Though today didn’t quite work out the way I planned, we ended up at another evening workout at CrossFit Continuum. Why, you ask? Because Isaac was teaching? Because it worked out schedule-wise? Because we wanted to shake things up again this week? No, because my daughters wanted to see Coach Clare’s bulldog Penny.
Yup. They may have me wrapped around their little fingers.
At any rate, we made it in for the 5:45 class tonight with Coach Isaac. 🙂 The girls decided to get in some running instead of the workout itself (and did about 3 miles or so, I heard, plus some warm-ups), so it was me, Jeremy, Jamal, Tim, and Charlton tonight.
We started with a little 3 round warm-up:
1 minute of double-unders or single-unders
15 thrusters with a PVC pipe
1 minute of inchworms, focusing on the hamstring stretch portion
I have to say, I was already sweating a bit by the end of that 3 rounds, so I think I was warm. 🙂
When that was done, we grabbed some equipment: a box and a med ball each, with space on the rig, plus getting the rowers ready.
5 rounds (or 3 rounds for Level I) for reps of:
1 minute of box jumps, 24/20″ box (Rx/Level 2), or 20/16″ (Level I)
1 minute of wall-ball shots, 20/14# ball (Rx/Level 2) or 14/10# (Level 1)
1 minute of rowing (calories)
Rest 1 minute
We broke up the workout a bit because there were five of us. 3 of us started with wall balls and 2 of us started with box jumps/step-ups. That way we didn’t collide at the rowers.
We were off and running in the first round when I had something happen that I don’t remember ever happening before… The med ball smashed me in the face. In 4 years, I don’t remember having that happen. I’ve dropped it, missed it, and even had it hit the side of my head — but never smack on the nose. Oops.
Other than that, I was pretty consistent, all things being unequal (Wall balls, Rowing, Step-ups):
16, 6, 16 (38)
18, 10, 14 (42)
20, 8, 15 (43)
18, 7, 13 (38)
17, 7, 15 (39)
Total = 200
Not too bad. And other than catching a med ball in the face, I kept moving pretty well.
When we were done and cleaned up all our equipment, we did some stretching and called it good so the Advanced Class could get going.
Saturday team workouts are always interesting. Whether programmed by Coach Isaac, Coach Clare, Coach Stacy, or any of the other folks, we usually end up with some gnarly combinations that test our fitness. And isn’t that what this whole crossfit thing is about?
Today I went in with AJ for Coach Clare’s brand of madness. 🙂 We were joined by Shaun & Stacy, Larry, Jamal, Jeremy, Carrie, Lisa, Deana, Monica, and a couple of other folks. Started with a 400m jog and came back in for some hip/leg and shoulder warm-ups before dividing up into teams of 3 or more.
The workout was for total time:
Teams of 3
Buy-in: 100 cal bike w/ weight overhead (plate or med ball)
3 rounds for time with 1 person in a dead hang from the rig while the rest of the team was doing the movements (usually 1 working, 1 resting, 1 hanging, but it varied as you’ll see)
90 double-unders (double for singles)
60 pistols alternating
30 hang power clean (115/85#)
Cash out – 100 weighted sit ups, 3 push ups on the minute until finished
We had four guys, including myself, when we started. So it was Larry, Jamal, Shaun, and myself when we started getting equipment together. And Jeremy came in late, so he joined us.
As a team of 5, we ended up adding more reps across the board:
150 calorie buy-in holding a 25# plate
150 double-unders, divvied up as 30 per person (or 60 singles)
100 pistols, divvied up about 20 per person (Jamal, Larry, and I did them to a 20″ box)
60 hang power cleans @ 115#, divvied up at 12 each
And we left the buy-out at 100 weighted sit-ups (25# plate)
AJ worked with Stacy and Clare, Carrie worked with the new folks, and Deana, Lisa, and Monica worked together. We had 4 teams and 4 assault bikes – funny how that happens. 🙂
Clare said the first part (on the assault bike) was inspired by Sam Dancer doing it with two dumbbells and I’m very glad we didn’t get that crazy. 🙂
I have to say that I was a little worried about doing calories on the bike with my arms overhead with a 25# plate. And it turned out that maybe that wasn’t unwarranted concern on my part. In my first turn, I dropped the weight and fell off the bike, pulling my left hamstring. It was not pretty.
