Last Saturday, Audrey and I were discussing her running prep for the Fall 1/2 and at one point in the discussion the topic of our current training format came up. It started with, "I hated this stuff when we first started." From there she was off on a 5 min rant. When she was done I told her to put what she said in few paragraphs for a blog piece as it's important for both current and future clients. Here it is.
About 3 years ago we transitioned from old school body building style lifting to the current Cross Fit based training system. I wasn’t happy about it, in fact I hated it, I mean really hated it. It was everything I couldn’t do.
I am not a coordinated person and suddenly I was asked to perform these moves that required core strength and stability, speed, eye/hand coordination, mobility, use of my whole body, balance and mental discipline. I no longer just stood there and moved a weight up and down or back and forth. The focus wasn’t just one body part, it was everything at once and if I didn’t do something right especially with a kettlebell, it hurt.
Functional high intensity power training took me out of my comfort zone and what I knew. Now I had to actually think about what I was doing. Gone were the days when I could come in, sit on the lat pull down machine and feel good about just doing a set or moving more weight.
I struggled from day one and I would leave many times feeling like a failure because I couldn’t get my head wrapped around a movement or I ended up on my butt trying to clean the bar. Words like clean and jerk were foreign, and how many different foot and hand positions are there anyway? I couldn’t do a headstand, I would fall over trying to get my 2nd leg rested on my elbow because I was inflexible. I couldn’t get a foot off the ground trying the climb the rope because I was fat and uncoordinated. I couldn’t grasp the concept of how my feet were supposed to wrap around the bottom of the rope or how I could use my legs to climb. Worst of all, I was constantly being reminded about correct form and technique. Gone were the days of, “give me 10 reps” and that was it, nothing else to consider, didn’t matter how I did it, just get it done.
Despite all of this, I believed in my trainer and the new system. I was told this would get me in the best shape of my life, so I kept working on what I couldn’t do until I could do it.
No accomplishment was too small because each accomplishment is a stepping stone toward continued improvement. Now I can easily climb the rope while wearing a weight vest and I can do handstand pushups. I know the proper grip and stance for bar cleans, and I understand the difference between a push press and a jerk. I am elated that I can finally do things I once thought were impossible. It took me 3 years to get to this point.
Now, I can’t imagine going back to the way we used to lift, I’d be bored out of my mind performing brainless exercises. For as many struggles as I had in the beginning and still face, the progress and the results keep me moving forward. My flexibility is far better than it’s been in years. I carry more lean muscle than I ever have in my life, and my overall energy and endurance is greatly improved.
I’ve lost almost 50 lbs of fat since Feb 2012, ran the Cap City ½ marathon on May 4th, 2013 in 2:09 min, about 20 minutes faster than the COL ½ in October 2012, total miles of run training for the event, 6 miles, yes just 6 miles. One short run the weekend before. I ran faster than others I know who followed traditional running programs. I can row 500 m on the C2 Rower in 1:37, push a 200 lb plate stack up and down a 60’ isle in less than 22 seconds, and I bench 135 lbs for 12 reps. I can do handstands with my 12-year-old’s cheerleading troop while other parents just sit and stare.
I am far better off physically and mentally because of my training, yet far from where I want to be. There is always a move I struggle to get or something new that requires multiple attempts to execute reasonably well.
This hasn’t been at all easy. I am not genetically gifted nor am I athletic by nature. I work full time, live a distance from the gym and have a family and real life. Just getting to the session 3 days a week is a task in itself. I added in two days a week of run training, one interval and one longer run consistently since June 2013. In October of 2013 I ran the COL 1/2 marathon in 1:52:46. Regardless of the outcomes going forward, I continue to enjoy the journey.