Why we (scale) crossfit

I’ve spent four days this week working on the Landscape Industry Certification test. I help set up, administer, and tear down. I do need to point out I am one of a slew of people needed for this. And it’s a lot of work. Most of the work isn’t physically demanding, but some of it is. Also my professor self is not used to working outside all day, in the blazing sun, in the billion percent humidity, doing any kind of work, much less hard work. 

So this got me thinking about why I crossfit. (Please inset whatever form of exercise you love). I started crossfit to look better. I kept it up to get stronger. I keep it up so I can get my old, kinda chunky, professor butt out of my office and work along side younger (mostly) guys who are used to being outside and doing this kind of work.

I heard the following over the past few days:

1. Nice guns!

2. You still doing that healthy stuff?

3. I started exercising after I spoke to you.

4. You’re a little thing, are you sure you can … yep! You definitely CAN lift that. 

I’m not trying to brag, but to point out that some form of strength training is essential as we age. It keeps the joints and muscles moving and able to lift things. It will allow me to do so for the next 20+ years.

Scaled or no… that is why I crossfit. 

RX Need Not Apply

RX, as prescribed.  The gold standard of the CrossFit world.  What every CrossFit athlete hopes to eventually achieve (perhaps there’s even RX+ in your future).  But at this moment, scaled is where I’m at and I’m happy there.  I still push and try to build my lifts and endurance and I’m thrilled when I do achieve an RX workout.  I think, though, it is time to celebrate the scaled athlete.  I see scaled divisions fill up so quickly in CrossFit competitions so why is the Scaled-Only Competition so rare?  I would love, love, love to see a nation-wide (am I getting on too grand of a scale here?) scaled-only CrossFit competition (for a great cause, of course, maybe like the Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio?).

A scaled-only competition would allow scaled athletes to compete and not be overshadowed by RX and professional-level athletes.  Plus, you could even have a division that maybe didn’t even use barbells.  A few years ago, our box put on a “Winter Wod-Land” Competition that had a “Bootcamp” division which was basically a No-Bar division – I thought this was great!  What an awesome opportunity for those that weren’t comfortable with the bar yet but still enjoyed CrossFit style workouts and were working at their comfort level of scaling which just happened not to utilize a bar yet.

I think there could be drawbacks of a Scaled-Only competition, perhaps the biggest one would be the same as all other CrossFit competitions that have a scaled division – sorting people out that should be in the RX division.  One box in Murfreesboro, TN (CrossFit Rampage) held a scaled only competition.  They had an extensive questionnaire to help their competition team understand the exact abilities of athletes applying as scaled.  A simple coach to coach phone call could also help the event staff know the level of the athlete.  I salute you CrossFit Rampage for recognizing your scaled athletes and investing in their confidence!

So, I’m throwing this out as something NorthEast Ohio definitely needs, Ohio probably could use, and CrossFit HQ should certainly consider – highlight your developing athletes by shining a spotlight on the scaled divisions and recognizing we all need to start somewhere.

Non-Scale Victories

nonscale victories

This was posted to my box’s Boot Camp page on Facebook and it got me thinking, which has me writing!

I’m the first to admit, I will probably not be in any “before/after” transformation pictures since basically I am the same weight as the day I stepped into the box (my pants are 2 sizes smaller) and I don’t really think I look different in pictures I see. Don’t get me wrong, people have noticed that I look different and carry myself differently, so I know changes are happening, but when I see pictures of myself, I still see a fat, old lady, one who perhaps has no business being in a gym at all, much less a crossfit box.

{Now coaches, before you go and give me a billion burpees for sounding negative, please keep reading!!}

Are there moves I still don’t have down? Yep. There is a reason this blog is called Scaled to Perfection. My crossfit partner in crime and perpetual “in my head” sista (I swear we are one brain, separated by 20 years), have struggled with so many things for the years we have been doing crossfit. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know what they are, but if you are new, let me inform you of all the things I (well..perhaps we) still need to achieve, much less master: double unders, pull-ups, rope climbs, chest-to-bar, toes-to-bar, hand stand push ups, most things with the GHD, and box jumps (I had them, then the box tried to kill me so my brain refuses to let me do them again). My clean and jerk form, while improved, is a work in progress and  the snatch? Ugh… Ugly is a good word. Burpees about kill me and anything cardio is a long trip on the struggle bus.

