Progenex Cocoon: Holy $#!%, I Can Sleep!

Edit: This is so long. I’m not sorry, though. Read it if you’d like to know my story with sleep and how Progenex’s Cocoon changed my life. If not, the take-home message is this: Give Cocoon a try. For me, it’s tasty, makes me sleep, and I wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and like a morning-person. Maybe it’ll do the same for you!

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a very complicated relationship with sleep. If I wasn’t sleeping for 13+ hours, I felt exhausted. I went to private school up through the end of 8th grade, which allowed me to sleep until 8 every day, since school didn’t start until 9. When I started high school and had to wake up at 6am, my world started crumbling around me. Every morning I would wake up and throw up within an hour of being out of bed. No doctors could figure out what the hell was wrong with me. The only thing that would keep it from happening was when I could sleep until 9 or 10am. We finally gave up trying to figure out what it was, and decided that it was my body going into shock from lack of sleep. I threw up every single day of my freshman year of college. Sometimes it happened at home before leaving for school, sometimes it was out the car door on my way there, and sometimes it was in the parking lot or bathroom once I got to school. When I got my own car, more often than not I’d skip my first class and drive to the Whole Foods’ parking lot and sleep in the back of my Ford Explorer for an extra two hours. I missed a LOT of school, but somehow managed to graduate with a pretty good GPA. Woo, public school system.

Fast forward to college. I finally learned to manage my sleep schedule and get enough sleep during the week, but on the weekends I’d sleep until 2pm. Waking at noon was early for me. Even so, getting out of bed literally made me feel like I was dying. I’d cry every morning before my 8am classes because I felt so horrible. My body ached, my head hurt, and the idea of having to sit through a lecture was worse than anything else in the world. But I did it. Thankfully, this university had a very strict absence policy, where if you missed more than 4 classes (more than 15 minutes late also qualified as an absence), you failed the class. I didn’t want to waste my parents’ money, so I made it work.

Needless to say, I’ve never been a morning person. I don’t know what it feels like to get up and feel ready to start the day. I don’t know what it feels like to wake up before an alarm, or to be excited to make breakfast and have a leisurely morning getting ready to leave the house for the day. Or not snoozing alarms. Or not setting alarms for when I SHOULD get up, and back up/real alarms for the absolute latest that I CAN get up without being late to wherever I need to go.

That all changed about a month ago.

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Wednesday&Friday WODs at PCF, and When #justshowingup Isn’t Enough

Hello. I apologize that it’s currently Friday night, and the last I wrote was Tuesday. This week has been stressful for a multitude of reasons, and I’m just finally feeling more like myself again tonight.

On Wednesday I was extremely stressed out and upset, so I decided to go to Crossfit and try to work off some of my emotions. Well, pretty much the exact opposite of that happened. My emotions wrapped me up in a cocoon of shittyness, I failed miserably on my strict press, and had a horrible WOD. I was sore from dance Monday, and Tuesday’s WOD as well, so that didn’t help. I’m going to go over Wednesday’s WOD really quickly.

Strength:

  • Strict Press 2-2-2-2-2: 55(struggled mightily)-55(f on second rep)-55(f on second rep)-55(f on second rep)-55. I was upset from barely being able to get the second rep of 55 up on my first set, then I got more frustrated, and more angry, and more upset, and completely bombed. Last week I did 5 sets of 3 reps at 55lbs. Today I couldn’t even get it up twice, consecutively.

WOD for Time: 13:59

3 Rounds of:

  • 10 Dumbbell Clean and Jerk: 25 first 2 rounds, 20 last round. Level I, then I-
  • 15 Games’ Standards Box Jumps: 20″ Rx height, Level II reps
  • Run 400m: Rx

So basically, I was really upset with the press, and then I was all upset about the WOD while thinking about how upset I was at the press, and the weight felt so heavy and the box jumps felt like they took forever and I might as well have been dragging a dead body behind me while I was running, because I just couldn’t get over how awful it was and how slow I was going. This was literally the best example of how much your emotions outside of the gym can effect your performance inside the gym. Sometimes it’s not enough to #justshowup, and Wednesday was one of those days for me. I sat down with my favorite coach, Erika (who I now refer to as “Life Coach Erika”) and she reassured me and let me cry to her and gave me lots of good tips on how to improve, as well as reminding me that not every single workout is going to be a mindblowingly amazing progress-filled workout, and that sometimes you just have to chalk it up to having a bad day, especially if your mental state isn’t the best, pre-WOD.

So I took yesterday, Thursday, off, and worked on what I could, and went back into the gym today with a different attitude and killed the WOD. And the warmup had rope climbs, and we all know how much I love rope climbs!!! So that was fun. I subbed 2 strict, full-ROM push-ups instead of handstand holds, in order to work on my pressing muscles, as per Erika’s suggestion. I’m going to alternate subbing in handstand negatives and push-ups for the next few weeks and see where that gets me, plus a few sets of push-ups here and there at home, when I feel like it (like last night at 2am, when I couldn’t sleep).

