08 Nov / 2013
Holy sore BUM BATMAN! I don’t know about you but my gluteus maximus was very sore after Wednesdays Lunges. I am still slightly tender as I sit down to write this blog situated on an extra large seat cushion. Sore in a good way of course. I enjoyed this week’s programming in that it was very simple in its appearance but it sure did bring intensity.
Now its Fire It Up Friday so…
This weekend is the CrossFit Southie competition and Coach Tito and Firebreather Carla are participating. Try and get out to support the troops for what will be a great competition. The weather is not supposed to get higher than 50 on Saturday and 55 on Sunday so be sure to take some layers with you.
What’s On Tap
This week we are going to keep on with classic CrossFit programming focusing on power. There is going to be one day of interval training thrown in because I know how much you love those. Remember, Monday – Thursday is about training. Work on improving technique, quality of movement, sequences, etc. Choose one thing that you are going to get better at. Friday is our Competition day. Get after it and apply what you are learning in the previous 4 days.
Throughout the week we will be incorporating strict handstand push ups into the warm ups and post class. Be sure to put in the time. Get better!
Saturday – 11/9
1. 10 Minute AFAP – Handstand walk for as far as possible
2. For Time
30 Power Snatch, 135/95
Sunday – 11/10
Partner WOD – 4 rounds for quality each (one person working at a time switching every 10 reps)
10 KB/DB Thruster, 55/35
20 Front rack walking lunges
20 Renegade rows
Monday – 11/11
1. Bench press – 3×8
2. For time 9-15-21
Tuesday – 11/12
1. EMOM 15
3 touch and go clean (AHAP)
2. AMRAP 15
10 Shoulder to overhead, 95#/65#
Wednesday – 11/13
5 x 5:00 AMRAP
15 Cal row
10 Box Jump, 20″
rest 1:00 minute between each round
Thursday – 11/14
1. 5 rounds for time
25 Back squat, 135#/95#
2. Strict handstand push-ups – 6×3
Friday – 11/15
1. Snatch – 7×1
7 rounds for time
7 Deadlift, 315/215
Rest :45 between rounds
07 Nov / 2013
On Saturday we have two awesome athletes competing at the CrossFit Southie Showdown. Let’s all go and show our support!
Perhaps you don’t know Carla. She’s fairly new to the gym. I met her last year during the Open Games when she came in to get her WOD done and scored by Neal. She was in Boston on business. We were all amazed by her strength. She relocated in the early fall and joined CrossFit Boston. Her smile is beautiful and she is a wonderful person. You wouldn’t know she’s such an amazing athlete because she’s incredibly humble but every Saturday morning you can see her pushing the sled up and down the street. I think she has even talked CJ into joining her. One of the members has a muscle crush on her…he said her muscle swagger is amazing to watch! If you haven’t had a chance to WOD it out with Carla come cheer her on! We will make an announcement on Facebook about her heat times…stay tuned!
Carla recently turned in a Fran time of 3:42.
The next athlete needs little introduction. He’s our very own favorite Boston Symphony Orchestra trumpet player…Coach Tito! He has been a long time member of the CrossFit Boston family. Since 2010 he has been learning under the tutelage of Neal. In the spring of 2012 he started coaching. He plays full time in the Boston Symphony Orchestra and loves to wear his bright orange NERD socks! He’s also a writer for the Boston Pops.
Clean & Jerk 215
Back Squat 300
Front Squat 265
All PRs he plans on breaking this year!
06 Nov / 2013
2k Row CRASH-B Style @CFB
December 21st and January 25th
We’ll have 10 ergs hooked up to one another and displayed on the wall via a projector so that competitors and spectators can witness how fast each boat is going.
The 2k Row is a test of how much pain and glory athletes can endure over seven to eight minutes. Grab some friends, come on down, and get after it. This will be the first of two 2k competitions called the Renegade Rowing League, which is a good lead up to the CRASH-B Indoor Rowing World Championships in February. Anyone is welcome to come test themselves to see how they stack up.
