25 Sep / 2013
Over the last few days my schedule has kicked in to full gear and I’ve had the opportunity to coach a wide range of athletes. In the mornings I coach athletes from CrossFit Boston and Boston College Men’s Crew in the gym. In the afternoon I coach high school athletes from Wayland-Weston Crew. The biggest thing all three teams need to improve their performance is mobility. Today is a good day to focus on improving your mobility. Let’s get after it!
In rowing the longer your stroke the further you can move the boat and ultimately the faster you can go. Same thing applies indoors, rowing on the erg. The only problem with that equation is your positioning. Are you in a strong position at the catch and finish? Today is a day to work on mobility and improve that positioning. Take at least 15 minutes, ideally longer, to work on your tight spots. What limits you? Ankle flexion at the catch? Shoulder mobility at the finish? Tight hips/hamstrings at Bodies Over?
Share where you tend to be tight during a row as well as your problem areas for WODs. What are you doing daily to work them out?
Last but definitely not least, the video at the top of the page is something I put together to inspire the families and firefighters still recovering from one of the deadliest blazes in Houston’s history. Tito, Hannah, and I attacked the “Iron Bill” Inspire WOD last Saturday. Who have you inspired lately?
20 Sep / 2013
Fire It Up! Fire It Up!
It is PR Friday and it has been a week of personal bests in the gym! The bell has been ringing so much that it came off the wall.
What a testament to the efficacy of CrossFit in that while we have been emphasizing building work capacity over a traditional strength training cycle many of you continue to improve your strength numbers. Even while attacking strength after met cons you still are increasing your lifts. This has been true even for our intermediate and advanced lifters.
This week was especially difficult week of programming with the WOD’s really challenging both physically and mentally. Which workout did you find the most challenging?
How Are You Refueling After Workouts?
Wednesday was a heavy volume day for my training. I trained on the Airdyne in the morning, completing 20 minutes of :30 second sprint followed by :30 recovery along with a 10 minute warm up and cool down. That evening I completed “Kelly” as part of the programming. Total training time was almost 1.5 hours of hard work. I made sure to slam back a PROGENEX recovery after my workouts so that I would be ready to go the next day.
As an official PROGENEX Affiliate, I can now share a special discount code that enables you to get any PROGENEX products at 10% off the retail price. Simply use the Affiliate Code 02134 during checkout to receive 10% off your order. I chose to partner with PROGENEX because I feel strongly about their products and the results they produce. As always, I am happy to share my experiences with PROGENEX, too, so feel free to ask me!
If you are not sure what flavor you prefer, you can pick up a single serve PROGENEX Recovery in the gym and try it out first.
What’s on Tap
This week we will be focusing on handstand push ups as our skill. Be sure to get in at least three days of practice this week using the EMOM protocol. When you are training extra time during open gym be sure to get in a back squat day and an overhead lift.
Saturday – 9/21
1. AMRAP 17
1 Power Snatch
30 Double Unders
Choose a starting weight and increase by 10 pounds each round if the double unders are completed unbroken. Score both weight and rounds completed.
2. Accumulate 15 minutes of a free handstand hold
Sunday – 9/22
1. Teams of 2 Complete 3 rounds for time
15 Deadlift, 275#/185#
15 Knee to elbows
Using a staggered start, partner 1 begins on the deadlift and partner two begins on the deadlift as partner 1 moves on to the knee to elbows. Partner 2 must follow partner 1 the entire time.
2. Run 2000m relay for time
Each partner must complete 1000m of running while alternating each 500m
Monday – 9/23
135#/95# Back Squat
2. Power Snatch – 6 x 4 reps with ascending weight
3. 10 EMOM Handstand Push-ups
Choose a number you can complete each round
Tuesday – 9/24
1. Front Squat – 3×10 (straight sets)
2. Row 6 x 250m with 1:00 rest
Wednesday – 9/25
1. AMRAP 15
10 Deadlift, 225#/155#
10 AbMat Sit-ups
2. 10 EMOM Handstand Push-ups
If you completed all of your reps on Monday then increase by one rep per round
3. Midline work (your choice)
Thursday – 9/26
Begin each round with a 500m run
155#/125# Front Lunge
2. 2 Position Snatch (high hang + mid hang) – 5 x 3 reps (light to moderate weight)
Friday – 9/27
1. Deadlift – 3×10 (straight sets)
115#/75# Push press, 10 reps
24kg/16kg Swings, 10 reps
24″/20″ Box Jumps, 10 reps
3. EMOM 10 – Handstand Push-ups
If you completed all of your reps on Wednesday then increase by one rep per round
See you in the Box! ~ Neal
18 Sep / 2013
Every day you go to work there is a team of people you work with. Every day you go to the gym there is a team of people holding you accountable and pushing you. Every day you go home there is a team there to support you and love you. Recognize your team. Support them by working as hard as you can every single second of the day and you’ll make them better.
