Sing along with me now, to the tune of the Bangles Manic Monday. “It’s just another ball slam Monday.” Ball slams are still my favorite exercise in the gym.

WOD for Monday 010912
Front Squat
3-3-3-3-3

–Rest–
7 Rounds For Time:
7 Ball Slams
7 Burpees

The last time I did front squats was the first week of October. I did a 1RM of 205.  With such a gap between workouts, I really had no clue what to expect. I went in today thinking that if I could get a 3 rep set of 205 today, that would be something to be proud of.

The gym was busy this morning. Jack directed us to pair up. Drew was gracious enough to agree to work with me. We  talked over our goals and somehow settled on a target of 225! Hey, dream big, right?

The warm up set of 95 went well. First two sets of 135 and 165 were both solid. Jack observed one of those sets and reminded me to get back on my heels. Drew and I were working very fast today which we discussed after this set. Jack had been very clear that the METCON would be brief and that we had 30 or more minutes for the squats. Regardless, Drew and I were through the third set in 10 or so minutes. We agreed to slow down for the last two sets.

The middle set of 185 was TOUGH. We agreed after that set that 225 was overly ambitious. We went after 205 for the 4th set.  Drew nailed it. I did not. I got two good lifts on this set, but could not stand up the third. It was close. I was more than halfway back up but I could not find the strength and stability to stand it all the way up. I rested a bit and went after it one more time. That wasn’t happening.

Before starting I’d told myself to “be fast.” I’d felt like maybe I’d spent too much time between reps on the previous set. I also wanted to try and be explosive coming up out of the reps. Unfortunately, I went down too fast which left me too far past parallel. I was squatting so deeply my haunches and calves were touching. I couldn’t fight my way out of it. No reps that round. Since we had time, I decided to end with a hit. After a rest, I went back to 185 and did a complete set of three. Wasn’t pretty, but they all counted.

The METCON was AWESOME!!! What can I say? There were ball slams, I was happy. Part of the reason I enjoy them is because other than sledge hammer work, it’s the only exercise I can think of where if you’re doing it properly, you get to abuse the equipment with total abandon! Paulie SMASH!

I used a 25# ball. All sets were unbroken. I caught the ball cleanly on the first bounce every rep. The seventh set I really let things fly.

Burpees were a touch different today. Dave specified that on each rep we should be getting at least 6″ of leap over the highest point you can reach standing. For me, that meant using a mid-height chin up bar on the rack as my target. I had mixed feelings about those. Having the tangible target/height requirement is a good thing for me to prevent me from cheating myself on any reps. I did find myself feeling self-conscious about the possibility of jamming my fingers into the bar while jumping up. So I was very careful to stay back from the bar half a step and touch the bar as I came down out of my jump. There ended up being one or two reps where I was 95% sure I jumped high enough, but I didn’t touch the bar, so I no repped myself and repeated those. My burpees actually felt faster and seemed like they had better form in the last two sets. I guess I figured I was almost home and just took some inspiration in that. Final time for the METCON a respectable 7:07.

Couple of other general thoughts/notes:

1) I’m not going to enroll in the Look Better Naked competition. I’m just not inclined to pay the $50 buy in for a competition where I’ll never embrace the rules 100%. If I’m not going to maximize my effort, then I’m critically handicapping myself. No point in registering. However, I am going to use the guidelines/rules and modify and apply some of them to improve my diet for the same 9 week period and track the results.

My personal primary goals are 1) to ensure that for the duration of the challenge milk and water are the only fluids I consume to hydrate. No coffee, no soda, no alcohol; 2) Eat far more veg! I’ve gotten way too lax here in the past weeks; 3) Restrict but not eliminate carbs that come in the form of breads, cereals, rice, pasta.

2) Body Measurements: Erin taped me again this morning. My belly taped at 43″. That’s down one full inch from October and 4.5 inches since starting Crossfit in May. I’m very jacked up about that. I still have a few inches that I’d like to carve off, but that’s a very encouraging indicator to me. When I started crossfit last May I weighed 246. Within 8 weeks, I’d shed 11 pounds and since late July my weight has ranged as low as 233 and as high as 238. I consider 2-3 lbs on either side of 235 to be fairly stable. As such, I wasn’t seeing much progress there. But carving that additional circumference off my middle has been a huge motivator to keep working.

My other body measurements have changed but not to the same degree and I admit I don’t have the same focus on them. The belly is kind of my hot spot right now. Everyone has that one body part that they wish could be different, right? My stomach is mine. Fortunately, it’s the one that I have the most control over modifying. I find myself wondering now if I should start getting my body measurements, body fat, etc done professionally.

Again, I have mixed feelings. Erin and I both agree that since neither of us understands the standards for body taping, our measurements probably have a high degree of variance effecting their accuracy/validity. The thing about getting the measurements done professionally is I question my own commitment at this stage and whether that information would really motivate me to work harder both in the gym and at the table. Or would it simply be data to feed my curiosity and vanity? Would I really do anything constructive with the information to make it worth the investment? It feels like paying for the measurements etc may cross over that personal border of mine about balance. I’m not a professional athlete. Do I really need to know my body fat composition? I mean, is it enough to know in my heart that I’m fitter, stronger, faster, healthier than I’ve been since college? Or do I need more to go to the next level? I just don’t have the answer to that yet. Or maybe more accurately, I haven’t answered for myself, “how bad do I want it?” I need to mull that over.

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