Non-Scale Victories

nonscale victories

This was posted to my box’s Boot Camp page on Facebook and it got me thinking, which has me writing!

I’m the first to admit, I will probably not be in any “before/after” transformation pictures since basically I am the same weight as the day I stepped into the box (my pants are 2 sizes smaller) and I don’t really think I look different in pictures I see. Don’t get me wrong, people have noticed that I look different and carry myself differently, so I know changes are happening, but when I see pictures of myself, I still see a fat, old lady, one who perhaps has no business being in a gym at all, much less a crossfit box.

{Now coaches, before you go and give me a billion burpees for sounding negative, please keep reading!!}

Are there moves I still don’t have down? Yep. There is a reason this blog is called Scaled to Perfection. My crossfit partner in crime and perpetual “in my head” sista (I swear we are one brain, separated by 20 years), have struggled with so many things for the years we have been doing crossfit. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know what they are, but if you are new, let me inform you of all the things I (well..perhaps we) still need to achieve, much less master: double unders, pull-ups, rope climbs, chest-to-bar, toes-to-bar, hand stand push ups, most things with the GHD, and box jumps (I had them, then the box tried to kill me so my brain refuses to let me do them again). My clean and jerk form, while improved, is a work in progress and  the snatch? Ugh… Ugly is a good word. Burpees about kill me and anything cardio is a long trip on the struggle bus.

This makes it sound like I can’t do anything at all, which isn’t true. The powerlifting moves are ones I love. I don’t mind thrusters, wall balls, the ski-erg, rowing, and kettlebells. I love all the accessory work we do! And I’m fairly certain that not one of the coaches would say that I give up, no matter how much I’m struggling, no matter how dead last I am and I will often go ahead an finish a workout, even if we’ve been time-capped, because…well…I’m not a quitter. That part has changed in me; I used to stop at the time cap, but I prefer to finish (if I won’t be in the way of the next class, or my taking a few more minutes means I won’t be late to work). I’m a firm believer in the crossfit attitude of cheering for everyone and that the last person to finish is just as, if not more, important than the first person. I LOVE to cheer on my fellow athletes when I get the chance. This is one of the things I love best about The Open. Except for your own heat, you get to watch and cheer everyone else, keeping them motivated if needed. I never thought that was a real thing, until it was happening to me and people really believed it.

Do you see a trend here? I do. If it has to do with brute strength, I’m all over that. If it requires grace and/or coordination, I struggle. I’m slowly getting better at all of these things and I have no shame in continuing to work on them, even as frustrating as it can be at times. I think back to high school and college sports and the positions I played: keeper in soccer, bench warmer in basketball, catcher in softball and shot-put in track. Those positions don’t really require coordination. You can just fling your body around without fear and that often gets the job done. The gymnastics move require something I’ve never really had the opportunity to train for, work on or even think about in my daily life. My parents didn’t send me to ballet or gymnastics (I would have told them no anyhow), so I never worked on those things and now I’m finding that I really need those things and old brains are apparently slower to learn than younger brains!

Back to non-scale victories! I’m a LOT stronger. I don’t give up easily (which can also have its downsides – hello calf muscle; I’m looking at you). My shirts are smaller; my pants are smaller. I can do the things the coach’s ask of me, especially scaled. I have enough confidence in my abilities that showing some of the newer athletes a move or two doesn’t worry me.

I’ve met so many wonderful people, many of whom have become dear friends. I participate in our #socialcommittee events as often as possible and have done some things that I never thought I would do, such as not 1, but 2 5k runs.

I’m fascinated by the programming and would love to know more about the inner workings of our head programmer’s mind when he puts the workouts together. And as I’ve been told to stay off this dang calf, all my workouts lately have been very modified and that has also been incredible to watch. It only increases my resolve to eventually save enough for my CF1, not because I want to change my life and start coaching, but because I want to know ALL THE THINGS, and the more data, knowledge, and information I have, the happier my brain is.

So as you progress through your journey, remember that there are many victories you will encounter along the way. Some will be more weight on the bar. Some may be getting a move that you didn’t have previously. Some may be taking time off your 500m row. Some may be as ‘simple’ as showing up every day, drinking the amount of water you know you need. You could drop clothing sizes; participate in a competition, partner with someone stronger/faster than you to push yourself; partner with someone slower/less strong than you to help them along. Relish all the little things because often the ‘I can’t’ permeates the day. Believe me, I know this from a LOT of personal experience over the years; I’m a pessimist at heart. But here and there, now and then, a glimmer of positivity shows up. And THAT is a non-scale victory I can get behind.

