Mon. Feb, 22 2010

For Time. “blind Melon”
50 Wall Balls
50 Burpees
40 Wall balls
40 Burpees
30 Wall balls
30 Burpees
20 Wall Balls
20 Burpees
10 Wall balls
10 Brupees
40 Burpees


Of Botox, CrossFit … and Fear — Part II

When I was in high school, the T-shirts of choice were those from the “No Fear” line. You might remember these shirts (or still own two or three. Don’t worry; I’ll hardly judge you at all if so). The shirts were all a variation on the theme of “game’s on the line, and the odds are against you, but don’t worry about it.”

I never really liked the shirts. The cocky vibe wasn’t very clever, and if there’s anything I hate, it’s arrogance without at least a little funny. … Well, I also hate John Mayer, the color pink and snakes, but I digress.

Now what bothers me about the shirts is the unrealistic expectations that the messaging conveyed — that bravery can only exist in the absence of fear. Sure, you can find yourself in a situation where your adrenaline level is so high that you can’t feel anything, but that’s not always the case. And just because you’re scared — terrified even — doesn’t mean you can’t do something and do it well.

Fear probably keeps a lot of people from trying CrossFit. They might be afraid of looking stupid or of being too out of shape or of blisters or of just failing all together. For the most part, those are rational fears, because they could happen.

All of this goes back to my point I was meandering toward in Part I. If you want to be a certain way, act a certain way. If you don’t want to be afraid, act like your not. If fake fearlessness doesn’t work, meh. Do it anyway.

Full disclosure: I am pretty much a coward. Most days, fear overcomes me far more than I overcome it. So, it’s not really surprising that when I first heard about CrossFit, the very idea of it scared the bejesus out of me. The only reason I tried it was because I was more afraid that I was missing out on something. If I had given in to the lesser fear, I’d have lost out on something that completely changed what I knew about working out. And, to a greater extent, what I knew about myself.

You might look stupid — to yourself, at least — when you start CrossFit. Start anyway. You might not be able to complete an entire work out the first or third or ninth time you try. Try it anyway. You might be a blister from pull ups. Bandage technology is pretty amazing these days. And you might hate CrossFit all together and quit. But what if the opposite is true?

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Of Botox and CrossFit — Part I

I recently read an interesting article about research suggesting that people who had received Botox injections had a harder time being able to process angry and sad statements. According to the article “The study results support the ‘facial feedback hypothesis,’ which states that physical expressions, such as grinning or grimacing, signal our brains to produce an emotional responses. In this case, the Botox injections prevented frowning, and so delayed the perception of negative statements.”

In other grossly over-simplified words, they couldn’t get mad or sad because they couldn’t scowl or frown.

Although I don’t recommend injecting your face with botulism as a form of anger management, the article did get me thinking about CrossFit and my “Fake It ’Til You Make It” philosophy.

 Of course, this is not my own original idea. Like any good philosopher, I stole it from someone else. And like any good philosopher, I’ve conveniently forgotten who that person was. The basic idea is that if you want to be a certain kind of person, then act like the kind of person you want to be.

This the singular most frustrating piece of advice I’ve ever received (or stolen.) It’s frustrating because it almost always works. But despite that fact, I almost never do it. For example, if I wake up tired and cranky but don’t want to be tired and cranky, the simplest thing for me to do would be to act like I’m wide awake and chipper. Unfortunately, I’m usually too tired and cranky to do that. So, instead, I slog through the day, miserable.

What does any of this have to do with CrossFit?

I am not, by nature, an exerciser. I fall more of the “stay-inside-reading-a-book-napping-a-lot-and-then-watch-some-TV” kind of person. But for some reason, I always wanted to be an exerciser. More than that, I wanted to like exercise and be good at it and be in really, really good shape.

It has taken me more than a quarter of my life, but I’m slowly — ever so slowly — moving toward becoming that kind of person. And for the most part, I’ve had to fake it. There are very few moments in my life where I’ve ever thought, “Gee, I’d like to work out right now. And work out really hard. And sweat a whole bunch.” But every sweaty exercising session pushes me ever so slightly toward being someone I’ve always wanted to be. I realize that sounds kinda lame and simplistic, but it is the truth.

 So, tune in next time when I throw in a new wrinkle: fear. And don’t forget to turn that frown upside down. Or whatever annoying, hackneyed phrase brings a smile to your face.

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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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