Friday, June 8, 2018

Why Go Keto?

Funny you ask that... I have been asking myself the same question. Which is why I was reluctant to try it. I did watch a pretty good documentary call "Magic Little Pill" that talks about the benefits of low carb, high fat, medium protein lifestyles. Its pretty good... I also think its important to change things up every now and again to keep the body going... in the long run I know this is not sustainable for me. However if it works to change my composition a bit... it was worth it.

One of my issues (prior to Keto), I was leaning too much on "processed food" even though I was eating healthy. I had a lot of oats, greek yogurt and protein powders to hit my numbers. While I wasnt actually eating a lot of breads and still no pastas, there was still a lot of sugar in my diet and it was causing me to plateau. Maybe doing this will help me to eliminate the "junk" so when I do go back to macro counting, I will look for my carb sources elsewhere. I also cheated way to often and found myself back in the “eh, Ill just have a piece of this cake…” or “ohh someone brought in donuts” camp. I don’t like feeling weak to the cravings.

I do not feel as if I am damaging my metabolism at all doing this, since I just spent months “repairing” it with Avatar. The repair was from years of eating too little (less than 1600 calories) for me... Using avatar, I built my calories up gradually to 1800 without gaining any weight. From this point, I am trying to lean out some more, burn some fat in the areas I can spare to lose... and see what happens. I will not be in a caloric deficit at all, so it will not undo what I have done.  

To me "dieting" is a temporary solution, or a kickstart to a lifestyle change or when you are in a lull towards whatever your goals are. Changing your lifestyle is something more permanent. If whatever it is you are doing to lose weight or lower blood pressure is considered a "diet" you are almost always looking for a means to an end. It is a temporary solution and will be difficult and painful to maintain... if you however, change your lifestyle... and understand what you are doing is a permanent solution and you work towards that... you will not fall back into the habits that got you into the situation in the first place... if that makes any sense. 

There are many many lifestyles out there and different things work for different peoples lifestyles. There are some things (I feel Keto is one for me) that is a temporary "diet" that might kickstart a change... Not that I dont think I "can" sustain it, because realistically I could... but I really dont want to. I have already expressed my concerns with Hibs about how I liked the flexibility of macro counting and "flexible" dieting because if I wanted to have an ice cream with Z... I can just track it and adjust for the day. That is the most frustrating part of this whole thing. I dont like elimination lifestyles... This is pretty much just a test to see what happens over the next few months... 

I have the ability to do this because I know that I eat for fuel, the “cheats” are rewards that come every now and again… it’s a challenge I accepted years ago. The first change I made to my lifestyle is what changed my mindset forever. 7 years ago I went strict paleo for 6 months. I had ZERO cheat meals... for 6 months. That means I had no booze, no cheese, no potato, no startch, no bread, no peanut butter and no dairy at all... for 6 months. I lost 40lbs. When I did this, I won the mental battle. I knew what I needed to do to lose the weight I wanted to lose. I had to get over the mental block of not having cake at a party and not feeling guilty... or not having a beer, but ordering water or seltzer at the bar with my friends. It was a HUGE mental game. 

A few years later when I was training for the CF Regionals, my coach got me into Eat To Perform. This is when the mental game that I had learned years before came into affect. He had me eating HUGE amounts of food. I thought he was insane. I mean I was STUFFED all day and then had to eat more because he told me to (understand this was all calculated). I had no choice but to trust the process. I had to trust that my coach knew what he was doing. Wouldnt you know... I LOST weight and I LOST body fat... it was amazing. 

Now, I have a much easier time trying new things and changing my lifestyle slightly. The mind game I played when I went strict paleo for 6 months (and I really dont think it has to be that long for it to happen, maybe just 8 weeks) was enough for me to listen to myself. When I was losing weight and getting closer to my goals, it was easier and easier to say no to the crap sitting on the table at work... and get over the hairy eyeball I got/get when I bring my own food to a company lunch conference. I dont feel guilty anymore. 

