EA makes this pic awesome (she's the one standing away from us with a "yeah, these guys are fools" look on her face)
Had a bit of an extreme weekend from every single angle. But, I'm pushing to be on a positive kick so I'll go ahead and stick with all the positive, because there's plenty of it. A little last minute, but I learned late Thursday night that there was a training camp going down at Outlaw for a handful of the stud Games Qualifiers. I just had to be in on that one so I shifted some of my plans and was ready to throw down with the crew! The plan for this camp was to get the "real exercisers" of the group some solid work on potential weaknesses (read: muscle ups to ring handstand push ups, weighted jumping squats, bench press in a metcon, strongman work, overhead pistols and on and on). Myself and a few other Outlaws were there for the ride and it was a pleasure as always to work alongside such an awesome group of fitness freaks. Let's just go ahead and say it like this, the workouts were hard, duh. They were strange, which made me happy because I like non-conventional exercise. And even though I decided to take the final day off (I brought them all Courage Bars, so that was a hit!) I had some good confidence boosting by being able to hang with Brandon Phillips and Jason Hoggan for the most part (um, Oly lifting was just an embarrassment). So yeah, that was cool. The rest of my weekend was spent trying to do things that make me happy. I grabbed lunch with my boy Ori in Old Town, browsed through the Life Is Good store for a while before deciding on a frisbee and heading over to a little park and throwing that around for an hour in the 98 degree weather. I then went and took a nap by the pool (see above picture) before grabbing dinner with my dad and catching up with him to talk about my future and the direction I want to move in. The process of re-learning how to see the good in all things is a very gratifying one, and if you go ahead and try it, you will instantly see how much life can change for the better. Tomorrow I have a crap-ton of athletes coming in to train, I'll get a good workout in, and I have a world-record powerlifting friend of mine coming in to go over some technique drills to add some weight to my lifts! AND, he'll do some Poloquin testing on me to see how to better use food to control all the inner workings of my body! I cannot wait to do all that work. Here's to the pontential of a good week.Never Stop, GET FIT.Josh Courage
Well, yet again I have neglected writing for a couple weeks and I apologies to those of you who enjoy reading my blog on the regular! But I have decided on what I will be doing for Lent. First off, I have never actually done anything for Lent, never really grew up with it or anything so it never really caught on for me. And really, I am approaching this first time for me all wrong, but that's ok, I'm really just committing to something and it just so happens to land on the first day of Lent. I am giving up on excuses for NOT writing on this blog and will be writing a post every single day! Yep, it's back at posting up motivations, updates, ideas, thoughts, complaints, and on and on. So, you have that to look forward to!Other than that, I'll start off with a little update on my training, the progress of the gym space, The Open, training with The Outlaws and whatever else pops in my head as I write! So, training has been going very well. Following The Outlaw Way, and getting down to train with Rudy Nielson and his crew on a regular basis has worked wonders on my progress. I always thought that I just needed to break down one last wall before becoming legitimately good at this whole CrossFit thing, and while I am no Rich Froning, Jr., I feel like I have at the very least figured out exactly what it takes. I still have my weaknesses, and while they are big weaknesses, I am WAY better than I was even teo months ago. I feel like that wall I need to break through is still there; but rather than being a 10 foot think steel wall, it's a frail drywall (the link there is for fun, and it tends to be highly offensive and littered with bad language, besides that, it is hysterical. you've been warned). Last Friday we hit a threshold workout and something just clicked in me. I figured out how to push through more than ever before. And while I've had a few crappy workouts after that, it has really opened my eyes on how to better approach all the other workouts that could and will be offered throughout a competition. I am bubbling with confidence when it comes to competitions coming up.That leads me to The Open. Tonight CrossFit will be announcing the first of five workouts that around 50,000 people worldwide will be performing in what is easily the largest and most divers competition the world has ever