Crossfit Comas & Sexy Bitches

Being the exaggerated extrovert that I am, if I go any stretch of a day without someone to talk to, I come home jabbering away like a sideshow parrot. It’s not the feature of mine that Captain Introvert Boyfriend is most fond of, I can assure you.

Yesterday however, I found myself in what Boyfriend coined a “Crossfit Coma”. When I got home from my romp with Hybrid Athletics, I was not interested in talking or being spoken to, I didn’t care what Boyfriend’s day had been like, and the thought of cuddling made me queasy. I just wanted to curl up into a ball and never move again.

However, that part of my “Crossfit Coma” was only the tip of the iceberg. Boyfriend wasn’t around to see me turn green as I put away my weights at the gym, nor did he watch me fight the urge to faint as I stumbled to my car in the parking lot. He also missed the 10 minutes where I sat motionless in my car with all the doors open in a futile attempt to stop my head from spinning. It wasn’t pretty.

So, here’s the workout that kicked me into my coma:

POWERLIFTER’S WARM UP (WU)

25-Yard Sled Pulls (Forward & Backwards x 3)

Just as it sounds, they give you a sled with weights on it, and you drag it across the floor for 25 yards. You have to drag it while move forwards, and then pull it and walk backwards to complete one rep. I never bothered to ask exactly what the weight was, but for the first 2 rounds there were what looked like two 45lb. plates on the sled, and then they added another 45lbs. for the last set.

Glute Walk (20 steps each leg x 3)

With a thick rubber band around your ankles, you bend your knees and set your feet about shoulder-width apart. Without letting the band go slack in between, take 20 wide steps to the left, and 20 wide steps to the right. The first direction isn’t so bad, but by the time you’re on step 15 going back, you can really feel it.

Bandy Russian Deadlift (RDL) (20 x 3)

It’s the motion of a regular deadlift, but you’ve got a thick rubber band looping under both feet and up, over your neck. It’s simple enough, and not very strenuous. More of a mobility exercise to prepare you for the actual thing.

YTW w/ Tubing (10 each x 3)

With a length of tubing around a pole at should height, hold one end in either hand and stand with your arms straight out in front of you, far enough back from the pole that there’s no slack in the tubing. As if you’re the victim of a shitty DJ at a young couples wedding, stretch your arms up into a “Y” shape 10 times, just as you would for the “YMCA” dance. Then, make a “T” shape 10 times, keeping your wrists in line with your shoulders. Finally, make a “W” shape 10 times, so that you elbows are beside your ribs and your wrists are by your shoulders.

SWOD (Strength Workout Of the Day)

As if the regular WOD wasn’t enough, sometimes they throw a little extra torture at you in the form of a SWOD. First, they gave us 10 minutes to find our  90% Deadlift. For those not familiar with lifting, a 90% Deadlift is a lift that’s 10% less than something you could lift only once, exerting absolutely all your effort (otherwise known as a 1 Rep Max, or 1RM). My 90% Deadlift landed at 122lbs.

 10 Minute EMOM: Deadlifts & Box Jumps

“EMOM” is a deceptively cute-sounding acronym that stands for “every minute, on the minute.” In the case of this SWOD, it meant that we did a 90% Deadlift, followed by a Box Jump, every minute, for 10 minutes. As I detailed in a previous post, Box Jumps and I really don’t get along. Luckily, they let me use the 24″ padded box, which don’t psych me out the way the wood ones do.

WOD: Christine (x 3)

5oom Row

12 Deadlifts @ Bodyweight

21 Box Jumps

Similar to the dreaded Dirty Thirty WOD, Christine was scored for time. We had to cycle through everything 3 times, and then see how long it took us. I came in at 17 minutes, but I wouldn’t count it officially. I can’t even do a 1 rep Deadlift with my current bodyweight, so I used about 100lbs. instead, and I modified the last 2 rounds of Box Jumps so that I was stepping up, rather than jumping on with both feet.

