27 Nov / 2014
Yesterday my Abigail’s, my 4.5 year old daughter, school performed their Thanksgiving Celebration in grand style with a performance that played out the First Thanksgiving. It was wonderful to see the hard work she had put in by practicing to and from school every day now the last 4+ weeks pay off. She was having a blast up there and she and her classmates did an excellent job.
I mention this not to brag about my daughter, though I am happy to do so, but rather it led me to think about what I am most thankful for. It’s sad that this is probably the single time where many actually express their gratitude out loud. Here goes:
- I am thankful for each you as members of our community. You trust the Staff and I in leading you to a lifelong pursuit of health and fitness. It is a responsibility that I take very seriously. We have the ability to change lives and that is what we try to do each day while being the best part of your day. No small task. Thank you for the challenge and continuing support!
- I am thankful for my Staff. I appreciate your efforts to give more to each member of our community. Your professionalism is inspiring. Your efforts to improve your skills is enduring and I wish you all continued success!
- I am thankful for my family. My two girls for keeping me grounded and reminding me that when I walk through the doors at home, they are my priority. My wife for being such a rock and weathering the good and not so good. You all are my continued drive to create something even greater than I can imagine.
I hope that each of you enjoy the next couple of days and that you have the opportunity to express your thanks and gratitude to those dearest to you.
25 Nov / 2014
Hmm, “Turkey TWOD” may be redundant, but in this season of excess, I’m sticking with it! Here is the TWOD for Friday:
1. “Hulk Salad” (modified)
8 minutes to establish max weight without removing hands from the bar:
2 Cleans (first from ground, second from hang; can be squat cleans, but they don’t count toward front squats)
2 Front Squats
2 Shoulder to Overhead
Rest 8 minutes, score is pounds successfully complexed.
2. “Super 88″
8 Rounds for Time (14 minute cap)
8 calorie row
8 Burpee box-jumps
Rest 8 minutes, score is reps completed plus 5 reps for every FULL minute under the cap.
1 HSPU or accumulate 15s in handstand hold
8 ball slams
Score is total reps.
Peace and bacon grease!
P.S. I can’t remember who I had this discussion with, but in 2013, Maroon 5 “became the third most-played artist on Top 40 Mainstream radio,” based on Clear Channel owned Mediabase, becoming one of the most successful acts of Interscope Records.“
Hey CFB! Who’s ready for Turkey?
Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year and I can’t wait for next week. Be sure to check below for the holiday schedule! Congrats to all of those athletes who PR’ed this week. I hope you all enjoyed attacking your 1RM Power Clean, 1RM Shoulder Press, “Cindy” and “Mary”. We’ve had some epic days in the gym with classes packed and everyone throwing down. The Olympic Lifting, Strength, and Rowing Programs have been blowing up and it’s awesome to see everyone working so hard to reach their goals. Bring your “A” game for this weekend and next week leading up to Thanksgiving. I’ve got some fun in store!
Mobility Awesomeness w/ Coach Jen!
Don’t forget to drop in and get your stretch on with Coach Jen every Wednesday evening at 7:30pm and Saturday morning at 8:00am! If you are tight, run down from a solid week of training, or in need of some good breathing, get there! Do it. Do it.
Renegade Rowing League 1 – Saturday at 8am!
If you’d like to retest your 2k and race head to head with members of the Renegade Rowing Club and other gyms in the area, sign up on the whiteboard and come ready to race! Here is some more info on the event.
Holiday Party – December 6th from 6pm to 9pm at Daedalus in Harvard Square
Bring a friend and have some fun! We’ll all be there! Get pumped!
CFB T-Shirt Contest! Help us Vote for our next T-Shirt!
CFB Thanksgiving Schedule:
- No 8AM Master’s Classes next week
- Wednesday 11/26
- 6am, 7am, 12pm classes (NO OPEN GYM BETWEEN MORNING AND NOON CLASS)
- No evening classes
- Thursday 11/27 – CLOSED
- Friday 11/28 – TurkeyWOD 10am – 12pm
- Saturday – 10am ONLY
- Sunday – 9:30am
Here is the programming for the week! Have fun and go hard!
Complete For Time …
25 KB Goblet Squats (1.5/1)
50 KB Swings
75 Double Unders
50 KB Swings
25 KB Goblet Squats
Teams of 2
One person working at a time.
