Monday, January 31, 2011

Rest Day

This could be you...

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Workout of the Day

4 mile trail run

Got out and did the Nimbus Dam to Negro Bar run today with Enzo and Clint. It was chilly and misty and my back was still a bit tight from earlier in the week, but things turned out great in spite of it all. I ran the course in 31:21, the first official time I’ve logged. I think with a little fresher legs and a warmer day I can get it under 30:00. The route itself is mostly flat with small ups and downs the entire way. We opted out of the massive hills that have been featured on this blog many times in the past few months simply because to incorporate them would have made the rest of the run nearly impossible.

I will be resting tomorrow and then starting a new 3 week program on Monday—pretty pumped to see how it goes. A full breakdown on it will be coming soon so stay tuned.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sunset Sledging

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the afternoon…

Deadlift 5, 5, 5, 20

Good Morning 10, 10, 10

Hamstring Isometrics 5 x 3 second holds ea per set

WOD 2 – in the evening…

5 rounds for time:

20 sledge hammer slams (10 ea w/16# sledge)

100 Double Unders

The heavy lifting early in the day went really well. I’d taken the last 3 days off so that had to have something to do with it. I did 365 lb for the sets of 5 and felt like I could’ve done 10. The set of 20 was rough at 275 lb but I made it to the end without dropping. Even more promising were the good mornings—I did 155 the first set and 175 each of the last two, and it felt better than I remember it feeling.

After finishing up with some unilateral isometrics to activate the hamstrings I called it a session and headed up to meet with the architect and general contractor for the new gym space. Things are rolling along and we should be dialed in to open on March 1st as planned. One bit of info that I can’t help but share is that this gym will include an area specifically designed for log flipping. That’s right. LOG FLIPPING. Don’t see that everyday.

As the sun started setting I grabbed my sledge, tire, and jump rope and headed to the top of the Old Folsom parking deck to tax my aerobic capacity. The following video is what ensued.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Salmon Falls Trail Run

Workout of the Day

20 minute trail run for distance

Without a GPS it’s hard to say exactly how far I made it on this little adventure, but judging by Google Maps and what I felt my pace was, I ran about 3 miles. The terrain was semi-technical with lots of rocky footing and creeks to jump over, but the elevation was manageable. There was really only one major climb and it happened right at the beginning. The rest of the way was small ups and downs that my legs were able to handle without too much trouble. The only thing that really gave issue was my lower back. This is not uncommon when one isn’t used to running fast for long stretches—hint…run fast for long stretches more often.

Starting at the Salmon Falls bridge, this trail cuts its way along the northern edge of Folsom Lake’s eastern tributary and follows the waterline back and forth around the entire lake. The particular section of the trail I like to run is populated mostly by mountain bikers. I was racing them, dodging them, and giving way to them throughout the run but it wasn’t as annoying as it might sound. You actually have to be impressed by these people—some parts of the route were hairy enough on foot let alone thundering down on two wheels. I was a little jealous of them when 20 minutes hit because I had just come upon the most beautiful section of the trail (a place I’d never seen until this point). If I had been on bike I could have kept riding and explored much further without having to worry about how long it would take me to get back to the car. As it stood, 20 minutes of hard running would equal at least 40 minutes of jogging/walking to retrace my steps and that was quite enough already.

Congrats again to Andrew for winning the Steelfit Pullup Challenge. Your bar is on it’s way.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Steelfit Challenge Winner

After a lot of pullups and nearly 300 votes, the winner of the contest is Andrew from Virginia Beach!!! Congratulations to Andrew and his now semi-famous belt for an awesome workout and an even better show of support from his fans. He ended up winning with 63% of the vote. Anna and Christina from Sacramento finished with 34% and Tate in Southern California with 3%. Hell of a showing and I know for a fact the Steelfit guys were impressed.
Andrew, get me your mailing address and your new pullup system will be on its way. Here is the winning video one more time...

Gymnastics Class

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the afternoon…

Front Squat 5, 5, 5, 5

3 x max slow Toes to Bar (5 seconds up/down)

WOD 2 – in the evening…

Gymnastics class

Front Squats felt great today. No core issues whatsoever after the long day yesterday and my legs were relatively fresh. I managed 287 lb for 4 the last set which is a personal best so I’m psyched about that. Just gotta keep making progress.

