(New) Beginnings – How to grow as a skater

Keep pushing forward (credit @Quickdraw photography)

Hi all!

Well, it’s been a while since I put pen to paper, and wrote about my derby experiences. I had a very interesting season last year, and am just starting this 2018 season so I thought it’d be a good time to check in.

Last time I wrote on this blog was one year ago. At this time last year, I had not played as part of the travel B team yet. I was figuring out how to skate safely with my wonky right ankle that I kept spraining over and over and over and over, and I also needed to fix my plantar faciatiis in my left foot. We had our first home game, and I played despite having pulled a muscle in my groin a few days earlier, so I did not perform great that night. In the grand scheme of things though, I honestly wasn’t sure if I was cut for derby, or if derby was cut for me. I always felt a bit out of my comfort zone, not because I couldn’t sustain the physicality of the game itself, but mostly because I did not see progress in my own performance. I questioned a lot whether I should primarily jam or block. I did not see results that reinforced or built any kind of confidence as a jammer, and I did not really know how to block, so I felt like I was stalling.

Obviously this kind of self mental assessment of my growth as an athlete within the league left me extremely scared. I would not say that I had lost my motivation, but I had too many questions which did not have answers, and I found it hard not to know what to do. I went to a league mate, and talked things out with her. She had more experience, and understood my doubts and fears. She told me straight off the bat to keep working as a jammer. I had the endurance, I could move my feet and run on my skates, and I had proven in the past that I could be a valuable asset to the team and score points. The rest, she said, would come with practice.

You know I always feel defeated when I watch other skaters around me progress faster than I think I am progressing. I really truly feel sometimes like I’m skating the same. Whether it’s a home game, or an away game, even a scrimmage during practice, I had to learn to reset my brain, and shut up the voice that kept telling me I was not good enough.

Everything starts with your mental game. Whether you are a freshie, and learn transitions or are desperately trying to pass the 27/5, or you have been skating for years and are prepping for a big tournament, if you keep doubting yourself, you won’t go anywhere. Skills take time to perfect. They take practice. Yet, it’s not just your physical skills that require practice. Your mental skills require time too! And they probably need more attention that you think they do.

I can judge my performance all day long. I can be hard on myself all day long. I can ruin an entire practice or game just by focusing on all the negatives. Meanwhile, I’ve grown so much as a skater, and I forget how much. Three years ago, I could not skate, less hit people while on skates. I could not stop. I could not turn around. I could not go backwards. I could not exercise for hours, hitting, doing laps, jumping… What do you mean cross-train? I thought I was fit when I joined derby, pfffft. Give me a break.

I forget all of those things, and I take them for granted, instead of looking at them like gains, positives, things I should be proud of. I focus so hard on the results, instead of the journey, I can destroy hours and hours of work in a matter of seconds. I found myself time and time again wanting to quit all together because I did not feel up to par with that imaginary player I attempted to be in thirty seconds.

It’s been three years, and I am now starting to feel comfortable on my skates. It’s been three years, and I now enjoy skating outside, any surface, any terrain, anything skateable I’ll skate it. It’s been three years, and only now do I not hyperventilate like a maniac before a game. It’s been three years since I decided to do this thing, and I’m only now starting to hit my true potential.

Do you think I would have hit my potential on week 2 of Freshie practice? Do you think it would have been wise to quit after failing Minimum Skills testing? Do you think I should have packed my gear away after not making it to 27 laps in five short minutes?

There are times where I want to kick my helmet across the rink. There are times where I feel so down, because I know what I can do, and I didn’t have the chance to showcase it. I feel so stupid, so slow, so negative… I have to stop. I have to consciously tell myself to shut up.

There is no perfection in this sport. There is no perfection anywhere. The secret to awesomeness is practice. The secret to having a grand time is to shut the negative voice up, and be present. Be in the moment. Practice that move countless times, and think of it as if it were the very first time you were doing it. Feel the response of your body with every stride, and gather this information as a learning experience, not as a “let’s see how much I can beat myself up today” experience.

