I sort of lost my mind and started Crossfit about a year ago. And, as it does for many, it became an obsession. I mean, yes, it satisfied the completely competitive and obsessive tendencies of my soul, but it also surfaced something else: a desire to encourage. A desire to be an example. A desire to motivate and cheer others on, a culture that is so prevalent in Crossfit.
Then I REALLY lost my mind.
Last October, I was meeting with one of my coaches who plans my meals for me. This coach also trains for physique competition. My goals last Fall were to put on monster amount of muscle and get really, super, duper strong. This involved me eating insane amounts of protein and not running. Yes, NOT running. For a girl who was clocking 40+ miles a week and basically had been running races for years and years. It was all I knew. But I digress.
"Why don't you train for a figure competition?" she asks.
I nearly fell over.
"There's no way my body will ever look like figure bodies" was my EXACT. RETORT.
"If I promise you I can get you there, would you consider it?"
And so I considered it. FOR TWO MONTHS.
Crossfit is functional. It's performance based: you can lift it, you can't lift it. You are faster, you are slower. Do you want to do pull-ups? Then do them every time you walk into the box. Work on your skills. It's a never ending fitness journey that not only makes you an athlete, it makes you fitter for life. To pick up your kids, to mop the floor, to rake leaves without a back injury. It makes you better, faster, stronger.
Figure is different. Because at the end of the day, you can train and prep and do everything right and you still have THIS FRAME, and maybe someone likes it and maybe someone doesn't. Erin Stern, Figure Olympia A Gazillion Times Over? Yeah, they like her frame:
Why, oh WHY would I do something like this? Because I love a challenge? Because I'm 35 freaking years old and probably will never have another opportunity to do this? Because if NOTHING ELSE, my body would be improved for Spring Break 2014, like I'm in high school headed to Cancun again MTV style? Yeah. NO.
And then I realized it, the crown jewel of lessons, the bonk-your-head message that we all overlook: the journey is the reward.
While you strive for the podium, if you can't be present in the journey and enjoy it, learn from it, laugh about it, then you really shouldn't be doing it. Sirloin and green beans for breakfast is sort of hilarious, so is being orange tan, so is sparkle spandex, so is frequent Amazon.com orders for waist cinchers and lucite stripper heels. Welcome to my life.
Preparation, practice, passion. You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you. I promise. HE promised.
You don't step on a figure stage without weeks and weeks (13 to be exact) of specific training and steps. For me, there is no room for error. There is no cheating or deviation. It is commitment like I have never experienced and it has drawn me closer to Christ. And tupperware:
Ya'll, I joke about it but truly, I do not know how anyone preps for this without Jesus Christ and Lil' Wayne. You're welcome.
I have been praying about how to use this. God has blessed me with so many gifts and abilities and the talents to do things like eat really obnoxious amounts of asparagus and the willpower to not drink at Tillman's San Luis Salute Mardi Gras Ball (NOT KIDDING, water. And KC and the Sunshine Band. That helped.) Plus, I love to write and talk and inspire and motivate and encourage and hug people, even when it's somewhat inappropriate. I am a champion of the ill-timed, inappropriate hug.
Two things happened:
One: I received an email about a conference for aspiring writers, bloggers and public speakers. And it got me thinking. What's stopping me? I have been writing this blog for years and ya'll have stood by and witnessed the ridiculousness that is my life and, while I hope you find it funny, I can at least say that it's like the best train wreck you couldn't ever take your eyes off of.
I threatened to pick back up at the start of the year. I miss writing, I miss taking pictures and thinking of how I would work it into my writing, being sparked by a topic or a situation and thrilled to share and write it. So maybe, perhaps, now is the time.
Two: fasted cardio. What in h-e-double-hockey-sticks is fasted cardio? Well, folks, her name is Betty the Bike and she and I are 5 AM morning besties during this figure competition prep. Nothing screams "deep reflection" like 45 minutes of low to moderate state cardio every morning of your life for 12 weeks. When I started, I decided this would be an excellent time to listen to some sermons on podcast, rock it out on an alternating schedule of my Bethel and Drake Pandora stations (seriously, ya'll think I'm kidding when I say I live and die by the cross and Wayne), and spend some time in prayer. And Sportscenter. Balance, folks.
This morning I was thinking about this crossover, this possible bridge between faith and fitness. And it just FLOODED me. The complaints are the same: I don't have time. For faith. For Bible study. For Church. For prayer. I don't have time. To workout. To go to the gym. To go on a walk. Faith - and fitness - are about finding strength in weakness. In learning perseverance. In daily practice and habit, making beautiful things. Out of us.
You make beautiful things out of us. Christ makes beautiful things. Out of US.
The notes and scribbles and pouring forth has been so overwhelming and fun this morning and I just couldn't wait to share it. More thoughts need to go down on paper. But lemme tell you what, I am back and I am a bad B. Just for my hittas!