Saturday, December 31, 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

Weight Vest Muscle Ups

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

3 position isometric handstand holds on parralettes

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Every minute on the minute Deadlifts @ 70% 1RM. Use a decending ladder rep scheme from 10 to 1.

Weighted chin up 8, 8, 8 Barbell good morning 8, 8, 8

Single arm pulley extensions

WOD 3 – in the evening…

3 minute time cap with 22# vest:

5 muscle ups 250 meter row AMRAP double unders

Rest 3 minutes and repeat for 3 rounds

Body felt extremely productive today, and now extremely exhausted. I tried a new emotm sequence for deadlifts, cascading the reps by one per round. I wasn’t able to go unbroken the entire time, but overall felt pretty strong @ 335#. The evening conditioning WOD was a great aerobic tester with the awkwardness of the vest to spice things up. Doing double unders with that thing banging around was a new experience. I managed 126 reps the first round, 115 the second, and only 75 the third. This was due mostly to fatigue on the muscle ups. After going unbroken the first round, I fell after 4 on the second round, and after 2 on the third. Turns out it takes a little more power to pull my bodyweight plus 22#. Big ups to the big men out there doing shit on the rings. No joke.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sandbags and Prowlers

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Front Lever Progressions WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Clean and Jerk 2, 2, 2, 2, 2

Front Squat 3 every minute on the minute @ 80% 1RM until failure to complete. 10 minute cap.

GHD Situp 3 x 15 GHD Raise 3 x 10 Ring Dips 3 x 20

WOD 3 – in the evening…

6 rounds for time:

10 sandbag shoulder to overhead

50 meter sandbag prowler push

Load for each movement increases as follows: 30#, 40#, 50#, 60#, 80#, 110#

Great day-well balanced and fun. Hit 275# for a C&J double, leaving me psyched for next week’s max effort attempts. Followed it up with 10 rounds of 3 front squats at 265#, a weight that wound up feeling a little to light. It’s hard to convince yourself that you can make it 30 reps when the weight feels so damn heavy on the first set. But, invariably, the body adjusts and proves you wrong. 275# should’ve been the number here in retrospect.

The evening conditioning session kind of got thrown together, but turned out to be one of the simplest, most original WODs I’ve come up with in a while. 10 shoulder to overhead with increasingly loaded sandbags, then 50 meters on a prowler that’s being increasingly loaded with those same sandbags. The goal here is to do everything unbroken while managing the heartrate somewhere around 85-90%. If you can keep your wits about you and do good work in this range, you’re going to be a beast at whatever task it is you’re asked to complete. I found that the prowler was mental until the last two sets, then it got physical. Way physical. It took me 6:02 to finish and I ended up with jello legs and a wobbly boot for 15 minutes afterwards. All in a good day, as they say.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lactate Training

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

4 minute AMRAP: 5 Toes to Bar 10 Ball Sprawls

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

4 minute AMRAP: Picnic bench Prowler Push 10 pushups 10 situps

Before leaving Scottsdale I did a short AMRAP at the all new, still being unwrapped Optimum Performance Training Center. Both WODs today were based on an idea that James and company are pursuing through their testing of CrossFit athletes: Lactate training. The basic premise is that the chemical by-product of the glycolitic pathway (lactate) is a very potent and useable fuel source that most people don’t properly train themselves to use. It only gets used at near 100% effort during constantly high turnover or high power activities. That means that you can’t train it during intervals, or while you are pacing a WOD at sub-maximal effort. It’s also most effectively trained between the 4-8 minute time domain. Learning these facts was eye-opening for me because those are exactly the types of WODs that I feel weakest in. So, after some coaching on how best to structure this type of training I wrote a plan on how to work it in to my current program.

Going forward I think this will become easier to organize (Max deadlifting has left me a bit sore), but I have to say the initial attempts at this went really well. To keep this effective you have to keep the pace VERY high, to the point that it’s more important to alter the rep scheme mid-WOD than it is to complete all reps and risk muscle fatigue slowing you down. Kind of a novel approach—target the response rather than the work. The response is an almost numbing sensation where you lose a little of your connection to the tasks being done. All you’re thinking about is moving as fast as you can. James describes this as an almost spiritual experience, and he’s right. It’s like nitric oxide for your muscles. The problem with this is that you can’t dip into it too often. Like a type II diabetic that can no longer produce insulin in response to high blood sugar, someone who constantly “goes there” will lose the ability to utilize lactate as a viable fuel source over time. Therefore it’s important to stagger these sessions in the course of a day and then give yourself a good week off in between. Training this way will allow your body to learn to use lactate without burning out.

Friday, December 23, 2011

In Scottsdale - PR Deadlift!

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Work up to a 1RM deadlift. Rest 10 minutes then do AMRAP @ 85% of that 1RM.

