7 Things to Stop Doing in the Box Immediately

Nobody’s perfect and we are all bound to accidentally commit a gym faux-pas once in awhile, but below are 7 things that you should try to avoid doing in the box:

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Wait, what's the WOD?

Le sigh...We just talked about it, bro.

 

1 - Walking in front of someone about to lift

Imagine getting all set up for your snatch. You're focused, you take a breath and are about to start your first pull when.... someone walks right in front of you…

 

– FOCUS BROKEN –

 

Try to be mindful of what others are doing around you. If you see someone getting set up for a lift, don't walk in front of them. Walk (safely) behind them or pause for a moment to let them finish the lift.

 

2 - Talking while the Coach explains the WOD

Anyone can read the workout as it’s shown up on the board/screen, but your coach will go over movement standards, give helpful tips, discuss scaling options, give a rundown of the equipment needed, and help clarify any confusion about the workout. Take this time to stop chatting with your friend and give them your full attention. Not only will it help you be prepared, but it’s an easy way to show them respect (or quite honestly, they might feel disrespected if you’re not listening).

 

I’ll fill you in on your coach’s biggest pet peeve: It’s when someone who was talking during their explanation later comes up and asks for the WOD to be explained to them.
 

3 - Marking your reps on the floor with chalk

It’s a little thing, but most coaches/box owners don't like you marking up their floor with chalk to keep track of your reps. Instead, use things like a white board, poker chips, or some other counting method that doesn't leave a mark or require the coach to clean it up.

 

4 - Stealing someone's equipment during a workout

Easiest way to avoid this – listen to your coach when they go over the equipment needed for the WOD (see item 2). If you find yourself ill-prepared during a WOD and must suddenly borrow someone else’s equipment (without giving them warning), be courteous – don’t make them wait while YOU finish 100 wall balls with THEIR ball. If know ahead of time that you’ll have to share equipment, just make sure you coordinate with others. That way there won’t be any surprises.

 

4 - Dropping your empty bar

When unloading your bar, make sure you support your barbell as you pull weight off. You don't want your empty barbell to come crashing down as you pull that final weight off. It's loud and damages the bar.

 

6 - Putting your equipment away while others finish the WOD

If you finish a WOD early, it’s tempting to start putting your equipment away and moving on to the cash out or heading home. Instead, I encourage you to support and cheer for those still trying to finish the WOD. You’ll help them get through it and it will mean alot to them. And someday, if they finish before you, they’ll probably cheer you on in return.

 

7 - Leaving equipment out

Unless the coach has asked you to leave equipment out or someone from the next class has called "dibs" on your stuff, make sure you are putting everything away. Everything. Don't forget about things like clips, bands, mobility tools, etc. If you must leave in a hurry for some reason, just ask a friend or coach if they would be able to help you out. I’d be willing to bet that if you ask, they’d be happy to help.

 

- Coach Rachelle

Comparison is the Death of You.

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Comparison is the Death of You.

Blog by Coach Morgan

When I was in high school, I would go to the gym with my best friend after school. We would always warm up on the treadmill, listen to music,
and occasionally talk about our day. Let me say that my best friend and I were not cut from the same cloth. She is long and lean, blonde hair, blue eyed, and super fit. I on the other hand was (still am) short and squatty and a major tom boy. One day I was feeling super envious of her. We got to the gym and hopped on the treadmills like normal and went for a run. I found myself peaking over at hers every couple of seconds. I was watching her distance and her speed and wanting so badly to beat her. I started to turn up my speed little by little until I was in almost a full sprint. She noticed and was like what in the world is happening? I have no idea what came over me. I wanted to be faster. I wanted to run further. I wanted to BE BETTER than her. WHY?? She was my best friend. What was the point? But I couldn’t stop comparing myself to her in the moment and it ruined my attitude and outlook.


Fast forward to now. I am obviously an adult and shouldn’t compete over petty things like warming up on the treadmill, but I still find myself
comparing myself to others in the gym. It might not look the same but the comparison and urge to be better is still there. Here are just a few
scenarios that happen in my head. Part of working out requires the need to wear workout clothes. Workout clothes for females are usually pretty fitted. Pretty fitted means that you need to look good wearing them. Looking good wearing them gives you more confidence. More confidence means you perform better in the gym. (seriously guys, this is my logic). So here I am, in the gym, comparing myself to other women by how we look in our work out clothes. It’s just plain ridiculous.

I am no runner. I have never trained to be a runner. I played soccer in college and was more of a quick burst sprinter than a long distance person. But here comes the miles and I get smoked by someone who is in fact, a runner. I beat myself up over and compare my time to theirs. Stupid, I know. Wall balls are in the workout. Dang it. And I am standing next to our 8ft. member who could touch the line just by raising his hands (exaggeration). But I am so frustrated that he finished his wall balls before me and didn’t have to break. I had to do sets of 5 and was
jumping completely off the ground by the end just to get my ball to the line.


