Tag Archives: squats

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 Update and Big News!

13 Jun

A quick Crossfit update: I’ve attended my second On Ramp class, and I’m even more excited about Crossfit now than I was when I posted about my first class. I took the initiative to go early on Tuesday to get a run in before class — I know if I want to commit to Crossfit, I’m going to have to fit my running in when I can — and it was a hot and sweaty run! The class was a little more fast paced this time, and I had barely stopped sweating from the run before we were completing our WOD:

8 minutes AMRAP
6 KB swings
8 air squats
10 Abmat sit ups

I loved this workout! After I had started my second round, Coach Zach called 1 minute in and right there I decided to try to complete 8 full rounds — and I ended up completing my goal plus more! Woo hoo! That’s one of the million awesome things about Crossfit — it is more than a workout, it’s like playing a game. I love that!

In other news, I have some very, very big news: Zach and I have found a house! I wanted to wait to post too much about this until we were further into the process, but we’ve crossed the Home Inspection hurdle, and it’s looking more and more like this isn’t going to fall through, so I’m going to tentatively announce that we have found our house!!

The back deck

The back deck

One of the main things that have been bothering me about apartment living since the weather has gotten warm was the lack of outdoor space. It’s kind of a bummer when Zach and I are sitting around in our apartment when we could be relaxing on a porch. Our new house not only has a front porch, but also a back deck! The wood is weathered, but our home inspector assured us that the frame was solid so we can eventually replace the boards.

IMG_0628

…and look at that yard! Frank is excited just looking at it 🙂 Not to mention, the current owners have a dog and they have installed a doggie door in the basement that leads right out to the yard. Frank will be in heaven!

I’ll refrain from posting pictures of the inside of the house because the current owners are very much still living there, but I’ll tell you it is perfect for us. The first floor has a semi open plan, newly updated kitchen, hardwood floors, two bedrooms, a full bath and even a “bonus room” that the current owners are using as a bar area (we’re considering doing  the same). The second floor is all ours in the form of a master suite — bedroom, sitting area (could double as a nursery for a newborn — not that we’re there yet), full bath and huge walk in closet! It’s really more than I could have asked for in our price point. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of our closing.

Question of the Day:
Are you a homeowner, or do you rent? What are the pros and cons of each?

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!

I Drank the Kool-Aid

29 Jan

This morning (after a whopping 3 hours of sleep — ugh), I attended my second Crossfit….class? Seriously, someone tell me what I should be calling it, class doesn’t sound right.

Anywho, as I mentioned, I didn’t get a stellar night of sleep last night. I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but there are some nights when I literally cannot keep my eyes open when I’m in the living room watching TV, but as soon as I lay down in bed, I’m wide awake. I lay down in bed at a little after 9, and didn’t fall asleep until at least midnight. Then, I was wide awake at 3:00 AM and wasn’t able to get back to sleep. I don’t know if I was anxious about my workout or what?

Well, I should have been. Today’s WOD was a doozie:

40 minutes AMRAP (as many reps as possible): 

50 double-unders
50 burpees (with a push up)
50 air squats
50 box jumps
50 push ups
50 wall balls
1.5 minute rest between each exercise

…!!! Let’s see, first of all, I ended up getting through all the exercises once, then finished my box jumps and was just about to start my first push up when he called time. I was pretty impressed with my performance, especially since I was one of only two girls and some of the guys called it quits before he called time. I pushed through and even though I was taking some breathers, I didn’t stop until he said time.

Since I’m new to Crossfit, I will assume you are also new to Crossfit. I read a lot of blogs of people who do Crossfit, and I’m usually really confused by the exercises, so let me break them down for you:

Double-unders

The goal of the double-under is to get the jump rope under your legs twice in one jump. In order to do this, you have to jump pretty high. I’ve always kind of struggled with jump rope, so I’m not quite there yet. Luckily our coach said we could do 100 singles if we struggled with the double-unders, so that is what I did.

Burpees

You probably know what a burpee is, but in case you don’t here’s what it looks like:

…except our coach made us add in the push up, too. Sigh.

Air Squats

The goal with the air squat is to really get down low. This is where I was able to excel. I pumped out both sets of 50 air squats in no time, even on the second go-around when I was tired. I solely credit my leg strength to swimming in high school and running now. I love squats!

Box jumps

I was going to show you a picture of someone jumping on an insanely high box, but I figured I didn’t want to mislead my readers. The box she is jumping on is about the height I used today. I’m pretty short, and nervous about falling/banging my shins, so I played it safe. This was another skill that I feel like rocked.

