Monday, March 30, 2015

Tipping the Scales, and Finding Some Balance

(Video complete with narration... ooo... cool... a vlog...2 weeks ago above. Last week's 100lb snatch at the bottom of the blog...)
Today I went in for one of the millions of tests many 'high risk' mothers go in for. It's a simple blood draw, but still the insisted on weighing me in. Now, I don't put too much stock in the scale as a measure of health and fitness, but I'll admit to still having that mild moment of deep-seeded panic when I go to step on the scale.  I've gotten to the point now though, as the scale slowly climbs ever higher, that I try not to pay attention at all. In truth, I don't take my shoes off or try to weigh less than I do.  Doctor's offices tend to weigh me in at the WORST times of day anyway.
  But I'll admit to a quiet bought of "WTF?! OMG I'm getting FAT!"  when I got on the scale today at the doctor's office and saw a triple digit number I struggled with for a couple years appear on the scale - and it didn't start with a 1.

Now, keep in mind that this was likely the WORST time of day to weigh in. I hadn't gotten adequate sleep and I'd just eaten a real breakfast less than an hour before. So it's likely the weight displayed was about 5lbs off, but the truth of the matter reminds.

I'm getting bigger.

And I'm going to continue to get bigger - odds are.  Okay, so I've put on about 15lbs and I'm about 1/2 way through my pregnancy. Not so bad, all things considered. It's been a really good test in positive self-talk, as well as a great way to be conscious about my own body image. Even as a Coach and Trainer, we all have our hang ups. It's how much we let those hang ups dictate/impact our lives that we have a choice about. A conscious choice.

So I could have gone around all day, feeling much  more out of proportion than I am, or I could just ignore it for now, and head on with my day - which included going to the gym to get my workout in.

I opted to go to the gym. (Okay, so I had a couple of badass lifting clients to see, but I was interested to get my own workout in once I was done with them.)

The workout went well. I was able to jerk within 10 lbs of my lifetime max still, and I actually got a power snatch I'd been missing for the past month-ish. All in all, I was very happy with what I'm able to do.

And - all of a sudden- the 'weight' didn't matter. Because I can do the things I love to do, and I get to be involved in the success and wellness of others. When I did start to feel huge later on in the day, I reminded myself that it's likely to all melt off when the Bean gets here. I just have to keep doing what I'm doing and we'll all be just fine. I know my crew remind me of it all the time - and they wouldn't lie to me. I choose to believe them rather than stress out (for long) about 'what if's.

Many women would say 'enjoy pregnancy' or 'embrace the experience'. I think I do that about as much as I can. I find the humor in a lot of things - including the strange noises I make getting up and down lately - but it's hard to 'embrace' the physiological consequences of pregnancy (like getting excited that I didn't wake up with a nose bleed for a whole 2 weeks, or that I went a whole 2 days without heartburn, or that my hips randomly decide they are done responding 1/2 way through warm up and then get back on the band wagon 15 minutes later...). Yes, I get that it's all a means to an end. The Bean and I are both healthy, and that's the important part - no matter that digit staring back at me on the scale.

Sure, I've retired my jeans, not 'for good', but just for now (the waistline makes sitting uncomfortable and an uncomfortable pregnant lady is a grouchy pregnant lady...and NOBODY wants that). But they'll stick around in my closet. Someday soon enough I'll be grateful that I kept them - just like I'm grateful I kept some clothes from my 200-some lb days.

Oh, wait... those 200-some lb days are back! 


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Antisocial Trainer

I love my job.

I love the people I get to work with.

I love watching them all make strides every single day.
Seeing potential where they've already decided they are limited is one of my favorite things. Watching the discovery of all they are capable of? Awesome.

It always encourages me to push myself as well - even though right now I'm having to reframe my success. Trainer Guy reminded me that I made a 20lb gain on my backsquats from last year's personal record (215lbs last year, 230 this year) while that doesn't seem like a lot of weight. But he reminded me that, if I gained 15-20lbs on my squat every year for the next 10 years (not realistic), just think about where I'd be... And he has a point. So even though I've "only" gained 20lbs on my clean and jerk, that's still an achievement that, in the big picture, is pretty huge.

