Forgive me community, it’s been four days since my last workout… (I don’t know why but I always feel like I need to confess such things when it’s been a few days.) Soccer season is back with a vengeance and my weekends are not my own any more. Sigh.
Even so, it’s Monday and that means it’s time to get back to the box. Last time I was in was Thursday. I don’t usually get in on Fridays and this past weekend we were on soccer fields at the Air Force Academy both days, so that brings us back to Monday. Let’s get moving again, shall we?
I felt ok this morning. Stiff, but not bad. Even so, after looking at the workout last night I knew I was going to get my butt kicked. I knew I should tape my knees but I ran into some computer issues with my work system that I had to resolve, so ran out of time. Knee sleeves in hand, I headed in to face the music.
Coach Larry was recovering from doing the workout himself as we came in. And we had a fun crew for him today — me, Lara, John, Dee, Kelli & Trey, along with Michael & Anthony.
We started with some mobility. I used the time with a foam roller to try and get my back and shoulders moving again. And then we did either a 400m run, 500m row, or 2 minutes on the bike. Of course I chose to row. 🙂
When that was done, we grabbed a light kettle bell (35# for me) and did a little three round warm-up:
10 Russian kettlebell swings (just to eye level)
10 kipping swings on the rig
From there we took a look at the workout itself:
50 box jumps
50 kettlebell swings
50 wall-ball shots
Rx – 30/24″ box, 70/53# KB, 30/20# wall ball
Level II – 24/20″ box, 53/35# KB, 20/14# wall ball
Level I – reduce to 30 reps for each movement, 20/16″ box, 35/25# KB, 14/10# wall ball
Our goal? Less than 25 minutes.
My approach was simple… a modified Level II:
53# kettle bell swings
knees-to-elbows, of which some were just knee raises but I did ok
20# wall balls
normal burpees (though I usually don’t stand up all the way and tend to just hop off the ground)
We were able to break it up into as many as 4 rounds, so I used this progression:
I was going to do 20/15/15 but after doing 20 burpees decided that was a poor decision. 🙂 Really the burpees were the worst part of this whole thing for me, as expected.
I finished in 22:20, which was under the 25 minute time cap, so I’ll take it. 🙂 Everybody did great. John was doing it Rx with the 30″ box jumps and 70# kettle bell like a beast. Other than John though I think we all scaled somehow. And the boys did awesome to get through the 30 rep version I think. They were FAST.
So not bad for the first workout of the week! Great work everybody! And thanks for the encouragement Larry!
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.
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!
You know the old joke, “I just flew in from X, and boy are my arms tired?” Well, I just got back from doing Regionals workout #3 at CrossFit Continuum, and boy is my body tired. Geez.
Arrived this morning to find Coach Larry waiting for us! But even before that, I arrived in time to help a guy push a stalled truck into a parking spot. Right place and right time to help and he seemed to appreciate the push, so life was good. 🙂
I was not alone in the 8:30 class today, though Mickey stayed home to sleep in. Darn teenagers. 🙂 It was me, Sarah, and Shannon taking on 2017 Regional Event #3. And we were a bit slower (and lighter) than the athletes who did this workout at any of this year’s CrossFit Regionals competitions. Saw this on the docket last night and muttered a bit of profanity after seeing some of the fittest individuals in the world struggle with this one.
To kick things off with an uncomfortable bang, Larry had us begin with 5 minute on the assault bike, which I still call by its “Jonathan” term — The Devil’s Tricycle. I was uncomfortable after a mere 30 seconds on the damn thing and took frequent breaks and alternated just going with my arms vs. arms and legs. It was not pretty.
After that we started some work with a PVC pipe, doing 10 slow overhead squats with a 2 second pause at the bottom before moving to the rig for a 30 second hollow body hold. And from there we did three sets of:
10 PVC “Good Mornings”
5 ring dips
Larry worked with me a bit on the ring dips, seeing me lean really far over on my first set. We talked about being a bit more upright to avoid any pectoral injuries like they saw during the Regionals this year (there are reports that 25 or more men suffered partial pec tears during the regionals). Ring dips are never one of my stronger moves and after yesterday’s shoulder-frying Cindy+ workout, my shoulders weren’t quite happy to attempt them today.
But we got through that and then discussed the workout itself.
The box doesn’t have any 80# dumbbells or 30# wall balls, not that any of us were tempted to try these movements at those weights. I think most of us adjusted to level 2 or level 1. We did have a few folks do it at the level II weights, which is impressive.
Regionals athletes over the last few weekends, the ones who finished, did this workout in 16 minutes or less. Some managed it in a bit over 11 minutes. Crazy.
For the rest of us mere mortals:
Level II lowers the weights to 55/35# dumbbells and 20/14# wall balls
Level I lowers the weights to 35/20# dumbbells and 14/10# wall balls, plus single-unders and lay-to-stand rope climbs
I did somewhere between Level I and II. Let’s call it I.5.
