Category Archives: exercise

First Check-in of 2017

Hey hey hey! We are four whole days into the New Year and I have stuck with my resolutions. It’s not a huge milestone, but let’s just celebrate anyway.  Tomorrow is my planned REST day (from the gym) so today seems like a good time to take a look-back on what has been going on.

January 1: Easy yoga day at home. Let’s not start out too crazy, right? Turns out the easy start was a good idea because the day included a trip to Urgent Care with one of the kiddos.  All is well now, but I was happy to have started the day with a moment of calm and peace.

January 2: Teach Zumba class – Hey-oooh!  Starting the week off with a dance session is pretty awesome. Hop around, shake the hips, get the groove on. Good times. Plus, it’s an added bonus to see some of my favorite people in class too.

I followed up the hour of cardio with the strength training program: the Labrada Lean Body Challenge.  The Challenge is 12 weeks long and includes a detailed schedule for lifting weights and overall awesome strength building.  I’m not planning on submitting any of my information or pictures to try to “win” but I am looking forward to seeing the results and, more importantly, having a legit plan for my lifting.  Today I spent about 55 minutes lifting through three sets of 15-20 reps of a variety of chest, triceps, and shoulders exercises.

The Labrada program is kind of “old school” to me, which I am really enjoying (again, only four days in). In the past few years I spent a lot of time in the Crossfit world …. interested in reading about My Crossfit Experience… or 7 Reasons Why Crossfit is Great for New Moms*…. but I am back at the big chain gym now and it’s bringing back some fun memories of my pre-WOD days.

January 3: Ahhhhhh Leg Day. I began with a quick warm-up and then focused on quads and hamstrings. Again, it’s been ages since I was on the leg extension and hamstring curl machines and man oh man did I feel it!  I had to pause the strength portion of the day’s workout to hop into the barre class. For those of you not familiar with barre, it’s a ballet-inspired class and is awesome. This class was a perfect compliment to my strength plan… just when I thought my legs couldn’t take anymore, I did a bazillion plies! Hello calves. Hello hammies.  Why hello to you too, quads. Oh yeah, and remember my shoulders and tricep work from yesterday, well my barre instructor did some great upper-body focused work too! Hello every single muscle in my body screaming at me right now.

Last but not least, I finished the day with last bit of my Labrada plan – some glute strength work. Done and done and done.

January 4: Well, let’s just try to get out of bed today. The legs! The arms! After walking downstairs like a robot due to that my legs forgot how to function properly…. I put the kids on the bus and finally got to the gym a little later than planned.  Strength training focused on upper-body again, but this time included back, biceps, and abs.  There seemed to be more strength exercises today or maybe it just took me longer because I was jamming to my music and was bee-bopp-ing around between sets. (It helps A LOT to have a lifting buddy who encouragingly laughs at – and occasionally joins in – my impromptu dance moves.) When we finally finished up with abs,  I decided to complete the day with a little bit of rowing, a little bit of inclined treadmill walking (I HATE RUNNING), and then a WHOLE lot of stretching and foam rolling.  All in all it was a good workout but felt a little subdued since I didn’t go to a group fitness class.

And that’s it! So far so good.  Friday’s plan will be a little off-kilter because of parenting responsibilities. I’m guessing I will be at the gym without my lifting buddy and without group classes to super-motivate me. I better get a good playlist put together to keep me going!

FYI – This will be my last detailed daily work-out regimen post until the end of the month when I will compare the difference in weights and number of reps from Week One to Week Four. Yippee.


‘Twas the Night Before New Year’s

Here’s my latest creation, written after my last post while feeling super-inspired for some new fitness and nutrition goals:

‘Twas the night before New Year’s, when all through the house

none of my clothes fit, not even a blouse;

the yoga pants were hung near my gym bag with care,

in the hopes that tomorrow my motivation would be there.

The cupboards were filled with an assortment of nuts,

While the fridge burst with veggies assured to shrink guts.

 

And me with my kettlebell near my new yoga mat

Have written my goals, determined to burn more fat,

With burpees and box jumps and the suicide ladder,

I am determined to work hard; the pain – it don’t matter!

 

In the morning, I’ll wake up and fly like a flash,

It’s just the beginning – my very first dash.