So being pregnant (and generally lifting within 10 lbs of my last PRs), I've had to reframe my fitness journey a bit and look at it as a day by day sort of thing. I can still lift comfortably, but there are days/times when The Bean lets me know that it's rest day. And I listen. Thursday was a great example of that. I certainly had the energy to do more, but The Bean had other plans. Instead of acting on jumping on some training homework, I mobilized, coached, and did a few light stability movements (ya know, working on Turkish Get Ups and Handstands/handstand walking). Being inverted seems to agree with The Bean and helped relieve some moderate cramping (totally normal at this stage in the game).

So when it came to 1 rep max day today, I probably could have used 1 more day of rest, but The Bean was cooperating, so I rolled with it.

And, yes, I didn't set any new personal bests, but my snatch was up 5lbs from last week, and my clean was as well. (Experimenting with a different Jerk style caused me to miss the jerk, but I later made it as a jerk from the rack after some rest and reestablishing the form that worked thus far - see video above, 135lb clean.)

Realizing that I'm almost 19 weeks pregnant and still able to do what I love is kind of a big deal. And I'm still improving, staying sharp, keeping my strength. I'm more process focused than ever - less "goal weight" focused. And each time a client sees some sort of improvement - whether it's a big improvement that came easy, or a tiny improvement that was hard won, I'm reminded of the power of focusing on the process. It's simple. Do the work - reap the rewards.

I've been asked by those who knew me back when I worked from home, if I'll go back to that once The Bean makes an appearance outside of my body.  I never gave it a second thought, to be honest. A step backwards doesn't seem like a viable solution to the problem. In fact, I kinda look forward to the first Meet that The Bean goes too.

For now, I love my time with my clients, and a little down time with my friends, but I can't deny having a newfound love for my couch time - very little of which is spent conscious these days.  Call me antisocial, but when it comes to my weekends, I generally opt to spend a good 1/2 of it giving Clydas a run for his money in the snoring department....
So if I turn down your invitation to hang out - it's nothing personal.
I'm not being antisocial.
I'm just busy making a person.
And that shit is exhausting...

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Better Coaching, Burned Burgers, Comfy Couches, And an Adventure

Tonight is pretty simple. I'm propping my feet up (a new habit of mine whenever I get a chance) and lamenting my terrible burger making skills...From the skillet to the microwave and still not done right. Adding this to the list of things I need My Sailor home for. (Sigh) Ah well, at last I have "Finding Neverland" (a remarkable movie... which has since been turned into a musical... which is kind of odd since it's about the writing for Peter Pan, the play, to begin with...) on Netflix to keep me company. Movies about writers always make me think big thoughts.

I hear that kids change your life - and I'm not writing with any attempt to dispute that. Of course, in my opinion, just about everything changes your life in one way or another. From the weather to the passing of time, everything changes life. So big changes of course influence our perspective more than others. And there have been a lot of good, big changes at our house (growing belly aside). From the hard-won success of Earn Awesome Training, to my personal competition goals, to My Sailor looking into Shore Duty and College, 2015 is a HUGE year for us. But one thing pregnancy (as a medical condition) has undeniably done, is changed my perspective on competition. Instead of the once-borderline-destructive-self-imposed ideas I had about competition, I've learned to embrace the 'fun' of it all. I hear lots of unhealthy views on the Crossfit Open... and here I sit, eagerly awaiting the sale of regionals tickets so I can go watch the elite athletes do their thing. As for the Open itself? Maybe that will be my 'come back' next year. For now, I am saddened to hear how it's being treated. The Crossfit community is usually amazing, but the Open brings out the best in athletic performance, and the worst in attitude in some folks. Honestly, my lesson in this really started sinking in last summer during Strongman... but it's really carried over and became part of my life once The Bean has made me learn to stop and smell the roses, and spend a good deal more time with my feet up.
400lb tire flip over the finish line, August 2014
Having amazing clients helps drive it home to. Everyone really pushes and reaches. Whether they are learning a new skill, fine tuning a known one, reaching for PRs, destroying some body fat, or preventing injuries, they are constantly remind me that it's the big picture that matters. When I get impatient that the weight isn't going up quite the way I'd hoped, it seems that same day, I get a new client who is wondering how this whole Strength Training thing I do works... and I get to break out these...

