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Hey guys, after a short hiatus, we’re back on for Afternoon Tea this Sunday at 4 PM. Brian “Angry Beaver” W. will be in charge of programming the session, but we talked about doing a longer WOD like EC followed by a shorter WOD like Grace. Currently, there is only one entry on the EC board, so we’ve all got a chance to get on the board!

Here is another one of the 4/25 throwdown WODs:

Bear Complex Ladder
Clean, front squat, shoulder-to-overhead, (squat clean for first rep does not count as a front squat)
Attempts must be made with the same or increasing weight. No going down in weight.
Score is combined pounds per team
Also, remember that 4/25 is our SPRING FLING. Details are still being worked out (will it be bowling or drinks/dessert again — who knows?), but it will be a fun time!
Real talk time: Who would REALLY buy a CareBear CrossFit t-shirt? Would you want the CareBear to be a nice bear or a mean bear?
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Finally, in celebration of all of our members of Asian descent, we are planning an Asian Invasion WOK WOD followed by dim sum in Chinatown. It will likely be the 9:30 AM class on Sunday, May 3rd and no, you don’t have to Asian to participate. Wear your Jeremy Lin or Yao Ming jersey for bonus points!
Peace and bacon grease,
Mickey
06 Apr / 2015

Recovery

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One of the things I preach to everyone involved in the strength programming is to really focus on recovery. This usually doesn’t take much convincing around 4 weeks into a micro-cycle after they’ve been hitting it pretty heavy and hard for a few weeks. When lifting heavy weights frequently and working with a lot of volume, your body accumulates fatigue quicker than you can recover. This is part of the design of strength programs (or really any periodized program to be fair) that forces our bodies to super-compensate and lead to progress. However if we never let our bodies recover after putting it through days and weeks of thrashing, how can we ever progress? Every so often we need to take a backseat and let our bodies make those adaptations to the stresses we’ve been putting it through. This doesn’t mean that you can’t come in to the gym. We love seeing you in here! It just means that maybe you scale back the weight and intensity during your WOD’s. It could also mean that you need to stay out of group classes if you don’t have the capacity to scale back when 3-2-1-GO! is heard. Spend an hour mobilizing and riding the bike… or shit go outside for a run now that we’ve survived Snowmaggedeon! But every month or so, scale it back for a couple of days. Your body will thank you and will offer you the gift of new PR’s and new goals to reach.

 

Monday 4/6
Conditioning: Complete reps of 21-15-9 for time

Bodyweight Back Squats
Burpees

Skill/Strength: Abs – accumulate 10 minutes of ab work

05 Apr / 2015

Getting The Basics

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A big part of what we try to do is to achieve Virtuosity – performing the common uncommonly well. This is not sexy, per se, but it is paramount to developing truly exceptional fitness. If you watch any of the best athletes competing in any sport, you will see as close to flawless movement as possible.

When mechanics are sound you are more efficient, more powerful. You can better express strength and fitness. These next 8 weeks we are going to pound the basics. We are especially focusing on improving pull-ups (strict then kipping) as well as dips (strict only). Lets review a few principles for each.

  1. Pull-up Progressions
    1. Ring Rows
    2. Strict Pull-ups in a band
    3. Jumping Pull-ups/Negatives/Flex Arm Hangs
    4. Strict Pull-ups
      1. With Load
    5. Kip Swings
    6. Kipping Pull-ups
  2. Dip Progressions
    1. Bench Dips
    2. Stationary Dips in a band
    3. Jumping Dips/Negatives/Dip Supports
    4. Stationary Dips
      1. With load
    5. Ring Dips
      1. With load

PULL-UPS

If you cannot perform pull-ups, the best starting point are ring rows. This will begin providing the strength for the shoulder girdle and is a gateway to the vertical pull-up. After you can complete 3 sets of 15 reps with excellent form at around 30 degrees. You can begin working in some strict pull-ups with a  band. NEVER should there be any kipping in a band. Choose the lightest band you can complete at least 5 reps with and then build up to being able to complete 10 to 15 reps unbroken before moving to the next lightest band. Continue this sequence until you have moved through all of the bands. By this time you can also begin working in some negatives (jump up and slowly lower yourself down to full arm extension), flex arm hangs, and jumping pull-ups. We will not ask you to perform these in a conditioning WOD because they can cause serious trauma when performed under high volume and for speed.

