Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Push Through It

It's a strange thing when out of the blue you seem to have no strength or stamina. For me, things have been going great. I'm thoroughly enjoying my training regimen. It's a fantastic variance of movements, weight volume/load, and time domains balanced with a good dose of Olympic Lifting. I've been generally strong and full of energy- with exception of those days where fatigue from heavy training lingers in your next wod. And then suddenly, without warning, I'm hit with two consecutive days of fatigue, some joint pain, and lack of desire to train. Weird.

So today was day two of this madness. I was attempting to overhead squat 3 sets of max reps@ body weight and on my first set I failed after just 2 reps. There was a fairly strong pain in my wrists and I was generally fatigued and had no stability. Upset at my effort I went in for round two. This time, I took a deep breath, pressured up, and went for it. I got to rep 5 and without losing my balance or missing an attempt, I dropped the weight, again because my wrists hurt and I felt like I was out of gas. This time I was really upset. I contemplated hanging it up for the day. Even my box audience (aka Kyle) recommended I give it a rest. I thought about it for a moment and asked myself, "when was the last time you really pushed through pain?"

As an athlete, pushing through pain or discomfort was always a way of life. You just get used to it after a while. But it occurred to me, that besides pushing through your average metcon and the discomfort that comes along with the metobolic nature of the programming, I had not dug deep and REALLY pushed through any significant pain lately. So I grabbed the tape, taped up my wrist and got back on the bar. This time I was determined. I picked up the bar, popped it up over my head and went for it. 1,2,3...7,8,9, and on the tenth rep fought to the top but didn't quite make it. In fact in was kind of an ugly miss- an asymmetrical happening if you will. Nonetheless, I PR'd by 3 reps. For this moment, I was happy.

Now, I'm not suggesting an athlete push through all pain all the time. It could be something serious and you might be doing more harm than good. But there are moments when knowing how to push through it will make you better both mentally and physically.

OH Squat
3 sets max reps@BW


400m Run
21 KB Swings (53)
12 C2B Pull Ups


And yes, the fatigue and lack of strength set back in for the metcon. Good thing tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Short and Sweet

Photo courtesy of Catalyst Athletics.

Coaching, technique, olympic lifting skill also courtesy of Catalyst Athletics.

Finaly a heavy lift and a short Metcon. Im back in my element baby.

Back Squat



21, 15, 9 Deadlift (155)
30, 20, 10 GHD Sit Up

Me- 5:31

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Many people are uncomfortable with complete Intensity. Especially when it comes to really pushing beyond their limits. But why? Is it simply the physical discomfort? A lack of confidence? Or perhaps too little preparation? I think it’s more than that. I believe that deep down its fear of failure.

To me bringing the intensity starts with a deep rooted burning desire for something. Forgive my hippie-ness here but it’s living in the moment: “the here, and now.” Wanting something so bad that you push yourself to animalistic extremes, even if just for a moment, sprinting, jumping, kipping, jerking; controlling your mind in an even tempo, cultivating a physical and mental pain and fatigue that burns so deep it makes you feel strangely alive. And only when you put forth 100% of everything you have, in that moment, for something you want so badly and you actually fail does it really hurt.

So, can intensity be learned? Sure to an extent. I think you can at least learn how to get better at bringing it just as you can get better at anything else. But the desire has to come from within. You can’t teach someone how to want something. And you’ve got to be fearless of failure. You’ve got to be willing to put yourself out there; put everything on the line. To bring the intensity you’ve got to truly want to be even better.

Maxed Out

57kg- PR!
(that's 125.4lbs if you speak CrossFit)

Clean and Jerk

Friday, September 25, 2009

Deadlift Faces

They're funny.



AMRAP 12min
10 KB Swings (53)
30 Double Unders

9rounds+ 7 KB Swings

Dang. Kettle Bells Swings after Deadlifts...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Not Like That, Like This"

It's my least favorite coaching que. It drives me insane. Most of the time I don't even see a difference in the demonstration that follows. But more importantly, as a coach and competitive athlete I think athletes deserve more.

