But….. What’s your excuse?

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We all know that guy or girl in the gym that could have always done better.  You know that person who comes up with reasons for why he or she didn’t excel in a workout. You’ll hear them talking about how they would’ve crushed that workout, but *insert excuse.  Maybe it was “I drank too much last night.” Or, “I’m didn’t get enough sleep last night.” “I PRed yesterday.” “I’m so sore.” I’ve heard it all, and I am sure you have too.

You could be the type of person that doesn’t state your excuses out loud. Maybe you secretly tell them to yourself? You reassure yourself that you could’ve done the workout faster or lifted more weight, but ________. This secret talk can be just as dangerous as spelling it out for everyone!

Someone asked me during a seminar what separates elite crossfitters from everyone else? How do you get there?  Well… hard work and focus are a sure way. Attitude is another key ingredient. Do you think that the best of the best give themselves excuses for why they didn’t perform well on a certain day? They just think, “I’ve got to work harder. I’ve got to get better.”

I’m going to be completely honest. I’ve found my path back into CrossFit VERY difficult. I kept looking at my old numbers and getting discouraged. I know I can get there again, but I want it to happen yesterday!! I almost wish I had a superpower and could snap my fingers and poof – the old Alicia. 

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I’m getting my butt kicked by everyone! I feel badly because some of these people think they are crushing a “Games athlete”.  The fact of the matter is I’m not at that level right now.  I’m just someone trying to be fit.

On this path back, I’ve found myself doing things that I know aren’t productive. I’m sharing this with you NOT because I am proud of this. I sharing this in the event that any of you find yourself doing the same thing.

For a while I was using my surgery and time off as an excuse.  When my back squat was 20 pounds under where it used to be, I thought to myself…. BUT, I had major surgery. When I was resting in the middle of a metcon unable to breath, I thought… I could go faster BUT I’ve taken 10 months off.  I’m giving myself EXCUSES. I’m playing that game; that I could have, would have, and should have game. I’m using that word…. But.

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By giving myself an excuse, my mind thinks it’s okay to be mediocre.  I have now convinced myself that my back squat being 20 pounds under where it should be is acceptable. I’ve lost the battle with myself because I’ve become complacent. Am I doing myself an injustice? Absolutely!

Okay.  It is not the end of the world in CrossFit, but you can apply this to anything in your life.  Anytime you don’t succeed at something, do not give yourself an excuse for your failure.  Instead, refocus your mind.  Think about how you can succeed next time you are in that situation.  How can you get that raise you want? You surely aren’t going to get it by doing mediocre work and telling yourself it’s because your boss is a jerk. Stop giving yourself excuses and start empowering you.

I haven’t been able to do double unders for about 11 months. For some reason, they put me in a ridiculous amount of pain. I don’t know if it was the wrist flick, the speed, — it really affected my incision site. Every time I attempted them, I felt awful. Now that I can do them without pain, I suck at them. I think my body is revolting against me. It’s like “nope, you aren’t doing this to me again!”

The last two weeks they just happened to be in the workouts I was doing. Boy, have I gotten my butt handed to me! I’ll do approximately five and have to reset. How frustrating?! Today, I told myself I would just relax and do them. There were sets of 50 in the 12 min workout I was attempting. I messed up A LOT, but I kept telling myself that I was doing SO much better than last week. I got through it. I didn’t get frustrated. And, you know what?  They were better.  I am one step closer to the old Alicia! I am one step closer to being fit. How exciting is that? It was so much more productive than telling myself that I suck at them BUT I had surgery.

The way you talk to yourself is SO important. I’m going out on a limb to say that all of the athletes that qualified to the CrossFit Games are fit. Everyone there is capable of winning. The ones you see on the podium are the ones that have mastered positive self-talk. They also don’t settle, and they don’t give up.  But, they also know how to talk to themselves.

Next time you tell yourself WHY you didn’t do well on a WOD; reframe those words in your head. Tell yourself HOW you are going to do better the next time you line up with a barbell or jump up on a pull-up bar. You can unlock your own potential by believing in your abilities. Stop giving yourself excuses to coast through life and start living it!! 

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Working Out & Traveling

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Kayaking in New Hampshire

Mike approached me about a blog post. He wants people to understand how important it is to make fitness a priotiy while traveling. He feels that this is crucial to your overall health. Well… as luck would have it, so do I!!

I think staying active is one of the most important things a person can do. Physical activity has been linked to so many benefits. Studies have shown it to improve executive brain function, depression, and health in general. Who wouldn’t want to move a little in their day?

