Aug 142013
 

Following Monday’s workout, I found myself a bit sore on Tuesday, with some pretty sore legs by Wednesday.  Despite the soreness, I was excited to see how the second day would go.  I got up early, got a banana in me for a bit of fuel (still taking it easy on breakfast as I have no desire to paint the gym floor), and headed out.

The warm-up today seemed pretty reasonable.  Another 400m run, followed by three continuous sets of: 10 lunges, a bear crawl (all 4’s) across the gym, 20 leg lifts (aka scissors), and long jumps (bunny hops) back to the initial side of the gym.  The 400m run felt good, and I made sure to take my time to make the warm-up truly a warm-up, as opposed to Monday’s excitement.  The lunges went fine, the bear crawl started out easy, but by the time I reached the far side of the gym I remembered why those were a good warm-up exercise.  The first set of 20 leg lifts felt great through about #16, and the long jump back was kind of fun.  Round two, though, was a bit different.  My pulse was up, I started breathing more heavily, and the 10 lunges were uneventful.  The bear crawl really started to push me, the leg lifts began as a quick respite (on my back) until about #10, then they weren’t so much fun.  And the long jumps back had my legs all a flutter (especially seeing as they’d started out sore).  Round three and things just started to go blurry.  Lunges were OK, bear crawl started to really burn, leg lifts began to burn at about #6 of 20, and the long jumps back were a challenge.

Once I’d finished the warm-up, I had a few more minutes to walk around and continue stretching (recovering) due to another class finishing up in the gym, something I greatly appreciated.  Our “lesson” of the day was about dead lifts and sumo lifts.  We worked on form with just 20 pounds on the bar — this bar work still feels uncomfortable, especially since my previous experience with bar bells was all upper body and/or closely-spotted exercise.  I want to really focus on form to minimize any possible injury, so am happy to take these slowly.  Even with the light weights, as I focused on form and moved slowly I could feel the burn in my legs and triceps from the sumo dead lifts by the time I was done.

All right, on to the “workout of the day” for me.  First off, Chris asked if I knew what burpees were.  I did, having done them (and had my kids do them) as a volleyball coach.  Chris’s, however, were a bit different than I was used to.  Upon reaching a standing position with each one, I was to jump with my hands overhead (not something I’d done before).  The goal was to jump 6″ each time, but Chris said he just wanted to see daylight under my feet for today.  The workout itself was pretty straightforward — as long as it takes to complete a pyramid of 10 burpees followed by 10 sit-ups, with the goal to always keep moving.  If rest was required, it was to be taken standing up.  That means 10 burpees, 10 sit-ups; followed by 9 burpees, 9 sit-ups; and so on, all the way down to 1.  Sounded simple.  I knew there had to be a catch, and I quickly learned it.

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The first 8 burpees or so went fine, and I really had to push on the last in order to keep my legs moving, and was glad to move right into sit-ups, forgetting how tired/sore I was already before starting.  Managed the 10 sit-ups, jumped right back up into the burpees (9 this time), and managed about 4 before things got rough.  Oh crap.  I’ve done 14 burpees, with 41 left… not a good sign.  I struggled through the nine burpees, eventually moving to “crawling” my legs back up to stand up by the end of the set, before jumping into sit-ups again.  Which were NOWHERE near as easy as nine sit-ups should have been.  Pushed myself through them just in time to jump up and start on the set of 8.  Chris mentioned “good job, it’s getting easier each time!”  Unfortunately, I’m pretty good at math, and the factorial of 8 was still a pretty big number in my head.  So I focused on trying to do a set of 4 and of 4.  Unfortunately, even getting through the first set of 4 had me spent.  Made it through, though, with miserable form and lots of dragging of body parts.  On to the round of 7.  Chris called out “you’re more than halfway there.”  Again, I’m pretty good at math — but I didn’t have the breath to argue with him.  Let’s just say it didn’t get prettier from there.  I did manage to finish them all up, taking several standing rests along the way, but finished up absolutely spent.

I managed to stand up and stumble around the gym as I regained my faculties, knowing this is going to help me in the long run.  Not much time for recovery, my daughter had a ballet recital down the road in 5 minutes.  I thanked Chris, stumbled to the car, drank a pint of water, and it was off to the recital.  Day two down, excited (and apprehensive) about what day three will bring!

Aug 122013
 

So after a couple years of sitting on my rear-end writing and chasing little ones, coupled with a wife who’s a great cook, I’ve fallen WAY out of shape, and my weekly volleyball match isn’t nearly enough exercise.  So I finally bit the bullet and signed up for Crossfit at a local gym that’s just starting up.

Two years ago I completed P90X.  It was one of the toughest programs I’d ever attempted, and I left in the best shape of my life.  It’s amazing, though, how quickly that goes away when you don’t keep at it.  I walked in to the Crossfit gym not really knowing what to expect, but fully understanding that I would likely struggle for a while.  I wasn’t wrong.

The gym’s owner, Chris, gave me a few minutes to stretch in our first on-ramp course then sent me on a short “warm-up” exercise.  I began with a 400m run.  No big deal, I can do that, and I did.  The short run got my pulse up, which then led into the real warm-up, consisting of 10 air squats, 10 pushups, 10 situps, and 10 “mountain climbers,” repeated three times.  The first time through — no big deal.  The second time through, I was sucking wind and beginning to get dizzy.  By the time I finished the third set, I was having trouble remaining on my feet and thought perhaps it might be time to return the contents of my stomach to the wide open world.  I didn’t eat breakfast before the workout because I was afraid I might throw up, but I may have also been done in by that strategy in not having enough fuel in my system.  Lesson for future workouts — eat something beforehand.

Chris was kind enough to give me a spell to recuperate, then we spent some time practice a couple different types of squats with the barbell.  I focused on my form and paid as much attention as I could while the world slowly stopped spinning, and I think I had the form and key points pretty well figured out (though more practice would certainly be helpful) before it was time for the regular workout to end our day.

The workout itself was eight minutes long.  The first four minutes consisted of eight rounds of 20 seconds of air squats followed by 10 seconds of rest.  Was definitely “feeling it” by the time I got through the first four minutes.  The next four minutes, though, were pure hell.  I was to do another eight rounds of 20 seconds on with 10 seconds of rest, only each round now was continuous pushups.  Having already warmed up with more pushups than I’d done in quite some time, I was a bit sore.  I made it through the first minute Bunny thumping foot lg clr efore I had to start doing pushups on my knees.  By now I had just about nothing left, but did my best to keep moving for the final six 20-second rounds of pushups.  The last round I may have only accomplished three or four reps.  When the timer finished, I rolled over and saw three bunnies in the corner by my water giving me the evil eye.  The room was spinning, I was sweating so hard I could hardly see, and was WAY out of my comfort zone.  Chris gave me a minute, then we went to the wall to do some stretching exercises.  I did my best to stretch, but really at this point most of my focus was on not falling over and trying to keep the gym from moving around me.  We finished the stretching and I sat down for a few moments to gather myself before getting up to find my water bottle (where I noticed the three evil bunnies from earlier were really just my extra T-shirt coupled with extreme fatigue and triple-vision.)

Sat in the car for a few moments again before starting it up and heading home.  I’ve got a lot of work to do, but was amazed how much of a workout this felt like, given that the actual “high intensity” portion was really only the warm-up coupled with 8 minutes of real workout.  Hopefully Wednesday will go better.

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