Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Crossfit-An Evolutionary Sport

Have you heard of this type of training? This sport?

2 months ago-October 2011-I joined a friend for a class called crossfit. Over the coarse of my life I had tried many exercise classes and sports. Spinning classes, ab classes, dance classes, RIPPED and other various aerobic and anaerobic activities. I assumed this one would be similar. A series of exercises that were hard but nothing compared to the effort and struggle that it took to train in the sport of gymnastics. I was wrong...

From day 1, I was hooked. It wasn't quite as exhilerating as gymnastics, but in a way, that has been beneficial. I don't go into crossfit fearing the chance of serious injury. I do, however, go in with some anxiety about how intense the work out may be and what will have to be completed. Yet, not knowing what the work out is, also brings about a form of exhileration. A small portion of the same adrenaline rush that flying from a bar and flipping twice before landing provides. The same adrenaline that sky divers, bungee jumpers, mountain climbers, etc. find in their own sport(s). A fear of the unknown, yet likewise, conquering that fear, time after time, is what brings about the addiction. The desire to beat the odds, again. It's that rush that provides such a huge confidence booster for people. It's built a confidence in me that I only had from the sport of gymnastics. A belief that I CAN DO the IMPOSSIBLE.

So what exactly is crossfit. What I have come up from my research and experience. It is a mixture of gymnastics conditioning and weight lifting in a somewhat competitive and intense atmosphere. In other words, it is the sport that I have been looking for to replace the love of my life; which had been gymnastics-for 18 years.

The first work out I ever tried in crossfit was done in a small group.

3 of us were to complete the following-

90 hand stand push ups

150 pull ups

320 lunges

That was 2 months ago. During that week, I came back for 2 more work outs. By the end of the week I couldn't straighten my arms because they were so sore! Likewise, all of my pull ups had been assisted with a green or black band. (20-40lb support)

2 months later-I am doing ALL of my pull ups unassisted.
Most of the ones I do are done with a technic that makes them easier-called a kip-up. A form of swinging that, in gymnastics, is called cheating...

However, doing 100+ pull ups a workout, the only way I can do them ALL unassisted is with this technic. And I am doing them ALL unassisted. :)

Likewise, my diet has changed to a more crossfit-suggested diet pattern. 2 months ago I was a vegetarian. I had been one for about a year and a 1/2. About 3 weeks ago, I began eating fish and white meat on a regular basis. Likewise, my carb and sugar intake has decreased immensly. Doing these few things, my energy level has increased massively and I am able to work out ten times as hard!

This past week the work outs seemed to have gotten more intense; maybe it's just because I can work out harder. The last work out this week really tested me mentally. It seemed simple enough. It was simply complete 100 burpee pull ups: exactly as it sounds like. A burpee, a box jump to get to the bar and then jump to the bar to pull up.

Within the first 10 reps I knew today's WOD- (work out of day)-would be a struggle. By number 50, I knew I was behind but I also knew something else. My hands felt funny. The skin was bunching up and I recognized that feeling immediately. I was going to rip. And not just once, I could feel a couple of blisters on each hand forming. I few burpees later, I looked down and a pool of blood was forming under the skin...

"Shit," was the most prominant word/thought coming to mind.

A few more and I had completely ripped the skin off. I had to finish though. The blood was gushing out of my hand. Thank god the floor and bars are the color black, otherwise, they would've been a rather nasty sight.

After one of the work outs, one of the instructors asked how I liked Xfit. I told him how much I loved it. We began talking about the process of getting certified. 1 week later, I am registered to get certified in January 2012. I have been studying more and more since then. The more I find out about this sport the more I have fallen in love with it.

I am even considering competing in the crossfit games if I can qualify to it. This sport is so new that this year will be the 3rd games held!

If there's a gym near you doing crossfit, try it, if you dare!

This little commercial explains basically what crossfit's description is to me, in a nutshell:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Runner...In Training?

I have never been a runner.
I have always done anaerobic exercise my whole life...Until this year.
I was a gymnast, almost from birth.
I once took a friend, who was also a gymnast, out for a short run.
Midway through the run, I could hear him huffing and puffing. He managed to call out to me, "there is a reason I picked gymnastics, as my sport of choice and not running..."
It's true. Gymnasts are taught to be fast for very short periods of time. We put all of our energy into skills or routines that last between 2 seconds and 2 minutes...Not 45 minutes to 2 hours...

Today was chaos.
Beginning with volunteering at my church as a barista & to staying for my service.
Plus, removing gluten, sugar, caffeine and most dairy from my diet has been difficult because I get hungry every few hours, so the egg and apple I had for breakfast at 8am did nothing for me by noon. I had to drive all the way home (stopping for gas on the way) to go make a big lunch before heading out to Darlene's place for a work out-my 7th day in a row! I was somehow supposed to prepare a meal, change and take care of the cats all before 1:30. It was already 12:55 by the time I had made my way to my house.

45 minutes later I had made it back out.

