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Member Spotlight: Crooked


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Name: Liz

Age: 22

Vital Statistics:

Gender: Female

Height: 5’4.5†(the half inch is really important)

Weight: Unknown (probably around 140 but I threw out my scale during the challenge)

Are you involved with any sports? Do you compete at all?

I was a competitive figure skater from age 5 to age 18, but I “retired†when I went to college. I was in a dance company during college. I also spent far too much time compulsively ellipticalling, and during my senior year I started to run occasionally but had to stop when a doctor (erroneously) diagnosed me with a stress fracture in my foot. I started doing Crossfit regularly on May 17.

What’s your story? Why do you do what you do?

I graduated from college in June 2010 and started to work a desk job, which I actually really enjoy. Unfortunately, my body doesn’t enjoy it quite as much as my mind does. I noticed that over the course of a few short months, I was starting to spread out, putting on fat and losing what muscle tone I had. I also began suffering from a number of unexplained and apparently unrelated health issues. My doctors diagnosed me with polycystic ovarian syndrome and IBS and prescribed a couple of not-fun-sounding medications to treat the symptoms. I didn’t want to go that route and I was tired of feeling shitty all the time, so I took some lessons from my younger brother (who has Crohn’s and has been paleo for almost two years) and went from being a vegetarian to following a pescetarian paleo diet (currently supplemented with grass-fed jerky). I’ve been fairly strictly paleo for six weeks now, with some dabbling in the month before the NF challenge, and my symptoms are basically gone. At the same time, I started attending a Crossfit gym in my town and pretty much immediately fell in love with the simultaneously competitive and supportive atmosphere in the box. Plus, I had added some blog called Nerd Fitness to my Google Reader a while back and saw that the members of the related forum were just about to start a six-week challenge, and my reaction was, “I love challenges!â€

Current Goals (Fitness Related)?

Most of these are fairly long-term, but they’re what I’m working toward:

10 dead-hang pull-ups (recently got a kipping pull-up and still working on dead-hang, which is going to take a while)

10 handstand push-ups without an Ab-Mat under my head (last I checked a month ago, I needed two Ab-Mats)

100 push-ups

Muscle ups and ring dips (can’t do either)

Deadlift: Short term 225 lbs., long term 315 lbs., someday 400 lbs (current 1RM: 210 lbs.)

Squat: Short-ish term 175 lbs., longer term 200 lbs. (current 1RM: 150 lbs.)

Bench press: 135 lbs. (1RM unknown; I’ve done 12 at 65 lbs.)

Clean: 135 lbs. (current 1RM 85 lbs.)

Jerk: 135 lbs. (current 1RM 85 lbs.)

Overhead squat: 100 lbs. (1RM unknown — I’ve never tried more than 65 lbs.)

Complete a Tough Mudder (hopefully November 2012)

Run a half marathon

Training Program?

Right now, I’m basically just doing Crossfit four to five times a week. When I can’t make it to the box, I supplement with strength training, and I’d like to be able to do some of my own programming someday. I still struggle with having the motivation to get through Crossfit WODs on my own.

What do you eat? Any particular diet and/or supplements?

Pescetarian paleo. I eat a ton of eggs, sardines, smoked trout, crab and salmon, as well as veggies, almond butter, guacamole, green apples (I have a green apple addiction that I am working to conquer) and berries. I have a fairly monotonous diet that I try to spice up with fun new paleo recipes. I take Vitamin D and L. acidophilus (a proiotic) daily.

Biggest fitness achievements?

I recently got top performer on two consecutive WODs at my gym. I guess I’d also say that pretty much all of my current 1RMs feel like my biggest fitness achievements, since I started lifting so recently and I still get so excited every time I hit a PR.

Example of an activity where you had to struggle to make it through? Any Injuries?

