You Might be Addicted to CrossFit

crossfit

CrossFit is addictive for several reasons, primarily because members see results, it’s fun, and it’s kind of counter culture. We do stuff most people don’t want to try because they have been programmed to believe the only way to get in shape is by eating 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day, doing sixty minutes of cardio on a stair master and doing high reps with light weight. It is possible to get addicted and if you fit any of the scenarios below, welcome to the club.

“This one time at CrossFit.” It’s all you ever talk about for starters!

Dropping $65.00 on a pair of shorts in which you will only sweat is no big deal. “Look! they have green too!”

Nanos, Innov-8’s, Romaleos, Chucks. You have at least one pair of each, probably two, because they were on “sale”. There is no more room on the floor in your closet.

You can’t walk without wincing, your shoulders are pulled to your ears, can’t unclinch your hands, however you find out tomorrow’s WOD is Fran. Of course you are going. It’s only your eighth day in a row. You’ll rest when you are dead.

Bank statement reads Reebok e-commerce, Zappos, Progenex, Lulu-lemon, Main Street butcher, and Juan’s house of tequila……because its Paleo!

Hear the name Eva and you don’t think of Mendes or Longoria, sadly. Your face contorts while contemplating a 2.5 mile run and 150 pull ups and KB swings.

There is more than one picture of you performing a HSPU or pistols somewhere other than the box, like a bar. Because you are hardcore and nothing brings out hardcore like a happy hour gone awry. This is more out of jealousy because I can’t do either.

Your charm bracelet has a barbell, a dumbbell, a Kettlebell, a tire, Rx, and a steak.

You’ve had to buy a bigger lunch box……more than once.

To everyone else Memorial Day sleeping in, pool time, and BBQ’s. You’ve got a date with Murph and it better not last more than 45 minutes. If it goes over an hour…..don’t think about that!

You’ve checked Community by-laws and discovered there is no specific language regarding tire flips. GAME ON! Maybe they’ll let you store them in the pool house!

You’ve been invited by your chiropractor to attend their child’s high school graduation party. It’s only fair, you’ve practically paid their tuition.

There is a lacrosse ball and a field hockey ball in your desk at work. You don’t play and never have.

A co-worker shows up for a meeting six minutes late. Immediately you calculate she owes you thirty burpees.

Shaker bottles have taken over one of your cabinets and they are still multiplying.

First introductions to women named Cindy, Fran, and Diane do not go well.

You’ve purchased half of a grass fed cow and are wondering if you should have bought a bigger freezer and gotten the whole cow.

Callous shavers. One at home, one in your gym bag, one at work. You’ve caught yourself picking at them in meetings and didn’t stop.

I wonder if the neighbors will mind if I put a rower on my patio?

You’re looking for a video of the 21k row, which lasts an hour plus, and you’ll watch the whole thing. Freak

How many jump ropes do I need? I need the one that helps me do Double Unders! Obviously it’s the rope!!! Back off.

I’m not addicted. I can take a rest day anytime I want. I’ll start next week.

In all honesty it’s a great addiction to have focusing on health will always put you ahead. Take rest days otherwise you will get injured and won’t be able to play. Hit it out of the box this week.

CrossFit Rook

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.

CrossFit Dictionary

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If your friends CrossFit, you’ll know it because it’s all they ever talk about! The dictionary below should be useful to those CrossFit or who have friends who CrossFit and have io idea what their friends are talking about. Also good if you need a laugh!

21-15-9: favorite rep scheme for many of the Metcons. 45 reps in total, however it feels more like 450. Always starts out with: “That doesn’t look too bad.”

400M: Stupid, incessantly annoying runs, usually around a building. Best completed while inhaling diesel fumes, or dodging traffic.

6am’ers: Cheery, coffeeholic members who only show up at 6:00am. May be treated as Noobs at weekend classes or clinics, simply because other members do not know they exist. If one shows up at an afternoon class, look out. The world may end. Same can be said if an afternoon regular shows up at a 600am class.

Airdyne/Assault Bike: Ungood all around. Part stationary bike, part punching drills, all nasty. You are doing it right if the sweat dripping off your nose is levitated by the fan spinning. Really doing it right if the sweat comes back at you!

