Friday, November 30, 2007

Workout 11/30: Elizabeth

So today I added a new feature to this blog..."CrossFit Teachers." I have been so inspired to see more and more teachers write on their blogs that they are making CrossFit their workout of choice. The community of CrossFitting teachers is growing! This means that more and more students are seeing models of physical activity and fitness in school environments where physical activity and fitness are being limited by fewer gym classes and recess times. My hopes are to start a track and cross-country team here at my school, and I think CrossFit will make its way into some of our training. I am also loving the various threads and videos on running technique that are beginning to show up on the CrossFit site. It's giving me more ideas on how to actually coach these sports seeing as I have never coached these sports before. But the interest is there for the students; how could I say "No" to that?

So the week of being battered and bruised by the "Girls" of CrossFit is over. On paper, the workouts look easy, but I was shown quickly that they are evil. I suppose this just shows me that I have a long way to go with this program. This is a good thing though, since I really enjoy CrossFit and look forward to a future of using it.

CrossFit: Elizabeth
Rep Sets of 21-15-9 for Time:
75# Cleans
Bar Dips
(Time: 16.07)
*I tried to start out with 95# on the cleans, but realized quickly that I would not be able to sustain that load. Dropping to 75# was perfect because I still wasn't able to do the sets without breaking.
*Photo courtesy of Mike's Gym. This is what I feel like doing all weekend, but I should probably do more than that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Workout 11/28

I don't have much wit or wisdom to spread today, so here's my workout.

CrossFit: "Nancy"
5 Rounds for Time of:
400 meter Run
45# Overhead Squats x 15
(Time: 20.30)

Here's a picture of power! I tried to get low in my squat like this, but I have a long way to go!
*Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Workout 11/27: Back to the Beginning

When I started CrossFit, my very first named workout was "Helen." This time around, I must have been sleeping when I was writing the workout on my hand because I totally misread the reps on the dumbbell swings. So, my time is still not accurate, but there will be more opportunities to do it right. This is the "Week of CrossFit Girls" since I took a break from the routine around Thanksgiving time. So this week it's Helen, Nancy, and Elizabeth...three workouts that are bound to leave me totally trashed at the end of the week. But I am excited to be back to workouts that require a bit of running. I must admit that I do miss running after marathon training over the summer. Yes, I was ready for the end of marathon training, but it doesn't take long for that bug to bite again.

CrossFit: "Helen" (misinterpreted and modified)
Three Rounds for Time of:
400m Run
55# Dumbbell Swings x 12
Assisted Pull-ups x 12

*One day I'll get it right! If she can do it right, I can do it right!

*Aren't kids amazing! I signed my daughter up for a Mom, Pop, and Tot gymnastics class starting in January. I can't wait to "work out" with Evie! Photo courtesy of

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Four Days of Thanksgiving

It's good to be back in Chicago after spending time with family for the past four days. Yes, I love my family, but being away from home in Chicago is hard. My parents were gracious enough to let us stay another night in Grand Haven, MI. My wife's parents were awesome to host a whirl-wind 1st birthday party for my nephew Calvin. But arriving home last night felt good. There is a definite comfort to being in a place you call home and a bed that you call your own (even though we need a new mattress).

Thanksgiving week provided wonderful opportunities for me to share things with my wife and my parents. Susanne and I went out for a nice run on Thanksgiving morning, and we spent the whole time listing things that we were thankful for over the past year. It's amazing to see how many things we really do have to be thankful for. I had special moments as well to share with my dad as we shopped together. He shared som things with me about his father who I never met since he passed away long before I was born. It makes me wonder what my children will remember about me and say about me after I am gone from this world.

