Monday, July 19, 2010

Two-piece. No-peace.

Just say the words , “bikini season” and every women in ear shot will feel a chill down their spine. "Wait," the mind says, “Don’t I have more time?!” No! It is upon us, like a plague that comes around once every year. . .

Why is this season such a nightmare? It’s kind of sad that we wait all year long to get a bit of warmth and sunshine and then it's burdened by the feeling of doom. . . At some point we will be expected to shed the comfort and security of our pants and be forced to reveal what usually only our bathroom mirror is privy too. . . our fannies and backs of our legs.

And if you’re like nearly every woman on the planet, you tell yourself that by “June” you will be ready to bear your legs and midriff. It’s what most of us work for, all year long. It’s the time when we will reveal our months and months of hard workouts and good nutrition choices. We will strut our stuff in short shorts, tube tops, and bikinis. Rock our hard bodies. Own it. Like only CrossFit chicks can.

Right? Oh, wait. . . no, most of that is complete crap. Because even those of us who work out -- five or more days a week, watch our diets, and care about PR’s and WOD times, and obsess about our Oly form. . . are as insecure as anyone else.

At the core, the majority of women, are not satisfied with who we are. Our boobs are not perfect. Either too big, too small, too saggy. Or for some of us, they are almost non-existent (which is fun while living in the world of implants). Our tummy’s pose all sorts of issues. Extra cushion, which is quite stubborn. Stretch marks. Our little gifts from our babies. Crepe-paper-extra skin which doesn’t go away, even when the extra pounds do. Our assses. Well, I could write a whole page about asses. They are too big, too flat, too floppy, too droopy, too dimpled, too. . . well, you get the point. And don’t even get me started on the area we call the “saddle bags,” or the “butternut” as my dear friend refers to hers.

My point is, we all have parts of us that we don’t care for. Even hate, I suppose. And it’s a bit different for all of us. I hate my legs. My vastus-intermedialus, vastus-lateralus, and specifically, my vastus-medialis. In layman’s terms, I hate my quads. I am quite muscular. And although I appreciate what my legs do for me, I wish they’d have chosen to be a bit smaller in that area. I see other girls that lift and are strong. They don’t have legs like mine. Mine are big. I can’t do a dang thing about it. Except try to find a way to appreciate the benefits of my legs. And my small boobs. . . and . . . every other part of my body that I wish I could change.

You see, all of us struggle with body image. Even the girl that I watched at the 2010 CrossFit Games this weekend -- who I thought was “perfect.” She doesn’t believe that. She’d have a list all her own of all the things she wishes she could change. A list of self-imposed imperfections.

So what do I do with this knowledge? Knowing that none of us believe we are good enough? That all of us fall short of where are want to be?

As an intelligent woman of faith, I should know, without doubt, that “we” insecure women are all so very wrong. We don’t know how good we have it. We are bitching about little “things” while others are dealing with disease or birth defects. We are focused on “perfection” rather than “well-being.”

I should be grateful for my healthy body that I work so hard for. Embrace my legs for their strength. Be thankful for the tiny breasts that nursed both of my daughters for almost 5 years. (Yes, I said TWO daughters and FIVE years. Gasp. Different topic). I should know that the stretch marks on my body, mark time – time of a blessed life lived. I should know that my imperfections make me unique, not horrible. Being able to work out is a piece of good fortune and moving my body is a gift.

I should laugh in the face of bikini season. But even knowing what I do, the stupid, insecure girl in me. . . doesn’t.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Burpees are free.

Motivation, priorities, excuses. All of these things affect your workouts. We are either extremely lacking or highly motivated. We either make it a priority or we shove it to the end of the list. Excuses come in many, many forms.

Motivation, for me, comes in waves. Some people are motivated by failure. I am not. I am motivated by good things. A great lift, a good WOD time, a run that I didn’t hate. These are things that spur me on to have the same experience the next day. Of course every day can’t be a good day. I try to tell myself, “good days, bad days.” But I have to admit that my motivation begins to lack when I feel like I’m not doing well, or performing to my potential. That’s when the "inner quitter” in me says “who cares?” Who cares if I lose? Who cares if I am strong? Who cares how fast I run a mile? Who cares what my Fran time is? And then I shake myself and say, rather loudly, “I DO!” And that tends to get me back on track. Steers me back to being the motivated athlete I want to be. So, like I said, it comes in waves.

I also believe that setting goals helps me greatly. I sit down and make a list of what I want to accomplish and in what time frame. I don’t just think about it. I write it down. Everyone needs goals. Or else we’re purposelessly wandering through weeks of wods and lifts, never getting to where we want to be. We need purpose. With purpose, we’re motivated to meet our goals. And then we need to prioritize our lives to make meeting these goals possible.

Prioritizing our lives can be quite complicated, especially when it comes to working out. It’s often the first thing that people will push to the bottom of the list when they are busy. But not for me. I can honestly say that when it comes to working out, it’s very near the top of my priority list. I don’t schedule anything that gets in the way with my workouts. Some would say this makes me selfish. And I will agree that it is my choice to make it more important than other things in my life, but does that make me selfish? I don’t think so. Isn’t that what we all do? We all make time for the important things. It’s about finding a balance between the things we have to do and the things we want to do. On my “want to do” list, working out takes the top priority. And I’ve been blessed to make that work. My schedule is easier to manipulate than it is for some, I fully admit that. I also make choices with my time. But it may not always be such. I may not always have this amount of freedom. And then I will re-prioritize my time to make it work. Because it is that important to me. And if you want to be fit, really fit, then you have to make it a priority, you can’t make excuses.

Excuses, excuses, excuses. Rarely are they valid. But I will say that I thoroughly believe that all of us can make excuses for any and everything that we do or don’t do, and the way anything turns out. “I can’t workout because I am sick.” Not usually true. I’ve worked out sick many, many times. I use the rule of thumb, “would I call in sick if someone was paying me?” You may not be as good, but you will survive. Sometimes I think it even helps. “I can’t workout because I was up late and I’m hungover.” Sadly, I can attest to the fact that surviving a CrossFit wod hungover doesn’t rate high on my list of good times, but you will live. I promise you. “I’m too busy.” Can you rearrange your schedule to accommodate a workout? How many of hours of TV did you watch this week? Or talked on the phone? Find the time. Most of us can. Treat it like a very small part time job. Don’t negotiate when it comes to your workouts. “I’m too sore.” Never true. You’ll be fine. Unless you’re dealing with an injury, get your butt back in the gym. “I don’t have the money.” Add up your Target receipts. Then add your Starbucks receipts. Then add your fast food receipts. This one usually comes back to our talk about priorities.
Of course sometimes you are actually too sick, or too busy, or too broke. There are circumstances when all of the above reasons are beyond your control and you just simply can’t make it work. I totally get that. I am speaking for the majority of us. Not all of us. But just be honest with yourself. You’ll know if your reason for skipping a workout is valid. Just get back to it when you can.

Remember, 50 burpees for time is a great WOD. It’s short, maybe not-so-sweet, but it won’t cramp your busy schedule. And trying to get it done in less than 3 minutes is a great goal to be motivated to accomplish. You can do it at home or anywhere for that matter. And burpees are free.

Be motivated. Make working out a priority. Stop making excuses.