Saturday, July 4, 2015

Strength in Women

It seems with every year that passes, I get to know myself a little bit better. Not only that, I suppose you could say I give myself permission to be myself a little bit more with each passing year.

I've been doing CrossFit for just over 4 years and this blog has been largely about that journey - from a darker place in my life to the significantly healthier place I'm in today. The affirmation this journey has given me has afforded me the confidence I needed to truly begin following my heart in everything I do. Looking back, it's definitely true I've spent too much of my life wondering what other people are thinking about me and my decisions rather than focusing solely on what feeds my soul. That being said, I think it's a relatively natural phenomenon, but one I've been aware of and am trying to work on lately nonetheless.

When my facebook feed blew up with posts about Synergy hosting a rookie strongman/woman competition just over a month ago, my curiosity was instantly piqued. However, I quickly talked myself out of it - I was training CrossFit at the time, after all. I thought that was that, but my mind was far from over it. I thought about the greatest moments I've had in the last four years of CrossFit... they have been when we've had strength biased workouts. Strength has always been my thing. I was scared to take the jump though... what if I hurt myself? What if I didn't know what I was doing? Even more than that... what if I fell in love with it? Would I be able to love myself as a strong woman?

With the greatest amount of nerves and unanswered questions, to be true to what my heart was saying, two days before event day, I signed up.

It was just as my greatest fears had predicted - I fell in love. I had the best day. I walked into each event nervous, but proud of the strength my body possesses. The transition was nowhere near as radical as I had told myself it would be - I have always prided myself in CrossFit upon being strong. The strength events have always been my comfort zone. When the day came to a close and I found myself in a tie for second place, I realized with some hesitation I may have just found my niche. However, my assumptions of strongman/woman training were still scaring me away. I came home telling myself it was a great day, but that I'd be returning to CrossFit the next week.

I was wrong.

There was this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me not to waste this opportunity. After talking to some of the amazing strong ladies/men at our gym, I realized the things I was worried about were based on the opinions of others and had very little to do with reality. So began my official switch into strongman training.

Since making the switch, I have been having a blast. I was nervous I may not get enough cardio with this new program, but I'm still finding myself flat on my rear after our workouts and I'm feeling the results of a workout well done. Just because I choose strength does not mean I do not also choose conditioning and eating well. My fears are floating away. I'm loving our meetings of the strong ladies/men and I'm fired up in a good way. It's awesome to feel this way about training again. It's powerful to be among like-minded, beautiful people.

I'm committing myself to this program until October when I plan to take a whack at competing in the Strength Symposium. At that point, I'll continue to follow my heart and re-evaluate. For now,  it's telling me to admire, respect, and be proud of being a strong woman. Just as some other incredible ladies did for me, I hope to do my part to change the stigma of strength in women.

Here goes another exciting journey!

With Love,

Kimmy G

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Tone" it down

Allow me to preface this post by saying I know what I’m about to speak to can also impact men, but for the purposes of this post, I will simply stick to what I know personally – my own female perspective.

It’s out there.

The desire for females to become “toned” is a hot topic; it’s in magazines, books, TV shows, and even in conversations with friends. I’m about to say something I don’t think anybody will see coming – all of this getting toned hype, as it stands right now, does not entirely sit right with me.

Why is this? I go to the gym regularly. I have muscles. I value fitness. I’m constantly cheering for others who decide they want to do the same. What gives?

Well, it seems to me, many of these conversations about getting toned are followed shortly thereafter by a fear of becoming bulky. Many women are scared to pick up weights because of this fear. When I think of getting toned, I think immediately of muscle. Muscle does not happen by accident (though, wouldn't it be awesome if it did?!). Muscle is intentional; it takes work, it takes drive, it takes consistency and above all else it takes a whole lot of hard work. Yet, many of those I've heard from expressing the desire to become toned also express a fear of muscle gain; this leads me to wonder, what is the definition of toned that we’re all buying into? Doesn’t the word toned come from MUSCLE tone? What is it that I’m missing here? How do you become toned without building muscle?

There have been times where I’ve felt insecure about my muscles… then I look around at all the strong women around me and remember how much I have to be proud of. I think we very naturally want to become like those we admire. For me, this is not the female body portrayed by the media, it’s the strong women surrounding me I most want to emulate. They inspire me. I think we need more than one definition of toned to work with because I think there are many, none of which are right or wrong; one definition cannot stand alone as the only ideal. There was a time where doing this would have freaked me out, but for the sake of breaking the stigma, I’m happy to share mine. Count me in as one voice speaking against the masses to do and be what feeds YOUR soul, not what you think others want to see.

Here’s what I know; I love my body just how it is and it took me way too long to be able to say that. I would just like to encourage all women to think for themselves and not for the pack mentality; you are your own person, do what feels right for you (whatever that may look like) and let everything else go.

With Love,

Kimmy G

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cast Iron Classic, 2015

Well, another competition is in the books.

Yesterday was the Cast Iron Classic at Synergy Strength. This event was so unique! I have to say, reflecting on the day, it may have been one of my favorite competitions I've ever taken part in.

I haven't competed in nearly two years and there are a couple reasons for that. The first is I have a very competitive mindset; as much as I used to love competing, because of my innate competitive nature, I often found it to be emotionally draining. Competition is amazing for pushing people to their absolute best and driving them to do things they've never done before; this self-discovery is something I have always adored about competing. However, there was always a flipside of that for me... I used to often fall prey to the evil green monster of comparison. One of the most beautiful things about the CrossFit community is the tendency to cheer on individual successes, whether huge or seemingly small. I always found competitions to be amazing for magnifying these successes... however, many times I found myself walking out of competitions having seen incredible things and wishing I could do more and be more. This was good in that it pushed me to work harder, but also less than ideal as it often stopped me from appreciating how far I had truly come.

My solution? I took a break from competing for a little while. This was actually a really natural progression for me because things with school (and now my career) had to take the spotlight. In this time, I put my focus on finding a healthy work/gym/life balance. This has been my story for the last couple of years, and I've been really happy. I'm finally starting to find balance and life is treating me well. I'm realizing I can't be a rockstar in every area of my life... I can just be the best version of me - and I'm happy to say I'm finding a lot of joy and freedom in that. No pressure, no comparison... just me.

