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Fire It Up! Fire It Up! This week felt as though I was in the gym for the first time in quite awhile. With Abigail first getting pneumonia and then the 3 consecutive weeks of storms and no school, Jess and I had to really juggle our schedules. For those of you that have missed me, I am happy to let you know that I am back and will be on the coaching schedule more frequently. 

Beginning today here are the classes that I will be instructing:

Tuesdays – 5:30pm
Wednesdays – 6am & 7am
Thursdays – 5:30pm
Fridays – 6am & 7am

 An Open Letter to the Gym

Dear “Regular” CFB Member,

We are sorry.  

We are sorry that for the next 5 weeks when a large number of people at the gym are going to be obsessing over this thing called the “CrossFit Open”.

For the uninitiated, ‘The Open’ is an annual event where people sign up to see how they rank against thousands of their peers.  To level the playing field as much as possible nobody knows what the workouts are ahead of time and  everyone’s reps are judged and counted using very specific standards.  

The workouts are announced on Thursday nights, and scores must be submitted online by Monday afternoon.  As a gym, we will be posting the workout as the gym’s 6:30PM WOD on Fridays.  But this minor change isn’t the main reason why we are apologizing.

For most who do the Open, it is a chance to set a baseline performance or to compare your progress from year to year.  It is also a great way dip your toe in the water from a competition standpoint. 

Doing the Open at your ‘home’ gym surrounded by supportive friends and coaches is a fun and instructive way to expose yourself to this side of CrossFit. Some people run 5ks or do bike races, for many people at our gym, this will be their ‘challenge of the year’.  

For some people at the gym, this is one of the most hectic times of the year… and that is who We are apologizing for.  For those who take competing very seriously, there is very little in life that duplicates the stress of the 5 week Open.  Nervously awaiting the announcement. Reading countless articles on how to attack the workout.  Doing the workout.  Checking the leaderboard 3-4 times a day (or hour!) to see how your score is moving around as other people enter theirs.  Repeating it when you are disappointed with your performance or if the team needs it. Etc.

Naturally this level of stress tends to make people a bit “crazy”.  Crazier than usual anyway.  You will notice people walking around with papers, some asking “Will you judge me?” or “Will you video me?” 

You will see groups of people doing the same workout all over the gym.  Sometimes they will be in an inconvenient place, asking for equipment, setting up cameras, or making too much noise during a class.  People will be hovering around the computers so they can ‘log their scores’ and ‘check the leaderboard’.

While it is inconvenient to those of you who aren’t doing the Open, keep in mind that for many people who have decided to participate in it this year, it is an extremely taxing and stressful time.  Let’s celebrate their decision to ‘step into the arena’… “whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…”.  Let’s support them by cheering them on, giving them space, letting them act out their quirky preparation routines, and understanding when they drop a few choice words if they fail to hit their mark after a second time through a particularly terrible workout.  These are your friends and classmates.  They are your tribe.  Let’s support them like you would your favorite sports team!

In return, we ask athletes doing the Open to promise to stay out of the way as much as possible and stick to the aforementioned schedule.  To understand that not everyone is doing the Open – and that is okay!  To understand that many people have no desire to do the Open again, or at all, and our gym is ultimately about leading better lives (not just about doing great in the Open).

So everyone (competitors and non competitors alike) need to get physically, mentally and emotionally ready for the Open.  It is going to be crazy in here for the next month or so, but for all of the weird stuff going on there is also a lot of great stuff too.  

The Open isn’t just a time for people to test and challenge themselves. It is a time to rally around our friends, training partners, and coaches.  A time to build a stronger community, and share in more than the sweat and effort we do every day. To share our collective ‘experience’.  To feel the highs, and lows, that come from doing something epic.

Get ready, because it is going to be a bumpy (and fun) ride!

March 1st Week of Programming

SUNDAY 3/1/15
In teams of two, complete four rounds, each for time of:
1000 meter row
Every minute on the minute, both partners must perform 5 burpees. Partition work as needed between efforts.

