Archive for February 2014

Crossfit dropout

Friday, February 28, 2014

So I quit CrossFit.  I'm not sure if this is a temporary thing or if I am just "taking a break", but for now I am done.  I just can't handle it anymore.  There are a few things that have led to this decision and I am going to discuss them in this post.  I have done lots of Google searching on the topic and I have not found that many articles on the topic.  If you have stumbled upon this post while looking for information regarding the combination of topics including: CrossFit, motherhood, young children, working, cults, and divorce, please look no further.  Hopefully I can help you out.

Why I quit CrossFit

Just a little background on my CrossFit experience for those of you who have not been following along from the beginning.  My husband started doing CrossFit back in September of 2012 after getting a Groupon deal for the Foundations* level class.  At the time that he started CrossFit, I was about 8 weeks pregnant and under fairly strict orders not to exercise.  I figured that since the membership was a steep $180 a month, that it would be a try it out and then go back to working out at our regular gym type of thing.  Well, it wasn't.  He ended up sticking with it and even competing not long after "graduating" from the Foundations* level class.  

CrossFit became the source of lots of tension in our marriage, right from the beginning.  He started spending hours upon hours at his box* every night while I sat at home on my lonely, hormonal, pregnant arse.  Of course, I was jealous.  I wasn't just jealous of the time that he was spending there, but I was jealous of the people that he was spending time with...lots of early to mid 20-something girls.  Justified or not, CrossFit was driving me crazy.

After I had the baby, I figured that he would back off of the CrossFit for a while, and he did, but not for long enough.  Soon he was back at full-throttle, once again, only now he was at a different box* that his friend opened and he was a key-holding/investing member.  To my surprise I became even more jealous and resentful because of his new-found friends, new diet, and physique.  We had several ugly fights on the topic.  It wasn't pretty.  I can't you how many times I Googled "Does CrossFit cause divorce?" because I was seriously worried that this stupid "sport" was going to ruin our relationship.  My husband transformed into a different person who's life revolved around the CrossFit schedule, people, way of eating, way of thinking, etc.  Is this common?  I'm not sure, but I think that if both people in a relationship are immersed in the cult-like attitude of CrossFit then it is less of an issue.

Once I got back into shape, he suggested I try our CrossFit...just to see if I might like it.  He was so enthusiastic about it that I signed up for the Foundations* level class.  He even bought me some fancy CrossFit clothes and shoes so that I "fit in" with everyone else.  I liked it a lot and yet hated it with a passion all at the same time.  Here is why I quit.

1.  The class schedule is too rigid.  There is a reason why most of the members are single people in their early to mid-20s.  It is very difficult for the full-time working, breastfeeding, mommy of a 10 month old to get to the gym several days a week at the SAME EXACT TIME.  It was either go right after work at 5 PM and only see the baby for 30 minutes a day or drag my exhausted butt there at 7 PM for a crazy and intense workout when I have to get up at 4:30 AM the next morning.  Not to mention I have a CrossFit crazed husband who also has to make it to one of the workouts.  Sometimes I only have time for a 30 minute workout and sometimes that workout is at 5:30 PM and sometimes it is at 6:30 PM.  I just never know what my son's schedule is going to be or what WOD* my husband is going to be attending..  Oh and there is one class on Saturday and one on Sunday, that's it, so if you can't make it because you have baby swim lessons you are SOL.

2.  It is way too expensive.  I understand that "you get what you pay for" and if I were to hire a personal trainer, I would be spending a whole heck of a lot more than $180 a month, but this is not personal training that I am getting.  There are up to 20 people in one class and so you get occasional feedback on your technique, performance, scaling measure, etc.  It is not always consistent and definitely not 1-on-1.

3.  The gym is really, really, dirty.  I know that all gyms are a little bit gross.  You always hear about MRSA or staph infections being contracted from the local Gold's Gym.  At least those places are getting cleaned on a nightly basis.  The same cannot be said for the box* that I was attending.  The members joke about not wearing black because you will be able to see all of the dirt, dust, and hair that is sticking to you every time that you hit the deck for a burpee*.  They don't have the place professionally cleaned and when it is cleaned, it is one of the coaches doing it after working a full day.  So yeah, it basically is never cleaned.  One girl even contracted ring worm...gross.

