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25 Aug / 2013

Athlete of the Month – Judith Donath

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 Judith

Iron & Grit Athlete of The Month

Judith Donath

 

I can’t think of anytime I have been quite so surprised as when Tina told me that I had be voted athlete of the month here. 

 

Growing up, I was not athletic, not even a little. You know that last person left standing there in gym class when teams are chosen? That was me.  My mother couched her boundless encouragement – “If you set your mind on it, you can do anything you want ” with the realistic caveat – “as long as it doesn’t involve anything physical”  Outside of grade school gym class, I have never played any sports, organized or not  – no softball or tennis, no beach volleyball or ultimate Frisbee. 

 

In my 20s, I lived in NYC’s East Village and commuted each day to work in White Plains. It was the gritty 1980’s New York, the East Village of bodegas and storefront galleries, its burnt out tenements not yet turned into shiny condos.. I loved living there, but the commute was awful: the subways were filthy, the trains often broke down, and the 90-minute trip sometimes took several hours.   It was in this incongruous setting of cigarettes and late-night clubs that I discovered exercise, in the form of downtown dance/workout classes. They were great fun –some had live drummers accompanying them, others had DJ mixed tapes with that week’s underground club hits. I’d take classes and lift weights til I could stop gritting my teeth from the stress of my job and commute. Finally, for the first time, I was fit. 

 

Then I moved up to Boston. I kept the habit of working out. I’d go to the gym, bike around town, run a bit, and cross-country ski when there was snow (and I had time – a rare combination with two kids and an academic career). It’s been a pretty exciting life here, with some dramatic ups and downs personally and professionally, but fitness-wise it was mostly steady and dutiful.  And, over the years, increasingly boring. I had a routine I’d do at the gym, or I’d run, at a pace that was getting slower and slower and slower. Finding excuses not to workout was getting easier.  

 

I’d heard about Crossfit, and when I turned 50, a bit over a year ago, I decided to join. Though it was rather intimidating, I liked it tremendously from the start. It’s never boring (well, 100 burpees can be kind of boring, but the pain helps distract from that).  Not only is every day different, but it’s a constant learning experience, with so much to focus on with each move.  What are your shoulders doing?  Where is your weight centered? What grip should you use  Is the bar on the right path – and why not?  The coaches are amazing – I don’t think there has been a single class in which I have not learned something.

 

The competitive aspect of Crossfit is terrifically motivating, and a fascinating balance between competing with other athletes and with yourself.  Part of my surprise at being athlete of the month is that I’m often to be found right there at the bottom of that Wodify screen.   But even if I’m among the slowest, it’s often still a victory for me, because it’s better than my last attempt. Perhaps I got in only a few overhead kettlebell swings – but a year ago, I couldn’t do them at all. I’ve gotten stronger in this last year at Crossfit, and I’ve also learned so much about the combination of balance, power and control  that makes it possible to move a lot of weight – or yourself – around.  I’m still struggling with actually performing much of what I learned and I have a very long list of skills yet to be mastered:  kipping pull-ups, double-unders, handstands (handstand push-ups are off in some distant horizon), overhead squats with any significant weight, and many more.  Knowing  this list will never end is actually very encouraging ; I see that the best athletes have equally long lists – there are always higher weights, more reps, better form that they struggle to achieve.  

 

One of the things I like most at Crossfit is being with people of such wide variety of abilities, each of whom finds their challenge in the day’s workout. The community is incredibly encouraging and motivating. When I think that I’ve done my last thruster, that I could not possibly do another pull-up, I see all around me others who are sweating, struggling – and still going.  And I realize that one more is indeed possible. 

 

Thank you all!

Judith

23 Aug / 2013

Fire it Up Friday! – August 23

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Fire it Up!  Fire it Up!