When Alex approached me about joining him on a team for the CIC competition, it seemed like the perfect time. My head is finally where I want it to be and I was ready to have a little bit of fun. I wound up on a team with three amazing people who have never competed before... this was perfect for me. It was a pressure off situation where we were all going in just to throw down our best and forget about the competition element of the day. We named ourselves #YOLO, because really, you only live once and you may as well have some fun and do some crazy stuff while you're here!

Leading up to the event, we practiced a lot of the workouts and kept each other updated on how things were going. We knew, going into the competition, the rough numbers we were hoping to hit and the goals we wanted to attack. It was quite incredible to see, as each race went by, how each one of us SMASHED what we thought we were capable of. I'm so proud of each one of them, I can't even tell you. Michael completed "Fran" in under 6 minutes (21-15-9 of thrusters and pull-ups), Alex pumped out 23 ridiculously heavy clean and jerks (with an injury...  he still did over 10 more reps than he managed in practice!), Shelby CRUSHED the thrusters in the last event (yes, the girl who only started doing thrusters two weeks ago!!! Oh, and did I mention those thrusters she was doing for REPS were 10 pounds under her personal best 1 rep max thruster??), and I had a moment of awesomeness as I shaved off nearly a minute from my "Isobel" time, completing 30 snatches in 1:57. The individual successes on our team were HUGE, and that's what made the day incredible. It wasn't our standings that mattered to us... we knew, no matter what, we would be top 40 - and guess what, we were! ;)

I have so many favorite parts of the day because I allowed myself to fully appreciate what our team could do. Yesterday really put the fun back into competitions for me - I might just have to get myself back into the swing of things. If time doesn't allow that for me though, you can count on me being back to compete in next year's CIC. No question!!

Cheers to Synergy for putting on such an incredible event. I had a blast! To my team - I'm so proud of each of you. You all went in nervous and you came out victorious. You. Are. Champions!


With love,

Kimmy G

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Another reason to smile

Hello all,

I know I've been on quite a hiatus from this blog... I blame life! Though, I suppose I should re-word that; I thank life. Life has been full. I'm not huge on new year's resolutions and I never have been, but I'm always making goals. Sometimes I write them down and sometimes I just keep them floating around in my mind. As 2014 drew to a close, I read something I thought was profound and decided to take it on as my personal mantra for 2015; perhaps you could even call it my resolution. It is this:

In 2015 I want to live from a place of hope, not fear. I want to make choices with bravery knowing that I may not succeed immediately, but that I'll have a chance if I try. Living from a place of fear is living in complacency. It's safe there, but it's also a sad place. I've learned too much about being happy to be okay with that.

Tonight I had a moment where I acted on a hope and told my fear to take a back seat. Especially in the past couple of years with school ending and my career taking off, I've been struggling with my necessary decision to spend (a wee bit) less time at the gym. I aim to get there 4 times a week now instead of 5. There have been weeks where even this has not been possible. Though I know I'm not at the same caliber I once was, I have taken great pride in knowing I am healthy. My current gym goal is to maintain 4 times a week and to stop convincing myself I can't do things because I'm there one less time per week. Tonight we were working on handstand pushups. A couple of years ago, I did an assisted handstand pushup with help from some bands and from a coach to kick up and keep me steady. Recently, I've been putting a lot of work into throwing fear to the side and gaining the courage to kick upside down on the wall without assistance. I have gained confidence. Tonight, I allowed myself to hope and I tried kicking up on the wall by myself (without the assistance of a coach) with bands... I got up. Then the kicker? I managed to get 2 handstand pushups (with the bands)! I am so excited! This one can be chalked up to technique practice and hoping enough in the potential to try. Heck yes!

So here's to 2015... to replacing fear with hope.

With love,

Kimmy G

Thursday, April 3, 2014

3 Years of CrossFit... Throwback Thursday

Today is a miracle; three years ago I would have looked at what I have today and tears would have run down my face. I would have been elated. I would not have been able to contain my joy and absolute awe over all the incredible things I am experiencing right in this moment.

Today, I celebrate the three year anniversary of the day I decided to take ownership of my health and my life. I celebrate the beauty in strength and the accomplishment of knowing my life will be fuller because of the daily decisions I have made over the last three years. I have made choices with my future in mind and have fallen in love with the confidence and victory these choices have afforded me.

Over the last three years, I have learned a few things. One of the most pivotal? Perfection is not a reality. I have come to peace with the fact I will never truly “arrive.” I will simply continue to set goals and keep pushing. There will be ups and downs, but there is no finish line. To set a finish line would allow for complacency; I refuse to live life for a fleeting once-and-for-all measure of success that I may or may not reach. I choose to live life for the awesome ride and the many successes I will celebrate as I continue to grow.

In this moment, as I sit writing this blog entry, I can feel the physical strength my body has gained. I notice my sense of self and realize the strength of mind I have gained. I think about how I joined Crossfit in April of 2011 only planning to attend until the end of summer. Yet somehow, three years later, I am still drinking the “Kool-Aid” at Synergy Strength. I would not want it any other way.

My most sincere thank you to Chad and Ian for opening and maintaining the gym that has given me so much life. I could write about it for years and it would still never quite express my gratitude.

To all of the trainers: thank you for your continued support and guidance. I may be a three year veteran now, but you still take the time to coach, guide, and push me to accomplish my best. I appreciate each of you immensely.
To all of my friends at the gym: I look forward to seeing your faces each day. Thanks for being such an incredible community of support.

With love,

Kimmy G

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

That Feeling of Home

Hey Guys,

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. The truth? For the last couple of months I've been a basket case of stress and emotion. Once I finished my degree before Christmas, I began applying everywhere possible for teaching jobs. In such a competitive job market, I found myself growing increasingly discouraged with each passing day. I completed my degree with all the confidence in the world, and as I waited for life to start happening, that confidence began to deplete. I worried too much. I let what was out of my control become my focus.

That's a dangerous place to be. What brought me back? The gym. It seems it's always the gym. This week, as I took the time to refocus on my physical goals (after quite a while of being mentally elsewhere), I found my awareness shifting to what I can influence and control: myself. I can influence and control how I treat my body, both physically and emotionally. I can make sure I get to the gym to work out and do mobility; in turn, I will also strengthen emotionally. As I have begun to refocus on my physical strength this week, I've also refocused and reminded myself that I am an excellent and passionate teacher. I remind myself the right position will come when it is meant to. Perhaps right now I am meant to grow. I can choose to take this time to withdraw, or I can choose to use it to better myself. I will eat right, I will work out, I will maintain my body. I will read, I will write, and I will exercise my mind. I will grow. I will control those things I can, and be at peace with those I cannot.