Take a breath. No matter how advanced you are as a skater, you will never stop improving. You should never stop improving. You should never rest on the laurels of past achievements. And I’m saying this because you’re going to have good and bad days. One team is going to be easier to beat than another. One night you will feel like you have energy for days, and another night you won’t even want to put on your skates. You will get injured, and have to rehab from that. Recovery will take time, a lot of time, sometimes too much time.

Just embrace it. All of it. Don’t stay stuck on stupid. Don’t tell yourself you suck, and quit. If you love this sport, you will stick around. You will overcome doubt, fears, frustration. You will cry with your teammates, or alone, you will laugh and hug, and jump, and you will get pissed off, but you will experience all of it, and you’ll learn from it.

Not long after the season opener home game last year, I was rostered to play my very first game as part of the travel team. I was on the ALT list, until a jammer couldn’t make it, and I took her spot. I jammed that night. I got two back to back track cuts during my first jam, then I didn’t get lead, and then I got lead twice, and scored twice. Do you think I should have stopped after getting these two track cuts? I was scared to death. I really thought I couldn’t do it. But I took a breath, and I said to myself to shut up and try again. Start fresh at the next jam, and try.

You won’t win every time. You won’t be spectacular every time. But you will grow oh so much.

I am a Fresh Meat mom now on my league. I teach new skaters how to skate, how to fall, how to do all the basics. Looking at challenges from the perspective of a brand new derby player, reminds me of my own, and shows me how much progress I truly made. This is not a competition of who can show off their skills the best. This is an opportunity for you to learn to trust yourself, and love yourself, because your body can do so many amazing things out there.

Keep moving forward. You got this.



A Shoutout to Derby Wives


Photo credit Sean Hale @seanhaleyeah

Joining roller derby, I did not think of getting married. Well derby married.

A derby wife has many definitions, but here is one I found and truly identify with: “A derby marriage is a declaration of close friendship, but more than that, it is a commitment to support one another both in and out of derby. A wife is a person who always has your back. She will never insult you by taking it easy on you at practice. She will notice your improvements and make sure that you notice them, too. She will work with you to help you excel in areas that you previously felt were weaknesses. When/If you get injured, she’s the one who takes care of you and worries about you. She’ll even back you up at the after-party.” I stole this definition from Charlottesville Derby Dames’ blog. 🙂

At the beginning of my derby journey, I heard the term and did not know how to really go about it. I did not have friends per se in derby. I only started to get to know people, and was more focused on learning the ropes at that point.

There was also something a little nerve wracking about derby marriage since it was a marriage, especially when the “’til death doeth part” echoed in the back of my head like an ominous warning. How did this work? Did I have to get dressed up, and have a ceremony?  How did I even find my derby wife? Were we supposed to get engaged? Did we get rings? What if this did not work???????? Speaking from life experience, and having gone through a marriage that ended in a divorce, I was not too hot on getting married again, especially when I did not know what this marriage entailed.

Guess what though? Derby marriage is actually not as bad as it sounds.

Derby marriage is a special bond. A derby wife will stick around and support you through thick and thin. She is your best bud, off and on the track. She gives you hug after hug and says you can do anything you set your mind to. She inspires you day in and day out. You miss each other when you are not together at practice. Your heart breaks for the other when you or she gets injured. You can talk about anything, and you never get mad at each other, but you also stay true and honest, and say it like it is when necessary.

I was probably the last one to think I would ever get derby married. It was okay by me to be derby single. Teammates made official announcements of their derby weddings, and I was happy for them. I read in a lot of places that you do not need a derby wife to have a happy derby life.

