Welcome!Hey there! I'm Holly. A 40+ year old insurance-nerd wife, mom, beauty lover, and about a million other things in between. This is the place where I share about our lives, what I'm currently loving, books I'm reading, plus-size style, beauty recommendations, health + fitness endeavors and anything else I'm finding interesting at the moment. Thanks for stopping by!
Looking For Something?
Category Archives: Crossfit
Well, last week was a bit anticlimactic. My knee is still bugging me…sometimes. GRR. I’m icing the hell out of it and I’ve made an appointment to see someone this week. Maybe I’ll talk more about that afterwards, but just know that this week I kept it easy. I did no running (well..kinda, you’ll see) and scaled my workouts accordingly at the gym.
Is it weird that Monday is starting to feel like a good rest day? I don’t know, I usually feel completely pumped to get in the gym on Mondays but lately it’s just felt better to ease into the week. Probably because work has been so nuts! We’ll see how that evolves.
Overhead Squat: 5 x 3 (65, 75, 85, 95, 105 lbs)
“Death by Clean” (95lbs) — I completed 11 rounds. Bowed out on number 12. OOF!
1 rep in the first minute, 2 reps in the second minute, 3 reps in the third, etc until you cannot complete the required amount of work within the minute.
4 x 100 m sled pulls (bodyweight)*
*rest as needed between rounds
I actually ended up running 400 m sprints instead of doing sled pulls to test out how my knee felt and OHMYGOD it was NOT GOOD. Ugh. Iced it ALOT afterward. This was the day I decided it was time to involve a professional.
I worked out today because it was something I could scale and didn’t involve running.
Romanian Deadlift: 3-3-3-3-3 (95, 115, 135, 155, 175)
Hey-O…these were fun and new. So…weird feeling. It’s funny how it’s a similar movement but feels so different. I moved much less weight than I normally deadlift but it felt so HEAVY!
Thruster (65 lbs)
Box Jumps (24 in box) I scaled to step ups bc my knee was BUGGING me
Ground Release Push-Ups
Run 800m (I rowed 1000m bc of the knee)
Power Snatch (65 lbs)
Toes 2 Bar — (scaled to knees to elbows)
I was bummed today that my knee was feeling so crappy so I tried to really be careful of it. It doesn’t hurt AT ALL when I’m doing squatty things, but running and jumping are no-gos. UGH. Going to rest tomorrow. Death by cleans this week really did my upper body good, and now my lower body has had enough. BOO.
Can’t stay away. The Lumberjack 20 called my name. I decided to *try* and run and actually my knee felt fine the whole way through.
20 Deadlifts (185lbs)
20 KB swings (53lbs)
20 Overhead Squats (75lbs)
20 Pullups (Chest to Bar) – scaled with band
20 Box jumps (20″) scaled to step ups for my knee
20 DB Squat Cleans (25lbs each) scaled to 20lbs because SERIOUSLY
Weird. I got up today and felt like I had gotten hit by a truck. A lumber truck seems more accurate. 🙂 Rest, ahem.
Rest. This week was rough. On my body and my ego. I miss running.
Workout Total: 3
CrossFit Workouts: 3
Running Workouts: 0, except for the 2 miles in Lumberjack 20
Double Days: 0
Skipped this workout at the gym because I was feeling SO BEAT after work (why? no idea) But I was bummed because it was one of my favorites that hardly ever gets programmed: “Bear Complex”
We’ll talk more about it later because I vowed to do it later on in the week if the opportunity arose and it did!
Hit the gym!
Bench Press 5-5-3-3-3
(65, 75, 85, 95, 100 —- hooooo boy were my shoulders sore from Saturday’s Snatches! I felt old and crotchety doing this. Note to self: shoulder mobility, work on it!)
15 Min AMRAP
10 clapping pushups (I did scaled pushups)
8 Snatches (75lbs)
Completed 3 Rounds
After this workout though my knee was feeling kind of tender. And for no identifiable reason. BOO
My knee HURT this morning. It doesn’t hurt running or squatting or anything like that, but just walking around, it’s just tender right below my kneecap. Dr. Google says I’m dying. Not really. But then again I haven’t really consulted Dr. Google for fear that it will make me crazy. I’m foam rolling the quads/hams and icing like it’s my religion.
