Confidence in Sports and Life

Holy crap, it’s been six months since I’ve posted anything. Time flies like it’s nobody’s business!! But, I have a good reason for it.. Dear diary, I have a confession to make: I’ve been cheating on you. It wasn’t intentional, it just happened. You know, one of those things called life got in the way.

For the past six months I’ve had a different outlet for my rants. You should be thankful you’ve been spared!! As you know if you have read my earlier posts, I can be like a broken record about certain things. Anyway, thanks to one of my biggest supporters for listening to me and being there like no other guy has ever been before. I’m not sure if I deserve you🙂

Now that conveniently brings me to what I’ve been processing for the past few months in my little head. Since I haven’t kept a record of anything here, you might not know, but I have stopped CrossFit (gasp!!), for the time being. Whenever people ask me why I did it, I struggle to find the truthful answer.

*disclaimer, I know all the below goals can be reached through CrossFit, so spare me the lecture, and read on only if you’re interested in my story. Thanks.

I have been telling them that I did it cause I needed a change to get motivated about training again. This is true, but is it the real reason? No.

I have been telling them I want to work on my endurance cause I want to do another half marathon in the fall. This is true, but is it the real reason? No.

I have been telling them I want to work on feeling and looking better, loosing some stupid stubborn fat I hold on to so dearly. This is true, but is it the real reason? No.

Well, I am here today to reveal the real reason why I came to this decision: I might not have what it takes to do CrossFit. There, I said it. Wow, that was tough.. Ok, now that I’m on a roll, let’s go to the why. I’m not sure if I have what it takes to CrossFit for the same reason that I don’t think I can do a lot of things: my very apparent lack of self confidence.

I have a very strong separation of the work Elina and the private Elina. These two people are very different. At work, since I have to prove myself to others, I can easily be confident, or at least fake it if it doesn’t come naturally. The private Elina has brainwashed herself into thinking that she is no good. At anything. And most importantly, there are always people who do everything better.

I’m not an asshole, I do of course celebrate the achievements of my friends and training buddies, but on the inside I am bitter, because I feel like I can never achieve that back squat of 100kg or that deadlift of 120kg or those 200 unbroken DUs or the handstand walk or whatever. Dooming myself to failure as I think this.

As you can see, I have not yet learned one of the most important things in recreational sports: the only thing you should concentrate on is being better than YOU were yesterday.

I however have learned that it’s very difficult to stay motivated in the long run if there are no goals, or tracking of the current progress. Or to be more specific, no attention to the tracking of the current progress, because of course I have been doing that, I just never looked back to where I started..

I’ll take a breather from the heavy stuff and tell you what I have been up to. For the past few months now, I have been training under the supervision of a personal trainer. A very positive, encouraging, beautiful person she is I have to say.

I’ve gone from CF training to running and the regular gym where I do strength stuff to support the running and some CF style metcons. Now, I feel like a traitor just saying that. That’s how much all the stuff I’ve read about CF being the solution to all the world’s problems has affected me.😉 I however think that if I want a good result on the half marathon, surprise surprise, I do have to run a bit. I have also been minding a bit more what I eat, since lifting weights and cutting corners on the metcons and eating whatever I wanted has left me about 10kg heavier than what I was during my earlier running days. I can tell you that it’s not much fun to run with that.😀 Don’t get me wrong, a lot of it is very necessary muscle mass which I definitely want to keep, it’s the wobbly stuff I want to get rid of.

Ok, back to the hard stuff.. With this type of training I am able to  concentrate mostly on how I am improving (though my supporter runs like a gazelle, so he makes it a bit hard sometimes..😀 ) but I’m really not working on the issue itself. Since I workout with my personal program and mostly by myself, there is no risk of anyone in my immediate surrounding of being better than me (apart from the gazelle). I can easily compare my results to see that I am making progress, which obviously is rewarding. I can feel my clothes fitting a bit looser and the reflection on the mirror being a bit more leaner. But I do want to go back to doing CF eventually, and I want to go back in a state of mind where my  own individual performance doesn’t suck all the time and where the performance of the others is not related to how I’m doing.