My wife getting married, and I watched it all on Skype! ❤

I guess the derby gods had other plans for me. The wife and I were not really sure how to go about it, if we needed to do something formal, and all that jazz, and we decided not to. We just agreed to be wives. She actually proposed to me and I said yes. LOL Other than that there was no ceremony, no dress, no rings exchanged, no vows. We are best buds, and we support and care for each other. When I took a leave of absence, she asked me if I was quitting derby, and she even said her heart would break if I quit. I reassured her I would not quit derby. I needed a break to heal from a stupid injury and manage my crazy life, and she understood and respected my decision. She is always there to talk to and to vent. We share laughter, and gossip. We talk derby. We talk life. In good and hard times, we are there for each other as much as we can. We share happy moments. I attended my wife’s wedding via Skype while on vacation in Europe (I know how funny this sentence just sounded – but it was amazing! Thank you technology!). We make the best of recovery time when one of us gets injured. We miss each other dearly when we are not at practice. Most importantly, we stand on the track, whether as allies or opponents, and it is always a privilege to play together.

I would like to dedicate this post to my derby wife Pixel Bloq. She has been a tremendous source of support and love I did not think I would find when I joined derby, but I was proven wrong once again. Derby is really full of surprises. I have also read stories of derby wives traveling across the globe to help each other, and this is the best thing ever (this is a wink to my teammate Knox).

It is also okay to have multiple wives, and to switch wives, so derby marriage is not as strict as a real marriage I realized. 😉

What about you? Do you have a derby wife?

❤ Keeks


Follow me on instagram @kikindateef

Reinvent Yourself


photo credit Sean Hale @seanhaleyeah

Well here we are. The season 2017 has begun. After taking three months off, I am more than ever ready to tackle this year as efficiently and intelligently as possible.

As a freshie, I did not really think of derby as this long term commitment, almost like a job, that I had to adjust to, and treat like I treat everything else in my life. My family, my professional career, my own self-care routine, everything is on a schedule. I have to be well rested, well fed, because I cannot survive derby half-assed. This was in itself something new for me.

I had never played a team sport before joining roller derby. Heck, I had never really played any sport before joining roller derby. I am not the first one to say this. I joined derby because I wanted to try something new. I wanted to learn new things. And the ladies on the league looked badass and cool enough that I wanted to spend some time to get to know them, and then spend a lot of time with them several days per week.

In the past, I tried things, but never really committed to something. I went in cycles, maybe dedicating one or two years to a hobby, then giving it up and forgetting it all about it just like another failed relationship. I was not made for it, I thought. Some people were better at it than me, and that was the end of it.

I am not the first or the last to say roller derby radically changed my view of team sports. I honestly did not think I was cut to be a team player. I am awesome on my own. No boss, and no rules, except my very own, and all the time in the world to slack off. Only thing I could do well was work out in my living room in sync with Shaun T and the dreadful beats of his Insanity videos. I am made for challenges. I welcome competition. I thrive when put under conditions that push me to my outer comfort zone, and force me to improve. Get stronger, faster, smarter. Jumping by myself on a yoga mat, imagining I was training for something big, something important, something that would change my life for the better, I worked out relentlessly with my personal coach on TV for two years. Occasionally, I ran too. Jogging is something I picked up in my early twenties and really fell in love with, but a stupid treadmill injury made me think I was not made for that either. Haha, what a joke.

Deep down though, I always had this dream of skating. Gliding effortlessly and doing tricks. I picked up roller blading in my late teens, never to really graduate to do more than use the flimsy brake on my left heel. When I worked up the courage to finally transition once, I fell so hard on my tailbone I just decided I was not made for this either.

Now fast forward to when I am 32, and I see these badass women on a flat track, hitting each other, opening their hips and skating backwards like they have been doing this since birth. I hear loud screeches on the rink, and I do not get the rules at all, but I do not care. The ad on the flyer saying the league was looking for people, and I did not need to know how to skate to join, convinced me to take the first step and just like that, I joined roller derby.


photo credit Sean Hale @seanhaleyeah

First skate practice, I am padded up to the forehead, my skates, pads, outfit and helmet are all color coordinated like I am going to a roller derby pageant. I look new. I look inexperienced and plain clueless. The first steps I take are scary as hell, and do not compare to the first steps I took in my living room the night before to quiet the anxiety of a first time. Rolling on quads make me feel even less balanced than on inlines, and I am not really sure of anything except I really want to try this. I want to glide and I do not care if I fall. I am committed to giving it my all.

