In the past couple weeks the institution of CrossFit has had a decent amount of press in comparison to the past many years. A good bit of it has been relatively critical and as entertaining as it has been for me, CrossFit HQ lights up the social media with all sorts of backhanded, argumentative remarks about the articles.
One of the articles was all about something called rhabdo (Rhabdomyolysis) which is a severely serious reaction to incredibly rapid muscle tissue breakdown. This causes all sorts of damaging toxins to release into the bloodstream and leads to some pretty messed up symptoms.
So, CrossFit teaches about rhabdo in their level 1 seminar, and even makes a joke of the condition by having created a CrossFit mascot named “Pukie”. Anyway, some people don’t understand it, others think it’s funny, some think it’s horrible, and some (like me) just choose to ignore it because CrossFit HQ has always tended to push the envelope with political correctness as they grow (maybe they think it’s cool, maybe they think it will attract attention, maybe they’re just a bunch of weirdo’s, who knows, but they’ve ALWAYS done it).
Anyway, I’ve had a handful of people reach out to me about this article and my thoughts, so I thought I’d write a little something about it.
I will give credit to CrossFit HQ on the fact that they actually raise awareness of it at their level 1 seminar. They are one of the only fitness companies that actually teach all about some of the potential issues that training in their style could lead to. Everyone who has gone to a level 1 seminar will have received a base-level understanding of rhabdo and how to prevent it. In fact, I have had some 5 trainer/coach (not CrossFit obviously) friends of mine admit to not knowing anything about rhabdo, so, credit to CrossFit there for sure.
So, because of the attention CrossFit brings upon itself, it’s easy to assume that training CrossFit will inevitably lead to getting rhabdo. It’s simply not true. Any athlete can get rhabdo, check out HERE, and HERE, and HERE. While intense exercise may increase the risk of more negative issues, it should never be a reason to avoid being intense. Sort of a simple statement that everyone has heard a million times, but: CrossFit does not cause rhabdo, coaches/trainers who push their athletes/clients too hard cause things like rhabdo.
CrossFit claims that since all their coaches have been supplied some info on what rhabdo is, they are actually better informed on how to prevent it than most other coaches. While the statement itself is true, to assume that all their coaches actually practice good coaching methods is a pretty broad and, well, dead-wrong assumption. I have met a TON of CrossFit coaches who have no idea what rhabdo is (and also have no idea how to protect their clients, program properly, or teach proper technique to most movements). To assume the thousands of coaches you put through a 2-day seminar actually care enough to remember and put to practice everything you threw at them is pretty ridiculous. And when you make a public joke of the condition by making your mascot a vomiting, rhadbo-inflicted clown, you’re not helping your cause all that much. So it should not be that surprising that people have a few negative, critical thoughts about the company. It appears as though CrossFit harnesses some sort of pride in the fact that their program has been known to potentially really break people down. A lot of people who actually understand health and fitness know that it is not CrossFit in and of itself that hurts people, but irresponsible coaches that do, as mentioned before. There are bad coaches in CrossFit, just as there are bad coaches with many other backgrounds and certifications.
But if CrossFit really has an issue with people criticizing them, perhaps they’d take a few seconds to change their very confrontational approach. Or, they should continue being confrontational (they claim to not intentionally be controversial, but libertarian), and stop acting all confused and annoyed when people question and criticize them.
Or, all of us people need to realize that this is just what they do. The people who run CrossFit have ALWAYS been pretty abrasive. And now that social media is so popular, and the concept of “trolls” has become a “cool” thing for bored people who think it’s fun to stir up conflict; CrossFit has jumped headfirst into it. And it has brought them TONS of attention. And they don’t care if it’s good or bad. They will fight incredibly established companies and people on twitter, they will talk down to established figures in their own community, they will “play dumb” to conflicts they start, and you can watch the comments and attention roll in.
In my opinion, this is a bit unfortunate and seems to be a little counterintuitive of CrossFit. The concepts that CrossFit originally promoted (and that Greg Glassman talks about when speaking publically) have been some of the most influential in the world for promoting health and fitness. Thousands of new, small gyms, eager to help people live better lives and support each other have popped up around the world thanks to CrossFit. It’s a beautiful thing. Many of the best CrossFit gyms that I have been to (the ones with the best coaches, intelligent programming, understanding of true community and support) generally choose to just ignore the actions of CrossFit HQ and continue to do good, staying out of trouble and controversy.