Now, I actually don’t know where to start. How does one go about getting more confident? How do I stop comparing myself to others for good? I have been trying to do this for heaven knows how many years, but I think the only thing I’ve been able to achieve is be a bit proud of my achievements, but at the same time sound all narcissistic about it. So not a win win situation, I must say..🙂

I know that in order to be perfectly happy, care free and successful in life, it pays off to have confidence in yourself. It might even be imperative, but I don’t want to think that right now, as I’ll start feeling even worse..

I know it for sure that in order to be successful in sports, you have to believe in yourself, or you won’t get the results you are after. Now it’s up to me to find the way to achieve this. All help, comments, tips, words of encouragement and wisdom are welcome. I know I have a lot of very wise and confident friends out there. I admire you all and celebrate your achievements! Thanks for reading this far. I forgot how good writing things down feels!

2014 – The Year Of The Squat

So it’s upon us once again, unexpected like always, the last day of the year. For some, just a day among others, for others, a milestone to be reveled in and ponder about the past and marvel about the future. I’m gonna do just a bit of both, so bear with me..😀

2013, a year of changes for me. Literally. It wasn’t always fun, but the major notes are positive and to be warmly remembered. I will of course not forget the struggles either, as they all have taught me something and should not be ignored. The best times were the ones spent with my loved ones, bar none. With some, the time could’ve been longer though, but 2014 should bring a change to this.

I took a moment just now (shh, don’t tell anyone, I’m supposed to be working…) to read my 2012 / 2013 post and was quite pleased with what I read. All the things I resolved to do, I did to some extent, and will keep on doing for the rest of my life. They are good guidelines to carry with me.

Now, I’m not the biggest on resolutions in general, because instead of making silly and unattainable promises we should remember to improve continuously. However, I have a few for the coming year as well. Here they are:

– waste less food (babes, you promised to eat all the leftovers.. :p)
– squat more

That’s it.

I’m gonna make 2014 the year of the squat. Simple. I don’t have any target in mind, cause honestly, I have no idea what is feasible for me. However, I know I will improve. I will work on a more specific plan as well with the help of my CF coaches for sure, but this is all I got now.

20131231-115025.jpg

I hope you all have done wonderful things in 2013 and continue to do them in 2014 as well. Just be happy, don’t overthink things and enjoy the ride. As long as you’re doing what makes you happy, you’re alright.

Peace and love🙂

Time for a rant and a bit of food

I know I promised to be back sooner (as if anyone cares) but I’ve been busy and lazy, yes at the same time.. But since I’m home, waiting for a cake I made for Father’s Day to be ready, with nothing else to do (I’m sure there’s absolutely nothing good on TV and I’ve had a glass of wine so I can’t drive to my family) I figured I’d see what I can blurt out this time.

Last time I was heading out to Amsterdam to do the Dam 2 Dam run, which I finished together with the polkadot girl, and ended up with about 20 minutes worse time as a result than the last time I finished it. I couldn’t however be too bothered about it, since I really hadn’t trained for it almost at all.

run insane

I was just happy to be there, make it to the finish line and have beers with my buddies afterwards. Actually I was quite happy that thanks to CrossFit, at least I’m able to run the 10 miles (16 kilometres) at any given day and know that I’ll make it.

Talking about witnessing the improved fitness, it was my 1 year CrossFit  anniversary about a month ago. I had decided to do the first ever CF workout that day, to see what has happened to me in that year. The WOD that I needed to do was Cindy: 20 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of: 5 pull ups (I did jumping pull ups, as I can’t do unassisted yet, except one or two kipping ones..), 10 push ups and 15 air squats.