Staying active while traveling can be tough. But, once you get out of that fitness routine, it’s even tougher to get back into it. Why not make it a priority? Here are some of Mike’s suggestions! 

Make Fitness a Priority While Traveling
Keeping up with your diet and fitness routine while traveling can be difficult, but it is important to maintain good health at all times.  Learn more about the places that you are traveling to in order to make fitness a priority during your travels.

Know Before You Go

Staying aware of your surroundings when you travel is important, and one of the best ways to keep informed is by conducting your own research before you leave.  Many hotels offer deluxe fitness centers that go above and beyond the standard treadmill in a small room that was once the norm.  Fitness classes may even be available at some hotels.

It is important to plan ahead by booking any fitness options that you need when you are booking your hotel.  Fitness classes that are available at hotels are typically limited to a set number of participants.  Try to book travel that allows you to adhere to your normal fitness routine if possible.  Maintaining a routine is the best way to stay healthy while traveling and at home.  On a recent trip to Maui I made sure to use a travel review site in order to secure the best option for a hotel. I was able to get a list of Maui hotels and could scan through to see if they had 24-hour gyms.

Healthy and Fit Travel Tips

One barrier to staying healthy while traveling is the fact that you have to eat at restaurants while staying in a hotel.  USA Today suggests having a plan of action when it comes to the food you plan to eat on the road.  Packing snacks for a flight or road trip can help you while you’re getting to your destination, but how do you plan for eating during your stay?

Learn about restaurants in the area before you go on your trip.  Try to find menus online to help you plan for a meal that fits your unique dietary needs.  Avoid settling for fast food, and remember to stay hydrated at all times.  Dehydration can make you feel sluggish and may even contribute to overeating.

The Latest Fitness and Travel Trends

Running has become a popular pastime, and anyone who enjoys to run can find a friend in any city.  If you are exploring a new city while traveling, the Huffington Post suggests that you take note of people who are wearing running shoes so you can ask for running path suggestions.  Getting to know the locals is a great way to learn about hidden fitness gems around a new city.

Stress On the Road 

Business travel is particularly stressful.  The buildup to traveling for business causes anxiety. Dealing with reservations and conferences can put a lot of pressure on a person. Inc. Magazine recommends maintaining a health and fitness routine in your hotel room to keep your stress level down.  Try light exercises whenever possible, and stay positive for the best results.

It’s not easy to stay fit and healthy while traveling, but it is important to your overall health. Make an effort to eat healthy and exercise whether you are at home or on the road.  Research exercise options and restaurants before you leave to stay informed about your destination.

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Butterfly pull-ups in California. Jeans won’t stop me 🙂

When traveling, I have always made fitness a priority. I don’t feel like I am functioning optimally when I am not active. Without activity my body feels heavier, my energy level is lower, and I definitely feel a little depressed. That’s why the last nine months have been so hard for me. I’m not used to “taking it easy”.

I remember going to Jamaicia and varying up my fitness routine by teaching some water aerobics. I had no idea what I was doing, but the people on the resort loved me. And, it was fun to take over the pool for a couple days a week.

I did Yoga in Cabo and ran stairs in Italy. In Alabama, I ran outside and did pool workouts from CrossFit endurance. When camping, my boyfriend and I brought rings and did some bodyweight WODs. We hiked mountains, ran trails and had swimming races. In Aruba, I ran the beach and did lots of flipping! There’s always something you can do!

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Flipping in Aruba. PreCrossFit. I’m so much better now!

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I understand it may be more difficult to make time for fitness when you are on a business trip, but there are so many options! A tabata work out will only take you four minutes and you can do it right in your hotel room! You can do tabata squats, tabata sit-ups, tabata push-ups… tabata anything. The list is endless.

Check out http://www.crossfitanywhere.com/wods/anywherex for some different workout ideas. Visit a CrossFit gym. They are everywhere now! What a good way to learn some new tips and meet other members of this large community we are part of?

Whatever you do, do something! Have fun doing it. You’ll feel much better about yourself afterwards!

Winning, is it EVERYTHING?

Winning, is it EVERYTHING??

Me at NE Regionals, 2013

Me at NE Regionals, 2013

Do you know the feeling you get when you win? It’s like eating a big piece of chocolate fudge cake or Ben and Jerry’s ice cream melting in your mouth. But, it’s better! It’s as amazing as your first kiss. Well… unless that wasn’t all that great.