My plan was to hit the gym, but I had to travel to Sonoma for work all day and by the time I got home it was too late. I could have run but I was BEAT and my knee was a tiny bit sore still. Funny how so much windshield time can make you exhausted but you are only just sitting down.
3-3-1-1-1 (65, 75, 85, 90, 95)
2-2-2-2-2 (95 for all reps)
50 Double Unders
3 Rounds of
5 HSPU – (scaled)
10 Burpee Pull Ups (scaled to burpess + banded pull ups)
100 Double Unders
That was fun. And sort of awful since I hate burpees and pull ups and it took me a few minutes to get my double under rhythm which mean my ass was COVERED in welts afterward. But fun! 🙂
I decided on Friday night that I wanted to try running on my knee. Garrett and I headed out after CrossFit to a hilly street by our house. We did a slow one mile warmup and then did 10 hill repeats up this crappy hill that I can’t even fully run up yet (NEW GOAL! GET UP THE HILL!) It was good practice. And also awful. First double day. 🙂 Knee felt fine running. Afterward, still sore when I walk.
I vowed to do Monday’s Bear Complex so I headed in to open gym to get some lifting in. The Bear Complex is fun, but pretty tough. This is what it looks like. A quick synopsis from Mel, since she also wrote about it this week coincidentally:
…it’s a workout made up of 5 rounds of a barbell series (a.k.a., “complex”) that includes 7 reps of the following:
power clean — front squat — push press — back squat — push press
You do that SEVEN times to make up one round — and you do five rounds. If you’re doing it as RX’d.
HOLY CRAP that was hard. I did all 5 rounds with a 75lb barbell and my arms were JELLO at the end.
I had a run on the schedule but my knee (at this point MY GOD DAMN GOOD FOR NOTHING KNEE) was still sore and that started to make me worried. I skipped my run and stayed home and did a cooking wod. 🙂 Also a Kettlebell Century Challenge (aka 100 Kettlebell Swings for time) with our 53 lb kettlebell. That was no slouch of a workout, but I would have rather run.
Workout Total: 4
CrossFit Workouts: 4 (3 in the gym // 1 at home)
Running Workouts: 1
Double Days: 1
And that was the week! Kind of disappointing, but it wasn’t like I was sitting home on the couch, so. Hopefully I’ll figure out what’s going on with my knee and be able to get in some good runs this week.
So I finally made a training plan for The Relay. Last week was my first week of twelve and guess what? I DIDN’T EVEN STICK TO IT! 🙂 We are clearly starting off with a bang here.
In my defense though, I was sick at the beginning of last week and well, that just sort of screwed everything up. This week is a new week, however, and while I’m still not following it *exactly* to a tee, I am making progress and getting in the groove. So I thought I would share what my plan is for the next 12 weeks.
I made this plan with a few things in mind:
*I am not running this race for a time, I am just running to finish
*My legs are flat, but I want to train running hills to improve my pace
*I want to continue CrossFitting 3x per week, at least
*I want to run 2-3x per week, at least
*At least 1 run per week will be a longer run. Endurance is actually a strength, and by the end I want to be back to feeling pretty comfortable running about 8-9 miles at a time. (My longest leg on race day is 6 miles.)
*I want to improve my stamina. Running for a long time is not a struggle for me. Running fast for a long time is. So speed/stamina work will be on my mind. (Hello, hills.)
*I want to get comfortable with the schedule of 3 hard back to back workouts within a short time frame (24-36 hours) to mimic sore race legs/conditions. My Friday/Saturday workouts (double days) are mapped out to help me with that.
And with that, my loose schedule for the next 3 months:
Monday – CrossFit
Tuesday – CrossFit
Wednesday – Rest or Speed Run/Hill Work (3-4 miles at a pace that is hard for me)
Thursday – Rest or Run (depending on what Mon/Tues look like at the box I’ll rest on one of these days and run on one of these days)
Friday – AM treadmill run before work (yuck), PM CrossFit
Saturday – Longer Run
Sunday – REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEST.
Here is how that shook out last week.
Week One Training
Moving forward, I thought I’d share these updates on Sundays. If you are completely uninterested you can skip it, I won’t mind. Or if you’d like to follow in more real time I am tracking them on Daily Mile. For me, knowing that I will be posting these and answering to the internet (Hey, that’s YOU) will help keep me accountable over the next few months. If it’s not useful for you, just walk right on by. 🙂
I spent this evening laying on my couch wanting to die after being at work all day. Making dinner felt like a major effort. No workouts for me!
