn’t messed up enough for him to take much notice of me. I was still struggling with miscarrying and not being pregnant and I didn’t really feel much from God at all. Was he trying to teach me a lesson? Did he care? What’s the deal here? I felt like I needed something, but I was afraid to ask… I was afraid of feeling rejected. At the end of the weekend, one of the women there, who I didn’t really know, sat down next to me and proceeded to tell me that I had been on her heart and that she felt like she needed to tell me that God sees me, and that he had been with me, and is with me. “God sees you.” She said it many times, so I would be sure to get the message. Until that moment, I didn’t know how much I needed to hear these words, and I felt peace and gratitude and hope.

It wasn’t until after the Open, that I thought back on this third week, and realized that 14.3 coincided with my women’s retreat. To me, this workout was God’s sneaky (and also awesome) way of affirming, “I do see you, and I have been, and am with you.” I’m not saying God got into Dave Castro’s mind and manipulated him to write the perfect workout for me that would play a significant part in me making it to Regionals… but I’m not denying it either! In the end, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that something in me was restored during week 3 of the Open, and that was hope.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.” -Psalm 130:5

 

Lessons from the 2014 CrossFit Open–14.2

Week 2: Stay focused and stick to your plan. (I apologize that this is mostly a workout recap)

14.2 was a hard workout for me… overhead squats and chest to bar pull-ups are not my strongest movements, but at least the weight (65 pounds) was manageable and my butterfly chest to bars were coming along. I actually thought this one sounded fun. Ha! Looking back, I realize I may have been a tad too relaxed in my efforts to not stress and be easy going.

My plan of attack for 14.2 was to do all of my overhead squats unbroken… until I got to my round of 18′s… then I could break them up ;) For my pull-ups, I was going to do sets of 5, and then when those fell off, sets of 3. No problem. So, what do I do? Squats unbroken… check. However, my first set of pull-ups felt amazing (I mean, of course they did 30 seconds into the workout), and I decide just to bust out all 10. Second round, squats unbroken, but all of a sudden the pull-ups felt kind of hard and went something like 4-3-2-1. Wow… good thing I made a plan.

So my first attempt at 14.2 continued to go pretty much like that. I just tried to hold on… literally. The squats were ok, but the pull-ups turned into sad sets of two and then singles. I finished two reps shy of making it to the round of 16′s. Two reps! This haunted me for three days until I would attempt the workout again. All I could chalk it up to was that I immediately abandoned my plan and I lost focus when the workout was harder than I expected.

When Monday morning finally rolls around, I am nervous this time. I know my goal is just to make it to the round of 16′s and then who cares… anything after that point is bonus. My plan this time is basically sets of 3 on my pull-ups… 2′s when I get tired… no singles if I can help it. It’s still hard. I make it through my 10′s and 12′s a bit slower than my first attempt so as not to get too burned out and to save myself for the round of 14′s. I know I’m really going to have to want this if I’m going to make it out. Half way through my 14′s, I am just under half way through the time I have to complete them. This is going to be tough, but I trust my plan. I do sets of 3 and 2 on my second set of pull-ups with Aaron telling me when to get on the bar. I finish my 14th pull-up, turn to look at the clock and I’ve made it with one measly second to spare!

I felt relief mixed with “Oh god… now I have to do more work”. A blessing and a curse. The next 3 minutes were slow going. The pull-ups were singles, but I made it! It wasn’t the best score, but it was better and I felt proud.

It’s a weird concept (that I seem to have to re-learn often), but sometimes if we want to make it farther, we may actually have to slow down. And though I’m all for being adventurous, sticking to your plan (especially the first time around) can be very helpful. Lastly, while not stressing is good, taking that to the point of being unfocused is not so good, especially when things start to get real.

14.2_girls
Post 14.2… take 1. I’m smiling, but all I’m thinking is 2 freakin’ reps!!!!

 

Lessons from the 2014 CrossFit Open–14.1

Linds_14.1
I decided I wanted to write about what I learned over these past 5 weeks of the CrossFit Open, but trying to condense it all into one post was a bit daunting, so I’m separating my lessons out week by week.

