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Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page

Nutrition and Self-Experimentation

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2013 at 11:20 am

As a child, I accused my mother a lot of hypochondria-by-proxy. She sent me to the doctor for every kind of test at every possible opportunity. Obviously, she was just a concerned parent– and with good reason; I was often sick and battled a myriad of chronic conditions. Everything runs in my family– heart trouble, high blood pressure, diabetes, morbid obesity, cancer… Both my parents have had cholesterol problems in the past few years.

I’ve also mentioned that my mother is a clinical dietitian. She’s actually a damn good one, and I’m very proud of her and what she has achieved in her practice. Her specialty, however, is dealing with the already unwell and prescribing palliative nutrition for those who require intravenous care. She does not specialize in everyday nutrition. So when it comes to how we should eat… as I’ve been seduced by the more paleo school of thought… we’ve disagreed with increased frequency. In order to remedy her high (LDL) cholesterol, my mom turned to whole-grains and a more vegetarian-based approach. She’s also warned me often about the dangers of the coconut milk I pour into my morning coffee. All my research and my mother’s advice have given me two conflicting ideologies that have made it difficult for me to commit to any methodology.

However, since I started working with a Coach, she took my nutrition out of my hands– which I needed. But it means that, for the past two months I’ve been consuming amounts of saturated fat that would make my mother faint. Egg yolks, bacon, and coconut oil every morning. About 7 tablespoons of coconut oil every day. Tons of red meat (over 1lb of meat a day…). For the months leading up to this, I’d been slowly ramping up to this style of eating– so I’d say it’s been about a good year that I’ve been trying a more fat-based diet… I just really threw myself in headfirst for the past couple months because I was sick of straddling the line, unsure of whether to believe all the new advice I got from the ancestral-based movement or to trust in the “tried-and-true” “whole-grains” type wisdom.

I want to make the caveat now that I think the way I’ve been eating for the past two months, specifically, is rather extreme… it’s completely designed for me to grow as a CrossFitter and not for much else. In the future, in life, when eating more for enjoyment, I will probably stop consuming raw coconut oil by the spoonful and just use it to cook delicious parts of cow. But ANYWAY… I decided to get a lipid panel to find out how my nutrition was affecting my insides. Externally, I’ve felt great. I’ve had more energy than I ever had (and reduced my caffeine consumption to 25% of what I used to have). I’ve recovered much faster and been getting stronger and have been putting on weight. Internally, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just clogging my arteries.

So… (drumroll please) my doctor messaged me this morning. My HDL (good cholesterol) is through the roof and my LDL (bad cholesterol) is well within the acceptable range. My HDL was so high that the note says :”verified by repeated testing, sent to Quest labs for verification”)… so I guess I puzzled them a bit. The doctor told me to keep doing what I’m doing; I chose not to mention that I’ve been on the steak-and-bacon-diet.

I don’t want to give nutritional recommendations to anyone. I’m positive that it’s a very personalized thing. I know fantastic athletes and just-plain-healthy individuals that are paleo, paleo-zone, vegan, vegetarian, carnivorous, or on the Nabisco eating plan. I just know that, at least for now, I’ve found what works for me. After having so many small but obnoxious health problems, I was relieved to hear the doctor use the term “healthy”… So, for you all, I encourage a bit of self-experimentation. And a bit of bacon.

Stay healthy!

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Conversations in Coaching

In Training on May 15, 2013 at 6:55 pm

I’ve been teaching for almost as long as I can remember– starting with peer-tutoring programs in elementary and middle school. In high school, I  guest-lectured in English classrooms during my summers in Taiwan. I also tutored students one-on-one and sustained these relationships from afar when I returned to the States. I saved money in college by working for SAT and AP-prep tutoring companies, and eventually stirred up my own small business in Arizona. These days, I teach composition and creative writing at a University. This summer and upcoming year, I’m also working at the Graduate Writing Center, where I help  fellow graduate students develop their writing. I love teaching– perhaps selfishly sometimes because I’ve always understood it as not only a process through which to share my experience and knowledge, but to enhance my own comprehension as well. In a good student-teacher interaction, no one goes unchanged. Everyone’s perspective changes. It’s a conversation.

But with all my experience, I’m still scared when I think about the magnitude of responsibility it entails. Teaching is serious shit. By virtue of my very position in front of the classroom, I’m granted an assumed and sometimes unjustified expertise.

