Had a bit of an extreme weekend from every single angle. But, I'm pushing to be on a positive kick so I'll go ahead and stick with all the positive, because there's plenty of it. A little last minute, but I learned late Thursday night that there was a training camp going down at Outlaw for a handful of the stud Games Qualifiers. I just had to be in on that one so I shifted some of my plans and was ready to throw down with the crew! The plan for this camp was to get the "real exercisers" of the group some solid work on potential weaknesses (read: muscle ups to ring handstand push ups, weighted jumping squats, bench press in a metcon, strongman work, overhead pistols and on and on). Myself and a few other Outlaws were there for the ride and it was a pleasure as always to work alongside such an awesome group of fitness freaks.
Let's just go ahead and say it like this, the workouts were hard, duh. They were strange, which made me happy because I like non-conventional exercise. And even though I decided to take the final day off (I brought them all Courage Bars, so that was a hit!) I had some good confidence boosting by being able to hang with Brandon Phillips and Jason Hoggan for the most part (um, Oly lifting was just an embarrassment). So yeah, that was cool.
The rest of my weekend was spent trying to do things that make me happy. I grabbed lunch with my boy Ori in Old Town, browsed through the Life Is Good store for a while before deciding on a frisbee and heading over to a little park and throwing that around for an hour in the 98 degree weather. I then went and took a nap by the pool (see above picture) before grabbing dinner with my dad and catching up with him to talk about my future and the direction I want to move in. The process of re-learning how to see the good in all things is a very gratifying one, and if you go ahead and try it, you will instantly see how much life can change for the better.
Tomorrow I have a crap-ton of athletes coming in to train, I'll get a good workout in, and I have a world-record powerlifting friend of mine coming in to go over some technique drills to add some weight to my lifts! AND, he'll do some Poloquin testing on me to see how to better use food to control all the inner workings of my body! I cannot wait to do all that work.
Here's to the pontential of a good week.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
What a weekend! It's taken me a little bit to wrap my head around everything, but through it all I have to say it was an damn awesome three days. I'll get to the details in a second, but I'll throw out the highlights right now! Oh, and I'll also post up a string of pics and links after this post as well do you all can get a taste of the enormity of what CrossFit has become. So, on to the highlights!
I met CrossFit founder Gerg Glassman. I spent time catching up with friends and CrossFit greats such as Christy Phillips, Gretchen Kittleberger, Jen Jones, Ben Smith and so many others. I connected with an absolutely AWESOME group of bad asses: The Outlaws (Reebok head honcho and ex-NFL stud Don Hasselbeck told me we were like the Raiders of CrossFit, now that is pretty damn cool). We proved that we are right there, all of us on the team, right there with the to competitors in the world. We could taste it all weekend. Man, writing about it now is getting my heart rate up again, so I'll get to the details now.
We showed up Friday morning to the massive venue next to FedEx field where the Redskins play. Checked in, found ourselves a spot in the "Athletes Village" (where all the athletes hung out, ate food, recovered and so on), and pretty quickly had our four teammates getting warmed up for workout 1. My teammates were: Laura Nielsen (Coach Rudy's wife and one time Games competitor), Courtney Modecki, Lindsey Adkins, Tyler Degenhardt, and Tony Mayo (our two backups were Colleen Sullivan and Thomas Hansen). The first workout was a ton of heavy deadlift with handstand push ups and Tony, Tyler, Courtney and Lindsey were up for that one. They did very well, running about as smoothly as we hoped and gave us a 6th place finish to start off the weekend. The next workout called for myself, Tony, Courtney and Laura, and was all about the order we went in. It involved a 1000 meter row, 25 pistol squats and 15 hang cleans with a crazy heavy weight. I started off with a fast row, then it was all about just getting through the rest of the exercises without causing any sort of bottle-necking (the second I got off the row, the next person jumped in and began their row, then they could move on to the pistols only if I was already done with them). We went exactly as planned and while we would have liked to finish in the top 3 on this one, we ended up with a respectable 8th place. We were in 6th place overall after day one.
Got some good food and sleep and we were back bright and early for another day of beatdowns! Tyler and Laura took on the 3rd workout, dumbbell snatches and sprints, and they gave us a 7th place finish, bringing us down to 4th place, and only 8 points out of a qualifying spot to the Games (the top 3 teams would go). A couple hours later we were warming up for the 4th workout and the final workout of the day: 75 squats, 50 pull ups, 25 shoulder to overheads (then same reps with front squats, then overhead squats. Oh, and that is just the girls. Then the guys would go do the same thing. It was a lot of reps to say the least!). Myself, Tyler, Courtney and Lindsey took on this one, and again, we were hoping for a top finish with our abilities. We went pretty damn smooth all though this one and only had 1 or 2 slip ups. But those were enough to push us down to a 6th pace finish, still damn good though. We moved back to 5th place, but we had advanced 2 points closer to a qualifying spot. So, we had the Games in our reach going in to the final day and final 2 workouts.