Complete For Time …
30 Clean and Jerks (135/95)
60 KB Swings (1.5/1)
90 Wall Balls (20/15)
120 Double Unders
1a. Fish Game x2
1b. 20 Reverse Lunges x2
1c. 10 Push Ups x2
10 Bench Press @65%
5 Pistols Each Leg
3. Gymnastic Skills:
10min Handstand Practice Balancing Without Wall/Assistance
1. Back Squat
5 reps @ 75%
Kipping pull-ups 10.10.10, rest 3 minutes
3 reps @ 85%
Kipping pull-ups, 10.10.10, rest 3 minutes
1+ reps @ 95%
Kipping pull-ups 10.10.10
2. AMRAP6 (For Reps)
9 Air Squats
6 Push Press (85/55)
Max Free Handstand Hold*
*Every second spent in a free handstand or handstand off the wall counts as one rep
Touch and Go
Bar Speed on Drive
21 KB Swings
12 Pull Ups
Compete For Time w/ Family and Friends…
“The Gobble Gauntlet”
50 Sit Ups
40 Air Squats
20 Push Ups
10 Split Squat Jumps
1. Run 1 Mile
5 Push Ups
5 Jump Squats
20 Nov / 2014
Hopefully you have been practicing the breathing technique I outlined a few weeks ago. In the beginning it may seem odd or ineffective but if you stick with it daily, you will begin to notice some differences. One of the differences is the ability to tap into your Alpha Mind.
What is the Alpha Mind?
Alpha brain waves occur between 7 and 14 cycles per second – which is between sleeping and wakefulness. While functioning at this level, apart from the usual left brain activity, our right brain also gets activated. This makes a person’s thinking very powerful, very intuitive and very creative . This level connects us with our subconscious and helps us to access the amazing powers lying dormant there.
Imagine the kind of creativity you can tap into when your entire brain is available. This allows you to achieve things that you never dreamed possible, tapping into dormant brain powers that lie within each of us but few ever recognize. Practice of breathing and meditation for 15 minutes everyday improves memory and sharpens the mind.
How To Reach Your Alpha Mind
To tap into the hidden powers of your mind, you must learn the basics of meditation. To reach a state of alpha consciousness, you must first achieve a level of deep relaxation, completely removed from your worries and stressors. Your mind will wander to this and that. Training your mind to release these things requires tremendous willpower and regular practice.
Sit with your eyes closed and make sure you have at least 15 uninterrupted minutes to practice your breathing. First exhale your breath through your nose so that your lungs are completely deflated to a count of 5. Then hold that for a count of 5. Next inhale through your nose for a count of 5 and then hold for another count of 5. Repeat this cycle until the 15 minutes is up.
If you notice your mind becoming distracted just refocus on your breathing. This act alone will bring you back to the task.
This doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why it’s so important to set aside a solid 15 minutes each day to focus on your breathing and meditations. This time will be used to focus your energies, clear your mind of the day’s thoughts and inch closer to a state of alpha consciousness.
Why Should YOU Try This?
Here is what I have noticed while I have been practicing my breathing and meditation daily for the last 4 weeks. I have noticed considerable improvement in my daily focus and productivity. I have been studying a lot for the business and I am beginning to formulate plans for its future to make it even better for you as our community and for the staff.
I have been sleeping more soundly and feeling more rested each day. On most days I am getting between 7.5-9 hours of high quality of sleep where previously I was only sleeping 5-6 hours per night. Dan G remarked the other morning that I appear to be the least stressed of any time that the gym was in the process of relocating. My training has improved and I have achieved positive changes in body composition.
My relationships have improved because I am more patient with them. This makes me a better husband, father, boss, son, brother, and Coach. Generally, I am more fun to be around! HA!
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t allow your preconceived notions to allow you to miss out on something very powerful.
3, 2, 1…GO!
