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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Getting out of the Funk


Excited about a new idea.

Mentally spent.



Feeling all of these things at the same time...

I swear it seems like I go through this at least once a week.

How is it possible to have so many things that I want to do,so many things that I have a true desire to accomplish but somehow will sabotage myself from accomplishing it?

I have a list of things I want to do and a list of things I need to do. Sometimes these lists line up beautifully but sometimes it's too much.

How do I sabotage myself? Either I will find myself completely sucked into social media or decide that the bathroom must be cleaned RIGHT NOW! I may pick up a book and, God help me, nothing will be accomplished until I finish the book. If it's a series? Well, it's all over!

Some days, I sit down at my desk and find myself just looking at my computer, my "to do list" right there, staring at me and I feel myself mentally shut down.

Not one creative thought happens. Nothing.

The blinking cursor just continues to blink. My list of subjects that I jotted down in a fit of inspiration have become words just sitting on a pad of paper.

There are many words for this phenomenon, I just called it a Funk. I describe this funk like having a door in my brain being closed. Some days the door is wide open and the words flow smoothly and my lists get checked off. Some days the door is only open a crack, but there are a few days when that door is dead-bolted shut!

Most of the time all it takes to get out of that funk and start the thoughts flying in my head again is to get up and leave the computer. Maybe I'll go for a drive or go to the gym and put a barbell in my hands. When my brain's door finally opens up, and it usually does, I make sure I'm ready to jot it down.

It's okay to have a "nothing day" but don't let it become a "nothing week". This can easily turn into a "nothing month" and then, before you know it, your list of goals have become that blinking cursor on the computer screen, just sitting there, waiting for you to take action.

Today was a "nothing" day for me as you may have gathered just from this post. I have nothing but maybe I have managed to turn it into something, even if it is just me rambling.

Sometimes we need to ramble.

Ramble on.

Monday, March 2, 2015

What Works for You?

Step Reebok...these people looked badass.
 I wanted to put floor lighting in my living room!
When it comes to deciding what fitness program works for you, the hardest part is the number of choices available. Of course, whatever your friends are doing will most likely be your first test drive. Especially if they are getting results.

I know that’s how I used to choose a fitness program. What are my friends doing? 

When I was in my early 20’s after having my first child, I was experiencing that dose of reality that, unlike my best friend,  my body was not going to spring back to its pre-pregnancy shape. I had never really had to work out before having kids. I would play around in the weight room and go to a few aerobics classes in college, but then stop by Hardees on my way home and don’t forget those cigarettes! I was a size 6 and could eat whatever I wanted. Ahh, those were the days! The point is, calling me “healthy” was a term that I used loosely although I thought I was.  I mean I was skinny and skinny meant healthy, right? In 1997, yes it did.

Post-child birth. So yeah, I discovered that Hardees no longer did my body good and thankfully I did quit smoking, but now what? What to do? When I tell you that I tried everything, I mean it! My friend invited me to a new aerobics class with her and said it would help me get my pre-baby body back. This wasn't going to be like the aerobics I took in college. This was supposed to be even harder! I am all about a challenge and so I was interested. This was 1997 and Step-Aerobics was the new big trend. She and I went 5 days a week, like clockwork. She looked A-MA-ZING and could wear the little thong leotard with spandex. Not me, I was still in my baggy t-shirts and baggy gym shorts. I was inspired but damn I hated aerobics after about 3 weeks. I didn’t want to admit it because she loved it so much, but during the whole class I would just look longingly at the free weights wishing I was over in that part of the gym. I wanted abs! I wanted muscles! I wanted be a bad ass like Demi Moore in that movie "G. I. Jane", or look like Gin Miller from the Step Reebok videos. The problem was that aerobics felt like dancing to me and for me to dance, a shot of alcohol is required for me to even begin to feel coordinated!

I always felt accomplished after class, but if my friend didn’t show up at my house every morning to take me, I would not have gone much longer. Aerobics seemed to work for her, but it wasn’t working for me.