11/22: Run with wife (Distance: ???, Time: ???, Mood: Thankful!)
11/24: 50-40-30-20-10 rep sets of: Push-ups, Sit-ups, and Squats (Untimed)

*No, Gio, I did not do the Power of 10. I'd love to try it some time, but I didn't have a partner nor the right equipment for it. I look forward to more workouts designed by you.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Workout 11/21

Yay! Vacation starts soon! It's going to be a light day with my students today, and then we are going to hit the road to Michigan. What a lovely trip it will be when it starts to snow (notice the sarcasm)! I just hope people remember what it's like travelling in snow so that the roads stay safe. In preparation for Thanksgiving, I set out to do the "Filthy Fifty" this morning. See how I did below. Most Thanksgiving mornings start out with a 5K race, but since we are going to be somewhere different, I am taking my family out on a nice little run together tomorrow morning. I can't wait to see the kids all bundled up. Evie has been begging to wear her boots, so if there's snow in the morning, she'll finally get her chance. Oh, what fun that will be! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

CrossFit: "The Ilthy Fifty" a.k.a. The Not-quite-complete Filthy Fifty
For time:
50 Box jump, 24 inch step
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Dumbbell swings, 30#
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows (improving)
50 Push presses, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Thrusters, 15# Dumbbells in each hand
50 Tuck Jumps
30 Burpees (supposed to be 50)
(Time: 50.21)
*I walked away from this twice while doing the Burpees. I was going to stop short, but I kept going back telling myself, "You HAVE to complete this since tomorrow is Thanksgiving...EARN that yummy stuff!" Well, I didn't quite complete it, but I am happy with what I did. My body is trashed! I figured going at it for 50 minutes made up for shorting the Burpees by 20. On a happier note, my Knees-to-Elbows are totally improving. My knees don't touch my elbows yet, but my knees are getting higher and turning in toward my elbows. SO EXCITING! This shows me what hard work can actually do and how it pays off eventually. That motto says it all! Photo courtesy of CrossFit Eastside.

Monday, November 19, 2007

WHOA! Determination...

Want to see what heart is all about? Want to see how determination can drive you to a goal? Watch this clip and read this article! But be warned, you might want to fortify your stomach first.

Workout 11/19...Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

This is how I felt after today's workout!This week is chock full of wonderfully painful workouts since Thanksgiving dinner is just around the corner. Yes, I know I should still approach the holidays with an inkling of moderation in mind, but when it comes down to it, I don't always have the self-control that I need. Since starting the Zone, my body craves sugar like no other. Sugar has always been my weak link, so when starting something that restricts sugar intake to nearly nothing, my body goes into this "gimme, gimme, gimme" mode. I'm like the Cookie Monster before he became health conscious in the age of political correctness. Saying this is like my way of asking you all to keep me accountable. We'll see how it worked.

CrossFit: "Michael" as Rx'd
Three Rounds for Time of:
800m Run
50 Back Extensions
50 Sit-ups

*Photo courtesy of Ade Miller

CrossFit in the Park 11/17

Yet another brisk Saturday morning was warmed up nicely by a little bit-o CrossFit in the Park. What I didn't know was that this workout would leave me with a little bruising where I least expected it...on my forearms. Why forearms you might say...well, today was my first experience with kettlebells. If you don't know what kettlebells are, Google them. I had always subbed dumbbells for kettlebells when I did CrossFit workouts in the gym, so I had to learn a whole new piece of equipment. Bruising aside, I had a great time with the little group. It is a bit more inspiring to watch someone suffering through the same thing you are than to be alone in the process. I have found this to be true in all of my training experiences whether it be running, marathon training, or CrossFit. And I think my wife is catching the CrossFit-bug too. Just this weekend she walked through a WOD with her sister. We'll have to check in on her to see how sore she is. Well, here's what we did in the park today.

CrossFit in the Park:
"Kettlebells in the Park"--3 rounds for time of:
One-Armed Kettlebell Swings x 30 (15 each arm)
Kettlebell Push Press x 30 (15 each arm)
Kettlebell Push Jerk x 30 (15 each arm)
(I have not a clue what my time was; I was focused on form more than anything else since kettlebells were new to me)
*Photo of One-Armed Kettlebell Swing courtesy of CrossFit Rainier

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Workout 11/16

In case you wonder why I do CrossFit, I found the following quote from Jim Decker found in CrossFit Journal Issue #51. This quote sort of sums up my answer to that inquiry. It's kind of like the attitude behind my attempts at marathons too.

