Well, the new year is well under way and I can’t believe it’s already March! It’s around this time of the year, it seems, that many forget all about the resolutions and goals they set for themselves just a couple of months ago. I hope you aren’t one of those people! If you decided that 2017 was going to be different, don’t worry, you still have a lot of time left to keep working, so don’t give up now!
As for me, in January, I posted my fitness and nutrition goals for the year. I committed myself to 3 months (90 days) of attending CrossFit 5-6 days per week and tracking my macros. I can happily report that I’m right on track with that goal, but not without my fair share of missteps along the way.
I have been attending CrossFit classes 5-6 days per week since late December and boy do I LOVE IT. But, man, talk about the realization that I never learned how to properly lift weights… It took me all of thirty seconds to acknowledge that I was mildly out of place when standing next to people who have been doing this for years and could easily bench press 16 of me. Even after over two months of attending classes, I still feel like a fish out of water most days!
I started in Function, a class my CrossFit gym offers to newbies as a way to let them dip their toes in the water of CrossFit. Function classes are coached to focus very closely on form and technique, which this girl very much appreciated (not trying to deal with another injury after finally healing my hamstring)! In Function, I learned some of the basics of lifting, a few traditional CrossFit moves, and that anything involving the Assault AirBike (AAB) is the worst thing ever.
I was really surprised how quickly I began to feel stronger. The first thing I noticed after about 3 weeks of classes was my leg stability had greatly improved. I never realized before how important this was, but now, I feel like my hamstring is actually supporting my knee in most movements.
After a little over a month in Function, I moved to traditional CrossFit classes and have been attending those ever since.
Since moving to CrossFit classes, I have learned a myriad of new moves that I had never tried (or even heard of) before. Obviously, I’m still working hard to improve upon my form, technique, and strength. Truthfully, a lot of the moves that I’ve never done before feel REALLY awkward and I constantly struggle to remember what part of my body needs to be where. For example, the other day, a coach told me to pull the barbell up closer to my body and, what did I do? I smashed the barbell into my nose. That’s about as close to my body as it gets…
In addition to the “barbell-to-nose” incident, my awkwardness in lifting has lead to some crazy bruising from that lovely barbell smashing into my shins while practicing power cleans and on my collarbone from front squatting. Plus, my legs are just littered with bruises from foam rolling and using a lacrosse ball pre-/post-workout. Imagine me trying to explain to my doctor that she doesn’t need to be worried about the bruises, and that I swear they are from CrossFit, and not physical altercations… I do not think she bought into my story…
Walking! Wow, did I forget about how much I love to walk outside. It is 100x better than walking on a treadmill. Plus, this dog of mine is plenty of motivation to pound the pavement around the neighborhood for 45 minutes a day, otherwise he’s insane all night (actually, let’s be real, he’s insane all night regardless of whether or not we go for a walk, but I’ll pretend that walking him sort of helps).
I’ve been using walking as my form of LISS as well as my excuse to get away from my computer, stop thinking about work, and tune in to my favorite podcasts. It really is a very relaxing activity that allows me to get outside and clear my head. I will say, however, that I utilize walking as a very intentional form of exercise. Rowsdower and I are walking at a very quick and steady pace. This is to ensure that I keep my heart rate up and so he doesn’t stand and smell and pee on everything in a two mile radius…..
HIIT? Not so much.
I’ve pretty much completely stopped all forms of HIIT that I had previously been doing. No spinning and no treadmill sprints. I reallllyyyyy miss spinning, but if we’re going to live in a genuine reality, there’s no way I can afford a CrossFit membership, a spin membership, and plan a wedding (did I mention that Ryan and I are engaged?!!) at this point. I do, however, think I’ll try and budget a class pack of some sorts back at my old spinning studio because spinning is easily my favorite form of cardio (actually, it’s the only form of cardio I like). We’ll see!
I’m still tracking away! I’ve been working with the same macro nutrition coach since late December 2016. She is so helpful and so realistic about body composition and sustainability. It’s not about continually cutting carbs to see the weight shed off within weeks, it’s slow and steady. I’ve never done something so intentional in regards to my nutrition ever. A year ago, when I was tracking my macros, I would just keep cutting and cutting and cutting, because hey, I saw results! But, obviously this sort of restriction never works, and you know how the saying goes, “old habits die hard,” and I went on an all out binge.
Honestly, though, I think I needed to go through my roller coaster of crash dieting and crash macroing before I ever would have been successful in this new journey. The continuous cycle of losing weight quickly, only to regain it back even quicker taught me that this really is a lifelong experience and, when you constantly cut your calories and carb intake, you’re going to be a) miserable and, b) gain it all back and more. Not worth it to me.
So, what does this mean for my body composition now? Well, I by no means have an amazingly impressive before-and-after photo collage to share with you! I’ve barely lost a pound in two months and I’m 110% happy with that. I feel energized to get through my workouts and to get through my day-to-day tasks post-workout, which was something I always struggled with when I was doing HIIT workouts 6 days per week and maintaining a crazy low carb intake.
My macro counting journey has been mostly very positive and successful, but has not gone without some missteps. I don’t know why, but rest days are ROUGH for me when it comes to nutrition. Not only am I allotted less carbs (because, hello, I’m practically sedentary on rest days aside from walking Rowsdower), but I’m at home a lot longer when I’m not preparing, traveling to/from, and working out at the gym. Usually, when I feel like I’m setting myself up to fail on a particular day, I try and turn the switch on in my mind that says “SARA, MY LORD, YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY, YOU JUST ATE THREE BOWLS OF CEREAL, GO SIT DOWN,” but this doesn’t work all the time. Ugh. Cereal is my kryptonite. And popcorn. And protein balls.
On a few occasions, I disappointed myself and had a full-on binge session. For no reason at all. It wasn’t because I was at a social gathering, or for a celebration, or anything at all. I was at home, alone, and had 0.00 willpower.
When I binge, I eat to a degree that is not smart and in no way a physically or mentally healthy act. I’m working on it. It’s a state of mind that I need to address on a daily basis.
More often than not, however, I am able to keep within my allotted numbers and hit my macros without going over, especially as of recently after my coach suggested trying a “paleo plus rice” approach. This has been really successful thus far and my ridiculous carb cravings have subsided for the most part.
Just going to keep on keeping on over here! I am definitely sticking with CrossFit as well as tracking my macros. CrossFit because I know that I am getting strong, mentally and physically, and tracking macros because seeing the actual numbers in front of me provides me a sense of certainty about my food intake. I am not an analytical or data-driven or numbers person by any means (really, ask my Dad about our fun experience of him tutoring me while I was in 7th grade pre-algebra….not great), but the graphs and charts on My Fitness Pal are so helpful. Plus, I don’t feel like I’m boxed into a corner with a diet already more restrictive than I need it to be.
I do think I want to make an honest effort to incorporate HIIT again, at least one day a week. But, we’ll see about that. Maybe you guys can help me to convince Ryan that a membership at a spin studio is totally worth it and is totally an investment because, ya know, health and stuff. We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.
What has everyone been up to the last few months? If you’ve started a new workout or nutrition regimen, I’d love to know!