CrossFit Open Prep Day Minus 40

I did not get the fastest start in the world this morning but I suppose that’s what weekends are for a little bit. In the garage at 7:45 planning to do some strength work and then a metcon. However, ended up going with slightly more strength work plus some skills work at the end. I also outlined a Goat List of several things that need ongoing work.

I’m using Starting Strength as a basis to build up towards the levels I need in the main lifts. I moved up to 175 back squat today, the most I’ve done in probably a couple of years. I’d plateaued briefly on 165 but now think that was a result of just several hard days of workouts more than an actual plateau. 175 was reasonably easy this morning. Remaining strength work was cleans, something I’ve been neglecting in a big way. I like the move as well as the snatch but just haven’t worked them in much lately. I did a cycle I picked up from CrossFit Rockwall, 5 sets of 8,6,5,3 and 5 reps increasing in weight up through the 3 rep set and then dropping back. I started at 95 and had more trouble with 8 of those than I did with 3 of 125. My metabolic conditioning is probably holding me back some if that’s the case.

In thinking through goals other than strength, the level tests from CrossFit Rockwall came to mind and they seem like a good reference for measuring fitness and preparation. In the past, I’ve done almost all of the Level 2 so I’m shooting for as many of the Level 3 skills completed before February 27th. In looking through them in the cold garage this morning, only the 10 second freestanding handstand looked doable so I worked on handstands for 5 minutes. Didn’t actually get to 10 seconds but got close several times. I think that’s doable with just a days work. Lots of the other ones are going to take some dedication.

My diet has been pretty good up until yesterday which involved way too much Crispin cider at lunch and pizza for dinner with some bourbon as a nightcap. I woke up this morning allergies aflame and I’m pretty sure it had to do as much with diet as anything since I wasn’t suffering badly in the days preceding. My breakfast lately has been a modified Bulletproof Coffee with butter, coconut oil, protein powder and milk. I seem to stay focused and attentive longer with this breakfast.

Tomorrow is technically a rest day but given no metcon today, I may do something short with more skill work.

CrossFit Open Prep Day Minus 41

So I’ve signed up for the 2014 CrossFit Open. Two years ago, I did a couple of the workouts but apparently not enough to show up in the results. Last year, after 13.1 which involved a snatch ladder with 135 lbs as the second rung, I knew I was in over my head. Of course, I’m not doing it to compete in the Games. The chances of me competing in the Games are effectively zero, even though I have no reached the ripe old age of 41 and thus qualify for the entry level Masters division. CrossFit has become a true sport with TV and sponsors and all the associated pros and cons that go along with it. The elite athletes at all levels of the sport are so much farther removed from the average athlete that it’s like comparing Tiger Woods with the local club champion.

Still, there is something satisfying about having a goal to train towards in hopes of at least not running up against a workout that you have to sit and stare at the bar like I did last year on the 135lb snatch. As an aside, there’s been a snatch ladder each of the last two years. I’m guessing that probably won’t happen again but I’ll probably be trying to manage a 135lb snatch before February 27th anyway. I’m going to try and journal the process towards the Open that I’m taking. I haven’t worked out any particular workout plan other than to greatly increase my strength between then and now. My current maxes are woefully short of the necessary requirements just to do some of the metcons. I’ve been steadily increasing my squats, presses and deadlifts over the past 2-3 weeks. Some realistic goals might be a 225-250 lb squat, a 350 lb deadlift, a 185 lb clean and a 135 lb snatch. Those numbers alone would put me at the strongest I’ve ever been.

Today, I chose a workout from CrossFit Rockwall’s blog, 100 double unders followed by 3 rounds of 15 burpees and 15 toes to bar. My double unders are really weak right now and I’m not sure why. I’m afraid I cut the speed rope too short. The most I can string together is about 15 early on and then it’s lots of 5s and 6s. Total workout time was 12:07. I warmed up with 3 x Max chest to bar pullups with totals being 8 in each round. Pretty sure 45 toes to bar are going to come back to haunt me tomorrow. Ever try to poop when your stomach is sore? Yeah me neither, total hypothetical.

