Talking with a couple people late last night I realized something damn cool about this final workout: it literally defines what I love so much about CrossFit. It is not necessarily the most in-shape person who will score well on this one. Very fit people will also need to know themselves and how they function on these specific movements perfectly. It includes a portion of experience. My training partner is an absolute beast and will be going to Regionals along with me. But I fear he will struggle more with this workout than any of the others because he has never done Fran and has no clue what to expect from doing something like that. Fran is the go-to workout for CrossFit because of its simplicity coupled by its absolute degree of difficulty. Not only is it brutal for those who know how to do it, but it's always tough because you think it should be easy, and it's not. And then to top it off, this Open Workout is slightly harder than Fran, and throws that mind-f**k of added time into the mix. I am shocked that Jason Khalipa got nowhere near that third time addition, AND I have never seen Rich Froning look that beat up while exercising. This one is BRUTAL!
So with the fact that I have no clue how everyone reading this is, I will explain how I plan to approach this workout, and I'll touch on a couple different things you should be thinking about going into it. First off, for those athletes gunning for the 3rd time installment, figuring out timing of thrusters and pull ups probably won;t help you all that much. Pacing this on based off of time will work for such a small collection of people, and I'm sure those people know their times. If you try to pace out 90 perfect reps in 4 minutes you'll hit a wall no matter what and end up screwing yourself up through the 8 minutes. I honestly think the best way to go about this workout is getting your 90 reps (again, for people gunning for the 12 minutes workout) while performing just under your red-line. Then go about doing everything in your power to get another 90 resp in before the 8 minute mark hits. If you are gifted/lucky enough to make it into the 3rd round, it honestly doesn't matter at that point. Take a minute rest and just accumulate some reps. You'll be in such a small percentile of athletes, you'll be pretty set. My point is, any score above 180 is going to be an incredibly high score.
That is obviously pretty vague, but I think it's a good base of approach. Get your first 90 in without blacking out, then go for broke at a pace YOU can handle and hope to the dear Lord above that you get another 90 in before time expires.
I will be going about it like so: If my butterfly C2B's are working, I'll plan to hit two rounds unbroken. I'll then plan to hit the 3rd round of 15's with unbroken thrusters and then break the C2Bs up either 8/7 or 6/5/4. While I feel good with the C2Bs, I know that they take SO much out of you. It's worth breaking them up earlier with the knowledge that it's always better to do slightly larger chucks of them rather than going to singles and doubles when you get really crushed. After getting the initial 90, it'll be about putting the BB down before hitting a wall so that I can conserve enough energy to get my larger chunks of C2Bs. At that point, all that matters is getting to 180, so it'll be a conservative sprint from there on out. Knowing myself, I can always get 4-6 of each of these movements as long as I'm still standing, so I will plan on making sure I stay at a pace where I can do that. I will probably do 8/8 or 5/5/5 on the thrusters, and 6/5/4 or 5/5/5 on the C2Bs for as long as I can. When I hit a wall with that, I'll just get freaking reps however humanly possible until I am either done (read: dead), or I get the "joy" of getting to go for another 4 minutes. And again, for anyone lucky enough to get to that 3rd round, good work, just get a whatever you can. It's going to be a VERY small collection of people.
For those of you who hope to get into the second round. Get to it with just enough energy to spare, then just get reps in. You know your workout will be over no matter what at 8 minutes so view it as an 8 minute AMRAP. But don;t go too slow at the start. Hit that sub-red-line pace to make sure you get the initial 90, then accumulate reps until you're done.
For those of you who know you won't make it past 4. Sweet, this is a pretty "easy" workout for you. Get as many reps as you possibly can in 4 minutes. Go!
I recognize that this post is the least insightful of all my "notes" posts, but that is because the strategy here is going to be ever so slightly different for each and every person. Go to GymnasticsWOD and get your efficiency notes form Carl Paoli/ The get your mobility prep from MobilityWod and Kelly Starett. After that, break down your Fran, and then your ability to handle a slightly tougher Fran, and be honest and realistic. I know for me, getting 180 reps is possible, but will take some serious star-aligning for it to happen. So I need to set a pace (that i know how to do through experience CrossFitting, and having done Fran 5 times) to give myself the best opportunity to get 180 resp in 8 minutes. If I plan to have any energy after that, I didn't approach this workout correctly.
I recommend weightlifting shoes. They obviously help on the thrusters, and for me, they actually assist my butterfly kip because of the weight distribution to my feet.
Put something on your hands. Wear gloves, or those hand protector things, or tape, something. And shave down those callouses ASAP. If there was a workout out there that would rip your hands up, this is it. And I really have no interest in seeing all the pictures on Facebook with people showing off how "cool" and "bad ass" (read: stupid, and really freaking stupid) they are because they were stupid and ripped their hands.
Warm up by mobilizing your hips and shoulders, AND stabilizing your shoulders. This workout is the equivalent of throwing a 12 inning game with weighted baseballs with both hands (that would be a bad thing by the way, for all you non-baseball minds out there. The point is, this workout is going to destroy your shoulders. make sure they are mobile AND the muscles are active and prepared for hundreds of floppy, gross, dynamic, tendon-ripping reps.
