Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The B@tch About Wall-Balls Is...

If you've been following the CrossFit Open, then you're aware that the world just got slammed by 150 wall-ball this past week. Yea yea, there was some stuff that came after those wall-ball, but I'm not going to discuss the double-unders or muscle-ups.

First actually, I wanna give props to everyone that did this WOD. Some of the workouts (think 13.2) automatically remove some newer athletes because the weight of the first movement is already over their head (no jerk pun intended). But anyone signed up for the Open can get into the wall ball! This means that folks that don't usually go Rx could jump right in with their big dawgs. It's exciting to be able to go head to head with your fellow athletes and on the same playing field!

Oh wall ball, you are so innocent looking! And you're so light (respectively)! When athletes are accustomed to seeing "95#", "135#", "185#" on the whiteboard, seeing a "20#/14#" next to the movement can seem pretty darn do-able! For most of us that don't have muscle-ups or even double-unders, the challenge of this workout is simply to get through and survive 150 squats & throws! People bravely fought this single movement for twelve whole minutes, but at the end I saw far too many tear-stained cheeks.

It's apparent simplicity and seeming "do-ability" is exactly what makes this Karen-based WOD so emotionally devastating. Let's review a couple Karen issues:

"I can do 100 squats easy, how bad can 150 wall ball be?"

"I usually scale to the lower target, how bad can that extra 12" be?"

"I've only used the 10# ball to the 8' target before, but I've got at least 125 reps on this Rx."

Unfortunately, after the clock began athletes started realizing that extra 12" makes an enormous difference, that extra four (or six) pounds suddenly comes back down a lot faster than anticipated, and when you've got 10 no-reps under your belt and you're not three minutes in yet, the long dark tunnel of time and fear starts to open up before you.

It is a long. Dark. UGLY. Tunnel. And it leads no where good.

Here's the thing you need to remember though. Even though the numbers with the wall ball are seemingly small (9', 10', 14#, 20#) you can't think numerically low weight = easy movement. Let's think about snatches for a comparison. Would you rather be able to do 30 snatches at 35# or 5 snatches at 125#? To complete either is substantial work, wouldn't you agree? So look again at the wall ball.

Would you rather be able to do 150 wall ball at a scaled height and weight or would you like to be able to try your hand at going all out Rx?!

By choosing the latter and getting 10 reps, 30 reps, 70 reps, you are DOING SERIOUS WORK! You should be proud that you had the balls (no wall ball intended) to step up and go Rx, to see what happens, to see what it feels like, to stare down that long ugly dark tunnel that tries to suck you in and shout "F* YOU WALL BALL" into the dark. Let the echo bounce around in there a couple times so that YOU can hear it and know you REALLY meant it!

With fittest intentions,



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thank You Serendipity

We all are familiar with the idea that should we meet someone that there is a good solid reason for that. However we usually think of it as it applies to the people we end up actually knowing closely; friends, coworkers, boyfriends, girlfriends, in-laws, close acquaintances even etc. There's a good reason though for us to expand our spheres of influence! What if we chose to influence each person we made contact with each day? What kind of ripple effect would THAT cause? A lot of blogs and articles I've been reading lately all have this theme of increased worldwide interconnectedness, happy "chance" meetings, coincidences etc. All of these pose the question, is it just us? Some say the world is getting smaller, due to technology, but it stands to reason that it is each of us that is simply becoming more aware of others, our environment and our relationships within and between!


Some days you wake up and just don't want to face the day: without getting out of bed you already know its going to be a bad day for you and anyone that crosses your path. You feel disconnected and solitary. Other days you are much more gregarious, happily seeking the company of others. Have you ever then, ever had a day when you felt like you were literally connected with everyone you meet? Somehow you know exactly what to say or what to do to help whomever you're dealing with at that exact moment?

I started thinking about this yesterday as I was training one of my clients and she told me it was "uncanny" how well I was in tune with her. This particular lady is 90 years old and we are currently working on developing balance and strengthening her connection to her body so that she can walk with a more natural gate and not with the "elderly sway." You know what I mean! During our session she happened to mention, "it's like you know ahead of time what I'm going to ask you." I asked what she meant and she replied that it always seemed to be that when she was doing an exercise, if she happened to notice a sensation somewhere I always managed to move her to an exercise or a drill that addressed that particular issue even if she hadn't brought it up.

The difference between those three types of experiences I described above is simply our perception! We are all connected, always connected. We can shut ourselves off or open ourselves up: that is always our choice. Take yoga, a class typically ends with the teacher and students each declaring "namaste" to the other. The meaning is "the light within me recognizes and bows to the same light within you," but the whole moment is about gratitude and oneness, the teacher is the student and the student the teacher. We are all interconnected: tricky part though is being aware enough to stay in touch with it!

I love "namaste" and it is an easy enough concept to employ at all times. I wrote about a similar topic a while back about how we can enrich a stranger's life by reaching out to them emotionally. What I mean by this is to be present enough to give your cashier a sincere greeting and maybe compliment their earrings, thank your service person at the restaurant or oil change place, make eye contact with someone and genuinely smile, hold the door etc. I wrote about how we can help change the course of someone's day just by reaching out in some small way, sort of saying, "I'm human, you're human. You're not alone, we're all in this together and we'll all be okay!"

One day this week I was at a diner counter reading a book, I ordered only coffee. I sat there a good two and a half hours when my waiter asked if I'd close out because he was leaving for the day. My bill was two dollars and I had a five in hand. Who in their right mind would tip 20% on a $2.00 bill?! Right, I'm no cretin, so I gave him the rest of the five. I'm not sure I've seen any person over the age of 6 that excited over $3.00. Whatever it was, I don't know if he had a rough day or week or what, but there was something about those three dollars that made him really happy. As he remarked, "a 150% tip?" I knew that had been the exact right thing for me to do and all I had done was not save a dollar. Small gesture, enormous response!

All of this also applies to people you already know! How many times have you been acquainted with someone, maybe at work or at the gym, and after a year of knowing them you find that they live on your street, or their kids are friends with yours, or you have some friends in common yourselves? If you've been withdrawn you may not see the myriad of connections between you!

I firmly believe that all of our meetings, all of our acquaintances, all of our seemingly inconsequential run-ins are in fact, substantial. The connection may not be apparent now, and it may never BE obvious to you, but if it happened then it changed something somewhere. So it's kind of fun to wonder, what can i do for this person and how/where in the world will that change me? Did a person in line at Target indirectly plant an idea in your head that will manifest 10 years down the line? Will you let the soldier in line behind you at the grocery store know that they are appreciated by buying the milk and eggs for them? Maybe you hang out with someone one night and your conversation inspires you both to pursue a previously latent talent. There are so many ways in which we can connect with others that I can't even begin to illustrate effectively!!

I personally enjoy looking around for ways to connect with people. As I promised, I'm still working on my pledge of trying to raise the vibrational frequency of at least two people a day by bonding with them in some small way.

So what's the point of this? I guess I would like to inspire you today to be present in your own life and to be a positive proactive force in this world! You may be rewarded with a million-dollar idea, better & more creative sex (did I keep your attention from drifting off?!), a promotion, better workouts, a free coffee, a sense of well-being, a happier home life, truer friends, you just won't know till it happens!!

It's like a big game of people lottery! Get out there and find a winning combination :-D

With fittest intentions,