The Soon To Be Home Area
As most of you should know at this point, I am making huge transition in my life and job only 9 months after making the biggest transition of my life. My girl and I are moving back to the East Coast. This is a very bitter sweet process for me as I have fallen so madly in love with the California life-style but am excited to the core to return to the community I had spent so long creating in the greater DC area. Even though I’ve only been in CA for less than a year I feel as though have made friends for life and I fully expect to be making continuous trips back to workout and hang out with all the great people I have bonded with.
Right now Lindsey and I are faced with the overwhelming task of figuring out how to get our lives moved back across the country. Our memories of the crazy times we had in getting things out here are still pretty fresh on our minds so the intensity of the stress is multiplied a bit. But, I have a great deal of confidence that things will work out pretty damn well because we have our sights set on our awesome future and the journey towards that!
So, this past weekend saw the start of our physical search. We hopped a redeye out to DC, getting in at around 7:30am ready to explore. The goal for the weekend was twofold: to find a neighborhood to live in, and to search around for gym locations for my business. Basically we picked out a collection of neighborhoods and drove on through them to get a gut feeling. We did this a bit before we moved out to California and it worked out great. Over the course of three days we were able to find the place we wanted to be and we love it! So, with the couple days in the DC area, we were hoping for the same thing; and for the most part, we did. We narrowed it down a good bit to a few different areas we liked best, AND, I was able to search out a good collection of spaces and locations for my new gym! All in all, I think it increased our excitement for this new transition.
I'll throw in some updates about this process as we continue on as it basically is taking over about 85% of my energy these days (the rest is gearing up for the CrossFit Games Sectionals coming up in two weeks!!). Its a crazy process and I am expecting the best from it all!
I finally got my act together and got the review post up. Check it out at the competition site HERE!
For everyone looking for the review post on this past weekends Courage Games, it is coming. I am gathering up and looking though pictures and videos and want to try to get something good up either tonight or tomorrow. So you can expect it soon!
I also have a small list of articles I want to put up inspired by the competition, so you can expect a few of those in the coming weeks. But, in the mean time, want to get back to some regular posts. Yesterday I was back in the gym to get into some serious training for the Sectionals that are approaching quickly! I had been so eager to throw some weights around after a full 4 days of "rest" thanks to planning this event. So, I wanted to get back after it in a big way.
5, 5, 3, 3, 3 front squats
4 rounds for time of (w/ 20# weight vest):
200 meter run
10 GHD sit ups
20 double unders
15 OH squats 95#
10 pull ups
The front squats felt great and I was bale to get a pretty good final round at 295#. I need to work on opening up my lats, shoulders and wrists if i want to get to where I think I should be. My strength feels like I could get up around the 350# range, but my lack of mobility leads to a less stable lift and I struggle at sub-max weight. I was happy with that 3RM though, it is a PR for me after all! The metcon was a blast. It felt like a sprint because you never really spend very much time at any of the exercises, but because it's a lot of them, and the weight vest had be going a tad slower, it ended up taking 12:53. I do think this is a sub-10 minute one though. My double unders were rusty and each piece of equipment was spread out around the gym making my transition a little slower. It was great to just go for an extended amount of time though, really felt good.
Today calls for some skills work and some good conditioning and then back to the weights tomorrow! I am so excited to gt back on a solid routine.
A couple other things to mention: I'll be in the DC area this coming weekend, scouting out neighborhoods with Lindsey for us to move to, looking around at gym locations and such. And, depending on how things pan out I am looking into getting into the DC's Most Primal Competition at Primal Fitness. If I have the ability to do so (allowed to register and can rearrange flights) I'll be looking to best my last years 2nd place finish! The following weekend is a competition out in Elk Grove I am considering. I really feel like I have missed out in terms of getting in some good competitions, so I want to find a couple of them before the Games season starts up in less than a month!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well, just when I got all excited about an awesome workout and tons and tons of energy, I have a day like today. I felt like I needed to take a 3 hour nap the entire time, and, even after having a huge coffee I felt even more tired. I was able to get a ton of equipment from 1st String over to CrossFit San Mateo, I trained a good amount of people, I ran a few errands to get some supplies for this weekends competition and, I didn't workout.
So what happens when you just flat out don't make fitness a primary part of your day? Don't beat yourself up over it, and make tomorrow a better day. I have a slowly emerging fear that I have not taken my training very seriously leading up to the Sectionals this year. This led to a moment today where I realized I need to take this to an entirely new level if I actually want to be a competitive CrossFitter. I was reminded of how seriously I took baseball when I was training to get into college and then into pro ball. I remembered that nothing in the world would get in the way of what I had to do to get there. I realized that I WANTED it so badly that I would make sure I did at least one thing every day to make myself a better baseball player.
Now, with life totally different, with more responsibility, I find it a little tougher to be dedicated to just one thing. But I believe that i don't have to be to excel at it, AND, if I surround myself with all things supportive I can have all the things I love around me. I can dive headlong into whatever I chose to do in my life and have no fear because the people and things I have around me believe in my process.