If you’re interested in competing and bringing your gym shoot me an email at [email protected] I’ll have a registration link up soon. All those that compete in the Renegade Rowing League have a shot at a prize if they win their race category. The Renegade Rowing League will use the same event categories as CRASH-Bs.
Shout out if you’re training for the Renegade Rowing League and CRASH-B’s!
06 Nov / 2013
Top 10 Reasons To Do A CrossFit Throwdown:
10. You’re a sadist and like to see people suffer in pain; except you will be suffering with them…which brings us to 9.
9. You’re a masochist and like to put yourself through pain; except it’s not the kind of pain that makes you antisocial. So we have to disregard 9 and 10. CrossFit is most definitely social and it’s a great place to meet some awesome people…sorry I gave away 8.
8. It’s an incredibly social event where you meet all kinds of people, from all walks of life.
7. You may even meet the person of your dreams—most likely not, I’m a romantic so I had to add it.
6. But you will make new friends. I met Liz Mellen the owner of CrossFit Medusa last year at CrossFit Southie. In the mile run I caught her and passed her only to have her catch me and pass me as we neared the finish. This got us talking afterwards and now I consider her to be a dear friend. Pretty damn awesome!
5. You will connect on a deeper level with the athletes from your box. As they cheer you on you will feel your community pride. It’s a great feeling and it’s what makes CrossFit so frickin great. Community!
4. You will test out new skills and conquer PRs that have been taunting you for some time.
3. You will fail a rep or a lift and find out that the world still goes round and round. Your community will still be standing cheering you on and backing you up. In other words, it’s ok to fail. In fact it’s what makes us better in the end.
2. You will do better then you think. Yes, you will. I go to competitions without knowing how I will do and I’m always amazed that I got through it, kept my cool under pressure and had a blast.
1. You will feel like a beastly person who can get through anything. Resiliency is a quality I believe CrossFit teaches. Bad things happen in life and bad people happen…you have to keep going. You have to know you have a community of people who back you. If you put in an honest days work great things will happen. There will be foolish people who creep in to your surrounding but because you have high standards of integrity and character you will be fine.
All that from one little competition! Who would have thought you could get so much? So, come on, try it. If I can do it, you can. Here are a few competitions to consider competing in or going to cheer on your fellow athletes:
CrossFit Southie Showdown
November 9th and 10th
It’s this weekend and we have Carla Bezold and Coach Tito competing. It’s a fun one to watch!
Go to the following site for more details: CrossFit Southie Showdown
CrossFit Lando –Battle of The Sexes
This is for the serious competitor! They have standards you have to meet in order to compete: Clean and Jerk (Grace weight), Toes to Bar, Handstand Pushups (Regionals “box” standard), Pullups, KB Swings 53/35, Double Unders, Squat Snatch (115/75, low reps)
We have a few CrossFit Boston athletes attending this one. So far we have Nigel and CJ signing up! If you think you can hang with this group then consider signing up.
Go to the following site to register and let Coach G2 know you are participating!
North Shore CrossFit ~ Not Your Average Joes Team Competition
This one is a must because North Shore CrossFit is a great place, with awesome people. We went out there this summer and had a great time.
Join North Shore CrossFit for our 3rd Annual “Not Your Average Joe’s” Team Competition! This is a FUN event that is strategically programmed, allowing most “average joe” crossfitters to participate! Bring your A-Game for this challenging competition!
Teams of 4: 2 Males/2 Females (team members must train at the same gym)
Three workouts! Basic standards to be announced, and WODs will be announced 24 hours prior to the event!
Registration link will be active this weekend!
PRIZES AWARDED TO THE TOP 3 TEAMS!!!
CrossFit Boston ~ In House Throwdown
December 14 ~ Saturday
This is our Holiday Throwdown. Instead of morning classes we will have heats that go off at 9 am. Scaled divisions first, followed by our Rx athletes. You can bring a friend from another box if you want to get a little more social.
