Summer is Over…..

Goodbye Summer

 

Seems like the Summer flew by faster than usual. Actually, the past year has flown by faster than usual. Fall is here which means football, bonfires, pumpkins, and cooler weather. We just finished our summer vacation, which was a little later than normal, however it was a blast. There were several boxes close by, however we decided to take the whole week off and rest up. Definitely looking forward to getting back to the grind and getting back in a routine. For those who are interested, Charleston South Carolina is a great area to visit. The foodie scene blows Baltimore out of the water. Beach is 20 minutes away. Golf courses galore. And of course there is a plethora of historical stuff if you are into that as well. All of the Westbrook brews were excellent.

Charleston Food

Beer

 

August was a great month with four PR’s. Clean, Front Squat, Back Squat, and Dead Lift.  I’ll take those any day of the week. So what did I learn over the past few months? Still having issues doing the WOD’s Rx, and the reason is because of the inability to complete the BW exercises like Pull UPs, HSPU, DU’s, etc. Really thought my recent purchases of Nano 4.0’s, Junk headbands, and Progenex would have changed all that. I was wrong. Obviously, I’m joking. I don’t like those movements, I don’t practice those movements, and have gotten very good at scaling those movements. I can rip off 100 singles without missing a beat. Ring rows are no problem. I scaled and got great at scaling. Whoops. So how do we combat this issue? Easy, buy more gear. No, of course not.

Yep. Time for a detox. the past six to eight months have been filled with great food and craft brews. These do not match well with performing well however it is what it is and that’s that. We signed up for the Whole Life Challenge which is always a good way to recharge and get back on track. It’s also about personal accountability, planning, dedication, and not bargaining with yourself. So much easier to put in a blog than to actually practice. If it was easy there wouldn’t be a billion dollar quick fix weight loss industry. Write that down. Watching the Steelers now, and if they keep this up, sobriety will be a pipe dream.

Dead Lift

Practice makes perfect. Or in the world of CrossFit, bloody shins, whip marked legs, torn hands, and bruised egos. Remember, we pay good money for this stuff! You can’t dead lift your way out of a poor diet. Trust me, I’ve tried. Cardio is simply dead lifting faster so that is automatically ruled out. Just need to practice more, focus on the nutrition and mobility. Looking forward to a great September.

 

 

Whole Life Challenge, Let the Fun Begin!

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We decided to sign up for WLC again. It is eight weeks of clean living which is pretty easy for people who normally practice clean living. We are not those people. We enjoy the weekend night life and are close personal friends with Ben and Jerry. We have done it twice before and have liked the results. The first week is just about over already. Time flies when you are having fun.

Purge:

If it is not WLC compliant, it gets tossed. Sugar, ice cream, pretty much anything processed. You know, stuff that tastes good! Considering we are 80% Paleo 100% of the time we didn’t have much to get rid of. Just ice cream and beer. Well, maybe we’ll keep the beer. Its not like it goes bad and it’s only eight weeks.

Meal Planning:

It is pretty simple. If you do not plan your meals you will fail miserably at WLC. Clean healthy food is not convenient. Plan your meals ahead of time. Take lunch to work. Have pre-made breakfast food ready to go so you can grab it and warm it up in the morning. A quick Google search will provide hundreds of recipes. Get on it. Sunday is now for cooking. Face it, you aren’t going to be partying on Saturday nights, so you’ll have plenty of time to kill on Sundays.

Snacks:

I noticed I get hungry earlier in the day. Eating lunch at 10:30am makes for a long day! Pack snacks. Nuts, fruit, smaller portions of lunch and dinner. Whatever it takes. Be sure to plan ahead. The vending machine at work doesn’t carry anything WLC friendly. Trust me.

Exercise and Mobility:

It’s all about doing some of each every day. A quick run, swim, burpees, quality time with the roller or lax ball. Every day. Pick a time during the day and do it every day so it becomes a habit. This is a great habit to carry through when WLC is over.

Just Say No:

It’s only eight weeks but don’t think about it that way. Think about it in smaller increments, one day at at a time or one week at a time. After the first few days you will feel better. More energy, sleeping better which all equal better performance. It still sucks to bail on happy hour Friday after work or turn down cupcakes or donuts however it is worth it.