So, is it all about winning? I always thought so. I used to dream about winning. I would wait for the clock to turn 11:11 and wish to win Nationals. I did this every day the year I won.

Since I was a little kid, I hated losing. I despised it more than creepy crawling spiders! For those of you that know me, that’s some serious hatred.

My mom still tells the story about my first state gymnastics meet. I cried all the way home because I didn’t win. I was six years old at the time, and I was devastated. I really expected to win. I worked hard. I thought I was pretty good.  I had won numerous meets that year.

I couldn’t believe Allison LeBeau from Giguere’s Gymnastics beat me? It’s a little crazy that I still remember her name, and I remember the gym she was from. I remember losing. I don’t remember the car ride home and all the crying of course. I do remember the way I felt standing on that podium. I felt like kicking something. I didn’t… that temper tantrum came a few years later.

I’m the type of person who didn’t even like losing board games, cards, and fun dance contests I used to do with my cousins. We joke about it now. Krista and I were gymnasts and we basically rigged the contests. We’d partner up, throw some flips in our dance routine, and like magic—we’d win. Our poor cousins would let us do this weekend after weekend. Our super team would always be judged higher because of our flips. Why make the teams fair when we could win? Winning was just SO much fun!

Now that I’ve been out of the CrossFit competition scene for almost nine months, winning doesn’t seem as important to me. The most important thing for me is to get healthy. I almost don’t care if people kick my butt in the gym. Well, I do care a little. But, I’m more focused on getting just a little better each day. I’ve come to love this approach! It makes CrossFit much more fun. Is that even possible?

Sitting on the bleachers watching the regionals this year made me realize that winning isn’t everything. It’s the effort that you put in that you can treasure, and it’s that effort that inspires other people. It’s the standards you hold yourself to, the quality person that you’ve become, and the integrity in which you do everything. Knowing that you are doing everything possible to better yourself, your health, your LIFE and the lives around you. Now that’s important!

Watching NE Regionals, 2013

Watching NE Regionals, 2013

I watched as my friends, some of the top athletes that I know, didn’t make it to the Games. I was baffled by it?! I was even more baffled by the leaderboards in other regions. High level athletes weren’t qualifying. How come these amazing athletes weren’t winning?

I know these people are unbelievably fit even though they are staying home in July! I know that they put their blood, their sweat, their tears, and their heart on the line. That is why I respect them.

I am happy for my friends that did qualify. But, I respect all of these athletes equally. They have earned my respect because of who they are and what they stand for as people. They stand for health, beauty, hard work, determination and SO much more!

As I watched the top ladies competing, I realized that they don’t stand for winning at ALL. Of course, the top three athletes stood on the podium that day. But like the movie, Any Given Sunday, it could’ve been anyone on that field on that podium. That’s what I didn’t realize on that car ride home when I was six. I just thought that I wasn’t any good because I didn’t win. But, I could’ve beaten Allison. And, I did beat her in other meets. It’s just that any given Sunday someone may outscore you, outrun you, or just plain outperform you. When they do… hold your head up high knowing you gave your all, shake their hand, and think to yourself, “any given Sunday.”

I used to think winning was everything. Now I realize it’s not always the result, but what you put in to get there. And, let’s be honest…. sometimes you’ve got to let your mother win. But, only your mother!!

My Mom and I doing Murph

My Mom and I doing Murph

Get GYMNASTY!! — Gymnastics Seminars

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I went to the doctor today and found out that it could be a year until I am healthy. It’s the same old story really… My gland is still inflamed and it needs more time to heal. The doctors prediction is a full year. So I thought to myself, if I can’t train to become better at CrossFit I can coach others to get better. Heck, I can help them become GYMNASTY!!

With this extra time on my hands, I am going to teach eight gymnastics seminars this spring/summer. I’d love to come and help your box get GYMNASTY! I am going to be running these seminars in conjunction with my coach, Brent Miffitt and Level 9 gymnast / my gymnastics superstar sister, Heather Gomes. If you want to introduce your members to different ways to improve their gymnastics, learn some coaching cues, or just have some good old gymnastics fun e-mail me at: getgymnasty@gmail.com.  Seminars will be limited to 16 people.

I’m really excited to begin this journey!! I can’t wait to help others reach their goals and share with you all the things that have helped me to become a successful athlete. Below are the dates I’m available.

