Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 1 in the Books

Amazing first day at the CF Games! Apart from this mornings brutal beach workout, the body is holding up great. Nothing really hurts beyond the dull fatigue of running in deep sand... and I'm not sure there's anything that's gonna help that. The workouts went as good as could've been expected--hopefully tomorrow will hold more of the same. Thanks so much to everyone out there for their support... it DEFINITELY helps. Everyone cross their fingers for more anywherefit type WODs so we can keep this ball rolling!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 1

Tuesday was registration day at the CrossFit Games, and holy shit was this a cool deal. Imagine 3 ballrooms filled with staff, dressing rooms, and shoeboxes. Populate those rooms with a hundred of the fittest, happiest, most gracious people in the world. You look left and there are tailors fitting clothing. You turn the corner and there are ovens heating shoes. You got family and friends carrying bags of gear because there’s literally more than you can handle. Your arms are stuffed with paleo friendly snacks, tape, uniforms, compression gear, outerwear… you name it. This is not your run of the mill CrossFit throwdown.

Throughout the day I took the opportunity to re-connect with some old faces from years past. Catching up with all these people becomes the real pleasure of competing year after year. The quality of individual found here is hard incomparable. People from different walks of life, different regions of the world, and different motivating forces all coming together respectfully and humbly. And to see friendships develop over the course of a few days separated by years is something special I think.

I took a little video footage at dinner and back at the hotel to give you an idea of what the environment is like. I meant to take more but got carried away with things and forgot. More to come the next few days I hope.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Swim WOD and Paddleboarding

Workout of the Day

Swim 200 yards

Bearcrawl 100 yards

Swim 200 yards

A big group of us from the gym met out at the Sac State Aquatic Center this morning to submerge ourselves in the icy goodness of Lake Natoma. With water temperatures hovering around 60, this was a far cry from the painful experience at Horsetail Falls 2 weeks ago. Still, it wasn’t comfortable. But everyone made it through the WOD safe, sound, and with hefty smiles.

Afterwards we hung around and rented paddleboards for the next hour or so. This, somewhat predictably, turned into a test of balance, handstand prowess, and evasive maneuvers as we were all trying to knock one another of his/her board. SO MUCH FUN!!! By the end of the day no one cared how cold the water was, only when the next time group paddleboarding was going to be programmed. A little light-hearted exercise never hurt anyone… sometimes simply going out and “playing” is exactly what we need to do. Today was a great reminder of that fact.

Also, I've attached the link to Folsom's Thursday Night Market footage from the other day. Check it out below.

Friday, July 22, 2011

20 minute back squat WOD


Workout of the Day WOD 1 - in the morning... 5 rounds for completion: 20 yard handstand walk Max toes to bar WOD 2 - in the afternoon... Back Squats @ 85% 1RM 3 repetitions per minute, on the minute until failure to complete (20 minute cap) WOD 3 - in the evening... 4 minute tabata sets of: Row for meters Kb swings (24 kg) Thrusters (75#) L sits for seconds One week out from the Games, this is exactly the kind of test I needed. High skill in the morning, heavy strength in the afternoon, and balls to the wall conditioning in the evening. I went to bed feeling like I hadn’t slept in a week and I plan a long session in the river today to help me recover. A quick little recap of the day’s events: My handstand walking has never felt better. I feel totally under control and am able to adjust my speed by adjusting my lean pretty consistently. The toes to bar weren’t quite so impressive: 20, 17, 15, 15, 15. But with pumped out arms I’m not sure these numbers were so bad. The back squats proved again to me that 1 minute intervals are my absolute FAVORITE way to structure training for strength endurance. My weight was 343#, a little under 85% but still a substantial amount of weight for me, and I was able to complete all 20 rounds. That’s 60 squats at near maximal load!!! The 45-50 seconds of recovery between sets was enough to let my nervous system settle down and re-focus on the next set, but not much else. My entire lower body was fried for hours afterwards, but now is only feeling lingering soreness. I think the light thrusters and rowing helped with that a lot last night. Speaking of last night, CF Anywhere took to the streets to join Folsom’s Thursday Night Market, sponsoring a booth and doing a live demonstration of what CrossFit is. We performed the tabata sequence outlined above in front of hundreds of spectators out to shop for clothing and antiques. Ha, did they get a surprise. I’m hoping to have the pictures and video by tomorrow so stay tuned. My lowest rounds for each exercise were Row - 105 m, kb - 10 swings, thrusters - 6, L sits - 12 seconds.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stone Deadlifts