I suggest that if annoying arguments are something that cause you stress and anxiety, just don’t follow CrossFit on Facebook and twitter, and avoid reading the comments on the articles that pop up about it. They have said over and over again that they could care less if you follow them or not (I’m sure this has led to thousands of more followers as another CrossFit HQ employee has stated). If you like to get all worked up and pissed about stuff, read away! They will not disappoint. I personally find it entertaining here and there.
One of CrossFit HQ’s now-well-known employees made a pretty clear statement about CrossFits approach to what they choose to talk about: “Fuck PR”
My personal thoughts?
I personally love CrossFit as a sport. I train for it, compete in it, appreciate the athletes and what they can do, and how entertaining it is.
I coach all my athletes and clients in athletic performance, not CrossFit. Do you know the difference?
I love that CrossFit has helped create so much more attention to health and fitness. We’ve seen pretty dramatic growth in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, track, nutrition and general fitness education thanks to CrossFit. That. Is. Awesome!
I’ve made friends and been able to grow my business into two gyms and a pretty successful blog/brand with direct and indirect influences from CrossFit.
I can’t stand the way CrossFit HQ chooses to act. It used get me so worked up that I would get angry (and even now I will sometimes rant on my dislike for them, or allow one of their instigating posts to get me started on a post myself, or even engage them here and there). Now I just avoid their posts if I am feeling like I don’t need more annoying things in my life.
Nothing you or I say will make them change the way they act. So either read their craziness and engage in whatever way you will, or just stop paying attention. But if you want to get worked up, and pissed off, and question why they choose to act like they do; well, you are just wasting your time and energy. Maybe constantly defending themselves and arguing will get old to them, and they will change (I have actually seen a slight shift in wording in that they actually ask for opinions rather than just randomly post stuff with the implication that they endorse it. Also they have been on a kick recently talking more and more about how scaling and modifying workouts are so important to beginners; and understanding proper movement patterns and technique are more important than times. So who knows).
Either way, CrossFit is here to stay, no matter how they choose to act, and no matter how you feel about it and the people that run it. Take what you will from it and try to ignore the crap if it really bothers you. There are plenty of incredible ways to get into health and fitness, choose the one that helps you the most and you’ll probably have a better life. Easy as that!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
PS - If you want to see what I'm talking about with the Facebook and twitter craziness, just spend 5 minutes on either of the those things on the CrossFit page and you'll see. I don't have the patience to link to them (plus, there are WAY too many and I can't choose the best ones)
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.
It's been a few days now and the excitement of Regionals has passed. Now I am sitting around each day, wondering what the hell I'm supposed to do next with all my training. Wondering why the hell I was so close with so many different things over the years, yet just not good enough to really shine. Well folks, it's time for a really self-analytical post here. It may come across as a little negative, a little bitter, maybe a little whinny at times (we'll see how it goes...); but, I need to do this every now and again to gain a better view on what I am doing in life. I have talked very often about taking time here and there to take a serious look at yourself so that you can make the necessary changes in becoming a better person each and every day. And when you feel like you might be in a rut, or in a place you just don’t want to be, in any way, then it's time to take that moment. So, here are some of the thoughts I've had over the past week.
