Absent is Environment. The effect of anything new to you is affected - enhanced, dampened, even dismissed - by your worldview. Consider trying to sell Obama's health care plan to a fiscal Conservative, or cutting back government services to a Communist; they're not going to go for it, ever, because their frame of reference is different.
When we do CAT Testing on new clients, there's typically one glaringly obvious weakness that shines through in each. Obviously, they're inefficient at that particular fitness trait, and it's because they've adapted least to that particular stimulus.
Take this example: a human male with a lot of strength training background scores low on the Aerobic test. He's least efficient at aerobic metabolism. This means if we expose him to equal part cardiovascular activity, strength training, and METCON work, he'll adapt first to the cardio...because that's where he's least efficient.
Weight trainees (predominantly men) who have gained a little muscle under the bar become nervous about doing much aerobic activity, for fear they'll lose some muscle mass. So they walk, very slowly, on treadmills to do "cardio." Or they'll do nothing. Unfortunately, this is a vicious cycle, and it's perpetuated by bodybuilding magazines who make their dough on supplement sales (Men's Health, Men's Fitness, FLEX, and the others: all owned by supplement companies, if you trace back far enough.) Soon, guys who "work out" are scared to do ANY aerobic activity for fear of looking 'flat.'
When I started CrossFit, I quickly dropped 20lbs. It was VERY hard to adjust, mentally, to weighing under 190lbs after years of competing at Powerlifting. No, I wasn't fit; I was just strong and a bit bigger than I'd ever been. Now that I'm a more efficient runner (thanks Mike!) I'm able to gain weight without worrying about getting slower. I've adapted to the aerobic exercise.
When women start CrossFit, we advise them to lock their scales away for two months. Typically, they're starting with little muscle mass, and they'll gain muscle and lose fat at close to the same rate. They take awhile to adapt to strength training......but their clothes feel looser, they're much stronger and faster and fitter and closer to doing amazing things.
When you try anything new, you'll have an easier time if you're more aware of your current state (the environment of Your Self.) For instance, you're usually either gaining or losing weight, not staying the same, and it takes time to halt that process first before the train can start rolling in the other direction. Critics of CrossFit ("I got too skinny!") are usually those who have dropped out after the first month; they've exposed their weaknesses, but don't allow time for adaptation.
The beauty of CrossFit is that adaptation in one area doesn't require regression in another. It's NOT true that the act of rising to a "9 out of 10" as a runner means that you fall to a "2 out of 10" as a weightlifter. Not at all. These traits are NOT mutually exclusive until you reach a very elite level. Being a generalist - specializing at NOT specializing - does not mean that your target is a 5 out of 10 in all areas; it means forcing a REAL adaptation.
I'll leave you with this question: does rapid fat loss, as you'd see from a Rice Krispies (now with whole grains!,) The Biggest Loser, the South Beach Diet....force a long-term adaptation, or just a short period of physical stress? And if the latter, what do you think the adaptation will be to that stress in the long term?
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of the triplet:
Deadlift: 1 1/2 body weight
Bench press: body weight
Clean: 3/4 body weight
Set up three bars and storm through for time.
Deadlift x 15
Hang Power Clean x 12
Front Squat x 9
Jerk x 6
5 rounds for time. RX weight: Men 135, women 95. SCALABLE down to 35lbs for women, 95lbs for men.
Funny site for the day: This Is Why You're Fat.Lumberjack CrossFit lost 4 soldiers and had 11 wounded in the Nov 5th shootings at Fort Hood. On Dec 5th, we have a chance to show our support for them by doing the "Lumberjack 20." Learn more here. It's time to take care of our own. Please join us.
Row 250m for time. While one partner rows, the other partner holds two kettlebells in "rack" position; then immediately change positions. 5 rounds.
Today, Mike, Ty, Chris and Mitch will be speaking at the high school gym teachers' PD Day. Thanks Steve Caruso for inviting us to talk about CrossFit! Some of our key points:
1. The value of hard work
2. Novelty and generalized progression
3. Train movements, not muscles.
Right: scalability. Lori hits body rows while Whit demonstrates the butterfly kip.
In March 2008, we were at a crossroads. We faced an interesting dilemma: a 2-year study on exercise adherence was pointing us - shoehorning, really - toward CrossFit. It had all the elements that, we'd shown, produced long-term adherence to exercise: community, challenge, progress, novelty, and a sense of 'sport.' On the other hand, it was somewhat counter to what we'd learned in University.
You know the story: Tyler volunteered first (his original blog is here.) Then, we offered a deal to eight friends and former clients: show up for a month straight. We'll provide the space and the workout. You provide the scores.
In the Original Eight: Philsy. Kubis. Whitney. Krista. Taylor. Angela. Gabe. And one more....
But also in that eight was one hand uncounted, until recently. She attacked the WODs in 2008. She finished in the top half of participants in nearly every single workout. She provided rides for other new CrossFitters. And then....she got pregnant. And gave birth 3 months early.
A year and a half later, she sent me this message: "Dare I come back?" I invited her to watch FranFest; she did, tiny baby in tow.
Consider the story of Rip Van Winkle: asleep for a hundred years, the world moved on, abandoning him to culture shock in his own culture when he awoke. Part of the society in which he was now estranged, he had to reabsorb into the stew for which he helped write the recipe.
