Thursday, August 30, 2012

Crossfit is family

I have never achieved or felt the connection with anyone I have worked out with until I came across crossfit. Before crossfit I always kept a distance, did my thing and went home.  Never sticking around to socialize or get to know anyone mainly because I felt self conscious, judged and embarrassed.  So I put a wall up.  From day 1 of crossfit I felt nothing of the sorts.  Instead, I was welcomed with arms wide open.  I know I have hit on this subject before, but I am bringing it up because someone said something today that made even my heart smile.  "Your crossfit family".  

This is the same person who after his workout took time to ask me how many push presses I had left.  20 left to go, he picked up a barbell and offered to do them with me.  I gratefully accepted his offer, picked up my bar bell and we rocked out my remaining 20 push presses with a 45lb bar.  A weight I thought I wouldn't be able to finish with because by round three my arms were feeling a little like jelly.  Yet, I finished strong and felt great!

Have you ever done a workout where the person that finishes before you has stuck around to help you finish by doing it with you?  Well, that never happened to me before.  Sure, friends have stuck around to verbally encourage me but I never had anyone physically encourage me by doing extra just to help me along.  I gotta admit, just that little extra has given me the biggest smile today that not even rising gas prices can take away.

Starting off like a community, crossfit has now become a new family for me.  A family that hasn't turned their back on me no matter what.  So folks, it is now day 4 of my new challenge and I am more energized then ever!  I can't wait to see where I am tomorrow as I not only get weighed but measured as well.  Tomorrow will be my "6 weeks later" marker.  Yet, no matter the results, guess where I will be next week? ;-)

Anna Dubya

Monday, August 27, 2012

8 Week Challenge

I have decided to start an 8 week paleo/crossfit challenge.  I made this decision over the weekend after not hitting my weight loss goal on Friday.  Instead, I went the opposite route and gained weight.  I have already been applying the paleo diet the previous 5 weeks, but I have decided to kick it up a notch; reduce portions to 4 oz (5 times a day), no alcohol and no cheat meals.  Now that my cold is gone, I am going to kick crossfit back up to 5 times a week as well as add walking to my evening routine.  

Today is day 1.  Crossfit workout done, on top of the "bonus" WOD that was offered today.  The cool thing about the WOD today was I was able to find out what my max deadlift is....195 lbs.  I was kinda disappointed that I couldn't get over 200 lbs, but now I can't wait to see where my numbers go when it is time to test out the max deadlift again.  

I will make this post short and sweet.  If you want to join me in my 8 week journey, I would be honored.  The more the merrier!  :-)

Anna Dubya

Friday, August 24, 2012

To scale or not to scale...

Normally, I run and hide from the scale but I wanted to share with you all my weight loss struggles, achievements and road blocks.  Reason being, if you google weight loss, you usually see the same thing;  “6 months later”, “1 year later”, “9 months later”.  Yet what actually happens in between those months is where I have failed in the past.  I think it’s where most of us have failed, especially for those of us struggling with weight loss.
Every Friday I weigh in and tell you where I am at.  Well, today didn’t produce the numbers I was hoping to see.  Last week I weighed in at 211, today…..215.  Seeing a 4 lb gain when you know your diet and exercise that week has been butt kicking is like being hit by a truck filled with twinkies…..twinkies I didn’t flippin eat.  This is the “in between” I am talking about.  The set back everyone faces.  The point where I feel so defeated, confused and upset that I might as well just eat what I want and stop working out since I am going to gain weight anyway.  At times, I even took it a bit further and simply starved myself until I reached the weight loss numbers I was hoping to achieve.  Well, no more of that nonsense.

Seeing those numbers, I still couldn't help but to immediately start beating my brain with the million dollar question.  How did this happen?  My diet this week has been clean.  Breakfast, eggs and spinach.  Lunch, can of tuna.  Snacks, raw carrots and almonds.  Dinner, eggs, spinach and beef.  (I even ate grass fed beef.)  Crossfit, worked out 4 days.  (Hitting prescribed weight more than once.)  I am even able to fit in my old jeans now.  So where is this 4 lb gain coming from? 

