Monday, December 8, 2014

Set Goals

I like to give myself goals.  And that is it..  The end of this blog post.  Goals..

But really, we need to set goals for ourselves. Otherwise, we just cruise through life.  I know some of you are thinking about how much you like putting on that cruise control and just cruising through life. Sounds like settling to me. You've settled for norm or for what someone else has told you is good enough.  Yeah, you think about maybe starting a diet or getting into shape, but it really doesn't go much further. The process of imagining yourself doing the healthy eating and running makes you feel really good, and you might even have the gumption to pack a healthy lunch that next day and maybe go for a run later.
You find yourself hungry or you might've went out to eat instead.  You go for that run, but that next day you are so sore.  And besides, I did it for one day.  I should reward myself with pizza for lunch because of how hard I worked out.  Maybe I will run again later... nope.  I am too sore.  Maybe I will start working out again once I have lost some weight.

Have you done this?  Why didn't this person succeed in their hope of losing weight or getting in shape?  They didn't have goals.  Too much having the desire to do something, but without a plan and goals, it is just a dream or a hope.  I hope I will be able to run a marathon.  Someday I will be in shape.  There is no follow through.

Trust me, I've done the example above more than I would like to admit, but what I am trying to do now is be better about how I make goals.  Earlier this year, I decided I wanted to be better at burpees.  I hated burpees.  I am pretty sure I have blogged here about how much I hate burpees.  So like anything in life, the only way to get better at them is to do more of them.  A lot more of them.  I know that with my personality, just setting up a training program wasn't going to work for me.  I needed to do something that people could help me stay accountable for.  So I got the crazy idea to do a burpee mile.

Me with my crazy idea
If you are not sure what a burpee mile is, you do a burpee and then jump as far as you can.  You keep doing this until you've completed a mile.  I knew I couldn't just go and do it.  For me, to make this dream a reality, I had to set goals. I knew I needed to train for it.  So I emailed Joe and told him of my crazy plan and asked him to write me a training program to help me get ready.  I also set a date on when I was going to do this crazy thing.  I also told EVERYONE.  I put it on Facebook. I talked about it at the gym.  People knew I was going to do a burpee mile.  When I was training, people would come comment or work with me.  People asked me how it was coming together.  All these things helped me stay accountable.  I knew I could do it.  And I did.

Right now, I am working towards losing weight.  I have tried and failed at it many times.  I really didn't have a set goal.  I was just going to try to eat better.  I kept failing at it, so I finally put myself out there and asked for help.  I asked my coaches at CFR to help me with nutrition and accountability.  I also told everyone about my goals and posted a really embarrassing photo of myself with my shirt off.  I also go weigh in twice a week and talk about how the week went and what I need to do better.  They hold me accountable.  Guess what?  This time the weight has been coming off, AND I am more motivated to eat healthy, because if I don't, I have to tell people why.  My friends also all know I am working on losing the weight, so they are all cheering me on and helping me achieve this goal too.

My new goal I have in the works.  This goal is something to help me with my weight loss.  I am going to row a half marathon.  I've done a few 5K's on the rower, and I have realized I can take the training I had learned when I was running and apply this to rowing.  So I had the idea.  I knew what I needed to do to make it a reality.  I started telling everyone I am going to row a half marathon in June.  I posted on Facebook today about it.  I talked to our endurance coach about a plan on how I can achieve this.  We came up with an idea on how many miles I should row in a week and how I should increase the mileage.  I now have a game plan.  I have accountability, and I have a date.  In June, it will be a reality.
My Noble Steed
My point to this post is not to tell you how awesome I am.  I am a pretty big deal....  RIGHT!  PLEASE LOVE ME.  But I am telling you this, because I know it works.  I have dreamed big many times in my life without any follow through. I have a lot of regrets, but I know this process works if I stick to it.  Make goals.  Write them out and how you plan on achieving them.  Ask for help.  Make it hard to fail when so many people want you to succeed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Guess What I Just Did!

