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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Six Month Roundup.

Okay, so I’ve been MIA for a while. I’ve been working a lot more lately and I just haven’t found the time to sit down and write a post. However, I decided I would include a post to document what has happened in 6 months of CrossFit. I’ve missed a few more sessions between vacations and stuff but I’m still really enjoying it on the days I do go (usually at least 3 times a week). On Friday we did “Murph” which consists of a 1 mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups and 300 squats (in whatever way you want to do them), followed by a 1 mile run. It was awesomely badass and I felt amazing afterwards (even though I wanted to puke during the last mile). This is by far my favourite baseline workout so far. My time was 46:19.

Other thoughts, well, I’ve done quite a few more workouts as prescribed, which is awesome. I can overhead press 75lbs in a workout. My back squat is a solid 150 for a 3RM and I’ve figured out where my knee pain was coming from when I ran! My hips were moving forward at the very end of my back squat and that was putting stress on my IT-band and hips. Mystery solved! For pullups I can do 3 reps on the medium-band and 5 reps with the medium band and the super skinny band. I continue to see lots of definition in my back and arms. All-in-all I’m feeling good. I have good days, and bad days but when comparing the results I am happy with where I am now. CrossFit is fitness oriented, not physical appearance oriented and those two don’t always go hand in hand...but I’m feeling pretty okay about where my body is right now. Changes are happening and I’m getting a lot more muscle.

My weight is pretty much the same. High 150s and I'd like to get down to mid 140s. I still have some jiggle in some areas I wouldn't mind minimizing.

I hope everyone’s doing well and that some people are still reading. I’ll try and update a little more frequently once I’m back from vacation.

- N

Friday, February 11, 2011

Month Three Round Up!

Hey Everyone!

Let me start by saying today I feel bloated and it's probably not the best day to be taking pictures of my stomach...but I do owe you something so I sucked it up (not literally ;)) and took my progress pics/measurements today. I feel like the waist measurements may be slightly off so I might try again in a day or two just to see.


Height - 5'7"ish
Weight - 157-159
Chest - 38"
Waist - 29.5"
Hips = 38"

Okay first, let's talk about how I changed physically. Pictures haven't really done it justice, but I have a ton of more muscle/definition in my back and my arms. I also have less flab in that generally waist area. Yeah, the narrowest part of my waist hasn't shrunk much (if at all), but my stomach looks less flabby (even if I've still got flab to lose). My body does look better...the inches just didn't fall off me like they do some people. Weight training and circuit training wasn't new to me...Olympic lifting and Tabata and burpees were, but I have lifted in the past. I don't think you could expect to see the drastic changes on me you would see on someone that's never done anything even remotely like this before. I'm happy with my physical results. Would I like to get a six pack faster? Hell yeah, but I'm realistic. I always lose weight in my stomach last and this is no exception. I lost inches in my chest and in my hips...the stomach will come eventually. Do I need to improve my diet? Definitely, there are areas to work on (I'll talk about that in another post)...but on a whole I think I did pretty well.

Now let's talk about how I have changed fitness wise. I grabbed my first record-keeping book to review some of the numbers.

Back squat then: 72lbs (I actually started at 42lbs but that was extremely light even then)
Back squat now: 145lb max

Front squat then: 42lbs
Front squat now: 115lbs

Press then: 47lbs
Press now: 67lbs

Deadlift then: 75lbs
Deadlift now: 160lbs - achieved yesterday. Body weight!

Power clean then: 42lbs (with awful form)
Power clean now: 75lbs (in a workout, max undetermined)

Pull ups then: One large band and one skinny band in workouts.
Pull ups now: One medium band and one skinny band in workouts. I wish I knew how much weight each band supported, but trust me when I tell you I feel like there's very little under me now. I will manage a pull up by the 6 month mark.

Now let's talk about flexibility. After using the torture devices of death my shoulders are significantly more flexible. (Funny story, I was able to zip/unzip a dress all by myself I always needed help from another person with before. Haha.) Both trainers have commented that my shoulders look way better and my form is like night and day on my overhead squats/snatches/presses. I've also been told my pushup form has improved as well. My wrists (which killed during front squats, you remember) don't hurt the same way anymore either. I definitely feel more mobile in the upper body.

Lastly, I'm going to mention some injuries. Yes, my knees have been bugging me still (not as badly, but still bugging me). I talked to the girl that recommended me to CF and she basically said she found her injuries got worse for the first little bit (because certain muscles get stronger faster than others) and then went away completely. Hopefully this will be the case for me. I'm going to take 2 weeks off running and see if that helps.

So what have I learned after 3 months of CrossFit?

Well for starters, I can never go back to a regular gym. The idea of putting on headphones and going through the motions of an hour long workout by yourself...I can't do it. I won't do it. That holds no appeal for me anymore. Now I not only like the results I get from working out, but I like working out.

