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      News — women

      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 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.

      Winning the 2015 CrossFit Games - Written by Janet Black

      Winning the 2015 CrossFit Games - Written by Janet Black

      Winning the 2015 Crossfit Games
      Written by Janet Black

      “I won the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games!” It’s been almost a year, but saying that out loud takes me back to every moment leading up to this achievement. How did I get there? I started by training alone.  This forced me to use the power of my mind and to create mental competition. The competition that I had imagined in my mind was far greater and stronger than reality. When you repeatedly tell yourself that someone else is working harder, lifting more, or going faster, you start to believe it and push yourself even further. My experience in 2014 was another huge motivator for my 2015 success. In 2014, I was officially 40 years old and sitting in 2nd place behind CrossFit icon Amanda Allen. I felt the pressure. I was out there, on my own, facing areas of weakness and I got spooked. The result? A 7th place finish. As I entered the 2015 season, my goal was simply to have fun. Of course, the podium was a goal, but I wanted to get back to why I started CrossFit in the first place. Competing through fitness is fun and after training alone all summer, I could not wait to work out amongst others my age.

      Fast forward to the 2015 Games … On day one, I had to overcome my worst workout – Bar MU’s/GHD. Thankfully, it wasn’t the GHD I had feared. I surprisingly finished the workout in the top 10 (7th) followed by a 3rd place on the thruster max and a 1st place on the third workout. This was, by far, one of my favorite moments! I always go into the Games with a 1st place finish as one of my goals. I was able to nudge out Amanda Allen by seconds and I was pumped! It was Day One and I was currently 1st place in the Reebok CrossFit Games!?! Making the long walk up from the competition floor back to the athlete area, I found myself smiling and with tears coming from my eyes. This single moment will last me a lifetime.   But I knew it was early and there was a lot more work to be done. Going into day two, I was excited to compete and play some more. Sure enough, I came out on top once again! After each workout I would check the scoreboard and my name never moved – I could not believe it! The reality of the podium was drawing near, but I also knew we still had an unknown workout going into the final day. Although I was sitting in a solid position going into day 3, I never accepted winning as a certainty. Fighting through to get to the final workout was the goal. Once there, my coach told me that I needed to beat one person. My initial response was “who?” What I didn’t understand at the time was that he was telling me I only had to beat a person – if I didn’t finish last, I would win the Games!

      A 3rd place finish in the final workout solidified my position on top of the podium! I started the weekend in 1st place and never came out of that position. It wasn’t until weeks later when the reality of winning the Games by 50 points hit me. The entire weekend was a true, surreal moment. I found myself randomly smiling for days to come and saying to myself – I WON THE GAMES. I had fun and I WON!

      Crossfit - Being a Big Girl - Written by Camzin Martin

      Crossfit - Being a Big Girl - Written by Camzin Martin

      Photo by: Hannah Hayworth

       

      Crossfit – Being a Big Girl

      Written by Camzin Martin

       

      A few years ago now, my husband and I were sitting down to dinner with some work colleagues from within the CrossFit world when I noticed one of my esteemed coworkers looking at me with brow furrowed and deep concentration lurking behind his eyes. Because I’m the straightforward type, that type of look evokes a rather blunt, “what?” from me. He began to form his question and then paused awkwardly a few times before finally asking, “Have you always been a… bigger, girl?”

      The answer is yes. I come from a family of solidly built, really tall people. I’m actually the shortest person in my family by quite a margin, but am taller than the average female by a few inches and certainly outweigh the majority of women who are trying to be fit or have the appearance of being fit. When I played sports as a child I was always the bigger kid, and when I did acro yoga in college I was always the base (typically the male role) and not the flier. I’m not petite, and I don’t think I’ve ever been described as delicate. I was actually overweight for a few years across high school and college, but was rather lean at the time the question was posed.

      Fortunately, the time when that questioned was asked, I was already at a place in my life where I wasn’t bothered by how big or how small I am. I answered affirmatively, laughed, and the conversation moved on. I had found CrossFit and loved that my self-image was increasingly shaped by what my body could do rather than how it looked or how much it weighed.

      That being said, in CrossFit our bodyweight certainly affects our performance in our sport, and in the sport of weightlifting or powerlifting it determines the category we compete in. Considering these are three sports I participate in, knowing and managing my bodyweight has become important as it relates to my performance in my sports of choice. Today, 14 months after the birth of my wonderful daughter, I got my weight and body fat tested in one of those water immersion tanks. I was a little nervous. I weigh five pounds more day-to-day now than I did before I got pregnant and going into the Open (where typically being light is an advantage) I was concerned that this may not be productive weight. I was pleased to find that at 165lbs I have 147lbs of lean mass which puts me at 10.8% body fat, aka, the vast majority of the weight on my frame is productive. I may be going into the Open heavy, but I’m going in strong.

