Friday, September 21, 2012

Just a Little Spiel {for the ladies}

I bet you wouldn't have guessed that this is a post about CrossFit. Don't turn away just yet! Hear me out. I get a lot of questions about what CrossFit is and why I do it. I've had a few guys ask about locations, but usually its the girls who want to know intricate details. As soon as I mention that CrossFit uses weights I get the immediate response of "I don't want to get bulky, so that's not for me." What girl wants to get bulky, I know I sure don't.

Most girls think more cardio is the way to go, without incorporating any strength training into their workout routines. I say this because I was one of those girls a few years ago. Every day I would go to the gym and get on the elliptical, treadmill, or step climber for 45 minutes to an hour and watch tv or read a magazine. The machine always told me that I burned 500+ calories so I thought it was a job well done. Wrong. My body never really changed, so I thought that limiting my food intake + an hour doing cardio was the better way to go. Even more wrong.

I began strength training my Junior year in high school and loved it. I would go for a 30 minute tough session at a great gym - they incorporated weights with plyometrics (fast and powerful movements). I loved it, but it quickly became a love hate relationship. I got results immediately and then plateaued for quite a few months following, which in turn made me lose motivation to go. Enter the cardio cycle once again.

Once starting college my fitness routine was very up and down. My Junior year in college is when I really started my fitness routine on my own without a trainer. Let me just tell you, it's pretty hard to get yourself motivated after a long day of class when you know you're working out alone! I did pretty well, I'd do 15-20 minutes of quick cardio then 20-30 minutes of weights. I stayed in shape but I still hadn't busted out any goals or changed the way I looked.

Braden started CrossFit last year and would always come back and tell me how intense the workout was. He'd mention med ball cleans, rope climbing, hand stand push ups, and other ridiculous things that I thougtht sounded outrageous - I thought to myself "there's no way I could every do any of that!" Plus, I thought I'd never be able to afford it on a college budget (Is CrossFit Too Expensive). Well.. I decided to give it a try this summer and it literally took that first work out and I was sold. I understood why everyone loves it so much.

It's hard to explain to others, it really is. But if you mix a wonderful community who encourages you to push harder, go faster, and lift more weight - how could that not be a winning combo? I think we all love each other because we overcome fitness feats together. Now I don't consider my weight as a deterrent of my fitness successes. I used to go to the gym and use 15lb dumbbells because I didn't want to get bulky.. whereas now my weights are usually no less than 55-65lbs. I can deadlift more than my body weight 5 times for 3 rounds, and I can back squat even more than that! My goal is to get stronger, faster, and to do things I never thought I could!

If I haven't proven my point just yet...

If you're more logical, then here are a few of the health benefits of CrossFit:

  • Increased and restored bone mineral density to combat osteoporosis
  • Increased lean body mass - yes, this means curves ladies!
  • Increased balance and coordination
  • Increased metabolic rate - burn more calories when you're not working out
  • Increased performance in everything you do - climbing stairs, picking up groceries,etc
  • Feel better and look better - reduces overall body fat, gives you more energy, and boosts confidence!
Ladies, don't be afraid of lifting weights. The only way to become crazy bulky is to take supplements. Healthy, clean eating (paleo if you will) paired with high intensity workouts is bound to lead you down the path you want to go - one that's faster, more fit, and stronger than you've ever been! Have I mentioned that there's no age limit?

She's 74.. no big deal

I have decided to post my own results after 6 months of CrossFit, so that will come sometime in December. Posting results, weight, or anything of that sort has always been a touchy subject for me. But since starting CrossFit, I've gained so much confidence because I know that I'm working hard to achieve goals! The post title was a little misleading.. I guess this was more than just a "little" spiel.

This post may mean nothing to you, you may not change anything about your workout routine, and you may think this is all a big bit of bologna - and that's totally fine! I just wanted to share my own story and successes that have come from CrossFit. If you want to check it out for yourself, I'd love to take you to your first class! There's no better way to form your own opinion than to just try it for yourself. After all, we're all creatures of curiosity right.

Just some food for thought. This post is definitely geared towards the ladies, but the fellas are definitely welcome too!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

He Works Miracles

The Lord has seriously blessed a situation in my life.

We all have someone in our lives who does not know the Lord, who lives in darkness, and who we desperately want to see that there is SO much more than what we can see on earth. I've wanted that for quite a few people in my time, but there has been one in particular.

This man has been an alcoholic for as long as I can remember, that's a track record of 21 years and counting. We spoke a little less than a year ago, October 2011 to be exact, and I had seen that conversation as a little glimpse of false hope.. or at least I thought it was. I had so many expectations after that conversation. I expected a phone call, a conversation, but the phone never rang. I asked God why he did this to me, why did he make me think there was heart change going on that really wasn't. What did this mean?

God is always doing a great work, even when we do not see the fruit from it. It's humbling because I wanted everything to set in motion on my time. It doesn't work that way. God has his own plan, and He has perfect timing. 

Fast forward to now, September 2012.

I receive a message from this man. The message proclaimed "let Him out of my life.. got to let Him back in." I stared at the message in disbelief, confused, and all the while I got so excited. I responded back with words that were not mine, I am a firm believer that God completely took over this conversation and gave me the exact words I needed to say.

The very next day following this conversation, I mailed him his first Bible. The Lord placed it on my heart to include a hand written letter explaining my own walk with the Lord in the very beginning of becoming a Christian. I didn't know how to find scripture in the bible. I explained how to find books, chapters, and verses, because I myself had no idea to do something as simple as that in the beginning.

A few days have passed. I finally received a message that the package had been received.

"I just finished reading the first chapter of Colossians out of my new Bible. Thank you so much Jessi! It is beautiful and I will cherish it always. My AA sponsor is going to lead me through the process of ridding myself of my old way of thinking and change it in a way more acceptable to letting God into my Heart and take the lead in my life...for the rest of my life. Keep praying for me, and with me during my recovery and the journey I am about to embark on."
God is so good. It is truly amazing what He can do, and He alone. This is a true testament to His faithfulness. This situation has opened my eyes and my heart to believe that with the Lord, anyone can be led out of darkness into light. How incredible is it that the Creator of the universe works in each of our hearts in different ways, in different seasons, and speaks to us individually.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them. I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." - Isaiah 42:16
Have a great week and keep in mind that the Lord loves you just as you are, and He will forever pursue you no matter what age you reach.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where were you?

I was an innocent 5th grader in Mrs. Cain's class. We turned on the news and saw a tall building with smoke billowing out of the side. All of my fellow classmates, including myself, were utterly confused. We didn't understand what was going on, why it was important, and why our 5th grade teacher looked so upset. I started taking notes while watching the tv, I wanted to make sense of what was going on. After filling up an entire piece of paper, it still didn't quite make sense to me.

An announcement came on over the entire school, our principal instructed that all teachers turn off their tvs and to continue about their day like normal. That announcement didn't turn off my curious mind. We went out to an early recess and a fellow 5th grader tried to explain to me that it had something to do with the World Trade Center. I didn't know what that meant, but it sounded important. I tried to remember WTC so I could ask my mom about it later. We went back inside and I received the message that I had been dismissed early, my mom was in the office to pick me up. She looked upset, but she looked even happier to see me. I remember the big hug she gave me, and then we drove home.

We watched the news the remainder of the afternoon. I was still unsure of what was going on and why it happened. Everything seemed to be chaos. She explained the situation the best she could, and after watching the news I started to make sense of it. I didn't know why, but I did know what was going on. Our country had been attacked by terrorist, and they had changed everything in just a few hours.