Video will be up soon!
Lately I have been struggling quite a bit with the idea of moving away from California. Amongst many, many other things, the scenery is just one of those things that leaves be breathless at least once a day. Even being so close to a massive city, I am still greeted each time I leave the house with some sort of mountain range or water, it's awesome! And when I head a little further away from the house, it just gets better. Realizing that sometimes the mind acts irrationally when it's in a slightly darker state, I vocalized that I've been struggling with the idea that I would not be able to explore what this awesome area has to offer. But Lindsey reminded me that I have no reason to NOT go and see the wilderness, I have tons of time on my hands and nothing holding me back! Well, hearing it from her hit home and I decided I would take advantage of every waking minute I have left here. And yes sir, After today, my mind has been completely refreshed!
I got Lindsey to the airport bright and early, then headed out. My plan was to head up north, but after stopping at Whole Foods for a few snacks, I found a promising park that was down in the southern most point of East Bay. So, I drove down. I parked on the south side of the grandiose Sunol Park around 9am and began my exploration. Things began tough, just straight up for a good 3 miles or so. The trails were wide and not too technical at all, but the recent rains had left a handful of pretty decent creek crossings and muddy areas; nothing my VFF Treks couldn't handle (for those of you who don't know, those are the Vibram Five Finger shoes, or "toe shoes" made for trails)! I trudged along building up a damn good sweat and stopping every now and again to soak in the spectacular views. Onward and upward went until I reached the Rock Cave trail. This led me to the highlight of the day!
Basically this was a HUGE rock structure, slabs and boulders layered on top of each other creating this pretty awesome caves and crevasse's. I'll let the video speak for most of this, but I think the level of panic I was experiencing while grasping for hand-holds without any form of footing and being stuck in a tiny 2x2 opening gets a bit lost through the lens. Yep, as usual, I threw risk out the window and jumped on the opportunity to see if I could do something I wasn't totally sure I could actually do. It was so freaking fun! I soaked in the views and let the adrenaline subside while enjoying a small lunch; then it was back to the trail!
The next bit of excitement occurred when I all of a sudden peaked! I was jogging (right, I had these random bursts of energy and just went along and ran for a while) along this super narrow trail with an absolutely incredible view and boom, I was on the top of the mountain. It was almost cheesy how perfect it was: someone had built a bit of a bench beneath this crooked tree that perfectly contrasted the the plush green mountain side. In the distance you could see a reservoir, nestled perfectly between picturesque slopes. The colors were overwhelming: greens, browns, grays, reds, oranges, yellows and more; absolutely stunning! I soaked it in for a bit, then hit the wide cow trail that wove down between two peaks.
I walked, ran, strolled, snapped pictures and found myself smiling quite a bit. And as things began to level out past an old abandoned farm house, I noticed something totally out of place throughout the park. Tucked in a little canyon of sorts was a tiny forest of, um, cactus. What the heck? Yeah, I walked over to it, around it, for the life of me, I can not figure out what a random collection of cacti would be doing out in the middle of a mountain range. I'm sure I could look it up, but I enjoyed the randomness of it. I kept on down the mountain another couple hundred yards and was met with flock of wild turkey feeding along the edge of the trail, and an impressive amount of cows grazing not too far off. I was able to sneak close enough to grab a few pictures, but they caught my sent quick and ran like crazy. The cows on the other hand just stood there and stared. As creepy as it was to have all these animals just watching me, I wasn't all that concerned until I noticed that a herd of them were grazing ON the trail just around the next turn. My worry increased a little when I also realized it wasn't just cows, there were totally a handful of bulls chilling there as well!
Again, I'll let the video do most of the describing here, but I must add, as harmless as cows are understood to be, when your strolling through a pack of like 30 or more of them, out in the middle of nowhere, you realize how damn big these guys are. And for the most part I never felt threatened until that last dude by the gate. I mean come on! Did you see him lunge at me right after I pass him? Yeah man, in retrospect I think I may have gotten through a situation easier then it really could have been.
The final bit of excitement occurred about a 1/2 mile from returning to the car. My trail met up with another trail where a couple (and their 2 HUGE dogs) were finishing up their outing. Given the nature of my adventure, I was wanting to avoid needing to chat with anyone, but they just suddenly stopped. As I approached the woman yelled to me to move slowly as there was a bobcat on the trail just ahead. So, having never seen a bobcat I got all sorts of excited! And these things do not disappoint. They are sneaky big! In the end, I'm pretty sure the dogs scared the thing away and he slipped into the bush. I finished off the trail at a comfortable jog, and yes, my eyes were darting left and right just waiting for the bobcat or any of his friends to pounce!
