Healthy Family – Healthy Future

I remember as a little girl, sitting on my father’s running shoe-covered feet, arms around his sweaty knees, while he completed sit-ups after his run. I’m certain each of my 5 siblings has a similar memory. I don’t know how far or how often he would run, but he always encouraged us to run and/or to be physical. What I do know is that he completed his 1st marathon on his 50th birthday and he began Cross-fitting in his 60’s. INSPIRING.

I never did go for a run, not until just recently actually, but I was active in baseball, softball and swim team through most of my adolescence. After activities ended, I gained weight and ate/drank unhealthily for most of a decade. Towards 30 is when I found Paleo and Crossfit, only after entering motherhood. Motherhood is when it all clicked for me; I am a role model, a leader of a pack and I must make right choices for my cubs. At least, that is what goes through my mind on a daily basis.

My girls on a recent hike up White Rocks Trail in Cumberland Co, PA. We made it all the way to the top!

My girls on a recent hike up White Rocks Trail in Cumberland Co, PA. We made it all the way to the top!

While I once lived to party, I now enjoy walking my children the 10 blocks to a mile, to and from school, digging up soil and mixing compost, researching what plants work best with other plants to help deter critters, promote healthy growth and of course, taste the best. I’m using heirloom seeds, recycled egg cartons to start them, chopped off milk jugs in the event of a chilly evening… Who am I and how did this happen to me?! But most importantly of all, I am doing all these things with my children. Children who live in a culture where we are taught to trust the government, doctors, big brand names and their friends’ well-meaning treats on a daily basis. I’m hoping to infuse them with their own power through information gained and gathered on the fringe of what passes for our modern American culture. Do as I say / Do as I do. I am teaching by example and although they make choices that aren’t best, they also know that eating healthy food before a sweet treat is a better idea so their bodies don’t feel bad. That they learned on their own.

One of my 2013 resolutions was to grow as much as possible based on what my family likes to eat. So far, I have 2 4×4 garden beds with carrots and onions, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and I’ve begun seeds inside (due to a late winter chill and fear of frost) which include a variety of peppers, cucumbers and greens; arugula, spinach, butter crisp, head lettuce, I’ve also planted snap peas in a very fun way…I’m sure I’m forgetting something and I hope I’m able to keep up with it all! I also plan to add another raised bed to our farm this season for all the greens and the potential of 3-6 hills for melons and pumpkins. Luckily, our backyard has plenty of room for both play and food. Of course we’ll also be mixing these two very important aspects of life together by building a wall for the vining veggies to grow up and my kids to play under, FORT!

I used scrap pieces to make a humble wall for some snap peas to climb. I am propping it up with another stick to create a fort for the kids to play in and to provide some shade in our very sunny backyard.

I used scrap pieces to make this humble wall for our snap peas to climb. I am propping it up with another stick to create a fort for the kids to play in and to provide them additional shade in our very sunny backyard. They helped paint, roll out the chicken wire and plant the peas.

While my 6 year old churned the soil and collected any weeds from our back 2 beds, my 5 year old helped me plant seeds in egg cartons with a bit of our first batch of compost, started last year in my Mother’s Day present. We tend to the yard every chance we get on these brisk Spring days, before I have to go to work and they have to attend school. We look forward to Sundays when we can really get our hands dirty and everyone gets a say in where and what we plant. The time we spend together is priceless because we’re working as a family FOR our family.

That's me in the black, next to my father and his wife, both active members at Crossfit717, along with 1 of my daughters, 2 nieces and 3 nephews. They were all participants during a fundraiser featuring family wods and a pint sized wod circuit. Not pictured: another daughter and my husband, who dj'd the event.

That’s me in the black, next to my father and his wife, both active members at Crossfit717, along with 1 of my daughters, 2 nieces and 3 nephews. Not pictured: another daughter and my husband.

