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30 Jul 2013

Protein Powder Pros and Cons

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Protein powders were once the stuff of pro athletes and ultra meatheads, but have gone mainstream over the past 10 or so years. I first tried it when I was 15. When I told a personal trainer I’d been seeing with my mom that my goal was to get a 6-pack, he recommended I take 2 scoops of muscle milk powder 1-2 times per day. So mom and I dutifully trekked down to GNC and bought the vanilla flavor. And it was AWFUL. I don’t think I took the recommended dose even once, and I certainly never got said 6 pack. I couldn’t get it to dissolve in anything – not water, not milk, not a smoothie. Only now, looking back with educated eyes, do I see how completely ridiculous it was for this bro to tell a 15 year old athlete to take a mostly unregulated supplement! The industry has gotten much better since then in terms of taste and palatability, but it is still mostly unregulated. It’s not all bad, and it can be a good idea for some people. But before you head down to Vitamin Shoppe, weigh the pros and cons first.

On Whey

The most popular form of protein seen in supplements is whey. There are several types, which are:

1. Whey Protein Isolate – this is the most pure form of whey protein and the most available to the body for absorption. It is about 90% protein by weight and tends to be the most expensive kind.

2. Whey Protein Concentrate – this is generally 29% – 89% protein by weight. While more affordable than WPI, it also contains a little more fat and lactose.

3. Hydrolyzed Whey Protein – this type of protein is predigested. While on one hand it is easier to absorb, there is some debate about how effective it is compared to un-hydrolyzed protein, and it’s more expensive.

Pro’s

  1. It can provide a quickly absorbed source of protein. Generally, liquids are digested more quickly than solid foods. So, by “drinking” your protein, your body is absorbing it faster, which is good for rebuilding muscle after a workout. 
  2. It’s convenient. Because it’s much easier to carry around a plastic baggy of powder to mix with water or milk than a tupperware of lean meat and complex carbohydrates (at least I think so).
  3. It’s a source of added calories. This can be a con, too. But if you’re a guy who is always wanting to gain 20 pounds but just can’t eat all the time, a protein supplement with milk can be a quick, not super filling source of additional kcals.

Cons

  1. It’s expensive. Depending on how good the stuff is, it cost anywhere from $20 – $30 per pound. 
  2. There can be unpleasant stuff in there. The front label will say 100% whey protein. Cool. Until you read the ingredients label, which can include artificial flavors. xantham gum, soybean or other oils, artificial sweeteners, sugar (hint: anything with “dextrose” on the end is a sugar), and other ingredients that may be healthy or may not but unless you have a PhD in chemistry, who knows!
  3. It’s a source of added calories. I realize this is in the pro section too. Because this is good for some people but not for others. If you are trying to lose weight, you’re better of waiting an extra 20 minutes to get home and make your next meal OR having an apple and some jerky. The food will obviously also have calories, but it’ll make you more full than the protein powder. When you’re trying to lose weight, staving off hunger is a huge help!
  4. It’s not paleo. Because I don’t care how happy and grass fed the cow is, you cannot tell me you object to processed foods but are totally OK with drinking extracted cow’s milk protein with artificial sweetener and other additives in powder form.

My Advice

If you feel protein powder is right for you, I recommend finding a  brand that has a short ingredients list (I think the brand Neal sells only has 3) and take it once per day following a workout. Take enough to equal about 30 grams of protein. Any more than that and your body won’t use it as efficiently. You’re better off taking 30 grams at one time and eating a nice steak and salad an hour or so later than taking 60 grams of protein in one Blender Bottle. Whey protein is generally the best, and I recommend whey protein isolate, as it’s the most available form.

If you don’t want to take protein powder (I personally always felt it was more of a burden), just make sure you’re still recovering. Bring a snack with protein and carbs like jerky and fruit, chocolate milk, or trail mix for after your workout.

30 Jul 2013

CFB Grappling Seminar Friday

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What Do You Do With Your Fitness?