In the end, after 5 hours of just moving through nature, my mind was completely and totally at ease. I remembered just what it is that I love about life: it's completely and totally filled with beauty and opportunity. When the stresses that sneak up on you begin to take over, things can seem to gt out of control. And I have no clue if it would work for everyone, but for me, the second I leave it all behind and escape into the wilderness I return to the state of mind I aspire to have for the rest of my life. I love mountains, rocks, grass, trees, animals, endless sky and sun. It does something to me that has only been replicated when I see Lindsey. And in my mind, if there are two things in this world that make me feel genuinely free, good and happy, it would make sense to surround myself with those things as often as possible. So you can expect that in the final two weeks of me being in California, I'll be spending a whole hell of a lot of time out and about exploring, and as little time as possible refreshing the CrossFit Games website and obsessing over things that ultimately just don't matter all that much!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I was enjoying a wonderful recovery day earlier this week when I found my mind wondering to something I tend to think about in some detail at least once a day: my mother. March 12th marked her birthday, and while my family shared a quick email exchange in remembrance of all the gifts she brought us, I tend to spend a good bit of time enjoying some of the most memorable moments I shared with this incredible lady.
As I write this, the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom all around the greater Washington, DC area. These pink flowers take over the city for about a week every year, and with them come some my fondest memories of my mother (I hold a tribute to this tattooed on my back, clearly very meaningful to me). While the majority of people hang down by the Jefferson Memorial, a lot of the locals know that the Kenwood neighborhood in Bethesda, MD is far and beyond one of the most beautiful sights one can witness. Each year around this time I would meet up with my mother and we’d take the short drive down to Kenwood. We’d find a parking spot somewhere off the main drag and proceed to walk around the flowing pick streets and the massive houses hiding behind the trees. We’d talk about what might be in the fancy houses, we'd talk about nature and how things came to be; we’d talk about health and life, and, we’d just walk, silently and peacefully. The very last time we walked these streets, I distinctly remember one small portion of it. At this point, her around seven-year battle with cancer had worn her down to a scrawny 90 or so pounds. Her spine was more crooked then the branches of those trees, and by any normal doctors diagnosis, she should probably have been strapped to a bed and pumped full of medication. But, she was outside, in the breeze, in the fresh spring air. She had this contagious smile, the one she wore more commonly than any other face. Up to this point she clung to my arm for support, but she suddenly released from that support and took a few step away from me. A strong breeze blew through and just like that we were surrounded by millions of floating and fluttering cherry blossom petals. My mom raised her hands and just started spinning around. For a moment I thought I’d have to rush over to catch her from toppling over, but nope, she just twirled around in the blizzard of pedals. Timeless.
Another story I often recall is when I visited her while she was staying in a small little town in Belgium for what ended up being a pretty long time. I was only able to stay there for a couple days, but in that short amount of time we ended up walking a 3-mile trail around the town, 3 TIMES! I think about this most commonly when I am struggling for motivation to do something, or, when I am dealing with the frustration of the inactivity of the majority of our country. On one had, we have millions of people who struggle with weight issues and easily reversible health concerns. They just choose to eat crap food and do nothing in their spare time. And on the other hand you have this woman: 3 different types of cancer, a scare or two of stage-four cancer in there; a disintegrated spine, osteoporosis and a handful of other major issues, and yet she still finds it not just necessary, but ENJOYABLE to head out for a 3-mile walk, twice a day. She understood that the best way to health and happiness was eating well, smiling as often as possibly, and being active!
Those are just a couple stories amongst an endless supply that inspire me each and every day. She was a damn great lady and I miss her like crazy. I hope that I can have children that look up to me like I do my parents, and I am thankful for having had a mother that taught me so much, and a father who supports and motivates me just as much.
