Archive for the ‘Ex-er…size?’ Category

I needed a break from crossfit, so I decided to try something else entirely. When I was in the Philippines, I met a girl who gave me a (very) brief lesson in pole while we drank rum and waited for the typhoon to hit. (as you do). I quickly realized that my core is laughable and I needed to work on it. I also wanted to get better at coordination and flexibility. So I signed up for some classes.

My first class at Femme Fatale was a stiletto pole (I don’t own a pair of stilettos, btw). I left feeling sore but accomplished. Sadly, my schedule didn’t allow me to take this class anymore.

I did take the “circus workout” every chance I could. It’s basically TRX (but with silks, instead of the expensive straps). If you’ve never done silks class before, I highly recommend it. In Circus (taught by a suuuuuper bubbly teacher named Melissa) you do all sorts of floor exercises, TRX-like exercises on all sorts of equipment and you’re exhausted by the end of the 30-40 min session. The time at the end is for you to fool around on silks/hoop/trapeze and get new profile pics! 😛

Flex and Stretch, taught by a ballet-professional named Layla, is basically yoga/pilates on crack. You think it’s just going to be glorified stretching, but I have never sweat this much (even during hot yoga in India during the summer!) Because of this (and work on my own) I ended up getting the splits. (yay!)

The other “drop-in” class that I took was “dance fusion”. Think Zumba- but with jazz, ballet, hip hop, contemporary and dance-central video game all mixed into one. Taught by (the one and only amazing) Cassie, was probably one of the most fun classes I’ve ever taken. If you like to dance and want something that will keep your heart-rate up- just try it. You’ll be overwhelmed the first 2-3 times, but after that you’ll pick it up. Just go and have fun.

Femme Fatale does either membership or drop-in classes. If you get a membership (100$ a month) you get access to all the registered classes plus all the drop-in classes. Otherwise you pay 10-15$ a class and don’t get access to the registered classes. The classes can range anywhere between 5-15 for the drop-ins and 5-8 for the registered classes.

With that said, I signed up for the registered classes and took pole dancing and silks. Pole helped me on my core, for sure, but didn’t make me feel as graceful as silks- which I instantly took to. Climbing up, wrapping a piece of fabric around your body and hanging upside down just makes you feel like a bad ass. (doing a human-flag-pole will eventually make me feel bad-ass as well…. but I’m getting there).

Anyway- if you’re a lady (sorry guys- women only!), over the age of 18, want to have a fun place to go and kill some calories while having a fun atmosphere to do it in- I would recommend Femme Fatale in Kettering.

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After my last post I, admittedly, haven’t been back to crossfit. I am doing a lot more things, physically and decided to spend more time on those.

One of them is TRX with the Fitness Institute, in Troy Ohio. “What the hell is TRX?” I hear you ask- Well, let me tell you!

According to the story I heard from Ron (owner of Fitness Institute), a bunch of Navy Seals were on a mission. It was only supposed to last a day or two so they holed up in a bunker of some sort. Well, the mission got delayed and they ended up staying in that bunker for a lot longer than anticipated. Months, I think. During this time they had to keep their shape, but had no gear to train with. So they got creative with belts and para-chord and looped some stuff over hangers and started doing exercises. After the mission, one of them embraced his inner entrepreneur and TRX was born.

“What does that really mean, LN?” I hear you ask: It’s a couple of straps, hanging from a bar and you use your body weight to do standard exercises (like pushups, rows, situps, etc.) The straps force you to balance in strange/new ways that you don’t really expect- AND (best part) it’s totally scalable to your skill level.

So I took a class. It was only 30 minutes- to which I was thinking “huh. I wonder if I’m going to even feel it.”

After the class, I felt like I was just introduced to Terry Crews and we did Euro-training.

The workout wasn’t high-intensity like crossfit pushes to be. It wasn’t “OMG, I’m going to die”. Chris went “easy” on us, and was patient, energetic, motivating and encouraging to be around. Did I say it was easy? No- I’m saying that Chris took it easy. The workout wasn’t easy at all. Doing pushups and renegade rows while balancing is effin’ hard. I woke up this morning feeling sore in strange muscles that I didn’t expect to be sore- mostly in my core. (YAY!)