Damn it! CrossFit season is over for me! Just like that. All that hard work, all those extra hours of foam rolling, training, thinking and stressing about how far I could go and in three simple days it's over. At first I was a little relieved. I think that the mental stress got to me just a little as we got closer to Regionals and I was just happy to put my worries away for a while. What I mean by that is I was teetering on the edge of being burnt out. It's tough to be so one-track-minded about something for so long, especially if you're like me and have a mind that wanders off so easily. But that relief turned very quickly into restless confusion and frustration over what my next steps will be in training. I can now look back on everything I did and so clearly see where I went wrong. I got strong as hell, I put on a TON of weight, I somehow got a good deal better with my conditioning, and my body-weight and Olympic movements only slightly improved. My nutrition was streaky, as was my life in general which led to varying levels of motivation throughout the whole process. From a physical standpoint it's pretty obvious what I need to do to get to the level I hope to be with this Crossfit thing. I need to stop being such a wimp with my nutrition and just stop letting food consumption be so closely connected with my emotional state (yep, I am a stereotypical girl and eat sweets when I'm sad. Oh, and by the way, I'm a dude. Just in case any of you were confused by that sentence). When I lose control of the food, I lose control of my stress levels, my sleeping patterns and my overall positive outlook that I pride myself in having on a regular basis. Food does so much for me in terms of how I am as a person (it does for everyone, but this post is about me!), and when I eat like crap, I feel and act like crap. Simple really. Easier said than done of course. I'm also sure that eating better would have helped me stay around 220#, rather then the 230# I ended up getting to right before Regionals. And while I did get better at things like muscle ups, handstand push ups and running, I’m sure I would have gotten WAY better if I didn’t have to move such a massive amount of weight! I am not disappointed with my weight gain at all, hell, I put 40# on my squat, 30# on my deadlift, 35# on my clean and 25# on my snatch, not bad! I just know I could have controlled it a little more and that would have been that much more helpful.
I am not at all worried about where I am headed with my training. I have all the faith in the world with my coach, Rudy Nielsen for programming. I know that for the summer months my focus will be getting even stronger (I already have my weight goals on the board in my gym, and will post a summer goals post in the near future), but the main thing will be getting outside and doing my metcons in the woods and the great outdoors like I enjoy doing so much. I will probably either skip out on The Outlaw Way's conditioning sessions and do my own in the woods, or, find a modification of theirs to use in the woods. I will continue to train at Outlaw on a pretty regular basis so that I can get good coaching points from Rudy and the other athletes, especially on my Olympic lifts. I will also head into the city for a few sessions here and there with a couple different USAW lifting classes. I have high expectations for my Olympic lifts over the next six months. So, from a physical training standpoint, I am right on track with what I need to focus on.
Ok, enough about the physical, I am sure I'll get more into that soon enough, especially the food! On to the important stuff, the mental!
I feel like I’ve written before about the idea that one might hold oneself back by being scared of success. And while I definitely relate a little to that idea, I think that I am probably a little more scared of focusing only one thing. Sure sure, the beauty of CrossFit is that there is no specialty and you get to focus on a ton of different thing. But the fact is, you still are only focusing on CrossFit, and not all the other amazing things life has to offer. I love baseball, trail running, climbing, well, I could just go on a rant here, but you get the idea. I have some strange mental block from allowing me to commit, like, SERIOUSLY commit to any one thing. And this is where I begin to confuse myself. I say this because from an outside perspective I’m pretty sure I appear to be an over-committer. And if I were to compare myself to “the majority”, I’m sure that would be an accurate description of my personality. But the truth of the matter is, I will always find a way to mentally check out, even if it’s just a tiny little bit. I find something else that excites me and that little bit of distraction takes away from gains and successes I feel I really should have.
Sweet, Courage, you get distracted and you should be better. Well, what are you going to do about it? And at what point do you look at your life and say, well, maybe I can’t be better? Honestly, that’s a great question, one I have asked myself in many situations and take pride in being able to answer at almost any given moment. I stopped playing baseball because I lost the drive to play at the level I was at. I put everything I had into the game and got as far as my physical and mental self would allow. Now, with CrossFit, I am not yet there. I keep getting stronger, faster, better. I know that I could reach numbers that are far beyond what I have now. And I know that I can get even more mentally tough and competitive. Well, the question is pretty easy to answer in the end. I know I want to compete again next year at Regionals. And, I want to compete at a high level, as in, I want to give the other athletes a run for their money in getting to the Games. So, I need to take the next couple weeks, look over my training, and assess the best path to get there. I need to light a fire a little deeper in me that will never burn out. I can write here that I want it, and I can tell people I talk to that I want it. But in the end, I have to believe, with every ounce of my soul, that I truly want it. If I come up with that as a conclusion in the next couple weeks, then it’s going to happen. I’ll let you all know.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
What a weekend! It's taken me a little bit to wrap my head around everything, but through it all I have to say it was an damn awesome three days. I'll get to the details in a second, but I'll throw out the highlights right now! Oh, and I'll also post up a string of pics and links after this post as well do you all can get a taste of the enormity of what CrossFit has become. So, on to the highlights!