If you have been around CrossFit Boston for some time you have probably noticed that CFBers like to use their fitness for more than just moving the barbell.  We climb, kayak, race, row and everything in between.

When I started CrossFitting at CrossFit Atlanta in 2007 I did so not to be better at CrossFit but to be better at my sport, which at the time was Thai Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Last year CFB introduced a club grappling program which met a couple of times of week to review technique, spar and talk the philosophy/history of combat sport.  The program even produced some competition champions, notably Jo “Big Show” Bernstein who placed 2nd in a local no-gi competition against some sturdy competition.

This fall we will be bringing the grappling program back to CFB.  Days and times are TBD but to kick things off there will be a no-gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu seminar (BJJ is traditionally practiced in a heavy jacket) at CFB this Friday August 2nd from 6:30pm until 8ish….  Everyone is welcome to attend regardless of experience level.

Where: CrossFit Boston Iron & Grit 114 Western Ave

Time: 6:30pm

What to wear:  Regular training attire, Relatively tight fitting, Compression Shorts & Rash Guards/ Under Armor Shirts Recommended.

What to Expect:  We will be reviewing a number of basic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu positions, concepts and submissions.

We will also have a special guest attending.   2010 IBJJF Pan American Champion and 2010 American Open Qualifier Jacob Hebeisen.

For more information contact Coach Jason :

[email protected]

29 Jul 2013

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

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Overhead Squat (45%/5, 55%/5, 65%/3, 75%/max reps then back down)
 
Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)
Complete as many rounds in 12 minutes as possible…

3 Snatch 135#/95#
6 Snatch grip deadlift, 135#/95#
18 Wallball shots, 20#/14#

28 Jul 2013

“Wanna Throwdown” Finals

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Wow! What a weekend. Friday we had our final event for the “Wanna Throwdown” series, and we were inundated with the CrossFit Games out in California. Can you believe it! Rich Froning won AGAIN! Im not entirely convinced this guy is actually even human. A big congratulations to CrossFit New England as well for their second place finish in the team series. Friday nights throwdown was crazy! We ended the whole series with a  benchmark WOD that many have probably not done before, Fight Gone Bad. And not only did we do that, we surprised everyone with the 5 round version. All I can say is that It. Was. Brutal. Overall, there were some solid performances that night. The results for the final event are as follows:

Men’s Rx

  1. Dave Y.
  2. Kiel
  3. Dennis T.

Women’s Rx

  1. Hannah W.
  2. Cori B.
  3. Anli J.

Men’s Scaled

  1. Lukas K
  2. Shirtless Bob
  3. Kevin W.

Women’s Scaled

  1. Sophie H
  2. Isle B.
  3. Tina r.

The final standings for the whole series are:

Men’s Rx

  1. Dennis T.
  2. Keith C.
  3. Jose R.

Women’s Rx

  1. Cori B
  2. Anli J.

Men’s Scaled

  1. Vadim
  2. Shirtless Bob

Women’s Scaled

  1. Sophie H
  2. Isle B.

I would also like to give a big shout out to Lukas Kay. He was the only teen we had competing and he kicked some serious butt. He will be competing soon at New England. Congratulations to the winners for their hard won victory. Congratulations as well to everyone who partook in the competition. We had a great time hosting it, and are looking forward to the next one already.

Since we are speaking of competitions, Neal announced on Friday about a competition that all the coaches will be going out to compete in this coming Sunday at CrossFit Great Barrington. This is the gym that coach Tito coaches at over the summer while he is out there with The Boston Pops at Tanglewood. An invitation has been given to to all members of our gym to come out and compete alongside your coaches against the CFGB coaches and members. If you have any questions just ask a coach for more details.

26 Jul 2013

FIRE IT UP FRIDAY – JULY 26TH

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Here we are everyone!  It’s Friday, we have the last event of the “Wanna Throwdown” ih-house competition, and the week has presented some different challenges in the programming for members.

