Meet Yvonne! Our Next Newbie Blogger!

Jen Wirth | June 26, 2017 | no comments
Meet Yvonne! Our Next Newbie Blogger!

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!

Why Does It Still Hurt So Much? Reflections On One Year of CrossFit

Cara Silverstein | April 12, 2017 | no comments
Why Does It Still Hurt So Much? Reflections On One Year of CrossFit

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!



CrossFit Open 17.5 – Finish Strong

Cara Silverstein | March 30, 2017 | no comments
CrossFit Open 17.5 – Finish Strong

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

Cara Silverstein | March 21, 2017 | no comments
17.4 – Turning a Letdown Into An Action Plan

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!

What 17.3 Did For Me

Cara Silverstein | March 13, 2017 | no comments
What 17.3 Did For Me

I was distracted with anticipation all day on Thursday, waiting for the CrossFit Open workout to be announced.  Waiting to see just how challenging the next week’s workout would be, wondering if its going to be something I can complete, filled my thoughts all day long.  I hoped it was something I could do so that I wouldn’t have another short workout like 17.2.  When I saw the jumping pullups I thought ‘Whew, I can do that,’ but when I saw the progression of weight on the squat snatch I got a little nervous.

Squatting with heavy weight overhead has been one of my big challenges.  Back in December, I wrote about learning to do an overhead squat.  At that time I was beyond thrilled to lift 30lbs overhead while squatting, when I’d been doing an empty 15lb bar prior to that.  So when I saw that the squat snatch starting weight for 17.3 was 35lbs I was seriously nervous.  I still don’t feel very confident squatting while lifting heavy things over my head.  I feel unbalanced and wobbly and like I could fall over at any moment.

In fact, on Friday when I did a practice run, I did fall over with the 35lb bar over my head.  Thankfully I landed just fine on my butt and the bar came down without hitting me.  I had to take a moment to compose myself before trying again.  I did wind up able to do all of the reps with the 35lb weight.  I ran out of time before I could try the 55lb but I loaded the bar anyway just to practice for the real thing.  I was able to get it overhead without a problem, its the squatting that was hard.  After a couple of false starts I was able to do one squat.  I tried for another but got too nervous and wound up putting the bar down.  I walked out of the gym Friday morning thinking that I’d be a big old failure the next day when I did the workout for a score.

Saturday I went down to Wildcat for 10am, the start time for open judging.  I did my own warmup, did some light practicing, prepared my bar and was ready to go.  I remember commenting to coach Jen that squatting with heavy weight over my head makes me nervous.  And it did.  Making it through the first three rounds wasn’t *easy* but it was doable.  The 35 pounds felt almost comfortable.  When I got to the 4th round, when the weight on the squat snatch went from 35 to 55, that’s when I really got nervous.  I got it over my head and after a short hesitation, I was squatting.  And doing it again.  And again. 5 times.  Slowly, but 5 times.  I’m still not sure how I made the leap from a 30lb overhead squat to a 55lb one.  Maybe its the adrenaline from having a crowd of supporting people watching and cheering?  All I know is that I surprised myself.

I realized that I’ve surprised myself a lot over this journey as a newbie CrossFitter.  Its one of those intangible things I’ve gotten out of my time at Wildcat.  Yes, I’ve gotten physically stronger.  Yes, I’ve gained endurance.   What has impacted me even more is the thrill of pushing the limits of what I think I can do and finding out I can do it.

Where are you pushing your limits and what have you accomplished because of it? Share in the comments!


17.2 Taught Me a Thing Or Two

Cara Silverstein | March 6, 2017 | 1 comment
17.2 Taught Me a Thing Or Two

Scaled version of 17.2

While for me the lesson of 17.1 was pushing myself harder, my lesson from 17.2 was understanding my limitations and focusing on doing my best anyway.

On Friday when I got to Wildcat for my workout, I decided to do a ‘light’ version of 17.2, knowing I’d be doing it again the next day with a judge.  I went slow, wasn’t pushing myself and I did jumping pull-ups.  When I asked Coach Gio how it works for the Open if you can’t do a movement and found out that it just doesn’t count from that point forward, I was crushed.  I got really down on myself and felt foolish for even joining the competition.  After last week’s competitive fire in my belly, I felt really disappointed in myself and my abilities.