The bigger deal today was the gymnastics class over at West Sacramento International Gymnastic Centre. I got the invite from the CF West Sac crew earlier in the week and wound up bouncing around the facility with just about everyone I know in the greater Sacramento CrossFit community. We were doing tumbling, high bars, rings, vault, pommel horse… you name it. Our instructor was running around asking us to do ridiculous things waaay out of our price range with little to no regard for safety or risk. Obviously we loved it. We were flipping into foam pits, doing cartwheels and round offs into crash pads, and being shown up by 6 year olds on the rings. 1 hour in this place made me realize how grossly uncoordinated CrossFitters are. Compared to even amateur gymnasts we are pathetically unbalanced, inflexible, and weak. Luckily this guy Jimmy seemed willing to trade some expertise for a few workouts at CFWS. I think a few one on one sessions may be a little more of what I need. Either way it was a blast and I can’t wait to go back.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Best Workout Ever?

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Superset the following, resting as needed between rounds

Floor Press 6, 6, 6, 6, 6

Pullup 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

Same protocol as above

Bent Row 6, 6, 6, 6

Ring Dip 10, 10, 10, 10

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

20 minute AMRAP:

80 ft hill ascent & repel

150 meter run

10 sandbag thrusters (100 lb)

20 sledge hammer swings (16 lb)

Got up feeling STRONG today. My pressing sets were at 220, 231, 242, 253, and 264 lb respectively, only tallying 4 reps on my 5th set. The rowing sets went 154, 165, 176, and 187 lb, getting 6 on each. In retrospect the pullups and dips should have been sets of 15 instead of 10.

The afternoon WOD was one for the books. The weather was incredible to start, which isn’t typical in mid-January. We had 60 degree warmth, almost no breeze, and crystal clear blue skies. John, Sarah, and Justin met me over at the Aquatic Center and we shared the burden moving all the materials across the bridge and into position along the American River Bike trail. I expected the workout to be most taxing on my lungs, which wasn’t exactly wrong. We were all out of breath immediately. But I didn’t expect my arms to start giving out so badly. By the second time up the rope it literally felt like I was having to swing them from my hips to the grip position in order to take the next step. The 16 lb sledge certainly had a lot to do with this, but I also think that going hand over hand for 80 feet, even if it isn’t straight up, is just something we don’t do that often. Anyways, 20 minutes felt like forever and John and I both finished just over 5 full rounds with Sarah coming right behind. I can’t put into words how much fun this was. Hopefully the video link below will do a better job.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

CrossFit Submerged

Workout of the Day

WOD 1… in the morning

Deadlift 5, 5, 5, 5

WOD 2… in the afternoon

20 minute AMRAP swim for meters

Followed by L sit holds and hip rocks on handrails

Deadlifts this morning felt decent but not great. My sets were at 120 kg, 140 kg, 160 kg, and 180 kg. Holding on to the bar with blistered fingers was a tad painful and I actually tore through one of them on my pinkie, but I think that will just hurry the healing process.

I was back at the pool in the afternoon to continue working on my stroke, somewhat inspired by my good friend in Denmark Kasper Hansen. Kasper is the world class pentathlete who took me through the navy obstacle course in Copenhagen last fall. He has since torn his way through a couple of CrossFit competitions in Scandinavia and started his own blog centering around water training. He’s got all kinds of ideas and a ton of expertise that I plan on taking full advantage of. Check him out at CrossFit Submerged.

For my pool workout today I simply went for distance, trying to find a consistent stroke (in reality a combination of strokes) that would allow me to swim continually with little rest. I managed 1100 meters in the 20 allotted minutes—I never really rested but I wasn’t flipping turns or pushing myself too hard either. It would be great to get this number closer to a mile but that may be too big a jump for a novice like me. Then again, who knows what secrets I might glean from Kasper’s blog…

Steelfit Voting Ends Friday

Voting for the Steelfit Pullup Challenge will end this Friday so if anyone hasn't voted yet, make yourself heard. I have currently tallied 133 votes between email and posts which is amazing. but I think there are a few more out there. Remember, only one vote per person... Click the link to the right of this page to see the videos.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Weekend Recap

With the MLK holiday and Jason’s visit occurring simultaneously, this past weekend was a recipe for excessive training. We swam, ran hills, climbed rope, squatted, used rings, and invented new exercises in a padded room. We also bowled, drank beer, and watched plenty of football. In short, this was like a stay-cation for me. Below is the rundown of WODs we did:


8 rounds for completion:

Swim 50 meters

6 handstand pushups

12 pushups


Back Squat 5 w/pause (275), 5 w/pause (315), 5 w/pause (345), 6 no pause (365)

Handstand walk 30 meters, floor muscle ups, low crawls, somersaults, handstand to somersault, dummy drags, etc.