There is only one week left in August and it is getting warm again.  This past weekend a group of CFB members jumped in their cars and head to North Shore CrossFit for a friendly throwdown.  The event was a great success with more than 15 teams of 4 individuals participating and spectators as well.  The workout was called the Engine and it consisted of:

Every 2 Minutes complete the following, until it cannot be done in the allotted time:

Rx:
50 Double Unders
1 – 200m run
12 HSPU
5 Squat Cleans 165/100
20 Burpees

Scaled:
50 Tuck Jumps
1 – 200m run
12 Modified HSPU (banded or box)
5 Squat Cleans 135/75
20 Burpees

The workload was split amongst all of the members to complete.  The Team would rest with whatever time they had remaining.  This workout became challenging to balance each others strengths/weaknesses especially as fatigue began to set in.  The top teams were going for almost an hour!  It was a great display of stamina and work capacity.  

Afterwords, everyone hung out while the grill was fired up.  Lots of great conversations with friends.  Everyone agreed that this is what CrossFit is all about, pushing our bodies harder than we thought we could and then sitting around to shoot the sh*t.   We all want to do it more frequently and that is the plan! 

Kiel Larsen
Kiel is Fired Up!

This past week’s programming began adding more advanced movements into the mix.  That will continue and it will be up to you to continue working on your progressions so that you will need to scale less and less.  If you are not solid in understanding what the progressions are for a certain movement be sure to set up some time to sit with your coach and talk.  He will be able to get you squared away on the most efficient path.

Progenex

We are proud to be partnering up with Progenex and will begin offering their product line in-house very soon!  The reputation of their products is very strong in the CrossFit Community and they work as advertised.  I especially enjoy the Belgian Chocolate protein powder in my morning bulletproof coffee!

We are committed in the search to bring the best products to aid you in your training goals in becoming “Wicked Fit”!  If there is a product you would like to see us carry, let us know!

What’s On Tap

Saturday – August 24
1. With a partner, complete 3 rounds each
10 Deadlift, 315#/215#
50′ Band resisted run
10 Pull ups

2. Push Jerk – work up to a max for the day in 15 minutes

Sunday – August 25
1. “Jackie” – Complete for time
1000m row
50 Thrusters, 45#
30 Pull-ups

2. 20 minutes of practice
Toe 2 Bar
Hand walking

Monday – August 26
1. Complete reps of 21-15-9 for time
Burpees
Back Squat, 135#/95#

2. 3 position Clean – 3 sets x 2 reps (keep the weight moderate and work on speed under the bar)
Position 1 – top of the pockets
Position 2 – just below the knee
Position 3 – from the floor

3. Skills – Double Unders
Max reps in 3 minutes
rest 3 minutes
Max reps in 3 minutes

Tuesday – August 27
1. 3 rounds for time
200m Weight carry on the shoulders
15 Overhead swings, 24kg/16kg
5 Handstand push ups

2. Deadlift – 60%/5, 70%/5, 80%/3, 90%/max reps and then back down

Wednesday – August 28
1. Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes
500m run/row (alternate each round)
50 Air Squats

2. Skills – Butterfly Pull ups
Perform a ladder of 1-6 by 3 cycles.  Rest 2 minutes between each ladder

Thursday – August 29
1. CF Games Open WOD 13.4

Complete as many rounds as possible in 7 minutes
3 Clean and Jerk
3 Toes-To-Bar
6 Clean and Jerk
6 Toes-To-Bar
9 Clean and Jerk
9 Toes-To-Bar
12 Clean and Jerk
12 Toes-To-Bar
15 Clean and Jerk
15 Toes-To-Bar
18 Clean and Jerk
18 Toes-To-Bar
21 Clean and Jerk
21 Toes-To-Bar
*If you complete the round of 21, go on to 24. If you complete 24, go on to 27, etc.

2. 3 position Snatch - 3 sets x 2 reps (keep the weight moderate and work on speed under the bar)
Position 1 – top of the pockets
Position 2 – just below the knee
Position 3 – from the floor

3. Strength – 3 supersets with ascending weight
a. Ring dips – 3-5 reps
b. Recline rows – 6-10 reps

Friday – August 30
1. “Annie” – Complete reps of 50-40-30-20-10 for time
Double Unders
AbMat Sit ups

2. Split Jerk – Work up to a max for the day in 15 minutes

3. Front Squat – 1×20 reps at 70%

 

How was that Rowing WOD on Tuesday?RRT launching

Just wanted to shout out to everyone that attacked it.  Nice work!