1. June 1st or 2nd

2. June 8th or 9th

3. June 15th

4. June 22nd or 23rd

5. June 29th or 30th

6. July 13th or 14th

7.  August 2nd or 3rd

8.  August 17th or 18th

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A guest blogger – Melanie talks about physical activity and cancer

CrossFit Games 2012

CrossFit Games 2012

Melanie sent me an email asking if I accepted guest blog posts. To be honest I was a little taken back at first. A guest blogger!? Hmmmm… I wasn’t sure if she knew that I’m really not a big deal. I’m not even sure how many people read this? But, I was excited and honored that she asked.

I feel like Melanie sent me this blog post at the perfect time, a time when I am struggling with my own health. As most of you know, I had to have surgery on my parotid gland six months ago.  I had a tumor with atypical cells. I was fortunate because the tumor was benign, but I haven’t been myself since surgery. My gland is swollen and the swelling causes me to be in pain all the time. Worst of all, I am still not able to work out. Or should I say — I’m not able to work out the way I’d like to. I can’t “train”. I can run 800 meters to a mile at a slow pace, but then that’s it for the day. This post by Melanie reminded me that what I am used to doing is rare for most people. CrossFittitng and pushing my body to the limit is not what the average person does. I guess… I just see it as “normal”.

The Northeast Nasty Girls Post WOD

The Northeast Nasty Girls Post WOD

Melanie began researching cancer when her grandmother was diagnosed. She lost her grandmother sooner then anticipated and wanted to know what they could have done differently. She wanted to know what others could do differently. This is what she has come up with thus far….

Fighting Cancer with Physical Fitness Activities


Unlike doctors in the past, physicians today want to enlist patients in aiding their own recoveries.  Doctors no longer aim to be solely in charge of patients’ care; they want people to be proactive in helping work toward their own cancer remissions.  Many physicians seek to accomplish this partnership with their patients by encouraging people to exercise on a regular basis.  In addition to receiving treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, cancer patients fighting mesothelioma and other forms of cancer can benefit by working out and committing to a steady fitness regimen. Being physically fit in addition to receiving cancer treatments can help people reach their goal of defeating this disease.  

 

However, many patients are not familiar with what it takes or what they can do necessarily to start a physical fitness regimen.  In particular, sedentary individuals may find starting a workout routine to be a challenge.  Working out every day does not have to be difficult, however.  Doctors advise people that this process starts with realizing the benefit of exercising and committing to taking on some form of activity each day.  Even more, patients do not have to perform elaborate aerobic routines or become proficient weightlifters in order to overcome cancer.

 

Patients of all capabilities may be able to benefit from walking every day.  Many people dismiss walking as an ordinary daily activity and one that can be done without forethought or too much effort.  However, while leisurely walking does not take much effort, walking for exercise requires that patients focus on their exertion and increasing their resistance to this activity.  Cancer patients ideally should try to walk as briskly as they can and moving their arms in motion with their steps.  Something as simple as walking can provide cancer patients with physical and mental benefits that will go a long way through their treatment.

 

Like walking, moderate weightlifting can be of great value to patients.  Research shows that lifting weights, even those that are light and easily lifted, can help people overcome and even help prevent certain conditions in their bodies.  While they should not abandon their treatments, people may also help their bodies recover by lifting weights every few days.  This activity tones their muscles, strengthens bones, increases their blood circulation, and helps them feel better about their prognoses.  

 

If they are physically able, another exercise patients can benefit from is riding bicycles.  Like walking and weightlifting, biking provides people with the opportunity to work out the muscles in their arms, legs, back, and abdomens.  They also benefit by being outdoors in the fresh air.  Bicycling is an exercise that can be enjoyed alone or with friends and family members.  Because it can be tempting for a person who is going through cancer treatments to want to avoid others, this exercise proves beneficial in that it brings that patient into contact with others who are concerned about that person’s wellbeing.  Cancer patients who work out regularly feel better and remain more optimistic about their recoveries.

Me

Me

By no means am I going through the difficulties that someone who has been diagnosed with cancer has to go through. I also do not have the experience or expertise to advise someone in that position. But, I can relate to how they feel. I have so much empathy for anyone who is struggling with any illness. It’s so hard, but you need to keep moving forward.

Melanie’s post reminded me to keep doing the small stuff. I don’t always feel great after work and almost every day I take a nap. However; I do try to go for a jog, a walk, do 100 lunges at a slow pace, or heck… do 13.3. If I am moving slow and not breathing heavy my gland won’t swell any more than it already is. I have learnt that if I am smart, I can help my recovery and healing process. I am trying to do some physical activity because moving my body is beneficial both physically and mentally. I am trying to move forward and eventually I’ll get back to my “normal”.