seen. After the same process last year, I can honestly say that the powers that may be over at CrossFit figured out the best method for finding The Fittest On Earth in the given year. While I am sure there will be some minor changes throughout the years, I think the basic template will stay the same. For those of you who do not know, it works like this:The Open:One workout is announced every Wednesday night. People have until Sunday night to submit their score, either by video, or by going to a qualified affiliate who can validate your score for you. Every person is signed up in a specific region, and I think there are 14 regions around the world (I am in the Mid Atlantic Region).The Regionals:The top 60 athletes from each reason will make it to Regionals. They get their by being the best at the workouts announced over the five weeks of the The Open. This event will be a 3-day event (although the dates posted this year suggest a 4-day event...). These will be run just like a normal CrossFit event, with 6+ workouts over the weekend, all at the same location and everyone competing for a top spot!The Games:The top 3 athletes from each Regional make it to The Games. This is the big event that will probably be on ESPN and where the winner get $250K! It just keeps getting bigger and bigger!It's a pretty cool event all around, and if you don;t want to sign up for The Open yourself (you might as well, it's only $20 and can be done almost anywhere!) you can follow along the world HERE, or me and my adventures on my blog as I'll be updating my process. Turns out I'll be performing each of the 5 workouts in a different location each week! Crazy!Cool, besides that, not much going on! I have a massive project in the Courage Bars looming over me which is nothing short of insanely exciting, and I am focusing on getting those made up and marketed in some way as I train and get my clients training as well. I am negotiating a gym space right now, and with all the bad luck that has followed me in trying to open a space since I moved back to the East Coast, this is proving to be the most promising. I don;t want to spill the beans on the details with this one yet at all, but know that I am still working on a daily basis to get something going! Obviously, as things roll along I will update everyone, so, staying positive! If you haven't yet, or if you know of some people that can vote, please vote for me for Best Personal Trainer in DC here. It only take s few seconds and I am committing to doing something wonderfully crazy and entertaining (physically obviously) if I win this year!Ok, that'll be the update for now. But I'm excited to get to writing on a daily basis, have lots' of great topics to get to!Never Stop, GET FIT.Josh Courage
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending an awesomely run and incredibly competitive CrossFit competition; the Charlottesville Superfit Games 2012. This was the third annual event and their first one was my first ever CrossFit competition. While I didn’t have the best of experiences then, it was actually my first meeting with now coach Rudy, and I am more than proud to have represented my Outlaws well! Late Friday night Lindsey and I drove through the brutal snow to get down to Charlottesville, VA. After a good dinner and some solid sleep, we got to the Boys and Girls club bright and early to get all registered and prepared. There were 80+ men, 50+ women, a full masters division and Open division (not prescribed weight basically). Oh, and another couple hundred spectators making this a massive event for sure! The energy was solid, and the feel in the air was that this was legitimately going to be the most epic event in the mid Atlantic region before Regionals hits us. Soon enough the workouts began (I will do a quick recap of each event, then a little more detail o my own personal thoughts at the end): Workout #1 – 1 minute AMRAP at each station with 15 seconds rest between of: power cleans 135#, ring pull ups, ground to overhead 155#, muscle ups. The last minute surprise was that the rings were basically ropes with some nylon lining around them. This made grip brutal for an already grip-dominant workout. Also, it made muscle ups for me personally, almost impossible. So, my strategy was to conserve energy for the ground to overheads, go all out with them and then just do whatever with my attempts at muscle ups. I got 25 power cleans, 12 pulls ups (they were uneven for all of us and it was next to impossible to string more than a few together), 10 ground to overheads and, obviously, 0 muscle ups. I was a little peeved at the measly 10 ground to overheads because I feel like I just dogged it on them. In the end, I finished in 10th overall on this one. Time to turn things on!
Showing complete control of my body...