I did a 30 inch box jump today. YEAH, I KNOW!  How freaking cool is that!

I never thought in a million years that someone could talk me into doing that, let alone actually doing it!  

It really got me thinking.  How many really cool things have I been able to do and will be able to do later because I am choosing to live a healthier lifestyle?

I want to be able to be there for my kids.  I don't want to be that dad who doesn't go to my kids' events, because I'd rather finish my raid in a video game.  I want to not only be able to go to my kids' events, but I want to be able to go on a run with them.  I want them to come to me as a father and also as a coach.

I already get to workout with my wife.  We get to make a lot of the same friends doing something we love. Our kids saw Jenn doing some pull-ups the other day.  Micah has now started doing pull-ups. We were doing sit-ups on the GHD machine, and Devon walked over when we were done and tried doing them.  They see us being active and healthy, and they want to emulate that and when they are old enough, we get to do it together.

Paige and Micah joined the Clever Running Club at their school.  They have been running after school 2 days a week since school started.  They love it.  Paige has come a long way, and Micah, like his mom, is a natural at it.  This last Saturday, they ran the mile route at the Shelby's Run in Clever. Jenn has won the 10k twice in the last three years but decided not to run it this year so she could run with Paige. I told Micah to pace himself, but like I do on race day, he took off way too fast.  Jenn and Paige started off on a nice trot.
Paige and Jenn 
Devon and I hung out at the starting line chatting with others and at about the 8 minute mark, I saw a familiar figure turn the corner.  I realized no one had crossed the finish line yet.  I started yelling to Micah, "COME ON, BUDDY!  FINISH STRONG!"  He took off in a sprint to the finish.  He later told me that people cheering for him gave him energy and my cheering gave him the extra energy to run harder.  While I was cheering, a couple of the other parents said, "That boy is fast," and "Wow, he did it so fast."  He won the mile run!  He did it in 8:43. Paige had an accident about a half mile in, but she did great before then.  She would've finished too, but we had to run her home to change her. So proud of my family.
Micah winning the mile run
I cannot wait to see what new things my healthy choices will bring my way and how high my box jumps will go up once the weight comes down more.  In the two weeks I have been trying to eat healthy, I have lost 15 pounds!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Running and CrossFit, Why They Both Rule

I wanted to title this blog "Running vs. CrossFit," but I didn't feel like that was a good way to start this thing. "Running and CrossFit, Why They Both Rule," was better. As I have been starting down my weight loss journey again, I have looked back on when I started running and how that was such a great time in my life.  I got down to 244 pounds from 333 when I was running.  That is pretty awesome.  I am not running anymore, but I am doing CrossFit.  I am a friend hoarder, so any endeaver I start, I add as many people as I can as friends in that pursuit.  So I get to see a lot of running and CrossFit posts daily.

When I started running, I quickly made many friends in the running community.  Life-long friends. When I started CrossFit, I quickly made many friends in the CrossFit community. Life-long friends. I have noticed both sides tend to think the other side is crazy.  Even though CrossFit does preach the importance of having endurance, and running coaches do preach the importance of cross training.

My observations:

1. Both are very passionate about what they do.
I am pretty sure I posted just as much about running on Facebook as I do CrossFit now.  Maybe CrossFitters are a little more vocal as a whole about what they are doing, but I have several CrossFit friends who never post about it.

I think the obsession on posting so much about CrossFit is because it is still new for so many people. There are so many fun and different things to do, and then you start getting PR's and lifting heavier. You are doing things you never thought about before.  I think I can swap out the word "CrossFit" for "running" and it would almost work.  I remember how excited I was the first time I ran 30 minutes without stopping, I posted about it.  Or when I got blisters on my feet.  When you start doing something good for your body and your body starts changing, you get super excited!

