14 Nov 2014
So I’m back to blogging regularly, and I want to address some things that have been both bothering me and causing me to reconsider my training. I’m hoping that you can learn from my experiences and not go down the same, winding road that I’ve taken. Let me start by saying that I’m beginning to realize that as I get older there are some things that need to change. And that’s precisely what this series is going to be about; things to consider as you age in regards to your fitness.
This first post is relevant to EVERYONE who walks into a gym, not just the aging athlete. I’d like to re-address an issue that I see all too often that simply needs to change. Every single one of you are competitive to some degree. That’s part of what enticed you to try CrossFit. While competition is great, it’s not really the point of what we do here, or this post. But that internal motivation and drive is what makes us strive to be better than that other, less-fit/less-healthy version of ourselves. With that being said, I see a lot of potential and opportunity left at the door. Let me explain.
All too often athletes and beginners alike, roll in the door, sign-in (RIGHT?!), walk up to the whiteboard and wait for class to start. If they didn’t plan correctly, they might be about 3-4 minutes early. They then wander around until class starts picking up a jump rope for 1-2 minutes, play with a kettle-bell for a minute or two, or lay on a foam roller without much thought as to what they are doing. Some might even go for the good ol’ super front-rack or banded overhead distraction because they have been doing it for the past 2 years and they think that it constitutes pre-class mobility. Let me ask you a question: Do you have a plan for improving mobility so that you can finally get into a legitimate back squat or front-rack position? How about those Overhead Squats? Those are fun huh? For most people, achieving these take some dedicated mobility. Not just 3-4 minutes of “hoping” your mobility improves.
Without a plan to improve mobility (let’s face it, almost everyone could stand to improve mobility in some way) you aren’t doing yourself justice. You are leaving potential and opportunity at the door. This is the biggest and greatest benefit you can afford yourself and your training. It is the most attributable factor to improved fitness and all those new PR’s you’ll be seeing. Get a mobility plan and aggressively attack your weaknesses and limiting ROM.
This shouldn’t have to even be said, but as we age, appropriate warm-up/mobility can make or break your day in the gym. I am able to attribute “good days” in the gym to adequate/proper mobility and warmup, and “bad days” to times when I just don’t have the time to get in the necessary mobility. This wasn’t always the case though. I used to be able to walk into the gym and jump right into a working set of bench (because I abhorred back squat in the not too distant past). Was that the right move then even? Hell no! I would be in a much better place now if I had spent even a little bit of time on movement prep. I now try for at least a half hour of mobility/movement prep before even thinking about picking up a barbell. Anyway, I digress. Let’s get back on track.
YES, mobility is necessary. Vital. Imperative even. Every person has areas that are specific to them that need to be addressed, so I can’t say “Do this” or “Do that.” But I know of a couple of coaches that might be able to help you out on that front. Jen has a mobility class 2x/week now. You have options. Exercise those options people! Here’s what I can do for you though. I can promise, no matter your age, you NEED to work on mobility. Give mobility a chance guys. It’s not going to hurt (too bad). But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t be the guy/girl who walks in and jumps right into class. You can’t do that, and expect to have a good day in the gym. See what a legitimate mobility session pre-WOD can do for your training. It will open the doors to new PR’s all over. I promise.
How’s it going CFB! Who’s ready for the weekend? Let’s Fire it Up!!!
It’s been another solid week of training and congrats to those that PR’ed their 2k on Wednesday. How was that Usher concert? I hear Neal was giving out tickets to those Athletes that were really getting after it.
2 quick announcements, mobility and rowing!
1. Coach Jen has decided to offer her mobility class on Saturday mornings at 8am from now on! If you’re banged up from getting after it this week be sure to get to her class at 8am and work out those kinks.
2. If you’d like to retest your 2k and try to better your performance throughout the winter, consider signing up and competing in the Renegade Rowing League! The first race is next Saturday, November 22nd at 8am. We’ll hook up 10 Ergs to a computer and projector and you can race head to head with the people next to you. It’s a great way to stay motivated in your training and continually gauge your fitness throughout the Winter. We’ll be hosting a 2k race like this every month. Check out more info here and sign up on the Whiteboard!
