Getting left behind

Remember this? Well that’s not going to happen, not anytime soon that is. 5 months on and I am not any closer to my goals. In fact I may have fallen behind quite a bit.

To recap, I was quite looking forward to training since the last time I posted that blog entry and had planned to work out quite a lot despite being on holiday in the Philippines. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t listen to my body and injured my left elbow (thanks to a few units of alcohol… don’t ask). It took a while to heal, then I got my right wrist injured (no idea how I hurt it). But that wasn’t all, I had to have a root canal treatment as well which took me out of getting back into training.

Even my coaching has taken a back step, despite teaching two Level 1 classes and helping out a few folks with some skill work. Everyone seems to be getting on well in the gym, and I am envious of all the progress everyone has made in my absence. I have a long ways to go.

I have one more dental appointment, so I’m glad that will be out of the way soon. My wrist is still not 100% but good enough to train. I have also signed up at a ‘proper’ gym in Warwick (I am in Warwick on weekdays for business) which allows me to train my olympic lifting and hopefully get myself back on track. I have also booked into a 2 day weightlifting course in CrossFit SE11 in August. I have also talked to one of the coaches in terms of helping out in teaching more Level 1 classes.

So its strength/olympic lifting on weekdays in Warwick, coaching duties on weekends and maybe sneak in a Level 2/3 CrossFit class/hand balancing/ropes class as well. All of this is going to eat into my knitting time…. oh, did I mention I started knitting?


Something New to Blog About

Well hello blog!  It seems you’ve been neglected. In the past year I’ve been really into my workouts and handling life at home that I’ve rarely blogged anything.  Plus, Allan was constantly blogging about our Crossfit workouts, I wanted to wait until there was something new to blog about.

Now there is.

I have recently announced to the public (via facebook of course) that I’m pregnant.  And three months pregnant at that.  What I didn’t realize prior to getting pregnant was that you’re supposed to be quiet about it until you’re over the first trimester, so I had to restrain myself from announcing it prematurely.  Now that I have, I think I’m free to blog! Be warned though, I’m not enjoying my first trimester + few days so far, so I might end up whining more often.  What, you ask, can someone who is happily pregnant and blooming and carrying another life insider her complain about???? EVERY pregnant woman is happily expecting.

Well, I’m still waiting for that to kick in.

See, what no one told me, was that being pregnant was difficult.  Everyone is aware that giving birth is painful (thanks in part to “One Born Every Minute”) and every parent acknowledges that raising kids, from the first day to the last, is the most difficult (and rewarding) experience ever.   What I didn’t hear, was that pregnancy is not easy.  Sure, we hear about morning sickness aka all-day sickness.  But that’s it.  After that, its all blushing mum-to-be’s, pretty pregnancy clothes, baby bump photos and everyone ooh-ing and aaah-ing over bellies.

Not so much in my case.  And it’s not because of all-day sickness nor is it because of the no-caffeine rule.  The reason is simple….I don’t feel like myself.

Under normal circumstances, any headache or minor illlness I can easily ignore and continue on with what I need to do.  Now however, I can’t shrug off the general unwell feeling, no matter how hard I try.  At work its almost easy, because something else HAS to be done and therefore I have no choice.  The minute I stop work though, I start feeling queasy, light headed, tired, hungry yet not in the mood to eat anything…in short, like someone who is completely unlike me.

I hate to sound ungrateful for the gift of the little one.  I am looking forward to meeting my baby, I really am.  Scared, yes, but generally open to having my own child to take care of after taking care of nephews and nieces.  I also want to point out that I am not completely sick.  In fact, I am lucky to be able to perform almost normally at work  and I haven’t spent time bent over the toilet bowl.  In fact, I’ve not thrown up yet.  I think I’m really just not used to being in control of my body.

So, to try and liven this up a little, the good news is I am pregnant and I have been having a relatively easy time without any complications so far. The fact that I’m struggling is just my spoiled rotten self rearing it’s ugly head at not being in control.  My first trimester scan shows a beautiful baby with a good heartbeat, and my husband is in the same project as I am, which means he travels with me and is there to comfort me when I feel horrible.  And, if it counts as good news, we will also most likely be updating this blog more often with pregnancy, baby and parenting posts.

