Why I’ve Decided to Try CrossFit

I used to swear up and down that I was never going to try CrossFit. I was simply not interested. I think the Paleo diet is a bunch of BS, and I generally avoid hanging out with “meatheads” or participating in anything that might be described as cult-like. We’ve all heard the CrossFit horror stories of being pressured into fad diets, or doing too much too fast and winding up grievously injured. I turned my nose up at the possibility that so-called normal people could get anything out of CrossFit.

Lately, though, my mindset has shifted somewhat. Some of the reasons are pretty personal so I’m not gonna get into that, but suffice to say, I’m ready to commit to putting my health first.  I have a HORRIBLE family health history, including but not limited to: Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, and a selection of cancers on both sides. I need to really take care of myself or I’ll end up on the same path as my aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

Also, I have made no secret over the course of my time writing this blog about the fact that I’m not super happy with where I’m at physically. Since moving to Vermont in 2013, I’ve slowly but surely gained about 20 pounds. I thought that by really committing to running, training for my first half, and then another few halves, and then my first marathon, I might finally drop the weight and get back to a better place mentally, but that hasn’t been the case. In fact, it’s gone the opposite way and I’ve GAINED weight since I started running more. I’m hopeful that really mixing things up and adding serious weight training into my routine will help me achieve the results that have been eluding me for some time now, not to mention helping to prevent the aforementioned health issues.

I definitely still have some anxiety and fear regarding CF, but I’ve been doing a lot of research. What I’ve read has led me to believe that a good box and a good trainer really have your best interests at heart, and care about keeping you healthy and helping you achieve your goals. There’s a box less than a mile from my office that offers a free intro class every Saturday morning, so I’m gonna go check it out this weekend. I know CF is pretty expensive, but I’ve decided that if I like it and feel like it will help me get where I want to be, I’m willing to pony up the cash. It’s time to stop whining about how unhappy I am and actually do something about it. Who knows, I may totally hate it and feel uncomfortable and whatever, but I’ll never know unless I try, right?

Have you ever tried CrossFit? Thoughts?

 

Committing to Cross-Training

It’s no secret that cross-training is good for runners. It helps prevent injury and burnout, and can actually make you a stronger, faster runner. It’s just that it can be really hard to fit it all in, and when training for a running event, running comes first. But with marathon training on the horizon, I’ve decided that I really need to just pull the trigger and commit to at least one form of cross-training.

rev logoWith that goal in mind, I bought a 5 class pass to Rev Indoor, a cycling studio that is LITERALLY around the corner from my apartment. We’re talking less than half a mile. I’ve been there before, a couple of times. The first time was the Legally Blonde group ride, and the second time was the Bollywood themed ride. I know the owner of this studio. I know a good percentage of the instructors. It’s close by. It’s affordable. So there’s really no reason not to go. My friend Ryan teaches a 6 am class every Wednesday, so it’s my goal to go for the next 5 Wednesdays in a row. I went this morning, so that’s one down!  I’m hoping to make this once a week, early morning sweat session part of my routine going forward.

It’s my hope that by committing to this one extra workout each week, I can make it through the holidays without having gained my customary 5 or so pounds, and will be ready to start marathon training in earnest in January. I definitely want to keep going to spin class once a week as part of marathon training, but this is sort of my pre-training. I figure if I can get up at 5:30 am once a week now, I’ll be able to do it more often for training runs later. Just sort of ease into the misery of early morning wake-ups…

Are you a fan of early morning workouts?

What’s your favorite form of cross-training?

Legally Blonde Takes Over REV

This post may not be super beneficial for those of you who don’t live in the greater Burlington, Vermont area, but I need to write about my experience at REV anyway.  Feel free to skip this one, especially if you’ve done spinning before.

I had never done a spin class, ever, and I generally don’t like the stationary bike.  I find it SUPER boring, and I’d pretty much rather be doing anything else.  But I figured, with the combination of good music, variations in movement, and somebody telling me what to do when, it would probably work out well.

On Saturday, a good chunk of the Legally Blonde cast was treated to a free class at REV Indoor, because Sarah, the owner, plays our Brooke Wyndham.  The building is very cool–high ceilings, exposed brick, and nice wood floors.  There’s only a single spin studio, but it’s large, with lots of windows and natural light.  We were each properly fitted to our bikes by an instructor, and I was very happy that special clip-in shoes are not necessary; the pedals have cages, so you can wear your own sneakers.

