#7weekofficechallenge done and dusted

December 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

So, I said in the beginning that getting fit and staying in shape was one of my new year’s resolutions, and although I had a rocky start, man did I make up for it!

I pole danced, bootcamped, AWOL(ed), power plated and Crossfit through these past few months. And I had a ball of a time.

Somewhere along the line my fitness goals changed from wanting to look good to becoming  a natural part of who I am. I always said that I’m way too lazy to exercise on my own at home and for the past few weeks I’ve been doing just that. And I’m surprising even myself.

I know this is going to sound clichéd but exercise has changed me. Not only is my body stronger but my mind too, I feel more confident and it just filters into other areas of my life.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had entered an office 7-week toning challenge.  With the help of Crossfit N1 City and corporate bootcamp in the gardens with The Kettle Belle I placed second. *dusts off shoulders*

It’s an amazing feeling to see the results of months of eating properly and training hard. Every droplet of sweat was worth it!

My weight (50kg) has stayed the same and overall I lost 4cm. It sounds a little but you’d be singing a whole other tune if you had to replace your bras because your size changed. (TMI I know, but hey, so what! I’m already sharing almost half naked pics…)

Check out my before and after pictures.

This before was taken after a Crossfit workout #justsaying

 

And the obligatory side shot too

 

Guess what I’ll be doing with my prize money… :)

CrossFit is for addicts

November 15, 2013 in fitness, health

Yesterday I had my last free session at Crossfit N1 City. I cannot believe that the month flew by so fast. And what amazing time I had. I fear that I will go into serious CrossFit withdrawal next week :(

Before I get all mushy and philosophical about my CrossFit experience let me tell you about my WODs. (workout of the day, just in case this is the first time you’re reading my blog.)

Monday we had a killer session. We had 3, yes THREE WODs.

WOD 1 – EMOM 10 (every minute on the minute for 10 minutes)

10 burpees followed by 20 walking lunges

WOD 2 – Half Cindy AMRAP 10 (it’s usually AMRAP 20)

5 pullups, 10 pushups and 15 squats

I managed 6 rounds

WOD 3 – 30s on/30s off 6 rounds of knees to elbows and dips

Who knew 30 seconds could be so long!

My total reps 155

This is what pull ups do. Sorry hands.

Wednesday was a bit more relaxed. I did some mobility warm ups (so many I cannot remember). Followed by 5 rounds of 5 deadlifts. (Man did my quads and glutes feel those yesterday.)

WOD – Max box jump and max linked double unders

Max height jumped – 76 cm

Double under …. *cough cough* 1. Double unders are serious business and my one leg seems to have a mind of its own – it keeps hopping up.

Seriously though can you do this?

That’s my you can do this face!

With my last class coming up I was a bit sad yesterday. In the past month Crossfit had become such a big part of my life, it felt like I was on the verge of a breakup. (yes, yes I’m a bit melodramatic)

We started with a warm up: inchworm, 3 wall walks, backward inchworm, overhead pass through, backward overhead pass through, good mornings, wrist mobility exercises and some pain balling.

Benchmark WOD - Elizabeth 21-15-9 Cleans and dips

Benchmark WODS measure your improvement through repeated, irregular, appearances.

My time: 15kg HC 5m25

*cue violins get ready for the mushy stuff*

Speak to any long-time Crossfitter and they’ll tell you that you start with a specific goal and in time it changes.

I went in there ‘cause I wanted to improve my fitness and in no time it changed. Now I want to be able to perfect my kettlebell swing, I want to lift more, I want to jump higher, I want to do a free handstand and I want to beat my last benchmark time.

The sessions challenged my physical strength and my mental strength and I did come out stronger.

I would recommend anyone to give it a try and despite popular belief you don’t have to be super fit or an athlete to join  - anyone can do it! It’s an amazing community to be part of.

It’s clear I’m an addict. One way or another I’m going to find a way to go back. (reworking my budget in my head as I type.)

Looking forward to socialising with Crossfit N1City tonight!

Check out CrossFit N1 City on Facebook.

Deadlifts, hang cleans and front squats

November 8, 2013 in fitness, health

I’m into my third week at Crossfit N1 City, and I’m still trying to catch my breath from the different WODs.

