Friday, April 27, 2012

This is one of those highs

Life is full of lows, and if you concentrate on them you will constantly be miserable, it is the highs that should be the focus of your mental energy.  Well, life has given me one of those amazing highs that was well beyond anything I could have ever expected.  My wife and I are now expecting our first child.  Due in early November, we are just starting out on this journey of parenthood.

Now, this blog is not about my life, it is about fitness so let me talk about how my wife (digital mustard) is keeping fit during the pregnancy.  She is NOT stopping crossfit.  Which may seem insane to some old minded  folks out there.  "Oh're pregnant..let's wrap you in bubble wrap and not let you pick up anything."  It is my opinion that, unless specifically directed by a doctor because of complications, it is really stupid to just stop doing what you've done for so long.

Karen is crossfitting while pregnant.  Of course she is listening to her body closely, meaning she is not going nearly as hard as she once did (at least in most workouts).  She is cutting back how often she goes to the gym a bit, from 5-6 times a week down to 3.  Beyond that, she's sticking to her routine.

In fact,  if you are any good at math...this means she completed the crossfit open while pregnant.  Granted, we did not know she was pregnant til after the first 2 workouts, regardless she still did very well in the wods.  Also, if you follow her on twitter or read her blog, you'll see she just set a PR in the dead lift the other day.  I was watching her very closely.  Like all moves in crossfit, if performed correctly there is little to worry about.  She did not hold her breath too long, her heart rate did not become elevated during a lift.  It was all good.

Here are some tips we are using /have used for the first 12 weeks:

1.  Our trainers were some of the first people to know about the kid.  They kept it confidential but all we asked is that they not try to push her too far.  That if she needed a break, she would take it.  Evan was fantastic, in fact I think he was as excited as anyone we told.

2.  We use the crossfit community to our advantage.  There is an amazing website for woman who do crossfit while pregnant,  It lists some scaled workouts for those who are pregnant and also a great forum for asking questions and learning from those who have already gone through a pregnancy while doing crossfit workouts.

If your trainers have not had much experience with pregnant women, I would direct them to this site.  Even they could learn something and may be able to design workouts specifically for you...or at least learn how to teach you the scaled versions recommended there.

3.  Listen to your body: this is by far the most important tip anyone can give you.  If you feel a pain in your abdomen, STOP.  Very simple.  If you're tired then take a rest day.  You are creating another human being, you need to concentrate on that.  It is the most important thing in your life right now.  Listening to your body goes way up in importance when carrying a child.

I will have more posts on the progress Karen is making and some tips on crossfitting and working out while pregnant in the future.  But I promise it will not be the central theme of this blog.

Note:  I set a new PR int he dead lift the other day too!  385 lbs.  I also finally upped my shoulder press PR to 110 lbs.  Weak but at least I'm finally going in the right direction!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

When Life gives you lemons...

So the past week has been a bit hectic for me.  Had some pretty life changing things happen which makes some other even more life changing things a bit more difficult to handle.

Let's start with the bad news....I got laid off from my job.  It was not completely unexpected.  I worked in the solar power industry and it has been getting destroyed by some things that are out of the control of the company.  I don't fault the company or hold any ill will towards them, it was simply something that had to be done.  That does not make it any easier on me as there is something else big in my life happening (gotta wait til next Monday for this announcement).  Being without a job has left me with something everyone craves...a lot of free time.

So here is where I start making my lemonade.  Instead of going to the bar after I heard the news, which I wanted to do, I went to the gym early.  I started using my free time to my advantage.  It doesn't cost me anything extra to go to the gym more and it keeps me active and takes my mind off of my predicament.  So I have started doing 2 a days for the past week.

Benefits of doing this:

*  Keeps me on a schedule:  I'm not sleeping in everyday and becoming lazy.  I get up and try to be at the gym around 8 and stay for an hour or two before coming home and starting the networking/ job hunting process.

*  Keeps me full of energy:  Getting a good workout in the morning is keeping my energy and optimism up.  I'm not getting down on myself or mopping around.  When I have a phone interview, it will keep me sounding confident rather than desperate.

* Improves strength:  I really want to work on my strength a bit more each morning.  Meaning I will maybe do shoulder presses twice a week and can work on my deadlift.  I can take my time without being in the structured class setting.

