Tag Archives: pull ups

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?

 

Angie, Round Two

19 Apr

Today at Crossfit we did a benchmark workout: Angie.

100 pull-ups
100 push-ups
100 KB goblet squats
100 sit-ups

Last time I did this workout, I did it in 27:45. This time, however, our coach wouldn’t let us break up the reps. My heart sank when I heard that, because pull-ups are definitely not my strong suit. I wasn’t sure if I could do 100 pull-ups all at once without taking a million breaks. But, I did it! And better yet, I beat my previous time, with a finishing time of 25:47. Almost 2 minutes shaved off since the end of January. This is great news!!

The pull-ups were rough. I used a 3″ band and I did about 50 with one knee in the band. After that, I put my foot in the band instead, which makes it a lot easier, and is probably cheating, but I really couldn’t care less. It was still hard!

2013-04-14 12.33.20

Have you jumped on the running skirt trend yet? I’ve been wanting one for quite a long time, and I recently bought one from Marshall’s. It’s very comfy and I can’t wait to buy some more!

Question of the day:
Can you do an unassisted pull-up? I definitely can not!

Angie, Can’t You See? I’m in Misery!

31 Jan

(Today’s title should be read to the tune of Sandy from Grease.)

Well, first of all, yesterday’s post contained a bit of an error.

woo!

Yes, I realize September 28th is between the 21st and the 5th, not the 14th and 21st. That’s what I get for trying to quickly post a blog 10 minutes before I leave work 🙂

This morning, I woke up a little late for the 6:15 AM Crossfit WOD . I knew it would be tough, because I’m still sore from Tuesday’s workout! I must be a glutton for punishment, because I signed up for Friday evening’s workout as well, because I know a friend will be there, and I like working out with friends.

Today’s workout was a Benchmark WOD: Angie.

100 push ups
100 sit ups
100 pull ups
100 goblet squats

…hm. When I saw that this morning, I was feeling pretty intimidated. Especially since my chest was still so sore from Tuesday’s 50 push ups. Our coach said that we could do it however we wanted  — not necessarily 100 of one skill at a time. While we stretched, I tried to form a plan of attack. My original goal was to try to tackle all 100 of each skill, just breaking them up into sets of 10.

I did fine with the push ups and sit ups, but then I knew I wouldn’t be able to do 100 pull ups or goblet squats consecutively. First of all, there wasn’t enough space on the pull up bar for me to struggle through 100 pull ups without blocking other Crossfitters, and after about 10 pull ups my arms were toast and needed a break. So, I decided to try to do 20 of each alternating. That worked pretty well, and I ended up with a pretty good time: 27:35. I’m excited to do this workout again in the future, because I’d like to be able to either improve my time, increase the KB weight or take off some modifications (for example, I used a band on the pull ups).

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I really wanted to show you my breakfast this morning, but I left my phone at home, so no picture. I made Tina’s microwave english muffin! It was….interesting. I did like it, it was just a little on the chewy side. I think I’ll microwave it a little less next time. I made it into a breakfast sandwich with an egg, turkey bacon, cheese and a smear of preserves. Yum. After re-reading Tina’s original post about it, I realize I should have toasted it after I sliced it. Tomorrow!

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Ok, let’s talk books. I think I’ve finished 3 books since last time I reviewed one. However, I just finished this one last night and I have to talk about it:

If you’re interested in Healthy Living at all, you must read this book! I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I do know it’s been nominated for a lot of awards, and has two of my favorite actors in the lead roles — that combined with the fact that, as I read this book I could just picture it as a movie makes me know I’ll love it!

Silver Linings Playbook follows Pat, a mentally unstable 34-year-old man, who was recently released from a mental institution into the care of his parents. Without giving away any spoilers, all you know is that Pat has been estranged from his wife for an undisclosed amount of time and he is determined to win her back after “apart time” is over.

This book was right up my alley. Part of Pat’s mental disorder is that he is obsessed with working out. He lifts weights most of the day and then goes for at least a ten-mile run. He wants to be in good shape when he reunites with his wife, so he imposes strict guidelines on his fitness. I think a lot of people can relate with that aspect of Pat’s psyche. For me, especially, when my life seems a little out of control, I turn to fitness in a big way. I know if I can’t control other aspects in my life, then I can control my fitness. I don’t think I’ve gotten to a point when I’ve been unhealthy about it, but I think it’s very easy to see how someone can get to that point.

I’ve read a few reviews on Goodreads about this book, and a lot of people describe it as “fun” and “lighthearted” — but for me, it’s really hard to put it into that category. What is fun and lighthearted about mental illness? However, I do see their point. The characters are really interesting and likeable (well, most of them), and it does feel like a fun and lighthearted read. Some of Pat’s hang-ups are a little comical.

I’m very excited to see this movie, and I highly recommend the book!

And, finally, please click here to see the best video of all time, and what I’m going to watch next time I’m struggling on the treadmill:

puppy

Question of the Day:
Tell me about the hardest workout you’ve done recently. 

Mondays Get a Bad Rap

28 Jan

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always give Monday the benefit of the doubt.

Waking up to that alarm after two days of waking up naturally is a bummer. Getting out of my warm bed and into the shower, rushing around to get breakfast ready for everyone, pets included, and going out into the cold to head to work for 8 hours after 2 days of doing whatever I want — not fun.

And, also, Mondays are always especially hard at work. Work has built up over the weekend (my workplace is open 7 days a week, so even when I’m not here over the weekend, something ends up on my desk), and there is always a lot of stuff to catch up on.

