Tuesday, March 31, 2009 by Rebecca

Rest Day!

Sleep:
11:40 - 8:10 slept pretty soundly but had lots of dreams - not particularly restful. Woke up at about 4:15 because of achy muscles. Took some advil, went back to sleep.

I currently have the worst case of DOMS I have had in several weeks. This past weekend was particularly heavy on the Deadlifts, and it was a lot of work in general, but I kinda think that the main reason I am so sore is that I did not have my PWO milk after the OPD workout saturday morning because I was trying to fast, and it wasn't time to break the fast yet. As it was, I didn't eat anything until a couple hours after that workout. I think that was a mistake. In the future I will remember that PWO milk > fasting.

Food:
9:00 - 3 egg cheesy scramble, 1 piece turkey bacon, coffee w/milk
9:25 - 1 multiv, 2 glucosamine, 4 omega-3
12:15 - 1 oz mixed nuts
1:45 - Cottage cheese, etc. not as many almonds today :-(
3:20 - 1 oz mixed nuts
6:50 - 8oz whole milk
7:45 - spinach salad w/ walnuts, feta, dried cranberries, chicken quesadilla, 16 oz milk
11:00 - 2 zma

CrossKitchen: Post Workout Nutrition

crossposted at Crossfit EastBay

So now we know that a double espresso before a workout works wonders, but what about afterward? The topic of post-workout (PWO) nutrition is a hotly-debated one over in the bodybuilding territories of the internet. Over there, the debate is typically not whether one should have anything post-workout, but rather which super-mega-extreme frothy tanker of aspartame and diheximethylcrapalose* (now in Fruit Punch flavor with real Acai!) will get you totally shredded (or pumped, I guess, depending on your goals). Bypassing the hype, though, is there anything that sets the post-workout window apart from any other time for nutritional benefit? Turns out, there is.

The Why
I'm going to geek out on you here for a second. As you may or may not know, the body provides three separate pathways for generating and burning energy: ATP/CP, Glycolitic and Oxidative. In the first, the body burns adenosine tri-phosphate for extremely brief (under a second), maximum-effort movements. In the second, the muscles burn through their reserves of glycogen at about 90% effort, which lasts about 12-15 minutes. The final is the domain of the endurance athlete, in which the body combines oxygen from your lungs with bodyfat reserves to allow you to work at about 50-70% for, essentially, hours on end. CrossFit metcons specifically target the second pathway, focusing on intensity rather than strength or volume. We will focus on strength (Max Effort) sometimes, and will occasionally dip into volume (Murph or a 10k), but the heart of CrossFit is the short, painful metcon (Fran is a classic example). It is here that PWO nutrition is the most useful.

You see, immediately following a punishing workout, the muscles are desperate to replenish their spent glycogen stores. The body can supply their needs by mobilizing body fat or by converting protein to glycogen, but these processes take time! And your muscles are thirsty! They need their glycogen NOW, dammit! Here's where the magical non insulin mediated glucose transport comes in. In the period of time immediately following a workout, we can fly in an emergency shipment of nutrients and amino acids directly to the muscles in a sugar airlift. It's the most direct line from mouth to muscle you'll ever get, so it's a good idea to take advantage of it.

Why? RECOVERY. As you all know, 5-6 workouts a week is brutal, and there's nothing like a bad case of DOMS to wreck your day. And it's not just about soreness: faster recovery means you're able to hit the workouts harder more often, thereby providing greater stimulus and growth to your muscles and central nervous system. Faster recovery means fewer injuries, and less likelihood of illness or overtraining. Remember: we do not get stronger in the gym. All we do in the gym is controlled damage to ourselves. We get stronger as a result of our body's response to that damage, so it is in our best interests to maximize our recovery by as many (legal/safe) means as are available to us.

The What

Hopefully by now I've convinced you that PWO nutrition is a good idea. "But what," you're asking, "should I EAT? Which is better, Gatorade or Muscle Milk?" The answer, of course, is neither. Sure, you could lay out $50 for a tub of chalky-tasting chemicals specially formulated by marketing agents with a penchant for the letter "X," but why bother? There are cheaper, healthier and tastier options.

When considering your choices, these are the things you want to keep in mind: a generous amount of carbs, a small amount of protein, and as little fat as you manage. Now, normally I'm not a very big fan of the carbohydrate, but in PWO-land all the rules go topsy turvy, so now they're good - and the higher their GI, the better (I know, right?). As for protein, the ideal ratio of carbs to protein is 4:1, so about a quarter of the carbs. Fat slows digestion/absorption, so while most of the time I'm huge fan o' the fat, this is not its time to shine. So what fits the bill?

chocolate-milk.jpg
  • Chocolate milk. As crazy as it sounds, lowfat chocolate milk is just about perfect for post-workout recovery. It has that great 4:1 ratio and is quickly absorbed by the body. In clinical studies, it performed as well or better than the highly processed fancy supplements. If I were to get really nitpicky, I'd advocate one made with sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup, but whatever.
  • Regular milk. Rebecca's drink of choice. Organic is better than not. Lowfat versions have less fat, but whole has more nutrients, so I put that choice down to personal preference.
  • Kefir. This is what I drink. I have my reasons.
  • A sweet potato and a little jerky or salmon
  • An apple or banana with some skim mozzarella or deli slice
  • Applesauce with a little cottage cheese and cinnamon
  • Lowfat yogurt or rice pudding
  • Mix a little unflavored/unsweetened whey with some juice
You get the idea. Eggs, tofu/legumes, brown rice etc are suboptimal, as the fiber and/or fat makes them slow to digest and absorb. For 30-40 minutes of your day, fat and fiber are bad and sugar is good.

The When
Note that this little trick only works if you've pushed yourself hard enough to deplete your body's glycogen stores. So your special PWO meal/drink will only be effective if taken immediately after a hard metcon - the harder you worked, the better it will work, and the more immediate the better. The window is only open for about an hour - after that, your body has returned to business as usual. This is not to say that nutrition after a Max Effort workout would be bad for you, just that it wouldn't be any different from any other time of the day.

The How
This is not rocket science. Obtain a portable drink container and/or some tupperware and make it happen, Einstein. Try it for two weeks and see how you feel.

Personal Observations
For the last month or so, Rebecca and I have been following up our workouts with 16 oz of milk or kefir. We have both noticed a decrease (not an elimination - this ain't voodoo) in DOMS, and a greater level of energy in our workouts through the week. It's great stuff. If you have questions or your own PWO nutrition strategy, please share in the comments.

Note that if your goal is weight loss, you might consider intentionally NOT eating in the hour after a workout. In the absence of glycogen and and food, the body's response to a difficult workout will be to mobilize fat stores to replenish its immediate energy reserves. The downside of this, of course, is that you're missing out on the benefits of increased recovery, so you need to be very careful about walking the line between healthy and overtrained - if you push too hard, you'll spike your cortisol and your fat won't be going anywhere.

*As far as I'm aware, there's really no such thing. Not that any of us would know.


I am not a dietician. CrossKitchen articles come from my personal experience, observations and research, and should not be construed as professional medical advice.

Monday, March 30, 2009 by Rebecca

Social Climbing

Sleep:
12 - 7:45 Pretty good. no obnoxious cat incidents that I can remember. Wasn't quite ready to get out of bed though.

Warmup - Double under practice. I can still do them! I even managed to get 3 in one "session" once. 1 headstand. Got up after several attempts, getting down was - again - less sthan graceful.

Climbing GWPC:
3 10a climbs - none clean. I was tired. ALl climbs I would like to try again when fresh. Particularly the last one. (Light green tape on southern end of east wall) We had to leave early because I still had homework I needed to get done.

Food:
8:45 - 5oz black coffee
1:40 - Cottage Cheese, etc.
2:00 - Coffee w/milk
4:40 - BBQ Chicken, half a yam.
5:30 - 8oz milk, 1 multic, 2 glucosamine, 4 omega-3
7:20 - 8oz milk
8:45 - Chicken parmesean concoction, salad, 16oz milk
11:20 - 2 zma

Sunday, March 29, 2009 by Daniel

Strength and Filthy 50 Gone Bad

My ass was SORE this morning, from yesterday's deadlifts. And my calves from POSE practice. And my abs from Friday's little ab-blaster warmup. I was not in terribly great shape. But we hauled ourselves down anyway, because it's Sunday and that's what we do on Sundays.

Workout 1: Strength Cycle - Week 4, part 2

Deadlift x 5: 225- 245 - 270 (PR)
Deadlift x 21: 200 (unbroken)
Press x 5: 65- 75- 95
Press x 21: 65 (20-1)

Whoa, Nelly, those deadlifts were not fun. I'm glad that the deadlift is no longer a back exercise, but rather a butt one - this is as it should be. But my butt was not in the mood to be lifting any more heavy shit. I took a thirty-minute long, comprehensive warmup (2k on rower, squats, hip openers, pushups, situps, etc), and warmed up in 50# increments all the way up to 225. Tedious. The 270 was not as bad as I feared it would be, but according to Rebecca my lower back popped up on a couple reps, so I've got to work on keeping it tight and firing from the legs.

