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Vegan CrossFit Adventures

Posted Nov 09 2011 5:30pm

Last week I ventured into the box at BNI CrossFit for what was to be the hardest ass-whipping I’ve gotten in quite some time.  After 60 minutes of sweat and near tears, I got in my car and sat there for a good 10 minutes while the pain sank in.  I tossed and turned all night as every muscle in my body ached.  I woke up and had to lower myself with the bathroom counter to sit and pee.  I dragged myself to the gym determined to keep up with my regular training in the days that followed .  During my run, every muscle in my legs screamed a big F-you.  Yogalates (I thought it was just a regular yoga, mind you) – That might help stretch me out.  Not.  It left my abs sore and my arms trembling.  Spinning?  Yeah, that hurt too.  Cycling?  Again throbbing legs!  Walking?  Pain.  Breathing.  That hurt too.  Wearing clothes?  I became a nudist.  I was that sore.  

My friend Jenny has raved about CrossFit for months now, and I’ve seen her grow incredibly strong in that time.  Not only that, but she credits CrossFit for  great improvement in her running game.  If that isn’t enough, she even thinks this torture is fun. 

So after months of saying, “I gotta try this CrossFit thing,”  I finally bit the bullet. 

Here is what went down on Day 1 of this adventure.


Lateral Side Push-Ups:  We did lateral side pushups from wall to wall (maybe 30 or 40?). That’s a push up – going to stomach on the ground- and then moving over one arm/leg to get across the floor.   My arms were on fire!  Since my description is so awesome, here is a video. 

Junk Yard Dogs: Next we partnered up and did JYD. You jump with knees to chest over your partner’s arms.  What?  You have no clue what I’m talking about?  Here’s a video. 

The jumps were hard. I don’t think I’ve jumped like that since I was 10.  My partner, who was also a newb, kept saying, “I feel so heavy,”  and she was a little thang.

After warm-up, I worked on push press lifting form, while the others did split jerks. Mike, the trainer at BNI CrossFit , helped me proper form using a PVC pipe.  I then used a bar and weights to practice.  This is definitely going to be a humbling journey.  Just holding the bar in a resting position was hard. 

We then did 3-3-3 which were an exercise to practice jumping form. Who thought jumping was so hard? Well, it was!

Work-out of the Day (WOD)
Next was time for the WOD . This high intensity workout changes daily, hence the name, and the diversity is why many people really like CrossFit.   There was an “A” advanced side and a “B” beginners side.  I wasn’t trying to fool anyone, so I stuck with the “B.”  It looks like I’ll be hanging out there for awhile.

10 burpees over ab mat ( push up then jump with knees to chest over a mat)
5 push press (I did 35 lbs but recommended was 55lbs)
10 back squats (35lbs but recommended was 55lbs)
20 wall balls (squat, then throw medicine ball up HIGH – 8lbs)
300m run
4x through

The Aftermath
It doesn’t seem like much on paper, but this workout was intense. Two days and 6 Tylenol later, I’m finally back to normal.  Well, almost. 

As my legs were on fire from the wall balls ->300 meter runs, I was thinking about transitions in triathlons.   Or that point during a 5k when you’re looking up at a big hill (or bridge in my case), and you are really questing if you can move any more (and also why you signed up for a 5k that goes there and back over a bridge).  I felt like these drills, over time, would condition my muscles to quickly react to change. These thoughts felt profound at the time.  Let’s roll with it. 

So this little adventure is all worth a shot.  In the past year while recovering from an injury , I’ve really wavered about training for anything.  I am taking this opportunity to try something new and get reinvigorated with exercise.  Plus, let’s face it.  I would love to be ripped and see improvement in my overall fitness, especially in swimming, biking, and running. 

The only thing that could stop me would be a flare up of my injury .  I hope it doesn’t, but one week after my first session all the soreness has gone away except I’m left with a tight left IT band.  I’ve foamed rolled and been hitting yoga good, but if the tightness triggers back/leg pain, I’d have to stop this experiment.  I have to be really careful that I keep my legs stretched out to avoid a repeat of last year. 

So why am I making such a big deal about this? 
In my research, CrossFitters are meat-eaters who follow the Paleo diet .  I am a vegan who hasn’t eaten meat in 7 years.  I know nothing of the Paleo diet except they don’t believe in a vegan diet.  So, I thought this would be a great experiment to hopefully debunk some myths about this lifestyle. 

In the coming days, if I grow some balls, I might post some before photos, take some measurements, and post about my current fitness level…. and then we shall see where this adventure takes me. 

What I’m Committing To…
Along with running, cycling, and swimming, I hope to get in CrossFit 2x per week. 

Things will something like this on the weeks where I’m not traveling for work.

Sunday – 15 to 20 mile road ride
Monday – CrossFit
Tuesday – AM: Run – Intervals / PM: Master’s Swim Practice
Wednesday – Yoga / PM: CrossFit
Thursday – AM: Warm-up Run & Spin Class / PM: Master’s Swim Practice
Friday – REST or Active Recovery Yoga
Saturday – 2 hour Master’s Swim Practice

Let the vegan CrossFit adventure begin!

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