Posts Tagged by strength

One Year of CrossFit

Sarah_Chalkmonster

One year ago today I walked into my first On Ramp class at CFM.  I was excited to start this journey, but terrified at the same time. It seemed like complete chaos in there.  The music was blasting, barbells were dropping and people were moving all over the place in some sort of strange dance I didn’t know the steps to.  It was thrilling to watch and I couldn’t wait to join in.  

CFM

During that first class we went over proper form and movement set up: shoulders back and down, squat stance, etc…  It was like a whole new way of holding my posture and moving my body, something that has now become second nature to me.  Our first WOD was a few key movements for time:

  • 200m run
  • 15/12/9 of:
    • Air squats
    • Push-ups
    • AbMat sit-ups
  • 200m run

I finished this in 10:45.  Not great, but not too shabby for my first day.  I’m sure I could shave at least 3 minutes off that time today….going to have to give it a try soon.

Since then I have made some pretty impressive (in my opinion) improvements to my strength and fitness.  Here are some of my weight improvements from the first time I did the movement:   

  • Dead Lift: 63# >> 220#
  • Back Squat: 53# >> 145#
  • Front Squat: 58# >> 128#
  • Overhead Squat: 43# >> 73# 
  • Squat Clean: 45# >> 73#
  • Power Clean: 63# >> 103#
  • Thruster: 33# >> 75#
  • Close Grip Bench: 48# >> 90#
  • Shoulder to Overhead: 33# >> 85# (split jerk)

I remember during that first week when I picked up my first 33# barbell, I thought it was SO HEAVY!  It never even occurred to me that I could lift over 200#.  Crazy!

220# Dead Lift!

220# Dead Lift!

Not only am I stronger, but my running has improved a great deal!  With minimal running training, I was able to PR my 5K time by 4 minutes, my half marathon time by 8 minutes and somehow complete a full marathon!  I don’t think it would’ve been possible without CrossFit.  

Christopher-Martin-5K

CrossFit has changed my life in more ways than I could have imagine.  It has not only made me physically stronger, but the emotional strength that has come out of it was unforeseen and just as rewarding…if not more.   I read a great article yesterday about how those who do CrossFit are “a society of those who simply want to be better” and this is 100% the truth.  It has given me the confidence to just be better.  To be better to myself and to others.  To strive to reach what I see as the unreachable.  To look my fears straight in the face and tell them to fuck off…I got this. 

CFM has become a second home for me.  I look forward to going there and that is something I have NEVER said about any other gym.  The only other place I look forward going to and torturing myself is Walt Disney World for a race, but that has a ton of other positive things surrounding it.  But CFM is different, I can go there and not be judged.  I have amazing coaches who not only look out for my well-being, but also push me out of my comfort zone.  Just yesterday, 2 different coaches told me to go up in weight and I’m so glad I did.  It’s pretty awesome to know that people have faith in your abilities even when you don’t.  

Barbell

And then there are the friends I have made.  I am lucky to have found a positive, supportive group of people through CrossFit who not only push me to be better, but make me laugh everyday. They make working out fun because let’s be honest, if we didn’t laugh our way through a lot of the WODs we would be miserable…they are HARD!  Plus it’s really cool to see everyone’s progress over time and how each of us have our own strengths.  Having this support system to talk about tough workouts with or to make me go on days where I’m just not feeling it has probably been the best thing to come out of CrossFit.  Totally unexpected and totally awesome.   

CFM-Girls

While I have made tremendous strides in my fitness this past year, I’m still nowhere near where I want to be.  Body weight movements are still very difficult for me.  Pull-up, push-ups, burpees, box jumps…REALLY HARD.  In fact, I can’t do any of them without scaling down or having some sort of modification.  I know if I lost weight these things would be easier for me, but I sadly have a love affair with food and booze that is difficult to break up with.  I am eating MUCH better these days and try to eat clean 80% of the time, but I’m not perfect and still love my bread and martinis.  I know I’m getting stronger and leaner so this will come with time and practice.