It just isn’t fair.


So as silly as those may seem and as completely ridiculous as they sound, they still happen. I still find myself comparing my performance to
people who are nothing like me. Who have been blessed with height, who put in the time and the effort to train a specific skill, or work really hard on their diet to make sure they stay in the best shape possible. None of those things are me, so why do I put myself in their shoes?
To be honest, this is one of the reasons I don’t look at the whiteboard before I come to the gym. I want to show up and do the workout completely blind. Most days, I don’t even know what the workout is until it’s time to set up. I look at my stats and only my stats because the only person I should be comparing myself to is my previous self. I should want to beat the old me. Be better than the me from last week, last month, or last year. Comparison will rob me of my joy in the gym. It will take away the excitement of performing well on a work out. Because if I continuously compare, I finish the workout and say, “damn it, I got whooped.” But if I performed my best, did better than before, than there is nothing to complain about.


We all have different goals. We all have different backgrounds. We all have different bodies. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. If
we continue to compare ourselves to others, we are never going to excel on our own. There is always going to be someone who is stronger or faster. But look at who you were 1,5,10 years ago. Compare yourself to him/her. Have you improved your life? Your fitness? Your health? If the answer is yes, than you have succeeded. Keep it up! Stop comparing yourself to others, because not one of us is the same, not even close. All you should care about is being #everydaybetter.

Is Routine Killing Your Game?

The very definition of CrossFit is “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.” So, if the workout itself is constantly varied, why do we often allow ourselves to fall into a routine in almost every other aspect? When we hit up our box every week on the same days, for the same class time, with the same coach, and same classmates… are we hindering our potential?

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Change It Up!

Sometimes a new class time means new energy and a different coach's eyes and cues. If you're in a rut, mix it up!


COACHING
Different coaches means different coaching styles. Maybe one of your box’s coaches has an
awesome eye when it comes to technique or uses cues that simply “click” with you and can help
you improve your form and hit some PR’s. Maybe one of them has the kind of energy you need
to motivate you through those last grueling reps of a hero WOD. Maybe one is good at breaking
down and explaining the fundamentals of a movement, allowing you to finally RX a movement.
The point is – all coaches are different, have different styles, and different strengths. Don’t limit
yourself to just one or two coaches, even if they are your favorite. Seek out other class times so
you can be coached by someone different. Having many sets of eyes watching your technique
and performance can help you out a lot in the long run.


CLASSMATES
Community is a huge part of CrossFit and it isn’t uncommon to form tight friendships with your
fellow athletes. These are the same people cheering for you when you are the last to finish and
the first ones to give you a high-five when you are gasping for breath on the floor.
Trying out new class times gives you the chance to meet and make friends with other members
your box. You may find that a new group of faces renews your motivation and helps you set
some PR’s, learn a new skill, or simply enjoy CrossFit in a new way. You may even find some new
friendly competition giving you that extra boost to push yourself and set new goals.


ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONING
Whether you head to the box at 5am or stop in the evening on your way home from work, it’s
easy to fall into a routine where you are working out the same time on the same days under the
same conditions. But let me tell you, the conditions can change dramatically between a 5am and
5pm class. Consider things like temperature, humidity, your mental state, energy levels, food, and water intake, etc.
CrossFit helps to develop athletes who are generalist, NOT specialists – good at most things,
rather than the best at one thing. Testing your performance under a completely different set of
environmental conditions, especially on a regular or semi-regular basis, can help you become a
better CrossFitter who is “ready for anything” and not just kick-ass at 5:30pm on a Tuesday
evening when it’s 71 degrees out with a new moon in the forecast. 


Throughout our CrossFit journeys, it’s common to hit plateaus. And while progress is not linear,
sometimes all it takes is changing things up a bit, to getting things moving in the direction you want
again.

Rep Shaving & Why You Shouldn't Care

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Rep Shaving

Why you so mad, bro?

 

We all know that one person who consistently shaves reps during a
workout. You aren’t the only person who notices, trust me. As soon as your
gym has a rep shaver, it is only a matter of time before everyone knows
and is talking about it. We feel the need to talk about it to make ourselves
feel better about the situation. We have to say it out loud so that when you
get beat, everyone knows the real reason why. We have to vent about it
because when you see that name at the top of the leaderboard it makes
you so fired up that you want to beat their score, even if it is made up. The
rep shaver is one of the reasons why you hate to see a 21-15- 9 workout
because you know for them it will be more like 18-12- 5 and their time will
be bogus. Don’t deny it. We have all felt this way before.