For now I will embrace any substitute teaching job that comes my way, and I will take the time in between to better myself. The gym has that feeling of home to me, and I am lucky and blessed to be able to spend time there each day. I suppose this post is just to speak to the mode of transition I'm in. Where am I headed? Who knows. But that's going to be part of the fun. :)

I'm so thankful for that feeling of home, and the inspiration and hope my second home of Synergy is giving me as I continue to put the puzzle together. You all matter so much to me.

With so much love,

Kimmy G

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Weight. Figurative and Literal.

Forgive me,

You see, I've been meaning to write this post since the day of the Monster Lift-off at the gym, but I guess time flies when you're having fun. I have a good feeling about 2014 already! Although, that's probably because I wore yellow underwear on New Year's Eve... did you know it's a Columbian tradition to bring good luck? I'm not from Columbia, but it was worth a try! So far, so good.

Anyway, back to the Monster Lift-off. This event happens yearly at our gym, right before the turn over to the new year. On this day, everyone that can make it comes out and tests all of their max lifts. If I am to be honest, I went into this particular lift-off pretty exhausted from giving my all to my internship (but now I have a degree, yay!). I was not expecting a whole lot due to the chaos of the previous four months, even though I had still remained dedicated (as much as I could possibly be) to the gym.

Anyway, at the lift-off, the most incredible thing happened; I got a personal record on my back squat at 265lbs. PR's are always exciting, but there was something that made this particular personal record even better...

See that picture above? Well, that was me. At 262 pounds (my heaviest).

What made this particular personal record on my back squat so special? Well, I just threw on my old body weight, plus three pounds, and squatted it.

Crossfit is strength. Metal, and physical.

I threw on the weight of the old me, the girl who never would have seen herself as an athlete... who never would have believed she could maintain a healthy lifestyle for over two and a half years (with no end in sight!). I threw on all of my old doubts, insecurities, and failures. With my body weighted down under 265lbs, I stepped away from the rack; in a moment of determined strength, both inside and out, I went to the bottom of the squat, and fought my way back up.

I racked the weight, and walked away.

I am so much stronger than my old self. Daily, I choose to walk away from the doubts, insecurities, and failures associated with my old weight. I replace them with a new kind of weight (or weights!!); a weight representing strength, health, and victory. The new me.

"Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting" N. Hill

With a very full and grateful heart, I will continue my journey.

With love,

Kimmy G

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Sweetest Goodbyes

Saying goodbye is hard.

During the final week in our old location (Synergy has moved to a much bigger and more fabulous location), as I saw everything moving out, I knew I should be excited. I was, but there was a part of me that had a heavy heart. Saying goodbye to a place so meaningful was a lot harder than I had expected.

Our old location was the place where I put in the work, and my life was forever changed. There are so many stories within those walls, so many challenges, so many victories, and countless moments of pride. As much as this blog post is a wholehearted welcome to our new amazing location, it's also a tribute and sweet goodbye to our old location.

So here it is... my goodbye :)

Tribute fact #1: Our old location was a place where I grew so much personally. It was also the first place I ever competed in a crossfit competition. I really started to find myself that day. When I think back to where crossfit really became something I knew was meant to remain a consistent part of my life, I come back to this day over and over. The community and overall well-wishing between athletes was something to be experienced, and this was the day I realized "I can." Those four walls saw the fight, the victories, and the renewed passion to go even harder.

Tribute fact #2: It was also the place where I was given the tools to become healthy, and lose the weight that had been restricting me for years. It was where I begin living a lifestyle to be proud of. It was a place I loved to visit, because it made me better. Every single day.

Tribute fact #3: It was a place where I pushed myself to the limit on a regular basis. Particularly when the words burpee or d-ball slams or box jumps or fight gone bad were on the WOD board. The floor and I had many close conversations, in fact, I probably should have given that floor a name for how many times we spoke. I guess you could say we were pretty close.

Tribute fact #4: It was also the place where I got stronger, and embraced that strength. There's something so powerful about picking up that bar and improving every day. I love that I am strong, and I gained both physical and mental strength at our old location. Within those old walls, I learned to accept where I was at and more importantly, to put in the work to get better.

Tribute fact #5: I laughed. Oh, did I ever laugh. The old gym holds some of my favorite funnies: impromptu WOD dance parties, inappropriate OLY lifting jokes, and everything in between. Most importantly? The old gym held a whole lot of community, and numerous good times. 

Yes, our old location was a wonderful place. It held countless firsts for me. On my last visit at our old gym, I walked up to the very same bar I got my first pull-up on, jumped up onto it, and did some pull-ups. That was my quiet goodbye to a place that changed my life so radically in such a short time.

So, goodbye old location. You were the beginning for me. :)

The great news? Of all the things that changed in our move, community remains. Really, absolutely nothing has changed, except that we now have this HUGE and INCREDIBLE new space. We are still tight-knit, and we will make new, even more fabulous memories and accomplishments in our new location. This location is the future. All of the members of Synergy are so beyond lucky to have our new location. Every subsection has its space, and the place is worthy of whistling at. I had to peel my jaw up off the floor this morning as I walked in for the first time. It felt suspiciously like Christmas morning.

This year has been somewhat of a hard one for me as far as my commitment to the gym has gone. With internship keeping me overwhelmingly busy, I didn't make it out as much as I badly wanted to. Seeing the new gym for the first time today, I got even more excited for my future with internship behind me. I can't wait to commit myself fully once again.  I'm very much looking forward to January in this new building, and creating some new memories. This new location inspires me, I can only imagine what these four walls will see in the years to come.

Here's to new memories, higher heights, and the sweetest of goodbyes.


Kimmy G

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Moments of inspiration

Hi all,

Sorry for the long hiatus in between posts. I've been busy with life, school (I've begun my internship), and all things in between. Also, with all the newness going on around me, at times, I know I have been putting a little less effort into the gym. Don't get me wrong, I've still been getting my butt there, but I've been losing my spark and allowing myself to "coast" a little too much. I know this needs to change; I need to buckle down again and get serious. I need to find my balance again.

