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!
Have a great weekend folks!