To be real honest, I have been a rep shaver hater for almost my
entire CrossFit experience. Coming from a competitive sports background,
I couldn’t stand it when someone wasn’t putting in their work. When you
play on a sports team and everyone has a job, you are always picking up
that person’s slack and it sucks. So transfer that into a competitive workout
environment and it made me SO fired up. When someone would beat me in
a workout because they shaved their reps, I would literally want to punch
them in the teeth. I would huff and puff and throw a baby tantrum inside. I
would whine and complain to my husband about how pissed I was. I not
only hated it as an athlete, but also hated it while coaching. I started to
count people’s reps for them, let them know what number they were on, or
tell them how many they have left. I would have hawk eyes on them making
sure that they were completing every rep to standard and not missing any.
All of this as a coach and athlete was just plain exhausting. It was messing
with me while working out to where I wasn’t completely focused on my best
effort. It was taking away my attention from other members because I was
so caught up with “catching them in the act”. Thankfully, my wise husband

helped me get over my issues with the rep shavers in my life. And to just
focus on me.


If you relate to anything I just said, here is my question to you. Why
does someone else cheating in THEIR workout bother you so much? They
are the ones cutting their workout short, they are the ones who aren’t
putting in the effort, and they are the ones who will be missing out on
GAINS….not you. So why does it get under your skin? My brain thinks, well
they are cheating. They aren’t doing what they are supposed to do. They
aren’t doing it right. They aren’t working as hard as everyone else. They
are LYING!

Well, all that is true, but what part of that effects your life?
I have finally gotten to the point where I have realized that someone
shaving reps shouldn’t bother me at all. I am super competitive so that has
been a hard thing to finally accept. I know that I am doing the best I can,
putting in MY best effort, getting results, setting PR’s, and feeling great
about ME. No one else should be able to take away from my joy and
excitement from doing my best in a WOD because they aren’t. When you
hear “3-2- 1-GO” you should only be focused on how well YOU are going to
do. You shouldn’t care one bit about the person next to you who
OBVIOUSLY cheated. The coach sees it, others see it, and they know they
are doing it. So let it go.


We all know a rep shaver. We all have them in our gym. We know
that the only time they will get it right is if they miscount or someone is
counting for them. But guess what, who cares? The answer should be,
NOT ME! The world keeps turning. You keep showing up. You keep doing
your job when you hear the beep. You are striving for greatness. You are
becoming #everydaybetter.

Why I CrossFit - Rachelle

It would probably be pretty easy to sum it up as… I CrossFit because it makes me FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF. And it’s CHALLENGING. And it’s FUN. And I get to do it WITH MY FRIENDS. And it’s GOOD FOR ME. Basically, what’s not to LOVE?!

And while that’s all very true, it goes a bit deeper than that….

Once upon a time, I was very overweight. I didn’t exercise, I ate like crap, and I felt TERRIBLE about myself. Flash forward several years, I lost nearly 60 lbs and would work out occasionally (although nothing ever really “stuck”). However, out of fear of gaining ANY of the weight back, I developed a VERY unhealthy relationship with food (read: eating disorder). Even at a healthier weight, I still hated my body – I was obsessed with trying to be “skinny.”

It wasn’t until I started doing CrossFit that something inside me just clicked. From my very first on-ramp workout, I started appreciating my body and what it is capable of. I have learned to focus less on the number of my weight or clothing size and instead focus on how I FEEL, how HEALTHY I am, how STRONG I am, how much ENERGY I have, and so on. It has transformed my entire life, helping me to develop a healthier lifestyle all around.

I’ve been doing CrossFit for over 4 years now and I have never physically felt better, nor have I ever felt better about myself.

Now that I have a son, I find that I am so much more mindful of everything I do. Included in that is setting a good example for him of what it means to be healthy. And I hope to set an example so that he respects and appreciates a woman’s strength – physical, mental and emotional.

Just Show Up

Do you ever have those days where the last place you want to be is the gym? Or the days when you “forget your clothes” and decide not to go? What about pulling into the parking lot and thinking “All I need to do is just walk in! But I sooooo don’t want to!” Maybe you look at the workout beforehand and decide to skip it because it’s “too hard”. I think we have all been there. Some days we will find every excuse possible to prevent us from making it to the gym that day.

So think of your gym. Maybe you don’t like going to a class that has a certain coach. Maybe you don’t go when you see a certain movement. Maybe you don’t go on partner WOD day. Maybe you don’t go because you hate working out in the morning but when the afternoon comes around, you’re too tired. Whatever your excuse may be remember that it’s an EXCUSE. There will always be something that COULD prevent us from going to the gym but you can’t let it win. You have to dig deep, push through, and show up.

Currently, my list of excuses is pretty long. My son, the heat, my work schedule, forgetting my clothes, being too tired. I mean it’s literally always something. But I have a goal and all of these excuses are preventing me from reaching that goal. If you are like me and have a goal set for yourself if you continue to allow these excuses to win, then you are never going to get better. You aren’t going to see your numbers go up. You won’t get that pull up you want so bad. You aren’t going to get that ring muscle up you have been dying to get. You won’t move forward. You will stay in the same place or even worse, go backwards.

