crossfit

Transgender Woman Suing CrossFit

There is a transgender woman suing CrossFit for not allowing her to compete as female in the CrossFit Games (link to CNN story here). I first saw this story last night on TMZ. My coach sent me the link and asked what my thoughts were. I have to say, I’m really disappointed to see how bigoted and transmisogynist their response was. They obviously don’t understand the effect of hormones on the body by their comment, “the fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women.”

When registration for the CrossFit Open was going on, I was unsure of whether I would sign up. In their drug policy, it states that there would be no waiver given for people taking testosterone even if for the purpose of hormone replacement therapy. I’m not even sure how they would know on a drug test if your T levels were within a normal male range. Ultimately, I decided to sign up. There were a lot of people from my gym doing it, and I thought it would be fun to compare my results from this year to next.

I read some of the comments on the various news sites reporting this story. That was a mistake. I found it to be very disheartening, and I also wish people would educate themselves before opening their mouths (or typing). So many people went on about the advantages that this transgender woman would have over cisgender woman, as if testosterone was still coursing through her veins. In reality, after a year of HRT, the advantages given by testosterone are pretty much gone. I also noticed that no one had a problem with a theoretical transgender man competing because “he would have no chance of winning, anyway.” That comment alone makes me want to train harder and one day dominate a competition.

I’m really disappointed with CrossFit Headquarters, but I am so glad that I found a place in the CrossFit world where the people are very supportive. The other day, one of my fellow CrossFitters (and friend) told me that she thought of me as a little brother. It was very endearing. That makes being part of my CrossFit family all worth it. I hope that people looking to get into fitness don’t get discouraged by the assholes at CF HQ. Not all people in the CrossFit world are bigoted assholes.

Whole30 Complete!

Yesterday was the last day of the Whole30. It was a really good experience. I am so glad I did this with my gym. I tried to do a Whole30 on my own a few months ago, and I ended up quitting after about 5 days. It was really great having that support system from all the other people doing it at the same time.

I cooked a lot of food this month. I made sweet potatoes for the first time ever. They are probably one of my favorite things to eat now. I will definitely continue eating paleo after the end of this. I’m in the reintroduction phase now. Today, I added dairy in the form of heavy cream with my tea, a small glass of milk with my lunch, and some yogurt with fruit after dinner. I have kept a close watch on how my body reacts to these things today and will continue to do so for the next two days. After that, I’ll add in other things that I think I may want to eat occasionally like rice, soy, and beer.

Overall, I would definitely recommend doing this to anyone who wants to have a better relationship with food. It really makes you think about your food choices and your cravings. You really learn what your triggers are. In addition to that, there are a lot of other health benefits that you could experience. I talked about some of the things I noticed that have improved due to eating better. (My experience with the Whole30)

In addition to the health benefits I experienced, I made a separate post about my weight loss/fat loss and muscle gain. I wanted to keep these separate because I didn’t want to take away from all the benefits I saw just in case there wasn’t a change in body composition. (Photos and measurements post-Whole30)

And last, but not least, we did a workout before we started the Whole30. Today, we repeated that workout so that we could see how our performance improved. I blew my time out of the water. I was really happy about this. In addition to that, I hit 5 PRs during the Whole30. (Test workout)

I really hope I don’t fall too far off the bandwagon now that I can eat whatever I want again. I saw such great results. I hope to keep moving in the right direction.

10 months on T

Photos first:

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I’ve been feeling really good this month. I mostly attribute that to the changes in my diet due to the Whole30. I only have one more week of that before I can begin reintroducing foods that I want to eat.  I’ve been eating a lot of food. I’m amazed at how I look now despite that fact. There seems to be a noticeable change in my body composition. I’ve also made some huge strength gains this month. Overall, I’m pretty sure I’ll stick pretty closely to my new diet changes. Although, I will admit, I’m really excited to get to drink a Starbucks hazelnut macchiato in a week.

