The New Fitness

P/C

I’ve been rather introspective lately, which I figure is a natural side effect of doing a lot of self-work and spirituality seeking. My “Emily’s Deep Thoughts” posts seem to slowly be outnumbering the ones that contain what I ate for lunch and my latest run stats. At first this bothered me a lot, and I just didn’t want to post anything. I wanted to keep my “la la la, off to the gym, hey look, frittata for dinner!” content rolling but my personal life wasn’t in alignment with what I wanted my blog life to be. Sick of fighting with myself, I stuck to Instagram mini-blogging where it seemed easier to throw some stuff out there but not be too committed to a thought.

But I still felt bothered. I didn’t want to abandon my blog, but I didn’t know how to work it into what I felt like writing about. My whole paradigm of health and healthy living had been shifting, and I didn’t know how to address it. Part of it was because I keep looking to the outside for guidance – what are the other health/fitness bloggers doing? Oh man, I don’t have abs yet, so I can’t do it that way. Does … does she ever wear pants? Or even own pants? Wow, that’s a lot of green juice. And so. Many. Gym. Selfies. Wait, that was my account. But gym selfies of actually working out, not just in the mirror. Workout selfies? How do you even do that?!?

What I was trying to do just wasn’t working for me. I wanted to jump on the train of filming myself working out, coming up with inspiring recipes, and taking lots of mirror selfies of my non-existent muscle definition, which isn’t what I do. It really isn’t ever what I did.

What do I do? I listen to my body and try to give it what it needs. I work to heal my emotional wounds of the past and break myself free of the numbing, survival-based behaviors that no longer serve me. I remind myself constantly that I am love, and I give love, and try to be kind and respectful to all I encounter. And I eat well, go to the gym, take long beach rambles, and do what I can when I can. I am never perfect, and I no longer want to punish myself for doing anything but the best I can at the time. And I feel really, really happy.

To me, this is healthy. This is fitness. Take what you like, leave the rest, and always work in your own values and authenticity. And it’s not sexy. It’s not marketable, and it doesn’t engage people to click. But aren’t our newsfeeds filled up enough with pretty, empty images designed to make us feel not enough so we’ll buy whatever they’re selling?

I’m ready to rock a new road. A road that leads to a healthy, fulfilled life that’s full to the brim with love and experience. A road that says I am already enough, and all of this is just to celebrate all the things I can still do, for the fun and curiosity of it. I remember working out with the Girls Gone WOD group in Costa Rica, and realizing during the EmPack workout how much I love movement. We were sprinting up a hill with weighted duffel bags, something that would normally have me groaning and faking an injury to get out of it. But in that moment the experience was something else entirely. It wasn’t there to train therefore required to achieve and get better, it wasn’t because I ate a donut yesterday and I needed to do penance for my dietary sins, it was moving because it feels good and is good for me. Oh, and it was so, so much fun! One of the best times I’ve had in my life. I want more of that in my life.

Let’s make this the new fitness normal. No more restrictive diets and pills and powders that promise a sculpted body and almost certainly deliver an empty heart. Let’s do more of what makes us feel good, instead of look good. We are whole creatures that deserve wellness at all levels, not just our earth suits. Let’s be mindful of our fitness journey on the inside as well as the out.

Go make it a great day

Advertisements

For the Love of Movement and Sunsets: My Costa Rican Adventure (Part 3)

You know how in Part 2 how I said it was Best Day Ever? Well, in my journal for the next day I corrected myself, “No, today was Best Day Ever!”

It was our last day in Costa Rica, and I was feeling a bit sad that our trip was almost over! Making the most of it, I was up a bit early and spent some time enjoying the hammock life for a bit.

img_1924

After breakfast we congregated by the hotel pool for a final workout using the EmPacks! (

Team Relay of 3 rounds:

  • Maybe 200m sprint with the EmPack
  • 21-15-9 Thrusters

Once all team members have completed all 3 sets, continue with:

  • 200m sprint with the EmPack
  • 21-15-9 Power Cleans

Teammate #1 runs with the pack and performs the first set of 21 thrusters. While the Teammate is working, the other teammates squat hold. After Teammate #1 is done with the 21 thrusters the pack is passed to Teammate #2 and they perform the set. Continue cycling through teammates until back to Teammate #1, where they only do 15 thrusters. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Once all of the thruster sets are completed, start over with the Power Clean set. On this set, the non-working teammates plank instead of squat hold.

