Same Path Traveled Different Journey Part 8: the scary struggle

This past weekend was the Tactical Strength Challenge (TSC) a competition for your max deadliest, max reps of pull ups, and max kettlebell snatch in 5 min.  This is one of my favorite events of the year!  Instead of competing, I was able to be one of the officials at FUELhouse who was hosting it for their first time! Such a thrilling event!  It was full of anticipation, encouragement, and Halloween costumes.

Many of the competitors, it was their time participating (so exciting!).  It was amazing to watch each individual push past through the struggle to perform their best!  There were many surprising looks on the competitors’ faces as they out preformed their anticipated goal.  This is every Coaches’ dream!  Seeing their clients go beyond what they thought they were capable of doing!

Remembering back to my first TSC, I was so nervous going into the event.  I was scared of not being able to perform to the level of my goals and anxious for the outcome.  It wasn’t till my third TSC when I was able to accomplish this feeling of performing well past my anticipated goals.  But it was only a result of working with coaches to help me overcome my fears or what I like to call it  the “scary struggle.” In my case the dead-lift.

Yes, I am a personal trainer and I have a love-hate relationship with the dead-lift and I constantly have to work through this “scary struggle.”  We all have a love-hate o relationship with at least one of the lifts in the TSC (deadliest, pull-ups, and Kettlebell Snatch).  But when we overcome our fear, it is then we learn the art of struggling well!

As Alex Elle (author) puts it “I am thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength”

No matter if you can dead-lift 300lb or 125lb, do 10 strict pull ups or hang for 10 sec, perform 100 snatches or 65 snatches within the five minute, we all have our own struggle. And a struggle is a struggle!  No matter what your fitness level may be.  We all struggle for one more rep. It is when we work through our struggle, we are able to produce our new found strength.

Keep the “scary struggle” alive! It is what keeps us moving towards the potential beyond our belief!


Coming out of the Closet on CrossFit

Many have asked if I am straight, bi, and/or lesbian. This post is not to answer these types of questions. But I am coming out of the closest to set the record straight about my opinion about CrossFit.


When I first entered exercise as a professional, I was eager to become part of the CrossFit movement. Yet over a year of doing CrossFit style workouts my body became very broken. As a result of this, I was totally turned off from the Crossfit community. Like a high school student feels being benched the entire season, I felt I was the outcast for physically not being able to keep up with my teammates. Jealous I was not part of the team, I banded CrossFit. Then I find out the gym I am working at is opening a CrossFit “box.”


As CrossFit continues to grow, I have been challenged professionally about this growth. Like any type of exercise whether it be CrossFit, Zumba, Martial Arts etc, without the proper coaching there is always going the be the risk of injuries.


There is a lot contrast about if CrossFit is healthy or not. When the real question is how are the participants being coached. If you want to perfect a skill through Crossfitt, or kettlebells, it will take time and diligence. We can’t just jump into these classes knowing exactly how to do all the lifts and expect no injuries. It takes time and proper coaching. Even as a coach, I still seek coaching to perfect my kettlebell swings and the water skiing abilities.


I have the privilege to work with an amazing team of experts these past three years. They have challenge themselves to continue to expand their knowledge and coaching skills, while at the same time pushes each other to new physical limits. I have learned so much working with them both with coaching and reaching my personal physical goals.


With the new CrossFit Bel-Red opening up, I trust all the coaches will take the correct safety precautions. I know this team of CrossFit Coaches will make a huge difference in this community and will start changing the poor reputation CrossFit has to a safe and effect type of exercise. They have changed my opinion of it and I am excited to see the impact this “Box” will have through our community.


CrossFit has an amazing community, let this community grow to support all types of movement, exercise, and sports. Even though the high school student may not have the chance to play on the court they are still supporting their team by being there. We all can support one another. Not everyone can physically do CrossFit, more power to you if you can, I may be little jealous. Let us support our differences and remember the main goal: improving each other life through health and exercise.


CrossFitt may not be for everyone but movement is for everyone. Find something you enjoy and go “live with passion!”

I will leave you with one last comment. I am not a cross-fitter but I am open to learn from them. I am not bi and/or lesbian but open to dating not a boy but a man.


Being a competitor, I love the challenge of any type of competition. The mental focus of syncing the mind and body to work together in the “zone” can be challenging at times. It is only time the mind and body are able preform at its best. This is what every athlete strives for, being in the zone at the present moment.