I met CrossFit founder Gerg Glassman. I spent time catching up with friends and CrossFit greats such as Christy Phillips, Gretchen Kittleberger, Jen Jones, Ben Smith and so many others. I connected with an absolutely AWESOME group of bad asses: The Outlaws (Reebok head honcho and ex-NFL stud Don Hasselbeck told me we were like the Raiders of CrossFit, now that is pretty damn cool). We proved that we are right there, all of us on the team, right there with the to competitors in the world. We could taste it all weekend. Man, writing about it now is getting my heart rate up again, so I'll get to the details now.
We showed up Friday morning to the massive venue next to FedEx field where the Redskins play. Checked in, found ourselves a spot in the "Athletes Village" (where all the athletes hung out, ate food, recovered and so on), and pretty quickly had our four teammates getting warmed up for workout 1. My teammates were: Laura Nielsen (Coach Rudy's wife and one time Games competitor), Courtney Modecki, Lindsey Adkins, Tyler Degenhardt, and Tony Mayo (our two backups were Colleen Sullivan and Thomas Hansen). The first workout was a ton of heavy deadlift with handstand push ups and Tony, Tyler, Courtney and Lindsey were up for that one. They did very well, running about as smoothly as we hoped and gave us a 6th place finish to start off the weekend. The next workout called for myself, Tony, Courtney and Laura, and was all about the order we went in. It involved a 1000 meter row, 25 pistol squats and 15 hang cleans with a crazy heavy weight. I started off with a fast row, then it was all about just getting through the rest of the exercises without causing any sort of bottle-necking (the second I got off the row, the next person jumped in and began their row, then they could move on to the pistols only if I was already done with them). We went exactly as planned and while we would have liked to finish in the top 3 on this one, we ended up with a respectable 8th place. We were in 6th place overall after day one.
Got some good food and sleep and we were back bright and early for another day of beatdowns! Tyler and Laura took on the 3rd workout, dumbbell snatches and sprints, and they gave us a 7th place finish, bringing us down to 4th place, and only 8 points out of a qualifying spot to the Games (the top 3 teams would go). A couple hours later we were warming up for the 4th workout and the final workout of the day: 75 squats, 50 pull ups, 25 shoulder to overheads (then same reps with front squats, then overhead squats. Oh, and that is just the girls. Then the guys would go do the same thing. It was a lot of reps to say the least!). Myself, Tyler, Courtney and Lindsey took on this one, and again, we were hoping for a top finish with our abilities. We went pretty damn smooth all though this one and only had 1 or 2 slip ups. But those were enough to push us down to a 6th pace finish, still damn good though. We moved back to 5th place, but we had advanced 2 points closer to a qualifying spot. So, we had the Games in our reach going in to the final day and final 2 workouts.
I had an awesome dinner with Lindsey, my brother and his girlfriend, then hit the sac to rest up for our big push. I can't lie, the energy in the arena that final day was freaking insane. You could feel the tension of the team battle going on for 3rd, and you could feel that same tension going on with the individual competition as well. It was crazy exciting! The snatch ladder to start the day would prove to be one of the most exciting events to watch. Team Outlaw again had a respectable 6th place finish (with Tony Mayo hitting a huge PR to help bring our score up) but it was some other teams that just put on a clinic. Some girl from CrossFit Wilmington hit the 185# snatch and is the only girl in any Regional to even come close to that weight, let alone hit it. It was so inspiring to watch. And of course, watching a little dude like Ben Smith drop under 265# like it's a PVC pipe just puts so much into perspective.