MONDAY 3/2/15
Five rounds for time of:
115/75 pound Snatch, 3 reps
115/75 pound Overhead squat, 15 reps
Row 500 meters

TUESDAY 3/3/15
AMRAP 5
20 Double-unders
10 Sit-Ups

Rest 5 min

AMRAP 5
5 Wall Climbs
5 Burpees

WEDNESDAY 3/4/15
1. Accumulate
a. 50-100 perfect push-ups
b. 25-50 shoulder pass-throughs and/or kip swings
c. 5-10 wall climbs

2. Pull-Up Madness. With a continuously running clock do one pull-up the first minute, two pull-ups the second minute, three pull-ups the third minute… continuing as long as you are able.

Use as many sets each minute as needed.

THURSDAY 3/5/15
1. 1RM Clean
2. 3×3-5 at 60-75% of your max effort with flawless technique

FRIDAY 3/6/15

1. Push Press-Work up to a heavy triple
2. Half-12.3

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 9 minutes of:
15 Box jumps, 24/20″ box
115/75 pound Push press, 12 reps
9 Toes-to-bar

SATURDAY 3/7/15
Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
75/55 pound Power snatch, 12 reps
10 Push-ups

A few years ago, when I was drinking the paleo kook-aid (yes, I drank it, yes I know “paleo kook-aid” is an oxymoron), I used to bristle at the advent of plant based diets and things like “Meatless Monday”. I felt tired of people pushing the no meat thing, annoyed that vegetarian diets are always deemed healthier despite the fact that studies on them are essentially comparing a group who has made a conscious decision about their health to a wider group of many who haven’t, and that many people do it wrong and just eat lots of pasta, rice, and bread. And THAT IS NOT HEALTHIER, I ranted. 

The Plant Based Diet 

Given that I’ve just written much of the above paragraph in the past tense, most of you have correctly guessed that my attitude has changed. The more I look at my own diet, at the paleo diet, and at research, the more I’m convinced that plant based diet IS the way to go. But what is a “plant based” diet? Based on a Google search, “plant based diet” is poorly defined (kind of like “fitness” before CrossFit). So, I’m making one up. According to the dictionary of Alexandra Black MPH, RD, LD, a plant based diet is:

A diet in which plant are the foundation of the diet. This diet consists primarily of non-animal nutrient sources. This includes vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, and grains, although some animal foods – meat, eggs, dairy – can be included from time to time. 

Of course, as with any diet, there are healthy and not-so-healthy plant based diets. Eggo waffles with Aunt Jemima syrup for breakfast, vegetable pizza for lunch, and a rice and beans Lean Cuisine for dinner is plant based, but not so healthy. Whereas a banana with peanut (or almond) butter for breakfast, vegetable stir fry with quinoa for lunch, and grilled chicken with vegetables and baked sweet potato for dinner is much healthier. 

Plant Based V. Paleo

The thing is, right now the consensus among experts is that eating meat at every meal increases your risk for heart disease, among other things. Right now there isn’t enough good research contrasting the “meat eating diet” (which, in most studies, is anyone who eats anything) compared to meat eaters who choose predominately organic or grass-finished animal products. There also isn’t any good research I”m aware of comparing vegetarians to the organic meat eaters. So it’s kind of a “what we know right now says X but we think it might say Y if research was different”. 

Another point I’d like to make is that most of our paleo ancestors also likely ate a plant based diet. Excepting the northern populations like those on the Aleutian Islands, most paleolithic people ate a lot of plants. They couldn’t go into the supermarket and buy all the meat they needed for the week at anytime. They had to hunt and kill their meat, so they only got it when they were able to do that. Otherwise, they ate plants and fruits and whatever else they could gather. 

So yes, plant based diets and paleo diets can – and should – live in harmony. Paleo is not supposed to be an excuse to eat bacon everyday, it is supposed to be one of many ways to find a healthful, sustainable diet. 

Photo c/o Marco Bernardini

20 Feb / 2015

Fire It Up Friday! 022015

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Fire It Up! We just got back from Florida with the family. It was great to take some time away and recharge the batteries. I can say that I didn’t miss the snow. Not one bit.

