What would consider your biggest achievement since starting at Solcana?
I’d say my biggest accomplishment is the fact that I joined a CrossFit gym at all! Oh, and jumping on a box! Doing CrossFit is absolutely the last thing I thought I would do. But when Alex Fink and Jeremy Burke both encouraged me to try Body Adapt, I listened. I didn’t say yes at first, but they were very helpfully persistent. I’d been searching for a way to take control of my health – eating and exercise – but I wasn’t sure what method would work. Their encouragement made all the difference. Especially when I could hardly walk after that first workout – thanks Jenn Schaal! – getting a text from them reminded me that I wasn’t alone.
I have realized that in my life in general – and with exercise in particular – I have to have company to make it work. That’s why I like the design of Solcana – small class sizes where you have to sign up and are expected to attend. And a Haiku from Hannah if you miss! That structure helps me work out much more often than anything else I’ve tried. It’s definitely a work in progress and I can’t say I’ve figured out the exact formula, but I’m still here, so that’s forward movement at least.
What is something unexpected that has changed since you have been at Solcana?
I didn’t think I would like CrossFit – and I’m not sure I actually DO like CrossFit – but I am pleased with myself every time I work out. I like being sweaty, and moving my body, and noticing that I made it through another workout without dying! One thing I hadn’t done before was rowing and I find that I like it. I can get lost in the rhythm and I feel good about my increasing abilities. I clocked 2:20 for 500 meters the other day (10 seconds off my previous pace), which made me smile.
Has your life outside of the gym changed in any way since joining, and if so, how?
After Body Adapt, I wasn’t sure if I was going to officially join Solcana. There was safety in our Body Adapt group because I knew I’d see the same people every week and like me, they were new to CrossFit. But the regular CrossFit classes – they were scary. I asked Jenn for a Body Adapt 2.0 and she said, “That’s what CrossFit is!”. That helped. But the real turning point for me was the election. With that horrible outcome, I knew I needed as much time and space around like-minded progressive people as I could find. No other gym provides that. I like that the nutrition class was part of Body Adapt too. It really helped solidify some food decisions I made this summer to (mostly) go off wheat and dairy and sugar. I can tell that my joints and my waistline are doing better because of that.
What is your biggest challenge at Solcana, and how do you battle it?
My biggest challenge is mental. I have this persistent and frustrating inner critic that never seems to be pleased. Well, maybe not never, but certainly not often. When the coaches kindly show me scaled versions that can work with my 53 year old, somewhat injured body, I do them. But that inner critic is doing a running commentary at the same time – “not good enough, not strong enough, slow, big, old.” Truthfully, that inner critic makes it hard to motivate myself to go the gym.
How do I battle it? One trick I’ve tried is having Yoda be an alternate voice in my head, saying something like “Too slow, you think you are. Know you not how strong you are.” Yoda is wise and talking in his syntax makes me chuckle, which is often enough to knock back the critic. Another mantra – Star Wars again – that I’ve been thinking about: “The Force is with me. I am one with the Force. The Force is with me. I am one with the Force. The Force is with me. I am one with the Force …”. I’m going to try repeating that the next time I’m driving to the gym. I also find that a good cry helps too. It’s helps me move through frustration and drown out that critic. I’ll be eager to see that on the whiteboard at some point – 40 burpees, 30 wall balls, and AMRAP of a good cry. That’s my kind of work out!
What were your goals when you were just starting out? What are your goals now?
Goals – what are these things you call goals? I didn’t really think about it that way. I guess it’s to keep going. Keep making healthy decisions about food and keep showing up at the gym. Keep battling the inner critic. Keep going. Say it with me: “The Force is with me. I am one with the Force. The Force is with me. I am one with the Force. The Force is with me. I am one with the Force …”