Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why I, and You, Work

"The end of labor is to gain leisure" - Aristotle

I think Aristotle would approve of crossfit, or any hard exercise.  It gets to the core of why I crossfit.  I work ridiculously hard so that I can enjoy the rest of my days.

I am well aware that I will not be at the crossfit games anytime soon, in fact I don't know if I want to be.  The dedication involved would mean sacrificing many of the other things that I love.  I would have to give up on some of my social life, drinking for the most part, candy, delicious beer, and prolly softball and golf.  Now, there are the freaks that are able to enjoy some of these things and still make that games (I'm looking at you Foucher and Smith), but I was not blessed with the genetics to do this.
Aristotle was a pretty bright guy.  

I crossfit to be able to do the things I love.  It allows me to feel great and adds more enjoyment to my softball games, golf games, and even just going to the beach.  I feel more confident and still get to enjoy everything I love to do.  That does not mean that I have not made some sacrifices, I have lessened my drinking greatly and sometimes I choose to workout rather than go out but that is my choice, but for the most part I have managed to use crossfit to enhance my life rather than overtake it.

Why do you Crossfit or workout in general?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Think "Light" thoughts....

 “Everybody wants to be a “powerbuilder”, but don’t nobody want to lift no heavy-ass weights.” – Ronnie Coleman

That quote was going through my head, but replace "bodybuilder" with "crossfitter", while I was trying, and failing, to clean the 185 lbs so I could start more front squats.  I also tried to use the force a bit, which also did not work.  
This did not work for me.
Here is more on my first RX competition

Event 1:  

155 is heavy for me.  It is heavy for most people, but it is really really heavy for me.  I did accomplish my goal of going through each movement unbroken for the first round...then it just got ugly.  Deadlifts were easy, but the hang-cleans started to kill me.  I could only do about 2-3 at a time then my grip would be gone.  Obviously I used the hook grip but it just wasn't enough.  Then the shoulder to overhead...yeah right.  That was terrible.  I eventually had to go into a split jerk to get through them.  I ended up with 2+23 total which meant I got into the shoulder to overhead of my third round.    

Ended the first round in 22nd place (out of 25)

Event 2:  

The most feared event for me, the 185lb front squat.  oy!   It took me two attempts at successfully cleaning the bar.  I was more affected by the first event than I thought because I could do 185 a few times in a row without failing a few days prior.  Once up, I did 5 front squats before putting the bar down.  The problem was, I could not get it up again. Sounds like a typical male problem.

Then came the Sit-ups which I did "ok" on.  I got 71 in 2 minutes but I should have gotten to 80.  Then came the burpees which were surprisingly tough to get up on the 45lb weight.  I struggled and only got like 15 in the minute.  Again..should have done better.

I came in 24th on this event.  

Event 3:

I almost killed myself on the turkish get-up.  I was fine with my right hand, but struggled with my left (I'm making it too easy to make fun of this).  When I came down i dropped the 75 lb steel ball onto my shoulder/chest.  Ouch!  Luckily I caught it with my right arm before it could do serious damage.  I did decent on the row (15 cals each round) , and ok on the box jumps but could never get into a good rhythm. The tire flip was a bitch cause we just don't do them often. 

I came in 25th in this event.  Sigh.

Overall I came in 21st out of 25.  I have no idea how that is even possible considering I never did better than 22nd in any event.  The way they computed score confused me.  


First thought I had after each event was pure disappointment.  I did not stack up to my peers like I had hoped.  I was distraught.  Really actually pretty down on myself.  

As time went on, what Brando, Brad, Jake, Karen.... told me is true.  This was my first competition at RX weights, and they were not light.  I never backed down from the weight, never thought "maybe I should not do Rx"  I did not quit.  And that is what I'm taking away from this event.  That I have made some incredible improvements over this time last year.  I could not do a 2 pood kettle bell swing last year at this time, let alone a 2 pood turkish get up, but I did it in the competition.  I know I'm not elite, but it was good to "compete" against them for once.  

"Fans" and "Coaches"
610 cheering section!

I could feel the love while I was working out.  Especially when I was struggling.  Having the support that the group from the box formally known as 610 was amazing.  Everyone looked out for one and other and really pushed each other to succeed.

