Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Workout 1/30: Grace @ 65

I need a lot of GRACE! I am so thankful for the grace that has been meted out to me throughout my life. Grace abounds in my relationships with my family, my wife, my kids, my co-workers, my students, my athletes, my church family, and most of all in my relationship with Christ. Today's workout was also named "Grace," but there is little grace given in the movement of the Clean and Jerk. One can definitely kill one's back if Grace is done improperly. So today was spent doing my own "Grace" while also coaching the movements of Grace to Tanya. Okay, so I am a not-so-perfect coach for this, but I tried. I hope she doesn't come away from this one with a pulled back. Light weight, light weight, light weight

CrossFit: Grace @ 65#
30 Reps of Clean and Jerk
(Time: N/A)*Photo courtesy of Coach Rut

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Workout 1/28: CrossFit Total--The Test

My students took final exams recently, so I figured it was time again to give myself the CrossFit Test. Actually, Coach Glassman of CrossFit decided to have athletes do CrossFit Total. Looking back on my last test in December, I noticed that I have a goal to reach by June of having a CFT score of 650. That means increasing my score by about 12 points a month. Definitely do-able!

CrossFit: CFT
Aim for Max Weight on:
Back squat = 215# x 1
Shoulder Press = 125# x 1
Deadlift = 265# x 1
Total: 605#

*Oh yeah, 650 will definitely be attainable! I twinged my back a little bit, so I need to slow it down a bit, but I will definitely make 650 by June. Now it's just bettering my score by less than 10# per month.*Yep, that shirt doesn't lie. Photo courtesy of CrossFit Victoria

Monday, January 28, 2008

Workout 1/26: Modified Nasty Girls

Boohoo! I missed CrossFit in the Park this morning! I missed working out with some of Chicago Police Department's finest! Garrrr! Lessons learned: leave earlier, don't always trust Google Maps, and have a back-up plan. Luckily, CrossFit always gives you a back-up plan. So my back-up plan included going to the crazy GloboGym and show them what Nasty Girls looked like.

CrossFit: Modified Nasty Girls
Three Rounds for Time of:
50 Squats
15 Pull-ups
15 Dips
10 95# Hanging Power Cleans
(Time: 20'01")

Workout 1/25: 400m Runs

Today I went to a wonderful professional development clinic for track and field coaches. Yes, the amount of new information was overwhelming for a new coach, but every little bit that sticks is going to make me a more effective coach. Curtis Frye, head track and field coach at the University of South Carolina, was the keynote speaker. If you are looking for motivation, listen to him sometime. Ah, the wisdom of our elders; it's a great gift.

CrossFit: 400m Sprints
4 x 400m Sprints
(On Treadmill: 8.0 mph, 8.5 mph, 8.7 mph, 9.0 mph)

*Ugh, running sprints on a treadmill takes all of the fun out of them. I cannot wait until these types of workouts are posted in the warmer months. Yep, I am already dreaming of the winter months. Sad!My athletes need a role model for track...Ana Guevara should be one of them!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Workout 1/24: Modified Tanya

So, I found this wonderful WOD on CrossFit Pierce County's website. I figured since my co-worker's name is Tanya, so we'd do her namesake. It's was a arm/shoulder/back intensive workout, so we had rubber arms for the first few periods of the day. I think I'm done working my arms for the week, so I am ready to do more running-based workouts. Good thing tomorrow is a Track & Field Clinic where we have been told to come prepared to be active. Maybe my arms will thank me for a day of rest. Too bad Coach Gio has warned me that Saturday's workout is going to be a doozy.

CrossFit: Modified Tanya
15-12-9 Rep Sets of:
55# Sumo Deadlift High Pulls
Ring Dips
55# Push Press

*So, ring dips are arms were shaking all over the place. So after trying ring dips each round and pounding out as many as I could, I swtiched over to Bar Dips. I could have up-ed the weight, but there's always next time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Workout 1/23: HSPUs, L Pull-Ups, Lunges

"Have you let them beat the creativity out of you already?" I am watching the movie "Speak" with my students in class today. It's the end of the semester, and many of them read this book as part of their independent reading, so I figured it was a nice end-of-the-semester reward for their hard work. This quote always strikes me because we as teachers have a job that requires balance. We need to tap into so many areas of students' skills and still make sure we are teaching the content that will help them succeed in life. Creativity is key! Teachers must be creative, we must dig for students to use their creativity, and we must acknowledge when students excel creatively. For all of my teacher readers, be creative this week at least once.

