31 Jul / 2014
Hey, this is the beginning of the final month for the summer. Crazy as that sounds it’s true. As a parent all I can think about is that school is starting again soon and normalcy shall return to the land. Sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it?
The strength challenge is wrapping up this weekend with the CrossFit Total and Hydrostatic Weighing operated by Keith of MetroWave Fitness. The Saturday classes will be conducting the CFT as well. If you did the test back in May but didn’t participate in the challenge, come in and retest so that we can compare.
There is a code from CrossFit that was hammered in me when I first started training in its methodologies. It is “MCI” or “Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity”. This is important, you see. Training at high intensities with large volume and high skilled movements, that you see in a program such as CrossFit, can be dangerous and cause injury if you are not intelligent about how you go about things.
Mechanics – First learn the movements correctly. Seek a higher understanding as to why we perform the movements we do and how they benefit you outside of the gym. Practice proper progressions before jumping ahead to more advanced movements. Though you may have the ability to do some of these movements you may not have necessarily laid the foundation to handle the physical stress they bring about.
Meet regularly with your Coach to review mechanics and seek performance improvements. Develop together a plan to attack weaknesses and turn them into strengths. This is a lifelong pursuit of a higher level of fitness so enjoy the ride!
Consistency – Consistently train, week in/week out. If you are training 3-4 times per week you will establish a great level of fitness that will allow you function in almost all activities you wish to. Be consistent in your recovery; be it mobility work, yoga, meditation (very under appreciated by the way), or just taking more naps. Eat quality food and eat consistently enough to support your training. Avoid excess and don’t be a fool and under eat. You are really only hurting yourself and you will miss your goals.
If you are traveling that doesn’t mean your fitness needs to end. Email your Coach and ask him or her to put together a plan for you while you are away. If you are planning to visit a CF Affiliate, contact them ahead of time to make sure that they permit drop ins.
Intensity – Ah, the mecca of fitness! It is not a secret that being able to train with intensity is where the magic is attaining the results for which we are seeking. Intensity = Power = work/time = (force x distance)/time. Lift more and do it faster, longer, and further. Why? Because it creates a hormonal response releasing testosterone and growth hormone into the body. EVERYONE including the ladies wants this as it increases your energy levels, slows the aging process, improves vitality, and improves libido! Yes, you read that last part correctly.
Intensity is what many newcomers try to put first. This is a great error. You must set the foundation or you risk plateaus or worse injuries and burnout. Keep it in check and commit to a lifetime of PR’s and great health!
FIRE IT UP!
WHAT’S ON TAP – PROGRAMMING
1RM Back Squat
3 attempts at each lift
1a. Back Rack forward lunges @ 20×2, 10 x 3 sets (10 each leg), super strict, rest 1:00
1b. Ring Dips – 8-12 reps x 3 sets, rest 1:00 (if you cannot perform 8 unbroken reps then perform clusters of 184.108.40.206 x 3)
2. 3 rounds for time
15 BB Thrusters, 95/65
1. Squat Snatch @ 78%, 1.1.1 x 3 sets, rest 3 minutes between sets
2. AMRAP 15
10 Power Snatch, 75/55
15 Toe 2 Bar
10 Box Jumps, 24/20 (step down only)
1. 200m repeats x 7, rest 1:30 between efforts
2a. Strict HSPU cluster, 3.3.3. x 3 sets, rest 1:00 between
2b. GHD Back Extensions, 10-15 reps x 3 sets, rest 1:00 between
3. Complete for time
100 double unders
50 wall ball shots
1. AMRAP 8
10 Pistols (5 each leg)
40 AbMat Sit ups
rest 5 minutes
2. AMRAP 12
25 Push ups (chest to deck)
12 Power Clean, 135/95
1. Deadlift – 4, 4, 2, 2, rest 1:00 between sets, heavier than 7/24
2. Row 10 minutes at Zone 1 (nice and light)
Row 10 minutes at Zone 1 (nice and light)
7 HPC 95/65
rest 5 minutes
5 Deadlift, 135/95
rest 5 minutes
15 Wall ball shots, 20/14
10 Box Jumps
15 Row Calories
30 Jul / 2014
The video above is from a leader in backs and biomechanics, Dr. Stuart M. McGill. I first read about Dr. McGill’s work a few years ago and was awakened to it again last month at a movement seminar called The Movement Fix. Are sit-ups or any movement that put’s your lower back through repeated repetitions of extension and flexion really necessary?
