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Monday, April 23, 2012

Janna's Crossfit Challenge - The Crossfittening, Part 5

So here we are – the end of my Crossfit training classes, and the beginning of my proper Crossfit journey. I’ve got to say, I am pleased that I have made it this far, but I’m still really nervous about starting the WODs (Workout Of the Day). I plan to do my first WOD tonight, provided the weather allows us to get home in time to change & get to the gym in time. Tonight’s coach is Mitch, who did 4 of my 5 Foundations classes. Not sure how I feel about that – I am kind of looking forward to the anonymity of being in a class with other people, but then again, I know Mitch will push me, which is actually a good thing. I’ve taken a look at the WOD, and it’s mostly weightlifting moves, which I’ve done, so I should be able to do it. Let’s see.

Anyway, on to my last Foundations class. I had originally agreed to meet with Mitch at 5pm on Wednesday, which suited me because I like to get my workouts over & done with so I can enjoy the rest of my evening, but then he emailed me on Tuesday & asked if we could do the class at 8pm instead. In the spirit of just finishing my last class already, I agreed to the time switch. There weren’t any WODs on at that time, so Andrew decided to come along & join my class (it’s always good to get a refresher on your technique). The last class worked on the snatch, which is a variation of the clean, which we worked on in Monday’s class. The warm up was 500m of rowing (with a clean “dismount”, again, hooray me!), then practicing the snatch technique. As a special treat, Mitch used his smartphone to video a bunch of my lifts, to show me what it looked like when I was doing it wrong, vs when I was doing it right. As with the other lifts, I get the technique, but my co-ordination is still lacking. Practice makes perfect, I guess. Once again I was using the 20lbs bar. That night’s workout was 250m rowing, 15 power snatch lifts, 25 burpees, 15 power snatch lifts and 250m rowing. It turns out burpees are the devil’s work (for those of you not familiar with the terms a burpee is sort of like a push up where you start from a standing position, into a pushup position, touching your chest completely to the floor, then stand up, jump in the air & clap your hands – if that doesn’t make any sense, look it up on YouTube). Let’s just say my burpees are decidedly slower & more visually awkward than the average burpee. By my tenth burpee my hands were KILLING ME, OMG, so I negotiated the 25 burpees down to 15 burpees (thank doG, that was the worst part of the workout!), but otherwise I finished my workout. Hooray!

From what Andrew tells me, the gym peeps are looking forward to me starting the WODs. I’m pretty stoked that they are all rooting for me, but at the same time, I’m really nervous about letting everyone down. I’ve never been an active, athletic person, and I’m nervous about making a fool of myself, and, truth be told, ashamed of how I look (though I never feel like that when I’m actually working out, for some reason). Everyone there seems really nice, and they even threw a joint birthday party/euchre night last weekend to celebrate a bunch of birthdays (Andrew’s included). I didn’t go (I was feeling too shy, until it was too late to get tickets, then I wanted to go – story of my life) but Andrew did. If I can encourage myself to keep going at least 2-3 times a week, hopefully the gym will become an important part of my life, as it is for Andrew. I just don’t know, though. We shall see.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Did I mention we got a new car?

It's true! After 3 years of me not liking the Mazda 5 & it being relegated to the garage for crimes it did not commit (it wasn't its fault it wasn't a good, comfortable fit for me), we decided to trade it in for some "new hotness". To be fair to the Mazda, it was a good car for a family, and we bought it with that intention - 1 month before the agency went bankrupt. We held onto it for 3 years, thinking our referral was just around the corner. Now, with no referral & no idea when we'll get a referral, it seems silly to hold onto a car that I don't find comfortable to drive just because it would fit a baby seat & have plenty of cargo space. Sure, the cargo space was great when you went to Ikea, or to the garden centre, but for the amount of times we used it for that purpose, it just didn't make sense to keep it once our new car caught our eye. It's a 2012 Ford Focus hatchback, so it is a fair bit smaller than the Mazda 5, but it is soooo cool! We got the white metallic finish (white platinum) and it's got a zippy little engine & it's comfortable for me to drive, and it's just a great little car. We picked it up on Tuesday & it got its first drive-to-work today, and I am pleased to say that it drove like a dream! The ambient lighting is pretty cool too - it's in the cupholders, footwells, & the doors, and there are many colours - bright blue, dark blue, green, red, pink & purple. I have chosen purple for the time being, but that is subject to change.

So, in conclusion, it's sparkly white, it's zippy, it's comfortable & it's got ambient lighting. Hooray!

