blusunshinesarah

Crossfit, Paleo, and all things Army

Archive for the ‘Working Out’ Category

Single leg burpees and PT tests

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You guys want to know what the most awkward exercise known to the Crossfit world is? The single leg burpee. Also known as- “How I discovered that I have a definite strength and balance inequality between my right and left legs.” It is EXACTLY what it sounds like. And it brought back some VIVID flashbacks of when I was a hefty middle schooler and on the dance team. (There are no cuts in middle school sports. HAH! Sadly, I did not make the team after my freshman year of high school. Some of us were not destined to become ballerinas. Sniff.) Anyway, while the other girls were did their perfect pirouettes and kicked high and straight, I clunked through the songs like an elephant.. well, like an elephant attempting to do pirouettes and high kicks.

Just kidding. Seriously though, no one has ever described me as “graceful.” So today’s WOD was particularly awful, since the whole thing called for coordination. After some bench presses (which I rocked, b-t-dubs) it was 10,8,6,4, and 2 reps for time of single arm DB jerk and single leg burpees. It was one of those workouts where you just feel like you spend lots of time/effort concentrating on your form, and so the whole workout feels awkward and just.. off. I won’t say that I didn’t get a good workout, because I did leave sweaty and breathless, but it wasn’t like yesterday’s workout that utterly destroyed me. (It was a chipper which included an obscene amount of overhead squats, pull ups, and KB swings). It’s alright though, not every workout is going to feel great, and hopefully the time spent concentrating on my form will pay off later.

Let’s take a minute to talk about fitness. That was out of nowhere, but I couldn’t think of a good way to transition, so deal with it. So as you can see from previous posts on this blog, I used to be heavily into running. Like- that was all I did, that and push ups and crunches so I could pass my PT test. I’ll get into running v crossfit on a later post, but I want to talk about my fitness history. I have a PT test Thursday morning, so I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. For most of my Army career, I’ve scored a 290 or above on my PT test (the highest score being 300). This test consists of a 2 mile run, 2 minutes of push ups, and 2 minutes of situps. In spring 2012, or right before I discovered crossfit, I scored a 300. I thought I was AMAZING shape. I was by Army standards anyway. And then the guy I was seeing at the time dragged me to my first ever crossfit workout. And it DESTROYED me. As in, I was sore for days. And I sat there thinking, I’m in shape, right? The Army says I’m in shape. I run all the time! (Although to be completely honest, I had begun to fall out of love with running by then, due to numerous injuries, overtraining, and really just plain boredom). So if I’m in such great shape, why did some pull ups, air squats, and push ups render me unable to lift myself off of the couch for an entire week? (For the record, my first ever crossfit workout was Murph. If you don’t know what that is, you should look it up and do it. It’ll be fun, I promise).
And that’s what prompted the startling revelation. I’m not really in shape. In the last year and some change, I’ve become more fit than I’ve ever been, but my PT scores have failed to hit 300, or even 290. I used to define myself as a Soldier by how well I scored on my PT test. I used to get so nervous before PT tests that I wouldn’t sleep the week before one was scheduled. When I did sleep I’d have nightmares about failing it. One test (that I scored a 290 on), I was so nervous that I had diarrhea, between all 3 events. Ridiculous, right?
Maybe it was because I started doing crossfit and fitness took on a whole new meaning for me, or maybe it was just because six years of psyching myself out before a minimum twice-yearly PT was exhausting, but I just stopped caring how well I did. That’s not to say that I would be ok with scoring 180 (the absolute minimum), but I no longer feel the same pressure to max every event. I know I’m fit, although I might not be able to crank out 80 sit ups in 2 minutes anymore. But in light of the fact that I can squat with 80 pounds over my head, and I can clean 85 pounds, this seems unimportant. Because when I started doing crossfit over a year ago, I couldn’t even do a proper air squat, let alone an over head one. So we’ll see how I do on this PT test on Thursday, but I’m not stressing. It’s just another workout.

Hope the rest of your week is smooth and fast!

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Written by blusunshinesarah

June 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm

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And the first place award for trees killed is: The Army!

