May 29, 2008

Repost: CrossFit - May 29

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

Quick recap as I'm on my way to bed.

I left the house at 5:20, and I was still 10 minutes late to class, which started at 6. I really like doing the elements class, but the "regular" class is an hour later, and that will cut the drive time in half. Or I need to try out the 0600 class on Wednesday mornings -- not a strong possibility, as I've been awful about waking up on time lately.

Tonight the second trainer led the session, and I was not a fan of his style. He seemed very unfocused on the actual session, and very distracted. He didn't seem to register that I had only attended a few classes, and needed him to explain and/or demonstrate some of the exercises in the circuit. He gave almost all negative feedback while we were working out, and barely any positive feedback.

(Doing some kind of training on the side is something I've been interested in for a while, so I'm going to comment here about what I like and dislike about the CrossFit trainers, to help me see what makes a good trainer.)

We did a circuit - each exercise for 30 seconds, about 2 minutes of rest (didn't catch the exact time), 5 times through. I only got through 4 since I was late - damn traffic. This was a modified version of the WOD.

- reverse lunges
- pushups
- bear hug squats
- band rows
- jumping pull ups (did these with a rope hanging over a pullup bar - grabbed one side in each hand)
- wall ball
- body weight squats
- box jumps (on the next to smallest box)
- kettlebell swings
- double push presses (these were fun, and harder than I thought they would be!)

All in all, not as satisfying as the workout on Tuesday, but I was still feeling the burn.

May 27, 2008

Repost: CrossFit - May 27

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

I attended Elements class at CrossFit Philly for the second time yesterday, and I'm happy to say I don't seem to have any tendinitis in my elbow this week. Thank God! I couldn't pick up my water bottle in meetings until Friday last week. The use of my elbows is kind of important to me, in general. :-p

Another positive - I actually got there on time this week. That was good.

There were 3 other women there. One I had met last week, and two I hadn't met before. One of them was very tall, and very whiny. I hate when people whine about working out. What do they expect to be doing? Just taking it easy? I don't understand people. If you're willing to pay $160/month to do crappy workouts, let me know and I'll be your personal trainer. Bring on the 2 pound dumbbells and "toning" exercise. Ugh.

Anyway, despite annoying whining girl, I really enjoyed my hour at the gym. It just felt awesome to get good and sweaty.

Here's what we actually did:
1. Warmup - circles around the gym jogging, skipping, shuffle to the front, shuffle to the back; walking lunges; 15 pushups
2. Medicine ball cleans - this was the learning portion of the class; this was an interesting movement to learn, I might have to go over to the gym in my office building to try it out again today - can't wait to get it right 100% of the time
3. Wall ball - this one was fun; it got even more fun when we put a medicine ball behind us to make sure we were doing our squats deep enough; I thought for sure adding all that other catching and throwing stuff to the squat would make me lose form on the squats and hurts my knees, but that doesn't seem to be the case
4. Circuit - 30 seconds each of kettlebell swings, pushups, kettlebell high pulls (elbows out, lift up to chin), plank (elbows and toes); 2 rounds

This was a great workout. I was sweating, but I didn't feel like I was going to die. The last round of the circuit made me feel like I got my ass kicked a little bit, but that's a good thing. And I like that it's something I could totally do on my own, if I felt like it.

The Elements class is continuing to be a great experience for a beginner - I am learning to love me some CrossFit.

May 21, 2008

Repost: Not in as much pain as I thought I would be

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

So, I went to the CrossFit Philly gym last night, but I didn't actually do a "real" CrossFit workout. The gym has something they call the "elements class". You still do a circuit-style workout with CrossFit exercises, but you can go at your own pace, and there's a big focus on form and executing the movements properly, rather than speed or load. Also the class sessions incorporate learning new moves, so that after a month or so, you're fully prepared to jump right into "real" Crossfit.

I think it's a great system. And honestly, it probably does a lot to help "convert" people to the method. I was so intimidated by all of the information online about CrossFit. But the idea of starting small and learning and building up to that seems much more feasible to me. I'm more motivated to try now, because it doesn't sound so impossible.

My workout yesterday was just to get a baseline, and see "how I move", according to the instructor. First she had me do 20 body weight squats. She wanted me to get pretty low, so I was a bit off balance until my muscles "remembered" how to do deep squats. Then she wanted to see me do pushups - we started with 15.

At that moment I was SOOOOOO glad that I had put the time in about two years ago to focus on doing "regular" boy pushups. It was always embarrassing to me that I couldn't do pushups, and then when I started dating Husbeetle, it became more important to me to overcome that challenge. So I incorporated them into my post-run stretching, and eventually I was doing them with my feet up on my front step! I never did get up to 30 in a row, but I did get over 25.

Anyway, I did 15 "real" pushups (which was pretty much my max for one set, I was pretty wobbly on the last 2) and that was good. Then the instructor had me do a reverse pushup - I think it had a real name but I can't remember it... She lowered a pair or rings to about armpit height, and I grabbed them and leaned back, balancing on my heels, with my body totally straight and my arms straight out. Then I pulled myself upward in a pushup motion. Did that one 10 times, which was another max.

