Friday, January 3, 2014

7 Quick Takes - CrossFit Edition


Last week, I received multiple alerts from Google Analytics.  Apparently the traffic to this blog was much higher than it normally is and they wanted to let me know.  What brought so many people to this blog I've set up to share my amateurish thoughts on spirituality?  A Christmas Story.  Videos from A Christmas Story brought the record setting numbers.

I'm all about reaching my audience!  So today I bring you something else totally unrelated to my blog's main theme: CrossFIt.  

--- 1 ---

I started CrossFit in August with an Intro to CrossFit class and absolutely loved it.  My box offers a special class I've been doing since then, which is less bar work and more cardio.  Our workouts are usually more reps with less weights, but it is mostly all the same stuff as the Intro to CrossFit class.  This means a lot of push ups, pull ups, squats, wall balls, kettle bells, jump rope, sit ups, box jumps, running, and rowing among other things.  I still love it and have a hard time skipping it, even for holidays and family events.  The people are all amazing and friendly and the coaches care about my progress.


--- 2 ---

Every injury or ache or pain I've sustained in my short life thus far has been eliminated or greatly reduced since August.  This includes random wrist pain that interfered with pushups, shoulder pain from a Karate injury, knee pain, and ankle pain.  The only thing on that list that even bothers me at all now is some ankle, but that's significantly improved.  In July, all it took to trigger some aggravation was running a bit or jumping rope for any length of time.  It bothered me again a bit last weekend, but here's what I did to cause it:

  • Warm up with 100-200 jump rope, 20-30 lunges, 20-30 air squats
  • Workout of
    • 100 single jump rope
    • 100 m run
    • 40 overhead walking lunges with a 10 lb plate
    • 200 m run
    • 30 sumo dead lift high pulls with a 25 lb kettle bell
    • 300 m run
    • 20 wall balls with a 10 lb med ball
    • 400 m run
    • 20 wall balls
    • 300 m run
    • 30 SDHP
    • 200 m run
    • 40 overhead walking lunges
    • 100 m run
    • 100 single jump rope
  • 6-7 mile hilly hike the next day
So I've gone from aggravating my ankle just by using it to needing to do all of the above to bother it at all.  And honestly, after all of that, it wasn't the only thing that was sore!  
I keep hearing CrossFit causes injuries, but so far the only thing it has done for me is fix injuries!  I feel more alert and awake as well.

--- 3 ---

When I was 17, I desperately wanted to attend the United States Air Force Academy.  One of the physical standards for women was that they must be able to do a pull up.  I know, it doesn't sound like a lot.  But women have a hard time with pull ups.   The Marines have recently delayed increasing their standards for women to include pull ups, finding "many potential Marines were unable to meet the new standards."  I didn't know any of that at the time though, so I set out to do a pull up.  My dad installed a bar in the basement, and every day after school I would practice.  I passed the test when it came time, doing not just one but TWO pull ups.

That was 16 years and about 30 pounds ago, and I am yet again trying to do a pull up.  The coaches have given me homework.  There are bands (like big rubber bands) one can attach to the bar and then use to reduce the weight.  I can also start at the top and then lower myself down (which is how I managed to get them in high school).  I'm hopeful perhaps this is the month I will do a pull up again!

--- 4 ---


On the other hand, I feel I have done a much better job conquering the box jump.  A week or so ago I did FORTY!  When I first started, I would stare at the box and wonder how much it would hurt when my feet inevitably did not clear the edge and my shins came crashing into it.  I hear it is awful.  I have yet to experience it though and managed to do two sets of twenty without falling, tripping, or otherwise making a mess of things.

--- 5 ---

Although I am improving, my worst area is anything overhead.  Overhead walking lunges, overhead squats, overhead whatever.  Not a fan!

--- 6 ---

I've found all this working out has affected my diet.  Aside from Christmas (when I ate everything set before me, just to be polite of course), I am pretty careful about what I eat now.  There's no grand plan on most days, but I do think about food relative to how it will help or hurt my workout.  And by "hurt," I mean give me cramps or make my stomach upset.  Additional sugar is entirely out on CrossFit days because ain't nobody got time for those ill effects.  I make sure I get plenty of protein too.  In short, it is an excellent motivator to eat pretty clean without having a complex plan to follow.

--- 7 ---

By this point many of you will have determined this whole thing sounds too extreme or too hard.  CrossFit may not be for you, but don't decide that because it looks too "hard."  Hard is trying to get fit using any method that doesn't motivate you.  I thought it sounded "hard" before I started.  After almost 10 years at a desk, I didn't think my body was capable of doing any of this.  The great thing about great coaches is they make it work for each individual.  You don't need to be able to do 100 push ups to even begin.  You don't need to be able to do a single push up, actually.  You don't need to be fit to start getting fit.  


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. If I hadn't already gotten addicted to Jazzercise I might have to check out CrossFit. I hear good things about it from every corner. :) Isn't it great how getting into shape makes you feel better all the time?

    1. I know, isn't it great?! And I love actually liking it. I always thought exercise sucked.

  2. Oh my gosh I have heard great things about CrossFit! And now I've just got to figure out a way to start it sometime :-) Was it really hard adjusting when you began? I'm not in super terrible shape, but not at my best at this point. I loved zumba, but I know something with a program to it like crossfit would be good for me. I'd love to hear more about it!

    1. Just like with any gym, it seems to be all about the coaching staff. My coaching staff is truly amazing and friendly and anal retentive about form. Form is a big deal so you don't get injured, so I'd say look for friendly coaches who look for good form. Then it is fun and safe!

      I think when I started some of the exercises seemed hard to look at, like I'll never be able to do that. But they scale everything down. We started with a plastic PVC pipe to learn the moves! And they are fine with people just using the PVC pipe in the regular workouts. Can't do a push up? They get you a box so you can do one at an angle. Can't do a pull up? They have like three different methods there ranging from jumping up to using a big rubber band. I talk about box jumps above, but up until recently I was just stepping up onto the box.

      One big downside is the cost. They're usually pretty expensive. The math on mine works out to about $8-10 an hour, which is WAY less than one would pay for personal training. This isn't quite 1/1 training, but our coach to athlete ratio seems pretty low and it *feels* like personal training. They know my name and goals and give me homework. Most places have a free intro workout though so you might give it a try. Good luck!

  3. Hi Jules. I just left a reply to your comment on my blog, but I wanted to come and check out your site too. I'll comment the same thing here that I did on mine re: pull ups. It took me forever to be able to do one without a resistance band! I did the same things you're doing to be able to do one. I'd say the only other thing is to work on kipping if you don't already have that down. Sounds like you have really good coaches :) I did my Level 1 Crossfit cert a few years ago after my first daughter was born, but then had two more babies and got totally out of shape so I'm just starting to get back into it again for real. Good luck with your pull-up. It sounds like you're doing some crazy good workouts, so you'll get it before you know it I'm sure!

    1. I just did a kipping one today! I was so busy trying to do a strict one, I'd never tried kipping before. Today between the warm up and workout I gave it a shot. I lost the form near the end and had to just pull myself up, but hey chin over bar is chin over bar. :) I then did way too many more just because I could. I'll be feeling that tomorrow. Thanks for the encouragement!

    2. That's wonderful! Congratulations! I love that feeling of getting a new skill you've been working so hard to do :)