Clutching at Straws

Hey ya’ll.  Soooo, yeah.  I’m feeling some kind of way today.

It’s pretty rare for me to get on my soapbox and go in on something or someone, but this morning I did…with aplomb.

Long and short of it, I woke up to a FB request for “thoughts” from a recent CrossFit convert (sipping the Kool-aid!).  He read an online article about African-American women and CrossFit: “Black Girls Run, Black Girls Bike, but do Black Girls CrossFit?”.

Needless to say, I read the article and reviewed all of the comments associated with it (now closed), took a few minutes to gather my thoughts and then went in on the article.  Here is what I said, with a few parts fleshed out for the blog world.

I’m very interested in all of your thoughts as well, so do me a favor and leave a comment.

About 7ish on a Sunday morn I typed in response to an inquiry as to my thoughts on the aforementioned article:

Clutching at Straws

The posting is inaccurate and does its best to reinforce stereotypes that do disservice to the reader.

I mean, really?

She [the author] doesn’t CrossFit and admits, blatantly, that she saw someone throwing up a few years ago at a box in in DC.

I’m going to bypass the fact that this article was posted on September 13th 2013, but she mentions something that she saw as she walked by “a few years summers ago”.  Actually, I’m not going to bypass that.  Point being: a few summers ago, I saw Serena Williams lose her cool and react poorly to a call from a US Open tennis umpire.

It didn’t cause me to wash my hands of her.  She recognized what she did, took a break and came back stronger than ever.  But maybe this is a poor example, because she was an established tennis star (through years of hard work, practice, injury and dare I say, probably a little vomit at some point).  But I digress, so let me get back to the main response.

By a show of hands, who here has never come close to vomiting at some point in a regular gym? At track practice?  Football two-a-days? 

There are many causes to vomiting, but for me personally a majority of the time it’s due to the type of food that was eaten and at what time (within an hour of working out) I ate it, combined with physical movements that jar the belly into discomfort.   It is extremely rare for me to get nauseous during a WOD and when/if I do, guess what: I slow down or I stop doing what I was doing.  As an side: I’ve almost thrown up at the smell of an overused, non-washed gym shirt that a grown maman felt the urge to wear while running next to me on treadmill at a global gym though, so #boom, any thing is possible.

Black Girls Run, Black Girls Bike, and yes, Black Chicks WOD

On top of that, I love her big up to Black Girls Run and Black Women Bike, two very awesome groups that are a huge part of pushing, pulling and encouraging women of African descent to get out there and run or bike together; but had she Googled “Black” and “CrossFit” lately she might have gotten a few hits to show that indeed, African-American Women do CrossFit.  They go by “girls”, “chicks”, “African-Americans”, “Blacks”, etc.  Heck, just hit Instagram one day, do a search under CrossFit and watch these hard-working women pop up.

That’s not to say that there isn’t some level of truth to the overall question (Do Black Women CrossFit?)  that was stated in the Clutch posting.  It is, however, to say that the evidence presented was limited in scope and didn’t do justice to the subject. To minimize and/or marginalize their existence to such a limited view is unwarranted and simply reinforces archetypes that are regurgitated without true consideration.  It accepts the view that because African-American women are not in your immediate view or surroundings that they are not doing something that might be dominated by Caucasians: Tennis. Swimming. Olympic Weight Lifting.  Science.  Mathematics. All have been historically dominated by people that do not look like me.  Heck in some areas we’re still in a hole when compared to other races.  #sotheeffwhat. There was a time when a plethora of sports didn’t have people of color leading the charge; basketball, football, baseball, soccer, etc. That changed over time.  CrossFit, being pretty darn young, will take time too.

Case in point, here’s another article that asks a similar question, but took the time to speak with folks that do actually CrossFit: “Who’s Really Left Out of the CrossFit Circle?”.

The, “I don’t see them [black women] when I pass my local CrossFit box in D.C. [which even though its ‘chocolatecity’, it’s really not that concentrated anymore]” is misguiding and therefore just as easily accepts that black women don’t hike, hate the rain, abhor the outdoors, or just plain lack athleticism outside of track and basketball.