I want to believe that all my students care enough and think critically enough about the world that they won’t take my words at face value. I try to instill in them the will to question what they’re told– to find their own reasons for following “rules.” But that’s not always the case. Even the kid rolling his eyes in the back of my classroom, fiddling with his iPhone in his lap– if I tell him to put away his Angry Birds and I write on the board “Thruster (noun): a form of sadomasochism performed in windowless garage gyms,” he might actually believe this new dictionary definition of “Thruster.” He’ll believe me not because he’s dumb or mindless, but because he placed a certain amount of trust in the University when he chose to attend– that it would educate him. It would guide him towards a better version of himself.

I try to be as honest with my students as I can at the beginning of each semester: I will never ask you to do something that I don’t believe will teach you something. I will not waste your time. I am confident in the merit of the things I’m teaching you, but I don’t know everything. If you ask me something to which I do not know the answer, I will tell you. And I will find the answer, if I can.

I think that same level of self-awareness needs to go into coaching. CrossFit certifies anyone who pays for a $1,000 seminar and passes a relatively simple, multiple-choice test. This says nothing about his/her ability to train an individual. But when  a gym supports that person– puts him/her in front of a class and a whiteboard– the members naturally trust the individual to know what s/he is talking about. I was once told– just once– that I needed an exaggerated “shrug” to finish my deadlift– to completely break all body tension and shift my shoulders back in order to get a valid, visible rep on the lift. Since that one, offhanded remark, I’ve been shrugging at the end of every deadlift. Even when I deadlifted on my own, I would no-rep myself and criticize myself for forgetting the damn shrug. It wasn’t until I had my deadlift form critiqued by a strength coach that I realized: the shrug makes absolutely no sense. You finish the lift by extending your hips. You keep your shoulders where they are because they’re holding hundreds of pounds off the floor and if you lose tension there, you force all that pressure onto an overextended spine.

I see two faults in my story. The coach who told me to shrug probably knew that the shoulders needed to be behind the bar, but didn’t understand that that visual cue was to ensure the athlete had achieved hip extension (and not spinal hyperextension). Non-critical-trainee-Jo simply thought “hrm, a coach told me so so it must be truth.” I think coaches do need to realize the amount of responsibility and authority that they have– they need to make sure that they’re properly educated and that they’re confident in their ability to give sound advice. But also, athletes need to take responsibility for themselves as well. There are fantastic coaches, and mediocre coaches, and people who have no business coaching. There are fantastic coaches that have bad days, and there are fantastic coaches with gaps in their knowledge. The thing is– bad advice, or even advice that’s not suited to the trainee– will inevitably happen. An athlete must learn to protect herself by educating herself and learning and knowing the eccentricities of her own body.

Let’s look at “scaling” as an example. I like the idea that most workouts were designed for certain time frames. For example: “Fran” is supposed to be a 4-7 minute workout. Athletes should scale accordingly even if it means a 45 lb bar and banded pull-ups. If an athlete completes 21-15-9 95lb thrusters and strict pull-ups in half an hour, he is no longer performing “Fran.” He has converted a quick, metabolic conditioning workout into an agonizing chipper. But in this situation, if said athlete insists upon a 30-minute Fran just because he can “Rx” it, I don’t think it necessarily falls on the coach to argue with him. After all, it’s his body. As the trainee, then, Half-Hour-Fran needs to acknowledge his training goals and how best to achieve them. The coach can (and should) offer advice, and should explain the philosophy behind the programming, but it’s up to Half-Hour-Fran to recognize his current weaknesses and address them accordingly.

The process of teaching and learning– coaching and training– should involve demand awareness of personal responsibility for both parties. We trust our coaches to know what they’re talking about and to admit when they don’t. We trust our athletes to understand their own needs and to articulate them when necessary. If you’re still beat up from the last workout, maybe today is not the day to try for that deadlift PR. If you can do a 95lb thruster, but not more than three at a time, perhaps you are not yet ready for a prescribed Fran. I’m a firm believer that there’s no “perfect” training protocol– that developing athleticism is a journey and there are infinite routes towards the same destination. Better communication between coaches and trainees can help us find the paths of least resistance– so that coaches don’t misguide their athletes, and athletes don’t wander off alone.