Leave it all on the floor. This is the last workout of The Open! You've come this far, you may as well go all out. For people like me and my training partner, it;s all about gaining a few more extra spots up the leaderboard to assure our spot at Regioanls. For others, it's the a chance to see what you're made of on a diabolical workout. But remember, if you have no chance competing in Regionals, be sure to pay attention to your hands and shoulders throughout. There is no point hurting yourself, or causing a week or more of no training just to get a few more reps.
No matter what happens, we can all rejoice in the fact that the open is over after this!!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I can pinpoint the day things began to fall apart for me. It was a cruise I took on the third week of The Open, in Florida. I had been progressing so damn well, and for some reason, I just let loose a little, had a couple drinks, indulged in dessert, stayed as healthy as I could on the ship, but the food is far from high quality. But I'm not blaming the ship. From there I just never found my way back to the rhythm I had found before. I was blogging regularly, training with passion, eating cleanly and easily and living my life in a general position of happiness. Even as I write this I am opting out of working out because I feel my energy levels depleted and I cannot seem to comprehend the idea of trudging alone out to the garage to workout in the dark. I could go for a run, but then again, I haven't written anything in a while and at least I'm getting one thing in that I should. My goal with this post is not to be depressing; more to write an honest perspective I know many of you think I never have. One where I completely lack motivation to do all the things I pride myself in. I understand what it means to be a healthy, happy person. I coach it every single day. I write about it pretty often here. But I have valleys in my life just like everyone else, and while I do honesty believe I function at a level where my valleys are few and far between, I think that adds to the severity of them when I do find myself in one. I am just not used to feeling so unmotivated.
I have all the time in the world throughout my days, even when I am coaching 6 or more classes a day to workout. I have all the time in the world to cook my own food, prepare for the coming days' schedules with the proper balances and amounts. I have all the time in the world to warm up properly, program for my weaknesses, work mobility, foam roll and stretch. I have all the time in the world to do all this while still getting outside on a regular basis and enjoying the wilderness because it never fails to bring me peace and harmony. But having all the time in the world means almost nothing when you lack motivation.
A major positive in the time I spend in front of books and the computer is that I get to read a ton, soak up more and more knowledge about the world of health and fitness. I watch videos of training, read blogs, read articles, books, and studies. I read opinions and comments, and study pictures on snatch and clean form until my eyes burn. I can visualize myself, as clear as day pulling a bar loaded with 250# from the ground, and snapping under it in the perfect catch position; heavy weight strong over my head. But when I grab a bar to demonstrate for clients, my back is tight, my knees hurt, my shoulder pinches and I feel like a hopeless, fat old man trying to get through the day quickly so he can crash down on the coach for his third nap of the day.
But then there are those moments. No matter how bad I might think I am, I get under the bar and power through something stronger and faster then ever before. I have surges of energy where I remember exactly what it feels like to be on top of my game. In my "research" I have found an underlying theme and commonality between all the top-level performers in their specific fields: a never-ending commitment and passion to getting better. In the end, the ones who come thorough in the clutch, who perform day in and day out at the highest level, and have the least amount of weaknesses, are those who never get distracted by anything. Because my focus these past couple years has been CrossFit, I'll use that as my example (but you will find these statements to hold true with anything out there, sport, business, etc.). Over the past year I improved. I improved a metric shit ton. Every single one of my numbers not only went up, but also went WAY up, and this is despite gaining a crap load of weight. I was lifting more, and lifting it faster, my motor grew, my running was faster, my body weight movements became smoother and better, and everything just got so much better. But the thing that didn't click compared to those that did was that I had pockets of down time. When I was taking a week to just do nothing, others were getting ahead of me, getting better. Mind you, taking a week off is fine, but active recovery is a must. Working mobility, messing around with skills and so on. I would literally do nothing. It was like my brain would shut off. Then I would have "half-ass" weeks. These were when I would get my workouts in, but I would rush through them. I would not take the time to get extra weakness-focus work in. I would not warm up properly and stretch afterwards. My nutrition would slide just a little farther than I would have liked and while I still got tons of great work in, I would know in the back of my head that I wasn’t working as hard as I could have been.
“I will watch others laugh and fool around in the gym all day, while I am leashed to the platform.” – Jon North
This guy works hard. He has been committed to being an Olympic weightlifter and nothing will stand in his way. If he is feeling down one day, it doesn’t stop him. Every single day he is doing exactly what it takes to become BETTER. Every day is a step forward and there is never a step back. If you want something, if you want to be something, you need to commit to it and never falter in that commitment. The best CrossFitters in the world are like this. They workout because it's what they love, what they know, and what they want. They train hard, every single day, they eat well, they rest when they NEED and SHOULD. They are better because they wanted it more and dedicated their lives, inside and out, to being better than you and me. They are better because they function at a level where getting better is the ONLY option they have, the only thing they know how to do. Have you ever worked out, or performed with someone at such a level? I have many times and it is clear that all they want to do is beat you, to out perform you. The cool ones do this without being ass holes about it; the annoying ones make it clear they want to beat you. But when you pay attention to how they approach the workout, you know that they are working at a level that has one purpose: to win.