There could be a ton of reason as to why the scale is saying what it is saying; recovering from bronchitis, muscle gain, change in diet for higher iron intake, being a girl, stars weren’t in line, and so on.  Point is, I know I did right by my body this week.  My diet, clean and healthy.  Workout, 4 days with prescribed weights.  Water intake, one gallon per day. Sounds pretty good, right?

As much as I would like an answer, I know I won't get one.  The question, the numbers, the scale will simply drive me insane.  So this time, I am letting it go.  I'm not ready to give up.  In fact, I am ready for the next WOD.  That is how much I have come to love crossfit.  Never thought I would love any workout, ever, but this is different.  The challenges, the people, the signs of muscle definition, 5 weeks and pants are much looser, old jeans can now be buttoned and the cherry on the cake…showing someone your WOD and saying “I did that!”.   

Regardless of what the scale said today and how deeply it cut me, I will continue to weigh in every Friday and share my numbers with you.  Who knows, I might be a “9 months later” huge weight loss story.  But even so, I really feel the events in between are just as important.  It’s those in between moments where I feel failure is created.  Yet this time I won’t let the scale throw me off track.  No way!   My love for crossfit simply won’t let me.   

Numbers shouldn't drive you, how you feel should inspire you.  
Anna Dubya

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Won't you be my neighbor?

When I first started to crossfit, I found my eyes constantly wondering.  Floor, ceiling, weights, ceiling, floor, neighbor, and so on.  A few WODs in, I found if I stopped and stared at one spot while working out, my form was better and I was able to do more.  I still try to focus on a single spot during my WOD, but lately I find myself watching my crossfit neighbors. Ok, that doesn't sound right.  I'm not staring or approaching creepy girl levels or anything.  I'm just seeing their movements out of the corner of my eye and using that as a pace guide.  I figure now that my form is much improved and my stamina is getting better, increasing my pace will also help me get better and better.  I admit, I take a lot of mini breaks which is a habit I need to start reducing.  So what better way to focus on pace increase by trying keeping up with your crossfit neighbors?  Tactics. It is all about tactics.  

I said it before and I will say it again...the people at crossfit inspire me.  I arrive before even the sun shows up and am greeted with big smiles and someone that always makes me laugh.  I love the WODs, well, except burpees.  I believe burpees were introduced by torture enthusiast.  But even when burpees are a part of the WOD, I am still surprised as to how much I smile after and how excited/happy I feel.  Yet, even without effort, my crossfit neighbors inspire me to keep up the pace.  However, if you are just starting to crossfit I recommend you concentrate on form first. 

You never know...I might be trying to keep up with you.  In fact, if you are my crossfit neighbor during a WOD, the likelihood that I am side viewing your movements and trying to keep up with your pace is highly probable.  So...thanks ahead of time!  :-)

Anna Dubya

PS.  I must say, I feel so much better today then I did yesterday.  Yesterday, I struggled to get through the WOD.  I felt weak, exhausted, overheated and nauseated and that was within the first 7 minutes of my workout.  I pushed through it, but it was so frustrating and confusing feeling that way after doing crossfit for weeks now and feeling the complete opposite.  Needless to say, I had an "off" day.  For some reason, I felt I needed to increase my iron levels dramatically so I googled high iron foods and went to town; spinach, red meat, tuna and eggs.  That seemed to do the trick because today I felt my performance was excellent!  Prescribed weight, finishing in less than 25 minutes, very rare 2-3 second breaks, concentrating and awareness was high and stamina....I actually had stamina again.  Needless to say, diet is vital!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Working out the weakness

Today was a tough workout and I must be honest, I was highly frustrated with myself.  I feel this WOD should have taken me around the 30 minute mark to complete, but instead it took me 49 minutes.  During the workout I felt weak, overheated and nauseated.  When I got home after my WOD, I played it over and over in my head trying to figure out why this WOD was so hard for me.  Why I felt the way I felt.  Why it took me so long to finish.  As I dug through my mind, I realized what I was doing.  I wasn’t searching for answers; I was searching for excuses…a bad habit that I am still working on breaking.

