Monday, October 9, 2017

Discipline vs. Motivation

Read a great blog post the other day that really has stuck with me and I wanted to share some key points in my own words.

Finding motivation is great!  You can be inspired by people around you, people you see everyday, friends, family, etc.  You can be inspired by a professional athlete, a coach, a teacher anyone really.  Motivation oftentimes helps us to stay focused or even to finally get started.  The problem with motivation is that it's externally derived and it ebbs and flows.  You find motivation in OTHERS and it's not permanent.  Think of a rollercoaster, you see someone's achievements, get really inspired to work hard and stick to your plan, it works for a few days, weeks, etc, then invariably without constant "motivation" you slow down, revert and maybe get off track.

Discipline on the other hand, is something YOU do, consistently, every day whether you feel like it or not.  Discipline comes from YOU.  You control the actions tied to your discipline.  Whether it's exercising, practicing meditation, making healthy food choices, spending more time with your family, studying for school, being a better friend, coach, mother, spouse.  You just do it, day in and day out because you know it's the right thing to do and it will absolutely make your goals possible.  You could be having a shitty day, and not feel MOTIVATED to stay on track.  That's an outside force.  It's your DISCIPLINE, your inner strength that is all up to you, that will inevitably be responsible for keeping you on track.

It's still a great idea to search for inspiration, motivation in others.  It's a great way to make your disciplined actions seem easier at times, but it's critical to remember that what you do, your actions, your choices, your behavior starts and ends with you.  Period.  Having a great support system is so helpful but absolutely not necessary. And any lack of motivation or inspiration should not paralyze your efforts or affect your discipline - EVER.

This little mind shift has worked wonders for me.  I'm less concerned about external factors I can't control.  Who is supporting me, who wants to see me succeed, who is trying to push me, who may be discouraging me.  I have to let all of that go and realize that my DISCIPLINE is the only thing I need to ensure I stay on track.  I either have it or I don't.  Every day won't be a  total success, and I'm certain my discipline will have some cracks in it at times.  But I realize that all of my actions are within my ultimate control and I will do what it takes to get what I want.  No motivation necessary.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


It's Sunday afternoon.  I had the BEST meal last night with some great people and lots of wine.  It was a great way to spend my last Saturday night before I attempt, once again, to consistently maintain some healthy eating habits and to see some physical changes.  Friday was my rock bottom.  2,200 calories worth of miniature chocolates at work.  In addition to breakfast lunch and dinner.  Wasn't much different from the 10-30 days prior, except for the fact that I was finally fed up with my lack of self-control and realized that I couldn't fit into any of my jeans/pants anymore.

The great thing about being fit-"ish" is that you can go a couple weeks, maybe even a month or so eating like crap, and aside from headaches and poor performance, it really does take awhile before your body starts changing for the worse.  The bad thing about that is that you can get away with eating like crap for a really long time and sometimes not notice the ill-effects.  And apparently for me, the headaches and low performance aren't enough to force me to make a change.  It's not until my clothes start feeling super tight do I typically have enough disgust for myself to switch gears.  That in and of itself is worrisome to me, since I try to be an example to others displaying a healthy lifestyle and a healthy body image.  Both of which are just big fat lies sometimes.

I'm on day 1 of yet another journey to get back on track.  My oldest ordered Papa John's Pizza, brownies and chocolate chip cookie. (big sigh).  However, I'm happy to report that I just bagged up the leftovers and threw out the boxes without even so much as a sniff.  Last Sunday, the last 2 slices, the remaining half of the tray of chocolate chip cookie and the 7 brownies would have been in my belly.  So that's a win!!!  I'm a little hungry and a little tired (today's my do-nothing rest day) but so far I've been successful.  One meal at a time for me.

Here's my Sunday:

Meal 1 - Scoop of protein powder, blended with water, ice, Tb Peanut butter and 1 C of spinach.
Meal 2 - Chicken breast with hot sauce, 2C zucchini sautéed in some ghee
Meal 3 - Whole wheat mini bagel with tiny bit of almond butter, Kale salad (the stuff you get from Costco) and a small bowl of ground turkey with taco seasoning.
Meal 4 - Stuffed pepper with ground turkey, brown rice and a slice of provolone cheese
Meal 5 - Scoop of casein in water  Rice cakes with peanut butter

Going to try and post more to keep me accountable.  Stay tuned for the progress.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

10 Weeks Post Op - Mind games

So much has changed since my last post.  And yet so much has not changed at all.

