Starting a new path in life is really, really hard.

This is the story of someone looking to start getting healthier and live longer, as they told it to me. “Jim” is a pseudonym, and he doesn’t like the internet, or writing, or even talking about himself. But this is his story, through his eyes. Missed the first one? Start here.

*****

What kinda gym IS this, anyway?!

Last night our “gym family” got together for carne asada, grilled veggies, and beer. Yes, beer.

There’s a CrossFit competition starting at the end of February. I’m nowhere near ready to do CrossFit competitions, and probably never will be. Nor will I want to. But we got invited to this gym party, so we went. The Coaches of the gym split up into two teams and picked randomly everyone who wanted to participate.

I recognized a couple of people who were put on my team – they go to noon group. Now they’re planning to dress up for the themed events. So I went on the CrossFit Games site and registered my wife and I to do this competition. Seriously, it feels crazy just saying that. But we’re doing all the workouts already, and I guess these are just harder ones. The coach on Thursday said we’ll just modify them the same way we modify every workout, and it’s only 20 bucks, and there are some pretty fun themes “dress like a Coach” is my favorite one. If you’d asked me last month, I would have said, “I don’t need more friends”–that’s not why I joined a gym–but you can’t help liking these people. One lady named Flo hugs me every time she sees me. I had to miss happy hour to go to workout, but it was better anyway.

My wife’s schedule always gets crazy at work before tax season, so she had to stop coming to noon group. She’s going to try going to the 6am class, but honestly I don’t think that’s going to work. If it doesn’t, I’m not sure what she’s going to do. She has to have her CrossFit. I’m still fine to make noon groups about 3 times a week.

If you looked in our window on Thursday nights, you’d probably get a good laugh. There we are, Mr. and Mrs. Fitness, watching our CrossFit videos on a laptop and stretching. My coach told me to stretch again on Saturday while I was watching people exercise, good grief! So there I was: rolling around on a lacrosse ball to loosen up my hips.

I’m struggling a bit to eat all the vegetables I’m supposed to be eating. And meeting the boys for a donut on Saturday is starting to give me a bit of stress. I’ll ask a Coach about it next time; I’m working pretty hard and I don’t want to keep going backward. The other hard part is drinking a glass of water every time I have a coffee; that’s a LOT of water. But no one’s selling me supplements or anything (I was totally on the lookout for that) so our food bill hasn’t gone up at all.  I think I’ll ask my wife to figure out how much we’re actually paying and post that on the next blog.

Starting a new path in life is really, really hard.

This is the story of someone looking to start getting healthier and live longer, as they told it to me. “Jim” is a pseudonym, and he doesn’t like the internet, or writing, or even talking about himself. But this is his story, through his eyes. Missed the first one? Start here.

*******

Well, I know my month is up at my “old” gym, because they’re calling me to sign up. Funny how they’re all over me when the bills come due. I’m just ignoring their calls.

I finally got on the scale at Proper (I can’t remember the name, but it looks like a rocket ship) and it said I have — well, more fat than I thought. My wife won’t even show me her printout. I guess it’s a starting point.

When I started writing down the changes I’ve made, I thought I had maybe two new things to report. But now that I think about it, I have a list: I started adding a vegetable to almost every meal. We have fruit for dessert. I keep water on my desk (it’s just in a plastic cup from Starbucks, not a fancy bottle, but my wife got a bottle at Target. And I went to a group class. I’ll talk about that in a minute.

The first thing is that I feel good. Underline “Good” there. What I thought was “feeling good” before was really just “feeling okay”–I thought that was normal. But I get up before my alarm in the morning now, I don’t dread work, and coffee seems to have a much greater effect on me than it did before. My coach told me I could take a nap in the afternoon, but some days I don’t even feel like it. Here’s the funny part: I actually get — not excited, exactly, but I’m happy to go to the gym. I actually look forward to it.

We’re doing a bunch of different stuff now. When I go to do my workouts with the coach, we do something different every time. Still haven’t done a bench press at Proper, but I did power cleans and push presses the other night, and those were rough. My back was stiff the next day–but like a muscle soreness, like I worked hard. I usually only get that from moving boxes at home.

