Sunday, August 29, 2010

Obstacle Course Video

Finished helping with the Level I Cert today and I'm heading back to the state first thing tomorrow. Been a hell of a few weeks back in Europe, hoping to be back soon. Check the video below of me and my boy Kasper going through the Navy O Lane last Friday. He's a world class Pentathlete and is competing next weekend in the European Championships. Best of luck man!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fit as F*ck and the O Lane

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – In the afternoon

Fit as F*ck Challenge WODs @ Paideia Gym

WOD 2 – In the evening

Navy Obstacle Course

Slept like a baby last night after one of the longest days I can remember. The workload today would prove to be much different than yesterday, but no less taxing. Sarah, Ditte, Anders, and I went to Paideia to test out 2 of the 5 WODs set for the Fit as F*ck Challenge coming up in less than a month here in Copenhagen. I’ve been sworn to secrecy as to their details, so I can’t give a full account of how things went, what was most difficult, or how I performed. However, I will say that both of the events are built for excitement. While I did each I could easily imagine a crowd being very involved and very intense. Also, strategy and technique will be huge. I don’t think brute strength will be enough win either of these events. I managed a PR in one of the lifts and performed reasonably well in everything else we did, so I came out of the session feeling pretty positive. That’s all I’m permitted to say so good luck to those of you set to go September 25th!

This evening I joined my friend Kasper, member of the Danish National Pentathalon team, for a trip through the Navy obstacle course. Never having done this before, I didn’t really know what to expect. Maybe some hurdles, some wall climbs, crawling under nets… Certainly not the high wire sliding and aerial balancing acts I was asked to perform. This shit was no joke! Definitely low fear factor and high level skill required to complete this thing. Kasper took me through each of the obstacles and coached me up on how to tackle them. After a couple times through each individual we decided it was time for me to try and string them together. So I did, and really didn’t do too badly. I missed my first attempt at scaling the ledge but recovered nicely. Also missed the first grenade toss through the submarine door. No biggie. I was doing alright until the very last obstacle owned me. A horizontal rope climb 5 meters to a tiny platform where you must then pirouette and leap down before running across the finish line. By this point I was so exhausted and intent on being finished that my technique was awful. I couldn’t get my feet do what I wanted them to do and it wound up taking me a good 20 seconds to finish the climb. My total time was 3:19. Kasper informed me that this wasn’t bad for my first run…then we proceeded to do it in 2:05. HA. What a baller. This was a ton of fun and a great example of fitness in action. Big respect to the men and women who use these skills to survive in combat from day to day. I’ll try to attach clips tomorrow.

The 70's Big Face

One of my favorite sites that I haven't checked in a while gave me a big laugh this morning. If you're not familiar with the site, enjoy the following. 70's Big Face

Challenge Day

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the afternoon

CrossGym Challenge:

30 thrusters (50 kg)

30 pullups

WOD 2 – in the evening

Faceoff Challenge:

2 x 50 m run

50 squat thruster with pushup

4 x 50 m run

50 OH step up w/ 20 kg (40 cm step)

6 x 50 m run

50 leg raise to 20 kg target

4 x 50 m run

50 box jump (40 cm)

2 x 50 m run

50 thruster (20 kg)

2 x 50 m bear crawl

I arrived in Copenhagen this morning just after 5am on the bus from Amsterdam. Between the German border patrol, the vehicle switch in Hamburg, and the ferry ride across the channel, there wasn’t much sleep to be had during those 15 hours. But I managed a nap here at Sarah’s when I arrived and, overall, wasn’t feeling too bad. Tomorrow may be another story.

For the CrossGym challenge, I headed over to CrossFit Denmark to meet up with Oliver, Mathias, and a couple of the guys I had met and trained with back in November. Really great seeing them again. We warmed up with some power cleans and chatted a bit about what everyone had been up to, then we dove in. I had no real idea how the thrusters were going to feel so I figured I would go for broke and try my best to get them unbroken. Turned out not to be too much of a problem. I think I paused after the 27th repetition for a second, but that was it. I dropped the bar and Sarah yelled 1:06.