Now it’s off to the gym for my final attempt at the Sectionals Workout!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Today was a prescribed rest day and I totally chilled. Slept in, big breakfast, cleaned the house, watched crap on Hulu and trained clients (I also had a bit of chocolate...). Tomorrow I'll go for a decent run, that's it!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Holy crap am I psychologically crushed. The first workout for the CrossFit Games Open Sectionals was announced last week, and after thinking through it all, I decided I should realistically achieve somewhere in the 8 round range. I prepared my workouts, get myself mentally there, and walked in Saturday feeling mostly ready. I say that I felt “mostly” ready because I was coming of limited sleep thanks to a 4 hour bus ride, then a 6 hour plane ride the day before. Because of that, my fueling process was a little off (totally my fault with not being prepared on the plane ride). I then walked in Saturday with only a banana and a soy latte in my stomach and I am sure that affected me at least a little. This is by no means an excuse, I gave it my all for what I had that day, 7 rounds, 30 double unders and 9 overheads, I am just SO convinced I have more in me!
I had a strategy to it too. I would go with power snatches until just before I felt I needed to dumb the bar, then I would move to clean and jerks and opt for slower movements, but less breaks. In the end, I broke up those overheads a bit more than I expected (all double unders went unbroken), and that led to the score above.
With the additional week, I planned out my workout schedule to get in a second attempt. That attempt would be workout #1 today (I would get heavy back squats then track work later on). Well, it was all planned out perfectly, Brendon (head coach at CrossFit San Mateo) would be there, and then I had two others willing to come in as well. I would have a support crew big enough to get me fired up and I was feeling very confident as of last night. But, early this morning I got a text letting me know that Brendon’s daughter was really under the weather and he wouldn’t be able to make it in. Another coach at CFSM, Tuan, couldn’t make it in either. I was left with a collection of options here: do the workout with just the support of one member of CFSM, or wait and do the workout another day with a massive support crew!
My eagerness prevailed on this one and I opted to just get the workout in. Geeze, it’s crazy, even as I write this I am getting more and more frustrated at myself for making this choice. I mean, how hard would it have been to just tweak my programming and do it Thursday, Friday, or even Saturday? Why did I have to be so hotheaded and stick to something that really had no good reason to be followed? No clue people, just that sometimes the mind can get so caught up in an idea that it’s impossible to get out of it, no matter how illogical it might actually be.
I felt good going into it, but my transitions were slow. I stuck with power snatches for all the rounds and was able to go unbroken for 4 rounds, then got 10 before breaking on the 5th round. I tripped up my double unders a couple times, but I wasn’t very worried about that. But I realized that when I messed up, or when I was moving between exercises, I was taking up WAY too much time. When Praveen (my support for the workout) announced I had 2 minutes left is where I lost my focus completely. I was struggling through the end of the 6th round and I knew I would not be able to get two more rounds in in those two minutes. I psyched myself out and my energy level just crashed. I finished with 7 rounds and 4 double unders.
All the signs led me to not doing the damn workout today, but I forced my way through and learned my lesson. I have written on many occasions about listening to your body and mind when working out and pushing when pushing is necessary. But this was something else; I personally felt ready physically, but things were not aligned. I was not listening to the world around me. I was dissociating myself from the world, and that is just as bad as dissociating yourself with your own mind. I think we have a damn close energetic connection with the world around us and that connection plays a huge roll in how we function n a day-to-day basis. It may be an extreme example, but if there’s a blizzard outside, your car won’t start on 4 attempts, there’s a broken down car blocking your driveway and the store you want to go to is closed; perhaps you should NOT attempt to drive to that store. Everything was telling me to wait a little and do this workout another day, but I refused to listen, and I paid the price. Luckily I did not get hurt, that’s for sure!
So for the million-dollar question! Am I satisfied with 20th place in my region (as of now that’s where I stand), or do I re-work my programming and go for that 8+ round goal at the end of the week?
Never Stop, GET FIT.
It was only about a week ago when I wrote about giving credit to the powers that may be at CrossFit HQ. And before getting into this whole post I need to make something very clear: I have the utmost respect for what Coach Greg Glassman and his team have created. From the simple concept of giving people the ultimate training program, they grew the fastest growing movement in the fitness world by merely believing in the effectiveness of their program. I personally aspire to run my company and my ideas in the same way CrossFit started. Believe in something, practicing that something, and offering it to the world in a forum that allows people to do with it what they want. Freaking inspiring is all I can say. That is exactly why I wanted to be a part of the program. They have created a community that allows us all the freedom to be the fittest we can be, learn anything and everything about all aspects of health and fitness, communicate freely with one another about our thoughts, and change the world by making it healthier, faster.