2. Injuries happen.
I remember when I was talking to friends about how I wanted to start running to lose weight. I had several people tell me how bad it was for my knees, or how they tried to run but got hurt.  Guess what? I got injured a few times when I was running.  My knees did hurt some.  I stepped wrong and twisted my ankle.  Sometimes I over-trained and tried to run more miles than I was ready to run. Sometimes I would get blisters the size of silver dollars on my feet. Some of these injuries could have been prevented if I would've listened to my coach or running partners.  Sometimes they just happen. If you don't listen to your body or to the people who know more than you, then yes, you can get injured from being stupid.

I remember when I was talking to friends about how I wanted to start CrossFit to lose weight.  I had several people tell me how bad it was for my knees, or how they tried it a few times but got hurt. Guess what? I have been injured a few times doing CrossFit.  My knees do hurt sometimes. I jumped off a box and rolled my ankle.  Sometimes I over-train and try to lift more weight than I am ready for. Sometime I tear my hands from doing pull-ups.  Some of these injuries could have been prevented if I would've listened to my coach or lifting partners.  Sometimes they just happen.  If you don't listen to your body or the people who know more than you, then yes, you can get injured from being stupid.

3. It does amazing things for you.
I remember when I first started running, I thought it was going to kill me.  I could not even run from one light post to the other. But with anything you stick to and keep at, it gets better, and the weight came off quickly. I remember really looking forward to getting my 5 runs in a week.  The feeling of that runner's high that would stay with you throughout the day. I loved that. I miss it.

I remember when I first started CrossFit, I thought it was going to kill me. I could not even finish the first few minutes of the workout. But with anything you stick with and keep at, it gets better.  The weight didn't come off as quickly partly because I wasn't eating like I should.  I do look forward to getting my 4-5 workouts in the week.  The feeling of finishing a really hard workout carries you through the day. I love it too.

I can keep doing this all day.  I wanted to point out the similarities between the two things.  Maybe the two camps can have a little more understanding for each other.  My wife still runs 3-4 times a week, and she does 3-4 CrossFit workouts a week, too.  I remember when one of my running friends told me I should run more, "CrossFitters don't run, and they hate running."  But to be honest, I don't think a lot of CrossFitters love running.  I remember at this year's Tanger Throwdown, they announced the first workout was a 5k.  You should've seen how pissed off people were.  I heard one girl say, "THIS ISN'T CROSSFIT!" The funny thing is that she is wrong.  Running is a part of CrossFit!

I asked our endurance coach at CrossFit Republic, James Pettit, why running is important for a person who wants to do CrossFit.
"It's important to run while doing CrossFit, because endurance is part of the 10 general physical skills. But beyond that, it's a super accessible way for anyone to get into fitness. Also, endurance is a huge part of being better at CrossFit. Once that 10-minute mark hits, a person's endurance comes out in a big way. In order to be more competitive, you need endurance, and I believe running is one of the best ways to acquire it."
James was a runner before he ever found CrossFit, and he has crushed his previous PR's since he started his regular WODs. My wife can say the same thing. She just ran a 1:38 half-marathon, her best time ever and a 5-minute improvement!
Coach James
I wanted to get to the bottom of why running is hated by CrossFitters, and why do CrossFitters hate running so much? I liked it a lot when I was doing it. I fail at it now,though, and that makes me not enjoy it that much anymore.  So I put the question to our endurance coach James.
"I don't think all hate it but a lot do. Here's my opinion of why. Running is boring, slow, lonely, and not glamorous. None of those adjectives are used to describe CrossFit. CrossFitters love CrossFit, because it's fast, exciting, loud, and community-based. Typical CrossFit hashtags: liftheavyshit, beastmode, etc. So taking this and combining it with the 'why run' info above, I think CrossFitters eventually come around to embracing running, because it's a weakness that needs to be attacked in most people."
Maybe we will see more and more running in CrossFit.