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Saturday morning. Man it feels good to do nothing. Last weekend was my first really free weekend in well, months. And aside from going to the gym and shamming my way through a WOD I talked about, I pretty much sat on the couch, did homework, and watched TV. I didn’t even get dressed on Sunday until like 4. This weekend I don’t really have much going on either- last night the boyfriend and I met up with the Charlie Btry Drill Sergeants for drinks (although we didn’t stay very long, since he has CQ tonight- BUT that means he’s off Sunday!!), and then tonight a friend and I are headed out for a Girls Night: Dinner and Drinks or something. And then more sitting around and relaxing, since I have about three very unpleasant weeks coming up.
In the normal Army world, once you get to be an NCO, you will have an additional duty: UPL (pee collector for drug tests), armorer (responsible for the Arms room and all of the weapons), SHARP/EO (in charge of preventing and handling any sexual harassment/assault cases or any Equal Opportunity cases), or something else. In the Drill Sergeant world, there’s only about 13-16 Drill Sergeants per Btry… which means that all those additional duties still have to be done, but there’s less people to do them. So everyone gets assigned a few. I’m unit pee collector, master driver, (which means I track everyone’s military driver’s licenses), and soon to be Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear NCO.. in charge of the CBRN room and gas masks. yay…. As you may have guessed, people generally don’t volunteer to have these additional duties. And the schools are ridiculously boring. (There’s not a whole lot of ways to make learning about regulation and drivers’ training and licensing fun). So I get to spend the next three weeks listening to some retired First Sergeant teach me about CBRN (pronounced Seeburn). Still, it’s better than being the Btry armorer and Battalion (Bn) SHARP.. which are my boyfriend’s additional duties. In the basic training world, armorer is doubly hard since the privates are in and out of quarters, sick call, other appointments, and he has to keep track of their weapons and be in and out of the Arms room all the time. (This brings me to another point about “When I was in basic training” and why do these privates get to deal with their personal lives in basic training, but that’s for another post). These additional duties wouldn’t be so bad, except that like EVERYTHING else in the Army, they require you to maintain a book. Seriously- if they could track which organizations killed the most trees, I bet the Army would be competing for first place. Really they wouldn’t even have to compete. See what happens is that every time there’s some kind of new incident, no one knows who to blame. So to prevent that from ever happening again (not the incident, just the knowing who to blame part), the Army invents more paperwork. Let me give you an example. We’ll take something as simple as going on leave. So you want to drive from Ft Sill, OK, to New Orleans, and spend five days there. Simple, right? You submit your DA-31 (leave request form) and off you go. NO. Wrong answer NCO/Soldier/officer. Someone somewhere along the way submitted a leave request form and took leave that he didn’t have. Now you have to submit your LES (leave and earnings statement), along with your DA-31. So you do that. Still not done. See someone ELSE got into a car accident and died. The Army didn’t know who to blame for that mishap, because it couldn’t have just been a random occurrence, SOMEONE had to be at fault, so now you have to fill out an online survey promising that you won’t drink and drive, you won’t drive during inclement weather, you won’t speed, you won’t drive while tired. And it has to be approved by your supervisor. So now the Army can say that you were properly briefed before you left. You’re STILL not done. Obviously Soldiers are too stupid to know if their car works or not before they drive somewhere, so your supervisor has to fill out a POV (personally owned vehicle) inspection form that checks everything important that makes a car run, like your horn and high beams. And then you fill out a cover sheet that states all of the aforementioned information on another tree that you’ve killed, for those to stupid to actually read the forms. NOW you can go. At this point you’re probably like, “Screw it, I’ll just take leave and stay at home.” Haha- you still have to do all that paperwork. Even though you’re not actually going anywhere. By the way- this whole thing is a complete paradox, because according to the Army it’s perfectly safe for you to drive home from CQ or Staff Duty after being up for 24+ hours. And EVERYTHING in the Army is like this. Is your brain hurting yet? Mine is. So let’s move onto my week recap.
I did pretty good with eating well and going to crossfit this week. While all of my meals weren’t 100 percent paleo, they were pretty close, and really healthy. I made Curried Chicken Kebobs with Couscous on Wednesday (Omg seriously- you MUST try this. My boyfriend told me it’s the best food I’ve ever made for him, and he tells me what an awesome cook I am all the time.. you know, not to toot my own horn or anything). I had staff duty Thursday and ate like crap, but then yesterday I made Paleo Pulled pork and mashed sweet potatoes, which was a recipe from civilized caveman cooking. So good. Don’t really remember what I made the other nights, I don’t think it was anything special. (Quick note in regards to the blog: If you’re looking for awesome paleo recipes by this blogger.. don’t look here. While I’ll always share the source of the recipes I make, I haven’t quite made it to the point where I can invent my own insanely good recipes.. I just steal everyone else’s.) This is week in crossfit: I made it Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, skipped Thursday, and made it yesterday, by some miracle. I only got a couple of hours of sleep after staff duty yesterday morning due to taking care of some personal issues and getting a massage, so I was dead-tired yesterday afternoon and almost talked myself out of going. Here’s how that went down:
Bad me: “Wow you’re really tired. Why don’t you just nap until Robie gets home?”
Good me: “Weeelll.. That does sound really good.. but what about working out?”
Bad me: “It’s open gym on Saturdays. Just do today’s WOD tomorrow.”
Good me: “Yah I tried that last week.. I’ll probably just sham again.”
Bad me: “So just skip it. You’re really tired, you just got a wonderful massage and rest is important. Also the WOD today is like every exercise you hate rolled into one god awful chipper”
Good me: “…But I paid good money to be able to go to Crossfit Havoc everyday.. No sense wasting it. Plus I promised myself I’d go every day. AND I only have a month and a half left to get myself in crazy awesome shape before I pick up another cycle and lose it all again”

