Last week was a pretty good week. Team Courage hit our max lifts after the rest of gym had all just done that themselves and there were some pretty damn big numbers.
To finish off the week, myself, Mike, and Ryan (and a a decent collection of other training partners and friends) hit up the Lalanne Summer Throwdown, a ridiculously massive one-day competition out at Treasure Island in the city. With over 200 total competitors, this was the largest event I've ever been to, and one that saw 100 competitors in my division alone! It was a well-run event, not many hiccups that I could see, pretty good workouts all around, and some pretty damn good athletes (I think there were something around 5+ Regionals competitors there. I ended up finishing 8th overall and to be honest, I am happy with that given where my training has been over the past few months. I felt like I was about one gear off from where I normally would be competing, and that led me to just moving a hair slower than what I would expect from myself. But again, I was happy with the event and how I performed. Here are some cool pics from the day.
While it was a fun day, I actually had an interesting experience in that it was the first ever fitness competition I've been a part of where I lost interest in competing. I've had the experience before where I felt burnt out, but then when the announcer yells GO, I just find the switch and attack it with everything I have. This time around I was able to get that switch on the final announced workout, but going into the very final one (I was lucky enough to be in the top 8 who make it there) I just had nothing left to give. It was a strange new feeling for me to be at a competitive event and really just not care at all. At the time, there wasn't the desire to "dig deep" and find that edge. I had given what I wanted to that day and felt like there I didn't want to give anything else. Strangely enough, I stopped that final workout one rep shy of completely ripping my hand open, and I am beyond happy about that. I allowed myself to walk away from the day, get some good food and sleep, and hit the gym hard on Monday for our new cycle of heavy programming without having to modify everything because of a busted hand. Either way, it was a learning experience.
So, about said new cycle of programming! The past few months have been wildly successful and I had programmed out the next three months when one of my Team members approached me with the dreaded Smolov Squat program. I had read about this one a while back, and even considered using it in my program but ultimately wanted to try out my own strength program after going through the Hatch Squat cycle. But, upon some further review, and looking at what I had programmed, I decided to sit the Team down and find a way to incorporate this crazy intense program into our next 13 weeks.
Here's how I'm writing it out for us. First off, only a few of us are following it because my requirement is that anyone on the program must do it with others around. It's an incredibly intense program that calls for 4 days per week of high load and high volume squatting. So. Yeah. It's scary. I insisted on having a support crew around for each and every session for all of us on it.
Four out of our 6 days of training per week will be double training days. Our 6am Smolov squat sessions will also include focused gymnastics work and stretching. The afternoon session will be dedicated to weightlifting (snatch and clean and jerk work), accessory work, and conditioning sessions. And that's the extent of the the detail I'll share with all of you! I'm extremely excited for this program and I'm hoping some huge gains over the 13 weeks we're on it. As I mentioned to the Team, we are going to be entering into a lot of very dark places during this experience. But, it will be very eye-opening, very honest, and self-revealing time. I am very excited. On that note, if anyone is looking to get some pretty damn good programming (if I do say so myself...), let me know and join Team Courage! Just shoot me an email or call and we can get something going. The Team is looking to expand!
Anyways, I'm sitting here typing away, feeling like i got run over and all I can think about is the heavy squatting I have to do tomorrow morning. To be honest, the biggest thing I need to focus on over the next few months is eating, sleeping, and stretching. And this is perfect! The process of learning how to eat enough food to properly fuel myself without eating a bunch of crap is a huge challenge in and of itself. Sleeping is another thing I tend to have a hard time with timing out. For me, the best thing to do is plan to get around 6 hours per night, then focus in on getting a30-90 minute nap at some point each day as well. And lastly, I do tend to breeze over the stretching work, so planning out stretching and mobilization each day will help me so much, and I know I need it a lot.
I'll make sure to post regular updates on how this program goes. My research led me to realize there is not all that much anecdotal feedback on the Smolov program, so i plan to talk through it all and finish it all up with a big write-up on all my thoughts about it.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
First the technical jargon. Woke up bright and early for a nice jog up the old crazy hill at Sweeney Ridge. The fog was rolling out and the view was not at it's best, but it was still unreal to be able to look out over the Bay, Ocean and City, even if you couldn't see most of it all. A great way to get the heart going. After a nice breakfast it was back to the house to get a little work done and get cracking on some organizing of stuff to be moved. Then, off to the gym for Dynamic Effort bench and some really solid supplemental work. Second day of West Side Barbell was WAY more successful than the first day! After lunch with Brendon (owner at San Mateo Team Elite, formally CrossFit San Mateo) it was a trip up to the City for a little throwdown with the crew at Lalanne Fitness. It was so great to see all my old friends here! We caught up as i gazed in awe at their new space, then got in a really fun skills warm up (pistol squats, GHD sit ups, handstand push ups and bar muscle ups) before getting all set up for "Isa-Grace": 30 power snatches followed immediately by 30 clean and jerks both at 135#...ouch! I was able to bang this out in 6:57 and felt really good with that time seeing how I have not been focusing on Olympic lifting or serious MetCons. It was just so damn good to see everyone and I can not wait at all to get back up here and workout with them all again!
