Fitness

A Week in Workouts

Hey everyone and happy Monday!

I like Mondays for the most part. I usually indulge on the weekends, and with all the events going on this month, I’ve definitely been indulging a lot more recently. Mondays feel like a reset for me which is a great way to feel positive heading into the week. I usually take Sundays as my rest day and feel ready to go on Monday mornings.

I thought it would be interesting to blog about a whole week of workouts (starting Monday, of course) so you can get a peek into how I schedule my time and make it all work.

The general breakdown of a typical week for me is nine or ten total workouts, five Crossfit and four or five runs, over the course of 6 days. That further breaks down to three or four days of two-a-days. When I say I take Sunday as a rest day, that means no working out at all. When I work out twice in a day I do my morning workout, and then another workout about ten hours later.

This past week I wrote down all my work outs and how they went. I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my mental running game these days, as I’ve mentioned previously on the blog, so I wanted to also take this opportunity to look at what may be holding me back.

MONDAY

Crossfit: 5:45am class. 3 ascending sets of 5 bench press. My weights were 75, 85, a failed attempt at 95 (got to 3 so I have a new 3-rep PR), and 90lbs. Then, in teams of two, 20 minute AMRAP of: 3 bench press, 3 power cleans, 12 slam balls, 6 bench press, 6 power cleans, 12 slam balls, etc.. I worked with my friend Gabrielle and we thought this one was really fun! We scaled the weight to 70lbs, and felt that it was just the right amount of challenging.

Running: 4 miles, easy paced. I was not looking forward to this run because it was a rainy, dreary Monday in NYC and I just wanted to stay inside, but I got it done.

TUESDAY

Crossfit: 5:45 am class. 3 ascending sets of 6 front squats from the ground. This means I was limited by what I can clean (which is definitely less than I can front squat). Then 10 rounds of 8 1-arm overhead lunges and 8 1-arm thrusters followed by as many muscle ups as possible. There was a 15 minute cap on this workout so I was able to get in all ten rounds, and then practiced transitions for muscle ups for the remaining time.

Running: I was supposed to do 6 miles, with two sets of intervals of 1 mile, 400 meters, and 800 meters at 8-8:15 pace, 7:15-7:30 pace, and 7:30-7:45 pace. Friends, I got through one set of the intervals and I just wasn’t feeling it at all. So I finished three miles and called it a day.

WEDNESDAY

Crossfit: 3 ascending sets of 5 deadlifts, then Diane, a famous Crossfit benchmark workout. This was a tough one. I don’t have handstand push-ups and since the workout is a sprint, I did a scaled weight for the deadlifts in an effort to maintain my form.

Running: Rest

THURSDAY

Crossfit: Endurance day at my gym! We worked in teams of two to complete as many rounds as possible in 32 minutes of 16 calories, 10 burpees over the paralette, and 20 sit ups. I worked with my pal Gabrielle, and we split the work evenly and it was a pretty fun workout.

Running: I had 6 easy plus strides on the schedule, but the gym at my work where I was planning to work out was occupied. Brian and I also recently got some big news about his career, so I went home and talked with him and rested.

FRIDAY

Crossfit: 3 ascending sets of 6 back squats. These felt really heavy today, but I did increase from my 3 ascending sets of 8 back squats last week so I was happy with that. Then we did Jackie, another famous female-named workout. I finished in about 12 minutes, and scaled the pull-ups. I had never done it before and I was surprised at how much of a real grip burner it was.

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Photo by @antlucicphotography

Running: I just ran a quick two miles on the treadmill at work, easy paced.

SATURDAY

Running: 8 miles before going to brunch and a good friends wedding. 2 warm-up, 2×5 min at 8:00-8:15 pace with 3 minutes easy paced between, 3×3 min at 7:45-8:00 pace with 3 minutes easy paced between, then 3×2 minutes at 7:30-7:45 pace with two minutes between. I cooled down until I reached 8 miles. I felt pretty good during this run!

SUNDAY

Rest. I walked around Princeton’s gorgeous campus and went to lunch with some of my best pals. It was a great day.

And that’s a week in workouts. It was actually a bit light, but I was feeling tired this week so I feel good about what I was able to accomplish!

I hope everyone has a great week!

