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:

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?

Pouting and strength

I’ve been doing a bit of pouting lately.  OK.  A lot of pouting.

See, change can be hard, especially when you get into a groove and think you’re going along just fine.

And I’m not gonna lie and say everything’s hunky-dory, because that wouldn’t be true.  That wouldn’t be real.  And yes I know I need to suck it up and get over it, but it’s important that you know that I do screw up from time to time.  Or rather, all the time.  And that despite my best efforts to do my best and be positive, it just isn’t going to happen all the time.

Got it?

Back to the pouting.

I got feedback for the second week in a row on my food log and suddenly I realized — it isn’t going to be as easy as I thought.  Changing to what Zach wants me to do isn’t going to be seamless, and it’s going to be hard, especially with Luke’s birthday party right around the corner.  Not to mention menu-planning and prepping my meals for the morning and all of that.

It’s also kind of that gut-wrenching realization that I didn’t do as well with my food log as I thought I did.  There’s still room for improvement.  A LOT of improvement.  I didn’t execute as well as I thought I did, and it’s actually going to take some effort.  Some re-thinking.

Does that mean I’m not going to do it? No.  It doesn’t.

I know what I want.  I went to Zach for guidance.  He’s giving it.  Now it’s up to me to take it and implement it. No one said it was going to be easy.  There is no magic wand, no matter how much I wish there was.

Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat.

~Ann Landers

OK.  Pouting over. Sorta.  But let’s move on.

We were off from class Tuesday, so Andy came up with a strength set for me.

4×8 Back Squat 45-55-65-65
(I kept the weight low to work on depth and form)
2×8 One-armed pushup, each arm
(I had one arm on a med ball.  I was going do do a full 4 sets, but a shooting pain started up in my right hand.)

4×8 Ring Rows
(Directly under the bar with knees bent)
4×8 Good mornings 65-65-65-65

I pouted during this workout too, because these are not my favorite exercises.  But as Andy reminds me CONSTANTLY… that’s why we’re doing them.


Swimsuit season is upon us

Where, oh where did the past year go?

It’s only the end of May, but every parent of a school age child (and school kids) knows that the end of school is here!  Summer camps will start up soon.  Vacations.  Lazy days by the pool.

OMG!  The pool?  Holy cow, Batman!  I need a swimsuit!

Duh, duh, duh…. DAHHHHHHHH.

SIGH.  It’s such a pain buying a swimsuit.  But I better head out this weekend to get one if I’m going to spend time with the kids at the pool.  They both have at least one swimsuit to get them through the summer.  Now it’s my turn.

I better lay off the sweets, I guess.

Fortunately I have a little muscle definition, even though my tummy still sticks out.  So at least I have THAT going for me.

See… THIS is why I get my butt out of bed at 4:30am twice a week — so I can wear a swimsuit.


Results: 134-145-155-165-175

Felt good!

AMRAP 12 min
6 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls (M 95# / W 65#)
9 Pushups (Crossfit games standard)
12 Box jumps

Results: 6 rounds + 6 SDLHP + 9 PU + 9 BJ RX

Almost finished 7 rounds — sooooooo close!

Can I have more weekend hours? Please?

There’s too much to do on the weekends.  And during the week.  Seriously.  I thought that by cutting TV out of my life I would gain time.  What a crock!

The weekend was jammed pack, and by the time Andy and I got the kids to bed Friday and Saturday, we were beat.  Exhausted.  Spent.  No way was a workout happening.

We forced ourselves to follow through on Sunday, and while I did NOT want to do anything, at the end I felt rejuvenated and energetic again.  And I slept really great that night.


Results: 115-125-135-145-155

I’m still clawing my way back up the deadlift ladder, so to speak.  That 155# was hard, and it shouldn’t have been.

AMRAP 12 min
200m run
15 Back Squat
10 Knees-to-elbows
5 Push ups

Results: 3 rounds + run @ 55#

I went kinda slow on the back squats, but depth has been an issue for me, and I was consciously working on going low enough.  The knees-to-elbows were my strongest yet — I had my knees closer to my elbows than ever!  Come on, abs!  Get stronger!

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.

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.


I’m stronger.  Oh yeah.

Pushing through sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is no bueno.

Seriously.  Too much to do.  Too little time.  Between work, the kids, the house, and now a tech conference (SXSW Interactive — yay!), I may have bitten off a bit more than I can chew.

It was the baby that kept me from sleeping much Wednesday night — sweet girl — and I was pretty bleary-eyed when I rolled into class Thursday morning.  I was glad the workout was a straight up bodyweight met-con.  Not that barbells didn’t make an appearance.

Front Squat

Results: 65-75-85-95-105

Zach said I didn’t go low enough in my squat.  Damn it.

4 rounds
200m run
25 push ups
15 toes-to-bar

There was a 10 minute cut off — I finished 3 full rounds, plus round 4’s run and 10 pushups.

I was happy with how this WOD went.  I felt fast on the runs and I did all of the push ups on my toes.  No — I didn’t get my toes to the bar, but I managed to swing my knees higher than I ever have — definitely higher than my previous knee raises.