Then along came Body Pump. Another friend invited me to a class and I immediately loved it! It was fun! We used weights! Yay weights! No dancing! Yay, no dancing! Soon though, my friend that invited me burned out fast and quit going. I didn’t understand because who wouldn’t want to do squats for hours? Yay, squats and jello legs! Body pump worked for me but it didn’t work for her.

After an injury to my neck, I had to stop going to Body Pump. (Who knew that holding a barbell on your neck for an hour could be bad?) I tried speed walking. The “safe” choice my doctor recommended. I didn’t get it. I mean, I walked all the time, why would putting on sweat pants and walking around the neighborhood really fast be any different than walking to the bathroom, or walking in the grocery store? If you needed to get from one place to another, you walked. I saw it as a means of transportation, not exercise. Conclusion, walking as exercise did not work for me.

Running? Oh! I was so jealous of my running friends! I still am. They always look so fit and amazing, running down the street with their earbuds in, sweating, dripping with determination and confidence. They had marathon stickers on their cars and wore expensive special shoes. They even shopped at their own store in town, “The Trak Shak”. I wanted in! You can never say a runner is not an athlete, right? Every time I passed a jogger/runner on the road I would think “look how running makes them look so great!!” I was so excited to try this new venture. This was going to be amazing! So, I bought some running shoes and hit the pavement…and hated every moment. Oh my God! I think I made it half a block before I began to hate my life. I discovered the worst part of running was that half way through it when you are really tired and want to die, the only way back to your car is to keep running, or in my case, the slow, hobbled, limp jog. How did people do this every day…on purpose?! Yeah. Running didn’t work for me.

Then I tried P-90X. It was the big thing in 2004 and with a brand new baby, going to the gym was not a reality for me. This was something I could do at home. The people in videos had muscles. Perfect! I wanted muscles, too!  They used weights. YES! It had a program. PERFECT! No dancing and even better, no running! Yay! It was hard but I enjoyed the new challenge and felt like I was accomplishing something. My friends thought I was crazy because I refused to miss a day. I did P90-X for three years. YES, you read that right, THREE years. Why? Because it worked for me. Three years is a long time though, especially if you are watching the same 9 videos over and over again and I eventually I hit a plateau and became really burned out on it. That’s a lot of hours with Tony Horton.

Then one day, I heard about this thing called CrossFit. I was ready for a change and a new challenge. I was tired of being mediocre at everything. I still didn't have abs although I was beginning to see some shape to my arms. Remarkably, my quest for muscles exceeded to the "let's get toned" phase my friends were in. I didn't understand why they didn't want to be stronger and they didn't understand why I did. Why would I want muscles, they wondered. Don't misunderstand, I didn't want to achieve the body of a body builder, but I did want to see a bicep or a quad make an appearance. It seemed I was alone in my quest for this athletic look and I think that's how I found what worked for me.

 I’ll admit, I also wanted to do something that none of my friends were doing so that I would stop comparing my weaknesses to them and focus on what I needed to do. I would get to do weights and pull-ups and learn new tricks, so I was excited to try this new thing. I fell in love with it instantly! I had to do some running but it was always mixed in with other things, so it was never my focus. I could stop thinking about how much I hated running and instead think, “After I finish running, I get to do ______”. Funny, how CrossFit made me better at running without me even realizing it was happening. It made me better at everything! I needed to tell my friends!

 I invited several friends to come with me. Some liked it and are still doing it with me. However, some of my friends did not. WHAT?!?!  I didn't get it! How is it possible that someone wouldn't love CrossFit? Seriously?

Then a friend made a deal with me. She would come to CrossFit  with me if I went to Zumba with her.  Did I mention I have an issue with dancing? Did she really want me to dance in a room full of other women, while watching myself in the mirror turn into a complete spaz? I almost had an anxiety attack! No, Zumba was not for me…and it was okay.  OK! I get it now. It was also okay that not all my friends liked CrossFit, that some just wanted to run marathons and some wanted to Zumba. 