You are now finally ready to begin performing strict pull-ups. Here is a great article outlining how to keep working on getting more strict pull-ups from CrossFit Virtuosity. Even 4 years later, I have not come across a different version that works as well AND you will see that it has work for getting better at upper body pushing movements (the second focus for these next 8 weeks). Once you can complete 5-10 strict pull-ups without coming off the bar, you can begin adding some external loading to your pull-up. Start light and make small jumps.

Kipping

Kipping pull-ups are a necessity in what we do because it allows you to do more work in less time. Therefore as soon as you are performing pull-ups with a band for assistance, we will begin teaching you the kip swing. Caution! We don’t want you to begin performing kipping pull-ups until you can perform at least 5 strict pull-ups. This is to ensure you have developed the strength of the shoulder girdle to withstand the force placed upon it by kipping pull-ups.

DIPS

The progression to performing ring dips mirrors the pull-up progression in a very similar fashion. You can carry over the same rep schemes as you make your way up the ladder to the next progression. Notice there is no mention of utilizing a band once you are beyond the stationary dip? The rings are a dynamic plane and if you cannot stabilize them with your own strength, you have no reason to be on them. Respect the progressions and you will get there.

The DIP progression will end at strict ring dips with the kipping ring dip not being taught. The reason for this is to ensure tension is maintained throughout the entire movement and the shoulder girdle is always stabilized. If you are able to pick up a “kipping” rhythm on your own, so be it.

CONCLUSION

The number one thing I want to convey here is be patient with the progressions. This isn’t about today, tomorrow, or next month. This is about doing this correctly so that you have a base strength that will stay with you forever and PREVENT injuries to the shoulder rather than contribute to injuries.

Determine where you are presently, drop the ego at the door, and begin working towards the next progression. Don’t place a time frame on this, just come in and put in the work every time you walk through the doors. In no time you will be moving up the ladder.

WEEKLY PROGRAMMING

Monday 4/6
Conditioning: Complete reps of 21-15-9 for time

Bodyweight Back Squats
Burpees

Skill/Strength: Abs – accumulate 10 minutes of ab work

Tuesday 4/7
Strength: EMOM 12 – 3 Clean and Jerk
continue to add  weight as you are able

Conditioning: AMRAP 10
10 Deadlift, 155/100
10 AbMat Sit-ups

Wednesday 4/8
Strength: Back Squat 2RM
Perform 7 sets of 2 reps

Conditioning: Row (calories)
Repeat 5 rounds of a 30 calorie row for time

rest 1:00 between efforts

Thursday 4/9
Strength/Skill: Turkish Get-ups
Practice your TGU for 15 minutes. Work up to as heavy of a load as you are able with PERFECT FORM

Conditioning: Complete for time with a 20 minute cap.

30 Snatches, 75/55
30 Snatches, 105/75
30 Snatches, 135/95
15 Snatches, 165/115

Friday 4/10
Strength/Skill:
A. Strict Pull-ups – 5 x submax reps
B. 5 x Handstand hold for max time or handstand walk for max distance

Conditioning: Complete 4 rounds for time of:

7 Handstand push-ups
30 Unbroken Double Unders

Saturday 4/11
Complete for time in a group of 4:

50 Thrusters, 95/65
10 Rope Climbs
40 Thrusters, 95/65
8 Rope Climbs
30 Thrusters, 95/65
6 Rope Climbs

Work must be divided evenly and only one person may work at a time.

It sounds like the Navajo Nation has come up with a pretty good idea. Starting April 1, junk food sold on the reservation will be taxed at 2%, in addition to the removal of a 5% sales tax on healthier items like fresh produce. The money garnered from the sales tax will go towards promoting farmer’s markets and local vegetable gardens. An excerpt from Time Magazine:

With nearly half of the Navajo youth population facing unemployment and 38% of the Navajo reservation at the poverty level, supporters say the act may serve as a prototype for sin taxes to curb obesity in low-income communities across the U.S.

You can read the whole article at Time.