The temperature on my car thermometer read: 61 degrees.
I was surprised at how warm it was but was quickly thinking about other things.
I arrived at Darlene's house and played with her animals as she finished some work.
Then she asked me what I wanted to do that day.
"We could do an insanity DVD or we could go out for a run."
I had been pestering her about doing one for the past couple of months but simultanously, I think I was dreading it. So it shouldn't have surprised me that I picked running over the dvd but what was I thinking?!

A few quick facts about Darlene before I continue.
She is a hardcore trail runner.
One of the fastest runners of her age group, at least in the town I live in.
She's 30+ years older than me.

She's taller than me.

Her competitor is ironman triathlete/marathoner-Kate.
And I had never seen nor joined either of these women for a run.

So when I stepped out into the comfortable temperature and began ascending the trail, I knew I was in trouble. I knew I was in trouble within the first 30 seconds.
Maybe it was because I never begin running with running, I always begin with a walking warm up.
Maybe it was from the drastic change of diet over the past few days.
Maybe it was from working out HARD all week long prior to today.
Or maybe it was just because I DON'T RUN!
Not that I dislike it, even if I do dislike it, I wont admit to disliking it.
I hadn't been running much for the past 6 months though.
Most of my cardio came from aerobic classes, cycling/spinning or crossfit-NOT RUNNING.

Darlene already knew where she was going. She'd obviously been running these trails for a long time and had a route planned out. The information she gave me was that it was shorter, but harder. Shorter equaled good. Harder was Bad...
I was already huffing and puffing on leveled ground.
We were running up and down little hills that felt like hell to my butt and my heart. I was breathing hard...
Meanwhile, I was trying to take in the view around me but failing miserably due to the fact that one mis-step may lead to tripping over a rock and killing myself. Plus, I had to put a lot of energy to just keeping up with Darlene.

As we began descending, I struggled even more to keep up with her. Darlene pranced like a deer back and forth between the rocks. Avoiding them easily and seeming to sped up everytime more effort was taken to avoiding the terrain.

I couldn't believe how fast she was and I don't think she was going at her top speed either.

I also avoided conversation, I can't talk when I run. She, like other runners I'd met, was able to have light conversation as we ran. My replies were short, one-worded answers.

We finally arrived to the bottom where she pointed out a tree and informed me, "this is the stretching tree."

Thank you GOD!!!!

The rest was much appreciated and much needed! But it didn't last long...

"Now we go back the same way, which is going to be a lot harder since most of it is uphill." She informed me airily.

No comment was or is necessary.

It was just as awful going back as it had been coming down. I guess that was what was expected, but I was hoping that my body might've gotten over the shock. It's been known to do that, to finally just become numb or eventually stop feeling the initial shock. Unfortuantly, that was not the case today. Instead I simply could hear myself sucking breath in and 0ut like a fat person!

I wanted desperately to stop and walk. If I had been by myself I would've done that long ago! Darlene pushed me on! I couldn't let her see me slow down.

She managed to glance back at me and instead she stopped. I was again thankful for the rest break. She, in turn took my arms and told me to keep them in since apparently they were flopping around like a rag doll. She grabbed my hands, telling me to keep my fists unclenched and my shoulders relaxed. Then just as quickly she was bounding away, up the hill. I followed at an even pace as she sprinted up. She finally slowed down at the top and together we walked the last 3 or so minutes to the car.

And in that short period of time, who would show up but the one and only, Kate.

I saw her jogging toward us but wasn't sure if it was really her.

"That looks like..." I let my statement drift off since I couldn't believe Darlene's competition could be heading toward us... And I mean, I really didn't believe it was her...Until she was a few feet away.

I keep seeing her.
It's a small world.

We ran approximately 4 miles and I seriously almost died.
That's what I get for willingly heading out to run with the fastest runner in this city.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's Been Awhile...

Wow! Just wow! Looking back on the few entries I have written for this blog, I have come so far as a cyclist and just in exercising in general. My endurance has increased dramatically, I am in the best shape I have ever been in! I still have not competed in a triathlon or marathon, but with the way I am training, I don't see either one being a problem of achieving.

I recently had a conversation with my employer, who was once a previous coach and still is a role model to me; She was asking about my future goals as to why I exercise as much as I do. I didn't have a specific answer nor goal. I know an Ironman has been in the back of my mind but often when I announce that goal, people just look at me as though I am insane. I actually hadn't thought much about that goal for a long time either because I was going to attack the short sprints and shorter distances first before looking at such an incredible distance. So when she brought it up and told me she really believed I could pull one off with a year of intense training, I thought about that goal being a real possibility. If it doesn't happen next year, I will plan on doing some shorter triathlons and then maybe in the future, I will go for the whole ironman.

The other thing she brought up was that I should get some form of certification for teaching an exercise class. I would really like to do that, for as much as I'm working out, it'd be nice to get paid to do so. On top of that, she would like to start bringing people into her gym to do some exercise classes and who better to help teach than someone who is already working in that facility. -AKA-Me. :)

So now I just have to figure out what I want to teach, there are so many choices. I want something worth my time, money and something I really like to do... Any ideas? I'd love feedback. Likewise, I need to figure out exactly what needs to be done to get myself into the right shape for a triathlon. Starting with a sprint I think.