Tag Archives: exercise

Reebok CrossFit Games 2011

12 Aug

The move to Colorado was delayed a week in order to attend the annual CrossFit Games… actually, it’s called the Reebok|CrosssFit Games now. Formality aside, I know it as the convention of fit hard-bodies. Everywhere you looked it was traps! deltoids! six-pack abs! and solid bums! made for oly lifting, sprinting, weighted pullups, and sled-pushing.

The energy was INFECTIOUS. It’s kind of pointless to write about it because it’s just one of those events you just have to experience. Not only could you watch these insanely fit athletes compete in an arena (yes, kind of like Spartacus but no one literally dies), but there was also bull-riding, stand-up paddling, coaching from Rob Orlando (yes, please,) workout gear shopping, jump-rope fitting, and CrossFit web-celebs to be met. In fact, it was at the CrossFit Games that I got to reunite with Joe Petrusky from CrossFit Love and hilarious and witty blogger, Fitbomb. For anyone that didn’t know, Fitbomb’s wife is the culinary genius behind NomNom Paleo (sometimes when I’m hungry, I go to her blog and drool at the pictures.)

Ryan "@deckerra" Decker, Joe Petrusky (owner of CrossFit Love), and me.

Henry "@fitbomb" and me!

Anyway, here is a very, very, very small collection of images. I got a little shutter happy (I’ve seen 6-pack abs before just not THAT many all in one location.)


Box-Crash: StoneWay CrossFit

8 Jul

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You will not find community like that of CrossFit. While passing through Seattle, WA, on this whirlwind cross-country tour, I was invited by Stoneway CrossFit box owner, Scott Rodriguez and fellow tweeps Katie and Heather to drop in for a WOD with coach Jess Fleming.

I took them up on the offer (and the opportunity to meet some tweeps in person!) and scheduled my touristy day of Pike Place Market, Space Needle, and Puget Sound around their 5 o’clock WOD. We started off with stretches and dynamic warmup which included wall walks (which, by the way, are harder than they appear!!) Then we worked in some 3×3 sets (at prescribed percentages of our 1RM) of either squats, deadlifts, or press.

Thanks to Katie Chasey for snapping this pic!

And then it was WOD time:
200m sprint
100 situps
75 pushups
100 air squats
200m sprint

Let me just come out with it and make it known: 2 months of nearly non-stopping roadtripping, less-than-ideal Paleo nutrition, and no WODs make for a very out-of-shape girl. But, coach Jess kept the encouragement coming and everyone there was SO upbeat and encouraging.

And here is the part where I say it yet again: You’re not going to find community like THIS anywhere else.

HUGE thanks to the StoneWay crew for letting Ryan and me box-crash! It was much-needed for me and very much enjoyed.

On The Prowl(er)

4 Mar

I’m feeling the urge to blog today because I might die tonight. No, really. Joe just posted our scheduled workout for tonight and I have Prowler sprints at 6:00 pm. “What are you doing tonight, Jess?” Oh, you know, pushing The Prowler and trying not to puke.  (Gone are the days when I looked forward to Fridays.)  My lack of excitement is warranted: The last time I did Prowler sprints, I almost didn’t make it home.

The Prowler is a deceiving little torture device.
p-(roll the ‘r’)-OWW-le-(roll the ‘r’)

Don’t do what I did and get it mixed up with the similarly scary-looking but sometimes FUN Cougar.

Unlike a cougar, there is nothing fun about the Prowler.  You’re going along, doing fine, just pushing the Prowler and BAM! It’s like hitting a brick wall. All of a sudden the leg muscles go on strike. My calves cramped up so bad, I thought I had rigor mortis. It’s like an arena death scene out of Spartacus with bodies hunched up or lying all over the place, but without the blood and boobs.

This pic is the exact opposite of how I feel after pushing the Prowler but I had to show you what my face looked like on the body of Crixus.

I survived my first Prowler experience but after struggling back to my apartment with a THROBBING headache, I had to lie with my head on the cold kitchen counter for nearly 20 minutes to fight off the nausea.  I’ve never before been so glad I had an empty stomach. In fact, nausea is guaranteed. Ask my fellow CrossFit Love member Chris. So, I know it’s not just me.