The presses went better - the 95 weren't actually that bad, but I think I'm going to go up to 97 next week - five pounds is just too big now. I was PISSED to fail on the last rep of the superset, after so many weeks of trying to get 21 at 65. Next week!

Next Week: DL 275/205, SP 97/65

Workout 2: Filthy Fifty Gone Bad

As wrecked as I was feeling, I expected to completely fail this one. Turned out to be not THAT bad, which I guess means I wasn't working hard enough. I basically went for five reps on each exercise, at the end of which I'd have an idea of a goal to reach by the 90 second mark. I'd get to the goal, and then try to crank out a couple more. I didn't get the 300 I hoped for, but 270 isn't too shabby - Matthew got 274, and doing as well as him is nice.

AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Box Jump 24"/20"
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Jumping C2B Pull-Up
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Kettlebell Swing 1.0P
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Walking Lunge Steps
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: KTE (Knees-To-Elbows)
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: 45# Good Mornings
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Push-Press 45#
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Wall-Ball 20#/14# 10" Target
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Burpees
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Double-Unders

In this workout you move immediately from station to station for good score upon a call of "rotate" from the coach. There is no rest between movements. You may start at any station.

270RX

I started at Wall-ball, figuring to get the hardest stuff over with first. This worked pretty well.

WB: 32
Burp: 15
DU: 32
Box: 17
JPU: 26
KB: 38
Lunge: 27
KTE: 15
GM: 24
PP: 44

Double Unders!

Sleep:
11:45-9:00 ... MMMm sleep :-) Had some trouble getting comfy with DOMS settling in, but generally slept very well.

WOD 1: Strength week 4 part 2
Warmup: Hip openers, air squats, adductor stretches, situps

Deadlift:
10 x 45#

5-5-5
100-125-135(PR)

21 x 100# (f@ rep 18)

Shoulder Press
10 x 25#

5-5-5
35-45-55 (f@ rep4)

21 x 32# (f@ rep 7, 12, 15,18 - this was just UGLY)

Comments:
The new DL x 5 PR was nice - but this session was just HARD after yesterdays ass kicking. DL actually went surprisingly well - on the set of 21, I was ddoing great until about rep 14, and then my muscles just stopped firing and quit @ rep 18.

The shoulder presses were bad. I lost my good form on these. I ALMOST got that 5th rep on 55, but the set of 21 was just so so so bad. I don't know why they felt so heavy and awful. I think my core was just too tired to support the weight. Better luck next time.

WOD #2 Filthy Fifty Gone Bad
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: KTE (Knees-To-Elbows)
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Back Extensions
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Push-Press 45#
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Wall-Ball 20#/14# 10" Target
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Burpees
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Double-Unders
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Box Jump 24"/20"
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Jumping C2B Pull-Up
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Kettlebell Swing 1.0P
AMRAP* in 90 seconds: Walking Lunge Steps

Results:
13-13-14-2-11-3(!!!)-0-29-17-28

Comments:
Max let us kip the KtE so I actually managed to get a fair number of them. Wall ball SUCKED - i tried several more reps than this but just could not get that sucker high enough. My poor tired arms were fried from the earlier presses and the push-presses I'd just done. Probably just should have taken it as a rest round. I did pretty well on the burpees - I tried to do as many as I could as quickly as I could because I thought the DU round was going to be a rest round.

And then .. the DU ... I knew the Box Jump was for sure going to be a rest round, so I decided to just go ahead and TRY the DU - the worst that would happen is that I wouldn't get any. First i tried straight from standing and that didn't work, and then I tried it after a couple single skips and damn if that rope didn't go all the way around twice!! Shocked the hell out of me. So I tried it again, and it worked, again! I got one more before the end of the round, and it was AWESOME! They just worked!

The rest of the exercises were pretty standard, they went fine.

After the WOD I continued to work my DU - and they still worked. The first couple times, I kept stopping after I got it - just I don't know - because I couldn't believe it actually worked. But after a few more practice tries I even managed to do DU-skip-skip-DU a couple times. I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to start stringing them together pretty quickly (either that or they'll dissapear completely - and that would be sad). But it felt really natural. SO EXCITED! It completely made up for my crappy crappy presses and made my entire day.

Food:
10am 3 egg cheesy scramble with veggie sausage, coffee w/ milk, 1 multiv, 2 glucosamine, 4 omega-3
3:30 - bacheeso's smorgasbord. - lots of beef kabobs, lots of eggs w/ chese and spincha, some turkey, some tomatoes, 1 glass tasty iced tea
4:30 - iced coffee (11 oz milk w/ 5 oz coffee)
8:00 - Indian food - daal, paneer tikka masala, chicken palak, more chicken, 16 oz milk.

Saturday, March 28, 2009 by Daniel

OPD

Today, in lieu of our regular CFEB class, we attended CrossFit Oakland's special community fundraiser for the families of the four Oakland Police Officers who were killed in the line of duty this week. It was a very cool event. We've only been to CFO for a WOD once before, for an affiliate throwdown, and we were scared off by the overwhelming testosterone being displayed (that and the workout was way out of our league). Today was much friendlier, and there was healthy representation by CFEB, so we had our friends around us. A captain of Oakland SWAT and some of his team members came to express his appreciation, and they stayed around to coach and cheer on the participants. All told, over 60 participants contributed an astonishing $1800 and more than a small amount of blood, sweat and tears.

"OPD"
Run 400m
40 deadlifts @ 275#/185#
40 box jumps @ 24"
40 push presses @ 115#/85#
Run 400m

The number 4 is prominent, in honor of the four who were killed in the line of duty: Sgt Mark Dunakin, Officer John Hege, Sgt Daniel Sakai, and Sgt Ervin Romans.

16:10 (225# DL, 2x35# PP)

They changed it to dumbbell push-presses due to a shortage of space/bars - RX was 2x50#, which was way beyond me. Rebecca, Allen, Andy, Raph and I all went in the third heat. Only Andy, Max, Brandon and Polly did it RX (though Raph came pretty damn close). I did everything in five sets of eight. The deadlifts were far and away the hardest part, and killed the rest of the workout. I probably spent too much time lollygagging on the box jumps, but the DLs and PPs felt about right. My vision blurred and my body went into full "what the hell are you doing to me?" mode in the last 200m, so I know at least I worked hard.

OPD - a fundraiser workout.

Sleep:
11:30 - 7:45 Good nights sleep!

Warmup:
ME, Hip Openers, Air Squats

WOD:

"OPD"
Run 400m
40 deadlifts @ 275#/185# *(115#)
40 box jumps @ 24" *(step up to 20" box)
40 push presses: 2 dumbells @ 50#/35# *(15# dumbells)
Run 400m
*Scaled

The number 4 is prominent, in honor of the four who were killed in the line of duty: Sgt Mark Dunakin, Officer John Hege, Sgt Daniel Sakai, and Sgt Ervin Romans.


Results:
Exercise
TimeElapsed
400m
2:11
2:11
40 115# DL
9:11
11:22
40 Step-ups
3:04
14:26
40 PP (15# x 2)
5:05
19:31
400m
2:32
22:03


Comments:
This workout was HARD - but satisfying. The Deadlifts were definitely the hardest part of the workout. I had to do them pretty much 1 at a time after about rep 15. They took a LONG time. The box step-ups afterwards were so much harder than they otherwise would have been. They were clumsy and slow. The push-presses weren't so bad ... I probably should have used a 20# dumbell for my left side so that they were equally hard. After the first 10 my right could only get through 5 reps at a time; my left was still ok. The runs were not that bad - my first run was somewhat faster than the time above - i didn't hit my lap timer until i was in front of my deadlift station - which was probably 10 - 15 or seconds after I finished the run - which would make the first run one of my faster times in recent memory. The secod one was definitely harder - but it was great cause it meant i was nearly done. I started out relatively strong, kinda lost steam after the turn around, but my CFEB peeps were cheering for me at the finish line and I was able to put on a little extra gas for the last 50-75m or so.

One of the OPD officers who was there cheered me on for much of the workout. He was wearing a very cool CrosFit OPD t shirt. I, unfortunately, did not learn his name, but I really appreciated his support.

It was great to be there among such a great community of supportive people.

Food:
8:30 black coffee
1:30 (ish?) - 3 egg cheese scramble - w/ turkey bacon, 10oz coffee 2/ milk
7:00 (ish) - cheesecake factory - avocado rolls, thai lettuce wraps, crab wontons, 1 pint sierra nevada
7:45 - 4 omega-3
8:45 - 2/3 bowl kale sausage & beans, 16 oz milk

Friday, March 27, 2009 by Daniel

HIIT and ME

Morning:
Sprint-8 on rower - 3,375m
30 minutes POSE practice on treadmill, 6MPH
20 minutes excruciating stretches in sauna

Evening:

Five rounds for max reps of:
Ring Dips
C2B Pull-ups

3/10 - 3/10 - 2/10 - 2/7 - 2/6 = 12/43 RX

Yep. Ring dips still suck. However the handstand/HSPU practice afterwards went well. Kicking up to the wall is easy and reliable now, and I've started playing with targets to find the right depth for HSPUs - I can't go all the way down yet.

