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Posts Tagged ‘WOD’

Fran and a Little Perspective

In Training, WOD on February 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Things I hate about “Fran”:

– The first thruster

– The second thruster

– The entire set of 21 thrusters

– Jumping onto the pull-up bar after the 21 thrusters

– Pull-ups 15-21 when kipping stops feeling fun and feels more like work

– Thrusters 6-15 of the second set

– All 15 pull-ups midway through

– The nine thrusters at the end

– Every. Last. Grinding. Final. Pull-up.

…. so when you add it all up, I probably enjoy maybe 15 pull-ups and 5 thrusters during Fran. That sounds like a good workout, right? 15 pull-ups, 5 thrusters. Call it a day. No? Fine.

No thanks to Zebrapants, the box’s WOD today was Fran. As of last night, Fran was my least favorite CrossFit workout. Here’s the reason why: I hover at that awkward strength level where I can technically do the workout prescribed, but I don’t think the stimulus is what the workout was programmed to be. My 65lb thrusters are slow. I have made it in under the 10 minute timecap before, but the thrusters were the bulk of the workout, and I definitely broke them more often than most people do during Fran. Every time my journey happens upon, Fran, then, I must decide– go with the workout as “prescribed”? Get a better metabolic workout with a lighter weight? It’s especially difficult because we so often perceive picking a lower weight as “slacking off” or cheating. And I’m determined, if anything in my pursuit of CrossFit, to disallow myself from slacking off. But then again, I’m reminded of a bit of CrossFit wisdom that often goes neglected: just because you can do a workout as prescribed, doesn’t mean you necessarily should.

This morning, I realized something… going heavier has been my way of slacking. At 65 lbs, I can’t move quickly enough through Fran for it to be the surreal deathrace that everyone describes it as. My first attempt at Fran involved me failing 50lb cleans rather than actually working out. Until this morning, I’d never attempted the workout below 50lbs (at the cert, I believe I did it at 55. I’ve done it once prescribed, at 9:48– I think).

Before we started the workout, Zebrapants gave the same instructions we received at our level one. If you can’t do the first set of thrusters unbroken at your starting weight, that weight is too heavy. Not even on my best day could I do 21 thrusters at 65. Or if I did, I wouldn’t be able to stand under the pull-up bar, let alone reach it. So I dropped straight to 45.

As it turns out… Fran at 45lbs sucks a hell of a lot more than Fran at 65 lbs– at least when your max thruster hovers around 85-90 lbs (haven’t tested in a while, not sure about that number). The point of the CrossFit couplets is that they’re designed to be short and intense. In my readings of CrossFit philosophy, I found that the original workouts were programmed for “elite” athletes and coaches were given the instructions to scale appropriately. Fran is ideally performed with 65lb thrusters by a woman with a 140 lb strict press. So… even though I can do 65 lb thrusters, those thrusters are a lot slower for me than they would be for the “ideal” athlete. And in doing so, I sacrifice intensity for pride. I do my strength-work separate from my metcons, so there’s really no reason to go heavy during Fran. Today, with 45-lbs, I made it through all but the last pull-up unbroken. I’m now almost proud of that fact, but during the actual workout, I didn’t even realize that that was what I was working for. It never struck me to aim for an unbroken workout–especially when my norm has involved dividing Fran into manageable chunks of 5-rep, 65-lb thrusters. I just know that once the clock started, Zebrapants told me I wasn’t allowed to put the bar down, so I didn’t. The first set of 21 pull-ups felt all right. Then that set of 15 thrusters, Zebrapants again told me not to set the bar down. He shouted me through (I respond well to being yelled at, usually) the entire set and I was back on the pull-up bar hating the universe but determined not to fall. Nine agonizing thrusters later, I was back on the bar, limited to slow pull-ups one or two at a time, forearms pleading for mercy, but refusing to let go. Technically, I got 89 and a half reps before I dropped… but the last pull-up was so ugly and so very far from the bar that I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it back up without shaking out my arms. So I did, and I jumped back up, and hit rep 90 at 4:27 (I think. Some ambiguity about whether it was 4:23, but let’s keep the last four seconds just in case). Regardless… it was a vastly different experience than my 65-lb Fran. During that bout, the pull-ups were actually a vacation for me. I had to take enough rest between thrusters that the pull-ups felt easy. And the weight was so heavy that I really couldn’t “push-through” the burn. I had to wait until my muscles recovered enough that they could lift the damn bar again.

This morning’s workout took four and a half minutes. We warmed up for a good twenty beforehand and spent ten to twenty minutes stretching afterwards. The funny thing is… I can usually gauge how taxing a workout is by how hungry I am a little while afterwards, and judging by my empty fridge… those were apparently a very demanding four minutes. I didn’t expect my body to feel particularly sore afterwards, but sitting at my desk, I can already feel my arms, back, and shoulders begging for a lacrosse ball. I think that’s what Fran was supposed to be– something fast, explosive, and stimulating. Strangely enough… I don’t hate her anymore. I mean… she’s miserable. Those five minutes were so much worse than ten minutes with 65-lbs, but it was a five minute sprint, during which I got to push as hard as my body would let me… rather than ten minutes of shaking out my arms and waiting for my strength to recover, angrily glaring at the iron on the floor.

Actually, I’ve been reading a lot of material lately that steers me away from workouts that feel like “long slogs.” I mean, you know I love the long WOD because I’m a masochist like that… but I think I finally admit that when I do them it’s more for self-enjoyment and than furthering my health or physical well-being. For the most part, it seems health is best maintained by heavy lifting, sprints (and/or sprint-esque metcons under 15 minutes), and walking. Long, slow endurance puts  your body under unnecessary stress. And for those with body composition goals, endurance apparently isn’t that great for that either. (If you want more input on this, consult Poloquin, or the fine folks of Barbell Shrugged. Also consider studies here, or this mayo clinic study. This is by no means a thorough list… but there’s tons of material out there if you just start looking). Anyway, in my case, too much work beyond the 20 minute mark really prevents me from recovering well enough to build muscle– or it tears down the muscle I’ve built. That doesn’t mean I still don’t want to do “The Seven” or “Murph” on occasion… but I used to have this strange guilt when I didn’t do one long workout a week (a routine I’ve abandoned for nearly a year now–don’t worry), but as it turns out, I was doing myself a favor.