Going in, I knew that a couple of things were going to slow me way down:
Walking lunges of any kind are a big challenge for me. My knees, even with knee sleeves, just don’t like the pressure of kneeling directly on the ground. Adding any kind of overhead weight just exacerbates that almost to the point of failure. And I managed to forget to tape my knees this morning, so that didn’t help.
Wall balls. One of my goats. I knew I’d have to break it into smaller sets to get it done.
So how’d I do?
Managed to get through all of the first 100ft walking lunge with 35# overhead, alternating arms.
Single unders were rough, but doable.
Wall-balls took a bit. Sets of 10 or 5 to get through the first 35.
Rope climbs from the floor, I was able to do about 2 at a time. Knees were burning by this point.
Second set of Wall balls, I broke into 5 sets of 7. Consistency made it a bit better.
Single unders on this end were better. Did two sets of 50.
Last 100ft walking lunges is where I fell apart. Holding the weight overhead and doing the lunge became something my body simply didn’t want to do, so I dropped the weight, thrust an arm overhead, and did them without the weight.
Got all of that done in a tad over 22 minutes. Something around 22:15. Shannon was not far behind me at 22:34 or 22:44 and Sarah beat us both, finishing in less than 20.
Any workout that involves walking lunges is automatically on my naughty list. Dave Castro is an evil man when it comes to programming challenging workouts. And I’m glad to be done with it.
Something tells me we may see other regional workouts before too long. And that’s fine. Bring them on.
But no more today… I’m going to go ice a few body parts and get some more mobility work in. 😀
Great work Sarah & Shannon! And thanks Larry for the encouragement during the WOD. I really didn’t want to pick up that wall ball. 🙂
Today I decided to heed my chiropractor’s advice (Thanks Caleb!) and tape up my knees before doing the workout. It turned out to be a very good idea.
Not sure why, but I’m running a little slower today than normal, but I made it to an 8:30 class with Coach Jimmy. We had a great crew today. Caleb, Todd, Jenny, Sarah, and I were ready to tackle the workout — or so we thought.
We started with a little three round warm-up:
30 second row
30 seconds of jumping jacks
30 seconds of air squats (jumping air squats for the last round)
30 seconds of inchworms
And then we did a long mobility routine that I think Jimmy really needs to write up or do a video for. I would love to use it as a regular warm-up even on my rest days. We went through quite a progression and I’m not sure I remember it all, but here’s an idea:
Pick a side and do it on each side for about 30 seconds per position
Kneel on the knee on that side and put your other leg behind you with your foot pointed so your toe is on the ground
Shift around on that knee so that you push out over the hip on the same side of the knee, then shift forward, left, and back. Move around and try to work the whole hip area (maybe a minute doing this)
Shift to a pigeon position and hang out there for a bit, shifting around
Shift to a scorpion position and hang out for a bit, shifting around
Position yourself over the shoulder on that side and straighten that arm, then use the other arm to stretch the elbow/shoulder (tough to describe this one – but it was a tough pose for me to hold)
Shift to a seated position and pull the leg towards your chest, attempting to bring your calf to your chin (one of the only ones I was actually flexible at)
Now repeat the sequence on the other side
I actually found this to be a great stretching combination. It was uncomfortable, but later on I felt like it hit the major areas I was going to need for the workout. And when I was done with the workout and recovered a bit, I wasn’t walking like a duck. 🙂
But the workout itself was going to be a doozy. We were pretty warm by that point, so we just grabbed our wall balls and did a few wall ball warm-ups to keep things moving…
3 wall ball front squats
3 push-press-style wall balls (wall ball but without a full squat)
3 regular wall balls
Then we grabbed some plyo boxes for the box jumps and got ready to go.
The workout was:
50-40-30-20-10 reps for time of:
Wall-balls, 20/14# medicine ball
Box jumps, 24/20″ box
Though I used a 20# ball, I only did 20″ step-ups. My knees were already bugging me by the time I finished the first 50 wall balls, so I didn’t want to torque them off any further.
It took me 26:41 to finish. Dead last. The 9:30 class was starting their warm-ups by the time I was done.
Apparently people were finishing in the 15-20 minute range earlier. Caleb finished in 14:59 with 20# wall balls and 24″ step-ups. Todd was right there with him. Not sure where Sarah & Jenny ended up exactly, but they were both done by the 20 minute mark.
The bad part was my knees — they were burning pretty much non-stop for the first two rounds. I would do 5 or 10 reps of something, walk around, let it subside, then go back and do another set. So it took a while. There was a bit of a convincing process — I had to convince myself that I wanted to finish the next set, which would get me closer to be done. And that seems to have worked.
The good part was that I taped both knees before I left the house, then added my knee sleeves on top of that, so they were pretty stable. Right now they don’t hurt. They’re a little wobbly, but not in pain. I’ll take it.
Lesson learned: Listen to your chiropractor. 🙂
Speaking of which, thanks for the encouragement on the last couple of sets. I appreciated it!
… just to be the team that’s falling down outside your crossfit door… (apologies to the Proclaimers!)
I may be a little loopy at the moment. Just a little.
