Getting Back to Healthy

The beginning of the year always seems to be the time people look for a change. Everyone wants to be a better version of themselves in the previous year. They start off with so much hope and great intentions. But, unfortunately, they don’t tend to stay on the course.

Well, guess what…I’m joining those ranks (the ones looking for a change, not the one straying off course). However, I started my journey at the end of November.

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When I finally got a full-time job that allowed me to have a little more cash flow, I knew I immediately needed to get back into the gym. While I haven’t been in a “normal gym” for three years, I knew that I had to make the most of it, until I can afford to join a new CrossFit box. So I joined Anytime Fitness in my hometown. I chose this gym because it was close to my office, and open 24 hours a day. My plan has been to use my lunch break the days I work in the office to workout to get in short cardio sessions (25 minute hill or speed intervals on the treadmill). On days that I work from work from home I hope to hit the gym early in the morning before my husband has to leave for work for some weights.

It’s been so hard to be my normal self. When I lived in Lexington I had the support and community of Man O’War CrossFit. My guys were always looking for me every morning. Even after Baby A&W was born, I still managed to go almost every day. But that’s when she would sleep throughout our WODs, which made it more manageable. Our neighborhood was so perfect for walks of all lengths, and I would walk the dogs everyday after work (whether Baby A&W was in her carrier or stroller).

But now, I don’t have the CrossFit community for support. I don’t have the flexibility of a sleeping baby in her carseat to bring with me. I don’t have sidewalks, street lamps, or multiple routes for walks–country roads aren’t the best to walk on come dusk/dark. And the winter weather isn’t conducive for a baby to be out in the elements for long periods of time.

But I can’t continue with the excuses. I’m at a stage in my health that I never thought I would be at, and it’s frustrating.

So I looked for what I call “Forced Motivation.” Knowing that I’m paying for a gym membership means I need to make the most of it. For Christmas my sister paid for my registration in two half marathons (April 16 and May 7). Knowing that I have two big races. so close together, means that I need to be getting my strength back before adding the mileage.

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So, I’ve been hitting the gym more regularly now. I’ve set goals–not only in weight loss but also in ability when it comes to getting back to my old self. I’m already feeling a difference and I look forward to the workouts. There have been some exhausting nights with A&W not sleeping through the night, teething, or just being sick, not to mention that I’ve worked a lot of late nights trying to hit my freelancing deadlines. But those aren’t an excuse.

I’m thankful for Coach Taylor that he continues to post the weekly WODs for MOWCF on their Facebook page. When I’m preparing for my weight lifting days, I check to see what my old CrossFit family did as far as WODs and then try to see if I can do them in some form or fashion at my “boring gym.” Or, I’ll make up my own.

Here are some workouts I’ve done:

WODcollage

I’m also going to get back to blogging more regularly, as I want to use this as an accountability tool again. I’m excited about the two half marathons I’ve got coming up, but also very nervous about training on my own and getting back to being fit.

Your turn: How are you getting back to being fit in 2016?

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Proud Wife Brag–Hitting the Gym with the Hubby

It’s not often I brag about my husband on here, but I feel the need to do so today.

You see, M has had this lifelong dream to be a police officer. His uncle is a State Trooper, his grandfather a former office. He was in the Security Forces in the Air Force, even guarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base. While he’s very good at sales, he knows where his heart should be. He’s taken steps to gain more experience, with being a security guard at Keeneland, but now it’s time to move on to bigger and better things.

About four years ago he tried out for the local police department–sailing through the written test and moving onto the physical. Unfortunately, he missed passing the physical test by one or two points. That was a big blow to him, and it was to me, too. I hated seeing him miss out on his dream. It was hard to get him going again…

Flash forward to this summer. He knows that because of his age, his time is limited to get onto a police force to go through the academy, so he’s taken the steps to prepare. One Saturday morning we went to Man O’War CrossFit to workout together, and he talked to my coach, Taylor, about working with him. Taylor’s amazing–he knows how to motivate you and get after you, push you past your limits, and yet you don’t hate him (too much, at least). In fact, he somehow makes you want to keep coming in and get better. I knew that’s what M needed. I was very honest with my feelings about how M needed to be accountable for working out consistently and he needed motivation–I knew it wasn’t working with me working with him, so he couldn’t say no to Taylor, right? So the two worked out a plan of attack, and M has gone to the box to work with him twice a week for almost a couple of months now.