I felt about 90% on this day but skipped the workout just in case. I was bummed, but it was the right decision.
For the Strength portion we worked on Weighted Pull Ups but since I’m still using a band I worked on banded negatives. Then I did some banded pull ups just for giggles. What was awesome is that I used a smaller band (less help) and just felt like I could do a million. I NEVER feel that way. It’s amazing what difference fat loss makes when doing pull ups. Being 14lbs lighter helped IMMENSELY. The metcon portion of the workout was a pretty freaking hard chipper:
15 calorie row
50 m bear crawl
13 thrusters (65 lbs)
13 box jump overs
13 deadlifts (135 lbs)
13 wall balls (14 lbs)
13 ring dips (I did banded dips)
Then you work your way back down the ladder.
There was a 15 minute time cap and I missed finishing by FOUR CALORIES in the row. Bummer. Good workout though.
I should have run and flaked. But I was SUPER SORE from the day before. Totally used my early week sickness as an excuse. Was just being lazy.
Got up to run before work, per the plan but then read that the Friday night workout was the Filthy Fifty. I need to ease into these double day workouts and there is nothing easy about the Filthy Fifty. So I opted not to run. Friday night I did this:
50 Box jump (20 inch box)
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings (26 lbs)
50 Walking Lunges
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press (33 lbs)
50 Back extensions
50 Wall balls (14 lbs)
50 Double unders
OOF. That is a brutal workout. Was glad I didn’t run.
Met with my running buddies and did a track workout that included sprinting, running some hill repeats and running bleachers. It was a GREAT workout and really fun. Then spent an hour at open gym working on Cleans and Snatches. Lots of heavy lifting. Then GHD sit up work. Really enjoyed myself.
Sunday – REST!
Workout Total: 4
CrossFit Workouts: 3
Running Workouts: 1
Double Days: 0
When it comes to CrossFit, I am certainly terrible at a lot of things. If it involves pulling or pushing or hanging my body weight from or around a bar, I’m not going to win any contests. It doesn’t mean it
can’t won’t be done at some point, but these are the things I struggle with. I weigh a lot. This is not a judgment about myself, this is just a fact. I need to be stronger than your average 150lb chick to huck my ass over a bar. Period. It’s just physics, and I’m okay with that. Also, I’m really fucking strong, so I know will get there eventually. 🙂
But you know what I am pretty good at when it comes to CrossFit? Keeping a steady pace. I will not be the first person to cross the finish line, but I will also not be the person who pushes out the gate so fast that they then peter out in the middle of a workout. I strategize with the big picture in mind, so I try to find a pace that is hard, but that I can maintain until it is done. I am built for distance, not necessarily for speed just yet. I try to work my strengths.
With a WOD though, it is easy to push because you know it is going to be a for a finite amount of time. 12 minutes. 20 minutes. In some cases it’s a whopping 30 or 40. But there is going to be an end, and although it is uncomfortable you push through it because, by design, it is short in duration. Sometimes I finish and think that maybe I could have pushed a bit harder or run just a bit faster. But I know I can push even harder next time, and I do. In fact that is also by design. And it is how we all get better in that gym.
What I am finding shocking though, is that for me, this absolutely does NOT translate into my real life. So much of CrossFit, for me, is a reflection of real life but in this particular instance I realize that I can not pace myself for shit in real life. While it is certainly constantly varied, life is not programmed to be short in duration. And this is really the rub. I always talk about how I am looking for balance, but I don’t even think it is that anymore. I am just trying to find a pace that works, and I don’t think that I have quite found it yet.
Life is long and right now I am working HARD. At high intensity, you could say, and I just did because this CrossFit metaphor is working for me in my brain right now. Roll with me. My day job is full of craziness — but I’m on a path. It has a purpose. I am getting somewhere, so I keep it up. At the same time this blog is turning into less of “this hobby that I love” and more into “this freaking amazing place that is bringing me awesome professional opportunities.” Both of those things require a lot of pushing for many hours of my days.
And now all of a sudden we have a dog. A dog that is awesome but needs to be trained and guided and figured out. Let’s add that to the list of Immediate and Important. And we need to buy a ring. (Well, ahem, Garrett does. ha!) And plan a wedding. And in one month and two days I will be 34, so we probably need to get on incubating that kid we want to have. I mean, right? And then I have to actually have that kid. And care for a newborn, and then a toddler, and then OHMYGOD something about all of that doesn’t strike me as the “cool down” phase of my life.
