Tag Archives: healthy-living

What to do When Your Pants Won’t Fasten

2 Jan

Wear a dress and tights. Done and done.

….just kidding. Honestly though, it’s the first (ok, second, but yesterday doesn’t count, right?) day of the year, and it’s time to be brutally honest with myself: My pants don’t fit anymore. The ironic part of this is that when I got out of the shower this morning, I thought I looked pretty good, but as soon as I pulled on the Gap khakis (size 8) that I purchased just a few months ago, my self esteem took a nose dive. Not only did they not fasten, but I could barely pull them past my hips.

I've fully embraced the "leggings as pants" trend anyway

I’ve fully embraced the “leggings as pants” trend anyway

I’ve said this on some social media site recently, so forgive me for repeating myself, but the Newlywed 15 is more nefarious than the Freshman 15 because I have less free-time than I did in college and I don’t have 24 hour access to a fitness facility. I’m afraid to step on the scale, because I think the Newlywed 15 is more like the Newlywed 20 and if you’re anything like me, seeing those numbers is a recipe for feeling terrible about myself.

I’d like to make a disclaimer here about weight loss. It’s a tricky subject, isn’t it? On one hand, we all want see a certain number on the scale or fit into a certain size, but on the other hand, we all want to enjoy life and not have to worry about cutting portions or watching what we eat. It’s important to keep that balance. I firmly believe that it’s important to not obsess about weight — it never leads to a good outlook on life. However, it’s also important to not let your weight get out of control, because health.

The good news is that it’s January, and that means that everyone is trying to get healthy. New apps are emerging, my beloved Weight Watchers just introduced a fun new plan, and there will be a lot of people to share with me a commitment to getting healthy. So, without further ado:

Six Ways to Fit in My Pants Again

  1. Limit alcohol — Things have gotten a little boozy in the Browning household, and that’s got to stop. Not only for my waistline, but for my health. Last night, I couldn’t sleep , so I started reading The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, which is an excellent book. If you have trouble sleeping, losing weight, have a low sex drive, are losing more hair than you think you should — pretty much anything — you should probably pick up this book. Hormone imbalance is more of a problem for women than men and Dr. Gottfried’s holistic and medical approach to balancing your hormones is pretty fascinating. Anywho, what this has to do with limiting alcohol is that I took some of the quizzes in the book and the hormone imbalances that I seem to fit into (high cortisol, low progesterone, high estrogen) all recommend severely limiting alcohol. Good for my health, good for my waist.
  2. Keep a Food Journal — Ugh, this. This is where I’m going to struggle. Listen, I kept a strict food journal for years people, so every time I think I should start again I get this little voice in my head that says, “NO! NO! Please don’t maaaaaake me!” — but here’s the thing: The years that I kept the journal? I lost 70 lbs and kept it off. So guess what? It works. Suck it up, Browning! (aww, isn’t that cute — it’s the first time I’ve derogatorily called myself by my new last name)
  3. Learn to sleep again — Good health and weight loss isn’t JUST about food and exercise. I’ve struggled with insomnia in the past, and up until recently, I thought I had it licked — but about one to two nights a week, I’m laying in bed wide awake until 1 or 2 in the morning. The specific way I’m going to handle this is no more phone in bed. I’m the worst about staring at my phone while I’m laying in bed, and although usually I can fall asleep despite that, I know it’s not good for my sleep patterns. So, from now on the phone isn’t going to even be by my bed — I’m going to plug it in across the room. However, I’m allowing myself the Kindle in bed. I need to read in bed.
  4. Drink more water — I used to be very good at this too, but I’ve noticed that while I still drink water while I’m at work all day, I don’t drink nearly as much at home.
  5. Move more — I haven’t put any exercise related steps in here, because I’m pretty happy with my current exercise level – I’m working out 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. I don’t want to push it more than that because I want to be able to run without injury. I do need to incorporate more yoga and strength training, but that will come in time (especially since I don’t want to run on non-training days). By move more, I mean taking Frank for more walks, getting out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off for some light calisthenics or stretching, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, and making sure to get out of my desk chair every 30 minutes.
  6. Keep myself accountable — I need to keep blogging. I need to keep blogging. If you read this (maybe nobody does) and you notice me slacking off, ask me about it. Liz, if you’re reading this, you are the reason I started back up again 😉 Even if nobody reads my blog, it works to keep my honest about my healthy efforts.