Ok, now it’s time. What’s in store for next week? Before you take a look, I’d like you to think about the word POWER. What does it mean? How is it defined? What variables are involved? What does it look like? Last week we saw power snatches at %60 of your 1Rm. That is light for many people in the gym and it sounds like some of you felt you needed to go heavier. This week you’ll have an opportunity to find a heavy power snatch, but then you’ll be asked to take some weight off and work at 80% of that weight. One reason I’ve programmed the power snatches at 60% last week and %80 this week is to help you find more POWER! (envision Neal doing an Arnold impression – We Need More Power!) Power = Force x Distance / Time. By fixing the Force and the Distance in the programming, I’m asking you to move the bar faster. Get more Speed. Be sharper in your movement. Have a better setup. Keep the bar in a straighter path. Stick that landing deliberately with some gusto. Leave no doubt to your coaches that you own the movement and are moving that bar as fast as humanly possible through the middle. Alright, enough of that for now. Move the bar faster and get after it! Here’s the programming for the week. Have Fun and Attack It!
15min to find Heavy 3
50m Crab Walk
5 KB Snatch Each Arm (1.5/1)
5 Pistols Each Leg (Alternating)
*Rx+ (Pistol w/ KB)
*Scaling (Single Arm KB Swing, Reverse Lunge w/ KB)
Partner “Regatta Gone Mad”
(1 Person works at a time)
(Split up work as you see fit)
Complete For Time …
75 Deadlifts (95/65 lbs)
50 Power Cleans (95/65 lbs)
75 Push Ups
1. Power Clean
Work up to a 1 RM
2 Power Cleans @80% (Touch and Go)
4 Barbell Roll Outs from Knees
*If you miss a round, complete 5 Burpees and rest until next round
8 Overhead Squats (95/65)
4 OH Walking Lunges (95/65)
2. 20 Strict Toes-2-Bar
*Every time you drop off the bar do 20 Double Unders
1. 12min to find 1RM Shoulder Press
5 Handstand Push-ups
10 One legged squats, alternating
1. 5 Sets to work up to something heavy of …
1a. 3 Power Snatch, 1:30 Rest
1b. 3 Thrusters @same weight, 1:30 Rest
3 Power Snatch @80% of above weight
3 Push Ups
3 Pull Ups
3 Power Snatch
3 Burpees Over The Bar
3 Pull Ups
1. Push Press
5 reps @ 75%
1.1.1 strict muscle-ups, rest 1:00
3 reps @ 85%
1.1.1 strict muscle-ups, rest 1:00
1+ reps @ 95%
1.1.1 strict muscle-ups
6 Push Press @75%
13 Nov 2014
It is easy to get caught up in the needs and wants of others. Your boss, family, clients, friends its easy to feel like you are being pulled in a thousand directions at one time. Its surprising that by the end of each day we are not all wanting to be hermits with no social engagement whatsoever. Pure isolation.
How do you manage this? When everything seems to be coming down to you and beginning to overwhelm you, what do you do? Some just stuff it deep down inside themselves until eventually one day it explodes! Not the best option, trust me. Others break down and sob. Not my idea of a good time either.
A practice that I have been working with and have challenged my staff to begin trying is called “Sacred Silence”. This is another drill lesson that Coach Divine uses in the Unbeatable Mind Academy. The beauty of this drill is in its simplicity and it doesn’t require a long commitment. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just need to practice it. Below I have written out the basic premise of Sacred Silence. Give it a go and post to comments your thoughts.
The task is to find a comfortable chair where you will be uninterrupted for 3 minutes. Not a terribly long time at all. Be sure to sit upright. Now close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Employ the box breathing technique: breathe in for 3-5 counts, hold for 3-5 counts, exhale for 3-5 counts, remain deflated for 3-5 counts. As you are breathing begin paying attention to your mind in action: what you hear, smell, and feel. If you a car driving by just repeat to yourself in your head “hearing, hearing”. If you feel something, “feeling, feeling.” If your mind strays, that’s ok. Note it and come back to your senses. This will allow you to help settle down, relax and unwind after a stressful meeting, day, etc.
Day in and day out it is very easy to get caught up in the activities necessary to just get through the day. Sometimes it seems we are operating on automation. Have you ever finished your day and sat for a moment and ask what did I really accomplish?
