Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sucess as a coach, again.

So we had a little in-house hopper challenge here at CFOT this past Saturday, and it was pretty cool. It is apparent that I really do need to get stronger, which I'm ok with because I'm def going in that direction. The first WOD had heavy thrusters at 135#, and in the warm up I couldn't get two in a row, so I scaled the weight back. I think it was a good call, because I still struggled with them anyway and got an ok time. But my performance isn't really what I want to talk about (although I felt like I should mention it). What I'd like to talk about is how I've helped a fellow CFer, Joe.

Joe was the one person that showed up this last Thursday where we worked on the clean. Joe was pulling the weight up with his arms, so I worked on getting him to feel the bar become weightless before pulling with his arms. Near the end we had a bit of a breakthrough, and both of us walked away happy.

Now fast forward to the hopper on Saturday. The last wod was a strength wod: 1 rep clean max. I only got up to 200#, 5#'s less then the PR I set earlier in the week. Meanwhile, Joe gets a 40 POUND PR OF 215!!! It really is starting to click for him, he's starting to jump the weight up instead of pulling the weight up, and it's really paying off. Now if only he knew that the student shouldn't surpass the teacher....

He had the biggest grin on his face, was totally stoked. It reminded me of the happiest day of my life, and I found myself smiling as well. It was definitely a coaches high, seeing someone I've worked with succeed beyond what they thought possible. I mean, ten bucks says Joe will now look forward to WOD's with cleans, whereas he used to dread them. It was very fulfilling to see that I could help some one as much as I have, and it is nice to be validated that I am in fact as good of a coach as I think I am. Seeing Joe that happy though was awesome, it looked like he felt like he could conquer the world, and that's what I want people to realize: if they're willing to work on their weaknesses, they can do anything they want

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Getting stronger, class evolving.

So yesterday we found our one rep clean max, and I got up to 205#, a 10# PR. This was awesome, I'm starting to find that part of me that says, "this is going to be hard, but you're going to do it." And I did.

I have no squat in my clean, it is all power. This is something I need to work on to get even heavier weight. Of course, I need to work on my front squat for that as well.

The other day we worked on deadlift, and Mike Snyder of Crossfit Slayer helped me out bigtime. Honestly I am still just figuring out how to tighten up my core. With his help I made a lot of headway, I only got up to 295 and backed down to 275, but near the end I was looking "rock solid."

I am just beginning to figure out my core. I know I keep saying this, but that's because every time I reach a new level I realize how much I don't know/have to go. Now that I'm getting a solid deadlift though, I feel like I've made a major breakthrough.

Makes me want to grease the groove everyday now.

Concerning the class, there has been a decline in attendance. For the people that attend, a lot of progress has been made. Last week I got Maggie to do her first double under ever, even after she told me that it was impossible for her to do one. However, I'm now down to two, maybe one person showing up. Like I said, I think I'm putting out a quality product. People who've attended my class have had a lot of success, but because attendance is voluntary I'm completely at the mercy of whether people want to work on their squat/pull-up/clean or not.

Jerry and I are going to rethink this and see if this needs any retooling. Because of the holidays there hasn't been many new people, and people are enjoying the holidays over learning about the deadlift.

...The other day I saw someone doing dumb bell cleans and were pulling early with their arms. I just reacted and said, "Jump before you bend your arms." Short, simple, and sweet. And, more importantly, it worked.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Updated blog a bit

So I looked at my blog and realized a lot has changed since I last worked on the layout. Roughly three of my cf friends stopped blogging, so I dropped them from my link list. I've also added the paleo/primal blogs to my diet section, as well as KStar's mobility wod blog.

I think it kind of represents the changes I've gone through over the past year, with regards to learning about diet and mobility. This time last year I was just starting to realize how tight my hips were, and had changed so much people didn't recognize me, and was weighing about 23#s heavier then I am now (195#).

What a difference a year makes.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Paleo for reals now

So with Thanksgiving I was gone for basically a week, during which I only xfitted twice (got to do Randy: 7:23) and had very, very poor diet. I am a little sad to say that this put me in a bit of a funk in a time when I should be happy, but it's hard to stay paleo when you're living in a house that is very pro grains and dairy.

So it's the holiday season, and while everyone expects to get a little fatter my plan is to start losing some and really eat paleo. I eat very close to paleo, but I still have some sprinkles of cheese in my salad, stuff like that. Guess it's more primal really. Anyways, I found out that there's this company, Catalyst Meals, that makes paleo meals, lunch and dinner, for you. I ordered a weeks worth of lunches and dinners, and picked them up over at Trident Crossfit (currently their only drop off location) on Monday. I've already started the process in trying to get them to make Old Town a drop off location as well.

So far I've had two days worth of meals, and I'm quite happy with them. I'd say the biggest difference I've noticed is the portion size. They say they start with four blocks of protein and go from there. Although they aren't truly zone, they try to approximate it. They seem a bit smaller than what I'm used to, but it makes me wonder if I've been over eating. I measure out my food, I really do, but their meals just seem smaller. Although they are smaller, I still find them filling, but it really requires me to get my snacks in.

Will continue to update as this goes along.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Last Hopper WOD

So it's now Sunday, and it's time for the fourth and final (for me) WOD of the day. I worked out three times yesterday, more than I worked out in the past two weeks, and my body is sore. However, the soreness is really in my traps and some in my quads, muscles I know I can push through. ...On a side note I wore the shirt I got from competing in last year's hopper, and for some reason everyone else did too. Weird how we all got the memo.

They draw from the hopper, and this is what they come up with:
AMRAP 7 minutes
5 push jerk @135#
12 KB swings @53#
7 burbees

Nothing impossible, I can definitely do this. And then there was a bonus incentive.

At that time I was ranked 67th, and before the workout my girlfriend Kristin turned to me and said, "if you move up to 62nd, I'll do crossfit for a month".

Now, Kristin doing crossfit has been a dream of mine since I started. I feel that if she experienced the wonders that is crossfit it would help her out in the same way it helped me and everyone else out. ...I don't think there could have been a stronger incentive for me to push myself to the limits.

So in 3, 2, 1 the WOD starts. I clean the weight and begin push jerking it. I'm not realy having any issues, and I move on to the Kb swings. They're not hard in the least since I'm used to heavier weight, but they take a long time since my arms are much longer than most. Need to figure out a way to increase the speed of them. Anyway the burbees weren't really a problem , although they weren't fun either.

As I get to the third round, my legs start to quiver when I hold the weight for the jerk. I drop the bar at least once, but I get it back up right away. I want Kristin to crossfit, more than pretty much anything else in the world, and I'm not about to let a silly little 135# get in the way of that. I'm never stopping, but I'm slowing down a lot. My muscles are just not quickly responding, no matter how much I tell them to hurry up. With the burpees, I find a place of pain that I've rarely reached, and I go further. I know with the burpees it's not a strength thing, it's a determination thing; and I am going to grit this one out. I close my eyes with the burpees, and just wince through it. Sadly though, I don't get to finish my fourth round. I end up with about three and a half rounds, and I know it's not enough to reach 62nd.

So I'm lying on the ground, telling myself, "I've failed" over and over. Who knows when the next time Kristin will offer up a chance to crossfit, I had an opportunity and I couldn't take advantage of it. While I was lying there, some random guy came over and helped me up, telling me not to finish like that, to finish strong and don't let the wod get the best of you. ...It kind of annoyed me, who was he to tell me anything about how to work out. But he was right in that I was lying there focusing on the negative, and that's not the way to go.

So my three and a half rounds were good enough for 70th place. Obviously, 70th doesn't help me get to 62nd, it sets me back for a final finish of 69th. But I felt so much better throughout this competition. I actually had fun doing this! I didn't crush the WODs, but I didn't let them crush me like last time either, so I'm very happy with the improvement. I had my doubts going in to this competition, I was afraid that it would expose me to be the weaking that I am, but instead I had a fun time finding new places in my mind, and had a great time with the other people of CFOT. In the end, I'm really, really glad that I did this, I think it brings a lot more to my experience as a crossfitter, and really helps me out as a coach.

This was so enjoyable that I have already signed up for another crossfit competition, Superfit in Charlottesville, VA. Hopefully this time I won't have bronchitis right before the competition, and I'll really get a chance to train.

Hopper Wod #3

Again, I'm worried that the upcoming WOD will be something I can't do, that it will destroy me. Turns out it'll be a couplet of rowing 500m and then 44 double unders once through.


I can do both of these things, and since my PR is 42 DU's it's actually possible for me to really nail this. So I warm up with DU's, and it's still kind of hit or miss. I can get 20 in a row, or I can't get one. But as I keep doing them, I get more and more consistent. I don't really warm up on the rower, I figure I'm familiar with it enough so that I can just hop on and take off. I also tell myself that the last thing I need to do in the WOD is panick, that if I stay calm my DU's will come and it'll be a lot faster.