Faith and Falling

In Training, Writing on May 11, 2013 at 5:34 pm

I don’t know if any of you have heard– but Cheryl Nasso has dropped out of Regionals. A scrappy competitor who started CrossFit at an enfeebled 83 lbs, she naturally became one of my favorites when I first started my CrossFit fixation. But this year, after a season of dogged training, Nasso had to withdraw from her Reigional competition. In a freak-accident of life, she fractured her wrist while breaking up a dog fight. Fellow top competitor Talayna Fortunato wrote a rather lovely tribute when the announcement was released. She recounts one of her most powerful memories of Nasso:

We had to climb a rope without legs to 20ft. Cheryl got to about 15ft. and was struggling. She struggled her way to 19ft. At the point most people would have saved their last bit of grip strength to make sure they could put their legs on she was still reaching for the top. I know because I watched in disbelief as her forearms finally gave out and she plummeted from the top of the gym.

While I’d never advise an athlete to push him or herself to that point, I can’t help but admire that spirit– that commitment… determination that so completely eclipses fear or reservation.

When I first saw Zebrapants work out, I concluded that I want to live like he WODs– it’s a silly turn of phrase, but true. I want to be able to apply myself with that much passion, that much conviction… so much sheer force of will that everything else becomes irrelevant.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately– and feeling a lot. I do that too often, you all know. I have this theory about writers… at least, all the writers I met in my cohort during my MFA. We were all drastically different people, with such different experiences and life perspectives and writing styles, but the single thing we shared in common– the grounding force that drew us together– was the sheer excess of our emotions. Oftentimes, reading all our disparate work, I got the sense that we had all become writers because we didn’t know how else to cope with the terribleness of our thoughts. We mulled too often and too long about the ways in which people wound one another– sometimes maliciously, sometimes innocently and with such heratbreaking naivete. And because we don’t know how to process this– how to contain this realization– we write.

I won’t bitch about the things that have happened to me– everyone gets hurt. I’m not special or a victim or any more unique than the next person. Everyone gets knocked off the metaphorical rope  a few times– regardless of grip strength. And we mostly get back on the rope too because we naturally seek direction. But the question is how you regain the spirit of the first climb– how do you pull yourself blindly towards the top when you remember how it feels to have everything slip from your grasp– the indiscriminate force of gravity.

Sometimes I feel my arms giving and I’m paralyzed by fear– so much that I’m clinging to the rope, too fucking stubborn to slide back down, yet to terrified to reach ahead. So I wind up with the worst possible option– stagnation.

I started this year telling myself to hell with fear– I would commit 110% to everything that mattered to me and see where it took me. Trying to become a CrossFit coach has been the most frustrating struggle for me. Sometimes I feel like the amount of time I spend working on it is… silly because I have an entirely different career that I’m building in academia… because, despite that career, sometimes I feel all I do is cast my heart and every last bit of will into CrossFit, and it’s just consumed by an unfeeling world that doesn’t give a damn how hard I work but only how much I (cannot) lift… because I’ve never worked for so long at something and felt like I’ve made little progress.But I’m trying to commit to this entirely… I’m trying not to give a damn if I slip and fall– to be unfazed, even, when my hands yield for a few seconds and I drop a few heartstopping inches before I’m once again clinging for dear life.

Training this week has gone well. I hit four PRs in six days– in lifts as well as aerobic efforts. While rowing at a “recovery pace,” today, I accidentally beat my old 1k PR. Tuesday, I stood with 160lbs on my back for the first time– from a box squat just above parallel, but I’m chasing that 1.5x bodyweight backsquat to full depth… hopefully better now that Squatsalot was kind enough to look over my form for me.

In other aspects of life… I’m still paralyzed. I’ve been disappointed a lot lately. Some big things, some small things. I’ve been frustrated by people who fail to see the humanity in others– whose perspectives of the world narrow only to themselves. But strangely, I can’t blame these people because they’ve learned, right? The way to survive this world is to take care of yourself first because nobody else will. But this fact makes the world a frightening place for me. You’ll notice the key word I apply to often to CrossFit is camaraderie. I’m in love with people. I love the human race– I want to believe in the innate goodness of others. I want to believe that empathy is instinctual… that you will always clamber to cliff’s edge and pry the stranger from the ledge. And we see moments of selflessness and courage that are restorative. But sometimes they feel so distant and faraway when I focus too much on the pettiness that sometimes pervades everyday interactions. And I’m stuck, 10 feet off the ground, trembling fingers trying to hold on to the thread of good will amid all the… careless… mindless hurt.