If you ever have the opportunity to push a Prowler, do not do as Joe recommended and YouTube “Prowler Flu.” Actually, you should totally watch this stuff:

Good Things Come in Sets of 100

23 Feb

I’m starting to notice a trend at CrossFit Love. It appears our S&C coach, Joe, is slightly obsessed with the number 100. We just seem to do ONE HUNDRED of, oh I don’t know, everything. In fact, 100 of (insert exercise here) is our cool down, our “extra credit,” our  lil’ somethin’ somethin’ to remember CrossFit Love by.

In the past 2 weeks, I have easily done atleast 100-200 situps, not to be confused with “ab crunches,” on 6 different occasions.  I’m talking full on “Allll the way up, Jess.  I want your chest to touch your knees. What number are you on?” (75.) “You’re talking too much and not working hard enough.” (The thing is: We do so many situps, it’s hard for me to keep count. So, sometimes I talk outloud about forgetting what rep I’m on.)

I can guarantee you, though, that I certainly DID NOT lose count when Joe had us do “100 Pushups for Time” last week. Because, you know, we’re all expected to eventually be able to do 100 full regulation “I want to f***’n HEAR your chest hit the ground” pushups in sub 5 minutes. And if you’ve seen my chest (or lack thereof) you will understand how big of a deal this is. I’m suddenly regretting getting rid of that water bra. By the way, my time on those 100 pushups ended up being 10:01. I’m looking forward to cutting that time by half (I do mean that…. mostly.)

Last night? Oh, yeah, I was busy doing an “accessory exercise” of 100 standing single-arm band rows… on each arm. No biggie. (Actually, it was a biggie. My biceps and lats were burning something fierce.)

My unsolicited opinion on the matter? I think this “100 of everything” thing is working. I won’t deny that I do feel stronger. So, it appears that good things really do come in sets of 100.  But GREAT things come in sets of 300:

(Don’t tell Joe I said that; the last thing I want is to be greeted with a “300 Burpees for Time” WOD when I walk into class next week.)

Sweet Diggity

28 Jan

Don’t be fooled by the rocks guns that I got,
I’m still, I’m still Jenny Jessi from the block.
Used to have a little, now I got a lot.
No matter where I go, I know where I came from.

I’m in a J-Lo mood after watching the hilarious American Idol tryouts this week.  Speaking of “used to have a little, now I have a lot” I had the opportunity to test out my max pullups (strict, no kip) in a friendly competition among friends.

Thirteen.  Thirteen strict pullups.

Man, I remember feeling defeated and crying under the bar ’cause I thought I’d never get my first pullup.  And now… Thirteen!  And it feels GOOD.  Kind of like THIS good:



23 Aug

Today was an Rx’d Rest Day so I took the “day off” to work on my Snatches.  Why would I do that??  Because SNATCHES  SCARE  THE  LIVING  SHIZIT  OUT  OF  ME.  (Yes, I’m cyber yelling in a freaked-out kind of way!)  I don’t blame myself for twitching uncontrollably whenever I see “Snatch” on a WOD.  I mean, really, I’m supposed to essentially deadlift into a jump and go airborne with a weighted bar and then drop down into a squat and catch the bar OVER MY HEAD?  (I obviously have confidence issues.)

But, after an hour and 15 minutes of practicing, filming, reviewing the tape, and practicing again I feel much more confident about the whole thing.  There is a lot of fine tuning that needs to be done but overall I’m cool with the progress, especially considering that I’m not with a box or affiliate. I’m CF’ing in a globo, and I don’t wod in a group with CF coaches so Ryan and I are learning these moves from various Burgener threads floating around the CF forums, by reading up on the technique, and by watching tons of vids (especially those of Olympian Eva Twardokens.)  Considering all that, I think we’re coming along just fine.  The more reps I did, the more comfortable and stable I got with the motion.  Ahh, makes sense.