Week 1: “Yes, Lindsay… you can be high maintenance.” A lesson on letting go of control.

Maybe a couple months ago, Coach Max made a comment to me about being high maintenance. I can laugh now at how defensive I got, but at the time I didn’t think this was very funny. I don’t even remember the exact circumstance, but you see… I like to try to create the perfect conditions for my workouts… especially when it’s an important one. I like to be on my own time, have my own space, do my own warm-up and I will sometimes avoid working out with others who could potentially make me look not as good. I fear what others will think of me if I’m not the best at something. So, Max called me out on it. I thought about it all day, and later that night, as I was venting and defending myself to my husband Jeff, he said (as if it was so obvious), “Well, you are kind of high maintenance Linds.” Thanks for being on my side babe!

The thing is, I knew they were both right, and I didn’t want this title. I wanted to be flexible and easy going! Who doesn’t right? So, I decided to practice working on it. Sometimes in the weeks following, I’d even say to Max… “Look how easy going I am am!… “I’m SO low maintenance!”

Enter 14.1. I faintly remember hearing that competitors would be doing the Open workout Thursday nights after the announcement, and then again on Sunday or Monday, but in my mind I assumed this would be a “run through”… like maybe we’d just practice the movements and call it a night. Let me tell you, I have never been so calm before an important workout as I was on the day of the 14.1 announcement, because I really didn’t think I would be doing it that night.

When I learned otherwise, about an hour before “go time”, I immediately went into what I’ll call “Lindsay mode”. I thought to myself… not me! I’m not doing the workout tonight. I tried to think of a good excuse but had none, and quickly realized what I was doing. So instead, I took a deep breath and started putting on my workout shoes. This was my first real test. I had to let go of all the things I wanted to control and trust that I was ready for anything at any moment. “Prepared for the unknown and the unknowable”… this is one of the great claims we make in CrossFit, after all.

In letting go of control, I actually felt a great freedom. I hadn’t stressed all day. I was relaxed and actually kind of excited to give 14.1 a go. If I didn’t do well, I had four more days to try it again, so the pressure was off a little. To my surprise, I did do well, and I owe this in part to my efforts to be more flexible. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to a long five weeks… and each Thursday following, I tried to carry this mentality with me.

“You’ve got to make a conscious choice every day to shed the old – whatever ‘the old’ means for you.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

 

Pain and beauty.

lindsWhen CFCM was at it’s former location on Placentia street, we had some CrossFit posters laminated and hung on a couple of the walls. My favorite one was of a girl overhead squatting, the word “strength” was tattooed on her back, and next to the photo were the words, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.” I have loved this quote ever since I read it and I think of it often.

I looked up the meaning behind Renoir’s words, because I’m pretty sure he wasn’t referring to CrossFit workouts ;) Here is what I found…

“When French impressionist painter Auguste Renoir was confined to his home during the last decade of his life, Henri Matisse was nearly 28 years younger than him. The two great artists were dear friends and frequent companions. Matisse visited him daily. Renoir, almost paralyzed by arthritis, continued to paint in spite of his infirmities. One day as Matisse watched the elder painter work in his studio, fighting torturous pain with each brush stroke, he blurted out: “Auguste, why do you continue to paint when you are in such agony?”
Renoir replied: “The pain passes but the beauty remains.”

I just love this. He is still living his life… doing what he loves, knowing that his pain is only temporary. It will pass and the beauty of his paintings will remain, and with it the peace that comes from knowing that he didn’t give up.

Sometimes when I am in the midst of a difficult workout, I say to myself “The pain passes…” It is helpful for me to remember that the physical discomfort of CrossFit is temporary. In most cases, 15 minutes or less! If I can remind myself of this, then I can usually continue to push, and when I choose not to let the pain stop me, the result is something beautiful. I am stronger. I am more confident. I am satisfied that I didn’t give in to the negative voices and doubt. It doesn’t happen every time (I’m human after all)… but when it does, it is a beautiful feeling indeed.

