10 Things we do at Crossfit that we Should do at Work

11 Aug

YUP! Favorite: 7. Set time caps for the day. You want me to work 8 whole hours?! What if I got all my work done in 5?


Sure… ignore me now…

11 Dec

Sure... ignore me now...

Come New Years Resolution time you are all going to be my new best friends! Misery loves company ;).

What we want when we ask, “How Do I Lose Weight?”

9 Dec

One of my lifelong friends from high school paid me the best compliment this week! She asked me if I had a workout routine I recommended for weight loss, said she wished she had my motivation, and told me I look gorgeous!

We all know what we have to do to lose weight:

  1. Stop eating shit
  2. Get off your ass

So why is this so hard for everyone (including me!)?!? There is a reason that there are billions of dollars spent on weight loss pills/supplements, diets, and gym memberships.  It’s because we are all looking for that thing that will make it stick (or unstick as the case may be!)

I am not a Doctor, Trainer, or even an expert. What I do know about is struggling personally with my weight/fitness/physique. With those qualifications only this is what I have found:

Don’t focus on weight loss or even dropping inches

Weight loss is the number one way to drive ourselves and everyone else in our lives crazy!


The emotional rollercoaster it puts us on (Yea, I’m down a pound. Boo, I’m up a pound.) The deprivation it makes us feel (I ate healthy all day yesterday why am I not skinny?) and being at the mercy of the scale for our feelings of success, victory, or self-worth. BLAC! Drop it like a bad habit!

I don’t mean throw the scale away or never weigh yourself. That would be just too much to ask. What we can do is teach ourselves to stop caring; realize that the reality is that THE SCALE LIES! It is not an accurate measurement of your physique appeal, progress, health, or fitness. Choose the blue pill and wake up to the fact that what you thought was your reality just isn’t.

Self truths:

  1. If I focus on losing weight I will inevitably fall of the wagon on the days that I feel like I don’t care about losing weight or don’t feel like doing what it takes to do it.
  2. I have to have reasons other than weight loss or even caring about what I look like to keep moving forward toward my goals.

Just Start. (Then Show Up)

Starting is the easy part. EVERYONE at some point in their life has gotten themselves all hot and bothered about some method or other on a Sunday night with lofty goals in mind for what was going to be the “first Monday of the rest of my life!”

Show Up.

This means not only make it to the box/gym/your workout but really show up while you are there. This is the time that you have set aside to work on yourself so TAKE IT!  Try new things, do more than you think you can, really give it all you have and leave it all on the floor. 


What we all really struggle with is lasting motivation and consistency. As Dr. Drew Pensky would say, “Perfectly normal, perfectly healthy.”

Success begets success and the only way to keep on keeping on is to find those successes for yourself. I have found them through CrossFit!

Attitude- If you think you CAN or you CAN’T- you’re right.

Self truth: In the past I have gone through phases of being really dedicated, right before I burn out and fall off of the wagon. This is a journey, and each bout of enthusiasm has built on the previous and each time leaves me in a better place.

Join a group of people who care8bd4ade6adf8b162b3587a249df2ed66

We are social creatures so why would working on our fitness be any different?

There are lots of benefits to training in a group environment surrounded by athletes at all different levels that are working toward similar goals. It is inspiring to be challenged and mentored by those that work at a higher level, to simultaneously compete and encourage one another, and to bear witness to confidence being built and even small challenges being met.

In my opinion this is the biggest advantage of Crossfit over solitary programs. Being part of a group isn’t just about what they can do to motivate you but what you can do to be a positive force. I was thinking about this during “Sunday Funday” last week. We had open gym and were all working on our own deficits with no group programming for the day but everyone was still watching and supporting one another. A few paused between strength sets to come spot me without being asked. They just knew what I needed and stepped in to help!

Self truth: I NEED to surround myself with supportive people who care if I am moving toward or away from my goals, notice if I’m there and care about what I accomplish while I am.

Slay your diet demons


It’s stupid to ignore the diet aspect but don’t get all caught up in it. It seems like every nutrition program has its do’s and don’ts and they all contradict one another. Paleo says grains, dairy, and beans are bad. Vegetarians say meat is bad and beans are good. Carbs, Fast, Food, Low-Fat, Chemically processed!?! It’s enough to make your head spin.

I don’t hear ANYBODY saying that fresh, unprocessed vegetables are bad for you. Start there, do your research on the rest and do what you agree with and will work for your lifestyle.

Diets are a lot like a work out plans, they don;t work when you don’t follow them. We all want someone to give us a “program,” to tell us exactly what we need to eat/do to lose weight and then when they do we refuse to follow it.

Start with these things and when these are mastered then dig deeper.

  1. Eat more vegetables
  2. Drink more water
  3. Don’t eat fast food
  4. Cut your carbs in half
  5. Cut your portion sizes in half
  6. Cut out the sugars

Self Truth: Still working on 1-6! I’ll let you know when I’ve mastered it ;).

Which brings me to…

Take your own advice

What would you tell someone who asked you how they could lose weight? If that is your goal, are you following your own advice?

The bottom line is that we all know what we need to do, at least in theory, to lose weight, get in shape, and be healthy. There are a million paths to get to the same goal, and were we willing to follow any of them, they probably all work.

So, what are we really asking when we say, “How do I lose weight?” We are asking how do I get the motivation, inspiration, and courage to make my fitness a priority. To get to the point that what we want is so strong that it outweighs (no pun intended) the sacrifices we have to make in order to get there.