So what should we do about it?
We need to show up. You need to be there. People are counting on you. CrossFit doesn’t pride itself on you showing up, not talking to anyone, and getting a good workout in. CrossFit prides itself on being a community. A group of people showing up to the gym to join in the misery of the workout together. To cheer for you when you hit a PR. To stand beside you and count your reps until you finish your last one. The people in your class will notice you aren’t there. They will text you or call you and give you hell for missing a killer workout. You will miss out on the jokes, the fellowship, and the stories. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it when someone hits that
PR they have been dying to get. You might be the person that another member looks up to. You might be the reason that they are coming every day. You might be someone’s motivation to workout hard and when you aren’t there, they slack. I have shown up to workout in khaki shorts and a work shirt. I have showed up without shoes. I have forgotten to pack socks and a sports bra, which is way too uncomfortable. I have worked out with my hair down because I forgot something to pull it up. I haven’t had water more times than it’s acceptable. You guys get the idea I’m sure. But guess what, I showed up. I got my workout in. I didn’t let those little things keep from coming to the gym that I love and trying to work towards my goal. I am not saying that any of this is easy. It is hard, very hard to not let excuses keep you out of the gym.


I have learned from experience and from watching other people that any time you let yourself slack it makes it harder and harder to show back up. When you decide that sleeping in or taking a nap three days in a row is better than getting up and going to the
gym, then that fourth day is going to feel like death. When you decide that you need to take your gym membership out of your budget for the summer, when the school year starts back you might not come back. When you decide that you just aren’t feeling it one week and don’t show up, well guess what buddy, the next week is going to suck. It doesn’t ever turn out good for you or your body. You end up so sore, so tired, and then the cycle continues.


So why is it important to keep showing up? The moral of the story is that if you want to become #EVERYDAYBETTER, you show up regardless. You keep your mind and body your priority and you take care of it. You don’t let that little voice in your head tell you it isn’t important. That the workout is too easy or too hard. That no one wants to be your partner on Wednesdays. That you aren’t good at overhead squats so don’t bother going. That no one will notice you aren’t there. You tell that little voice to shut it. You show that voice who is boss. Show up and be so ROWDY. Crush the work out and give it your best effort. Don’t worry about what you can’t do but be focused on getting better. EVERYDAYBETTER.

- Coach Morgan

I Scaled Though...

Coach: “What was your time?”
Athlete: “13:21. I scaled, though.”

Every time I hear someone give their score followed by a ‘scaling confession,’ my heart breaks. As if scaling undermines all the blood, sweat and tears (sometimes literally) that you just put in during that workout. Give yourself some (or a lot of) credit! You showed up, didn’t you? Tried your hardest? Sweat a little? Got your heart rate up? Maybe even had…fun!? GASP! So what if you scaled? BE PROUD of the work you just put in!

Scaling is NOT something to be ashamed of. Maybe you are scaling because you want to focus on your technique rather than worrying about the actual weight you move. Maybe you are dealing with an injury, coming back from an injury, or trying to avoid an injury. Maybe you are having a bad day. Or maybe the weight is simply too heavy or your skill level isn’t at an RX level yet – and hey, that’s ok! These are all perfectly good reasons to scale! Some are even very RESPONSIBLE reasons, I might add. As long as you tried your hardest, got a good workout in, and scaling allowed you to retain the integrity of the workout - that’s what matters most to me (and that you hopefully had fun while doing it).

I remember seeing this Facebook post a few years ago, and it always kinda stayed with me.

https://www.facebook.com/journalMENU/posts/602691066409532:0

As athletes, we ARE ALL works in progress; working to become better, faster, stronger, more skilled. Whether you scale or RX the workout, own it! Be proud of your score. Own every grueling moment that you pushed through to get that score!

So next time you call your score out to your coach, try saying, “13:21, scaled.” Full stop. And put your equipment away knowing you’re a total badass.

- Coach Rachelle

Athlete to "Preglete"

I have dreamt of being a mother my entire life, but I will be completely honest when I say I was not and probably never will emotionally prepared for everything that comes with that sweet little laugh we all love so much! Going from top 300 in the Crossfit open to waddling through workouts at 8 months pregnant while crying to fighting my way back to being competitively good in the sport all while juggling depression, work, my husband and my new life who is completely dependent on me is a very hard task.
 

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Becka

 

&
Ella

CrossFit Mommy Vol. 3

Before getting into all the details you should all know that I have always struggled with depression and anxiety, and all those hormones didn't do me (or my husband ) any favors. Pre Ella, my almost 10 month old, I was killing the fitness game, y'all. I was top 300 in the open that year, and wondering who the heck that Morgan Pye girl was that was tying me in all the open workouts. Everything was going so well and I was on the path to another awesome year in CrossFit until one simple daily WOD of thrusters and double unders had me breathless and doing 1-2 reps at a time. A few days later we find out we were pregnant!! There were so many emotions... so many emotions. I was happy I was getting what I always dreamed of, but depression quickly followed.