My steps back toward to finding my motivation, my drive, and my dedication look a little something like this: reestablish what it is I am working towards. Bring back to the front of my mind what I want out of life, then remove the things that do not support that. Lately I have found myself surrounded by things that assist in my not living my life the way I have always wanted. I need to put on my table (both literally and metaphorically) the things that I know make me who I want to be. Once those things are directly in front of me, and the "bad" things are removed from the table, my choices will be limited and clear. And once I have begun changing the way I live each day, I can then begin to look into the more detailed goals I might have for the next month, few months, and year. Do I want to pursue the CrossFit Games again? Do I want to get into something else? Whatever it is, I must make that choice with a clear, happy, excited, and eager mind. Then I will know that I can do anything I want. Then I will be able to clearly see how to be completely committed to something GOOD.
(I promise my next couple posts won’t be as depressing!)
Never Stop, GET FIT
It's been a few days now and the excitement of Regionals has passed. Now I am sitting around each day, wondering what the hell I'm supposed to do next with all my training. Wondering why the hell I was so close with so many different things over the years, yet just not good enough to really shine. Well folks, it's time for a really self-analytical post here. It may come across as a little negative, a little bitter, maybe a little whinny at times (we'll see how it goes...); but, I need to do this every now and again to gain a better view on what I am doing in life. I have talked very often about taking time here and there to take a serious look at yourself so that you can make the necessary changes in becoming a better person each and every day. And when you feel like you might be in a rut, or in a place you just don’t want to be, in any way, then it's time to take that moment. So, here are some of the thoughts I've had over the past week.
Damn it! CrossFit season is over for me! Just like that. All that hard work, all those extra hours of foam rolling, training, thinking and stressing about how far I could go and in three simple days it's over. At first I was a little relieved. I think that the mental stress got to me just a little as we got closer to Regionals and I was just happy to put my worries away for a while. What I mean by that is I was teetering on the edge of being burnt out. It's tough to be so one-track-minded about something for so long, especially if you're like me and have a mind that wanders off so easily. But that relief turned very quickly into restless confusion and frustration over what my next steps will be in training. I can now look back on everything I did and so clearly see where I went wrong. I got strong as hell, I put on a TON of weight, I somehow got a good deal better with my conditioning, and my body-weight and Olympic movements only slightly improved. My nutrition was streaky, as was my life in general which led to varying levels of motivation throughout the whole process. From a physical standpoint it's pretty obvious what I need to do to get to the level I hope to be with this Crossfit thing. I need to stop being such a wimp with my nutrition and just stop letting food consumption be so closely connected with my emotional state (yep, I am a stereotypical girl and eat sweets when I'm sad. Oh, and by the way, I'm a dude. Just in case any of you were confused by that sentence). When I lose control of the food, I lose control of my stress levels, my sleeping patterns and my overall positive outlook that I pride myself in having on a regular basis. Food does so much for me in terms of how I am as a person (it does for everyone, but this post is about me!), and when I eat like crap, I feel and act like crap. Simple really. Easier said than done of course. I'm also sure that eating better would have helped me stay around 220#, rather then the 230# I ended up getting to right before Regionals. And while I did get better at things like muscle ups, handstand push ups and running, I’m sure I would have gotten WAY better if I didn’t have to move such a massive amount of weight! I am not disappointed with my weight gain at all, hell, I put 40# on my squat, 30# on my deadlift, 35# on my clean and 25# on my snatch, not bad! I just know I could have controlled it a little more and that would have been that much more helpful.
I am not at all worried about where I am headed with my training. I have all the faith in the world with my coach, Rudy Nielsen for programming. I know that for the summer months my focus will be getting even stronger (I already have my weight goals on the board in my gym, and will post a summer goals post in the near future), but the main thing will be getting outside and doing my metcons in the woods and the great outdoors like I enjoy doing so much. I will probably either skip out on The Outlaw Way's conditioning sessions and do my own in the woods, or, find a modification of theirs to use in the woods. I will continue to train at Outlaw on a pretty regular basis so that I can get good coaching points from Rudy and the other athletes, especially on my Olympic lifts. I will also head into the city for a few sessions here and there with a couple different USAW lifting classes. I have high expectations for my Olympic lifts over the next six months. So, from a physical training standpoint, I am right on track with what I need to focus on.
Ok, enough about the physical, I am sure I'll get more into that soon enough, especially the food! On to the important stuff, the mental!
I feel like I’ve written before about the idea that one might hold oneself back by being scared of success. And while I definitely relate a little to that idea, I think that I am probably a little more scared of focusing only one thing. Sure sure, the beauty of CrossFit is that there is no specialty and you get to focus on a ton of different thing. But the fact is, you still are only focusing on CrossFit, and not all the other amazing things life has to offer. I love baseball, trail running, climbing, well, I could just go on a rant here, but you get the idea. I have some strange mental block from allowing me to commit, like, SERIOUSLY commit to any one thing. And this is where I begin to confuse myself. I say this because from an outside perspective I’m pretty sure I appear to be an over-committer. And if I were to compare myself to “the majority”, I’m sure that would be an accurate description of my personality. But the truth of the matter is, I will always find a way to mentally check out, even if it’s just a tiny little bit. I find something else that excites me and that little bit of distraction takes away from gains and successes I feel I really should have.