Workout #2 – 9 minute AMRAP of: 15 wall balls, 3 widths court sprint, 5 burpee box jumps, 3 width court sprints. This is my style of workout, and the strategy was just find a good, tough pace and stick to it all the way through. This is exactly what I did. All reps were unbroken and I coasted the runs, using them as recovery. My internal goal was to pick it up with 3 minutes to go, but I only really took off on my last round. I finished 7 rounds of reps and felt like I had a good bit of gas left in the tank. This was enough for a tie at 2nd, but I knew I could have pushed harder. Still happy with that, but I wanted more! Workout #3 – 5 minute AMRAP of: 12 thruster, 12 hang power cleans at 95#. Balls to the wall! Rudy texted not to put the bar down at all. I decided to put it down after each full round and just go. Honestly, I never tired enough to really dump the bar, it was the grip that kept failing on the cleans during the last couple rounds that forced me to dump two or three times. Either way, I went all out on this one and got 5 full rounds plus 12 thrusters and 2 cleans. Got 1st on that one by a good amount. At the end of day one, I was sitting in 2nd place by only 2 points! I went home, got an ice bath and covered myself head to toe in 2XU recovery gear for the entire night. Hit up a massive dinner with a group and got to bed at 9:30!
Oh, that hair...
Workout #4 – 4 minute AMRAP of: 7 power snatches, 4 lateral over bar burpees.
I literally didn’t realize I was doing this workout until about halfway through the 2nd round. I was so not ready to go. I just went all out though and was able to finish 4 rounds plus 7+1. This tied me for 2nd and I was completely crushed. I was now in 2nd by 3 points and needed to destroy the final workout to get the W.
Workout #5 - 12 minute AMRAP w/ a buy in of: 800 meter weighted run (20# vest), 40 KB swings 70#, 20 handstand push ups. Then with the remainder of the time do AMRAP: 7 front squats 165#, 30 double unders.
I needed to win my heat and hope the guy in first come in 3rd or worse for this one. The run I paced, and I knew right off it was the best choice I made. The guys in front were racing each other and I could tell that they wasted way too much energy. Got the swings unbroken and was feeling good going into my arch nemesis: the HSPU. I focused on one at a time, and awesomely enough I was able to string 5 together on my best set! I finished with 5 singles, knowing only one other competitor was upstairs already doing the AMRAP. I got up there with just over 4 minutes and just flipped into high gear. Everything was unbroken and I paced my transitions, blowing by the guy up there on the first round! I finished with 4 full rounds, plus 1 rep. I ended up 6th on that event, but it was more than what I needed and I pretty much secured the victory right there (baring some extremely extreme situation). While it wasn’t the best score, I felt so good with my ability to get so many reps in such a little time. I have that gear, so clearly, I just need to figure out how to get to it on a regular basis.
All in all this was a very well-run event The guys and girls from CrossFit Charlottesville did an awesome job, the judging was some of the best I have seen overall inn a CrossFit event, and the competitors were tough as hell. Crazy props to everyone for putting on such a great event, you better believe I’ll be there next year. The only serous hiccup I was witness to was that my good friend Steve Opiyo got shafted an entire round on workout 3 (also missed a few reps on his first workout as well!). If they had gotten this score right, he would have been in the final workout. Even though he signed his name on his score (in a post-workout haze mind you), I feel as though having myself and a couple others who watched him the entire time vouch for him should have been enough for them to realize their mistake and switch it up. Steve did WAY better than his final score had him at. Besides that, it was incredibly impressive at how well the whole thing went!