Now that that has been made clear, I need to touch on how things have all of a sudden hit an incredibly massive wall. This year’s necessary shift in how the annual CrossFit Games is being approached has caused a sort of uprising within the growing and very vocal community. Interestingly enough, when push came to shove, their new Open Sectionals method I think won most people over. It has allowed for anyone in the world to be a part of such a huge event. I mean come on, this is unheard of in the sports world. If you want to compete in front of the world at any sport out there, well, I would assume that 100% of the people who read this blog just can’t do that. You don’t even have the opportunity, unless of course there’s a major strike and they hold open tryouts (then they can make a movie about you with Mark Wahlberg too!) But with CrossFIt, any person in the world with access to a gym, a camera, a computer, a couple friend, shoot, well maybe you can be named the “Fittest Athlete”. And even if your chances get smaller and smaller each year, it does not take away from the fact that you COULD.
Now if you are a CrossFitter, you are totally aware of all the crazy glitches that have been messing this incredibly groundbreaking event up. People can’t register, people have registered but their account won’t show up, affiliates can’t register, people can’t opt in to workout at affiliates, confirmations of people’s workouts are not sent out, and on and on. Oh, and the first workout was delayed from being introduced by about 5 or more hours. Because of the open-forum style of business CrossFIt is, this has led to an overwhelming influx of comments on the CrossFit main site, the Games site, Facebook and twitter. I mean shoot, 20,000+ registered competitors and probably up to a million or more people keeping tabs, you better be VERY prepared to handle it. And it appears as though CrossFit was not prepared. So yeah, it’s understandable that people would have some issues with this. They made a major change in how the Games would be approached, they set it up in a very specific way, they gave us a schedule and told us in immense detail what to expect. And then they failed to follow through.
I understand why people complain, I get it, it’s a let down, it proves they don’t “have it all figured out” as they constantly and confidently express to us in so many ways. I personally will complain behind closed, I think that in the end, the fittest person in the world will still be crowned correctly. This post is not to complain about their lack of preparedness for the KNOWN aspects of putting together an insanely huge online program (obviously I am complaining a tad here…). It is not to complain about their seemingly unprofessional demeanor, weather it be posting up controversial pictures on their main site, dropping the f-bomb all over their public videos, or wearing Budweiser shirts on the first ever “how-to” video post on the Reebok sponsored CrossFit Games website. CrossFit has never pretended to be a suit-wearing, perfectly well spoken, non-abrasive organization. In fact, I have seen on multiple occasions that they take pride in running a financially successful company while lacking in commonly understood professionalism. And you know what, good for them! They have been able to generate a worldwide movement without ever straying from the personalities they wish to hold on to.
So if in the end I don’t care all that much about the glitches or how their company is run, what the hell is this post about? Well, it is about their complete and total lack of communication. They screwed up, and screwed up BIG. And what have we heard from them? Practically nothing (there was a sarcastic, VERY defensive comment on the CrossFit Facebook page, that’s really it though).
I have all sorts of ideas on how they could have approached this whole process differently; I have ideas on what they could do now to fix things. But it’s not my place, I am sure they are doing everything in their power to figure it out. BUT, there in lies the problem. If they truly are doing everything in their power, they are not telling us. They are not updating us, they are not giving us insight into the problems they are dealing with, shoot man, they are not apologizing for any of this!
Remember the crap Toyota went through? Well, when their cars started failing, they recalled billions of dollars worth of them, apologized profusely and made efforts to change. People complained sure, people stopped buying their cars sure. But I am willing to bet that their website would have crashed with the amount of complaints if they had not said or done anything. They recognized a problem, then acted to make it better both internally and publicly.
Remember all those professional athletes who screwed up by either taking banned substances or just being irresponsible all around? Well the ones who openly apologized and made a physical effort to change didn’t get all that much crap for very long. The ones who denied things, or stayed silent got so much crap that they became practically obsolete as public figures; or, at least respected public figures.
