CrossFit and Women…What’s the Difference?

Utter frustration.

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Bar muscle ups. Ring muscle ups. Ring dips. Bench press. Rope climbs. Pull ups.

All upper body strength movements that guys make look easy.

For women, it’s a whole different story.

A lot of guys walk into a CrossFit box for the first time already having pull ups. Some even muscle ups.

Because they are genetically designed for upper body strength.

Not so women.

And the frustration can be palpable.

As a woman CrossFitter, you need to realize this and set your expectations accordingly. Sure, your CrossFit coach (who is most likely male and doesn’t understand how you feel) can do multiple bar muscle ups and not break a sweat. He’ll make it look easy and you scowl at him with a look of complete, total, and utter hatred.

You? You spend hours and can’t get one.

Why?

It’s nothing to do with you. It’s how God designed men and women. It will take a woman longer to build the strength to do pull ups, rope climbs, muscle ups, etc.

And it sucks.

But there’s nothing you can do about it.

It’s a fact.

So accept it. Work harder. And longer.

Guys don’t get this. They just don’t.

As a woman CrossFit coach, I try to give tips for women on these moves in order to build the strength needed to accomplish these moves.

For women, form will mean a lot more. Your kip will need to be efficient. Your work ethic will have to be stronger to make up for the differences in body types.

And you will need patience. And endurance. You will need to go through the progressions; whereas, men can skip some of the steps.

It will take longer. But it’s not impossible.

The rewards when accomplished?

More meaningful. More rewarding.

And I’ll say it even though right now the day to day frustrations don’t seem to feel that way:

Priceless…

Weekend Warrior

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Yesterday, I did another CrossFit competition. It was a partner comp with one male and one female. This one was local, held at Official Fitness in Windsor, CO.

Like most CrossFit competitions, this one had 3 workouts and a floater and a final if you made it. We finished in fourth place by just a hair.

My partner, Alex, and I make a great team.  Our strengths and weaknesses complement each other and it’s always fun to work out with someone who 1) pushes you and 2) wants to win as much as you do!  The great thing about partner workouts is you work harder so you don’t let the other one down!  I definitely did, and I know he did as well!

It was a great time. The day was bright and sunny. My kids were able to come and watch because it was so close to our house.  The other competitors were amazing athletes.  Official Fitness was a welcoming, warm box.  Hanging out with other athletes is always inspiring.

In addition, I added more bruises to yesterday’s.  It was a great warm-up to the Open (which is happening in 5 days and I’m not ready!!!).  And I was blessed to spend time with some of my favorites athletes from my own box, CrossFit Endure!  Thanks for cheering us on guys!

One Week Till the Open…And I’m Getting Anxious…

I usually get anxious right before competitions.

But a week before?

I’ve spent the last year preparing for the Open.  One whole year of my life.

I’m stronger.  I’ve improved all my skills.  I’ve added new ones.

But I don’t have all the skills.  Nor all the strength.

And that worries me.

All it takes is one move to show up that

1) I either don’t have or

2) I suck at

And everything I’ve worked so hard for is thrown out the window.

My body has tweaks here and there.  My right fingers are swollen.  My right calf is tight.  My massage guy is sick.  My muscle activation lady is sick.  I know my glutes are tight.  I am bruised from Jason.

I remind myself that I choose this.

Why?

Because it gives me something to cling to when there’s nothing else in my world to cling to.  It’s the constant and the rock in my life when all else is a storm.  It’s something to strive for.  To achieve.  And to keep achieving.

It’s a passion.  And passion is so rare in life that when you find it, you cling to it with everything you’ve got.  You don’t give up.  No matter the pain.  The frustrations.  The defeats.  You keep going.  One step at a time.  With the belief great things will be achieved…

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My Experience with Online Courses…

Yesterday, I posted on CrossFit’s online running course.  This is a course where you sit, watch modules, and then apply the information.

Today, I want to discuss online courses that are interactive, participatory and–dare I say it–HAVE HOMEWORK!!

I’ve invested in a few online courses designed to teach you a particular skill.

A bar muscle up course.

Got ’em.

Handstand walks.

Almost.

Nutrition.

High hopes.

And I’ve learned a few things:

  1.  Accountability is HUGE!  Someone to program for you and cheer you on is priceless.
  2. If you pay for it, you’ll do it.  After the Open last year, I was so frustrated with bar muscle ups that I gave them up.  For months.  I saw WODPrep‘s course sometime in the summer and jumped on it.  Since I was paying for it, I got onboard and within a couple of weeks I had bar muscle ups (even though they were messy).  Money is a great motivator.
  3. You have to do the work.  Every skill in life (be it CrossFit skills such as double unders or learning to play the guitar or even typing) takes practice and work.  If you don’t put in the work, how do you expect to master it?
  4. Devote 20 minutes a day.  That’s it.  You do this every day, day in and day out, you’ll be amazed how this accumulates over the course of a year.

Who should take online courses?

  1. Those who aren’t getting the time or attention from teachers or coaches.  Let’s face it:  CrossFit coaches are busy people.  Devoting time to individuals without paying for one-on-ones is hard to do.  Hence, this is a great compromise for those self-motivated enough to do the work.
  2. Those who can’t make it to the gym regularly and/or have odd work schedules that change constantly.  Online courses are those you can do any time, any place.
  3. Those who want to focus on ONE thing such as bar muscles ups or double unders.  You move at your pace on your time without having to waste time waiting on others to catch up.
  4. Everyone!  If you’re willing to do the work, you can learn anything in life.  Piano, guitar, basketball, swimming, computer programming, dog training, you name it.  Seize life and all it offers before it’s gone!

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. 

This saying is even more apropos in the digital age.  Someone somewhere in the world can help you. All you have to do is Google!

CrossFit’s Online Running Course

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I like to run.

So it was a no-brainer to sign up for CrossFit’s online running course, which went over the correct running technique to prevent injuries, major faults, and corrections.

As a runner, we all pass through 3 major phases:  Pose, Fall, Pull.  The pose phase is where your feet are directly beneath you.  The fall phase is where your feet are not touching the ground.  The pull is when your other foot pushes off and you complete your stride.

Runners want to maximize their fall phase in order to run faster.  This is contrary to popular belief that increasing your stride will make you run faster.  Your body is more efficient the more it maintains its center of gravity.  This goes for lifting heavy weights as well.

This course also goes over how to analyze a runner’s stride and if they are efficient or not.  Ultimately, the longer you stay in the fall phase, the less your energy output, the less work you do, and the longer you can do without feeling the effects of fatigue.

I would recommend this course to anyone looking to improve their running technique.  I implemented what I learned during my very next running session and saw immediate improvements.  Great course and great information!