CrossFit Boston ~ Renegade Rowing Crash Bs Testing!
This event will follow the regular scheduled classes for any one interested in testing their skills for the Crash B’s. Coach Pat will be running the show. Members from other boxes will be participating.
And did I mention yet that there is something BIG, very BIG coming to CrossFit Boston on January 4th. It will be announced in the next few weeks…stay tuned!
That’s all for now athletes. And remember your mobility everyday. It makes the difference, keeps away the injuries and helps restore your youthful muscles to a supple state!
05 Nov / 2013
There’s a lot of debate out there about whether or not organic foods are better than conventionally grown ones. As with most things in nutrition, it’s not so black and white, but here is a quick break down of the research and my take on organic versus conventional foods (well, fruits and veggies anyway. I’ll get to meat another day). So, enjoy this blog post with options and learn about organic foods by video or written blog.
What is your take on organic foods? Let me know in the comments!
What is Organic?
Organic” means the food was produced with agricultural methods that facilitate cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and maintain biodiversity. Organic production does NOT involve pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, or genetic engineering.
There are a few ways organic foods can be labeled. Foods that are made with all organic ingredients can use the USDA Certified Organic Seal, which looks like this…. And can claim “100% organic” on the front label. Foods made with 95% of organic ingredients – by weight, excluding water and salt – can use the claim “organic” and also display this seal. Foods that are labeled “made with organic ingredients” contain at least 70% organic ingredients. The can be listed on the font label and in the ingredients list but the organic seal cannot be displayed on the product.
According to a review conducted in Brazil, some organic foods had slightly better nutritional content and durability, but more studies are needed to determine whether or not they are actually superior. (Sousa AA, Azevedo Ed, Lima EE, Silva AP. Organic foods and human health: a study of controversies. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2012 Jun;31(6):513-7.)
Another review, this time looking at the safety of organic versus conventional foods, found that there is not strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious compared to conventional ones, but they may reduce the exposure to pesticides and antibiotic resistant bacteria. (Smith-Spangler C, et al. Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives?: a systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2012 Sep 4;157(5):348-66)
I also found a review conducted in Germany that focused on organic versus conventional dairy. The study added data from the last three years to an existing pool of data and found that organic dairy products are higher in protein and omega-3 fatty acids and have a higher omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio than those of conventional types. Typically, the Western diet is high in omega 6 fats and low in omega 3 fats, but a higher omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is thought to reduce inflammation and risk of heart disease. The authors suspect that these results are due to the differences in the way organic and conventional dairy cows are fed. (Palupi E, Jayanegara A, Ploeger A, Kahl J. Comparison of nutritional quality between conventional and organic dairy products: a meta-analysis. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Mar 19. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.5639. [Epub ahead of print])
A study on the environmental impact of organic farming found that organic systems had lower nutrient losses and energy requirements but had higher nitrous oxide emissions and required more land than conventional farming. Most studies did show less environmental impact from organic farming than conventional farming.(Tuomisto HL, Hodge ID, Riordan P, Macdonald DW. Does organic farming reduce environmental impacts? – A meta-analysis of European research. J Environ Manage. 2012 Sep 1;112C:309-320. [Epub ahead of print)
And finally, there is the now infamous Stanford Study. Published a few weeks ago, this review of studies on conventional versus organic fruits and vegetables found that organic produce wasn’t overall any more nutritious or any less of a health risk than conventional produce, although it did lower the risk of pesticide exposure.(Smith-Spangler C, Brandeau ML, Hunter GE, Bavinger JC, Pearson M, Eschbach PJ, Sundaram V, Liu H, Schirmer P, Stave C, Olkin I, Bravata DM. Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives?: a systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2012 Sep 4;157(5):348-66.)
So, is it better?