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Be Prepared:

I am not sure why people think vegetarian is the only way to clean up your diet. Explaining WLC will get you some weird looks however it is your choice, be proud of it! It is a challenge and by being prepared and having the right attitude you will succeed.

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What Happened to August? What Happened to Summer?

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Hey, what happened to August? It was the first and then it was Labor Day in the blink of an eye! What gives? I haven’t written a post in over a month which is odd. Too busy sucking up the last drop of Summer…….Shandy. It was a great Summer and I am sorry to see it come to an end. Cookouts, pool party’s, trips to the beach. Mostly done for another year. The good news is Autumn is upon us. Football, brats, and cooler temps! Definitely my favorite season.

August was a good month. Definitely learned a lot and made some progress.

100 Day Burpee Challenge:
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What a wonderful challenge. Day one, one burpee. Day two, two burpees and on and on it goes. Miss a day? The next day you do those as well. Miss day 25? Good news is you have 51 to complete the following day. Kylie and I are on day 33. Doubtful I will make 100 days however I will go as far as I can. Definitely learned about pacing and foot placement. It’s better to have your feet under your hips when coming up. Wide feet equal a sore lower back.

I have had wrist issues so I have been taping my wrists. Some argue it is a little overboard. They are welcome to their opinion. I like tape and use plenty of it. I have noticed my wrists feel better so it’s working. I have also focused on putting my weight on my fingers instead of entirely on he heel of my hand.

CrossFit Total: I finished at 940 which is about ten to fifteen pounds less than last time. Squat was off because my knee was off. It feels better since I have been back in rehab and following the advice of well educated and trained medical professionals. Interesting how that happened. According to my Mom I am not stubborn, I am obstinate. I think I’m stubborn and don’t understand what she means. September will be dedicated to getting back to 100%.

Hotshots 19 WOD: https://hotshots19.crossfit.com/

CROSSFIT’S MEMORIAL WOD
Show your support by attending the memorial event in Prescott, or host the workout locally on August 31st and donate online.

AUG

31
“Hotshots 19”

Six rounds for time of:
30 Squats
135 pound Power clean, 19 reps
7 Strict Pull-ups
Run 400 meters

This is still fresh in my mind since we just completed it less than 48 hours ago. Quite possibly the toughest WOD I have attempted. Do not under estimate this beast. It may not look daunting on the white board…..you are wrong. Six rounds of “am i done yet?” Do not go towards the light. You won’t die, you’ll pass out first.

One of the trainers pointed out that I was bouncing the bar off my upper thigh during the clean, which I refer to as a reverse curl. This is not the first time she has told me this, nor is it the second or third time. We should consider it a recurring theme. So, instead of continuing to do it my way, incorrectly, I took her advice and shrugged more, and what do you know? Again, taking advice from a well trained professional paid off big dividends. Interesting how that happened. Refer to the previous paragraph referencing stubbornness.

You can get through anything and you should listen to your trainers. They know what they are doing. Unless they have 800 meter med ball runs in the warm up. Obviously they are delirious and require medical attention.

Whole Life Challenge: http://www.wholelifechallenge.com

We are getting ready for our third run. We are currently 100% Paleo 80% of the time so it won’t be a big change for us. It really only results in a reduction of weekend beverages which is fine. We are looking forward to it. We always find some great new recipes and always come out feeling better and performing better at the end. We’ll be on vacation for one of the weeks which means we’ll have to stockpile points!

Selected for Athletes of the Month: http://crossfitbwi.com/2013/08/30/augsept-athletes-of-the-month-robert-and-kylie-taylor/

This was a huge honor for Kylie and I. CrossFit has had a significant impact on our lives and we can’t imagine not being a part of it in the future. It is a team sport and we have a great team at CrossFit BWI and CrossFit Syndicate.

Heading out to the box shortly to have some quality time with Cindy. I hate Cindy. Just kidding, I love Cindy.

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Another Week in the Books

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Another week is coming to an end. Time to take a look at what we learned.

