CrossFit Level 1 Coaching Seminar Recap

by BusyMama on September 29, 2014

Last weekend was the CrossFit Level 1 (CLF1) coaching seminar at CrossFit Belltown.  Which subsequently is a gorgeous gym.  Admittedly, I was a little nervous walking in.  I’m not really sure why, probably just overthinking.  Once I took my seat with everyone waiting for the day to start, though, my nerves were calmed.  People were really open and friendly; that CrossFit community feeling was really present in the room.  I sat next to a physical therapist named Sarah.  It was really nice to meet a PT who is into CrossFit (which is why she was there – so she could have more cred with her clients).  In my experience with physical therapy, CrossFit is usually very stigmatized.  So is running, actually.  It gets kind of annoying being treated by someone who isn’t a fan of your sport.  Anyway…

The day started with squats.  The coaches teaching us broke down the bodyweight squat (or in CrossFit-ese, the ‘air squat’) followed by front and overhead squats.  We watched Rory, one of seminar staff coaches, demonstrate the exercises with proper form and then with different faults.  Then we broke off into groups to squat ourselves with a coach leading us.  Each group stood in a circle and squatted while the coach walked around and gently tweaked our form here and there.  We kept squatting until Rory picked two of us to demonstrate some form imperfections.  I was one of the demo people for our group and by the time Rory picked me, my legs were surprisingly very fatigued.  I think the previous day having been squat day at Sammamish CrossFit had taken most of the ‘wind’ out of my leg muscles.  So I was there to demonstrate an ‘immature squat’.  The other guy demonstrating had a forward chest lean.  The two of us squatted repeatedly while our group examined the faults in our form and then we returned to our circle for even more squats.  This was basically how all of the nine core CrossFit lifts were taught to us.

After squats, we moved to overhead:  the strict shoulder press, the push press and the push jerk.  Rory demoed again proper form and faults, and then we were back to our group to practice with dowels.  Can I just say, it is pretty impressive how much you can fatigue doing overhead presses/jerks even just using a dowel if you do enough of them.  We learned some pretty cool coaching tricks using the uprights of a rig (think the supports of a squat rack if you don’t know what that means) and standing so that our ‘barbells’ (actually dowels) would track up the uprights keeping the barbell in a straight line up and down.  This was actually really helpful for me since I tend to press the barbell out in front of me to get it around my face which puts  the work in my biceps.

The day ended with a wod, after going through a breakdown of kipping pull-ups and Thrusters.  I was waiting for it to be Fran, (a benchmark wod of 21 thrusters, 21 pull-ups, 15 thrusters, 15 pull-ups, 9 thrusters, 9 pull-ups) and I think that was a good portion of why I was nervous walking in!  Instead, our wod was three rounds for time of 15 thrusters and 12 burpees.  Since I’ve been having some shoulder problems for a while, I talked to one of the coaches who suggested I modify to 3 rft 15 thrusters and 12 sit-ups.  This was still very difficult!  And definitely a good choice since after doing 45 thrusters, my shoulders were shot.  I can only imagine if I had decided to let my ego get in my way and do burpees.

All sweaty and wiped out from a long day of squatting, pressing, pull-ups, thrusters and then that wod, we all hobbled outside for a group picture which is pretty much the only other pic I have from this weekend since I decided not to spend my time distracted by taking Instagram/blog pics and instead be present.

Day two was exam day.  The day started with deadlifts, sumo deadlift high-pulls and medicine ball cleans.  The deadlift is the one lift that my body seems to really not understand so I was really appreciating having it broken down as much as it was.  In our groups, we practiced with the dowel while Eric, our deadlifting coach, walked around our circle adjusting our form here and there and having us hold at different points in the deadlift so we could feel how our muscles should be firing.  We did the same thing with SDHP’s and then for the med ball cleans, we were given actual med balls.  This was broken down into pieces: the deadlift, the drive and shrug and then the front squat.  Finally, we put the whole movement together and were grouped into partners for the wod.  This wod was different: one partner would coach while the other worked out.

The wod was as many reps as possible in 8 minutes of 8 push-ups, 10 med ball cleans and 12 sit-ups.  Unlike what I’m used to at SCF, we were told not to kip our pull-ups and if you can’t do a solid push-up on your toes, it is okay to do them on your knees.  Which is what I had to do, mostly to preserve my shoulders.  Doing the actual wod was easy.  Coaching our partner was actually a bit trickier than I had anticipated.  I’m used to coaching group fitness classes.  It is not the same as coaching a single person wodding.  Our job as coach was to watch for any form faults and use the simplest and most straight-forward cues we could come up with to help our partner wod with the best form possible.  We also had to coach for performance at the same time.  It was a little tricky for me at first to pick my cues – I have a bad habit of saying more than I  need to.  Eventually, I started to figure it out but this is something I definitely need more practice with.

We got an interesting lecture after this on nutrition and fueling for working out and recovery and then we broke off for lunch.  I stayed in the box with a small group of people and we sat around quizzing each other on our notes which ended up helping me a lot when it came down to exam time.  After lunch, we learned how the progression for coaching muscle-ups and snatches.

With muscle-ups, we broke off into groups and took turns circling through the rings: the person in front of you would coach, you do the muscle-ups progression.  Then you turn around and coach the person behind you when they do the progression and so forth.  Doing this, I actually got a strict muscle up! Granted, the rings were down pretty low and I had someone stabilizing the rings a little bit for me.  But still… I got my head through and managed to land in the dip and press up.  Without my feet on the floor.  I’m still not quite sure exactly how that happened?  This was also one of those moments I was irritated my phone was tucked away in my bag.  I wish I caught it on video.

