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Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

More Pelvic Thrusts!

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2012 at 11:38 am

Yesterday was a whirlwind of paper-grading and procrastination-induced apartment cleaning, so I have a bit of blogger backup. I’ll start with yesterday’s workout:

Back Squats 3×5

Bench Press 3×5

3 sets of dips to failure (9, 9, 9 on the dip station… thinking about moving to the rings soon)

Metcon: 5 rounds of 5 thrusters and 400m run.

The metcon wasn’t pulled from any source in particular. Rather, I felt like I’d had done thrusters in a while, and I was itching to sprint, so I just collapsed those two elements into a WOD. It went well. I love how my strength is improving on this program, and how each of the lifts feels more stable each time (I don’t know how else to describe this change, but just the sheerconfidence I feel going into them is different now). However, my conditioning is definitely suffering. Hopefully whenever I get to a point where I’m happier with my strength, I can up the endurance work again.

Also, in my spurt of domesticity yesterday, I cobbled together a 3-ingredient Coconut Banana Ice Cream. I’m the world’s laziest cook. I’d say that I’m an awful cook (and I probably am), but the truth is really that I don’t try often enough to even find out if I’m awful. I just go with low-maintenance, few-ingredient foods. I’m also a big fan of blenders and food processors. The procedure is always simple: put crap in bowl, pulverize until pasty, enjoy (oftentimes, eat straight from the processor with a spoon). This recipe’s pretty awesome. It can also be done with avocado, cocoa powder, and bananas (sounds weird, I know but I promise it’s delicious), or nut butter and bananas, or if you’re feeling super low-maintanence, you can turn it into one-ingredient ice cream.

Now for today. I added another 5 lbs to my deadlift, and that felt good… dips are up to 10 unbroken. We re-did the baseline today and I came in within 1 second of my old time. I’m not surprised. Unfortunately, at this point, in order to improve my baseline time, I need to become a faster runner and I need to smooth out my kipping pull-ups. What I find really frustrating is that I can do about 8 strict, unbroken pull-ups, and I can do a substantial number of kipping pull-ups without dropping from the bar, but my kips are… hideous. I’ve ingrained in my muscle memory a sort of weird half-kip in between each pull, which means I probably take about double the time I should to get through my pull-ups in each WOD. I wanted to practice after the WOD today, but I tore a callous so that will have to wait until another day… I’m uncoordinated in general, but I blame this particular weakness on my awful hip awareness. I don’t know why, but I can never recruit power from my hips like I should… more pelvic thrusts!

Today’s metcon was a fun one. The first time I’ve used 1.5pd in a WOD. The thing’s fucking heavy. At one point, it actually launched me off my feet and I sprawled gracefully facefirst onto the rubber floor. However, I find some twisted satisfaction in playing with weights heavy enough to throw me around– is that strange?


12 minute AMRAP

30 single unders

20 Russian kettlebell swings (2pd/1.5pd)

10 box jumps

I’ll write something more contemplative another time.Today, more grading awaits. If you’re curious, Penn State underclassmen enjoy writing narratives about death, love, sometimes death and love, and oftentimes death of love. And actually one eerily disturbing nonfiction essay on love of death…


Happy Monday.

Heroes Exist

In WOD on April 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm

In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.
This workout was one of Mike's favorites and he'd named it "Body Armor". From here on it will be referred to as "Murph" in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

It is late April, but the temperature dwindles below 40 degrees. An unlikely band of students, professionals, veterans, and retirees have crowded into a CrossFit box in State College, PA. They bend back over foam rollers, nudge lacrosse balls into joints and knotted muscle, and wait for the cue. I am among them. At 11:30, my designated heat will begin– wave two of “The Murph”– an annual tributary WOD conducted to raise money for the Wounded Warrior project, in honor of Lt. Michael Murphy.


1 mile run

100 pull-ups

200 push-ups

300 air squats

1 mile run.

