This week I am beyond thrilled to hike as my form of exercise. My Fitness Quest began with three times a week hikes before I began working with local businesses; I truly believe that finding what type of exercise suits you best is the most important part of fitness.
From the day I started the Quest, I often heard "Are you going to try CrossFit?" I'd ask them to specify which CrossFit (I believe there are six) and repeatedly I heard, "CrossFit Prescott with Joey. He's awesome.” After a week of hiking and enjoying spring break with my children, the Quest returns with a vengeance. Knowing I had some seriously bad eating habits (like forgetting to eat), I set up time to work with health coach Jim Turner with Take Shape for Life. Food changes take longer than a week to see a difference, so we agreed to a two week time frame. Joey Powell, owner and trainer at CrossFit Prescott, graciously agreed to train me during the same time period. I met with Jim on Monday, and we he sat down I had a large coffee and cheese Danish in front of me. He laughed, and assured me that in moderation I could still have such foods. This intrigued me; I come from the world of Paleo (my husband is a devotee.) Cutting to the chase, Jim immediately expressed concerns about my dieting. While I knew I had some weight to lose, I assured him that wasn't what I needed - I needed to learn how to properly fuel my body. While I'm actually pretty good about my food choices, I tend to forget to eat. Until 3pm. After no breakfast. Well, I do have a coffee. I then eat a fairly normal dinner and a snack - not a lot of food. It's been discouraging to know you aren't eating a lot but still have stubborn weight; I'd heard much about "starvation mode" and "metabolic rates" but with so much nutrition information out there that contradicts itself, I've been leery to prescribe to that. My goal has NOT been to lose weight (although I have) but to become fit. I know my poor eating habits have hindered that, so it was time to make a change. Jim explained that I would be "fueling" myself six times a day. That alone was enough to give me pause, for this was much harder than any exercise regime I'd been prescribed. I don't eat breakfast, and he wanted me to eat not only breakfast, but six times a day! Jim assured me it wasn't as much food as I thought, and gave me homework to read, and invited me to get weighed/measured/scanned to catch my current BMI, inches and weight. Having avoided that thus far, I figured it was time to get a benchmark. I weighed 157.5 lbs, had 227" when all added up, and my BMI was a whopping 31% (folks, that's in the excess fat range.) I joked about going on a real diet, and he assured me that if my body could just trust me to eat, I'd break out of the starvation mode that was keeping fat on my thighs and backside. I worried I wouldn't remember. He assured me he'd check in with me daily to see how I was doing. Wide-eyed, I agreed to give it a try. Day one (Tuesday) started well. I ate a bunch of grapes when I got up. This is significant, as typically I only eat when out to breakfast in a restaurant. I didn't feel sick (another reason I don't eat breakfast at home) and it was actually a bit refreshing. I also had two cups of coffee instead of my standard one. Jim had recommended I set a timer, and to prepackage fueling foods (I have an aversion to shakes and bars.) Getting consumed in work, I thought I had time to do that - until I didn't. Let's just say that the only other food I consumed was 2/3rd of a chili cheeseburger at Bill's Grill at about 3pm, washed down with an unsweetened ice tea. I didn't think much of it; I was pretty tired from waking up early. It wasn't until Jim called at 7pm that I realized how little I had consumed, and in only two sittings. He encouraged me to try again the next day, reminding me I had a thirty YEAR habit I was working on breaking. I, ever the one not to conform to the standard sized box, had to be reminded to eat in order to lose weight. It was quite discouraging. Day two I ate a banana with my coffee, and texted Jim to tell him I was going to text him every time I ate, just as a point of contact. He laughingly agreed, and I was delighted to have this accountability. The Quest has taught me one truism thus far: I do best when people are watching to see if I actually do it. My next visit would test that. This is my fourth week of visiting businesses and working with them. Old hat, right? Oh, so wrong. I didn't want to get out of the vehicle. I didn't want to walk into that gym. My mind was throwing up every excuse not not; I prayed a call would come in calling me elsewhere - anywhere - but there. I was at CrossFit Prescott, and I had no clue as to what to expect. The excuse monster told me it was no good - and my brain was in overdrive trying to