Part of our homework this week was to try a group class. Same kind of workouts we’ve been doing with our coach: we learn, we practice something, and then we sweat. But a group is way different. Our coach recommended the noon group, which was a bit tight time-wise, but we made it on Wednesday. Good crew. Turns out our son played football with the son of one of the other guys. I swear Corona has one degree of separation: if I don’t know you, I know someone who knows you. And not just at City Hall, ha.

So we start doing a warmup, and by the end I’m already tired. The coach sent us over to get a barbell from the rack, and this guy shakes my hand (actually most of them did) and hands me a bar. I set up on a wooden platform behind him and went through the coach’s instructions. She tells us exactly what to do, and I was also watching this other guy. We lifted some weights and chatted between sets–lots of middle-aged guys in that group, and I also used to work with the father of one of the guys. It was easy to fit in. No muscle-heads or any of the crazy CrossFit guys we saw on TV.

So then the coach tells us “time for the workout” and I was thinking, “Uh, wasn’t THAT the workout?” She sets us up for pull-ups (I knew how to do a substitute from our one-on-one sessions) and thrusters, where you squat with the bar on your chest and then press it overhead. I just used the bar, but the other guys used different weights. Some used less, but a big guy named Matt did some monster weight–definitely over a hundred pounds.

The coach started a clock, and we had to do 21 thrusters, then 21 pull-ups. Then you don’t get a break, and you have to do 15 of each, and then 9 of each, and then look at the clock and record your time. Mine was around 5:00. I wrote it on the whiteboard. I beat some of the guys (but they were using more weight and doing real pull-ups) including the one who handed me the barbell. Get this: turns out he owns the place! I joked to my wife later that I was already crushing the owner, and I was going to go to the CrossFit Games next year probably.

She said I’m “drinking the kool-aid”, a term she found on some website. There’s a big joke that CrossFit is a cult. I’m already hearing it a bit from the guys at work. I told them they should come and do it with me. That just leads to more cult jokes.

Next step: we’re buying shorts this weekend.

Starting a new path in life is really, really hard.

This is the story of someone looking to start getting healthier and live longer, as they told it to me. “Jim” is a pseudonym, and he doesn’t like the internet, or writing, or even talking about himself. But this is his story, through his eyes. Missed the first one? Start here.

*********

I took a day off yesterday. I was really sore. Made the mistake of getting on the scale. I know I shouldn’t expect to see results so soon, but…nothing. I’m not discouraged, but was kinda hoping for a miracle.

My wife is pumped, though. She went to do a workout with her friend at another gym. She came home and said, “Jimmy, you’d LOVE it. Lots of guys your age lifting weights.”

So I asked her what the difference was. I thought it was going to be like a step class or something. She texted me a postcard. The headline: “The Happy Gym”, whatever that’s supposed to mean. I’m not trying to get happy or make friends or any of that stuff. I’m just trying to drop a few pounds.

I’m happy enough. At least, I’m not unhappy. Great, I’m going to be thinking about that my whole shift.

I have friends at pickup hockey–or I did. I haven’t gone for a couple of years. Maybe I should get back into that, but I’ll get back in shape first. Plus I probably gained more weight from the beer after than I lost from playing anyway.

My wife is going back to Proper tomorrow to have a meeting. They’ll probably give her a sales pitch. I don’t know why they charge like double what I’m paying at this gym, but she’s excited so I’m not going to bring it up. There’s worse things she could be spending the money on, trust me.

**********

OK, my wife signed up at Proper. She’s doing some 1:1 training to get going. She’s really excited about it, and brought home this piece of paper to show me her body fat, water volume, muscle weight and stuff. It tells you how many calories you’d burn in a day if you were just watching Netflix on the couch. She told me I should go do the test too. I’d be scared to know, haha.

But seriously, they told her I could come to the first session with her. So I’m torn: I don’t want to look dumb in front of her (cause I’m THE MAN, right?) On the other hand, if she’s going to start this Proper stuff, I probably don’t want to let her get way ahead of me. If I’m going to try it, now’s the time.

