Tag Archives: workout

My experience as a Crossfit “athlete”

16 Sep

2 weeks ago, Jimmy, Danielle, Jenny Lewis, and myself competed in the 2012 edition of Moxie Madness, hosted by Crossfit Moxie in San Jose.  This was a 2-day even consisting of multiple timed workouts each day, similar to the format of the Crossfit Games, with each workout being scored separately.  The team with the fewest points across all of the workouts would be the winner.  The format was for 2 published workouts and a “floater” workout to be performed on Saturday, with an additional workout Sunday morning.  The top 10 teams from each division (Novice, Masters, Advanced) would compete in a final workout on Sunday to determine the winner…unfortunately Crossfit Los Altos didn’t get a chance to try this fifth workout.  But we DID get to try our hands at the following:

WORKOUT 1

For time (20 minute time cap)

12 Burpees 12 Front Squats (135lb/95lb)

12 Kettlebell Swings (32kg/24kg)

12 Box Jumps (30”/24”)

Suicide Sprints (~15/30/45′ each)

Team Crossfit Los Altos

Jenny and Danielle

WORKOUT 2

For Time:

25 yard prowler push for girl #1 @ 110lbs, guys run with them while holding 45lb plate

25 yards prowler push for girl #2, @ 110lbs, guy continue to run with them while holding 45lb plate

At the turn the guys will each put their 45lb plates on the prowler and take over.

25 yard prowler push for guy #1, @ 200lbs

25 yard prowler push for guy #2, @ 200lbs

Then…

300 double unders…. 2 guys, one guy working, switch as often as you want

75 Power Snatches @ 65lb ….2 girls, one girl working, switch as often as you want.

Cannot switch to next exercise until others are done! When guys have finished double unders and girls have finished power snatches they will switch exercises.

300 double unders…. 2 girls, one girl working, switch as often as you want

75 Power Snatches @ 95lb… 2 guys, one guy working, switch as often as you want

Then…

25 yard prowler push for guy #1 @ 200lbs

25 yards prowler push for guy #2, @ 200lbs

At the turn the guys will each remove their 45lb plates on the prowler and the girls will take over.

25 yard prowler push for girl #1, @ 110lbs, guy run with them while holding 45lb plate

25 yard prowler push for girl #2, @ 110lbs, guy run with them while holding 45lb plate

Danielle starting the prowler push

FLOATER WORKOUT

3000m team row

4 x 750m row, with a 5 yard sprint from the starting line to the rower.

SUNDAY WORKOUT (#4)

12min AMRAP for max reps

Hang Clean to Overhead anyway

x7 each RX @ 135lbs/85lbs

x5 each RX @ 165lbs/115lbs

MAX RX Alternating @ 205lbs/135lbs

To say that this was a lot of work to cover in 24 hours might be a bit of an understatement; even after the floater WOD – which we completed first – our legs and backs were a little tired and stiff.  Jimmy even felt a little twinge during the row, but powered through successfully for the rest of the weekend. The row did, though, act as a nice warm up for the other two workouts we would need to complete that day.  We were out on the field at Spartan Stadium – San Jose State’s football field – so it was incredibly hot and bright.  It’s quite a different experience working out in the middle of a turf field in the sun instead of indoors, with climate control, firm flooring, and no sun blaring down on you.  The nice thing about it was the crowd.  Having a couple hundred people cheering you on, music blaring, and a few dozen others competing all at the same time really gets the adrenaline going.  The weights seemed “heavy” during the warm ups, but once I heard “3-2-1 Go!” it was just time to start moving and race against the clock. We didn’t have the best scores, but that really wasn’t the point – we all worked hard and got out there to compete!  While Danielle is still actively competing in weightlifting, Jimmy plays basketball, and Jenny is an avid triathlete, this was my first time getting the competitive juices flowing in about 2 years (haven’t been able to get back into playing soccer).  It was great to feel the excitement and “in the zone” feeling of fighting for a win.  I don’t know about the rest of them, but it really instilled a desire to get back into competing – whether back at soccer, more Crossfit throwdowns, or possibly enter a weightlifting meet (as Rob keeps encouraging). We all workout for different reasons – lose body fat, increase muscle mass, stay “healthy”, relieve stress, and even to fulfill a sense of competition.  Whatever the reasons, it is a great feeling, as well as a wonderful exercise in motivation, to step out of one’s comfort zone and try something different (and maybe more difficult than you thought you were capable of).  What will your next physical challenge be?

Busting through those Late Winter Plateaus!

