Tag Archives: health

My First Crossfit Competition

20 Aug

Good morning!

I have seriously been slacking on the blogging front. With us moving into the new house, vacation and a wedding coming up I’ve been a busy little bee. However, I just had to fire up the old blog to tell you about my first Crossfit competition!

Despite being new to Crossfit, when my box announced that it would host the national “No Baby, Leave the Socks On” competition, I knew I had to try it out. “No Baby, Leave the Socks On!” is a Crossfit competition designed especially for women. From the website:

First we wanted to change the perception of what ladies fitness looks like and help foster a more positive self-image. One where athleticism and capability trumped body weight and promoted the idea that “Strong is the new skinny”.

Second, we wanted it to be a ton of fun!

As I mentioned in my last post, doing Crossfit has turned my focus from what my body looks like to what my body can do. I knew this competition would focus on what us ladies could do in the gym. Did it ever!

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I woke up Saturday morning and put on my specially-purchased socks (Yay, Burpees!), my new shoes (New Balance Minimus purchased from the outlet store) and headed to the box. I met up with these two awesome ladies, who are also relatively new to Crossfit and very close friends of mine:

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They both also did the scaled competition, and I was SO glad to have them there. We had such a blast. Just for the record, Shannon’s  (on the left) socks said, “Heavy Metal” and Sarah’s said “Bacon” — adorable, right? The atmosphere at the competition was pretty awesome. There were lots of ladies there from various local affiliate boxes, and there were vendors selling various paleo snacks. The energy was high! My adrenaline was pumping like when I’m doing a running race, however, there was a lot more waiting around. The women who were doing the Rx version were first, going in heats.

The first WOD was a Thruster/Box Jump Ladder. Basically, a thruster is a lift where the barbell is in front squat position, and you go from a squat to taking the bar over your head. The Rx version of this workout called for a 65# weight and a full box jump on a 20″ box and the way a ladder works is that you start with 2 reps of each, then go to 4, then 6, and so on. It was pretty inspiring watching the first heat:

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These women were all ages, shapes and sizes and they were busting out the reps. It definitely made me even more pumped (and nervous!) to get to my heat. I was in the second heat of the scaled competition, so I was pretty lucky to have Sarah and Shannon there to cheer me on. The way it worked, once you started your first WOD, you had about 12 minutes to rest before you moved on to the second and third, so there wasn’t much time to go cheer others on while you were competing.

The first WOD went well. The scaled version called for a 45# bar on the thrusters and step ups onto the 20″ box rather than jumps. Coach Jeremy (he is the owner of  my Crossfit box) said that we should jump if we could, because the goal is to do your own personal best, not outdo everyone else in the scaled portion, so I started the ladder with the jumps but after I got to 6 or 8 reps I switched to step ups. I got a little tripped up because on the 4 rep circuit, I did 5 box jumps. Luckily, the girl who was judging me quickly corrected me and when I went to do more box jumps she made me do one less. At one point, Shannon yelled to me that I was stepping up on the same leg every time, and I should alternate so as not to wear myself out. She was right, so I started concentrating on trying to alternate. I ended up getting through the 12 reps and 14 thrusters + 6 step ups, for a total of 104 reps. I feel like I could have done a little better here, but I was pretty nervous.

I hit my stride on the second WOD:

10 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible):

10 jumping pull ups (the Rx version did full unassisted pull ups)
20 burpees
30 x 3 single unders (the Rx version did 30 double unders)
40 wall balls (10# ball, Rx did 14#)
50 kettlebell swings (26# scaled, 35# Rx)

followed by max effort clean and jerk.