This was Vicki. The last time she saw CrossFit, it was just a group of eight crazies at 7pm, trying not to disrupt a Pilates group that was sharing the space. It was jumping pullups and high squats. Now, it's FranFest. The world moves on. Imagine seeing FranFest through her eyes: fourty-four participants. Dozens of spectators. Loud music and sweat and chalk and broken plates. Team T-shirts. Spectators and Super Whit.
Above: the early risers. Some of the athletes (also Ed) before the spectators arrive.
Even more impressive: the community. In the picture above, everyone knows the name of everyone else. They know who's trying Paleo eating; who just had a crazy workout personal best; who just had a birthday. They've celebrated, en masse, achievement and victory. They've grown hoarse cheering each other. They're teammates.
I'll never claim to be a good businessperson. When I met Mel Rose, I told her I was the worst salesperson in Sault Ste. Marie. I still am. The CrossFit Community has grown from within: clients dragging friends to the Saturday Morning 9am group, or needling them relentlessly to get into the OnRamp group. It's no longer about a gym. The Eight have gone forth, and multiplied over and over.
Above: the ghosts of workouts past.
In the second round, dropping into your thirteenth thruster, there's a 'blink' moment. Somewhere between the bar crashing down into 'rack position' and your butt hitting that ball, there's a little glimpse of Angie. Negotiating with that pullup bar during your final nine, you may flash back to lessons learned under Murph's hard bully pulpit.
The beauty of generalized fitness: overlap. How is it, after three months without trying Fran once, you can score a 20-second personal best? How can it be possible that, after six months Michael-free, you can have a 2:00 PR? And how do you explain, please, the idea that two women have already had personal highs in the clean and jerk today.....without trying them in three weeks?
Something's going on here. "I think mass hypnosis is unlikely and the fact that this program really works is the reason we're all here." Coach Greg Glassman
This week, we saw personal bests on Deadlift - from a guy who hadn't picked up a bar in three months. We saw ridiculous times at FranFest that can't be entirely explained away by pullup proficiency. We saw folks drop 3 minutes off their Elizabeth time without any extra practice on ring dips.
This thing we're after? It's fitness. The way we practice? Large loads over long distances, as fast as possible. The result? Faster-stronger-better.
Yes, we cuss Fran. We call her names that we wouldn't let our mothers hear us say. But she's a fair judge, isn't she? Either you're better, or you're not. You're faster, or you're guilty. Fran isn't just a workout: she's a five-minute microscope into your value system. After that first 21 pullups, you're fully exposed. You might as well be naked out there. If you skipped the strength WODs, you'll crumple. If you cherry-pick the METCON work, you'll sag. Miss a few WODs this week? Yes, the coaches will chirp you a bit. Miss a few next week? Your buddies will ask you where you've been. And a few more? It will show. Eventually, you'll want to participate in one of these workout/block parties, and the accumulation of skill - or not - will be obvious. Uncovering weakness is no reason not to participate; rather, it's all the more reason to test yourself.
Practice makes permanent. The phrase is true, whether about developing skills or habits.
Just your average amazing Tuesday night:
Catalyst Teens did a workout called, "Twins": with a partner, you split up a total of 400 squats, 400 walking lunges, 200 situps, and 200 pushups. Good times, right? But then they learned muscle-ups and butterfly kips. Meanwhile, the adult CrossFit group were banging out Push Jerks like pros....
...and at 8pm, Ray rolled in, looking for a rival. He was thinking of "Cindy." I suggested "Angie." He started warming up....
Meanwhile, Luc saw an opportunity to post the highest push jerk of the day, and HE started getting ready for a huge PR.....
Hanna-Liisa was hitting butterfly kip singles, and I challenged her to try to link a few. Her mom (the Betty formerly known as MaryAnn) happened to ask about tomorrow's CrossFit WOD.....
...and then all hell broke loose. The WOD was already posted (400m Walking Lunge.) Anna and Nancy toyed with the idea of doing it, and I recruited Sam to hit it with them. What's the difference between 'simple' and 'easy?' About 300m, it turns out. They headed off. Luc jumped under 195lbs and nailed it like it was papier-mache. Ray started churning out his warmups. Hanna-Liisa started linking butterfly kips. And then it all went into a big, frothy melee: Anna, Nancy and Sam outside, suffering; Ray pushing Angie down to her lowest limits; Luc hitting a 200 push jerk; the Littlest Lindquist grinding through butterfly kips. Just your average Tuesday.....
ALERT! We've decided, at the last minute, to run an OnRamp Group in December (starts Nov. 30.) We have 3 people signed up; to make the group fun, we need six. That means we're looking for 3 people in the next 6 days. $199 for coaching - 21 straight days - lifelong improvement - a new habit set in stone by Christmas! Can't beat it. Call 256-1344. We're only taking 3 more people!
Christmas Vacation Groups:
This year, if you're a high school student, you have an amazing opportunity to improve POWER and SPEED while your opponents are getting fat. One hour per day for five days, you'll train your heart out with Mike Watson at the Park. You'll jump, you'll throw, you'll push and pull and carry. You'll emerge from the five-day cocoon as a more powerful athlete in every way.
YOUTH SPEED AND POWER DEVELOPMENT CAMP
10am - Boys Aged 10-13
11am - Girls Aged 10-13
1pm - Men Aged 14-19
2pm - Women Aged 14-19
Okay, we admit it: FranFest was awesome! True story. 22 teams of two, 202 food donations to the Food Bank (loaded into the van in 1:33!) 4 hours of mayhem divided up into 5-minute chunks of misery. Lots of suspense as teams made it from one round to another. Some great T-shirts, a gym full of spectators, and some great stories. Tyler finished in 3:03 to break the Coach record; Ray (right, with partner Nicole Kinsell) finished in 3:14 to break the Gym record. The whole write-up is coming soon.....