And I’ve got to admit something here: since we both started working out a couple of weeks ago, things are better between us. We talk about our workouts. We went grocery shopping together on Sunday. I didn’t really see it before, but I had my guard up about some stuff, and talking about fitness has really made us both open up a bit. Man, if you can’t be vulnerable with your wife, who CAN you be vulnerable with?

Valentine’s Day is coming. I know that doing stuff with her is better than buying her chocolates or flowers. So I’ll probably go with her and see what they do. I’ve been pretty consistent for three weeks, so I don’t think they’re going to kill me.

***********

Well, we’ve done TWO sessions at Proper. There’s this private gym where you go in with your coach, so it was just him and us.  We had to do squats (way harder than you think, I can’t walk today) and then this little seven-minute challenge. No joke, we were in and out in about 50 minutes.

We went back the next day. I was pretty sore, but we did other stuff. I was pretty good at the deadlift and got to show off a bit, which was great. Another super short workout, but it’s HARD. Like harder than 90 minutes doing weight machines and cardio at the gym. I already see that there’s a huge difference between what I was doing and whatever this is called. It’s not cheap, but I get it now. It’s like personal training plus a bunch of homework to do between workouts.

Today my “homework” was to watch a video on nutrition and clean out our cupboards. Seems pretty easy. I’m bringing some boxes home from work and we’ll do that after dinner. Woooo, big plans for midweek! Better than watching Netflix, I guess.

I also got this funny “badge” in my emails for logging in to the website and watching a video. I guess you have to reward old guys for pressing buttons, haha. I stopped learning when I threw out my Betamax.

*********

Well, we cleaned out our cupboards. I have a truckload of stuff for the Soup Kitchen today. I guess we’re lucky to be able to afford all this stuff that we don’t actually need. Cupboards are pretty empty. But we had fun doing it: we had a glass of wine and started talking about the gym. Then–this is the REALLY funny part–we went to Netflix and saw a documentary about CrossFit. It’s like I’m in a cult and I can’t escape it anywhere.

Homework today is to go into the gym and do a little workout on our own. My wife and I are on different schedules today, so I have to go alone. I’m going to try and go right at noon, because I know there’s a big noon group. I can get in and out without drawing any attention to myself. It’s a CrossFit group, and if they’re doing anything like what I saw on Netflix, I’m staying far away. Those people are NUTS!

Hoping I can kinda watch them while I do my own workout today. Actually, I’m just hoping I can figure out how to turn the clock on by myself without the coach.

The best news, though: I’m not exhausted at night. I used to collapse after dinner and wake up after an hour. Last night I was totally alert and we had a few laughs while we put cereal boxes away. We actually had a conversation. That’s something they should put on the website.

Starting a new path in life is really, really hard.

This is the story of someone looking to start getting healthier and live longer, as they told it to me. “Jim” is a pseudonym, and he doesn’t like the internet, or writing, or even talking about himself. But this is his story, through his eyes. Missed the first one? Start here.

**********

Alright, I joined a gym. It wasn’t that bad.

I went the first day and did a bunch of the machines. I kinda just watched what everyone else was doing and copied them when they left. Some of it even came back to me.

On the second day, I did some bench press. I used to do pretty good at bench press–there were a bunch of guys who went to LA Fitness off Hamner, and I went with them once. I don’t know any of those guys anymore, but I still remember how to bench. Then I did some leg presses. I don’t know if you’re supposed to do those things together or not, but everything sure hurts today.

The really painful part was signing up. Man, they want you to buy that contract, don’t they? But I insisted on paying for one month to try it. It cost me three times as much, but no way I’m paying for something that I’m not going to use. And it’s already obvious that most people drop out pretty quick.

My wife is trying not to push too hard, but I can tell she’s excited. She’s going to go to a workout with one of the girls from work at lunchtime. She’s nervous about it, but I told her “If I can go to the gym, you can go to a new gym.” So we’re kinda supporting each other here.

I’m going to need to get a program sooner or later. There are personal trainers at this gym–they’re all kids. I see them walking around with their shaker bottles and looking at themselves in the mirror. I guess I’ll probably ask one of them for a program to follow. Do they charge extra for that? Probably.

Starting a new path in life is really, really hard.