When I had been watching the Rx ladies do this WOD, there was one judge who I definitely had my eye on. A quick note about Crossfit competition judges, each athlete has one and while they are there to make sure you are doing the movements as prescribed, they are also your own personal cheerleader, which is awesome. I can’t even remember her name (ETA: Her name was Shirley, and she’s a coach at Crossfit Yeti, you can find her profile here), but I noticed how great she was at motivating the athletes she was judging, so I made it my goal to try to get her when I got to WOD 2. Luckily, I was able to get over to her quickly when we lined up. This workout was hard. Sarah, Shannon and another girl from our Crossfit box had practiced this WOD a couple weeks ago, so we knew what to expect (I had gotten 11 clean and jerks when we did the practice run through), but it was even harder this time. I definitely attribute my good performance on this WOD to my judge. She pushed me in the best way, and even when I wanted so badly to put the kettlebell down during the swings, I didn’t because I didn’t want to let her down. I ended up doing 13 clean and jerks! My goal was to do one more than the first time I did it, so I exceeded my expectations. 🙂

Sarah busts out her clean and jerks in WOD 2. Sorry for the  blurry picture, she was moving so fast it was hard to get a good one!

Sarah busts out her clean and jerks in WOD 2. Sorry for the blurry picture, she was moving so fast it was hard to get a good one!

Finally, it was time for WOD 3: The deadlift ladder! The way this one worked is that there were 15 bars set up from 65# – 205# (135#-275#(!) for Rx). You had one minute to do one or more lifts at each bar. Your score was the highest weight you lifted and the amount of reps you did, so if you lifted 195 10 times, your score was 195.10, and if you lifted 105 20 times, your score was 105.20. I had never deadlifted more than 165#, so my plan was just to lift what I could! I ended up pretty easily lifting each bar, and when I got to 195#, I lifted it like 3 times. I just didn’t want to get to 205 and not be able to lift the bar at all! However, my fears were unfounded because I was able to lift 205# 4 times for a score of 205.04!

Photo courtesy of the Crossfit Thunder Facebook Page. This girl did Rx (that is 275#), and I know she lifted it quite a few times. Girls rule.

Photo courtesy of the Crossfit Thunder Facebook Page. This girl did Rx (that is 275#), and I know she lifted it quite a few times. Girls rule.

Click here for a video Zach posted on Instagram of my deadlift ladder.

So, my final assessment? Crossfit competitions are fun! I dare say they are more fun than a race. As my friend Sarah said, it’s definitely more physically demanding than a half marathon (she said not more so than a marathon, but I wouldn’t know for sure). For the next day or two after the competition, I was physically spent — I couldn’t get enough food, water, or sleep — so I definitely took a couple days off of Crossfit. I could tell my body needed time to repair, and I didn’t want to overdo it. But it is definitely something I want to do again!

Question of the Day:
Have you ever participated in a competitive sport? 

How Crossfit has Transformed my Body Image

6 Aug

Happy Tuesday!

I hate to be anxious for time to pass more quickly — life is short, people — but, I’m very anxious for the next few weeks to fly by because we have some exciting events coming up! Not only is our wedding in just a month and 22 days, but we move into our new home in just 10 days, and we leave for our annual friends beach trip in just 19 days! What a month August will be for us 🙂

I haven’t really been blogging here lately, mainly because as I mentioned last time I posted, I’m thinking of changing up the format of this blog a tiny bit. However, today I am going to talk a bit about fitness!

Since I’ve joined Crossfit Thunder in July, I’ve noticed some pretty amazing changes in the way I look at food, my weight and my body in general, and I wanted to share that with you today. Prior to joining the Box, I said I would never:

– Join a Crossfit box (I did)
– Eat Paleo (I’ve been trying to keep paleo a bit lately)
– Stop weighing myself daily (I weighed myself this morning for the first time in weeks)

Obviously, I’m eating my own words!

1. Food

Before I started Crossfit, I was constantly eating and/or thinking about food. I was obsessed with it. It really started to weigh on me because I knew I was eating too much, but I was obsessed with getting my next meal. I think I definitely overestimated my caloric needs based on my activity level.

This is a paleo (ish) breakfast spaghetti that I invented yesteday. It was so good! Zucchini "noodles", peppers, onions and ground breakfast sausage topped with spaghetti sauce. Yum!

This is a paleo (ish) breakfast spaghetti that I invented yesteday. It was so good! Zucchini “noodles”, peppers, onions and ground breakfast sausage topped with spaghetti sauce. Yum!