*  Improves Skills:  I can also work on skills a bit more.  I can work on my HSPU or my double unders, or even my muscle up (haven't done this yes, but it's on the program for tomorrow),  most importantly for me, I will work on my form on the Oly lifts.  Especially the snatch.

* Goat Killer:  Today I did 3 sets of 20 walls balls.  Tomorrow I'm gonna work more on my front squat and depth.  I want to attack some goats I have to try and improve.

So there are a great number of benefits I have from doing this type of set-up.

But...I'd still trade the extra workout for a good job close to home.

I'll post later today with some WOD's I've done recently.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Results from Mid Atlantic Affiliate Challenge

Wow...what a weekend. The Mid Atlantic Affiliate Challenge was exactly that...a big challenge.  Before getting into the results I need to thank everyone who came out for Crossfit 610, both the scaled and Rx teams, some on VERY short notice.  There were also some fans in attendance, which added to the energy.  Without much more is the weekend in a nutshell.
Crossfit 610 Team Representing

WOD #1:

120 Pull-ups
120 OH Squats (95/65)
120 bar facing burpees
600m Prowler push (135/95)
20 min time cap

Myself, Drew, Sam and Rochelle went at this.  Starting with the Pull-ups Drew banged out 15, followed by me with 20 and Sam with 10.  After that, I have no idea how many we did.  I do know that Rochelle was anxiously waiting for us to finish.  Took up about 3-4 min..which was not great but we got through it.  Time for hte OH squats...shit.  I got no-rep'd a few times cause of my depth but Rochelle killed these for us.  It was a huge help for her to step up her game in a big is something that was a recurring theme through the weekend.  on to the burpees..we split them up into sets of 10 a person.  Got to the prowler push where Drew and I each did 50 meters and felt dead.  The girls each did their 50 meters and then we split it up into 25 meter sets.  We got to 275 meters before the time expired.
Mike and Evan Killing 225lb prowler push

Finished 5th out of 7 teams in this event.  Not the start any of us wanted.  But we had lots of time to come back.

WOD #2:

Snatch Ladder

Gerbino did awesome on this event, tieing her PR and coming oh so close to setting a new one at 115.  Then Chris came through and destroyed it.  Setting a new PR for himself at 185.   great job by both of them to keep us in the game.

Finished 2nd in this event!

WOD #3

10 min amrap
Rope Climbs while holding 225lb Axle

We decided to go with 3 rope climbers and one person of strength in this workout.  So Sam and I sat this one out while Rochelle, Chris, Drew, and Julie attacked the WOD.  As I stated previously we were at a dis-advantage in this event because of our relative lack of experience in climbing, but I have to say Chris, Julie and Drew did really well here.  And Rochelle held on to that 225 pound bar for almost the whole 10 minutes (took a 20 sec break at around the 8 minute mark).  It was awesome to watch them hold that  axle, you could see the pain in their faces but they never thought about quitting.  Awesome job by them together.
Rx team holding the axle

We finished the event with 20 rope climbs good for 4th place in the event.

We ended day 1 in a tie for 4th place.  Not the best day for us, but we never quit.  Day 2 would prove to go much better for us.

DAY 2!

WOD #4

12 minute amrap
10 Alternating squat clean thrusters (95/65)
75 meter sand bag carry (105/55)

After some debate, and some coaching from Mike, we decided to put Chris and Rochelle into this event..and what a great decision that was!   This workout looked absolutely terrible.  Rochelle and Chris killed it though.  She kept up with him the entire time and really helped put the team through it. The look on their faces at the 10 minute mark said it all, this workout was brutal.

They finished this workout in second place!

WOD #5

Stadium Workout
300m row
30 Toes to Bar (or knees to elbow)
30 Deadlift
30 Dumbell Thrusters (25/15)
50 Double unders
Court Finishing up with doubles while Tony and Mike spectate!

The way this worked was each member went off in order, but the second person could not start until the person in front of them was done the movement.  We decided to go Myself, Drew, Julie, then Sam was being the anchor.  In this event you truly are only as strong as your weakest player.  Sam has only been doing crossfit for like 3 months and she did amazing through this workout.  I finished in about 8 minutes with Drew only having to wait a few times (my bad).  The double unders were a lot harder than I thought they would be at the end. The team finished in about 17 minutes and some change.  We are confident that we actaully won this event but the scoring got screwed up and the 3 teams that finished in the time cap were all given first place points.