A couple weeks ago, I was able to compete in the Bridge City Beat Down with Crystal as team "Junk in the Trunk," and I had an incredible weekend. In fact, I had an inspiring weekend. I remembered again how much I love to compete, and how much I adore the atmosphere of CrossFit. At this competition, I had possibly my greatest CrossFit high ever during the Thruster Ladder event. In this event, barbells were set up in a line, beginning at 65# and progressing in 10# increments up to 165#. In the workout, between the two partners, there was 50 seconds to each complete the lift (consisting of a deadlift, a hang clean, and a thruster), and then progress to the next lift, until both partners could lift no more. In practice, I had only made it up to 125# because my hang clean was limiting me. I already felt a little frustrated going into this workout, knowing how disappointing I had found the practice. However, prior to going out, (the totally brilliant) Crystal gave me some pointers, and in the workout, I managed to lift 155#... a 30# hang clean personal record, and also a 5# thruster personal record. I was in shock, elated, and I almost cried in front of a whole bunch of people.

What made this moment one of the best ever for me was not just that I managed to set a new personal record, it was the community of CrossFitters who were there standing behind me and believing in me. Crystal's words of encouragement throughout the lifts stuck with me, and on my final lift, I looked up into the audience and saw every eye on me. I heard the silence as I lifted, and the roars of excitement as I successfully completed the lift. People who had never met me before were cheering for me, hoping for me, and believing in me. This is what I ADORE about CrossFit. Teams (affiliates) don't matter at the end of the day, it's about self-improvement, and being the best YOU possible... it's about community beyond affiliation. Coming together for a common cause. Best. Moment. Ever.

Then, as if that moment weren't enough to inspire me to get my butt in gear, I went to the gym this morning. Good old Randy Hills came up to me, just before I was about to do the group workout (thrusters and rowing with rest periods), and challenged me to try the Sport workout. The sport workout this morning was Helen... 400m run, 21 16kg kettlebell swings, 12 pull-ups x3 rounds for time. I wasn't keen on the idea to begin with, but with some encouragement, I decided to give it a go. It was painful, and it sucked.... BUT again, there was a little crowd of amazing people cheering me on and believing in me. I finished. On my last run, a few of them even came out to join me on the last 100m... that's such a beautiful thing to do. <3

As I laid on the ground after completing my final pull-up this morning, I thought about how much I love that feeling. The feeling of knowing you've given it your all, and you haven't given in and coasted. I am inspired. Maybe it's time start thinking about the sports model.

So I guess what I am learning right now, or what I am challenging myself with, is the idea of giving my all. Whatever it takes. I know I can split my focus... I did it last year, I can do it again. My challenge to you? Stop sandbagging "it"... whatever "it" is. I know I have some serious thinking to do. :)

With love,

Kimmy G

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dragon Boats: 2013... the anything BUT riff-raff racing edition!

Hi all,

Well, as I quite literally sit in bed recovering from the weekend (okay, maybe I should have drank more water yesterday in the heat... lesson learned), I have been reading the Dragon Boats page on facebook and smiling as it has been lit up with positive comments from the entire team and our CrossFit community. Awesome.

First of all, with this post, I want to send "mad props" to my co-captain Randy Hills. This guy was all over it behind the scenes, and had the passion and drive to pull this thing off long before I came into the picture this year! Back in March, he was already thinking dragon boats! Once I came into the picture, it was awesome to be co-captaining with somebody already so organized and driven. Randy had everything together and was always thinking a few steps ahead with the what-ifs, and what-thens? (which, let's be honest, in the final stretch, we had quite a few of those!). So here's to Randy!

As for the day of the races? Well, there is much to be said. I always love this day for a couple of different reasons; I love dragon boating for the community, and I love it for the competition. I think it was fun for all of us to walk into the park yesterday, proudly sporting our Synergy shirts, knowing we were there to defend a first and third place finish. C'mon, purple shirts just SCREAM intimidation. Don't they? :)

And along with the purple shirts, the sense of community was phenomenal. With the gym growing at the rate it is, it was really nice to be able to spend an afternoon with many people I haven't really been able to talk to before. We have some real gems! We also have a really great adopted gem. We got to know each other, danced, ripped up some shirts, laughed, and Dale BBQ'd. There was much BBQ.

Now that we've covered one of my favorite parts of the dragon boats weekend, time to move onto my other favorite part... the competition! On Friday night, after a stressful scramble of not knowing if our final male would show up (he did, and we were all so grateful!), we took on the 250m sprint with everything we had! Unfortunately, in our practices, we had not accounted for the additional noise of other teams' counting, and we lost our rhythm. Yet, even so, we still pulled out a second place (to the Pirates) finish of fifteen teams! Solid! I was particularly impressed considering we did so with the minimum amount of guys allowed in a boat... I believe this says two things: first of all, our females are JACKED, and second of all, our males are JACKED. That is all.

When Saturday morning came, our team members were some of the first to the river. The river looks so beautiful at 6:20am (below is Brander's picture). All was quiet, leading up to the events of the day.

Once everybody from our team began to arrive, I cranked up my iphone for all to hear and began dancing (like a moron), partially because I wanted to get everyone excited, and partially because I, myself, was already ridiculously antsy. We were the very first heat of the day (which is why everybody was required to show up for 6:45am) and I was incredibly pleased to see everybody arriving on time. There was no stress of looking for any members of our team after getting called to line up... they were all there! Props to all of you for that! Being in the first heat was a bit strange though, because nobody had really warmed up by the time we were called, but out we went anyway. 

 I'd like to say we had a pretty awesome first race. The start felt good and for the most part, we were in rhythm. We were only racing one other boat in our first heat, and we won. I do not recall the exact milliseconds of this race, but we came in around 1:21. After all the other teams' times were posted, we were sitting around 8th place of 37 boats for race 1.

For race 2, we wanted to shave off some time, and we did! We shaved off a second, clocking a time around 1:20. At this point, the waiting game began. Our goal going into this was to make it into division 1, and those two races did, indeed, put us there! I'd also like to add, this was the race where, when going under the bridge to begin the race, Dale offered favorable fashion advice to a passerby on the bridge. I believe this shook off some nerves for many people on the boat. Good show, Dale, good show. You just never know what's going to happen with that guy on the boat. Fantastic.

