This past weekend was a great learning experience for me. First and foremost it showed that I am improving as a CrossFitter. To be able to head into such a well-respected CrossFit competition as The Hopper, and do so well says a good bit about my level of fitness. Ok, cool. Now that the positive comments are out of the way, it's time to get on to the critique!
I found out two major things over the weekend that are the primary sources holding me back from being the competitor I truly want to be. But before I go into them, I want to be sure to let you, the reader, know that the goal with this post is two-fold: to articulate an analysis of myself so that I can help myself get better; and, to inspire you all to do the same with yourself in the process of making YOU better. I am willing to bet that the two issues I detail here are two EXTRAORDINARILY common issues with most people as they drive towards their goals. Next point to be made is what my goals actually are. Well, when I moved back to the East coast I decided that I would make an attempt to calm my absolutely out of control mind by focusing on only a few things for a while. I've written about this a bit before, and if you know me, you know that I come up with a new idea to "change the world" pretty much every few hours. I have literally hundreds of pages of notes, drawings, scribbles, phrases and more, collected over the years, it's crazy. I am very aware that to actually get anything done, I need to pick a few of them and just focus. So, when I moved back I picked two: open a gym, and, make it to the CrossFit Games.
So, back to this weekend. Well, it wasn't really the weekend that showed these issues to me, it really was just the straw that broke the camels back if you will. I know that I am a very good CrossFitter. But, I also know that I am not at the level of those at the very top. If you take the top numbers of all those elite CrossFitters, I would be on the bottom of the charts for pretty much everything. But that's not what I am concerned about. I have faith in my training program and my determination that my numbers will creep up there come Games season and I'll be able to hang with any of those guys. It's my weaknesses. Just like anyone, I have a collection of weaknesses. Except mine are VERY weak. I can not do more than 3 strict handstand push ups. I can not walk on my hands for more than 6 meters. I can not do more than 5 muscle ups. While an elite CrossFitter will show strengths and weaknesses, the differential of ability is nowhere near as great as mine. That is why I placed 1st, 1st, 3rd, 19th, and 3rd on this past weekends events. Clearly I need to "kill my goats". So, upping the body weight work and incorporating that intelligently into my programming is an absolute must.
The second thing I found was that I don't have as strong a fire as the top level competitors. Perhaps it's my baseball background (that's a reference to the fact that baseball by nature is a much more passive game than most sports, and I have learned to approach my athletic endeavors a bit more "chilled" out than others), perhaps it's the marathoning (10 in a year will slow you down a bit). Or, it could be that I legitimately LOVE CrossFitting. I enjoy the struggle of getting through a workout so much, that sometimes I feel as though I just lose myself in the middle of it just to ride the wave. All those top beasts I have met have this intensity before, during, and even after a workout that I just do not share. I don't really compete with the person next to me, or to someone elses' time, I just feed off their energy and then spend what attention I put into each workout seeing what I am personally capable of. Now don't get me wrong, I am still a highly competitive person; just not at the level of most other elite CrossFitters. I feel like those guys want to seek and destroy at all times!
Now here's where the fun begins. From this weekend on I have committed myself 100% to the effort of being a "Serious CrossFitter". This means that everything I do is going to be based around achieving my goals. I will not miss workouts. I will not go on a binge week with food, or sacrifice a portion of my program to go hang with friends. I am lighting that fire as bright as it can be lit and going all out. I am making CrossFit "My Sport", and doing what it takes to get to the next level.
I can see a lot of my friends rolling their eyes at me right now. And to that I respond: everyone knows me as someone who likes a challenge and is willing to experiment with pretty much anything in the activity/fitness/sports/nutrition fields. So, I am experimenting with the idea that if I actually commit myself 100% to something, I could actually be really freaking good at it. This does not mean I am going to spend the rest of my life walking around with a cooler of steamed broccoli, grilled chicken and protein powder. This does not mean I will never again indulge in a brownie or 15, or have a drink or two, or three. It just means that from now until the Games I am going to be "that guy" I am going to be a little more one-track-minded about my priorities in life and I am going to see what I am TRULY capable of doing.
