Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to the world famous Coachella Music Festival – and it was incredible.
For 3 days my Progenex coworkers and I ran around like college kids seeing show after show from our favorite djs and artists. We were on our feet, in the heat of the desert from about 2:00pm until 1:00am all 3 days. The shows were amazing, the venue, the lights, the people watching…all of it was unreal. I came home exhausted, dehydrated, a little hung over….and it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a really long time. It was a trip I will never forget.
In years past, the month of April has been about preparing for Regional competition for the CrossFit Games season. These were also some of the best times of my whole life, especially the years I spent training with my NorCal teammates. During this time, time spent in the gym was critical. Sleep was critical. Proper nutrition and recovery – vital. In years past, I would have immediately turned down any invitation to do pretty much anything, other than a relaxing movie night (as long as it was an early show), let alone a 3 day party in the desert. You see, when you have a goal that big, you have to make sacrifices. If you want to be one of the fittest humans in the world and competition to prove it is in a few short weeks – you are going to need to leave your fanny pack and glow sticks at home. It’s not time for that. And staying focused can make the difference between a top 5 spot or watching the Games from the stands.
Changing my attitude towards getting out there and enjoying “fun” has actually proven to be somewhat difficult for me. When all you have done is make sacrifices for your fitness for years, there can be a significant amount of almost religious level guilt when you let yourself relax! Worry about losing your fitness creeps in all of the time. This can be especially difficult when my boyfriend and best friend are deep into prepping for the California Regional.
After experiencing this for the past few months and forcing myself to push past it to have fun, what I have found is that you can maintain more than you think you can – if you are smart.
Luckily, the crew that I was with at Coachella all care about fitness…and fun. We rented a house and brought in a bunch of our own food. We went grocery shopping when we got into town. Chris and I even pretty much stuck to our macros – by even pre-loading into “my fitness pal” what we were going to drink. Ok, he was better at it than I was, but we still stuck to it pretty close. We lowered our carbs and fat for our meals to compensate for the fat and sugar in the alcohol. We only drank tequila and waters with a bunch of lime and spaced them throughout the day. The house had very little junk food laying around (except my paleo muffins ha ha), so we weren’t tempted when we got back each night. We took Progenex Bars in our fanny packs and had researched what food options would be available at the venue beforehand. It was Coachella so we had some pretty awesome choices. We stuck to mostly poke bowls, which were amazing. I would be lying if we didn’t all look at each other with a sense of longing every time we walked by the pizza – and it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if we caved – but not a single slice was eaten.
We had planned to work out maybe a little bit more than we did. We made it to an affiliate on Friday morning before going to the festival. We got a good workout in and it definitely made us feel better throughout the day. After that, we weren’t in any shape to wake up early enough to get to a gym. I did some yoga out by the pool on Saturday. But that’s it. I definitely had a few moments of worry about not training until I realized that I was AT COACHELLA AND IT WAS AWESOME.
After returning home, I was actually 2 lbs lighter, and the others said they were lighter too. I mean…we actually figured out that we were walking somewhere between 8-10 miles a day out there so that isn’t surprising. But, we actually felt pretty good too! As a matter of fact several of us pr’d or almost pr’d lifts the following Tuesday. I personally tied my current post-surgery PR snatch in an EMOM and caught 5lbs over that pretty clean with no misses all the way through.
Long story short – there is a time and a place for discipline. And, maybe a certain level is always necessary if you live the lifestyle of a “fit” person. But, when you get the opportunity to enjoy all that life has to offer – take it. You are fit. You are healthy. Use that for more than just numbers in the gym. Use it to dance to electronic music at 2am, or to ride roller coasters, or to backpack across a country you have never visited. Stick to a plan and be smart if you must but learn to let go and say yes to creating once in a lifetime memories.