Blog

Home
Blog

I have to apologize for such a late post. I am out in California for work and got caught up enjoying the sunshine (OK, OK I was working). 

I recently contributed an article to Box Pro Magazine on the 7 mistakes you might be making in the box. Some of these are things I’ve seen in our box, and some are just things I’ve seen around CrossFit. I’ll let you read more about the problems and my suggested fixes over at Box Pro. 

Dennis Thé, Kate Sherman liked this post
09 Mar / 2015

Attack Your Weaknesses

By There are no tags 1 comments

We are a performance facility, right? In our ongoing attempt to develop our best version of ourselves it is necessary to do the things we don’t want to do.

Take today’s WOD for example. At first glance, it is easy to say, “Oh row 5000m! I am going to skip it b/c…” You can put in whatever reason you like. I would venture to guess that whatever reason you place in that sentence. That is the EXACT reason you do need to be here on this day.

I was happy to hit this workout under the instruction of Coach Mickey. He did a great job of prepping us in the drilling the movements and then getting our bodies and mind prepared for the task.

I grew up a power athlete. My sports were wrestling and football. Short bouts of intense work followed by rest. More so in football than wrestling but you get the point. Training sessions like today are what I have been focusing on to improve my overall fitness. 

I hope next time you wake up and see that WOD and remark that you are going to skip the workout because of X, Y, Z…don’t! Come in and get better.

5000m row Baby!

5000m row Baby!

09 Mar / 2015

My Dad Works Harder Than You Do

By There are no tags 0 comments

IMG_3608I’ve been working with my dad as a private training client since December and it has been so much fun. He comes in, works hard, and has made pretty significant gains in the few months he’s been training. He is always positive about attacking new challenges and is great at buckling down and focusing on corrections when a lift doesn’t go exactly right.

We’ve got a couple of near-term goals, including 100 consecutive single-unders (and he wants to get back double-unders, at some point, too) and I think he can probably back squat a 100 pounds before too long. His primary goal in starting up training at CFB was to strengthen his legs, but I’ve definitely seen some solid improvements in shoulder flexibility, balance, and coordination. My goal is to put more muscle on his frame so he can go fishing more often and continue to walk his fluffy white Maltese mix, Daisy.

Overall, watching my dad perform over the last few months has re-invigorated my own training — I can’t let him catch up and pass me! If you see him in the gym (we normally work Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday mornings), say hello.

Peace and bacon grease,

Mickey

 

06 Mar / 2015

It’s Time to Say Goodbye

By There are no tags 0 comments

It’s time to say goodbye to the excuses of why you can’t achieve more.
It’s time to say goodbye to those “friends” that hold you down.
It’s time to say goodbye to the habits that contribute to you being a lesser you.

Train. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

It’s not complicated, but it’s not easy either. A while back I posted an article about discipline. Discipline is doing the right things daily. It’s doing the common uncommonly well. It’s not very sexy. 

I am not suggesting your life should consist solely of waking up, coming to CFB, going to work, eating, and then home to bed. That would be a boring life indeed and we all have commitments. What I am suggesting is leading a life that is more minimal. Discard the excess or trim the fat of what gets in the way of you becoming a better version of you.

Dedicated to YOUR Fitness!
~Neal

Evan, Shannon, and Tom rocked out to a new 1RM PR in the Clean.

Evan, Shannon, and Tom rocked out to a new 1RM PR in the Clean.

CrossFit Games Open 15.2

Tonight at 6:30pm is week 2 of the CF Games Open workouts. All are invited to come and participate or watch. If you are participating please plan to arrive no later than 5:45 to begin prepping for a 6:30pm start.

Some have asked why we are only running the Open workouts during one class and not in the regular programming. The reason is that many of our members are uninitiated during the Open and we want to provide as great of an environment for those that are initiated to compete in. The weekly 6:30pm slot on Fridays is the stage to shine on and have it be more of an event rather than just another class.

Week 2 March Programming

Here is the next week of programming. See you in class!

SATURDAY 3/7/15

Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:

75/55 pound Power snatch, 12 reps

10 Push-ups

SUNDAY 3/8/15

“Partner Filthy Fifty”

For time, partition any way, partners must use same weights/boxes:

50 Box jump, 24/20 inch box

50 Jumping pull-ups

50 OH kettlebell swings, 1.5/1 pood

Walking Lunge, 50 steps

50 Knees to elbows

50 Push press, 45 pounds

50 Back extensions

50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball

50 Burpees

50 Double unders

MONDAY 3/9/15

Row 5000 K

TUESDAY 3/10/15

“Mary”

Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:

5 Handstand Push-ups

10 One legged squats, alternating

15 Pull-ups

WEDNESDAY 3/11/15

For time:
 
