Category: CrossFit

Sandy Hook Elementary School Victim Relief Fundraiser

This morning I had the privilege of participating in the Sandy Hook Elementary School Victim Relief Fundraiser put on by CrossFit RedZone in Newtown, CT.  We are all aware of the horrific tragedy that took place a few weeks ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but if you are not from the Tri-State area you may not know the incredible outpouring of support that is taking place for this community.  Today’s event was just one of the many events and fundraisers taking place in CT to support the victims and families.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…the CrossFit community is AMAZING!  Not only are they insanely supportive when you’re trying to get through a tough WOD, but when someone is in need, the entire community comes together.  Over 1,000 people came out today for this event and it was amazing.

The workout was a 10 minute amrap (as many rounds as possible) of 10 thrusters, 6 burpees and 10 kettlebell swings.  Partners could be same sex or coed and there were Rx (prescribed) and scaled divisions.  The Rx was 95# men/ 65# women for thrusters and 53# men/ 35# women for kettlebell.  The scaled was 75# men/ 45# women for thrusters and 35# men/ 26# women for kettlebell.  Burpees were the same for both divisions.  Only one partner could be moving at a time and couldn’t advance to the next movement until both partners have completed the movement.  Sounds easy right?  Um…no.

I arrived around 9:00 am to watch my fried Jenn from Eat, Sleep, Run, Disney compete in the first heat.  Isn’t it awesome when Disney and CrossFit cross paths?!?  She killed it in the Rx division finishing 3 full rounds + 36 reps.

Nice KB swing girl!

Nice KB swing girl!

Jenn kicking ass on the 65# thrusters!

Jenn kicking ass on the 65# thrusters!

My partner had to back out due to a family commitment, so I was paired with someone from another gym.  Unfortunately, it was in the last heat at 3:10 pm.  Luckily, this morning I checked the Facebook page of the event as saw that someone else was looking for a partner for the 11:30 am slot and we were able to meet up and work that out.  Best part was that he was from my gym!  Eric was an awesome partner and incredibly encouraging when I was struggling.  He was originally in the Rx division, but dropped down to scaled for me.  I just don’t have the upper body strength for 65# thrusters yet!  Here we go…

Getting our game plan ready :)

Getting our game plan ready 🙂

Yeah KB swings!

Yeah KB swings!

Burpees...booooooo

Burpees…booooooo

Eric killing the thrusters

Eric killing the thrusters

Eric pushing me through my last few thrusters...best :)

Eric pushing me through my last few thrusters…best 🙂

 

And we're done...

And we’re done…

We finished 4 complete rounds + 5 thrusters from me.  It’s was insanely hard, but insanely awesome!  Jenn was awesome to stick around and take these photos for me.  This was my first “competition” and I’m so glad to have it documented…even if I look miserable 🙂

This was an amazing event and I’m so happy I could be a part of it.  If you are interested in donating to support the Sandy Hook PTSA you can still do so here.  TOGETHER WE STAND, UNITED WE WOD!

Power Cleans, Thrusters & Snatches…Oh My!

That title sounds dirty, doesn’t it?!?  It’s hard to believe that only 4 short months ago I was contemplating trying CrossFit.  The thought of even touching a barbell, let alone lifting one over my head terrified me.  This might as well have been me…

But it’s quite amazing where some dedication and hard work can get you.  I’m doing things I never thought I could do and it has also helped with everyday activities.  I look forward to seeing the WOD (workout of the day) everyday and what new challenge lies ahead.  Well, that is unless it contains burpees…I still HATE burpees!

A Ridiculous WOD

My Box…CFM!

So here’s the low down of my CrossFit experience so far:

The Good

  • My PRs so far.  Who am I????
    • Back Squat – 80#
    • Close Grip Bench Press – 68#
    • Dead Lift – 143#
    • Front Squat (1 1/4) – 93#
    • Hang Clean – 83#
    • Hang Power Snatch – 53#
    • Overhead Squat – 53#
    • Power Clean – 93#
    • Romanian Dead Lift – 88#
    • Shoulder Press – 58#
    • Single Leg Squat (rear foot elevated) – 58#
    • Thruster – 73#
  • Having muscle.  The fact that I can now change the bottle on the water cooler with ease is pretty awesome.

Look at those baby guns! 😉

  • Seeing my body get tighter.  I’m actually not losing weight because I’m gaining muscle, but I can see major changes.  For someone who never had even the slightest definition in her arms…this is major.
  • How I feel, which is AMAZING.  I have so much more energy and confidence since I started CrossFit.  I feel like I can conquer the world after a good WOD.  Who know’s maybe I will…
  • My calluses.  This is a strange one, but I love them!  It reminds of my hard work every day.

