Saturday, January 21, 2017

Death by Pull-ups and Heavy Back Squats

I made it to the gym today.  It seems like more often than not these days that's something of a miracle.  It made my second day this week, which is better than the 1 I thought I was going to get, but still not quite the 4 I would like to be getting.  I have stopped looking at the WOD's before I go because I've found that I will talk myself out of going if it's something I don't like, or am feeling like, right now, I'm particularly bad at.  Like pull-ups.

Not getting to the gym on a regular basis, my pull-ups, dips, HSPU's and all things that require regular application to keep consistent with, seem to have become a goat for me.  It's been frustrating at times, but I know that the only cure for this is simply to get to the box more and practice more.  So, when I walked in and saw death by pull-up, I knew I was going to get an opportunity to "practice more".  For not having done any pull-ups lately, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to do as many as I did.  I don't really have many calluses any more, so holding onto the bar was a bit painful, but despite that, I was able to start at 5 and make it through 9 minutes (missed it by 1 pull-up as time expired). So all in all, not too shabby but it's definitely an area I still need to work on improving.  Again, doing them will help immensely, so I just need to keep focused on the idea of finding a better balance at work and making sure that I am getting to the gym so I can get in that "practice time".

After death by pull-up it was 10 minutes to find a heavy 5 rep back squat max.  We did this last week immediately following sets of heavy cleans, so last week I had some Jelloesque legs when we did this, but still came up with a 5 X 205.  Death by pull-up didn't really kill my legs, but I still felt tired under the bar, but managed to come up with a 5 X 210. I think my 5RM for back squats (with just doing back squat day) is somewhere in the vicinity of 5 X 225.  So, to be doing WOD's beforehand, being that close to my 5 RM is pretty solid, and I'll definitely take it.  As odd as it may sound, I think all the walking/stairs/lifting I do at my job does help to keep my strength up.  It just unfortunately can't help me with things pull-ups or HSPU's.  Although, maybe I could install a pull-up bar or an abmat in my corner so that I can do things when I need to stop placing orders......... hmmmm.... an idea has emerged......

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

When the "happily ever after" fades....

What feels like an eternity ago, I wrote a blog post entitled "My CrossFit Story".  In that post I detailed all of the things good, bad, and ugly that had eventually led me to finding CrossFit.  That story ended with lots of warm fuzzies.  Me becoming stronger, both physically and mentally.  Me growing through CrossFit, gaining friends, and learning about myself.  Me hopping on a plane, running half marathons, and continuing to PR what felt like almost daily.  Me losing weight and finally liking myself for the first time in well, ever.  After writing that blog I felt as if I was destined to ride off into the sunset, as if I was destined to live "happily ever after".  But, alas, as with many things in life, life had other plans.

Some time long after that blog, I had to have surgery.  I couldn't walk for the better part of nearly 3 months, and then afterwards was so scared about blowing out my tendon I was almost afraid to do anything.  Amidst that, I quit my job and started a new one, my best friends moved away, and life just started to go downhill.  I wanted things to magically go back to the way they were, but for some reason, I couldn't make them.  I couldn't convince myself to go to the box 5 days a week, and I couldn't convince myself to be that happy, poppy, excited girl I used to be in my posts.  Sure, I wrote a pretty post about how 3 days a week was good for me, fit my lifestyle etc etc, but since that post, even just 3 days a week has been hard, and most often it's just 1 or 2.

Part of it is pride, and I'm having a very hard time overcoming it.  In my mind I keep replaying a list of all the things I used to be able to do.  I used to be able to deadlift 300.  I used to be able to do a sub 5 Fran.  I used to be able to consecutively do chest to bar pull-ups.  I used to be just a hair's breath away from the ever elusive muscle-up.  Going to the box now and watching people surpass me and watching them achieve all of their goals, just reminds me of how far away I am from the ones I used to have.  I want to be happy for them, they are truly great people, but in the back of my head is some sort of sick jealousy because they seem to have all the things that I don't.  Drive,  determination, dedication..... I don't know where those things went, or how to get them back, and I'm jealous of everyone who seems to have found theirs while mine is lacking.

