Muscle Ups Blew Up the Internet

Last night the Crossfit Open workout 15.3 was announced, and if you do Crossfit you probably already know, the world exploded.

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The workout is a 14 minute AMRAP beginning with 7 muscle ups and then moving to 50 wall balls and 100 double unders.  While traditionally the Open workouts have included this complex gymnastic movement, it has usually followed an easier, more accessible movement allowing the wide range of participants who sign up for the Open to at least receive some sort of score for the week.

Obviously, for 15.3 this isn’t the case, and people are seriously pissed.

Part of me understands, and even sympathizes with those who are saying that signing up for the Open is BS and a waste of money.  Heck, I don’t have muscle ups in my repertoire either.

But let’s be honest kids, they have shown up as a moment every single year since the inception of the Crossfit Open.  It’s not like we didn’t expect to see them.

And with the new scaled Open option available to participants this year, it’s not really any surprise that the Rx version of the workouts are more challenging than what we’ve seen in previous years, is it?

All of that said, I think there’s one very simple thing Crossfit could have done leading up to the Open to avoid all of controversy floating around on the interwebz right now.

Release workout standards prior to the Open while folks are registering.

If you look at other Crossfit competitions around the country, it’s a common practice to release workout standards leading up to the event for the Rx and Scaled divisions.  Not the workouts themselves mind you, but just a list of movements that participants should be both able and comfortable doing with weights they should easily be able to move in each category.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll even see the movements in a workout, but it gives participants an idea of what they should be able to do for each category.  Don’t have muscle ups, chest to bar pull ups, or heavy snatches or deadlifts?  Then sign up for the scaled category and you’ll be sure to be able to complete the movements as prescribed.

In the case of the Open, is this overkill?  Yeah, maybe.  Sure, the open is a worldwide competition that’s purpose is to whittle down tens of thousands of competitors into just the best of the best for the new regional competitions, so it’s a given that the workout are going to be designed to eliminate everyone but the best from getting high scores.

But to keep the raging masses happy, this is my advice to Crossfit.

So readers, how do you feel about 15.3?  Are you doing the Open this year?  Do you think having standards would have helped you know which category to sign up for?

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I’m inspired. Be inspired with me

Hey friends, I need a favor.

As a tiny way of saying THANKS to one of the most amazing women I know, the Crossfit coach whole helped me start turning my life around over 2 years ago, I entered a fun contest sponsored by Stitch Fix on Facebook.

In order to win, we need votes.

Good news is, this is the easiest thing you’ll be asked to do all day.

Go here, scroll down below the entry form, and click the check box for my entry (Nicole K.) nominating Alexis Weedo.

I mean look at this girl.  Of COURSE you want to vote for her!

alexis

No, Crossfit didn’t make me fat

About five months ago, I quit Crossfit.  Prior to leaving my super duper awesome box, I had been WODing for nearly two years, and loved every minute of it.

But since leaving Crossfit I’ve lost a shit ton of weight.  A few months ago it was enough that people were starting to notice, and at this point it’s enough that strangers are starting to comment on it.  I look good.  Damn good if I do so say myself, and I’m working my ass off for it.

Interestingly, there seems to be a camp of people who believe that Crossfit was holding me back/making me fat/made me gain weight/limited my potential the entire time I was doing it.  They have no problem pointing out to me time and again that it’s only been since I stopped doing Crossfit that I’ve found the weight loss and physique results that I was looking for, and truly believe that Crossfit was the “problem.”

So here I am to set the record straight folks.  Before one more naysayer jumps in and feels the need to spread their drivel let me clarify to the world:

CROSSFIT DID NOT MAKE ME FAT.

When I quit Crossfit I took a long hard look at the things I was doing from a fitness and nutrition perspective and made the decision and commitment to really overhaul  my lifestyle to make lasting changes to get the results I wanted.  I didn’t cut out Crossfit because it was a change I felt I needed to make to be successful, nor did I think it was holding me back.

I WAS HOLDING MYSELF BACK.

Crossfit isn’t what kept me from reaching my goals.

These things are:

  • Alcohol- I was drinking most every night, and not just one glass of wine.  The calories in the booze combined with the effect it had on my metabolism, and the poor nutritional choices I made as a result of being buzzed contributed to my unhealthy weight.
  • Poor Nutritional Choices-  As I mentioned above, I wasn’t great about making good choices.  While I certainly knew HOW to eat well and to fuel my body properly, I was also just as likely to justify a cheeseburger and fries BECAUSE of the really hard workout I had earlier in the day.
  • Eating too Much-  Calories are weird little buggers.  Sure you can eat 100% Paleo for several days straight, but if that involves gobs of bacon and avocado and not so much in the spinach and greens department, you’re not going to see weight loss results either.
  • Making Lots of Excuses-  Any time I deviated from the nutritional guidelines I knew I should have been following, I always had a really good reason why.  If I had spent that much time and energy convincing myself to just stick to the healthy choices, I would have been much further along.