Week Recap

On Monday we tackled a long time domain with a 30 minute every minute on the minute workout consisting solely of bodyweight movements: the pull-up, push-up and sit ups.  I think many of you were surprised as to how taxing this WOD was even if you scaled the volume by half.  Additionally, the mental aspect to continue to push through after 20 minutes when you may have just wanted to stop.  Training sessions consisting of 30 minutes plus are not the norm but they cannot be avoided if you are training for the highest level of well rounded fitness.

Wednesday and Thursday threw in the twist of having to complete sets unbroken in the swings and double unders.  Having the ability to perform skills while under great fatigue comes from many hours of practice and a higher level of fitness.  I find it useful to move between movements at a slower pace to allow a bit of recovery very helpful.  I noticed many of you doing the same.

We have been continuing the strength cycle using max reps at percentages of your 1 rep max and it has been working very well in building confidence  in pushing through perceived limitations.  Each week your numbers should be climbing with the constant exposure to time under tension.

“Wanna Throwdown”

Tonight is the final event of the series and winners will be announced.  The competition has been fierce thus far and many of you have achieved new levels in ability and confidence in your current capacities.  Competition is great in the manner as it pushes on to further heights otherwise may not have been achieved.

This last event is being sponsored by Appalachian Jerky & Notch Brewing Company.  If you have tried the jerky we carry in house then you already know how good it is!  It has a little bit of heat and it is 100% Paleo friendly!  Samples will be available for all to try.

Appalachian Jerky Company is two guys, Ron and Doug, who enjoy high quality and flavorful beef jerky (not the mass produced, processed and bland junk). Our jerky varieties are made in the Green Mountains of Vermont using strips of lean top round steak and intense brines.

Notch, the first brewing company to focus exclusively on session beer. We held the title of “only session beer company” for three years. Imagine that, three years of people telling us we were nuts, crazy and had lost our minds to focus on session beer. But today, in 2013, we are on the front edge of the trend, and no longer the lunatic fringe.

Notch was launched in February of 2010 by Chris Lohring, a professional brewer since 1993, most notably at the Tremont Brewery in Boston MA. Today, Chris is an independent brewer – he owns no facility – instead brewing with other breweries. He currently brews his beers at two locations, the Ipswich Ale Brewery (Bottles, Draft, Cask) and Kennebunkport Brewery (Cask and One-Off).

Notch was born to debunk a myth born of the craft beer movement, that flavorful beer is synonymous with high alcohol. In the US, brewing great beer without a debilitating ABV had seemed all but dead. Not anymore. Beers of great flavor and lower alcohol have been brewed for hundreds of years in every great brewing nation except ours. Notch is not out to change the US craft beer world, but to simply offer craft beer fans an option. Because sometimes having another beer is more fun than going home.

Please thank Doug tonight when you see him for sponsoring our event!

Tonight we have an additional treat for everyone.  Ryan Shawgo of Danzan Ryu Boston will be offering free 15 minute deep tissue massages for athletes and spectators that wish to partake.  I have had two sessions with Ryan and they have been exactly what I have needed.  I have left feeling super refreshed and for those of you that are aware, I have been battling a right hip/knee issue since the CrossFit Games Open.  Two sessions with Ryan and I have had a significant breakthrough allowing me to resume almost all activities.  I strongly encourage that you take advantage of the sessions and book some additional sessions with Ryan. He is conveniently located in Cambridge.

