Do you ever have those days where you just don’t have it in you, work out-wise or otherwise? Today is totally one of those days for me.
Things have been going well for me lately. When friends ask me how I am doing, I tell them about the book I am writing (yeah! I am writing a book, which I don’t ever talk about here but is literally the most exciting thing in my life, something I am so happy to be doing and so proud that I have gone through-even at only 160 pages and far from being done). I talk about my jobs (I got to quit nannying finally, because I was offered a position at the high school I teach art at teaching Health. Although my degrees are in Fine Arts, these days health and wellness seem to be my primary passions and it feels great to get to teach a subject I am so excited about at a school that is already really fucking cool. If I had gone to the high school I teach at, maybe I wouldn’t be such a huge drop out! – little known Lacy fact….before I got my shit together to graduate at the top of my class and go on immediately to get my Master’s degree, I dropped out of high school, art school, and community college twice. No regrets, ever.) I talk about my relationship, which somehow manages to be more fun and sweet all the time. I talk about Crossfit and my experiments with a vegetarian paleo diet, and how my stomach hurts so much less it is ridiculous. Food and exercise certainly come up, but they come up after all the other stuff I have going on and for me that is a huge deal. There was a time in my life when there was literally nothing else in my life. Even with other stuff going on, food and exercise were all I thought about it, and both felt like relative torture. I am so much happier now. I have so much more freedom.
But today I woke filled with anxiety, at six o’clock in the morning. I am naturally an early riser (7:00-8:00 is my standard) but anything earlier then that just feels terrible- especially when I pop up with a jolt realizing I have been grinding my teeth all night because I am worried about preparing my curriculum, about money, and about how despite all the happiness and freedom I have, I still hate to shop because jean sizes and mall mirrors make me feel like crap about myself every. single. time. I woke up feeling more exhausted then when I went to bed. And SHOCKER- that is totally prime time for my body image to be at it’s worst.
Since I returned from my holiday vacations I made a commitment to do three days of Crossfit on, one day off every single week, as is recommended by some of the pros. This is sort of a pain in the ass, because it means your rest days are never the same days of the week and that you can’t tailor your workouts around your schedule. Some days it means I work two jobs and so I have to wake up super early to get to the gym or work out later in the day, which is not my favorite. It means I do tons of workouts that I do not exactly like.
Despite the inconvenience, I chose to make this commitment to myself because, as much as I do not like to admit it, I was cherry picking my workouts. Balls out sprints that will take me twenty minutes or more to finish? Tabatas? Benchmark workouts that make even the best of the best cringe? BRING IT. Slower paced strength building day that focuses on a bench press with a five minute MetCon WOD at the end? Yeah. Rest day time. I avoided strength days like the plague. (Especially bench press. If I wanted to be laying down would I be working out? NO. I wouldn’t.) I decided that those kinds of days weren’t really workouts and my fitness goals were suffering for it.
As a person who has never been very good at taking the advice of others, I decided it was high time to let Crossfit humble me in new and exciting ways. With the three days on, one day off schedule I am taking what my gym gives me, and hey guess what– my body has started to change. I am faster, I can lift much more, I am extremely confidant in a few things that I wasn’t really that into before- namely deadlifts and front and back squats- and I can see that I am “leaning out”, an expression commonly used in Crossfit that at first I thought was just a more feminist way of saying one is losing weight, but now I also believe means converting unwanted fat to muscle. I have wanted that feeling, the one of progress, for a long long time. Especially since starting CrossFit I have gotten bigger, not smaller which fucks with my head. But the thing about my eating disorder affected brain is that even improvements feel bad and scary sometimes. A little weight loss makes me instantly intensely impatient for more, progress leaves me still extremely irritated that I am still slower than I’d like to be, that I’m still a million light years away from RXing a workout.
Today I did the workout “Helen” which is one of my trainer’s favorite benchmark workouts. How did I feel when I did it? Really, just kind of meh. I RX’ed the kettlebell weight, which I had never done before– but could only concentrate on how sluggish I felt and how I felt like I will never be able to do a pull up without that stupid giant rubber band. I felt sad and pissed that my body was not where I wanted it to be, and when it was done I went home without my enthusiasm and made a meal which would have usually excited me but today just kind of felt like nothing.
So what am I saying here? I’m saying that progress-both mental and physical- is amazing but imperfect. I’m saying that even I, the most stupidly enthusiastic Crossfit lover on the planet, have off days; that my positivity is not unending and that my near-perfect adherence to my dietary plan and exercise regine hasn’t fixed my broken body image stuff or eradicated all of the general unease that is just a part of my life, even when mostly things are amazing. I am still impatient with all my gains. I still, more then anything just want to think my body looks and functions excellently. I want that to be such an inalienable fact that I don’t even consider any voice, including the one inside my head, that says otherwise.
Today Crossfit was something that I did because it was merely a commitment, but even when that is the case, I know that the work I put in now will benefit me later. I can’t remember if I’ve already mentioned this, but my coach Melissa once said to me that everyone has their thing that they are good at. At the time she told me this, I was regularly falling off of the box during box jumps (and somehow ring dips, which makes no sense) and snapping myself in the face with jump ropes and assistance bands. I was smacking myself in the chin with the barbell on push presses and struggling through work outs, especially with weights, even when I was keeping it light. When she said this, I tried really hard to figure out what my strength was, or even what my strength would be, and mostly I just came up with this: I do not back down. I do not give up. I am not too prideful to modify workouts to meet my needs. Alternately, I am not too afraid to push myself to do things that I don’t think I can do. I surprise myself sometimes. Even on the off days, I show up.
And that’s saying something right?