The journey started here. What I learned along the way was that commitment is the first step to a roller derby career, just like anything else. Discipline and consistency come next, just like anything else. Balancing responsibilities, job, family obligations, pretty much life on life’s terms, disrupt and distract but as long as I keep the focus on what is important, I am okay. I can juggle it all.

Of course, there are also moments of doubt, so big they can crush you into giving it all up again just because you tell yourself you are not really cut for it.

I was not immune to the doubt. I was not immune, despite all the love I have for this sport, to feeling like this was not my thing. Once the pink cloud vanished, I was left with reality, and reality sucks.

The love was everything though. I had to dig deep inside and cultivate that fire so that I would keep going despite failures, disappointments, and physical setbacks such as injuries.

Whether it was the first practice, or training to pass my minimum skills, my first scrimmage, my first bout, my first time at doing something new, I had to dig deep every time, and find that love, to use it like a weapon. I am cut for it. Giving up is easy, and then what? What do I have left? Memories? Regrets? I absolutely love being on roller skates. Whether it is roller derby, or outdoor ramp skating, that stuff is hard, and I do not care what outsiders have to say, we are not born on wheels. Just like anything else. We are not born to do much of anything. There is always a learning curve.

Of course, you can hate what you do, and then why force it? But why give up if you truly love it?

That is what it came down to. That love was and is everything. During those moments where you think “meh, this is way too hard”, just tread patiently and skate. In those moments where you think you will never get it, just skate. Forget the drama, the voice in your head, or the voice of others who might enable you to quit. Forget the bitterness, the harsh self-talk and the comparing yourself to others bullshit that doesn’t serve you at all. Forget the “I can’t do this” broken record monologue.

Just focus on you right now. Be present. If you have to take a break, take a break. Go do what you gotta do and come back stronger. Come back more in love than you ever were before. Come back confident and ready to learn. Reset your thinking and apply yourself. This works wherever you are in your derby career.

A long successful career is just an accumulation of days. Days where you practiced, played, maybe dicked around, and laughed. Days where where you fell, cried, smiled, lost focus and gained it back, hugged and high-fived your teammates after an awesome move. Days where you took a breath, sat down, and got back up. Days where you decided to give it your all. Days where you gave your all. Days where you were tired but still tried. Days where you doubted but just fought harder. And then there are days where everything just falls into place, and you feel like you are straight in heaven.

This sport will ask a lot from you. It will make you question everything you thought you knew about yourself. It will drain you and fill you up. It will fulfill you and put you in the driver seat on and off the track. It will teach you courage, unconditional love and patience. So much patience.

Today is the opportunity to just reinvent yourself. Put on a pair of skates, and be your own hero.

You deserve it, and tomorrow is already too late, so do it now.

❤ Keeks


When I don’t derby, I ramp skate! So much fun!


Follow me on Instagram @kikindateef


My ten 2017 Resolutions

road-908176_960_720Happy new year to all! I have been absent from this blog during my 3 month LOA, and missed it dearly. A break was much needed. My foot was injured, work got out of control and I needed time to just relax, and not stress out. This small break helped me greatly, not only physically but mentally, and for this new season, I’ve made a few resolutions so I can enjoy myself as much as possible.

1- Be in a good mood at practice

I admire one of my teammates because she is always so upbeat at practice. Her energy is contagious, and I have made the conscious decision to learn from her and be upbeat too. I’m not going to practice to be grumpy. I’m going to have fun, and guess what? You learn when you have fun. You fall and you laugh. You have a good time, and this motivates you to keep practicing, and keep showing up.

2- Get out of your head

I have also made the conscious decision to not overthink anything. I am an overthinker by nature, and this has played in my disfavor more than once. This season, I am not thinking. I am doing. The voice in my head is my enemy, and I am not listening to it.

3- Push yourself

This is pretty much a given, but I’ve noticed even when cross training, I get comfortable at a certain level, and it is truly a chore to push harder. I consciously tell myself that I’m not going to die, I’m not going to pass out. By now I know my limits, and I know I can push. You only grow as much as you give at practice, so do it, and don’t hold back.