Since I’ve been Crossfitting, I haven’t been nearly as obsessed with food. I’m not really sure why that is, other than I have noticed that I’ve managed to start looking at food for what it is: fuel. I no longer feel the need to snack between each meal – I’ll still have a snack in the pm sometimes, but not nearly as often as I used to. I honestly don’t know if this is due to Crossfit, but it happened right when I started going, so I feel like the connection is valid. I can’t express how exciting it is to me to be able to let go of my food obsession!

2. Weight

I have always been a compulsive scale watcher. Well, always meaning since I’ve lost the majority of my weight. Prior to losing the 70 lbs, I was a compulsive scale avoider! But since I’ve started Crossfit, I’ve completely lost interest in the scale. My goals have changed, and I’m more interested in improving these:

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…than seeing movement on the scale. In fact, I weighed myself this morning and realized that I’m 3 lbs heavier than when I started Crossfit! This realization may have brought me to tears before, but now I’m just assuming that I’ve been building muscle. I know I’m eating well and working out regularly, and that’s all that matters. It helps that I’m wearing a size 6 now, when previously I was in an 8-10!

3. Fitness Goals

One thing that has definitely changed is my fitness goals. Even when I first joined the Box, I was determined to get those miles in running and always, always tracked every mile with my phone. I would never take walking breaks, and I was obsessed with my pace.

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Now, 90% of my runs are with Frank, sans phone or tracking device of any kind, and I let him stop to check out the squirrels whenever he feels like it. My goals are to get stronger and faster, but I realize from doing Crossfit that I don’t have to log a million miles and constantly work out to do that.

4. My Attitude

Exercise has been my hobby for some time now. I’ve always enjoyed it very much, but now, it’s more fun than ever.

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I love looking at the WOD for the next day and saying, “That looks awful! I can’t WAIT to try it!!” It’s so fun trying to out do yourself every week (and I’ll reiterate that I’ve never felt as if I was competing with anyone except myself). Plus, nobody takes themselves too seriously at CFT — you’ll just as often see one of the newbies giving tips to a veteran than the other way around. It just makes sense — you can’t see yourself doing the moves!

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…but just as often as people are being silly, they are being serious. We’re doing Olympic lifts, and it’s easy to get hurt if you’re doing something wrong, so it’s not all fun and games.

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But it’s all about being “Stronger than Yesterday” — not stronger than your neighbor — and having a blast while you do it.

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Question of the Day:

Do you think of exercise as fun, or just a necessity? 

The Graduate

28 Jun

Well, it’s almost that time. I’m almost a full-fledged Crossfit member!

onramp

 

I’d like to do a full review of the On Ramp class, because I really think that people need to know what it’s like. I feel like there are two camps of people: One group who see “Crossfit” and think they aren’t ‘fit enough’ to do it, and another group who thinks the On Ramp class won’t be a good enough workout. Prior to signing up for the On Ramp classes, I wasn’t brand new to Crossfit, and there were several people in my class who were pretty new to working out in general. I feel like we all benefited from the On Ramp month equally, and that really was amazing to me.

Although I wanted to take the On Ramp class, I’ll admit that I was a tiny bit worried that I would be bored, or I wouldn’t get a great workout. I was definitely wrong on all fronts. The instruction on form was unparalleled in the class. I think the form on my Olympic lifts has improved about a million percent or something from going to the classes. The coaches are so focused on your form, and there was never a moment where they didn’t work with someone until they got it right. Coach Zack and Coach Katie were so good at explaining the form, and there was never a disconnect — even when we had Coach Jeremy or Coach Brad, they explained the form the exact same way, so you know that they are well trained. Their main goal is for you to do the lifts the right way and prevent injury. I have a very bad habit of using my lower back too much on my deadlifts, and every time I did that in class, the coaches were right there to correct it. Very, very helpful.

As for those who think they aren’t fit enough to do Crossfit, my favorite quote that one of the coaches said during On Ramp was, “You get in Crossfit shape by doing Crossfit.” — enough said.

