If you want self-esteem, do esteemable things.

I have gone through many exercise phases. I started with an hour of ellipticizing every day  (which now sounds like complete torture to me!) and then graduated to spin classes multiple times a week, running, yoga, kickboxing, hikes, long outdoor bike rides and most recently the Insanity workout. For a spell of time each of these felt very satisfying to me but once I hit a mental place of boredom I was unable to actually psych myself up to give enough effort for these workouts to continue to feel as good as they initially had.

I was most surprised when I started to get bored with Insanity. Committing to about an hour a day for the sixty days of the program was not tough for me initially when the routines were fresh and surprising but these days I find that I am naturally able to check out and not get as much out of them as I would like. This is absolutely not a fault of the workout (I love the program and love Sean T. and will probably never have much negative to say about either of them!) but I need to watch out for mental complacency with any workout program I am interested in. Enter Crossfit and my friend Ramsey .

I began reading Ramsey’s fitness blog sometime back and was really inspired by the confidence her workouts seemed to give her, her frankness about what the experience of trying to strengthen and tone her body was like, and the commitment she possessed while maintaining a level head about the process. Reading her words made me want to give Crossfit a try immediately but when I saw the pricetags of official Crossfit gyms I was a bit dismayed. It’s not that I believe the cost isnt  worth it (most folks who do it seem very happy to spend their cash in this way!) its just that I literally do not make enough to support such a habit. I had almost given up hope when Ramsey’s schedule had a shift that made it impossible to get to the classes she had been going to. When she suggested a virtual CrossFit bootcamp a bunch of people hopped on board, and I was one of them.

The switch up in my routine is challenging in so many ways. First off, for almost half a decade my workouts have taken up at least an hour of my days. These routines run from five to twenty five minutes so far and it is really surprising how my mind tricks me, telling me I am “not giving enough”. When I first hopped onto the bootcamp train I was adding the workouts into my Insanity routine and was immediately feeling terrible! It was just too much for my body. I decided to try to go by the schedule exactly how it is (adding in a warm up and cool down stretch) and trust that my body will know what to do with the shift. The second challenge of these work outs is that they are incredibly difficult. The focus on form and speed is very emphasized and after the short short sets I am totally worked, unable to speak and sometimes trying real hard not to hurl. I am sore in ways that I havn’t been for a really long time and needing a solid seven or eight hours of sleep at night even more then usual. CrossFit work outs are really amazing in the way that they function and I am really curious to see what will come of using my body in such a quick and fast way.

Someone once said this to me: “If you want self-esteem, do esteemable things”. I think this is a really smart and simple idea and really relates to exercise and food stuff. My goals for this workout change are varied and range from really broad to really specific. First I would obviously like to really hone in on gaining strength by being super honest about my form and really genuine about giving all I have to my workouts- no mental malaise holding me back.

Aside from this, I have physical goals. The first has to do with nutrition: I have had years of terrible stomach issues and I want to find ways to eat that support the serenity of my gut and the strength of my muscles. There are changes that I know I can make (lessening my consumption of raw nuts and nut butters, cutting out carbonated beverages, nixing cauliflower especially when its raw) that seem simple but are actually really challenging for me. I want to use this lifestyle change to focus on body welllness in all regards, including my stomach.

Second, I think its semi-controversial to say that I am not 100% happy with the way my body looks. I am a feminist, I believe that every one should be proud of what they got physically. Despite this, I can be really harsh on myself in ways that I am not toward other people. I have been very underweight in the past. It took me a really long time to eek up to a body that is healthy and I wish that I could just look in the mirror and feel proud of that successful struggle. While I do know that I look much much better then I probably ever have I see room for toning and tightening of my body and want to say that without it being too terrible or huge of a deal. I have a toning goal, which feels like a weight loss goal but actually isn’t because of muscle to fat weight ratios and all that. I want to feel more confident walking around in the world.

Lastly, I want to be able to work with this exercise program and challenge myself to having the best nutrition possible as gracefully as I can. I want to acknowledge the humanness of my process, have focus and dedication, but also not lose my mind trying to become a ripped mega-she-hulk. Physical fitness is very challenging for me because I go off the deep end really easily. The most esteemable thing I can do to have self esteem about my body is to maintain a sense of compassion. I’m working on it, I swear!

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