The moon is still shining I didn’t even know

I could get up so early, I thought this would blow,.

When to my lips I bring a cup of caffeine

And realize this is what it takes to get lean.

A quick healthy breakfast, I eat in one bite

And I lace up my sneakers so they feel oh-so right,

With my hoodie and ear buds, I dash out the door;

There’s no time to wonder at the gym what’s in store.

In the minivan, my music is playing with might

My mind is focused and my goals are in sight.

I am ready to rock and pumped to get going

People are staring, my smile is showing.

 

Now! Pushups, now! Presses, now! Cleans and some jerks!

Oh! Running, oh! Rowing, oh! Sprints and footwork!

To the top of the bar, to the top of the beam,

OH good heavens, my muscles, they scream!

 

But I will not give up nor will I give in,

For the first time in ages I feel like I’m livin’.

Some days will be hard and I know that’s not wrong,

But it’s important to me that I grow to be strong.

One day at a time, I will make choices that are true

To my goals and allow a cheat day or two.

This is a long journey – not done in one night

It’s a lifetime of fitness and eating what’s right!

 

Inspired by “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moor
Re-worked by Betsy Meyer


My Crossfit Experience…

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I don’t think I’ve told you yet, but I enjoy me some Crossfit. It’s a workout that’s hard and sometimes crazy and something I never thought I would do, much less enjoy.  But here I am, seven months since my first WOD (Workout of the Day in “Crossfit-speak”) and I’m writing about it.  Recently, some friends have been interested in trying it so I have been thinking about how I would describe Crossfit.  Here is a run-down (Betsy-style) of what my workouts look like.

Each day, the class starts with a warm-up and stretch and a moderate amount of complaining about how sore we are from the previous WOD or how much we are dreading today’s WOD.  Then we spend anywhere between 20-30 minutes working on a skill or strength movement, and then we start our WOD.  The Workout of the Day is written by one of the coaches at the gym (locally or from afar) and posted on a giant dry-erase board for all of us to gasp and groan at.  On another wall-size dry-erase board are the scores from everyone else who had already done the WOD today and from the past few days.  This is where you look if you are competitive and where you divert your eyes if you are not (or have shifty eyes when you try not to look competitive but desperately want to find someone you can beat… all in good fun, of course).

There are a whole bunch of skills that show up in the WODs (i.e. burpees, pull-ups, push-ups, handstand push-ups, cleans, power cleans, hang cleans. hang power cleans – that’s more cleaning than I do at my house! Ha. – squats, lunges, running, rowing, etc.). The list goes on and on.  Two super-important things to know are: 1. Everything can be modified so all skill levels can participate; 2. It never gets boring with so much variety.  There are a whole bunch of different styles of workouts too.  Let’s take a look at what to expect from a few of the styles:

1. The AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) in a given time period: Let’s say we have a seven-minute AMRAP of 7 squats, 7 push-ups, 7 sit-ups. You do those exercises in that order as many times as you can in 7 minutes.  My workout goes something like this…

MINUTE 1:  Not so bad. Here we go. I can totally do anything for seven minutes.

MINUTE 2: I’m just focusing on what I’m doing. Seven short little minutes. No need to think about how sore my legs feel already. It ain’t no thang.

MINUTE 3: Well, I would stop thinking about my legs but they are so sore. I can’t help it. At least I only have one more minute left. Wait, what?! Did she just say FOUR minutes left?! NO way. That means I’m not even half way done yet! That’s not okay. My legs! My legs! The clock must be broken. That is the slowest three minutes ever. What is going on – oh my leggggggggs!!! I’m going to die. I’m seriously going to fall over and die. These are the last minutes of my life and I’m spending them working out. Seriously, is this the longest minute of the world?! Does that even make sense?!

MINUTE 5: Hey look at that! I just complained through all of Minute Four. That was fast. Focus, Betsy. Focus.

MINUTE 6: One more minute! I sure wish I had focused more instead of complaining to myself. My legs don’t even hurt anymore. Granted, I can’t feel my legs anymore.

MINUTE 7: This is so totally painful. If I didn’t die before, I’m definitely dying now. Hey, look… 3….2…1…. TIME!

