strongman

xfitinyogi 2014 in review

My lovely wife, Brute Yogi (aka Lisa) and me! :)

My lovely wife, Brute Yogi (aka Lisa) and me! ūüôā

I couldn’t resist checking out the stats for this past year on the xfitinyogi blog. ¬†Thanks to everyone who read and commented (either here, FaceBook or in personal messages), I truly appreciate your thoughts on what I put out in the world. ¬†It also helps me come up with other things to say, so keep it coming! ¬†It seems that the most popular was the post on whether or not I still CrossFit (here), views popped up from all over the globe (pretty cool!). ¬†The most comments came from the most recent post about my very short¬†adventure in the fire academy (here).

For those of you that do not know, I have two other blogs out there that aren’t publicized on FaceBook or Twitter (I don’t even have a personal FaceBook page any more, I just tag on to the wife’s, BruteYogi!). ¬†If your interested in reading my thoughts, adventures, journeys, etc about LGBTQ issues and trying to build a family I’ll gladly share the blogs with you before I start sharing them over social media, etc. ¬†They are still in their infancy trying to find their way through the blogosphere.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on anything written or would like to see written. ¬†While some friends think I’m fairly mysterious (yes, BulletProofJenn – you!) I am an open book when engaged in converstation – ask away! ¬†If it’s not appropriate material for this blog I’ll link to the others. ¬†We’re all curious mother fuckers aren’t we ;).

Happy New Year!  May all of you have an amazing fulfilling successful start to the year that carries you through to your next PR, what ever that may be.  Namaste Strong Bitches!

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Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Firefighter Fail – Lesson in Detachment

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My intention was to become a firefighter. ¬†Come March I’d walk with my academy mates to shake the hand of the fire chief moving from firefighter recruit to full fledged firefighter. ¬†Alas…that’s not what will happen. ¬†Firefighter will not be part of my resume.

CrossFit, strongman and weightlifting prepared me physically for the academy.  Upon entering the academy I felt physically strong and ready to put my body through the demands of training to become a firefighter.  The physical aspect of the academy was definitely a challenge and my body took a beating to say the least.  However, feeling like I was doing something physically was quite rewarding at the end of the day.  Looking back at what was accomplished in such a short amount of time Рrunning 2.5miles as a warm-up (who does that?!), for example, was a win in my book.

Yoga prepared me for the mental challenge of the academy, sort of. ¬†I have never been in the military, nor do I ever want to be. ¬†Imagine my surprise when faced with the militaristic style of the academy! ¬†To say I hated it would be an understatement. ¬†It was a complete shock to the system to also find out how intensely phobic I ¬†initially was of the SCBA. ¬†This all boils down to some fairly deep rooted patterns within me, namely the fear of loosing control or letting go. ¬†My very basic breath practice helped to get me through most of this, while the awareness of this pattern has pushed me to work with it so that I can hopefully one day move beyond the fear. ¬†Interestingly enough, I learned the power of meditation during this time as well. ¬†I used to be of the “this is too woo-woo” camp and was resistant to the idea. ¬†When faced with the challenges I encountered the week+ I was in the academy, meditation became a necessity to maintain presence.

The combination of all the above gave me the confidence to¬†quit¬†the academy. ¬†Crawling through the maze in full turnout gear on day 6 of the academy I realized that had that been an actual burning building I would’ve wanted no part in that whatsoever. ¬†When I exited the structure I pulled of my mask and told my instructor and Lieutenant that I was done and would not be continuing. ¬†That was¬†the last moment I would be a firefighter.

  

How do you identify?

 

Basically, this sums it up.

Basically, this sums it up.

How do you introduce yourself? ¬†Hi, I’m Anne-Marie.

Then what…do you go in to what you do for a paycheck? ¬†What you do for fun? ¬†Where you’re from? ¬†It could go something like this….I am a paramedic at the local childrens’ hospital. ¬†My wife and I live near the water with our four (yes, I said four) dogs and one cat. ¬†I have a younger sister that is mother to my two awesome nephews. ¬†My parents are still happily married going¬†on¬†40 years! ¬†I teach a Sunday Funday multi-level yoga class on Sundays at my wife’s yoga studio, The Space Above. ¬†Occasionally I can be found at the local strongman/powerlifting gym, Brute Strength¬†coaching a CrossFit class or working out with my wife and friends. I graduated with my bachelors in Philosophy and Film (photography) from Hollins University¬†almost 15 years ago (good lord, really?), but love school so much that I went back to school for¬†post baccalaureate studies because I thought I was going to medical school and decided to become a paramedic instead. ¬†I’ve had various jobs – outdoor education, server at a few restaurants, even a stint as a valet, a lifeguard, a dog trainer, retail sales, etc. ¬†When I was in junior high I met the girl who would become my first girlfriend. ¬†I played a ton of sports and was a collegiate equestrian (on the national team, thank you very much), and found the barbell in 2009 while going through a huge life transition and haven’t turned back (lifting weights is awesome)…………………………………

