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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year, New Goals

Once again it is that time of year where I look back on the past 12 months and take an inventory on the year past.
Admittedly, there have been years that were just too painful for me to dwell on, but thankfully those have been few and very far between.
This year was not one of those years.
This year blew my mind and was the best year I have had in a long time. It was a year that many of my dreams came true and new dreams were born. 2013 contained more excitement and joy than I could have ever anticipated.

It was also a year of really hard times. I lost dear loved ones. I learned very hard lessons about friendship and trust. My husband had to move 1200 miles away with his job. My sister's health continues to deteriorate...the list could go on.
So  how could I say that 2013 year has been the best year I have had in a really long time?
Because one of my goals for 2013 was to be happy and the life lesson I have learned this year is that happiness is a choice. I can choose to sit here and tell the sad stories I have been through this year but there have been far, FAR more happy times. Why would I focus on the negative?
My number one goal for 2013 was to be happy, and I am.

Did I meet all my goals for 2013? No, not all of them and that's okay. They will make the list again for 2014.

How many times have you set a New Year's Resolution, only to be completely frustrated and done with it before January is even over?

I will tell you the truth, when I used to make New Year's Resolutions, I don't think I ever made it past the first week!
A few years ago, I found the solution to this annual failure that I seemed doomed to repeat.
I stopped making New Year's Resolutions.
What I did instead was change my whole mindset. I decided New Year's Resolutions didn't work for me and did not motivate me at all. What motivated me was setting reasonable goals, and that's exactly what I did.

I am a list person, and in 2010 I began the year by writing a list of 5 things I wanted to accomplish by the end of the year, writing at the top of the paper "2010 GOALS".
I met 3 out of the 5 goals that year. That was a first, or for you crossfitters, a HUGE PR!

The next year I made a longer list and met more goals.
The next year was even better!

So this is what I want to encourage you to do. Make a list of goals...REASONABLE goals. .
If you have never cooked a meal in your life, serving a 5 course meal by the end of the week may not go well, but learning to cook your very first dish? Yes!
If you have never touched a barbell, becoming the next Annie Thorisdottir at the 2014  CrossFit Games may not happen, but competing in your very first CrossFit Competition this year is a sure thing!
If you have never run a mile, running a marathon by March is not likely to happen, but running a 5K is.
When you run that 5K, make a goal to run a 1/2 marathon and so forth.

Attainable goals. Reachable goals. Before you know it, you will be doing the impossible, the unattainable, the unreachable. You know why? Because you can!

So, make your list. Set your goals and get ready for an amazing 2014!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Embrace YOU!

I think we could all learn some valuable life lessons from children.

This morning I was telling the story of when my son was 5 years old and wanted to be "brown".
When he was in kindergarten he had a little girl friend named Desire (pronounced Dez-er-ray). She was a precious little black girl and he talked about her all the time.
One day he came home and informed me that when he grew up he was going to have brown skin.
When I asked him why, he explained that he was going marry Desire so he needed to have brown skin like she did.
As sweet as I thought this was, I explained to him that he didn't need to change who he was to marry anybody and that it was important to just be himself.
He thought about this very hard for a moment and then proclaimed that he was going to have brown skin and have orange hair.
"Why?", I asked.
He answered very simply, "Because I like the color orange."

Fast forward 9 years. His skin is not brown and his hair is not orange, but he is a 14-year old that has embraced being an individual. He is that kid in band that has the long hair when no one else does. When all the kids were wearing skinny jeans, it seemed he was the one kid who refused. He didn't care what everyone else was wearing. (smart kid) When all his friends were playing baseball, he chose soccer.
He doesn't follow "the crowd" and aside from that day when he was 5, he has never wished he was anyone other than who he is. The kid is pretty self confident.

I have found that as adults we still struggle with this very thing. Self-Confidence.
I have met so many people in my adult life who are not happy with who they are, wishing they could have what someone else has,  or do what someone else does.
I know I have been guilty of this in the past, thinking "if I could do "x" like this person, I would be sooo much happier!"
This is not healthy. Mentally it can be debilitating.

As CrossFitters, most of us at one point or another have looked over at that person next to us who has just crushed their WOD, secretly wishing they would drop a plate on their foot. We yell and congratulate them on their PR, giving them high fives while secretly thinking, "Damn It! How did they just beat me?"

It's okay to admit it. I mean, maybe you had a bad day and are just in a terrible mood. This doesn't make you a bad person, it makes you human. When it becomes a regular thing though, when you are constantly comparing yourself to someone else, that is the time to step back and take a breath and reevaluate.

