As I’m taking a short break between my post-workout protein shake and my meal, it’s a good time to write out today’s first blog post.
I totally understand the whole “push past your mental barriers” thing. I get it. I understand that with CrossFit, you want to push your limits so you can grow and mature as an athlete. However, after a while of getting at it on your own or in the box, you know what’s right for your body. I’m not saying to take the easy way out with WOD’s. I’m saying to be smart about the decisions you make with your fitness.
For my size, I can lift a decent amount of weight for 1 rep maxes. Sure, I’m no Irving Hernandez or Chris Spealler, but I’m pretty happy with my progress. Gotta love my box’s programming 🙂 Even so, I know there’s a weird disconnect between my 1 rep maxes and the weight I can carry through in WOD’s. That’s why I tend to use a weight lower than most people would expect in WOD’s.
I really appreciate it when people around me are trying to inspire me to go heavier, but they just don’t get me. Rather than blow my WOD within minutes (you see what I did there? :P), I want to get a good workout in with the right intensity that the WOD had in mind. Everyone’s body is different, and after 2 years at the box, I’ve learned of this weird discrepancy between my maxes and my WOD weights.
No matter what people say, and I mean this with all respect, I’m just going to stick with what I do to continue my gradual progress. When it comes to fitness, I was never the kind of person who lifts heavy weight or does butterfly kipping pull ups of out nowhere. I’m the kind of person who sucks right off the bat. Then I take gradual steps to build up my strength and skills.
Someone today complimented me on my double unders, which weren’t that great since there was a lot of shoulder work involved. It took quite some time to get those to decent proficiency. For serious…when I had my 3 one-on-one sessions (in place of on-ramp because of my crazy schedule at the time), I could barely do singles. I wasn’t coordinated at all. My coach even joked around, “Um…let’s move onto the next thing…” I was that bad with jump ropes 2 years ago.
This sure was a rough week, although it was definitely the first excellent full week of CrossFit I’ve had since coming back from vacation. And it feels great. Still, because of the intensity of the past few days and the roughness of yesterday’s workout, I wanted to take it easy. One of my friends was egging me on to Rx the dumbbell burpees (yeah, that sounds terrible…) at 25# in each hand. Like the WODFather said in this entry, sometimes you just need to take a day off or just go easy on a WOD.
That’s what I did with today’s WOD. I had no intention of Rx’ing this baby. Here’s what we did:
100 double unders
25 dumbbell burpees (25#/10#…did 20#)
100 kettlebell swings (55#/35#…did 35# because of my back)
25 db burpees
Finished in 18:34
It’s my last WOD for the week, and being happy with my performance the past few days, I knew it was right now to go all out on this. Even scaled down, it was quite a beast of a WOD.
I seriously believe that meditating in the morning puts me in the right state of mind for WOD’s and the rest of my day. Today I just knew it wasn’t an Rx’ing kind of day, so I made my adjustments and got exactly what I wanted out of this WOD. Despite the pain during the workout, I feel pretty fuckin good right now.
So no matter what people tell you to do, it’s your call. Of course, I believe you need to have some experience first with the various movements and lifts so you can gauge what’ll still give you a great workout yet won’t damage your body. It’s all about showing up. Eventually you’ll know what makes your body tick.
Call the shots. Take control. Get the results you want.
Ah yes…so despite the mental preparation earlier today, I didn’t get to PR my squat clean. Initially, I was shooting for 245# over my 235# PR from January. Then as I was going through my initial sets, I just felt like going for 240# instead. The feeling wasn’t right.
When I went for that final attempt, the pull wasn’t high enough, my lean was a bit too forward, and I actually caught the bar with my left knee on the floor. Rather than go for any stupid heroics or try something only a legit Games athlete should even attempt (which they shouldn’t in the first place), after an “AHHHHHH C’MONNNNNN”, I dropped the intensity along with the bar. I was looking to the guy in front of me, and I was just like…”Nahhhhh, oh well lol” (no I didn’t actually say lol haha…that’s just when I’m smiling and laughing to myself).