Dips & Pullups

Sleep:
11:40 - 8:05 - mostly good sleep - except when the cats got me up once in the middle of the night. But it was "Let one out, refill dry food bowl, outside cat heard that came tearing back in, back in bed 5 seconds, cat scratching to get outside again, let cat out again. Wheee.

AM Commentary: I really managed to bruise my neck and shoulders with last night's back squats. I do not want to do that again. More form work necessary. Maybe "Elbows to the ceiling" will help me keep them tight through the whole squat.

Warmup:
Mobility, 5 Min static Plank Holds, 40 unanchored situps, 30 v-ups, 20 hollow rocks, 10 KtE. Ow.

WOD:
Five rounds for max reps of:
Ring Dips
Pull-ups

3 minutes rest between each round.
*Subbed Parallette Dips, and several different pull-up subs

Results:
19/1 - Legitimate pullup
17/0 - tried and failed to get a real pull-up
17/14 - switched to jumping pull-ups - didn't like this sub
18/6 - tried kip attempts - focused more on rhythm than actually trying to make it up to the bar - didn't like this sub either.
14/4 - switched to strong kip attempts where I made an active attempt to pull myself up over the bar after each attempt - should have done these all along.

Cashout:
20 minutes of stretching

Comments:
The Parallette Dips were probably too easy of a sub. Should have put my feet up on a ball. I need to work on my stabilization skills on the rings so that I can actually do a sub on the rings when ring dips come up.

Food:
9:00 - 6 oz black coffee
1:05 cottage Cheese
1:50 - coffee w/ milk
3:30 - BBQ chicken w/ 1 little yam
4:00 - 1 multiv, 2 glucosamine, 4 omega-3
7:00 - 16oz milk
8:00 - unsatisfying Thai food.
11:00 - 2 zma

Thursday, March 26, 2009 by Daniel

Strength Cycle, week 4 part 1

Back Squat x 5: 115 - 145 - 170
Back Squat x 21: 125
Bench Press x 5: 115 - 135 - 145(pr)
Bench Press x 21: 110
Handstand/Forward roll practice

Although I was not sore today from yesterday's Karen, it still had an effect on tonight's workout. My muscles felt fatigued, and my form on the squats felt decidedly unpretty. 170 matches my previous PR, though, and I think I should be able to manage 175 next week. The superset was painful, but I made it through only taking extra deep breaths on reps 7 and 14. The bench also felt tight and suboptimal, but I pushed through. The superset was brutal - I expect to start failing on that any week now.

Rebecca, Ynez and I spent way more time than we really should have on handstand and forward roll practice, but we were having a lot of fun. I was practicing primarily "jumping rolls," kicking up to pass through the handstand position, then breaking the legs and arms and rolling out. I have a really hard time bending my elbows, resulting in a big flop forward onto my back that, were it not on a giant blue mat, would really hurt. I managed a small handful with decent form, I just need to figure out how to do it consistently. I also, basically by accident, got a freestanding handstand for like two whole seconds before I freaked out and rolled out. That was exciting.

Next week: BS 175/130, BP 150/110

Forward Rolls!

Sleep: Fail
1:00 - 8:00 Super restless night. had a very hard time falling and staying asleep until 2 or 3, and for once it wasn't the cats' fault.

Warmup: ME, Hip openers, lugging Ev's 1.5 pood KB down stairs. That was awkward and heavy.

WOD:
Backsquat
Warmup: 10 x 45#
5-5-5
55-60-70(PR)

21 x 55 made it, but it was ugly. I have some serious form work I need to do, so I think I will keep this weight next week.

Bench
Warmup: 10 x 45#

5-5-5
55-60-70 - failed after rep 4 - still one more rep than I accomplished last week.

21 x 52# - made it. barely. and not without whimpering.

Cash out:
Forward roll practice. I finally got this! I got a lot of them! I even managed to get enough momentum that most of the time I could stand up at the end without using my hands. It was very cool. Apparently the trick to conquering the dizziness was keeping my eyes open. Not even really focusing on anything in particular, but just being able to see made the dizziness entirely manageable. Thanks for the idea Ynez!!!! I did great as long as I was focusing on only doing a somersault. As soon as I tried to think about getting any hang time before rolling, I got everything all wrong, and ended up in a tangle of arms and legs on the mat. Hooray for the cushy blue mats @ iron works though.

Also - while I was waiting for Daniel to get out of the dressing room, I successfully did a pulldown of 120# - twice! - I've never been able to pull down that weight before. 110# was my max. Soon soon soon I will have a deadhang pullup. (I weight about 125)

Comments:
I was not at all sore today from Karen yesterday. I was, however, fatigued, and squats were a lot harder this week than they were last week. There's a good chance that I will be sore tomorrow. I did not have post work-out milk, and I did a lot of stuff that was new for me.

I'm pretty excitied about my backsquat PR - 70 pounds was absolutely doable. I don't think there's any reason I won't get 75 next week. However, Daniel said I am holding the bar in a haigh bar position, but squating a low bar squat, so I definitely have some form work. Something else I need to work on is keeping my shoulder girdle tight all the way down. THis leaves the bar sitting on the vertebra of my neck instead of the meaty musles that should be supporting it, and that hurts - and will only get worse as the bar gets heavier. Right now that spot is very sore.

I think my adductors and hamstrings are too tight to let me use a wide enough stance for a proper high bar squat. I need to work on getting those lossened up ... though we spent so long on our handstand/forward roll practice that I didn't get a chance to do any post workout stretching.

The bench also just didn't feel super solid today. I did reasonably well with it, but it was a struggle.

Anyway, I am determined to get a full night's sleep tonight, so I am off to bed.

Food:
8:45 - 3 egg cheesy scramble, 12 oz coffee 2/3 cup milk
9:00 - 1 multiv, 2 glucosamine, 4 0mega-3
3:30 - 1/2 or maybe a little less a serving of North African stew. not quite as much left as I thought. Was still hungry.
5:50 - finished off the last of my spiced cashews. 1.5 oz?
9:10 - SUPER gordos carnitas burrito, 16 oz milk. Finally feel full... and then soome. Urgh.
11:00 - 2 zma

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 by Daniel

Karen

Wow, over a year of CrossFit and this has never come up for me.

For time:
150 Wallball shots, 20 pound ball

9:55 RX

There were too many people to all go at once, so we went in heats. I coached Eric through the first one, where he wound up getting the top score of the day at 9:43 with the strategy of 15 every minute, on the minute. When it came my turn I used the same strategy, but while he started falling apart after 100, I started breaking down after 75. I managed to keep it together until the second-to-last round, at which point it was just 10 or 5 at a time. I really wanted to match or beat his score, but came up 12 seconds shy. Oh well. It's still the second-best score of the day, I think, which makes me happy.

Karen

Sleep:
11:45-7:45 Slept very well until cone-head cat started pitching a fit around 7:40. Decided to just get up

Warmup:
  • 500m Row - 2:10 - incidentally, my best time ever is 2:07 - and I only really started pushing hard in the last half of the row or so, so I am sure I can do better - though this WAS supposed to be just a warmup,
  • ME
  • 2 lame kip attempts (still a little winded from the row, i think)
  • 1 pullup - ugly but legit. Another kip DH hybrid. I got up pretty far with my kip, but really had to fight for that last 4-6 inches.
  • 1 headstand. got up on my first try, but completely lost my sense of up and down on the way down and crumpled over to the side. bad dismount.
WOD:
"Karen"
For time:
150 Wallball shots, 20 pound ball
*subbed 10# ball

Results (sets of 10):
Reps
TimeElapsed
.
Reps
TimeElapsed
101:171:17
90*1:5012:40
201:102:27
1001:2714:07
301:273:54

1101:3215:39
401:285:22

1201:4017:19
501:226:44

1301:2618:45
601:238:07

1401:0919:54
701:179:24

1501:1721:11
801:2610:50





*stopped for a drink of water

Comments:
Well, it was only a 10# ball, and while I am sure I was good about going low enough for the launch, my knees were all over the place, and, worse, my catching form was atrocious. I cannot seem to catch the ball in such a way as to be able to link 2 together, so I spent a lot of time resetting. But I did 150 wall ball today. And, as Daniel pointed out, it wasn't all that very long ago when I couldn't do any, and it was my goal just to be able to hit that stupid X once. So - there has been plenty of progress here - but there is still a long long road to go before these are anything like decent.

It's interesting that my 2nd and my 14th rounds were the best time-wise. Once again, this was a workout where my strength capacity gave out well before my aerobic capacity. I had to stop and rest because I had to wait for my muscles to regenerate the ability to produce force. I rarely felt truly winded. At some point, I'd like to try these with a very light ball - like a beach ball or a basketball or something - just to work on the form of being able to string them together.