Speaking of creativity but trying not to sound like a broken record, CrossFit is perhaps the most creative fitness program I have ever participated in. What other program have you heard of that utilizes handstand push-ups or L-sits or L-Pull-ups? Sure, gymnastics uses these on a regular basis, but not many fitness programs for the general public would use them. Thank you CrossFit for pushing me to something uncomfortable, new, fun, and beneficial.

CrossFit: HSPU, L-PU, WLS
As many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of:
3 Handstand Push-ups
6 "L" Pull-ups
9 Walking Lunge Steps
(6 Rounds + 3 HSPU + 4 Pull-ups)

*After Round 4, I gradually moved from "L" Pull-ups to "V" Pull-ups to "High Knee" Pull-ups to Regular Pull-ups. I think my abs are going to be a bit sore tomorrow...good!*Photo courtesy of CrossFit Oakland

Monday, January 21, 2008

Workout 1/21: 5k

I miss running! I haven't been running in a long time, so I was thankful when I saw it come up on CrossFit. Too bad it is frigid outside! I miss a nice warm run along the Chicago Lakefront.

CrossFit: Run 5k
For Time:
(Time: 24'58" Pace: 8'02"/mile)

*Running brought memories and desires of marathons back into my life. I am now contemplating possible races and goals. And per the last blog entry, I spent a long time getting stretched out today.Time to go read Strength to Love.

Workout 1/19: The Turdy Thirty (Five)

Recovery: If things are out of whack, take a break. Not sleeping well? Take a break. Muscles super-sore? Take a break. Never feel like you can shake that cold? Take a break. I have been reading some stories lately of people who have driven themselves to injury, and the common thread among all of them is that they didn't listen to their bodies. All of the questions above reflect issues that they were having a week or two before their bodies decided to make itself take a break by getting injured. In the CrossFit community and any other fitness/sport community, people need to learn how to check their prides at the door. We have a tendency to say, "3-2-1, GO!" and not stop because we want to reach a certain goal. Let's learn from those around us and start listening to our bodies. They tell us fascinating stories if we just stop to listen. As for me, I'm feeling fine, so...."3-2-1, GO!"

CrossFit: The Turdy Thirty (Five)
For Time:
35 Box jump, 18-20 inch box
35 Jumping pull-ups
35 Kettlebell swings, 35# Dumbbell
Walking Lunge, 35 steps
35 Sit-ups
35 Push press, 45 pounds
35 Back extensions
35 Thrusters, 20# Dumbbells in each hand
35 Burpees
35 Tuck Jumps
(Time: 28'56")
*My gluteus maximus was yelling at me while all day the next day. Shame on me for not properly stretching out afterwards. Lesson learned!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Workout 1/17: Modified Lynne

Yay! Another chance to see how far I have come since starting CrossFit. Today's workout was "Lynne," and I was able to use a previous effort to compare today's with. Okay, so that sentence was grammatically incorrect, and I am an English teacher; oh well. It's been fun seeing the changes in people around me who have begun to catch on to CrossFit. Susanne (my wife) showed off her new-found biceps yesterday. Tanya (my co-worker) claims to see the shoulders she wants for summertime. Steve (my friend) has lost body fat while recovering from knee surgery. Scott (my friend) has tauted the benefits he has seen using CrossFit. Gio (my CF "coach") continues to push his clients to excellence. So my encouragement to all is to get out there and try it. Sure some of the things look scary. You may say to yourself, "I haven't done a pull-up since grade school." If you stick with it, just like in anything, you will find improvement (as long as the thing you stick with is worthwhile and healthy).