Moral of the story is:  to achieve your goals you need to work towards them every single day in every action you take and every choice you make.

I’m not perfect, no one is, but over the past 5 months I’ve made great choices every chance I’ve had and am seeing great results because of it.  It’s not because I quit Crossfit, it’s because I quit making excuses and prohibiting myself from being successful.

So to the Crossfit smack talkers- piss off.  I still love the sport, I love my box, and have a lot of respect for the people who do it.

And regardless of what fitness plan you follow, get out there today and kick some ass.  Who’s with me?

*GASP* A Progress Picture

I’ve blogged about progress pics before.  If you’re too lazy to click the link (which I know most of you are because my analytics tell me so) the gist of it is, posting the “before” picture literally gives me a panic attack.  Like a palms sweating feel-like-I-might-burst-into-tears panic attack.

I don’t want to think about what I looked like before I started.  And like I posted this weekend, I really really really don’t want to consider the possibility that I will end up back there any time soon.

But ya’ll I’ve got to tell you, I am so so proud of myself here lately.  I posted a pic of me flexing at the gym yesterday to Facebook and got an overwhelmingly supportive response from my friends.  The best compliment was from a friend I haven’t seen in a long time who told me that I’m the fittest he’s ever seen me.  Since the last time he saw me was about two weeks before I raced a HALF IRONMAN, that’s saying something kittens.

So to keep with my mantra of overcoming my plethora of fears, I’m saying eff it.  Without further ado, here is my progress to date.

progress pic October 2014

The picture on the left was taken right after I completed a 62 mile charity bike ride back in March, and the pic on the right was taken on Sunday.  It was leg day, but I couldn’t resist taking a flexing selfie because dem guns doe.

I remember when the pic on the left was posted to Facebook I almost cried.  That was the start of a big turning point for me when I realized something had to give.  I was riding 4-5 days per week, doing Crossfit 5x per week, and was still busting out of my size 14 jeans.  The fact was, I was sabotaging all of my success with a shitty diet and bad drinking habits.

I started slow in March, and really ramped up my efforts after a work conference in June that I had to buy a new suit in a size 16 in order to attend.  I had never been that large, and didn’t want to be again.

Today, I am SO PROUD not only of the weight I’ve lost, but of the muscle I’ve put on.  Obviously, it’s a journey.  I’m not done yet, but I can’t hide behind my fear of failure to the point I don’t celebrate my successes either.

So there you have it readers.  Feel free to tell me I look fabulous.  My ego loves you all already, so you might as well stroke it some more.

And if you’re feeling up to it, share your pics too!  Feel free to link to your blog in the comments, I want to cheer you on too. 🙂

5 Rut-Busting Workout Changes

We’ve all been there.  You start a new exercise program and you see amazing results.  Your pants are looser, the number on the scale is ticking down, you have lots of energy and you see consistent improvements week after week.  Eventually, those gains (or losses) slow down, and while you still love exercise and activity, you’re not seeing the results you once were.

All too often this lack of progress causes even the most die hard fitness fanatic to consider quitting all together.  Luckily, for every fitness plateau there is a quick and easy fix to help push you to the next level.  These are my top 5 favorite ways to change up a workout, and get back to seeing great results fast!

1.  Change up your cardio

We are all guilty of it.  If you’re a runner, when it comes to cardio, you run.  If you’re a cyclist, you bike.  When left to our own devices we will always do our favorite form of cardio at an intensity that is comfortable and rarely will we reach outside of our comfort zone to really challenge ourselves, and really see results.

If your fitness and progress has reached a plateau, try changing up your cardio.  Either change up the intensity or duration of your favorite form, or try something entirely new.  Are you a runner?  Try a hill interval workout.  Cyclist?  Try riding with a faster pace group, or joining a cycling class at the gym.

If you’re feeling adventurous jump into a different form of cardio all together.  The step mill, elliptical and rower are all great equipment choices to offer challenging cardio choices.

Incorporate new forms of cardio for four weeks and watch your results kick into high gear!

2.  Tinker with your strength training

By now we all know that every well rounded fitness program includes an element of strength training.  Lean muscle is the foundation of every physique, and scientific studies have proven that muscle burns more calories at rest than fat.