What can you do, right? It’s not like you can PR every time you go for one.
A friend of mine posted a Facebook status on Monday how she was pissed that she didn’t get a new PR on her power clean. I just said that sometimes you PR, sometimes you don’t. All you can really do is let it going and keep moving forward with your overall progress.
And that’s what I did 🙂
The meditation I did earlier definitely helped keep my cool. I still managed to make life my bitch in a different way.
The rest of the WOD was rough for me, as my legs were shot from past workouts this week and from the squat cleans today. All I can do is focus on what’s to come.
Seeing my friend’s Facebook status, I realized that a lot of people will run into this PR’ing issue at some point, whether you’re a newbie, legit firebreather, or someone in between like myself. It happens, and honestly, there’s nothing you can do when you mess up. Failing is part of the journey. I actually bailed on some of my initial squat clean reps.
Instead of getting pissed at myself and embarrassed for falling on the floor (leaned too far back haha), I got right up, waited a bit, and went for it again. Don’t let a failed PR get to you. In a few months or even weeks, that previous PR will look like nothing.
Kip it real, my friends.
Today, I was a little more considerate. I didn’t drop the F-bomb today during our 1 rep max power clean session, but the intensity was still there.
So here’s what we did today:
A) 4 sets of single rep power cleans, the last set being a 1 rep max test, rest 2 minutes
B) 4 sets of 3 rep shoulder presses, last set being a 3 rep max, rest 2 minutes
8 min AMRAP
80% of 1RM power clean
15 air squats after every 3 reps of the clean
A pretty brutal load for the hour, although it’s more of my type of workout. No running or annoying bodyweight movements, aside from air squats in the WOD which are nothing to me since the squat is my thing.
For real, once the workout was posted the night before, all I could think of was that 1 rep max power clean. I was visualizing in my sleep. I was practicing the movement in my kitchen. Although, no, I wasn’t waking up with my arms in the rack position haha.
When we started the strength portion of the workout, I didn’t really care too much about the shoulder press. I pretty much PR’d that 3RM, although that’s not saying much at 115#. I just wanted to rip that barbell off the floor.
I started things off with a few reps of 135# to warmup. The weight just shot up there without having to dip down to catch the bar, so that was a good sign. My body wanted this. Bad. For my first set, I did 185# and since it was quite a bit of a jump from the warmup, I felt a bit uneasy. I didn’t let that phase me.
Then I did my first shoulder pre…fuck it. As I said, the shoulder presses weren’t important to me lol.
For set #2 of the power cleans, I did 205# and it felt good. The bar landed perfectly on the meaty part of my shoulders, although I landed my feet rather wide.
In between sets, I was just amping myself up. Once in a while, I’d chitchat with some people in class, but I was honestly listening to every 3rd word someone said. I just wanted that PR. Bad. I’m normally a really happy person, so I tried finding any sliver of negativity in my mind to fuel my last 2 lifts. What did that consist of? I think it’s better that you don’t know lol. Maybe this is something you can try out since shit…I was in the motherfuckin zone.
Lift #3 of 225# went up pretty nice, with only a slight walk forward to center the bar on my shoulders. Okay, I felt good to go. Then and there, I knew it was on.
Minutes later, for lift #4, I put a bit of chalk on my hands, just enough for a solid grip. Too much of it will increase the chances of rips FYI. A lot of people don’t realize this, and I used to chalk up like crazy when I started. Anyway…I stepped up the bar, aligned my laces with the barbell as usual. Looked up at the clock. 10 seconds to go.
I gripped the bar with both hands, got into the ready position, and counted the last 5 seconds in my head.
Rip that shit.
The bar carrying 235 pounds shot up there like never before. It was like everything was happening in slow motion. The mechanics. All the stuff I read in Starting Strength. All the countless times the coach would recite the cues for the clean. In that moment of slow motion, it’s like I was able to check every aspect of my form. Everything came together perfectly.