Food:
9:00 - 6 oz black coffee
12:25 - cottage cheese w/ non roasted slivered almonds. substandard :-p but still tasty. 12oz coffee w/ 3/4 cup milk
4:40 - 1/2 serving North African CHicken Stew - with Almonds
7:00 - 16 oz milk
8:30 - BBQ Chicken - leg, thigh, back, 1 medium sized yam, 3.4 cup sauteed spinach with walnuts.
9:00 - 1 multiv, 2 glucosamine, 4 omega-3
11:45 - 2 zma

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 by Rebecca

I am feisty.

Sleep:
12:25-7:50 - pretty restful.

Rest Day!


Food:
8:45 - 3 egg cheesy scramble, 1/2 piece turkey bacon, 10 oz coffee 2/3 cup milk
1:00 - 2oz spiced cashews
3:30 - 1 cup of North African Chicken stew. :-) Sans Almonds :-(
7:00 - I am abundant, I am Festive, I am Perfect a la Mode. We took an out-of-town friend to Cafe Gratitude. They have the best pecan pie in the whole wide world (I am Perfect). It is pretty much just nut and date paste instead of the sickly sweet syrup that most real pecan pies are made of. It is divine. And the Macadamia Nut crust is so good!

Monday, March 23, 2009 by Daniel

Introducing CrossKitchen

NOTE: Cross-posted at CrossFit East Bay

Hi guys! Max has generously agreed to give me weekly space for a feature on nutrition that I'm dubbing "CrossKitchen." It is my intention to use this space to provide you with some of the information that I've picked up in my nutritional research - things like recipes, DIY tips, articles and anything else I can think of to help fuel your fire. If you have any ideas or requests, please let me know! -Daniel


Trimming the Fat


Good weather is just around the corner, and like all good CrossFitters and Rockclimbers, we will all soon be stripping down to our skivvies in public at the faintest pretext. It is what we do. But if the long, cold, harsh California winter has left you with an unwanted layer of fat to protect you from the elements, you may be looking to tighten up a little before emerging from your Polartec cave. I'm here to help.

The Number One Rule you must Always Obey

"Eat Food. Mostly Plants. Not too much." - Michael Pollan
"You can't shit in the tank and expect good mileage." - Coach Glassman

Get used to hearing this, 'cause I'm going to harp on it a lot. If you're into needlepoint, you might want to stitch it up and surround it with little broccoli flowers: EAT REAL FOOD.

Everything else I'm going to go into here is a technique, but this is the bedrock on which it all rests. If you ignore everything else I say, listen to this. It makes all the difference in the world. More on this at a later date.

All diets boil down to two things

All successful diets cover two bases: caloric deficit and hormone control. Most people know all about the first and nothing about the second. OK, yes, it is good to take in a little less than you burn. But it is far more important to keep your insulin in check and to maximize your HGH response. Two advantages of high-fat, low-carb diets is that they increase satiety, thereby causing you to eat less, and they decrease insulin sensitivity, the greatest cause of obesity. If you can keep your insulin and cortisol levels down and your HGH and glucagon levels high, fat should just melt off your body. The trick is figuring out how to do it.

For more information:
Diet Round-up

Here's a quick rundown of the pre-packaged diets that have seen success across the CrossFit community.

The Zone

If there is an official diet of CrossFit, it is the Zone. The basic premise behind it is that if you can eat all your meals in portions of approximately 30% fat, 30% protein and 40% carbohydrates, you will put your body into an optimized performance "zone" that burns fat and builds muscle. Personally, I am not a huge fan of the Zone (I can't be bothered with all the weighing and measuring it requires), but I cannot argue with its record: many athletes around the world have seen appreciable performance gains and fat loss when zoning, and nearly all of the CrossFit superstars (Nicole, Greg A, OPT, etc) zone.

For more information:
Paleo

Brainchild of Professor Loren Cordain, the basic premise of the Paleo diet is this: humans evolved over many thousands of years on a fairly specific hunter-gatherer diet. The relatively recent advent of agriculture has introduced a whole new generation of foods that our bodies are not "designed" to eat, and which consequently do us harm. Grains and sugar are strictly forbidden, dairy and legumes are discouraged. Basically, if you can't pick it up or chase it down and eat it, you shouldn't. This is probably the second most popular diet among CrossFitters, particularly those who find the Zone fussy (although it should be noted that you can do both Zone and Paleo at the same time - many do).

For more information:
Intermittent Fasting

More philosophy than diet, IF can be boiled down to this: "Eat. Don't eat for a while. Eat." This particular topic is near and dear to my own heart, so (again) I'll go into it in more detail at a later date. But the basic premise is this: occasional fasts of 16-24 hours are highly beneficial to the body in numerous way, including (but not limited to) insulin control, calorie control, increased recovery, performance and mental acuity, etc etc. Fasting means FASTING - nothing with more than 5 calories passes your lips, and intermittent means INTERMITTENT - some folks do it five days a week, some just one, and some whenever they feel like it, but you should definitely not do it all the time. It is possible to do Zone, Paleo AND IF all at once, but at that point I'd start accusing you of being orthorexic, and the mockery would commence.

For more information:
The Anabolic/Ketogenic/Velocity/Warrior/Atkins Diets

There are minor variations among them, but they all follow a consistent theme: by lowering your daily input of carbohydrates to under 30g, you will put your body in ketosis, whereby you are no longer deriving your energy from glucose like the rest of us, but rather from ketones manufactured from fat by your liver. This also has the effect of turning your body's focus to its fat stores for energy, particularly since all that fat and protein you're eating has increased your satiety such that you're on caloric deficit. Some people report remarkable success on these diets, but they seem (to me) to be in the minority. They also tend to be really heavy to begin with. Personally, I think these diets can work well in the short term, but are not very sustainable and tend to kill your metabolic conditioning. There's also a danger of yo-yoing with such an extreme diet. And if you're vegetarian, forget it.

For more information:
Diets that suck

You know this already. Any diet that requires you to buy their branded "food" (ie, slim-fast). Any diet that pushes the old-fashioned high-carb, low-fat philosophy (yeah, ok, it works for some people, but they are few and far between). Any diet that relies on limiting your choices so severely that you could never hit caloric surplus ("I can eat whatever I want, as long as it's pickles and muenster"). Any diet that uses fancy chemistry to bypass food's inherent natures (ie, sugar-free soda, no-carb pasta, etc). Any diet that focuses exclusively on caloric deficit with no regard to hormone control (this can work, but isn't great for athletes). Any diet that promotes starvation.

You are a beautiful snowflake

Everybody is different. What works for me may not be the best option for you. It will take some experimentation and documentation for you to determine your own optimal method of weight loss. Since everyone needs to do it from time to time, and it typically sucks, it's in your best interest to figure out the most efficient method for yourself. That said, here are some tips and tricks from my own experience:
  • Eat real food. Quality trumps quantity.
  • Write it down. Keep a food log. Fitday is an extremely useful tool, but it can be a bit high-maintenance. The easiest thing is to add a food component to your own workout log (you are keeping a workout log, right? RIGHT?). Blogger is free and easy, and if you give us the link we can all leave snarky comments when you break down and eat an entire box of Thin Mints. A notepad and pen is also cheap and easy. Just the simple act of writing down what you eat will make you more aware of what you're putting in your body, which is invaluable.
  • Set reasonable goals. Don't crash diet. It never works. You might knock off ten pounds in one punishing week, but you'll burn yourself out and, in a fit of drunken rebelliousness, gain back twelve pounds in one night of gluttonous self-mutilation. Plus, you'll mainly be losing water, and the elevated cortisol will burn your muscles and kill your performance. I recommend a goal of ONE POUND PER WEEK. It's nice and maintainable, and easy to remember.
  • Find a metric that works for you. If the numbers on the scale send you into a panic of doubt and self-recrimination, don't use them. Get a tape measure and use your waist measurement. Stand in front of a mirror naked, grab your bouncy bits and jump up and down - less jiggle, more better. Learn how to use bodyfat calipers, or get yourself tested.
  • Cheat. You will get out what you put in. If you are 90% strict with your diet, you can expect to reap 90% of the reward. 90% is really, really close to 100%. If that 10% difference is the difference between sticking to it and dropping it for being too hard, I'll take it. When you cheat, cheat hard, but be aware that you're setting the rules aside for this one meal, and get back on the horse when you're done.
My own snowflake story

Before CrossFit, I lost 40 pounds by simply eating less and cycling more. I bottomed out at 12% bodyfat, though, and couldn't get below that for about a year. Ultimately, I found that the following plan works extremely well for me, and can get me below 10% whenever I want it to:
  • A diet that is approximately 50% fat, 30% protein, 20% carbs, ~2500 cal/day
  • Fasting 4-5 times/week, 16-20 hours per fast
  • Morning workouts while fasted:

    • High-intensity intervals (either Sprint-8 or sets of 10 burpees), followed by ~30 minutes of very mild cardio (ie, running at 6mph)
I'd be happy to share more info with anyone who's interested.