This workout was so, so fun. This was totally the moment when I realized, I just love working out for the sake of moving and enjoying movement. For once I wasn’t working out because I ate too many cookies, or because I have a race coming up and I have to prepare, or because I’m supposed to. I wanted to work out because it was fun and makes me feel good. The end. And the vibe was so positive. When we all first got there and Donny was explaining the workout and the EmPacks, you could tell none of us were really sure how this was going to go. After a few rounds, the energy totally shifted. We were all getting dirty, cheering each other on, and really getting into it. It was the best.

After the workout we showered up quick and assembled to walk down to the local farmers market. I bought some souvenirs for the fam. And I bought another coconut.

img_1931

After the farmers market we had some downtime before our stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) session, so I took the advantage of the hammock and took a little nap. Hammock naps are so a thing. Now I want one at home.

Then we walked down to the shore for some SUP’ping!

IMG_1936

SUP was incredible. The water was so warm, and although I’ve paddle boarded a few times at home, it was always in the bay or lake or otherwise still water. The ocean was fairly calm, but even a calm ocean has some waves to it. I’ve never fallen off the board before, and there is a first time for everything! But the warm water felt really nice, and soon I felt gutsy enough to try to do yoga on my board. Because the worst that can happen is I fall into the warm water! I did nail a headstand, which was pretty cool 🙂

South of us there was a thunderstorm brewing, but it was far enough away that we were safe, but we could still see the clouds and feel the energy from it. We ended up paddling way too far out to sea, and by the time we went to turn around it took me about 20-30 minutes to get back! But we were rewarded by the most insanely gorgeous sunset imaginable.

img_1938

Like, seriously. Can’t even.

img_1959

Yup, pretty damn content.

IMG_1958

We enjoyed every drop of that amazing view, then headed back to the hotel to shower an start getting packed up for our airport shuttle in the morning. Insert pouring tears crying emoji face.

The next morning we all trekked back to the airport to head home. We talked nonstop about how amazing the trip was, and how we weren’t ready to head back yet. I asked our guide Adrian if he would adopt me so I could stay in Costa Rica. He said yes, but I don’t think he realized I was serious, hahaha! As we got off the shuttle we hugged goodbye and swapped Instagram handles (as befits our generation) and wished each other safe travels. They were an amazing group to travel with; everyone was so nice and welcoming, and even though many of us didn’t know a soul there we became great travel buddies and had a wonderful time together.

I had some lunch at the airport – my last opportunity for plantains! – and hunkered at my gate with a book.

img_1965

I was connecting through Panama City, and I knew my layover wasn’t very long, maybe 45 minutes. But I didn’t worry too much about it, until I realized the flight before mine was taking a way long time to load. Too long. Which ended up delaying my flight by an hour. Which means I missed my connection in Panama City. Which means I would have to spend the night in Panama City. Alone. Which has always been my number one fear with international travel – being stranded in a foreign city. Eek!

With that, I’ll see you next time in Part Four!

(Spoiler alert: I survived. Obviously, because I am writing this like two months later)

Go make it a great day!

Under the Jungle Canopy: My Costa Rican Adventure (Part 2)

To make sure I remembered this remarkable trip, I journaled about my activities and experiences every night. On the Third day of my trip, the first words of my journal entry were, “Best. Day. Ever.” Pretty much.

I woke up refreshed and rested, but my eyes were sooooo puffy. One of the girls says that puffyness happens when it’s high humidity. I did pack some nuun electrolyte tablets but hadn’t used them yet, so I decided that it might be a good idea to balance out with some electrolytes today. A couple of nuun-charged bottles later, and I was already feeling more hydrated and balanced. I had been drinking water like it’s my job the past two days, but certainly wasn’t replenishing my electrolyte stores with all the sweating I was doing. Pro tip: if you’re drinking like 10 bottles of water today and still feeling dehydrated, you might need a little electrolytes too!