We even started a "date day" with a workout a couple weeks ago!

We even started a “date day” with a workout a couple weeks ago!

He’s showing so much improvement, you can see he’s building self confidence back up and physically you can see him losing inches around his waist. Yesterday Taylor had M do a run-through of the police test to see where they stood, and while they knew he was going to need work on the push-ups, he handled the 1 mile run and 300m sprint decently, as well as the bench press. It was a positive sign. Now they know what they need to work on, and they’re more determined than ever.

Now M has to do at least 60 push-ups everyday–20 when he wakes up, 20 after work, and 20 before bed. He’s to start running with me a couple days a week, and he’ll be in the box at least three days a week. Attacking his weak spots, while still working on his total body, is the key to prepare him for his test come late-September.

I hope he’s finding the same self confidence and the same feelings I have when I workout–if it hadn’t been for Man O’War CrossFit, I don’t know how I’d be still standing today. My hope is that he realizes a fitness-based lifestyle is a happier one, for everyone involved. To be able to workout together, run together, and commiserate together is something I’ve wanted for a long time. We’re partners for life now, and I want to be workout partners even more now. Hopefully this will help us raise a healthy, fit, happy child together, as well.

Your turn: Brag a little on your significant other!

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Burning the Candle at Both Ends

This weekend I was able to enjoy my first days off in more than two weeks. During the 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, I ended up work 75+ hours in 6 days–often 12-15 hour days on my feet. I was working in a sponsor booth for Bit of Britain during the day and covering the Kentucky Reining Cup event at night for an online publication.

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Oh, yeah, and sand volleyball season has started at the German bar where I ref two nights a week. So here was my schedule:

Monday: CrossFit 6:30-7:30 am, Work regular job 9-4:30, Ref 6-Midnight
Tuesday: Set-up at Kentucky Horse Park 8-7
Wednesday: Set-up at Kentucky Horse Park 8-6
Thursday: Rolex 8-6, Press Dinner 6:30-9pm
Friday: Rolex 8-6, Reining 6-Midnight
Saturday: Rolex 8-5, Reining 5:30-10:30pm
Sunday: Rolex 8-9:30, Reining 9:30-Noon, Rolex/Teardown 12-8pm
Monday: Work regular job 9-4:30, Ref 6-Midnight
Tuesday: CrossFit 6:30-7:30, Work regular job 9-4:30, Ref 6-11pm
Wednesday: Work 9-4:30
Thursday: CrossFit 6:30-7:30, Work regular job 9-4:30
Friday: Work regular job 9-3

Mix in writing articles at night for publications that were due at night. I didn’t even have the energy to blog, let alone catch up on my usual blogs I like to read.

This past Tuesday I started coughing…and throughout the week it has morphed into more than a cough. I was supposed to run 8 miles as part of my half marathon training on Saturday, but combine whatever the illness is that I have (some say a cold, others bronchitis, we’ll see what the doctor says Monday), I strained my back doing thrusters (while coughing) at CrossFit on Thursday. Yeah….I’m a hot mess.

My mother always warns me about burning the candle at both ends–you burn out a lot quicker than you’d like. That has definitely rang true for me this past week.

I’m taking stock in everything that I’m doing, and it’s time to prioritize things. My day job (aka “regular job”) will soon be going from part-time (33 hours a week) to full-time come June (or so we hope). I’m also trying to grow and promote my freelancing business a lot more: I have picked up a few new publications/websites in the past few weeks that will start to require more of my time for brainstorming, interviewing, and story writing. I’m also wanting to get more serious about my CrossFit training and have a half marathon coming up in almost a month. Not to mention training the dogs in agility as classes are getting going in the warm weather, etc. Oh, yeah…and spend some time with my husband.

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For four years I’ve been a ref for a sand volleyball league at a German bar here in town. I used to ref 4-5 nights a week, but then cutback to 2 nights a week. For two years I’d ref Monday and Tuesday nights from 6 pm to 2 am. But this year I’ve decided I can’t do that any more. I need to take care of myself and make sure I’m getting decent sleep–I can’t be falling asleep at work the next day because I only had a few hours of sleep, and I don’t want to slack off on my training. So I will still ref Monday and Tuesday nights, but the latest I’ll ref is to 11pm. Yes I’ll miss some of that extra money, but I’ll appreciate my sleep more.

