Be kind to yourself

The Crossfit Open is a time during the year where athletes can test their fitness, strength, skills and mental toughness. Many athletes sign up with the aim to make it to Regionals, others do it for the pure sense of community and because they love doing Crossfit. This year, I signed up for the Open because I wanted to see where my skills and abilities featured against the rest of the Crossfit world. I know I am nowhere near the best, but I am the best that I have ever been.

When 17.1 was released, all I saw was a shit tonne of dumbbell snatches and many burpee box jump overs in between, which happen to be quite a mental goat for me. After watching Samantha Briggs crush it in 10:14, I figured I could do it in under 15:00. Saturday abruptly arrived and it was time to face the burpees… and 150 dumbbell snatches. I started off feeling great and set a good pace. But, once I hit the set of 40, my back and hamstrings started screaming and it took everything I had to keep going.

Those last 50 snatches were painful and difficult and I slowed down A LOT! I took way too many breaks to try shake out my back and legs and ended up with a disappointing time of 18:20.

For the last couple of days I have been looking at the leader board as well as all the social media posts with everyone’s times and I just could not help comparing my score to theirs and kept telling myself how poorly I performed. I then attempted to redo the workout, but gave up in the round of 30 snatches. My back just was not having it.

Upon reflection, I have been way too hard on myself and have realised that ONE workout does not define how good of an athlete you are. I kept telling myself that I’m just not good enough because my score is so average. This is ridiculous negative self-talk that is not going to benefit me in anyway. I did the best that I could given the situation and there are four more workouts coming up where I can redeem myself.

I was punishing myself mentally and emotionally for not doing as well as expected. Don’t do that! Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and that is the reason we do things like the Open, so we can identify the areas we need to work on. Clearly I need to get stronger and increase my back endurance! Probably work on my dumbbell snatch technique too! But that’s OK! One of the reasons I do this sport is because you can never truly be done getting better. There is always something to work on.

So, morale of the story: Don’t be hard on yourself. Give everything 100%. If you didn’t do as well as expected, recognise where you went on, tell yourself it is OK, and move on. Failing is part of the journey to success. No one ever came out on top without failing first.

Its the little things in life…

I moved to Hong Kong almost four weeks ago. It was a huge decision on my part… moving to a completely new continent, on my own, and being surrounded by an entirely different culture while trying to settle into a new job. Of course I knew what I was getting myself into, but I wanted a new experience and to get out of my comfort zone. Luckily, that is exactly what I got!

Moving from South Africa, which is known for its wildlife and vast open green spaces, to Hong Kong which is possibly one of the most densely populated cities on the planet, was most certainly outside of my comfort zone. During my first week I was so busy trying to adjust to my new work schedule, sorting out all my admin and meeting about a million new people that I barely had time to think about what had just happened. When the second week rolled in, I was suddenly stricken with the dreaded homesickness bug.

All I can say is thank goodness for wonderful people, new challenges and technology. Firstly, there are a LARGE amount of expats in HK who have gone through exactly the same feelings as me and were very helpful and willing to take me out and about (you know who you are you kind souls). Secondly, FaceTime, Whatsapp, Facebook, Intagram, you name it… as much as we complain about the world of social media, it truly is amazing for communication! Being able to contact everyone in SA really helped me get through the sad times. And thirdly, setting myself little goals for work, competing and travelling helped me put everything into perspective. The little things getting me through life at the moment:

  • Last week I was fortunate enough to take part in the Asian Championships qualifiers. This is a three part competition purely for countries in Asia that is much like the Crossfit Games. The online qualifiers comprises of four workouts that need to be done within a week. From there, the top 25 women in each region compete at Sectionals which is held in each region within Asia. From there, the top three women compete at the final to be crowned Fittest in Asia. After a lot of sweat and almost tears, I managed to place 15th in our region which means I move on to sectionals- Happy Emma! (goal 1 = Achieved)
16299152_959257904211618_7776626363582350480_n
The ladies of Typhoon who qualified for Sectionals

 

  • The next competition coming up is of course, The Crossfit Open! This is a five week series of one workout a week and is the first stage to getting into the Crossfit Games. Now, I’m no where near qualifying for Regionals, but I am keen to see where I place in Asia (goal 2 = work in progress).
  • Travel is one of the reasons I decided to move abroad, so I have just booked flights to meet up with my parents and a special someone in Thailand in April… yet another occasion to look forward to! Sun, fun, cocktails and chill time… what more could a girl ask for? (goal 3=booked!)
  • With regards to coaching, I am making a full blown effort to learn as much as I can from the other coaches I work with who have so much variety of knowledge… from Power Lifting and Olympic lifting to mobility… I am learning something new every single day that I am very excited to¬†bring to my coaching as well as my own performance (goal 4= underway)

I think that it is extremely important to have small goals and experiences to work towards. Without them, we seem to flounder and our motivation and drive starts to decrease; at least that is what happens with me. If you are struggling to motivate yourself at work, in the gym or in life in general, set yourself small goals and see how things start to change.