Maybe it’s time to invest in some lotion…

  • New friends.  One thing you’ll always hear about CrossFit is the community and family that is formed in the box, and it’s so true!  Everyone is so welcoming and encouraging and the coaches are amazing.  I was also lucky enough to start when some other great people were starting and we’ve formed a really fun friendship over the past few months!

The Not So Good

  • My mental blocks.  For some reason (especially when doing cleans), I psych myself out on the heavier weights.  My coaches have told me that I’m more than capable of cleaning more weight than I have been by looking at my form, but I just stop halfway through the movement and don’t get under the barbell.  I’m not sure if it’s a fear of injury or just a little voice inside my head saying “this is crazy!”.  Whatever it is, it’s frustrating and I need to get over it.
  • The pull up.  Ooooohhhhh the dreaded pull up.  I can’t even do a band assisted pull up at this point, which is frustrating considering I can lift 73# over my head when doing a thruster.  I’ve been working with the gravitron to build my muscle and I started doing the #plankaday challenge to build my core.  But I still have a long way to go.  I think some weight loss is also going to be order to get this done…blech.

My BFF, Mr. Gravitron

  • The possibility of injury.  This is always in the back of my mind since I hurt my neck in the 2nd week of on ramp.  I know I’m much stronger now and know how to do the moves properly, but that’s always in the back of my mind especially when going for PRs.
  • The cost.  It’s no secret that CrossFit is very expensive.  No, I’m not thrilled with the cost, but for me it’s worth it.  I could never do this on my own and the results I’m seeing justify the cost for me.

That about sums it up so far.  Right now, I can only fit 3 classes a week into my schedule.  I’m hoping that after the new year and the WDW Marathon (if I survive) I will be be able to got 4 – 5 times per week.  I’m determined to get in the best shape I can and who knows…maybe I’ll even compete next year!

Have you tried CrossFit?  

Helen

Yesterday I met Helen…and she was a bitch.

Helen is a CrossFit benchmark WOD (workout of the day).  The benchmarks consist of “The Girls” and “The Heroes” which are named after fallen soldiers who were fellow CrossFitters.  These WODs are meant to be done a few times a year to see how your fitness has improved over time.  This was my first benchmark WOD and it was TOUGH.

Helen consists of 3 rounds for time of:

  • 400 meter run
  • 21 kettle bell swings (55#/35#)
  • 12 pull ups

Helen

Now I didn’t do this as RXed (prescribed) because 1. 35# kettle bell swings are how a hurt my neck a few months ago and I don’t feel I’m ready for that yet, and 2. I can’t do a pull up.  So I modified the WOD to a 20# kettle bell and jumping pull ups.  Jumping pull ups are where you stand on a box and jump to assist in doing a pull up.  Don’t be fooled, these are still difficult.

Jumping Pull Ups

My first 400 m run was at a little over an 8 min/mile pace.  That is SUPER fast for me.  Yes it’s only a quarter of a mile, but for someone who’s pace averages around 12:20, that’s fast.  My runs got slower each time, but I don’t think it got over 9 min/mile pace…still crazy.  It’s amazing how having a group of people around you will help to push you harder.  The kb swings and pull ups were fine, but definitely more difficult after the runs.

There were a few other factors that made the runs difficult.  It’s getting dark in the Northeast around 4:45 pm these days, so it was pitch black for my 5:30 class.  I was unsure of my footing and actually stopped to find the curb a few times.  A friend of mine actually fell and scrapped her arm pretty bad!  It was also 40 degrees out, so my lungs were burning at the end!   I finished with a time of 11:42, which I’m actually really happy with considering this was my first time and all of the other factors.  I also wasn’t the last to finish, which is always a bonus 🙂

My goal for the next time we do Helen is to do the RX kettle bell weight and band assisted pull ups.  I know it will be a long time until I get to the point where I can do an actual pull up, so I’ll be working my way up.  I’d also like to come in sub-11 minutes.  Can I do it????

Check out this crazy video of a guy finishing Helen in sub-7 minutes…so inspiring!

Have you completed Helen?  What’s your favorite benchmark WOD?

I Survived Day One of CrossFit!

Yesterday was the first day of my 4 week/ 12 class On Ramp to CrossFit and I made it through!  I actually think I did quite well.  I’d taken 2 intro classes, so I knew what to expect but I was still nervous going in.  When I arrived, the gym was PACKED!  The 4:30 class was finishing up and there was a huge group waiting for the regular 5:30 class.  The music was loud and the energy was high.  Seeing all of these incredibly fit people was very motivating and I knew I made the right decision by signing up for this.

