Why Another Fitness Blog?

Why Another Fitness Blog?

"Nothing is certain but the body." -- W.H. Auden, "In Times of War" (1938)

"Mind and body: if one is not the best that it can be, then the other is not the best that it can be." -- Me, on Facebook

The purpose of this blog is to publicly document--and thereby hold myself personally accountable for--a process of personal transformation in body and mind. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of other blogs very similar to this one, at least in purpose. (See the blog list below for some examples.) These blogs are the records of ordinary people making ordinary, everyday efforts to touch the extraordinary--to realize their full (epi)genetic potential in body and mind. I'm not going to make any exceptions for myself here: there's nothing special about this record that distinguishes it from any other in the health-and-fitness blogosphere. It is just one more drop in the ocean, one more cog in the machine, one more contribution to the growing movement.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -- Confucius (and all that jazz... I don't want to bore anyone with tiresome, cliched quotes. :) )

Now for some not so tiresome and cliched quotes:

"Those who see any difference in soul and body have neither." -- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), "Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young"

"Greek dress was in its essence inartistic. Nothing should reveal the body but the body." -- Oscar Wilde,

"[S]trength means way more than the ability to generate force against a resistance. It has always meant capability. It has always been the means by which people accomplished things that required them to interact with their environment. Its acquisition has always improved the acquirer in more ways than intended." -- Mark Rippetoe,
Strong Enough?: Thoughts from Thirty Years of Barbell Training

Along with a record of and reflections upon my daily physical activity and mind-body changes over time, this blog also includes occasional essays on related topics of interest, such as physical culture in Victorian and modern Britain and in the U.S. today, physical culture in literature (especially of the periods and nationalities I study), so-called "Evolutionary Fitness," Primal/Paleo dieting, epigenetics, minimalist life-management or life-hacking, and anything else that comes to mind. Many more resources on these topics by bona fide experts with decades of hands-on experience can be found in the embedded links and the blog list below; this blog is my humble effort to synethize information from these sources, apply it to my own life, and track the results. Someday it will all come together and make sense. I promise.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Change of the Guard

I've switched from CrossFit to marathon training, and all my training so far is posted on the CrossFit Brand X website. I plan to run the Santa Barbara International Marathon on November 10, 2012 and a lot of smaller races along the way.

Monday, June 13, 2011

CrossFit Brand X Workout Log

These are my previous and ongoing CrossFit Brand X scaled workouts from November 2010 and late May of this year up to the present. At some point, I intend to gather stats about my progress across all the exercises as they are recycled in various WODS (workouts of the day). I'll track that progress, along with my progress in other physiological parameters like weight, bodyfat percentage, BMI, etc., in a sidebar.

You can find out more about CrossFit here: http://www.crossfit.com/.

You can find out more about the CrossFit Brand X scaled workouts here: http://www.crossfitbrandx.com/index.php/forums/.

June 11, 2011:
Played about 1 hour of volleyball.

June 9, 2011:
CF Kids WOD:
“Kaid,” Big Dawgs:
5 rounds:
200 m sprint (approx. 0.13 mi.): 7.0 mi./hr. (8:34 mile pace, 47 sec. to build up); 7.5 mi./hr. (20 sec. to build up); 7.2 mi./hr. (22 sec. to build up); 7.0 (45 sec., 20 sec. short); 7.0 (30 sec. to build up). Note: once I got up to a sprint-like speed, I continued at that pace for the amount of time it took me to get there; so, for the 4th round I note that I stopped 20 seconds short of the total time it took me to get up to that pace (45 seconds).
5 skin-the-cats—I couldn’t bring myself to do these; they looked too silly.  red face
10 pullups on gravitron: 85 lbs. of assistance for each round
20 squats: untimed, just concentrated on form

June 6, 2011:
WOD originally for June 3, 2011:
For time:
30 assisted pullups on gravitron machine: 30 w/ 100 lbs. of assistance; too easy, so then did 8 w/ 85 lbs. of assistance
30 10-lb. dumbbell swings (subbed for kettlebell swings)
50 single-unders (subbed for double-unders)
30 air squats (subbed for 30-50 reps of PVC-to-25-lb. overhead squats)
Total time: about 11 minutes.

June 5, 2011:
WOD originally for May 2, 2011:
“Jeremy,” (sub-)Buttercups:
3 rounds of 21-15-9 reps of:
air squats (sub for PVC-to-15-lb. squats)
pushups on knees (sub for burpees)
Took me over 30 min., about 35.

June 2, 2011:
WOD originally for May 11th:
3 rounds, followed by time of each:
Run 400 m: 8:57, 8:57, 9:05 per mile pace
10 assisted pullups (85 lbs. assistance): 38 sec., 42 sec., could not do third round because weightroom was closed!
10 pushups on knees: 18 sec., 19 sec., 18 sec.