4.  I have a YMCA membership.  I am paying close to $100 a month for a YMCA membership so that my sister can work out and so that B can attend weekly swimming lessons.  I haven't been to that gym to work out in quite a while so I am basically paying for nothing.  I would really like to get back to swimming once a week myself, which brings me to my next reason...

5.  No time for any other cross-training.  Besides the swimming, I also really like yoga and I wasn't able to practice it for a while because of my c-section and then my diastasis recti.  I really want to get back into it, but with CrossFit and running there just wasn't any time (or money) for that.

6.  I am much more concerned with running PRs than squat snatching* ones.  At least 90% of the people that I met through CrossFit used it at their only form of exercise and thus were very interested in lifting continually heavier weights.  The RX* weights at the CrossFit box* that I was attending are, in my humble opinion, very high for most people, women especially.  I don't ever want to be able to do 15 reps of a 95# squat snatch*, it just isn't a part of my life goals or interests.  Just lift lighter weight then, you might be thinking.  Well, if you lift lighter weights you get "harassed" (they don't publicly ridicule you or anything, I just can't think of a better term) for not working hard enough.  I just want to shout at the coaches, "I could kick your asses at a 5k!!"

7.  Every workout is a competition.  I am a very competitive person which is why I love running races.  I am type A so I am always concerned about doing a better job than the person next to me.  I don't like competing during every workout: for time, for reps, for weight.  You do the workout and then you have to write your "score" on the white board for everyone to see.  It is quite stressful.  Once in a while a little competition is good, but I don't think that EVERY workout should be a contest.

8.  Every workout is a community* event.  Ick.  I hate the word community,* when referenced by CrossFit.  To me it sounds like a religion or a cult.  I mentioned that each there are up to 20 people in a class, which means that some workouts are done in heats (you have to watch other people before or after you do your workout).  The workouts that are done for a certain amount of reps can take one person 5 minutes and another 20 minutes, but you have to wait for EVERYONE to finish before you can leave.  I actually got scolded once for starting to dismantle my barbell before someone was done with their pull-ups.  I have a baby, people.  He needs to be put to bed on a schedule!

9.  Rhabdo*.  Yes, it is a taboo word in the CrossFit world and most CrossFitters will tell you that they have only heard stories about friends of friends getting it.  Well, in just the last month, TWO people at the CrossFit box* that I was going to got Rhabdo* and ended up in the hospital for days with CK levels in the thousands.  Ummmm no thanks.  

10.  (Most) people that do CrossFit, live CrossFit.  Not love, live.  Yes, their lives revolve around CrossFit.  They blog about it.  They post on FB and Instagram about it.  They eat Paleo and talk about eating Paleo.  They talk about how their lives have been forever changed by CrossFit.  They only associate with other CrossFit members.  They want to explain the WOD* to you, talk about how they kicked that "girl's"* ass, or how great their thrusters*, snatches*, and jerks* are (yes, for some reason lots of CrossFit terms have a sexual slang associated with them...hmmm).  YUUUUCK!!

11.  The CrossFit Open.  For those athletes that are very serious and train for competitions, I don't have an issue with this.  For the rest of the average Joes out there, doing the CrossFit Open workouts doesn't make sense to me.  My super in-shape CrossFit competing husband can't get through all of those crazy workouts so how can a person fresh out of the Foundations* level class do them?  Why should they try and risk injury and frustration because there are no scaling options?  The coaches where I was were seriously pushing EVERYONE to sign up.  I had to hear about it every day when we were warming up and it started getting on my nerves.  I think that only people who have all of the movements down and with proper form, should be allowed/encouraged to sign up for this yearly event

12.  You need to purchase a new wardrobe to fit in.  If you don't have the Nanos*, the bright colored knee socks, the skimpy spandex shorts, and loose tank top then you stick out like a sore thumb.