Athletes can divide the middle portion into any configuration (typically, 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats), but the workout must begin and end with a mile run. The real warriors do it with a weight vest.

I’m very fond of Murph. The first time our box programmed the workout, we did it as a partner WOD. Teams had to carry a medicine ball for the mile run, passing it from partner to partner as each individual wearied. Partner WODs are just incredible for motivation. Try running beside someone clutching 16 lbs to her chest and I dare you to slow down. And when she passes you that ball– this unwieldy, sticky burden that you balance against your hip, your stomach, your shoulder, though it won’t fit anywhere– you pound forward step by step because she tells you that you can, because you’ve just watched her carry it for the last half-mile without complaint, and now it’s your turn.

Last summer, after we finished the WOD, when we were all safely inside the box and stretching, I managed my first-ever kipping pull-up. I was tired enough that I stopped overthinking it, and the adrenaline was still pumping so that, when I jumped up to the bar, I strung several effortlessly together despite months of flailing to failure.

Today, I was fortunate enough to have a buddy again. I’m glad I chose to do it as a partner WOD– 1) because I enjoy the camaraderie, and 2) because I’m hoping to be relatively fresh for my squat and bench day tomorrow. Also, Scotchy makes for good WOD company (and has also provided me with a larger supply of whiskey than a stressed-out grad student should ever have access to…)

Though I’ve heard it several times before, I was still moved when one of the veterans read aloud Michael Murphy’s citation before the WOD:

While leading a mission to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June 2005, operating in an extremely rugged enemy-controlled area, Lieutenant Murphy’s team was discovered by anti-coalition militia sympathizers, who revealed their position to Taliban fighters. As a result, between 30 and 40 enemy fighters besieged his four member team. Demonstrating exceptional resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly led his men in engaging the large enemy force. The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of the team. Ignoring his own wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lieutenant Murphy continued to lead and encourage his men. When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his beleaguered teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communicating in the extreme terrain, and in the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into open terrain to gain a better position to transmit a call. This deliberate, heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate support for his team. In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom.

This morning’s tribute was a small, humbling reminder that real heroes do exist. We are surrounded by and defended by so many acts of courage unseen– large and small. The small comforts we have– the stolen moments with friends and family, warm meals and warm blankets– are products of generations of hard work and sacrifice. I think it’s a healthy practice to remember this once a while, in our own private ways. Some do it through prayer, some through meditation, some with a couple miles of screaming muscles and sore limbs.

Dynamic Pushups

In WOD on April 27, 2012 at 10:36 am

I’m pretty stunned by what a difference slowly things down and being a little more patient with my lifts is making. I mean, it should be/should have been obvious, but building back up from the basics has given me a lot more confidence in my lifts, and they just feel stronger/more stable now when I do them. I hope that lasts. Anyway, yesterdays squats and press went well. I feel like I’m getting much better acquainted with the bottom position of the squat and building confidence in my ability to get back up once I sink well below parallel. Afterwards, I did a quick AMRAP involving farmer’s carry, push presses, and box jumps. Nothing spectacular, but it worked nicely as a way to round out the day.

Today was power clean day, and along that same vein, I’m amazed by how light the 5×3 felt. Before this, my cleans kept stagnating, but I’ve been able to add weight every week… I was hoping to sprint today, but the weather’s disgusting and cold so I opted for something more indoorsy. Adapted from a CrossFit Football WOD:

5 rounds

12 walking lunges (~30-40% of your squat 1rm) I just used a 45lb bar on my back

12 dynamic pushups (These involve an explosive push up, where you land with both hands on an elevated surface. I used a 45lb plate on either side)

250m row

The dynamic pushups catch up with you fast, but I’m enjoying all these CFFB push-up variations. In WODs with high-rep pushups, I eventually let my form slide, but the explosive component of this push-up forces you to pause and collect your strength before each one. It’s self-correcting… if you don’t use enough force, your hands won’t leave the ground and you won’t complete the movement.