I think another part of this, is fear.  Fear of being rejected because I am not who I used to be.   Fear of being labeled as a failure.... fear of exposing my weaknesses, and my sensitivity and sadness regarding this situation.... fear of never being able to get back to where I used to be. What if I am never again what I used to be? What if how I used to be, is not something I can ever achieve again?

Additionally, there is the embarrassment.  At the end of that CrossFit story post, I felt like I was in a movie.  Riding off into the great unknown, but although it was unknown, it seemed from all indications that whatever was coming was going to be great and awesome and amazing.  But, here we are, and it's not.  I'm embarrassed at the fact that I cannot do the things I once did.  I'm embarrassed at the fact that getting to the box 2 to 3 days a week is a struggle.  And I'm embarrassed that the girl who once loved and found peace with herself, has allowed herself to regain all the weight she lost, and fall right back down the rabbit hole of self-loathing.

This.... this existence is not the "happily ever after" I envisioned years ago when I wrote that post.  This embarrassment and unhappiness, this jealousy of those around me.  This was never where I wanted or intended to be.  So I think the question in my mind has become, what do we do when the "happily ever after" fades away? When anger replaces excitement when the alarm rings each day? When genuine pride and excitement for others is replaced by jealousy? When desire and determination are replaced by resignation and acceptance? Where do we go? How do we return to our former selves? Or if that is not possible, how do we move forward and find an alternate version of our self that we can love and be proud of? When the fairytale seems to have ended, what do we do?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Turn and face the strange.... ch- ch- ch- changes......

A long time ago, in what feels like a galaxy far, far away.... a very unhappy and overweight girl walked into a CrossFit gym for the very first time.  She was scared to death, but totally sick of feeling bad about herself and how she looked.  After just a few weeks of collapsing to the floor after every single workout, she was hooked to this new thing that she had found.  Skills slowly developed, weights got heavier, and times dropped. The rest as they say, is history..... or is it? 

The only thing that you can count on to remain the same in life, is that fact that EVERYTHING changes.  For the better part of 2008-2013, I was in love with CrossFit.  I was dedicated.  I  worked two jobs and nearly 90 hours a week and I made time to get to the box at 0515 at least 4 days a week.  Sometimes 5.  I would work until 11 or midnight and be right back up at 0415 and get to the box. Nevermind the beating that I gave my body, I was committed and I was in some of the best shape I've ever been in.  I don't want to say I was slaying workouts because I am far from a metcon ninja, but, my performances were decent and lord knows I could sling some weight around.  I lived it, slept it, and breathed it.  Sometime around 2013 I even got on the Paleo train and started working on my health hardcore.  So you could say I ate it too.  

But, something happened and I can't put my finger on the when or the where, but.... that desire, that burning sense or need for this to be all-encompassing, disappeared.  I don't know when, and I don't know why, but somehow it vanished.  After my foot surgery, I took several months before I could walk properly let alone even THINK about putting weight on my foot to the point where I could workout again.  When I finally did get the nerve up to rejoin CrossFit in June of 2014, I made the decision not to go back to my old box.  I couldn't go back there knowing that there was no way I could live up to what I used to be.  I was a wreck. I had quit my job, started a new one, was way out of shape, and wasn't really even sure how things were going to go.  I wanted a fresh start.  

I found a great gym, with one of my old coaches, and I thought things would just fall back into place.  But, they haven't.  And I'm having a hard time putting my finger on the why.  I have a goal to get back to going to the gym 4 days a week.  That's been my goal for almost a year.  I think in that year, it may have happened twice.  That's not counting the goals I have to get back on my bike and back into running since I did agree that I am going to do the Army Ten Miler again this year.  