On Monday I came face to face with the kettlebell again. I still can’t get the hang of pushing your hips through and using it for momentum to swing the kettlebell. This apparently ‘higher grade’ exercise that my brain and body just can’t wrap itself around. But I’m a #workinprogess and it’s my main goal to get that right before my last session.

WOD: EMOM 6 Kettlebell swings/sit-ups

(Every minute on the minute) – one or two movements are picked to do alternating on the minute over the course of 6 minutes.

My score 98

Note to self: When the more seasoned members of the class come in and ask ‘Have you had a look at the board?’ it usually means that the workout is going to kick the shit out of you. (crossfit 101)

Wednesday’s warm up consisted of Annie: 50-40-30-20-10 rep rounds of double-unders and sit-ups. If you cannot do double-unders (which I haven’t perfected yet) you need to do single skips x 3 so it was be: 150-120-90-60-30 single skips.

Skipping for days…

(I know you’re going back to read all of that, and yes that was only one part of the warm up …..)

We also did 3 rounds of 10 hanging traction activations, push ups and overhead pass through. Followed by skills practice: 15 reps of 5 rounds of pull ups.

WOD: Spartan 4 shuttle runs in between 20 push ups, 20 jumping lunges, 20 burpees, 50 sit ups, 50 double unders/150 skips.

I finished in 8:15 minutes

We are Spartannnnnn!

Yesterday I felt all of that: sore abs, sore arms, sore abs, sore arms… (you get the drift)

Partner warm up two rounds: wheelbarrow, piggy back, 40 air squats and 40 push ups.

Lorryn blitzing away

 

That’s my concentration face

For the skills session we did cleans:

5 x 10 deadlifts, 5 x 10 hanging cleans, 5 x 10 front squats

This was another one of those higher grade exercises for me especially when you had to combine all of the above together, it just went way over my head. But man was it the greatest feeling when I eventually got parts of it right!

WOD: 30 cleans

I did a combination of the hanging clean and front squat, did 30 in 4:40 min. Not too bad.

After all of this I’m looking forward to a much needed break this weekend …. totally excited to do it all again next week :)

Check out CrossFit N1 City on Facebook.

 

That’s how I (foam) roll!

November 4, 2013 in fitness, health

Last week was Deload Week (DLW), we did absolutely no workouts. The aim of DLW is to give our bodies a chance to recover from the intense workout of the days (WODs) we do. I know what you’re thinking; it must’ve been a piece of cake. Now let me reiterate: nothing about CrossFit, not even DLW is light.I stretched, I foam-rolled, I pain-balled things I didn’t know existed before last week. And they were sore, moaning sore. I felt tight and sore everywhere last week! It was a good sore though.

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the things we did: walking lunges, ninja lunges, heel walks, toe walks, 30 way squats (narrow, wide and normal), inchworm, bear walk, side lunge, front squats, pancake split, front split, spiderman, handstands …. (see, I bet you got tired just reading that)

Wall stand!

 

 

Free handstand attempt (before my unladylike topple)

And after each session we had one-on-one time with a foam roller and pain-ball.

Foam rollers and pain balls stretch muscles and tendons. They also break down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue. By using your bodyweight and a foam roller you can perform self-massage and myofascial release.

Thursday I was the only one in my time slot (gulp). It’s quite intense when you’re the only one in the class.

My warm up was an obstacle course. Four rounds of: tyre jump, overhead squats with weight, hanging shoulder raise, ladderwalk, box jump and walking lunges.

Tyre jump!

 

 

Doing the ladderwalk

Skills consisted of five rounds of 8-10 split squats, five rounds of Bulgarian squats and pull-ups in between. There was a lot of head shaking (those internal voices asking me what the hell you are doing?) and Oh Shits! (pull ups are tough even with a resistance band to help).

My highlight of the week was kicking ass at the Get Ready for Summer Challenge WOD Eye of the Tiger Challenge!

I got the Eye of the Tiger!

 

I can feel that I’m getting stronger and fitter and getting the hang of some of the basic moves…. still gotta take on those kettlebells again.

Check out CrossFit N1 City on Facebook.