This is going to be a really fun and interesting adventure.
The fire has been lit.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I am sitting at Lindsey and my “home” for the time being; and, along with making about 10 pounds of Courage Bars (they are settling in the fridge as we speak!), I have been bearing down on the focus that begins tomorrow for me. There has been so much going on over the past couple months: gym space search, house hunting, shifting of programming in the gym, bringing on tons of new clients, two of my best friends moving away, prepping for the “Into The Wild” adventure, and that is just skimming the surface. All of this stuff I’ve decided to take on has taken away from the focus I decided I needed towards training for next years CrossFit Games. So, while enjoying the wedding of my good ol” host sister from my baseball playing days, I have hit that point where it is time to re-focus my attention. This blog has been a really good recourse for me in terms of getting my thoughts out there, and it’s time to make myself accountable as publicly as I know how.
Food. As most of my readers probably know, I have been delving a little deeper as of late into nutrition. But, over the past couple weeks, my own ability to follow all of my incredibly intriguing findings has slipped away like crazy! I need to get back on track! So, tomorrow it happens. I am back on my eating every 3 hours kick that had such a great effect on my body fat, mood and energy. I am back on eating 100% clean. To make sense of this, if you’ve ever heard of Whole9, it’s basically like that. I am eating chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and TONS of veggies. I will be consuming ZERO sugar (in any form at all), dairy, and oil and I will be having a bowl of oatmeal almost every day which will be the only grains I’ll consume. Eating like this did so much for me and I want to find that again.
Sleep. I have been having a harder and harder time getting to sleep at a reasonable hour and I am re-committing to getting into bed by 11pm every night. If I fall asleep then or not, doesn’t matter, I want to form the habit of getting in there and letting my body begin to relax at an earlier hour than the 1am or worse I have been using.
Training. Here is where it gets fun! My training has actually been really good, but with the crap nutrition and lack of sleep, my gains have been slipping a bit. Also, I feel as through the program I’ve been on has been so open to modifications by myself, that I end up taking advantage of that situation. What I mean by this is that it feels like each day I’m sort of just winging the whole thing. I need more structure if I want to get to where I want to get. So, I did what I would suggest to anyone who wants to get their training in order, I hired up a coach. Rudy Nielson is the owner and head coach out of Outlaw CorssFit in Alexandria, VA. I met him a couple years back and he has proven himself over and over again as a coach who produces top level CrossFitters. All of his athletes are such beasts, so, I figured I’d get in touch with him and see what he could put together for me. Now, this is going to be an interesting process as I am a bit of a programming geek. Let’s put it this way, Rudy can expect my open and honest critic on this process along the way! I expect nothing but great things from this, and I am so excited to have a program put together for me for pretty much the first time in my life! It’s time to see what happens!
I’m not done with my program though. All last week I was realizing how sporadic my actual training is. I would workout in the mornings sometimes, sometimes later on in the day. Sometimes I would go ahead and do 3 workouts in a day, just kind of depended on how I felt and the time I had. I have always known that for me, to get really, really good at something, I need to get on a schedule and stick to it. So, I put together a plan where my workouts are added into this schedule as well. I am not going to hold myself to it like crazy, as I think that leads to a sort of obsessive behavior. I just want to have more structure. So again, starting tomorrow I will be weight training on Rudy’s program, 3 days on, 1 off, 2 on, 1 off. I will be getting 2 times per week of ashtanga yoga at Ashtanga Yoga Center DC and swimming at Wilson Aquatic Center. I will also most likely be getting back into my old Jiu-Jitsu training twice per week at Ultimate Heights MMA (I will be writing about this a bit later…). All of this is set in a schedule in terms of what days and times as my sleep and fueling schedule will work with it all.