After breakfast we went out to do yoga at the beach. There were monkeys. The end.

IMG_2019
PC to our awesome guide Adrian

Our yoga instructor Luz was amazing. She led us through some challenging yet restorative flows, competing with the ocean’s crashing waves to make sure we could hear her, and not in her native language! And she was so freaking adorable, making sure we were all comfortable and having the best time possible. It was just the best possible experience, shaded from the sun in the trees doing yoga on the sand with the ocean in the distance and iguanas and monkeys running all around. Why can’t yoga always be like this!

img_1905

After yoga we packed up the mats and Donny led us through a super sandy partner WOD:

2 sets of tabadas (8 rounds of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off):

  • Junkyard dog (one partner sits on the ground, arms straight out and legs straight in front. Partner 2 jumps around them, over one arm, over the legs, and over the other arm, and back the other way. Switch positions after each tabada round
  • Something that I called downward dog push-ups (partner 1 gets on the ground in a downward dog pose, partner 2 crawls under them. Then partner 1 does a push-up, and as they are down partner 2 jumps over them. Repeat, and switch places each tabada round)

So, so much sand and I couldn’t stop laughing. Which was really bad, because sand. In my mouth. Another jump in the ocean fixed the sand issue!

We had lunch at Cafe Milagro, which was the coffee place we went to yesterday. I finally got my tacos!

img_1906

Then we went zip lining. Holy crap, that was one of the most awesome experiences of my life.

The team at Safari Adventures picked us up at the hotel and drove us to the zip lining site, about 45 minutes away. It was way back in the mountains, and at times it didn’t even look like we were driving on a road. The bus was fording various rocky creekbeds and streams, and we saw some amazing views. Once we got to the site, we were greeted by an ADORABLE puppy that decided he liked to chew on my leggings. Ow. The guides suited us up in our harnesses and gear, and we were ready to go!

img_1909

I was totally freaked out on the first line, which was a little one designed to get your zip lining feet a little wet first. But once I figured out the trick (just lean back and go!) I absolutely loved it! The guides were also hilarious, with this infectious energy that just kept the adrenaline going. They would give all of us a hard time in a kidding around way. Once, they were lining me up to go on this huge swing. I didn’t know exactly what was happening, and they told me “Go!” and sort of pushed me off as I half-jumped off the platform. As soon as my feet left, they yelled,” No, no, not yet!” just to freak me out. It worked. As soon as I realized what they were doing, I just laughed. We had about seven lines total to cross, and the longest one was maybe a quarter mile? It was so long! You were up in the canopy and we saw some toucans which was pretty cool.

The whole time our guide Adrian was warning us we would be getting wet, but I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. Of course it was meant to be a surprise so I didn’t think too much on it. I’ll find out when I find out! At the very end we all found out – the last run was a 20-ft plunge straight down into a pool fed by a waterfall. They let us take off our shoes and anything else we didn’t want to get wet, and one by one we jumped. One of the guides was in the pool with our rope leads controlling the fall, but you were totally at his mercy on how fast you fell! I told him to just let it rip with me 🙂 There was nothing quite as exciting as dangling above a pool of water, suspended in time, then suddenly the rope cuts and you just drop. Pura vida.

IMG_2005
PC: our awesome guides at Safari Adventures

After the adrenaline rush we went back to the home base where they fed us an amazing meal of arroz y polo and I got to play with the puppy a bit more. On the bus ride how we saw legit wild horses.

Back at the hotel we enjoyed happy hour by the pool, and Joy went around interviewing for a GGW bonus episode. Then as we were eating dinner, the skies opened up and it started pouring rain! I love the energy of a good rain, and it was a soothing way to close out the day.

That’s all for now, see you next time with Part Three! Go make it a great day!

Pura Vida: My Costa Rican Adventure (Part 1)

I’m finally posting about my Costa Rica trip that I took in April! At least I only waited two months to post about it, rather than the year and a half it took for me to get around to posting about that time I went to Alaska. Better late than never, my friends!