Since I'm near the bottom of the pack, I don't have much time to warm up and before I know it it's time to shine. I meet my judge and she tells me to only strap one foot into the rower, and to trust her since she rowed competitively. I do as she suggested, and in 3, 2, 1 the WOD starts.

I start rowing, and immediately my quads are telling me to stop. Obviously I tell them to shut up, but unfortunately I don't tell my judge the same when she keeps trying to give me pointers. I know that my rowing technique is off, but competition is not the time or place to tweak my stroke. Her "tips" are a little hard to tune out, so I think it slows me down to a 1:48 time. I get off and grab the rope.

Surprisingly, it's a very surreal experience. I kind of feel like floating, and the DU's feel very smooth. However I do hit a snag every once in a while. I calmly step over the rope each time, and start over. I think I had to restart maybe three times. All in all my time is 2:53, 51st over all and by far my best performance of the day. Finally there was something, double unders, that I could do that some other competitors could not. There were seven competitors who couldn't finish this wod in the 5 minute time limit, and although I know how frustrating that can be I also know for a fact that DU's are simply a product of how much time you've spent working on them. It's not a strength thing, it's all technique and practice.

I feel pretty decent about my performace. I know that if this WOD had showed up last year I wouldn't have been able to finish it, so I take heart in the gains that I've made over the course of the past year.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hopper Wod 2

So I'm excited now, and they announce that the second wod is going to be a heavy lift, AMRAP for 3 minuted. They pull the ball out of the hopper and it's... Back squat of 225.

I'm a little scared now, as 225# is my 3 rep max with chains and I'm not sure how that translates to 225 without chains. I'm up and it's go time. I figure it would be better to do sets of 2 reps than try to do more and wear myself out early. I think I did a pretty good job of finding my max set because on my tenth rep (with :40 to go) I went down, got back up, and then went back down. I'm stuck, grit my teeth, and get about halfway up. Then I start to fall forward a bit as I rock forward to use my quads. I lose my balance and let go of the bar to catch myself. So now I'm pancaked with 225 resting on my back. It's a bit uncomfortable to say the least.

The judge freaks out a bit and helps by rolling the bar off my back. Again it didn't tickle but I didn't feel anything tear or break. I'm good to go, but I'm done for the WOD. I only get 9 reps, which is pretty weak compared to the rest of the pack. This is def motivation for me to continue on getting stronger.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mid-Atlantic Hopper Challenge 2010, WOD 1

So as this competition was approaching, I won't lie: I started to freak out a little. I still have vivid memories on how the wods last year crushed me, time and time again. Due to the Bronchitis, I had basically taken two weeks off right before the competition. So just when I should be upping the intensity, I'm hacking up a lung after running 400m. So I'm worried, I know what's possible, and I worry that the wods will have all kinds of pistols, handstand push ups, and other stuff I can't do.

As the competition showed me last year, if you want to be a real crossfitter you have to be able to do it all, no excuses. Can't snatch 150#? too bad. Can't do 30 muscle ups under 5 minutes? Too bad, because that's all the time you have. The idea of being shown how much you lack to the crossfit ideal can be a real unpleasant wake up call, and I was afraid that was all I would experience.

So with much trepidation, I waited for them to announce the first wod. And it was....

30-20-10 of
Wall balls, and
Hang power clean(65/95).

So much for difficult movements. I saw some people warming up with the hang power clean, and they were really making look smooth. I tried it out a couple of times with the bar and it was real easy. After that I tried 95 and was really surprised with how light it was.

Going into, I was thinking I was going to kill it. Standing over my med ball, I waited for the explosion that is my workout. 3... 2... 1...

I burn through the 30 wall balls, and grab ahold of the barbell. I burn through the hang cleans as well, I'm very much in the mix, not too far or ahead of anyone else.

Then the second round hits, and I hit a wall that I'm not used to hitting. I slow down considerably, and am getting mad at myself. A few of the wall balls come up short, and I drop the ball a couple times as well.

It's at this point in time I know I need to just suck it up and do it. I know that for people with a Fran time of 2:05 it sucks just as much for them, if not more so since they're pushing themselves harder. But I just can't seem to move any faster. I go through the hang cleans fairly quickly, but my forearms are starting to fail.

The last ten wall balls are horrible, I'm really sucking now and just keep telling myself to just. do. one. more. I then finally get to the barbell and tell myself that I'm going to finish in one set. However, after rep 6 the bar slips out of my hands. Pick it back up and finally finish the wod.

I felt good after this. This was waay better than last year, I knew what I was doing and just felt... better. Last year the WOD crushed me, and while I didn't crush the wod this year, I didn't let it crush me either. My time was 9:04, 71st out of 82 men. I know it doesn't sound that impressive, but I feel like it was a huge improvement over last year.

One down, three more to go.

I can do this.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fourth week of Virtuosity.

So it's the fourth installment of Virtuosity, and I'm super excited about it. We're working on Deadlifts and double-unders. Deadlifts proved to be interesting, people got the basic lift, but the devil's in the details. There were only two people lifting at a time, but because I might miss something I wanted to involve everyone, trying get everyone in the class learn what to look for and to help each other. I got really positive responses, people started to feel like they were using their legs instead of their back. I know for a fact some one upped her deadlift from 85# to 135#.

Double unders were fun. One thing I really, really like about teaching this class is it requires me to go back and learn about the fundamentals, to go and really focus on the movement. As I've expected, looking at this stuff with the mindset of teaching is, in itself, a great teacher. If I have to be able to teach everything from pull ups to the clean I have to be able to do everything well. But I digress, back to teaching the double unders.

I had everyone go through the progression, save for the double under - single - double under. I've been told people get stuck in that phase and are reluctant to move on, so we just avoided that step altogether. As everyone worked on them I took turns working one on one with each person. I was surprised how much I was able to help, figuring out what was wrong even though I had never even thought of the problem before (e.g. picking up on an uneven cadence by listening to the sounds of the rope hitting the ground). Everything seemed to go really well, I'm very, very happy with how it worked out.

Workout on Thursday

So the Bronchitis is lessening, and I'm just itching for getting back in the gym. On Thursday I go in and the wod is:

1000m row
1 pull up
1 burbee
2 pull ups
2 burbees
8 pull ups
8 burbees
1 pull up
1 burbee
1000m run

Time was something like 28:23. I had absolutely no problem with the pull ups, after teaching the pull up the other week I feel much more solid in my pull up technique. Burbees are never fun, but they really winded me. ...For that matter, I really felt winded the whole time, when I was running the last 1000m I felt a pain in my chest that was really sharp, so I walked most of it. Although the Bronchitis is better, it's still there and I shouldn't push myself too hard.

However, I think I rushed coming back to Crossfit. I just feel so weird not working out, I needed this psychologically, but it seems like I still needed rest physically. For the rest of the day I just felt exhausted, more than I have for the past couple of days. Unfortunately I think fighting off this infection is taking more out of me than I realize. I just don't want to be totally out of shape when I show up for the Mid-Atlantic Hopper Challenge. On the other hand, I want to get completely over this thing, I don't want it to linger for weeks on end. Ugh, being sick sucks.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Working out with my Dad

Earlier weekend this month, I went to Dallas to visit family for my Dad's birthday. It just so happened that my highschool classmate, John Marshall, was celebrating his gym's move to a bigger space by hosting a free workout. So I decided to go, and I mentioned this to my dad. He decided to come along.

At first I was very hesitant. I know crossfit can be a bit of a, ah, unpleasant experience to those that aren't properly initiated to the movements and intensity, so I made sure his experience was enjoyable.

Because of the big crowd, John went with a group workout. For time:

As a group of four, do:
400m run
400 barbell thrusters
300 double unders
200 pull ups
100 burpees
400m run

We broke up the movements evenly among us, but I made dad do scaled back movements, like 10# dumbbell thrusters, single jump ropes, and after a few strict pull ups he did band assisted pull ups (later he went to band assisted jumping pull ups, very sneaky dad.) He only did a couple of burbees, with his back (herniated disc repaired) getting down on the ground wasn't that easy for him. We basically walked the last 400m, but as we rounded the last corner he decided to sprint. As we crossed the finish line, he then sat down on the curb and commented on regretting doing that, as his heart was racing. A moment of concern, but after a short bit everything was ok and we got up and walked back inside. This picture is of us shortly after that, I don't know why he looks taller than me, I've got a good inch on him at least.

I learned something about my dad, one is he's a competitor. When we were strategizing pre-workout Dad commented, "because i don't like losing." This seemed kind of strange to me since he's such a nice guy, and has always been so supportive of me no matter what my performance on the athletic field (that's a post for another time). But it made me realize something: this is the man who lead his college water polo team to a national championship, this is the man who graduated first in his class in receiving his Ph.D. in Physics at University of Pennsylvania. I could go on for a ridiculously long time, but suffice it to say the man doesn't lose, he doesn't know how to fail. One of the biggest reasons I've had the success I've had is me just trying to follow my Dad's example.