I have nothing to compare this class to, but HOLY CRAP.  I can honestly say that I’ve never worked so hard in a group fitness class in my entire life.  The class was co-taught by Sarah and two other instructors, each of whom are also in the Legally Blonde cast.  They each had very different styles, but I liked them all equally, and found myself really wanting to work hard and do well, so I guess they were pretty motivational.  It was also ridiculously fun because everyone knew everyone, so we could shout encouragement or curses and not feel weird.

The thing I liked most about the class is that you can really work as hard as you want, or take it easy when you need to.  They’ll give you suggestions for increasing or decreasing your resistance at various points, but ultimately, the level of resistance is totally up to you, which is especially great for a noob like me.  There were actually a few minutes towards the end where I was working so hard I started to feel nauseated, so I backed way off on the resistance, and was able to keep going and finish the class sans pukeage.

So yeah, long story short, I loved it.  This was hands down the best workout I’ve had in a long time.  Unfortunately, the pricing isn’t so great for me.  A drop-in class is $16, or you can get various class punch cards that offer a small discount.  I’m torn, because I’d like to catch at least one class a week, but I’m not sure it’s in my budget right now.  My gym does offer spin classes, but I like the idea of taking classes with instructors I know at REV.  We’ll see how things shake out.  I guess I should try a class at the gym before making a decision.  I’m sure the fact that the class was full of my friends probably made it better, and if I went to a regular class at REV, it might not be the same experience.

REV

Don’t let the smiles fool you; we’re exhausted.

Have you ever tried a spin/cycling class? Love it or hate it?

Have you ever worked out so hard you threw up?

My First Sh’Bam Class

I’m not really a group exercise person.  I don’t know, I just prefer to be in my own private world when I’m red-faced, sweaty, and huffing and puffing.  But back when I lived in MA, there were a few classes I would go to on a weekly basis, because a friend would go with me.  If she didn’t go, I usually didn’t.  That being said, I actually loved going to the classes because they pushed me harder than I push on my own, and they got me doing moves and exercises I wouldn’t do on my own.

In an effort to have a more comprehensive, whole-body fitness routine, I’m trying to actually go to some of the many group fitness classes that are included in my monthly gym membership fee.  An easy first choice was Les Mills Sh’Bam, because my friend and Legally Blonde cast-mate, Brad, is an instructor.  This decision was made even easier by the fact that my coworker Freda agreed to check it out with me.  So, last Thursday, we hit up a class.

I knew very little about what to expect.  In my mind, it would be sort of like Zumba, but less emphasis on Latin moves and music.  Here’s an official class description:

Featuring simple but seriously hot dance moves, SH’BAM™ is the perfect way to shape up and let out your inner star – even if you’re dance challenged.

Set to a soundtrack of chart-topping popular hits, dance music that is heard in the hottest nightclubs around the world, familiar classics remixed and modernized Latin beats, SH’BAM™ is the ultimate fun and sociable way to exercise. Each 45-minute SH’BAM™ class is vibrant, unique and varied – and like all the LES MILLS™ programs, a new SH’BAM™ release is produced every three months with new music and choreography.

At first I was really, really nervous, and Freda was too, so we stopped by Brad’s office before class.  He was very encouraging and reassuring, and we found out that the class was the first class of a “new release,” so EVERYONE would be learning together.  For those who don’t know, Les Mills classes generally have three-week intervals where the class/moves/music are the same, and then they switch it up, which is known as a new release.  This gives you a chance to really learn the routine and rock out.

Guys, all I can say is, this class was FUN!  Everybody was just moving as well as they could, learning the moves as well as they could, and doing their own thing.  I wasn’t worried about what I looked like or if I was doing the dance moves right or anything because it was such a fun atmosphere.  Brad kept yelling things like, “Come on, this is a girl power song, show me your fierce face!” or “Britney’s in there somewhere, I know she is, let her out!”  And since it was a new release, even Brad didn’t know all the moves perfectly, so I didn’t feel awkward if I couldn’t get them.  He gave plenty of modifications if you didn’t feel comfortable doing things like turning or jumping, so everyone could feel safe.

I’m planning to catch the 10:30 am Sunday class each week before rehearsal, since it fits perfectly into my schedule, and is a fun way to do some non-running cardio.  Because honestly, I can only take so much elliptical and recumbent biking.

Have you ever tried a Sh’Bam class?

What’s your favorite form of non-running cardio exercise?