Also great was having Coach Brad (he's not the coach officially yet, but will be eventually) help me through some tough times with the tire and with the DT workout.  He helped me pace through them and gave me some form tips to make the movements more efficient.  Other guys with much more experience helped me through too including Jake and Brando.  It was good to have the tips yelled to me when I needed it the most.

Final Thought.   


Friday, July 20, 2012

What time is it?!?!


It's time for yet another competition for me, this time in my own backyard...just about literally.  Crossfit Advanced is holding the second annual "Test Your Metal" crossfit competition at the Lehigh Valley Sportsfest located at cedar beach..only about 1/4 mile from my house.  I am really excited for this competition because it will be my first time doing a competition at the "prescribed" level.  As with past competitions I really watched my diet the past 2 weeks and I feel like I am ready to go!  As has been my ritual below are the workouts for test your metal:

Workout #1:

10 minute Amrap of "DT"

12 Dead-Lifts
9 Hang Cleans
6 Shoulder to Overhead

All at 155lbs

Thoughts:  This is not a light weight for me, but it is a weight I can handle.  It's amazing to think that last year at this time I could only dream of cleaning this weight, not it is something I can handle easily (for 1 rep).  Luckily it will not be too hot tomorrow so sweat will not be a huge problem grip wise, but regardless of that fact, I will bring with me a rosin bag and maybe even some gloves to test out.  The shoulder to overhead will really tax me.  I am hoping to get through one complete round unbroken then breaking it up as necessary.  In order to save some grip, I think I will do 11 deadlifts with the alternating grip before switching on the 12th to the hook grip so I can move on to the cleans quickly.

Goal:  I'd like to get 3 complete rounds in...hoping that I feel good and am able to get 3+ in.

Workout #2:

3-2-1 minute AMRAP

3 Minute AMRAP of 185lb front squat
1 minute rest
2 minute  AMRAP sit-ups
30 sec rest
1 minute  AMRAP burpees
Babies can do it...why can't I?!?!?!

Thoughts:  Ew.  Front Squats are my nemesis.  I am terrible at them.  My 1rm is something like 205 so 185 is a HEAVY weight for me to do an AMRAP of.  Beyond that, I have trouble with my depth so getting no-repped is a real concern.  Last week we did 5x5 front squats for strength and I got to 175 and failed on my 4th rep.  This is something I just have to grit my teeth and fight through.  On top of the front squat, because this competition is outside, you have to clean the bar up.  185 is a heavy weight for me to clean.  Again, I can do it but when I'm tired will I be able to do it late in the round?  to be seen.  My strategy is to try and not kill myself with the front squats and make up as much as I can with sit-ups and burpees.  This is the one event that scares me.

Goal:  If I can get 10 on the front squat I'm psyched.  I have to try and squat clean the bar up so I don't waste energy.  I am thinking something on the order of 40ish on the sit-ups and hoping for 16-20 on the burpees (you have to jump onto a 45lb weight so that is why I'm not looking at 22-25).

Workout #3
Fight gone bad...ish

5 stations 45 sec at each station for 2 rounds

Rowing for Calories
Turkish Get-up (2 pood)
Box Jump (30")
Sumo-Deadlift High pull
Tire Flips
This is a turkish get up.  I have to do it with a 72 lb kettle bell.  

Thoughts:  I really hope I start on the TGU so I can do rowing last.    The difference between first and last in the turkish get-up would be no more than about 3 reps.  It is a slow movement so why kill yourself on it when you can save yourself for the box jump?  This one is really going to make me winded.  Also, I've never done a turkish get up with 2 pood, it should be interesting to say the least...hope my arm doesn't snap!

Goals:  I don't know what number to put to this but I hope I can get about 15 Box-jumps each round and at least 2 TGU's.  We'll see though!

Regardless of my placing at the end of the competition, it will be fun!  There are a lot of ex-610ers competing or coming to support the competitors.  Can't wait!  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 and amazing support

I love them.  I love watching, arguing about, and most importantly..I love playing them.  Baseball has always been my first sport love.  I understand the players are not as athletic as those in sports like basketball, soccer and even football, but do not try to tell me that hitting a baseball is easy.  Hitting a round ball with a round bat squarely is the hardest thing to do in all sports.  Argue with me on that and we'll have problems.