Sweet, Courage, you get distracted and you should be better. Well, what are you going to do about it? And at what point do you look at your life and say, well, maybe I can’t be better? Honestly, that’s a great question, one I have asked myself in many situations and take pride in being able to answer at almost any given moment. I stopped playing baseball because I lost the drive to play at the level I was at. I put everything I had into the game and got as far as my physical and mental self would allow. Now, with CrossFit, I am not yet there. I keep getting stronger, faster, better. I know that I could reach numbers that are far beyond what I have now. And I know that I can get even more mentally tough and competitive. Well, the question is pretty easy to answer in the end. I know I want to compete again next year at Regionals. And, I want to compete at a high level, as in, I want to give the other athletes a run for their money in getting to the Games. So, I need to take the next couple weeks, look over my training, and assess the best path to get there. I need to light a fire a little deeper in me that will never burn out. I can write here that I want it, and I can tell people I talk to that I want it. But in the end, I have to believe, with every ounce of my soul, that I truly want it. If I come up with that as a conclusion in the next couple weeks, then it’s going to happen. I’ll let you all know.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Tomorrow is the big day! Below I'll post up some info on the event, like where the hell it is, when heats are going, and of course, when I'll be going!
The CrossFit Games Mid-Atlantic Regionals - May 4th, 5th, 6th
8001 Sheriff Road
Landover, MD 20785
(Apparently it's right next to the Redskins stadium, so, should be pretty easy to find. Just look for the CrossFit signs that'll be all over the place!)
Team Workout Start Times (in case any of you missed it, I am competing as part of Team Outlaw!):
Friday - 10am and 1:20pm (I'll be doing the second workout, at 1:20pm)
Saturday - 9am and 11:50am (Again I'll be on the second one)
Sunday - 10am and 1pm (I'll be doing both)
This is going to be n absolute blast all weekend people. If you plan to come out to show your support for yours truly, make sure to hang out there a few extra hours and just soak up the intensity and constant inspiration going on at all times. There is nothing like three days straight of elite exercisers doing their thing. It's so much fun!
Hope to see you all out there! And of course, if you DO come, wear your Courage Performance shirt!!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
_ Over the past few months I have become aware of something that really bother me. People have no idea what it means to be an “active person”! I have mostly seen it in younger people (ages 9-18), where, IF they get activity in during the day, it’s either a practice or game with their sports team, or a little 15 minute stint outside that usually consists of hanging around and texting, or kicking a ball around in a generally stationary position. I have talked with a good deal of these kids recently to fond out what their activity level is like at school, and have been even more shocked at how little people these days run around! Most breaks are spent hanging out, talking, eating, texting, playing games on their phones or catching up on work that they are slammed with. But it’s not just the kids, and in fact, arguably a huge reason the kids are so inactive is because their parents are even more inactive. There’s work, errands, social lives, taking care of kids, and on and on; so many excuses to not be active. I was shown a really funny TV ad that shows people excuses for not being active; and, as funny as it is, it is so completely true!
So, over the years people begin to form the idea that to stay healthy, they need to get out and be active for 15-30 minutes a day. They need to make sure this activity is scheduled into their busy lives and for the most part, it becomes one of those things that is the first to drop off the schedule the second the day gets out of hand. Well, I’m sorry, but a 15-minute walk around the block is NOT activity. Taking your kids to their soccer practice and pacing the sidelines is NOT activity. Getting outside after school and throwing a football back and forth between text messages is NOT activity. And the fact that our society is so lost in inactivity that these things can be considered activity is really, really sad.
I have to agree, if you are obese, completely inactive, really, really old, or horribly injured or sick because of a serious lack of health, a 15-30 minute stroll is extremely important. And this is the case especially if you have kids and can take them with you. But I feel like there needs to be a HUGE shift over the coming years to a point where we can all agree that a 15-30 minute walk is something we do after dinner to enjoy each others company and enjoy the evening air. And activity should be defined as getting to the gym, working out with friends, playing sports, running and playing outside; not because we have to, but because we don’t know any other way. Imagine if your go-to thing to do when you had a few hours to kill was to go explore the woods, climb a tree, hit a workout, go for a run, etc.? But, unfortunately, most people flop down on the couch, turn the TV on with a drink or snack and slowly destroy their bodies and minds.
So parents don’t tell your kids to go run around; don’t buy them video games and don’t keep crappy food in the house. Take your kids outside and play games with them. Motivate them to sign up for teams and leagues, and camps and so on. Oh, and do all this stuff yourself as well! Make being active a natural part of your life so that forcing yourself to get outside for a short walk isn’t what the world calls “activity” anymore. It’s up to all of us to change the definitions of things rather than accepting what we’ve become.