Kettlebell swings 1, Leandra 0

October 25, 2013 in fitness, health

So the totally awesome, beyond cool coaches (yes I’m brownnosing) at CrossFit N1 City offered me a free month of CrossFit. I’ll be doing 3 sessions a week and telling you all about my experience and progress.

We’re doing a 7-week transformation office challenge at work with amazing prizes up for grabs, so these sessions are a big coup for me.

I had my first real class last Thursday (cue ominous suspense background music). The coaches said I picked a good day to start because it would be a ‘lightish session’. (Yeah right! Nothing about CrossFit is light.)

Strict sit up

We started with a warm-up which consisted of an inchworm (and no it’s not this), toy soldier, side lunge stretch and pretzel. We did a round of each.  Next we went over to some skills training. Hollow body drills and heaven and earth. Sounds easy right? Not so much. It’s all about controlling your core which I discovered I have very little strength in. I couldn’t even rock myself properly. Moving on.

WOD: AMRAP 4 – Front squat with 55/35 kg as many rounds as possible in 4 minutes.

A front squat begins with the weight in the front rack position. Take the weight in that position and then do a squat (wipes brow).  How’d I do? I can’t even remember my score; did I even have a score? I concentrated on form and technique – it’s very important.

With a weekend break, I was ready and amped for Monday – that was until I came eye-to-eye with the kettlebell swing.

It sounds simple: all you have to do is swing the kettlebell using your hips, no arms. I sucked big time! I just couldn’t get the movement right which left me feeling a bit frustrated. The little OCD in me screamed, “you should go practise this at home asap”.

In the rack position

WOD: Tabata Fun Burpees and Kettlebell swings

My score: 35 burpees and 64 reverse crunches (cause I couldn’t get the hang of the kettlebell swings)

The Wednesday workout started with two rounds of knee hugs, high knees, bum kicks, toy soldier and an opposite hand-toe touch balance move. In skills we worked on dead lifts. I have to admit that the hour I spend in CrossFit is the one time of the day where my mind isn’t running all over the place. It’s nice to get into the zone and use my full concentration on just one task.

WOD: Fight Gone Bad

4 rounds of: dead lifts, overhead walking lunges, sit-ups and box jumps. You move to each of the stations after a minute with a short rest after a round.

My score: 284 reps (not too shabby)

I was feeling good  *dusts off shoulders*

The look of concentration

I had my last session of the week yesterday and man was it a hot humid scorcher of a day in the Mother City! There were only three of us in class.

The board looked quite empty too – the WOD was a suspicious one liner: 8 band sprints.

3 round warm ups of: 30 mountain climbers, 30 double under (my one leg had a life of its own), 10 hanging lifts, 10 over under with pvc pipe and 10 pull tractions. (yes, that’s the warm up folks)

In skills we focused on push presses again. I’m finally getting my form right. Such a great feeling when you get something right! *woooohoo*

WOD: 8 band sprints – 8 rounds of sprints with partner resistance band and 30 seconds rest.

Call me weird but I loved it, I really loved it. It nearly killed me but the rush when you’re running, legs pumping, arms pushing –  it’s a great feeling.

I’ve learnt this week that everything takes some time: some moves you get the hang of soon; others you’ll have to work hard at it and that’s what keeps you going back for more.

Click on image to see me sprinting away…

Check out CrossFit N1 City on Facebook.

 

Hooked on CrossFit

October 11, 2013 in fitness, health

I might have been silent but not inactive. After completing my Power Plate sessions I signed up for another 5-day 4-week bootcamp. I changed my diet by including more protein and cutting out refined carbs and sugar.

I’ll admit it’s been tough especially because I have a sweet tooth, it’s hard to resist the Sunday afternoon tea with carrot cake. I fell off the egg-for-breakfast wagon a couple of times. And in between I had a weird stomach bug and all I ate for two days straight was toast. (bleh)

Bootcamp done and I realised that this form of exercise is just not helping me reach my fitness goals which is to get stronger and fitter. It felt like I’ve reached the ceiling with bootcamp and by the end of camp I was frustrated  - my results didn’t change much when compared to my previous round of bootcamp.

With all the different things I’ve been doing I’ve learnt three things about myself and exercise: I prefer exercising with a group, it’s important for me to have a trainer – I have self distraction disorder (yeah I made that up) -  and I need a challenge because I get bored easily (bad Aries trait).

