I Must Not Fear

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.  And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
― Frank HerbertDune

What you are about to read may surprise some and may sound ridiculous to others but… it’s my truth, so I am sharing.

My fanatical friend and trainer is basking in the tropics this week, which leaves me all alone. Boo! 😦   I knew this day was coming and I’ve been restless about it.

Throughout the day I nervously studied the prescribed and written arm workout.  In case I misplace or lose the original paper, I made an extra copy.  One stuffed in my gym bag; the other on my desk.

My thinking is, if I study the workout beforehand, when I arrive at the gym, I will feel more confident, look more like a pro and look and feel less like a lost soul.  I confided in a friend.  She asked,

What are you afraid of?

Well… good question.  If I am going to be 200% honest with you, I need to reveal that Mrs. Fitness and Mrs. Patty Perfect (self-titled) always wants to do things to perfection.  God forbid I do something wrong and Lord knows that I have in the past and will error in the future.

By no means do I think I’m perfect or better than anyone else, I simply want to do the best of my ability (near perfection) in everything that I do. I’m working on the typos! 🙂  I try not to judge others, which is human nature in this country, but I am the critic when it comes to myself.

I know, I know!  There’s no such thing as perfect; however if I aim for the “P” word, then I’m assured that I’ve done my best and that’s all I want to do.  I can’t stand half-stepping or half-a** effort in anything.

You know what’s crazy?  I’ll run anywhere that is safe alone, take a fitness class where I don’t know anyone, but ask me to walk into a gym and lift weights alone… Nope.  I have never done this.  Most people who know me would not speculate that I have insecurities relative to any fitness environment.  But that goes to show you that we all have undisclosed bits and pieces of our personalities.

The gym environment is intimidating!  Ginormous, oversized, pulsating, loud music, tattooed male and female jocks grunting and slamming weights around.  You know the deer in the headlights thing?  That’s the situation I see myself in going solo to the gym. It’s silly because I know exactly what I’m supposed to do and I’m no stranger to the gym.

I asked a few women how they felt about weight lifting in the gym alone. They were not comfortable going it alone and feared “looking silly” or “not doing it right.”   I suspect the fear keeps a large number of woman off the gym floor.  The same is probably true for some guys, but they may not want to admit or acknowledge the intimidation factor.

Anyway, I swear by positive self-talk. The self-pep talk is my comrade that supports me when I lack confidence in myself. The talk has gotten me through many nerve wrenching situations.

While warming up on the treadmill, my eyes swiftly darted from one side of the gym to the other…. scouting out availability and space for my first exercise.  Boom!  I found a spot to begin my seated dumb bell curls.  I scurry off the treadmill and to my first station.

Are members watching and critiquing me?  Focus girl! My trainer’s note read….

Go hard or go home!

I claimed my bench with my one gallon jug of water, cranked up one of my favorite reggae tunes Shaggy’s, Strength Of A Woman, on my iPod, grabbed my 15 pound dumbbells and went to work on my bicep curls.  I knocked out three sets of 12 and before I realized it, I cared less about the who’s and what’s.

Tucked in my waist area, were my trainer’s written instructions.  Before moving on to the next exercise, I carefully reviewed her notes…  Twice I caught myself laughing aloud (not paying attention to anyone else) at the amount of weight I was instructed to lift.  Like, is she serious?  While shaking my head! LOL!

It took me less time to complete the workout than when I’m with my trainer.  Most likely because I did not talk to anyone–per her instructions–and really focused on the mind-body connection.  On A few of the exercises, I challenged myself to lift heavier than recommened and felt great about it.  At the end of the workout my arms were fatigued and I felt accomplished.

In spite of my fears, no one approached me to tell me that I looked silly or absurd.  While working out, another member may have been near me experiencing the same anxiety, but I wouldn’t know that.  Seriously we have to figure out how to get a handle on our fears. They are crippling and stifling.  Driving home I reflected on my experience.  All that fear and anxiety… for NOTHING.

Preparation for this competition is more involved than I anticipated. Not only am I tearing  down and rebuilding muscles, but I am also breaking down walls and barriers that unbeknownst to me have held me back.

At almost eight-weeks out from the competition, I am filled with anticipation about what the future holds for me.

Hmm… gotta love the unknown!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday’s WOD

Image courtesy of google images

Image courtesy of google images

WOD

Warm Up: 3 Rounds

200M Run + 1 Cindy (5 Pull ups, 10 Push ups, 15 Air Squats)

Mobility: 7 Minutes

SWOD: Romanian Dead Lifts @ 40 x 1
4-6 Reps x 3 Sets

WOD: For Time

1000M Row

50 KBS (53/35) (44/20)

30 Burpees

This was the first Saturday morning CrossFit class that I’ve done in a while, so I was excited. So who gets excited about a WOD? Me!