19 Nov / 2014
Last week, clinical psychologist and UMass medical school professor Sherry Pagoto wrote a great thought piece in Psychology Today on the idea that we avoid exercise because we don’t like to be uncomfortable. I thought it made a lot of sense, and then I started thinking about how it could apply to nutrition: do we struggle with sticking to a plan because we’ve gotten so used to being “comfortable”? Think about it. We’re used to grabbing a piece of dark chocolate when we crave it, used to having a snack ready the moment we’re hungry, used to having too much food rather than to little. It occurred to me how bad I am at being hungry, which made me think of the Hunger Games, and how the people form District 12 could survive hardship because they “knew how to be hungry” (because sometimes I think about how I would do if the Hunger Games happened to me). And I thought about the concept of being “hangry” – the idea that it’s socially acceptable to be mean and angry just because you are hungry, reinforced by the hilarious Snickers commercials (linking you to the one with Manziel, you’re welcome). I think some people go the whole day without being hungry, and we’re taught this is a good strategy for losing or maintaining weight.
But what if it’s not? What if it’s good for us to notice our hunger. To get comfortable being uncomfortable for a little while. And since I think some forms of intermittent fasting can be very helpful in rediscovering your hunger cues, I am re-sharing this post from last year.
IF comes in a variety of plans and structures. The most popular of these are:
Periodic Fasting – eat normally for 5 days of the week. For 2 non-consecutive days, reduce calorie intake, usually to 500-600 calories. You can spread out the calories into smaller snacks or eat one meal after 24 hours of fasting (so, say you started at 7 pm the night before, you could eat 500-600 calories at 7 pm the next day).
Restricted Eating Period – eat normally, but only for a set window during the day. Most people using this plan eat during an 8 hour window starting around 10 am – 12 pm and lasting until 6 – 8 pm. This essentially equates to skipping breakfast and making lunch your first meal.
Benefits of Fasting
Supporters of intermittent fasting have claimed a wide range of benefits from the practice, including
- Reduced inflammation
- Weight loss
- Faster metabolism
- Lower LDL and total cholesterol levels
- Improved blood glucose and insulin levels
- Protection against cardiovascular disease
- Sugar cravings. When you first start out fasting, the body will need to adjust between using carbs for fuel and using fat for fuel, during which time you may experience some cravings. However, this is common when starting any lower carbohydrate or reduced sugar diet.
- Blanket Prescriptions. Most alternate day fasts prescribe 500 calories for women and 600 for men on fasting day. But what about differences in energy needs among different people? If I’m a small woman doing little exercise, 500 calories might be about 1/3 of my usual daily needs. But if I’m a larger man doing high intensity interval training (like CrossFit) 5 times a week, 600 calories might be less than ¼ of my usual daily needs.
- Does It Make Sense? IF first reached the mainstream around 2003, when The Warrior Diet was published. The Warrior Diet basically prescribed fasting all day and eating one large meal at night because this is what Paleolithic man and Roman soldiers did. But just because Caesar’s army or Paleolithic man did something doesn’t mean we should be doing it. They ate the way they ate because it was all they had. Now we have the knowledge and ability to really optimize our diet. Let’s not waste it blindly copying our ancestors.
- Is There a Ramadan Bias? Many studies I found citing the benefits of fasting on health markers were based on studies conducted among observers of Ramadan, a religious fast during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. During Ramadan, observers do not eat or drink anything after sunrise and may eat again when the sun sets. However, many IF protocols look nothing like Ramadan. So, are the benefits the same?
After a brief review of PubMed (an extensive online research database), I came to the following conclusions:
A lot of the studies with drastic positive findings were conducted in animals – mostly mice, rats, and fur seals. While the physiological changes observed in these studies support the benefit claims, the findings have not been replicated on a large scale in humans.
A good portion of the human studies on intermittent fasting – especially in athletes – were conducted among people observing Ramadan. Research conducted as of 2012 indicates that the effects of Ramadan fasting are small if the athlete maintains energy and fluid intake during eating times, maintains a normal training schedule, and gets 8 hours of sleep. Studies have also shown that Ramadan fasting lead to decreased power and increased muscle fatigue in football players, decreased performance among middle distance runners, loss of sleep, and increase in subjective fatigue. In addition, most studies on Ramadan have been conducted when it took place during winter months – with shorter days and milder weather – and more research is needed for times when Ramadan falls in the summer.
