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19 Aug 2014

Brrr! It’s Cold In Here!

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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,

Mickey

http://running.about.com/od/halfmarathonsmarathons/tp/marathonspectatortips.htm

 

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!

Click Here to Register to Compete or Volunteer/Judge

 

17 Aug 2014

Twenty Pull-Ups!

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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:

Level 1: 0 strict
Level 2: 1-4 strict
Level 3: 5-19 strict
Level 4: 20+ strict
 
If you can already do 20+ strict pull-ups, you’re not off the hook! Pick a moderate weight dumb bell, strap it on, and figure out how many pull-ups you can do with that!
 
Peace and bacon grease,
Mickey

 

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.

Is prayer required to be fit?

Is prayer required to be fit?

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.

O'Neill row test

O’Neill row test

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.

Saturday 8/16

1. Complete reps of 15-12-9 for time of

135/95 Squat Snatch
Dips

2. Handwalking practice. If you cannot walk on your hands, then practice balancing just off a wall.

Sunday 8/17

Run a Partner 5k (Both run/finish together) (Row is 6k)

then AMRAP 12

5 Deadlift, 205/145
10 Pull-ups
15 KTE’s

Monday 8/18

1. Back Squat – 2RM

2. Complete 3 rounds for time
21 Front Squats @ 45% of 2RM
15 Pull-ups
3 Wall-climbs

Tuesday 8/19

1. EMOM 12 – 2 Snatch TNGo
1-4 – 70%
5-8 – 75%
9-12 – 80%

2. AMRAP 8
15 Box Jumps
15 Swings

Wednesday 8/20

1. Bench Press – 2RM

2. “Cindy”
AMRAP 20
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats

Thursday 8/21

1. EMOM 20
Odd: 5 Push Press
Even: 10 Burpees

2. Complete for time
Row 1k
30 KTE’s

Friday 8/22

1. Deadlift – 2RM

2. 30-24-18-12-6
Deadlift @ 60% of 2RM
Double unders

Saturday 8/23

1. Power Clean – 2RM

2. 5 rounds for time
15 Squat clean @ 50% of 2RM
20 Sit-ups
20 Calories on the A/D (12 calories on the rower)

 

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12 Aug 2014

Strength Challenge Winners

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The  Strength Challenge has come to a bittersweet conclusion. Everyone involved enjoyed the programming and absolutely CRUSHED the CrossFit Total. Every. Single. Person PR’d their lifts and increased their Total. I enjoyed working with each and everyone of them and truly look forward to seeing how they respond to the programming with their new strength.

Alright. Alright. You want the results. Well here ya go. 

We had 3 ladies undertake this challenge. They were all completely dedicated to the programming. Ali put 25 pounds on her CFT and gained 7 pounds of muscle! Kristin put 24 pounds on her CFT, which should have been 35 pounds. Damn Deadlift…

Kathy? Oh yeah Kathy. She put 47 pounds on her CFT! What?! She also put on 3 lbs. of muscle and lost 2 lbs. of body fat… not that she really needed to lose any. That is pretty damn impressive for three months! So I am proud to say that Kathy is our winner for the women’s division of the strength challenge! Congratulations Kathy! 

On to the gents. There were initially 5 guys in the running, but one dropped out due to scheduling issues. But the other 4 guys stuck it out… even while traveling abroad for one of them. There were some pretty dramatic changes for the guys in both body composition and CFT numbers. Rory Q. was a monster. He put 6 lbs. of muscle on while dropping 11 lbs. of body fat! What?! I want results like that! He also added 65 lbs to his CFT. Great job Rory! Denis T. was an animal too, adding 7 lbs of muscle and 25 lbs added to his Total.  Atta Boy! Mark Pelofsky. Dude was traveling all the time. California, Seattle, Italy. You know your average weekend getaway. He kept at it though. His dedication truly showed. Mark added 7 lbs of muscle and lost 2 lbs of body fat. He also added 45 lbs to his Total. I’m so happy for Mark. He worked really hard over these past 3 months and it really shows. 