While I waited for my turn to come back, I did some stretching to try and get the hamstring feeling OK again and it was sore, but not horrible, so I continued to do my bit on the bike as we rotated through our band of five. It took a bit to get up to the point where I was willing to push the plate overhead again, but I got there on my third or fourth round.
The rest of it was ok except for the cleans. I had to break up my last set of 12 into multiple sets of reps, but I eventually got through it.
The sit-ups took a while as well. I got through 33 reps in that first minute, but after that it dropped to about 15-20 per minute with the 3 push-ups at the top of each minute.
Larry did a good job of keeping us on task. Jeremy and Shaun did great with the pistols. And I don’t think I slowed anybody down too much in the long run. We had enough people that we always tried to have two people working and two on the bar, with one resting. Not sure we quite managed that, but we had at least one person hanging at all times and that was fine.
Honestly it was a good workout except for my complete lack of dexterity on the bike that first round. We were done in under 33 minutes with the 5 of us, so we pushed pretty good through parts. Everybody kept on moving.
Thanks for a good (and challenging) workout, Clare!
Though I actually headed in for a Friday Hero WOD (amazing, I know, because usually I skip ’em!), I want to cover a few other things first… (Sorry, but this is a long one.)
This has not been the best week. Last week wasn’t the best week ever. And yet, even in the craziness, I really want to keep chugging away at my fitness goals. But what are those goals? That was the question that came up this week amidst the meetings, scheduling issues, and general lack of motivation. What is my “why” for training these days?
When I started, my goal was simply to get off my butt and start moving again. As a computer geek and writer who works from home, I do a lot of sitting. And it was taking its toll. Thankfully I had help finding crossfit from my wife and friends.
Once I got started on my crossfit journey, it became about nutrition – switching to a paleo lifestyle, cutting out a lot of crap from our diet, and generally cleaning up what we consume on a weekly basis. Though we’ve ebbed and flowed a bit over the last 4 years, we’ve tried to remain fairly paleo when we put in the effort to do so. So that’s been a good change.
In 2013, I started at 248 pounds and got all the way to 201 at one point. Now I hover between 225 and 230 fairly regularly. I’d love to get down to 210 or 215, but inconsistent eating has made that a challenge. 🙂
As things progressed, goals have shifted here and there. First, it was PRs. I went “heavy happy.” Or as I call it “let’s get frustrated when we plateau or our max lifts fade over time with injury or misuse.” Then it was “let’s learn some new skills” like pull-ups and handstands. Then it was “my running sucks, let’s work on that…”
And lately I’ve been struggling with body parts not allowing me to move as well as I’d like. Or with wacky mental states brought about by work or emotional stresses. Or generally not being able to work with folks and not slowing them down when we partner up here or there.
I guess what I’m saying is I’ve been kind of all over the place. 🙂
That led to a great chat with Coach Drea on Thursday.
A Changed Focus…
Yesterday’s workout involved short sprints — a lot of them. And my history with sprinting is full of perilous tales of injuries, exhaustion, and nightmares of suicides during basketball practices in junior high school. My negative relationship with running in general really began even earlier than that with trying out for Little League baseball and sucking wind due to childhood asthma, throwing up after every practice. Sprints in junior high were better, but still sucked.
To say the least, I really don’t like running even though my running has improved over the last year. It has a long way to go. My knees and hips don’t like it much, and I have a tenuous relationship with those parts of my anatomy already.
So I suggested that perhaps it was a good day to sit down and chat with Coach Drea about where we go from here.
First, we covered the Lurong Challenge and the benefits of going with a macro reboot to our nutrition at home. Long story short, it didn’t work for Ev because of the measuring and it didn’t work for me because I don’t think we have the numbers right. We’ll play with the numbers and I’ll try and continue with macros as we work to stay a bit more paleo with some rice and sweet potatoes added for good measure.
It was good as a reset. Workouts didn’t work well for us for a variety of scheduling reasons, but it was still a good opportunity to just get our lives back to a bit healthier eating.