In my professional life, when a problem arises, my first reaction is to identify a resolution quickly and efficiently.  Once the issue is resolved, I can then spare the time to identify why it happened to ensure it doesn’t happen again.  I am going to apply this same tactic with my body as its performance today was seriously slackin.  We all know our own bodies very well, and I admit I don’t always listen to it.  I feel that my body is telling me more fish in my diet is vital right now.  I truly believe this will help my muscles and energy, all the while increasing my iron levels which I feel is really low right now.  Granted, I take fish oil and vitamins every day, but I think I need more. 

As frustrated as I was with myself and my performance today, I am so thankful for my trainer who took the time to flutter kick with me.  This helped push me my last round of the WOD today.  I was getting increasingly mad at myself to the point that negative energy started to take over my workout.  Yet, she jumped in and relit that motivation.  For that I am thankful!

Another crossfitter noticed my struggle and said something that I think is very true.  I told him how I felt and he said it was the weakness leaving the body.  I like this!  I think using this will help refocus my mind during my workouts.  Working out the weakness for me applies both mentally and physically, something I am eager to get rid of.  Tomorrow WOD….me and you!

Weakness leaving the body,
Anna Dubya 

Monday, August 20, 2012

4 Weeks Later...

Last Friday I finished my fourth week of tracking and blogging my progress.  I completed the week with a weigh in of 211.9.  That is an 11.1 lb loss in 4 weeks!  Not too shabby.  I am sure the fat loss is higher then what the scale is telling me as I am also building muscle and my pants are a lot looser.  The loss is also visually obvious and I can't wait to share my progress in pictures, which I plan on doing week 6.  So excited I might not even be able to wait that long! hahaha!

In my four weeks, my body has thrown multiple curve balls at me but I have still rocked out a regular workout schedule; old shoulder and foot injury flare up and bronchitis.  Friday my plantar fasciitis decided to flare up while finishing up my jump ropes.  I immediately stopped what I was doing, informed the instructor and we changed tactics.  I still finished my WOD with an equally intense round of stepping onto a box instead of jump ropes.  This stretched my calf, worked my legs, and somehow massaged out the flare up!  I have to seriously thank my crossfit trainer, Carolyn, for showing me some great ways to respond to the flare up that prevented it from getting worse and relieved the pain from a level 7 to a 1 in less than 24 hours.  Without her guidance and expertise, I probably wouldn't be able to walk right now.  Instead, I was able to fully execute my WOD today pain/flare-up free!

I take full responsibility for these old injuries.  I mistreated my body for YEARS and I am finally now trying hard to repair that damage.  So it is understandable these minor issues will pop up every so often, but as long as I keep open communication with my trainer, they can be fixed.  Hopefully to a point that I never have to deal with them again!  In fact, I am learning better ways to deal with, prevent and repair these problems.  I never would have imagined a crossfit class would have been the one thing to teach me all these things.  Crossfit never fails to surprise me. 

I would like to dedicate this blog entry to the team at Knockout Crossfit.  I wouldn't be this far without the amazing leadership, knowledge and motivation they provide every day.  I am not just referring to the instructors but to my fellow crossfitters who also inspire me to go beyond what I thought were my limits.  A big congrats to the knockout team on their new location!  Today was my first WOD at the new location and it is hands-down amazing!  I can't wait to continue to attack more and more WODs there.  Congrats you guys!

Starting my 5th week of crossfit and lovin it!
Anna Dubya

Thursday, August 16, 2012

WOD it out...

I have always had issues with charlie horses since I was a wee lass.  This morning, alarm went off and the charlie horse of torture was full on flaring in my right leg.  Usually I am stuck with it for the entire day, but I got up to do what I planned the night before....go to crossfit.  Today's WOD consisted of a mile run.  Took me 14:49 minutes, but I did it and guess more charlie horse.  

I was also finally able to do actual box jumps today! Box jumps create a lot of fear in my mind.  "What if I miss it?", "What if I trip on the box corner?", "What if the box cuts me?", "What if I break something?", "What if I fall?".  In nanoseconds, I am totally flipped out at the thought of jumping on the box.  Today, I tried a few before the WOD started just to see if I could do it.  Once I realized I could (VICTORY) the steps needed to execute a safe box jump were etched into my brain which really helped me get-er-done today.  20 fully executed box jumps today folks!  I took it down a notch on my last 10 (stepping up) but 20 is a huge accomplishment for me.  Ya! 

