Hey CFB! Well done attacking training this week. It has been a solid Summer and I’m pumped for the Fall. Every time Labor Day rolls around I like to reflect on the fun times of Summer and set a couple of goals for the Fall. This year we saw some sick numbers in the Strength Challenge. Alex and I got to watch some ball at Fenway. CFB had the most fun out of all teams in the BSSC Softball League. People hit the beach with some muscles! And we saw a moose hiking. A MOOSE!
Last week I mentioned we’ll be breaking out a new focus on skill work outside of class in September. What skill will you fight to improve next week? That’s right, September is here!!! My goal in addition to getting 10 strict pull ups is to get a strict handstand push up. Not easy for a tall guy like me, but I’m game for some hard work. I mean what’s the point of doing something if it’s easy right?
What did you enjoy this Summer and what challenges are you looking to attack this Fall?
27 Aug / 2014
Well, that is, if you are drinking milk. A while back I wrote a post on organic produce, the point of which was essentially “Meh, nutritionally organic and conventional produce are very similar”. But that’s not gong to be the point of this article. The point of this article is that if you put dairy products into your body, they better damn well be organic 99% of the time.
How Milk Is Made
Conventional dairy farming can be a nasty business. Cows live in close quarters, are fed corn/grains (not the natural diet of a pastured animal) and receive antibiotics (scary fact: somewhere around 80% of antibiotics produced in the US are given to animals). None of these things is particularly healthy for the cow. And I haven’t even gotten into the pooping – how much, where it goes, and what that does to the environment. I’m not going to either, there’s enough on that circulating the web. (Or, if you’re interested in a comprehensive book on industrial dairy and meat production in the US, check out Animal Factory).
In contrast, the standards for organic livestock include:
- Organic feed
- Access to outdoors
- Ruminants must have access to pasture during growing season (at least 120 days)
- Preventive healthcare plan
- Prohibited use of antibiotics, growth hormones, genetic engineering, or cloning
Source – Extension
Why It Matters
OK there we go. Antibiotic resistance and superbugs are a HUGE HUGE HUGE problem that is continuing to grow. The more antibiotics are used when they shouldn’t be (like for prevention in all of our livestock, or when you have a virus like cold or flu), the more opportunity bacteria have to build resistance. And bacteria we can’t kill leads to disease and death. Can you imagine dying because you cut your foot at work? Before antibiotics, it happened. If you want to read something terrifying about antibiotic resistance, read this article on a post antibiotic era.
Another benefit of organic dairy is the actual nutrition, and there’s some evidence to back it up.
As far as dairy is concerned, several studies demonstrated the superiority of organic dairy compared to conventional. A review conducted in Germany added data from the last three years to an existing pool of data and found that organic dairy products are higher in protein and omega-3 fatty acids and have a higher omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio than conventional products. Typically, the Western diet is high in omega 6 fats and low in omega 3 fats, but a higher omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is thought to reduce inflammation and risk of heart disease. The authors suspect that these results are due to the differences in the way organic and conventional dairy cows are fed. (Palupi E, Jayanegara A, Ploeger A, Kahl J. Comparison of nutritional quality between conventional and organic dairy products: a meta-analysis. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Mar 19. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.5639. [Epub ahead of print])
Another study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture looked at the fatty acid and antioxidant profiles of various input levels of conventional and organic milk found that “highest concentrations of nutritionally beneficial compounds were found in the low-input organic system. Adapted grass-based feeding strategies including pasture offer the potential to produce a distinguishable organic milk product quality.” (Kusche D1, Kuhnt K, Ruebesam K, Rohrer C, Nierop AF, Jahreis G, Baars T. Fatty acid profiles and antioxidants of organic and conventional milk from low- and high-input systems during outdoor period. J Sci Food Agric. 2014 Jun 5. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6768. [Epub ahead of print]).
How To Choose The Right Dairy
Look for the organic label. Bonus points for grass-fed. And to avoid sugar, stick to plain dairy – no Strawberry milk, fruit on the bottom yogurt, etc. Also remember to look for organic when you are buying cream for coffee, too.
Photo c/o http://www.pinterest.com/hamcohealth/infographics-posters-memes/
Photo 2 c/o Mica Monkey
26 Aug / 2014
Hey Everyone! Just thought I’d provide an update on some events you may be interested in checking out:
1. Friday, August 30th at 6 PM – Our very own Joe Mathias will be presenting a clarinet recital in the Marshall Room of the Boston University Campus (855 Commonwealth Avenue, 2nd Floor).
