Why I Love CrossFit: Because Some Days I Hate CrossFit

Barbell <3

This Monday dawned with the promise of a fabulous fitness day in the land of Busy Being Awesome.  I had the day off work for President’s Day, and plans to take my dear friend Patty and her partner Donna to try CrossFit at my fabulous box, CrossFit On Track.  I figured there was no way this could go wrong, because anytime you can mix a work holiday, friends, and a good WOD it’s pretty much Nirvana in my book.

Only one problem. I had one of the crappiest CrossFit days imaginable.

I didn’t expect this workout to be all sunshine and rainbows. I hadn’t done a proper WOD in nearly two weeks because I’ve been struggling with a rather nasty pinched nerve/knotted up neck-trap-shoulder issue lately and thus have been spending most of my quality time with the chiropractor rather than at the box. Because of this injury, I’ve also been operating under two edicts. Edict #1: Thou Shalt Not Lift Weight Overhead and the ever popular Edict #2:  Thou Shalt Back Off Weights On Non-Overhead Lifts.  So when I heard the plan for class today, I actually figured it would be pretty easy due to the changes I would need to make to work around my injury. Here’s the breakdown of what Coach Brian had us doing today.

Warm Up

10 Minutes, As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP)

*8 Barbell Step Ups – 45 Pounds

*8 Box Jumps – 12″

*8 Clean and Jerks – 45 Pounds

Strength/Skill

There were three levels to pick from, but let’s just say this section was all about working Overhead Squats and Front Squats and leave it at that.

WOD (That’s Workout Of The Day for those of you who don’t speak CrossFit yet)

20 Minutes AMRAP

20 Pushups

10 Cleans – RX Weight for Women is 95 pounds

200 Meter Run

Right off the bat, I started working out in my head how I would scale not just the WOD, but everything put before me to accommodate my injury.

*For the warm-up, I decided to do step-ups instead of box jumps, because my risk of blowing an ankle that I talk about in my post Regarding Box Jumps has convinced me I don’t need to do them so often. Then I figured out that I would try the 15 pound technique bar for my Clean and Jerks in the warm up so I could test doing a tiny bit of weight overhead and see how it felt, despite Edict #1.

*For the strength/skill section, I decided to go with PVC pipe for my overhead squats to comply fully with Edict #1, and used 35 pounds on my front squats to comply with Edict #2.

*For the WOD, I decided to go with wall pushups, to comply with Corollary #1 to Edict #2, which is Thou Shalt Not Do Pushups On The Floor, and 55 pounds on the cleans.

Having come up with a plan, and having determined that Patty and Donna were comfortable doing their first CrossFit class, I was ready to get crack-a-lackin’ on the workout.  I figured that due to the adjustments, this would be a fairly easy class for me and that I’d probably get quite a few rounds of the WOD done since I’d be doing light weight and easier pushups.

Boy, was I wrong.

The trouble started about four minutes into the warmup.  I don’t know how else to describe it other than to say I felt like complete crap – tired, weak, and at certain points a little bit dizzy.  I can’t remember how many rounds of the warmup I did, but it was way less than I would have expected to do.  I had to sit for a bit at one point.  The strength/skill section was OK, but I still didn’t feel right.  And when it came to the WOD, it felt horrible. After the first round, I had to go from 55 pounds down to 35 pounds on the clean because my left shoulder and trap were bugging me, and I was miserable with the run.  My knee hurt like a bitch, and my breathing was off, and it was just a train wreck. I actually thought I was going to hurl at one point, and I have *never* hurled doing CrossFit. There were several times that I wanted to completely quit and hit the showers, but I told myself that my goal was to move for an hour, and so by God I was going to do the best I could to reach it.

60 minutes of awful feeling, and awful performance. What a way to start the day, right?

After the workout was over, my friends and I went to go grab lunch at Panera and we chatted about what they thought of the class, how our lives were going, what is happening with their 13 year old kid, and so forth.  And then I went home and finally, FINALLY I hit the showers.

And that’s where it all started to go right again.  While cleaning up from one of the crummiest workouts in my memory, I let my mind wander.  And I realized that if I was doing almost anything else, feeling so bad about the workout would ruin my day.  I HATED how I did at that workout today, but at the same time I proved to myself that I can get up and TRY, even if I’m hurt, and I can keep trying, even if it sucks. This is a phenomenally important thing to figure out because, kids, getting healthy and staying that way is not for the faint of heart.  It’s hard work, every day.  You have to make the right decisions and take the right actions every day, not just until you lose the weight but *every day of your life* to make this work. You also need to realize that if all the workouts are easy, you probably aren’t actually being challenged or likely to make the progress you need or want to make. You have to pick yourself up and dust yourself off after a crappy workout, or a crappy day at the office, or a weekend of crappy food decisions. And if you are like me, you need a community of people who will help you make the right decisions, get through the workout, and press you forward – sometimes nicely, and sometimes kicking and screaming.

Monday was one of the bad days – but I hit my goal of moving for an hour, and my CrossFitting buddy Uzo helped drag me through it kicking and screaming by encouraging me throughout the WOD.  And by the end of my shower, I realized that from 9:30 to 10:30am on February 18, 2013 I freaking hated CrossFit.

But now I love it again. And THAT is what makes the difference.

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