Sometimes the WOD is posted on the LivingWell’s CrossFit website, but I wanted to be surprised today, so I didn’t take a peak.

CrossFitters had the option of WOD A or B. WOD B included muscle ups… I’m not ready for those, so I knew the alternative was for me.

Around 800 meters of rowing, my hamstrings started to burn to the tune of P’Diddy, singing….  “Hello Good morning… ”  Music is great motivation during a workout. A funky beat makes me wanna dance so I keep it moving.

Thanks to my friend and trainer, my kettle bell swings (26 lbs.)  are getting better. Yesterday, I did a better job of controlling the KB.  When I brought the KB down between my legs, I remembered to keep it steady and prevent it from swinging and rocking back and forth. As a result, my arms were on fire!

Oh wait, something else noteworthy– In the warm ups, I did the three rounds of five pull ups with a skinny blue band…. non stop!! At one point, I had to double-check because I was surprised that it was “me” doing them. Training for this competition is undoubtedly making me stronger.  How exciting!

Somehow I misread the count on the number of burpees… a fellow crossFitter walks up to me, “I think you’re doing too many! What number are you on?” Umm… 46.. “We were only supposed to do 30.”

LOL!! Darn! No wonder everyone else was finished! It’s all good though, At least I know I can kick 30 out with no problem.  I’m just happy that I could take CrossFit today.

Today is rest day and… the Superbowl of course. I’ve read in other blogs about cheat days. But it’s kind of weird, but I haven’t had the urge to cheat since the New Year. Hot wings, chili, chips, etc… will be a good test today.  I am ready though, because I will have healthy alternatives with me.

Regardless, I’ll enjoy today’s game and hope that you do too. It doesn’t matter who wins, I just hope that it’s a good game (no blow out), and that the commercials and halftime are entertaining. There’s nothing better than laughing at the crazy Superbowl commercials.

Have a great day and enjoy the game!

Monday’s WOD

WOD:

12 minutes AMRAP (As many reps as possible):

10 KBS (44/20)

10 Strict Push-Up Burpees

Okay so it’s just after 11 p.m. and I’ve had a full day, which started at 4:40 this morning.  I’m beat but feel accomplished.

A phone call from my son’s school led me to pick him about 30 minutes earlier.  He threw up after lunch, but felt better when I arrived.   No, he wasn’t trying to get out of school.  He loves school and is rarely sick, so it was legit.  I think it might have been the Capri juices–  no proof just a suspicion.  Today I brought him a new 8 oz. bottle for his juices.

Not long ago, I saw some nasty images of the bottom of the juice bags on the internet and decided not to buy any more.  He has a few left in the bottom of the fridge. I’m going to cut the tops off of each one and check the bottoms.  Time will tell.

About 45 minutes before my 5:30 evening CrossFit class, I wolfed down dinner.  A meaty pork loin (just over 6 oz in size), fresh green beans, and zucchini squash.  I’m so sick of chicken now, I feel like I’m gonna start clucking any day now.

Eating before class doesn’t upset my stomach, cause me cramps or anything.  Why?  I don’t know.  Lol!  I felt energized during class.

I thought the strict push up burpees would do me in, but they did not. Heeeeey!!  I was up for the challenge today.  Hmm…. so my previous post about struggling with cardio in CF wasn’t an issue today.   Why?  Umm… Not sure.  Maybe because I ate dinner, I had a good source of fuel to energize me.  All I know is I felt great during the WOD. In the 12 minutes of the WOD,

I completed 9 1/2 rounds….  a total of 100 Kettle-bell Swings and 95 Strict Push Up Burpees!  Heck,  I’d better sit down to the dinner table before CF every class!  Lol!

My friend, a newbie to CF went today.  She did so well and I’m proud of her for staying with it.  Great job T!

You’d think I’d go home after CF.  Nope!  I attended a 7 p.m. information session on Transcendental Meditation.  Drenched in sweat, as usual, I sat in the back corner not to trouble anyone from my funky perspiration.

Halfway through the presenters relaxing presentation, my eye lids felt like lead rested on them. Out at 8 p.m. and home I went.

Real quick, this Transcendental Meditation has peaked my interest. I enjoy meditation and would like to further explore different types.  I feel calm and balanced when I meditate, so of course, I want to learn more.

I’m too exhausted to explain tonight, so below is small blurb from the official TM site. Click on the link to learn more.

The TM technique allows your mind to effortlessly transcend, to settle inward to the source of thought — a natural state of pure awareness and restful alertness. This automatic self-transcending is a unique feature of the TM technique.