Having done the WOD as I did it, I’m not convinced I could have physically completed it any other way. By the time we all finished, I was an absolute wreck!

This doesn’t even begin to describe how tired I was

What a bitch…

As I put my weights away, I got the sinking sense that I was about to vomit, which was only worsened by the guy that tried to flirt with me while I was red-faced and sweating like I’d just visited the sun. Seriously, dude?

Furthermore, all my feelings of utter defeat were exaggerated tenfold by the gorgeous blonde chick who rocked the whole workout in a fraction of my time, lifting what must have been twice her bodyweight, and then sauntered off with little more than a seductive glisten of sweat highlighting her brow. It was like she came from some genetically engineered race that had been specifically designed to look hot at all times.

Update: More Crossfit

I have completed the introductory Crossfit course at Hybrid Athletics! They call it the “On-Ramp Program”, and it’s essentially just a chance for them to teach you the basics, one-on-one, so you don’t hold everyone else up in the group classes. Yesterday was my last day of the On-Ramp Program, meaning I’m now free to attend Drop-In classes at my leisure.

FRAN

Yesterday’s WOD was called “Fran”. I’m not sure who Fran is, but she’s obviously a ginormous bitch… The workout was simple enough in theory– it was a 21-15-9 of Thrusters and Pull-ups: 21 Thrusters, 21 PullUps, 15 Thrusters, 15 PullUps, 9 Thrusters, 9 Pullups. Complete that in as little time as possible, and you’re done! Simple. The only difficulty being that I SUCK at PullUps.

This is a pretty accurate depiction of how the PullUp sets went…

Perhaps you recall me saying how I only developed enough strength to do my first PushUp this year. A SINGLE PushUp. That was a big deal! So, you can no doubt imagine how difficult it was to do that first set of TWENTY-ONE PullUps. I had to break it down into sets of two. On the plus side, my legs are strong enough that the Thruster sets weren’t a big deal. I even added some extra weight to the bar, though I was a far cry from the recommended weight of 95lbs.

This is a Thruster (aka “Squat Press”)

All in, I landed in the 12-minute mark for time, with 90% of those minutes spent on PullUps. Safe to say that I’m rather sore today, and my arms feel like noodles. As with the day we did the Dirty 30, this class was a clear example of why the group setting works for me- I would’ve given up on those PullUps after the first two without the trainer pushing me. I might have to accept that, expensive as it is, the Crossfit atmosphere works really well for me. I’m too competitive not to push myself in a group.

UPDATE: Crossfit

For those who don’t know, I purchased a Groupon to a local Crossfit gym as a bit of a post-Christmas gift to myself. I went in for my first session on January 8th.

Hybrid Athletics in Langley, BC

The facility seemed small to me, but that was perhaps only because I’m used to going to Gold’s Gym, which is a roomy 40,000 sq. ft. Regardless, while the 7,000 sq. ft. Hybrid Athletics facility  was much smaller than Gold’s, it certainly didn’t feel crowded.

Upon arriving, I was put in a group with three other Groupon purchasers and we were all sent upstairs to warm up on the stationary bikes. Afterwards, our instructor came up and introduced himself, and began walking us through each exercise in the workout we were going to be doing. Crossfit utilizes a lot of exercises that are familiar to me by name, but it alters them slightly and has very specific technique rules. For example, Crossfit Push Ups call for your elbows to stay close to your body, and your chest must make full contact with the floor before your can rise. If you cheat on this, they make you “release your hands” which means lifting both hands off the floor between each rep to show you’ve made contact. For Squats, they don’t count a rep unless your butt passes below parallel with your knees. This is commonly referred to as ATG, or “Ass to Grass”.

DAY 1

TABATA ROWING (8 x 20 sec.)

Our workout started with some tabata-style Rowing. For 20 seconds we were told to Row as hard as we possibly could, and then we took a 10 second break. We did this for 8 sets.