For some reason, I am having a VERY tough time meeting these goals.  I know some folks will say that I just need to suck it up and do it, but the reality is, that what I'm so stumped by is WHY this is so hard.  I used to be the girl who could literally beat the ever loving snot out of her body and then get right back up and go work out and do it all over again.  There were plenty of days where I pushed 16-20 hour work days and I NEVER had a problem getting there.  So I don't understand why I can't now.  It just seems like there is a giant roadblock in front of me, and I haven't the foggiest how to move it.  For the girl who used to have no problem popping her eyes open at 0415 to get to the gym by 0515, it feels foreign to struggle to just GET to the gym a lousy 4 days a week.  I don't understand WHY this is so hard.  I don't understand where this change came from or when or how it occurred.  I'm completely flummoxed.  It feels odd and it feels very strange that what was once so easy and so familiar, is now a complete challenge for me.  

My work schedule now is very different than it used to be, and rather than having a set day job, and a relatively set evening job, I jump all over the map.  Some days I have a very early morning job, and some days I have a very late evening job, and then some days I have a very early morning job AND a late evening job.  Maybe what my body is missing is the routine.  Maybe that's what I need? Maybe I need to start getting up at the same time every day regardless and doing the same thing each day.  

Maybe I just need to get back to blogging so that I can hold myself accountable again.... maybe I need to see it in print so that I can force myself to see things in black and white. I truthfully don't know.  But, I know one thing is for sure.  The only thing that stays the same, is that everything changes.  Everything.  

Friday, July 10, 2015

I may have been paranoid, or I may have just saved my own life....

About a month or so ago, I was getting ready to take a shower and noticed a red mark on my back by my love handles.  (Yup, I've totally got those) It looked like I had scratched myself while getting dressed.  It was roughly the width of my fingernail and it just looked like it could have been a spot that I hit while pulling on my pants, or even putting on a shirt. The weird thing was, I had no recollection of doing that.  I thought something like that would have at least hurt somewhat and I would remember it, but I didn't.  So I shrugged it off and went about my daily business.

Well, let's fast forward back into real time, you know like you do on your cable box? (Well, but when will THEN be NOW? Points if you can identify what movie that's from...tehehe....) Anyway, back in the now.... last week I started to get sick.  I felt a cold creeping on.  The acheiness,  the sore throat, swollen glands, you know, the general icky feeling you get as you're getting sick.  I was really tired and in general just not feeling great.  I got through the weekend and on Monday thought, "Well, I feel gross.  I'm going to take as much cold stuff and liquid as I can and go to bed as soon as I get home." I did as I said I was going to do, and was in bed by 5:30pm.  I woke up the next day feeling loads better and thought, "Ha! I showed that cold who's boss!" I went into work that day, and left that day nearly crawling.  I was wiped out.  

The next day I was scheduled off from work but had a meeting to attend.  I went in for the meeting and to get a few other assorted odds and ends done. Again, I started the day out just fine, but could barely stand up by the end of the day.  I just couldn't seem to hold things together.  I went home and went to bed.  Yesterday, I woke up and thought, "Gosh, this house is filthy and I need to clean." So, I loaded up the dishwasher for a run, vacuumed around downstairs, and started to clean the bathroom.  About an hour into all of this, I got so tired I had to stop.  I came into the bedroom to lie down and immediately fell asleep for the next 3+ hours until it was time for work.  

As I was getting in the shower yesterday, I just happened to notice that that same spot from a month ago still had a mark, only this time, it didn't look like a fingernail scratch.  It was no longer red, but it was oval.  The middle was pretty much faded back to skin tone but the outside was ringed with red.  I immediately started searching for online pictures of something similar because it just looked odd to me. I tried to dismiss it as nothing, but it really started to nag at me. I did some google searching and low and behold, it looked identical to some tick bite photos.  What if I had been bitten by a tick and just hadn't realized it? The timeline fit.  I had been hiking on Roosevelt Island outside DC while I had been on staycation a little over a month ago.  I had gotten sick with flu like symptoms that definitely involved some joint pain as I was getting up in the mornings, and the fatigue I was experiencing was beyond just the regular, "I work two jobs and I'm tired" kind of fatigue.  I suddenly became much more concerned.

I went to work as planned yesterday, and when I shared my paranoia with some of my coworkers (one of which has an advanced case of Lyme disease) they immediately told me to go get it checked.  They didn't think I was being paranoid at all.  So, I hunted around this morning for an urgent care center that would take my insurance and luckily discovered that one that just opened about a quarter mile away did.  So, I went first thing this morning.  I expressed my concerns to the nurse who weighed me and took my blood pressure, and the doctor who saw me asked a series of follow-ups based on that.  After seeing the mark, he immediately said that it looked suspect and put me on a 2 week run of antibiotics and requested a tick borne illness panel.  

