Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Back in the pool

In addition to my crossfit rise membership, I also have a memebership with a fitness center (got a deal where my membership is $2/mo!) that has a pool among other things. For $70 I get like six weeks of swim training, so I decided to jump in on that. It's offered on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Monday was the first class (which I missed).

In Alexandria I was attending a class on Sundays (occasionally). It was lots of long swims and I felt like I was drowning half the time, not to mention out of breath.

This class was very different in feel. For one, I wasn't the worst swimmer. I was in the slow lane, but I shared it with a lady who couldn't do flip turns, so that made me feel better about myself. Secondly, on Wednesdays they do shorter distances, more like sprints. This meant I was never really out of breath. Like it was short on breath, but I never needed to take long breaks and felt pretty fresh after a few seconds.

...I also liked the fact that they end with a 100m sprint to see if you're getting faster. This was a really fun experience for me, it kind of brought me back to when I used to compete as a kid. The first 50m went fine, I was breathing every fourth stroke (I figured that was fast). When I got to the last 25m, however, I started to feel like I really needed to breathe so I took a breath every stroke for like three strokes. Then I realized how close I was to finishing and I also realized I could go a lot faster. I was focusing on technique so I figured a slower pace would be ok, but then I decided to just get to the end of the pool as fast as possible so kept my head down and moved my arms faster then ever and finnished at 1:17. For that last stretch I felt amazing, I felt like I was finally going fast enough that I was floating on top of the water, I felt powerful. Breathing was irrelevant, because I was going to finish this thing strong.

I'm pretty happy with this time, especially as a baseline. Not too pleased about losing mental focus and toughness, but I think that will come with more experience in the water.

I'm also really glad to be doing this, I think it will help build up my shoulder strength and help with the cardio, very excited to be doing this now, especially with the 100 swim at the end of each class.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Massage Therapist

So now that I'm in Chicago, I have to start all over and find new things. You know, new hairstylist, new gym, new doctor, new bar, and also a massage therapist. Olga has done some amazing things, so whoever I found had big shoes to feel. I asked around at crossfit Rise, and one of the trainers, Kathy, recommended Bobby at Northwest Massage Studio. He used to work for the Detroit Lions, and Kathy swears by him so I figured it was worth a shot.

I was a little hesitant because I've never gotten a massage from a dude, but I figured his strength might come in handy.

The man does fantastic work. I booked a 1.5 hour massage, and he ended up taking 2.45 hours, without charging more. He worked on my hip, and commented that what I presented was "interesting". He found things in the Psoas, and really worked on it. He worked on my shoulders, and told me I was "going to feel a lot of pain." It wasn't anything I couldn't manage. I commented that I had a high pain tolerance, to which he responded, "yeah I can tell, most people would be levitating off the table right now."

Things changed, however, when he got to my hamstrings. Namely, my left hamstring. He said that the entire muscle fiber was contracted, and he could tell this wasn't something new, that it's been that way for a while. When he was working on it, I felt pain that I really didn't think was possible. There were a few times where I almost caved and asked him to lessen, but I managed to bite the bullet and afterwards when I stood up I felt very, very different. My left hammy just felt.... different. I could feel it, I guess. I also didn't have any pain in my hip, which is awesome of course.

So perhaps this previously unnoticed tight hamstring was a culprit in my hip pain? I'm sure the imbalance was throwing my pelvis out of wack, so perhaps this is yet another step towards actually being able to just sit still and not experience any kind of pain whatsoever. I also get a little mad that this was missed by Olga, but she has helped me so much I can't get too upset.