Second, we chatted about my general lack of focus during workouts these days. Some of that is emotional, which I think has been masked for years as I increased my use of alcohol as a calming agent. That’s just my opinion, but I have to say it’s been very interesting cutting alcohol down to maybe once a week and watching my mental state during the week. Sleep has been more productive idea-wise than in a very long time even if it’s not exactly “better” as far as length of sleep or recovery.
I had a workout where my head really wasn’t in the game though I tried (see “Some Days Just Don’t Work Right“). And I just got frustrated with my performance. Heavy wasn’t good that day. And everything I did just got in the way. So I knew something needed to change.
Go Lighter and Faster
Drea suggested something I hadn’t really pondered much. Going light and focusing on quality of movement and speed.
Now the one thing I’ve maintained all the way along the way during my crossfit journey is that I’m not fast. In fact, I cringe whenever a coach tries to tell me to move faster. And Drea knows this all too well. 🙂
That said, recently I came to the realization that scaling isn’t a bad thing. But I typically work my way down from Rx weights, not up from Level I weights. And even then, I typically try to go as heavy as my body will allow on any given day.
Shifting to starting at the bottom again was an odd thought.
We chatted about the fact that even though we know we should scale sometimes, we find ourselves almost using that as an excuse when we talk about our performance. Drea even mentioned she’s working on that herself – like scaling down this week’s Double Grace and kicking ass with the lower weights. She got complimented on her time and she caught herself saying “thanks, but I scaled” — I fall into that all the time. (Not getting complimented, but adding the “but I scaled” phrase many times.)
I know I fall into the trap of “it’s not Rx so it doesn’t count” but if we take the idea that even though it’s a programmed workout, it’s OUR workout every time… that changes things.
So she suggested that I start back at the ground level again. Go with lighter weights for barbells, dumbbells, and medicine balls on those days that we do metcons. The goal there is to focus on good movement, larger sets, and faster times. But keep up with strength training on our heavy days.
I have to admit to balking a bit at the word “fast.”
We talked about today’s workout and attempting to get through three rounds — doing wall balls with a lighter ball and doing them unbroken, lightening the deadlift weights and focusing on doing good touch-and-gos, and working on just keeping moving through the burpees.
Um. Sure. I nodded, smiled, and agreed to come in for Friday’s workout. Light deadlifts? Sure. Lighter wall balls? Sure. Burpees or bar-over-burpees? Ugh.
That said, it was a good chat and I ended up with some things to try. So thank you Drea!
Friday’s Workout – Scotty
Friday’s workouts are always hero WODs. And 9/10 times they include running, so I typically avoid them like the plague. I’m not afraid to admit that. But every once in a while one comes up that doesn’t include running and looks hard, but doable.
This was one of those.
My daughters were supposed to go do this one with me, but they decided to sleep in this morning. I can’t say I blame them. 🙂 Coach Drea had an interesting group today… Jonathan & Sarah, Larry, Jed, and myself.
(As a brief confessional aside, I somehow managed to not eat this morning. So I was operating on a Spark drink and a Red H Nutrition “Hustle” pre-workout drink going in today. And afterwards I did a Progenex Recovery protein shake, followed up by an iced coffee with almond milk creamer — yeah, I’m not doing hot on the whole food thing today. Not sure I “hustled” much on the pre-workout either. 🙂 )
We started with some banded hamstring stretches and then did a little 3 round warm-up:
400m row (or something similar on the assault bike)
20 fast step-ups on a box (24/20″)
I rowed and did 20″ step-ups, which was fine.
We went from there to warm-up with an empty barbell and add weight over 5 warm-up rounds of a few reps to get to our working weight for the workout.
“Scotty” Hero WOD
11 minute AMRAP
5 deadlifts (315/210#, 275/185#, 155/105#)
18 wall balls (20/14# or 10/8#)
17 burpees over the bar (or straight burpees)
I warmed up to 175#, which felt ok doing touch-and-go, and used a 14# wall ball. So definitely attempting to go with Drea’s idea of bigger sets, more reps, faster cycle times.