I have to get some sleep.  Sweet dreams!

Training Progress Report

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.”

-Jim Rohn

Back in September I decided to compete in my first figure competition. While the event is five (5) months away, I am working very hard in the gym to prepare because May will be here soon.

Throughout the summer, I did CrossFit nearly five days per week.  Lol!  My intense summer training was helpful, but my current training regimen is on a totally different level.

The training differs from CrossFit in that more specific muscles are targeted during each workout.  By the end of my workouts, parts of my body feel like rubber bands.  To be perfectly honest with you, some nights I lay in the bed with extreme achy muscles.  The “no pain no gain” Mantua holds true to body building.

I am excited though, because I am experiencing progress.  My muscles are growing and so is my strength.   With the help of my friend/trainer, one day I leg pressed 360 pounds, not including the machine.  Yikes!!!  It truly is amazing what the mind can do with a little persuasion. Had she not added the weight, I would have never attempted it.

While I’m working in the gym, I feel more challenged with eating enough food.  Seriously, I’m not a big eater, so I tell myself to eat regularly.  Some times I unwillingly chew on my chicken breast, wishing someone could chew it for me.  I know–that sounds nasty, I’m just saying-

I had reservations about posting pictures.  Why?  Because they are up close and personal.     It probably sounds crazy from someone who stays on Instagram.  These pics are much more revealing, but it is the only way for you to see my progress.  So, here it goes.

The first picture it what I pretty much look like when I walk in house at the end of the day.   Carrying several bags, my lunch bag, and other essentials.  During the week, I workout after work, which requires a great deal of discipline on my part. Ugh!!!   I like to workout in the morning.

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This “before” picture was taken in early October after a workout.Take early October after a workout.

11/2013

11/2013

My abs are slowly coming along, but I still have A LOT of work to do.

11/2013

11/2013

11/2013

11/2013

11/2013

11/2013

11/2013

11/2013

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My back muscles are developing nicely.  I’m so excited to see my progress.  The more I see my body change, the more pumped I become!

With the New Year being only three (3) days away, I encourage you to think about challenging yourself in 2014.  Step outside of your comfort zone and do something you have not done before.  I’m not big on New Year resolutions, but I do make it a practice to accomplish or at least attempt to accomplish something new each year.  I hope you give it some thought for the New Year.

Keep it moving in 2014!

Today’s WOD

“Life is a grindstone. Whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us.”

                                -L. Thomas Holdcroft

If you buy into all the hype and the commercialism feeding into the holiday season, I pity you. If you don’t and instead, embrace the true meaning of the holiday, congratulations! Maturing cleared my perspective very well.

Don’t get me wrong, I buy holiday gifts for my loved ones too. But the gifts that I buy are in the spirit of giving and expressing my gratitude and the genuine love in my heart for my family and friends. My gifts are selected very thoughtfully with each person in mind. I search to find the special gift that will plaster a genuine smile on their faces. Oh gosh, I really enjoy the search.

Before the holiday season arrive, my strategy is already in place. I think about the who, the what, and the how much. Realistically, I think about how much time I can dedicate to decorating, cooking, especially since Christmas dinner is at my home. This keeps the stress at bay.

Look at these lovely treats I picked up yesterday! I brought them from a friend who owns a catering business. She saved me a lot of time.  Thank you Ms. Trixi!   I cannot wait to try your beautiful creations!

Oooh la-la! Chocolate covered strawberries

Chocolate covered pretzel sticks

Chocolate covered pretzel nuggets

Because I knew my Christmas Eve day would be busy, I crawled into bed early last night. Early for me is 9:30 p.m. By 5:30 a.m. this morning, my iPod was in full effect. As my head bopped to the sound of my favorite workout tunes and Beyoncé’s, “Drunk in Love,” I was in my zone. First stop… Kohl’s. It was empty!! Heeeeey! And that’s the way I like it. The sales people are rested and fresh and most folk are in an upbeat mode.

I shopped from 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. And then…. CROSSFIT!!!! LOL! That’s right. I planned ahead and wore my workout gear to shop. I had a shake, an apple, and other snacks in the car. I swear, my car looks like I live in there– Several pairs of sneaks (suitable for each workout), shake bottles, towels, iPod, gym bag, locks, supplement, quite a few water bottles, and only God knows what else. I’m a neat freak and the visual drives me nuts, but my workouts are more important than the neatness of my car.  It is what it is!

"Some" of the healthy snacks in my car

“Some” of the healthy snacks in my car

Just one pair of the funky crossfit sneaks in my car.  Lol!

Just one pair of the funky crossfit sneaks in my car. Lol!