It is a coaches job to use all three modalities of learning- Verbal, Visual, and Kinesthetic. The last being what studies show sticks the most. Don't just mimic a movement for your athletes, describe in detail what is going on. Don't just demonstrate the first pull of the Clean off the floor- describe as you demonstrate, that the arms are vertical, that you are leading with your chest, that it is controlled-not "yanked," etc. And most importantly, place them (yes, with your hands) in the proper position. Make them feel it.

Your athletes WANT to work for you and if they aren't doing something right (even though you keep yelling and yelling at them how to fix it) most likely it's not because they aren't listening or aren't trying or don't want to be better. You're the coach. Use all modalities. Your athletes will be better for it.


Split Jerk


800m Run
3 Power Cleans (130)
5 Pull Ups
10 Push Ups
15 Squats
1 Mile Run
3 Power Cleans (130)
5 Pull Ups
10 Push Ups
15 Squats
800m Run


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Box Jumps Galore

Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart," all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

F. Squat

4 Rounds
7 Hang Power Snatch (95)
2 Muscle Ups
21 Box Jump


I felt pretty strong today. It was grand. Although I must say, I don't like doing snatches in metcons. It just feels sloppy. And those box jumps wear me out. I'm coming to the realization that I'm just not that great at them. I need to to do them more often. I suppose 84 of them in today's wod is a start.

Monday, September 21, 2009

CrossFit Football

I had a whole cool post in mind for tonight but I've been extremely distracted and concerned with the fact that seems to have dissappeared completely from the internet. So I tried and that's gone too! What the heck is going on?

I sure hope that this is some random technical fluke because I am a huge fan of CrossFit Football. I think the programming is fantastic and I love rotating it into my training regularly. Kyle (his blog is linked to the right) has been following it since Aug 3 and is getting stronger and better every day. It's been an amazing transformation. If anyone out there has answers (I amazed that there's not more banter out there about it yet) let me know.

Anway, my workout today was killer. You should try it.


Me: 95, 100, 100, 100, 105x2

5 Rounds
12 Back Squats (BW)
1 Rope Climb
200m Row

Me: 13:37 (145 lbs, scaled slightly up)

I think next time I should either go legless on the rope climb or do two rope climbs per round as they are getting so much easier than they used to be. Yay for me. 60 body weight back squats, on the other hand, was tough. This was a fantastic workout.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I'm Not Fat I'm Just Big Boned

So tonight when I was having dessert I got to thinking about how damn awesome Coconut is. It's a magical little fruit. Wait, it's a fruit right? Anyway, I discovered it only a few months back at Whole Foods where they sell those little young coconuts with the straws. You stick the straw in and suck out all the water, and then you take the coconut and slam it into the ground, slam ball style, to break it open and scoop out all the fat. Totally paleo and a good serving size of fat.

I thought that was great.

But then, one of my clients told me about this little paleo dessert trick where she cuts up a bunch of strawberries and blueberries and raspberries and pecans and drizzles coconut milk on top. Obviously I couldn't just take her word for it. So tonight I bought a can of coconut milk (who new it wasn't in the fruit juice isle but rather in the asian cooking isle- what, have I been living under a rock?) I cracked open the edge of the can with the can opener and began to pour, expecting it to be like the water from the inside of the young coconuts. But much to my suprise, oh my pleasant suprise, it was not just water but this thick, creamy, coconuty drizzle. It was absolute bliss.

Even now, hours later, I continue to think to myself "why did I not know about this before?"