From a personal standpoint, I am very, very happy with how this all turned out. My weaknesses are still there, clearly, but they are getting much better. My front squats and power snatches were messy and inefficient, but my body never broke down one bit. Becoming more proficient with those lifts, and working on the body-weight stuff is what will get me so, so, so much better. And one more thing: HIGH GEAR. I came into this competition with some crazy blood lust. I have never attempted the approach of going in to crush the competition, but I wanted to see what would happen if I took that approach. I wasn’t able to tap into it on a whim, but when I did, well, I really did. I feel as though if I can harness that energy I’ll be able to do some pretty cool things with CrossFit. It’s not something I want to do the rest of my life, I just have way too much fun to be so aggressive all the time. But, I dedicated this year to seeing just how far I could go. It’s pretty crazy what the human body and mind can do with focused dedication! I finished with a score of 27. Second place had 48, 3rd had 50, 4th had 51, 5th had 52. I feel freaking good about that!
One big shout out: OUTLAWS! Win Everything baby! Seriously people, Rudy Nielson is a good programmer. 'Nuff said. Having my fellow Outlaws there for support was huge! And, one of the coolest things was Corry Perry coming from 12th place after day one and finishing in 2nd! Absolutely bad ass! So, thanks to Corey, Tony Thomas, Steve and Courtney for tearing it up and being such awesome support. And the best support I had all along was Lindsey. She gets into this stuff man, it’s so awesome. Watching the videos of the workouts and hearing yelling, “come on, Josh, let’s go!” is hands down one of the coolest things to me on the face of this planet!
The Outlaws representing (sans Steve Opiyo)
The Open is coming!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
This past weekend I headed on up to Glen Burnie, MD to take part in the 4th annual Mid-Atlantic Hopper Challenge. Two days of workouts that nobody, not even the organizers knew what they would be! I was super excited to be a part of this one as last year I missed out going there with all my friends because Lindsey and I were freshly moved out West. I wanted to be a part of it so much that I actually followed them along on Facebook throughout the weekend, doing the workouts along with everyone, just Lindsey and me alone at my gym out West. Check out the fun HERE. After day 1 last year, I was actually standing in 1st place! Anyway, this year was different: I was here! And, I was about 3 months into my much more serious training program thanks to Rudy Nielson at Outlaw CrossFit. So, on to the fun! The first workout was drawn out of the hopper on Friday night and it was a doozy: 7 min. AMRAP of: 7 hang squat snatch 95# 7 full squat cleans 95# 75 ft. walking OH lunge 45# I was in a middle heat somewhere and I watched as the heats of guys and girls just tore it up! Some serious competitors were there such as Games vets Christy Phillips, Gretchen Kittelberger, Jeff Tincher (and I’m sure a few more…), so I began to get my game face on! Headed in to my heat it looked like the score to beat was Jeff Tincher from CrossFit Fairfax with 4 full rounds, 7 snatches and 1 clean. So, I just got after it. I was feeling pretty smooth with everything, just super winded! Got through 4 rounds with some good time, then came back in ready to go. Up to this point I had done everything completely unbroken. I got 6 snatches, then, being too eager to get to my cleans I lost my grip on the 7th snatch and it slipped out of my hand! I recovered quickly and got the rep, but had to dumb the bar before hitting the cleans. With about 5 seconds left I attacked the bar and got 2 reps in. Enough to get 1st for the event my 1 rep! Workout two was pulled: 3 min. AMRAP of: atlas stone ground to shoulder at 145#. Sweet! Now I haven’t done tons of stone work, but I’d like to think that spending the amount of time in the wilderness throwing around strange things would have me good and prepared for this sort of thing. After a good 20 minutes of brainstorming ways to lift the thing, I resorted to the age old “just pick the damn thing up as fast as I can until they tell me to stop” mentality. I saw some guy pull it off the ground 27 times, so I set my sights high at 30. I was feeling pretty strong, but heard the announcer yell 1 minute down as I hoisted up my 10th rep. At two minutes down I was at 19. I had to turn it on! That’s when I found the animal in me (something I plan on writing about later this week, and something I actually have a very difficult time harnessing) and just took off! In the last minute I was able