14 Nov 2014
So I’m back to blogging regularly, and I want to address some things that have been both bothering me and causing me to reconsider my training. I’m hoping that you can learn from my experiences and not go down the same, winding road that I’ve taken. Let me start by saying that I’m beginning to realize that as I get older there are some things that need to change. And that’s precisely what this series is going to be about; things to consider as you age in regards to your fitness.
This first post is relevant to EVERYONE who walks into a gym, not just the aging athlete. I’d like to re-address an issue that I see all too often that simply needs to change. Every single one of you are competitive to some degree. That’s part of what enticed you to try CrossFit. While competition is great, it’s not really the point of what we do here, or this post. But that internal motivation and drive is what makes us strive to be better than that other, less-fit/less-healthy version of ourselves. With that being said, I see a lot of potential and opportunity left at the door. Let me explain.
All too often athletes and beginners alike, roll in the door, sign-in (RIGHT?!), walk up to the whiteboard and wait for class to start. If they didn’t plan correctly, they might be about 3-4 minutes early. They then wander around until class starts picking up a jump rope for 1-2 minutes, play with a kettle-bell for a minute or two, or lay on a foam roller without much thought as to what they are doing. Some might even go for the good ol’ super front-rack or banded overhead distraction because they have been doing it for the past 2 years and they think that it constitutes pre-class mobility. Let me ask you a question: Do you have a plan for improving mobility so that you can finally get into a legitimate back squat or front-rack position? How about those Overhead Squats? Those are fun huh? For most people, achieving these take some dedicated mobility. Not just 3-4 minutes of “hoping” your mobility improves.
Without a plan to improve mobility (let’s face it, almost everyone could stand to improve mobility in some way) you aren’t doing yourself justice. You are leaving potential and opportunity at the door. This is the biggest and greatest benefit you can afford yourself and your training. It is the most attributable factor to improved fitness and all those new PR’s you’ll be seeing. Get a mobility plan and aggressively attack your weaknesses and limiting ROM.
This shouldn’t have to even be said, but as we age, appropriate warm-up/mobility can make or break your day in the gym. I am able to attribute “good days” in the gym to adequate/proper mobility and warmup, and “bad days” to times when I just don’t have the time to get in the necessary mobility. This wasn’t always the case though. I used to be able to walk into the gym and jump right into a working set of bench (because I abhorred back squat in the not too distant past). Was that the right move then even? Hell no! I would be in a much better place now if I had spent even a little bit of time on movement prep. I now try for at least a half hour of mobility/movement prep before even thinking about picking up a barbell. Anyway, I digress. Let’s get back on track.
YES, mobility is necessary. Vital. Imperative even. Every person has areas that are specific to them that need to be addressed, so I can’t say “Do this” or “Do that.” But I know of a couple of coaches that might be able to help you out on that front. Jen has a mobility class 2x/week now. You have options. Exercise those options people! Here’s what I can do for you though. I can promise, no matter your age, you NEED to work on mobility. Give mobility a chance guys. It’s not going to hurt (too bad). But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t be the guy/girl who walks in and jumps right into class. You can’t do that, and expect to have a good day in the gym. See what a legitimate mobility session pre-WOD can do for your training. It will open the doors to new PR’s all over. I promise.
07 Sep 2014
“I can’t do handstand push-ups! How do I get better at pistols? I just can’t figure out Double-Under’s.”
Alright everyone. We hear you. And we’ve decided to do something about it. Here’s the deal. We are going to be working on some skills that are plaguing our members. Skills are to be worked on before or after class. The daily skill and their progressions will be posted on the whiteboard for the day and then moved to another whiteboard for you to come back to and catch up on skills you chose to work on. (If this doesn’t make sense, it will. It promise.) You should do these skills and their progressions at least once per week, but can do them more if you so choose. Just make sure to give yourself some recovery time if you’re feeling beat-up.
So let’s get right into it. Here is the first section on the Handstand Push-up skill work. Let’s first define to which Training Phase you belong.