And when I think about these things I wonder about the pace I’m keeping. I wonder about my future and if, in the WOD of life am I running way too fast right into something that is my weakness. I never mind a little discomfort, but I do wonder lately if I am putting my time into the things that are most important. Am I going to be able to keep my head above water in the future? I spend my nights grinding my teeth while I sleep trying to answer these questions and honestly the only thing I have to show for it is a Super Sexy Mouthguard. I should Instagram that hotness, let me tell you.
Obviously I don’t have an answer for any of those questions. This post is offering you no helpful suggestions or advice if you are in the same boat and I am sorry for that. Maybe I should have added a disclosure statement at the beginning. 🙂 But what I’ve decided to do is just to hold out hope that it is all going to work out. What will be, will be and if I need to slow down, I can slow down. I am trying to trust my pacing instincts at the moment, because at least in the gym they are pretty darn good. And if nothing else, what I do know from almost 2 years of CrossFitting is that your head ALWAYS threatens to give out before your body does.
So for now, the plan is to just keep going.
It’s Friday you all. WE MADE IT. I was not so sure I would yesterday afternoon, let me tell you. Do you ever have those days where the phone is ringing, the To-Do list is getting longer even as you are working on it, the meetings are coming fast and furious, and yep THAT PHONE IS STILL RINGING. Oh and since you’re not busy, someone would like to give you some feedback, is this a good time?
HA! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Oh yesterday. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass.
Anyway, I was pretty sure that I was going to come home and drink myself silly last night. I was having Costco Wine Section fantasies in my head at about 3pm and completely rationalizing my right to self medicate. 🙂 I mean, today is my bi-monthly Friday off, Garrett doesn’t have to work today either, the weekend is beginning, and why shouldn’t I come home and crack open the first bottle of our own wine, under our own roof, post Whole 30? I DESERVE IT.
And all that is true. I did deserve it. With work stress and dog stress and upcoming inconvenient business travel stress, life is pretty crazy right now. But that’s actually just the thing. Life *IS* crazy right now, so last night after talking about my Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day with Garrett, I did not actually drink wine. Because I really want to be at my best this weekend. Not that I won’t enjoy a glass or two, but probably drowning my sorrows in Mourvedre was not the way to go. Because there are LOTS of fun things on the agenda. Including, but not limited to:
*Running 5 miles today with Sarah. Well, not together actually, she is on vacation. WHO DOES SHE THINK SHE IS? But we are keeping each other honest and you know, sort of motivated for this Half Marathon business. So today? 5 mile run. I knew I wouldn’t do it if I drank last night. Since I didn’t drink, it’s about to just be me, my headphones, and a goofy look on my huffing and puffing face. Awesome.
*Donating Blood Tonight — We are doing a blood drive at my gym for one of our buddies, Kristina, who lost her mom suddenly. If there is one thing I understand, it is the pain of losing a parent suddenly. It is terrible, and I feel pretty strong about doing anything I can do to support Kristina, or honor her mom. Especially with blood donation because I am a champion blood donator! Good veins. Needles don’t bug me — stick them in, who cares! Take a pint or two or twenty! (Okay not twenty.) GIVE ME SOME APPLE JUICE. I’ve got this.
Plus afterwards a bunch of my favorite CrossFit buddies are going out together. YAY!
*Marathon Reading — I’m working on three books right now and honestly so far they are all pretty great in their own ways, though VERY different. I have a stretch of time in front of me this weekend where I can read so I would like to make some progress. Currently I’m reading:
Faithful Place by Tana French — I’m so in a Tana French mood right now, especially with Broken Harbor sitting on my bookshelf.
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown — I think to know Brene Brown is to love her. This book is her typical fare, but focusing on the idea of how harnessing your vulnerability can be such a strength in life. I’m reading this for BlogHer Book Club and super stoked to be doing so!
Perfect Bait by Michael Fowlkes — Thus far this appears to be a smutty thriller. I like smut. I like thrillers. Nice, nice. 🙂 I’m reading this book for BookSparksPR, which I highly recommend if you are bookish and a blogger. They offer lots of fun free books to read and review and I have had really good experiences with them so far. If you’re interested, check out how to become a Groupie.
