Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Drinking the Crossfit Kool-Aid – OH YEAH!

Let me preface this by saying, no, I’m not crashing through any walls. Yet.

Earlier this summer I decided to make a change in my training regime. Not completing MMT left me in a bit of a funk so I took time off. I went from training to tapering to nothing. I'll fully admit that I love my sleep and I like to just flop on the sofa when I get home from work. However, all this sleeping and flopping (and pizza) led to clothes not fitting as well, or as loosely, as I would like them to fit.

Something had to be done.

I've stepped away from triathlon specific training this year and wanted to do something other than running, biking, or swimming to get back in shape. I was so used to having a good base and relying on that as a place to 'start over' (or even race at in some instances), but that base doesn’t seem to be stretching as far as it used to.

I decided to start over, bare bones, from ground zero. Step one.

I've known about crossfit training for at least 6 months and was very interested in that type of workout, but the DC/VA locations weren't as convenient to me as I would've liked them to be. It was about a month ago that I found out about a crossfit program in the Capitol Hill area, which was more appealing to me. The time and location was something I found doable with work. I was able to start biking to work on those days and then bike to the workout. With the monthly membership came two weekly yoga classes and a Pilates reformer session once a week.

I wanted to try out a yoga and CF class before ponying up the cash, and so I went. During my first yoga class it became apparent how far off the flexibility scale I have fallen. I quickly realized how far away my feet really are from my fingers when I try to bend over and touch them; when in the plank position I can barely get my foot half way up the mat when trying to move my foot up between my hands; and I have no curvature of the lumbar spine. Ask me to do a somersault and you’ll see me roll from my head to my shoulders, my upper back, and then slamming onto my butt. There is no ounce of gracefulness. I knew this ahead of time, but didn't realize how bad it was. Basically I have very minimal core strength and some pretty tight hip flexors!

At my first CF class, I eased into the WOD (workout of the day) with a simple session of as many rounds I could do in 20 minutes of 10 pull ups, 10 push ups, and 10 box jumps. I know I can’t do pull ups, so I jumped up until my chin was over the bar; I did my push ups on my knees; and I don't have a fast twitch fiber in my legs when it comes to jumping up 20". It was higher than it looked and there were a few times I jumped into the box instead of onto it. The bruises finally faded, but it was because I was thinking about it too much.

Dripping with sweat and covered in the nastiness of whatever was on the floor before I started doing push ups, I was hooked. And that was THE longest and slowest 1.5 mile ride home.

I have since been religious with my attendance. I hope to add the Sunday session in addition to the Tues/Thurs that I'm already doing, and somehow adding a third yoga class. I still can't do a pull up and I do push ups on my knees; I can step my foot closer up to my hands; I can almost get into Bakasana even if it isn't pretty; I’m twisting further with a little more ease; and I'm gaining core strength. I do feel stronger and a little more limber and the bike rides home aren't as painfully slow.

There are two things I've become more aware of over the past month – my core and my breathing. Having a stronger core allows me to have better form/posture when performing the crossfit moves. Having more flexibility in the hips allows me to go deeper into a squat without having to widen my stance. Proper breathing not only helps me feel relaxed, but focusing on that helps me get through the toughest workout whether it's a Tabata or a revolved side angle pose.

Now when I get home, I still have a tendency to flop on the sofa, but it’s out of pure exhaustion from the workout. It's a great feeling.


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