I fought that depression all the way up until little miss was born. When you have depression and anxiety you don't always know why you are experiencing those feelings. I was scared to be a terrible mother. I remember being in the shower and just crying because of the unknown. What if she doesn't like me? What if I don't know what to do? I have to keep her alive?! What if I did too many HSPU? All the "what ifs". I went from RX+ workouts and crushing everyone to scaling the scaled workouts and not finishing at all. As a competitive athlete one of the worst feelings in the world is watching everyone get better and you just feel fat and tired when all you did was bend over. I heard "you're pregnant though." too much for my own good. I just mentally shut down. Pregnancy was not great for me emotionally and it did not look good on me, but the day we had her will always be the best day of my life. I'd relive that moment 1000 times.
 

We chose to get induced at 39.5 weeks and I am totally happy with our decision to do so. Ella is a perfectly healthy, happy baby who has blessed us with an awesome sleep habit since she was 2 weeks old. While seem to recover pretty well and quick after giving birth (my body is freakishly fast at everything), having a mishap with the epidural left me with tons of nerve pain in my back. My back will forever be my biggest fear to conquer in Crossfit. Back squats, GHD, kipping, and deadlifts all are my biggest weaknesses now due to the damage I got from the epidural, it through my timeline off... a lot. My timeline and vision of how things would be when I got back into working out was SO OFF AND SO WRONG. So many times I cried (still do...), I stopped working out for weeks (still do...), I made excuses (still do...) before I realized that it's okay to want to workout for FUN and it should not feel like a job! My husband gets me in the gym everyday making sure I just get something done and to keep my depression from rearing its ugly head too much, and I cannot thank him enough for that. He keeps me active, sane and loving every second of my life with my family.

While most of this blog seems as if I am/was overly depressed, I do not wish I had experienced this any different or any other way. I am a mom to the most beautiful daughter in the world, wife to the (one day) fittest man alive , and a full time caring, working, selfless person which I am so proud of. Don't get it twisted when I say I am okay with doing CrossFitfor fun, the competitiveness comes out every once and a while-- it just doesn't involve so many tears when I suck at something. No matter how much I suck at CrossFit that day, Ella is loving my presence every single second, winning or losing.

When Bouncing Back Doesn't Happen

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CrossFit Mommy Blog Part Two

By Coach Rachelle

My postpartum CrossFit journey has not been anything near what I expected. I worked out my entire pregnancy, still setting PRs (like my 135# snatch, oh how I miss you!) and managing to RX many WODs along the way. In fact, I RX’d the WOD on Cole’s due date. Not bragging – just setting the stage to make it all that much easier to understand how my reality and expectations for postpartum CrossFit life were quickly shattered.

When I got pregnant, I was the fittest I had ever been in my life. I’ve never been, nor will I ever be, a Regionals-caliber CrossFitter, but I could confidently say I was the “world’s most okay-est CrossFitter.” 😉 Since I was able to continue working out during my pregnancy “pretty easily,” making modifications and scaling as appropriate, I thought that after the standard 8-week postpartum recovery period, I’d be able to get back at it and return to my old CrossFit self in no time. Even those around me were confident that I’d “bounce back – give it three months, no problem!” However, time would prove that wouldn’t be my reality.

But before I get to what CrossFit has been like for me postpartum, let’s address how labor and birth affected my postpartum journey. Being that I was so active during my pregnancy, I am stubborn by nature, I am very flexible and have good mobility, and have a high tolerance for pain, I was confident that I was ready for the intensity of labor. I knew labor was going to be VERY HARD, VERY PAINFUL, and EXHAUSTING, but I was ready. I welcomed it as a challenge to overcome. Being a “California hippy” at heart, I wanted to have an unmedicated birth. (Everyone’s birth plan is a very PERSONAL CHOICE and there is no right or wrong way to do it. I chose my birth plan because it’s what my husband and I felt was the best choice for us, and I respect the choices that everyone else makes with their birth plan, no matter how much it may or may not resemble our own. Seriously, when it comes to birth – to each their own!) Anyways, to make a long story short, when it came time for Cole to arrive, NOTHING went according to plan. I labored for nearly 15 hours without an epidural. He went into distress, his heart rate was plummeting, and I was sent off to the O.R. for an emergency C-section. Since I hadn’t had an epidural and they had to get him out IMMEDIATELY, I had to be put completely under.

As in, I wasn’t awake when he was born.

Let that sink in for a minute…


You can probably imagine, to this day, the heartache I feel for not having been “present” for the birth of my son.

Since my birth experience took a dramatically different course than I expected, my recovery and return to CrossFit couldn’t have been any further from my expectations. Y’all a C-section is NO JOKE. It baffles me to think there are actually people who believe it’s the “easy way out.” IT’S NOT. It’s major abdominal surgery with the potential for serious and fatal complications and sometimes a not-so-pleasant recovery. To this day, almost a year postpartum, I STILL have tenderness and occasional pain in my lower abdomen.