I also participated in my second CrossFit competition a few days ago. I felt less awkward competing as male this time. I had really supportive teammates. (It was a team competition.) Overall, it was a really fun day. My family came down and watched me compete and helped me clean my apartment after my roommates moved out. They’re still having some trouble with my name and pronouns. They seem to be getting it right about 75% of the time. They are trying, but it’s a little frustrating. I know there are people who have it much worse than I do, so I can’t really complain.

I’ve had to talk on the phone a couple of times the past month. (I really hate talking on the phone and try to avoid it as much as possible.) I’ve noticed that people pretty consistently call me sir now on the phone. It’s definitely a change. For a while, people avoided assigning a gender to me at all.

I’m not sure when someone who is transitioning moves out of the transitioning phase. It’s been months since someone who didn’t know me used female pronouns or honorifics. I feel like I’m nearing that point. My body is still changing, but I feel like that’s more due to working out than testosterone. I’m still getting more facial and body hair, but I don’t think that means that I’m still transitioning. I don’t think there is any definitive answer to this question. I think it’s based on how a person perceives themselves, and an answer for one person won’t be the same answer for another person.

I’m looking forward to graduation and top surgery which are in less than 4 months now!

Note: Yesterday was my 6 months of doing CrossFit. I posted comparison photos on my Tumblr blog (transathleticism) of one day after joining and this morning. They are really just my normal monthly photos, but side-by-side. There’s also a picture of my chest which I’m pretty proud of. =)

9 months on T!

I can’t believe it has been 9 months already. Time is both flying by and crawling along. From the perspective of time I’ve been on testosterone, time has flown by; on the other hand, as I wait for top surgery, it’s crawling.

First thing’s first…

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Transition update:

More hair. I think my facial hair, at least the side burns, are even becoming visible in these photos now. I’ve noticed some hairs sprouting up on my cheeks now too. My butt is completely covered in hair. And I’ve noticed the last month or so that I’m getting hair on my chest and stomach area.

I’m starting to get a little acne on my back. You can see it in the photo posted above. It’s not much, but I’ve never had acne on my back. There’s also a little on my shoulders and chest. Acne on my face is a given, but I don’t think it’s gotten worse since it started.

I’m still getting more muscular or at least stronger. I got a new front squat PR this month, and I’m inching my way to my first pull up.

I am getting a blood test done at the beginning of next month to check my T and E levels. I haven’t felt any noticeable changes from reducing my dosage as far as appetite, sex drive, or mood. In fact, I feel like hair has been coming in faster since I cut my dosage in half. It’s hard to tell though.

Fat distribution… well, I still have hips. If you saw my last post, Fashion Fail, my shirts (and pants) still don’t fit the way that I would like. Though, my shoulders have definitely gotten broader, so it feels like I’m getting less curvy. I don’t know. I think I’m just going to be one of those guys cursed with wide hips.

Life update:

My gym is putting on a friendly Whole30 competition starting February 1st. This will mean a couple of dietary changes for me: no lattes from Starbucks, no rice, no protein powder, no milk, and probably a couple of other minor things. In theory, this should be like a reset for my body. It should make it less dependent on sugar and better able to burn fat. I’m hoping this will set me on my way to getting the body composition that I want. Right now, I’m shooting for 15% body fat.

In addition to the Whole30, I’ll be participating in another CrossFit competition, Battle at the Barracks. This time it’s a team competition. Teams will be composed of two males and two females. The workouts haven’t been posted yet, but listed among the movements is pull-ups. It makes me slightly anxious since I still haven’t gotten my first pull-up yet. But, I see it as incentive to work harder towards them. Plus, I have the additional encouragement from my teammates depending on me to get at least one for the competition. I’ve read a billion (okay, not really, but a few) articles on how to progress to getting a pull-up. Now, all I have to do is implement my plan.

School is rolling along. Monday is the beginning of week 4, and I have my first midterm already. Good news is this my second to last quarter. I suppose I should begin looking for jobs soon. I’m not really sure how I will approach professors for reference letters. I have only come out to one of my professors (who is also the PI of the lab I work in) so far… so I’ll probably need to get on that too. I hate having to figure out how to tell people about my identity, but it’s something that has to be done.

Overall though, I’m happy with how things are coming along.

