Friday, February 17, 2012

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun

Remember the good ole days when you could pick up a jump rope and playfully skip in the schoolyard. Or you and your friends taking turns swinging those long ropes for some double dutch. You didn't over think it. You didn't worry about perfect technique. You were relaxed. You enjoyed it. It was like second nature.

Now you have joined this cult and we are telling you to take this plastic torture device, swing it as quickly as possible and get the rope to pass under your feet 2 times for every 1 jump. Oh and by the way it is going to make you feel like someone kicked the wind out of you, it's possibly going to lash you to death, and one more thing....we are going to time you. 

Why in the hell would anyone want to put themselves through this? This can not be healthy?  It can't be that much more beneficial than single jumps?

To the contrary, there are TONS of benefits to adding double unders into your training program. There are few movements that can tax both of your energy systems fully (anaerobic and aerobic) while improving your nervous system at the same time. 

In theory it seems simple. "I can jump rope.  Really all I have to do it just spin the rope faster, right?" Unfortunately this is easier said than done. It requires alot of movement, timing, coordination and balance.  So this means that the best way to get better at double unders is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! 

Here are a few helpful tips and tricks to help you along this jump roping journey. 

  1. Find a rope that works for you. A thin plastic rope that will spin quickly is ideal. You can get these types of ropes at a number of places but I recommend This is where I got my rope and I love it. They are about $13. Very reasonably priced.
  2. Make sure that your rope fits you. This is why I recommend getting your own rope. You can customize it to a length that will set you up for success.  When you step into the middle of the rope, the handles should come up to your armpits. Some prefer a little longer or a little shorter but straying too far from this will hinder your ability to be efficient. Also using the same rope all the time will give you a sense of consistency and ultimately help you become better.
  3. Keep your weight on your toes. Yes, you heard me right. In CrossFit we put such a focus on weight in the heels but for this particular movement I WANT YOU ON YOUR TOES!!! Landing too hard or jumping flat footed is definitely going to hold you back.
  4. Keep your head up. When you are looking down you begin to lean forward and this throws your entire body off balance. You want to remain in a stacked upright position at all times while jumping. 
  5. Smaller jumps are best! This will eliminate unnecessary body movement and help you maintain balance. The key is to jump higher by springing off the balls of the feet. Don't lift the knees. Don't kick your feet back. Don't pike your feet forward. Although you may be able to perform some reps, these extra body movements will tire you quicker and certainly limit you in stringing multiples together. 
  6. Turn the rope with your wrists. Use small fast turing motion. You are able to spin the rope much faster this way. Bigger circles using your arms will cause you to miss the jump more often than not. 
  7. RELAX!! The worst thing you can do is become frustrated and tense up. I can promise you (because I have done it) that the moment you lose your head and become frustrated it's over. You will definitely not be able to do double unders with any sort of efficiency. 
By following these steps you will improve your ability to do double unders. However ultimately the responsibility is on you. Your coach or trainer can talk and teach until the grass fed cows come home but you have to be determined and continue to practice them all the time. You can do double unders everyday in some capacity without affecting your training program. So get out there and get to jumpin! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Do you have what it takes??

It's that time of year again guys. The CrossFit Games Open is quickly approaching. The first Open WOD will be announced on February 22nd. CrossFit athletes from around the world will be competing to be crowned "Fittest in the World"

I can tell you from personal experience that the CrossFit Games Open is an AMAZING experience and I highly encourage you to push yourself out of your comfort zone and join in the fun. Even if you aren't trying to be the next Rich Fronning or Annie Thorsdottir, it is a really cool way to see where you stack up against people around the world. 

CrossFit Forward will be teaming up with Rare CrossFit and performing the Open WODs every Saturday morning. I guarantee that it is going to be tons of fun. It is going to be so cool to come together as a community and cheer each other on. Even if you decide not to compete, you are always welcome to come to the gym and cheer on your fellow athletes. Your support is always greatly appreciated.

On the Reebok CrossFit Games website you can create a profile and log your weekly workouts. I was reading an article on and it stated 3 reasons you should compete in the Open. I thought they hit the nail on the head. 
  1. Do it for you!  The Open is a great way to motivate and push yourself beyond normal limits.  A competitive edge is added when you are able to check your standings each week, and rankings daily.  Or, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself checking your ranking on an hourly basis!  The Open allows you to gauge where you are within the CrossFit world (literally!).  Find a name within your region, stalk their stats on their Reebok CrossFit profile, and claim him/her as your doppelganger during the Open.
  2. Do it for your fellow CrossFitter!  Many affiliates incorporated the Open WODs into their weekly programming.  If this was your box and you technically weren’t registered, you still participated in the Open!  How is that possible?  Well, I’m pretty sure you didn’t take the WOD lightly because that’s not how CrossFitters operate.  In order to complete the WOD, you were probably busting your tail, which in return forced others to push even harder, which pushed you even more.  It’s a beneficial cycle that without you, your friends’ numbers or rankings wouldn’t have been as high on the Open scoreboard.  
  3. Do it for your CrossFit box!  Last year’s Open not only focused on individual performances but brought in the team dynamic of the competition.  The top affiliates of each region were able to have some of their best members represent their “box” at Regionals with only the top three affiliate teams advancing to the Games.  Some affiliates held tryouts for their team while others used the individual results from the Open to determine who would be representing them at Regionals.  I can’t say this is how it will be this year as HQ could throw a curve ball at us.  However, I can say the team aspect of the Open and Regionals allowed many affiliates to highlight their athletes in a way that brought a stronger sense of pride and community to their box.
I assure you that EVERYONE can participate in the CrossFit Games Open and I have no doubt in my mind that you WILL surprise yourself with what you are capable of. C'mon guys, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. LETS DO THIS!  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Fitness Fairy Tale

