This is the second and final post about the incredible vacation with Destino Retreats to Cabo, Mexico. I am excited and honored to be a coach for this awesome company and am eagerly awaiting the next trip to Cabo coming up November 14th-18th, go sign up now before all the spots run out!!
On to what was unanimously the best day, Saturday had us waking up and wolfing down yet another spectacular, Paleo breakfast at Bar Esquina at the Hotel Bahia before heading down to the beach and meeting up with Cabo SUP. Yep, we had a full morning of stand up paddleboarding and beach workouts down at Lovers Beach at the very tip of the Baja Peninsula! Our two guides ran through the basics and we hit the water like a bunch of excited children learning a new playground game. This. Was. Awesome! For most it was a true first-time experience, then we had Lindsey who at this point is a pretty damn experienced SUP-er and showed off some burpees on her board and even tried a few pistol squats! We paddled for about 45ish minutes to the beautiful beach where Ty and I ran everyone through a fun workout that included some rock throwing and handstand push ups along the rock-faces lining the beach. We goofed off for a bit around the beach before jumping back into the water and paddleboarding to the massive stone arches that separate the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California. Then it was a tiresome and wave-filled trip back to home base!
We gobbled up a quick snack and it was off to CrossFit 10 Los Cabos for some more instruction and CrossFitting (by the way, I messed up the order of the training days a little. Today's gym visit was the handstand progressions and clean and jerks. Either way, you get the idea that we had a couple distinctly different workouts each day!)! All the athletes were feeling good and worked after such an active day that it was a pleasant treat post-lunch for most of them to get into the spa for messages and whatnot. Ty and I chilled by the pool and just relaxed. It was so much fun to watch each person stroll happily out to the pool from their recovery time, grab a drink and just completely relax. It was a pretty chill afternoon from there on out. And to make the end of the day even better, we had a private margarita happy hour at the pool The bartenders taught us how to make fresh fruit margaritas and I must admit, they were fabulous.
The fourth day we woke up to some pretty severe wind and rain. But it could not have been more perfectly timed: it was Throwdown day! We drove on over to the gym where we met an excited collection of local athletes for a fun, 4-hour, 4-workout throwdown. We had 12 teams of 2 athletes, one Destino athletes paired up with a CrossFit 10 athlete, and the fun began!
Hands down the best meals and most chill afternoon followed. We had a family style feast waiting for us upon our triumphant return from the gym and we all headed to our rooms and pool for some well deserved relaxation, reading, and napping. There was talk about headed out to town to see what it had to offer once the sun began to go down, but after all the fun we'd all been having it seemed that a tasty dinner and sleep was what everyone wanted most. The energy at dinner was priceless. Everyone talked about all the fun they'd been having, the new friends they all made at the throwdown, and all the new stuff they learned in the short but action-packed few days we'd all shared.
Monday came just a little too fast but there was still yet another tasty Paleo breakfast and a chill trip to the gym. Most of the athletes hit a flush-out run and row, while Ty and I decided to get a little barbell work in. I was damn stoked to stroll up to the bar with my normal shoes, no raps or anything and bang out an easy 225# snatch. Something about the crazy warm weather that just let my joints move smoothly. Either way, that made me in even better spirits than I already was!
After that final workout it was back to the hotel, a wonderful final lunch, and then most of us packed up to check out and bid Cabo farewell.
On the flight back to San Francisco Ty and I talked about the trip and shared our thoughts. And I must admit, this was one of the coolest trips I have ever been on. I described it like this: in the 5 days in Cabo I actually lived the exact life I would love to live for the rest of my life. I slept in a comfy bed, ate incredibly healthy food, I worked out multiple times per day (both inside and outside), got to go on a couple adventures, and I got to coach excited and eager athletes. And all of this was in an exotic location. I can not stress enough how wonderful it feels to be able to hang around a group of awesome people, eat perfectly prepared food, and workout all the time. And if this is something you are interested in, any Destino Retreat trip would be so perfect for you. We also had a pretty successful blogger, Tina from Carrots N Cake along for the trip, and she has a collection of great posts from as well. Her final post talks about the worth of the trip and I really suggest you all go check that out if you are interested in something like this in the near future.
I am counting down the days until November when I can come back to Cabo with a new group of people to share in all of this excitement again. It was incredible.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I was excited about the invite I received from Ty, the founder of Destino Retreats to help coach at their Cabo trip. But now, after having experienced the entire thing, I can honestly say: that was one of the coolest experiences of my entire life. Let me share.
The idea is a fully CrossFit-afied retreat to an awesome location. You get true Paleo meals, two workouts per day, special outings, and everything finishes with an awesome throwdown with the locals at a CrossFit gym. That’s the concept of this company that I am so honored to coach for. Now, let me get into the details of this trip. Perhaps inspire you to come join us on the next one in November?!
