Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Max Front Squats and On the Topic of Being Smart...

Max front squats were the order of the day today at CFOT, and I have to say, I really wasn't feeling it all that much. If you've been reading over the last, say, three to four weeks, I'm sure you've noticed that I've not been quite my usual spunky sarcastic self. That's not to say that it's gone, far from it, but my posts seem to be lacking in their usual wit and banter. There are a host of reasons for this, but largely it's because due to the start of the school year, I've found that my insane work schedule has returned.

Allow me to take a moment and wander off on a tangent that will hopefully come back to explain a few things. When I say I'm a teacher, that brings lots of ideas to people's heads. Some people view teachers as people who turn on videos and sit aimlessly all day, or lecture, while their kids doze or take notes. Others view teachers as people who make worksheets and then sit aimlessly while their kids color or add math problems all day. I will firmly and very vehemently argue that I am neither of those types of teachers. My kids are constantly engaged listening to stories, doing projects, reading, writing, playing educational games, and in general actively learning. But here's the kicker folks, that stuff doesn't just come to us prepared in a box at the beginning of the year. Countless hours are put into planning, copying, organizing, and oh yes, BUYING materials. It is not at all unusual for me to spend 13-14 hours a day in my school. I'm just that type of teacher. I take my job VERY seriously (some would even argue too seriously) and at the end of the day when I leave, I go coach, I go waitress... I have other responsibilities because that 13-14 hour job just doesn't pay enough to pay the bills that I've acrued in my life, and that's very unfortunate. (As a side tangent to my tangent, this is why I get so very upset with parents who accuse me of not caring about their children, not trying to help them, etc etc etc. BS. If I didn't care, would I put in 13-14 hours?) Anyway, back on track.

So what was the point of that tangent? Well, to make you understand what I do. Why? Because I said so. No, that's not it, but there is a lesson to be learned from me. Guys, we love CF. LOVE it. But, think about what we do. It is high intensity, hardcore stuff. Can you honestly expect that you're going to punch out a 70 hour work week full of stress and still go into the box and feel 100%? I used to think like that, but I've been learning that when I work like this, my body IS affected. It takes its toll, because let's be honest, even if teaching is not physically demanding (I don't have to lug heavy things, push heavy things, carry heavy things etc) at the end of the day, I'm taxed. I can only solve so many problems and deal with so many things before it sucks me dry. When you are emotionally drained and you spend that many hours doing something, your energy levels drop and you simply don't have the work capacity you would if you were just having a normal fluffy kind of week.

I have learned the hard way that putting my body through this can have DISASTROUS results. IE February 06 when I had a tonsilectomy due to repeated tonsilitis and the potential for lymphatic cancer. It's scary stuff. So, here's what Jerry suggested, and here's where the "On the topic of being smart" thing comes in. Back down the work capacity. If doing 8 rounds of something is going to wreck you, go hard for 5. Better for you to get a workout in that's not quite what you would normally do, but is still allowing you to get some work in.

Walking away from the box until I can get myself under control would be disastrous because lord only knows when my body is going to adjust to this insanity again. But, backing down the capacity a bit and being reasonable considering the demands I'm putting on my body is a better idea. I wasn't pleased that today I could only max on 165 but, I'll take it. I only slept 3 hours on Sunday, and had to take drugs to fall asleep Monday, so you know, I know I'm not 100%. If you go into the box with depleted energy levels, and then continue to further deplete them by thrashing yourself, what good are you really doing for yourself? Having a body that is full of stress is really like being physically ill. Things just don't operate the way they should. So, having said that, treat your body like you're ill. Take care of it and be smart. It's way easier for me to be hard than it is for me to be smart. I fully admit that, and I think a lot of other CF'ers will. It's easy to be hard, but hard to be smart. I, and I suspect a few other CF'ers like me, need to find a balance.

For those of you not busting out 60-70 hour work weeks with 50 8 year olds, you may have other stressures in your life or just work a different type of job that has a high stress level. Take it into account. CF is awesome and working out when stressed can certainly help. But when your energy is low and you try to keep your workout capacity just as high, bad things can happen, and you may wind up hurting yourself to the point where it takes you awhile just to get back to where you were. See- giving yourself chronic fatigue..... I know I sound preachy today, but when I learn something, or it just clicks with me, sometimes I feel like I need to tell everyone. It just suddenly makes sense. So for those of you out there like me, be kind to yourselves. Lack of sleep, poor diet, stress... all take one hell of a toll on your body. We love to think we are superhuman and that we can CF through anything, but... do yourself a favor. Dial the weight down, dial the rounds/reps back, and be kind to your body. It will thank you and you will feel much better in the long run. (At least I think it will... I'm still working on the long run part, but for the short term, I'm being smart and my body feels much better for it.)


Mark said...

Katie - Even I can tell that you are doing too much. Be smart. Maybe Crossfit 3x or 4x a week and not 5 or 6.

Hitting it with more effort and energy one less time per week might be smart.

Erin said...

Hey girl-i exepct to see more rest days! sleep is good. Also, I understand that this is your life currently and know you're doing what you have to do, I've been there, but just know you can't do it forever.

It took me 8 years to burn out, 3 doctors and a year of coming to terms with the fact I needed to leave my job. No joke, it was hurting me, my family, and my friendships. Do what you need to do, but be smart, both in crossfit AND life!