CrossFit: Modified "Lynne"
5 Rounds for Max Reps of:
115# Bench Press
(23-8, 16-7, 12-5, 12-4, 11-4; 74 BPs + 28 PUs = 102)
*That's a 33 Rep improvement over last time! Okay, I didn't do "The Pack" modification because I wanted to do a comparison, but I think this proves that I need to increase the weight. Next time, more weight (3/4 Body Weight = 140#).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Workout 1/14: Pull-ups with Diane

Garrrr! My arms are super-shaky as I write this entry. I cannot believe how hard it is to type right now directly after CrossFit. I fit in two CF workouts this morning because I wanted to make sure I kept close to the CF schedule and because the scale wasn't kind to me this morning. That choice might have been a mistake, but I made it and now I have to live with the consequences.

Today is the beginning of the track season too, so I have to get out there with my athletes today and take a stab at coaching. Thanks to all of you who have given me encouragements over the past week. Your accountability and nice words will keep me trying and committed.

5-Minute Run
Dynamic Warm-up
CrossFit: Pull-ups on the Minute
(7 Rounds + 4 Pull-ups = 32 Pull-ups Total)
CrossFit: Modified Diane
21-15-9 Rep Sets of:
185# Deadlift
Handstand Pull-ups
(Time: 14.01)

When comparing "Pull-ups on the Minute" to December 5th, you'll see that there was no improvement. That could be because I weigh a bit more now than I did on 12/5/2007. At least I am not regressing in my performance.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Workout 1/11: Modified Michael

"It's my birthday, and I'll cry if I want to..." And CrossFit almost made me cry this morning; at least it made me grunt a few times. Sorry to my co-workers who had to hear that. I am officially 30-something, which means for the next 9 years I will have straight and crooked numbers after that initial 3. *Whistling "Happy Birthday to me" in my head.

CrossFit: Modified Michael
3 Rounds for Time of:
800m Run
35 Back Extensions
35 Sit-ups
(Time: 23.06)

The two previous Michaels that I reported were as Rx'd, but as of the new year, I decided to focus on doing the modified WODs from Brand X Martial Arts. So, it was hard to compare, but I think this will be much better for me and my progress at becoming more physically fit. I'll still be sore, but at least I won't kill myself either.*Now there's a poster I'll have to get for my track team. Courtesy of Lon Kilgore. My coaching career starts this coming Monday...I'm so nervous, but excited too.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Workout 1/9: Modified Cindy

CrossFit: Modified Cindy
As many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of:
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats
(7 Rounds + 5 Pull-ups)

As easy as it sounds to only workout for 12 minutes, if you do it right and you make a full effort, you will be toast after this one. My arms were extremely rubbery after Cindy, and the pull-ups were nearly impossible by the final round. The fun thing about these workouts is that they reveal nearly every weakness. Tanya, my co-worker, did an awesome job with her modified Cindy (Puppies @ 14 Rounds of Jello-Arm Fun). CrossFit Teachers Rock!*Loads of fun stickers can be found NOW at Check them out! They make a wonderful birthday present for your most admired CrossFitter. Birthday? Did someone say birthday? I know someone who's birthday is this only get one guess.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Workout 1/7: Front Squats

Ah, back to school. It was refreshing not having to go to the gym and working out in the quiet of the school's weight room. Now it's time to dig in and brace myself for the next five months which includes finishing grad school, coaching track, gymnastics class with Evie, church growth groups, and finding time in the hectic schedule to hand out with my family. The past two weeks were a blessing to spend with my family because free time isn't going to be a easily accessible commodity anymore.

CFWU x 2
CrossFit: Front Squats 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1
10 Single Reps of Front Squats adding weight each time to reach max.

Front squats, one of the most difficult movements to get right especially when you don't have a proper rack. Using the Smith Machine (without the assistance) was my best option, but still not the most comfortable for an already uncomfortable move. Since I hadn't done front squats for max weight before, I didn't know where to start. But I think I hit a good max for this time around. I am sure there will be more opportunities this year to see improvements.*Eva T. demonstrates the front squat c/o The Fitness Conduit

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Fun at The MSI

Workout 1/5: Playing with Sand in the Snow

Two treats in two days...I must be lucky. Yesterday was a great time with an old friend, and today was a Wilson Park Workout before heading back to the daily grind or teaching. I got in a super workout that will leave me sore as I walk into my classroom again for the first time in two weeks. It has been a great winter break for me and my family to decompress a little and gear up for six months of hectic-ness. But I know we will survive!