12 Nov 2014
I haven’t found a better way to completely fall off the healthy lifestyle wagon quite like traveling. Whether for work or vacation, extended time in an airport and hotels, and away from your kitchen and gym, provides numerous challenges to staying on track. This post outlines a few tips for keeping it together on the road.
1. Always be prepared with snacks. Pack nuts, trail mix, jerky, Lara bars, and other snacks to have in the airport, between work meetings (or sightseeing), and for late night cravings. Pack more than you think you’ll need, as healthy snacks can be hard to find in hotels and airports.
2. BYOB (Bring Your Own Breakfast). Unless you fork over $20 for the sit down breakfast, most hotels offer a continental breakfast comprised of cold eggs, processed bacon, pastures, bagels, cereal, and canned fruit cocktail. If you’re lucky, the eggs will be hot and there will be fresh fruit. Either way, the safest bet is often having something in your room you can eat, saving you money and keeping you on track. When I’m traveling I like to have a banana with peanut butter or oatmeal (you can usually find hot water) with dried fruit and nuts or nut butter. In a pinch, oatmeal from Starbucks isn’t the worst, and hard boiled eggs are becoming easier to find.
3. Do your homework. Look up restaurants that are near where you are traveling, and read over their menus before you go. Most places will offer some sort of meat/potatoes dish, or salmon and green vegetable. If you read up ahead of time, you can identify a few places you know you can find a healthy meal, and a few meals at each place. I find that having my mind made up before I get there helps me avoid the temptation to order something less nutritious.
4. Talk to your coworkers/travel mates. In the year 2014, I find it hard to believe that there isn’t at least one other person in your group who is trying to pay attention to health. I would say you are more likely to find other healthy eaters on a work trip, simply because on vacation people tend to care a little less about staying on the wagon (let’s just say when I traveled to Italy I was not worried about the pasta and gelato). For example, at my company there are at least 3-5 other people who are paleo or gluten free. I like going to eat with these people because I know they’ll be ordering something healthy, which encourages me to do the same.
5. Keep up the exercise. Sometime when you’re traveling, there’s not getting around a less than desirable meal. Your salmon comes with more sauce than you thought. There’s no other food available in the meeting besides pasta salad and sandwiches. Et cetera, et cetera. (And I haven’t even mentioned the booze yet…). Exercise can not only negate some of that damage, it can also give you more energy and motivate you to stay on track while you’re away. I travel to California every year for work, and try to take advantage of the time difference to get up and go running at least one morning. I’m also lucky enough to work for the fitness industry, so our work trip includes morning group classes (last year I went to a Piloxing class, and I was more sore after than I care to admit). If running outside or group classes aren’t an option, take advantage of what is. Use the pool in your gym to swim some laps. Look up hotel CrossFit workouts (or ask a coach for some ideas). Try deck of cards WOD (via the, app, or an actual deck of cards) in your hotel room. There are lots of creative ways to get 20-30 minutes of movement in during some part of your day. If there’s really not, try walking or taking the stairs as much as possible.
6. Go easy on the booze. Whether for work or play, traveling always seems to include healthy doses of adult beverages. When I travel for work, it’s cocktail hours with wine or open bar. When I travel it’s the booze of the land (bier in Germany, red wine in Italy…). Either way, try to aim for no more than one drink an hour, and mix in plenty of water between. Try to stick to one type of drink – wine, gin, beer, whatever. You can also order a vodka/gin and tonic for the first one, and quietly refill with just tonic or club soda the rest of the night. It’s important (at least at my work meetings) to appear social and participate in festivities, but I also need to have energy to get up and workout in the morning, so I aim for 1-2 drinks over the course of a five hour evening.
Any great ideas I missed?
11 Nov 2014
Hey Party People!
For the first time at CFB, we’ve got a t-shirt design contest and we want YOUR submissions! There are posts all over the gym with specific details, but in a nutshell, the designs must:
1. Feature CFB, CFBOS, CFB05, or CrossFit Boston
2. Be creative yet appropriate for public consumption
3. Be awesome!
The winning design will net the designer a free t-shirt AND a pair of tickets to KISS 108’s Jingle Ball, featuring lots of awesome bands, including 5 Seconds of Summer, OneRepublic, Iggy Azalea, Lil Jon, Magic!, Meghan Trainor, Charli XCX, Jessie J, Rixton, Kiesza, and Shawn Mendes!