I just have one more thought for today. I try to pick up what I can about coaching and different coaching styles, to keep in mind things I’d like to emulate if    when I become a coach. And I was reminded this morning of what a difference a coach’s attitude can make. For 8:00am workouts, I’ve probably only slept six and a half hours… I woke up about forty five minutes ago, shoved down a few spoonfuls of nut butter and some protein powder and stumbled out the door, trying to will my limbs to warm up and unstiffen. Anticipation of Fran only strained the knot in my stomach. But all that didn’t matter when I got to the box because Zebrapants was all smiles and encouragement and that attitude reminded me that… it really doesn’t matter if I thruster (yes that’s now a verb) with 65 lbs or 45 lbs today. If I do 44 pull-ups unbroken, or none. The worst that could happen is that I get a slightly lesser workout… I come back and try tomorrow. I lose nothing– not the job that I’m lucky enough to find important and inspiring (on most days), not the support and acceptance of my friends, and the encouragement of my doofy Cookie Monster better half (whom I get to see in a little more than 24 hours. HOUSTON-BOUND FOR THE WEEKEND!). Life is good, even when the day starts with Fran. Perhaps even better with Fran and a little perspective.

I will continue to push myself. I know the prescribed weights exist to give athletes a gauge for goalsetting and I’d like someday for my Fran at 65lbs to feel as it does with 45 lbs. And I will get there. Until then– patience, and perspective.

Thanks for reading everyone. I’m sure I’ll update you after the Houston adventures. Have a fantastic Wednesday!

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DNF Without Shame

In Training, WOD on February 20, 2013 at 11:58 am

We know I love CrossFit– I love its spirit and community and its sheer heart. We also know I’ve had my reservations about some of its rhetoric. I realize slogans are rallying points, not meant to be dissected and overanalyzed, but some of them, I think echo attitudes that work to the detriment of the sport. Particularly, I have a gripe about “Strong is the New Skinny”– elaborated here and reoccurring here. Another token phrase that’s troubled me is “Death before DNF.”

For those who don’t know, “DNF” stands for “Did Not Finish,” a CrossFit abbreviation for any time you could not complete the WOD within the time cap. CrossFitters, understandably proud of themselves for “going hard” and leaving everything on the floor are also notoriously for pushing themselves beyond the bounds of reason (and rhabdo) before ever calling it quits. Last semester, I completed “The Seven”  in just under 50 minutes. The Seven is one of my favorite CrossFit workouts, and pretty much the only thing I remember about that long slog was hearing the clock beep at 45 minutes, knowing I only had half a round left, and rasping out to Jefe, “I’m finishing.” So obviously, I’ve imbibed a bit of the Kool-Aid. Sometimes pride kicks in. Sometimes you have to finish.

This morning, however — at least to the best of my recollection– was the first time I technically DNF’d a workout. There are many reasons for this– I spent a period of CrossFit scaling too light and not challenging myself with weights… then I went too heavy for a period, but our box didn’t really enforce time caps, so I had times like a 44-minute Eva and an even longer Manion.

Now, yesterday… yesterday was a wonderful day at the box. We did the CrossFit For Kenya WOD: AMRAP 12 of 50 squats, 30 pushups, and 15 pull-ups. A classic “Ninja” WOD that plays to my strengths. I was happy with my rounds and didn’t feel particularly beat up afterwards. But CrossFit is constantly varied– just after it stokes our egos, it douses us with reality.

When I saw today’s WOD go up on the box’s webpage last night, I knew three things: 1) I would suck at every part of this workout; 2) I looked forward to absolutely none of it; 3) I would still be there, 8:00am, trying my best to smile through it. The workout’s simple: 3 rounds, 500mrow, 10 relatively heavy cleans (RX’d 135lbs/95lbs). 12 minute time cap.

I’m a shamefully slow rower. I may be one of the slowest rowers at the box. While my strength to size ratio isn’t as shameful as it used to be, the rower doesn’t give a shit about ratios. It punishes smallness and weakness, indiscriminately. So, I’m slow. Add that to the fact that the RX’d weight is my 1RM, and I knew it would be a miserable WOD. While I obviously wasn’t going to try to clean my max 30 times in between rowing sprints, I knew I still wanted to go heavy enough to challenge myself. When I picked my weight (70lbs), Zebrapants asked, “Are you going to be able to rep that between rows?” and I said, “yeah… at least for round one.” I could– it would suck, but I could, and if this WOD was going to suck anyway, I wanted to embrace that suck.

When I stumbled off the rower in round one, I suddenly remembered how a mere 500m could decimate one’s legs. My knees shook as I reached for the bar. What usually feels like a moderate, comfortable weight seemed impossibly heavy throughout the first pull, as I fired my hips, and even worse as the steel crashed onto my chest. One rep. Two. I think I might have repped four in the first round before a breather. It wasn’t until my last row that I realized I wouldn’t beat the clock. I reached my last set of cleans when the clock sounded, my legs anesthetized by fire, my vision narrowed to the two square feet of rubber floor in front of me as I bowed forward, gasping air.

Didn’t finish. But I’m fucking glad I didn’t finish. I could have gone lighter. At 60 lbs, or even 65 I think I could have repped them fast enough to get my last cleans in before the time cap. Perhaps I overestimated myself a bit and chose something a wee bit on the heavy side. But I’m glad I did. It was 8:00am, and I hadn’t gotten enough sleep, the WOD was an ugly pairing of things-Jo-sucks-at, I’d slept poorly, I had to run off to the office afterwards, my apartment was too cold when I woke up… blah blah blah, life’s small imperfections, but for those twelve minutes, I can say I was 100% there. I challenged myself and, yeah, fell a little short, but I’m glad I attempted the challenge. I’ve scaled before to the point that I felt disappointed at the completion of a workout– when the victory felt hollow because I had underestimated my potential. There’s no shame in my DNF. I got a better workout than I would have if I dropped to a light clean and blazed through that part of the workout… and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I’m glad there was a cap and I didn’t drive myself absolutely through the ground so that I’d be wrecked for the next few days. I’d take DNF before muscledeath any day if it means I can come back and try harder the next time.

So… after nearly two years of CrossFit, I’ll take my DNF and wear it proudly. I didn’t finish, but I also didn’t give up or give in. I’ll take that before a pretty time on the board any day.

Strength and Endurance: Can it be done?

In General, Training, WOD on December 3, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Prepare yourselves. I have a shocking announcement. Sit down, have a Nor-Cal Margarita, take a deep breath. Ready? Okay.

I think I’m burnt out on WODs.

… I know, right?