Anyway… lots of seminar paper-ing to do today, and my thesis reading is this afternoon (!) so I can’t stick around and chat. Happy last day of classes to my fellow Penn-Staters.

Annie the Good Girl, Eva the She-Orc

In Training, WOD on April 25, 2012 at 10:46 am

Yesterday was an optional conditioning day, so I kept things simple and just went in for the box’s WOD:





(3 minute rest)

500m row for time

I think of Annie as the “good girl” of the CrossFit Girls. Fran’s the angry female lacrosse player with a possible steroid problem that steals your lunch money and makes you cry. Cindy’s the athletic, pretty, know-it-all that’s probably out of your league. Eva probably looks like this:

(For those of you who don’t know, Eva involves 5 rounds of 800m run, 30 kettlebell swings at 32kg– that’s over 70lbs, and 30 pull-ups).

But Annie is usually  delightful and harmless. At our box, we’ve used Annie as a warm-up more than once. Yesterday was the first time I’ve attempted Annie since I’ve been able to connect ~20ish double-unders unbroken. I still stumbled a few times and struggled to regain my rhythm, but I wasn’t too displeased with them. I am, however, surprised that my abs are pretty damn sore today. I’ve done Annie more times than I can remember and I rarely feel it afterwards. Have I been neglecting my core work? I could also attribute it to poor recovery nutrition yesterday. I was running around all day so I had a huge binge meal after the gym and another one around 9:30ish pm, but was stuck mostly grazing on light snack-ish items as I ran from place to place all day. Either way, I’m glad today’s a “rest day” (read: fifteen hours of teaching, seminars, and student meetings). Also, I’m hoping to print and bind the thesis today!

Something that caught my attention: the founders of Whole9 have started a “five movements” series in which they interview twelve widely respected fitness experts and ask them the following question: If you could only perform five exercise movements for the rest of your life, which five would you do?

Part One includes interviewees such as Rob MacDonald, Training Director at the infamously sadistic Gym Jones, as well as James Fitzgerald from OPT, and Dallas Hartwig– one of the Whole 9 founders.

Part Two features Krista Scott-Dixon, the Lean Eating Program Director at Precision Nutrition, as well as Olympics ski champion Eva Tawrdokens, and Greg Everett from The Performance Menu.

I noticed some trends. Deadlifts: the experts agree– we should do them. And I should probably improve my form. Pull-ups are also good, and probably the best gauge of one’s strength relative to body mass. Squats are also popular, and people seem fond of the airdyne, which I’ve never tried but am now very intrigued. Alas, no burpees on any of the lists ;). What about you? If you had to limit yourself to five exercise moments, what would they be?

Happy hump day,


Deadlifts and Snow

In Training, WOD on April 23, 2012 at 9:47 am

Some days, you wake up and you lift your old deadlift one rep max for five reps without realizing that it was once your projected, untested 1rm. These are good days. Some days, you wake up as an Arizonan in Pennsylvania and you discover that it’s fucking snowing– no, blizzarding— on April 23rd. These are less good days. Sometimes these events combine and you learn to live with it.

After the deadlifts, today’s WOD, courtesy of the Mean Machine was a total blast:

As many reps as possible of burpees:

10 seconds ON , rest 50 second

20 seconds ON , rest 40 second

30 seconds ON , rest 30 second

40 seconds ON , rest 20 second

50 seconds ON , rest 10 second

1 minute ON: rest 3 minutes,

then…. 3 rounds for time:

30 kettlebell sumo deadlift high pull (1.5/1)

30 AS

I think I was a little overzealous about the burpees. I was smoked for part two, but I regret nothing!