Whew! That was a mouthful (so to speak). I hope you found something useful in there - if not, hopefully next week. If you have any questions or notes from your own experience, please share them in the comments.

I am becoming Super Woman! (at least a little)

Sleep:
1:30 - 8:15 no more afternoon coffee. Damn cats got really restless at about 7. Fortunately Felix's wound is finally looking just about healed. Hopefully only another day or two of the cone. We will ALL be grateful.

WOD - Strength Week 3 Part 2
Warmup - ME and hip openers

Deadlifts:
10 x 45#

5-5-5
95 -120-130(PR)
(meant to start with 100 - just forgot the 2.5 # plates until rep 3 - decided to skip it)

21 x 100# - failed after rep 18. Could not keep form good enough to progress without possible injury to my back. Same weight next week. I've decided music is great for the 5 rep sets - but I don't like it for the 21 rep sets.

Shoulder Press:
10 x 15#

5-5-5
30-40-50(PR)

21 x 30# - Next week 32 or 35

Pretty pleased with how this went, overall. 130# was essentially my 1 rep max not all that long ago. It's pretty exciting to be able to complete a 5 rep set at that weight. And last week I was close to but absolutely failed 5 reps of 50 presses. Today it was pretty easy. I am confident that next week I will be able do 55.

WOD 2 - Climbing:
I didn't have a lot of time for climbing once I finished my strength stuff, but I did manage to get in a couple climbs.

I warmed up on a friendly 10a/b on the back wall. Climbed it clean. Although I must have clocked my right knee at some point because after I belayed my partner up the same climb, when I went to walk away, I could barely bend it. It was like a weird delayed funny bone reaction. Very bizarre, because it didn't hurt immediately. I massaged it for a few minutes and it felt better - though still not quite "right".

My second climb was a 10a across from the cave. It had more overhang/negative incline than the first climb. It wasn't entirely clean, but it was pretty close (after I started over after falling completely off at the very beginning of the route). My knee behaved itself.

My third climb was barely even half a climb - it was a strengthy 10b to the right of the 10a I did. There was a dyno/strength move just after the start that I really struggled with, but was finally able to accomplish once I convinced my right foot that it really did want to bear my weight, and decided that I wasn't going to clock my knee again on those really large holds hanging out by my knees ... Sadly, I was not able to make it up much farther once I reached my goal, but I was pretty happy to have made that move. Daniel was impressed. He said he had thought that I didn't have the strength yet to haul myself up and lock off long enough to reach the next hold. Yay for being stronger!

Food:
9:00 - 6oz black coffee
1:15 - cottage cheese, etc.
5:20 - 2 oz spiced cashews
9:15 - 16oz milk & 1.5 bowls of north african chicken stew. Hooray for the crockpot having dinner all ready to go when we get home!! :-D
9:45 - 1 multiv, 2 glucosamine, 4 omega-3
11:15 - 2 zma

Sunday, March 22, 2009 by Daniel

Strength and "Idea Gone Bad"

Workout 1: Strength Cycle - Week 3, part 2

Deadlift x 5: 225- 245 - 265
Deadlift x 21: 185 (unbroken)
Press x 5: 70- 80- 90
Press x 21: 65 (16-5)

Oops. That DL superset should've been 195 or 200. No wonder it felt relatively easy. I'm going to start including NEXT week's numbers in each post, since it's tricky to go back a week later and figure out that day's goals.

The deadlift at 265 matches my previous PR, and was the first time during the strength cycle I've pulled the weight off the ground and thought "oh, shit that's heavy." Welcome to the front lines. Everything else went fairly well, although the press superset was UGLY - I blame yesterday's push-presses, which I'm a bit sore from.

Next Week: DL 270/200, SP 95/65

I went and joined the 12 o'clock class to practice some snatches, but I really didn't need to do THREE back-to-back workouts, so I mainly just used it for a little form practice and to try and stay warm for Firebreathers.

Workout 2: Idea Gone Bad

Jim gets the credit for coming up with that name. Other contenders: "Fight Gone Awkward," "Fight Gone Codeine," (Max is sick and Alex theorized that he came up with this while high on cold medicine) and "Fight Gone Fucking Bizarre." Basically, Max tried to come up with five high-strength, low-rep things we never (or almost never) do. Well, he succeeded.

In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating.

1. Wall-ball: 20/14 pound ball, 12 ft target. (Reps)
2. 180 degree 2P/1.5P Kettlebell Swing
3. Double-Under/Burpee Complex
4. 1.5PX2/1.0PX2 Push-Press
5. Run 50 meters (complete passes only)


107 RX

It definitely hit the "constantly varied" element, but was somewhat questionable when it came to functionality. I mean, 12-foot wall-ball, sure, but doubleunderburpees are just weird.


Exercise 123Total
Wall-Ball
17
18
17
52
180 KB Swing
8
7
722
Burpee/DU
6
7
7
20
Push-Press
0
0
0
0
50m Sprint
4
4
5
13
TOTAL
35
36
36
107

I tried a two-fisted push-press before class, with fresh arms, and it was not good. I didn't get it up, and nearly crushed my foot when the bells came crashing down. Rather than try and accomplish that insanity while exhausted, I just sat that round out. Which worked out just fine, ultimately. Jim coached me through it, and was an excellent coach - soft-spoken, but intense and motivating, he squeezed a few more reps out of me in every round. I really wish I'd done as well by him, but mostly I let him set his own pace. Next time.

#@*#&^ homework.

Sleep:
1:30-9:45 There was some restlessness from me and the cats in the morning - but I was determined to stay in bed for at least 8 hours.

AM Commentary:
I am not going to the gym today :-( I got no homework done yesterday, so I have to get it all done today if I want to go climbing tomorrow. With the strength and the FB and lunch that's a lot of hours not studying. Also, my right shoulder is letting me know how unhappy it is about being made to actually work. It kinda hurts. So I will try to catch up on the strength stuff tomorrow.

PM(AM) Commentary: I actually managed to get all my homework done, so I don't have to rush home from climbing tomorrow to complete it. YAY! I had a weird pointy pain in my side - on the right just under my ribcage for some of the afternoon, and the again, a little bit worse, in the evening. I looked up they symptom, and it looks like it could be anything from a pulled muscle to gall bladder to colon to a collapsed lung. It happend after eating both times, so I am guessing it has nothing to do with my lungs. I guess I'll just see if it comes back. I hope not.

Food:
10:30 - 3 egg cheesy scramble w/ veggie sausage, 10 oz coffee w 2/3 cup milk.
11:30 - 1 strip turkey jerkey
3:00 - 1 cup lefover indian food, 16 oz milk
3:45 - cheese and mustard wrapped in deli slices of turkey (2), spoonful of peanut butter, 10oz coffee 2/3 cup milk
6:00 - 5-6 oz rotiserrie chicken w/ BBQ sauce
8:30 - Kung Pao Tofu with peanuts & 16oz milk.
Forgot to take my vitamins. Damn.

Saturday, March 21, 2009 by Daniel

Oh right. Metcons.

It's true that this strength cycle deprecates metcons, particularly very long (over 30 minute) ones. Still, the way this week has worked out, we haven't done anything metconnish since Sunday, which is a pretty long time to go without. So it was good to get the heart racing today and feel a bit of the old familiar sensation-of-suck.

For time:
Run 400 Meters
1.5/1.0P Kettlebell Push press, 42 reps
Run 400 Meters
1.5/1.0P Kettlebell Push press, 36 reps
Run 400 Meters
1.5/1.0P Kettlebell Push press, 30 reps
Run 400 Meters
1.5/1.0P Kettlebell Push press, 24 reps

16:34, 1.25P

I don't scale workouts much anymore, particularly the kettlebell ones. Although it felt disappointing to do this non-Rx, I feel like I made the right choice. I CAN push-press the 1.5P bell, but not well and not frequently - when we did Fight Gone Bell, the best I could do was five push-presses in a minute. Even if I'd been able to maintain that pace the entire time (dubious), I'd still be at ~30 minutes just push-pressing. It wouldn't have been much of a metcon, with all the resting that would have been required. As it was, I finished at around the same time as the other folks, and it definitely FELT like a metcon, so I'm happy.

Carrying an even load

Sleep:
12:45-9:00
The cats were blessedly undisruptive (... that's a double negative ruptive?), and I got 8.25 solid hours of sleep. Hooray!

This morning I tried a couple pullups on our PU bar. the first one i tried from a bent arm position, and i just went right up to the top - it was like an ELEVATOR - Wooop Ding! Penthouse! Then I tried a couple from a dead hang, and I actually made it about half way up. I could feel that I had finally gotten past the catchy place I've been stuck at for a while, but it took everything I had to get that far, so I still got stuck with my elbows @ 90 degrees. I just need a little extra strenght to keep puling the rest of the way. I managed to get my elbows to 90 degrees about 4 times. It was awesome.

Warm up: 2 min jump rope, ME, hip opening strethces, head stand practice. I got my first headstand all by myself today! The trick is apparently NOT being right on top of the wall, but a couple inches out from it.

