Monday, October 24, 2011

Crossfit Problems

I see a lot of press about the harmful effects of crossfit.  I don't like it.  I feel like it comes from those who do not think too much, or who are too stubborn to get out of their own comfort zone.  I want to try and let people know the results I have seen, and what my take on their comments are.  So over the next week or so, I'm going to go into some of the common criticisms of the CrossFit program and give my take on the criticism and where I think it may have originated.

So here is one I hear from people who are into the traditional go to the gym and do 10 reps of like 5 different exercises.

"Doing high reps at such heavy weight is really bad for you"

Yes...Yes, you are right, doing extremely high reps of a heavy weight CAN be bad for you.  But let's clarify 2 things real fast.

1.  Not every workout is high reps and high weights.  In fact, if you have a trainer who knows what they're doing, then they will carefully look at the number of reps before choosing the prescribed weight.  Here are 2 examples of that.  First is a dead lift example.  In a workout with 15 reps in a row for 5 rounds, my trainer at the time (Mike) had a prescribed weight of 225lbs.  BUT he MADE each person do 5 reps of whatever weight they chose to make sure they kept their form..if he thought you could not keep your form through the workout  he MADE you take weight off.  He was very careful not to hurt you and hurt your form.  It kicked me down to 185 lbs, which as I'm sure you know is not an extreme DL weight.  The second example is a recent workout.  Molly created a workout where there were a large number of snatches.  The prescribed weight...75 lbs for males.  Surely it could be made heavier, but again, there was a large number of reps done so to be safe it was kept moderate to light.  And during that workout, the presiding trainer (Evan) was all over me to make sure my form was solid.  And that is a good thing.

2. When there are heavy weights involved, they are usually done separate from the WOD.  We start most workouts with a strength session in which we practice our movements.  Sometimes we do weights that are close to out 1 rep max, but the number of reps is low (usually 3).  So we practice our form at low weights and higher reps.

Now, I should have prefaced this with "If you have a good trainer" then this should be the case.  Crossfit is not just about lifting heavy weights as fast as you can.  It's about becoming fit.

There is one exception to this.  The pro's.  The guys you see on ESPN.  They are at a whole different level than those of us that are simply trying to become as fit as we possibly can.

So please, no more about how crossfitters are doing things all wrong.  Because I can walk into any gym across the country and show you 10 "normal" weight lifters who do way more wrong than we ever have.


Strength: 5x65%; 5 x 75%; 5+ x 85% Back squat.  Then 3 x 70%; 3 X 80%; 3+ x 90% push press

500 m row then 2 rounds of:
35 DU's
30 Jumping Lunges
25 DU's
20 KB Snatches
15 DU's
10 Turkish Get-ups

Time: 18:57  (I think I did too light a KB)

cash out: 500m Row  Time: 1:42.9 (PR by 0.1 seconds)

Boobies are a good thing...maybe the best of things

Although this sounds like a line from the blow job redemption (It is sad, but I think that movie title exists) but really who doesn't like boobies?  With that in mind...I think we all should all do something to save the boobies! Of course, crossfit has this covered with the "Barbells for Boobies" fundraiser which took place on Saturday.  The WOD was a simple one, "Grace", which is 30 clean and jerks for time.

As simple as it was, I decided to do this prescribed...which is 135 lbs.  I think it's important here that I note that I could not clean 135 as soon as 2 months ago, and now I was doing 30 of them.  It is also 82% of my one rep max for the C+J.  To say this was a challenge for me was an understatement.  I was at first shooting for a goal of 10 minutes.  Then I talked to Ed who said he did it around when he first started in 8 and some change so I changes my goal to 8 minutes.

I'm proud to say that I did accomplish my goal by coming in at 6:57.  It was a struggle, and I was the slowest male by a long shot, but I finished rx'd and for that I am proud.

Myself and digital mustard.  I have 135 on there, but was prepared to drop weight just in case.

Now on to the really impressive times.  Jake came in at 1:20...umm holy shit!  I wish I was there to watch but I had to lave early.  Mike and Tony also came in under 2 minutes which is just amazing.  On the girls side, I think a number of girls did the workout prescribed which is awesome.  Although the guys get a lot of credit, the girls at CrossFit 610 continue to impress and are getting better with each workout.

Guy or Girl, the support from the crossfit community has been great and the amount of time, money, and sweat put in by the community for these very worth causes is awesome.  Great job to all crossfitters across the country!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

No Pain..No Gain.

2 words for that statement.


Seriously, who said that?  I mean, I understand their intentions but if I know my body enough to know what is a "good" pain and what is a "bad" pain shouldn't I know to stop?   If I see a bone sticking through my skin and it hurts should I keep going so that I gain something? I shouldn't.  I should prolly go to the hospital or call an ambulance.