What I found was 5 deadlifts was easy and though the 18 wall balls wasn’t easy, it was doable at the lighter weight. I even managed the first set of 18 unbroken. The second set was split in two chunks of reps I think. And that third round was miserable, broken into many smaller sets.
It was the burpees though that killed me very quickly. Usually bar-over-burpees are easier for me to get through, simply because I’m not standing all the way up in every burpee. But today… Wow. Not today. I was doing 2-4 at a time and struggling even with that.
Got through the first round and Drea suggested just stepping over the bar, not even jumping. I did that for the second and third round.
Made it through 2 rounds plus 27 reps — so I got through the deadlifts and wall balls of the third round, but only 4 burpees.
Yesterday, Drea said to shoot for 3 rounds. I was close…ish. 🙂
Great work everybody. Jed was a beast and got through 4 or 5 rounds I think. Not sure how anybody else did, but they were humming along on the other side of the room. 🙂
Thanks for the encouragement Drea. We’ll work on trying to speed up a bit. It definitely puts a different emphasis on my workouts, let me tell ya!
Today’s post is a bit of an apology for the 8:30 class by way of an explanation.
It’s just another Thursday. Like most Thursdays, I planned on going in at 8:30 with my wife (and kids if they woke up in time). And we all made it there for Coach Drea.
We had a full class – the four of us, plus Jonathan & Sarah, Caleb, Alan, Brianne, Danielle, and Connie. 11 people in total.
Warm up was:
10 ghd hip ext or good mornings with empty barbell
10 empty barbell deadlifts
10 empty barbell strict press
I think we were supposed to go to 2000m total, but most of us stopped after the third or 4th 250m
After that we did some empty barbell work. Deadlift and strict shoulder press progressions.
And then we divvied up space and equipment for the workout:
15-12-9 reps for time of:
Double body-weight deadlifts
3/4 body-weight shoulder presses
15-12-9 reps for time of:
Shoulder presses #135/95
15-12-9 reps for time of:
Shoulder presses #75/45
My one-rep maxes for these movements are:
Deadlift – 345#
Strict press – 155#
Nowhere close to Rx weights of 456# and 175#. But even the Level II weights were out of reach, really. So I knew I was going to have to scale.
Due to a shortage of bars and space, Caleb asked if we wanted to work together. I said sure and we warmed up together with the little EMOM that Drea had us do alternating between deadlifts and strict press:
Strict press – 75# x3, Deadlifts – 185# x5
Strict press – 85# x3, Deadlifts – 225# x5
Strict press – 95# x3, Deadlifts – 275# x5 (I started running into some issues here)
Caleb, due to participating in the Man Up Challenge in Denver this weekend, didn’t want to push too hard to fry his body ahead of the competition. So he agreed to stay at those weights for the workout.
Our goal was to get this done in 10-15 minutes.
I did 15 strict press at 115# (got through 10 and then struggled through the next 5 one at a time)
Caleb did 15 deadlifts at 275# (made them look easy)
Caleb did 15 strict press at 115# (made them look easy)
I started on deadlifts
Doing the deadlifts as “grab and drop” style vs. touch-and-go, I made it through 5 and took a break. Then a couple more. And one more.
And I realized on that last one that I was in a fair amount of pain from my left hip to my tailbone. It ached a bit during the EMOM warm-up but I thought I could work through it.
Yeah, apparently not.
After my 8 reps, I left the bar on the floor, told Caleb to finish without me, and walked out the garage doors.
I walked two laps of the 800m path we have around the box, came in, grabbed my stuff, and walked to the car to wait for my family to finish up.
Now, I know that DNF > DNS. But this was a shitty way to end my workout. It disrupted Caleb’s workout. It put undue worry on Coach Drea. And it made my family and friends worry about me as well.
First, I’m fine. I’ll stretch and mobilize throughout my day today and survive. I don’t think it was the physical demands of this workout.
Second, there were two parts to my crash and burn today.
a) I should have either waited until more equipment became available (i.e. another barbell) or asked Caleb to drop weight.
