Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spring Fling

This weekend was the “Spring Fling” competition at CrossFit Regina and I had an amazing day. There’s so much to love about competition days, but two things really stood out for me on Saturday. Firstly, there’s nothing like being able to push yourself and discover capabilities you never knew you had… there were a couple moments after workouts where I had to just sit back and be a little bit awestruck. Secondly, the community was incredible and I’m not just saying that. In what other sport can you compete next to somebody who is incredible and find yourself cheering them on?

That’s what happened this weekend. There were a couple of girls from Brio in my heat, as well as Christianne from our gym. It was kind of neat that we kept the same heat all day because I actually got to know these girls from Brio a bit, and let me tell you, they’re awesome! It was excellent to work out next to them because they cheered me on and I did the same for them. This is what CrossFit is, a community that strives to encourage one another while striving to reach personal bests.

I reached a personal best this weekend and I am incredibly proud of it. I may not have made the podium, but there were certainly some astronomically huge highlights for me. In the first workout I tied for first… making WOD 1 the first workout I’ve ever placed first on. It was max snatch and max bear. I wound up getting a 5lb personal record on my snatch, 115lbs, and a 5lb personal record on my bear, 135lbs. When I dropped the bar after the successful lifts, both times, I couldn’t help but let my body happy dance (because let’s be honest, it would have happy danced whether my brain let it or not, I was pumped!). Another absolutely huge one for me was WOD 3, a workout that had me pretty terrified when I read it for the first time. After the terror toned down a bit, determination set in. The workout was a 400m run with a 20lb sandbag, 10 pull-ups… repeat run and pull-ups times THREE. there was a 12 minute time cap. My goal was to finish before the time cap but I wasn’t sure if it was possible. I gave it my best shot, I wound up finishing in 10:30!!! I placed 6th in that WOD, like, what the heck? What happened to my body? Suddenly I can do all of these crazy things and I love it.

I guess this is a big reason why I love competitions, it forces me to try things and pushes me in ways I wouldn’t normally push myself. After a competition, I always seem to come out knowing more about myself and I think self-awareness is a powerful thing. Then, as I said earlier, the community is phenomenal. Not even just at the competition… traveling with friends from the gym is also always a huge highlight. A couple moments in the car (due to sleep deprivation and unicorns in Banff) I was laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes. I love the friendships. I love the support. I love the accountability.

So I wound up in 6th place of 17 girls in intermediate, I will take that with a huge smile on my face. Also, I will be ridiculously proud of my team and thier accomplishments.  Now I can’t wait for the Bridge City Beat Down… training starts now! Who's with me??


-Kimmy G

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pay It Forward

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive." -Howard Thurman

I found what makes me feel most alive and it's not something I would have ever predicted prior to discovering it. It's good to stretch ourselves and try things that may seem a little scary or intimidating from time to time. You never know when you're going to find the thing you've been missing, the thing that makes you feel empowered and gives you that missing spark.

For me, as you all know, this is CrossFit. The journey has been unreal so far, reaching way beyond any crazy expectations I had when I joined. I thought I'd share some of the story just for kicks because it's fun to look back... when I look back, I get so much more excited about today and about the future.

Here is where I began:

When I started CrossFit, my goal was somewhat of a shallow one, but a goal many people have none-the-less. I wanted to lose weight, I wanted to be "skinny" and "pretty"... I was so tired of being overweight and letting that overshadow all the great things I had going for me. I still remember the day I made the decision to commit to change clearly. It was spring and I was sitting with a friend of mine in the Murray Library on campus, I was telling her how discontent I was with being overweight and how I was going to try and find something to change it.

Now, I had the good sense to realize that crash diets were not the way to go and I knew exercise had to play a major role in my new goals. I thought about hiring a personal trainer for a couple sessions a month to teach me how to use the gym equipment to get results and quickly discovered the cost of just one session in most cases was more than a whole month's membership at a gym. However, I had the best stroke of luck destiny ever while I was searching... I came across the Synergy website and read pretty dang near the entire thing as I sat there (okay, maybe I should have been studying...). I decided to send an e-mail to the gym asking some questions, the response I received from Val was well-suited to my desires and I decided to go in and meet with somebody for more information/to sign up (because let's be honest, I already made up my mind). I wound up meeting Chad, this overly serious (ha!) character who I could tell was most definitely passionate about his gym he didn't like the jokes I made about wearing stilettos... and after a quick chat, I was signed up and ready to go.

