Workout: 01/28/14

To kick things off with logging my workouts, I am just going to jump in and not try to worry about logging the workouts done towards the beginning of this current cycle.  Now my goal is to continue to follow my box’s programming, but I wanted to sprinkle in some 5/3/1 programming as well to try and build raw strength in some of my weaker areas, such as the Bench Press and Strict Shoulder Press (Military Press).  I am not sure what the results are going to show since mixing and matching can sometimes offer very little gains, but again, this is an experiment on my part to find the best way for me to improve.  Every athlete is different, and we are all strong in are own areas, as well as weak in others.  It would be great if there was a single program that could benefit all, but lets face it, that will never happen.  Anyways, here is todays workout:

Strength:

Find max 2-position Clean and Jerk (at Hi-Hang and Mid-Hang, Jerk after the Mid-Hang): 175lbs

EMOM for 5 Minutes, 2-position Clean and Jerk like above @ 90%: 155lbs

1a) 4×5 Strict Weight Dips @ 16kg

1b) 1×3 Squat @ 230lbs, 1×3 Squat @ 265lbs, 1×3+1 Squat @ 295lbs

Conditioning:

9 Minutes to Complete:

20 Shoulder to Overhead @ 95lbs

30 Burpee over the Box Jumps @ 24″

15 Toes-to-Bar

20 Shoulder to Overhead @ 135lbs

30 Burpee over the Box Jumps @ 24″

15 Toes-to-Bar

ME Shoulder to Overhead @ 185lbs

Results: 8 Burpees in the second round.

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The New Year

It is the new year, and although there have not been any posts in the last few months, I think this is a perfect time to really try and focus on a lot of things that may interest you, or that you may find informative.  I’ve set some goals for myself for this new year, as I am sure a lot of you have as well.  I will be sharing those with you all shortly, and we can discuss the best ways to stay on track for 2014!

Also, expect to see more paleo inspired recipes coming out.  I have been doing a lot of experimenting in the kitchen these past few months, and I believe I have perfected a few meals that you all will love.

Rest! Its That Important

You know, a lot of people don’t realize how important rest can be, especially if you are hitting your box 5-7 days a week.  Even more so if you are one of those who is trying to become a CrossFit athlete and pulling off two-a-days.  You make the majority of your gains outside of the gym by eating a proper diet and getting enough rest.

The first thing to ask yourself is whether or not you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night.  If you aren’t quite hitting that number, you are most likely not resting enough and giving your body the care it needs to fully recover.

The second thing to consider is listening to your body.  Even if you are getting 8 hours of sleep a night, if you are consistent in your training, you may get to a point where your body just needs a few days off.  This is commonly referred to as Over-Training and is something that is very real.  If at any point during your training you feel exhausted, or not quite as strong as you have been in the weeks past, chances are you have reached that Over-Training phase and need to give your body a couple days off (or even a week).

A day off can mean different things for different people.  Some prefer to take the day off completely, while others prefer to do some sort of active recovery.  In my opinion I think either would work, but if you need to do something, make sure if isn’t too strenuous.  You shouldn’t be trying to lift heavy weight or run a marathon, instead you want to do things like row a 2k at a casual pace, run a mile or two, or just do some technique work with light weight.

Just remember, listen to your body, it will let you know when you need a little rest.  Once you’ve recovered, you will feel that much better getting back to your usual training routine, and probably feel stronger and faster than you did a week ago.

Looking Into a Home CrossFit Gym

I have always wanted a home gym ever since I began working out years ago.  It just always seemed like something cool to have, and convenient since it is right there in your home.  It would certainly save time and money over the long run, and allow me to take my CrossFit training to the next level if I decide I really want to get serious about it.  So needless to say, I have been doing my research and trying to figure out what all I should include in this home gym, and what it is actually going to cost me.

Anyways, thought I would share a video with you guys, done by the people over at Barbell Shrugged, on this very topic.  Enjoy!

A Mental Block; We Can’t PR Every Time

As much as we would all like to, we are not going to be able to hit that new PR each time we step up to the bar.  Today was one of those days, and it has been one of the toughest walls I have faced since beginning CrossFit.

We all have those few movements in the CrossFit world that we are just not as good at.  For me, it’s a few like Double-Unders, Muscle-Ups, and the always difficult Snatch.  But I was quick to discover my weaknesses and attack them head on in order to conquer them.  Over the last 6 months I have increased my ability to perform Double-Unders, I continue to work towards that first Muscle-Up by practicing each phase of the movement, and I constantly put in the time to work on my Snatch technique.

When I first saw the Snatch, I could not do a full-squat version to save my life.  Everything was a Power Snatch, and the weight I was able to put up was pretty low.  I remember PR’ing at 135 one time and nearly blacked-out when I had that weight overhead.  I also managed to Power Snatch that 135 again during the CrossFit Open, but each time it was very difficult, like that weight was just always against me.

After all the training I have been doing, I would have expected to Snatch quite a bit more, but today it was just not meant to be.  Again struggling with that 135lbs, and then moving onto 145 for a new PR, I was just not able to get that bar stable overhead.

With all that being said, my hard work has definitely paid off.  I can successfully Snatch, into a full squat, 125lbs with very little effort.  So I will continue to put in the time and work, and before long I will break through that wall that stands before me.  I will overcome it both physically and mentally, and prove that all you need is a good work ethic, time, and determination to achieve things that were once, unachievable.

