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December 2015


We did 'Angie' last night and I really wish that I had film to audit my counts and standards. I'm not a smooth athlete. Most WODs are like me waging a vicious fight against the reps. Did I really do 100 pull-ups? How many should actually count?

We've All Seen Them

We've all seen them. They come to the box but they never actually do any CrossFit.

They lay around, play around and mingle for hours but never pick up a weight.

They treat the place like it's a social club and their own personal playground.

Then somehow, despite this, they are the most beloved member.

Go figure.




100 Deadlifts 200 Sit-ups and 100 Calorie Row

Yesterday evening, I had my first massage in probably a year or more. It was awesome and my chronically sore shoulders felt awesome today. We didn't really do a shoulder intensive workout but it felt awesome to have much of the tightness and soreness gone. 

100 deadlifts at 135 is very doable for me. I broke it down 30-20-10-10-10-10-10. 

200 push-ups was tough for me and I'm not sure why. I've been doing 100 GHD sit-ups before many of the classes but had to trudge through. For some reason, my back tightens up when I do sit-ups. I tried with and without an abmat with no improvement. The good news is that I pushed through the last 20 laps despite the pain. Working through the pain will be an important ability for competitions. 

100 calorie row sounds worse than it really is. A good pull can get me a calorie on the rower. I believe that I didn't use more than 150 pulls and was able to finish fast. 

All-in-all, it was a good day. A hard workout but nothing I couldn't do (see muscle ups). Now I just need to figure out way my back muscles tighten up on sit-ups. 


CrossFit Observations (From The Stands)

Earlier this year, I attended CrossFit's Eastern Regional at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. At the time, I prepared a presentation about what I'd experienced for a speechmaking club. Below is an attempt to move that speech into a blog post. I took most of the CrossFit photos from my seat in the stands. 

Most sports fan never were or are no longer active participants in the sports they love. They tend to focus their energy on tailgating for hours before and after watching their beloved athletes. 


On the flip-side, CrossFit fans have probably done a workout the day of the event. They will also come dressed as though they’re ready to participate should Froning pull up with an injury. Pre-viewing snack? Likely to have included bacon, Kill Cliff bars and FitAid drinks.


Many of our most beloved national pastimes feature plus-size athletes with physiques that only an offensive line coach would fully appreciate. 


CrossFit athletes are all about ‘booty shorts’ and ripping off their shirts to reveal abs-for-days.


CrossFit has been called a cult but it’s a cult of crazed exercisers. There is no Red Sox versus Yankees rivalry in the stands. We’re cheering for the best teams to break records and the lesser teams to finally make their way to the finish line.


I found the team events the most compelling. What was their strategy for excelling? How did they decide on the make-up of their team? How was their chemistry as they faced the misery of seemingly impossible workouts? Three women and three men working together to complete a gauntlet for physical feats.


CrossFit isn’t just about speed or strength. You need to have a bit of gymnast in your repertoire to do things like muscle-ups, toes-to-bar and handstand walks. This isn’t about brute force but overall athleticism. 


CrossFit is also about doing things that you never imagined personally possible. For the beginner, this can be things like your first rope climb. For the elite athletes in this weekend’s competition, it can be the possibility of setting records in front of thousands of cheering CrossFit fanatics.


Throughout the games, I witnessed teams pulling for the teammates, teams pulling for other teams and fans cheering for whoever needed the inspiration. It was an enthusiastic outpouring from every angle. 


Observing from the stands, the average CrossFitter could feel the pain to the competitors because we often struggle ourselves. It was somehow reassuring that even the best athletes were humbled by the hurdles that CrossFit can present.  


Another nice things about CrossFit is the all the hugging. Competitors hugging each other. Teams hugging each other. It’s a big hug-fest. It makes you want to join a team to get in on all the hugs.


I texted a photo of a female CrossFit athlete to a friend and he commented that she ‘looked like a man’. I told him, “One, 99.9 percent of men are nowhere near that fit. Secondly, they are what a woman can look like without the shackles of old-fashioned, outdated perceptions. What they are is amazing.'


After the CrossFit regionals were over and to honor the purpose of the Memorial Day weekend, CrossFit locations across the country take on a workout named after a ‘hero’. These workouts are tough but they’re intended to be as a reminder of the bravery and sacrifice of our heroes. It’s tough to whine about pull-ups when you understand the meaning behind the task. 


Lastly, people will tell you that CrossFit can be dangerous. This is a photo of a nasty injury I sustained this past Saturday. How did this happen? What devilish CrossFit workout caused this? It didn’t. I didn’t go to CrossFit on Saturday. I got this injury while hiking with my dog. Anything can be dangerous when you don’t give it the proper attention and respect. My recommendation? Go Crossfit. Be careful. Pay attention. Get strong. Get fit. Get some hugs.  


CrossFit Kids - First-Timer

This morning, I took my niece Nika to her first CrossFit class. Unless you count horseback riding, she doesn't really do any sports. She did pretty good with four rounds of 3 push-ups and 5 front squats with a PVC pipe plus some interval sprints. I'm hoping that she decides to attend more classes. 

