Vegan CrossFit Adventures

Last week I ventured into the box at BNI CrossFit for what was to be the hardest ass-whipping I’ve gotten in quite some time.  After 60 minutes of sweat and near tears, I got in my car and sat there for a good 10 minutes while the pain sank in.  I tossed and turned all night as every muscle in my body ached.  I woke up and had to lower myself with the bathroom counter to sit and pee.  I dragged myself to the gym determined to keep up with my regular training in the days that followed .  During my run, every muscle in my legs screamed a big F-you.  Yogalates (I thought it was just a regular yoga, mind you) – That might help stretch me out.  Not.  It left my abs sore and my arms trembling.  Spinning?  Yeah, that hurt too.  Cycling?  Again throbbing legs!  Walking?  Pain.  Breathing.  That hurt too.  Wearing clothes?  I became a nudist.  I was that sore.  

My friend Jenny has raved about CrossFit for months now, and I’ve seen her grow incredibly strong in that time.  Not only that, but she credits CrossFit for  great improvement in her running game.  If that isn’t enough, she even thinks this torture is fun. 

So after months of saying, “I gotta try this CrossFit thing,”  I finally bit the bullet. 

Here is what went down on Day 1 of this adventure.


Lateral Side Push-Ups:  We did lateral side pushups from wall to wall (maybe 30 or 40?). That’s a push up – going to stomach on the ground- and then moving over one arm/leg to get across the floor.   My arms were on fire!  Since my description is so awesome, here is a video. 

These people are obviously moving WAY faster than I did.

Junk Yard Dogs: Next we partnered up and did JYD. You jump with knees to chest over your partner’s arms.  What?  You have no clue what I’m talking about?  Here’s a video. 

The jumps were hard. I don’t think I’ve jumped like that since I was 10.  My partner, who was also a newb, kept saying, “I feel so heavy,”  and she was a little thang.

After warm-up, I worked on push press lifting form, while the others did split jerks. Mike, the trainer at BNI CrossFit, helped me proper form using a PVC pipe.  I then used a bar and weights to practice.  This is definitely going to be a humbling journey.  Just holding the bar in a resting position was hard. 

We then did 3-3-3 which were an exercise to practice jumping form. Who thought jumping was so hard? Well, it was!

Work-out of the Day (WOD)
Next was time for the WOD. This high intensity workout changes daily, hence the name, and the diversity is why many people really like CrossFit.   There was an “A” advanced side and a “B” beginners side.  I wasn’t trying to fool anyone, so I stuck with the “B.”  It looks like I’ll be hanging out there for awhile.

10 burpees over ab mat ( push up then jump with knees to chest over a mat)
5 push press (I did 35 lbs but recommended was 55lbs)
10 back squats (35lbs but recommended was 55lbs)
20 wall balls (squat, then throw medicine ball up HIGH – 8lbs)
300m run
4x through

The Aftermath
It doesn’t seem like much on paper, but this workout was intense. Two days and 6 Tylenol later, I’m finally back to normal.  Well, almost. 

As my legs were on fire from the wall balls ->300 meter runs, I was thinking about transitions in triathlons.   Or that point during a 5k when you’re looking up at a big hill (or bridge in my case), and you are really questing if you can move any more (and also why you signed up for a 5k that goes there and back over a bridge).  I felt like these drills, over time, would condition my muscles to quickly react to change. These thoughts felt profound at the time.  Let’s roll with it. 

So this little adventure is all worth a shot.  In the past year while recovering from an injury, I’ve really wavered about training for anything.  I am taking this opportunity to try something new and get reinvigorated with exercise.  Plus, let’s face it.  I would love to be ripped and see improvement in my overall fitness, especially in swimming, biking, and running. 

The only thing that could stop me would be a flare up of my injury.  I hope it doesn’t, but one week after my first session all the soreness has gone away except I’m left with a tight left IT band.  I’ve foamed rolled and been hitting yoga good, but if the tightness triggers back/leg pain, I’d have to stop this experiment.  I have to be really careful that I keep my legs stretched out to avoid a repeat of last year. 

So why am I making such a big deal about this? 
In my research, CrossFitters are meat-eaters who follow the Paleo diet.  I am a vegan who hasn’t eaten meat in 7 years.  I know nothing of the Paleo diet except they don’t believe in a vegan diet.  So, I thought this would be a great experiment to hopefully debunk some myths about this lifestyle. 