Pushing Towards That Next Milestone

We all have those milestones we want to hit.  After being involved with CrossFit long enough, you start to come up with milestones for yourself, that next level you want to get to.  Whether its to master double-unders, learn how to kip, PR your next Fran attempt, increase your Squat PR, the list just goes on, and that is the beauty of this sport.  We continue to push ourselves to be better than we were yesterday, and that is what keeps me coming back day after day.

But you have to be willing to push yourself.  Just showing up isn’t enough, you need to step out of your comfort zone constantly.  That may mean turning that box over to the 24 inch side instead of the 20, or adding that extra 5 pounds to those OverHead Squats.  Just keep pushing yourself and you will find that your body is capable of doing things you never thought possible.

Today marked my first RX+ WOD.  While most of the morning’s class stuck with the prescribed WOD I stepped out of my comfort zone and attempted the WOD meant for the “Fire Breathers” and I have to say it was a great accomplishment from when I first start not 6 months ago using bands and scaled weight.

So just remember, keep pushing yourself, stick with it, and in no time at all you will be a different person, a stronger person, a fitter person.

To The Lost

http://www.wncn.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=8923748

This is what CrossFit is all about, when the community comes together to do something great. For Memorial Day, my box put on an event to honor the men and women who have given their lives to protect this country, and to those who are still fighting.

45 Min Time Cap:

100 Burpees

Break Up However You Want:
100 Pull-Ups
200 Ab Mat Sit-Ups
300 Air Squats

100 Burpees

Remaining time spent doing Rope Climbs and Muscle Ups.

Paleo and CrossFit: Almost a Month In

Well it has certainly been a struggle to find time to give everyone an update.  We all know those times of the year when everything gets so hectic, and that is when we are really challenged to stay on track with our training and diet.

We are coming up on almost a month of consistent crossfitting (with a week of vacation thrown in there), while maintaining the new approach to eating.  Now I will start by saying my diet could have been much cleaner this past month.  I allowed myself to cheat a little more often than I should have, and during my week of vacation I found myself cheating almost every day.  However, I did my best to keep to the time schedule of Carb Back Loading, fasting for close to 16 hours each day, and eating the majority of my calories between 12pm-8pm.

I was quite surprised to find out, once I returned from my week long getaway, that my body weight had not fluctuated at all.  I am still hovering around 183lbs, which leads me to think that this way of fasting and eating at certain times of the day could be the right way for now.

My plan now is to continue eating this way, but now I am back on track with a cleaner, more paleo focused quality of food.  Currently I am taking in about 3300 calories a day and will continue to do so as long as my strength continues to increase.  I will continue to monitor my weight to see if I am gaining or losing (again, I have remained at the same weight for the past month), but will not alter my daily calorie intake unless I feel like I am not able to recover quick enough, or if I feel like I am no longer gaining strength.

Paleo and CrossFit: Week 6, The Right Balance of Carbs and Fats…With a Dash of Intermittent Fasting

Over the past few months I have embraced the Paleo Lifestyle that comes with most CrossFit Gyms you come across.  I even participated in the Whole Life Challenge as a way to hold myself accountable for the changes in my diet.  So needless to say, the past few months I have been on a diet that is very low in carbohydrates, and I was even in a calorie deficit.

I will be clear and state that I have very little against this lifestyle, in fact I have a lot of praise for it.  It has done wonders for my health and physical wellbeing.  No longer do I struggle to fall asleep at night, I always feel energized first thing in the morning, and I no longer get that afternoon crash we have all experienced at one point or another.  Paleo is one of the best things to ever cross my path.

However I do feel that the die-hard Paleo fanatics out there might be missing something…Carbohydrates.  Sure, you can eat fruit or sweet potatoes, but do some reading and almost everyone says to keep those foods to a minimum.  This leads to a low carbohydrate diet, which may not be the best thing for those involved in sports like CrossFit.  I certainly know I feel like I could benefit from a few extra carbs each day in order to perform to the best of my abilities in the gym.  Ultimately my goal is to find the right balance for myself, not only in the food that I eat, but also in the work I put in as a CrossFitter.  So naturally my Paleo Lifestyle will evolve as I continue to pursue that optimal balance.

With all that being said I am switching gears again by adding more carbohydrates back into my diet from clean sources, such as fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, and even white rice if I feel like I need the extra calories and carbs.  My plan is to follow a method that has gained quite a bit of traction lately, Carb Back-Loading.

Now this method is nothing new in my mind, it is standard carb cycling, but the main thing here is that all carbs are ingested in the afternoon and at night.  Ideally you will limit the total number of carbs before dinner, around 6:00pm, and once you get to that point, feed your body the remainder of your daily carb intake.  Supposedly this method will replenish all your glycogen stores in preparation for the next day’s training.

I will also be doing some Intermittent Fasting from 8:00pm – 12:00pm the following day.  The only calories I will have in the morning will revolve around my morning workout.  So a pre-workout shake of proteins and fats, and a post-workout shake of proteins, fats, and carbs.  Black Coffee will also be allowed during the morning time period.

The last thing I need to cover is the fact that this method should be allowing my body to build itself most of the time.  This also means some slight fat gains, which is where the Control Day comes into play.  A control day for me will usually fall on the day before I am having an off day from CrossFit, or the following day is just an Active Recovery day.  In terms of caloric intake, that will remain the same, but the source of those calories will change slightly; more fats and less carbs.

Ultimately this adjustment in the way I tackle the Paleo Lifestyle and CrossFit should allow me to recover more quickly, fuel my muscles for optimal growth, and overall allow me to perform at 100% at each WOD.

Please feel free to ask questions or offer up comments.  I will post again later with some hard numbers in terms of Calories Per Day, along with Protein, Carbohydrate, and Fat amounts.