❤ LB

 

Fitness

3 Misconceptions I Had About Crossfit (and the Truth I Learned When I Tried It)

Hey team,

I wanted to take some time to talk about Crossfit for a bit. I know that there is a whole world of information about Crossfit out there for those who are interested in the theory behind it, famous Crossfitters, the best equipment/gear, etc. A lot of people (myself included) had heard of Crossfit, but haven’t experienced and it may have a lot of misconceptions about what it is, how it feels, and the results you get. So, I’m here to share some of the misconceptions I had about it and what I now know! Who knows, maybe this post will get some of you headed into your local box (Crossfit gym) for a trial class!

Misconception #1: It’s all meatheads and bodybuilders.

When I thought about Crossfit prior to taking my first class, I was sure that I would be surrounded by a parade of huge dudes, bulky women, and would be left in the dust as they threw giant barbells around and did 800 unbroken pull-ups. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there really were a variety of fitness levels and body types in my first class. People at my box have come to Crossfit from a variety of backgrounds, some distance runners and cardio-lovers, like me, and some from general weightlifting or classes at the gym. I’ve also met people who chose Crossfit as their first step into fitness. Yogis and ClassPass warriors alike have found a workout they love with Crossfit, and I’m sure my affiliate is not the exception. I have met some amazing people (and, surprise! Some of them ARE bodybuilders!) in the last year and I count myself lucky at that.

Misconception #2: You have to talk about Crossfit. To everyone. All the time.

I’d heard that Crossfit is “like a cult” and I’d met several people who really did talk about Crossfit all. the. time. They went on about eating paleo, talked about every detail of every day’s WOD and at the time, I cared only because I cared about those people. Now that I’m a part of the Crossfit community, I get how that could happen, but you don’t actually have to talk about ANY fitness regimen. My rule of thumb is usually that I will talk to other fitness enthusiasts about the specifics (you know, what the workout was today, maybe a PR I’m particularly proud of) but with everyone else, I tend to keep it pretty vague. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud to be a member of the Crossfit community and I know that (like any fitness regimen) to see the best results, I need to be there consistently putting in the work. But, I recognize that my friends and family don’t want to hear about my Annie time or that I’m working on my snatch form. They know that I’m making healthy choices and staying active, and that’s really all that matters.

Misconception #3: All I’ll ever do in class is lift weights and I’ll get bulky.

First of all, woah, pre-Crossfit, Lauren. STOP JUDGING BODY SHAPES! Second of all, boy was I wrong. Crossfit is one of the most varied workout programs I’ve ever done. In a given day during a one-hour class I will complete heavy back squats, run a mile, do pull-ups, dumbbell presses, and a farmer’s carry. Or I’ll row 1,000 meters, do 50 sit-ups, and work on my deadlift form. Yes, there are weights, but to my surprise it wasn’t always your standard barbell. What I’m trying to say is – it’s all there. Well represented in a good Crossfit program, you’ll find cardio – my personal fave – strength, gymnastic movements and more that will work on every area of your body from core, to back, to shoulders, to legs, to abs. Also, my gym has several different programs to choose from including an obstacle course racing class, barbell class, and even Crossfit Kids, so there’s really something for everyone. Since my week in workouts consists of both running and Crossfit – I stick to the regularly scheduled programming and guess what? I am not “bulky” but I can definitely see more defined muscles (except the ever-elusive abs, ugh) and steadily increased my weightlifting capabilities.

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Sandbag over-the-shoulder. Photo by @antlucicphotography

I’ve found my Crossfit experience to be a really well-rounded experience overall. I’ve never felt pressure from anyone at my gym to eat a certain diet or to lift more weight than I am capable of. It’s well-rounded in terms of the people I’ve met, the workouts I complete, and the results I’ve seen. It’s worth doing research on your local affiliates (after double checking with your healthcare provider) to see if one of them is right for you! Thinking about joining Crossfit? Already a member? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Crossfit! Sound off in the comments below!

❤ LB

Fitness

Arriving at my love of fitness

Hey everyone! Happy Wednesday! I thought today I would blog about my fitness journey. This is a long one but bear with me as I add to this story in the future!

To those who haven’t known me for my whole life, or even most of it, it may come as a surprise that I was not always a fitness enthusiast. In fact, I hated gym class, was only a rec counselor at my summer camp to get a tan, and generally maintained an unhealthy lifestyle for many years. With the exception of competitive dance, which was a huge part of my life for 14 years (I started when I was 4 and dance was my “extracurricular activity” until I graduated high school), I was pretty sedentary and did not explore all the fitness options that are out there. Occasionally my friend Allyson and I would put on our soffee shorts (remember soffee shorts? Full disclosure: I still have several pairs) and sports bras and run around my neighborhood, but that was about it.