Progress photos March 2013, May 2013, and April 2014
And I'm reminded of the big picture. I'm reminded of where I started - and how much fun I've had along the way. Even though I still push myself (with a well measured shove), I wish I'd had figured out this perspective a little bit earlier in life. No doubt it would have served me well in the theater world as well. But that's the past. I'm grateful for the lessons learned. Time is an excellent teacher - and continues to make me a better coach with every new experience, bit of research, client/athlete I come into contact with. I considered a lot  of the possibilities when I learned I was pregnant. None of them included making me a better Coach... but oddly enough, I think it has.
Disneyland, Jan 2013, Waiting on our Adoption...
And even though My Sailor has missed a few competitions here and there, he's still my biggest fan. Though getting married again after having been divorced was probably the scariest thing I'd ever done, it isn't a decision I've regretting for a minute.  We're not perfect. We have our gripes about each other here and there, but when it all comes down to it, he's seen the good, the bad, and the ugly for the last 15+ years. Granted, a good chunk of that was from a distance, but all along, he's really seen me for who (and what) I am - and that's a rare quality in a person.  He makes it easier to be me. Even from 20,000 Leagues under the Sea - I get a message like. "I am so proud of you for keeping up with everything and not using your pregnancy as a crutch.  This is why you are such an amazing woman and partly why I married you.  Because you don't let life hold you back."

From my comfy perch on the couch, with my feet on the table, and 2 dogs snoring to a degree that would make any old man proud, I'm still living the great adventure. It may not be an adventure I planned on going on, but often times -  those are the best ones.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

In The Middle of the Contraversy - and 'Clean'ing Up

Ever since my last blog went over the loud speaker, people have been keeping their concerns to themselves for the most part regarding my weight lifting, or come out rooting for me - both of which are much appreciated. (As for my MD, she is looking forward to seeing footage from my last competition.)  There are still a few people who say they 'can't wait' for my joints to give out, stretch, etc. Still others who are (quietly and not so quietly)  horrified to find women like this:

My mind is absolutely blown to be a part of the "pregnant people that workout contraversy. I honestly don't understand why it's a contraversy to being with. In no other time in life can I think about when women are under more scrutiny. I mean, this shit makes high school seem like a cake walk, when it comes to the amount of pure, uninvited judgement that's openly shared. If you look in the comments on youtube of the video above, you'll see the ridiculous amount of comments referring to the athlete as being "irresponsible".  Honestly, she's taking care of herself, and she's proving it. You know how hard it is for the average Joe to make it into the gym? Imagine having those days and the perfect excuse!  It's even harder on days when your only reason for not going in is "I just don't want to." Sure, we need more rest and fuel than your average Joe (er... Jill), but we're not broken. In fact, pregnancy is something like a parasitic relationship. The Bean will MAKE SURE he/she is getting what he/she needs before my body gets what it needs.

My Monday work out. Red being the Rx weight. Black being the completed weights.
Working out releases endrophins, increases flexibility, and weight training specifically helps hyperflexible people (like me) learn how to control that flexibility, putting me at lower risk for injury. I know, crazy right?

Anyway, since I've been pretty vocal about all this now, I've gotten pictures, emails and messages of people that are like 8 months pregnant and don't look as pregnant as people would expect - asking me to weigh in if I think this athlete is "healthy".

Want the truth?

I assume she's taking care of herself - just like I generally assume the same is true for ever other pregnant woman I've ever encountered.

One of the best things about my job is that I get to see a lot  of potential cross my path. Drawing a quick assumption about anyone really isn't in my day to day life, so I tend to 'assume' (ha ha) that other people do the same thing.  I mean, here's a great example...

Courtesy of Modern Fit Mom
We're our own worst critics. If kids can see one of their parents this way, why can't we cut other people the benefit of doubt too, eh?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

"Bikini Babe Gets a Bean" or "Coming Clean. Soap Box On Blast."

Largely, whenever something has happened in my life and left it's mark on my life, it's ended up here.
The good, the bad, the ugly, the mundane... It's all ended up on the digital pages of this blog. From auditioning for America's Got Talent, to marrying My Sailor, to coping with various deployments and deaths in the family, from the adoption chaos, to transitioning from a job I where I made rich people richer to one where I help make people stronger - it's all been here.