On Saturday, September 14th the Renegade Rowing Team will be competing in the Rumble on the River at CRI.  They will race about 3km in a time trial style head race and then dual another boat in a 500m sprint if they make the finals.  If you’re thinking about trying Renegade Rowing and getting on the water, the Rumble on the River would be a great opportunity to see what we’re all about.  There will be live music, food, and rowing!  Come cheer on the Renegade Rowing Team!

Here are some pictures from practice this week to give you an idea of what your fellow class mates have been up to.  Ask them what they’ve been learning when you see them in class!

RRT Full MoonRRT Pic Drill

 

 

20 Aug / 2013

Should You Try Fasting?

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Intermittent fasting (IF) has emerged as one of the many trendy diet options these days. Basically, “intermittent fasting” is the practice of periodically alternating between fasting – drinking just water and perhaps low calorie drinks like coffee – and non-fasting, i.e. eating normally. 

Fasting Plans 

IF comes in a variety of plans and structures. The most popular of these are:

Empty Dishes

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.

Read More

16 Aug / 2013

FIRE IT UP FRIDAY – AUGUST 16

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“Wellness isn’t about deprivation and it’s not about perfection. It is about pointing yourself in the direction of growth, training yourself to get comfortable with your highest potential, and then taking small steps to support that shift. It’s about showing up for yourself, day by day, and then one day finding that you’ve undergone a transformation.” 

– Kathy Freston

Fire it UP BABY!  I received that quote in my mailbox yesterday and it really struck a cord with me.  I think it aligns very well with our mindset here at CrossFit Boston Iron & Grit.  Discipline, perseverance, resolve, action.  All great words to describe what it takes to be a better you!  Guess what.  You are living this every day that you get out of bed and walk through the doors into the gym.  

CFB Flag

 

Sunday – Schedule Change and North Shore CrossFit/CrossFit Boston – InterGym Throwdown

Don’t forget that this Sunday the class has been moved to 8:30am.  At 9:30AM we will be leaving to head to Danvers, MA for a 10:30 WOD with North Shore CrossFit.  After the WOD is over the grill will be fired up for a Potluck BBQ.  Bring some MEAT and any beverage you want to drink.

Olympic Weightlifting

We are adding a second weightlifting class on Saturday’s beginning tomorrow at 10am.  Attendance of 5 sessions during the weekday class is a pre-requisite before attending the Saturday class.  The weekday class is now being held each Tuesday 6:30-8:30PM.  Come and get your lifts on!  Email Coach Julie G if you have any questions.

What’s On Tap

Saturday – August 17
1a. Dips 6×3 as heavy as possible
1b. L-sit 6x max hold

2. Complete reps of 9-15-21 for time…
Push press, 115#/75#
Overhead swings, 32kg/24kg
Air squats

Sunday – August 18
1. Front Squat – 50%/5, 60%/5, 70%/3, 80%/max reps and then back down

2. Complete for time
50 Alternating DB snatch, 55#/35#
10 Pistols (alternate leg each time)
25 Alt. DB snatch, 55#/35#
10 Pistols (alternate leg each time)
12 Alt. DB snatch, 55#/35#
10 Pistols (alternate leg each time)

Monday – August 19
1. Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes
1 Muscle up
3 Deadlift, 275#/185#
2 Muscle up
6 Deadlift, 275#/185#
3 Muscle up
9 Deadlift, 275#/185#

10 Muscle up
30 Deadlift, 275#/185#

2. Run 800m – MAX EFFORT

Tuesday – August 20
1. Complete for time
Row 2k

then 6 rounds
10 Glute ham sit-ups
10 Pull ups

Row 2k

2. Overhead squat – work up to a heavy single in 10 minutes

Wednesday – August 21
1. Back Squat – 60%/5, 70%/5, 80%/3, 90%/max reps and then back down

2. Complete 5 rounds for time
20 Sumo deadlift high pull, 95#/65#
20 Ring dips

Thursday – August 22
1. Run 1 mile – Max Effort

2. For time
1-10 Unbroken Thruster ladder at 60%

Friday – August 23
1. Work up to a 2 rep TnGo Snatch in 15 minutes

2. Complete as many rounds in 10 minutes as you can
10 Push ups
15 Box jumps, 20″

Get after it and FIRE IT UP!!