9 Mar

So you’ve made it to March on your New Years Resolution program of eating better, sleeping more, and getting some exercise, but now you’re running out of steam.  I get it: you put all your gusto into changing all of your habits at once, and you’re just a little bit fatigued at this point.  Yes! You HAVE seen some great results, but you want more!  What do you do when the program you have been so diligently following is getting stale and no longer giving you the results that you want?

This is the perfect time to change things up for the better, adjust your program to jump-start progress, and reinvigorate your enthusiasm for health and wellness.  With the weather warming up, why don’t you take your program outside?  There are plenty of ways to create challenging and fun workouts in the sunshine and away from all of the noise and clutter of the gym.  In addition, you’ll give yourself a needed dose of vitamin D after spending all those months cooped up indoors.

How about a complete change in program? After working hard for the last 3 months, nothing will get your exercise passion back like trying something different.  Personally, I like to completely revamp what I’m working on a few times each year.  This keeps me from feeling stale, as well as gives me new challenges to work toward.  For example, if you recently spent the last few months trying to really increase your strength in the gym with a progressive weight program, why not try a completely bodyweight program?  How do you add resistance you ask?  Well take that push up and invert it – handstand pushups are quite challenging, but work the same muscles that you would with a shoulder press or push press.

 

 

 

 

 

Why not finally master those pull ups you have been working on?  Nothing says I’m ready for the impending beach season like well sculpted arms and a nice strong back.  And I know that too many of you have avoided trying those pistol squats for fear of falling and making a fool of yourself.  Now is your chance to master all those 1-leg exercises that looked too intimidating.

And what about learning a new skill or sport?  I myself have endeavored to become proficient in the competition kettlebell lifts and the Turkish Get-up.  While training with kettlebells is en vogue these days, the competition lifts – and the training that goes along with them – is still something that I haven’t really experienced yet.  Even though I have been using kettlebells in my training for the last several years, I have no idea how many 1 arm snatches I can do in 10 minutes.  Think about something new that you’ve been dreaming about doing, and set your heart and mind to it.  Think of this as your New Year’s Resolution version 2.0!  Find yourself a qualified trainer or instructor in a new discipline and dive in.

Outdoor Workout

Sprint 50 yards

10 x Tree Stump Throws (can use a tire, sandbag, big rock)

10 x Tree Branch Pull Ups

10 x Log Lateral Hurdle Jumps

50 yard Bear Crawl

5 Rounds; 1 min. rest in-between

Bodyweight Workout

5 x Pistol Squats (each leg)

10 x Handstand Push Ups

15 x Inverted Rows on rings or bar

As many rounds in 15 minutes as possible

Kettlebell Workout

5 Sets

5 x Snatch/5 Windmill

10 x Swings

5 x 3 Turkish Get Ups (per side)

 

Let me know how you get through the next 3 months!

Why You Don’t Need Machines in Your Workout

28 Oct No Workout Machines

The contestants on The Biggest Loser work hard. They spend the majority of their day in the gym working with very talented personal trainers. For a brief period their life is focused around losing weight. We all know that just isn’t how it works in the real world though.

Even if we could have access to such a phenomenal gym and experienced trainers, sometimes exercise machines just do not translate well into real world fitness. And honestly, you do not need machines to complete an effective workout. The Biggest Loser actually proved that in season 11 when they brought in two new trainers who had more experience with mixed martial arts, CrossFit, and boxing than they did with fancy treadmills and cable equipment. The teams who worked in the non-traditional, no machines setting actually seemed to have better weight loss and strength results than those who stuck with treadmills and machines.

There are several reasons machines don’t translate well into real world fitness. First, they are designed to isolate muscle groups rather than work the body as a unit.  This can lead to muscle imbalances and potential injuries if agonist and antagonist muscle groups are worked evenly.

Second, exercise machines rarely allow you to move at a speed that motions occur in the real world.  Upper slow movements have low carryover to activities of daily living.

Third, exercise machines typically lock you into one movement plane. For example, leg extensions allow you to lift your leg at the knee up and down. That may be fine as part of a rehab program, but for real world fitness you’d perform walking lunges with trunk rotation side to side.  This would give you a more dynamic multi-plane movement.

Other limitations of exercise machines are:

Complete home gyms can cost several hundred to a few thousand dollars. The alternatives to home exercise equipment are much less expensive.

Exercise machines take up a lot of space. This is especially important factor to consider if you live in a small place. Even models that slide under the bed need to be slid out and set up somewhere. While we can all dream, not everyone’s “real world” includes an extra room in their house dedicated to fitness equipment.

