Another Setback and Strength at WSC.

Saturday afternoon after I returned home from Delaware (which was awesome, thanks for asking!), I was lounging on the couch with Tyler and literally out of complete nowhere I get this intense pinching pain in my left shoulder. For the rest of Saturday it was a constant dull ache. I was careful with it all day Sunday, and woke up yesterday with it more sore than ever. I made an appointment for Wednesday to see an orthopedic surgeon, and decided that skipping dance would probably be the best idea. It calmed down throughout the day, so I went to the gym with Tyler in the evening and just did some basic strength work. It seemed like everything that I attempted other than squats, deadlifts, and rowing caused irritation, so I just stuck to those and did about 25 minutes of mobility and stretching. It was so difficult to pull back, because it’s not like the exercises caused pain, per se, I was just aware that it was putting strain on the joint. But I had a really freaking good day. Look at these PRs!

Strength:

  • Row 1000m: 4:21.7. Seriously!? I cut 7 seconds off of my 1000m row from the beginning of July! What the eff! That was at the higher resistance setting, so I’m assuming that had something to do with it. Wow. So proud! PR!
  • Deadlift 5-5-5-5: 130-130-135-140(f). I just couldn’t get the last set unbroken. My grip kept failing, since the bars at the gym are just slightly larger in diameter than the ones at Crossfit, and I couldn’t get a solid hook-grip.
  • Squat 3-3-3-3-3: 85-90-95-100-100. CHECK THAT OUT. PR by a whole 15lbs!! So excited!!!! I wasn’t even completely gassed from them, either. I remember back when doing 3reps of 85 felt like how those two sets of 100lbs felt. Man, so great. 100lbs. I can’t wait until I can squat my bodyweight!!!! So close! 

…Is this real life?!

I snapped this photo in the locker room afterwards, and I am seriously having a hard time believing it’s me. I see the front of my body all the time, but never really spend time trying to see the back. My shoulders and back have become very defined over the last month, and it’s blowing my mind! That can’t be me! Actually screw that, yes it can because I’ve been working my ass off and I deserve every little bit of that definition!!

Today I hardly have any pain, but my shoulder does feel a little weak. Today’s WOD at Crossfit is “Helen,” a staple workout that I’ve been dying to try, comprised of running, kettlebell swings, and pull-ups, all of which I could do Rx’d. Plus, the warm-up is squat snatches and handstand pushups, so pretty much all shoulder blasters. I decided to sit this one out, which is so awful in my mind, because again, it’s not extremely painful, so I should HTFU and push through it, right?!!?!? Most likely not, and I’m trying to avoid furthering this injury. I will see the doctor tomorrow morning and see what he has to say about it, and hopefully he won’t just send me on my way with a prescription for rest, because I’ll surely go mad.

While I have absolutely no idea what directly caused this injury, since the pain began all of a sudden while lounging on the couch, I do know why I personally am more susceptible to injury. I am extremely flexible. Like, to the point where I get made fun of at my box because of my gumby-like physique. Because of this, I tend to have more wiggle room at times where I should be completely rock solid, and find my flexibility winning over my muscles’ stability. A trainer at my box once told me that it will be great to be so flexible about 90% of the time, but the other 10% of the time it’s going to be an issue, until I can get enough strength built up to stabilize the flexibility. Truer words have never been spoken. I have a final on Thursday, so I suppose I will get to studying, while icing my new injury. Bah.

Friday 7/27 WOD at WSC

Death. Complete and total exhaustion. I am not a morning person by any means, but since I’m leaving to visit my grandmother in Delaware for the weekend I won’t be able to work out later on today, Saturday, or Sunday, so Tyler and I headed to the gym early. Sunday is the Paleo/Primal Potluck at the Caveman’s Man‘s Humble Cave in Winchester, VA. All are welcome, but entrance only granted if you bring something delicious to eat (kidding, but it’s appreciated!!). I am very excited for all of this! I am also very excited for two days of real rest, and not rest like last week where I ended up working out on Sunday!

HOT AIR BALLOON MUSCLE-UP. If you don’t read/watch anything else on my blog, watch this. Life goal!!

Strength:

  • Front Squats 5-5-5-5: 45-45-45-45. This was more of just a mobility and form exercise for me. I watched myself in the mirror and was able to connect the difference between keeping my elbows up and not, and also going all the way down into the squat versus only coming to parallel. It barely even felt like I worked my quads, which is crazy since yesterday getting out of a 42ld front squat for the thrusters felt practically impossible.
  • Row 1000m: 4:40.1. I set the damper on the rower to give a little more resistance (for example, I normally row on a 5, and bumped it to 8 today, with 10 being the max setting) and didn’t want to go at it too intensely because I didn’t know what the extra resistance was going to feel like. This time only ended up being about 12 seconds slower than my previous 1000m attempt, so I look forward to trying it again balls out, with the damper set on 8 and seeing what my time is.