We the public are pretty damn forgiving when the ones who made mistakes are just honest, sincere and open about those mistakes. But the second you try to hide it all, or pretend like nothing is happening, we eat them alive by our outspokenness and our freedom to express ourselves. I would almost guarantee that if CrossFit went ahead and issued an open apology for everything that is going on, then gave us insight as to what IS actually going on, things would be a whole hell of a lot better. But as of now, each hour, every time someone logs on to the Games website and sees yet anther athlete article posted instead of progress on all the glitches, they loose a little more faith. So my plea to the head honchos up there at CrossFit HQ is to just keep us informed! You have a responsibility to your hundreds of thousands of followers (probably a lot more than that!), not to be perfect, not to be flawless, but to follow through on your word and to be open and honest with all of us. If you choose not to be, you slowly become something similar to all those money-hungry fortune 500’s and financial institutions that, after long last, have crashed and burned because of their selfishness and lack of connection to their customer. Your goal at the start was to be “one” with all of us, to be on par with everyone and bring to the same level all people around health and fitness. Do not preach this and then, when the going gets tough, disregard us and hide from problems. Please just communicate with us and I assure you, all will be better.
I love CrossFit. If you know me, or spend time reading this blog, I am sure you get that very, very clearly. But, I am worried that with its rapid expansion will come the inevitable “it’s all just business” decisions. I have seen this happen with a few companies (all fitness-based mind you) in the past few years and its heart breaking to me. I have come up with a new little slogan, much like the “too big to fail” that we all know so well. “Too big to be kind”. When a business starts to deal with millions of dollars, it becomes pretty damn tough to be friendly with everyone. Companies like lululemon seem to do a good job of it; 2XU (a company I have become very close with recently) does a great job as well as far as I can see. CrossFit defined this idea to me. They refused to become anything but a huge family. But right now it looks like the parents of this family are refusing to talk to their children. For whatever the reason, this is just not good parenting.
I hope that they can open up to us. I hope that they work through all the problems going on right now. I have faith in the fact that the CrossFit Games will be huge, exponentially bigger than last year. And if in the end, HQ chooses to go the route of closed-off, “deal with it yourself” parent, so be it. I just hope they stick to their grass-roots base, no matter how big they become.
So, I’ll keep checking out the Games site here and there. I’ll be hoping things get fixed, waiting anxiously for the next workout, and wondering if HQ will ever let us know what is going on. Besides that, I’ll be working out, writing my blog, and going on with my life as I always do; just with a little less attention being paid to the CrossFit world.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
With the announcement of the Open Sectionals workout #1 I have been faced with the first set of challenges. My concern was keeping my programing in order around these workouts and I feel as though I was able to do that this week. The only speed bump is my travel schedule and how I am going to feel tomorrow when I attempt the workout. But that aside, here is what I was able to do the rest of the week after Monday’s visit to CrossFit NYC and Tuesday’s run and playground fun:
Wednesday I hit a ghetto, Brooklyn YMCA with my brother and focused on preparing myself as much as possible for the Open WOD. I warmed up with 4 rounds of 50 double unders, messing up only once in all attempts. I then hit front squats in the packed, hot as hell weight room. There’s something about YMCA’s that get me lifting heavy weights, perhaps it’s the grungy-ness, perhaps it’s the people in there, not sure; but, either way I was able to get 310# with relative ease. I then grabbed a round of 10 strict pull ups and a few RDL’s and bent rows before joining my brother up in the crazy beat up rubber track to grab a metcon. I programmed out 4 rounds of 50 double unders, 20 push ups and 15 sit ups. The goal was to focus on stringing double unders together while my shoulders got more and more fatigued. I got this in 6:08 and was able to get all double unders easily unbroken. My confidence is WAY up with this movement, and I am very excited to attack this first workout tomorrow. I finished with a 1 minute AMRAP double unders and got 115 unbroken. Yup, ready to go! I then went to an absolutely incredible dinner with my brother (the picture on this post is of the ribs and kale I had!)
On Thursday I hopped n a bus down to DC to check out a location for a gym. It was a bit of a leap for me to choose to travel so much just to see a location, but in the end, the trip was well worth it (more on the location at some other time folks…). I felt the desire to try out the Open WOD and contacted Ori and my olf training partner big Dan to see if they wanted to give it a shot. In the end, I didn’t do it and I think that was the best choice. I felt sick, tired and a little beat up and I am sure that if I had tried a 10 minute AMRAP at that point I would have lost my Whole Foods late lunch on the gym floor! Instead I did this:
7 rounds of:
10 wall ball
10 pull ups
I got this in a solid 4:25 and besides the nausea it felt very good to get that burst of max-effort in. I then went out to a brutal dinner with Ori (took an hour and a half to finally get our food…good lord!). Woke up bright and early this morning, jumped on a bus to the metro station, a good breakfast and caught my bus out to NYC to grab lunch and then get on my flight back home to California. Oh boy!
