Hey welcome back everyone!
Hope you all had wonderful holidays. I certainly did and I’m sorry for the hiatus but with all the traveling and catching-up with friends and family I figured I’d give everyone a break (including myself). Today’s post is brought to you my my close girlfriend Lauren. Her and I have been talking about what we’ve been doing (or not doing) to get healthy and fit. Lauren has been working hard over the last several months to get her mind, body and soul harmonized. She has been going to Crossfit, this new workout class, changed her eating habits and has generally changed her lifestyle all while making job transitions and moving to a different city. She has been taking a wholistic approach to changing her life and I am so so proud of her. I’ve asked her to write a piece about what she’s been doing both at the gym and in the kitchen and explain what changes she’s noticed about her life. This could be anything from feeling more energized and having a better nights sleep to losing inches and feeling fabulous.
Whether you’ve made a new year’s resolution or not, I hope this post inspires you. It is not about hoping or wishing for some positive change in your life but about actually doing what it takes to create positive change. You will thank yourself in the end and inspire others to face their resolutions and find success too.
So with that, I’ll pass the mic to Lauren.
Paleo and Crossfit. Not a diet and working out but a way of life.
All who have grown up with me know that I like to live an active lifestyle. This Doesn’t mean that I’m the most athletic person ever but growing up I knew that I generally felt better when I was physically active. I deep down believe that there is a connection between being mentally and physically active. These past 3 months have proven this to be more true than ever.
Approximately 3 months ago I moved back to Colorado- a state known for being active and healthy from NYC- a city known for its workaholics and greasy food. After moving back to Colorado I stopped in for an appointment with my hairdresser. I was excited to get a cut and feel rejuvenated, it felt good to be home. I happened to notice that my hairdresser looked more fabulous than I remembered since seeing her last. As she gave me my cut, she began telling me about this gym-and-health lifestyle that she had recently taken up and was really excited about. Her new routine was composed of two elements- a Crossfit workout program and eating right. “They are not mutually exclusive” she explained to me “only working out or only eating right doesn’t work, you need to do both to get the results you want.” Now the thing that really struck me as she spoke was her passion and pride in herself and her personal success with this new program. She exclaimed “no really, it is so fun and I’m in the best shape of my life! I’ve never felt better.” She told me her energy levels have never been higher and that all of her extra energy permeated into her work and personal life. She told me that even though she was enduring the most intense training that she’d ever done, feeling sore every day and pushing her body harder than she ever thought she could, was the most rewarding experience. After hearing her gush about Crossfit, her workout program, I went home, read and researched, and thought over whether I could do it myself.
The fall treated me well, I signed up for several runs (5Ks and 10Ks) and made great times on each one. In the back of my mind though I thought about what Lindsey, my hairdresser had said. On a whim I signed up for one of the 2 or 3 Crossfit gyms in Denver and before I knew it I was in the first of 6 required basic “elements” training classes.
Crossfit is a high intensity workout that combines many different activities in intervals. You never do the same workout in the same progression twice, in fact you rarely even do the same movements twice. (Except for the basics like push ups, pull ups and burpees for example.) The first 6 classes ease you into the Crossfit class routine and are broken down by the various types of physical activity. Led by the trainers, they cover cardio (sprints, sit-ups, squats) and army inspired basic training, Olympic weight lifting, pylometrics, jump roping, kettle bells, gymnastics on rings and bars, and functional fitness (like lifting a 3000 pound tire). Once you’ve attended the 6 beginner classes, you must receive a blessing from the main trainer to begin doing the WODs (workout of the day.) they want to make sure that you’re ready to join the big leagues.
WODs are trainer-led classes that last for one hour. The class size will range in size from 2 or 3-18 people but are rarely larger than 20 people. When you enter the gym there is a specific warm up you must do for that days WOD and after the entire group completes it the trainer explains and works you through the movement. Sometimes there is a finisher if the workout wasn’t particularly death inspired or if the group finishes early. The times of the actual WODs range from 2-3 minutes long with as many sets of the exercises as possible. Olympic weight lifting, for example, requires much more training and attention from the trainers than say a sit up. Regardless there is a “Crossfit” way of doing the most basic move which ensures that your body is in a full range of motion.
I’m in my 3rd month of doing the Crossfit workout and have never felt better about a workout program or a way of life. The trainers and other gym members are really warm and accepting. Once you’ve been there a good amount of time, they start to really push you and encourage you as they get to know you. I’ve never felt more motivated or empowered.
Going back to one of my earlier ideas, I can confirm that our minds and our bodies really do impact one another. Overcoming these difficult workout challenges in the gym shows me that YES I can accomplish anything. I’m starting to really see results as my body changes, and it’s not even about looking at a scale.
Also, I am eating a protein (lean meat) and plant based, gluten free, dairy free diet. I don’t eat grains. The only carbs I consume are from small amounts of fruit and the fats that I use to cook my vegetables in. It is often called the caveman diet or paleo. This is because we are mocking what the cavemen ate. For me it’s no longer about exactly how much I weigh (which is often a battle for women) but rather how I feel, perform in the gym, and what my body looks like. I’m toning up, trimming down, and leaning out. It makes me more confident than ever. Not only have I found a lifestyle that I am thriving in, never feeling bored in and seeing results in, but I’ve also made a new group of friends and found support system ALL through Crossfit.
I don’t crave cheese, bread, or really any sweets anymore. I wish I could say I miss those foods but I dont. My energy levels have NEVER been higher. My temperament is way higher and happier, and I am motivated and inspired on a daily basis. Last week was my birthday, and did I have cake, sure I had a bite or two. I’m not one to starve myself and tell myself that I can not eat something- if I want a bite of something non paleo I will have it and that bite will be great but I probably won’t have the desire to order one for myself or eat the whole thing. I now notice how eating those non-paleo foods make my body feel and I don’t like it, they drag me down in my workouts and stump my energy level.
I’m eternally grateful for Crossfit and my new sense of empowerment and fitness. I would encourage you to give it a try, with a fair warning:: there have been a few workouts where I was close to throwing up due to the intensity factor. if intensity isn’t for you, don’t try it. But you also might find yourself more motivated than you’ve ever been in your entire life. For that you can thank me!