I had a moment this morning as I am so proud of the biceps that are forming.  I actually see definition!  I was even flexing and checking my biceps out while sitting at a red light today, not realizing my brake wasn't fully pressed and I was slowly edging forward.  Luckily I caught it before I went to far, successfully avoiding a bumper to bumper "how ya doin?".  Phew!  Note to self, admire biceps when you aren't driving. 

Overall, today was a great day!  Beat out my charlie horse, box jumped, completed a WOD, saw signs of an actual bicep, avoided bumper kisses and completed another WOD.  Happy dance.  Happy dance.  Happy dance.

I would still be stuck with a charlie horse if it wasn't for WODing it out this morning.  Diss those ailments, aches, pains or excuses and come WOD it out with me!

Anna Dubya

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A little friendly competition...

I hear a lot of people say that to go to the gym, they need someone to push them.  It is easier to go with a friend.  It is best if I have a personal trainer pushing me.  I totally agree, which is what crossfit is to me.  Today our workout of the day (WOD) hit me in a different way by bringing the natural competitor out of me to play.  I know I have said to go at your own pace, don't worry about anyone else, and I mean every word.  But sometimes, a little friendly competition helps.

Our WOD today consisted of time as many complete rounds as you can within an allotted amount of time.  Trainer yelling over the music..."10 minutes left on the clock!", "6 minutes left!!!", "2 minutes!" helped me switch gears.  Working out, I easily lose track of where I am if I have to keep count.  So we are given chalk to help us keep count in the mat.  Otherwise, I would probably end up doing long division in an attempt to calculate a simple number like "3 rounds".  Fellow crossfitters do the same, which I can't help but peak at.  Realizing I was slackin lackin, the competitor in me kicked me into gear.  

I did have a hulk moment when my shoe laces were coming untied while jump roping.  Why you slow me down shoe laces?!?!?!  

Incomplete rounds don't count in this WOD and I really didn't want to be the one left in everyone's dust.  So I pushed myself, shutting off that debbie downer voice telling me to "slow down" and "you are tired".  I even borrowed some motivation from my fellow crossfitters.  For instance, in the midst of my squats an all start crossfitter started her squats.  Watching her at the corner of my eye (I didn't want to be obvious that I was using her as motivation) I put my squats in sync with hers.  Not stopping or slowing down, I kept up with her and finished my squats.  Awww yaaa!  You would have thought I just finished first place in a 5K marathon by the way I was celebrating in my head.  Not to be rude, I told her thanks and took off for my sprint to which she returned with a knowing smile.  Dang it, she knew what I was doing!  Haha!  Guess my subtle squats weren't so subtle.

In the end, I am extremely proud of what I accomplished today.  Thanks to my fellow crossfitters!

A little competition goes a long way!
Anna Dubya

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ain't gonna slow me down...

Ok, I admit, getting hit with bronchitis slowed me down a little bit but it did NOT stop me!  In fact, I was near tears when it hit me like a brick stuffed in a sock Wednesday night, realizing I would be quarantined from crossfit until I was healthier.  To top it off, I then found out Friday’s WOD was an obstacle course.  Come on, really?!   I very much wanted to do the obstacle course!  So, I popped pill after pill, rested and did everything in my power to try and get better for Friday but I only ended up getting worse.  Must have really ticked karma off somewhere along the way. 

It wasn’t until Saturday when I finally got on the right Rx and on the road to recovery.  Still feeling the effects yesterday, I wanted to test out my lungs and stamina before going to crossfit so I mowed the lawn.  It felt so good to finally be able to get some form of exercise, and my lungs happily agreed.  Read leader, I am a go for crossfit!

Today, I made my recovery debut and hit that WOD with open arms.  Hang cleans, pull ups and laps.  I felt weak, muscles like jelly, but as long as my lungs cooperated I knew I could keep pushing forward.  Wake those puppies up! In the midst of my workout, I realized I was jumping into my bad habit of taking long breaks.  I immediately corrected my behavior, redirected my focus in between sets and concentrated on executing quick 10 second breaks.  Keep those muscles warm Anna!