Recently, Coach had us do something he innocuously named “Triple Helen,†which was 1200m run, 63 kettlebell swings, 36 pull-ups, 800m run, 42 KBS, 24 pull-ups, 400m run, 21 KBS and 12 pull-ups. My hands tore open after the fifth pull-up, every round was complete misery, and I honestly felt like giving up more than once. It took me over half an hour to complete the workout, and I was in a truly terrible mood when it was over, though I wasn’t even the last person to finish. Then Coach gave me a high five and reminded me, “You just did 72 pull-ups without a band,†something that would have been entirely unthinkable a month earlier. Sometimes we need those absolutely awful workouts, just so we can remember having done them and having gotten through them — “If I could do Triple Helen, I can definitely do this.â€

Regarding the second question, my immediate thought was that I’ve had no recent injuries, but I have to amend that: Besides calluses, torn-open palms, lacerations from double unders, scars from failed box jumps, scraped shins from deadlifts and two weeks spent avoiding using my shoulders after a particularly bad Fight Gone Bad, I’ve had no recent injuries. During my skating days, I was once dropped on my collarbone, causing me to dislocate and fracture it at the sternoclavicular joint. I was off the ice for six months and spent the better part of the next year getting back in fighting (skating) shape. I’ve also fractured the growth plate in my knee, sprained some ankles, had a stress fracture and tendonitis in my right hip and bruised my tailbone a number of times.

How do you motivate yourself?

I say some really insane things to myself to get myself through workouts. During the final round of running in a recent WOD, I was trying to speed up and I told myself, “It’s ok, you don’t need your lungs after this.†Not generally a great attitude, but it got me going faster! More generally, I’ve found a workout regimen that I am excited about every single day. I wake up hoping Coach has already posted the WOD, I watch Crossfit YouTube videos during my downtime at work, I read Crossfit Journal articles about exercises I can only dream of completing, and I practically run off the train each night to get home and get dressed for the gym. I truly believe that finding a form of exercise to be passionate about is more valuable than any magazine article detailing “7 Ways to Get Motivated to Work Out†or even any of the truly awesome blog posts Steve writes on Nerd Fitness.

What advice did you receive which completely changed your outlook?

There isn’t one piece of advice that really stands out, but rather a gradual accumulation of information. I didn’t have an “Ah-ha!†moment, but a series of “Hmm…†moments. If I had to pick one thing that really changed things for me, it was the first time in Robb Wolf’s book when he basically said he didn’t care whether or not we believed the science; he just wanted us to try paleo for a month and see if we didn’t feel better. I figured that I could spare a month of grain-/sugar-/legume-free living if there was a chance it would make me healthier. I’ve always been a person who likes to know thoroughly what I’m getting myself into, and this “Screw it, just try it†attitude was a departure for me — that has had a fantastic outcome for my health.

Favourite Books/website/tv show/dvd etc?

I don’t think I could possibly pick a favorite book. Reading is my absolute nerdiest pursuit. Here are some favorites: Anything by Haruki Murakami (especially The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore), A Tale of Two Cities, The Blind Assassin, Pride & Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, all the Harry Potter books (obsessed), The Remains of the Day, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Middlesex, The Sun Also Rises, Stranger in a Strange Land, all of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, My Antonia, Old Goriot, If on a winter’s night a traveler, The Satanic Verses … I’m just going to cut myself off because I don’t ever want to stop. And I’m always looking for book recommendations!

Plays: Hamlet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, W;t, The History Boys, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

TV: 30 Rock, Glee (don’t judge), House, Family Guy, Drawn Together

Anything else?

I just want to give a huge thank you to all the rebels who have been so insanely supportive throughout these past six weeks. This challenge has seriously changed my life for the better, and the members of the forum have been motivating, informative and inspiring. Reading your threads makes me want to be more committed to my goals, give more effort in the gym and adhere more closely to my diet. And also a big thanks to anyone who read through this whole novel I just wrote to get to this sentence.

Sidenote from Dantes:

Thanks once again for taking the time to do this Crooked, it is extremely appreciated.

If anyone has any questions they'd like to ask Crooked leave a post here and I'm sure she won't mind answering a few of them.

If anyone has anyone they really want to know a bit more about, send me a PM and I'll go about setting it all up.

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Crooked: Currently inspiring everyone she meets!

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I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.

-- Jack London

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