Why Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Last night was kinda tough on me. It was my last night as a member of the CrossFit box that I’ve been a part of for the past year. Now, people leave gyms and stuff all the time. You relocate, get a new job, find another gym, stop working out all together…etc. But this was different for me.

A year ago I decided I wanted to get into CrossFit in spite of all the negative articles and crazy videos out there that spoke to the high injury rate. I took the plunge, and literally on a whim decided to join this particular box with a friend. It was the best decision I could have made. At my box I found something more than CrossFit.

I found community.

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My team from our Battle of the Box

 

Here were a group of people, of all fitness levels and abilities, willing to come together and push their boundaries. We sweat, suffered, cursed, and cheered one another through wod after wod. We encouraged one another to push ourselves further and congratulated one another as we hit new individual milestones. I made some good friends here – coaches and athletes alike.

Coach Bobby. 'Nuff said.

Coach Bobby. ‘Nuff said.

It was at this box that I saw that CrossFit is MORE than the wod – it’s the entire experience. From the moment you walk through the door, to the moment you leave at the end of a workout…it’s this strange euphoria. I’ve learned a lot from the coaches at this box…the importance of mobilizing, how to properly prep your body to do physical work, knowing when and how to scale a workout down, and knowing when to check your ego/expectations when you need to drop the weights down a bit.

When I think about the lessons that I’ve learned, just in a short year, that knowledge and experience has proven to be invaluable to me. Even as I prepared for my NASM personal trainer certification, the practical experiences, conversations, and explanations of the human body and how/why it works the way it does – all things I learned from working out with the stellar coaches of CrossFit Praxis, made me feel that much more confident and prepared to take one of the toughest and most highly recognized personal training certifications in the nation.

It was also during my time at Praxis that I fell in love with the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. I never saw myself as a lifter, let alone an athlete, but…in time that self-perception changed.

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All these things and more I got from just 12 months at a CrossFit box. No…not, just a CrossFit box, an amazing CrossFit box. So, naturally the decision to leave was a tough one. And what it all came down to was finding the best fit for me in light of switching jobs and locations. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed at least a single tough girl tear as I walked out of Praxis as an official member for the last time.

And perhaps I was a little off with my original statement about breaking up, because it’s more like – wod ya later. 😉

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Get Low

I was perusing the internets the other day and in the middle of reading about how to improve upon my squat depth I came across THIS guy:

Take note of what she’s standing on.

Apparently, this invention is called the Sqautty Potty, and its sole purpose is to enhance one’s pooping experience by mimicking the natural squat position. Now, I know you want to laugh…and you’re probably laughing right now, but hear me out…I think this is kinda an awesome idea. Just think about it – when you look at her posture on the lil squatty potty, it’s a pretty decent squat. Most crossfitters have a tough time getting into that kind of beautiful low squat positions that most oly lifters can make look so effortless… Continue reading

Crossfit Chronicles: From Newbie to Newbie

I wanted to take a minute to address some questions that I’ve been getting from folks who are thinking about doing CrossFit. I figure, as a CF newbie myself I can at least share some of the things I’ve learned and observed over the past couple months I’ve been at it.

 

Sometimes the warm up is ALL I will RX.

Sometimes the warm up is ALL I will RX.

#1 Don’t be afraid to SCALE! Please don’t think you need to be the Incredible Hulk or just ULTRA fit in order to do the workouts (or WODs as they’re called). CF is totally scaleable to various abilities, which allows you to still get in a tough workout at the level at which you are able to participate. I’ve had many a workout where I either had to scale the weight down or find an alternate movement because there are some things I just can’t do yet. It’s totally normal, and totally ok, and really it is necessary in order to prevent yourself from getting injured. Contrary to popular belief about crossfitters…we don’t glorify injury. That’s stupid. If you’re injured, you can’t really do the work or workout. Which defeats the ultimate purpose of CF – to “forge elite athletes”…It’s kinda hard to be an athlete, let alone an “elite” one when you’re injured all of the time because you didn’t have to good sense to scale that weight down or modify a movement until you were able to do the WOD as prescribed (or “RX” as it’s called).