4- Try new things

Don’t be scared to experiment. I skate outdoors as much as I can, and I always tell myself to just try things. If they work out, they work out, if they don’t, they don’t. At least I know what I need to work on. With enough practice, most tricks can be done. So try new things, and practice!

5- Be patient

I can do a lot of things, and I cannot do a lot of things… yet. That’s okay.  This isn’t a race. And it’s great, this way I can appreciate my progress, and look back and amaze myself.

6- Be kind

To yourself and to others. Go get that massage. Relax. Stretch. Do yoga. Take care of your body, you only have one! Smile and laugh, and tell your teammates nice things whenever you can. The words of my teammates have lifted me up so many times, even when all they said was “Good job”. They kept me in the fight, when the little voice told me I couldn’t fight anymore. Love yourself. I cannot repeat that enough.

7- Take a break

Don’t feel guilty if you have to take a breather. If something hurts, just pause and assess whether you can keep skating or not. Injuries are not a joke. The smallest, most insignificant aches can become real pains in the butt if you don’t take the time to properly heal.

8- Inspect your equipment

Need new wheels? Need new cushions on your plates? Need to change your bearings? How are your toe stops looking? Take a few minutes to inspect your skates, and make sure everything is at the right spot and everything looks good. If something feels wonky, ask your teammates. One of them will be an equipment nerd and will help you. I am an equipment nerd by nature, got the tools and all that stuff. If your equipment is not up to par, you can injure yourself and your teammates, so a little maintenance won’t hurt.

9- Eat well, and enough

During the day, and especially before practice, make sure to hydrate a lot, and eat good things that will help your body sustain two hours (or more) of intense practice! I’m not going to suggest what to eat because we all have our routines, but make sure to be in 100% condition before you go in. Your body will thank you, and you will enjoy yourself so much more if you have energy. Also, take naps before practice if you can. Power naps are awesome.

10- Smile, you’re at derby!

Yes. Smile all you can!



Follow me on Instagram @kikindateef


Strong Athletic Skater

oewifhoiewBeing an athlete is hard! There’s all this time spent working on technique, and improving skills, while trying as much as possible to avoid injuries. Injury! What an ugly word. I don’t know anyone who played any sport and didn’t get injured at least once. Obviously, we want to stay away from serious injuries that will keep us out for weeks, or months at a time. I cringe every time I hear the word surgery, plates and screws. Sadly, that reality cannot be avoided.

How you deal with injuries brings out a whole new level of commitment and dedication to the sport you love. It makes you rethink how to live your life, and how to do the simplest tasks such as carrying groceries, showering or walking. It makes you feel so vulnerable, weak almost. You can’t work out like you want to. You can’t move without feeling pain somewhere.

I hate injuries. I do everything in my power to avoid them. Although it’s nothing broken, something as small as blisters can still make my life hell! I couldn’t even imagine being off skates for longer than six months… I already go crazy if I miss one week.

I’d like to dedicate this post to skaters who had to step down for weeks or months at a time, and still stayed strong. Those skaters showed up to games with their crutches on, wearing special fitted braces, limping, but smiling. Even if they couldn’t play, they were there. I saw them heal, and work their way back up to their fittest level. I scrimmage with them, and feel their strength and speed. These folks inspire me. They tell me injuries aren’t the end of the road. They are evidence that being an athlete is hard, and sacrifices must be made, but it’s also incredibly rewarding and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

These strong athletic skaters make me look at my own journey, and make me grateful to be on wheels. They make me feel strong when I push myself. They make me feel powerful and dedicated when I show up to practice and feel like the least good skater out there. They give me perspective. They give me that sense of longevity I long to gain despite life’s demands. They make me proud to be with them. They give me faith. They make me get up and try. It doesn’t matter if my day was horrible. I leave it all on the track, and get those hugs and fist bumps that mean the world because we’re all in this together. It’s real love out there, among pain, sweat and tears.

