My impression now of Crossfit is that it is never supposed to get easier. It is supposed to always be a challenge – an effort towards continuous improvement.
Slowly, very slowly, the weights I am lifting are increasing. If I went back to those weights from the first couple of weeks, I am sure they would be easy. But the point is to push yourself to do and be better.
Part of what we did today was Power Cleans (barbell from the ground to your waist then hip swing with the barbell landing at the top of the chest/shoulders) at a heavy weight, followed by sets of power cleans and burpees in a series of 15 each, 12 each, and 9 each. Two months ago, in all honesty, the 45 pound barbell was a struggle. Today, 105 was a struggle. But that’s improvement. I still can’t do a decent burpee, but I have gone from stepping back and forward one foot at a time to jumping back and forward with both feet. Again, improvement.
So, I had some satisfaction. There was another guy there today, Eric. He is also a coach. (There are always at least a couple of coaches in the 5:30 am class that, even though they are not officially coaching are always coaching and trying to make sure you are improving.) He must have hit a PR today. I think I heard him say 315. This guy has been doing crossfit for (I think) something like 6 years. And the guy is still working on continuous improvement.
So he hits 315 and I hit 105. Everyone else in that room hit somewhere in between my low and his high.
I have to say that is a really cool thing about crossfit. I sincerely believe that every one of those people in that class get satisfaction out of doing their best and are genuinely encouraging of and satisfied when seeing each other do their best.
This is hard frigging work.
I think I enjoy working out now, but that doesn’t make it any easier. And, honestly, as I make some progress, I realize just how far I have to go.
8 weeks ago when I started doing Crossfit and we had to do burpees, I would slowly bend over and go back one leg at a time and up one leg at a time. If it was 20 burpees, I could do maybe 4 in the time it took others to do those 20. Today, it was sets with 15 burpees. I am still not able to do the push up part of the burpee, but now I can actually jump my legs back and forward, and it is maybe 7-8 to their 15. That’s in between set of “power cleans” where I still have issues with form, but I have gone from the 25 pound barbell, to 35, to 45. Today, I did a few sets with 70. Again, huge progress for me, but the next lowest person is about 90, on up to the mid 200s.
And, the weight loss – it truly is scratching and clawing to get a pound her and there. Today, after the workout, I saw 269 on the scale. April 13 was about 302. It had hovered at 272-274 for the past two weeks, so I am thinking maybe I have broken the plateau. But, again, it is progress.
Regarding the nutrition and the search for the answers – to a certain extent, I have said f&%k it. If it takes me two weeks to lose a pound, so be it. I do know for a fact that I am getting healthier as I am struggling.
It might take me years, but I will get there. And then stay there.
That’s a lot easier said than done. My frustration continues to build as I have been in this two pound range for I think a little more than two weeks. I easily have another 90+ pounds to go, so the weight should still be coming off. Working out regularly. Eating right.
And, I am really disappointed with the nutrition guidance at the moment. I had really followed it to a T and now the thought is that I am in “starvation mode,” which some swear by and others call BS. Apparently, you can really slow your metabolism down by eating too little. But I have followed the nutrition guidelines given me, and now I can pay for a plan to get myself out of starvation mode.
I paid for guidance which apparently put me in starvation mode, and now I can pay for guidance and make an investment to get me out of starvation mode.
It’s this kind of BS that has contributed to me giving up in the past. But, I think the best thing for me to do it to do some real research because there’s clearly no “one size fits all” nutrition guidance that works for me.
I do feel bad. Justin, the coach who owns Crossfit Alpharetta, is patiently trying to make sure I stay focused. I have hit what I consider a plateau, hanging at 272-274 for the past 2-3 weeks. Working my butt off and eating right, I want to see movement.
He’s trying to get me to focus less on the scale and more on nutrition and progress in fitness. No doubt I am able to do much more fitness wise. At the beginning of April, walking a mile in 16-17 minutes was as much as I could do. Saturday, I did a mile on the treadmill in 11:40. I can now do some decent but not perfect squats. (The coach today, Kyle, also patiently took me away from back squats to just doing air squats against a bar so I would stop bending my back). I can do some low box jumps. There’s definitely progress.
But, it is hard to get my head around possibly having to up my calorie intake to continue my weight loss. I have been at 1400-1800 calories a day. He wants me to consistently get 2,000. Seems backwards. But the guy has helped me get this far. I have to trust him.
I have both healthy and cheat in quotes for a reason. Healthy because I am no nutrition guru. I have been sticking to a plan that has been working well for me. 50g of protein and a cup of veggies for most meals, and 50 g of protein and 50 g of carbs for post workout meals. There are also two protein shakes per day.
While I have found my favorite brand of reasonably priced protein shakes (Premier Protein from Costco – 18 for $24.99 (or $29.99 if not on sale) where I am getting 30g of protein for 160 calories, it can be boring. (Costco sells vanilla, chocolate and caramel, and I have gotten cookies and cream from Amazon.) My daughter suggested espresso mixed in with each about a month ago, and that is a good alternative.
But, recently, I have really found something awesome, and this is where the somewhat questionable “healthy” issue might come in to play. I have been blending the vanilla Premier Protein with three or four ounces of either diet Sunkist orange or diet A&W root beer. In the office, I do it straight. At home, I use the blender with ice.
It is truly unbelievable – tasting like either an orange Creamsicle or a root beer float. Whether I am affecting the nutrition by using a diet soda, I am not quite certain, but I know that I love it and it is incredibly satisfying.
I used “cheat” in quotes because, as I have said, I am not on a diet. I think I am now used to this way of eating.
One more “cheat” along the same lines. If I don’t need the protein shake, I have also done the 3-4 ounces of either Sunkist or A&W with Korger brand carb master vanilla milk with ice in a blender. 60 calories, 11 g of protein and I get a full blender (from froth and maybe carbonation) of truly satisfying awesomeness.
Right or wrong – this one little thing is keeping me on the straight and narrow.
This morning felt a little different to me. Heading off to Crossfit, my body wasn’t quite as whiny heading downstairs to the car. For the past week or so, I have had some issues on the top outside portion of my left foot. In the past, this would have set me off course – possibly to giving up. But, despite the issues, I did not give up. I adapted. And, by yesterday, my foot was feeling better. I was able to do the workout today with no pain.
I think it was 1994 – my wife’s 10 year high school reunion. A friend was talking about another friend who did not make it. He made a comment that has stuck with me since then – “He’s always so close to getting his shit together, but he gives up just before he does.”
That comment has haunted me so many times. Have I given up before I finally get my own shit together? When I have given up in frustration, have I been so close to the tipping point?
Not this time.
I made it through the first six week challenge. I think now is when the real challenge begins. Not that I didn’t do the work myself, because I did, but I had someone basically holding my hand and holding me accountable.
Now, it is on me.
The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching
Now is the time to test it.