During a workout I always try to inspire myself, I try thinking about various things, usually around how each moment is precious and I should make the most of it. This produces spotty success, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Working out with Dad, however, was like nothing else I've experienced. It's hard to describe, but seeing some one you care so much about work out really is moving. At age seventy if my Dad can do 100 dumbbell thrusters, I better damn well be able to bang out 100 Barbell thrusters in no time flat.

I am so glad that my father wanted to live in my world for a little bit, to experience something that I love so much. Thank you Dad, it was an experience I'll never forget.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Allergies and Bronchitis suck

So I worked out last Wednesday, and it was not the best experience. It required 9 muscle ups to start, so I figured I could handle it, after all I did 12 when I did Nate. What i didn't consider is nate is only two at a time. That changed things a bit. Only got up to five in like 8 minutes, and then I called it quits and went to the alternate wod, where I went too heavy on deadlift (225) to really get my intensity up. After each deadlift I felt light headed, and I just didn't have that motivation I usually have.

Well, as the day progressed I realized I felt pretty crummy. It seemed my allergies were acting up. I started feeling worse and worse. During class my voice got really hoarse, and I started to realize I had a lot of congestion. Saw the Allergist the next day (Friday) and it seems I have bronchitis. Awesome. This happened last year during the spring, and many times before that, but god damn it makes it hard to do anything. Like I just feel like Crap, and worn out.

I'm not happy about this because The Mid-Atlantic Hopper Challenge is like two weeks away. I just don't think working out right now would be productive in the least. ...It's even made blogging feel like work. Now it's Wednesday, and I haven't worked out since last Wednesday.

I feel fat and out of shape, I try doing small sets of push ups and squats, but nothing like I should be doing.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Second class: Pull ups

So yesterday was the second class for Project Virtuosity. There was a very large turn out on this, had eleven people, more than those signed up for the regular wod. Because of the size I made sure everyone had a partner, so I only had to monitor 5 people at a time.

We worked on pull ups, going through all of the progressions, working on the movement of the feet, then adding in the knees, then working the kip on the floor, and then adding it all together. I pointed out the difference between the C-grip and the suicide grip, which I learned about two years ago. Gosh that makes me feel old. Anyways, I didn't have the fear of always presenting new material for the sake of entertainment like last week. I realized it's ok for people to try the movement for a little bit, rest and chat, and then get back on the bar.

I had people work on unassisted pull ups before introducing the band. I figured the band can make things a little more complicated, so to add it in after everything else. don't think I had anyone reach a milestone. At least, no one mentioned it to me. Regardless, I think people appreciated the practice.

I also set everyone aside and taught some about hand maintenance. Because this was more of a lecture, people def seemed less interested. Hopefully if they do tear they'll know what to do, and how to prevent it.

We only had like 5 minutes to work on GHD as scheduled, I just explained the set up and let some people try it out. I think a lot of people had pretty much checked out though.

There was one instance where I don't think I acted very professionally by strutting my stuff a bit during a demo. When I was demonstrating how everything works together, I was easily hitting chest to bar. I was excited, so I decided to see how high I could get. Turns out I can get stomach to the bar with ease. Like it was fun, it wasn't work, and I felt like I could do it for a long time. It didn't feel like I was working my shoulders or anything, and I could really find my rhythm. Anyways, looking back I don't want to come off as that asshole that's like "look at me and how awesome I am." Especially in a coach capacity. I hope I didn't come off that way.

But other then that, it was very uneventful, and I think that's a good thing. Can't wait for next week.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Class is a success!

I really couldn't have asked for a better time. At first it looked like there were only going to be three guys in the class, but as people realised I was starting they wandered over and asked, "is this the workshop?" Soon the ranks had swelled to eight people, just about perfect.

I talked up the squat, how awesome it is and we use it everyday. Next I demoed it, giving the four points of performance: weight on heels, knees out, butt back/proper depth, and lumbar engaged. I showed it again, and then had everyone do it together as I walked around giving cues. For some the verbal cue worked, but sometimes I had to give a tactile cue. I would have to say the most popular fault I saw was the knees moving in, but over all the group moved really well, so I moved on to the front squat.

With a barbell, I tried to get everyone comfortable with the rack position by starting them off on a Frankenstein squat, and after everyone got in a couple of reps I then brought in the hands holding the bar, and how one drives with elbows up. Everyone did fairly well with this, so suddenly I was only 15 minutes into class and was almost done with the movements planned.

I had a choice of either everyone keep working on the front squat, or to try to teach my personal favorite, the overhead squat. Out of concern of keeping interest, I asked the group if they would like to work on the overhead squat. Everyone, and I mean everyone, nodded yes. Democracy prevailed.

I had them grab a PVC, explained how the OHS works, demo'd, and then had everyone work on active shoulder. It was a good thing I did, because it seemed the slight twist in the arm that really makes an active shoulder active, was a foreign concept. So I did a couple of active shoulder drills, and then went on to trying to squat with a pipe overhead. Again, shoulder flexibility seemed to be the biggest issue with people breaking the frontal plane. Looking back I think I forgot to use the cue of pressing the bar up the whole time, but overall I think people were getting more comfortable with the movement, which is the most important thing.

I want this class to mitigate the intimidating nature of crossfit, to get people to be more confident, and I think I achieved that. I was asked when should someone switch from using dumbells to barbell for OHS, and I said immediately, simply use a load that you're comfortable with, even if it's only a 15# bar. I also (hopefully) got the point across that skill in these movements is exactly that: a skill; and as such is only acquired through practice.

What I think is the most interesting, and I could be wrong here, is that the note I ended on (foam rolling/recover) was the strongest. I had everyone grab a foam roller and showed them how to work the IT band, the quads, hammies, and then the adducters ("Get intimate with your roller"). I explained how important recovery is, how tight muscles can really hold you back, and that this is something that works best if done a little bit each day. I think the passion and alacrity with which I spoke about this subject matter really made it interesting, I saw a lot of head nodding going on during my explanations.

As people were wincing I talked up next week (pull ups, hand maintenance, and maybe a few more little tricks), thanked everyone, and told them class was over. Afterwards someone commented that they had no idea whey people were foam rolling, so this was really helpful. I also mentioned how having weak adductors cause the knees to bend inwards, and what can be done to strengthen them (squat as deep as you can)

So in review, it was a great success. Thinking about how it could be better, I think I might try to incorporate a squat progression Chriss Smith taught me (totally blanked on it until after the class was over) I would also add some shoulder dislocates before working on OHS, just because shoulder flexibility can be such an issue. ...My one regret is that I totally forgot to get a picture of me with my first class. Guess I'll have to do it with my second class.

I felt awesome after this, before I was having a rough day with work, and afterwards I was ecstatic, like I was high. Better be careful, I might get addicted to this coaching thing.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Calm before the virtuous storm

So in a couple of hours I'm going to have my first class as a coach. I have no idea how the turnout is going to be, I was having a hard time coming up the courage to advertise for it, which is stupid. I may be new, but I know this stuff, I've worked with Danny on some ramp up sessions and have led one or two.

I've tried to tell people about it, and I think I've had some success, and last minute I thought to try advertising it on the facebook. Waiting to see how it turns out is like asking a girl out. "What if she says no?" *shudders*. *Gasp, eyes wide open* "What if she says yes!" While I'd be ok with ten people, if like 25 people show up it could be a problem for me. I have experience talking in front of an audience. My favorite activity in law school was Moot Court and trial team, but this is somehow different. 25 may be a problem, but I think it will be less then that, and I'm fine with that. After all, this is the first class, not the last. I will have somewhere to grow, and I'd like to start small.

I've prepared as much as I could, now let's see how this goes. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of teaching this class. I'm a technique nazi, the very opposite of a stopwatch whore, and steeping members in good mechanics just sounds awesome to me.

The most exciting aspect about this class is the possibility of teaching stuff other than just movement. I might be able to teach nutrition, hand maintenance, mobility and recovery techniques (those I'm excited most about), and just the general tao of Crossfit. I just hope others find this as exciting as I do.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Coaching a class!!!

So Jerry has now placed me in charge of a class now! The idea behind this is to provide an opportunity for CFOTers to work on the the fundamentals. In the crossfit community there is a key word, virtuosity: to become uncommonly good at doing what is common. This is the product I will provide: the ability to do a perfect front squat, or a clean where one gets completely and totally under the bar. I will also provide lessons on more obscure movements such as double unders. The curriculum may be reminiscent of a ramp up section in terms of format, but I hope to provide content that will benefit the veteran as well.

This class will be offered on Thursdays nights. Thursday is usually a rest day for people, so attending the class won't force you to do a two-a-day or sacrifice a Wod. I'm very grateful for the help Melissa and Jerry have offered, and without their help this class wouldn't be possible.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Muscle Up, Again!!!

So it's been over sixteen months since the happiest day of my crossfit life, and although it's been a tough drought I've finally gotten another muscle up! They had us do some skill work before a workout, and I tried to get one three or four times. I was so close, I was getting my head through but I just wasn't getting the height that I needed to be able to push myself up.

