I moved into the city in August from a small town about 90 minutes north of here. I am in my first year of dental school at Temple and joined CFCC a few weeks after I got settled. I have been doing CrossFit for 8 months and it has been a perfect fit for me after four years of Division 1 Ice Hockey at Princeton University. My school schedule is pretty demanding of my time, but staying fit is of the upmost importance to me so I am at the gym a lot (mostly at the expense of my studies ha). I have been obsessed with CrossFit since I started and the physical, mental, and emotional benefits have been immeasurable. My favorite workouts have been the benchmark workouts like Grace and Fran because they are good yardsticks to measure your personal progress, as well as see how you match up to the big dogs. I have a new love for handstands since they make me feel like a badass. Coincidentally, the movements lower on my “love to-do“ list tend to be ones I feel the least badass executing, such as burpees, snatches, and TGUs. At the end of the day, I really attempt to “embrace the suck” and take the positive from the hard times considering if we are able be members of CFCC, exercising at that level, we already have lots to be thankful for. So far my favorite moment at CFCC has been seeing my friends during the CrossFit Total lift weights they previously believed impossible. The look of combined joy, surprise and personal pride on many member’s faces that night was truly a beautiful sight..
Sasha’s Recharge Experience:
I’d been frequenting CFCC for a few short weeks before the Recharge started. Since I was starting a new chapter in my life, living on my own in the city and starting dental school, I wanted to ensure I had solid habits in place regarding health and well being. For the most part I have been eating Paleo for a year and it works really well for me, but inconsistency during times of high stress has always been a problem. This Recharge came at a perfect time because I knew if I adhered to the daily habits set in place by the program I would end up producing lifestyle changes lasting beyond the 5 weeks.
My initial goal was to form lasting habits regarding my eating and significantly decrease, if not eliminate the typical binging and giving into cravings when my will power was low. I was also adamant about completely eliminating any soy products and not relying on bars for convenient food. What really needed to change was my planning and preparation so I could reduce those last minute decisions about what to eat. Recharge is about a lot more than just eating, and that really attracted me to the program. I needed the catalyst to make lifestyle changes, not merely dietary ones.
It is hard to decide between two big challenges I went up against. Given the nature of dental school and the large amount of time spent at school in lectures and labs as well as outside of school studying, I really needed to be diligent with how I budged everything in order to get 7 hours of sleep. Overall, hitting the 7-hour requirement was a great way to see how on top of everything I was. Secondly, cooking and planning my meals so I didn’t have to buy meals on the go was very challenging, but indispensible to my success during the Recharge and after.
I was able to gain a better understanding of what particular foods are tougher on my digestive system than others. I was able to hone in on my body’s needs and response to them more appropriately. Obviously, the program requires a lot of self-discipline and accountability, but we owe it to our bodies to put in the extra effort. I gained more self-respect along the way and learned my body had higher capabilities than I previously thought. I also learned I have a new best friend, and she is a sweet potato.
After the first week of keeping really good habits, I noticed a change in my energy level and focus. I was definitely more clear-headed and able to concentrate during the typical low time of the afternoon. I felt great in my workouts and was seeing strength gains all over the place. I trimmed down in the midsection over the 5 weeks and definitely felt less bloated. Overall, when I am really particular about what I feed myself, how much I sleep, and how much I mobilize, I feel like a well-oiled machine. For me, there is a whole body feeling of cleanliness and clarity.
I was pretty routine with my meals, especially breakfast. I enjoyed using the crock-pot a lot to make larger quantities with a variety of meats and vegetables inside. I keep it very simple and do not mind redundancy, so I am a little lame in that regard. I do best when I think of food as fuel, which helps eliminate the excess and maximize the beneficial.
I would highly recommend doing the Recharge to new members and old members alike. Unless you are tracking your food daily, always sleeping 7+ hours, eating a diet free of processed foods that you cook yourself, mobilizing everyday and not drinking alcohol, you should commit to 5 weeks of Recharge. It is impossible to know how good your body can truly feel unless you hit all these aspects. The program is about commitment to a plan, but also commitment to yourself and your health. It is never too late to start establishing healthy habits.
A note from Meg:
Sasha showed up to our first meeting new to CFCC, but not at all new to fitness. Her experience during the Fall Recharge is a perfect example of how even a more seasoned athlete can benefit from returning to basic healthy habits and honing in on consistency. Despite a heavy load at school and a dedication to a high training volume with the Regionals Prep crew, Sasha was determined to find a balanced approach to nutrition that she could continue through Recharge and beyond. Since she was also coming from a pretty strict Paleo background, we made a few adjustments to her macros, including upping her carbs to better support her performance and recovery. We chatted a few weeks in and she mentioned:
“I rarely feel the midday lull with eating this way. I also don’t get the tiredness after a big meal. I think the starchy carbs are definitely helping. Sweet potatoes are my new best friend! I have been mentally sharp. I am also seeing big gains in terms of strength in the gym. I fit a lot in everyday in terms of class, working out, studying, and normal everyday jazz so having my eating be on point has made everything go smoother. I am asking a lot of my body and mind right now so seeing them both perform well when given the right fuel is exciting.“
I’m really proud of Sasha for her dedication and her unwavering encouragement to and support for her fellow Rechargers! She was always willing to listen, try the things we asked of her, and really be a great example of how to prioritize her self-care and sense of balance. And her physical results were pretty great too. She set a bunch of PR’s in training throughout Recharge and lost inches everywhere, despite starting out fairly lean.
Congrats, Sasha! I’m so glad to have been a part in your journey this year. Can’t wait for 2015.