Monday, March 31, 2014

Eat Clean. Train Mean.

I just finished my 12 week body transformation challenge with Generator Crossfit.  My personal goal was to transition 5 lbs of fat into 5 lbs of muscle.  I got my initial tests done on January 7.  I was a little shocked when I saw that I had 24.1% body fat and was in the "moderately lean" category.  I've never struggled with my weight and aside from losing post-pregnancy weight have always been "thin".  Today I measured at 18.6% body fat.  I lost 5.5% body fat and gained 5.4 lbs of muscle with a 2.6 lb overall loss. I couldn't be happier about my results.  I plan to keep doing what I'm doing and see where this takes me over the next 6 months.  I know I can build even more muscles and get stronger!!

Eating Clean:
After my initial test in January I met with my trainer and he told me to try to get 100-150g of protein a day and focus on my food coming from lean proteins, good fats and good carbs.  I tracked my food and ate totally clean for about 3 weeks then it became more of a lifestyle than actual diet.  I do my best to eat clean about 75% of the time - I'm most definitely not even close to perfect with my eating.  But I try to make good choices and use my food to fuel my body.  I drink a lot of protein shakes (after workouts and before bed every day) and try to get as much lean protein as possible with every meal and my snacks.  I  eat eggs, tuna, salmon, almonds, bacon and chicken a lot. I rarely eat dairy (except butter, cheese and an occasional Greek yogurt) and I avoid most grains now.  I still eat out and I still enjoy my favorite treats - but rather than let the whole day go down the drain I just try to eat as clean as possible every meal.

Train Mean:
I love working out.  Truly, if I could I would do 2 or 3 workouts every day because of how much I love it.  But since I can't just spend all day working out here's what I've been doing. I go to crossfit 5-6 days a week and do cardio 4 days a week.  I try to always separate the workouts by at least 3 hours to allow my body to fully recover.  When I don't have enough time between them my second workout is never as strong as it should be.  My trainer told us to do high intensity interval training for our cardio with only 1 long run a week. Talk about a big challenge for me.  I love running so much but since I was determined to build lean muscle I agreed to give it a go.  I've changed my spin classes to be very high intensity interval focused for 10-30 minutes max then the rest of the hour we work on leg strength or drills.  Running consists of 1 day of hill intervals, 1 day of sprint intervals and 1 long run a week.  On interval runs we usually walk between intervals instead of jogging.  It was a tough transition but I've grown to like it.  And Saturday on my long run I felt dang good for the first time since the St George marathon last year. 

My bro-in-law asked me which I liked more crossfit or running.  I can't say that I like either one more than the other anymore.  I love them both so much and for me with my goals they fit hand-in-hand.  They are both very social for me which is huge for me.  The fun factor has to be there for me. I don't intend to stop doing either one.  I feel like crossfit is making me a stronger runner and I know running helps my crossfit game too.  My cardio and endurance are great which helps me in the chipper wods.  I know there are a lot of haters out there - haters on running and haters on crossfit.  I hear it from people all the time.  But personally I love them both and think they might be the best combination ever!  At 41 years old I'm in the best shape I've ever been in my entire life. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lessons the Crossfit Open Taught Me

One of the reasons I love racing is to see my hard work pay off.  I love to set goals and train for them then race as hard as I can to make my goal.  I try to make my goals hard but also something that I can accomplish.  So when my trainers at Generator Crossfit challenged us to compete in the 2014 Crossfit Open I thought they were crazy.  Then with more explaining I learned we do the workouts at our own box and then post our scores online.  You get judged and can't scale the workouts.  So I decided this was a great event to participate in.  Check that off my 2014 goals.  

Each week they post a different workout on Thursday and you have until Monday to complete it.  Every single one of them have pushed me to the limit and have uncovered my weaknesses.  So I've come up with my top 5 weaknesses.

Week 1:  
The WOD: 
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
30 double-unders
55-lb. power snatches, 15 reps

My Weakness:  I need to develop the double-under skill.  This will just take practice, practice and more practice.  My goal is to be able to do consistent DU's by the end of the summer.  And I am completely ready for the beatings this will bring. I bought a training rope and have already started practicing a couple times a week.

Week 2: 
The WOD:
Every 3 minutes for as long as possible complete:
From 0:00-3:00
   2 rounds of:
   10 overhead squats (65-lb)
   10 chest-to-bar pull-ups

My Weakness:  I totally suck at overhead squats.  This one was my complete failure.  My mobility and strength are both weak in this area.  Developing this is going to take time and lots of strength training.  One thing I plan to do to get stronger is to go into the box 1 extra time each week to work on strength.  Starting with my front squat my current 1 rep max is 125 pounds.  I would love to get to at least 150 pounds by the end of the year.