This is going to be one bad-ass concert, so enter the contest!
That is all this week. I’ll likely be bad next week with some musings about politics, religion, and abortion…
Peace and bacon grease,
04 Nov 2014
Hey Everyone! How about that SNOW? How about them PATS? This weekend was so much fun! On Friday, we had our first gym Halloween party in what seems like forever and it was a fun time. We had some awesome costumes, including the above picture, featuring two blind mice and a blind lumberjack stripper mouse. Some of the other unforgettable costumes included belly-dancers, peanut-butter and jelly, an Arabian prince, and so much more! There was also some pretty awesome dancing, including the inimitable Tolly Taylor busting some choice moves to Thriller (which has been posted to the CFB BS Board, your very own super-secret Facebook page where we share awesome stuff to our community that we don’t want shared anywhere else! Need to be added? Ask a coach and we’ll hook you up!) and Kathy M. leading the troops in a spirited Electric Slide!
Saturday marked the beginning of Programming by Pat™ and team “3’s Company” crushed the stadium run in 17 minutes! Sunday featured two four-person teams, one named “Condom-Free Since ’93” and the other named “The Right Side of Fertility”! It was reproductively EPIC!
After class on Sunday, a small group of us braved the elements to get some hot shabu shabu in our systems. DELISH! Next Sunday, we will be heading up to Udupi Bhavan for some vegetarian Indian food that is the only Indian restaurant that member Vijay will eat at in the area. We will be departing from the gym at 11 AM so let me know whether you’re planning on joining us by emailing me at [email protected]
Shortly after shabu, Keith, Angry Beaver, Omri, SL Bob, and I tackled the Linda WOD. It was 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of: 1.5x bodyweight deadlifts, 1.0x bodyweight bench press, and 0.75x bodyweight squat clean. It’s a good thing that so many of us lost so much weight recently!
Finally, we are pushing back the date of our move until the weekend of November 22nd — thanks to all of you who volunteered to help move next weekend. There are a few glitches that need to be worked out and once that happens, we’re good to go! In the meantime and between-time, please let me know if there are any happenings that you’d like highlighted.
Peace and bacon grease,
This week I was handed the honor of writing my company’s monthly blog post on the Department of Health and Human Services Be Active Your Way Blog. I decided to write about health literacy month (that’s this month), and started thinking about ways to help people better understand nutrition information. Health literacy is often discussed in terms of medical diagnoses and clinical treatments, but I think it has relevance here too. I mean, if I discussed all that was wrong with the food label, I wouldn’t have any time to make my point. So I’ll just say that it is confusing to many Americans for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that it’s actually very difficult for a lot of people to quantify calorie information. That 200 calories always looks so innocent on the food label until you realize you just wasted 10% of your calorie budget on 12 tortilla chips.
The FDA is working on updating the food label, with new features such as realistic portion sizes (unless you think eating 1/3 of a candy bar at a time is realistic) and a new “added sugar” line, so consumers could see how much sugar occurs naturally in an item and how much is added to
get you addicted to that food improve the product for consumers. But those changes don’t make calories on a label any easier to understand in real world context.
But there may be some new hope. This week a study published in the American Journal of Public Health used placement of signs in West Baltimore corner stores with messaging like “Did you know that working off a bottle of soda or fruit juice takes about 50 minutes of running?” or “Did you know that working off a bottle of soda or fruit juice takes about five miles of walking?” to assess the impact of using exercise data on customer behavior. The signs worked, resulting in fewer purchases of soda or juice and more purchases of smaller portion sizes – meaning more people chose the 12 ounce can over the 20 ounce bottle. These findings corroborated other research (like here and here) demonstrating a similar effect. Brilliant! Help people understand the context of the food/beverage they are having by quantifying calories as the activity required to burn them off.