Oh, and there’s this guy Tim. You might have seen him around the gym before. At least you have if you’ve been there these past 3 months. I think he might have been in there as much as me! His numbers? Eh. They were alright. He put on, you know, only 18 lbs of muscle! Get the f@$& outta here! 18 Pounds?! 6 pounds a month? And to add to that, he lost a pound of body fat. Then there’s his Total. He added A. HUNDRED. POUNDS to his Total. A hundo. A Benjamin. You get the point. Unreal. I guess that leaves no doubt who is the winner for the guys. Tim B. I am proud to say that you are the men’s winner!

Kathy and Tim will be receiving a nice little prize package including some Progenex, Pure Pharma, and a gift card to help fuel their workouts from Starbucks. But to be honest, I really think everyone that did this was a winner. They all put up some serious #gains and will be killing it in classes, so watch out! If you see anyone wearing their new Challenge t-shirt in class (not for sale, must be earned), give them a little space because they are going to be going H.A.M. on their workouts from here on out. 

With a bunch of feedback from all the athletes involved, I am contemplating starting a new Strength Challenge starting in September. It will run another 3 months and will be done before December and all the holiday commitments take up your attention. If you are interested, please see me or leave a message below.

 

Congratulations again to Kathy and Tim! 

12 Aug 2014

In-House Throwdown!

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It’s that time of year again where we test our fitness against those that we WOD with every day… Our In-House Throwdown will take place on Saturday, September 27th, so clear those calendars! This is a great opportunity for some friendly competition and lots of fun. We’ll have both scaled and Rx divisions available, so whether you’re a seasoned competitor or a first-timer, this is a great event for everyone to participate in.

 

Our plan is to run heats of the competition from 9am to 1 or 2pm in the afternoon. The exact timeline may change depending on the number of competitors we get to sign up, but we expect to wrap the competition up early in the afternoon so we have time for some fun activities and a cookout afterwards. It is guaranteed to be a fun day, and we hope you all can join us!

 

Don’t want to compete but still want to be involved? Awesome, we need your help! We’ll need lots of judges and volunteers to help the day run smoothly. If you can lend a hand, we’d very much appreciate it.

 

As we get closer to the event, we will release more details and workouts. For now, take a look at the standards below, see which division you fall into, and get signed up! We’re very excited about getting as many people as possible involved this year. Get pumped!

 

 

Throwdown Divisions

Rx Division: Thrusters 95/65, Snatches 115/75, Toes to Bar, Double Unders, Unassisted Pull Ups, Wall Balls 20/14 to a 10′ target
Scaled Division: Thrusters 65/35, Snatches 75/45, AbMat Situps, Single Unders, Blue Band Pull Ups, Wall Balls 14/10 to 10′ target

What: CrossFit Boston In-House Throwdown
When: Saturday, September 27th
Where: Here! CrossFit Boston
Who: Everyone

Announcement of WOD #1

Click Here to Register to Compete or Volunteer/Judge

NB: Most of the content of this post was lovingly borrowed from our friends at CrossFit Southie.

08 Aug 2014

Buffalo Wings and T-Shirts!

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Hey guys! Our Buffalo wing gathering is on for this Sunday at 4 PM at Silvertone (69 Bromfield Street, Downtown) Buff’s Pub (317 Washington Street, Newton). For those without cars, we can meet at the gym at 3:30 and carpool in together. If you haven’t yet emailed me to let me know you’re coming, please do so at [email protected] Also, I’m curious to see how many people would be interested in snagging a classic CFB05 t-shirt (and in what colors and sizes), should they become available again. Comment away!

06 Aug 2014

Gluten Free Just Got Legit

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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?

Some Background

6722574677_1ef9d4c2b2_zGluten 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. 

The Regulation

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

1292854_10104168503357671_368462039_oIf 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. 

Photo 1 c/o Roses daughter 

05 Aug 2014

Active Recovery

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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.

035Usually 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 somephoto-10 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

Buffalo Wings Are Really Old

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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.

 
The second event will be CFB’s second in-house throw down of 2014. It will be held in place of classes on Saturday, September 27th and the after-party will stretch until 2 PM. Sign-ups will be up shortly, but in the mean-time, please save the date!
 
Finally, please let me know what kind of activities you might enjoy participating in with folks from the box. There’s been talk about making a trip to an amusement/trampoline/ropes course park, a kayaking/paddle-boarding redux, or a ladies night that I will not be permitted to attend. Drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know!
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