I dropped my body slightly into a quarter-squat position. The bar landed on my shoulders, and time went back to normal. Noticing the bar still needed some care to complete the rep, I walked forward. I yelled out AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. One step. Another step. Straightened out my core.
Once I realized I pulled off the 235# power clean, a 10# PR from November, I couldn’t help but break out into a “Rob Orlando-like moment”. Oh…what exactly is that? In the 2010 CrossFit Games Northeast Regionals, Rob did 3 reps of a 300# clean and jerk. Get an idea of my celebration from this part of the vid.
Then I ran to our “PR bell”, rang it like crazy, and let out one last yell.
The owner of the box was cracking up. He was loving it. As I said in my F-bomb article, that’s so out of character for me. Coach was just like, “Whoaaaaaa! Where did all THAT come from?”
After a few moments of simmering down, Coach walked over to me as I was stripping off the weights, and said, “Look at you. When you first walked in here, you were a shy kid. Look at you now. Good job!”
The little things like that mean a lot. I felt really good after that, and I’m sure he was stoked as well. Just imagine how fulfilling his business is? To see people grow and mature over time like that? It must be great.
We still had the 8 minute AMRAP.
Okay, this is the sad part. I fucked up my math for 80% of my 1RM. Someone was using the calculator at the time, so I just wrote it out on the whiteboard. After years of relying on a TI83+ and Excel for math at school, I felt like an idiot struggling with a simple multiplication problem haha. I couldn’t focus after that lift as well, but yeah, enough with the excuses.
I was supposed to use 188# for the WOD, but did 205#…needless to say, I still managed to get 16 reps in those 8 minutes 🙂 It wasn’t until the end that one of my friends pointed out the weight I was using. Oh well…it was a weight I didn’t think I could stick with for the whole 8 minutes, but I pulled it off. Man, today was an awesome day.
I’m glad I was able to slip in this post on my blog before the day ended 🙂
All asthma stuff aside, I can easily say I was never a runner. Running’s not fun. Whether you’re on a treadmill where you’re working your ass off to head nowhere at all or even if you’re running around the neighborhood, it still sucks. That’s just me.
Then again, even Rich Froning, Jr., the World’s Fittest Man, isn’t a fan of running either.
Luckily, for CrossFit workouts, running is just a small portion of the bigger pie. Phew. Regardless, any sort of running past 200 meters (yeah…) is the death of me. Take today’s WOD for example.
Alright, so the original WOD was this:
25 minutes on the clock
1 mile run “buy-in”
7 shoulder to OH 135#/95#
Then 30 double unders every 3 rounds
However, we had to change things up a bit for my noon class because a seminar was going on at the same time inside the box. The WOD was done outside so we got to enjoy some awesome weather.
Since we didn’t have music to blast, I luckily brought my iPhone and ARCTIC Bluetooth headset so I could listen to some Pandora. This was the first time I actually used this headset for running, as I generally use it when riding my exercise bike in the basement. It’s really just a shitty Walmart bike with an Outback magnetic bicycle trainer. Sound quality’s pretty decent on the run and it stays in place for me. My only gripe is the button for enabling Bluetooth jiggles around a bit during jarring parts of the run.
Aside from that I love this pair. I’m an audiophile to an extent, so I’ve burned through $100+ earbuds that were ruined by sweat or had their wires melted by the heat. When it comes to running, I just stick to cheap headphones that sound better than those lame iPhone/iPod earbuds. If my sweat ruins them, who cares? I’ll just spend around $25 again lol.
I digress…yeah, I love technology, but I’ll save that for another post or better yet, another blog haha.
The owner of my box came up with 2 modifications of this WOD: one for people who worked out yesterday and another for those who didn’t. Why two mods? Coach didn’t want to wear down our legs after the squat cleans, burpees, and high box jumps from yesterday.
Here’s what I did for today:
25 minute AMRAP:
7 shoulder to OH (did 115#)
Score: (this is a bit much…) 2 full rounds + 800m run + 1 round of the cluster + 7 shoulder to OH + 10 sit-ups
I’m gonna say it again. Running sucks.