I was chatting with a friend about my trip, and after my “what I did in 20 words or less” response, his reply was, “Wow, your trip sounded just like all of those travel brochures for a Costa Rican adventure!” Reflecting back, it totally was.

I first found out about this trip to Costa Rica last fall, when the Girls Gone WOD podcast posted about hosting a CrossFit retreat in their monthly newsletter. I’m a GGW superfan, and I instantly knew I wanted to go. It was around my birthday when I talked to Hulk about it, so he said, “How about this trip is my gift to you? Happy Birthday!” Total win-win! So I booked it for myself, not having a clue as to who I was going with or what exactly it would entail other than daily CrossFit workouts. But it was a guided trip with Under30 Experiences, they had good reviews, so what did I have to lose except to make some new CrossFit friends and do burpees on a beach followed by tacos?

My trip started with a drop off at the international terminal at SFO. I was a little nervous because for whatever reason, my airline didn’t offer online check-in. Or TSA Precheck. So I had to, you know, go to the counter like all of the common travel plebeians and obtain my boarding pass. But whatever, I got to the airport early enough to snap some pre-boarding selfies in the rush of OMGIMGOINGTOCOSTARICA excitement.

IMG_1840

My flight was a red-eye that connected through Panama City. So I got approximately 34 minutes of sleep, because I found after my last red-eye experience that I do not sleep on planes. But there were plenty of free in-flight movies, so I just watched “Arrival” a couple times (OMG so good!) and landed without issue in Panama City for my connection.

It was a quick flight from Panama City to San Jose, and I made it out of customs and wandered to the cafe where I was supposed to meet my group. I arrived around 8am, and my group wasn’t to leave until 1:00, so I was basically the first one there. I had tons of time to hang out … and drink LOTS of coffee. The coffee there is so good! Like angels roasted it. Then I noticed a couple of girls that appeared American and were wearing spandex a few tables over. One had an EmPack. So I figured they were on my trip and introduced myself. We joked that I introduced myself wrong. I should have walked up and asked, “Do you know ..?” If you’re a Girls Gone WOD podcast listener, you may get that inside joke. “Do you know the CrossFit?”

The rest of the group gradually trickled in, and we made introductions with each other as we loaded the bus to drive us to the beach for our first workout, then to our hotel which was a couple hours’ drive away. There were 20 people on our trip, and three guides. I knew nobody except for Joy and Claire, who would be joining us that evening, and even then I know them from the podcast, but they don’t know me. Not awkward at all! But many of us were traveling solo so we were all in the same boat.

We made a stop halfway through the drive to use bathrooms, grab some local snacks at the roadside shop, and see some crocodiles. Because why not? I picked up some sea salt and lime flavored plantain chips, and they were amazing. Then one of my new friends offered me some strange fruit I didn’t recognize – green mango. To me, mango is usually yellow and very sweet. These were green, firm, and lightly sweet. After my first bite I decided that I must have my own to devour, so I purchased a small container. The guy ringing me up asked if I wanted lime juice and salt on them. I asked, “Is that how you eat them?” when he said yes, I said to local me up! Realize it’s like 90 degrees and a jungle, so very humid climate. We were all engulfed in about seven layers of sweat at this point. Eating that citrus-y, salty, cool mango in the muggy heat was heavenly. It was a great introduction to the whole trip experience.

Then we took a short walk down the road onto a bridge over a river. A river swarming with large crocodiles.

IMG_1850IMG_1859.JPG

They were probably something like 8-10 feet long. And just up the river you see cattle grazing. Snack?

We got to the Playa Hermosa beach and suited up for a beach workout. We met Donny, our coach for the trip. After a warm-up we split up into teams of 3 for a team workout:

12-min AMRAP in teams of 3 cycle through the following movements:

  • Bear crawl 50m(ish?)
  • Air squat or squat jumps
  • Hollow rocks or situps

Start with two lines about 50m apart. Persons 1 and 2 start on one line and Person 3 starts on the other line. As Person 1 bear crawls between Persons 2 and 3, Person 2 air squats/jumps and Person 3 hollow rocks/sit-ups. Once Person 1 reaches Person 3, they switch and Person 3 bear crawls back to Person 2 and Person 1 takes over air squats/jumps. When Person 3 reaches Person 2, they switch. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I was so, so sandy after that. I mean, it’s sort of a “duh” thing, but really. Sand was everywhere. Everywhere. But then came the best part – I’m all sandy and sweat is dripping in my eyes and I’m roasting hot … so I jump into the ocean. The water is bathwater warm, but it feels amazing. We should always have an ocean dip after every workout. That is an experience.