On a different note, with the first reader’s poll up for a couple weeks I was extremely surprised to find that over half of you voted that you don’t really feel the need to have a spotter for squatting. While I don’t have one around me all the time, I find it so helpful to either have one, or to have a good cage to squat in. The support of knowing that you can fail at the bottom allows you to put so much more effort into each rep and when you do that, well, you get stronger! I think that there is still a hugely independent approach to lifting heavy weights out there and I hope these changes. People, if you don’t have secure pins when your squat or bench, find someone to spot you, it will be better. More on this next week! I’ll post up a new question today!
Finally, I want to start something on the blog to get a little more interaction with all my readers. Along with the poll, I will be posting up a follow-up question on the blog. Depending on the question I will be asking for specific submissions from readers and will be offering prizes out to winners. Look for that today or tomorrow!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well folks, after a frustrating "glitch in the system", the first workout has been officially announced for the start of the CrossFit Games Open Sectionals.
10 Minute AMRAP of:
30 Double Unders
15 Ground to Overhead Anyhow 75/55
Very basic workout, very obvious standards. At the bottom of this post you will find links to all the standards and instructions for this first workout, but what i want to go into now is how we will be going about this one this coming Saturday.
At 10:30am this coming Saturday morning, the first heat will begin for our official hosting of Opens. Please plan to meet at CrossFit San Mateo as early as you can to get yourself warmed up and ready to go. It looks like we will have about 10 or so serious Games hopefuls, and then a collection of other athletes performing the workout just for the fu of competition. The serious competitors will be going in the starting heats, and then we will fill in the rest of the time with athletes who wish to give it a shot. Heats will run in groups of 3-5, so be prepared for that, and we will pick the order while there.
A couple final notes: be prepared to be held to very, very high standards with the movements, even if you are just there for fun. Both Courage Performance AND CrossFit San Mateo will accept nothing less than perfection, and because of that, w will hold a 10 minute briefing directly before the first heats starts for all judges and athletes so that everyone understands exactly what to expect. Also, we will be video taping each heat, so atheltes can always go back and refer to the video, or even use their video if they so choose. We highly recommend you bring along your own camera just to have that extra set of eyes.
If you plan to come, please make sure you sign up by putting your name in the comments section of this post. If your name is not there, you will NOT compete. Please make sure you post yours and any other names for those who you may be signing up.
That should be it everyone! If you have any questions, feel free to email me or post to comments. Besides that, get to work with some double under practice and we'll see you out there Saturday morning!!
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.
Today I was brought back to a topic I have had discussions over for a while now. Brendon (owner and head coach at CrossFit San Mateo) and I were talking programming and the topic of shoulder volume came up. It's a pretty interesting adventure to search through affiliates workouts and see how coaches approach all these intricacies of programming. Let me give you a couple scenarios and we'll talk through them.
Looking at both of these very quickly there's not that much to worry about to be honest. Pretty clear there is a bit of a strength bias, but besides that, typical CrossFit-style programming. Take these relatively different programs and keep a similar progression each week and there you have it folks, classic, common CrossFit.
Well, for those of you who think this is a fine collection of workouts, or for those of you who don't care (yea I realize this is a geek out post, but trust me, the more you understand about programming, the easier it will be to get damn fit!), this is NOT good programming. To be honest, I don't even have to separate the two examples there, they both fail for the same reason. They involve way too much dynamic volume on the shoulders. Break it down and look at it. Example one has high load and dynamic motion with the cleans, then high volume on the same joint thanks to rowing, thrusters and pull ups. Next sessions includes an indirect demand and load on the shoulders with the deadlifts, then even more dynamic volume with burpees and ball slams. And finally, no rest for the crazy fatigued shoulders at this point (although you may not actually FEEL all that fatigued) with more load on presses and yet more volume with muscle ups, wall balls and swings. Yeah, holy shoulders!
Take anther look at workout number two and all of a sudden you'll see the same pattern. Now that your attention has been grabbed, go ahead and search around the around 2500 affiliates out there and just look back at a lot of their programming; you are likely to see a good deal of this. And not to glorify my own programming (although I do spend a CRAP-LOAD of time and take a bit of pride in it), look back through it and you may catch me doing the same thing.