Perfect little segue to the reality check here...
As I've made painfully clear with my last post, I absolutely love it out here on California. It was a really tough decision and process that Lindsey and I went through to move back East, and that decision, no matter how many times and angles I look at it, was, and is the right one. Here's the conclusion I always come to whenever I think about it, or whenever someone brings it up: happiness does not exist unless it's shared (stolen from "Into The Wild"). My own little opinion on this one is that the greatest thing to have in the world is a person you can share your life with. Someone who supports you through thick and thin, someone who trusts and cares about you, and someone who who wants and needs the same in return from you! Nothing I can imagine (and I have a crazy imagination) could ever be more important than that to me; not my job, not my training program, and certainly not where I live. In my mind, I am the luckiest guy on the face of the planet to have found someone who has made me see this reality.
I enjoy and love so much in life. I love challenges, I love exploring, I love sun, I love good food, I love good, nice people, I love baseball, I love California, I love the great outdoors, I love the thick foliage of the surrounding wild of Washington, DC, and I love the feeling when a smile creeps over my face. And now, I actually have the opportunity to share all of these things with someone. This is the reality I clearly see every day. I ask you this: what could be better?
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Today's workouts saw a AM/PM split. I hit snatch work bright an early in the morning, getting reps of power snatches, snatch pulls and squat snatches. It was a very frustrating session as I was able to lock out 190.5# with ease (almost a damn power snatch), but just did not have the technique to get under it at all. I can visualize it so perfectly, I just can't do it! But, I know exactly what i need to do to get better at this: mobility work! I'll talk about that next week when I get into a more comfortable routine with it.
After training people and watching the baseball team I help coach get absolutely demolished, I drove out to the City to meet up with the crew at Lalanne Fitness one final time before I move. I have said it before and I'll say it again, these guys freaking rock! Their intensity is inspiring, their community is warming, their personalities are strong yet completely nonabrasive and welcoming. I LOVE visiting these guys and I'll miss them all so much back on the East Coast. What Chris Lalanne has done at his spot is something that I aspire to have in the DC area and I have so much to thank him for in the short time that I have known him. He's a good guy who runs an awesome gym; enough said.
My friend and client Jon joined us there as well and Chris set us each up in partners for a 3-workout throwdown:
#1 - In 20 minutes each establish your 2RM (2 rep max) overhead squat (no racks allowed, helping each other with the bar IS allowed)
#2 - 7 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of: 10 air squats, 3 burpees, 2x10 meter shuttle runs (run 10 meters out and back twice)(one team member does workout, then next team member goes)
#3 - 5 minute AMRAP of: 5 box jump-overs (20" box), 10 knees to elbow (one team member does workout, then next team member goes)
I was teamed up with Katie, who was humble enough but when it came down to the wire di absolutely awesome! In the first workout I was able to get 235# pretty comfortably (Chris motivated me to go that heavy unbeknownst to him...) and I stopped there as my shoulders were feeling fatigued from the morning snatch work. With Katie's 85# we pulled a 2nd place finish with a total weight of 320# (Chris and Jon got in the 400's!). In the second workout, Katie started off with an impressive 10 rounds plus 6 squats, a best score of the first heat! I attacked this total leg burner and finished with a score of 12 rounds and 9 squats, giving us a 1st place finish in that event! The final event was another killer, especially with the heavy legs generated from so much squatting. Katie was able to get 4 rounds plus 10 reps and I got 6 rounds plus 13. I was able to 4 rounds totally unbroken, but then I just crashed. Something about knees to elbows just crushes me at a certain pint and with about 30 seconds remaining, I was only able to get single reps at a time. I goes the fact that most of my body weight is carried in my thighs doesn't help very much... Either way, we pulled away with a 1st in that event too! Score!
I hung and talked with Chris and coach Will for a while after and it just broke my heart that much more to walk out of there knowing it'd be a while until I got to see any of them again. keep up the awesome work guys, and represent proudly at Regionals!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Today's slightly improperly fueled attempt at Open Sectionals Workout #5 went WAY better then I could have imagined. First off, here's a bit about my inability to fuel properly. The mornings are a breeze, I get everything I could possibly imagine. But once that ends, I pretty much just wing it. I have come to the conclusion that for at least a month, I need to to break it down like I'm a 2-year-old and have my meals written out for me, times to eat and all! Shout-out to Michael Donovan baby! You gotta save me my man (Donovan is a legit nutritionist and all around great guy in the DC area)!
