Friday, January 29, 2010

January a.k.a. "Workout Insanity Month" at CFC now over

Its offical: Today is the last day of the January programs at CrossFit Central. Looking back on this month, all I can say is, the coaches in charge of programming (Big Mike and Carey) really wanted to challenge us...or torture us. Ms. Lisa O'Dea put it best, "this entire month has been like initiation" and that's the truth! The Jan workouts were challenging, fun, and I feel like I've reached new levels with my training as a result. I attempted weights and movements I had never tried before. Most times with success! (For ex: I was able to do the Rx weight at almost all WODs and learned some new kettlebell movements that were really fun). I also attempted to never quit - the only time being when I ripped my hands pretty bad from multiple days of pullups. As a result, I felt pretty defeated and vowed to get this pullup, hand-ripping situation under control. I never want to quit a workout because of my wimpy hands ever again. So, I got some NewSkin, hand grippers, and committed to practicing pullups 5 days per week in addition to whatever pullups I do during the WODs.

By the end of the month, I was able to move to the thinnest assistance band and am getting close to getting an unassisted pullup (once I get that kipping movement down - thanks to all my peeps for their help!). Its soclose I can taste it! Last night's WOD was a killer. Hams and glutes are still on fire. Fitting end to a hell-a-cious month. Check it: 1000 m Run (warmup) 3 Rds for time: 21-15-9 reps Toes to Bar (or Knee to elbow mod) Overhead Squat (65#) Ham Extensions (via straight-leg DL) (65#) Burpees Box Jumps I finished just at the last possible second: 18:00 min Rx. Wheeew... The toes to bar were really time consuming b/c I am still struggling with the kip swing. Also, overhead squats were a challenge, but with the help of JDP, I was able to pull it out at the end. Yay! Coach Crystal joined us in our workout and smoked us all with a 10 minute something time. Insane! It was fun to have her there. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pursuit of Happiness

The pursuit of happiness according to Kid Cudi: People told me 'slow my road' - I’m screaming out, "F**k that!" Imma do just what I want - Lookin’ ahead no turnin’ back If I fall, if I die - Know I lived it to the fullest If I fall, if I die - Know I lived and missed some bullets I’m on the pursuit of happiness and I know Everything that shines ain’t always gonna be gold I’ll be fine once I get it; I’ll be good... Very wise. And catchy!! Great motivational music for the gym.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pull ups - the final frontier...

What is it about pull ups that makes them seem like such a challenge - the big achievement, the final frontier for so many of us - both women and men? Pull ups are one of the most basic, functional exercises that we can do. Just pull yourself up, over a bar. Simple right? Especially if you can use momentum to help hoist you up, as we do wth the kipping. Once you learn the movement of the kip swing, it seems easy theory... In practice, however, I've noticed that pullups seem to give us one hell of a challenge. In the past week, I've spoken to at least 10 different people about pull ups and their process for "getting them". Seems like none of us know what to do to get better, other than to stay determined and continue practicing. After searching all over the "interwebbings" for some helpful training tips on pull ups - Guess What?! Every single article I found mentioned one undeniable truth: TO GET BETTER AT PULL UPS, YOU HAVE TO PRACTICE PULL UPS AS FREQUENTLY AS POSSBILE.* Some articles offer modifiations with "negatives" (which are similar to our jumping pull ups), or muscle isolation exercises for the lats and shoulders, (like rows), but most were pretty clear about actually practicing pull ups to get better. Read: There are no short-cuts and only with repetition can we expect results. Got it. Here's how I plan to put this into practice: 1. I will practice pull ups before/after class at least twice per week. Using the bands, and with the help of classmates, or coaches, if they're available. 2. I will order resistance bands of my own and practice on the pull up bars at Austin High Track or Auditorium Shores. I can do this on the weekends, or Friday after work. I will do as many kips as I can without stopping. If I stop, that means I'm done. 25 consecutive kipping pull ups is my target. Once I'm able to get 25 with one band, I'll start over with a smaller band, and so on until I'm off the band. As motivation (or punishment), I will subtract the number of pull ups I am able to do each day from 25 and do the remainder as burpees. I. HATE. BURPEES. I'm hoping that this will do two things: One: motivate me to stay on the bar and do as many as I possibly can, and Two: work on burpees since I can always get better at these. My goal is to work on pull ups at least 4 days per week, in addition to any pull ups we do in the CFC WODs. As a wise Coach once told me, "Just F**kin' Do It!" Done and done. *Refer to these resources for more info on pull up training:, "Tips for Better Pull Ups", "How to Do Pull Ups with Proper Technique" CrossFit Journal, "Kipping Pull Up Technique" Video Physical Living, "Kipping Pullups vs. DeadHang" Videos Got any tips or wisdom on the kipping pullups? Holla at me!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Again, faster!" and my experience with mental toughness