Saturday, September 19, 2009


Today was a fun day. Even in spite of a lighter, slightly longer metcon, it was just my kind of day. Since our Friday cleaning person is out of town the box was a disaster- in a good way. It was remnant of all the people who have been through since yesterday. Little bits of foam littered the floor where our clients kids had been playing during their parents CrossFit WODs. The mats were covered with Mowgli hair, and Berkeley hair, and Chato hair, and Buddy hair. Gross, I know, but it was just so much fun seeing the dogs rough house with each other after they had sat, on leashes, patiently waiting for their owners to finish. Sometimes I look around and think about how I just love the non-flashiness of our box. It's not fancy. It's not full of expensive equipment. It's got a stuffed bear in the loft that was hunted by Cliff that freaks people out (a bear that I forbid him to bring so he waited until I went out of town and snuck it in). It's the kind of place that our members come just to hang out, even on their rest days, to bullshit about training and nutrition; who's who in the CrossFit world; the latest journal videos, the latest main site WOD. It's my favorite little dingy Underground box, a hidden gem, just the way I invision a fitness subculture should be.

The best part was that Greg Everett was in town and came by to train. He and his wife Aimee (owners of Catalyst Athletics) came by on Thursday as well and let me tell you, watching these two get their Olifting on is like watching biomechanical art in motion. It was quite awesome that Greg thought it was a good enough little, dingy CrossFit box for him to come back to train again. But my favorite part was remeniscing, much like our clients who come to hang out on their rest days, about CrossFit.

What most people don't know is that Greg was a CrossFit gym owner long before he opened Catalyst Athletics and is not just an Olympic lifting specialist, but is extremely educated and experienced in the world of CrossFit as well. It was lots of fun to kick around thoughts about programming and the path CrossFit has taken. Where it's come from and where it's going. It got me thinking about a post I wrote a while back about CrossFit being "Underground." An idea that has already, even in the 3 months since I wrote it, evolved dramatically. I decided I'd post it again here since it seems to be an ever relevant topic.

(see article below WOD)

As for today's training...


OH Squat
Me- 123, 128, 133, 133, 133

4 Rounds
400m Run
10HPC (95)
12 Pull Ups

Me- 14:00


Everyone knows that the fitness world is a multi billion dollar industry. You can’t flip through the TV channels without seeing an infomercial on the latest ab machine that promises to help you lose 10 inches in just days or your money back; or flip through a magazine without seeing before and after photos in little magic pill advertisements that lure you in by making you think it’s and in depth, 5 page article on some break through weight loss science. You pass by 24 Hour Fitness’s and Curves studios that push mechanical circuit training and expensive health bars on a daily basis and hear Jared’s voice on the radio talking about how all he did to lose weight was eat 2 six inch turkey subs everyday and voila! Plastic surgery like liposuction, and worse, gastro intestinal by-pass surgery are now main stream as people trade their doctor’s phone numbers like personal marketing assistants. The worst part is that just about all of them are completely unconditioned, overweight, and out of shape. Why? Because the shit doesn’t work. That fitness industry, man, it is a monster. The real motto: Get people to spend, spend, spend, but keep them fat so they have to keep coming back for more.
Why do you think no one really knows about CrossFit even though it’s been around for over a decade? I hear stories all the time about how Glassman got kicked out of so many different places, not just for dropping weights, but for spreading crazy ideas about how all you need to be fit is high intensity exercise at short durations, constantly varying what you do (sound familiar CF Westers?). No supplements (besides maybe a little fish oil), just real food and intense functional exercise for short periods of time. No nonsense. Not rocket science. But certainly not the biggest money making idea for the fitness industry either. It’s no wonder real fitness intellectuals talk about him like he’s a fitness God, a pioneer having the courage to speak the truth, get kicked out of Spa’s and Global Gyms all over the place, and forced to run out of garages and old warehouses (hence the birth of the CrossFit box. Isn’t it a fantastic fitness renaissance?).
But lately people are starting to hear about CrossFit. CrossFit boxes are starting to be abundant nationwide. Hell, worldwide even. The games have become such a big event in just a few short years that a regional qualifier has been implemented to narrow down the vast numbers to simply the best few athletes. There have even been rumors that the games might be shown on ESPN within the next two years. When I think of how much I truly believe in CrossFit and ponder the fact that it has bettered the lives of so many people it makes me pretty happy. But call it the punk rocker buried deep inside, there’s part of me that loves the fact that CrossFit has been underground; a counter fitness culture if you will. Part of me doesn’t really want it to be discovered by everyone, for fear that, once mainstream, it will change. Like when one of your favorite underground bands gets discovered and you start hearing their songs played on Top 40 a thousand times a day. I fear that once discovered, some fitness industry money making guru will implement a new machine or a magic pill, and the true nature of CrossFit will be lost.

