As mentioned in the initial post, I started going to the gym 5 days a week. Monday through Friday, 9am, you can find me at Custom Fitness/Gof Metgot Cross Fit. This is definitely a big deal for me and worth writing about because I have never committed to a gym. For my middle through high school years I played sports year-round, which involved conditioning and skill work specific to sports. Going to the gym meant going to the court to practice and play. Weights and plyometrics were a rare addition to team training. I loved competing, I loved conditioning, I loved being a part of the team, and I loved the off-seasons. Leaving for college meant leaving that athletic life behind, at least for me. There were intramural teams, there were walk-on options in college, but NYU never struck me as a place for sports so, I didn’t even try. If I’m being honest, I was also too intimidated to put myself out there because I really didn’t know how the level of athletics on Guam compared to the States-clearly, I had feelings of inferiority. Hindsight is 20/20 and now, I know Guam produces strong, adaptive athletes. Years went by, embarrassingly large amounts of weight were gained and lost (and repeat). I made attempts to start at gyms, lift weights, but it never really stuck. Running came in waves. Enter yoga and the amazing $99 for 90-days deal. I started in 2008. I loved the individualized aspect of yoga, a stark contrast from my experience on teams. I loved that on good days I could push myself-increasing length of holds in asanas (postures/poses), the number of vinyasas between poses, and the types of asanas I could get into. And, that on off-days I could sit in child’s pose and give my body the rest it needed. After awhile, I lost interest in wanting to play sports because I didn’t want to return to the whistles, the drills, and pushing myself for any person other than me. My physical strength was improving, as was my mental and spiritual health. When I got my level 1 Yoga Teacher certification in 2013, I’d say that was the first time I glimpsed what living in a state of balance felt like. Enter Lola.
At the end of 2014, I became a mom and life was flipped upside down, for the better. Finding confidence from motherhood, from 10 years of teaching, from being in my 30s, I left the classroom and became a peer coach to teachers. Now, for the past two years I have been in a place of on-the-job training as a mom and a coach. That’s tough. There were many dark days at home and at work. Yet, the commitment I made to my health before having a child remained at the back of my mind, gently reminding me during the daily grind of cooking, cleaning dishes, laundry, and working that Karla was still there and still had needs. I made more attempts to start up fitness routines (running, walking, enrolled in the YMCA, a couple of yoga classes), but nothing stuck. This time it’s different because I’m different. I’ve learned to forgive myself for not maintaining habits, accept that I am looking for something else, and try again. Now that I’m home and seeing my 58-year old dad’s declining health on a daily basis, I’m confronted with the truth of what happens to a person’s mind, body, and spirit when they neglect their needs, their health, themselves. So, putting all of the learnings and reflections from above together, I decided to enroll in Gof Metgot. Let me just say, it is not for the faint of heart. My first day there, I puked. The coach asked how I was doing when he saw me resting in the middle of the WOD (Workout of the Day), and when I told him I wanted to puke, he told me the trash cans were outside. I was shocked! I thought maybe he’d recommend I take a break or listen to my body; I thought he’d be gentle like a yoga instructor. Nope. Not even close. And, clearly I was not the first, or the last, person who needed to do that. So, I stepped outside, threw up my morning smoothie, and went back to completing as much of the WOD as I could. The next day, I peed in my pants. I’m not even kidding. Apparently, after giving birth, activities that involve jumping require women to have empty bladders. I learned that when I had to complete 300 jump ropes. After the 10th jump I realized it wouldn’t stop, ran to the restroom, and returned to the WOD, mortified and wondering if everyone noticed the darker patch at the center of my red yoga pants. They didn’t. Apparently, in cross fit, everyone is all about themselves and doing their personal best that they don’t notice anyone else. Totally works for me! Three weeks later, my commitment to the 9am class is still strong, and I have hit a personal record (PR) of a 185-pound deadlift (up from my day 1 deadlift at 150 pounds).
This gym feels like a great combination of my sports and yoga experiences. The class is small, the same 6-12 people, led by a coach with an encouraging atmosphere. The WODs are tough (olympic weightlifting, cardio, handstands, and pull ups to name a few) but with scaling (or modifications) available for each person, making it accessible to all levels. You can scale up or down, doing what you can with no judgments. The coaches are knowledgeable, always watching to ensure accuracy of form, to prevent injuries, and maximize effort. The surprising elements in making this a success are my brothers, Matt and Rob. They preview the WODs with me the night before, suggest scaling options for specific exercises, help me understand how each component of each class connects to one another, and remind me to go at my pace. The boys have been so supportive of my efforts and progress-so sweet, right? Honestly, I don’t know how I could have kept going after wet pants and vomit if I was in San Francisco or if I was all alone. Lol.
So, how will this end? What’s the point of enduring this kind of physical intensity? I’m not looking to become a cross-fitter or an olympic weight lifter, so why do it? At this point, I think this more a test of my mental strength, a challenge to commit to a long-term physical routine for a year for me. A mental marathon, if you will. I mean it. I think there are many lessons I can learn from pacing myself over a long period of time, overcoming physical and mental fatigue, enduring pain throughout the body, and committing to reaching a goal. In this case, the goal is 1 year of fitness. I imagine, like all other goals I’ve set and reached in the past, new goals will be set and opportunities will arise from the newfound strength and understanding I’ll develop. Who knows what will happen? I may end up on a team, get injured, or stronger than I have ever been. Anything is possible. I can feel it and I’m excited!