Cindy

And improved I did!! I got 3 full rounds more than a year ago, with normal push ups instead of the girly kind I did last year. I can’t say I’m still elite fit (hehee) but a hell a lot fitter than year ago. I’m happy to say that I turned 34 in the best shape of my life. I have also stopped obsessing about the scale and the tape measure. I still sometimes check in the morning that my gut is still there, but that’s about it..😀

Oh, and talking about the gut.. Funny enough, even though I eat everything I want (including candy) I swear there are positive changes to be seen. Even if I haven’t been the most consistent WODer lately either. Amazing.. What comes to results, they improve as well, slowly but surely I get stronger and faster and stuff. I guess a healthy lifestyle does pay off😀 and what has finally sunk in is that changes don’t happen overnight. Not even in a few months, it takes time. And that’s all I have. I have the rest of my life to be the healthiest and happiest I can, and that’s what I strive for.

But, so that this wouldn’t end up being just about me (which of course is what I wanna talk about..🙂 ) I’ll leave you with a thought of my dinner inspired by my sister:

Perch Thai style

250 g of perch (or salmon, or other fish)
1 zucchini
1 bell pepper
some broccoli
fish sauce for taste
about 2 tbs green curry paste
1 can of coconut milk

Cut the veggies and the fish, fry them in oil, add the coconut milk, fish sauce and the curry paste, serve with e.g. rice.

I love simple food and this definitely is that!

ahven curry

1 year anniversary

I happened to take a look at my first posts today. I knew findingelina had an anniversary coming up, and guess what!? It’s today!!🙂

Happy birthday dear diary. You’ve been a huge help at times when I needed to pour stuff out into the world.

So many things have changed during this year. Country, job, apartment, relationship status.. Well, pretty much everything🙂

I’m actually right now in a bus, on my way to the airport. I’m flying from Finland to The Netherlands, my old home country. It’s been a while since I was there. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone and running the notorious Dam 2 Dam run (I wrote about my last experience almost a year ago) and most importantly, seeing my babe. Yes, it happened, I met someone right before I moved away. Go figure..

I’ll enjoy myself and perhaps finally get back to posting random rants once I’m back!

Thanks readers, it’s been a good year!

20130921-164328.jpg

Pancake breakfast in the sun

Hi from the cottage in the middle of nowhere in North Karelia! It is wonderful here, so peaceful and pretty.

I’m writing this at 9am and it’s 37 degrees and sunny. Awesome🙂

To celebrate this, I wanted to try out a new pancake recipe which I was thinking about when I went to bed. Yes, I think about food too much.. But I can’t help it, it’s so good!!😀

Anyway, since I’ve introduced non-paleo items in my diet, I’ve been having oatmeal quite often in the morning. I usually add egg whites in it for the protein. But since I felt like something different today, this is what I came up with:

Banana-oat-pancakes

1 banana
2 eggs
1 dl of oats

Mush bananas and add the rest of the stuff. Let sit for a bit for the oats to thicken. Add butter or coconut oil in a very hot pan and fry away.

I had fried cinnamon apples to go with it, just sliced an apple thin, fried it on the same pan with butter and cinnamon.

DE-LISH!!!

20130708-092353.jpg

I just enjoyed a plate full in the sun! Oh, and the recipe should be enough for two people, but with me, it was good enough for a person and a half. Me being both the full person and the half person later on…🙂

Enjoy your day lovelies!!

Leftovers

I have to empty my fridge cause I’m leaving for the summer cottage for two weeks. I have random veggies and eggs there. And an open bottle of white wine. Shame..😀

Last weekend I was hanging out with two dear friends from Amsterdam and I think I ate enough to keep me going for a few weeks. But surprisingly enough I was already hungry again when I woke up this morning. I started my day off with a good bowl of oatmeal and I started applying for jobs again. I was so immersed in this that I only stopped to snack on a protein bar (my new bad habit…). So now at 8 PM I’m starving.

I had to get a bit creative, but I think the end result was amazing, delicious, healthy and satisfying in many ways. And goes perfectly together with a glass or two of white wine.

