Crossfit: How NOT to Cherry-Pick Workouts

Today’s CrossFit workout I wanted no part of. If you skip a CrossFit Workout that was programmed, it’s known as cherry-picking in the CrossFit world, meaning you only do the workouts you want to do and skip the ones that are hard or the ones you dont’ want to do. Today’s programmed CrossFit WOD was this:

3 rounds of:

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Power Snatches in CrossFit
  • 10 power cleans
  • 10 front squats
  • 10 push jerks

1st round was 95 lb, 2nd round was 105 lb, 3rd round was 115 lb

Then we had a WOD that was this:

3 Rounds for Time:

  • 10 power snatches 80 lbs
  • 20 box jump overs
  • 30 wall balls

I haven’t lifted that much in push jerks since August. I knew that was going to be tough mentally for me more than physically. But I did it. Not happily (I’m glad it’s over), but I know I need to do this stuff to be stronger and to improve at CrossFit. Here are tips when faced with a workout, so you don’t cherry-pick it:

  1. Go at your own pace. Don’t worry about what others are doing around you. Remember this is your workout, so do it your way.
  2. Concentrate on good form. For weights that heavy for you (80% and up), good form is crucial to a) being able to do the work b) being able to lift heavier weights moving forward. Take that extra second to get set before you lift to ingrain muscle memory to these Olympic moves.
  3. It’s about the work. Take it one rep at a time if this is tough for you mentally. Just get the work done and finish.

In CrossFit, we all have the movements we love and those we hate. When faced with those you hate, don’t avoid them like you do your mother-in-law. Do them. You’ll be a stronger, more well-rounded athlete overall. And you may even find you like the moves once you get good at them.

How I’ve Missed the Soreness CrossFit Brings

hot crossfit chicks flipping tires at CrossFit Competiton
Tire Flips CrossFit Competition

Today I got to work out for the first time after my surgery. It was glorious. To feel my heart race again and try and beat the clock. Magic!

For those of you who do CrossFit, you know you walk around in a state of perpetual soreness. Since I haven’t been working out, I haven’t had that. Today I got it back. I used to bemoan the fact I’m always sore. Then I accepted the fact I was always sore. Now, for the first time, I missed the soreness of CrossFit.

Today I got to work out for the first time after my surgery. It was glorious. To feel my heart race again and try to beat the clock. Magic!

CrossFit: How to Fill Sandbags

At my last competition, the Turkey Challenge, we had a WOD with sandbags. I fell in love — so much so I bought two sandbags from Brute Force for myself for Christmas. One I filled with 35 pounds and one with 62 pounds.

Filling sandbags is not as easy as it sounds. Here are the steps and methods I utilized:

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Working out with Sandbags
  • Buy sand (play sand is recommended) from your local hardware store or superstore
  • Fill the filler bags accordingly. A less filled bag is more unstable and will tax your grip and balance more. We used a funnel and a measuring cup that had a pour spout. This enabled us to accurately fill the bags with the same amount of sand.
  • Use a scale. After filling the bags, we would weigh the bags on a scale to make sure they were equal.
  • These Brute Force bags come with military-grade velcro. Velcro the bags and place them in the outer shell bag, shaking to make even.
  • You’re ready to begin!

WHY TRAIN WITH SANDBAGS

Sandbag training is utilized for unstable load training which is the ability to unconventionally move or lift an odd object that is unstable or has an uneven load efficiently. This type of training provides a much more dynamic and challenging training experience. You must engage your body’s stabilizer muscles, building coordinated strength and balance throughout your entire body.

Unstable load training is definitely challenging, no doubt about it. And fun. Once I’m healed from my surgery, I can’t wait to get started!

Thanksgiving Day Murph

For the third year in a row, I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving by doing a CrossFit WOD called

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Preparing for Work

Murph. A hero workout named for Lt Michael Murphy, who died in Afghanistan serving our country, it consists of:

  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pull ups
  • 200 push ups
  • 300 air squats
  • 1 mile run

This is one of the most famous CrossFit workouts and is traditionally programmed for Memorial Day around the country. However, I began doing this on Thanksgiving as well three years ago to commemorate the Fallen.

The weather was perfect: 55 degrees and sunny. I invited one friend and it was him and me who performed it. It was fun. It wasn’t my best time, but I wasn’t pushing all out. It was, again, just doing the movement and enjoying life. Thank you to all who have served our country and especially to those who have made the greatest sacrifice and given their lives. Words are not enough.

What CrossFit Moves Are in Your Wheelhouse?

I never realized the importance of having moves you dominate in CrossFit until my last competition. Called in your wheelhouse, these CrossFit moves are vital to winning workouts and, if you compete, to competitions.