I guess I want this to be a hopeful post, though… because I want to keep trying. I want to live with that blind faith that everything will be okay– if I continue throwing everything of myself into my pursuits, into my friendships and those that care for me– if I commit myself to the things that matter and keep fucking climbing… maybe I’ll make it there. Or… if I don’t, maybe I won’t regret those few weightless seconds before I hit the ground. It’s exhausting, though, and sometimes it feels lonely on this rope. So thank you for reading– particularly since I know this post isn’t altogether coherent… but those of you that believe in me, that invest a bit of your time and emotion in me… it matters. Thank you.

Lessons from an Injured Jo

In Training on May 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Brace yourselves: Jo’s angry again. Mostly at herself, a little at CrossFit. A lot disappointed in both.

It’s been about three weeks since my injury, and the recovery has gone well. The referred pain has stopped, as well as the obnoxious aches that accompanied daily activities. Now it’s isolated to a single muscle that I must have abused terribly on that last deadlift. I’ve learned a few things from this experience that I think bear repeating:

1) Treat mobility as part of your training. We all have time for 20 minute AMRAPs or two-a-day WODs but somehow that time disappears when it comes to foam rolling, stretching, and flexibility work. Stop making excuses. If you’re serious enough about your training to commit to “going hard” 5-6 days a week, you should be serious enough to treat your recovery with equal respect. I’ve done a minimum of 30 minutes of mobility work every day since the injury and the difference has been phenomenal. I’m positive that it’s helped my back recover, but beyond that… I’m not nearly as sore as I used to be. The daily pains that accompany being a CrossFitter have diminished… If I push myself particularly hard and think that I’ll regret it the next day, I devote some extra mobility work that evening and am pleasantly surprised the next day when I wake with minimal soreness.

2) Taking a few weeks off won’t turn you into a pile of useless slush. You all know I probably have even more of a psychosis than the average CrossFitter, where rest sounds like a condemnation. I won’t lie– having to respect the fragility of my back has been frustrating. I haven’t deadlifted, squat cleaned or snatched close to my max for three weeks. I’ve slowed down all of my metcons to avoid aggravating the injury. But as I slowly ramp back up with my recovery, I’m finding that my “fitness” hasn’t really suffered– and, in fact, might actually benefit from the extra attention to movement virtuosity.

3) Virtuosity. This is a big one for me– something I harp on a lot. This is also the source of my anger. Let me explain.

I had a short session with a strength coach today, who generously offered to look over my deadlift form after the injury. So, as it turns out, I’ve been doing it all wrong. One of my few points of “pride” in my CrossFit career is a deadlift above 2x my bodyweight. But I’d like to retract all my boasting. My lift, it seems, involves mostly levering up the weight with my back. I use pathetically little legs in my deadlift. Though I’m pretty confident that I can (or could– past tense) lift over 230 with train-wreck form, with “proper” form, I couldn’t even get 145lbs off the ground. Because the first part of the lift actually should rely much more on the legs, and because my legs are so tragically understrong, I couldn’t even get the bar to my knees today. Granted, my back felt a lot better. I actually felt a lot more stable than I usually do during my deadlift. But… my “best lift” is now suddenly my worst lift. I wonder how long it will take to train back up. But this explains how my deadlift numbers could skyrocket without affecting my squat… I’ve just been pulling with all back. Apparently I’ve been unconsciously “skipping leg day.”

I’m furious with myself because I should have known to rebuild my foundation long ago. I’m frustrated with CrossFit because I feel like we’ve cultivated a culture in which this can happen. Again, I know I’m in the minority. I stumbled into a CrossFit gym as a sedentary idiot who had no idea what she was doing. Most people already knew how to breathe when they lift things… most people in tune with their bodies probably accumulate tension naturally when they approach a bar. My body’s an idiot. It never occurred to me that breathing was a crucial component of lifting. I never thought to build tension in places other than the muscles directly affected by the lift.

I’ve been a very vocal defender of CrossFit– speaking out against all the criticisms that we’re a bunch of reckless morons running ourselves into the ground. But there is a sort of worrisome culture of that in CrossFit. I’ve had the fortune of visiting a few powerlifting and weightlifting (Olympic) gyms, and from what I’ve seen of their methodologies, they would have never let a bumbling trainee like me add weight to the bar before perfecting my technique. There’s a reason the CrossFit movement standards are laughable to most powerlifters and weightlifters. If you watched the judge’s instructional video for the Open, the “snatch” didn’t even have to be a snatch– it should more properly be defined as “any way overhead.” An embarrassing video circulated over YouTube during the Open, promoted by the Games Facebook page, of a CrossFit athlete performing a “snatch” in which he fell onto his knees and then stood back up with the weight. “Good rep!”