There are 4 phases depending on where you stand with the handstand pushup.
Phase 1: Unable to do 1 strict OR kipping HSPU
Phase 2: No strict, but able to do kipping HSPU
Phase 3: 1-5 unbroken strict HSPU
Phase 4: 5+ unbroken strict HSPU
You are not permanently in this phase, rather you will graduate as soon as you are able to achieve the next levels requirements. So now that you know where you fall, lets get to work. Perform these 1-3x/week (preferably on HSPU skill day and every other day). Next week will be new skills to work on or add into your HSPU training.
5 x 5 Handstand Push-Up Negatives @ 30A1; Rest 90 seconds (A= reset)
5 x 5 Handstand Push-Up Negatives @ 40A1; Rest 90 seconds (A= reset)
5 x 5 Handstand Push-Up Negatives @ 50A1; Rest 90 seconds (A= reset)
5 x 5 Handstand Push-Up Negatives @ 60A1; Rest 90 seconds (A= reset)
Alright, get to work!
12 Aug 2014
The Strength Challenge has come to a bittersweet conclusion. Everyone involved enjoyed the programming and absolutely CRUSHED the CrossFit Total. Every. Single. Person PR’d their lifts and increased their Total. I enjoyed working with each and everyone of them and truly look forward to seeing how they respond to the programming with their new strength.
Alright. Alright. You want the results. Well here ya go.
We had 3 ladies undertake this challenge. They were all completely dedicated to the programming. Ali put 25 pounds on her CFT and gained 7 pounds of muscle! Kristin put 24 pounds on her CFT, which should have been 35 pounds. Damn Deadlift…
Kathy? Oh yeah Kathy. She put 47 pounds on her CFT! What?! She also put on 3 lbs. of muscle and lost 2 lbs. of body fat… not that she really needed to lose any. That is pretty damn impressive for three months! So I am proud to say that Kathy is our winner for the women’s division of the strength challenge! Congratulations Kathy!
On to the gents. There were initially 5 guys in the running, but one dropped out due to scheduling issues. But the other 4 guys stuck it out… even while traveling abroad for one of them. There were some pretty dramatic changes for the guys in both body composition and CFT numbers. Rory Q. was a monster. He put 6 lbs. of muscle on while dropping 11 lbs. of body fat! What?! I want results like that! He also added 65 lbs to his CFT. Great job Rory! Denis T. was an animal too, adding 7 lbs of muscle and 25 lbs added to his Total. Atta Boy! Mark Pelofsky. Dude was traveling all the time. California, Seattle, Italy. You know your average weekend getaway. He kept at it though. His dedication truly showed. Mark added 7 lbs of muscle and lost 2 lbs of body fat. He also added 45 lbs to his Total. I’m so happy for Mark. He worked really hard over these past 3 months and it really shows.
Oh, and there’s this guy Tim. You might have seen him around the gym before. At least you have if you’ve been there these past 3 months. I think he might have been in there as much as me! His numbers? Eh. They were alright. He put on, you know, only 18 lbs of muscle! Get the f@$& outta here! 18 Pounds?! 6 pounds a month? And to add to that, he lost a pound of body fat. Then there’s his Total. He added A. HUNDRED. POUNDS to his Total. A hundo. A Benjamin. You get the point. Unreal. I guess that leaves no doubt who is the winner for the guys. Tim B. I am proud to say that you are the men’s winner!
Kathy and Tim will be receiving a nice little prize package including some Progenex, Pure Pharma, and a gift card to help fuel their workouts from Starbucks. But to be honest, I really think everyone that did this was a winner. They all put up some serious #gains and will be killing it in classes, so watch out! If you see anyone wearing their new Challenge t-shirt in class (not for sale, must be earned), give them a little space because they are going to be going H.A.M. on their workouts from here on out.
With a bunch of feedback from all the athletes involved, I am contemplating starting a new Strength Challenge starting in September. It will run another 3 months and will be done before December and all the holiday commitments take up your attention. If you are interested, please see me or leave a message below.
