For the Ladies

In the past few days I have been thinking a lot about what I want out of CrossFit, and I’ve realized that a lot of my frustration in the past few days has come from feeling like I’m not seeing the physical results that I’ve wanted. Of course, I wouldn’t admit to myself that I’d been expecting any certain physical changes to take place, because that sounds shallow. I shouldn’t be doing CrossFit just because I want a six-pack, or just because I would love for my shoulders to get just a little bit wider so I would stop dropping purses and tank top straps off their narrow, sloping edges.

I want to be the kind of person who doesn’t qualify her body by saying, “I wear a size 26,” but by saying, “I can do Fran unbroken,” or “I just power cleaned more than my bodyweight.” To me, those measurements should be more important than the size of my hips. And yet at the same time, I can’t help but want those cosmetic things too.

I’m sure many of you have seen it already, but yesterday CrossFit HQ posted an awesome video to their YouTube channel about strong women. It totally inspired me to let go of the superficial expectations I’ve been subconsciously imposing on myself.


As women, we want to be strong without giving up our femininity. How weird is it that we feel like we have to pick?


CrossFit-Style Beginner Workouts

Maybe someday my back muscles will look like this…

A few folks have asked me if I have any beginner workouts I would recommend that they can try on their own at home.

First of all, let me make it very very clear that I am NOT a CrossFit trainer, I do not have any coaching or training credentials, and I would not recommend doing any of these movements without professional instruction because it is very easy to get injured if you do even the simplest movement the wrong way.

That being said, most of these moves are pretty basic, and if you are willing to risk it, here are a few CrossFit-esque workouts I would recommend for beginners to do at home. Most of these are bodyweight movements, meaning you need no special equipment whatsoever, and for a few of these you might need a dumbbell, a bar, or a plate. Most people have at least some workout equipment laying around the house, but you can also substitute heavy everyday objects like one of the snow tires you have sitting in your garage or a large bag of flour or soil. Lastly, If you don’t recognize the name of a movement, I would recommend looking it up on YouTube.

Beginner WOD #1: The Ladder
Equipment needed: None

Warm Up:
3 Rounds (go at your own pace, but try not to rest more than 5 or 10 seconds between movements, and only 20 or 30 seconds between rounds):
50 jumping jacks
10 push-ups
10 air squats

30 second each side lunge stretch
60 seconds butterfly stretch
30 seconds Michael Phelps-style arm swings
30 seconds wide arm circles forward
30 seconds wide arm circles backward

For time (AKA, as fast as you can!):
50 push-ups
40 lunges (count each leg)
30 sit-ups
20 air squats
10 burpees
60 second plank hold
10 burpees
20 air squats
30 sit-ups
40 lunges (count each leg)
50 push-ups

Beginner WOD #2: Butt Blaster
Equipment Needed: Super lightweight bar for warm-up, like a broom. 15-pound plate, or equivalent weight that can be held over your head

Run 400 meters (1/4 mile–use to measure a run you can do from your house)
15 slow-ish deep lunges, to stretch the hips and groin (walking or in-place)
20 supermans
60 seconds butterfly stretch
30 seconds each leg pigeon stretch
15 shoulder pass throughs (this is where the broom comes in)
30 seconds each arm shoulder stretch across chest

12 minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds as Possible–so, work as hard as you can for 12 minutes and do as many rounds as possible of the following):
10 lunges with 25# plate/other heavy object overhead (count each leg, arms locked out, core tight)
15 air squats
20 speed skaters (count each side)
10 tuck jumps

Beginner WOD #3: Upper Body
Equipment Needed: Two sturdy chairs, a hand-weight that is moderate for you (probably 10-15 lbs for women, 20-25 lbs for men) or the equivalent household object (a gallon of water weighs a little over 8 lbs, for example).

Warm Up:
3 rounds:
15 jumping jacks
10 supermans
7 push-ups

10 Michael Phelps-style shoulder swings
15 each small, medium, and wide arm circles forward
15 each small, medium, and wide arm circles backwards
30 seconds each side shoulder stretch across chest
30 seconds each side tricep stretch
60 seconds this stretch (minus the child’s pose bit at the end)
60 seconds downward facing dog
60 seconds upward facing dog

21-15-9 (1st round 21 reps, 2nd round 15 reps, 3rd round 9 reps each of):
One-arm shoulder press with your weight, alternating arms and counting each arm
Chair dips with feet elevated
After each round: Crab walk to the other side of the room and back

Don’t forget to cool down, stretch, and drink a LOT of water before and after each workout!

