|200+ miles per month (left) vs. |
Little running + lots of CrossFit (right)
The second place was totally different. No classes, an oddity for a CrossFit affiliate, a small membership, top-end equipment and direct coaching, much similar to what you'd expect if you had a personal trainer. With such a small membership, this was possible but the small membership also forced a higher membership fee. We considered it worth it, though, and as the months progressed, we both sky-rocketed in strength and confidence. It was awesome to watch my wife totally come out of her shell. She gained a whole new confidence and muscles she had never seen before were emerging, her jeans were literally falling off and her "ability to generate intensity" (inside joke!) kept increasing. Her infectious smile really made working out even more fun and it rubbed off on fellow gym members. We had a great coach who knew what he was doing and he focused on the foundation first before building from there. Heck, I could hardly squat properly at all when I walked in there due to horrible flexibility so of course, that was the first issue to get addressed. I also lacked a lot of upper body strength. (just look at those photos above) So, I started doing a LOT of pullups, dips, hand stand push ups, push ups, and bench pressing for the first time in my life. Basically, I began building an upper body I never had before and the 1hr class at the first gym really didn't build that much, nor did I get coached like I did here. The improved flexibility and form over time along with greatly increased strength really started to yield results, not just in the mirror and how my clothes fit but how I could perform in workouts. The same was happening to my wife.
One dark cloud, though, continued to hang over my head through both gym experiences. I am super hard on myself and super critical of everything. I am my own worst judge ever. I also wear my emotions on my sleeve. This is often perceived from others to be a sour attitude and a dislike for even being in the gym. That couldn't be further from the truth but that's how I was perceived and there were many days I didn't know if I'd ever walk back in those doors. Sometimes, I took a few days off to cool down and get my head screwed on straight. Unfortunately, my dismay and personal struggle just hurt my wife and her almost-always-happy demeanor. I couldn't fathom leaving the gym and leaving her behind. We've always done this together and no person or place was going to rip us apart. I resolved many times to just suck it up and keep showing up. I loved working out hard, often for 2 hours plus, and the friendships I had made with others at the gym. In March 2016, the CrossFit Games Open arrived and my coach encouraged me to register, a suggestion that still baffles me today. (read my whole 5 week recap here) It was a fun 5 weeks and unlike 2015, my wife did the workouts, too, and surprised the heck out of herself week after week! It was awesome to watch. After the last workout on the last Saturday in March, we had a cookout to celebrate the Open and that's when we found the gym was closing...in a week. Jaws hit the floor along with a few tears and after enjoying some awesome food from the grill, we headed on home, not sure what the future would hold.
|March 31, 2016|
Over that weekend, almost everything needed was acquired except for the bumper plates and the rower. The majority of our garage is filled from gear from Rogue but I did find those horse stall mats off of Craigslist so that saved some money. About a week later, the bumper plates showed up and we could finally get to work like we were used to.
So far, it's going really good but there have been bumps in the road. There is a major convenience to having it all right outside your door but the big word ACCOUNTABILITY is gone. Before, perhaps it was our coach or fellow gym members who were expecting us at the gym that ensured we showed up. There was also the routine of it. Each day of the week is different but we had a rhythm to it all and we did it...and it worked. Now, it's all on us to program the workouts and do them...alone. There's good and bad in everything! Now as we're about 7 weeks into this new routine of ours, we're getting traction under us. Morning vs. evening, together vs. alone, length of time to workout, what to do...all of those questions have been getting answered. We have found we certainly enjoy the time together. It doesn't work 100% of the time but we try. We have found that mornings are certainly better, even if that means sacrificing some sleep. I have also found a few really good sources of programming that I call upon every morning to keep us rolling along and keep it all "constantly varied" and still quite intense. We also focus on many of the foundational strength components that got us where we are today and continue to work on them. Heck, my ring dips are better than EVER right now!
One thing I really appreciate and value these days is the choice over what I do. I am a military man and I take seriously the sacrifices of others to keep us free. There are many Hero WODs within the CrossFit universe and most are attached to a fallen servicemember. They are typically not easy at all and require going to that "dark place" to get through them...vs. quitting. I like to read their short story of their family and when/where/how they died and think about them as I do the workout. I found a channel on iHeart Radio, too, that is heavily patriotic so I turn that on as well. Just this morning, for example, I was due for a heavy squatting day and give my upper body a rest so I did "Manion," named for 1st Lt Travis Manion who was killed by sniper fire on April 29, 2007. Check out my Instagram account for his photo, the details, and the workout. (IG account: RTRSBM)
We also had the privilege of inviting over those friends that invited us all the way back in November 2014 to throw down a few Saturdays ago. I came up with a team workout (Beauty vs. Brawn) since we have limited equipment and it was awesome. GREAT time, lots of work done, and great conversation and fellowship after. We definitely plan on future workouts with them and others, too. We continue, too, to exchange banter and encouragement daily via texts to help motivate each other and celebrate those victories as they come and new personal records. Great friends ARE hard to find but I think we found a few. ;)
|A few days ago on "Flex Friday" and|
Military Spouse Appreciation Day
(Follow me on Instagram for almost-daily posts of our workouts and more. @RTRSBM)