The Barbell Bettys competed in their first Virtualmeet, and some amazing numbers were hit: Anna Cappelli hit 310 at a reduced bodyweight; Melissa Oikari had a ridiculously-deep 215lbs back squat. Unreal. The next day, 20 women were ready to start all over. Men: your chance is coming in January. OLY coaching from Ty Belanger and Mitch Fryia, as well as powerlifting training in a 4-day split AND some METCON work for homework. Good times!
November 30 - December OnRamp group begins, coached by Whitney Pagnucco! 21 straight days at 7am for 30 minutes. A better life. CrossFit draws the line between your couch and athleticism; OnRamp is the perfect starting spot.
December 12: King Of The Cage. Catalyst athletes Jeff Elliott, Adrian Vilaca, Ray Gowlett, and Dalton MacFarlane will enter the octogon to fight against Michigan's best in a MMA throwdown for the ages. We've got a block of 45 tickets sold, but we can always add more!
December 19 : SUPERMEET. Take the best of Powerlifting and Olympic Lifting, add a favourite CrossFit event, and compress two days' worth of heavy work into three hours. Double the monthly chalk order, and stock up on Second Skin. You'll have three hours to complete a Total (sum of your best lifts in each) in: Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Press (standing, no leg,) Squat, Deadlift, and Weighted Pullup. Take as many attempts at each as you like; prioritize your strengths as you see fit.
December 26 - Boxing Day Fun Run and Fitness Walk - Catalyst will be joining the Sault Stryders for a fun, non-timed, non-competitive event. 9am at the Water Tower.
December 28 - January 1: TEEN SPEED and POWER camps at the Park! Get more explosive! Move faster! Jump higher! Pull harder! Throw farther! A five-week, VERY intense group with Mike Watson, BHK CSCS in an environment built for athletes. Groups are split between boys and girls, and ages 10-13 and 14-18.
At this, the start of our fifth year as Catalyst Fitness, we'd like to reflect for a moment. As we mentioned in our essay, The Original Eight, CrossFit has grown from 8 volunteers, who arrived and participated uncoached in March 2008, to a huge family of athletes. None of us may have described themselves as 'athletes' when we started, but as soon as you survive one workout, you can lay claim to that title. The CrossFit community worldwide has also exploded (we were lucky enough to feature some writing by some of its best and brightest, starting with this post). We're ecstatic about that. But our core - our reason for being here - is coaching. We believe in the Japanese concept of Kaizen - continual self-improvement in all areas. Our personal trainers have personal trainers. We compete, we compare, we continually seek a higher level. Crossfit is our passion, but coaching is our career. Luckily, the two are siblings.
In January, we'll continue to increase our coaching influence with a few new evening groups - a formal Barbell Club for the guys, finally, and a better system for booking clients, reserving space in groups, and paying for sessions online. More corporate groups - coworkers who band together and book private CrossFit times - are appearing on the horizon (if this is something you're interested in, call us 256-1344.) We'll continue to prioritize solid coaching for ALL levels in the new year. Thanks for learning along with us. Merry Christmas!
"Friends come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds." - Henry Rollins
Once upon a time, Mondays may have been your "chest day." Maybe you found a bench press at GloboGym; maybe you attempted radical change by using dumbbells instead of a solid bar. Though the shine had worn off 3 sets of 8 reps looooong ago, you dutifully stuck to the khaki-coloured routine because, um, well.....
Now, you know different. You know what physical capacity means. You know what fitness feels like. You know how your nerves feel under heavy weight.
Powerlifting was borne of the 'gym lifts' performed by Olympic Lifters. Now its own 'assistance lifts' - grip work, heavy carries, shirt presses - are becoming sports with their own following, while the originals have declined in popularity. Though a very worthy sport, most people don't start Olympic Lifting for its own sake anymore; they're introduced through CrossFit, or a training program geared to another sport. Most maintain a passing acquaintance with the Clean through their athletic careers; many embrace the speedy grace of the perfect Jerk; some fall in love forever. That's us.
Though Powerlifting was our first high-school-style crush, OLY lifts have become a big deal around here. But so has work capacity. So has the element of gamesmanship. And so, too, have pullups.
In true Catalyst form, we're asking you to complete a full OLY meet: clean and jerk to max, and snatch to max. Also, a full powerlifting meet: Back squat to max. Press to max, standing. Deadlift to max. Also, a CrossFit favourite: weighted pullup to max. And we're asking you, unrealistically, to complete a max lift in all six in three hours or less.You. Bar. Chalk. Strain. A little math.
December 19, you're going for it. You have 3 hours to capture the best meet-legal total (sum of best attempts) in the Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Press, Back Squat, Deadlift, and Weighted Pullup. Order is important, but entirely your choice. 180 minutes to post a max lift in all six. You must complete all six lifts, even if some are not all-out maxes (it's easy to waste 30 minutes trying to add 5lbs to your snatch, when you could add 30lbs to your deadlift if you had extra rest time.)
Start anytime on the 19th, but your lifts have to be videotaped by Catalyst staff, and are subject to full meet rules, to be released shortly. Your 6-lift Total will not be official until approved by Catalyst Coaches. Winner gets a brand-new, sparkling spot in a brand-new category on the Record Board.