It looks like a resum√©, right?¬† That paragraph could go on for endless words, sentences, thoughts, ideas, but it doesn’t really tell you who I am – it tells you what I’ve done, what I’m doing, what I like, some of my experiences. ¬†Who I am, who you are, is a bit harder to answer, don’t you think? ¬†All of these details give the reader an idea of what I like to do as a person, what I enjoy and how I like to spend my time. ¬†You likely enjoy some of those things too, or know me from some of these experiences and that’s what has drawn you to my blog.

Who are you? ¬†No, really. ¬†Think about it. ¬†Without the things, without the clothing, without the hobbies, without the jobs, without the hashtags…who are you? ¬†Strip down to the barebones of your existence and see if you can discover who you are. ¬†We’re just the same, you and I…and the person next to you, across the street, two states away. ¬†All of these identities that we carry are just a mask making it easier to distinguish me from the person next to me in the coffee shop.

Baby Firefighter! ¬†If you’ve made it this far, then you now know what prompted me to jot this¬†deep thought¬†down. ¬†I’ve identified many different ways in my almost 37 years, and starting December 1st I’ll add the role of Firefighter to the¬†Who am I? resum√©. ¬†You know that phrase,¬†the only thing that is constant is change? ¬†This sums up this whole bit of identification, it’s always in flux. ¬†What’s important in that moment is what you’ll share with the people you meet. ¬†Tomorrow that first paragraph above will sound and look entirely different. ¬†Which also means this blog may look completely different as my experience as a firefighter paramedic emerges. ¬†How does this new role look for me? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†There are so many unknown variables that I’m preparing to encounter on this new journey.

Go with the flow, and embrace nakedness. ¬†Ok, so be naked when it’s appropriate, but don’t be afraid to share¬†YOU with the world. ¬†Embrace the change that you experience on a daily basis. ¬†Just because you think you are who you are today, tomorrow, hell even an hour from now, you may believe you’re something entirely different. ¬†Go with it.

Introduce yourself to me…who are you?

Be YOU! (This is the beautiful Tara, one of the teachers at The Space Above.)

Be YOU! (This is the beautiful Tara, one of the teachers at The Space Above.)

 

Liftin’ Dirty

Here’s a little something I wrote for the BruteYogi¬†blog. ¬†And if you haven’t signed up for the BruteYogi blog posts…sigh…GET ON IT.

Got Naked Feet?

Got Naked Feet?

Go barefoot! ¬†No, seriously….do it. ¬†Take your shoes off, socks too! ¬†Maybe don’t smell your feet and definitely take the toe jam out first. ¬†This is coming from the Brute Yogi that has some serious foot¬†issues¬†(Anne-Marie, if you haven’t figured it out). ¬†Here’s why barefoot rocks:

  • Foot and Ankle Warm-up. ¬†You have a clear path from your body and its nervous system right to what ever your foot touches. ¬†Without the shoes and socks your feet can feel everything underneath and all of the muscles have the opportunity to work in the way that they were designed to work. ¬†This travels all the way up the chain, the knees and hips will join the party and pretty soon everything will be working in harmony.
  • Proprioception¬†is in¬†its purest form without added distractions. ¬†Shoes and socks can mask underlying structural issues as well as the ability to¬†feel the surrounding environment.
  • You will get stronger. ¬†Your squat, deadlift, presses all will improve in technique alone. ¬†If the technique improves the strength will follow. ¬†The feet are the foundation of any standing movement, strengthen those puppies and you’ll create a trend along your athletic continuum.
  • Posture will improve. ¬†Basically see all of the above.

