Thursday, September 26, 2013

Why the hate?

Why do I feel the need to stand up for Crossfit whenever I hear something negative about it? 

Mainly, I hate to see something so positive turned upside down. Especially by people with zero hands-on experience. I would feel very silly posting an article about how raising children a certain way is wrong, because I don't have kids, and I've never tried to raise a child, so how could I possibly know if what I read in some book or article is true? The same goes for body-building or soccer. I've never done it, so I really don't know the pros and cons. Granted, I don't have to try everything to know that its not for me; I don't do drugs or rob banks, although most people would agree those two choices would be bad for my health/life. The jury is apparently out when it comes to Crossfit, but people as a whole do regard exercise as a positive endeavor; it shouldn't matter to anybody, but me, the kind of working out that I choose to partake in. On the other hand, if people feel that Crossfit is bad for their health, or that the negatives outweigh the positives, or that its not an activity for them, then they luckily can choose not to participate.

But why the hate?

The most common reason I hear for disliking Crossfit is that it is annoying to always see posts and articles "glorifying" it. I do understand that pictures, articles, statuses, etc. could get annoying after awhile. Just as it can be annoying to see endless posts and pictures about peoples' children (a friend made this reference and I think its a great comparison). The difference is this: when I get annoyed by over-zealous moms, I don't post anything tearing down those children, or that mom's pride in her children. I just ignore it. Even better, I accept that I may not understand, but I am glad that the person is happy. No skin off my back if they want to post pictures of their kid eating, sleeping, playing, pooping, etc. So I do wonder why Crossfit is so offensive that it can't just be ignored when it is disliked?

I reference this article at this moment to say some of the things I'd really like to, but won't:

Yes, I know it can be annoying to see everybody write about their accomplishments, which is why I personally try to keep those kinds of things between me and my closest friends, my family members, and my Crossfit community. Those are the people who provide the support and encouragement that I care about. Although, I do encourage people not to take it personally if I happen to share one of my positive Crossfit experiences in a forum where you are exposed; I do not mean to offend anybody with my happiness. In defense of my pride at times, I have to say its pretty easy to feel proud of where you work out when you get to watch your coach on ESPN competing, and then see him workout in person, and then get advice from him daily.   Just sayin' .... :)

Another reason I feel the need to chime in when I see negative opinions on Crossfit is that it does vary from box to box and coach to coach. I can't tell you if the box in my hometown, or your hometown, or the one down the street is worth criticizing. But I can tell you that no article that lumps every box, every experience, and every coach together is valid. Most articles focus on tearing down Crossfit by using several falacies to get their point across; namely appealing to emotion, stacking the deck, and generalizing(Examples of Fallacies). Luckily, Crossfit Ansbach does not encourage the negatives that are often highlighted in articles against Crossfit. I have written about this in the past, and I could only add positives to this if I were to re-write it. When I stand up for Crossfit, I am really standing up for Crossfit Ansbach, the amazing people I work out with, and our owner (our coach), who is an outstanding person and who is not only highly experienced in and knowledgeable about what he does, but who is also skilled in teaching what he knows to others.

When it comes down to it, I think the reason some of us "Crossfitters" come off as annoying is because we have found something that betters our life, and we want to share our experience with everybody so maybe we can better somebody else's life, too!

So why do I get involved in trying to stand up for Crossfit? Maybe from now on, I won't. The bottom line is, I get positive results socially, intellectually, and physically from going to Crossfit Ansbach. My friends and family support me and my Crossfit community understands me. If somebody outside of that group of people wants to be negative without knowing what they are missing, they are free to feel that way.

Bottom line: I just want to encourage anybody who is curious about Crossfit to give it a try and not to let the naysayers scare you away!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday, Monday...

I often give myself permission to completely enjoy a day doing, or not doing, whatever I please (I am spoiled in this way); but I just as often don't fully take myself up on the offer.

However; today, I have spoiled myself by doing exactly what I think of as soon as I think of it; including household chores, errands, and a random afternoon bath. On days where I feel like being lazy or alone (or both), I usually put off all of my obligations, which only adds to my anxiousness and keeps me from having a completely stress-free day. It's as if I spend the entire day thinking of everything I should be doing but then fight these responsibilities by telling myself, "NO! Today you must relax!" And so I sit in one spot and do nothing, but never actually relax because my mind is on everything I should be completing. Today has been so pleasantly different :)

As soon as I was half-awake this morning I thought to myself, "I am not going to Crossfit today." Yes, I still love my Crossfit classes, coach, and peers, but this morning the bed felt so cozy and inviting that I didn't want to start thinking about when I had to get up in order to be somewhere other than my nice, warm, bed. I also noticed that my back wasn't aching, and I was so relieved to wake up for the second day in a row without pain, that I gave my body permission to just have the day off. More importantly, I decided not to feel guilty about taking a Monday off, either. When I did roll out of bed, I took a nice shower and took the time to fully un-pack and put away all my laundry. I tidied the kitchen, started a load of laundry, and then Cammy and I went on an hour walk to enjoy the fact that it is sunny and pleasant outside today. I mozyed to Kauflands where I picked up a bottle of federweiser for Cody and I to enjoy tonight along with our dinner, and after a small lunch, took some time to practice my German with Rosetta Stone. As soon as my back started hurting, I laid down to read, then got up to take a warm bath, and here I am now; sitting up in bed, updating my blog.  A relaxing yet slightly productive Monday, indeed!