It’s important to regularly change up your strength training to continue to build muscle, burn calories, and see improvements.  If you find yourself stuck in your progress, try tinkering with your strength routine.

This can be as simple as changing up your rep scheme and the weight you’re using for each exercise.  For example, if you typically do sets of 10, try doing sets of 6 but using 20-30% more weight.   Keep your form perfect, but push your muscles to move more.

Alternately try changing up your exercises to target the same muscles in a different way.  If you typically use the leg press machine, try doing a barbell squat instead.  If lunges are your jam, try doing them walking or back wards to activate different muscle fibers and increase the burn.

3.  Play with new equipment 

New equipment creates a new challenge
New equipment creates a new challenge

Fitness should never be boring.  With so many exercises to chose from, it’s easy to put together a routine that incorporates all of your major muscle groups and helps you reach your goals.

If you find yourself in a rut, try the simple change of using a different piece of equipment while going through your routine.

If you usually use dumbbells for an exercise, try switching to kettle bells instead.   Hanging leg raises?  Try doing them hanging from a pull up bar by your hands, rather than laying on the floor or from the Roman Chair.

By changing one little pice of your movement your body will be forced to recruit different muscles and burn even more calories during your workouts.

4.  Take a class

There’s no better way to get new ideas, make new friends, or push extra hard in a workout than in a group setting.  Sometimes everyone needs a little extra inspiration, and taking a class is a great way to get it.

Regardless of what aspect of your fitness you are hoping to improve, there is a class out there for you.

Flexibility?  Try Yoga or Pilates.  Need a good cardio burn?  Try Cycling or a Les Mills BODYATTACK class.  Want to throw around heavy weights?  Drop into a Crossfit box.  Check out your local area for specialty classes like Bikram Yoga, Barre Classes, Soul Cycle, Arial Yoga, Pole Dancing and more.

Sometimes all it takes is one class to give you new ideas and a push for your future workouts.  And you never know, you might love it so much that you end up incorporating the class into your regular routine.

5.  Talk to a trainer or coach

Having a professional resource take a look at your fitness goals, your progress, and your slump, can be the key to moving on successfully.  At many fitness facilities trainers will do an initial consultation for a minimal fee, and give you great feedback on ways you can improve.

Be sure to do some research on your trainer to ensure they are certified and have a background that appeals to you.  Sometimes, having a little expert advice is all you need to push you to the next level.

 

What easy tips do you have for pushing through a plateau?  What has worked for you?

Well that was pretty cool

Saturday marked the 2nd annual In House Competition at my former Crossfit box.  I promised a bunch of people I would stop by, and truthfully, I really miss my Crossfit fam, so it was a perfect way to see pretty much everyone in one swoop.

Just like last year, the atmosphere at the box was amazing.  I was there for an hour or so, and watching my friends kill some serious workouts was really motivating.  But I’ve gotta tell ya, there was something else that was unexpectedly motivating as well.

Every. single. person. who saw me commented on how great I look or how much weight I’ve lost.  Some folks were subtle, but some of my closer friends said things like, “shit lady, you’re like half a person!”

Mind you, I KNOW I’ve lost weight.  Hell, I’ve been working my ASS off and not stuffing anything exciting into my pie hole for weeks to do so.  I’m fully aware.  And hubs tells me all the time how great I look.  But other than that, I haven’t really had much feedback from anyone.  That was until Saturday.

Talk about an ego boost!  When I left I was so pumped up by the combined praise and the competition atmosphere I had one of the best workouts of my life.  Good times.

As of this morning I’m down officially 23 lbs.  I’m not even really sure what more to say about it.  I’m thrilled with my progress, and every day I miss things like junk food and alcohol less and less.  I’m not sure that eating healthy, normal sized meals will ever be anything that’s “easy” for me, but by taking steps daily to make it part of my lifestyle; I know I’m creating habits that will be with me for the long haul.

What about you?  Did anything especially motivating or inspiring happen to you this weekend!  Fill me in!

Cha cha cha changes…

I think I accidentally took a ride in the Back to the Future car and didn’t even realize it.  Apparently, the last time I posted was darn near a month ago.  The lack of posting isn’t lack of material, but more because I’m actually more busy now a days than I was while working, and find myself not in front of a computer very often.

Funny how that works out, isn’t it?

Lots has changed in the past month, probably the greatest of which is that I am no longer doing Crossfit.

I’ll give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor.

