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      News — Camzin Martin

      The Habit of Health - Written by Camzin Martin

      The Habit of Health - Written by Camzin Martin

      The Habit of Health
      Written by Camzin Martin

       

      It’s #BeachSeason and many of us (myself included this year) look at ourselves in the mirror and see a reflection of failed New Year’s Resolutions. Mine was to run every day, and let’s just say that hasn’t happened. Failing to create, implement, and maintain healthy habits is so common that the devout roll their eyes each year waiting for the flash to drain from the pan.

      So, while it may seem cruel to point out the deviation from the path a full seven months into the year, the point of this article is not to have a collective pity-party, but rather to make a commitment to the habits that create success today.

      My mom illustrates this point well. My mom is amazing, in her youth she was an incredible athlete, she held national titles in martial arts and was an accomplished runner. As a professional she achieved a level of success and renown as she was recruited from South Africa and able to afford her family the opportunity to live in the United States. As a mother, she raised two successful children with my father, and as adults we still have a close loving relationship with them. Along the way through chasing financial and familial goals health and fitness took a backseat, and poor diet and inactivity took its toll.

      In February of this year my parents moved out to Houston to be nearer to us and their grandchildren. Since moving, as a grandparent, my mother has made some new habits. She increased her sleep from approximately five hours a night to six. She began meal prepping her breakfasts, and has recently moved to meal prepping her lunches as well. She committed to working out under my supervision three times a week to now committing to three workouts a week at a local affiliate. As a result, she is losing weight and her bio-markers are moving in the right direction.

      She started small, and she started consistent. She committed to meal prepping her breakfast (as one giant egg-bake that she portioned out) and built from there. 

      Resolving to change your life and committing to an end goal is daunting. Resolving to make a small change and re-committing to do it in the beginning of each day is something we can all do.

      So, take your big goal from the beginning of this year and choose one habit, that if done consistently, will build toward your goal. Download a “been on the wagon for x number of days” app. Write your commitment on your mirror. Start. Each morning reaffirms that today you will honor your commitment. Don’t let tomorrow, or next week, or next month get in your head – just commit to today!

      In a month or so you’ll find that each today has amounted to a long list of todays, and the success underneath you has propelled you forward. You may find that the vice that plagued you is no longer even a consideration because denying it has simply become habit. Rinse and repeat with the next habit you want to create, and next year this time let’s look in the mirror and see the product of each daily commitment culminating in surpassing some goals.

      The Open is Coming - Written by Camzin Martin

      The Open is Coming - Written by Camzin Martin

      The Open is Coming
      Written by Camzin Martin

       

      The Open is almost upon us and with it marks the beginning of the functional fitness competitive calendar. It's a time for camaraderie, the expansion of limits, and a lot of time spent in the pain cave. For all of us the Open presents an opportunity to hold ourselves to a given standard and test ourselves in a fairly comprehensive snapshot of fitness. However, how we approach the Open should differ based on our end goals and the realities of where we are athletically this year.

      So here are a few strategies and things to bear in mind based on where you might be as the Open approaches:

       

      I'm new to CrossFit/I do fitness for fun

      Treat the Open as an opportunity to establish (or retest) your baseline. You are going to rock some workouts and be rocked by others. Don't take it to heart. Rather look at your results at the end of the five weeks and use it as an opportunity to identify strengths and weaknesses and adjust your training and goals to improve on those for next year. Do each workout just once and give it your best effort. There's no value to over training or hurting yourself in the Open, it's a test, let it be a true test of where you are. The Open is not a reflection of all you will ever be.


      I've been chasing gains for a while/I do well in local competitions

      You've already established your Open baseline and you're looking to improve upon your placing from last year. Hopefully you attacked your weaknesses identified from previous years and are prepared for the test. Either way, treat the Open workouts like you might a live competition: take a rest day before attacking it but maintain your training on the surrounding days. Strategize each workout to create the best possible outcome for you but maintain the standards. Cheating doesn't reflect how fit we are, it reflects how good we are at cheating.