I know I WOD more often than most people, and that I’ve been a metcon addict for well over a year now, but the day has finally come that I’m aching for something a little different. Now, I’m not sick of training, and definitely not sick of CrossFit. I’m just hungry for something more than randomized workouts. After the announcement of the 2013 Games date , competitive gyms all around the country have ramped up their Games-specific programming. Competitor’s WOD, whose programming (by Ben Bergeron) I admire, has started its “Goat Training” phase– aka “target your weaknesses.” In fact, Bergeron posted his Goat Training Template just a few days ago. Bergeron pinpoints what we all love and hate about CrossFit: “The idea is to be good at everything, great at one or two things, and suck at nothing.” This is a sport that tolerates no weaknesses.

We know I’m not a Games hopeful– nor do I aspire to be one. But I do aspire to be a well-rounded athlete, which is one of the many reasons that I enjoy CrossFit so much. I began with a strength-focus about a year ago because that was my greatest weakness, but now I feel I’ve almost become lopsided in the opposite direction (not that I’m a strength beast by any means). By these strength standards, my bench and press fall under the “advanced” category, my deadlift is “elite”,  my squat is (alas) intermediate, and my clean is just short of advanced. My hard numbers are still lower than I’d like them to be, but by now I think that means I just need to become a larger person (peanut butter, steak, and potatoes, yeah?)… and hopefully my lifts will go up proportionally. Meanwhile, however, my endurance has become deplorable.

The strange thing is, I think I should be decent endurance athlete. I’m very good at not stopping. In fact, that was my single asset when I started CrossFit– I embraced the suck. I lived for it. But, I’ve become pretty crappy at sustaining that intensity these days. I’ve cut my 100m sprint time by 3 seconds in the past few months, which I’d like to think is a big deal considering that 100m sprints are measured by fractions of a minute… but my 400m is still well above 60 seconds. (I think somewhere around a 1:15… more often 1:20). It seems that I recover slowly even for lifting. I need to take closer to 4-5 minute breaks between max effort lifts as opposed to the minimum 3…

But alas strength and endurance are often posited as opposing goals when it comes to fitness. Yet, it must be possible. I’m surrounded by athletes that are supremely gifted in both domains. Recently, I came across this article by Alex Viada– an Ironman finisher and triathlete coach with an elite powerlifting total. Being the geek that I am, I love it when anyone explains his thought process. I don’t just want to know what to do, I want to know why I’m doing it.

Viada’s program is geared towards someone training for a longer-distance race. While I admire marathoners, I don’t think I’ll ever be one… I much prefer the thrill of short sprints or the meditative calm of heavy lifts. I am, however, interested in building my endurance– I just don’t need 26.2 miles of it. So, being the research-freak that I am, I contacted Alex.

I hesitate to call myself a self-made athlete because, though I’ve built a knowledge base from obsessive research and so much trial and even more error, I owe a lot of what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown to a handful of much more experienced and very generous friends. I’ve also found that the fitness community is just so welcoming and willing to help. Alex wrote back and answered my questions about what to do for form drills and how I should think about distance if my goals are to become a better CrossFitter. While we both agree that CrossFit distances rarely demand more than a mile, Alex recommends over-distance training– since the sport requires you to do things beyond the mile you just finished, it’s useful to have something left in the tank. So for “long, slow distance,” he suggests that I fluctuate between 1.75-3 miles and tinker with speed and intensity depending on the intensity of my other workouts during the week. He also recommends shortening my recovery times during my sprint intervals– which is… a really good idea that I also dread. One of my favorite go-to workouts is 100m repeats. But I walk back the full 100m to allow for full recovery. I’m pretty sure I’ll suck at them with a reduced recovery time, but I think that may also help me push through WODs.

Here’s my problem: I’m terrible at training via WOD-ing. If my only goal were to burn calories while having fun, WODs would be perfect… but the same intensity that pushes me through each WOD also means that I sacrifice a lot in favor of beating the clock. I was thinking about this last Saturday, during a WOD with toes-to-bar. I can actually link my kips in toes-to-bar– I figured it out about two months ago and can do it consistently on my pull-up bar at home. I have never, however, successfully linked my kips during a WOD because 1) at that point, I’m fatigued enough and my endurance sucks enough that I can’t quite manage that strength and coordination, and 2) I’m stubborn enough that I’d rather crank them out 1-2 at a time so that I’m working-out while everyone else is working-out… and I can’t bring myself to take a break and let my body recover to do the movement properly. If I keep approaching the movement like that, I’ll never learn the right muscle-memory to time the kip during my WODs.

So… for the next month, I’d like to try something new. I’m going to continue with my Westside-Conjugate strength training, which I love, and I’m going to try working with Viada’s strength + endurance template, which is Westside-based anyway. It means I don’t have to change any of my strength work– I’m just trading WODs for more distance. Due to the PA weather, I have a feeling I’ll be doing more rowing than running… though I’m still waiting to hear back from Alex on what he thinks about that and whether that will translate to okay running when the weather warms back up. I also want to continue developing my skills as a CrossFitter, but I want to do that properly– so I’ll do skills as skill-work. I’ll work on things slowly, for form rather than sloppily for time or for max weight. To keep from burning out, I’ll limit most of the heavier stuff to my strength work, and only do skill stuff when my body feels fresh. I’m not entirely sure how this plan will go since I’ll be spending about half this month in Arizona– on the one hand, it means I’ll be able to run, but on the other, I won’t have access to a lot of the usual toys.

As of right now, I think my weeks will tentatively look like this:

Monday: Cleans (weight will vary depending on how I feel– nothing structured, just working on form),  “long,” slow run (today that was two miles)

Tuesday: ME Upper Body, light recovery run (or row), some light skill work

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: ME Lower Body, Sprints

Friday: DE Upper Body, (not sure about the running form drills if I don’t have access to the outdoors… maybe some running form drills, maybe some skill work, maybe a metcon, maybe it varies week to week)

Saturday: I may switch this up between short pace runs and more traditional metcons, also, a good day for skill work.

Sunday: DE Lower Body

I’ll have to do some tinkering as I figure out what works and what doesn’t, and how much the running wears me out. I can already tell you that today’s two miles has my calves spasming (lacrosse balling as I type). But… the surprising thing about today was that I enjoyed the run. I’ve spent so long hating distances over 400m because I’ve adopted a habit of trying to push 110% on everything. I have no sense of pacing. Trying to push 110% for distance means 1) Jo hates life and 2) Jo breaks down too much to do the rest of the workout well. So I embraced the “slow” part of today and worked on form, keeping in mind all the drills that Alex gave me… and surprisingly, my knees didn’t hurt (my IT bands usually seize up around the 800m mark) and… I loved it. It cleared my mind… after the first 3 minutes of “why am I doing this,” I enjoyed the breeze and watching the pavement scroll beneath my feet… Who knows, maybe someday, I’ll voluntarily run a whole 5k.

