Inclusion in Crossfit

So, as a former teacher, I should have caught onto this before – Crossfit’s main training premise is inclusion! I believe it’s one of the main reasons why it does so well. Whether you’re an athlete, beginner, senior or teen, there is a starting place for you at Crossfit.

Wouldn't happen in Crossfit
Wouldn’t happen in Crossfit

Last night during my THIRD workout (yep, I drank the kool-aid and am now hooked), I worked out next to a 280 lb overweight man, and a forty-something woman who can do unassisted pull-ups with the ease of a squirrel monkey.

Look ma - no hands!
Look ma – no hands!

It’s actually insane. I was in awe of this lady. In my own Crossfit “goal” list, I added complete one unassisted pullup before the end of the year.. yet this lady cranked out 15 in a row..whoa. Here I was just considering making a big move and going down to one elastic band for assisted pullups. The thing is, it really doesn’t matter. You push yourself as much as possible, the environment enables you to do just that. Seeing something like that is pretty inspiring to me and helps push just a bit further.

Another thing – I  don’t get BORED! This is such an issue I had with gyms in the past. I’d go, have one good workout and then plateau for the next little while. I don’t think I’ll ever have this issue of falling into an exercise rut because you are pushed to you limits every time through variety. Last night we did a 24-15-9 workout. I had no idea what this meant, so Coach Jeff told me it’s a like a pyramid for circuit training. 24 reps of each of the following: Pull ups, v-snaps (what? See my last post here on the trouble I experience with Crossfit abbreviations) and front squats. Then the next set you do 15 reps of each, then 9, the time you complete all 3 circuits in, is your “score”. I did it in 8 mins, 29 sec – my new benchmark.

So not only is the workout itself inclusive due to all the modifications, but then you have all this positive energy after a workout. I’ll admit, I was a bit taken off guard after my first workout day was complete and I had a round of high fives come my way. Everyone is welcome, unless you’re a complete douchebag  – then maybe not. Even then, I wouldn’t put it past this group of people to give you a high-five at the end of your workout.

My point is, if inclusion is the program,  variety is the method of Crossfit. The program really does challenge all sorts of different muscle groups and still manages to keep it interesting. You feel included in the group at the end of a workout, whether you lifted 25 lbs on your front squat or you’re this guy…

I want to work out with this guy...
I just this this picture’s really great..

Go on, do it – drink the Crossfit Koolaid. Just don’t update your facebook status every 5 mins about it.

Until next time, stay fit and have fun.

Yep, I went there..
Yep, I went there..

Cheers!

AJS

Crossfit definitions please

When you first start Crossfit, you should be handed a glossary. This glossary should decode all the Crossfit terms a newbie needs to know. I do not know how many times I stopped and looked at the board last night thinking, “what the hell does that mean?”.

It was my second time going to Crossfit, and I have to tell you it was remarkably better then the first – check out my recap of my first time here – DBT – A Crossfit newbie’s first ever WOD. After the DBT (death by Thrusters) workout, I could not travel the stairs for about 5 – 6 days. It was boarding on the ridiculous especially since I had caved and brought Yoga and an ice bath in my life for the week. Finally Saturday came around, and I could move with a slight grimace rather then a groan.

yikes!

Back to the definitions, it was my first time with Coach Gabrielle, who was amazing. Since I’m still so new, she was careful to have me demonstrate everything once my mobility and warm up were complete. In fact, our strength was actually included in one of our circuits on our WOD (workout of the day). Score for me, I didn’t have to look like the newb I am while figuring out what the push press was all about.

So on the WOD board were:

AMRAP – 20 mins

BJ x 30

PP x 20

PU x 30

WHAT???

I’m no dirty freak, but box jumps are not what pop in my head when I see the word BJ. You can stay silent on this one, but I know you all agree….

Thank goodness Crossfit members have such warm and generous natures as I must have had this look on my face after checking out the board…

Coach Gabrielle guided me with the patience of a saint. She recommended weight, technique and even made me try everything out at least 5 x (Although I think this should have gone toward my rep count…).

So for those of you wondering what the board meant:

AMRAP: As many rounds as possible (I still didn’t know what this one meant until I looked it up this morning)  😦

BJ: Box Jumps… now get the other thought out of your head you dirty bunnies..

PP: Push Press

PU: Pullups

I finished  22 pullups away from a full three rounds. Obviously I’m modifying my program – pullups with band assistance, push presses with light weights and step ups instead of box jumps. Hey – it’s only my second go. This morning I woke up and although I could feel stiffness in my muscles, I could MOVE!!!

I must say I really enjoyed this workout. Loved the circuit training Crossfit is notorious for. I still have not updated my facebook status to brag about my Crossfit workout, but I will say I’m getting sucked in (and have now blogged about it). It’s highly addictive in a great way.

Cheers!

AJS

DBT – A Crossfit newbie’s first ever WOD

Crossfit babe

DBT – what?