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

4 rounds for completion:

2 ring dip + ring hspu

10 weighted pistols (35#)

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Snatch 3, 2, 1, 1, 1

5 minute AMRAP overhead squat (155#)

WOD 3 – in the evening…

20 rounds for time:

5 stone deadlifts (approx. 100#)

20 yard stone carry

This is my last full week of training before heading to LA for the CF Games, so my focus is narrowing a bit during my skill sessions. There’s been a lot of talk about ring hspu’s and pistol variations, so I’m trying to keep coming back to those movements to make sure I can at least do them passably. Can’t say things are getting much easier… the pistols were especially hard. The extra 35# made a big difference by the 4th set.

In the afternoon I concentrated on Olympics, coupling heavy snatch work with a mid-weight overhead effort for volume. Squatting endurance is something that translates well to a lot of other exercises, so if you’re looking for a way to build general capacity, start doing these types of high intensity efforts. I was able to knock out 53 repetitions at 155# before time expired.

Finally, my conditioning session took me back outdoors to Folsom Lake. There are a series of granite levees that surround the western edge of the lake, leaving an abundant supply of rock to lift and carry. All shapes and sizes are available so I had no trouble finding a suitable instrument. This thing was oblong and slightly triangular, very awkward and heavy. It took me 11:57 to finish all 20 rounds… 100 deadlifts and 400 yards of distance in total. The best part about lifting rocks is that you have to get super low—far below standard bar height. The result is a heavy tax on the butt and low back that will make conventional deadlifts feel easy by comparison. And, of course, there’s the constant awkwardness of gripping the damn thing. Getting stronger hands never hurt anyone.

Monday, July 18, 2011

209 to 916

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

30 rope climbs for time (20 feet)

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Barbell Complex: 3 deadlift, 2 squat clean, 1 jerk

Rest as needed and add load each set

Sandbag good mornings – 10, 10, 10

L sit holds - :30, :30, :30

WOD 3 – in the evening…

3 rounds, each for time:

150 yard hill sprint

30 burpees w/o pushup

Rest exactly 5 minutes between rounds

209 Sport was up in Folsom Saturday to do the above series of WODs. As usual it was great training with Gabe… pushing me harder than I normally could push. From the high volume rope climbs in the morning to the hill sprints late in the day, we touched a variety of skills and taxed multiple energy systems in preparation for the upcoming Games. And, as might be expected, most everything turned out to be harder than we anticipated. My times and numbers are below.

WOD 1 – 16:27

WOD 2 – 265#, missed jerk

WOD 3 – 2:00/2:08/2:20

For everyone coming to Iceland in less than a month... make sure you are running hills and hiking some distance. As stated on the itinerary, we will be covering close to 14 miles in trails our 2nd day in country. Prepare accordingly!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

50 squat snatches and then some

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

10 minute AMRAP:

10 kb snatch (24 kg)

10 GHD situp

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Strict Press

5 on the minute every minute @ 125# until failure to complete (20 minute cap)

Barbell Lunges – 10, 10, 10

Pipe Slams – 10, 10, 10

Alternating single arm sledge swings (8 #) – 10, 10, 10

WOD 3 – in the evening…

For time:

1000 meter row

50 squat snatch (95#)

200 double unders

I’d been battling some calf and ankle tightness after the UOP stadium stairs I did down in Stockton Tuesday, so today got off to a bit of a slow start. Thankfully, though, things started to loosen up as the day progressed. With the Games only 2 weeks away I’m really trying to hit all the major points of skill, strength and conditioning with all the focus I’ve got, knowing that the week before I probably won’t do much. The first WOD gave me the chance to practice KB snatches, a movement I’ve really tried to improve on recently, and also GHD situps, something I haven’t done for a while. I got 10 full rounds at a moderate pace, giving me plenty of opportunity to fine tune some timing and coordination issues.