Later that day when I realized I was going to be too sore to compete the next day – ‘Hello glutes! Oh, you need to scream at me every time I sit down? Ok!’ – I was even more disappointed.

It took a couple of days of talking myself into it to set up a time to get judged on Monday.  I had to rearrange my thinking and make this workout as positive as I could given my limitations.  I decided I would do the best I could do up until the point I couldn’t go on and that’s exactly what I did.  It is a goal of mine to eventually be able to do one but right now I can only jumping pull-ups.  And since there’s no scaling the already scaled workout, my 17.2 was over only 78 reps and 4 minutes 35 seconds into a 12 minute workout.  I was faster than I thought I would be with the lunges, power cleans and hanging knee raises and even though it was a really quick workout, I left feeling good about what I had done.

There are always going to be things I just can’t do.  Instead of getting down and staying down about it, I decided to focus on what I *could* do and that made all the difference.

How was your 17.2? Share in the comments!

CrossFit Open Has Begun – What I Learned From 17.1

Cara Silverstein | March 1, 2017 | no comments
CrossFit Open Has Begun – What I Learned From 17.1

I consider myself more of a cooperative person than a competitive one.  When it comes to sports, I’m not much for teams.  I’m more interested in having fun and seeing progress in myself rather than winning against an opponent.

That said, after logging my score for 17.1 last week, I found myself scanning the leaderboard to see how I compared to my peers.  I joined the CrossFit Open not because I have any illusions that I’m going to do well.  I joined because I thought it would be an interesting experience and a way to challenge myself.  So it was surprising even to myself that there I was looking at my rank compared to others in my age group and gender.  It makes me want to push harder to rank higher.

17.1 showed me that my strength is much better than my endurance.  In my division, the scaled workout was 20# dumbell snatches and 20 inch burpee step-overs.  Lifting 20 pounds, even 50 times in a row, was a breeze.  Getting up and over that box and doing burpees was the hard part.  When coach Gio called the 2 minute left mark I pushed harder than I’ve ever pushed myself.  At 20 minutes I was so out of breath and wiped out and proud of what I had done.  I missed completing the workout by 12 reps but I was so gloriously exhausted that it didn’t matter.

Later that day I was kicking myself.  How did I miss finishing?  The truth is, I got winded easily and took too long to catch my breath too many times.   Hitting that 20 minute mark with 12 reps shy of completing the workout made wonder if I would have finished it if I had pushed *just a little harder*.  During the week I find myself revisiting that thought – what could a accomplish in my every day life if I just pushed a little harder?  What am I not giving my all to?  What more can I do?

The takeaway from 17.1 for me is that I can do more than I think I can do.  That pushing myself harder than I thought I could is good for me – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  I can’t wait to see what 17.2 has in store for me!

If I Can Do The CrossFit Open, So Can You!

Cara Silverstein | February 21, 2017 | no comments
If I Can Do The CrossFit Open, So Can You!

If you’ve seen ‘Fittest On Earth’ you know what the CrossFit Games are. If you haven’t seen it, do it! It is a totally inspiring inside look at the CrossFit Games.

The people who compete truly are some of the fittest people on the planet.  How does anyone get to the Games?  They all start with the CrossFit Open, which starts this week.

This first stage of CrossFit Games season is truly open to anyone so don’t be intimidated by the fitness of the athletes who compete in the CrossFit Games.  There is always a scaled version of each workout so if you don’t have a movement, you can do an alternate movement and still compete.

The Open is a five week/five workout competition.  Each workout is released on a Thursday.  Athletes are judged/timed on that workout and are given their score and they have until the following Monday to submit those scores on the CrossFit Open website.

Wildcat CrossFit will be holding open judging every Saturday from 10am-1pm.  If you can’t make it during that time, talk to the coaches and they’ll be able to accommodate you at other times.

I want to encourage everyone (and I mean everyone!) to sign up.  Seriously, if I can do this anyone can.  You may  not be able to do everything and that’s ok.  You’ll also likely do things you didn’t think you can do and that is amazing!