*Also Marathon Cooking — Yep, I’ve hatched a plan that involves cooking and testing 4 recipes this weekend, plus just doing my normal weekend prep. I’m thinking about putting on my new favorite cd that’s in rotation and just zoning out in the kitchen for a bit — which is just MY FAVORITE. I was partly inspired by all the recipes I collected and couldn’t try during the Whole 30, and also inspired by Katie’s post yesterday. As if that wasn’t enough, I picked up Rachael Ray’s Big Book of Burger at the library yesterday and wow, there is lots of yum up in there! Plus, I bought a Julienne Peeler yesterday (GOD I LOVE YOU AMAZON PRIME, IT WILL BE HERE TOMORROW!) so I may have to make up a batch of zucchini noodles with something because, hello: New Kitchen Toy!
*Lastly, doing a little dog research — So here’s the update with Honey Boo Boo Dog (his current name, for now.) About a week has gone by with no word from the potential owners. I have to say as the days tick by I grow less sympathetic to those potential owners and more attached to this little guy. The uncertainty is still a bit stressful, we did another big flyer bomb yesterday, checked in with the shelters/SPCA and followed up with vets, with really no response, but we are beginning to formulate a plan, and that plan includes keeping Honey Boo Boo around, if we get no word from owners. (And you know, giving him an *actual* name.)
The thing is, Garrett and I were not looking for a dog. Sure we wanted one in the future but it has always seemed like such a big commitment. And if I’m being honest, this would probably not have been the dog we sought out. He’s a pretty big and hairy dog for our little house and we were definitely going to look for a small, relatively low-shedding dog. But that said, now that he is here — there is just something about him that seems perfect. Like he’s always been here. We are obviously not giving up hope that there are awesome owners that we could reunite him with, I would never keep someone from their dog, but with every day that passes I feel like he is closer and closer to being in his permanent home here. It feels a little bit scary. There is a lot to think about and consider, and I am a person who thinks being a pet owner is a big life commitment. But also, such a worthwhile one. So we will continue to wait and see what happens (albeit with a little bit of new pet-parent excitement!)
So that’s the haps in my neck of the woods. My To Do list is already so long I’m not sure it will all get done in the next 72 hours, but at least it’s filled with super enjoyable things. What are you up to this weekend?
Liz wrote a great post about Religion and CrossFit. Well, more specifically, how the discussion of both subjects are similar. Most people who include CrossFit as part of their fitness routine love it so much that they do have a tendency to evangelize.
I understand this. You could put a podium in front of me right now and I could INSTANTLY preach. But preaching is sort of obnoxious, yes? So I try not to do that around here, but since Fitness-Talk is one of the core themes in this space I will certainly do so more than the average bear. That said, I really enjoyed her points. Especially this one:
In other words, I’m trying to limit my fitness douchery, and thinking about it context of religion is helpful for that. The satisfaction I get from this lifestyle is not from convincing others it’s the right way to live, but by just living it for myself.
And I find it exceptionally helpful to think about CrossFit Talk in terms of Religious Talk when trying to measure where I am falling on the Evangelical Douche-ometer.
Speaking of CrossFit (and eventually again of douchebags, you just wait) my box was mentioned in our local paper and it was a really lovely article. Almost two years into to working out at American River CrossFit it still blows my mind that I feel pride about…my gym???? I mean, dude, you guys that is weird. Who has pride about their gym? But it is the truth. There are so many good people within those walls and I’m a better person for working out there.
The comments on the article, of course, are RIDICULOUS! Typical random, ignorant, anonymous internet opninions. Some were so damn hysterical though that my abs still hurt from laughing. Especially this one:
“While most of these “no-gym” workout programs do see to have an effect let’s recognize what they are based on: prison-cell workouts.”
I’ll be rocking my prison cell workout today at 5pm, and I totally can’t wait!
Garrett and I spent the weekend nerding out in front of the computer watching the Spectator Stream at the CrossFit Games and man there is inspiration oozing out of every pore of my body today.
Prison Workouts or not, CrossFit creates some pretty awesome athletes.
Did you watch The CrossFit Games?
A weekend on the south shore of Lake Tahoe was just what the doctor ordered. Although if you looked at the amount of crap we packed, it may have seemed like we were going for an entire week!
Because we were driving up with friends, we brought just about everything you could imagine, along with a cart full of crappy indulgent weekend food from Trader Joe’s.