While I haven’t been able to enjoy the gorgeous weekend weather because of being sick, it has proven that I’m not Superwoman and I need to take better care of myself. I need rest just as much as I need activity, money, etc.

I might not be blogging as much as I used to, but I hope to focus on my quality blog posts, and for that, I hope you understand.

Your turn: Have you ever just hit the wall? How have you combatted burning the candle at both ends?

Lacing Up the Running Shoes Again

I’ve been home from the National Agility Championship for a week now, but I’m still suffering the effects–a nasty viral thing that’s left me feeling like poo (sore throat, cough, bleh). But I’m still flying high from my best friend and her Cardigan Corgi winning the national championship in the 4″ Preferred division! It was awesome to watch, and she so  deserves it.

Merinda and PNAC Porter!

Merinda and PNAC Porter!

Getting back to normal life, I’m getting back into running. I missed a few races due to scheduling and finances–why are half marathons so darn expensive?? But when a local racing company announced a new race series that includes a 5K, 10-miler and a half marathon. It’s going to run through horse country (I’m seriously lucky to have such beautiful running views), including a Thoroughbred horse farm. The one kicker is it’s in mid-June, which can be a very hot time in Kentucky. But, I bit the bullet last week and registered before the price went up. I figure I’ll train my best for it and see what I can do, and don’t expect a PR from this race.

So now that I’ve finally registered for my third half marathon, it’s time to get serious about training. I’ve been doing some longish runs with friends while they prepare for their races this Spring, running up to 8 miles, but nothing too serious. But now I really have to start being serious. I don’t want to overtrain like I have in the past, which has caused some injuries that have curtailed my running. So I’m planning on sticking with my CrossFit WODs at Man O’War CrossFit, long training run on the weekend, and one or two shorter runs during the week. There will be some weekends where I won’t be able to run, but that’s OK.

I kicked off my training with a fun group run back with the John’s Striders, a group I trained with a lot last year. On Saturday we met up for a quick 2.5 mile “warm-up” run before we had a wedding-themed 5K for a couple getting married later that day. We ran around the Chevy Chase area, stopping at different places that were special. The end of the race we stopped at the church they were going to be tying the knot a few hours later and the leader of our group pronounced them “Running Partners for Life.” It was real sweet! (Not the 7 miles I was planning, but it still worked.)

Steven and Ryan, "Running Partners for Life"!

Steven and Ryan, “Running Partners for Life”!

For now it’s time for me to figure out my training and re-figure my nutrition. It’s time to get serious about eating healthy again. Any advice will be appreciated!

Your turn: Have you ever participated in a themed training run?

Combining Two Passions: Horses & Healthy Living

I love horses. And I love fitness. I’ve run in two half marathons (training for my third now) and am an avid CrossFitter. I’ve always been active, but I’ve gotten more so as I’ve gotten older, and I’m obsessed with following healthy living blogs. So when the opportunity to combine my equine passion with my fitness passion came up for the Equine Chronicle, I jump at the chance to interview two competitors on the Quarter Horse and Paint Horse circuits and see how they attempt to live a healthy lifestyle in a world where fried foods usually reign.

If you’ve ever wondered, can you be a healthy equestrian athlete on the road, Melissa Sachs and Erin Shapiro Boatwright have your answer: YES!

On top of this article, I started an online article series, happily working with Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean. I’m so thankful for her insight and willingness to help. It’s a great series and I’d love for more ideas on how to grow it.

First up, the initial article:

HealthyHorseShow_Page_1 HealthyHorseShow_Page_2Read the rest of the article here: Healthy Horse Show Living

And now, the initial article for the online series: Healthy Horse Show Living: Breakfast Basics

Better health is always a topic of conversation from the newsroom to the boardroom and now the tack room. Equestrians are athletes too, and in order to be able to show your horse at its best, you have to be at your best. If you read theMarch/April issue of The Equine Chronicle, you learned how two competitors, Erin Shapiro Boatwright and Melissa Sachs, strive to live healthy lifestyles in and out of the barn. This online series will continue to help give you tips so you can start making healthier choices and perhaps live a healthier life at home and on the road.