An active person is one who loves and craves activity; one who actually lives actively. If you have to schedule activity into your or your family’s lives, you all are not active people. You are merely attempting to mask the lazy, unhealthy, unhappy people you are. Yep, I went there, and I defend that statement to the death. We as human beings are meant to be highly active. We are built for it. Don’t let our bodies and minds evolve into weak mush like so many of us people are. Go a month without watching TV. Cut your time in the car (unless it’s going to be active) in half. Doing even one of those things will all of a sudden make your realize just how much time you really do have on your hands. And the more time you spend being active, the better your life will become. Just give it a try and see what happens.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Been a bit since I last ran through what I've been up to, so, here you go! The lull in posts over the past 4-5 days has been because I was out on a cruise down to Mexico and internets was insanely expensive, so, opted to just lay low for a while. Let's start off with The Open. As I write this, we are only hours away from the announcement of the 4th workout (out of 5), and the exciting thing for me with all this has been my rapid comeback. After a debacle of a first workout, finishing 375th in the region, I had a respectable 2nd one, pushing me to 103rd. Then, I good score in my eyes brought me down to 82nd overall after 3 weeks. I'm fired up becuase there are a limited amount of exercises they can bring out for us on the last two workouts, and I am very confident I'll do pretty well. My goal is to not only finish in the top 60, but to hopefully get myself down to a better finish than last year (I finished 30th last year). I haven't really made an official announcement yet, but because the chances of me actually making the Games are pretty slim, I'll be joining the Outlaw CrossFit team and competing with them to hopefully get to the Games that way! I am exited to do this as I've never done a team competition and I feel strongly that team Outlaw will tear it up (as of now, we are at 10th in the region, and am pretty sure we'll finish top 5 or so when all is said and done).
So, this past weekend. This was an interesting trip all around, and it solidified that I really do know what I like and don't like. So, I met Lindsey down in Ft. Lauderdale on Wednesday, grabbed dinner on Las Olas Blvd and then went to get some recovery sleep before doing the 3rd Open workout. After a hearty breakfast we went to The Playground Gym to join their 10am class for the workout. This place was awesome! A HUGE warehouse, just north of downtown and filled with every bit of equipment one would need and more. They had full powerlifting gear, tons of racks and platforms, a great space out back with tires and sleds, and tons of really welcoming and enjoyable athletes, and of course, some great coaches. After getting my 10 rounds plus 27 reps in the crazy humidity of Florida, I hung around for a bit with the coaches to get some light Oly work before headed back to prepare fro the cruise. Had a great time at The Playground Gym (owners of CrossFit Affliction as well) and was excited to head back there on Monday after we got back from the cruise. I was able to get my back squat work, then joined the 7pm class for their conditioning: 5 rounds of 400 meter run and 15 overhead squats at 95#. This was the perfect workout post-crusie bender and I was happy to move through this with a time of 13:41. I would assume that a 12-ish minute time would be doable at full capacity, but it felt so good to just go all out. After that, I hung with the coaches and did a bit more accessory work. So, if you are ever in Ft. Lauderdale, make sure to get in touch with these guys and join in for a class, they are a bunch of damn good people.
On to the cruise! Ok, I totally get how some people can really like these things. Everything is right there for you, food, sun, games and such f you want, and plenty of people to keep the energy levels up. We had some fun on the flow-rider, had a really good people-watching time, got TONS of sun, drank and ate too much, and had a absolute blast on our day out on Cozumel, Mexico. The negatives from my perspective (and mind you, these are merely MY opinions! I have a pretty distinct personality, so take these comments accordingly): you are stuck in a limited space. To me, it is scary as all hell to not be able to go anywhere at any time. While the ship was impressively big, you are still completely limited to what's on it, and I could start to feel myself becoming a tad bit claustrophobic. The next is the food. While it was actually pretty decent, it was insanely processed. I could tell that right off the bat becuase no matter how much or little you ate, you felt crazy bloated after, no matter what! When I had fish tacos in Mexico with fried fish and cheese on them and felt awesome, I knew there was something strange going on. And while there was plenty to do (flow rider, climbing wall, basketball court, game room, freaking skating rink and so on) it was just not the same as say, surfing, actual rock climbing, running around in the woods and swimming in the ocean. I found that my snootiness on relaxation is pretty strong and I can't get myself to be totally chill unless I'm in nature. Oh, right, and I'm also NOT an extrovert; as in, I really don't get any energy at all from being around other people. I get my energy from being alone and in nature. Some people are just different, what can I say. So, if you like being around people, if you like having tons of different foods and and drinks and having everything right there for you, then a cruise is perfect for you. And I know tons of people who love cruises, so, makes sense. But for me, just ain't the thing for me!
Allrighty, there's the update show for today. I got a few things planned out for posts to come, so look for those through the week!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
_ As my girlfriend can attest to, I have so many ideas it sometimes gets annoying. And as my dad told me long ago, write everything down! So, the other day when I went through some of my old notes and ideas, I found a collection of them that I thought were pretty interesting. First and foremost, if I actually had the ability and now-how to put my ideas to action, I would be the most famous, celebrated, wealthy person on the face of the planet. And not because I would have invented some teleportation device that would also take 30 years off any person; my ideas are very, very tangible ones, ones that SHOULD be very easy to get rolling.
