Getting Ready for Competition

It seems like there is a CrossFit box on every corner with more scheduled to open. This results in many choices for CrossFitters as each place is a little different. It also seems to result in more “competitions”. It’s a great day. Pay $50 – $100, get a few WOD’s in, compete against your friends, get a T-shirt. ALL SET!!!

Competition is important in advancing your growth both in CrossFit and your personal growth. I am a big advocate of competing with yourself in each WOD and also competing with other members who are of similar physical state or a little better. How else would you get better? Organized competitions are part of the CrossFit Kool-Aid. It doesn’t feel like a cult when we are around a bunch of people who are just like us! There are multiple options so be sure to search the net for any in your area. Kylie and I finished our second competition last week and below are some of my suggestions based on our experiences.

First off, I would to thank the folks who put together the competition, http://www.capitalthrowdown.com. Everything was started on schedule, or early and all of the volunteers were very helpful. It was a perfect example of how a competition should be run.

Research:
Visit the website for the competition. There will be different groups such as Scaled, Rx, and Elite. Look at the requirements for each and see which best suits you. Be honest with yourself and your skill level and pick the right group so that you are challenged. Winning isn’t everything, getting better and doing something you haven’t done before is more important.

Check out the WODs from the last competition. Chances are there will be some similarities. I think it is safe to say you can count on wall balls, some sort of sit up, pull up, rowing, burpees, single unders or double unders and some sort of strength movement like a deadlift or cleans, if you are doing the scaled version.

Train for Competing:

Be ready to be judged! It is not like a regular class where the trainer is watching another 8-12 people. A judge will be assigned to you and will watch every rep! No “good enough”. Either you squatted below parallel or you get the feared “NO REP!”. I got dinged on thrusters so Kylie got to do all of them! Sorry honey.

Watching, judging, judging some more.

Watching, judging, judging some more.

Where am I going with this? Wall balls will be in a WOD for the comp, so make sure any time you do wall balls you squat to full depth, get the ball over the line, and make sure the ball touches the wall. Aim small, miss small. Don’t aim for the line, aim for a crack in the concrete block just above the line and try to hit that crack. You may miss the crack; however, you’ll hit the wall every time. Another one is Ab-mat sit ups. Hands go on your your shoulders, back and head touches the floor, sit up and your elbows have to touch your knees. Hands do not leave your shoulders, otherwise,…NO REP! Do them this way every time.

Be Prepared:

Bands, rollers, lax ball, yoga mat, chalk, Oly shoes, jump rope, and tape. Bring them. Progenex, shaker bottle, coconut water, food, regular water, and beer. Bring them too. Camp chair, towels, Bio Freeze or Ben Gay, TP, and hand sanitizer. Be prepared for a port-a-potty. A tent isn’t necessary but does help if the sun is out. We take one and I recommend it. My point is, you have been doing CrossFit for a while if you are doing a competition so you already have a good idea of what you may need, so bring it. No such thing as over packing.

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EAT!

I screwed up on this part. I don’t like to eat much before I work out so, of course, I didn’t eat much during the day. Our heats went at 8:30am, 11:30am, and 1:00pm. We left our house at 5:45am, met up with everyone, and got on the road about 6:20am. It took an hour to get there. By the time we got there, got unpacked, and set up the tent, it was just about time to go in for the orientation. Next thing you know, it’s 8:30am and I hadn’t eaten much or warmed up, so the first WOD sucked.

My point is make sure you are well fueled. Otherwise you’ll be flat all day and perform poorly. We brought food, I just didn’t eat much of it. I had a couple of Progenex shakes throughout the day however they are not the same as real whole food.

Warm Up:

Going in to a WOD cold leads to bad performance and injury. Use the down time to stretch and roll everything out. The Box had a nice warm up area set up with weights, Airdynes, a rower, kettle bells, etc. Use the stuff that is provided or bring your own. Most of the competitions I have been to also have massage therapy on-site and maybe somebody who uses kinesology tape, so take advantage! It’s free and if you like the service you can spread the word on Social Media.

Cheer Everyone On:

For many people it may be their first competition so cheer them on. Not all of us are elite and it’s still like the first day of school out there. How many people do you know who like to have strangers watch them sweat? Not many probably. Some cheers of encouragement go a long way.

Be Nice to Everyone:

Thank the volunteers. They gave up their day or weekend so you could compete. We are all part of the same cult so introduce yourself to others. Stick around afterwards and have a few cocktails. Ever been to a dry CrossFit event? Nope. Me either. Always a good time afterwards.

SO, what competition are you signing up for?

CrossFit Rook

Ten Things That Will Happen When you Start CrossFit

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CrossFit is taking over. Chances are above average there is at least one Box within five miles of your house, and another getting ready to open. It is taking over because it works. It is a holistic approach to fitness that incorporates strength, cardio, flexibility, nutrition, and a bunch of other good stuff.

Thinking about starting? You should if you want any of the following to happen:

10) You will be Excited/Nervous/Apprehensive

Everybody had a first day and had the same feelings. It is the same as the first day of school or your first day at a new job. Most of the members are nice and are welcoming. Every place has one or two who aren’t friendly and that’s fine. Find the ones who are and hang out with them. Surround yourself with good people and good things happen.