TABATA AIR SQUATS (8 x 20 sec.)

Next, we followed the same principle for Squats. For 20 seconds, we did as many ATG Air Squats as we could (“AMRAP”), and then tried to meet or beat our first score for every subsequent set. I over-exerted in the first set with 16 Squats, then fell down to 9 or 10 Squats by the third set, and had to really push to finish with 12 in the final set.

21 – 15 – 9 (RingUp, PushUp, SitUp)

The main WOD was a 21 – 15 – 9 of RingUps (See image to the  left), PushUps, and Situps, with a 200m Run between each set. This means that for the first round, we did 21 reps of each exercise, then we ran 200m, then we did 15 of each, ran 200m, did 9 of each, and ran our final 200m. The 21 set was pretty brutal for me, considering I’d only been able to do 10 PushUps before. I’ll admit I had to transition into the “girl PushUps” halfway through. Similarly, RingUps were a real challenge for me and I had to keep my feet on the floor and give myself a bit of an upward incline.

DAY 2

This is a modified version of “The Filthy 50”. Having barely dragged myself through the 30, I can’t imagine surviving the 50. For this WOD, we cycled through 10 exercises as quickly as possible, doing 30 reps of each. There was a final step that the instructor failed to mention, which was curling up and dying afterwards.

30 Box Jumps

This was unnecessarily difficult for me. They give you a 20″ tall wooden box, and you have to jump on with both feet from a stand-still. When I jumped, I typically went an extra 4-6 inches higher than I needed to, but for some reason, I psyched myself into thinking I was going to undershoot. I kept spooking and hesitating mid-jump, then I’d have to reset. It took forever! Koodos to the instructor for pushing me through though.

30 Jumping PullUps

Stand beneath a bar and do a PullUp, but let your feet hit the ground and give yourself a bit of a jump. Not bad.

30 KettleBell Swings

I can’t remember what weight my KettleBell (KB) was.. I think it was 16lbs. This is pretty much what it sounds like– start from the ground and swing the KB up over your head until it’s vertical.

30 Walking Lunges

Lunge with one leg, move the other leg forward and lunge with that one. Repeat. Nothing to it.

30 Knees to Elbows

This is the pre-curser to the Toes to Bar exercise. You hold onto an overhead bar and kip your knees up to your elbows. My problems with this exercise were twofold: one, I don’t have the grip strength to hold onto the bar, and my hand slid off as soon as I started swinging; and two, I’m a marshmallow and couldn’t bring my knees anywhere near my elbows. As an alternative, the instructor had me do 30 SitUps on the Back Extension Bench.

30 Back Extensions

All the way down, then all the way up. This one isn’t actually too bad for me. Perhaps it’s a benefit to being busty– my lower back had to develop some decent strength when I was about 15, and it’s had to sink or swim ever since. The fact that I’m still standing is probably evidence enough that I have decent lower back strength.

30 Push Press

Using a barbell, this felt pretty much like the Jerk portion of a Clean and Jerk. It was really just an Overhead Press with a mini-Squat. We didn’t have any weight on the bars, so it wasn’t a problem for me.

30 Wall Balls

These, on the other hand, were a problem. They were a HUGE problem! If I wasn’t trying to get my face around the damn ball, I was catching it late after my toss and taking a 20lb. ball square in the chest. It seemed so simple– Squat with the ball overhead, throw the ball up to a line on the wall, catch the ball, repeat. Nope! Hard as hell. I was exhausted by the time I got to Burpees.

30 Burpees

Do I even need to explain how much these suck? Is there anyone that actually enjoys Burpees? They’re like the mosquitoes of the fitness jungle. Without the motivational push from the others in my class, I probably would’ve thrown in the towel halfway. That’s exhibit A why the Crossfit environment works well for me. The strength of my self-motivation sits somewhere between 0 and kitten.