I admit, last lap I had an engaging coughing spell.  I guess my lungs were a little too excited over all the oxygen I was eagerly giving them.  But by then, I was already near the finish line so I easily finished.  It felt so good to be able to crossfit once again!  I could feel it everywhere, like my body was saying “Ahhh, I needed that!”  Even the amount of sweat I produced seemed excessive as if my body put it on reserve for my grand return.  I can’t begin to tell you how sad and depressed I felt that I wasn’t able to crossfit for 5 days.  Even whining to my doctor about it who has the same type of addiction with martial arts.  Still can’t believe how crossfit has changed me body and soul as I am a true testament for someone who once HATED to work out but now can’t get enough. 

Happy to be back!
Anna Dubya

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A "murph" personal achievement...

The definition of a crossfit “murph”: 1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats and finish with another 1 mile run.  

I know murph says run, which I did…mostly downhill. (ahem)  But when I didn't run, I power walked.  Pushing these coffee table legs as hard as I could and swinging my arms wildly, I am proud to say I did both miles. 

The pull ups were no joke, but I didn't exactly do them on my own.  As much as I would have loved to do them solo, I had the assistance of a thick rubber band.  I was able to reach 70, but had to change tactics when my forearms became too explosive.  So I finished up the remaining 30 by jumping/pulling up to get my chin above the bar.  Afterwards, I decided to split my pushups and squats up; doing 100 pushups, 150 squats then another 100 pushups and 150 squats.  What I am trying to say is work with the WOD (workout of the day). It isn’t written in stone.  Of course, I would love to do this WOD as is, but I am working towards that goal.  One day murph, one day.

I also received a new wrinkle in my brain today on how to properly pace myself.  (Still after 8 weeks, I learn something new in every WOD.)  The instructor noticed my pace was a bit off as I was taking longer breaks then I should have.  10 squats, 20 second break, 10 squats, 20 second break.  I needed to reduce the length of my breaks.  By keeping them around 10 seconds, that keeps my muscles warm and will eventually make the reps easier.  Giddiup!  The more you know…

68 minutes after I started, I finished my first “murph”.  By the end, even my eyeballs were sweating but I felt GREAT!  Sore and insanely sweaty, that played small in comparison to the amount of pride and excitement I had that I actually finished.  I was not only excited over what I accomplished physically but mentally.  Admittedly in the middle of my workout I secretly hoped for sympathy from the instructor or searched for a reason to cut the workout in half "I'm very out of shape and can only do half.".  Realizing the mental poison I was creating, I instead retrained my focus on what I was doing in that moment, counting each rep and before I knew it...completing every squat, pull up, push up and mile. 

Just when I feel there are limits to what I can do, I find after all this time my brain has been lying to me because I have proven that I am physically capable of so much more!  Thanks murph!  

"Work it, make it, do it, makes us harder, better, faster, stronger." - Stronger,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A new found addiction...

I guess you could say I have become "hungry like the wolf" for crossfit.  This is shocking for me as I was never a lover of the gym and in fact despised working out.  When I would see an elliptical or treadmill, I would secretly pray they all had the "I'm broken" sign on them so I can leave with an "oh well, I tried."  Yet, now come Sunday nights, I am eager for Monday morning to arrive so I can get back to crossfit.  Seriously, who looks forward to Mondays?

Well, my new found addiction became clearer this weekend as I had to take a 3 day break due to some whining in my right shoulder.  Thinking now it might be a pinched nerve, I had to let it rest just to be sure as the last thing anyone wants is an injury.

Knowing I had to take a break, the first day I felt like I was being a slacker or like something was missing.  I have to admit, that is the first for me.  In the past I was finding excuses not to work out and if a holiday popped up where the gym was closed, WOOHOO!  Eagerly celebrating with a nap and some awesome TV time.  But being without crossfit, knowing I couldn't pump out a WOD for the next 3 mind and body was having a total hissy.  Last week, we did a lot of leg work.  So you would think my legs would enjoy a break but it was the opposite.  When it came time for bed, I had this indescribable feeling in my leg muscles.  Like they were extremely restless, almost on the edge of cramping where even stretching didn't help.  So just to get them to chillax, I had to get out of bed and pump out a few air squats.  Yup, that really happened.  