Below you’ll find a “letter to anyone” that I wrote in the early 2000’s. I distinctly remember feeling very strongly about how people should train, and, having not been able to fond anything that resembled my idea; I decided to let people know about it. What would have happened if I had sent this thing out…?
(Everything below I created out of my own brain. I did not know who Greg Glassman was, I had yet find Facebook, and I longed for anything resembling a “fitness community”)
My Fellow Athletes and soon to be Athletes –
Welcome to Athletic Fitness!
This site is dedicated to giving all athletes around the world, the information and tools to continue moving up in the competitive world of sports and fitness. The material that you will find inside is all here to help entertain, educate and evaluate you, while also giving you the ability to connect to the largest network of athletes around the globe.
The minute you enter into the Athletic Fitness world you become an elite member of the “Fit Athlete” club. With all the information, advice, exercises etc. that you work through, you will be giving yourself the ability to become a great all around Fit Athlete.
What does it mean to be a Fit Athlete? A Fit Athlete has the ability to perform the Ten Points Of Athleticism and apply them to any movement in any sport with above average skill level. There are many athletes out there who are extremely successful at what they do: Dean Karnazas, the “Ultra marathoner”, can run a marathon every day for 50 days in 50 states, and then run from NYC to San Francisco; he is without a doubt the greatest endurance athlete that we know of today. But can he shoot 75% from the free throw line, or paint the black with a 2-seam fastball? David Wells is one of the most successful pitchers in Major League Baseball, with a perfect game under his belt and countless victories; but could he swim a mile, or rock climb a cliff and repel down?
There are endless examples of successful athletes who excel at something very specific, either with god-given talent, or because that is the only thing they ever work on. But what happens when you change your philosophy of training? What happens when you take the specific skills you are working on and incorporate them into a much larger scale and understanding of training?
A Fit Athlete will train for Speed, Strength, Power Agility, Quickness, Reaction, Flexibility, Endurance, Balance and Body Control. Having a strong base with these Ten Points Of Athleticism and then applying them to your specific sport and even your specific position within the sport will take your level of play to a whole new level. And it will begin the new generation of extremely athletic players in sports around the world.
Athletic Fitness is also here to promote the athletic lifestyle to anyone and everyone, from pro athletes, to little leaguers, to mothers and fathers to beginners wanting to have a little fun in life. Anyone can become a Fit Athlete as long as they have the desire and dedication to commit to an athletic lifestyle. We are here to help, inform, advise, entertain, challenge and change you while giving you the platform to communicate and connect to the world of athleticism.
Today you have the ability to experience what is coming. Read the articles and the interviews, take the challenge, try the exercises and respond to the first questions and polls. We gladly welcome any questions and/or comments you might have and look forward to building Athletic Fitness around the world.
President, Athletic Fitness
Pretty crazy, huh? The morel of the story here is to act on your passions. Anyone can come up with a great idea, but it’s the people who practice those ideas that become great. Yes, I trained in this manner from a very early standpoint (when I found CrossFit, it totally floored me because it felt like I all of a sudden found an entire community that already existed that did almost exactly what I did!), but I never pushed my ideas any farther than my own little space. This is one of a handful of things I came up with that have since become wildly successful businesses. And I KNOW that many of you out there have had the same thing happen to you. Make your ideas come to life people!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
These past couple weeks for me have proved one major thing for me: approach things with the right frame of mind and GREAT things happen! I have taken so many things off my plate, and this has allowed me to get so much more done with the most important things. I have officially opened my temporary gym space, my training gains have been taking off, my recovery and mobility is getting greater and i have been feeling all around in much better spirits than in a while!
So how has this happened? Well, it took me bearing down a little bit and telling myself what was important. Here’s the thought process that I went through:
I made a set time to get myself completely alone (normally I would head out to the woods for this, but this time, I just sat on my couch). Then I asked the question: What do you want?
I wanted to do everything in my power to make it to the CrossFit Games in 2012, I wanted to open a gym, and I wanted to get my Courage Bars officially up for sale! That’s it. So how would I be able to stick with these basic, “simple” goals? Well, by taking all the other ones I had (and trust me, I had a LOT), making sure they were all written down, and putting them off in a folder somewhere for another time. Then, to help my crazy, spastic brain out, if another idea came to me (at least one a day, seriously….) I would quickly write it down and stock it in the “idea and future plans” folder. Now, all of my energy would either be directed directly towards the three things I want the most right now, or, into learning how to chill out. So, napping, resting, stretching, deep breathing, walking around and spacing out are all things I am very quickly teaching myself are GOOD things to do.
The brutal truth of it all is as follows: I did all that stuff all the time! I mean seriously people, how much time to you truly spend each day doing nothing productive? All I have been focusing on is allowing those times to genuinely be relaxing for me. If I am going to zone out in from of the computer for an hour or two, or in front of the TV, it will be because that is exactly the plan. I won’t stress about it, I won’t panic about “all this other stuff I have to get done”, I’ll allow myself to do the things I need to do to feel happy and healthy. This is incredibly relaxing and peaceful, seriously; it’s awesome. And, interestingly enough, it is literally what all those self-help advice givers are all about. Be honest with yourself about the things you do, and all of a sudden you release most of your stress.