If your gym doesn't have a puke bucket it's probably not pushing you hard enough. I've always known that to really force your body to change you have to feel uncomfortable. CrossFit takes feeling uncomfortable to an entirely new level. Forcing yourself to do things that just don't seem possible (like 100 burpee pullups) is the best part of CF. When you pick up a bar and think "there's no way I'll be able to get through the entire workout with this" and then you somehow manage it...that is how you should feel every time you go to the gym. Yeah, for 10 seconds you may think you're about to puke, (and a few people might puke), but you'll still feel kind of incredible when you're done. I firmly believe that when you workout you should feel like a badass and I've never felt more badass than I do now. It's definitely empowering.

I like working out with other people. I have never wanted to workout with other people until I started CF. I was always the person that put their head down in a spin class and focused on themselves...that got annoyed when my friends would giggle during bootcamp classes because I taking it seriously... I never felt as though I liked working out with others until these last three months. Now I hope I get to workout with other people at the gym. They push me and I push them and you encourage each other, but the goal is still the same. Everybody's a little competitive but you still want each other to do well. The camaraderie is definitely something I've learned to love.

I'm so, so glad I joined CF. Thank you guys for sticking with me during this! I can't wait to see what the next 3 months will bring.

- N

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Hey Everyone!

I know I've been totally MIA for a while now, but I promise postings and progress pics are coming soon. I'm following a new eating plan so I'll have details on that, as well as my own thoughts on the way its structured. I'm also thinking of doing a post that talks compares where I started with CF to where I am now athletically instead of visually.

Bear with me. I'll post something tomorrow night hopefully. Thanks for reading!

- N

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Round 46 - 01/24/11: ‘Angie’

Well the good news is when I woke up this morning my knee wasn’t sore at all. Last week on Monday morning my knee felt creaky and was really bothering me, so that gives me hope this knee pain I’m having won’t last for long. I also started reading up on some of the athlete profiles for a competition our gym is having this week and one of the girls ran a 30k race and a half marathon while doing CrossFit. You can run distance and do CF, so I just need to be patient. My knee’s already feeling better and maybe next week I won’t feel any pain at all on my run!

I wasn’t feeling so hot today so when I got to the gym I wanted to do Saturday’s workout (I definitely didn’t want to back squat something heavy which was the workout today). Saturday’s workout started with deadlifts to a 3 rep max, so that’s what I did. My 3 rep max was 145. I probably could’ve gone to 150 (maybe even 155), but the bar just felt like it was slipping and my hands hurt. The trainer asked me if my hands were hurting and suggested I use a different grip next time to neutralize the bar (since I’m lifting pretty heavy now). Hopefully that’ll help.

Saturday’s second part of the workout was a pull up progression, which I was pretty certain I was going to do. I felt better after deadlifts, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to risk crashing and burning in the middle of today’s workout (which was ‘Angie’).

However, as the trainer helpfully pointed out to me there was no way a pull up progression workout was going to force me to do as many pull ups as ‘Angie’ was going to make me do and it was probably better just to do her.

Sooo...Angie is what I did.

100 pull ups

100 pushups

100 sit ups

100 squats

The squats were also kind of deterring me from Angie because I was afraid it would bother my knee, but that actually felt fine. Angie wasn’t as hard as I anticipated her to be (except for the pull ups, which took the longest by far, I used the thick band and the absolute skinniest band during). I finished the entire workout in 21:58. That was the second fastest time (fastest time for the girls) when I completed it (but then again, the night was young, haha). I was really happy. I probably went that fast because I just wanted it done before I started feeling crappy again and I just blasted through it. I was happy with my time.

And that was Monday’s workout. Have a great day guys!

- N

Monday, January 24, 2011

Round 45 - 01/21/11: 'Arnie'

Alright, Friday was brutal. Haha. I took one look at the workout and almost wanted to cry a little. I have a new nemesis and his name is Arnie. He will be defeated next time. ;)

For starters we had the choice of bench press or Pendlay rows (which I have yet to try) for either a 5 rep max or 3 sets of 5. I opted for bench press because I was kind of disappointed in myself from last time. I talked to the trainer and she gave me a really helpful piece of advice. She said when you attempt a max and fail (like I did last week) you shouldn’t attempt a max again for a few weeks. Instead you should work on increasing you 3 sets of 5 weight by a small amount because that is the best way to increase your overall max. Once you fail at a certain weight for 3 sets of 5, then you attempt a max again. I thought this was really helpful and I’m going to make a note to do this from now on.

I ended up doing 3 sets of 5 at 80lbs. Next week I’ll try 82lbs for 3 sets of 5. Week after I will try 85lbs at 3 sets of 5...and so on and so on until I fail. Then I’ll go back and try my 5 rep max. I think this little bit of extra structure is going to really help.