13.  If you don't CrossFit, don't bother working out.  CrossFit members think that CrossFit is the only form of exercise that is worth doing and they make fun of people that go to "regular" gyms.  They laugh at runners or bikers because they really do think that CrossFit is the only way that you can get in a good workout.  I found this out the hard way when my husband told me that running distance was bad for me.  Never mind the 75 year old nun that does IronMan triathlons.

14.  You need a CrossFit dictionary to know what they are talking about.

CROSSFIT TERMS DEFINED
Foundations- "Training" that you must take before you can be released into the CrossFit wild.
Box- The CrossFit facility.
WOD- Workout of the day.  There is one workout a day and everyone does it.
Burpee- A common CrossFit move where you hit the deck (chest to floor) then bounce up on your feet and clap.  You do this multiple times.
Community- The CrossFit members.
RX- The prescribed weight for an exercise to be done.
Rhabdo- The CrossFit mascot.  Short for Rhabdomyolysis which is caused by overexertion of muscles which results in the breakdown of muscle fibers and releases their contents into the bloodstream.  This can overload the kidneys and cause death.
Thrusters- See this YouTube video.
Snatches- See this YouTube video.
Jerks- See this YouTube video.
Nanos- Reebok's CrossFit shoe that every CrossFit member MUST have.

So after listing out these 13 reasons why I quit CrossFit you would think that there is nothing in life that I hate more than CrossFit.  Even though my husband would like to think that this is true, it isn't.  I think that the concept behind CrossFit is a really great one.  Having people get together to exercise is better than a lot of other things that you could be doing.  CrossFit (or at least the box* that I was going to) encourages warming-up properly before each workout, dynamic workouts, and then the WOD*, which is always thoroughly explained and demonstrated.  I think that I would be more likely to go back if they did the following:

1.  Split up the classes so that the competitive athletes are working out together and those that are just in it for the cross-training are working out together.  That way there is no peer pressure to lift weights that are too heavy or sacrifice your form so that you go to fast and end up hurting yourself.

2.  More weekend classes.  Not everyone can go mid-morning on a weekend.  

3.  Invest in a professional cleaning service.

4.  Most importantly- stop with the elitist attitude toward all other people that choose other forms of exercise.  We are all in it to look good and feel good.  We do it for stress release and to feel good about ourselves.  Trash-talking other forms of exercise and pushing the CrossFit mentality down anyone's throat who will listen isn't good.

That's all for now.  Wow.  I had a lot to say, I guess.

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The winter blues and blahs

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Not sure if it is the short days, the frigid temps, the snow upon ice upon snow, the cabin fever, or the imminently possible return of AF, but this girl has a serious case of the winter blues and blahs.  It all came to a head this past weekend when I completely lost my cool over a bag of frozen peaches.  Yes.  Frozen.  Peaches.

Before you shake your head at me in disgust, let me just explain that the small bag of (organic) frozen peaches cost $2.99 and was for B's breakfast.  We have been having a terrible time getting him used to eating anything besides purees so my plan was to microwave the peaches, cut them into small bites, and have him eat them while I ate my own (non-organic) peaches.  I took the bag out of the freezer, tore off one corner, and then dumped a few slices into a bowl.  It was then when I realized that the bag had a huge tear on the other side and the quality of the product had definitely been compromised.  My blood pressure started rising and I could feel the building pressure of stress in my temples.  This wasn't going to be one of my proudest moments.

In a fury I ran into the living room and explained the situation to my husband, making sure to throw in a few choice curse words to describe Whole Foods, in the process.  My poor baby just kind of stared at me while I let my top blow.

"What the f*ck!?" I exclaimed.  "Can you believe that this expensive bag of peaches had a hole in it?  Should I throw it away or return it?"  I knew full well that neither response from him was going to be acceptable.  My poor husband was set up for failure from the beginning on this one.

"You should probably return it," he said calmly.

"They aren't going to let me return the bag when it is open on both sides!  When am I going to find the time to return it anyway?   Oh and where the hell is my freaking receipt?"  I was now almost in tears over these stupid peaches.  I threw my arms in the air and told him I was just going throw them away.  He told me to relax, which only fueled my angry frozen peach driven rage, and I made my way back into the kitchen and promptly threw the whole bag at the wall and the frozen peaches scattered about the sink, the counter, and the floor.

