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31. Married to the best dude on earth. Obsessed with my English Bulldog Kreacher. I'm trying to not suck.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Clear Eyes. Full Heart. Can't Lose.

A year ago yesterday, I walked through the garage door of Guerrilla Fitness CrossFit Montclair for a trial class. I was given an extremely simple sample workout that left me physically and mentally broken.

After what I can only refer to as a "top-notch shit show", highlighting my absolute lack of athletic ability, I sprawled out on the gym floor like a beached whale. For what seemed like hours, I remained immobile, staring at the ceiling, gasping for air, and hoping that no one was paying attention to the fluffy girl dying a slow death in the back corner. As soon as I could summon enough strength to use my legs again, I left through the same garage door, disoriented, and confused. I fully expected this walk of shame to be met with glares of disapproval and judgement from all of the super fit and beautiful CrossFitters. Much to my surprise, the very opposite occurred. I was followed out of the gym by a fanatical wild-woman emphatically shouting positive reinforcement at me, including how "sexy" I just made the workout look. I was shocked and bewildered by this random act of encouragement, and convinced that this girl must have been losing her god-damned mind. However, it was that brief encounter with the crazy lady that ultimately encouraged me to sign up. That lunatic of a woman is named Dana, and she continues to encourage and inspire me everyday.
It may seem odd that I'm tracking the day I entered into a sadistic relationship with a warehouse full of complete strangers, but walking into the gym for my trial class was the most monumental thing I've done since marrying that tall drink of water I call my husband (who, as an FYI, will be agitated that I can remember this date, but not our wedding date...or his birthday...or almost anyone's birthday for that matter).

When I signed the initial contract, I was pretty sure that I could just as easily throw that money directly into the shitter, betting that I wouldn't be able to stick with CrossFit once the real workouts started. Well, slap my ass and call me Sally, because a year later, I'm still getting wiped out by workouts and living to tell about it. In fact, my mind is warped so bad from pounding the proverbial Kool-Aid, that instead of "cherry picking" my programming, I have started to intentionally sign up for the type of workouts I hate the most. SO, what would be more awful then signing up for the CrossFit Endurance program? I'll tell you...absofuckinglutely nothing!
I hate running. I hate running. Oh yeah...I HATE RUNNING. Everytime it shows up in a workout, I fight the urge to fake my own death (see also: burpees). It hurts. It takes a lot of effort. It takes a lot of focus. It takes a lot of breath, which is awful when you have no choice but to pant like a rabid dog while you do it! It's not pretty. It's mentally grueling. It's my worst nightmare. I have avoided doing it my whole life.

When I played softball, I relied on my brute strength (read: fat ass) to hit home runs as often as possible to allow my chubby ass the convenience of getting around all of the bases in a very lazy jog. When it was time to run during practice, I found anyway possible to entertain the coaches into missing the fact that I wasn't running with my teammates. We were supposed to run the mile in gym, twice a week, every week, during high school. Would you believe I had my period almost every single day from 1994 - 1998? My gym teacher did. In a freak coincidence, my period magically disappeared during the classes where we played badminton. [Don't hate! Badminton is a very hardcore game based on optimal athleticism and awesomeness. Additionally, I will never grow tired of screaming "shuttlecock" at the top of my lungs.]

In summary, I would have begged, stolen, and possibly stabbed someone to avoid running as a kid. Now, as an adult, while slightly less dramatic, I wouldn't necessarily say that I have been above groveling while batting my luxurious eyelashes to get out of running, but being dedicated to overall self-improvement, I realized all of the grovelling and eyelash batting had to stop. Running is obviously something that I'm afraid of. Running is something that I've always assumed I'd be horrible at...mostly because I've never tried it. So when the opportunity came up to register for the CrossFit Endurance program, I thought long and hard about whether or not I could dedicate myself to something I hated so much, and then I bit the bullet and signed up. Naturally!

I just completed my first month of Endurance. This last month of training has been reminiscent of my first month with CrossFit, just a year ago. Every Wednesday and Friday, I have to psyche myself into showing up to the track. As soon as the workout starts, I have to fight an all-encompassing and overwhelming urge to quit...but I haven't. As much as I want to stop mid-way, lay down on the track, and admit defeat, there is some secret part of me that kicks in, gets super pissed, and pushes me across the finish line.