That would be a damn capitalistic shame.

End note: I also heard a rumor that CrossFit has implemented a new rule that as of now any new CrossFit box owner can only own 1 box. This is because of an offer made by Bally Total Fitness to open 30 new affiliates which was turned down by the Glassman’s. Talk about a ray of hope for the future of CrossFit. What are your thought’s on the underground vs. mainstream status of CrossFit?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wall Balls Shmall Balls

So, I suppose if I'm going to be a better CrossFitter I've got to attack my weaknesses. Which means I'm going to have to throw in those longer lighter days filled with wall balls and burpees, etc, etc. Boo. I've found a way to trick myself into doing it the way you trick a kid into eating his spinach by mixing it into his burger patties. Sometimes I make it a couplet with a heavy lift like a clean or deadlift. Today, my strength was heavy power cleans so it helped a little. But my workout felt more like an aerobics class; it was not so clever in disguising my nemesis. I figure I need practice doing things I don't like. Hey, it's all fun and games until you get eliminated from the CrossFit Games a day too early.


Power Cleans


30 Wall Balls
100ft OH Barbell Lunge (45)
100ft Burpee Broad Jump
10 Wall Balls

Me: 12:52

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Double Unders are Finally My Friend

My legs were absolute toast going into the strength yesterday. I wasn't even sure I'd get through five sets. But somehow I willed my way through. Then, 130lb power cleans, usually a breeze for me, felt more like 185. But then something miraculous happened. I got to the double under portion of my workout and found that I really have become quite good. And if you could see my facial gestures and hear my tone of voice as I say that, you would realize it's not a cocky thing at all, but rather a matter of fact, and kind of surprised, yet deserved because I've been practicing, tone and look. In fact, I'm patting myself on the back right now.

Back Squat

Me: 185x5


5 Rounds
5 Power Cleans (185/130)
20 Double Unders

Me: 5:24

Today was a rest day BTW. I just didn't get around to posting yesterday. So this is a day late. Back on it tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kyle is Mean

It's true what they say. He has a black heart. I took Kyle's evening class tonight. The workout was absolutely brutal, and yet, so good.


Power Snatch

Me: 108

AMRAP 20min

5 Thrusters (135/95)
10 Push Ups
200m Run

Me: 10 Rounds

Clean and Jerk 183

Well, I only matched my PR at our Santa Cruz CrossFit Games. But considering it came after two WODs containing high rep wall balls, double unders, box jumps, and running I feel pretty good. I only failed on 193 coming out of the hole, but all pulls looked great. My quads were just shot by then.
Two days later I could still barely move so yesterday consisted of only Deadlift. It involved the only body parts that did not hurt- butt and hamstrings.
Me: 225, 255, 260, 260, 260

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Santa Cruz CrossFit Games

Saturday marked the first annual Santa Cruz CrossFit Games. After participating in the Affiliate Team competition at the Games, Annie Sakamoto of CrossFit Santa Cruz Central had so much fun that she decided it would be great to start our own local team challenge right here in Santa Cruz. After all, Santa Cruz is the birth place of CrossFit, and we have 5 fantastic box's right here in the area full of excellent athletes and trainers. So she got all of the owners together and did just that.

