Monthly Archives: May 2018

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My First Murph

Coach Johnnie: I took my first CrossFit class on May 8, 2014. Little did I know that in three short weeks, I’d participate in my first Murph workout on Memorial Day. Thankfully, I didn’t know what I was in for until a few days before.

For those of you who are new to CrossFit, like I was, you may not know what Murph is. It is a challenging Hero WOD which includes: 1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats, and another 1 mile run. Many people preform this partitioned in 20 rounds of Cindy. It is also RX to use a weight vest…woof

I thought I was out of my league to say the least…but thanks to CrossFit there is always a way to finish a workout. That’s not to say it was easy.  While doing Murph, there were several times I thought it would never end… but I did it.

Let me paint the picture for you:
  • I hated/sucked at running 
  • I did not have 1 pull up
  • I couldn’t get my chest to the ground for push ups
  • And air squats, well ya know, those just get real spicy after a while

My first Murph experience went a little like this: 

Everyone in the gym came in on Memorial Day to do the workout together, and it was blazin hot! I walk/jogged the first mile. I did ring rows instead of pull ups. I did push ups with an plate under my chest so I didn’t have to go down as far. I did all my air squats…slowly. And I walked my last mile. I took me right around 55 minutes.

Mind you, I’m not sure I’ve ever finished Murph faster than that due to the fact that I’ve gotten better at movements each year which adds more challenges.  The next year I did Murph with kipping pulls ups and regular push ups which took me a lifetime. The next year I did the same but a little faster.

For my fourth Murph, which is this year, I’m going to do it with a weight vest. In four years, I’ve gone from zero pull ups to attempting 100 with 14 extra pounds on my body.

2014 - 145# Back Squat 2018 - 240# Back Squat
2014 – 145# Back Squat
2018 – 240# Back Squat

I promise you will see improvement year to year whether it’s for Murph, other benchmark workouts, lifts, or just personal growth. But it does not just happen by itself.

I heard the saying one time that you have to be “patient but persistent.”  Change may not come tomorrow or next week or next month, but you have to be working at it tomorrow and next week and next month in order to see the change next year. Stay consistent. This is not a quick fix but a choice you make everyday to be a better you inside and out of the gym.

Take aways: I hated running 4 years ago and still do—I swear I’m working on this. I have gotten way better at almost everything due to being committed to the process and being patient in waiting for results. Participating in Murph is an amazing opportunity to challenge yourself alongside the other Infiltrate athletes at all levels who are in the same struggle as you!

Can’t wait to see everyone kick butt at Noon on Memorial Day as we take on this awesome challenge together!
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“Class looks like a waste of time tomorrow”

Johnnie:  Everyday at CrossFit looks a little different, some days we have long endurance workouts, some days we take more time for mobility and technique when focusing on heavier lifts, and some days we have a few different elements for the hour.  All of these are incredibly beneficial and provide great rewards when done correctly.  Becca has some awesome knowledge bombs for you guys…

Becca P: Before CrossFit, I was an elliptical girl.  You know the type I’m referring to…camped out at the back of a globo gym with a TV, iPod, or book to keep from being bored to death.  Usually with make-up on and some black workout pants.  Hit the Quick Start option and boom, 30 minutes to nowhere.

I told you I was a very average CrossFit athlete when I started.

Why did I always do 30 minutes? The answer: 30 minutes sounds substantial.  30 minutes is a whole episode of Jeopardy and its about 7 songs worth on your iPod (trust me, I counted from boredom).

When I first started CrossFit (ugh, more “back in my day” references), I was shocked to learn workouts often lasted less than 12 minutes.  Or that we rested in the middle of some (like an EMOM or programmed rest).

More is not always better, my friends.

The science: CrossFit was founded on the methodology that high-intensity, constantly varied workouts are best and the evidence supports this.  CrossFit often uses a combination of high-intensity workouts (short, fast, hard), aerobic/endurance workouts (longer, heart rate doesn’t peak, you keep moving), as well as strength and mobility work.  All have health benefits, but high intensity training increases your VO2 max (the oxygen your blood carries to your muscles to get shit done).  The best athletes in the world have the best VO2 max.

What is considered high-intensity for one person is not necessarily the same for the next person: enter scaling, Rx, Rx+.  Picture this: Brooks, Zane, & Becca P walk into a bar(bell filled room) to do Fran (21-15-9 thrusters/pull ups). We all do the men’s weight, 95# with pull ups.  Fran is intended to be short and fast (more on intention later).

We all go as hard as possible.  Brooks finishes is 2 minutes.  Zane finishes in 5.  Becca P finishes around 9.  The workout changed for each of us.  Brooks should probably do heavier weight and Becca should do less. Why? 1. Brooks is unlikely to reap much physical/health benefit from doing a workout that lasts <2 minutes and the weight was so heavy for Becca that she had to focus more on strength and spent less time in the aerobic heart rate zone cuz she did a bunch of singles.  2.  it’s not the intention for the workout.