To all the strong athletic skaters in my league, I say thank you. It’s a real honor and privilege to watch you fight your way up, and grow. It’s a real treat to skate by your side. You make me feel like I can do anything.


Follow me on Instagram @kikindateef




Thank you Quick Draw Photography 

So this past week we had tryouts for our B team. We skated almost every day for the past ten days, and ended the festivities with an awesome scrimmage, which left me tired but so happy about how far I had gotten, and how much more was left for me to do.

Results came in, and I didn’t make the B team. I’m not disappointed or sad.

Being on the B team requires a certain level I don’t have yet. This is an objective assessment of my progress, my skills, and my performance on the track. I’m extremely grateful for going through the process, and taking it all in. I’m excited to have done the 27/5 again, and managed 28.5 laps! Next target is 30.

Happiness is in the journey. I know that I will eventually make the team, just as I knew I would pass freshmeat. I keep working at it without putting myself under immense pressure that I have to succeed at all cost. I keep skating, and learning, without overburdening myself. My confidence grows with every stride.

I actually feel free today. Free to have passed that stepping stone, free to have realized I can do extraordinary things if I stop beating myself up, free to have taken that risk and gone with it, without reservations. This is not failure. There is no failure. Just another attempt to make it next time.

Being able to distance myself and not take things personally has been the greatest lesson roller derby has been teaching me this past year and a half.

I’m leaving you with these awesome pictures of our scrimmage… Never forget you are awesome for putting skates on, and trying.


Follow me on Instagram @kikindateef


Thank you Quick Draw Photography


Thank you Quick Draw Photography


Thank you Quick Draw Photography



Know your strengths, know your weaknesses 

“Confidence is key. True confidence comes from a deep awareness that one has made an effort to gather information, turned every stone, done everything to practice the craft and get strong.” Scald Eagle 

You can’t be what you want to be without knowing what you’re made of. Saying you aim at becoming the new Scald Eagle isn’t enough to help you be the star you wish to be. Dreams are important to keep the passion alive. Realistic goals are the stepping stones of your journey toward your dreams.

I hit a point in my journey where I put so much pressure on myself that I completely doubted my abilities. I didn’t differentiate between my strengths or my weaknesses. In my mind, I just wasn’t good enough.

Lexi Lightspeed recently posted on Facebook about believing in your own self. Be your own supporter.

You don’t need a wall of blockers to break yourself. If your mind sabotages you, you’re pretty much done.

I read Mind Gym and kept wondering what derby meant for me. What made me happy in derby. Then while we had a small break in between practices, I hit the skate park and didn’t think about derby at all.

I love the skate park because I get challenged in a total different way. I face myself and my fears. There’s no team to beat. No wall to break. No penalty box. Nothing but the hard unforgiving ground, and me on my eight wheels.

I find freedom at the skate park. The same freedom I find on the track when I know my strengths and weaknesses. When I skate and let go of all the debilitating insecurities, I know what I can and can’t do. What I need to work on. What I need to improve.

I rolled on that mini ramp so much, back and forth, back and forth, relentlessly, that my doubts vanished. I found my truth once I hit practice again. I knew what I wanted to do. I chose the path that would bring me the most joy, and challenging fulfillment.

It is necessary as an athlete to question in order to grow. Questioning too much can be hazardous though.

Paint your picture one brush stroke at a time. Skate and understand how your body and mind work together. Target your weaknesses one at a time. Cherish small victories. Don’t give up in times of doubt.

Most importantly, be your own cheerleader.

No matter how many times you hit the ground, you CAN do it. No matter how many times you fail, you WILL succeed. Know yourself to defeat yourself. Learn and grow, to become the star you want to be.


Follow me on Instagram @kikindateef


Read this great post by Lexi Lightspeed on Goals. And all the other posts she wrote. She’s quite an inspiration.


Cross-training: My 10 Do’s and Don’ts

You’ve been showing up to practice religiously. You can’t climb up the stairs without wincing because your thighs and glutes are screaming with every step. Your lower back is giving you the same treatment. When will that pain stop?