If your thoughts are constantly on what other people are doing, you are no longer working on yourself. It makes it a bit more difficult to become better if you are focused and preoccupied with what everyone else is doing. What this WILL DO is cause you to get frustrated, disappointed and frankly will just suck the fun right out of your day!

As some of you know, one of my favorite CrossFit athletes is Cheryl Brost, initially because she is my age and watching her compete in the CrossFit Games gave me the confidence that I was not too old for CrossFit. Cheryl is a phenomenal athlete and I think it would be incredible to be as strong and fast as she is one day.
Coach Mike Burgener is another amazing person that inspires me and I can only hope to be as great of a coach as he is one day.
Will I ever be just like Cheryl Brost or Mike Burgener?
Nope! It's impossible for the simple reason that I am not Cheryl Brost or Mike Burgener. I am me. Do I want to get better? YES, and they inspire me to push myself harder, set new goals, continue to learn and better myself.

God made us all very different for a reason. We all have different goals, skills, talent, gifts, dreams...and faults. If we were all made the same, this world would be a very boring, uncolorful place.

So, the next time you get your butt kicked in a WOD by that person, EMBRACE it!
Be INSPIRED by it!
What you may not realize is that YOU were the one that inspired them first.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Be Beautiful Today

Why are we, as females, so hard on ourselves?
 I know you have heard that phrase, “We are our own worst critic” but seriously, we can be absolutely hateful!
We will say things about ourselves that we would NEVER say to anyone else.
Where does that come from?
Just recently during one of the classes I was coaching, I was watching one of my athletes do dead lifts in a WOD. It became obvious immediately that the load she was using was way too light. After class, I worked with her to help her get a true 1 rep max on her dead lift. At first, I could tell that she was hoping I would just let it go so she could just slip out the door.
What she told me was something I had heard many times before but on this occasion it was also enlightening and something that I have been thinking about for days.
She said she did not want to lift heavy because she did not want to get bulky.
Looking at this sweet, gorgeous, quiet woman, my first response was automatic and reflexive.
“You will not get bulky doing CrossFit.”
“Women are only bulky if they TRY to be.”
“They have to do “X” kind of things to get bulky!”
I gave her the answers I am always prepared to say when I hear this.
But then I LISTENED to what she was saying. I mean, really listened. Why in the world did she feel this way? This woman is not someone I would ever say could be bulky and yet, she absolutely believed she could. Why?
Then she said, “I've always been told I could easily get bulky.”
“I’ve always been told…”
Words are powerful and I knew then that this wasn't just a conversation to brush off and give the one, two, three answers.
Insecurities are real and sometimes they are very hard to overcome.
I am terribly guilty of my own constant self criticism. I have gotten better and better at keeping them to myself, but they are there and they are real.
Just the other day I was called out by a good friend of mine. He even scolded me for not being able to take a compliment. 
I suck at it. It’s true.
This seems to be an issue with almost every woman I know to some degree. Even the top athletes in CrossFit suffer insecurities. I read a blog the other day about a CrossFit Games athlete with her own anxiety about how her legs looked in short-shorts. It was a great post, and I assure you, her legs are gorgeous, but in her mind they are something to be hidden.  Why?
I promise you, sometimes I would prefer the sticks and stones.
My own insecurities go all the way back to elementary school. I moved around a lot as kid and by the time I was in 5th grade, I had already attended seven different schools. Making friends was hard. I was terribly shy and being the new kid was something I was made fun of for.
In the 4th grade, I was made fun of the way I dressed.
In the 5th and 6th grade I was teased that I was too white, too tan or just because I wasn't black. I couldn't win that one.
In middle and high school I was teased by everyone for everything, even my best of friends.
I was too dumb.
I was too blond.
I was too skinny.
My boobs were too small.
I was too tall.
My hair was too curly, ect.
Was I a depressed, sad and lonely kid?
No, not at all! I have some great memories from high school and lasting friendships. I wasn't miserable at all and I don’t want you to think that this is about bullying. I took most of it in stride and just accepted that I was “that girl. I just began to embrace it.

In my adult life, it still continues. This was who I am and this is how life goes. As a result, I have grown some pretty thick skin, but those insecurities are there. They are real, no matter how I try to ignore them.