Now, it may come back that I have a wicked cold that has just been tearing me apart, and the tick panels come back negative. In truth, I'm hoping that this is what happens.  But, it may also come back with a positive identification for Lyme disease or another tick borne illness.  If it comes back negative, hoo-ray! I'll take a cold any day.  But if it comes back positive, then I will thank my paranoid self for speaking up.  Lyme disease is one of those things that not too many people are talking about, but it definitely can have a serious impact on people's health.  My coworker went undiagnosed for over a year.  And in that year, the disease took away her strength, her energy, and her ability to do things that normal people like you and I do every day. I'm hoping that I don't have to experience anything like what she is going through, and I am thankful that, if it does in fact turn out to be Lyme disease, I will have caught it early enough to treat it.  So, the moral of this story is, sometimes you need to listen to your own gut, even if you think you may be being paranoid.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

You don't do WHAT? I don't think we can be friends anymore.....

The other day I wrote my first blog in a really, really long time.  I know I'm a little rusty and my humor and usage of Katieisms is a little off, but give me some time to get these old wheels greased back up and things will be back to normal in no time.  As I get back into this whole blogging thing, it only makes sense to talk about my life now and how CrossFit fits in there, not what CrossFit used to be for me.  And there are some things that I'm going to put out there in that spirit of full disclosure that may sound.... odd if you've been a reader of my blog.  Truth be told, I've taken so many hiatuses (hiati??!?) from blogging that I'm not sure any of my readers from the way back then still exist.  But if you are still here, and wondering what in the hell I've been up to with my life, you may find things are vastly different these days.

The other day I wrote a blog about not being dead.  Shocking I know that I was writing a blog, but yet I wasn't dead.  (This blog is just chock FULL of rocket sciency type stuff folks) It seems to be the consensus of the masses that CrossFit is just, well, it's EVIL and if you try it, well you're going to like, rip an arm out of the socket and just, die a slow and horrible and painful death.  Ok, ok, fine.  They may be a SLIGHT  exaggeration from the articles (HEY, artistic license ok????!?!?!) but you get the point.

Truthfully, I think one of the reasons that I was able to leave CrossFit and still come back after roughly 7 months has to do with my attitude towards CrossFit now, and in particular to how many days I work out.  I'm going to confess to everyone now, that I only work out three days a week.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Yup, you read correctly.  Three days.  Not five, three. Now, if you need to go unfriend me on Facebook because you just can't be friends with me anymore, then please feel free.  While I am an uber competitive person, I'm tired.  I love CrossFit, but I'm tired.  My body physically feels tired by the end of the week.  Hell sometimes it's tired at the beginning of the week.  I have learned that the key to my longevity and my continued success with CrossFit is to only go three days a week.  I would like to work my way back up to four, but even after a year of being back at CrossFit, it's hard for me to do.  See, I've been listening to my body more and more these days.  And my body has been saying, ENOUGH.

As I've gotten older, my stress load has gotten heavier, my work load has gotten heavier, and quite honestly, my desire to be that bad ass chick killin' it at the gym has decreased.  Now, does that mean it's gone? Oh hellz no, but it does mean that I no longer see a point in falling asleep at midnight, waking up at 0400 to go try to get a workout in, then going and working a 14 hour day.  I've learned that that is actually counterproductive.  The amount of stress that I'm putting on my body by doing that is actually undermining the work that I'm putting into my health and fitness.  Making myself go to the gym five days a week is actually not good for my body, and it's not good for my head either,  which whether you want to believe it or not, is a HUGE part of your fitness.  Going to the gym five days a week turns CrossFit into another job, another stressor... and it stops being fun.  It stops being about health and fitness and my journey towards being a healthy individual.  It turns into something completely and totally different, and something that isn't positive.  It turns it into, "Ok, how can I squeeze this in?" and "How much time can I take to relax after the wod before I have to run out the door and get home so I can shower and get to work?" It stops being about the camaraderie and the fellowship, and literally, for me anyway, becomes a walloping stress on my body because my body just can't figure out how to possibly get everything in.