A new adventure waits for the Vistans, also, a third blog author is busily developing in my ever expanding womb

the little growing Vistan

the little growing Vistan

Numbers and Goals, Inspiration and Motivation

Perhaps like most CrossFitters, I keep track of my progress across a few chosen fitness benchmarks whether it is monotructural, benchmark metabolic conditioning WODs, gymnastic movements, or weightlifting PBs. Mine may not be the best way of tracking things, and might not even prove useful in programming or any sort of assessment but at least I can see at a glance where I am and where I may want to go.

At the moment it is all about the Olympic Weightlifting moves, the Clean & Jerk and the Snatch. Whilst I am still working on improving my handstand and eventually do handstand walks, as well as doing Rachel’s rope and ring classes (just because it’s fun) I have always been fascinated with the classic lifts once I had a better understanding of it’s technical intricacies.

My goals now, to carve it on the proverbial rock of the interwebs, is to get 100kgs on the C&J and 75kgs on the Snatch. This is approximately 1.5x bodyweight on C&J and a bit more than 1x bodyweight Snatch, up from my current PBs of 85kgs/62.5kgs respectively. Lofty goals for sure (as much as 20% increase), but better to aim for the stars and reach the moon (or something like that).

I don’t have a time frame for it since travelling for work is getting in the way of proper training. But in order to keep the goals firmly in my sights, I have decided that I will reward myself with something permanent and close to my heart in the event that I achieve the numbers. Now Socs might not have approved of that reward, but I still have time to convince her. Maybe she will be so impressed with my (weightlifting) moves that she would just say yes. I’m keeping the reward as a surprise…

On a different note, Socs and I have always endeavored to make this blog a bit more lively with pictures so I leave you with a picture of me doing a fuck ugly power snatch at a measly 35kgs.


30 Day Challenge: Double Unders – A review

Approximately 30 days ago (no shit Sherlock), CrossFit London SE11 launched 5 challenges: 30 days to improve on . The options where Squat (led by Rachel), Thoracic mobility (by Chris), Ring Dip (by Carolyn), Handstand (by Kat) and Double Unders (by Colin).

My squats are pretty good and so are my ring dips. Thoracic mobility could always improve and so are my handstands (especially free standing ones), but I really suck at double unders so I signed up under Colin’s group and got to work. We started on singles which was great as I had a chance to feel what my body was doing and improve on my body positioning. My single unders improved massively as I was able to string more than 100 after the first week.

We then moved on to the power jump, still doing singles, to get a feel of how high you need to jump.
Once we’ve settled with that movement it was time to attempt doing a double under on the power jump. The key was to do ‘single-single-double’. I noticed that while I couldn’t go on with this pattern forever (I trip up before getting 10 doubles), all the effort on doing singles allowed me to reduce the variables and determine where I could be doing wrong. With the help of Magnus’ post, the emails from the support group and a face to face discussion and some rope fun with the gang, I was able to manage 20+ consecutive double unders! Hooray!

Apparently its all just about jumping and spinning the rope twice under the feet! Who knew?

Key points that worked for me:
1. Relax – especially the shoulders, knees and ankles. You need to be able to bounce like a spring.

2. Wrist movement – Biggest thing for me, after some thought and watching other people do doubles, I realized I was spinning my wrist in an arc rather than moving it in a line fast (a flick basically). It didn’t matter whether it was a vertical flick, horizontal flick or a weird figure-of-8. Minimizing the time to generate the force to whip the rope around seems to be the common theme there.

3. Slow the fuck down – contrary to the nature of double unders (quick rope speed) the slow power jump is essential to get enough clearance and time for the rope to go around twice. Intentional powerful jumps provide adequate time for your double under business.

Putting it all together requires a bit of imagination which worked with quite a few of the folks. To each their own, but my imagery is that of Tigger with his ‘boing… boing… boing’. In my head, I think ‘boing…flick-flick…boing…flick-flick…boing…flick-flick…’.

