One thing people that know me are very aware of is my borderline obsession with having a healthy lifestyle.
Between healthy eating and insane exercise at god awful times in the morning, it becomes fairly obvious that I’m pretty committed.
But that’s not to say that I don’t have fun, I don’t go out and I don’t drink.
For a while I didn’t, but then I moved to New York and my priorities shifted back into a steadier gear, my old, more normal, fun way of life.
Instead of overdrive 6 Crossfit sessions a week and full on clean eating.
My crazy love affair
Started a few years ago trying to get fit for a beach holiday.
Excessive numbers of classes a day.
Leading to the monster that was, Instanity, in a tiny bedroom.
And then a friend persuaded me to join Crossfit.
You just can’t beat the natural, endorphin high from the gym.
And the look on people’s faces when they don’t expect you to be able to lift.
Moving to America has taken a little bit of adjusting.
Both with food and fitness.
But if you are passionate about something, then there is no reason it shouldn’t be able to work in any environment, any location.
Like I said, I was really into clean eating before I left. As part of a challenge in my box, as well as just generally wanting to feel good and fuel myself properly.
So I was a little worried about the perceptions, and my previous experience of American food.
Famous for their big portions and unhealthy, deep fried, cheese laden foods.
But it hasn’t been as bad as I expected. Although that may be because I haven’t been looking for it.
It took me 2 weeks to eat a burger, and about a month to get a hotdog. I somehow found lots of salads and veggies.
What I’ve noticed
Is that there are so many more healthy options than I thought there would be, including vegan and Paleo restaurants.
Where I work there is an amazing restaurant round the corner – The Dig Inn – that serves locally sourced, organic produce and a fresh food market. On the occasion that I don’t have time to prep my food – or I just fancy a treat – I always know I can run round the corner and grab something that will be healthy and satisfying.
I love a veggie plate!
Organic was never a thing I looked for until I got here. Part of that is probably down to the built environment.
At home it was easy to see things growing, even if that was just a potato. There was so much open space and greenery. Here, it is congested and there is no real space to breath. Plus, I had an understanding of suppliers.
I don’t think that it really makes the blindest bit of difference, but it’s worth a thought when you can’t see or imagine where your food is coming from.
It seems sensible with meat, since it all gets pumped with a million antibiotics and crazy hormones – so I am back to almost vegetarian and delicious chocolate protein shakes!
[Got a little more excited than I expected when a My Protein delivery of Chocolate Smooth came in!]
Easy tricks I’m picking up
I never realised the real value of food prepping living at home.
Trader Joe’s has become my favourite place. Right now they are well and truly saving my life. As long as I time it perfectly to beat the worst of the queues.
My two favourite things: bags of frozen vegetables and organic chunky peanut butter – this is like heaven in a jar!
Who has time to spend chopping vegetables?! I have 10 minutes to grab something to eat – and I don’t want to eat out – this is perfect for chucking together stir fry or pasta.
And freezing meals! This is the best invention. Although when you live with three other people that have the same idea, and a tiny freezer. It doesn’t work out so well.
If I don’t sort myself out before 8am on Sunday, I have no space, anywhere!
Stop making excuses
I can’t be bothered with people who say that living healthily takes too long, is boring, or unappetising and whine all the time about how they never have anything nice to eat. They’re not doing it right!
Or not having time to exercise. You make time. You go for a walk at lunch. You get off a stop or two early on the train. You find a random ten minute workout on Pinterest and do it before you get in the shower!
I love healthy food. A little too much.
New York does have a ridiculous number of temptations.
Like $1 slice, hot dogs, burgers, sweets, cookies, cakes.
All the bad things you hear about – there is a reason that you hear about it!
Because it’s delicious.
So a treat here and there, it’s balance.
I can’t very well move to New York for a year and say I never had a slice of pizza, or I never had a beer. Why? Oh, because my training schedule wouldn’t allow it.
Everything in moderation.
And the beers… slightly over moderation.
Yes, this may be an 18″ pizza for three…
So I started Crossfit back in the UK in September.
After a lot of uncertainty. A mate that had joined was trying to convince me that since I love crazy intense exercise it would be perfect for me and I wouldn’t regret it.
The only thing I regretted was not joining when she first mentioned it.
By the time I left I was doing 6 sessions a week.
Part of this was down to loving the feeling of my body changing, learning new skills, getting PBs, etc. but the other part, more importantly in some ways, was the community. I made some really good friends from joining. I would go in just to see them – can’t get much more of a healthy social life than that!
Over Christmas when my box was closed and I couldn’t get in to get rid of my Christmas dinner for a week, I was tearing my hair out.
I eventually admitted defeat and went to Pure Gym with my sister. Running had become pretty boring.
This was hands down one of the most bizarre gym experiences – you’d think that would be the description of Crossfit rather than Pure Gym.
There was so much equipment.
I just looked at it thinking, ‘take me back to my empty warehouse with squat racks, rings and rowers’.
Sometimes, less is more.
My sister had never done Crossfit before, so I thought I’d pick a workout that we’d both have the skills to do. Yes, I am a mean sister.
And then I went into crazy PT mode and started screaming at her that her burpees were not burpees. (She had to learn at some point that your chest goes all the way to the ground and your bum doesn’t stay high in the air!)
After running across the gym for different equipment I decided there was no going back.
If I was going to join a gym in New York, it was going to have to be Crossfit.
Where I could be with like-minded nutters.
Crossfit in New York
When I arrived in New York I managed a grand total of 11 days without exercise before cracking up. I figured that was pretty good going.
Although I did have to break that up with a run and a short body weight workout. So maybe really only 3 days…
Crossfit in America is stupidly expensive, so I figured it was important to try out a few places and see what worked for me.
I tried 4 different boxes. And as soon as I walked into Crossfit Hoboken I knew it was the one for me.
I have now been training there for 6 weeks.
And for the first time, this week I got back up to a respectable 5 sessions in 5 days! Damn it felt good. Until I realised I can’t walk.
The main challenges I am finding are:
- I cannot get my head around pounds instead of kilos – I keep having to run away and grab a calculator.
- I do not have the time to commit to the same number of sessions as I used to do – which realistically is probably a good thing.
- I feel weak. But I think that’s an adjustment thing. From the confusion about what the weights are. And from trying to fit too much into a day – but I won’t sit still so that won’t change much.
- The people aren’t as sociable as the ones at home. I thought I would really quickly make a network of friends. But it’s early yet so maybe there is still hope. And going at 6am, who really wants to talk?!
Since I arrived, anyone that I have said to that I do Crossfit has given me a really weird look.
If they don’t know what it is, they assume it’s just one of the 24 hour gyms. Like ‘Crunch’.
And if they do know what it is, they ask how I’m getting on since I joined the cult and if I’ve taken my meds.
When I say I train at 5.30/6am they have a field day, ripping into me. They just don’t get it. Meanwhile, I’m quite happy.
I get asked if I’ve been to training – expecting the answer to be no, because it’s 7.45am on the way to work. And then look like they’ve had a stroke when I say yes.
And for some, I am just called Crossfit.
I don’t understand the fascination in my love of exercise, but as long as they’re happy.
It’s like they have their own little gym junkie toy – that would make for an interesting Barbie!
I always laugh when I see comments on Twitter like:
“If you don’t talk about Crossfit, do you really do Crossfit?”
It is true. We like to talk about it a lot. I don’t understand why. It’s like there isn’t an off switch.
So I guess that’s how it has become the central point for conversation with me if people don’t know anything else.