8 Habits I Wish I Had Known When I Started Crossfit

When I started Crossfit, I was a huge (pun intended) couch potato. I was overweight and out of shape. I had been physically active in my youth, but all the sports I had been involved in were mostly cardio-based: downhill skiing, dance, volleyball. I had done a little bit of weightlifting on my own, but I thought a 80# DL was impressive “for a girl”. Suffice it to say that the day I walked into Crossfit Vic City, I knew nothing about Crossfit. After almost 2 years of being consistent to it, here’s what I now know and wished I knew when I started.

  1. Take care of your hands: Your hands will take a beating when you do Crossfit from all the lifting, the pull-ups (even assisted ones), ring dips, rowing, rope climbs, etc. Invest in a good callus shaver and use it frequently. I often pumice my calluses on Fridays because I now I have at least two days of rest before heading back into the gym. You have to shave them, polish them and then, make sure to moisturize well too. As a nurse, I know all about keeping my hands moisturized and it will help tremendously in keeping your hands healthy for Crossfit too.
  2. You will become that girl: You know the one, she shows up, looks like she knows what she’s doing and doesn’t care about her physical appearance because she’s there to throw down, not to impress anybody else. Yeah, that girl. When I first started, I was very self-conscious about what the other members were thinking of me. It’s only recently that I’ve come to the realization that nobody has time to worry about anybody else, we’re all way too busy breathing and trying to finish the WOD. So go ahead, get comfortable and work hard. Take your shirt off if you need to (I DO need to! 😉 ) and get ‘er done!
  3. If you want to buy something, buy lifting shoes: I was hesitant at buying these and in the end, I found a solution: Get my hubby to give them to me at Christmas! 😉 I have never regretted my decision. I won’t lie, they are expensive, but well worth it to help with reaching depth into your squats, snatches, cleans, presses, etc. Heck, I even wear mine to do now (depending on the rest of the WOD) as I find they help me a tiny bit more (and we all know I need all the help in the world for wallballs!)
  4. Stretch, rest and roll: Those are all part of your workout too. You will get sore. Make that “I don’t want to go pee because that would imply squatting and my quads are burning” sore. Make sure you get the rest (whether it’s a day away from the Box or enough sleeping hours at night) you need.  Recovery is important and begins right after the WOD.
  5. Be mindful of your pie hole: I find that I perform way better when the fuel I put in my body is clean. If I eat crap, I perform like crap. Same goes for hydration. Make sure you hydrate enough, and not just the day of a WOD, but on your rest days too. I try to limit my coffee consumption to 1-2/day and focus on drinking water the rest of the day. I’m still a work in progress for that one, but I try to be mindful.
  6. Keep track of your progress: Whether it’s in the gym or about your body. I have logged every single workout, lift and skill I have worked on since about 3 months into my journey. It’s nice to look back and compare. For example, when I started, all my lifts were done with the empty training bar, whereas now, they are all done with a 35# bar with plates on it. I also couldn’t do a proper box jump and had to do them from plates stacked onto others and now, I can do a few from a 24″ box. Also, I have my measurements and pictures from Day 1 of Crossfit and I do a “compare and contrast” once in a while. I don’t focus on the scale so much these days as I know I have put on muscle, even though I still have fat to lose.
  7. Work on your weaknesses: You know the saying: “You’re only as strong as your weakest member”? Same goes for Crossfit. You are only as strong as your biggest weakness. Work on them until they become more natural. For me, they are running, wallballs and the snatch (for now). I could also add MU, TTB, pull-ups, etc, but I have steadily improved in those whereas the snatch and the wallballs are still a major struggle for me.
  8. Stop the negative self talk: I can’t really chastise anybody on that one as it took me A LONG TIME to stop doing this. I kept telling myself that I sucked, that the WOD sucked and why was I doing this to myself again? Yet, I kept showing up. I took a long hard look as to why I kept coming for more torture and for me, what made this enjoyable was the slow transformation that was happening physically, but also mentally and the community that surrounded me. Even if you’re new and you don’t know it, you can still inspire people around you. I know of a few people who have picked up Crossfit because I told them about it.  Also, people I deem true, genuine badasses athletes, people I look up to as inspiration have told me that I was THEIR inspiration to keep going. You never know who is in need of a role model and that role model might just be you!

Alright peeps, I think that’s enough for now. I hope this post can help the newbies out there and inspire you to pick up, or focus on any of the above new habits you should develop if you’re somewhat serious about Crossfit!

 

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New Skills

This morning, I awoke to something new at the box: my very first Skills Plus class.