After having Cole, returning to CrossFit has been a very long and slow-moving journey. There have been many times where I felt like I was moving backwards. When I was given clearance to start working out, I still believed that despite the physical toll the C-section had taken on my body, I could “bounce back in three months, no problem.” I just had to focus, right? Go to the gym 5-6 times a week like I used to? Meal prep like I once did? Get plenty of sleep every night? The reality is that my baby and family are now my number one priority. I’d LOVE to focus on my fitness, meal prepping, and working out as much as I used to – it’s just not realistic at this point in my life. Those things have taken a backseat to being a mom and caring for my baby.

With a very physically traumatic birth (I can’t even begin to describe the physical pain I was in for months, the amount of bruising I had, the numbness in my midsection that lasted well over half a year, the tenderness I still experience on a regular basis), CrossFit postpartum has been very PHYSICALLY challenging. I remember the first time I tried to do toes-to-bar after returning to the gym – my lower abdomen felt like it was being ripped in half. Sit ups, same thing. I was quickly hit with the harsh reality that my body PHYSICALLY wasn’t going to be returning to normal anytime soon, if ever.

In addition to physical setbacks, I’ve been an EMOTIONAL wreck. With a birth that, in my eyes, went so terribly wrong, I felt like a failure (and still do). I felt like I had failed my son, my husband, and myself. And while the doctor and nurses did everything right and I was well taken care of, the actual experience of an emergency C-section was beyond traumatizing and has seriously screwed me up. It took me a long time to realize that I was suffering from postpartum depression and postpartum PTSD (yes, that’s a real thing). Here’s the thing about postpartum depression and PTSD – they are not “one size fits all.” They manifest themselves in all sorts of ways: anxiety, depression, crying, worrying, lack of motivation, self-harm, obsessive behaviors, eating disorders, reclusiveness, social anxieties, and so on. I had someone ask me at one point if I thought I had postpartum depression (at the time, I didn’t realize I did) and when I said no, they said “Yeah, you don’t look depressed.” Y’all - just because I washed my hair and put eyeliner on, doesn’t mean I didn’t also spend over an hour crying on the shower floor, full of self-hating thoughts. Depression doesn’t LOOK like anything in particular.

Now, you’re probably wondering what the heck this has to do with my CrossFit journey…. imagine that you’re dealing with all this emotional turmoil and then the ONE THING that once made you feel REALLY good about yourself (CrossFit, for me in this case) now makes you feel like a failure too. THAT SUCKS. THAT REALLY, REALLY SUCKS. I found myself crying after every workout (sometimes at the gym; sometimes I was able to keep it together long enough until the car ride home). “I suck at birth. I suck as a mother. I suck as a wife. And now I suck at CrossFit too.” There have LITERALLY been days where I’ve said to my husband, “I’m done with CrossFit! DONE! What’s the point?” I know, dramatic, right? But this is real life! This is what it feels like to try to live in the shadow of your former CrossFit self.

In addition to all this, sleep deprivation has played a major role in how difficult my “comeback” has been. My sweet boy was once a good sleeper. Then, that first sleep regression hit and nothing has been the same since. I have gone probably over eight months on very, very, very, VERY little sleep. On the rare occasion where I do manage to get some sleep the night before, the difference in how I feel and my performance in the gym is unbelievable. Ryan’s recent post on the importance of sleep couldn’t be any more accurate. And I didn’t truly appreciate the value of getting enough sleep, until it wasn’t an option for me anymore.

Now, I know some of you might be thinking, “Could she complain anymore? Shouldn’t she just be grateful to have a healthy baby?” I am beyond grateful. My son is the most incredible blessing in the world and I’d give my life for him, HANDS DOWN. Here’s the thing - as women and mothers, there are so many expectations of us. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have feelings. So many things are still considered “too taboo” to discuss in our society, but it’s important that we try and talk about it because sooooo many women and mothers deal with these sorts of things on a regular basis. I am sharing my story in hopes that other moms will know they aren’t alone. That our stories of struggle are the NORM, not the exception - they just aren’t talked about nearly enough. When you read all three blogs from Morgan, Becka and myself in this “3-part CrossFit Mom" series, you’ll notice that despite each of us having very different stories, there are some very similar underlying themes throughout our journeys.

It's taken almost a year for me a slowly forgive myself for not being the athlete I once was and expected to be postpartum. These days, instead of getting upset with myself, I am very grateful if I'm able to make it to the gym more than twice a week and I am ELATED if I manage to get within 20lbs of any previous PRs. Land a top 5 stop on the leaderboard for that day’s WOD? MY MONTH HAS BEEN MADE!

For me now, it's about showing up and having a good time with my friends and staying active enough to set a healthy example for my son. I hope that with time, as he gets older and life maybe becomes a little less crazy, I will be able to work out a little more regularly and focus on my fitness a bit more. In the meantime, I will try to forgive myself for not being the athlete I once was and instead indulge in all these sweet baby snuggles and kisses while I still can because those too, like my current lack of fitness, will one day be a distant memory.