Fall is here. Set a goal, whether it’s a competition or a benchmark, and let’s get after it. Here is a little video of the Renegade Rowing Team.
After 8 weeks of training, they learned to row together and push themselves to a third place finish at the Rumble on the River last Sunday. If you’d like to attack your goals and have an awesome team to help you get there, come check out Renegade Rowing – either Online or in Boston!
18 Sep / 2013
Everyone has heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Here’s why:
Every body needs a certain amount of fuel to perform the most basic functions, like breathing, circulating blood and oxygen through the body, adjusting hormone levels, and growing or repairing cells. The more you ask of your body (as in, the more exercise you do), the more fuel it needs. During sleep, your body performs all of these functions as it repairs and rejuvenates your body. And depending on when you last ate and when you wake up, you can go anywhere from 8-15 hours without eating. This leads to decreased glycogen stores and make your morning workout or routine harder.
Current research, including a review of studies dating back to the 1950’s, shows that eating breakfast is associated with better concentration, memory, and school achievement in children and adolescents compared to skipping breakfast. The brain is fueled primarily by glucose, the simple sugar also used as the body’s most readily available source of energy and found in most complex carbohydrates. Without an adequate supply of glucose, the brain does not function optimally, and skills like memory, alertness, and understanding of new information are negatively affected.
Eating breakfast habitually has been shown to reduce risk of overweight and chronic disease in children, adolescents, and adults. One study found that men who skipped breakfast were 20% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than men who didn’t, and people who ate breakfast had lower rates of heart failure through their lifetimes. In addition, people who eat a nutritious breakfast are more likely to make healthier food choices throughout the day.
Athletes need breakfast to help them maintain a balanced energy intake and fuel the brain and body for a day of training and school or work. Breakfast is especially important if you workout in the mornings, as exercising after over 8 hours of fasting will result in lower energy levels, decreased performance, and poorer concentration. Basically, you won’t be able to go as hard, move as quickly, or focus as well as you would if you had some fuel in your body.
Eating before a morning workout can be challenging, but if you had a recovery snack and good dinner the night before, your glycogen stores will be better off, so even a small amount of food will make a difference. Because you often wake up as late as possible and are short on time, the key is finding something that provides enough energy, is portable, and that you tolerate well. Your daily breakfast should contain carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and fat, but an early morning, pre-workout breakfast should be lower in fiber and fat because these two can cause stomach discomfort if eaten in high amounts right before exercise. Some good options include a banana and a few almonds, apple and deli meat or jerky, dried fruit, a fruit smoothie with protein powder, or a Lara bar. But remember that you can eat anything for breakfast, so don’t feel limited to “breakfast foods”. If you want last night’s leftovers at 7 am, go for it. The best choice for your pre-workout breakfast will depend on how much time you have between eating and training and how well your body tolerates fat and fiber close to exercise.
17 Sep / 2013
I have this conversation every week. (Which means I should probably expand my social circle.) What is the best way to train? Should I focus on my Olympic lifts, hit three metcons everyday, do forty-five second pause front squats once a week?
Its a valid question, we all want to see gains and spend our time as effectively as possible. For me the answer is simple. Do the programming and other than that, do one thing. Pick something, anything you want to improve and do it everyday. Don’t just do it until your “okay” or “good” at it. Practice it, train it, live it until your excellent, until your a master of that element and it will always be part of your capacity.
Anyway, enough of my preaching. I’m off to practice.
Want to hear more about choosing your programming. Check out Yo Eliot below.
