Sometimes I Suck At Working Out

Yesterday was my first day at the box when I felt truly discouraged. The WOD yesterday began with warm ups of all different kinds, some of which involved pull-ups. I’m realizing in life now that I have zero arm strength. The coaches, however, were kind and catered to my level. So I did jumping pull-ups and those weren’t awful. But some of these girls looked like they had no muscle either and they were just GOING. How??

Then we started in on practicing our back squats. They had us get in groups of three people who were our height and could generally lift the same as us so that we would have enough equipment for everyone. We had to do 6 rounds of 2 reps. I started off strong on the first four rounds, even as we were adding weight each round. When we got to the fifth and sixth rounds, I dropped the bar straight off my back 2 out of 3 times. The other girls literally were tiny and squatting their max of 165 no problem. I think I topped out around 155 and that’s when I began to drop the bar. The only redeeming part of it was that I was able to come up out of my squat at 160 once. But I definitely used every muscle in my legs and core to get out of that squat. I think I felt so discouraged because no one else dropped the bar in the whole place. No one. It just made me feel so weak, even though, honestly, squatting 155 as a female really isn’t bad. Meanwhile the guy in front of me was squatting his max of 405 like it was no thing. Of course, he was massive. But still. That’s a little intimidating if you’re barely making 160.

At the end of squatting we headed into our MetCon for the day: 7 minutes AMRAP of 7 clean and jerks and 14 lateral hops. Now, I actually seem to be pretty decent at clean and jerks. The lateral hops, though, will wear you OUT if you’re not careful. In seven minutes I got 4 rounds of everything in, barely. I pushed myself really hard at the end to make sure I finished the last set of lateral hops before the timer went off.

While I felt discouraged beforehand, I mostly mentally recovered during the MetCon. I think Tim felt just as discouraged yesterday as I did. His issues are with flexibility, which I can understand. If I hadn’t been a dancer for 6 years I probably wouldn’t be as flexible as I am now. He also is such a perfectionist about getting the movements that it will often wear on him mentally. But he has such a drive and a commitment to get them and understand them that he won’t give up, you can guarantee that which I respect about him. At the end of the day, I knew that I can’t just give up after one or two bad days. You have to just keep going even if you feel like you’ve been sucking. We’re still new at this CrossFit thing so we’re definitely going to suck, especially after having done all of our lifting wrong for years. But we’ll get it and we’ll become more flexible and stronger and after months of doing it we’ll look back and say “Ha! Remember when we thought we sucked and that we’d never get it?” So I’m just going to lifting and doing what I can and I encourage you to do the same.

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Choose Your Box Wisely

Like I had told you before, Tim and I had planned to switch Crossfit boxes because one was closer to where we lived than the other. Well. Our first free trial class was yesterday. And I’ve realized why finding a box that fits you is incredibly important.

We arrived and immediately I could tell this box was a younger, less diverse bunch. Something about it just struck me as off. A group of five of us waited awkwardly by the front door for the instructor to arrive. When he did, he led us into a back room that made us feel like complete newbs, which, as a side note, if you make me feel like a complete newb then you’ve already lost my business. We started some basic stretches and warm-ups which weren’t too bad. However, it was at this moment that the instructor chose to call Tim and I out on “already having the Crossfit shoes and everything.” Call us ‘try-hards’ or what have you (we did look a little like it), but because we were in the middle of warm-ups, we couldn’t even defend ourselves. Truth is, we had bought the shoes earlier that day, but only after we had already tried Crossfit before, gotten great reviews on the shoes from friends who said they were comfortable, and found a sale of ‘Buy One, Get One 50% off” of the already sale price. I mean, how can you defend yourself with such a long explanation in a moment of breathing hard during your workout? You can’t. But let me tell you. If you don’t have a pair of those shoes? You’re wrong. Especially if you weight lift.

Next, he taught us how to do squats (which Tim and I thought we had been mastering for years but apparently we were wrong). Mind you, these were air squats. We still hadn’t touched actual weights of ANY kind, which bothered us. Lastly, the instructor taught us burpees (knew those) and sit-ups (knew those). Finally FINALLY we got into the MetCon of the day but even then it wasn’t true a ‘MetCon.’ It was a newbie MetCon. We did 5 minutes of 5 burpees, 10 sit-ups and 15 air squats in as many reps as possible (AMRAP).  The pretend MetCon led into 3 minutes of plank variations, which I realized I wasn’t as good at as I once thought. I guess those sixth grade dancer abs are only sort of there. Sort of.

Lastly, he sent us on a two lap jog around the building for a cool-down as he stood up on his perch and watched us like a hawk. Or a military sergeant. Or whatever. But he definitely watched us with a weird demeanor. After the run, we discussed pricing of signing up for the gym and that was the first moment that Tim and I looked at each other and realized this box wouldn’t work for us. The difference in pricing between the two gyms was more than $60. Not to mention, the more expensive one only let you go three times a week, while the farther but cheaper one was unlimited usage. Unlimited usage!!!