If you’re thinking about doing Crossfit, and you think it’s something you would enjoy, I can’t recommend this On Ramp class enough. I don’t care what fitness level you are, you will never feel uncomfortable or new. The coaches and members are super friendly, and it never felt ‘clique-ish’ which is one thing I was worried about. If you do decide to try the On Ramp class (the next one starts Monday, July 8th), please mention that I sent you! The first week is free, and I’ll get a free t-shirt if I recommend someone! 🙂

At yesterday’s class, Coach Jeremy gave us the go ahead to attend a ‘real’ WOD this morning, so I jumped at the chance — Benchmark Friday!

Today’s WOD was Nancy:

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…and like a big kid Crossfitter, I got a photo on the Facebook page:

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It’s pretty fun seeing myself doing something like that! I used 35 lbs total — not even close to Rx, but I’m ok with it. Overhead Squats are no joke. I felt very shaky the whole time with the 35 lbs, but I was able to do the 15 unbroken each round, so I think I picked an appropriate weight. I finished the WOD in 17:21, which is about 3.5 minutes per round. Not bad — definite room for improvement, but a solid attempt at a first Nancy.

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One thing I love about Crossfit is, even though everyone puts their times on the board at every WOD, it never feels like you’re competing with anyone but yourself. Trying to out-do that last time or setting yourself up for something you know that will challenge you is the main goal, and there is never any question. I never worry about being the slowest one, or using the lightest weight — I just focus on proper form and working as hard as I can. I totally get it now, I get why people are so Crossfit-obsessed!

Ok, while I was re-reading this post to edit it, I realize I sound like a Crossfit cheerleader, but I want to assure you that I’m not being paid to do this or anything. I really just enjoy the program that much!! ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I know I haven’t posted in a while, so I just wanted to mention that I ran in the WV 5k Championship this past Saturday and share one of the official photos from the race:

Photo courtesy of Mark Webb Photography (I was given permission to share this photo)

Photo courtesy of Mark Webb Photography (I was given permission to share this photo)

I was so disappointed in my official race photos last year, but this one more than makes up for it. Love it! More importantly, despite the heat and humidity that day, I was able to eek out a PR of 27:13! That’s a 33 second PR, if you’re counting (and I am!)

Unfortunately since the race, I haven’t logged much mileage. I’m about to eat my words and cancel my gym membership to focus on Crossfit, so I’m not going to have access to a treadmill for a while in this heat and humidity, so it all depends on how often I’m able to get out there.

Question of the Day:
Would you ever give up your gym membership? 

On Ramp Class #3 and Benchmark Friday

14 Jun

I promise this isn’t going to turn into a Crossfit blog! I’ll still be posting about running, healthy eating and locally interesting fitness and food related items. But I think while I’m participating in the On Ramp classes, I’ll post about twice a week about how it’s going.

Zach and I are going out of town this weekend to visit my family. It’s time to finalize the wedding budget, and get some quality family time in. I’m super excited!

Since I’m going to miss Saturday’s On Ramp class at Crossfit Thunder, I was able to join in on a full fledged WOD this morning. But first, let me tell you about the third On Ramp class.

onramp

The first thing we learned was some shoulder mobility work using lacrosse balls and PVC pipe. Let me tell you about the giant knots in my shoulders. That lacrosse ball hurt, and I know it’s going to take some time to get those knots worked out. Ouch.

After mobility, we learned the three shoulder to overhead presses:

– Press (or military press)
– Push press
– Push jerk

Then we worked on those a bit to get a 3 rep max (basically, you do three of one skill, adding weight between sets until you can get three anymore) — this ended up a bit rushed because we needed to get into our actual WOD, so I think I may try to work on this at the gym a bit if I get the chance.

The WOD was 2 rounds of tabata (20 seconds work/10 seconds rest for 8 rounds) — first with squats and next with push ups. Your score was your worst round. See what I mean about rossfit being like play time? SO fun. I got 12 squats and 7 push ups. It turns out that on squats, my first round ended up being my worst round — weird, huh? I did 12, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 14! Push ups were a different story — I went downhill almost the whole time. I think I hit 7 on my 5th or 6th round and I vowed not to get a lower score than 7, so I was pushing pretty hard by the last round. This WOD could easily be done at home with a Gymboss interval timer or just a free tabata timer app on your phone (or just looking at a clock!). If you do it, post your score in the comments! It only takes 8 minutes 🙂

So the next On Ramp class is Saturday morning, and since I’ll be out of town, I arranged to do a make WOD this morning at 5:45. I almost skipped it — I didn’t get much sleep last night and I wasn’t feeling getting out of bed — but I told myself that I would hate myself if I didn’t go do it, and I’m so glad I forced myself!

