Category Archives: CrossFit

Heart Health

FYI – I’m failing on my Vegan CrossFit adventure.  After the soreness subsided from my first outing, I was left with a screaming IT band.  I’ve never had an IT band that tight before and rushed right to the chiropractor to cash in on a sports massage before my insurance deductibles rolls back to $0.  It hurt.so.good.

Lots of pigeon and stretching ensued for a solid week before I felt any relief.  This move worked wonders.

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The tight IT band was causing symptoms of my previous injury to emerge.  And I got scared.  So I’ve stopped my CrossFit adventure for the time being.  I’m really worried about all the squats, ball to wall, etc. as I’m convinced all the leg work and heavy lifting I was doing  in the past is what caused my injury (even though the doctors tell me it’s all the football and gymnastics I played as a child!?!).  Luckily, I have no pain today. 

I really enjoy lifting, but I also want to be able to say, “Nope.  I’m not doing that exercise”  and I don’t feel comfortable doing it in the Box since the workout is essentially a race, in a group environment, and sometimes with partners.  CrossFitters, can I ask for modifications? 

Anyways, I’ve been doing my own thang as the usual – a little bit of running, a little bit of spinning, a little bit of riding, a little bit of yoga, a little bit of swimming, a little bit of lifting.  I’m kinda wandering aimlessly without a big race I’m training for.    But…

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I did run a 5k on Saturday – the Palm Beach Turkey Trot.   I didn’t PR, but it felt good to get out there.  Actually, it hurt like hell.  It was in Palm Beach, so the run was beautiful.  We passed beautiful mansions, manicured lawns, and yachts galore.  It’s fun to see how the 1% live.  I could get used to that lifestyle.

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Honestly.   I couldn’t even look around much because I was so concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and thinking, “where the hell is that f-ing finish line?”

14/66 in Age Group.  8:33m pace.   26:29. 

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Not my best, but I got out there and did it.   And it was good to judge where I’m at in my running game.   And I also had to check myself against an article I recently read in the Health-e-Times magazine that I picked up as a freebie from the health food store.  Read on.

Heart Health by the Mile

How fast can you run a mile?  New findings in Texas may make you want to hop on the treadmill.  In two separate studies, researchers analyzed fitness levels of more than 66,000 people and found that, for middle-aged adults, how quickly they could run a mile was a strong predicator of long-term health.  “In both these studies, how fast you can run in midlife is very strongly associated with heart disease risk when you’re old,”  says Dr. Jarret D. Berry, coauthor of both studies. 

Dr. Berry calculated that a man in his 50s who can run a mile in 8-minutes or less or a woman who can do it in 9-minutes or less shows a high level of fitness.  Moderate fitness is represented  by a 9-minute mile for a man or a 10:30 for a woman, and men who can’t run faster than a 10-minute mile and women slower than 12-minutes fall into the low-fitness group.  The small difference in speed made a big difference in heart disease risk- participants in the high-fitness group had a 10 percent lifetime risk, while those in the low-fitness group had a 30 percent risk.  “If we’re trying to boil this down into practical implications, it’s the speed at which you can run,”  says Dr. Berry.  “Heart disease risk increases markedly for every minute longer it takes you to run a mile.” 

Okay, so I’m not a middle-aged adult, but I thought these findings were interesting.  I guess I’ll have to do a time trial in 20 years and see where I fall. 

Do you think a timed mile is an indication of your fitness level? 

Be well,
Carolyn

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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.

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Warm-Up
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.

Technique
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!

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