Friday, August 24, 2012

A Tale of Two Boxes - My First Foray Into Crossfit

I must confess. I'm in a workout rut :/ Ever since I made my New Year's Resolutions, I don't think I've been doing my best to get in shape. Since we're already past the halfway point, I thought now was a good a time as any to explore other avenues of working out.

I'm sure many of you have heard about Crossfit by now. It is a strength and conditioning program based on, “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement." You can read more about it from this highly informative Wiki page here.

Since there are two Crossfit facilities (aka: Boxes) near my work (and they are literally one block from each other in the same industrial park), I figured I would try each of them out. I wanted to see if 1) crossfit is for me; and 2) if it was for me, which one would I like the best. So, here's my very informal review of each box. Take what I say as a grain of salt as I am completely new to this. :)
Image Courtesy of Tyson's Corner Crossfit

Tyson's Corner Crossfit
8466 Tyco Rd Suite E
Vienna, VA 22182

The class schedule at TCXF may seem to fit my needs as there are weekday evening classes. I went to the 5:30pm class.

Because this was my first time at a box, I didn't have any expectations on what it should look like.  Honestly, I would have to say that it looked a little like a garage and was about the size of a two-car garage with an upstairs level. From what I hear, that's what they are supposed to look like. No frills with just the basics. I think what also contributed to the garage feel was that the entrance was an actual rolling garage door! In any case, I saw all of the crossfitters in all their glory before I even entered.

Class Size
There seemed to be about 15 people there that day. There were four girls, two (including myself) of which were new and were doing the free class for the first time. That wasn't too promising because you could be the only girl on any given day. I know I should be like, "I am woman hear me *rawr*," but I'm not at that point just yet...

The warm-up was really informative because I got to use a pvc pipe to practice different types of lifts. The only lifts I know are the "clean" and "press" so I found it useful to practice the form of these newly learned lifts without the weights!

The Actual Workout (aka: the Workout of the Day-WOD)
Being the newbie that I am, I can't believe I actually participated in an actual crossfit workout. The name of the workout was "Helen" which consisted of the following:

3 rounds for time:
Run 400 meters
21 kettlebell swings
12 pull-ups

Of course I struggled with the run since I hadn't run much since the Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon back in March (!!). I was somewhat comfortable with the kettlebell swings since I had done them before. The pull-ups were what really killed me, but I was thankful that I had a large rubber band to use, to help support some of my weight (but apparently not enough, lol). From what I am told, this workout and others, such as the infamous "Fran", are great benchmarks for you to find out how fit you are getting, and how your body is developing athletically. You are supposed to time yourself in order to see improvements, but for this first one I was just trying to get through it!

Stretching/Cool Down
Everyone pretty much did their own thing as far as the stretching went.

The main instructor, Matt, was nice and he helped me every step of the way. Kari, Matt's wife and fellow instructor, offered me some guidance as well. There were some TCXF instructors taking the class as well, so they helped me with informational tidbits, too.

Upon entering the box, everyone introduced themselves to me, so they seemed pretty nice. After that, everyone went to their own cliques, but that isn't different from any gym...

I would say it was a cozy box. Yes, I know in real estate cozy=small, but I say cozy because it appeared that everyone was like a pretty tight knit group.  In addition, the box is kind of small, so you are sure to easily get to know one another. The pricing can't be beat ($150/month unlimited, no contracts).

Image courtesy of The Meanest Momma

Crossfit Rubicon
8500 Tyco Road  Vienna, VA 22182
The class schedule at Crossfit Rubicon also fit my needs, as there are weekday evening classes. If I were to join this box, I would most likely attend the 6PM classes; however, they have a free beginner's class on Saturdays at 10AM so I went to that one. If you happen to be a seasoned crossfitter, you can email them to attend a free trial class.

After attending the other box a few days earlier, I kind of knew what to expect. Unlike the first box, CFR's space is definitely bigger. Upon entry, you saw the women's bathroom on the right and a huge contraption consisting of barbell racks and ropes(!). There were shirts of other boxes displayed on one wall and various exercise equipment (foam rollers, pvc pipes, etc.), and medicine balls located on the other wall. On the website, there were pictures of astro turf (where they flip tires and what not), but I didn't see any turf. Maybe it's in another room?

Class Size
In my intro class, there were 4 females.  Right before I started our intro class, I got to see the end of their morning XF class.  There looked to be about 15 people in that class and let me tell you that class looked intimidating!

We grabbed a weight plate and rotated it around our body using our shoulders.  Then we did some inchworms (crawling out to pushup position, and then crawling up again). It was a good active warm-up.

The Actual Workout (aka: the Workout of the Day-WOD)
We didn't do the WOD, but instead did a tabata (timed, high-intensity interval training), consisting of a overhead presses and ball slams.  We did as many as we could in a short amount of time. After that, we laid on the floor and got up as many times as we could (also timed). That was pretty exhausting!

Stretching/Cool Down
As a part of the cool down, we used the pvc pipe to loosen our shoulders. We moved the pvc pipe in front of our bodies, and then in back of our bodies (without bending our elbows!). They also showed us some techniques using the foam roller, which felt great!

Our intro class was led by Hronn.  Her husband and co-owner/instructor, Dave, also assisted with instructing the class shortly after it started. What I like most about them were the helpful anecdotes they gave us throughout the class.

"Please pay attention, because the minute you stop paying attention is when something bad happens." (Oops, my eyes were caught wandering, sorry I was in stimulation overload!)

"As a woman you want to be strong. You don't want to be running around the house, looking for your husband to open a pickle jar." (How did you know!?!?)

"The human body wasn't meant to run long distances. You all saw the Olympics. Look at the distance runners. Now look at the sprinters. Which one do you want to look like? (Never thought about it that way, so true!)

