Monday, March 30, 2015

The Crossfit Open, 15.5 In Recap

Three hours post working out, after doing Open WOD 15.5, and I am stinky, my legs are burning and my lungs are still causing me to cough randomly AND I have an intermittent headache. My daughter keeps asking what's wrong with me. Hummmphhhh... I have uncontrollable sighing.

Workout 15.5:
27 Calorie Row
27 Thrusters (65#)
21 Calorie Row
21 Thrusters
15 Calorie Row
15 Thrusters
9 Calorie Row
9 Thrusters

Total Time - 11:20 

Of all the studying of the workout that I did, I expected different. I thought maybe, just maybe I could do the thrusters unbroken. Why not? I have quads made for a giant white frog, I kinda like thrusters and I row pretty efficiently. Yes I said I like thrusters. 

All the athletes I watched on video did the thrusters unbroken, I figure try to get it over with quickly because it's going to burn the longer you work. Oh hell no, the people who did not break them up are machines and are all ranked for regionals. I got to unlucky thruster #7 and wanted to drop the barbell because my legs still hurt from the rowing. Instead, I pushed on and made it to #14 and then dropped it. That was half the thrusters in round one. I kinda felt deceived by the girls who's videos I watched that made this look like a walk down easy street.
Rowing like the wind. Coach had to tell me to slow down in the beginning
I don't even know what happened after that because I entered a world of pain.The noises that came out of my mouth were the ones that you hear in the maternity/labor wing of a hospital. I pushed with that level of intensity and I had no baby after ward to meet. Except maybe a baby of sheer pain.
My hurting face. Can't hold this back when it hurts this bad

The end is near...

In Closing...Heres the thing. When my score was announced I didn't even care. I knew that my best effort had just been offered to the rowing machine and to the devil thrusters. Did I say earlier that I like thrusters? I take it back. My only concern now is that I strategized wrong. What if I would have broken up the thrusters into small, manageable sets right away? Could I have lessened the amount of times the barbell was at rest? Oh, the world will never know. I am never doing that one again.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Putting up Your Dukes, After A Long Illness (or long R & R)

I haven't worked out in 6 days. This may not seem like a long time to everyone else, but to me that's an eternity. Dear Lord, what do people do with their time when they don't work out, I have been so bored and ready to get back in the game.

It all started when my 1-year old got the stomach flu, then my 4 year old, then my husband and last - I got it. The walls in our house feel so claustrophobic.  As much as I wanted to escape the germy filth, I could not. Even getting up to walk to the bathroom was a chore, and in fact my oldest refused to even walk, For 3 straight days she was given room to room carrying service, per her majesty's request.

None the less, here I am at the end of the stomach flu, feeling lazy and slightly timid about re-entering the real world where people talk to me and I talk back. Where do I start with my reintroduction to the fitness world that is such a big player in my world. Here's my game plan:
I wish I looked normal enough to be a model when I was sick...

Return to Fitness: Start SLOWLY. First off, when you have rid your body of all food and liquids from your body, the last thing you want to do is try to crank up the intensity. So what I don't plan on doing is to storm into the gym like nothing ever happened and try to burn up calories that I don't have. Nor do I really feel like joining in on any group fitness classes in the instance that I can't finish class or I can't keep up.

What I decided is best is a slow, gentle approach. Starting with long walks, to get "my walking legs back" (words from your majesty herself). Long walks outside if possible to reintroduce fresh air and all things nature, just like our bodies crave.

Kimberly Snyder, benefits of getting outside

Then my next step up will be something middle ground, like a yoga class, where I can set the pace of the workout, upping and lowering intensity by the minute based on how I feel. This is why Yoga is wonderful, they take competition out of the process. Which is why you don't hear about yoga competitions in the area. Ha, what a funny thought: My downward dog got points taken off because my heels weren't touching...

After a few days of walks and yoga then maybe a gentle gym workout with reduced weight or reduced workout time just to test out the muscles and ease them back to greatenss. It's likely that one will still be feeling muscle weakness and dehydration for a week or two after the flu. Dang you flu, it feels like you agee my body overnight. I'm feeling very much like a 70year old writing my blog post.

Total Body (mind and body) Recovery Steps;
  1. Start hydrating - juice, water, tea, coconut water (for electrolites) whatever fluids you can give yourself that hydrate
  2. Eat what sounds good - I was craving carbs and so I ate french fries. Trust your body to know what it needs. It's not a time for raw veggies, it's usually comfort foods that absorb calories quickly. Don't worry about the calories just yet
  3. Be kind to your body. Your body is an amazing mechanism, it just fought a LONG battle and won,  it just saved your life, look at the big picture and be grateful for your health
  4. Start slow with a return to fitness: walks, nature, yoga, stretching, rolling, deep breathing and reduced workout times

Unfortunately, now that I am within the last days of the Crossfit Open Workouts, I am saddened that I won't be able to give my full, healthy effort into 15.5.  Awe, shucks. But at least I will be able to do it still. Either way, the best news is that I am on the mend, my family is on the mend and we are all moving forward, even if at a snails pace. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Grasping Adaptation and Unconditional Love For Your Body

Recently had a conversation with someone about the miracle that is our body. That we could have a human body reach in excess of 500 pounds and their body is doing what? It's fighting, it's fighting to keep the bodily systems working efficiently. Your body is fighting for your survival even if you puff on 5 packs of Camels a day or you drink Red Bull in place of water every day. Your body always gives you 100% of what its abilities are. Despite all the work we put into torturing it with toxins and chemically created food and holding it down with negative self talk; despite all that, our bodies fight to the death.
Body Types of Athletes

Do you wonder why your body is carrying  extra weight? Why you nearly collapsed after running a 5K three months ago but now you can run a half marathon and still talk in full sentences afterward? Ever curious why after you got stronger, your appetite went out the roof? Or, this is one I figured out recently - why your thighs grew when you started lifting heavy weights. ((oh, what girl doesn't want the quads of a man?)) Here's the answer. We are all creatures of change, of progress...of...wait for it... adaptation. So the answer to the  questions is as simple as understanding that your body is a mechanism to help you accomplish all the things you ask of it. Repeat after me: MY BODY IS NOT AN ENEMY.