As for the research on humans not observing Ramadan, the pickings were slim. One study found that both IF and continuous diet with energy restriction resulted in weight loss and improvements in insulin sensitivity, leptin, cholesterol and other health markers among obese women (Arqin et al 2012). Similar results were seen in obese, young women and men. (Harvie et al 2011). Another study found that calorie restricted IF, both with food and with liquid meals may help reduce CHD risk factors, although the IF with liquid meals resulted in greater results. It’s important to note, though, that the IF diet in this study was not compared to a similar continuous diet.
My Takeaway? Cutting out extra calories is a well-recognized strategy for losing weight and improving health overall. IF is just as good a strategy as a “normal” lower calorie diet for cutting back on calories.
So, Should You Try Fasting?
I don’t think you SHOULD fast, but I think you COULD fast. I always tend to recommend a stable diet consisting of quality foods, with intake based on hunger cues. However, the what, why, when, and how of eating is different for everyone. So if you wanted to try fasting as a way to lower calorie intake, then I think it is a good strategy worth trying.
There is one situation in which I would recommend IF – if you have lost your hunger. It’s easy in our American culture of food availability and glorification of “busy” to stop eating for hunger and start eating for a bunch of other reasons. You eat breakfast because it’s 8 am and you need to leave for work. You eat lunch because your coworkers are all going to that new Mexican place at noon. You eat a snack at 4 because you’re bored. And so on. In a case like that, a week or two of intermittent fasting can help reset your awareness of hunger and recognize the difference between actual hunger and other types of hunger. A great read on this is a recent blog post by Robb Wolf’s RD Amy Kubal, “What Kind of Hungry Are You?”
A few tips if you choose to fast:
- Make sure your “normal” diet is on track. Limited eating periods and non-fast days are NOT an excuse to eat whatever whenever. IF only works as a method for calorie restriction if you maintain healthy, moderate eating habits during non-fasting periods.
- Plan ahead. If you decide to do your long run or 2½ hour Olympic lifting class on a fast day, you might pay for it in the form of poor performance and fatigue. Especially when you’re starting out, plan fast days to coincide with lighter training days.
- Listen to your body. Don’t stick to IF because it’s supposed to have all these benefits if it doesn’t feel right for you. If you’re tired all the time, losing sleep, and not seeing results, it’s time to try a new strategy.
18 Nov / 2014
Complimentary bubbles, desserts, and your favorite CFB members, all dolled up. What more can you ask for? There are rumors of a pre-party at either Shake Shack or Tasty Burger in Harvard Square and an after-party at the Hong Kong.
CFB Holiday Party
Saturday, December 6th 2014
Daedalus • 6 – 9 PM
45.5 Mount Auburn Street
Peace and bacon grease,
17 Nov / 2014
Being mindful, makes you powerful. In the sense, of connecting your mind to your body, to be mindful means to live in the present moment. Practicing mindfulness cultivates understanding, awareness, and it restores the natural and empowering balance of the body, mind and spirit.
You are all becoming Mindful, starting to pay close attention within your body, what’s surrounding your body, and thinking to kinesthetic awareness that heightens your senses. You are learning ways to make yourself think of SMALL things that need to change , so you will become integrated, aligned, aware of who you really are.
I want everyone to practice being mindful. Everyday, I want you to take a minute or two, and feel through your body head to toe. I want you write it down what it is you feel, and have it on saturday!
There still is a Mobility Class on Wed. nights and Saturday mornings!
Be there and be aware!!
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.
How’s it going CFB! Who’s ready for the weekend? Let’s Fire it Up!!!
It’s been another solid week of training and congrats to those that PR’ed their 2k on Wednesday. How was that Usher concert? I hear Neal was giving out tickets to those Athletes that were really getting after it.
2 quick announcements, mobility and rowing!
1. Coach Jen has decided to offer her mobility class on Saturday mornings at 8am from now on! If you’re banged up from getting after it this week be sure to get to her class at 8am and work out those kinks.
2. If you’d like to retest your 2k and try to better your performance throughout the winter, consider signing up and competing in the Renegade Rowing League! The first race is next Saturday, November 22nd at 8am. We’ll hook up 10 Ergs to a computer and projector and you can race head to head with the people next to you. It’s a great way to stay motivated in your training and continually gauge your fitness throughout the Winter. We’ll be hosting a 2k race like this every month. Check out more info here and sign up on the Whiteboard!