Are Sit Ups Bad For Your Back?
Yes, Sit Ups are bad for your back. What? Yes, think of your back, especially your lumbar spine (low back), as a credit card. You can only bend that credit card forward and backward so many times before eventually it snaps. Sit Ups put excessive compressive loading on your spinal discs and can easily lead to disc bulge and disc herniation.
Rowers with no posture or core support end up bending from their lower back rather than pivoting from the hips, which leads to all the horror stories of slipped discs in rowing. This also shows up during any movement that involves a deadlift when athletes aren’t focused on maintaining good posture. In rowing, different coaches may or may not have you reach from the thoracic spine, but a common theme that any coach will agree with is keeping the lumbar region stiff, supported, and protected. The muscles that surround and support the spine are made to brace and resist motion, not create it.
Without core stability it is impossible to transfer the force from your legs to the oar/barbell and move the boat/load at any type of speed. This idea of core stability and the ability to connect your feet to your hands through the core is a skill needed in life and fitness as well. There is no way to do an Olympic Lift like the Clean without having a solid core to work from.
After reflecting on this topic for a couple of years, I’ve decided to eliminate sit ups and other similar movements from my training. Sure I will compete and perform sit ups, but I don’t need them to train day in and day out. I like my back to much. Instead I’ve been playing around with paleo crawls, planks, bird dogs, and curl ups on a regular basis.
If you’d like to chat about this topic or would like to know what I’ve been doing for core stability let me know. I hope this sparks some thought and further questions. Have an awesome end of the week CFB
30 Jul / 2014
Usually when I’m talking about protein foods, I mean foods like chicken, beef, eggs, and other foods whose primary macronutrient is protein. But this time, I’m talking about the other “protein” foods. The Cheerios Protein and high protein bread. This trend of adding protein to all sorts of food should be great news, right? I mean, protein is so good for so many reasons – helps build muscles, keeps you satisfied, important part of DNA, aids recovery for athletes… the list goes on. Unfortunately, throwing protein powder into every possible consumable is not the answer, and here’s why.
1. More processing – if you thought cereal and bread weren’t processed before, they sure are now. The best breads involve grinding down wheat and other grains, packaging them up to send to a baker, the baker mixing them with water, yeast, and whatever other ingredients, baking, and packaging. Now you are adding to that process isolating and dehydrating cow’s milk protein (99.9 times out of 100 NOT a grass-fed, humanely raised cow either) or dehulling and defatting soybean meal to create soy protein isolate, and packaging that up too. The macronutrient label may now reflect a more balanced food item, but the ingredients list will tell a different story.
2. What kind of protein is that again? Let me just say that I have minimal faith in the food industry to use quality ingredients. Even the brands that claim to (looking at you, Naked Juice) are owned by brands (like Pepsi) who only give a crap about profit. Even I don’t know where most of the protein powder on the shelf at GNC comes from.
3. $$$$$$$ - Adding a trendy component to your product = increased price. To be fair, I have not had time to check a supermarket, so I will stand corrected if someone tells me protein cheerios and protein bread aren’t more expensive than the regular variety.
4. Raw protein powder tastes like crap – which means to make it palatable, the protein variety requires a whole bunch more sugar. This is also why there is always some small amount of artificial sweetener in your Progenex. The good thing about artificial sweetener is that because it’s so much sweeter than regular sugar, you only need a small amount of it. Either way, just compare the nutrition label for Cheerios and Cheerio Protein Honey Oat. The regular Cheerios have 1 gram of sugar per cup, while the Protein version has 14 grams per cup and twice the total carbohydrate (42 grams compared to 20 grams). And while we’re being honest, who eats only the serving size? To get 7 grams of protein, you are adding 13 grams of extra sugar. Honestly, I’d rather see you drink a glass of milk, make an egg, or even eat 2 TB of peanut butter. Both of those will provide more actual nutrition (I’m talking the vitamins and minerals here) than processed cereal with protein powder in it.