Here’s the deal –

  • Safety first! ¬†Even with shoes on you wouldn’t want to drop dumbbells, bumpers, iron plates, etc on any part of your body – so be aware of your surrounds and move mindfully. ¬†Likewise, you wouldn’t step on sharp glass or nails with shoes on, so there’s little chance of you doing that without (unless of course you’re in to that).
  • MRSA! ¬†Ok, so it’s a real possibility that the gym floor is gross and thus your feet will also be gross once you’ve walked around barefoot for all of 2 seconds. ¬†If you have open sores or cuts on your feet, FOR THE LOVE don’t put anyone, including yourself, in jeopardy of contracting some kind of nastiness. ¬†Otherwise it should be pretty safe as long as you wash your feet after being in the gym, which you should probably be doing anyway. ¬†Again, coming from the girl who used to get athletes foot from just looking at a bathroom floor, I’ve been nastiness free just from making sure I clean with some good ‘ole fashion soap and water.
  • Take it slow. ¬†Just like the barefoot running craze, you don’t want to go naked for a marathon right out of the gate. ¬†Just do your warm-up, use an empty barbell going through your usual oly routine or squat routine or deadlift routine or whatever it is you do before you hammer out some awesome sweat induced funness in the gym. ¬†Maybe work up to adding some weight to the barbell or doing some light jogging back and forth on the gym floor. ¬†Don’t go and add your 1RM to the barbell and expect to feel amazing afterwards. ¬†There’s potential (not an absolute) that you could injure yourself if you go to heavy, decide to do an entire WOD, go for a 20 minute run or what ever craziness you think up for yourself. ¬†Your feet are likely not used to that type of loading and having a set back is worse than spending a little extra time in the gym preparing the body for work.

Reluctantly I went barefoot in the gym after much pressure from the number 1 Brute Yogi (that’s Lisa of course). ¬†The first day I knew I was converted. ¬†I just owned it, and went full on naked foot for my warm-up and haven’t looked back. ¬†It’s been over a month¬†and I can honestly say that I’ve noticed a difference in my sessions at the gym. ¬†My feet get super dirty but they’re so nice and warm before I start lifting. ¬†I feel like it’s helped increase my over all strength as my joints and muscles¬†feel¬†better as I start adding the weight on the bar and put my shoes back on. ¬†It also seems as though¬†I’m recovering faster as well. ¬†Whether or not this is due 100% to my decision to go naked footed or not, I know I can attribute at least some of this recent gym success to my feet nudity.

Day 26 – Habits of Others

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I love that quote ^^^^!!! ¬†As we gain more knowledge and¬†get better at things we sometimes forget what it is like to have started out as a beginner. ¬†In yoga we often refer to being in a beginner’s mind and/or a beginner’s body. ¬†We won’t ever know¬†everything and we’ll always find something to be a beginner at. ¬†This challenge has given all of us the opportunity to remind ourselves what it is like to live in a beginner mindset….if we allowed it. ¬†We may know how to eat, but we may have all forgotten how to¬†mindfully eat, how to be mindful about our activity level, what it was like to try new things, what a gift it is to share a meal with others, the gift of a like minded community reaching for a common goal….etc etc etc.

Our challenge master noted the other day that we were over 75% complete with the challenge leaving only one week to go.  She and I both posed a similar question: What are we likely to continue when the challenge is technically over?  What are we going to miss by not being on the challenge?  Here are some of the responses.

  • Maintaing the mindful perspective of the food we are actually consuming. ¬†If we briefly stop and ask ourselves what are we needing before we consume what is in front of us, it is a little bit easier to understand what it is actually fueling. ¬†Let’s take a bag of potato chips for example. ¬†Am I needing salt? ¬†Oil/fat? ¬†Cure boredom? ¬†Am I actually thirsty? ¬†Am I having a¬†hunger emergency and this is the fastest thing that I can consume? ¬†If I sit and pause for just a moment, is it the chips that I actually want? ¬†Is it the chips that will satisfy me or leave me wanting for more? ¬†Try it next time you sit down (or stand at the kitchen counter) to grab something to eat. ¬†Your answers may surprise you.
  • The community of 18 like minded people on a similar journey, sharing experiences on a private FaceBook group doesn’t have to end…but it will likely trail off as the challenge dissipates. ¬†That sense of belonging to something and sharing in similar struggles was a common theme amongst the posts this month. ¬†Everyone really liked sharing thoughts, recipes, PRs, ideas, struggles, laughter, new adventures, photos, etc on our page. ¬†We can all support each other, validate ideas, push each other to try something we may not have before and laugh together at our shortcomings. ¬†What’s stopping us from taking this virtual community in to the real¬†world?
  • This challenge has been a kickstart for a few participants who felt like they needed a little help regaining control over their overall health. ¬†Me included. ¬†The sense of responsibility and accountability in reporting our points daily has been just what a few people needed.

