Tough Week

This week started with lunges and trying to find a heavy 3RM front squat. We moved to pushups and double unders, tossing in an EMOM for calories, snatches and dips, spent a day riding that blasted Assault Bike and ended with sled pushes and cleans. My legs are toast. Seriously…If I do nothing this weekend but sit on the couch playing video games, that MIGHT be enough for my legs to recover.

I haven’t really figured out how to recover faster. Maybe that is something that simply slows with age and my brain hasn’t understood that yet? Maybe there is some supplement I could be taking that would speed things up. Maybe I just need to go to bed earlier.

All I know is that the first round today of cleans (they were in sets of 3 at 85 pounds, so not that many and not that heavy) and my legs immediately yelled at me to stop. I could feel the pain by the third rep, the pain that makes me think I’ve done a lot more work then I really have. But crossfit soreness is a funny thing and generally the solution is more crossfit. So you push through, grinding through the reps and distance for the sled push and hope for the best. It wasn’t my fastest time (I’m generally not at all known for my speed), but I did it and now I’m going to spend some time doing nothing.

Nothing is a glorious word. Monday will be here before I know it and I will head to the box, work hard and probably be feeling the pain by the end of the week again. But for now … nothing.

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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 … 

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!! 

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. 

Reality Check

Dear self, you are 49 years old. You are not 20. You are not even 30. You are probably closer to death than to birth and this means certain things for your body. 

1. You are under no obligation to “keep up” with the younger athletes in your box. Push yourself, yes. Keep going, yes. But please try to stop beating yourself up when the 20 and 30 somethings are faster/stronger. You do you. 

2. You are under no obligation to keep up with those in your age group. Yes, there are several mid to late-40’s women that you very much look up to. They are doing their own thing. You are doing yours. Push yourself, yes. Be happy for their accomplishments, yes. You do you.

3. You are under no contractual obligation to get: pull-ups, double unders, toes-to-bar, rope climbs nor any of the plethora of moves you don’t have. Work toward them, yes. Push yourself to try them, sure. Should you, one day get them, rejoice. But life isn’t over if you never get them. You do you. 

4. You don’t have to excel at all the crossfit things. You might want to, but you were given certain skills and certain strengths and some of those might not be exactly what you need to excel at crossfit. This is okay. Work on your weaknesses, yes. Push yourself to get better, sure. But not excelling isn’t failure. You do you. 

5. Learn to accept your journey. I keep telling myself this one. I’m not sure my brain fully buys in to this one, mostly because it’s not all all the journey I had initially dreamed of when I decided to get healthy several years ago. This is the hardest to accept. But again, you do you. 

If I keep repeating these, maybe one day I will believe in them. 

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.