Planning water ski competitions schedule for 2014, I start to wonder how do I practice the zone during the off season? I find it extremely hard to practice this when I am not even out on the water yet. Though at the same time I see the mental challenge it creates and I am up for the task. As a water skier, I am always looking ways for improvement.  I am consistently competing against myself and  determined to progress to next level. Every time I am out on the water I treat as if I was at a competition, striving for my best.

Just like making my practice part of my competition, each day we all have the opportunity to make it a “game day.” What every you may be training for, approach each day with the mental tactic of  a competition. On any competition day we all have this mental approach of winning, transition this to everyday by attacking each workout routine or practice set with a winning mentality.  Even though it is not a true competition, your are competing against your old yourself striving for a new part of you. We can’t win every competition and not every day is going to be a fantastic thrilling day, but each day we will be seeking ways to improve ourselves. Make every day a “game day” and enjoy the present moment.

Game Day

The Scary Truth

Yerba Tea vs Coffee
Yerba Tea vs Coffee

This week I have  been doing a little experiment by taking coffee out of my daily routine.  Scary I know!  Instead I replaced it with Yerba Mate Tea a South American tea that has about the same amount of caffeine as coffee but with healthier benefits. Only hearing this statement of yerba tea is a “healthier” choice in the fitness industry, I did my homework and researched a little about Yerba verses Coffee.

As I was sipping my new habit while surfing on web, I was shocked by the startling  truth of Yerba Mate Tea.  Researching on, I found reports of studies showing  people who drink large amounts of Yerba Mate over prolonged periods may be at increased risk of some types of cancer. Cancer! SCARY!!!  Ready to spit out the tea, I started looking up coffee to see if it had any heath benefits (since we all know I can’t live without some type of caffeine).  To my surprise the newer studies have shown that coffee may have benefits, such as protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer and it has a high content of antioxidants. WOW  great news! Now understand these studies studied coffee, no sugar or cream added. So what I thought was a “healthier” choice was wrong, but now I am happily enjoying the health benefits with my one cup of coffee. Everything in moderation.

In the fitness world there are many products that are coined to be healthy. Just like I was deceived with what I thought to be a healthier choice with yerba tea, the truth can be scary.  But once you know the true facts about something you are able to make the right decision.  There are many lies in this world blinding us from the truth, seek out the truth and you will find it.   John 8:32

Understanding the truth and having a well balanced life is the key to a healthy living.

Coffee  benefits new studies –

Yerba Mate Tea studies –

Boys of BOW Lake

Bow Lake Water Sports
Bow Lake Water Sports

Bow Lake was my practice site last year.  Spending as much time as I could up at the lake last summer,  I was stoked to make my return this last Friday for their first $5 Fridays.  This time I was able to bring up some of other Performance Coaches/Personal Trainers I work with at PRO Sport Club. Being surrounded by former footballs players has become the norm for me. I did not realize this till one of the skiers asked me who are my body guards?

Working with such strong guys, they are always encouraging and challenging me to new physical limits, but this time it was my turn to show them why I work so hard in the gym.  Having them ride in the boat and getting a perfect view of the intensity of water skiing, made them realize the intensity of  my workouts. Asking if they wanted to give it a try. They did not want to get into the water. Even though it was abnormally warm for Seattle area this time of year (high 70’s close to 80 degrees) the water temp was still about 50 degrees (I am still wearing my dry suit).  But they did get the bug because the next day they were asking when would be the next time to go up.  Even those who weren’t able to make it where asking too.  So until next time Bow Lake offer their $5 Fridays and the water warms up I will be bringing the boys to Bow for fun in the sun.

New Years 2013

2013 First Sunset
2013 First Sunset

It has been almost a full month since the New Year’s Eve, where many of us make resolutions in hopes for a better year than before. With all the thought put into these goals/resolutions, it is easy to forget.  Here are some tips I have found to help me continue to work towards my goals.

1. Tell as many people about your goals.  You will be surprised how many people will want to help.

It is such a refreshing feeling when you have a support system helping you toward your goals.

2.  Create self accountability, write your goals down with a timeline, having a specific time of the year you want to achieve these goals.

This will make you work daily toward your goals when you know there is only a certain amount of  time to achieve them.

3. Once written your goals down, copy them and place them everywhere. Seeing your goals multiply times throughout the day will help you to not forget. 

I like putting pictures of places I hope to compete on the background of my phone or desktop of my computer.  Seeing these places daily helps me stay motivated to continue to work hard.