I’ve already started some changes that I’d like to tell you about:

training journal

 

Sorry for the dark iPhone photo, but I purchased the Runner’s World Training Journal. I’ve found digital mile tracking (with apps like Nike+, a Garmin watch and/or just keeping track of my treadmill miles on my phone) to be incredibly convenient, but with so many different methods of tracking, it’s hard to see the big picture of my training. So I’ve decided to try to keep track of all of my miles in this book for 2014. I’ll do a full review of this training log once I’ve used it a  bit more.

green smoothie

Green smoothies! These are all the rage, aren’t they? (P.S. I maintain that you can be successful in weight loss and still eat bagels, thank you very much #notafraidofcarbs) My bestest friend Allison was generous enough to give me a Ninja blender for a wedding gift and man, I love that baby. The above green smoothie had banana, apple, cucumber and collard greens if you can believe it. Plus half a squeezed lemon and some water to thin it out. It was delicious (and nutritious). I’d really like to start incorporating more of these into my diet.

run with Frank

Outdoor running! Yesterday, the weather was amazing — 50 degrees and sunny — the perfect outdoor running weather, so I took Frank out for my training run and then we walked to the dog park and home. We both got a good amount of exercise in and we felt great afterwards. The weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse here in the next couple of days, but I’d really like to take advantage of these good weather days when they come around.

So, that’s that. My pants don’t fit — but I have a plan. To be honest, I don’t really care about looking “hot” or getting a “beach body” — my priorities have changed. I figure if I can keep myself feeling comfortable in the clothes I have, then I won’t have to worry about my weight spiraling out of control.

Question of the Day:
How do you know when you’ve gained a few pounds? 

 

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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!

socks 1

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:

image (5)

 

…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.

photo (4)

 

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.

image (7)

 

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!

image (6)

 

…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.

image (5)

 

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:

Photo Jun 28, 6 38 13 AM

 

…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.

Photo Jun 28, 6 38 16 AM

 

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? 

I Need to Run 37 Miles in 12 Days

18 Jun

Running.

With the Crossfit On Ramp classes taking up 4 days a week, going out of town this past weekend, wedding planning and trying to buy a home, June hasn’t quite been the powerhouse of mileage that I had hoped it would be. I’d really like to be at 300 miles by the end of June, so that my goal of 600 miles in 2013 is pretty on track. Especially since I have a fun out of town trip planned for the 4th of July, and then we’ll be moving shortly after that, and then we will be on vacation, and then we will be getting married — there are a lot of running distractions planned for this summer/fall!

Just keep this in mind, Kristy.

Noted. 

So far I’ve done about 24 miles in June, which is decent considering all that has been going on. It’s been pretty rainy as well! I was lucky enough to get almost three miles in yesterday because of a quickie run before Crossfit and a mile of running between the warm up and the WOD. We also played a really fun game that I’d love to share with you.

One of our WOD skills was burpees, and while going over form, Coach Zack turned on The Police song, Roxanne and our task was to do a burpee every time they said Roxanne. Try it! It seems pretty easy until you get to the chorus 🙂

After that it was a pretty tough WOD: 15 dead-lift high pulls with a kettlebell, 15 burpees and a 400 meter run — 3 times. Doing 400 m after 15 burpees is pretty rough, let me tell you. I’m actually really looking forward to going to Crossfit each day. I have a 5k planned this weekend, and I think I’m just going to go ahead and go to Crossfit afterwards. I could make up the Saturday class, but I always really enjoy a marathon workout session on Saturday, so I think I’ll bike to the 5k, run, then bike to Crossfit for the WOD, then bike home. Then take a huge nap and eat all the food I can put in my stomach. Sounds like a perfect Saturday to me!

