January and February

My ability to get quality sleep on the nights when I have to get up early — Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights — fluctuated a lot, and my degree of tiredness each day affected my workouts. It was a struggle just to warm up some days, but once I did, I would usually do some sort of a non-CrossFit workout. I’d do a medium-heavy barbell lift only, or a kettlebell and pull-up workout that I like, or just go to karate, or walk to the gym. I went to karate twice a week or three times a week every week and I completed the Whole30 in January without going off-plan. I felt discouraged about my fitness and strength, as if I were on the brink of losing it overnight.

I developed a routine of taking a 30-minute nap most afternoons in the middle of an hour spent reading a book in the bed. I think this down time and nap are really important to my staying healthy and letting me enjoy karate one or two evenings a week.

I told myself I was feeling the pull of the sedentary life of middle age, and that I might as well acknowledge that. I’d rather work on genealogy than gardening. I’d rather do office work for the gym than work out. I continued to believe that every active thing that I did — any kind of exercise — was part of the discipline that would lead me back to harder workouts when I was ready. Harder workouts meaning CrossFit or the kind of heavy lifting that tests my strength, heavier than 85% for instance. I trusted the discipline I’ve developed, while being aware that I was resting more than usual. I had not done a CrossFit “WOD” in a few weeks.

This bothered me a little, but I knew I had not lost interest in training. I used my shifted personal priorities to explore the ways I did want to train — strength and skill combination exercises like my get-up / windmill / pull-up workout  — and then I turned it into a class. This was a good thing. I also started doing CrossFit WODs again on the same day that I gave the first of my new strength-training class (about 10 days ago).

This week I’ve done at least two CrossFit workouts plus barbell lifts, practiced karate and went to class. Starting this past weekend I noticed myself feeling stronger and warmer (cheeks a bit flushed) and somehow feeling lean. I haven’t weighed myself — my weight has been up around 137 for the past three months or so. It’s more than I’d like, but, on the other hand somehow it doesn’t bother me much!

It does feel good to feel strong and energetic. Weighing five pounds too much doesn’t affect those things. Today we were supposed to shoulder press 6 sets of 3 reps at 75%. I estimated my 1 RM at 80 (because I’m sore/fatigued from renegade rows) and completed 6 x 3 at 60 lbs, decided it was too light, and completed another 6 x 3 at 70 lbs for a calculated 1RM of 93. That’s quite good. I can tell when pressing that the strict, hollow pull-ups I’ve been doing are letting me use my entire “front” (abs, etc) more than before in the strict press. That was a delightful surprise.

The workout I’ve been going back to over and over, and used twice in my strength class, is:

5 windmill per side (8 kg)
5 strict hollow pull-ups, neck to bar as best I can
3 TGU per side (8 kg)
5 strict hollow pull-ups
5 windmill per side (12 kg)
5 strict hollow pull-ups
3 TGU per side (12 kg)
5 strict hollow pull-ups
5 windmill per side (16 kg)
5 strict hollow pull-ups
3 TGU per side (16 kg) (repeat the 16 kg set if time)

I also hop up and do 5 hollow strict pull-ups whenever I think of it. I feel good and I’m still inspired by training my clients and I can keep plugging along indefinitely.