Post Open Thoughts

So…The Open didn’t quite go as planned. I was hoping to Rx more workouts and if a repeat was in the schedule (which has happened for several years now), I was hoping to do better. None of these things happened. And while I feel I have let a lot of people down (mostly myself), in reality this likely isn’t the case.

I am still dealing with this dang, blasted calf injury, and my coach told me he wasn’t letting me do 17.5. Here’s the thing, I was about 98% of the way to this decision on my own, so when he told me, I really wasn’t upset. Correction, I was upset for about 0.15 seconds; but, in reality, I knew it would be the best thing. Seriously, rowing was problematic the week before; one of the other coaches watched me back squat and noticed my body mechanics were off because of the pain. I have no one to blame but myself for this injury and for it lasting so long. Back in December during a workout with the dreaded double unders, I did the first 100 with few issues. But I was struggling with the second 100 and when I got to 150, the cramps moved from pulled muscles into what I could feel was rapidly moving into serious injury and rather than take the blow to my ego and simply stop the workout, I stubbornly (stupidly) kept going and followed that up with thrusters. I literally could not walk for 2 days. The coaches modified workouts for me and the instant I would feel even slightly better, it was ‘balls to the wall’ again, and right back to being injured.

Well…that has gotten me nowhere. I didn’t complete The Open; I didn’t do as well as I’d wanted. And I have only myself to blame. I’m okay with this realization, but now is the time for me to (finally) listen to the coaches, modify workouts for several weeks and go see the deep tissue massage therapist regularly.  I need to get healthy again so that I can start working on those gainz and goalz from the beginning of the year.

One final thought, I have to recognize that I’m not 20; I’m not thirty; I’m not even 40. Thus my age may mean that I need to ramp down the intensity a little bit. That doesn’t mean stopping; that doesn’t mean not going for PR’s and faster times. That means recognizing when I need to take a break; it means recognizing when I need to stop a workout. It might mean scaling something in order to stay healthy. Mentally, I will need to come to grips with this because I still have all those goalz to attain. It just might take me a bit longer to get there since I’m not just fighting a lack of coordination and grace, but time.

Slow progress is still progress, right?

17.5 Worries

Oh lovely. Double Unders. My crossfit nemesis. (well…if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you are aware that I have many crossfit nemeses…) But especially since I have a lower leg “thing”, mostly in my shins.

Thrusters? Okay…I might be nuts, but I’m one of the few people who kinda LIKES thrusters. And the weight is totally doable. We’ve been practicing in class doing reps unbroken for a lot of things, so for at least the first couple of rounds, I will shoot for doing them unbroken.

But double unders? Ok…I can do them a few at a time, generally with a lot of singles that won’t count. So do I scale this and just do singles?  That seems a cop out for me, since I am so close. Plus it’s 350 total and that is a large number….I know for a fact that this injury will kill me. ugh…

On top of this, I’m in the recovery phase from a cold, so I have basically one shot, probably on Monday morning. Though that does give me a few more days to rest my leg, since I haven’t been to the gym since Monday. Though that will also probably work against me; I haven’t  been to the gym since Monday!

Oh I am so torn here. But in the end, who needs to walk afterwards?

Pre – 17.4 musings

Okay, 17.4 is a repeat of 16.4. Four movements, 55 repetitions: deadlifts, wall balls, calorie row and hand stand push-ups. 

I did this one last year and got through the row with 10 seconds to spare. 

I can do the deadlift weight with no issues. The wall ball will had me out, as they are designed to do. But for me, the key will be the row. One of my coaches had me alter how I did my rowing and I think it’s gotten better. The issue will, of course, be how my calf and shin splints holds up as rowing tends to aggravate things. 

HSPU are not in my wheelhouse, so I just want to beat my time from last year!

My hint for you is to manage your reps. I did 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 as that adds to 55. It gave me something to concentrate on and also sets that were totally doable. 

Good luck to you this weekend! Give it your all!

Pre – 17.3 Thoughts

I admit I was very happy when Dave Castro tossed the dumbbell away. I’m pleased my prediction of dumbbell thrusters didn’t hold true! 

Now on to the nerves because squat snatches are certainly not my forte. So when Castro said there were no free passes on the squat snatch, since I’ve never completely managed a true squat snatch. And chest to bar?! Ugh …. I managed to get a grand total of ZERO pull-ups last week, so yeah … 

I do like the system of adding time if you finish the set before a time cap. That gives you incentive, but also means you can push yourself in the weights a bit since there is a time cap. 

The scaled version is actually scaled this week. The weights are doable, though I admit the higher numbers will be tough for me (let’s assume I will even get there). 

