Day 3 of 2 Gyms.

Before I begin, I gotta give some mad love up to my Crossfit Buddies, Laura and Justin, who just got engaged last night. Laura and Justin, if you’re following along at home, are the reason I got into Crossfit. After talking to Laura about their wedding plans, I realize I have even more incentive to get my butt into shape. (Their wedding, my sister’s in September of this year, my best friend’s in July next year.)

Laura and Justin have been dating for a long time and they are crazy in love with one another. They’re super important to me. Here are their gains (Left side is most recently and right is roughly three years ago)!

(They inspire me daily).

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So, signing up for a second gym was probably the best decision of my life.

Last night, Mike and I were supposed to go to Crossfit. He couldn’t make it (brewery kept him way over and Crossfit closed) so I went to the gym all by myself. I have a ton of energy that I have been lacking in the past few weeks (not going to CF or any gym will do that to you).

Planet Fitness is great for just walking into and doing my business and walking out. It’s a super zero hassle life and I really appreciate that I can go to it whenever I want. Tomorrow, I have to go in the afternoon but god knows before 4:00 because that place gets insane at 4:00.

So far this week, I have completed:

  • Monday: 60 minutes on the treadmill.
    • 30 minutes HIIT. 30 minute brisk walk. I was so excited about the gym that I lost track of what the hell time it was.
  • Tuesday: 30 minutes on the treadmill.
    • 30 minutes HIIT.
  • Wednesday: Bodyweight Workout
    • 50-40-30-20-10 of Squats, Pushups, Jumping Jacks, and Sit-ups.

My only hang-up is FitBit. It doesn’t record my treadmill work properly. It’s probably because my hands are on the heartbeat railing but I am going to test that theory out again.

Water intake is still going well. I have my water bottle next to me at all times.

Eating healthy? Got that in the bag. I am actually really excited because at the store yesterday, I was eyeing the Chia Seeds and said, “Alright, let’s do it.” I am trying to make Chia Pudding and as I am typing this, I realized I forgot sweetener or honey in it. I will report back on its success. I used Noosa Yoghurt which is – y’all – bomb.com. I love them.

I ordered a new gym bag!

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I never needed one for Crossfit, really. I would tuck away my Converse in the car that was two feet away and brought my water bottle in. We also never had lockers so there wasn’t a purpose for it.

Now, at the other gym, I have to have a lock, facial wipes, and now – I need to add toiletries and emergency stuff, too. I have a lock for the locker, might as well use my gym bag right. I am thinking of adding first aid items in there, too. Basically, I will fill this bad boy with good things that are needed 🙂

Thursday and Friday – I am going to Planet for the elliptical for HIIT and then also do some weight training.

Saturday – I am going to walk in my first protest! Pretty exciting!

Sunday – Rest Day.

So far, so good! I hope your weeks are going super well!

Superheroes Fall More Than They Fly.

carl

August 2015 – Carl Sandridge runs me through the toughest workout of my life. I want to cry. I want to stop. I want to die on the padded floor. But, he doesn’t let me. He cheers me on. He pushes me. I start Crossfit shortly after because he got me hooked.

October 2015 – Carl tells me I don’t look scared and he doesn’t like it.

March 2015 – My best friend and his fiancee ask me to stand up in their wedding. I panic. I ask Carl to train me and to get me to where I need to be. He agrees, happily. Thus begins my Flash: Athlete Zero gimmick.

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I was never part of CTOWN. It’s not my box. Lemont is my box. But, CTOWN was my second home. I could walk in and know that it was safe to be there and that I could work out without judgment. I didn’t feel like a stranger when I went there. Larry, R.E., Speed, and Carl all were loving and caring. Larry and Carl especially.

My coaches became my friends. The other members became my friends. In under a year, I was able to start reaching my goals. I picked up a less than part-time job helping them with graphics for their social media and website. I started to really enjoy my time spent talking to the coaches – even though it was mostly work.

On Monday, Carl asked me to work on a logo with him. It was for Athlete Zero and how he wanted to make this a real deal. I sent my ideas to him immediately and was so excited to be helping out another coach with designs. It made me feel amazing and I couldn’t wait to see where it would take him.

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As of Wednesday, Coach Carl is no longer with CTOWN.