So, there's my rant for today. I'll be back at it all tomorrow, more planning for the event, more working out, more stressing and more smiles. Wait, why will I have smiles, cheesy alert: because Lindsey's coming home!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
The title for today's workout has two meanings, one for the workout itself and one for the workout location. I wanted to get out to the hills to get some running in and I decoded to head back to a trail I have been on once before. With only about an hour to spare before Powerlifting class got started I had to get after it, no messing around. So, I zipped up to Skyline College in the hills, parked by the trail-head and took off.
The trail starts off as a wide gravel path that winds gradually up for about a quarter mile, once you get to an abandoned shed f sorts, it turns into a super narrow, rock, root and mud filled path that heads straight down into a deep canyon only to head straight back up again. Because it's actually a kind of popular trail, the super steep down and up have a massive collection of wooden stairs to navigate, this added a totally different element to the run as I had no choice but to stay light on my feet and keep my knees up. The added fatigue from this hit so hard when the stairs ended and I had a good 3/4 mile path that averaged out at around a 10% grade all the way to a bike trail that circles the peak.
Killer dude, killer. BUT, the views were insane! I expected it to be super foggy because the weather today just was not good, but the gray skies and chillings winds were deceiving and when I reached the separate peaks I was welcomed with views of the Peninsula, the southern part of San Francisco, and the Ocean. Each time I was able to soak in a couple seconds of these views I was instantly flooded with new energy and it just kept me going. Not sure why, perhaps it's because I wasn't expecting to have them, but they totally inspired me. My energy levels, even while gasping desperately for air, were through the roof and I felt so good. I have said it many times before, but I feel like it can not be said enough: finding inspiring scenery for your workouts takes them to a whole new level. Sure you can get great results doing all your workouts in a gym, but what's the fun in that? Different settings add entirely new dynamics and challenges to workouts; and for anyone wanting to truly make fitness a part of their lives, these extra motivators are what ultimately make the suffering fun. Like I just said, I was so out of breath climbing these hills I doubled over a few times, grabbing at something to support me, but somehow I just did not want to stop. I felt alive, part of nature, like i was experiencing something extraordinary. It was beautiful.
For all of you coming out to the Courage Games this coming Saturday, even if the weather is not ideal, I am sure you will experience something similar. Your workout stage will literally be feet from the beach. Your view will be the northern Peninsula coast and the San Francisco skyline off in the distance. You will be surrounded by 100-plus people challenging themselves and cheering you on. I envy you all so much!
Oh, and this video is a bit different than normal...got a little excited with my mini-adventure, you'll see. Um, hope you enjoy!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Mixed into an incredibly stressful day I was able to get a really great couple sessions in. The reality of this competition has set in full force and this being my third event that I've hosted in the past couple years I have come to the conclusion that I need way more people on board to help out. Lindsey does her fair share of work for sure, but on the whole, this entire competition has been organized by me alone. I have no clue why I put that much pressure on myself, but at this point I am pretty confident that it will go very smoothly! But I digress; let's talk about some workout!
Before my kids class came in I was able to get 4 rounds of 10 butterfly kips, 10 pistol squats and 10 shoulder taps. I really wanted to work on smoothing out my butterfly form to make a bit more efficient, and what I realized was that if I just took my time on the first round, the rest felt really good. The pistols felt slow out of the whole, but smoother as well. And the shoulder taps (it's where you get in a handstand and touch each shoulder) felt very strong for the first time in my life. So strong in fact that I was able to hold on one arm for a few seconds each tap without losing stability.
I messed around on the pull up bars a bit just doing some monkey climbs and pull overs and whatnot, it was fun. After the Kids class and another class I jumped in for a few rounds of 3 hang power cleans, weighted pull ups and 1-arm strict presses. I cleaned up 250# with relative ease and was very hapy with that. Then was able to get 5 reps on the pull up bar with a 60# DB pretty easily, and a solid round of 5 reps with 70# on the shoulder press. Feeling stronger all around. Then came the metcon!
3 rounds of:
300 meter row
30 GHD sit ups
5 front flips
3 handstand push ups
I finished this off in 13:17 and felt like it probably should have been more around 10. The GHD's got me real bad. I realized this morning that it's been a long while since I last got them and I wanted to program them in to something fun. So, adding a quick row, some sweet front flips and the HSPU's after a good deal of shoulder work was good. I felt like I had a great day in the gym, and that energy has spilled over in to getting things taken care of for this event! Time to get to work baby!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
This week has been all kinds of up and down in terms of workouts. I am overflowing with confidence, yet my strength numbers are nowhere near where I want them to be. My energy levels have been mostly up, but when they were down they were way down.
Thursday I hit some hill and stair repeats at one of the most incredibly breathtaking spots in the San Mateo area. Friday I got a good deal of tumbling work in and some solid sets of shoulder press. I was able to get 171.5 for a single with not too much struggle. While this doesn't seem like a ton of weight in comparison to my other lifts, but it's good for me and my majorly weak shoulders.
Today's workout was a blast. A handful of us met up at CrossFit San Mateo for some strongman style work.