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CrossFit Pull Ups

CrossFit moves in your wheelhouse are moves you dominate every time they show up in a workout — moves you are really, really good at. I made up time in my CrossFit competition when one showed up in one workout, and I won the event where both moves were in my wheelhouse.

In CrossFit, advice is often given on how you need to focus on the moves you’re bad at, so you improve those. This is true. However, you need to make sure you don’t forget NOT to practice the moves in your wheelhouse, so you don’t lose those in sacrifice to others.

The fact of the matter is: you will improve those moves you’re not so good at, but they will never be like the ones you’re naturally good at, the ones you like, the ones you dominate.

CrossFit Moves in My Wheelhouse

  • Assault bike
  • Double unders
  • Rope climbs
  • Running
  • Thrusters
  • Burpees

As you can see, I’m not very good at most CrossFit moves. But these ones are popular and when thrown into a CrossFit WOD can make all the difference whether you win or lose.

CrossFit is constantly-varied, functional movements at high-intensity. Every CrossFit workout you do, you’ll get better. Know what you’re good at and add to them if possible — all the while improving all the other CrossFit movements. This is the key to winning at your box, in your heat, in your mind, and at CrossFit competitions. Good luck!

Being Physically Exhausted from a CrossFit Competition

Last night, I went to bed at 6:30 pm. I was physically exhausted — something I am definitely not used to.

After a 2-day CrossFit Competition, and I worked out yesterday morning with no rest day (I squatted and did a workout with a run, hang power snatches, and burpee box jumps), I was dragging all day at work and when I came home, I was tired. I couldn’t even eat dinner. I just went straight to bed.

CrossFit Competitions will wear you out — emotionally and physically. You want to do your best, you’re disappointed when you don’t do your best, you stress over the details like the drive down and when to eat, and then there’s the actual workouts themselves, which are bears to get through.

The Importance of Sleep after a CrossFit Competition

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Preparing for CrossFit Workout

All of this equals exhaustion. When this happens, listen to your body and get some rest. Sleep is so important with CrossFit to let your body heal, recover, and rejuvenate. Here’s my advice after a CrossFit competition or some other grueling workout, such as a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race:

  • Get extra sleep. This will allow vital tissues and muscles to recover and recuperate after what you’ve just put them through.
  • Drink more than you think you’ll need. I usually lose about 4 pounds every CrossFit competition. Most of this is water weight. At a CrossFit competition, you usually don’t drink much because you don’t want to have to go to the bathroom, you forget, or you’re just too nervous. Afterwards, you need to replenish. Drink extra water and recovery drinks for optimal muscle recovery.
  • Take rest days. I’m a hypocrite. I don’t do this. I don’t like to get behind on my training. Yet, you usually suffer if you don’t (or you’re so tired you lose a whole night!). Give your body some well-deserved time off.
  • Take inventory of what you’ve learned. I learned a lot from this last CrossFit competition. I learned once again I’m stronger than I think I am when I flipped a 300 pound tire multiple times. I learned I need to practice on a bar that I can’t touch the ground on. I learned I can still kick ass when the I have to, especially if the moves are in my wheelhouse. I learned I still have the fire to compete that I thought I had lost from burn-out. I learned I’m just as good as others, if not better.

The whole point of CrossFit competitions is to learn from them, push yourself, and be proud of your achievement. You probably won’t win them all. But within each competition, there will be a personal victory — either a move you did you didn’t think you could do or a workout you annihilated.

Keep in mind why you compete in CrossFit, and you’ll just keep getting better and better.

CrossFit Competitions: Turkey Challenge Day 2

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Sandbag Run at CrossFit Competition

Two-day CrossFit Competitions are rough: You’re tired from Day 1 and you have another tough day ahead of you.

Day 2 of the Turkey Challenge began with a “Burden Run,” and, yes, it is just what you think it is.

Wearing a 10 pound weight vest, you had to run with a 60 pound sandbag on your back for 150 meters, do 10 back squats with the bag, 6 lateral burpees over the bar, and then do max calories on the rower. 5 rounds. 2:30 minutes each. 30 seconds rest in-between.

I actually did really well on this one, except once I couldn’t get the bag up. But I got 4th place.

I did 7 tire flips with a 300 pound tire (never done that before).

AND I won my final WOD: 10 rounds of 15 double unders and 1 rope climb.

Overall, a great day. It boosted my confidence after the first day and has got me wanting more. After I take a break and get my tooth fixed.

Lessons Learned from 2-Day CrossFit Competitions

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Double Unders at CrossFit Competition
  • You get to do exercises you otherwise don’t: sandbag runs with a weight vest and tire flips.
  • I’m stronger than I think I am. I did 300 pound tire flips — 7 of them — and I didn’t think I could do one.

Overall, a great competition. Fun to watch. Learned a lot. Got remotivated for CrossFit. Good, albeit long, weekend!