Food and wine

This is a warm Nicoise salad with a random amount of:

Kale
Carrot
Zucchini
Yellow pepper
Potato
Egg
Tuna
Green Onion
Tomato
Olive oil

I sautéed the kale and the rest of the veggies in a bit of coconut oil while the potatoes and the eggs were boiling. Once all was done, I piled them on a plate.

Holy simplicity.

Knowledge – a double-edged sword

They say knowledge is power. They also say knowledge increases sorrow.

Knowledge IS power

My days are filled with looking for work so I could support my addiction to sports and new sports gear.🙂 When I’m not doing this or spending time with family, I sport. More often I find myself tempted to do doubles in the form of my normal CrossFit programming of the box (strength/skill and a WOD) and extra skill or lung work. On most days this ends up being me putzing around on my hands or head, my favorite skill practise.

The question is; do I get the most benefit, do I see the progress I want by doing this? For someone like me, the 3 days on 1 day off programming of the box is currently doable. For some time. With lighter weeks. And an extra rest day here and there.🙂

Since I haven’t been doing sport intensively for a very long time, and never with a coach before, I lack a certain self awareness sometimes. I usually recognize when I’m exhausted, but this can be “too late” already.

Here, knowledge IS power. The better you know when to train hard, when to slow down or stop altogether, the better athlete you can be. Train hard but smart.

For the past few weeks I’ve been getting some help here. I have had the privilege to test Check My Level, a device which helps you to “optimize your training readiness” with a quick daily assessment.

Check My Level

The device in use

result

One of the results you might get

Now, of course it is entirely up to you how you use the data. Maybe you are like me and sometimes think you know better. This can very well be, but the assessments do give an analysis of the responsiveness of your muscles, something which you can’t scientifically “feel” yourself.

I’ve never used a similar product, so I can’t compare. But I can say that on certain days, it definitely has helped me to realize e.g. that I did 5 days training in a row and I should have a rest day. (I do keep track of my training in a calendar, but to my defence, in this case I had done 2 days of olympic lifting technique training which I saw as school and not training. Stupid me..)

Check out their intro video on YouTube (yes, it’s my 15 seconds of CrossFit fame and I’m proud of it🙂 )

And check the web site of Check My Level, where you can get further details about the product, and purchase it!

Knowledge DOES increase sorrow

Nutrition, my other favorite subject. I’ve been eating “without any restrictions” for a while now. Now the quotation marks are there cause I haven’t, really. I’ve been slipping back into a more paleo-esque menu. Mostly out of laziness and convenience. I hope.. But I do eat my oatmeal and dairy products and enjoy them without guilt.

So what comes to the sorrow. I read a lot of stuff on nutrition. From different blogs and articles etc. Some written by people like me with no idea what they’re talking about and some written by acknowledged professionals and the in-between. What I take away from the information confuses and frightens me. I think I eat healthy, I don’t feel like dairy or the few grains I eat causes ill effects in me. But what if I can’t notice? What if my body is constantly struggling an inflammation and this on the short term is stopping me from reaching my goals and in the long run killing me? A terrifying idea…

I just recently got some blood work done. I’ve been meaning to do this for ages. I needed to know that the basic things are in order. Well, I’m happy to announce that they are. My liver is fine, my thyroid is peachy, my blood sugar and cholesterol levels are fine and dandy. That’s what they say at least… What if the doctor has the wrong info? What if the generally accepted boundaries are misleading?

So who can really say what is the best for us? What are the things we should be focusing on? I mean nutrition is of course important, for sure, but so are other factors, like rest and the environment. Who knows how much the air we breathe is causing irreparable harm to all of us?

I guess we can’t really know the answer to everything. What else can I do than keep on avoiding the majority of the unnatural stuff, exercising efficiently to stay healthy and love myself? If you have any suggestions, I’m happy to hear them.

Much love to all, I’m gonna use my rest day efficiently and do lots of job hunting and some brainstorming for an exciting opportunity..🙂 I’ll tell you more about it some other time.

Happy thought to finish this off. A long sought after snatch PR yesterday with the help of the gold medalist Laura Niemelä:

snatch PR, yay!