The reason I bring this up is because I had to quit in the middle of a WOD yesterday.  Yeah.  That almost hurt typing that.  But hear me out.  Even before the WOD began I had some discomfort in my left arm.  Nothing horrible, but it was certainly noticeable.  I started the WOD and the discomfort grew a bit and a few rounds in I started to feel some pretty horrific pain in it.  Again, I tried to fight through the pain and did about 3 more rounds and then it just got unbearable.  My arm went numb.  I tried bending my arm and it felt like there was a 10lb weight at the end.  Not good.  So I told Evan, “I’m Done”.

Unless the pain is chronic..then it's not temporary.

You may be asking…What is wrong with me?  Or you might be going “PAIN IN THE LEFT ARM..OMG YOU HAD A HEART ATTACK!”  no no no , not nearly that serious.  I have felt this pain before…actually I’ve felt this pain a lot..but always in my right arm.  And the pain always came when I tried to throw a ball too hard or too often.   So what did I do to cure that?  I took a day or 2 off from throwing hard.  I would do light tosses just to stay loose but nothing long or hard.  I have been going quite hard with my arms and shoulders the past few days and I think I just over did it. Pretty simple.  I’m going to ice hot my arm, take a day off from anything arm related and then go back on Friday morning and hope that it doesn’t hurt again.

In a way, I’m actually happy to be feeling it in my left arm, it kinda means that I’m working it hard and assuming I didn’t actually injure it, it might get stronger.

So I guess that statement is almost correct.  Let me restate it though.

No (educated) pain.  No Gain.


30 Minute AMRAP
10 to 1 power snatches
19 double unders
8 ring dips
1 rope climb

I got 10 rounds in with 7 minutes left before I had to shut it down.

Love this.  And as the person on fscebook who posted it mentioned.  You have to have the right diet.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

B-O-O-M Boom

Yesterday was a day I needed.  I have been thinking I have hit a wall in my training and I wasn't making any improvements.  I felt I was not getting any stronger and my endurance was crap.  I thought "Hey, I made progress but ehhh..not much".

As is often the case...I thought wrong.

Let's go back in time.  A time when I was not reformed fatty, but rather was just known as fatty.  It was ~2 weeks into crossfit and I saw Cindy up on the board.  5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats.  Do as much as you can in 20 min.  I thought to myself..ok that's not too bad but I have to use a band to do the pull-ups.  A black band.  A band that almost doesn't stretch cause I'm too light for it.  Essentially, doing a pull-up required very little work.  So the time begins and I go.

First round..ok not too bad.

Second. Again not so bad but have to rest on the push-ups

Third-ninth..I'm resting all the time on the push-ups while the guy next to me is just flying through them.  I'm in awe..what the fuck!  I'm thinking to myself "Should I even be in here?"  Brad (the guy next to me) says to just keep the WOD the push-ups on your knees.  Great advice and helped a lot.   So I do and start to move a little faster but only complete 9 rounds in 20 minutes.  Nine.  For comparison A fantastic score is more than 30.  An average score is prolly in the 12-17 range.  I did 9.  I had the lowest score in the class.  I felt like a complete failure that day.  I thought I was athletic..then I met Cindy and she kicked me in the balls and made me cry.

What's sad is that I found this on a Phillies Blog.  I'm gonna go cry now.

Flash forward to the present day. Where I am reformed (or so I say).

I can do the whole workout RX'd now.  We start.  I get going on the pull-ups.  Do rounds 1-4 before I look at the clock.  Still more than 16 min left.  I'm averaging 1 round a minute!  Then I get done 10 rounds and there are still 9 minutes left!   I keep going and I finish with 16 rounds and 13 reps into my 17th round.

I improved my score by 7.5 rounds!

And the worst part, the part that will keep me coming back to the gym, that I'm not satisfied.  At All.   I set a goal for myself of 15 rounds and beat that goal.  Now I have a new goal.  I want 20.  I want to average one round a minute.  I'm not setting a time table for it.  But next time I see Cindy on the white board.  I'm shooting for 20.

Oh..and before even doing the WOD  I PR'd my clean and jerk by 50 pounds.  No Big Deal.


20 Min AMRAP
5 pull-ups
10 push-ups
15 Air Squats

16 + 13

Strength:  7 x 1 C+J

I turned this into my attempt at my one rep max.  Went the following:

95-115-135 (x2) - 145 - 155 - 165 - 175(f)

Because this can be broken up into 2 movements I am saying I PR'd 3 things (power clean, push jerk, clean and jerk).   I felt like I could push-jerk a lot more weight though, it was the power clean I failed on.  I may try that later this week if I get the chance.

