I Survived Crossfit!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012  |  Running + Triathlon

Friday the 13th. (Insert horror music here.) Of all days to choose for our trial session for CrossFit, who was the dumb fool who scheduled such a nerve-wracking, lung-busting, sweat-inducing workout on the most ominous day of the year?! Oh wait, that was me!

Good thing I dragged along 10 innocent TBR readers, plus a friend, Jun, to join me for what I expected to be 30 minutes of hellish pain.

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– CrossFit trial session! Me with TBR readers and CrossFit MNL team –

Before I tell you what happened, allow me to share exactly what Crossfit is as explained by one of Crossfit MNL’s partners, Miggy Dy-Buncio:

TBR: What is CrossFit?

Miggy: CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.

CrossFit workouts are constantly varied movements executed at high intensity, thus every workout is different and you will rarely do the same thing twice.  The workouts themselves are completely scalable, which means that a new participant and an elite athlete can complete the same workout with changes in load and intensity. CrossFit workouts will deliver phenomenal fitness in and of themselves or as a compliment to your sport-specific training regime.

CrossFit workouts are a combination of Running, Kettlebell Training, Gymnastics, Track and Field, Plyometrics and Weightlifting.  You will be doing the workout together with other Crossfitters  of all ages and all fitness levels. The workouts are rarely more than 45 minutes long and so they can fit into even the busiest schedules.

Finally, CrossFit is FUN! Our coaches and participants are welcoming, supportive, and committed to creating an environment where everyone can succeed.

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– One of CrossFit MNL’s owners and instructors, Miggy Dy-Buncio –

TBR: How can Crossfit benefit runners?

Miggy: Crossfit will help runners develop speed, strength and endurance.  It will also reduce injuries.

Taken from www.catalystgymn.com, they best summarize the benefits of Crossfit for runners.  Some things Crossfit emphasizes that will REALLY benefit runners:

1) HIPS, NOT KNEES.  You run with your hips.  You climb with your hips.  Your hips control your speed.  But runners, in the gym, squat with their quads, and do quad extensions on the machine.  While running, your quads act as shock absorbers; they don’t actively move you.  True, rectus femoris is largely responsible for the swing phase of your stride, but most runners don’t train hip flexors either!  Crossfit trains hip flexors with explosive stretch/contractile velocity – perfect for running.

2) SHORT, INTENSE WORKOUTS THAT EMPHASIZE RECRUITING MUSCLES TOGETHER.  To get faster, you need to get your hamstrings, gluteus, and gastrocs/soleus operating smoothly together, as an efficient unit.  Isolating them with leg curls, calf raises, and glute machines won’t do that.  Kettlebell swings and deadlifts with the correct form will.

3) TRUNK STABILIZATION.  Situps aren’t effective ‘core work’ for runners.  Runners need stabilization around the trunk, with some small degree of rotation at the same time.  In fact, in our culture, so rich with ‘seated’ jobs, tight hip flexors is a major problem contributing to low back pain.  Starting a run with tight ‘six-pack’ muscles (rectus abdominis) will lead to a shortened stride, as hip flexors are stretched to make up the difference.

4) BALANCE. As a runner, you’re teetering on the verge of overuse injuries all the time.  You’ve got to find balance: pulling as often as you push, sprinting as often as you jog, etc.

5) NEUROMUSCULAR EFFICIENCY. Frankly, your movements can become smoother and more powerful only by lifting faster or with more force.  Crossfit is great for increasing force.

6) INCREASED ANAEROBIC AND AEROBIC CAPACITY – research on the Canadian Armed Forcesshowed a great improvement on military personnel.  These were NOT marathoners, though.

Miggy briefly introduced us to CrossFit as well before we officially began our first trial session. Then, we started with some warm ups and stretches. I bet this was also a confidence-building period to prepare us for the humbling experience that was waiting for us…

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Then, Miggy went off to teach us the 4 basic exercises we would do to complete 1 set. These were: 7 wall balls (using 10lbs balls for women and 14lbs for men), 7 push ups, 7 box jumps, and lastly 7 burpees. GULP! We were to complete as many sets as we could in 15 minutes. DOUBLE GULP!