Life has a way of coming full circle as I caught my nephews sitting on each other’s feet while the other completed sit-ups in preparation for the family WOD (work out of the day) at Crossfit717‘s weekend event in support of Autism. It was a great day, filled with fun, family and fitness. My younger girls were able to participate in a WOD circuit, built just for 8 and unders including box jumps, burpees (their fave), air squats, farmer carries and more, while my husband dj’d the event. We have surrounded ourselves with quite a community. My only wish is that my children influence their own friends and family in a similar way some day and my efforts are not in vain.

How does your family stay focused on health? Leave a comment or join us on Facebook for more posts and discussion.


No Ladies Allowed

From the time we’re born, female humans are prompted to be sweet, delicate, polite, dainty, helpful, soft and pretty. I’ve spent 30 some-odd years first rebelling against, than attempting my best to adhere to, this very definition of being a lady. I always cross my legs, and when not, my knees are tucked gently together. Napkin upon my lap, elbows are never on the table. Although forever-clumsy, I try my best to be graceful even if that means while falling. *Sigh* There’s a lot of pressure on chicks, man.

Enter CrossFit: That sly little devil of a fitness community where ladies are left at the door. Otherwise you’ll find it mighty uncomfortable as your coach prods you to use your ass and not your thighs to get your self below parallel and back without a bounce at the bottom, chest straight up over knees, as fast as you can and with perfect form. Knees out. Keep trying. GO! Shit… what?

Exactly.

Any proper lady could also offer the advice that your hips are to remain closed, quiet and still. Shhh. A lady does not talk of such things for long. At the Box, your hips are everything. Your central power source. Thrust from the hips, bring them up, throw them out, open, stretch, let’s GO! *Deep breath* It’s intimidating as hell. Liberating, as well. Imagine your self in a squat, a weighted bar across your chest, your HIPS are the way you’re going to get your ass up to then thrust that bar straight over your head. RAH! Lady… who?

A lady would find herself flummoxed by the uncontrolled grunts, yelps, gasps and buckets of sweat pouring out of each woman’s reddened face as they push themself farther than they ever thought possible, just to finish …. a workout? But it’s more than that. It’s a routine affirmation of your ability to be successful outside your comfort zone. The zone where ladies wear sweaty tank tops and weird, flat shoes. Where your hair is a mess, your hands smell like dirt and you perspire like a man. You’re allowed to yell and drop heavy things on purpose in CrossFit, although I’m still trying to get used to the later half, still trying to leave my ‘lady’ at the door.

And yet, the most exhilarating part of being a CrossFit Lady, for me, is that you also get to walk around, pretty dress and pearls in check, knowing you could help move that tub of ice and drinks across the yard during an early afternoon brunch, but you’ll let the man of the house struggle on his own instead. A proper lady would, of course, prefer to keep her dress pressed, her nails pretty and keep the fact that she could lift that bucket over head, sprint around the block, drop into a dozen burpees and place the bucket in its desired spot all to her herself.


Have another “No Ladies Allowed” anecdote to share? Post in comments or join in the discussion on the Pushups and Carrots Facebook page.


My 1st Post on CrossFit

CrossFit taught me that I can do anything.

I dig the gym enough and it helped me to lose a good chunk of that post-baby weight, but now that I’ve had a taste of the magic formula that is CrossFit, I don’t think I could ever go back. In fact, Santa hooked me up with the essentials for Christmas so I can work at home when I can’t make it into the Box (aka, CrossFit gym). Let’s put it this way: Would you rather drag yourself into a crowded building with rows of machines in front of televisions where you’ll barely look into another person’s eyes …OR… would you rather circle-up with a dozen other athletes in a brightened warehouse ready to rock a serious workout, cheer each other on, while practicing form and strength? I AGREE!

Disclaimer: the first description did sound good as I read this back, I can tend to keep to myself or become anxious in group settings, but trust me, the later is so much better. Exhilarating. 

The Box is a place filled with positivity. Camaraderie. Support. The Coaches at CrossFit717 probably just rolled their eyes thinking of all the bitching and complaining they hear, but that’s part of the fun! (no seriously, quit complaining – just do it.) We’re excited to be there, or we wouldn’t be. We know we’re going to push through whatever fears or walls we meet, give our all, and we’re going to do it together. There’s no half-assing it when you’re one of many committed to accomplishing a similar goal. I’m not only my own worst critic, I’m my only critic at the Box. Everyone else believes in me. And that’s not surprising, since I believe in them.