At this point I knew I could finish under 2 minutes if I didn’t die on the pullup bar. Wasting little time I grabbed it and started butterflying. My only thought here was to be REALLY aggressive on my pulls and to finish every rotation. I was feeling good until 19 or 20, then things started to get a little heavy. I threw in a few standard kips and had to drop after 24. Short break and I got back up for the final 6, finishing in 1:49. Happy with this time and looking forward to seeing what everyone else can do.

The evening WOD had been posted by Sven earlier in the week but I hadn’t been able to do it until today. I grabbed another nap just before and did my best to get my energy up. Thankfully with this type of WOD, high energy is not always your friend so I wasn’t missing too much advantage. My goal was to run fast. I figured the high repetition stuff would slow me down quite a bit in comparison with Sven since he is more used to it than I, so I knew my best chance was to make up time in the running. This proved to work well. The hardest portions were the overhead step ups and the thrusters by far. The squat thruster pushups were tough but not bad, the leg raises no problem, and the box jumps manageable. The other two really destroyed me and left me thinking that I might not finish this thing fast enough. By the time I reached the bear crawls I was pretty devastated but my time was still good. I pushed until failure on the crawls about 6 times before I got to the finish line and heard my time was 15:10, beating Sven’s 15:37 by just under :30. This felt GREAT.

I’m ready for sleep now, and it will be well deserved. I’ve attached links to both challenge WODs below. Have at them and submit them to both sites.

Cross Gym

Blair vs Sven

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Last Workout in Leiden

I did this workout yesterday before getting on the bus for Copenhagen. Was fun to just find an odd urban feature and make it useful.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

CrossFit Amsterdam

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning

Low impact run 40 minutes

WOD 2 – in the evening

1RM snatch effort

CrossFit Amsterdam Chipper

10 handstand pushups

20 knees to elbows

30 burpees

40 box jumps (60 cm)

50 dips (parralettes)

60 pullups

70 pushups

80 situps

90 squats

100 double unders

Got up today feeling pretty fresh and excited for the evening with the guys at CrossFit Amsterdam. I wanted to get out and loosen up so a light run fit the bill well. I find that from time to time its good to put in the time without worrying much about the intensity of the effort. When I trained for the Marine Corps Marathon back in 2008, this was a big part of the training—teaching your body to work for the amount of time it would take to run the marathon without running it as hard as you would in the race. This type of exercise is also great for exploring your local environment. I came across a few places today in Leiden that I absolutely would use for WODs in the future if I were staying longer.

This evening was much more intense. The facility was located in a classic industrial complex outside the city with 9 meter ceilings and huge amounts of floor space. Kevin Naarden met Niels, Okke, and I there early for a little Olympic work. This was great because I didn’t have lifting shoes, tape, or any of the other bullshit amenities you get used to. Just had to go in and lift the weight. And I did. 100 kg in running shoes. This is the 6th or 7th time I’ve lifted that weight now and I feel so confident with it. I am going to snatch 110 kg by October, guaranteed.

We hit the chipper right away and the group we had was pretty good size. Kevin competed in the European Regionals this year and is a really fit guy so having him there was great motivation for me. We pushed each other through most of the WOD, I had a slight lead that increased gradually until the end. He got stuck with a bad rope on the double unders and it cost him a little time. The hardest part for me was definitely the pushups. Coming off of dips and pullups I literally couldn’t do more than 5 pushpus in a row. It was brutal. But the situps I did without breaking and the squats were fine as well. I finished the workout in 18:23, not a bad time I think. Kevin came in around 22 minutes and I’m not sure where everyone else was. I really enjoyed this and look forward to coming back to train with the people at CrossFit Amsterdam. Best of luck to everyone!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Saw this on MBS CrossFit and had to pass along.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Play a Sport