The crutches and brace are history.  I'm still going to PT twice a week.  I have as much pain and difficulty moving around as I did before surgery (if not more).  I'm told that is normal.  I'm trying to be patient.  Meanwhile my body is changing.  I'm losing muscle.  I'm gaining fat.  Workouts are programmed at my gym and I'm not doing them.  Maybe twice a week I will "workout."  I end up feeling busted for several days afterwards.  Not only my hip and the surrounding area, but the rest of my body as well since my workouts are so few and far between.  I get that "OMG I can't move and everything hurts" sensation at least once a week.

I am back to coaching, thank goodness.  Being able to do what I love and help other athletes to improve their fitness has definitely been my saving grace this last month.  I'm still feeling a little disconnected from everyone because we're not "in the trenches together".  There's something very bonding about doing workouts with people vs. watching people do workouts, or hearing about other people's workouts when you can't participate.  It's always nice to be able to relate to your athletes when you've done the same workout an hour before you coach them so you can give them some personal insights about what they are about to experience.  There's something special about being able to execute a movement with good form to demonstrate to your class - and there's quite another when you attempt to get into the proper position and you have to apologize for not being able to . . . and you hope like hell your words are sufficient and your athletes can use their imaginations and that you're not giving them a less-than-optimal class experience.

I'm still wondering if surgery was the right decision.  I can't help but wonder where I'd be if I hadn't had the surgery.  I know that I am only about halfway through my recovery (maybe less) and that I still have a lot of healing to do.   My impatience definitely gets in my way often.  I have started to seriously consider the possibility that I may not be able to continue doing CrossFit in the manner I trained before and that makes me crazy.  I am so grateful for the people around me who do their best to try and make my experience a little more pleasant while I continue this journey. I have so much more to accomplish!!   I know what my end goal is, and I just have to pray that I can get there without losing my mind the in the meantime.

Monday, June 20, 2016

10 Days Post-Op

The deed has been done.  Can't undo it now.  I have had the surgery.  Uneventful.   No real pain at all.  Just immobilization of my hip and no bearing of weight on my right leg.  Seems simple enough right?

Try these seemingly mundane tasks that I can't do by myself:

  1. Fixing yourself anything to eat or drink 
  2. Getting into the shower 
  3. Shaving your legs  
  4. Tying your shoe  
  5. Feeding the dogs
  6. Driving anywhere

Here's the short list of what I can do all by myself:

  1. Go from the couch to the toilet and back
  2. Take my brace off and put it back on
  3. Use my laptop (assuming it's within my reach)
  4. Use the TV remote (same assumption as above)
  5. Recline in my new power recliner
  6. Eat what I can grab with the fridge open
I am starting to go a little bit nutty during the week with the isolation and lack of ability to do anything.  I'm having a hard time asking for help.  My friends and family have been busy with their own lives.  They still have their normal obligations so I understand that they can't be waiting on me hand and foot.  

I go see my surgeon tomorrow for the first time since my surgery.  Hoping he has some good news in terms of increasing my activity and/or starting PT.  I know I'm whining, and this will all have a happy ending.  At least that what I'm praying for.  Just sucks being in the throes of it right now.  The weather has been gorgeous, I'd love to be outside a little and continue to be as active as I'm accustomed to being.  Feels like I'm missing out on life but I guess this is my life right now.  I need to just deal with it and know that it's temporary.  I am thankful for my friends and family that are making this time a little more bearable for me.  I know I'm not the most fun to be around lately.

Here's to finding the strength and patience to be OK.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Operation "Pre-Op"

So I have decided after almost a year to go under the knife and fix my hip.  Most of you know I've had a labral tear and some worn out cartilage, but when the prospect of surgery and being out for 4-6 months was presented to me last summer I thought hmmmmm . . . maybe it's not that bad and I should just try to work around it.  It's not like I can't walk or function day to day.  I just can't do a lot of what I'm trying to do while training.  So a few injections later and numerous physical therapy companies and sessions later, I've come to the conclusion that it's not getting any better and my training has hit a wall.  And I'm not quite ready to give up my hopes of becoming really competitive at CrossFit. And I'd like to not need a hip replacement when I'm 50.