16 Sep / 2013
Horizontal Pulling. Hearing this, many of us think of ring rows and correlate this movement as a “bad” thing or a scale for pull-ups. First of all, it is DEFINITELY not a “bad” thing. It is a “tough” thing. It’s an appropriate scale for those of us who cannot hang from a bar for very long or get pull-ups with a band (which many of you know I can’t stand). But even if you are more than capable of hangin’ from a pull-up bar and bangin’ out 20 reps, you should still add in some horizontal pulling to your routine. If ring rows are easy for you to get, try doing strict ring rows with your feet elevated. Show me 20 good reps of that, and I would say you don’t need to add this into your training routine. My favorite way to add in horizontal pulling is by adding in barbell rows or Pendlay rows (both very similar, but still… a little different). If you don’t have pull-ups yet, this movement will definitely get you a more stable shoulder girdle and on your way to getting those elusive pull-ups in no time.
The following is a link to a video explaining some technique for some horizontal pulling movements. Check it out. Add some in to your week. Get stronger! That’s why you came to us!
13 Sep / 2013
Fire It Up! Fire It Up!
This has been an awesome week. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to work with motivated people. You all have been putting in great effort on the workouts and really improving on the skills we are prescribing for practice. You will have an opportunity to put the practice to use tomorrow with “Karen”. I can’t wait to see the results!
We are about to begin the volume training for our strength cycle that I had been written about previously. Not all of the movements will be programmed into classes and it will fall onto you to put in some extra work before or after class to keep pushing forward. The entire month of strength will be posted up by mid week in the gym.
Fire It Up Fridays will be getting juiced up as they will know include a benchmark WOD for testing going forward. Sunday will also be refreshed and will consist of either HERO WODs or TEAM WODS. Be sure to join in on the fun!
What’s On Tap
Saturday – September 14
Complete for time
150 Wallball shots 10′ target, 20#/14#
2a. Strict Pull-ups 4 x 5 AHAP
2b. Strict Handstand push-ups 4×5
Sunday – September 15
Teams of 3 - For time
Run 1 mile
90 Deadlift, 225#/155#
The work can be split up any way the team desires. Only one athlete can be working at a time and the entire volume must be complete before moving on to the next movement.
Monday – September 16
Box Jumps, 24″/20″
Power Snatch, 155#/115#
Overhead Squat, 155#/115#
2. Clean – 5×4 ascending weight
Tuesday – September 17
1. AMRAP 12
10 Thruster, 115#/75#
40 Double Unders
2. Front Squat – work up to a max single for the day
3. 10 minutes of walking on your hands
Wednesday – September 18
30 Box Jumps, 20″
30 Wallball Shots, 20#/14#
2. Accumulate 100 reps of midline assistance & walk on your hands in between sets
Thursday – September 19
1. EMOM 20
2 Clean and Jerk, 185#/125#
2. Push Press – work up to a max single for the day
Friday – September 20
1. CF Open 11.2 – AMRAP 15
9 Deadlifts, 155#/100#
15 Box jumps 24″
2. Accumulate 50′ of handwalking
CrossFit Boston’s very own Renegade Rowing Team has been working hard for eight week now to learn to row together in an eight person crew shell in hopes of crushing the competition at this years Rumble on the River. Come cheer them on and check out the river!
Get outside, enjoy a walk, and even get some beer! Check out what’s in store for the Renegade Rowing Team this weekend!
Community Rowing Inc. (CRI) is set to host the fourth annual Rumble on the River, a free outdoor music and rowing festival scheduled for Sunday, September 15 from noon to 6:30 p.m. at the Harry Parker Boathouse, 20 Nonantum Rd. in Brighton.
The Renegade Rowing Team will be racing and there are many other activities to check out including live music and a VIP Beer Garden. Register for access to the Beer Garden here … Rumble on the River VIP Beer Garden Experience!
Hope to see you there!
10 Sep / 2013
I know, it’s confusing. There are a bazillion different iterations of the paleo diet – some include dairy, some allow dark chocolate and added sugars in dried fruit, some are OK with paleo baked goods and some aren’t, etc. One thing most paleos do, though, is eat plenty of sweet potato, pumpkin, and winter squash but avoid the white potato. Why no love for the white potato in the paleo diet? Two words: glycemic index.
What Is the Glycemic Index?
