My nemesis (at the moment)

Anyone reading this blog for any length of time knows I actually have many crossfit nemeses and I’ll not rehash all of them here.

My current nemesis is the Assault Bike. 

I can’t even think the term without it being preceded by a long string of words better left to drunken sailors or The Sopranos. If I said them out loud, this blog might get an XXX rating! Suffice it to say, it is an evil piece of equipment, it’s a hate:hate relationship. 

Lately, in our box, Thursday’s have been generally devoted to intervals. We are given options: rowing/ski, running, biking or a strength option for those that go 2-3 days a weeks. For a long time, I would choose the ski-erg. Turns out, the ski-erg and I get along. It seems intuitive where to breathe, it’s possible to engage a wide range of upper body muscles, and yet it doesn’t spare the glutes or hamstrings, especially on the longer workouts. I love having this options and our head programmer is amazing at coming up with all kinds of variations for all activities!

The past 4-5 weeks though, I’ve chosen to do the bike workout.  I figured it’s something I hate doing. It’s something I suck at doing. Therefore, I should do it more. At least, that was my rationale. Work on your weaknesses, right?

Cardio will never be my thing. It wasn’t my thing when I played soccer. I was a keeper. Keepers don’t run!! It wasn’t my thing on the track team. I threw shotput. Shotputters don’t run!! Apparently crossfitters run, row, ski, and/or bike. And I’m a crossfitter. So now I get the “pleasure” of working on this thing I’ve always avoided. 

But the Assault Bike is relentless. And it’s not intuitive. I don’t know where to breathe. There is no obvious strength/rest move like the rower has. You use both your arms and your legs; there is no 1 second pull, 3 second recovery. It’s always moving. You can’t even coast downhill like on a “real” bike. 

I can’t figure out how to coordinate my arms and legs so the output is relative to the size of the muscles. I am always using one more than the other and constantly switching back and forth. Is this normal? It doesn’t feel normal. 

I can’t figure out how much body movement to put into it. I’ve watch the Games. You see some athletes sit very still and some move their upper body prominently back and forth. Neither seems bad, especially at that level of athlete. But in my mind, the more I move my upper body, the less efficient it feels. Maybe it varies depending on the workout? Perhaps short sprints one would use move movement to generate more power and on longer rides, use less movement to increase efficiency? 

See … having all these questions drives me nuts. I just want to know how to use the bike and not feel dead and defeated at the end of a workout. 

Maybe I’m overthinking it … 

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Named WODs

Diane, Linda, Karen, Helen, Grace, Angie… 

There are way too many names that have become forever entrenched in my mind for the pain and suffering they cause. 

I’m not going to be having any more kids, but if I did, none of these names would work anymore. NONE. Crossfit has ruined them all. 

Today was Diane. Coach said “under 5 min”. Now, granted, I don’t have hand stand push-ups, so pike push ups for me (the blog IS called Scaled to Perfection). And I managed it in 4;40, with the Rx deadlift weight and pikes.  The workout is 21-15-9, deadlift and hand stand push-ups, in case you forgot. 

How in the world does 4 and a half minutes destroy a person?’ Seriously …. suddenly I have great respect for boxers and I’m not even being punched while I’m working. 

Ladies, I applaud whatever you did to Greg Glassman to make him not like you. Your names are now etched in the hearts, minds, and muscles of every crossfitter out there. 

I’m going to take a nap now… 

Quitting Crossfit?

My son quit crossfit. My good friend quit crossfit. I’m dealing with an injury that still has me on the modification train. Should I quit?

I can come up with a million reasons to stop. Here are just a few:

1. After 3+ years there seem to be way too many moves I can’t do. 

2. I’m not fast, my cardio still sucks, I’m not coordinated (is that 3?).

3. So many newer athletes have greatly surpassed my skill set leaving me to wonder, what is wrong with me. 

4. It’s exhausting getting up at 4:30 every day. My natural inclination is toward night owl. 

5. I am injured and at some point this stupid injury will require a surgery. That seems like a darn good excuse in my mind!!