Skill: 50 push press with PVC after the WOD.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weight Ain't Nothing But a Number

With all due respect to the pedophile R. Kelly, weight is nothing but a number.  Using that number as motivation and as a measuring tool is fine and dandy when you are first starting.  If you think you look big and want to get smaller, it is obvious that you would fixate on your weight.  But once you're at a point where you think you look OK and only need some minor improvements you need to stop looking at your weight and start focusing on something else.  Whether that be body fat percentage, bicep circumference, or your Fran time you need to give up on using weight as the be all that ends all.

The reason I bring this up is because I've been eating like shit the past 2-3 weeks.  I mean fast food 3-4 times a week, a few beers a few times a week and wings whenever I can get them.  Now, I've been eating ok for breakfast and lunch but I'm still not where I SHOULD be.  This morning I jumped on the scale and to my surprise, I haven't put on a pound.  I'm still in the mid to lower 160's.  Does this mean I should keep going the way I am?  NO!  Not at all.  My stomach is far less defined than it was just a few short weeks ago.  I'm using a more subjective measure of my progress now, but still If i were using the objective weight measurement then I'd start thinking " I can eat fast food forever!"  

The moral of the story is.  Eat well.  Drink water.  Sleep a lot.  you'll feel great, look great, and be regular.  (I don't know what regular has to do with anything but thought putting 3 things would sound better)


Strength:  7 x 1 Shoulder Press from the front; 7 x 2 shoulder press from the back.
WOD:  20 Back squats ( 155) then 3 rounds of 15 wall ball sit-ups, 15 burpees, 15 ground to overhead dumbbells (35 lb dumbbells)

Strength: was able to do 95lbs on the front, then was able to do 85 lbs on the back
WOD: Time 15:20

Felt good during the WOD  My shoulders were absolutely burning though.  After the WOD there was a skill cash out of hand stand holds and I did one..then I tried to do a full HSPU..below are the results.
The mat has a hexagon shape to so does my head.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jager is bad for you

So it's now October..well actually it's been October for a while now...adn that means a few things.  1.  It's getting colder and darker so going to a morning workout is harder and harder.  2.  It's time for halloween 3.  It means it's getting into my favorite beer season.  See I like beer.  I'm not quite educated enough to call myself a beer snob but I do like to try micro-brews.  I'm not a huge fan of hops though so keep IPA's away.  This love affair with beer has recently been very active.  I've tried many types of Oktoberfest beers with Stoudt's being my favorite so far, although Hex by Magic Hat is also VERY delicious.  Last night (a Wednesday) was kinda rough because I met with some guys and we drank many beers...ate many wings...and then..took a shot or 2.  Now I should say no to shots...especially on a Wed night...but I was in a celebratory mood so suuuurrreee.

Ouch. All day today I had a hangover.  So the moral of the story is just say no to shots.
I'll have one of each please.


Dynamic Warm-up

1000m row
Double Unders

My time: 20:46

This workout really hit on my strengths.  I'm getting pretty good at double unders so any workout with a large number of them involved is a strength.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kitchen Sink

Today Trainer Molly threw just about everything at us.  It wasn't a particularly brutal day, there have been many that were worse, but the sheer number of different motions was a bit different...and good.  I realized that after being sick my strength has decreased a bunch but I haven't lost any of my (few) skills.  I was able to do 74 double unders when I was warming up.  More importantly, when I was screwing around I came REALLY close to doing a muscle up.  Before you give me the grenades and horseshoes quote,  you need to understand that I know "almost" counts for nothing...but mentally it's a huge lift.  I actually was able to get up and turn my wrists over...if I had thrown my head forward I would have gotten it.  I may try again tomorrow or Thursday.



Choose 3 goats and do a 10 minute AMRAP of them.
My goats:  Box Jumps, KB Swings, Pistols
I did something like 7 rounds.  Didn't really keep track.

Why box jumps?  The reason I chose box jumps is because for some reason, whenever they are part of a WOD it winds me faster than any other activity.  I have no idea why.  Breathing?  Because it's a fast motion?  No idea...but that's why it is in there.  I included KB swings because I need to get my form down when doing a 2 pood swing.  I did reasonably well with this, but I think I still need to work on keeping my back straight.  I'll have to practice with a 1.5 pood from here on out.


7 rounds (!)
6 hanging cleans (115 lbs)
8 get out of pools (or 4 muscle ups which I can't do yet)

Time: 24:46

Then finished with 4 - 100m runs with 1 minute break between.  I need to do this cash out more often.  I like it.

My diet is getting much better..finally.  I drank my allotted water and also got in my fruits and veggies today. I'm pleased.

