Let’s Talk About CASEY.
…a CFCC RECHARGE success story.
If you think you don’t have the time to do a nutritional/behavioral reset right now, talk to Casey. If you think your life and job are too stressful, talk to Casey. If you think you might just be scared or intimidated, talk to Casey. Yep, she’ll set you straight. She dove into the Winter Recharge with guns blazing and gutted it out through a job change that required an endless commute, a wedding to plan, and fears to conquer. She emerged 1.5 inches leaner around her waist, sure, but I think she gained a hell of a lot more than some muscle.
Can you say a few words about your specific goals as a member of CFCC? Why did you decide to participate in the Recharge? What did you hope to achieve?
I was relatively new to CFCC (6 months) when Recharge began. I hit a point over the summer where I was unemployed, depressed, and not recognizing the person I saw in photos. I was processing a lot of life things that were weighing on me pretty heavily, and not feeling particularly strong, emotionally or physically. It wasn’t so much about wanted or needing to lose weight, but about needing to find something that made me feel good about myself and also kept my interest (I get bored easily). A few of my friends did Crossfit and were pretty adamant about how awesome it was, one of them recommended CFCC to me, and the rest is history. In regards to recharge, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I knew that I had sort of begun to plateau after the initial rush of my body going “holy crap you’re getting exercise!” I felt pretty sluggish and bogged down due to holiday and work stress, and wanted a fresh start for the new year. I really wanted to de-toxify and flush a lot of the diet soda/energy drink/beer stuff out of my system so that I could stop using those things as a crutch when I got tired or stressed.
How did you feel heading in to Day 1? How did that change into the last week?
Recharge started for me on a tech week for one of the theaters I work for. I wanted a Diet Pepsi and probably would have cut someone to get one. But I stuck to black coffee, and pretty soon the soda withdrawl faded and I was a much less cranky stage manager. My energy levels got a lot better towards the end of the week.
What took you by surprise about your experience (for better or for worse)? What was your biggest challenge throughout? What did you enjoy the most?
I was surprised at how easy it was to transition to just drinking black coffee and water, and also how HUNGRY I actually was now that I wasn’t tricking my body into thinking it was getting calories through diet soda. I got to eat a lot, and I love eating. The biggest challenge was adjusting my schedule once I started my new job (about halfway through Recharge). I had been used to getting up later, making food, going to the gym, and having a fair amount of free time. Now I had a 90 minute commute in the morning and evening, and a full time job. The only class I could conceivably get to was the 6am, and I am not a person who gets up early for anything. But I somehow managed to get my butt out of bed at 5am that first day, and have been doing it 3x a week since. I’m incredibly grateful that I had a few weeks of recharge previous to that, because my energy had gotten to a point where I felt like I could get up and work out that early. Weirdly, going to the 6am WOD has been the part I enjoy the most. Getting that rush early in the morning has changed a lot for me.
Most delicious thing you ate?
I made stir fried pork belly in coconut oil and it was AMAZING.
Biggest kitchen fail….GO.
Not realizing my fiance hates the taste of coconut oil before I began cooking literally everything in it. Whoops.
Do you have a new “go-to”/quick meal now? If so, what is it?
I make egg bakes with spinach and sausage every week so I can take slices to work, that’s a good go to for me. Also sweet potato hash. They’re both easy to store and re-heat nicely so I don’t have to rely on scrounging meals from Wawa.
What was your most useful resource (cookbook, blog, etc)?
The CFCC Eats Facebook page, honestly. That thing was a lifesaver.
What advice would you give to someone that’s considering doing the next Recharge?
Do it! It’s hard, but it’s worth it, and you definitely get out what you put in. That being said, don’t beat yourself up over not fulfilling all the things every day. There were days I skipped meals, a whole week where I only got to the gym once, and a whole lot of me having to check myself if I started being too strict with what I could and couldn’t eat. Listen to your body, it knows what it needs. Whether that’s another cup of coffee or a day off, it’ll tell you. Be patient with yourself and your progress. Do it ’cause you want to be challenged and have fun. Nutrition and fitness shouldn’t feel like a chore.