Before we could complain or exit the fire escape, it was a go. And, as I threw that 10lb medicine ball up in the air (even hitting my face once), pushed my body off the floor barely feeling my arms, hopped up and down that box while seeing my sweat drop down onto my shoes, and cursed in my mind as I performed those awful burpees while dreaming of slurpees instead, I realized that, whoa boy, I actually enjoyed it!

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– Wall balls –

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– Push ups –

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– Box jumps –

I loved being yelled at and being pushed further when I was completely exhausted. Loved trying to compete with the others in the room for the most sets. Loved the sweat dripping from my face and hair as if I had just run 10k. It was thrilling and, ironically, completely energizing!  Now this was a fun workout, I thought!

Before we knew it, the 30 minute session was over. It was a quick yet challenging and strenuous workout. Just the kind of workout for hectic days that leave me with little time for long gym workouts or long slow runs. A CrossFit session burns those calories, builds your strength, and does it all in 30 minutes.

Perhaps the only downside I see with CrossFit for us runners is that it’s a risky activity for those prone to injury or those who are currently managing an injury. There are explosive moves and jumping and one wrong move could hurt your running. If you really want to try it, then I would suggest you inform Miggy or the staff at CrossFit that you are a runner or that you’re training for a particular race (especially if it’s a marathon or ultra!), so that they can recommend what precautions to take or what sessions will best suit you.

As for me, I would love to do this every so often. I don’t think I can fit it into my crazy life and hectic training sched (swim, bike, run, and weights), but I’ll surely try to drop by once or twice a month to jolt my body out of its usual routine and have me some fun!

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– All sticky and sweaty after CrossFit. I thought it would shrink me by 2 inches, but apparently not, that belly is still showing.  Bet I’ll lose that after my 3rd session.  Right Miggy? –

Here’s what our TBR readers said after the workout:

The techniques employed combined with hands on coaches on the actual 30 min. routine was just so superb.  Cross Fit Manila sealed my apprehension with their approach indeed.  They had me on an intense combination of exercises that’s a sure fire complement to a training regimen in preparation for an upcoming long distance run. Overall it was a rewarding experience.  TBR and Crossfit Manila you rock!

– Shayz

It was the most intensed & challenging 15 min workout of my life!  What’s so good about it is that it kept me going, even though i wanted to rest already. The high energy coaches, & music gave me all the boost that i need. Will definitely comeback one of these days. Crossfit rocks!

– Yas

A whole body training every runner should try. After the trial, I know where I am weak at and for my F12 fitness plans, I will consider CrossFit given that it is near the Fort, so after the circuit, a nice 10k jog will do.

– Dexter

For inquiries, contact:
Website: www.crossfitmnl.com
Twitter: CrossfitMNL
Facebook: Crossfit MNL

Libis:
186 Magnitude Bldg
E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave, Q.C. Phils
Contact number: +63917.569.2399; 02.964.7251

Fort/Taguig:
Philippine Army Gymnasium
Lawton Ave. cor Bayani Road, Taguig, Philippines

*** CROSSFIT MNL HAS AN ONGOING PROMO WITH DEAL GROCER: Php 3,650 instead of Php 5,000 for 1 month unlimited sessions.  Click HERE.***

 

RedCord for Runners

Thursday, 12 January 2012  |  Running + Triathlon

Last week, my good friend Mitch Felipe-Mendoza invited me to a free trial session for Redcord. I heard about Redcord early last year from my best running buddy, Annie, who raved about it being a hit in Singapore where she works as a Pilates instructor.

I dropped by the new b+b Studio in Infinity Tower conveniently located in Bonifacio Global City. Awesome studio with an amazing view of the city.

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– Pilates equipment –

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– Redcord area –

The only thing I knew about Redcord was that it’s a fusion of suspension training (think TRX) and Pilates. As a fan of TRX before and being a big believer in the benefits of Pilates especially for runners, I was very excited (and nervous) to give this a try.

During the session, I asked Mitch all about Redcord:

WHAT IS REDCORD?
Redcord is a suspension training system that uses body weight as resistance and exercises multiple muscle groups and the nervous system to produce the most optimal neuromuscular challenge and experience.