This afternoon was a bear. Strict press is NOT one of my best movements and not one that typically recovers quickly after a near maximal set, so I was skeptical about how this would go. I wound up completing 15 rounds + 4 repetitions before failing out… not bad at all. Pressing strength is something that is so hard to build and for where we are now it’s probably too little too late for competition, but this is a solid way to approach it.

Finally, the conditioning session blended monostructural endurance, Olympic lifting, and gymnastics beautifully. All 3 elements targeted muscle endurance and cardiovascular capacity- no real breaks in here. I rowed comfortably at a 1:45 pace, finishing the 1000 at 3:29. The snatches were all singles, but I maintained a pretty steady pace. The only limiting factor was the lower back. I think after all the heavy lunges and presses earlier today it was a bit fatigued. Or maybe just 50 squat snatches suck anyway you slice it. My best element was certainly the double unders, though. Finished them in 2 sets… 91 and 109 respectively. Total time for this WOD was 12:27.

Looking forward with earnest to Saturday when I get to welcome the gang from 209 Sport to Folsom. Look for some early morning rope climbs, some midday Oly lifts, and some afternoon pain on the big hill. Come join us if you’re in town.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Training at 209 Sport with Gabe Subry

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

30 repetitions for time:

1 skin the cat + 1 muscle up

WOD 2 – in the late morning…

Complete as a continuous set:

5 overhead squats + 15 back squats

Rest as needed and repeat 5x, adding load each set

WOD 3 – immediately following WOD 2…

8 minute AMRAP:

10 rolling getup to box jump (24”)

10 box jump (24”)

10 GHD hip extension

WOD 4 – in the afternoon…

UOP Stadium Stairs

I drove down to Stockton today to train with fellow qualifier and good friend Gabe Subry at his box, CrossFit 209 Sport. Every time I work with this guy I enjoy it. We discuss everything from technique to strategy and this time of year even a little speculation on events to prepare for. And of course, we wind up working our asses off. Today there was a big group mobbing around with us so things were extra fun. I didn’t get any video footage of our WODs so hopefully next time. My numbers for today were as follows:

WOD 1 – 15:21

WOD 2 – 185# 205# 225# 245# (fail) 245#

WOD 3 – 5 rounds + 2 getup box jumps

WOD 4 – 11:29

Sleeping in tomorrow before heading to the river for some ice water therapy. Going to need it after today.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fitness is...


Keep changing.

It’s been said that life, at it’s most basic and physical, is motion. From the excitation of atoms at the molecular level to the interaction of people at a party, something that “lives” must necessarily be moving, growing, or changing. Proof? Nowhere in the world does a purely static organism exist. Every living cell is in a constant state of flux and flow: splitting, swelling, constricting, and moving according to the demands of its environment. Observe a stone on the beach and you see none of this, only the weather beaten stillness of an object waiting to be moved. Stillness, it turns out, is the harbinger of death. Stillness, is anti-life.

The obvious implication of this truth is that there’s nothing life-giving about a sedentary lifestyle. You remain at rest long enough and that’s where you’re going to inevitably stay. But this is hardly a revelation—few will argue that their liveliest or fittest days were spent sitting on a couch somewhere.

More often discussed are the negative effects of a stagnant methodology, and for good reason. Simply because we are moving one foot in front of the other on the treadmill or lifting barbells in the gym, doesn’t mean we are free from stillness. Sure we are in motion literally, but any hamster on his wheel can say the same. The truth is that, as creatures of habit, we saturate ourselves with protocols and techniques that we like/are comfortable with and are hesitant to change them. This, too, is stillness.