This makes it sound like I can’t do anything at all, which isn’t true. The powerlifting moves are ones I love. I don’t mind thrusters, wall balls, the ski-erg, rowing, and kettlebells. I love all the accessory work we do! And I’m fairly certain that not one of the coaches would say that I give up, no matter how much I’m struggling, no matter how dead last I am and I will often go ahead an finish a workout, even if we’ve been time-capped, because…well…I’m not a quitter. That part has changed in me; I used to stop at the time cap, but I prefer to finish (if I won’t be in the way of the next class, or my taking a few more minutes means I won’t be late to work). I’m a firm believer in the crossfit attitude of cheering for everyone and that the last person to finish is just as, if not more, important than the first person. I LOVE to cheer on my fellow athletes when I get the chance. This is one of the things I love best about The Open. Except for your own heat, you get to watch and cheer everyone else, keeping them motivated if needed. I never thought that was a real thing, until it was happening to me and people really believed it.

Do you see a trend here? I do. If it has to do with brute strength, I’m all over that. If it requires grace and/or coordination, I struggle. I’m slowly getting better at all of these things and I have no shame in continuing to work on them, even as frustrating as it can be at times. I think back to high school and college sports and the positions I played: keeper in soccer, bench warmer in basketball, catcher in softball and shot-put in track. Those positions don’t really require coordination. You can just fling your body around without fear and that often gets the job done. The gymnastics move require something I’ve never really had the opportunity to train for, work on or even think about in my daily life. My parents didn’t send me to ballet or gymnastics (I would have told them no anyhow), so I never worked on those things and now I’m finding that I really need those things and old brains are apparently slower to learn than younger brains!

Back to non-scale victories! I’m a LOT stronger. I don’t give up easily (which can also have its downsides – hello calf muscle; I’m looking at you). My shirts are smaller; my pants are smaller. I can do the things the coach’s ask of me, especially scaled. I have enough confidence in my abilities that showing some of the newer athletes a move or two doesn’t worry me.

I’ve met so many wonderful people, many of whom have become dear friends. I participate in our #socialcommittee events as often as possible and have done some things that I never thought I would do, such as not 1, but 2 5k runs.

I’m fascinated by the programming and would love to know more about the inner workings of our head programmer’s mind when he puts the workouts together. And as I’ve been told to stay off this dang calf, all my workouts lately have been very modified and that has also been incredible to watch. It only increases my resolve to eventually save enough for my CF1, not because I want to change my life and start coaching, but because I want to know ALL THE THINGS, and the more data, knowledge, and information I have, the happier my brain is.

So as you progress through your journey, remember that there are many victories you will encounter along the way. Some will be more weight on the bar. Some may be getting a move that you didn’t have previously. Some may be taking time off your 500m row. Some may be as ‘simple’ as showing up every day, drinking the amount of water you know you need. You could drop clothing sizes; participate in a competition, partner with someone stronger/faster than you to push yourself; partner with someone slower/less strong than you to help them along. Relish all the little things because often the ‘I can’t’ permeates the day. Believe me, I know this from a LOT of personal experience over the years; I’m a pessimist at heart. But here and there, now and then, a glimmer of positivity shows up. And THAT is a non-scale victory I can get behind.

Post Open Thoughts

So…The Open didn’t quite go as planned. I was hoping to Rx more workouts and if a repeat was in the schedule (which has happened for several years now), I was hoping to do better. None of these things happened. And while I feel I have let a lot of people down (mostly myself), in reality this likely isn’t the case.

I am still dealing with this dang, blasted calf injury, and my coach told me he wasn’t letting me do 17.5. Here’s the thing, I was about 98% of the way to this decision on my own, so when he told me, I really wasn’t upset. Correction, I was upset for about 0.15 seconds; but, in reality, I knew it would be the best thing. Seriously, rowing was problematic the week before; one of the other coaches watched me back squat and noticed my body mechanics were off because of the pain. I have no one to blame but myself for this injury and for it lasting so long. Back in December during a workout with the dreaded double unders, I did the first 100 with few issues. But I was struggling with the second 100 and when I got to 150, the cramps moved from pulled muscles into what I could feel was rapidly moving into serious injury and rather than take the blow to my ego and simply stop the workout, I stubbornly (stupidly) kept going and followed that up with thrusters. I literally could not walk for 2 days. The coaches modified workouts for me and the instant I would feel even slightly better, it was ‘balls to the wall’ again, and right back to being injured.