BENEFITS OF REDCORD FOR RUNNERS:
– improves balance
– challenges coordination by syncing the nerves and muscles in multiplanes
– improves full body strength by optimizing muscle activation
– educates the athlete thru body awareness-proprioception
– increases flexibility
– improves stability thru core control

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– This is me after my Redcord Session. Thanks to Mitch for the intro session –

For my first session, I was just familiarizing myself with the use of the cords. It wasn’t entirely new to me since I’ve used suspension training in the past, but there were certainly some exercises that I’ve never done before. We worked on both my arms and legs being extra careful with my foot which is still recovering from my marathons. It’s wonderful that there’s a wide variety of options for each exercise to make it easier or harder for each person.

While most of the exercises use body weight and tension to build strength, the reps still made it very tiring. I liked the fact that with each exercise, you could also feel a stretch in some muscles, something that all of us runners need. We also used the Bozu for balance and some hand weights for the upper body after the Redcord sessions.

Mitch took it easy on me for my trial session. She said the first session is always an assessment of a Client’s strengths and weaknesses. By the second session, the instructor can customize your program according to your needs. I’m definitely be back for more (and harder workouts…gulp!) in the coming weeks!

WHERE CAN YOU TRY RED CORD:
b+b studio
– 11th Fl., Infinity Tower, 26th St., Bonifacio Global City, +639178653878/+6324786691
– Gr. Fl., Bonifacio Technology Center, 31st St. corner 2nd Ave., Bonifacio Global City, +639178992639/+6328151009

AVAILABLE PROGRAMS AT b+b STUDIO:
1) Redcord Personal Training Session
2) Redcord Duo & Small Group Training
– Redcord Fitcore
– Redcord Full-body Conditioning
– Redcord Burn
– Redcord Athletic

Let’s Try CrossFit! Sign Up for a Free Trial Session with Us

Monday, 9 January 2012  |  Running + Triathlon

It’s the start of a new year and I’m in need of a change. I’ve been doing strength training exercises at the gym for 4 years now and my muscles (and mind) are aching for a new challenge. So, in the next few weeks, I’ll be searching for a new workout that I can sustain to complement my running.

Last week, I tried Red Cord with Mitch Felipe (I’ll write about it soon).  This coming Friday, I’ve scheduled a trial session with my friend Miggy Dy-Buncio who co-owns CrossFit Manila and is a certified CrossFit trainer himself. Oh, and he runs too!

According to CrossFit Manila’s website, the CrossFit program is “a combination of high intensity and constantly varied exercises, which means you’ll never repeat a workout. Exercises range from gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, track and field, kettlebell training and other sports. Most workouts resemble circuit training and are finished in less than 30 minutes.”

30 minutes?! How cool is that?

I asked Miggy to accommodate 10 more TBR readers to our CrossFit trial this week. Come and join us! It will be fun!

EVENT: Free CrossFit trial
DATE: Friday, Jan. 13, 2012
TIME: 12:30 to 1:00 PM
PLACE: CrossFit, Army Gymnasium, Bayani Road cor. Lawton Ave.

If you are interested, please comment below with these words: I WANT TO TRY CROSSFIT. First 10 readers will join me and my friends for a free trial session. Let’s do this!

For more info on CrossFit, click HERE to visit their website.

UPDATE: To the first 10 commenters below, see you on Friday!  To those who didn’t make it, so sorry! Hope you can try CrossFit anyway in the future.

1 Sherrie Torres
2 Toel
3 odie
4 Yas
5 Dex
6 Wilbert
7 Joseph
8 Rosalia Castro
9 Jo
10 Nina

Bull Circle 3: Full House with Coach Jim Saret & Sen. Pia Cayetano

Thursday, 15 December 2011  |  Running + Triathlon

Our TBR Dream Marathoners were treated to an evening of new learnings and fresh inspiration from our special guests last night at ROX, Bonifacio High Street.  No less than RP-Smart Gilas team and The Biggest Loser Coach, Jim Saret, and super athlete, mother, and Senator, Sen. Pia Cayetano, graced our 3rd Bull Session for TBR Dream Marathon 2012.

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– Full house at ROX! –

Our talk started with TBR Dream Alumni Miriam Valero sharing her personal experience and practical tips on running TBR Dream Marathon.

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– Miriam Valero shares her TBR Dream Marathon experience –

Coach Jim Saret’s informative and engaging talk focus on strength conditioning, core, and balance for our runners preparing for their 42k.