Push ups

I’m not going to show you a picture of this. I’ll assume you know what a push up looks like.

Wall Balls

I’ll be honest, when I saw wall balls on the agenda again today, I almost cried. For some reason last time I did a WOD, they almost killed me. But, I’m happy to say I powered through them this time. I am, however, glad I only ended up having to do one round!

You are supposed to go into a full squat, raise up, launch the ball to the desired height (at my box, there are two lines, one for females and one for males), catch it in a full squat and repeat. I used a 10 pound ball. I think next time we do wall balls, I’ll go up to 12 lbs.

I’ll tell you, I don’t know a time when I have sweat more than I did today! I’ve always kind of wished I was that person who worked so hard that their sweat literally dripped onto the floor, and today I achieved that. I started out with a guy who was pretty fit, so I was proud of myself for keeping up with him the whole time. I’d say that I have definitely drank the Crossfit kool-aid. I’m not going to start going 5 days a week or quit running, but I do think I’ll stick with 2 days a week for a while. I feel like a beast when I complete such a tough workout!

Question of the Day:
Have you ever tried Crossfit? Would you, if you had the chance? 

 


This, or that?

10 Aug

I’ve seen this post making the rounds in the fit-blogging community, so I thought I’d cop out of an actual posttry it out! Would you rather….

  1. Run in the freezing temps or heat and humidity? — Heat and Humidity! The cold air hurts my lungs. In a perfect world, I’d live in an area where it was fall 365 days a year, though 🙂
  2. Have washboard abs or flat abs? — Flat abs, please! A little definition is nice, but I wouldn’t want too much.
  3. Dr. Oz or The Doctors? — I don’t really know, but I think I’m going to have to go with The Doctors. I used to be a huge fan of Dr. Oz until I recently learned that most of his “advice” isn’t too scientific lately. I’m all for alternative forms of medicine, but I’ve heard his endorsements and advice are too closely related, if you know what I mean. I’ll need to do a bit more research, but for now I’m taking Dr. Oz’s advice with a grain of salt.
  4. Cardio or Strength? — Oh, come on! I can’t choose! I guess I’ll choose cardio since I love running so much, but this is unfair 🙂
  5. Cravings, Protein or Carbs? — Carbs! Sweet, delicious carbs.
  6. Jillian or Bob? Definitely Bob. I actually have and enjoy both of their workout DVD’s, but Bob’s are more my style. It’s a tough choice, but how could I resist this: 
  7. Frozen Yogurt or Ice Cream? Fro-yo for the win. I’m just loving these self-serve places with various toppings.
  8. To train: Upper body or lower body? I prefer upper body. Lunges are the devil. But I do them!
  9. Protein powder or food with protein? Obviously, food! But a good, healthy protein powder with whole ingredients is nice as well.
  10. Lunges or squats? I could squat all day long, but I hate lunges.
  11. Sweet or salty?love salt. I’m a salt fiend.
  12. Workout attire: Cute or Comfy? Why not both? But I guess I’ll choose comfy, as I actually can’t afford to buy the cutest stuff out there. Lululemon, I adore you, but you cost too much. I could never justify spending $80+ on a pair of pants that I’m going to sweat in. This is where Marshall’s comes in handy. I find really cute, quality stuff there for cheap.
  13. Body Pump or Heavy Lifting? Heavy lifting, mainly because I’ve never taken a Body Pump class. But I’d love to try!
  14. Yoga or Pilates? I like both, but I’m more of a yogi, so Yoga!
  15. Nike or Adidas? I’ve been both in the past. I ran my first half-marathon in Adidas, and then my next pair of running shoes were black and pink Adizeros, I liked them ok, but then I got the Nike Free Runs, which I love running in, although I’ve recently semi-retired them for my Brooks Pure Flows.

    Black/pink Adizeros and Green/Grey Nike Free Run 2.

  16. Running outdoors or on the treadmill? Obviously, outdoors is ideal. However, the treadmill is invaluable when it comes to speedwork. I’m terrible at keeping up my pace on my own.
  17. Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s? Well, considering my town has neither…. haha. Trader Joe’s though. I’ve been to both, and Whole Foods, while awesome, is very expensive.
  18. Summer or Winter Olympics? 100% Summer. Winter Olympics is pretty boring to me, other than hockey.
  19. Wine or Beer? I am a beer girl! But I love champagne as well.
  20. Steamed or Roasted veggies? Roasted, obviously. Steamed veggies are alright, but roasting brings out a great flavor.

Question of the Day: Tell me some of your picks!