So there I was searching the interwebs for something I could do when FitnessEd told me about a week’s free CrossFit intro classes at CrossFit N1 City. She’d been doing it for three years and even did it throughout pregnancy (pretty impressive). Here’s how she became a convert.

I’d heard a lot about it from her and checked it out online and as much as a fat kid wants cake that’s how badly I’ve wanted to try it.

The first night I was extremely nervous, I didn’t know what to expect. While I consider myself relatively fit, I doubted whether I would hold out. If you’ve watched CrossFit videos, you would be too. Check this out!

The coaches, Sam and Albert gave us a crash course of what CrossFit is, how it is different from other forms of exercise and what we would being doing throughout the course of the week. After their talk I was amped and ready to go.

In Monday’s class we got taught these skills: how to do an air squat, push-up, pull-up and sit up. I managed three, but the pull-up wasn’t going to happen on my own – thank the universe for therabands. We then did three rounds of squats, push-ups, pull-ups and sit ups. Not too bad, right.

Tuesday the real fun started. We would follow what a real class would look like. We started with warm ups, skills training and a workout of the day (WOD).

 

Tuesday WOD

 

WOD: Tabata 8 – For 20 seconds do as many reps of the assigned exercise as you can – then rest 10 seconds.

The jumping pull-ups were tough  - I felt them in my lats the next day.

Wednesday night, besides learning many new things, I discovered the joy of a foam roller. It was a definite treat for my sore muscles.

 

Wednesday WOD

 

WOD: AMRAP 6 – As Many Rounds As Possible in 6 minutes.

See the out of focus picture that’s how I felt after WOD: shaky!

Thursday night I had my last session. I saw burpees on the board and I cringed!

WOD: Eye Of The Tiger (greatest theme song ever!)

 

Thursday WOD

 

8 minute time cap, 5 rounds of 21 skips, 7 burpees and 7 box jumps. I came in at 7:52 minutes. The last round was a blur, so I could be a bit out. I have never sweated as much as I did last night!

I loved every minute of every session: the coaches were encouraging, it was fun, it was challenging, it was extremely hard and there were times when my mind said, “you’re going to fall on your ass!”

One way or another I’m definitely going back for more.

Woo hoo!

 

Check out CrossFit N1 City on Facebook.

The lowdown on Power Plate

September 11, 2013 in fitness, health

By now you know that I’m pro Power Plate. After 5 sessions I could definitely see and feel the differences in my body. And the results prove this, here they are:

BMI didn’t change 18.51

WHR: 0.79 > 0.77

% Fat: 18% > 17.1%

Sum of skinfolds: 87 > 81.5

Flexibility hip and trunk (cm) 47 > 51

Strength 60 second sit up test: 33 > 44

Overall there was an improvement in my strength and flexibility, my fat percentage came down and my muscle mass increased a bit. *internet high five*

Squatting on tip toes

Need more info?

Suné gives the lowdown on Power Plate.

Q: How long have you been working with Power Plate, and what do you like most about working with the machine?

I have been working with the Power Plate for five years now. I like that it is functional training. You don’t isolate a muscle group - when doing an exercise, you use more than one muscle group.The Power Plate is low-impact/high-intensity training, so it is easy on your joints with good results. It allows every type of training required, be it weight loss and toning, sport specific training, general fitness or rehabilitative exercise.

Q: How many sessions a week would one need and how long before one started seeing results?

You would need 10 minutes a day so this would bring it to about two to three 30-minute sessions a week. One session a week will still bring results - the time frame will just get longer. After 8 – 10 sessions you should really see the results. But like with conventional training the secret is consecutive sessions and productive sessions.

Lunge away

Q: How is the Power Plate machine different from the one that wobbles side to side?

The machines that wobble from side to side work on a two-dimensional vibration. This can have an impact on your spine and hips since they will have to accommodate the unnatural motions. If you already have a problem in these areas, avoid these knockoff machines. The Power Plate works on a three-dimensional vibration. This makes it possible to lower the amplitude of the vibrations but quickens the speed of the vibrations. It will send a constant and safe vibration moving through the muscles. This feature even makes it safe for people with back problems and hip or knee replacements.