We rolled into Cabo and it was right to a 40 minute, yet interestingly scenic dive from the airport to the water. It’s always fun to soak in how a place I’ve never been feels. The main thing that I noticed was the incredibly defined peaks in the mountains. I absolutely love mountains and when you can see the peaks, like the way kids would draw them in grade school, it’s so damn awesome!
The resort, The Bahia Hotel, was straight up perfect for what we were doing. It was simple, yet perfectly beach-like and comfortable. The pool was gorgeous, and the rooms were exactly what one needed after a long day of working out. OK, OK, I’ll run through the formalities before getting to the real juicy stuff. To top of the comfort of the resort, we were a short walk to the beach where there was a view of the southern-most point of the Baja Peninsula, it was beautiful. And then a short walk in the other direction and bam, downtown Cabo.
The fun started with a flush-out workout on that beach-with-a-view. The crew moseyed on down and we warmed up along the hot sand before hitting working though a collection of balancing pistols, rope hurdles, squat jumps, suicide sprints, burpees at the edge of the water and some buoy hurdles to cool off! After toweling off we had out first dinner at Bar Esquina, a well-known restaurant in town. So, um, let me tell you a little about the food on this trip. The Bahia supplied an entirely Paleo menu for us, one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There were multiple options, check out the pics.
I seriously can not say enough about the food, it was incredible!! It was top of the line in quality, cooked perfectly, portions were generous, and the choices were exciting and filled with flavor! And to top it off, they had a cafe of sorts with fresh juices and smoothies that, uh, in all honesty I actually looked forward to consuming each day. And while I'm not much of a drinker (seems like something I caught a little flack for while being in the blazing heat of Mexico) their drink menu was impressive. We actually had a margarita night where the pool-side bar tender showed us how they made their fresh fruit margaritas. They were really good.
We gathered pool-side for a sports medicine session after breakfast on the second day. Ty and I went over a lot of great mobility and seemed like the athletes really soaked up a ton of good info. Then it was off to the CrossFit 10 Los Cabos for the first gym session. This place was great. Welcoming coaches and athletes, generous guest policy (and some pretty beast guests were there by the way), and one of the most excited and eager group of members I have seen in my 80+ gyms visited over the years. It was small, but incredibly well=maintained, clean, and filled with just the right amount of equipment.
Our first session had the athletes working on pull up progressions, snatches and an awesome workout with rowing, pull ups and power snatches. Everyone gave it their all.
The second full day had us traveling to a beach a bit past the gym. Here we were able to get some tough and scenic hill sprints as a warm up. We then followed that up with a doosy of workout of four rounds of about 30 meters of partner resisted band sprints, and then a 100 m swim. This turned out to be a damn hard one that i was lucky enough to join in on because the only dude in the group needed a partner. While the swim kicked all our butts, check out the video for one of the more entertaining parts of the trip!
After lunch it was back to CrossFit 10 Los Cabos for handstand progressions, clean and jerk work, and an awesome workout of front squats, handstand push ups, power clean and presses and double unders. Again, tons of awesome work coming form everyone. Then it was back to the resort to hang by the pool for a while before dinner.
I'll write about the second half of the trip tomorrow. Now you all can hang tight with all this incredible suspense I'm leaving you with!!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Last weekend saw the largest Courage Games to date. I'm not going to lie, I was a good bit nervous because i had designed things for a 2-day event but switched it all to one because of people getting nervous about the Super Bowl that would be played on Sunday. I knew the workouts would be tough for one day, but totally doable, and I knew all the athletes would be fine. All I was nervous about was timing everything. In the end, we went over by just under three hours! But, so many people stayed all the way to the end, and I must say, all in all the day was a huge success. Let's recap!
Well first I want to make a few shout outs. First off, CrossFit San Mateo. Co-hosting the event by letting us all in their awesome gym was huge. It would have been total chaos had we not had that great space to workout in and they were all so wonderfully supportive of the event. So big thanks to the San Mateo crew: Brendon Mahoney (who took 4th in the competitor male category), Manny Ferrer (who tied for 1st in the amateur male category and finished 2nd after the tie-breaker), and Melissa Guitron (who was a huge help all day as a judge and volunteer). Next is a overwhelmingly HUMONGOUS thank you to all the volunteers and judges. They were all so on their game and so incredibly helpful throughout the day. This event happened because of all of them and they deserve pretty much most of the credit for everything running the way it did. Thank you, thank you, thank you! OK, on to the event!
Athletes began showing up bright and early around 6:45am and we had a full packed house by 7:30. Sponsorship vendor booths were all set up, athletes had they recovery corners scouted out, both gyms were being explored and the air was filled with excitement for what the day would bring. And the athletes did NOT disappoint! The first workout (a 3-event workout with a max back squat, 400 meter run and 100 double unders, and a max shoulder to overhead) I think had well over 10 PR's amongst the athletes. Things ran very smoothly except for one thing: the damn plates! Luckily all the athletes had to suffer the same challenges so there was no unfair advantage for anyone. But those plates were greased up like nobodies business. Unfortunately we got the shipment in only a day before the competition, and try as we did, we could not rid the plates of their layer of "new plate grease". I know it slowed some people down, but again, everyone had to deal with them! And despite that challenge, there were still so many impressive lifts.