Gloves, locks, my ipod, and other "stuff" fills my gym bag.

Gloves, locks, my iPod, and other “stuff” fills my gym bag.


Okay so the WOD!  The WOD!!!  The WOD!!!   Oh my goodness!!

200 Kettle Bell Thrusters (100 L /100 R)  955/35

-Each time you break yields 5 Calorie row or SDHP 55/35)

100 Burpees – Each break yields 10 Pull UPs

100 Abmat Wallballs (20/14) – Each break yields 10 Box Jumps)

40 Min Cap!

 

Not that 200 KB Thrusters are not a challenge, but to further challenge myself, I did the first 100 (50 each arm) were with a 26-pound KB. For the remaining 100, I decreased to a 16 pound KB. -I didn’t take any breaks during these.

Dem damn Burpees! I’m shaking my head just thinking about them. LOL! I thought I would never finish, but I did and with only one break, so I did 10 pull ups.

Only after one (1) Abmat Wallball (with a 14 pound ball), I rolled over… saturated the floor in sweat, then I got my butt up and attached the box with 10 box jumps. Old tunes by DMX loudly vibrated off the walls and I so wanted to break out into a dance atop the box, but I thought I’d look ridiculous and needed to preserve my energy, so I continued jumping and got back to the Abmat Wallballs.

Thankfully a fellow crossFitter, who already completed the WOD, saw my struggle.

“Do you want me to get a lighter ball?”

Barely audible, I mumble  a grateful, “Oh God, yes thank you!”

Right then and there I just wanted to scrape myself off the floor and kiss her!  LOL!  So I went from a 14 pound ball to a 10 pound ball and, with genuine encouragement from my peeps, completed the WOD within the 40 minute cap.  I forgot to look at the clock, but I think I finished somewhere between 33 and 35 minutes. Woot! Woot!!

I came home, finished wrapping, cooked chicken for tomorrow’s dinner and wrote this post. Soon, the fireplace will be melting wood sipping on… I don’t know yet… probably Cabernet or a Cosmo. Either case, it is well-earned today.

Thank you so much for visiting and for following Lexa’s Journal!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

One of several Santa's that rests on the staircase.

One of several Santa’s that rests on the staircase.

Workout Of The Day

“To the timid soul, nothing is possible.

To the aggressor,

everything is possible.”

John Bach, NBA Coach

Monday, December 16, 2013 –  (8 more shopping days til Christmas)

Warm Up:       3 Rounds – 5 Jump Squats, 10 Push Ups, 10 Air Squats

Mobility: 7 Min

WOD: 21 – 15 – 9

Power Clean (115/75)
Burpee
Rest 2 Min
**REPEAT**
20 Min Cap

SWOD: 5 Min EMOM of

5 Strict Press **Go Up As Needed**

Buyout: Cal Row 2 Min AMRAP
Rest 1 Min

2 Min AMRAP ABMAT Sit Up Wall ball (20/14)

The word “timid” is often and inappropriately associated with females.  Growing up I was surrounded and dominated by males my age and older. One particular cousin made it his business to try— notice the word “try” to show me that boys always win over girls.  Ha! Ha!  Pre-puberty years created an equal playing ground and I also enjoyed the wins.

Only two months separated us in age, but once the teen years arrived, the physical battles became an uphill battle.  In my mind, beating 15-year-old Curt was always possibly.  To win, I physically fought hard and sometimes dirty.   In the back yard, I took the hits, never let him see me cry, bit down and came back fighting with a vengeance.

Today we laugh at the silliness of our competitive spirits, but those early years seasoned me and toughened me well for life.

The WOD today was definitely not for the timid.  LOL!  As with many WOD’s, the door to the mental opportunity to quit is always cracked.   From the start, you’ve gotta slam the door shut.  If not, you’re done.

21 – 15 – 9 Power cleans and burpees were exhausting today.  I tried to make the 20 minute cap, but ran out of time after my last 9 power cleans.  I fell short, by 9 burpees.  But the good?  I did my first 21 at 75 pounds!!!  Heeey!!  I dropped down to 65 pounds for the 15 and 9.  What a different 10 pounds can make!    I am also mindful that I cannot afford injuries while training for the spring’s figure competition.  Better safe than sorry.

Okay, so the 5 minutes of strict press were no joke either.   I completed the first minute with 55 pounds.  I managed to squeeze out 4 on minute two.  When I could not get the bar past my the top of my head without using my legs, I knew I needed to decrease my weight.  There’s no shame in my game.  Respectfully I finished the rounds with 45 pounds.  I’m getting stronger!

I’m finally running out of steam and need to re-energize…   SLEEP!

Sweet dreams!