Adventures in Fat Girl Fitness

Working my Way to a Healthier Me One Burpee at a Time

Four questions, four answers — June 19, 2018

Four questions, four answers

question

This morning I received a text from my awesome trainer and coach, Mel.  She occasionally sends questions to her clients and today was my turn.  Instead of responding to her in a text, I’m responding here, for the entire world, because apparently I’m a bit of an attention whore. Who knew? (everyone who knows me can be quiet right now, thankyouverymuch!)

Question 1: What makes me feel strong? Powerful?

Lifting heavy shit. This was true even before CrossFit, but is doubly true now. I’ve always prided myself on being strong like bull, able to lift and carry a couch up the stairs, if need be, but since starting CrossFit there’s nothing better than the feeling of a barbell in my hands.

On the days when I’m not in the gym or the WOD isn’t strength-based, I miss the feeling of lifting a barbell. Of holding it’s rough grip in my hands, covered with chalk, and sweaty from exertion.

On days like today, when the WOD is mostly barbell work, I am giddy with anticipation of getting into the gym and feeling that strength and power (even if I’m lifting the lightest bar in the bunch).

I’m slowly developing callouses from my classes and I occasionally find myself rubbing them, like tiny badges of honour to my power. I keep testing to see if they’re bigger, more pronounced, further evidence that I’m a badass.

Truly, every woman should try lifting weights. There’s nothing that makes you feel more like Wonder Woman than picking up something heavy, putting it over your head, and doing it again and again. Seriously, try it sometime!

Question 2: What’s the best advice I have ever been given?

Be present in whatever day you’ve been given. 

This was given to me as work advice when I moved to a new, frenetic, unpredictable job, but it’s served me well as life advice too.  I tend to be a planner and a forward looker. Those can be great things when it comes to retirement planning and kitchen renos, but it can make it hard to sit, quietly and comfortably in the present. It can also make it hard when the present doesn’t end up looking like the plan. So I am slowly learning to simply accept the day I’m given, however it may look, and then find the best in that day, knowing that the plans and perfection can be dealt with tomorrow (or the day after that).

 

Question 3: Name one thing you want to change in your life?

How I see myself. I have always struggled with liking who I am and who I see in the mirror.  So much so that I genuinely have a different picture of “me” in my head than what mirrors and pictures tell me I am. I’ve dissociated from the truth. I want to change my mental image so that it reflects who I truly am, right now at this very moment; not when some magical perfect weight, or hairstyle, or fashion is reached, but now. I have a long way to go on this one.

Question 4: Name 3 things you are grateful for.

First, among all things is my daughter. She makes me laugh every day. She challenges me. And she makes me want to be a better version of myself. She’s the reason I am working so hard to change my life.

Second, my mobility.  It was only 8 years ago when I was in a serious car accident that left me wondering if I’d lose my foot or have lifelong severe mobility impairments.  I’m lucky. I had good doctors and therapists and have reclaimed about 90% of my pre-accident life, but those months where I was in a wheelchair, or on crutches, or using a cane made me feel for all the people who struggle every day to just accomplish basic tasks. And I’m grateful I was so lucky.

Finally, my sense of humour.  There’s not much in this world that I can’t find joy in (current politics notwithstanding). My humour is what keeps me grounded. It’s what brought me to my husband. It’s what shapes who comes into my life and stays here. It’s entirely who I am. And I love it.

The Grind — June 15, 2018

The Grind

bd2812bf4a7789de6dfbd3e1de46ade8

I haven’t posted about my WODs as much here lately, but they’ve been going well. I’ve been going to the big kid classes and if not holding my own against the rest of the class, at least holding my own against my former self (which is really all that matters).

Last night was a particularly grueling workout.  I call it The Grind. Because that’s what you had to do to get through. Just don’t stop. For 35 minutes, keep moving. If you stopped you’d never get started again.