Today Niels and I went out rowing on the Dutch coast with Willemijn's brother and his rowing club. SOOOO much fun. It was a great example of the difference between strength and usable strength. In order to transfer any amount of power from my body to the oar I had to be accurate, coordinated, and have the right timing. I still have a lot to learn, but it was so much fun I don't doubt I'll be doing it again soon.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Workout of the Day

Max rounds with :90 rest of:

20 unbroken pushups

20 unbroken situps

(complete all pushup sets before moving to situps)

I was pretty tired all day today, most likely the result of yesterday’s heavy workload. For today I wanted to work on unbroken sets. I think I break things up too much and therefore never train my threshold in muscular endurance. So I decided to take 50% of what I estimated would be my unbroken maximum of these two exercises and try to repeat it as many times as possible with a reasonable rest period between. Much of this was experimental since it was my first go around and I think the next time I do this it will be slightly different.

I was able to move through 10 sets of the pushups without failing. This isn’t to say the end sets weren’t tough, but I think this should be the point when you know that the number is too low. If you can make it through 10 sets with :90 seconds rest without missing, you need to do more reps. Next time I will try 25. Another option would be to go with less rest…maybe a minute between sets. Either way, the key is to keep ramping up the difficulty until you hit the threshold.

For the situps I was through 6 rounds when I ran out of time. Niels and I had commitments for dinner and were running a little late. I suspect I may have been able to get to 8 rounds but probably not much further. Because each repetition takes longer I find that the situps were more challenging—more total time under tension.

Tomorrow we are going to the North Sea for some active rest. Willemijn’s brother is an accomplished rower and has offered to take me out. Can’t wait.

An Honest Nutrition Evaluation

A few weeks ago a training partner and good friend of mine, Josh Courage, posted the following about his experience with the Paleo diet and nutrition in general. I found it to be very thoughtful, honest, and, in an industry obsessed with those who claim knowledge without actual experience, I think very valuable for people to read. Enjoy.

3 in 1

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – In the morning

7k trail run

WOD 2 – In the afternoon

Done in immediate succession:

a) 250 meter car push (1400 kg)

b) 21/15/9 pullup w/ 42/30/18 double under

c) 5 x 75 meter L shuttle to object (1 shuttle = 2 x 75 m)

I got a great night of rest last night, including a dream about running. I can’t remember who I was racing/chasing/escaping but I know for certain that I woke up wanting to stride my legs out. So I headed back to the park just before 8:00 and did 2 loops of the 3.5 km trail that runs around it. Almost immediately my lower back tightened up, making the duration of the run pretty damn difficult—I think the long plane flight may have conspired against my lower spine. I had to stop a few times to try and get the thing loose and I wasn’t able to maintain the pace I started with (maybe a bit ambitious anyways), but I still managed to complete the track in 26 minutes. Felt great afterwards.

This afternoon we were at Niels’s grandmothers place to celebrate her birthday. What a place! I spent Christmas there in December but the snow covered much of what is a seriously beautiful property. The gardens were in bloom, the weather was gorgeous, and the place was full of cool toys to play with, not the least fun of which was Niels’s ’68 Land Cruiser. 1400 kg of iron, rubber, and pure badass, this thing had a chopped top and a bed perfect for a modified prowler push. We had to change out the front right tire to get her rolling again, but after that it was ready to go.

With Marika steering and the two dogs navigating I got the thing rolling fast out the gate. I was literally running the first 75 meters or so. Unfortunately the grade tilted up a bit after that and my legs suddenly felt the real weight of that tank. I managed to push it the entire winding driveway without stopping, but my legs were jello afterwards.

I pretty much stumbled the 100 meters or so to the cross beam where I had the jump rope and pullup station set up. Using a 2 x 6 for a bar, the pullups were tough. Took me 4 sets to get 21, 4 to get 15, and 4 to get 9. The grip was just brutal towards the end. The double unders, though, posed no problem. In my head I expected to be crushing the shuttle runs at the end, but my dead legs and heavy arms dictated otherwise. I pushed as hard as I could have, but there just wasn’t much left in the tank. Not to mention, 5 x 150 meters is kind of a lot anyways.