I’m hoping to get a couple of runs in this weekend before heading off to the events at SXSWi, but I can honestly say that I’m more worried about eating clean.  I plan to enjoy a few drinks, and I’ll be surrounded by delicious looking food that I know will make me feel sick but for some reason tempts me anyway.

Ruh-roh.  Need to stay strong.  There’s nothing wrong with an indulgence as long as it’s worth it!

Bye, bye baby body. I’m back.

Mads is over 5 months old now, and we’ve both changed so much.

She’s growing like a weed.  She’s starting to sit up, roll over, and I love how she laughs when we sing and talk to her.  It’s crazy how she’s turning into this little person right before my eyes.

I’m changing, too — and I’m noticing it physically.  I’m… well… SMALLER.  My pajamas, which were tight just a few months ago, are now loose around my waist.  I’m back to wearing my small pair of Lulu WunderUnders.  And I just went shopping this weekend and was pleasantly amazed by the sizes I had to buy.

Eight weeks of clean-eating and intense training really can change things.

But I think what has been really telling is my results at the gym.  Yesterday we started Crossfit Total  I only had time to complete one of the 3 max-weight exercises:

Back Squat

Results: 115-125-145

I’m back.  145# was my max up through the first half of my pregnancy.  After that, it was too unsafe to even go that high.  And after Mads was born, I had to rebuild the strength I had lost.  I tried 145# in December, and scratched.

I’m back.  If anything rings a bell for me that I have recovered from pregnancy — it’s this.  I can’t wait to finish out Total on Thursday.

Later on Tuesday, I did one of the challenge’s home workouts, since I skipped it on Saturday.

20 swings
10 push ups
30 swings
15 push ups
40 swings
20 push ups

Time: 6:02 @ 30#

I really need a kettlebell, so I can use a full pood on those swings.

Today I get my body comp done for the end of the challenge — we’ll see how I did!

Team bonding for the Krewe of Crossfit

There’s nothing like a shredder to bring a team together.

Zach hosted our first I AM team workout Saturday morning at the Red & Black gym.  I expected it to be just us, but there were a ton of people and coaches there, working on private training.  It was cold outside, and even colder inside.  And to be honest, the place was kind of intimidating at first.  The gym is designed for elite athletes, and I certainly don’t feel elite.

Zach had been telling us all week that we should show up “ready to work” and he wasn’t kidding.  He sent us off on a run for our warm up — which was just under a mile.  When we got back, we did our usual 2×10 squats/pushups/rotations.  Then, for grins and giggles, he gave us a mini-WOD.

3 rounds
20 lunges
20 jumping squats
20 sit ups

That was just the warm up.

The WOD was a partner WOD, and I teamed up with Beth.  Zach told me to get 25# dumbbells, and I wasn’t sure I could do the weight when I looked at the workout:

100 DB Thrusters (M 45# / W 25#)
150 ring pushups
200 DB swings

We were told to split up the exercises evenly — no partner was to shoulder the burden.  I grimaced when I looked at those dumbbells.  25# was something I had been working toward, but I wasn’t there yet, I thought.

Turns out I was wrong.

Don’t get me wrong — this was an extremely difficult workout.  We had to go by 5’s during the thrusters AND the ring pushups.  But we DID it.  I had to do the pushups on my knees — I’m not quite able to be on my toes when I’m using the rings.  They fried my arms.  The swings were a piece of cake after everything else.  Beth and I are both used to swinging 1 pood, which is about 35#, so the 25# DB felt so light.  We sailed through the swings.

Time: 21:15

We were the first to finish, and it felt good.

After stretching, we started talking about nutrition and what was expected.  I remember being where many of my teammates are — brand new to the whole idea of paleo.  I made the transition much more gradually than they are expected to, and I kind of have it easy with a whole family on board.

In a couple of weeks, I’m hosting a dinner for my team.  Andy and I have decided to share some of our favorite dishes.  It should be great fun.  I’m starting to get anxious, though.  Only 2 weeks to get my house in order?!  Yikes!

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.

Good enough for the Army?

Today deserves a celebration.  Mads turns 4 months old today!

Four months of a new person in the house.  Four months of baby giggles and hugs.  Four months of being “4” instead of “3.”

Four months of heading down the long road from a pregnant body toward a bad ass body.

Still trying to get there, but the signs are encouraging.

So I did the Week 3 challenge WOD on Saturday, and, while I’m not sure it’s enough to get me into the Army, I’m pretty happy with how I did.

Army PT Test
2 min max sit ups
2 min rest
2 min max push ups
2 min rest
2 mile run

Situps — 54
Pushups — 41
Run — 18:03

I consider this a major PR.  Honestly, I believe that when I did this one last year, I did not run the full 2 miles, because I didn’t measure it out.  I just guessed.  I think.  Anyway, this year the time was a bit slower, but it’s the best one so far since Mads was born, and I’m considering it a PR.  Plus I did one more sit up and one more pushup.

And guess what!  Almost all of those push ups were on my toes — 35 to be exact.  Yay!