While consistency is crucial to development, the laws of adaptation state that without adjustment every technique becomes ineffective. No matter how intelligent, cutting edge, or initially ass-kicking, every program has a flaw... Us. We have to understand that our bodies are hard-wired to survive, not to excel. Improvement in strength, conditioning, or balance happens because we’ve asked more of our bodies than they can currently handle. Our adaptation to these demands is merely an adjustment in bandwidth; a growth in capacity such that we can re-establish homeostasis. To continue evolving and improving we must therefore be willing to adjust everything.

In general, the CrossFit community is GREAT at this. It’s a nexus of ex-specialists and aspiring generalists, all comfortable and confident enough to seek help and share experiences. Where else do Olympic rowers and high school gymnasts have anything to offer one another? And because of the multitude of skills and capacities encouraged by this methodology, there’s always something new to learn. Few athletes should plateau for long, if at all.

Why then do so many still hit the proverbial wall? How can members at so many boxes be lamenting their battles with “burnout” if every element of variation is being programmed into their WODs? Worse, why do some continue to feel unsatisfied even while they’re hitting PR’s and setting records?

My opinion? Most have been chasing the same goal for too long. They're psychologically "still."

The vast majority of people enter the gym with a dominant psychological focus, even if they choose not to wear it on their sleeve. Most either want an aesthetic change (to be bigger, smaller, or leaner), or a performance change (to be faster, more conditioned, or stronger). Even at our most varied and successful, it’s difficult for us to let go of these dominant foci. Just ask a bodybuilder if his body is ever big enough, a sprinter if he’s ever fast enough, or a Crossfitter if he’s ever fit enough. If they’re worth their salt the answer will always be no. And that’s okay—we need to be hungry in order to motivate ourselves. But at a certain point all of the above examples will find their appetite waning, their workouts lacking, and their goals slipping further away.

If we can’t wrench our attention away from our original, dominant focus even for a second, our mindset is essentially motionless, and even the most varied and intelligent programming cannot overcome psychological stagnation. If the mind isn’t excited about doing something, it won’t get done. Or if it does, it won’t get done well—and this is the more crucial point. Just as our body needs motion to stay lively, so does our psyche need fresh goals to stay alert and engaged.

Think of it this way: To permanently pursue a single focus would require a permanently peaked interest, which is impossible—interest naturally deteriorates with familiarity. Without interest, we grow bored. When we’re bored, our resolve weakens. When our resolve is weak, we resent ourselves and the goals we’ve chosen. When we resent our goals we lose interest in them, feeding the snake it’s tail, as it were. Boom, WALL.

The challenge then becomes staying psychologically mobile and avoiding the temptation of a single, all-consuming purpose. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a main, over-arching goal, just that you need to give your mind a break from it every so often. To bring the example home, consider our sport. Most, if not all Crossfitters identify and target their weaknesses. Be it strength, conditioning, short WODs, long WODs, gymnastics, Olympic lifting… everybody has one, or ten. Whatever it is, our natural inclination is to seek it out and beat it into submission. I’ve seen people spend hours trying to master double unders—breaking ropes, kicking walls, spitting epithets. Day after day after day. Most times getting worse instead of better, purely because their brain is so tired of doing fucking double unders that it’s no longer registering the small deviations it needs to be successful. This is NOT the most efficient way to improve. More isn’t always more.

A simple solution for this is to pursue the acquisition of new skills. Focus your time and energy on learning something you know very little about for a change. There are a million variations on exercises using kettlebells. Most of us only know the swing. There are a hundred techniques to master on the rings, yet most of us stop at dips and muscle ups. Why not explore the bodyweight techniques that Parkour athletes use to strengthen themselves instead of doing another WOD with pullups and/or handstand pushups? Any one of these distractions will give your brain a much needed break from whatever aesthetic or performance goal it is that dominates your focus. Then, after a few weeks have past, come back to your main goal and refocus on it with a fresh head. I guarantee you will enjoy tackling it far more.