3 x 10 Barbell walking lunges (205#)

3 x 18 foot L-sit rope climb

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

4 mile trail run

5 rounds for completion: 5 wall walks & 10 box jumps

After a quick early morning flight I am here in Scottsdale with James Fitzgerald at the new home of Optimum Performance Training. The work being done here, and the implications it has for CrossFit and fitness in general for the future, is staggering. These guys are looking at everything from blood lactate to psychology, measuring and recording every bit of data possible that could lead to a more comprehensive picture of what it takes to optimize human performance. The possibilities are exciting to say the least; the science is kind of mind-blowing. My opinions and methodology are rooted mostly in experience and instinct, so to discuss them with minds that have such a thorough and accurate understanding of how the body works is really cool. Thankfully for my own sanity, the training template I’ve recently employed has been received positively by the guys down here, though Im hoping to learn new ways to tweak and improve.

While here I’m taking part in some general testing that will help build a database of information from which to draw conclusions. The deadlifting today was an example of one of these tests. It was exciting for me because I hit a 20# PR in the movement, lifting 475# for my top set. The AMRAP set at 405# only lasted 4 reps unfortunately… was feeling pretty smoked by then.

After grabbing some food I got the opportunity to go explore a bit of the Sonoran Preserve in North Scottsdale. This is a small mountain range rising above the desert that is dotted with trails, cactus, and views that are breath taking. I did a moderate intensity run to one of the peaks for the view, then took my time getting down before tackling a bodyweight WOD at the bottom. It was a great way to unwind the day and try to flush out the legs and back from the heavy work earlier on.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Training Resumed

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Iso Position Handstand Holds

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Clean and Jerk 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

Front Squat 5 every minute on the minute @ 70% 1RM until failure to complete. 10 minute maximum.

Apologies for the recent lack of posting. After the Wales trip I’ve been on a serious rest week and been preoccupied with a few other projects. There is plenty more to come on the Anywherefit Wales trip, so stay tuned for that, but for now just a minor update on training.

A few members of my gym joined me in Fairfield for the Capoot Memorial partner WOD challenge on Saturday, a day that has left me pretty damn sore. My arms, back, and hamstrings are all smoked, and I felt it during the lifting session today. Was only able to get 275# for a single on the C&J. Pissed me off a bit, actually. But some days just aren’t your best and you gotta deal with it accordingly. I squatted decently- 225# for all 10 minutes, but I’m looking to build on this number big time over the course of the next 3 weeks. The OC Throwdown is coming up in January and the competition looks awesome. Looking forward to training against some other Gamers outside of the Games.

Speaking of Gamers, I’m planning a trip to visit the original Fittest Man on Earth, James Fitzgerald, at his new facility in Scottsdale, AZ in just a matter of days. How sick is that???

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wales and Dragon CrossFit

Workout of the Day

Weighted Chin Up 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

With a 2 minute timecap, complete the following for max lunges:

7 muscle ups

AMRAP overhead lunges (55#)

Rest 2 minutes and complete 4 rounds

I’m in Wales bitches!!! Eating Welsh stuff, getting soaked to the skin by the driving rain, and training at Dragon CrossFit in Cardiff. After a break of dawn arrival at Heathrow International where I was greeted by good friends Ross and Dan of Icelandic cinematographic fame, I spent most of the day getting acquainted with the venues which we will use for the Anywherefit adventure on Sunday. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that this thing is going to be far more epic than I first imagined. Those of you out there who are planning on joining us, come ready for a day of mixed modalities, harsh elements, and unreal scenery. We will lift, run, carry, and climb our way through Wales and towards a deadman’s slumber that night, this I promise you.

As for tonight’s workout, Andy and the kind gents at Dragon CrossFit opened their doors and took on the above WOD with me. As an interval, I expected this to be a middle of the row type workout, mostly targeting the upper body. It turned out to be a bit more difficult than that and the limiting factor was my legs! Either I’m still a bit worn out from the travelling or my legs don’t have quite the pop I’d hoped they would. Probably a bit of both. Either way I managed the muscle ups pretty well considering, making all 7 the first 3 rounds and 5+2 the final. My lunge totals were 57, 45, 40, and 34, respectively, for a total of 176.

Loved the feel of this gym and the people in it. Looking forward to getting back there Saturday for some technical skill practice before embarking on the big day Sunday.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

From the Archive: 20 burpee wall climbs for time

Here's a video of a burpee wall climb face off I had with Gabe Subry last week in Stockton. Thanks for posting this Gabe, can't wait to come back down. To check out more on Gabe's training, go here.