Where did my body go? A postpartum CrossFit athlete's journey.

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Where did my body go?

A postpartum CrossFit athlete's journey.

My entire life I have always been scared of getting pregnant just for the idea of “getting fat”. I have always wanted kids, but never wanted the things that happen to your body when you get pregnant and have them. I think that is pretty natural, the fear of the unknown. I have been an athlete my entire life. Between school, club, college, I never really had a time in my life where I wasn’t fit. The idea of not being fit/skinny/in shape was terrifying. That’s why I always thought pregnancy just might not be for me.

Fast forward to 2013, I started crossFit. I drank the Kool-Aid. I found my competitive drive again. I was ready to go hard and never go home. By 2014 I was in the best shape of my life. We opened Ransom and I was working out harder than I have in my life. My body was pretty close to my goal body and I was so happy. 2015 I tore my ACL, was set back a little, and had a killer comeback. By the end of 2015 I was back to tip top shape and in my body again. The 2016 Open came and I felt great and I was doing so well. I finally thought. . . THIS IS IT! Then comes April 2016. Wam
Bam. I’m pregnant.

I didn’t skip a beat working out. I kept at it because I wanted to stay healthy and keep MY body as long as possible. Selfish, I know. But the fear of FAT FAT FAT was looming and I was going to do everything I could to not gain my body weight with a baby. Modifications started happening the further along I got, and the insecurities began in my work out world. I CAN’T do this I CAN’T do that, but MORGAN, YOU HAVE A BABY GROWING INSIDE OF YOU! I had to keep reminding myself that what I was doing was amazing and that the gym was way less important that our future child. That was SO HARD. When you can’t run a mile without stopping, things get a little tough mentally after that point. My endurance went down, my strength in some areas went up, it was like a roller coaster.

Fast forward to December 2016. My water broke. At the gym. GAME ON PEOPLE! Judah, my son, showed up and life was wonderful. By the time I got home I was ready to start moving again. Getting back to life as usual. We went for our first walk aaaaaand we made it a block! What?? How could I only walk a block and be completely winded?? That’s when it hit me. Ohhhhh boy. This is going to be a journey that is slow and steady. If you know anything about me, I don’t do slow and steady. Waiting 6 weeks to get back to the gym was downright depressing. There were so many days that I would stare in the mirror and cry. I would put on clothes and just get depressed. I would look at myself and think, where did my body go? I tried wall pushups in the shower and my arms would hurt after 10. I would try to do shallow squats and my legs would burn after 10. My back felt broken from changing diapers and picking up my tiny little child. Y’all, I felt like someone else. I used to be strong, confident, independent, but now I didn’t know what I was. The gym helped me figure out who I was and not having that for 6 weeks was emotionally and mentally damaging. My first workout back was an all body weight workout and I was sore for days. Do you understand how hard it is to walk into a place that once made you so happy but now you feel so depressed? I struggled to get myself to even go. I kept asking myself, WHAT’S THE POINT? I CAN’T DO ANYTHING ANYWAYS. I kept comparing myself to my old self and it would crush me. Oh cool, we have sit ups today? Great, I can’t do 10 without my abs wanting to explode. Oh cool, we have heavy squats? Great, I can maybe do 100 pounds (which for me is not much). I couldn’t go every day because well, baby, and the fact that my body would be so sore that I needed a day off. My pull ups sucked, running, sucked, heavy weights killed me, it just wasn’t the same. Again, I kept thinking, where did my body go and when am I going to get it back?

I am going to be real honest. While all of this was happening to my body my struggle with my self-worth was real (which has always been put into my athletic abilities) and my self-confidence was at an all-time low, I was also learning how to be a mom for the first time. I was learning how to be a full time working mom. I was learning how to love my husband and my child and myself. I was learning how to balance working out and being healthy and being a mom. Do you know how hard that is? REALLY HARD. I have never been an overly emotional person. I have prided myself on my ability to be tough, thick skinned, and a no BS Kind of chick. Well, all of that went out the window. I worried about everything, cried WAY too much, compared myself to every other possible human, and doubted my ability to do anything well. I can’t. I won’t. I will never be able to. All flooded my brain.

Soooooo this chick got on meds. Meds that will help with all of this. Help me be me again. Help me find myself and figure out life. It took me awhile to make the decision, but once I did, things started to turn around. It has been 9 months since the birth of our son. 7.5 months since I have been back in the gym. 6 months since I have been on meds. Many things have changed for me, but there is still so much that I can’t do like I used to. There are movements that haven’t come back for me, like bar muscle ups. There are weights that I see that I “should do” and instead of trying to lift them, I just laugh. There are days when I see the workout and just think to myself, this is going to be terrible because I am not who I used to be. But my outlook has changed so much. I come to the gym just happy that I made it in the door. I come to the gym to sweat and get a good work out. I come to the gym to lift weights and be in misery with my closest friends. I come to the gym to be a good example for my son. I come to the gym so that other moms can see that it can be done. No excuses.

