Category: Training

MattiueThe past weekend was one of the most interesting, tough and rewarding weekends I have had in a while. I had been contemplating a few months ago if I should take the Level 1 Crossfit Trainers Certification and finally decided to spend the $$ and do it.
It was a wise decision and luckily the timeframe the course in Toronto was at a perfect time for me to do two things; get away from Saint John for a mini vacation and learn something from people that would provide a different eye to how I move what to imprve or work on to move forward.
Let me say this first, my coaches are top notch as I did not have to worry about being the person in class who had poor form, range of motion, or lack of basic skills. There were some small fixes I had to do, such as move my feet a bit wider and where to position my head on some movements but for the most part my box coaches have taught me well and for that I am extremely grateful. I was worried abut how I would move compared to most of the others, who I thought would be and confirmed when I arrived 25-35 years my junior.
The weekend was a blast, I was surprised to have Austin Malleolo, a top ranked Crossfitter, as one of the trainers. He is solidly put together in a small package and has a great sense of humour as well. We had great instructors for the weekend, Paul MacDonald, Denise Thomas, Mat Dubreucq, Kevin Ailliaud, James Hobart, and Keith Wittenstein who provided everyone with great information and were very good in presenting it without anyone feeling left out. The teaching sessions were well run and as the have done this many times kept it all moving along with military precision.
I found Keith’s tips for myself were most helpful in my moving forward with progression pullups and muscle ups as someone who has been challenged due to shoulder and weight issues. In his 10 years of experience I am sure he has seen enough people like me to provide coaching that resonates with them. Denise was helpful in providing knowledge in nutrition and made me think that I should investigate the Zone Diet which is what CF states in much better for their athletes than the Paleo Diet.
James was the main spokesperson for the group and did a masterful job in doing the intros, greetings before starting the day or after lunch and set the agenda for what to expect. The other intructors rotated for each movement amongst the groups so you had a chance to evaluate each one and they had the same chance to do so on us.
I learned a lot during the two days and would recommend that everyone should consider taking this course if you are wanting to take Crossfit seriously. These two days provided me with a much needed confidence boost as well. During the workouts that were provided I was not the last one done told when I did things correctly.
Crossfit has and is a great community that should be adopted by any other sports to get people interested in thinking about development instead of the dollars that can be made for a child “IF” they make it in their sport. Crossfit does not want the ego to become involved as poor decisions will be made when ego gets in the way of common sense.
I will describe the adventure home another time as that was a WOD in itself


Starting with a plan

Last post I said I was starting over and I really meant it. To do that I had to come up with a plan, timeline, goal chart, whatever you want to call it but there had t be some sort of regimen that I needed to follow.
First part was to change the food intake. This is going to be the hardest part of the regimen as I love to cook and I love food, not that I am a glutton or anything like that but I enjoy various types of food; French, Thai, Vietnamese, Moroccan, Burmese, Latin American, and can cook them as well.
to change this I needed to incorporate more veggies into the diet and cut down the portions of meat and fish. my solution to this was a Vitamix Blender. This thing pulverizes anything that you place in it and makes getting the veggies easy as I just have a veggie smoothie. No peeling, no seeding, just cut into chunks and feed the thing add some flavourings such as honey, ginger lemon or herbs and presto it tastes pretty damn good. I do this now for 4 breakfasts and for all my lunches then have a regular dinner add two snacks during the day of some fruit and fiber and it has made me lose a couple of pounds a week. This is a much more controlled weight loss and fits right in with the timeline I set of 3 years.
The second part of the plan is to increase the mobility and ROM. I mentioned this last time and have stayed to it. Results are starting to show as my right shoulder is not hurting as much and when I raise my arm, it is actually getting almost equal to where my ear is pain free. Knees, hip flexors, hamstrings and ankles re going to take more time as I feel like a rust bucket when I do anything involving them.
The third part is going to be the challenge as I need to find a way to get in an increase in the volume of work needed to improve my work capacity. Right now it is not a big issue as working on the first two is the priority. Then with progress in those two areas I can really start looking at how to make changes in my work and personal schedule to make that happen.