Some of my progression footage:

GHD Nightmare

1 Jul

Sweet Baby Cheeses, what have I done?  WHAT have I done to my abs??!  I’m not a complete noob when it comes to the Glute-Ham Developer.  I COMPLETELY understand the potency of the move, I read up on the dangers of rhabdomyolysis and how GHD situps have been known to send people to the ER.  Yeah, I get it.

For the last 4 months, I’ve been incorporating sets of GHD situps into my warm up.  So, when I saw “3 Rounds of:  (30) GHD situps and (50) Thrusters” prescribed on CrossFit last Wednesday, I was ready!  And I went into the workout with the state of mind that if at any time my abs were exhausted or in pain, I would not force the issue.

Well, I made it through the entire workout… all 90 GHD situps, all full range of motion! (Here’s a pic of Ryan demonstrating the move.)

In fact, during the workout the GHD situps were EASIER than the dumbbell thrusters.  (Hold the applause!  It gets better!)

The next morning I was feeling great, still high from completing 90 (!) GHD situps.  And then I started getting sore that evening.  And then it started to feel like it was getting worse by the hour.  And then I had to fall, not climb, into bed.  And then Friday morning, I COULD NOT STAND UP COMPLETELY STRAIGHT.  (At the time I interpreted this to be, “Dang!  I had an awesome ab workout!”  Sick, sick, sick in the head.)  Saturday morning I decided to scale back on Run Drills and just take it easy.  And by Saturday afternoon, I told Ryan, “If we’re going mountain biking, we have to leave RIGHT NOW or I might not make it out of the house for the rest of the day.”

And then by that night it:

  • Hurt to even TOUCH any part of my midsection
  • I couldn’t sleep on my stomach or on my side
  • I couldn’t contract my abs.  No “sucking it in.”
  • My midsection got soft and puffy and squishy and swollen looking  (Ryan confirmed it!)
  • If I tried to stand up completely straight, I felt instantly nauseous and my lower back would get all crampy (it felt like menstrual cramps.  Yay me.)

For 5 days my ENTIRE abs hurt from my sub-sternal notch to my pubic bone, on the surface and the muscles deep inside… horrible, horrible pain.  I think I told Ryan, “I’m dying!  I’m dyyyying,” atleast once an hour at the top of the hour.  I think I even skipped an entire rotation of CrossFit; who knows, those five days were a blur.

I am SO not being dramatic here;  I am telling you:  I have never, ever, EVAR felt that sore before.  I’ve done Ab Ripper X and Turbo Core and Pilates ab routines – those pale in comparison.  Pale.in.comparison.  At one point, I started getting concerned and actually googled, “Symptoms of Rhabdo and when to go to the ER.”  And I’m not a fan of medicating muscle pain, so I figured, “Well, Jessica, you knew the potential ramifications and you went through with it anyway.  So now pain is the price you pay.”  Talk about lame.

Well, it’s been 8 days since the GHD workout.  Last night I hopped on the GHD to stretch out the muscle and yelped in pain.  It’s not nearly as bad as it was but I STILL don’t have full range of motion.  In fact, this morning kipping pullups were  out of the question.  I’m still too sore to fully extend (hyper extend?  Like, arch back) my torso.  I’m really hoping I didn’t significantly damage the muscle enough to cancel out the strength gains I’ve built up thus far.  Right now it just feels like a “regular” soreness one would get after a “regular” ab workout.

The GHD situp is so, so, so potent that, at this point, I don’t think I would outright recommend it to anyone that doesn’t already sport an 8-pack.  I love CrossFit but, take my word for it:  If you see an astronomically high number of GHD situps prescribed, unless you’re already an elite athlete, I would sincerely suggest giving a big “F— that!”  If I see GHD situps prescribed next week, will I follow my own advice?  Probably not.

A CrossFitter’s Hand (Repair) Job

24 Jun

All of this CrossFitting with barbells and pullup bars is really doing a number on my lady hands.  Chalk, blood, rips, blisters, calluses… it’s all so very lady-like, really.  This really wouldn’t be such a problem if it wasn’t so taboo, so faux pas, to wear gloves at a gym.