Pre WOD Nutrition: I go to the 6:00 am class and had not been eating anything prior. Standard routine was a cup of bullet proof coffee, water and NO Xplode. It’s basically Crystal meth in better flavors. I dropped the bullet proof coffee and no xplode. Now it’s water, coffee with glutamine blended with coconut milk and a smoothie with Progenex, some frozen fruit, water and coconut milk. I get up around 430 so it gives me time to make the shake and allows sufficient time for digestion. I noticed a positive difference so I’ll be sticking with it. Sorry BSN.

Personal Training: I decided to have a session with one of the trainers and attempt to fix my reverse curl otherwise known as a clean. It still needs work but it’s better. I’ll be going back. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome makes zero sense. Get help if you need it. Apparently it turns out I need to strengthen my upper back. Probably also explains why pull-ups are challenging as well.

Running Still Sucks: I think it always will however it is a necessary evil. Its a great way to improve your wind. Heading out shortly for another one! At least I got new shoes! I am a shoe whore. I can admit and I am ok with it.

Ten Crossfit Truths

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I am coming up on my two year anniversary of CrossFit. “Come on in.” they said. “It’ll be fun.” they said. It has been fun and I have learned a lot. Before I wrote this blog I searched for other blogs with a similar topic and found more entries about CrossFit myths. Below is my take on the truths.

1) CrossFit is not a cult. The best boxes are a community comprised of individuals striving to get better in each of the ten components of CrossFit. No flowing white robes. No Kool-aid. Just people focused on getting better.

2) CrossFit is addictive. I have yet to meet anyone who was not hooked after their first WOD. It hurts. It leaves you gasping, in the fetal position, on the floor. It makes you wonder how the 125 lb woman next to you lifted more, lifted it faster, and isn’t sweating nearly as profusely. It is also fun as hell and provides a sense of accomplishment which is unmatched.

3) CrossFit is contagious. It’s all we talk about. I am sure our friends and family get tired of hearing about it, until they try a WOD. Then it’s on like donkey kong.

4) Not all athletes are “elite”. I hate the word elite. Almost as much as I hate the words epic or slim fit. Froning is elite. Iceland Annie is elite. They also have all day to train, eat, and rest. I am not trying to be the best in the world, only better than who I was yesterday. Most if our trainers are top shelf athletes and I appreciate the dedication. You don’t have to be elite to CrossFit.

5) Competition is powerful. “I can’t do that.” is soon replaced with “Holy hell, I did that!”. Competing against both yourself and others is a sure fire way to get better.

6) CrossFit is expensive. Dues, $150 – $200. Progenex $60. Nanos or Innov8, $90-$125. Reebok, Lululemon or Under Armour shorts, shirts, pants, etc. $$$$$. It is an investment in yourself. Aren’t you worth it? The clothes don’t have a huge impact so save the dollars and invest in the gear like shoes and a custom fit jump rope. A quality post WOD protein is also a good idea.

7) CrossFit does not get easy. It just sucks a little less. The workout is going to punch you square in the throat. Would we want it any other way? It’s only thirty minutes, or less in most cases.

8) The WODS you hate are the WODS you should not miss. Yesterday was a perfect example for me. Nicole. 20 min AMRAP of 400 meter runs and AMRAP pull ups. I hate both, hence I hate Nicole. Don’t skip the stuff at which we suck, as we would never get any better.

9) Nutrition is the foundation. Paleo is preferred by most CrossFitters I know however that does not mean it is the best. Each athlete has to test which plans work the best based on individual needs. Drinking three nights a week while alternating cheeseburgers, pizza, and fried Oreos is not a plan conducive to increased physical performance, sadly.

10) Rest and mobility are important. Lifts, running, rowing, push-ups, etc., all result in torn muscle fibers. That is why we are sore after a workout. Rest and mobility work help heal the tears, making the muscle fibers thicker and tougher. Skipping these is the equivalent if skipping the lift or the workout all together.

11) CrossFitters tend to push harder and want more…..whether it is physically, professionally, or personally. No quitting. No giving up. No time outs. Every rep, set, and round counts. There are no shortcuts. Skip a rep, suffer the wrath.