When training with constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity the focus is to build general physical preparedness.  The pyramid model of training has a base made of nutrition that supports metabolic conditioning, gymnastics, weightlifting, and a peak of sport.  So if the ultimate goal of our training is to compete in a sport and do so with super health and elite fitness, how do you work sport specific training into your daily/weekly routine?

This Fall a collegiate crew team, the renegade rowing team, and myself will be building their work capacity and general fitness on a regular basis throughout the week along with sport specific training.  In the sport of rowing it definitely helps to have as much water time as possible to become efficient at moving the boat.  One downfall of spending every hour in a boat can be a decrease in strength, power, and overall fitness.  How do we get enough time in the boat and still maintain our power and fitness?

This week I’ve combined the two – 1. Rowing on the Water with 2. Metabolic Conditioning and Strength Work in the gym.  I’m testing my new programming that we’ll be using this fall.  For a two-hour practice we’ll row for 15 minutes, run a mile to the gym, do a 45 minute session at CrossFit Boston, run a mile back to the boat, and then row back to the dock for another 15-20 minutes.

Having just experienced this, I’m very excited to bring this Renegade Rowing programming to more rowers.  It allows for a sport specific warmup and cool down while mixing in an endurance aspect with the running and overall amount of work done in a two-hour practice.  The workout in the gym allows us to focus on building strength and power.  The best part is that with the right focus this work can be used for skill transfer to rowing.  While it’s not sport specific work, there are aspects that can reinforce the sport specific skills needed when we get back in the boat at the end of practice.

The absolute best part though is the Fun!  A two-hour practice of competition and fun, both on the water and in the gym.  I Can’t wait to see the results at the Head of the Charles in October.

Please share your thoughts and methods for combining sport specific training with general physical preparedness.

If you’d like to join in and train Renegade Rowing style this fall, please get in touch with me … [email protected]

Ah, creatine. Some people love it. Some people think it’s steroids. There was a ton of research on creatine published in the 1990s – early 2000′s, and more has trickled in since then. Here I’ll give you an overview of creatine: what it is, what it does, how you take it, and the research on its effectiveness and safety.

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is a protein made up of 3 amino acids. It is found in meat and fish, and is also produced in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas and is stored in muscle cells.

What Does Creatine Do In the Body?

Creatine has a few important functions in the cell, including:

1. Provides readily available energy to skeletal muscles.

2. Helps reduce acid build up in muscles caused by lactate and Hydrogen during exercise.

3. Activates certain pathways that generate energy.

Creatine Dose

The recommended dose of creatine – the dose used in the majority of studies – is 20 grams per day (in 4 daily doses of 5 grams) for 5 days followed by 2-3 grams per day for up to 10 weeks. This is the dosage commonly tested in athletes, so it’s not known if the same dose is effective in non-athletes.

Effect of Creatine on Athletes 

Abundant evidence has found that creatine in the recommended dose increased the amount of creatine in the muscles by 20% on average, but responses ranged from 0-40% and were influenced by the amount of creatine already present in muscles. Creatine has also been found to

  • Increase body mass. Some research has attributed this to water weight, while other research has shown the gains were mostly in dry, fat free mass. Other research found that long term supplementation increases the diameter of muscle fibers without adding water. For the most part, research consensus suggest that the gains are mostly muscle mass.
  • Enhance muscular force and power. One study found that creatine users saw an increase in bench press repetitions and power during jump squats compared to non-users and another found that creatine users increased their bench press, squat, and power clean weight volumes.
  • Help maintain goal speed/work level on the last few repetitions or seconds of output.

Insulin (a hormone that helps the body use carbohydrates) is also thought to increase uptake of creatine, meaning that you may see increased benefits by eating carbohydrates (fruits, juices, and starches) along with a creatine supplement.