Burpee: Banned by the Geneva Convention in 1899 as unfair punishment. Adored by CrossFit instructors worldwide. Originally named the Squat Thrust by gym coaches. Burpee sounded more friendly. Sadly, we were duped. Squat down, kick your legs back, do a push up, bring your feet to your hands, jump in the air, clap your hands over your head. Repeat. Vomit. Could be used as punishment for politicians who cannot come to an agreement. Burpees until they resolve all outstanding issues.

Cleans: Explosive Olympic lift where you take the bar from the floor to your shoulders by jumping and pulling yourself under the bar. Otherwise known as a reverse curl. Requires lots of practice and should be practiced with a dowel or empty barbel every day.
Tutorial

Double Unders: Fap, ow. Fap, shoot. Fap, Damnit! Fap, how many singles do I sub? The rope passes under your feet twice instead of once. Easier for smaller lighter people. The rest of us look like our legs have been whipped.
Tutorial

Ewwww: Common retort when the WOD is a mix of Turkish Get Ups, Bulgarian Split Squats, Box Jumps, and Burpees

Fem-Bot: Usually starts out with a thought: “She’s cute, I’ll work out next to her.” Turns into “She has more weight on her bar, she’s moving faster, and is completely crushing me. I need to leave, now.” Worst outcome is she’s the trainer. More weight will miraculously appear on your bar if left unattended. She wants to make you better. Your ability to survive the WOD is inconsequential.

Goals: Can’t hit something if you don’t know what it is. Track your progress and set goals for thirty days out. Look at the WOD before you go in and have a plan of the weight you will use along with any substitutions. Talk to the trainer and ask if they agree.

Hand Stand Push Ups: It starts with getting upside down and the putting your feet against the wall. Then lower your head to the floor and push yourself up. Good times. You will fall. Everyone does. HSPU is the warning, I mean abbreviation.
Progression Tutorial

Innov-8’s: Minimalist running shoe favored by CrossFitters because of the simple design and low heel height. Surprisingly more expensive than regular sneakers even though they have less material. Cool color combinations, which is handy because you’ll have several pair. Addict.

Jerk: Pushing the barbels over head by dropping under the bar and straightening you arms and engaging your shoulders. I have been accused of completing a push press instead of a jerk. Obviously they can’t see the difference.
Tutorial

Kipping: Pretty much the foundation of the majority of lifts and movements we complete. Explosive hip drive movement. Takes a lot of practice to do it correctly. More commonly used with pull ups. Progression Tutorial

L-sits: Horrible. No idea who came up with them. Incredible for strong arms, shoulders, and core. Starts on the floor with PVC pipe where you kick your legs out in front holding them parallel to the floor. Torso is perpendicular to the floor. Pros do it on the rings. Example

Metcon: We lift weights to get stronger. We lift weights faster for cardio. Short for metabolic conditioning. High intensity cycle consisting of lifts and either running, rowing, or body weight exercises like pull ups, HSPU, etc. My personal favorite is Diane. 21-15-9 225 dead lifts and HSPU. You won’t die. You’ll just feel like it.

Nanos: Brought to us by Reebok. Direct competition for the Innov-8’s. Favored by CrossFitters For the low height and versatility. Favored by Reebok because of the price. Lots of cool colors and they are customizable if you want to wait two to three months.

Omergawdddd: Common response when someone tries a heavier than normal weight for a dead lift or clean. Also common response when asked “How was the WOD?”

PR: Personal record. We celebrate them all. Could be for the fastest 400 meter, heaviest triple, getting a double under or a rope climb. If the box doesn’t have a PR bell or a board dedicated to track these, find a new box.

Quit: No meaning because it doesn’t exist. Similar to unicorns and Sasquatch. There is no quit.

Rx: Completed as prescribed. Followed the weights and movements with zero substitutions. You graduated.

Sweat Angel: Think snow angel minus the snow. The WOD is over and you crushed it. Assume the position. Flat on your back on the floor, arms and legs sprawled out like a starfish. Eventually the walls will stop shaking. Take a picture and post on Facebook. You accomplished more in an hour than most will do all day.

Turkish Get Ups: Nobody likes these. Evil drill which consists of holding a weight overhead while standing up from the floor and them laying back down. Tutorial

Uberfit: Clothing company which one day may be as big as Under Armour. Clothing for athletes designed by one of our own! You Need A New Shirt

Victory: You did it! Celebrate every win. Ring the bell and track it in the log book.

WTF?: Common thought when the WOD doesn’t make sense or the trainer has an 800 meter run in the warmup.