Strength:

EMOTM for 10 Minutes of:

  • 2 Overhead squats: 45lbs, limited GREATLY by my weak wrists. Buying wrist wraps tonight. Also, power snatched the weight to overhead each round. Could have gone much heavier if it wasn’t for my stupid wrists.
  • 2 Strict Pull-ups: Only one thin band for assistance!!! I have unassisted kipping pull-ups on lock, and I’m so close to getting strict unassisted!!! So excited. For the last 3 or 4 rounds I dropped down to one per round, because my wrists were KILLING me from the OHSs.

WOD for Reps: 100!

3 Rounds of:

  • Burpees for 1 minute
  • Rest for 1 minute
  • Row for Calories for 1 minute
  • Rest 1 minute

I was pretty consistent across the board. After the second round I glanced at my board and thought to myself “damn, I really wanted to get to 100, but I don’t think I’ll be able to make it.” So I set my goal to hit 90. Well turns out I’m really bad at eyeballing addition, because I was able to hit 100! I was amazed when I added everything up! When I went in at 4:30 the third best women’s score of the day was 106. A lot of the evening women smoked me, but I was pretty pumped seeing that. My calves are toast though, and I spent a lot of time rolling them out right after the WOD, and once I got home. My burpees went 18-16-17, and rowing cals were 17-16-16. Nice and consistentish.

Basically, this post is about how you will have a shitty workout, once in a while. Hell, Life Coach Erika said that “1 out of 3 workouts is going to suck,” and I think I have a higher success rate than that. Life happens, and sometimes you just can’t get out of your head enough, and you’re going to fail at things that you know with all of your heart that you can do. And you know what? That’s okay, and better than that, it’s normal. Monday, Tuesday, and Friday were awesome, and Wednesday was a shitshow. That’s 1 of 4, this week. I can handle that. And remember, if you’re a Crossfitter, when something like this happens, don’t be afraid to talk to your coaches. They have been through whatever kind of issue you’re having hundreds of times, and will always know exactly what to do to pick you up off of your face and get you wanting to go hard again. I am so thankful for Erika and all of the completely invaluable advice she always has, seemingly previously-prepared, at a moment’s notice.

Now, to go buy some wraps so my wrists will stop limiting my lifts, and hopefully my new Inov8s will show up at my doorstep tomorrow! Good feelings, all around.

Why I Lift Weights

I have been working on this post for a few days now. Lifting weights has become such an important part of my life in such a short period of time. Back in September of 2011 when we first tried Crossfit, I knew my fitness life was about to be drastically changed for the better. I had found something that felt right, and that I knew would give me the results I’d been in search of for years.

If you’d like to know my top 7 reasons why I lift weights, keep reading. It’s super text-heavy with no images, but who knows, something might resonate within you and cause you to finally give it a try.

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Stereotypes Are The Worst!

Two pictures that my good friend, The Caveman’s Man, took of me for a different type of blog (post is safe for work, overall blog not safe for work/body modification-related/some gross stuff/don’t look at the rest if you’re not into that) have me thinking lately. As someone with more than half of a brain, I view all different kinds of things as body modification: dentistry, cosmetic surgery, tattoos, scarification, piercings, body sculpting, and the list goes on. As a “modified” female, there are lots of stereotypes. Tattooed and pierced women are very overly-sexualized through the media, and that is one of the main reasons why I have been so shy about pole dancing for so many years. My joke is “I don’t get paid to do it, I pay to do it!” which I do, since I pay for my sessions at my pole studio. I have had strangers in the grocery store ask me if I model for certain tattooed/pierced “adult modeling websites,” and that is infinitely far away from how I want to be seen as a woman. On a different spectrum, women who get breast augmentation or face lifts are immediately dubbed “superficial.” People who get lipo are “taking the easy way out.” Sean’s post focuses on how we have both taken the step into a different form of body modification from what some modified individuals would normally consider a typical modification: health, fitness, and some rockin’ strong bodies.

Along with all of these stereotypes, there exists those about women who lift weights or are looking to make a drastic change in their body compositions. Many will discourage women from trying to achieve (the elusive) 6-pack, or from weight lifting in general because they think muscley girls are “gross.” Well, I hate to break it to those people, but it’s not your decision!!! Being strong is amazing. I love being able to piggyback and lift my 6’7″ muscular boyfriend who tops over 200lbs. I love not struggling with a bunch of heavy grocery bags. I love being able to help move heavy furniture. I love being in good shape and being able to run up flights of stairs without getting winded. I’m healthy, fit, strong, motivated, driven, and dedicated. You’re right, all of that is so gross.