WOD:
For time:
Run 400 Meters
1.5/1.0P Kettlebell Push press, 42 reps
Run 400 Meters
1.5/1.0P Kettlebell Push press, 36 reps
Run 400 Meters
1.5/1.0P Kettlebell Push press, 30 reps
Run 400 Meters
1.5/1.0P Kettlebell Push press, 24 reps

Results:
using the 12kg KB

Exercise
TimeElapsed
400m
2:21
2:21
42 KB PP: 22R 20L
5:59
8:20
400m
2:35
10:55
36 KB PP: 20R 16L
6:20
7:15
400m
2:31
19:46
30 KB PP: 15R 15L
3:58
23:44
400m
2:50
26:34
24 KB PP: 14R 10L
4:31
31:05


Comments:
This took for-frickin-ever. I'm fairly certain that my time was by far the longest one in either class today. But it's because I insisted on making my right arm do most of the work. I only alternated arms on every fifth rep, and the right arm always went first, so it got most of the reps. The form was not always pretty, and while I did redo some reps, I did not redo all the ones that I probably should not have counted. By the end I could only get 1 to 2 reps in before having to set the KB down and regroup. But I feel good about forcing it to try to catch up. It was tempting to let my left do more of the work so I could get a better time, but I'll even out faster if I make it work harder.

I wish I could school my right leg that way. Maybe if I take the weight WAY down on my squats I can try to focus on lifting more dominantly with my right leg than my left. Otherwise, except for the step-up work I've been doing (and pistols which are a bit out of my league atm), I can't think of an exercise off-hand where you only work one leg or the other.

The runs felt pretty brutal, too, but with the recent lack of m,etcons that's only to be expected. I was happy I didn't have to walk any part of them, but I did have to stop and pant for about a minute to get my breath back after each one.


Food:
9:30 - 4oz black coffee
12:00 - 16oz milk
1:15 - Bacheeso's smorgasbord: Beef Kabobs, Eggs w/ cheese and spinach, chicken sausage, turkey, some awesome tomatoes, and coffee with half n' half
4:00 - 10oz coffee w/ 2/3 cup milk
4:30 - 1 multiv, 2 glucosamine, 4 omega-3
8:30 - BBQ and Terriaki chicken, salad with almonds & blood oranges & pears, 3 slices of bread with some fabulous soft cheese, roasted mushrooms, cauliflower and potatoes
9:30 - 1 slice of sugarless pumpkin pie with a small scoop of vanilla ice-cream, 1 glass of wine.

Friday, March 20, 2009 by Daniel

Who needs thumbs, anyway?

AM:

Sprint-8 on rower, 3350m
No climbing today. :sadpanda:

PM:

Snatch setup x 3: 135 - 155 - 185 - 195
Snatch-grip deadlift x 1: 225 - 245 - 275

Hook grip HURTS. Actually, I think it's a lot like false grip: exceedingly painful at first, but necessary. These were awkward and painful, but good practice for developing a proper snatch.

And the PR's just keep rolling on. :-D

Sleep:
11:45 - 8:15 but very little sleep was actually had after about 6am. DAMN CATS between the two of them, it was horrible. One kept wanting to be let outside and then changing his mind, the other one kept meowing and clawing at the covers because he isn't allowed out side right now. I swear it will be a happy happy day when he finally gets this cone off his head. This must be the all time slowest healing wound. It's a little worrisome. We did some serious wound maintenance this evening - and it looks much better. Fingers crossed we'll be done with the cone in just a couple more days.

Warmup: Dowel Drills: burgener warmup, snatch parctice, OH Squats

WOD:
Snatch Set-Up 3-3-3-3

Snatch Deadlift 1-1-1

Results:
Warmup - Snatch Setup 10x45#

Snatch Setup: 55-65-75-95
Snatch Deadlift: 115-125-130

Cashout:
Regualr Deadlift x 1: 145-150!!! (PR!)

Comments:
Snatch grip deadlifts are definitely harder than normal deadlifts. I fell like I did pretty well overall with them. I didn't realize we only had three sets of the !RM, and probably could have pulled 135, but 130 was plenty challenging. However, lifting that 150# was AWESOME. Lifting 145# was practically easy - I knew I could do more. The 150 was hard - it went up very slowly. I know my right knee was not solid. But with just a little practice, I know I can do more than that. It's very exciting to see results from our strength focus training paying off so quickly. What's not exciting is the body comp changes I am seeing as a result of doing only 1 to 2 metcons a week and not reducing my caloric intake. I am trying not to dwell on those. I've never had too much trouble making weight come off, and clearly the focus on strength is paying off in spades.

I was in a FOUL mood when i got to the gym. The day at work was extremely packed and frustrating and I am TIRED TIRED TIRED of having too much to do in the 8 hours I am allowed to put in. The backlog just gets bigger and bigger and bigger and I see no end in sight as to how I am going to catch up with all the things that are not getting done. I barely managed to get a report put together that was due to the bank today just as I was leaving.

But it wasn't long after I got to the gym and got moving and helping the other girls in my group with their form before I was able to completely let go of work and the frustration and just be there in the moment.

When Daniel and I first started getting fit, we were in the middle of planning our wedding, and taking time to workout was a great escape from the pressure of putting that together. And unlike using video games as an escape which was our MO before, no one could justifiably say "You were absolutely wasting your time doing XYZ instead of wedding related 123." And as work has become crazier and crazier, gym time has become more and more important because it really helps me find my equilibrium - most of the time. The endorphin high of a good workout works wonders in the short term, and knowing that I am in the best damn physical shape of my entire life works some magic between workouts.

I <3 Crossfit.

Food:
9:00 - 6oz black cofee
2:30 - cottage cheese with almonds & cinnamon, 10oz coffee w/3/4 cup milk
6:00 - 2oz spiced cashews
8:00 - Cheeseburger w/ sauteed onions & Mushrooms and avocado - no bun, 2 cups green salad, 16oz milk
9:30 - 1 multiv, 2 glucosamine, 4 omega-3

Yeah no real lunch, today (FAIL) - it was a CRAZY day at work. I was lucky to find time to scarf my cottage cheese down

Thursday, March 19, 2009 by Daniel

Strength Cycle, week 3 part 1

Back Squat x 5: 115 - 145 - 165
Back Squat x 21: 120
Bench Press x 5: 115 - 125 - 140
Bench Press x 21: 105
Weighted Pullup (on rings) x 1: 45 - 45 - 45 - 45 - 45

Had a minor breakthrough on the squats tonight. Due (once again) to the midline stabilization series of videos, I focused on tightening my core as much as possible in the squats. It helped. It didn't SOLVE my "good morning" problem, but I think I am making slow progress on that. Let's go to the video:



My hips are still rising proportionally faster than my shoulders out of the hole, particularly on the third and fifth reps. At this rate, I'm not going to fix the issue before the weight gets too heavy for me to rescue it, and I'm going to start failing, I'd guess in three weeks or so. I'm wondering if more practice doing air squats against a wall would help - I'll try and do more of that when I can.

That said, I feel like I AM getting stronger. The bench felt downright easy, and I can remember when this weight would scare the bejeezus out of me. I just wish my squat would hurry up and work.

More PR's! (Strength week #3 Part 1)

Sleep:
11:45 - 7:30 - got very little sleep after 6am - 2 very restless irritating cats made sleeping difficult.

Warmup:Many many hip flexibility drills - a few air squats, some stretches, some lunges, some hip openers, some overhead squats, some dislocates for the shoulders. I was nice and warm when i started.

WOD:
Back Squat:
10 x 45# bar
5 x 50#
5 x 55
5 x 65# (PR)
21 x 50# - 55# next week

Some headstand work while we were waiting for a bench to open up.

Bench Press:
10 x 45
5 x 50
5 x 60
3 x 70 - failed on rep 4 - Still a PR!
5 X 65 (mistake! - I was intending to try for 70 again, but we'd moved the 2.5's to Daniel's bar, and forgot to replace them. We didn't realize our error until after the 5 reps. I was super excited while i thought I'd just whipped through 5 70# presses, and then I was a little ticked off.)
2x70 - failed on rep #3
21 x 52 - lost it at rep 13 and again at 18. same weight next week. - might be able to pull it off without extra sets beforehand.

Cash Out:
10 Step-ups R
10 Step-ups L
10 Step-ups R
*17 inch box

5 KB High-Pull L
5 KB High-Pull R
5 KB High-Pull L
5 KB High-Pull R
*1P KB

10 Min Stretching

Comments:
So remember last week how I said "Someday I will figure out this damn squat!"? Turns out things actually started to click into place this week! The midline stabilization videos we watched have performed magic on my squats! For whatever reason, I finally finally got the cue about keeping my core TIGHT through the squat.



The first set (from the side) is 55#, the second set (from the back) is 65#. My form issues are MUCH more apparent from the back than the front. I'm willing to bet that my knees were moving around nearly as much on the 55# as the 65# - it's just not apparent from the side. Also - my butt is uneven. I think that's probably because I'm still doing more work with my left leg than my right leg.

Still, these felt SO much better than last week.