Well…that has gotten me nowhere. I didn’t complete The Open; I didn’t do as well as I’d wanted. And I have only myself to blame. I’m okay with this realization, but now is the time for me to (finally) listen to the coaches, modify workouts for several weeks and go see the deep tissue massage therapist regularly.  I need to get healthy again so that I can start working on those gainz and goalz from the beginning of the year.

One final thought, I have to recognize that I’m not 20; I’m not thirty; I’m not even 40. Thus my age may mean that I need to ramp down the intensity a little bit. That doesn’t mean stopping; that doesn’t mean not going for PR’s and faster times. That means recognizing when I need to take a break; it means recognizing when I need to stop a workout. It might mean scaling something in order to stay healthy. Mentally, I will need to come to grips with this because I still have all those goalz to attain. It just might take me a bit longer to get there since I’m not just fighting a lack of coordination and grace, but time.

Slow progress is still progress, right?

17.5 Worries

Oh lovely. Double Unders. My crossfit nemesis. (well…if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you are aware that I have many crossfit nemeses…) But especially since I have a lower leg “thing”, mostly in my shins.

Thrusters? Okay…I might be nuts, but I’m one of the few people who kinda LIKES thrusters. And the weight is totally doable. We’ve been practicing in class doing reps unbroken for a lot of things, so for at least the first couple of rounds, I will shoot for doing them unbroken.

But double unders? Ok…I can do them a few at a time, generally with a lot of singles that won’t count. So do I scale this and just do singles?  That seems a cop out for me, since I am so close. Plus it’s 350 total and that is a large number….I know for a fact that this injury will kill me. ugh…

On top of this, I’m in the recovery phase from a cold, so I have basically one shot, probably on Monday morning. Though that does give me a few more days to rest my leg, since I haven’t been to the gym since Monday. Though that will also probably work against me; I haven’t  been to the gym since Monday!

Oh I am so torn here. But in the end, who needs to walk afterwards?

Pre – 17.4 musings

Okay, 17.4 is a repeat of 16.4. Four movements, 55 repetitions: deadlifts, wall balls, calorie row and hand stand push-ups. 

I did this one last year and got through the row with 10 seconds to spare. 

I can do the deadlift weight with no issues. The wall ball will had me out, as they are designed to do. But for me, the key will be the row. One of my coaches had me alter how I did my rowing and I think it’s gotten better. The issue will, of course, be how my calf and shin splints holds up as rowing tends to aggravate things. 

HSPU are not in my wheelhouse, so I just want to beat my time from last year!

My hint for you is to manage your reps. I did 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 as that adds to 55. It gave me something to concentrate on and also sets that were totally doable. 

Good luck to you this weekend! Give it your all!

Pre – 17.3 Thoughts

I admit I was very happy when Dave Castro tossed the dumbbell away. I’m pleased my prediction of dumbbell thrusters didn’t hold true! 

Now on to the nerves because squat snatches are certainly not my forte. So when Castro said there were no free passes on the squat snatch, since I’ve never completely managed a true squat snatch. And chest to bar?! Ugh …. I managed to get a grand total of ZERO pull-ups last week, so yeah … 

I do like the system of adding time if you finish the set before a time cap. That gives you incentive, but also means you can push yourself in the weights a bit since there is a time cap. 

The scaled version is actually scaled this week. The weights are doable, though I admit the higher numbers will be tough for me (let’s assume I will even get there). 

Last year there were jumping chest to bar in a workout. I’m fairly confident that the bulk of my reps probably should not have counted, but my judge was just being nice. So my goal for this year is to really get my chest up there. 

It’s time for some sleep. Fingers crossed that my calf and shoulder hold up, I don’t no-rep too often, and my snatches are at least serviceable!