What I am saying is that years of being told that you are not “this”, or that you should change “that”, or that you are not good enough for “this”, WILL have a lasting effect on someone.
CrossFit has done more for my self confidence and my self-esteem than I can put into words, but even now I have a hard time with compliments.
There are still things I struggle with. I have blogged before that someone close to me has always talked about how I need to get rid of my lower belly.
 If there is something I have issues with, it’s my tummy.
Don’t get me wrong, if I am working out in our box in 100 degrees, I am the first one to dump my shirt, but it’s because I can’t stand things sticking to me, not for an ab show, that’s for sure!
 Most of the time, right after the WOD, I will drape a towel over me in a way that no one can see my tummy well until I cool down enough to put my shirt back on.
 I recently went through over 3000 pictures from a competition my box hosted and found myself not posting ones of me because all I could see was my belly. All I could see were the flaws and think “I’m a CrossFitter! I shouldn’t have a belly!”

I promise you, I DO NOT do this with anyone else! I will post photos of ladies from my gym and they will ask me, “Why did you post that? I look “insert reject word here””
I always, honestly respond, “All I see is a strong and beautiful woman!”
It’s true. At my gym, I do not see old people or overweight people or skinny people. I only see amazing, beautiful people that I love to spend my day with!

So the moral of this blog is this.
I need to learn to cut myself a break.
I need to be nicer to myself.
We all need to do this because at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside, it’s the beautiful person on the inside that people love.

Be beautiful today.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


My husband pointed out to me that I always begin my posts with an apology for not posting. So, I won’t apologize, but I will explain why I have not blogged in so long.  I have been blessed with a growing CrossFit box, training new athletes and new job as Head Writer for the CrossFit South East Region. It’s amazing how much your life can change in such a short period of time!

When I first began this blog, almost 2 years ago, I was a fairly new CrossFitter with stars in my eyes and big dreams about making it to the CrossFit Games one day. I had my plans on how I was going to get there. I was going to do 2-a-days, add strength and Oly work to my training, clean up my diet, run more, ect., ect..
This was a great plan and I began competing in local competitions. (I LOVE competing!)

But  it didn't take long for me to realize that 2-a-days are not very realistic for me. Adding extra training, time-wise, is very hard for me to do. I am a mom of 3 very busy boys and a wife to an amazing guy that travels a lot. I also currently have 3 jobs, coaching, freelance graphic designer and writing. This is not to say that I gave up on my dream or that I am making excuses for myself because what happened was a wonderful thing.

 I found that my goal changed and that my dream has become even BIGGER.

What could be bigger than making it to the Games?

Changing someone’s life.

My goal did not change overnight, though. It was really more of a metamorphosis. I guess you could say I evolved …this is a good thing. I have been coaching CrossFit for over 3 years and yes, I have gotten stronger and faster.  I would hope so, it’s been over 3 years! I look back at my old blogs and my old WOD scores and I see how far I have come.  I will never be satisfied with my strength and speed. I will ALWAYS want to be stronger and faster, but during this journey of mine I have discovered something that I want even more than my desire to be stronger and faster and that is to watch that new person who walks in our doors reach their goals. To help them get that very first pull-up, that very first box jump, lose that “x” amount of weight or even compete in their very first competition brings me a joy I can not even articulate. 

My goal is to be the very best coach I can be. I want to help people dig down and find that strong person that is inside of them. I know it is there and want to help them find it!

Seven months ago, I took a big leap of faith with my very dear friends and opened a CrossFit box, CrossFit Alabaster. When we opened the doors, we had 20 members and I was so excited! Today, we have over 100 members and every single one is important to me.

My goal shifted. It morphed into something much, much bigger. I still want to be my best, but not for the Games, for my athletes and I want to help my athletes do their best! I think I get more excited when they PR than they do! If you saw the dancing I do when they PR, you would agree. Honestly, I have even cried a few times, I can’t help it.

Is my goal an attainable goal? Yes, it is! I know I can absolutely be the best coach I can be.
Can I be the perfect coach? Absolutely not. Nobody can be perfect. Anyone that claims to be is lying or just delusional.
Do I make mistakes? Of course. If you are not making mistakes, you are not learning.

So I want you to ask yourself the same questions. Look at your goals. If you don’t have any, MAKE SOME!
Is your goal attainable? Of course it is, it just requires action.
Will you make mistakes? I hope so. Remember, you are always learning.

Set your goals high and work your butt off to achieve it because it’s during the “working” part where the miracle happens. Sometimes the result is a goal accomplished and sometimes the result is an achievement that exceeds all your dreams.