At least - that's been the case for the last several years. So it's well past time that I came clean about the recent changes going on here.
My Sailor's Recent Reading Material
2 days before Christmas, My Sailor and I found out we're likely to be parents. And, no, not to a 4-9 year old from the Waiting Kids list. Instead, much to our shock and surprise, the first addition to our family is coming the far more typical, biological route.  Yup, that's right. I'm pregnant. That said, even now, about 17 weeks into this craziness, it's a little bit hard to tell.
Left: November, 2014 (pre-Bean) Right: March 5th, 2015 (about 17 weeks pregnant)
I didn't blog about it for quite a while. As any of my long term readers know, this situation was a near impossibility. It took a long time for the shock to wear off. Basically, in our position, it's anybody's game in how this would go.  So, while those that needed to know were informed, I have retained a general air of distance from the whole situation - well, not that it's actually 'easy' when you're the one who is pregnant, but enough adoptions had fallen through (and the fact that I never dreamed I'd be in this situation) that it's pretty common for someone in my position to withhold getting too attached or daydreaming too much about a family. I'd already retired those dreams and was still licking my wounds from the last waiting list falling through. But - so far so good. As far as pregnancies go, I hear I have it relatively easy. That said, I'm honestly going to say that even an 'easy' pregnancy is 'rough'!

So, not that ya'll are 'in the know', let me do a quick flash back for ya'll.

That means I did this...

And this...
My favored reading material
All while knowing I had a little passenger incognito.

Now that it's becoming more apparent at work (I'm noticably thicker around the middle, and often a good bit more tired in the mornings... and I eat... ALL THE TIME...) everyone is full of advice... and a good chunk of folks have made their opinions about my weight lifting well known. I've been quietly accused of endangering The Bean (which shall hence forth be the nickname of this kiddo). From "You had FISH yesterday?! Aren't you not supposed to eat fish?! It has Mercury!" to *my personal favorite* "You shouldn't be lifting anything over 25lbs!"

Well, I asked my OBGYN about the "anything over 25lbs" issue... and you know what her response was? She burst out laughing.

While every piece of advice comes from a well-intentioned friend, the pieces I've most appreciated have come from an ER doctor, who saw me when I accidently overworked myself (and made up for 3 months of no morning sickness in a single 7 hr stretch). You see, she is a physique competitor (aka bikini model, to oversimplify it) in her spare time, and a weight lifter at my gym. Funny that she happened to be working when hauled my nausated hide into the ER for some fluids and some help. (I'm new to all of this - and each day is different, so I'm learning how to mitigate my energy output vs rest and nutrition. Generally, I'm pretty good at it, but we don't know our limits until we reach them. I'm not exception there.) Turns out she had her kids in her mid-late thirties, and weight lifted up until the day she delivered for every single one of them. See, the medical professionals in my life have been nothing but encouraging.  It's the other people who seem to be worried by my seemingly 'irresponsible' behavior.

In lots of situations in life, we get to choose how to see things - especially situations well beyond our control. This is one of those for me. I can dwell on the fact that I had just finally started to get abs, that are disappearing by the day (which I moarned for all of 5 seconds), or I can realize what a badass  story this will be to share with The Bean later in his/her life. For me, there is a difference between being sick, and being pregnant.

Sometimes in life, you don't get to pick when you're broken and need to recover. That's getting sick. That's getting injured. That's getting a serious uncontrollable set back. While, yes, this wasn't in my playbook, this isn't one of those times.

I'm pregnant. Not broken.

My coach was one of the first to know of my condition, as it impacted our training. My focus has changed from volume to technique - and it hasn't suffered because of it. If something isn't working on a given day, I change the plan. If something is working great, I run with it as far as I can.

If, for some reason, something goes terribly awry and The Bean is never more to this world than he/she is right now, rest assured I won't be blaming a heavy squat for it. I've been in the medical field myself long enough to know that sometimes, some things just aren't meant to be. (And after spending over a decade reading reports for and coding for OBGYN physicians, I can honestly say I've never once read a report that stated "pre-term labor caused by weight lifting", so it must be incredibly rare.)

Now, that's not to say I'm turning a deaf ear to all advice, but rest assured that I am in no way endangering The Bean. I generally believe that no pregnant woman would KNOWINGLY put her kids at risk. Despite the unexpected nature of 'expecting', I fall into that category as well. The Bean gets a happy, healthy, strong mom, who appreciates her supporters more than ever.

And that can't be a bad thing.