Finishing strong was a battle, but I didn’t quit and stopped the clock at 12:30. If someone had asked me how much time I thought had elapsed, I would’ve guessed close to 20 minutes. This felt like soooo much longer than it actually was and I felt equal parts out of breath and muscle fatigue. Turned out to be one of the more balanced, effective, and diverse WODs I’ve ever done. The secret here was combining multiple simple ideas that target different things: Strength/endurance in the car push, stamina/skill in the couplet, and speed/agility in the shuttle. Done deal.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back in the Netherlands

Workout of the Day

Freestyle on the rings

After 15+ hours in transit without much sleep today was more of an exercise in just doing something rather than anything organized. Niels, Willemijn, and I went to the park in Leiden where I used to run and hung up the rings on one of the many trees. With no real rhyme or reason I practiced handstand pushups, handstand holds, ring dips, ring rows, skin the cats, L sits, and levers. It was a lot of fun going through the movements and trying to teach them as much as I could, but boy am I looking forward to some rest. Hopefully tomorrow will be a brighter and lighter day.

Sounds like we are heading to Niels's grandmother's house for dinner and I know her property has a lot to offer. Definitely will be rested for that.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fitness is…


It doesn’t care about circumstances, timing, or convenience. You’re either up to the challenge or you aren’t.

During three years of personal training in Washington D.C., I had the privilege to meet and engage with people seeking fitness from all walks of life. I listened to their goals, taught them the skills they would need to achieve them, and did my best to help meet and overcome each inevitable hurdle. During the course of these interactions and experiences I heard a million reasons why goals weren’t reached or why hurdles were too high. But no justification, no matter how convincing or true, ever transformed failure into success. No task, whatever it may be, will ever make itself easier to overcome because you are tired, sick, or haven’t had your coffee. This is fitness’s beautiful simplicity. You either lift the weight or you don’t. You get yourself to shore or you drown. Almost doesn’t count.

In many cases this kind of impartiality can be ruthless, but it is always fair. Growing up playing football and baseball I was exposed to kids from good families, bad families, rich families, poor families, families with dogs or cats or birds or whatever. The best part of any sport I ever played was that I wasn’t any of those things when I was on the field and neither were they. In that moment we were nothing but our ability or inability to perform.

Unfortunately, this brand of abject fairness doesn’t sit well with those that don’t get it done. Rather than acknowledging failure, finding their flaw, and working towards improving it, the vast majority of kids looked outwards and instead found an external excuse for their incompetence. Call it immature, irresponsible, or whatever, but it is the same in society at large. People blame violence on the influence of video games and popular music. Someone’s kid hurts himself jumping out of a tree and the city is up in arms to chop that tree down. Gone are the days where individuals are held responsible for the risks they take and the decisions they make and it’s creating the biggest and most dangerous epidemic facing the world: that of non-accountability.

Take obesity. There are plenty of medical explanations for why someone is obese and can’t lose weight: over-active thyroid, low bone density, slow metabolism, poor nutrition, previous injury, diabetes, psychological distress…the list goes on. One or all of these could be absolutely true in any given situation and I sympathize with the person fighting to overcome them. But the harsh, impartial truth is that finding a reason for your obesity doesn’t make you any less fat. I promise you, gravity isn’t going to feel sorry for your plight and decide to stop pulling. Yet so often this seems to be what people expect. They resign themselves to the status quo and deem it acceptable because some white coat wrote them a prescription. Their explanation becomes a psychological crutch that cannot be scrapped.