June 1, 2011:
WOD originally for Thursday, May 19th:
Assisted pull-ups on the gravitron: 2-2-2-2-2-2-2 reps (w/ palms facing away), substituted for weighted pull-ups.
Lbs. of assistance: 85-85-85-70-70/85-85-85

May 31, 2011:
WOD originally for Saturday, May 21st:
Run 1 mile (11:43)

May 29, 2011:
Workout originally for Friday, May 20th: Wilmot R.I.P.:
4 rounds for time of:
30 squats
15 bench dips
(Again, didn’t record time, just focussed on form, especially for the squats. Had to stop to take breaks within sets!  shut eye )

May 28, 2011:
Friday’s workout:
Ran 1000 meters
Rowed 1000 meters
Did 30 pushups on knees
(Didn’t record time.)

November 29, 2010:
For today, running intervals at “Puppies” level:
-Run 800 m (0.5 mi., 2 laps): about 5:00 min.
-Rest 3 min.
-Run 400 m (0.25 mi., 1 lap)
-Rest 2 min.
-Run 200 m (0.125 mi., 1/2 lap)
-Rest 1 min.
-Run 100 m (0.0625 mi., 1/4 lap)
It took me about 15 min. to run the 800- to 200-m intervals, but I forgot about the last interval until I was home from the track!  shut eye

November 20, 2010:
I got lazy/busy with non-CF stuff for a few days ( shut eye ), but also strained my back and abs with, I think, the box jumps. Then:
Puppies of: 5 rounds for time of:
-5 HSPU progressions
-25-45 lb. deadlift, 10 reps.
-10 beginner or (machine) assisted pull-ups
-20 single-unders
This took me about 30 min. again, rounding up: I had to walk outside to do the single-unders since jumping rope isn’t allowed inside the gym, so that cost time. When I did the deadlifts my lower back still hurt, but I could also feel the lift in my hams and calves, so hopefully I’m getting better. I still can’t touch my head on the floor when I do HSPU progressions, though.

November 15, 2010:
“Blake,” Puppies: 3 rounds for time of:
-100-ft. walking lunge
-30 box jumps, 12-15”
-20 wallball shots with 6-8 lb. ball
-10 HSPU progressions
This took me 30 min.: I broke up the box jumps into 3 sets of 10 and substituted “push-aways” for wallball shots (for these, I got into a push-up position against the wall with toes 1’ or more away, touched my nose to the wall and then pushed away); took 45 sec.-2 min. breaks between lunges and jumps.

November 14, 2010:
Yesterday I did:
As many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of:
—400 m run
—5 deadlifts
Almost completed 2 1/2 sets: 2 deadlift sets (bar with 10-lb. plates equals 20 plus lbs.)—back hurt while doing these, so should practice d.l. technique next skills day; plus 7 laps out of 9.3 on third set; no rest btwn. exercises except time it took to walk to and from wgt.  room to running start point.

November 11, 2010:
Rest day: cycled around my neighborhood for about an hour today in place of a WOD.

November 10, 2010:
Max rounds & reps in 8 min. of:
—4 HSPU progressions
—10-24 lb. kettlebell swings, 8 reps.
—12 situps
4 rounds in 8 min.; had to use a 10-lb. dumbbell instead of a kettlebell because the kettlebells are only for personal training classes (!); weighed feet down with 25-lb. barbells for the situps, which I did with arms extended; still unable to touch the top of my head on the floor when doing HSPU progressions.

November 9, 2010:
Just completed first WOD ever. Whoopee.
Originally the WOD for 10/18/10, “Bulger”:
Five rounds of:
Run 150 m
7 pull-ups (assisted, machine)
25-45 lb. front squat—> substituted air squats, 7 reps.
7 handstand pushups—> substituted progressions

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Life in Diet & Exercise: Introduction

My name is Cheryl; I’m 25 years old and I’m working on a Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I’m originally from the East Coast--I grew up and went to grade school in Fallston, Maryland, a small suburb outside the Baltimore-Washington area, and then went to college at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Currently, I’m a grad student and teaching assistant at UCSB.

I have never had any natural athletic prowess, but I’ve enjoyed bike riding and taking long walks throughout my life. In middle school, I played recreational soccer; in college and during my first quarter of graduate school, I was on the rowing team. Three years ago I decided to get serious about running in order to train for rowing and then, after quitting rowing, decided to make it my primary form of exercise. I managed to get up to an advanced beginner/intermediate level until studying for a masters exam threw a wrench in my regimen and knocked me back to the beginner level. I’ve been trying to build back up to that advanced beginner/intermediate level since mid-July of last year.

I first heard about CrossFit through my sister, who had been doing scaled-down WODs every day after work with a co-worker. At the time, I was trying to get myself motivated to start running again and was reading everything I could find about it. She suggested that CrossFit would be more beneficial than running because it emphasizes total body fitness instead of “specialization.” So that got me thinking… Then, about a month ago, I was reminded about CrossFit in a post by a Facebook friend who is also an avid runner. That made me think it might be possible to develop total body fitness with CrossFit while still focusing on running. So ever since, I’ve been reading the CrossFit website, watching exercise demos, searching the message board, and, of course, taking a step over to eavesdrop on the folks in the Brand X community.