Janna's Crossfit Challenge - The Crossfittening Part 4

Class 4 was on Monday, the same day I wrote the Part 3 post. As you may remember, I was running on little sleep & felt barely coherent. I managed to get my butt in gear & get to the gym for my 5pm class, but my heart really wasn't in it. The warm-up, a 500m row, was uneventful, and I managed to get off of & away from the rowing machine without killing myself or messing up my knee, so that's a plus right there. Class 4 was all about the "clean" weighlifting move (squat, shrug, lift, etc), and the class itself didn't go badly. I was the only student in the class, which is both good & bad. Good, because you get the trainer's undivided attention, and bad, because you get the trainer's undivided attention, meaning you don't get a little break while the rest of your classmates are showing of their moves. We mostly worked with the 20 lb bar, but about two-third of the way through the class he had me move up to the 35 lb bar, which just about killed me. Had I lifted the 35 lb bar a bit earlier in the night, I think I would have coped okay, but by that time I was buggered. It was downhill from there, and my workout - 2 rounds of 20 lifts (20 lb bar) & 20 step ups (12 inch box), then 1 round of 10 each - took all of what little strength & confidence I had left. That workout took me 11min 23sec to finish, and I was SOAKED with sweat (ewwwww) afterwards. Of course, it was Andrew's birthday that day, so there was no rest for the (very) weary. I zoomed home, freshened up, and headed out again to dinner with our adoption/crossfit friends & their son. It was a long day, and probably not the special 40th birthday celebration Andrew had been hoping for (but I'm going to make it up to him!).

Monday, April 16, 2012

Janna's Crossfit Challenge - The Crossfittening, Part 3

I did NOT sleep well last night, so if this latest post doesn't make sense, you'll know why! Last Wednesday was my 3rd Crossfit class, and my first class with a different instructor - Dan R. It was also my first class with girls as my classmates, so that was interesting - even more so because they were friends, which made me feel like a fifth wheel. Andrew & I had been running a bit late, so by the time I got to the gym, it was straight into the warmup - 3 minutes of rowing. Easy peasy, I thinks, I love rowing. And it was easy - until I tried to get off the machine. I swear I had both feet out of the footholders, so I'm guessing I tripped over the machine itself, and went for a less-than-graceful almost-faceplant. I have a wicked dark bruise on my right knee, and I came within 1 inch of actually planting my face on the floor. SO EMBARRASSING! Clearly my clutziness knows no bounds. Anyhoo, a couple of ladies doing the WOD (workout of the day) came running over to me to see if I was hurt - nope, just my pride! Then I caught up with the rest of the class for pushups & situps. The class itself was about deadlifting. Deadlifting is where you keep the bar very close to your body, go into a squat with straight arms & a straight back, look straight ahead & lift to your waist. We did quite a few practice lifts - some with the PVC pipe, some with just the bar (35 lbs), some with 10 lbs on each end (55 lbs) and a few with 5 more lbs on each end (65 lbs). All in all, not too bad! Then it was into that night's workout - 3 deadlifts (55 lbs), 6 pushups & 9 ball slams (15 lbs medicine ball lifted above your head, then slammed into the ground at your feet), as many rounds as possible in 6 minutes. I was allowed to use a bench for the pushups, due to my "injured" knee (it hurt to much to be getting up & down over & over again). I managed to do 4 rounds, but I was EXHAUSTED by the end of it all. The aftermath was painful - sore lower back muscles, hip muscles, inner thigh muscles & the muscles on the back of my arm. I had recovered by Saturday, though. Next class is tonight (Monday) with Mitch from 5-6, then it's out to dinner for Andrew's 40th birthday dinner with some friends.

I continue to feel a little apprehensive about Crossfit, but I think that's because with the Foundations classes, I don't know what's coming, what we'll be working on, and I'm afraid I won't be able to do it, or that I'll do too much & hurt myself (though, so far, I've only hurt myself during warm up!). I do enjoy going, though (who knew I'd ever say that!) and I kind of miss it if I haven't been for 3 days or so. I'm really hoping I can stick with it, and lose weight & get fit.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Janna's Crossfit Challenge - the Crossfittening, Part 2

