06 Aug / 2014
Congrats to all the people that performed the CrossFit Total last week and hit some new PR’s! Lot’s of hard work paying off and it’s awesome to see. Keep up the hard work and let’s keep crushing it as we head into the Fall.
As a coach I hope to continually teach you new things and give you tools to improve yourselves. Over the past week if you’ve been taking the noon class with me you may have experienced a new warmup that improves your mobility and gets you ready to move with the barbell. That warmup is a variation on the morning warmup I learned from The Movement Fix. I’ve been giving it to a number of my private training clients as well and it seems like it really helps everyone loosen up and move a lot smoother.
If you workout in the morning or don’t want to sit around all day getting tight before the evening classes, then you should give the warmup in the video above a try, every morning for the next week. Let me know how it goes. If you’re unclear about some of the movements let me know and I’ll get you fixed up.
If you’d like to see the improvement this makes be sure to test and re-test with a couple of air squats before and after.
Here’s the routine:
10 shoulder rotations
10 prayer stretches
10 crab walk rocks
10 ankle moves
10 hip rotations
10 straight leg raises
10 hip extensions
repeat on other leg
spine 10 cat camels (don’t push the ranges of motion)
06 Aug / 2014
I have always shared my birthday (August 5th) with Neil Armstrong, and now, I share it with a new friend: the Gluten Free Label. That’s right, as of yesterday, the term “gluten-free” (as well as “without gluten”, “gluten free”, and “free of gluten”) is regulated by the FDA. So, what does this mean for you?
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye, barely, and other hybrid grains. Gluten is usually safe for most people, but about 1% of the population has a condition called Celiac Disease, which is a gluten allergy. When these people eat gluten, their body has an autoimmune response that ultimately leads to damage to the lining of the intestines, which then leads to nutrition malabsorption (as well as other symptoms like bloating and frequent illness). The only treatment for Celiac disease is a gluten free diet.
However, gluten free has also become popular among people without any allergy to gluten. People go gluten free for a number of reasons, including weight loss and just trying to feel better. As more people went gluten free, the food industry clamored to meet their demands. However, this was still confusing for people who truly needed to avoid gluten, as “gluten free” had not legitimized, regulated definition.
In August 2013, FDA announced it would begin regulating the term “gluten free”. As of August 5th, 2014, any food labeled “gluten free” must – according to FDA – either be inherently gluten free (like nuts) or does not contain any of the following:
1) a gluten-containing grain (e.g., spelt wheat)
2) derived from a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat flour); or
3) derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat starch), if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in the food.
In addition, any presence of gluten in the food must be less than 20 ppm. The FDA used 20 ppm because there is currently no available technology to allow them to measure levels below that.
This label is voluntary, so for example, Diamond is allowed to label their raw and salted almonds “gluten free”, but they don’t have to.
You can read more on FDA’s website.
What This Means For You
If you have Celiac disease, this means that you may now shop with confidence, knowing that foods labeled “gluten free” or anything similar are in fact, as far as modern technology an detect, free of gluten. This is also helpful for anyone (schools, hospitals, parents, babysitters, dinner party hosts, etc) who may need to feed someone with Celiac disease in the future.
But, for the general population, this doesn’t mean as much. Often times foods like pretzels and bread which would normally have gluten but are processed to have it removed have no added benefit for someone without gluten allergy. These foods are often no healthier than the original and are twice as expensive. Gluten free grain foods are usually made with a mix of potato, tapioca, and rice flour. If you’re trying to eat healthier (or fewer) grains, my advice is to choose 100% whole wheat and cut back on how much you’re eating by adding more vegetables. You can also substitute some grains for vegetables altogether, like spaghetti squash in place of pasta or chopped cauliflower in place of rice.
05 Aug / 2014
Tell us about yourself. What was your background growing up? Sports? Activities?
I’m passionate about higher education, fitness, and craft beer (even though I’ve pledge not to drink until after I conquer the Spartan Beast in September). I was born and raised in Massachusetts and took a job opportunity in which allowed me to relocate back to the city last year. Currently, I’m a Student Affairs professional and been forging community in residence halls since 2009!
My background growing up was nothing formal or trained. I was your typical gym class hero until took up playing volleyball and tennis in high school. While attending college at Worcester State, I had the privilege to compete all four years on the women’s varsity volleyball and lacrosse team. Now, I’m reliving the glory days through obstacle course racing.
When did you begin training at CFB? Why? What were you looking for?
I started training at CFB 6 months ago! My goal is to become a Spartan Trifecta Tribe member by completing the sprint, super, and beast in one race year. In order to prepare for glory, I knew I needed get back into training with a focus on strength and conditioning. That’s when I found CFB, my training regiment to build muscle stamina, regain strength and speed without sacrificing my endurance.
What is your favorite WOD?
I don’t have a particular favorite WOD because there are many I still haven’t done yet. However, I do thrive in a group setting because it’s like having teammates and I do enjoy workouts that involves rope climbs or gymnastic elements. I don’t have previous gymnastics experience so learning and practicing the movements really fun. No particular reason why I enjoy rope climbs other than it doesn’t pop up very often. But when it does, I’ve been told I transform into a “Spider Monkey”…probably from pure excitement!
What has been your least fav?
My least favorite workouts are ones I have to do individually on rare occasions. I prefer being surrounded by a group of people doing the same because it helps me push through grueling moments. I strive to be well rounded and there hasn’t been one workout that I regret doing but…Burpees do suck.