Whew! I am so damn excited to get started! This whole scheduling concept is also going to be set a little towards my blog/article writing as well. So expect to see some new patterns in posts. This one, the update on my training with some insight into why and so on, can be expecting early each and every week. You’ll see what’s to come the rest of the week!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I have always been one to advocate the importance of taking good care of yourself, physically AND mentally. But recently it has been on my mind more than normal. Perhaps it’s been the attention of the CrossFit Games process where I ate like relative crap, skipped workouts and moved across the country while training to compete as one of the “Fittest In The Word” (obviously didn't work out so well). Perhaps it was my near death experience a few weeks back when I flipped my car. Perhaps it’s been connecting with a whole slew of young athletes who have no idea what health actually means (generally not their fault at all on this one...ahem...parents...). Or maybe it’s being around a decent number of people who just let things slide, over and over again until all of a sudden one day it all comes crashing down on them. Whatever it is, I have been reading, researching, studying and talking more and more about what it takes to be a healthy person, and I have come to find that it’s all about a shift in perspective if you want good and lasting results.
First things first: I have never, and I repeat, NEVER met a human being who truly knows how to take care of him/her self both physically and mentally (myself included here!). I have talked with a good deal of people who are on the right track (serious CrossFitters are the closest I have seen), and I have met a real lot of people who think they know what they are doing, but this is so easily the most difficult thing to recognize in life. If I had a nickel for every time someone explained their “healthy” lifestyle to me to get my opinion and it involved sneaky amounts of complex carbohydrates, sugars, alcohol, lack of sleep, high stress, imbalance, and splotchy activity I'd be a millionaire! So often do I wish I could just violently shake these people while screaming, “just read a book on health and fitness and your life will be 100% percent better! Seriously, like any book!” Shoot man, I'll buy it for them!
But, who am I to define health? I have my opinions; I have my beliefs on the best ways to live if you want to have a life filled with activity, not too much body fat, general happiness and fun relationships. But I am not everyone else and it’s not up to me to dictate how you want to live your life. Unless you ask, unless you want help, unless you are doing something that is clearly detrimental to yourself and others around you, I have come to the realization that there is nothing I can do. All I can do is whole-heartedly believe in what I passionately know to be true, support the people who want to get better, and not talk down to and alienate myself from those that don’t. I say this last part because I also believe that a person who chooses to do something unhealthy will eventually be motivated to make some form of change. And when that change is wanted to be made, they, like everyone else in the worked, deserve help and support from others. So, to all you people out there striving to be healthy, wanting so badly to fight the craziness of bad food and inactivity in the world; don’t be a source of fear and conflict to those who are not like you. Rather, be a source of inspiration and motivation.
I little piece of cheesiness I like to share with people when talking about how to lead a healthy lifestyle goes like this: When we are born we are given nothing but two guaranteed things: our bodies and out minds. We are not guaranteed family, friends, wealth, food, cars, houses and on and on. If we get those things, they are all additional gifts that we are lucky to come by and have. If you can take a step back and see that the only two things we enter this world with are usually the things we take most for granted, your life will instantly become that much better. Make a priority of giving both your body and your mind the most care, and it will be impossible for things to be bad in your life. Every pesticide, every bite and sip of processed poison, every lazy day in front of the TV on your couch in the blasting AC, every car ride (you get the picture here) deteriorates your body and mind just a little more. Take the time to take care of them, and you will be rewarded with a truly healthy, happy, positive life.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I haven't really chatted about my own personal stuff for a few days so I figured I'd throw up a little update on how it's been going. This week begins the last week, a deload, of the strength program I was on for two months and I was able to see some pretty impressive gains throughout. With a solid 3 reps at 385# on the back squat, a real good 505# on the deadlift and a comfortable 3 reps at 155# on the strict press, along with a perfect combo of supplemental work, I feel so much stronger. All this combined with some insanely rapid fat loss (15 pounds of legit weight lost in 1 month) and I am feeling like I am on the right track.
