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Rx Girls Miami – 07.10.11

10 Jul

Finding Your Base Strength

I learned how to do pull ups after 4 months of CrossFit. When I first came in I couldn’t even do a quarter of ONE…. really. I had no strength. Skinny, yes. Strong and healthy? Not at all. CrossFit taught me about fitness and what healthy really is. What it means to find your weaknesses and practice them every day so they become your strengths. So I practiced every day… literally. I tell people this all the time. If you really want something it’s gonna take work. Not some magical wish for it to happen and BAM! there it is, not some hope that your coach will one day give you the right cue and you’ll get it, just practice. Like anything else worth perfecting or learning.

So after 4 months of practicing the kip and kipping with bands I finally got it. First I used the green thick band. I got to about 10-15 unbroken and then I moved to the thinner blue band. Every day I would come in and do 3-4 sets of max reps. The next day, I would try to beat that number, even if it was by only one rep. Eventually I came in one day and a friend of mine had gotten her first unassisted pull ups. I was at about 15 unbroken with the blue thin band and said “shit, if she can do it”….. so I did 5 unbroken unassisted pull ups that night. It felt awesome. I felt strong and accomplished. Today, I can teach a real good kipping pull up and how to break it down perfectly. I can also do 30 unbroken kipping pull ups (maybe more) and a handful of bar muscle ups…. but that doesn’t mean shit.

Why? Well a few months back I took the Gymnastics Certification with Jeff Tucker…. hell of a guy with an awesome bummer face by the way. He taught me a lot about strength and why having a good kipping pull up isn’t really that great if I can barely do a handful of strict pull ups. What the shit?! How many strict pull ups CAN I do? I had never even really cared. CrossFit gets you so into wanting to do things quickly and efficiently. Doing the most amount of work in the shortest amount of time. But how strong am I, really? That weekend I wanted Tucker to help me get my muscle up. He basically told me no… not until you have the strength to do it. In a way, he’s still helping me to get my muscle up… I WILL get a strict one before I get one kipping, I’m convinced.

Anyway, so I went back to basics. I was really stumped as to why I could do so many kipping pull ups and not even one muscle up. I started to train everything strict. Strict handstand push ups (which I could also do a bunch kipping but barely any strict), strict pull ups, strict toes to bar, string ring dips, strict muscle up progressions. What’s gonna happen when HQ says “guess what guys? This WOD calls for strict”! This sport is also all about finding your weaknesses. As weird and as shitty as it is, my weakness is my base strength. I already know I can rely on momentum for all of these movements… and if I can also rep them out strict number one it’s gonna help me get through the WOD easier, and it’s sure as hell gonna help me whoop your ass when I’m next to you.

So take a step back and refocus. Find your base first, worry about momentum later. It will take MUCH longer, I promise, but it’s GOING to make you a better athlete than the next person… unless they train the same way, then it’s all about heart.

Now go get strong!


Rx Girls Miami – 10.14.10

14 Oct

Busy week! I started up classes again this week and in the middle of continuing to work on getting CrossFit Soul up and running, I have little to NO time to do anything else! So, I apologize for my lack of updates…

You know, my mom is always calling me about these fitness shows that she sees on T.V. I’m guilty of watching them: “Too Fat for 15”, “The Biggest Loser” and whatever other shows come up that have to do with weight loss and working out. One of the shows my mom mentioned not too long ago was this Jillian Michaels chick… Well – I recently saw a pretty amusing article about the so-called fitness expert who has a bajillion bull crap DVD’s out and “inspires” people by what I’m assuming is the hundreds of thousands… maybe more.

The LA Times recently came out with an article exposing Jillian for what she really is, a fraud.

“Typical viewers think she’s great, yet the collective jaws of professional trainers hit the floor after witnessing her regular displays of poor technique and unsafe training practices.

Michaels obtained some introductory fitness certifications (National Exercise & Sports Trainers Assn. and Aerobics and Fitness Assn. of America) 17 years ago and does not seem to ever have recertified. The biography on her website goes on and on about her multimedia endeavors, but there is not a single mention of any health-and-fitness education or credentials.