Exercise machines don’t travel well. You can’t just pop your Buff Body 3000 into your suitcase and head out on a business trip. Real world fitness needs to work for you, not against you. Since you can’t take your machine with you, you might not work out. There’s no reason to make travel harder than it has to be. Creating and keeping fitness routine that can go on the road with you will make it more likely you actually follow through on it when you are out of town. Many people who travel regularly prefer to use bands and sneakers to get their workouts in. Even the hand weights get left at home in these days of overweight luggage fees. Exercise bands are extremely light weight, come in several different levels of resistance, and can even be tucked into your sneakers to save space in your luggage.

Finally, if you are short on time, exercise machines won’t help you get through your workout as quickly as other types of fitness equipment. You will need to stop between each exercise to reconfigure your machine. These pauses in your workout every 1-2 minutes really kill the effectiveness of your workout. The ideal workout keeps going and never lets you bring your heart rate below your personal baseline. You just can’t accomplish this with an exercise machine.

If you want an effective workout that is easy to duplicate whether you are home or traveling, then ditch the machines and look for fitness tools that actually work in real world fitness.

January Client of the Month Spotlight – John Chang

26 Jan Untitled

John Chang
Age: 41
FIT member since: 10/2009

John’s goals starting his fitness program at FIT: I wanted to lose some pounds and inches.  I also wanted to get stronger.  In a word – get Fit!

John’s results: To date, I’ve lost 20 pounds of fat, definitely getting stronger – can actually see a muscle or two in my arms and shoulders!  It’s amazing the difference in situps, push ups, assisted pull-ups (at least for now they are still assisted!).  There is still a lot more to do…

Q. How did you feel about your fitness and physique before starting your exercise program at FIT? How do you feel about your fitness and physique now? I felt like I had let myself turn into a tub of goo.  It was harder to compete in sports, my injuries took longer to heal and I’ve had some back and neck issues over the last few years.  Now – I’ve lost 3 inches on my waist, 20 pounds of goo and have a lot more energy overall.  I do feel stronger and look forward to continued progress!

Q. What obstacles, if any, did you have to overcome to maintain your commitment to fitness? I travel a fair amount for business – which means missed workouts and dinners with customers…  I have to admit I’ve missed more than one wake up call for the 6:00am workout!

Q. What would you consider the keys to your fitness success? I think it’s been absolutely key to have workout partners.  I don’t want to let Josh and Karen down by not showing up and going through the pain together!  They keep me motivated, as does our great trainer, Jen.  Jen keeps things interesting by mixing things up and pushing us.  Lastly, commitment to making workouts a routine has made it easier.  It’s finally getting to the point that I miss it when I don’t work out!

Q. Want motivates you through your workouts? And what motivates you to come back each day? The goal of getting healthier / my trainer / my partners.  The results I’ve seen motivates me to keep on going.  It’s amazing how many people have noticed – and I have to admit it’s nice to hear the compliments.

Q. Are there any exercises you enjoy: Squats, kettle bell work, slams, any kind of stretching

Q. Are there any exercises you dislike: Decline situps!  Clean and jerk – haven’t figure that one out yet. That fourth set of rowing!

Q. What is your favorite healthy snack? Greek yogurt with blueberries and raspberries

Q. What is your favorite non-gym physical activity? Road cycling and volleyball.  Does golf count as a physical activity?  ☺

From John: I’ve really enjoyed the FIT community.  The support from the various trainers and early morning regulars is great.  We keep it going for each other.  Thanks!

From his Trainer – Jen: If I remember correctly, after an initial invitation it took about 6-12 months for John to make the decision, or should I say commitment, to come to FIT.  Around his birthday I received an email with all these overweight cartoon characters struggling to lift weights: he said he was ready to come in.

If you’re in the gym at 6am on Monday or Friday, you have met/heard John Chang!  He is always joking around, laughing or yelling about whatever exercise is coming up next.  Some would say we have way too much fun in that hour but Josh, John and Karen just make working hard as fun as it can possibly be.  John is always ready for a challenge and I think what is most admirable is that he is always trying turn a weakness into one of his strengths.  Whenever he comes to me with a new goal, it is not about improving something he is already good.  Rather, it sometimes involves his least favorite exercises.  It’s the things he sees value in improving and he is willing and ready to dive in and tackle them.  John has a very busy lifestyle (as does the rest of his workout crew), however he has made his health and fitness a priority, and has made huge lifestyle changes that I truly feel are permanent.  John is committed to his workouts and eating healthier in and outside of FIT and on and off the road.  Congrats to John and all his hard work!!

