Tag Archive | cj

Raising The Bar

**Sidenote:  I know, I still have to write about the Warrior Dash**

It has been fascinating to me the last 2 weeks as I have slowly watched my expectations for myself get dashed and slashed. In a good way.

I am noticing how I compare myself against other women who do Crossfit, or anything for that matter, but in particular, Crossfit.   I tend to think of myself as not as strong as the other women.  Or not as fit as the others.  I tend to allow myself to think that my workouts will always be scaled, in comparison to the other women.  I don’t compare myself at all to the men.  There is nothing to compare against.  Most men, will always be stronger than me…as they should be!

This week, we had a workout that involved doing deadlifts (5 reps) of the maximum weight you can lift.  CJ kept adding weight on and as I tried to calculate exactly how heavy this sucker would be as I added a 4th weight to each end of the bar, CJ stopped me and simply told me to quit trying to figure it out and to pick up the Bleeping Bar.

I tried and tried.  CJ coached me over and over on how to lift the bar and how to get it up.  He pointed out what I was doing wrong and what would make it easier. I still couldn’t life the bar up all the way to a full standing position. Finally he told me to take the last weight off each end (10 lbs off each end) and to lift the bar.  I did.  Twice.  Then three more times.

CJ wrote that weight down as my max rep weight. 155 lbs.  Which means he had me attempting 175 lbs!!  WTF!  He is crazy!  I can’t lift that much!  I am not strong enough!

The next morning, I couldn’t move.  Seriously.  It took me 40 minutes to be able to roll out of bed so I missed my morning Crossfit and wasn’t even sure I would be able to make it to an evening session.  It hurt to breathe!

By the end of day I was good and went anyway.  As I looked at the board, I saw Monday’s workout numbers displayed for all to see.  This is what I noticed.

Few women had a max rep weight of MORE than 155.  Only a few had at LEAST 155.  Many had less than 155.   As I looked at that board, I realized how often I sell myself short, and yet get super pissed when others judge me in the same manner.  I smiled and shook my head as I realized, once again…I am stronger than I think I am…

So CJ’s job is to continuously raise the bar for me.  Often I think he is out of his mind to think that I can do the things he asks, and yet…I always do what he asks.  Perhaps not perfect, but I do give it my all. Daniel thinks I can lift over 200.  He is crazier than CJ!

So there is this other board that has writing all over it in the gym.  It is a board where everyone has written their 6 month goals down.  I have not written anything on this board as of yet.  I have no idea what to expect to be able to do in 6 months…but I am gonna.

The other thing we did this week is pull ups.   I cannot do a single pull up. Right now when the class does these, I jump and pull on the bar, but that is about it.   Well this week, CJ was teaching everyone how to actually walk through the mechanics of a pull up.  He had me walking through it all too, as though I was going to be doing them sooner than I think.

So I am thinking….perhaps in 6 months I will be able to do a pull up. Perhaps that is what I will write on the board.

Raising the bar for myself…as CJ continues to raise it from his end.

Merciful Encouragement

Today’s workout was intense, to say the least.  Halfway through I was not even sure I could finish it and part of me wanted to quit.  The other part of me would not let myself quit, no matter what.

So the next best thing would be if CJ would scale my workout.  Sometimes when he scales things it is either a lower weight than others or it is less reps than others.  Part of me was hoping he would see me struggling and scale my reps back (because he already lowered my weight)

Thank goodness he didn’t because I might have  been mad at him.

Struggle is not always a bad thing.  Pushing through the struggle is what makes us better.  I am sure he and Eric(yet to be introduced) were watching my form to make sure I wasn’t getting too fatigued or too out of wack such that I might have gotten injured. I am really grateful they did NOT scale me on my number of reps, even if during the moment, part of me wished they would.

SO here is what we did for the workout.

  • 50 push jerks (10 lbs on each end of a bar that I think weighs 25 lbs)
  • 25 pull ups (my modified version was jumping and pulling up at the same time since I cannot do a pull up yet)
  • 40 push jerks (CJ lowered my weights to 5 lbs weights on the bar)
  • 20 pull ups
  • 30 push jerks
  • 15 pull ups
  • 20 push jerks
  • 10 pull ups
  • 10 push jerks
  • 5 pull ups

DONE

By the time I got to 20 push jerks, pretty much everyone else was done.   This is where I was really wanting CJ to scale it for me, not because I couldn’t push through the struggle, but because my pride was rearing up and I wanted to be done with everyone else.  I hate that I can’t always keep up with the rest.