You may be wondering why my back is hurting, and I admit that I haven't written about it because I don't want any negative impressions of Crossfit coming from anything that I write on my blog. I blame nothing and nobody but myself for my recent issue with my back, but I did manage to tweak a muscle/nerve/who-knows-what in my lower-back about a month ago during a workout. I have tried giving myself time off, only to become stiffer and more sore. I have had days with very little pain and days where my back nags at me from morning until night. Most of the time, once I finish stretching and warming up in class, I feel limber and experience little to no pain during my workout, leading me to feel strong and mostly pain-free throughout the day. Unfortunately, just as I thought I was maybe healing, I had a very rough day in class on Friday. Thankfully, with help from Rob and some extra time doing exercises, stretches, and experimenting, I think we may have me on the mend. Taking the weekend off for our FRG girl's trip to Poland was most likely the best thing for me to do as a follow up. 

And so we come around to what I originally wanted to update the blog on: my weekend Polish Pottery Trip! 

This Saturday morning at 6:00 am, five ladies and myself packed ourselves and some small pieces of luggage into an SUV and drove ourselves the five hours to Poland to buy some pottery. If you have never heard of Polish Pottery... well, neither had I until I came to Germany and was introduced to it by other military wives. I wasn't even particularly impressed with it until this weekend, to be honest. Polish Pottery is hand-painted ceramic pieces for every dining or cooking need under the sun; you can buy coffee mugs, tea pots, saucers, plates, bowls, casserole dishes, wine glasses, serving bowls, muffin "tins," cookie jars, and the list goes on and on and on. You can decorate with it, but it is also fully functional (depending on the quality you buy) and as we found out, you can even find polish pottery dildos. Yep. I really couldn't make that kind of thing up.

When we arrived in Poland, I realized that I know absolutely nothing about the place.  I felt bad that I couldn't even pull up one random fact about the area from my brain full of random knowledge. It was definitely different than Germany, and looked kind of sad and run-down in places. But there is no shortage of Polish Pottery! 
We hit about 6-8 stores once we got to town, with a delicious and surprisingly cheap meal in between (Poland does not use the euro, and you get a very favorable exchange rate-- think 4:1). We checked into our hotel, The Blue Beetroot, and went to one last store, and came back to have a couple glasses of federweisser (wine before it is wine- yum!) before our scheduled beauty appointments. I was the lucky one to go first and loved my 45 minute massage, which I feel that I have so desperately been needing. We all came and went from our reserved table in the dining room and I enjoyed a raspberry beer, a greek salad with bread, and spinach perogies (my first perogies ever!) for only nine euros! Once everybody had been pampered and stuffed with delicious food, we wandered upstairs for our pjs and some sangria. As I sat chatting with the group, I was so relieved that none of my fears about spending 24 hours with five females had come true- plus, you know when your nighttime conversation is about twerking and zombies that you have found a good crowd :)

We all woke up and met downstairs for breakfast consisting of, orange juice, breads, homemade jam, croissants (mmm my fave!), fruits, yogurt, cereals, scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, sliced meats and cheeses, and full carafes of coffee and hot chocolate. Incredible. Yet again, all of this was only six euros! Can you say spoiled?  
I had already decided that I was done shopping and would just look around at the stores we stopped at on the way out of town, but the first store we went to on Sunday morning had my favorite patterns of all! Everybody has their favorite Polish Pottery store, and now I know why; these pieces were absolutely beautiful to me! For the first time, I felt the need to buy entire sets all in one or two patterns- I was in love. So, even though I had already spent what I wanted to spend, I got myself a beautiful colander and a little sugar and creamer set in my two favorite patterns. 

The drive home was full of conversation ranging from serious to silly and we even stopped to have a picnic at lunch time. With all the fun we had, I think we were all ready to get home, see our husbands (or boyfriends), relax, eat dinner, and unpack our treasures! We got to Bad Windsheim around 5:00 pm yesterday and all gave hugs goodbye, having survived almost 36 hours with zero accidents, spats, or conflict of any kind (I think that's pretty impressive for any 6 people spending all their time together, not just 6 females). Cody had picked us up the largest size pizza that Best Pizza carries and Kevin came over to enjoy it with us.  The boys actually liked everything that I had bought, and Cody was extra excited about the cookie jar I brought home, as I thought he would be.