      Of course, diet and exercise play a huge role in keeping me lean. My genetics predispose me to be otherwise, so I’m very careful about what I eat. Don’t get me wrong, fantastic cheat meals are part of my diet, but my staple day-in-day-out diet is very meticulous. I work closely with a nutritionist and I am very careful with supplementation and actually supplement very little. I take magnesium before bed, fish oil twice a day, and an American Gainz – Tactical Recovery shake with some creatine mixed in. Before using American Gainz protein I had to take vegan protein powder to maintain my weight, which if you aren’t actually vegan, tastes horribly (I can only imagine vegans find it more palatable). It is my hope that someday being a “big girl” might not be considered a bad thing at all, and that my colleague asking that question wouldn’t have to be considered insensitive. I think of the Olympic Lifter affectionately known as the “Pocket Hercules”, Naim Süleymanoğlu. Naim measured up at 4 foot 10 inches and weighed in at a colossal 137lbs. Despite being small Naim clean and jerked 190kgs, which in ‘Merica totals up to 419lbs. “Have you always been a small guy?” Yes, but apparently freakishly strong.

      It is my hope in that pursuing the limits of my capacities I set an example for my daughter that it’s not how you look, what you weigh, how close to normal you appear, it’s about what you can do – about challenging yourself and striving to be better. I hope if she, or her peers, ever gets asked a question like the one that opened this blog, they might be able to answer proudly. She is rather petite now, so her answer might be, “No, but thank you for noticing my gainz!”

      Are Princesses the Enemy? - Written by Leah Kay

      Are Princesses the Enemy?  - Written by Leah Kay

      Photo Credit: @dangoodmanphotos

       Are Princesses the Enemy?

      Written by Leah Kay

       

      I read an article recently discussing the rapidly changing, often warped culture that we have created with regards to beauty and what it means to be a girl. It seems like everywhere you turn these days, women are bombarded with images of not only what is considered beautiful, but what they can buy to make themselves beautiful whether that be blue jeans or botox. Sex and the sexualization of women is used to sell everything these days! And the unfortunate thing is that this image is trickling down in watered down versions (and sometimes blatantly NOT watered down i.e. Bratz dolls) to our teen and pre-teen girls. But from where did this culture evolve? According to this article, or rather according to author Peggy Orenstein, it all begins with Princesses.

       

      Orenstein is the author of the book, Cinderella Ate My Daugher: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. In Orenstein's opinion it is societies obsession with this "every girl is a Princess" attitude that is setting up our young women to view themselves as worthy only as long as "they are the fairest of them all". According to Orenstein, the more a girl is exposed to this ridiculous ideal, the more apt she is to develop eating disorders, low self-esteem, distorted body image, and depression.

       

      Another article I read on ABC News.com said that Walmart is introducing a new line of cosmetics......for 8-12 year old girls! While I personally don't see anything wrong with little girls having fun dressing up and putting on play make-up or collecting fruity-flavored chap stix alla Bonne Belle or even getting their toes done, it's something quite different for a company to market make-up to tweens for day to day wear. What kind of message are we sending these girls? That they already aren't good enough without enhancements? What if we could give our girls a different kind of beautiful?

       

      Every day, whether I like it or not, I am a role model. I have an 11 year old and 3 year old step-sisters. I am a full-time coach and co-owner at CrossFit Katy, a gym where half of all our clients are women. I am an aunt to a beautiful little girl. And I take this job very seriously. Because it's my desire to change the image of beauty for all of these women and I am not alone.

       

      I CrossFit. I run laps, lift weights, jump boxes, flip tires, do pull ups, push ups, squats, drag sleds. I use my body in all its capacity to accomplish amazing athletic feats and because of this I have thighs that don't fit into skinny jeans and shoulders that can't be contained in cute little blouses but I am beautiful. I am beautiful in a way that doesn't require Prince Charming to come and rescue me and this is the kind of beauty that I want to share with the other women in my life. Does that mean that I intend to de-sexualize the culture that envelopes us or our girls? Well, not really. Anybody who has seen me workout or compete or even sees me in day- to-day life can't miss the fact that I don't mind showing off my body. I am an avid lululemon addict and love nothing more than rocking out a workout in a brand-new pair of Speed Shorts or Wunder Under tights and a matching sports bra. I am proud of the muscles that cut across my back and the definition that I have in my stomach. I think it's sexy. I think muscles are sexy. I think women that lift weights are sexy. I think prescribed pull ups are sexy and handstands and muscle-ups. CrossFit has not and does not intend to eliminate the sexualization of women. I believe CrossFit aims to change the very definition of sexy into something positive and empowering and that is something that I am proud to represent. I want the women in the gym to be proud of their hard-earned muscles and feel sexy when they lift a barbell above their heads. I want my little step-sisters to think that being beautiful is directly correlated to what your body can accomplish and I want all women to feel empowered as I feel empowered.