21-15-9
Squat cleans 135/95
Push-ups

THURSDAY 3/12/15

1. For time: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

Burpees

75/55 Shoulder to overhead

2. Clean and Jerk 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 reps

FRIDAY 3/13/15

1. Shoulder Press: Work up to a heavy set of five

2. Five rounds for time of:

15 Unbroken Wall Ball Shots

15 GHD sit-ups

SATURDAY 3/14/15

Five rounds for time of:

115/75 pound Push-jerk, 15 reps

15 L pull-ups

I have written two meal plans in my 5 years as a dietitian (excluding hospital menus, of course). I wrote the first one because I thought it was a good way to expand what I was able to offer, and help people in a different way. The second one was more of a diet template, written for a friend. Based on my experience with the first one, I decided this was not something I wanted to offer. Why?

For starters, it’s a lot of work if done right. There are numerous factors that determine the best diet for someone to follow, including:

  • Past medical history
  • Current lifestyle
  • Client goals
  • Diet history
  • Fitness capabilities
  • Dietary preferences 

When creating a meal plan for 30 – 90 days (the length of time I usually see them offered), you need to make sure they are meeting their calorie goals, getting all the right micronutrients, eating foods they like at times convenient to their lifestyle, all while making sure there is flexibility because life happens. I just wrote the first draft of May’s CFB programming, and that was a walk in the park compared to writing a 30 day meal plan. I spent about 10 hours doing this, which makes it either expensive for the client or not that profitable for me. The only way to make money off of a meal plan is to create something completely generic at a couple of different calorie levels and sell it to as many buyers as possible. 

Second, buying a meal plan is like paying the smart kid in class to do your homework for you. You might pass algebra that month, but what happens when you can’t rely him anymore? If I write out everything you should eat for an entire month, you will see results if you follow it. But you won’t gain much else, like knowledge of how to read labels, find recipes, plan your own meals, adjust your diet based on goal and lifestyle changes, etc. Meal plans make you the client reliant on me for guidance. I don’t want anyone relying on me. I don’t want to give you a fish, I want to teach you how to fish. 

My point is, if someone wants to sell you a meal plan, think twice. Sometimes, meal plans can be useful (as discussed below), but all too often “gurus” out there sell you the nutrition and fitness tools that work for THEM. And while they may work for you in the short term, ultimately you want to find what works for you long term (and be knowledgable enough to make adjustments on your own with occasional guidance from a professional). Imagine what the gym would be like if coaches only programmed what worked for them, ignoring the needs and wants of our community. I can tell you there’s be a lot of running and pull ups in May (OK there is a good amount of running in May but that’s because it’s finally going to be WARM out!). 

Sometimes, Meal Plans Can Help

I feel like I can’t conclude without pointing out a couple of the times meal plans are pretty useful. If someone is completely new to healthy diet and exercise, a generic hypocaloric diet (providing fewer calories from food than is burned by exercise and metabolism) can be a beneficial kick start. A one week sample plan can help someone starting a new specific diet – like gluten free, paleo, or vegan – to understand what a healthy version of that diet looks like. They can also be helpful for someone following a complex clinical diet, like the renal diet. 

What do you guys think of meal plans?

Photo c/o Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing 

02 Mar / 2015

March Programming

By There are no tags 0 comments

Hey guys! Just wanted to provide a little insight into my thinking behind the programming in March. As I had alluded to in an earlier post, this month’s programming is nostalgic for me in that it reflects the mystery that was CrossFit back when I joined in the Fall of 2009. I remember reading the main site and thinking, “What the heck is all of this? What does it mean?” In any case, as I’ve discussed with many of you, I begged, borrowed, and stole much of this programming from the main site and I’m pretty pleased with the results. What it is is a lot of classic CrossFit: Couplets, triplets, chippers, and a couple of devilish pieces inserted to spice up life.

What happened to all of the strength programming? That is an excellent question. It’s there, but there’s much less of it. If you want to get super-strong, there’s always Coach Mike Gillette’s “Strength Challenge” programing, which a number of you have joined and enjoyed enormously.

In other news, congratulations to everyone who took on the CRASH-Bs this weekend. I heard some pretty epic stories of erg domination! I had a great time up in Maine with some awesome CFB folks and got to see a city that was not, ironically enough, blanketed in five feet of snow.

By the way, a big THANK you is in store for CFB member, Nigel C., who was kind enough to buy a new PA/speaker system for the gym. He did stipulate a condition of its use though, and that was that he is allowed to b**** and moan about whatever music the coaches play through the system. If you see him, give him a good slap on the butt and a word of thanks. He’s also accepting donations to help him defray his costs.