I collapsed onto the floor and started crying.  Big, angry, tears fell from my face.  "I need to go on a vacation," I cried.  "I need to get out of this house and away from everything for a week.  I really need a break."

"You don't need a vacation," my husband replied.

"Yes, yes, I do," I continued to sob as I started cleaning up pieces of peaches.  So what really sparked this major meltdown?  Was it really the peaches?  No.  It was the co-worker who I have talked about in many a previous post.  The one asked me if I was pregnant when I had just miscarried.  The one who got pregnant on the first try after smoking and drinking heavily her whole adult life.  The one didn't tell me that she was pregnant until she was over half-way through with her pregnancy even though I confided in her about my struggles.  The one who works for fun because her husband makes triple my husband's salary.  The one who goes on 4-5 tropical/European vacations a year.  The one with the (seemingly) perfect life.  Yes, that's her.  She caused my meltdown and she doesn't even know it.

Last week, she posted to our work vacation calendar that she is going to Turks and Caicos, the place that we were supposed to go but had to cancel due to an impending miscarriage.  She mentioned to me in passing that they will be staying at the Seven Stars Resort, the place where we were supposed to stay (but lost over $4000 because my 3rd baby was going to die).  She posted on FB about how she was so excited for her vacation and was busy getting her perfect baby (who sleeps 11 hours straight a night, by the way) a passport.  I heard her explaining to another co-worker about how they were paying for her MIL to come and watch the baby while they went and had fun.  Thinking of all of the beautiful pictures that she would soon paste on her FB wall was just to much for me to handle.  Thinking of my family and me.  Stuck at home.  Trapped in the house by the snow and snowstorm after snowstorm.  Doing the same stuff over and over again with no fun vacation or even a break in sight.

I promptly did what I should have done many months ago...

I unfriended her (along with 150 other "friends").  There.  I showed her (and the rest of "them").  

It felt good for a few minutes, but then the sadness and anger crept back in again because even though I no longer have to look at her blatant show of fun and wealth, I know that it is still happening.  They'll be snorkeling while I am sitting at my desk typing and slaving over my next project.  They'll be walking barefoot on the beach while I am trudging to and from the train in feet of snow, slush and ice.  They'll be out enjoying dinner and cocktails together while I am eating dinner by myself in front of the TV while my husband is at CrossFit for 2 1/2 hours.

The jealousy has crept back in.  Ugly and ruthless, as ever.  In my SADD (or potentially PMS) state, the pangs of jealousy that used to be saved exclusively for pregnant people are now back in full force and they are threatening to wreck my sanity once again.  The treadmill that I used to run on for fun an hour a day, I now step on at 4:40 AM every day and don't get off until I lay my head down for 3 hours of sleep starting at 9 PM.  Something has got to change.  I haven't figured out what I need to change, how I am going to change it, or when I am going to start, but I know that I cannot keep this up for the foreseeable future.  I won't make it and my poor family will disown me.  Until then.  Deep breathes.  In and out.    

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Last month I spent almost $2000 on groceries (?!?!)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

In my last post I told you about how my spending habits have gotten out of control.  Well, I knew that I was spending too much money, but I wasn't sure exactly how bad it was.  Well, my friends, it is downright frightening.  It is also eye opening.

The other night I downloaded an app to my iPad called "Mint" (by Intuit) and in less than 24 hours, this app changed my life.  Here is how it works, if you aren't familiar... You give it access to pull data from your bank account, mortgage account, student loan account, car loan account, etc and it categorizes all of your transactions in an easy to read format so that you can tell how much money you spend and where you spend it.  You can set financial goals for saving or paying off debt.  It also creates a monthly budget for you based on your usual spending habits, which you can update as you like.

After categorizing a few transactions that the app couldn't automatically figure out, I was able to view a pie chart of my expenses from last month and my jaw just about hit the floor when I saw how much I spent on food (groceries, coffee, restaurants) last month.  Oh and the kicker is that this is just my spending and does not include my husband's because we have separate bank accounts.  He checked and spent another $400 plus on food.  What the hell???  Neither of us are overweight so who is eating all of this food we are buying?  I guess the biggest drawback to Paleo is the cost.  No matter what people might try to say to you about being able to be on a budget friendly Paleo diet, it really just isn't possible I guess.