Both benches were full when we went to use them, but one guy only had 2 sets left, so we decided to go use the empty yoga room to practice our head/hand stands. In retrospect, this was probably a mistake, because it really tired out my shoulders, and I think my bench really suffered for it. I still did not manage to successfully kick up on my own, but I was able to hold it once Daniel helped me get my feet up.

The past couple weeks, the bench is where I've had good progress, not so much so today. My warmup felt hard, and every set felt harder than it should have (except the set of 65# that I thought was 70# - that felt awesome). Still. I got three reps of 70# which is more than I have ever benched before, so that's still exciting. 5 Reps was pretty much out of the question.

I expect that I will be able to do 52 or even 55# x 21 next week without too much trouble, as long as I don't throw in extra sets beforehand.

I raised the step up box a notch from where it was yesterday, and they were harder again - I think they felt easy yesterday because the box was too low.

And I actually managed to get the KB highpulls pretty high on both the L & R side. No where near snatching height, yet, but definitely at least boob height for most reps.

Food:
8:00 - 3 egg cheesy scramble w/2 pieces turkey bacon, 10oz coffee 2/3 cup milk
11:00 - cottage cheese w/ almonds & cinnamon
2:30 - 1 svg chicken Marsala w/ Asparagus. Tasty! The crockpot is possibly the coolest invention ever.
7:00 - 16 oz milk
7:45 - Gordo's regular carnitas burrito 2/ cheese & guac. 16 oz milk

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 by Daniel

More Oly

The roulette table is coming up Oly more lately, which is just fine by me - my form on these lifts improves at a glacial pace, and I need all the practice I can get. A great deal of my problem is, I think, related to functional flexibility - my front squat, overhead squat and shoulder flexibility are all lacking, which makes catching heavy weights in midair both terrifying and, well, unlikely. I'm working on it. I'm going to start incorporating Coach Boz's warmup into my warmups to try and work these points, as well as doing some of K-Star's PNF don't-call-it-stretching after workouts.

(Side note: If you don't subscribe to the CrossFit Journal, you should. And if you do, you should go watch Kelly's midline stabilization series NOW. It's far, FAR more informative and interesting than anything I have to say).

Clean & Jerk x 3: 95-115-120-125
Clean & Jerk x 1: 130(f) - 135(f) - 130
Clean & Jerk x 10: 95

Odd, how I was able to knock off three reps just five pounds shy of my 1RM. But really, these are not Jerks. They are push presses, with an emphasis on "press" for the last 4-5 inches. When the weight gets heavy I don't bend my knees and I don't get under the weight in either exercise - they're really muscle cleans and push-presses. I wish it was not this way. I can do proper cleans and jerks at lower weights, but 115 really seems to be my limit for this - after that I just get way too tight.

This matches my PR of 11 days ago, but when it finally went up it felt much smoother than that day. The technique is hit or miss. More practice!

Speaking of which, while the 6 o'clock class did their thing I went back upstairs and practiced handstands. These are getting MUCH easier and more reliable. I was able to knock out at least a dozen of increasing grace and stability, and at the end I was getting them on the first try more often than not. The secret, for me, is hands not too close the wall (about 5-6 inches seems to work), being careful to push UP and not FORWARD (thereby avoiding smashing my back into the wall), and to get my right leg up to the wall ASAP so it doesn't linger overhead.

These are not good, hollow handstands though. There's a huge arch in my back as my butt and legs touch the wall. I spent a good amount of time upside down trying to tuck my pelvis and straighten out, which is quite hard. This is the next step. Handstands facing the wall would be better for this, but I need to learn to roll out gracefully. I also need to work on coming down from back-to-wall handstands without whacking the back of my head against the wall, as I did frequently tonight.

Clean PR!

Sleep:
11:45-8:25. Ack! Overslept. It was nice to get good sleep though. Only woke up once or twice, and very briefly - neither time was disruptive to the overall quality of sleep.

Warmup: ME, hip stretches!, and handstand practice! (or headstand practice for me)

WOD:
Clean & Jerk 3-3-3-3-1-1-1

Results:
Warmup 10x45#
50-55-55-60-65(f)-60-65!(PR)-70(f)

(There were hang cleans and push-presses)

Cash Out:
10 Step-ups R
10 Step-ups L
10 Step-ups R
*18" (ish) box

Comments:
I FINALLY got he 65# clean I've been chasing down for the past couple months. And I even managed to get it overhead once I got it up. Woot! 60x3 is also a PR :-)

I spent a long time doing extra warming up - hip openers and drilling with the PVC dowel - I really wanted to try full - from the ground - cleans, but I just can't seem to get the movement right, so I am stuck with hang cleans for now. I have a real tendency to fall on my ass when i try to drop under the bar. Not real graceful. I expect this is due to a lack of flexibility in my hips, and I hoping that the PNF non-stretching I have added in post workout will help address this.

I had limited time after the WOD for cash out activities, but I did manage to get my step-ups in, and they genuinely felt easier tonight than they have, so that was exciting, too. I barely had to use my hands at all except for balance.

The headstand practice was fun(-ish). It was a lot less scary than full handstands, and was definitely something I can envision practicing on my own. I still couldn't successfully kick all the way up and stay there, though i could stay up if some helped me. I got close several times, but i lost my balance and toppled over sideways a couple times too. I think my propriaceptive issues are working against me here. I have a very hard time telling what's straight. Hopefully with more work, I'll be able to figure it out.

Food:
12:00 10oz coffee 3/4 cup milk
1:15 - cottage cheese w/ almonds & Cinnamon
3:45 - 2 o spiced cashews
4:30 - 2 bbq drumsticks, 2 tiny yams - DELICIOUS, 2 oz milk
7:15 - 16oz milk
8:30 - 1 bowl chicken marsala, 15 asparagus spears, 16oz milk
10:50 - 1 multiv, 2 glucosamine, 4 omega-3, 2 zma

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 by Rebecca

St. Pat-who?

Sleep:
12:45 - 8:10 - slept pretty soundly, just not enough hours. Tired and grumpy today - but that has more to do with work than sleep, i think.

Rest Day!!! ... I must not be irish - St. Patty's day just passed me by.

Daniel and I spent a large chunk of the evening watching the 'Midline Stabilization' videos of a Seminar with Kelly Starret (from the CF Journal). They were awesome, and incredibly instructive.

Food:
9:00 - 3 egg cheesy scramble w/ veggie sausage mixed in, 10oz coffee w/ 3/4 cup milk
1:45 - cottage cheese w/almonds & cinnamon
2:45 - 2oz spiced cashews
5:00 - 1 srving (1.5 cups?) of tempeh, sausage cauliflower marinara caserole, 16 oz milk.
8:00 - 1 large artichoke, 1/2 cup chicken sausage, 1 c. roasted cauliflower & broccoli, 16oz milk

Monday, March 16, 2009 by Daniel

Upside-frickin'-down

I have made my first resolution for 2009. Yeah, I know it's March, but I was focused on March 1st as my one-year anniversary, so there's hardly been any time at all. OK. So you ready? Here it is:

A free-standing handstand.

I have a block against handstands. I've realized I just hate going upside down. It freaks me out, in a way that nothing else we do in CrossFit does. Of course, this means I need to face it down, figure it out, and - in the words of Robb Wolf - embrace it and make it my bitch.

This is a long-term project. Tonight I took some first steps and finally managed my first completely unassisted handstands against the wall - three times. It took half an hour of hops and bouncings OFF the wall before I made it stick, but once I got it I was able to get the others fairly quickly. Of course, the wall is a crutch that most gymnasts recommend AGAINST using, as it trains you against using proper hollow form. I want to be able to kick up to a wall handstand easily for HSPUs, but for this project I'm going to be working freestanding progressions. Forward rolls of varying heights, then handstands facing the wall and rolling out of, then tons and tons of practice figuring out how to kick up into thin air.

Baby steps.

Oh, and I also did a little climbing. Two Jim climbs: a 10b arete that was a nice little puzzler, and a delicate-as-all-hell 10d that involved a great deal of liebacking off holds that really didn't feel substantial enough to lieback on, and shoving my nose into a corner while inching arms and legs up to tiny holds. I fell several times. Definitely want to try that one again.

Climb on!

Sleep: 12:53-8:06 did not wake up much but had a lot of tiring dreams. Tired this morning. Stiff, too, but not as bad as I had feared.

Social Climbing: It was PACKED & climbs were hard to come by and I didn't have much time because I had to get home and do homework. I got to do a 5.9 and a pumpy 10a. Both went really well, although I did not make it up the 10a without resting. Daniel said that it seemed to him like I had made a real breakthrough in my climbing - I am steadier and more confident, and I really feel that that's true. I am much more comfortable moving myself through space and relying on my limbs to do what I tell them to do. I think this is probably a direct result of the strength gains I have been making lately.

I did not have the time to do any of the cash out stuff I would have liked to do - although I did try a couple handstand kick-ups before we started climbing. Just testing what it was like to kick up and put weight on my arms. I am still too scared of the dismount (or the inevitable crash) to try to get up into a real handstand - but ... baby steps, right?

