Squat-a-thon

I used an expletive when I looked up from my warmup at the board Monday morning.
I was already sore from a weekend of workouts – two challenge WODs and a team workout that included front squats.

Back squats and front squats? Together?

Yep.

It turned out not to be as bad as I imagined. Don’t get me wrong – those were still hard as hell.
But I imagined a torture session where I would squat the bar and struggle hard the stand – maybe not being able to stand at all.

As it turns out, I was able to stand. What’s more, I focused on squatting to full depth every time. It’s something I usually am inconsistent on, especially as the weight goes up.

I could feel my weight shift on the way up as I got tired. Zach reminded me once to fight the shift, and I immediately refocused. Hopefully my shifting has improved over time. I know I spend a lot of extra time working on mobility and exercises for my hip, so I’d like to have improved.

The next morning, I was sore. I didn’t want to go to my workout. I did anyway. It was like therapy for my legs. It got the blood flowing and loosened me up. But when my coach asked me if I was sore and I said “Hell, yeah!”, his face broke into a grin.

Kind of an evil grin, if you ask me.

“Wait until we hit 90 percent.”

GULP.

Surround yourself with strength

How do you improve your skills and grow as a (insert your career, sport, hobby, personal ambition)?

One thing people recommend is to hang around people who have the skills you want. I know, I know: It’s easier said than done.

First you have to find those people, and then, you have to feel comfortable with being a newbie and asking questions. On the one hand,you have to be confident enough to put yourself out there. But on the other hand, you have to be willing to keep your ears and eyes open to actually learn something. There’s no room for arrogance.

So in my case, I want to improve as an athlete — both in Olympic Lifting and Crossfit. So the best scenario is to 1) get into classes with people who can kick my ass and 2) not be an ass.

Seriously.

I haven’t met many people at my gym who are asses. For the most part, everyone is really nice and willing to help you out. I tend to be a little reserved with the new folks, but not because I think I’m any better or anything. I just don’t know them, and it’s not my style to get all warm and friendly right off the bat. But I’m more than willing to answer questions and help out.

In Olympic Lifting, I’m the newbie. And the folks in my class are coaches for the most part. They are incredibly knowledgeable and nice, so it’s a joy to be working alongside them, even though I’m stumbling my way through the lifts and fussed at most of the time. Oly class is one of those places where you just have to be humble and open your eyes and ears. Check that arrogance at the door, son, because it ain’t gonna help you.

But when coach says you did something right, it’s OK to do the happy-happy-joy-joy dance (well, inside, at least). I mean, praise is earned, so it’s perfectly OK to be proud of yourself. That’s how I felt on Wednesday when I landed a 55# snatch JUST RIGHT. It felt awesome. It was just one — but it was progress.

Monday:
Back squats w/ 5 sec pause 65% 5X4 → 95
Hip Power Snatch + OHS 3+3×3 → 55/55/55
Snatch off blocks:
Power 3×1, 2×1 → 55/55
Snatch 2×2, 2×1 → 55/65/65
Power clean off blocks 3×3 → 65/65/65

Wednesday:
Front Squat w/ 5 sec pause: 65% 5×4 → 85/85/85/85
Snatch Balance 5×2, 4×2, 3×2 (w/ heave) → 35/45/55
Hang Snatch w/ pause below the knee 2×4 → 35/45/55/55
Clean 3×2, 2×3 → 75/85

I wrote another little something about how the class has improved my squats and Zach posted it on his blog. Check it out!

 

I did it! A double under PR!

I’m so excited.  I’ve made it my mission to work on pullups and double unders.  Whenever I can, I pull out my speed rope or whatever rope I can find and I practice.

Tonight I practiced in the driveway while Andy had the sprinkler out, watering the lawn (It’s our watering day). The sprinkler would occasionally get me as it waved back and forth, but it felt really good so I didn’t move.

I digress.

The last time I practiced, I resolved to do 20 double unders, and it took me a really long time.  Tonight, it went much faster.  So I decided to do 10 more.  And that went fast!  So I decided to try to string two together (I had been doing a few singles, then a double, singles, then a double).

I managed to string 5 together.

I was so proud, I ran inside to tell Andy.

“Andy! Andy! Guess what!  I got 35 double unders!”

I’m a dork.  I know. But one day I want to do “Annie” RX.  And I don’t want to have to scale in a competition like I did in the Garage Gym Throwdown.

I also did my 10 negative deadhang pullups, which suck.  Then I followed up with the WOD Andy did Monday.  Well, sort of.  It was the closest I could get without a rowing machine or a 24kg kettlebell.