I started my fast track with Chad the next week. Obviously I was nervous and I say lots of slightly off color random things when I am nervous. Chad probably thought I was a bit nuts, and I am, so he was probably right. What he did say stuck with me though, he told me if I stuck with it and committed myself, I WOULD see results. This was a promise I could handle, why? Because I was 100% in control of it. So, I committed myself with everything I had. I started trying to eat "Paleo"... lots of protein/veggies/few carbs and I threw myself into the workouts in the gym as hard as I could. Haha, I remember one workout in particular which must have had sixty five billion 50 walking lunges in it... Matt was coaching this class. I was determined to finish but I probably had a look of incredible pain on my face because Matt stood across the gym shouting encouragement at me, he even told me if I made it to him I could punch him. What more motivation does a person need? Haha, I made it, I didn't punch him though - I was happy with a high-five. There were countless classes where the coaches and members encouraged me like this, I really felt like they believed in me too, like they had seen my vision and were determined to help me get there.

The first really big deal:

One day in the middle of the summer, word came out that Synergy was entering two boats into the Dragon Boat races. Anyone could sign-up but I didn't give it a second thought because I felt like with the shape I was in, I would have held the team back. This is where Val comes in. I was just finishing a workout and she asked me... she actually asked ME if I was going to sign-up for the dragon boats. I told her why I hadn't and she said if I didn't sign-up she would put my name on the list for me. I was in. I was a part of something bigger than my own goals. This gave me something to work hard for, something to train for other than just losing weight. This switched my head over into competition mode. I was pumped.

When the day of the races came, it felt a lot like that feeling I used to get on Christmas morning - SO crazy excited. I knew I was going to be a part of a winning team, whether we won the races or not, I knew we were going to do well. I was determined to push through every race too, not a chance I was going to let myself be the weak link. By the end of each 500m race I think my lungs were bleeding on fire but it was glorious. Passing the finish line every time I couldn't help but cheer... it was so cool to be a part of this team. Walking around with the t-shirt on made me feel like I was part of something really special, and I was. I was starting to see the capabilities I had, the potential I never really knew was there. When the races were over, I was excited to tackle a new challenge.

It's probably a good thing I didn't give this a ton of thought:

Shortly after the dragon boats weekend came to an end, talk began to rise around the Synergy "Bridge City Beat Down," a CrossFit competition to be held at our gym in the beginning of September. I had never been to one of these competitions nor did I know what it entailed but the concept intrigued me. I was finally reaching a point where I wanted to celebrate the things I had achieved and challenge myself to push it further than I thought I was capable of. I signed up. My goals were tiny, but huge at the same time. I wanted to finish - no matter what, I wanted to do my best in every workout and go until the time ran out or I completed it. I think that day was the first day where I really felt what having a mind of steel was like - I discovered my zone a bit.

The best part? I was my only competition. I wanted to do MY best. I was cheered on by so many members of the gym that day and I took joy in the doing the same for others. The sense of community was absolutely incredible at the BCBD, once again, I felt like I was a part of something huge - not just an onlooker. I wound up finishing 23rd of 51 girls in this competition which absolutely floored me. How did I do that? How was that possible for ME? Yeah, let's just say I was hooked.

Skinny versus strong:

Shortly after the BCBD I think this was where the biggest perspective shift happened for me. My focus wasn't so much on being "skinny" anymore as it was on being strong. I began to really look up to the amazing women at our gym... amazing competitors, beautiful women who are strong inside and out.  CrossFit women. I really began to consider my priorities, does skinny really matter? Does appearance really matter? No, probably not as much as I thought it should have. What began to matter was strength, health, and pushing myself to be the best version of me possible.

I began to desire to become an athlete rather than a barbie. I stopped going to the "gym" and started training. I started to make goals that weren't weight loss related. I made goals like getting my first pull-up, or being able to run, both of which I can do today. I have had such amazing role models to look up to, as I was searching to find myself in all of the newness, I had people to watch who helped me keep my head screwed on straight. This was the point where my desires really began to shift away from the typical size 0 form of beauty in favor of athleticism and whatever form or "size" that may make my body. I realized I'd rather be a CrossFit woman... to celebrate strength rather than size.

I lied and said I wasn't there to compete:

... but I was. In January of 2012 I went to FrostFit, a CrossFit competition in Winnipeg, with 20 people from Synergy. I didn't think I could afford going but a wonderful friend, Rhean, signed me up for my birthday because she knew how much I wanted to go. I am so grateful. From the BCBD to FrostFit I had trained hard and I felt ready to give it everything I had. I even made a goal to make the top third of the intermediate division. During the preparation the week before Chad asked me if I was going to compete or just going to have fun, I wussed out and told him I was going to have fun and do my best. This was true, but something inside of me just felt like I couldn't tell him I wanted to be competitive. I don't think I quite believed in myself yet.

Regardless, I went into the competition and allowed myself to believe. I told myself to embrace every workout, to give my all and leave nothing to question later. I did that. I wound up in 4th place of 27 girls at the end of the competition and once again, I was in total shock. I was confident I could for sure reach middle of the pack but I did NOT expect a top 5 finish. At the end of the day I was able to watch three of our champs compete in the Div 1 final workout, Matt, Val, and Vanessa. The display of athleticism was beyond incredible and really lit a fire in my belly. Watching everyone that represented Synergy that day as well as other teams blew me away. THIS is who I want to be. Watching Courtney pound out incredible C2B pull-ups, watching Sarah climb the rope like a monkey, watching Chris plow through DU's... I look at them and can't help but feel inspired, I may have come from athleticism ground zero, but with amazing people training me and awesome members alongside me the world is wide open.