Workout 2 was a quick one, running athletes anywhere between 30 seconds and 50 seconds. This was a short, heavy prowler push followed by a T-drill (an agility test where you must show your ability to change direction, sprint, back-peddle, and laterally shuffle). Given the space, we could only go one athlete at a time, but it went so smoothly and drew a good bit of attention from the CalTrain passengers waiting on the platform. Over 100 people crowded around and cheered on the athletes as they drove those sleds from Courage Performance to CrossFit San Mateo for the agility test. It was damn awesome. The day moved on with a ton of positive energy as the sun broke through the clouds and hanging around outside seemed to be a pretty nice thing to do between workouts. And that good atmosphere was needed as the athlete prepared themselves for what clearly was the "beatdown" workout of the day: 500 meter row, then: 21-5-15-9 of deadlifts (heavy) and toes to bar. I set the cut-off time at 12 minutes and the average time on the day looked to be around 9. We all got to see some damn impressive feats, along with a few athletes who got good and beat by this one. From a competition standpoint, this one really separated the top level athletes from the others. From a personal standpoint, I enjoyed having my gym filled with energetic athletes and spectators all getting fired up as the last reps were pulled. My gym is meant for smaller groups of specialized clients so it was a pretty cool feeling to have the walls bursting at the seams with how many people were in there!
Probably the most interesting event was event 4. With 10 minutes all the athletes had to give one attempt at a max reps bench press, then max reps pull ups, then a max weighted plank hold, then 3 attempts to get a max distance broad jump. For me, watching how athletes prepared for this and moved through it was the most interesting. I honestly didn't even know who won the specific events until about two days later when I sat down to go over all the scoring. Some went all out, others took their time completely, while others paced their rest depending on what they had coming up next. I love this style of workout because it truly tests specific aspects of fitness while also forcing the athlete to plan out their entire approach. And it's as simple as not knowing yourself and how to plan these sort of things out that can cause someone to lose a whole bunch of spots in their placement. That's what made this one so exciting for me. This was also one that our volunteers truly made happen. With all the weight adjustments on the bars, and dumbbells (for planks) to utilizing two gyms throughout the workout, all them them worked flawlessly together to make sure the athletes got the most out of this one.
The final workout began as the sun went down and there was a crazy excitement as the spectators packed in around the final 6 athletes in each division. With a descending ladder of heavy cleans, handstand push ups and varying levels of pull ups (normal kipping, chest to bar, and muscle ups) the top finishers had a beast of a workout to battle through as they closed out the day. And yet again they did not disappoint! They struggled through; some not able to finish as the days volume caught up to them, others pushing to their very limits to fought for another spot and possibly the podium. The competitor men's division was awesome to watch because when they finished those crazy heavy cleans and HSPU's, they had to ruin over to the other gym to complete the muscle ups. Each on of them fought like crazy to the very end, it was incredibly motivating.
In the end we had a tie for first in both the Masters men and Amateur men. The tie breaker was: 1 minute AMRAP burpees to a target touch. It, was, intense! But we came out with our winners:
Crashing down onto my couch after we cleared things up a little and grabbed some food, I was able to soak in the entire day. With only a couple small hiccups, this was far and beyond the smoothest and most exciting event I have put on. I could not asked for a better group of athletes and spectators, the sponsors were an incredible support, and my volunteer crew was overwhelmingly helpful and efficient. The day went so damn well! People have been posting pictures and videos on Facebook and I would love it if you kept on doing so, and tagging myself and/or the Courage Games page.
Thank you so much everyone for making this event such a great one. And please keep your eyes open for the announcement of the Courage Games "throwdown series" coming in late summer (I will be hosting one every summer, and a "combine series" event every winter!). I want to be sure to give a shout out to Breeze Scoring for hooking us up with the most flawless scoring system. I wasn't planning on using one until the last second and I am SO happy I did. We were easily able to just punch in scores directly after the workout and have them clearly displayed on the site for everyone to see. Could not be happier with how that worked out. I also want to give a special shout out to Jon with Merrell who stepped up and was able to hook up an athlete with a pair of their awesome minimalist shoes (I've worn them every day for almost two months now, they freaking rock) after I forgot to load up a bar for him on workout 3. He was a great sport about it and Jon at Merrell stepped in big time to thank him for his understanding. Finally Destino Retreats who donated a FREE VACATION TO CABO to our Competitor Men winner. This is just flat out awesome support and the type of thing you can expect from Courage Games events!!
And of course, thank you to the sponsors:
Again, thank you everyone for making this such a great day. I am eagerly looking forward to the next one!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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