Society has everyone in the world thinking about "caloric deficit is what makes you lose weight" and while that is true... everyones caloric deficit is different. Plus, if you add exercise to that... you have to RAISE the number of calories you eat, otherwise your body goes into starvation mode. As I mentioned before... and I do realize that my basal metabolic rate is so high because of how low my body fat is... but at 1700 cals... if I only ate 1200... my body would preserve everything I gave it and I would surely plateau in fat loss and really risk losing muscle. 

Keto is crazy, I still do not understand how this works. I have been scoffing down ridiculous amounts of fat... we are talking 138g of fat a day... and Im maintaining my weight. I am still eating 1800 calories... but only 70g of carbs... I know I do not want to sustain it as a long term lifestyle change. My lifestyle does not work with it... but for the next 30 days I am giving it a go to see what it does with my body composition. I know what was working before... and I know I have the mental capacity to go back to it. 
but damn... not licking the spoon when I mix together Zach's yogurt and peanut butter is VERY hard!! 

I am always up for a "challenge" and I like trying new things. Lots of people do Keto for extreme weight loss, I am not really in it for that. I am in it to see what it does to my body composition. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Let the Ketosis Begin...

Its been a while since I have posted, as I have been busy with life with a 3 year old... the gym, work and all the fun-ness of life. I have however started a new "treck" and I wanted to write about it in the case that anyone is interested in reading. Honestly, not even sure if anyone follows my blog anymore... but if anything, its for me to be able to look back on.

I have had much success over the last year using Avatar Nutrition ( as a guide to counting macros. Avatar is a flexible dieting tool that recalculates your macros weekly based on your goals. Its really nice because it adjust as you adjust and if you want to change settings from "weight loss" to "lean muscle gain" you can do it with the click of a button. The system knows where you have been and where you are going... so it adapts. In the year I was on it, I have been able to loose, gain and maintain when appropriate for me. My body has really responded to the way it works. I would consider it a huge success. Additionally, I have been able to guide a few of my friends in the right direction... helping them to understand how important food is to us and that eating less, is not always going to give you the results that you are expecting.  That in fact, your body needs food more when you are working out... and so on.

Anyway. While I have been on this adventure with Avatar, Hubs has been on a little adventure on his own. He started following Keto. I hate calling these things "diets" because I dont feel that is what they are. I feel they are important lifestyle changes we take on to enhance our lives and make ourselves feel better and be healthier. In the last few weeks... while he has been doing this, I have noticed that he has lost some weight, his mood has increased and he has become much more focused at whatever task he is focusing on. He seems a little less short tempered and he is actually going to bed at a reasonable hour... thus making him less cranky because he is sleeping more. All in all, he is showing all the "signs" of a Keto lifestyle that you read about. From my perspective, the changes in his mood even outweigh the weight loss... though I am sure they are aiding each other.

He mentioned to me that he wanted me to give it a go. I have been reluctant, as I have been having success with Avatar. I didnt want to mess with a good thing. I like the flexibility of Avatar and macro counting.  In the event that I want to have an ice cream with Z, I am not at risk of knocking myself out of Ketosis. Now, back years ago... when Hubs and I lost a ton of weight with Paleo, we were just the two of us. It was pretty easy to purge the house of everyone non-paleo and just deal. Now, with Z... not so much. I will not restrict my sons diet. I do want him to eat healthy, but I will not not give him a popsicle on a hot day... or goldfish for a snack. He has no health issues... and I dont want him to have any issues with food as he grows. The hard part... handing over a popsicle, and not taking a lick... cutting the crust off the PBJ and not taking a bite (Im a snacker) before throwing the rest away... and not having some of the popcorn he is eating when watching a movie... because sometimes, he just wants to share.

Having said all that, its clear that I have decided to give Keto a shot. It will be 1 week on Keto as of today. I have to be honest and say, I am still not sure about it. Probably because I am not "fat adapted" yet... I think that is what they call it.... and a little because I am still actually trying to understand it myself. Avatar was clear and directive... eat these macros (total carb, total fat, total protein and total fiber) for the day... I dont care how you do it. If you want a popsicle, track it and work it out. Keto is not that simple. In order for it to work, you have to put your body into ketosis... so you have to reduce your carb intake down to minimize your glucose levels. "In the absence of carbs, the liver takes fatty acids in the body and converts them to ketone bodies, also none as ketones, as an energy source. This process is know as ketosis" Basically, when you are in ketosis, the body is running on, and burning, fat.