Here are the 3 things that are making me ready to tackle this Monday, and subsequent week, with a smile:

1. A yummy breakfast: 

breakfast

This weekend wasn’t the best for healthy eating. I tried to stay on track, but I had a few extra beers and a few less-than-perfect meals. Oh well. Loading up on fruit and a bit of whole grains should make up for it. I packed a banana, some yogurt, the bagel and the apple, but I found some leftover fruit in the fridge at work from a program this weekend. Melon isn’t exactly in season, but it was still yummy.

2. A great weekend with friends! 

Zach and I had a great weekend. We got to hang out with friends a lot, and he and I had some great quality time together. It was fabulous 🙂

Zach enjoying a lazy double cat Saturday morning.

Zach enjoying a lazy double cat Saturday morning.

3. A good weekend of fitness! 

Although I was feeling a bit under the weather this weekend, I did manage to get some fitness in. I went to my very first Crossfit class ever! Here was the WOD:

8 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible):
15 Wall Balls
15 Kettlebell Swings
15 ring pull ups

…8 minutes? That’s it!? Uh, yeah, that was the most intense 8 minutes of my life. The class started out with some intense foam rolling and stretching that my legs definitely needed, then we moved on to learning form with deadlifts. Finally, it was time to do the WOD. My AMRAP? 2. Yep, only 2. But that’s 30 Wall Balls, 30 Kettlebell Swings, and 30 ring pull ups (modified) in 8 minutes. I’m pretty proud of myself, and boy was I sore the next day!

Yesterday, I spent most of the day helping Courtney set up for the Bridal Expo, and attending it myself (I’ll talk more about that in my Wedding Wednesday post this week). Since I didn’t want to spend 7 hours at the Expo, after I helped with set-up, paid my admission and scoped out the vendors, I went home for lunch. When it was about an hour before ending time, I put on my running clothes and went for a run around town, ending at the Civic Center. I helped Courtney and her partner Mark break down their table and then finished my run, ending up at a Yoga for Runner’s class at Studio 8 yoga. I’m not going to go much into that class, because while it was a great class, they were having their one year anniversary and the class was much too packed for my liking. I got there early so I ended up with my mat smack dab in the middle of the studio, packed with other yogis like sardines around me, with no escape route. That really got my anxiety level up, so I didn’t quite enjoy my practice like I usually do.

However, my run put at 14 miles for the week, and 49.62 for the month of January so far. That means I only have to run .4 miles before February 1st to reach my 50 mile goal for the month! Hooray!

This past week's mileage.

This past week’s mileage.

Also, I’m looking forward to my next Crossfit class, tomorrow at 6:15 AM!

There you go! The top 3 reasons I’m not going to let this Monday bring me down!

Question of the Day:
How are you going to avoid letting Monday bring you down? 

 

 

Well, that’s Discouraging!

11 Dec

Guess what?

ran today!

…sort of.

treadmill

Of course, you can’t see that top display very well because of the glare, but I ran the first 5 minutes before having to stop and run to the restroom. Only once in my life have I been able to run on the treadmill for an entire workout without having to stop the treadmill and restart it. So, yes, I ran! Today marks the beginning of Phase 2 of the Jamie Eason LiveFit Trainer, and that means I’m allowed to do cardio again! Here’s my workout for today:

phase 2 day one

Ok, first of all, pull ups. They are my nemesis. I can’t do them unassisted, I just…hang there! Today, I decided to use the assisted pull up machine. The first round I did 49% of my bodyweight, and it was hard — I couldn’t even do 10 reps! I think next time they are on the agenda, I’ll set the Smith Machine about waist level and pull myself up from the ground. I really want to be able to do a single unassisted pull up. Maybe someday!

My gym has a hammer strength machine, but it’s only the push one, not the pull, so I just skipped that exercise. I could have found an alternate, but I was eager to get on the treadmill!

So, the treadmill. I guess I expected to have no problems with my run, after basically resting my knee for a solid month. No such luck. After about a mile, I felt that knee pain coming back. I didn’t want to push too much, so I just took a lot of walking breaks. It hurt the whole time I was running/walking, and while I was walking home, but as soon as I got my post-run stretch in, the pain was gone. I guess I’ll just have to stick with short runs until I’m healed. It’s just discouraging, I want to be running my regular mileage again! Especially since I got this in my inbox yesterday:

mezamashii

!!!

Yep, I’ve been invited to join the Mizuno Mezamashii Run Project! I’ll be telling you more about this in the near future, after I get my new shoes and try them out.

I used the Mizuno Precision Fit Online Tool to decide which shoes I wanted. If you’d like to try it out, Click Here.

precision fit

It’s kind of cool, there are all kinds of tests (like dipping your foot into a bowl of water and walking across newspaper!) that give you a good idea of your gait and how much you pronate (if at all). According to my results, the best fit for me was the Mizuno Alchemy 12:

alchemy 12

I promptly called Mizuno and had them send them right out! How exciting! I’ll have my new shoes in about a week. I’ll definitely be giving you my completely unbiased review here. Mizuno uses what they call a ‘Wave Plate’ as support for their shoes (for comparison, Brooks uses liquid and Asics uses gel), and this will be new to me. I’ve only ever run in Brooks, Nike and Adidas. A lot of running bloggers swear by their Mizunos, but I’ve also heard some people say that the Wave Plate is not for them. So time will tell how I feel about them.

Question of the Day:
What kind of running shoes do you have? Do you like them?