I mean seriously, what typical gym do you go to where you see a truckload of black women in a given hour? That doesn’t mean they aren’t there.  As a matter of fact people of color; women of color are going hard at many different “sports”.  Zumba. Pilates. Yoga. Marathons. Swimming.  As long as you are moving, having fun, being healthy and doing you, what does it bloody well matter?  Is it now imperative to have a “Do Black Women Zumba? Pilates? Yoga?”? #IJS #domoreresearch

Could there be more of a concerted effort to get Black women into CrossFit?  Clearly that’s a “yes”, as um, yeah the title of this blog is “BlackChicksWOD”.

Speaking from the standpoint of someone who is slowly converting my friends one-by-one (I got 3 so far; two Black women and one Black guy), the reality is that people will not do anything until they feel comfortable or see the value in investing the money in it.  I can’t force anyone; I can only encourage, answer questions, write postings such as this, and highlight why I like this stuff so much that I go almost 5 days a week.

I got here because two other Black Women spoke to me consistently about CrossFit; one is in Cali. The other about 2 hours away from me.  I’m one of two Black Women in my afternoon class.  I’ve seen African-American women try the free class or do an intro month.  Some make it and some don’t.  That is their decision.  CrossFit, like many other forms of fitness/exercise, is not for everyone, however neither is it exclusionary.

Finally: a lot of coaches, trainers, workout enthusiasts, etc., SUCK at what they do.  One certification, does not make an awesome teacher.  Just like it doesn’t make you a great engineer, or a rockin’ gymnast.  It simply makes you minimally qualified and there are a lot of minimally qualified people at your local gym, your coffee shop, your nail salon, and your local fast food joint.  Like any person that you pay to work on your car, your house, your teeth or hair, you have the choice to stay, or go.  You decide if you want to pay or pass.

The reality though, is that it is your job, hell it’s your frickin DUTY to know when to say “no”.  Injuries are real, and I’m too old to get injured at this point as it would take me out of the gym for months and no, I really do not have time for that.

If it hurts, stop. If you need to do less, do less; drop the weight or do 5 push ups instead of 20.  Communicate old injuries to your trainer/coach, so he is aware. Listen to what your body is saying to you and, oh yeah, don’t equate the size of your “balls” or “(wo) manhood with how much weight you think you have to push.  Be smart.  Go slow.  Start low and increase over time. Learn proper form, over time.  Get better over time.  Take small wins and stack them, over time.

That’s it ya’ll.  I’m tired, it’s my bed time, I got 2 workouts on deck tomorrow and I’m already in the sleep negative.  All this work requires rest.  I hope to hear from folks.  Keep it clean, please! 

Follow me on IG: @blackchickswod.  If you like us and WOD, use the #BCWOD with your pics and be counted!!!

Toodles!

InHueMag.com Interviews BCWOD!!!

Soooooo, just got my first interview in the bag!  Check it out!!!

InHueWordPressLogoREAL

 

 

 

The CrossFit phenomena, explained

Was it accurate?  Did they get it just right?  Let me know your thoughts!

Civilized Caveman – Gluten Free Paleo Recipes

Civilized Caveman – Gluten Free Paleo Recipes.

This is BY FAR one of my favorite sites to get food for this 30 Day Paleo Challenge.  He’s nice, funny, a Crossfitter and eats right.  If you don’t know, now you know…go see!

M^2

Chitlins and Whole “Get the Eff Outta Here” Foods

So I’m doing a 30 Day Paleo Challenge starting January 20th and I’m attempting to be proactive by developing recipes, grocery shopping and eating my sugar loaded food now.

Sidebar: Most programs or books that I’ve read about Paleo suggest throwing out the bad foods; clean out the pantry and freezer so ypu wont be tempted.  I find that to be absolutely reprehensible and even culturally offensive.  African-Americans were, historically, raised to salvage whatever food was possible and never throw away anything…that comes from hundreds of years of not having an excess of foods to waste.   Its amazing what you can do with leftovers when thats all you are given to eat!