240# Snatch

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Slow strength handstand pushups 5 x 5 (wall-facing)

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Snatch 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

1 Back Squat every minute on the minute @ 90% 1RM until failure tom complete. 10 minute cap.

Pegboard, 5 ascents

WOD 3 – in the evening…

500 meter row for time

5 rounds of:

10 ring dips

20 hollow rocks

PR Day!!!!! It’s been a very long while since I loaded up the bar and went for a record on snatch, so needless to say I was excited about today. Also a little curious to see if my method of training has produced any tangible results. My report is this: weight feels light when you’re used to lifting a lot of it. I pr’d my snatch by 5.5 lbs today, moving up to 240.5. So pumped about this I can’t contain myself. Then I did my emotm back squat set at 403#, 20 lbs over what my current max dictates. This can only mean one thing: my back squat max has gone up. Not sure when I will test this next, but I’m hoping for something in the neighborhood of 440-450#.

Everything else I did today was merely a shadow compared to the strength session. Tomorrow I am off to Wales to rejoin my good friends Ross and Dan for a weekend of exploration and fitness in the UK. On the docket are the dunes along the coast, the confines of Dragon CrossFit, and an empty 70,000 seat stadium. SICK is an understatement.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rope Climb/KB couplet

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Isometric ring handstand holds – 3 positions

Isometric wall handstand holds – 3 positions

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Snatch Balance 3, 3, 3, 2, 2

Push Press 7, 7, 7

Pegboard Ascent x 3

WOD 3 – in the evening…

For Time:

21, 15, 9 kb swing (32 kg) 3, 2, 1 rope climb (20 ft)

Not nearly as sore after the squat work this week as last… crediting my trip to cryotherapy on Monday after the WOD with some of that relief. Also, getting back in the groove of training after a few weeks off can take a few sessions. Today was very productive during the skill and conditioning portions, but a bit lax in the afternoon. I didn’t really like the plan I had for the day and it showed. Committing to whatever it is you’re working on is so important to doing it well. The shitty program done phenomenal is always better than the phenomenal program done shitty. Today was a bit of both.

The evening WOD was a great test. At the Games this past year I felt like I paced myself too much on the rope climb clean and jerk event, so tonight I really tried to push my pace. The kb swings were unbroken all the way and my rest intervals were very short for the climbs. The only hiccup was during the last rope climb, my arms pumping out a few feet from the top. I had to switch to a leg lock and take the weight off my hands for 5-10 seconds in order to regain the strength to finish it off. Still, I think if I had done this better any improvement on my time of 3:20 would be marginal at best. Not much left in the tank afterwards.

Looking forward to a big night’s sleep and hopefully an outdoor WOD this Friday. The weather’s been a little tougher to work with the last week or so, but I’m itching to get back outside. Also, if anyone out there is in the Bay Area this weekend, a group of us is doing an urban hike from Stern Grove to the Presidio. Plan is to meet around 8am at Stern Grove and go from there. Join in if you’re up for it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tabata Farmers Carries

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Back Lever Practice 20 minutes

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Snatch 2, 2, 2, 2, 2

3 Back Squats every minute on the minute until failure to complete @ 80% 1RM. 10 minute cap.

Eccentric parallette HSPU 3 x 5

Abmat situps 3 x 20

WOD 3 – in the evening…

Tabata farmers carry for distance (53# kbs)

Low volume day today, but high intensity. The back lever is a skill I am only able to stick intermittently, so today was an attempt to solidify and improve that ability. Most of my reps were done with bent knees just so I could get more of them done. I also didn’t want to be so spent that it affected the afternoon lifting. I managed to hit 215# for a double, then 225# for a single. Missed the second but felt good about how the weight felt. Next week I’m expecting a PR on my singles.

The conditioning session was short and sharp… 4 minutes of tabata farmers carries with 53# kbs. This was great and simple. Because you get to set the weight down every 20 seconds, your grip recovers enough to never have to drop the kbs during the runs. My legs and heartrate were as taxed as my grip and that’s rarely the case with this exercise. My total distance covered was 482 meters.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Run the Mountain

Workout of the Day

Hill Run.

After spending the holiday with my family up in North Tahoe, I took this morning to try and burn off a bit of the decadence we’d indulged in the past few days. From highway 267 to the gates of the new Ritz Carlton atop the Northstar gondola is a no joke climb that was close to 3 miles. The challenge on this run was all about getting enough air. The elevation was way above 6000 feet so every bit of the hill made it hard to breath and get oxygen to the muscles. And not having done a big hill in a while, I could feel the difference. It took me 24:26 to finish the climb.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Back in Action

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

3 position isometric handstand holds

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Snatch 2, 2, 2, 2, 2

5 Back Squats every minute on the minute @ 70% 1RM for 10 minutes or failure to complete

WOD 3 – in the evening…

1:00 max double unders 1:00 max pullups

2:00 rest

Repeat 3x for max repetitions

So it’s been a full 2 weeks since the last time I trained seriously… I was all set to come back a week ago Friday in preparation for the Level 10 throwdown this past weekend when I pulled a muscle in my back doing pistol squats, of all things. I’ve since been told that this was most likely the result of an overly tight psoas being forced into flexion. All I know is that I heard the thing pop and I was on my back immobilized. This remained the case for most of the next two days as I iced and pounded anti-inflammatories. Finally things began to relax and they’ve been getting steadily better ever since. Needless to say I missed the throwdown and have been twittling my thumbs trying not to do anything stupid. That all ended today.