3 rounds, rest 5 minutes between rounds:

2 hill runs (200 m)

20 ring pullups

20 situps

round 1: 5:13, round 2: 7:03, round 3: 6:47



Monday (at CF East Sac)…

Alternate the following:

10 to 1 rope climbs (15 ft)

1 to 10 strict press (135 lb)

With the exception of some mini blisters on the tips of my fingers from the 55 rope climbs we did yesterday, I’m feeling pretty decent after all of that. I was very sad to see Jason leave last night because he is such a great friend and training partner, but it makes me more excited for the adventures to come. A trip to Telluride next month is in the works and a late spring jaunt to Long Island is sure to follow. Line it up.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Workout of the Day

8 rounds for completion

Swim 50 meters

6 handstand pushups

12 pushups

So I had Frank from Steelfit in yesterday—awesome. And today I got my boy Jason Mulligan in from Long Island. Unreal couple of days for me. With a lot of big plans lined up for the weekend I’m going to make this post short and sweet. Just an update on what we did at the pool to kick start a great series of days.

I honestly felt amazing in the water. Strong kick, good glide, never really ran out of breath. The crux of the WOD was the HSPUs 100%. My first 3 sets were unbroken, but from 4-8 I was doing 4’s and 2’s. Definitely needed some shake out time towards the end but we managed to finish up decent. Jay was looking extra swole with the heavy upper body emphasis. Really hoping for some good weather over the weekend so we can get out and explore a bit.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Steelfit in Town

Workout of the Day

Squat Snatch 10, 10

3 x 1 minute rounds for max repetitions


KB Snatch (24 kg)

Double Unders

Sandbag Squats (100 lb)

Pushups with rotation

Rest 1 minute

Today I was lucky enough to welcome Frank Passanante, a good friend of mine and the CEO of Steelfit Strength Systems, to Sacramento. He agreed to come out for a day to check out the future site of CrossFit Anywhere (now less than 2 months away from opening) and give his take on what might be possible from a structural perspective. We threw around ideas about pullups structures, I-beam strength grids, and all kinds of other cool toys made out of steel. The end result was a plan that I am extremely happy about. The place is going to be decked out with more state of the art material than I will know what to do with. 2011 beware.

After walking around the facility Frank and I headed back to the garage for the above workout. He worked technique for some heavier singles while I decided to do a little higher volume for a change. I loaded the bar to 70 kg and did 10 reps as quickly as I could. Interestingly, I found that as I fatigued my form began to improve slightly. This lasted through reps 6, 7, and 8 before deteriorating for 9 and 10. I think that when my body is fresh I tend to rely too much on my arms and shoulders to help the weight overhead, but as I began to tire that strength was no longer there to use. Hence my legs and hips started to take over completely and the lift looked and felt more like it should. By reps 9 and 10, however, my legs and back had worn out and left me without the explosivity needed to stay clean. An interesting idea would be to train some higher repetition sets like this with moderate to heavy weight and see if timing issues improve. I bet they would. My time on both sets was around 1:15.

After the Olympic stuff we went after the 1 minute rounder above. I scored 150, 143, and 151 respectively for the three 5 minute bouts. Big challenges were the KB snatches and the pullups once the arms got tired. I’ve definitely improved the snatches but still have a ways to go.

It was so much fun having Frank here and getting to train together again. And knowing that Steelfit is going to be a part of my gym is only making me more confident in its potential for success.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tire Training

Workout of the Day

Part A:

5 Giant Tire Flips

20 GHD situps

10 meter semi tire strike & slide (16 lb sledge)

20 GHD situps

5 Giant Tire Flips

Part B:

3 minute AMRAP

2 Giant Tire Flips

5 GHD situps

Bodie and Clint were over early this morning to do this WOD in the dark. If we had more light this would have made for a great video but I guess that’ll have to wait for daylight savings. It’s been awhile since I had the tire out for some flips so it took some time emptying out the water and leaves from the last few months of winter weather. Not smelling so good in there, but we were all hooded and gloved up looking like a trio of car thieves so the funk didn’t phase us. Still, I can’t wait til we can move these things indoors and avoid the mess altogether.

Part A was all about the sledge strikes. Doing this means backing up to the smaller tire and swinging the sledge between your legs to generate the force and propel the tire down the street in reverse. Assigning a set distance to travel makes sledge striking more measureable than simply counting the number of contacts—the latter method inevitably leads to people simply dropping the head of the hammer on the tire instead of really hitting it. As it turned out this morning, I think it took me 40 swings to move the tire 10 meters, and they weren’t cheap. It was a chore trying to make solid contact, to keep the grip from sliding, and to avoid hitting the ground in the process. The whole sequence took me just over 5 minutes to complete and the sledge work had to account for close to 4 of it.