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the interwebs. I guess I will start by telling you a little about myself. Originally from the good ole' state of Kentucky and now residing in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I'm a 26 year old wifey and mother of 2 fur babies (pictured below). What can I say, I'm a proud momma! I am a die hard Atlanta Falcons fan, certified t.v. show junkie, social media extraordinaire and coffee addict. That's me in a nutshell, but over the past year and a half I have developed a new love. A love that to the outsider may seem a little bit crazy. This new love has a name...CrossFit.

Ever since I was young I have loved everything to do with fitness. I loved working out & I always played sports in school. As a youngster playing sports is pretty much enough to keep you in some semblance of shape. Your metabolism is at its peak and staying up late with your girlfriends eating pizza and Doritos was the norm and had little effect on your outward appearance.

Then it happened. I moved out of my parents house and into the college dorm. I traded my high school jerseys for Sorority letters and sports drinks for more adult beverages. My mom was the type of mom that always made dinner, usually a meat and 2 or 3 veggie options. Unfortunately the mini fridge in my dorm room was not very accommodating to large cuts of meat and all the fixin's. In fact it was barely big enough to keep mine & my roommates drinks in. My diet was more along the lines of the shelf stable variety. Easy Mac, Cup-O-Noodles, Pop Tarts, Granola Bars, Chips, etc. Not to mention going to the gym became secondary to hanging out with all my new found friends.

We have all heard of the freshman 15, referring to the 15 lbs that most college students will gain in their 1st year on campus. I was no exception. Fortunately I didn't meet all 15 of those freshman pounds but over the next few months I began to notice things were starting to change. My jeans were not as flattering, my tops didn't look like they used to and my energy throughout the day was like being on a never ending roller coaster. It wasn't until 1 week that I noticed that I had worn sweats to class everyday. It was just an auto response because my jeans no longer made me feel comfortable. I knew that something was going to have to change.

To make a long story short my freshman year of college started my journey to find true fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Over the next 7+ years I have spent countless hours in the gym and read tons of books and articles on the "Whats Hot Now" diet bandwagon. Constantly in search of the perfect combination to get the coveted swimsuit physique.

Fast forward to 2010. My husband got new orders for his job. After 4 years in Virginia Beach, we packed up our dog and our life and moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia. It's hard leaving everything that is familiar to you behind and start fresh. When I first moved here I signed up for a membership at Golds Gym and that was that. Something was different though, I just wasn't into working out, I didn't enjoy it. It had become routine and boring. I needed something to shake things up.

I remembered this strength and conditioning program that a friend had told me about years before. This thing called CrossFit. Like any good researcher would do, I turned to my friend Google to see where my local CrossFit gym was, and then linked myself up to their FaceBook page to do a little investigating. After just one FaceBook message I found myself in this primitive looking "Gym" loaded with barbells, kettle bells, an assortment of weighted balls and what looked like monkey bars. No mirrors. No elliptical machines. No cable crossover machine. How did these people do cardio?? How do they workout without an iPod?

A lady named Lindsay approached me with a smile and open arms. She proceeded to walk me through a warmup and then a workout or a WOD as they called it. (Workout of the Day) The WODs are timed, so its a race against the clock. I remember this particular workout kicking my ass, even though it had been scaled down from what the others were doing. It felt good. I definitely hadn't pushed myself that hard in a very long time. Being a competitive person, I did not want to come in last place.

I went home that afternoon and began to read all about CrossFit and it's methodology. I went from site to site just taking it all in. The idea behind CrossFit intrigued me, functional movement that involved gymnastics combined with Olympic Lifting, rowing and plyometrics. Core to extremity movements instead of isolating muscle groups, and lastly getting in and out of the gym in an hour. The next day I went by the gym and signed up. A year and a half later I went from being that chick who got her ass kicked by med-ball cleans and running, to earning my Level 1 Trainers certification, competing in local competition and coaching at my gym. I have never felt better. Confident and strong. I don't live and die by the number on my scale anymore and my body has never looked better. My CrossFit journey is just getting started and I am looking FORWARD (pun intended) to seeing where it takes me.