Food:
9:00 - 6 oz black coffee
11:35 - 1.25 c cottage cheese w/ almonds & cinnamon
12:45 - 1oz spiced cashews
1:00 - 10 oz coffee w/ 3/4 cup milk
2:50 - 1 oz spiced cashews
3:20 - 1 multiv, 3 wellness formula, 2 glucosamine, 4 omega-3, 1 serving (2 cups) cooked kale, veggie sausage walnuts, black beans, parmesean.
8:00 - 3 BBQ chicken legs, 2 baby yams, 3/4 cup sauteed spinach w walnuts. 16 oz milk - SOOO YUMMY
12:00 - 2 zma

Sunday, March 15, 2009 by Daniel

Strength and Fight Gone Worse

Boy, Sundays are just gonna suck for a while, as long as we try to keep up this madness.

Workout 1: Strength Cycle - Week 2, part 2
Deadlift x 5: 185 - 225 - 245
Deadlift x 21: 195 (unbroken)
Press x 5: 65 - 75 - 85
Press x 21: 65 (15-7)

Heading towards previous PR territory now - next week we'll get there. According to the CFSB gurus, the deadlift superset is "unbroken" provided you A) keep your hands on the bar, and B) maintain approximate starting position. So by that standard, my deadlifts were unbroken - but I did have to stop and take a few breaths around rep 14. No such luck with the presses, though I did get them in two sets this week instead of 3. I also think I should go to 90 next week, instead of 95 - I haven't hit 5x95 in a long time, and my form on the 85 wasn't great.

And then, right after that:

Workout 2: Fight Gone Worse

Another brilliant idea from Gita: a five-round Fight Gone Bad.

In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. We've used this in 3 and 5 round versions. The stations are:

1. Wall-ball: 20 pound ball, 10 ft target. (Reps)
2. Sumo deadlift high-pull: 75 pounds (Reps)
3. Box Jump: 20" box (Reps)
4. Push-press: 75 pounds (Reps)
5. Row: calories (Calories)

The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. On call of "rotate," the athlete/s must move to next station immediately for good score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point.

376 RX

ExerciseSet 1Set 2Set 3Set 4Set 5
SDHP 75#1515151515
Box Jump 20"
2021202020
Push-Press 75#1010101010
Row1515151515
Wall-Ball 20#1515151515

This is the exact same pace as the last RX FGB I did, nearly 6 months ago - just with two more rounds. The improvement is palpable. It didn't start getting truly painful until the fourth round, and a number of exercises are FAR easier than I remember them. The push-presses are still the hardest part, but 10 is quite doable. The SDHP is a cinch, and I was shocked to discover I could consistently get one calorie PER STROKE on the rower. The box jumps and wall ball were about the same as I remember them.

Adding 5 reps per exercise would get me to 300 for a real FGB. I don't know if I could maintain that, but next time it comes up, I think I'm going to try.

Mighty Wings

Sleep:
12:20 - 9:00 Slept VERY soundly. Apparently remembering fill the kitties' food bowl before heading to bed makes a difference - or maybe I was just that tired. Only got up once.

AM Commentary: Ow my shoulders! So sore. Guess that even though I tried my best to use my hips as much as possible for those KB swigs, 100 KB swings will take their toll (especially when combined with 50 burpees). Presses are going to be "fun" today. So is FIVE rounds of FGB ... *whimper* not sure about whether I am going to subject myself to that yet ...

Strength WOD
Warmup - ME, stripper stretch, hip openers, 20 air squats, 30 situps, dislocates.

DL 5x3
Warmup - 45# x 10
95-115-125
95# x 21 - finished consecutive set! Woo Hoo! - 100# next week

Press 5x3
Warmup - 30#x10
35-45-50(f x3 on rep 2,3,4)
30# X 21 - had to rack weight on rep 17 - finished last 4 unbroken

Comments:
The right music can make an unbelievably HUGE difference. When we got to the gym I was in kind of a foul mood, and I was NOT in the mood to pick heavy shit up. My shoulders were really achy, I was tired, worried about getting my homework done, blah blah blah.

I almost never work out with music. If I am going for a long run, I'll break out the iPod - but generally it just sits, neglected, in my bag. Today - out came the iPod. Daniel made some half-snarky/half-sincere comment about getting my groove on with the Top Gun soundtrack, and damn if when I hit the random play button, I didn't get Mighty Wings off the Top Gun soundtrack, and it made everything all right. Suddenly, I was happy and excited to be there. I got in a really good, thorough hip-centric warmup, and I killed those deadlifts dead! I was very excited to be able to knock out the full 21 rep set of DL @ 95# this week when I only made it to rep # 13 last week. Green Day:American Idiot is awesome lifting music.

The presses were a slightly different story. They were not the unmitigated success that the deadlifts were. But I think I learned a lot about how not to manage a set of 3 x 5. I think using 30# as my warmup set of 10 was too heavy for a warmup, and 45# was too heavy for my second set - it burned me out for my attempt(s) at 50#. For the next few weeks I will stick to 20 or 25# as the warmup weight set. It probably should have looked like 20# x 10, 30-40-50 (x5), 30#x21. Next week I will do something closer to this.

Despite my mismanagement I still ALMOST got 50x5. If my shoulders had not been so fried that holding the bar in a racked position tired me out as much or more than actively holding the weight I probably could have eked out that 5th rep. It was interesting that of the three attempts I made @ 50# on each set i got one MORE rep.

I am pretty sure that I will be able to get 21 x 30# next week too. (Tired shoulders, 3 attempts @ 50#, etc.)

Daniel said that my form on these is really great, which was nice to hear. It's a good confidence booster to have one or two activities where my form doesn't suck.

Fire Breathers WOD (yep, I did it):
Warmup: 20-ish air squats

WOD:
Fight Gone Bad - five rounds
In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. We've used this in 3 and 5 round versions. The stations are:

1. Wall-ball: 14# ball, 10 ft target. (Reps)
2. Sumo deadlift high-pull: 55 pounds (Reps)
3. Box Jump: 18" box (Reps)
4. Push-press: 55 pounds (Reps)
5. Row: calories (Calories)

The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. On call of "rotate," the athlete/s must move to next station immediately for good score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point.

Results:
ExerciseSet 1Set 2Set 3Set 4
Set 5
Total
Wall Ball
6
7
6
4
4
27
SDHP
9
11
12
12
12
56
Box Jump
0
0
0
0
0
0
Push Press
6
8
7
4
5
30
Row
12
13
13
13
13
64
TOTAL
33
39
38
33
34
177

Comments:
So - 177 100% RX. The reason I did not do any box jumps is because I cannot jump up to the regulation size box (or any box, for that matter), and since I could not do it RX I decided to just take the extra minute of rest, and see what kind of RX score I could get.

Wow. This was HARD. I thought FGB with 3 rounds was rough. It was crazy getting through 2 rounds and thinking I still had a whole FGB ahead of me. I don't know how the people who didn't get a whole extra minute of rest while not doing box jumps managed it.

Looking at my last FGB score where my box jumps were step ups, and my push presses were 45# instead of 55# ... if I take just the first three rounds of this time (110) and subtract the box jump score from last time (108) - I still did better this time. :-) Or at least I did better overall at the exercises I actually did. On a exercise by exercise comparison, my wall ball has gone completely to pot, my SDHP has improved substantially, I did not get as many Rx PP (but part of that may have had something to do with the workout of presses I had just completed), and my rowing was consistently a little bit better.

I like rowing - it's one other thing that I am pretty consistently good at.

With the exception of my dismal wall ball results I feel pretty good about this performance. It's really nice to be getting scores on workouts Rx - even if there are still portions of them that I can't do.

Food:
10:00 - 3 egg cheesy scramble, 2 pieces turkey bacon, 8 oz coffee w/ 2/3 cup whole milk
2:45 - 16 oz milk
4:00 - 5:30 - some amount of cheese and hummus - somewhere between 3-5 oz maybe? 2 crackers, 1 piece chocolate birthday cake
7:00 - approx 1/2 serving: daal, chicken Palak, chicken tikka Kabob, paneer tikka masala, 14 oz chai tea
7:45 - 1 multiv, 2 glucosamine, 4 omega-3, 3 wellness formula
12:10 - 2 zma

Saturday, March 14, 2009 by Daniel

Short and sweet

After leading two classes through a thirty-minute slogfest that earned me my share of dirty looks, I opted NOT to join the fun and do it on my own - Rebecca was waiting for me, neither of us had eaten, and greater-than-twenty-minute metcons are supposedly off the menu for a while. So I made up this quick n' dirty little sweetheart:

21-15-9
2 pood KB swing
Burpees

7:17 RX

Now that was a long seven minutes. I like the workout, but for a class I think I'd make it a down-and-up ladder (21-15-9-15-21), to add that extra je ne sais quoi of awful and bring it to the 20-minute metcon sweet spot. Sadly (or perhaps not so sadly), that did not occur to me until well after I had done the workout.