Speaking of the 5k on Saturday, I’m so pumped:

wv 5k

 

The WV 5k Championship is a race I’ve done for the past few years, and I can’t miss it! This year, I was online to register as soon as registration opened so I could get the free tech-t upgrade. The past two years, my times have been:

2011: 27:31
2012: 27:28

So, at least I’m consistent. I’ve really stepped up my running this year, though, and I’ve been running 5k’s nearly that fast just in training, so I’m anticipating a PR this year! Fingers crossed! I may even try to pace myself to a 1 minute PR and see how that goes.

So, this is a random post!

Question of the Day:
Any races coming up?

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:

Photo Jun 14, 6 43 08 AM

 

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:

Photo Jun 14, 6 44 12 AM

…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. 🙂

Crossfit Thunder: On Ramp Class #1

11 Jun

Apologies for a very wordy post. If you’re a local or interested in joining a Crossfit box, I think it’s worth a read, though. 

Since January, I’ve been attending “Crossfit” classes at the YMCA. It’s not officially Crossfit, but because we’re doing the same skills as we would be doing at a Crossfit box, I’ve always referred to it as such. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to join the On Ramp classes at my local Crossfit box, Crossfit Thunder: 

Because health and fitness is my main hobby, I read a lot of fitness blogs, and I talk to a lot of people about Fitness, so I know that the main benefit of going to a real Crossfit box is the support of highly trained coaches and the comradarie of the people who you are working out with. At the Y, our Insane Fitness Training classes were more independent and a scaled back version of Crossfit. The coaches, while totally great — I really like Jodi and Noah, weren’t Crossfit certified, although they were personal trainers (and very good ones). I learned quite a bit about Olympic lifts and the Crossfit skills. However, a few friends of mine are members of Crossfit Thunder and they saw how interested I was in the classes and they knew I would benefit from coming to the box, at least for a while. 

I’m going to be completely honest here — I can’t afford the fees of joining a Crossfit box. It’s expensive, and I’m not willing to give up my YMCA membership. I’m a runner at heart, and having access to the treadmills in bad weather is reason enough for me to pay the $44/month I pay to be a member of the Y. I will not argue that the membership fees of a Crossfit box are too high — after attending just one class, I’m convinced that this is not a rip off. You get access to a plethora of highly-skilled coaches, a nutritionist, and you have unlimited access to the box. After class, Coach Katie was talking about how different coaches will do different kinds of classes based on what fitness goals various members have — and that’s amazing! So yes, after one class I will say that the tuition is worth it — however, that money has to come from somewhere and with buying a house, planning a wedding and trying to still have somewhat of a life, there just isn’t enough money to go around, so the $44 gym membership is going to have to do for now. The only reason I have this opportunity is because a friend has offered to sponsor my On Ramp month as a wedding gift. I can’t even express how generous this is and how grateful I am! Thank you, Shannon and Ben! When my expenses calm down, I’m sure I’ll consider becoming a full-time member, but for now I’ll take what I can get. 

So, I’d like to just take you through my day at Crossfit Thunder. Starting with the drive there. 

Although I knew where the box was located, I realized only after a torrential downpour started that I had no idea where to park or how to get into the building. Luckily, I saw a friend’s car (he is a member) so I found a place to park and sat in the car. It was POURING! I saw a garage door open in the back of the box, so I gathered my things and prepared to make a mad dash to the entrance. Once I got there, however, the garage door had been closed and the door  next to it was locked. It was raining so hard, so I dashed back to the car. At that point, I was literally soaked through and not in a good mood: 

Photo Jun 10, 6 07 43 PM

 

Seconds after I got back into the car, the rain stopped. Sigh. I’ll tell you, I was tempted to hightail it back home and eat a pint of ice cream, but I sucked it up and walked inside. I immediately saw some friendly faces (Hi Shannon, Ben and Garrett!) starting their own WOD, so I felt a little better. I saw the newbies standing off to the side so I walked over to wait with them. A few introduced themselves, and I busied myself with intently looking at the Coaches’ profiles on the wall (I’m shy in new situations). 