Even more blind are those who blame society for their shortcomings. How many times have you heard or read criticisms of the fast food industry’s corporate greed and deceptive advertising campaigns? As if the individual played no part in shoving that Big Mac and supersize order of fries in his face. The reason McDonald’s is a multi-billion dollar a year business is because people choose to eat there. It’s convenient, it’s cheap, and it tastes good. It also offers very limited nutritional benefit beyond hypertension, obesity, and heart disease. The choice is straightforward and stark, but people get it wrong everyday because they think a good justification is the same thing as a good decision.

I used to wonder how many people could use busyness as an excuse for not exercising. No joke, I heard it at least 6 times a week during personal training sessions and every time it was the sincerest plea. “I’ve been swamped at work,” or “Things have just been crazy lately.” You mean people have to work for a living and sometimes that makes them tired and tight on time? Never heard of such a thing. Things are always about to “calm down” or “lighten up.” Such excuses are the purest form of psychological masterbation. They do absolutely nothing to break the barriers between you and your goals, but, rather, serve only to make you feel better about not reaching them.

I love fitness because it’s a results based pursuit, the purest form of meritocracy. You set goals and you reach them. Or you don’t. No list of excuses will ever change the fact that you didn’t make the time, lose the weight, or prevent the heart attack. SO STOP MAKING THEM. Some people have it harder than others, I grant you. Tough shit. The mirror doesn’t care and neither do I. If the individual reaps the benefit, then so too must he shoulder the burden. Whatever the challenge, just get it done.

18 holes and then some

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – play a sport

18 holes of Golf

WOD 2 – 2 man Team workout

50 fireman squats per team

3 rounds of crab walk downhill/bear crawl uphill ea man

200 meter river swim

30 muscle ups per team

400 meter uphill fireman carry to finish

This was a loooong day. Things started with a round of golf with my dad, grandfather, and sister’s boyfriend. After last night’s deadlift/sandbag carry WOD my back and lower body were a little fatigued so walking 18 holes carrying a golf bag wasn’t the perfect fit. But it was fun. Felt great to be doing something that rewarded a relaxed attitude and low intensity effort. I didn’t shoot great, but who really cares when it’s 85 and beautiful out? Priorities people.

The second half of the day was muuuch more difficult. John invited two of his buddies from the fire department to take us on in a team challenge along the American River. It included fireman squats and fireman carries, a nice relay of quadrapedal movements, and some muscle ups. But all those paled in comparison with the swim… again. 200 meters across the current was incredibly TAXING, to the point where I wasn’t sure we were all going to make it to the other side. Thankfully we did and dragged our asses to the top of the bluff where the rings were waiting. This location offered some incredible views that I’m hoping came out on video, courtesy of director Greg. I’ll hopefully work on it some more tomorrow on the plane to Holland. 10 days in Europe and no classes in sight. Going to be a hell of a trip.

Another reminder that the Anywherefit shirts that were printed for the 2010 CrossFit Games are available for purchase but they’re going fast. See the link in the right margin if interested.

Next post will be from the other side of the pond…

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blair vs Sven I

Workout of the Day

10 minute AMRAP…

5 deadlifts @ 145 kg

50 meters down and back w/ 40 kg sandbag

Today was the first installation of an ongoing challenge between me and Sven in Iceland. We’ve become great friends over the past year and decided at this year’s Games that setting up regular training sessions against one another would be both fun and hugely beneficial. We’re hoping to use this as a platform to encourage others to join, make videos, and further enhance the online community that is building around CrossFit.

This particular workout was my choice, simple and intense. I finished with 8 full rounds plus 1 deadlift. I should have gotten 9 full. The last 3 rounds I was losing my grip on the bar due to the brand new bumper plates I just received from CrossGym in Milan. Spectacular stuff but I neglected to wipe them down before throwing them on the bar so the new rubber grease that coats them kept getting on my hands every time I tightened the collars. Not an excuse, just saying I think the bar could be higher.