Congratulations again to Kathy and Tim!
17 Jul 2014
First and foremost I am very proud of all my lifters. Everyone trained hard, showed up Sunday and gave 110%.
- Sharon walked away from the platform elated having not only achieving meet PR’s but lifetime PR’s on both lifts. She also went 6 for 6 successful lifts. Overall she increased her total by 6kg. Sharon got a silver 2nd Place Medal.
- Sophie competed in her first weightlifting meet and posted some very impressive numbers also going 6 for 6 successful lifts. She ended her total with her Clean and Jerk 1 kg from lifetime PR and matched her Snatch PR. Let me say these PRs were established 1 week from competition. Having gone 6 for 6 and hitting these numbers is mind blowing. It proves that the determination and hard work invested paid off. Sophie tied first place; however due to the other competitor weighing less, she medaled 2nd Place Silver.
- Sean has improved his form remarkably in the last year on both lifts, especially in a meet setting where you are attempting much higher weights than practice with 100 people watching. Sean Snatched higher than he did in his last meet but had some trouble with the clean and jerk. Next meet I am sure he will make these attempts he was aiming for.
- Joe was a last minute competitor having been accepted on the waitlist 2 weeks out. This was also Joe’s first weightlifting meet and he ended his snatch 1kg from his PR and hit a clean and jerk 1 kg more than his lifetime max. I think he performed remarkable when looking back on how little preparation he had as far as practicing the lifts consistently. I feel he is a natural lifter who has the ability to be great if he decides it is something he wants to pursue.
- Martin I know we all like to pick on Martin and he deserves most of it, but Martin showed up at my doorstep at 6:50am Sunday when he did not lift until 3-4 that afternoon. He helped me keep track of the warm up platform and the competition platform for 4 lifters. There was more than one instance that I had a lifter on each Platform and I would not have been able to manage this as effectively without Martin helping me with the early lifters and Sharon helping with the heavyweights. I know Martin stretches more than any human being needs, but he has also been a competitive athlete most of his life and it showed when he stepped on the platform. Martin hit 3 beautiful snatches obtaining a lifetime 5kg PR. He opened the clean and jerk with his last meet PR, and then hit a 5kg PR on his next lift. On the third lift he hit 100kg which is a 10kg lifetime PR and was so excited he dropped and celebrated before the judges told him “down” and he received a no lift. So on the books a 5kg PR but as far as I am concerned he nailed 100kg. We had a very frustrating week leading up in practice so I am very proud of the turnaround.
- Eric was also competing in his first meet. He has been training for months diligently. He needed a 205 total to qualify for National Masters so wanted to start somewhat conservative to ensure he made the minimum total. He very easily made the total and hitting 4 of 6 lifts but the misses were big jumps on the third lift of both snatch and clean and jerk but both went overhead easily just very minor mistakes that red flagged him. He is a very hard worker and has the ambition. No doubt he will succeed as far he wants to go with his endeavors.
~ Coach Julie G.
24 Jun 2014
There are many things throughout the day that cause us stress; work, family, traffic (especially this!), the foods we eat, exercise. And all of these stressors contribute to inflammation. Many of us may not realize that we are inflamed, but it manifests itself in such things as stiff muscles and joints, knots and swollen muscles, skin rashes, colds and other things you may not think of of as “inflammation.” Here’s a link to a good article written by Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple called “What is Inflammation?” Take note where he mentions that inflammation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s our body’s natural response to injury, pain, illness or stress.
While I could spend a lot of time discussing inflammation, I think Mark might be a little more qualified to talk about it more than I am. So, I’m going to use this opportunity instead to talk about a great way that I’ve personally used to reduce my inflammation. Most of my inflammation is the result of my training here at CFB. I eat a fairly clean diet (at least now I do), I have few external stressors in my life (did I get enough sleep last night before I had to wake up at O dark hundred to be in to coach?), and I have no major injuries (for now… thankfully). So my training leaves me pretty beat up. I am consistent with getting mobility work in every day, mostly because I know that it will make me feel better for my next workout. When I start getting to the point where I am spending almost an hour on mobility to get ready for a workout, I know that something has to give.