I dragged my dad and brother to the class and we went to breakfast afterwards. We all agreed that, “for just straps hanging from a pole/door frame” it was a pretty serious workout. True, you could also do a lot with a deck of cards, but this gave you a lot more freedom and scaleable difficulty. So much, in fact, that my dad wanted me to buy a pair for the office so we could keep working out together.

——-

As for the Fitness Institute, it’s owned by Patty Rose and managed by Ron Darrow. It is a renovated church but they kept the stain-glass which, along with the high-ceilings, adds a lot of character. (It also makes you think twice before you start cussing at the trainer.) Upstairs has all the machines and free-weights. In the “choir hang” are the cardio machines. Downstairs is where they hold the classes. My family also went to a bootcamp workout (held on saturdays) which introduced bicep curls. (Crossfit doesn’t “do” bicep curls, so guess which part of my body was wrecked the day after?).

All in all, if you’re in the Troy area, looking for a gym to work out at, take a class, try something new, be around a bunch of really high-energy folk who also just want to see you succeed in life- check out the Fitness Institute! TRX is every Tuesday and Friday mornings at 6am (as of June 6th, 2014) and you’ll be seeing me there until I leave town again. 🙂

I read this article this morning.  So much of it rang true that I had to stop myself from screaming “YES! ABSOLUTELY!”.

But then I remembered another article I read– and remember the community of crossfit and how powerful it is. (Note: I’m currently working on a podcast about community).

With all this- I want to share a story:

Monday was “Memorial Day Murph”- which I’ve been looking forward to for months. It’s a hellacious workout (run a mile, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, run a mile). “prescribed” is to do it while wearing full gear (or a 20lb vest). I wanted to do it while wearing a gas mask until the final mile and then seeing how long it takes me to run a mile.

I’ve done “Murph” 4 times now. It takes about an hour. The story behind the hero is actually pretty amazing and inspiring. Even though I’m not a military person- this story hits me in the feels every time I read it.

I digress.

The gym breaks down into groups. The head coach, knows that I wanted to do this with a gas mask. He knows my physical goals (of wanting to climb mt. kilimanjaro, training with a gas mask, etc.) He has allowed me for countless practices to use the gas mask while working out. No problem. I know my limits, I’ve never had problems, etcetc.

That morning, his wife, who is “medically trained” told me that I couldn’t wear it because “she’s concerned for my safety”.

I told her that I signed a liability form.

She said “well, but your mother would sue us if anything happened.”

I didn’t feel like arguing. I gave up and started the workout without the mask, pissed off because my whole visualization was thrown off.

After the run is pull-ups. A guy next to me was hammering out the reps and then, all of a sudden, slipped, fell off the bars and right onto his back. He spazzed a little, his eyes rolled back, he blacked out. My WFR training kicked in and I was first on the scene. I secured his head and checked for bleeding. I directed someone to call 9-11 (found out later that my dad was the one who finally got 9-11 on the phone… Not the head coach. Not his “medically trained” wife. She was “trying to” but “couldn’t get the phone to work”. Not the doctor who works out there…. My dad. A patron. An Eagle Scout. I digress again.) He came to, opened his eyes (they were PERRL) but he was still unresponsive to verbals. I asked someone what his name was and asked if he could hear me to open his eyes. He opened them. I pinched his ear, he winced. Good. I explained what happened in small, slow words (not hard for me seeing that my vocabulary is tiny, anyway). I asked him if he could move his fingers and toes. I asked him if I could palpate his body for injuries. I got down to his waist and the “medically trained” staff member came onto the scene and encouraged him to sit up and drink water (funny- I wasn’t taught that in WFR training….)

The paramedics arrived, I delivered my “SOAP report”. They seemed thankful that someone on-scene was trained enough to give such a report. (heh).

He walked to the ambulance and that’s when I continued my workout.

Where was the “medically trained professional”? She showed up on scene when the paramedics did- which was 10 minutes after the incident. The head coach- as soon as made sure that 9-11 was called, continued his workout.

I couldn’t be more disgusted by those decisions. The people who said, not 15 minutes before, that “our member’s safety is our number one concern” were too busy working out and not paying attention to what was going on.