This is the story of someone looking to start getting healthier and live longer, as they told it to me. “Jim” is a pseudonym, and he doesn’t like the internet, or writing, or even talking about himself. But this is his story, through his eyes. If you missed Part One, read it here.

********

What the hell was I thinking?

I got my diet book in the mail. There are some ripped dudes on the front. And a chick in a bikini–you know, the same cover as every diet book. She’s holding an apple.

I hate apples.

Men don’t go on diets. My mom goes on diets.

I don’t even know how I’d keep a salad fresh at work. I guess there’s a fridge out front, but I’ve never seen any of the guys use it.

I actually left the diet book in my truck, because I don’t know how to bring it up to my wife. She’ll be all for it, I know. I just don’t want her to get too excited, know what I mean? I might just chuck the book and join a gym. At least that’s easier to explain. I can say, “Yeah, I used to like the gym” to my wife instead of “I want to lose weight because all the guys you work with are young and fit.” Or even because “My arm keeps going numb when I’m stressed at work.” No way. Gym it is.

Same deal: I’m going to find the cheapest one, try it for a month, and then see if I’m using the membership. I should have done this when I worked at the Plant, because I think they paid for my membership. Obviously that didn’t work though.

What will I do when I show up? I need a program that will make me WANT to go to the gym. And I probably need some sweat pants. My wife will buy those for me. She’ll get behind this.

Last hurdle: how do I tell her that I want to do this alone, because I can’t stand to be embarrassed in front of her?

Starting a new path in life is really, really hard.

This is the story of someone looking to start getting healthier and live longer, as they told it to me. “Jim” is a pseudonym, and he doesn’t like the internet, or writing, or even talking about himself. But this is his story, through his eyes.

********

You don’t have to tell me why I need to get rid of this beer gut. I already know.

My wife hates it. I’m not the man she married. I think she might stick around out of habit more than desire.

My doctor hates it. He told me to lose 30 pounds before I came to see him again. I think he was trying “tough love” on me, but it sounded like “quit wasting my time and clogging up my waiting room.” I know this is my problem to solve. Other people who are really sick are out there, and I feel guilty every second they have to wait for me to get my act together.

And I hate it. I hate avoiding the pool when my kid’s hockey team is staying in a hotel. I hate making excuses to avoid running or playing hockey myself.

But I also hate looking like an idiot. I don’t have “gym clothes” or even “gym shoes”. I have these old Nikes that I wear when I’m cutting grass. There’s paint on my sweatpants. I don’t want to go buy a bunch of Under Armor stuff, join a gym for a week, and then quit so the stuff can collect dust. I have money, but I hate wasting it. Besides, I already have that treadmill in the basement, and I never use it. No one does. Why would a gym be any different?

So I’m going to start by ordering a diet book online. I figure if I can stick to a diet for a full month–like, be really strict–then I’ll prove to myself that I can do it. No sense committing to a gym membership if I can’t stop eating chips at night. I know that. At least I never smoked. I have some friends who had to give that up, and they couldn’t do it.

I’m not sure how to even say to my wife, “I need help losing weight” because I’m scared she’ll roll her eyes at me. If I start and then can’t do it, that might be the final straw for her. She might see me as a loser. If I do it and lose weight, she might get suspicious, because “why NOW?” I’m torn. I’m going to try to just clean up my diet in secret, I guess. But she’ll see the book, so I have to tell her. All the gurus say I should tell someone to keep me accountable anyway.

So I’ll spend today looking for diet books, and start there.

Do you know how much you’re really improving your health? How much your quality of life is benefiting from an hour of exercise? How much the food you eat is impacting your life in the long run?

I tell new people everyday, CrossFit is life changing, if you let it be.

CrossFit is a lifeboat on the ocean of Chronic Disease. High Blood Pressure. Obesity. Diabetes… you name it and CrossFit is an elegant solution to  saving yourself. A little bit a moving. A little bit of eating better.

So do you really know how amazing you are? For getting to the gym regardless of all the other priorities in your life? You make time for the most important person, yourself.

Keep on showing up. Thank you.

Love,

Coach Christian.

The weekend has been full of fundraising and fitness.