My "normal" LIFT HEAVY!!

My “normal” LIFTING HEAVY!!

 

Watching…. Open WOD 13.1

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I began my CrossFit journey again and then stopped it, and then started it, and stopped it… It’s been like a fun ride at an amusement park.  One minute I am playing with my friends, the next I’m down and out. Repeatedly, I am being thrown setbacks. The gland that I got surgery on continues to swell up and getting infected. I am trying to be patient.

However, the cycle is starting to get annoying. I work out for about two weeks and then my gland swells up and I am out sick for a week. This has been going on since I received clearance to CrossFit.  I’ve been living on antibiotics. I’ve been on them once a month since December. How crazy is that?!

It’s strange I keep trying to dial it back. Maybe if I only go three days a week? Maybe if I just do bodyweight movements? Maybe if I just work strength, which is my favorite thing EVER. But, nothing has really worked.

I can’t even express how difficult it was for me to do one burpee for 13.1. I wish I could’ve been like Jenny and did the WOD on one leg. I love the heart that she was able to poor into that workout.

Where was my heart, my fire? I did peel myself out of bed to go into the gym and do one fantastic burpee. Thank you judge Kathryn! I really wanted to cheer on my friends and be a part of the fun. Who wouldn’t? That’s basically what this Open is all about. People getting PRs, surprising themselves, surprising their coaches, and leaving it all out there. I LOVE that stuff!!

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Me at Regionals 2012

Watching everyone struggle, face their internal battles and do the best they possibly could was inspiring. I sat there chomping at the bit. I sat there struggling with my own internal battle. I wanted to sweat and put my body to the test. I wanted to compete!

Unfortunately, my body couldn’t be tested. I had been in bed for three days and even cheering was exhausting. Usually, I’d choose to “suck it up” and compete. I wanted to SO badly!! But, this time was different. I chose my health.

Of course, my decision had a little influence from my good friends at CrossFit Route 1. I knew I was doing the right thing, but they helped me to see that doing this one workout would not help me to get any better. It would’ve in fact made me worse.

I might have cried on the way home… Talking to your coach and telling him that you are unable to compete because you are sick is one thing. Being faced with the reality that this is a fact and you can’t compete is a completely different story.

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You see…. I love competition. I love winning. I love seeing my friends and teammates smile. And, I’ll admit it I love checking the leader board. It’s so fun to see how everyone is doing!!

As I am sidelined from doing the thing I love, I realize that determination plays a large role in success. It’s wonderful that way! And, I think that is part of the reason CrossFit carries over into so many people’s lives. You are determined to get through a work out. Once you do, you realize how powerful determination really is. You become determined to do other things, determined to improve yourself.

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My first rope climb with Don on the left. 2011 Games on the right.

I was so fortunate as a child to have a great coach, Don Lothrop. He taught me how to react when I hit a bump in the road. The mental toughness he instilled in me has gotten me through nine surgeries, a heart condition, a broken back, a toe that needed to be pinned back onto my foot, a cancer scare, the death of my good friend, and many more hardships. What he bread as a coach was success. You see success isn’t just arbitrary. Success comes to the person that was determined enough to get there.  This year, I am determined to get healthy! 

What’s in your heart?

NENG Heart

If you look into your heart, what do you see? Lately, I’m unsure. Maybe my uncertainty is because the past few months I’ve been tested. I am still recovering from surgery. Any physical activity I do causes swelling in my gland and inner ear. As a result, I am in pain. I haven’t had a pain free day yet. How is that possible?

My new goal is to get through one day without pain. I kept trying to test this pain. What if I do the airdyne? What if I try push-ups? I was trying to figure out what wouldn’t irritate me. Well…. I didn’t find anything. Any kind of physical activity does in fact make my pain worse! So, I have toned it all back and decided to try to reach the goal of being pain free for one day. I want to leave school and feel ok. I don’t want to have to lie down every day after work. I want to feel good. I want to feel “normal”.

Looking into my heart I’d usually see a fighter, I’d see fire. I’d see someone who loves what they do and uses this passion to help others in their pursuit of wellness. Now, I am questioning myself. Is the fire enough? Will I be able to compete again? Is this year even a possibility for me? My heart says, “Oh yes.” My body says, “Oh no!” I am hoping my heart will prevail! Wish me luck because eventually I will be starting my CrossFit journey from ground zero.