I felt my way through the snatches to make sure everything was moving correctly. It was. I wore a belt to be safe and actually snatched really well. My top set of triples went up clean at 215#, giving me a big burst of confidence going into the squat sequence. This I approached a little more cautiously, using 65% rather than 70% of my 1RM. I made all the lifts easily, but my legs felt the effects nonetheless. Even after an immediate ice bath I expect major soreness from this protocol yet again.

The evening conditioning WOD offered a return to interval training. Max double unders followed by max pullups, each within a 1 minute cap. The doubles felt amazing, scoring 107, 108, and 107 respectively for each round. The pullups weren’t quite so consistent, as the cumulative pump from the early sets took their toll by the end: 34, 33, and 24.

All in all, very satisfied with today and can’t wait til my next session Wednesday. Reminder for everyone interested in the Wales weekend next month: your contact is Ross Coughlan

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spontaneous Anywherefit Event!

It's in the UK and happening in less than a month. If you're in the neighborhood, come out and join the party...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Anywherefit Iceland 2012 Announcement

Here it is... the dates and preliminary information for Anywherefit Iceland 2012. To reserve a place, contact me at

Monday, November 7, 2011

Run the Mountain

A few of us headed up to South Lake Tahoe for a trail run Saturday... turned out to be a little snowier than expected!!! 2 miles uphill in 6 inches of snow is a different type of run, let me tell you. Totally cool experience and a beautiful view at the top though.
Between the altitude and the snow I think this type of thing is incredible training. Those of you out there complaining about cold weather climates... come off it and take advantage!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Front Rack Carries

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Isometric handstand holds

5 minute alternating Turkish Getups (35#)

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Split Jerks 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

3 rounds for time:

20 meter front rack carry (315#)

60 foot pulley hoist (105#)

WOD 3 – in the evening…

“Death by ball slams” @ 40#

Awesome training day. Hit 305# on the jerks and made 23 rounds + 18 reps on the ball slams with a 40# ball. Exhausted but stoked about how the body is feeling overall. Travis from East Sac came over to do the strength session--been really awesome training with him these past 6 weeks. We both felt that walking with heavy weight in a racked position would be a great assistance exercise for jerks. It was. Don't think I've seen this done before, but it's very similar to a yoke carry. I like this version personally because the object I want to feel lighter when I'm squatting or jerking is a barbell. Finding a way to balance it and keep it secure while moving was a challenge in itself. Then backing it up with pulley hoists mad things even more saucy because your grip gets shot. Check the video below.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hope Valley

This Saturday I'm heading to Hope Valley in Northern California. Just East of South Lake Tahoe, Hope Valley offers some of the best Autumn foliage in this area. The WOD is a trail run from bottom to top --approximately 2 miles of steady grade terrain through an alpine forest of aspens and firs that I will run for time. Anybody who lives in this area is welcome to join. The plan is to meet at CF Anywhere in Folsom at 9 am and carpool up together. If you're coming from somewhere else, that should put us near the trail head around 11:00. Shoot me an email at if you'd like to join.

100# Tabata Sled Pulls

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Unbroken double under ladder 10, 20, 30… etc

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

1 Squat Clean every minute on the minute @ 95% 1RM until failure to complete. 20 minute cap.

10 minute AMRAP: 10 x 1 arm sled row 10 ring dips

WOD 3 – in the evening…

In a 5 level parking garage do the following until reaching the top:

100 lb sled drag, 10 seconds Pushups, 10 seconds

Rest, 10 seconds

The body is still pretty beat up from Saturday’s activities, the most destructive of which were the GHD situps. My hip flexors and abs are absolutely shredded, leading me to two conclusions. 1) I overdid it doing 100 repetitions. 2) I don’t do this exercise enough if I am this sore from it. Local muscular endurance is something that doesn’t get trained specifically in crossfit, but inadvertently gets covered for the most part. This part of my body has obviously slipped through the cracks.

In spite of my soreness, however, I had a hell of a training day. I made it 8 double unders shy of the round of 80 this morning, resting less than 10 seconds between. The goal here is to get to 100 in less than 5 minutes. Great way to practice this skill if you’re one of those athletes who struggles with the jump rope.