That said, I’m happy with the strength programming right now and trying not to fuck too much with it. However, the box is hosting the Warrior Games on Saturday. It’s a large event in which participants are welcome to do a full Murph (1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, another 1 mile rune), a half Murph (divide that by two) or a quarter Murph (duh). Or a team Murph. I already gave a small rant about my love of hero WODs. Out of some… silly adherence to principle, I don’t like the idea of unnecessarily scaling a hero. But on the other hand, I still think maybe I should. I have nothing to prove to myself– they’re all bodyweight movements that I can do, and I know I can complete about as many rounds of Cindy (20 rds x 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 air squats) in twenty minutes (give or take)… and the mile run on either end would be slow but do-able, but I’m scheduled for heavy squats and bench on Sunday and I’d be a little disappointed in myself if my numbers there suffered because I did 200 push ups and 300 air squats the day before. I can’t tell if I’m resisting the idea of doing a lesser Murph due to pride (which would be stupid) or out of principle (still stupid? Is there a distinction here?). Anyway, I do however enjoy the idea of teamwork in WODs and I think team-heroes are even more appropriate as a tribute to men and women who died in service of others. So if any of you Warrior Games participants are looking for a Murph buddy, I’m signed up as a loner Saturday morning, but I’d love a teammate!

Ah okay, I spent nine hours straight in front of the computer last night, editing over 200 manuscript pages. I will be meeting with my adviser about that in a few hours, and then teaching, then most likely spending the rest of the day working on a presentation for one of my seminars. I hope your day involves less desk-and-computer time than mine.

Happy snowy-ass Monday.

– Jo

Crushing Helen

In Training, WOD on April 22, 2012 at 2:57 pm

For those of you who might have been curious, I woke feeling wonderful. Recovery’s going well these days… I’m rarely ever sore. I wonder sometimes if that means I’m not working hard enough, but to quell my paranoia, I’m just going to say it’s my body adapting. So, despite yesterday’s Murph, I felt fine going for my lifts today. The squats feel more solid every time I practice the full range of motion. Some reps feel significantly easier than others, though, and I know why that is. I still rock forward onto my toes sometimes; I’m working on correcting that. The bench felt fine as well. Because I started low on my lifts, I still haven’t hit old 5RMs yet, so I have no quantitative way to measure strength gains, but I can report that my numbers are going up in the bodyweight supplementary exercises each day, which is a nice feeling. As a quick metcon, I did “Crushing Helen,” which I think is one of CrossFit Football’s benchmarks. I like it more than normal Helen:

WOD: Crushing Helen

8 Rounds

100m sprint

8 kettlebell swings

5 Plyo pushups

According to the CFFB website, a “plyo pushup” is performed with one hand on a 45lb plate and one on the ground. You push up explosively so your hands can swap positions in midair. I like it a lot, but I’m a big fan of all push-up variations (rings, handstand, etc).

I’ve always preferred sprints to endurance work, though, so I’m afraid this whole strength program is reinforcing my biases and absolutely killing little endurance capabilities I had. Someday, when I want to switch out of a strength focus, I’ll probably try something like CF Endurance to develop that weakness…

Anyway, a full day of novel edits and presentation-making today, so I’ll shush for now.

Oh, but a cool WOD generator for those of you who might be looking for more workout ideas. I’m usually not a fan of workout generators because they seem too random, but this one breaks them into categories (bodyweight, weightlifting, rowing, couplets, triplets, chippers, etc.):


In Rhetoric, Training, WOD on April 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm

U.S. Navy Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician David Blake McLendon, 30, of Thomasville, Georgia, assigned to Naval Special Warfare Group 2 Support Activity in Norfolk, Virginia, was killed September 21, 2010, in a helicopter crash during combat operations in the Zabul province of Afghanistan. McLendon is survived by his wife Kate McLendon, his parents David and Mary-Ann McLendon, his brother Chris McLendon, and his sister Kelly Lockman.