 

Gandalf will not allow it. Neither will any coach worth their salt.

Gandalf will not allow it. Neither will any coach worth their salt.

#2 Form FIRST…This kinda builds upon the point mentioned above. If you can’t do a movement without any weight or with low weight, what makes you think that you’d be able to perform that same movement with weight? Yea, that logic doesn’t work out at all. Pay attention to your form, listen to the cues your coaches give you. My favorite quote that I’ve heard at my box often is “Make each rep pretty.” Meaning, make each one, whether it be your first rep or your 20th, look pretty. Keep that form consistent, and you will greatly reduce any chance of injury AND proper physical mechanics will mean you will become much more efficient at performing the moves, which means you can (in time) go faster or lift more…making you a better athlete. It all starts with the form. So if that means you practice with the PVC pipe or the practice bar, or the regular bar before you throw some weight on there, then so be it. Get your form right. Don’t try to hulk it out and end up hurting yourself because your form fell to crap.

 

Some of the lovely folks from my box

Some of the lovely folks from my box

#3 Support your box (and box mates)! For the not-so-extroverted out there, this might be a toughie, but trust me…you’ll thank me for it. One of things you will quickly discover about CF is that when it comes down to it, your only competition is yourself. Everyone in that room is trying their best to make it through the WOD. Some will make it through faster or do more weight than others, but believe me that the WOD comes easy to NO ONE. With that said, support your boxmates. If you’ve finished the WOD, cheer on those who are still pushing through. There have been a couple of workouts that I’ve found myself as the last woman standing and my box mates rallied around me to cheer me on. Likewise, I’m quick to offer encouragement to those box mates who might be struggling and even congratulating folks on doing a good job or hitting a PR. Adding to that, support events at your box. It’s awesome to work out with folks and build friendships that way, but taking a moment to have a little fun with your box mates is another way to participate in building a community at your box.

 

Because who cares about putting ish back?? Am I right?

Because who cares about putting ish back?? Am I right?

#4 Clean up your mess. I think this one is kinda self explanatory, but whatever equipment you pull out…make sure you’re putting it back when you’re done. Heck, go the extra mile and help a box mate break their weight down or help put their stuff away at the end of a WOD. I can assure you that they (and your coaches) will appreciate it!

 

#5 Listen to your body. Again…kinda self explanatory, but allow me to expound upon this just a little bit. You will need to learn the difference between being sore vs being in pain, and act accordingly. Sometimes we Listen to your coaches. Okay, so the coaches at your box are there to help. When they give you instruction, please…PLEASE listen to them. If they tell you to scale or modify or take weights off – DO IT. They know what they’re talking about, and do have your best interests at heart. Don’t be a knucklehead and try to go against the grain unnecessarily. Taking it a step further, talk to your coaches. Coaches are people (and athletes) too – find out where they’re from, what their story is, how they came to CF. You’d be surprised at what you find out, and even more surprised at the wealth of knowledge you have available to you. To be just a LIL bit biased, I’ve gotta say that the coaches at my box are kinda awesome. Very diverse backgrounds and approaches to sports and athleticism in general, but they all agree that FORM comes FIRST.

 

See? Pull ups can be fun!...HA, lol

See? Pull ups can be fun!…HA, lol

#6 HAVE FUN. CrossFit can really be a ton of fun. You make new friends, push yourself to new limits, and it can really change your life. Yes, the competition aspect is there and can be very prevalent at times, but have fun… With any exercise, fitness program, or sport – the more enjoyable you find it to be, the more likely your are to stick with it. If CF is something you want to do, then do it, just make sure you are having fun along the way.

 

What I Did this Weekend

I had the most EPIC weekend ever…

Friday marked my 5th Anniversary of joining the most illustrious sorority in the world…Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. So my lovely line sisters and I got a chance to have some fun and fellowship. There is something about sisterhood that is just good for the soul. Being around them, seeing their smiling faces, catching up and reminiscing on old times…yea that did my heart good.

