Gettin’ Fit with CrossFit

Have you guys heard about Crossfit? I posted about it in my last blog and prior to this weekend, I thought it was a place where only the super athletic went to lift humvees, jump on giant boxes and discuss the newest trends in eating like a cave man. (Remember when I tried the Paleo diet? That didn’t work out so well for me, but then again, neither did anything and know we now it was my craycray hormones. Yay for lab tests!) However, FitBloggin’ did me a solid in that I finally mustered up the courage to try crossfit as I knew I’d be surrounded by crossfit pals like Steve, Alan, Martinus, Erin and Dre. I’m not gonna lie, I was slightly terrified about joining the crossfit cult, but I made it through my hazing and I may now officially be a crossfitter.

Nervous and excited for my first crossfit! Photo by Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

Nervous and excited for my first crossfit! Photo by Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

What happened in CrossFit surprised me, because we only did about 15 minutes of actual exercise with the warm up and actual workout. I know, weird, right?! We started off learning a little bit about how crossfit works from friendly Reebok Crossfit coaches. Crossfit is defined as constantly varied functional movement performed at a high intensity, which means that every time you see the acronym WOD it means workout of the day, and it will always be different. We started warming up with jumping jacks, and then we learned the various types of moves we’d be doing – sit ups, push ups and AIR SQUATS. Now, I can drop it like a squat with the best of ’em, ‘cuz having a big old ghetto booty works well for squat-pros like me. However, I had never done an air squat, and that’s basically where instead of squatting down half way, you kind of drop your butt cheeks all the way to the floor and squat way, way down, using your arms to propel you. HOLY QUADS. I must never work my quads because everytime I sat on the toilet after the class (TMI, but that’s how I roll), I wanted to immediately stand back up. Burning, burning quads! Thank you air squats for awakening muscles that have been sleeping for years.

Steve demonstrating a perfect air squat with Alyssa following behind. Photo thanks to Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

Steve demonstrating a perfect air squat with Alyssa following behind. Photo thanks to Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

After we learned the moves, we were ready for our WOD – just four minutes of 9 push ups, 7 sit ups and 5 squats. You basically go as fast as you can while focusing on form. I was feeling pretty good because despite my lack of weight loss, I can definitely feel that I’m more physically fit. I think I made it through about five full sets by the time our coach blew the whistle, and by then I had worked up a pretty killer sweat. I stood up, knees shaking, ready for the next part of the workout… and then the coach announced we were done. Whaaaat? The workout was high intensity which was great, but I’m not so sure a 4-minute workout is going to cut it for me. According to my polar I burned about 76 calories, which is great for four minutes, but not great considering my usual boxing or bootcamp torches between 450 to 600 on a good day. I’m trying to keep in mind that this was just an example class so it’s probably unlikely to always be only a four minute workout, but at the same time, cool – crossfit might be great for busier days when you don’t have a full hour to devote to working out.  I know Alan and I were both like “Four minutes?! I wanted more!” Change is possible, folks — the girl who dreaded parking at the edge of the grocery store lot is asking for more cardio. Amazing!

My four minute taste was enough to get me intrigued, so in a few weeks, I’m going to check out Golden State Crossfit with my local fitbloggin’ friend Paula. She lives only 15 minutes away from me! Until then, tell me — what have you heard about crossfit? Would you try it? If you have tried it, do you like it?

 

 

5 Weeks of Boot Camp

Tomorrow morning is the first Monday in five weeks that I won’t force myself out of bed at 6:45 AM, hastily throw on some workout clothes, and rush to the park to sweat. I finished my five week Groupon and I’m happy to report that my boot camp was nothing but a positive experience, as it taught me several things:

  • While I am certainly not a morning person, getting a great work out before the day begins is awesome. It was done for the day and I went to work feeling nice and awake and stretched out and limber.
  • I have lazy tendencies, and need to push myself to work harder when it comes to fitness. My bootcamp instructor was great about encouraging me to do more, and it worked. Sometimes a gentle nudge is all I need.
  • Five weeks seems short, but it made A LOT of difference in my fitness regimen. How much? Let’s see!

On the first day of the class, we did baseline fitness testing where for one full minute, we counted the number of crunches, squats, sprints and “six inches” that we could do. Six Inches means you hold your feet and legs off the floor, six inches above the ground, using your core to support you.

Here’s my baseline fitness test next to my scores after five weeks:

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 9.40.07 PMI was most proud of my improvements on plank. For some reason, the plank is always the fitness move that eludes me, where I try and try to hoist my body up, teetering on my elbows like a hot dog held up by toothpicks. I’ve finally mastered it, and at the beginning of the five weeks, I thought I was going to die after 15 seconds – and now I can actually hold it up to a minute and 30 seconds. AWESOME!

As you can see above, I improved in every category except for sprints. I am tryiiiiing so hard to like running, but I think I finally hit the nail on the head for why it’s not uber enjoyable for me. It’s HARD to move this body, with an extra 70 pounds. I am agile, flexible and strong, but I am not FAST – and that’s so much of what running seems to be. However, I recognize that it’s an amazing cardio element, so I’m going to try to keep it up.

All in all, after five weeks of bootcamp, I lost 9 inches over all and greatly improved my fitness. I’m already debating signing up again because it felt so much more rewarding for me than my gym. As much as I love Zumba and boxing, this fitness regimen really got me movin’ and combined cardio and strength, and I loved being outside in the morning, watching the squirrels find their breakfast, seeing the sun rising up over the smoggy skies of Los Angeles.

As far as weight, I haven’t gotten on the scale since last week’s kerfuffle, but I’ll be back on it soon. When I’m done with school, I have an appointment with my doctor, just to double check that hormonally, everything is right. Sometimes you just have a feeling something’s wrong, and I want to just double check. In reflecting back, losing weight has been about 94% impossible for me the past year, so I just need to confirm that it’s all good in the hood and it’s likely behavior (food) and not physiology (hormones) that’s making this so challenging.

Anyhoo! So that was bootcamp! I surprisingly loved it.

I hope you have a fantastic Monday – I’ll be back tomorrow!