The sandbag runs felt easy at first but the slight hill felt steeper and steeper towards the later rounds. I got way out of breath and the bag kept swinging more and more, telling me my core was getting loose. Excited to see what Sven did on this, haven’t heard his numbers yet but I’m sure they’re great. I’m already pumped for the next challenge we throw together.

The link for my half is below.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Anywherefit shirts are now available for any of you in the States that want them. You can follow the link on the right of the browser to the Steelfit store where they are a featured item. The shirts up on the site now are featuring the design that was worn at the 2010 CrossFit Games but more are coming soon. All shirts should also be available in Europe in a few weeks as well and will have their own link to avoid shipping costs. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Catch Up

Friday WOD:

Swim 1000 meters

5 x 6 Ring HSPU

Saturday WOD:

Back Squat 3, 3, 3+ @ 70, 80, 90% 1RM

1 x 20 @ 225 lb

Bench Press 3, 3, 3+ @ 70, 80, 90% 1RM

4 x 3 slow hanging pass throughs

Been a bit busy the past few days so this post will be short. Been clearing out my garage to start training while we wait for the final okay on the gym space in Folsom and tonight is my 10 year high school reunion. A couple notes on the last few days of training…

Swimming is awesome. It took me 19:30 to swim 1000 meters blending between freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke, but the best part was the pool had underwater music. I’ve never experienced that before and it was a trip.

Today I was a little worn out from redecorating the garage in 100 degree heat, but still managed 5 reps at 365 lb on the squat and 4 at 285 on the bench. Really should have had the 6th on the squats but lost a little focus I think on the way up. I topped it off with a single set of 20 at 225 lb and felt really strong. I think I may have been able to get 25 or 30 at that weight.

Tomorrow should be a rest day, then going fresh again with some fun WODs Monday/Tuesday. Oh, and today marks the 1 year countdown to Anywherefit Iceland, and the plans are looking amazing!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fair Oaks Park

Workout of the Day:

10, 9, 8…1 Squat Clean w/ 135 lb

20 foot rope climb each set

Still pretty sore today from the OH squats and hill runs on Monday. Kind of shocking how big a toll that workout took on my legs. I was hopeful that getting them moving again with some full range of motion today would speed the recovery.

John and I were back at it in Fair Oaks Park, a place full of the beautiful oak trees that this part of the country is famous for. We strung the rope up towards the back of the park to avoid the picnicking masses huddled around the jungle gym and set the weights up directly beneath. Heading in I expected this to take close to 20 minutes. John was dreading the climbs, but I expected the cleans to be the limiting factor. Turned out we were both a little right and a little wrong.

The first 10 cleans I did without breaking a set. The second went 3, 3, 3; the 3rd went 4, 4. The last 4 sets went unbroken, but the climbs got harder and harder the whole way. I found myself waiting longer and longer between sets to make sure I would make it all the way without failing. John went through the entire 55 cleans doing singles and found his legs wearing weak by the end. My final time was 12:37 and his was 16:28.

We joked around a little afterwards to avoid having to take everything back across the park to our cars, but all in all this was a GREAT workout. Both movements were ones that could be done with brute strength, but can only be efficiently done with good technique. Pairing them together was a good test.

Video footage, courtesy of our friend Mayday, is below.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back to the Fire Academy

Workout of the Day:


Deadlift 3, 3, 3+ @ 70, 80, 90% 1RM

Strict Press 3, 3, 3+ @ 70, 80, 90% 1RM

Muscle ups 5, 5, 5, 5, 5


4 rounds for time:

400 meter run

15 wall muscle ups (7 foot wall)

50 double unders

Was out at the Sacramento Fire Academy today training with a few of the city’s finest. Lifted hard on the deadlifts and presses, notching 400 lbs for 6 and 168 for 5, respectively. Afterwards we headed out to the track and messed around with a few tires before deciding on the 4 round beast described above. This thing was all out cardio. No breaks anywhere. Unfortunately we didn’t have a stopwatch that worked so the finishing times were a mystery, but if I had to approximate I would say I finished somewhere in the 13-14 minute range. This tested mental toughness on the runs and recovery during the muscleups and double unders. Not slowing down anywhere was the name of the game.