Today’s team crossfit workout was brought to you by Coach Clare and involved a little bit of everything I think. The joys of the Filthy 50 times 2 with a partner. Once again, Jonathan was my partner for this lovely little workout and my wife and his wife teamed up to kick our collective asses. Go figure.
We weren’t alone either — there were easily 18-20 people milling about today.
Our warm-up? A fun competition between four teams with 4 or 5 people each. Clare set up four assault bikes facing one another with a line in the middle. A foam roller would be set on the line and the two athletes facing one another would try and blow the foam roller with the force of the fan on the assault bike, so the roller would stay on their opponent’s side of the line.
Not to brag or anything, but our team dominated. We went Five for Five (Jonathan, Me, Sarah, Michael, and AJ). It was fun. Supposedly the team would have to do 2 burpees for every bout they lost (bike for 20 seconds and see which side it ended up on).
After that we set up equipment for this lovely workout:
Score Type:: Total Time
Teams of 2 For time:
100 Box jump (24/20)
100 Jumping pull-ups
100 Kettlebell swings (35/25)
100 Walking Lunge steps
100 Knees to elbows
100 Push press (45/35)
100 Back extensions
100 Wall ball shots (20/14)
100 Double unders
If it looks familiar, it’s because it’s 2x the Filthy Fifty (see right).
Jonathan and I pulled our stuff together and did:
Jonathan (24″ box jumps), me (20″ step ups)
35# kettle bell swings
walking or in-place lunges
Jonathan (45# push press), me (45# strict press)
good mornings with a 45# barbell
20# wall balls
Jonathan (burpees), me (sit-ups)
100 single unders each
Honestly I was pretty fried after the good mornings. And it took us a bit under 44 minutes to complete all of that. 1000 reps. We either split the 100 for each movement or Jonathan did more than I did. Just depended on where I was at.
I felt bad about doing sit-ups instead of burpees, but honestly I didn’t think I was going to get off the floor if I went down. My shoulders were screaming. My knees were pissed. Even as it was, five rounds of 10 sit-ups each was a damn challenge.
But we finished. And scaling is not the enemy. It’s what happens when you realize your body doesn’t want to keep moving and decide to change things up so you CAN keep moving.
I don’t think we were last. But we were damn close. And I feel like hell afterwards. It’s awesome.
Jonathan, thanks for being my partner in the madness. You kicked butt. 🙂
And good work everybody who came! Thanks Clare for a good challenge!
And we decided to get our sweat on today with a Team WOD at CrossFit Continuum. Why? Because we’re all a little crazy and that’s where some of our friends would be. 🙂
I think, due to the snow and the plethora of activities going on around town, we had a smaller group of people attend today’s team WOD. Coach Isaac, Larry, and Brent were there when we arrived. Jonathan and Sarah, Robert, and Adi came in as well. So we had 9 athletes and 1 coach.
We started with a discussion of the WOD and then did a very brief warm-up – the PVC Game. (Below you can see another CrossFit box demonstrating…)
In Isaac’s version, if you dropped the PVC pipe, it was the people who dropped it and the people who handed it to them who had to do 4 burpees each. Not sure how good a warm-up it was, but it was fun! (I only had to do 4 burpees. 🙂 )
The workout itself was deceptively simple for teams of two (we had one team of three):
27 minute AMRAP
For each movement, one team member would do the reps while the other waited in the “box.” When the first team member finished, they would tag the other to do the same movement.
Rep scheme was 10-9-8-7-6-5 — each athlete would do 10 reps of the movement, then 9, etc. When you finished 5 reps, shift to the next movement and repeat the rep scheme.
Essentially each athlete did 45 reps of each movement.
The movements were:
Wall balls (20/14# medicine ball)
Box jumps (24/20″ box)
If you finished the Knees-to-Elbows, start again on Wall balls
Jonathan and I teamed up. Sarah and Ev teamed up. AJ worked with Robert & Adi on the team of 3. And Larry & Brent worked together.
How’d it go?
The only thing I had to scale was the box jumps. I started with 20″ box jumps and shifted to step-ups to keep things moving. Jonathan did 24″ box jumps the whole time.
Wall balls actually felt pretty good.
Pull-ups, as always, slowed me down. I banged out the first 10 in two sets of 5 and started falling apart by the round of 8. Isaac tried to get me to really use the hip kip to get more momentum going — but I was feeling it my biceps and hamstrings pretty quickly. Though I appreciated the coaching, I’m not sure my technique improved any. 🙂
Burpees KILLED ME. I was already shot after all the pull-ups, but damn. Slowest, ugliest burpees on record.
And we barely had time to even get into the Knees-to-Elbows. I got in 10 reps before we ran out of time. I think if we had 30 minutes, we would have finished the K2E pretty easily. Another 3 minutes would have allowed us all the time we needed.
Jonathan did awesome — he just kept going like the Energizer Rabbit. I felt bad ’cause I slowed him down. But we did fine. Everybody was killing it. 🙂
Really a great workout that involved a little bit of everything, so great work Isaac! I was definitely sweaty and tired by the time we were done. 🙂
Great work everybody! I hope you all have a fantastic Saturday!