Anyway, we had a good bit if ground to make up in our final workout, and me, Tony, Courtney and Laura were fired up to get the job done. The workout was just a mess of exercises, muscle ups. barbell holds, wall balls, chin over bar holds, buddy carries along with a heavy dumbbell, partner box jumps, man it was crazy. Tony and I had a plan, and it was to to kick ass. Well, it didn't really turn out to go that way once we got to the wall ball and chin over bar holds. I suck at holding that position, and Tony was just spent at that point. We wasted so much time and energy trying to finish off all 60 wall balls that once we got back to the final SINGLE muscle up at the end of the workout, we both failed about 6 times before finally getting them with some crazy contortionist-like moves. We finally finished off and made way for the ladies, who just flat out took over. They cruised through the workout, finishing about 12 seconds before the cut-off and giving us a 7th place finish for the workout. Man! While we were just about the most consistent team in terms of placement, we needed to be consistent about one spot better each workout to have made it to the Games. In the end, there was a 3-way tie at 2nd place leaving us about 8 points behind those three teams. So close!!!
In the end, the teams who went clearly deserved to be there. It was an awesome experience to be there, and even better to be right there in the running for the top spot. I am so incredibly honored to have had such an awesome team and support crew to train with and workout with for this entire crazy journey and I would not have given all that up for anything. I generally feel like I tend to be a loner when it comes to training and competing, but I must admit, I am so very proud to call myself an Outlaw. And I know, for all my followers out there, I'm sure it looks strange to see me decked out in gear that doesn't have my name on it! Ha, it felt weird. But in all seriousness, I have nothing but thanks and pride in being one of the original 15 or so Outlaw Way exercisers, and while I wish I could have helped get the Team represent all us at the Games, I know we did an incredible job, and I could not be happier with the weekend. It was so cool to look up after that final workout and have a crowd of Outlaws cheering, offering high fives and hugs right there. it felt like I was part of a massive, bad ass family. And to make things that bunch great, Lindsey and my bro were there with their support. God what a great weekend!
And now, it's time to get back in the gym and keep getting better. Oh, and to cheer on the rest of the Outlaws already headed to the Games, and the ones who have yet to compete! No matter what happens out there with this new and insanely fast-growing sport, it is dam cool, and I am happy to be right in the thick of it.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Tomorrow is the big day! Below I'll post up some info on the event, like where the hell it is, when heats are going, and of course, when I'll be going!
The CrossFit Games Mid-Atlantic Regionals - May 4th, 5th, 6th
8001 Sheriff Road
Landover, MD 20785
(Apparently it's right next to the Redskins stadium, so, should be pretty easy to find. Just look for the CrossFit signs that'll be all over the place!)
Team Workout Start Times (in case any of you missed it, I am competing as part of Team Outlaw!):
Friday - 10am and 1:20pm (I'll be doing the second workout, at 1:20pm)
Saturday - 9am and 11:50am (Again I'll be on the second one)
Sunday - 10am and 1pm (I'll be doing both)
This is going to be n absolute blast all weekend people. If you plan to come out to show your support for yours truly, make sure to hang out there a few extra hours and just soak up the intensity and constant inspiration going on at all times. There is nothing like three days straight of elite exercisers doing their thing. It's so much fun!
Hope to see you all out there! And of course, if you DO come, wear your Courage Performance shirt!!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
So, last Friday was my 30th birthday, and it was a damn good one. There wasn't really a plan to do anything leading up to the big day, probably a little frolic through the woods and then out to grab a boat-load of meat to consume! But, one of my long-time clients and good friends asked if her and her husband could put together a party for me. I hesitatingly accepted her offer (I just feel guilty when someone does stuff for me, something myself and all of us should learn to get over if you have that problem!) and she went about organizing what would turn out to be one of the most wonderful gifts I've ever received. There were some 50+ people who rolled through this wonderful house, great food, plenty to drink, and the coolest cake I have ever seen in my life! It was great to hang out with so many of my friends and I must make one quick point to a new group of friends I am excited to have, the Outlaws! Only having met the crew from Outlaw CrossFit a few months ago really, I feel like I have connected with an awesome group of people. And I'm proud to rep the team this coming weekend!