2 x 50 meter car push, 20 shoulder changes with a log, 10 tire flips, 10 tire jumps
2 x 50 meter car push, 8 tire flips to jump throughs, 20 sledge hammer strikes
I was able to get the first two in 1:28 and 1:26, and the second two in 1:38 and 1:34, all of them all-out sprints. The rest of the group had an awesome mix of times between 1:30 and 2:30 and we all had a great time doing unconventional things in the gorgeous weather. After people shuffled out, Lindsey and I messed around with some of the competition WOD's for the Courage Games 2011 coming up in a week. We have one or two things to test, but everything is looking real good for this thing!
My programming feel right after this week and I expect to just keep working on all my weaknesses and seeing huge gains over this month. I have a huge testing week planned for the first week of March, so we'll see where I stand then!
In insightful articles news, I am working on a couple inspired by my CrossFit Community Month last month, so you can expect a slew of thought-provoking posts coming after this competition is over. Lot's of things to be excited for!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
uuuuhh...early pull much?
Today I had a few fun ones spread throughout the day. I started off with some fun ring work, working 6 rounds of 3-5 seconds of a tucked front lever. I then got a bunch random movements on the rings and ropes before spending a good 30 minutes of some deep mobility work. I found that I have a major deficiency in my hip strength. This is weird to me as my strongest area is legs. But I just realized I engage my muscles inefficiently and I need to work a whole lot more on isolating my hip flexors to allow them to pull their weight.
A couple hours later I went after some snatch work. I just added weight and did singles a handful of times at each weight getting up to 175#. Here's what I have found on this (and the same can be said of my cleans and jerks): my technique blows. I know this because when I miss an attempt, it feels like my body is about to break. But when I get one, it's the smoothest lift ever. My final attempt at 175# felt like nothing at all; but that came after 5 complete messes of misses.
My conclusion is a bit frustrating. I need to cut back on the weight and just smooth out the form of things. I know how to do it, but I just rush myself with trying to push the heavier weights because I think that I need to do so to be competitive. In my own head I feel as though if I am not pushing the heavier weights, I'll lose miserably to those people who can pull 225# and more on a regular basis. Pulling that sort of weight off the ground is easy to me, hell, strength-wise I have the ability to get 315# to my upper abdominal area for a clean, I just don't have the technique there to be able to get under it. And when I put a light weight on the bar, I can do it very well (at least for a self-taught lifter for the most part).
This reminds me a bit of my younger baseball days when I would work for hours on end on perfecting my swing, then I would see a video or picture of that thing of beauty and wonder how in the hell it could all go to crap when a baseball was actually coming at me. So how did I eventually learn to keep good technique even at the toughest point? Well, I became a pitcher. No, seriously, what I did was keep on practicing. Eventually it become complete and total second nature to function as efficiently as possible The body and mind generally don't work very well together with this stuff, so you have to get them to learn how to play nicely. CrossFit demands tons of reps, and if you are performing those reps with inefficient technique, you are ding nothing but hurting yourself. Only practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect, right? So, I need to get off my "lift crap-loads of weight", "firebreather" mentality and GET BETTER at moving.
I am pretty sure all you CrossFitter out there could do the same thing.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Today ended up being a pretty chill day physically, but mentally it beat me to the ground. I just spent so much time worrying about all the crap I have to do in preparation for moving back East. Sure, sure, I just got myself caught up in a bit of a self-pity trap, but I'll tell you what, I got trapped in there real good!Back out of it now, and amped for a good couple workouts tomorrow!Yesterdays workouts began in the morning with a good 30 minutes of tumbling and other "body awareness" work. I put together a little course where I would do 5 back to back forward rolls, right to a box jump, then directly to the pull up bar where i would get a pull over. So much fun! And what was cool was after 5 rounds of that I could bang out an easy 6+ feet of handstand walking AND string together about 6 very slow and controlled cartwheels from both sides. So cool. Barbell work later on involved a frustrating bunch of jerk misses at 235# (yep, that 30# off what I normally jerk...), cleans felt pretty good at that weight. But in the end I was ok with the jerks as I know I have some work to make up for from last months craziness. I'll be back on my technique very quickly. I then hit 4 rounds of 3 front squats getting up to 275#. I struggled on rep two, just rushed it a little, but got a very solid and comfortable 3rd rep. I then hit this beast of a metcon:4 rounds of:3 jerks 185#50 double unders15 burpeesThis will hit you hard at the 3rd round. I got it unbroken until the final set here i didn't lock out quick enough and ad to dump the 3rd rep. That wasted a LOT of time and I rolled in at 7:28, a time I am pretty happy with. I ended up taking today off thanks to my super low energy, and I am on tomorrow with a bunch of ring work, planche work and lever work in the am. Later on I'll hit the barbells with snatches, split squats, weighted verticals and a very short metcon.Lot's of great things happening for the Courage Games coming up in about a week and a half! We have confirmed so much, yet there is so much still to do! If there is anybody interested in volunteering, we need help! Judges, event staff, so on, so forth, please email me asap if you are willing!Never Stop, GET FIT.Josh Courage