Part of me is glad that I didn’t wear the mask because what would have happened if I *DID* pass out? Would the “medically trained” individual sat on me with a plastic bag? I shudder at the thought. I’ve been debating what to say to the head coach in explaination of why I’m canceling my membership. “Sorry- but I was (poorly) kidnapped in Ecuador and survived the worst Typhoon in history but what makes me really scared is your gym.”

I’ve been to 42 boxes in the world and as much as I didn’t want to agree with it, I find a lot of truth in the first article. It *does* only take 16 hours to get “certified” to teach crossfit level 1. In some countries in the world, you don’t even need that. The lack of safety and the push of “go bigger, go stronger” is prevalent and obvious. Sometimes, this is a key part of the culture. Personally, I had been lifting overhead stuff incorrectly for the past 3 years and it took a Clinical Myotherapist  (my flatmate when I lived in Oz) to diagnose what was going on after my arms went numb after running a 10k (not the 35 crossfit coaches that I had trained under at some point……)

HOWEVER! There is a sense of community that can’t be ignored. Crossfit is this place… this safe haven… where everyone wants me to do well. Where everyone is cheering for me. Where everyone experiences the same terribleness and gets through it, together. THAT is why I “do crossfit”. 

I think this paragraph (of this guy’s blog) sums up my attitude nicely:

CrossFit is a cult!

You’re damn right it is!  Look up the definition of cult.  CrossFitters DO care about what they do a lot.  We ARE very dedicated to our passion.  If that’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right!  I LOVE my CrossFit family.  There is no more supportive, more highly motivated group of people that I’ve ever met.  Go to a college football game and see all the ugliness from opposing fans.  Curses, derogatory names, threats of physical violence, all are very present.  Go to a CrossFit competition and watch everyone cheer for each other. It’s that simple.  CrossFit is love people.  If you want to hate on love, I guess you’ve told me everything I need to know about you.

 

 

Now… If only I can find a safer way to do it….

Crossfit Fuse was opened by Troy back in 2011. I was, (we think) athlete #12.  Now it has hundreds of people walk through the door.

I recently went back to Seattle for a visit and, of course, after 2 years of travels, I had to drop in on my old box. I felt like I was going home after being away at college for a year. Some familiar faces mixed with new- but all the expressions were the same: Glee, Bliss, Accomplishment.

The decor has changed slightly. There are more achievement-based plaques on the wall (Murph times, Cindy reps, etc) There are more racks for pullups. But the environment is still the same and the community is stronger than ever.

Troy actually does a bunch of really interesting things to build up the Fuse Community that I’m going to list in no-particular order:

1) He has special training class for aspiring coaches. Essentially, after you get your level 1 cert (1 weekend, 16 hours, 1000$USD) you are “certified to teach crossfit”. But anyone who has been to a GREAT crossfit vs a BAD one know that the coaches need to have more experience than just this weekend class. The things you need to know and see are athlete’s bodies. How they move, how they respond to cues, etc. Basically- you need experience. And that level 1 cert doesn’t give you that. Troy figured this out early and has an amazing solution to the problem that doesn’t involve unpaid internships.

2)I remembered the “monthly challenge” board where you put your name on a magnet and counted how many double-unders you did in the month. (10,000 was the goal). If you reached the goal, your name got put into a hat for a prize. The actual prizes weren’t nearly as awesome as the bragging rights you had when your name was at the top. 🙂 This still exists.

3) Whole Life Challenge. 

4) Fuse Throwdowns. (competition within fuse that is scaled and handicapped so everyone gets a fair shot).

5) Baseball/softball league signups

6) Paleo facebook pages. (to keep you accountable, people can post pictures of their food and encouragements. Changing your diet is WAY EASIER if you have a bunch of encouraging things on your FB feed- rather than pictures of drunk chicks.)

7) a PR (personal record) board (otherwise known as “the Brag Board”). A place where you can write down your personal achievements that you’re proud of.