Ok, now it’s time. What’s in store for next week? Before you take a look, I’d like you to think about the word POWER. What does it mean? How is it defined? What variables are involved? What does it look like? Last week we saw power snatches at %60 of your 1Rm. That is light for many people in the gym and it sounds like some of you felt you needed to go heavier. This week you’ll have an opportunity to find a heavy power snatch, but then you’ll be asked to take some weight off and work at 80% of that weight. One reason I’ve programmed the power snatches at 60% last week and %80 this week is to help you find more POWER! (envision Neal doing an Arnold impression – We Need More Power!) Power = Force x Distance / Time. By fixing the Force and the Distance in the programming, I’m asking you to move the bar faster. Get more Speed. Be sharper in your movement. Have a better setup. Keep the bar in a straighter path. Stick that landing deliberately with some gusto. Leave no doubt to your coaches that you own the movement and are moving that bar as fast as humanly possible through the middle. Alright, enough of that for now. Move the bar faster and get after it! Here’s the programming for the week. Have Fun and Attack It!
15min to find Heavy 3
50m Crab Walk
5 KB Snatch Each Arm (1.5/1)
5 Pistols Each Leg (Alternating)
*Rx+ (Pistol w/ KB)
*Scaling (Single Arm KB Swing, Reverse Lunge w/ KB)
Partner “Regatta Gone Mad”
(1 Person works at a time)
(Split up work as you see fit)
Complete For Time …
75 Deadlifts (95/65 lbs)
50 Power Cleans (95/65 lbs)
75 Push Ups
1. Power Clean
Work up to a 1 RM
2 Power Cleans @80% (Touch and Go)
4 Barbell Roll Outs from Knees
*If you miss a round, complete 5 Burpees and rest until next round
8 Overhead Squats (95/65)
4 OH Walking Lunges (95/65)
2. 20 Strict Toes-2-Bar
*Every time you drop off the bar do 20 Double Unders
1. 12min to find 1RM Shoulder Press
5 Handstand Push-ups
10 One legged squats, alternating
1. 5 Sets to work up to something heavy of …
1a. 3 Power Snatch, 1:30 Rest
1b. 3 Thrusters @same weight, 1:30 Rest
3 Power Snatch @80% of above weight
3 Push Ups
3 Pull Ups
3 Power Snatch
3 Burpees Over The Bar
3 Pull Ups
1. Push Press
5 reps @ 75%
1.1.1 strict muscle-ups, rest 1:00
3 reps @ 85%
1.1.1 strict muscle-ups, rest 1:00
1+ reps @ 95%
1.1.1 strict muscle-ups
6 Push Press @75%
13 Nov / 2014
It is easy to get caught up in the needs and wants of others. Your boss, family, clients, friends its easy to feel like you are being pulled in a thousand directions at one time. Its surprising that by the end of each day we are not all wanting to be hermits with no social engagement whatsoever. Pure isolation.
How do you manage this? When everything seems to be coming down to you and beginning to overwhelm you, what do you do? Some just stuff it deep down inside themselves until eventually one day it explodes! Not the best option, trust me. Others break down and sob. Not my idea of a good time either.
A practice that I have been working with and have challenged my staff to begin trying is called “Sacred Silence”. This is another drill lesson that Coach Divine uses in the Unbeatable Mind Academy. The beauty of this drill is in its simplicity and it doesn’t require a long commitment. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just need to practice it. Below I have written out the basic premise of Sacred Silence. Give it a go and post to comments your thoughts.
The task is to find a comfortable chair where you will be uninterrupted for 3 minutes. Not a terribly long time at all. Be sure to sit upright. Now close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Employ the box breathing technique: breathe in for 3-5 counts, hold for 3-5 counts, exhale for 3-5 counts, remain deflated for 3-5 counts. As you are breathing begin paying attention to your mind in action: what you hear, smell, and feel. If you a car driving by just repeat to yourself in your head “hearing, hearing”. If you feel something, “feeling, feeling.” If your mind strays, that’s ok. Note it and come back to your senses. This will allow you to help settle down, relax and unwind after a stressful meeting, day, etc.
Day in and day out it is very easy to get caught up in the activities necessary to just get through the day. Sometimes it seems we are operating on automation. Have you ever finished your day and sat for a moment and ask what did I really accomplish?