Alright, so back to the workout. After talking with Lindsey and the Lalanne crew a bit I realized that an absolutely AWESOME score would be 15 rounds. Then, after watching the first heat of three go at Lalanne Fitness I decided 12 rounds would be the ultimate goal. If could pull that out I would be so happy!
Do as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
5 power cleans 145#
10 toes to bar
15 wall ball
The goal was to find a comfortable pace and then stick to that as much as possible. This went pretty well, and I was able to get 5 rounds completely unbroken at a pace of over 13 rounds. Then, right around round 7 I hit a major wall. I can;t really describe how this felt, just like I was literally falling apart. I was doing the toes to bar in 3 sets, the cleans and wall balls went all unbroken. And interestingly enough, the wall balls were what got me. That 7th round left me feeling surprisingly nauseous and it was everything in my power to battle through. When I looked over and saw time was running down fast, I went all out to try to complete what I thought was my 10th round. I remember feeling a little bummed about not getting to my goal, but at that point I just turned on everything I had to get that round in. And ready for this? Time ran out just ONE REP SHY of completing that round! Man!
Well, it was about 3 minute later, after I mopped myself off the floor and immediately realized I was about as depleted of anything and everything the body needs to function, that I had actually got one rep shy of 12 rounds! Yoohoo! To think you got a crappy score and have it turn out you just suck at counting is such a huge pick-me-up!
So, I am good with that score, and now I have to figure out my training program to get that last workout of these damn Sectionals in. In a week I'll be turning 29, and Lindsey and I are headed out to do a bunch of crazy adventuring. So that means I have to get that final workout in before we head out to the crazy wilderness!
OK, time for bed; I am so beyond crushed right now it is actually worrying me a bit. I'll be good to go tomorrow!
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.
Damn what a night! Chris and Maribel LaLanne have situated themselves comfortably in the heart of San Francisco and have sure made their mark! Their space is not all that big at all (just wait until their new 6,000 square foot facility opens…) but they have generated such a large and loyal following it is impossible to disregard what they have done for the CrossFit community.
Walking in there you instantaneously get the feeling that hard work has been taking place there all day. This gets the juices flowing and all you want to do from the moment you step through the door is workout, hard. I walked into the end of a beginner’s class and it was impressive and motivating to me to see how committed all these people were to their workout. The coaches moved around the class feeding motivation and checking on form and it was very clear that each of these athletes were in good hands.
I was welcomed in typical CrossFit fashion, a few people I have met before were in (I visited a few weeks back when my buddy big Dan was in town) and I felt at home within a minute or two. It was nice to feel like I belonged in a place I have only been to once before; I think that says a lot, not just for the community that has been formed here, but also for finding a gym that meshes well with me. I am very big on taking the time, especially with so many affiliates out there, to search around for one that really fits your personality. I have noticed more and more with all my visits that each affiliate has such a distinct difference and certain people will fit better at some than others. LaLanne is a place I could see myself training at on a regular basis. They are serious competitors, but pretty chill, laid back and humble at the same time. I didn’t feel like I was looked down on as the new guy, I felt supported. But at the same time, I knew they were all itching to compete with me and give me a run for my money. I like that; healthy competition is a damn good thing that CrossFit promotes so well, and the coaches and athletes here get that and practice it very well.
So the throwdown was:
3 rounds for time of:
400 meter run
21 KB swings 1.5 pood
12 pull ups
Sweet, big fan of this workout and also a big fan of getting to work out with a HUGE group of people who like to work out as much as me! This was a great combination all around. We had enough people for three heats, and they also had a decent collection of people there just to cheer everyone on. Along with Max Muscle being there to offer pre and post workout drinks, this had the feel of a hugely successful in-house competition. I was in the third and final heat and when my time came to toe the starting line with the other athletes, I was more than ready. Running around during the first two heats, video taping and pushing people on got me pumped up, and having so many people around cheering just added to the energy. I blasted off on a pretty good pace for the out and back run and was feeling light and smooth. The same can be said for the swings, light and smooth. The pull ups on the other hand were a good deal tougher than I hoped. This was day three of pull ups for me and thanks to the 126 or so from yesterday, I had a pretty good sized tear in my right hand. This forced me to tape it up which just made the pull ups uncomfortable. I blasted through them unbroken though and moved on to the next round. It was much the same on this one, all unbroken and raring to finish off strong. When I came in for the final rounds of swings, I heard someone yell I was at 6:40, definitely enough time to hit a huge PR. But then the last 12 pull ups came and I just crashed. I got 6 before slipping off the bar. I then got 4 and 2 to finish off with a time of 7:56, a 2 second PR. I totally gave that workout my all and just came up short thanks to those pull ups. I would have liked to get my sub-7:30, but I guess I have something to work towards now!