So what would happen if all food labels included a line on exercise? Well, I’d like to think this bonus information would translate to more people understanding their food label. I’d like to think that would lead to a decline in the portion and amount of sugar sweetened beverage, fast food, sweets, and junk food Americans ate. I’d like to think it would help them choose fruit, jerky, or nuts over other less healthful options. Or that more people would visit their gyms more often, as they make the informed choice to enjoy a cupcake at lunch and pay for it with an afternoon WOD or run or whatever activity they enjoy.
I also see problems with this idea. Namely:
- It would cost companies a lot of money to change their labels, and time to research the new information (and the companies would fight back viciously).
- Your body needs calories – not everything needs to be “burned off” with exercise (your body will take care of some of that by simply functioning).
- It could backfire in helping people choose healthy options – I certainly wouldn’t want someone to choose crackers over almonds for a snack because it takes less time to “walk it off” a portion.
- Implications for people with disordered eating or diagnosed eating disorders – this kind of information could compel someone struggling with their body image to feel as though they are being told “you must exercise more” whenever they eat something. And with eating disorders on the rise in young people, this is a big concern.
- These levels are just estimates – the amount of energy a person burns off doing a given activity varies by age, weight, and other factors. (The estimate used in the study were based on 15 year old boys weighing 110 lbs).
- This extra label does not provide any information about macronutrient makeup, vitamins, or other factors that make one food a healthier option than another.
So what do you think? Personally, if this was ever implemented, I’d really only like to see it on certain foods – like soda, chips, candy, etc. I think putting this information on bread, chicken breast, or frozen vegetables is over-kill. But in certain contexts I think this information could be very helpful – especially for those with minimal baseline nutrition knowledge, and kids and teens.
You can read my original post on the HHS Blog, and share your thoughts to comments!
Photo c/o Dave Whelan https://www.flickr.com/photos/djwhelan/
28 Oct 2014
Who’s ready for a little Halloween fun? This Friday, we’ll have a little Halloween Party at 7:30 PM. Food and refreshments will be BYO (although there will likely be a group ordering BBQ from SoulFire) and costumes are mandatory!
Also, Joe Mathias will be performing with the Boston Philharmonic at Symphony Hall on Sunday, November 9th at 2 PM. The guest soloist will be Natalia Gutman, who I’ve actually seen play and she’s incredible! Click here for concert details. Here is a note from Joe!
Hello all,I would like to invite you to attend a spectacular concert that I will be playing in with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. We will be playing in Symphony Hall on November 9th in the afternoon. It is one of the best youth orchestras in the world and the show will surely be a wonderful experience. I hope that you can make it, you will see me with a large clarinet in the middle of the orchestra.I have included the link to the concert here: http://www.bostonphil.org/concerts/november-0and if you would like to learn more about the orchestra here is another link: http://www.bostonphil.org/bpyo/about-bpyoThanks!Joe
Peace and bacon grease,
22 Oct 2014
I realize I (and many others in the health/wellness field) talk about fiber a lot, usually in general terms. We say things like “fiber is important for weight loss/maintenance because it helps keep you full” and “fiber helps you stay regular”.Supplements like Metamucil and benefiber and food brands like Fiber One capitalize on the health effects of fiber (although as a side note I wouldnt recommend Fiber One bars be your main source of it). But fiber can be a little more complex than that.
The Two Types of FIber
There are two types of five – soluble and insoluble.
- Soluble fiber – this type of fiber that slows digestion and may help lower cholesterol. Soluble fiber attracts water and becomes a gel during digestion. You can find it in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables, fiber supplements.
- Insoluble fiber – this type of fiber adds bulk to stool and helps move it through the digestive system. Insoluble fiber also attracts water, and is the fiber that “keeps you regular”. People who are constipated would benefit from more insoluble fiber. You can get insoluble fiber from wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grain.
How Much Do You Need?
The recommended in take is 38 grams for men under 50 and 25 grams for women under 50. Men and women over 50 need 30 and 21 grams respectively.
If you’re eating a healthful diet high in fruits and vegetables and mostly whole grains over white grains, you are likely getting enough fiber. For example, eating a banana (3 g), 2 cups of broccoli (5 g), 1 sweet potato (5 g), an apple (4 g), oatmeal with dried fruit (6 g), and an ounce of almonds (3 g) in a day, you’d exceed the recommendations for women.