And now, seemingly without any qualifications, Michaels is teaching amateurs how to use kettle bells in her latest DVD, “Shred-It With Weights.” Her toned, tanned and possibly Photoshopped physique stands proudly on the cover holding a kettle bell, while a bubble on the cover exclaims, “Lose up to 5 pounds a week!”

How about this, stop wasting your time and money with crappy quick-fix DVD’s and fitness programs and start doing something REAL. Yes, I know, a lot of us don’t have time… we have families, jobs, responsibilities… but we also have to take care of ourselves. All of these things that take up so much of our time can also cause stress, lack of sleep, bad habits, etc. The CrossFit community is one that focuses on long-term health and fitness. I say health and fitness because while the two go together, they affect us in so many different ways. Improvements in our mental health and nutritional health are huge perks of joining the CrossFit community. The fitness comes with the hard work and commitment to training. None of this is easy and it definitely isn’t something you will maintain long-term by watching a DVD.

Also, look for credentials when you walk into any facility… Lots of people claim to now offer “CrossFit Training” yet they do it out of their facility that also offers “sport specific training, CrossFit Style”… uhh, WHAT?!  Anyway I’m rambling…. the point is to get out there and find someone qualified that can offer you a serious fitness program that you can enjoy and one that will get you a healthy body, mind, and spirit. Lots of people are just out there to make money off the next big thing, and you could be putting yourself at risk by trying to take the easy way out.

“What made an unqualified Jillian Michaels decide to create a kettle bell DVD? I imagine she received a call one day from her agent that went something like this:

Agent: Jillie! How’s the yelling at fat people business?

Michaels: Tiring. Almost as tiring as counting all my money.

Agent: Uh-huh. Listen, I’ve got an idea. It’s totally hot right now. Two words: “kettle bells,” baby.

Michaels: What’s a kettle bell?

Agent: Some kind of bowling ball thingy. It will be a real moneymaker!

Michaels: Money? I’m in.”

The article goes on to say that “When a person proclaims the only way to get in shape is through hard work (true), then adds her name and image to a brand of diet pills (hypocritical), then faces a class-action lawsuit over the lack of efficacy regarding said diet pills (unsurprising), coupled with myriad examples of unqualified and unsafe training along with outrageous weight loss claims, then it’s time to find a new source of fitness education and inspiration.”

Right on.

Rx Girls Miami – 07.25.10

25 Jul

Lessons I learned from the Box

 – me being “teachable” at the Beastskills seminar

I was reading the CrossFit Journal today and came across an article that talked about learning form and technique in CrossFit. Lots of people come into this from an athletic background… I personally was NOT one of those people. Sure I spent some time at the gym in pilates and yoga classes, used some machines here and there, but I never really knew too much about body mechanics. So for those of us who are not used to working with weights and our bodies, learning olympic lifts and gymnastics can be really frustrating.

When I first heard about the 10 physical skills of fitness, I never really took into account just how important it is to make sure my technique was on point. In the beginning you usually work with ligther weight, so getting that bar over you head tends to be easy (in the big picture). But let me tell you something, if your technique is not good by the time you get to your heavier weight you sure as hell aren’t gonna do much (without hurting yourself). This challenge of learning the movements in the beginning can be even harder for people who come from athletic backgrounds… why? Because they think they know everything. If you know everything and you are super competitive by nature, that might be a disaster inside of a CrossFit box. So what can you do to avoid disaster? Well… you allow yourself to be humbled, be teachable (mimic what the coaches show you), and open up your mind to new ways of working out. Even though CrossFit takes simple functional movements (things you do in everyday life) and turns them into a workout, doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. There are ways that we do things here that are very different than anything you have probably learned at your local global gym. Take this tip from a seasoned athlete who writes:

Sometimes it’s easy to give up on new things before giving them a proper chance. People don’t like feeling uncomfortable, out of their element, unsure, afraid, vulnerable or weak. No one likes the feeling you get when you’re standing there and everyone is watching you, waiting, because you can’t seem to grasp what they can so easily. No one likes the feeling you get when what you’re doing goes against everything you’ve ever known, how you’ve been programmed, so much so that you cannot, for the life of you, figure out how to adapt to it, how to change, how to just let it wash over you as you go with it.”