Week 3:
The Wod:
Complete as many reps as possible in 8 minutes of:
95-lb. deadlifts, 10 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
deadlifts, 15 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
deadlifts, 20 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
deadlifts, 25 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
deadlifts, 30 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
deadlifts, 35 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch

My Weakness: Strength again!  I made it to the 155 lb round but just sat at the 185 lbs because it's higher than my current 1 rep max.  Again I will be focusing on building leg strength through 1 extra day of just weights a week.

Week 4: 
The WOD:

Complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible in 14 minutes of:
60-calorie row
50 toes-to-bars
40 wall-ball shots, 14 lb. to 9-foot target
30 cleans, 95 lb.
20 muscle-ups

My weakness:  I hate to admit it but strength again.  I made it to the cleans and couldn't clean 95 lbs.  I'm sensing a pattern here.  I need to lift more weights and get stronger in a bad way.  I had almost 2 minutes left when I got to the cleans and just sat there attempting to lift the bar and had no luck - not even 1 time could I clean that darn bar!! 

Week 5: 
The WOD:

WOMEN - includes Masters Women up to 54 years old

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:

65-lb. thrusters


My weakness: Muscle stamina.  I was able to do thrusters at the 65 lb mark but my arms got very tired very fast so I had to break it up into chunks.  The more I can do unbroken the faster I can do this.  

I have decided that I am glad I signed up for the 2014 Crossfit Open because it forced me to take an honest look at where I am right now and where I want crossfit to take me.  I have a good benchmark to look back at for next year when none of the workouts end in a 0. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

My total failure

I have lots of issues.  Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am a total head case.  That being said .... I know I'm a head case so it's no big deal right?  Ha.  

I have a really hard time doing things I suck at - I usually avoid anything that I suck at.  I don't play cards, board games, go bowling, play mini-golf - stuff that any normal person would just do and enjoy.  I can't make myself enjoy them so I avoid them.  In college when boys would take me out on dates bowling or to play mini-golf I would end up yelling, swearing, throwing my clubs, etc.  SO EMBARRASSING and so lame of me.  Thank goodness Todd never took me bowling! that I have set the stage you'll see that putting it out there and signing up for the Crossfit Open this year is a big deal for me.  I've been really doing crossfit since November of last year and I am way stronger than when I started.  But, I've still got a long way to go.  I knew I wouldn't be able to "compete" in the open but I thought at least I'd be able to do some of every workout.  

The 14.1 WOD was:
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
30 double-unders
55-lb. power snatches, 15 reps

I got a score of 134.  I learned that I really need to work on my double unders. 

14.2 WOD was:
For as long as possible:
From 0:00-3:00
  2 rounds of:
  10 overhead squats, 95 / 65 lb.
  10 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 3:00-6:00
  2 rounds of:
  12 overhead squats, 95 / 65 lb.
  12 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 6:00-9:00
  2 rounds of:
  14 overhead squats, 95 / 65 lb.
  14 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Etc., following same pattern
I tried it last Friday morning and got a score 0.  Yep I can't overhead squat 65 lbs.  I tried and failed over and over for 3 minutes.  My previous PR for OHS was 33 lbs then Thursday night when the workout was announced one of my trainers worked with me and I got a new PR of 45lbs.  I still had to jump 20 more pounds the next day.  I tried on Friday morning and just couldn't get it.  I was so upset and mad at myself for not being able to do it.  I was in tears and was pissed off all day.  I went back to the gym that afternoon and worked on my OHS more but knew I was too fatigued to try again.  Then Saturday I worked on them again for another hour until my trainer sent me home because I was so fatigued.  I still couldn't get more than 45 lbs.  But my form was better and I could do 45 lbs multiple times in a row.   
This morning I gave it one more try.  I got a new PR of 55 lbs - which I am VERY happy about and gave it my all but didn't quite get that 65 lb OHS.  What am I learning from this workout?  Building muscles is important and takes time.  I am determined to have all my RX weights by this fall - and I'm going to work hard and eat right in order to get there.  I am not going to beat myself up over this.  I worked hard and gave it my all.  I read this article today and it solidified the feelings I already had about 14.2.
Most of my big hard fitness goals haven't come to me on my first try.  I felt the exact same amount of frustration last Friday as I did after the UV Marathon in 2012 when I missed qualifying for Boston by a 4 minutes.