Posts Tagged by sweat

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 🙂  

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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Listening to My Body – Hydration

It’s easy to give other people advice.  Don’t eat those artificial foods!  Make sure to stretch before AND after exercise!  Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep!  STAY HYDRATED!  But listening to my own advice and my body’s warning signs seems to be a difficult task.

I thought that I’ve been pretty careful about staying hydrated and fueling these past few weeks…hmmm maybe not.  Today I woke up with the same headache that I had when I went to bed last night . But on top of that, I felt slightly dizzy, lightheaded and my fingertips were very dry.  I also still felt incredibly tired after having just slept for 8 hours and I was very thirsty.

Fitbit Flex Sleep Tracker

Fitbit Flex Sleep Tracker

Now I’ve been drinking close to 100 oz of water a day for the past few weeks because it’s been so hot, which I thought was plenty, but I think that on days that I’m exercising that might not be enough.  I sweat A LOT…I mean A LOT!  I am often sweating buckets after a warm up while other people still look refreshed and clean.  Lovely.  Add in the heat and humidity I’m just a hot mess….literally.  Knowing this, should I have been drinking more than 100 oz?    

Water Water Water!

Water Water Water!

Earlier this week I was drinking coconut water prior to my workouts in an attempt for better hydration and to get natural electrolytes in my system.  Coconut water is said to have four times the amount of potassium as a banana and easy to digest carbohydrates, so obviously many athletes swear by it.  I’m really not fond of the taste of coconut water, so it was a bit of a struggle to get it down, but I did it to help with my hydration.  But maybe I should’ve been drinking it post-workout instead of beforehand to replenish my system.           

Coconut Water

Coconut Water

Well obviously I’ve been doing something wrong after waking up feeling like I was in a daze.  Also, during the WOD yesterday, I had a HORRIBLE cramp on my left calf that stopped me in my tracks while running.  This has never happened to me before, not even during my marathon!  So clearly I was/am dehydrated, but I’m also wondering if I haven’t been providing my system with enough fuel to get through tough workouts in extreme heat.  For the past month, I’ve really been focusing on clean eating and avoiding grains, dairy and sugar to help with my colitis, and thankfully it’s been working wonders!  However, because of this I’m thinking I’m not getting enough carbohydrates to fuel my exercise, which is leading to dehydration and exhaustion.  Hmmm….always a dilemma.    

I’ve been trying to avoid sports drinks for hydration because it is full of sugar and artificial ingredients that I’ve been trying to avoid, but today I broke down and got some Gatorade.  

Gatorade

Almost immediately, I started feeling better.  My energy was restored!  Instead of wanting to take a nap, I wanted to head to the gym to workout! (I decided to skip class tonight due to my dizziness.)  Maybe there is something to be said about these highly artificial sports drinks.  Even though the ingredients aren’t the best for you, when your body is craving hydration, electrolytes and sodium, this seems to be the best way to replenish your system.  

Looking back on the past week or so, there were warning signs of my imminent dehydration, but I chose to ignore them and keep pushing myself.  This is par for the course for me…I tend to have difficulty finding my limits.  Only child issues at their finest 🙂  

So the goal for the next few days is fluids, fluids, fluids!  I’m going to take tomorrow off from exercise as well and hopefully get myself back to normal for a kickass WOD on Friday. 

Do you listen to your body or ignore the warning signs of a problem?

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