When I first read the WOD in the morning, I thought, oh, that looks doable. Then I did what I always do, I added up the time it would take me to finish everything. I calculated 45 minutes. This had a 35 min time cap.

Crap.

Well, I suppose I didn’t need to worry about how I was going to substitute the double unders, since it was unlikely I’d ever make it there.

It was a WOD heavy on rowing and cardio (bike, skierg, burpees, etc.). I modified the burpee box jumps to dumbbell clean and jerks because burpees aggravate my ankle, but otherwise I did it as prescribed.  It was hard.

So hard. We all looked like we were going to die by the end.

But it was also fun. There was no measure yesterday, just you against the clock to see how much you could get done in those 35 minutes.

And friends, let me tell you that 35 minutes flew by. I barely even noticed the time. How could I? I was just trying to stay upright and complete my section.

It’s a funny change to suddenly think a hard workout can be simultaneously a fun one. I’ve never had that feeling much before. Never felt the feeling of accomplishment or camaraderie that comes with grinding through a workout alongside someone else. Never thought I’d be the person you see on the side of the road drenched in sweat and carrying kettlebells. Never thought I’d be excited to see what the next day has in store for me.

It’s been a slow transformation but it finally feels like it might stick. I’ve not skipped a planned workout. I’ve pushed myself in the classes. I’ve bought into the lifestyle that is clean eating and exercise.

And it feels amazing.

Here’s to the grind. May you always be as fun and kick my ass and keep me coming back for more.

Run? Am I being chased by a bear?! — May 30, 2018

Run? Am I being chased by a bear?!

cardio

Last night at the gym was a minor miracle.

Very minor.

But a miracle nonetheless.

I did cardio.

RIGHT?! I know! Me too!

So here’s the thing – a while back I had tried to take up running. I started one of those couch to 5K programs and thought, yeah, this looks doable.

Cut to me doing my first run where I had to run 1 minute. 1. One. ONE.

I thought I was going to die.

I couldn’t even run a minute without wanting to throw up. What the hell had I let myself become? No wonder I was tired all the time. I couldn’t even move my fucking body at a slow, lumbering clip for 60 seconds.

It was embarrassing. It was shocking. It was humbling.

So imagine my dread when I walk into the box last night to find that I’m going to do multiple sessions on the rower last night.

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck. I can’t do cardio. I’ll throw up. I’ll cry. I’ll pass out.

But just like in baseball, there is apparently no crying in Crossfit (or if there is, no one is cutting you any slack for it). So I jumped (stumbled) onto the rower and started in on my first 45 calorie row.

It took me 4 and a half minutes.

Without stopping.

I moved and breathed and pushed for 4 and a half minutes.

It’s legit the longest stretch of cardio I’ve done in years. Like… 20 years.

Then I did another 4 minutes. Then 3 and a half. Then 3. Then 2 and a half. Then 2…

… And then I got time capped, but I made it!

It was no Olympic quality performance. I mean, my stomach is so big my knees bend out when I row and I drenched that machine in sweat, but I made it. At least until time got called and I got to die.

I wobbled off the rower like a baby giraffe learning to walk and you should see me today, but hell, if that ain’t improvement I don’t know what is.

Graduation Day — May 25, 2018

Graduation Day

Barbell

Today I did my first ever big girl Crossfit class. My trainer felt I had gotten the hang of the basic moves and wouldn’t hurt myself (or my ankle) so I signed up for a 6:30 am class and headed to the box.

Only to find that it was Hero WOD day. Oof.

DT. Scaled for me, of course. But first, 15 minutes to build up to a 2 rep max on a Hang Power Clean. I made it to 95lbs before the time ran out.

Then DT started. It’s one of those WODs that looks easy on paper, but kicks your ass by round 2. I was prescribed a lower weight because I’m new (but I wasn’t the only one in the class using 55lbs rather than the 85 or 105 lbs that were prescribed for women at the performance and competitive levels).

