It’s not About Throwing Darts and Hoping

“So Champ what was going through your mind when you were getting ready for tonight’s fight?”

“I just got in the ring and did’t have a plan. I winged it and it worked out. I also focused on every missed opportunity and failure and knew I would lose.”

Seem strange? It should. This interview would never happen. Ever! High level athletes, CEO’s, titans of the universe, successful soccer Moms all share the same mindset. Positive mental attitude. They talk about visualizing success and being in the zone. They see good things happen ahead of time and focus on the positives. There aren’t problems. There are only solvable challenges. We didn’t get all caffeinated and dressed up for a walk in the park.

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Tips to Maximize Your Performance:

Tracking:

I work for a financial services company and we track every possible metric known to man. Many times we experience paralysis through analysis. It’s easy to go overboard; however by minimally tracking your performance for repeated lifts and met-cons you will have a baseline for comparison. Take notes on each WOD, listing both your weakness and your strength. Also take notes on what you think you could have done differently what would have improved your performance. For example, $5.00 bottomless margaritas and hitting the nacho bar the night before may not have been a great idea. Another example might be skimping on the warm up. And no, I don’t know anywhere local who has $5.00 bottomless margaritas.

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Goal Setting:

Keep your goals realistic. A sub three minute Fran is not realistic for a beginner, or for someone who is weak on pull ups and thrusters. Educated goal setting is possible when you keep track of your WOD’s and weights. Pushing for a PR should be a goal for just about every class. Remember that it doesn’t have to be ten or twenty pounds either. Two pounds is still a PR. The little plates are there so use them. Most importantly, talk to the coach. Ask them what they think. They aren’t there because they were bored an needed something to do. Good coaches want to see you succeed.

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Planning your Performance in the WOD:

Don’t wait for class to figure out how you will attack the WOD. Most boxes post the WOD the night before. Read through it and compare it to other WOD’s you have done. Constant variation is the foundation of CrossFit, however a clean is a clean and pull ups are pull ups. Put together a plan. Say it’s Grace. Are you capable of cleaning and jerking 135lbs thirty times unbroken? Probably not. However, are you able to do three sets of ten unbroken, with ten to fifteen seconds of rest between sets? How about five sets of six? Break them up into smaller sets so you do not get burned out. Doing Olympic lifts when you are overly fatigued equals crappy form and injuries. Do it right or drop the weight. Do not sacrifice form for time. Your chiropractor enjoys the business but your Box still collects the dues and you won’t be there to enjoy the class.

Competition:

Find someone who is of equal or slightly higher caliber than yourself and has the same schedule. They are now your workout buddy. It is a good idea to make sure they are ok with it. Stalking is a chargeable crime in several states. It is friendly competition. Don’t spike their pre workout drink or hide their strength shoes. That ain’t right! You will push them and they will push you. In the end you both win. Partner up on strength WOD’s and expect big increases in weights.

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Mental Attitude:

You’ve got the gear and are all warmed up and ready to go. Don’t let the muscle between your ears be the weakest muscle. Too many times people can take a trip to negative town, focusing on how much something will suck or only focusing on the part of the WOD which will be very difficult for them to complete. Try not to talk yourself out of it before you even try. No negative Nancy’s. Visualize yourself being successful on every lift and getting through every met-con.

Post WOD Planning:

Cool down. Stretch. Hydrate. Eat. Try to plan your exit strategy to include these four items. You just beat the hell out of yourself and more than likely will be on your way to work, a meeting, running errands, kid’s games, etc. Ideally we would be able to do all of this stuff, then go home and take a nap. Probably not going to happen, so plan to do these before you leave the box. Come prepared with coconut water and a solid post WOD meal or a protein shake. Mix it up and determine what works the best for you: solid foods, protein shake, regular water, coconut water, etc.

Rest Days and Yoga:

One of the dumbest phrases every uttered by knuckleheads. “Yoga isn’t a workout.” Yes it most certainly is. Definitely do it once or twice a week if your box offers the class. If not, find a place that does and pay for the classes. We spend three to five days a week beating ourselves to a pulp. Yoga works out the kinks, releases tension in the muscles, and gets things back in line so you can beat it up again the following week. It is great to do on your rest days. Make sure you take one to two a week as needed. If you feel like crap you’ll perform poorly. Fact.

The dues are expensive. So is the gear. Embrace the suck by being prepared for the WOD and being ready to go. Post WOD is as important as pre WOD. How you feel has a direct influence on how you perform. Don’t short change yourself and lay off the margaritas.

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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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You Might be Addicted to CrossFit

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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

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.

First Week Back

This week was my first week back and the kickoff of Whole Life Challenge, so it was a double whammy!

For those of you who are not familiar with WLC, it’s well worth it. It is an eight week program where exercise, mobility work, and perfect nutrition are the goals. It can be challenging, however it is well worth it. I lost about 10 lbs the last time, unfortunately I found it again. These things happen.

Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit, and good fats like coconut and avocado.

None of this:

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Lots of This:

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I published a blog not too long ago about Paleo. It can be expensive, time consuming, and frustrating, however if it was easy, it wouldn’t be any fun! Work with me people.

The first couple of days are the hardest because your body is clearing itself of a drug. It it is similar to other withdrawals. Speaking of which, please watch Flight if you have not already. Wow. Your body is addicted to sugar and when you take it away, your body wants it again. You will survive. You will get through it. You will feel better and perform better.

It was great to get back to CrossFit this week. Working out in a regular gym is fine but it’s not the same. I definitely pushed myself harder and got a much higher caliber of a workout. As proof, I am having a tough time walking today. Quality time with the roller is needed.

First Wod:
Nicole
20 min AMRAP
500 M Row
AMRAP pull ups

I subbed rowing for running and got six rounds and forty two pull ups. I was pretty beat afterwards. It felt great.

Second WOD:
Six Rounds
10 BW Bench Press
30 Slam Balls
100 ft BW stone carry

I scaled this down and kept the bench press weights between 185 and 205. Subbed 20 squats for slam balls and used a 115 lb. stone. I didn’t record the time. I was just glad to be done!

Third WOD:
Five Rounds
10 reps of 185 lb dead lift
15 Wall Balls

I subbed 135lbs and did the wall balls. TIme was 9:50.