to pull out 9 more reps finishing with 28 reps. Again, 1st pace overall by 1 rep! The final workout of the day was announced as 21-15-9 deadifts with 225# and box jumps at 20”. I got super excited about this one! Heavy deads and box jumps are generally my sort of thing! My goal was sub-2:30 and as I started I felt like I’d have a good shot at that time. I banged out the first 21 deads with relative ease and then just FLEW through the jumps! But then those second deadlifts really got me. I got them unbroken but they were slow. Again, got the box jumps super fast and then went all out for the final deadlifts. I got 5 unbroken before dumping the bar, then 2, then 1 and finally 1. Blasted through he jumps for a final time of 2:47, enough for a 3rd place finish overall. With that finish, I was headed into day 2 in 1st by an 11 –point margin! Spent a few too many hours making Courage Bars and food before hitting the sack for some wonderful slumber! On the way up to day 2 I read about the 4th workout: 3 minute AMRAP of strict pull ups. Well, I was actually super excited about this as well. From my experience, I have always thought I was really good at pull ups. Well, turns out I was a bit off in my knowledge of myself. I wanted to get 35+. I followed the strategy I workout with Rudy to get 15, 15 and then all out at the end, but after a perfect 45 second rest, I got about 5 before all of a sudden I had literally NO ability to get myself even close to a pull up! I was able to get 8 on that second round (with 3 failed attempts). Now I was a bit worried. After another good long rest I just gave it everything I had. My grip was completely fine to just hang there and try to get whatever recovery I could, but time ran out and I only had 27 reps. I still don’t know exactly, but I think that got me 19th overall! Holy shi.. All right, so, that was a bit of a bummer. But to be totally honest, it never really hit me until way after the competition was over. Again that fire I am searching for was just far enough away that I just kept on enjoying the whole event and relaxing before the final event. For time do: 7 hang power snatches 135# 25 pull ups 20 back squats 135# (from the ground) 25 hand-release push ups 15 squat cleans 135# 25 GHD sit ups 10/20/30 meter prowler suicide w/ 90# taken from your bar Holy hips and quads Batman! Well, I was ready to go. I had no idea where I stood, but I figured I’d just go all out and see what happened. I found out I was actually in 2nd place (this actually threw me off quite a bit, I was so far in first that I was shocked at how bad that 4th workout was!). Either way, I started this last one off with everything I had. I got everything unbroken except for one break on the squat cleans. I peeled off the plates and was first out to the prowler. I got the 10 meters out and back before Jeff Tincher inched past. At that point, with the knowledge that I know had two guys in front of me, I put every single ounce of energy into the damn prowler and just went. And guess what: it wasn’t enough to overtake them. I keeled over at the end in 3rd place. I have no clue what my final time was. I couldn’t recover at all! I even tried to just sit up after what seemed like 5 minutes and I couldn’t get myself to do that! I was done. I gave that everything!! So, with a 1st, 1st, 3rd, 19th (ugh) and 3rd, I ended up with a second place finish overall. Pretty cool! I have to give a huge shout out and thank you to everyone at CrossFit BWI for putting on such an awesome event. It was a weekend with incredible energy, fun workouts, and great people. This sort of thing was exactly what I like about CrossFit! All the volunteers and judges, thank you guys so damn much! To all the athletes: I met so many awesome new people, and reconnected with so many awesome old friends it made me so happy! I LOVE hanging around with like-minded people and I cannot talk more highly of a well-planned fitness event and how positive it is. And of course, thanks such to Rudy and everyone at Outlaw CrossFit. Even though I met most of them for the first time this weekend, and all my workouts are pretty much alone in my garage, I felt so confident headed onto the event, and even more confident with where I will be going from here in the hands of my coach! And of course, the passion all the athletes have at Outlaw is otherworldly; it’s incredibly motivating to be apart of that family! All in all a great time, I am sore, but was back at it today, gearing up for Sectionals; only 3 months away! I know exactly what I have to do! Never Stop, GET FIT. Josh Courage
