08/18/2012 Where the fuck you been?


Where My Mind Is:

I’ve wanted to write a blog post for quite some time, and each time I sit to write I’ve just found myself unmotivated, and uninterested in sharing what’s been going on in my life.

I’m finding that I’m exactly where I didn’t want to be, better off, but not better. 

Where My Heart Is:

I knew at a certain point the weight would no longer come off as quickly as I wanted and that I would travel into a new phase of my evolution, this new phase would no longer focus on body mass but would be measured by performance, and the manifestation of physical changes through an ever transitioning of my body’s composition. 

I am at the point where the scale is less meaningful than overall performance and I look and feel.  Physical performance has been ok, I’m not progressing at the same rate, mainly because I have been as consistent with the number of workouts I’ve attended, but overall I am doing significantly better than a year ago.  I feel better; in fact I have so much energy at times I wonder if I should start taking ritalin to focus my mind on a single goal or thought.

In the appearance area, I’m still pissed, and frustrated, I’m tired of the excess skin.

When I workout I wear compression shirts underneath my t-shirt because if I didn’t compress my extra skin I’d jiggle all of the time, and I’m certain the one day I show up without a compression undershirt will be the day we have to do burpees. 

If I wasn’t sitting at the car wash, I would take a picture of my MOOB to show that my nippes look like they’re attached to a 90 year old aboriginal woman who’s never worn a bra, basically my nipple stares at the ground all day.

I was driving the other day and I looked down at my stomach, initially I was upset with myself because I thought I’d grown an extra gut.  I soon realized that most of what I was looking at was rolled over extra skin; I played with it, and even stretched it to make sure it was skin and not fat.

I feel stronger, and at times can see the outline of my progress, but 90% of the effort is masked underneath this human Sharpei that is my body, and it sucks.

Where My Body Is:

At some point during the Tough Mudder I hurt my shoulder, and I hurt it bad.  I keep telling people it happened on Everest helping up a big guy, but I’m not 100% sure, it could have happened in a dozen places, but the quarter pipe known as Everest it is the only moment that I can recall where I put a great deal of stress on my right shoulder. 

As a result of this injury I’ve been to see two Orthopedic Surgeons, had two Cortisone shots, done some rehab work, and now I’m scheduled for physical therapy.  One of the Surgeons feels that I will have to have two tears in my shoulder repaired; I have an appointment this week for a third opinion.

One of the greatest things about CrossFit is the community that builds around any Box, and when you find yourself unable to do large portions of the prescribed workout you are becoming an outsider within the gym.  You are no longer apart of the collective doing the same work.  One of the great things that follow a tough Metcon is commiserating with the other athletes. 

This dynamic changes ever so subtly when you are injured.  I know I’m not the only person to feel this way, it is something that happens, and it sucks.  You find yourself initially substituting say overhead squats for back squats, then you start avoiding certain exercises, until ultimately you realize there are only a handful of movements you can do, which in my case is limited to mostly back squats and dead lifts. 

I haven’t done a snatch since May. 

It gets old after a while doing the same thing over and over.  One of the other great things about CrossFit is the infinite variability of the programming.  It’s hard to get bored when one day you could be doing the Filthy Fifty, and the next day your doing Fran.  So my shoulder can kiss my ass on that front too.

Limitations on your mobility allow you to do specific movements without risking further injury, and it sucks, it sucks, it sucks.

Initially overcoming the injury is easy, you stay committed and you keep telling yourself I just have to get to the gym, so you do and find that you’re still getting a good workout.  But as time passes you find yourself reading the blog the night before, realizing that half of the motions have to be scaled or changed and you start to get discouraged or frustrated so while you’re still showing up, you’re just not working with the same intensity. 

I was in this self-imposed lull, which started the day I got back from Rainier, up until about 10 days ago.  It’s around that time the artist formerly known as Rybear shifted my thinking, I don’t know if it was a text he sent me, or he said it directly to my face, but somewhere in between him telling me how much I suck at life, and that if I should die on a Mountain he wants my car, Rybear basically said, use the time to be a beast at squatting, and dead lifting.   

It was a simple idea, which is clearly an obvious one, but it’s one of those things that you need an outsider to tell you, to somehow validate your existence, so I decided I would use this time to improve on those areas that I can still work so while I am unable to get better at doing pull-ups, ring dips, hand stand push-ups, or my oly lifts, which are all things I suck at, I am able to run, do box jumps, squat, dead lift, push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, and anything else that doesn’t require me to hold weight overhead. 

So I’m committed to using this time to improve my technique on anything that I can still do, I’ve lowered the weight on my dead lifts, and cleans so I can focus on technique and I’ve even gone so far as to use a lower box, for box jumps so I can condition my self to cycle them.

In the long run this injury will have been the moment that created a better foundation for my long term improvement.  

If I have to have surgery I will need 6 months to recover fully, so I might as well dig in now, and develop the habits that will keep me on track following surgery.  I am going to have to get used to squatting and dead lifting my way to eliteness.

I will know whether or not I need surgery by the end of this week.



  1. Good luck man. I really hope you don’t need shoulder surgery. That is what lead me to join crossfit. Stay active through out if you can, you have worked so hard and come so far, keep it up. Squatting is awesome, become a master.

  2. Thanks for sharing, it sounds like you have a great handle on your transition. You will be as successful at refocusing as you have been with the whole process, kill it! Finitely n inspiration to me.

  3. Man, I’m sorry to hear about your shoulder injury. That sucks. I injured my left shoulder as a sophomore in college, and re-aggravate the injury every 2 years or so, and have to wait ~6 months until it feels better. During that stretch, I have to stop pretty much all upper-body exercise. It’s really frustrating. I’m kinda working my way out of one of these stretches right now, so for the past several months, I’ve been spending a lot of time on a stationary bike. It’s not nearly as monotonous as running on a tread mill, but you don’t have to worry about traffic or getting a flat. Maybe that’d be worth trying?

  4. That looks pretty cool, man.
    I’ve just been using one of the bikes at the gym. I try to go for like 45 minutes and to cover as much distance as I can. Each bike has a slightly different impression of how fast / far you’re going, so I try to use the same bike each time. It’s kind of addictive; I’ve gotten a lot better than when I started and the improvement really feeds that addictive sense of accomplishment.
    I also went a bought a mid-range road bike and am biking with some people in lab on the weekends. I went on a 39 mile ride on Sunday which was pretty sweet.
    The biggest difference I’ve noticed between stationary bikes and real bikes is the absence of wind. Wind really cools you down and makes it easier for you to push yourself harder. If I were to buy my own stationary bike, I’d also buy an industrial fan to put in front of it.

  5. Rouis,
    A similar experience happened to me when I strained my pec. Scaling and modifying every workout becomes tedious at best and really fucking annoying at worst. Rybear gave you good advice, use it, and work with a coach to develop a tailored plan to get solid at what you can do. For me it was also squats and DLs. Any strength gains made there will transfer well once you are back to 100%. Stay at it man!

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