As everybody headed over to the white board to go over the workout, I handed Meg the video Camera and told her, "here, I'm going to get one." I was not going to let this continue, I was getting a muscle up no matter what.

Grabbed the rings, cheating a little by keeping my arms bent, pulled as hard as I could and kipped at the same time. I found myself in a deep ring dip, and pressed out of it.

I got another muscle up.


I got it on tape and it's on facebook, but I can't figure out a way to share it on my blog. Unlike last time, where my tendonitis prevented me from continuing on working on the muscle up, I am determined to keep this.

My "first" muscle up was done about a week ago, and since then I've done a muscle up every day during the warm up. For the days following a rest day, I do two of them. Now I can do (at least one) on command. They're not official, I don't know if I can do one starting from my arms starting fully extended. But it's a much, much better starting point then where I was ten days ago.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


So I did FGB. I had no plan, I didn't count at all, I let Kristin do the counting for me. I pushed as hard as I could. I ended up getting a PR, but not by much. For some reason I keep thinking my PR is 228ish, but in fact it's 246. Well, it was 246, now it's 253. Here's how it broke down

Box Jumps 38, 14, 12
Push Press 16, 20, 13
Row 11, 10, 16,
Wallball 16, 16, 13
High Pull 25, 16, 17
Totals 106, 76, 71

Obviously, Box jumps need a little more consistency, cause I rocked out on the first round. I feel like I really did better on the push press, but my form is crap (i.e., my core is too weak to keep my spine natural). The wallballs sucked, but not too bad.

My shoulder definitely felt a little off, but that's just something I have to deal with. Thankfully it was something I could ignore.

I wish I had more instances to do this wod, because I want to get used to figuring out how to push myself. Last year I stopped out more because of physical strength, and today I felt like it was more mental strength. I just am not used to pushing myself in a met-con sense. I mean, I'm getting better everyday, but it's so foreign that I'm just not happy with the improvement, I want more.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Level 1 cert experience, Day 1

Day 1
I showed up and was calm, but there were so many nervous people around that I started to get a little wound up. They had some real interesting lectures and demonstrations of exercises. Tonya Wagner was the demo girl (PS she's three months pregnant), and it was interesting to see that even she had some kinks in her movements. The opening lecture was given by Todd, and I thought he was awesome. While I didn't really learn anything mind-blowingly new, hearing about what makes crossfit awesome from different, new people was very interesting, made a lot of little things click. One thing I really liked was the talk about functional movements and what makes them awesome. You can have a guy be great at bicep curls and lat pull downs, but he might not be able to do 20 pull ups. You have a guy that can do 20 pull ups, and you know he'll be able to handle bicep curls and lat pull downs.

When we had Todd instructing the small group I was in, he made a really good point with regards to coaching. Simply telling someone to push their knees out might not be enough. We had just seen 20 min of demoing how the air squat should look like, and yet here's Matt* struggling to keep his knees out. He knows what he's suppose to do, and he trying his damnedest to do it. Yet, he isn't doing it, so what can you do as a coach to help? We came up with the idea to place your hands on the outside of the knees and telling him to push against them. This tactile cue gives great feedback as well as forces him to establish that neural connection to the adductors.

in the small group with Todd I was selected to be the demo for the overhead squat. So I grabbed the PVC Pipe, sucked in a breath, thought active shoulder, and lifted that pipe over my head. Before anything else happened, Todd asked the group if anything was wrong. First, my active shoulder could be more active, but second, and more importantly, I had an unnatural curve in my spine. Todd could tell I had an unnatural curve in my spine because my rib cage was poking out. This has happened with me for such a long time, and I've known about it for a while, but the way I was thinking about it made it hard to fix. Todd told me to use my abs to lock down my ribcage, and this made everything click. I did as I was told, kept my shoulder active, and then I squatted twice. After that, Todd looked around and asked if anyone saw something that I did incorrectly. There was a pause, and some one suggested that I didn't hit depth on the first one, but then there was another, long pause. Todd said that sometimes if you fix problems up front you don't have any afterward. In other words, my overhead squat was pretty much perfect.

We then worked on the strict press and it's variants, the push press and then the push jerk. These weren't as memorable, partially because it was in the middle of the day and partially because I didn't click with the other instructors like I did with Todd.

We ended the day with Fran, and I was not looking forward to it. I was already a bit worn out from the day of PVC work, and my grip just didn't feel very strong. I was tempted to scale back the weight, but I decided that I had to do it Rx'd, like I did the first time. It sucked, my mind just wasn't ready for it. I thought a couple times about just stopping, that's how bad I felt in the beginning/middle. When I got to the set of nines I had the resolve to finish, but I was only able to bang out 2 pull ups at a time. My time ended up being 8:50. If you've been following my blog, this is the first time my Fran time has ever gone up. My whole crossfit-way has been "every time I do Fran I will do it faster", so as I sat there, arms burning like nothing else, I was a bit... disheartened.

In the next heat I got to see Ben Smith, who got eighth in the 2010 games, do Fran. He almost never stopped, getting a time of 2:34. There were a couple other guys who got sub 3 times, and on one hand it was inspiring but on the other hand realizing how weak I am, after over two years, was a little discouraging. I've come so far, but I have so far to go from where I want to be.

* I don't think Matt was his real name, can't remember his name at all, actually.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

3 rep OHS max, PR

I know I have been ignoring my blog for some time now, but I have limited time today (the end of the fiscal year is upon us patent examiners). So instead of writing up the long essays I have in my head I feel like I only have time for a short entry. I no longer see this blog as a means of keeping a record of my workouts, I now use the official CFOT blog to record my performances. I also have always wanted this blog to be more then that: I want my posts to offer content that would be useful to others, such as my "adventures" with my hip. I hope to post soon about my exercise outside of crossfit, my level one cert I just attended, and my preparation for the mid Atlantic hopper challenge, to name a few off the top of my head. But for now a small victory dance for today's performance.

Today was find your 3 rep overhead squat max, and I love me some OHS's. When we did this in May I got up to 170, with my shoulders not being an issue. I came in today with 185 being my goal, and I was able to hit that without too much trouble. I then tried 190, but failed to get it overhead twice. I then tried a third attempt with help. Once it got up there it was much lighter. I sucked in a breath and did a rep. Wasn't sure I hit depth, but no one commented on it. I sucked in another breath, and made sure to hit depth. The third was no different. I could tell that I was trying to rock the weight forward, so that I could use my quads to push up. I fought to keep my hips back and my glutes/hams engaged, and found limited success. Regardless, I just broke, my PR by 20#s.

My next goal is to get a bodyweight (200#) OHS, I know I have it in me.

I also wonder about the snatch, if I can figure out how to get more than 140#. Hopefully we'll find out soon.

I post this because I have forgotten what it feels like to really smash a PR. Sure I've been getting small PR's and it's natural for the gains to decrease in amount as I get stronger, but this feels great. The sense of accomplishment and meeting/beating a goal are so addicting. Now all I need are muscles ups and hand stand pushups, and I will have met all of my goals for the past two years in terms of mastery of movement.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hip update (the saga continues...)

I hate my hip muscles. So I saw Olga, the massage therapist, on a weekly basis for about a month. I've responded very well to her treatments, but I could tell there was stuff going on. She asked if I was seeing the DO, and I then realized I hadn't seen Dr. Craddock in a very long time. So I made an appointment with Dr. Craddock, the DO, for last week. Seeing him was a good idea, because he found my pelvis to be all kinds of screwed up. He worked on my lower back and shoulder as well, and I felt so much better leaving the office.

However, the day following his treatment it felt like things were.... off. I was sitting at work and without thinking I stretched, flexing my glutes. This resulted in a very loud, heavy, "Thunk, thunk, thunk" sound emanating from my lower back and hips. Although I felt much better, I worried that I had just undone Dr. Craddock's treatment, and the feeling that something was off increased.

After some phone tag, I finally talked to him and he recommended another session on Thursday. So I saw him yesterday, and he commented that my tailbone and hips were definitely not in the right place, but they were very out of whack in a very different way. This is actually a good thing, as it means Dr. Craddock's earlier treatment worked on one thing, but left an underlying issue unresolved, which he would now treat.

So today is the day after the second treatment, and I feel something is still amiss. I feel like one of my muscles is tight from the the adjustment, and that is causing pain, and I think I know just which muscle (or at least which group) it is: my hip adductors.

It's a bit of a story (it always is), but I think I know why these little, but very important, muscles are giving me fits.

Back in Dec-Jan, I was seeing Dr. Bills and Olga for my hip. Dr. Bills found a lot of issues with my adductors, found they were very tight. I told Olga this, and she paid some attention to them, but at some point I mentioned how Dr. Bills was working on them, and so it seems that she stopped working on them (I guess they are rather uncomfortable to work on) and let him do it. I saw them, and then saw Dr. Craddock as well, and then I was pain free and it was awesome.