For the past month I've been completing (or attempting to complete) the CrossFit WODs at the prescribed weight. The only weighted exercises I've modified lately were the single-arm kettlebell movements (because I'm still new at these, I modified from 16kg to 12kg), and chest presses (b/c I'm weak in the chest*, I modified from 35lbs to 25lbs). *The boobs are big, the muscles are not. Usually, I am capable of sticking with the weight throughout the entire workout. Sometimes, I'll admit that my time suffers as a result, but I think that's to be expected. Coach Crystal once told me to always focus on maintaining the Rx weight first, then work on speed (that whole "Again, Faster" mantra). That was a great piece of advice and it resonates - even when I see some of my peers starting under Rx weight, finishing in half the time it takes me. I must admit, sometimes its hard to hear "TIME" called by someone in class when I'm working on 2 more rounds, but that's just part of the challenge of CrossFit. Some people compete with others, some people compete with themselves. I definitely like to compete with others, but recently have been learning how to compete internally by silencing that negative voice in my head (pushing thru the fatigue), conquering a fear (24" box jumps) or beating a previous PR (CrossFit Total, for ex). My favorite part of CrossFit and my whole fitness journey experience has been working on my mental toughness. Now more than ever, my mental toughness will come into play. In order to get faster, I'll need to be able to push through, take fewer breaks, stay motivated - even when I think I can't go on. I have to continue to prove that negative voice in my head wrong and come out more confident as a result. This morning I read a great post by Coach Carey that really resonated with me, entitled, "Women's WOD: How Fast Are You?". Carey challenges us to "game" or strategize our WODs so that we can get the most out of our time at CFC. I completely agree. Allow me to put into perspective what she's talking about, with a detailed account of last night's WOD: CFC Women's WOD: 1/18 6 Rds for time: 10 Burpees 10 DB snatch (full squat) 5 Left/5 Right 10 Situps Carey's Time: 9:00 flat - I think its a world record - next closest chick was 11:30ish. My Time: 15:23 and I was exhausted. Here's what happened (time posted for each round): Rd 1: 2:00 Burpees - 10 in a row, no rest, easy DB Snatch - good depth of squat, 5 each arm, no rest, easy Situps - 10 in a row, no rest; flying through these Rd 2: 2:15 Burpees - 10 in a row, slower than last round, but still somewhat easy DB Snatch - good depth of squat, 5 each arm in a row, getting heavy. Situps - 10 in a row, no rest; flying through these Rd 3: 2:45 Burpees - 8 in a row, then 10 seconds rest, final 2; getting tired now DB Snatch - good squat depth, 4 Right, rest 5 seconds; final one Right, 5 Left in a row, rest 10 seconds before situps Situps - 10 in a row, no rest, easy Rd 4: 3:15 Burpees - 7 in a row, then 10 seconds rest, final 3; GET WATER (I'm tired) DB Snatch - squat depth ok, 4 Right, 4 Left; Final 1 Right, 1 Left, rest 20 seconds before situps Situps - 10 in a row, no rest, easy (9:00 minute mark - Carey's Time!) Rd 5: 2:45 Burpees - 5 in a row, then 10 seconds rest, final 5; Rest, with hands on knees, GET WATER again -30 seconds DB Snatch - 5 Right, 5 Left; Got called out for depth of squat, so I correct but go slower - rest 10 seconds before situps Situps - 10 in a row, no rest (12:00 minute mark) Rd 6: 2:45 Burpees - 5 in a row, rest 10 seconds, 5 in a row; Rest, with hands on knees, about to pass out- 20 seconds DB Snatch - 5R, 5L; rest; take it slow to try and get full squat depth, maybe 3 out of each 5 were good depth. Situps - 10 in a row, no rest "TIME" 15:23 - Then PASS OUT for 3 minutes. If I reduce the break time, including the water break and rest between exercises and was able to complete the burpees in a row, I could have improved my time by 2-3 minutes (2-3 minutes of wasted time spent listening to that little voice in my head shouting, "Stop now, this sucks, I'm dying here, there's sweat in my eye, my mouth is dry, everyone hates burpees, hey - other people are resting, just catch your breath, F**k this" and on and on...). Coach Crystal and my girl Lory C. both gave me a some words of encouragement that helped silence that voice momentarily during the last few rounds of the WOD. Now if I could just figure out how to do that for myself! THAT's mental toughness. For some tips mental toughness as it relates to CrossFit workouts, check out this entry from the CrossFit Invictus blog. Good stuff.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Allergies and the Whole Enchilada