So, on this strength program, I’ve been avoiding metcons longer than 15  minutes.; most are under twelve. In general, I’ve been avoiding metcons that are really taxing. But I have a soft spot for hero WODs; I’m even willing to forgive their usual avoidance of burpees (perhaps the word “burpee” doesn’t evoke heroism?… actually it more likely evokes a silly Asian girl flopping around the gym floor…) Anyway. Our box once had a tradition of programming hero workouts every Saturday. Though we’ve long since broken that pattern, every now and then, one of the coaches will throw in a hero as a nod to the days when we had nothing more than a lone rower, a makeshift pullup bar drilled to the mezzanine and fewer bars than athletes.*

I’m a little enamored of the principle behind the hero WOD–commemorating men and women who fell in the line of duty (military, police, firefighters, etc…) through physical exertion. It partakes in a historical tradition of paying tribute through physical feats, of honoring people and principles through rhetorical acts. I’m interested in moments in present and past when people are moved to express through physicality– why pilgrims journeyed so far with unshakable faith in their gods, why voyagers set sail with their countries’ banners pinned to their masts in the names of their homelands. Why people today even travel half a globe to touch their ancestral soil.

Anyway… when “Blake” appeared on the box’s website last night, I knew I’d have to participate– particularly because I’d tried it in February an enjoyed it immensely. I actually don’t know why I like it so much even among the other heroes. No burpees, no particularly Jo-friendly movements, but just the right configuration of exercises for the right type of grueling, for immense satisfaction. Also, I guess I do rather like handstand push-ups…

4 Rounds for time:

100m walking lunge with plate overhead (45lb for men, 25lb for women)

30 box jumps (24″/20″)

20 wall balls (20# ball, 10′ target for men, 14#, 9′ target for women)

10 handstand push-ups.

I actually surprised myself on this one. I decided I’d take it at a moderate pace, hoping not to disrupt my strength training. It’s also only been a few months since our box instigated the 9′ mark policy (ever since the 2012 Games. Before that, we were using the old standard of 8′.)  However, Blake didn’t feel nearly as deadly the second time around. I beat my old time by 6 minutes. I’ve been worried that my longer metcons would suffer since I’m avoiding them, but… thus far *knock on wood* nothing too terrible. I’m waiting to see how I feel when I wake up tomorrow. If I feel up to it, I’ll do the squats and bench as scheduled. If not, I may fudge the schedule a bit so I can go at it when I’m fresh.

Happy Saturday everyone.

*It’s a real testament to the dedication of our gym’s staff and owner how quickly we’ve grown. We’re now easily the best-equipped facility in the area, but I still remember having to WOD around dumbell racks and leg press machines…

The Trifecta

In WOD on April 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm


Though I used to dread cleans anytime they appeared in a WOD, Olympic lifts are now one of my favorite things to practice. I still have a long way to go in terms of form, technique… raw strength, etc, but I enjoy chipping away at it– tweaking small things in my practice, finding what works and what doesn’t. Today was power clean day. Five sets of three, and a new 3RM for me 🙂

Then I tried a sprint-based WOD

AMRAP 12 minutes:


125m row

100m sprint

20 double unders

For those of you that have been experimenting along with me for my workouts (I apologize for some of the duds), this one’s a good one. I’ve already expounded on the many merits of the burpee, and I’ve waxed poetic about the partner WOD. The CrossFit trifecta for me would have to be: partner WOD, AMRAPs, and burpees.

I find that nothing really helps me get away from my work and my frenzied thoughts as effectively as an AMRAP. Somehow, I find it easier to bring the intensity when there’s no endpoint (5 rounds, 100 counts, etc…), when I’m just supposed to keep going until the clock beeps. I’m also a fan of low rep schemes… they attend well to my OCD. By the time my legs start burning on the rower, it’s time to jump to a sprint. By the time my body’s ready to scream, I’m slowing to do my double-unders. Also! I only broke about once during each set of double unders, which I know isn’t too impressive for most people out there, but for my uncoordinated self, it’s a pretty substantial improvement in my rope technique :).

Now I must go acquire beer for an English department event tonight. Ah drunk writers…

Happy Friday!