I'd love to come five days a week.  I love the people who coach me, and I love the people I work out with.  But the truth is, that just isn't in the cards for me right now and that's ok.  If it's not in the cards for you either, that's ok too.  I think the one thing that we lose sight of in CrossFit is the fact that, this is not a sprint.  Health and fitness are lifelong goals. The more stress you put on yourself to get to these goals RIGHT MEOW, the less fun it's going to be.  The more like a job it's going to feel.  At least that's what happened to me.  I love working out three days a week.  I enjoy going.  I still get a good sweat on, and I am still pretty doggone strong, which I love.

Having said that, am I as strong now as I could possibly be? No.  Am I as fast now as I could possibly be? No.  But, I will say that I enjoy CrossFit more now than I used to going five days a week.  It's easier for me to go to the box now than it was before.  I also don't feel as beat up and abused as I did when I was going five days a week.  See, when I jumped ship out of teaching last year, I wound up in a job that's actually much more physical than teaching.  I actually work in a grocery store.  I can tell you that it's critical that I'm able to move and lift and function.  I can't afford to be so sore from workouts that I have to sit or not walk, or not be able to carry.  It's important.  Five days a week would honestly cripple me.  I think four would be feasible and even better for me, but I'm working my way back up this ladder. For awhile, there were some weeks where two days was just all I could manage.  But the important thing is, I went.  This is a marathon.  I want to be healthy and have a great relationship with my food and my body for the rest of my life.  I don't want to get so focused on the short term goals that I get there and then go, ok that was great.  And I'm done.  Unfortunately, health and fitness don't work like that.  They are constantly in flux, and constantly require attention and care.

So what's the point of all of this you ask? My point, you see, is that your CrossFit training should be about you.  Screw the white board, and screw the main site. Yes, yes, blasphemy, I know.  But here's the deal.  There is only one name, and one number on the board that matter, and that is yours.  For me, in order to maintain a long lasting relationship with CrossFit, I can't burn out, and I can't turn this into another job.  Believe me, I KNOW that HQ says 3 on, 1 off.  I know that.  I know that the white board is always a source of inspiration, but it's also a source of negativity sometimes.  Don't let these things take over your thoughts.  CrossFit is about you, your health, your fitness.  And honestly, if it doesn't fit into the 3 on, 1 off mold, then eff it! I'm learning, God but it's so slow, that the only person who can take care of me, is me.  I have to find something that works for me, and right now, it's three days.  As I said earlier, I'd love to add a fourth day back, but, quite honestly, it's hard.  But regardless of whether or not I get four, the point is, do your own thing.  Don't worry about what the sites and the white boards say.  Do what is going to continue to help you on the path towards your health and fitness goals, and screw everybody else.  (Not literally, I definitely meant figuratively) As Aerosmith says, "life's a journey, not a destination, and how high can you fly with broken wings?" If you're constantly injured or tired from trying to wod everyday, cut back.  Do you and find what makes you happy.  The relationship you are in with your health and fitness is the longest one you will ever be in, so make it a good one.  Make yourself happy.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

According to, well, EVERYONE, I should be dead by now.... but, good news, I'm not!

I can't tell you how many times I see articles swearing up and down that CrossFit is bad, and that it causes more injuries than any other sport.  Not to mention, it's helping to pave the way for some very lucky doctors' children to go to college! Thanks CrossFit! Ugh, every single time I see one of those articles it makes me want to start punching the computer screen.  Ok, well, maybe not that.  I would have to pay to replace it, and yeah... about that.  But, you get the point.  It makes me angry.  According to all of those people, and all of those articles for that matter, I should actually be dead.  No, seriously!

