Friday, April 26, 2013

Mobility...

So for those who know me, I love mobility and stretching. It is part of my daily routine. I'll mobilize or stretch before and after my training. I believe it is a very important part to one's training.

Each person is different and this goes the same with his or her body. Some people may have to spend more time stretching their shoulders, others may have to work on their hips or hamstrings. Not every body is created the same. Nonetheless, some time should be dedicated to taking care of your body.

I see a lot of people say, I live a healthy lifestyle, I workout, I eat clean. Ok, cool, sounds good; how's your mobility, how's your flexibility or range of motion? Oh well, I have tight hips, I can't squat below parallel. Oh, ok. Well, let's work on that.

So this is just one example, but what I want to point out is that a lot of people put a good amount of energy and attention to lifting, working on skills and eating clean, which is great, but what about your flexibility? Do you just finish the met con, say good bye to your coach, friends and head out the door still sweating? I can tell you that I have seen more than a handful of people do this at the gym. It makes me laugh because I see it almost every day. I understand that life is busy and there are numerous things to get done in a day, but if you don't start to make time for it, then things with your body will start to drastically change.

You may not notice it at first, but over time, your range of motion in your hips, back, or whatever is ailing you will decrease. The tightness in certain body parts will increase. Think about the time you sit at your desk, how long have you been sitting there, 4 hours, all day? Have you taken a break to stretch your legs, even if it's for two minutes? How do your hips feel? Do you feel hunched over with your shoulders rounding forward?

I used to work as a Marketing Coordinator and I would sit at my desk, answering emails and phone calls, and stare at the computer. After a couple hours my back and hips would ache and I would switch to kneeling on my knees so I could give my hips a break. So I know what it feels like, it is not comfortable.

To all my friends and family out there, please move from time to time! If you travel a lot, get out of the car or out of your seat and move around. Our bodies are designed to move! For those that are working out, whether it be CrossFit or any other sport, do some mobility and stretching. Pre workout can have some mobility and dynamic stretching; post workout can have more mobility and more static stretching. If your hips are tight, do something to help increase your flexibility. Same thing goes for your shoulders.

A great example would be Alex. I have encouraged him to stretch and use a lacrosse ball to increase his mobility in his shoulders and it has helped. His range of motion has increased, but he has had to put some solid work in to get there. He will do some pre and post workout mobility and with the consistency, he has improved his range of motion. Before we met, he did very little to none stretching. He has put a lot of effort into doing these stretches and I'm very proud of him!!

To all my friends, family, members at the gym and everyone, get up and stretch. Move your body and be thankful for all that you have. Be thankful for your body and make the most of it!

~ MCA

Friday, April 19, 2013

Day in and day out...

Wow, it's been a long time since I've blogged. I have wanted to write for some time now but the past two to three weeks have been pretty busy.

Since the open has finished, Alex has increased a little bit of my training, but it's been a great thing. We are working hard and grinding it out. The open was a good experience; a variety of workouts to test your level of fitness.

The open was never our main focus; regionals has been our focus, but it's hard sometimes when you want to do well and see how you have improved from the year before. Last year I placed 49th in the region. It was a little scary near the end of the open last year; my performance in the last two workouts dropped me, to the point where I was nervous that I was not going to make regionals. It was a little stressful but I gave it my best and finished where I finished.

This year, we gave it our best again. Alex and I prepped and had worked really hard to be ready for the open. There was a little bit of a repeat from last year; the 150 wall balls, 90 double unders and 30 muscle ups in 12 minutes. This was a huge test for me because in 2012 I was not able to get any muscle ups; this year I was able to complete 12 muscle ups.

At first it was mixed emotions, Alex had programmed this workout a few months prior and I had finished with 13 muscle ups. Our goal was to complete 15 reps. So at first I was a little bummed since I was shy of my goal, but at the same time I was excited and happy that I completed 12 more than last year. Definitely an improvement. I try to always look at the positive and see the best out of everything. I am always pushing myself and wanting to improve and get better. At the same time, people and myself included, should reflect back and give themselves the recognition they deserve when a huge accomplishment is achieved.

So I gave myself a pat on the back for the work that I did and focused my energy moving forward. The final workout was tough as well, thrusters and chest to bar pull ups. My gymnastics is something that is a work-in-progress. Alex has done an amazing job of programming to improve my gymnastic skills and it has helped immensely, as proven by that fourth open workout. We are constantly working on it but I have made a lot of gains this year.

Which brings me to my thoughts that I have had these past few weeks. It has been a year of growth for me in so many ways. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. After regionals last year, Alex and I talked about goals and what needs to be worked on to improve. We sat down, discussed it and set up a plan.

I would go to the gym, look at my training for the day, write it in my little book and get started. I like having a plan and a program to follow; it gives me structure and a routine to follow. Some days would change depending on how my body would feel or how much I slept, etc. If things were altered that needed to be, it worked but having an overall plan was key. I would set up my stuff, warm up, mobilize, do my thing.

It's usually just me when I train. When Alex is off of work, we train together and some times do the same lift or workout, or completely different things. There have been a few times where I've had some friends join me, Erica and Gordon, and take part in Mangofit. Remember that fun, long interval workout? Lol.

When I look back to my years of working out, I would go to the gym by myself. I would run by myself. If I was doing a group sport; volleyball in high school or Outrigger Canoe Paddling in college, I would be with the group because we would be training together. I am comfortable working out by myself, I really enjoy it. A couple of weeks ago, Alex made an analogy between studying for exams and working out. Some people do better studying for an exam in a group setting and some do better studying by themselves. I kind of laughed to myself because I would study by myself for exams; I would go the library or a coffee shop and make note cards to study for my exams.

It was the best way for me to focus. Tests were hard for me and I really had to study the material to make sure that I remembered it all. As I write these sentences, it makes me think of my gymnastic skills in CrossFit. It's been one of the hardest aspects for me to 'study' or learn. I have watched other athletes just nail these movements down, rep after rep like it's no big deal. In order to become more proficient at these movements, I have had to focus a lot of my training on them. There has been a lot of accessory done this past year to get stronger and more fluid so I can improve.

I would go into the gym, day in and day out, practicing certain lifts, breaking down certain movements so that I could perform them correctly. Some times friends would come over and ask, what are you doing? Why do you do that? So I would explain what I was doing. Some would say, that's kind of cool, never thought of that. If it was a movement that they were trying to work on as well, they would say, maybe I'll try that too.

When I think back to these moments, it makes me smile because I like to help others and encourage people to reach their goals. I hope that my friends, acquaintances, members from the gym always feel like they can approach me to ask a question or two.  Or if you want to chat with me and see how things are going, I hope you know that I love to catch up.

I love this sport and I love to work hard. I put my all into everything that I do and grind hard.  I appreciate all of those who have supported me, who have let me do my thing in the gym. It may be different but it has worked for me and can't say thank you enough for those who have believed in me. This is just the beginning. I am enjoying this journey and looking forward to all that is ahead. Staying positive and keeping positive people in my life. A special thank you to everyone who cheers me on and pushes me! Hearing your words of support and love means so much.

~ MCA