My favorite song of the moment

Monday, October 10, 2011

Old Habits Die Hard

Since I've returned from Vegas my health has just crashed.  As I mentioned, im recovering from a nasty cold but beyond that I've let my diet go to shit.  I've had fast food just about every other day for the past week and a half, ate about 2.5 dozen donuts in the past 2 weeks and have let my love of fall beer start to take over.

But today it all goes back to pre-vegas Dennis.  Today Karen and I got up at 5am to go to the 6am crossFit class.  I hated every second of getting up...but I'm loving every second since the class ended.


I tried to come back to crossfit late last week (Thursday) and do the WOD.  I finished, but just about died.  This cold didn't wanna die!

100 Burpee to pull up  - 17:37 (multiple flem spit up breaks...yeah hows that visual)

Today (10/10)


40% 50% 60% all x 5 Back squat
75% x 5; 85% x 3; 95% 1+  on the push press.  I was able to do 2 at 95% then jerked on the 3rd.


AMRAP 12 minutes

12 T2B
5 over the box jumps
200m sandbag carry

4+17  (and only about 15 meters LEFT on the run.  So pissed)

Felt decent for the WOD, it was clear I have been gone for a while and lost a few steps.   May return tonight for some work on stuff.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Phillies Play-offs are Killing My Training

So I haven't posted since my trip to Vegas...for that I apologize.  Here is a quick re-cap of why I haven't:

  • Was Jet-lagged like woah!.  After 5 days in Vegas, you lose all ability to understand time/dates
  • All the traveling combined with horrible food and being around a billion different people destroyed my immune system and I ended up with the worst cold I've had in years.  
  • The Phillies are in the play-offs and that consumes most of my time through reading blogs, getting stressed, and going to games.

So there is my excuse for not posting.  


I am now 30.  wow that was hard to type without tearing up.  I'm old.  My body is now in the sunset of my life...  Eff that!  I started 30 off with more excitement than I started my 20's and with a whole lot more legal activities.  Kicked it in VIP when I turned 30, then gambled my way through my first day as a 30 something.  The last WOD I did as a 20 something took place at Crossfit Las Vegas.  

As with every box I've visited so far, the people at CF Las Vegas were incredibly nice.  The box was incredibly spacious and not a ridiculous distance from the strip. Karen and I even got a ride back to our hotel from one of the members!  It was greatly appreciated because it saved us both time and money. 

Las Vegas WOD

5 shoulder press
4 push press
3 push jerks

Every 2 minutes.  I used 75 lbs and although it looks's not once you get to the 4th round.  The push press and the push jerks were really easy but the shoulder press part was actually really difficult.  Prior to the WOD we did Reverse Pull-ups which is where you pull yourself up then come down as slowly as you can which really hurts!   But it was a good pain.

After the WOD the party began and I didn't think about crossfit again for a while.  But I did think I looked pretty good at the if crossfit could regrow hair.....


upon returning to PA my body was completely exhausted.  Little sleep, lots of alcohol, and little nutritious food will do that to anyone.  I returned on a Tuesday and expected to start crossfit on Wednesday...then it happened.  I started to cough.  Then came the headache.  Then no sleep cause my body was hot, then cold, then sweaty but still cold, and finally it all hit at once and knocked me out.  I felt like Paquio was punching my head from the inside while my lungs felt like I was working in a coal mine for 40 years.  Thankfully my wife was there to care for me and to let me sleep til 12:30 on Saturday and then 11:30 on Sunday.  I can't remember the last time that happened.  

Needless to say, crossfit was not happening at all.  It finally started to clear up on Sunday.  Monday (Yesterday) I finally made my way back to the gym. I can't say I was 100% but I needed to get a workout in. My legs felt like jello, I was less flexible than when I was there last (I didn't think it was possible either), but I was able to kill the pull-ups.  


Strength:  85% push press (which was 125lbs for me)  5x3 in 10 min

"Flynn (fake Lynn)"
5 rounds
Max reps back squat (choose your weight I did 185 lbs)
Max pull-ups

Round 1: 6/15
Round 2: 3/12
Round 3: 4/12
Round 4: 3/12
Round 5: 4/22

That's right.  I set a new PR for pull-ups with 22 in a row....and ya know what....I think I can do 30 if I'm healthy.  Thinking I can do something and actually pulling it off are obviously completely different but I'm gonna try it soon.   I also tested a new grip to give my callouses a break and it really helped a lot. 

So that is the update.  Tomorrow depends on whether the Brewers win tonight.  I am not doing the early morning WOD's this week because I want to get as much rest as I can until this cold is completely kicked and if the brewers win, then the Phillies play at 8pm tomorrow leaving me time to WOD...else they play at 6pm and then I can not WOD.