Similarly in my life outside the gym, when I am going through a difficult time, I like to think of these words, trusting that the pain I feel will eventually pass… or at least lessen. As have learned in the gym, pain has the ability to teach and grow me, so long as I am open to it doing so. It’s my choice to either keep going or to stop. In the moment, the discomfort may seem unbearable (like heavy snatch days!), but somewhere I hold on to hope that something beautiful can come even from the ugliest of situations or seasons (or bad training days). I believe this because I have experienced it.

I read once an analogy that each of our lives are like a giant work of art… where when it is finished, all of the good and bad, joy and sadness, successes and failures together create a beautiful picture. The dark parts accentuate the light. The pain passes, but the beauty remains.

Don’t give up or lose heart because it hurts now… a glorious work of art is in progress.

 

Here and now.

Linds_DLI am exactly where I am supposed to be.

This is the primary thought on my mind today and one that gives me a great deal of peace, especially going into the CrossFit Open. This time of year is typically one of stress and high emotion for me. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well in the Open… which often makes me cranky and “high maintenance” according to some. I can’t deny this is probably true, but I’m hoping to be a bit less high strung this time around!

Last week was tough. A particular workout made me especially upset because I didn’t do as well as I thought or hoped I would and then, almost out of nowhere I was hit by this overwhelming awful feeling. In my mind, I was supposed to be pregnant by now. I wasn’t supposed to be training hard for the Open. I wasn’t planning to try to make it to Regionals. No. I was just going to do the workouts at a nice easy pace with my cute little prego belly and cheer for my friends. Well, I’m not pregnant and my belly is just… well, the same. And it’s hard because reality looks different than my expectations… as is often the case.

And here I am. The thing is, I still want to do well in the Open. I still want to make Regionals. I never stopped wanting this. I am competitive and I love being able to compete in CrossFit, but I am also afraid. I’m afraid of not doing as well as I want or as well as the other girls I train with. I’m afraid that I’m going to really suck on a workout. I’m afraid of not meeting the expectations of others. To be completely honest, I was hoping for a reason… an excuse… to take a step back this year, because of my fear. And though I feel more ready than I ever have to “start a family”, it’s not my time yet. All I can do is be in the present and the present is the 2014 Open.

Yes, I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

I have trained hard and well this year. Though my gains are smaller and slower coming these days, I feel calmer and have a better understanding of myself… of my body and what I am capable of. I got my first wave of butterflies this morning thinking about what the Open workouts might be this year, but along with them came confidence and excitement… not just for me but for my gym and my training partners. We have all worked hard and have come a long way in the last year. I also realized that I don’t need an excuse in order to not feel pressure or fear. All I need is to let these things go and do what I love doing (which is competitive exercising, I know…).

I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I am planning to seize this moment.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

This may be mumbo jumbo…

guitarSo it turns out that the things we really want most in life usually take a lot of hard work. This is shocking, I know. Honestly, I think many of us (me included) still live with the delusion that things like relationships, successful careers, skills, and strong, able (or perhaps good looking) bodies will just happen for us… that if we wish for something enough, we will get it.

I got to thinking about this the other day and I will use a rather basic example that I’ll most likely apply to CrossFit and to life, per usual.

I recently decided to learn how to play my guitar. I’ve had my sweet Ibanez since high school when I had a crush on a boy who played guitar. (Yes, it’s true.) I’ve picked it up dozens of times over the years, playing the few chords that I knew, but I’d always get frustrated and quit fairly quickly. I knew if I really wanted to learn to play this time, I would actually need to stick with it for more than a couple weeks. I would need to practice. I would need lessons and accountability. Perhaps most importantly, I would need to go into it with the expectation that its going to be hard and frustrating work, and that I won’t be good overnight… or more realistically, ever… but that I still wanted it regardless.