What can I say, nothing has been going well this year. Injuries, therapy, job changes, etc., I am sure that most people who exercise and have a normal 9-5 job have times when they go through a period of crap. 2013 has not been very lucky for me, except that I am still moving and have a paycheck.
Something needs to change before it gets crazy and since I like what I do at work, maybe I need to refresh my goals at the gym.
I need to get back to what I did that got me to where I am today. Much healthier, better focus mentally, stronger and generally feeling much better even if I did say I had injuries and have to go to get massages and physio.
When I started Crossfitting I could not do a proper squat or most other movements for that matter. Over time I have gotten better and even if I can do something well I try to raise the bar, no pun intended. The way I did that was going through all the fundamentals slowly and properly while taking days off to improve my Range of Motion(ROM) or find a way to mobilize long unused muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
It seems that as I progressed I forgot (or really talked myself into thinking I did not need to anymore) to continue that and lo and behold injuries starting popping up more frequently setting me back or getting me down mentally.
A couple of weeks ago I started thinking about how I got to be where I am, it was due to me not losing sight of the goal I started with, to get in shape. Being the oldest at the gym and trying to keep up with the young guns and gals and sometime doing so made me think I was better than I really was. I pushed and was not as attentive to technique as I should have been and as they say went outside my pay grade. This lead to injuries and set backs.
I have now cut back on the trying to max out what I can do and start at the beginning, lift light and work on my technique until I get it correct then add to it. I also need to make sure I take days off and work on mobility and ROM, November 18th I started the change, it has seen results as I seem to have lessened the pain in the shoulder and I now move a bit quicker.
The plan originally when I started writing this blog was to get to Masters Division of the Crossfit Games. Now I have change to a more realistic and attainable goal of being in the top 100 by the time I am 60. If all goes well who knows as more and more people sign up each year being it the top 100 will be quite a feat.
What’s next? Who knows but the diet has to change. Being 222 pounds is not good for Crossfit as bulk means slow and too light means less strength. Next steps will be to check progress on January 1.

What’s next?

I often ask myself this question, usually when I make a stupid move. I recently did that when I signed up for a 5 Mile run and then decided to go all out and enter a Tough Mudder event. I got one answer just today when I completed the 5 Miler at the Marathon by the Sea, I will be doing it again and I will have a better time than today.

Yes, my time was not that great or anything but I did it and felt pretty good doing it. I also know that if I spent some time practicing before the event I would be much better. As it was, the only training I did were the usual workouts at our Box. The longest run was 800 Meters however we usually did 3 rounds of that mixed in with other movements, like olympics lifts or box jumps or burpees or something else that makes the running of that 800 Meters not very nice.

So what’s next I ask? The Tough Mudder will probably be the last event of the year and then what? I found that I like these weekend events of obstacle course racing and running and have decided to enter a few next year. I am looking at something once a month for next year from June to September, these could be expanded if the weather is not so bad.

Looks like I am getting the competition bug again and this time I am only competing against the clock and not eveyone else.

It’s been a while since I last posted (no shit!!).
The space in between has een filled with many new things and challenges, some good some not so good. But that’s life! Suck it up and move on.
I have come to conclusion that the only way to the Crossfit Games is as a spectator, that’s reality. Not that I wont try to get better but to do so requires more that I do not have or can find at this time. That means I need to take a different approach to do so. There are many items I lack now however I need to find fun ways to achieve them because if you can’t have fun it is work and no one likes work.
Last month I entered a Mud Hero race, a simple 6km obstacle course, it was nothing as drastic as a Tough Mudder or a Spartan Race, but it had a ski hill to climb, some mud to run through and a few challenging obstacles. In other words a good beginner course and somewhere to start. I figured if I could do this without getting hurt and come in around a time I figured on, I would be happy. In reality I did better than figured and had fun.
I have now found something that is a blast to do. I have entered a Tough Mudder in September and have a realistic time goal in mind. Let’s just say it will be in the 3.5 hour range.
I am taking this seriously and have gone to see some professional people to help me in my running. I am doing this to help get more endurance which should help improve my Crossfit workouts. The next step I am taking is due to the price of gas rising, there is no health kick involved in this decision, I am getting a bike (pedal power type) so I bike to work. Fuel is getting out of hand and money is money, I like it in my pocket not someone else’s.
Have i gone fitness crazy? Not really, I just want to enjoy things more and it is better this way. Do I hurt more? Hell yeah!! I have shoulder issues, knees are creaking(sort of), different parts of my body are bruised, cut, scraped, and battered from doing this but I love it. They are like battle scars of me not sitting down and letting Father Time catch up. He will eventually but not unless he gets in shape and besides there are a lot of easier prey for him in my tracks.
I don’t need to be the fastest I only have to be ahead of you.

Pain and gain. These two words seem to go hand in hand for anyone to achieve success.

For me yesterday’s WOD was a killer and the pain part due to the fact that my knees take a beating with overhead walking lunges, They are still sore from yesterday and as suspected will be sore and tender for another 2 days. Unfortunately there is not much to help alleviate the pain and soreness other than rest.

The gain part came 24 hours later, today, with a new PR on “Grace”which consists of 30 Clean and Jerks for time. The mens and ladies prescribed weights for this movement is 135 lbs for men and 95 lbs for the ladies. While I did not attempt the 135 lbs mark I did complete the 95 lb ladies prescribed weight. This meant a new PR in upping the weight and I knocked 57 seconds off my previous PR. Add this to a new PR for Double Unders (4) and you have a good feeling about how far you’ve come.