*I realize a the triforce is rather different from a “trifecta,” but I couldn’t help myself…

So Mother****ing Badass

In Rhetoric, Training, WOD on April 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Here’s the thing… though I am a woman blogging about fitness, I’ve actively avoided posting about “women in fitness.” There are several reasons for this. One, I’ve misstepped and misspoken often enough that I don’t feel as if I have any right to criticize anyone. Two, there are so many articulate, intelligent bloggers out there who’ve already said what needs to be said (the problem is putting those words into action). But, in all my strength program research, I’ve run across so many inane posts that I’m going to abuse your patience, dear readers, with a little verbal musing.

I’m still consistently surprised by how many women are genuine afraid of building muscle. The amount of “will this program make me bulky” questions out there make me laugh. Firstly, because I don’t see the rationale behind the muscle-aversion, but secondly… do they think it’s that easy for women to bulk up? I love the image of some unsuspecting girl waking up like she-hulk because she accidentally squatted too heavy and drank a protein shake. And hell, even if she were some lucky genetic freak of nature who put on muscle easily, it would never be an instantaneous process. She could easily decide that she didn’t like her newfound strength (god knows why) and back off the lifting and resume… Zumba, or whatever it is people do for fun that doesn’t involve moving heavy things.

That said, I’m also wary of people who too readily disparage these women. I balk at the idea of women who are afraid of muscle because it says something to me about the image we’ve built of women and their relationship to strength– physical or otherwise. But on the other hand, I don’t like the ways in which people feel as if they have a right to judge others and their relationships to their individual bodies. After all, it’s her body and if she wouldn’t be comfortable as a firebreather with a 4 minute Grace, what right do I have to disparage her for it? I may be sensitive to this issue because there are still individuals in my life around whom I’m uncomfortable wearing short sleeve after one too many unpleasant remarks about “muscle” (even though I’m far from she-hulk, I promise). And then I feel guilty about the self-censorship as if I’m “caving” to some sort of outside pressure, but sometimes it’s easier than repeating the same arguments…

Last summer, I was at a cafe with a few of the other women in the English Department. One of my coworkers– who is usually a very pleasant, considerate individual– hissed an appallingly judgmental remark about a random girl in the restaurant. The girl was thin, but not dramatically so. I wish I remembered her phrasing, but my colleague made some very derisive, snarky “joke” about how the girl must never eat. I was taken aback for a moment– that she was so quick to judge someone based on how she looked, and… on the off chance that this girl actually had an eating disorder, that it would be an impetus to jeer at her in passing.

I attribute her (my coworker’s) perspective to the collective knee-jerk reaction to the unrealistic portraits of women painted by the media/etc/every other straw man we like to burn in the name of our societal fuck-ups. I suppose it might be a necessary step in the rejection of these paradigms and the adoptions of new ones, but… why combat negativity with negativity?

It makes me think about some of the rhetoric that comes out of CrossFit. For the record, I love that CrossFit promotes strength in women– that it sees beauty in figures for their functionality rather than abstract aesthetics– “My butt is awesome because it can back squat a small car” (I wish… I’ll get there… give me a few years :p) I appreciate the sentiment behind “Strong is Sexy,” and I love the CrossFit Women’s Creed. But, “Strong is the New Skinny” makes me laugh. The reason we even want a “new skinny” is because there were so many damn things wrong with the old skinny. The old skinny glorified unrealistic (and honestly, unattractive) portraits of undernourished models. The old skinny inspired crash diets and compulsive cardio and stigmatization of strength in women. The old skinny prompts snarky criticisms of unfortunate girls in downtown cafes who might just happen to be genetically skinny rather than self-starved, aspring-model skinny. Strong shouldn’t be the New Skinny. It shouldn’t be any kind of skinny. But I suppose “Strong is so motherfucking badass it doesn’t need a slogan” makes for bad t-shirts.

Whoo… Okay, I suppose that’s my rant.