Then I started to think about CrossFit (here we go!) and how I was when I started. I have written about my beginnings before, but for those of you just joining my sporadic blog, I was not good at it. Despite my fairly new personal training career, I knew next to nothing about lifting, didn’t have the strength to do a pull-up and was afraid to jump on a 20 inch box or kick up to a handstand. For a long time, CrossFit was very frustrating, scary and hard, but I wanted it and I was willing to put in the hard work to get better at it. Five years later, it is still frustrating, scary and hard at times, but I can clearly see the ways in which I have improved and the ways I have changed because I have stuck with it. I couldn’t have even imagined when I started that I might actually be competitive… do a muscle-up, Snatch over 100 pounds, or go to Regionals as an individual. If I could experience so much growth though commitment to CrossFit, surely I could get better at guitar (or most things really) by putting the time in.

I also thought about my 30 years of life (see, I told ya I’d do it!). I am learning very slowly that the life I want to live takes a lot more hard work than I imagined it would. While quitting guitar each time I didn’t get what I wanted out of it is no big deal, it’s a whole other thing to quit on school or a job, on being healthy, on God (or who/whatever you believe in), on an important relationship or a marriage when things get hard or maybe just aren’t as easy and exciting as we thought they would be. I say this because I have quit or been tempted to quit on more significant things in life than guitar and honestly, I don’t love this about myself. Please don’t hear me wrong… there are certainly times when we do need to leave something or someone behind, but giving up on what we want just because we’re uncomfortable is not a great reason. It may seem easier at the time, but (at least in my experience) solves very little… “wherever you go, there you are” right?

I’m sure it’s no secret, but I think some of the best things in life come when we see them through not just the easy, exciting times, but when we stick with them through the really challenging, messy, scary ones as well… the times when we most want to throw in the towel. Though things may not turn out like we expected, we might be surprised that they turn out better, or that we have become a stronger person simply by seeing them through. I have no doubt experienced this in CrossFit, as well as in other areas of life.

Who knows? Maybe I will surprise myself with this whole guitar thing, but for now it’s simply serving as a reminder for me to not give up on what I want and that the things worth having take work (and patience and grace). The songs I play may be unrecognizable now, but I’m hopeful that eventually you’ll be singin’ along with me.

 

My Top 5 of 2014

ViewYeah, I know… we are only 28 days into the New Year, but so far it’s off to a pretty good start. I was thinking today about some of my favorite things in life right now and almost posted them on Facebook, but I’d rather include links and such, which would get too busy for a measly little status update…

These are in no particular order, and it won’t hurt my feelings if you could care less about my “Top 5″. Ok, maybe a little, but just don’t tell me ;)

1. Chicken Tortilla Less Soup. Counting last night’s batch, I have made this recipe 6 times in the last 2 months and it feeds Jeff and me for several meals. You’d think we’d be sick of it, but I (we) love it every time! It’s so easy, especially if you buy a rotisserie chicken, rather than cooking the chicken yourself. I’m also guilty of putting tortilla chips on top… and cheese… and sour cream. It’s even better this way, obviously. Try it! Or invite yourself over to my house and I’ll probably have some ready to heat up!

2. Spike Ball. Pretty much every day at 1pm, my workout team and I play a game… knockout, 4-square, dodgeball… the classics. This in and of itself has made life better. It’s good to just have fun, even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day (wow, that seems sad). Anyway, every so often we try adding a new game to our queue. Spike Ball has been our most recent add-on, and let me tell you, this game is fun! I think it’s best played with 4 or 6 people. We’re all addicted, and end up playing for much longer than we should. I’m really looking forward to going to the beach with it.

3. Barbell Warrior. My friend Kristina started blogging this year, and her blogs are my favorite to read at the moment. She is honest, genuine, smart and funny. I look forward to reading them each time she posts. Even though she writes mostly about CrossFit, there is a little something for everyone.

4. Battlestar Galactica (as in the TV show). I didn’t put this first, even though it probably consumes more of my time than the other things, but I didn’t want you to disregard the rest of my list by reading this one first! Seriously guys, this show is good. Jeff asked me if I wanted to watch it with him years ago, and then maybe a couple more times and I always brushed it off as a lame sci-fi show with an annoying female character (Starbuck). I finally gave in about a month ago and we are now well into Season 3 (out of 4). Sometimes I get grumpy when we make other plans at night because I know I wont get to watch BSG. And Starbuck won me over quickly (for the most part… she’s being dumb at the moment). So, if you are out of shows to watch until Game of Thrones starts again, consider this one… and keep in mind this is coming from a major skeptic. I’ll say no more.