WOD: 15:32

3 Rounds for Time of:

All Level 2!! Mayyyybe overestimated myself a little bit with this one though, not to mention being completely exhausted and attempting to work out at 6:45am. Ugh. The burpees were all unbroken, and double unders were broken into two sets each time, 12 and 8. My wrists were just super slow today. I can usually do about 23-26 unbroken, but not today. I don’t think the pull-ups would have been as much of a problem if the dang bar grips weren’t so slippery, and I kept having to come down and regrip. I also tore my hands in the last round, so that slowed me down as well. Ouch. I most likely should have done these with a little bit of assistance for a faster time, but I am so proud that I did 45 unassisted pull-ups today. I also started trying to work on my butterfly kip, but I don’t think I can quite get my chin over the bar with those yet. I am going to stick with my regular kip for the WODs and maybe I’ll get the butterfly once I get a little more strength built up.

Thursday 7/26 WOD at PCF and Yoga!

Strength:

  • Clean and Jerk 2-2-2-1-1-1: 80-80-80-85-85-90. YES. 90lb CLEAN AND JERK! Holy crap I will be so excited when I have another lift above 100lbs! I can’t even believe this line up, after only getting 85 up once last week and then failing! Progress is so great. I am so thrilled with my lifting performance today, and I didn’t even smash the bar on my sternum bone. My form and technique are improving, and it feels amazing. This shit works.

WOD: 11:54

3 Rounds for Time of:

  • Run 400m
  • 15 Thrusters35lbs.
  • Rest 1 Minute

WODs with programmed rest always sneak up and kick my butt. I think “oh, it won’t be too bad, I have a whole minute to rest between rounds!” Well, that minute goes by in a heartbeat, and all of a sudden it’s time to get going again, just as hard as before. I actually think I’m more beat up after workouts with programmed rest, because I push way harder right after the rest is finished, pretending that I’ve fully recovered from the previous round, when I’m really still just as exhausted. This WOD actually ended up being really disappointing for me. I was all high on my horse feeling amazing from the c&js, and then this crushed me. I sprinted the first 400m, and then couldn’t even do 5 unbroken thrusters at 42lbs, which was the Level 1 weight. My legs were complete jello. Oh, in case you aren’t in the Northern Virginia area, it was 102 degrees outside today. I have a hard time running in general, but in the heat it’s just plain sad. I had to drop down to the 35lb bar, which still absolutely destroyed me. I was one of the last few to finish, but I finished strong. This WOD sucked and definitely reminded me how much further I have to go in my fitness journey.

Finisher:

  • Yoga with Tyler!

We went and did a yoga class at Tyler’s gym directly after I got home from Crossfit. I had just enough time to jump in a freezing cold shower to rinse off and cool down, and then we were out the door. I swear, during the first 10 minutes I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it the whole time. My shoulders and quads were screaming at me, and at one point I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get out of a stretch without hurting myself. It was so so so great to get back into a yoga class though, even though I felt like crap from having just been beaten at Crossfit. I hope that once the weather gets a little cooler I can get back into doing more hot yoga again. But holy crow am I sore already from this day.

Wednesday 7/25 WOD at PCF

Today has been crazy! I went to class, came home just long enough to take my Ladydog for a walk, and literally sprinted to get my hair brightened up. Sprinted back, straight to my car at 4:15 and went right to Crossfit with my hair still semi-wet because we didn’t have time for a full blow-dry without making me late. Then, when I got there, our initial warmup was a 400m run. A 400m run usually leaves me breathing kind of heavily and my legs semi-fatigued. Needless to say, I am not a runner. For the first time ever today I ran the whole thing paying attention to proper barefoot-running technique, and wasn’t winded even in the slightest. I know that sounds silly because it’s only 400m, but it really was a super great mini-moment for me. Today was full of those.

Strength:

  • Strict Press 3-3-3-3-3 (add 2.5-5lbs from last week): 55-55-55-55(f)-52.5-52.5. I reallllly thought I’d be able to push up 5lbs from last week, with all of the shoulder work we’ve been doing. But I could only successfully get 3 rounds of 3 reps at 55. But I’m super happy I did it that much, considering last week I couldn’t even get it overhead. Progress is awesome! Mini-moment number two.

WOD: 131 reps or 7round + 5reps

3 Rounds for Reps of:

AMRAP 3 minutes:

So much sweat.