2 rounds
400m run
35 Russian swings @ 50#
75 squats

Time: 12:03

I’m going to pay for that one tomorrow.  We’re doing a squat clean AMRAP. Ouch.

The importance of having a coach

Everyone needs a coach.  No matter what you do.

I didn’t always know this — at least not in these words. I left school thinking I was on my own, but in reality, you have to keep working on yourself, whether it’s your writing, career, personality, sport… you name it.

At work, it’s my peers, the blogs I follow, books, my husband.  When I did Kung Fu, it was my sifus (teachers).  They challenged me to reach beyond what I thought my potential was so that I would improve and exceed my own expectations.

It’s no different in the gym.  I can work out in my backyard all day long, but my coach is the person I turn to to help me get better.  Andy’s been a casual coach for me.  He constantly challenges me and helps me rethink my routines (even though sometimes I resist.  Hard.)  But spouses aren’t ideal coaches because they are your best friends first and your coach second.

I’ve found that the most effective coaches are your coach first and your friend second.

RedBlack Gym
RedBlackGymRedBlack Gym

 In this Gym we are your coach FIRST friend Second. Family always. Which gives us a license to break yo’ ass down. Only to build you stronger

15 Aug

I’ve had my coach for 2 1/2 years.  I am fiercely loyal to him.  He is the guy who demands that I give my all.  There are no excuses.  You either do the work or you go home.

I turn to him for guidance.  And what he asks isn’t easy.  But it works.

This morning I was practicing kipping pullups before class like one of the other coaches suggested when he walked up.

“You really want to get better at pullups?  Do negatives.  You’re about ‘this’ far from the bar.  It’s just a matter of strength.”

So that’s what I’m going to do. Because I trust him.  He knows.

Then during the workout, despite my best efforts to keep my core tight, I just couldn’t lift my hips at the same as my chest during pushups.  So he told me to do them on my knees.  Better to have good form from the knees than sloppy form from the toes.  It feels like a demotion, but he’s right.  So I did. Speaking of this morning’s WOD:

“Stacy”
5 rounds
3 min AMRAP / 1 min rest
9 box jumps
6 DB goblet squats (M 55# / W 35#)
9 pushups

Results: 10 rounds (+ jumps each round, squats on first round) @ 35# KB

I know it’s not always easy to find that person who can be an effective guide, coach, teacher — whatever.  If you’re looking for a Crossfit coach, I found an interesting post about how to choose a coach, because there’s a ton out there now and not all of them are going to be right for you.

Who is your coach?  What do you like about him/her?  How have they helped you?

Aquafor is my friend

My calloused and ripped hand.  Ewww...I ripped one of the callouses on my left hand this morning.

I should have done a better job of managing my callouses, but thanks to some Aquafor (awesome stuff!), my hand doesn’t hurt anymore.

I haven’t ripped my hands in a while — over a year, I think — so I was surprised.   I hope I don’t have to do pull ups until it’s healed, but knowing my luck… well, you know.

Today was a benchmark day.  My FAVORITE benchmark day because it’s my FAVORITE benchmark WOD.  Hmmm…. wonder why.

“Cindy”
AMRAP 20 minutes
5 pull ups
10 push ups
15 squats

Humor me as I pat myself on the back, OK?  Last time — 3 months ago — I finished 15 rounds + 5 pull ups + 1 push up with the blue band and push ups on my knees.

Drumroll, please……..

Today — 14 rounds + 5 pull ups + 1 push up with 2 purple bands (that’s lighter!) and push ups on my TOES.

Yay!

I’m stronger.  Oh yeah.

How do I still have energy?

It boggles my mind how I can still have energy to write this post after a full day of working out and household chores — not to mention running after the kids!

I had a hair appointment this morning, so I didn’t go running as usual.  But I had enough time to make it to the free “Under The Bridge” boot-camp workout my gym hosted down at Lady Bird Lake.  Some of my teammates were there — plus Zach — so it was a good chance to chat before and after the workout.

It was tough — but not as tough as the last one I went to.  There were lots of elements to it, but the main part was a partner WOD.

2 rounds w/ a partner
100 OVH squats (w/ PVC pipe)
100 push ups
100 sit ups
Med ball sprint

They initially told us 3 rounds, but Zach changed it in the middle.  Steph and I were in the middle of our 2 round of situps when he called time and told us to do our last med ball run.