“Chitlins” anyone?

In colonial times, hogs were slaughtered in December. During slavery, in order to maximize profits, slave owners commonly fed their slaves in the cheapest manner possible. At hog butchering time, the preferred cuts of meat were reserved for the master’s use. The remains, such as fatback, snouts, ears, neck bones, feet, and intestines were given to the slaves for their consumption.
Source:  Wikipedia

No, I’m not posting a pic of Chitlins, because in my personal opinion, it’s just nasty.  However, I recognize that when you  have little to no choice in what to eat, it’s amazing what you will do to survive.

The reality is this: to throw perfectly good food away is just plain wrong.  Donate it to the homeless, your church or feed it to your non Paleo friends, but don’t waste it.  We are blessed to even have these “1st World” problems of choosing what types of food we can eat.  Let’s not allow our arrogance to disregard those that would do anything to be in our shoes.

*Steps off 20-inch [soap] box*

So any who, I hit up Whole Foods and dammmnnnn my eye balls popped out at the cost of some of this stuff…

  • Coconut Oil for friggin $17 bucks!  Pass.
  • Almond Flour for more than I care to remember (itty, bitty bag too!).  Pass.
  • Salmon at $26.99 a pound!  Friggin hand-carried and laced in gold!  Pass!

I ended up picking up some organic lettuce (small), coconut spread at $4.99 a pop and some Yogi Green Tea “Muscle Recovery”.

What did this trip teach me?  Trader Joe’s is a God-send, Costco and my freezer will be my best friends and we gonna have to plan very well for this Paleo Challenge…like on an insane, parent of triplets level.

I think I’m about to become my mother…lol (minus the kids and the hubby of course!)

Why Black “Chicks” vs. Black”Girls”?

So why did I choose to go with the word “chicks” vs. “girls” for this adventure?  Let’s break it down:

  1. BlackGirlsRun!, founded in 2009, is focused on introducing, and connecting  African-American women to running and all the benefits that come with it.  Highly aware of the excessive rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity rates within the black community  BGR sought to get black women moving through the power of community.  The two ladies who started it should be commended, applauded and congratulated for all of their hard hard work and I in no way want to take away from that by having a similar name.
  2. Chicks rock!  Seriously, a chick is willing to do what it takes to improve, do more and get better.  We are intrinsically against resting on our laurels.  Want to try rock climbing? Schedule it.  Not sure about barre Pilates   Try it.  Got a yearning to learn cross-functional movements and constantly varied workouts?  Sign-up for that next free CF class…heck just schedule the foundations/essentials class.  You know you’re investing in your long-term development.

Thanks for bearing with us as we continue to build the site.  Feel free to provide suggestions on tags, categories, topics and more.  You make this happen…I just document it.

M^2

BlackChicksWOD: Day 1

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June 2012 – Pre-CF and the joy of WODs

So you would probably say that I’m in pretty good shape right?  I got a little 4-pack trying to peek through, flexing my shoulders and biceps to show some definition.  Not too shabby, if I do say so myself…and I did.  I SWORE that I was in shape.

The reality is that I LOOKED like I was in shape, which was exactly what I wanted…the “looks”.  I never truly focused on my actual “strength” beyond being able to bench press about 85lbs, or leg press about 225lbs (still not bad, but it didn’t really  mean much either).

“Black Chicks WOD” was created to share my story (and hopefully the stories of other “BCdubs” ) and encourage more Black Chicks to become a part of the CrossFit community.  I want you to know that you are more than capable of taking on the challenge of a challenging WOD and excelling at “The Sport of Fitness”, because as a woman (regardless of color, creed, culture, ethnicity, etc.) you have likely already endured more than most men could even imagine.

Bring it all to a “box”, go hard and sweat it off.

Welcome to BCW.

M^2