That said, I didn’t feel like waiting was really an option due to a different style of class going on at 9:30 (new folks doing a different variation on the workout). And I didn’t feel like I could ask Caleb to drop weight again. We had already discussed 315# during the warm-up and then I had to drop to 275#. Asking him to drop again would not have been “cool” although he probably would have been fine with it.
b) The bigger issue was that my head really wasn’t in the game today. I’m honestly struggling with a number of things in life right now. Work is not going well. Some of my writing is going gangbusters but not paying, so it’s a costly time sink at the moment. My wife’s charity work had a trip fall apart at the last minute, so we’re now reorganizing our summer. And we just found out our dog has a lung tumor, so that’s weighing heavily on everybody.
I tried dressing the part, wearing my Star Wars-themed “May the Gains be with you…” shirt. I tried getting into the right headspace during the warm-up, joking around with Bri and Jonathan and Sarah. And for a bit, I thought it might work.
But it obviously was only a temporary fix. Wasn’t my finest hour.
So I apologize to everyone who was concerned when I walked out. It’s been a long while since that has happened.
I need to pay attention to my headspace and not push so hard during workouts, and maybe this won’t happen again. But I’m only human, so I doubt it.
We looked at the workout last night and I think we all moaned “not more snatches” pretty much simultaneously at my house. But Mickey, AJ, and I went at noon anyway to take this little burner on.
We weren’t alone at the noon class with Coach Drea… We had Brent (the Beast) and Shannon (the Rower) along for the ride.
And we started with a sprint drill… on the rower (or assault bike if you were AJ).
1 minute of slow and steady
Then five rounds of
17 second sprint
43 second recovery
It was as super fast way of getting through 1350 meters in a handful of minutes. I think 5 1/2 minutes.
Once we were done there we did some PVC passthrus, PVC OHS, and some hollow body rocks. And then three rounds of:
12 strict pull-ups (or 3 solid attempts)
12 ring push-ups
12 hip extensions on the GHD
It’s been awhile since I’ve been on the GHD, so that was kind of interesting. Not horrible anyway. 🙂
Then a bit of snatch skill work, some push-up skill work, rowing skill work and… yeah, time to get to actual work.
3 rounds for time of:
Row 250 meters
65/45-lb. squat snatches, 12 reps
The row, though a sprint, was the easier part of this workout. 250m is quick – about 54 seconds, 59 seconds, and 1:03 respectively. So not bad there. But the squat snatches are always a challenge. I stayed with the empty bar, trying to work on form as much as possible.
So here’s the thing with my squat snatches. My feet are way wider than normal. It’s almost like a Sumo squat snatch with the distance between them. But if I go shorter, I end up hopping out like a cheerleader doing a cheer. It ain’t pretty. So Drea had me just stay wide so that my feet wouldn’t get any wider.
It worked ok. I think I actually did the first 12 reps unbroken. And after that I broke it up 6 and 6.
Between the squat snatches and the push-ups, that was where I got slowed down. Push-ups were sets of 10, 5, 7, 3, 2, and 1… Whatever I could do.
In the end, I was just trying to beat Mickey, silly enough. Down to my last handful of push-ups the race was on. But I prevailed by a few seconds:
Here are our times:
AJ – 13:30
Me – 13:54
Mickey – 14:03
It was a close thing — those last few push-ups. 🙂
Brent was done super fast. He ran 200m instead of rowing 250m and just kept flying through all the rest of it. And Shannon was done before AJ I think. So everybody was really flying.
When we were all said and done, it was time for some banded shoulder mobility. And now it’s time for some ice on my left knee. But we still survived. 🙂
We’ll talk about the nutrition side of the Lurong Summertime Challenge 2017 another day, but today we retested on the 1st workout of this challenge. (We did this back on May 15…)
I headed in with the girls to the 8:30 class with Coach Drea today and we had a great set of folks join us — Nick & Lisa, Todd & Melissa, Connie, and Sarah.
We started with about 10 minutes of mobility on upper body and anything else that needed work with a foam roller and lacrosse ball, then did a three round warm-up:
100m row* or run/30 seconds on Assault bike
8 overhead squats (with empty barbell or PVC – I used PVC)
8 hollow body rocks
And then we did a lot of skill work with snatches and an empty barbell before grabbing a box, adding weight, and trying 3 reps each of:
After trying the power snatch at 95#, I decided I’d drop the weight. So I went to 75#, which is what I thought Level 2 was. Apparently even THAT was overachieving for this workout. L2 was apparently 65#. Oops.