Each box put together multiple teams to compete. The different classes were Masters (60+), Intermediate (scaled), and Advanced (Rx'd) teams. It turned out to be a great day full of Sportsmanship, fitness building, PR's, and good people. Here were the workouts:

Workout A:
1000m Run (2men,2women- 2medballs carried; 14/20)
100 Wall Balls (1man and woman at a time)
200 KB Swings (35/53-1man,1woman at a time)
300 Double Unders (1man,1woman at a time)
400m run (2men,2women)

CFWS: 16:17

7th place

Workout B:
5 rounds of 2min on/2min off of:
3 Dead Hanging Pull Ups
6 Push Ups
9 Box Jumps

(1man, 1woman at a time- switch every two minutes for 5 rounds)

Me: 3,2,2,2,3-12 rounds total
CFWS: 54 rounds total

2nd place

Workout C:
Max Clean and Jerk

Me: 183lbs
CFWS: 826lbs total

1st place

Overall, my team placed 2nd. All of our teams kicked butt and demonstrated the epitome of camaraderie and sportsmanship. I am very proud of CrossFit West, our athletes, and our programming. I think it was such a great example of our "Hard and Heavy" philosophy and reinforces our believe that it's good to be strong.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Double Rest?

Even after a rest day I felt a bit run down. I find that somehow this happens every once in a while. It's pretty frustrating. especially when you rest a full day anticipating a strong return to the next 3 day cycle, only to find that you feel even more run down. This is when it's a good time to take a look at a few things: Workout journal, Diet, Sleep patterns, and any extra stress be it good or bad.

I started out the evening with the mind set that I would just push through it. But once I got through 4 sets of Split Jerks (was supposed to be a 3 rep range) and only hit about 75% of my max doing singles, feeling unusually fatigued and also a bit of joint discomfort, I decided it was time to hang it up for the day. So I hopped on my mint green beach cruiser and took the scenic route home. I'm sure tomorrow will be a better day.

Split Jerk


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Crazy Tuesdays

Tuesdays are my long days. They just wear me out. The good news is that I love my job- especially when we get so many people coming through the box, breaking Personal Records, gaining confidence, and just simply getting better. It's just so much fun to be a part of. The bad news is that on crazy days like today, I can sure feel it in my WOD.

Having said that, I didn't do horrible. It's just that I could have been better. But that's ok. That just means I've got to jot it down in my journal, and next time I revisit this WOD I've got a ton of room for improvement.




5 Rounds
6 Power Snatch (95)
10 Box Jumps (20")

Me: 6:10

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fish Oil Magic

I sure felt great again today. I'm starting to wonder if it has anything to do with the high dose fish oil I've been taking. After reading Robb Wolf's blog as well as watching the Barry Sears video on fish oil I realized that the daily amount I was taking was far lower than what they recommended. And since they swore that high doses can make a huge difference I decided to up my dose to 10 grams per day. That is 18 capsules of the Kirkland brand that has 600+mg of omega 3. Today, I think I really started to feel it.

Anyway, I took Sam's class today and worked some more C&J. I got that 173 I said I would, and I felt strong. I think I could have gone even heavier if time permitted. Then the wod was more C&J- heavy. It was great. Can't wait to go for 200 next time:)

Here's what was on the menu:


Me: 95, 95, 95, 95, 95


Me: 133,143, 153, 163, 173


20 rds

1 C&J (143)
50m sprint

Me: 17:32

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Get yer Olift On

Catalyst Athletics is a fantastic Olympic Lifting gym located in Sunnyvale, CA. It's owned by Aimee Anaya and Greg Everett, two excellent Olympic lifting Athletes and Coaches. Greg Everett literally wrote the book on Olympic Lifting and Aimee is a National Champion- only two of their many accolades. These guys definitely know there stuff which is why I'm super excited to have the opportunity to make Saturday's my olifting days with Greg and Aimee.

It's quite a bit different from your typical CrossFit day. It takes a few reps to get used to the fact that you will complete 1 lift, and then rest about 5 minutes before completing the next. But the results speak for themselves. I feel like my form is getting better each time, and I'm definitely getting stronger: Today I PR'd on both Snatch and Front Squat.

Here's what the day looked like (all numbers are in Kilo's):

56x1 PR!

that's 123lbs

Clean and Jerk


*I started to get worn out but I know I'll get it next time. My PR is 183.

F. Squat
102x1 PR!

thats 225lbs!