The second half the workout was “Arnie”. Arnie is just plain brutal and I actually only did half of that workout (to be fair, a lot of people only did half of that workout). The full Arnie looks like this:

21 Turkish get-ups, Right arm
50 Swings
21 Overhead squats, Left arm
50 Swings
21 Overhead squats, Right arm
50 Swings
21 Turkish get-ups, Left arm

Turkish get-ups suuuuuuck (note: in the video they use a dumbell, but we used a kettlebell). Big time. The right arm wasn’t so bad but the left arm was just awkward. I felt like I couldn’t move that way and my leg kept cramping. The kettlebell I used was only 15lbs, but that felt plenty heavy, trust me. The version of Arnie I ended up doing was:

10 Turkish get-ups, R-arm

25 swings

21 squats

25 swings

21 squats

25 swings

10 Turkish get-ups, L-arm

It was plenty hard, let me tell you. The worst part was easily the Turkish get-ups (the rest actually wasn’t too bad). I finished in 12:18. The most shocking thing for me was the difference between my left and right side during the get-ups. My left arm was shaking for a while after I finished. It was kind of remarkable.

And that was Friday’s workout. I hope everyone had a great weekend. I’ll post more later.

- N

Round 44 - 01/20/11

I’m sorry for the delay! I wasn’t in the blogging mood this weekend and my posts just weren’t coming together. This will both be short and sweet and I’ll try and be better about posting this week, but I’m thinking after January I may “revamp” my format a bit in terms of what I talk about and how detailed I get into my exercises. Just to spice things up…

But until then, let me tell you what I did on Thursday.

I went in the afternoon (despite my best attempts to get my butt out of bed and go that morning), and warmed up with rowing again (and yes, my form was better, I took my time, but at least I did it right...my apparently fragile ego has mended from Tuesday, haha). After that we did L-sit practice. These actually felt pretty good. I have no idea how to get my legs up so I’m completely parallel, but I was able to straighten them and hold them up at slightly more than a 45 degree angle. My abs were dying more than anything and I thought they looked pretty good. My progression on those has been quite measurable. I could barely hold myself up for 10 seconds the first time, let alone attempt to straighten and lift my legs. Overall, it felt good.

Our next part of the workout was just...gross. We did a 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 workout with

Pushups, Russian kettlebell swings (with a 35lb one) and double unders. My pushups felt great and I kind of just blasted through them. The kettlebell swings were tough, but I got through them fairly quickly and the double unders killed my time. It still takes me forever to get the hang of those. You have to really crank your arms around to get the rope to spin fast enough and I wasn’t doing that at first. My record for double unders in sequence is 6 and I got those at the very end of the workout. It was hellish.

I finished in just over 19 minutes. Like I said, the double unders were my undoing.

- N

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Round 43 - 01/18/11

Today was not good. Let’s just get that right out of the way. I was, uh…a little embarrassed. Last week I was watching some of the new guys in our gym getting instructed on how to row properly. I thought I had been doing it wrong this whole time and these last few days did what I thought I had observed the new guys doing...

Well, that was a little awkward, because apparently I was doing it very wrong now. Haha. One of the trainers came over and was like “stop that right now, that looks awful!” just teasingly and corrected me but ...yeah, embarrassing. I mean I’m glad they corrected me, I just kind of feel like an idiot for messing up something as simple as rowing. I should know how to row properly. I guess I wasn’t doing it “wrong enough” before to have anyone notice so today must have been really awful...

Ugh, okay. I feel a bit better. I had to get that off my chest. It’s not a big deal, right? No one’s going to remember how badly I was rowing for a day or two. I’ll get used to the proper technique and it’ll all be good. It’s really not as easy as it looks and I’ll just take it slow instead of worrying about a time.

Just...like I said. A little embarrassing.

Anyway, after that I was kind of second guessing myself the whole workout, which I didn’t like. We started off with presses and I only made it to a 5 rep max of 65lbs. I attempted 70lbs but I only managed to get 3 reps.

For the workout we did 5 rounds of 5 clean and jerks and 10 chest-to-bar pull ups. I had never done a clean and jerk before, but it’s basically a clean and press only you can jump into the press so you have some more power. My cleans started out okay but kind of wavered a little at the end. With my pull ups I started using just one band and ended up having to add another one because I wasn’t getting my chest all the way to the bar. I used 53lbs for the clean and jerks. I’ll be honest, this whole week has kind of shaken me a little. With my knee injury I’m wondering if I haven’t been squatting correctly or something...and now I’m wondering if I’m just trying to progress myself too quickly in general. The rowing thing was kind of the final straw. It’s not a great feeling...but maybe I’m just a little oversensitive today. Either way, it’s time to regroup. I think I need a day off. I’ve never had a workout program that was so reliant on technique where someone was there to watch you carefully and correct you so I’ve never felt like this before. Taking a step back will be good.

I hope you guys have a good night. I’ll let you know how it goes on Thursday (if I do go). Hopefully I have a better day. Haha.

- N