Q: What are the benefits of Power Plate?

Besides the normal benefits consistent with general exercise, the vibration technique combined with the high intensity of the frequency has additional benefits. It will improve your metabolism, aid in lymph drainage and clear your sinuses. A main benefit is the improved circulation of the blood stream, carrying waste away faster and leading to improved regeneration. It loosens muscles and improves your flexibility and also relieve muscles from cramping. The Power Plate improves coordination and balance and has also been proven to increase bone mineral density greater than conventional exercise. It also decreases cortisol levels, so this is great for stress relieve.  Another great benefit is the stimulation for collagen formations. This will tighten the skin and fill the areas between tissues (so yes ladies, it will lessen the appearance of cellulite).

Q: Are there any side effects to using Power Plate?

There are no side effects but there are some contra-indications. These include being pregnant or having a pacemaker. So it is good to check for these – your Power Plate trainer will go through them with you or consult your doctor. This is one of the main reasons why it is recommended to ask professional help before just start with Power Plate training.

Sit up with a twist

Q: Can people of all ages use it?

Yes, besides the contra-indications mentioned above, it is safe for everyone since it is low-impact training. It is recommended, however, that young people only start using it once they have reached puberty, as it does involve weight training.

Q: What’s the biggest misconception people have about the machine?

I think a lot of people don’t understand that you can do so many varieties of exercises on the machine. It is not to just stand on. The intensity of the training when setting the machine is also misunderstood. There are specific settings to get the results you want. When you set the machine on a wrong setting you would probably not do real harm, but you definitely won’t get good results or the ones you aimed for.

Working the boobs

Q: If there was one thing you could tell people about the machine, what would it be?

It really makes training convenient. The sessions are 30 minutes but the intensity will be at least double the time spent in calories. This makes training a lot easier to fit into your everyday busy schedule. The variations are endless and the benefits are fantastic. The Power Plates intensity also increases as it responses to your muscles getting stronger. It will work more into the muscle as control and strength improves. This will keep the training low impact and it will stay a challenge, so improvement is guaranteed.

How long can you plank?

For information about Power Plate sessions contact Suné Smit at 0837117352

Power plating and beyond

August 22, 2013 in fitness, health

With four sessions under my belt I’m intrigued to see what my results look like at my last session today.

Squatting it out

What I’ve learnt from these sessions is that the amount of exercises and combinations you can do on the power plate is limitless. And if you think it gets easier you’re mistaken. I definitely feel the difference when the intensity gets cranked up. And you work up a mean sweat.

Crunching

I’ve done other forms of exercise for longer than 30 minutes and I can tell you that I definitely feel that I workout harder on the power plate. Not only do I  feel it during the workout but the next day too.

Taking a breather

Here’s a breakdown of some of the exercises I have done:

3 sets, 30 secs

  • Squats
  • Lunges with exercise ball
  • Tricep dips
  • 3 way bicep curls
  • Crunches
  • 3 way calf raises
  • Leg raises
  • Side squats
  • Crunches with exercise ball

Oh and remember I mentioned the skin itching that does thankfully subside.

Caught in the act

All in all I’m enjoying my power plate experience.

For information about Power Plate sessions contact Suné Smit at 0837117352

More than just vibration

August 2, 2013 in fitness, health

If you’re a gym goer, you’ve definitely seen the power plate machine and one of these two scenarios. People queuing to use it or that lone user, standing on the plate vibrating away.

After two power plate (PP) sessions with biokineticist, Suné Smit, I’ve learnt that there’s more to the machine that just standing there and letting everything shake.

Feeling the burn

So how does it work? The PP is an exercise machine that uses the principle of whole body vibration. You’ll stand in a position of ‘pre-tension’ that isolates the muscle you want to activate. Inside your tissues each vibration moves the body up and down. This mimics the body jumping at the rate of the set vibration.

It can be used to achieve fitness goals, weight loss, improve sports performances and a host of other benefits.

Crunching away.

I have to admit that I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been on those vibrating machines at the gym and didn’t like it at all.

Boy, was I in for a surprise.