I had an awesome dinner with Lindsey, my brother and his girlfriend, then hit the sac to rest up for our big push. I can't lie, the energy in the arena that final day was freaking insane. You could feel the tension of the team battle going on for 3rd, and you could feel that same tension going on with the individual competition as well. It was crazy exciting! The snatch ladder to start the day would prove to be one of the most exciting events to watch. Team Outlaw again had a respectable 6th place finish (with Tony Mayo hitting a huge PR to help bring our score up) but it was some other teams that just put on a clinic. Some girl from CrossFit Wilmington hit the 185# snatch and is the only girl in any Regional to even come close to that weight, let alone hit it. It was so inspiring to watch. And of course, watching a little dude like Ben Smith drop under 265# like it's a PVC pipe just puts so much into perspective.
Anyway, we had a good bit if ground to make up in our final workout, and me, Tony, Courtney and Laura were fired up to get the job done. The workout was just a mess of exercises, muscle ups. barbell holds, wall balls, chin over bar holds, buddy carries along with a heavy dumbbell, partner box jumps, man it was crazy. Tony and I had a plan, and it was to to kick ass. Well, it didn't really turn out to go that way once we got to the wall ball and chin over bar holds. I suck at holding that position, and Tony was just spent at that point. We wasted so much time and energy trying to finish off all 60 wall balls that once we got back to the final SINGLE muscle up at the end of the workout, we both failed about 6 times before finally getting them with some crazy contortionist-like moves. We finally finished off and made way for the ladies, who just flat out took over. They cruised through the workout, finishing about 12 seconds before the cut-off and giving us a 7th place finish for the workout. Man! While we were just about the most consistent team in terms of placement, we needed to be consistent about one spot better each workout to have made it to the Games. In the end, there was a 3-way tie at 2nd place leaving us about 8 points behind those three teams. So close!!!
In the end, the teams who went clearly deserved to be there. It was an awesome experience to be there, and even better to be right there in the running for the top spot. I am so incredibly honored to have had such an awesome team and support crew to train with and workout with for this entire crazy journey and I would not have given all that up for anything. I generally feel like I tend to be a loner when it comes to training and competing, but I must admit, I am so very proud to call myself an Outlaw. And I know, for all my followers out there, I'm sure it looks strange to see me decked out in gear that doesn't have my name on it! Ha, it felt weird. But in all seriousness, I have nothing but thanks and pride in being one of the original 15 or so Outlaw Way exercisers, and while I wish I could have helped get the Team represent all us at the Games, I know we did an incredible job, and I could not be happier with the weekend. It was so cool to look up after that final workout and have a crowd of Outlaws cheering, offering high fives and hugs right there. it felt like I was part of a massive, bad ass family. And to make things that bunch great, Lindsey and my bro were there with their support. God what a great weekend!
And now, it's time to get back in the gym and keep getting better. Oh, and to cheer on the rest of the Outlaws already headed to the Games, and the ones who have yet to compete! No matter what happens out there with this new and insanely fast-growing sport, it is dam cool, and I am happy to be right in the thick of it.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well, yet again I have neglected writing for a couple weeks and I apologies to those of you who enjoy reading my blog on the regular! But I have decided on what I will be doing for Lent. First off, I have never actually done anything for Lent, never really grew up with it or anything so it never really caught on for me. And really, I am approaching this first time for me all wrong, but that's ok, I'm really just committing to something and it just so happens to land on the first day of Lent. I am giving up on excuses for NOT writing on this blog and will be writing a post every single day! Yep, it's back at posting up motivations, updates, ideas, thoughts, complaints, and on and on. So, you have that to look forward to!