We did come home to a bit of water damage from all of the snow and ice on the roof. It would have been even worse had we not had it cleared before leaving. Today is going to be spent getting the newly accumulated ice dams off the roof to prevent further damage.

I hope that you all had a great week of training despite the arctic cold. I will see y’all in the gym this week.

~Neal

photo-7

Abby tried to bring the warmer weather back to Boston with her.

 

How’s it going CFB?

Today we’re taking a look at Kevin mid race. This is a video review that I put together to help him and you develop your stroke and find new areas to improve upon. I’ll be posting regular video reviews about once a week, usually on Thursdays. If you’d like feedback on your stroke or would like to see me talk about a certain area of the stroke, please let me know in the comments. If you’d like to be featured in the weekly Video Review please send me a 5 stroke video via email to [email protected]

Also, if you’d like to join in the fun in person, the Renegade Rowing Club practices every Monday morning at 6am and Wednesday evening at 6pm.  There will be new days and times starting in March, so keep an eye out. Everyone is welcome, just let me know via email – [email protected], and I can get you the details on how to get started and join the group. Share your thoughts to comments and get fired up for CRASH-B 2015!

Yes, you heard right. After 40 years of warnings that the amount of cholesterol in the American diet was a public health concern, the nation’s top nutrition advisory board is this year planning to do away with that warning. Because what fun would it be if we weren’t changing our minds about what’s healthy every other decade? You can read a little more about the announcement in the Washington Post.

Does This Mean All The Eggs And Bacon You Can Eat?

No, this does not mean you can pull a Ron Swanson. Basically, they’re saying the concern is less about dietary cholesterol itself, which isn’t really linked to blood cholesterol levels, and more about too many portions of foods high in saturated fat. The nutritionists list whole milk and butter as concerning, but I disagree a little bit.  As I said in an earlier article on saturated fat, some of the traditionally forbidden foods – red meat, butter, whole milk, can have nutrients if you’re getting them from the right source. I am far more concerned about saturated fat from processed foods than I am about organic, pasture raised cream in your coffee. As an example, one serving (4 oz) of 85-15 lean ground beef has 6.6 grams of saturated fat. That’s comparable to 12 Oreo cookies, 5 Eggo waffles, and 2 hostess cupcakes. While 5 waffles or 12 oreos sounds like a lot, they’re not completely unreasonable portions for the average American. But while the ground beef has nutrients like protein, zinc, and iron, the other foods just offer sugar and and refined carbohydrates (not that carbohydrates are not a nutrient, you just don’t need that many poor quality ones). 

So, enjoy your eggs and bacon. In moderate portions. And maybe lay off the Oreos :)

Photo c/o GmanViz

15 Feb / 2015

Hours: 2/16/15

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Hello Everyone! 

Here are the HRs for tomorrow, Monday, 16th:

7am – 7:30pm

Classes:

12:00, 4:30, 5:30, & 6:30

IMG_3474

We’re going to have to cancel that 3 PM class after all. The back lot is impassable without an SUV/4WD vehicle and the Jump On In/dance studio/boxing gym is totally unplowed so we can’t even park there. We will re-open tomorrow morning.

 

Looks like things have cleared up. We should be go for a 3:00 PM class, with open gym availability until 5:30 PM. In the event that the back alley is not passable, I’ll let you know here.

wite-out

Whoa. Just went out there and it’s a bit crazy! I guess this storm is legit and definitely did not miss us. I’m sure we’ll open at some point today, just not for the 9:30 class. Check back around 1 PM for more news.

Peace and bacon grease,
Mickey

14 Feb / 2015

Plans for Sunday

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Hey guys, I’ll be posting about the 9:30 class/gym opening time at around 7 AM tomorrow morning. Based on what I’m reading, the 9:30 class is unlikely. However, it’s looking like things should be getting better in the afternoon. If I were a betting man I’d bet that we’ll be able to be open in the afternoon. If we’re going to open in the afternoon, that news will come around 1 PM, and we’ll be open for 2.5 hours from the announced open time, probably from 3:30-6 or so. I know this is less than ideal, but it’s Mother Nature. When I find a way to control the weather, I promise to use my powers for good, not evil.

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