I remember my coach Shannon Cochran from Nixa Running would always preach how important any kind of cross training is.  It doesn't have to be CrossFit; it can be many different things.  So I asked her, "Why is it important to run and cross train? If it's CrossFit, yoga, body pump or anything."  I really enjoyed her response.
"Cross training is important for any sport. It can reduce the chance of an overuse injury with one specific exercise. Cross training for runners, for example, needs to be something that mimics the heart rate of running. Examples are cycling, rowing, skiing, etc. It needs to be challenging but use different muscles.
Strength training is important  to runners and cyclist because it builds those muscles up to where they can sustain the hard work these two exercises put on particular muscles. 
I am a believer that endurance runners need endurance strength training: more reps, lower weight.
It is irrelevant if a runner can squat hundreds of pounds if their back, glutes, and abs (core) are weak from ignoring them.
A runner and cyclist both need ST for upper body. As you know carrying your arms in the same position for HOURS can be exhausting. ST (at an endurance level) can help with that fatigue. 
Three fundamentals of fitness are: cardiovascular, strength training, and flexibility. Pilates and or yoga are great for runners. 
A lot of heavy lifters forget they still need to work their Hearts. Cardiovascular health is as equally important as being functionally strong."
Shannon doesn't just run. She cycles, stair climbs, goes to body pump classes, rows and teaches boot camp.  I would never challenge her to a plank contest.  I don't think I know of many people who could hold a plank longer than her.
Coach Shannon
My unprofessional opinion from just someone who has been immersed in both worlds, I feel like it is important to find balance in running/endurance activities with strength training. I, for one, am going to make an effort to start running more.  Who knows, I might even sign up for a race.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chinese Food... It's A Problem

I love Chinese food.  Like, I really, really love Chinese food. I've been known to go to lunch at Pacific Kitchen in Springfield 5 times in a week.  They know my order.  I don't have to tell them.  I get the Sweet and Sour daily special with an extra egg roll.

Food Porn
My boss picked up my lunch one day, and when he gave them my order, they said, "Oh, I know who this is for.  Tell Chris hi!"  (Part of them knowing me is that I will talk to everyone, and everyone is my friend.) So, if I look back on it, I realize that in the work week alone I spent almost 30 bucks!

I have a problem. As in I would eat the lunch Jenn packed me, and THEN I would go get Chinese food. The thought of not being able to eat this really made me sad.  I know some of you do not understand that feeling, but when you have a food addiction, the thought of not eating all the favorite foods anymore truly make you sad.  I got depressed.  I was okay with not getting Wendy's or Taco Bell (BTW, the new breakfast bacon crunch wraps are amazing... I mean gross) or all my other haunts. Just the thought of giving up my sweet and sour was almost too much for me to handle.

When I tried and failed at eating healthy before, I would start the week out right. Come Wednesday, I would justify buying just one egg roll at lunch, because I had already done so well that week.  Then the next day, I would buy the lunch, and Friday, I would get the extra egg roll and some extra rice... because I already fell off the wagon.

So what am I to do? How do I take my weakness and make it into a strength? I BET YOU WANT TO KNOW!  Other times I would take a free day on Saturday.  I would then hit up a Chinese buffet and CRUSH IT.  You better believe I can put some hurt on a buffet. I would continue to eat like that the whole weekend.
Me going into a buffet
Afterwards, I feel terrible every time. While I am eating, I'm happy. But right after, I am in pain.
Leaving the buffet
So I figured out what I am going to do. I posted the other day that if I lose any weight that week when I weigh in on Monday, I can add 1000 calories to one of my meals, a total of 1400.  My friend Raymond from CFR gave me that tip, and it has helped him a lot. When he told me, I thought it was a great idea, and that I was going to do that.  Later that night as I was thinking on it, I realized I could have Chinese food again once a week!

I got so excited.  At work that next day, I kept telling everyone about PK Monday.  I would just turn to my boss and say, "Guess what? I get PK on Monday."  I think he got sick of it after the 7th time I told him.

So I weighed in on Monday, and I had lost 9 pounds for the week.  I didn't run off to get my fix right away.  I didn't weigh in until after work.  I didn't want to slam my dinner and then go workout, so I put it off until Tuesday.