We went to the Nurtishop in Fitchburg yesterday... and had a InScan body scan done. These are my results.

Probably super hard to read... but it basically tells me that right now (yesterday) I weighed 169lbs and have a BF% of 19.8. There is a lot of other data on there as well. My plan is to follow Keto for the next few weeks (with no cheating... so I remain in Ketosis) and see where I land when I "retest" on June 24th. Im not sure what I am looking for here. It would be nice to lose some of the fat that I have to lose... but I am not hell bent on that. I really woudnt like to lose any strength. My goal with writing this is to log how I am feeling through the process. So here goes. 

Week 1: Not great. Understand that I my calories have pretty much remained the same (1800ish) as they were on Avatar, but I was eating gummy bears before my workout, oatmeal and bananas for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and another snack before bed. Now... I have nothing before my workout, breakfast when I return home from the gym, lunch and then dinner. Saturday I did a little intermittent fasting so I had breakfast and than nothing (but coffee, thank god for coffee) before dinner at 7:30... I was STARVING. At this point, I miss the flexibility of Avatar. I got my son an ice cream on Saturday and couldnt take a bite (or even a lick off the spoon). He had popcorn watching a moving and wanted to share with me... and I had to decline. It kinda broke my heart. I feel tired and sluggish a little... and this mornings workout was kind of a catastrophe. Maybe that means I am in ketosis... and I have to get over the hump. At least that is what I am hoping for. 

Plus sides... the food is delicious. I mean, you cant really go wrong when you add cheese, oil and butter to everything and eat fatty cuts of meat... 

We are on to week two. Trying to remain positive. I can do this. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Open Letter to Crossfit 696

Open Letter to Crossfit 696,

Thank you. Thank you for the most amazing year.

A little over a year ago, I walked into a well-established community, filled with so many new faces, personalities, abilities, friendships and walks of life… and not once did I feel out of place. Right away, I was welcomed, chatted up and made to feel like I belonged. I want each and every one of you to know that you inspire me, you make me a better person, you make me get out of bed at 4:30am (ok… 4:45am) every morning and haul my ass to the gym to train and be a better me.  I couldn’t do it without you.

I competed in the Opens 2017 as a member of 696, but over the last year, by sharing my life with many of you, I feel like I competed in the Opens 2018 as a part of the 696 family. Over the last year, I have laughed with many of you, smiled at all of you and shed tears with a “lucky” few as well. We sweat together, encourage each other, coach each other and stand by holding our breath while we watch each other succeed at things we never thought we would be “good enough” to do. Being part of this community has saved my love for a sport that saved my life. For that, I can not thank you enough.

When the opens ended in 2017, a light ignited within me, my desire to get better, work harder, be stronger was glowing brightly. My family began to thrive on the energy that was coming from our positive experiences within the gym. We were happier. We were stronger. Life was changing.

I made a promise to myself that I was going to work to be the best I could be through the year. I was going to train hard at the things I sucked at. Prove to my boy that when the going gets tough and you are presented with a challenge, you fight. There is nothing you can not do… there are just things you can not do yet. These things, you will need to work harder at. They will hurt and they will be challenging. They will maybe get worse before they get better… and there might be lots and lots of failed attempts… but one day, if you put in the work… it will happen. You will succeed. If you surround yourself with people that share these same goals, they will inspire you. They, without even knowing that they do, will make you try that one last attempt before you quit for the day… or get one more rep before the time runs out. They will give you strength.

With every “first” I witnessed, with every new face in a class, with every PR announced over the year… I got stronger. I wanted to push myself, just as hard. I wanted to give back to the community, my family, as you have done for me. I want to inspire you. I want you to feel what I feel when I see what I see and hear what I hear. I want you to know, that you are making a difference in my life, my workout, my family and my goals.