After a short wait, Coach Drew came over and gave us a bit of a love story about Crossfit. The one thing I really like about Crossfit in general is how passionate the devotees are. When so many people love it, you know there must be something great about it. He also had us sign an insurance waiver for our first week (since the first week is free, you aren’t covered like the paying members are, hence the waiver). Then Coach Katie came over, holding her 2 1/2 month old son. I don’t know if there is a better endorsement for Crossfit than a really fit-looking girl holding her newborn son! Katie ran us through a quick foam rolling exercise and then we moved to the kids Crossfit room. She had us write our names on the white board in order to track our times for our WOD, and then we met Coach Zach. After a 200 m warm up run, he led us to another room to learn form for our first skill of the WOD — air squats. 

I love squats. Have I ever told you that? I’m a squat master. I don’t blink an eye at a WOD with 100 squats or more. So, we started squatting and Coach Zach and Coach Katie walked around fixing our form. I didn’t think I had much to learn, being the squat master that I am, but Coach Katie came over and told me that I should push my knees out just slightly and I was pretty impressed with how much better my squat instantly felt. At first, I wasn’t sure what she meant, but she put her hand where my knee should hit, and once I did that, I got it. Impressive. 

Next we learned push-up form. Again, I’ve been doing push ups forever and didn’t think I had much to learn. Wrong again. With just a few tweaks to my form, I felt a difference. You can tell when you’re doing a skill right, because it becomes easier and also feels like you’re getting more of a workout. 

Finally, we learned a bit about jumping pull ups. In the Insane Fitness Training classes, we went right to pull ups with a band, but I can totally see how jumping pull ups would help me become better at pull ups in general (they are my weakest skill). Basically, we used a bar that was low enough for our feet to touch the ground and we held onto the bar with a full extension on our arms (so our knees were bent), then we would jump so that our chin comes over the bar. Seems really easy at first, but once you get into doing a lot of them, it gets harder to reach the bar. I’m excited to try these at home to work up to where I need to be. 

After we had covered all the skills, it was time for the WOD: 

200 m run
15-12-9
air squats
push ups
jumping pull ups
200 m run

We did it in two heats. I was in the second heat. At this point, we had been there for over an hour and I was READY TO WORK OUT, so waiting for that first heat to be over was a struggle! I finally got my turn and I powered through the workout: 

Photo courtesy of the Crossfit Thunder Facebook Page

Photo courtesy of the Crossfit Thunder Facebook Page

The results are a bit skewed, because while I’m not entirely new to Crossfit, a lot of the people in my On Ramp class are new to working out all together. I will say, though, the workout was no joke. I was definitely huffing and puffing at the end.

 

After our WOD, we had a bit of a Q&A session with Coach Zach and Coach Katie, and then it was time to call it a day. I was surprised when I got back to the car that it was after 8:00 pm!! I got a little frustrated that we were there all that time for just a 7 minute workout, but I know that comes with the territory of an intro class, so I’m not too worried about it. I was mainly just mad that it was well past my dinner time. When I got home, I made this amazing salad and I felt better once I inhaled it:

As a Pittsburgh native, I highly suggest putting a few french fries on your salad next time. Yum!

I swear, there are a ton of greens under all that protein and french fries (they are baked!)

I’m excited to go back to class tonight. I hope I get to work out more, and I also hope I get out of there just a tad earlier!

Question of the Day:
Have you ever tried Crossfit? Would you join a box?