I have yet to decide exactly what program I am going on starting next week, but I have been researching both the Wendler 5/3/1 program (I did this for about 4 months or so last year) and the crazy looking West Side Barbell program. Not sold on either one yet, and I may just go ahead and take aspect of them and fit them into a program that fits me, not totally sure just yet. All I know is that I want to get a whole hell of a lot stronger over the next three months so, whatever program will help me do that is what I'll be following.
Running more, CrossFit style metcons here and there but not really a main focus, swimming will start up more, and mobility and gymnastics will begin a bit more as well starting next week. I'll be eating exactly the way I have been, it's been working wonders for me and I don't see a reason why I would switch that up at all. So, really not too much to talk about in terms of nutrition. Turns out the whole Paleo concept is working for me this time around (although i didn't even realize I was eating Paleo until about two days ago, and maybe that's why it's been working!) and I really don;t have any sort of good reason to stop. One point to make about the food though is today. I felt really groggy all day and I quickly realized that besides breakfast yesterday, I had all my meals from a store (Sweet Green salad, Chicken Out turkey and veggies, Whole Foods fish and veggies). While I ate super clean from all those places, I am totally aware of the sodium, sugars and potential other additives that I would not have had if I had made the food myself. A note was made to avoid eating out. No matter how clean the food is, it's never as clean as when you make it yourself.
So, what you will see with my physical training starting next week: a new strength training regimen that will really kick my strength to a whole new level, continued runs, 1-2 swims a week, mobility practice probably each and every day, more gymnastics work.
Another bit of interesting happenings today was a strange sort of culmination of a few things that really messed with me emotionally. At first I got depressed, then I got super motivated, it was interesting to experience. With the CrossFit Games coming up this coming weekend, information and videos have been popping up like crazy, and I have been catching so many of my friends and old training partners, now celebritized through the internet with their impressive growth in the sport. While I am so happy for all them, there is a piece of me that is so envious that they are there while I am at home; I was able to get so close. This was compounded by a really nice lunch and catch-up couple hours with my good friend and Washington Nationals pitcher John Lannon. As always with baseball, it was so great to be around him and talk about the game and such, but it brought back memories of how close I was able to get to "making it" as a baseball player. The depression hit me that I am always just so close to getting there, but not quite. I am really good at so much, just not good enough. Then the motivation hit that I know, deep down, that if I can commit to something, with the abilities that I have, I can really make something happen for myself. Focus and determination will take you far, and I if this whole CrossFit thing is something I am seriously considering giving a shot, I certain I can make it happen (it's eye opening to me to see how far i made it with the training and nutrition plan I was on leading up to it all!). I have a plan, it's being prepared, I am excited.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well crap. From a personal standpoint I completely failed on this day. With 30 total competitors in my group, I came in 29th on the day. Dead last on workout 1, got only 10 handstand push ups (needed 30, plus a 1000 meter row...), then botched my 225# attempt on the thruster. My 215# attempt was so easy and I went to the next bar feeling very comfortable; I cleaned it, squatted down and began to drive back up. The second the bar came off my shoulders i knew I was going to miss it. With the VERY strict standards they were keeping, I was not able to move my feet at all and when the bar came off my shoulders a little forward, I had no chance to recover. Oh well!
Tomorrow are two workouts I feel very good about and I have to tear them both up like crazy if i want a shot to make it on to the third day. Only the top 14 go to day 3 and I need to bring my A-game.
Besides my embarrassing performance on the day, it was so awesome! So many people working their buts off, even more people cheering everyone one, man oh man was it cool. I think tomorrow is going to be the most intense day of the three, so I am looking forward to it the most.
thanks to everyone for all the good luck wishes and following along. i promise to do better tomorrow, and I apologize for such a poor performance today.
Never Stop (believe me, I won't!), GET FIT.