This is CrossFit folks. Real quick, check out the exercises below, and if you are a CrossFitter, let me know if they sound VERY familiar.
Handstand push ups
Presses (strict, push, jerk)
Sumo deadlift high pulls
Variations and modifications of all these
Well, I'm sure all these play a pretty dominant roll in most CrossFit programs, and they all have one thing in common: dynamic shoulder motion. Add one more aspect to the mix: it is very safe to assume that you'll see most of these exercises programmed in the 8 rep range and up (sometimes in the 30, 40 and 50 rep range!). Talk about volume people! To put things in perspective, world class performance specialist Eric Cressey hesitates to prescribe an athlete too much more than 80 reps of shoulder volume PER WEEK. A typical CrossFitter will see anywhere between 100 and 500 reps of shoulder motion each week and that would probably be a very conservative number. Now I don't claim to be a shoulder expert like Cressey (although I am confident in my knowledge of the shoulder and what it can and can't take), but even an athlete who has been trained to have perfectly balanced strength and stability throughout their entire body will inevitably end up with some form of shoulder injury with that kind of volume. The shoulder is made up of great deal of muscles, and most of them pretty small, just imagine what a workout like Angie (100 reps each of pull ups, push ups, sit ups and squats) is actually doing to that poor joint!
Right, so now that I have potentially scared the crap out of some of you, don't go omitting all shoulder work from your program. It's just a matter of being a little smarter, taking the time to actually visualize what you are asking yourself to do each day. This is more than just what you do in the gym, it should also include any other activity you are doing. If you're a climber, or a baseball player, or a swimmer (to name a few) and you just had a crazy intense day with your sport, a workout like Fran (21-15-9 of thrusters and pull ups) is probably not the best thing for you to do. Always be sure to factor in your lifestyle when programming your gym work.
That's step one. The next step would be to chill out with the kipping pull ups. Yeah, yeah, I know all you CrossFitters just dropped your bison jerky to the floor in shock with that comment, but it's true. The kip (and the butterfly kip even more so) is a skill. Besides the fact that it completely and totally crushes the crap out of your shoulder girdle (yep, "crushing the crap out of" is an official medical term...), it's just so much cooler to be able to string together 15+ strict pull ups then to do so while flailing your body around. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of kipping, I love it in fact. But that does not mean I am going to be ignorant enough to think that it is ideal for me to be doing hundreds and hundreds of them without screwing up my shoulders at some point. Learn to control your body through space, strict pull ups are easily the greatest test of body control and strength. Kip more sparingly and only when necessary. On a similar note, besides when doing the annual "Fight Gone Bad" event, try to avoid Sumo Deadlift High Pulls as a regular exercise in any program. Read this article from Whole9 for more on that.
I could write about this for hours but I'll just leave you all with one more step: do not program more than three days in a row of high volume shoulder training. And if you choose to do so, be sure to give them a good three days rest after you crush them. It's easy to spot, just take a week of training (this will look either just like the examples above, or more) and visualize each exercise in each session. Literally count the reps you will be performing on any given joint. And if you find yourself in the hundreds, well, tone it back a smidgen.
CrossFit rocks people! But just like anything in the world, if you do it wrong, your going to screw yourself up. It may not be in the near future, but it's bound to happen. Programming is a very, very serious aspect of good coaching. Of the very few issues I have with CrossFit as a whole, one of them is that too many unqualified people are allowed the power to design programs. Because of this, it should be the duty of not only coaches, but all CrossFtters, to learn more about this stuff and become smarter athletes. Deadlifting 500 and getting a sub-3 Fran is great; but, how great is it really if you end up with a torn labrum and the inability to function comfortably at an old age?
There are a ton of resources out there to learn about all this, and there are more than plenty of awesome coaches out there who truly understand this. If you're a CrossFitter, serious or no, take the time to try to understand what good and bad programming is and make your gym choice accordingly. For more information, here's a bit of advice: go to google, type in "shoulder injury and CrossFit", read away!
Here's to a life of healthy and injury free CrossFitting folks! Email, or post to comments if you have any questions! Oh, and if you feel the need to spread the word on healthy training, forward this post around for goodness sake!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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