The GHD situps also required a bit of ingenuity. We did them by hooking our feet on the inner edge of one side of the giant tire and hanging our bodies off the opposite side to simulate the extension of a GHD. The range of motion wasn’t quite as extreme, but it wasn’t too far off either. If I had a second giant tire to stack underneath it would have been perfect.

Part B of today’s workout was a pure sprint. 2 flips and 5 situps on repeat as many times as possible in 3 minutes. I finished 8 rounds and never really had to slow down. The movements compliment each other nicely and the short time domain prevented any extensive fatigue in any one area. Hopefully as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer I can get the tire out and do some more experimenting.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

315 overhead

Workout of the Day

Split Jerk 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

5 rounds for time:

300 m row

10 OH Squat (135 lb)

3 Muscle Ups w/ front roll

This afternoon’s workout took place at CrossFit East Sacramento with Justin, Travis, and Brooke—the 3 CF ballers of the River Park corridor. The original plan was to do Clean & Jerks, but I had to gracefully bow out of that Jenkins due to latent soreness in my low back. Probably still recovering from a rather embarrassing deadlift session last Thursday. Annnnyways, I modified and hit the jerks with some gusto instead. And wouldn’t you know it? I PR’d. 315 lb up and over. Didn’t expect that type of lift going in but I’ll take it. Brooke PR’d her C&J as well and Justin tied his. Solid lifting performances for everyone.

The conditioning bit was all kinds of fun. This started off as 15 squats and 500 m row for 5 rounds, then morphed to 10 squats, 2 muscle ups and 500 m row, then somehow settled on it’s final form as described above. The aim was to do high volume squatting with medium load. The result was that with an interesting blend of “technique while tired” and “on the cusp of out of breath.” I never broke any sets, but almost dropped a few OH squats. I never missed a MU but doubted a few of them would get all the way up. And I didn’t row slower than a 1:50 pace but was always dreading sitting back down. The whole shebang took me 12:28 to complete. Travis came in 30-40 seconds after me, followed by Brooke and Justin somewhere around 15:00. Nails all around.

In the last 3 days alone I’ve received over 60 emails and nearly 40 comments voting on the Steelfit Pullup Challenge. So far Andrew’s fans have spoken loudest but Anna and Christina have closed the gap. Still plenty of time to make your voice heard. Only 1 vote per person will be accepted, so those of you sending multiple emails… sorry. I respect the effort but no go. To continue posting votes to comments, use the link on the right side of the page.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Steelfit Challenge Finalists... Time to Vote

So, after a prolonged and impressive submission process it has come down to three finalists. Selections were made based on a combination of factors, not limited to but including the following: Pullup quality and variety, beauty/uniqueness of location, originality, and general creativity. The top 3 videos, in chronological order of submission, are...
Tate in Southern California
Andrew in Virginia Beach
Anna and Christina in Sacramento

Voting will stay open until February 1st. Attach votes to comments or email them to

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pullup Challenge Submission

From Anna and Christina in Sacramento... Tomorrow is the last day for submissions. Get them to me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fitness is…


No rules or mandates, only choices.

It’s 6:00 am. You’re tired, cranky, and your eyes are crowded with sleep. You’re groping aimlessly around the kitchen for the pot of liquid adrenaline that you need to rouse yourself. “No such thing as a morning person,” you mutter while sipping it down gratefully. You shuffle towards your closet and let your gaze pass over the stacks of t-shirts, shorts, compression tights, and hoodies that’ve come to represent your workout gear over the years. You have to admit that they’ve been getting less and less “work” of late. Sip. Sigh. Last night while setting the alarm you swore today would be different, but the inevitable hesitation of the early morning anchors your feet to the carpet and your lips to the coffee mug. The only place you truly want to be is back in your bed, tucked happily away beneath your quilted comforter.

Interrupting your trance is your own reflection, shot back at you by the full-length mirror separating the his & her sides of the wardrobe. As usual, this intrusion is unwanted. The figure before you is slouching and hunched, has been prematurely aged and weighted by years of neglect and obsolescence, and, sadly, appears resigned to this state of being. You’re neither upset nor surprised at this sight, but a frown creeps across your face in spite of itself. That’s not the way you’re supposed to look. That’s not the “you” you wanted to be. You should look younger, stronger, and more vital. A sudden rush of energy rises and falls in your chest as you consider the possibility of remaking yourself in that image, like a match trying to catch in the breeze. But the warm aroma under your nose snuffs it out, reminding you there are routines to keep and habits to uphold this morning, just like every other morning. You console yourself—this is no time for unattainable goals or egotistical pipe dreams. The ideal you is too far off anyway—it’d take years to fit that form. So you turn around and head back towards the kitchen to top off your cup and peruse the sports page. Just another day in the life. Sip. Sigh.

