Training Log: 4/30/11

Partner Challenge
400m Sandbag Run
50 Sandbag Jerks
50 Sandbag Cleans
50 Toes to Bag
50 Sandbag Burpees
400m Sandbag Run

Fun with sandbags. That should've been the name of this WOD. The gym just got a bunch of new sandbags and today we got to break them in. Let me just say this, sandbags are unwieldy bastards. Getting them stabilized in movements like the jerk, the clean or running with them is half the challenge. I found running with them to be the most challenging, but I'm not a very strong runner. I partnered with Tim, who hasn't been a member for too long but is still an animal. He definitely has a lot of untapped potential and would've been a contributing member to the team for sectionals had he registered his first Open WOD score, but I digress. 

Together we worked efficiently, sharing the reps. The 65 lb sandbag was easier to work with if we compacted it as much as possible into a ball and performed the movements that way. We finished in 16:29, I think. I forgot to record the time again. 

Crossfit Games 2011 - Open Sectionals WOD 6

Fitness Lonnie was robbed.
With the conclusion of WOD 6 (11.6) so ends the Open Sectionals. I'm glad to see Sectionals come to an end. It's been a long seven weeks and I'm looking forward to getting back into supplemental strength and olympic lifts next week.

WOD 6 is a laddered Chest to bar Fran with five extra pounds.

Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes of the following rep scheme:
3 Thrusters (100/65)
3 Chest to bar Pull-ups
6 Thrusters
6 Chest to bar Pull-ups
9 Thrusters
9 Chest to bar Pull-ups
12 Thrusters
12 Chest to bar Pull-ups
15 pound Thrusters
15 Chest to bar Pull-ups
18 Thrusters
18 Chest to bar Pull-ups
21 Thrusters
21 Chest to bar Pull-ups…

Continue up the ladder until time runs out.

Typically, Crossfit WODS don't increase in the rep scheme from round to round, which adds an extra element of suckitude. My goal going into this was to try and do the thrusters unbroken as long as I could and do the pull-ups in threes no matter what. This plan worked well for me until the round of 12; that's when it started to hurt. The thrusters had to be broken into fours and the pull-ups were all singles except for the first three. My goal was to make it into the round of 15, which I accomplished and ended up with 66 total reps. I didn't set the world on fire, but I was pleased with that result.

Once again, movement prep with Carl Paoli and insight from Pat Barber.

Training Log: 4/27/11

30 Clean and Jerk (135/95)

Seeing as how I just did a 3x5 press yesterday (didn't update the blog on that one) and am doing Open WOD 6 on Friday, I didn't think it was wise to do this one rx'd. So, I scaled it to 115 and focused on speed and technique. I forgot to record my time but I believe it was around 4:22. I was pleased with that as I was able to keep moving the whole time with very minimal rest. 

After the WOD I decided to attempt a muscle up. We had been doing muscle up progressions prior to the WOD and I made a few attempts during that time but couldn't seem to get it. 

On my first attempt post-Grace I made my first muscle up. Hell-to-the-yeah! I think I was in shock when I came down from the rings and didn't fully grasp what I had just done. Unfortunately no one captured it on video so I had to do another one. Video of this coming soon. 

Sleep To Be An All-Star

Click on the infographic to view in full size.

Infographic source: Zeo

Training Log: 4/25/11

4 rounds of 3 minutes on, 1 minute off of:
100ft ‘Suicide’ Run
20 Air Squats
10 Hang Power Cleans

At the end of each round, stop where you are and resume the work at the start of the next three-minute round. 

I kept the weight at 115 for the HPC because I wanted to be able to cycle through the cleans and my grip wasn't feeling too strong today. The cleans ended up feeling pretty easy and I was able to make it through 5 rounds + the run + 5 air squats. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to attack the rest of my training this week, but I'm looking forward to the Open Sectionals to be over. I want to get some more structured strength and oly lifts in each week starting next week. 

Food Porn: Almost Paleo Carrot Cake

This looked so good we had to make it. Well, Kara did most of the work. We both love carrot cake. So, when our friend Sheldon sent the link to me on Friday, the craving soon followed. We used the carrot cake recipe from the Primal Palate, which is paleo except for the cream cheese frosting. Either way, it's delicious. Start to finish, it took about two and a half hours to make. But it was well worth it.