5. The Volcano Choir. Maybe it’s old news, but I recently discovered that one of my favorites, Bon Iver, has now evolved into a group called The Volcano Choir. It’s still totally him, just with a little more pizazz. I don’t know yet if I like it as well as some of his old stuff, but it’s definitely nice background (or hammock) music if you enjoyed his sound before. This song is probably my favorite…

So there you have it! Not to mention my first blog post of the new year, and first in probably almost a year. I would love to get back to writing more once I figure out to say the things I want to say. Until then, a reminder… to notice the things in your life that you enjoy… that make you laugh, that make you think, that make you feel peace. I know how easy it can be to become discontent and always waiting or searching for the next best thing. Let’s not forget to enjoy the season we are in and the cool things that come our way, and just be grateful.

 

In Your Face!

As a CrossFit trainer… coach… whatever you want to call me, I see a lot of people working out. Like, a lot! One of the many things I like to watch is people’s facial expressions while doing a workout (please don’t be freaked out!). A face can be very telling of what is going on in the mind. It can show frustration, anger, disinterest, exhaustion, determination, focus, joy… to name a few (yes… even when exercising). I would try to describe to you what each of these expressions looks like, but I think you can probably imagine. As a CrossFit athlete, I know I have felt all of these emotions at one time or another during my workouts… and thank goodness I can’t actually see my own face mid-workout! (Side note: don’t you kind of love how there are no mirrors in our gym?)Linds 13.1

Odds are, if you are in the middle of a workout that is especially challenging for you… like, maybe the weight is really heavy for you or you are doing a movement that you aren’t very good at yet… or perhaps you walked through the gym doors with something else weighing on your mind or heart… your face will show it. And by show it, I mean, it will likely get all tight and squished up, or you’ll grit your teeth a little. Maybe you feel tightness in your chest too and your breaths get shorter and quicker. These are things I’ve experienced anyway.

Something I have learned that is still very helpful for me to remember when I start to feel some of these things is to relax my face. I sometimes have to take a step back from whatever it is that is making me so frustrated and tense, take a couple deep breaths, and tell myself just to relax. It is a little mental reset for me. I have no doubt that our facial expressions can affect our mental state, and I’m sure there are some studies out there that have concluded the same thing. I am only sharing with you because telling myself to relax my face helps me, and perhaps it will for you as well.

On another note, a “quick” recap of the first Open workout. It was an emotional week for me. Though I didn’t necessarily feel stressed, I know I must have been because I was grumpy and easily irritated and I felt like crying at random times. Not normal… I don’t think. However, when it came time to do the workout, I felt calm and ready. I felt sure of who I am, what my goals are, and how I wanted to tackle the workout. I knew the third set of snatches at 100 pounds would be heavy for me, and my goal/hope was to get 10 (making 160 reps total for the workout). When I did the workout at noon on Friday, I got 4 snatches at the weight (so, 154 reps). I had lots of time… somewhere between 4 and 5 minutes. I probably took at least 10 attempts in this time, but only ended up standing up with 4 of them. I still felt good. I also knew I would try again. I had so much time to get more reps… how could I not?!

On Sunday morning, I gave it another go. This time around I was pretty sore. For the last 6 weeks, due to my back and shoulder injuries, most of my workouts have been mostly PT and cardio, but virtually no weightlifting, and boy, could I feel it! All that to say, I was so thrilled that my body started to feel better just in time! So the second time around, I used a different strategy. I broke my early sets of snatches up into smaller sets… giving myself less time at the end to get reps at 100 pounds, but hopefully feeling less exhausted. I got 1 more rep… 155! Still not 160, but one rep is worth it, and I will take it. I was so relieved at the end that I hugged/collapsed on my judge and started to cry… thankfully it was just Bobbie ;)

Tonight, the second workout will be released, and I’m thankful to feel much less anxiety over this one. At the end of the day, it’s just a workout… and I love working out.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you.

On my playlist… Love this one.