I got my trusty app, MyFitnessPal, and figured out that if I didn't get the wontons that come in the meal and only eat the one egg roll, it would be about 1000 calories.  I was going to be 400 short.  I was happy with that.  I threw off the girls at the counter by not ordering the extra stuff and by asking the wontons to be left off. I destroyed the lunch.  I ate it way too fast.  Next time I will take my time.

It was the best PK I ever had.  Do you know why it was so good?  It was because I earned it.  I was good throughout the week and to me it tasted that much better. I wasn't uncomfortable after I ate it because it was a "normal" sized portion.  My stomach didn't know what to do with it, though.  When I got back to work, it started rumbling.  After eating clean and healthy for a week, it didn't like it.

I can still love my Chinese food, but if I eat it sparingly, it will taste that much better to me. And I am still within my calorie allotment for that day, too. I got on the scale the next morning, worried that I ruined everything, and I found that I was down another 2 pounds.

What I feel like I can take away from this is we need to find a balance in life. I go from one extreme to another, but when I lose the weight, I can balance the foods I enjoy with the healthy stuff.
Cake is a sometimes food

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

That's How Winning Is Done

Being mentally tough is something I struggle with.  I logically know what I need to do, but when the going gets tough, sometimes I stop going.  Not all the time.  But enough that it is something I need to improve on.  If I try to start eating healthy, I might have all intentions on doing well on Monday, but come Friday, ask me how I did.  I’ll tell you how I started the week off right, but around Wednesday or Thursday, I fell off the wagon. Then I will make some kind of joke about eating Chinese food.  We will have a laugh about how we all love Chinese food, but then when you leave, I feel fat and like a failure, because I wasn’t tough.  I gave up, because I wanted to eat the junk more than I wanted to be healthy.

I am not sure how people go to a “dark place” in a workout.  I am not as mentally tough as they are.  I am not able to suffer through a workout. Sometimes a third of the way through it, I start thinking to myself, “Why the hell am I doing this?" Is that being mentally tough?  I see people who love the hard workouts.  I want to love the hard workout! Instead of thinking of why this is hard, I want to think about how much this will improve me.

I’ve been trying to lose weight and become better in the gym, but I felt like I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted and needed.  I wasn’t losing weight, because I wasn’t eating like I should.  I wasn’t hitting my goals in the gym, because I wasn’t eating like I should, and I wasn’t pushing myself to my fullest potential in the workouts.  I had to humble myself and ask for help.  I personally could not do it on my own; I’ve tried.  So I reached out to my friends and coaches for help.

My "before" photo 11/17/2014
I’ve started a weight-loss program with Macy.  He is one of the owners and coaches of CrossFit Republic and has a lot of experience with nutrition and strength.

Coach Macy
His Dad, Scott, is also coaching me on my weight loss.  He has recently lost 50+ pounds and looks great! He has struggled with a lot of the same issues I struggle with.  I also have my coaches at CrossFit Republic who are going to help me stay on track at the gym and give me little extra credit workouts throughout the week.  Joe wrote me the training  program for the burpee mile and is always quick to give me some extra things to do.
Coach Joe and I at Shredfest
So I put my trust in my coaches and promised myself I will follow the plan they set up for me.  I am going to be weighing in twice a week.  On Monday and Thursday after work is when I weigh in. This will keep me honest throughout the week.  Scott gave me his nutrition guild lines that he used to lose the weight.  This is the start of week 2 and when I weighed in on Monday, I was down a total 9 pounds for last week.  I always drop weight fast at the start because a lot of it is water weight and just cleaning out all the junk. So far so good.  I am going to be posting here to update everyone how it is going.  Posting on my blog last time I lost a lot of weight was a huge piece of the puzzle for me, because it was another level
of accountability.