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Whole Life Challenge

My second trip through Whole Life Challenge is complete. It was a much better experience than the first time. Cheat meals were at a minimum. I lost 13 pounds. Didn’t lose anything in inches which is weird however I am not getting hung up on it.

I was able to shave nearly two minutes off my WOD time which is a 19 percent improvement. Five rounds, 135lb. dead lift for 10 reps followed by fifteen wall balls at 20lbs. First round was 9:50 and my last round was 7:56. Definitely happy about that; however it’s never good enough!

Key Factors:

Meal Planning. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Paleo is inconvenient. Unless you have meals and snacks ready to go, you will wind up hungry or eating something you shouldn’t. Sundays were a day of cooking for the week. We definitely ate out less and saved some money; however grocery store trips were more frequent and more expensive. Not too mention we ran the dishwasher every day!

Exercise. Every day we did something. It can be as easy as taking the dog for a long walk at a faster than normal pace, or yoga, or a serious WOD.

Mobility: I think I spent more time on Mobility WOD than any other site. Do them all! Ten to fifteen minutes every day helps flexibility and your mind. It’s good to unplug or disconnect for a while.

Cheat: we definitely had some cheat days. Beers on opening day. Ice cream after dinner. Take the zero and move on. It helped us stay sane! Well as much as we are anyway.

I am definitely happier about the progress made during our second WLC. Now we just have to keep going. Paleo is the real deal. My first cheat meal after it was done was brown rice on my burrito bowl. REBEL!

Knock it out of the par this week.

Getting Better

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So, you don’t think you are getting any better. Most of that is negative think and negative speak. Leave it at the door. Nobody wants to hear it. No negative Nancy’s or Mancys here. Fact of the matter is everyone gets better, perhaps at a different pace. Want to get better faster?

Ask Questions:

Ask good questions. CrossFit is more expensive than other gyms because of the access to personal trainers. Ask them questions. Insanity is doing something the same way and expecting a different outcome. Trainers have a wealth of knowledge to share and should be your go to person with questions about scaling, form, practice, aches and pains, etc.

Set Goals:

You can’t get there if you don’t have a destination. Set tangible numeric goals. Instead of “I want to get better at pull ups” set a goal of “I want to do five unassisted pull ups by March 30th.” Keep your goals realistic. Setting unattainable goals is leads to a path of disappointment and regression.

Track your WOD’s. There are dozens of apps for tracking weights, times, meals, etc. Log your information and then review it before every WOD.

Lift Heavy Weights:

Lift a calf in the morning and then a cow in the afternoon. When someone first starts, the weights should be scaled and more handleable, however once you have several months under your belt and the form is good, pack on the plates. Talk to your Coach about whether the purpose of the WOD is to be fast or you should be using the prescribed weights. We don’t get stronger by lifting the same weights we did six weeks ago.

Two weeks ago your max dead lift was 225, this week your max attempt should be at least five pounds heavier. The rep we don’t get is the one that gives the most benefit. Failure is an important component of getting stronger.

Read:

Do your homework. There is a significant amount of information available which can help anyone overcome sticking points. Stick with reliable sources like CrossFit HQ, Mobility WOD, etc. A quick post on your Facebook account may yield additional resources which have proven useful for your friends. Face it, if you are doing CrossFit, it’s the only thing on your FB page anyway, right?

Heal Thyself:

Generally, we know what’s wrong, we may just have a tough time admitting it. Eating junk and partying two or three nights a week will not lead to success. Unless you are in your late teens and early twenties. For the rest of who are more advanced in years, it’s time to get serious. Eat better, sleep better, rest better, perform better. Getting old is better than the alternative.

Positive Mental Attitude:

Think good things and good things will happen. Visualize success before you step in the door. Don’t make the muscle between your ears an enemy.

Additional Resources:

It seems like other people decided to write about the same topic. See, I do know what I am talking about. Don’t even have a Level 1 Cert.,…yet.

Fifty Ways to Get Better at CrossFit

What I Learned After Three Years

Getting Better at CrossFit

Getting Better

Break a record today.

CrossFitRook