Going into the final race, the boat was nearly dead silent except for the odd motivational comment; everyone was intensely focused. We knew this was the race for all the marbles. We were not in the final heat (with the Pirates), but we were up against Envirotec, and Black and McDonald. Both teams put up an awesome fight (with some of the fastest posted times of the day!), and it was quite literally a photo finish... between Synergy and Envirotec. The water was choppy, nearly filling the boat, but all the teams fought, and fought HARD! I was walking back to the tent with a member of Envirotec, and neither of us had any idea what the outcome was. Here's the photo finish (we are the blue boat):

After the final race, knowing we were not in the final heat, none of us had truly expected a top three finish, so the majority of the team went home to meet us later for the after party. Well, things got interesting at the awards ceremony...

First of all, in Division 2, Black and McDonald posted a ridiculously fast time, winning 1st place in their division. I didn't realize it until I looked over and saw Chris Reid beaming that they were the team in our final heat, coming in third place... meaning we had a good time, too. Then, they moved onto the division 1 results. I leaned over and said to Brander that the Pirates raced very well, and deserved a big win. Then I was shocked... the Pirates were called for third place, with a time around 1:13. Then even more shock... Enrvirotec was called for second, with a time around 1:11. Then we all lost our minds when Synergy was called, racing at a time of 1:10, to once again claim the first place trophy!

I think, for all of us, even those of us racing last year, this victory was the sweetest. Not only were we racing with over half a boat full of awesome peeps new to dragon boating, but also, we did so without many of our core amazing athletes (who are in California for the games, or are just away). It was amazing to represent as "Beasts," and back it up with a first place finish. As we took a picture with the trophy (those of us who were still there... I wish we all were... there was just no way to have known!), I was overwhelmingly proud... proud of us, and proud of our gym! Not only did our team overcome many last minute shakings and restructurings, we also overcame racing with the minimum number of males allowed (8), directly against other teams with 11! This tells me something... what we are doing at Synergy WORKS.

I am so proud of our team. Way to represent... you bunch of BEASTS!!! See you next year to defend. :)


Kimmy G

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hitting that wall; it's a good thing

Hey Guys,

So, yesterday, I was talking some awesome ladies from the gym; at one point, we were discussing some of our favorite things about CrossFit, and it dawned on me... one of my favorite things about the sport of CrossFit is hitting a wall. Going off of my last post about the Spartan race, this got me thinking. Fear is a wall.

Even just walking into the gym for the first time was intimidating. It's not because the gym wasn't full of incredible and welcoming people (because it certainly was and still is), but it was because everything was so new, and so different from what I had become accustomed to. Looking back, joining the gym was probably my greatest moment of fear and doubt, yet it turned out to be, unquestionably, my best life decision ever. Because, really, now I'm finally living.

There have been a number of instances, over the past two years, where I've been scared to try something new. I can think of many times I hit a wall... of fear. Or, you know, in the case below, an actual wall. There's something so powerful about being afraid and conquering anyway.

The picture above was from my first ever CrossFit competition, the Bridge City Beat Down in 2011. At this point, I had been doing CrossFit for just over 5 months. This was certainly not the first time I tried something outside of my comfort zone at CrossFit, but it's one I recall as a benchmark victory of mine, after joining the gym. The week before the competition we were given the hint about the wall, and my heart nearly stopped. I was never one to jump fences, and I honestly didn't know if I could clear it. We weren't allowed to try it out (to keep things fair for competitors from other gyms) until the actual day of the competition, so my nerves were running rampant. I was afraid, but I jumped... and surprise, surprise, I got over that wall. Then I did it five more times. That fear turned into a great victory. Had I not challenged myself to actually face the wall, I very likely would have always wondered what if.

Yet, recalling other similar moments of fear, and the victory that came from it, I have been able to face and conquer new challenges. This little mental reminder challenges me to run headfirst to the next wall, and hurdle myself over it. I know I may not always be victorious right away, but I'm no longer willing to avoid something because it makes me uneasy. The evidence of facing fears leading to victory is too much to ignore, I think.

Just for example, I can think of numerous examples in the past couple years of things that have scared me and turned into victories. Such as...

1) Climbing a rope. I'll probably always be afraid of heights, so this was a hard one. It took trusting my new found strength enough to allow myself to get safely to the top, and back to the ground.

2) Getting on the bar to even try pull-ups. In my fast-track, I had so many bands attached to my feet, I may as well have been on a trampoline. Yet, I was still totally freaking out about having to hang on the bar. It took me quite a while of doing ring rows until I told that fear to go away and tried out some pull-ups with bands. Another victory despite fear

3) Running. Oddly enough, taking my shoes to the pavement was probably the thing that scared me the most. With some work, and some awesome CrossFit programming, my endurance has picked up significantly. While I am certainly not what I would consider to be a real runner, I do run sometimes just for fun. I count this as a huge victory.

There are so many things I can think of, and instances within CrossFit where I've been challenged to step outside of my comfort zone. I have learned that a comfort zone breeds mediocrity. While I am not the picture of perfection, and have been, at times (recently), frustratingly busy with life (involving school and work and sleeping and eating), I am learning to embrace the feeling of hitting that wall of fear. Fear, when conquered, means new victory. I love this about CrossFit. This does not mean I will be immediately successful at something that scares me, but it does mean, with perseverance... one day, I might be.

When that next wall comes, may we all have the courage to face it, and jump.


Kimmy G

Saturday, July 6, 2013

This is SPARTA!


A week ago today I ran in the Spartan Race with a group Synergy beasts! It was some experience. In the last couple of years I've made the decision to try and do more things that scare me; often, I've found, these things are the most rewarding. Two summers ago, this was racing in my first ever dragon boats event; it wound up being one of the most fun days I've ever had, and a benchmark that inspired me to get my butt into some crossfit competitions. Last summer, it was running my first 5K in the Mogathon... running across the finish line was one of the most incredible mountain-top moments I've ever had. So, this summer, when Scotty brought up the idea of running the Spartan race (a 5K run with obnoxious obstacles and a TON of mud), I signed my name on the dotted line. Summer adventure, locked in.