Being an athlete is who I am, it’s who I will always be. Will I ever be the Morgan I was before kids again? Maybe, but I am the Morgan who has a son now. I am learning not to compare the two. I am learning how to be this new person and accept it. Do I take working out as seriously as I used to? Nope. Do I still struggle with what I see in the mirror? Yup, daily. Do I still want to crush a workout? You bet. My priorities have changed but I refuse to give up on me. I will take it one day at a time and I will get better, faster, and stronger. It just might not be in the time frame I am wanting to see. How much weight I can squat and how many unbroken pull-ups I can do aren’t my focus anymore. I want to be the best wife I can be first, the best mom I can be second, and the best athlete I can be third. I will get in the gym and keep working hard but now I know that my identity isn’t in the gym and that is okay. Every day has it’s struggles but I will keep moving forward and getting #everydaybetter.

- Morgan

Sleep, The Most Important Thing You Don't Take Seriously

If you are reading this blog, odds are, you are a CrossFitter. Or at least someone who trains a few times a week. In my years of working in fitness, I have found that while people have a variety of reasons they choose to exercise, most of them include health and "looking better naked" on the list of reasons. People will go to the gym multiple times a week and get after it to chase those goals. Many will spend $100+ on supplements to help with the pursuit of pumping iron. Others spend hours meal prepping for the week and counting their macros (and bringing portable scales to restaurants) to improve their back squats, lower their blood pressure, or drop a dress size or two. That's a lot of hard work! The crazy thing is the same people can do one pretty easy thing to help increase their performance, drop some fat, and live a better life and it is like trying to catch a greased pig to get them on board with it. This little thing is called "SLEEP".

"Oh, you want me to jump over this little wire 1,000 times without stopping? No problem. Wait, you want me to sleep 7+ hours? That's asking TOO MUCH."

"Oh, you want me to jump over this little wire 1,000 times without stopping? No problem. Wait, you want me to sleep 7+ hours? That's asking TOO MUCH."

The National Sleep Foundation (yes, that's a thing I didn't just make up) suggests adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep a night (and kiddos need more). The Center for Disease Control reports that roughly 1/3 of adults sleep 6 hours or less per night. So we don't sleep enough but why should you care about that? Well...

  1. Not getting enough sleep makes you hungry (even if you are NOT hungry). This is a little complicated and science and boring and I am trying to keep you guys all the way to the end of the article but essentially not sleeping enough messes with some hormonal signals (cortisol, ghrelin, & leptin) that handle hunger cues. So your body doesn't actually need the calories it is telling you it needs. And you're grumpy because you didn't sleep enough. Add in a little hunger and you are full blown hangry. Nobody needs that person in their office at 3pm, Diane...On the science side, a study done by the Mayo Clinic found that by cutting 80 minutes out of the research pool's regular sleep schedule, the participants ate 549 more calories the following day. 
  2. Not sleeping enough can make it easier to store food as fat. Your body seems to be "less good" and producing the right amount of insulin if you didn't sleep. Insulin is (for the purposes of this completely elementary explanation of how you metabolize food) like the garbage truck collecting all those carbs you just shoveled down and taking them to the dump. That dump is your love handles, pal (or hips or stomach or wherever you hold fat the easiest). In addition, not properly regulating insulin makes it more likely that your body won't respond correctly to insulin in the future.

Ok, so you get that sleep is good for you. If not, here is some more stuff that you might ignore but we will give it a shot anyways:

  • A meta-analysis showed that people who "didn't get enough sleep" were 50% more likely to be obese (and kids that didn't get enough sleep were 90% more likely to be obese) than their peers getting appropriate amounts of sleep.
  • A lab controlled study done by the University of Chicago found that, "Participants who slept for 5.5 hours lost 55 percent less body fat, and 60 percent more of their lean body mass than those who slept for longer." (Both groups were on a 550 caloric deficit).
  • Recent studies point to a lack of sleep increasing inflammation and even messing with your guy flora. (If you workout hard already, you do NOT want to add more inflammation into your world.)
  • University of Cal-Berkely found that sleep deprivation decreased your frontal lobe activity (this is the "complex decision making" part of the brain) and increased the activity in the mesolimbic pathway (which is the "reward center" of the brain) which just so happens to light up like a Christmas tree when you eat the foods you love. Like Little Debbie® Christmas Tree Cakes (aka sugar and whatever else makes them last for 10 years without expiring).

Take home point: Sleep. You need to prioritize your sleep if you a) want to be healthier b) want to look sexier in that new Target bathing suit you got on the end of the season 40% off clearance rack and c) want to improve your athletic performance. 7 to 9 hours. Do it. What's the worst that could happen? You have to wait to watch the 4th season of Parks and Rec until tomorrow even though you have seen it 5 times already and have, literally, dreamed of opening your own Entertainment 720. It could be worse. You could be from Eagleton, Indiana.