As if the weekend couldn't get any better, after we got ready for bed, Cody called his grandma and dad, who informed us that the Bengals were playing Green Bay. We then realized it was only 8:00 at night and not 10:00 (as we had both thought thanks to Cody, haha), and we got up and watched the game. I made a double batch of cookies for the cookie jar and we got to see the Bengals beat Green Bay 34-30! We both went to sleep very happy, indeed :)

P.s. If you are wondering why there are no pictures- between all of us, we never took one group photo the entire weekend! I think we were all too busy enjoying ourselves to worry about it :) Plus, I'm already excited to go back, anyway!

I hope all of you had a great weekend and are having a wonderful Monday, as well!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mom's Visit to Germany

This past week something very exciting happened.... my mom came to Europe for the first time and visited Cody and I!
We had a ton of plans and we did almost all of them. Unfortunately, after a beautiful, sunny, and warm week, mom experienced an entire week of cold, cloudy, rainy days. It didn't keep us from anything we wanted to see and do, and we all made the best of everything-- all along making time for lots of pastries, cappuccino, and gelato ;)

It was awesome to show mom my home, take her to Crossfit classes, and experience new restaurants and places with her.  She fully understands why I love it here SO much now, and even joked around about moving here herself ;) I wish! Here is everything we squeezed into her seven-day trip....

Picked mom up from the airport in Frankfurt, stopped at a market hall and picked up a torte, quiche, and chocolate croissant for brunch, drove back to Bad Windsheim where mom relaxed at home while I went to Crossfit, Cody and mom picked up new chairs to surprise me while I was gone and Cody made us bison burgers when I got home (yum!), then gelato in town at Cafe Rialto and home so mom could finally SLEEP!
Early morning Crossfit (mom got to meet some of my x-fit family and watch a fun workout), cleaned up at home and had a big homemade breakfast, went to Kauflands to explore and stopped on postto take Cody lunch, then home to change and off to the Frankentherme where we swam and relaxed for a few hours, then went home and cleaned up for dinner at Franco's (mom's first authentic Italian dinner), and home for MORE SLEEP!
Left for Newschwanstein and Hohenschwangau in the morning, once we arrived we saw Kurt from Glee! and then walked around Schwangau and toured the castle, we hopped back in the car towards Garmish-Partenkirchen and stopped at a "cheese house" for yummy lunch in the car, then arrived at guest-house and explored town, napped, went downstairs for dinner and live music and dancing at Gasthaus Fraundorfer (mom's first authentic German dinner and drinks), finally time to SLEEP

Had a traditional breakfast in the gasthaus with a retired military couple (so nice and informative!), foggy day but did Zugspitze trip anyway; train up to cable car, cable car up to summit, blizzard at summit, hot chocolate with Bailey's (mmm), small cable car down to attempt to take train, "train goes ka-put," small cable car up to big cable car, fast cable car down to train, train back to station, get on the road home, Cody makes pork tenderloin for dinner, I needed sleep after all those fricken cable cars! (Not a huge fan of hanging in a box on a cable with no parachute blowing around in a blizzard... nein danke)
We collectively decided not to go to Weinfest in Bad Durkheim and to explore Bad Windsheim instead, Cody and I went to Crossfit in the morning, then we all did a little bit of shopping, stopped back home, grabbed coffee and a cinnamon roll at Cafe Kiwi, listened to the beautiful organ music in the town church, then went and strolled around the Freiland Museum (loved it!), then back to house for rest, and drove out to Best Pizza in Hohenau (first for all of us!) where mom and I shared the same size pizza that Cody ate all alone, then back home to sleep
Finally went for breakfast at Cafe Bohne (surprisingly disappointing, boo), then mom and I went to the PX and Commisary at Urlas (ugh), but finished in time to park downtown in Ansbach and wandered around, grabbed a panini and some gelato for the drive home, once home we got ready for dinner at Colmberg Castle with Abby and Josh, and went to Rothenburg afterwards for our favorite Night Watchman's Tour
I drug mom back to Crossfit to see some weight-lifting, then we came home and cleaned up, hopped on a train to Ipsheim, then we missed the train back, so we took a train to Neustadt, where we got back on a train to Bad Windsheim (mom definitely got to ride European trains-one of her goals of visiting!), we took a bit to shop around Bad Windsheim, then went home, cooked for Lunch In Hangar, had dinner made by mom (love!), finally relaxed and tried to re-create the bier-likor drink from Garmisch, and went to bed
Mom and I had a final traditional German breakfast at home (meats and cheeses on croissants) then drove to Frankfurt where mom took off towards the States :(

Next time, she will have to make a longer trip!!!