There is one more treatment I am going to try soon, and that's acupuncture. I really, really hopes it works, because every now and then I get tired of this pain.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Found a Chicago Home

Apologies for the long drought in posting. A lot has been going on here and it's taking some time to find any sort of rhythm, so my blogging has fallen by the wayside. So after a short while I decided to go with Crossfit Rise. It was either that or Crossfit Arlington Heights (the third nearest one is 30 min away, and I'm not going to take an hour out of my day just to drive to and from a gym), but I liked Rise's facilities more, plus the Oly class is pretty awesome, not to mention they were offering membership for only $115 a month. Take that and the fact that it was the closest gym to where I live, and boom there ya go. Brian commented earlier that I should check out his garage gym, but by the time he had posted that I had already signed the contract with rise. I do plan to check it out though, he was the lacrosse coach of friend of the family, is of military background, and may be starting a Crossfit Barrington. Will see how that goes.

Crossfit is super new, started this April, so it should be interesting to see what happens. It's taking some adjustment to this new place, they do things differently than in CFOT, neither really better or worse, just different. Also, I'm trying very, very hard to be respectful and not try to volunteer any training techniques or tips. I don't want to step on any toes and I don't feel like it's my place to just walk in to a gym and be like "try this bla bla bla".

Today they made a workout with me in mind. I asked the owner to keep including HSPU's since I want to work on them, and lo and behold:

5 Rounds
9 Squat cleans (135#)
7 HSPU (I did them with the second thickest band)

Did it in 19:23, pretty happy about my performance, the squat cleans were easy, but I missed a couple of times with getting into position for the HSPU. Also, my core is so weak it's not even funny, I can't keep a hollow body to save my life when after like the first HSPU. Obv, something to work on.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Crossfit total

Did the crossfit total for the first time, and it made me feel weak (of course)

Squat: 245
Press: 122
Deadlift: 295

for a measly 662. This is pretty sad, but since I've switched to paleo and started losing weight I've also been losing strength. Been trying to keep up the weight, to keep eating more protien, but it's such a challenge for me. I do find myself hungry (and thus eating) all the time though, so it's not like I'm starving myself. I've also stopped losing weight, been hovering around 186 for some time now. It's only about ten pounds lighter than what I weighed in January, but I feel like I really do have more muscle/less fat.

I just need to keep working on getting stronger, which means I need to come up with a game plan to do so.

success with hand stand push ups.

So I was back in DC for work, and while I was there I got to work out at CFOT again, and the wod included HSPUs. I used what I used to use, the thickest band, and that was waaay too easy, so in the middle of the wod I switched out the the next thickest. There's a huge drop in assistance, so I thought it would be difficult, but instead it was still doable, but it was more challenging.

I'm super excited about this. I think working on the complete range of motion is really starting to help my shoulder strength. Milestones like these are what keep me going, glad I'm still progressing.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

First gym to try out: Crossfit Rise

The past week I've been attending Crossfit Rise, and I have to say I'm impressed with the place. The owners are a married couple, with the wife (Jessica Schulz) having gone to crossfit nationals last year. It's brand new, they opened up in April, and it's the closest gym to where I'm living at being only a 15 min drive away. The facilities are top notch, 12k sq feet, oly platforms and a 30m grass track for sled work. One thing I really, really like about what they have to offer is they have an olympic lifing instructor come in every Wednesday and go over the lifts. This is awesome. She's not even a crossfitter, just a straight up NSCA certified oly instructor. I attended the class and we worked on the double knee bend for the clean. The double knee bend is the most effiecient way to lift weight, but because of its complexity we never really worked on it at CFOT.

Because they are so new they only have like 20 members. A large class for them is four people! This is nice in that I get a lot of personal attention (was called out for pressing out on a jerk during a met-con), but the downside is that they don't have much of a community yet. I know they will, the market is there, it's just going to take time. ...Another nice thing is I seem to be one of the more fit people in the group, I find myself having faster times and lifting heavier weights then anyone else, it can be nice to be a big fish in a small pond. The pressure of feeling like I HAVE to finnish first is a nice change, it really motivates me to do better and to push myself.

When asked about their programming, they said they don't have a strength bias per se, but tuesday and Thursdays are strength days, and they're able to figure out a plan just for me. Not exactly what I'm looking for, but I get the feeling there isn't a real big strength bias around these parts.

Because of the facilities, proximity, and mostly because of the Oly class, this is my current frontrunner for my new crossfit home.