What’s on Tap

Saturday 7/27
“Collin”
6 Rounds for time
400m run with 50#/35# sandbag
12 Push press, 115#/75#
12 Box Jumps, 24″/20″
12 Sumo Deadlift High Pull, 95#/65#

Sunday 7/28
Complete 5 rounds for time (each round)
20 Pull-ups
20 Push-ups
20 Sit-ups
20 Squats
Rest 1:00

Monday 7/29
Overhead Squat – 45%/5, 55%/5, 65%/3, 75%/max reps then back down

Complete as many rounds in 12 minutes as possible
3 Snatch, 135#/95#
6 Snatch grip deadlift, 135#/95#
18 Wallball shots, 20#/14#

Tuesday 7/30
“Filthy Fifty”
For time:
50 Box jump, 24″
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 16kg
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45#
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20#
50 Burpees
50 Double unders

Wednesday 7/31
Press – 50%/5, 60%/5, 70%/3, 80%/max reps and then back down

Tabata Sets (lowest reps is the score)
Air dyne (calories)
Push-ups
Air Squats

Thursday 8/1
Front Squat – 50%/5, 60%/5, 70%/3, 80%/max reps and then back down

Complete Every minute on the minute for 15 minutes
1 Squat clean, 185#/125#
3 Over the bar burpees

Friday 8/2
Jerk – 15 minutes to work up to a heavy single

7 rounds for time…
500m run
15 Toe to bar

Get after y’all! It’s Fire It Up Friday!

25 Jul 2013

COULD YOU ROW A HALF-MARATHON?

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Top CrossFit Athletes from around the world kicked off the second workout of the CrossFit Games yesterday by rowing a half-marathon.  That’s 21,097 meters for time!  But it wasn’t just a Half-Marathon, they had to decide if they wanted to row an all out 2k in the beginning, which counted as another workout for the standings.  It took many athletes around an hour and a half to get through it with the top finishers coming in at 1:18 for the men and 1:27 for the women.

CrossFit Boston has a solid group of athletes beginning their rowing career and perhaps one day they’ll tackle a half-marathon themselves.  Tuesday and Wednesday the Renegade Rowing Team had its first practice of the season at Community Rowing Inc. on the Charles River.  They learned how to carry a boat, setup the oars, and row in a barge.  They also tackled a couple of solid workouts including tabata squats and a metcon involving a 400m run, air squats, and push ups.  If you see a Renegade Rower in your class ask them about their experience and what they would hold for a Half-Marthon.

What 500m Split would you hold for 21,097 meters in a row? 1:50, 1:55, 2:05, 2:10?

Hit us back with your thoughts in comments and like this post if you want to try a Renegade Rowing Class!

Thor showing the team what's up!

Thor showing the team what’s up!

Top CrossFit Athletes from around the world kicked off the second workout of the CrossFit Games yesterday by rowing a half-marathon.  That’s 21,097 meters for time!  But it wasn’t just a Half-Marathon, they had to decide if they wanted to row an all out 2k in the beginning, which counted as another workout for the standings.  It took many athletes around an hour and a half to get through it with the top finishers coming in at 1:18 for the men and 1:27 for the women.

CrossFit Boston has a solid group of athletes beginning their rowing career and perhaps one day they’ll tackle a half-marathon themselves.  Tuesday and Wednesday the Renegade Rowing Team had its first practice of the season at Community Rowing Inc. on the Charles River.  They learned how to carry a boat, setup the oars, and row in a barge.  They also tackled a couple of solid workouts including tabata squats and a metcon involving a 400m run, air squats, and push ups.  If you see a Renegade Rower in your class ask them about their experience and what they would hold for a Half-Marthon.

What 500m Split would you hold for 21,097 meters in a row? 1:50, 1:55, 2:05, 2:10?

Hit us back with your thoughts in comments and like this post if you want to try a Renegade Rowing Class!

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Disclaimer: none of the above players have ever used or been suspected of using PEDs!

Clean sport. Athletes doing accomplishing amazing things with hard work and a solid, healthy diet. Or as baseball fans like to say about Babe Ruth “hitting home runs on beer and hot dogs” . But the past few years I feel like there is just one doping scandal after another. For every athlete like Ray Lewis or Ray Allen using a healthy diet to get the edge, there are athletes using the latest performance enhancing drugs/substances. The drug tests are getting more sophisticated and rules are getting tighter – as a college athlete I remember about taking an average of 3-5 times random drug tests per year. Drug tests are super fun and basically involve waking up at 5 am and walking/scootering to the Stadium so a compliance official could watch me pee in a cup. But hey, at least I wasn’t a pro athlete, so nobody ever showed up on my doorstep unannounced to watch me pee in a cup. But I digress.