Luckily my training has some built in back-off weeks where I still do some work, but the volume is much lighter and it affords me the opportunity to focus on my recovery. During this time, I go in for a 60-90 minute massage (every month). This always gets me ready to do some solid work in the coming weeks, plus I always feel like a million bucks after I leave. I also increase my protein intake a bit for muscle recovery; eat a lot more fruits and veggies for their vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; and double my fish oil intake. See I know that the reason my muscles are tight and screaming at me every day is because they are inflamed from the work I am making them do for me day-in and day-out. Fish oil makes me physically feel better. My muscles become less swollen and my joints seem to lose their snap, crackle, and pop. Not to mention the other health benefits I reap from the increase in fish oil consumption.
When I went to Regionals to cheer on Carla, I did a little bit of booth hopping checking out all CrossFit products. I came across the Pure Pharma booth. I know them for their high quality fish oil, Vitamin D and Magnesium supplements. After a short conversation, I was asked if CrossFit Boston would like to carry their products to offer our members the benefits of their products. I brought this idea to Neal, and he said he wasn’t interested in carrying the products himself, but I could if I thought we had a need for it at the gym. And I did just that. I am now carrying Pure Pharma products at CFB. I believe we have some of the best protein we can get at CFB, and I wanted to carry something that we can all get benefits from. See I think (unfortunately) that a lot of members see taking a post-workout shake as something for a “competitive” CrossFitter. I don’t agree, but I think that we can all agree that EVERYBODY can reap the benefits of Fish Oil. That is why I decided to carry Pure Pharma. They are the best in the business, and it is in everyone’s interest to get the best stuff available to them.
I am carrying the entire Pure Pharma line. You can check it out here, and if you have questions, would like more information, or are interested in starting to see the benefits of these great products, you know where to find me.
16 Jun 2014
Sun’s Out Guns Out for the win! The CrossFit Boston softball team finally got their first win of the season. It took us 4 games to finally figure it out, but we worked it out. Why did I decide to write about this today? Well, I guess I’m proud of what we’ve all done and how far we’ve come. What follows is my version of how we got to our first win.
The first game of the season, we had literally NO idea what we were doing. No one knew what positions they were going to play or what was going to win us games. And it was obvious. The other team capitalized on this and annihilated us. So bad that the mercy rule came into play. That was the beginning of our journey to learning how to win. Many lessons were learned… and taught clearly.
The second game we found out who were our positional players and how to rotate players through positions. We had a little bit of batting practice afterwards (which may or may not have included a post-loss consolation cider… come on guys, beer isn’t paleo) that finally gave some people some time behind the bat that they needed.
The third game we thought we were going to be alright, but then something fell apart. Not sure what it was, but the wheels came off. It was kind of a frantic game. We played with the lineup, which actually taught us that we needed to play with the lineup again
This game was kind of a mess from the beginning too. We had 3 players who didn’t have a glove, so we had to ask some players from the other team if they wanted to join our team… which to be honest, we needed extra players since we barely had enough players to even play the game. (AAAAAHEEEEMMMMMM!) We had some ups and downs during the game. We were up by 7 or 8 points and all of the sudden, they came back and scored 11 runs in a single inning. We were moderately crushed. But we had another full inning to go, and only needed a couple of runs to tie it up. Batters up! We did it! We ended the inning up by 2 and only needed to hold out one last time in the field. It was a tough inning (mentally and emotionally), but we eded the inning without allowing a score.
So back to the question I asked earlier. Why did I decide to write about this? Because we all learned something. That is something everyone can take back to the gym. Every time we do something we should be thinking about how we can make that lift or movement easier. Learning how to make movements easier means that we have a better bar path or are using our hips in the most efficient manner. The more you do this, the more consistent you will be which just might get you that PR.
So take a lesson from our season thus far and learn something to make your time in the gym more effective.
12 May 2014
‘Sup peeps! I just wanted to get something off my chest.