Your Body is Not a Sports Car … YET

11 Jan 2009-corvette-zr1-on-nurburgring-3

So the New Year is upon us, and as it has become common tradition, it is time to lay down some goals for the upcoming year.  Maybe you want to take up a new hobby, or possibly become more financially competent.  Probably the greatest enthusiasm for New Year goals is seen in health and fitness.  We experience a rush of people joining our ranks for the first time – or simply revamping and reinvigorating a stale and stagnating workout routine.  Unfortunately, these well-intentioned thoughts can often lead to more disaster than success.

For those just beginning an exercise routine (or for the first time after an extended layoff) it would be prudent to begin slowly.  Not only may you be unfamiliar with how to safely perform different exercises, your body’s internal mechanisms are also unfamiliar with the new amount of stress you will be placing on it.  When starting a new exercise program, muscles that have not been used for some time – if at all – cannot produce the amount of contractile force you may be asking of them.  This may lead to a significant amount of soreness in the hours and days following the workout as your body tries to remove metabolic waste and repair tissue damage in the exercised muscles.  Additionally, the hormonal and enzymatic pathways are not significantly developed in order to perform the exercises with the efficiently or intensity required to initiate desired changes.  While it only takes hours after first beginning an exercise program for your body to start improving and enhancing the physiological pathways (increased oxygen-carrying capacity of red blood cells, improved nutrient uptake into muscle cells from the digestive tract, etc.), it take time for these mechanisms to reach a level that can sustain the workload you maybe asking of your body.

While the objectives and goals of improving your health and wellness are laudable (in whatever form those goals may take – losing some body fat, improving your blood/lipid/cholesterol numbers, increasing activity to keep up with kids), it would be wise to follow the advice that luxury car dealers give their clients when driving off of the lot in that new cherry red speed demon: “Take it easy for a while”. This advice is given because the engine and suspension have not covered enough miles to withstand the stress of high speeds and quick cornering.  Similarly, your body needs time to prepare for the stress and intensity of a demanding workout.  If you have never exercised before and have been generally sedentary for quite some time, just moving at a casual pace for thirty or more minutes at a time may be enough work to start with.  If, however, you haven’t exercised in quite some time, but are relatively physically active – walking the dog, a job that requires a lot of movement or lifting/carrying things – a comprehensive bodyweight resistance-training regimen may be just what your body needs to “prime the pump”.   Using bodyweight exercises, such as lunges and push-ups will increase the strength and circulatory capacities of the connective tissues that support muscles and bones, and ultimately provide greater joint integrity (where most injuries from drastic changes in activity or routine occur).

In closing, I want to applaud all those that are making their health a priority in this New Year.  Just remember that there is no harm in starting slow, learning to listen to your body, and enjoying the process for the long haul.  Just like that nice car that you enjoy driving down winding roads on a sunny afternoon, wash weekly, and ensure proper maintenance, your body needs careful attention and gradual tweaks to keep it roaring at full speed.

CrossFit on the Road

4 Jun

Summertime is rapidly approaching, and for many of us that means vacation! It also means time away from FIT.  But, you don’t have to let your fitness suffer.  It only takes 30 minutes a few times a week, to maintain the fitness you’ve earned.  All you need for a solid workout is:

1. Motivation

2. Space

3. Creativity

Motivation will most likely be the greatest obstacle to training while on vacation.  Having a structured regiment at your finger tips could be the stimulation you need.  While planning your vacation,  put a 30 minute WOD on your travel itinerary.

Finding space is easy. The hotel fitness center (as small as it may be), a park, or even your hotel room has ample room for squats, push ups, and burpees.  Another option is to find a CrossFit affiliate within your travel destination.  Most affiliates allow experienced CrossFitters to drop-in for a workout.

With some creativity, equipment limitations are easily overcome.  Some fitness centers have dumbbells and cardio equipment, however usable items can be found anywhere. Look for monkey bars and benches in the park. Even a hotel chair can make a good dip station. Regardless of exercise equipment, the combination of body weight and gymnastic exercises are virtually limitless for a great workout!

Here are some sample workouts designed to deliver a good dose of intensity in 10-20 minutes.  All you need is your able body and a little room to move.

-50-40-30-20-10 reps of: Squats, Walking Lunges, Push-ups

-5 rounds: Run 200m, 15 Burpees

-As many rounds in 20 minutes: 5 Burpees, 10 Squats, 15 Pushups

For more CrossFit on the Road workouts email me at jimmy@focusedtrainers.com.

Remember, getting the workout in is great, but if you’re putting too much junk in your body’s fuel tank you’re really just taking one step forward and two steps back.  Have a great summer!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,669 other followers