This is my natural transition to my next topic, The CrossFit Games Regionals! Tomorrow marks the first of three days of competition and I'll be headed to the PG County Athletic Complex with Team Outlaw to battle for a spot at this years CrossFit Games! I am feeling so confident in our chances of making the top three teams to win a spot to the Games. Rudy (our coach and owner at CrossFit Outlaw) has done a damn good job of programming so that all of us are more than prepared. And as the first time ever competing as part of a team, I am looking forward to the group dynamic and added energy of each event!
It's been a crazy couple weeks for sure. Training has been really focused, birthday was awesome, Lindsey surprised me with a GoPro camera which is AWESOME and all you guys will get to check out my experiences this weekend from the view of this bad ass camera! And the next couple months look to be just as exciting. I have a trip down to South Carolina to celebrate my host-sister's (from my host family when I played baseball in FLA) graduation/birthday. I have a long trip out to CA to hang with the old crew, workout and do a little training camp at CrossFit San Mateo (and probably go surfing and eat the best BBQ in the world!). I have Courage Bars to attend to and am planning some huge things for them this summer. And I expect to see a record breaking number of athletes come though the nations largest gym, The Garage (all of 200 square feet) through the summer months!
I also promise (as I have done many times before) to write a little more regularly on this thing! I definitely go through phases with being motivated to write. As many of you know, writing doesn't really come naturally to me (as you can tell with all the grammatical errors on this site, something I plan to change, in fact, read note on this below!) so I struggle here and there with the idea of just sitting and writing anything. Either way, I am scheduling out a time on a regular basis to write, and edit video over the summer. Should be one filed with plenty of good info and ideas!
As for grammatical errors, if you find one of my idiotic misspellings, or a major error in my writing (overuse of commas, run-on sentences and the like do NOT count!), let me know and I will do something "entertaining" as self-punishment for writing like a loser! Sound good?
Finally, I'll be posting all sorts of updates from Regionals on Facebook and Twitter (@jcourage), so make sure to follow along!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Been a bit since I last ran through what I've been up to, so, here you go! The lull in posts over the past 4-5 days has been because I was out on a cruise down to Mexico and internets was insanely expensive, so, opted to just lay low for a while. Let's start off with The Open. As I write this, we are only hours away from the announcement of the 4th workout (out of 5), and the exciting thing for me with all this has been my rapid comeback. After a debacle of a first workout, finishing 375th in the region, I had a respectable 2nd one, pushing me to 103rd. Then, I good score in my eyes brought me down to 82nd overall after 3 weeks. I'm fired up becuase there are a limited amount of exercises they can bring out for us on the last two workouts, and I am very confident I'll do pretty well. My goal is to not only finish in the top 60, but to hopefully get myself down to a better finish than last year (I finished 30th last year). I haven't really made an official announcement yet, but because the chances of me actually making the Games are pretty slim, I'll be joining the Outlaw CrossFit team and competing with them to hopefully get to the Games that way! I am exited to do this as I've never done a team competition and I feel strongly that team Outlaw will tear it up (as of now, we are at 10th in the region, and am pretty sure we'll finish top 5 or so when all is said and done).
So, this past weekend. This was an interesting trip all around, and it solidified that I really do know what I like and don't like. So, I met Lindsey down in Ft. Lauderdale on Wednesday, grabbed dinner on Las Olas Blvd and then went to get some recovery sleep before doing the 3rd Open workout. After a hearty breakfast we went to The Playground Gym to join their 10am class for the workout. This place was awesome! A HUGE warehouse, just north of downtown and filled with every bit of equipment one would need and more. They had full powerlifting gear, tons of racks and platforms, a great space out back with tires and sleds, and tons of really welcoming and enjoyable athletes, and of course, some great coaches. After getting my 10 rounds plus 27 reps in the crazy humidity of Florida, I hung around for a bit with the coaches to get some light Oly work before headed back to prepare fro the cruise. Had a great time at The Playground Gym (owners of CrossFit Affliction as well) and was excited to head back there on Monday after we got back from the cruise. I was able to get my back squat work, then joined the 7pm class for their conditioning: 5 rounds of 400 meter run and 15 overhead squats at 95#. This was the perfect workout post-crusie bender and I was happy to move through this with a time of 13:41. I would assume that a 12-ish minute time would be doable at full capacity, but it felt so good to just go all out. After that, I hung with the coaches and did a bit more accessory work. So, if you are ever in Ft. Lauderdale, make sure to get in touch with these guys and join in for a class, they are a bunch of damn good people.
