Being Authentic … and having a Growth Mindset … is a CHOICE

authentic (1) of undisputed origin; genuine (2) based on facts, accurate, reliable (3) relating to or denoting an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposeful, and responsible mode of human life

Photo by Molly Bermea of Frizz Studios; Style by Megan Blake of MB Beauty; Outfit by The Chestee; Site CrossFit Code Red, Hillsboro OR

Last weekend, I was so fortunate to have been the subject of a photoshoot. I am a brand ambassador for The Chestee and it was time to get more than screenshots from video for promotion of my involvement with the brand. I’ve never had a photoshoot like this before. There was a makeup artist and hair stylist. There were multiple outfits to change and so many props. And honestly, good music thanks to my CrossFit coach and so many laughs, smiles and fun thanks to everyone involved.

The photographer Molly was amazing. She has some experience shooting CrossFit, a graphic arts background and has an amazing gift at capturing someone’s spirit and personality in a photo. And this gift is why she was chosen for this photoshoot. We wanted someone to capture ME. Not just another fit girl modeling a sports bra.

I will be 100% honest about what I first saw when I saw this picture vs what I see with my growth mindset focus.

I first saw the flap of skin hanging over the waistband of these pants and was immediately disappointed in myself for not tucking it in.

But then, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that the skin is there as a sign of human life and healing. That skin is just a physical representation of growth between when I was trying to find my way and today.

And in this moment of realization, I immediately felt so happy, proud and motivated to just keep plugging away.

The truth is … flap of skin or not … THIS PHOTOGRAPH IS AMAZING. It captures the ESSENCE of WHO I AM. I am HAPPY. I am STRONG. I LOVE the barbell. Living life to the fullest, laughing and spending time with my family and working towards my goals using small baby steps is the core of my identity.

I could have made the choice in that moment to remain critical of my body and not like this photo. Or I could have requested that my photographer photoshop that skin out.

But instead, I am so proud to be able to share this amazing picture. I have made the choice to be authentic, to love myself … and I am sharing it, proud and happy. This is who I am.

 #lovelife#happyhappy#workharder#traineverydamnday#maketimeforyou#eatcleantraindirty#realitycheck#growthmindset#crossfitgirls#momswithmuscles#fitness#transformationtuesday#thisis200lbs 📸 by @frizzstudio 💄 by @mbsbeautypage outfit by @thechestee (use CORINNE10 in your 🛒 to save some 💰) || #worldsokayestweightlifter#mastersathlete#snatch#barbell#babe#crossfit#weightloss#transformation#transformationjourney#ilostweight#crossfitmasters#sweat#fitspo

How I Got Started = Move Part 1

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If you’ve read my “Journey” page – you will see this is what I have written about how I got started with exercise. Please realize, this is only PART of how I got started, but I am going to write a blog post about each arm that lead to success  (Mindset, Menu, Move, My Tribe).

I made a commitment to start to move my body.  Exercise seemed so out of reach for me, because my previous successful experience with exercise had only been through a $500 a month gym/personal trainer combination. But I decided to try. My sister sent me the DVD’s to do the 21-day fix through Beachbody and Autumn motivated me every morning to just hold on for 30 minutes. Then, I started walking my dogs. Even when it was raining (BTWs – pugs in raincoats are SUPER cute).  Then Lizzy, who was then 13 years old, said she was going to take over as my personal trainer. We did our first race together. Then our second. And more. And my BFF Shae signed us up for our first Ashley Horner Transform You Challenge, and we started lifting weights in my garage. Which morphed into becoming a transformation challenge winner and an Ashley Horner ambassador, earning me 1,000s of Ashlete Sisters and friends from across the globe.

Move:

The very first step for me was in my living room with a dvd player and borrowed DVDs (which I have since lent out and they have come back and been lent out again multiple times).  The DVDs were from the 21 day fix program, filled with positive motivation, compound whole body exercises using small dumbbell weights with focus on getting through the workout one minute at a time.

I will be very honest about this part of the process. 

IMG_9037It was NOT pretty.

I struggled.

It HURT to get up and down off of the floor. 

I felt BAD about myself.

I got MAD that I had let myself go. I used to be an athlete.

And I beat myself up on an almost daily basis in the very beginning.

BUT – in order to start – all I had to do was wake up 30 minutes earlier than normal. My sister kept bugging me. It was only 30 minutes. I had excuses and she had answers.

I had to convince myself that I had time.

I already took a shower before work. I already had the morning rush. So … if all I had to do to workout was get up 30 minutes earlier, go down some stairs and push a power button, I had to keep reminding myself, I had no excuse.

No more excuses

They say it takes 21 days to build a habit.

So, I set off for 21 days being my goal. Day after day, I would get up, do the DVD and then get ready for work. I followed what my sister (an avid beachbody coach at the time) encouraged me to … so, I downloaded a few fun graphic apps for my iPhone, worked on motivational sayings and took photos. I used the graphic apps, shared on Instagram and Facebook. I logged my progress. I posted a zillion positive affirmations to my social media. I reminded myself over and over that I could do this. I did not give up.

