Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Transformation Tuesday

Fare warning, this is not a horse post. Considering Bacardi is lame still from his abcess, I have not been riding at all & I have no new news on that front.

This does relate to riding though, in a twisted way.

This is a TT post about me.

I know in blog land there's the great debate over keeping your personal life separate from your horse story, but I fully believe they are intertwined and you can't really get one without the other. That being said, I generally do not reveal many details about myself because I'm not as interesting as my horses and we all know why we are here.

The horses.

And this story does start off with horses and end with horses, but sprinkled around in there is my story too.

Not always the easiest thing to talk about yourself and your struggles and make it interesting without sounding like bragging, but I'm going to try.

Lately though, I've had a few people ask me "how I did it" or "what I do" so I'll get into it for a minute.   And the "it" is lose 40lbs.

If you aren't interested, I won't be offended. But working out is an huge part of my life now & the story behind it is important to me.

So this starts off a long long time ago when I was just a young whippasnappuh in high school, 2 years younger than everyone, had no boobs and was a size 0. And I still thought I was fat. Because I was a teenage girl.

Then, I got boobs, hips and some confidence...but still thought I was "fat" because my hips now made me a size 9.

I will tell you, I am not a "tiny" girl. Maybe as a freshman in HS, but after that, its history. I've been told I look sturdy. This is accurate. I'm also not short. At 5'9-almost 5'10, I'm well over 6ft in heels and look awkward on any horse you put me on. I'm also not light. At a healthy weight, I'm 165. Yes, you read that correctly.

But I was always skinny. Always fit. I ran track, rode horses, did barn work and was my parents yard slave. I never had to "work out" to maintain that. 

I always wondered how some women could be 5'8 and like 110...I would look like I was dying. They always say muscle weighs more than fat though.

You know what also weighs a lot? Fat.

I gained a LOT of it my sophomore year in college. 40lbs to be exact. In less than 2 months. Putting me well over 200lbs.

I denied it for a long time. Just wore loose clothes. 

I had an "excuse" but really that was no excuse. (I severed my achilles tendon and was on crutches for 6 moths).

And then I just kept it on...for a long time.

One of my least fav pics
Try like 4 years.

I learned something about myself in that time frame.

I am exceptionally lazy.

Try as I might, I have a really hard time making myself do unpleasant things. Like working out.

I'm also really good at cheating myself.

"Oh just one more bag of chips its fine, one more cookie, you'll run it off tomorrow"

WRONG. So wrong.

If I even made it to the gym in college (generally it would be me going "well I walked to class today and took the stairs, thats at least 1000 cals burned and I rode yankee & did stalls, so I'm good. yep I'm good lets eat Wendy's for dinner because MMM SALTY GOODNESS I DESERVE THIS I EARNED IT") I would generally talk myself out of a workout before I even set foot on a treadmill. Or sometimes I would "run" like 800 ft and be like WHOOO I DID IT BYE. 

I made so many excuses. I told myself I had too many old injuries. Too sore of joints. Too afraid to damage them more. 

And that was me. For 4 years.

And then I moved home and got a boyfriend who did Crossfit. A mother that did crossfit and was a certified coach and a brother who was a motherfuckin monster badass at the crossfit.

The bro

I couldn't escape the crossfit.

I was so against it. Crossfit people are douchebags.

Sexy douchebags.


I want to be sexy again.

(sidebar-- I also wanted to FEEL good again, but didn't know it yet)

And then, the BF (now ex) convinced me to do a Crossfit competition with him. I caved. I signed up for Crossfit. I shelled out well over $100/mo for a box (aka crossfit gym). It sucked. I sucked. I hated it. But I still went. I had a goal. I wasn't going to fail.

I'm fiercely competitive and that helped in this case.

Also, CF boxes have coaches. Everyday. There, in your face. Making you do the workout. I needed that.

And I dropped like 10lbs. I started to see muscles where they never were before. I wasn't dying when I rode my horses for extended periods of time. That fat under my asscheeks was going away. Things were lighter. My boobs were going away!


I was starting to wake up everyday on my own. I was going to the gym. I was putting the work in. And it was showing.

Then I really cleaned up my act. I spent days researching paleo diets. Its all CF people talked about. What was this horseshit they spoke of?


After 1 month eating paleo and going to the gym 3 days a week, I dropped 8 more lbs. In general-I dont eat anything processed. I rarely eat sugar. I stay away from anything in bags. I eat whole foods. Fresh. All the veggies I can manage. Lean protein. Good fats. I hate it. But thats what cheat meals are for! ( I LIVE for Friday and saturday nights)

 I was getting STRONGER. I was starting to enjoy it. I felt capable. I felt powerful. I was making progress.

And then the BF got hurt. One week before competition. We didn't go.

Then I got sick. Very sick. I missed the gym for a month.

I lost motivation.

And then the new year dawned.

I didn't make a resolution.

I still wasn't going to the gym.

It was cold AF outside. Couch was comfy. Sweats were warm.

Then I was dumped.

I was devastated. Its because I wan't skinny enough, I knew it. Me, dumped? It had never happened. 

(sidebar--not really, he was a fuck)

In a kind of sick, twisted way, it gave me motivation. FUCK that guy. I would show him. I needed to DO. So I did.

I went back to the gym.

It still sucked, every damn day. But I had sparked something inside me and I wasn't going to give up. Enough was enough! How long had I sat around and felt sorry for myself for my stretch marks? For all the assholes I dated because my confidence was shot? For all the "fat jeans" I had to buy? For all the summers I spent indoors, not at a pool? TOO MANY.

So I did it. I made goals. I wrote them down. I stuck to it.