2. Monday, September 1st – There will be one class at 9 AM.
3. Sunday, September 7th – On this glorious day in place of (and extending beyond) the 9:30 class, we shall celebrate the ascension of two of our more venerable members into their golden years! Both Nigel Costolloe and Dave Lapidus will be kicking off their 50th year with a very special edition of the Filthy Fifty WOD. The programming for the day will be the Filthy Fifty, there will be food from Soul Fire BBQ available for purchase ($5 cash per plate), music by me, and there are rumors that there will be additional beverages provided. Drop me at line at [email protected] if you are interested in a plate of BBQ.
4. Saturday, September 13th – At 4 PM, our very own Candy Saunders will be roller derbying her butt off in Wilmington. I’ve seen a couple of bouts and it’s awesome! https://www.facebook.com/events/877739245588591/
5. Saturday, September 27th – Are you ready for our in-house throwdown? Over the last week, I’ve been letting folks in classes know that the event is going to be a 2-person TEAM throwdown. So far, we have about a dozen people signed up to participate and my goal is to have fifteen teams. In terms team formation, we would like to mix things up as much as possible. We’d like to pair Rx athletes with scaled athletes, newer members with “older” members, morning class attendees with evening class attendees, etc. What will the WODs, you may be asking? Excellent question! Here’s the first one:
WOD #1: Bulgar Wheat
10 Minutes to complete:
500m Row each
20 Burpee Lateral Jumps each
AMRAP Squat Cleans (135/95) or (95/65)
1. One rower per team, movements must be performed in order
2. Partner #1 can perform burpees and squat cleans while Partner #2 rows
3. When 1000m row is completed, only one partner can work at a time
It’s sure to be a great time, so sign up with the link below!
Peace and bacon grease,
25 Aug / 2014
Athletic Mobility Yoga:
I’m starting a class that will allow you to feel your body out a lot more than you did when you walked through the door at CFB. That might sound harsh but I mean it in a peaceful manner. Give it a chance, breathe and give your body some love.
Be present in every movement your body makes. Trust your breath to lead you toward depth, feeling open, and proper positioning through your entire body.
All of us can say that we are athletes, Crossfitters, Olympic lifters, and very fit individuals. We are all strong in our own ways and we all know the methodology of CrossFit, trial & error, input & output, measurable, repeatable, and observable. We truly understand the results of the methodology. “The Code”, Constantly Varied, Functional Movements, High Intensity. Lets not forget about Olympic lifting. The flexibility, the control, and the power/speed you need to perform a lift. Through every movement your body makes with these functional movements or Oly lifts that you are performing your technique will never be perfect but it can always get closer and closer. You are able to feel every inch of each move your body makes. Being able to have the mind-set to do that is to actually be able to control your mind in a calm sense. To have strength mentally and actually go through a functional movement at a slower pace, to hold, to breath, and to control every move you make.
With all of that said, ask yourself this, how does you body feel? We ALL work pretty damn hard on our bodies but do we ever actually give our bodies some love?
There is mobility at the beginning of class, there is some stretching going on and of course “rolling out” before and after every class. That is legit, seriously that is awesome but it is not enough. Think of what you do to your body weekly, literally, you work your ass off. For as often as you work out hard do you do anything to love your body? I don’t mean get a message every week; I mean what kind of exercises besides “rolling out” do you actually do?
You NEED to do more. You need to do more mobility than just before and after classes. Give me two months, once a week for my Mobility Yoga class and you will understand everything that I am saying.
GPP: General Physical Preparedness. Making YOU better at life. Hands down CrossFit will be a huge provider of that but so will Mobility Yoga.
10 General Physical Skills:
- Cardio Vascular/ Cardio Respiratory Endurance
As you read this list, in the back of your mind you ask, “strength or weakness?” Every single one of us asks, even if we have already read it a MILLION times. Keep working hard and do NOT give up on any weakness or injury. I promise you that in addition to the work you put your body through and the strength that you gain, you also need to exercise your MIND in a powerful way, without weights. Learning to work with this kind of power will help prevent injuries. You will understand what “balance” means and how you can gain a lot more power to what your strengths are and your weaknesses will NO longer be weak.
Mobility is very important. Dr. Kelley Starrett knows his stuff, that’s a no brainer. But, he is opening a lot of people’s eyes to see that Mobility Yoga is necessary. You should ALWAYS do Mobility before and after classes. Additionally you should do Mobility yoga once or twice a week.
Classes will start on Sept 3rd. as of the time, I will post, write it on white board and print outs ALL over the gym
21 Aug / 2014
HOLY PR’S BATMAN!