The Unofficial Stages of Burpee Delirium

In General, Training, WOD on November 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I’ve now completed 100 burpees in a row three times in my life. Those of you who’ve heard me wax poetic about burpees might be surprised by this. But, as much as I delight in one of the most notorious (entirely skill-less) moves of CrossFit, even I’m not masochistic enough to regularly attempt full-out, long burpee sprints. The first two times I did 100 burpees was during the Open. For those of you who might not know, the first WOD of the 2012 CrossFit Open was 7 minutes of burpees– as many rounds as possible. Being the burpee freak that I was in those 98-lb-bodyweight-days, I may or may not have giggled in delight when I saw the workout released. Since then, I’ve had many questions about the wisdom of starting with a burpee AMRAP and then following with a “snatch ladder” (12.2). The two events created a sort of bottleneck effect where one rep could separate literally hundreds of competitors– so many people can do burpees that the difference between 100 reps and 101 was hundreds of competitors, and snatches (on the opposite end of the spectrum) require such precision that a wealth of athletes could plateau at 95 lbs, putting hundreds of athletes at the same score. I think it might have made for an uneven start to the scoring system, possibly preventing perfectly skilled athletes from regionals. But I’m not an expert, so don’t go around saying the Jomad is railing against CrossFit HQ ;). Besides, as a non-serious competitor, I did delight in the 7 minutes of burpees in a terrible, terrible way.

The Open WOD had pretty exacting standards. At the top of the jump, the athlete had to touch a target 6 inches above his/her max reach. Because there was no stationary target in the gym six inches above my reach, I (and many of the women) had to use a ring that had been adjusted to the correct height. Of course, the huge disadvantage of the ring is that is swings each time you strike it… and some number of burpees in, your ability to coordinate your jump with a spinning, swaying, dangling wooden circle really deteriorates. So my first attempt at 12.1 was 98 reps, but I had two missed “no-reps.” Two days later, I repeated the WOD out of anger and managed 100 official reps. It’s a deceptively taxing WOD. For me, my respiratory system took the brunt of the beating. For days afterwards, I felt like I’d been breathing sandpaper. Though my shoulders and neck also suffered.

Today, the box’s WOD was the following:

For time:

100 Burpees

2 Minutes rest

100 Double-Unders

Actually, it was significantly easier than 12.1– but only because we didn’t use a 6-inch target. I finished the burpees in 5:12, and the clock read 9:42 when I dropped by jump rope (my double-unders need smoothing out). I would like to be able to do the “burpee challenge” (100 burpees) in under 5 minutes soon. However, the fact that I was so much faster without a 6 inch target makes me wonder how much I’m cheating my jumps and if I have muted hips at the top of each burpee. ANYWAY, having experienced 100 burpees 3 different times now, I feel confident in providing you with the unofficial “Stages of Burpee Delirium” (and yes, I experienced this all three times)

The Jomad’s Unofficial Stages of Burpee Delirium

Reps 1-20: “This is quite fun. I like burpees. What a delightful WOD”

Reps 20-30: “Okay, I could see this getting tiring soon… I hope I’m not slowing down.”

Reps 30-40: “How has it only been a minute something? At least I’m moving quickly…”

Rep 41: “Almost halfway there!”

Rep 42: “God, how am I not halfway there?”

Rep 43: “This is the longest anyone has burpeed. Ever.”

Rep 44: “WHERE IS 50?!”

Rep 45: “Must. Keep. Burpeeing.”

Reps 45-55: “God this was stupid.”

Reps 56-60: “Why did I do this? I could be… not burpeeing right now.”

Rep 61: “Really, I could just stop jumping and stand here.”

Rep 62: “No, it appears I’m stupid enough to finish this thing.”

Rep 63: “WHY AM I SO STUPID?”

Rep 64: “Who programmed this shit?”

Rep 65: “Why do they hate me???”

Reps 66-70: “I HATE THE UNIVERSE.”

Reps 71-73: “THIS IS HOW I DIE.”

Reps: 74-75: “I should have told everyone I loved them… I LOVE EVERYONE”

Burpee Nirvana

Reps 75-95: “Wow… look at that poor girl doing burpees. How lovely it is to be a floating head who feels nothing. The world is such a beautiful place. How wonderful it is to be alive– even better not to be that girl who’s–”

Rep 96: “Oh shit that’s me.”

Rep 97: “Fall. Stand. Hop.”

Rep 98: “Fall. Stand. Hobble.”

Rep 99: “Fall… crawl…. roll… stumble… hop.”

Rep 100: “…”

“….”

“… wait, really, that’s it? Where’s my fucking parade?”

… and there you have it. For any of you who would like to try this at home, now you know what to expect. All homicidal/revelatory manic-depressiveness is perfectly normal.

That’s all for today. I’m still mired in essays, so I’ve been spending actually very little time in the gym… and very little time outside of my chair, not drinking coffee.

Keep calm and burpee on.

Bitchslapped

In Training, WOD on September 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm

WHITTEN

Five rounds for time of:
22 Kettlebell swings, 2 pood/1.5
22 Box jump, 24 inch box/20
Run 400 meters
22 Burpees
22 Wall ball shots, 20#/14#

On paper, it doesn’t look terrible. But if you consult the CrossFit mainsite, it delivers discouraging news: CrossFit titans such as Austin Malleolo and Kristan Clever took 30-35 minutes to complete the workout. Our box listed this morning’s WOD with a 45 minute time cap, which usually implies that… most members will exceed the limit. I went in with the hope of coming in just under 45, but I had no idea if that was feasible.

Caveat: I scaled the KB swings to 1pd. I’m actually rather proud that I can do a full American with 1.5 now, but 22 would take me so long that the swings would have been the bulk of my WOD. Nevertheless, I’m a slow runner and I pause too often in my box jumps, so I figured the workout would still take me a long while. And it probably would have, if it weren’t for a little external motivation.

I started at a comfortable pace– pushing to a point of discomfort, but nothing terrible. Then Coach Cyborg reminded me exactly why my most humbling workouts have always been in his company. Sometime near round 3, he started paying more attention to me– elbows weren’t locked out at the top of that swing, hips didn’t reach full extension on that box jump, squat lower for the wall ball. Something he’s reminded me often, and something I try to keep in mind for every workout– if I want to be a coach, I should perform in a manner that I would want others to emulate. When I was new to CrossFit, I allowed my form to degrade deplorably because I cared more about the clock or the rounds, or the abstract idea of “intensity” than the integrity of my movements. These days, I try to focus on precision and cleanliness. But somewhere in there, I’ve become a little too comfortable. No longer made anxious by the clock, and now strong enough to handle wall balls and box jumps without delirium, I’ve forgotten the vast divide between what our brains think we can do and what our bodies can actually do.