In any case, I’m glad February is over and I’m looking forward to killing it in the gym in March. By the time you read this, I will have finished 15.1!

Peace and bacon grease,

Mickey

02 Mar / 2015

030215 – Monday Motivation

By There are no tags 0 comments

Yes, there was more snow today! Yes, winter sucks! Yes, WE ARE OPEN!

To say that this has been a trying beginning to the new year is and understatement. I understand how hard it has been to get around. To keep your schedule. It can feel at times as though it is spiraling out of control. 

The sun was awesomely warm this past Saturday. Some of the mountains of snow have begun to melt down. It is getting brighter, earlier and darker, later. Now is the time to blast through the winter doldrums. Get in and train!

Some food for thought.

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it master you.” – Brian Tracy

Today’s Workout

Five rounds for time of:
115/75 pound Snatch, 3 reps
115/75 pound Overhead squat, 15 reps
Row 500 meters

Fire It Up! Fire It Up! This week felt as though I was in the gym for the first time in quite awhile. With Abigail first getting pneumonia and then the 3 consecutive weeks of storms and no school, Jess and I had to really juggle our schedules. For those of you that have missed me, I am happy to let you know that I am back and will be on the coaching schedule more frequently. 

Beginning today here are the classes that I will be instructing:

Tuesdays – 5:30pm
Wednesdays – 6am & 7am
Thursdays – 5:30pm
Fridays – 6am & 7am

 An Open Letter to the Gym

Dear “Regular” CFB Member,

We are sorry.  

We are sorry that for the next 5 weeks when a large number of people at the gym are going to be obsessing over this thing called the “CrossFit Open”.

For the uninitiated, ‘The Open’ is an annual event where people sign up to see how they rank against thousands of their peers.  To level the playing field as much as possible nobody knows what the workouts are ahead of time and  everyone’s reps are judged and counted using very specific standards.  

The workouts are announced on Thursday nights, and scores must be submitted online by Monday afternoon.  As a gym, we will be posting the workout as the gym’s 6:30PM WOD on Fridays.  But this minor change isn’t the main reason why we are apologizing.

For most who do the Open, it is a chance to set a baseline performance or to compare your progress from year to year.  It is also a great way dip your toe in the water from a competition standpoint. 

Doing the Open at your ‘home’ gym surrounded by supportive friends and coaches is a fun and instructive way to expose yourself to this side of CrossFit. Some people run 5ks or do bike races, for many people at our gym, this will be their ‘challenge of the year’.  

For some people at the gym, this is one of the most hectic times of the year… and that is who We are apologizing for.  For those who take competing very seriously, there is very little in life that duplicates the stress of the 5 week Open.  Nervously awaiting the announcement. Reading countless articles on how to attack the workout.  Doing the workout.  Checking the leaderboard 3-4 times a day (or hour!) to see how your score is moving around as other people enter theirs.  Repeating it when you are disappointed with your performance or if the team needs it. Etc.

Naturally this level of stress tends to make people a bit “crazy”.  Crazier than usual anyway.  You will notice people walking around with papers, some asking “Will you judge me?” or “Will you video me?” 

You will see groups of people doing the same workout all over the gym.  Sometimes they will be in an inconvenient place, asking for equipment, setting up cameras, or making too much noise during a class.  People will be hovering around the computers so they can ‘log their scores’ and ‘check the leaderboard’.

While it is inconvenient to those of you who aren’t doing the Open, keep in mind that for many people who have decided to participate in it this year, it is an extremely taxing and stressful time.  Let’s celebrate their decision to ‘step into the arena’… “whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…”.  Let’s support them by cheering them on, giving them space, letting them act out their quirky preparation routines, and understanding when they drop a few choice words if they fail to hit their mark after a second time through a particularly terrible workout.  These are your friends and classmates.  They are your tribe.  Let’s support them like you would your favorite sports team!

In return, we ask athletes doing the Open to promise to stay out of the way as much as possible and stick to the aforementioned schedule.  To understand that not everyone is doing the Open – and that is okay!  To understand that many people have no desire to do the Open again, or at all, and our gym is ultimately about leading better lives (not just about doing great in the Open).

So everyone (competitors and non competitors alike) need to get physically, mentally and emotionally ready for the Open.  It is going to be crazy in here for the next month or so, but for all of the weird stuff going on there is also a lot of great stuff too.  

The Open isn’t just a time for people to test and challenge themselves. It is a time to rally around our friends, training partners, and coaches.  A time to build a stronger community, and share in more than the sweat and effort we do every day. To share our collective ‘experience’.  To feel the highs, and lows, that come from doing something epic.

Get ready, because it is going to be a bumpy (and fun) ride!