Tomorrow marks the start of the Reebok CrossFit Games Mid Atlantic Regional competition. Three days, six workouts, a little over 30 dudes (same for women, and about 15 teams I believe), all fighting for only a few spots to the CrossFit Games in CA at the end of July.
I have yet to feel nervous, I am excited, I am eager to hang out with so many like-minded people and I am feeling pretty positive about my fitness levels. I have no idea what is going to happen out there, but all I o know as that when I hear "GO", I am going to do just that. I plan to give it my all, trust my training, trust my fuel, trust my body and push myself harder and farther then I ever have. That is what I enjoy doing, that is why I love CrossFit, and it fires me up to know that I will be surrounded by people who want the same thing.
I think the reason my nerves are so calm is that my mind has been elsewhere today (probably a very good thing when i think about it). Today marked the two year anniversary of my Mothers death and it has been overwhelming thinking about all the good she not only brought to me, but to so many people around the world. I have written about her many times on both this and my old blog, and I feel like I could write something new and positive about her every day. Today I will leave it at this: she is the main reason I push myself. For her, if you were not working towards doing the thing you loved with all your energy, you were wasting time. And if you were not smiling while you did it, you were doi g something wrong. This weekend I dedicate my effort to her. Through the pain and struggle of each rep I will relish the opportunity to feel so alive. I will be beyond grateful to be able to be out there, healthy, happy, moving, sweating, pushing myself to new limits around hundreds of others who desire the same for their lives. I am humbled by her every day, from the day I was born, to this day, 3 years after she has passed. So this weekend, and for as long as I live, I will continue to challenge myself, I will smile through and enjoy each and every challenge, and i will share my love and passion for this with as many people as I can.
To all you competition tomorrow, to those of you who competed last week, to the hundreds waiting to compete over the next couple weeks, to to everyone who pushes themselves to be better; you inspire me every day. You all freaking ROCK!
For those of you wanting to come out tomorrow and over the weekend to spectate, cheer and be totally blown away with how awesome these CrossFit events are, you;ll find the info below. I will be updating the blog each day with posts, pics and videos. And, I'll be posting to Facebook and twitter throughout the weekend. be sure to follow along even if you can't be there!
George Mason University Field House
4501 University Dr.
Friday - 9am-6pm
Saturday - 9am-6pm
Sunday - 9am-3pm
$10 per day or $25 for a full-event pass.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
since my last post! I guess I have just been majorly distracted with this whole moving East thing. Lindsey said to me yesterday that she thinks it's actually hitting me for the first time for real. I said that the idea that it will probably hit me soon has just hit me and that is all the intensity I can handle! Oh well, the fact of the matter is, it's happening soon and I better be get my butt prepared! As I prepare, I want to be sure to keep writing as it really is a form of therapy to me almost. And I figured, to welcome me back to posts, I'd do a bit of a "catch-up" post for the week I missed; so, here goes!
The day after my awesome day of hiking last week I headed out to Lalanne Fitness for the Open Sectionals Workout #2. In 15 minutes we all had to do as many rounds as we could of 9 deadlifts with 155#, 12 push ups (raising our hands off the ground at the bottom of each), and 12 box jumps at 24". Being surrounded with such a large group of awesome athletes got me so motivated. And despite the fact I was working off no food for 4 hours (baseball game before) and only a soy latte in my stomach (bad idea), I was able to walk out with a top score of 12 rounds, 9 deadlifts and 8 push ups. I left pretty happy with that score, but VERY confident I could do better with better fueling and a slightly better approach (I broke up my push ups in a very time-consuming manner).
