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!

Hell nah I’m not doing it twice!

So, lets talk frankly for a second here:
I’m in the CrossFit Open, after doing CrossFit for less than 5 months. I am in my 30’s (inching closer and closer to my pseudo-midlife crisis of single, sexy and no prospects lol), have never been injured and continue to surprise myself with what I have been able to achieve with my CrossFit program.

However, after all of that, the main reason I decided to do the Open, was because I wanted to see where the “holes” are concerning my abilities with strength, cardio, etc. I figure, hell, it’s $20 bucks…the point is to learn all I can from those around me, my coaches, and my competition. That is exactly what I’m doing. Each Open WOD showed me EXACTLY what I need to focus on: 13.1 Snatches/Olys/Form, 13.2 Box Jumps/Cardio/Endurance,13.3 sheeeeeeeeeet. Something lol!

So when my box mates were like, “Hey, are you doing it again?”, (“it” being a repeat of 13.2 to potential improve my total reps) I was like “Hell nah!”, because really, I have to make it through the rest of this Open competition and, believe it or not, I’m flipping tired lol.

A lot of these folks are early/mid 20’s, grad students or early career folks; I’m slighly past that stage. Although, real talk, a Master’s (45+) chick beat my reps too (but only by a bit…and she’s a freaking competitor in the summer league!! I totally aspire to be like her!!). On St. Patricks Day, I sat home and drank tea, ate paleo pumpkin muffins and watched “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (awesome!). That is my idea of a good time. No really, that’s my good time.
That and sleep. Lots of good, deep, soul-calming sleep lol.

With that said: I will continue documenting my “holes”, to determine how I should adjust my program to get better, so that next year I don’t feel like I’m going to pass out because of a few box jumps or throw my back out because my deadlifts turn into “Good Mornings”.

Once is more than enough this time around!
#Toodles

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Paleo date:12413 – D4

Paleo Trek: The Next Generation

Real Food: The Final Frontier
These are the musings of the CrossFitter M^2 and her 30 Day Paleo Challenge: to explore strange new recipes that do not include wheat, legumes, dairy, sugars and/or processed foods.

To seek out new opportunities to learn about her body, eat clean/train dirty, understand a food processor, and boldly go where she has never gone before: her very own kitchen

CrossFitter’s log, Paleo date:12413 – D4

I smell the donuts that they brought in this morning.  Dunkin’ Donuts.  The Walgreens of the sugar set, i.e. one on every corner.  They brought them for a work meet and greet, and they smell DIVINE.  Knowing that donuts (Glazed!! Pumpkin!! Chocolate Glazed!!!) was the meal of choice this morning, I pre-emptively ate my sweet potato hash browns and red bell pepper, sausage and bacon egg frittata; with a side of tea (no sugar, no honey, just lemon).

It worked!  I smelled it, but was not tempted to eat it.  After only four days on Paleo, I already see and feel a difference in my body and clothes.  My belly fat, though not excessive, seems less; abs are making an appearance.  My waist, already small, seems to be getting smaller; at least judging by my belt and pants. 

I’ve been in this situation before; on the precipice of the body that I know that I can have and I’ve frittered it away on pepperoni pizza and chocolate cake.  II want to ride this train to the end, but I have a baby shower to go to this weekend.

Will I be able to resist frosted cakes and pizza?

“Puke-worthy”

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Yup, that’s what my CrossFit coach said.  “This WOD is ‘puke-worthy'”.

Mind you, he wasn’t even talking to me when he said that.  He was speaking with another coach that walked in asking about today’s workout.  I overheard Master Splinter (my nickname for him) use the term.  I mean, be serious!  It’s pretty damn hard to ignore! Especially considering a chick in my class had just finished telling me she might hurl because she ate too much during the holiday. SHEESH.

Todays DuttyWOD:

12 Minutes (1X1) Row for Meters
Meaning: one minute sprint rows, one minute rest for a total of 24 minutes.

There was seriously a part of me that thought we were only going up to 12 total minutes! Imagine my trepidation when we kept going past round 6 and shifted into 7. By round 9 my legs were rubbery and burning at the same time; my forearms tingling as if there was a warm breeze on my skin (there so wasn’t). But then round 10 got me. I focused more on breathing and maintaining my form than if I was going to make it. By round 11 my inner #StrongGyal was on full alert; I’ll be damned if I quit now. I wanted to row that bastard contraption into the ground; I sincerely wanted the most meters. With sweat gathering in the corners of eyes that were closed tightly to prevent the sting, and my teeth clenched, I simply wanted to win. Just one more freaking…pull!

Among the women I came in 3rd; edged out of 2nd place by less than 50M. There were only 4 chicks and 1 guy there tonight (due to the holidays). I didn’t win (this time), but it’s only been 2 mos since I started this adventure. I already know I’ll do better next time because I completed this WOD.

Lessons Learned:
Think less about what you can’t do and more about what you will (not “can”) do.

Just when you think you can’t take anymore; when you think your legs, your arms, or your drive might give out; that’s when you truly see what you are capable of. That’s when you realize lasting results.

P.S. No. I did not puke; but it definitely had me thinking about the upcoming Paleo challenge lol.

Have you had any “puke-worthy” WODs lately? What were they? Let me know below!

“Cindy” you Wench…

Ok, got my Detox in.  Today was my first day back in “da box” after 5 whole days – of mamma’s home cooking – off from my WODS.  Technically, it’s more like 6 days off.  The fact is that I didn’t pass out, however my stomach (full of chicken pesto pasta and sacher torte cake from La Madeline) was bubbling just a bit…I took it as a hint: get back in the saddle or pray to the porcelain gods.

Stay tuned for the food plan..until then:

Today’s DuttyWOD

15 Minutes AMRAP of “CINDY” Power Cleans

1 Power clean – RX 155/105lbs (I did 85lbs so as not to completely embarrass myself lol)

1 Round of Cindy – 5 Pull-ups (blue band), 10 Push Ups, 15 Air Squats

2 Power Cleans  @ 85lbs

1 Round of Cindy

etc.

I finished 8 complete rounds, i.e. worked all the way up to 8 Power Cleans at 85lbs and completed the associated round of Cindy.  That is a grand total of 36 flipping power cleans, 40 bloody strict pull ups (blue band), 80 push ups (the last 30 on my knees *blink*) and 120 Air Squats.

The time is now 11:26 PM EST and my hips, biceps, and hamstrings are singing soprano; oh Cindy, you wench…you definitely welcomed me back with open arms.