This year alone we’ve seen a couple of scandals, including

  • Lance Armstrong finally admit to doping, stripped of all 7 Tour de France titles, and sued a LOT
  • ARod and several other MLB players suspended for illegal substances in connection with the Biogenesis lab in South Florida, most recently Ryan Braun of Milwaulkee
  • Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell – for those who don’t follow Track & Field, these men are the 2nd and 4th fastest 100 m sprinters – tested positive for PEDs less than a month before the world championships

There are a lot of arguments for both sides. Some say we’re fighting an uphill battle and should just allow PEDs in professional sports. Others say technology is getting better and we should keep fighting to preserve clean, drug free sport. But it isn’t necessarily that black and white. Some things I tend to think about in this “gray area”:

1. I am a purist and I think all sport should be clean. I’ve been competing in something since I was 8 years old and never once did I consider taking something illegal. Then again, there isn’t a lot of pressure among gymnasts and women pole vaulters to take PEDs, and I never had the carrot of a multi million dollar contract on the line.

2. Anabolic steroids can cause health problems later on. We know they’re bad. But there are a lot of other “banned substances”, deemed illegal because they may enhance performance just a little too much. Olympic pole vaulter Brad Walker makes a great point about this here.

3. In 1994 the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) essentially deregulated the supplement industry, meaning athletes need to be extremely careful about what they buy. Supplements we think nothing of buying at CVS like fish oil, enzymes, or even cough medicine could contain a banned substance. As you notice, some of these are nutrition supplements, so it’s a Catch-22. As a dietitian I may recommend a fish oil supplement or BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) to reduce the stress competitive athletics puts on your body, but many of these supplements may contain a banned substance.

*If you’re curious, here is a list of banned substances from the WADA.

So, what do you think? Should we pursue clean sport, or legalize PEDs? What about CrossFit? Do you think there are people using PEDs in CrossFit, and if so, do you think they should undergo the same testing and regulation as other sports?

22 Jul 2013

“Wanna Throwdown” Update

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Finally! Finally we have some tolerable weather. The past couple of weeks have been brutally hot and humid as everyone can attest to. I think we all owe Neal a little gratitude for not programming too many long running WOD’s during that time… although, I am expecting more of those to show up here pretty soon. Also, thankfully the last “Wanna Throwdown” event was inside. Friday was the epitome of hot and humid.

Thanks again for the showing on Friday night. I think everyone knew going into Friday that there would be rowing involved for the event. The WOD looked sorta simple on paper, but I must say that after completing it, I thought I was going to pass out. Those short and fast WOD’s always get me. Here are the results from Friday:

Men’s Rx:

  1. Dave Y.
  2. Dennis T.
  3. Chris S.

Women’s Rx:

  1. Sharon L.
  2. Katie L.
  3. Cori B.

Men’s Scaled:

  1. Lukas K
  2. Kevin W.
  3. Vadim S.

Women’s Scaled:

  1. Sophie H.
  2. Isle B.
  3. Jessie O.

Awesome work everyone. Here are the top 3 overall standings with points going into the last event:

Men’s Rx:

  1. Dennis T.    7
  2. Keith C.       8
  3. Dave Y.       10

Women’s Rx:

  1. Cori B.        5
  2. Anli J.        11

Men’s Scaled:

  1. Lukas K     12
  2. Vadim S.   16
  3. S. Bob        21

Women’s Scaled:

  1. Sophie H.    7
  2. Isle B.          9
  3. Meg A.       17

As you can see there is still some room to make position changes. What’s in store for this Friday? It could be just what you need to take the top spot. Any given… Friday.