We all did snatches together in rows with dowels.  The snatch is the one olympic lift I am really not sure of.  I have pulled off some successful ones, but they were more power-snatchy.  I haven’t ever ‘landed’ in a full squat with the bar because I’ve never really been sure if my body would know what to do.  Going through the progression of dipping, shrugging, shrugging the bar up and then finally shrugging it up and squatting made it start to actually click a little and I am thinking I may want to try this just with a barbell at SCF sometime after class.  Just to feel what it’s like.

Finally, exam time came.  I was really itchy to get through it since I was getting really tired at this point.  I thought the test was pretty easy.  It took me about 15 minutes to get through since all of the answers had been given to us in lectures all weekend and were what was written up on the board to copy for your notes.  And I got my results this morning… I passed! Yay!  We were told not to talk about what was on the test so sorry, no details.  But if taking the CFL1 exam is something you’d like to do someday, well, just take really good notes in class and you’ll be fine.

Overall, I thought it was a really awesome weekend.  I loved getting to workout with so many other people (there were over 40 of us!), being coached by different coaches who all had really cool and diverse coaching styles, and getting to really spend time on all the different lifts and exercises.   I definitely walked into SCF on Monday feeling much more enthusiastic about working out.   I think whether or not the goal is to eventually coach or not, if you love CrossFit going to CFL1 is an awesome experience.




Pistol Squat Progress

by BusyMama on September 11, 2014

Just have to say, I am kind of totally loving having pink in my hair.  It’s making me actually do my hair sometimes, as opposed to just stuffing it into an elastic of some sort, because it makes things that are kind of annoying to do end up looking like this.

I’m thinking about maybe adding dark purple to the tips.  I just need to figure out how to wash it so the color doesn’t run.  It seems to fade a bit with each shower and the pink sort of spreads around the tips in interesting ways… which I actually like.   Just need to figure out what these fancy shmancy rainbow hair Instagram chicks do to keep their color.


I am still working on my pistol squats, although I do feel like I should give them a bit more attention.   I have actually managed to be able to squat down on one leg slightly over halfway down…. but then I fall.  I hit my sticking point where my muscles often fail when I use the upright in the gym…

Not the best picture. Basically, you lower yourself down to full squat depth while walking your hands down the upright making sure to stay in your muscles, not fall or use any momentum. Then you hold at the bottom, trying to stay engaged, lower your foot to a narrow squat position – as narrow as you can get – and squeeze the hell out of your ass while you squat back up. After a few reps, this burns like a mother.

… and fall on my ass.  However, a couple of months ago, I couldn’t even squat down more than maybe 6-8 inches on one leg.   So I’m actually kind of proud of my falling on my ass-ishness.

Video of my pistol squat fall down.  Weird.  For some reason WordPress won’t preview it.  Oh well.

Anyway, I am still working on it.  I need to work on it more.  I will work on it more.

One more cool thing – I’ve been working with MT a little bit lately with writing.  He likes to trace letters on his iPad and so I thought it might be fun to have him try tracing letters on paper so that he could start to learn how to write his name.  Not too shabby for his first try!?




Workout Supplements

September 10, 2014

A friend of mine suggested that I write up a blog article about workout supplements that I use and since I do/have use(d) quite a few of them, I thought that was a really good idea.  There are a number of workout supplements that I have found have really helped improve the quality of my [...]

Read the full article →

Staying Motivated

August 20, 2014

Has this ever happened to you?  You start a new training/workout/diet/whatever program and for the first few weeks, you have a lot of motivation to do what you need to everyday to hit your goal.  You’re planning and prepping your meals.  Your logging your training miles.  You’re waking up excited to get your workout in. [...]

Read the full article →

Shoulders and Core

August 13, 2014

So this one is a fun little exercise that admittedly took me a little while of talking myself into trying.  It’s a wall stand with shoulder taps that is pretty amazing for working on your shoulders and upper body stabilizer muscles.  (And sorry for the random Facebook stuff underneath it – I accidentally deleted it [...]

Read the full article →

Triceps and Core

August 12, 2014

I posted on Facebook asking for some ideas for blog posts so I can have a list to use while I get myself back in the groove of frequent blogging and got some really amazingly awesome ideas and responses… one of which I can pop out like right meow. Someone asked for a body weight [...]

Read the full article →


August 1, 2014

I haven’t talked about this on my blog in a really long time.  Well, I haven’t really shown up emotionally on here in a really long time too.  I need to talk about it, though, so here it is.  I am starting to battle some… ‘urges’ again.  And last night, I binged. Not too badly, [...]

Read the full article →

Sammamish CrossFit

July 31, 2014

Okay.  So, I’ve had a few people asking me for a while to do one of my ‘wonderfully’ illustrated blog posts (because my art work is just that great… obviously…) but I haven’t been able to because A.) MT has basically commandeered my iPad so I never get to use it and B.) I haven’t [...]

Read the full article →

Dead Lifting, Pistol Squats, Power Cleans and My Butt

July 30, 2014

It’s really hard for me to figure out things to blog about when I’m not running.  Just saying.   And I am missing running a lot, especially with all the sunshine lately. Still plugging a long at strengthening my butt and hamstrings to be able to do a pistol squat by working those narrow squats [...]

Read the full article →

Pistol Squats!

July 24, 2014

I really want to be able to do one but I don’t have that strength or flexibility… at this point in time.   I’ve managed them before *sort of* using a ring as an assist – hold on to the ring (for dear life) and lower yourself into a full pistol, come up.  But I [...]

Read the full article →