That’s what I thought when I attended my FIRST official Cross Fit class. I walked in and was wished “good luck” by the members of the 5:15 pm class. Once again, everyone was amazingly friendly, even in their own painful glory post work out. If people only walked into this gym during a WOD that was nearing the end, they may see a different story (grunts, cursing & what I can only call baby birthing faces) 🙂

Well back to my class – What is DBT – I was sorry I asked. DBT = Death by Thrusters.. yes death.

Is it as painful as it sounds? Absolutely.

After my mobility and my warm up (which is much more then a warm up I might add), my strength focus for the day was going to be back squat. Yay! No really, of all the 5 strengths on my sheet, I’m a freak and absolutely love back squats. It’s most likely caused by the fact that I have good leg strength, while my upper body has the strength of a 3 year old toddler or this kid.

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Well, let me tell you, DBT is even harder after doing back squats as your strength. This is due to the fact that you are using the same muscle group for squats.

For those of you who do not know, Thrusters are a bar lift, followed by a squat, followed by an overhead press – all in one fluid motion. Death by Thrusters means that you go up one rep for each minute you’re able to complete. For example, in minute 1, you complete 1 rep, in minute 2, you complete 2 reps and so on. This is pretty easy when you first start out, however by about the 7th minute, I was struggling. I completed it, barely and went on to minute 8. I was at my 8th rep (the last one of 8 min set) and had just completed the squat (not ladylike or pretty at all), and was going hell bent determined on finishing my overhead press. I couldn’t do it, I could get the bar just to eye level and had to let it go.

Not bad for a first go, I went until I couldn’t go anymore. Which is what I consider Cross Fit to be – pushing to your max every time. I will admit that I was pushed harder then I would ever be working out by myself – which stings a bit to admit. It also tells me Cross fit is the right thing for me to be doing, to be a stronger, leaner and fitter self.

A further observation and it captivated me was that the 6:15 pm class was predominantly female & many of them went into their 11th or 12th set at max weight – As a good friend of mine says – Amaze-balls. I had the wrong misconception that Cross Fit was mostly made up of males, I’m quite impressed to say the gym I go to seems like a 60/40 split for the female population. For some reason I found this comforting and less intimidating for my first session.
What also amazed me throughout this was the coaching. As much as I wanted to donkey punch Coach Jeff in the face, he stayed with me, pushing me to remember technique and push out another rep when I didn’t think I could. This could be because it was my first time, but I noticed in a class of about 6 people, there were 2-3 coaches milling around. Impressive.

I wasn’t able to move much afterward,  in fact I pretty much looked like this guy (although much less pretty).

Strap a wig on this puppy and make the position more fetal-like.. pretty much identical

Even after stretching out my quads for about 30 mins, everything in my lower half still hurt. I took a 2-3 min ice bath and drank a ton of water, even though everything in me wanted a lovely glass of shiraz. Today, I’m a little bit ashamed and proud to admit I did take the elevator this morning, to the second floor at that.

This morning, this t-shirt explains my feelings well….

Yep…

The wild thing is that I will go back. I’m curious to see how much more I can push myself, especially my toddler strength upper body. Of course I’ll complain again, but I’ll keep going. I can only get better.

Cheers,
AJS

DBT – 8 + 8

Biking Boston

Heeyyy friends,

My Mr. surprised me with a trip to Boston for my birthday. What a TIME we had. I’ll try to express what I loved the most about this beautiful city, but it’s difficult when you loved everything. I’ll try and recap.

The architecture…

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The landscape…

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The ease of getting around…………

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The character, charm and personality owned by the city & people of Boston.

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I can’t forget my personal fave – the food!

Some of my personal faves are:

Lunch: Orinco or Shay’s – If you go to Shay’s try the Mulled Apple Cider with Port!

Dinner: Any Pasta from Toscana’s or Pizza from Reginas

Dessert: Wait in that line for a Mike’s Cannoli, you won’t regret it. Freshly baked cookies from Cookie Monstah are worth sourcing out the food truck for. The peanut butter chocolate chip are A-mazing.

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The fine art museum….

So many paintings done by the greats (Degas, Monet & Renoir) in one room! You’ll feel more inspired just from walking through.

The Mario Testino exhibit on right now is spectacular!

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I think you should all go and experience the city, the sights, the historic beauty. As long as the weather cooperates, try walking or biking. There’s no better way to experience and see a city! Check out Urban Adventours for bike rentals in the North End – They were fantastic and great pricing as well. You’ll need to work off that Cannoli anyway !

Cheers,

AJS

Holy Cannoli at Mike’s Pastry Shop

Heyyyy friends,

I went to Boston for the first time, and completely fell in love with the city. One of my foodie goals while on this trip was to sample the best cannoli a lady can find. Boy, did I ever score big at Mike’s Pastry Shop. My google savy research told me that the two shops to sample were both in the North End. The critics had a long running argument over Modern Pastry vs Mike’s Pastry Shop. After seeing all the little blue and white boxes EVERYWHERE, I decided to see what all the hype was about.