The main reason we like the farther one though is because of the environment and the way it’s run. They get you right into the action but still cater to what you can handle. The environment and people were accepting and very friendly, while the other box made you feel isolated and new. You can also tell at the farther gym that the people that run it love Jesus. It’s like it bleeds from them in everything they do and how their business is blessed.

Moral of the story. Choose your box wisely. If you need to shop around, do it! For us, it will be worth the extra 10 minutes of driving because we like that box so much. I’m not claiming to be an expert on all this (yet). I’m learning just like the rest of you and, boy, is it already fun.

Abby

Crossfit, Here I Come

Ever since I was in elementary school I was active. I began Irish Dancing at the spry, young age of nine years old and continued on for six years until I felt my time had come to move on in life. Every muscle in my body was rock solid from the vigorous dance routines and workouts four times a week so you can only imagine my worry when I went to quit. Yet, at 15 years old, after I had turned in my ‘dance resignation,’ I was hardly motivated enough to get myself to the gym, especially if I didn’t know what I was doing in there. I took various gym classes through high school (basic P.E, weight training…) but even then nothing stuck long-term.

Fast forward to last year at age 20 when I met my boyfriend who asked me if I wanted to go to the gym with him as a way to spend time together. After all, he needed a weight lifting partner and I, realizing that I knew nothing about getting fit, figured it was probably time to learn from someone who actually knew what they were doing, especially if it was something other than running (which I hated). Weight lifting was 100% new to me, but I figured it was worth a try. Now, don’t get me wrong. I was still a healthy weight by the doctor’s standards. While I was thin by the world’s standards, I wasn’t exactly “fit.” So on my first day in the gym with Tim, you can imagine my disbelief and discouragement when I realized I had lost virtually all of my muscle mass except for some in my core and my thighs over the years of not working out. Not to mention my stamina, which was a whole other issue. I could hardly get up the stairs without huffing and puffing!

Now, a year later, we have been pretty consistent in our weight lifting ventures. Yes, there were a few months in between where we failed (Thank you, Christmas cookies) and had to regain lost ground, but it has been the most fit year I’ve had in a long time and I found a new love for a sport I never thought I would like: weight lifting. However, we’ve hit a plateau. A ‘boredom’ plateau, you could say. So one day, a friend suggested to Tim and I that we should give Crossfit a try. So, naturally, we looked at each other and said, “Why not?” We questioned everyone we knew who had taken or was taking Crossfit, trying to figure out if it was really worth the investment. After all, I’d heard it was INTENSE and I wasn’t sure I was ready for that. All my life I’ve struggled with true motivation and I worried I wouldn’t be able to live up to all that people had made Crossfit to be. I feared I wouldn’t be up to ‘par’ with those who were already doing Crossfit and would get lost in the crowd, not knowing what I was doing and not progressing. So after doing all my research (many hours), watching videos, talking to many people, I finally decided it was time to just do it.

Here’s the thing: I’ve gotten some pushback from people. Which I’ve been extremely surprised by. Normally, I could be frustrated by this. But this is one thing in my life that I feel like I could be good, really good, at. It feels attainable. Weightlifting clears my head and makes me feel strong and confident. I know Jesus has given me an athletic build and the love for athletics on purpose. The fact that people have said those things or acted disinterested is just more of a motivator to kick my butt into gear to get where I want to be. This is especially a huge milestone for me to want to do something like this, this badly because of my lack for motivation, which has always been something I’ve been frustrated with. So I took my first Crossfit class this past Tuesday. And guess what? It layed me OUT. I sweated more than I have in a LONG time. My first WOD (Workout of the Day) was a MetCon for time of 10-8-6-4-2 Squat Snatch and Double Unders 10x. So if I do 10 Squat Snatches, I have to do 100 jump ropes and then go into 8 squat snatches and then 80 jump ropes and so on. And I loved and hated every minute of it at the same time. But I felt like I deserved my sleep that night and I felt satisfied with how hard I worked. Everytime I felt like mentally I couldn’t do it any longer or I couldn’t push myself any further, I just thought “If Julie Foucher and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet or ANY of the Crossfit girls can do this, then I sure as heck can too. Why am I any different from when they started?” And then I would settle into another squat snatch and before I knew it I was finished with the WOD in 12 minutes, which I didn’t feel like was bad for my first day. At least in my head I did my best and pushed myself the hardest I’ve pushed myself. I made sure I was going to finish no matter what. And the fact that I worked that hard and finished made me feel like I had conquered the biggest mountain. There’s nothing like that feeling.

So this blog is dedicated to conquering my ‘Crossfit Mountain’ and getting to the Games even if I’m the only one who believes I can get there. Even if for some reason I only end up competing in the Crossfit Open, I will still feel like I accomplished an incredible goal. This blog will keep me accountable and motivated to record my times and improvements and to post pictures of the changes as I see them happen, mentally and physically. And not only will this blog motivate me to keep Crossfitting, but Crossfit will motivate me to keep blogging. Because blogging is one of the things I could never keep motivation to do. And I refuse to not be motivated anymore. Crossfit, here I come.

Abby