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Enter Crossfit

January 6, 2012

I’ve been really fortunate to be a part of a supportive and informative fitness community.  For the past couple years, I’ve been a member of a Mom’s fitness group on the networking site Cafemom.  I was pretty clueless about what healthy eating and good exercise was.  To me, healthy eating meant following Weight Watchers or the Slimfast diet, eating a lot of pre-packaged foods, lots of salads,and being constantly hungry.  I was a sporadic exerciser, just kind of winging it.  I am forever thankful to be introduced to the concept of eating for optimal health.  While this can vary from person to person, the basic principles I now follow are to eat REAL food, avoid white sugars and flours, and to eat as much produce as possible.  When I started eating like this, I started feeling better right away.  I didn’t have that awful fat-girl feeling of stuffing myself with crap and feeling miserable for hours afterwards, and I didn’t feel like I was constantly checking the clock to see when my next meal was, as I had done with previous starvation diets.

As far as my exercise knowledge, I learned not to train the same muscle groups two days in a row, that lifting heavy gives awesome curves and definition NOT crazy body-builder bulk (you really have to lift some serious weight and have a special kind of diet to achieve that, not something I could do in the comfort of my own home), and I got to see what worked for everyone else.  There were runners and p90x-ers and yogis and crossfitters and kettlebell addicts.  I was a runner in high school, or more accurately a “runner.”  I was not serious by any means.  I remembered bits and pieces of the runs my coach had us do and I’d try to do them on my own.  I didn’t know I had to work on my pace for some runs, do distance for other runs, and speedwork for others to really improve.  I had seen infomercials for p90x on tv and I got a really good idea from what to expect and all of the things the infomercial left out–there really is quite a bit of equipment you need for at home.  I learned about kettlebells–which are still #1 on my wish-list, along with a Lauren Brooks dvd.  I had never heard of these strange things but suddenly I had seen someone with two kids who had a totally amazing body, curtesy of kettlebells.  And there were the couple who did crossfit regularly and I was in awe of how strong they were and how they could get a really good workout without spending 2 hours working out or using a fancy gym.

After seeing great reviews for Jari Love strength training dvds on Cafemom, I bought her Get-Ripped 4-pack from Amazon.  Her dvds are all 1-hour total-body strength training, with light weight and high reps.  A great choice for any fitness level, and especially if you only have some 5lb dumb bells, since you can really feel the burn with the high reps.  I mixed in running after I got a double jogging stroller (my husband was deployed for most of 2009) and really got some great results.  Then I was ready to try something different so I ordered p90x.  I did p90x from late 09 and throughout most of 2010.  I really noticed gains in strength.  I could do push-ups and lots of ab work and leg work with no problem. I got some arm definition for the first time in my life!  I think the strength I gained really helped me with my running, as I was able to run faster and longer than ever before.  I was getting so strong that I really needed heavier weights, but they just were not in my budget. Then p90x came to a screeching halt after I got pregnant with my third child. 

After having my baby, I’ve done both some Jari Love and some p90x.  But honestly, after only doing those workouts for two years, I’ve really been wanting more variety.  There’s a problem if you so dread your workout that you put it off every day and end up not doing anything.  That wasn’t going to work for me, either.  I live in a teeny, tiny town, surrounded by more teeny, tiny towns, so going to a gym isn’t going to work for me logistically, especially with the kids.  I really do prefer not standing in front of a TV screen while doing my workout, but it has just seemed inevitable and it is a great way to get fit.  A Facebook friend of mine (from Cafemom) was posting about the crossfit workouts she and her husband were doing together at home, without a gym.  They sounded crazy and brutal and hard.  Immediately I was intrigued.  I’m a strange person who loves to push myself physically.  I have an inner Jillian Michaels.  Since my computer time these days is usually limited to phone surfing while nursing my son, I was curious to see if I could find something new to do completely mobile.  And I did.  http://www.wodshop.org/mobile/index.html  You can choose what kind of workout you want to do, and it will generate one for you.  Even from your phone 🙂 I chose “bodyweight” and the workout I got was

12x burpees, 12x pull-ups, Repeat 10x

Simple enough, right?  OMG.  The burpees were exhausting.  The pull-ups were HARD.  I just love a good upper body workout to remind me that I currently have zero upper body strength.  I’ve been avoiding upper body because I get frustrated that I cannot do all of the reps or that I can no longer do pushups on my toes.  I’m just going to have to suck it up and work on it if I want to change it.  I made a hash-mark on my dry-erase fridge calendar every time I completed one round of this workout.  I did all 12 pull-ups (with a chair assist) for the first 5 rounds, but just 6 for the final 5.  I’m trying to push past my usual all-or-nothing mentality and just do what I can do.  As Tony says, “Do your best and forget the rest.”  I still ended up doing 90 pull-ups and 120 burpees.  I timed myself and it took 35 minutes, largely because I had to rest so much and catch my breath!  Then I decided to do a little ab work so I popped in p90x’s Ab Ripper X.  A killer ab workout in 15 minutes.  I felt pretty spent after all that! 

I’m still just going with the flow in terms of a fitness plan, but I’m going for cardio 3x a week and strength the other 3x, with crossfit workouts for the strength ones and running for my cardio.  I’ll know if it works when I do my measurements next month 🙂

Have you tried any new workouts lately?

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