We were introduced to our coaches and then headed outside for a warm-up.  We walked out past the group class that was already outside and I felt like we were the class of new freshman coming into school and being paraded past the upperclassmen.  We’re out of shape and eager to get fit…bring it!  We then proceeded to do a group of embarrassing exercises like skipping, high knees and butt kicks.  Why yes, I do like to look ridiculous on my first day, thank you very much!

YEAH!

After all of that ridiculousness, we moved back inside to learn proper form.  This is very important to all of the movements that you do in CrossFit and it’s actually quite difficult to master.  Butt tight, abs in and shoulders down all at the same time.  You really have to concentrate to keep that position.  This is the core to all basic moves like squats, presses and push-ups, all of which we did a few practice rounds of.  We also did two 30 second planks while learning proper form for push-ups.  I am NOT a fan of planks…it always really hurts the heals of my hands!

The Dreaded Plank!

Now that we were all warmed up and prepped for our workout, we were given our marching orders.  We were to do this workout for time.  The goal is to see how fast you can complete it while keeping the proper form.  Then during the final class, we will do the same workout again to see how much we’ve improved.  Our coach said most people shave about 3 minutes off of their time.  So here’s the workout:

  • 200 meter run
  • 15/12/9 repetitions of air squats, push-ups and AbMat sit-ups
  • 200 meter run
I completed the circuit in 10:45.  I was happy with my time and best of all, I didn’t finish last 🙂  The hardest thing for me are the push-ups.  I have NO upper body strength…zero, zip, zilch, NONE!  I could only squeeze out 2 real push-ups before I had to switch to the girlie ones and I was still struggling.  Not so fun.

Air Squat

A Proper Push-Up…not mine

AbMat Sit-Ups

If you’re wondering what an AbMat is, it is a cushion that goes under your back while doing a sit-up.  It is shaped to contour to your back and help you keep the proper position and give you a full range of motion while doing sit-ups.  I’ve always had pain in my lower back when doing sit-up, and this alleviates all that pain… genius!

I’m a little sore today, but not too bad.  I can’t wait to see what we’ll learn tomorrow!  I’m hoping to really improve in the next month and drop a few pounds along the way.  My goal is to do this circuit in under 9 minutes…can I do it??

 

To Crossfit or Not to Crossfit…That is the Question

CrossFit seems to be everywhere these days.  I’m seeing training centers popping up all over and the CrossFit Games seem to be on high rotation on ESPN.  Is it a sign?  Should I give this crazy sport a try?

So what is CrossFit?  It’s a crazy, intense full body workout.  Oh, that doesn’t describe it well enough?  My bad…the word crazy is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of this sport.  Here is some official information from the CrossFit website to give you a better idea: “The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.”

In layman’s terms, it’s a strength and conditioning program that is guaranteed to kick your butt and get you into shape.  For beginners, the program starts with On Ramp Classes, which are designed to ease you into the program and safely teach you all of the movements that are used in the program.  Things like…

Burpees:

Box Jumps:

Seriously?!

and Clean & Jerks:

All of these make me want to hide my head under a pillow and never come out!  But if you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know that I have a serious issue with strength training, and what better way to commit myself than a 4 week (3 times per week) On Ramp program?!

The facility in my area offers free introductory classes on Saturdays and I have convinced myself to go this week.  I called and spoke to the owner, who reassured me that for the newbies (that’s me), they only give us the minimum weight to start with to ease us into the program.  This makes me feel a little better that I won’t die before the hour class is over.  I also spoke to my friend Jenn from Eat. Sleep. Run. Disney. who has been doing CrossFit for a while now, and she said the same thing about newbies being eased into the classes.  Phew!

Me #Fail

I am super excited to try this new exercise experience, but I am also terrified.  I have NO upper body strength.  No, that might be an understatement…I think I actually have negative upper body strength.  I grew up partaking in sports that required a lot of lower body strength.  Horseback riding, field hockey, etc…  My legs are like tree trunks, but my arms are like wet noodles.  I dream of having defined arm muscles and sexy shoulders, and I’m hoping CrossFit will be the answer.

I also want to increase my overall strength, stamina and endurance for the WDW Marathon in January.  I know that the stronger I get my body, the easier this marathon will be and the less likely I will be to sustain an injury during training.  Plus, the hopeful weight loss that will come with it is a big bonus.  I’m not doing well on the Lose a Marathon Challenge on my own, so hopefully the support at CrossFit will push me over the edge.

So what do you think?  Am I crazy?  Am I on the right track to achieving my fitness goals?  Either way, I’m going to try this introductory class and I’ll report back in my Weekly Review on Sunday…stay tuned!

Do you do CrossFit?  Any tips for a newbie?

 

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