So I chalked my hands, grabbed my poker chips (for round counting, but of course), and started in on my 12 deadlifts. I finished the first round in just over a minute. I had allotted 2 and a half minutes.

Oh fuck.

I’ve been here before. Going hard on the first one and finding out quickly that while this is only a 15 minute exercise, it’s a marathon of 15 minutes, not a sprint.

I’d been sprinting. This is going to catch up with me.

Round two I took it a bit slower because I knew I was screwed.

By round five I was counting individual reps knowing that I only had 14, then 13, then 12 more to go before I could collapse on the floor.

And internets? I made it! I completed my WOD in 12:45. I didn’t get time capped. I made it!

And not only that, but it was fun! Hard, but fun.

I’m going back Tuesday.

Bring on the barbells for I am a motherfucking unicorn who cannot be stopped. Arghhh (or something).

gym-unicorn-teeturtle-teeturtle_800x

 

 

Who Am I? — May 4, 2018

Who Am I?

I just messaged my trainer seeing if she had any openings for the weekend. Because I didn’t want to wait until Tuesday next week for another workout. Because I like working out? This is a thing now? I don’t even recognize myself.

Really, I blame my friend/colleague who told me to try crossfit. She changed me. Made me this… person. It’s all her fault.

But I’m excited to go back tomorrow. Last night was my first barbell workout where we first worked up to my max 1 rep strict overhead press and then 5 rounds of 12 lower-weight presses. I maxed out at 85 lbs, which I think is good for a beginner, but who knows, maybe it’s pathetic. I then did my 5 rounds at 55 lbs which got hard fast. By the end I was managing two, maybe three presses at a time before I had to rack the bar. But I finished them all (plus 5 rounds of 16 calories on the skierg and 14 abmat situps).

That workout made me feel strong and badass. There’s really nothing in the world like the feeling you get when you first pick-up that barbell. And now I’m craving it. I want to feel strong again.

Fuck yeah, barbells!

100 Day Challenge — April 27, 2018

100 Day Challenge

I like to break things up into small bite-sized pieces. I’m not great at looking down the road to “forever” and seeing a path of contentment, but break something into small pieces and I can chip away at it.  Hell, even when we got married, Mr. Fat Girl Fitness and I only agreed to 50 years with a negotiation period at the end to reassess whether we wanted to keep going with this marriage thing. Bite-sized pieces.

Unfortunately, bite-sized pieces are also what gets me into trouble. In this sense I mean literal bite-sized pieces. Of the cookie and chocolate and chips and pretzels variety.  You name it, I’ll eat it.

I’ve never had a very healthy relationship to food before. I used it as comfort. As entertainment. As reward. As a consequence, I’ve never had a very healthy relationship with my body before. I’ve always hated who I am and how I look. I ate because it didn’t matter – I was always going to be fat anyway, why not enjoy it. I dieted and restricted. It worked… for a bit. But I’d always bounce back, bigger and unhappier than ever.

As I start a journey to become healthier by getting stronger I’m starting to want to eat better. To fuel my body rather than please it. To fill, but not stuff. To know that I’m doing what I can to change both my body and my mind.

This isn’t about wanting to be skinny. I’ll never be skinny. I’ll likely never be thin. I’ll probably always be chubby. I always have and there’s only so much I can do in the face of genetics. But I can be a healthier chubby. A fitter chubby. A stronger chubby.

I have heard that it’s really 80% food and 20% exercise. That you can’t outrun your fork. So here’s where the next phase of the journey starts. I’ll commit to 100 days. 100 days of eating clean-ish. Of making sure that 80% of what I put in my body is in there for fuel and not pleasure or comfort. That those calories are going into me to help me achieve my goals, not to fill a gap that, frankly, isn’t food’s job to fill. I don’t promise to be perfect, but I promise to try.

il_570xN.1314881438_o22z

I commit to:

  • Meal planning;
  • Bringing my lunch to work;
  • Not drinking my calories;
  • Eating my fruits and veggies with every meal;
  • Snacking sensibly;
  • Eating until my stomach is happy, not full and distended; and
  • To enjoying the experience of cooking again.