Your Monday is today. See you at the box!


*Arien Clevenger is a member at CrossFit Unbreakable in Plainfield, Indiana (just outside of Indianapolis.) She has been doing CrossFit off and on for 2 years also attending CrossFit Regeneration, and EDGE Fitness & Strength. Her husband is attending the Exercise Science program at DePauw University and at 30, plays college football. They have an 8-year-old son who learns good and bad habits by example. Arien is a know-it-all who should mind her own business and still has a lot to learn.

This Girl is Livin’ in PR City!

26 Nov

I have had some really cool PR’s over the past few weeks in some areas that I was not expecting and have not been intentionally focusing on in my training. The gains just keep on coming! Back in my South Beach Diet days we would have called these Non-Scale Victories, though I doubt many of my SB gang are working on these things. 😉

The foundation for everything is strength.

One of the things that I am just infatuated about with CrossFit is that you keep getting better at all kinds of things, seemingly without trying! I’m not saying that I haven’t been putting in work, but it just amazes me that when you train to be “good at everything” how many crossover benefits you get between categories.


First, I was able to get 7 unassisted pull-ups! This is a huge leap from my previous 3 in a row!

Box Jump

Then, I joined in some friendly post-WOD box jump practice only to max out on my single effort box jump at 33.” This was especially exciting because this is over half of my height! (Of course at 34″ I ate shit on the box jumps and scraped my shins to pieces, but whatever.)

Kettlebell Swings

I have previously had lot of trouble with my lower back while working with kettlebells and hadn’t really done anything over 35#. After a conversation with my athletic trainer Sara Hemmick of CrossFit Naptown I started working on my lower abdominal core strength through accessory work to keep my back from overextending during my swing and YOU KNOW WHAT?!!? I was able to swing 53# for 4 reps 10 times for an EMOM!

Back SquatThis one time

Never underestimate the impact of powering through. I was having what I thought was going to be an off day and was prepping to take it easy on my 10 x 2 Back Squat but just kept adding weight without counting it up and ended up doing 8 rounds at 185# which was my 1 Rep Max last month.

Handstand Walk

Less than 1 month ago I could not walk on my hands at all and last night I made it 5 “steps” in my handstand walk. Great gain for me and I had not really “worked” on this skill in two weeks!

Plyo Pull-up

Discovering you can do things that you weren’t previously able to do is really rewarding. Only slightly more amazing is nailing something new you never even thought to do ON THE FIRST TRY. I had never even heard of plyometric pull-ups until my husband, Mark, was working out with me last night and started swinging himself between high and low bars on the rig! This is right up my alley and I immediately wanted to try it. After a few practice kips I got it! So cool.


No I’m not going to thank the academy

I’m just oozing with thrill at my progress right now! I attribute these successes to:

  1. Being more consistent than I have ever been. *You mean all I had to do was show up!
  2. Choosing form and trying to RX over getting a faster time.
  3. Working with an awesome community at CrossFit Unbreakable that encourages, suffers, and supports me.
  4. Supplementing my weaknesses with accessory work (lats, lower abdominals, and triceps) and mobility (traps, shoulders, upper back, and bicep tendons.)
  5. All the insights I get from having live-in sounding board that is studying kinesiology in order to get his doctorate in PT!

Now all I have to do is not get derailed by the holidays and keep putting in work! I can’t wait to see what comes next.

What can you do today that you never thought you would be able to do?

Attacking Childhood Obstacles

24 Nov

Just Arie From the Block

The house I grew up in sits at the front if a quiet subdivision. Going “around the block” is exactly 1 mile, a fact that inspired, discouraged, and haunted some of my childhood and tortured me through my overweight adolescence.

Whenever I would decide that “today’s the day that I’m going to get in shape!” I would gather all my hutsba and set out to jog a whole mile!

I started with loads of gusto for 5 minutes or so. This was followed by wheezing and then walking half-way before giving up and cutting through everyone’s yard to get back home… defeated.

20131124-124935.jpgYesterday we visited my Mom and when I needed a quick workout I turned to “the block.”

Now, I am not a runner, even now working out 4-5 days a week I don’t do “cardio.”

I started out strong and found my stride. I noticed my legs felt strong and it was easy to move. After a full lap I still didn’t have a stitch in my side and I started to relax. It felt good!

It’s amazing to me that 15 years later and with all of the fitness confidence I have gained this seemed like such a big deal. I didn’t break any records, I don’t know my time, or how far I jogged but I finished with the feeling that I finally conquered “the block” and feeling like the training that I am doing continues to give me good gains and increases my overall health, both physically and mentally!


Pull-up PR!

20 Nov

So here is a video of me getting my very first pull-up on May of 2012. Yesterday I PRd at 7 (Seven) 7! SEVEN sEvEn Pull-ups!!! “Hello, my name is Arien and I can now do seven unassisted pull-ups.”



CrossFit Unbreakable Barbells for Boobs

19 Oct

I participated in my second fitness event ever! (First was  Warrior Dash 2013.)

Do it for the Boobs!

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“Great fund raiser for breast cancer. Athletes either did “Grace”, which is 30 Clean & Jerks at various weight. Or they did “7 Minutes of Heaven”, which is the maximum number of burpees in 7 minutes. A few people did both. Both work outs were capped at 7 minutes. We raised over $1,000. THANK YOU!!!”


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