My hands hurt, my shoulders were burning, my quads were aching…and along came Seth(another Crossfitter who shows up at 6 AM), CJ, Eric, and “the blonde girl with amazing legs”… were all there cheering and shouting in my face for me to keep going.  They were counting down the reps for me.

It is amazing how when you feel most spent, that extra encouragement is enough to help you push through the pain and finish strong.

When you are an observer watching this, as I was a couple weeks ago, it can look like people yelling at you, showing you no mercy.  But when you are the recipient of people yelling in your face, telling you not to quit, to push through, to not drop the bar…it is the most merciful thing ever…and is most energizing.

Today I am grateful for the merciful encouragement of others who believed that I could finish, when I wasn’t so sure.

I Saw Jesus!

I went to Crossfit today.  This is what we did.

5min Jump Rope
2min Air Squat
2min Hand Release Push Ups
5min Jump Rope
2min Air Squat
2min Hand Release Push Ups

400m Run

3min Deadlift (155/100)
1min Burpees
3min Deadlift
1min Burpees

400m Run

2min OH Squat (45)
2min KB Swing (53/35)
2min OH Squat (45)
2min KB Swing (53/35)

400m Run

5min Sit Ups
3min Mountian Climbers
5min Sit Ups
3min Mountain Climbers

The ONLY thing that got scaled on my workout is my run.  Only 200 meter runs, instead of 4.  My deadlifts were 95 lbs, MY OH squats were probably 25-or 35 lbs and my kettle bell swings were 35 lbs.

Oh and I didn’t use a rope to jump rope, cuz if I do, I spend more time untangling it than jumping it. I wish I had the rope today.  That would have provided a little break as I untangled things.

This workout was called the never-ending workout.  I swear it was never going to end.

By the end, I was nauseous (tho I wouldn’t admit it to CJ at the time) and so done.  I would swear I was dying and could almost hear Jesus welcoming me home with a solid “Well done my……”

When suddenly I hear CJ, “Hey Kim, You’re not gonna puke on me are you?”

I shook my head and in doing so shook the vomit back down…..and struggled through the last 90 seconds.

That was 57 minutes of awfulness.

Awful Goodness.

🙂

The Crossfit Way

Tonight I went to an evening session of Crossfit. I got there about 30 minutes early and was watching the 5:30 session go to work on what can only be described as a hellish workout.  CJ was in a form I had never seen him in.  He had about 10 women he was coaching and he was yelling like crazy!

Things I heard…

“Let’s GO!  Pick up the bar!”

“DO NOT walk away!”

This is a 20 minute workout, why  are you making it a 30 minute workout?!”

He was in these girls faces as they struggled through the workout.  He would not let them quit, give up or pause too long.

On some faces I saw a desire to smack him.  I also saw a determination to not quit.  I also saw a clear fight to NOT walk away and quit.  There was a battle going on for sure with some of these women.  It was not a cakewalk of a workout!

I was terrified for my time, because I knew I was next!

Towards the end a couple of women were really struggling.  SOme were finished and were catching their breath. Then I saw one girl come over to another and ask her how much she has left to do.  She told her what was left and began doing it with her.  Burpee for burpee.  Lift for lift.  Pull up for pull up.

This 2nd girl didn’t have to do this.  SHe was done.  But it seems this is the way of the Crossfitters.  No one’s really done until they are all done.  As I watched, there were others cheering the last of the girls on.  Men who were getting ready for the next session began cheering and encouraging the women to finish what they started.

CJ picked up a bar and began going lift for lift with a girl.

It was amazing to see the level of committment these Crossfitters have to finish what they start and to help others finish too.  It was reminiscent of Ben…when he runs with me.  Or Aaron and Erin and Leann who got me through Nashville…or Coach the very first time I ran 3 miles in a tri…or any of my other beloveds in GR.

I like this place.  I think I will stick around.

Oh and as for my workout.  It was hella hard.  CJ was yelling constantly…but I did it.  Me and two ridiculously fit men.

Conversations In The Gym Episode 1

I think that some of the things that are said in the Crossfit Gym are either really funny or challenging or just make me wanna say hmmm….so I think this blog title might become a series…we shall see.  Don’t hold me to it though.