If it weren’t for the running portion of this, I definitely would have had 3 rounds at the very least. I was short 21 reps of 3 rounds. Sure, ab movements like sit-ups, toes-to-bar, and knees-to-elbows kill me, but I was crushing the shoulder to overhead, almost Fight Gone Bad-like push presses unbroken. I should done them Rx’d. At least I know now. My legs, my strongpoint, help me out a lot with push presses and jerks.
I guess I’ll just have to keep pushing forward. Get better at running. If I don’t do anything about it, running only going to hold me back. I love joking about running all the time. Hating on it. Saying it’s not for me. Blaming my asthma. All this bullshit.
Rather than all this negative talk, I’m going to take action and stop the hate. CrossFit was rough for me at first, but eventually it got to the point where I could actually keep up with the majority of the class. So why can’t I gradually progress to the point where running can just seem normal to me?
I should find an instrumental of “I’m Sexy And I Know It” then throw in my own lyrics about being an asthmatic. Anyway, enough of that. For about a year, I haven’t had any breathing problems. No need to take my inhalers or any sort of medication all thanks to CrossFit building up my lung capacity. It’s just such an awesome feeling knowing that you conquered something that messed with your childhood.
When I was younger, I loved playing basketball. Sure, I wasn’t the best, but at least I had more playing time than a bunch of clowns on my teams over the years. Oh you’re perfectly fine health-wise, but a fuckin asthmatic plays longer than you? Suck it.
Still, it was terrible having to call for a time out every time my breathing got heavy and I started wheezing. Back then, I had no idea what my limits really were, so I simply followed what my doctor told me to do and left it at that. I was first diagnosed with asthma when I was 8 years old. Of course, it could’ve been worse since it’s fairly mild and is mainly physically induced. CrossFit let me realize that I had more in my system during those really demanding workouts. While it seemed like it would be inhaler time during the middle of a WOD, I simply had to power over the mental barriers. Eventually, I figured out where to draw the line.
After graduating from college in 2010, I was finally able to kick things into high gear. The Paleo challenge I joined really changed things for me. Following the challenge, I was drinking less (got the party mentality out of my system…a few months after graduation…), eating cleaner overall, and just felt so good. My performance improved because of all those factors. In addition, my asthma felt non-existent. In around February 2011, I stopped using my inhalers.
Unfortunately, in February/March of this year, when I was away for 3 weeks visiting family in the Philippines (yes, I’m starting to gradually reveal more things about myself :P), the heat and air conditions caused my asthma to flair up again. Mix in the combination of terrible nutrition and lack of physical activity, and you obviously have a recipe for disaster. For those of you with families in which quality time revolves around food, you probably know the feeling haha. You can’t avoid these things when you visit cause well…we’re talking about family here. You can’t say no.
By the time we’d finish breakfast, it’d be time for lunch.
Can’t complain though.
So that’s why I’m just trying my best to get back into things. We had sprints today, so of course I had to take puffs from my inhaler before my last round. This one guy in my class always tears up any of the running WOD’s. I’ve made it one of my goals to beat him out in one of the shorter sprints. Anything more than 800m, forget it. He can have those haha.
Yeah, my asthma holds me back, which is why I’m not much of a runner. Screw it. I’m just gonna work as hard as fuck for it, like with everything else I do.
I just want to thank the WODFather for his Tweet/blog post on running. It gave me inspiration for this.
Running Sucks…. jfwodfather.blogspot.com/2012/04/runnin…
— JFWodfather (@wodfather) April 14, 2012
Also, thanks to Elisa for her reply (one of my first legit readers by the way). Glad to hear there are other asthmatic CrossFitters out there!
— elisa romaniello (@elisaromaniello) April 14, 2012
Whether you have asthma or some kind of health condition, there’s most likely some way you can scale and switch things around in a CrossFit WOD so you can still get after it.