On to the cruise! Ok, I totally get how some people can really like these things. Everything is right there for you, food, sun, games and such f you want, and plenty of people to keep the energy levels up. We had some fun on the flow-rider, had a really good people-watching time, got TONS of sun, drank and ate too much, and had a absolute blast on our day out on Cozumel, Mexico. The negatives from my perspective (and mind you, these are merely MY opinions! I have a pretty distinct personality, so take these comments accordingly): you are stuck in a limited space. To me, it is scary as all hell to not be able to go anywhere at any time. While the ship was impressively big, you are still completely limited to what's on it, and I could start to feel myself becoming a tad bit claustrophobic. The next is the food. While it was actually pretty decent, it was insanely processed. I could tell that right off the bat becuase no matter how much or little you ate, you felt crazy bloated after, no matter what! When I had fish tacos in Mexico with fried fish and cheese on them and felt awesome, I knew there was something strange going on. And while there was plenty to do (flow rider, climbing wall, basketball court, game room, freaking skating rink and so on) it was just not the same as say, surfing, actual rock climbing, running around in the woods and swimming in the ocean. I found that my snootiness on relaxation is pretty strong and I can't get myself to be totally chill unless I'm in nature. Oh, right, and I'm also NOT an extrovert; as in, I really don't get any energy at all from being around other people. I get my energy from being alone and in nature. Some people are just different, what can I say. So, if you like being around people, if you like having tons of different foods and and drinks and having everything right there for you, then a cruise is perfect for you. And I know tons of people who love cruises, so, makes sense. But for me, just ain't the thing for me!
Allrighty, there's the update show for today. I got a few things planned out for posts to come, so look for those through the week!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
_ For my thirst Outlaw Training Camp, I flew on down to Naples, Florida to join an incredibly inspiring group of about 40 athletes at Real Fitness for one of the most epic weekends of my life. PR's were flying all over the place, burpees were accumulated in ridiculous numbers, pools were taken over by too many meatheads, we all were witness to what it looks like to have 400# hoisted from the ground onto someones shoulders (it's effing insane by the way!), and we got to experience the sheer joy of spending tons of time with a massive group of like-minded crazies! Here's my summery of the weekend.
Flew into Ft. Myers a bit last minute but was lucky enough to get picked up by the great Corey Perry, and he drove us directly to Real Fitness, one of snazziest CrossFit gyms I have ever been to. It was clean, well organized, had every piece of equipment one could ever want, and the best pull up rig known to man (individually adjustable bars, so perfect for the burpee fest that ensued on Saturday morning). We all introduced ourselves, then got going with a few hours of Oly lifting. On a personal note (which I will make for each workout), I felt really strong, but just didn't have the technique where it should have been, letting the bar get too far away from me on both lifts and missing PR's by a long shot. It was really fun to be around everyone though, and seeing some impressive lifts all around. big Bill grabbed 400# and got it to his shoulders, but just couldn't stand with it. That was one of the most insane things I have ever seen directly in front of me. 400# is a TON of weight! Oh, and the first large serving of Courage Bars vanished faster than anything I have ever seen! Hell yes!
Here's where I can give my first and biggest shout out: Joey Sandoval, co-owner of Real Fitness was gracious enough to put me up for the weekend, and while I made another huge batch of Courage Bars, he cooked up an incredible feast of steak, Brussels sprouts and shrimp. Good man right there, thanks brother!