Crossfit Games 2011 - Open Sectionals WOD 5

Open Sectional WOD 5 (11.5) is a 20 minute AMRAP of:
5 Power Clean (145/100)
10 Toes to Bar
15 Wallball (10'/20# and 9'/14#)

How do you put this workout into words? The best way to describe it is Fuuuhhhhh.

This entire week I've been out of it. I haven't had much energy and the only other workout I did this week completely wrecked me. With that being said, Open Sectional WOD 5 is one of those workouts where you just have to keep moving the entire time. I suck at wallball and knew that would gas me. I didn't think 145 on the power clean would be too bad, but it started to feel heavy in the second round and I had to break all of them into singles from the second round on. Toes to bar I found to be the easiest of the movements.

This workout hurt. I felt like I was going to die through the majority of it. I couldn't wait for it to be over.  Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I would've pushed a little harder and completed the round I was on before time was up. I ended up with 5 rounds + 5 power cleans + 10 toes to bar.

Afterward, I felt like I had been run over by a truck. And now I feel like I'm getting the flu. Actually, I think I am getting the flu and I blame WOD 5 for my illness. Stupid WOD 5 with its stupid face.

Below are some toes to bar tips from Carl Paoli and WOD 5 reflections from Pat Barber.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Dr. Robert Lustig presents on the evils of sugar. If you've got an hour and a half to devote to this, check out the full version.

If you only have 11 minutes to spare, here's the cliff notes version from Sean Croxton.

Training Log: 4/20/11

Metcon I
3 rounds of:
1 minute max Thrusters

Rest 3 minutes between rounds. Score is weight times total reps.

Metcon II
3 rounds of:
4 Handstand Push-ups
8 Chest to Bar Pull-ups
12 Deadlifts (185/135)
16 KB Swings (53/35)

This was my first day back since Saturday when I did the Dirty 30 but didn't have time over the weekend to update the blog. Today was rough. The first metcon was enough for me. I used 100 lbs in preparation for the week 6 Sectionals Open WOD, and got a total of 36 reps. I was feeling a little lightheaded after that and could've called it a day. But the second WOD was only three rounds and you can do anything for three rounds, right? 

I started the first two rounds of HSPU using one abmat under my head but head to go two abmats for the last round. The deadlift felt oddly heavy right off the bat, which was not good. By the second round it was Bad News Bears. The room was spinning, my heartbeat was redlining and I was taking very long breaks. By the third round I had forgotten to do my pull-ups and had to go back and do them after the deadlifts. This WOD was apparently a grip killer, and maybe it was, but the only thing I focusing on was surviving. And not passing out. I finished in 14:31. Not what I was expecting. 

Training Log: 4/14/11

Rest Day
Is this A) Medieval torture device  B) Some kinky S&M device  C) Ultra-modern exercise equipment

Crossfit Games 2011 - Open Sectionals WOD 4

When I saw the movements for this workout I was actually shocked to see muscle ups. I honestly did not think muscle ups would be at the sectional level. And after seeing what HQ is capable of, I'm kind of worried about what weeks 5 and 6 will look like. Week 3 was an obvious tipping point to weed out the weaker competitors and really spread the field. Week 4 is a big middle finger to the bottom 90%.

Open Sectionals WOD 4 (11.4) is as a 10-minute AMRAP of:
60 bar-facing burpees (hop over the bar each time)
30 overhead squats (120/90)
10 muscle ups

I think muscle ups are still a huge limiting factor for the majority of those involved in the open. Even getting one muscle up in this workout will greatly boost you up in the standings. I still don't have muscle ups. I was hoping that my first one would have been tonight. That was not the case. And even if you have muscle ups, you may not have much time to do them, and if you do get to them your arms may be too fried to get very many.

I did this workout tonight and my biggest takeaway from it was that I didn't think the overhead squat would feel as heavy as it did. The burpees took me about six minutes to complete. I went at a pretty steady pace and took a few short rests (about 3-5 seconds) to shake my arms out and take a few deep breaths. I don't think I could've done the burpees much faster without completely wrecking myself. The overhead squat was deceivingly heavy and I only managed to complete five reps, with several failed attempts. Going into this WOD, my goal was to get through all of the squats with just enough time to attempt one muscle up and hopefully get my first. This ended up being a lofty goal as I spent the remaining four minutes struggling to get five squats.