March 1st Week of Programming

SUNDAY 3/1/15
In teams of two, complete four rounds, each for time of:
1000 meter row
Every minute on the minute, both partners must perform 5 burpees. Partition work as needed between efforts.

MONDAY 3/2/15
Five rounds for time of:
115/75 pound Snatch, 3 reps
115/75 pound Overhead squat, 15 reps
Row 500 meters

TUESDAY 3/3/15
AMRAP 5
20 Double-unders
10 Sit-Ups

Rest 5 min

AMRAP 5
5 Wall Climbs
5 Burpees

WEDNESDAY 3/4/15
1. Accumulate
a. 50-100 perfect push-ups
b. 25-50 shoulder pass-throughs and/or kip swings
c. 5-10 wall climbs

2. Pull-Up Madness. With a continuously running clock do one pull-up the first minute, two pull-ups the second minute, three pull-ups the third minute… continuing as long as you are able.

Use as many sets each minute as needed.

THURSDAY 3/5/15
1. 1RM Clean
2. 3×3-5 at 60-75% of your max effort with flawless technique

FRIDAY 3/6/15

1. Push Press-Work up to a heavy triple
2. Half-12.3

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 9 minutes of:
15 Box jumps, 24/20″ box
115/75 pound Push press, 12 reps
9 Toes-to-bar

SATURDAY 3/7/15
Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
75/55 pound Power snatch, 12 reps
10 Push-ups

A few years ago, when I was drinking the paleo kook-aid (yes, I drank it, yes I know “paleo kook-aid” is an oxymoron), I used to bristle at the advent of plant based diets and things like “Meatless Monday”. I felt tired of people pushing the no meat thing, annoyed that vegetarian diets are always deemed healthier despite the fact that studies on them are essentially comparing a group who has made a conscious decision about their health to a wider group of many who haven’t, and that many people do it wrong and just eat lots of pasta, rice, and bread. And THAT IS NOT HEALTHIER, I ranted. 

The Plant Based Diet 

Given that I’ve just written much of the above paragraph in the past tense, most of you have correctly guessed that my attitude has changed. The more I look at my own diet, at the paleo diet, and at research, the more I’m convinced that plant based diet IS the way to go. But what is a “plant based” diet? Based on a Google search, “plant based diet” is poorly defined (kind of like “fitness” before CrossFit). So, I’m making one up. According to the dictionary of Alexandra Black MPH, RD, LD, a plant based diet is:

A diet in which plant are the foundation of the diet. This diet consists primarily of non-animal nutrient sources. This includes vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, and grains, although some animal foods – meat, eggs, dairy – can be included from time to time. 

Of course, as with any diet, there are healthy and not-so-healthy plant based diets. Eggo waffles with Aunt Jemima syrup for breakfast, vegetable pizza for lunch, and a rice and beans Lean Cuisine for dinner is plant based, but not so healthy. Whereas a banana with peanut (or almond) butter for breakfast, vegetable stir fry with quinoa for lunch, and grilled chicken with vegetables and baked sweet potato for dinner is much healthier. 

Plant Based V. Paleo

The thing is, right now the consensus among experts is that eating meat at every meal increases your risk for heart disease, among other things. Right now there isn’t enough good research contrasting the “meat eating diet” (which, in most studies, is anyone who eats anything) compared to meat eaters who choose predominately organic or grass-finished animal products. There also isn’t any good research I”m aware of comparing vegetarians to the organic meat eaters. So it’s kind of a “what we know right now says X but we think it might say Y if research was different”. 

Another point I’d like to make is that most of our paleo ancestors also likely ate a plant based diet. Excepting the northern populations like those on the Aleutian Islands, most paleolithic people ate a lot of plants. They couldn’t go into the supermarket and buy all the meat they needed for the week at anytime. They had to hunt and kill their meat, so they only got it when they were able to do that. Otherwise, they ate plants and fruits and whatever else they could gather. 

So yes, plant based diets and paleo diets can – and should – live in harmony. Paleo is not supposed to be an excuse to eat bacon everyday, it is supposed to be one of many ways to find a healthful, sustainable diet. 

Photo c/o Marco Bernardini

20 Feb / 2015

Fire It Up Friday! 022015

By There are no tags 0 comments

Fire It Up! We just got back from Florida with the family. It was great to take some time away and recharge the batteries. I can say that I didn’t miss the snow. Not one bit.

We did come home to a bit of water damage from all of the snow and ice on the roof. It would have been even worse had we not had it cleared before leaving. Today is going to be spent getting the newly accumulated ice dams off the roof to prevent further damage.

I hope that you all had a great week of training despite the arctic cold. I will see y’all in the gym this week.

~Neal

photo-7

Abby tried to bring the warmer weather back to Boston with her.

 


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 47