We finished this workout (officially) tied for 1st place.

We finished the "regular" events in second place, but only up on the third place team by 1 point! The final workout would be critical for us.

WOD #6

Each member of the team must complete one round
5 Snatch (115/75)
10 Shoulder to overhead
15 Front Squat


In the same order 50 meter Yoke Carry
165 lbs
215 lbs
265 lbs
355 lbs


same order
10 Burpee Box Jumps (20")
15 Wall balls (20/14)
50 foot walking lunges (25/0)

Eek...this is pretty Daunting.  We decided to go with Myself, Chris, Rochelle and Julie.  The order would be Julie, Rochelle, Me and Chris.  We start and Julie gets through her set pretty quickly...then Rochelle does her set unbroken.  It was awesome to see.  For someone who went down thinking she would hurt the team, she ended up being one of our strongest members and contributing the most.  Then I go..and I take a bit of time getting through the set.  Chris makes it through pretty easily but we're still the 4th out of 5 teams to get outside.  Crap.  It was all of our first time doing a yoke carry..and honestly we had no idea what the weight was (we were all pretty surprised when we saw just how heavy in poundage it felt a lot lighter).  We fly though this movement and enter the building in third place.  We all get through the final movements and end in 3rd place for the event.  It was brutal but it was over.

We ended the event in 2nd place!  It was a constant fight to get back into the game after the rough start, but we never quit and gave each workout everything we had.  I could not be happier with the team that came down with me, no one ever complained about which WOD's they were in, they just attacked whatever came at them and as a team we conquered.  So very proud to be associated with those people and with Crossfit 610 in General.

The Rx team had a rougher go at it, but still did amazing.  Coming in 6th out of 23 teams.  They were in contention all the way up until the end.  It is really inspiring watching those guys and girls go at it, the speed and intensity they have is contagious and the coaching tips were invaluable.

In ending, it must be said how organized the whole event was.  The judges were great and the facility (Crossfit BWI) was fantastic.  I do wish they gave 2nd and 3rd place scaled teams some recognition or prize, but with only 7 teams, I can understand why only the top scaled team was rewarded.

Had a fantastic weekend!  Can't wait to do it again someday!

Final Standings for Scaled

CrossFit South Arlington 
CrossFit 610 
CrossFit Adaptation 
CrossFit 1st State 
CrossFit Harford 
CrossFit Deleware Valley
Trident CrossFit 

Final Standings for Rx

District CrossFit
CrossFit Old Town
R.A.W Training
Trident CrossFit
CrossFit Lorton
CrossFit 610
CrossFit Williamsburg
CrossFit BWI
CrossFit Athletics
CrossFit 215
CrossFit 324
CrossFit Dupont
CrossFit 1st State
Southern Maryland CrossFit
CrossFit DC
CrossFit Rubicon
CrossFit 757
CrossFit Old Town #2
CrossFit Athletics #2
South Baltimore CrossFit

Thursday, April 12, 2012

WODS for the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate Challenge

The WODS have been released for my first team competition and well...I'm only REALLY nervous about one of them.  Here they are..followed by my thoughts and goals

WOD #1

2 guys and 2 girls as a team complete
120 Chest to bar pull-ups (regular pull-ups for scaled)
120 Overhead squats (115-85 for rx) ( I assume 95/65 for scaled)
120 over the bar burpees
600 meter prowler push (140/90 I think)
Courtesy of  Met Con Photo's (Who will be there this weekend BTW)

WOD #2

1 guy and 1 girl who did NOT do WOD #1
Snatch Ladder starting at 95/65

WOD #3

Any 2 guys and 2 girls

10 minute AMRAP Rope Climbs

While someone is climbing, the remaining teammates must hold an axle off the ground.  If it falls you lose a rope climb.  Score is Total rope climbs minus axle drops.  Still unknown is whether the scaled division will be completing rope climbs.


There will be 2 wods for all teams on Sunday...then a final WOD for the top 5 Scaled teams.  They will not be released until Saturday.

My Thoughts.

WOD #1:  Should be ok.  I don't have much experience pushing a prowler, but I have done it before.  The pull-ups and OH Squats I think we'll do ok on.  The burpees comes down to strategy.  How many does each person do at a time?  How often should we switch?  I'll talk to my team and I'm confident we'll have a great strategy going in!

WOD # 2:  Based on who we have going in, I think the team will do very well in this event.