2. The EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute): Let’s say we have rowing 150 meters EMOM for ten minutes. At the start of the minute you row. Whenever you get 150 meters, you rest until the top of the next minute. Ten times.  My workout goes something like this….

MINUTE 1: Bang. I got this.

MINUTE 2: I’m gong to be honest. This is kind of silly. All this rest does not make for a good workout.

MINUTE 3: Yeah, I just made REALLY good time on that.  I should probably do a little extra after this WOD because it’s really not that hard. Oh shoot… I just missed the top of the minute.

MINUTE 4: Okay, focus. That was harder when I started late.

MINUTES 5-7: Focused. Control your breathing. Try to bring heart rate down during rest times.

MINUTE 8: What?! I only have a few seconds to rest?! Oh shoot. Here we go!

MINUTE 9: This is so hard. Why did I think this would be easy?! It’s never easy! Push, pull, push, pull, push, pull. Ahhhhhhhhh…. I need more rest time! I’m going to die. I seriously might die right now.

MINUTE 10: Just finish this last 150 meters and you can rest for the next million minutes if you want to! Heck, you might be dead… you can rest for all eternity! Gooooooooo!

3. The Tabata: You do an exercise… let’s say burpees… for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 8 times. We usually do three Tabatas as a WOD or maybe just one Tabata at the end of the WOD.  My Tabatas go something like this……

20 SECONDS #1: Uh oh. I KNOW Tabatas are hard.

20 S #2: Don’t puke.

20 S #3: Don’t puke.

20 S #4: Don’t puke.

20 S #5: I might die.

20 S #6: Don’t puke or die.

20 S #7: Don’t puke or die

20 S #8: I seriously might puke and die.

4. The Chipper: This is a gigantically large number of one or a few exercises and you “chip” away at it. Let’s say it’s 150 wall balls.  Here’s how I go about it…

*Okay, 10 sets of 15. I can do this. Go.
*Okay, that was 3 sets. That’s only 45. Why does 15 wall balls seem like so many in a row?!
*Fine. We’ll do five more and that will be 50.
*Now let’s do 10 sets of 10. That will be much more do-able.
*Okay okay okay. That was only 8. Squeeze out 2 more.
*60 done. Good. That’s a lot. No, it can’t be a lot because I have 90 more to go. That’s like 150% of what I just did. Is that right? 60+60+30. Yeah, that’s right. No it’s not. Oh, I don’t even know. What I DO know, is that these wall balls are killing me!
* 75 wall balls done! Bingo. I just did 15 in a row because I was trying to do percentages in my head. Percent times the whole equals the par—– ouch! I just got hit in the face with my wall ball. 14 pounds of vinyl ball to my face!  Am I bleeding?! YES?! No, that’s just sweat.
* 80. Focus Betsy. Squat, throw, catch, squat, throw, catch. Focus. Keep going.
* 120 down. That was a good pace there. Keep it up. Only 30 more.
* My arms are Jell-o. My legs are Jell-o. I am Jell-o!  Mmmmmm… Jell-o!
* Now I am dead Jell-o. One more wall ball may kill me. I am going to die. Right here, I’m going to pass out and then the ball is going to land on top of me!
* 10 more left. I think my arms just fell off of my body. Maybe that’s dramatic.
* 8 more left. OH.
* 6 more left. HOLY.
* 4 more left. COW.
* 2….
* 1!!!!!!!! Holler!!!!!

 So that’s pretty much how my WODs go. Or at least, that’s definitely how they went when I first started. I am now actually getting to the point where I spend more time focused and less time talking in my head. I like to believe that has something to do with mental toughness. I am realizing that despite all those chatty WODs, I never actually died.

If you are interested in trying Crossfit I highly recommend it. Despite all my whining, complaining, and drama in my WOD descriptions, it’s really a most amazing experience.  Having those mental battles with myself not only entertains me through the WOD, it has shown me how much I doubt myself and my strength.  I’m proud to say that nine times out of ten I’ve proved myself wrong. I’ve finished (albeit sometimes with a disappointing score) every WOD I started. Now I’m not only gaining physical and mental strength, but also the self-confidence that I can do things I never would have even tried a few months ago.


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