After a month of sweat and soreness, I, in no way, shape, or form LOVE running. In fact, I still hate running, but my level of hatred has slowly been subsiding. I hate it less each time I run a little bit further. I hate it less each time I run a little bit faster. I hate it less each time my rest period is up, and I know for sure that I'm not going to die once my feet start moving again. I hate it less each time I get in my car, knowing that I have free will, and could have stopped at any moment, but that I kept running. Of course, it very hard to keep hating something so fervently, when you have two amazingly sweet and supportive coaches, who are so passionate about running, and so genuinely invested in the success of their students.

So, the year has made quite a difference. I don't feel the same. I don't look the same. All in all, I'm really not the same. I still lay on the gym floor or the track grass like a beached whale from time to time, but I don't handle my fears and obstacles in the same way. Instead of ignoring them or hiding from them, I hunt them down and kick them straight in the taint. And hopefully, this time next year, when I hunt those bitches down, I'll be doing so at a sub 8-minute mile pace.

Friday, March 16, 2012

When the Switch Gets Flipped

The Paleo challenge is officially over, and the results are in! For the first time since starting CrossFit 10 months ago, the scale has moved...UP...and I couldn't be happier!

That's right.  After 6 weeks of the strictest Paleo diet I could manage, and 10 months of workouts more grueling than my former Wendy's-for-every-meal-eating, couch-dent-making, 250-pound-self could imagine, I gained 1.5 pounds - and I'm PROUD of every ounce.

Are you confused?  Are you convinced that I'm doomed to be a rolly-polly forever, because I can't clean up my foolishness?   Well, whip out your calculator, and run this math, homeskillet.  That net gain of 1.5 pounds on the scale is coupled with a loss of 15 inches over 10 months.  5 of those inches were lost during the last 6 weeks alone (read: Paleo challenge).  So, I will proudly wear those 1.5 pounds, because it's obviously not fat - it's plain old Cock Diesel bitches.  It's 1.5 more pounds of badassness.  It's 1.5 more pounds of awesome that I will use to move heavier things around on a big, long, beautiful, and tubular...steel bar (your minds are always in the gutter).


This has been the most enlightening and liberating 6 weeks.  I told you your scale is a douchebag, and I was serious.  I told you I don't care about being skinny anymore, and I ain't even tryin' to bullshit you.

Let me tell you what I do care about now...RXing.  For those readers unfamiliar with RXing, it's doing the workout as prescribed.  Of course, as I've said before, in CrossFit, everything is scalable, which makes it an awesome workout for folks of every size, age, and fitness level.  If the workouts weren't scalable,  it wouldn't have been possible for me to do CrossFit AT ALL 10 months ago, being that I was the poster girl for the UNfit.  With that being said, every workout is designed for elite athletes, to be performed in a certain way, and at a suggested weight (depending on if you're male or female).

I started CrossFit in the hopes of not dying at an early age (or before the workouts ended) but that's not enough anymore. The switch has flipped.  I don't care how long it takes, or how hard I have to work, but I want to start seeing big, fat, "RX"s next to my name on the whiteboard.

I FINALLY got my double-unders.  I'm running on my  non-WOD nights.  My hands are covered in blisters,  but I'm popping out a jumping chin-up or two every time I walk past the Iron Gym we recently hung over our bedroom door. I'm making plans to conquer the 20" box jump during a WOD.  I'm making steady strength gains.  I'm slowly getting faster.  I'm taking less breaks.  I'm getting more comfortable working through  moments of pain.  I'm getting out of my own head.  And apparently, I've got "the walk" now, when I stroll around the gym (or so I was told).  I think that must be confidence.  I've never had that before.

That's the thing about CrossFit, you are constantly being dared to do things you either don't want to do, or things don't think you can do.  BUT, once you do these things (because you can basically do anything with enough hard work), you want to do them harder, faster, AGAIN!  The minute you blast past a physical or mental barrier, you get an itch.  You have to move on to something else that you haven't quite mastered.  You have to move onto something else that has been intimidating you.    It's a vicious cycle of bettering yourself, and it starts to positively infect every other aspect of your life.  So if you are reading this, and you are STILL thinking that you can't do these things, you are missing the point, and you are, beyond the shadow of a doubt, wrong.  I went from a blubbery sack of jelly to someone who has the potential to be an OK CrossFitter in less than a year.

Maybe CrossFit doesn't interest you, and that's cool baby.  Think about something else you can do that's going to push you to your limits, and just start doing it.  Do it for a minute.  Do it for 5 seconds.  Just do it with passion.

You'll thank yourself for it...years from now when you're enjoying your great, great grandchildren (in ways the other geezers on your block won't be able to).  What are you waiting for?  Flip the switch!

Monday, March 5, 2012

You've Got This!