X-out: What we do to goals. Hit the goal. Cross out the goal. Add a new goal.

Yowsa: Prescribed response when a fellow CrossFitter hits a new PR or when you hit one. It is a team sport. Celebrate everybody’s wins. Best way to cool down? Cheering for the people who aren’t done yet!

Zercher Carry: Carrying a significant amount of weight by making an L with your arms. The barbell or yoke rests in the crook of your arms. Usually carried for 50 to 100 feet.
Example

Links to other CrossFit dictionary’s.

CrossFit Active Performance

Arenal Fitness

CrossFit Manassas

Thank you for reading and have a great day.

Email from a Friend After you Join CrossFit

Hey, it’s been a while. Seriously I don’t even know if you’ll have time to read this email since you practically live at the CrossFit gym now. Oh, sorry it’s a box. What gives? We haven’t seen you in forever. Every time we talk to you it’s CrossFit this and CrossFit that. Either it’s some workout at midnight, which is weird, or some weekend competition. Next thing it’s a cookout or a happy hour.

We don’t even understand half the stuff posted on your Facebook page. What the hell do you mean you PR’d and did something Rx? And now your up at five am posting stuff to boot! You used to be a night owl. Are you ok? Taking pictures of your food or posting pictures of empty plates with the caption “time”? Huh? Time for what? Chipotle three times a week. Thanks for checking in every time. Trust me, we know where to find you!

Please explain to me your new-found love for bacon? Six months ago you wouldn’t have touched the stuff, now you can’t wait to find something new to wrap in bacon. Dates, seriously? Bacon wrapped dates!?!? Have at it bro. All you.

People have been saying its a cult. Is it? Please don’t tell me there is a leader in a white robe talking about the end and only his or her disciples will make it! I checked it out online and it looks hard as hell and people have gotten hurt. This rhabdo stuff is no joke.

Ok, time to come clean. We want in. Your box looks ten times more fun than our globo gym and the members, well, God bless Facebook pictures. Damn! You are having way more fun than us and look a hell of a lot stronger than when we were doing preacher curls. Are you still doing those? You have to be. Or did you switch to cable curls? Anyway, how can we join? Is there a pizza night or something?

Look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks

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

Rest Days; Take Them

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Image courtesy of Jessica Sepel

Wednesday is one of my favorite days of the week. It is a rest day. I am still up early however I am not heading to CrossFit BWI for a WOD. Time to repair the damage I did on Monday and Tuesday, which was pretty serious. Those WOD’s were no joke.

I used to not take rest days and then wondered why I was tired and was always sore. It shouldn’t have taken me that long to figure it out. I am stubborn. So be it. “I paid the dues so I am going” six or seven days a week. Not very conducive to healing. We spend a lot of time tearing down our muscles so we have to give them time to heal.

The only time we grow is when we sleep. That explains why I am 5’8″ and my brother is 6’4″. When we were growing up he would sleep to noon, and I would be up early. He slept more so he grew more. That makes scientific sense, right? The same is true for muscles repairing themselves. All of those dead lifts from yesterday tore the muscle fibers in your legs, back, arms, and shoulders. That is why your muscles are sore. Now they need time to put themselves back together, and get bigger so they are harder to tear. They can’t heal if you are tearing them apart four days in a row.

So, what is active rest? Stretching, Yoga, light exercise like walking the dog, slow swim, etc. Fran doesn’t qualify as active rest, and neither do Turkish Get Ups. I hate those things. I take two rest days a week. Sunday is the active rest day with Yoga. Wednesday is an off day, with the exception of the next few weeks because of Whole Life Challenge. I’ll probably get in the pool for a while this afternoon and do so mobility work tonight.

Mobility. Very much needed and probably overlooked by those who need it the most, including myself. Click here. Kelly Starrett has been kind enough to post videos for just about every type of issue with a solution. Need to work on squat depth, should not working, ankles not loose enough, etc. Do a quick search on his site and you’ll find a half a dozen different suggestions to get rid of the sticky junk and become a supple leopard.

Today I’ll eat a little more, all Paleo of course. Need to load up the fuel tank for tomorrow morning’s fun and provide enough nutrients for the necessary repairs. I’ll spend some quality time with the grid roller and a lacrosse ball. Getting old sucks, however it does beat the alternative.

Take your rest days. Eat well. Kick ass tomorrow morning.