Well, I was planning a good, detailed post on recovery and it happens to be perfect timing; I am taking a solid week off! After only a few days off at most for the many months now, and the Superfit Games two weekends again, AND, the Outlaw Training Camp this past weekend… yeah, I am in some serious need for a break! So, after feeling like I got every inch of my body sledge hammered, I am focusing on taking today through Friday (or maybe Sunday…) completely off from serious training. So what will I be doing? Here’s what I’ll be doing:
I am dedicated to getting at least 7 hours of sleep a day, at LEAST! If I don’t get it during the night, I will nap during the day. The goal is to really let my body understand the importance of sleep and not only take advantage of it, but start to generate the habit of getting adequate sleep. If I have to sit here and convince any of you that sleep is really important, you’re an idiot, enough said. Sleep is needed so badly, and yet so many of us neglect it and don’t take it seriously. If you are serious about health and fitness, you better be serious about sleep. Lack of sleep will always catch up to you sooner or later, and you’ll begin to feel the effects of it in slow gains, stress, weight gain (thanks to the wonderfulness that is cortisol) and on, and on. Get your sleep!
Oh, this is a good one. Especially after the hundreds upon hundreds of calories I swam in last night (burgers, sweet potato fries, chili, beer, cookies and too many Courage Bars!). Granted, that was after burning off probably thousands upon thousands of calories at the Outlaw Training Camp, so, it was well deserved. But, for the week I am focusing on three things: eating enough, eating the right things, forming better habits. Basing my plan loosely off the plan I followed when I moved back East from California, I will be making sure my physical body is fueled as perfectly as possible. A vague sketch of it: 4-6 meals, tons of protein, TONS of veggies, a good deal of fats, basically zero sugar, and the only complex carb getting through will be sweet potatoes! I’m not going to get crazy obsessive with all of this, just clean it all up as the Open approaches. The extra time I’ll have this week will be perfect to get my nutrition dialed in.
I’ll be practicing a handful of Kelly Starrett’s “Mobility WOD’s” each and every day. These will be combined with a good bit of foam rolling and stretching to make sure my recovering muscles get their fair share of love. Honestly, besides my crappy ability to do upper-body body weight stuff, my mobility issues are the biggest holding me back. It’s so super important to be mobile people, and especially if you’re an extremely active person. The body very quickly adapts to poor posture and crap habits and making sure your joints understand good ranges of motion, and your muscles can stay flexible. My worst areas are the shoulders and hips. Yep, pretty big areas, but I am working on them!
Here is the new one I have recently added to the mix. I have always viewed message as a sort of high-brow, luxury, and really, I still sort of do. But if you are actually serious about your overall well-being, I think you should find a way to get one in on a somewhat regular basis. My girlfriend found me a great guy who works with athletes and I am now committed to getting work in with him at the very least once a week. Yep, that is how important serious recovery is! Check out Terrel Hale’s site HERE if you are in the greater DC area and want to get some legit work done.
Another large aspect of my recovery is in the hands of 2XU. A lot of CrossFitters and other athletes wear compression gear as a fashion statement, which as all well and cool (actually, no it's not, it's kind of stupid if you want my honest opinion), I use the best compression as a tool to get freaking better. this stuff is about as close to medical grade compression as one can get and it legitimately works. I have become a HUGE believer in this product and with all the other additions to my recovery process am pretty sure I have all the best tools in my arsenal!
It doesn’t matter how hard I go; in the end, its how my body reacts to the stresses and strains that matters. And food, sleep, mobility, message and so on are the things that allow my body to really soak up all the hard work and make it pay off.
The other thong Terrel has helped me out with is some good stretches to really focus on, and to really look into doing ice baths on a more regular basis. I now have a massive trashcan in the gym that I can fill up with water and a couple large bags of ice, and chill (pun intended) for a while. My buddy Blair Morrison (yep, the CrossFit legend himself) wrote some great things on the benefits of cold HERE.
Oh, and one more thing. If you haven't already, please take a moment and vote for me for Best Personal Trainer in DC. And pass the link along to friends and family! I will entertain you all with something wacky if I win!
Welp, that’s it for me here. I’m off to foam roll and lacrosse ball the crap out of my body before getting in bed for some good sleep!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
About a month back I wrote out a list of cool gifts to give out as prep for a blog post. As most of you let me know, I fell off the table for that month and never got to the many posts I had written notes on, so, I have decided that it would be great for everyone to have a good new collection of gear for the New Year! Whatever goals you have made for yourself, it's always great to have the tools to support them, and if they are health and fitness goals, well, perhaps my list will come in handy!
1. 2XU Compression gear
If you are serious about sport and athletics, you MUST be serious about recovery. These compression pieces are the best out there, hands down. It doesn’t matter what sport you play, they will help your aching muscles recover so quickly! Contact me if you want a special deal!
2. Core Warrior Bars
Hands down, the best protein bars in the market, anywhere. Tough to find on the East Coast, but worth the search (online or through Courage Performance is the way to go. Plus you'll get a little discount of you get them through me!). 100% raw, and organic, and tastes incredible!
3. A kettlebell
Probably one of the most universal tools in the fitness industry; and, one of the oldest. If you want just one thing that can help build strength, stability and plenty of muscular and cardiovascular endurance, simply get one of these balls of steel!
I would argue this, along with the Kettlebell as another tool you MUST have. A suspension training system you can take literally anywhere and do practically anything with. I use it all the time for myself and with clients as the perfect functional, core strengthening tool.
5. Survival Straps
Besides being one of the coolest things a weekend trail runner or adventurer could own (this is my personal opinion of course), these things are a really handy tool to have around. Wear then as a bracelet or belt, and if you’re ever in the need of some tough-as-nails chord, deploy it and you're good to go!
6. A CrossFit membership
Most affiliates offer special deals around the holidays for new and existing members, so search around and find the perfect match (the beauty of CrossFit is that there are so many affiliates, you can probably find one near by that fits your demands).
7. New Balance trail Minimus
I have tried shoe after shoe over the years and in the end have settled on this one as the best. As most of you know, I am a huge barefoot guy, and these are super low profile, but have great lateral support for anything a god trail run or CrossFit workout might throw at you. Get them!
8. Ice Bath
If you are serious about gains, you have to be serious about recovery. this is one of the simplest ways to recover and also one of the most effective. Simply get yourself a huge trash bin (one that would cover you up past your waist), fill is mostly with water, then dump a couple bags of ice in there. You could also do this in a bath tub as well.
9. A Small Video Camera
There are so many on the market today, so pick one that suits your style. This is not to video your latest "Fran" attempt with you ripping your shirt of and acting like a tool, it's to video your lifts so you can break things down and become a better coach to yourself. Being able to see yourself do technical things is the quickest and easiest way to get better.
10. Jump Rope
The custom ropes from Rx Jump Ropes are the best I've ever used. And, if you don't believe that jumping rope is a great workout, go try to do 500 double unders for time! Take it on a run to add a little flair to it, use it is any workout as a supplemental conditioning tool, or, of you are a CrossFitter, you know how key these things are so make sure you have the best!
there you have it folks, my top 10 list of things to get! Please share any of your good ideas!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Bright and early Saturday morning, people began to roll in for the third installment of the Courage Games. I really wasn't totally sure what to expect in terms of how many people would show as the only marketing I did for it was to create a Facebook event. But, given the "local, fun throwdown" feel of it all, I was really happy with the turnout. The weather was perfect, the athletes were wonderfully energized, the support was perfect (Lindsey and myself ran the show and things went off without a hitch!) and when the day was done, and a handful of us were enjoying grilled meat and a couple drinks, we all agreed that the day could not have been all that much better!
Things got started with a bang with workout #1:
Push a car 50 meters, push it back 50 meters
(women did 30 meters)
The push down for the first 50 meters clearly put everyone at a physiological disadvantage; it was so damn easy! But, when they ran around and tried to get the things going back, all of a sudden things became real tough, fast. Eric Kolarick took home the fasted time with 54 seconds while Leah Vanhoose and Christie Wheatly tied at 51 seconds for the women; most people were in the mid to upper 90+ second range. People sure were walking a little funny after this one, quad burn galore!
After a little break, workout #2 was announced (follow along as best you can...):
Cross short bridge, run a rough single track tail about 150 meters, run up a crazy steep hill about 30 meters, military crawl 20 meters (knees and forearms crawl), cross the blacktop, 5 rope climbs, each about 15 feet (women do 3), then throw a 52#/32# sandbag three consecutive times as far as you can.
When your time is stopped, you get to take 3 seconds off your total time for every 10 feet you throw your bag. Always a little fun twist to throw into the workout to make people think!
Eric Grant took home the top time for men, while Leah Vanhoose blasted through it for the women. What proved to be the best strategy was to just get the sandbags thrown as fast as possible as to not waste any extra time. But people were good and worn out with the combination of skill and raw power after a touch run and crawling face first in freshly mowed, wet grass!
The third one proved to take the most out of people! (follow along closely with this one as well!):
Grab a large bucket, run under two hurdles, over a sandbag pile, through a collection of tires, across a 10' 2x4 and across the blacktop to a sand pit. Hand fill your bucket half way with sand, then run about a 300 meter, very hilly course and back through the obstacles. Hand fill your bucket to the top now with sand (this is heavy by the way...) and repeat the run. End with dumping your bucket back into the sand pit!
Man was this one fun to watch! People shoveling sand into the buckets then taking off around the great outdoors! But it was that second run that just crushed everyone. Word from the athletes was that right around the 3/4 mark of the run loop, it just hit people so damn hard. Running with that crazy heavy bucket was just about as awkward as a run could ever get as well! But the best part: people had a bucket at hand right there just in case things got a little worked up in their stomachs after the workout...
Adam Chudy tore this one up with Cory Spera close at his heels, and Leah Vanhoose yet again grabbed the top time for the women.
A little extra break was given out here as thing were rolling WAY ahead of schedule. And the last one would be a brutal sprint of sneaky-hard proportions!
Sprint 30 meters across the blacktop, up a little hill, grab a sledge hammer then hammer a tire across the 30 meters of the blacktop.
This one felt like it took 20 minutes even tough most people were getting it around 2-3. The go-to strategy for this was to straddle the tire and over-head slam it between your legs. The trick was hitting the tire just right so that it got the slightest big of air under it and could skid across the concrete about 4-6 feet. But peoples hips, shoulders and hands were just burned!
Eric Kolarick came in first for the men, with Dave Shaw just seconds behind him, while Diane Cole took first for the women.
In the end, Dave Shaw proved to be the most consistent across the board (winners were decided by fasted overall combined time) for the men taking home the top prize, while Leah Vanhose blazed through for the win for the women. Below are the top three from both sides:
Dave Shaw - 639 seconds
Eric Grant - 6 seconds
Joseph Barlia - 650 seconds
Leah Vanhoose - 767
Diane Cole - 802
Christie Wheatly - 876
Special thanks to Core Warrior Bars and 2XU for helping out, both are awesome brands that I personally love and am so pumped that they continuously support these awesome athletes as they challenge themselves! Also a huge special thanks to Lindsey for yet again coming out and choosing to spend her wonderful off day outside with me and helping out! Could not have done this without her at all!
And of course, thanks so much to all the athletes who came out and pushed yourselves! So happy to have to you all out for the day and believe me, I'll be getting people together again very soon!
I'll have a nice little video up from the days fun in the next couple days, so look for that!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Lot's of stuff to touch on here so let me just get right into it all. I arrived in the afternoon to JFK airport, jumped on the subway and got myself into Manhattan. I immediately looked up the different places I could grab a workout at and was excited to see the famous CrossFit NYC, The Black Box was only about three blocks form my hotel! Sweetness. So, I rushed over for the 6:30pm class. Now this place is a crazy combo of classic CrossFit mixed with city grunge. It's small, has low ceilings, is on the third floor of a multi-floored building, is smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, and, it freaking works. The pace was filled to the brim with eager athletes, the coaching was top of the line, and that community feel was truly there. I am always curious to see if a city affiliate can keep that family feel despite the inherent closed-offness of city dwellers. Well, based on the fact that I had about 4 people approach me just to say hi and talk shop, and the fact that I felt very well-coached, and the fact that I wanted to stay for another hour just to hang out with everyone, this place had the family thing down pretty well.
We hit behind the head jerks; I focused a LOT on form and ended up doing about 15 total reps of the move, quite a bit of volume. With that volume, I was able to pull of a final set at 255# with a massive amont of struggle. I would have liked to get 265# at least, but I was happy with the technique work, real happy. After that I snuck into a corner to hit a little metcon:
400, 300, 200, 100 meter row with
40, 30, 20, 10 KB swings 2 pood (70#)
This one crushed me! I finished in a sore-back heap at 9:15 and felt like I had just flown across the country to be met with a crazy workout! Oh, yeah, that's exactly what happened! I then met up with the 2XU crew for dinner and few drinks before hitting the bed for some deep, deep sleep.
Today I had a massive breakfast, then headed back up to the room for a while. My brother Dave met me up there and we had a small early lunch nearby and caught up. That was really nice, real good to hang with him and I hope I get to see hm again before I leave. I then headed out to one of the coolest spots in NYC, DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) to meet up my old friend Brent for a bite and to catch up. Yet another awesome time just talking about this and that, I really liked every second of it!
Not too long after that I met up with some of the 2XU crew and we hit a great 5+ mile run along the Hudson. Man, what an invigorating time that was. The three I was with were all pretty good endurance athletes, so they set into a comfortably quick pace, and I realized i am de-conditioned for too much longer than 3 miles at that pace! But it felt great all the same. I broke off from them a few blocks from the hotel to join a small group of local dudes in a park for some body weight training. I hit all sorts of pull ups with them, worked on the handstands, and got a few dips in while listening to their crazy stories. it was a good tie all around.
Finally, all of us met up for a hearty Italian dinner, a couple drinks, and then to top it all off, some ping pong at a sweet place in the City. All around awesome day!
Tomorrow is the big event, again, I will write about this either tomorrow or Thursday as I am not totally sure what to expect with it all. But, no matter what happens, I am sure it'll be a blast, and I will meet a good deal of people I will benefit from meeting! So, until then, I have to let all you CrossFitters out there know that despite how brutal HQ shit the bed with the "glitch in their system thing", just go get some good sleep! It'll all be out soon and we will have tear it up!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
This weekend ended up being a damn good one. Lot's and lot's of quality time with my awesome girlfriend and plenty of exploring around our not-for-long home town area. Saturday we went out and searched through the Presidio, an area of the city that instantly takes you OUT of the city. I had a bit of a challenging workout that ended up not really being a workout at all. The sweat and elevated heart rate were a result of panicking attempting to find a workout spot in time. Let me break this down a bit...
I basically had a 30 minute AFAP (as fast as possible): find a workout location, come up with a workout, perform the workout, get back to the car. This turned out to be way harder than expected as there were no good branches in the wooded area we were in to hang the rings! I ran around about four different trails and found nothing. I had one possibility a bit off the trail on some very thick brush, but the branch ended up being way too angled and just like that, 10 minutes gone. As I headed back towards the car I spotted a hidden clearing just off the path and went to check it out. Perfect, there was a fallen tree about 8 feet from the ground. I strung the rings up and put together this:
3 rounds of:
20 log jump overs (13" log)
1 hill sprint (50 meters, about a 4% grade)
5 muscle ups
This was going very well until I hit the 5th muscle up on the damn first round. I just got stuck. And when I finally got it, I noticed I was about 2 minutes from my 30 minute limit. Damn! I packed up the rings and high-tailed it back to the car. Total fail. But, to make the evening totally worth it, Lindsey and I shared an awesome dinner down at Crissy Field (a huge park area on the Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge). Then we hit up an awesome comedy show. What a day!
Today, after a huge breakfast, we drove north of the city to explore Tamalpais Mountain. Well, our timing was just a tad off and literally the second we got out of the car, down came the rain. We toughed through it for a while and lucked out with a good 5 minutes of open view way out over the city. Absolutely breathtaking. But then the wind, rain and crazy fog blew in and, after hanging out in a incredibly comfortable alcove made up of moss-covered rocks, trees and bushes, we trudged back to the car. We then spent a couple hours hanging out on Union Street, drinking coffee, people watching and trying on sunglasses before heading down to the Mission District to grab dinner at an absolutely impressive vegan/raw foods restaurant. Cafe Gratitude, besides being so stereotypically fru-fru, had a massive menu of totally vegan, organic, local and mostly raw dishes that would satisfy even the most Paleo of eaters. Lindsey and I both walked away filled to the brim, and smiling widely, it is a great place for a good, healthy meal.
And now we are home, chilling out before bed time and a super early wake up call for me as I am shipping out to NYC for the week. I'll be taking part in a media event with the compression clothing company 2XU and am so excited to represent their brand. I'll share more about this at the end of the week, so look for that. Besides that, the first CrossFit Games Open workout will be announced on Tuesday, so I am super excited to see what this weeks workouts will look like. Depending on the workout, I will either hold off and do it with the crew at CrossFit San Mateo, or I will do it somewhere in NYC. Either way, I will be hitting up a gym or two while in the City That Never Sleeps and doing a couple cool workouts. Should be an adventure all around!
Never Stop, GET FIT.