Our plans for play-by-play quickly unraveled, first off, because of the amazing turnout. Sorry, folks at home; shoulda been here. (Sorry, Joe Scott. Not your fault, we know.)
It's hard to yell and think at the same time. This is true not only in the CrossFit world, but it DOES mean that my memories of the day may be somewhat askew. Bear with me:
FIRST ROUND: we split the Flights up by bar usage. Typically, we'd have 2-3 people doing the Prescribed weight on Thrusters (95lbs men, 65lbs women) and 3-4 more scaling.
The first flight pitted some eager participants (and a couple of reluctant ones) in a crowd-welcomer. It was a battle from the start; arriving late, Esther and Calvin had to jump in with a five-minute warmup. They did admirably well, despite the cold start, but couldn't make it into the second round.
Norm and Darren have been training hard, and it showed. They PR'd in the first round, and moved right through nonstop. Toni and Betty-Lou - who signed up at 8pm on Thursday night! - had a very fast time. They were surprised, but I think they were the only ones. Jeremy and his new partner, Dave Eisler, ripped through super fast to finish first (and ultimately, second overall in Round 1.)
Flight #2 was going to be a show: Ray and his new partner, Nicole Kinsell, a 16-year-old wrestler who had posted a 4:44 Fran - as Rx'd - on her first try a few days earlier. Mike and Eden paced them through admirably. Allyson (our Food Bank rep) and Pam Didonato (amazing athlete with MS) had a great total time, and smilin' Carolle and Fran grinned their way through in a quick 15:06. Fran, who had been thrown under the CrossFit bus 3 weeks ago and showed up regularly to practice, jammed her thumb catching a bar and had to leave. Hope it's all better already, Fran! None of those "Beating Fran" jokes are about you - just the WOD!
Flight #3 pitted two coaches against one another. Lori and I faced off against "Flash Francine" and Whit, and we faced some strong competition in Philsy/Rich (the Dream Team) and Katherine and Ted Fryia. I would have loved to have had time to watch, but I was a bit busy; I do recall Whit finishing just ahead of me on the bars, but I spent the rest of the Flight looking at the ditch outside. No virgins sacrificed, but I was unable to speak for a few minutes. We finished in a good time, and were set for Round Two. Thinking Lori wouldn't be ecstatic to move on, I joked that our goal was fifth place in Round Two - respectable, but not enough to move on to Round Three. "Well, we're going to try hard!" said Lori. So we did.
Flight #4 was a show of some of the fastest women around: Alecia, Anna, Nicole Gignac, and Nancy. That bar was ready for action! Nancy and Anna had partners who were brand new to Fran, but Nicole and Alecia had really competitive men on their side. Brent Rose (with Alecia) hammered the entire first round in 1:22, and I really thought he'd finish in under 3 minutes, but he faded on the 15 pullups. Alecia and Nicole hit every single pullup (Alecia's earlier quote: "my rib came out, but I just put it back in, so I'm ready to go.". Nicole spent a few minutes focusing on the chalk bowl afterward....
Flight #5 was possibly the most entertaining. Clint showed up, ill, to find Tracy a new partner, and wound up competing. Ty and Leanne were highly-touted as a 'team to beat,' and Ty didn't disappoint, finishing in 3:03 to take the fastest Fran of the day. Michele chipped a tooth on the Thrusters, but found zero sympathy from Josh (for whom she'd paid 10 cans of food!) She turned and told him, "I broke my tooth!" He threw his hands in the air and yelled, "All right!" Meanwhile, Max and Amy quietly moved on to the second round, almost unnoticed.....
We had a small mixup announcing teams for the second round. Ty and Leanne had to remove themselves, so Ty took over the event coordination while I mentally prepared myself for Round Two. Lori was ready and eager, so she led us out of the gate. We had to face down Dave and Jer, who were now ranked first overall, and who had rested for the last hour. Toni and Betty-Lou looked ready, and Whitney and Fran looked REALLY ready. We stayed with them for the first round, but then I lost track. Toni and Betty-Lou finished extremely quickly, but paid the price with 6:00 worth of penalties for using weight that looked too light. Jeremy and Dave RIPPED it, and ultimately won ROUND TWO. In the second flight, both Alecia and Nicole Kinsell used less weight on Thrusters, and though both teams flew, the penalty wound up knocking them back a bit. Philsy and Rich, though, hammered through to finish fourth, and Max and Amy quietly took the round apart. Max told me his goal was just to 'use good form.' I think the mother-son connection helped, because their transitions were FLAWLESS.
Despite what they said, I think Philsy and Rich were pretty happy to make the Final Four. Dave and Jeremy looked STRONG out of the gate, but had a few Thrusters called back, and extra reps are very costly in this game. Max and Amy focused on technique, and that was enough to take the belt! Ray and Nicole were the fastest As Rx'd, even though they missed a few pullups and had to redo them. Nicole looked absolutely ecstatic when she won, and I'm not sure if Max has touched down yet.
Great job by all competitors. Definitely one of my favourite events to date! Thanks for the Food Bank support - 202 donations, loaded in the van in 1:33!
FranFest '09 was awesome! Thanks to the 22 teams who participated! Full write-up, including official times, to come tomorrow!
The Food Bank Challenge produced 202 items of food! Awesome job, Catalyst community! More impressive: We loaded it all in the van in 1:33!
Today: HOPPER with Coach Adrian! 9am and Noon!
This is the day we celebrate "Fran" - a notorious CrossFit workout, maligned 'round the world. Fran is quick, dirty, and unskilled. She's the subject of essays and poems and hundreds of YouTube features.