According to all of these people, there is no way that someone could do CrossFit for a long period of time.  According to all of those articles, the injuries will get me, and I will realize the evils of CrossFit, and decide that there are far better uses of my time out there, because CrossFit is bad.  I don't really want to ruin all of, well, we'll just keep calling them "those people's" day, but.... I have a very deep, dark secret I want and NEED to confess to the world.  Are you ready? Of COURSE you are.  You were born ready..... deep breath... here we go..... I'VE BEEN CROSSFITTING FOR OVER 7 YEARS! (almost 8).

Wait, wha? Yeah, you read that right...... 7 flipping years.  There was a minor hiccup in there with that whole foot surgery thing, but that actually was not a direct result of CrossFit.  That was a direct result of me not having an arch in my foot and doing a lot of walking for the past x number of years.  But back to my point here.... 7 years is a long time.  And here's the thing I don't get.... if CrossFit is so evil, if CrossFit is just going to lure me down the dark and dangerous road to rhabdo and injuries and totally ruin my life..... uh, why has it not ruined my life and killed me yet?

My relationship with CrossFit throughout the years hasn't always been rosy.  We've had our ups and downs just like any relationship would, mostly due to work and schedule related issues, but in the end, it's never broken me.  Have I had injuries? Legitimate ones? Yeah.  In 7 years, I've had 3.  3 injuries that actually required the care of someone smarter than me.  1 of those injuries actually wasn't really even CrossFit related, but CrossFit was more or less the straw that broke the camel's back.  I had tried to move and set up my classroom the week before the competition.  Is it any wonder my back was really sore after the weekend? Of course not! I'd spent the whole week prior using improper form to lug around boxes of crap, not to mention desks, chairs, and other assorted classroom items.  It's sort of a no brainer.  I should have pulled out of the competition and I didn't, so I don't blame CrossFit for that one at all.  The other 2 were honestly more my fault than CrossFit's.  It's true.  I'm a stubborn individual.  And I paid the price for that.

Now, before everyone goes around shouting, see! She did get injured, also understand that while these injuries did require some attention, they were not life-threatening, nor did they actually keep me from working out.  They also happened at competitions where I was away from my home box, and my inner "Just DO it!" kicked in.  So before anyone accuses my coaches of not watching me, understand that this was something different entirely.  These injuries were minor dings and tweaks that required a little working around.  I had to get creative sure, but at the end of the day, I could have done the same damage to myself in my classroom alone as I did in the gym.

So what's my point? My point is, if I listen to everyone else out there, the naysayers, the "fitness experts", the bloggers, the article writers, and the self-proclaimed couch experts, I should, for all intensive purposes, be dead.  CrossFit, in this length of time, should have debilitated me to the point where I shouldn't be able to move or enjoy life.  So in other words, dead.  But I'm not.  SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! NO WAY! Yup, way.  I'm not dead.

So what does that mean exactly? Well clearly, this must mean that I'm a freak of nature with extraordinary athletic prowess. Really? I'm over here rolling on the floor at that one.  It couldn't be farther from the truth.  Ok, so then, I must have a private doctor who helps me every day? Seriously, do you have any idea how much that would cost? I don't know if you all know this or not, but uh, I'm not Dana Torres.  Well then clearly, I must be lying.... nope, not at all.

So this begs the question then, of why am I not dead? Because I said so! Kidding, but I've always wanted to use that as a legitimate answer to a question.  I don't have kids so I may never get to use that one.  I had to... But back to the matter at hand... me being dead, or not rather. Why am I not dead?

I think that my story illustrates what a lot of us have known for a really long time.  CrossFit, when done as it's intended, isn't a bad thing.  CrossFit can be an important, and long lasting, part of your life.  CrossFit can be a tool of your health and fitness.  And when I say your health and fitness, I don't just mean for your body, but for your mind too.  The story of the past year of my life is an interesting one, and maybe some time I'll get around to writing about it, but I know that without CrossFit in my life, there are times when my mental fortitude would have probably broken.  I know that there were times were I treated what I was going through much the same way I treat those difficult wods in the gym.  I put my head down, gritted my teeth, and found a way to just keep moving.  Without CrossFit in my life, I'm not sure that that strength would have been there.