A cool thing that we are doing this time around is we are doing a free meal IF I lose weight that week. The free meal isn’t a free-for-all, eat- everything-in-sight free meal, but I get an extra 1000 calories for one of my meals one day. I can eat that one meal or thing that I have been craving all week.  It is also after my weigh in on Monday, so I have to be good throughout the weekend.  This is when I am the weakest.  So I have motivation to eat healthy and stay on the plan throughout the weekend. Before I would do a free day on Saturdays, and it would turn into free weekend, and I would pretty much undo all my hard work throughout the week.

Macy sent me this quote last night from the movie Rocky Balboa.  It struck true to me.

"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that, and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!" –Rocky Balboa

 It feels like at times I keep getting hit, and I feel hopeless.  There are days I just want to give up and be fat and eat what I want.  I have to keep getting up and keep moving forward for me and for my family. I am worth it, and I have to go out and get it.  Sometimes it takes humbling yourself and asking for help, but that is okay! That’s how winning is done.

Monday, January 13, 2014

CrossFit Republic's Winter WOD Off

Yesterday, I participated in my first ever CrossFit competition.  It was an in-house competition and a ton of fun.

The week leading up to the competition I was very excited and nervous. It was going to be with the people I have been working out with at my home box, but still, it was a competition.  I had three goals. 1. Set a new PR by squat cleaning and front squatting 205.  The squat wasn't going to be the issue; it was the clean.  2. Finish all the WOD's in the allotted time period. 3. Don't finish last.

Friday night, I went to CFR because we had to do childcare, and I wanted to practice my squat cleans.  They felt good, but I did get in my head a little.  I was over thinking what I was doing.  So I stretched some and visited with some of the others, discussing strategy for the first two WOD's.  I had a good healthy dinner, and I tried to go to bed early.  I couldn't get to bed.  It took me a long time to get to sleep and then at 5 am, I was wide awake.  I tried to lay in bed and get some more rest.  I just took the time to visualize myself doing the squat clean.  Really getting the third pull and getting under the bar.

Oh course, it was a mad dash to get out the door that morning.  We had to get the kids ready and fed.  We forgot to put our clothes for the day in the dryer.  So we were drying our clothes. Trying to eat.  Jenn was just as nervous as I was, so we were both talking goals and strategy.

When we got to the gym, we signed in and put the kids back in the play room.  We then started slowly warming up and visiting with friends. At this point, I was ready to go.  I was in good spirits and full of energy.

WOD 1&2
WOD's 1 and 2 were combined in the first workout.  The first 8 minutes we established a max load for the strength complex of 1 clean and 2 front squats. The last two minutes we did as many double unders (or singles at a 3x1 ratio) as we could.

Jenn did really well.  She set a 10 pound PR on her clean.  She was able to power clean 105 with the two squat cleans.  It did take her three tries to get it and on one of her attempts, it pancaked her.  She got too far back in her heals when she tried to squat clean it, and the weight fell back on her.  She was fine, got pissed off and cranked it out.  She then rocked her jump ropes.  It was awesome to see how pumped she got after hitting that 10 pound PR.

I had a good strategy coming into the lift thanks to one of our coaches, Joe.  He told me to warm up with a weight that I want to start with.  So I was able to match my PR of 185 on my first attempt while warming up.  When the WOD started, I ran over and threw on 185 and cranked it out no problem.  Felt good.  I then jumped to 195. It felt good.  The squat clean felt good and the squat was no problem.  I really focused on getting under that bar.  I still had plenty of time, so I went for 200.  It wasn't pretty, but I did it.  I pulled a little two early and really had to fix the bar position while in my squat.  I felt it in my wrist.  Then there I was at 205.  I still had 4 minutes on the clock to do it.  I took my time.  Took a few deep breaths and went for it.  I missed it.  Again I didn't get my arms through fast enough, and I had to drop it.  I still had plenty of time.  I walked up to the bar, closed my eyes and visualized myself doing the perfect squat clean.  Took a deep breath and pulled.  It felt so smooth. I pulled that trigger once my hamstrings where loaded and just felt that bar fly up.  I dropped down into that squat, pulled my arms through and felt it land on my "meat rack" in the perfect front squat position.  I pushed my knees out and lifted that weight.  I went down for my second squat and as soon as I came up, I heard all my friends cheer.  I did it!  I got my goal, and it felt really good. So I tried for 215!  Why not!  Let's do this thing.  Riding that high from a big PR, I grabbed that bar and pulled, maybe a little too soon or too hard, but when I dropped down for that squat, it hit me right in the chest and knocked me over.  At that point, I knew I was done.  I decided to get ready for my jump rope. I was tied for 4th after this.