Other than that, I'll start off with a little update on my training, the progress of the gym space, The Open, training with The Outlaws and whatever else pops in my head as I write! So, training has been going very well. Following The Outlaw Way, and getting down to train with Rudy Nielson and his crew on a regular basis has worked wonders on my progress. I always thought that I just needed to break down one last wall before becoming legitimately good at this whole CrossFit thing, and while I am no Rich Froning, Jr., I feel like I have at the very least figured out exactly what it takes. I still have my weaknesses, and while they are big weaknesses, I am WAY better than I was even teo months ago. I feel like that wall I need to break through is still there; but rather than being a 10 foot think steel wall, it's a frail drywall (the link there is for fun, and it tends to be highly offensive and littered with bad language, besides that, it is hysterical. you've been warned). Last Friday we hit a threshold workout and something just clicked in me. I figured out how to push through more than ever before. And while I've had a few crappy workouts after that, it has really opened my eyes on how to better approach all the other workouts that could and will be offered throughout a competition. I am bubbling with confidence when it comes to competitions coming up.
That leads me to The Open. Tonight CrossFit will be announcing the first of five workouts that around 50,000 people worldwide will be performing in what is easily the largest and most divers competition the world has ever seen. After the same process last year, I can honestly say that the powers that may be over at CrossFit figured out the best method for finding The Fittest On Earth in the given year. While I am sure there will be some minor changes throughout the years, I think the basic template will stay the same. For those of you who do not know, it works like this:
One workout is announced every Wednesday night. People have until Sunday night to submit their score, either by video, or by going to a qualified affiliate who can validate your score for you. Every person is signed up in a specific region, and I think there are 14 regions around the world (I am in the Mid Atlantic Region).
The top 60 athletes from each reason will make it to Regionals. They get their by being the best at the workouts announced over the five weeks of the The Open. This event will be a 3-day event (although the dates posted this year suggest a 4-day event...). These will be run just like a normal CrossFit event, with 6+ workouts over the weekend, all at the same location and everyone competing for a top spot!
The top 3 athletes from each Regional make it to The Games. This is the big event that will probably be on ESPN and where the winner get $250K! It just keeps getting bigger and bigger!
It's a pretty cool event all around, and if you don;t want to sign up for The Open yourself (you might as well, it's only $20 and can be done almost anywhere!) you can follow along the world HERE, or me and my adventures on my blog as I'll be updating my process. Turns out I'll be performing each of the 5 workouts in a different location each week! Crazy!
Cool, besides that, not much going on! I have a massive project in the Courage Bars looming over me which is nothing short of insanely exciting, and I am focusing on getting those made up and marketed in some way as I train and get my clients training as well. I am negotiating a gym space right now, and with all the bad luck that has followed me in trying to open a space since I moved back to the East Coast, this is proving to be the most promising. I don;t want to spill the beans on the details with this one yet at all, but know that I am still working on a daily basis to get something going! Obviously, as things roll along I will update everyone, so, staying positive!
If you haven't yet, or if you know of some people that can vote, please vote for me for Best Personal Trainer in DC here. It only take s few seconds and I am committing to doing something wonderfully crazy and entertaining (physically obviously) if I win this year!
Ok, that'll be the update for now. But I'm excited to get to writing on a daily basis, have lots' of great topics to get to!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
_ Couple things before I get started: Outlaw Training Camp is not a weekend filled with “how to rope a convenience store and get away with it”, or, “lets all learn to ride horses and hijack moving trains to steel a couple hundred in gold”. Nope, Outlaw Training Camp is where the folks who have been following elite exerciser programming genius Rudy Nielson’s program can gather for a weekend and torture themselves with barbells and kettlebells. The second camp he hosted took place at his home gym, Outlaw CrossFit, and I was super stoked to able to join the other 18 or so exercises specialists and throwdown and learn. That is exactly what we did: we learned a shit-ton, and threw down like there was no tomorrow. Also, I didn't take any pictures or video, so, to anyone who was part of this past weekend, please send anything you might have my way and I can post them up!
The weekend began Friday night. We all gathered in the grungy gym and got a couple hours of snatch and clean and jerk practice in. Being around so many beasts, and having not only Rudy, but so many other experienced and knowledgeable eyes on all of us was the perfect setting for a few PRs. I was able to snatch a very clean 205 (5# PR), then a pretty messy 215# (Rudy’s words: “I’m happy I didn’t get that on camera, that was ugly!”). I met everyone, chatted it up, joked around and just about got insanely pumped to see how the rest of the weekend would unfold.
Saturday had us meeting up to get things rolling around 9am. We chatted about the Outlaw Way, and different approaches to CrossFitting, then hit the first workout:
8 min. AMRAP of:
8 push jerks 155#
8 ring dips
8 KB snatches each arm
Immediately following, do a 2 min. AMRAP of Double Unders
The idea was to get as close to a competition setting as possible. We judged each other and stayed as strict as we possibly could. Being around this group lit that fire that I’ve been trying to become closer friends with recently and I was feeling really good. I got 4 rounds, plus 16 total reps on the first part, then got 140 double unders (I tried to move slowly and not mess up at all. In hindsight I should have just done what I always do and go all out with those). This was enough for the top score of the day and we were all ready for more!