Our coaching staff is a special group of people… and I strongly feel there are so many “types” of coaches, in and out of the gym. We have that special moment that no other gym I have been to has, where we share something, almost personal, before each workout. Yes, it helps us get to know one another… but in a way, it’s a glimpse for our coaches to know how we function. They get a feel for us. They know what makes our blood pump and what our personality is like, so important for a coach. We are very lucky. The people who dedicate their time daily to encourage us, support us… and kick our asses… they also take the time to get to know us. They invest 100%. They care that we reach for the stars and support us when we miss. They know our goals and want to help us and be there when we reach them.  

I might be as transparent as they come. Im competitive, I don’t like to fail, Im sarcastic… and I will probably accept any challenge if you present it to me. Our coaches… they know that. The feed off of that… and they push me exactly how I need to be pushed to reach the goals I have set for myself. They are there for me when I need them. They let me be when I need to be let be… but they are there to encourage me to forge ahead and see the positive side of whatever it is I just failed at. Im pretty sure, that they coach each and every one of us differently. What works for me, wont work for you… and what is amazing… is they know that. The adapt and they learn from you, for you. That is a rare find.  

I logged my first CrossFit workout on August 6, 2011. Competed in my first Open in 2012. This year was my 6th Open (I didn’t compete the year Zach was born… he was born the day 15.1 was announced, Dr’s frown upon exercising that soon after birth…). My mindset going in to the Open this year was like no other. This year, was for me. For the first time in 7 years, I knew I put in the work, all year, into my weaknesses. I knew I was going to lay it all on the line. I knew I had the support from my husband, coaches and friends to be the best that I could be. I knew the 365 days leading up to this “test” were frustrating, challenging, exciting, painful and amazing. I was ready.

I may not have reached my goal, but hell, I could not be happier with this years performance. There is not one workout that I did not push to perform at the top of my game. There is not one score that I typed in wishing I had “worked on” whatever skill it was through the off season. There is not one regret. The best part of all, was witnessing all of the amazing work put in by everyone who competed and the crazy amount of support that filled the gym with energy and excitement each day the workouts were completed. I could not have performed how I did, been as satisfied as I was, without you. And, being there to help coach you, cheer you on, and celebrate with you… it made me work harder. It made me be the best I could be.

In closing, CrossFit 696, Thank you. Lets continue to work hard, sweat, cry, bleed, laugh and smile together. Lets continue to be the best people we can be, lets inspire each other, cheer each other on… and hell… lets lift some heavy shit!!


P.S. Chris, I know I dont have to tell you this, but you have a remarkable group of people as members of the 696 community. You do an amazing job and your passion shows with every single class you coach. Thank you for doing what you do. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Hello Beautiful

Today is September 1st.

There is something about September 1st that just makes me feel happy and invigorated. Lots of people feel this way at the beginning of the new year, a new beginning… but for me, when the air starts to change, the leaves start to fall and I can sit with my boys and a cup of coffee and a hooded sweatshirt on a Sunday morning. It just makes my heart warm.

Maybe it’s the new school year and the reminder of new sneakers, empty notebooks and the nervous butterfly in your stomach feeling of waiting for the bus on the first day of school. Maybe it’s the fact that the air feels so much lighter, the dampness is lifted and the smell of rain, warm apple pie and chili or pot roast in the crock pot fills it back up. Maybe it’s the fall tones, burnt oranges, deep burgundy and navy blue that resonate with me on a comfort level that I just cant explain. Whatever it is… its my favorite.

I know there are many people that feel the complete opposite. That everything is “dying,” the winter is coming and we have to brace ourselves for the snow. Before we know it there will be images and melodies of the jolly man “Santa” smeared across our television screens and retail stores. Before the turkey is even bought, people start planning their “Black Friday” shopping spree… and before I can even pick out my sons Halloween costume I have people asking me what he needs/wants for Christmas. SLOW IT DOWN PEOPLE. Take a minute to really live in the moment. Take a step back, turn down the “I have to get the best Christmas present at the best price, and the hottest toy” volume and breathe in the cool fall air. Take these moments to wrap up in a blanket and sit outside with a warm drink and your favorite people and listen to the trees. Share stories around the table with your friends and family with no pressure of where you have to take off to next to “make the rounds” and really listen to what they have to say, share stories and smiles of your own. Remember that tomorrow is not a promise, tomorrow is a gift. Jump in leaves, stomp in puddles with your shiny new rain boots, enjoy the laughter.