Olympic Fitspo

To say that I fell off the paleo wagon this weekend is a drastic understatement. I did a swan dive off the wagon and then sprinted in the other direction. The Denver Beer Company (my favorite brewery in Denver, and perhaps in the world) had their 1st birthday party and I drank 5 beers, ate half a pizza, then drunkenly wandered over to My Brothers Bar and ate cheap nachos and half of a burger with cream cheese on it. Going totally overboard on things that are terrible for me is not something I do a lot… but apparently when I do, I go big.

And in case a 2-day gluten hangover isn’t bad enough, the universe decided to really drive home the point and today we are doing FRAN. Ok, I get it. I’m sorry. But, really? Fran? My WOD tonight isn’t for another 10 hours and I’ve already had a nervous poop.

I clearly need some inspiration. And where better to find it than the Olympics! I don’t have a TV so we’ve mostly just been watching reruns online, but it’s still been pretty amazing. Also I should just tell you upfront: I have a huge girl-crush on Hope Solo. I mean really.

If you could compete in any Olympic sport, which one would you pick? I think I’d have to go with whitewater kayaking or open-water swimming. Or archery. You know, so I could win the Hunger Games (very important)…

85 Days

If you have not seen this video, you need to watch it. It will convert you from a sunscreen-applying, grill-stoking, sunrise-before-8AM-loving summer enthusiast and make you wish you were currently watching a blizzard form in the late-afternoon twilight. Oh, and it will make you want to move to Japan, but what can you do. 

People. I just realized there are only 85 days between now and the first day of ski season at our “home” resort (Copper Mountain). You are probably sitting there thinking, “It’s AUGUST! WHY would you be thinking about ski season already!?” and you are right. We still have a solid 4-6 weeks left of summer-like weather (at least), and it seems wasteful for me to already be thinking towards ski season… but I can’t help it. Last year I got 2 RUNS in the entire season. The snow was crap crap crap, and I just kept thinking, “Oh, we’ll go next weekend–there will be snow by then.” And then suddenly it was April, and there was still no snow. The snow never came. It was sad.

So this year I am already looking forward to getting on the mountain. I grew up skiing–some of my very earliest memories are obscured by the hood of my tiny fuchsia onesy with my 80cm skis in the air after being knocked over by the trademark gale-force winds at Eldora. When I was 11 I switched to snowboarding, because it was the 90s and that’s what pre-teens did in the 90s, but when I was a liftie two seasons ago I decided to switch back to skiing. After one lesson I was already convinced that I had wasted over a decade on a snowboard when I could have been on planks instead, and was able to get in almost 30 days on skis in the second half of the season. So it was especially frustrating when last year I made zero headway, and probably actually lost a lot of ground, in my quest to make up for my 11-year old self’s poor decision-making abilities.

Apart from the general lack of skiable conditions last season, there was another problem. I never made it over the early-season hump–those first few days where every turn ignites your calves and shins, where you look forward to the lift stopping mid-mountain to give your hamstrings a little extra rest, where just buckling your boot into that perpetually-flexed-ankle stance is enough to bring tears to your eyes. Maybe not everyone goes through this, like people who have spent more than a half-season skiing in the past decade. But I did, and it sucked, and it made me not want to get out and go for it without the promise of at least a little soft snow to catch me when my legs reached muscle failure, which generally happens as soon as I stand up to exit at the top of the lift.

But this year I have a plan. Starting in September, Brandon and I are going to start spending some Open Gym time working on our skiing muscles–calves, shins (How does one build shin strength? We are going to find out!), hammies, quads, glutes, core, and especially hips and knees. I imagine this will probably involve a lot of jumping lunges, some light front-rack lunges (which we did yesterday during our WOD and today my butt is almost useless),  and lots of other light or bodyweight leg moves, with a little bit of heavy worked in for good measure. The goal really is to wake up those little stabilizer muscles, and to not end up in that situation where you wake up the morning after your first day on the slopes with that fun feeling of “How can I be sore in places I didn’t even know I had muscles?”

I would love some suggestions for your favorite lower-body movements. We are going to be largely making this up as we go along with lots of trial-and-error (as in what works and what doesn’t, not as in it-is-unsafe-for-me-to-be-trying-this). Are you a skier? What are your favorite pre-season moves to keep yourself from hitting burnout after three runs on your first day? Or do you just think it’s sacrilege for me to be contemplating winter in early August?

CrossFit Games Fitspo

Did anyone else watch (bits and pieces via the internet of) The CrossFit Games this past week? Holy crap. If that doesn’t inspire you to get off your butt and try to get your Fran time to sub-2:30, I don’t know what will. I’ll say it again: Holy crap.

Here are some of my favorite images from the women’s competitions this past weekend. These are all from the CrossFit Games website, and I have linked them all accordingly!

But first, let’s start with this great little video, basically with people just talking about what makes CrossFit so special and why it’s growing so much. If you identify with CrossFit in even the tiniest way, I think you will identify with this video, too.

The Sport of CrossFit

And now for some major inspiration: