This little dude will out-pull up you any day!
Talking with a couple people late last night I realized something damn cool about this final workout: it literally defines what I love so much about CrossFit. It is not necessarily the most in-shape person who will score well on this one. Very fit people will also need to know themselves and how they function on these specific movements perfectly. It includes a portion of experience. My training partner is an absolute beast and will be going to Regionals along with me. But I fear he will struggle more with this workout than any of the others because he has never done Fran and has no clue what to expect from doing something like that. Fran is the go-to workout for CrossFit because of its simplicity coupled by its absolute degree of difficulty. Not only is it brutal for those who know how to do it, but it's always tough because you think it should be easy, and it's not. And then to top it off, this Open Workout is slightly harder than Fran, and throws that mind-f**k of added time into the mix. I am shocked that Jason Khalipa got nowhere near that third time addition, AND I have never seen Rich Froning look that beat up while exercising. This one is BRUTAL!
So with the fact that I have no clue how everyone reading this is, I will explain how I plan to approach this workout, and I'll touch on a couple different things you should be thinking about going into it. First off, for those athletes gunning for the 3rd time installment, figuring out timing of thrusters and pull ups probably won;t help you all that much. Pacing this on based off of time will work for such a small collection of people, and I'm sure those people know their times. If you try to pace out 90 perfect reps in 4 minutes you'll hit a wall no matter what and end up screwing yourself up through the 8 minutes. I honestly think the best way to go about this workout is getting your 90 reps (again, for people gunning for the 12 minutes workout) while performing just under your red-line. Then go about doing everything in your power to get another 90 resp in before the 8 minute mark hits. If you are gifted/lucky enough to make it into the 3rd round, it honestly doesn't matter at that point. Take a minute rest and just accumulate some reps. You'll be in such a small percentile of athletes, you'll be pretty set. My point is, any score above 180 is going to be an incredibly high score.
That is obviously pretty vague, but I think it's a good base of approach. Get your first 90 in without blacking out, then go for broke at a pace YOU can handle and hope to the dear Lord above that you get another 90 in before time expires.
I will be going about it like so: If my butterfly C2B's are working, I'll plan to hit two rounds unbroken. I'll then plan to hit the 3rd round of 15's with unbroken thrusters and then break the C2Bs up either 8/7 or 6/5/4. While I feel good with the C2Bs, I know that they take SO much out of you. It's worth breaking them up earlier with the knowledge that it's always better to do slightly larger chucks of them rather than going to singles and doubles when you get really crushed. After getting the initial 90, it'll be about putting the BB down before hitting a wall so that I can conserve enough energy to get my larger chunks of C2Bs. At that point, all that matters is getting to 180, so it'll be a conservative sprint from there on out. Knowing myself, I can always get 4-6 of each of these movements as long as I'm still standing, so I will plan on making sure I stay at a pace where I can do that. I will probably do 8/8 or 5/5/5 on the thrusters, and 6/5/4 or 5/5/5 on the C2Bs for as long as I can. When I hit a wall with that, I'll just get freaking reps however humanly possible until I am either done (read: dead), or I get the "joy" of getting to go for another 4 minutes. And again, for anyone lucky enough to get to that 3rd round, good work, just get a whatever you can. It's going to be a VERY small collection of people.
For those of you who hope to get into the second round. Get to it with just enough energy to spare, then just get reps in. You know your workout will be over no matter what at 8 minutes so view it as an 8 minute AMRAP. But don;t go too slow at the start. Hit that sub-red-line pace to make sure you get the initial 90, then accumulate reps until you're done.
For those of you who know you won't make it past 4. Sweet, this is a pretty "easy" workout for you. Get as many reps as you possibly can in 4 minutes. Go!
I recognize that this post is the least insightful of all my "notes" posts, but that is because the strategy here is going to be ever so slightly different for each and every person. Go to GymnasticsWOD and get your efficiency notes form Carl Paoli/ The get your mobility prep from MobilityWod and Kelly Starett. After that, break down your Fran, and then your ability to handle a slightly tougher Fran, and be honest and realistic. I know for me, getting 180 reps is possible, but will take some serious star-aligning for it to happen. So I need to set a pace (that i know how to do through experience CrossFitting, and having done Fran 5 times) to give myself the best opportunity to get 180 resp in 8 minutes. If I plan to have any energy after that, I didn't approach this workout correctly.
I recommend weightlifting shoes. They obviously help on the thrusters, and for me, they actually assist my butterfly kip because of the weight distribution to my feet.
Put something on your hands. Wear gloves, or those hand protector things, or tape, something. And shave down those callouses ASAP. If there was a workout out there that would rip your hands up, this is it. And I really have no interest in seeing all the pictures on Facebook with people showing off how "cool" and "bad ass" (read: stupid, and really freaking stupid) they are because they were stupid and ripped their hands.
Warm up by mobilizing your hips and shoulders, AND stabilizing your shoulders. This workout is the equivalent of throwing a 12 inning game with weighted baseballs with both hands (that would be a bad thing by the way, for all you non-baseball minds out there. The point is, this workout is going to destroy your shoulders. make sure they are mobile AND the muscles are active and prepared for hundreds of floppy, gross, dynamic, tendon-ripping reps.
Leave it all on the floor. This is the last workout of The Open! You've come this far, you may as well go all out. For people like me and my training partner, it;s all about gaining a few more extra spots up the leaderboard to assure our spot at Regioanls. For others, it's the a chance to see what you're made of on a diabolical workout. But remember, if you have no chance competing in Regionals, be sure to pay attention to your hands and shoulders throughout. There is no point hurting yourself, or causing a week or more of no training just to get a few more reps.
No matter what happens, we can all rejoice in the fact that the open is over after this!!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
There’s been a lot of talk going around the CrossFit community lately about standards. This isn’t a new topic mind you. Ever since CrossFit became something on the world’s radar, the people within the community have been subject to a LOT of scrutiny given their “new” rules of exercise. At first, I was a huge supporter of some of these new concepts as I thought it was a great way just to get more and more people involved in fitness, working out, and trying new things. But now, I am having a harder and harder time understanding why the hell CrossFit HQ seems so adamant on throwing years of rules and standards in the toilette.
CrossFit took the commonly understood definition of Fitness and changed it to something that made more sense. Fitness according to Websters Dictionary just doesn’t seem to cut it. Glassman created the idea of CrossFit, and I think he was dead on. He also was at the right place at the right time, and just like so many other creations/inventions was the lucky dude who got all the credit for this incredible new concept. I respect him for that.
Next, CrossFit became very controversial because they not only shoved their idea of fitness in your face and claimed that you are clearly NOT fit if you don’t do CrossFit (this is what I believe led to a majority view that CrossFit is a cult), they also started to slowly mess around with other common standards and concepts as well. Throwing away years of standards held true by Olympic lifting and other forms of exercises, CrossFit chose to ignore those standards in the name of their mantra: increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Still OK in my eyes; except for one thing.
If you decide to modify a snatch (a clearly defined movement with strict standards), you should pay respect to the lift and the sport by simply changing the name. If I decided to steal a combination of movements from football and baseball because I feel like it’d work better for me, yes, I can be a pretentious jerk and steal the name they spent years building their sport around and change the standards for it, or, I could respect the sport and come up with my own name. In fact, many respected people in the CrossFit community do this, like Kelly Starret who calls press-outs and dropping to the knee on Olympic lift attempts “snatch-like movements” or “clean-like movements”.
Many, many different things inspired this post, but recently there was a video posted on the Facebook of a CrossFit Games athlete PR-ing his “snatch-like movement”, falling to both knees. He himself comments that while he was happy with getting it, he knows he needs to get it on his feet. CrossFit HQ posted the video with praise and lo and behold came the flood of comments pleading for CrossFit to just cut it out already. As of 80 comments in, the only added comment from HQ was a snide “well he’s a CrossFit Games athlete and none of you guys are”, really, guys? So, I will start hitting foul ball “home runs” and posting all over Facebook how awesome I am. And if anyone comments that I’m wrong and that I did not actually hit a home run, my defense will be that I played a higher level of baseball than all of them so they should just shut up?!?! Come on, have a little respect! Same thing happened when my friend and old training partner Neal Maddox lifted an impressive 294# over his head on a snatch attempt. He immediately dropped the bar and prepared to actually get the lift (because he knew it did not count, the event had honest standards). HQ posted that Maddox hit a sick PR, then argued and insulted people who questioned the lift.
All this is SO unfortunate as CrossFit grew into something that I personally hoped would be a great thing for the world. A community that supported a higher standard of health and fitness, and one that anyone and everyone could be a part of. I turned a blind eye to the elitism that came from the top for as long as I could with the hope that the good community growing would overpower it, but I’m just not sure now. Many gyms that started off as “CrossFit so and so”, are either changing their name to drop the CrossFit, or de-affiliating all together. The social media is overwhelmingly filled with VERY unsupportive comments on what CrossFit is becoming. CrossFit began as an “open source system” (as defined by Greg Glassman himself) and now it seems that the openness of the system is crying out at the ridiculousness of the leadership. Will they listen to their community? Will they respect other communities, or will they keep causing conflict because “they can”? As one HQ staffer said on Facebook when questioned about their abrasive actions: “f**k PR”. Classy.
I know it sounds like I’m bashing CrossFit a little here, but I’m doing so because I personally would love to see a change. I compete as a CrossFitter, train a lot of CrossFitters, and am still very supportive of the community, and I hate that it SEEMS like HQ thinks they are just better than everything else. I remember watching a video that HQ posted of a really popular CrossFit Games athlete at an official Olympic Weightlifting competition. They titled it as the athlete achieving a big lift. At the meet, the judges scored the lift a failed attempt as the athlete pressed out the bar (not meeting the commonly understood standards for the lift). Interestingly enough, the athlete actually got annoyed at the judges and you can see the athlete “yelling” at them asking what was wrong with the lift (while trying to hide behind some nervous laughter). I was so disgusted that not only HQ would post this with praise, but, that such a popular icon in the CrossFit community would treat an official Olympic lifting meet with such misunderstanding and disrespect.
Obviously CrossFit has no reason to listen to me (I know there’s at least a few people at HQ who read my blog, and after this post I’ll probably move higher up on their “watch-list”) but I feel like I should be vocal about my thoughts. As with anything in this world, the more people who actually stand up for what they believe in, the more change occurs. I don’t want to sit around and just flat out rip on CrossFit, I’ll leave that to this guy, and this guy, and this guy, and this guy. What I’ll do here is offer my thoughts with the hope that either the community will overcome and drown out the elitism at the top. Or, that leadership will realize that with growth inevitably comes change, and they need to stop being so abrasive if they want the world to take them seriously. If you’re a jerk, it’s hard for people to view you as good.
Here’s hoping for positive change!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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: Sleep: 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! Food: 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. Mobility: 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! Massage: 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.
Well, it's about that time I give a little update on how things are rolling along on my training life. It;s been a fun tome over the past couple weeks since the Mid Atlantic Hopper, and until yesterday, I feel like I've had some great progress. Let's work backwards. My back is basically destroyed. I thought I had a little tightness going on that I'd be able to work through, but after the past few sessions, I ended up having to take a day off because my back was so crushed I just couldn't do the work. I woke up this morning and went for a jog, and added some pull overs after, but that did nothing to loosen it up. I am hoping a bit of mobility work and some rolling tomorrow will get be back into it. I don't want to lose the progress!
After the Hopper I got right in the swing of things and was feeling stronger and stronger each day. My strength gains are there, perhaps a little slow, but there. My gymnastics, clearly my weakest link, are coming along nicely as well, especially with the extra work I am adding to my program. And my plan has been to bring my few days a week runs back into the training program as well. I've talked about it before, but it's worth mentioning again, I feel as though basic running (usually trail running for me) adds a whole new level to my gains. I feel trimmer, lighter, fitter, happier and it aids in my recovery time as well. Especially after the wonderful amounts of food i ate over Thanksgiving, I am feeling like I need to cut a few pounds. This actually leads me into my next conversation piece.
All this heavy lifting I've been doing has jacked me up pretty good; and I mean that in a positive way. When I first noticed this was actually about a month and a half ago when I put on my nice 3-piece suit for a wedding. I threw on my vest and realized it completely didn't fit. My brain went into fat-guy mode and I got all bummed out. But then I realized that I my body fat was probably right around where it had been for a while, I just had a TON of extra size on me. And now, a month plus later, I am feeling like I've added yet another inch or so all over. The added size has upped my hunger and Ive been eating more and more each meal (and what doesn't help with this is that I have strayed from my every-3-hours meal plan and because of that I tend to eat a crap-load of food come meal time). Well, my fix for this added size is that I'm not all that worried. I don't want to take away from the strength gains, so, I am gong to let this happen, and keep fueling it accordingly until January I would say. Then I'll up the metcon intensity, along with my additional conditioning and focus on cutting down to my fighting weight with all the new-found strength!
Other additions to my program? I started today with THIS. I will be doing Kelly Starretts Mobility WOD each and every day (perhaps a couple of them depending on time and how I feel). I want to add these because I have not been finding the time to get to yoga on a regular basis and I really feel like I need to get my mobility up. My lack of mobility is what I have found is the main limiting factor for my gains. I know if I work my hips more and low back more I'll have some crazy gains on any movement involving squatting. This will inevitably be the case for the rest of my joints. Eager to see what happens.
What else what else...Oh, right. I have a gym! Yep, starting tomorrow and for only a temporary time, I'll be running Courage performance out of a 6,000 square foot crazy huge facility! Just wait until you see all the crazy equipment that's going to be in there! Given the nature of how I'll be at this space, I'm not going to be doing tons of crazy advertising or anything like that. So, keep an eye on this blog, along with my personal Facebook page and Courage Performance Page to keep up to date with class times and other details. You can expect a few friendly Throwdowns/cook outs in the coming weeks, so be ready!
Hope everyone is training hard through the Holidays!
Never Stop, GET FIT.