This afternoon I hit 275# for all 20 minutes on squat cleans. Ecstatic with this showing. The weight felt lighter than it ever has, to the point where no rep was really in question. This is proof positive in my eyes that the every minute on the minute stuff works. Following up the squat cycles with a clean cycle only consolidated the gains previously made.

Finally, the evening conditioning offered one of those rare trips into hazy-ville that crossfitters so often muse about. I was a pile of shit at the end of this thing, no joke. Dragging a sled is hard enough… put it on an incline and add pushups and you’re entering a whole new world of pain. It took me 6:40 to get to the top of the 5 story parking structure in old Folsom, or 13 Tabata rounds. Max heart rate? Check. Muscle failure? Check. Mental toughness? Check. All around kick ass WOD, definitely recommend trying it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Swim WOD with Team

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Deadlift 5, 5, 5

10 minute AMRAP:

10 pullups

10 GHD situps

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

In a team of 3 do the following for time:

3 x 100 yard swim relay

3 x 50 kb swing relay

3 x 40 abmat situp relay

3 x 30 burpee relay

3 x 100 yard swim relay

Got a good size group together this afternoon for an awesome team WOD at Lembi Aquatic Center. Swimming, kettlebells, abmats, and grass. Representatives from CF East Sac, CF West Sac, CF Davis, CF Adventure, CF Centurion, and CF Anywhere were all in attendance to take part. Thanks to everyone for making the trip and enjoying the weather. The video is below.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2 squat clean every minute on the minute

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Press handstands with band assistance

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

2 Squat Cleans every minute on the minute @ 85% 1RM until failure to complete

3 x 10 strict toes to bar

2 x 100 feet pulley hoist (85#)

WOD 3 – in the evening…

5 km row for time

Super productive day at the office. From a new gymnastics progression in the morning to an absolutely brutal 18:24 on the rower in the evening, today offered a little bit of everything a solid program should. I didn’t get outside at all, but after the constant met con madness in Barcelona some old fashioned gym time felt like the right call.

For the 85% squat cleans I used 245# and got through all 20 rounds. This protocol is proving VERY effective. My technique was actually improving as the sets wore on. I could feel the necessity for maximizing the third pull as I started to fatigue, and the constant repetitions gave me the opportunity to make the adjustment. Said it before and will say it again. High volume Olympic lifting with moderate to heavy load is the best way to improve technical proficiency. When you’re too tired to muscle the movement, your body has to be efficient or the weight’s not coming up.

As a short post script, I HATE 5 km rows. This fucking sucks. That’s all I have to say heading into a rest day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Days 2 and 3 haven’t been as eventful as Day 1, unfortunately. We’ve been bogged down with shooting the scenes for the commercial (read: waiting around doing mostly nothing) for the better part of two days. In a stray bit of spare time a group of us managed to make it to the top of Montjuic, the mountain overlooking Barcelona. At the top there is an ancient fortress that used to protect the city, still intact and beautifully historic. From it’s top deck you can see out across the Mediterranean Ocean to the east and over the entire metropolis to the west. Seemed like a suitable place for a WOD, so we did 5 minutes AMRAP of 5 handstand pushups and 10 ledge jumps. I managed just short of 9 rounds and felt good.

This was quite the scene amongst the myriad tourists and patrons taking pictures, but as usual they were more curious than anything else. Although it was only a small slice of exploratory freedom, it was certainly memorable. This is a city I will absolutely return to with more time and less obligation.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Barcelona Day 1

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the afternoon…

3 rounds for completion:

400 meter sand run 5 stone ground to overhead

Finish with stone carry for max distance

WOD 2 – in the evening…

With a partner:

100 meter wheelbarrow relay

4 rounds of

600 meter sand run & amrap net climbs (done simultaneously, then switch roles)

50 meter burpee broad jump

First day in Barcelona was a blast. In total there are 16 athletes here from Reebok doing a commercial and print ad shoot for the CrossFit brand. In addition to the pure coolness of being in Spain, this is a really fun chance to reunite with some of the people I competed with at the Games and meet some new faces in the process.

Today was more about staging than anything else, so there was a fair bit of free time to get some training in. I did the first WOD by myself using a stone pulled from the levee. The weight had to be close to 100# if not more, and it was tough to maneuver. I really liked the stone carry at the end actually. Because it’s so awkward and abrasive, carrying an object like that demands a lot more of your energy than you might think.

Later in the evening the lot of us went to a different beach and partnered up to run/climb/get sandy. Total blast. No watch, no clock, just pushing hard and shaking through the jet lag. Hope to get a video of this up soon to do it justice.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rest Day... Heading to Barcelona!