In the coming days, if I grow some balls, I might post some before photos, take some measurements, and post about my current fitness level…. and then we shall see where this adventure takes me. 

What I’m Committing To…
Along with running, cycling, and swimming, I hope to get in CrossFit 2x per week. 

Things will something like this on the weeks where I’m not traveling for work.

Sunday – 15 to 20 mile road ride
Monday – CrossFit
Tuesday – AM: Run – Intervals / PM: Master’s Swim Practice
Wednesday – Yoga / PM: CrossFit
Thursday – AM: Warm-up Run & Spin Class / PM: Master’s Swim Practice
Friday – REST or Active Recovery Yoga
Saturday – 2 hour Master’s Swim Practice

Let the vegan CrossFit adventure begin!



Filed under CrossFit

11 responses to “Vegan CrossFit Adventures

  1. I’m so glad you are writing about this. I’m scared of the whole paleo thing. I hear it is different from place to place though. Also, I’m afraid to look like a complete wimp. I know these are intense workouts but I don’t have the competitive drive. Maybe one day I’ll work up to going.

  2. Ed R

    Good stuff Carolyn. I have been that sore many times as you can imagine. It is a good hurt…you always know you did it right when you have to hold on the counter to “have a seat!” : )

  3. Welcome to CrossFit! The first week, I was so sore I could barely get into my bed at night. It does get better, though I usually have at least one muscle group that’s a little achy at any given time. I went back yesterday after 2-3 weeks off and I’m really sore again today. And yeah, Paleo is big, depending on the box, but it’s not a must. I don’t do it, I don’t really believe in it, and I don’t think I ever will.
    (BTW, saw your email–I generally use to track, when I do. I’m not currently, but I like their interface.)

  4. I’m so glad and excited you tried it! Believe me, I know what the soreness feels like and the seemingly hopelessness of how much weight the regulars are throwing around. You will get better, move up in weight and become a CrossFitting badass (you know, in addition to your regular Carolyn badass)! 😉 I actually don’t know a whole lot of people who follow the Paleo diet, though my trainers do recommend it. I use the meal plans as a general guide of protein:fat:carb. With extra carbs on the side. 😀

  5. Okay, first off…hilarious! Loved the opening paragraph and I can relate – been there. There are still hand prints on the wall from my bracing myself up to pee as well. LOL!

    You are definitely on the right path, Carolyn. I don;t have a Crossfit class here but am doing much of the same plyo and weights training myself and it is a HUGE butt-kicker but you will definitely see results, I’m totally confident. I’m banking on it as well. Your weekly schedule also looks pretty intense for an “off season”, be mindful to get some good recovery time in there. You deserve it! Best wishes, good luck and I can’t wait to hear about your successes ut on the course in the future. Kick heiny!

  6. I’m looking forward to hearing more! I looked into trying Crossfit in my town, but I was turned off by all the pro-Paleo, anti-vegan propaganda on their website…and I’ve just met so many Crossfitters that keep boasting about how much meat they eat (they seem to think it makes them manly) and how vegans are wimps. I’m really intrigued by the actual workouts, but the people I’ve met make it seem like, well, a cult.

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  8. Debbie Walsh

    Carolyn, a bit late here and just found your blog! I started Cross Fit January of this year and went vegan about 4 months ago. I have NEVER been stronger. I am consistently either 1st or 2nd in WODS. To start with, I got all kinds of crap from my (very lovely) box I work at, but as the months have gone by they have become strangely quiet. Keep at it. I do Cross Fit 3 x week and run 3 x week, I’m 48 and honestly feel (and apparently) look better than I ever have.

  9. Glad to know of other Vegan Crossfit/ Endurance athletes! Check out my training blog as I use CF to train for my first marathon!

  10. Brittany

    HI! I’m new to the blog world. I’m exploring and I’ll figure out how to follow you. I am a vegetarian that sits close to the line of vegan (No eggs, no meat, no fish, but cheese and milk are my vices). Anywho, I do crossfit and unfortunately everybody at my box tends to tell me I won’t be able to (fill in the blank) unless I start eating meat. I’m on year 15 as a vegetarian. I spent 8 of those years as a vegan. I push myself harder and I do better than most of the meat eating females at the gym. So, I’ll stick to my morals and crossfit.

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