8) The “Fuse Open”. During the Crossfit Open he divides everyone who has signed up for the open and divides them into 4 groups. The groups pick team names and colors, set up facebook pages and then a page of ‘how to earn points’. Teams can earn points in various ways:

a) showing up to class

b) wearing your team color

c) taking pictures of your paleo food

d) guessing what the open wod will be. (couplet, chipper, the moves, how many reps, etc.)

e) achieving 100 kettlebell swings = 1 point.

f) having friends come and do a workout.

g) having friends swing kettlebells with you (you need to get this on tape).

h) challenging other people in the gym to do crazy stuff. (like jump into Lake Washington… In March.)

 

There are heaps of ways to build community within your box and I may be biased, but I think Fuse does the best job of all the boxes I’ve been to so far.


 

I showed up on a Saturday and asked if we could do my favorite WOD of all time:

The Zombie Apocalypse team-wod

-divide group into 2

-everyone runs 200 meters. Slowest member’s group (zombies) needs to push a 400lb sled 200m first while faster group (humans) does “work”. Once the zombies are back, the group switches. Keep repeating until one group finishes.

WORK:

300-wallball (brain toss)

300 pullups (blood on the bars)

300 doubleunders (suppression fire)

600lb sandbag drag (50m) (injured buddy)

300 box jumps (jump high or die)

600lb “dead-body move” 200m (with or without sled).

 

(Note: It’s easier the more people you have in your group. You also have to pace yourself. With 8 people per group it took 32min. With 5 people per group it took 45 min.)

 

With all this said: I had someone ask me “You went to Fuse- but that was ages ago! Would you go back?” And the answer is a resounding “YES!”. If you want to be trained by athletes who LOVE what they do and are passionate about making you comfortable, stronger and better- then go check out Fuse.

I was invited back to Alpha Martial Arts to try an I ❤ Kickboxing class.

“It’ll be 60-minutes of cardio! You can totally do this.”  Carissa, the kickboxing coach but also my partner in the 14.5 jab crossfit class I took. “You’ll be fine!”

While she was right, I was totally fine, I was pooped! WIPED OUT! EXHAUSTED! But the whole thing made me feel bad ass.

Let me back up: 

Alpha Martial Arts, if you didn’t tune in last time, is a dojo with kickboxing, Muay Thai, Karate, and Crossfit all in 1 location. They also cater to kids, which gets the whole family involved.

The last time I took a kickboxing class was on a cruise ship and was catered towards people that needed a way to burn off calories from the all-you-could-eat pizza bar that was available 24/7. (Don’t judge). So I thought it was a good time to try this again.

After expressing my concern/worry to Carissa that I’m a total n00b, she waved it off and said “Just show up. It’ll be great.” I was mostly worried that my technique would be terrible, that I would be holding up the class because I didn’t know what I was doing, blah blah blah. (all the typical CDO stuff that happens). I showed up anyway.

SO Glad I did!

Kickboxing classes (at AMA) are exactly as Carissa said: 60 minutes of cardio with a crap-ton of new techniques thrown in. (Jab Cross, Uppercuts, roundhouse kicks, etc). You have gloves and are going against a pad or buddy the whole time. She sets timers for 2 minutes and then you have 30-seconds of rest while she explains the next exercise. Basically, it’s a Tabata on steroids… for 60 minutes.

Not to mention that taking your aggression out on a pad is really satisfying. 😀

The other class mates were a hodge-podge of experience levels. Some had been there for 4 years and some were new like me. However, none of that hindered the class because you move at your own pace and do as much as you can. The more classes you attend the more you’ll know the moves and the more you can just jump right in.

After the class I was drenched and shaky (blood-sugar went through the floor). Carissa explained that I had probably just spent 600-700 calories. (read: you should eat breakfast before you work out).

Carissa is a great coach who had the best formula of encouragement mixed with tips on how to correct form. I walked out of the gym with even more confidence (which is saying something because I’m pretty cocky already). So if you’re in the Seattle area and want to try something new to get your heart going, I would totally recommend one of the drop-in classes at AMA!

Today I went to Jab Crossfit near the University District in Seattle, WA. My friend Carissa works here (I’ll be taking her kickboxing class next week- so wait on a follow-up blog on that!) and convinced me to do the last wod of the open with her.