Heading to Barcelona for a long weekend. If anybody out there reading is a Spanish local, drop me a line at and lets get together to train. Would love to link up with some friendly crossfitters while over there :-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Squat Cleans E.M.O.T.M

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Muscle up to Ring HSPU practice

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

3 squat cleans every minute on them minute @ 70% 1RM until failure to complete

Slosh pipe lateral tips 3 x 10

10 cargo net climbs

WOD 3 – in the evening…

4.5 mile trail run

Back in business after a great week of rest and feeling solid. Moving towards a more Olympic focus the next 3 weeks, looking to parlay the improvements in squatting strength and endurance into gains on my squat cleans. I did this workout at 205# and it honestly was a little too light. It felt nice to crush through it every set, but I think 215# was probably a more appropriate weight. These felt different than the every minute squats for a couple reasons. 1) You can’t waste a lot of time resetting between each lift-something that most of us tend to do to gain rest subconsciously. Because of this fact, your heart gets jacked quickly. 2) Muscle fatigue wasn’t a factor. In the squat protocol it’s mostly the burning and pumped out feeling in the legs that stops you. For the cleans it’s more the ability to keep resetting your focus and your deteriorating speed that becomes limiting. Very different but great all the same. I loved the way this made me feel.

I got back on the trail in the evening and could tell it’d been too long. I still managed a 31 minute time on a moderately difficult route, but it felt harder than it should’ve. Gotta do this more.

I’ve received a lot of interest from many of you out there regarding the Anywherefit 2012 trip to central Europe. Have no fear, I will write you all a response with instructions on how to proceed as soon as I have more concrete pricing details.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Anywherefit 2012 Announcement

In 2012 we will be running not one, but two Anywherefit adventures. The first will be a return to the land of fire and ice, following up this summer's incredible success with yet another epic adventure on one of the world's most beautiful natural landscapes. For those of you who missed it, this is your opportunity for redemption. The dates for this trip are not yet finalized, so stay tuned on that.
The highly anticipated second installment of this series will be taking place in Central Europe, but until now the details have been only vaguely alluded to. Without further ado, here it is... the official announcement for Anywherefit 2012: Munich-Vienna-Prague.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Slosh Pipe Returns!

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Press handstands, handstand holds, & handstand walks

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Clean Pulls 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

18 foot speed climbs (legless)

Slosh Pipe good mornings 10, 10

Slosh Pipe lateral tips 10, 10, 10

WOD 3 – in the evening…

100 burpees for time

Today was the final day of my current training cycle and my body felt great. Fully recovered from the heavy front squats finally and only feeling mild soreness from the weighted lunges in Wednesday’s WOD. Travis coached me up on some core stabilization techniques (mostly the order of operations in approaching the bar) that really helped me feel solid on the pulls. This could mean something for deadlifting and squatting as well so I’m looking forward to practicing it.

The bully of the day was definitely the slosh pipe. I’ve had ‘em chilling in the gym for awhile and keep neglecting to implement them in workouts. The lateral tips are LEGIT. The water sloshes all the way to the end touching the ground and forces you to overcome all that awkward weight in order to regain balance at the top. Expecting major stiffness through my obliques and erectors tomorrow.

When the evening rolled around, I wasn’t too excited about doing 100 burpees for time. It’d been about 2 years since the last time I attempted this back in Leiden) time was 4:48), and I really never enjoy burpees. But who does, right? I took the approach that this was not a WOD to be gamed: You can always do one more burpee so just keep doing them until you’re done. Wound up being an on the money plan because even though I was sucking hard I was able to keep moving at a fairly steady pace. My final time was 4:34.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Elevated Bear Crawling

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

L sit holds from the ground – 5 max sets

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

3 rounds for time:

35 yard elevated bear crawl

35 yard front rack walking lunge (2 pood)

30 rope slams (50 foot climbing rope)

Absolutely kick ass WOD this afternoon in what turned out to be a pretty torrential downpour for some of us. It was one of those workouts that turned out to be much harder than anticipated. The bear crawls were more technical than anything else because of the slot roofing we were crawling across. Dirt, moss, and rain make such a surface rather slippery to climb atop. Also, trying to catch your breath while bent over is never easy. Doing the lunges in a front rack was a subtle stroke of genius. Pre-fatigued shoulders, mandatory core engagement, and difficulty balancing are some of the advantages to doing them this way. Definitely a bigger challenge than I’m used to on this exercise. And of course, finishing with the mother of all heart rate jackers was just brutal. I hate rope slams in the middle of a workout. They suck the life and guts out of me every time. There’s just not many things this effective, and I think my rope has been through just about every type of weather and terrain because of that. Check out the video below.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

315 lb front squat singles

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Parallette HSPU w/ kip for technique