If you have seen elite Crossfitters at all, you might notice that the Crossfitter's bodies are beginning to look the same - they have bodies that adapted to lifting heavy things and to working out multiple times a day at high intensities. Want to know what that looks like?  It looks like big muscles, low fat storage and a body that functions mechanically with ease.

Matt Chan, Rich Froning and Jason Kalipa, not couch body types

Do you ask your body to run fast regularly? Do you ask it to climb up a 20-foot rope? Do you ask your body to do two Tough Mudders in one weekend? Do you teach it how to lay down on the couch and watch Walking Dead? Our bodies only want to help. Our body is our ally when we want to try a new skill, it's there to be taught. And what do we do for our body in return? Do we stand in front of the mirror like a total asshole and put it down for the way it looks? Totally guilty. If I was my body, I would punch me in the face.

You want a killer, fit physique to make fitness models drool? Then you can't get that way with dreams and couch-body activities. So you want a fit, slim body that can climb mountain sides? Your body is waiting for you to act that way. Your body is ready on a demand with lightening speed to begin the adaptation process. You say you want a strong body that can pick up heavy things and sprint like a damn tiger, then practice lifting heavy and sprinting. Your body is ready when you are. Vamos.

A quick word regarding bodily self-love...
And maybe you are almost ready for that next step but you are looking for more ways to appreciate the miracle of your body? I can think of one thing right away that I am appreciative to my body for.

  1. My body allows me to feel the warmth of a tight hug - that's one of the best feelings in the world


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Super Human Tricks 101: Progressions to Handstands

Super Human Tricks 101: Getting upside down makes me feel like I have super powers. It's like turning back the clock and having fun instead of feeling like you have to clock in your time at the gym. That's why I love what I do, all the skills I learn make workouts something to crave. Never have I had so much fun once handstands came into my life.

In fact, I did a month long Handstand Challenge where there was a handstand variation to try out and do daily. You can check out the daily challenges here. Or, I could just teach you what I know so you can get upside down and become a kid again, too!

At the gym, just chillin
 If you aren't ready for handstands but you aspire to be, I have a few things to work on in the gym to assist with building up your strength:
  • Shoulder presses (a handstand is an upside down shoulder press - bet you didn't know that!)
  • Downward dog - who knew watching dogs stretch could have such an influence
  • Planks - stability muscles are key here even though they are one of my least favorites to work on

Super Human Tricks 101: 

Wall Walks: 
Equipment is minimal, you just need a wall and some gusto. If you are in public, be prepared to have people come give you high fives and mass compliments for your ballsy super human trick. 

            Start here, belly to the floor in a push up stance

Get into a plank position with feet touching the wall

 Wee!! Finish here
  1. Start laying down on your belly with your feet touching the wall
  2. Push yourself up into a push up position, keeping both feet anchored to the bottom of the wall
  3. Begin one foot at a time to walk up the wall with your feet while your hands move closer to the wall
  4. Walk your feet up into a wall-facing handstand 
  5. The end posture should be completely vertical with your whole body making a straight line with the wall, it's OK if it's not perfect on the first few tries, it's something to master over time
  6. Once you are in a handstand, touch your chest/belly to the wall then begin to walk back out with your hands to return to the starting position

Pike Ups On A Swiss Ball

Darn good fun

This will help you get comfortable with the notion of being upside down with some weight over you. You can ease into the whole handstand idea by strengthening your shoulders and core using a stability ball or a half wall/box. You must make sure you stack properly. This means your hips over your shoulders, which are over your wrists. You have a ton of strength when stacked properly.
  1. Start with a big ball and place the tops of your feet over the top. Put one foot on a time for stability 
  2. Walk your hands out so that you are about 3 feet away from the ball and keep your palms flat and fingers spread for additional strength
  3. Roll the ball towards your torso using your feet
  4. Stack your hips over your shoulders, which are stacked over your wrists
  5. Hold this for 5-10 seconds if you can, or work your way up to holding for as long as you can
  6. Return to the start position and repeat

 Walking Away From Wall (On Your Hands)
  1. Kick up into a handstand using the support of a wall behind you - you want to aim to put your hands about shoulder width apart and as close to the wall as you are comfortable
  2. Hold here for good measure just a few seconds to gather control and tighten everything up
  3. Keep your weight stacked over your hands and shoulders and shrug your shoulders up to stay tight in your torso
  4. Slowly walk your hands away from the wall, one at a time (duh) while keeping your core tight
  5. Focus on putting weight in your finger tips, this was a big cue that helped me stay upside down longer

A video demonstration! 

Why You Want to Get Upside Down:

Wa-la, silly tricks to woo your fellow meat heads. Getting upside down makes us all feel young at heart again! Here are just some of the benefits to inversions (anytime your head is below your heart).
1. Digestion
2. Mood improvement
3. Stop the aging process
4. Improve circulation

                                                    A Handstand Tutorial, start your engines