Monday, March 4, 2013

Checking out boxes

Sorry, couldn't help myself on the title. When I bought my Living Social for Crossfit Revamped, my plan was to just do the month of Crossfit to give my weight loss and fitness a boost and to finally see what all of the hype was about. I figured I would also pick up some stuff that I could work into my strength training, but never envisioned I'd be willing to spend the money to get a monthly membership. But, as you all know by now, I've drunk the Kool-Aid. I could wax poetic about all of the reasons why, but the bottom line is that I'm much stronger than I was 6 weeks ago. And I want to be even stronger. I want to have the strength to do a kipping pull-up without a resistance band. I want to have the flexibility to do a squat where my butt is practically on the floor. And I want to have the determination to do an Angie.

With that in mind, it's just a matter of figuring out the best place to continue working toward those goals. While I like Revamped, there seems to be a lot of variation in how Crossfit boxes are run and of course there's location and distance to consider so it seems smart to explore my options.

The obvious first choice to explore was the box closest to me, Crossfit Laurel. My overall impressions of the place from what I had seen and heard led me to think this wouldn't be the place for me and I almost didn't go. Thankfully I called this morning and had a surprisingly lengthy conversation with Curtis, one of the owners, who happens to also be an old neighbor of mine! Curtis was as nice as I remembered him and gave me a lot of info that got me thinking about what I should be looking for and what is or isn't important to me. After I've been to a few more places, I'll write a post about it because as awesome as Crossfit is, I think there are some things worth considering before you join a location.

Anyway, to get to the point, everyone that I met today was very welcoming and friendly (and patient addressing my many questions). One of the key differences here that really appeals to me is that part of their intro work with you is determining some baselines so you can gauge your progress later on. When I got to the end of my Whole 30, I realized that it was difficult for me to clearly illustrate to others how much I had improved. Baselines seem like a no brainer to me and I'm now wondering why that wasn't part of my on ramp program at Revamped. To get a better feel for this location, I did sign up for a 3 class pass and one of the things we'll do is get my max weights for a few key lifting moves, like the deadlift.

Today's WOD was the most basic of the benchmark WODs and aptly named "Baseline". Here's what I did in 7 min and 25 sec:

500m row
40 air squats
30 sit-ups
20 hand release push-ups
10 pull-ups

Not a particularly challenging workout for me in and of itself, but there were a few key accomplishments. One is that I've been doing my push-ups from my knees namely because when I started Crossfit, I couldn't do them any other way. As I've progressed I've continued to simply because we often do such a large number that to do them efficiently I felt I still needed to do them from my knees. Today I decided to challenge myself to doing them all from my toes. I had to take a couple of quick rests during the last 7 or so, but I did it with relatively little difficulty!

I've also been working on my kipping pull-ups. It was just last week that I finally got the technique (and had sufficient strength) to do 2 "chained" (ie. in a row), albeit with a resistance band. I decided to do all 10 with the same strength resistance band today, knowing I would certainly need to break them up. But again, I finished them with relative ease and I accomplished a sort of PR in that I was able to chain 4 pull-ups together!

Two lessons I've learned recently:
1. Don't underestimate myself.
2. Practice makes perfect. I have been practicing both kipping and strict pull-ups after each WOD pretty consistently for the last week and a half and it's certainly paid off. On Saturday, I started focusing on tricep work as well. Gotta' start getting that ring work in!

And on that note, I'm off to order myself a pull up bar! Anyone want to try the baseline WOD themselves? If so, post your time in the comment section when you're done and share what was easy or difficult. Make sure to check out the link to ensure that you're using proper technique and not "cheating" yourself on any of the movements.

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