I have been wishing for this to happen for a while now and the day was finally here. These class focus on olympic lifting and work through the progression and form of the lift in more depth than we do in regular class. Up to now, these classes were only offered in the evening and it was impossible for me to attend them as I’m too busy / tired with the girls in the evening. However, the box has now created a 0600 Skill Plus class and Coach Cam has agreed to let me attend even though I don’t quite fit the criteria : you need to attend 6 months of 3 days/week training  (I have 16 months at 2 days/week) and be able to do most WODs at the Rx level (hum, say what? I do FG most of the time).

I must admit, I was glad to see all familiar faces as I walked in this morning since I felt like the biggest fraud showing up for a Skills Plus class. We needed to know our 1RM for the squat snatch(35#) and squat clean and jerk (65#). I know. My numbers are not impressive, but I’m here to learn and what better place to improve than in a lifting class!?! On the other side, Ben thought it was hilarious whenever I said snatch or clean & jerk when I came back home and was talking about my lifting session today. For once, he didn’t stop me from talking about Crossfit! 😉

I had so much fun working on these this morning. The squat snatch DOES NOT come naturally at all. I was going to warm-up with the 15# bar and Coach Caleb stopped me dead in my track and told me to warm up with an empty 35# bar. Yikes! Warming up with my previous 1RM. I was afraid of tiring quickly, but I managed to increase my weights by quite a lot on this one. Here were my reps:

45-45-50-55 and a very ugly rep at 60# so I’m no-repping myself on that one and therefore achieving a new 1RM at 55# (20# PR)

The squat clean & jerk came a little bit easier and it felt way more natural. Here were my reps:

55-60-65-70 and, again, one failed attempt at 75#. Coach Caleb made me repeat it as I didn’t even get the clean part properly. On the repeat, I managed to do it, but it was all broken down into sections and not flowing at all so, I no repped myself again and still come out with a new 1RM (5#PR). I’m very much looking forward to going to these classes again. I’m so glad I finally get the chance to attend and improve on my lifts! If you can’t already tell, I am one very happy Crossfitter right now! 🙂

I came back home and got the girls downstairs while I got breakfast ready. I was hoping to give Ben a break since he stayed home with a nasty cough last night and coughed for most of the night. I really wanted him to sleep in, but he got up quite early (0800) all things considered. I made pancakes for Rina and eggs for myself (a version of huevos rancheros and scrambled for Béa).

I’ve been reading up on the Zone diet and although I’m not done reading all the principles and calculations behind it, I’ve tried to apply it to my menus with the help of menus suggestions provided by Formula Zone. I’m not quite there yet, but I’ve lost 1.5lbs this week and 0.5% body fat. Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of things and it will become second nature quickly!

Once I was done cleaning and doing laundry, I took the girls to play outside and ride their trikes around the block and around the house. I love the perfect fall lighting after it’s been raining, it makes for the best lighting for close-up portraits!

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1 Year Progress Update!

In 12 days, I will celebrate my 1 year anniversary at Crossfit Vic City. At the same time, I will also celebrate my 1 year of Crossfit. One year of being dedicated 2-3 days/ week to go sweat my little heart out and get myself in the best shape of my life. I have seen many ups and a few downs over the past year. I’ve had months with better measurements than the one I’m celebrating on my anniversary, but I’ve come to understand that this is a lifelong process and there will be ups and downs. I just can’t beat myself over it. All I can do is keep my chin up, my elbows in and keep going forth. The pounds lost are minimal as well as the inches lost, but the pictures are worth a thousand words in my opinion. I have never stuck to a fitness program for this long and I’m proud of my accomplishments. I am happy to have found my Crossfit who keeps welcoming me with open arms, day in and day out. I have definitely reached a plateau over the past few months and I know I just have to keep working hard, but even if I don’t ever PR in the next year, I will keep going because Crossfit grounds me. For some people, yoga or meditation does the work. For me, it’s being told to keep pushing, keep rowing, one more rep. These words get me going and the physical exertion I get from the workouts are why I keep going back. I love knowing and feeling that I get my body to work and move in ways I never thought possible a year ago. Happy anniversary to me and here’s to another wonderful year to come! 🙂

Skill: I worked on the push jerks. We had to clean those from the ground up and I wanted to challenge myself on the WOD. I warmed up and worked on my form at 35# (empty bar).

WOD:

Push Jerk Station: I worked up from 40# to 75#. I wanted to try 80#, but I was running out of time and 75# was plenty challenging to me. I’m not sure I would have managed 3 reps at 80#.

40#-45#-55#-60#-65#-70#-75#

Double Unders: Those are still a struggle for me, I managed to do 8 in 2 minutes

Row: I did 40 calories in 3 minutes. I was trying to pace myself  while still maintaining a good effort and did a sprint for the last 45 secs.

