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Spunky Helen

by Meghann on January 28, 2013

Rise and shine! It’s CrossFit time.


I’m slowly growing addicted to my tri-weekly CrossFit sessions. I’m finally at the point where I’m comfortable enough with my coaches and fellow CrossFitters where we not only know each other by name and can swap fun stories from the weekend, but we also know each other by strengths and RMs and can semi-predict or gauge what others can lift.

Today’s skill focus was the “Low Bar Back Squat.” Going into the workout I had no idea what a “low bar” back squat was versus a regular one, but apparently it’s where the bar rests more on your upper back rather than right above your shoulders like a “high bar” back squat (or what we consider a regular) would be.

We were to warm-up then do 2 reps EMOM (every minute on the minute) for 10 minutes at 65% of our 1 RM (rep max). The class had focused on back squats last Thursday so everyone had a gauge of where they should be except for me, who had missed the class. It had been ages since we focused on back squats before then, and I had nothing written on my card (we track RMs so we don’t forget), so I had no clue where to start. Luckily my friend Amy was at class. We’re pretty even on RMs so I decided to take her lead and see where it got me.

Her 1 RM was 165, which translated to roughly 105 when rounding down for 65%. We warmed up with the bar then gradually added weight. At 65%, we should still be able to explode from the squat and not have to struggle to get the bar back up. I got up to 95lbs and could still explode, but was definitely feeling it. I was ready to stop at that weight, but my coach encouraged me to try for 105. He watched me attempt 105 and noticed I was slowing down and not exploding like I should – a sign I had passed 65% and should go back to 95lbs. That was a-ok with me. Amy was still exploding at 105 and kept it there – she rocked it!

I’m glad I dropped back to 95lbs, the 10 EMOM was still challenging, but also didn’t kill me. I was still exploding on the final round and kept my form intact through every set. I felt good!

We finished class with “Helen.”

  • 400 m run
  • 21 swings (i used 30lbs)
  • 12 pull ups
  • 3 RFT

Helen is a quick and dirty beast. Not exactly a challenging one when you first look at it, but I was certainly out of breath by the end. The run was the killer, but it’s also where I thrived. I was the first runner back in the first round, but slowed down when it came to the swings and pull ups. My goal was to keep a semi-even pace for the three rounds and finish strong. The coach counted the final 12 pull ups with me, which was pretty awesome. There’s nothing more encouraging than having someone count down the final reps with you. You can’t stop – someone is counting on you!


Bam. Done.

Back at home I had a bowl of plain greek yogurt with apple, peanut butter, walnuts and almond slivers for breakfast.


Nothing like a bowl of yogurt, fruit, and nuts to get the morning going!


Time to get this week started!

Have a great Monday everyone!

1 Anne @ eatcleaneatreal January 28, 2013 at 9:55 am

I think it is awesome that you are enjoying cross-fit so much. I have been hesitant to try it because Im worried it will hurt my running, especially if Im training for something long. I have always had a hard time recovering after intense workouts, and I didnt know how you are doing combining both running and cross-fit. Im super curious to try it though! Sounds like so much fun!
Anne @ eatcleaneatreal recently posted..Day 2: Label reading fail

2 Ashley @ Eat Run Live Happy January 28, 2013 at 9:56 am

I’m looking for a cross fit gym around where I live just to give it a try. My usual breakfast with a bowl of cheerios with coconut milk… I think it’s time to switch things up with something like above. It looks pretty darn good and filling.

3 Meghann January 28, 2013 at 10:31 am

Replacing the milk with greek yogurt is very filling, especially when you add the nuts. Nuts = lasting power!

4 Dori January 28, 2013 at 9:58 am

I think it’s great you are really enjoying CrossFit. Anything that gets women to strength train is a very good thing! I decided not to continue with CrossFit because I prefer other workouts more, but I like knowing that there are CrossFits all over the country in the event I decide to move away.
Dori recently posted..Workout Plan: Week of January 28, 2013 (I taught my first spin class)

5 Meghann January 28, 2013 at 10:25 am

The beauty about strength training is there are so many options out there to get strength training in and no one workout works for everyone. I’ve struggled with regularly strength training for years and am happy to finally find a workout I don’t mind committing to (just like you and Refine Method!). It’s nice to wake up and literally jump out of bed because I’m so excited to get to CrossFit and start my day. I feel the same way about running too!

6 Rachel January 28, 2013 at 10:11 am

I am also a triathlete turned CrossFitter and I am totally addicted. I haven’t tried Helen yet but it looks like fun!
Rachel recently posted..Fight Gone Bad Plus 2

7 lisa fine @ vermont vittles January 28, 2013 at 10:12 am

You sound so happy! I think between CrossFit, preparing for an IronMan, and getting married you are one happy girl. ๐Ÿ™‚

Any thoughts on your training plan for the IronMan, and where CrossFit will fit into it?
lisa fine @ vermont vittles recently posted..going on here : lisa and josh get engaged!

8 Meghann January 28, 2013 at 10:22 am

I feel happy! I’m taking Ironman training and CrossFit one day at a time. If I feel that it’s too much down the road, I have no problem dropping out of CrossFit. I can always pick it back up after the Ironman, but I only have this one Ironman to train for. ๐Ÿ™‚

9 Katie @ running4cupcakes January 28, 2013 at 11:09 am

I love hearing about crossfit – I wish we had a box in my town so I could at least check it out!
Katie @ running4cupcakes recently posted..Weekend Update: 1/27/13

10 Nicole@TheKidlessKronicles January 28, 2013 at 11:32 am

That is a bowlful of yum right there.

The Kidless Kronicles
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11 Allison January 28, 2013 at 11:56 am

You really have me contemplating crossfit………
Allison recently posted..Complete

12 Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer January 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Oh helen. Those ones that don’t “look” bad usually have me dry heaving at the end. I don’t usually say anything is “bad” anymore cause I will regret it by the end of the workout
Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer recently posted..Weekly Workout Recap: Back to the Grind

13 Jean January 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I don’t know anything about CrossFit, but based on your time and the fact that I think you’re trying to do it as fast as possible, you kicked butt!

14 Annette @FitnessPerks January 28, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I love Greek yogurt–mmmm so good!
Annette @FitnessPerks recently posted..Change of Plans

15 Mandi @ Miles and Mascara January 28, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Go on with your bad self! CF really is addicting (and I’ve only been “on it” for a month)! Haven’t done Helen yet, but sounds like something I might tackle during some “open gym” time. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have so much to learn and accomplish!
Mandi @ Miles and Mascara recently posted..Fitness Update.

16 Elizabeth- My Neon Running Shoes January 28, 2013 at 3:28 pm

What a great workout to start the week!
Elizabeth- My Neon Running Shoes recently posted..From this day forward: the only fro yo eating method you need.

17 meghan January 28, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I feel like I’ve asked you this before, but what CrossFit do you go to?
meghan recently posted..Weekly Workouts Recap: Back to it!

18 Sneakers2sandals January 28, 2013 at 7:11 pm

I freakin love Helen
Sneakers2sandals recently posted..Iโ€™ve been absent, and probably will be for awhile.

19 Sara @ fitcupcaker January 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Oh how I love crossfit, its just so expensive! gosh…
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