As it turns out, Friday at Crossfit Thunder is Benchmark Friday! I love doing benchmark workouts, because it’s fun to see your score get better as time passes. Today’s workout was Cindy, which was I relieved to see because it included only skills I’m familiar with:

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I was pretty nervous about working out with the ‘real’ athletes. You see, when I started this On Ramp class, I wasn’t sure I needed it to be honest. I’m pretty athletic and I’ve even participated in Crossfit-style workouts before, so I thought I might be bored — not so! The On Ramp class is totally worth it. I’ve learned so much in just three workouts, and stepping into the  box today with athletic people who have been doing this for a while was intimidating!

After a quick warm up, we set up our stations. Another advantage to joining a real Crossfit box (the advantages are stacking up!) is that they have more than enough equipment to go around. At the Y Crossfit-style classes, we had to share a bar and wait for room on the pull up bar a lot of times, so it’s nice to have a station all to yourself. I was worried about pooping out on the pull ups, so I grabbed the thickest and next thickest band available. We were able to do one slow round of Cindy to see what band we needed/if we wanted to modify the push ups. I decided to use the thickest band to start and do the push ups on my knees. Coach Drew made it clear that it was more important to keep the standard of the skill rather than try to do it without a modification.

Once we started, I knew it wasn’t the pull ups I had to worry about. I was able to get those pretty well with the band. The push ups were going to be the problem here, and it turns out I was right. I decided early on to take my time on the push ups and make up time on the squats (my strongest skill). I also ended up adding a band around round 6 or 7, as it became harder to get my chin above the bar. I remembered Coach Drew’s advice: I want to improve, not protect my pride!

I ended up with a decent score:

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…and the confidence that I can (sort of) hang with the real athletes at the box!

I will tell you, as I mentioned in my previous post about the On Ramp class, I’m not sure I can afford to become a full-fledged member of Crossfit Thunder, but after one week there, I can tell you that I’m much closer to trying to make it work. I’m having a lot of fun, and seeing a huge improvement in my strength and form already. 🙂

Staying Healthy when your Routine is Disrupted

5 Jun

Sure, it’s easy to stay healthy when you get into a routine, but what do you do when your routine is disrupted?

Today I’m at a work meeting about an hour away from home and I’m finding a brief moment to blog about how I keep a healthy routine.

We broke for lunch and I had an hour and a half. I noticed that there was nothing but fast food nearby, and a shopping center. I decided to take a nice long hike to the other end of the shopping center to hit up the grocery store.

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I was able to not only get in about a 20 minute walk, but also get a pretty healthy lunch of seaweed salad, a pre-peeled hard boiled egg (delicious together, by the way), a peach and (not pictured) a Lara bar. I had to get the frozen yogurt so I could use their table to eat 😉 – but I only used fruit toppings!!

I got all of that food for about $10, about the same as fast food and I was able to save back one egg and half the Lara bar for a snack later. I even had time to hit up a local discount store, where I scored a new workout outfit that will inspire me to hit the gym when I get home this evening!

Question of the Day:
How do you stay healthy when your routine is disrupted?

I’m Running a Trail Race…In Two Days!!

23 May

Well, good afternoon! How is your day going? Despite some work stress, mine is going pretty well.

Last night, I went out to dinner with some girlfriends for a friend’s birthday. Let’s just say I indulged in a few beers! I knew my Diet Bet was ending today, but I threw caution to the wind — I’ve been so good — and just went for it. When I woke up this morning (with quite the headache), I got a message that it was time for the final weigh in. Uh oh!

But, I did it!