A new week has begun and I once again get to participate in my new found addiction.  After my morning workout, I was able to sleep like a baby last night, which is huge improvement coming from someone who had pretty bad insomnia for the past 5+ years.  Now here it is Tuesday, 2 WOD's completed this week and looking forward to more.  Never imagined I would ever feel that way about any kind of workout!  Makes it easier for me to get my butt in gear and go.  

Indulging my crossfit needs,
Anna Dubya

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Humble Progress Report

Nearly two weeks ago I tipped the scales at 223 lbs. As of this morning, I weigh 215.7.   Yup, that is 7.3 lbs gone in under 2 weeks folks.  While I realize most of us pay attention to those lovely numbers on the scale, I remind myself that no matter what.....don't let them derail me.  Crossfit is not only helping me burn the fat, but is also building a lot of muscle.  Muscle weighs more than fat so try to ignore the numbers.  I admit, it is awesome when you see them drop, but it is even better when you feel your clothes getting looser.  

A lot of girls who ask me about crossfit assume the same thing, "Well, I don't want to build a bunch of muscle and end up looking like a man."  You won't.  It takes a lot more then 30-45 minutes of working out for a girl to get man size muscles.  Heck, look at the female members and instructors who have been doing crossfit for a long time.  They look great, in shape but not stacked with muscles.  

Picture time...

Remember that horrible picture I posted a few days ago?  That was 6 weeks ago and this is me as of Wednesday.  

Yup, that is my mastiff pup.  Nearly every picture was ruined that day with her "watcha doin" curiousity.  So I said, fuhgettaaboutit and went with this picture.
Here I am as of this morning, minus the dogs head.

Posting this side view was TOUGH!  Depressing to see the truth, but that is what I am working on changing.  If you want to join me in my journey and feel putting your pictures out there might help, feel free to send them my way and I will put them on my blog.

Looking forward to where I am headed!

Anna Dubya

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Looking out for you...

I think at one time or another, no matter what workout you have done, we have all wondered this. I found this is why I need to remain in constant communication with my instructors!  Not just for the sake of preventing an injury, but so they are aware of my struggles and can help me find alternatives to achieve the workout my body needs and deserves.  

I have the bad habit of keeping my "problems" to myself.  It is hard for me to admit that I may be unable to finish a workout or a specific routine. So I would end up pushing through it, no matter how bad my form was or if I was on the edge of an injury.  You would think I would know better by now after P90X where they chant "Quality...not quantity".  In fact, prior to crossfit, I suffered many injuries.  Causing me to stop my workouts dead cold and putting me back to where I started if not worse.  Just to name a few: plantar fasciitis, twisted angle, twisted knee, pulled muscles, bad back, and so on.  Shameful, I know.  But it is the truth.

It was the instructor who took notice my first week as I struggled with burpees.  My form was horrible and my exhaustion was at its peek.  I could go down but getting back up looked like a baby trying to stand up for the first time.  Heart beating so hard that I felt it in my face!  The instructor took notice, asking I kick my feet in more.  Pushing past my shame and embarrassment, I was open and honest explaining that my basketball belly was creating major interference for my knees as I kicked them in.  Low and behold, the instructor had an immediate alternative for me on how to kick my feet back in.  An alternative that to this day allows me to rock out a lot more burpees then I ever imagined was possible, improving my form and endurance.  Skadoosh!

That was the beginning of my goal to be more open and honest.  Now, whenever I feel a pop, pull or something that feels out of the ordinary, I tell the instructor immediately.  Sometimes it is a matter of stretching it out, reducing the weight or applying an alternative.  Doing this allows me to achieve a better workout, prevent injury and helps me get closer to reaching my goals.  

While partner week is over, I find that I still have a permanent partner in my crossfit instructor who is constantly looking out for me.  In fact, now, I trust them more then I trust myself.  (Probably a good thing based on my history of self inflicted injury. Ha!)

Communicating openly,
Anna Dubya