The rest of the week was pretty straight forward, I trained people. took it easy physically as to rest up for Saturday, and that was about it! When Saturday rolled around, Lindsey and I drove down to San Jose to meet up with CrossFit Games competitor Neal Maddox at his gym to try the workout again. I felt good, fueled, energized, excited! Watching his athletes tear through the workout got me even more pumped as they all put forth some impressive scores. Neal and I set up our stations side by side, cranked up the music and got after it. Well, I felt pretty strong (perhaps a little slow) through around 7 rounds, breaking up the push ups early and often I was actually ahead of my last attempt. But it all came crashing down on me fast. I went ALL OUT for this, like literally. The idea of talking, moving, doing anything afterward was scary, I just gave every ounce of energy I had at that time. I got the exact same score! 12 rounds plus 9 deadlifts and 8 push ups. Lindsey told me that I was actually shaking my head towards the end of the workout, I had nothing else to give it. This sort of thing is so interesting to me, how could I have been so much better prepared, but end up having a ton less energy than the last time? After a few days of thinking about it, I am pretty sure it was the following (this is simplified like crazy by the way, details on all this can be saved for a more in-depth post later): over-trained muscles through volume (the amount of repetition I was asking specific muscles to withstand over the past couple weeks was insane), lack of carbohydrates in my system (while I fueled very well in terms of amount, I neglected any sort of increase in carbs in the days before the workout. The cardiovascular demand of this workout called for a greater amount of energy to burn, and I did not have any reserves). All that being said, there was nothing I could do but accept that score and post it up (as of now I am sitting 18th in my region, not bad at all seeing how the top 60 advance).
We ended up taking the rest of Saturday totally off. We originally had plans to maybe camp out, but Lindsey had tons of work, and the Final Four games were on as well! So, we waited until Sunday for our little adventure. After a wonderfully huge breakfast, we drove out by Walnut Creek to some mountains in search for a waterfall. A couple miles up a wide cattle trail, we found it hidden in the bushes. A small, spritsy, 15 or so foot waterfall. We treked around it for a while trying to figure a way to get both to the top of it and the bottom. Eventually we were able to navigate it pretty well and have a small lunch underneath it. All was great until I took a nasty spill as we began hiking out of the creek area. Lindsey did an admirable job cleaning my shorts in the creek (we were planning on hitting up dinner in Walnut Creek afterwards and having a HUGE mud spot right on my butt was not the most, um, attractive thing in the world). I spent the rest of the hike strolling around in just my 2XU compression shorts, real classy!
We enjoyed a feast-like dinner and drove on home. And there you have it folks, my week! Now, I want to touch a little about my progamming over the next month of so. I feel like i am totally under-prepared for the CrossFit Games fun and not only that, I have put on a sneaky 10 pounds in the pas 3 months. Visually it looks like I have lost like 5 pounds, but that's apparently not the case. This makes all those tricky body-weight moves that much harder for me. Being a touch over 220 pounds I guess makes my scores for those past two workouts damn impressive, but i am doing nothing but making it all harder for myself. So, it's time to dial in my nutrition, and make my training that much more a priority. I know plenty of people who take the Games season like it is their professional sport; I mean seriously, with a $250k prize pot, I can understand why. My priorities right now lie in spending time with Lindsey when she's around, training clients, THEN training myself. That's just not good enough. I am sure I'll make regionals, but then, if i don't make some changes, I'll just get crushed! So, time to turn it all around!
Monday's - skills work, Olympic and strength training, short, running-based metcon
Tuesday's - Easy conditioning, rest
Wednesday's - Either: Open Workout or Heavy strength training and metcon (depends what the workout is)
Thursday's - Hard, weighted conditioning
Friday's - Rest
Saturday's - Either: Open Workout or Heavy strength Training and long metcon (depends what the workout is)
Sunday's - Rest
The goal is to focus in my training around preparing for the Regionals. I will take the Sectionals workouts seriously but I have no need to do the damn thing twice. I'll just base what day I do it off whatever it actually is (strength based or conditioning/skills based) and re-work my programming accordingly. Then, once I complete the workout, I'll get back to training hard! Oh, and I'll be posting up here on a daily basis again!
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.
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