Thursday, June 6, 2024

Buoyancy of Balance

This seems to be the phrase of early summer for me, balancing a summer of online teaching with some intentionality in both my CrossFit practice and its underpinning, nutrition/fueling. I feel buoyant, hopeful, curious, which will often land me here on the page.

The summer had originally had some reprieve in it–an Alaskan cruise, some time ‘off’, some in-person teaching toward the end of July before jumping back into the doctoral work in mid-August. Alas, this was not to be. The course needed to go online for institutional purposes, which was regrettable. It intruded into the cruise and made the whole summer feel a lot heavier. So, I made some decisions to balance all that out with what I seem to be loving most these days–CrossFit–alongside what I’ve been somewhat frustrated by as well–nutrition, maintaining lean muscle mass, possibly losing some body fat too. I’ve maintained my weight well enough these last 2-3 years AND I was aware of a sneaking dissatisfaction I could not quite name.

First part of my balanced summer then: I decided to invest in the four-month coaching program with a group called Consistency Breeds Growth, or CBG, which markets its nutrition coaching program as one freeing you from counting macros, building bodies to “look like they CrossFit regularly.” On the one hand, I’m not one for the body-image ‘sell,’ as a post-menopausal woman of rather Midwestern modesty. Yes, I said modesty, though what I mean by it is my love of big flowing t-shirts, no bra, comfortable womb-friendly clothing. My husband complains that I hide in such things, and I probably do. But I was curious about the CBG style of focusing on protein-intake (1g/1lb body weight?) and the invitation to not count macros. I’m a compulsive information intaker, so once I started in the “counting macros” practice about four years ago, I’ve never quite felt comfortable unless I was tracking like that. What might it be like to learn a new system, one proud of not-counting-macros

I began to experiment with what I was learning online, before even talking with anyone. Increased my protein intake, aiming for their 1g/1lb advice. Then an opportunity for an InBody scan presented itself, showing I had gained almost 2 lbs in lean muscle mass from my last scan! Hmmm…Interesting. I reached out for an exploratory, then moved to a more intentional ‘educational-sales’ conversation, then felt the YES in my body to sign-up. It’s not in-expensive, but then neither are our cruises, which stress out my need for healthy, nutritious life-habits. Balancing what I need alongside what my family life invites. Perfect. (image: Justin Romaire, head coach CBG)

The journey officially started this week, and I’ve already learned a lot. It’s so easy to go unconscious with food, even when you’re not intending to. The biggest learning is that I was taking in a whole lot more fat than I was aware, even in my more care-full counting. I’d let go of the preference for lean protein somewhere along the line, deciding protein was protein. I know that’s not true, but I decided somewhere to forget it. Some of my carb-substitute favorites of late–mini-muffins made with coconut flour, eggs, and butter–count in the ‘fat’ category in the CBG assessment. I can see why now. So I’ve begun to trim the fat-intake, which has felt a relief to me. I knew what I knew had shifted, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know to shift back, you know? This is why exploring these things with others, with larger community, with differing communities, is such a wisdom practice for me. It can go against our more familiar sense of ‘tribal loyalty’ with those who have helped us before, but it’s such a good learning journey to explore, and explore again. Even ad infinitum.

Interestingly enough, I’ve also rediscovered a love for fruit that I’d forgotten. Another aspect of my CBG interest was to learn the ‘timing of fueling’ that so many CrossFitters seem to know. How much protein is too much at one sitting? When does the body process carbs, and what kind, and does it matter? All of this is way more detail than most folks are interested in, I know. I don’t talk about it aloud at all, unless I want the rolled eyes of friends. But I was curious, wanting to know! And now I’m getting a better sense of it, what it feels like to be intentional about recovery after a hard workout, protein and some light fruit. Wow I had forgotten how much I love fruit. And as I continue to count when I am curious–out of habit, still, learning–the carb- and sugar-intake is not that much. So it fits even with what I’ve known before, just remembering and enjoying anew. (Image: Coach Annalise, CBG)

The second part of the buoyancy of balance: signing up for the summer barbel cycle at my gym! I’d looked into it for last summer, but realized I would miss too many of the sessions to make it worth it. This summer, it feels more a priority for me. It’s also part of the exploration of increasing lean muscle mass. Now that we’ve begun (this week), I also realize what a gift it will be for me in general. Several of those who decided to sign up are ones I’ve wanted to get to know better anyway. It seems I’ve landed in the midst of a promising community for precisely the things I want to learn. A good start too, as we’ve been about establishing ‘baselines’ for the summer. Four PR’s already–shoulder press, push press, front squat and overhead squat! And how about that: I didn't even "game it" to stay at lower weights, so to "succeed" at the end! (image: Bomber's CrossFit, coach Cassie)

So, the summer is unfolding with a good sense of spaciousness, anticipation, curiosity and learning. JUST what I like. I miss my old gym still, remembering folks there often. I reach out via text from time to time, smiling.

And flows ever onward…

I wonder what will happen next?


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