Saturday morning brought in the CrossFit Games Open WOD 12.1: 7 minute AMRAP of burpees to a target touch. We spent about 30 minutes going over every possible strategy and angle of the workout before breaking out into 4 heats and attacking the workout. There were some pretty impressive numbers coming out all around, some in the mid-130's, and all I wanted was to get around 120. I started off at a good pace but then slowed down pretty quickly. The strange thing is, from that slow-down point, i never changed my pace faster or slower from there on out. For a while I thought it was the perfect pace, but when the 90 seconds left mark hit, I knew I was behind. I tried with everything i had to pick it up, but I couldn't go any faster. I finished with a measly 112 and was pretty pissed off with that score. I think if i had gamed it faster out of the start, really blew it open and picked up 10-15 extra reps in the first 2 minutes, I still would have been able to keep a decent pace throughout (that’s what I do well, just grind things out) and finish much better. I went back and forth so many times about doing it again that I almost drove myself crazy. But in the end, I opted to just let it rest and make up ground on the next 4 weeks of events!
After we all recovered a little, we hit our second workout: 5 rounds for time of:
10 GHD sit ups
20 KB snatch 24kg (10 each arm)
40 double unders
I was feeling sick to my stomach for some reason, so I was happy to be in the first heat. And my thoughts on this one, just find a hard pace and don't stop at all. I did everything unbroken except for stopping on 39 double unders on my second round b y accident. The KB snatch is where I made up a lot of my time, transitioning without ever putting it down. I finished in 8:34, enough for the best time for the dudes (that made me pretty happy seeing how there were so many extremely high level athletes there!).
After that it was off to the pool to work on some basic swim technique and drills with some Olympic swimmers, then hit up a swim workout: 15 minute AMRAP of:
50 meter swim
20 meter broad jump
20 pistol squats
Holy cow this one was brutal in the strangest of ways. It wasn't overly fatiguing, it wasn't muscularly fatiguing, just annoyingly hard enough to be really hard! 20 pistols is a LOT! I was in the last round as well, which meant a good deal of doing nothing. But, we were in Florida, it was 80+ degrees, it was a collection of super down to earth people, and we were outside, working out! What a perfect combo. When it was my turn to go, I just picked a pace and stuck with it all the way through. The HSPU's ended up being the limiting factor for me, and adding to the difficulty was that we were doing them in the grass against a fence (but I was able to annoy Rudy Nielson because I have actually done this a few times thanks to my extensive outdoor training protocol!). By my last round I was doing singles. Perhaps it was the failed attempts of diving in the pool with goggles on, or the fact that I was singing a song over and over in my head to stay on a rhythm with my pistols, but I thought I got 3 rounds plus half a swim, my judge said I got 4 plus half the swim! Sweet! Very happy with that, especially with swimming and HSPU's involved!
Saturday night saw a fun evening of eating, drinking, hanging out, telling stories. Oh, and BP and Bill being absolutely hysterical!
Sunday was two more workouts along with the ever-so-famous squat clinic that basically blows your mind on what the hell the squat is, even if you’ve heard it before…twice.
Workout 1: 7 minutes to establish a 5RM front squat, from the ground. IO pulled 275# and struggled through the front squats. The pulled 285# off the floor with ease and got 4 squats before the bar slipped out of my fingers on the fifth rep! We all got to witness THE Elisabeth Akinwale pull 220#!! Then Bill went for the 400# again, catching it but not standing. It was awesome!
Final workout: 3 rounds for time of:
400 meter run
5 bar muscle ups
30 foot handstand walk
12 wall balls (11 foot target)
This one was awesome; the perfect combo of muscular and cardiovascular endurance, with high-level skill. There was a cutoff time of 12 minutes and I was able to finish it in 11:43. The handstand walks got me pretty bad, but everything else went smoothly and quickly, even the muscle ups which I got totally unbroken! Unfortunately I had to rush out before the final two heats could even go to catch my flight. I would have loved to stay and mingle with everyone, as I have never been around so many people I liked that much in a damn long time. The whole weekend reminded me of of my old baseball travel days where we would just spend all day together doing the thing we loved and talking about it. I’m sure anyone who isn’t really into fitness would find us all pretty annoying, but as Talayna, Akinwale and I said on the way to the airport: working out, eating and sleeping with people who want to do only that as well is the greatest thing in the world. If only we could all just do that!
Yet again, the Outlaws proved to be some of the most inspiring, motivated and fun people I have ever met. I cannot wait to get together with them all again. And as the Outlaw community grows, it can only get more exciting when we all meet up to throwdown and geek out!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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:
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 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 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.
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