Now, this isn’t a knock on protein powder. That has a couple of specific, evidence based uses for some people (you can learn more about that in another blog post). What I’m knocking is taking a food that is OK but not great for you (Cheerios, whole grain bread, etc) and trying to dress it up as the newest health food while actually making it kind of worse. Going back to the Cheerios example, both Banana Nut and Chocolate Cheerios would be a better option than the Cheerios Protein Oats and Honey (fewer ingredients, fewer types of sugar, half the total carbs, a little less sugar), despite the fact that they sound like desserts.
The bottom line is your protein should come from natural sources like eggs, grass-fed/pasture raised meat and dairy, and nuts and seeds. If you’re a vegetarian, even Tofu and some protein supplements are leaps and bounds better than adding protein powder to cereal and other grains. And if you’re looking to add convenient sources of protein to your diet, options include jerky, hard boiled eggs, nuts, deli slices, etc.
Have you tried protein enhanced foods? What did you think of them?
29 Jul / 2014
Welcome to my inaugural blog post! Every Tuesday, I’ll be providing updates on what’s happening post-WOD in the gym and today I’ve got two great save-the-dates to share. First, though, did you know that in 2014, Buffalo Wings will turn 50? According to this entry in Mental Floss, they were invented in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, when the restaurant was faced with an over-supply of chicken wings. Why are we talking about Buffalo Wings? Because like Buffalo Wings, two of our members will also turn fifty this year!
On Sunday, September 7th, we will celebrate the birthdays of members Nigel Costolloe and Dave Lapidus with the Filthy Fifty and there are sure to be some surprises along the way. Come for the great workout, stay for the beers, grub, and good-humored ribbing of the birthday couple about their advanced years.
29 Jul / 2014
You still have a few days to sign up for a 15 minute spot to have your body composition tested. Keith will be here on Friday evening and Saturday morning. The list is already getting full but he is willing to stay longer if there is a demand.
Click here to see what times are available.
As a reminder, the fee is $75 for the single dunk and we can conveniently charge your credit card on file.
25 Jul / 2014
Here we are everyone! It’s another Friday and tonight is the In-House Throwdown! So Fire It Up! I am looking forward to seeing everyone since I have been away for the last week. Remember that afterwards we will order in some Soul Fire BBQ and bring whatever you would like to drink.
This time away didn’t permit me to train as much as I would have liked and it wasn’t very active at all. It was a painful reminder of how much our bodies just want and need to move on a daily basis. I am not speaking about getting into the gym and hitting the WOD but just moving. Go for a walk, hike, swim, whatever! Being sedentary is not good for ya! I have been able to train the last 3 days and I feel significantly better because of it. Keep moving!
Keith from Metrowave Fitness will be with us again next weekend. He will be able to begin weighing on Friday PM and then Saturday AM. If you registered for the first round then you are set for this time as well. There will be a sheet at the front desk this week to sign up for a time slot.
If you have not previously signed up but would like to participate this time then you can email Neal and sign up on the sheet as well. The cost is $75 for a one time dunk test. $125 if you want to pay for two dunk tests (Keith will return again in the fall at a date TBD).
Why should you participate? Hydrostatic weighing is the 98.5% accurate in determining your body composition. Favorable body composition is one health marker we use in the sick to super fit continuum. The scale is not a good indicator of fitness as it does not differentiate between muscle and fat. Further, those participating in the dunking receive a handout outlining recommended macronutrient consumption to improve one’s body composition.
WHAT’S ON TAP
Here is this upcoming week’s programming:
1. Snatch – 220.127.116.11 x 3 sets @ 73%; rest 3:00 between sets
2a. HSPU Cluster 18.104.22.168 x 3 sets, rest 1:00 between sets
2b. Palms facing you Pull-up cluster 22.214.171.124 x 3 sets AHAP, rest 1:00 between sets
3. 12-9-6 for time
Box Jumps, 30″/24″
With a partner complete for time (relay style)
21-15-9 reps of
Hang Squat Clean, 95/65
Then both run 1500m at the same time (both must finish for final time).
