I’m still ramping up my training for the Tough Mudder event in NorCal this September. I’m wearing my Vibram FiveFingers much more regularly and did another 4 mile trail run in a pair of the KSOs. You may recall that I did buy a pair of the KSO Treks earlier and did a trail run in them as well. The fit was a bit too large. They felt fine for walking around, but my smaller toes kept slipping out of their pockets as I started running harder and climbing. So, I bought a size smaller of the KSOs, which are a bit different (better for water, thinner sole). Now my big toe is a bit cramped. Guess I have weird toes.
Dear readers, I would like to hear from you! What do you think are the best bodyweight exercises? In the poll below, select the one bodyweight exercise that you think is the best or write in your own answer. If you could only do one bodyweight exercise, what would it be?
Well, today was the last day of my Paleo Challenge. So we took photos and measurements in CrossFit this morning. We won’t know who the winners are until next week. But, I wanted to do a quick post and share my after photo. The Paleo diet helped me bring out more definition. I lost about 4 pounds that I just couldn’t seem to gain back, but maybe that’s ok.
Today in CrossFit we did a Conditioning WOD that included the Overhead Squat. The Overhead Squat (OHS) is as much about shoulder flexibility and core strength as it is about leg strength, perhaps even more about flexibility and balance. I’ll be honest; I’ve struggled with the OHS. It isn’t about the weight or my ability to squat it. It’s about my shoulder flexibility more than anything else. As you get down into the deep squat position, you should be able to shrug your shoulders, lock your arms out straight overhead, and actually have those arms somewhat behind your head (i.e., someone should be able to see your ears from the side). When I started doing the OHS, I couldn’t even put my arms that straight overhead with NO WEIGHT! My shoulder flexibility held me back. But, I’ve been working on stretches and using a lacrosse ball to open up the muscles around my scapula and shoulders. It is helping and I can do a better OHS now, but I have a lot more room for improvement before I can add significant weight to this lift.
To continue preparing for the Tough Mudder event, I am still doing CrossFit during the week. But I’ve also added a trail run each weekend to keep improving my endurance and add a bit more cardio work. I ran again in my Vibram FiveFingers to see how they feel on the rocky trail and what it feels like to keep running in cold, wet feet. It was ok. The FiveFingers certainly just let the water come in and your feet are instantly wet and cold. But I found that my feet warmed up as I kept running, so it was tolerable. My feet obviously still need to toughen up more. I felt all of the sharp stones on the trail (it was a really rocky trail). But, the barefoot running style ensures that you are landing lightly on your forefoot and lifting your feet quickly back off the ground again. So, hitting a rock wasn’t nearly as painful as it would be when you stride out and land harder on your heels.
Sorry, I feel the need to rant a bit today. I just keep seeing too many tweets on Twitter about how proud some CrossFit folks are of their blistered and bleeding hands from doing pull-ups. They are usually referring to high reps of kipping pull-ups. Bleeding hands from pull-ups aren’t some CrossFit “badge of honor”. It’s actually an indicator that you aren’t gripping the pull-up bar correctly. Now, before you get your hackles up and puff out your chest, I had the same problem. When I started CrossFit last year and began doing a high volume of pull-ups, I built up calluses and blisters. I noticed that it kept hurting more and more as that new callused area was getting pinched between the top of my palm and the bar. So, I did some research before it became a bleeding issue and I’ll share what I found below in some photos and a video. You really can avoid it! It’s all about your grip style and it builds up your grip strength and toughens up your hands more evenly.
It was a little over 2 years ago (Jan 2009) that I committed to a lifestyle change. I began making wiser food choices and walking and running again. About 1 year ago, I started P90X and finished it. Then about 6 months ago, I started CrossFit. 7 weeks ago I began the Paleo Challenge. Basically, [...]
I totally spanked “Cindy” yesterday at CrossFit. It was my best performance with her ever! It is a 20 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of 5 Pull-ups, 10 Push-ups, and 15 Air Squats. Breaking the pull-ups into sets of 5 like that made it feel pretty easy and I switched my grip so that I was alternating pull-ups and chin-ups. Funny how squats start to feel like a break when you do them right after push-ups.
Just seemed appropriate to talk about love on this Valentine’s Day. The song “Who Do You Love” popped into my head today on this day of love. It was originally recorded in 1956 by Bo Diddley, but I always hear the version by George Thorogood in my head when I think about it. I think this question is incredibly relevant not just on Valentine’s Day, but also when you think about the perpetual journey to health and fitness that so many of you are taking or wish you could convince yourself to take. I want you to really think about it: Who do you love? Who matters the most to you in this world? Maybe it’s your husband, wife, or significant other. Maybe it’s your children. Maybe it’s your brother or sister, or mother and father. Heck, maybe it’s yourself! That’s a good thing. Truly loving yourself means that you care enough to take care of yourself.
My CrossFit workout this morning really hit my overall body with a variety of exercises that worked the core, arms, and legs. I felt it all over! Made me also realize that my forearms were more sore than I anticipated from the 32 Kg kettleball farmers walk and hammers yesterday. I really felt it on the pull-ups and performed a bit weaker than I had hoped. Oh well. Every day can’t be the best day for a given exercise. We did this same workout back in November 2010, so I was able to compare my performance. This is so critical for your motivation!). I took 17 seconds off my time and did much better on my pull-ups this time. Now my goal for the next time I do this WOD is to do everything unbroken. No breaks!