My body is still  filled with the sweet ache of last week's workouts, which...if I may add (with a celebratory pat on my own back), included a WOD at RX weight, and my first successful big girl box jump.  That's right, people.  I made 65# overhead squats and a 20" box  my bitch.  These accomplishments, which some may consider minor, have set a fire under my big old ass, and it's burnin' baby!  I'm clear-headed.  I'm determined.  I'm happy.

It's Monday.  This would usually be enough to piss me off, but I don't give a shit.  Bring it Monday.  You are just another day to me. I'm ready to demolish you, and this week - the final week of the nutritional challenge.  I've got it in the bag, bitches.

Why do I CrossFit?  Reason #24,509: 

I grew up as the only girl on an all-boy street.  Being a rotund little gal without a whole lot of athletic ability, I was always being made fun of for the things I couldn't do. Every once in a while, I would emerge on the winning side of a physical scuffle, but I could always count on being picked last, if they let me play at all.   And yes, the boys would throw me a bone during hockey season, but being tied to a net and taking full-force slap-shots is still not my idea of a good time, with or without the protective gear. 

Life is unfortunately filled with tons of people who are just waiting to tell you about the things you can't do.  

Every night I walk into the box a little bit nervous or scared because I know I'm going to have to do something I've never done before.  Whether I'm having to run a little farther, or push a new weight, I'm tempted to tune into the distant voices in my head from those neighborhood boys, taunting me, and telling me that I'm not good enough, strong enough, fast enough, skinny enough, etc., but I can't.  Their voices get muffled.  I just can't concentrate on them when I have a room full of people telling me - shouting at me, actually, that I CAN do it.  These people are sincerely confident in me and my abilities, and they will scream at me, and for me, until my clock stops.  They believe in me.  They believed in me when I walked into the gym 10 months ago unable to air squat, and they believed in me last week as I squatted 65 pounds, overhead.  They literally held my hand until I was comfortable jumping on the 20" box by myself.  They stood on the sidelines like proud parents, nodding their heads in approval to let me know that not only am I good enough, but that that they know I'm going to be even better than I am today, tomorrow.  This is a group of people who don't necessarily care whether I'm the fastest, or the fittest, or the smartest, or the prettiest.  They are just genuinely interested in my happiness and success, despite the fact that my accomplishments bring them nothing but joy and communal pride.  That is why I CrossFit. 

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't lose. GFCM.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Scale is an Ignorant Douchebag!

Hello, Nutritional Challenge, Week 5.  I'm ready for you!

I am first, and foremost, shocked that  I've made it this far into the challenge with only one major fuck-up (I went a little off the deep-end on Friday) and a few minor digressions.  I had very little faith in the amount of willpower I could muster for this, but it sure as shit helps knowing that my team and coaches will inevitably see every single morsel I shove down my pie-hole. 

I had initially anticipated every day of this six-week challenge, hanging over me like a dense fog, suffocating my will to live, enveloping me in pain and an all-consuming feeling of deprivation, but, HELL, I'm almost sad this horse-and-pony-show is ending.  It's been relatively smooth sailing since I got past the "carb flu", a full week of intense sugar cravings, and a heavy bought of what I'll refer to as "bitcharrhea."

I'm finding that I have energy to burn, and that I'm not having to obsess about everything I put in my mouth.  I am still logging all of my food to see where everything is shaking out, but I'm trying not to have a heart attack about it.  It's definitely strange seeing your fat intake hovering around 60% when you've been told your whole life that it's the essence of all that is evil.  I keep repeating to myself, "fat is good, fat is good, fat is good."  Of course, it's easier to believe that mantra as I continue to stay more satisfied, having to eat less.  BUT the real kicker is, that with ingesting amounts of fat that would shock the average American, I'm slowly getting the body shape I've always wanted. 

Speaking of body shape, even though I promised I would stop giving a shit about the scale a few blog posts ago, I sorta dusted that bitch off, and have been letting her dictate my moods, my understanding of how I am progressing - and ultimately letting her ruin my life and depreciate my self-worth despite what I have been seeing in the mirror.

You see, while many of my fellow challenge-mates have been dropping scale weight like crazy after going balls-deep into Paleo,  I have been teetering between a loss of three pounds and a net gain of half a pound.  With so many people having noticeable scale success, I started feeling like a big fat failure, despite losing inches. 

