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Meet Yvonne! Our Next Newbie Blogger! (6/26/2017)

Meet Yvonne. Wildcat’s newest member and CrossFit Newbie Blogger!

Join Yvonne on her fitness journey as she tries CrossFit for the first time!

You know those times when you commit to doing something before you really think about it?  Well, when Jen told me about the CrossFit fundamental classes at Wildcat, I said, “Sure I’ll try it.” It was definitely one of those times!!

Let me start by saying that I am a 40 year old over weight women. I weigh way more then I care to share and up until now my fitness regime consisted of yoga two days a week and a “Get Strong” class two days a week. The Get Strong class is intervals of aerobic activity and strength training with resistance tubing. These classes got so repetitive that I started missing classes and I was ok with it because I knew exactly what I was missing. Cut to Jen asking me to try this thing called CrossFit. When I heard that word I panicked a little…ok a lot, I panicked a whole lot but I said I would try it and I had to keep my word.

Foundations Day 1

‘I’m gonna die!!!’ This is what I was thinking when I walked into this beautiful gym. I mean I checked out the pictures online and they don’t it no justice. I was intimidated by all the weights and athletically fit people walking around. Anyway I walk in nervious as heck but Jen was there to reassure me. She took me through the paperwork and then IT WAS TIME!

There’s three of us in this first class, a high school kid looking to get stronger for sports, a strong looking athletic type man looking to get more definition and me, a 40 year old looking to live long enough to see my 4 year old grow up.

Nick introduced himself and explained the meaning of CrossFit. Basically, what I understood is that CrossFit is a series of high intensity excercises that allows your body to lift weight you didn’t know you were capable of lifting. He took us through some basic moves like deadlifts and taught us the proper way to hold the bars. He also took us through some stretching techniques and I was feeling really good about until he said, “Ok lets start with a 200 meter run to warm up.”

Needless to say I could only run about 100 meters but I kept moving and ran in place for a bit because I didn’t want to give up. I was huffing and puffing but I was warmed up! We went through the rest of the class actually doing deadlifts with barbells and some weights until the last ten minutes when Nick informed us what the WOD (Workout of the Day) was going to be. 100 meter run, 5 crunches or sit-ups and 5 deadlifts as many sets as you can in 10 minutes. I did 3 and a half rounds. It was the running that slowed me down. I carry a lot of weight and it truly hurts to run but I sucked it up and did my best run/speed walk and I did it. I walked out of the first class with my head held high. I was about to commit to something that I have never given a second thought to before because I underestimated myself.

Foundations Day 2

And then there were two. We lost a person and it wasn’t me!

The lovely Lauryn greeted us with a big smile. I liked her from the beginning! I was afraid she would make me run again and my issue with that was that I didn’t want to slow anyone down because my running is crap. But like Jen told me, I wasn’t going to slow anyone down because I have to take it at my pace to be successful.

Lauryn started us off with a warm up of 30 seconds on the bike, 30 seconds on the row machine and 3 push ups. I was sweating more then I ever sweat in my life. Lauryn took us though the Shoulder Press, the Push Press and the Push Jerk. These weren’t as easy as they looked, however I think I got it down.

Ryan was right there as I did the most ugly sit up in the history of fitness and he praised me for it.

I like that these classes all start by showing you the proper form and they make you practice with the PVC pipes so you don’t hurt something. Once we got to practice a few times, she put the weights on and off we went.

After the WOD we finished off with some stretches. Coming from a yoga background I knew right away that Lauryn was a yoga instructor. I will definitely have to try yoga with Lauryn!

Day two down and in the books. Guess what, I’m still alive! I’ll be coming back, maybe! 😉

Foundations Day 3

I made it to the last day of Fundamentals and so did my companion Luke (the high school kid). All I kept telling myself is that, I’m here and that’s the best I can do. Let do this!!

Ryan took us through squats. I’m pretty good at regular old air squats as I’ve done them before but I knew if they designed a class all around squats that regular old squats weren’t going to be my issue and I was right. Turns out air squats were nothing compared to back squats, front squats and over head squats!

I’ve got to say that these are much easier when you are practicing with the PVC pipe, but once Ryan said to grab some 10lbs weights, I panicked just a bit.