The argument over “sin” taxes like junk food and soda have been waged viciously over the past few years, in places like Berkley and San Francisco. In Massachusetts we’ve put a sin tax on alcohol, cigarettes, and now plastic bags but have yet to touch the beverage and food industry. There are good arguments on either side. The pro-tax group claiming it will promote better habits, even out the price gap between healthy and processed foods, and provide money to earmark for obesity research or other prevention programs. The anti-tax groups (notably funded heavily by industry) claim it will have a disproportional burden on lower income communities.

It sounds like despite the potential burden, the Navajo Nation is willing to give it a go anyway. I”ll be interested in how this plays out, and if it can push other communities to do the same.

Image c/o gaku.

30 Mar / 2015

One of the 4/25 Throwdown WODs…

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Here is one of the throwdown WODs. Have you signed up, yet?
“Kelly, Meet Eva”
3 rounds for time
Run 400 meters with a 20# medicine ball
30 box jumps, 20 inches
30 wall ball shots, 20/14 lb
30 Kettlebell swings, 2/1.5 pd
30 pull-ups
Partners must run together but only one partner may work at a time for the rest of the work. Movements must be completed in order.
30 Mar / 2015

Are You Tracking Your Progress?

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Are You Training OR Are You Just Working Out?

This is much debated on internet forums and in gyms everywhere. I believe that you need to be tracking your workouts (not all of them, I will explain later) or you are just working out and not doing everything you can to create the change you are seeking.

When you wake up and read the WOD posted for that day, 99% of the time you should know exactly what you are going to go for that day, what you did last time, how you are going to improve this time, etc.

There are many ways that you can track your workouts. There are many apps available on smartphones, an old composition book, OR you can use our ZenPlanner Workout Tracker. Lets look at a few of those options.

Smartphone Apps

Apps like SugarWOD and Beyond the Whiteboard are great in that you can upload your workouts into them (customizing as needed) and track your training. The big downside with these is that there is no comparison to our community and our gym’s programming will not already be uploaded.

Composition Books

This old school method is a great way to keep track of everything that you are doing. The downside is the labor required to transfer your personal records from journal to journal each time you fill the journal. I used to use this method extensively, I still have some journals from when I was in high school and college. With books you still have the issue of not having a gym leaderboard and community.

ZenPlanner Performance Tracking

With our ZenPlanner Performance Tracking (ZP PT) the daily programming is already uploaded for you and there is a “Daily” leaderboard and “All-Time” Leaderboard as well. The ZP PT is mobile friendly. The first time that you open this link on your smartphone it will ask you to save it to your Home Screen. Go ahead and do this and now you can: reserve and log in for classes, view the class calendar, enter your results, and view and manage your profile.

If you don’t have a smartphone, you may use the tablets we have at the gym to log in as well or just click on your icon where you signed in for class and record your results there. If you prefer to head home and do it there, then you can of course just follow the link on your laptop or desktop.

Screenshot of the ZP PT.

Screenshot of the ZP PT.

What Should You Be Tracking?

This depends on what you are looking to accomplish. I like to track the following: weight, strength and conditioning benchmarks, food when eating something out of the norm, and the daily WODS. I could track rest and mobility as well but I choose not to as it doesn’t really vary for me. I know my routines and only when completely out of them do I write it down.

I track my weight because it is a goal of mine to lean out and achieve a certain weight, therefore I do this every day. If you are working towards something very specific, you need to track it daily. Not to the point of obsessive but just to be aware of it.

The benchmarks are obviously how I know if my fitness is progressing, maintaining, or slipping. Benchmarks are ESSENTIAL to be tracked. You need to know either your 1,3, or 5 rep maxes in all of the lifts and you should know your personal bests in the girl/hero WODS.

I like to record my daily results whether a benchmark or not because it keeps me in the habit of recording and I will put more comments in regarding my strategy or areas that struggled with so I know what to do if something similar pops up.

As a minimum, you should be tracking your benchmarks. This will make things easier and keep your head in the game. For some, this will be enough. Those that struggle with eating well, daily journaling of what you eat, when you eat it, how you feel after eating it will go a long way to correcting poor eating habits. I use this quite extensively with my clients. Then there are those like myself that need to track something daily to stay in the habit of doing so.

 

 

 

Jody Hawkins liked this post
27 Mar / 2015

Singing In The Rain…Fire It Up!

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It is the last Fire It Up Friday of March and this incessant rain is melting away remnants of what was the WORST winter in my memories. For that I am grateful!