Friday we attended the Tim Tebow’s Night To Shine Prom at CrossRoads Church as a “date” to someone with an intellectual disabillity.
Saturday we had our Row-A-Thon to Destroy Duchenne.

All I want to say is that fitness drips into even more parts of your life than you think. What starts off as constant soreness and learning what a Snatch is, turns into healthier eating and gratitude daily for the amazing body you’ve been given. If you’re lucky, you catch an ABC Hopes (dis)ABILITIES Fitness class in action and multiply those feelings by x238092183!  If you haven’t started, today is a great day.

 

We’re all guilty of it, but let’s put it into numbers.

7 days in a week.
5 days out of the week nutrition and exercise on point (maybe 4 1/2, for those of us that get wild Friday Night).
2 days of binging with food and drinks.

71%.

That means a quarter of your time isn’t focused toward your goals. That means you could be getting 29% faster to your goals. That means there’s room for improvement!

Imagine what would happen if you dropped it to one single day or just ONE meal… probably amazing things. If you need help, book some time here.

Fitness is all about consistency. No one get’s healthier or fitter off of a single meal or one tough workout. It’s the grind of committing to the process day in and day out, hopefully for the rest of your life to improve your quality of life. Here’s a couple of things I’ve done recently in 2018 to get consistently consistent.

  • Meal prep containers. This is such an easy one. It’s like packing your lunch, but for fit people. These are the ones I use. There’s three compartments to keep it simple. Big space is for your veggies. Use half of one small space for a light starch (sweet potato, brown rice, etc.) Other space is for your protein (I max this one out, but adjust to your personal goals). Voila!
  • Set alarms for specific things. If you don’t get specific time will just run away. I set alarms to write, to do office work, to workout, to do mobility. It acts as a trigger for my most important tasks.
  • Pack your clothes. How many of you have gone home to get your change of clothes, but get sucked onto the couch watching Netflix…. Pack your clothes and head straight here!
  • Practice one movement for a week. For some it’s abs, others its the rower… Whatever it might be, do it everyday, do it Proper, and it’ll turn into a habit.

It’s simple, not easy.
That’s why you should work with a coach! Schedule a time here to talk about how to get consistent.

Even though CrossFit is constantly varied, we do get into our habits. We show up, we do mobility, we warm-up, hit the WOD, then chat for a sec with friends and head home.

Repeat.

These habits are great because we’re exercising at least an hour a day with functional movements at a high intensity, it also can lead to some bad ones. The biggest one in my opinion after a couple years is being forgetful.

Not forgetful in putting your equipment away (even though some of you do have that problem! Ha!) It’s forgetting that CrossFit is scalable.

If you aren’t feeling super great that day.
If a part of your body is achy or in pain.
Or if you’ve just been doing this for 2+ years.

Don’t forget CrossFit is scalable.

You don’t have to grind yourself into the ground. PR. Even, hit the RXd workout if it sacrifices your mental and/or physical health. We’re in this for the long haul and we hope you are too.

 

Welcome to 2018.

Every year we pick a theme for the year to reflect the goal as a box to move forward. At first it was #BuildAFitCommunity, then it was #DoTheHardThings, last year it was #FunNGains. This year, we’re #ChasingHappiness.

So the first thing you need to ask yourself is, what makes you happy? To most of us on our health and fitness grind, happy looks like building muscle, losing weight, and performing better in the WODs. Hitting new PRs are a bonus, but so is seeing your first set of abs or dropping a pant size. At the surface level those are great, but what really makes you happy? Some people love that they have more energy at work, the ability to play with their kids/grandkids, and even the fact that they are building meaningful relationships through burpees and barbells… Happiness can be anything.

Whatever it looks like to you, CrossFit Proper is here to walk with you on this endless pursuit of Happiness. Cheers to 2018!

 

We’ve done this every year, writing down a list of goals, revelations, and milestones you will hit in the coming year. And every year, most people don’t finish that list.

We don’t think it’s because lack of motivation.

We think it’s because you need a Coach. Whether it’s spirituality, nutrition, fitness, finances, relationships, accountability is the name of the game.