As we were walking out, John and I both were feeling the effects of a few intense sessions put on the back of a long week in the sun. Hoping to work some rope technique tomorrow and take a long day off on Thursday. The heat in Sacramento is cranking up.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hill Runs

Workout of the Day:

3 rounds for time

33 OH squats (95 lb)

200 meter hill run

In spite of the residual effects of the long days and nights of the past week, today was an opportunity not to be missed. The weather in Sacramento was oddly cool, hovering around 85 degrees, so I decided to get out and take advantage. Around the corner from my house is a hill that runs just over 200 meters while climbing 50. This gives it an average grade of 25% and makes it more than challenging to get up and down repeatedly.

The WOD itself was intense. The OH squats went unbroken the first set, broken at 19 the second, and broken at 12, 11, and 10 the last. This was all manageable, but the damn hill was crushing. I found myself drawing on all sorts of anger, competition, and self-doubt to make it to the top without walking each time. I kept remembering the hill in Aromas 2 years ago and thinking if that hill could be climbed with 70 lbs then this one had to be done without stopping.

I think I got a lot out of today’s session and am looking forward to tomorrow’s strength work even more. Below is the video footage from Saturday’s workout that I did not post about. It includes a few great partner exercises that are a lot of fun so I hope some of you try them.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

CrossFit is more than the Games

The 2010 CrossFit Games had all the trappings of an epic event. There was months of anticipation, interviews, video journals, and endless speculation over what the WODs would be. The change of venue offered an upgrade in prestige and logistical complexity; the addition of the Masters division increased the breadth and diversity of competition. There were multiple event locations for spectators to move between, endless lines of sponsor tents rimming the main arena, and more racks, ropes, rings, and walls than any athlete could have expected. The prize packages for the winners and the general investment in the Games themselves offer hard evidence of CrossFit’s exponential growth. Taken in sum, these games undoubtedly took the program out of the garage and into the blinding light of a mass appellate sun.

Some have balked at this perceived success. After all, CrossFit is beloved for its rawer qualities—roll-up garage doors, canvas sand bags, and pullup bars wrapped in sheaths of blood and chalk. People argue that while the progression towards high definition coverage and corporate sponsorship is at times convenient, it compromises the blue-collar tenets and attitudes that CrossFit was built on. They ask that if its fundamental philosophy is to prepare people for an uncontrolled environment, why are the Games being held in such a regulated space? People moan about the costs of attendance/parking and the commercialization of an idea that should not be perverted or abused. Purists are quick to point out that CrossFit is, at its essence, an anywhere, anytime test that requires nothing but the individual and the task and, therefore, a stadium filled with ticket takers and security guards, professional camera crews, and acres of health and safety regulations are tangiential distractions from what is really important.

Honestly, I find none of these objections objectionable. Few if any of the upgrades made this year are essential to CrossFit’s basic existence and the slope is slippery. In fact, a WOD without them would probably more closely resemble the situation at your home box. Your gym does not care if every video angle is covered, whether winners get interviewed, or how many people get access to results. By the same token, daily life is ambivalent to where the WOD is held, how many seats there are, or how much parking you have out back. All that really matters in any session on any day is that you find a way to improve.

This is the heart of the methodology and I can understand the criticisms that this year’s Games were a deviation from it. But the application of that methodology and its manifestation into a global test that is sustainable requires some transformation. Dealing with a popular phenomenon means spectators, marketing, and investment. The presence of these elements at the 2010 Games should not be viewed as an evil materialist influence, but as proof of the program’s effectiveness and popularity. That 250,000 people tuned in to their computers to watch this event around the world doesn’t mean that CrossFit is a commercial giant, it means that a quarter of a million bodies are interested in the methodology and want to learn more. By reaching that many people we are simply increasing the chances that they will decide to make a positive change in their lives.