Now, this doesn't mean that CrossFit is without risks, absolutely not! But any CrossFitter or coach worth their salt will tell you that the key to longevity in CrossFit is acknowledging those risks, and working to minimize them.  And THAT is exactly what I've done.  I am absolutely not super human, and I am by no means rich enough to provide myself with daily personal care from an advanced team of doctors.  What I have done is talked extensively with my coaches about what I've got going on in my life.  They know and understand that my schedule is insane.  They know what the limitations are for someone like me who is working out the number of days I work out, and they are quick to tell me if they think I'm out of line.  I've taken rest days when I'm tired, and I've stayed in bed on some days rather than coming to the gym because I understand the inherent risks and long term affects of working out when your body is suffering from sleep deprivation.  I've changed my diet, and I've developed the attitude that what I can do on any given day is simply what I can do.  These things have enabled me to be able to continue to CrossFit, despite the fact that, according to everyone else, I should be dead.  There is longevity to be found in CrossFit, without a doubt, and I'm living proof.... literally.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Stages of CrossFitdom

I'm not sure if it's just me, but it seems like lately, I've seen a ton of articles written about CrossFit. CrossFit is bad, CrossFit is evil, CrossFit causes injuries, and everyone who does CrossFit never shuts up about CrossFit. I'm not going to write a blog screaming that CrossFit is the best thing and that everyone who wrote those articles is wrong, because I think there is some truth to them. But I think the truth has to do with what stage of Crossfitdom you're in. I know, I know, I just invented another new're welcome. But I think that honestly and truly, CrossFit is kind of like grieving, in a way. They always talk about the stages you go through with grief, how it's a progression. I think the same can be said with CrossFit. By now I'm sure you're scratching your heads and going what in the world is she talking about. Well, allow me to humbly explain what I think are the stages of Crossfitdom.

Stage 1- The Window Shopper
CrossFitters in this stage aren't really CrossFitters....yet. These are the folks who are pretty curious about CrossFit. They heard about it through a friend or coworker and are wondering about this mysterious cult like thing. They do a little light digging on the interwebs and perhaps ask a question or two of the friend or coworker like "How often did you go when you started?" Or "How sore were you when you started?" From their inquires, folks can tell they are interested but need a little help jumping into Stage 2. These people can often be easily spotted doing a slow drive by or by pressing their faces to the glass of local Crossfit boxes. These CrossFitters are harmless to non-CrossFitters and can still function in outside society.

Stage 2- The Newb
As the name implies, these are folks who are brand spankin new to CrossFit. These folks are often found in elements class or doing trial classes at local boxes. Their curiosity has grown to the point where they have decided to dip their toss in the CrossFit Kool-Aid and they are learning whether or not they like the movements and atmosphere enough to stay. CrossFitters in this stage will begin to have discourse surrounding their exercise as they may begin to be noticeably sore or notice an increase in energy. The CrossFitters in this stage are still relatively harmless to non-CrossFitters and can still function in outside society.

Stage 3- The Novice
These are the folks who have graduated elements and have been doing CrossFit for 1-3 months. In this stage they begin to dabble a bit with the idea of making some dietary changes, or coming in more often to the gym. CrossFitters in this stage are seeing noticeable changes in their bodies and are beginning to become more and more in love with the CrossFit world. While they are not chugging the Kool-Aid from the bottle, they are sipping the libations quite freely and are beginning to discuss what they are doing, as others are noticing changes too. It is in this stage that we first begin to see the "conversion" factor. It is in the "Novice" stage where we begin to see CrossFitters begin to try to bring new members into the fold. They tell everyone that they've "never felt better" and that they (their friends, family, coworkers, SO's) should really think about giving it a shot. CrossFitters in this stage can still function in outside society, but can at times be annoying to non-CrossFitters.