Then your heart breaks a little when you hear showing up to practice isn’t enough.


Horrible truth no one wants to hear, yet here it is: showing up to derby on an average of two-three times a week, so sweating your butt off for 6-7 hours, isn’t enough physical training to take you to the next level. Nope. Derby doesn’t give you everything you need (sadly), and cross-training is required in order to really make you feel like your body is made of pure steel, and scream a little louder. Just a little.

Cross-training is “athletic training in sports other than the athlete’s usual sport. The goal is improving overall performance. It takes advantage of the particular effectiveness of one training method to negate the shortcomings of another.”59113193

Now the question of “How much is too much?” often pops up on my social media feed. Exhaustion can hit you very quickly if you don’t balance your routine, and working out for the sake of working out will be detrimental to your overall performance.

If your week is anything like my week, you know time to workout is hard to find. Every minute counts!

So how do you best cross-train? Here are my 10 Do’s and Don’ts!

1- Do I have to sacrifice sleep?

Sleep is something you should try to never sacrifice. I know it’s hard to do whether it’s kids, work, school… but sleep is your friend. Sleep helps your body recover from the stress of the day, and it helps reset your mind to a nice fresh start in the morning. Folks who repeat “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” will definitely die before they know it. I used to be able to function on very little sleep. Not anymore. I need my 7 hours in order to feel normal. If you can’t sleep much at night, naps during the day are the next best thing to give your body a break. Seriously. Just snooze it out, will ya?

2- Do I have to cross-train every off-practice day?

No. Rest days are very important. Take at least one day a week. Just like sleep, rest days help your body heal from the stress you put it through by working out real hard. Don’t bypass a rest day because you feel guilty about not working out, okay? Excessive physical training can become addictive, and put you in a vicious cycle where you’ll work out because you feel terrible about not working out. Watch out for that. Balance is everything. Don’t overdo it.


3- Do I have to work out crazy hard every time I cross-train?

Following my previous comment about not overdoing it. No, you don’t have to kill yourself every time you work out. Just think of extreme workouts as putting your body through extreme stress. If you put your body through stress all the time, you will achieve the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. First, you will tire yourself out like crazy, increasing your risk of injury. Second, you will overeat because you just worked out like a freaking animal for two hours. Third and final, you will never give your body the chance to fully recover and build the strength and endurance you need to perform at the next level. Less is more. Don’t train harder, train smarter.

4- Do I have to cross-fit?

Cross-fit is on my to-do list. However, cross-training doesn’t equal cross-fit. Cross-training simply means working out and doing something different than roller derby. Over time, roller derby favors certain body parts over others, and cross-training just helps re-balance everything. Nothing like a strong left leg, and a weak right leg, am I right?


5- What does cross-training entail exactly?

Cross-training should include strength, endurance and flexibility training. Weight lifting is great for building strength. Cardio and HIIT routines are good for endurance. Yoga is known to improve balance and flexibility. Cross-training isn’t only for the body. Train your mind by learning meditation. So much emphasis is put on the body, but the mental component is as important. You can work out all you want, your mind can make or break you. Read books about sport psychology! Mind Gym is a great read to start with.


6- How much should I cross-train then?

If you already spend 7 hours sweating your butt off at practice, your cross-training should be adapted to how tired your body is and how much rest it needs. A heavy workout week for me will be: 7 hours of derby practice, 2 hours of cardio, 1 hour strength training, 1 hour flexibility training. Count on top of that that I walk an average of 10,000 steps a day, sometimes more, seven days a week. I’m a rather active person. Spending 4-5 hours cross-training on top of everything else wears me out rather quickly I find, especially if my work week is intense, and my sleep hours are less than my average (less than 7 hours a night). Sometimes I only cross-train three hours a week. When we don’t have derby practice, I cross-train more. If we have four practices in one week, I’m going to take two rest days instead of one.