Most people will not finish one round. The decent number of competitors will get in the mid-100s and the elites will get around two complete rounds; maybe a few animals will get over two rounds, but I highly doubt it. This is a ton of volume for one round.

As far as strategy goes, everyone can do burpees. Jumping over the bar is a little more taxing than the standard burpee but my advice is just keep moving through them without stopping. Burpees don't hurt until you stop and think about them. If you can complete the burpees in about five minutes you should have plenty of time to get through the squats, that is if you're competent in overhead squatting. I think the overhead squat is the deciding factor in this workout. After that it's all a matter of if you have muscle ups or not. If you have them and you can remain calm, you should be fine; adrenaline will take care of the rest.

Below are some muscle up progressions without a false grip from Carl Paoli and WOD 4 tips from Pat Barber. Good luck.

Training Log: 4/12/11

Looking good, Spider-man. Keep it up.
Press 5×5 (progressive loading)

3 minutes of max Burpees
3 minutes of max Sit-ups
2 minutes of max Burpees
2 minutes of max Sit-ups
1 minute of max Burpees
1 minute of max Sit-ups

I wasn't feeling it today. I didn't have a lot of intensity and when I started adding weight in the press there was shoulder pain. Not fun. I eased off and capped it at 105 lbs. For the burpee/sit-up combo I ended with 73 and 92, respectively. I'm glad I scaled down the time domain on the metcon as it called for 5 minutes, 3 minutes, and 1 minute of each movement. And that worked out since I'm planning on doing Open WOD 4 on Wednesday night and there's 60 bar hop burpees in there. 

Training Log: 4/10/11

Photo credit: Gym Jones
Team Workout

Run 1 mile carrying a fat bar (100/60): every 400 meters each person does 5 clean and jerks
250 chest-to-bar pull-ups
250 KB swings (70/53)
250 fat bar overhead squats (60)
250 sit-ups
250 push-ups

Only two people can do the work at a time.

This was another one of Tom's painstorms. And just as it was two weeks ago, the run in the beginning was the worst part. This time we started with carrying a bar weighing about 100 lbs and another weighing about 60 lbs on our shoulders. The run started with five people (myself, Tom, Dan, TJ and Jay) so one person got a break from the bar. A bar banging around on your shoulder as your run is not pleasant and initially my calves were what hurt the most. By the time we got to the 800 meter mark, my lower back was screaming. When we got back into the gym, Kerry, Colleen and Meg joined in on the fun which made the division of reps much easier and faster. By far, the worst part of this WOD was carrying the barbell in the beginning. The hills around the one mile loop that we run on don't make it any easier.

Training Log: 4/9/11

Team Workout

4 rounds of:
Run 400m w/ slamball
40 slamballs
40 pull-ups

Share the reps, but complete all of the Slamballs before doing the Pullups. One Slamball to a team.

I partnered up with Kara on this WOD and we used a 30 lb slamball. I've never run with a slamball before and I have to say it's a little awkward. We thought carrying the ball on our shoulders would be the best option so that we would save our arms for the pull-ups. I managed to tear my palm at the end of the workout which is always fun. It's not too bad of a tear and will hopefully be easy to work around. We finished in 27:12.

Release the Kraken

This post is a bit overdue. As of late, the blog has been a little neglected, but I've taken the first steps toward a career change because I got sick of hearing my wife tell me, "Just f*cking do it!" For at least the past year, I've been really unhappy in my job and knew I wanted to do something in the nutrition field, but wasn't quite sure how to get there.

In May, I will begin a certification program to become a Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). I spent a lot of time looking at different programs and different options. Should I do a masters in nutrition? Is it really worth all the time and money just to have arguments with the professors about grains? My conclusion was that I know a decent amount already, I still have plenty to learn, but since what I believe to be healthy nutrition advice differs from what would be taught in a traditional university setting, I felt it best to seek a credential from an alternative source, and that is where I found IIN.