The vibe between the four women in the intro class was amicable, but like I said earlier, the class before us looked intimidating. Dave said it best when he compared the WOD to an orchestra practice: "It looks like chaos at first, but once you get familiar with Crossfit, it all goes together."

I'm glad that there was a separate intro class because the instructors were able to break things down further than if it were a regular class. Compared to TCXF, the pricing is a little more expensive for the unlimited option. They do offer a 3x/week no contract option for $150 that I would probably do if I joined because I would only be working out there weekdays.

What a tough decision! What say you? Are you a crossfitter and lovin' it? Out of all the boxes in the world, what were the deciding factors in choosing the box you now work out at? Although they are just around the corner from one another, they each have their own qualities. I'm going to take a few days and decide if I want to join up with either box, but I'll be sure to keep you all posted on my fitness journey!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Weekend Review: Don't Rain On My Parade Edition

Hello Everyone! I hope you had a good weekend. I had a pretty fun one which was kicked off by our attendance at the Marine Barracks Evening Parade. Unfortunately, it was raining throughout the parade, so I think they shortened it. I was really looking forward to seeing the Silent Drill Platoon perform their Silent Drill Exhibition, but the rain probably made handling the guns too slippery. In any case, it was still a great show.

Here is the Drum and Bugle Corps.:

Here is the Marine Corps. Band:

The differences between the Drum and Bugle Corp. and the Marine Corp. band is that the D&C are all actually active duty military (so if we were being attacked they would drop the oboe and pick up a gun!) and the MCB are highly recruited musicians that serve as honorary Marines. Neat little factoid tidbit for you. :)

My favorite part of the parade was by far the appearance by the official mascot of the Marine Corps. Barracks, Chesty the Bulldog. Sorry the pic is blurry, but trust me he was too cute!

They finished the parade with Companies A and B (the two Marine companies that actually live at the Barracks) doing an exit march.

We later hung out on 8th Street and met up with one of Justin's friends from Louisville (who lives in Chicago now) that was in town for a conference. Nothing too crazy, but still fun! With the summer almost over I can't believe I've only done one thing on my Summer To List, but Summer isn't over yet and I hope to enjoy every last minute of it (and hopefully cross more things off on my list)!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Let's Go Fencing

The Summer Olympics have come an gone but the Brioni have gone fencing! Wrought iron fencing that is. :) As I said in this post and vented about in this post, the one home improvement we decided to do this year was invest in an iron fence. Here are some shots of our fence's contstruction. The company we selected, City Ornamental Iron, constructed the fence and the handrail over the course of a week and half. We weren't really in a hurry so we were fine with them doing the job in phases.

Here is a shot of the truck as it arrived one morning.

Here are the guys making holes for the fence posts to go into. I wonder if I was creeping them out; taking these pictures from my front door. Or maybe they just thought I was being a typical Asian, tanking pictures of

The fence came in pre-assembled sections so it was kind of like putting a puzzle together...only a lot harder...and with welding...and fire!

They came back a few days later to do the gate which I love! Opening it when I go to/from work always brings a smile to my face! I swear, wrought iron fences are like the urban version of the white picket fence. :) They truly give you a sense of home!

After they finished the gate and fence, the last thing they did was install the handrail. Notice the little bit of caution tape. Maybe to warn us not to run into it? :) We knew this was something that had to be done since our first home inspection and we obviously couldn't make one like Justin did here. Man, it feels good to be compliant! Take that insurance comany! hehehe...

Here's a wide shot of the finished product!

So there you have it. Although, it isn't as enjoyable as a new backyard would have been (that'll come soon enough!), we think it adds a ton of curb appeal. And when we're outside the "boys" no longer have to be confined by a baby gate on our front stoop! Have a good weekend everybody!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Walking into Spiderwebs

Hello Everybody! I know its been a while since my last blog post. Since you last heard from me, I had a girls' weekend at the beach, Justin and I had some out of town guests, and I even got sick with a cold/flu/allergy-type thing (I wasn't really sure what it was, but I was out of commission for a few days!). Anyways, I'm back and I'll try to get you caught up on what I've been up this month.

In preparation of our friends visiting from out of town, I took it upon myself to try to spiffy up our entryway. Sadly, it was getting a bit grimey as there were a bunch of bugs and spiderwebs hanging around our entry way, as seen in these two above the door shots: 

Look at the corner areas, they're nasty!

And highlighted by our light here:

And an up close shot of the crustiness of our entry light:

I'm not sure if these pics capture the gross factor of it, but it was starting to look like Halloween up in here (in a bad way!) Yuck! 

Two spiderweb blobs: 

I looked up on the internet how to repel spiders and one of the the websites said to spray the area with Pledge Wood Polish because spiders don't like things that have citrus in it. So, I took what I had left of our orange Pledge and sprayed the crap out of the entry way. I'm sorry I don't have any after pictures because it look so much better after I swept away all the spiderwebs. It even smelled orangey-fresh to boot! However, the success of my "cleaning" was short lived because in the days following, the areas I sprayed started to act like flypaper, collecting the little critters that would fly by on our walls and on the entry way. wah wah. But, at least there weren't any spiderwebs, right? At least for now... :( 

Short of installing a bug zapper in our entryway, I'm wondering what else I can do to keep the bugs at bay. I wouldn't want to resort to pesticides since the bugs do live outside; however, several of our neighbors have had professionals come in to spray a mosquito barrier in their yards. I wonder if that would help out our entryway bug problem? I know it seems a little crazy spraying a little 6x6 foot patch of grass, but if it helps eliminate mosquitos and other bugs, it might be something that we may look into for next summer.