After the workout was the perfect example of what I hope to generate myself when I have my gym up and running smoothly. People helped put away equipment, then it was catch up time. Now I know there are mixed feeling about hanging out in the gym for extended periods of time, and I see both sides of the argument. But, I honestly have seen best of friends being made in the gym. Hell, a good deal of my friends have been from the gym. And, for those of us who have decided to make fitness a central focus of life, being in the gym is a GREAT place to spend your time if you have the ability to. Being the last class of the day, people lingered around a little longer than usual to go over workouts, tell stories and just socialize in general. I was able to chat a handful of people up and again, felt totally at home. What can not be missed here is that while socializing within the gym is a great thing, the second it deters the athlete from working his or her ass off and making all the gains they should be able to, then it is a total waste of time. I say: give your workout 100% every single time you walk in, then bask in the wonderful afterglow of a sweet workout with your friends and workout partners. Nothing better!
To add to the great energy, I was able to see the award for student athlete of the year, a great idea to propmte your gyms community. AND, I was given a pretty damn cool shirt, always a great thing!
So, if you want to be surrounded by hard workers, if you want intensity and complete dedication to reaching full athletic potential, if you want all that while also being a part of a friendly, welcoming and supportive family, LaLanne is the place for you. Humble hardcore, that’s a good way to describe it
Today began as one that would be a bit of a challenge, and I am ALWAYS up for a challenge. But, it slowly turned into a whole lot more than that. To start, I decided to go against what I had written and hit the pool. Now, if you haven't read or talked with me about this before, I am flat out NOT good in water. But, I need to do this for a couple reasons: I am planning on competing in an IronMan triathlon next November, and I kind of need to know how to swim for that. And I am feeling pretty sure that swimming will be incorporated into the competitive world of CrossFit very soon. Oh right, one more reason: it's so damn good for you! Getting in the water on a somewhat regular basis will do wonders for your body and mind (another post topic for sure!). So, a little warm up, then 10x100 and a cool down. Not crazy by any means (actually that is a swimmer warm up...) but I was about done after that.
Next came a bit of a fun one. I wrote up a sweet looking chipper for my noon-guys yesterday and I really wanted to give it a try. So, I did:
- do 2 rounds of 15 reps each for time -
Box jumps 24"
KB swings 53"
Sit up ball throw 20#
Left arm DB push press 60#
Right arm db push press 60#
Burpee broad jumps
This got me big time. I finished in 15 minutes on the button and couldn't catch my breath, or any form of shoulder comfort for a good 5+ minutes. But a really fun one all the same; the 1-arm push presses to pull ups back and forth was a pretty challenging test of push/pull endurance.
After consuming mas amounts of calories I headed into the city to meet up with my good buddy, and old training partner Dan. He convinced me to join him for a workout at LaLanne Fitness. I seriously considered not doing this, but programmed in was a nice body-weight workout and I felt as though that would be tough, but fine enough. Man did things turn around on me fast! Turns out that the Wednesday at 6:30pm is the bad-ass workout at LaLanne, and I was in for a treat. Real quick, a little about this place (not in too much detail because I'll be visiting here as part of my CrossFit Community Month in a few weeks!). This place sits in the middle of the city and has such an awesome set up. A great pull up rig lines the half the right side, followed by a literal stack of of dumbbells, plates and bars. They have rings, ropes, tires, everything you'd ever need to get after it in CrossFit style. The people, well, just about what I would expect from a CrossFit gym, all welcoming, open, nice and intense as hell once "go" is called. Here's what was written up for us:
For Time do:
30 wall balls 20#
30 ground to overhead anyhow 95#
30 KB swing 2 pood (70#)
30 overhead squats 95#
30 ground to shoulders 95#
Ugh. Great. The crazy part was that they actually wrote up another workout that we could potentially do after this one. I knew this would be the end of me, so I figured I'd give it whatever I had left in my system. I finished in a horribly painful 11:18 and was more spent then I have felt in longer then I can remember. But I'll tell you what, to be able to workout with a big group of hardcore CrossFitters was so great! I miss that motivation and extra pump I get when training with others, and this group was AWESOME!
Thanks so much to Chris and the entire group out there, I can't wait to come back out to workout with you guys!
Tomorrow is a HUGE rest day and I have a couple posts I really want to get working, so I'll be writing a good deal. Looking forward to a chill day. I am done!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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