The main change for me was learning how to convince myself that doing nothing wasn’t a waist of time. See, I would sit with y computer, doing “work”, watching TV shows on Hulu for like 4 hours. The fact of the matter is, I really wasn’t getting all that much work done. So, rather than create all this made up stress, and if I really did spend a good deal of each day just chilling out, reading or watching TV programs, I might as well enjoy the rest time to the fullest. All I can say is that my stress has been going away. It feels great. And my gains in the gym are finding their way WAY back up!
So, if you’re planning on shilling out, CHILL OUT. Take your relaxation just as seriously as your work and your work will be that much better. Give it a shot.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well, it's about that time I give a little update on how things are rolling along on my training life. It;s been a fun tome over the past couple weeks since the Mid Atlantic Hopper, and until yesterday, I feel like I've had some great progress. Let's work backwards. My back is basically destroyed. I thought I had a little tightness going on that I'd be able to work through, but after the past few sessions, I ended up having to take a day off because my back was so crushed I just couldn't do the work. I woke up this morning and went for a jog, and added some pull overs after, but that did nothing to loosen it up. I am hoping a bit of mobility work and some rolling tomorrow will get be back into it. I don't want to lose the progress!
After the Hopper I got right in the swing of things and was feeling stronger and stronger each day. My strength gains are there, perhaps a little slow, but there. My gymnastics, clearly my weakest link, are coming along nicely as well, especially with the extra work I am adding to my program. And my plan has been to bring my few days a week runs back into the training program as well. I've talked about it before, but it's worth mentioning again, I feel as though basic running (usually trail running for me) adds a whole new level to my gains. I feel trimmer, lighter, fitter, happier and it aids in my recovery time as well. Especially after the wonderful amounts of food i ate over Thanksgiving, I am feeling like I need to cut a few pounds. This actually leads me into my next conversation piece.
All this heavy lifting I've been doing has jacked me up pretty good; and I mean that in a positive way. When I first noticed this was actually about a month and a half ago when I put on my nice 3-piece suit for a wedding. I threw on my vest and realized it completely didn't fit. My brain went into fat-guy mode and I got all bummed out. But then I realized that I my body fat was probably right around where it had been for a while, I just had a TON of extra size on me. And now, a month plus later, I am feeling like I've added yet another inch or so all over. The added size has upped my hunger and Ive been eating more and more each meal (and what doesn't help with this is that I have strayed from my every-3-hours meal plan and because of that I tend to eat a crap-load of food come meal time). Well, my fix for this added size is that I'm not all that worried. I don't want to take away from the strength gains, so, I am gong to let this happen, and keep fueling it accordingly until January I would say. Then I'll up the metcon intensity, along with my additional conditioning and focus on cutting down to my fighting weight with all the new-found strength!
Other additions to my program? I started today with THIS. I will be doing Kelly Starretts Mobility WOD each and every day (perhaps a couple of them depending on time and how I feel). I want to add these because I have not been finding the time to get to yoga on a regular basis and I really feel like I need to get my mobility up. My lack of mobility is what I have found is the main limiting factor for my gains. I know if I work my hips more and low back more I'll have some crazy gains on any movement involving squatting. This will inevitably be the case for the rest of my joints. Eager to see what happens.
What else what else...Oh, right. I have a gym! Yep, starting tomorrow and for only a temporary time, I'll be running Courage performance out of a 6,000 square foot crazy huge facility! Just wait until you see all the crazy equipment that's going to be in there! Given the nature of how I'll be at this space, I'm not going to be doing tons of crazy advertising or anything like that. So, keep an eye on this blog, along with my personal Facebook page and Courage Performance Page to keep up to date with class times and other details. You can expect a few friendly Throwdowns/cook outs in the coming weeks, so be ready!
Hope everyone is training hard through the Holidays!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
This past weekend I headed on up to Glen Burnie, MD to take part in the 4th annual Mid-Atlantic Hopper Challenge. Two days of workouts that nobody, not even the organizers knew what they would be! I was super excited to be a part of this one as last year I missed out going there with all my friends because Lindsey and I were freshly moved out West. I wanted to be a part of it so much that I actually followed them along on Facebook throughout the weekend, doing the workouts along with everyone, just Lindsey and me alone at my gym out West. Check out the fun HERE. After day 1 last year, I was actually standing in 1st place!
Anyway, this year was different: I was here! And, I was about 3 months into my much more serious training program thanks to Rudy Nielson at Outlaw CrossFit. So, on to the fun! The first workout was drawn out of the hopper on Friday night and it was a doozy:
7 min. AMRAP of:
7 hang squat snatch 95#
7 full squat cleans 95#
75 ft. walking OH lunge 45#
I was in a middle heat somewhere and I watched as the heats of guys and girls just tore it up! Some serious competitors were there such as Games vets Christy Phillips, Gretchen Kittelberger, Jeff Tincher (and I’m sure a few more…), so I began to get my game face on! Headed in to my heat it looked like the score to beat was Jeff Tincher from CrossFit Fairfax with 4 full rounds, 7 snatches and 1 clean. So, I just got after it. I was feeling pretty smooth with everything, just super winded! Got through 4 rounds with some good time, then came back in ready to go. Up to this point I had done everything completely unbroken. I got 6 snatches, then, being too eager to get to my cleans I lost my grip on the 7th snatch and it slipped out of my hand! I recovered quickly and got the rep, but had to dumb the bar before hitting the cleans. With about 5 seconds left I attacked the bar and got 2 reps in. Enough to get 1st for the event my 1 rep!