Friday was my first official day with Crossfit where I can go as much as I want.  I am done with the on-ramping process and no longer need to see CJ one on one.  This is great because it provides me with greater flexibility to go whenever I want as opposed to when it works for both of our schedules.

So Friday’s workout was a killer. He decided that was the day to try to perfect my squat which is apparently more of a bending over than a sit down.  Who knew.  No one ever told me that before.

But the other killer thing he had us doing were called “Wall Walks”.  This is a doozy of a maneuver.  You start lying on the ground on your stomach with your feet touching a wall.  The idea is you get into the up position of a push-up then walk your hands backwards as your feet walk backwards and up the wall.  You continue to walk backwards until you are in a full on handstand with our belly touching the wall.  YOu are not done yet because then you have to walk back down.  You cannot just fall over.  Then repeat.  10 times.

No joke.

CJ demonstrated like it was no problem at all!

I watched in awe and fear.  There is no way I can do this and told him so.

He agreed but hadn’t come up with the scaled edition for me yet.

I started on my squats and watched as he placed a box the size of a rubber made tote at a point on the wall.  When it was time to do the wall walks, he told me my job was to put my feet on the box and hold a push up position for 15 seconds.  Twice.

Let’s just say this was hella hard.  I am not sure I made a full 15 seconds.  I was trying to count slow and even, but I am certain that my counting sped up near the end!

Now to the conversation piece.

As the rest of the group started doing their wall walks and I was still doing my modified burpees, CJ started yelling at them.  I thought they were doing an amazing job, but apparently not.

CJ:  Let’s go guys!!  Get this right!  You need to set a good example for Kim!  No slacking!

Seth:  I don’t think we need to worry about Kim!  She has been here like EVERYDAY!!  She is already a glutton for punishment!

I haven’t been there everyday…but I like the impression I am leaving behind when I am there.

Hardcore.  Badass.

🙂

For your viewing pleasure, check out a video of wall walking.  The other things demonstrated are box jumps and toe to bars.

Things I Am Noticing

  • This week I wore three skirts that I have not worn since I was in the 290’s over a year ago.
  • I no longer seem to fear food as much.  By this I mean, I am not afraid to eat the egg yolks because of the fat content in them or to eat beef because it is higher calories than chicken.  I am enjoying reasonable portion sizes of meat and unreasonable amounts of vegetables of all kinds and reasonable amounts of fruit!
  • I am finding great freedom in not counting calories.  It has been suggested before that I try an intuitive eating method before and I was too afraid of myself to try it.  I thought for sure that I did not have the self-control to eat in such a way.
  • I ate some chips with my nephew at the movies the other day, after ward I felt awful.  Not in a guilty, self condemning way, but in a physical way.  I was lethargic and totally lacking energy.  I hated that feeling.  Chips are just not worth it.  Lesson learned.
  • As I look back over the last three years I know fully and without a doubt, I never lost focus.  I may have had to back up the truck and regroup at times, but my mission and my vision have remained constant.  I am committed to losing weight and being healthy.   The path to get there may have changed often, but my destination has always been the same.
  • I am getting stronger every day.  I already see improvements in my push-ups.  I was not expecting to see such huge gains physically so quickly!
  • When CJ introduces a new exercise to me or gives me some crazy weight to lift, I am intimidated out of my mind…for a moment.  Then I remember…I can do this and all things through Him who strengthens me.  I also remember if it really is physically impossible for me in THIS moment, CJ will recognize this and will ask for just a little more than I think I can do, then will scale the rest down…and it won’t be impossible forever.
  • I have noticed that when driving and at work, I seem to sit up straighter.  And when I car dance I am noticing a distinct use of abdominal muscles.  I think this means my core is getting stronger!
  • I am actually SEEING the results in my own body and as a result my obsession with the numbers is so much less.  I still want to know them, but not in an anxious way.  I want to know for curiosity’s sake.  I am curious to see how what I am seeing in the physical universe translates into a number.  I know I am gaining muscle so actual weight loss may not be as high as I think and at the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 20 lb loss when I next get on the scale.  Regardless, I know my Body fat is changing.  Besides, Aaron has done a pretty cool spreadsheet for me with graphs and charts.  I need a 2nd set of numbers to see it go to work!
  • Speaking of body fat changing, I notice things hang differently now and the fat in my legs in particular feels less dense, looser in some way.  Could this be because fat cells are being broken up?
  • One month ago I met Daniel and was terrified of his method and his plan proposal.  It was overwhelming and intense…and yet at the end of a really long conversation, one can’t help but get on board with his passion.  His passion doesn’t seem to be about weight loss as much as it is about whole health.  Weight loss is a definite by-product though.  While this blog has focused a lot of energy on the weight loss piece, I have always been on a journey towards whole health.  I am noticing that what once was super scary and intimidating…is so much easier than I thought.
  • I am happy.
  • I feel peaceful.
  • Grace abounds these days.  I am very clear that I know little of what it means to live a paleo lifestyle and I am also clear that I will not be perfect in it…at least not this month maybe not this year.  But I seem to have huge amounts of grace for myself in this.
  • Hope is restored.  It IS possible for me to lose weight!