Aw yeah, all Level 2 today. So proud again! Mini-moment number 3! I’m able to do more at Level 2 as the weeks progress, fighting upwards towards that Rx line that just seems so incredibly out of reach. But I’m getting there. I’m getting more confident with my olympic lifts, and trying to go heavier in the WODs. I know I can easily do 125lb deadlifts 5+ times, so that was an easy choice; I did 25lb DB ground-to-overheads a few days ago, so I knew it was possible but would probably suck; and I like box jumps, so that was no issue. The push presses were by far the limiting factor (limfac, for future references) and slowed me down so much. Probably would have been able to do an extra round each 3 minute AMRAP if I had dropped down to 20s, but the 25lbs felt nice and difficult, and are going to leave me pleasantly sore tomorrow. Speaking of running and tomorrow, tomorrow’s WOD is running and thrusters, and I’m already mentally preparing myself for how much death that’s going to inflict on me. Woo, Crossfit.

I promise one of these weeks I’ll get around to getting some new full-body pictures up. I feel like my body composition has drastically changed over the last month, let alone the past 6 months. Tough Mudder is only 6 weeks out, and I’m finally starting to feel like I’m actually prepared to make that obstacle course my bitch.

Tuesday 7/24 WOD at PCF

I think I am going to go ahead and blame the past few days (and probably the following few as well) on my womanhood. I’m exhausted beyond words, even though I’m still getting about 9 hours of sleep every night, have an overall blah feeling and mentality, and I gave into temptation and ate about 3/4 of a cup of steamed rice today, which I immediately and still regret. I got home from class and tried to study, ended up falling asleep face down in my notebook, and woke up just long enough to set my alarm for an hour, when I had to leave for Crossfit. Even though I feel crappy, the important thing is that I got into the box and worked my ass off.

Strength:

EMOTM for 10 Minutes of

  • 1 Hang Squat Snatch (about 60-70% of 1rep max): 32lbs. Should have gone heavier (I’m sensing a trend with these EMOTM volume trainings…note to self GO HEAVIER than you think you should go!!!!) but I haven’t worked my squat snatch in months and have no idea what my 1rep max is.
  • 1 Overhead Squat32lbs. Same as above, but replace “squat snatch” with “overhead squat.” I felt strong and steady the whole way through, but could have done more.
  • 4 Toes-to-Bar: Unbroken. Still need to work on getting these strung together with a kip and less swinging at the bottom.

I definitely could have gone heavier, but looking back, I think it would have worn me out before the metcon. 45lbs would probably have been safe, but eh, can’t change it now. The hang squat snatch and OHS look like this when put together (except we only did one OHS, whereas this guy does three).

WOD: 8:07

21-15-9

I really enjoyed this one. The metcons recently all seem to have these three movements in them somehow, which is totally awesome because I desperately want to improve on all three. My hands got sweaty from the ring dips (which are getting way better, but still far from being unassisted) and I kept worrying I was going to launch the kettlebell at the woman in front of me, so I broke up the 15 and 9 sets to re-grip halfway through. The wallballs felt like I was shooting the ball as absolutely high and hard as I could, but still barely made the 10ft target each rep. I think maybe a total of 5 were at about 9ft, but that was close enough for me today.

Honestly, I’m just glad that I even made it in there. I didn’t go heavy enough on the hang squat snatch/OHS compound, I wasn’t extremely strict on the target height for my wallballs, and I couldn’t do all of my kettlebel swings unbroken, but gawtdamit, I got into the box and I worked out and that is more than I used to be able to say when I’d PMS in the past.

I also had the absolute honor of working out next to Erika, my favorite trainer in the world. Erika is about a million weeks pregnant now, and is still completely crushing WODs. Her kettlebell swings were 53lbs, unassisted ring dips, and 14lb wallballs. The woman is a complete power house, even while being pregnant. Seriously, if there was a strategically-placed tree branch or something in front of her midsection, you would NEVER be able to tell that she is a million months pregnant. It is so inspiring to watch her give it her all, and still dominate the WODs Rx’d. If I can get to the point where my performance is half as impressive as hers while she’s freaking pregnant, I will be the happiest lady in all the land. One day at a time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Slow, Sleepy Day.

Today was so lame! I am completely exhausted from my workout yesterday evening, and still so sore. This is probably the most sore that I’ve felt in the past few months, and I have no clue why. It seems like everyone was super exhausted in dance today, so at least I wasn’t the only sluggish one. I’m hoping I’ll feel better tomorrow, because it is a hell of a WOD. It’ll be a fun one (it’s a 21-15-9 and I love any form of those) but not if I’m as exhausted as I am right now.