At lunch, we were eating on the Katy Trail and a good friend of mine wanted to run a mile to keep his Run Streak Challenge going so after a bunless Terlingua burger, fries and 2 schooners of Crispin, off we went. Put in a 7:43 mile after all that so I guess metabolically, I’m not doing too badly.

So far this year, I’ve put in 12 workouts in 17 days. I figure I’m going to need to keep that pace for the next 40 to insure enough capacity to complete most of the workouts. This week, I think I’ll work though some of the 2013 workouts just as a place to gauge progress. Unfortunately, that stupid snatch ladder will still be waiting.

Crossfit Update

I started CrossFit just over 4 months ago with one of the hardest workouts in a laundry list of hard workouts. I was attracted to CrossFit because of its focus on functional, wide-ranging exercises as well as the emphasis on self-reliance and responsibility. I also like that it averages about 20 minutes per day, much less than many regimens but with better results. It’s a pretty brutal approach to fitness but it’s extremely effective. When I started CrossFit, I thought I was in reasonable shape, nothing spectacular but at least decent. I had no idea what I was getting into.

The workout I did on that first day is called Murph. CrossFit uses a lot of bodyweight exercises and this is an example of that. The workout as prescribed is a 1 mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats (broken up anyway you have to) and then another 1 mile run, all for time. It’s just as hard as it sounds. When I did it back in August, I had no trouble with the miles but I could only muster 6 sets of 3 pullups, 10 pushups and 15 squats. Plus it took me 35 minutes to do just that. I realized quickly that I wasn’t in very good shape after all.

Today, I did Murph again after 4 months of working out regularly with only the workout of the day. I couldn’t quite manage to complete it but my performance was greatly improved. I did both miles plus 8 sets of 10 pullups, 20 pushups and 30 squats in 45:26. I’m still way off from the performance of even average Crossfit athletes who can do Murph in under 35 minutes, some with a weighted vest, but I’m getting stronger faster which I love.

Crossfit is intense but it produces results. I’m looking forward to another 4 months of progress to see what I can accomplish.

Crossfit Update

So I’ve been doing Crossfit for 2 weeks now and I can safely say that while my body hates it, my mind loves it. It’s brutally hard physically at times and it really emphasizes a breadth of training versus specialization. I’m looking forward to each day’s workout in a way I haven’t in quite awhile. I’m already feeling much stronger though this weekend’s two workouts have basically destroyed every muscle in my body.

Yesterday’s workout in particular was challenging. 10 sets starting with 10 reps in set 1, 9 reps in set 2 and so on down to 1 rep in the last set of deadlift, clean and bench press and you try to do it as quickly as possible. As prescribed, it’s supposed to be done with 1 1/2 your body weight in deadlift, your body weight in bench and 3/4ths body weight in clean. I’m not nearly at those levels but by scaling down the weight, I managed to make it through without dying.

Overall, I like that the workouts take about 30 minutes tops and that they focus so much on strength, speed and athleticism. I’m looking forward to making it part of my regular routine.

Crossfit Training (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Enjoy Pain)

I ran across Crossfit Training last week after seeing a link on Instapundit and I started to look into what it was about. The variety of exercises, the emphasis on free weights and intensity of the training all appealed to me so I thought I’d give it a try. This morning marked my first workout using the Crossfit exercises and I picked a doozy to start on. “Murph” is the name of today’s WOD and it’s a killer.

Given that this was my first workout, I knew I wasn’t going to be anywhere near the totals but I gave it the old college try. I did both miles sandwiching 6 sets of 3 pullups, 10 pushups and 15 squats. I made a critical error and chose to do the squats with just the bar and that’s not a particularly good idea. I ended up finishing in about 35 minutes. It was pretty brutal but it felt good.

Overall, I like the emphasis on being an athlete that Crossfit stresses versus just being able to run a lot or just being able to lift a lot. On top of that, the intensity really appeals to me because they push exercises that surpass what is normally recommended. I’m looking forward to sticking with the program and seeing how the results turn out in a couple of months.