What new habit are you planning to continue now that it’s “over”?
No more soda or energy drinks. Ever. I’m sticking with that one. I’ve started drinking beer again, but I’m limiting myself to weekends. I’ve cut out a lot of gluten and sugars as well.
What did a typical day of eating/training look like for you?
5am: get up, drink 8oz of water immediately.
7am: black coffee and a banana, drive to work
8:30am: get to work, have whatever premade breakfast thingy I brought. Usually egg bake.
1pm: lunch (pre made usually hash)
4:30 pm, leave work, drive to other work, usually have a cup of coffee on the way
6pm: arrive at other work, have dinner (pre packed stir fry or something usually)
10pm: leave other work, drive home
Wax poetic about some PRs you saw during Recharge!
Oh man. I strung together 5 double unders for the first time, which amazed me so much I couldn’t even get one for the rest of the WOD. My backsquat went up nearly 40lbs since the last time I maxed out during the Fall total. I signed up for the Open. I upped my 7 minute burpee PR by 10, which I was screaming about for days. All my overhead lifts got better and I managed to get 5 reps of my max overhead squat during 14.2. I went down in band assistance significantly for pullups, and I’m so close to getting a toes to bar I can taste it. It’s been a really exciting time.
Finally, and I don’t really know how to incorporate this, this is what I wrote on Facebook the day Recharge ended about how amazing it felt to do a nutrition challenge that wasn’t weight focused or obsessive, and it’s still pretty true:
So, today marks the end of #cfccrecharge. For those who don’t know, six weeks ago I signed up for a nutrition/wellness challenge through my gym. Whole foods, minimally processed, no beer (EEK), high protein, lots of water, lots of veggies, so on and so forth. And the shallow news is that, while I don’t weigh myself (and never will), I’ve lost probably 2 pants sizes and have gained at least one ab. Maybe two. But guys? It’s been so much more than that. First things first, I gave up beer for 6 weeks. Me. Casey. I gave up BEER for 6 WEEKS. That is a huge accomplishment. I gave up diet soda and Monster drinks. I stuck to water and black coffee (and whiskey). A little less than halfway through recharge, I got a new job. Which meant a new 3 hour round trip commute every day. I won’t lie, that scared me. I was scared that I wouldn’t have the energy or drive to get up and go to the gym at 6am. That I would phase CF out of my life because I was too busy. BUT I DID. I GOT UP AT 5-FREAKIN-AM TO GO TO A GYM. AND I STILL DO. My sleep patterns are better, my energy levels are better, my stress management is better. I’ve accomplished things in the gym I didn’t think I could do (62 burpees in 7 minutes, anyone?). And I’ve re-evaluated my motivations for even doing CF in the first place. Why do this? Why get up at 5-FREAKIN-AM and go to a gym? I’m not athletic, I’ve never been good at exercise or sticking with it. What I am good at is focused tasks. I like focusing on something and accomplishing it. I’m GOOD at that. In the beginning, I focused on just getting it DONE. Just get through it. In the last six weeks I’ve shifted my focus on understanding what my body is capable of. Of respecting where my body is coming from. Every time I lift, I feel the car accident in my shoulder. Every time I squat, I feel the osteopenia in my shins. And I used to get frustrated by that. I was frustrated about who I used to be and how much that girl abused her body. Lately I’ve been learning to RESPECT it. Respect the pain and understand how to minimize it or work through it. What I can work through and what I can’t. It’s a work in progress, but I’ve seen amazing gains by thinking this way. I had to learn to respect food, respect what it does and doesn’t do for my body (which is an almost 20 year work in progress). And I learned that I don’t go lift heavy things and put them back down to run away from that very sick girl that I used to be. I’m not trying to escape her anymore. I do it out of respect for her. To show her, every day, that she CAN do this. That she is more than a body. And I hope she’s proud of me. ‘Cause I am.