For the 4th 400m, The Cyborg told me to make it in in 1:30. I have no idea what time I took, but it was certainly longer. My lungs were seizing, my legs were shot, and I thought I was moving as hard as I could. But when I stumbled through the door, he told me that I’d taken forever and I should make up the time on my burpees. I’d like to take this moment to retract everything nice I’ve ever said about burpees. Yeah, they’re a delight when you’re 88 pounds of nothing. 30 pounds later, they’re a shitshow. Sorry everyone– you’ve been right all along– burpees suck ass. The Cyborg screamed my reps aloud, remarking every time I slowed down. My asthma, which started during the runs had pushed mucus from my lungs into my throat. My head was a complete fog, and the world shrank to nothing but the five inches of rubber in front of my face each time I flopped to the floor. I was beyond pain– where intensity had exploded into annihilation, and mind was trying to shut itself down. But I managed those burpees. And then the wall balls, and another set of swings and another 22 box jumps. For my last 400m, The Cyborg appeared alongside me and ran just two steps ahead the entire way, calling back to me. I was breathing so heavy that I couldn’t hear the traffic around me. I thought my chest would explode with each inhalation, but he kept on yelling and somehow, my legs, these alien appendages, just pedaled away beneath me. I made it back in the door at 1:35. More burpees. And then the wall balls. Wall balls aren’t nearly as bad for me as they used to be, but at this point, I was spent. I thought those 14 pounds would carry me to the ground each time the leather struck my hands. But The Cyborg was unforgiving. I could not rest. Not now. At 15 reps, I got a few seconds, and then up again. No, not now. No you can’t rest. No you’re not done. Seven more. Don’t put it down. Five more. Three. And done, at 40:01.

I’ve become complacent in the past few months of training. When I first started CrossFit, I was so weak that everything sucked– even 10lb balls with an 8ft target. But as I got stronger, movements became easier and I forgot to carry that same exertion with me. No, I probably should not work to this intensity too frequently, but I should remember that when I think I’m done, when I think I’m tired, there’s so much more left untapped. Your body is smart– it’s made to protect itself… it will want to take the easy way out not because it’s lazy, but because it’s trying to conserve resources. But your body is also resilient. If you demand more of it, it will rise to the challenge.

After yesterday’s post, today provided a truly satisfying reminder. I don’t give a shit what my body was or wasn’t built for. I will beat it into submission ;).

Also, with The Cyborg’s remarks, I’m reminded so much of why I want to be a CrossFit coach someday. I want to help people find these moments– to see in them potential that they have yet to recognize and to rally those resources until they convert weakness to strength and overcome all that self-doubt. We have such tremendous trainers here, and beyond working on the integrity of my movements, I hope someday to incorporate much of what I’ve learned from them. I want to be able to have the Mean Machine’s positivity, and Zebrapants’s raw passion. I want to emulate Jefe’s patient, acute observation, his inquisitiveness, and generosity with his knowledge. And, like The Cyborg, I want to be able to drive people– to know when some athletes require gentle guidance, and when others need to be bitchslapped into high gear. And I’d like to think I’d bring my own individual experience to it too– to know what it’s like to start from nothing, to demand muscle from bone, to unlearn all the awful habits of your body… to do this while watching all the lifelong and natural athletes exceed you… to watch beginners PR with weights well beyond your reach… to want it all so bad that it doesn’t fucking matter, that you will work for it if you have to measure your progress in years.

One more bit of wisdom from The Cyborg. Before every “Hero” WOD, he makes a statement about how these remind him that “life is pretty good.” Whenever we undertake a Hero, I look up the individual after whom it was named. Army Captain Dan Whitten was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. On February 2, 2010, Whitten’s vehicle was struck by an explosive device. He died that same day. I assume the date (2/2) corresponds with the 22 reps in the workout. But as much as I’ve whined about my lungs seizing and my legs flailing until they lost sensation, that’s… all negligible. My forty minutes of “suffering” is incomparable to his sacrifice– to that of his family. And if I’m going to do something like this in “his honor,” then I damned well better give it my all. And… I’m glad someone was there this morning to remind me that my “all” is more than I thought.

Never Forget

In General, Rhetoric, WOD on September 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm

There are impending posts, but for today, let us remember.

Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100

by Martín Espada
for the 43 members of Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 100, working at the Windows on the World restaurant, who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center

Alabanza. Praise the cook with the shaven head
and a tattoo on his shoulder that said Oye,
a blue-eyed Puerto Rican with people from Fajardo,
the harbor of pirates centuries ago.
Praise the lighthouse in Fajardo, candle
glimmering white to worship the dark saint of the sea.
Alabanza. Praise the cook's yellow Pirates cap
worn in the name of Roberto Clemente, his plane
that flamed into the ocean loaded with cans for Nicaragua,
for all the mouths chewing the ash of earthquakes.
Alabanza. Praise the kitchen radio, dial clicked
even before the dial on the oven, so that music and Spanish
rose before bread. Praise the bread. Alabanza.

Praise Manhattan from a hundred and seven flights up,
like Atlantis glimpsed through the windows of an ancient aquarium.
Praise the great windows where immigrants from the kitchen
could squint and almost see their world, hear the chant of nations:
Ecuador, México, Republica Dominicana, 
Haiti, Yemen, Ghana, Bangladesh.
Alabanza. Praise the kitchen in the morning,
where the gas burned blue on every stove
and exhaust fans fired their diminutive propellers,
hands cracked eggs with quick thumbs
or sliced open cartons to build an altar of cans.
Alabanza. Praise the busboy's music, the chime-chime
of his dishes and silverware in the tub.
Alabanza. Praise the dish-dog, the dishwasher
who worked that morning because another dishwasher 
could not stop coughing, or because he needed overtime
to pile the sacks of rice and beans for a family
floating away on some Caribbean island plagued by frogs.
Alabanza. Praise the waitress who heard the radio in the kitchen
and sang to herself about a man gone. Alabanza.

After the thunder wilder than thunder,
after the booming ice storm of glass from the great windows,
after the radio stopped singing like a tree full of terrified frogs,
after night burst the dam of day and flooded the kitchen,
for a time the stoves glowed in darkness like the lighthouse in
Fajardo,
like a cook's soul. Soul I say, even if the dead cannot tell us
about the bristles of God's beard because God has no face,
soul I say, to name the smoke-beings flung in constellations
across the night sky of this city and cities to come.
Alabanza I say, even if God has no face.