Today, 20 teams of two athletes will compete at "Fran" in a tournament - style format. For those not in the 'know,' "Fran" is:
21 Thrusters with 95lbs - 21 Pullups
15 Thrusters with 95lbs - 15 Pullups
9 Thrusters with 95lbs - 9 Pullups
...for time. Full meet rules are here.
The Park gym will resume its regular hours at NOON. Spectators are permitted; loud spectators are welcomed with open arms. Media will be present. Cost is a donation to the Food Bank (food donations, please.)
The gun goes off at 8am sharp. We'll announce the order of competition at 7:55am; please be ready to roll. See you under the bar!
Tomorrow is FranFest. You knew that. Your brain knows it; your tongue knows it; your guts know it all too well.
"Fran" is possibly the most popular CrossFit Named WOD in the world. It's a commonality that CrossFitters share, deeper than language or government stripe or 5k time. It's also the WOD most often criticized by armchair elites with a loud opinion, an internet connection, and an audience of similar drones. "How can a 3-minute workout even be HARD? You're not gonna get anything from THAT! You should just do CARDIO! I'll clean up my dishes in a MINUTE, mom! Jeez!......"
Fran's one of our favourites. It's quick, it's hard. It's a measuring stick. It's featured on one of Phil's funny T-shirts. And it's amazing to watch, when done well. Below is world record holder, Jason "Rhabdo" Kaplan, performing "Fran" in 1:53.
Months ago, I added Rhabdo on facebook. I told him what we were up to, and asked him to share some insight. This, from him, World Record Holder, to YOU, Catalyst athlete:
Learn to embrace the pain, everything must be done unbroken. Chalk up the hands only in the beginning prior to the start. The first 21 is the mountain, once you're done with that its all down hill. 15 is just keeping the flow while 9 is pure muscle powering you through till the end. Once you're done either walk away if you can, or collapse from relief that you are done.
Simple, just like Fran. CrossFit is a huge world, but also a small village. Thanks, Rhabdo.
Tomorrow morning: first groups start at 8am sharp! Be ready to party!
BONUS: A NEW ESSAY FROM JEREMY PAQUIN!
I first met her at my local gym. It was a cold Saturday morning in February. She wanted to hang out, and I couldn’t see any harm in that. It was a lovely setting really, with good lighting, appropriate music, few people around.
Almost immediately I sensed I was in over my head. She was a mere 45lbs on that first date, but this girl was downright demanding. I was left winded after some ten minutes. I was not impressed. Maybe I’ll call you later I said.
Winter turned to spring and I had had a change of heart. She showed up at the gym again and this time I wanted to seriously impress her. Our second date followed a gruelling week at the gym. Despite this, I felt confident that I could hold my own.
Things started off alright but she had gained some weight over the winter. I had not rested well or eaten properly before our encounter. My performance was nothing short of awful. I became upset and uncharacteristically swore. I mean, the bad swear. The one that starts with f. We lasted nine minutes something rather.
Months went by and I never thought of her much. I had become, almost, afraid.
During the summer months I asked for advice, watched videos, even took lessons. I broke down the whole process into parts, determined to make things work. This time, I promised, the result would be different. I showed up dressed in my best attire, in the right frame of mind, and well rested.
In and out in exactly five minutes and forty eight seconds. I was happy after our third date. Smiling.
Foolishly, I thought it was all uphill from this point. I could rule this girl. Or so I thought.
She called again this fall, eager. I dove right in but found myself frantically gasping for air after only two minutes, perspiring after three, dizzy at four, and staggering at the five minute mark. I had underestimated her. And she dropped me at precisely six minutes and one second. Not only was I humbled by our fourth date, I was afraid again.
Dejected, I reluctantly asked her out a fifth time. This one was a real slugfest, however, I had experience on my side, mental toughness, several months of intense training, and determination. I managed my best performance to date: 5 minutes 34 seconds.
Look for her this weekend. She is a burly gal, and she calls herself Fran.
Right: Leanne Givens, Thursday Night Betty, and one of my personal heroes.
Tomorrow is FranFest! Whether you're participating or not, it will make for a GREAT experience! Come watch and support! Entry by donation of food to the Food Bank! Let's fill up Allyson's van!
At noon today, we'll have a very special treat: a few nice words of encouragement from a CrossFit all-star, and a hilarious new essay from a local CrossFit star, Jeremy Paquin. Stay tuned.....
With a running clock, perform as many ring pullups as possible. As soon as you have to drop from the rings, do a 250m row as quickly as possible, then restart. Your goal is as many ring pullups as possible in 20:00.
Right: OnRamp highlights from Saturday.
This Saturday is FranFest! The teams are set - 26 in all!
The media has been alerted! Canned food is arriving in large quantities!
OnRamp will start again November 30! This is the first announcement we've made....and it's already half full! $200 for 21 straight days of elite instruction, coaching, motivation.....and a lifelong habit!
And now, the bad news: You, Ms. "Night Shift," are an athlete. Sorry.
Somewhere in those flipping calendar pages, you changed. Physically, at least, you underwent an evolution that can only be triggered by challenge. Mentally, you may not have changed. At least, not yet.
First, the litmus test:
1. When you woke up this morning, and saw Fran, was your first reaction anxiety?
2. Have you changed your eating habits today to avoid that trek outside to the ditch, post-Fran?
3. Do you accept that, worst-case, you may have to sacrifice that virgin to the Fran volcano?
Doesn't matter if you answered "yes" to any of them, because the first question was a trick: if you woke up this morning and checked the WOD, you win! Cue lights and bells!