After our swim, we cleaned up best we could in the nearby restaurant bathroom then had dinner. The restaurant was on the beach (I wish I remembered the name!) and was open-air. As the faint coastal breeze blew in, we were served on tables made of huge, raw slabs of lacquered wood. They were gorgeous. I had an amazing poke bowl, and after we ate we went around with ice breakers getting to know each other better.

IMG_1861

We got to our hotel later in the evening. As the bus parked and we started gather our stuff, a guy jumped on our bus and said, “Hey everyone, there’s a sloth on the power line above the road!” Turns out this was Matt, co-owner of Under30 Experiences and one of our guides for the week. Not some random guy that likes to alert tourists of interesting local animal activities. I had never been that close to a sloth before, it was hanging maybe 20 feet above the road from a power line, just chilling.

IMG_1863

So that was a pretty cool greeting.

At the hotel we were assigned our rooms and roommates, and settled in. Our rooms were so cute and spacious, with a hammock outside!

After getting settled in and showered up, we congregated by the pool for drinks and waited for Joy and Claire to arrive! YAYYY! When they got there, I was trying so hard not to be a goobery fangirl. It was hard. They were so sweet and gracious, and Claire kept remarking how awkward it is to introduce yourself to people who already know who you are, #sofamous. But they seemed exactly like I had imagined them from listening to the podcast for the past couple years – friendly, approachable, and fun. We all chatted with Joy and Claire for a bit, and then hit the hammocks. I was exhausted from the long day and the red-eye, and had no issues dropping off like a rock.

The next morning I woke up early-ish after a solid night of sleep and had breakfast. The breakfast was awesome. We had an option of an American-style of bacon, eggs, fruit, and toast, or the traditional Gallo Pinto that consists of eggs, rice and beans, a fresh tortilla, and plantians. I mean, COME ON that’s no contest. Give me all the plantains!

We then loaded up on the local bus to head to Manuel Antonio National Park for a nature hike, a beach workout, and some beach time. The nature walk did not disappoint. We saw all sorts of birds, some sloths, and TONS of monkeys! They were everywhere on the beach, and when we were workout out they kept trying to get in our stuff. I didn’t realize that they were so aggressive when it comes to food, and I had brought in some snacks to the park because, you know, you bring snacks on a hike and beach day, right? Anyway, I was nervous that my hidden snacks would attract the monkeys, but we were close enough to our bags and our stuff was safe.

img_1886

After the nature hike we gathered on the beach for another beach partner WOD

img_1892

Trade off with a partner on 5 Rounds of:

  • 36 jumping lunges (regular lunges for me)
  • 12 v-ups (situps for me)

MEANWHILE, every EMOM stop and do 12 burpees

Again, we all got super sandy. It was hard keeping my footing in the deep sand! After a few minutes Donny changed the EMOM movement from burpees to mountain climbers. I think my partner and I finished at around 9 or 10 minutes, because we lost count of how many burpees and mountain climbers we did! We cheered the rest of the groups on (at this point the EMOM changed to tuck jumps, SO glad I had finished already!) and then we all hit the water to de-sand and cool off.

After chilling in the water a bit, Donny organized a trail run for whoever wanted to go. I was pretty hot, but I really wanted to go on the run. The run was a short loop around the peninsula the beach was on, and we did 2 loops, so maybe 30 minutes, complete with lots of ups & downs (I love the downs!) and some gorgeous views of the ocean. I was totally the caboose and at one point Donny came back to make sure I was okay. I was starting to feel a bit dehydrated; my legs were super heavy and I felt sooo hot. We made it back to the group and he gave me some of his ice water, since my bottle was empty. WOW that ice water made a difference, and I was starting to feel a bit better. Pro tip: when you think you have enough water, bring some more anyway.