I'm definitely looking forward to next Saturday. You can check out Catalyst Athletics at or click on the Catalyst Athletics link to the right.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Like a Butterfly

I don't know how it happened, but today I felt good. Really good. It was my 3rd day on, and my shoulders wrecked from HSPU and muscle ups this week. Even though it was an overhead squat day I started out with some Snatch work (since I hopped into Sam's class and that's what was on the menu) and once again things were clicking.

The workout was an AMRAP with C2B pull ups so I decided it would be a good opportunity to work on the butterfly kip. Generally, when I do the butterfly, I lose my rythm after just a few pull ups. I think it's because I'm not balancing the swing of my legs on the kip evenly from front to back. But today, not only did something click for me there, I was going chest to bar on almost every pull up.

Once the WOD was over I decided to get my OH Squats in. Ed came by to say hi and stuck around for a while (Ed is a very knowledgeable trainer who has been connected to CrossFit West for a long time- in fact, he introduced me to CrossFit way back when). It might have been his energy or just me trying to impress him (hey whatever works) but I went 5 lbs heavier on my 5x3 than I ever expected. Body weight to be exact.

It was a good day. Tomorrow, we are off to Catalyst Athletics for some Olifting with Greg and Aimee. Looks like we will find out soon if my Snatch is as good as I think it is:)

Snatch Work
83x 10 reps

AMRAP 15min
200m run
11 KB Swings (44#)
6 C2B Pull Ups

Me: 7 rounds + run

OH Squat

*failed on my very last rep

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nothing Like a Good Snatch

After quite a long layoff from Snatching I finally got it going again today. Even though I kept it light, I felt like some things clicked for me, such as pulling the bar back towards me, leaning back slightly on the second pull, and finishing the 3rd pull by turning my wrists out and pushing up/engaging my shoulders. I was pretty stoked. It's like the saying goes: there's nothing quite like a good snatch.

I couldn't wait to do today's workout. It just looked so dam cool. My shoulders/chest were pretty tired from ring dips yesterday but I think the excitement pushed me though. That, and my HSPU Kip. I got that sucker going. Yay for me.


technique w/53


... 10 reps total


AMRAP 3 min

Back Squat 135/95


5 rounds
1 Rope climb

In 3 minutes complete as many reps as possible of back squats. Then immediately precede to 5 rounds of the couplet. There will be a rep score as well as overall time.

Me: Rx'd 55/9:16

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ring Dips and Me

Lets face it. I basically cannot do ring dips to save my life. Well, I guess if it were actually a matter of life or death I could do a couple. Plus I'm competitive enough that if beating a certain time in a WOD is at stake I might be able to kip out a few singles with terrible form. But in all honesty, I completely suck at ring dips.

Like most CrossFiters, I've got a few of these goats on my list. So I've made the commitment to attack them over the course of the next yea, not by neglecting other movements, but by systematically rotating them into my skills work as well as my metcons.

In general, my body has a pretty quick adaptation period to new skills when I put my full focus into it. However, ring dips have taken the longest of any movement to see any improvement in at all. But today, I finaly felt like I was getting somewhere. Yay for me. Today I can write in my journal that I only kind of sucked at ring dips. Hey, thats a start. It's all about just getting better right?


Back Squat

Me: 165, 195, 205, 205, 205


P.Clean (185/130)
Ring Dips

*CrossFit Football

Me: 6:06

Man, when I get good at ring dips I'm gonna blow through this baby.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Clean and Burp

This post is coming to you a day late because, well, I was just too dam lazy to post it last night.




Me: 113x1, 133x1 153x1, 163x1, 173x1



10 Thrusters (135/95)
10 Burpees

Me-5:43 (yikes)

My shoulders were absolutely shot and my body wrecked today. Sat was max jerk effort, Tue brought muscle ups and HSPU, today Clean and Jerk. So when I got to the Metcon it took all of my effort to thrust a measly 95lbs over my head. Ouch.

Looks like I've got to trust in Ovid. "Be patient and tough. Someday this pain will be usefull to you."