The glycemic index is a number based on an equation developed by scientists a few decades ago to quantify the effect of various foods on blood sugar. The glycemic index of a food is essentially the effect of 50 grams of that food on blood sugar compared to 50 grams of white bread. High glycemic foods (like a bagel) cause the blood sugar to spike quickly and then drop off after a short time. Low glycemic foods result in a small increase in blood sugar that falls back to normal gradually. Below is one of my favorite visuals, a good graph explaining the effect of high and low glycemic foods
Low Glycemic Foods
High Glycemic Foods
White potatoes get a bad rap for being a “fattening”, nutrient deficient, processed food. Obviously, not all iterations of potatoes are healthy (here’s lookin’ at you, French fries). But potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrate and are a good source of several important vitamins. 1 baked potato contains more than 25% of your daily needs for potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C and are also a good source of magnesium. In addition, a new analysis by the Agricultural Research Service found that potatoes have compounds called phytochemicals that may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
Potatoes are an unprocessed source of complex carbohydrates that can be good for post workout recovery and provide some essential nutrients. Obviously, you can get those same nutrients from fruits and green vegetables in much higher amounts. The point is that potatoes are not the nutrient deficient bad guy they are often made out to be, and can be included in a healthy diet every now and then for variety. This, however, does not mean potatoes (or any chip made from a potato) “count as a vegetable” or that French fries are a good side dish for your bun-less burger. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on how you prepare the potato. A baked potato with a little grass-fed butter or chopped up piece of bacon is much better for you than chili cheese fries.
The take away: enjoy your mashed or baked potato every now and again. Just don’t eat it in place of your green vegetables or fruits.
06 Sep / 2013
As of today, we are adding the Friday 6:30pm class back to the schedule.
DISCLAIMER – I do not make any kind of profit from this product. It is a training tool that I believe can really help each of you to achieve your goals in fitness.
I have been using Bioforce HRV as a training aid to help me determine the effort that I am putting into my training on a day to day basis. As CrossFit goes, everyday is an intense effort. If I was feeling weak or tired I would persuade myself to push through. This was not always to my betterment. What bioforce does is allow me to have a more scientific understanding of what’s really going on inside my body to help make better decision as to push on or take some recovery time.
This information is useful in that it ensures that my training days are of greater quality and avoid overreaching on a long term basis.
What’s On Tap
This past week we focused on the Pistol as our skill of the week. Be sure to continue to work on your progressions either before or after classes. The movement requires strength, mobility and balance and it takes most people some concentrated practice to develop it efficiently.
Next week we are going to focus on the WallBall. This movement is a thorn in many peoples side and we are going to work to make it a strength. When performing wallballs we are trying to accomplish the following:
- Upright torso
- Ball maintained at chest height during the squat portion
- Use both hands to “push” the ball to its target while keeping the feet on the ground
- Smooth recovery as the ball is received from the target and we begin the next squat cycle
The focus will be two fold: hit the 10′+ target height and to increase the number of reps performed unbroken. Here is a general guideline for this week’s practice:
- Use a lighter ball if you are struggling reaching the height. Increase accuracy first!
- Begin with sets of 10 unbroken for beginners. 20 for intermediate athletes. 40 for advanced athletes.
- Perform 3-6 sets without exceeding 150 reps total during any practice session.
- Allow adequate rest between sets to ensure success.
1. Press – 20 minutes to work up to a max for the day
2. AMRAP 7
7 Muscle ups
7 Hang squat cleans, 95#/65#
rest 5 minutes
3. AMRAP 7
7 Thruster, 95#/65#
7 Knee to Elbows
1. Complete 5 rounds for reps
1:00 Box Jumps
2. Midline Work
a. Leg raises – 6×20
b. Hip Extension – 6x 15
1. EMOM 12
Even – 10 Burpees
Odd – 10 Overhead swings, 32kg/24kg
2. Snatch – 5×5 with ascending load
3. Wallball practice
1. AMRAP 15
7 DB Hang Squat Cleans, 55#/35#
2. Deadlift – work up to a max single for the day
1. 5 RFT
20 Ring Dips
2a. L-sit holds – 7 x :15
2b. Back extension – 7×10
1. Complete reps of 9-15-21 for time
Front Squat, 135#/95#
2. Position 1 Snatch – 5×4 (light to moderate load)
3. Wallball practice
1. Complete reps of 30-20-10 for time
Push Press, 115#/75#
Toe 2 Bar
2. Bench Press – 5×10 with ascending weight