Yes and no. Basically, what all this tells me is that organic produce has its benefits – like that it is more sustainable, better for the environment, and contains less pesticide residue. But this doesn’t mean eating conventionally grown foods are bad for you. While a conventional apple may have more pesticide residue than an organic one, it is still far below the level that the Environmental Protection Agency deems unsafe.
Focus on eating more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables overall, no matter how they are farmed. If you can afford to buy every single item organic, and are inclined to do so, then awesome, go for it! BUT, if you’re on a tight budget, don’t worry about it. The health benefits of eating more fruits and veggies far outweighs the risks brought on by the amount of pesticide or bacteria on the item. Especially if you wash it well.
Now, if you want to start buying some organic foods, I suggest starting with milk and dairy, since research HAS shown organic diary to be nutritionally superior. Next, move on to the fruits and vegetables known as the “dirty dozen”, which are basically items with either thin or edible skins that are most likely to transmit any pesticides on to you. These are:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
Finally, I’d like to make one last point about organic foods. A lot of people associate the word “organic” with “healthy”, but this is NOT always the case. For example, organic cane sugar is no better for you than normal cane sugar, and a brownie made with organic sugars and nuts will add just as many calories and sugars as a brownie made with conventional items. When you choose an organic item, except for dairy, it should be because you want to choose something produced with a lower environmental impact and less pesticides, not because you are looking for a “healthier” or “more nutritious” food.
Photo c/o Agricultural Marketing Service
03 Nov / 2013
I was reading this article here. I find it VERY interesting and I agree with it totally. I can totally understand and relate to the desire to complete the WOD as Rx’d but is it in your best interests? What is the cost of doing so? Tell me your thoughts and experiences?
01 Nov / 2013
FIRE IT UP! FIRE IT UP!
It’s been a great week of training here at CrossFit Boston. It all started last Saturday with the Master’s Competition at CrossFit New England. CFB had a great turnout to cheer on our 6 competitors of the “Geezer Squad”, I say that with complete admiration, and the energy definitely carried over into this week. What was your favorite day this week? Your least favorite?
I can definitely see vast improvement in everyones olympic lifts and heard quite a few mentioning how sore your body was after the weighted pull-ups. This is great feedback to us coaches in that it tells us what you all need to keep developing into a better CrossFit Athlete.
You are all CrossFit Athletes. Whether you choose to participate in the Sport of Fitness or if you utilize CrossFit for outside endeavors, our goal is to improve your performance in what ever you fancy.
Gym CLOSED This Weekend
Reminder that the Box will be closed this weekend while we host the CrossFit Level 1 Cert. On Saturday members can join Reebok CrossFit One in Canton, MA for the Barbell for Boobs event/fundraiser. It is sure to be a good time and an opportunity to meet another top notch CrossFit community.
What’s On Tap
This week’s programming will get back to the barbell for strength work. Only Beginner and Intermediate athletes will continue working up to straight sets across for the lifts. Advanced lifters will only work up to the last set being the heaviest. The MetCon’s will be focusing on classic CrossFit style. Simple couplets and triplets. This simplicity should allow each of you to work at a super high intensity.
The skill this week will be to keep working on toe 2 bar. You will see it on Wednesday with a strong focus post WOD. Additionally we will be programming it in our warm ups. Focus on developing the kip swing to the kip swing with straight leg raise to the full movement.