She asked me how those 3 movements felt, I said good, and so she set me off to do 4 more sets of 20 bodyweight squats, 10 pushups and 10 reverse pushups. I had to put my knees down on the third set for pushups, and only made it to 8 on the fifth set. And I don't even know if all 8 were really that good.

It was good!

After that she taught me the basics of swinging a kettlebell. I've read about kettlebells and seen some videos of them being used, but never tried it. I liked it! It was cool that it wasn't an arm exercise at all. It was all about the legs and trunk, and translating their power into moving the weight. Very cool. I only did a few of those, but I did graduate to a heavier one before we quit, so I think I was doing well. :-D

We finished up with planks. There were 2 other people there for the elements class, and they had started at the beginning of the month, so they were doing a modified version of the "real" workout of the day (WOD). They finished up as I finished with kettlebell stuff, so all 3 of us did planks together. It felt awesome. I was totally quivering because my muscles were so f-ed up from all the other exercises. It rocked. But I didn't put my knees down at all, maybe just let my butt stick up a tiny bit near the end of the second one. :-p

I called my sister on the way home, and could barely hold my phone up to my ear because my shoulder muscles were taking a break from being able to contract. Good workout!

Because I'm insane, after I got home I was inspired to do some gardening since it had been raining the last 2 days. So I got out the shovel and moved around some small bushes in preparation for putting in some new annuals that I bought.

I talked to my sister because she's stopping by my house on her way home from a trip up north. Visitors motivate me to make my house pretty, so after coming inside from playing in the dirt, I washed 2 weeks worth of dishes and did a few loads of laundry.

I think that last bit explains why my right arm is a *lot* more painful today than my left arm. But it's not the worst I've felt after my first day of a workout. My legs feel fine, I will need to incorporate some running or something after the Crossfit stuff if they don't work the legs more. Three words for you - September beach vacation. Gotta look good from behind as I go running down the beach. :-p

This morning I must've been feeling *really* motivated by that workout, because I weighed myself for the first time in about a year. 145.4. Pretty much what I thought. I'm going to use SparkPeople to track my weight, but not calorie stuff, which I've used it for in the past.

I felt so good this morning... I wish I could feel that way every day. I'm going to try my best to make that happen.

May 20, 2008

Repost: The beginning of the first try

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

I am going to take the dog around the block so she can poop (TMI!!!) and then - dun dun duuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnn - I'm going to CROSSFIT.

I feel like I'm gonna throw up. Just like I did everyday before track practice when I was in high school. When you're really good at lots of stuff naturally, the things that come only with hard work tend to be very frustrating and intimidating. It's a weird catch 22, I think. Your self confidence goes too high, or something.

Random aside. I read an article about raising your kids by praising their effort, not their ability, and how that led to your kid being more self-confident and successful, because they believed in their ability to learn and improve, and didn't think that there was some inherent reason why they could or couldn't do something. I should try to Google around and find a link to that...

So yeah, Crossfit...

This is the article.

May 17, 2008

Repost: Thinking about starting

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

So, I emailed the Crossfit Philly peeps to learn about their "Elements Class", and see if it's a beginning of the month start only, or if you can come in at any time.

Since leaving organized sports in high school, I've been mostly off-and-on with working out... And even though I've had a membership to a gym almost constantly for the 5 years since I left college, I hate working out in the gym, and hardly ever go.

My only committed period, where I was on a good schedule, and got great results, was founded in doing videos at home and running. Very solitary and private.

The idea of going somewhere to work out with a group kind of scares me.

I'm also convinced that I'll get all started up and planned for doing this, and then just never go. And waste the money anyway.

Can't you just do CrossFit kind of stuff at home, in private? I have been Googling to try to find something, but all of these messages board and blog posts just sound like Greek to me. There's nowhere that someone says, "Hey, this is how I got started." Or what to do when the WOD says 100 pullups, and you can't do one?? I guess part of me just doesn't get how this whole thing will work. I hate attempting anything I can't do. And I hate trying to do something I can't in front of other people...

For now I gotta get my ass off the computer and go do something. It's Saturday at noon and by Sunday night I want to feel like I accomplished something with my weekend...

May 15, 2008

Repost: First thoughts on CrossFit

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

I've been thinking about how I really want to be able to do pullups, and just have the motivation to exercise again. Those thoughts are always floating around, but reading Vypergirl and Wheninrome have inspired me a little more than usual. And ironically, they both do CrossFit. I've read about that before, and considered trying it...

I think maybe it's time to take the plunge. I need something new. And I think it would definitely be something that Husbeetle and I could do together. The way the workout scales based on your ability is perfect for us. Because he is obviously in way better shape than me.

But he is not that kind of guy. Not for one second would he ever think to tell me that I need to be in better shape because he is in such good shape. He gives the most inspiring pep talks I have ever heard. And they never feel critical. Even if the root of the pep talk is "you need to get out and exercise", it never feels that way when you hear it. It just sounds like "you are so awesome and I love you and exercising is fun and don't you want to do some because it would make you feel better?".

Maybe he just hypnotizes me with his 8-pack abs? I don't know. :-p