And now for the painful part. Barker's Beauties, tell 'em what they've won!
If your body accepts this new reality, but you haven't yet mentally embraced the notion of You 2.0, that creates discord. And discord makes you dizzy. Discord makes your fingers tremble and your guts knot.
If you're behaving like an athlete, but eating like a nonathlete - ditto sleeping, recovering - then your sport will suffer. And you'll suffer, too: more than necessary.
Every WOD, you have to cross a line into athleticism. The workout demands it, and you do it. I've seen you do it. But you don't have to cross back into "normal" afterward. You don't have to pull that yellow cardigan back over your head when you get home. Crossing and recrossing, entering and exiting that competitive domain, is painful. Entry has a huge cost, and there's no one stamping your hand at the door. Why do you insist on going out for the metaphorical smoke every half hour, and then paying to re-enter?
We're not asking for a lifestyle change. You made THE BIG CHANGE weeks - months, years? - ago. The hard part's done.
We're not asking for you to ditch your friends. We're asking you to evaluate your 'down time' activity: does it help? Does it hurt?
We're not asking you to give up beer or donuts or Saturday Night. We're just asking you to think, while you're sitting on the edge of the treadmill. Ask, "If I'd known that 'Angie' was going to come up today, would I have eaten differently yesterday? Would I have gone to bed at 10pm instead of watching 'The Office'? Would I have balanced my breakfast better?" Then take your own advice.
You're a competitive athlete. You have a coach; you have teammates; you have fans and an arena and team colours and a competitive schedule. Do your best.
A young man's sad tale of being left at the Fran altar: On Monday morning, Josh Deluco was unceremoniously dumped by his FranFest partner. The excuse: work commitment (can you say, "it's not you, baby; it's me"). Josh needs a new partner. This is his plea.
Hair: Brown Eyes: Blue
Height: 5'10" Weight:
Fight Gone Bad: 388 Clean and Jerk: 235lbs Deadlift: 455
Want Josh for a partner? Call today and pledge food for the Food Bank! We'll start the bidding at 10 cans!
Fran" Three rounds, 21-15- and 9 reps, for time of: 95 pound Thruster Pull-ups
Three rounds, 21-15- and 9 reps, for time of:
95 pound Thruster
Week 1, I stood in front of 15 ladies and gave them the kind of speech I would g ive my football team before the season. “Commitment, ladies. I need you to commit yourself for 6 weeks.” As they raised their eyebrows and swapped recipe secrets during me speech, I could tell they had no idea what they were about to put themselves through. I had to get them focused on our main goal, which was a conveniently timed Power Lifting meet on Virtualmeet.net, and not the fact that they would be telling the guys in the gym to, “Get out of the cage, I gotta squat.” After repeating the word commitment over and over like a bad used car sale radio commercial, they started to see how serious and passionate I was about this 6 week pilgrimage.
Before they even touched a weight, they had to buy into being a Barbell Betty. A strong, but still beautiful, Betty. I knew the buy in wasn’t going to be easy for some ladies, especially after what I was about to tell them next. “No cardio”. Gasp! It was like I told them there was a 2 for 1 sale on diamonds. They were shocked. I was shocked they all stayed. This was good. They wanted to be stronger and this was the next step.
The passion of lifting grew like wildfire throughout the ferocious 15. Scattered throughout those 15 were leaders, motivators, swearers and skeptics, all working together towards a common goal. They were out of their comfort zones, becoming a team, and seeing progress. But more importantly, they were doing.
It wasn’t easy. Ladies walking in sore, unable to squat but not wanting to sit out and squatting anyway! Ladies getting their very first box jump! Ladies box jumping on a 29 inch box! Belting up! Squatting with the big scary red plates after 2 weeks! Ladies actually FAILING on squats and bench and living to tell about it! Jumping squats with a bar on their back! After failing, screaming out ONE MORE SET! Lets go up 5 more pounds! It wasn’t easy.
Now I don’t have kids, but on meet day, I felt like a proud father with his video camera sitting in the first row watching their first recital. Only thing was this recital had a little less glitter and didn’t take place in a magical forest. I saw a 310 deadlift, multiple 100+ bench presses and , squats so low with 200lbs you would have thought the plates were Styrofoam. I saw ladies helping each other with form, taking plates off and putting plates on for one another. I saw ladies have 25lb PR’s in their deadlift. I saw ladies really, really mad they couldn’t lift a certain weight and try until we had to kick them out of the gym.
Thank you ladies. Thank you for committing to a rough 6 weeks. I was so proud of all of you and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to coach you. Your success was a direct reflection of your attitude, so keep it up! You are strong, you are beautiful.
Barbell Ken aka. Coach Tyler
HOPPER DAY! Adrian will roll those bones at 9 and noon!
HUGE lifts at the Barbell Bettys Virtualmeet yesterday, and more to come this morning! Can't wait to see all the video!
Five rounds for time of:
Run 800 meters
2 pood Kettlebell swing, 30 reps
Tomorrow, our Barbell Bettys will compete at their first Virtualmeet. Prepare for some big numbers!
Good luck this weekend at the SSMAC Swim Meet! Lots of local swimmers (and Catalyst clients!) going for National-level placements!
Also, NOSSA Football on Saturday! Go Dunn go!