If you are in the market for crappy indulgent weekend food, I need to personally recommend the Trader Joe’s Kettle Corn Cookies. Not only do the make a delicious (and completely wheat/sugar fueled snack – UGH!) but they pair quite well with a cup of coffee in the morning! Oh you all, this was not my finest display of healthy eating, but while we are talking food pairings…have you ever tried this?
We got on the road Friday afternoon and had a quick and traffic-free ride up to the lake.
We were stoked to leave the impending heat of Sacramento behind! It was supposed to be a long weekend of triple digit days back home, so seeing the pine trees, the lake, and the temperature rise only to about 85 degrees was welcome!
We checked in to our condo and then headed over to Garrett’s and my favorite Tahoe tradition: The Beacon Bar & Grill.
Rum Runners + Calamari + Beach Side Dining make it a Must Do whenever we are in the area.
Saturday we were up early to cheer on our friends competing in the Fittest of the Sierras.
There were three events and despite looking pretty standard, they were all pretty brutal to watch. Let’s just say more than once I thought to myself how happy I was to just be a spectator, I can’t even imagine COMPETING! 🙂
In all seriousness though, yes, lots of super fit bodies doing amazing things is fun to watch, but honestly — what is really inspiring is just seeing EVERYONE out there doing their best! People of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels showing up to give 100%.
For each workout every athlete had their own little cheering section, and man if you could bottle the energy in the room during the last 60 seconds of each, with all the screaming and cheering fans — Red Bull would be out of business. It is really freaking emotional, and I will tell you sometimes it makes sensitive sallies like myself get a little misty!
After the competition was over, all that cheering and hollering made me ready for a nap! But I rallied and headed down to the beach with some friends and it was GORGEOUS!
I may have also spent some “quality” time reading. HAHA. That book, man. I don’t really get it yet.
After the beach, we all put our party pants on and got together for some BBQ and Duck Farts. Do you know about Duck Farts? I did not, let’s discuss: equal parts Khalua, Baileys and Crown Royal. You can shoot it from a glass, or you know, just squeeze it in your mouth. Your call.
Either way: Delicious. It sort of tastes like coffee, oddly enough. And you know how I love coffee.
Despite having a celebratory Saturday, we were up and at ’em early Sunday to get home, which actually worked out pretty well. I got to grocery shop and do a little cooking before heading back to work this week. If you can believe it, even after a long and (not SUPER healthy, if I’m being honest) weekend, all I can think about is getting back into the gym. We had such a fun time!
This motley group of people we get to see day in and day out are inspiring, awesome, and most importantly tons fun!
I’m ready to go back — and to me, THAT is the sign of a good weekender!
Well thanks to all of you who crossed your fingers for me this morning during my Memorial Day Murph adventure.
This was my friend Sarah and I BEFORE the torture began:
It may not look like it, but these are our scared faces. We’re putting on a courageous show. Mostly because behind the camera person, this was going on:
Murph, if you recall, starts with a 1 mile run (which I completed in 10:30, which is pretty good for me) and then includes 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, and 300 squats before you head back outside for another 1 mile run. That second mile, I’m certain, I did NOT run in 10:30. Frankly, when I got out there to run I was surprised at how freaking sore my ARMS were. You expect your legs to be jello, but the arms…the arms I did not factor into the equation. Noted. I spent 400 meters running like a zombie with my arms flailing at my sides. It was pretty.
Speaking of pretty, this is what we looked like when we were done:
Pretty. Freaking. Sweaty.
But happy for our efforts. I was hoping to beat my prior 63 minute time, and I’m happy to say I completely annihilated that and came in at just about 56 minutes. I am glad to have benchmarks like these to remind me that I am making progress even when the scale isn’t behaving how I would like it.
It was long and brutal, but I’m so glad I did it! And I couldn’t have done it with out the accountability of my friend Sarah and the encouragement of my coach Theresa, of course. Post WOD smelly ass photo shoot:
I walked into the house when it was all over and Garrett was like “You stink! But I’m proud of you.” And you know, I will take it.
It was a good Memorial Day. Let’s put it in the books.
I’ve had a rough couple of weeks at the gym emotionally. Mentally I have hit a bit of a plateau, and when combined that with changing weather, allergies and some routine Life Stress going on I just haven’t felt successful while working out. Plateaus suck. But the thing is, when you are working toward a long term goal, they will absolutely happen.
