A Whole Lot of Living

Please enjoy the post from Billie Jane Hermosura about her WLC experience from October 25th

Participating in the Whole Life Challenge (WLC) has been a great way for me to make “health” and “fitness” a conscious part of everyday living. As a Registered Dietitian and fitness enthusiast, many aspects of health and fitness are already integrated into my profession and social circle so I do not even have to think about them. The WLC inspired me to take a closer look into my ‘whole life’ and examine what I can do to live a little (or a lot) differently.

It took me a minute to buy into the concept of WLC. The part that was most difficult for me was to wrap my head around the original “nutrition rules” especially since I wanted to go the vegan route and it went against my professional judgment. Would I regret signing up for this? Would I bomb after a couple days? The diet seemed too restrictive and unreasonable for me. I was amped when heard that the food recommendations were revised and there was also a vegetarian/vegan option. “Sign me up!”

The first challenge called “Be That Guy” put me in a position to survey restaurants questioning what is actually in the food they serve. Does this restaurant offer foods compliant to the WLC diet? This assignment was familiar to me although from the “other side”. As a dietitian, I often recommend to my clients to review restaurant menus or call ahead to ensure that the establishment has foods that met their dietary needs, whether it was to manage caloric/nutrient requirements, food allergies/sensitivities, etc. Now, it was my turn to do the investigating. My strategy? Go to the source. I went to a couple vegan-friendly restos in Victoria and met with the chefs. I was able to ask them about different dishes, recipes, ingredients as well as look at a few food labels for prepared items. I was impressed by the chefs’ willingness to make foods that would meet a patron’s dietary needs. When I read the restaurant reviews posted by other CrossFit Zone WLC participants, I felt very fortunate to be living in a community where businesses are health conscious. Most restaurants had a standard item on the menu that would be appropriate for the WLC diet or would put together a spread that met dietary needs. Amazing… until it occurred to me that I would be on the road for the next three weeks.

It was only a couple days into WLC and I started to feel like I was going to bomb. I did not want to score “zero” for nutrition simply because I was not in the comforts of my hometown. I was only planning to score “zero” by choice on specific days, like my friend’s wedding or work functions. What is the point of WLC if I’m not going to make some changes, here and there? The dietitian in me took leadership in the situation. I called the hotels I was planning to stay at to ensure that their kitchens would prepare appropriate foods for me. One hotel offered to have a food basket ready for my arrival! Now that’s customer service. I also looked online for health food stores in the local areas so I could pick up a few things to stock in my hotel room fridge. With a little bit of effort and creativity, I was able to make eating on the road easier for me. Perhaps some people thought I was being a bit much or just high maintenance. For me, it was about taking responsibility over how I want to live my life and that’s what matters the most.

Fast forward five weeks into the challenge. I was going to a yoga studio in Vancity to do back-to-back classes with my yogi friend. She is the only one who can coax me into doing two yoga classes in a row. On my way, I walked by a box which had signage that read, “Turn a 7 into 10”. I caught myself cringing at the sign. I wasn’t really stoked to do three hours of yoga, but I was now. I thought to myself, “is this really what it (CF) is about?” After about the tenth vinyasa flow sequence, I was instructed to hold the next posture, Downward Facing Dog, for 5 minutes. Sweat dripped off my face and my mind began to wander. I was struggling at yoga and found myself longing for a 7 minute AMRAP. I reminisced about the 7 minute AMRAP of just straight up burpees which I PR’d at 107. Barf-tastic. I came to realize that “no” CF, yoga, marathon training or whatever activity one engages in is so much more than “turning a 7 into 10”. It goes beyond the physical transformation that most of us experience doing these sports.

With only two more weeks to go in the WLC, I have come to learn that these discomforts are powerful teachers or coaches in my life. They point out something that is sub-par or say “Hey, you’re not functioning at your best today, what’s up?” Am I hungry or am I actually thirsty because I’ve been a slacker at hydration? I feel bagged; is it from last night’s WOD or lack of sleep? When I paused for a moment to acknowledge feelings or address questions, I was able to identify some areas that could be improved, such as regular snacking, consistent hydration and adequate sleep. Ultimately, these experiences would advance aspects of my ‘whole life’.

The added benefit of WLC is the sense of community at CF Zone and online. Social support is integral for success. WLC has been a way to connect like-minded individuals, dedicated to “health” and “fitness”. A number of times there would be a crew of Zoners just stretching or doing whatever the cash out was at the end of the WOD, which also served as an opportunity to check-in with one another. The blogs were also full of encouraging stories. We all had moments when “life” got in the way of our best intentions. You can “sweat” out your weekend of partying only so much. The good news is that sun will rise again tomorrow!

I have been on point with doing physical activity and mobility work daily. It just seems natural to move and sweat a little every day. Nutrition has been solid. Sure there have been times when I did not end up “perfect” despite my original intentions. My goal in life is not to be rated a “10 out of 10”. Taking time to listen to my internal dialogue helped me answer simple questions such as, “Do I really want to eat or drink this right now?” or “Maybe I should not WOD tonight, is there something else I can do instead?” Just last week, I was out for lunch with a friend and he invited me to share a plate of carrot fries covered in a mystery batter… hell yah! Minus one point… Whatev’s!!! It wasn’t his dashing good looks or charm that made me cave into the carrot fries. It was something that I wanted to genuinely eat and savoured each salty bite.

Living in the moment sometimes requires (small) sacrifices. This challenge was not about giving up living life, but rather to encourage living life to the fullest. Having said that, thank goodness for my bank of weekly “bonus points”! These extra points were meant to be spent, wisely. Creativity and wisdom have given me momentum to stick with WLC and I have no regrets for signing up for the challenge. Each day I want to wake up and live.

Last call for hopping on the Scoots shirts order…  If you did not let me know in the previous post the size you want, please post to the comments. Thanks!

Today’s Workout:

Buy In – Overhead Squat 3-­3-­3-­3-­3 E3M

Increase weight if your technique is perfect!

WOD “Corpse Reviver”

For Time:
Row 1000M
Then
5 Rounds of:
12 Toes to bar
10 Burpees

Zone 3 – RX movement, scale to 3-4 rounds
Zone 2 – scale TTB to hanging leg raise or double crunch
Zone 1 – scale as needed
Cash Out – Stretch out the hamstrings and roll out your IT band, hips and legs

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