Slowly, I stopped beating myself up, and I started being proud.

img_9029.pngFirst, I was proud when I could complete a set.

Then, I became more proud when I could use … then increase … the weight I was lifting.

Then even more proud when I saw comparison photos.

Supplementary to these 30 minute exercise DVDs was simply going outside for a walk.

I had two fat pugs and I decided for their health, and mine, we would walk.

At first, all my knees would handle would be around the block (maybe 400 meters?). But by this point … I wouldn’t let knee pain stop me (stubborn much?!?).

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Then, I slowly built to a half mile, then a mile, then three. I would walk NO MATTER WHAT after dinner at night. Rain (put on a rain coat and go – and we even got the pugs raincoats). Darkness (put on a headlamp and a taser in your pocket). Exhausted (it’s only a few minutes out of your day and you owe it to yourself to do this before bed). Busy (when are you not busy?). Mom duties (Really? There’s a track where they practice soccer.  You can walk round and round and round the soccer field the whole 90 minutes she’s at soccer listening to podcasts about science so that you’re ready for your next exam).

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The walks turned into jogs. Then my daughter Lizzy decided that it was her time to be in charge of my “training” and that we were going to do a race.  So, we signed up for a 10k. And we trained for it. And we finished it.

The next phase: thanks to one of my BFFs, I discovered Ashley Horner and started my home gym.

To be continued …

 

 

So, The Cooks were featured on the Morning Chalk Up …

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About a year and a half ago or maybe more, Caleb, one of my friends at CrossFit, introduced me to this great daily email called The Morning Chalk Up.

So, of course, being ALL IN to this newfound CrossFit life … I enthusiastically subscribed and religiously read it. Even when I am B-U-S-Y … I leave the emails unread in my email box so that I can catch up on the weekend.

I have sent the Morning Chalk Up’s “tips” email a few items here and there  … mostly events.

One morning, over my cup of coffee, I noticed that neither of the upcoming Barbells for Boobs events we are attending were appearing on the email’s calendar.  I decided that I better submit them.  After all, I set a fundraising goal of $250 and I needed to meet it … plus I felt the publicity would be great for both gyms.

When I sent the email to their tips line, I think that I said something along the lines of “this is the event at my new gym” and “this is the event where I met my husband – you should share that story.”  The completely unexpected response was … “Okay. Let’s hear this story.

My full intent in dropping the hint in the first place was (1) to fundraise for Barbells for Boobs (and … YES! it worked – we got a random donation from a person saying she liked our story).  And … especially because one of my favorite instagrammers is going through some dating world shit along with three of my Ashlete sisters sharing terrible dating stories … (2) so that the message of hope could be spread.

THANK YOU MORNING CHALK UP for helping me spread this message <3.

When it comes to relationships … I now write “believe in the fairy tale … it does exist” to other women. BECAUSE IT DOES.  This is not Disney bullshit. It’s about living life without compromise.

I LOVE to keep life positive and am living proof of how working hard, keeping focused and slow and steady can have terrific outcomes…. YET …. SO MANY WOMEN (that was me a year ago!!) feel like they have to work SO HARD to pursue men in order to find the one AND DO IT IN A HOT MINUTE.

But mine fell in my lap.  Truthbomb: I would have NEVER found him on a dating app. Not. Ever. He’s old (my age range on the app ended at 50. He’s 52). He’s short (seriously he is seriously short – 5’2″ and maybe a half and the shortest my range went was 5’8″).

Fast forward a few email exchanges with Jessica Danger over a few weeks time and I woke up to about 300 instagram notifications and knew it had been published.

Read and enjoy …

She Just Came To Do Grace And Left With A Husband

I needed a push … and a free trip to Wodapalooza was dangled, so I joined a different transformation challenge

My “why”:

I am already a transformer and so proud of my journey. But I joined this challenge because I need the next push. The story from the beginning of my transformation is on my website, www.corinnecan.com. 

One thing that is really important to know is that at this moment, the why behind my transformation is not so much because my kids are watching. My why is more about my overall health and strength goals at CrossFit. #goalweightstrongAF

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Diagnosis = I was born with my knee cap shifted to the wrong place and should have had a lateral release surgery years ago; now have ground down the cartilage and need to keep my knee McConnell taped when I train and will knee a TKR at some point.  Also. Arthritis. Also. Torn meniscus.  


In the fall of 2016, I was having a lot of physical pain in my knee. I sought the help of my doctor, who sent me for an MRI and subsequently to a good sports-knee surgeon. They discovered that I was born with my knee-cap in the wrong spot, and unfortunately, while I was losing weight and complaining about pain, the nurse practitioner I went to simply told me I was heavy and pain was to be expected due to my obesity and sent me on my way to continue to lose weight vs. seeking a proper diagnosis/reason for the pain. In following her instructions, I ground down the cartilage beneath my knee cap. After PT and multiple visits, the knee surgeon and I decided on conservative treatment (he said I will need a total knee replacement by the time I’m 60) which includes doctor’s orders to lose weight.