9) Finishing Last is OK

Everybody finishes last at least once. I still do. It is part of learning. Try not to sacrifice form for time. Scaling is a good thing. The trainer will be able to help determine the right weight or the right substitute. It takes time and lots of practice to get better, however it does happen! Push yourself at every WOD. Always give 100%.

8) Getting Beat Up

No, not by the bully. Muscles that you didn’t even know you had will hurt. You will get strains, pulls, pops, tweaks, cracks, and creeks. Knees, ankles, and shoulders will be swollen and sore. It is part of the fun. There is a difference between good hurt and bad pain. Talk to your trainer and let them know what is happening. They can make recommendations. Stretching and ice packs are your friend. I have one on my knee right now.

7) These Workouts are HARD……and Rewarding

I started at a local gym when I was 16. Basic lifting with some cardio. I did that for fifteen years before I started CrossFit. I do not remember having a workout so difficult that I laid on the floor flat on my back, unable to catch my breath. Now it happens two or three times a week.

6) Make some very good Friends

We have met so many great people at CrossFit, we don’t remember what it was like before we met them. They become your support group. Everyone is going through the same WOD’s together, so you better cheer each other on.

5) Paying more Attention to what you eat

Good stuff in, good stuff out. Whole Life Challenge, Whole Thirty, Paleo, Zone, etc. Ten to one your local Box will host nutritional seminars or have a challenge which will help you eat better. Once you eat better, you will perform better.

4) Competitiveness

After a few weeks the competition gene will kick in. It’s natural. We aren’t that long out of the caves. Our ancestors called competition “survival”. This can be a blessing and a curse all in one. Try to compete only against yourself for a while. Competing against the elite athletes is a sure-fire path to disappointment. Set realistic goals and expectations.

3) Going all in

It can easily become obsessive. The gear, shoes, clothing, food, etc. It’s a great cult! Some people CrossFit to get better at other sports and some CrossFit to get better at CrossFit. It doesn’t matter. Doing CrossFit properly and eating better will make your more healthy and improve your quality of life. Give it a few months before you drop two bills on the Romaleos. They help however they are pricey.

It won’t take long before all of your family and friends know you are a CrossFitter. It will be plastered on your Facebook page and it’s all you’ll talk about. It is fine.

2) Surprise, You’re a Beast

Things that you immediately thought you couldn’t do, you will do, and it will feel awesome. You will start repping out heavy dead lifts, squatting more than you weigh, and then following it up with a run or getting on the rower. Double Unders will become second nature. Yanking lbs over your head while in a full squat, otherwise known as the snatch, will get easy. Alright, easier.

1) Why did I Wait so Long to try CrossFit?

I don’t know. Why did you?

You will notice improvements in any sports you play. Also in your professional and personal life. I am sure you have heard “get your head right and your body will follow.” The opposite is true as well. Get your body right and your head will follow. No sense in getting in shape before you try CrossFit. Just try it.

I hope you decide to take advantage of the free session offered by CrossFit boxes. It is well worth it!

Wow, I Got Old Quick!

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We did Angie on Sunday at CrossFit Everlast and I am still pretty beat up. We are going on three days here! What happened? I know….I turned 36, that’s what happened. Time flies when you love craft beers!

Went to rehab last night for my knee, which is doing well, it’s just sore. They started me on box jumps which felt great. Everything is super tight so lots of stretching today.

I am skipping the gym today for the sake of recuperation. Swimming at lunch which usually helps because: 1) the water is cold as hell, which means it’ s like ice, and 2) you can stretch while swimming, in particular my lats are a little angry right now.

1200 yards
16 lengths
8 lengths
4 x 4 lengths
4 x 2 lengths

link for those of you are interested in swimming a mile: Click Here

Alright, time to go to work. Have fun out there.

CrossFit Everlast; Grand Opening,…ANGIE.

Today is the grand opening of CrossFit Everlast. We are heading to the 10am class which is everybody’s favorite WOD….Angie. Good times all around. For those of you who have not experienced Angie, lucky dogs:

100 pull ups
100 push ups
100 sit ups
100 squats

You have to finish the pull ups to move on to the push ups, and so on.

Today was a lot of fun. Great turn out and I’ll share any photos that are posted on Facebook. My time was 28 minutes and change. I’ll take it.

It’s a great facility with a kid’s room, strength area, rowers, airdynes, stones, Viper Press, etc. There wasn’t anything missing. Great coaches with Bret, Zach, Ryan, Toni, and Rae. Our friends from Uberfit were also on site.

Seven Weeks After ACL Surgery

I’m done. I’ve had it. I am ready to get back to normal and get back to CrossFitting. Being a globo gym goer sucks. Alright, in all seriousness I am happy and fortunate that my knee is coming along really well and I am able to do quite a bit of stuff. Box jumps, running, snatches, etc. are still a ways away, however it could be a lot worse!

What was it like?