Alabanza. When the war began, from Manhattan to Kabul
two constellations of smoke rose and drifted to each other,
mingling in icy air, and one said with an Afghan tongue:
Teach me to dance. We have no music here.
And the other said with a Spanish tongue:
I will teach you. Music is all we have.

Life’s a shitshow sometimes, but each day you can share with loved ones is a blessing. I hate the way people turn this day– and other tragedies– into opportunities to mount their personal soapboxes. We owe the many heroes of this nation– men and women who demonstrated the inconceivable heights of human courage in the face of sudden tragedy– so much more than absentminded, spiteful Facebook statuses.

Workout of the Day:

A One Round 9 Movement 11 Rep. Chipper

2,001m Row

THEN 11 REPS OF THE FOLLOWING

36/24in box jump

125/85lb thruster (deaths @ pentagon)

burpee chest to bar pull ups

175/120lb power clean (AA FLight #175 (south tower))

handstand push ups

2 pood/1.5 pood swings

toes to bar

170/120lb deadlift (Flight 77 and flight 93)

110/75 push jerk (number of floors in each tower)

2,001m row

Fitness and Perspective

In General, Training, WOD on August 4, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Because I mentioned this today in conversation, I must follow through and post it on my blog. I attribute this discovery to Madeline at Good Gravy who posted a very articulate response to the Reebok CrossFit commercials that I had blogged about recently. This morning, after 31 Heroes, we were sitting around talking about the many varied forms of fitness, and the different ways in which it can be defined, and I recalled this photo shoot of Olympic athletes. It’s presented here as a reference point for artists, so that they may diversify the body types in their illustrations, but it’s also just a fantastic reminder of how widely fitness can vary, how differently it manifests when we put different demands on our bodies.

It’s funny that CrossFit defines itself as “the sport of fitness,” which I understand– as we’ve incorporated competition, community, and intensity in what we traditionally term the practice of “fitness.” However the actual embodiment of “fitness” is not so easily defined. When the Olympics began, one of the CrossFit clothing companies (RokFit, I believe? But don’t quote me on that) posted a photo of Sarah Robles, currently the strongest female Oly-lifter in the country, and asked the question “Fit or Fat?” which many (including myself) found particularly offensive. For one, they pitted her weight against her fitness as if the two were in opposition with each other. And secondly, I found it troubling that they even questioned the fitness of this immensely dedicated, powerful athlete based on her appearance.

Let’s think about the word for a second: “fitness.” What does it mean to be “fit” for something? To suit, or be appropriate for the occasion. Her occasion is hoisting metric shittons of weight from ground to overhead. And she does it at heavier weights than any other woman in this country. Is she suitable for the task? Fuck yeah.

Speaking of Olympians, I’ve (like everyone else) been glued to my television for London 2012. What I’ve noticed most is the dramatic range of attitudes in different athletes? Did anyone catch the male gymnast from Ireland? He may be the first-ever gymnast from Ireland to participate in the Olympics. Either way, he knew he had no hope of reaching the podium; he knew his single floor routine would be his minute of Olympic glory, and he executed the entire thing like it was a celebration. It didn’t matter if he wobbled or if he skipped forward a step; every inch of his body exuded overwhelming happiness. He was just glad to be there. He’d already won, and the opportunity to perform his sport in front of this audience was his prize.

Then compare that to the top athletes– some of whom fell short of personal expectations. Though I’m rooting for Team USA, I felt a little terrible for d Victoria Komova when she fell to second place during the women’s all-around. The moment those numbers went up, she was instantly crushed. Even on the podium, with a silver medal against her chest, she was in mourning. She’s the second-best gymnast in the world… according to this single competition. She’s earned her place at this global memorialization of sporting and goodwill, and she’s forever etched her name in gymnastics history. But she’s devastated. And I don’t mean to detract from her grief. With how much she’s trained, how hard she’s worked, she’s earned that heartbreak. And I’d be just as broken. But… it’s so easy to lose perspective in a moment like that. With the lifespan of most gymnastics careers, it’s quite possibly her only Olympics, and she wrapped it up with a beautiful floor routine. She’s seventeen years old. When I was her age, I was waiting tables at a sports bar, caffeinating all afternoon/evening beside stacks of history books, and sneaking home at 2:00 in the morning. She should be damn proud… and hopefully she figured that out when the cameras swept away. (Also, if I were one of those athletes, I’d be so tempted to punch the reporters who absolutely must ask “so how do you feel now that you saw four years of hard work go down the drain and you completely disappointed yourself?”)

Anyway, now to today’s WOD.

31 Heroes

AMRAP 31 minutes (As Many Reps As Possible)
8 Thrusters (155/105#)
6 Rope Climbs (15 ft. ascent)
11 Box Jumps (30/24″)

Partner 1 chips away at the movements while Partner 2 runs 400m with a sandbag (45lb/25lb). Our sandbag was 30lbs, but much preferred to the 1pd kettlebell we hauled around last year when we didn’t have any sandbags. Also, at some point we got the sandbags mixed up and I wound up dragging 45lbs around the block. I made the mistake of trying to put it down on the last leg of the run, and pathetically could not hoist it onto my back again.

But the WOD went well. Awesomely, I partnered up with the Mean Machine (who I’m told cursed me out during our last partner WOD– but it’s her own damn fault for picking a non-runner :p). Though we didn’t actively strategize at all, we wound up playing to our strengths. She did all the thrusters (rx’d– what a beast), I wound up with the bulk of the rope climbs (inner-thigh rope burn… I don’t recommend it), and split the box jumps pretty evenly. I’ve mentioned that I love hero WODs, and honestly I really do enjoy the long ones. For some reason, these are the workouts during which I don’t think about the ending, when I’m not wishing or waiting for it to end. I just hit a rhythm and keep going.

For those of you unfamiliar with 31 Heroes and its origins, here’s the website explanation:

This WOD was created specifically to honor the 30 men and one dog that gave their lives for our country on August 6, 2011. It is 31 minutes long—one minute in remembrance of each hero. The rep scheme is 8-6-11—the date of their ultimate sacrifice. Finally, this is a partner WOD. The men who gave their lives were from multiple branches of our military, working together as a team.  In the workout you and your team member will constantly be taking the load from each other providing much needed support and relief. We realize that no physical sacrifice made during a workout can come close to the sacrifice our brave heroes made, but we consider this WOD a CrossFitters ‘moment of silence’. This is how we can honor those that gave all in the name of freedom.