I was complaining about my current plateau to Garrett the other night and detailing all of my current failures and he looked at me with a shocked face. He then proceeded to rattle off a bunch of my recent successes — recent successes that I had been overlooking because I was so busy focusing on the frustrating small challenges that I haven’t overcome. My unassisted pull up still eludes me. Despite running regularly for two years I STILL RUN SO DAMN SLOWLY AND INEFFICIENTLY. I have gained 2 lbs in the last few months. All of this feels crappy when I look at it on paper.
Fortunately in the past 2 months Garrett reminded me that I have also experienced the following:
*A New Back Squat, Snatch, and Deadlift PR
*Completely noticeable core strength improvement
*Progress towards my rope climb
*5 total inches lost around my hips, mid-section, thighs and calves
*I’ve learned how to walk on my hands (random! ha!)
How do I know all of this? Because most of that is on paper too. I’ve made a habit of tracking my fitness progress in many different ways and this helps me so much when I get bogged down in the “daily” and forget to look at the “big picture.” Of course it also helps when Garrett reminds me to actually look at all that data instead of just complaining about what I’m not doing. 🙂
Anyway, since not everyone has a Garrett to remind them of their successes, I wanted to talk about my Four Point Fitness Compass. These are the 4 major pieces of data that I use to help me get back on track, when my big goals feel far away and I start to feel lost.
1. Keep a Journal of Your Workouts
Before CrossFit I never tracked my workouts. I can’t imagine ever going back to just exercising willy nilly! I find it so helpful to look back over months and months of effort and see very clearly that I can do things now that I couldn’t do then. Having that on paper is invaluable because, let’s be real, working out ALWAYS feels challenging. So it’s nice to be able to look back and say “Hey, what was challenging six months ago isn’t a challenge today. Hooray!”
2. Find Some Benchmarks
This is such an important element, and it’s another thing I never did before CrossFit. We do a lot of “Benchmark WODs” to gauge our progress and it is so helpful to do the same exercises but get a better result by either doing it faster, with more weight, or completing more repetitions. Even if you aren’t CrossFitting, find your own Benchmark workouts. Need suggestions? Time yourself sprinting (100m, 200m, 400m), or running a mile. Time yourself rowing (250m, 500m, 1000m, 2000m.) Hold something heavy over your head for as long as you can and write that time down. Do the maximum amount of push ups or sit ups that you can do. Then check back again next month and see if you are making progress. If not, adjust your routine.
3. Take Your Measurements
Don’t only weight yourself…please. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Get out the old school tape measure and check in. I measure neck, chest, waist, hips, thighs, calves, wrist and ankles every month, and it is illuminating. I have been especially grateful for those measurements these past couple of months because I gained a couple pounds and it’s easy to say “Oh, I sure ate at a lot of food trucks in Portland that one weekend, I must just be getting lazy.” But the truth is, I’ve lost 5 inches (holla!) That weight gain has nothing to do with food trucks and everything to do with those Squating PRs I mentioned earlier. 🙂 But if I wasn’t taking measurements, I’d never know.
4. Take Photos
This feels dumb when you are doing it, but I am so happy that I have been tracking my fitness progress semi-regularly with photos.
It’s why it is important to track multiple things. If I was ONLY taking pictures, I’d probably look at that side by side comparison above at first glance and think — wow — nothing much is going on. Same clothes. Same Body. No change. But because I’ve been tracking my measurements AND taking photos I look and think — Yep, I can see that my hips are 2.5 inches smaller. Yep, my core does look tighter. Things are looking up!
It’s important to take a multi-pronged approach in order to stay motivated. I’ve talked about how to motivate yourself to start a new fitness routine, and how to keep motivated while once you begin, but it’s also important to make sure you have some systems in place that allow you to see all of the progress you are making. These four things really help me do just that!
In the end though, the kindest thing I do for myself is to try not to forget that no matter how much I’m struggling, I have spent the last 16 months regularly committed to 4-6 of physical activity per week and have really only deviated from that on a couple of occasions. That is one high five of a habit to have created and something that I can be proud of no matter what skill is eluding me. If you are trying, you are succeeding. Life is long, goals take time, progress can sometimes feel like such a stretch. But if you are making any effort at all, every once in a while it’s important to be able to look around and think — hell, I am doing alright.