So I was pain free for like six weeks, and I thought myself cured. Honestly I don't know if I saw Olga in the time but then the pain started to return. I didn't take care of myself, and so the pain had returned. I started seeing Olga with more frequency, but there was specific pain in my hip, and it def felt like the hip adductors. By the second or third treatement, I told Olga about the pain and she apologized, saying that she thought I was still seeing Dr. Bills and had left that area alone. She started working on it and it felt much better. However, something was still off and so I decided to see Dr. Craddock (this is where the first paragraph takes place).

My point is I now know what tight adductors feel like, and that's what I currently have. This also tells me that Dr. Craddock's treatment is slightly incomplete (although it was awesome on my lower back and shoulder) on my hip.

There was a time earlier this year that I saw Dr. Craddock followed by Olga later in the day. The schedule was actually unintentional, but I think it was what really put me on the right track. I have another appointment with Dr. Craddock three weeks from now, I'll see if I can schedule an appointment with Olga then.

In the mean time, I'm doing a lot of self massage with a tennis ball on my adductors, hoping this will help.

It seems I happened upon some magical combination of treatments earlier this year, and it's been a process to figure out what that combination was. It seems that Dr. Bills treatment was helpful at the time, but is no longer needed (I hope), and now it's just some combination of Dr. Craddock and Olga.

God I hope that I can figure this out, because although I've lived with this pain for years now, the fact that I KNOW it doesn't have to be this way is driving me crazy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Had my physical

So it was time for the yearly physical, and I was happy with the results starting with the ok and moving up to the unbelievable:

My cholesterol is ok, the total is 180, with the HDL being 55, triglycerides at 63, and LDL at 112. It's ok, but I'm not happy with it. I think I need to do something to my diet for this one, but I'm not sure what.

My vision is waaay better then I thought it was. I thought the years of being a desk jockey would render me at least slightly near-sighted, but in fact I have better then perfect vision: 20/13

To be honest I'm a bit floored by this, but it also makes me think of that commercial where the man proudly says, "I have special eyes."

My blood pressure is now in a good place: 117 over 74. This is great because it was much higher at this point in time last year. I'm so glad I'm no longer on Concerta.

I now have proof that I am in fact an athlete. My resting hear rate was measured at 44bpm. That. Is. Ridiculous. My heart rate is usually in the upper 50's, but you don't get a heart rate in the low 40's without pushing yourself. And it's amazing given the short workouts we do in crossfit. This also explains why after a workout I don't feel that winded, I just feel weak. Time for my muscles to catch up with my cardio system.

So now I know I have the eyes of a hawk and the heart of an athlete. This really does make me see myself in a new light. I'm getting closer and closer to where I want to be. I can taste it, and it tastes good.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Strict press 5 rep max

So it appears my shoulders have gotten weaker. I've been having some issues with my left shoulder, always finding it out of socket and whatnot. The shoulder likes to roll out of socket because I have a weak supraspinatus, so I've been doing supraspinatus exercises throughout the day, but it hasn't made any noticeable difference yet. Anyways, because there seems to be something off with my shoulder it's been hard to push it, and so I think it's gotten weaker.

I've always been aware of my weakness in overhead press, one reason why when Jerry asked us to make goals for the year I listed one handstand pushup. Well, it seems that I'm not the only one so Jerry's starting us on a strength cycle for shoulder strength. I'm pretty excited.

Monday we found our 5 rep strict press max, then rep out at 80%.

Back in November my max was 120, so I wanted today to be 125. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Instead, I only got up to 110. The ten pound decrease was a little disheartening, but my shoulders just didn't feel that strong today. The record for the rep out set was 16, so I made it my goal to get 17. I rested a few times near the end, but 85# was light enough that I got 17. Honestly I think I might've had one more in me, but mentally I was already celebrating reaching my goal. For my shoulders the strength drops off so quickly, what I can easily do at 105 I can't do at 115. Like the difference in difficulty is huge. I guess that's what happens when you're exercising small muscles. ...I would also like to note that I did a better job of keeping the core tight, up preventing an arch in my back. It's still difficult to engage my core like that, but as long as I keep progressing, the sky's the limit.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


So we did Badger, which has special meaning for me, because it was basically my first crossfit workout. When I did my third Badger, I did a great job of posting how big of an improvement I had done from my first to second to third time, so I don't feel like I need to start from the beginning. Last time I did this (almost two years ago) my time was 53:13, but we did hang squat cleans. Today my time was 53:11 with from the floor squat cleans. I'm not a big fan of the fact I only lowered my time by a freakin' 2 seconds, but it is what it is. Lately my hip really has started to bind up again. I haven't enjoyed talking about it but it's been pretty bad. Yesterday I actually didn't want to workout because I didn't want to cause myself further pain with the hip. That's a little scary. I also haven't fully recovered with my lower back. It's to the point where it's a ghost of a pain, but even a ghost means it's not 100%. However, I decided to do this wod and just really focus on having proper technique, so it was more of a skill day. I think I did a great job of making my last squat clean as proper as my first one, and each one was done properly with the abs taking on more of the weight than the lower back.

Here is a clip from the last time I did Badger:

So appearently today was my first actual Rx'd badger, I had no idea. This morning I simply had no energy, it was frustrating. The front squat element was ridiculous on my hip, I tried to do a good job on keeping the squat proper, to make sure I didn't dip my right hip down farther than my left. Regardless I think things are getting better with my hip. I see Olga once a week right now, and it's like I never saw her in the first place. I think it's because I would workout sometimes the day after seeing her, appearently that's not a good idea.

Whatever the case, I feel a bit broken, I wonder if I'll ever get back to that point where I was experiencing no pain at all. That month was just awesome, it was like the best thing ever not experiencing that dull ache in my hip. I thought I had it licked, but it looks like the journey's still not over yet.

I really want to attend a mobility cert.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


So today we were supposed to do a combo of Grace and Cindy. I thought about doing the weighted part but I had to be honest with myself: if I could still tell my back wasn't right just standing (and I could) then I wasn't ready for heavy clean and jerks. So I did just a straight up Cindy today instead. After searching the blog, I think this is the first time I've ever done a straight up, regular Cindy. Sure I've done weighted Cindys and Cindy getting stronger, but never just plain ol' Cindy:

AMRAP 20 min
5 pull ups
10 push ups
15 squats

I just barely got in 13 rounds. My shoulders weren't so hot from yesterday's wod with was pull up intensive (did either 80 or 100 pu's). My grip strength is def my weakest link. My hands are the first to go, so I need to work on that somehow, maybe get one of those squeezers? The butterfly kip is really starting to come along, partially because I found a great video clip teaching it by Speiler:

After the wod I got a chance to teach the butterfly kip to someone. She said mine looked so smooth she wanted to be able to do it as well. I seemed to be successful because after the fifth try or so she started to get the hang of it. A good morning indeed.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Still dealing with the back

So I worked out on sat and subbed out any weight bearing exercise for something else, like instead of push press I did ring dips. Felt "fine" when all was done. I use the quotes because although I didn't feel worse, I still have that damned pain in my back/side. I also want to note that doing 20 Double unders is becoming less and less of a problem. On the last round I was able to really focus and did all 20 DU's unbroken, like no sweat. I'm very happy about this.

Kayaked on the Potomac on Sunday for two hours and everything felt fine.

Woke up this morning with very, very little pain. Today's wod as Rx'd involved heavy deadlifts, so doing the alt wod was a no-brainer. It was a 20 min AMRAP and had some KB swings. I tried them out for the first couple of rounds with light weight but I felt my back being used, so I did GHD's instead. I had no problem doing this because my abs hurt for 5 days after last Monday's wod "Nabby" where I did 100 GHD's. Guess I let the abs go, and I don't want to do that again, especially if it helps with my hip pain.

So right now as I type this my left lower back still smarts, still have a knot there that I work on all the time, my hip is still in pain but I think it's getting less due to seeing Olga on Wednesday followed by a rest day, and my left shoulder doesn't feel quite right. I don't know if it's out of socket or what but something is a little off.

Feeling a little banged up right now, but so far it's nothing that I haven't seen before and can't handle. I just need to stay on top of my foam rolling and simply take care of myself.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tweaked my back

So on Wed we had a strange wod:

10 power cleans (135#)
10 bar push ups
200m run every time you let go/regrip the bar
bd 3 rounds Inf 4 rnds HTFU 5 rnds

I did 3 rnds in like 6:50 and 5 rnds in 12:xx. I seem to be able to rip through the first three rounds, but after that it's game over. Will try to power through 4 rounds next time and see how that goes.

Because of the incentive to not let go of the bar or rest I had to bounce the cleans, touch-and-go if you will. This was ok for the first part but near the end of the workout my form suffered degradation. I thought it was ok but after the workout I def felt a tweak. The tweak has since become more intense. Later that day I felt a huge knot in my lower back, so I did a lot of foam rolling on it with a lacrosse ball. I think that helped a lot but now I'm super sore from the massage. Two days later and it still hurts to sit down, so I'm calling in another rest day. Feel lazy but I know that if I go in I'm going to do something stupid and make it worse. Will continue to massage and see how it feels tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Appearent weight loss

So I'm foam rolling with Stuart and others post WOD, and they start to asking me about if I've lost weight. This is the 7:30 crew, so they don't see me that often, and each of the guys mention they've noticed a definite change with me. I tell them that I've stopped eating oatmeal for breakfast and am now eating steak, egg, fruit and veggies, and it's made a big difference for me. But I tell them, "I haven't noticed any weight loss, I still weigh 205." Then I think about it, and decide to weigh myself, and the scale reads "195.0" So I then sheepishly tell them I've lost about ten pounds.

