Strong is the new….

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For as far back as I can remember we have had images of skinny girls shoved in our faces. Magazines, movies, film clips, mannequins in shop fronts for gods sake are even mostly ridiculously thin looking!
Now digital media is is an excellent way to market anything and everything, and if there aren’t pictures of skinny girls all over the place, then you have ads popping up left, right and centre…’Keep away those winter kgs’…….’Lose 12 kg’s in 12 Days’….’Lemon Detox Diet’..blah blah blah

Sadly, this usually affects younger influential girls and they then believe that this is what is expected, everyone should be size 6 nothing, and if you aren’t…well then, it’s almost not socially acceptable.

Ill admit, as a teenager I totally fit into this category, struggled with accepting my size all through high school and compared myself to others constantly, and if I knew what I know now, I would tell the teenage version of myself, that it’s fine to be just how you are.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel like there has been a very big step change in the way people think. The most typical advertising you see within the health and fitness industry is about weight loss and it works…why? Because it resonates…its that emotional connection, and the longing to fit that image.

If you showed me a picture today of Kara Webb and in the other hand Kate Moss, I’d pick Kara Webb every time. Yet, when I’ve showed people pictures of female CrossFitters, my typical response is…”You don’t want to look like that do you?”
Why the hell would I not?

I’m not sure on the solution of changing people’s perception of the perfect image, and this means different things to different people, but perhaps if there were more accessible images of your Kara Webb’s, then next time I show someone a picture of a CrossFitter, I may just get a different response.

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I Know Squat

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So how exactly did my week 4 shape up…

By week 4, I’m no longer in negotiation with the coach on more metcon’s, I am starting to see gains in the program I’m following, and to be honest I didn’t expect my body to adapt this fast, however, am slightly pleased that it has.

In the last few weeks, I’ve not only had to change to a new program where I’m training solo and making sure I’m pushing myself, try and get my head around that it’s ok that I’m not WOD’ing every other day, accept that I am quickly finding out what fits in the wardrobe and what doesn’t, and thankful for the ‘stretchy’ type pants I once invested in, but also to make sure that my energy intake was supporting all of this. So what does this even mean?…

My head was hurting thinking about good fats, enough protein, starchy carbs, MORE protein, bulletproof coffee…WAIT, what the heck is bulletproof coffee?! Basically, I needed to find what worked for me, I definitely thinks it’s not a case of 1 size fits all when it comes to “diet” which by the way is a word I hate to use! So my main change was adding a lot more of the good fats in. I would say I had pretty good eating habits anyway (except for the inner chocoholic in me!) but by adding in more good fat, I have noticed I feel fuller for longer, and just better in general, and this seems to be translating over to my training where I am seeing the gains. The main key in all of this is food preparation, this way, you can stay in control of what you are eating.

Ok, so I know you are you still wondering what bulletproof coffee is? You can find out more info on the benefits if you google it, but basically this is a coffee loaded with good fats (I use organic butter and coconut oil) and blended together, if you aren’t a coffee drinker, there are alternatives.

So back to how my week went, I’d say this is my best week so far! I think I can honestly say….i enjoy squats! On top of that, I had 3 new PB’s, I added an additional 2 reps to my last set of 5×5 back squats, so now all 5 reps (last week was 3 + 2 assisted) were at 90% of my current 1RM (WIN!), a new clean & jerk PB by 5kg (WIN!) and a new power clean PB by 7.5kg (WIN!). I can’t recall having a new PB for awhile, so to get 3 in one week has given me a new drive to keep working on my strength. Both WODs this week I loved (yep, even the one with 50 thrusters!) and am feeling pretty well prepared for my 1RM back squat test in a week’s time.

And to those GStar jeans, they got the better of me annnddd I tried them on. You know those shoes you just had to have cause they were gorgeous and made your calves look amazing but they KILL your feet and are ridiculously TOO high? Well, I refer to these as “sit down” shoes, meaning I could wear them to an event where I knew I could make an entrance and people would notice my nice new shoes, but then I would be able to sit down most of the evening…..the jeans are the opposite, these will be “stand up” jeans! Sitting down is doable, but, probably not preferable!