So now, in addition to the already lengthy nightly routine of face-washing, contact-cleansing, and teeth-brushing, I have to add a hand repair regimen that has me sleeping with a tub of Vaseline and a pair of old socks on my nightstand.  (It’s not as sexy as it sounds.)

Here is how I repair skin on my palms after an exceptionally gnarly WOD.  (Part of this I took from the CrossFit Journal but the other part I learned from chatting with a former collegiate gymnast.)

1.  Immediately after the rip, I cleanse my hands with soap and water.

2.  I cut off any dangling pieces of blister skin.

3.  Then I slab some Neosporin or antibacterial ointment on the “wound.” (If it bleeds, it’s a wound right?  It’s a barbell battle wound!  Okay, maybe not that dramatic but it hurts nonetheless.)

4.  Once the Neosporin wears off, I cut open a Vitamin E pill and squeeze some of the pill’s oil onto my blister.  I do this throughout the day to prevent my blister from getting too dry… then it tends to crack open and it hurts like a mofo.

5.  Then to the FUN part:  I take a WHOLE BUNCH of Vaseline and smear it all over my hands until they are a hot, greasy, Kentucky Fried Chicken mess.

6.  Somehow, usually with the help of Ryan, I slip my hands into tube socks so that Vaseline doesn’t rub off all over the place while I’m sleeping.

And that’s IT.  When I wake up, my skin is super supple and my blisters are usually repaired enough to the point where they don’t burn when I try to grab something.  It’s a process a little more complex than good ol’ fashioned lotion but, hey, it works for me and I can get back to WODding.

Blame It On The Pop

1 Jun

I can’t get enough of DJ Earworm’s 2009 “United State of Pop “.  It helps me keep cadence on a dreadmill run, it helps me put on my poker face for some early morning barbell boom boom pow.  It’s just an awesome workout remix, if you’re into pop beats.  I love it so much that I now have an iPod playlist dedicated to mashups and remixes.

She Squats!

28 May

I finished reading the 63 page squat chapter of Mark Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength” book.  And since then I’ve been trying to mature my form.  One of these days I’ll show a video of my squat form before EVER reading that book.  It was absolutely HORRENDOUS.  Oh, but since we’re on the topic of “Mark Rippetoe” google “Rippetoe quotes.”

I just recently recovered from not only a hip strain but also a quad strain from sprinting so I was very pleased at being able to bump up my 85 lb 5-rep to 100 lbs!  The BEST news was that after 5 sets of 5 reps, I experienced neither hip pain NOR quad pain!  I guess he wasn’t kidding when Rip said, “Yes, if you squat wrong it f*cks things up. If you squat correctly, those same f*cked-up things will unf*ck themselves.”  (Sorry for the censorship but my Mom reads this, you know?)

I have a bad habit of allowing my weight to shift toward my toes so this squat session I made a concentrated effort to literally LIFT my toes up in my shoes, thus keeping the weighted bar between my heels and balls of my feet.  This is where my weightlifting shoes have come in really handy for me… I can feel EVERYTHING.

I’m also still exhibiting posterior rotation at the bottom of my squat but I think that will work itself out once I strengthen and develop hamstring flexibility.  That posterior rotation bothers me the MOST.  Ugh.

Another bad habit I have is allowing my knees (my right knee, in particular) to track inwards.  So, I’m working on pushing the knees out during the descent and ESPECIALLY during the ascent:

I’m seeing the most improvement in the development of my lumbar arch.  I think that’s the most important part for me:  PROTECT THE LUMBAR ARCH.  I’m 25 years old and I cannot afford to mess up my back.  I took a Squat Clinic with Phil Clark at The Training Station and he emphasized “Chest up!  Chest up!  Chest up!”  I’m still finding it difficult to balance with my chest up but it’s a work in progress.

Anyway, here’s a video of it all.  After my 4th rep, I looked at the rack because I wanted to rack the bar SO BADLY.  I didn’t know if I’d make it back up but my last rep ended up being my best rep.  I was concentrating SO hard on that one.