As it turns out, squats are my thing! I felt the workout immediately and my legs felt like noodles afterwards so I know it worked! I was exhausted after this workout. In the end I ended up lifting 35lbs. on my back squat. Ryan was a great coach. He was with me all the way and even when I expressed my concern about doing sit ups on our AMRAP rounds he said just try one and if you can’t then do crunches. Ryan was right there as I did the most ugly sit up in the history of fitness and he praised me for it. I continued with the ugly sit-ups and completed three rounds of AMRAP. Thanks for the encouragement Ryan!

I think that I will return to CrossFit. I certainly enjoyed working with Nick, Lauryn and Ryan, I didn’t always enjoy the workout, but I struggled through it and not once did anyone discourage me. I received the support and encouragement that a person like me needs. I look forward to working more with these coaches and I look forward to this new adventure that I am about to embark on. I have high hopes that I will succeed at this wild thing called CrossFit!

Feeling like a Newbie – My Return to CrossFit After a 2 Month Break (6/13/2017)

Has life ever thrown you a curve ball?

You know, an event (or an injury) that interrupted your workout routine and kept you from making it into the gym for an extended period of time? We all have. In fact, recently, it happened to me…

On the beautiful Saturday morning of March 19, as I was making myself some coffee and getting ready to head into the gym for CrossFit Open Workout 17.4, my tea kettle slipped out of my hand and scalding water splashed onto my belly. Not only wouldn’t I be completing the CrossFit Open, I wasn’t going to be able to workout at all for nearly two months.

And just like that, I was knocked out of the running for the CrossFit Games. Haha. Jk. Lol. Actually I was never in danger of making it to Regionals, much less the Games, and I’m lucky that my injury didn’t knock me out of the game entirely. Over the first few days after my injury it became clear that my burn was pretty much entirely second degree…the area was swelling up and multiple blisters began to form. What followed was a two month odyssey of self-administered nursing interventions and a significant amount of pain. And no working out. Like Zero.

Here are some pictures of my tummy at the beginning and end of the healing process. Note: if you are a squeamish person: scroll through quickly.

Day 1:

Two months:

Initially my body was just all tensed up from the pain, I remember feeling like my I was clenching my abs 24/7, for the first week or so. I honestly didn’t even miss working out much at all for the first several weeks. I was just doing my best trying to keep myself and my animals alive, keeping my wound clean, taking care of the barest necessities and that was it.

The wound was large and the healing was slow, and then it started to itch. And then it started to peel. And then one day it *Finally* started to feel better. The next day was my first workout back.

Here are some of the ways that my body changed during my 7 weeks of convalescence: I lost weight. My muscles shrank, the skin on my legs wrinkles over the space left by my shrunken muscles. I feel like I’m uncomfortably out of breath during the WODs…and, Man have I lost strength!

My Body: Not as strong as I remember …

I lost strength in my shoulders and legs. My Deadlifts (x3) have also gotten lighter. I did 205 for 3yesterday. I remember being able to pull at least 275 or more off the floor for three less than a year ago.

During the workout for 17.3, I did quite a few 65# Squat Snatches with no problem…and yet on my 3rd workout back, which contained some snatches, I tried one rep at 65# and knew I wasn’t going to be able to keep going with good form, as a matter of fact that first rep was pretty ugly. A voice in my head said: “Hey, Chill out. You don’t have to get all your strength back today! You lost it over time…you get it back over time.”

It’s Alright to Scale: Both the Weights and the Movements

(aka: It’s ok to not RX every WOD)

That was when I asked Laurie for a sub. I needed something easier than a 65# Snatch so I could keep going, safely. Laurie suggested one-arm dumbbell snatches…which, at 20#, was a great option for my shoulders.

Before my injury, I could easily press out 35# Kettle bells overhead…now I’m back down to 20# and I’m working my way back up. “Good Job, Shoulders!”

It’s a good lesson to me to ease back into working out and accepting the capabilities of my body as it is right now. I’ve done the Heavy Duty workout for the past three Saturdays…and I haven’t been able to Rx one of those workouts yet.

One heck of a Silver Lining…

Rather than focusing on what I lost during my workout hiatus, I like to focus on the stuff that is starting to resolve as my life slowly starts to get back to normal. I’m sleeping better and more soundly, I’m eating better quality foods because that is what my body craves when it is getting exercise.