      If only I can make it to Regionals my life would be complete

      If the next stage is your end goal then the Open carries a lot more weight. You need to prioritize your recovery, training, etc. around doing well in the workout each week. There is utility to redoing the workouts and even losing ground overall during the 5 weeks to optimize your performance in this test. That being said, being at Regionals is awesome, but getting there hurt or because a bunch of standards were fudged just leads to a lot of embarrassment out there on the floor. You don't want to be the team/person who won the HSPU one in the Open only to DNF at Regionals because you got no-repped the whole time. #Youknowwhatimtalkingabout


      I'm shooting for the Games

      The Open is a stepping stone, one that must be taken seriously, but not the end goal. Optimize your strategy and performance within maintaining training for your big test - Regionals. Biasing your training so heavily towards crushing the Open at the expense of your overall fitness only hamstrings your overall goal. Unless something bizarre happened on a WOD, realistically you should be doing each WOD once and giving it your best shot on the first attempt. The need to remain healthy and maintain the standard is exponentially greater here as you need to continue to build in order to peak at Regionals and lock in your qualifying spot. If the Open is your worst stuff (as it is mine) this still applies to you, train all year to make it a strength and then give it your best when the test comes out.


      I'm trying to win the Games

      Teach me oh fit one. My first year of CrossFit I had the deluded notion that this would be me (they make it look so easy, I figured I could do that stuff too - and then I had a huge dose of reality at Regionals). If you believe you can win the Games and you have the fitness to back it up then the Open is so far off from what you're peaking for you just need to do the WOD and submit your score. That being said, for the rest of us, you're our role models and aspirations and many follow your lead. So be a good role model and perform good clean reps, and we'll still be left wondering how you do that so fast and/or without getting tired.


      As the CrossFit Games continues to post "The Open is x Days Away" and spikes our heart rates, remember to have fun and be proud of your effort.


      Good luck!

      Why Can't We Be Friends - Written by Camzin Martin

      Why Can't We Be Friends - Written by Camzin Martin

      Why Can't We Be Friends
      Written by Camzin Martin
      Photo Credit: Mariana Gonzalez

      Recently some of my training partners and I have become involved in a friendly competition in static handstand holds; fueled by our competitiveness along with the fact that the loser has to take the winner out for a cheat meal complete with dessert does elevate the stakes.

      As inspiration one of my teammates tagged me and my other teammate in a video where this dude pike-pressed into a handstand atop a tower of dumbbells taller than his standing height. The backdrop appears to be a nice, air conditioned fitness facility with an escalator that carries a man suited in a T-rex costume down behind him, so a pretty fun looking place, amazing actually.

      I'm tagged in the comments, so when navigating to our little conversation I stumble across an internet comment war that began with the innocent enough question, "Where is this?"

      "Must be a CrossFit gym, those [expletive]s always doing dumb [expletive] looking for attention."
      As the argument got more heated, shots were fired both by and at Crossfitters, conventional gym-goers, body builders, callisthenic athletes, and even some yogis.

      Which is pretty sad.

      Now my community is not innocent in this problem, the leadership in CrossFit is known for stirring the pot. However, as the "enlightened" in each of our disciplines we can lose sight of the virtues of physical fitness in general.

      For most of us we turned over a great many stones before we found where we fit, before we found the community that connected, the discipline that became more than a habit and changed our lifestyles. If speed walking is what you do for health, it sure beats sitting on the couch.

      Whatever community you belong to, let us be the change. Try something outside of your comfort zone. You do body building? Give zumba a go. You do CrossFit? Try acro yoga. You do what you do, try something you've looked down on. Chances are you'll find it's harder than it looks, and maybe we find some common ground.

      The internet trolls will always exist, but each of our communities are minorities compared to popular culture and lifestyles. Together we can be so much more influential than we can apart. 

      So let's come together over our shaker bottles and support one another, even if we don't pursue fitness in the same way.

      The Scale - Written by Camzin Martin

      The Scale - Written by Camzin Martin

      The Scale
      Written by Camzin Martin
      Photo by Mariana Gonzalez

       

      In the functional fitness community we are largely known for embracing body positivity. The mantra that being strong is better than being skinny. We tell new converts not to worry about the scale. That muscle weighs more than fat, that the growth of their quads and biceps are to be celebrated.

       

      Unfortunately, somewhere along the way many of us lose this perspective.

       

      Before I dive in, let me admit that this gets to me from time to time as well. There are still some days where I step on the scale and shed a tear before talking myself off the ledge. My husband has told me once or twice that he planned to throw our scale away. That being said, I feel like I finally have a healthy relationship with food, and a working relationship with my scale.

       

      It took me 5+ years to get there.

       

      So hopefully we can get there a little faster together. Recently I've been approached by a few members and friends who have read some of these blogs or watched my body change as I recovered from pregnancy who were curious as to my diet or training and what worked for me.

       

      In each of those conversations my friends talked disparagingly about their weight.

       

      Which surprised me. Sure, some of these women have body composition changes to make. For most in that category, however, the result of those changes will likely be a higher number on the scale and a lower body fat percentage. For the rest in that group it will eventually be a change on the scale, but the journey will be slow and steady as their composition changes while they lose fat.

