I often tweet motivational fitness tips from Editor Ross, who has inadvertently become my crossfit mentor.  He says wise things when I ask questions such as, how do you get motivated to go to crossfit on days you don’t feel like going?  His reply: I go, without motivation.

This past week, E. Ross hit me with such a gem that it needed more than just a tweet.  “Crossfit is a sport that requires homework.”  To which he was referring:

In order to perform the tasks involved in a workout to the best of your ability, you must:

  • Sleep 8 hours per night
  • Mobilize/Stretch
  • Eat clean (no processed foods!)
  • Eat little to no cereal grains, soy, gluten, nor sugar (I try to be more “paleo conscious” when making food decisions, but have tried to find balance between the rigidness of pure paleo and the joys of life)

To that I thought, what an incredible workout to have finally found, that forces one to think about their health even when not spending that 1 hour a day at the gym!  But as much as I love crossfit, ANY workout should come with this homework.

Sleep:  I know 8 hours is quite a stretch.  I was working two jobs for a while, one full-time in reality TV, the other part-time as an adjunct professor.  I eventually had to put my second job on hold, because I was downward spiraling to poor health.  There was no physical way to get enough sleep nor exercise more than twice a week, and my health and fitness goals were more important than that extra pay check.  Sleep has to become a priority.  A coach at the gym today equated sleep to steroids.  Try to find a way to make it work.

Mobilize/Stretch: No matter what workout you do, stretching is key. If those 6 reasons aren’t enough, then maybe the stretch-or-die article might persuade you.  (Then commence a discussion on gender stereotypes from each magazine.  Sorry, that’s the prof in me)

Food: We now know as a society that the pure chemical garbage they put in processed foods is murdering us slowly from the inside, and causing our bodies to get FATTTT.  We also know that too much sugar can cause serious health conditions, and cause us to get very FATTTTTT.  We also know that we are addicted to these foods, and that they are so readily available that one would have to move to the Arctic Circle to avoid them.  As it simply states in this how-to-be-happy guide, if you want a fucking burger, then eat the fucking burger.  Don’t eat 3 a day, and don’t beat yourself up about it.  Eat it, then move on – to better choices the rest of the week.

Trust me, I know how hard it is to live with this go-getter mentality.  I’m STILL struggling – but that’s why I want to share this journey, because the hardest part of those damn before/after pics is that LINE in between them.  That is what needs to be talked about, that is what needs to be shared.  I had a few bad days of work this past week and ended up on a complete bender.  Sleep, exercise, and healthy choices were all compromised due to my bad choices (and some of it was fun, but moderation, seriously).  I crawled through the week, snapped out of it, and went back to the gym today.  Then I went to the grocery store, parked my cart in produce, and gathered veggies to juice, fruit to mix in smoothies, and proteins to put in my crock pot.  Sure, I’ll slip up again here and there when the balance scale between health and fun gets tipped too much, but the strength comes from getting out from that one side of the scale, not spending time beating yourself up, and moving forward, to fitness.