I’m still not in the habit of working out regularly, yet. For example, last week I worked out 3 days in a row…and then took four days off. That’s not what I call regular exercise. I remember telling myself: “I’m going to take one rest day and then get right back into it.” Then that second day rolled around and I didn’t have a plan for when I was going to workout..and then the day just kind of got away from me.

And then the same thing happened the next day and the next day.

For someone who works at a gym, I sometimes wonder why I find it so hard to squeeze in that hour of exercise in to my busy life.

Getting back in the habit. Again.

This is why I’m so grateful to have a place like Wildcat to come to. Sometimes I feel like I’m bringing my A game to my workout, sometimes I feel like I’m just trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Working out with other people is such a valuable experience. I always work harder when other people are working hard around me. And no matter what shape I’m in, the Wildcat community is here to support me in my fitness journey and, in this case, in my journey back to fitness from injury.

Lesson Learned

I haven’t always Really appreciated my body.

This experience taught me how important it is to have continuous skin across my whole belly. And how precious it is to have experienced so much of my life not in constant chronic pain and discomfort. I am grateful for my immune system and my body’s proven healing ability. I used to “not like” my belly…my legs, my butt. It took me a long time to learn to love and appreciate my body for what it can do, rather than attacking it for being too flabby, which is a topic for another blog post.

Let’s just say that this ordeal was another great reminder for me to not take my precious body for granted.

Sometimes Life throws you a curveball…or several. Your job is to survive those, and when you’ve recovered as much as you need to on your own, getting back to the gym and building your body back up…and get ready for the next curve ball.

  1. Squat Clean


It can suck to be in that “two steps forward, one step back” state of fitness…when you’re like “Gains? What are those?”

Sometimes in life you just have to start all over again. It’s what happens. Your job is to stay cool, and build it back up.

What injury or illness have you recovered from that has caused you to have that rough re-entry to the gym experience?

PoundTown 2017 – Competition Photo Gallery (5/25/2017)

Here are a few photos from our awesome PoundTown Competition a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful day for a competition and every competitor that participated has a story to tell. Thanks to everyone who competed, You Were Awesome!! Fantastic Efforts All Around!

Thanks to everyone who volunteered and helped organize the event. <<fist bump>> You Rock the Casbah.

These are but a few of the pics from PoundTown. Watch this space – more pics to come!

Special Iron Yoga Schedule For Memorial Day Weekend (5/24/2017)

This week only, we will be having Iron Yoga this Friday (5/26/17) at 6:00pm.
There will be no Iron Yoga this Sunday (5/28/17) at 8am.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Schedule For Memorial Day “Murph” (5/24/2017)

Our schedule for this up and coming Memorial Day (Monday) is:  7:30am WOD, 8:30am WOD and 9:45am WOD.

“Murph” Workout
For time:
1 Mile Run
100 Pull-Ups
200 Push-Ups
300 Squats
1 Mile Run

Yes, the 9:45 WOD is usually the women’s class.  All genders are welcome!

Why Does It Still Hurt So Much? Reflections On One Year of CrossFit (4/12/2017)

Its been about a year since I took my Foundations classes at Wildcat.  I’m not sure what I expected when I started, except that I’d be building muscle more effectively than the ‘Muscles & More’ class I’d been used to taking at the Y.  Building muscle effectively became evident pretty quickly.   A few months into my doing CrossFit I hadn’t yet quit my membership at the Y even though I never went anymore and so I decided to drop in on that class just to see what it would be like.  It was eye opening to say the least.  Before class, I gathered the weights that I would normally gather – a set of dumbbells plus one heavy one.  The class started, we warmed up, and got working.  When we used the dumbbells for an exercise I found I had to swap out my weights for heavier and heavier weights.  When we did the pilates ‘100’ (pumping your arms at your side as your torso and legs are raised from a seated position), I used to only get halfway through before my abs would give out.

Pilates ‘100’

This time I held the whole 100 and I could have gone more.  When we did the yoga move Chattaranga (hovering close to the floor holding a pushup position) I didn’t flop directly to the floor like I used to, I could actually hold it.  And I could see how even though push presses and back squats and snatches and power cleans look completely different than dumbbell curls, dumbbell kick backs, and dumbbell chest flies I was using the same muscles.  The same, but significantly stronger muscles.

It was a remarkable realization.  I thought back at how I approached that class at the Y vs. classes at Wildcat.  For one, the class at the Y is a huge class – you just follow along at your own pace.  In that setting I wasn’t inclined to push myself.  At my own pace became anything that didn’t push me *too* hard.  Wildcat is nothing like that.  Every time I walk in the door I know I’m going to be pushed harder than I would push myself if left to my own devices.  Also, there’s really no time for one on one help in a class that size, the instructor couldn’t correct our form – the best she could do was shout to the class to watch their form so everyone in class can wonder if she was talking to them.  Wildcat is nothing like that.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told to lift my elbows when I’m holding the bar at my collarbones.  It’s hard for me.  If left to my own devices I wouldn’t try.  The nudge is good.

The results are worth every bit of physical and mental anguish I get at the number of burpees I see on the board on any given day.

For some reason, though, I thought that eventually I would get to some kind of plateau; that it would have gotten easier.

But that’s the crux of CrossFit – it never gets easier.  The blessing and the curse of scaled workouts is that they always meet you where you are and push you a little bit further.  And there’s always something further you can do.

Last week I found myself incredibly sore from my workouts.  We’ve just started a ‘Strength’ cycle so yeah, its no surprise, but this soreness has me remembering the horror of my first few weeks at Wildcat – how I would whimper every time I had to sit down on the toilet.  How I once had to use two arms to get the seatbelt across my chest because I had dead-arms.  How I would cry when I sneezed because my abs hurt so much.  So when the other day I tried to put a purse on my shoulder and my deltoids screamed bloody murder because of the heavy push presses we had done the prior day I was brought back.

For a moment I felt like I hadn’t made any progress at all if it could still possibly be this hard for me.  But I have to remember this: a year ago I was squatting half the weight I can squat today.  I could push press half the weight I can push press today. Of course I’m still getting sore.  It’s easy to forget where I started and just how far I have come.

I’d like to encourage you to look back at where you started and where you’ve become, and please share your thoughts in the comments.  As I enter year two, I’d love to hear from folks at the beginning of their journey and those who’ve been doing this for a lot longer than me.  You’re all inspirational!

 

 

Acupuncture for Athletic Recovery (and more!) at City Acupuncture, right inside Wildcat CrossFit (4/12/2017)

CrossFitters work out hard. And because of this, we need to take the time to support our bodies in recovery. This means eating good quality food, getting plenty of sleep, and taking the time to get professional bodywork on a regular basis.

Speaking of bodywork, Acupuncturist Jenny Providence, recently opened up her practice, City Acupuncture, inside the walls of the Wildcat CrossFit. Now you can work out, and recover (and RELAX) all in the same location.

I sat down to talk with Jenny Providence about how Crossfitters can use Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to support their recovery needs.

First I asked Jenny how acupuncture can be used to support athletes with their recover regimens.

“Wow,” Jenny said. “Acupuncture can support athletes in so many ways. Acupuncture treatments are customized for the individual. Every athlete has a way that acupuncture can support them. A lot of what I’ve seen and treated are old restrictions (old injuries) that need to shift so the new gains can be made.”

Jenny explained that sometimes an athlete might not be aware of a particular issue in their body, but when acupuncture gives them relief from it, they see dramatic improvements all around.

Jenny explained, “I was working with an athlete who had chronic pain from an injury and also was not sleeping well. Through treatment we were able to increase her Range of Motion, decrease her pain and increase the amount of sleep she was able to get on a nightly basis. If you’re not sleeping, you’re not getting anything done in terms of recovery. She didn’t realize that sleep was one of the missing pieces to recovery. Through a series of acupuncture treatments, we were able to open up a whole new CrossFit world for her.”

Acupuncture is a form of healing that operates from the foundational theory that the body knows how to be well and can heal and repair if it has everything it needs to do so. Acupuncture treatments give the body support and help it heal. Acupuncture can be used for both acute and chronic problems. “Acute problems such as muscle sprains and tweaks can go away in a snap through acupuncture,” Jenny says. “Chinese medicine is also awesome at treating trauma. And in general, acupuncture has worked better than anything else I’ve tried.”

City Acupuncture is located inside of Wildcat CrossFit, past the aquarium and down the hallway behind the cubbies. Call or text: 520-332-5509 for more information or to make an appointment.

In addition to being an Acupuncturist and a Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jenny Providence has training in Massage Therapy, Zen Shiatsu, and Craniosacral Therapy, and is a CrossFit Level 1 Coach. In addition to practicing Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine at City Acupuncture, Jenny teaches Anatomy and Physiology and Nutrition. The City Acupuncture web address is: cityacupuncturetucson.com.

CrossFit Open 17.5 – Finish Strong (3/30/2017)

After feeling crushed by some of the workouts in this year’s open, it was nice to end on a high note.  The scaled workout for women in my age group was 10 rounds of nine 45lb thrusters and 35 single unders.  Both movements are well within my ability, but doing them quickly and and in that kind of quantity was still a challenge.  After doing half the workout on Friday as a ‘test run’ I decided that my goal would be finishing in under 15 minutes.  With the energy and encouragement at Wildcat on Saturday for the last big day of judging, my adrenaline was pumping.  I surprised even myself by finishing in 13:31.

Now that event is over I find myself thinking about next year’s Open.  Out of curiosity I checked the leader board to see where I’d wound up. I came in:

3064 out of 4668 worldwide
2194 out of 3418 in the US
168 out of 262 in the Southwest
48 out of 89 in Arizona

Right in the middle of the pack feels like a good way to end my first competition and now I have a goal for next year – finish in the top half!

I’m looking forward to getting back to a regular schedule of CrossFit at Wildcat – no more short workouts on Friday, no more skipping Monday’s WOD in favor of getting judged when I couldn’t make it in on a Saturday.  I’m looking forward to continuing to make steady and consistent progress, to perfecting my wall balls, to getting stronger and faster and more agile.

I want to say thank you to all of the coaches at Wildcat for encouraging me to do the Open.  I’m not sure I would have signed up had it not been for their inspiration.  Doing the Open showed me that CrossFit and CrossFit competitions aren’t just for elite athletes. They’re for any of us that want a challenge, any of us who want to learn about ourselves through the process.  If you didn’t sign up this year, there’s always next year.  In the meantime, keep up the great work in your WODs and see where you can push yourself further!

17.4 – Turning a Letdown Into An Action Plan (3/21/2017)

Without fail, each week of the CrossFit Open has taught me an important lesson.  This week’s lesson was in taking disappointment and turning it into an action plan.  The scaled women’s 17.4 looked like this:

55 deadlifts at 95#
55 wall balls with a 10# ball
55 calorie row
55 hand release pushups

On Friday I had a ‘practice run’ and made it nearly halfway through the pushups at the 13 minute limit.  Granted, I wasn’t having someone judge my reps and I was doing ‘worm’ pushups.

Before I got started with the actual judged workout on Monday, I asked Laurie if ‘worm’ pushups counted.  They didn’t.  I rely on the worm to get through pushups when they’re in a WOD.  I can maybe do a few legit pushups at a time and then its wormy all the way.  I went into the judged workout looking forward to at least getting a few of those hand release pushups in – it felt like it would be a reward for the progress I’ve made to be able to do them in a competition.

I got through the deadlifts ok.  I felt like they were a little slower than my practice run but not too bad.  Then I went to the wall balls.  No rep after no rep after no rep – it was so frustrating.  I was squatting just fine, the ball was getting high enough, I just couldn’t consistently hit the wall with it.  I swear, 20% of my wall balls were no repped, so by the time I got to the row I had wasted a bunch of time and had worn myself out.  I made it to 49 out of 55 calories in the row and 13 minutes was up.  I was so badly hoping to get a few pushups in and it was hard to accept where I’d wound up at the end.  We always want to do better, no matter how we did, right?

What I took away from 17.4 is a commitment to focus on wall balls until I can do them consistently without ‘no repping’ them.  Every time I go into Wildcat I’ll be doing wall balls at the end of my workout.  Today I did 10 – the last two missed the wall so I did them again.  The next time I come in I’ll do 12 and I’ll do them until I get 12 good reps.  My plan is to increase the number each time I come in until I can do 20 solid wall balls without missing any.

Is there something you want to focus on improving? How about taking an extra couple of minutes at the end of your workout to practice that one thing? How long do you think it will take to get there? Let’s find out!

 

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