This is really interesting, because lately I feel like I'm cheating on my diet all the time (gf has all kinds of snacks available that are hard to resist when hungry, like yogurt covered pretzels.) and have been eating a bit more than I used to. But whatever the case, I seem to be losing weight, and fairly quickly.

I also seem to be hitting some sort of stride with the WOD's. More and more I find myself going through them with little to no rest (at least the first three rounds). Part of this is skill in the movement, but also I think I can focus and push myself for three rounds. I also think going back to Olga for help with my hip is helping a lot, since tight hips will really slow me down, especially in met-con.

Fo Shizzle My Crizzle

I am finding more and more wods where I simply don't stop moving. I was constantly focused on pushing myself, and my body responded:

600m Run,
10 hang power-clean (85w-135m),
20 Kettlebell Swing (@ 53#)
30 Anchored Situp

Bulldog is three rounds, Infidel is four, HTFU is five.

I managed to do three rounds in 20:53, which relative to the group is fairly fast. I knew I had nothing left in the tank, but I decided to go for a fourth round. That took me like 10 min, and my time was 31:XX for the fourth round.

Did a really good job of pacing myself on the run, hang cleans were easy, and only on the last set did I have to regrip on the kb swings, and that was because of sweat.

I'm starting to see Olga on a more regular basis. I've been ignoring this, but my hip is tightening up again. Been in quite a bit of pain, I'm realizing. I'm trying to figure out what happened because I was responding so well to Olga's treatments and was pain free for like a month while only seeing her once a month. Now I see her but the pain remains.

I think I've finally hit the spot. When I was pain free I would see her on Wednesday and workout on Friday, giving myself like 48 hrs of rest. Lately I've just taken the day of the massage off, and would sometimes workout the next day. I think my body needs that extra time to recover. I saw her this day (Wednesday) and she commented that my hips were feeling like they were when I first started seeing her. Looks like it's back to seeing her on a more regular basis.

Monday, July 26, 2010

3 rep press, push press, and push jerk max

So today we had 7 min apiece to find our three rep max on three diff lifts, strict press, push press, and push jerk in that order.

My first rep of press was 95. I figured since my max is like 135 I could take it up to like 115 for my next rep. I was wrong, I couldn't even get one rep in. So the rest of the time was a battle. I guess my shoulders weren't up to the challenge today. I've had so many issues with them I'm not too surprised, I still keep finding my left shoulder out of socket from a weakness in my supraspinatus, from when I tore it during my second week of crossfit.

Had some improvement with the push press, but had a big problem with dip/Drive with the jerk, only got up to 155 for both.

A bit of a disappointing day, but it was what it was.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sat Wod

A little catch up post here, Sat we had a chipper:

600m run
box jumps
thrusters (30# dumbbell)


Row calories

Double under

DB Shoulder Press

Jumping Lunges

600m run

I did 50 reps of each. Nothing was horrible, but the thought of doing 50 of XXX as I started the movement felt intimidating. There were times were I won the mental game, like with the thrusters I told my body to shut up and push. I always find it easier to push my legs then my upper body, don't know why though. I didn't really encounter a problem until I got to the shoulder press. by rep 20 I was having issues keeping my core tight, it just didn't have the strength and I was starting to arch. Danya called me out on it, and it was frustrating because I knew what I was doing wrong and was trying to correct it, but my body just wasn't cooperating. I don't want to practice bad habits, but waiting for my body to recoup really wasn't an option. The same went for my jumping lunges, I was fine up to rep 20 and then I really started to falter. My hip was really starting to hurt, and it was throwing off my concentration.

I really like Danya's coaching, she tells me things that I tell myself. Strict in terms of doing it correctly, but very positive as well. I think I was the last one to finish this one, again. I'm starting to get a little tired of finishing last.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


So today was the first time we did Chelsea:

30 min
5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats each minute

When you can't keep up, you switch over to doing as many rounds as you can within time.

This was frustrating because the pull ups were super easy, the squats weren't challenging, I just couldn't do push ups. It didn't feel like I wasn't pushing myself, it just felt like I had no strength. Like I'm lying on the floor, I tell my arms to extend and to push. I push as hard as I can, but I don't move. It's immensely frustrating. When time was up everyone else was on the ground breathing hard, and while it was obvious I worked out I could still easily walk around and talk. The bottleneck that is push ups really prevented me from really building up the intensity. I talked to Melisa about this, about how I was unable to raise the intensity, and she said I just have to keep working on it. She saw how my push ups used to be, and she said they are so much better now. Once again more proof that I need to start some extra work on my chest. I really felt like things got easier when I started benching. I will def have to start that up again.

3 rep squat clean max

This one was fun, my goal was 200#s, but unfortunately I only got up to 185. I had some difficulty getting under the bar. I think although I set a goal I was having a hard time pumping myself up, I just couldn't get excited.

Tabata sell out

This was a rough one for me:

8 rounds 20 sec on 10 sec off

pull ups
push press (@ 95#)

The pull ups weren't that hard, I got about 10 a round. The burpees were not easy, I was only banging out like 8 a round. The push press was brutal, I wonder if I should've done a lighter weight because I could only get 4-5 a round. I always wonder what is better for my shoulders, a few reps of heavy weight or more reps of lighter weight. The row was nice, got to kick it up a notch.

The push press really did remind me of how weak my shoulders/chest are. I was really enjoying the bench press club on Wednesday's morning but now that it's over I need to start benching on my own time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Snatch and toes to bar ladder

I was really looking forward to this wod:


Snatch (115)
toes to bar

For the first round I never let go of the bar, I reset as fast as possible and then power snatched the hell out of the weight. Despite this Russ, who was letting go of the bar after each lift, still finished the set two reps ahead of me. That was a little frustrating, but I tried to not let it slow me down.

I was trying to just bang out the snatches, but recently I'm having such difficulty getting under the bar that I decided to tone down the intensity just a tad (only a little!) and really work on trying to nail the technique. I wanted to dive under the bar, not bring the bar up to over my head. This was pretty difficult. I also noticed that, for whatever reason, I really needed to open up my hips before the snatch attempt. Once I felt the bar whoosh against my hair, this was a little scary because my hair is a lot shorter then what it used to be.

I think near the end I was starting to figure it out, but I would still like to do a lot more work on this. Honestly, I think I just need to watch a couple videos of people snatching some heavy weight. I seem to learn a lot just be seeing an example. ...Danny once commented that he wished everyone was as easy to teach.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sat workout! Hang cleans and other stuff

Even though my lats were STILL sore from Tues's wod, I really wanted to hit this because of the hang clean.

7 rounds
7 pull ups
7 burbees
7 hang clean @155#
200m run

I was def one of the slower ones, those burbees were hard to push though. I did most of the clean sets unbroken, except for the last two where I had to break it down to like 2 reps apiece. I really enjoyed my shoulder flexibility, as the toughest part was opening my hands to receive the bar in the clean, and then going back to the hook grip without dropping the bar. I figured out that if I simply don't open up my hands it was much easier on my grip, and I can still properly rack the weight without opening up my hands, as Jerry found out a while back in April.

The pull ups were actually pretty fun, I didn't have any rust to shake off with the butterfly kip and I am starting to get my chin over the bar even with the butterfly kip. Running is still a bit of an issue, but with this shorter distance I think I did a better job of having a faster pace. Still didn't have a very fast time, something like 25:24, but I was very happy to make it to a sat wod and really enjoyed the hang cleans.

As I look at the pictures Jerry posted, I can't help but notice how much I'm starting to lean out. I still eat some grains, especially on the weekend (it's hard when your gf loves bread and whatnot), but most of the week I simply don't eat any grains, and it seems to be helping out greatly in my physique. I still seem to be experiencing long periods to recover, but maybe I just need to do more self massage.

Thursday run and double unders

This was a great wod since I was so sore in my back, nice metcon without a lot of heavy lifting.

4 rounds:
400m run
50 double unders

I am still having issues with double unders, but near the end as I started to figure out my wrist movement I was starting to string together 20+ reps as opposed to the standard 7-10 reps I can bang out at will. the DU's seem to be a rhythm thing, and by focusing on my wrist movement I seem to have more control over that rhythm. Did this in 17 and some change, was def not the slowest one out there.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thruster 1 rep max and a coaching first

So we had to find our thruster max, and I found it pretty quick:


This really was a core/leg workout, I really struggled to create the pop needed to launch the bar off my shoulders. It really took the breath out of me.