The intention: Johnnie just recently got her L2 where she learned more about the intention of workouts.  We’re not geniuses.  You and I don’t have our L2s or experience programming and coaching for varying levels of athletes .  We don’t know what a workout should necessarily feel like, but the Coach and the Programmer does.  That’s why these workouts are programmed the way that they are. They take the guesswork out for majority of us.

Take home point: The next time you see a 7 minute AMRAP, don’t sneer at it and think “I’m not going today cuz 7 minutes is pointless.”  1. You’re wrong and science supports it. 2. You know there’s lots of #summerbod accessory work coming your way  3. If you thought  7 minutes was easy, you did the workout wrong.

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Back When I Started

We are all on our own CrossFit and life journey.  Remembering where we started, how far we have come, and how far we still have to go is important.  Along the way we must also empower those who are at different points in their fitness journey.  Here’s what Becca P has to say about being new in CrossFit, but also some great refreshers and take aways for veterans.  With Murph coming up in just 3 weeks, we are all preparing for an awesome challenge at any level and pushing ourselves, new or vet, to do things we have never done before!

Becca: I think this is how you know you’re an OG (definition: original gangster, (n.) someone who has established experiences and a connection to the past). Lately I’ve been finding myself telling new members “back when I started” which I’m pretty sure is the CrossFit equivalent to “back in my day.” #old

But it has made me stop and reflect on the past 3 years.

So I thought, given the amount of new(ish) members we have, maybe it would be good to share a little perspective from my time spent here.

Back then:
SPOILER ALERT: I was 100% your average new CrossFit athlete. I didn’t do a college sport and thought Richard Simmons workouts were hard.

  • Back when I started, I couldn’t do a strict pull-up.
  • Back when I started, I wanted so bad to prove I was strong(ish) I hurt my back the 2nd day of CrossFit.
  • Back when I started, I had no idea how to max out and it took me years to figure out what “heavy” and “hard” actual meant and felt like.
  • Back when I started, I thought doing CrossFit meant I could eat whatever I wanted.
  • Back when I started, Kevin (the old Oly coach) pulled me aside in class and made me use the 15# trainer bar to learn to snatch.
  • Back when I started, I wanted to learn to kip just so I could RX workouts with pull-ups.
  • Back when I started, I was terrified of doing a handstand. Jared had to show me outside of class that I wouldn’t just fall over.
  • Back when I started, I would avoid workouts that didn’t cater to my strengths. If it had pull ups, I would conveniently take a rest day.
  • Back when I started, I cared about the leaderboard and wanted to RX or see my name towards the top.

Current State:
SPOILER ALERT #2: While I am no superstar CrossFit athlete, I have seen some improvements. Here’s the meat/advice of this post….

  • Establishing strict movements before learning to kip and do things like muscle ups and HSPU is always ideal. Strict strength is the basis for so much. I didn’t want to hear it either, but it’s the honest truth. Bands, jumping pull-ups, and negatives are great substitutions to build strength for a lot of movements. If you had told whiny Becca 3 years ago who couldn’t get a pull up that she’d be doing BMUs, she would have laughed. But after a year of focused work on my weaknesses, they’ve become my strengths.
  • Over time, you will figure out what your rep maxes are. Focus on good form initially and once that is established, learn to push yourself. I used to ask myself “Is this Becca hard or is this Rudy hard?” (Rudy was a Marine who would make the most gawd awful faces while maxing out so you knew he was really trying).
  • Don’t let the words RX or the leaderboard convince you to try something or do a weight you’re not ready for. It’s YOU vs YOU. This isn’t the Games. Class is your time to get better. Just because we program 5-5-5-5-5 deadlift doesn’t mean you have to find your absolute 5 rep max with some ugly ass form just to beat someone by 5lbs. Be smart. Use the programming to get better and listen to the Coach for suggestions.
  • If a Coach pulls you aside to work on something or to take the weight down, it’s fine. I did it. You’ll do it too. Have a good attitude and know that one day you absolutely will get the hang of it. It took me 2.5 years to get the hang of a snatch (and I still have a lot of room for improvement).
  • Nutrition is the basis of the CrossFit pyramid (if you don’t know what I’m talking about please Google it). It does matter and CrossFit is not a license to eat anything you want. If you want to hear me rant about my experience with nutrition from day one to today, let me know. That’s a whole separate blog post in itself.

Newbies, keep the faith. Work hard and address your weaknesses head-on. Don’t make excuses. Show up to class to get better, not to beat someone or because the workout is something you’re good at. If you do these things, I promise you will see a difference and will be physically and mentally on point.

xoxo

Becca P