 

If you are like me and have had a goal for a long time that you have been fighting for but has been dangling just out of reach…weight loss orotherwise…do NOT give up.  Keep pressing on.  The one who perseveres wins!

The New Men In My Life

CJ, the torturer and Daniel, the AA sponsor for all things nutrition and exercise!

I thought since I had CJ and Daniel at the gym at the same time yesterday, for the first time, I would take a picture to officially introduce these two men to you.   CJ is on the left and is the owner of Crossfit Lowertown, where I now train.  Yes the background is the place I now train at.  More on that in a minute.  Daniel is on the right without his shirt.  He was in the middle of his workout when we took this picture.  Mind you, Daniel has been recovering from a shoulder injury and hasn’t done a ton of working out in the last 3 months, and he STILL looks like that!

CJ is my prime Crossfit torturer.  Even if he is not there and I am working with Eric(photo and intro to come later), he is the one who puts together the WOD’s (workout of the day) and therefore will always be the one to blame for any aches and pains I feel.  I am sure he doesn’t mind taking on this blame though.  Last week, at the end of a workout he asked if I felt good.  Well, good is relative in these situations because you are completely spent, but you feel great about what you accomplished.  Good will come.  So I said yes.  He gave me an evil grin and said “You won’t!”  then sent me off for two more run laps.   During that same workout, I wanted to curse him, instead I just smiled as I walked past him and told him I loved him.  Love was not the feeling I had as he just grinned.

If you recall, Daniel is the one I call my AA sponsor to all things nutrition and exercise.  He is working with my nutrition and taking me to a Paleo diet, one step at a time.  He is checking in with me all the time about my workouts and these things he wants me doing called Affirmations (basically erasing the negative tapes in my head and replacing them with positive thoughts).

That background is the gym I workout in now.  There is nothing froo froo about this place.  Not even a water fountain.  That tire they are posing on?  I was flipping that about 10 minutes before.  It is a pretty bare bones place.  I was pretty intimidated the first time I walked in.  Scared out of my mind is probably more accurate.  Then I realized, CJ and Eric are actually pretty nice and totally believe I can do any crazy thing they ask of me.  I also realized that the people who come there are pretty nice too…and normal.  That is until yesterday.  Yesterday I was back to intimidated.  As I was waiting to get started, about 6 men walked in from a field workout without their shirts on.  Being a girl, I noticed.  However, I was really hoping they would leave before CJ was ready for me.  I am NOWHERE near where they are in fitness.  They were pretty much perfect.

CJ and Daniel keep telling me I will get there.  My goals will be reached.  25 days in, I have no reason to doubt them other than 2 years of hard work that pretty much yielded nothing but gains despite multiple trainers.  This first 25 days though is countering the 2 years of history in major ways.  I don’t usually SEE what the scale reveals to me.  This time I am seeing changes and I don’t even know yet what the scale or measuring tape says.  My clothes are getting looser and my bathing suit has the ruching it was always supposed to have, but didn’t.  They told me yesterday, that if I follow the plan, I could be to 150 lbs by end of next summer.

That bit of hope, I am working hard to put out of my brain.  Right now, that is too much to hope for.  I told them they cannot speak of a year from now to me in terms of weight loss.  For now, I need to simply get good at Crossfit and continue to refine my nutrition as Daniel and CJ guide me.  While I am enjoying the fruits of my labor (taking great delight in it all actually), I am frustrated to no end that my form is not correct in so many things and they have to constantly scale my workouts for my level.  The bane of being a competitor!