1. Power Clean – 126.96.36.199 x 3 sets @ 73%, rest 3 min between sets
2a. Ring Dips 8-12 reps x 3 sets, rest 1:00 between sets
2b. Glute Ham Raises (only to parallel) 8-15 reps x 3 sets, rest 1:00 between sets
3. AMRAP 6
15 Russian Swings, 32kg/24kg
10 Toe 2 Bar
30 Deadlifts, 135/95
1. High Bar Back Squat @ 20×1, 7-9 reps women/70% x 3 reps for men x 5 sets, rest 2:00 between sets
Complete 5 rounds for time
15 Overhead Squats, 95/65
Row 5 min for max calories
rest 4 minutes
Run 5 min for max distance (500m loops)
rest 5 minutes
Row 5 min for max calories
1. Shoulder Press – 2RM
2. EMOM 15
5 Over the bar burpees
1 Snatch, 185/125
23 Jul / 2014
Hey CFB! Hope you’re all getting pumped for the Throwdown tomorrow night. It’s been a solid week of training and it’ll be fun to see where everyone stands. Also, props to those who gave CrossFit Dodgeball a go on Monday. That was a lot of fun to coach. If you’d be interested in a CFB Dodgeball Tourney let me know. Just saying, could be epic! Hit us up with your thoughts in the comments or on FB.
This week it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of our newest members, Lindsay! When you meet her for the first time be sure to introduce yourself and throw up a high five! Here’s a little bit about her to get the conversations started…
Who are you and what are you about?
Hi! I’m Lindsay. I am an ordained clergy in the christian tradition and an interfaith chaplain in higher education. I am passionate about interfaith dialogue, human rights, learning, and most importantly drinking red wine with girlfriends. I am married to an awesome man and have two very lively kiddos (ages 1 and 4) who have taught me more about myself and life than I’ve ever learned in a classroom.
Why did you join CrossFit Boston?
A girlfriend of mine who is in her forties and is in incredible shape challenged me to give CrossFit a try. She said after 3 months of CrossFit, I would never go back to a conventional gym. The future has yet to be told, but at this point, CrossFit has been a refreshing change!
What are some of your goals for this year?
I haven’t been consistently active for the past 5 years, so my primary goal is to be active! And my ultimate goal is to have sustained energy with my kiddos on the playground. Ironically, some days after training I have a hard time even picking up my kiddos! But overall, I can already feel a very positive difference.
What are you looking forward to once you graduate to group classes?
I’m terrified to join group classes! There are some crazy good athletes doing crazy amounts of pull ups in there. But in spite of that fear – I am most looking forward to the team atmosphere in the group classes. Not to mention that whoever picks the music at our gym actually did an entire class to musical theater… Love it! Who wouldn’t want to work out to that?!
23 Jul / 2014
Now, milk is a pretty decent food. It has calcium and is fortified with vitamin D, both of which are good for your bones. As a bonus, (low fat) dairy consumption has also been associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and is associated with lower blood pressure. In addition, milk contains a mix of protein and carbohydrates that make it a good post workout recovery beverage (or part of one that includes added protein).
But do you need to drink 3 cups (8 oz glasses) of it per day? No, you don’t. So where did that recommendation come from?
A Brief History of Milk In The US
Back in the 1940′s and 1950′s, everyone drank whole milk. It went in cereal and accompanied dinner. But somewhere around the 1950′s and early 1960′s, people started hearing that whole milk was bad for your health. That it could increase your risk of heart disease. So people stopped drinking it. In the meantime, the Dairy Industry kept on producing at high numbers, creating a surplus. This lead to the formation of the Dairy Checkoff Program, which according to Dairy Management Inc. works in the following way”
“Dairy farmers pay 15 cents and dairy importers pay 7.5 cents for every hundred pounds of milk (or the equivalent thereof) they sell or import into a generic dairy product promotion fund – familiarly called the “dairy checkoff” – that DMI manages along with state and regional promotion groups. That money – with USDA oversight – is used to fund programs aimed at promoting dairy consumption and protecting the good image of dairy farmers, dairy products and the dairy industry.”
So basically, the dairies pay the USDA, and the USDA promotes milk products for them. Totally legit, right? Now to be fair, it is recommended adults consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day, and a cup of milk has 305 mg. So while the 3 cups per day DOES meet those calcium needs, I think framing this in consumption of dairy alone (without more focus on other calcium containing foods) is underhanded.
Now as educated adults, we might be able to figure this out and recognize that while dairy isn’t bad for us, we also don’t need to consume a gallon of milk a week per person, either. But not everyone knows this information. In addition, according to a new report called Whitewashed: How Industry And Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods:
- About half of all milk is consumed either as flavored milk, with cereal, or in a drink;
- Nearly half of the milk supply goes to make about 9 billion pounds of cheese and 1.5 billion gallons of frozen desserts–two-thirds of which is ice cream;
- 11 percent of all sugar goes into the production of dairy products.