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That’s me in dark pink with pigtails 🙂

When I got to college, the first time that I did not have 20+ hours per week of intense dance classes and rehearsals, I was a little lost. Plus, let’s get real, unsupervised college eating is the MOST fun. I danced in a student run club a couple of times a week, and while the dancers were talented, the pressure for me to join them at “mixers” with fraternities just wasn’t my style, so I only danced for three semesters. I would occasionally hit the gym to get on the elliptical for 30 minutes, but that was about it. Couple that with my love of Chinese food, penny beers (yes, one beer cost one penny), and tons of iced coffee with cream and extra sugar and the college weight gain was real.

I saw graduate school as a chance to really reinvent myself, be confident, learn a lot, and gain tons of independence. I was living in my first apartment, got a kitten, and was ready to make some self-improvements. I registered for my first half marathon in February of 2012. I downloaded a training schedule from the internet and got to work. My cross training at the time was mainly the stationary bike or the elliptical, and I incorporated almost no strength training, whatsoever. I loved my first half marathon so much that I decided to complete the Cape Cod Half Marathon Trilogy for the year. I completed one race in May, and another in October. They were slow. They were difficult. But I was proud.

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Brian and I at a Tough Mudder. I cried the whole time and my dad beat both of us.

Since graduate school I have tried many new things in the workout world, from memberships at gyms, to yoga, pilates, HIIT, kickboxing and more. There was even a while when I wasn’t working out at all because I was in my car commuting for 3+ hours a day. Then, I started at my current job at a school in Manhattan – and reduced my daily commute by half. I was pumped to have time to exercise, but didn’t know where to start. So, I did what any totally sane, not crazy at all person would do: I registered for my first full marathon. Again, I downloaded a training schedule from the all-knowing Google and I stuck with it. I completed my first marathon in November of 2016 and I totally caught the bug. There is just something about the commitment that long distance running takes that I really love. I couldn’t skip workouts. I couldn’t eat junk. I couldn’t half-ass it or I could get hurt, or not finish. I started following running blogs, runner’s Instagram pages (one of whom is now my amazing, supportive, running coach), and picking the brain of my coworker, who just so happens to be an ultramarathoner. I completed my second full marathon in May of 2017 and my third exactly 13 days before my wedding in May of 2018.

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I would supplement my running at a local gym with sessions on the elliptical or stationary bike, and the occasional weightlifting session with Brian. Then, one morning in the summer of 2017 at 4:45am, Brian and I showed up at our gym to find a sign on the door that it was closed. Just like that. #NYC I had my running, of course, but it was hot, humid, and I generally wasn’t loving it. We did some research on local gyms, and, having heard a lot about Crossfit, decided to head over for a trial class. WE LOVED IT! Our first class (something I’ll always remember) was 100 American kettlebell swings for time. I used the tiniest weight they had and I still felt like a total badass.

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Bear crawling at Crossfit in Harry Potter leggings 🙂

Brian and I went to our foundations classes together at our box to learn all of the basics and then jumped into 5:45am classes, which I’ve stuck with ever since. It’s funny to me to think back on my first few weeks at Crossfit, watching other people and copying what they were doing because I didn’t know the names of the moves, to now confidently using all of the equipment in the gym. With Crossfit, I saw results more significantly than I ever have before. And I don’t mean weight loss. I mean my muscles are actually toned, I’m stronger (in the most literal sense of the word and in the more figurative sense), and I’m a faster runner.

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Kipping for a chest-to-bar pullup while my friend Gabrielle counts my reps.

Basically, with the combination of long distance running, and the variety and community that Crossfit provides (plus the opportunity to see my handsome husband on a rowing machine on the reg #dibs), I’ve truly found a routine that works for me that I love and I haven’t looked back. Now, don’t get me wrong, am I always jumping out of bed in the morning fired up to lift heavy weights at 5:45am? Heck, no. But I am committed to what makes me feel good, even when, in the moment, it may be a pain to do it. There are so many things to use as excuses these days: work, family commitments, weddings, the financial cost of belonging to a good gym, etc., but I know that in the end I won’t regret spending my time, energy, and cash on my own health. What is your favorite workout and how do you stay motivated? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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❤ LB

Photos by my mom, my husband, and @antlucicphotography