Yes, today I certainly enjoy getting dressed up and I love how I feel when I go out with my friends. The neat part? I get the same awesome feeling when I put on my gym clothes and go to workout. Each day I go it seems I am getting better at some skill which is not quite so far out of reach anymore. The best days are when I beat one of my personal records or try some skill I haven't had the courage to attempt before. I've had so many awesome people believe in me along the way and I am happy to announce to the world that I believe in myself now too. I am going to keep fighting, I am going to keep training, I am going to keep setting crazy goals and I am going to keep running after them with everything I have to give.

I also want to pay it forward. I've had so many people believe and me and I want to do the same for others who are new to the gym. I love seeing new faces come through the doors and I love even more when I can introduce myself and make them feel a little less on edge. It's so cool when people recognize my testimonial from the website and talk to me about how it inspired them... I try to make it known that if I can do it they can too. I think back to Chad's words when I started, if you stick with it and commit yourself you will see results. He was telling the truth.

What he didn't say was that there's a solid chance you'll find yourself too. You'll find that strength is one of the most important elements of beauty and self confidence. You'll find that you can do way more than you imagined possible. You'll find that limitations are only something you place on yourself out of fear.

Stop stopping yourself. Embrace the truth, you can make a change. Commit yourself, see the results. Revel in them!

Thanks to all the awesome athletes at our gym for inspiring me. I hope to continue working and training and inspire others just as you've done for me.


-Kimmy G

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Choose Life

Recently I had another epiphany. I love epiphanies. This one is the simplest and most obvious of epiphanies, but for some reason, hearing this over-used phrase for the billionth time a few days ago, it took on an entirely new meaning and reality. What’s the phrase? It’s this, “you only have one life to live.” Shocking? No, not overly, but I’ve never really stopped and given it the thought it quite obviously deserves.

I only have one life. I’m not going to get a chance for any do-overs. Still not shocking, I know. Though, it does change how I plan to live my life and how I plan to attack my goals and dreams. If I keep thinking “that’d be great, I’ll do it someday,” it may never happen. My chance is right now.

I can’t look at other people, think about how nice what they have is and be content to do nothing about it as though my chance will come someday. If I want something, I need to work now to get it. I think sometimes I imagine a life where I will have many chances for do-overs and what I am doing right now doesn’t make a huge change in the grand scheme of things. That thinking is so off base. What I do now, and the choices I make in this exact moment will either set me up for a life where I am living my dreams and accomplishing my goals, or it will set me up for a life of mediocrity or unhappiness.

This also applies to health and fitness, what I work for today will impact the rest of my entire life. I could choose a road of instant gratification in no exercise and eating whatever I want whenever I want it but then I am choosing a life I don’t desire for myself. Or, I could choose a life of eating whole, healthy foods and exercising regularly because it’s good for my body. In so doing, I will have chosen a life with potential to bring me to the places I want to be, the places I have set goals to reach. With these options laid out so clearly before me, knowing I only get one life, how could I choose anything but the latter?

I choose to exercise and eat well today to be an athlete. I choose educate myself and work hard in my studies to become a teacher.  I choose to embrace opportunities today to bask in fulfillment tomorrow.

This is the only life I get, I’m going to make it count. Howabout you?


-Kimmy G

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Work Hard

Today, for work, I was sent to a breakfast promoting Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Saskatoon. The speaker was Don Narcisse, former wide receiver of the Saskatchewan Roughriders; he shared some wonderful insights which I found incredibly inspirational and wanted to share. The things he shared applied to mentoring but also to being the best person and even the best athlete you can be. He began by sharing some of his story, for those of you who know of him, you’ll know due to his size (not overly tall) he would have been considered an unlikely candidate to play football professionally. However, he spoke about determination, how those around him kept him on the right track and he made a pact with himself to persevere; he dedicated himself to being the best. When others were resting, he was working on mastering the art of one handed catches. By the time he reached grade 10, he began to emerge as a skilled football player, size aside. He went on to be one of the greatest wide receivers the CFL has ever seen, even playing in the infamous 1989 Grey Cup game. Today he shared a quote that resonated very deeply with me, and it is this:

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” –Don Narcisse

I may not have natural talent at certain things, but I do have the determination to work hard at them and become great. You know what else? If I work hard at them, it will have been worth the entire journey. With perseverance I will have gained character, and that character will have come from the times when I wanted to quit but kept continuing on. The journey of hard work holds with it a sense of pride, something those who things come to naturally may never fully experience in its wholeness.

Word hard. Earn where you stand. It’s worth it and will mean so much more when you blow past the finish line.


-Kimmy G