So after week 4 of 4 is complete, what’s next? The next week will just be a lighter intensity week, lower volume squats, breakdowns of a couple of the benchmark WODs, some skill work and must get back to those muscle ups. After a week of this, its then time to hit up the 1RM back squat test! BRING IT!!

Another Day, Another Squat

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Rewind back to 2012 CrossFit opens, I’d been CrossFitting for about 6 months, had no real concept of how big the opens were, what I do remember, is being annoyed about not being able to move past the second snatch weight in the snatch AMRAP WOD cause the weight was just beyond my capabilities, and pretty much thinking ill never get this snatch move down.
Now turn to the 2013 opens, an extra 12 months of CrossFit experience under my belt, and I was still finding myself fearing the weight that would come up each week, and knowing this would be my challenge. The difference was, I definitely had my head around the buzz the opens created in the CrossFit community over the 5 weeks.
Each week became a challenge against myself, I did every WOD twice, purely to beat my first attempt (yes, even 13.1, which was disgusting!). The weights were slightly easier than last year, but I still thought I should’ve been able to do these workouts with a little more ease. Opens were over, I placed 429th, and was overall pretty happy with that, I was within the top 500.
Next up was the Regional Games, and what an amazing weekend it was, I was in absolute awe of these athletes, the best of the best in AU/NZ, and felt motivated by being able to be there and watch them smash out a massive 3 days.
Once I was back home, and the hype slowly faded (and I’d had a crack at a couple of the regionals workouts!), it occurred to me, did I want to get to the 2014 opens and still be fearful of the weights that might come up? After seeing every one of the female athletes at the Regionals, one thing was obvious, they were ridiculously strong….so, I made the decision that I wanted to focus on my own strength.

And as simple as that, the Coach had drawn me up a 4 week program, which saw my weekly squat volume triple, a focus on strict movement and oly lifting technique.

Week 1, I was having major withdrawals from dropping from 6 WODS a week to 1, and training mostly solo in the corner whilst I watched on while my usual crew were smashing out workouts that I’d also normally be doing. I was still working at a weight I was relatively comfortable carrying, I was just doing it more often than I was use too. By the end of the week, I was wondering whether I really had made the right choice (particularly after finishing my training week off with 8×8 back squats!).

Week 2, I was still trying to negotiate with the coach if I could do an extra metcon a week, with no success, I kept on squatting, weights were going up, ring dips were bearable, and I was beginning to realize hang squat cleans and I were becoming friends, and I’d taken a real liking to them after spending more time focusing on them.

Week 3 commences with putting on my work pants first thing Monday morning in the work change rooms with a bag I’d prepared the night prior, and realizing they were a lot more snug than I remembered, and that it was actually not negotiable to even bend down in them, panic sets in, and I text the coach saying I think I need to be doing less squats, again, wish was not granted, and I continue the week squatting, cleaning, snatching and so on in my corner. A turning point was seeing 2 PR’s at the beginning of the week. My current recorded 1 rep max strict press, was now my 6×3 strict press, and in set 5 of 5×5 back squats, I manage to work at 90% of my current recorded 1 rep max for 3 reps with the last 2 assisted, I start to see the benefits paying off, I also had another win this week, I got to do 2 WODS! YEW!!! Week 3 wasn’t so bad after all.

So here we are week 4 of a 4 week program, well and truly unsure of what I can still wear in my wardrobe, today I thought that I’d leave the pants behind and opt for a dress, which was grand, until I had to straighten my hair, and the cuffs in the sleeves felt like it was restricting the circulation to my biceps…yet again, another fail. This dress can now go in the pile with last weeks pants, and I’m now fearful my favorite Gstar jeans will end up there too, so much so, that I won’t even attempt trying them on and live in hope that they have great stretching capabilities!

What else has week 4 in stall for me? Will have to wait and see…