Start Every Day with Breakfast

The old saying is “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” For some horsemen and women, it’s often the most forgotten part of the day. We’re more concerned with getting our own horses fed and chores done and maybe squeezing in a few rides before the heat of the day. Soon, it’s after noon and your stomach’s grumbling. You realized the last thing you ate was dinner the night before.

Finish reading the article here.

CrossFit 14.4 & a 6 Mile Run

This weekend was supposed to be about getting everything done that I needed to get done before I leave for Pennsylvania for the 2014 American Kennel Club (AKC) National Agility Championships. You might remember me going to Tulsa last year with Dally, and this year we’re lucky to get to experience Pennsylvania in March…ugh. Looking at the 10-day forecast I’m not so excited. But, I’m trying to look at the positive! 🙂

Friday I tackled 14.4 at Man O’War CrossFit. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through the 50 toes to bar–I do well to squeeze out one real toes to bar. I really wished it went 50 wall balls–I can sail through those! Anyway, here’s the WOD:

CrossFit Open 14.4

14 minute AMRAP
60 calorie row
50 toes to bar
40 wall balls (20/14)
30 cleans (135/95)
20 muscle-ups

I outfitted myself with some hand guards made by Taylor for the toes to bar. It was my first time wearing such things, and I kind-of liked them! But I definitely need to practice making them myself…Taylor wasn’t impressed with my attempt (I wish I could have taken a photo). I did kipping knees to elbow instead of the toes to bar and zoomed through the wall balls. Half-way through the cleans I realized I hadn’t changed my weight from the warm-up 65 (we did a mini WOD to warm up) to the need 95. Whomp whomp. Udder FAIL. I just continued through the WOD, pushing myself harder. I got through the cleans, then started on my (red) banded ring dips, another modification. I finished the WOD in the 14 minutes allotted.

Then Saturday morning I hit the pavement for 6 miles around the neighborhood. I’m trying to keep a routine of long(er) runs on the weekends until I really start upping my training for a half marathon in June. I had 6 miles on the docket, and none of my friends were around, so I turned on the tunes on my phone and belted out 6.3 miles in 1:00:54:

Mile 1 – 9:17
Mile 2 – 9:15
Mile 3 – 9:40
Mile 4 – 9:34
Mile 5 – 10:08
Mile 6 – 9:47
0.3 nubbin – 9:03
9:35 avg/mi

I did walk a little twice, but I definitely need to work on my pacing more and keeping things consistent. I felt great during my run. It was lower 50s and perfect weather.

I followed up the run with a 2-mile dog walk, which included a friend’s two dogs that I was dog sitting–let me tell you, the looks I got from people in my neighborhood when they saw me walking four dogs… LOL

4 dogs? No problem!

4 dogs? No problem!

I ended the weekend grilling some chicken breasts for M to have for dinner while I’m away in Pennsylvania, making chocolate chip cookies for the trip, and cheering on the guys at MOWCF for 14.4. One of our guys, Jon, made it through 8 muscle-ups (8!!). Rough WOD!

Coach Taylor (right) and Iverson (left) attacking the 135 lb cleans during 14.4.

Coach Taylor (right) and Iverson (left) attacking the 135 lb cleans during 14.4.

Your turn: How was your weekend?

I’m a Proud Daughter: Mom’s Update, 100lbs Lost

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During brunch Christmas 2012 my mom announced she was going to have bariatric surgery in the coming months. In July she underwent Roux-En-Y Surgery to start her on the road to better health and a better lifestyle.

Just a few weeks ago she hit a major milestone: 100 pounds lost. She was so excited she texted me as soon as she weighed herself. I knew that was such a big number to her and she felt so proud and accomplished of her hard work.

It hasn’t been all easy, though. Some people might think that having bariatric surgery is the easy way out, and they’re wrong. There have been some trips back to the hospital to have the hole stretched wider when she was having troubles swallowing. She’s had to manage multiple stomach issues–sharp pains, nausea, cramping.

She’s lost some hair due to insufficient protein intake–she was getting nauseous drinking protein shakes. Thankfully. though, we discovered the problem for why this was happening and now she’s taking in protein in more unique ways, like adding protein powder to her oatmeal in the morning and juice in the afternoon, instead of milk. Now her hairstylist has pointed out some regrowth already, which makes my mom very happy.