I have yet to test it out again and see how far I can go, but the last 30 days have been quite an eye opener. As Colin said, double unders are quite difficult to teach and I would agree. There is no one template that will magically give you this particular skill. But rather some practice plus a few tips here and there in a progressive manner does get you there.

I Must Be Doing Something Right.

When people ask how long I’ve been doing Crossfit, I always answer with a bit of hesitation, “on and off for two years”.  I always say “on and off” as I don’t want to give Crossfit (and Crossfit London UK, Crossfit SE11 and Ronin Crossfit) a bad name.  After all, it has been two years and I still don’t have a proper strict pull up,kipping pull up, 2x body weight deadlift,and so on… Truth be told, the two main reasons why I don’t have those is because of my inconsistent gym attendance and my consistent bad diet.  Yes, like everyone says, I only have myself to blame. In the past month, I’ve taken full advantage of being based in London and made the most of the classes at Crossfit London.  I’ve even signed up for the extra classes they have on offer, specifically the Ropes and Rings class in Bethnal Green and the Absolute Beginners Gymnastics class in Vauxhall.  Both of which I’ve been eye-ing for months, but have always been too intimidated to attend.  Instead of relying on Allan’s schedule, I’ve started my own schedule, particularly since Allan’s not in London on weekdays. Once I did all of that, a funny thing happened…I started getting all sorts of PBs (Personal Best).

 Personal Best # 1

What ended up as an attempt to see how many abmats I needed in order to do handstand push-ups (I need one abmat to be able to do a handstand push up) ended up with me performing a WOD WITH Handstand Push Ups, scaled to have two abmats!  I’ve never done HSPU in a workout before; the closest I came to it was a kick up to handstand.

 Personal Best #2

It was one of those moves that I’ve always scaled down (I’ve quite a list of them) but I’ve been seeing a bit of progress in the past months.  For Sleven’s celebratory workout, they incorporated Knees To Elbows.  They always were “Knees as high as I can get them”, but lo and behold, I managed to get Knees To Elbows!  Not only that, I managed to string 7 in a row on my first round for the workout!

Personal Best #3

Sometime in May (I think), Kat introduced me (well, the class I was in) to headstand progressions.  Essentially, one of the first steps was to get your knees on your elbows (while your head and arms were on the floor).  That was the extent of what I could do, while the others moved on to raising the legs up and then maybe straightening them.  When I first attended the Absolute Beginner’s Gymnastics class, it was also as far as I could go.  One week later, I come back to Amelia’s class and found myself not only getting those knees off the elbows, I even managed to raise my legs higher!

Personal Best #4

Once I found out that I could get Knees To Elbow, the next question was, could I get my Toes to the bar?  Next WOD with Toes to Bar proved that I could!  I still need more practice, but I can definitely get them up there.

Personal Best # 5

If it’s something I’ve never done before, then it’s automatically a PB, right?  I don’t make a habit of hanging upside down from ropes, but when I do for Rachel’s class, I usually get a litte bit (or a lot) of help to get myself in the right position.  Until one Sunday, when, after several attempts and a very useful “just allow yourself to be upside down” tip, I managed to fight my way into a straddle.   Now if only I can hang a rope from my flat’s ceiling, then I can practice at home!

 Personal Best #6

I love getting strength PBs and finding out how much I can really lift. Lifting significant weight is after all, was what got me hooked into Crossfit.  I never imagined I could put on that much weight on a bar and lift it, that is until Allan started making me do push presses, deadlifts and back squats.  I remember back squatting 50kgs in a hotel gym years ago and having one of the men in the weights section say how he’s never seen any female do that before, I was grinning ear to ear and to this day, that is my favorite back squat memory (isn’t it obvious).  Anyway, back to the PB, I managed to Front squat 60kgs twice!  My previous record was one rep for 55 kgs.

Personal Best #7

At the beginning of the month, several of the coaches started forming “teams” of people who would work on a particular weakness.  Allan signed up to Team Double Unders with Colin, whereas I went on to join Carolyn’s Ring Dip team.  I could lower myself into a dip, but could never quite lift myself up again…until two days ago!  Apparently, I can even string 3 in a row!

So 7 PBs, and more to come I hope.  I know that my proper pull up is out there somewhere, waiting to be discovered….