New Year, New Goals

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions; however, I do have some goals I’d like to accomplish this year. They are mostly CrossFit/fitness related since it is the only thing I can really make solid, realistic goals. I’ll start with the non fitness related goals though.

  • Complete my Master’s degree (this is pretty much inevitable unless I fail a class or the comprehensive exam)
  • Begin the adoption process (we are currently saving money)
  • Post more on WordPress! (I want to post on a more regular schedule, in addition to my monthly updates)
  • Become more involved in the trans*community (In fact, I went to a transgender retreat over the weekend which I will write about in detail soon!)
  • Top surgery! (My date is set for June 18th!)

Fitness goals:

  • Do a handstand push-up
  • Do a pull-up
  • Do 10 unbroken double unders
  • Do one overhead squat at any weight
  • Increase the all of my lifts by at least 50%

I think these are pretty reasonable goals. As I accomplish my goals, I will make updates to my goals list. I hope that everyone’s year is off to a good start.

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Harry in the Christmas spirit (for 10 seconds)

 

Reindeer Games Complete

Yesterday was my first CrossFit competition. Yes, I said first, I do intend to compete more. Even though I came in last place (someone had to, I suppose),  I learned so much from this event. It does’t matter to me what place I came in, I did better than I have done in any of the practice sessions we had which is all that I could ask for. When I first signed up, I didn’t want to be that person that was in last, but as workouts got released, I saw how difficult all of it would be for me. I considered dropping out and found myself wishing I had just signed up as a beginner female, but I pushed through the self doubt. I’m proud of myself and all the others who competed who really pushed themselves.

(On a side note: I got correctly gendered all day. It’s the most I’ve heard people say man, bro, or dude to me in one day. It was something I wasn’t even thinking about or expected, so it was really nice.)

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A picture of our team and supporters after most of us had finished competing.

Note: This is a really long post and probably not terribly exciting to anyone except myself. =) Reader beware. If you want to see the conclusion, skip to the end.

I woke up the yesterday morning feeling pretty tired. I didn’t sleep well the night before, lots of tossing and turning. I packed my bag the previous night, so all I had to do was make myself some breakfast, take the pup out for a walk, and then I was out the door. I showed up and met up with my gym at their tent. It was a chilly morning for San Diego, but everyone was pretty cheerful and excited to be there. I got my score sheet. They hadn’t released the first workout, but there it was in my hands. It was a workout with a 5 minute time cap consisting of Shoulder to Overhead and Situps for 21, 15, and 9 reps, alternating between the two exercises (21 S2OH, 21 situps, 15 S2OH, etc.). The weight for the shoulder to overhead was pretty heavy for me (about 80% of my max). They lined us up to move to the workout floor. I was in the second heat, so we stood there watching the guys fly through the workout. Most finished in 2-3 minutes. Next, we were up. I stood in front of my bar. There were a ton of people from my gym cheering us on (and others from other gyms). There were probably over 200 people there, but once the time started, I only noticed the one of the coaches from my gym standing in front of me and the person keeping my score. I picked up the bar and cleaned it to my shoulders. I pushed it above my head a few times. The rest of the 21 were a real struggle for me. I had to drop my bar a few times and shake out my arms. It took me maybe 3 minute to get through the first set. I had to earn each one. I flew through the situps and then went back to my bar. I picked it up. I got one rep. The next, I just couldn’t push enough to get my arms completely straight. I managed to get 3 more before time was called. After that, all my competition jitters pretty much passed. I knew that the best I could do was to outperform my previous performances and not worry about anyone else. I managed to push out 25 reps at 80% max when we typically only do 2-3 reps at that high of a percentage of our maxes. I left pretty disappointed, but everyone congratulated me for my performance. I went back to the tent to grab some food, and then watched others from our gym compete.