I am endlessly fascinated and impressed by civilians who
CrossFit. All the military, law enforcement, firefighters, MMA
champions and the like—we CrossFit to survive. Train
hard=fight hard=come home safe. Got it, no ambiguity there.
But what about the teachers, the businesswomen, the engineers, website designers, and all the rest who don’t (on a literal level) engage in mortal combat? What drives them to put themselves through the grueling events?

It seems to me that no external stimulus could be the answer.
CrossFit is hard. People quit (some even before they try) every day because it is hard. I think the drive must be internal, a competition with oneself, a continual test of one’s own limitations. This is where mental strength is born. External competition, while good and healthy, will only make you work just hard enough to beat the competitor to your left and right. Internal competition will push you farther, faster, and harder than any opponent ever will. As the man says, “Men will die for points.” Even more so, it seems, when the score to beat is one’s own.

CrossFit WOD: "Fran"
CFWU x 2
Three rounds, 21-, 15-, and 9-reps, for Time of:
65# Thrusters
Jumping Pull-ups
(Time: 10.35)
*So it doesn't seem like a very long workout, but you are very winded at the end. My chest cavity was sucking in breath after breath for quite a few minutes after this one.
Photo of Thrusters courtesy of CrossFit Budapest

Workout 11/14

I am currently reading "Ultramarathon Man." This book is about Dean Karnazes who has accomplished feats beyond imagination for some of us mortal beings--running the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run, surviving the march through Death Valley in the Badwater Ultramarathon, and trekking 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. If you desire some inspiration that will get you out and about, I suggest you read this book. There are so many little quips and sayings that stick in one's mind while reading this book. One that I just came across was a quote by Lily Tomlin; "Exercise is for people who can't handle drugs and alcohol." I am happy that I cannot handle drugs and alcohol, nor do I desire to have that ability. Exercise makes me feel pounded at the end, but the bounce back is so much more enjoyable than being strung out (at least I can assume that feeling although I've never experienced it).

CrossFit Workout:
CFWU x 2
7 Rounds for Time of:
65# Sumo Deadlift High Pulls x 10
Dips x 10
(Time: 21.04)

Sumo Deadlift High Pull photos courtesy of CrossFit Cape Fear and Diablo CrossFit

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Workout 11/12

Yes, my muscles are sore. Yes, I am tired out. Yes, I am going to workout! Does that sound crazy? To some people, yes. To me, no. Sore is far different than pain. Sore just tells me that my body is trying to work through its weaknesses. I find that I experience this soreness in many different areas of my life. I may be "sore" from work when I try to become a better, more organized teacher. I may be "sore" when I try to have a disciplined walk with Jesus Christ. My stomach may be "sore" when trying to change some bad eating habits (sometimes my brain is sore through this process too). So when my muscles are sore from working out or training, I just realize it is part of the process. Now if I were in non-functional pain...that's a whole different story.

CrossFit Workout:
CF Warm-Up x 2
As many rounds in 20 minutes or:
3 Assisted Handstand Push-ups
6 Assisted Pull-ups
9 Walking Lunge Steps
(I completed 10 rounds...I was rushing that last round to fit it in...whoa!)

*One example of an assisted handstand push-up courtesy of CrossFit London

CrossFit in the Park 11/10

Finally! I made it to a CrossFit workout at Wilson Park on Chicago's northwest side. I have been looking forward to this chance since the end of marathon training, so my family and I jumped at the opportunity provided to us by a weekend without too many plans. Our trainer, H. Giovanni Salazar, greeted us with a wide smile and a warm heart even though it was a bit cold outside.

Little did we know that we would be stripping added layers of our clothes rapidly once we got started with the warm-up and workout. Evie had a playground to run around and Ezra just chilled in the "Chariot." They became antsy later, but we were still able to participate in the workout. I can't wait until they are ready to begin working out with "Daddy" and "Mommy." What a joy that will be!

