From Casual to Competitor 2: New Training

Today marks 28 days before I take on my first competitive wave at Warrior Dash. With just four weeks to go, it means that my training needs to be pushed to the next level, and soon! This week was the first full week back to work since break, so finding time from this point on to get my workouts in will be tricky, but as long as I keep myself focused on this goal, then I will be fine.

New Training

I have an upcoming post about exercises that can be done without a gym membership. That will be a great post for those looking for an inexpensive way to make fitness a part of their lives. However, I do believe that you’ll want to bump up your routine once you get into it. The next step up will be getting a gym membership. Nowadays, you can find good quality, local gyms that provide you the equipment and service you need to up your game.

Personally, I am a member at Planet Fitness. They have tons of locations, and mine is very close to my home and work, so I can easily carve out a short amount of time to get there. This week, I tried a new area: the PF 360 space. Not all locations have it, but if you’re looking for something new, this spot has it. You’ll want to try it out with a trainer first so you make sure you’re doing everything correctly.

Essentially, PF 360 is a mini Crossfit studio. It contains one large piece of equipment with 10 stations that work the whole body for strength, endurance, and balance. There is a green light/red light setup in the area; green is your workout time, and it lasts one minute; read is your switch time, and you have 30 seconds to get to your next station. If possible, I recommend setting everything up the way you want it before you start. Usually no more than one person uses that area at a time, and the staff try to make sure that those who are in there are using the space as recommended, rather than going in and doing one exercise.

My 10 stations go like this: battle ropes, squats with a kettlebell, planks (with and without an exercise ball), bicep curls with a split stance, rows in a half-squat stance, medicine ball rebounders with a trampoline, push-ups with a TRX, dips with a resistance band, Russian twists, and stepups. My first time at the PF 360 area, I did nearly two circuits; the trainer recommended I skip the dips on the second circuit because my arms were beat by that point. It is only recommended using that area two or three times per week. I went the first time on Tuesday and the second time on Friday. The second time around, I managed to complete two full circuits, including dips.

I have to say that this area gave me what I’ve been looking for: a full body workout that I could do in less than an hour. If you do the math with me (and I’m not good at math, so it took me a while to get there), the exercises take 10 minutes, plus five minutes of rotation time. That means each circuit takes 15 minutes, and depending on how much rest you take between circuits, you can be done in about 40 minutes. I also like how the stations can be customized. I’m thinking of switching out stepups for box jumps (but without a box). I can also rearrange the order of stations, which is also great for mixing up the routine. All in all, I’m glad to have finally tried this station, and I recommend you check it out too if you can.

To Crossfit or Not to Crossfit?

Over the holidays, I saw ads on Facebook for a special program at a local Crossfit studio in my area. It’s a special six-week program designed for people of all fitness levels (including none at all) and promises some pretty amazing results. I’ve been tempted for quite some time to try Crossfit, and this almost seems like the perfect opportunity to give it a shot. And since the program also includes a meal guide to help me finally get my meal prepping on track, that’s also tempting. (Amazing that the one thing have never been able to keep consistent is meal prepping.)

I’ve seen and heard both sides of the argument of Crossfit. Many will point out the possibility of injury, and honestly, that’s a part of any athletic situation. The best way to not get injured is to do nothing. Which is not an option for me. But the argument against Crossfit is the apparent hyper-proneness of injuries related to the WOD’s. On the other hand, I have friends who do Crossfit and swear by it, and I’ve seen the results they’re getting. So I can’t deny that it has helped millions of people get in shape in ways they’ve never been. The nice thing about the PF 360 is it gives me a glimpse into the world of Crossfit in case I want to try it. Plus, I know that Crossfit workouts seem closer in tune with training for obstacle course racing, which also makes me lean in that direction.

Right now, only time will tell, but some feedback wouldn’t hurt! What’s your stance on Crossfit? Is it worth giving it a try? Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter!

Disclaimer: I feel I should say this since I mentioned it, but I have NOT been asked or paid for my testimony about Planet Fitness or PF 360. My mention of it in this post simply because it’s part of my training.

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