Workout two was pulled: 3 min. AMRAP of: atlas stone ground to shoulder at 145#. Sweet! Now I haven’t done tons of stone work, but I’d like to think that spending the amount of time in the wilderness throwing around strange things would have me good and prepared for this sort of thing. After a good 20 minutes of brainstorming ways to lift the thing, I resorted to the age old “just pick the damn thing up as fast as I can until they tell me to stop” mentality. I saw some guy pull it off the ground 27 times, so I set my sights high at 30. I was feeling pretty strong, but heard the announcer yell 1 minute down as I hoisted up my 10th rep. At two minutes down I was at 19. I had to turn it on! That’s when I found the animal in me (something I plan on writing about later this week, and something I actually have a very difficult time harnessing) and just took off! In the last minute I was able to pull out 9 more reps finishing with 28 reps. Again, 1st pace overall by 1 rep!
The final workout of the day was announced as 21-15-9 deadifts with 225# and box jumps at 20”. I got super excited about this one! Heavy deads and box jumps are generally my sort of thing! My goal was sub-2:30 and as I started I felt like I’d have a good shot at that time. I banged out the first 21 deads with relative ease and then just FLEW through the jumps! But then those second deadlifts really got me. I got them unbroken but they were slow. Again, got the box jumps super fast and then went all out for the final deadlifts. I got 5 unbroken before dumping the bar, then 2, then 1 and finally 1. Blasted through he jumps for a final time of 2:47, enough for a 3rd place finish overall. With that finish, I was headed into day 2 in 1st by an 11 –point margin!
Spent a few too many hours making Courage Bars and food before hitting the sack for some wonderful slumber! On the way up to day 2 I read about the 4th workout: 3 minute AMRAP of strict pull ups. Well, I was actually super excited about this as well. From my experience, I have always thought I was really good at pull ups. Well, turns out I was a bit off in my knowledge of myself. I wanted to get 35+. I followed the strategy I workout with Rudy to get 15, 15 and then all out at the end, but after a perfect 45 second rest, I got about 5 before all of a sudden I had literally NO ability to get myself even close to a pull up! I was able to get 8 on that second round (with 3 failed attempts). Now I was a bit worried. After another good long rest I just gave it everything I had. My grip was completely fine to just hang there and try to get whatever recovery I could, but time ran out and I only had 27 reps. I still don’t know exactly, but I think that got me 19th overall! Holy shi..
All right, so, that was a bit of a bummer. But to be totally honest, it never really hit me until way after the competition was over. Again that fire I am searching for was just far enough away that I just kept on enjoying the whole event and relaxing before the final event.
For time do:
7 hang power snatches 135#
25 pull ups
20 back squats 135# (from the ground)
25 hand-release push ups
15 squat cleans 135#
25 GHD sit ups
10/20/30 meter prowler suicide w/ 90# taken from your bar
Holy hips and quads Batman! Well, I was ready to go. I had no idea where I stood, but I figured I’d just go all out and see what happened. I found out I was actually in 2nd place (this actually threw me off quite a bit, I was so far in first that I was shocked at how bad that 4th workout was!). Either way, I started this last one off with everything I had. I got everything unbroken except for one break on the squat cleans. I peeled off the plates and was first out to the prowler. I got the 10 meters out and back before Jeff Tincher inched past. At that point, with the knowledge that I know had two guys in front of me, I put every single ounce of energy into the damn prowler and just went. And guess what: it wasn’t enough to overtake them. I keeled over at the end in 3rd place. I have no clue what my final time was. I couldn’t recover at all! I even tried to just sit up after what seemed like 5 minutes and I couldn’t get myself to do that! I was done. I gave that everything!!
So, with a 1st, 1st, 3rd, 19th (ugh) and 3rd, I ended up with a second place finish overall. Pretty cool!
I have to give a huge shout out and thank you to everyone at CrossFit BWI for putting on such an awesome event. It was a weekend with incredible energy, fun workouts, and great people. This sort of thing was exactly what I like about CrossFit! All the volunteers and judges, thank you guys so damn much! To all the athletes: I met so many awesome new people, and reconnected with so many awesome old friends it made me so happy! I LOVE hanging around with like-minded people and I cannot talk more highly of a well-planned fitness event and how positive it is.
And of course, thanks such to Rudy and everyone at Outlaw CrossFit. Even though I met most of them for the first time this weekend, and all my workouts are pretty much alone in my garage, I felt so confident headed onto the event, and even more confident with where I will be going from here in the hands of my coach! And of course, the passion all the athletes have at Outlaw is otherworldly; it’s incredibly motivating to be apart of that family!
All in all a great time, I am sore, but was back at it today, gearing up for Sectionals; only 3 months away! I know exactly what I have to do!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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