I’ve now completed one week of the 70’s big S&C program, which means it’s still way too soon to make any evaluative marks, but I’m feeling good about my squats. Coach Jefe said that I’m at least squatting deeper than I ever have before, which means that I’m at least achieving priority one– improve my form. Also, I did 3 sets of 5 at 90% bodyweight today, which felt okay. I’m getting nervous though as the weights increase. I wish the box had bumper bars. I feel troublesome having to ask for a spotter twice a week, but I’m trying to do my squats on open gym days so I don’t have to distract a coach from a class, at least. Also, my strict pull-ups are up to 3 sets of 6… I hope that translates into good things for my kips. A quick cool-down of skill work today… a very moderately paced six rounds of

6 wall balls

6 American swings


6 pistols

6 pull-ups.

Waiting for a meeting with my thesis adviser now. Then porchside drinks with friends to enjoy this (long-awaited) summer warmth!

Multiple Jo

In General, Training, WOD, Writing on April 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I have a problem where my brain races faster than my body– one than manifests often in terrible ways in CrossFit. When I missed box jumps on a regular basis, my head was convinced that my feet had already left the ground before my hips finished firing, so I never drew my legs up, and… well… disastrous things. In life, it just means I’m constantly thinking about the next thing I want to do before I’m finished with what I’m doing. It means I’m impatient. Compounded with my obsessive-compulsive need tofinish everything I start, however, it also means I drive myself crazy– with my thoughts continually ping-ponging back and forth between current projects and future ambitions, wishing I had clones upon clones of Jo to do my overactive bidding.

Right now I’m having that problem with my schoolwork. I’m about to complete my creative thesis for my Masters of Fine Arts– a novel, which will be a ~250pged manuscript when I finish, but will still by a far cry from the actual “novel” that I’d want to submit to agents. However, in the fall, I’ll be leaping into the English department’s PhD program to start my degree in rhetoric and composition, where I want to discuss the intersections of culture, rhetoric, and the physical body (with research that allows me to peruse the CrossFit Journal :p). One week, I’ll be entirely immersed in my novel and feel terrible about neglecting my research ideas, the next, I’ll be so excited about my future PhD dissertation that I’ll forgo the novel. Add that to workouts, to teaching, grading, and course planning, to running English department events, and.. .y’know trying to vacuum my apartment once in a while, and I start to feel a little crazy.

I’m trying to remind myself to slow down more. But on that vein of thought… I’m absolutely enjoying the 70’s big S&C program right now, but at some point, when I consider myself more of an “advanced crossfitter” I want to try CrossFit Strength Bias. To be honest, it seems like a lot of basic strength programs (3×5 or 5×3 rep schemes), but it also incorporates days of high-rep lifts. I’m still educating myself on a variety of strength programs so that I might know what I’m doing when I design my own workouts– what matrix of movements/sets/reps/time/etc would work towards what goals. But because I don’t see high rep schemes in that many outside programs, I’m curious if the CFSB use of high rep schemes has anything to do with building strength or if they include that because it’s a CrossFit program and it’s important for CrossFit athletes to become familiar with the feeling of moving heavy loads quickly under stress.

Anyway, I apologize if my posts are a little more sporadic in the upcoming two weeks.

Today’s WOD was of my own invention. I started by practicing cleans and jerks, and then did a quick workout:

10 rds: 3 front squats, 100m sprint, rest ~60 seconds between rounds.

Afterwards, I felt strangely strong, so I went back to the bar and PR’d my clean! I’m actually disappointed, though, that my PRs are all power cleans. I still can’t drop low enough to do a genuine squat clean. Theoretically, if I can manage that, my clean should jump up again…

P.S. For the first time in two years, my jeans stay up without a belt. That means the back squats are working, right?

Happy Tuesday.



Also, some extracurricular reading for you: a lovely post on the power of positive thinking and articulating your goals in CrossFit and in life at CrossFit Geo