CrossFit – 1 year later

01Jun10

I came at CrossFit from the couch. Little athletic experience to speak of – except for hauling equipment as a stagehand. Only sporatic attempts at working out over the past 15 years. Yoga, hiking, machines at the gym. Not much to build on.

The first workout
Barely got pullups with the green strap
Difficulty doing pushups with my knees
Blood pressure headaches performing air squats
The 12# barbell was heavy
Running 400 m was a cardio endurance test accompanied by much wheezing.
143+ lbs. Almost 35% bodyfat. Size 10 (which felt a little tight)

Today
I can do 5 pullups in a row – no bands, deadhang.
Almost get through a WOD without bands or jumping assist on either pullups or dips (real close)
I can do 30 pushups with good form before going into my patented drunken cobra (still working on core strength)
All workouts are done with 35# barbells or higher. My next goal is 55# for all workouts.
I’m getting comfortable with the 1 pood kettlebell.
I can run a 5K in less than 30 minutes – no wheezing
Hovering around 120 lbs. The scale says 26% bodyfat (though I think it is significantly less – I can see my abs).
I purchased a couple of size 2 skirts recently. I was 10 the last time I was a size 2.

What I’ve learned this year
– Herding 1 or 2 goats at a time means greater overall progress later. I concentrated on pullups the first 6 months. Running and pushups the 2nd 6 months. I’ve learned that other stuff takes care of itself for the time being – either staying stable or improving more gradually.

– Breaking down the count into much smaller chunks works wonders when you are ready to quit. Even if that number is as small as 2. 40 kettlebell swings in sets of 5 (even if you don’t stop) is much less daunting than trying to count to 40.

– Comparing yourself to others is only useful if you can find a benchmark person 1 step ahead of you. I use Christy 0530 as my benchmark. I’m better at some things. She’s better at some things (ok – she’s better at MORE things). She’s been at this a month longer. We’re pretty comparable. And we both see progress (even if it is slower than we both may like some days). If I tried to compare myself to Kari (who was in Foundations with me and is more naturally talented at this) or Jen N (who I want to be like when I grow up) – I would have quit in August.

– The comparison is also useful during WODs. I often look for a pacer nearby. This helps to keep me on track. If I don’t use a pacer, I find I get a little lazy.

– Scaling is an art. And a great way to keep from hurting yourself. It took me 6 months to realize that PCF is serious about intelligent scaling. Once I figured that out, I wasn’t as afraid of coming to the box on scary-looking WOD days.

– That said – the fear never quite goes away. I’m just learning to live with it. It helps that the PCF community is so supportive – particularly when you are on the verge of failing.

– The coaches are right. My job is to apply their advice as best as I can. Especially when I intellectually understand what they are asking me to do and my body refuses to cooperate.

– Finding one positive thing I’ve accomplished each workout (even if it is the simple act of showing up) keeps me motivated. This is a huge lesson that I’m starting to apply in other areas of my life.

– Most important lesson for me: Working out (and really, learning ANY new skill) is a process. It’s a series of small events, decisions, requests for support, and little bits of practice. It’s tough to see change when you are in the middle of it – but change is occurring. I’m learning to trust and enjoy the day-to-day process and let others tell me about the magnitude of the changes that are occurring as a result.

I’m looking forward to another year of CrossFit. See you at the box!

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2 Responses to “CrossFit – 1 year later”

  1. 1 Jon M

    Congrats! Keep up the solid progress.

  2. 2 Erika - PCF

    Thanks for posting the update. Awesome to see the progress you’ve made since that first Foundations class. I don’t get to see the day to day gains since I don’t teach mornings anymore, but I’m always impressed with how far you’ve come when I happen to catch you in an evening WOD. Keep up the great work.



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