Today we have a classic Girl WOD with “Diane” in classes. 45 reps of 225# deadlifts and handstand push-ups! Here is a little strategy on how to approach this wonderful little gem. The deadlift load is a light/moderate weight. Choose the correct weight for this if 225# is on the heavier side, or you will miss the training effect. The reps should be able to be completed unbroken or one break within the sets. If you are dropping the bar each time from waist height, you have too much loaded. Keep a steady pace so that you can actually breathe. (Think breathing similar to what we teach when performing wallballs).

The Handstand push-ups are going to be where you will struggle unless you can perform 21 unbroken handstand push-ups. You want to have a plan going in as to how many clusters you will need to break the volume into. For example, if you 10 reps of HSPU are the most you have ever completed unbroken, then you should aim for 6/5/4/3/2 to complete the set of 21. You will probably need to reduce that down on the set of 15 to something like 4/3/3/3/2 and finally the set of 9 to 3/3/3. The most important thing is to not go to failure on any particular cluster. The primary muscle groups of the HSPU are small and when they are depleted well…

Good luck and FIRE IT UP!

SCHEDULE CHANGE

Beginning next week, on Mondays and Thursdays the Strength Club will be rolled into the 4:30pm class. Attendees should be prepared for 75-90 minutes of training as opposed to the normal 60 minutes.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays will continue to be CrossFit classes.

PROGRAMMING

Saturday 032815

“OPT Repeatability Test”

3 rounds, at 100% effort:

Row 250m
10 Kettlebell Swings 70/53lbs
10 Burpees
10 Kettlebell Swings 70/53lbs
10 Burpees
10 Kettlebell Swings 70/53lbs
Row 250m

Rest 12 minutes between rounds.

Sunday 032915

“Joshie”
Complete three rounds for time of:
40/30 pound Dumbbell snatch, 21 reps, right arm
21 L Pull-ups
40/30 pound Dumbbell snatch, 21 reps, left arm
21 L Pull-ups

Post time to comments.

These are squat not power snatches.

Monday 033015

Front squat 3-3-3-3-3 reps

Post loads to comments.

Tuesday 033115

“300FY”

Max calories in 10 minutes on the Airdyne or on the erg.

Wednesday 040115
Test: Max Strict Pull-ups

Test: Max Kipping Pull-ups

Conditioning: 5 RFT
15 Unbroken Wallball Shots, 20/14
15 Unbroken Double Unders

Thursday 040215
Strength/Skill: Ring Dips 5-5-5-5-5

Conditioning: Complete 3 rounds for max distance
Row 4 minutes

rest 3 minutes between sets

Friday 040315
Conditioning: AMRAP 20

1 Rope Climb
then perform 3 rounds of:
5 Power Snatch, 75/55
7 OH Squats, 75/55
9 Burpees

Saturday 040415
Strength/Skill: Strict Pull-up Ladder
4 sets building up to 6 reps (work in groups of 3-5 people resting only as your squad performs their reps)

Strength/Skill: Push-up Ladder
4 sets beginning with 5 reps building up to 10 reps (work in groups of 3-5 people resting only as your squad performs their reps)

Conditioning: Tabata Squats

Edward Korona Jr Usbf liked this post

Typically, I don’t endorse fast food. It’s generally of poor quality, low in nutrients and high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. But sometimes you just have to eat and the only options are quick serve joints such as these. When I get stuck, there are my top go-to options. Remember that none of these are nutritionally ideal – most are still pretty high in sodium and can involve processed ingredients. But eating fast food isn’t about ideal nutrition, it’s about doing the best with what you have where you are.

1. The Burrito Salad

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 12.02.59 PMYou can actually get this at a number of places – Chipotle and BoLoco for starters – which is why no restaurant name is included. Choose the salad option and top with vegetables, meat of your choosing (preferably grass fed/free range if offered), salsa, guacamole, and beans if you eat them. This will run you in the range of 400-600 calories and provide a filling lunch. The typical chicken salad at Chipotle will also provide 110% of your daily vitamin A, 94% of your daily vitamin C, and 23% of your daily iron needs.