I've played baseball growing up and like most ex-players, I moved on to slow-pitch softball.  Hitting a large round ball lobbed in to you with a round bat is substantially easier than hitting a pitched hardball.  Regardless, I love it.  I've been playing since I was 15 and been attending games as long as I can remember.  There was one game when I was 17 where 7 of the 10 players on the field were blood relatives (father, uncle, 4 cousins, myself).  Why am I telling you all of this?  To set up the history of how long I've been playing and how it is in my blood.

In all of those years of playing, I have never once hit an over the fence home-run. I was never ever a power guy, always average.  Had a few in the parkers, a ton of doubles, but mostly I was a singles hitter.  Still am, but a strange thing happened the other week.  I hit my very first over the fence home run.  I just turned on a pitch, made great contact and next thing I know I was rounding the bases.  It was a strange feeling, but one I would never had experienced without crossfit.
Sadly, there were no giant signs for me.

There are much stronger guys on the team, I mean much much much stronger, but they don't have that explosive pop that I learned through doing snatched and power cleans.  I hope to hit another, but I won't try, that is just not my game.  If I hit another by accident, so be it, but it will never be my goal to go to the plate and hit one out.


Sadly, I am still un-employed.  I've had a few interviews but no offers have been made my way yet.  To say I've been stressed and had moments of huge questions on my worth is an understatement.  I have a kid on the way and I'm a out of work guy while my pregnant wife toils away at work.  Yeah, the term LOSER really comes to mind.

Luckily, I have the most supportive wife in the world.  The day I lost my job, she smiled and comforted me.  The day I found out I did not get a job I really wanted, she comforted me some more.  Never once giving in to negative feelings.  I'm an amazingly lucky man.

I'm also lucky because, although money is a bit tight now-a-days, she never once has asked that I stop crossfitting.  Maybe she's being selfish just likes looking at my arms and shoulders.  Maybe she just likes to go with me to stare at other guys arms, abs and shoulders.   But, I think it is because she knows it is the one thing in my life where I feel a part of something, where no one cares that I'm unemployed, a place where I'm judged on my squat form and not on my bank account.  This is what community is all about, being part of (or accepted) regardless of anything but what matters to people also a part of the community.

There may be a time where we HAVE to cut the gym cost, but I know that Karen will make sure that is one of the last cuts.  I would honestly cut cable before I cut crossfit, and if you know me, that is saying a lot.


Sit-ups and double unders 7:48 (5 seconds off a pr)

Also set a pr in the shoulder press. got 115!  Woo!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Now This is Not The End.......

It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
-Winston Churchill

It has been a while my friends.  A lot has happened in the past 2 months.  Some very good things (set a few PR’s) and some not so great things (loss of motivation).  But the biggest news has come just recently.   Crossfit610 is closing. 

Who would have thought that a gym is where I find one of the strongest communities I have experienced in my life.  I met people from ALL facets of life, from doctors; to lawyers and business professionals (they’re all made of ticky tacky little boxes… sorry I love the show “weeds”).   But really, no one cared what we each did (unless they could fix my car), it was all about succeeding in our goals of putting up big weights and doing it in as little time as possible.  We cheered, we sweat, and some of us puked together.  It was the perfect end to each work day.  I never thought the closing of a gym would impact me so much, but it did. 

At first I began to worry if I was going to see many of the people who I have grown so close with at the gym.  You know the story, it’s like graduating high school, you swear to stay in touch and to remain close, but soon you realize that unless you see each other every day, you just don’t think to call that person until you see them in a bar 7 years after you graduate when you just repeat the process.  But, again, this community has surprised me.  We have started going to a park and bringing what equipment we have and doing wod’s together.  We push each other, we do strength, and best of all we get to see each other. 
We work in a park.  Bars and all!

Only time will tell if it lasts, but if I know this group, I think it will.  Commitment to success is paramount to all of us.  We want to succeed, and we all know that a group has a better chance of success than the individual.  I know that I will be joining a new box in a few months, but until then I’m going to be  a 610er and carry on everything that Evan, Molly, and Mike have taught me.  As Evan would scream every workout…. DO WORK!!!!!!!

WOD (in the park)

Strength: 5 x 5 Front squat  (115, 135, 155, 175 x 3)


30 Push press (95lbs)
15 burpees
30 Jumping Squats (I call them squarpees)
15 burpees
30 pull-ups
15 burpees
30 mountain climbers
15 burpees