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I wish I had taken the pictures from the same perspective, but it was early. Anyway, I lost a total of 6.8 lbs, and it feels great to have won! I don’t know if you can really tell that I lost weight, but I can tell. 5-7 lbs is the perfect amount of loss to really note a difference in how your clothes fit. I’m not sure how much I won yet, but I know I’ll get my $35 back at least, and that’s all that I was shooting for.  A side note — do you like my tank top? Old Navy active wear strikes again!

My weigh in this morning was actually quite dramatic. I stepped on the scale, noticed I had won and was so excited!! I immediately weighed in on Diet Bet and got my secret word to take my final weigh in pictures. Then, I moved my scale to the kitchen for the photos and stepped on — somehow I had gained half a pound, putting me over my final weigh in. WHAT!? So, I decided to go for a run before I took my photos, but even after sweating through 3.1 miles, it was still showing that number when I stepped on. Finally, I moved the scale back to the bathroom and I was back to the original weight. I quickly snapped my photo before I gained other pound, haha. I think I might need a new scale!

Now, to the title of this post. I was browsing Facebook on my phone this morning when I ran across this:

trail race

 

…which immediately sparked my interest! A moonlight trail run? On the night of a full moon!? Sign. Me. Up.

full moon

I immediately shared the event, and my friend Sarah mentioned that she was running the 3.5 mile and asked if I wanted to tag along. Yes, yes, I do! I’m super pumped about this and hopefully I’ll do ok despite the fact that I haven’t ever run trails really. Haha, I’ll just take it easy 🙂

I’m debating joining another Diet Bet to keep my momentum going. I’ll let you know what I decide!

Question of the Day:
What motivates you to stick to your healthy lifestyle? 

On Track

25 Apr

In my old position at work, I was the Wellness Coordinator for our office. My job is to inform our employees of opportunities for preventative health programs with our health insurance provider, promote wellness in the workplace and set up our annual health screening.

Our health insurance provider offers a $10/month premium discount for all members who participate in the annual health screening. If you get a score of “green”, you get to keep your $10 discount automatically. However, if you get a score of “yellow” or “red”, you must first participate in an “engagement” program. This year one of the engagement programs that was offered was that an Exercise Physiologist would come to your workplace and evaluate employees to see where they could improve in their fitness. All employees were welcome to participate (regardless of their health screening score) and I was able to garner quite a bit of interest.

Charles, our EP, put us through a series of tests to evaluate our fitness. He took our blood pressure, our body fat percentage, resting heart rate and waist circumference. Then he had us use some equipment to test our grip strength, we had to step up on a step for 3 minutes to test how quickly our heart rate falls after exercise, and tested our upper body and ab strength with a push-up and sit-up test. After we finished, he would go through our results with us and tell us what we could do to meet the goals we stated to him when we first started.

One goal is to get my resting heart rate down to the 'well trained athlete' section :)

One goal is to get my resting heart rate down to the ‘well trained athlete’ section 🙂

As expected, I scored very well in everything but it did show that my body fat percentage, BMI and waist circumference could use some work. Basically, I’m very fit, but I could stand to lose a few pounds. But those are vanity pounds, because all in all I’m in excellent health  — which is all that matters! 

I was really excited to bring this program to my coworkers, and I hope to do it again next year to see how people improve their scores.

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In other news, I got up early this morning to hit Crossfit and the workout was a doozie:

800 m run
80 air squats
8 pull-ups

We did this twice through, but with a rest between. The goal was to do it once through, and then try to beat your time the second time through. You would think with all the running I’ve been doing lately, the run would have been the easy part, but it wasn’t! My legs felt like lead through the run and that was definitely the part that held me back. I did the first round in 9:10 and the second round in 8:50, so I was pretty pleased to beat my score, even though I struggled a bit through the workout.

This is definitely a fun workout you could do at the gym or at home! You should try it. I really liked trying to beat my time the second time through, as it forces you to really push.

After Crossfit, Frank and I went for a nice long walk! I’m glad the weather decided to shape up again today. Frank had some pent up energy that needed expended!

Question of the Day:
Have you ever met with an Exercise Physiologist? Did it help you meet your fitness goals?