I am sitting at Lindsey and my “home” for the time being; and, along with making about 10 pounds of Courage Bars (they are settling in the fridge as we speak!), I have been bearing down on the focus that begins tomorrow for me. There has been so much going on over the past couple months: gym space search, house hunting, shifting of programming in the gym, bringing on tons of new clients, two of my best friends moving away, prepping for the “Into The Wild” adventure, and that is just skimming the surface. All of this stuff I’ve decided to take on has taken away from the focus I decided I needed towards training for next years CrossFit Games. So, while enjoying the wedding of my good ol” host sister from my baseball playing days, I have hit that point where it is time to re-focus my attention. This blog has been a really good recourse for me in terms of getting my thoughts out there, and it’s time to make myself accountable as publicly as I know how. Food. As most of my readers probably know, I have been delving a little deeper as of late into nutrition. But, over the past couple weeks, my own ability to follow all of my incredibly intriguing findings has slipped away like crazy! I need to get back on track! So, tomorrow it happens. I am back on my eating every 3 hours kick that had such a great effect on my body fat, mood and energy. I am back on eating 100% clean. To make sense of this, if you’ve ever heard of Whole9, it’s basically like that. I am eating chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and TONS of veggies. I will be consuming ZERO sugar (in any form at all), dairy, and oil and I will be having a bowl of oatmeal almost every day which will be the only grains I’ll consume. Eating like this did so much for me and I want to find that again. Sleep. I have been having a harder and harder time getting to sleep at a reasonable hour and I am re-committing to getting into bed by 11pm every night. If I fall asleep then or not, doesn’t matter, I want to form the habit of getting in there and letting my body begin to relax at an earlier hour than the 1am or worse I have been using. Training. Here is where it gets fun! My training has actually been really good, but with the crap nutrition and lack of sleep, my gains have been slipping a bit. Also, I feel as through the program I’ve been on has been so open to modifications by myself, that I end up taking advantage of that situation. What I mean by this is that it feels like each day I’m sort of just winging the whole thing. I need more structure if I want to get to where I want to get. So, I did what I would suggest to anyone who wants to get their training in order, I hired up a coach. Rudy Nielson is the owner and head coach out of Outlaw CorssFit in Alexandria, VA. I met him a couple years back and he has proven himself over and over again as a coach who produces top level CrossFitters. All of his athletes are such beasts, so, I figured I’d get in touch with him and see what he could put together for me. Now, this is going to be an interesting process as I am a bit of a programming geek. Let’s put it this way, Rudy can expect my open and honest critic on this process along the way! I expect nothing but great things from this, and I am so excited to have a program put together for me for pretty much the first time in my life! It’s time to see what happens! I’m not done with my program though. All last week I was realizing how sporadic my actual training is. I would workout in the mornings sometimes, sometimes later on in the day. Sometimes I would go ahead and do 3 workouts in a day, just kind of depended on how I felt and the time I had. I have always known that for me, to get really, really good at something, I need to get on a schedule and stick to it. So, I put together a plan where my workouts are added into this schedule as well. I am not going to hold myself to it like crazy, as I think that leads to a sort of obsessive behavior. I just want to have more structure. So again, starting tomorrow I will be weight training on Rudy’s program, 3 days on, 1 off, 2 on, 1 off. I will be getting 2 times per week of ashtanga yoga at Ashtanga Yoga Center DC and swimming at Wilson Aquatic Center. I will also most likely be getting back into my old Jiu-Jitsu training twice per week at Ultimate Heights MMA (I will be writing about this a bit later…). All of this is set in a schedule in terms of what days and times as my sleep and fueling schedule will work with it all. Whew! I am so damn excited to get started! This whole scheduling concept is also going to be set a little towards my blog/article writing as well. So expect to see some new patterns in posts. This one, the update on my training with some insight into why and so on, can be expecting early each and every week. You’ll see what’s to come the rest of the week! Never Stop, GET FIT. Josh Courage