I knew the next workout was going to be the toughest part of the competition for me. It was a front squat ladder starting at 95#, increasing by 10# increments, and ending at 185#. I knew the front squats weren’t going to be too bad for me. I had been working on getting the full range of motion in my squats since I started, and my max from about a week ago was 138. However, getting the bar up to position from the ground would be tough. In practice, I had only been able to get a 95# clean and 100# was just too much. I went in, I cleaned 95# easily and busted out the two front squats with no problem. Next was 105#. I went up, attempted the clean 3 times. Each time I got slightly closer, but just was not able to get the bar to my shoulders, so I was out. My last attempt, I actually had pulled the bar all the way up to my shoulders, but wasn’t able to get my elbows rotated in position fast enough. After that, I knew I wanted to do more weightlifting in the gym. It was slightly disappointing, but I wasn’t expecting to do this event very well. I watched the rest of the guys breeze through this event. Of course, some had a distinct advantage being at least twice my size. Everyone from our gym did so well, it was great to see.

During this event, it had gotten colder outside and started to rain. One of the few times it rains here, it had to be this day. It was a bit of a struggle to stay warm. Despite this, everyone was still in good spirits. There was lots of smiles and laughter as we waited for the final heats to be announced.

The last workout was up, and I was in the first group to go. We practiced this workout two weeks ago in the gym. I wasn’t able to complete it in the time allotted in practice. I went in just hoping that I would be able to do better than I did in practice. This was a workout referred to as a “chipper” because there are so many movements and reps of each that you basically have to chip away at it to get through it.

Beginner: 12min time cap

  • 100 Single Unders
  • 20 Deadlifts 155#
  • 40 Goblet Squats 30#
  • 20 Burpee Step-ups 20″
  • 20 Alt. Dumbbell Snatches 30#
  • 20 Jumping Pull-ups

The weights used for this weren’t terribly high, except for the deadlift which was 75% of my max, and there were 20 of them. This part slowed me down in practice. I had to break it up into very small chunks, 3-5 at a time. I knew this workout would be hard, but it was the one I felt the best about, despite not finishing it in practice. I think I made it to about 3 pullups.

As we began, I made it through the single unders nearly unbroken. My rope hit someone else’s rope once which kind of tripped me up. Next was onto the deadlifts. I pushed out 10 unbroken. I don’t even know how. Then, I broke up the last 10 into 2 sets of 5. I don’t even know how I made it through the rest. I just kept going one rep after another. Only taking a second or two of rest every once in a while to catch my breath. In the blur, I finished the workout in 11:31. That was way better than I did in practice. I was pretty exciting even though I was the last one to finish.

The end:

Overall, I am so glad that I competed even though there were times when I just wanted to quit. I didn’t want to go out there and be the weakest guy. I didn’t want to embarrass myself, but every day I went to the gym to workout, I got nothing but encouragement from my coaches and other people in the gym. At the end of the day, I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can accomplish as my training continues. I think I did the best that I could given that I’ve only been on T now for 7.5 months and have only been training for 3.5 months. I’ve already made so much progress in such a short amount of time. When I started doing CrossFit, all I cared about was getting a more masculine build, but now all I can think about is performing better (though, a side effect of that is that I look better too). Another side effect is becoming part of a community. I feel like this is where I belong, and I can’t say that I’ve felt that way in a long time. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

(Another side note: I wasn’t out to my gym except for the one coach/owner, but now I’m at least out to the people who competed and showed up in support. No one questioned why I was competing with the males or anything, so it was nice.)

Now, it’s time for me to study for my finals this week and write a review paper.

Reindeer Games

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I officially signed up for the Reindeer Games. It is a local CrossFit competition on December 7th. It was posted in my gym’s Facebook group yesterday. I made a comment about how I was tempted to sign up, if only I could get over my fear of box jumps. So, one of the people, Anna, who joined CrossFit Fortius about the same time (we did a partner WOD together within the first week of joining) I did said she would do it if I did. I kind of left it there.

In the evening, when I went to workout, the finisher was to do box jumps (of course). The coach looked at me and said, “I know you mentioned you needed to get over your fear…” So, I set up the box for the lowest height (24″). I did a couple of those jumps where at the last minute, you bail out of it. Finally, I decided that I was going to do it, and next thing I know, I’m standing on top of the box. Yay, I completed my first box jump! After that, I did it a few more times and then went home.