What have been the keys to your success in training that may benefit someone reading this?
I’m still working towards accomplishing my goals so I wouldn’t say I’ve reached the point of “success” yet. Everyone is different and it’s important to point out that what works for me may not work for everyone. What is important finding what works best for you. But, I can list a few key things that is helping me stay motivated.
- Private Sessions: This was were I started and the foundation to my “success”. The private sessions helped assess what I need to work on, help correct bad habits, and expand on what I did well by learning new techniques which, helps me finish workouts more efficiently. I worked with Coach Pat (Go Renegades!) and not only he a great coach but, he continues to provide on-going support which is helping me achieve my goals.
- Mobilization: often over look or under appreciated but so important because it will help you maintain solid form and prevent injuries. I’ve always been a mobilizer prior to starting Crossfit, but when I joined CFB I made intentional efforts to learn new and different techniques. Thanks to Kapil and Mobility Wednesdays, I probably mobilize more body parts than Martin when I’m not training.
- Nutrition: another over look area. Health is wealth and it starts with proper nutrition. I find Coach Alex’s blog posts most interesting and a great starting point for resources. She does a great job presenting information form an un bias standpoint and uses credible sources. Her references are conveniently linked in her articles which serves as a gateway if I want to learn more about a topic or subject matter.
This is what separates CFB from other affiliates and everyone has contributed to helping me achieve my goals. The coaches deliver quality instruction and want you to succeed so I listen when they instruct and never hesitate to ask questions if I have I have them. As for other members, everyone is welcoming and encouraging especially the 7AM crew! I consider Audrey as my peer advisor because she helped me scale appropriately, maintain form, and gave me personal pointers when I first started. Thanks Audrey!
Lastly, utilize Pocket Coach so you can track your progress, listen to your
body and make sure you’re getting adequate rest, and be patient with
What’s next for Warrior Linh?
Most likely I will continue to train at CFB and after I complete my races this year, I’ll have more time to dedicate on improving my rowing technique! Also, I would like to start competing at local or in house Throw Downs as well.
05 Aug / 2014
Thanks to everyone for their #PostWOD activity ideas! Of note are four suggestions put forth by Juan Carlos and Rory:
1. #PostWOD recovery shakes at JC’s Cambridge home – Delicious!
2. A weekend trip up to JC’s house in New Hampshire, featuring access to a lake, an indoor pool, and biking/running trails – SIGN ME UP!
3. Eating buffalo wings. I’m SRSLY down for this. I propose we get together at Silvertone this Sunday afternoon at 4 PM to munch on some Buffalo Wings and down some frosty brews. Who’s in? Comment below or email me at [email protected]
4. A flag football team — Could CFB parlay its appearance in the softball playoffs into flag football dominance?!
Here is the events roll call for the next few weeks:
• Sunday, August 10th at 4 PM – Buffalo Wings at Silverton (69 Bromfield Street, Beacon Hill)
• Wednesday, August 13th from 6 – 10 PM – Our very own Evan Michael Coniglio will be playing Rat Pack night at the Boston Harbor Hotel’s Summer in the City Series
• Saturday, August 16th – Hike the Whites (email pat@crossfitboston to sign up!)
• Sunday, September 7th at 9 AM- Nigel and Dave’s Filthy Fifty Birthday Celebration
• Saturday, September 13th from 4 to 11 PM – Watch our very own Boston Derby Dame Candy Saunders kick @$$ in a Boston Roller Derby Bout!
• Sunday, September 21st – CrossFit Fenway’s Third Annual Beantown Throwdown
• Saturday, September 27th from 9 AM to 2 PM – Our very own in-house throwdown!
Please let me know if you have any other events that you are participating in and I’ll post them here! There have also been a bunch of spontaneous gatherings that have been formed over on our super-secret, yet completely-inclusive Facebook page. If you are not yet a member of this secret group and would like to be, please message me and I’ll get you set up.
04 Aug / 2014
Alright, my first question is, WHO does Mobility/Yoga!? Second question, if your answer is yes, how often!? Every Monday I will be putting up some movements that you should try to do DAILY each week. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me.
First, rolling out your muscles is very important but it should NOT be the only thing you do. Look at the work outs you have this week. Think of what your body needs, what you feel when you are doing a lift or how you feel the next few days. Choose from there what mobility movement you should do each day, BEFORE and AFTER class.
If you were in class when I was doing Mobility to warm up, you’ve done these movements already. These movements will open your most important joints and warm up your muscles! After class you should take more time holding each pose for 45 sec to 1 min to help your muscles rest and to prevent them from becoming tight and sore.
Raise Right or Left, step forward to lunge.
Make your way into spider man. Play with that, hold a little longer where it is tight.
Repeat BOTH legs 4 time. After class do 2 on each side BUT after spiderman make your way into pigeon. Hold the pigeon as long as you can, put more body weight on the tightness and stiffness you feel.
Inchwarm to Updawg
Inchwarm to plank position
Lower down towards the floor, DONT lay on floor.
Press your chest up, the TOP of your head towards ceiling, LOOK FORWARD!
Hips will drop, THIGHS DO NOT TOUCH THE FLOOR!
Make your way back to a downdawg position, then perform another Inchwarm to Updawg.
Repeat 8 times, before times. 2-4 times after class but holding each position for a longer period of time!
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 18.104.22.168 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.