Stage 4- The Honeymoon Stage
Depending on the CrossFitter, this stage can last anywhere from month 4-years. In this stage, EVERYTHING about CrossFit is the best. This is the stage in which the first rule of CrossFit becomes crucial. The first rule of CrossFit is.... always talk about CrossFit. And why not? CrossFitters in this stage are in love with EVERYTHING! They're making great gains. Times are dropping, weights are increasing, they've discovered Paleo and the whole world is their oyster. They feel so damned fantastic that they want EVERYONE else to feel just as freakin' amazeballs as they do. These CrossFitters have the best of intentions, they really do, but unfortunately they routinely piss off outside society and can only be seen with other CrossFitters because of.... the first rule of CrossFit. And perhaps we should include in the first rule of CrossFit, always talk or FACEBOOK about CrossFit. If the only thing you ever talk about is CrossFit, well eventually those people who DON'T CrossFit will get annoyed hanging out with you. At some point, this stage will end, however, this may be the WORST of the CrossFit stages.

Stage 5- The "CrossFit Competitions are FUN" Stage
Now, the interesting thing about this stage is, some people skip this stage and head straight for stage 6. Others skip 5 an 6 all together. But, with the rise of CrossFit competitions, it's only natural that many CrossFitters will at some point wonder just how well they would do if they competed against other people who were doing the same thing. These CrossFitters have set goals for themselves and really ought to be commended for setting goals and working hard. However, in this stage, the first rule of CrossFit still applies, and even though they are not serious about competing at high levels, there is still a lot to worry about in this stage.... particularly competition day outfits. To outsiders, this type of conversation is both baffling and frustrating. Who really needs to know where to get knee high socks? Ah yes, CrossFitters. CrossFitters in this stage have limited success interacting with outside society, and although again they are competing just for fun, they tend to intermingle with just their own, especially as during this stage diet is key. Eat for performance. Paleo only. No, I will NOT be going out for wings and beer....mmmmmmm beeeeerrrr.....

Stage 6- The "This shit is serious, and I mean business"
For people in this stage of CrossFit, rules #2-3 of CrossFit become important, in addition to the first rule of CrossFit. Always talk about CrossFit, always be doing CrossFit, and when you're not doing CrossFit, read up/watch up on CrossFit. These CrossFitters really want to be the next Rich, and take it very seriously. Diet is key.... must get protein and my Progenex. True story? Sometimes these people are annoying even to other CrossFitters. It's great that they have goals, but if their goals are causing them to judge others, it can become a bit dicey. CrossFitters in this stage do not interact with outsiders. They're too busy talking about CrossFit, doing CrossFit, or reading up/watching up on CrossFit. Not all, but many CrossFitters in this stage simply need to be left alone.

Stage 7- The Healthy CrossFitter
The CrossFitters in this stage have come full circle. They have had the honeymoon stage where they have been in love with everything, and more than likely they've gone through one of the competition stages at some point. They've realized that while training and diet are important, there is a balance to everything. These CrossFitters realize that it is possible to be stupid, and know when to back off (probably because they learned the hard way once). They also respect things like rest days, and understand that even at this stage, scaling is an option. These are the people who want to be fit for the sake of being healthy and having a great life. They understand they have limits, but that CrossFit is a fantastic way to help them maintain an active lifestyle and still be pretty damned ripped. These CrossFitters are fully integrated into society and you probably wouldn't even realize that they were walking among you, except for the fact that you just saw a totally normal looking office chick save a child's life by deadlifting a car off his small frame while wearing 4 inch heels. Dead give away.

Now, some may ask if it is possible to revert through the stages. Absolutely. Full blown injuries (ie bone spur removal!!!) can definitely take you back a few stages. It can seem frustrating to have to go through it all again. A healthy CrossFitter can also decide to re-enter the competition world. The important thing to understand is what stage a CrossFitter is in so that you understand how to approach them. Asking a honeymooner about CrossFit may wind you up in an hour long conversation about CrossFit. Approaching a serious competitor may wind up with a "do you even CrossFit bro" look. But, if you keep your eyes peeled and know the signs, you'll know which stage a CrossFitter is in, and be able to gauge their ability to interact with you on a non-CrossFit level.

******In the spirit of full-disclosure, I have been in all of these stages, except for the really serious stage. I have however, watched many people go through that stage, and at times, it can be very off-putting. Everything I say about the stages, is said very tongue in cheek. Well, except about the beer. I never joke about beer. In all seriousness though, all CrossFitters though do deserve to be commended for finding something they enjoy and working towards being healthy.