Total score: 123 Probably the lowest of the box, yet again, but I’ve stopped caring about that a while ago. As long as I’m happy with the effort and the work I’ve put in, then it has to be good enough for me.

Since I won’t be able to go to the box until next Friday, I will do my progress update below

In numbers, here’s what my stats look like:

A year in numbers

A year in numbers

And for those of you who are visual people, here’s what it looks like for me:

A year in pictures

A year in pictures

Also, here are some goals for the year to come:

Unassisted pull-ups: I’d like to master those this year.

Running: Still my nemesis (with the dreaded Airdyne): I’d like to get a little better at running.

Squat and Deadlift my body weight: Hopefully, I’ll get there this year!

That’s all folks! Thanks for all your words of encouragement, your support and your readership over the past year, I hope you’ll stick along for the year to come!

Looking Back

Remember yesterday, when I wrote that the WOD felt easy and I didn’t really feel like I had worked out at all? FAMOUS. LAST. WORDS!

My butt and quads are so sore, I couldn’t stand to have either of the girls sitting on my lap today! 😦 Never underestimate the power of a WOD and the soreness that will inevitably follow.

Also, during the Skill yesterday, I realized I had put the pegs (whatever you call those little things to hold your bar up on the rig) too low for my back squats. My bar was already loaded up at 55#. I picked it up, put it on the floor, raised my peg-thingies just as Coach Caleb came by and asked if I needed help to pick my bar back up. I almost laughed and said a very confident “No” before proceeding to power cleaning my bar and racking it back up. That’s when Coach Caleb said:

I remember when you couldn’t even clean an empty bar.

I remember it well too and it doesn’t seem that long ago. I know 55# isn’t heavy, but I HAVE improved over the past 9 months and it would seem I am not the only one noticing…

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Crossfit?!?

Hero In The Making

Today, I did something a little crazy. I went into the Box for Hero Saturday. I figured it could be good practice for the Open (which is coming on February 27) and it would challenge myself. I like a good challenge, once in a while, it keeps the rut from settling in.

My very 1st Hero!

My very 1st Hero!

Coach Caleb had somehow convinced me to try a Hero WOD and he said I should come out today to gain experience. The Hero was from the 2011 Open Games (week 4). I felt nervous when I left the house and I was shaking in my shorts when I walked through the door at the Box. Talk about intimidation! People were warming up everywhere. And those were people who I look up to because, to me, they are such accomplished athletes / crossfitters. What was I thinking coming in and TRYING to even do this WOD??? I’ve only been doing this for 6 months and I still scale everything down? The more I thought about it, the less I felt good about myself. People were doing muscle-ups for warm-ups and I can’t even do 1 for real! Oh well, as my brother said it best: “Don’t forget that you compete against yourself”. True that bro!

I was allowed to scale the WOD and I was glad to be in the 2nd heap. I think I must have went to pee about 6 times in the 30mins before it was my turn. My hands were shaking, my heart wanted to beat out of my ribcage, but soon enough, my heap was called.

3-2-1-GO! I started attacking the burpees. Holy mother of God! 60 burpees is a lot! What was I thinking? I honestly think it took me over 8mins to finish them all, but I did them all, true to form. This, in itself, was huge for me, considering I couldn’t do a single “real” burpee when I first started Crossfit, 6 months ago.

I did my OHS with an empty 35# bar. They were HARD. I was tired, out of breath, but I kept chipping at them. Time was called and I managed to do 23 OHS. I was a little disappointed as my secret goal was to finish the OHS. I knew there was no way I could even complete 1 rep of the WOD, but I set myself an internal goal and fell slightly off. It doesn’t matter though, I ploughed through and I challenged myself, giving my best effort and that’s all I could ask of myself.

I’m not a Hero girl just yet, but I’m a Hero girl in the making! One day, I’ll finish a Hero WOD.

Mark. My. Words!

Crossfit -1

So… Here I am, a 35 year-old mother of 2 beautiful darling girls and wife to a wonderful husband. However, I feel a bit “unfit” and my BMI indicates that I’m overweight and close to being obese. As a family, we hike a lot and I want to be able to carry our daughters on my back when we go on hikes. Something tells me I won’t be able to do so if I’m overweight… Hence the decision to try out an onramp class (introductory class) at Crossfit Vic City.
Here’s what I know about Crossfit:
1. I will be in pain
2. I probably won’t like it
3. It will (hopefully) get me strong and fit
My 1st class is tomorrow and although the thought of going to my class scares the living poop (notice I used poop and not crap… hangin’ out with the kiddos too much!) outta me, I’m also a bit excited about it. The Onramp will last 3 weeks (every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings) and I’m hoping that I won’t get too discouraged to join the Box (what the Crossfit gyms are called) after the Onramp. Please stick around and come back to read all about my new adventures!