Last year there were jumping chest to bar in a workout. I’m fairly confident that the bulk of my reps probably should not have counted, but my judge was just being nice. So my goal for this year is to really get my chest up there. 

It’s time for some sleep. Fingers crossed that my calf and shoulder hold up, I don’t no-rep too often, and my snatches are at least serviceable! 

The Open is for (almost) Everyone

So the CrossFit Games Open is upon us (#theopenisuponus) and it seems like everyone is posting new profile pictures with Open frames and the ever popular hash tag #intheopen.  So, here’s my confession and catharsis: I am not in the open.  In fact, I have never been in the Open and I’ve been doing crossfit for three years.

So, why not.  Well, I guess the simple answer is that I’m just not into it.  I don’t feel the need to pay the fee.  I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to post my shitty score on the internet.  I don’t want to feel like i need to spend the next 5 Saturdays in the gym.  The Open is just not my thing.

There are some aspects of the season that I do like:  I enjoy waiting for the workouts to be posted.  I like reading the strategies and the interpretations.  One of the coolest things I saw today was an Open Workout  specific recommended targeted warmup from Squat University on Instagram.  I loved watching my friends and fellow athletes kill 17.1.  I loved cheering them on from my rower where i was doing intervals (and tearing up my heels but that’s a separate issue).  Also, I love watching the CrossFit games.  I’m a fan, but to me the Open and the Games are best left as spectator sports.

So here’s my message to you: it’s totally okay to get excited and pumped about the open; to dedicate time and effort to compete against all of CrossFitdom – I tip my hat to your commitment and your enthusiasm.  It’s also okay not to do the Open.  It makes you no less dedicated to your fitness, nutrition, CrossFit, your box, etc, etc.

Maybe next year.


This week’s entry into Why Have You Not Bought This Yet Wed is brought to you courtesy of The Crossfit Open.

First off, I know I’m late. These are actually harder to think of than you might realize!  There are so many good things out there, but in my mind, they tend to fall into broad categories and since I haven’t tested any brands for comparison, I prefer to lump them together instead of tell you to purchase THIS vs THAT. Now, if any of you want to send us things to test, you are more than welcome to do so and we will happily review them and post our thoughts!

Our coaches are always going on and on about how anyone can do crossfit and while I do believe there are so many workout options for everyone, I also firmly believe that anyone can do crossfit. I am living proof of this concept. I’ve been crossfitting for two and a half years, but I’m still scaling most things, still don’t have a good chunk of moves anywhere near to completion, much less at proficiency. Double unders are a fantastic way to see just how much I enjoy whipping myself; pull-ups are a wonderful way to practice jumping from a box; and, rope climbs are an endless source of frustration. This list goes on and on and on. I’ve even had to scale back other moves, such as push-ups to accommodate my still-healing shoulder.

And yet, despite my plethora of injuries, I’ve signed up for The Open. You guys know that I’ve not been doing crossfit since the beginning. But since I’m a rather geeky academic, constantly in search of information, history, knowledge and data I did some research into the history of this thing called The Open.

The Crossfit Games started in 2007 with a seemingly simple competition designed to find “The Fittest Athlete on Earth”. Each year, the competition strives to combine elements of gymnastics, endurance, strength and a surprise event. Ocean swimming, “heavy” workouts (meaning they take a known workout and make the weights even heavier than normal), pegboards, new equipment etc. The athletes don’t know what is coming until the end.

Since 2011, the first stage to get to The Games involves The Open. Top performers will then head to Regionals, and top performers there will go to The Games.

One of the complaints I heard from my coaches was the workouts didn’t provide a scaled option, which was always one of the things that crossfit always bragged about; anyone could do it, so why not the scaled options? I wasn’t doing crossfit at the time, but I can basically guarantee that anyone who wanted to participate would have found a way to do the workouts scaled; that is exactly what coaches have been doing for years! But now, crossfit releases official scaled versions for all the various age ranges.

I know there will be moves I cannot do (yet). I know there will be weights I CAN move. I know the workouts will suck, but in a good way. It’s possible there will be workouts I cannot do or modify due to injury and I will have to find a way to come to grips with this. But what I DO know, is that anyone can do crossfit; and thus, anyone can do the Open. Modifications can be the official modifications provided, or other modifications provided by all the wonderful coaches.

So go! Sign up for The Open. Do your best; scale as needed. Grind through the suck and enjoy that amazing feeling of accomplishment that generally goes along with any crosssfit workout. It will be the best $20 you spend on crossfit that isn’t gear; I promise.