My suggestion is this: Give yourself TIME. Focus on your technique, not your points or time or body composition and DEFINITELY not your numbers on the scale… at least not in the beginning. If you are always working on your technique and challenging yourself with how you choose to scale your workouts, everything else will follow. The lifts will get easier to accomplish, you will start to speed up, and your body will start to change. This is one of the things that luckily, I caught on to quickly. You have to trust your coaches. You have to ask questions. Most timportantly, you have to be patient with yourself and allow yourself to be teachable.

All we have to do is hold on. The rest will come naturally, if not at first, then soon enough. It’s not that it’s hard, per se. It’s just new.”

-excerpts by Melissa Soccoccia CF Journal

Rx Girls Miami – 05.25.10

25 May

Piggybacking off last week’s post about lifting heavy, here is a great post from CrossFit Invictus about what it feels like to lift heavy weight. They give you some great pointers that might help you to get more comfortable… 

The Importance of Girls Going Heavy
by CrossFit Invictus 



Why I think it is important to go heavy: 

Going heavy builds confidence and is very rewarding for women. There is something extraordinarily empowering about being able to perform a body weight overhead lift or twice your body weight deadlift. It reassures you that when you are out in daily life you can hold your own – lug several bags of groceries into the house, then balance them on one knee while you open the door; squat down and scoop up your kids one in each hand or change the water jug at the office. 

It helps build muscle and increase bone density. Muscle burns more calories than fat. The higher your lean body mass is the more efficient your body is in burning calories. As women get older their bodies produce less estrogen, which helps to keep bones strong. The strain that is placed on your bones during weight bearing exercise promotes bone strengthening and can help fight against osteoporosis. 

What it feels like to go heavy: 

You will have to dump the weight at some point in time. If you are successful in all of your lifts you are not pushing hard enough. Some women are afraid to test their limits, because they think they won’t make the lift. That should never be a concern. If you can’t make it – you dump it. But you will never know if you don’t try. 

You might feel a little dizzy or light headed. If you get dizzy or light headed it is to be expected and you may be able to lessen the effects if you focus on your breathing. The dizziness is due to a lack of oxygen and won’t be as much of an issue if you make sure to take a deep breath at the beginning of each lift. 

The last rep of a set should be questionable. When you are truly going heavy, it is work. It should not be performed with the same ease as the weight you use in a met-con WOD. You should have to fight. If you are doing 5×5 it should be a gamble whether or not you make that last repetition. If not, add some weight. 

I hope the longer you are here the more comfortable you will get with lifting heavier weight. It does take a bit of getting used to, but you will find that the more you practice your technique on the different lifts, the more comfortable you will feel. Take some time to work with a coach if you are feeling uneasy, the payoff will be well worth it!

I know for me, it was very empowering to be able to lift more than my own bodyweight. What are some of your experiences with lifting?

Rx Girls Miami – 04.17.10

17 Apr

Why Gymnastics in CrossFit?

Although CrossFit typically incorporates some gymnastics movements in it’s daily workouts, many places still shy away from teaching more complicated movements at their facilities. This article talks about some of the benefits of gymnastics training, and why as adults, we should all do it.

“Gymnastics will improve performance in any other sport, as well as improving overall fitness and functional strength to a level that most people never attain.

Doctors are finally coming to realize and publicly acknowledge the long term benefits to resistance training. Studies have shown that resistance training improves joint health, maintains muscular development and improves cardiovascular fitness. This is true for all ages. Gymnastics is all about resistance training. The conditioning involved in a progressive gymnastics program focuses on functional strength. Elite gymnasts strength to weight ratios are second to none. This is what enables elite gymnasts to perform skills that appear to be humanly impossible.”READ MORE

03.09.10 TUESDAY

8 Mar

Happy 2nd wedding anniversary to me! Sorry had to throw that in there…

Abs, Abs, Abs! All the girls want to talk about abs and how to work them more… Well just in case you didn’t notice, a lot of the lifts we do, our kipping pull ups, muscle ups… they all use our abs! But we know CrossFitters just can’t get enough, so every now and then we throw in something like knees to elbows, or toes to bar. Take a look at this video to get a few pointers on proper technique, and also to give you a goal to work up to (you’ll see what I mean)…