Alternate: Clean and Jerk 1-1-1-1-1-1-1
This is Phil Strickler's essay, on the topic of CrossFit as the Sport of Fitness:
A good coach will push your limits because most of us won’t go the extra mile if left on our own. We have become the” good enough society “happy just to sweat a little. Crossfit is a whole new dynamic and so is the breed of athletes who answer the call. Their mentality is different “I will push myself” “I will accept this challenge and persevere” .This is not a new fad of exercise marketed to the masses. It is a sport for those who want something more then what’s being offered.
With every sport you train for you’re going to have to suffer a little to reach your potential and crossfit is no different. However, a crossfit athlete differs in their attitude and internal drive to be more. To push those limits, and break down the barriers that held us back from reaching our potential .The crossfit athlete is probably one of the most educated people you will find in the gym today. They know what a real meal plan is, they know how to work the muscles to maximize results, they have mastered technique and they know how to have fun in the process. You could say they are the MMA of fitness.
But still you can have injuries or are they rather a badge of honour? Legs so sore you can’t walk right but you got sub 5 on firefight. Palms of your hands so shredded that it hurts to wash them, but you mastered kipping pull-ups. Arms so sore you can’t reach to the back of the shelf but you got a new PR in Angie. Everyone pushes, what their willing to sacrifice depends on the individual and what’s at stake. Crossfit is our sport and we play to win.
30 Wall Ball
10 Burpee Pullups
3 rounds for time.
This WOD is to honour MCpl Scott Vernelli of the Sault, who was killed in Afghanistan one Sunday in the spring..
Last night, CBC (The National) featured Scotty's story, as told by his wife. Click "Olivia's Hero" to watch the 7-minute segment. But fist, grab a box of tissue....
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
FranFest is November 21. Less than two weeks to meet with your partner, practice Thrusters, and get your kip in line!
FranFest '09 Rules
Entry: donation to the Food Bank (bring canned goods!)
Random Pool Results:
Leanne Givens / Tyler Belanger
Sandy Bunting / Michele Irwin
Jeremy Paquin / Jo Ann Bailey
Rich Leblanc / Phil Strickler
Allyson Schmidt / Miranda Mayhew Stadnisky
Jim Liguori / Ray Gowlett
Norm Jaehrling / Darren Lindquist
Katherine and Ted Fryia
Kathleen McGuire / Greg Beharriel
Joe and Nancy Leblanc
Mike Watson / Eden Boyko
Brent Rose / Alecia Hemphill
Whitney Pagnucco / Mitch Fryia
Josh Deluco / Brad Rennison
Anna Cappelli / Nello Iannelli
Chris Cooper / Lori Bychko
Carolle Robinson / Fran Giroux
Clint Snider / Tracy Gardiner
Esther and Calvin Gartshore
Gabe Wetzel and Nicole gignac
Post time to comments.
"Filthy Fifty" (aka "Chuck Norris")
50 Box jump, 24 inch box
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Double unders
Happy 2nd Birthday, Orry!
OnRamp starts today! 7am downtown! Coach Whitney presiding!
At 9am today, Adrian will spin that little wheel, and the next 20 minutes of your life will ride on the outcome. At noon, we'll do it again! Win the challenge, you've earned the right to name it! Miss it, and it's gone forever.....
How do we decide? Download the rules sheet:
Sweet salvation, for the price of a punch card. Let's roll!
While 1 partner rows 250m, the other performs Thrusters with Fran weight. Positions are changed as soon as 250m is reached. After 3 rounds, the partner with the most Thrusters wins.
Tomorrow: Don't miss our first "Hopper" Challenge at 9am! Entry by punch card!
OnRamp starts Monday!
Monday: Names from the "Randoms" list will be drawn for FranFest! Get entered by Sunday at 2pm!
With a continuously running clock do one pull-up the first minute, two pull-ups the second minute, three pull-ups the third minute... continuing as long as you are able.
Use as many sets each minute as needed.
To track your scores today, please go to www.wodomatic.com. We've changed our Tracking software URL! Entries made to the old site may not transfer over, so if you're missing content from yesterday, please re-enter.
This is a video from Mark Twight, one of the original CrossFit affiliates. After a legal battle, he decided to go his own way; his methods are similar to CrossFit now, but considerably longer (somtimes 3 hours+ for workouts.) He's a terrific writer, and one of our early CrossFit heroes.
Coaching CrossFit Total today, wringing the last of my voice from my exhausted throat, I was asked about my first 300lbs deadlift. It's been a looooooong time since that happened, but the story will be familiar to many of you:
100lbs: after months of doing floor presses and curls with textbooks in my room, door closed, while I was supposed to be studying, by parents relent and finally bought me a set of weights for Christmas. They were golden and beautiful and filled with concrete. They came complete with a chart of "weight lifts" by Joe Weider (or was it York?) which I followed faithfully for approximately 9 days. Included in the chart: cleans, squats, floor press, snatch, sumo high pull, and deadlifts. Realizing the futility of working only with these limiting exercises, I switch to the REAL moneymakers: biceps curls and pec flyes. I can actually remember calling the barbell the "curl bar."
200lbs: foggy, but definitely while in Illinois, doing Men's Health workouts verbatim. While trying to "add 12 pounds of ripped muscle by tonight!" I pile some tiny weights on a deadlift bar in the "fitness centre" and try not to attract any attention. Biggest concern: setting the bar down too quickly and making the plates clang! together.