CrossFit in the Park Workout: "The Broomstick Mile" (all exercises done with PVC pipe, except the runs)
Run 400m
Back Squat x 50
Front Squat x 50
Overhead Squat x 50
Run 400m
Military Press x 50
Push-Press x 50
Push-Jerk x 50
Run 400m
Hanging Power Clean x 50
Hanging Power Snatch x 50
Run 400m

Ugh! That felt good! Soreness all weekend is a definite! THANKS GIOVANNI!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Workout 11/9

I don't have any wisdom to espouse today, so if you came here for that, I apologize. If you came to see what I did in the gym today, here it is:

CrossFit: Deadlifts 3-3-3-3-3 (that's 5 sets of 3 reps for maximum weight)
CF Warm-up x 2
Deadlift Warm-ups: 5 @ 135#, 5 @ 135#, 5 @ 155#
Deadlifts: 3 @ 185#, 3 @ 205#, 3 @ 205#, 3 @ 215#, 3 @ 225#

Form is crucial, otherwise you will end up with major back problems. However, deadlifts will work your back too. I am not certain that I have the best form, but will continue to practice it. I need a video camera. That way you all can give me pointers. Oh, and I guess I can use it to capture awesome family moments too!

Photo courtesy of CrossFit Eastside

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Workout 11/7

I can't believe it is November already! Not only that, but a whole week of November has flown by like the blustery wind here in Chicago. Today was a great day to get out and go to the gym...I didn't have to be at school until 11:30. Yey for report card pick-up day! I got to take Evie to the gym too. It's so fun to see her eyes light up when she gets to join "Daddy." I hope she continues to enjoy those times as she gets older.

CrossFit: Back Squats (single reps x 7)
CFWU x 2
10 45# Back Squats
5 95# Back Squats
1 115# BS
1 135# BS
1 155# BS
1 165# BS
1 185# BS
1 185# BS
1 195# BS (failed)

It is hard to not lean forward on the back squat when the weight gets heavy. I am looking forward to seeing how this improves as time and experience with CrossFit increases. I felt like my back was doing more work than my legs at certain points, and maybe that has something to do with where I am weaker. If anyone in the CF community has any words of wisdom on this, please comment. My running shoes might be another reason why I'm leaning forward more (i.e., the cushioning raises the heel slightly).

Looking forward to seeing what the group CrossFit workout in the park is like this Saturday. I am sure it'll put me on my butt.

*This is not me...yet! Photo courtesy of CrossFit Newcastle

Monday, November 5, 2007

Workout 11/5

I am at my goal weight! YAY! It has been 20 weeks since I started tracking my weight and trying to bring it down. Now I am at my goal weight and can't wait to see where things go from here. CrossFit is gearing up, so I know there's a good chance that I can stay in this range. I just have to remain consistent. This morning was the first time I worked out with some of my co-workers. Our little weight room seems to have enough to work with. There's no pull-up bar, but that just means that I get to modify the evil "Smith" machine. Yes, there is a use for a "Smith" machine, just not what it was intended for.

CrossFit: "Nasty Pups" (Brand X Puppies modification for Nasty Girls)
3 Rounds for Time of:
20 Squats
10 Pull-ups
10 Dips
10 #65 Hanging Power Cleans
Time: 16.05

*Pull-ups and Dips were hard due to sore muscles. Hanging Power Cleans were U-G-L-Y; I need help with form.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Workout 11/2

Yay, it's back to posting workouts! So my ankle is still a bit sore, but I can tell it is getting better. No running yet, no major leg workouts yet, but they are in coming in the foreseeable future. Today was back to a CrossFit regimen. For anyone interested in learning about CrossFit, go to The workouts and philosophy center around total fitness, not just specialized fitness, but there is room for specialized fitness using this method. One fun thing about the workouts is the names of some of the created ones. CrossFit has official workouts named after "girls" and soldiers who lost their lives in wars. Other creative affiliates name their workouts creatively too; you will see some of them being posted here. My goal with CrossFit is to be well-rounded in my fitness rather than specialized as a marathoner. I think this will keep me healthy and going with my family and with various sports. Now that that little advertisement is over, let's get into it!

CrossFit: Modified "Lynne" (5 rounds of Max Push-ups and Max Jumping Pull-ups)
Push-ups: 29-22-15-15-14 (Total:95)
Jumping Pull-ups: 15-11-7-7-7 (Total: 47)

*Proper Push-ups are "Nose and Chest to the floor and back up."