Personally, I just sat and watched along the Brickyard WODog Sarah. 


Motivation for the Gray-Haired CrossFit Crowd

For the past few weeks, I’ve occasionally struggled with my motivation. This has caused me to think quite a bit about this topic and, in particular, where motivation comes from for the ‘more-seasoned’ athlete.

Below are some considerations that come to mind:

  1. There’s always someone even older and, therefore, inspiring. - Like this 76 year old competitor or this 77 year old coming back from numerous major surgeries. I might feel like a geezer at 56 but there are countless folks older and more challenged than myself. I should just get on with it.
  2. You’re curious to know how this all plays out. - Will an aggressive exercise regimen mean that I’ll look like an Adonis when I'm 80 and hanging out at my Florida condo? Or am I using up too many of a precious amount of finite heartbeats by jumping onto boxes and doing burpees? There’s only one way to know for sure. 
  3. It’s better than being the old guy at the night club. - I’m at the age where I can’t comfortably fit in at a night club. Heck, it’s been, at least, a couple decades since that was the case. That said, it’s still not too late to hang out with the ‘cool kids’. Getting into a CrossFit box will allow you to mingle with younger folks that would, in pretty much any other setting, be a little skeeved out by your presence.
  4. I love cake. - Life is about balance. My balance is created by doing a freakish amount of thrusters and leveling that out with a hefty slice of heavily-frosted chocolate cake.
  5. The afterglow is amazing. - As much as I might loath a workout laden with handstand push-ups, that nauseous pre-workout anxiety will soon be trumped by the joyous post-workout feeling of laying in a pool of chalk-infused sweat.
  6. The connection of the community. - I spend my day sitting at a desk and looking at three monitors in relative solitude. I drive two or more hours to work each day with my radio to keep my company. I live in a rural area and the ‘person’ that I spent the most time with is my dog Abbey. Even for a devote introvert like myself, a chance to engage with the diverse CrossFit crew is a pleasant change. 
  7. It’s a respite from the madness or the mundane. - I know a few folks that walk or ride their bike to work. That provides them with a chance to unwind from the workday. For myself, a stop at the box on the way home dissipates the tension of the workday. A few deadlifts and that tool from Human Resources becomes a distant memory.
  8. I hate other sports for ‘people my age’. - Many of my peers have given up perspiration-based exercise for things like golf. I both suck at and hate golf. I’m not keen on a sport that takes four or five hours to complete and includes drinking beer and riding in carts. I still prefer activities that require a shower afterwards and leave me a little sore the next day.
  9. It makes the rest of my life possible. - I still like to chop wood, hike with my dog, go bodysurfing at the beach and even help my sister with putting in and taking out her air conditioners. My ability to live this active lifestyle is enabled by the fitness that I gain by WODing.
  10. I like being a bit more able than my average peer. - I like the idea of defying the typical norm for someone my age. The stereotype suggests that I should be spending more time in a recliner than on a rowing machine. My goal is to someday to be one of those 70 year old CrossFitters that I admire today.


Baby Steps (and Double Unders)

More than two years of CrossFit and I've never really got the hang of double unders. Part of this was starting CrossFit with a pair of really sore feet and another other was having my limited 'hops' degraded by age. I also didn't spend a ton of time practicing. I did practice a number of hours but I never seem to quite get it. 

At Crossfit Brickyard, we have one day a month that is 'bring a friend' day. Due to this, the workout is typicaly made up of movements that a novice can manage. 

Today's workout was a 12-minute AMRAP that included 20 double unders, 15 sit-ups and 10 lunges with each leg will holding a 20-pound med ball. After speaking with the coach, I decided to try the workout with double versus scaling to singles. 

Now the bad news is that I was only able to do 5 rounds. The great news was that I did double instead of scaling to single unders. That means I did 100 double unders. They weren't pretty but it was a baby step toward scratching this goat off my list. 

I'll take it (especially since triple unders are, evidently, a new thing). 


Good Day/Bad Day

Yesterday's WOD was a whole lot of jerks. I was happy to work up to doing a set of five jerks at 185 pounds. I felt like I had more in the tank and could have done a heavier set. I'll now have that in mind when this WOD comes back around. I then knocked out 22 reps at 135 pounds in two-minutes. I could have done more if I'd rested when having the bar on my chest instead of holding it overhead. Another lesson for the next time around. 

Today's WOD was a 12-minute AMRAP for 12 HSPUs, 12 burpee box jumps and a 12-calorie row. I only muddled my way through 2 rounds plus 9 reps. I suck at HSPUs, lagged through the burpee box jumps and I've never been a very good rower. 

I'm a grinder and will show up whether the WOD suits me or not. Today's WOD wasn't a lot of fun for me but I feel like I'm beginning to turn the corner. The potential key? Focusing on enjoying my workouts versus being anxious about my performance.