Ultimately, the CrossFit Games are not CrossFit. They are a showcase for the methodology and the most powerful motivational speaker ever invented.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sandbag Lunges

Workout of the Day

Rest as needed between rounds with 120 lb sandbag

50 sandbag lunges

Max shoulder to overhead

40 sandbag lunges

Max shoulder to overhead

30 sandbag lunges

Max shoulder to overhead

20 sandbag lunges

Max shoulder to overhead

This was done in the deep, dry, scorching hot sand of Newport Beach. John and I took turns lugging the bag back and forth and push jerking it with whatever we had left. The lunges were brutal. Even getting that weight up to my shoulders was pretty tough, not to mention the balancing act barefoot sand traction requires. Also, my ass was twitching and felt like it was about to cramp up after the first set. The max effort shoulder to overheads went as follows: 12, 9, 10, and 6 respectively. The two biggest challenges on these were the footing and the breathing. Doing this sequence without dropping the bag is critical. Being under the bag that long really puts pressure on your diaphragm and getting your lungs open between reps gets tougher and tougher.

John and I were pretty wrecked afterwards and spent some time in the ocean to ice down. I fully expect my ass and hamstrings to be destroyed tomorrow. Weighted lunges are amazing strength builders and too few people do them. Now that I have a bag that is capable of holding 120+ lb of sand, I’m going to do them all the time. I put in a short clip of set 3 of the shoulder to overheads below.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Newport Beach

Workout of the Day

1 lateral pier climb

3 rounds of:

20 sandbag squats

10 knees to elbows

10 commando pullups

Finish with 1 lateral pier climb

First night in Newport was a long one. As could be expected, everyone was a little excited to be here and went out hard. We didn’t make it back until late into the night and not before many an adult beverage was consumed. The bar scene here is pretty impressive so we had a lot of fun. However, this morning I felt a lot rougher than anticipated. I convinced my boy Ryan to accompany me down to the pier for a little hangover relief and the above workout is what transpired.

I was amped up for this for a few reasons. First, 9 am on a Sunday morning is the ideal scenario for a beach workout in my opinion. The place was sparsely populated, the sun barely licking the wooden beams, and every living thing was just waking up. It was surreal. Second, it was my first opportunity to use my CrossGym sandbag. I haven’t done any sandbag stuff since England (besides the games) and I miss it. The bag worked amazingly. Double thick Kevlar with an interior insert to keep the sand away from the outer zipper and strong handles making it easy to clean. I filled it to about 100 lbs but I think it could fit about 30 more.

The workout itself was really fun and it cured my hangover immediately. I finished in 11:00 even with some great footage. It wasn’t the most intense session or the most difficult, but it got the job done. Tonight I am saying goodbye to Sven and Asta before they head back to Iceland and then returning to the beach for more fun tomorrow. Getting to spend so much time with them has been a real blessing and I hope the next time we see each other won’t be too long. Bon voyage friends!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Off to Newport Beach

Workout of the Day

Back Squat 5, 5, 5+ @ 65, 75, 85% 1RM

Bench Press 5, 5, 5+ @ 65, 75, 85% 1RM

Glute Ham Raise 10, 10, 10

DB flies 10, 10, 10

Hand balancing

A good session to get in before the weeklong trip to Newport Beach for my buddy’s wedding. Don’t know how much access there will be to heavy weights or if I’ll have the chance to go visit any of the gyms down here between now and the nuptuals. For the squats I got 7 at 355 and for the bench, 5 at 275. Not great numbers, but a good place to start.

Afterwards I spent some time working on hand balancing, including a couple one arm drills against the wall. I'm hoping to get back into doing this stuff everyday and making some actual progress. For the next week I’m really looking forward to some great WODs on the sand and some testers in the water. Hoping for lots of creativity and some good video footage. Eating-wise it will be a challenge, but holidays are holidays. Gotta get after it.