For me personally, my obsession is progress. I need to feel like I’m moving forward. In the absence of competition this is easy to achieve because there is no set timeframe in which the progress must be made. But when there are dates and deadlines things get a little more intense. I quickly discovered that training for CrossFit competitions was mentally exhausting, far beyond what I wanted or expected it to be. It became very easy for me to obsess over training, ferreting out weaknesses while trying to get stronger and more conditioned all the while. In the past I’ve found myself dreading sessions, losing motivation, and ultimately underperforming when I should’ve been crushing it. This was not okay.

The solution for me was to split my focus between training for performance and training for experience. Instead of focusing harder on progressing my strength, conditioning, and skill level, I focused less, designing certain WODs more for their location and feel than for their weights and distances. To be clear, these workouts were never wholly unrelated to my overall goals (they still meet criteria for intensity, duration, etc), but they feel like a vacation from the pressure of benchmarks and totals. In a way, my training has become a challenge not just to improve physically, but to do workouts that are literally unforgettable. I can honestly say that this has made a huge difference in my ability to stay connected in what has become a year-round CrossFit season.

No matter how focused and dedicated, no one can afford to be still for long. Grooves become ruts, that’s just the way it is. Fitness isn’t merely one foot in front of the other, it’s a constantly varied, multi-functional freestyle waltz that we must always re-imagine. If you can discover ways to adjust your methodologies and entertain new pursuits, you’ll find yourself establishing a foundation for improvement that will never burnout.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Weekend in Shelter Cove


WOD 1 – in the morning…

12 minute AMRAP:

50 feet weighted lunge (95#)

100 feet shuttle run

50 feet anchor drag (32kg)

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

For time:

1 mile sand run

50 burpees

30 shoulder to overhead (135#)


WOD 1 – in the morning…

2.1 mile mountain run (1600 vertical feet)

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Freestyle bouldering

I hope everyone stateside had a wonderful 4th of July weekend. From all-day barbeques to nighttime fireworks, days off work to breakfast at Wimbeldon, this holiday always seems to deliver some great memories. For me, 2011’s independence day weekend offered an austere escape to California’s Lost Coast. I trained hard, ate well, and relaxed in a place where nature continues to reign supreme. We ran the mountains, swam the ocean, lunged across blackened beaches, climbed stony outcroppings, and pressed barbells in the sand. All the while working to come home with a tan.

With the Games a month away I couldn’t feel better or more prepared. My program has me resting this upcoming week before 2 more training weeks leading up to the big show. I want to thank Kevin and the Leary family for letting me tag along this weekend. Below are some pictures and videos from the weekend.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Anywherefit Iceland Payments Due!!!

Everyone who has yet to get me the remainder of their balance, please do so ASAP to the paypal account under Those of you who are up to speed... only 6 weeks til I'll be seeing you in Reykyavek!!! Get fired up!

Drop Set Deadlifts

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Skin the Cat 5, 5, 5

Handstand Walk 5 x 10 yards

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Drop set deadlifts

8 @ 365, 315, 275, 225, 185, & 135

Rest & complete 2 sets

Abmat situps 20, 20, 20, 20, 20

Good mornings (45#) 20, 20, 20, 20, 20

WOD 3 – in the evening…

3 minute rounds with 1 minute rest:

500 meter row & max bodyweight bench press (185#)

Round 1 – 1.35/25

Round 2 – 1.41/13

Round 3 – 1.45/13

Round 4 – 1.46/12

Round 5 – 1.46/10

The afternoon session laid me out. Travis came up from East Sac and we went twice through an old school Bulgarian 8 rep drop set for deadlifts. The second set at 365# I almost blacked out… not kidding. MAJOR nervous system demand lifting this way. We agreed that it would be even worse with squats.

During the evening conditioning WOD I was holding on for dear life by the 3rd round. 1 minute isn’t much recovery for that much work and my times/weights reflect that. It felt like I found a sustainable pace at 1:45, which really wasn’t the idea. I really couldn’t go any faster without puking though.

Heading to Shelter Cove for the holiday weekend and bringing a whole mess of gear to train with. Looking forward to another big weekend of beach sessions, rock climbing, and mountain runs.