After the runners had jumped back in the ocean and cleaned up, we packed it in for lunch in a nearby restaurant. As we were walking out of the park, we passed by vendors selling coconut water … from real coconuts.

img_1896

There seriously is no better way to get your coconut water.

I had a beer with my lunch, which was delicious at the time but later maybe not the best move when I was already feeling dehydrated. We headed back to the hotel on the local bus, and on the way had the option to stop at a local coffee shop for some afternoon coffee. Um, YES. I had an iced coffee and the most amazing chocolate avocado mousse. Then we went back to the hotel where I promptly jumped into the pool.

After floating in the warm water and hanging out with everyone,  I got changed for dinner and hit up happy hour.

img_1897

Because why have one pina colada when you can have two? Dinner was a traditional casados with rice, beans, a green salad, fresh tortilla, veggies, and I chose pork as my meat. So, so good.

After dinner we hung out by the pool and recorded a podcast with Joy and Claire! It was crazy awesome to watch as well as listen. You could see their gestures and expressions where you can only guess what’s happening when you’re listening. It added another element to the show for sure! The podcast is Episode 197 of Girls Gone WOD Podcast if you want to listen! The best part was listening to the episode after it was released when I got home, and getting to live a little slice of this amazing week again!

Okay, I’ve bored you enough with Part One of my adventures. Go make it a great day, and I’ll see you again with Part Two!

On the Brain Lately #1

Greetings, blog-land. Today felt like a good day to ramble about some stuff I’ve been enjoying lately. Sort of a “favorites” round-up without the link-up because I’m lazy and sort of anti-social, even in the blogosphere. But I do want to share some cool stuff with you.

This bowl. I just ordered a set of Calibowls on Amazon, and I’m loving it. True story, for the past 4 years or so we’ve been surviving with just 3 cereal bowls in our sparse little cupboard. First world problems, I know. But I had one too many moments of having to reach for a bowl with a hot or dripping something or other in my hands, and that was just unacceptable, especially if (when) I was in a less-than-rational mood. So now I can pile on the berries without spillage!

IMG_8590 Just missing some homemade whipped cream.

Next up, The Skimm: (<- kind of an affiliate link, I get a pat on the back if you use it to sign up). If you know me, you know I don’t follow the news. I just hate how it’s all just sensationalist stories and biased journalism. I do want to know what’s going on in the world good and bad, but to skim through your typical Google News and it just freaks me out and depresses me. Enter The Skimm. Just a quick and light-hearted dose of all the big stuff going on, with lots of adds guides and background info to get you caught up on, I don’t know, the Iran nuclear talks and stuff. It’s great, and the first thing I read in the morning. Yes, even before I check Instagram.

skimm

And then there’s this article about female strength training. I think I found it from a Facebook link. The author, a guy, talks about how disappointing most of the women’s fitness media is when prescribing how women should train to look good. His stance is if you want to look like a badass, train like one. Don’t eat “rabbit food” while doing teeny muscle isolations with 3 lb dumbbells (not that there’s anything wrong with that if you do; just don’t expect physique miracles), but do whole body strength work. When you focus on strength, the rest will come. I found it very refreshing that a guy acknowledges how disappointing women’s fitness magazines and articles can be. The best line from the article:

“The nefarious old way of doing things is still the norm. And if Susan B. Anthony were alive and lifting—which I’m pretty sure she would be—she’d vomit a little in her mouth. I’m a dude and it pisses me off. I can’t imagine how angry and frustrated it makes women.”

Too much awesome there. Oh, and I totally perform and love the four strength goals he suggests. Keep it simple, kids.

Finally, PaleOMG is hosting a paleo retreat in Costa Rica. I think Juli Bower must have picked up on my “I need a tropical vacation” signals I’ve been sending to the universe. I am totally going, once I get financial approval from the Family CFO (aka Hulk). But since we bought a house and stuff, I probably have like a 9% chance of scraping the beans together to make it happen. In the meantime, I’ll just keep looking at this picture:

costa rica beach(from Pinterest)

Anyone want to come with me? Seriously, let’s do it.

Time to make the Friday magic happen. Go make it a great day, kids!