WOD #3:  Oh...Shit...  Our box is at a huge disadvantage here as we don't have a rope station.  But, we used to and we all know HOW to climb a rope...but we're not very fluent in it.  Let's hope we don't pull a Froning and lose cause of this event.

This is the only time I can think of to use Rich Froning in a negative light...for those who are not in the know...Rich (the 2011 Worlds Fittest Man) was in first place going into the 2010 games final event, but did not have the skills necessary to climb a rope when fatigued.  He ended up coming in, I think, second place cause of it.  Obviously, he has made up for it by winning in 2011 and learned to climb a rope more efficiently.

Recent WOD'S

50 Wall Balls (20 lb)
50 2 pood KB swings
Time: 6:44

20 min amrap of
200m run
10 toes 2 bar
5 hand stand push ups
I got 7+206 and actually did this RX!  Wooo!  I'm really getting the HSPU kip down.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Go Team!

“When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality.”
- Paterno

When I started Crossfitting, I saw that Sunday's were always "team WOD's" and always wondered what the point was.  You're still doing work, why does it matter if I am with a team?

As I went and did the team workouts, I quickly realized that I was pushing myself the most and making the biggest gains during these workouts.  The fear of embarrassment or fear of letting your teammate down is a powerful motivator.  The first time I did a 20lb wall ball was during a team workout, I would also use a slightly heavier weight in those workouts.  It was fantastic for my confidence.

Here are some tips to get the most out of your team WOD

1. Cheer
No one likes silence at the gym.  So if it is a WOD where your partner is going and you're "resting", take the opportunity to cheer them on.  It doesn't have to be constant, but pushing your teammate to "not put the bar down" or to do 3 more reps before resting can really help the other person. I know I've done an extra few reps on many occasions simply because someone was yelling for me to keep going.

2. Accept Criticism

You may be paired up with someone who is a better crossfitter than you and has been through the WOD in the past.  Take their criticism a training tool.  If they tell you that your back is bending, don't brush it off, work on a way to fix it.  That person is only trying to help you, not make you feel inferior or stupid.  Use it and you will make a large gain.

3. Make a wager

This is one that works really well for me.  Prior to the WOD beginning, find a team that is similar to yours in ability and make a lil' friendly wager on the results of the WOD.  Not monetary, but maybe something as simple as the loser has to clean up the winners equipment, or even loser has to do 10 or 20 barrel roll burpees.  you'll get some friendly banter during the WOD and some enjoyment for everyone after the WOD.   (Seriously, have you ever seen a meat head do barrel roll burpees?'s hilarious)

4. Set a goal with your teammate

This is something I do individually and have carried it over to the partner WOD's. Set a goal that is a bit hard to reach, but may be attainable if you both really push.  This past saturday I set a goal for 8 minutes for my teammate Eric and I on the partner WOD.  It was an unrealistic goal for us because he's new to crossfit and I'm just not that great at it yet.  But I know he pushed himself to try and meet that goal for us.  It was fantastic.  We ended with a time of 9:53 but I know he gave it his all and like I've said in a previous post...that is all a teammate can ever ask for.

Other Benefit

Beyond the gains made in your workout, it also is a fantastic time to socialize a bit more at the gym.  You may be paired with someone you havn't had the chance to talk too. Take the time to get to know them, you may find a new friendship, or at the least it may keep that person coming back to the box and reaching their goals.   If you see someone new there, take it upon yourself to make them feel welcomed, I know it helped me a lot when I was first starting out.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Time to Revamp the goals

It's amazing to think, but the first quarter of 2012 is already over!  Where does the time go?  Now is as good a time as ever to check in on your fitness goals for the year.  So let me start with a copy and paste from my post on January 2nd.

Here are my goals.  I'll put in red where I'm at.

Back Squat: 300 (2x body weight) : Havn't done my 1rm in a while
Push Press: 175 (185) : no idea 
Bench Press: 200 lbs : no idea
Pull ups:  30 in a row (50) : no idea
Clean: 200 (225) : I put up 190 about 3 weeks ago.  Still working on form.
HSPU: consistent in a wod : Well, I can do it with 25 lb plates, but still not Rx through an entire wod.
Shoulder Press: 135 (155) : I hate the shoulder press, Still at 105 for a 1rm.  This is the vain of my existence.  