.. So I went, bad me kicking and screaming. Here’s yesterday’s WOD:
Warm up:
2 rounds of 12 jumping lunges and 12 ab roll outs (It was a warm up that was VERY unkind to my knees)

For Time:

10 Rope Climbs (scaled to 20 rope pull ups- start laying on the floor and pull yourself to standing using only your arms)

20 Overhead Squats @ 95 lbs / 63 lbs (scaled to 53#)

30 Air Squat to Box Jump @ 24″ / 20″

40 Sumo-Deadlift High-Pulls @ 95 lbs / 63 lbs (scaled to 53#)

50 Burpee Long Jumps @ 6′ / 4′

I finished in 26:40. The burpees took BY FAR the longest. I could only do them in sets of 10, and usually by the last couple of reps of every set I was jumping like 2 feet instead of 4. Also my back, which was feeling wonderful from my massage, was spasming by the end of the workout- from I assume the ab roll outs, the SDHPs, and the burpee long jumps. My poor, abused body. Still, I was proud of myself for sucking it up and going- because God knows I would have shammed today without classmates to keep me accountable for a)finishing in a decent time, and b)finishing all the burpees. Anyways, I should probably stop talking now. I’m sure you’re all bored to tears. Note to self: Find (or stop being lazy and take) pictures to go along with my novels. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
What kind of workouts did you all do this week?
Any delicious paleo recipes you tried that you want to share?

Written by blusunshinesarah

June 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Confessions Update

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So this past weekend I vowed to make my workouts count and to be conscious of what I eat and why I’m eating it. I figured today I’d give you an update on how I’ve been doing.

Monday

I didn’t get to workout in the morning because I had to be into work by 6, so in the afternoon I headed over to my apartment complex’s fitness center and did a workout targeting my abs and upper body. I finished with 25 minutes of cardio on the bike. My strength routine looked like this:

10 triceps pushups (I call these triceps pushups because instead of the typical arms perpendicular to the body pushups I tuck my elbows in, parallel with my body, which is much harder. After the first set of 10 I do 5 pushups after every set of crunches. If I do regular pushups I do 12 between every set)

35 regular crunches

Chinese crunches- 25 each side (one leg straight and about 6 inches off the ground, the other leg bent 90 degrees, I usually put my foot against the knee of the straight leg. After 25 change legs. Don’t ask me why they’re called Chinese crunches, I have no idea)

                35 regular crunches

25 “double crunch” (aka dying cockroach. These are a normal crunch with legs tucked in towards chest, and then straighten legs to about 6 inches off the ground, hold for a second and then pull them in towards your chest again. This is 1 repetition.)