I spoke to several people about this program prior to enrolling (both alums and current students), and while I know I won't agree with everything the curriculum will teach me, it's still much more in line with my way of thinking than a Registered Dietician-focused program. Because I'm fairly certain that I would get kicked out of class on the day they talk about the USDA Food Pyramid, just like I almost got kicked out of a nutrition presentation at my office yesterday. But that is another story for another day. (I will say this though: my coworkers were much more interested in hearing what I had to say about nutrition and what foods to eat than what the presenter had to say. In hindsight, I was being a little rude and completely highjacked the conversation, but bad information was being presented and the people need to know.)

ANYWAY. In June, I will also be attending the Crossfit Level 1 trainer's certification and a fitness and health blogger conference. I have been following Crossfit for several years now and it's almost comical that it has taken me this long to Just F*cking Do It! The conference is just a little added bonus to meet other bloggers in the community and treat it as a learning experience. And it is also an early birthday gift from my awesome motivational speaker wife.

Crossfit Games 2011 - Open Sectionals WOD 3

WOD 3 (11.3) is finally something on the heavier side. The first two were light and favored the light competitor. Whereas in this WOD, the average male Crossfitter probably doesn't even weigh as much as the prescribed weight of 165 lbs.

The workout is as follows: 5 minute AMRAP of 165 lbs Squat Clean and Jerk (scored as two separate movements).

For some people this may be at or above their one-rep max for this movement. For others, this is lightweight. I was hoping this third workout would've been a three-rep max ground to overhead or something along those lines but I'm satisfied with this. It will help level the playing field somewhat.

I did this workout tonight. I weighed myself this morning and was surprised to see that I had lost weight and was down to 171. My one-rep max clean and jerk is 185, and for some reason I thought that meant that 165 would feel light. It didn't. It felt heavy, especially in the squat clean portion. I ended up with a pathetic 6 rounds even for a score of 12. I was really disappointed with myself, but maybe my expectations were too high.

So, here's the deal with this workout: 5 minutes goes by fast. Real fast. If this is lightweight for you, then thruster that weight out of the squat and try to touch and go. If this is close to your one-rep max, really focus on your technique. Explode through the middle. Fast elbows. Try to stick each attempt because missing a squat clean or a jerk (as I did a few times) just plain sucks. It takes a lot out of you, and creates additional work that you don't get credit for. If this weight is above your one-rep max, time to PR.

Below are some tips from Pat Barber and mobility prep from Kelly Starrett.

Friday Fire - Voices In The Crowd

Photo credit: Tom Cerecedes
As he came into the final 30 seconds, Chris didn't know that he was closing in on 19 rounds of Cindy (a PR by 4 rounds). All he knew was that his veins were pumping battery acid, his lungs were on fire and his muscles were at failure. For the past 19 minutes and 30 seconds, the little voice inside his head kept telling him to stop. Urging him to quit. Why are you doing this? This hurts too much. But the voices outside of his body, surrounding him, those voices kept yelling for him to keep moving. Don't stop. Keep breathing. And those voices were right. In Chris's case, he had extra incentive to push himself. This workout was a charity fundraiser that he had organized where the pledges were based on the number of rounds he completed.

In any physical endeavor performed at a high intensity, there comes a time when the little voice inside our head tells us to stop, to quit, to throw in the towel.  It's at those times you need to listen to the voices in the crowd. Those voices will never tell you to give up, to sandbag it, to phone it in. Those voices will tell you you're doing great. They'll tell you to take a breath, shake it out and move your ass. Don't listen to your brain. Your brain doesn't want you to PR. Your brain is selfish and wants to keep you in your comfort zone. Shut your brain off. Listen to the crowd.

As those last 30 seconds ticked away, a small crowd had gathered around Chris; yelling, cheering him on, telling him not to stop. And as much as his muscles ached and lungs burned, he switched off his brain and fought through every last rep until the clock went to zero.

Training Log: 4/7/11

What has two thumbs and likes Recovery runs? This girl.
Active Recovery
2-mile run at a moderate pace (not timed)

Holy crap I'm still sore from the deadlifts on Tuesday. I'm definitely rethinking that WOD now. My posterior chain was fried yesterday and is still really sore today. I've done ice, heat, foam roll, and lax ball to my back. I'm planning on doing Open WOD 3 tomorrow night but I may have to postpone that to Saturday or Sunday. We'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow.

I went for a run this evening to try and get some more blood flowing and help with the recovery. The run felt fine but I don't think it helped to loosen anything up.