While I love that you all come in an make mobility a part of your normal everyday routine, I would like to try to help you make the most of the time you spend mobilizing. Many of you roll in, change, and roll-out before class. Don’t roll in and roll out! Your body needs to be warm… and I mean WARM before you start. And don’t think that foam rolling is the cure for your tight hamstrings.
You should be getting hot & sweaty before your workout, then opening up joint capsules (banded distractions) then if you have a very sticky/tight spot, try spending 2 minutes doing some trigger point work on that spot, only if you’ve already gotten nice and warm and gone through some dynamic warm-up (yes, you can do this on your own before class too guys/girls).
In the cool down period following the workout you would effectively be doing an “active-cooldown.” Instead of laying on the ground, towelling off and heading out the door, spend some quality time moving and mobilizing as your body temperature returns to normal. This is where you will be addressing areas that us coaches have been telling you that you need to work on to increase you ROM. Some of that may be more trigger point or for those of you who can’t get enough of it, foam rolling work, to “unlock” areas that have knotted up during the workout. This will also assist in pushing blood through what you’ve just worked aiding in your recovery.
You can look at your mobility work as a planned session that is separate from group classes. Whatever you do, please… PLEASE don’t roll in to roll out.
Thinking of your future,
27 Apr 2014
Sup everyone! I’m hoping you’ve all heard the good news about the new challenge we are rolling out for the summer. If you haven’t, please read Neal’s Fire it up Friday post for the big picture of the program. He mentioned that we were going to roll out more details soon, so here’s the not-so-skinny (see what I did there?).
First, we want you to get strong. Thats what this is all about. I’m not going to rehash everything that Neal already said, so here’s some more information. The cost is going to be $200 (lump-sum), or $75/month as an add on to your monthly membership. Whoa, whoa, whoa… calm down for a second everyone. This covers the cost of both hydrostatic weigh-ins, a challenge shirt (it’ll be cool, I promise), and prize money for the winner. “How do you win G2?!” I hear ya. Simply put, the person who gets the strongest while putting on the most muscle. There’s a little more to it, but that will be outlined in the handout that will be available in the gym this week.
There will be some extra work that will be assigned/strongly-recommended-that-you-complete for every week. This will be in addition to the regular gym programming and will be in the form of mobility, lifting, nutrition advice, etc. Some general guidelines for food will be outlined before the program kicks off too. You can expect to have to do some extra work every day that you come in to work out. Since this is a strength program, the volume will gradually get higher and higher, with some back-off weeks as well. Get ready to work!!
I think between Neal and myself, we have laid out most of the program. If you have any questions, leave a comment or ask a coach. I don’t know about you, but I’m super pumped for this. Strength is my favorite thing to work on! (I just got myself pumped writing that!)
17 Apr 2014
Hey everyone. Over the past week, we have been doing a lot of heavy work and a lot of heavy overhead work (think EMOM Snatches Tuesday). While coaching some of these classes I might have limited some of you to only performing a power snatch instead of the full (I hate saying this, but…) squat snatch. If you recall, which I hope you do, the reason for this limitation was because you lack both thoracic and shoulder mobility. Well, here is a little science bomb for you.
I can already hear you… “Hey! G2! This is a video for the Push Press. Where’s the science stuff you were talking about?” Well, if you were a little more patient (just like your Clean and Snatch positions… hmmmm) then at around the 3:55 mark you would have heard Doug talking about the shoulder joint and all that stuff. Patience is a virtue…
09 Apr 2014
Many of us here have been an athlete at some point in our lives even if we don’t consider ourselves “athletes” (you are, you just need to find your inner “athlete”). Anywho, before I get off on a tangent, we have all heard the acronym R.I.C.E. in reference to an injury. It has become “common-knowledge” that for an athletic injury we employ Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation to help alleviate soreness and pain.
But the very same physician who coined the term R.I.C.E. has come out saying that Ice and complete Rest might not be the answer to helping us heal faster.
Read on here for more on this…