I’ve been using a really firm J Fit foam roller for quite some time now. As I wrote about in this post, using a foam roller is a critical useful tool for increasing blood flow and circulation to your muscles and tissues to promote healing. They can also provide “myofascial release”, which is a technique that results in softening and lengthening of the fascia over your muscles. By focusing the roller on places where you are stiff, sore, or are experiencing reduced flexibility; you can break down unwanted adhesions between the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue. At first the foam roller was pretty painful. But after using it for awhile, I’m used to it and it takes a lot more pressure to work on the knots in my muscles.
Today’s CrossFit workout was kind of fun! In addition to the usual strength training, we did some conditioning work that included pushing a Jeep. I don’t think I’ve pushed a car or truck since high school, when we either got stuck in the mud or ran out of gas. Who would think that I would do that again someday as a workout that I pay for? Life is funny…
I described what a Tabata workout is in an earlier post. A Tabata is high-intensity interval training (HITT) and is basically 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise and then 10 seconds of rest, repeated for 8 cycles continuously for 4 minutes. It really packs a ton of cardio and fat-burning exercise into the longest 4 minutes of your life. Today we did it for 4 exercises back to back (Squat Cleans, Pull-ups, Burpees, Kettlebell Swings), so that makes it the longest 16 minutes of your life. Who would think you would be completely drained after just 16 minutes of exercise? But, try it sometime and I think you will discover the same thing. I have a love/hate relationship with the Tabata. More than a lot of other conditioning WOD’s, you really do feel like you’re competing against yourself (if you track your progress as you should be doing!). I love that and, looking back at my past performance, I see improvements that motivate me a lot. That includes physical changes that I can see; burning off fat and getting a lot more muscle definition. The hate? The Tabata workouts really wipe me out and, like I said, you would never imagine how long 4 minutes can feel.
I apologize for not posting in a while. I was traveling in Europe and playing a bit of catch up over the past week. The business trip and my stay in a very small, somewhat authentic, Parisian hotel made it a bit too challenging to keep up with any CrossFit travel WODs. But, despite a week of French food and no high-intensity exercise (although I did walk for about 10 hours each day!), I only gained about a pound and getting back into the swing of things at CrossFit last Monday wasn’t too painful. It wasn’t easy! But, it wasn’t as bad as I feared it might be.
Well, this morning was my last CrossFit workout before heading off to Paris. I have two challenges while traveling this time:
- Keeping up with CrossFit Travel WODs
- Avoiding the temptation of French food to maintain the Paleo Challenge
That’s right. I have to somehow avoid the great bread, cheeses, pastries, and chocolate and only eat duck, beef, and foie gras. Wish me luck!
I actually like all of the exercises that we did for our CrossFit workout of the day today (WOD): Push-ups, Chin-ups, and Dips. I’ve been practicing the kipping pull-up and chin-up, so it was a good day to put it to the test. This WOD is a great way to work on your chest, triceps, and biceps. The chin-ups, in particular, also help you perform better on rope climbing.
With all of the core strength training and ab work over the past few months, my abs have definitely become much stronger (see photo). For example, today in my CrossFit workout we did Toes-to-Bar for part of our conditioning WOD (see the photo on the right). It isn’t easy to do, but I can do it now! Can I do 45 of them? Ummm, no. But, I did my best to get toes to the bar on the first 21 and more like a Knees-to-Elbow (K2E) on the rest of the reps.
There are very few things that have the motivational impact of progress. Today in my CrossFit workout I felt stronger and faster than I have in awhile and boy does that feel good! A nice affirmation for choosing this new fitness lifestyle. Pace yourself, stay committed, be consistent, and you will see progress. That progress will drive you on and keep you going! It is probably too early to really attribute this to the Paleo diet that I’ve been following, since I only started it this week. But, I do think that cutting out sugars and simple carbohydrates (e.g., bread) has already made me feel better and improved my energy levels. Simple carbs give you a spike of energy, but it drops off fast and you crash.
Strength training using Olympic-style weightlifting was something I avoided until just a few months ago. For the last 30 years, I have primarily done bodyweight training (e.g., push-ups) and some lighter lifting with dumbbells (e.g., bicep curls). That’s about it. But, when I joined my CrossFit gym a little over 5 months ago, weightlifting was a core component of the training. I dreaded it at first. But, now I have come to realize how much the increases in strength have improved my overall fitness, my cardio performance (e.g., long trail runs), and the muscle tone of my body. It is worth the investment of your time and energy.
We really worked the legs and abs today in CrossFit. The strength training was the Front Squat and the conditioning was a combination of Squat Cleans, Stiff Legged Dead Lifts (SLDL), and Knees-to-Elbows (K2E). I’m really happy with my ab strength progress (been practicing every week), since I was able to knock out 15 K2E with proper form very quickly today. Practice, practice, practice to overcome exercises that challenge you!