When I got home, I posted on the group Facebook page that I landed my first box jump. I got lots of encouragement to register for the competition from Anna and others. So, I did it. I registered for a beginner male spot. So far, we have 12 other people from our gym competing.

I’m feeling pretty excited, but nervous at the same time. As far as I’m aware, Coach Jesse, the first person I had contact with at the gym, is the only one who knows of my gender identity. This competition means that I will be coming out to a lot more people at the gym. Most people refer to me using female pronouns. Another thing I’m nervous about is competing against other males, who most likely most or all of them have the advantage of having testosterone in their system for many, many years, whereas I (at the time of competition) will only have had it (at male levels) for 7 months and 2 weeks. I’m on a mission to find a way to make my breasts less visible while working out, as well. Currently, I only wear a sports bra, but their obviously breasts and not pecs. I’m thinking of getting an UnderArmour compression shirt to wear over the sports bra to see how that works. Traditional binders are far too constricting and would definitely hinder my performance.

Overall though, I’m pretty excited. I’ll feel pretty accomplished if I even finish second from last. Time to kick up the intensity of my workouts.

Oops, I cut off all my hair

About a month ago, I decided to order hair clippers so that I could cut my hair instead of paying $40 a haircut (which I was getting about once a month). Today, I decided to open the box finally and try them out. I started out slowly by using the the #8 guard. That didn’t cut any hair at all actually. So I moved down through the sizes. At guard #6, hair finally starting getting trimmed; however, the sides were still shorter than that guard. I eventually made it down to a #3 when the sides started to trim off too. At this point, I could have stopped because my hair had been trimmed to a length of my liking, but I thought I would go ahead and try to style it so that the sides and back were shorter than the top. So, I threw on the #1 guard to go around the bottom of the sides and back of my neck. Easier said than done. Needless to say, I need some practice. Now all the hair on my head is 3 mm (the length of the #1 guard). I thought about cleaning the back of my neck with no guard… but I didn’t want to have to shave my whole head with no guard, so I left it as is (same with the hair around my ears), haha. I’ve never had my hair this short. I think it makes my face look more feminine than usual, but that may be because I’m not used to it. It’s awfully fun to rub my head now though! Harry doesn’t seem to care one way or the other.

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I did get a compliment from one of the CrossFit coaches who saw me on Saturday, at least. I have to add that it’s really nice going to a place where they only know me as August. Today was my second CrossFit workout. It was pretty awesome (tough). I’m definitely going to be going back there. I was pretty much sold after Saturday anyway. I’m going to try to make it 6 days a week (work/research/school permitting).

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4 months on T!

That means I have photos.

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Looking back at my photos from three months, I don’t see much of a change. Half the month though, I was both sick and waiting for my hand to heal. The other half, I was trying to spend time with Alex before he left on his deployment. But now, I’m ready to get back into the swing of working out, especially if I decide to officially join the CrossFit gym I checked out on Saturday after my week trial is up. I am pretty sore from the workout yesterday, but it’s the kind of sore that makes you feel really good about yourself.

As far as other transition things go, my voice is gradually getting deeper. I’m not sure what it sounds like to other people, but I think it may be on the edge of teenage boy – adult male sounding. I’ve been getting a lot of comments from friends and people I work with about how they notice that it’s getting lower. It’s definitely one of those things that kind of makes my day.

I’m getting darker, longer hair on my upper thighs, whereas before it was so fine and light in color it was hardly noticeable. I’ve also noticed hair sprouting up on my stomach. And of course, I’m sprouting more hair on my chin, upper lip, and side burn region. I shave about once a week, but I probably should be shaving every 3-4 days because it honestly looks kind of silly after a week since it’s just a few hairs and not a full beard. The acne on my face has gradually been getting worse as well, but I’m okay with it. It’s nothing like it was when I went through my first puberty, and I’m sure it will calm down as time goes by.