We did 2 x 30 second sets of the following:

  • Squats
  • Side squats
  • Tricep extensions
  • 3-way calf raises
  • Stomach crunches (high and low)
  • Leg raises
  • Forward and side arm extensions

I never knew that 30 seconds could be that long! The most difficult thing for me was performing the exercises in the proper positions keeping my form right. Adjusting to the vibration was also challenging, you’ll itch, a lot! But Suné promised that it would get better. The next day I felt all of those moves in my stomach, abs and bum.

Lunge and roll.

Yesterday we focused on core strength:

  • Lunge/squat roll
  • Squats with calf raises
  • Crunches with a tricep extension
  • Tricep extensions
  • Push ups
  • Superman with roller foam

Standing push-up.

My thighs and abs were shaking after the session. What I like about the machine is that you can do all the functional exercises you’d normally do. The added vibration which isolates muscle groups intensifies the exercises. And it’s quick. The sessions are only 30 minutes, which are as effective as up to 45-90 minutes of conventional training.

Getting core strong.

For information about Power Plate sessions contact Suné Smit at 0837117352

Going AWOL

July 25, 2013 in fitness, health

The Fire and Ice hotel in Cape Town has teamed up with AWOL, a Cape Town company that offers outdoor training. Hotel guests can book a training session at the front desk, which involves being collected from the hotel to do a workout with a personal trainer that takes in the beach, Camps Bay’s many staircases and the wooded and wind-calm area of The Glen.

Last weekend a colleague, Lynn and I got to experience this unique concept. We checked into the hotel on Friday evening and were treated to a healthy delicious supper. Our wake-up call was at 7:15 the next morning and at 8:00 we were carted off to the great outdoors for our workout.

Warming up

And what a workout it was! Surrounded by the beach and breathtakingly beautiful views, we did a variety of exercises. Here’s a short rundown of some of the exercises: running, jogging, tricep dips, push ups, lunges, crunches, pelvic bridges, incline running and staircase running (who knew there were so many stairs in Camps Bay).

I’m not a morning workout person but I enjoyed every minute of it – breathing in the fresh morning air and working up a healthy sweat.

How cool are these t-shirts.

So what exactly is AWOL?

According to Anton Slabbert, the man behind AWOL, AWOL stands for “A Way of Life”.

“It is a unique outdoor cardio-vascular exercise programme that aims to introduce people to nature and the ability to incorporate this style of exercise into their everyday lives.

“It is not just a training programme, it is an experience. It affords you the opportunity to exercise in one of the most beautiful gyms in the world – Cape Town’s beaches, forests, stairs and hills. Exercises include skipping, push-ups, tricep dips and abdominal exercises. It offers a variety of different exercises in a host of different outdoor locations and ensures your fitness levels improve –injury free.”

Working the tri’s.

Anyone can do it. The programmes are designed to allow people of all ages and fitness levels to improve their health and lifestyle and also aid in recovery from injury.

If you’re like me and you find gym boring and monotonous then this is definitely a programme you should try.

In fact it was Anton’s main inspiration for starting this programme: “The inside of a gym is dull and boring. The machines offer a monotonous routine as opposed to exciting variation. Cape Town has the most beautiful and exciting landscape. Exercise should inspire you and make you feel good, and in a setting such as Camps Bay Beach or Lion’s Head it is hard not to feel motivated to work hard, to feel good.”

Jog on the beach.

More people are converting to healthier lifestyles. When starting something new they face challenges to sticking to a programme. According to Anton, a positive attitude is the key.

“One of the fundamental aspects I emphasise with all my clients is a positive attitude. Taking people out of their comfort zone is always a challenge, as is preventing injury. Improving your lifestyle is all about a positive outlook and focussed mindset. My job is to motivate people, keep them interested and inspired. The rest is up to them.”

Lynn and I crunching away.

 

I couldn’t agree more, staying fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing work in progress. I asked Anton, if he could tell people one thing about exercise what would it be?

“Maintain cardiovascular exercise throughout your life. Achieving your goals doesn’t happen in one day. It is a process. But there is no greater feeling than achieving what you set out to do. Exercise helps you to clear your mind and focus on your goals. It allows you to maintain a healthy life and attitude.”

Great workout in a beautiful city – what more could you ask for!

Stairs, stairs, and more stairs.

Check out the website www.awollifestyle.com and the AWOL Lifestyle facebook page for more information about the programme.

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