Do you follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/crossfitboston)? Twitter (@crossfitboston)? If so you will see the pics of members hitting new personal bests during class. Cindy was lights out with 4 of you (Nigel “Pencil Neck”, Isle, Paul, and Shirtless Bob) all completing more than 20 rounds. Great work! Beyond that accomplishment there were many that completed the WOD as Rx for the first time and Audrey hit all of her pull-ups unbroken for the first time. Wicked cool!
TO BELT OR NOT TO BELT…
That is the question. Some CrossFit purists would argue wearing a belt is cheating or blasphemy. The belief is that the amount of lifting performed in CrossFit training develops our midline and that a belt is doing for us what our own body should be doing. Is this thought process correct? What exactly does a belt do?
Nick Horton from Breakingmuscle.com wrote an excellent piece outlining the pros and cons of a lifting belt and Mike Robertson wrote a piece for T-Nation. Read more about them here and here then post your thoughts to comments.
I have been barbell training for 26 years and I have always worn a belt for anything over 70% of my maximal lifts. Should you? That is for you to decide.
We are continuing finding the 3RM this upcoming week for some strength lifts. Be sure to upload your results to Pocket Coach. The revamped version is due to launch this fall. You will want to have your information up to date so that you can get the most out of your training.
1. Power Clean – 2RM
Squat clean @ 50% of 2RM
20 Calories on the A/D (12 calories on the rower)
With a partner each perform the following 3 rounds for time in Relay style alternating each round
21 Kettlebell Swings, 24kg/16kg
15 Power Snatches, 135/95
1. Front Squat – 3RM
2. AMRAP 4
rest 5 minutes
5 Hang Power Clean, 95/65
1a. Handstand Push-ups cluster 2,2,2 x 3; rest 1:00 between sets
1b. Pistols cluster 4,4,4 each leg x 3; rest 1:00 between sets
2. Complete this couplet for time (alternate movements)
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Thrusters, 95/65
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 Chest to bar pull-ups
10 rounds of
30 seconds of wall balls, 20/15
30 seconds ball slams, 20/15
2 minutes rest
1. AMRAP 4
rest 8 minutes
2. AMRAP 4
rest 8 minutes
3. AMRAP 4
1. Jerk from the rack – work up to a heavy single
2. EMOM Row 15/12 calories on the rower.
How long can you continue? 10 rounds? 15 rounds? 20?
20 Aug / 2014
Howdy CFB! How’s your training going? When’s the last time you mastered a skill? Have you done a strict Handstand Push Up or Double Under yet? Have you dreamed of doing Pistols? Well this September it’s time to make those dreams a reality! You’re coaches will be rolling out extra skill programming to be done before and/or after classes. In order to improve and continually progress we must challenge ourselves, and that means working on our goats on a consistent basis.
I’ll be helping everyone master Pistols!
Before we get going I’d like you all to read an article on why your squat may be different then someone else’s. This way we’re on the same page and can begin working on why you don’t have a pistol yet. We need to figure out your optimal stance for the squat and then consider how this might affect your setup for the pistol and what you need to improve. As you read this article you’ll discover why some people can squat narrow and some people have to squat wide. Should everyone strive to squat with their butt to their heels? You shall find out.
The Best Kept Secret Why People Have to Squat Differently! (from themovementfix.com)
After checking out this article and video, comment here with your ideal squat stance and why you think that is.
20 Aug / 2014
Sometimes deciding what to blog about is hard, so I love when you guys ask me questions and give me some inspiration! Shout out to Shannon Flahive for emailing me a question on olive oil v. canola oil to get this blog rolling. If you’d like me to answer a nutrition question in the blog, email me at [email protected]
Canola oil has been making headway in the US as a “healthy oil”. Multiple sources cite it as having the following benefits:
- Less saturated fat (only about 6%) than any other oil
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Higher level of mono-unsaturated fats (observed to be good for cholesterol) than any oil except olive
But what really IS canola oil? There is, after all, no such thing as a “canola” plant. And is it really healthier than other oils, like olive?
No, really. Canola oil comes from the seeds of the rape plant, in the same family as mustard, radishes, and cauliflower. Rapeseed had been used in Asia and Europe as lamp oil, and later cooking oil, and later became useful for lubricating steam engines on large ships. The oil from the rapeseed was not ideal for eating because of high contents of eurcic acid, which has been linked to heart muscle damage, but in the 1960’s and 1970’s Canadian plant breeders used traditional cross-breeding practices to mostly eliminate the eurcic acid (subbing in oleic acid instead) and create an oil fit for human consumption. Canola Oil – an abbreviation for Canadian Oil – replaced rapeseed oil production by the 1980’s and is produced in Canada. Canola oil is most often used for cooking or salad. dressings.
