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….

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I want to be like Spealler

In the CrossFit Games, the big name out there is Rich Froning. Everybody likes him, everybody wants to be him. And that’s perfectly understandable with his good looks and chiselled body… I mean, great performances and work ethics.

I’ve never really rooted for anyone in the Games, although I ‘supported’ Graham Holberg as I was privileged enough to work out in his box for a couple of months. I heard of Chris Spealler as of the names in the Games but never really paid attention, until he was mentioned during my L1 certification weekend. What stuck to me was that he is 34 years old, 5’5″ and weigh in at 68kgs, I on the other hand am 2 years younger and 2 inches taller than so his achievements banging with the big boys made quite an impression.

I looked at his numbers and compared them to mine and they are IMPRESSIVE! 129kg Clean and Jerk (vs 85kg), 102kg Snatch (vs 62.5kg), 190.5kg Deadlift (vs 127kg), 172kg Back Squat (vs 122kg). Makes me want to leave the office and head to the gym (or at the very least make a blog entry). Quite inspiring really, us little guys have to stick together you know.

No WOD updates but…

While I did mention that I would be refraining from posting daily WOD updates, I never said anything about a general update on what’s happened. I’ll try to make the summary of the last month and a half quick… hopefully.

I managed to have some great improvements in my conditioning, although it’s still not where I want it to be . At least there’s progress. I’ve also managed to hit a PB on the clean (90kgs), and the clean and jerk (85kgs). I reckon I can do 90kgs on the clean and jerk. 100kgs still remains to be the ultimate goal. Also the 60kg snatches now ‘feel’ lighter and moving up in weight is definitely in the books at some point

I’ve attended a quick 2 hour seminar by Don McCauley when he visited London, and the technique he promotes helped me a lot and is close to my personal preference in lifting. I’ve also taken my CrossFit Level 1 Course and passed the test! I am now looking forward to learning as much as I can, hopefully with the help the crew of CrossFit London UK. I was privileged enough to assist in teaching their I-course one Sunday and it was an eye opener (from a trainer’s perspective) on how Andrew and Rachel teach a class of various skill levels. Socs also helped out in the WonderBar course and I believe she (and the rest) did pretty well.

It wasn’t all fun and games as I managed to injure my left shoulder somehow. But with the help of the foam roller and lacrosse ball (plus a massage session with Kate) it is on the mend. No load bear overhead for me for a few weeks, but I will be back with a vengeance.

I am currently in Riga, Latvia for business and will be travelling every week for the better part of a year. This is a bit of a blow to my aspirations of becoming a CrossFit trainer and a better athlete as I won’t be able to train with as much gusto if I was back in London (no affiliates here). I’ve skipped the hotel gym for the moment as I won’t be able to use the minimal weights they have (mostly dumbbells), given my injury, so I’m concentrating on bodyweight movements for now. I found a good list of workouts to do which should keep me busy for the moment. I might consider going through the Gymnastics WOD archive and work on some skills.

So let’s see what happens in the next few months…