Aside from some bloopers like getting horrendously lost in Edmonton trying to find the site, and our group having to run in two different heats, the race itself was incredible. When it finished, I actually found myself feeling sad and wishing it would have been longer. Strangely enough, going into the race, I wasn't even freaking out. This is ME we're talking about, I should have been freaking out. Instead, I was excited! I liked not knowing what was going to come at me, and I love the opportunity to challenge myself. In a Spartan race, you find out what you're made of.

We got there and found out the entire race was taking place on a ski hill; in total, we ran up and down the hill 5 times. Yet, with my team around me, I was having a blast... the hill didn't matter so much. There was really only one part of the race that had me a little bit terrified... the monkey bars! I've never had the monkey bars gene, and I don't recall ever doing them. I thought, for sure, this would be the obstacle I would fail at. I forced myself to get up on the bars anyway and give it my all. When I made it to the end and the race official said I was clear, I was in complete awe. Sometimes it's so cool to realize new things you can do. That's part of what made this race so awesome for all of us. We scaled walls together, crossed suspended cargo nets, pulled each other out of mud pits, flipped tires, crawled under barbed wire, carried sandbags, dragged concrete bricks, threw javelins, jumped over fire, and all crossed the finish line together. It was amazing to see, in a situation like this, how each of our strengths and weaknesses worked cohesively to keep us moving and get us across that finish line. This race would not have been nearly as phenomenal without the team mates I shared it with.

Unfortunately, the picture below does not have our whole team; due to the directional confusions, we wound up running in two heats (though, we were with the rest of Synergy in spirit, and we love you guys!). Below are the team mates I ran with.

All in all, I had a pretty incredible time at the race, and left feeling accomplished. I also felt like I wish the race would have been longer; running with the team made everything ten times more fun and awesome. What will I do next year that scares me? Hmm. Thinking a tough mudder perhaps? I am taking suggestions for sure. In the mean time, I am just going to enjoy the awesome feeling that comes with another challenge accomplished. It still blows my mind to look back at all that has happened in the last couple of years. This is living, and I love every moment of it. As always, I am still so proud to be a member of Synergy with all of these amazing people. Thanks for a great race.

Having said all of this, I'd like to issue whoever is reading this a challenge. What scares you? Sign-up, and do it. You owe yourself a happy surprise. :)

Until next time... (stay fit, and have fun? Haha)


Kimmy G

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Sometimes it's all about that feeling you get when you look around and realize you may not be the fastest, or the strongest, but you've done miles around those who have yet to begin.

That feeling when you're ready to throw in the towel, then you remember it is not your body giving in, it's your mind; you refocus and continue fighting.

That feeling when you are acutely aware of your heart beating in your chest and you smile, because you have a new appreciation for life.

That feeling of the wind on your face as you rush past all of your old expectations of yourself, and embrace new challenges.

That feeling of freedom as you let go of the excuses and focus on the real honest truth...

You. Are. Able.

Fight for it, live it, and never let it go.

This is how I am feeling tonight, and as I train for the Spartan Race in June, these words will be in the forefront of my mind. As I ran down by the river tonight, these thoughts began to loop, and I decided to share them. Never question your abilities; from what I've seen, the only true disability is an unwillingness to rise above and conquer. This is my focus. What's yours?


Kimmy G

Friday, May 17, 2013

When High School Music Unexpectedly Inspires!

Hey Guys,

Hope everyone out there is doing well, and enjoying the summer-like temperatures (finally)!

As you have probably assumed from my lack of posts, I am back in the thick of classes. It's all good though, by the end of June I will officially be able to say I have completed all course requirements for my undergrad degree with the exception of my internship. Awesome.

Well, enough about that. This morning, as I was considering the essay lurking over me (waiting to attack), I decided I wanted to go down by the river for a run. Prior to doing so, I downloaded a few new songs to my ipod for inspiration. My music choices were a little all over the place, to say the least. We're talking a little Linkin' Park, some Florida Georgia Line, Kelly Clarkson, and for nostalgia's sake, a little Creed and Savage Garden! Who wouldn't want to run to a completely ridiculous music line-up such as that? I know I did.

It was gorgeous down the by the river today. Maybe a little bit too warm for a nice jog, but I am definitely not complaining! It was around 11am when I finally got to the train bridge (my starting point) and I was eager to get going. I have a Spartan Race in June I need to be training for, after all. I decided on a route that's somewhere in between 3-4kms and got at it.

As I jogged along, I was thoroughly enjoying my new playlist, and fully reveling in the joy of an active lifestyle. There's something so awesome about passing other joggers coming from the opposite direction and exchanging smiles... knowing a few years back I never would have been caught dead attempting to jog in public; now I jog quite comfortably, and have little regard for what people passing me may think. I'm just happy to be out there on the trail, even if I stop from time to time for short walking breaks.

Anyway, back to my playlist. As I was cruising along, Savage Garden's "Affirmation" began to play in my ears. I used to listen to this song when I was in high school, and I don't know what came over me to put it back onto my ipod today, but I am glad I did. Here's the part I particularly loved today:

I believe the sun should never set upon an argument
I believe we place our happiness in other people's hands
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
I believe beauty magazines promote low self-esteem
I believe I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love 'till you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

Interesting, don't you think? I think it's really true sometimes that we really do put our happiness in the hands of others. How often are we just happy for ourselves without that happiness being tied directly to somebody else in some way? As I jogged today, I was happy  because I was out there being active of my own accord, doing sometime good for me. I thought about how often I compare myself to others, and for the moment I was listening to the song, I didn't care how fast or how slow I was going, I cared only that I was on the right path, and I plan to stay there. 

I also think the part about beauty magazines couldn't be more freakishly accurate. We hear it over and over, seemingly all the time... tired subject? I still don't think so. I'm so sick and tired of seeing girls starving themselves for a body type that's impossible to attain. We all have different frames, and different builds. Even if I dropped a disgusting amount of weight (which, by the way, I don't want to), I would never look like any of my friends. Why? We have different frames, and our bodies hold weight and muscle completely differently. I think girls would do well to respect what their bodies are capable of over what they look like. I have a body that serves me well for lifting heavy things, and participating in power-related movements. Though I love jogging, I will never be super fast and efficient at it, but that's okay. It's the body I have, and I love what it can do with it. I will continue to push myself, but I will not compare myself. I will enjoy what I do, and appreciate who I am.