I understand that the movement standards for competition are designed so that judges can very clearly and easily count reps. And I also understand that it’s actually not that harmful a choice in most CrossFit competitions because the professional athletes at the top of their game perform these movements with fantastic technique 99% of the time and only get sloppy sometimes at the end of workouts in competition. However, it does send a poor message to the general population. Is HQ really that surprised that there were so many disqualified videos this year if we create a world in which our “standards” endorse sloppy movements?

Training with Coach has opened my eyes to a lot of this. I’m trying to clean up everything that I’ve done messily for years– unfortunately, everything is messy, from my kips to my barbell work– let’s not even talk about the Olympic lifts. But it’s also eye-opening what a difference it makes. Coach has been trying to get me to do my butterfly kips with straight legs. “Straight legs?” you say, “but Chris Spealler teaches it with a bicycle kick! And it looks so pretty!” And it does, and that was how I learned it. It’s been frustrating trying to wrestle my uncoordinated self into submission and to maintain a tight body throughout the butterfly kip, but I’ve discovered how efficient the movement becomes that way. It’s a lot less fatiguing, and… a lot less jarring. One of the big problems I had with learning any kipping movement in the beginning was that they made my shoulders ache– the weight of your body crashing down on your shoulders again and again is just a lot to handle. But smoothing out the kip to eliminate excess movement also reduces that impact– at least, that’s my inexpert analysis.

So here’s the thing… I still maintain that CrossFit is fantastic, fun, and healthy done correctly. But because we’ve made a “sport” of fitnessing, we also get caught up in the competitive spirit of it. We want to see those numbers go up and the times go down, even if we’re just competing with ourselves. I think by making fitness a game, CrossFit really opens up the world of fitness to a lot of individuals who would otherwise never touch a barbell. But I think we also need to emphasize the importance of movement virtuosity even as we encourage the classic firebreathing CrossFit state-of-mind.

I’m… relieved, mostly, that I didn’t injure myself worse before realizing that my technique was all wrong. I’m appalled that I’ve been wrenching up 200+ pounds on a regular basis with a curved spine. I’m so angry at myself for being completely blind to all this, and for ignoring the importance of movement integrity. I’m also concerned about CrossFit as a sport in that it creates some environments in which these things are passable– not all CrossFit gyms, mind you… there are many fantastic, knowledgeable, and attentive coaches in CrossFit… but because we’re based in community and most of our learning happens in group environments, it also falls upon the individual to recognize when s/he needs help. In turn, responsible coaches and facilities should be sure to stress that– the importance of self-monitoring… and, in an ideal world, they could offer  opportunities for members’ self improvement– I like that some gyms out there have “office hours” where members can come in and consult a coach on personal weaknesses, or others offer specific seminars to address each of the many niches that CrossFit has consumed– weightlifting, gymnastics, powerlifting…

I don’t mind sucking. But I hate wasting time, and what crushes me most about this is that I’ve spent years digging my own grave– not just stagnating, but actually establishing negative habits that I now have to break. I’m trying to be patient through all this… at least I’ve figured it out now, at least I know where I need to progress from here– even if “here” is more of a “square negative three” than “square one.”

Addendum: If you really think about it, this is what CrossFit is supposed to be: functional fitness. At its core, we’re supposed to be teaching people how to move things and themselves safely and efficiently… Let’s not lose sight of that.

Rebuilding Jo

In General, Training on May 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Anyone who’s been even remotely following this years’ CrossFit Games season will have heard of Sam Briggs. In 2011, I had just started CrossFitting, and did not pay much attention to the actual Games. In 2012, when Briggs had pulled out of competition, I was obsessively “leaderboarding”– tracking the big names like Annie (T and S), Kris Clever, Becca Voigt, Julie Foucher, Camille, etc. I was entirely unaware of Sam Briggs. Somewhere in the middle of the year, I stumbled across her blog, where she tracked her daily workouts. She seemed like the usual, down-to-earth, passionate CrossFitter. She mostly just posted daily WODs with little reflection or context, so I lost interest and stopped following. This year, she burst onto the scene and freaking kicked ass. Briggs placed 2nd in workout one and then claimed first place for the remaining four workouts of the Open.