After 3 days of suffering (runny nose, congestion, puffy/itchy eyes, etc), I'll start taking my allergy meds today. I hate that I have to take medicine that drys me up, but I can't get no relief any other way! Booo.... A few more weeks of Cedar season, then I'll be breathing easy. This is the only time of year I wish I didn't live in Austin. Its just awful for everyone. Rest of the year, Austin is the best-est place in the world. (yes, that's a word) ;) Last night, my energy was totally zapped - must have been a result of the allergies b/c my diet is as prescribed. Either that, or I just wasn't mentally into the workout. It was a toughie, but shouldn't have taken me 20:14 to complete. It looked like this: CFC Womens WOD 1-13-10 For time: 5 Rds 10 BB Back Squat (95lbs) 25 Air squat 400m run Not only was I running slower than I ever have in a WOD, but I was apparently not getting full range of motion on my air squats. Thanks for giving me a few pointers on things to work on, Coach Mike! I have taken note and will make improvements. Ok, ok, on to the next challenge! When I got the tweet for today's workout, I seriously had to google some of the kettlebell movements to remember what they were. Two words for this workout: Holy Kettlebells! WOD 1-14-10: "The Whole Enchilada" For time: (16kg kettlebell - I used 12kg) 800m Run 100 Pushups 50 KB Snatch (25L, 25R) 50 KB Press (25L, 25R) 50 KB Figure 8 (25L, 25R) 100 Squats 800m Run Ay Chihuahua! POST-WORKOUT UPDATE: This one was a killer! Time was called at 25 minutes when I was just starting out on the last 800m. I finished anyway - just to do it. Final time was 28 minutes. The toughest part was the 100 pushups. TORTURE. Enjoyed the KB work, but still need to get the form down so I stop bruising my forearms. Practice, practice, practice....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Its getting hot in here...

Our HVAC's busted at work, so we have no cooling, no heat and no air flow until it can be fixed. The thermostat near my desk is reporting its a balmy 80 degrees in here right now. Booooo. Feels like I'm having hot flashes. Fortunately, I decided to wear a tank top underneath my sweater today. So, now I'm sporting an undershirt and jeans. I won't bother trying to be professional today - its hard to take someone seriously in a wifebeater. And, I gave everyone free tickets to the gun show, soooo. Tomorrow I will be wearing shortsleeves and flipflops. Its officially summer up in this place. I'm off to CrossFit Central for my coed class in a few minutes. Its so nice outside, I'm hoping it gives me a little spring in my step. I'll need it to tackle today's WOD. Yikes. WOD 1-12-10 For time: 500m Row 21 Box Jumps@ 24in 21 KB Swings M:32kg F:24kg (Damn, dude that's 53 lbs!) 500m Row 15 Box Jumps 15 KB Swings 500m Row 9 Box Jumps 9 KB Swings Should be hella-tough. I don't even know if I can swing that much weight 47 times, but I'm gonna try! POST-WORKOUT UPDATE: Yea, the weight on the swings was rough and the 24" box jumps are harder than you would think, but I managed to stick with the prescription and finish in 17:14. Didn't think that was all that special until I saw the CFC tweet that I was the best female finisher at Rx weight. Woot! :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Good First Week Back - Ready to Rest!

My first week back to work and the gym after the holidays is officially over. Hallelujah! I survived, but not without some stress, soreness, and fatigue. Beginning of the year is always busy at work (new budget, new goals, lots of momentum, etc), but it seemed particularly hectic around the office this week. In addition to the stress brought on during the work day, I also had 4 days in a row of grueling workouts: Angie, GHD, KB Thrusters/KtoEs, and Snatch/pushups. So, how did I feel?! Well, thanks to good nutrition and lots of sleep (9-10 hours per night), I feel pretty damn good. I mean, don't get me wrong I'm sore! In fact, with each day came a new sore spot, as a result of the previous night's killer WOD. But, I haven't had any real pain. And, my performance was good. In some weird masochistic way, I kinda like the soreness. Means, I'm getting stonger. ;) Last night, I was able to complete 10 1/2 rds of the WOD: AMRAP in 20 min 10X Hang Power Snatch (45 lb) 12 Pushups Woot. Snatches are pretty much my favorite lift. Snatch = Funny name, serious work. Today's a rest day for me and I plan to do just that - REST. Going to hit up the grocery store on the way home to restock my Paleo-pantry, cook myself a good meal, and watch a movie (probably wearing my Snuggie - Woot!). Today's Rx is to keep it low-key. Lots going on Saturday and Sunday, including a WOD and Paleo Pizza party with Lory C, Jess K, and Linsday S (the ladies behind the LL Cool J blog). We'll post our WOD, some photos, and our reviews of the Paleo Pizza (thanks CrossFit Chronicles for the recipe and tips on cooking the crust).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Run, Neon Tiger!

New Year, New Gear, right?! Check out my new kicks. Loving my new Nike Free 5.0 v4's ("5.0 v4" sounds like a damn software launch). So much so, that they've earned their own soundtrack.