CrossFit: Playing with Sand in the Snow at Wilson Park
Rep sets of 21, 15, and 9 of:
40# Sandbag Cleans
60# Bear-Hug Squats
Wall (Tree) Ball
Ring Push-ups

*Thank you Coach Gio for working us through the sandbag cleans. I did cleans the previous day and learned the importance of creating pop by opening up the hips. Gio is always so good at correcting form. Once I got a hold of that, cleans with the sandbag really became efficient and effective. My least favorite of all of those movements = Bear-Hug Squats. Now I sort of know what it is like to be a firefighter. That's all I could picture in my mind was having to rescue a 60# person from a smokey room. I hope I never have to do that, but it makes you appreciate the work firefighters do.*Photo courtesy of Ross Training

Workout 1/4: Power Cleans

It was so great to see, talk, and workout with my high school buddy Scott. It has literally been years since we have see each other, so it was a special treat. Yes, business was at hand too; he was gracious enough to allow me to pick his brain about coaching track and cross country. He gave me many great ideas on getting started, so now I just have to put it all into a plan and execute it. One of my goals for the year is to have a successful track season, meaning no forfeits and completing an entire season (something our school hasn't done for the past three years). I know it can be done; it's just going to take major commitment.

Part of our time together was going to the gym to work out too. It's always great to have someone there to experience all the pains and glories with you. I did my CrossFit stuff, which wasn't a whole lot, and he put me through a killer "core" workout. That just exposed a major weakness of mine, so now I have something new to work on. New Year = New Core! I just have to stick with it. I just read a quote in the newest issue of "Runner's World" that I will have to remind myself of as I work on that area.

Josh Cox: "You're not going to feel good the first few weeks doing this core workout, but once you get past that, you'll experience the benefits. You'll feel stronger, and your find yourself holding correct form longer when you run."

CrossFit: Power Cleans 3-3-3-3-3
Go for max weight on the last set of 3:

*When the weight gets up there, it is so hard to create the momentum to pop the weight. I need to work on opening up my hips and really popping the weight. I did surprise myself though that I was able to hit 135#.Sad to say, Scott and I did not look this good when doing our cleans...but image isn't everything, right?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Workout 1/3: Pull-ups and Dips

Muscle-ups? Yeah, right! Here are my excuses for not doing muscle-ups:
#1: No have to have rings, don't you?
#2: Not man, not yet at least.
#3: No one to walk me through the steps...I need training wheels.
#4: I just want to make excuses...

CrossFit: Muscle-up Modification
15 Muscle-ups for Time = 60 Pull-ups + 60 Dips For Time
I obviously chose the 60/60 combo.
(Time: 17.32)

*I thought my triceps were about to burst out of my arms. I am glad I did it in sets of 6 each (6 pull-ups, 6 dips, 6 pull-ups, 6 dips, and on and on). One day, one day, I will try a muscle-up...GIO, I NEED YOUR HELP! C'MON COACH!*Photo courtesy of Aggressive Health.

Workout 1/2: Modified Helen

"Helen" is always near and dear to me since it was one of my first CrossFit girls to kick me in the head. So, what a great way to start of a new year...revisiting an old friend. I have made a decision that will impact the workouts you see done here on my blog. I have decided to stay consistent doing the "Pack" WOD modifications in 2008. That way I have a real understanding of my abilities. Last year I was jumping all around from "Buttercup" WOD modifications to "as Rx'd." I think I finally understand CrossFit enough and have worked my way up to point where "Pack" WOD modifications are where I need to be. For those of you unfamiliar with modifications to CrossFit workouts, check out the Forum at Brand X Martial Arts. They have great modifications for every level.

CrossFit: Modified "Helen"
Three Rounds for Time of:
400m Sprints
40# Dumbbell Swings x 21
Pull-ups x 12
(Time: 16.32)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Workout 1/1: Shovel Snow

Cheers to a Happy New Year!

Workout: Shovel Snow
Dress warmly, pick up shovel, scoop up snow, throw it to the side. REPEAT until in-law's drive-way and sidewalk are clear.