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some images of my lovely LSs from this weekend!

 

I clean up nice, don't I? lol

I clean up nice, don’t I? lol

 

Then Saturday my box (CrossFit Praxis) held its Spring “Battle of the Box” where I participated in a team competition against other members of the box. There were about 12 teams total, so the box was PACKED and the excitement and energy was just…well it was like a buzz. The WODs were tough, but fair and tested the strengths and weaknesses of us all.

my team!!!! great ladies, all of em!

my team!!!! great ladies, all of em!

 

The first WOD was 7 minutes of Burpee Box Jumps…yea it was as sh*tty as it sounds…hate burpees, lol. And I actually got a little ahead of myself and messed up on the first couple of box jumps and ended up hurting my knee. No worries, I’m better now though. Our team had a great strategy for that one, every one of us did 10 at a time, so that way we all remained rather fresh and didn’t burn out. But burpees…just not my cup of tea.

Teams from the 2nd heat working on the burpee box jumps

Teams from the 2nd heat working on the burpee box jumps

 

WOD number two was the Deadlift. *cues angelic choir* I LOVE deadlifts…so simple. The weight is on the ground…you pick it up…drop it back down. Simple, right? Right! In this WOD each member on the team was to establish his/her one rep max. We were then scored according to the Wilks Coefficient Points System, which basically scores your lift taking into account your body weight. That was cool, because it leveled the playing field a bit, since bigger guys tend to be able to lift more weight than their smaller counterparts…the Wilks system takes the lift itself and adjusts for the weight of the person doing the lift. I hit a PR on this event…in the past I think my max deadlift was somewhere around 205 – 215…well I definitely hit 275lbs!!!! I can lift more than I actually weigh! I was stoked, shocked, and kinda bummed because naturally I wanted to hit 300, lol. But the lovely thing is that I know where I stand with my lift and that I am much…MUCH closer to my goal of being able to deadlift 300lbs. Added bonus…a number of us PR’d on the deadlift that day, which made this particular wod all the more exciting. Seeing the numbers that folks were putting up has inspired me to go for even more. Not only will I hit the 300lb deadlift, but I will surpass it. I want 350…then 400lbs.

me and one of my friends and teammate reveling in our DOMINANCE of the Deadlift WOD

me and one of my friends and teammate reveling in our DOMINANCE of the Deadlift WOD

 

with Coach Bobby of CF Praxis. this man knows his stuff!

 

The final WOD was a killer. 15 minute AMRAP of wall balls with a 120 calorie row buy in. What that meant is, each member of the team rowed on the rowing machine until we as a team rowed 120 calories. THEN we got to do wall balls, but everyone, male and female, had to hit the highest line on the wall. I think that is about 10 ft, when usually us ladies get to aim for the lower line/target. This one was tough for me personally. By that point in time, my knee REALLY hated me. And on top of that getting the ball to hit the wall that high was really difficult. I had a couple of good reps in me, where I got into a good rhythm, but other than that…nah it was kinda tough. But what I DID learn is that I can do it. And if I can do that height with a 14lb ball…I don’t see why I can’t do the “standard” height target with a heavier ball, and slowly work my way up to doing the same height and weight as the boys. Right? Right.

My team didn’t win the competition, but that’s ok because we all had a great time. Now that I’ve got my first crossfit competition under my belt, I have an idea what to expect in the next one. Yes, I’ll be doing this again. If nothing else, it’s a great way to connect with other athletes, especially those within your box. It didn’t feel like a traditional competition, but for me it was really about cheering on some of my new friends and seeing everyone really push themselves for excellence. To me, crossfit is about pushing beyond what you thought you could do…and I’m lucky to be a part of a box that is filled with folks that are so encouraging. It’s like family.

Suffice to say, I had a pretty amazing weekend…what did you guys do?