When I look at the leaves changing color, I don’t see them “dying.” To me, the leaves changing and falling, then dancing across the windows or through the lawn with the breeze signifies life. There is so much vibrancy in the colors, the peak of the life of the leaves, their finale so to speak. Suddenly we are looking at a painting that we are so lucky to see in person, witnessing Gods work right before our eyes. Yes, they fall, yes they are eventually scraped across the grass with rakes and bagged to be taken away… but really, the process isn’t much unlike any person trying to rid themselves of the heaviness of life. The process of “letting go” of the baggage collected through the year/years. It’s a time where we should be prepping our minds and our bodies for the next goal in our life, making room for the beautiful things that are about to take place. The shedding of leaves shows us that its ok to let go… that there will be beauty and good things to come again.  

The fall is a time to stop waiting… it’s the time to initiate change, it’s the time to push to assure that you are ridding yourself from the unneeded stresses of life. It’s the time when life starts all over again. I welcome September with open arms. I welcome the next cycle of my life. I accept the challenges I put forth for myself. I accept that there will be ups and downs, however I am confident that the choices I have made in my life, my experiences and my faith will allow me to get through any and all obstacles. I will slow down. I will sit and enjoy the moments that I will never get to experience again. I will love life.

Hello Beautiful.

Monday, August 21, 2017

No U-Turns

Question of the Day: If you had to describe yourself using a street sign, what street sign would that be?

Are you “under construction?! Do you feel as if you have “dangerous curves?!”

Take some time and think about it. Think about how the world around us can influence thoughts beyond what the “real” meaning of something on the outside could be interpreted as. Stuck in traffic, looking around, seeing a sign and thinking how the phrase “no passing zone” can be applied to other aspects of your life. Where can you use that as fuel? How can you make that push you beyond your limits to not let anyone pass you? You are in the front of the pack. You are the leader.

This was the question of the day today at the gym. Off the top of my head at the moment, I came up with “children at play,” because… lets face it. That is my life right now. I mean my last post was relative to a show my kid watches daily and can recite lines to. However, the more I thought of it (which is the whole point to these questions, to get you to think about them more than just the 3 minutes it takes to go around the circle)…  My sign changed.

There are no “do overs” in life. You get one shot. There are no “take backs” or “rewinds” there are certainly “NO U TURNS.” There is no reason to dwell on the past, it’s the past. It happened. Its gone. Whether it was 5 minutes ago or 2 years ago, thinking about it, why it happened, how it happened… wont change the fact that it did happen. Pull up your boot straps and move on to the next. If you fail… even if you attempt the exact same thing for a second time,  it is not a “do over,” as you are simply not the same person you were the first time. You learned a lesson, you have experience, you know what to/not to do… Maybe you found a coach, took a class, read a book, maybe you learned a better way to get somewhere, or a place to save some money… either way you look at it, every experience you have in life is a new one. It is how you apply the events of your past into the events in your future that makes difference.

I have been competing for a while now. I have competed as an individual and as a member of a team. I have been to some really great comps and some really bad comps. With every single one of these experience I have evolved as an athlete. I have a completely different way of preparing, attending and recovering now, than I did my first comp and with each one, I learn some more.  I know what my body needs for prep, how to pack a bag efficiently and to be prepared for things I might not expect. I know how to treat my body between workouts, how to warmup, how to assure proper recovery and fuel myself.  I know what the recovery process will be. I know what I need the next day and the days after that… It’s a process.

One of the most important things I have learned over the years is that there are no do-overs. You are out there to compete and you have to lay it all on the line every single workout. All the athletes competing, whether they are scaled, masters or Rx are all under the same conditions. You get one shot. “No U-Turns.” Maybe that is the reason I get so worked up over the first workout of the event… for me, its almost inevitable that the first workout is the one I feel most nervous and anxious for. However, when you have a good team behind you, a good support system, people to remind you of where you are and how you got there. People to tell you that you belong where you are and to tell you its time to turn the heat on and make it happen… that’s when the magic happens. The fire is lit, the timer starts and you pour yourself into this madness we call “CrossFit” and get it done. There are “No U-Turns.”