30 Double-Unders

Make a skipping rope circle under your feet twice before you hit the ground between jumps. It’s just like we used to do in Elementary school, except back then I was good at it and I didn’t have boobs to deal with. I need to practice my skipping. I’m a girl– this should’ve been the easy part!

UPDATE: PushUps, Planks and Crossfit!

I’ve been keeping up with the January Fitness Challenge which I set for myself, and am proud to say that I completed two sets of 10 PushUps this morning! While it doesn’t sound like much, this is double what I was capable of a week ago, and great progress considering that, this time last year, I couldn’t do a single PushUp. Also, I booked my first class of Crossfit at Hybrid Athletics for tomorrow after work! I’m very excited to see how it goes!

Lessons Learned in 2013

I’VE OUTGROWN THE CLUB SCENE

Fulfilling a long-time goal, my friends and I all got dressed to the nines for New Years Eve of 2013 and went to a Vancouver club for the midnight countdown. Looking back, I loved dressing up and celebrating with lots of friends, and would aim to create or attend an event with a similar dress code for future New Year’s Eve parties. However, the club itself was an unnecessary expense. I would rather have hosted my own fancy New Years thing at home, with more food, cheaper alcohol, and music volumes that didn’t completely inhibit conversation. Perhaps I’m getting old, but I really don’t enjoy the club scene at all anymore. Even when I want to go out on a regular Friday night, I’m more of a pub girl.

DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU RENT

Boyfriend and I made the exciting leap of getting an apartment together in January 2013. We found a large, two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment that was ThunderFoots-and-SquirBo-friendly, and it came with two underground parking stalls for us. Our landlord was an absolute sweetie, and everything seemed perfect! However, we soon found out that the underground parkade had serious security issues (and no cameras). There were a number of break-ins within our first three months as tenants, with my car being broken into once, and Boyfriend’s car twice. Thieves also broke into the building once, and drilled out the locks of an apartment a few doors down from us. Luckily, our lovely landlord installed ADT for us, free of charge, and the strata has finally increased the security enough that the break-ins seems to have stopped. However, had we asked the local police department about the area and talked to other tenants before we moved in, we would’ve known this was a problem, and could’ve saved ourselves about $600 in window repairs. Also, on a similar note:

BOYFRIEND & I AREN’T MEANT FOR APARTMENTS

All of our neighbours are Mr. Heckles.

Some people love apartments, and are well-suited to apartment living. Boyfriend and I are not those people. We try very hard to make as little noise as possible (despite our neighbours reluctance to be so courteous), but the fact is that we end up paying over a thousand dollars a month to live in a library. We have to scold the dog for chewing her bone on the hardwood, and we can’t let her or the cat run around at all without the neighbours thinking we’re housing a herd of elephants. Boyfriend has been unable to practice the bagpipes in over a year, and has to be quiet when he plays guitar. We watch movies quietly, we walk quietly, we listen to music quietly, and at night we have to… well, you get the picture. Safe to say that we will continue to live here for the sole purpose of saving money, but our next abode with have to be of the stand-alone variety.

DON’T MOURN THE LIVING

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Unexpectedly celebrating her 9th birthday, 8 months after her cancer diagnosis.

On January 23rd, 2013, my beloved 9-year-old dog, SquirBo, was diagnosed with inoperable transitional cell carcinoma and given a 6-month life expectancy. For about a week, I cried every time I thought about it. However, knowing that I could lose her at any moment forced me to spend more time with her whenever I could– if this was to be her last year, I’d be damned if it wasn’t a great one. As it turned out, the awesome staff at Paws and Claws Animal Hospital were able to find a mix of pain killers that not only enabled SquirBo to live comfortably, but seem to have stalled the growth of the cancer. She surpassed everyone’s expectations and is now nearing the one year anniversary of her diagnosis and showing virtually no symptoms. I’m aware that her days are numbered, but I’ll have more than enough time to mourn her once she’s gone. Now is the time to enjoy her presence, and to make sure her last days, however many there may be, are all enjoyable.