It was pretty fun, and Steph and Beth and I lingered to chat before I ran off to the farmer’s market for veggies, meat and eggs.  Unfortunately — NO EGGS!  Ahhhh!  I was forced to go to Whole Foods.  We picked up 36 eggs .  “Enough to tide us over until Wednesday,” I remember telling Andy.

(Chuckle.)  We eat a lot of eggs.

A couple of hours after dinner, I decided to tackle my first workout of Week 4 of the challenge.  I know it’s a lot, but I’m counting on that rest day on Monday.  I value my rest days, and I’m not gonna miss them!

50 lunges
400m run
50 push ups
400m run
50 dips
400m run
50 squats
400m run

Time: 14:52 (Elite)

The push ups really got me.  I did a LOT of push ups this morning.  I just couldn’t do anymore on my toes today.  I had to go to my knees.

Now it’s late.  I should be working.  Instead I’m blogging.  And I have this hope that I’ll actually wake up early to work in the morning.

SLEEP.  It’s so valuable, and yet I still treat it like an inconvenience.  SIGH.  I wonder if my stubbornness will give one day.

Dancing with “Cindy”

My gym has changed up our monthly benchmark workouts.

We used to do “Angie” as a benchmark (100 pull ups, 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats), but now we’re doing “Cindy” as one of the three monthly benchmarks.  Naturally, I think “Cindy” is awesome.

“Cindy”
AMRAP 20 min
5 pull ups
10 push ups
15 squats

Results: 15 rounds + 5 pull ups + 1 push up

I used a blue band and did the push ups on my knees.

According to my logs, about a year ago was the last time I took on “Cindy” — and I mean the full one, not one scaled because of pregnancy.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that I have maintained pretty well, even performed a little better — considering how much has happened in the past year.

Cool!

And even cooler — Zach is my I AM CROSSFIT coach.  I found out this morning, and my pre-challenge body comp is today.  (Chuckle)  This should be interesting.  But to be honest, no matter what the results are, I’m not worried.  I’ve been through a lot in the past year, and even if my body fat is way high, that’s OK.  I’ve got somewhere to go from here.

Next time I do this benchmark, I plan to do the push ups from my toes and either use a purple band or no band at all.  I’m ready to lean out again.  I’m ready to crush some goals.

Challenge: Can you beat me?

Here’s a great WOD to throw into your schedule:

3 rounds
400m run
Max-reps pull ups
50 squats
Max-reps knees-to-elbows

My time: 14:21

I used a band on the pull ups and had to scale the knees-to-elbows to knee raises (no abs — remember? :) ) I averages 10 pull ups and 10 knee raises before I had to stop to rest.

What about you?  Can you do it?

Back to the daily grind….

We’re back to the usual morning hustle and bustle here at my house, but — oh my! — the Thanksgiving holiday was so nice!

Taking our time to cook breakfast, sitting down to leisurely meals, feasting on turkey, toasting with friends — so nice.

But all was not ideal in Brummerland — Andy came down with some kind of stomach bug, and I think Mads is teething, so Sunday was not the picture of productivity that I had envisioned.

I also had to come up with a quick indoor workout that Luke could participate in.  Here’s what I did:

With a continuously running clock, do 1 min at each station (no rests)
3 rounds
DB Push Press (#20)
Sit ups
DB Lunges
Chinnies
DB Squat cleans

Maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t warmed up, maybe I needed Andy to help push me along, or maybe I haven’t worked with dumbbells in months, but I felt pretty weak.  I moved very slowly during the first round, and my did not improve much.

On the other hand, sit ups were easier, so it looks like my core strength is increasing.  Yay!

That hurt

I’ve been eating so clean lately, I decided to celebrate… by not eating clean?

Yep, I indulged Thursday night, and I’m PAYING for it.  Forget the headache the morning after… that was cake.  Today I’m dealing with PERFORMANCE issues.

Here’s what I took on today (two days after imbibing and eating grains):

4 rounds
12 burpees
24 push ups
36 squats
400m run

I suffered greatly.  I was dragging the entire time.  I just didn’t have it in me to run.  And the push ups were torture.

Time: 27:34

Ick.  Basically — that sucked.  And while I greatly enjoyed my indulgence, I’m going to watch it the next time that opportunity presents itself.  Thankfully (pun intended), Thanksgiving is just the fam this year, and eating clean at home without guests is pretty easy.

On the up side, right after my sucky workout, I took advantage of a massage Andy gave me for my birthday.  I opted for the deep tissue massage.  Damn did it hurt… soooooo good.