When you take a step back after a competition you start to analyze everything that happened, so many things go through your head. One thing is for sure. You can not change what happened. It is done. In a team competition, the fact that you worked together, played off each others strengths and weaknesses, communicated and respected one another is key. If you don’t have that, you don’t have a team. Knowing you were there to push one another, help one another and get under the skin of your team mates helps in so many ways, but really respecting them, communicating with them and sharing every piece of the workouts, the good, the bad and the ugly, is really what makes a team a team.

When you hold yourself to high standards you might find it hard to hard to do these things… unless of course, your team mates are the exact same way. Every single rep is done with power, thought and perfection. Each full depth squat, each chin over the bar pull up, each locked out muscle up and fully extended hip… are done with the mindset of “No U-Turns.” You can not do this again. You all finish with your heads high, fully understanding that no matter what the outcome is, your whole team, thrives on being the best they could possibly be not only for themselves… but for each other.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Things Are Looking Up

My kid has a mild (ok maybe more than mild) obsession with the TV show "Super Wings." Hes 2.5 and loves all things that drive and/or fly. We dont have cable, but found this show on  Amazon Prime and now Hubs and I often find ourselves singing the theme song while putting our dinner together or just driving home from work (wonderful isnt it?!). Its actually a pretty decent show for the little man... "Jet" who is the main character airplane is a package delivery plane. At the start of the show, "Jimbo" (the traffic controller man) calls Jet into the control tower and gives him a package that needs delivering. Whats cool is that Jet goes all over the world to deliver these packages to kids. Before he leaves, Jimbo explains the country he is going to go to, a fact about it and a phrase in the native language. So... at least little man is learning while he is watching.

Jet then delivers the package (on time, every time). He presents whatever it was that was ordered to the child and stays while they open it. Jet then takes part in whatever it is that the package was ordered for... he does everything from "Hot Dog Car" drag racing and dumpling making, to African safari rides and tap dancing on stage in the town square (hes a mastermind of all kinds). Of course, it wouldnt be a "learning" show if there wasnt a problem that needs solving... so eventually, Jet needs to call into base to get assistance to solve the problem from the Super Wings, who are his "awesome airplane friends who come to help when hes in need." When the friend arrives... Jet looks into the sky and says "things are looking up!" Finally, he, with the help of the friend... of course... save the day. He can always turn to his friends to help him out. No questions asked.

Sarah... what the hell is the point.

I realize, I am loosing my mind that so many of my thoughts stem from things my toddler does/says/watches... but I guess that is what my life is right now right?!

Anyway... what do I learn from Jet? When you are in need. When you feel like you need a little help. Give a call to a friend. When you see someone who looks like they are down on themselves, give them a little help. Even if you just say something to put a smile on their face, change their mindset, let them know you are there... anything helps.

There are days I get really pissed at myself, in and out of the gym. There are times where I internalize everything and cant take a step back and just say "today is just that kind of day... let it go." Days it feels like everything/anything keeps going wrong. I drop everything I touch, run late for a meeting, spill my coffee, miss a lift I know I can get, rip my hands on the rig... why do those types of things always happen on the same day?

Sometimes, you just need that little kick in the ass. A person, a friend... heck sometimes even just an acquaintance to say "shake it off" or "good job today" to straighten out, but sometimes its a little harder to do (for me). I am pretty hard on myself and reaching my goals, pushing my limits.  Its so common to just shake off words like that. I know I do it... heck, I JUST did it yesterday. I felt like the whole morning was crap. I didnt feel great with my lifts and failed where I knew I could succeed. I then went into the WOD with a chip on my shoulder. This worked out to benefit me, as I succeeded in hanging on to the rig longer than I ever have with consecutive toes to bar. So, whats the problem right?! I used it as fuel... Yeah thats great and all... but I didnt even let myself be proud of the accomplishment. I was so damn frustrated about the lift still that I even took my frustration home with me. I didnt allow myself  take my Coaches words, who was there to support and help me out and let them raise me up to face the day with my head high. Instead, I festered. The person who "flew" in to help me out... I let them hang. I am ashamed of that.