"Houston, we have a problem."

Obviously, the "Food & Dining" is something that we can probably cut back on if we actually plan out our meals for the week and follow a budget.  The "Home" costs will be cut $200 shorter this next month because I cancelled the cleaning lady.  I dropped the data plan on my phone down from 5 GB to 2 GB because I have only once in 2 years gone over 2 GB, so there is $20 a month.  I just need to be cognizant of my internet surfing habits.  We also decided that we are going to refinance our house and consolidate our two mortgages into one and so I have gotten the ball rolling on that process.  So in the past 2 days I have saved us $220 a month, plus the potential of another $100 with the refinance (and a ton more of general savings on mortgage interest).  Fun times in our household.

So back to the "Food & Dining" expenses, which is mostly groceries... I need to find some sort of meal planning or grocery budgeting tool to help me in this space.  Coupons would not help me much because most of the stuff that we buy is fresh.  We eat hardly any processed foods, which is what the bulk of the coupons that I see are for.  Most of the health/beauty/cleaning products that we use are also organic so there really aren't deals on those things either.  I could follow grocery circulars more closely and go to multiple stores every week, but that would take time away from doing other things (like maybe having a little fun with my family every now and then).  I guess I need to do some more research in this space and come up with an action plan in my spare time (hahahahahahaha).  Until then I am just happy I now know how much I am actually spending.

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In need of a financial intervention. Please help.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ever since I was little, I have always been financially responsible.  I am not sure if my sisters and brothers would agree with this, but I think that I am and always have been the most secure with my finances compared to them.  Maybe it is my seriously Type A Personality or the fact that I have seen my parents and siblings make financial mistakes?  I am not really sure, but suffice it to say that I have always prided myself on my financial self-control.  Even though I have never been the type of person to have a budget, I have always managed to keep everything straight.  I have always been the financier in my house.  Neat and tidy.  The way I like it.

My financially responsible profile looks something like this:

-When I was in high school I babysat all of the time for extra money even though I HATED it.
-I went to a state school for college.
-I bought a car when I was 18.
-While in college, I worked a number of different jobs (and many of them concurrently) including: waitress, hostess, cocktail waitress, coat check, customer service (sports store, jewelry store, ski shop, major department store, family business), ski lift, college dining hall cleaner, bank teller, financial analyst assistant, seamstress, and, yes, a babysitter.
-I NEVER have asked to borrow money from my parents (they actually have asked to borrow from me on several occasions).
-I graduated from college with less than 30k student loan debt (I am now at about 10k of federal type loans, none private).
-I moved and took a job right out of college in a field that had nothing to do with my degree because it made more money and had good benefits.
-Our last car we bought brand new and drove it for 9 years.
-I have a padded saving account.
-I have always had an excellent FICO (credit) score.
-I have ZERO credit card debt.
-I got a nice raise and bonus this past year.
-I have amazing health benefits.
-I have a good start on my retirement plan.

Why do I need a financial intervention you may ask?  Well, ever since I had the baby, I have become totally slack in this area.  I have forgotten to pay several bills on time, I have over-drafted my checking account on 2 occasions, I find myself constantly transferring money from my saving to my checking, I continue to spend like I have no limit, and have contemplated getting a credit card.  This, my friends, is a recipe for disaster.  Someone please, cut up my debit card and do not let me get a credit card.  B needs to start going to daycare 3 days a week in June and we need to be able to pay the $1200 a month to send him there...aye aye aye.

My husband and I have been talking a lot lately about moving.  Our house is too small and we would love to put roots down in a place where our family can grow (if we decide that that is the plan).  We have lived in our house for almost 7 years.  We have done a TON of work to it and we love it.  It is just too small.  The main problem is that everything that we are interested is well over our budget.  By over our budget, I mean several hundred thousand over.  Anything that we can afford, you would want to tear down and rebuild.  Wood paneling in the kitchen?  Electric stove from the 1970s ?  Thigh-high weeds in the yard?  1 bathroom?  1000 square feet?  Yes, these are the types of crap holes that we can afford if I don't get my shit together.