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– Coach Jim addresses our runners –

He emphasized the importance of strengthening specifically the hamstrings, the source of power for a runner in each and every single step he takes.  (Nope, it’s not the quads like we all thought.)

Coach Jim asked our runners to perform simple tests to evaluate the imbalances in their bodies (oh boy!) and taught them specific exercises they could do at home to correct these imbalances and strengthen the muscles in both legs.

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– There was a lot of wobbling, shaking, and nervous laughter in the house! –

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– By partners! –

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– Night of learning…and fun –

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– The Biggest Loser’s Allan Choachuy was there too! Here he is partnering with my Big Brother! Yes, the guy on the left is my cigarette-smoking, beer-drinking Kuya who signed up for TBR Dream 2012 –

Sen. Pia Cayetano then shared a side of her that we don’t often see in the news nor read in the newspapers.  She candidly spoke about her own journey as an athlete dating back to the days as a varsity volleyball player leading up to her numerous marathons and triathlons in the present.

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– Sen. Pia addresses our runners –

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– Runners listening intently –

She spoke about how running changed her and helped her face many challenges in her life.  She also gave our future marathoners detailed tips on how to run their race, dealing with injury, and training.

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Before leaving, Sen. Pia talked about her new memoir: My Daily Race and signed books of our runners.

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– Sen. Pia signing her books –

I got myself a copy and I’ve read a couple of the stories in her collection.  It’s a great read that’s entertaining, thought-provoking, and completely inspiring.  Highly recommend this book! I purchased a couple as Christmas gifts already.

We capped the night with a whole lot of pictures with Sen. Pia and Coach Jim Saret gamely hanging out with our runners.

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– GM of NUVALI, our event partner for TBR DM, Jun Bisnar, me, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Coach Jim’s lovely wife, Toni, and Coach Jim –

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– with The Biggest Loser’s Allan Choachuy, TBR DM runners, and friends –

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– with Jun, Coach Jim, and Miriam –

Running with Champion Triathlete Arland Macasieb

Tuesday, 13 December 2011  |  Running + Triathlon

The day before I left for San Francisco, I snuck in a run with Arland Macasieb at Ayala Alabang.

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– Arland is the cover of TBR Magazine – Nov/Dec 2011. Get your free copies! –

For those of you who don’t know, Arland is the Philippine elite champion of the Ironman 70.3 2011 and a 12-time Ironman finisher. He qualified for Boston Marathon in 2011 with a time of 2:52.

Before our run, I asked Arland to take it easy on me.  I was still recovering from New York Marathon and was set to run California Int’l Marathonin a week’s time.  He obliged and nonchalantly replied that he just finished Ironman Arizona last November 20. He set a new Philippine IM record with a time of 9:44:30.  His marathon time at Ironman Arizona?  Oh, just 3 hours and 19 minutes for his 42km.  That’s right after the swim and bike, guys!

I thought I was the only one crazy for setting myself up for multiple races, but I learned that Arland was set to do Timex 226 Iron distance triathlon on December 3, just a day before my CIM.  So, he agreed to run easy with me around Alabang Country Club.  Of course, “easy” is relative; it was definitely easy for me, but it was probably a walk in the park for him.

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– Quick lesson on form and technique from Arland –

After our brief run, he shared with me some techniques he practices in his runs and as a Newton brand ambassador.  Here are a few things I learned that day:

  • For proper form, pull up the knee and land on your midfoot.
  • Do not overstride. Your foot should not go beyond your shoulders.
  • Instead of focusing on your pace, focus on cadence.  Cadence is the number of steps you take per minute. Aim for 90.  Arland shared that, in a race, he checks his cadence and not his pace.  He advised me to change my window display on my Garmin.
  • To increase speed, your stride increases.  Your leg stretches backward, knee goes higher.  Again, do not overstride.
  • Use your core for power. Arms remain relaxed.
It was nice to finally spend some time to chat with Arland.  I did apply my new learnings at CIM, specifically being conscious about the power coming from my core, and boy did it make a huge difference in my run.  As for Arland, he went on to win the Timex 226 that weekend with a time of 10:18:57.  Congratulations Arland!
Click HERE to read more about Arland’s win at Timex 226.