Had a metcon, felt like I did a pretty good job on it:

AMRAP 12min
10 db push press
10 sit ups
30 overhead lunges

got 4 or 5 rounds in.

Today was exciting because Melissa asked me to explain my demo of a thruster. Was a little caught off guard, voice cracked a few times, but I went through the whole progression of grip, approach, rack, etc. I think I was the only person who could tell I was nervous. Regardless, was happy to have an opportunity to improve my coaching.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

100 pull ups for time

I've come to realize I really need to work on pull ups. Tuesday's wod:

100 pull ups for time
10 burpees for every time you let go of the bar.

I ended up with one of the slowest times, think 17:27. One guy did it in 5:11. I did get a PR of 20 pull ups, on the fixed bar that's an improvement by 7 reps since April. However, there is a knot in my shoulder that is just not having any of this pull up business. I did the first 20 with the standard kip, after that I tried the butterfly. That wasn't the best effort, so I only got 5 in. After that I had the grip strength for only sets of 10, except for the last set where I forced myself to do 15. Those last 3 were harsh, I could hear/feel my shoulders snapping because I was coming down too quickly. Oh, another positive note is that I didn't tear. Yay for the little things.

I'm foam rolling the sh!t out of my shoulder with a tennis or lacross ball, and hopefully will get that under control in under a week.

I'm also going to try to work on my MU progressions. I've talked about it long enough. Time to man up and actually do something about it.

Been feeling a little... weak. All this running and gymnastic movement really has me feeling slow and bulky. Also has me feeling like I have little to no endurance. Sucks.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Thursday C&J and burbees

I wanted to go back to this wod because I feel like it's the epitome of both what I excel at and have difficulty with.

6 rounds
5 Clean & Jerks (@ 155#)
10 Burbees

I excelled here because every C&J was awesome, with great execution. However, I simply didn't have the focus to really, really push myself. Again, this took forever, 24:23. It took me longer than any one else, and although I'm used to being in this position I'm getting tired of always being last. Perhaps I'm biting off more than I can quickly chew? I don't know. I was a little confused near the end. I was strong enough to nail the C&J, but I was having so much trouble doing this quickly.

I simply don't know how I can get my butt in gear.

I want to be fast, I want to maintain my speed. I think one thing is goal setting is helpful for me. And setting goals means having expectations, but I'm having a tough time forming expectations on wods. If we were to do this wod again I think I would really, really attack it. That's one reason why I find myself approaching Fran different than any other wod.

I don' t know. My physique is still changing for the better. Kristin's sister came into town for the fourth, and in the 5 weeks since she's seen me she was impress with how much more svelte I've become. I've stopped eating oatmeal for breakfast and am now enjoying Steak an eggs with veggies and fruit, so I'm eating more Paleo Zone now. I'm trying to eat more Paleo, and I think it is helping.

My hip is still bothering me some, I thin I may have to start seeing Olga a little more frequently than once a month. There was a period of like one month where I had no pain, and it was simply awesome. It's now an ache, very manageable but if given the choice I'd rather not be in pain. I think now that I'm figuring out how to deal with the symptoms I need to figure out a way to fix the mechanics that's causing the symptoms. For some reason, my right hip is hyper-mobile. It might be a technique thing, I don't know. Perhaps it has to deal with the torn labrum in my right hip, again I don't know.

Friday, July 2, 2010

First Friday: Nancy

Showed up rather late for the last class, so I chose something that I thought I could do quickly, Nancy:

5 rounds
400m run
15 OHS of 95#

The OHS's were easy, but god d*mn the running sucked. I tried to keep it up, but I just couldn't do it. Time was 18:07

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lots of running

So my glutes/hams are already sore from Monday's wod, and then we have this wod with a LOT of running:

10 Pull ups
10 Sledge Strikes
400m run
15 Pull ups
15 Sledge Strikes
600m run
20 Pull ups
20 Sledge strikes
800m run
20 Pull ups
20 Sledge strikes
600m run
15 Pull ups
15 Sledge Strikes
400 m run
10 Pull ups
10 Sledge Strikes

this took me 32:36, def not the shortest time. I don't know about running. I've had moments of glory, only to then burst into flames and crash. This time I felt like I was pushing myself about as hard as I could. I mean, I felt like puking on the last run, but my pace was agonizingly slow. I used to be fast, but then again, I used to weight 40#s less. I am noticing a lot more engagement of my core when running, so my lower back no longer feels tight after long runs. That alone makes me feel good about this performance.

I'm still having some issues finding my cadence for butterfly kipping pullups, but regular pull ups are coming along well. I need to see Danny in action again, that helped last time and I think it'll help it again.

For sledge strikes, I wish we had those circus strikers with a teeter-totter with a weight resting on one side while you hit the other side. That way you could quantify the work being done. I mean, you can half-ass a sledge strike and have a fast time, there's nothing stopping you with that. But if you had to ring a bell, or get the weight up to a certain height, that would be something else. I think they tried to do something like this in the Games last year with hammering a post into the ground, but this exercise would require less skill and place more focus on strength and work performed. Plus, it would be fun.

Monday, June 28, 2010

1 rep OHS PR

Today was my fave lift: the overhead squat.

My one rep PR was 175, so I wanted to hit at least 180. Did 175 so easily that I went for 185. Felt very stable with the shoulders, which is always my weak point. Went down to depth and then stood up easily. Wish I had time to go heavier but no such luck.

There was a second wod of 10 min AMRAP: 15 KB swings and 30 jumping lunges. The lunges sucked but I powered through 6 rounds, which seemed to be above average. Felt good today, real good.

Snatch 1 rep max PR!

So Friday was 1 rep snatch max, and it's been about two months since I've attempted a one rep max. Back then I only tied my pr of 135, so I really wanted to get a new PR. I worked my way up to 135, and then tried 145. It was a total fail. Mellisa commented that I'm not getting very violent with hip extension, which is pretty key. So I lowered the weight to 140, focused on slowing down on the first pull, but exploding on the second/third. This time I almost got it, I partially dove under the bar but just didn't catch it. Diving under the bar is a scary thing for me, I just need to learn to trust myself. OK, so one more time: Slow pull, bar clears the knees, explode, try to pull myself under, and... Catch! Stand up! Celebrate!

It's only a 5# PR, but I'm very happy with this because I also felt like I'm starting to go from power snatching to really snatching the weight overhead. If I can figure this out, I'll start to see some real gains here. Of course, I also need to get my shoulders a lot stronger. My OHS 1 rep max is 175, so I feel like I should be able to snatch at least that once my technique gets better.

The Bear Barbell Complex

This wod was a very interesting one, testing one's mental strength as well as physical:

5 sets of

7 rounds without re-gripping
power clean
front squat
push press
back squat
push press

This was a tough one mentally because it felt like such a marathon. I knew my push press was going to be the limiting factor, but my last set was 115. After each set, I really didn't want to go heavier. I don't know why but I would find my self breathing really hard during each round. I guess these lifts just suck the life out of you.

But each time I knew I had to go heavier, that I would regret not pushing myself.

I had a partner, and I had a lot of fun pushing him. As a coach I did something I really haven't done before. I had the confidence to disagree with someone. My partner was really fatiguing in the third set, and after his 5th front squat/push press he looked me in the eye and said "I can't do any more." To which I responded by looking him in the eye and said, "Oh yes you can!"

I told him that he'd gone too far to quit, that he only had 2 more sets. He finished it out, and was completely spent after that last rep. Later he told me my reasoning really resonated with him. Congratulating him felt awesome. It's an amazing thing when someone does something they thought was impossible.

On a coaching side note. I find that when an exercise is more about endurance, it's more effective to focus on a reasoning of not quitting, of how the pain of disappointment will be greater than the pain the athlete is experiencing at that moment of physical exertion. When it comes to workouts that are more about intensity, I find motivating through "making every second count because you're never getting it back" is a more effective slant on the idea of making one's effort count. When you start to realize how important today's workout is, you really start to push yourself. At least, that's what I find.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

MU progressions

The wod Tuesday was 30 muscle ups for time.

I still haven't done a MU since that glorious day over a year ago where I got one and messed up my shoulder.

So I decided to work on progressions. Basically you take a rubber band and put it on a squat rack to lighten yourself. Sitting on the band, you then try to do MU's. I was getting them, but it just felt... unnatural. I want to get them so badly now, I think I really will try to work on them every day this week.

After working on it for a while I did the alternate wod, which was a goodie:

10 pull ups
10 burbees
10 ghd situps

Since I started 14 minutes into the wod I just did 6 rounds. My butterfly kip was rusty, but damnit I'm going to keep working on them. Near the end Danny pointed out that I was trying to rush things, that I needed to slow down. Once I did that, things got a lot more fluid/easier. Did the three rounds in like 16 min.

Damn I want to get muscle ups. Now that I pretty much have the butterfly kip, it's now only the muscle up and a handstand push up that I can't do. Feel like I can get MU's now that my shoulder is a lot better.