She was doing well with daily walks to the barn with my brother-in-law, starting first with her walker, then her cane. Unfortunately the poor weather in Indiana has stalled those outside walks. However, she is now able to walk around without her cane! It’s such a big step for her because it means more independence and shows she’s getting stronger.

She’d love to ride her stationary bike that’s been collecting dust in her bedroom, but unfortunately her knee has been giving her troubles lately, not allowing it to bend enough to pedal, but hopefully she’ll be able to start back up to walking, as soon as the snow melts and the weather is nice (which we wonder when that’ll ever happen).

She’s able to go out to eat, but she knows to be careful on appetizers, and focuses more on fresher ingredients. She loves how she’s now a “cheap date” and orders a small meal, but gets two or three more meals out of it later.

I’m not sure what her final goal weight is, but now that she’s down in the mid-200s, I know she’s on a roll.

Here’s a before photo from Christmas 2012:

Christmas 2012 with my momma

Christmas 2012 with my momma

And here is her “Mid-Progress Photo” taken February 16, 2013, just shy of 100 pounds lost:

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She looks younger, and is feeling younger. You can definitely tell in her face, and definitely the fit of her clothes. She’s been wearing shirts that were too tight on her, but now they’re too big and baggie–it’s time to do some shopping for smaller sizes (we don’t even know what she’d wear–she was wearing 24/26).

I’m so proud of her, and I can’t wait to see how she does this spring/summer/fall as she’s able to start doing more.

Your turn: Do you know someone who has had bariatric surgery? How have they been recovering?

Healthy Holiday Challenge: Elf4Health

I’m so excited that Lindsay and Elle decided to bring back Elf4Health for the second year. If you’ve been reading my blog since last year, you’ll remember me sharing some of my adventures participating in Elf4Health. It’s a fun, free program created to encourage continuing a healthy lifestyle (or starting) in the weeks leading up for the holidays. Different “challenges” include Meatless Monday, cleaning out the closet, trying a new workout, workout with a buddy, etc.

I totally encourage you to sign up. It’s a great community (I think there’s already 400+ elves signed up, men and women) to support a healthy lifestyle. You’ll be paired up with another elf twice during the challenge, and those pairings can lead to a great friendship–I still chat with my elves Annica and Lindsay.

Here’s the gist of the challenges:

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Sign-ups are going on now until this Friday, Nov. 22. There will be a second round of sign-ups, but I recommend getting in on the action early! (Check out Lindsay’s blog for the sign-ups.)

You can follow along with me as I chronicle my Elf4Health Challenge via the blog, Twitter (@MLArszman), and Instagram (MLA317).

I hope you’ll join us!!

Your turn: Out of the challenges above, what one would you be looking forward to the most? 

Random Friday Musings

Happy Friday!! It’s been a good week for me, besides that box jump incident on Tuesday. I took Wednesday off, minus two dog walks, to rest my leg. I have done a couple of Epsom salt bath soaks to help with the swelling, and lots of icing, and my leg is feel much better. I’m waiting for it to turn into one large bruise, though.

I walked back into the box at Man O’War CrossFit Thursday morning and was warmly greeted by everyone asking how I was feeling. We were laughing about Tuesday morning and decided it’ll definitely be a while before I’m back to jumping 20″ box jumps. And I’m OK with that.

I thought I’d share some random musings from the week to wrap-up the weekend:

  • It’s crazy the things we do that earlier in life we might have thought it was ridiculous. Like box jumps–I’d never see myself happily jumping on them this time last year, and right now I know it’ll be a while before I’m back to that, but I did enjoy them before Tuesday.
  • It surprises me how some pet owners don’t care much for their dogs. I walk my two girls every day, and when I see some dog owners barely enjoying their walks or just letting their dogs run loose in the neighborhood without a collar on, it makes me wonder why you have a dog?
I love spending time with my pups and taking them for their daily walks.

I love spending time with my pups and taking them for their daily walks.