Here’s some stills I captured from the videos I took last week. Descending Angel with different leg placement, and Bow. Nothing too fancy, but I’ll eventually get a video pieced together with these in it. They’re way more impressive in motion! Time for sleep!

Sunday 7/22 WOD at WSC

I know I said that this weekend was going to be for rest…but I couldn’t stay away! Patriot posted a really great WOD, and I had wanted to work on squats, so I decided to do their squat circuit from last week that I miss on Mondays while I’m at dance, and today’s WOD.

Strength:

  • Row 250m. I really wanted to break my 1:00.8 time from last week, and I knew I was capable of it. Today, I did!!! 00:57.5 seconds!
  • Squat 3-3-3-3-3 (90% of 5RM. Do not go higher even if this feels light): 75-75-75-80-85. It’s been over a month since I did back squats last, so I had no idea what to expect. 75 was easy, and 80 and 85 were both still pretty easy. I knew I was going to be doing a bunch of goblet squats and ground to overheads though, so I didn’t want to completely destroy my quads too early.

WOD: 17:46

4 Rounds for Time of:

  • 10 Dumbbell Ground-to-Overhead: 2 x 25lbs DBs. This means getting the dumbbells from the ground to overhead by whatever means you wish, but they must make contact with the floor at the bottom and have arms locked out at the top. I did a DB clean and jerk.
  • 20 Dumbbell Goblet Squats: 1 x 25lb DB
  • 5 Pull-ups: Unassisted, strong as eff.
  • 10 Push-ups: Knees, but chest-to-deck still.

Today, I effing GOT the pull-ups. I’ve done them unassisted before, but for some reason today, my kip was spot on and my grip was good even though I was SO SWEATY and everything was just in line for them. I could NOT do full push-ups for the life of me though. I didn’t sleep well last night since we were camping, and my chest was tight from sleeping on my side on the ground with only a thin sleeping pad. By the beginning of the second round my legs were already shaking when I started on the goblet squats! It was a good full-body workout covering legs, back, shoulders, chest, and arms. It sucked being so tired, but I wanted to try this workout so badly and I’m glad I got into the gym to do it.

And my yummy post-workout dinner! Epic Protein Powder […that’s the real name!], sweet potato and green beans, smothered in grass fed unsalted goat’s butter and sea salt. Mmmm.

 

Friday 7/20 WOD at PCF

Patriot is going to start doing rope climbs in every warmup on Fridays now! Best news! I love rope climbs!! So excited about this. I’m still using the wrap-and-stomp technique, but I think I’m getting ballsy enough to try some other ways. Climbing up the pole over and over again at dance class really gives me a leg up with these.

Strength:

EMOTM for 10 minutes of:

Ehhhhh maybe went a little too light on the deadlifts. I’d say about half of the rounds felt too light, and half of them felt just right, which means I probably could have thrown another 5-10lbs on. Again, I’m really liking this volume/strength circuit the box is doing lately!! I asked the trainer what he thought about my transitions, and if he thought that I should just work on my strict pullups since I don’t have those unassisted yet. He watched me do one and said it looked awesome and to focus on them. I feel like I really have a good grasp of what the motion of a muscle up is supposed to feel like, but refuse to try until I have strict ring dips on lock without assistance.

WOD: 7:56

5 Rounds for Time of:

  • 5 Thrusters42lbs. Thrusters are awesome. I love to hate them, because they feel sooo bad while doing them, but are such an amazing compound movement.
  • 10 Bastards: My favorite variation of the burpee. It makes a huuuuge difference to not have to open the hips completely up at the top and jump to clap overhead.

I really enjoyed this WOD! I’m not going to lie, I had a 35lb bar on standby in case the 42 was too much. Since I’m smallish, even 7lbs makes a huge difference. But I stuck with 42 the whole time and focused on being explosive through my hips and keeping my elbows up, after the trainer came by in the first round and yelled at me to keep my elbows up and the bar higher on my shoulders. What a difference that made! Again, yet another thing that is a fundamental for the movement, (front squats, in this case) that just needed to be repeated to me in the moment to get my head back on straight!

I actually felt way stronger than I did yesterday, and I totally give that to getting a solid 8.5 hrs of sleep last night. I love not having class on Fridays! I will be off the grid tomorrow as Tyler and I are going mine hunting for rock samples (crazy geologist boyfriend) and then camping for the night somewhere, and on Sunday I’ll be visiting my lovely grandmother for a few hours. I should be back in action Sunday evening! Hopefully I’ll see at least some of you tonight at the So You Think You Can Pole Dance competition I posted about yesterday!