Saturday – 11/2
CLOSED FOR LEVEL 1 CERT
Sunday – 11/3
CLOSED FOR LEVEL 1 CERT
Monday – 11/4
1. Deadlift – 3×8
B/I – Straight sets
A – work up to 1 heavy set of eight
2. 5 rounds for time
15 Push press, 115#/75#
Tuesday – 11/5
1. Complete reps of 21-15-9 for time
Overhead swings, 32kg/24kg
2. EMOM 15
2 Snatch @ 80%+
Wednesday – 11/6
1. Complete reps of 15-10-5 (15 minute cap)
135/95 pound Power clean
135/95 pound Lunges
2. 10 rounds for quality
Unbroken toe 2 bar (10 max)
1 rope climb
Thursday – 11/7
1. Back squat – 3×8
B/I – straight sets
A – work up to a heavy set of 8
2. AMRAP 10
10 Box Jumps, 24″/20″
Friday – 11/8
1. Clean & Jerk – 7×1
2. “Cindy” – AMRAP 20
5 Pull ups
10 Push ups
Saturday – 11/9
1. 10 minutes Handstand walk – max distance
2. For time
30 Snatch, 135#/95#
30 Oct / 2013
Happy Halloween! I hope you’re planning on dressing up to WOD today! I’ll be dressing up to coach!
Announcing the 2013 Renegade Rowing Club!
It’s that time of year again. The weather has gotten cold and no one wants to row in the cold. Now is the time to get pumped for training in the gym and crushing your 2k on the erg! The 2013 Renegade Rowing Club will be held at 5:30pm on Monday nights at CrossFit Boston. Practices will start the Monday after Thanksgiving, December 2nd. The cost for the Renegade Rowing Club will be $47 per month or $94 for the whole winter. We will be training for the Renegade Rowing League, which will be held in December and January, leading up to CRASH-B’s. Who’s game? Email me if you plan on joining the Renegade Rowing Club, [email protected] There are only 16 spots available in the club, so let me know sooner rather than later!
Above is a video of the Wayland Weston Men’s Crew Team that I’ve been coaching this Fall. I wanted to give you all a view of the sport of rowing from the water. This was their last practice before the Head of the Fish Regatta, which is where that Fish Head came from that I hung on the gym wall earlier this week. If you’d like to learn to row on the water and get your own fish head someday, it starts in the gym this winter with the Renegade Rowing Club. Who’s game?
30 Oct / 2013
By October of my first year in Boston I’d begun to feel somewhat underwhelmed by the changes college had brought. The binge drinking and pizza eating provided no satisfaction. I struggled with the distinct sense that I had not yet found my place. While my dorm mates seemed to thrive on the insular culture of group living, I felt stifled. I couldn’t have articulated what was missing, but looking back I was longing for a sense of community and purpose. During this time I was following CrossFit’s main site and doing their workouts independently, mixing in weightlifting with my existing running routine. While the workouts were challenging I was bored, lonely and increasingly over-trained as I continued to increase the volume in search of greater gains (because more is always better, right?).
Finally, at the end of October I decided to give CrossFit Boston a call. At my uncle’s urging I called Neal and scheduled my intro session. I remember walking into the gym and immediately feeling that I had made an egregious error by agreeing to this. My thought was that they would immediately know that I didn’t belong. Someone would take one look at me and smell my fear and that would be it: exile to the island of the unskilled and untrained. To my great relief the opposite was the case- I was welcomed in with open arms and more positivity than I can begin to explain. I was hooked immediately, so thrilled to be learning new things and to once again be in an environment that was both supportive and competitive. I remember well, Jon Gilson in my face, stridently informing me that I had more in me, that I didn’t need to put the bar down yet. And honestly, everything was really hard.
When I began I had no concept of where my body was in space and absolutely zero ability to integrate coaches cues into my performance of movements. I flailed. I struggled. I hit myself in the face with a barbell more than once. My arms were so weak they were useless. I finished last every single day but just kept showing up. I’d wake up at 5:30 four days a week to make it into the 7:00am class at CFB and hustle back to BU for 9:00am lecture. As the months passed I steadily improved. I gained muscle and learned for the first time how to use my upper body. I learned to lift things and reveled in the newfound skill.