Clearly, I love CrossFit.  It has made exercise fun and coming from me that’s saying something!  I used to HATE weight training and dreaded doing it with a passion.  I would do these repetitive exercises alone in my basement and just be bored to tears.  To actually look forward to power clean practice is mind-boggling to me.  I don’t foresee stopping anytime soon and all I want to do is GET BETTER.  With every PR I hit, the more exciting this sport becomes and the more I want to keep going.  Yes it’s hard, yes it hurts and yes I must be crazy, but I love it ūüôā  

I must be crazy if I'm smiling on an Air Dyne!

I must be crazy if I’m smiling on an Air Dyne!

Have you tried CrossFit?  
If so, what have you learned from it?
If not, are you interested in trying it?

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That Day Everyone Got A PR!

So apparently it’s testing week and I LOVE testing week. ¬†It really let’s you see how far you’re progressing and most times it’s a guarantee you’ll get a good PR. ¬†Last night, this bell was getting a workout!

PR Bell

Monday I had that awesome 13# front squat PR and my legs were feeling a bit sore, so I was hoping last night‚Äôs dead lifts weren’t going to be a problem.¬† My prior PR was 210# and that was tough, but I was going for it. ¬†I started building up to that 1RM (4 x 135#/3 x 165#/1 x 185#/1 x 205#) and all was good. ¬†Dead lifts are probably my favorite lift because I can put these thick thighs to some good use!

I added 10# and was able to get 215# with a little difficulty, but I wanted more. ¬†So I went for 220# and at first really didn’t think I was going to get it, but Kat and Coach Dave were screaming at me to get it, so I blocked out those bad thoughts and pushed through. ¬†HELL YEAH! ¬†I dropped the bar, high-fived Dave and ran to that PR bell ūüôā

Not great form...need to work on that lumbar curve

Not great form…need to work on that lumbar curve

Nailed it!! 220# PR Baby!

Nailed it!! 220# PR Baby!
Ignore the ridiculous face please…

Now it was Kat’s turn! ¬†She had actually never tried for a 1RM before but figured it was going to be somewhere around 245# or so. ¬†She did my 220# with ease and Dave started pushing her to keep going. ¬†The coaching is really what makes CrossFit unique. ¬†We have great coaches at CFM and Dave in particular has been incredibly helpful and always encourages us to push ourselves with more weight. ¬†He sees that we can do it and just cheers us on to get there. ¬†It’s also very comforting to know that someone is keeping an eye on you during the heavy lifts.

Dave pushing Kat to pick that bar up!

Dave pushing Kat to pick that bar up!

Oh and look at my girl Ashley getting to a 158# dead lift in the top left of that photo…that’s a 30# PR!! ¬†GO ASH! ¬†Kat kept building on those dead lifts and skipped the next skill set to find out what her 1RM was. ¬†Girl got to 275#…beyond amazing!! ¬†She rang that bell with pride and I couldn’t be more proud. ¬†So cool to watch!

KM Dead Lift2

Setting up…

GET IT GIRL!!

GET IT GIRL!!
Actually I think this was around the 250# mark…there was a lot more weight on that bar

I’d say that the majority of the class got a PR last night and the energy was so exciting! ¬†Our other coach for the night, Deb, was encouraging everyone and yelling at people to get those maxes!! ¬†After the skill work, it was time for THE WORST WOD EVER! ¬†I was sure that if I was ever going to puke in a class, that was going to be it. ¬†Here was the damage:

3 rounds for time: 500m row, 20 dead lifts (93#), 15 burpees

For time workouts are always horrible because you are pushing yourself to the limit to get done as fast as possible and who am I kidding…not finish last! ¬†I finished with a not very impressive time of 18:04, but I finished. ¬†Deb was right there with me for my last burpees pushing me to get it done…man did I need that. ¬†Those burpees are no joke and they sure do get you dirty!

Dirty Burpee Knees Yes, I'm wearing pants (no I'm not...)

Dirty Burpee Knees
Yes, I’m wearing pants
(no I’m really not…)

So there…proof that FIT REALLY DOES HAPPEN! ¬†Remember all those “I Can’t” thoughts? ¬†Well it’s days like this that I like to keep in the¬†arsenal¬†of kick ass days to remind myself that I CAN!

Sweaty & Happy

Sweaty & Happy

These days are also great because you can go home and eat ALL the food without any guilt. ¬†ūüôā

Feed Me!!!

Feed Me!!!

What are your GREAT successes in the gym?

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