First Crack at Tabata Training – Crossfit

It gets ya every time
It gets ya every time

Tabata training, holy shit….

Pardon my language, but this melodramatic opening is rather suiting to describe what last night’s WOD was all about. I once again felt like this, this morning…

- Needed to include a post with Grumpy Cat
Grumpy cat is once again correct..

For those of you who do not know what Tabata is Tabatatraining.org explains it very well:  Tabata was founded in Japan by Izumi Tabata. He conducted tests on two groups of athletes; comparing moderate high intensity training with high intensity interval training.

The results were that the athletes training in high intensity interval training improved their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic system. The athletes who did the moderate high intensity training only improved their aerobic system and had little to no increase in their anaerobic system.

My definition is that it’s a high intense cardio inspired workout that will kick your ass.

Tabata training can include really any exercise. The basic timeline usually looks something like this.

•     4 minutes long (the entire session)
•     20 seconds of crazy intense training
•     10 seconds of rest
•     Total of 8 sessions or rounds

Looks easy on paper… even as I type I’m checking this out thinking hmmmm. Then I remembered.

We did a double Tabata: 8 rounds of v-snaps or sit ups, then 8 rounds of squats & then the maximum about of kettlebell swings i.e. do them until you can’t anymore. EEEK!

If that wasn’t enough we went right from our kettlebell swings into a 400 m sprint. Thank GOD we were running on the padded floor. Due to the squats followed by kettlebell swings I swear to god I was running like this penguin.

Accurate
Accurate

Slowest sprinter EVER! My legs were so jelly-like and lacking control that even though I felt like I was running fast, I think it was more like a fast walk.

Still, I think I had a better time this this poor penguin….

It was stupendously strenuous. I feel it all over my body today. Somehow the soreness makes the workout validated. Isn’t that weird?

So the scoring of a Tabata workout is that you take your rep count from your lowest set of reps out of your 8 rounds (ex. Round 1 – 12 reps, Round 2 – 11 reps, Round 3 – 12 reps and so on. Your score would be 11 due to Round 2 being lowest). Therefore you need to ensure your consistent throughout your set. For me, I thought that 12 squats sounded reasonable… Reasonable yes… for the first 4 rounds. Round 5 found me dropping one rep, as did round 7 *sigh*.

Final score for me? 12 situps + 10 squats + 40 kettleball swings = 62

Upon finishing the above workout, I felt simultaneously like this: 08_28_small_freaking_awesome_kit_allen and this….

Let's be honest, I looked much more like this...
Let’s be honest, I looked much more like this…

That’s what my benchmark it. I am considerably modifying this workout. I only used a 18 lb kettlebell, rather then the recommended 35 lb.

Despite my constant whining throughout this post, I really enjoyed Tabata. I’m doing Crossfit to push myself hard and to get stronger. Tabata will certainly help deliver that.

Till next time friends,

AJS

I leave you with this... haha
I leave you with this… haha

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.

Image

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

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