This week I took the Whole Life Challenge on the road, away from the familiarity and comfort of my hometown in Brooklyn, New York, to sunny Downtown Miami. And in the process, I learned that this challenge, like a forgotten banana in a carry-on bag, doesn’t travel very well.
It wasn’t a total failure, but let’s just say my string of nearly perfect daily scores is a thing of the past, and it will be a long, long time before I earn any new bonus tokens.
Working out was this week’s highlight. I considered visiting a local box, but my hotel ended up being equipped with everything I needed to get in a few solid travel WODs. The weight room had a decent selection of dumbbells and kettlebells, so I just carved out a little space in the corner and got to work on some AMRAPs.
Oh, and mirrors! I totally forgot about mirrors! While I generally agree that mirrors don’t belong in the box, having access to them when I didn’t have a coach or teammate checking my form was actually really helpful. I was able to recognize and address issues like lifting my heels during kettlebell swings and not breaking parallel during squats and thrusters.
And there was a pool. Considering I was coming from a part of the country that’s been pummeled with ice and snow for the last two months, I was determined to get in that pool even if the weather forecast was for a windy 70 degrees. I managed to work in one refreshing 25-minute swim before the end of the week.
I worked from my laptop in my hotel room quite a bit during the week. Luckily, it was spacious enough for me to do some midday mobility during “brain breaks.” I brought along my lacrosse ball for rolling out my feet and did some yoga-inspired stretching.
Here’s where the shit hit the fan. I’d actually planned a couple of cheats. I live for a well-made café con leche, and I think it’s rude to go to Miami and not have at least one. Or two.
Other than that, I started with good intentions. There was a Whole Foods Market a block away, so I stocked up on fruit and nuts for snacking and hit up its salad bar for lunches. Whole Foods posts all its ingredients, making it easy to avoid hidden dairy and sugars, plus I could choose the exact mix of foods that I wanted. Perfect, right? However, by my third meal from one of those brown, biodegradable containers, I was over it.
I started visiting more local restaurants, resigning to “do the best I could” (which meant something different every day). Could I have asked the waiter to hold the maple reduction on the Brussel sprouts that came with my salmon? Yeah, but I really wanted to try it the way the chef had designed it. Could I have gone with hard-boiled eggs for breakfast instead of trying an acai bowl made with raw honey? I could have, but I’d never had an acai bowl before, and it’s not a breakfast that’s as readily available in New York. Again, I didn’t want to be rude to Miami.
In short, I blew some of my nutrition points out of laziness and convenience. But many were cashed in for trying something new (and delicious).
This week’s lifestyle challenge — encourage your teammates — was rather ill-timed, considering I was more than a thousand miles away from all my fellow CrossFitters. Yes, I left them cheerful comments, most of which validated their confessed nutritional cheats (project much?). I’m not sure how much of an impact any of my “attaboys” made, especially because everyone was well-aware that these posts, although sincere, were also for points. Is it just me, or are some of these lifestyle challenges a little lame?
Water and Supplements
This is the one part of the challenge that wasn’t affected by travel. I’m a pro at chugging my water bottle in the security line and refilling it before boarding. Those little Dixie cups of ice water they give you just don’t get the job done.
It was nice to be away, but it’ll be even better to get back to the box!
Lifestyle challenge = do something you love for 10 minutes a day. Does catching up on Downton Abbey while sipping wine count?