Olive oil is – obviously – produced by pressing tree-ripened olives. Olive oil is produced in a variety of places, and the taste can vary based on origin. There are several types of live oil: extra virgin (the result of the first press of the olive and has less than 1% acid – this is widely considered the best type), virgin olive oil (also first press, but higher acid content of up to 3%), Fino oil (a combination of extra virgin and virgin olive oil), and simply “olive oil” (a combination of fino and virgin or extra virgin oils). In the US, we also have light olive oil, which is simply olive oil refined to create a lighter color and less intense flavor (the calorie and fat numbers are the same as regular olive oils).
Olive oil has a smoke point of 375 degrees F, making it best suited for lower temperature cooking like sautéing. The light olive oil has a smoke point of 468 degrees, making it more suited to frying (or baking, given its light taste). Canola oil’s smoke point at 400 degrees also makes it good for frying. Imagine that – a “healthy” oil ideal for frying.
Many food companies and retailers are using canola oil in their products, likely because it’s supposedly healthier and more versatile given that it is flavorless and has a high smoke point.
Isn’t this the big question? There have been some scares about canola oil circulating the internet, but so far I didn’t find much to be worried about.
Olive – A litany of research has shown olive oil to be beneficial for health, and a Mediterranean diet including olive oil has been associated with lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, and lower cholesterol numbers.
Canola – A quick review of PubMed turned up nothing remarkably scary or miraculous. A review from 2013 in the journal Nutrition Reviews found “substantial reductions in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, as well as other positive actions, including increased tocopherol levels and improved insulin sensitivity, compared with consumption of other dietary fat sources”.
From what I can tell, Canola oil isn’t terrible for you. It may also not be great for you. Just because it is lowest in fat does not make it healthiest. It’s worth pointing out that olive oil has been around since before Jesus was cool, but Canola oil has only been around since ZZ Top was, so olive had a bit of a head start (and a longer proven record) than canola.
If you’re looking for a new oil to cook with, well… why ? Olive oil is fantastic for sautéing and makes everything (in my opinion) more delicious. Coconut oil or grass-fed butter are good for the limited amount of baking you should ideally be doing. And if you need to fry something – I guess Canola oil works. But so does light olive oil.
If you find canola oil in your Whole Foods Hot bar or other prepared or packaged food, it’s fine in moderation. But you’re better off cooking for yourself with an oil that wasn’t derived from what was once engine lubricant
19 Aug / 2014
So, you’ve just destroyed the WOD and you’ve recovered enough to realize that your classmates are still plugging away at the WOD. What do you do first?
(A) Write my time on the board
(B) Clean up my gear
(C) Gossip with members of the next class
(D) Cheer on the members of my class
The correct answer is D! We cheer on our fellow compatriots until they are done with their WOD. That’s great, Mickey, but I wasn’t a cheerleader in high school or college so I don’t know how to cheer. Well, grasshopper, thank goodness I have some tips on cheering for you!
1. Be positive! Use positive language rather than negative language. In the Level 1 certs, they teach us that when we say “Don’t stop” all the athlete hear’s is “Stop.” So, rather than say “don’t stop,” we should cheer people on with “keep moving” and “you’re doing awesome.”
2. Help athletes remained uncapped mentally. There are studies that show that when marathon runners are told that they’re “almost done” they actually start slowing down in anticipation of being finished. The takeaway of the study was that the body goes where the mind leads and if the mind hears that it’s almost done, it will inform the body to slow down. In Crossfit, the end of WODs is often where we are pushing ourselves and improving our conditioning. The worst, of course, is being told that you’re almost done when you actually have another full round (or more!) to complete!
3. Do aerial tricks. It may be hard to believe, but in a double-blind controlled study performed by Leland Stanfurd Junior University researchers, it was proven beyond a doubt that Crossfitters finished 25% faster when their fellow classmates cheered them on with backflips, cartwheels, and other cheers that involved the cheerleaders leaving the ground. Why do this? SCIENCE!
In any case, you guys have been killing it in the gym this summer and I’m looking forward to seeing those backflips soon!
Peace and bacon grease,
P.S. Who’s interested in heading out to the Tsongas Arena to check out the NPGL, where Crossfitters will get all sweaty and swole? Email me at [email protected] if you’re interested. I propose we leave CFB Sunday afternoon at 1 PM.
P.P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for our In-House Throwdown on Saturday, September 27th! We’ve already got a bunch of participants and so far, the women account for more than 70% of the field. GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES!