Jerk:  200 (225) : Have put up 195.  Just barely failed at 205. This was about a month and a half ago though
OHS: 155 (BW)  : BINGO!  Got 175 on this!   My body weight is about 170.  Got to set a new goal!
2000m row: 7:15 (<7) :  Not so lucky here, have only taken about 2 sec off my time.  Still in the 7:20's
Snatch: 135 (155)  : At PA's Fittest, I put up 140.  I just missed 145 yesterday.

Annie: <7 min (6:30):  Havnt done it.
Karen: <9 min (8:30)   : in Open WOD 12.4 I got through the 'Karen" portion in 8:35.  Not too bad.

Helen: <8min (7:30)
Grace: <5 min (4 min)
Fran: <7 min (<6min) : My PR in Fran is 6:57 so I have completed this.  Next stop..sub 5:30.
Cindy: 20 rounds (22 rounds) 
Angie: <20min (15 min)

I also set a PR in the box jump at 44 inches. Most importantly, I got my first muscle up during the quarter!

It has been a fantastic first quarter to the year, I jsut have to remain focused and keep pushing myself.  I'm trying to refine the motions int he lifts by using lighter weights.  Form is going to mean more and more as I try to get higher weights.  Jake and Evan are helping me a lot, but it's really going to come down to me taking the time to practice and practice some more.  

Refined Goals

I think I may use this week to try and set some of the PR's that I havn't tried in a while so I can fill in this a bit more.  But Below are my re-adjusted goals on some of the lifts I have completed my goals already on.

OHS:  I'd like to get to 190 by the end of the year.
Snatch: I'm shooting for 155 as my year end goal.
Isabel: I'd like to complete Isabel RX by the end of the year (30 - 135 lb snatches)
Karen:  Lets try to get about 8:15
Fran: Sub-5 minutes
Jerk: 225 is my new realistic goal
Clean: I'm shooting for 215 as my new Year end goal
Complete 10 MU's in under 3 min.

Hopefully the second quarter starts off well during the competition at BWI.  I think we're bringing 2 very good team for their respective divisions.  The rx team should do very well and will surely compete for the title,although every team will be bringing their best.  Our Scaled team (of which I'm a part of) should be good as well, I think we're a true scaled team as we can perform many of the movements but there are still a good deal that most of our team can not pull off.  

Recent WODS

There have been a bunch, here are a few

Toes to bar
Burpee box jump (24")

50 slam balls
2k row
50 ring pulls

50 over head squats (95lbs)
800 m run

Diane - 1 abmat for HSPU  9:01

4 rounds
400m run
25 slamballs (30lb)

There have been a few others but some are partner wods (topic of tomorrow's post)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Another Competition Coming up!

Please excuse the lack of posting.  There has been a LOT going on in my life recently and there will be some big changes for me...but more on that in a later post.  

A few months ago I saw that there was going to be, what I thought was, a large team competition in Maryland. The best part for me was that there would be a scaled division...which meant I could participate if I could put together a team.  I asked a few people and was able to throw together a decent scaled men's team, none of the members would be considered firebreathers, but we can all hold our own in a scaled competition.  The difficulty in throwing the team together was gathering enough woman.  It's not that the woman at my gym are not physically able to do it, they are, it's that some of them lack the confidence to put themselves out there.

The other problem is social schedules...but we can ignore that one for the sake of this post. 

This goes for males and females out there.  YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH.  Keep telling yourself that.  It's true.  Will you win the crossfit games?  But you are good enough to compete with others at a similar ability level.  Not that I always think I'm good enough, I too have a lot of self doubt, but one thing that I'm not scared of is throwing myself into a competition.  I lose....a lot.  And you prolly will too, but you will push yourself as well.  It will not be like that dream you had where you were crossfitting naked in front of your crush.  If you lose no one will point and laugh...if anything they will support and push you even further.  

I know a few things about competing as a team.  I know you will give everything you have if you are competing for something more than yourself.  And your teammates know that.  The only way you will disappoint them is if you give up (or do something truly boneheaded).  That's the only way I'd be disappointed with anyone on my team.  If one of the lifts is to lift something that they physically can't lift, but they spend the allotted time trying and killing them self to lift it...well I'll be happy to call them my teammate.  

Remember that as you go forward.  If you push yourself and fail, no one can fault you.  The only way to lose respect of your teammates is to quit.