So I'm taking a HUGE leap and will have surgery June 10th.  I'm told I can't do anything for 10 days which is when I go back to see my surgeon and get my stitches out. After that my hope is to start pretty intensive therapy as well as some kind of conditioning to stay active since it will be many months before I'm back to full CrossFit activities.

The procedures I'm having include a fix to the tear (which is actually pretty minor), some reshaping of my femur (which is causing some discomfort in flexion - sort of like an impingement but not really) and the big daddy of them all  - micro fracture which should add some scar tissue to the layer of cartilage that is missing and causing most of my discomfort and presumably holding me back the most.

Dr. Kropf does this surgery quite often and with much success.  He also has extensive experience with athletes (mostly professional actually) and he understands how aggressively I'd like to rehab.  Not just the hip, but the rest of my body so when the hip is healed, I'm ready to go.

My recovery will include 4-6 weeks of no weight bearing activities,  And it will be 6 months before I'm back to full impact activities.  For those of you that know CrossFit - this means muscle snatches, muscle cleans and push presses, will be my staple barbell moves for awhile.  No push jerks and no power anything, no "landing" in a quarter squat or full squat on anything. This also means no running or box jumps, which actually is Ok with me (hate them both!)

I think the hardest part for me to accept is the amount of assistance I'll require while recovering.  I was on crutches last fall for a minor ankle sprain and man did it suck!  This is going to be 100x worse and I cringe at the thought of needing to be waited on, and driven places, and just not having much independence at all.  I will want to be back coaching (even if it's me just giving cues while reclining) as soon as possible.  I'm going to miss my routine terribly.

So while I may not be able to participate in the 2017 Open, I'm definitely hoping to be competitive in 2018 season.

With that, I hereby declare the next 30 days "Operation Pre-Op".  I will be taking this next month to focus on my strength and endurance in an effort to be in great shape by June 10th.  I will be focused on eating well, working out "smart", stretching,  and sleeping.  Wish me luck!


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Wakey Wakey

According to my last post, which I wrote on my 1 year CrossFit anniversary -  I never dreaded waking up at 4am and going into the gym every morning.  NEVER EVER was it a struggle.  I truly looked forward to it.  In August of 2015, I celebrated my second year of CrossFit.  I could have written the same blog that day.

A couple of months ago something changed.  Not sure if it's my body, my mind or my heart.  Probably a combination of all 3.  But I find myself not being my happiest when I'm at what used to be my happiest of all places.  I'm constantly trying to analyze the why's.  Am I not performing like I used to?  Is my coaching getting stale?  Am I helping anyone?  Does anybody really care if I show up or not?  Am I really cut out for this?  It's starting to wear on me.  Something's missing.  Feel like I don't fit in.  My body is not cooperating.  Workouts aren't fun.  I'm stressed out.  I catch myself being isolated and distant.  Not present.

I'm scared.

I competed a week ago.  My first individual competition in almost a year.  Thought it would be good for me to get back into the thrill of the sport.  I think it backfired.  I didn't do nearly as well as I expected.  Another disappointment.  Finding it really hard to see the positives.

I'm trying to make some changes - adjustments to my schedule, my workouts, my environment, most importantly my attitude.  So far it's not working. But I'm hopeful things will turn around sooner than later.

I want nothing more than to find that spark again.  That passion that effortlessly got me out of bed before 4am.  I'm afraid to fall further down this rabbit hole of insecurity and indifference.   I know that this CrossFit way of life and the community are good for me.  I have been transformed over the last 2 years for the better.  That I know for sure.

I've heard people talk about burn-out.  I know that's a possibility.  I'm just not sure how to react to it or what I do to turn it around.  I'm desperately trying to find my smile again. If you happen to see it - please return it to me. I may cry a little, but it's all good.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Never Finished

One year ago today, I stepped into a "box" for the first time to try CrossFit.  I have arrived early (most days before 5am) on close to 275 occasions since then.  I have stayed, longer than most, to attack my weaknesses.  I've lifted, run, pushed, pulled, jumped, planked, rowed, climbed, swung, stretched, rolled, flossed, slammed, flipped, kipped and dipped every week. I have NEVER, not even once, dreaded waking up at 4am to show up and work hard.  I sincerely have looked forward to each and every day I get to go in.