This gain part is hopefully very contagious as I am sure there will be a lot of chances to improve most of the numbers on the white board. This year alone has been a grind for me as I had some personal and work issues that have placed some challenges on me. I had to miss two months of training and workouts and five months later I have started to see the improvements because of the need to improve some fundamentals to avoid having any pop that can and should be avoided with proper technique. This work has paid off with success in new PR’s on rowing, double unders and benchmark WOD’s. I have few other goals that I need and want to accomplish before February 2013 but slow and steady wins the race.

Today my legs feel like crap, my shoulder is having a small flare up with some minor pain and I am not sure if it is something new or old. That meant that I had to modify my workout a bit. With the running today, walking lunges yesterday, squats on Friday, more running last week it is amazing that only my shoulder has the issue. My legs are aching beyond belief and while good rest tonight will help them recover I am not sure if they will hold up for another ground and pound workout.

The twinge of pain I felt while doing overhead squats could be just a minor thing as we did weighted overhead walking lunges the day before and holding a 25 pound weight over your head while doing lunge steps is not going to make your shoulders love you especially when you throw Kettlebell Swings in the mix. I hope it does go away as the countdown to the Games has started and while I want to compete I have cannot afford to be off for 2 months of rehab like this summer.

It was a nice feeling when I was asked if I noticed an improvement in my running during todays workout as one member said I looked like I was running much better than when she noticed last time. For me, running is always a challenge as I was not that great at it. I am not someone who has a nice gait while running it is a more laboured run with moments that feel pretty good just not that many of them, maybe I should run a bit more often so that those good moments happen more frequently.

It is all of these little things, like the aches, pains and injuries that make you continue on as you know when you are finished you can do better if only you were not banged up. Your time has come down while you are not feeling that great, your running has improved even though you don’t think so, you are moving more weight and not getting winded as you did before and yet this is all done while you have aches and pain. It makes you wonder what you could do if you had no aches, but then you would not be working hard enough if you did not, what an oxymoron.

The past weekend I did some Vietnamese cooking and made an awesome fish cake using a recipe from a Vietnamese cookbook that I found. It was simple, easy to follow and turned out just the way I thought it should and tasted even better. I will post the recipe soon as it will be a tasty wheat/gluten-free recipe that is easy to follow that does not take much time and would go great with vegetable dish and a side of rice or noodles.


Why so serious??

Last post I mentioned that it is getting closer to the serious season and I did not clarify what I meant. So here goes my take on what I mean by serious season.

The fall is when you should start taking a good look at your diet and nutrition. The seasons are changing and so will your diet if you are not careful. With the cold you may have more urges to eat more starchy carbohydrate loaded meals to keep warm. Avoiding the pitfalls of eating more will be difficult as end of year and religious celebrations have very tempting and delicious foods that can cause sluggishness. Packing on the 5-10 lbs in the winter just negated all the hard work you did in the summer to reduce it to a normal level.

Second, you will start to spend more time indoors as the weather, at least in the north, starts to drop as outdoor activity is limited. Workouts will not incorporate as much running or anything else that can be completed outside as temps drop below freezing in the coming months. Does that mean we don’t go outside? Hell no, I have done wall balls with ice on the ground and done WODS that had 5 rounds with 400M runs on a nice day(-5C/25F).

The third part of the serious season is that the training on your poor skills, mine are skipping and pullups, has to increase to improve. Along with that you have to pick up the speed on your workouts while working on your form. Just because you can lift 150 lbs does not mean you should be using the Rx’d weight of 135 lbs all the time, dropping the weight and improving your time while lifting the weight correctly will do more for you than completing the workout poorly. I found this out on our last workout that included thrusters. I dropped the weight to 60 lbs and almost did the entire 21 of a 21-15-9 workout in the first minute, could I have gone heavier, yes, but then I would have been slow and struggling with the weight at the end and having poor form. For the record it was the fastest I have ever done Thrusters and I completed the WOD in just over 18 minutes and usually that type of WOD would take me closer to 25-30 minutes. This could lead to an injury and where would that leave you if you have to stop training for while, that’s right further behind. So lose the ego and get it done correctly, you will be better off for it.

Fourth, is that strength training needs to increase so that workouts with big weights do not seem as bad (they are but sometimes you have to do a few that way). I have just started to get the weights back up almost to pre injury numbers and need to get them up at least 25% more what I have done in the past. I have started to get more comfortable with Overhead Squats plus I just got back on the pull-up bar after 4 months of not even touching it at the gym. The strength training will help with getting these to at least acceptable levels.

Fifth and last (at least for me), have a plan. You have to know what you need to work on and do your best to stick to it. Don’t get sucked in to doing a workout if you planned a skill workout day, you must have had a reason to plan it, so stick to it. The plan may include rest days, skills, strength, metcons, even research on training.

Good luck and have fun this season.