For more see Eat Drink Politics.
So, the government is promoting all this dairy, and much of it is in the form of things like sugary Boston Cream Pie flavored yogurt, strawberry milk, and to accompany fruit loops.
What Can We Do
My recommendation is to consume dairy as it fits into your life. I eat Nutty Nuggets cereal every morning, and on alternating weeks enjoy it with 2% milk or almond milk. I eat yogurt and cheese every now and again. But I don’t enjoy drinking milk, and I don’t add cheese or milk to most foods. I do, however, use Greek yogurt as a sub for mayonnaise in chicken or tuna salad. However, I know some people (ahem, Martin) drink a lot of milk regularly. And that’s fine too.
Here are my basic tips for dairy:
- Choose milk that is grass-fed and from humanely raised cows.
- Choose Whole or 2% milk or plain Greek yogurt. It’s actually pretty hard to have too much on a regular basis if you’re eating rich, plain dairy (at least I find).
- Avoid ice cream, processed cheese, etc as primary sources of calcium. The benefit of calcium from a box of Kraft Mac ‘N Cheese is not worth the cost of what else is in the food.
18 Jul / 2014
It’s a great morning here in Ol’ Latrobe while getting away with the family for a few days. We have been spending time relaxing, hitting the parks for the kids, and reuniting with family that we haven’t seen for some time. Getting away is good for recharging the batteries so we can hit it hard again once we are back in town. I am looking forward to hitting some heavy iron!
It’s about time for me to FIRE IT UP and here is what I am going to be doing for my workout today:
2 suicide sprints on the basketball court
10 Push ups
Next Friday is our In-House Throwdown beginning at 6:00pm. The heats will go off every 30 minutes with 8 athletes at a time. Right now the plan is for 5 Heats finishing the final heat at 8:30pm. Afterwards we will be ordering in delivery from Soul Fire BBQ or you can bring something from home. Bring your favorite summer beverage and kick back with some friends.
Sign up for your Heat HERE.
WHAT’S ON TAP
1. EMOM 12 – women 4 snatch/men 2 Snatch @ 75%
2. Row :30/:30 – 20 rounds
:30 @ 90% take 7-10 seconds off your 500m pace
Hold the pace for all 20 rounds
“Grace + Helen”
With a partner perform the following:
60 Clean and Jerks, 135/95
6 rounds of
21 KB Swings, 24kg/16kg
For the clean and jerks the partners must alternate every 10 reps until all 60 reps are completed. Then the partners will alternate every round until both complete 3 rounds each of the workout. The total time to complete the entire workout is the score.
Perform three rounds of this couplet for time.
1) Perform any sit-up you want.
2) If you still can’t perform the muscle up. Give us 15 strict pull-ups and 15 strict dips per round.
3)Typically, you’ll have the strength for a muscle-up when you can do 15 pull-ups and dips without a pause.
1a. Front squat – 4 sets x women 8-12 reps/men 5 reps @ 70%; 21×1, rest 2 mins between sets
1b. Dips – 4 x Amrap (-4), stop 4 reps shy of failure
2. 10 sets x :10 L-sit hold, rest :30 between sets
3. 21-15-9 for time
Rest 4 minutes
Tabata Thruster, 45/35
Rest 4 minutes
Tabata Clean, 95/65
1) The Tabata Interval is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times.
2) Add the three scores from each effort for a total score for the workout.
1. Power Clean – 4 sets x 188.8.131.52 @ 70%, rest 3 minutes between sets
2a. Deadlift – 8, 8, 6, 6 – touch and go, rest 1:30
2b. Handstand push-up cluster – 3.3.3 x 4 sets, rest 1:30
3. Row as far as possible in 7 minutes.
1. High Bar Back Squat – 5 reps x 3 sets @ 70%; 22×2
3 rounds for time
15 Deadlift, 185/125
15 Pull ups
15 Front Squat, 185/125
FRIDAY 7/25 – IN-HOUSE THROWDOWN
1. 3 attempts (10 min) to establish a 2RM Front Squat
1 minute rest then
2. AMRAP 8
Row 16 calories
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.