There are always going to be certain stereotypes or displeasure from other people when you do anything to better yourself in your own eyes. Be yourself, love yourself, make changes that better yourself, and fuck the rest. People will always question you because of their own insecurities, and it’s sad that this happens. You can’t please everyone, so you might as well just please yourself! It’s been a long road for me to really understand and accept this, and I am so happy I finally have.

 

80lb Clean and Jerk.

Typical Crossfit Questions

I talk about Crossfit a lot. Whenever it comes up in conversation with someone who has never tried it, I can almost guarantee that a certain slew of questions will come rapid-fire, and I’ve done my best to prepare educated responses, in order to quickly and efficiently get the message across of what Crossfit is all about, before the person loses interest or just flat-out decides that I’m full of beans. These are the questions, with my explanation that I try to give. I hope this will help at least someone feel more comfortable about taking the step to give Crossfit a try!

  1. Isn’t Crossfit hard? Yes! Crossfit is hard! Do you know what else is hard? Remembering to drink enough water every day. Having to work and having a job. Remembering to do your laundry before you run out of underwear. Putting yourself into new social situations to meet people. We do these things because they will advance us to a position more favorable in our own eyes. Be the motivation hydration, money, clean undies, a boyfriend/girlfriend or other, there is a drive that makes us follow through with everything in our lives. For me, the drive is there for working out. I feel better, sleep better, eat better, look better, study better, take care of myself better, and move better when I’m going to Crossfit regularly. Why would I not want to do it?! Because it’s hard? Hard is relative. And let’s be serious, it is one hour of intense working out, that’s it, and all of a sudden I feel like a goddess.
  2. Can I do the workouts at home/my gym/without going to Crossfit? Eeeehhhhh. It’s not as easy as a black and white answer. You cando them on your own, but that doesn’t mean that you should. There are lots of reasons for this: A. You don’t have someone monitoring your form and making sure that you’re not on the road to injuring yourself. B. You might miss the point of the workout without getting the proper instruction (ie. go fast and light, slow and heavy, some mix of the two, etc.). C. You push yourself WAY harder when you are in the group workout. You may think that you can push yourself hard enough, but I swear to you, you have way more in you than you think. It’s amazing. D. Access to proper CF equipment/space is not always available at all gyms. E. Crossfit is really about community. You miss that entire aspect if you’re doing it at home. You meet people on the same journey as you and they hold you accountable for your workouts, and you start to feel guilty if you skip out on one because it’s “too hard,” and they will probably give you shit about it (nicely, of course!). F. See number 5 where I talk about how amazing the coaches are. I could go on and on and ON about why it’s better to train at a box. But those are my main reasons.
  3. Do I have to join a Crossfit box with a membership? No, but most Crossfit programs say that in order to really get the benefits you should be attending no less than 3 times a week. Almost all boxes will let you drop-in (provided you have completed a foundations class…and some extra cash), and offer different monthly packages depending on how many times your schedule will allow you to attend, and those are always cheaper than paying for 3 drop-ins a week for 4 weeks.
  4. Don’t you feel weird working out around so many people who could be watching you? At first it was very intimidating. And then I realized that everyone is so focused on their own workouts that no one pays attention to anyone else, except maybe to chat with their friends. I don’t feel like a piece of meat when I walk into a box (which is 120% how I feel going into normal gyms, especially when working on olympic lifts), I feel like a female about to rock the shit out of whatever WOD is programmed for the day.
  5. Isn’t it expensive? Personal training is expensive, right? That’s essentially what you’re getting at Crossfit. The trainers/coaches get to know you, everyone introduces themselves if they don’t recognize you, they remember your past injuries, work around current soreness/tightness/issues, and are a bottomless information source. They see when you’re struggling and come and coach you through when you need it. They’re the most attentive trainers on Earth. I’ve worked individually with trainers who I would classify as extremely inattentive, especially compared to those I’ve had at every Crossfit location I’ve been to. You truly get what you pay for.
  6. More-so a comment than a question: I could never do that!/I’m not strong enough for that! Really?! Because I think that is a big load of excusescrap! I couldn’t do a push-up, a pull-up, or run half a mile without walking when I started. Most people are in the same boat. Everyone can do it. It’s scaleable. That’s how they are able to have a Masters category at the Crossfit Games for people 60+ years old! You start slow, you start light, you start where you’re comfortable. Fitness isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon, and so is Crossfit, and that’s what is so wonderful about it.
  7. How do I sign up!?! Go to CrossfitHQ’s website and search for affiliates in your area. Contact them and see what their options for newcomers are. Most of them will offer a free class or allow you to drop into a WOD, and they will coach you along and give you all the necessary information for completing it within your fitness level. Check out a few, if there is more than one option in your area. Then, sign up for their foundations or beginners course, start going, and show up to some WODs! Now get off your butt and take the first step!!!