I had no idea how hard it would be to do jump ropes after doing front squats.  I didn't do as well as I thought I could, but I did it.  I got 7th.

My shoulder was a little sore after the WOD, so I rolled it out a little and stretched.  Then I ate a protein bar and drank some water.  Tried to stay warm and relaxed.

5 Minute AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) 5 Air Squats, 5 Push-ups, 5 Box Jumps 20/24 inch

Jenn got first on this event.  She was able to complete 10 full rounds in 5 minutes.  She flew and seemed to get faster as she was working.  Anything like this is in her wheel house.  She is so strong and quick that she was able to fly through the movements and really pogo through those box jumps.  She is a rockstar, and I love her so much!

I knew that the box jumps where going to slow me down.  We could step up onto the boxes, so I knew that was what I needed to do from the start.  My goal was to keep moving and rest at the top of the box if I needed it. I came in dead last on this event but not by a lot.  I was pretty close to some of the others.

I took some time to stretch and drink some protein.  They had not posted the last WOD yet, but I figured it was going to be a chipper.

12 minute time cap
5 Sprints between the cones and the rack
25 Wall Balls 14/20
5 Sprints
25 Kettlebell Swings
5 Sprints
25 Burpees
5 Sprints
25 Deadlifts 105/185
5 Sprints

I am not going to lie.  My heart dropped when I saw this WOD.  Burpees...  It had to be burpees.  Jenn was excited.  She felt pretty confident going into this WOD. She was sitting at 4th overall and felt like she could step it up in this WOD. I felt like I was going to lose my 9th place standing.  I was 9th out of 11 and knew that it would be a struggle to finish under the 12 minute time cap let alone complete it.

Jenn rocked it.  She was right next to her best friend Crystal through the whole competition.  They are both competitive, and they push each other to be stronger.  They also run together.  It is really cool to see them compete.  Jenn barely squeaked out the win of WOD 3 by one rep, so I was pretty sure Crystal was determined to win WOD 4. Crystal started off strong in the wall balls and established the lead pretty quick. Jenn was able to stay a couple of reps behind her through the kettlebells. I thought Jenn would be able to make up some ground on the burpees but not at all.  Crystal and Jenn did all 25 unbroken.  I think she might of gained a little at this point. It was down to the deadlifts.  Crystal got to the bar first and had her first 3 deadlifts done before Jenn was able to get her first.  Crystal broke them into smaller sets and Jenn tried to do them unbroken to catch Crystal.  Jenn did have to put the bar down after 13 and took a few breaths and finished her 12.  Crystal finished in 5:54, and Jenn finished in 6:01.  It was awesome!

So before my turn to do this, I was dared to take my shirt off and bro out when I did my deadlifts.  I am still fat.  I am losing weight but still fat.  See the photo of me above for a reference.

I knew the running back and forth wasn't a strong suit for me, so my strategy was to catch my breath on the sprints and go a little slower.  I have never been good at the 20 pound wall balls.  It tends to smash me in the face when I do them, and this didn't change at all.  My second wall ball came back down and hit me right on the nose.  It felt like I was punched in the face.  I saw stars.  After that, I couldn't find a rhythm. I kept no repping by not hitting the wall or not throwing it up high enough.  It was very frustrating.  Kettlebell swings went okay, but instead of going unbroken like I planned, I had to rest a few times.