It was hard.

But I learned that I need that push from someone else and I'm not afraid to admit it. Thats why I love crossfit!

Let me tell you a little about the cult...ure of CF.

At first I hated it. Literally, Crossfitters do.not.stop.talking about it. And some really think they are hot shit and above everyone else. I could not get into it. I HATE people watching me work out. I do NOT like being cheered on. I HATE not being as good everyone else. But after a while, you learn that everyone started where you did. They are not judging you and theyre all there to help. Even through the injuries, my coaches helped me around them. Made me stronger. Helped me overcome. 

The key is finding the right box, but when you do, its magic.

I LOVE my CF family. They are my support group, my net, my backbone. They see it all. The success, the failure, the sweat, the blood and the tears. And its ALL there. I've ripped my hands open during a workout, bled all over the floor. I've cried actual tears because it was so hard. Wanted to die, wanted to quit. But they're always there, cheering you on or standing right by you. And I always come out on the other side feeling stronger, and better about it.

My team at the competition 
There's nothing like hitting a PR (personal record) on a lift. I'm addicted. What doesnt challenge you doesnt change you!

Sumo deadlifts
For me, I needed the kick in the ass to make a change. I needed to be told what to do, to see the change to motivate me.

CF by definition is forging elite fitness through constantly varied, high-intensity functional workouts. Its always changing. Its never boring. Ever! Doing the same thing never worked for me; some form of cardio, either a bike or treadmill then leg day, ab day, arms, back. BORING.

Didnt do jack for me.

In CF, theres a million things to do. A million. Box jumps, jump rope, burpees, deadlifts, squats, wall balls, hand stand push ups, muscle ups, rope climbs, sled pushes...goes on and on!

There's some workouts that are only 8 minutes long! And then there are some that take 45 minutes. There are groups WODs (workout of the day) and partner WOD. I love that I can be in and out of the gym in an hour or less and get shredded in that time. Completely destroyed. And then, results are made. Its glorious.

Recently, besides just feeling amazing, I signed up for a competition with my mother. I was terrified to perform in front of a huge crowd. But it motivated me to keep going on the days when I really didnt want to get up.

You'll never know your limits until you push yourself to them

Even on the days I didn't go into my box, I still lifted at home. "Results, or excuses" I always tell myself.

It was a new experience, but I am glad I did it. 1 year ago today I could not have even done half of what I did in that competition. I also hit a Clean & Jerk PR of 118#. Thats 118 pounds over my head and holding it there.

My mother, bloggers. 53 and still bangin

Cleans, my favorite

1 year ago today I couldn't even put up 65#. THATS HUGE. Thats progress.

1 year ago today I couldn't run a mile under 10 minutes. I also couldn't deadlift over 200lbs, and now I can. Push-ups? yeah right. Now I can do 20. Pull-ups? Get real. Try 28 unbroken now. I can climb a rope 6 times. I can flip a tractor tire, by myself!

And you know what? Riding is easier. I'm so much stronger. I'm rarely tired. My joints don't hurt as much. And I've lost every pound of fat I gained.

This is an "old" picture too
A lot of it has to do with my diet, but CF really has changed me. I'll never look back. Someday I would love to get 150# over my head.

So if you're lazy like me, CF might be for you. If nothing else has worked, CF might be for you. If you're just looking for a change, CF might be for you. Either way, I'm just saying thats what worked for me!


  1. Read your non horse post from start to finish -- congratulations on reaching your goals and setting new ones. You and your mother are an inspiration -- you both look happy and fit. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Bwahaha "first rule of Crossfit, talk about crossfit". That's my workplace these days. Thanks for describing it so well, I'm always worried by prematurely aged joints would crumble under the strain but maybe not.

  3. You look great and should feel great!

    I did cf for a while and it filled a hole that horses (bad horse ppl specifically) irreparably ripped in me. I haven't done it in a few months but it is very empowering. Everytime I read your blog I'm reminded I should go back.

  4. My new (riding) trainer is way into CF and I was initially terrified of taking lessons with her because of it! Turns out, she's actually super nice (hahaha!). I've never liked gyms, or workouts that don't involve being outdoors, so I'm still not sure I could get into CF, but good for you for sticking with and making it work for you. Two years ago (as a means to reset my very unhappy gut) I did Whole30 and it completely changed the way I eat, buy food and cook. In general I eat pretty well, but I didn't realize just how much processed food destroys your body and makes it function poorly until I removed it from my diet!!!

  5. Amazing job! Congratulations on all of your hard work!

  6. It's official. Brantley wants to be Bacardi and I want to be you... When we grow up. If that ever happens. ;)

  7. Go you!

    I lost 40lb in college and kickboxing (not the wimpy cardio kind, the kind where you work on form and hitting things hard) was what did it for me.

    Then Don died and I gained some back and I graduated college and gained the rest back and sat around being lazy for two more years, and now I'm finally trying to lose it again.

    But since I don't have the money to shell out for a kickboxing gym I'm working on running, because it's free and the challenge at the moment is just sticking to exercising on a regular basis.

  8. If I wasn't diseased I believe I would be part of the cult (I am not strong enough to stand for too long some days, so yeah). You look great and could kick a lot of asses. Nice work!

  9. Wow I want to look like your mom when I'm her age. :-) You look awesome! Congrats on losing the weight and getting stronger. I really need to lift weights again because I'm so weak. I'm lazy too though and its so hard to get motivated.... Reading about how much better you feel and about being pain free makes me want to get back into it though. On that sumo deadlifts picture how in the world do you lift it like that and not tear up your back?? Bad backs run in my family so I always try to lift with my knees.... Keep up the great work!!!