The news was sudden, quick, and vague. Carl posted to the gym’s FB about it and was flooded with words of support and confusion all mixed into one. I just stared at it for probably five minutes without saying a word.

I know that the decision of Carl no longer being there was not malicious and I hold no anger or ill will towards CTOWN. Sometimes, things don’t work out as well as you’d like them to and that is no one’s fault. There’s no reason to be angry at a situation that is completely natural and out of people’s control.

I texted Carl, immediately after, in hopes of hearing some life out of him. Nothing.

I went through my workouts that he sent me for the week and hoped he would reach out in some form. Text, phone call, social media. It didn’t matter. Carl may be my coach, but he’s my friend, too. I wasn’t as close with him as some of my other Crossfit Partners were but it still stings. It’s still confusing.

Part of me is worried about him. I don’t want him to feel alone. I am angry about it a little bit, too, because I just need some form of response. But, I know that he is probably going through the motions and figuring out what he is going to do.

Part of me wants to just express how much I need him with me for this process. How important he is – though he might not think he is.

Part of me is terrified for the future and I feel terribly selfish about it.

You can workout without Carl! A lot of people have told me. You got the tools. You got the resources.

The reason why Carl was my Coach was because he was different from every other coach I have ever dealt with. He was the person who pushed you so hard and challenged you till your body was drenched in sweat and raw for days. He came at you, knowing your limits, and knew if you weren’t doing your best. He got so disappointed in my cleans that he made me want to fight harder. Before I picked up the 275# deadlift, I thought of him and it got me to pull it up. He inspires me daily.

Carl wasn’t just one of my many coaches. He was my Coach for Life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with my other coaches. Coach Carl is just the Coach that works best with me. His military style is one that is not replicated. His stupid jokes. How he knew that you would red-line in a workout but would keep pushing you.

I want to be able to put my feelings out there but it’s hard to when you don’t know how you feel. Every time I even think about it, I get upset and my motivation to do anything. I have done terrible on my WODs for the rest of the week and barely have found the reason to do them.

If I had to put my feelings down – I’ll simply say – I am a wreck over it.

If he lets me know he’s okay and that our program is terminated? I am okay with that. I’ll keep moving on. I’ll be raw about it for a bit. But, I am going to keep moving on.

I was able to finally – talk – about it with Lesley. Lesley has become my confidant for Crossfit. I am able to get angry or frustrated with her (same goes for her) and not feel like I am being judged. She is supportive and suggests things but she never ever pushes me away or tells me I am doing it wrong. She listened and just let me be raw about it and I am pretty grateful for her. I finally got all that stored up hurt and was able to just release it. I feel better to be able to get it out, finally.

It’s insane how much a person impacts your life and you don’t realize it till they’re gone.

My Husband: The Anti-Healthy

MIKE

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My husband officiating a wedding for friends in May 2015.

(Note: Before I start this, I have to say that I love my husband no matter what. He’s funny, makes me smile, is super supportive and loving, caring, and an amazing cook. I loved him when I met him almost a decade ago and I still love him to his day. I am insanely proud of how far he has come. Mike is my universe and I don’t know what I would do without him. Make sure to read till the end so you can see his change!)

My husband, the anti-healthy, loves beer. He loves everything fried. He eats until he’s doubled over in being full. He refuses to do any physical activity. He doesn’t care if he dies early as long as he had a good life before then. My husband, the anti-healthy, hates vegetables. He makes jokes about being a fat dude that are sometimes painful to hear. He loves putting salt on everything. He hangs out with people who push him to be unhealthy. We drink beer every evening. We don’t count calories. We eat out almost every night.

My husband, the anti-healthy, will die at 35.

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One of the challenges of having a significant other not interested in your healthy lifestyle is that it becomes challenging for you to keep at it. I became lax on the idea that I could be healthy with him and that we would feel awesome about ourselves. I knew that over the years, we both put on a lot of weight but every time I tried to be healthy, he would order a pizza or take me to a brewery and I would cave instantly.

One thing I will give him props on is that he did quit smoking in his early 20’s. This made his health slightly better but he was not doing well otherwise.

He’s a preschool teacher and when he gets a new job, he has to go to the doctor for a physical. The last one (April of last year), his doctor gave him grim news that if he kept eating unhealthy and if he didn’t workout, he wouldn’t make it to see age 35.

