Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fitness Progress and Goals

(This is one of those "for posterity and my own memory" posts. Feel free to move on by, especially because it turned out to be WAY longer and more boring than even I imagined!)

Last night at CrossFit, I was showing someone the iPhone app I use to track my workouts and progress, and I realized it's been a while since I've taken a look at where I am and where I'd like to go.

So last time, I recorded some benchmark lifts:

  • Power clean : 100 pounds (6/5/2011)
  • Bench press : 85 pounds (6/11/2011)
  • Deadlift : 185 pounds (7/5/2011)
  • Push press : 110 pounds (7/20/2011)
  • Front squat : 120 pounds (7/25/2011)

And here's where I am now:

Power clean : No change -- I haven't tried for a 1RM on this since June! So hopefully I can try for one soon. I have done lots of power cleans lately, usually around the 75-85 pounds mark, and I'm pretty sure I could surpass 100 now.

Bench press: 90 pounds (12/14/2011) -- this wasn't a test for a maximum (it was part of a 10X2 and I did 90 pounds for the last four rounds) and I'm confident I could go higher, at least one time.

Deadlift : 1RM 200 pounds (8/10/2011) and 5 RM 195 pounds (11/21/2011) -- lots of improvement there. I wonder what my new 1RM would be, since it's been so long since I tried for one.

Push Press : No change -- haven't lifted heavy push presses since that day in July.

Front Squat : No change -- again, haven't revisited these in a while outside of a workout where I'm using lower weights due to more reps.

I have some new lifts to track now, too.

Press : 65 pounds (9/21/2011) for 3 reps. Presses are HARD for me to do. I bet I could get 75 pounds at least now.

Back Squat : Finally got around to doing some recently, 5 rounds of 3. I started too light and only got to 135 pounds, which was a PR. They were relatively easy--I wasn't completely struggling, but I stopped, having hit my five rounds and a PR. (Wasn't that responsible and mature of me?) I'm confident I could get at least 150 or higher on a try for a maximum.

Box Jumps : 20" And that's where I'll stay, as that is not an insignificant percentage of my height and since box jumps freak me out a bit.

Overhead Squat : 75 pounds (9/17/2011) And by the way, those are HARD.

Power Snatch : 75 pounds (9/7/2011) As part of a WOD with lots of repetition, so I bet I could do more if I was going for a max.

I have a couple of benchmark workouts I've done, too.

Fran (all of the "girl" workouts can be found here): Last time, I mentioned I'd done Fran, with the thrusters at the prescribed weight for women (65 pounds) and using the green (second widest) band. I did that back in July in 11:08. I revisited Fran again in November. I did the 65 pound thrusters again (god, they suck) and used red (the thinnest) and blue (the second thinnest) bands on the pull ups (hooray for pull up progress!). My new time: 7:48. So I consider that some good improvement!

Grace: I first encountered Grace (30 clean and jerks for time) in October as part of the Barbells for Boobs fundraiser. I used 65 pounds and my time was 4:02. Grace came up again about a month later and the second time I upgraded to 75 pounds and my time was 3:42.

Cindy: In October, I did Cindy for the first time. My score wasn't all that wonderfully great--11 rounds + thirteen reps. HOWEVER I did not modify the push ups at all. Yep, that's 118 Man Push Ups. So I was pretty proud of that accomplishment.

Diane: In October, I also did a modified Diane (125 pound dead lifts and handstand push ups from a chair) for 4:21. I need to practice HSPUs against the wall. I can do it but I just need more practice.

Running: Apart from upper body stuff in general, running is the thing I really suck at the most. But I did run 400m in 1:57 one time, which for me is pretty much flying. I'll take it.


Honestly, I look at those numbers up there and can't quite believe that I've really done these things. But I have! It's good to review this progress because I get really frustrated sometimes on the weight loss front. I have recently broken through a plateau (I think). Those stalls are awful, and sometimes last for months. And then it's easy to get discouraged and all why-bother-y. But during all those plateau months, I was lifting and running and doing awesome stuff, yay!

I have a general goal to work up to the prescribed weights for women in most of the CrossFit workouts. I don't know how long it will take me--a year? two? No clue. But I think many of the goals are within my reach, especially if I can get pull ups.

Speaking of pull ups, I'm very close, but I've had to lay off the pull ups lately because I was practicing a lot on my own and my elbow doth protested. It's much better now, but that experience was a reminder that, while still awesomely badass, I'm not 25 any more, and also, REST is an important component to making fitness progress. Duh. I mean, I KNOW this, but I was getting carried away because I'm very close to an actual pull up and that's exciting, you know?

More goals: I'd like to do a CrossFit Total workout as a benchmark. And just today I found this website with weightlifting standards based on body weight and experience level. VERY interesting stuff. Comparing my achievements with these benchmarks puts me firmly in the Novice category overall, and I'm edging up into Intermediate. Granted, this may not be the end-all-be-all, but it's a place to start when figuring out where I want to go and what might be possible.

I'm planning to run in most (if not all) of the Kennesaw Grand Prix 5K races next year. I may have, may have mind you, had a running breatkthrough of sorts and actually enjoyed a run recently. Also, while I haven't been doing chronic cardio by any stretch of the imagination, I have done a couple of runs recently and I'm wonder if that has something to do with my breaking through the latest weight loss plateau. Maybe my body just got confused or something. Also, I have plans with a friend to do a trail run (or two?) soon. I've always wanted to try that because it sounds fun in a hellacious way. Oh! And speaking of hellacious running--I'm hoping to do Run For Your Lives in March! It just sounds too crazy to miss. Who's with me?

On the weight loss front, now that I'm getting close to the end of the weight loss phase of my health improvement plan, I've discovered that I have a problem: I can't figure out what I'm supposed to weigh (and BMI is pretty much useless). So I think I will do the body fat measurement when the water tank dude comes to my CrossFit gym next time. Probably aiming for a reasonable body fat percentage is a better way to think about this than weight anyway. It's just that it's much more convenient to weigh oneself than find a body fat water tank peopleguy. :) I think I'm about 20-30 pounds away from what I should weigh, I think, but I really have no idea. I could be a lot closer, especially because I think I will be on the heavy side of the ideal range because of all of my kick ass muscles. :)

And I guess that's about it for now! I'm pretty much feeling the Most Awesome I Have Ever Felt, and still enjoy doing CrossFit a whole bunch (because why else would I endure a wall ball ladder if I didn't like it at least a little?). It's been nearly two years since I started my health turnaround in earnest, and wow, am I ever glad I did! Two years sounds like a long time, maybe, when you're contemplating such goals, but really, it goes by pretty fast. And now I'm eagerly anticipating what the next two years and beyond will bring!


Eric said...

Have you ever watched any of John Sifferman's videos? I just discovered him and am having a total man crush. If you're having elbow pain from pull-ups, you may have a form issue. I learned a ton from the video on this page:

I never thought anyone could talk about pull-ups for 20 minutes and make it interesting!

You might enjoy this one too:

He has a stellar video on push-ups too. :)

Jenn Casey said...

Hi Eric!

No, I've never seen these videos before and I will definitely check them out. Thanks so much for the info!


Stella Zawistowski said...

Give a chinup a shot! You might have one of those in you even if you don't have a strict pullup. The women's strength coach at my gym says chins are better for women anyway, since you get to bring your biceps into the movement and develop more muscles that way.

I actually strung together two chins in a row last night. Twice! Yippee! Can a strict pullup be far behind?

I'm betting you have at least one chinup in you -- your weight is probably higher than mine, but so are your numbers on the lifts.