It IS okay and we shouldn't shame each other because we think we are doing something better than what they are doing. If it doesn't work for them, it isn't better for them, right? One size does not fit all. If you don’t love what you are doing, you won’t stick with it. I've been doing CrossFit for five years because it works for me. I look forward to the workout and seeing my new friends that I have made at the gym. If Zumba makes you happy and gets you moving, then it’s working! If training for a marathon is what makes you happy, then it’s working for you!

There are so many things out there to choose from. I had some hits and I had some misses. I had to find something that fit with what I wanted to achieve on a fitness level and what fit in with my life.
What works for your best friend, may not be what works for you, and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to try something new, something different from your friends, you might surprise yourself. The best part is that there are so many things that you can choose from. Zumba, CrossFit, Running, Swimming, Weight Lifting, Kick Boxing, Yoga, the list goes on and on!  The point is – find what works for you and get moving.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Power of the Coach

I wonder sometimes if people truly understand the influence a coach has on someone. I am not just talking about a gold winning coach, I am talking about anyone that is in the position to teach and train someone to do a sport. Whether it is football, swimming, Olympic lifting, track, CrossFit ...ANYTHING!

In my opinion, a good coach is not someone who has the winning record or the best staff. A good coach is someone who has developed a relationship with his athletes. A good coach knows what makes his athlete nervous and what calms them down. A good coach knows where his athletes weaknesses are and what their strengths are.  A good coach knows what cues will work and which ones won't. A good coach knows who needs to be pushed harder and who needs the softer nudge to finish the task. Most importantly, a good coach cares about more than just winning, he cares about the athlete and not just the athlete but the HUMAN that makes the athlete.

This person has been given an incredible amount of power. No, I don't mean that they rule the roost, although some may think they do. What I'm talking about is the power these coaches have over the athlete they are training. The power to lift these athletes up, full of self-confidence is the same power than can crush them.

Let's talk briefly about the athlete for a minute. There are a handful of people that are genetically GIFTED at sports and will succeed at anything they attempt. In the CrossFit world, that person would obviously be Rich Froning, Jr. In basketball you might say it is Michael Jordan although he may argue that fact. In the football world, the Manning's are the first to come to mind. For the majority of us though, we must be taught and coached. Through that learning process, among a series of failures and successes, we begin to learn what things are difficult for us, what things we really want to learn and be better at and what comes naturally and easily to us.

For me, I am that athlete that wants to do but needs to be coached. TEACH me how to do it and I will do it! Leave me over here by myself to figure it out on my own and I may struggle. The struggle will just piss me off  though and I will eventually figure out how to do the task...especially if I feel I was ignored because you felt I wasn't "Good Enough".

I am a grown up though and I have some pretty tough skin. Kids? Not so much.

When you are coaching a child, and I am using the word child to define anyone that has not graduated high school, you have more power than you are aware of. A LOT OF POWER! That child is clay, sitting in your hands waiting to be molded. If you do nothing with him, if you ignore him, skim over him, create no relationship with him, then you have done nothing with that clay and nothing will be created. An opportunity missed. A possible masterpiece that never was developed. Then you watch as the love for the sport begins to die in their eyes and in their heart. I mean, why try if you are not going to be noticed for your efforts anyways, right?

If you are a coach and coaching has become just a job for you, just a place you go every week to get a paycheck, then this post is for you. Do our kids a favor and find something else to do because bad coaches are dream killers and that's a tragedy. Our kids deserve better.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Who Inspires You?

Who inspires you?

For me, it's not just one person because I have a list of things I want to accomplish. Maybe that is the reason I can get bogged down and feel like I'm not accomplishing ANYTHING.

My son, Brendan is a perfect example of someone who has a list of things. This year, he is on the track team and in the marching band. In his fifteen years on earth he has played t-ball, soccer, basketball, flag football, track and is a third degree black belt. He also plays the trombone and is learning to play the bass guitar. He just told me yesterday that next year he wants me to train him in CrossFit and the Olympic lifts so he can start doing CrossFit competitions. So, another item to add to his list.

Here is the remarkable thing. He doesn't do these things to make his list longer. He does them because, in his words "I want to do everything."