Etc etc etc

But I’m not going to quit for the one reason that really matters. I don’t want to. 

See you next week my fellow athletes!! 

Adding to the feeling of defeat or how to completely defeat a scaled athlete part 2

A few days ago, my crossfit partner in crime wrote about a particularly brutal WOD. In case you missed her post, it was 5 rounds for time of 150ft sled push (115# for women), 20 thrusters and 30 sit-ups. Complete with a time cap of 20 min.

A little math (some numbers just automatically math). 20 / 5 = 4. So one needed to average 4 min per round to get through. I am fully aware that the usual progression (at least for me) of time allotment is faster at first and often decreasing as you tire. This means that the first round might need to take 2 min if the last were to take 6. 

The parking lot had recently been resurfaced. Sled pushes are now BRUTAL. Every 10 feet the dang thing sticks to the sealant. The weights were heavy. The reps were many. The time cap actually very short. 

I walked out of there feeling as if our head programmer seriously overestimated our abilities. I assumed I just sucked. It was (to borrow my friend’s phrase) soul crushing. Again, I think we both agree that a good, soul crusher is not always a bad thing. But there is a difference in getting into the 4th round of 5 and barely making 2! Coming close is … I have to dig a little deeper. I have to rest a second or two less. Push a little harder. If one is barely half way through, it serves no point at all. I don’t mind being time-capped. The cap is often there for several reasons, only one of which serves to keep the classes moving on time.  I don’t like feeling totally inadequate. 

I went back through the Wodify whiteboard. Not one female athlete made it. Even the ones who generally seem to excel at everything. Not. One.  

Guys, we aren’t newbies. We’ve both been doing this for 3 years. We get there will be WODs we suck at and others that make you feel on top of the world. But it’s been a very long time since I felt so utterly and completely crushed by a workout. 

I’m not even going to get into the lack of scaling option. That seems almost unheard of for crossfit. We’ve been preaching that it’s scalable for everyone. Though on the whiteboard, lots of people entered a scaled number. 

I’m left wondering if our head programmer is also looking back at that workout going “what went wrong”? He’s usually excellent at knowing the athletes. I know I would be, were I in his shoes. 

That workout will be forever etched in my mind with the 3-4 others where I just wanted to never come back. The ones that weren’t just hard, didn’t just require digging, but where I gave up a piece of myself and tucked my tail and cried all the way home, utterly defeated. 

It’s not a good feeling and I hope there aren’t many of those in my future! 

How to Completely Defeat a Scaled Athlete

Today is Saturday, my last day in the box was Wednesday which is when my soul was crushed by a soul crushing WOD.  Now, I’m all for the occasional soul crusher but what made this WOD particularly terrible was that no scaling was permitted on one of the WOD components – the sled push (the other components were thrusters and sit ups for a total of five rounds).   The sleds were set up with male and female RX weights (female was 115#) which is crazy heavy for me and conditions were less than favorable as the surface we were pushing the sleds on was super sticky having just been resurfaced.  Between the super heavy RX weight and the sticky surface, it took me about 5-7 minutes to do one 150ft sled push (time cap was 20 minutes).  So in a workout that required 100 thrusters, 150 sit-ups and 5 150ft sled pushes,  I ended up doing 2 150 ft sled pushes, 21 thrusters, 60 sit-ups which is only 381 of the programmed 1000 reps ((150×5) + (20×5) +(30×5)).  

So, here’s where my knowledge of scaling fails me – which situation is better: 

1.  Do the RX weight on the sled, struggle bus through the workout,  complete less than half the reps and then be so sore and defeated that you really don’t want to go back to the gym for the next 3 days?  Or: 

2.  Scale the sled push, get more reps with a more consistent effort across all WOD components, and still feel the soul crushing but use it as motivation to get better the next time? 

I realize the defeat feeling probably varies person to person but as far as effort goes I think it would be best to scale for consistent, doable effort across the WOD components so you’re not spending an large amount of time on one part of the WOD and clogging up a fairly limited resource as sleds are limited in number anyway (don’t get me started on my thoughts to capping class numbers). 