I hate burpees.  I finished my sprints and started on them.  I knew I was in trouble after my first 5.  I felt delirious.  I would do a couple then ask my judge Jen how many I was at.  I knew I had to finish this WOD.  So I tried to break them into sets of 5.  It was not easy and the frustrating part was almost everyone else was done with the WOD at this point.

I kept pushing and got my "sprints" in.  So remember when I said I was delirious from doing my burpees? Well further proof of that was when I got over to the bar, I took my shirt off and threw it to Jenn.  I heard a lot of cheering, but I am pretty sure I heard some "ewws" as well.  Oh well.  Those were the hardest deadlifts I have ever done.  Remember the clock was still running, and I was almost out of time.  Everyone was cheering me on and yelling for me.  That was pretty cool.  I tried to string them into 5, but ended up doing one at a time until the last 5.  Everyone was cheering and yelling.

I totally forgot I had to run 5 more sprints.  I remember thinking to myself, "I wish I had my shirt on still; no one needs to see this sexy thing swing in the wind." Oh well.  I had less than a minute.  I got it done.  Everyone cheered for me.  That felt amazing.  Knowing so many people cared if I finished and got my goal.  Jenn ran over to me with my shirt, and I just laid there.

Jenn got third place!  She did amazing.  Crystal got first.  She is such a strong competitor.  WOD's 1 & 2 hurt Jenn.  She can't throw the steal around like some of the others... yet!

I thought for sure I would've ended up in last place because of how slow I was on that last WOD. But because of how good I did in WOD 1, it helped me stay in 10th out of 11.  I got all my goals!  205 squat clean PR, finish all the WODS in the allotted time, and not come in last.  I cannot wait to do this again next year to see how much I improve!

We have the best box and the best coaches.  Thank you so much for putting on our in-house competition.  I learned a lot about myself and really pushed.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Say Hello

Remember that first time you ever walked into a gym, or met with a fitness group?  Remember how that felt?  Nervouscited!

For many people, it took a lot to get to that point to even walk through those doors.  It was a long process. Some might have a few pounds to lose, and others have several hundred.  Some just had something to change in their life. Some are looking for a friend.  Those that decide to change and go to a gym, box, boot camp, Zumba class and running group all had to start somewhere.  For a lot of people, that first time they go can make or break them.

Just remember how you felt when you first decided to join a gym or group.  I remember the times when people would walk up to me and befriend me, and I remember the times when no one talked to me and I didn't ever want to go back.

It is so important to say "hi" to a new face.  Welcome them!  Try to learn their name.  I'm terrible with names, but I try really hard to learn the names of my new friends at the gym. I was always so impressed when a coach remembered my name. Those who are new need to know that they have a friend at their new gym, box, boot camp, Zumba class or running group. It might be the difference in them making a long-term commitment rather than flaking out after a few times.

Here are some tips on what you can do to befriend the new person at the gym.
1. Say "hello".
          Simply telling a person "hi" and asking them their name is a big deal.  I still remember when Jarrod at CrossFit Springfield East came up to me, introduced himself, and welcomed me to CrossFit.  He showed me around and answered all my questions when I was just dropping in to see what it was all about.

2. Introduce them to others.
          You've made a lot of friends at this point at the gym or in your group.  Introduce the newcomers to your friends.  The next time they come and if you are not there, they will gravitate towards the people you introduced them to!

3. Workout with them.
         Don't just say "hi" and leave them.  Take the time to show them where things are.  Involve them in the rotation of the strength complex.  Run the first couple of miles with them.  Work with them.  This will go a million miles.  They will not be afraid to go to you for help.

4. Invite them back and encourage them.
         A lot of times they are so excited they just did the workout.  They might be dead tired, but they are excited. Tell them they did a good job, and invite them back.  Tell them you are excited to see them again.

5. When they do come back, talk to them.
        They may be sore, but they are ready for more. Talk to them about it. Talk about when you started and how you felt.

We all can use some new friends in our lives. So be the person you hoped to meet when you first joined the gym, box, boot camp, Zumba class or running group. Everyone wants to feel welcome. Friendship is magic!