I like to think of myself as the "Neon Tiger" from the Killer's song when I wear them. Enjoy the musical stylings of the handsome Brandon Flowers and his mates: Update on yesterday's WOD: I didn't have to do Angie again (thank God!). Instead I took on this WOD using the GHD "Glute/Ham Developer" Machine (that's actually the name of it). ;) CrossFit WOD 1/5/10: 4 Rds for Time: 400m Run 25 GHD Sit ups 25 GHD Back Extensions My time was 19:30. Those sit ups/back entensions are rough!
Here's what they look like:
My abs and ass are sore today. Definitely looking forward to tonight's WOD to loosen me up! CrossFit Women's WOD 1/6/10: 3 Rds for time: 15 KB Thruster (16Kg) 15 Knees-to-Elbows 50 Lunges (walking)

Monday, January 4, 2010

New 3 Month Goals and Warrior Dash!

Time to set new 3 month fitness goals. Part of goal setting is making your goals public, so you are held accountable. Hear that friends? Help me stay on track! By April 1, 2010 I will: 1. Perform kipping pullups (at least 3 consecutive) without band assistance 2. Perform push-ups from toes (at least 10 consecutive) 3. Complete 5 CrossFit WOD's per week (4 in class, 1 on my own) 4. Lose another 5% body fat 5. Have completed 100 sit ups per day since 1/4/10 6. Have competed in, or registered for one organized race event

Whew! Hope I can accomplish it all!

As of this morning, I can cross Goal #6 off my list. I'm registered to compete in the Warrior Dash held on Saturday, May 1. Many of my friends and fellow CrossFitters will be joining me for the 3.51 mile run with 14 obstacles along the way, including crawling in the mud and jumping over fire. We're nuts, but it will be fun!

UPDATE ON ANGIE: My time was 19:52, and I used the band to assist with the pullups. Only did the last 25 as jumping pullups, which is a huge improvement over last time I took on Angie on Sept 28. Lucky for me, I get to do it again in tonight's co-ed class. My chest, back, and arms will be on fire tomorrow!

Back to the Gym!

Today is the first day back at CrossFit Central for January workouts. Can't wait to take on our WOD: "Angie" For Time (cut off 20 minutes) 100 pull-ups 100 push-ups 100 sit-ups 100 squats Last time I did this one, I finished in 18 minutes and change, but I did jumping pullups. This time, I'll do all kipping pullups (with band assist) even if it takes me longer to complete. There's really no reason why I should ever do jumping pullups again - they are ridiculous. I gotta start building those back muscles if I want to get my unassisted kips down by March. Its strange, I'm kind of looking forward to being sore tomorrow. Just hope I can move my arms! ;) Today is the first day back to work on my strict Paleo diet. Its going well so far and thankfully all the holiday crap (cookies, candy, sausage, etc), is gone. Everyone seems to be on a health kick today - we'll see how long it lasts! ;)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Speed is hot!

Yes, sprinting looks pretty damn good when Cristiano Ronaldo (world's hottest and arguably best soccer player) is racing a Bugatti Veyron (German engineered/French manufactured hell-cat reaching 0-60 in 2.5 sec). Guess who wins?! Thanks for the motivation - now let's get out there and do some sprints!!! (Perhaps we can wait until AFTER Angie...) And in case the video didn't do him justice, see Exhibit B: UPDATE: Speed is good at the gym/on the field. Not so good when you're driving on the mean streets of Austin. Got a ticket today for going 45 in a 35. Looks like defensive driving is in my immediate future. Too bad I can't run everywhere I need to go - no risk of speeding tickets when you travel by foot. ;) - The Speed Demon

Paleo Nutrition: "So Easy, A Caveman Did It"

This is the title of an article published in the Washington Post this week about Paleo diet and CrossFit. Read it here. Need more info on the diet? Check out the Paleo Diet blog here. Or Robb Wolf's blog here. But, basically, it consists of meat, eggs, veggies, fruits, and nuts - no grains, legumes, dairy, or processed foods. The Paleo food pyramid looks like this: I'm back to Paleo this week after being a little "liberal" with my diet for the past 2 weeks (Christmas cookies, endless amounts of booze, cheese, and not eating enough protein). I noticed a few things over the holidays that renew my faith in the Paleo Diet again: One being I had significantly less energy, and 2, all the old GI problems I used to think were normal, came back. Not good! I also thought I had a hangover from booze, when I probably was just stuck in a carb-indused coma after eating a bagel on New Year's Day. I spent the entire afternoon watching football on my sofa wearing my snuggie. LAME. After a brief bout of intermittent fasting, I am now back on track and feeling fabulous. If you're considering going "primal" too, I say: Just do it already. Your body will thank you by performing like it should. Also, play around with intermittent fasting (or IF) to help get you back on track and feeling better after a night (or week) of over indulgence. And, Cavewomen are hot!