Otherwise, I love the chorus to this song. If I were to sum it up, I would probably say simply to live life to the fullest and appreciate who are you and what you have. Never assume somebody else has it better than you do. Open up those arms and embrace what you have. Be glad for it.

As I ran like a freak over the train bridge at the end of my jog (I'm terrified of heights), I recalled all I have to be thankful for, and I got into my car feeling immensely satisfied (and thirsty!). It made me want to share. I hope this has inspired some of you in some way to re-evaluate your assumptions and appreciate all of the great things you get to experience every day.

Lots of love,

Kimmy G

Friday, April 12, 2013


Well, Hello There!

After one incredible year, school is finally winding down for summer. Yet, for some strange reason, as I walked into school this morning to write a final, I felt a little bit sad to think of the school aspect of Education beginning to come to an end. Since I plan to take some spring classes and finish my degree by Christmas, I realized our cohort has officially parted. Prior to the final, I found myself walking by classroom doors, and reflecting on all the fantastic experiences I had within them; as I remembered, I stopped to appreciate the sense of newness and discovery my life has taken on in the past year. As I thought about how my life has been enriched academically, through some incredible professors' lessons and an amazing peer group of learning and support, I also considered how my still very recent physical changes have promoted my academic growth and success. I have so much more confidence in myself now than ever before, and I don't think it has a whole lot to do with appearance anymore; I think this new confidence has everything to do with the challenges I have encountered, and the overwhelming sense of affirmation emerging from conquering them.

As things have been winding down with school, I have finally been able to get back to (close to) my regular routine at the gym. Now that the open is over and all sense of competition has left me (which is probably a good thing, for now), I am rediscovering the joy of movement. You know, just exercising for the sheer joy of being active, regardless of any competitive outcome. I have missed this. Sometimes I challenge myself so much and push myself so hard I get borderline burnt out. I am starting over and finding that sense of newness and excitement that drives me and pushes me forward. Since all things will be new for me academically once again next year with my internship, so too will they be with how I approach my time at the gym. Along with competitions here and there, I am making a conscious effort to rediscover the simplicity and freedom/fun of simply being an active person because it's good for me.

In Education, we learn so much about teaching the "whole" child, or "holistic" teaching. It wasn't until recently when I was reflecting on this for a Phys-Ed paper that it all really began to click in for me. Not only is it important to teach my future students with emphasis on the cognitive, emotional, spiritual, and physical, it is just as important to discover and foster these elements within myself. For so many years, I let the physical slide; when I started taking care of my health and fitness alongside of the other three elements, I found myself. Losing the weight is really only a small element of it. Yes, it's awesome, I lost 80-90lbs and gained some pretty great muscle; it's all still very new and exciting, but unlike how I used to think, losing weight is certainly not everything. Now what matters most are the positive changes I am seeing in a more holistic perspective; I am thinking more clearly, loving more openly, laughing more regularly, and taking care of my health and wellness more intentionally. This is what matters most.

So as I am rediscovering the joy of movement at the gym, and discovering new opportunities in the fall, I challenge you; reflect a little bit and discover. As Dolly Parton once said, "Find out who you are and do it on purpose."


-Kimmy G

Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Second CrossFit Birthday: Remembering.

Hey All,

Well, as of April 3rd, it'll officially be my second CrossFit birthday. Since I know I have tons of things due this next week and will probably miss posting on the actual day, I thought I would do so today instead. As much as things have been crazy these past few weeks making getting to the gym extra difficult, I am still fully ready to celebrate my second CrossFit birthday; as soon as school settles down in a couple of weeks, I'll celebrate the only way I know how: with a bunch of awesome WODs!

As I completed my second attempt at Open workout 13.4 this morning, I sat back and smiled as I watched barbells flying and bodies swinging on bars. This place has become comfortable like a second home to me. It isn't the building so much as the people, we are a community. A really bright, obnoxious, supportive community. I began thinking about the greatest thing CrossFit has given me, and it took me a long time to finally decide on one. Ready for it? Joy. I'm finally happy; really, actually, no joking, happy. I'm no longer happy just because something made me laugh, I'm happy because I am content, and I am proud of myself. Yes, proud. That's the best gift ever.

This CrossFit journey has definitely been worth documenting. I love that two years have passed, and I am still working to maintain my progress. I love that my fitness is still just as important to me today as it was two years ago... even with school absorbing most of my time lately (which can be discouraging when trying to keep a certain standard at the gym), I find myself counting the days until I can get back into my regular routine. This is huge progress. I am happy to be there.

I am learning to embrace life, the good, the bad, and the ugly. The ugly may not always make me smile, but I now have the perseverance to put my head to the ground and get through it. Even the ugly will help me to grow and become a better person with stronger character.

I believe in myself more. I see something I think is crazy and ridiculous, and I sign my name on the dotted line. CrossFit has given me the courage to believe in possibilities, and to fight for what I want in my life. Last summer I ran my first 5K, and it was one of those incredible life moments. When I signed up, I wasn't sure if I could do it, but I made myself believe, and I did it anyway. This summer, I signed up for the Spartan Race in Edmonton... it's scary, but if there's anything I've learned from CrossFit, it's that a little bit of fear is good; just do it! You'll never succeed if you never try. Success feels so good.

Where is the future going to take me? Well, I don't know. I do know that I will continue to persevere in every area of my life, and I will continue to be thankful for the great change that has brought me to this place. As of this next Christmas I will be finished school, then I hope by this time next year I will be able to take the gym even more seriously. I'm making some goals, and we'll see what happens. All I know from all of this is if you want something bad enough, and are willing to fight for it hard enough, you're going to have one heck of a mountain top moment. Enjoy the view.

I know I sure am.

Here's to two amazing years with some of the most supportive and inspirational people I have ever met. I love you, Synergy.


-Kimmy G

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What Follows "I am..."

What follows I am is what you are

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend a Saturday with an all around lovely friend of mine, Terra. During our escapades, she mentioned a bit of advice she had heard and it has stuck in my head like glue ever since; I thought I would share it with all of you. The bit of advice is at the top of this blog post, what follows I am is what you are. So, essentially, when I say "I am _________ ," whatever I put in that blank is what I am, or what I will become. It's the power of the human mind.

