March 29, 2011

"Real food Mutha F***er's, do you eat it?"

Funniest line I'v hear in a while and 100% appropriate for what it was in response to... The Scene: In the kitchen at the office I was compiling my lunch and set an avocado on the counter. Now picture this "kitchen/lunchroom" is microscopic and is somehow supposed to accommodate an entire building and where the most prized item is the microwave. Some of us call it the lunchroom shuffle as we attempt to make food while others state how healthy we eat, some of us just get angry and leave, others completely resolve themselves from dealing with it by only eating take out, and  others occasionally dart in & out to load up on awful coffee that they dilute with sugar and powdered "cream". In the end, we make our food around those darting in and out to microwave their non-food food-items or those getting bad coffee refills as if it were a real life video game. We're lucky no one's been stabbed with a fork.

Back to the lovely thing that is called an avocado. Oh avocado, I how I do think you are lovely and some people don't really even know what you are!?

As I was standing pressed up against the wall waiting to get back to my food prep and as my avocado lay on the counter awaiting my return, I became engaged in a conversation about my food (shocking... I eat healthy and it's like a disfunction). 

Bad coffee refiller: "What is THAT?" 
Me:  "[pause]... It's an avocado." (Truly confused by the question)
Non-Food Food-Like microwaver: "That's what they make guacamole out of, right?"
Me: "[pause]... Yes, guacamole is mostly avocados..."
NFFLM: "I've had that once, I don't like avocados." 

Now there was a little more to the conversation, but nothing more than "it's green and slimy" kind of thing. Other than that folks, this is truly the conversation that was had. The exotic item of the lunchroom today was an avocado. The delicious, subtle, creamy, healthy-fat filled, wondrous avocado from California. 

March 24, 2011

The Gym Rat or You know you're a gym rat when... & CrossFit Anyone?

A little history... So I used to do the gym thing where the elliptical, stair machine to nowhere, and a variety of weights were the norm. Don't get me wrong, even at this point I didn't really enjoy the hamster wheels at the gym, but I had something to prove and started there. Now please understand that I didn't just have a favorite cardio machine or certain muscle groups assigned to specific days. I ran (outside. The treadmill makes me want to poke my eyes out), tried to beat the eliptical into submission, ran the stair machine into the ground, lifted weights while grunting and flinging sweat on my neighbors, attended yoga classes contorting my body into positions that I'm sure aren't natural & cycled my heart out while listening to a Beyonce-Joan Jett-ish mixed CD while starring at my form and sweat drench cloths in the mirror in front of me, oh and I musn't forget the brief stent I added swimming to the repertoire. Like I said, I had something to prove or work through I guess. It wasn't really physical even though I've had my share of body issues (another story for another time), it was more that I had some demons that needed to be dealt with, worked through, beaten down, however you want to look at it, it needed to happen and there is just something so ultimately satisfying about pushing your body, exhausting your physical self so you can make sense of the world. However, there is a point when you need to assess your relationship with your workout regiment when you look forward to Friday nights at the gym because it means that there is more equipment available for your enjoyment. "I had a hot Friday night at the gym!" You know you're turning(?) into a gym rat when...

I like variety. I like to push myself. I like to feel blown out at the end of a workout. I like to come out on the other side having solved an internal struggle or at least be at peace with myself or the world for a brief moment. The world is a better place because of it. I get bored easily and have a short attention span, the gym is no exception. It wasn't until I was getting blown out/dizzy/nauseous relatively easily that I switched up my training (forced really by my body). For those of you who can empathize with the paragraph above, you understand. For those of you who think I was over training... Explain overtraining to the professional athlete or the ultra runner, cyclist, triathlete, or... Don't get me wrong, lots of training needs to accompany recovery time, proper nutrition and adequate sleep. These were the areas I probably allowed to slip. It wasn't until I had a gamete of blood work done through a Naturopath that I found out that my blood was all out of whack. Most importantly, my iron chemistry was not good. Everyone was shocked to hear that I was even performing at the level I was with my chemistry at the levels they were. Like I said, I like to push myself and may ignore signs of slowing down. At this point my endurance was shot. I was exhausted from running 25-30 minutes and my strength was dwindling. 

This is still pretty amusing to me, but since I could no longer run intervals on stairs for 45 minutes, I turned to CrossFit. Yeah, because CrossFit is easy... Oh hell no it 'aint! Well, there will always be people that can reduce any intense activity into a "stretching-fest" and say they're working out. These people will give any and every excuse to reduce intensity or weight. These are the same people that say, "... but I eat healthy", and somehow this magically includes ultra-processed food-like products that don't have an expiration date, but DO come in a 100 calorie pack! Another day, another rant. Even though CrossFit is absolutely the opposite of easy if you're doing it right, it was exactly what I needed. At this point, I couldn't handle anything that required much endurance, but I could handle short bouts of intense activity, whether it was running, rowing, or weights. And, no, I'm not going to get into the geeky aspects of how when your iron levels are low your body cannot function properly due to lack of circulating oxygen blah blah blah. There will be plenty of geeky posts to come so just sit tight and enjoy. Don't get me wrong, CrossFit is a huge fad. People freakin LOVE this stuff! (Rightly so) And being that I generally don't like going along w/ fads, I fought the elitist attitude that is often associated with CrossFit. I poked fun at the Main Site and some of the WODs (don't be dirty now...). But, when it came down to not being able to do anything else, I had to give cred where cred was deserved. Through the help of a very special friend, I discovered the wonders of CrossFit. Needless to say, it's changed my perspective of working out. I've always found functional fitness extremely important. Especially since I hike and trail run, I've always said that I should be able to pull myself off a ledge. I'm glad I've found a workout regiment that's ultimate goal is to ensure you can do things like this... to run, jump, leap, pull, push, lift. Now, just do 5x for time.