Hope these tips help everyone with their New Year Resolutions.  Happy New Year from Seattle 

3. . .2. . .1. . . Happy New Year
3. . .2. . .1. . . Happy New Year

“Fish out of Water”

With a full week of rest and surviving time off from work, exercising and  . . .  and  . . . .and well besides water skiing  (which I am already taking time off from) I really don’t do anything else. Even though this week was a good rest period, it does not mean this is the end of my recovery phase. NO it is just the beginning. . . . .

This is how my car usually looks like when I am heading to the lake or a tournament, yet I did not drive to either one today.  Knowing my body needs to more time to completely heal, I have decided to not ski at all this season.  At first I thought I could get away with just skiing and not competing, but as the symptoms in my back started to increase verses decrease, I knew this would not be the case.

To make sure I won’t water ski this summer, I  drove my ski with all my gear to the only one person I would trust to take good care of the my equipment , Margie Metzger, a great friend and an amazing Physical Therapist.

Now you have to understand I am that type of skier who does not like other people touching my ski!  I cringed of the thought of people even asking if they can look at it.  I will go out of my way to make sure when entering and exiting the boat that I am the one holding my ski, no one else, not even my coach.  So letting Margie keep my ski and all my gear for the entire summer is a big deal, and a big step of faith.

Never thinking that I would need time off from this sport to improve, I know with this time it will  allow my body to fully heal.  From this recovery phase I hope to be a stronger and smarter skier for the next session.  So Summer 2013 Look Out I am coming for yah.


When you have horrible pain or have inflammation (swelling) the only answer is taking a refreshing ICE Bath.  Here are some keys when taking an ICE Bath.

To Start:

  1. Fill the tube with cold water
  2. Bowls of Ice ready by the tube
  3. Wearing sport bra and running short, slowly easy into the water
  4. Once in the tube, dump the ice.  Most importantly don’t MOVE
  5. Wait 15 min while thinking of some place warm
This has become part of my daily routine

Preparing to Get Warm  (Do these before the ice bath)

  1. Have some of your Favorite Summer Tunes Playing . . . . . my fav is Passion Pit and Foster the People
  2. Towel in Dryer 15 min while you are in the tub
  3. Hot water for tea . . . . .Green Tea
  4. Bed warmer on high (or electric blanket)
  5. Favorite sweats ready to change into also in the dryer

If all else fails . . . I go to Seattle Tanning for a 7-8 min Tan.

ANNA Crash

Injured = PRICE

With the recent discovery of my injury or should I dare say injuries: Bulging disk at T11-T12, hyper-mobile rib T5, and T4-T7 vertebras are stuck in the flexion position, I am putting into practice the PRICE principle.

P = protection  –  limit movement or activity

Protection will help from causing any more damaged to the injured joint, or area.

What protection really is, is not participating in the sport that caused the injuring in the first place.  As hard as this is for me, I have not gone out for a swerve since Feb the 3rd.  That has been almost three months since I lasted skied and can’t believe that I still don’t know when I will be out on the water.  But if this is what it takes for me to get 100% better, I am willing.

This is not me but I won't doubt it if this is what I look like when I do crash

R = rest – allows time for the body to heal

Rest is very important to protect the injured muscle, tendon, ligament or other tissue from further injury. Resting the injured part is important to promote effective healing.

Since it is my entire back that is injured, rest for me has been complete rest from everything, skiing, and working-out and now work itself.  With having the whole day to myself, I almost don’t know what to do, because of my pain being so great I can barely move, my days have been spent in bed with a good book or a movie.  Don’t know how long the rest period is going to be for me, any recommendations on good books or movies?

This is were I wish I could be resting

I = ice – decreased the inflammation

Cold provides short-term pain relief and also limits swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured area. Avoid leaving ice on an injury for more than 20 minutes at a time. Longer exposure can damage your skin and even result in frostbite.

Ever since I started to have back pain I have been icing daily.  First I just needed to ice my back. With the pain traveling to my chest this past week I been an ice sandwich, one ice pack for my back and another one for my chest.   I would ice for15 min once to twice a day.  However, with the pain still increasing I have resorted to ice bath.  See my next post on my adventures with my ice bath.

Oh the joys of being injured

C = compress – limits and reduce swelling

Usually injuries would require this to help with the healing process.  However my case is a little different.

With having a hyper- mobile rib, I have rapped my entire chest, (that is comfortable) but it has not helped with the symptoms.  The one thing that has helped me with my pain is tapping up my back and my chest. There is an art to tapping one’s back and chest.  I had my Physical Therapist do the art on my back and chest (that was an experience ) Right now I have hot pink tap, and the good new little pain.

So next time you are injured for Skiing, that PRICE into practice right away and you will be out on the water sooner than later.  Ski you Later