Of course, this doesn't work in every situation. I can't realistically look at a skill that I do not yet possess and say out of nowhere "today, I am going to miraculously get my first muscle-up and run a 5K in under 15 minutes," however, I can say "today I am capable of doing my best, and I am going to put forth that effort," or, "I am going to keep working hard, and one day I am going to do a muscle up, and run a 5K at speeds I never would have imagined." By extension, if I am tired, and I say "I am tired..." guess what? I'll be tired. Adversely, if I flip it positively (while still being honest) to "I am going to find energy," my brain can tolerate that and the pursuit of energy becomes the goal rather than focusing on and becoming content with exhaustion.

Obviously, for those of you who know me, you'll know things like this inspire me. I'm highly interested in the human mind and motivation has recently become a subject I've been looking into and studying closely. I have noticed a trend in my life lately that things which I find challenging are the things I find most motivating, and most fulfilling. I am learning that complacency is not something I am comfortable with, and it's not something I intend to live in. So, I need to work a little bit on clearing out my mental space, and changing my "I am" statements to reflect a positive journey. Though I will reach places along the road where I feel inadequate, afraid, or defeated, I will keep my chin up, and I will remember who I am. Will you?

I am not perfect, but I am capable of greatness. So are you, do you believe it?

Start believing.


-Kimmy G

Monday, January 21, 2013

FrostFit, 2013

Another one for the books, folks. And an awesome one it was.

FrostFit took place this past weekend in Winnipeg, myself and 20 other members from Synergy made the trip down to compete. What-a-rush!

My goal going into this weekend was the same as the Beat Down, I wanted to fight for the podium. That will always be my goal. However, more importantly, another goal I had was to leave absolutely everything I had in me out on the floor for each workout. I did that. I am so happy.

The day began with a clean ladder. The rules were simple; 45 seconds to lift the weight in front of you. With success, you advanced, with failure, you were eliminated. I managed to lift every single one of the 10 bars, weighing 65#, 75#, 85#, 95#, 105#, 115#, 125#, 135#, 145#, and 150#. The best part? I had time left over after my final lift and my awesome judge told me to get some weight on the bar, so I tied my PR and lifted 155# to put me in third place of thirty-four girls in my category for WOD 1. I was elated! I still am. This was a super fun workout! Not to mention, the energy in the gym was already NUTS and it wasn't even 10am!

Next came WOD 2... a memory that brings back acute pain. (You know, when it sucks... so good?) The following picture is the aftermath... the WAY aftermath, as a picture of anybody right after the workout would probably have made babies and young children cry. Yup, we were a little ruined, in the best way possible.

WOD 2 wasn't Fran and yet, it still produced the same results. WOD 2 was a couplet ladder, consisting of three 3 minute intervals with 30 seconds of rest in between (so basically, no rest). Station 1 was snatches and parellete shoot throughs (1 snatch, 1 shoot through, 2 snatch, 2 shoot throughs, and so forth). I managed six full rounds of snatches and shoot throughs. Station 2 was push-ups and pull-ups in the same increasing ladder fashion, I was pleased to successfully finish five rounds. Station 3, the final station, was thrusters and box jumps... at this point, I was completely done for but I kept going anyway, and managed to squeek out 5 rounds at the buzzer. As I recall this workout, I smile, because I know I truly left absolutely everything I had in that workout, and I am proud of it. After this WOD, I was sitting in fourth place overall.

WOD 3 seemed to approach obnoxiously quickly after WOD 2 had finished with us, yet, I was excited and ready. WOD 3 was broken into two separate events, five minutes of kettlebell jerks, and then five minutes to row 800m and get as many toes to bar as possible.

The kettlebell jerks were my strength for this portion of the workout, right as the 5 minute timer elapsed, I successfully completed my 60th kettlebell jerk on my right arm, making it 60 completed on each arm for a total of 120 reps in 5 minutes. After that, I was pretty toasted, but I gave the row all I had and got on the bar for 2 toes to bar by the time the clock ran out. I was pleased with this, as toes to bar are far from being my forte. It's all about fighting it out regardless, and I think that's the biggest thing I take away from this weekend - the ability to keep fighting even when everything inside is screaming stop! Gotta love it. After this workout, I was blissfully still sitting in fourth place overall. Why blissfully? Simply because this placement ensured me a place in the final WOD.

WOD 4 was a mystery for the day, all we knew was that if we made it, it would contain burpees. Our division was cut down to 16 girls from 34 for the final WOD and we were officially informed the workout would be a hand release suicide burpee ladder. Great, just what I always wanted. ;) All joking aside, I was pretty sick over the whole idea. I am NOT the queen of cardio. I can burpee, but I can't burpee as fast as most. I do have heart though, and I do have a desire to fight, and so I went into the WOD with my head held high, my passion on fire, and an amazing group of people behind me cheering me on. Quite unexpectedly, this WOD wound up being the highlight of the entire competition for me. I didn’t love it because it was my strongest event, and I sure didn’t love it because of how it made me feel… But I loved it because I could do it. I was terrified when they announced it, and ready to puke before my heat was called. As I took my place on the plate, my judge asked me what my goal was… I told him, quite simply, my goal was to keep going and fighting until he told me I was done. I honestly expected to be one of the first three out. I fought harder than I think I ever have in a WOD, and I wound up 7th of the 16 girls in the burpee WOD (this still makes my breath catch when I think about it, how awesome!), with 57 burpees in 5 minutes. When I finished, I went to the sidelines and looked at the playing field… I broke down and started bawling. Happy tears. It may have looked like I was sad or disappointed, but I was overwhelmed with the beautiful reality of what had just happened. I can do this. I am able. I am not who I used to be. I may not be the best, but as I sat and watched the next heat of burpees, I felt like I had won it all… And I have, in my own way.

After all was said and done, I wound up placed 5th of the 34 girls in my division. I am absolutely thrilled with this. Why? Because I had to fight out a painfully excellent 57 burpees to get there. I'm so proud of that.

This weekend would not have been even half as awesome without the incredible people I shared it with. You guys kept me laughing and smiling. We kept each other together in between the WODs and cheered for one another like there would be no tomorrow. I love you all. Thanks for the awesomeness.

Until next time. Keep it real.


-Kimmy G