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

1 Front Squat every minute on the minute @ 90% 1RM until failure to complete

Reverse Hyper 15, 15, 15

WOD 3 – in the evening…

5 minute time cap:

500 meter row

AMRAP muscle ups

Note: Row and muscle ups are treated as individual WODs

Big bounce back day for squats. Just like with the back squats last cycle, I came into the singles having been demoralized by the triples and needing a strong showing. Having based my percentages off of a projected 350# 1RM, the WOD called for 315# front squats today. I was far from convinced this was going to happen, but sure enough it did. All 20 rounds. They weren’t easy—in fact there were a few that could’ve gone either way—but I got em all up. Gotta say that doing sets this way really ramps you up psychologically. Maximum concentration, maximum focus, and maximum effort every rep. Great practice for anyone who needs preparation for competition in a non-competitive environment.

The evening conditioning WOD was short and sharp. I went 90% + on the row and scored a 1:32, leaving just over 3:15 by the time I reached the rings to get the muscle ups done. In that time I was able to finish 18 reps.

I already took an Epsom salt bath tonight, looking forward to an icy dip in the river tomorrow.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fitness Is...


Be content with reality.

Running like Usain Bolt or swimming like Michael Phelps are talents that few will ever possess. It doesn’t stop us from running or swimming, but for the most part we understand that performing like an Olympian isn’t realistic. When it comes to beauty and fitness, however, even the most reasonable, rational, and grounded individuals lose their minds. SPOILER ALERT: You are not going to look like Brad Pitt or Jessica Alba. Your body will never again be the 20 year old version of itself. I don’t care how hard you work or how long you try, it ain’t gonna happen. Why people continually rake themselves over the coals in pursuit of an air brushed fantasy is beyond me. But they do it, day after day.

Now, the realization that few of us will ever look like a fitness model shouldn’t be a discouraging truth. Chasing an ultimate pipe dream isn’t a good way to stay motivated, and it certainly isn’t the best way to foster success. The fact of the matter is that the daily grind of small accomplishments is far more satisfying and fruitful. They are attainable, tangible, and immediate goals that don’t leave you groping for your self esteem. Still, for some reason we’re programmed to look beyond such baby steps and focus our efforts on some monolithic, ego-robbing unicorn instead. Why? Where does this compulsion for over-expectation come from?

First, our egos are innately competitive. Call it capitalism, call it human nature, but from our sports to our politics we love a knock down, drag out, mano y mano battle. We love determining winners and losers. This is a good and healthy thing, in my opinion. The problem is that when you couple it with vanity, “winning” takes on an obsessive and toxic quality. We look across the office or the parking lot and wonder, “why not me?” Why is she wearing that designer dress and I’m not? How come he’s got a BMW and I’m stuck driving this beater? Your internal monologue might not be so blunt, but whether it’s fine clothing, the newest iphone, or a luxury car, we covet that which we do not have. We measure our status and success against the competition and see how we stack up.

When it comes to beauty, fitness is fast becoming the standard unit of measure. Once upon a time the women gracing magazine covers were stick thin and all cheekbones. Now they’re hard bodies with curves. Gym memberships have become as regular as car payments, diet plans as common as IRAs. The premium for looking and living strong has never been higher and people everywhere are sizing themselves up. Take a look at what’s available for perusal at the checkout counter and you’ll see what I mean: 5 dedicated to celebrity gossip (usually about someone who has lost or gained weight), 4 to health/fitness/beauty directly, and 3 to the alien abductions of celebrities that were once fit and/or beautiful. There’s no Economist or Wall Street Journal. No classified ads. It’s kind of a joke, but one that is indicative of how important fitness has become in measuring our self worth.

This brings me to a second important point: expectations are sold. Between commercial concerns in cosmetics, fashion, entertainment, and fitness, society at large is hell bent on convincing us that world-class beauty is for everyone. Everywhere you turn there are age-defying skin creams, foolproof diet plans, and anti-gravity jeans. Monthly issues of health/fitness magazines consistently roll out new exercise ideas guaranteed to sculpt your chest and abs to match the fitness model demonstrating on the page. These are not advertisements concerned with real change. They are concerned only with the desire for change. Do you wish your stomach looked like this? Do you wish your wrinkles were gone? The answers are simple and easy. YES. Who wouldn’t? But wanting change and actually changing are two very different things.

So you go into a gym to act on your desires, and you’re introduced to a member of the globo gym membership team. This is a cast of numbers driven charlatans who gladly shepherd you towards the you you’ll never be. “Yes Mrs. Jones, you too can have the body you always wished you had. JLo’s ass, Jillian’s arms, and Jennifer’s legs. Just sign here.” Nevermind that Mrs. Jones has a knee replacement and a 60-hour a week job. Nevermind that she hasn’t been self-motivated since middle school. This is a marketing plan presented as an exercise plan; and it’s getting swallowed by a million trusting guppies every day.