October 2011

There’s something to be said when your able to fill your schedule with positivity throughout all avenues of support. It’s so easy and often you hear of other’s negative impacts. They seem to be everywhere for some people. CrossFit has become another constant for me. A section of my day, 3 times a week, that is filled with something intense, empowering and satisfying. Each and every visit.

Now that I’m over the initial shock: the fear of every WOD because I didn’t understand the agents or finding a reason not to make it in just because wall balls were on that morning’s menu; the workouts don’t make me nervous. I’ve learned there are two definites: I will finish and I will be proud of myself. How can you beat that? It’s a thrill to have such an uplifting start to my day.

Don’t get me wrong. CrossFit is a lot of other things too, like an excuse to wear your Vibrams and yell from the gut or swing a sledge-hammer. And no one cares what you do outside the box because inside it we’re all the same: sweaty and stronger than we were a year ago.

 

 


Never Quit

I’ve never had a serious injury, so when I sprained my kneecap and patellar tendon on November 26th, I took it like a death in the family. Mind you, I fall a lot. But this time I couldn’t get up. I needed crutches, I needed rest, I still require a brace with light activity (but it’s getting better). I wasn’t able to work out my frustrations in the gym or catch the high off my adrenaline, all of a sudden it was a sad, slow existence. The exact opposite of my typical day.

Fast forward 3 weeks and I finally got back to the Box for my first ‘workout’ in 21 long, painful days. I couldn’t “do” anything. In fact, Coach Dan was there that morning and I remember him actually laughing when I said “No lower body.” In a world centered around the squat, I understood his chuckle but I had to get back into my fitness routine or I’d lose my mind. The abmat became my bff, I kipped a few pull-ups a day but it rattled my knee too much to do more, strict and push presses wore my arms out – but I was doing something and that made me happy.

Then came week 5. After 2 weeks of putzing around with upper body exercises and limited mobility, I was frustrated and envious of my friends who were reaching goals and setting new ones, as I watched. I once again scaled the day’s WOD (workout of the day) to suit my injury and was ready to GO. Things started off well. 1 armed push-ups were also 1 legged, as I sat my injured leg atop my good leg so my knee didn’t touch the ground. I believe ring rows, sit-ups and possibly kettle cleans were other agents in the workout. I felt good, tired, almost strong when… my injured leg fell and BAM! pain shot through my body. My eyes swelled with tears and I almost let them fall. I was pissed. Then I did something I never expected of myself: I left.

I walked out on my workout, on my team, my friends. I just left. I couldn’t see anything but my own self pity and forgot that I had support. I could have asked for help, or rested while rooting on others. I should have finished, stretched, anything other than walk out.

Like magic, CrossFit 717 reposted a blog from Rogue Fitness the next day that presented the message: NEVER QUIT. Keep going. It was the reminder that I needed. “Break through the wall”. FOCUS. We must remember to think outside ourselves. Who wants to be a quitter? Or a whiner? Not I.

I took a few days to re-gather my gumption while I prioritized my fitness goals based on my current status. Much like my diet, I stopped thinking about what I “can’t” do and focused on what I can do. I realized I wasn’t able to keep up with the other athletes (these chicks are fierce!), I wouldn’t be able to complete every move or hit the goals I was working toward pre-injury. That had to be okay before I could move forward, and all of a sudden it was. The next few workouts were thoughtful. I focused on form, not speed or weight. I checked in with the regulars at my morning workouts and while I paused due to soreness during the WOD, I watched them perform. I was mindful of their technique and how I could tweak my own. I was finally growing as an athlete again.

2011 WOD for a Cure

Today I did a snatch balance of 60lbs. Don’t laugh. That’s huge – FOR ME. If I’m going to break through any walls, they will be MY walls. I can’t compare myself to others and I will not disappoint myself again.