Here are some things that I really need to start doing that I think will help to save me money:

-Cancel the bi-weekly cleaning lady who's services started going down hill (DONE).
-Plan out meals and snacks before going to the grocery store, stick to that list, and set a weekly budget.
-Look for cheaper grocery alternatives online.
-Write out all recurring monthly debits from my accounts to see how much money I am actually spending each money because I have no idea (this is scary).
-Budget for clothes, cosmetics, and extras, and stop with the impulse buying (sorry, Lulu Lemon and Athleta).
-Disable my Amazon account because it is bad news.

Having a child should have a person become more financially responsible rather than the other way around.  I really need to start making some changes...and fast.  I am wondering if any other newer mommies feel this way or if this is a situation that is unique to me.  I'd love good ideas for saving money if you have them!

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The 30 day Paleo Challenge in review

Monday, February 3, 2014

I am happy to say that I made it through the Paleo Challenge...alive.  On Friday, we did our exit measurements and the exit workout (the crazy Burpee Challenge).  The next day we had our completion party at a local restaurant and let me tell you, that calamari with hot peppers tasted AMAZING.

You may be curious to know what the results of the 30 Day Paleo Challenge were for me.  They were definitely not what I expected.  I don't have all of the final measurements yet (i.e. I don't know what my starting or ending body fat measurements were/are), but I do know that I GAINED 3 lbs.  In.  A.  Month.  HA!  Everyone was telling me that I gained muscle.  I am not sure if that is true or not, although I would like to think that it is.  The good news out of this is that I didn't want to lose weight and now I am back to my regular weight of 118 lbs.  I don't think that weight gain was always typical for the other people that did that Challenge because one woman posted that, together, she and her husband lost 21lbs.  A few other of the smaller girls doing the Challenge also gained a few lbs.  Muscle weighs more than fat, right?

On the flip side, at the beginning of the month, I struggled to do my 55 burpees in 4 minutes (if you remember from the intro post you had to do 30 burpees in 2 minutes, then if you completed that you had 2 more minutes to do 30 more burpees, etc).  This time I got to 85 burpees!  I was almost to my 4th round!  I did 30 more than a month ago.  I was pretty proud of myself for that.  I am also now able to do regular push-ups like I have never been able to do before and I started doing some of the regular ab work that others do.

Here is my start picture (keep in mind that the goal here was not to lose weight!):

Still rockin' the linea negra

Here is my end picture:
More muscle tone?

I feel like I have gained some muscle tone in the past month and I do feel stronger and healthier, as well.  I have been sleeping great, when B actually lets me sleep. So far I have not gotten the Norovirus and I really haven't so much as had a cold all winter (knocking on wood).  I do feel like I am going to continue on this paleo "lifestyle" (not calling it a diet since I think that it is much more than a diet), with a slightly modified approach to what was prescribed by the CrossFit coaches.

Here is my fitness/diet plan:

  • I am going to allow myself to have some breaks when I feel like it.  If I am at a party and there are some good looking cookies or an awesome looking piece of cake, I am going to have some.  
  • I am going to try to stay away from refined sugars, for the most part.
  • I am going to continue with high protein, but eat less red meat and more fish because I like it better.
  • I am going to allow natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup, in moderation.
  • I am going to allow (no sugar added) dried fruit.
  • I am going to allow wine, and the occasional micro-brewed IPA because, well, I am obsessed. 
  • I am going to stay dairy-free for the most part except adding in some raw milk cheese and some grass-fed butter.
  • I am going to stay gluten-free for the most part and allow rice, gluten free oats, etc.
  • Staying away from soy.
  • I am going to stick with CrossFit 3 days a week.
  • I am going to run the remainder of the days, if I feel good, but will take full rest days when I think I need it.

So what is my next goal??  Still looking to get my 5k time under 20 minutes and soon, I'll be starting my NYC Marathon training!

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