Tag Archives: workout of the day

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:

1013801_10151514038382536_1179196042_n

 

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? 

Advertisements

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?

 

I’m Frustrated

21 Feb

I got a call early yesterday morning that there was an opening in the 6:30 PM Crossfit class, and I jumped at the chance to attend. You see, my gym has Crossfit classes, but isn’t an actual Crossfit Box. For that reason, the space for each class is limited to 10 people, so you have to call early in the morning three days before the class you want to sign up. It’s so popular that many times I haven’t actually been able to get a spot in my desired class. I’ve heard some grumbling about this, but to be honest I think it’s something we’re just going to have to deal with. I’m just happy to be able to do these types of workouts and it’s included in the cost of my gym membership (which is about a third of what our local Crossfit box charges monthly!).

So, I got to Crossfit and looked at the WOD, and I immediately knew I was going to struggle:

WOD

 

Double unders (DU’s) are my nemesis. The thing is, I can’t do them. I’ve tried, again and again. I hate to say I can’t do something, but in this case, it’s a given. Maybe someday in the future, I will be able to, but at this point in my life, I have never once been able to get the jump rope under my feet twice. Jodi, our trainer last night, told us that if we couldn’t do them, we had to triple all the reps for the whole WOD, which was also not happening in the 35 minutes we had left to finish up. I was immediately frustrated.

I think maybe the problem I have is that the jump rope is too long for me. I’ve been instructed how to do DU’s a million times. I know it’s all in the wrist, but no matter how high I jump or how fast I flick my wrists, the rope smacks me in the ankles, missing going under my feet by a split second. I finished the WOD, but only by counting “double unders” that were actually the rope smacking me in the ankles. Sigh. I didn’t even ask for my time, I just put on my coat and left. Hopefully tomorrow evening’s class goes a little better.

The other frustration I have is that I’m not getting my mileage in this month. It’s February 21st, and I’ve only ran 29 miles this month. I could probably get in 50 miles if I would push myself, but after this morning’s run:

run

…I was feeling that good old IT band pain again — why is it coming back? I guess that leads to my final frustration: I haven’t done any yoga…well, probably all month!

So, in order to alleviate my frustrations, I will:

  • Stop worrying about getting those miles in. I will run when it’s convenient, or I want to, but I won’t stress that I’m not logging miles. Like I’ve said a million times before, longer days and warmer temperatures are coming up, which will lead to a natural increase in mileage. 
  • Practice Double Unders at home. This means getting a jump rope that is an appropriate length for me. I’ve also heard getting the weighted handles helps. Any tips or tricks for practicing double unders? I don’t want to automatically give up mentally every time I see them on that white board, which is where we are headed at this point.
  • Finally, I will commit to practicing yoga at least once a week. I’ve not been great at doing yoga at home lately, I’ll put the DVD in and stop it after a few minutes because I’m distracted by other things I should be doing. No more. I’ll get to a class or I’ll commit to that DVD.

Question of the Day:
Any recent frustrations you’d like to vent about? 

 

 

Fitness Confidence

13 Feb

Though Zach and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day last Friday, I still had a trick up my sleeve. Our philosophy on gifts in general is to never get a gift just to get a gift. We only get something for each other and our friends if we think of something they truly want, or the perfect gift for that person. Last year, we didn’t get each other anything for Valentine’s Day, but this year we each ended up getting something the other person wanted.

This year, Zach got me something I’ve been wanting very much:

pitch perfect

Whoa, sorry for the blurry camera photo!

 

Ever since we watched the movie a while back, I’ve been talking about it non-stop, so he bought me the Blu ray! Best present ever.

Me, I had a little idea up my sleeve. I read Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home recently, which is pretty much just a continuation of her Happiness Project Book, one of the topics I flagged was that she would celebrate minor holidays with an elaborate breakfast for her children. I adored this idea, so I decided to do this for Zach on Valentine’s Day morning. However, I have Crossfit at 6:15 on Valentine’s Day morning, so I did it a day early:

breakfast table

 

I decorated the table with little heart stickers (they are hard to see because my tablecloth is so busy already), and I bought Zach a card and an iTunes gift card (because he’s been talking lately about some music he wants). Then I made us a delicious breakfast!

His and hers breakfast. Zach prefers a more savory breakfast, so he got an egg too.

His and hers breakfast. Zach prefers a more savory breakfast, so he got an egg too.

The pancakes are roughly heart shaped. I made a little aluminum foil heart mold for the pancakes, but they tended to spread out a bit after I took the mold away, so they were just kind of heart shaped.

And, with that, I promise the Valentine’s Day posts are over! I fully intend that our Valentine’s Days will be less eventful as we grow as a married couple, but this will be our only Valentine’s Day as an engaged couple, so I wanted it to be a bit special. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The other thing I wanted to talk today about is fitness confidence. I promise this is relevant, but here is what yesterday’s Crossfit WOD looked like:

100 KB swings (35, 52)
100 Double unders
100 Wall Balls
100 Air squats

Now, keep in mind that I did Angie in 27 minutes, which is also 100 reps, but is (in my opinion), a bit more difficult than this WOD, especially since I can’t really do double unders, so I modify that to regular jump rope (although I double the reps), and air squats are no biggie for me (I attribute my runner’s quads for my ease with air squats). So, when I tell you that I was the very first person finished, with a pretty great time of 20:17, you may not be surprised.

I was.

In fact, as I sat guzzling my water, I started getting insecure as to why I finished so quickly. Did I modify too much? Did I accidentally skip a round without realizing it (I broke up the exercises into sets of 25 — going through 4 times)? In short, I was pretty much putting myself down. I was telling myself, “There is no way you finished this workout this quickly, when these other people aren’t even close to being finished yet.”

But, I did. I know I did all the reps of the exercises, I was keeping careful count. I wish I could just be confident in my abilities.

I do this a lot, actually, but usually it’s in the form of thinking I should have pushed myself harder. No matter how hard a workout is, once my heart rate is back to normal and I’m hydrated, I feel like I didn’t push myself hard enough.

Question of the Day:
Am I the only one who isn’t very confident in their abilities? What should I do to increase my confidence, or does this just come with time?