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CrossFit Goals:
I was lucky enough to be at WZA in January of 2018, the whole time I was watching, I thought about what it would be like to be on the stage competing and I wanted to participate. The reason I want to participate is partially the festival atmosphere that can only be WZA. I met SO MANY people there who have inspired my journey:
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· Ashley Horner actually shouted my name out while I was walking past her in the grandstands
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· I got a selfie with Bill Grundler
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· Hugged the founder and owner of The Chestee and got featured on their IG story.
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· Checked in with Spencer from Xendurance and met the whole crew at Rebellia
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· Alyssa Christian gave me advice.

This drive to participate in this transformation challenge is also simply due to the competitor in me. I want to know if I can do it. Am I capable (I know not of some of the movements, but overall??)? Do I have the capacity, the strength and the endurance?

I paid attention to the athletes and talked to some of them about what it takes to get to WZA and to be competitive. One masters woman didn’t have rope climbs … and I watched so many people struggle with the swim.

I am _this close_ to getting a strict pull-up (I still have to kick at the very last part). I am working towards dips. And while I was able to get my first handstand pushups in the open, I have only been able to get one since them.

I want to crush this 10 week challenge. I am going to use it to jumpstart myself back towards weight loss and in order to be STRONGER. I know that I have it in me.

Nutritionally, I can dial it in.

Physically, we are in strength cycle at CrossFit and I am currently learning how to swim so that I can be successful if I qualify for WZA2019.

I need to do better at running because I did just qualify for the CanWest games at the end of July and that competition begins with a 4.5 mile run and this challenge will drive me to put in the hard work necessary to be successful.

I have the support of my husband, daughters and friends and have stated, if I win, it will be very similar to the Ashley Horner Challenge, when I was able to purchase a rower and a Rogue Rack with the winnings, I want to purchase either an Air Runner or a Ski Erg .

I am looking forward to the competition of the others in the challenge, to making new friends and to learning from RP and the other sponsors.

All the Best,
Corinne Cook – IG: pdxdressagemom

Practice Patience and Trust the Process

Edited post from an online forum I’m a member of:  “I’m seriously losing all faith. I am more confused than I ever been about this “process” so someone please clear this up for me! I was just told I’m getting “bigger”. This is coming from another gym rat who is on Keto and super fit. I confided in another friend who does CrossFit. He said I shouldn’t be lifting if I want to be thin.  I’ve been to a fitness trainer who categorized me as a Mesomorph… I had to Google that because I had no clue as to what the F that was…… he said I shouldn’t be doing anything less than 15 reps and I shouldn’t be adding weight… High rep, low weight. I’m so tired of my brain flipping around and so many directions. I keep switching up my Ashley programs because I’m either getting discouraged or intimidated. On a good note, I’ve been consistent for the first time in my life by getting up at 4am to hit the gym since this challenge started. Please tell me all the secrets to push forward.” 

Girl. I HEAR YOU. 

You gotta stick with something all the way through for YOU and follow it for a while before you know that it’s working or it’s not working.

The whole “trust the process” thing involves a LOT of patience and persistence. And … sometimes you do get bulky before you lean. It’s physiology.

I’m a previous Ashley Horner Transform You winner but not a coach or professional … and still “in the process” … so secrets from me may not be perfect, however, they are tried and true:

The more you ask people for advice, the more you will become confused.

The more you listen to these people … especially the “instacoaches” and the people from cross platforms who just wanna give you a tid-bit of advice, the more information overload you will experience (bodybuilders eat and train differently than strongman competitors who eat and train differently than triathletes who eat and train differently than CrossFitters).

The more information overload you experience, the more apt you are to jump from program to program without ever giving yourself an opportunity to “OWN” something so that you have a chance to see a true transformation.

The more you compare yourself to others, one of two things will happen –

  • the more you will (hopefully not) either set yourself up for failure because you will either become one of those people who can’ understand the struggles of others or you will not be able to keep up with others and feel in-superior …
  • or (hopefully) the more you will figure out how different we all are.

This is because of factors like blood-type. Metabolic resistance. Genetic predispositions. Body type. Previous injuries and weaknesses. You JUST CANNOT COMPARE one person’s results to another person’s results because it’s NEVER going to be the same, even when they are doing the same program.

I’m not being negative or critical of you. This is from my personal experience.

When you choose a program, choose one you can picture yourself doing from cover to cover. Then just go. You may not LOVE it. But. You can FINISH it. And then figure out if it helped you or set you back and then you can plot the next course to goals.

Throughout the program, keep data.  Take measurements as well as logging your weight. Also keep track of your lifts (reps/weights) and time/effort/calorie expenditure so that you can also track progress in the gym.

And … you have to teach yourself to respond to the people who are “trying to help you” by telling them “Thank you so much for your help.  But, I’ve got this.