figure out how to get out of it. I got on Facebook and posted "Do I really have to go workout?" and #maverickmybuddy (a reference to the fact I named my excuse monster Maverick.) I sat there another minute and posted a comment below that; "No, like seriously. It's week 4 and I'm freaking out. 48 more times of walking into a new gym." Yesterday had been wearing on me; sometimes new experiences and I take some adjusting. This was just another new experience right on top of other experiences...and what if the air monster lived in there? Turns out, Joey Powell lives in there. He's not as scary as the air monster, but the man is intense. Former military with a resume that puts us civilians to shame, he has an undeniable passion for fitness. My time with him started with rules - all designed to help me understand not only what we were doing, but how we were doing it and why. I must express my delight in this - one of my core concerns has been getting injured due to improper form. My late husband was a physical therapist; I've retained just enough knowledge from the years with him to know when to back off something that might damage me. Thus far, a sore upper left arm tendon and a strained right oblique were my only "injuries." 1) Ear + Hip = Back Straight. Not only did Joey tell me what this meant, but he helped me find the right positioning to know I had it right. We added gradually to the rules, each one building on the prior. By the time he told me what my workout would be, I felt very safe and informed. My workout would be combinations of pushing & pulling, both upper body and lower body. Just three sets of fifteen (well, technically four sets, he had to teach me to do them) broken up by rowing 500m. I admit, I struggled with the training round. I wanted to make my body do what Joey suggested I do, but my muscles didn't move like his. I kept at it, and was pleased I could do 12 pushups on my knees. I rowed, then started my first full set, Joey always close by to correct my form. I quickly found that if I positioned myself properly, the movement was easier. Physics! my mind shouted. Joey confirmed my suspicions with a wry smile. I moved on to push-ups. Now, I'm still on my knees, but I was amazed at the difference I had using Joey's techniques. I completed 13 out of the 15 in the set before my core refused to cooperate. Two weeks ago, I couldn't do even one, half as well. "Everything is based on modify, scale and adapting to specific needs, " Joey shared. "You can modify the exercise, scale back the load and adapt equipment to each person's specific level of fitness and need.” The set complete, I did my rowing and returned for another round. While I still need form corrections, Joey was there to make sure I stayed on track. I was no longer wondering if I did it correctly, I could tell I was doing it correctly. I asked Joey his goal was for individuals at CrossFit Prescott. "Everything we do is based on a plan with a purpose to return an individual to as much function as possible. Our first goal is to create a strong frame to handle the mechanics of horsepower. Horsepower with a weak frame results in injuries; that is to be avoided." He explained that the core was the source of the strength; that by tightening and setting our muscles before the exercise, we locked in and avoided potential injuries due to looseness. He didn't have to convince me, I could feel an amazing difference in the exercises I was doing - and I felt good doing them. Surprisingly, two hours flew by (the first being all instructions) and we set up time for my next session. I left exhausted, a quivering mass of jello. I knew I needed to refuel, and being brain dead I called Jim. "Protein! You need to refuel with protein after a workout. If you don't-what will your body take for energy?" Jim asked. "Muscle," I sighed, knowing my body preferred that to my saddlebags. I drove home, and opened a tin of tuna. I counted out 8 wheat thins, and dipped one edge of each in a bit of peanut butter. I counted out five grapes. Never, in the history of all the foodie meals I have eaten, has food EVER tasted so good. It was the perfect refueling. I saw the beauty of the system at last. (The rest of the day has been a struggle, but lets just bask in that moment of glory this morning.) Today I learned my body is stronger than I thought - IF I know how to use it properly. I also learned that a good workout makes even simple food taste amazing. The Quest continues to surprise me - I look forward to spending the next two weeks learning from Joey & Jim. Take Shape for Life Health Coach Jim Turner Phone: 928-899-0206 CrossFit Prescott / Praxis Athletics is located at 3260 Tower Road, Suite C in Prescott. Phone: 928-277-0011 http://www.crossfitprescott.com
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