While the consensus is that creatine can increase body mass and enhance strength, endurance, and speed in power and strength athletes, little research supports its use among endurance athletes. Some research showed creatine use slowed runners in a 6 km run, most likely due to increased body mass, but another study suggested it could be useful in enhancing the short kick sprint at the end of a long distance run. For the most part, though, creatine is not associated with any performance benefits for longer duration endurance sports like distance running and soccer.

It’s also important to note that, while the research showing the benefits of creatine supplement for athletic performance, research with opposite findings are also prevalent. The thinking is that there is an upper limit to the amount of creatine the muscles can store, and evidence indicates that when high levels of creatine are ingested, the body responds by decreasing its production of creatine. So, a person with low natural levels of muscle creatine taking a supplement might see performance gains whereas a person with higher levels their muscles or who get a lot of creatine from food sources would see less or no improvement.

Is Creatine Safe?

There has been some speculation that creatine supplementation can cause kidney or liver damage. Several studies analyzing blood values indicative of liver health found no evidence that creatine could damage the liver. There has also been little evidence to suggest creatine causes kidney damage. Some adverse side effects including gastrointestinal upset. muscle cramps, and dizziness but these were mostly anecdotal, and no hard evidence suggests creatine was the culprit for these ailments. One case reported rhabdomyolysis (severe muscle breakdown), but this person was taking over 10 grams of creatine (a VERY high dose) for over 6 months before that occurred.

The other safety concern with creatine is based on food safety. While creatine is approved by the FDA, it is regulated as a vitamin or supplement  and not as a food, meaning it’s hardly regulated at all. Because of this, manufacturers can add any number of ingredients and make dubious health claims without proving safety and/or effectiveness. Some creatine supplements have been found contaminated in recent years. Since it is widely available online and at a number of retailers, it’s important to exercise caution and look for supplements that have undergone third party testing.

The Bottom Line

Creatine is a useful performance aid in short duration, quick burst athletic exertions like sprinting and power lifting, and users have a low chance of experiencing serious or even uncomfortable side effects. Creatine should, however, be used with caution and in moderation as research into the effect of supplementation over a number of years is still needed.

12 Aug / 2013

CCP Assessment and Weekend Allstars

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This past weekend we had members competing in two different locations in the area. We had the Crossfit Iron & Grit teens competing at CrossFit New England’s Teen Competition in Natick as well as others competing at CrossFit Avalon. I was only able to see the awesome work at the Avalon Throwdown, but from what I understand and what I saw, ALL competitors represented our gym well. Hannah Pelofsky received the “Sprit of the Games Award” at the teen competition! Congratulations Hannah! Another B.I.G. shout-out to Cori Bernardi and Katie “Labonte” Telepciak for their outstanding performance at Avalon. Unfortunately we don’t know how well they placed because of a last minute change in scoring, but I believe they scored 2nd and 3rdrespectively! Great job ladies!

 

There’s one more thing I’d like to talk about today. I have enrolled in a Coaches Certification Program with the first section focusing on Assessment of athletes. This will allow me to better understand how to work with athletes in order to get them to move better, faster. There are really two parts to the assessment. One is a caliper body fat assessment (but doesn’t give a %), and the other is a movement assessment. I will need to do this assessment on 20+ members. I am offering up an offer to do this assessment for free to the first 20 members who approach me with interest. All additional members that wish to go through the assessment will be charged $50 for the evaluation and any follow up evaluations. If you are interested or have any questions, feel free to ask me or send me your questions at [email protected]

09 Aug / 2013

Fire it up! – August 9

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All right!  It’s another Friday and its time to look back on the week.  The programming brought three heavy days of lifting and you all didn’t disappoint.  We performed maximum reps at 85% for the back squat, bench press, and deadlift and many of you established new estimated one rep maxes increasing your work capacity.  At these higher percentages it should be expected that you will be only able to achieve a few reps.  A good score will be in the 4-8 rep range.  Of course there will always be exceptions to this but if you are able to complete more than 10-12 reps, then your numbers are slightly off and need to be recalculated.