It’s a paltry comparison, but– that story about the Irish gymnast?– this is why I love hero WODs. I may not be able to do everything RX’d (105 thrusters? Someday, I hope…) I may feel like collapsing on the pavement beneath my misbegotten sandbag, but I can’t fail this workout if I’m putting my all into it. It’s not for a personal record, not to affirm anything to myself or others about my fitness. It’s in honor of individuals who gave literally all they could in the name of duty, protecting the comforts and liberties we too often overlook. A perfect way to start the day.

Practical Programming

In Rhetoric, Training on July 22, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Some days are “heavy gravity” days– when the bar feels heavier than usual, when your limbs have turned to lead, when each movement feels stiff and unnatural. Today was, very fortunately, not one of those days. Perhaps it a was a “light gravity” day? I’m not sure how I managed this, but I PR’d my squat, my bench (and my supplementary dip sets), and managed to link four butterfly pull-ups today. I’m actually most excited about that last one. Despite the fact that I’m actually somewhat proud of my strict pull-up numbers*, my kips are awful. My sense of rhythm is off, and after 3 or so, I start swinging at the wrong pace and I have to stop just to keep from flying off the bar. For some reason, the rhythm of butterfly kips feels a lot more organic to me. I can feel when I’m supposed to pull. The movement’s a little harder, and I think actually somewhat more demanding than the gymnastics kip (though it could be because I’m still relatively new to it), but I like how much smoother it feels (at least, when I can get the rhythm right). To keep from absolutely blowing out my arms and shoulders, I jury-rigged a harness system so I could work on technique rather than brute strength. I just wrapped a band several times around the bar and hooked it below both arms (so that the band went across my upper back and just below the armpits). I went back and forth between the harness and unassisted versions to preserve my strength. It’s really tempting to practice these all day, but the problem I have with practicing kips is that they’re such high-impact motions that they’re really rough on… well, everything. Even at my (increasing!) mass, my joints don’t like all that impact, and we all know how kips shred the hands…

[*well, I was proud… ever since the weight gain, those numbers have been fluctuating and sometimes I suck more than I should]

Anyway, afterwards, I stuck around because our box has introduced yoga classes on Sundays. Honestly, I think this is a wonderful addition. We have too many un-bendy folk around the box, and though we had a good number of people for the class today, I hope more members take advantage of it. And the discount we get for being members of the box means that I can finally afford yoga in State College. I’ve never been very flexible to begin with, but I think the CrossFitting has made me even more tense in some areas (Hamstrings of Shame). Admittedly, I felt less stretched-out during this session than my one-on-one torture routine with Gumby, but it was still a worthwhile experience. The pacing is obviously vastly different from that of a CrossFit workout, and holding awkward positions entails an entirely different tolerance of suck than heavy thrusters. Mainly, the yoga session reminded me of the myriad of ways we can know our bodies– the multiplicities of very different “fitnesses” and how it’s humbling and healthy to venture outside our comfort zones (or discomfort zones, as the case may be).

I’ve undergone a lot of thought about what makes an effective trainer these past few days. I mean, as an English instructor, I’ve spent years now taking courses on, studying theory of, and engaging in debates about what makes for effective teaching. I find that a lot of our principles apply to physical training as well– learning how to adapt to the needs and learning mechanisms of each student, engaging with the personality of each class, etc. One of our box’s interns has a fantastic opportunity to become a coach at a well-respected affiliate in Philadelphia. In fact, he’s interviewing today (good luck!). I hate the transience of State College, and I’m always sad to see people leave, but honestly this job would be wonderful for him, and he’s so well-suited for it that I can’t help but wish the best for him. Anyway, on Friday I got to play the fun role of pretend student as he rehearsed the class he would be teaching for the final part of his interview. First of all, I’m impressed that the box has that thorough of a hiring process for its trainers, but I also noted the many thoughtful ways in which he prepped for the process. His entire course was well-structured, and he took care to explain why we did each movement and how all the warm-up, preparatory exercises translated to the workout itself. He also explained the methodology behind the programming and why we did each movement– when to work certain muscle groups and when to let others rest. This helped me during the actual WOD as I knew what I was trying to work during each movement rather than moving for the sake of moving. As someone very preoccupied with the “why” in my training, I really appreciated this element.

I’m in the middle of reading Practical Programming right now, and it’s fascinating. I’ve developed so much admiration for individuals who can develop effective programming. On the surface, it seems like a fairly simple task. And to be honest, I think a lot of people are so un/undertrained that almost any matrix of activity would spark progress. Even overtraining is easier for a novice to overcome and is significantly less devastating than it is to an intermediate or advanced athlete. So there’s a lot of room to play around/screw up with people who just step from couch to gym. But once the trainee progresses beyond the “novice” stage, training becomes so much more scientific. What really caught my eye was that the book provided a method to quantify exercise “intensity” (a term we throw around abstractly all the time):

volume/repetitions = average weight used

average weight used/1RM x 100 = % intensity

It allows us to consider each workout relative to the athlete’s capabilities. Now… what I wished the book addressed (or hope it does later in the volume) is what percentage training intensity would be good to shoot for how many times a week. But even just with this, I assume we want some days at lower and higher intensities. Because weight numbers are deceptive, it’s easy to flirt with that overtraining territory by just doing higher reps at a lower weight. Eventually, you’ll push your “light” day into a “heavy” day. This also puts the demands of a linear progression program into perspective for me. After your initial ramp-up, you’re eventually lifting former one rep maxes for sets of five, 3-4 times a week… pushing at possibly above 100% intensity? No wonder these things only work for novice lifters. It also explains pretty well why I shouldn’t be WODing heavy on my rest days (as much as I ache to do so).

Anyway, I may write more about it when I finish the book. Right now, my “leisure reading” involves that and Sporting Rhetoric (which is actually part of my dissertation research), a relatively new anthology about the rhetoric and performativity of sports. I’m loving the overlap between my research and my extracurricular interests.

Oh… before I wrap up this post, I have a question that’s been driving me crazy. It seems that the most accepted notation for sets/reps is:

(for example):

shitton lbs x 3 x 1

Here, you would be lifting a shitton (technical measurement) for three reps for one set. This is the way that Catalyst Athletics programs and the way a lot of Oly-lifting notation is prescribed. They use this format for O-lifts and for power lifts. HOWEVER, for nonweighted workouts, they write something like “Pull-ups – 5 x 10” to indicate five sets of 10 pull-ups. The numbers have been switched around. Okay… so I could get on board that different exercises have different configurations (as confuddling as it is)

BUT! CrossFit Football uses the following notation:

Bench 3×5 (add 2.5 lbs to last workout)

indicating that the trainee should bench his selected weight for three sets of five.