300lbs: after closing hours, lights off, in the fitness equipment store where I worked. Tennis shoes and steel plate on indoor/outdoor carpeting by the light of the computer monitor. I was reading a lot of Fred Hatfield at the time (Dr. Squat) and had decided to try powerlifting as a way to bulk up. Without a gym membership, I secretly use the bars, plates, and cages at night, being careful to replace them just so every time. More than once, I have to repaint the TuffStuff cages from bailing on my squat attempts. On the upside, I've since purchased more cages than I sold there.
400lbs: at Northern Lights Health and Fitness on Gore Street. Doing a linear periodization program by the percentages, I grind out the ugliest deadlift I've seen before or since. Yelling in my ear is Kieran Foley, the only other soul in the gym at 6am. He probably doesn't remember. Having hit my all-time goal, I decide never to deadlift again. The next day, I decide to deadlift every day for the rest of my life.
435lbs: First meet at Kinross prison. On the way through the border (this was pre-9/11,) the guard asks where we're headed. In the front of the truck, the Morgan brothers respond, "powerlifting meet with the inmates." Looking at me: "Where's HE going?" Mike Morgan: "He's the bait."
500lbs: Wolverine Open APF Meet in Grand Haven, MI. I'm already disqualified for bombing out on the bench press, but the meet organizer figures there's no harm in letting me deadlift anyway. I shake all the way up, but the bar keeps moving and I keep squeezing. Somewhere, there's a picture of me giving that bar the finger afterward, but it's all black. The referees call me for hitching. No lift.
510lbs, meet legal: Outdoor meet, back at Kinross Prison. Missing most of his teeth, the scorekeeper rushes me into a decision. "What's your best?" he says. "500lbs two weeks ago, but I got called for hitching. I'm thinking about 480 or 485 next." He writes down 510. I do it. The sky turns white midway through the lift.
There's been more since, but that's another story. Or two.
Back squat, 1 rep
Shoulder Press, 1 rep
Deadlift, 1 rep
This is a critical test for the measurement of strength. It feels like a Powerlifting meet, and will have a similar effect: elevated appetite, overall fatigue by late afternoon, chalk prints on your coat....
Required reading: The 1-1-1-1-1
Right: Coach Coop in Kinross Prison. Everyone else in the picture is an inmate. Below: Coach "Ken" trying out a squat suit before our KCF meet last Christmas. He works up to 465 in this video; he hit 480 easily in the 'pen.
No matter how much you clench, you can't control the Universe.
The car payment's due, and that rust spot is starting to grow.
Billy's failing algebra. Gas prices are going up.
Work is getting stressful. The union's got its back up again, and there's no work.
H1N1 is coming on quick. Too quick. And the baby's starting to cough....
Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense.
Starting Sunday morning at 9am, your workout is going to take on a new immediacy. When you arrive at the Park, Adrian will roll the Hopper and pick the workout - ON THE SPOT. You know that feeling when you check the site, first thing in the morning, and see the WOD? Well, mi amigo, that's you ripping the band-aid off as fast as you can. This? This is peeling it away with agonizing slowness.
You want to feel control in life? Tackle something beyond your control. If you can handle the Hopper, you can handle anything.
CrossFit TO's great article on Hopper WODs
Sunday Mornings at 9am: Sweet Repentance for the price of a punch card.
1 Tire Flip - 10 Jumps Onto The Tire
10 Rounds for time.
- or -
AMRAP in 12:00:
5 Push Press (65% bodyweight)
15 Box JumpsHappy birthday, PJ!
This was the mantra given to 17 women in our Barbell Bettys group on October 5. What started as a private instructional group for women on the ways of the barbell has turned into a loud scrum. Every Monday and Thursday night, women do the unthinkable:
They put chalk on their hands.
They lift weights that aren't even pink.
They - on purpose! - sometimes sweat. Right through their t-shirts!
And get this: they don't even wear gloves!
Yes, there are strong ribbons of femininity running through those layers of concrete: headbands, knee socks, lululemon. Stretchy pants and pink shoelaces come crashing up against loud music, yelling, and personal best deadlifts.
If women need anything in life, it's strength. This is true whether we prefer it to be, or not. To further paraphrase Coach Rip: Strong is why we are here.
Men are naturally stronger. But you've heard the old joke, right? About Grace Kelly doing everything Fred Astaire could do, but backwards and in high heels? Well, here's the thing, gentlemen: while you're thinking, "Gotta get this PR. Gotta crank. C'mon, grip and rip, baby!" a woman has to also think, "Would my grandma tell me not to lift weights? How does my butt look while I'm deadlifting? Is my hair going to fall in my eyes while that bar's going overhead? Is my boyfriend going to make fun of me again tonight? Are my muscles going to look too prominent? Should I care? What if I get calluses from this? Will I have to do the 'full shower' before returning to work, or can I get away without redoing my hair?"
All this, while lifting stuff that most men wouldn't attempt. In the last month, we've had a 300 deadlift; we've had a 185lbs back squat for 3 reps; we've had bench presses over 130lbs. Soon, the Bettys will be throwing Cleans around; bouncing Snatches off the platforms; locking Jerks overhead. Soon, they'll compete in their first Powerlifting Meet, live and on a world stage.
Further reading: One Woman's Request (CrossFit Watertown, by Lisbeth Darsh)
The Return of Strong Women (Catalyst Gym, Coach Coop)
Primal Strength Training for Women (Mark's Daily Apple)
6 Weeks - Mondays at 7pm - Park location - Starts November 16
$80 - Members; $125 - Non-members (includes membership for the length of the course)
To register: 256-1344