I brought my concerns to Gregg (very wise and incredibly handsome [he'll like that part] Coach and owner of Guerrilla Fitness CrossFit Montclair).  I said, "I feel like I'm doing something wrong, because I'm not losing weight."  He said, "Do you look better, feel better, and are you performing better?"  I answered, "yes" to all of his questions (although, I'm sure the part about me looking better was rhetorical, because, come on - have you seen me lately?  Just kidding. Not really.) Anyway, he said, "Jill, if you want to see the scale move, keep doing Paleo, and quit your membership here."  I let that marinate for a moment. I could cancel my CrossFit membership, continue to do Paleo, and maybe see the numbers I've been dying for on the scale, but then I would probably just end up "skinny fat."  It's time for hard facts kids. Although I was made to be extremely adorable, God did not make this homegirl to be petite.  Maybe I come from a long-lost lineage of Italian vikings?  Maybe I was destined to be a wrestler in the WWF?  Either way,  I may never lose enough weight to register as a healthy female on the U.S. Government's weight charts, but I'm not going to let those charts define me or depress me anymore. I'm sure I'm healthier than half the women who fall within the "acceptable" guidelines anyway.   I'm going focus on continuing to gain muscle, speed, and strength. If that venture makes me gain weight on the scale, fuck it. My husband thinks I'm hot, and I could probably crack nuts with my thighs. Those are the things that matter (especially the nut cracking part).

So, in summary, the challenge is going uber-great and I love my Guerrilla community. It's teaching me so many things about myself, and it's helping me to destroy some demons I've been dealing with for as long as I can remember.  Even though I have not been an infallible participant, I am confident that I have jump-started what will hopefully be a new dietary lifestyle.  And although I'm the same weight I was when I started CrossFit in May of 2011, I've lost to date (drumroll, please): 4.5 inches off my waist, 4 inches off my hips/butt, 3 inches off my bust, 2 pants sizes, and 2 minutes off my "Helen" time.  It took me way too long to truly believe the scale is most certainly a tried and true douche. So fuck you scale, you worthless bag of dicks!

In other news, to further my understanding of the Paleo way of life, I'm going to a seminar this Saturday hosted by Diane of Balanced Bites.  She has a wealth of knowledge about Paleo nutrition that she openly shares on her blog and podcast, both of which are great resources to check out if you haven't, but I'm excited to get a full day of education from her under my belt.  Best of all, Brandon has agreed to come along!  Let me know if any of you are interested in coming along with us.

With that, a bit of advice from yours truly.  Eat clean, exercise hard with people you love, sleep well, destroy your scale, and be happy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Want Candy

We are almost through with week three of the nutritional challenge, and I am having wild cravings and food hallucinations.  The first two weeks went so well that I thought the last four would be a breeze...not so much. I've been hungry non-stop, and sugar, which was mostly unappetizing until Sunday, is now all I can think about.  I blame this mostly on Paula Dean.  I don't want to be over-dramatic, but she is clearly a life-ruiner.  I think I noted that during the challenge, I would be avoiding watching The Food Network.  While I generally enjoy shows about food and cooking, they put naughty ideas in my head and lead me to make poor nutritional choices.  Well...I was having some back spasms on Sunday (post Guerrilla vs. Guerrilla), and wound up laid out on the couch while Brandon ran to the store for pain meds.  I noticed too late that he had inadvertently left me immobilized, with the remote out of reach, and tuned into Paula Dean, who was making some sort of ooey gooey butter cake concoction, which lulled me into a hefty 4 hour nap.  I woke up from that nap cranky, nasty, ravenous, lacking resolve, and itching for sugar.  The Diva of Diabetes set me on a rampage.

Admittedly, Paula's powers were too strong for me to ignore.  I cheated on Valentines Day.  That's right.  I am a big, fat, sugar-obsessed, CHEATER!  I had a cup of chocolate ice cream drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.  It was amazing - every last spoonful.  So, two out of three of my sundae items were paleo, but it was a nasty little splurge.  To my credit, it wasn't a wasted "cheat."  It would definitely fall into the category of cheats that are MAJORLY worth it. Like the kinda cheat you would slap yo mamma for.  BUT, instead of quelling my beastly cravings, it fed the sugar fire.  

I'm getting irritable.  I'm getting hurtful.  I'm getting violent.  I almost shanked my lovely friend/co-worker Christina for her Crumbs cupcake yesterday. She sat at her desk and enjoyed every last milky-white-rainbow -sprinkle-covered  morsel of her stuffed vanilla treat. I pouted at my desk, devising a strategy for inconspicuously putting her in a sleeper-hold so that I could jack her cupcake, take the subway to the hood, score a syringe, and somehow shoot that cakey deliciousness directly into my bloodstream so not one fucking molecule of that bad boy was wasted.   Just typing about that cursed cupcake is making my mouth water and my stomach growl.  