LOVE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN PRIDE

In 2013, Boyfriend and I passed the one year mark of our relationship. Not surprisingly, we learned a lot about each other, and ourselves, in our first year together. Specifically, I learned that love, and our relationship, is far more important to me than anything else. There is no remark I want to fight about, no event I want to drag Boyfriend to, and no ex I want to stay friends with, enough that I would do so at the risk of putting a strain on our relationship. For that matter, I have yet to encounter any scenario where I care enough about something that it takes precedent over him. Whether we’re in the midst of a quarrel, or I feel a snarky remark on the edge of my tongue, if it’s not absolutely important to me, it’s better just to drop it. If the fight is alive only because I’m hell-bent on proving that I’m right, it’s just not worth it.

FITNESS HAS TO BE A TOP PRIORITY

2013 was the first year I really got into fitness, and that’s largely because I made it a priority. Goals are not attained when you workout “when you have time” or “when you have money for a membership”. They’re attained when you cut your night short so you can get up early for your workout, and when you run stairs at the park because you can’t afford gym. You can’t think of fitness as a hobby you find time for; it’s a necessity that other things get worked around. It’s not a matter of “I don’t have time for the gym because her birthday is tonight,” but instead, “I’ll have to workout early if I’m going to make it to her birthday!”. There will always be an event you’d rather attend, an expense you’d rather spend your money on, or an injury that you’d rather nurse. Workouts can be modified, simplified, shortened, and done on a budget, but they can not be skipped. If you wait for a time when conditions are perfect, you’ll never start. If you really want it as bad as you say you do, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

PushUps, Planks, and Crossfit!

While I didn’t necessarily set a specific New Year’s Resolution this year, fitness is still a major focus for me. I’m in the gym 4-5 days per week, and usually focus on high-rep lifting. That won’t change, as I really love my lifting routine. However, I’m also going to be aiming to strengthen two of my problem areas/exercises: pushups and core strength.

No “Girl” Pushups

 

This time last year, I was physically incapable of doing a single proper-form pushup. Not one. I can now do 5, which is a pretty big deal for me. My chest strength has always been weak though, and that needs to change. I’m addressing that problem with a little January challenge that I’ve set for myself using this Workout Calendar. It’ll have me doing a gradually increasing number of Pushups and Squats every morning, throughout the month. The Squats obviously won’t do much for my chest, but I needed something to break up Pushup sets, and figured you can never do too many squats! I start at two sets of 12 Squats and 5 Pushups, and work my way to (hopefully) three sets of 50 Squats and 30 Pushups. Looking at that last day from where I currently stand, it seems overly ambitious. Nevertheless, I’m curious to see how far I can get!

The photos claiming to exhibit the benefits of drinking 3 litres of water a day.

I’ve included little water reminders on that calendar, as I’ve always been awful about allowing myself to dehydrate. I’m aiming to drink about 3 litres of water a day. I read an interesting article on a woman who experimented with increasing her water intake to 3 litres a day, and while the findings aren’t exactly scientific, and the photos may very well be shopped, I figure it can’t hurt.

A friend of mine has also just shared a 30-day Plank Challenge post on Facebook, which I may add to my routine. It starts with a 20 second Plank on Day 1, and ends the month with a 4.5 minute plank. Again, seems pretty ambitious when you’re looking at it from Day 1, but any mountain looks steep when you’re staring at it from the valley.

Finally, to round out my January fitness plan, I purchased myself a Groupon for a few semi-private session of Crossfit at my local Hybrid Athletics gym. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for ages, but just couldn’t afford it. I have a very competitive personality, and I think that environment could be good for me. I’m curious to see how it goes!

Feel free to print off and use that calendar I put together, and leave me a comment with your fitness goals for January!