He means it. He really wants to do EVERYTHING! My husband and I had to sit down with him a few years ago and make some hard decisions because his plate was too full. He decided to let go of Cub Scouts. Oh! I forgot to mention that one, didn't I?

I have to admit, when I started this blog today, I was going to use Brendan as my example on how I want to do everything, and therefore can't achieve the goals I want because I have too many at once. Or how I have many people who inspire me because of the different areas in my life I want to get better at, but that's not how this is writing out. I see a very obvious difference between myself and Brendan.

I just WANT to do everything. Brendan has managed to do it and to make it even more impressive to this average "C" student, he has done it all while maintaining A's and B's in school, mostly A's.

WOW! You know what? It's Brendan. He inspires me. He decides he wants to do something and  he just does it.  You would think this kid would be full of confidence and maybe a little cocky.

Nope. He is shy, thoughtful, humble sometimes a little awkward and just adorable.

Today, Brendan is my inspiration.

I better get busy!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bad Days Happen

Have you ever hit that place where you wonder if you will ever get better at something or if you are just destined to be mediocre forever?

Do you have that negative voice inside your head telling you just to hang up the lifting shoes? Maybe it's asking you "why bother getting up on those rings, you're just going to fail anyways?"

Maybe it has nothing to do with CrossFit or lifting. Maybe that voice is telling you that your mom-skills suck or that you have failed as a friend or it's telling you that you are terrible at making the bed. Whatever it is, big or small, that voice in your head can be mean.

That voice can be loud.

That voice can be defeating.

That voice can also be a huge liar.

One bad day in the gym, or an off day with the kids does not make  you suck at life. It makes you human. Everyone has those days. The danger comes when we let those voices take over, murdering our self confidence.


You are that voice and you have the power to make it shut the hell up. The best way to do that is to just keep on keeping on. If you are frustrated, step back take a deep breath and try again. Never stop giving it your best shot and know that some days your best is better than on other days.

There is no way you can be mediocre if you are trying.

Bad days happen.

Brush yourself off, put on a smile. If you don't feel like smiling, do it anyways! Before you know it, your smile becomes the real thing. Your happiness returns. Your joy floods back in.

Take your joy back. It's yours and you deserve it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

WODism For Autism, the Beginning

About five years ago I went to an event hosted by Sean Dickson (owner of  Riverchase CrossFit). This event was called Backpack for Buddies and was held at a local park on a Saturday afternoon.

Sean and a select few set up a tent and then did a day-long, grueling workout as people came by to watch and make donations for this charity. My three boys were caught up in it also, very proud of their donations as they handed each can of vegetables one at a time to the lady who was collecting them.  It was obvious to me that my youngest two wanted to jump in and start working out with them. They watched with respect as these strong guys worked through their grinding workout for a good cause and as I stood there next to them, I was inspired.

I spent the whole drive home in deep thought, my mind going a thousand miles an hour. The more I thought about it the more I realized that I could do something like this, too. I was energized! I had an idea and I couldn't wait to get home and tell my husband about it.

See, my oldest son, Taylor, has high functioning autism. He is now 17 years-old, and the resources available to him today are many, but when he was a toddler and I was a young mom, there were not many at all. No "internet highway" for me to find everything we needed for Taylor. There were many long days in the beginning that we felt like we were on our own, treading water. I am grateful to say that we found the perfect school for him with amazing teachers and therapist but I know that this is not the story for a lot of families. I wanted to help.

Taylor started CrossFit Kids not long after I began CrossFit in 2010 and he did really, really well at it. He really seemed to like it and I felt like I had finally found something for him that would keep him active, and more importantly to me, engaged with his peers.

On the drive home from Backpack for Buddies that day, I started to envision it. I could combine my love for CrossFit and my desire to help other families who are living with autism. I  decided that I wanted to create an event, similar to the one Sean had hosted with the big difference being that anyone could participate in it. An event that would introduce CrossFit to children and adults with autism or other special needs and as a result raise money for our local Autism charity.