Truth be told, there are a few reasons why, all of which are kind of personal and I don’t really want to throw out onto the interwebz for speculation.  I think I can suffice it to say that it was/is the right decision for me right now, and I’m good with it.

Not to worry though, this doesn’t mean that I quit working out all together and am letting myself dissolve into a giant puddle of Jabba the Hut.  I’ve hooked up with an amazing coach, Colleen Gallagher over at www.thefitgal.com who has put together the programming I’ve been following for the past three weeks.  It’s really different from Crossfit, but I’m actually seeing some really great results.  I think my body might have been ready for a little change of pace, and this has turned into a blessing in disguise.

Probably the best side effect of this new training is that I’m spending an hour or so a day at my local Globo Gym, where the people watching is top notch.

So my readers, stay tuned in coming weeks for details on my workouts, progress reports, and of course hilarious stories from the world of quarter squats and old men in speedos.

Happy hump day!

It appears walruses can’t do pistols

“Natural athletes” kind of make me want to punch them directly in the taint.  How’s that for a jealous response?

As someone who has absolutely zero natural athletic ability at anything, there are times that my eye twitches so hard I feel like it might explode when someone brand new walks into the box, picks up a jump rope, and within seconds executes flawless double unders.

I’ve been doing this shit for almost TWO YEARS and I still can’t string them together.

Today, for the first time EVER in the entire time I’ve been at my box we did Pistols as a SWOD.  Like literally, ever.  Sure, there are some people who can do them, and once in awhile they will pop up in a WOD, but never before have we actually done them specifically  to do them.

So obviously, today was the first time many many people have ever attempted to do a pistol in class.

Since I’m really working on the whole overcoming my fears thing, I gave it a shot, and promptly fell on my ass.  After tweaking and scaling and wrapping myself up in every color band available to heave my giant walrus ass back up once I got down there, I was able to execute a few successfully on my left leg.  My right was a total bust.  I could get down there, and then fall to the floor.  Once I determined that was as far as I was going to get in this particular drill, I just tried to do it gracefully.

funny-walrus-ice-gravity-ocean

Luckily no one (other than the coach who was desperately trying to help me) was really paying attention to me because not one but TWO people who had NEVER done pistols before got them on their FIRST DAMN TRY.

It was super exciting of course, but holy crap am I jealous.

Maybe they will introduce nap time to Crossfit programming.  I bet I can Rx that shit on my first try.

**Ps, I totally had to google what the plural of Walrus is for this post title.  Walruses is so much fun to say.  Try it.  You will also think it can’t possibly be correct, but it IS!  You’re welcome.**

I didn’t know there would be running…

I-just-ran-5-miles-and-what-a-workout

Hey guess what?  Getting better is hard freaking work.

Three weeks ago when I started working one on one with a coach to help to improve some of my many Crossfit weaknesses, I was totally pumped and ready to go.

“I want better endurance,” I told her.  “My lungs always go before my legs.  And my heart rate goes really high really fast.  I want to be able to string together movements better.”

“Ok, ” she said with a devious smile.  I shoulda known.

It’s amazing coming from a triathlon background to recently realize that endurance is my limiter.  Lift a really heavy weight anywhere between 1-5 times?  Sure, no problem.  Lift it 10?  Eff you buddy, I don’t wanna.

When did that happen?

I distinctly remember starting Crossfit and loving it because so many of the movements were things I had never done before.  I wasn’t comparing myself to the “in shape” version that used to do triathlons, because there wasn’t much swimming, biking or even running in the workouts.  I didn’t ever feel bad that I was not measuring up to what I knew myself to be capable of, because we never did that shit.

Instead I was learning new movements and working out with really big WEIGHTS; things I had never tried before.  And things that I turned out to be pretty darn ok at.

Now that I’m at the point where I have a super secret goal of *gasp* competing, I need to look at myself more holistically as an athlete, identify those gaps, and train those weaknesses.

Which is what I’ve been doing for nearly three weeks now.

It sucks.

My “homework” every week is a list of movements that, given the choice, I would rather have a bout of diarrhea than do.  Lots of jumping.  And running.  And core.  And shit in sets of 10.

But you know what?  Yesterday before my session I ran a timed mile and did it nearly 1:30 FASTER than my first attempt just 3 weeks ago.

Is there a little nagging voice in my head reminding me that I’m still almost a minute off of my half marathon pace (from five freaking years ago)?  Sure.  But you know what, that voice can shut the f*ck up.  I’m improving, and working my ass off to do it.

This is just the results after 3 weeks.  Is anyone else as excited as I am to see where I end up in September?