 

 

Change- the one thing you can count on


In a world filled with uncertainties, change is the one thing that you can be sure of. Even those of us who play it safe will experience some sort of change… whether it is aging, new relationships or a new house. New experiences stem from change and that’s how we learn, grow and accumulate wisdom, knowledge and experience. 

Personally, I am not a stranger to change. I spent most of my childhood living in different countries and experiencing new cultures, schools, climates, etc. So I have grown accustomed to adapting to new situations. I love this quality about myself because it actually makes me want to create new experience and push myself to be better. 

A fitness journey, much like moving to a new town, has a multitude of phases in which an individual experiences different feelings and emotions which dictate their response and persuit of the changes that they face. There are good and bad phases. Sometimes you take a step back, and other times you take five steps forward. But the key to success is to keep going until you get the result or feeling that you want. 

The problem is that most people get disheartened when the changes they experience are not what they expected. Or if their goals don’t follow the timeline that they wanted. Majority of these people then give up and go straight back to square one… or their home town (in the case of moving). 

In the fitness world there should never be an end goal because there is always something more that you can achieve. You can always eat cleaner, conquer a new skill, take up a different sport or lift heavier weight. That’s the beauty of the human body… there are never ending capabilities. The trick is to never give up. 

Don’t let change scare you. It’s a natural progression of life and without it you will be stagnant. Whether it be in your professional career, in your relationships or in your fitness journey… keep moving forward and striving to be better. 

The power of positivity

  
I’ve had my fair share of negative thoughts and they still do cross my mind every once in a while. Last year I went through one of the hardest times of my life when my boyfriend of five years broke up with me. My life as I know it did a comple 180 and I was pretty harsh on myself for quite a while. It didn’t help that I was, and still sometimes do, struggling with my skin… So negative self talk became quite a problem for me. This translated into every part of my life… My varsity work, friendships, workouts and my perception of myself. For a couple of weeks I was a mess and did not see myself in a good light at all.

After reading multiple articles, watching many YouTube videos and of course a lot of encouragement from my family (especially mom) and friends, I finally started seeing the bright side of life. It clicked that I had to change my mindset of myself and my capabilities. I needed to stop bringing myself down and concentrate on the good aspects of my life and myself instead of constantly picking on everything that I thought was bad. 

Slowly but surely I began replacing my negative thoughts with positive ones… And you know what? Everything started to get better. My training began to improve- I was getting stronger without having to torture myself. I started feeling more energetic and happier. Good people started coming into my life and I began making new friends. 

I truly do believe in the power of your mind. You can do absolutely anything you set your mind to, but you have to be positive and stop doubting yourself. Be kind to yourself. Tell yourself these things everyday and I promise it will change your life

“I am beautiful”

“I am strong and capable”

“I am happy”

“I am energetic and positive”

Be the best version of yourself. Yes, you will have bad days. Embrace them. Don’t pretend, feel the pain and sadness but then let it go and find that happiness again. Life is a wonderful journey no matter what path you’re on. 

“living your dream is the true reward of gard work and passion”

Workout of the day

 Edit   
Today’s WOD was very strength and skill intensive. I was really proud of myself because over head squats were never my strong point!

Strength: 4×4 sots press- as heavy as possible 

WOD: 5 RFT (15mins)

10 toes to bar

10 overhead squats (60/35kg)

*all sets must be unbroken otherwise restart. 

I managed–> 8:15 RX

Happiness: the key to success

I’m not going to pretend to be the happiest person alive or the most positive for that matter. I have my downfalls and I’ve been going through quite a rough patch over the last couple of months. However, I have discovered that doing what truly makes your heart happy opens you up to achieving success. 

   
I have done many things in my life that I thought I should be doing rather then actually wanting to do it and have ended up hating it. After exploring my likes and dislikes for three years after high school, I finally figured out what I was really passionate about. It turned out that I really love health and fitness and helping people achieve their goals within that realm. So I decided to pursue a degree in Human Kinetics and Ergonomics at Rhodes University while simultaneously working as a personal trainer. After a year as a PT I was asked to work at Crossfit Grahamstown as a boot camp instructor which completely converted me to Crossfit. 

I am now studying what I love and Doing what I love which brings me so much happiness. I am not too phased about the earning potential of my passion because I know if I love it enough I can make it a success.

So, morale of the story… Do what you love, don’t let other people tell you what you should be doing. If you are passionate about something, embrace it and make it happen.