14.5…. guh. 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 thrusters and burpees. I’ll kevetch about that later.

Alpha Martial Arts is a kickboxing, karate dojo and crossfit box all in 1. They have kid classes and multiple spaces so nothing seems chaotic, but it’s awesome that you can drop your kids off and go work out yourself. (FAMILY WORKOUTS!).

They are a small box, so my class size was perfect at 8 athletes and one amazing coach (Tyler) who’s take on crossfit is that it should be fun, “yes, we’re getting a workout, but it doesn’t have to be so serious.”

As far as the culture, Jab felt like a mini-family that was there to have fun. To work out and get the “that kicked my ass!” accomplishment feeling while smiling. Not many (if any) are there to compete, but instead to build a healthy life balance.

In regards to the community that it spawns: everyone knew everyone and the intimate details of their lives. Exhausted and out-of-breath cheering occurred during the WOD, everyone got fist-bumps at the end. I will say that I always feel like Crossfit is a great way of networking and this box is no different. I met a bunch of people that I wouldn’t mind grabbing coffee (hey! It’s Seattle, after all!) with at some point.

In general, everyone has to go through a fundamentals class so nothing is new/scary for the new victim athlete. Tyler has the eye and drive to make your form more efficient, effective and perfect before moving onto something more difficult which I greatly appreciate. He also loves to make his programming fun. Like incorporating the PeeWee Herman dance into kettlebell swings. (Yea, you read that right!)

The WOD we did was the Open’s 14.5. It was terrible. Awful. Dreadful. I’m going to do it again tomorrow. 😛

Lastly, I won’t spoil it for you- but the cool-down was my favorite part. Especially after that wod.

 

So if you’re looking for a box that will treat you like family and that you can have fun with- go check out Jab Cross(fit)! I highly recommend them. 🙂

My dad is in town for SXSW.edu (because it can still get bigger, apparently) and asked me to wake up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 to do a WOD with him at the box of my choice. I had been looking at Fortitude Fitness for a while and decided to give them a try.

Over the weekend they had moved to a new location that is freshly painted black and orange off of Airport road and we got to de-virginize the floor with our dynamic warm up, stretching and lift-prep before we tackled the Crossfit Total. (1-rep-max of strict press, back squat and deadlifts).

The class was 5 of us in total, which is great size for a 6:30am class. It may have been smaller because of the (weird/ungodly) weather that all of America (including Austin) has been experiencing lately. (The only sucky part of the WOD was that the bars were SO COLD that my hands felt like they were frozen to them. “Screw hook-grip! Wanna hold onto the bar? Just wet your hands!”)

Athan (the coach/owner who teaches at the Texas Officer Candidate School for the Texas National Guard) informed me that his subs are in the high-90s with 7-15 new members every month. They used to be a bootcamp for 18 months before opening Fortitude officially in early 2013. I asked him what made his box different and, for the first time ever, was surprised by his answer. (most people say “OUR COMMUNITY!” but they don’t really grasp WHY the community is the way it is.) Athan knows why his is awesome:

“The programming is done specifically with the intent to make my athletes feel awesome!” Basically he has a cycle of strength, endurance, cardio and hybrid. Between these the athletes will leave the gym that day feeling like they have accomplished something awesome. “That feeling carries over into their personal lives, too. Like if they are at work and their boss gives them a really hard assignment, they typically look at it and say ‘pfft. no problem!’ because they remember the wod they never thought they could do- but DID.”

And because Fortitude hones in on that “I feel awesome/accomplished” feeling and make that their goal, everyone joins in on the goal and all the members become a team. Just like in the military (or in any situation where you “go through the trenches” with a group of people) you bond. That bond is the community of any box.

After the WOD, I certainly felt accomplished. It has actually been about a year since I did a CF Total and it’s always nice to do benchmarks to see where your numbers stand in comparison to last time.

Another thing that Athan does is mix up the WODs to incorporate “odd” (unique) moves that he has used in the military. Things like “seated box jumps- for distance”, Good Mornings, and Stiff Leg Deadlifts.

Thanks guys! I’ll definitely come back (when you’re all painted/muraled up) to check out some of the more unique programming wods!