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!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Do Work

How many times have you heard someone yell DO WORK while you have been in the gym?  I never really thought twice about it.  It is just something you hear, and I have heard myself say it.  You are at the gym, and that weight isn't going to lift itself, so do work! 

I had one of those mind-blowing/game-changing moments the other day while playing on Facebook.  Let me back track a little.  A little info about me... I am a friend hoarder on Facebook.  I add friends left and right.  I especially add people when they are involved in things I love.  When I first joined CrossFit in Springfield East, I searched out the coaches right after a WOD with them and sent the Friend request. They are awesome, and I want to be their friends.

So after a WOD, I ran home and added Alissa, one of the coaches at the CrossFit in Springfield.  She was very nice to the newbie I was and really encouraged me while I was there.  She wasn't my coach long, but I kept her as a friend on Facebook (I hoard friends).  To me, she is very motivational, funny and talks about her WOD's, PR's and fitness goals a lot on Facebook. I find myself liking her status quite a bit.

The other day, she made a post talking about New Year Resolutions.  In her post, she talks about how people approach her about their goals and how to achieve them. She said a lot of times the conversation ends with the other person saying, "Well it's easy for you, because that's your job." 

She then reflected on that, and this is what she said:
"My job is to motivate and teach OTHER PEOPLE to workout. That is what I get paid to do. I do not get paid to workout. Then you could argue, 'Well it's easier for you, because you're already at the gym. You don't have to drive there.'  
"I'm sure we can all admit at some point, that some days we just want to go home as soon as we can, no matter how great our work environment, and I'll be the first to tell you mine is the best. Hell, I get to wear yoga pants all day, and when I get home, I change into comfier sweatpants. And that right there is all I need to argue that my job is better than yours. (Just kidding. To each their own. But really. My job rocks.) Some days I'm tired; I've been at the gym for 8 hours and it's only 1 pm, and I just want to go home, but I don't.  
"Working out is not my job, but I TREAT it like it's my job. I'm allowed some sick days, vacation, and 2 days off a week, like a job. It's mandatory. I can't not show up to work because I don't feel like it that day, so I have to suck it up and go anyway. I treat my workouts the same way. If it's not a rest day, and I'm not sick, I have to go. Not an option. I get paid in strength, confidence, good health, and some badass legs. (Sorry. Had to throw that in there to lighten the mood.) 
"So in conclusion, if your 2014 goal is to get fit, get healthier, etc., pretend you just hired yourself to work 5 days a week for yourself. Accept that job. The benefits are awesome."
 So this blew my mind. Treat my time at the gym like a job.  Clock in and DO WORK.  You don't miss work because the project your boss gave you that day is hard.  You do it. Don't cherry pick your workouts.  If you set a goal to run 5 days a week, guess what? When your alarm goes off in the morning, it's time to clock in and get those running shoes on and DO WORK.

If eating healthy is part of your goals, when you go to eat, clock in to your fitness job and eat healthy. Guess how you eat healthy?  You plan, you prep, you DO WORK before hand so you can be successful.  I know it is hard to prep your food Sunday night for the week, but do it. It's your job. Come job review time, you want all 5's and get that full raise.

But Chris.... I am just not feeling it today.  Go anyway.  Do something.  You are not expected to set PR's every day or run 20 miles every long run.  You "clock in" and DO WORK.  It might not be the best day at your job.  Trust me, everyday at my job isn't my best day, but I do have really good days.  I also have really good days while I am working out. The bad days have to happen; they help build that foundation.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rambling Man

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Hold your horses.  I know I said I would blog more.  I know I used to blog up to 6 times a week.  Usually when I stop blogging it means I have fallen off the wagon.  Well not this time.  I just got lazy with my blog....

So here I am, sitting in my living room, wearing my stretchy pants, thinking about how amazing and trying this last year has been.  I have done CrossFit every week since I started the first week of April.  I have gone at least 3 times a week.  Sometimes we make it to 5 days a week.  I've still not been able to do that elusive pull-up... but it will come.

My body is changing!  I know people can lift more than me and run farther than me, but this guy did a 355# back squat the other day.  He almost got a 405# dead lift. I did get 385.  I am able to crank out burpees and push ups. I did 200 air squats two weeks ago.  I am not sure you heard me... 200 air squats!  I love that I can do these things.  It took me a long time to get to where I am, and it is going to take me a long time to get to where I can do things RX every time, but guess what. I am moving forward.

I'm Jenn's Beast
I have lost about 50-55 lbs.  I am sitting around 300.  My goal is to lose about 80 more this year.  I've been really hit and miss with my diet.  It has always been the hardest for me.  I think I have it in check.  I am going to get more sleep.  Apparently that helps with weight loss..  

I am getting excited, BECAUSE this Saturday the 11th Jenn and I will be participating in a competition my box is putting on for all us members.  There aren't going to be standards, and things can be scaled.  This isn't a hardcore competition, just something we are doing for fun, and I am going to have fun doing it.

I'm also going back to school next week.  I'm trying to get into the Physical Therapy Assistant program.  I cannot wait.

This was a little bit of a ramble... cause I'm a rambling man. I plan on having structure and thought-out blogs down the road, but right now the first step to get me back into blogging is to sit down and do one... and then the magic happens.