CrossFit Avalon Throwdown & CrossFit New England Teen Competition

This Saturday we have athletes competing at both CF Avalon and CF New England.  If you are in town, head out and show your support for fellow members.  It is always great to hear your name from the crowd while you are pushing through a tough workout.

The competition at Avalon (Charlestown, MA) begins at 11:30 and will end by 3:30pm.  The teens at CrossFit New England (Natick, MA) will begin at 9am and end around 3pm.  If you have never been to a throwdown, I highly recommend it as the energy is awesome!

What’s On Tap

Next week we are going to focus quite a bit on pushing our own body weight around.  Specifically, we are going to train handstand push ups and dips.  Be sure to mobilize the shoulder to keep it nice and healthy as we move on.  Here’s what’s in store:

Saturday August 10
Every minute on the minute for 10 minutes
2 Snatch @ 75%

“Isabel”
Complete 30 reps for time…
Snatch 135#/95#

Sunday August 11
Complete for time…
Max effort row 500m
rest 2 minutes
Row 1000m @ 500m pace +10 seconds
rest 4 minutes
Row 2k @ 500m pace +20 seconds

15 minutes of mobility work – target any “hot” areas

Monday August 12
1a. Handstand push-ups 6×3 (as deep as possible)
1b. Rope climbs 6×2 ascents/descents

2. Complete reps of 21-15-9-15-21 for time…
95#/65# Hang squat clean
Knee to elbows

Tuesday August 13
Thruster – 50%/5, 60%/5, 70%/3, 80%/max reps and then back down

Complete for time…
75 Double unders

7 rounds
15 Wallball shots, 20#/14#
15 Pull-ups

75 Double unders

Wednesday August 14
1. Snatch balance – work up to a heavy single in 10 minutes

2. “Randy”
Complete 75 reps for time…
Snatch 75#/55#

3a. Handstand push-ups-6×3 (deep as possible)
3b. Bent over row-6×6 (heavy as possible)

Thursday August 15
“Pull-up Madness” – with a continuous clock perform 1 pull-up on the first minute, two pull-ups on the second minute, three pull-ups on the third minute…continue as long as you can complete the corresponding number of pull-ups as the time

Tabata Intervals
Airdyne
Push-ups
Air squats

Friday August 16
Complete every minute on the minute for 20 minutes…
5 Burpees
1 Squat clean, 185#/125#

rest 10 minutes

Run 500m – max effort

Saturday August 17
1a. Dips 6×3 (as heavy as possible)
1b. L-sit holds 6 x max effort

2. Complete reps of 9-15-21 for time…
Push press 115#/75#
Swings 32kg/24kg
Air squats

Get after it! See you all in the gym and FIRE IT UP!

The Renegade Rowing Team is training for the Rumble on the River September 14th at CRI!

The Renegade Rowing Team is training for the Rumble on the River, September 14th at CRI!

An easy goal to kick-start a training cycle and get yourself motivated is picking an event to compete in.  As we come to the end of Summer and Fall picks up there are tons of fun competitions to look forward to.  Earlier this year I committed to running a half-marathon in Newport, RI in October.  This week I found out that I received a singles bid to row at the Head of the Charles in October.  Next weekend I’ll be heading up to CrossFit North Shore with CrossFit Boston for a little throwdown action.  Long story short, I have a lot of fun training to look forward to in the coming months.

What are you training for in the next couple of months?

 Who are you training with?  Challenge a training partner to compete with you.  Share what competitions you’re training for to comments!


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Athlete of the Month

  • David Kemp

    IMG_1731

    Let’s start with a regret. I wish I had gotten off my ass and joined CrossFit Boston a year ago. Fitness-wise, it had been a rough year since I got out of the Marines and started at HBS (Harvard Business School). Not that I wasn’t working out at all, but what I was doing wasn’t […]

Kid Athlete of the Month

  • ASHLEY SCAFETTA

    IMG_1397

    CrossFit is a sport I believe everyone can participate in. I especially see this in the kid athletes of CrossFit Boston. Every new kid I have the opportunity to coach brings to our community a new perspective. Ashley is a young lady who at 10 years old is already competing in triathlons and is a […]

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