I had no idea where to even begin but I took a step out in faith and just went with it.I thought maybe we would raise a couple of thousand dollars, I really didn't know what to expect.

Taylor's favorite movements in CrossFit are the gymnastic movements. The idea was to create a workout in his honor using movements that he likes to do. I knew the perfect person to program the perfect WOD (Workout of the Day). I asked my friend, Jeff Tucker with GSX CrossFit and he was happy to help!

The event would be called WODism for Autism and the format was simple. Do the WOD, "Taylor", which is a short AMRAP (As many rounds as possible) and pay a donation to participate. If you just wanted to buy a t-shirt, the proceeds from those also went to the charity.

I think we had around 60-70 people participate that first year and we raised a little over $7,000. I was elated!

Since that first year, we have had hundreds of people come out to support WODism for Autism. In 2013 we year raised over $17,000 for the Autism Society of Alabama.

This year will mark the fourth year for the WODism for Autism and I can't wait to see what we will achieve this year. Our charity this year is KultureCity and they are making a huge difference in so many lives! Taylor looks forward to WODism for Autism every year now. He marks it down on the calendar as soon as we hang up the new yearly calendar for him.

WODism for Autism is close to my heart. Every year, my cup runneth over but I know that there is no way any of this could be pulled off without all the amazing people that put in their time to help and support it. I am surrounded by so many incredible people with enormous hearts!

I learned some very important things through this little journey.

The CrossFit Community is AMAZING!

People WANT to make a difference.

Autism touches the lives of just about every person you and I know.

Watching a child with special needs, ANY special needs, participate in a group event like this and seeing the smiles on their faces makes it all worth it.

Monday, January 19, 2015

It's Time

Four years ago I began this blog for many reasons. The first and most obvious of reasons was to document my journey that I was just beginning with CrossFit. I have always been very clear about that, but there were other my private and personal reasons. I have found that as time has gone by, they are still valid, but life has a way of just happening, doesn't it?

Here is a secret I will share with you. It is time to confess. The real, true, deep down reason I decided to start this blog those years ago was because I have always wanted to write a book. More specifically I wanted to write a book about raising a child with Autism.

That sounds like a great goal, right? Shoot for the stars is how the saying goes, My only problem was confidence. I wasn't sure how well I could convey my message through the written word. I have so much to tell, where would I even start. The thought of writing a book was, and still is, completely overwhelming. I wasn't sure if anyone would even read it and certainly did not think that anyone would care. My solution was simple. Write a blog and just put it out there. If no one reads it, no harm done. Make it about something that means a lot to me but isn't too personal. Stay safe. Stay in my box.

That is how "Just Another CrossFit Mom" was started. To my surprise, some amazing things happened. People began to read it. People began to share it. People began to comment on it and I felt my confidence rise, even if just a little.

Then, an even more amazing thing happened. I opened a CrossFit gym and that same year was asked to be a writer and write about, you guessed it, CrossFit. I couldn't believe it! I was constantly pinching myself and enjoying every moment. I was busy all the time and as a result, my blogging slowed to a minimal. You would have thought that being an "official writer" would have helped propel me towards my goal of writing my book but I was always finding an excuse not to begin. Too busy, too tired, not motivated, not inspired, ect.

I talked to my husband about it not too long ago and he brought up this blog. He suggested I begin using it as a starting point for my book. I thought his idea was great but I seem to always find reasons not to do that as well. After really thinking this through I know what my problem really is. Here is the truth of it. There is only one thing that has kept me from writing that book. Just one.


There! I finally admit it. Deep down I still have all those negative thoughts that I have tried so hard to fight. The very same ones I had four years ago.
Will anyone read it?
Does anyone even care?
Can I even do it?

Last week, my friend Lisbeth shared this "Your Turn Challenge" and I knew it was time. It's time to start writing again and the best way to get the juices flowing again is to blog everyday for the next week.

 It's time to address my fears. It is time to get back in the saddle, reset my sights and conquer this quest.

Who cares if anyone reads it? I NEED to write it. As for the other fears, I realize they don't matter. Sometimes the words just need to be written.