                Oblique crunches- 35 each side

                Plank with alternating leg raises (This sounds complicated but it’s really not. From a plank position, alternate raising each leg off the ground and holding it for 2-3 seconds. I do 10-15 each leg)

                Skull crushers (3 sets of 10 reps with a 20lb weight)

Chest press (3 sets of 10 reps with 2 10lb weights)

Tuesday

Tuesday morning I (again) had to be into work early so I didn’t get my morning workout in… And then I drank wine instead of going for a run Tuesday evening. (I know, I know. Bad Sarah.) BUT I did actually bake chicken with zucchini and butternut squash for dinner, which was also my lunch and dinner on Wednesday. So healthy and delicious! (And easy to make!) I also used the leftover chicken to make a wrap that I ate a restaurant once: spinach, feta cheese, cranberries, chicken and balsamic vinaigrette in a whole wheat wrap. The restaurant called it a Metropolitan. I call it amazing.

Wednesday

I made up for not running on Tuesday night by going for a 4 mile run with Ashley in the morning. And again was pleasantly surprised when I loved it. My Tuesday and Thursday night runs are called ‘fun runs’ but since my only thought is usually ‘must. Run. Faster.’ I haven’t usually the kind of fun that I had yesterday and last Tuesday. Although this desire to train harder and push myself was fine in the spring, for reasons I’ve discussed previously this has not worked out so well for me this summer. But yesterday I wasn’t wearing my watch, wasn’t wearing my ipod, and I felt no urge to push myself to vomit inducing speeds. Ashley and I just ran along at a comfortable pace, (I’d say between 9 and 9:30 minute miles) and chatted. And before I knew, the 4 miles were over. For my second workout last night I was planning to do Vinyasa Yoga, something a fellow fun runner Whitney has been trying to convince me to try for weeks. I’ve only done Yoga one other time, on a vacation to Hawaii in 2009 a morning beach session came free with a massage so I tried it. And admittedly did not like it very much. (Granted, I was pretty hung over and the session was at 6am.. But it just seemed like a lot of painful stretching and not much of an actual workout). But since I like Whitney, and she insists that Vinyasa Yoga is actually a pretty good workout, I decided to give it a try. The studio is not far from where I run, so I left at the same time I would on Tuesday or Thursday nights. However I didn’t count on the horrible traffic and lack of parking, so I drove around until 6:45 (the class was supposed to start at 6:30) when I finally gave up and headed home. The excursion wasn’t a total bust though because on the way home I stopped at blockbuster (I have Netflix but just the option to stream, not the DVD option) and picked up Something Borrowed, a movie I’ve been wanting to see since I read the book in June. Plus I heart John Krasinki. Seriously, I want to meet his doppelganger and marry him. But I digress. I’ll have to try Yoga next week, and remember to leave a little earlier so I can find a parking spot. (Where I run/where the studio located is all on-street parking, with a parking garage waaayyy at the end of the street. And the parking garage is expensive. On street parking is free after 7pm).

 

So to sum up my workouts this week, I think I’ve done ok so far. Even though I didn’t work out on Tuesday, and I didn’t get to do Yoga yesterday, I feel ok because I’ve been aware of what I’ve been eating, and I don’t feel uncomfortable in my clothes. (I don’t step on a scale very often, I just gauge my weight by how I feel in my clothes.) If they feel tight or I’m constantly adjusting/fixing my clothes, I know that I need to cut back on the sweets and up my workouts. Ditto for the kind of clothes I choose. If I start reaching for a certain pair of jeans, I know it’s because I’m not doing the right things for my body and I’m choosing clothes that are a little looser.  When I’m eating right and working out like I should be, I choose clothes that show off my body more. ‘Get your heart racing in my skin tight jeans be your teenage dream tonight..’ Just Kidding. Seriously though, I pay attention to my body and what it needs, and that’s worked to keep me healthy and in shape for the last 7 years. I would recommend that to anyone over dieting, keeping calorie journals and monitoring their weight obsessively. If you make being healthy a chore and concentrate on dieting, you’ll have trouble keeping the weight off because dieting is only a short term fix. Eventually you’ll get tired of deprivation and go back to your unhealthy habits. If you listen to your body, eat when you’re hungry, and focus on eating good things, you’ll feel better and be better able to get (and stay) healthy. But I’m no dietician or nutritionist. That’s just my humble opinion. 😉 Until next time!

Written by blusunshinesarah

August 18, 2011 at 4:05 pm

These are my confessions..

