And then there were three

Back in the day when I sold books door-to-door for kicks and giggles and college beer money, they told us at sales school that it takes three weeks to form a habit. They meant 21 days. And although I haven’t gone to CrossFit 21 times in the past month, as of today, I have been going regularly for three weeks or a total of nine times. So, for my purpose, what I’ve got here is a habit.

Still, nine times obviously does not make me an expert in the world of CrossFit. But it does bring to mind a few tips I wanted to share for other newbies who decide to give this whole fitness thing a whirl. Here are my top three:

  1. Pace yourself. I’ve done this for three weeks now, and I’m still slow. I don’t like that I’m slow. It’s frustrating. I want to be instantly in shape because I’m an American, and it’s my unalienable right to have everything right now. But even worse than being slow would be passing out in front of everyone if I tried to keep up with the rock stars who have been at this for months. Maybe someday I too will achieve rock-star status. For now, I’ll stick to the pace that revs up my heart rate but doesn’t make me puke. You’re probably faster than I am, but no matter where you’re at physically, make sure your pace is right for you.
  2. Know why you’re here. On days I do CrossFit, I wake up with a mixture of excitement and dread, and those two emotions usually duke it out for most of the day until it’s time for me to partake in the W.O.D. During the times when dread has won a few rounds, I have to remind myself why I’m subjecting my body to this. It’s true that I like to test my limits and know just what I’m capable of, I also have very specific goals that I want to achieve each day and week and month and for the rest of the year. So when I start having arguments with myself about why I shouldn’t go work out, I start listing off what I want out of this whole experience and why. And mostly, it’s effective.
  3. Lie to yourself. Sometime last week, the W.O.D involved three or so rounds of 100 jump ropes each round. Jumping rope as a kid was fun. This was not. By the time I got to the final round, the only way I could finish was to promise myself I’d never have to jump rope as long as I lived. My brain knew this wasn’t really true, and my body knew it wasn’t really true, but at that point, I was just telling it what it wanted to hear. I got done with the workout and about five minutes later, forgot how much it’d sucked. Mostly.

Here’s to the next three weeks. … Well, here’s to W.O.D. No. 10. Pacing myself. …

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Fat girl tries CrossFit — The first week Day two

Fat girl tries CrossFit — The first week

Day two

And then there was day two. Day two took feeling stupid to a whole new low.

The W.O.D. for my second time around was four rounds of running a fourth mile, 10 pull ups, 15 push press and 20 burpees. As I started the first round, I made the rookie mistake of getting caught up in the pace of everyone around me rather than going at my own speed. By the time I was just starting the running portion of the first round, I was completely out of air. One moment, breathing, next moment, not breathing. I started to wheeze like an asthmatic with black lung.

One of the instructors, Keith, made me sit down and kept asking if I was OK and if this had ever happened before. I said — in between gasps and wiping away the tears streaming down my face — that it had not. He told me that in all likelihood, I’d hit my max heart rate. Or something like that. I wasn’t really listening, as I was distracted with trying to will myself into evaporating on the spot as the others jogged by. Stupidity mixed with an equal part total embarrassment. Awesome combo.

But I didn’t quit. My breathing and heart rate quieted, I slowed my pace to something I could handle and gutted out the next 20 minutes or so. I didn’t finish the workout; Keith made me stop at the half hour mark. Yes, I still felt super stupid and embarrassed, despite all the encouraging words from Keith and the other members. But I’d learn an invaluable lesson about pacing.

And I knew I was coming back until I got it right.

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Fat girl tries CrossFit — The first week

Fat girl tries CrossFit — The first week

Day one

Like most decisions in my life, I didn’t rush to try CrossFit. I am nothing if not a slow decision maker. I had to do as much research as possible. I had to think about what it would be like. I had to pester my co-worker, Dan, about what I could expect, what kind of workouts we’d do, how many other people would be there, what were the odds I’d pass out and die, etc. As you may have guessed, I’m not a fan of surprises.

So, by the time I started on Jan. 11, I had what I figured to be a fairly good grasp on what I was about to experience. I knew that 1) I was going to be breathing heavily, 2) I was going to be sweaty, 3) it was going to suck, and 4) I was going to mostly hate it.

Turns out, I was mostly right. The Workout Of The Day (from here on out to be referred to as “W.O.D.”) was five rounds of 25 situps, 20 lunges, 15 wallballs to the 10-foot mark and 10 pull ups (I’ll address all this fun new terminology in a later post). Since I was new, I did only three rounds. That was plenty.

I can’t say that I totally hated it though. It was tough and not a lot of fun, and I was breathing far heavier than I would prefer, but more than anything, I just felt what I feel whenever I start something new: stupid. It had nothing to do with the people or the instructors, all of whom are some of the nicest, most encouraging people I’ve possibly ever met. Stupid is just my default emotion whenever I’m learning something new.

But shortly after that first workout, the stupid faded and was replaced with giddy. I’d actually tried it. I hadn’t died. And I was kind of, sort of, oddly looking forward to the next go-round.

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Monday Jan 25, 2010, W.O.D

For Time:

30 Squats
20 Box Jumps
10 Pullups
5 117 ‘ Sprints

4 Rounds
Kelie 1516
Dan 1604
Val 2254
Scott 1244
Jami 1346
Marquis 1644
Chad 1549
Jackie 1601
Betty 1006
Yanni 1134
Matt 1113
Kai 1344
Amanda 11:11

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Tuesday, Jan. 19 2010 W. O. D

For Time:

15 walking Lungs
Weight overhead
15 Box Jumps
15 Pushups

6 rounds
Jared 2741
Kelie 1730
Kat 1704
Matt 1326
Eric 1848
Mikinsey 1143
Scott 1941



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