This terrified me. I cried a lot at night, thinking that every moment I had with him was going to be the last one. I asked if we could start eating healthier and if we could workout. He scrunched his face and shook his head. We started eating healthier for dinner but lunches were still terrible and he still pounded energy drinks every morning. I tried offering to make lunches but he would get in a fit of anger about eating my healthier meals. There was no exercise he liked or enjoyed and he didn’t want to give up his fried foods and dark beers.

We tried running. That failed.

We tried yoga. That didn’t stick.

We tried floor work. Nope.

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I called him when I got out of FitCon at CTOWN. I told him how happy I was and how healthy I felt. How strong my body was. How Coach Carl terrified me but intrigued me at the same time. How Laura and Justin were with me the entire time. I gushed for what seemed like half an hour and didn’t realize I wasn’t talking about anything else. Mike was a bit skeptical and told him we would talk more when I got home.

When I came back from Cleveland after doing FitCon, I begged him.

Please try one week of Crossfit with me. If you don’t like, I will never ask you again. I promise.”

He saw how happy I was from coming home from CTOWN that he said he would give it a try. After contacting Coach Chris, we went to three different sessions together. We struggled, we sweat, we almost dropped into tears. It wasn’t easy and I don’t think either of us were prepared.

I texted Laura every single session, telling her how nervous I was about Mike not liking the whole process. How I would lose him at 35. Laura kept being supportive and told me to stick with it. She was my rock through our first week and I am forever in her debt.

Each day, I asked him.

“So? What do you think?”

  • Day One: [loud moaning and screaming]
  • Day Two: “We’ll see.”
  • Day Three: Before I could ask him, Coach Chris asked him. Mike smiled and said, “Yeah. I am in.”

This was the first step, though. I didn’t know if he would stick with it. I didn’t know if he would keep going, 3-4 times a week, and still love it. All that mattered to me was extending his life and making sure he was going to be around to enjoy it.

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Mike stuck with it. In fact, he loved it. He was more excited than I was some days.

“Can we please go workout today?” He would ask me. Especially if his preschoolers were being insane.

We did Paleo together in November of 2016. Even though he hated it, he stuck with it. He was supportive of our challenge and made some really amazing food. Paleo taught us that we loved veggies and that we wanted more of them. We finished the 2 month challenge and we vowed to never do Paleo again.

But, what good came from it – more salads, more lean meat, more vegetables, more water, more good stuff for the body. He has been completely supportive of eating healthy and actually loves making new recipes. We have ditched most red meat, we don’t drink soda, we drink coffee instead of energy drinks, and we enjoy spending time together at the gym.

This past Saturday (a year after that first photo was taken and 9 months after we started Crossfit) was our gym’s in-house competition. I didn’t compete (though I regret it when I saw everyone having fun!) because I was photographing the event. But, Mike competed with Coach Steve and I can tell you, he’s an entirely different person from last year. He’s happier, less stressed, and more importantly, he’s healthy.

I got a little misty watching him. Seeing how hard he has pushed. He struggled a little bit on his lifting but so were a lot of people. What was the most amazing part was that he was struggling with weight that some of the top athletes struggled with. That he wouldn’t have been able to even lift half of the stuff he did nine months ago. How he used to run 50 meters and be out of breath and now he was running hard. How doing a burpee had to be done on a box for modification but now, he’s doing it with full extension.

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Mike at the In House Crossfit Competition – May 2016

My husband, the anti-healthy, now drinks a ton of water. He has lost 40 lbs and has gained a ton of muscle. He loves salads and grilled chicken. We drink tea every evening together. Crossfit is one of his favorite hobbies and he lifts more than he ever could. He loves deadlifts. He loves partying still and enjoys the company of others. My husband, the anti-healthy, is a hero to me. He loves brussel sprouts. He still drinks beer and still loves his mozzarella sticks but he doesn’t do it multiple times a week anymore. My husband, the anti-healthy, laughs and smiles when he notices his stomach going down or his legs getting muscular. He has friends who support his lifestyle and has made new friends through it. He fits into his really old shirts. He wants to continue doing Crossfit and eating right so we live good lives.

My husband, the anti-healthy, lessened his chances of dying at 35 by a large margin.