I'm not sure what the deal is.  Last week I was having to force myself to eat.  This week, I can't seem to find satiation. It's fucking frustrating.  I'm hoping this is just part of the adjustment or I'm going to go on a rager, mentally and physically abusing those who stand between me and their desserts.  

On a positive note, while the scale is not doing MUCH in the way of movement, I definitely can tell that certain parts of me are a little leaner than they were three weeks ago.  Workout-wise, I also feel like my endurance may be improving.  In the past few WODs, I haven't needed as much recovery time between sets. I knocked out 65 pull-ups on the green band AND had an almost-respectable "Karen" time (150 wall balls for non-CrossFitters) that involved me actually hitting the 10 foot target. 

I'm generally feeling less like a slob (except for the part where I am dreaming about eating candy bars until I explode, "Seven" style).  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Bacon, Everywhere I Go

This bacon is rated PG-13

We are balls deep into week 2 of the Guerrilla Fitness Nutritional Challenge, and instead of emitting my typically delicious scent comprised of citrus soap and Philosophy's Amazing Grace, I reek of freshly fried bacon.  Of course, as many of you meat eaters know, bacon is wonderful...it's not an alltogether awful thing to smell like.

I'm happy to report, that thus far, my newly donned pork belly eau de toilette has been the only downside to the challenge. Unless I'm hallucinating from severe carbohydrate deprivation, I feel like clean eating is giving me more energy. I've been super productive the past few days, even as I continue to nurse a lingering upper respiratory infection.  I'm sleeping great. I'm not bloated. I have no stomach pain.  The sugar cravings are getting easier to deal with, and overall, I'm just starting to feel less hungry.  I'm turning into a Paleo believer. Can I get a hallelujah?

I'm taking advantage of the recovery WOD options this week, but I'm interested to see if there are any noticeable performance improvements once I get back to the full intensity workouts.  If I carry on feeling this good, I may be running circles around you clowns and popping out one-arm pull-ups. I'll be sure to blow you a kiss with my free arm.  BOOM!

In reality, I would shit a pile of pure joy in my pants if, at the end of the challenge, I could run a 400 in less than 2 minutes and get through a WOD on the green resistance band without swallowing my own vomit.

If nothing else, this challenge is certainly a great way to further exercise self-discipline, which I had very little of before joining CrossFit.  I'm sticking to prescribed Paleo with carb restriction (below or about 50 carbs a day) as closely as I possibly can. I'm using food as fuel, as opposed to fun, for the first time; and I don't know why I'm surprised that my body is responding positively to this new methodology.  If I'm actually real-deal hungry (not just Fatty McFatterson bored) my body will give me a signal, and I, in turn, will feed it.  If I'm not hungry, there will be no signal, and I will not eat, even if it's "snack time."  What a novel concept!

Peace, love, and bacon...LOTS of bacon - Jilly

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pour Some Sugar on Me...

...just make sure none of it gets into my mouth...at least not for the next 6 weeks, because it's Nutritional Challenge time at Guerrilla Fitness, bitches!

I've been fully gluten-free since Thanksgiving, and have been tinkering with a Paleo"ish" type of diet since starting CrossFit in May. My few previous attempts at a strict Paleo challenge were flops. I bailed as soon as I caught sight of a sexy, ice-cold glass of milk or a big, thick, long, and juicy - corn on the cob (mind out of the gutter, you whores).

Generally, I am happy with the little dietary lifestyle changes that I have been able to incorporate while experimenting with Paleo, however, I'm really interested to see if I can break some of my more deep-rooted food addictions as a result of this group challenge.

I'm a sucker for sugary condiments. I'm bad at eating the proper amounts of protein. I have naughty dreams about dairy, where I gorge myself on an endless supply of whole milk that flows from marble fountains, and falls from the sky like delicious drops of teat-flavored rain...I FUCKING LOVE MILK! Listen, I don't judge your fantasies.

In order to tackle this challenge, I had to do a ton of pre-planning, I ravaged through Paleo cook books to choose my meals for all 6 weeks. I stalked some of my favorite Paleo aficionados on the old interweb for tips and tricks. I put together meal plans, shopping lists, and cheat sheets. I decided like with most things in my life, it was time to go apeshit or go home, however, Day 1 is in full swing, I'm sick as a dog, and already, visions of white potatoes dripping in maple syrup are dancing through my head. It's obvious that I need to drink some more water - and lay off the Food Channel until the challenge is over.

So wish me luck, as I expect the food hallucinations will continue until my sugar withdrawal has run its course,,,