I should have asked to scale the sled push but instead I just suffered.  Never be afraid to ask to scale, you’re probably paying a good amount of money to be training where you are and coaches should know your abilities, they may push you sometimes but don’t be afraid to verbalize your limits.  Better to be a little embarrassed in the moment than feel completely defeated (or, heaven forbid,  suffer an injury) for the next few days. It’s okay to scale and no one sound feel ashamed or embarrassed to do so. 

WHYNDTYM (Why Have You Not DONE This Yet MONDAY)

Our ‘regular’ feature can sometimes be such a struggle to come up with ideas, so we apologize for it not being so ‘regular’.

Our box puts on a two-day crossfit competition every year called Survival Games and it’s really quite something to see, observe, judge, volunteer and/or compete. So here is my challenge to all of you: go find a local event and offer your services as a volunteer, judge, helper, or whatever. You won’t regret it as there is so much that goes into these things behind the scenes that make it great for the athletes!

Competitions need people to reset weights between heats (yes, the athletes are supposed to, but they are often so tired, they don’t set the weights up in a nice, neat order), run score sheets to a head judge, help athletes find their location, answer their endless questions, look for teams that somehow go ‘missing’ between events etc.

Competitions need judges to observe, score, count and who are willing to be yelled at when an athlete gets no-repped. Rx men seem to be very intense individuals and really really don’t like getting no-repped. Scaled athletes are much more calm about these things!

Competitions need a cheering section. People to yell, encourage and clap.

So go. Enter a competition, put yourself out there. And if you don’t want to, that is fine. Help out at one. I can guarantee you won’t regret helping out!

A First

I finally broke my two week streak of not making it to the gym by enjoying a lovely interval 5K row (10 sets 500m each).  It was hot and muggy and the output of the oscillating fan was pure bliss.  Everything was moving a long just fine until the 5th set which is when something that has never happened to me before at CrossFit finally happened – I developed two blisters, one below each of my middle fingers, and they began to tear open.

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My first CrossFit blister after 3 years of CrossFit

Now, a blister is an injury.  It’s not something to keep moving on and seeing how bad it can get/see how much you can tear up your hand.  I waited until the end of the set and then jumped off my rower to get my goat tape; I taped up my blisters and then started back into the workout.  Hand injuries like this are not uncommon in CrossFit as you put a lot of weight/tension on the upper part of the palm.  But blisters aren’t cool (in the sense of the injury being created but way cool in your body protecting itself) and should be treated like any other injury.  Bleeding, raw meaty hands are gross (do NOT post them on Instagram/Facebook and brag about it, it’s like having to watch the video of a football player breaking his leg over and over).  If you start to feel your skin pulling or a blister forming, take the time to protect and pad the area or just switch to V-Ups or a scaled option of whatever you’re doing, if possible.  In taking the time to prevent a worse injury, your recovery time will be shorter and you’ll be back at it sooner.

Also, happy CrossFit games (though it’s now drawing to a close).  Did you have a favorite?  How did they do?  It’s been a busy weekend so I haven’t had a chance to follow but I did get to visit the place from which 40 semis full of CrossFit equipment departed: Rogue headquarters in Columbus, Ohio!

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The retail store was pretty sparse but it’s my understanding that they just moved locations so perhaps they’re just in the process of getting everything up and running.  I did get a pair of wrist wraps  I’ve been eyeing (red and white-striped) and a sweet zip-up hoody.  I drooled over some Bella bars and had a good chuckle at the amount of booty shorts they had displayed (two racks).  I had never handled lifters before, I was surprised how heavy they were!

In other news, I actually did some meal-planning this week.  I’ll post some recipes later this week.  Hoping to get back on at least somewhat of a track which has been difficult with showings and prepping our house to sell.  Definitely focused on prep-able meals and slow cooker recipes, we’ll see how it goes.

I’m looking forward to seeing the final podiums at the Games!  Have a great Sunday!