Back Squat 1 rep with chains

So Monday was back squat with chains one rep. I managed to get up to 225, witch is about 12#s more than the three rep max. I still have a tendency to go well below parallel with the squats, so I still need to work on that.

I attempted 245 twice, but both times I got it up halfway, and then couldn't finish. The last attempt was interesting in that my form was excellent, hit just below parallel, kept core tension, and was in control the whole time. Halfway on the way up, I simply... stopped. I kept pushing and pushing, but was going nowhere. After what felt like minutes but was probably like 5 seconds, the bar started to drop and so I had help.

This was good because everything went right, I simply wasn't strong enough. My muscles have to have their limits, and on Monday it was at 245. Of course, I now wish I had only bumped it up to 235, but I wasn't thinking 20#s was a small step.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Benchpress Club (Chains)

Got up to 175# with the chains. My chest and tri's were already sore from the dips earlier this week, but I want to improve my bench damnit. Since I already workout out Sun/Mon/Tues I decided to make Wed my rest day (Bench press doesn't count).

I feel like this is really starting to improve my physique even more, love this program. Whenever Jerry drops the program, I'll have to just keep this up at the PTO gym or something. Too bad they don't have bands or chains.


So this workout was 2 deadlifts per 2:30 for 7 rounds

I started out at 275. I figured that was a light weight for me and I didn't want to hurt my back. I still feel like I have a lot to learn on this lift, and now that I'm figuring out how to engage my core it's still relatively weak to everything else.

After the 4th round, it became apparent that 275 was still too much weight for my core. I backed it down to 265, then 245. I had a lot of issues keeping my knees out of the way while standing up. I then had issues with keeping core tension. I didn't hurt my back, but I could feel it tighten up a lot.

during the break for a few rounds I did some foam rolling, but I just haven't really figured out this lift yet. Sometimes I feel like I've taken a few steps back with regards to technique with my lifts, but I have to keep reminding myself that since I've figure out how to flex my abs I need to re-learn everything. I had gone as far as I could go with tight hip flexors and unengaged abs. Sure I could deadlift 365 twice, but I did it with horrible technique. Now that I have looser hip flexors and tighter abs, the learning curve has steepened up again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thruster workout

So we had a really long, possibly heavy, metcon. After I was done I felt silly and a little mad at myself. But I'm getting ahead of myself:

400m run
9 Thrusters
9 Dips
400m run
12 Thrusters
12 Dips
400m run
15 Thrusters
15 Dips
400m run
12 Thrusters
12 Dips
400m run
9 Thrusters
9 Dips

Mellisa commented on how to in judging what weight for the Thrusters one should think about Fran. After a shudder, I figured I should go a bit lighter than Fran weight since Thrusters give me so much trouble. So I went with 75# and figured I should just make sure to do all of my thrusters uninterrupted and work on technique/speed. Mellisa saw the light weight and asked if I was sure that was what I wanted to work with, and I told her it was.

During the workout I had no real issue with the Thrusters, although I did drop the bar once while doing the 15's. I was also really, really impressed with how easy the dips were, at least in the beginning. Even when it did get difficult, however, I never switched over to using a band, and I made each dip to to lockout. The run was the most difficult part, but I didn't use up all of my speed on the first round like I did last time with Helen.

I still did this in 25:05, with plenty of people finishing before me, so it felt like I must've chosen a good weight.

Then I actually looked at the board and saw that the lightest option for thrusters was 95#. I was suddenly very embarrassed. I feel like I cheated. But I also wonder how much more difficult it would've been if I had used 95#, if the wod would've taken 35 min instead. My shoulder has been giving me some flack, so I also wonder if the heavier weight would've jacked it up as well.

I guess my main issue here is I'm left wondering "what if?", and I hate that feeling. I have always tried to push myself to do the heaviest weight possible so that I'm not left with any doubts or regrets. Here, the lesson is to really pay attention to the Rx'd weight (and I almost always do, this is a first for me).

Regardless, this was a great workout, I was sweating for like 90 minutes after I finished this wod.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sun Wod

So pre-nutrition talk we had a wod. Given that I was waaaaay too tired to go to the Sat wod, I really wanted to hit this:

30 double unders
20 OHS (95#)
20 Pull ups
20 snatch
400m run

This was one where I surprised myself. Kind of. I couldn't get all the DU's in a row; I stopped maybe 2-3 times. That put me near the back of the pack when it was time to over head squat, but this is where I knew I could do well. When we were introduced to Josh, I was able to do 21 OHS of 95# without stopping. Knowing this, I was able to push myself so that I banged them out pretty quickly. I had a hard time keeping active shoulder on this one, and it might stem from that knot in my trap that has been causing me pain. The pull ups were butterfly kip, and although I'm still not getting chest to the bar they were full-on butterfly. I think I have them figured out now. I did the Hand stand push ups with a 45 and 25# plate. I could only do them like 3 at a time, but I was able to do them. I think the 45 and 25 bumper is good for me right now, it's tough but not to the point where I lose intensity. The snatch was surprisingly tough, I really wanted to work on form. A problem with the snatch for me has been pulling myself under, and Jerry said something during the warm up, can't remember right now, that clicked. There were a few where I really felt myself pull under the bar. The run sucked, but when I saw that I was beating Harold I realized I HAD to book it, and I really started to run. So there were some great mental motivations going on here with the goal-setting on the OHS's and the competition with the run. That, and I got to hear some great info on the Zone, Primal, and Paleo diets.


So it's 15 weeks till FGB V, and I was totally psyched for this.

I remember my PR as 220ish, and my goal is still somewhere around 300. I've noticed that pretty much every successful crossfit competitor has FGB scores over 400, so 300 is a pretty reasonable.

Sadly, during the second round I developed a stabbing pain/knot in my right trap-back area. I pushed through it, but the pain was a distraction that lessened my focus on the workout. I noticed that everything felt a WHOLE lot lighter, the 95# push press really is something I can rep out, and the 70# kb high pull did not gas me like it used to. Wallballs still suck, but I feel like they don't take the wind out of me. So even though the weight felt lighter, I still had a tough time pushing through until the end. I got 244, two less than last time. Honestly I was surprised in a good way, but I seriously need to kick it up a notch to get to 300. ...I don't have my score subdivided, but I do remember that in the first round I rowed out 20 calories. That didn't feel like a lot, but I could only do 10 the next two rounds.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Back squat ing with chains 3 rep

Ok so after the bench press club meeting I decided to stick around for the 9:15 class, which was back squatting again:

Find your 3 rep Back Squat max with 80# of chains

So this went pretty smoothly. I kept upping the weight, and I kept hitting it. I wasn't going as far down as I feel like I should, which means I'm hitting it just right. It really was difficult for me to keep my knees out, it felt like I was really fighting myself.

I eventually got up to 225, and when I tried 245 I couldn't do even one. ...As I write that out I realize what kind of jump that was, next time I need to just add 10 total or something.

Then Danya noticed I was using the 33# bar.

Kind of embarrassed that I didn't figure this out. I kept looking at the bar and wondering why it only had one ringlet. Never entered my mind that it could be a 33# bar. So anyways, my real weight was 213. Still not bad, and to be honest I think I pushed myself pretty good today.

Bench press club meeting

So Jerry's started this bench press club that meets every Wednesday morning. I decided to attend, and it was so weird bench pressing. I haven't benched in over two years, and this was a very strange experience.

We found our 1 rep max using bands. The heaviest I ever remember benching was 185, and I hit that today 2 times. I then tried 195, but needed a wee bit of assistance from Mark Davis who was spotting me.

It was really fun, and after like four hours my chest was sore. I really liked this.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Handstands and pull ups

I've noticed Jerry likes to couple handstands with pull ups, and this was such a day:

7 rounds
hold handstand for as long as you can
do XX pullups

I held each handstand around a minute, although my wrists were always the first to give out on me. I tried to work on my free standing handstand, trying to keep as rigid as possible. I was having difficulty keeping the core tight. I kept piking a little from not being able to keep my quads and abs tight. I think I'm getting closer to a free handstand though, a couple of times I think I had it, freaked out, and then collapsed.

The pull ups were a great chance to work on the butterfly kip, and I think it really is starting to come together. I'm still not getting chest to the bar, but there's always something to strive for.

Coming back to Xfit from what feels like 2 weeks off really feels strange. The athlete in me is soooo glad to be back it's not even funny, but the coach in me feels aweful for being gone so long. I'm starting to feel the responsibility of what it means to be a coach. I still don't think of myself as a coach really. I mean, I'm just a guy like everyone else.

But I am a coach now, and people look to me for guidance. I really, really love coaching, so if I want to do more of this, to make it a higher priority, I need to do a few things.

First, I need to get certified. Funny that I haven't been certified yet, but only recently did I start to feel ready for certification. Now I need to figure out a way to find $1k for the class, and I think after some figuring things out on mint.com, I think will be able to do this.

Second is to figure out a schedule where I will be able to coach more classes. It's hard to figure this part out since I'm working 56 hours a week now, but I will figure out a way.