It isn’t until months later that we realize how unrealistic our expectations were. We’ve been in the gym 3-4 times per week for an hour a day and have been diligently ignoring facts like age, health history, time management, and camera angles. After six months we check the mirror and—total shocker—our arms and abs look nothing like the cover of p90x like we’d hoped. Reality settles in and guess what? We’re not winning.

You might think that at this point, the average client would see through the advertising campaigns and the membership sales routine. You might even think they’d be offended at being so blatantly misled. But no. A rash of excuses rise up to explain the failure (insert dog ate my homework story here) and the fantasy is thus preserved. Better to believe that it was a mean series of coincidences that conspired to prevent success than own up to the fact that you bit off more than you could chew.

This is an inadvertent defense mechanism that protects us from reality. As a society, we don’t have the courage to accept inequality so we’ve programmed ourselves to believe that anything is possible. This is blatantly false. We are not created equal. We are not standing on a level playing field. There are advantages and disadvantages everywhere in life that contribute to a decidedly unequal distribution of talent and potential. This is reality. What’s more, this is okay! The idea that everyone can achieve their dream body is a Disney-fied load of crap meant to keep you paying your membership. Save your breath and your bleeding heart if you think it’s unfair. “Unfair” won’t help you deal with the fact that your body doesn’t look like a fitness model even though you “put your mind to it.” What will, is an honest moment of self-reflection and re-direction away from the standard methods of comparison.

Let us suppose for a minute that we re-imagined fitness as a subjective state of being and not an objective measurement. That the idea of being fit, or of being beautiful, wasn’t determined by comparison to others, but by comparison to self. For example: “I can do more work now than I once could, therefore I am fit.” Or, “I can wear these clothes better than I once could, therefore I am beautiful.” It doesn't matter how many pullups he can do, only how many I can do. It doesn't matter how good her legs look, only how good mine look. This type of outlook rewards modest and attainable expectations. Every day is a victory because every day is an improvement. It no longer is “I want to look like them,” it is, “I want to look like me, but better.” The latter is a realistic goal for everyone. The former will never be.

Accepting the truth of our limitations is actually liberating because it frees us from the burden of expecting that which we know to be impossible. Deep down, Mrs. Jones knows she can’t look like J-Lo, Jillian, and Jennifer. She’s fighting against time, injuries, and DNA to try and convince herself that she can, but she knows she can’t. Better to embrace this knowledge and focus on something attainable. Better to give herself something realistic to shoot for. The accumulation of small successes will leave her happier, more motivated, and far fitter than the obsession with a single monumental goal ever will.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crushed in the Water

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Snatch Balance Technique

3, 3, 3, 3, 3

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

20 minute AMRAP:

50 meter butterfly

15 thrusters (95#)

WOD 3 – in the evening…

Floor Press 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

GHD Raise 15, 15, 15

Ring Dips 20, 20, 20

Had to flip the script a little today due to pool availability. Brian Nabeta opened up Arden Hills’ doors to Travis and I, but it had to be an afternoon timeslot. So, in the spirit of constant variation, I switched my strength session to the evening and did conditioning in the afternoon. Did I say conditioning? What I meant to say was that I switched my world-class beatdown session to the afternoon. Cuz that’s what this swim WOD was. 20 minutes of steel toe boots to the gut. Compassionately, Brian only filmed the first 5 minutes of the carnage, so what you get on the video clip is just a taste of how bad it really was. Knowing that butterfly is a taxing stroke no matter what the interval, it shouldn’t be hard to imagine that doing it alongside thrusters felt like a perfect storm of pain. Neither exercise allows you much opportunity to breath so you’re constantly out of air, and they require oppositional movements at the shoulder joint—creating a Fran-like spasm in your upper body. Brian did his best to coach me through my technical woes towards the end, but it was a losing proposition. Fatigue just ruins that stroke and I was running on empty. Big thanks for his efforts though. I finished 6 rounds plus 7 thrusters.

Doing the strength session in the evening was a cool change of pace. Definitely don’t think I prefer it this way (I’d hate to have to squat after a hard conditioning WOD earlier in the day) but I can see the value in doing it every now and then. I pressed decent—5 x 5 at 225# with a dead stop between all repetitions—and the GHD raises felt amazing. This is fast becoming my favorite assistance exercise for the posterior chain. Try doing them while externally rotating your hips. 2 reasons here: first, it’ll relieve a bit of that painful pressure on your quads (if you’ve been there you know what I mean), and second, it’ll turn on your glutes and make this more than just a hamstring exercise.

All for now, check the video from the pool below.