I still haven’t noticed any changes in my fat distribution. I still have obnoxiously big hips and thighs. I can’t wait for those two areas to change more than anything. I’m hoping that by doing CrossFit, it will ignite some fat burning and get rid of that fat once and for all. That’s probably the area on my body that I am most dysphoric about; it’s always the area that I get frustrated about when my clothes (pants) don’t fit right. I eat pretty well, so I think it’s just being stubborn. Even if CrossFit doesn’t help with the fat, it will definitely build muscle. It’s as if I’m fighting a losing battle though by both trying to lose fat and build muscle at the same time. I’m not sure which I want to focus on more at the moment since fat burning requires a calorie deficit while muscle building requires a calorie surplus. I’ve definitely been in the calorie surplus area, considering all the muscle I’ve put on in the past 4 months. I just don’t want to purposely try to lose fat by eating fewer calories and then lose all the muscle I’ve been working so hard to get. Eh… I’ll figure something out. It’s just kind of frustrating at the moment.

Anyway, that pretty much covers the noticeable changes for this month. I’m still waiting on my new birth certificate to arrive, but other than that, most of my name change stuff is going smoothly. The only big thing I really have left to get is a new passport.

Until next time!

 

Small Victories

This morning, I went down to my Starbucks with my dog Harry. After I got my drink, I went outside and heard a lady telling her daughter that she had to ask the “puppy’s momma” if she could pet the dog sitting outside. That was my dog. Yes, he is adorable.

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I came up behind them and said that he was mine. The lady looked at me for a couple of seconds, seemingly confused, and then told her daughter to ask him (me) if she could pet the dog. Then, we talked a little bit about Harry and their dog. And after a few minutes, off we went. This interaction made me extremely happy. I walked away with a smile. It seems as if I’ve gotten to a point where my voice doesn’t give me away as female. I’ve been identified as male for as long as I’ve had my hair short (I first cut it when I was 16, but there were a couple of years more recently where it was longer). But then if an interaction would require me to speak, the second I opened my mouth, the other person would immediately look embarrassed and start apologizing profusely. This would then make me really embarrassed. This doesn’t happen so much anymore which makes me pretty happy since it’s one less awkward moment I have to deal with.

So, I’ve been thinking of joining a Crossfit gym for a while. I’ve heard a lot of good (and bad) things about Crossfit. I’ve checked out some of the workouts posted here, but they always seemed too hard for my fitness level. I decided to look on Yelp for Crossfit gyms in the area. The highest rated one on Yelp happened to be this one, Crossfit Fortius. I read through many reviews. All of them raved about how friendly and encouraging both the coaches and participants were, so I decided to shoot them a message through their online form. In my message I stated that I am transgender and was looking for a friendly environment (and also that I was trying to gain a more masculine build). I got a quick response:

“Thanks for contacting us!  We’d love to have you come by and take a few workouts with us and see if it’s a good fit.  We have a very welcoming and supportive gym environment, which I think you will appreciate :)”

So, today was my first day at the gym. I walked up and was approached by one of the coaches, Josh. He was very nice. He showed me around after I signed a waiver to participate. As I waited for the workout to begin (turns out I was the only one for the beginner workout), I talked to some people who were there doing other types of workouts. Everyone I spoke to was really friendly.  Then, the workout began. Josh went over the exercises, and I did a couple practice exercises. It wasn’t a very long workout (only a 12 minute circuit), but I was pretty dead by the end of it. I don’t think I could have done much more even if I wanted to. I’m actually pretty excited about this since I have a hard time coming up with workouts that challenge me to this degree or have the same intensity. I will definitely be going back this week to see how the regular workouts go. I have a feeling that I will enjoy going to this gym. It definitely has a sense of community, which is something I want, especially now. Which leads me into my next topic…

Alex is officially on his deployment now for the next 7-8 months. Luckily, I’ll be busy with school and such, but that doesn’t start for another month still.  I’m kind of sad (okay, really sad) that he will be missing most of my transition. I’m trying to think of interesting ways to keep him updated on my transition. The thing I’m thinking of right now is making periodic videos and then sending them on a flash drive (since internet is limited to mostly emails). I’m definitely open to suggestions. I’m also open to suggestions on how to keep myself busy while he’s gone besides school and working out.

Soon to come (tomorrow) will be picture updates.