Oh! One last thing! The views and comments and follows and messages I’ve gotten about the blog are completely overwhelming. Thank you all for your amazing support and for reading about my experiences!!! If you guys ever have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to ask!!!

Stereotypes Are The Worst!

Two pictures that my good friend, The Caveman’s Man, took of me for a different type of blog (post is safe for work, overall blog not safe for work/body modification-related/some gross stuff/don’t look at the rest if you’re not into that) have me thinking lately. As someone with more than half of a brain, I view all different kinds of things as body modification: dentistry, cosmetic surgery, tattoos, scarification, piercings, body sculpting, and the list goes on. As a “modified” female, there are lots of stereotypes. Tattooed and pierced women are very overly-sexualized through the media, and that is one of the main reasons why I have been so shy about pole dancing for so many years. My joke is “I don’t get paid to do it, I pay to do it!” which I do, since I pay for my sessions at my pole studio. I have had strangers in the grocery store ask me if I model for certain tattooed/pierced “adult modeling websites,” and that is infinitely far away from how I want to be seen as a woman. On a different spectrum, women who get breast augmentation or face lifts are immediately dubbed “superficial.” People who get lipo are “taking the easy way out.” Sean’s post focuses on how we have both taken the step into a different form of body modification from what some modified individuals would normally consider a typical modification: health, fitness, and some rockin’ strong bodies.

Along with all of these stereotypes, there exists those about women who lift weights or are looking to make a drastic change in their body compositions. Many will discourage women from trying to achieve (the elusive) 6-pack, or from weight lifting in general because they think muscley girls are “gross.” Well, I hate to break it to those people, but it’s not your decision!!! Being strong is amazing. I love being able to piggyback and lift my 6’7″ muscular boyfriend who tops over 200lbs. I love not struggling with a bunch of heavy grocery bags. I love being able to help move heavy furniture. I love being in good shape and being able to run up flights of stairs without getting winded. I’m healthy, fit, strong, motivated, driven, and dedicated. You’re right, all of that is so gross.

There are always going to be certain stereotypes or displeasure from other people when you do anything to better yourself in your own eyes. Be yourself, love yourself, make changes that better yourself, and fuck the rest. People will always question you because of their own insecurities, and it’s sad that this happens. You can’t please everyone, so you might as well just please yourself! It’s been a long road for me to really understand and accept this, and I am so happy I finally have.

 

80lb Clean and Jerk.

Thursday 7/19 WOD at PCF

Strength:

  • Clean and Jerk 3-2-2-1-1-1-1: 70-75-75-80-85-85(f)-80-80. Got 85 up!! PR(personal record)!!! It sure was ugly, and I couldn’t get it up again, but I did it. Then I struggled hard with the last two singles at 80. My elbows are really sore from the ring dips and wallballs yesterday. Apparently when your triceps get tight, it puts some strain on the elbow joint. Who knew?! I’ll be spending the rest of the night rolling out my triceps with a lacrosse ball. Ouch. I think c&j has become my favorite lift. I feel so powerful, comfortable, and oddly fearless. It’s one of the few lifts where I’m only 5-10lbs below some of the women power houses at my box. I need to work on my squat clean more, since I feel like I could jerk more than I can power clean. Holy innuendos!

WOD:

5 Rounds for Time of:

  • Row 250m. Rest as needed between rounds. 1:01.5–1:01.1–1:00.8–1:01.3–1:01.8.

The rows were way more challenging than I anticipated. The first two were pretty easy, and after that I kept having to tell myself “okay just three more times…okay two more..one more time, you’ve got this.” I’m used to 500m and 1000m rows, not sprinting, and springing takes so much more out me, especially back to back! The 1:00.8 is a PR also! After my first row, I asked the trainer Erika to watch my second row and critique me, because I still feel like I could get more out of every stroke. She watched the whole minute, and then corrected two things: don’t slide my butt all the way up to my heels (which I can do because I’m too flexible, and it causes little cuts on my ankles), and to lean forward more at the bottom. This was a lot to think about and be conscious of while trying to sprint, but I ended up besting my times on the next row. It felt awesome. The last two were eh, but I’m still so glad I stayed right around 1:01 the entire time.

This weekend is going to feel gooooooddddd. I’m excited to get some real rest. Thinking about just doing some lifting at the gym this weekend, focusing on squats, kettlebell swings, and rowing. I want a 250m row under 1:00 and a 500m under 2:00! Both are within my reach!!

Pole dancing competition tomorrow night in Falls Church, Virginia! I won’t be competing, but the ladies who will be are absolutely amazing, and if you’re in the area you should definitely consider checking it out!!