Moments like this come and go a hundred times a day—moments where fitness is a choice to be made or ignored. Moments that may seem insignificant in isolation, but multiply them over the course of a week, a year, or a lifetime and they plot a course between extraordinary and extremely average. Looking at it en masse, the dangers subsumed in such moments are obvious. But in that instant we are blind, our sight limited by ignorance, habit, and frustration.

A couple reasons why this might be the case…

First, most people don’t know how hard it is to be truly committed. They talk a big game come swimsuit season because getting a six pack is supposed to be as easy as working out 1 hour a day, 3 days a week, and choosing whole wheat bread for their sandwiches. They’re not ready to learn that daily commitment and diligence, many times in the face of hot coffee and a warm blanket, are pre-requisites in this pursuit. That section of every training manual and every diet book gets lost in translation. So here it is again, in plain English: The one meal you cheat, the one WOD you tank, the one foam roll you bypass: it all counts. It’s what’s meant by the theory of accumulation—there’s no such thing as an insignificant choice.

Second, bad choices have a tendency to become habitual and, when confronted with 50/50 situations, we like to guide ourselves based on past decisions. Because of this, that workout you shirked last week makes the one tomorrow easier to blow off. Yesterday’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich eases the guilt of today’s chicken parmesan. Every one of our choices has a certain amount of inertia that makes bad ones easier and easier to rationalize the more frequently they are made.

Finally, we too often allow that which is outside our control to influence that which is within it. Imagine the woman driving home from work with her gym clothes in the back seat and the fullest intention of working out. She hits rush hour traffic a little earlier than expected and suddenly finds herself growing irritable and agitated. She realizes how exhausted she is from the long day’s work and remembers her kids are hosting a coloring party after dinner. Groaning in frustration, she decides her energy levels are too low for exercise today and heads home for some downtime. What’s the point, right? She probably wouldn’t get anything out of it anyways. Fitness will have to start Monday, when she’s fresh and ready.

This is crap. If you ever find yourself skipping scheduled training for anything less than an injury, illness, or a family emergency, take a minute, step into someone’s office, and head butt a coffee table. You are pathetic. No amount of frustration will change traffic patterns. No amount of self-sacrifice will better prepare you for a coloring party. And no amount of “downtime” will help recoup lost energy levels. It’s simple: Either stop allowing external forces to influence your decisions, or stop wasting your money on training. Pretending like you take your health seriously will only impress other pretenders. It will not fool age, injury, or gravity… this I promise you.

Remember this: Fitness doesn’t start Monday. Or any other day for that matter. It started the day you were born and will continue until the day you die. It’s an accumulation of moments and choices that require your constant vigilance and attention. Whether you live a life wrought with disease, discomfort, and immobility or one full of opportunity, strength, and vitality are direct products of these moments and choices. Don’t believe me? Keep eating sandwiches on wheat and hitting the snooze the next thirty years and tell me how you feel. Maybe you’ll re-consider your options and knock the dust off that stack of hoodies.

Or maybe you won't. Either way, I don't have time to waste... Only so many moments left, and 6 am comes early.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Deadline Extended

After discussing things with the SteelFit higher ups, it's been decided to allow video submissions until Friday of this week. So any of you who waited too long or are still editing, get 'em to me at in the next 3 days. So far, the bar is very high. Keep it up.

Workout of the Day

Snatch 3, 3, 1, 1, 1

3 rounds for time:

20 burpee pullups

20 front squats (185 lb)

20 box jumps

This was my first day of hard training for a while due to the holidays and all I can say is ouch. The snatches went very well—I made 100 kg and it didn’t feel hard. But the metcon was absolutely miserable. My quads actually starting cramping during the end of the second round. I pulled this WOD from the main site almost a year ago and have been waiting to try it. Honestly, wish I would’ve waited a little longer. My time was 15:50, which isn’t terrible, but I know for a fact I’m going to be sore as hell for the next 3 days. Maybe this is a great omen for 2011 or maybe not. Either way I anticipate a low intensity jog in the morning.

Also, here is a video from last week in Pacific Beach that I forgot to upload. Without sounding like too much of an asshole, people living down there have absolutely no excuse not to be fit. Ridiculous how much opportunity the surroundings and the weather offer.

Monday, January 3, 2011