Some accomplishments and musings from the past year:
  1. I have learned about nutrition, supplements and body composition.  Most people don't eat nearly enough protein.  I do now - and it's not all bacon.   I try to make healthy choices 80% of the time and treat myself 20% of the time.  My weight has remained the same over the course of the past year but my body has changed significantly. I have gained lean muscle mass and lost fat for sure.
  2. I'm getting better at pushing my physical limitations without damaging my body.  A few WODs are not worth succumbing to a sidelining injury.  I almost always have a new area taped or compressed and people ask me what did I do now.  Luckily, my ailments have been minor and short-lived.  But the paraphernalia I've collected (mobility balls, elbow sleeves, knee sleeves, rock tape, etc.) is kind of impressive. I've never been out of the gym for more than a day or 2 because of a muscle strain.
  3. I'm really good at ignoring my mental limitations during a workout - Mind Over Matter.  There have been countless times I have looked at the board and secretly thought to myself, "Oh shit - no way can I do that!" and EVERY time - I've done it.  I may have scaled the weights or slowed the pace - but I've finished - every single time.
  4. I celebrate my accomplishments and let my failures fuel my next workout.  I'm not obnoxious with my PR postings on social media, but I've definitely given myself a shout out for a great workout, a heavy lift or a new skill.  Just not every time.  When I don't go as fast, or as heavy, or with the best form, I add it to my mental list of things to work on.  And with all the extra time I spend at the box, I get to run through this list quite often.
  5. I feel better at 41 than I did at 31 or even 21! I have stopped stressing over the scale and started to just enjoy what my body is capable of.  And for once in my life, I actually like the way I look. 
  6. I have fantasies about quitting my job and training full-time to become a Games athlete or a future NPGL draft pick.  I'm thinking 2016 or 2017.
  7. I have a bunch of new friends for whom I would do anything. That's pretty much everyone I WOD with on a regular basis, and those that I watch WOD when I am "recovering".  Basically, if we make eye contact anywhere close to the box - you're in this category.  There are 2 people in particular that I talk to everyday and consider to be close friends. One is my coach, and the other is a fellow athlete almost 20 years younger than me.  We overshare, geek out, support, and confide in one another constantly.  I cherish these friendships the most. 
  8. I am a living example to my kids. I know they are proud to have a strong mom.  The possibility  that they could be more fit because of me is invaluable.
  9. I have been first to finish and I have been last to finish.  I have been the girl with the most weight on her bar, and I've been the one with an empty bar.  I have learned that the only competition is with yourself.  Some days you make huge gains and other days it's back to the basics.  And that's all OK.  There's always more work to be done.  I'm never finished.
  10. I hope that I inspire people to follow their passions and "get it done".  For the past 10 months or so - I have posted a motivational quote on FB along with my morning check in to the box.  I find these quotes everywhere.  I rarely give credit to the one who said it (unless it's my own original of course).  Somedays they are timely and personally connected to something I'm dealing with, somedays they are just ones I think are cool.  Sometimes they are just stupid, tacky, or have nothing to do with working out.  They've sort of taken on a life of their own now, and even though I'm running out of material from my "library",  I will try to keep it up in some way.  Why?  because every once in a while I'll get a "thank you, I needed that" or a "love this one!" comment that will just make my day!
The coolest part about all of this is that I bet thousands of other people could write a blog post about their first year in CrossFit and it would look pretty similar to what I just wrote above.  So even though my experience is personal - for CrossFit - it's universal. While I like to feel unique and special, there's something about being part of a gigantic group of people passionate about the same thing that is insanely awesome.

So thank you CFKSQ and especially my coach, Everett, for every workout, cue, PR and chuckle. You have given me so many wonderful gifts this past year. I look forward to 300 WODS in my second year!

Special thanks to my husband, my partner in crime and life, for giving me the gift of time to dive into this new lifestyle.  I know he's my biggest fan. And while he may be a CrossFit widower - I'm quite certain he doesn't mind my new found confidence and muscles!!