2. The Jimmy John’s “Unwich”

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 12.01.33 PMThe unwich is any of your Jimmy John’s favorites without the bread. My go to, the Beach Club, is 310 calories, 29 grams of protein, and 8 grams of carbs without mayo. If you remove the provolone too, you’re at 90 calories (in which case you should add something else or order it with half a slice of bread). Either way, you can also add an apple, banana, or yogurt from a nearby convenience store.

3. Sweet Green “Hummus Tahina” Salad or “Harvest Bowl”

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 12.00.12 PMWhile you cannot always assume that salad is the healthiest option (take most of McDonald’s salads), in this case they’re better than what you’ll find elsewhere. And there are now several Sweet Greens (or similar such places) in downtown Boston. My favorite is the mediterranean inspired Hummus Tahina salad (610 calories, not sure who much carbohydrate but with hummus, pita chips, and falafel in there, I would guess about 60 grams. Of course you can always ask those items to be disclosed or on the side) or the Harvest Bowl (685 calories). While neither of these is on the lower calorie side, quality makes up for it, and you can always save some for later (or share – Patrick is usually hungry enough to help me out when I can’t finish something).

4. Starbucks Bistro Boxes

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 12.08.08 PMStarbucks is my last ditch choice, but it usually works considering there’s almost one on every corner. Ranging from 270-480 calories, the bistro boxes are balanced and generally filling. The fruit and cheese one is generally my favorite, although all three get my relative thumbs up. As a bonus, they’re lower in sodium than the above options, with my favorite and the Protein Box ringing in at 470 mg (the Chicken and Hummus one is 580 mg). If you’re still hungry, Starbucks has a few other things you can pair these boxes with like bananas, Kind Bars (again, not ideal but not terrible), popcorn, or nuts.

Side note: should you stumble upon a Chik-Fil-A, I recommend you simply enjoy your breaded chicken sandwich or nuggets and waffle fries. You can eat vegetables later :)

What are your go to fast food meals?

Matthew Ibrahim, Kristi Kind liked this post
23 Mar / 2015

CFB Field Day

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tug-o-war1

Just a heads up: On Saturday, June 6th, we’ll be having a CFB Field Day. Think three-legged races, burlap sack races, tugs of war, wheel-barrow races, and other ridiculousness.

22 Mar / 2015

Get a Grip

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Alright guys and girls. As promised, I am continuing my rant on grip. Last week I discussed how to approach a bar on the ground and why you should want to grab it differently. This week will be shorter, but no less important as we discuss what happens when the bar goes overhead.

To briefly touch on what I discussed last week, grabbing the barbell with purpose and vigor establishes control of the bar. With this minor adjustment, when the bar begins to move, magical things happen unbeknownst to you. The radial tension from grabbing the bar tightly will “radiate” to other parts of your body and generate more torque and control. This makes moving the bar and weight seem just a little bit easier.

Now another reason why we want to grab the bar tightly. When/if the bar needs to go overhead, do you want it to be in your fingertips, or do you want to have a solid grip on the bar where you have control of the bar versus the bar having control over you? My thoughts exactly. So what I’m really trying to convey is a better sense of control. If you start with this:

IMG_1781

then you’ll end up looking like this:

IMG_1802

But if you start like this:

IMG_1782

then you’ll end up like this:

snatch2-e13469596989891

That’s right! World-class. I did say magical things would happen didn’t I? But seriously. Doesn’t it look like he’s got control? Give it a shot. Remember that it takes a lot of practice to make something a habit. That includes gripping the bar correctly. Keep practicing and it’ll become second nature eventually.

 

I’ve also got an announcement to make. Monday and Wednesday this week @ 4:3pm will be our new Strength Class. Next week and in the weeks following, it will be on Monday and Thursday… same bat time… same bat channel. This class is for all Strength Challenge participants as well as any member who wants to do the class. The programming will be different from what is on the Blog and will coincide with what the Strength Challenge is doing. You can choose to do the entire programming that I have written for them, or we can modify it. I will be coaching these classes just like any other class. The programming may run longer, and at that point, the extra work is to be completed on your own, or you can call it a day. It’s entirely up to you. You’ll get a chance to see what a day of the programming looks like and get in some heavy lifts. I hope to see a bunch of you there! Until next time…

 

 

Monday Programming:

 

5 RFT

15 Burpees

15 Power Snatch

 


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