  • Wouldn’t it be great if this weather lasted all year?? It’s been beautiful this week–low 50s in the morning, upper 70s in the afternoon and clear skies. I love this weather! (I just wish I was running more to enjoy it more!)
  • Speaking of running, I’m waiting to see how my leg heals before I sign up for the Race for the Cure 5K coming up next weekend. I know I can walk it if it’s bothering me too much, but I’d rather be competitive.
  • I’m thinking of entering my first CrossFit competition next month. My coach found a competition aimed towards novice and intermediate CrossFitters in West Virginia and I’m thinking it’d be a lot of fun to do one. I don’t think I’ll ever get to the level of our top athletes, so why not enjoy this one?
  • I had two job interviews this week, after weeks of a drought! Both seem like good possibilities, and I’m ready to get back into the swing of things, but it’s just scary to think of the change in career both positions would lead to.
  • Speaking of job interviews, I need to go shopping for a second interview outfit. I might be called back for a second interview and I can’t really show up in the same outfit! It was stressful just finding one, but now two?? Ugh. (I don’t do well shopping.)
  • We’re going to a Cincinnati Reds game Saturday with two friends. I’m so excited because it should be a beautiful day and a good time! I hope to share some photos from the day later.
  • I’d really like to re-do my blog with a new header, but I’m not sure I can do it on my own. But I can’t afford a professional design. Anyone have any tips?

Your turn: How was your week? What are you looking forward to in the coming month?

Attack of the Box Jumps

Wasn’t it just last week I was talking about CrossFit “badges of honor“? Ugh. I probably shouldn’t have said anything. I now have a pretty big “badge of honor” thanks to yesterday’s WOD.

The workout was surely going to be a killer:

7 squat cleans
8 burpee box jumps
9 rounds with a 30 minute time cap

I was working with 65 pounds for the squat cleans and using a 20-inch box jump. After Monday’s WOD (snatches and deadlifts), I didn’t think my legs were too tired, but as I started the first round of squat cleans, I soon discovered they were tired. But I pushed through all 7 squat cleans and started in on my burpee box jumps.

The first two jumps onto the box I could really feel it in my quads. I remember looking over at Cari and Valentina with a look like “OMG My legs might not make it through this workout!” I think it was the third jump that I barely made it up. So I shook my legs a little, did a burpee, then attempt to jump onto the box. It happened so fast: my left toe hit the top edge of the box (while my right foot made it up on top) and I crashed my shin into the box. I  cussed a little and walked away to try to shake it off. A few asked me if I was alright and I thought I was–it just smarted. Then I looked down at my leg…. NOTE: Never look down at your injuries! I saw the scrape all down my shin, even seeing a little white and my mind went into overdrive–is that bone?? OMG Did I break something??

That’s when I got real dizzy and nauseous. I limped to the bathroom and almost passed out. After a while of writing on the floor in pain, I made it out of the bathroom and back into the box. I wanted to get to my phone to have M come pick me up. After I called him, Coach turned the fan on me and tried to help me feel a little better. I basically went into shock upon seeing my leg. It took M no time to get to the box (he was on his way home from work), but it took me 20-30 minutes to be able to sit up without feeling dizzy and close to passing out. Meanwhile, we shared stories of “badges of honor” and Natalie told me about when she got hurt pretty badly on the box jumps.

I came home and rested my leg the rest of the day. I iced it multiple times, took Ibuprofen, and then later in the evening, when the skin wasn’t so sensitive to touch, I did an Epsom salt soak to help with the swelling and soreness. I’m happy to report that the swelling has gone down, but it’s still sore and a little sensitive. I’m taking the day off (minus walking the dogs) from working out, and hope to get back to the box on Thursday (but no jump/running).

This was a couple of hours after coming home and icing my shin.

This was a couple of hours after coming home and icing my shin.

Now I’m worried about getting my confidence back on box jumps. It took me a while to work up to the 20″ boxes–I’ve never been one to have a big vertical jump or anything. Natalie warned me it’ll be a while before I’m comfortable with them again, so I plan on taking my time.

I think the next time I start to boast about my “badges of honor” I’ll think twice–not sure I can get anything bigger than the scrape I have right now.

Your turn: Have you ever had a crash and burn in the gym that’s gotten you thinking twice about why you do what you’re doing? I know for a moment there I thought “Maybe I’m done with CrossFit…” but I know that was just crazy talk!