Habits that people would like to continue (in a more specific way):

  • Taking supplements everyday (most of us are CrossFitters, Strong(wo)men, Athletes)
  • Keeping up the hydration
  • No more coffee creamer
  • No drinking during the week – which equals no smoking for one participant (great job!)
  • Not going down the rabbit hole completely in terms of cheats – we’ll call this mindful cheats
  • Less caffeine

Seems like everyone that responded chose diet habits to stick with. ¬†I was surprised to not hear anything about being more active, trying something new, or continuing with the other habits we have chosen (like reading 20 minutes a day). ¬†I for one have really enjoyed writing these posts. ¬†So much so that I started two other blogs (yet to be published). ¬†Writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed – this challenge has been the little nudge to get me going again.

Today’s Points: 10 (Almost lost one point at our sushi date – that was a hard one to stay challenge compliant! ¬†Wowza!)

Day 24 – New Habits

Life Force

Life Force

While listening to NPR today on my way home from work…pause…Bestie, I can see you laughing, NPR is awesome….moving on….

While listening to NPR today, I caught the middle of a conversation about financial habits and choices. ¬†It got me thinking, and I’ll expand this thought a little more in tomorrow’s post – What new habits (or revisited as it were) am I going to continue to maintain after this challenge is over? ¬†I’ll ask the other participants as well because it could be interesting to revisit this a few months from now.

That bowl of fruit depicted above has literally been a life saver during this challenge. ¬†#bruteyogi and I lead a fairly active and very busy life between work, working out, owning 4 dogs, etc. Therefore we need a ton of carbohydrates in our life to keep us going. ¬†#bruteyogi needs a decent amount¬†more than I since she is a full time body mechanic and trainer, basically working out 8+ hours a day. ¬†I on the other hand have a job that puts me in an office 36 hours a week (if I’m not in the Emergency Room) so I’m not quite as active. ¬†However, one habit that we’ve created over this month is having a large variety of¬†fruit available to us at all times…this is one habit we will definitely keep! ¬†Of course the fruit will change depending on the season, but it’s availability will not.

Just a little FYI – in that fruit bowl above is over 2lbs of fresh strawberries, 2lbs of fresh blueberries, a whole pineapple and the juice from 2 limes and 1 large lemon (to keep it as fresh as possible). ¬†We’ll add bananas, clementines and/or apples daily to our own personal to go fruit buckets depending on what we want and what we have on hand. ¬†#bruteyogi likes to add walnuts to hers for a little extra fat and protein, I tend to eat mine as is or add some PaleoKrunch along with some homemade raw milk yogurt.

If you’ve done a challenge what new habits did¬†you take along with you once the challenge is over?

Today’s Points: 10

Day 22

 

 

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If you don’t love minions there is something wrong with you.

It’s been fun watching all of the PRs roll in on our challenge Facebook Page! ¬†Here are the highlights so far:

  • Attend three organized classes in one day! ¬†A yin yoga class, spin class and and ab class. ¬†(Sounds like the abs got a work out in all three of those if you as me!)
  • Heavy lifting PRs thus far include a deadlift and a backsquat.
  • Walking lunges have been VERY popular! ¬†400m with a weight vest, 400m and 800m in sprinter time. ¬†(Hope they can still walk!)
  • Run a mile faster than ever – one participant hit 7min and change (NICE WORK).
  • PR on the best sweat angle post workout.
  • Most consecutive days racing – this girl has been running her ass of since the start of the challenge!
  • Most gas in the gas tank – apparently their 20 gallon tank actually holds more than 20 gallons. ¬†Hmmm….
  • Life PRs – not passing out while getting blood drawn,¬†sunburn in record time, shirt off during a run that did not end in a run PR….the list goes on…

There are two more days to grab up PR bonus points, I’ll make sure to fill you in on the most interesting, creative, hilarious posts!

Best quote recently: “I’m so tired all the time. I’ve just been lying in bed eating yeast and car wax, hoping that eventually I will rise and shine, but I don’t think it’s working.”

Today’s Total: 10