The first week consisted of:

  • sit in chair
  • elevate leg
  • ice knee
  • flex quad
  • lay on bed
  • eleveate leg
  • ice knee
  • flex quad

Luckily the pain wasn’t bad. The day after the surgery was the worst, as is expected because the anaesthesia wore off, as did the fun pain meds the nurse gave me afterwards. I don’t know what they were, but they were GOOD! I was off the percocet after three days and off the crutches after seven days.

Rehab:

I started rehab five days after the surgery, three days a week for six weeks. Then twice a week for four weeks, then once a week for four more weeks, and then as needed. My recommendation is to find a smaller place where you work with only one physical therapist. I think that would be a better experience. The rehab is challenging. Many of the exercises look easy. Only when you try one do you realize you have zippy for strength in your leg and it’s unstable as all hell. Good times. Do your exercises no matter what. The more often you do them, the sooner you regain strength and the sooner you are back to normal.

Gym Time:

After three weeks i was cleared to go back to the gym and do upper body stuff. Nothing that involved my knee. So I did some bench presses, shoulder work, curls, etc. but decided they really wouldn’t help me get back to CrossFit so I focused on bodyweight exercises like push ups, sit ups, dips, and pull ups. I was also cleared to swim which was a bonus. After the fourth week I was ok’d to do dead lifts and squats, but nothing over 150 lbs. I was also cleared to do leg presses and calve raises.

What’s Left?

My next appointment is the first week in March and at that point I should be allowed to start jogging which I am looking forward too, surprisingly. I know it sounds weird considering how often I vocalize my previous opposition to running. I am really looking forward to running again. Weird.

I also have to continue to work on strengthening the muscles around the knee to increase stability. Lots of band work, muscle flexing, standing on one leg….fun, fun, fun.

I plan on going back to CrossFit the middle of February which will be three months post op. I will not be able to do box jumps or high impact lifts like snatches but I will be able to do the majority of the movements, just not heavy. I am really ready to be back at it. I miss the people and the competition. It will also coincide withy he start of Whole Life Challenge, round two.

My advice is to get it done as soon as it happens. I waited twelve years and that was probably a bad idea. I caused damage to other parts of my knee because of it.

The Ten CrossfitRook Commandments

Below are ten  tips I have learned during my CrossFit experience. I don’t always follow them, however when I do, I usually have better results. Please feel free to comment and add your tips.

10) Show up Mentally and Emotionally Prepared

It is an hour of your day. Be ready to go when you get to the box. Leave family and work stress at the door. This is your time. If your head isn’t right, the WOD won’t be right either.

9) Drink the Kool-Aid

Is CrossFit kind of like a cult? Sure is. We wear funny looking shoes, have our own language, and we talk about it all of the time. Get a few of us together and others will look at us like we have two heads. It is O.K. It is a good cult. We want everyone to be healthy and to succeed. Now, if your trainer shows up wearing a white robe, and asks you to drink the actual Kool-Aid, turn around and run.

8) Compete Against Yourself

CrossFit is definitely moving into the mainstream. ESPN 2 now regularly shows the Games. It is easy to fall into a trap of comparing yourself to the professional athletes, or the elite athletes at your local box. Try not too. Track your times and weights for the WOD’s. You will notice that you are getting stronger and faster, keep competing against yourself or against other team members who are similar.

7) Don’t Scale Only to be Faster

I often fall into this trap. I am worried about time so I sub ring rows for pull-ups    because I can do them faster. Guess what? I am good at ring rows and still suck at pull ups. Not quite what I wanted. Check with your trainer and ask their opinion. If it is a WOD that is supposed to be fast, it might be OK to sub. The only way you get better at the movements is to practice,…a lot.

6) YES YOU CAN!

One of the beauties of CrossFit is that any WOD can be scaled. There are substitutes if you have not yet mastered HSPUS or DU’s; however don’t talk yourself out of it if you haven’t even tried it! Give it an honest effort and then sub if needed.

5) Do the Whole Warm-Up

O.K., so the three legged dog looks dumb as hell and I hate baby elephant, but guess what, you have to warm up the muscles and stretch to reduce the chance of injury. Don’t, and you’ll be out of action for a while.

4) Celebrate the Wins

Don’t always focus on the weights you didn’t do, focus on the records you set. Every box has a bell for PR’s, ring it! You are going to get stronger and faster. You will accomplish things that you previously thought weren’t possible. Be happy!

3) ]Don’t Stop, you are not Going to Catch your Breath

It may sound odd, however it happens to me quite often. I am in the middle of doing a WOD and I feel like if I just got ten or fifteen seconds, I could catch my breath and then finish out. It doesn’t happen and instead my time is a lot longer. Just keep going, try not to stop.

2) Nutrition is Just as More Important than Exercise

Proper Nutrition is the Foundation

The image above shows that nutrition is the foundation. GIGO. Garbage In, Garbage Out. Changes to your diet such as following Paleo will result in quicker and bigger gains. You are asking your body to do more so don’t you need better fuel?

1) Listen to Your Trainer

Your trainer wasn’t born knowing all of the movements and lifts. They made mistakes and learned the correct form. Listen to them. They want to make sure you get a quality workout and are not injured.