Outlaw Crossfit follows the same protocol as CFF. (Speaking of Outlaw, I’ve become a bit of a blog stalker of theirs in the past month, and shall post more about this later).

Is there any standardization for this notation, or do we just have to re-learn the standards for each gym/coach/program wizard?

CrossFit: Sex Sells…

In Rhetoric, Training, WOD on July 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm

So… I need to address the puzzling CrossFit ad that appeared during the games. After Reebok obtained its monopoly on CrossFit, they started a fairly aggressive television ad campaign. I’ve never been stunned by any of these commercials– most of which just feature close-up shots of those ridiculous Zig shoes that I’ve never seen a CrossFitter actually wear (which is also odd because they produce plenty of shoes that CrossFitters do wear– the oly lifters and the nanos…)– but one of the ads during the 2012 Games caught my attention. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a high-quality version of it online, but here’s the idea:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4wuGiBL7TI

Basically, it involves a lot of close shots of a female athlete, and eventually the words “Turning sevens into tens.”

Okay. The close-ups are obviously to show off the woman’s physique, and let’s face it, elite CrossFitters have bodies worth showing off. But to me, this runs counter intuitive to CrossFit’s functional fitness angle. Do CrossFit because it makes you stronger, because it makes you hardier, because it makes you capable. Do CrossFit because it makes you harder to kill. Don’t do it for the perfect ass.

In a generous interpretation of this ad, I could see that we’re turning a “7” in effort into a “10.” Or raising self-esteem from 7 to 10. But… given the visual focus of this commercial, I really doubt that that was the ad’s intent. I know sex sells, but if CrossFit is out to make itself a respectable sport, I think this is a questionable route to go. No one tells you to put your kid in football because girls will love the way his butt looks in tights. Or do ballet because dancers have killer legs. Dancers do have killer legs, but that’s not the intent of the sport. There’s so much more to it– body awareness and control, embodying an art with your entire physical self. If CrossFit is to garner any respect as a sport, it should do more than give you a nice ass. I’m pretty sure your LA Fitness step aerobics class could do that too.

Woo… okay I just needed to get that off my chest. Some fun WODs to share with you. Yesterday’s:

2 Rounds of…
3min AMRAP
5 Chest-to-Bar pullups
5 Switching lunges
5 Ring pushups
*rest 1 min

4 AMRAP
10 KB
10 Situps
10 Box jumps
*rest 2 min
I’m a big fan of AMRAPs and even more so of divided AMRAPs. Movements like chest-to-bar pullups are fun but too challenging to continue for, say, 15 minutes straight. So breaking them up into small chunks like this is a really effective way to work them into a WOD.

Due to the possibility of tubing tomorrow, I went in this afternoon and did tomorrow’s scheduled lifts today. I was nervous that they’d feel weak due to inadequate rest, but I’m actually pretty happy with them (*knocks on wood*). My squats are back to the last point I reached before failure…. so… lots of eating and rest before Sunday. And praying. So today:

Squats: 3×5

Press: 3×5

Pull-ups : 3 sets to failure

And then a WOD borrowed from CrossFit Football (I loved it)

10 Rounds:

1 power clean to strict press (use the weight from your sets of five)

6 walking lunges with bar on back (3 per leg)

50 yard sprint

I think I want to keep this one in my arsenal for press days. It’s short, hard, and it has built in accessory work for both my squat and my press.

In other news, my new landlord finally got back to me and, this coming Wednesday, I shall be migrating from my spacious, luxuriant, all too expensive 1 bedroom apartment to a basement studio with no air conditioning, living beneath 4 Penn State undergrads…  The funny part is that I’m happy I’ll have more space for my punching bag, but irked that I have nowhere to hang a pull-up bar. If, however, I truly am here in State College for 4 years… I’m considering investing in a rower. We’ll see.

Whole 14: DONE

In Food, Training, Uncategorized, WOD on July 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Dear Whey Protein:

I know we’ve had our ups and downs since I first discovered you during my misguided P90x years. We’ve been on again and off again and on again. I’ve dabbled with at least 6 different brands until I at last found one that was 1) affordable and 2) gentle on my stomach. And after all that effort, I’ve abandoned you for the past two weeks in pursuit of my Whole 14. I’m so, so, so very sorry. Please come back to my life.

Yours,

Jo

Okay, facetiousness aside… I’m done with my Whole 14! 😀 And, even though I said peanut butter would be the first thing on my reintroduction list, today I went straight for the protein shake. I know that’s not the wisest decision because whey powders contain a crapton* of ingredients, but I couldn’t resist.

[*Crapton: Approximately 2,000 crappounds or 100 cubic crapfeet.]

Also, I feel better after the protein shake. Part of it must be placebo-esque, but… whereas I’ve felt worn down a couple hours after each workout for the past two weeks, I felt fine with my usual recovery drink. Today’s workout, by the way, was lovely. It was definitely a long-and-slow day… I’m really starting to embrace these strength-focus days when I can just kind of move at my own pace and prepare myself before each lift.

Today:

Back Squat 3×5

Should Press 3×5 (PR!) I finally broke past that plateau with which I’ve been struggling for the past… forever

Pull ups, strict: 7, 7, 7 (Winner!)

And then a WOD that I took at my own pace…

7 Rounds:

100 ft Farmer’s walk (1.5 pd in each hand)

10 box jumps (20″)

10 burpees (I’m starting to get so slow at these after not doing them for a long time…)

Oh, I suppose if you’ve been paying extra close attention, you might notice that I just squatted on my “rest” day. I’m experimenting with resetting my schedule so that I squat on wednesdays and saturdays now because the box has the occasional gymnastics/striking class on Thursdays, and now we plan on playing CrossFit dodgeball (!!! 😀 !!!), so I’m hoping that this schedule might better accommodate more CrossFit extracurriculars 🙂

Happy July 4th to all. I bitch about the problems in America as much as the next person, but honestly, I’ve seen what my parents went through to earn their citizenships here so that I could have opportunities they didn’t have in their home country. There’s a lot of dumb shit in the land of privilege, but how fortunate are we to have those privileges? And how absurd is it that we’re so protected, so safe, that so many of us can walk around ignorant of the men and women who’ve dedicated their lives to ensuring those privileges?

Happy Independence Day. Thank the brave for keeping us free. 🙂