This past Monday I had my second Crossfit Foundations class. I had been hoping that Andrew would accompany me, for moral support more than anything, but as it turned out it was not to be. He had to go to Ottawa for the day for a mediation, and short of a miracle, there was no way he was going to get home by the time I had to leave. So I sucked it up, put on my big-girl panties, and went by myself! This week's class was all about proper weight-lifting technique - push, push press & press jerk (I could have those names completely wrong, but that's what I'm calling them in my head). I was the only person in this class, so I got all the attention of the instructor (Mitch, again). I'm not sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing. Anyway, we started with arm stretches, using a gigantic rubber band (I'm sure it has an actual proper name, but I have no idea what that name is). I made it through the first 3 stretches okay, but that last one, which was to open up my left arm area, gave me a wicked charley horse in the muscle under my armpit. Yeouch! After a fair bit of gentle but firm rubbing, I managed to make the pain die down (mostly). Next we started with the weightlifting technique, using a PVC pipe. Then I "graduated" to a proper metal bar (20 lbs) for the push & push press moves. For the press jerk move, I moved up the 35 lbs bar. The press jerk move involves having the bar at shoulder height, taking a deep breath, dropping into a partial squat, standing back up while pushing the bar halfway up, then dropping back into a squat but keeping the bar stationary (so, straightening your arms to they are fully supporting the bar). It's difficult to describe the move, and it's even more difficult to master the co-ordination to do it properly! At least, it was for me, but I'm pretty unco-ordinated. About halfway through that I got really dizzy, then nauseous. I went to the bathroom & sat down & put my head between my knees until it passed, but apparently if I puke I'm a bad-ass. I hate puking, so it looks like I'm not a bad-ass. Anyhow, I was able to continue, so we moved on to that night's workout - 9 push press (20 lbs bar), 50m run, 7 push press, 50 m run, 5 push press, 50 m run. I did it in 6 min, 49 sec (I think). Mitch says I'm doing really well, and according to one of the girls I was talking to, he would tell me if I'm not doing well, so I guess I'm doing well! Tonight's class is with a different instructor, and 2 other girls, so hopefully I'll have another good experience. Tune in later this week for The Crossfittening, Part 3!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Janna's Crossfit Challenge - The Crossfittening, Part 1

I suppose I could also title this post “An Exercise in Pain”, because, boy oh boy, do I hurt! Because of the possibility that I will have to chase a toddler around some day, and because I’ve been far too lazy for far too long, I have decided to join Crossfit. If you know anything about me, and anything about Crossfit, you might be thinking OMG, WTF? I’ve got to admit, I’m thinking that too! There is a method to my madness, though. You see, Andrew goes to Crossfit (I’d go so far as to call him a Crossfit junkie), and 2 of our close friends also belong to the same “box” (gym). If I’m going to do any sort of proper training, I believe the best thing for me is to have friends doing the same sort of thing so that it encourages me to stick with the program. If I do something by myself, I can pretty much guarantee you that I won’t stick with it.

Here’s a run-down of last night’s class. Keep in mind that there are a couple of classes (workout of the day/ boxing) going on at the same time as our starter class.
- Started at 7pm, talking about Crossfit & the mentality behind it, and what each of us are hoping to get out of it. Apparently, as Mrs Aussie (Andrew is known at the gym as Drew, or Aussie), it was expected that I would join Crossfit & love it. I’m still on the fence about that.
- The first move we learn is squats. There are 5 types of squats I think, but I can’t remember what they are called. My very first squat saw me on my back on the floor (you’re supposed to keep your weight on your heels, and I just kept on tipping backwards. I owned it, though!) Between the 5 different squats, I must have done about 40 squats total. That’s a lot for legs that haven’t done that many squats for the past 39 years combined. By the time we were done my legs were like jelly. Apparently I squat well, which is nice to know. Not sure how I’ll apply it to my daily life, though.
- Next thing we work on is the benchmark workout (well, the elements of it). We start by working on the individual elements of the workout – rowing, squats (again with the squats!), push-ups (which I am absolutely crap at – turns out my butt weighs A LOT & I can’t do a proper sit-up, at least not yet), sit-ups (soles of feet together, you can use your arms to propel yourself forward) & something called “ring rows” (I think). Ring rows are where you have your feet on the ground, your knees at a 90 degree angle, back parallel to the floor, and your hands holding onto rings hanging from the chin-up bar. Then you pull yourself up so your chest is level with your hands. It’s kind of like a pull up from a lying down position. Between all the squats & then this, I’m feeling like a rag-doll, and walking like I’m a puppet on a string.
- We’ve come to the last part of the class – the benchmark workout. It’s meant to be 500m of rowing, 40 squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups & 10 ring rows, but the coach cuts it in half for me. I love rowing, so I did that pretty quick. My thighs & knees were pretty much done by that point, so the squats took a bit longer than they would have if I was “fresh”. Sit-ups went well, push-ups were okay (we modified it so I keep my stomach/hips on the ground & push the rest of my body up). Then came the ring rows. I managed to do all 5, but I could only pull myself up 4-5 inches. All up, I took 7min35sec to do half of the benchmark workout.

And, then, just like that, I was done! All in all, I’d say it was a successful first class, but I am SOOO SORE today (knees & thighs, mostly). I find that I grunt when I get up or walk. I do the next class next Monday, so look for The Crossfittening, Part 2, next week!