Before we moved here, I found a pretty nice weight lifting class at our gym that was tough, but not too tough, and made me feel like I was actually building muscle. I was sad to see it go when we moved out of state in late June 2009. Our new gym is a no frills, open 24 hours weight lifting and cardio club. No classes, minimal trainer interaction, but affordable and near our home. Since we joined, I've been doing cardio workouts there but have been missing the weight training.
Since I know the instructor of the weight lifting class I was taking sometimes stole workouts from Men's Health magazine, I decided to look in my free Shape magazines for workouts I could use when I go to the gym.
I was reading an interview with some buff trainer (or celebrity, I don't remember) who mentioned CrossFit being a challenging workout with lots of variability. I spent a couple of days checking it out and have decided to go for it!
In short, every day I'll be checking in for the Workout of the Day (WoD) which will no doubt be impossibly hard as it is geared towards adventure racers, marines, police and firefighters and extreme athletes. Luckily, they also scale down the workouts multiple times for "The Pack" (most people who have been doing WoDs for awhile) and "Puppies" (newcomers to CrossFit). I also recently discovered that pregnant athletes/maries/police/etc. and children are also Puppies. So, I guess I'm in good company!
Each workout of the day seems too simplistic when you look at it on paper, but then when you do them, they are really difficult. Full body workouts, varied daily, mixed in with varied cardio. I'm supposed to record not only the weights used, but also the time it takes to complete. Speed increases the cardio benefits and also shows an improvement in how much rest time is needed.
Yesterday for my very first WoD my Puppy-scaled workout was three sets of: 20 assisted pull up, 20 assisted dips, 25 squats for time. I ended up weighting the pull up/dip machine so that I was working against about 70lbs. Pretty lame. And even with that, I couldn't do all 20 in any set without failure. But, then again, when was the last time I did pull ups or dips? The goal is then to work towards eventually being able to do pull ups unassisted and then to move on to the real CrossFit unscaled exercise: Muscle Ups. (By the way, in watching CrossFit exercise demonstration videos, there is a remarkable consistency in the "hardcore rock"-ness of the accompanying music. I think maybe I need some Korn on my IPod before I can do an unassisted pull up!)
So, I did my sets yesterday, got remarkable sweaty considering I was only actually working out for 15-20 minutes and now today I am sore all over! Luckily they build some rest days into the program, because after tonight's WoD -- 5 rounds of: 400m sprint for time, 15 sit ups, 15 hip extensions -- I'm not sure I'm going to be able to move tomorrow!
The end goal? Keep myself interested in working out by changing up the exercises every day. Feel the day after soreness that comes from a good workout. Increase my muscle tone and self confidence. Impress my kids with my huge biceps!