To register, go to and click the ‘Register’ button. When asked who you’re affiliated with, choose Wildcat Crossfit.  Then look out for the workout on Thursday, get it done by Monday and 5 weeks later you’ll be able to see how you compare to athletes all across the country.  There are even age divisions for us older competitors.

Am I nervous? Yes.  Am I gonna do it anyway? Yes.

Will you do it with  me? Say yes!  I would love my fellow Wildcats to join me in the challenge.  Share your victories and let’s cheer each other on!

7 Tips To Help You Reach Your Goals

Cara Silverstein | February 14, 2017 | no comments
7 Tips To Help You Reach Your Goals

By the end of March, 80% of people who made a New Year’s resolution have already given up.  We’re now in mid-February.  Where are you with your goals?  Do you want to be one of the 80% who gives up or part of the 1 in 5 who actually follows through?  If your resolutions had to do with getting in better shape, improving your strength, endurance and overall fitness, what can you do to stick to that resolve?

Whether you made a resolution or not, getting in better shape takes effort and perseverance.  If you’re struggling, here are some great tips on keeping the promises you made to yourself.

7 Tips To Help You Reach Your Goals

1 – Don’t base your goal on what anyone else is doing.  You know yourself best and you know where you want to improve.  Focus on that.

2 – Break your goal down into a series of steps – mini-goals that help you stay motivated and on track.

3 – Share your goals with friends and family.  Not only does it create some level of accountability to other people, it allows your friends and family to support you in them.

4 – If you hit a slump, remind yourself why you’re working so hard.  Envision yourself meeting the goal and how good that feels.

5 – Use rewards as an incentive.  Meet one of your mini-goals? Treat yourself to something special, get a massage, a new pair of workout shoes, some piece of equipment you’ve had your eye on.

6 – Write it down and keep track of your progress.  It feels great to look back at where you’ve been – seeing it in black and white makes it all that more real.

7 – Don’t let setbacks completely throw you off track.  It’s normal to have small set backs.  A cold might take you down, a trip might get you out of your routine but that’s ok.  Get right back to it as soon as you can.

Share your goals in the comments below and let’ support each other!  You got this!

Setting Goals And Reaching Goals – Inside and Outside Of The Box

Cara Silverstein | February 7, 2017 | no comments
Setting Goals And Reaching Goals – Inside and Outside Of The Box

I’ve had a mostly secret goal for about the last year.  It was sparked by seeing some folks from Cirque Roots practicing acro yoga.  Seeing the combination of strength, flexibility and grace was inspiring.  I thought to myself in a very quiet inner voice, ‘I want to do that some day’.  Of course my inner critic chimed in to say I wasn’t thin enough and I wasn’t strong enough.  My inner critic gets the best of me sometimes and so the desire to pursue acro faded and other interests took its place, including CrossFit.

When I started doing CrossFit, acro was still in the back of my mind but it was a very, very tiny voice.  And when I had my ‘come to Jen’ moment, months ago now, I remembered that goal and I spoke it to another human being.  ‘I want to be strong enough to be a base in acro.’  Bam. I said it.  There’s no going back now.

My workouts at Wildcat have moved me in the direction of actually meeting the goal.  In fact, just this last weekend I got to take an acro yoga workshop and it was great!  I would never have been strong enough and stable enough in my core to have done that prior to CrossFit.  I’m totally stoked to have made progress toward a goal that is outside of the box (the CrossFit box).

Working out at Wildcat has not only given me the strength it has also given me the confidence.  Every time I push myself during a WOD and do something I didn’t think I could, my confidence soars.  Add that up day after day and week after week and suddenly I stop thinking about what is holding me back from trying something and I just try it.  For someone like me, a non-athlete who has been an overweight couch potato for too many years to count, that is a huge shift.

Setting goals inside of the box are great – working toward ‘getting’ a particular movement or increasing your speed or the weight you can lift – these are all really worthy goals.  It definitely helps to move forward when you have milestones you’re trying to reach.  I’d like to encourage you to think outside the box too.  What do you do in your day to day life that could be improved by CrossFit?  Is there an activity you’ve been putting off because you don’t think you have the strength/flexibility/endurance for it?  Why not make it a CrossFit goal to improve your world outside of the box as well as inside?

Has CrossFit already helped you achieve outside goals? Share them in the comments!

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