So I did L2, but 75#/20″. Both girls scaled the weight but did 20″ box jumps.
I’m a day late writing this one up. It’s been a busy weekend!
So Saturday morning I headed into the box with AJ for a little team WOD action. Had looked at the workout the night before and it looked hairy, but nothing particularly awful except for an 800m barbell carry with 115#. The rest seemed… doable?
So we got there and found Coach Clare looking for a fun warm-up to start off her workout. We did a little mobility work while folks trickled in and Coach Isaac was working on-on-one with a new athlete at our box. Chatted a bit, strapped on the knee sleeves… the usual.
And when Clare called us together to warm-up, we were almost ready. I say almost because it was a sneaky little WOD in the end.
We started with a 200m group run and came back in to do a new warm-up that involved squats, listening, and dexterity. I can squat. And I can listen, but I’m not the fastest when it comes to dexterity moves. 🙂
She had us line up across from one another. I lined up across from AJ, with a small orange cone between us. The idea was to go into the bottom of a squat and put our hands behind our back. Clare would call out “head,” “knees,” or “feet” and we would have to put our hands there, like Simon Says. And when she called out “cone” — whichever of us grabbed the cone first was the winner. The loser had to do a burpee. And the loser on the last one had to do five burpees.
I’m not too proud to say that I only one one bout with AJ. She’s 12 and has much faster reflexes than I do. But I snagged that cone once and I was happy with that. 🙂
After that, we paired up and set up to gather our equipment… We had a great group and divided up as follows…
Caleb and I
Dan and Brent
Clare and Stacy (and AJ initially)
Jeremy and Adi
Monica and Deana
and when Isaac joined us, he paired up with AJ.
The workout was a doozy and this is how Clare wrote it up…
Teams of 2
10 rounds – this should be fast!
3 clean & jerks 115/85#
6 wall balls
12 toes to bar
Each partner completes the movement before moving on to the next
800m alt partner rear rack carry 115/85 – must switch at least once
100 push ups
100 deadlifts 115/85#
800m alt partner rear rack carry 115/85# – must switch at least once
When we were done, Clare said she wasn’t sure why she thought that first part would be fast! 🙂
Caleb and I went with:
115# bar for C&J
25# medicine ball for 6 wall balls
and both of us had ripped hands, so we did strict knees to elbows (or knee raises) to start with… after about 5 rounds, I dropped to the floor for leg raises and then dropped to sit-ups.
Once that was done, the real fun began. That 800m rear-rack carry was a bear. Caleb made it look easy, but mobility-wise it was anything but for me. I maybe did 100m on the first 400m lap and then we swapped bars with Isaac & AJ (they only had 55#). That was MUCH easier, and then swapped back for the last little bit.
The push-ups were a challenge, as always. I started with a set of 10 and Caleb stuck with 10s the whole way. I was doing them in 5s, so he did the majority.
We split up the deadlifts. He’d do 10 and I’d do 10. By about 25 in, I was doing grab and drop deadlifts, not touch and go. But we made it through.
And for the double-unders — Caleb actually did two sets of 25 double-unders and I did two sets of 50 singles.
When we were done, I asked if we could drop from 115# to 95# on the bar for the last carry and we did. That was a bit easier. I probably did 300m and he flew through his 500m, but we got it done.
In the end, it took us 50:08. And we were the second team done. Dan & Brent were first. I really didn’t feel bad about scaling some of it. That’s the most wall balls I’ve ever done with that 25# ball — usually it’s the 20#, so maybe that will help. I just scaled a few other places so movements would work for me. Caleb could have done it all Rx except for the torn hand.
By the time we were done, my left shoulder was screaming bloody murder. Caleb (our chiropractor) tried to put my shoulders right, but they weren’t cooperating. Definitely should see him this week sometime.
Now we get to see what this week brings. 🙂 Thanks for the challenge, Clare!