 

19 Jul 2013

Fire It Up! July 19th

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Here we go!  It’s another Friday AND tonight is the 3rd event of the “Wanna Throwdown” Series.  Each week the energy has gotten higher as we get closer to the final event.  More on the standings later.

Week in Review

This week’s programming incorporated some strength accessory work and interval training.  It was a great shake up from pure CrossFit style training of “For Time” or and “AMRAP” so that time domains and movements that normally may be neglected can get some attention too.

I know that many of you enjoyed the training with odd objects.  Though these parts of the workouts were not being measured, they do play a role is developing greater fitness and performance.  Keep an open mind with them and have fun.

This has been a really warm summer.  I cannot tell you how great it is to have the air conditioning so that we can keep the training intense and not have to worry about if the floor is soaking wet from sweat and humidity.  When we were in the old space on Terrace Street, I would have to alter the programming just on account of safety.  Audrey has reminded me every time she comes into the gym.

“Wanna Throwdown”

Tonight is the 3rd event of the “Wanna Throwdown” Series.  This event will also be the tryouts for Coach Pat’s Renegade Rowing Team.  Thus far the standings are shaking out as follows:

Women’s Scaled
Sophie H – 6 points
Isle B – 7 points

Men’s Scaled
Lukas K – 11 points
Vadim S – 13 points
Shirtless Bob – 16 points

Women’s Rx
Cori B – 2 points
Anli J – 7 points

Men’s Rx
Keith C – 4 points
Dennis T – 5 points
Sean T – 11 points
Jose R – 13 points

The race for first is tight in all of the divisions.  At this point it’s still any person’s race.  I expect the competition to get more fierce.

What’s on Tap

Here is this upcoming weeks programming:

Saturday 7/20
1. Heaving snatch balance – 6×3
perform 5 L-sit pull-ups between sets

2. Tabata Push Press, 75/55
rest 1 minute
Tabata Sit-ups

Sunday 7/21
1. Thruster – 45%/5, 55%/5, 65%/3, 75%/max reps and then back down

2. AMRAP6 – Complete as many reps in 6 minutes – Power Clean, 135/95

3. 10 minutes of midline work

Monday 7/22
1. Complete every minute on the minute for 30 minutes
5 chest to bar pull-ups
8 push-ups
12 sit-ups

2. 12 minutes of handstand practice

Tuesday 7/23
1. 3 Touch and Go Cleans – build up to a 3 rep max

2. Run 3 x 200m – 1 minute cap

Wednesday 7/24
1. Push press – 45%/5, 55%/5, 65%/3, 75%/max reps and then back down

2. Complete 3 rounds for time…
20 Front rack barbell lunges, 95/65
15 Unbroken overhead swings, 32kg/24kg

Thursday 7/25
1a. Bent over row – 6×6 (go heavier than 7/16 or as heavy as possible)
1b. Handstand push ups – 6×3 (greatest range of motion possible)

2. Complete as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes of this ascending ladder

5 unbroken double unders
2 chest to bar pull-up
10 unbroken double unders
4 chest to bar pull-ups
15 unbroken double unders
6 chest to bar pull-ups
20 unbroken double unders
8 chest to bar pull-ups

40 unbroken double unders
16 chest to bar pull-ups
etc

Rx – double unders must be unbroken

Friday 7/26
Partner WOD – Complete for time
Row 5k
10 Burpee Box Jumps, 24″/20″

While partner 1 performs 10 burpee box jumps, partner 2 begins the 5k row. Once the 10 BBJ’s are finished the partners switch. Partner 2 then performs 10 burpee box jumps and partner 1 continues on the 5k row.

Continue switching back and forth until the 5k is complete for time.

Get after it!  Be sure to be hydrating.  During these hot days its not a bad idea to weigh yourself before class and again after to see how much weight loss occurred due to sweat.  Then consume approximately 16 ounces for every pound lost.  This will keep you feeling great and your performance high.

FIRE IT UP BABY!


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