17 Aug / 2014
Hey guys! As we work on our goats, I’m in charge of ensuring that our pull-ups are in a state of constant improvement. Beginning in September, you will have the option of working on pull-ups every Tuesday after (or before) class. Over the next few weeks, please determine how many strict pull-ups you can currently do to figure out which level you are in. Here are those levels:
15 Aug / 2014
Hey! Something that’s been on my mind for some time is best practices for success in your fitness. I have been meaning to put paper to pen but…Here are my TOP 5 best practices to be successful in your fitness. Keep in mind this is not absolute and I make no claims to be a demigod with devout clarity. I am just an aging CrossFit gym owner that loves to sweat and get others in the best shape of their lives.
5. Warm-Up PRE-Mobility – Get the blood flowing before stretching or rolling. This can be a short run/row/bike/jump rope. Mix it up and vary the duration from as little as 5 minutes to as long as 15 minutes depending on what you need for that day. I have gone as far as 20 minutes at really easy pace before mobilizing and hitting a WOD. Of course this will require you to have the ability to show up 10-20 minutes before class. The benefits ARE worth it!
4. Aerobic Base v. Strength Base – If you come from an endurance background or have participated in sports with an endurance base, then you need to prioritize your strength building. For example, someone that played soccer or ran cross country already has a solid CV/CR endurance base and will see the greatest improvement in CrossFit performance by prioritizing strength work.
Just the opposite is true for someone that has a power sport background. Football players, wrestlers, power lifters and weightlifters need to develop a better aerobic base. That means hitting some Long Slow distance work at an easy pace. This is exactly where I fall and I have been spending more and more time on it with great results.
3. Cut the Sugar – I am referring to any added sugar to food products or cooking that you consume on a daily basis. You will be totally surprised at how much sugar is added to make processed food palatable. I am sure Coach Alex can really go deeper on this topic and outline why it is your best interest to limit/avoid sugar consumption.
2. Sleep, Mobility, Stretch – You spend anywhere from 4 to 12 hours a week in the gym. That leaves at a minimum 156 hours where you are not in the gym training. What you do with this time is just as important if not more so than what you do inside. Sleep is crucial and there is research suggesting timing your sleep to follow the (REM/NREM) stages that last approximately 90 minutes each cycle. This research says that the total duration is not as important as being in alignment with the cycle. So if you tend to sleep less, try to get 3/4.5/6 hours of sleep to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed. Try it and see how it works for you.
The human body is meant to move. Our society has become one that is less and less active. This is not good. When you are not training or not sleeping you need to make sure that you incorporate frequent and brief sessions of movement that include some stretching or mobility. Get up from your desk, hit some upward and downward dogs. Stand instead of sitting while you work. Take the stairs. You will feel better and have more energy.
1. Cook for Yourself or Get Custom Fit Meals – You need to know what you are putting into your body. See #3. From watching the Food Network, it is astonishing to me how many recipes call for SUGAR and other ingredients that are not best for you. The only way to control this is to prepare your own foods or order prepared foods from a company such as Custom Fit Meals.
WHAT’S ON TAP/PROGRAMMING
These next two weeks we are going to be working up to 2RM’s in some of the lifts. The next couple cycles of programming is going to have a lot of percentage work based on these numbers. You will need the following: Back squat (8/18), bench press (8/20), deadlift (8/22), shoulder press (8/1), push press (8/9), power clean (8/25), and front squat (7/25). If you didn’t complete the lifts on the prior dates then you may use a recent (1-3 months) 1-3 Rep Max for any of the lifts.
We need everyone to get numbers for these lifts to allow class to move smoothly. The percentage work will begin on 9/3.
1. Complete reps of 15-12-9 for time of
135/95 Squat Snatch
2. Handwalking practice. If you cannot walk on your hands, then practice balancing just off a wall.
Run a Partner 5k (Both run/finish together) (Row is 6k)
then AMRAP 12
5 Deadlift, 205/145
1. Back Squat – 2RM
2. Complete 3 rounds for time
21 Front Squats @ 45% of 2RM
1. EMOM 12 – 2 Snatch TNGo
1-4 – 70%
5-8 – 75%
9-12 – 80%
2. AMRAP 8
15 Box Jumps
1. Bench Press – 2RM
1. EMOM 20
Odd: 5 Push Press
Even: 10 Burpees
2. Complete for time
1. Deadlift – 2RM
Deadlift @ 60% of 2RM
1. Power Clean – 2RM
2. 5 rounds for time
15 Squat clean @ 50% of 2RM
20 Calories on the A/D (12 calories on the rower)