       

      The rest I consider lean, leaner than myself.

       

      Which shocked me. In my mind, how could someone like this (super lean and fit) be concerned about the number on the scale? Some saying things like, "Oh I've got a lot of fat to lose", me responding with, "Where?" and the rebuttal being, "Oh I carry all of my fat in my ________" (enter some obscure region where it would be near impossible to determine with the naked eye). And while the subject of body dysmorphia is a subject for another day, the antidote I can offer in the interim is to be focused on performance.

       

      Of course there are still physical attributes that I would prefer looked/were different, but the number on the scale is a tool now, and not a ghost ready to haunt my thoughts all day.

       

      So here's the advice I shared with one friend, because it helped me stop going crazy when this bothered me all the time.

       

      Put the scale away - but don't throw it away. If you're like me you'll want to know from time to time, and I think you should allow yourself the curiosity. Set a few dates in the future that you'll allow yourself to look at it, other than that, don't step on it.

       

      Set a goal and start working towards it relentlessly - During the vacation from the scale pick something you want to achieve and work towards it a little every other day (to avoid burnout). I recommend keeping the same stimulus so you can see progress (i.e. 5 min max pull ups)

      Maintain healthy diet and recovery throughout - the number on the scale matters if it's an indicator of deteriorating health. Make sure you are fueling your body and allowing it to recover. Don't skip your breakfast or your post workout protein shake, take care of yourself.

       

      Maintain perspective - when you step back on the scale it's going to reflect some number back at you. If you've lost or gained weight and are better at that thing you were working on (and you're staying healthy) then IT DOESN'T MATTER. If you lost 5# and can do 10 more pull ups, cool! If you gained 10# and can do 10 more pull ups, then that's great too. Remember that it's about what our bodies can do, not about how they look, how much they weigh, what size they fit into.

       

      I weigh 30# more now than when I started CrossFit. I had just lost 70# before I started and gotten down to a size 0. I was so proud of myself then. But I was weak, unfit, and unhealthy. Now I weigh a whole heck of a lot more, if my quads or shoulders are involved I'm a size 8, but I'm more proud of where and who I am now than I ever was then.

       

      Trust the journey. Celebrate your success. And leave the scale in it's rightful place of importance, on the floor, under our feet, not over our heads.

      Why - Written by Camzin Martin

      Why - Written by Camzin Martin

      Why
      Written by Camzin Martin

       

      If you live in Houston, TX right about now you don’t really live here. You’re currently slowly melting here. Hoping that you’ll get to reconstitute into a solid in some great air conditioning or that by some stroke of luck it’ll drop below 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity.

       

      Chances are if you enjoy CrossFit for your fitness, your box is just that, a box. With a few fans (that in this heat are decorative at best). Add a bunch of sweaty people getting sweatier, barbells, heavy breathing, and what you get is practically a sauna but with fewer towels and slightly more clothing.

       

      The point being, if you needed an excuse not to work out, you have one. We’re on the surface of the sun and instead of hibernating perhaps it’s best to take a “rest summer” and you’ll just come back in the fall.

       

      Ok, maybe that’s a little extreme. Maybe you’re just not as committed. Or you just don’t push as hard in the box. It doesn’t have to be the heat that’s getting to you; it could be work stress, family demands, burnout, or a myriad of life’s pressures and demands. The point being that sometimes the daily gym grind gets to be a grind. When it does it’s time to find your “why” again.

       

      What we do is hard. It’s both physically demanding and mentally challenging. The workouts are designed to test our limits, aka find our failing point. Learning to accept failure as a stepping stone to success isn’t easy, and it’s no easier when the metrics are listed on a board for all to see. PRs don’t happen every day and seeing the light at the end of what might be a 3-year long tunnel to achieve a goal is difficult at best. We know we just need to stay the course, that in three years the magic will happen as everything comes together. The problem is that without motivation staying the course becomes near impossible.

       

      Your motivation changes over time, and it should. When I started I was driven by aesthetics, I wanted to look a certain way and this was my ticket to it. When it became clear that aesthetics take a really long time and I may never look the way I felt I wanted to, I needed a new motivation to keep going. That became getting stronger, followed by moving better, followed by being better than my competition, followed by proving something to myself – you get the point.

       

      Find something that drives you and let it drive your success. If you’re visually motivated, write your “why” on your bathroom mirror and wake up with that every day. Remind yourself that today’s action creates the success on the horizon. Stay the course, and you’ll see why it’s all worth it.