Training Log: 4/5/11

Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby.
Metcon I
5 Rounds of:
As many reps as possible on the deadlift using 75% of your one rep max.

Immediately upon dropping the bar, do 10 HIGH JUMP burpees; jumping as high as possible.

Metcon II
Tabata Sit-ups

After a four-day hiatus, I returned to this workout. And it completely kicked my butt. The goal was to get 10 reps on the first round. 75% of my one rep max is 300 lbs. My first thought was, "I don't think I can do that 10 times." But once the clock started I banged out 10 reps in a row (to my surprise), dropped the bar and went right into some high-flying burpees. I have no idea how high I was jumping but it felt high compared to a regular burpee where you usually get an inch off the ground to save energy. 

This was done as a team workout and I was paired up with Blaise and Stacey. Each person performed their deadlifts and burpees while the other two rested. The rest was definitely needed after the second round. This was programmed as a strength wod, but I think this is more of a heavy metcon with built in rest periods.

For the deadlifts I managed 39 total reps, broken down as 10, 8, 8, 5, 8. By the end of the third round I was ready to puke and I was in bad shape by the end. Luckily, we had a few minutes of down time before starting the tabata sit-ups and that was probably the only thing that kept my lunch down. 

I ended up with a score of 8 on the sit-ups and was not feeling well. I was light-headed with a headache and muffled hearing, all from over-exertion. By the time we got home my back was already feeling sore. I'm definitely going to feel this workout for the next few days. Tomorrow will be an aggressive schedule of foam rolling, stretching and lots of coconut milk ice cream (for recovery).

Crossfit Games 2011 - Open Sectionals WOD 2

Annnnnnnnd we're back. After an extended week one, the games season resumes with Open Sectionals WOD 2 (or 11.2).

Los post WOD 2.
The workout is a 15-Minute AMRAP of:
9 deadlifts (155/100)
12 hand-release push-ups
15 box jumps (24/20)

I did this workout last night. I thought 8 rounds would be a good goal for me to shoot for. The deadlift is light, the box jump is standard, but the hand-release push-up though, that's what was going to get me. 15 minutes is a long time and I have a tendency to red line early, so my plan going into this was to not go guns blazing out of the gate, but rather to stay consistent and move at a moderate pace so that I wouldn't be gasping for air in the later rounds. The plan went to shit after the second round of box jumps.

This WOD is no joke. It will break you down into little pieces. But make no mistake about it, this is a box jump workout. That is where you get the most points and that is what is going to gas you. I found the deadlift to be the easiest of the three movements and never had to break up any of those. Your best bet is to go straight into the deadlifts from the box jump without any break. You're going to be winded from the box jump but nothing you can't work through with the deads. Get a couple breaths in after the deads and then right into the push-ups.

The box jump completely gassed me and I usually can't string multiple jumps together anyway so I spent a lot of time there. This workout (like the last one) favors a light person, and someone who is fast at box jumps.  I got a really good box jump tip last night from Rob Miller (the owner of CF Delaware Valley, via Todd Widman). Unfortunately, he told me this revelation after the workout. The trick is to not think of it as jumping from the ground, but rather falling off (or a slight hop off the box) and then rebounding back up. If you need to break up your box jumps, rest on top of the box as opposed to on the ground. That way when you resume you have momentum from dropping off the box, rather than starting from a dead stop on the ground.

The push-ups weren't too bad until the end when muscle failure had set in and I was fighting to keep the plank position on the way up. Avoid going to failure on the push-ups, even early on. So, if that means you're breaking up the push-ups on the first round so be it. It will pay off in the later rounds. I ended up with 6 rounds + 9 deads + 12 push ups + 5 box jumps for a score of 242. I was mad at myself for not completing seven full rounds, but I'm not doing the workout again.

And of course, we can't leave you without movement prep from Carl Paoli and insights from the Manimal - Pat Barber. Good luck and kick ass.

Friday Fire - No Excuses

Friday Fire is back -- Ready to kick ass and take names. This week's subject: No Excuses.

We make excuses all the time in our training. We're all guilty of it. I'm no different than anyone else. When obstacles come up we can either convince ourselves that we're too slow, too weak, or too old. Or, we can try our best and see what happens. What's really holding you back? It's most likely fear, laziness, or complacency. In training (as in life) you can have excuses or you can have results. But you can't have both.
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