How would the first 100 days of the year look if someone was holding your hand (or kicking you in the behind) when you need it most?

See you in 2018!

There’s not much choice to make it’s either you do or you don’t.

Here are a couple of ways to make it through the “funk”:

  • scale the weights or don’t use any weights at all.
  • scale the intensity – this is recognizing you don’t want to workout, so don’t push the pace too much.
  • do something fun you haven’t done in a while.
  • substitute a movement for one you love.

You know the right answer. Now the question is, which shoes are you going to wear? 🙂

We saw Start Wars: The Last Jedi this past weekend. It was an epic journey of trials, tribulations, and fighting the good fight. Minus all the light sabers and x-wing fighters, there is something we can take away from this epic series.

Life is a series of failures, setbacks, and what seems like the end.

But if we keep pushing through, keep fighting, and stay on course it will always work out in the end.

Just like your nutrition and fitness might have slumped a bit this holiday season, don’t let it push you over to the dark side. If you look at the macro of this whole thing (let’s say 2 weeks of eating christmas cookies) that is a TINY fraction of your life’s health and fitness.

It may seem like the death star is blowing up all of your gains, but don’t let it blow up your hope.

See you in the box & may the force be with you! 🙂

Do you write down your schedule or just wing it on the daily? For those of you that do, have you ever done the math on how much you actually need to workout?

A one hour workout takes 4% of your day.

In that perspective it seems like such a minuscule thing right? The crazy thing is, that’s not the toughest part to get through, it’s the other 96%. Nutrition, hydration, stretching, and also adulting are the big obstacles you need to conquer.

So the real question is what are you doing with the other 96%?

Seriously, have you ever seen a baby squat?

It is perfection.

Upright torso. Knees tracking the toes. On the heels. Up & down in a damn near straight line.

It is a beautiful thing. Partly it’s because they are so weak (not much muscle built up when you’re born!), but these are a reflection of natural movements. We didn’t make up these exercises, it’s embedded in our DNA.

If you haven’t seen a baby squat, go find one (preferably one you know, ha!) and tell them to pick something up.
Then try to mimic them, so you too can squat like a baby again.

Is it grey hair?
Is it brittle bones?
Is it eating jello and pudding everyday?

It’s none of those things because most of the time we can make those better.

It’s when you stop trying to fight to improve your quality of life. We can’t teach someone how to work hard and keep on moving forward, even if it’s only a step at a time. But we can teach them how to squat safely and eat a little better at a time.

The ultimate goal for most of us at the top of the pyramid of fitness isn’t sport, it’s life.

Being able to run, jump, squat, play with your grand kids, and hike up a mountain if you wanted to.
Basically not letting the physical side of things limit you to the fruits of life.

The man himself, Greg Glassman (we call him Coach) has an elegant way of putting this.
“This stuff is for anyone, but it’s not for everyone.”

It’s never too late to get moving.
So how old is too old?
We guess it’s only when you think you are.

Nowadays we focus so much on the negative things. 

“What didn’t I get done today?”
“How much did the other person do?”
“Geez, I only did 45 lbs. today…”

First off, 45 lbs. is still 45 lbs. so be proud of whatever weight you’re moving! 

Gratitude is an important aspect in our lives. Especially if you’re a Helper

Gratitude is even more important to practice on yourself. Enter Bright Spots. 

I want you to search for something you did RIGHT today. If you’re like me, some days it might be extremely difficult to see how the heck there’s a bright spot in your tornado of a week, but there is. 

These literally light up our day and our path to the next accomplishment. So I challenge you to illuminate your life with Bright Spots.

Proper’s doors have been open going into 9 years now and it’s core values haven’t really changed.

One of them, is helping the community. We have created this amazing community of fit individuals to be able to give back to others in need or fight for causes that we believe in.

Here are a couple of causes we’re proud to have helped;

We’ve created this box as a home for many to get healthy and fit, but it’s bigger than barbells and burpees.

It’s a platform to Help First.
Have a beautiful day! Back to helping.


For those of you looking to improve your current fitness: schedule a time with us here.
For those of you who haven’t even started your fitness journey: schedule a time with us here.


Get daily Proper Thoughts by subscribing to here.