But the most noteworthy change wasn’t in my strength, endurance or coordination. The big transformation was all in my head. CrossFit provided the basis for a complete shift in how I viewed my body, my value and myself. Not long after joining I found myself thinking not in terms of inches or sizes but rather in terms of pounds lifted and sprints run. With this new metric for assessment, my thoughts began to change. I berated myself less often for the size of my thighs and thought instead of how heavy I could squat and how far I could jump. My confidence soared even as I had to buy larger jeans to accommodate my new muscular quads. I cannot possibly overstate what a huge change in perspective this was. Today I’m strong and it shows. My shoulders, which I once would have called ugly and too big, are my favorite body part. I relish the fact that I am strong, I look strong, I feel strong. It’s awesome.
I’ll share one other anecdote about my CrossFit experience before I wrap this up. A few years ago, after a flare-up of an old injury, I started to focus on Oly because it was one of the few things that didn’t bother my back. I took a step back from CrossFit and focused my efforts on learning the complex lifts. Over the months the movements began to click and I was thrilled by the progress I made. I put the work in, drilled my form relentlessly and eventually became proficient in the lifts that had previously been the absolute bane of my existence. I went on to compete at lifting meets, winning my weight class on a few occasions. What was previously a major weakness is now something that I identify as one of my greatest strengths. Again, cue major shift in perspective. Olympic lifting allowed me to understand that excellence isn’t something that just happens to people. Skill and strength are the hard-won result of dedication, attainable if you are truly willing to pursue them. I feel so lucky to have grown up at CFB, having had the opportunity to learn so much about sport and about life. It’s been an incredible gift.
So here’s a big thank you. Thank you to CFB for helping me to lay the foundation for a healthy, happy and strong adulthood. Thank you to Neal for creating a gym where respect, compassion and encouragement are paramount. Thank you to the coaches for inspiring excellence. Thank you to the whole CFB community for being my friends, my training partners and my acquired family. While I’m excited to begin a new chapter in Denver, my next gym Front Range CrossFit has some serious shoes to fill. I love you fiercely and am so fortunate to call you all friends.
29 Oct / 2013
Earlier this week I was reading an article titled something along the lines of “halloween candy is awful and horrific for kids”. Obviously candy is empty calories, sugar, and often times additives and other flavorings, and it’s not exactly the ideal food for kids, or anyone. But seeing all these articles and awareness about the evils of candy and the healthier alternatives, I realized I’m a bit torn about halloween.
The nostalgic in me remembers dressing up in costume, running around my neighborhood with other kids, collecting a bunch of candy. When we got home, we traded it with other neighborhood kids while our parents made sure all the candy was safe, and then ultimately ate a bunch of it. We got to go to bed late and eat sugar, and it was awesome. By the end of the week we’d either eaten it all – or at least all the good pieces – or gotten sick of it. Nobody died and nobody gained 20 pounds – probably because we ran around all the time and burned it off. All was well and we had a blast, so what’s the big deal?
Knowing what I know about food behavior, I worry that demonizing bad foods like candy and making a big deal about the calories and sugars can negatively effect kids’ relationship with food. Yes, it’s important to educate people about the negative effects of too much sugar and promote healthier foods like fruits and vegetables. But I’ve also seen kids who grow up in healthy households that will eat “forbidden” junk foods outside the home, almost compulsively.
The nutritionist in me knows the realities of child obesity, childhood type 2 diabetes, and inactivity compared to the mid 90′s. I know that sugar is a much bigger part of kids lives today. In my elementary and middle schools, we had no vending machines and 30 minutes of recess AND physical education, but many schools today are quite the opposite. Fewer kids play outside or on sports teams today. Basically, the food environment is worse, kids are less healthy, and a few days of too much candy has a much bigger impact today than it might have two decades ago. And when people are taking positive steps to eat healthier, get more active, and improve their health, throwing 10 lbs of candy at them because “it’s halloween!” isn’t all that helpful.
So, for now, I’m torn. I probably won’t buy any candy for myself, and tricker or treaters don’t come to my door (they’d rather over by John Kerry’s house, where they hand out better candy). So, what do you think about halloween? Do you give out candy or a healthier option for trick or treaters? How do you deal with halloween candy your kids bring home? Let me know in the comments!