Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is Crossfit helping my brain?

I read (yesterday, from Tuesday's paper) this article "In Women, Training for a Sharper Mind," and it raised some interesting questions for me.
To whit: Does strength training change the brain somehow? OR, and this is my main question, OR is there something about strength training that changes the way we think?
For example, after doing some crazy hard workout like, let's say, Barbara,* I think, "Holy shit! How did I do that?" Then, later, after I have consumed a lot of water and protein, I think, "Wow! I did that." Then, even later, when confronted by some arduous task, I think, "Well, that might be a little hard. Sort of hard. But it's not as hard as Barbara!" And so then I do that task, which does not involve lifting weights, or doing pull ups, and I finish it.
I think, maybe, the study discussed above did involve some brain measuring, but all I can say is that, from personal, non-scientific experience, I would say, Yes. Crossfit helps my brain.

* FYI: Barbara is 20 pullups, 30 pushups, 40 sit ups, 50 squats. That doesn't sound too bad? Right. Oh wait, 5 rounds. Yeah. It took me 53 minutes. Ha!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

How To Party: The Crossfit Version

Having attended my first "real" Crossfit party, I now have a greater understanding of how to approach this beast, which is part entertainment, part athletic event. Here are some guidelines for those of you who may not have had the pleasure yet. This will help you know what to expect.

  1. Wear loose fitting pants, NOT because you are going to eat a lot, but because, at some point, someone will start doing a Crossfit exercise, pistols or burpees, and you will be called on to demonstrate what you do best, whether it be splits or handstand pushups or side crow,. Be prepared.
  2. Study up on military heroes, generals of past wars and obscure celebrities. Why? Because you may be called upon to describe this person in one or more words or to act out this person in a game of charades and this requires that you know who the person is when you read their name on a piece of paper. Just be sure you know which branch of the military is most popular among your Crossfit friends and study that branch. Also, sports heroes who are in the news for sleeping around appear prominently.
  3. Try to understand the nuances of all the different diets your friends are on. There's the paleo, the green face, the Zone, and variations of each wherein people eat no grains or some grains or no dairy or some dairy or no chocolate or some chocolate. Or just say fuck it and bring a big bag of Doritos and some beer (FYI: Doritos and beer are not paelo or zone or warrior).
  4. Bring your drinkin' stomach. You know that one person who kicks your ass every day at the gym? He/she can also drink you under the fucking table. Believe you me.
  5. After you have consumed more alcoholic beverages in more categories than you thought possible, be prepared for the feats of strength. These can include, but are not limited to: indian leg wrestling, burpees, push ups, handstand push ups and various body contortions that may or may not be based on yoga. The alcohol you consumed will help you relax into whatever uncomfortable positions you may find yourself in after getting beat down by your opponents.
  6. For every alcoholic beverage, drink two glasses of water. This may apply to all parties, but is especially important in this case, because no matter how much you drank, everyone will expect to see you at the gym, bright and early.
  7. Take some fish oil before you go to sleep. This applies to all nights, not just the one of the party. But after the party it might help you forget the injuries you sustained in the feats of strength.
  8. The next day, photos of you will appear. So just be sure that when you take off your shirt to display your guns, you know where all the cameras are.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

December: Not long enough ago to be nostalgic about

December, generally, is all about Christmas and my birthday. I don't have any pictures of Christmas. Perhaps they are still on the camera. You get my point. It just happened. Why review it?
Nonetheless, I had a picture of our rollerskating follies and I think the point of those pictures, though I did not take them myself, was: Look at my ass. Because, my friends, there is both less of it and more than before. I think one of my resolutions, though perhaps not stated to anyone but Middlebrow, was that I wanted to have a nicer ass. And, lo and behold, I think I do. It may seem vain to say that, not only did I want to be stronger, but I wanted it to look better. Am I vain? Very well then, I am vain.
What are my vanity goals for 2010? To be in better shape than in 2009. I can't help but succeed.

2009: October/November

One good thing about Thanksgiving weekend: friends come to town. Here are the Crossfit NRG girls with Natalie from CO.
This is what Thanksgiving is all about: Son ready to fill his gullet with turkey. Let's eat!
Rowathon. I had this crazy idea that I would row 100,000 miles. I rowed like 45,000. But hey, we had fun this day. Big fun.
The only pic I got at the pie party, which was before it started. Pie galore!! Jane and I in front of Tom Aaron's painting, that I got to "foster" but not keep, because I couldn't afford it. Sigh.
Halloween. Son is Shaggy. And apparently can't hold still for a photo.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2009: Fall. Ish.

Ross got a new bed at IKEA.
Went to Moab with the most awesomest ladies ever.
Did the Fight Gone Bad Fundraiser. Good Times!
Went fishing with my Dad and Son.
Hung out at a cabin next to a stream.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2009: Summer

Here's a picture from one of the highlights of June: The Wasatch Back. This is my colleague, the lovely and amazing Marianne, who runs faster than she has a right to.

This is the summer in reverse order, but whatever. This one is from August when we went to Arizona. Here we are with Nik.The other reason we went to AZ was to visit family and stay in Sedona. Gorgeous!
Remember this project: folly! Here I am digging and cursing.
My handsome boys at MB's best friend's wedding. Fun trip to CA.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I Interrupt Reflection on 2009 for a 2010 Update

So, over there on FB I mentioned the Crossfit Fitness Elevated Challenge that I participated in. Let me herein describe the insanity.
8:30 am Check-in
9:00 begin waiting.....
10:20 I do Workout #1: 500 m row + 440 m run = 3:51 I wasn't the first one off the rower, but I passed a few women on the run and finished 3rd in my heat. After this workout, I was 8th overall and first among the Masters Women (over 40).
10:40 more waiting...which involved drinking water, peeing, talking, checking standings, etc.
11:something... men's heats for Workout #2 begin
12:10 ish I do Workout #2: 90 seconds work/30 seconds rest for the following four exercises clean and jerk (75#) + ring pushups + front squats (75#) + burpees = 66 I was disappointed, but apparently I was doing ring pushups incorrectly, so they took some of mine away (half to be exact) and so I fell, dramatically, in the standings. This bummed me out. Okay, it was totally demoralizing.
12:30 more waiting...during which I tried to eat and felt like I would throw up. I drank coconut water and a protein shake and had an orange and some almonds.
more waiting...
1 something: new heats are announced, with top people going against each other, women going first
1:25 First womens heat of Workout #3: My friend is in this heat and I see just how difficult workout three will be. They cut people off after 18 minutes.
1:45 or so: I do workout number 3: run 440m + 10 deadlifts (135) + 20 24" box jumps + 30 kettlebell swings (16K) + 40 wall balls (14 lbs/ 9 feet)+ 50 m weighted walking lunges (25# plate) + 400 m run = 14:43.
I was pretty happy with my performance in this workout, though the 50 m weighted walking lunges were the hardest thing ever. And then having to run after? Forget it!
Overall, I finished 14th out of 25 women and 2nd out of the 4 Masters women.
I am glad I did it, not sure I'll ever do anything like that again.
I'm pretty sure I'm still operating under a calorie deficit.
After the women finished, the men finished, and the award ceremony was held just before 5.
We went out to dinner and I got home around 8, having been gone from my house since 8. Son didn't seem to notice. I could barely hold my head up, but did take a shower and talk to MB for awhile. Then I fell into a deep, deep sleep. I slept for 11 hours.
I'm still hungry.