Of course, being me, I began doing my homework. Briggs went on temporary hiatus in 2012 because of an injury– a fractured patella, to be specific. She had undergone serious rehab for the majority of the year, but returned possibly more beastly than ever. Something I’ve hated about this years’ Games season is the poor sportsmanship– the way people have tried to cheat or “loophole” their way through workouts, or the way people have tried to accuse entirely honest athletes of doing the same. Of course, when Briggs jumped back on the scene a serious workhorse, the conversation turned to steroids.

Non-athlete and non-sports-follower that I am, I tend to consult the Cookie Monster on all things athletic… When I asked him about Briggs’ impressive performance this year, he frowned pensively and answered, “I don’t know. Didn’t you say she’d been through rehab? That’s harder than normal training.”

I believe it now.

Though my back has been feeling progressively better each day since the deadlift injury, I made an appointment with a PT/Chiropractor just to get it checked out, and to address some other issues I may have. Though the glamorous life of graduate-student-ing doesn’t pay well, I’m currently the proud recipient of the best health insurance I’ll possibly ever have, so I might as well abuse it while I can.

Though I’d made the appointment for my back, the Doc looked at me for three minutes before he figured out that my hips are grossly misaligned. I mean, I’m not surprised. Jefe figured out a year ago that my hips tweak to the right when I rise from my squat. My right side always pulls the deadlift off the ground first. No matter how I try to maintain my alignment when I squat, I always pivot on the way up. For cossack squats, I can lower my right side fine, but I lack the same flexibility in my left. In fact, though the doc examined my back (I think a facet joint or two is inflamed from bearing unexpected weight? — der, the fifth rep of a 200lb deadlift, perhaps?), his greater concern was the hip imbalance.

And the more I think about it, the more I realize– like with all things CrossFit, this is probably something I should have fixed first, to establish a solid foundation, before I started trying to build on it– before I started pulling 2x bodyweight deadlifts for reps, before I started pushing my squat heavier.

The back is feeling better and better. The last remaining aches and pains have all but disappeared, but for the past few weeks, I’ve been too scared to go heavy. It’s been frustrating as hell– especially when trying to gain mass– refraining from heavy lifts or even hard metcons. Anytime I felt something tweak in my back, I slowed down. I stopped loading weights the moment I felt any strain. But the way I’m trying to look at this– my self-imposed silver lining– is that at least now, my body is forcing me to go back and rebuild my foundation. I can only work for form right now– not max weight, not speed. Coach has been programming my deadlifts and cleans at pathetic fractions of what I used to lift, and so the only way I can maintain my sanity is by using these moments to hone in on the mechanics.

Strangely, too, the rehab must be doing something. I left the doctor’s office feeling fine– not as if I’d exerted or worked anything. We spent 15 minutes with the electric stim machine, some light exercises, a bit of back-popping and I was on my way. But the next day I was sore– not achy in the post-injury way, but sore like I’d beasted out on a long WOD… and all of yesterday I couldn’t figure out why– I hadn’t done more than usual at the gym. Then it struck me (slo(w)-Jo): must’ve been the PT…

I complain a lot about my body. I’ve blamed it a lot for being awful to me– a childhood of steroid inhalations for asthma, an adulthood of treatment-roulette for my IBS… etc. But I’ve also been pretty terrible to my body in return (or, perhaps, more a chicken-and-egg thing). I did nothing remotely athletic or physical until age twenty, and upon discovering the thrill of endorphins, I jumped in 1 million percent without any regard for rest, mobility, or restoration. And now you, dear readers, get to hear about all the backpedaling ways in which I try to make up for it.

All that said, I’m happy with some of the progress I’m still making. Since I’ve been careful with the lower body lifts, I’ve concentrated more on upper body movements. My push-press broke its plateau and I PR’d the lift by 5lbs directly before shaving 4 minutes off my previous “Annie” time. My “Nicole” score yesterday was 68 points higher than my previous PR (granted– that old score was a year ago, from when I just started to do kipping pull-ups, and eeked out a whopping score of 11). At any rate… I’m trying to look at the brighter side of these things– that, though it’s taken me far too long to get around to it, I’m back to trying to establish a solid foundation for all my movements. Though I don’t anticipate a Sam Briggs-esque comeback, hopefully I’ll bounce back stronger and more durable 🙂