I read a ton of articles about cross-training. When I digest that information, I always ask myself: what’s best for my body? If I don’t know myself, I’ll never be able to do the right thing. That’s where experimentation comes in. Push yourself and see how far you can go. If it’s too much, do less. If you can do more, great. There’s no magic formula that fits everyone the same. We’re all different. The older we are, the slower we recover. The more stressed out we are, the slower we recover. The less sleep we get, how well we feed our body… You get the idea. So experiment, take notes, observe, and adapt.


7- Is walking cross-training?

Yes. Any activity that doesn’t involve roller derby is cross-training. You don’t have to hit the gym every time you want to cross-train. Staying active is key. Moving your body is essential. I love to walk. I also run. I mow the lawn. I clean the house. Less strenuous activities don’t mean you’re not doing something for yourself. You can go cycling, trail skating, hiking, swimming, anything you like and that makes you feel good, do it! Cross-training isn’t supposed to be laborious and a chore. I don’t believe in working out as a chore. Working out should be fun. If you don’t like running, then don’t run. Do something that you will keep doing because you enjoy doing it.


8- How do I keep track of my cross-training?

Keep a schedule. Plan to work out. If you don’t plan it, chances are you won’t do it. It’s going to take some time and discipline to find what works for you, but I guarantee, once you find it, everything will go smooth.

9- What if I don’t find the time to cross-train?

Don’t beat yourself up. You can work out for five minutes at a time. Example: do squats when you’re in the bathroom. Do walking lunges on your way to the bathroom. Do the speed skater while waiting for your food to warm up in the microwave. Take a lunch break and walk outside. Stand on one foot and work your balance while washing your hands or brushing your teeth. Hold a plank for thirty seconds. Do a wall sit for thirty seconds. Take the stairs. Carry your groceries. Don’t wait until the end of the day and then you’re too tired to do anything. Small changes make a big difference over time. It’s just a matter of changing habits, and introducing new ones. No one is asking you to become Bonnie Thunders overnight. Bonnie is Bonnie. You are you. Do what YOU can do.


10- Anything else I should know?

Be good to yourself. Listen to you body. Don’t overdo it. Experiment. HAVE FUN!



You can follow me on Instagram @kikindateef


Show up, show up, show up

There will be days where I’m tired. Days where my mind urges me to stay home, in my pjs, eating chocolate, lounging like a lazy potato on my couch, while Netflix binging. Days where I’d rather sleep than sweat for two hours. Days where putting on my gear feels like climbing Mount Everest. Days where I doubt my abilities all together, and start rethinking this whole derby career dream/fantasy. Can I really do this? 

Unless I’m in absolute physical pain, and need serious rest to recharge my exhausted batteries for the sake of my health and wellbeing, I know that my mind telling me to skip practice is bullcrap. 

I can rationalize all I want that not showing up is actually a good idea. I can catch up on stuff I couldn’t do because derby is taking so much of my free time. I can pretend that missing practice will actually make me better because you know, rest and all… I don’t feel that burned out but better play it safe than sorry, right? I’m an expert at sabotaging myself. I lie to myself and really believe my own bullcrap. 

It’s during those moments that I must show up. I must fight the negative Nancy voice and get my ass to practice. The butterflies still run wild in my stomach upon showing up, but I fight the fear and put on my skates. 

As soon as I start rolling, I’m free. I know coming here was the right thing to do. I know I will feel better after two hours of hard work. I won’t beat myself up. I will learn something new. I will laugh and hang out with women who probably have all the excuses in the world not to show up… Yet they’re here by my side. We’re in this together.

Together we grow. Together we perform. Together we achieve things we couldn’t do without each other. 

If we all stopped showing up at once, there would be no practice. There would be no derby. There would be no fun. 

By showing up, I help myself as much as I help my league. I show up not only for me but for the name in the front of my jersey. 

I also show up because I can’t live without roller derby. I show up because I don’t have room for regrets. I show up because I love to skate. I show up because I want to kick ass and get my ass kicked. I want to laugh, I want to hustle, I want to play. I show up because I want to see my friends. I show up because I said I’d be there on teamsnap. 

I show up because I know there will be a day where I can’t show up anymore. 

I show up and make the best of it. Today.