I took some time, took a step back... last night before bed and thought about my day, which I often do. While I was putting hand cream on my raw hands I thought about what I DID do at the gym and not what I didnt. I thought about where I was, where I am, and where I am going... and most of all, I thought about the support that my coaches and friends have given me over the last almost 6 months at 696. I dont even need to reach out for the help for one of them to fly in and encourage me and help push me through, give me a tip, tell me to shake it off, offer to lift with me... just talk to me and make me smile and laugh. They give a bright side to the perspective. They are so valuable to me and I can not take that for granted. They are my family. Thanks Guys!

Things are looking up...

Friday, August 11, 2017

Out with the old... In with the New.

There is something so satisfying about setting a goal and reaching it. I talk about it a lot… it applies to all walks of life, not just the gym…

I love my job. I have said it before, that I was lucky enough to learn at an early age what I liked to do and went for it. I have had lots of success, as well as lots of failures to get where I am… and the hits just keep on coming. There will always be ups and downs, but what is important, is the will to keep on going and the thrive for the next goal or to complete the goal that was set forth.

When I initially meet with a client/owner for a new project, we typically sit and discuss what it is they are expecting from the project, what the overall goal is. What they like, what they dislike and what their needs are. From there, we develop a schematic design… an image of the goal. Often we provide the client with renderings to see what we are working towards, as well as floor plans to give them a general idea of the space. Once agreed upon, we spend a few weeks developing drawings illustrating how we will achieve the goal. Through this process we have additions, as well as subtractions and we do our best to work out all the details to properly execute the design and make it a reality. Finally, construction begins and so do the potential issues. There are hurdles to jump (especially when working with an existing structure) and problems that need solving… very rarely do you have a job with no questions or hangups. However, when it is all said and done… the outcome… the look on the clients face when they see the finished product… the sound of their voice as they thank you for your work and dedication to their investment… the smell of the new carpet, paint and furniture as its being installed while doing the final walk through… and the phone call two weeks after they move in to tell you they couldn’t be happier… all of that, makes it all worth it in the end. Goal, achieved.

Yesterday, I was out at a building that I designed a new entry for… as I was driving back I started to think about how much the design and execution of a project at work, is very much like my lifestyle. With each project that I start and complete I learn something to bring forward to the next. I am forever learning. I am forever growing and it is so important to not become complacent with where I am in my career (or life). There are always new materials, new ways of doing things… There are always new clients, new relationships and new opportunities. Take with you all of your ways, materials, relationships and clients… and develop them further. Understand that with every failure there is a lesson. Failure is so important (unless of course it makes a building fall down…). Mistakes are made, problems arise and the proper methods are taken to mitigate them. The outcome and the determination and drive to succeed to reach that final goal, that is what separates "you" from the rest of the pack.

Recently (on the 6th of August) I was reminded that it was the start of my 7th year of CrossFit. Six years ago I set foot into the garage at a “box” with 4 members…  I took a chance. I couldn’t do a pullup, literally laughed when I was told “today we are going to do pullups.” The thought of pushups made me cringe and to be honest (even though I am still not a fan of running), I couldn’t get through a 400 without slowing to walking pace. I look back at my old posts and see the numbers for my lifts and while I kinda chuckle at them now, I think of all the work, all the goal setting and all the hours spent at the gym and I smile. I loved every minute of it. All of it. Every failure as much as every success. Growth. Strength. Courage. Confidence. All developing right before my eyes.  I can read it in my words, I can see it in the photos and I can feel it in my muscles. I have worked hard for it all, it was not easy. However, for me... its not about the numbers. Its not about how much I can put over my head, or squat… it setting a goal, developing a plan to achieve the goal, working through the “hurdles and failures” towards the goal, then taking a step back and being proud of my accomplishment.

Everyone starts somewhere.