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Confession number 1: I have not been sticking to my usual 2-a-day workout regimen. I generally try to get 2 good workouts in at least 3 or 4 days out of the week. My typical week’s workout plan is my crossfit class in the morning, then either extra cardio or strength training on Monday and Wednesday afternoons (depending on what I feel I need more) or a on Tuesdays and Thursdays I run. But my unit is getting a new First Sergeant, so that has all changed. Under our former 1SG I was allowed to go to my class in the mornings instead of unit PT, but the new 1SG is enforcing mandatory PRT for the unit. PRT stands for “physical readiness training” and it’s the Army’s new solution to the problem of units only training to be able to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (2 mile run, 2 minutes of push ups and 2 minutes of sit ups). The problem was that while Soldiers would do well on the APFT, they were unready for the challenges of combat. (ie: scrambling up the side of a mountain wearing 150 pounds of gear). So the solution was PRT, which includes P90x-like strength training with plyometrics and core work. (And now I sound like a commercial for PRT). The downside to the training is that while some of the exercise drills are good, it doesn’t have the same intensity that a killer crossfit class has. Also everything is done ‘in cadence’. I was forced to do PRT for 6 months while living in Texas and feel like my fitness level decreased. That generally happens whenever I’m forced to do unit PT. Everytime that I have been allowed to do PT on my own my APFT score always increases and I enjoy working out. Which is why this week has been.. lazy? I think that’s the best word. Since I was forced to be at formation, but PRT hasn’t officially started yet, they let us go to the gym to work out. Which I have to say, has not been great. I like very regimented work outs, I like detailed workout plans with a set number of repetitions. Unfortunately, this week didnt really work out that way. I felt like I was ‘phoning in’ my work outs. (Like I was there, I did some exercises, but I left the gym not really feeling ‘worked out’) I had today off (thank you, Commanding General, for giving me a training holiday 🙂 ) and was planning to go for a run.. But then my ipod died 5 minutes in.. and so I went to the gym. And I realized that I need to sit down and make out a plan. If I can’t do crossfit, then I need to have a set plan so I don’t lose my current level of fitness. So here is my goal:

I will make a work out plan to target my core, chest, arms, and legs. I will do at least one QUALITY workout everyday. I will also begin to increase my weekly mileage now that the temperature seems to be dropping.

Confession number 2: I’ve eaten really REALLY badly the last week. Normally I try not to eat out too much because there are sooo many calories in restaurant food. (About the only exception is Subway, which happens to be my most favorite fast food restaurant.) I also like to know exactly what I’m eating. I feel like it’s not only healthier but so much better for your body to eat “clean”. Not that I don’t enjoy the occasional whopper from Burger King, I just feel better when I eat food with ingredients that I can pronounce. This week, however, I slipped. I generally bring soup or a sandwich and some yogurt for lunch, but this week my team lead (who gets cranky when I eat lunch anywhere but at my desk) was on vacation, so I took advantage of that and went to lunch with Ashley. Every. Single. Day. There were a couple of days that we ate healthy (salads from Noodles and Company or sushi from Matsui), but we also ate at Firehouse Subs and Chili’s, where I proceeded to eat the cheesiest, greasiest thing on the menu. While I enjoyed getting away from work for lunch and spending some time with Ashley, I always came back to work bloated and sleepy. So this week has been fun, but I’m actually looking forward to going back to eating my normal lunch of soup and yogurt.  In addition to eating out all week, last night I found myself reaching for the jar of peanut butter. While that sounds completely harmless, it’s something that I only get the urge to do when I’m stressed about something. I gained a few pounds before I went to WLC (warrior leader’s course) in Georgia in May, and I gained almost 10 pounds in the months before I deployed. I think I’m stressed out about money (I just found out that I won’t be getting paid basic allowance for housing as soon as I had hoped). Whatever it is I’m worried about, I need to take control of my cravings and remind myself that eating won’t help me feel better about my situation, and it definately isn’t going to solve any of my problems. (Actually, given that what I’m worried about right now is money, eating out all the time is going to my problems worse). While I’ve managed to lose the weight every time I’ve gained it, it would be better if I didn’t gain it to begin with. So here is my solution:

I will make a good, healthy lunch for work everyday. I will put down the peanut butter jar and address what I’m worried about rather than try to resolve my issues by eating my way through them. I will eat out less.

Alright, I’ve been sitting here for a few hours, I think it’s time that I take the puppies that I’m dogsitting for the weekend for a walk!

Written by blusunshinesarah

August 12, 2011 at 5:04 pm