It didn’t matter if we were in East Boston, Harvard Square, or North End – Mike’s was quickly branding Boston. We sat down at a local Pizza joint on Sunday night (Stay tuned for my review on Regina’s) and noticed they had a Mike’s box in hand. We were chatting and asked where we can find this foodie haven and were told “Turn left, Turn left and look for 7,000 people” (Please read with a Boston accent). My Mr. and I looked at each other and said, it’s 9 pm on Sunday evening, that can’t be right.
After a left, and another left we turned a corner and saw the back of the line. Sure, 7,000 people was a bit of a strech. There were however a good 60-80 people in line or waiting for a table.

I should have started by saying I’m not a Cannoli expert, as much as I’d like to be.
I was so excited upon seeing my first cannoli at Quincy Market that I admit, I was suckered. Much to my disappointment, the shell was stale and the ricotta did NOT have the creamy texture that I attribute to this Italian staple. I promised myself I’d wait for the real thing.

Well I asked, and the foodie gods delivered. The first thing you see when you walk into Mike’s are 15 different types of Cannoli printed along the top of the serving wall. I saw my choice instantly – Amaretto Cannoli – NOM.

My Mr. had a tougher choice, not one for lines, he did stick it through. Surprisingly we got through the line in under 20 mins. It might have gone so fast because my head was on a swivel examining the goods. Lobster Claws, trifle & cheescake oh my! This was before I looked in front of me and saw the Cannoli choices. The smell of the shop is almost better then the sights – The freshly baked goods aroma was interlaced with the smell of chocolate, vanilla bean and strawberries.

CHECK “Authentic Italian Cannoli” off my foodie to do list. The chefs had dipped the bottom in rich and decadent milk chocolate. If a Cannoli can be sexy, my ameretto cannoli was sexy as hell. The filling was creamy, smooth and flavorful, no lumpy ricotta here! The ameretto was perfectly balanced, without being overpowering. I tried my Mr’s Chocolate Chip flavor, and it was again – perfection.
It’s both a sin and my salvation that we found this gem on our last night in Boston. My fat pants, in all of their elastic waistband glory would have been out and about every single day had we found it earlier. No doubt about it, this Canadian gal loved every minute of it. I can’t wait to visit Boston again, as Mike’s definitely warrants more then one visit. I’ll be doing an extra few WOD this week, but it was most def worth it.

Cheers!
AJS

Crossfit advice from a Newbie

Heyyyy,

Well I don’t know if I’d call it progress on my fitness front, but me & my Mr. attended our first two Cross fit classes together. I found out at the end of the 2 x 2 hr sessions that these were just the assessments…

ASSESSMENT?
(whimper)

Over the 2 day span, we went, we saw, we did, we hurt…
At one point, after watching an extremely intense round of strength training including burpies (death) and another lovely workout I will explain as squat bench presses(?). Our trainer turned and said – they’re praying to the Cross fit gods. When we looked back after 5 mins of doing our own thing, even the biggest and strongest were all wheezing and on their knees.

You want to know something? I wanted to do it, I love a great challenge. For some reason, THIS was my “sign me up moment”. I don’t usually like to feel like I just had my ass handed to me, but I was willing to make an exception.

So after only 2 classes assessments, here are some impressions of Cross Fit from an amateur….

1.  You will sweat …. a lot

2,  You will want to throw up within your first week – it’s a great time to take note of your limits (Refer to #5 for my weakness)

3.  Invest in Epsom salts, a purchase you will not regret

4. You won’t want to move at all after your first 2 workouts. I will admit I rolled out of bed this morning, rather then sit myself up using my core and arms (See previous #3 for help)

5. Everyone will say you will learn to like rowing,  I’m still on the fence…

6. The board always looks scary at the beginning of the WOD

7.  Thank GOD for those lovely rubber bands to assist in pull ups

8. You will be humbled because you will suck at pretty much everything

9. You will LOVE the big rubber weights for the bars, it looks like you’re squatting 100 lbs instead of the 10 lbs (reality)

10. Do not expect to look like all those amazing fitness models who have “Cross fit or die” written over their chests on pinterest.. It takes months of Cross Fit and no ice cream (=no fun)

11. Despite all of this, You will want to do it again

I started all of this because as all of you know – Crossfit has gone VIRAL. You can’t check your facebook without some crazed crossfit go’er ranting about how amazing cross fit is.

I can appreciate the intensity, especially after seeing it first hand. I get how addictive it can be, especially if you have any sense of competitive nature. Posting your results on the board after a particularly difficult set can give you a sense of pride, especially if you’re not last. What I still have to figure out is how I feel about the exclusivity.

It’s probably like anything else, once you get good at it and become passionate you want everyone to get on board.

Ahh! I’ve started already!

AS

Best of Beantown Eats ?

Hi foodie friends,

I’m reaching out to those of you who are from or have visited Boston. My fiance and I visiting for the first time this week and am pumped! We’re looking to check out some of the best eats that Boston has to offer.

Now I’m not looking for the Olive Garden. I’m really looking for the best independent restaurants of Boston who are only using the freshest and most delicious ingredients!

So, in your opinion – who has the best:

Clam Chowder –

Fresh Seafood –

Mexican –

Thai –

Pizza –

Cafe –

Italian –

Entertainment – anyone know a great Comedy Club to check out?

Cheers & Thanks in advance!

AS