I love to cook and am, if I do say so myself, an excellent cook. For too long I’ve left that to either my husband to manage or Skip the Dishes to cater to. Now it’s time to get back in the kitchen and put what I logically know into real action.

So why only 80%? Because I’m a realist. I know that I’ll slip. I know that I love bacon. I know that there’s nothing better than a huge cup of hot coffee brimming with creamy sweetness. And because I’ve never been perfect and this isn’t the time to start.

Bite-sized pieces.

Just as soon as I finish this slice of meat and cheese pizza for lunch. 😉

It’s all in your head — April 20, 2018

It’s all in your head

The mental side of fitness is something I never really thought about or encountered before. Before this journey when a class or exercise would get too hard I’d just quit. It was a simple solution to an unpleasant situation, but it meant that I’ve never had to push past the “oh, fuck, I might die or throw up (or both)” feeling.

Cue tonight. I’ve been battling a cold and it’s been over a week since I’ve been to the box to workout with Mel, my amazing trainer. I’ll be honest, I want really feeling like a workout tonight and thought that maybe I’d half-ass it. Yeah, Mel was having none of that.

So for the first time in almost ever I had to figure out how to push through when every ounce of my being was screaming at me to quit. To give in. To lie down and run out the clock.

I asked Mel if anyone ever quits on her. She thought about it and then answered no and immediately reminded me that I was supposed to be doing some push ups. I can see why no one quits. You simply don’t have the opportunity. The reps come fast, the clock is ticking, and if you stop to think you’d cry. So you don’t stop.

My workout tonight was nothing hard. For a seasoned veteran it would seem like a warm up. But tonight it kicked my ass all over the mat.

But for the first time I didn’t quit. I kept going and dug deep. I listened to Mel telling me that I could do it if I just kept breathing. If I just gave her 30 minutes of my life. If I just got my head to stop pestering my body and let my muscles work.

I almost threw up. I wanted to cry. I did curse. But I beat my brain. I won. And for that I’m proud.

Crossfit day two — March 2, 2018

Crossfit day two

Well, I’ve ruptured my Achilles tendon. Well, hell. Made it through 15 sit ups and 75 single unders before I heard the pop and thought someone had hit me with a barbell.

So yeah… This is gonna put a damper on my journey. But it’s not going to kill it. I’ll get back there and work even harder to get my ass (and ankle) in shape.

Wish me luck!

Why — March 1, 2018

Why

So why did I decide to start on a journey of fitness and health? Here’s a short list for me to remember when the days get hard and the chocolate looks so good.

  1. My daughter: I want my kid to grow up knowing that she can be strong and that her body can move mountains (or at least climb them) if she fuels and feeds it the right way.
  2. Honesty: I want to be truthful in what I say to my child when she points out my tummy or bum. I want to mean it when I say, “yup, mummy is proud of her tummy. It carried you!” rather than feeling a deep shame at how I look.
  3. Mental Health: I struggle with mental health. Depression and anxiety are dear, if caged, friends of mine. One of my biggest current challenges is simply liking who I am. I know part of that will never be fixed until I take some action to make some changes.  The rest of my life and mental health is in a good place now. I’d like my body to follow.
  4. Alignment: I want my outsides to match my insides.  In my head I’m a warrior. I’m strong and capable and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. I want that to be all true in the real sense, not just in my head (although inside is a good first start).
  5. Mountains: I want to climb them. Or at least hike them. I want to bike ride and canoe and hike and camp and run and play and do all the things I’m just too tired to do now. I want to experience all those fun things once more before it truly is too late.

In short, I want to be a better, more capable version of myself. I want to be as strong as I feel. And I want to raise an equally strong and fierce kid who never doubts in her ability to kick ass and take names.

The Journey Begins — February 25, 2018