Workout two was:
10 rounds of “Cindy” (5 pull ups, 10 hand release push ups, 15 air squats), then 8 min. to establish a 1RM deadlifts, then 5 rounds of “Cindy”. This was a double workout where we were scored on our overall Cindy time (our overall time, minus the 8 minutes of deadlifting) and out deadlift number.
I am not historically good with body-weight stuff, seeing how I am a snugly 220# of rippling chest hair. So, I focused on the Cindy portion and chose to conserve my energy on the deads. In the end, I was able to get 10:31 on Cindy (the 3rd best time!) and a measly 475# on the deadlift (that is 65# off my PR from only a couple months ago…).
We then went through a squat clinic that led to some really good reminders on the proper way to squat. I am really excited to put my new cues to practice in the coming weeks, and I have very high expectations for my gains! That all came after lunch, and then we warmed up our aching bodies for the final workout of the day:
Ok, so, this workout is Rudy’s “greatest test of a beast CrossFitter”, and annoyingly enough, one that I have always been certain would destroy me. Not only that, but with the barbell work the night before, and the insanely shoulder dominant workouts leading up to this, we were all wondering if anyone would even finish the damn thing! My goal going into this was to get 9 muscle ups. That’s all I cared about. But, when I began, I popped right up so easily I was able to get all 9 in just barely over a minute (that is damn good for me by the way). I then proceeded to bang out the 9 snatches in two sets (after missing the first two reps) and was back on the rings. I stayed at this easy pace throughout and was able to finish it in 8:40 (I think), good enough for 2nd (I think only 4 people finished this out of the whole group!). I was so fired up to have been able to “blast” through that one. At this point I have a ton of thanks to give my “judge” for the weekend, Erik, he was awesome support on each and every workout (oh, and if you want to pass out laughing, and are ok with some pretty harsh language and opinions, check out his awesome blog at Beastmodaldomains.com).
Rolling into day three found us meeting up at T.C. Williams High School (remember the Titans…?) in the morning. To put it lightly, our bodies were crushed! So we were all REALLY looking forward to what Rudy had thought up for us today.
3 rounds of:
1 width field burpee broad jump
1 width field buddy carry
400 meter run
This was straight tiring! Luckily I had a damn good runner to chance in Tony Mayo and just tried to stick with him the whole time. He got the best score of the day, and I rolled in about 70 meters behind at 9:50. After about an hour of goofing off, holding a punting contest (eat your heart out fellow 2XU ambassador Steve Weatherford!), and just joking around, we headed back to Outlaw to finish the weekend off:
For time do:
10 cleans 225#
40 wall ball
10 front squats 185#
40 toes to bar
10 thrusters 155#
40 KB swings 70#
400 meter plate pinch carry
Good times on this one. After hearing Rudy preach to us about how we had to be strong. And how we had to be SO efficient like Brandon Phillips is with every god damn thing he does…. I was determined to tear the head off this workout with everything I had. I got the cleans one at a time, but without stepping away from the bar at all. Got the wall balls unbroken (because I bounced out of the bottom and was generally just bad ass, so there!), got the front squats unbroken, then hit a freaking brick wall on toes to bar. I battled through, then got the thrusters in two sets and the KB swings in 4 sets of 10 (these were INSANELY strict standards, so I stayed as deliberate as possible). I was out the door just over 11 minutes, and about 30 seconds in front ofGames competitor Elisabeth Akinwale. We played a fun game of leap-frog for about 300 meters before she just took off to finish. We ended up being the only two to complete to whole thing, and she got a minute on me (I finished in like 19:10 or something like that).
We finished up the weekend with a GREAT deadlift clinic, then brunch.
All I can say is that yes, Rudy knows his shit. Yes, training with other people (other beast people to be precise) helps more than anything in the world. And yes, making fun of the ridiculousness that CrossFit truly is, is one of the most enjoyable things to do in the world! To sum up the weekend in a sentence: (said while at the football field)
“Most people come here to play football. We actually DID something.” (if you don't get this joke, your not an obsessive CrossFitter who trolls the internet every second that you not "wod-ing". And )
You better believe the sport of fitness has arrived! Ha, hell yes!
This was an awesome weekend all around. I am taking this week off for total recovery. I cannot wait until the next training camp! Thanks Outlaws!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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