Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Crossfit Craze

Oh no!  Before I do anything else I realized I forgot to post the big finish picture of Miguel and I crossing the finish line.  Bad narcissist blogger.  Here it is :)

I love it.  I ordered it but they mail you a hard copy so I won't get it for a couple weeks probably.   Ok, now on to my CrossFit experience.

I took the day off yesterday and I checked out GrouponNow to see if I could find a good massage deal.  I did find that, but I also saw a CrossFit (CF) class for noon so I decided to make that my workout and then get the massage.  I don't know about your area but it seems like CrossFit is popping up everywhere around here.  There are even two CrossFit facilities in my little town.  Anyway, I was looking forward to checking it out because I like doing body weight exercises (pushups, situps, etc) and also figured it would be fun to test myself with a new challenge.  And it was a challenge alright.

Before we got started I told Michael, "coach" (that's what they call the instructor in CF) that this was my first CF class ever.  When we were about to start he asked me how many people had introduced themselves to me.  I could only remember one.  So he made everyone do 10 burpees for not being "welcoming".  Everyone did them and then introduced themselves.  That was kind of cool.  I mean, not the burpees part but making a point of being welcoming, especially in an intimidating environment.

Anyway, I think the first thing we did to warmup was 10 pushups.  I wasn't 100% sure I could do 10 but I thought there was a good chance since I've been doing 3 sets of 6 real ones (followed by 2 alternates on the smith machine).  I dropped and did them!  Yay!  Mike said something about liking it when people show up and can do pushups.  Good thing I've been working on them.  After the pushups we did bar dips (I did an easier alternate version), pullups (I used a band for assistance, much cooler than the machine I use!) and situps on the contraption in the picture below.  I didn't go all the way back the way this woman is, I just went until my back was parallel with the floor.  I don't know if I could have done one like this or not (they touch the floor and then come back up!) but next time I could try.

Mike was showing me how to do squats and as I was doing them he asked, "So, what's your deal?  What's your sport?" or something like that.  I told him I like to do triathlons and he said, "No, I mean, like what did you play in high school."  I explained that I was fat for almost all of my youth and that I played no sport in high school (I forgot about my stint on the tennis team).  He then goes on to say something about my body being strong and that it seemed like I'd had a background in sports.  I can't recall exactly what he said because I got a little giddy at the sound of it all.  Yes, I'm that big of a dork.  And, I know, you're probably tired of me being surprised by this kind of thing.  But I had a fat, out of shape body for decades.  Having someone say something that suggests otherwise still surprises me.

Ok, on to the rest of the session.  After the warmup - that I forgot to mention also included some 200m runs outside - we get down to the "rounds".  I snapped a picture to remember what we did.  First up, 15 toe to bar.  Ha!  I couldn't do ONE.  You hang on a bar and then swing your legs up to touch the bar.  I was pleased when I was able to swing my legs up so my knees came into my chest.  I'd do 3 - 4 instead of 15 before my hands were burning from hanging.  Then 10 Sumo deadlift high pulls.  I think I had a 15 pound bar and two 10 pound weights, but I'm not sure.  Mike gave me a lot of instruction, which was super helpful since I'd never done these before.  Anyway, most times I was able to do all 10 but had to take breaks to get through them.  The "double unders" are jumping rope but you swing the rope twice for each jump.  I couldn't do those so I had to do 90 regular jumps, "single unders".  Whew!  I was sweating like crazy.  Then back to the hanging toe touches.

After, I think it was three rounds my shoulder didn't like the hanging things anymore so I asked for a substitute.  Mike had me do 10 situps instead.  Much better.  I have no idea if I did 5 rounds or not.  In fact, I started losing where I was in the round.  My ability to think seems to go out the window when I'm getting my butt kicked.  So when people started wrapping up, I did too.

I realized he was writing the time taken to finish and how much weight you lifted up on the board.  Makes you push yourself I suppose. The class was roughly an hour and definitely felt like a serious workout.  When it was over people put their stuff away and straggled out.  I started to do the same when I realized I hadn't stretched at all.  In fact, the whole concept of a cool down and stretching doesn't seem to exist here.  So I stretched on my own before heading out.

I really, really like this CrossFit thing.  A couple of caveats though.  I can't imagine doing this straight off the couch.  I'm glad I have a base level of fitness and some weight training skills.  I think CrossFit would have been torture when I was just starting to exercise, and not a good kind of torture.  You have to know yourself, know your body, and know your limits for this kind of workout.  Doing a little reading online, it seems CF attracts a lot of the "go until you puke" people.  It's important that you have the confidence to stop before hurting yourself, to ask for a substitution if needed, and work with a coach who knows what s/he's doing.  I had told Mike about my sensitive shoulders and he checked in with me several times about how they were feeling.  If you are new to CF and you are not getting this kind of personal attention I'd say find another gym. 

All that said, the workout is exciting and intense.  The fast pace is not likely to leave you bored.  You have to be the type of person to enjoy a challenge, to enjoy a little, or maybe even more than a little, pain.  And I think I've become that person.  I'd love to incorporate this into my routine.  We'll just have to see if there's a way.

My body is feeling a little stiff today, especially my back and shoulders.  I don't think weight training is in order.  My plan is to do only cardio and to give my muscles a break.  Instead of my normal 25 minutes of cardio I think, maybe, I'll do more like 45 minutes.  25 on the bike, 10 on the elliptical and then 10 on the treadmill - or something like that.  Oh, and I want to get a jump rope.

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