Tag Archive: confidence


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

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Three years!! That’s right, three years ago I entered my first Crossfit Games Open and every year like most people I have great expectations that I will make it into the top 100 for my age group. Some have loftier expectations however most people after doing workout number one just want to survive and not be the last person on the leaderboard.
There is no shame in being last on the board, you at least entered and finished. If CF has over 1 million members worldwide and only 200K have entered then you have beat 800K other people who just need the confidence that it does not matter where you finish. My reason for entering is to measure myself against people my own age as at my box I am the second oldest person and between John and myself, we have no one to compare against except people who are at least 15 years younger than us. We get smoked when there are speed workouts and most time we use the same weights as them. Don’t get me wrong it makes us both feel good when we beat them.

This years open for me was a baseline for me to measure against as I wanted to improve my range of motion, get body parts healed that needed it and improve my nutrition. I have spent time getting certifications, getting books and journals to better understand how the body works. In the last 3 months I have spent many hours managing my mobility, fixing up muscles that have been injured, and working on different skills. In another few months I should be in good enough shape to start the next step, working on improving strength.

I will have to wait for Wednesday to see what my final placing will be and then I can sit back and watch the pro’s go at it in the coming months. Next month I will be attempting my level one certification to better understand what is required for crossfit movements and then the following month it is the Kettlebell Certification. Should be lots of fun.

BTW – how did any of you do?

Another year has gone by and even though the end result was the same, not going to the Crossfit Games, I improved.

While the result was not what I wanted, I need to put this in perspective. I missed 3 months due to an injury and was told I would not be able to start lifting weight by my doctor for 6 to 12 months. After coming back to the gym and basically starting at square one, I set new PR’s before the games and improved on the workout that was done last you to sort of benchmark progress from one year to the next. Take that Doc Doom, my name for my family doctor, as he always tells me I should not be doing these extreme workouts at my age. I also dropped 12 pounds from diet improvement and working out more intelligently. That is, knowing when to scale back, when to add some weights, listen to my body, and listen to my coaches when they inform me what is best for me to get where I want to.

Here are some takeaways from this year:
1) Have a plan – you will not achieve anything if there is no plan. Hoping to be better is not a plan.
2) Follow the Crossfit methodology – work on your weaknesses wishing they never come up in the Open until you are looking forward to having them appear, then work on another weakness.
3) I need to improve my mobility – my range of motion is better than last year but not where it should be to achieve good results
4) Improve my endurance – I should not be gassed after 30 wallballs, 30 burpees, 20 box jumps or lifting a weight more than 20 times – that is just not acceptable if I want to improve
5) Be serious – unless I am serious about improving don’t bother. Crossfit Workouts are great by themselves if you are doing nothing but wanting to improve your fitness level and enjoy normal living.
6) Watch more videos. Of myself and others, you never know what you are doing wrong if you cannot see it. Coaches can always tell you what you are doing wrong but if you dont see what they are talking about you will fall back on the same problem. Looking at the best, Rich Froning, Samantha Briggs, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Annie Thorisdottir, and others do workouts help provide a visual to what pace, techniques, form and small triggers that help them be at that level.
7) Ignore comparing yourself to others at the gym. This does not mean I will be aloof, but I am 25 or more years older than 90% of the gym, comparing their performance to mine would be constantly demoralizing.
8) Keep detailed notes of your workouts – I slacked off with this and that is unacceptable. How do I know what I did and how I felt that day. Was I stressed? Did I get a good sleep? Did I miss a meal?
9) Rest days are important. Don’t do a workout, some stretching, mobility and watching those videos and spending some face time with your coaches going over the videos for pointers would be more effective than doing WOD’s poorly.
10) Technique and form are first and foremost what should be worked on. If you lift light weights, air squat or jump poorly you will fail miserably once you add weight any of these movements.
11) Be accountable – don’t cut short your workout. If you lose track of what rep you are at starting counting from the last rep you know you did. If you don’t like doing more reps improve your mind!

I did not know how to start this recap as initially I was pleased with my score. Then I started to see other scores and started to feel a bit down. Games 13.2 was a nasty one, one of those workouts that just suck the life out of you due to the movements involved. Shoulder to Overhead, Deadlifts with the same bar and then box jumps.

Box jumps are the killer as I figured and I went in with a plan. I needed one as I am not the best jumper, I fit in to the category of “mature white men can’t jump” and proceeded to do step ups after round one. Yes, I know that jumping up is faster, I also know that for me step ups would be the most efficient and would get me my best score. What I did not know was that the shoulder to overhead would cause me to slow down more than I wanted. Who knew that 95 lbs could be so heavy after 4 rounds? Those lifts cost me valuable time and after reviewing the video of my WOD, I may have been able to put in another full round if I was able to lift a bit quicker.

All in all, 6 rounds plus 3, I cannot complain too much. I did expect more from myself and earlier today I felt like shit as I was thinking about how incredibly slow I moved. I started thinking, what am I doing? You’re 57 and you are moving so slowly, do you think you are seeing any gains in this? When are you going to either get serious or just be a box member?

Yes I had some doubts about my ability, but I know deep down that I can do it better and compete. I did it when I was smaller and had to play Junior hockey against people who were 50lbs heavier and 8+ years older. I did it when I played on the mini Pro Bowlers Tour and my U.S. counterparts had years of experience on me. But I made it and I will do the same in Crossfit.

When I posted my mini confidence meltdown on Facebook it was the Crossfit community that replied and said I did awesome and not to get down on myself, they were the ones who told me the next one will be better and that it is only workout 2 of 5. It is at that point that you remember why you do this and even if you are not Rich Froning Jr, Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet, Annie Sakomoto, or any of the other top competitors you are doing your best to get there, they appreciate the work you put in and most importantly your boxmates know you have busted your ass that day for the best score you could get.

I did find out some things during this workout and as they say punish your weaknesses, mine was stamina. I have none and need to figure out what I need to do to improve that part.
Until 13.3 comes out I will look at different ways to make myself better. I am not satisfied with this year’s showing.

Some may have thought I was dead, comatose, seriously injured or abducted by aliens as I have not written anything for a while.

Really I had not much to say and until recently was focused on a lot of other personal things that took a lot of my time.

Now… I am back.

A quick recap. I have moved into town as the one hour drive was killing the pocketbook on fuel. I have been going to physiotherapy for a while to help keep shoulder tendonitis in check and will probably do the same for my elbows. Have changed eating habits as we have started to follow a stricter Paleo Diet regiment and have entered into the fray again for the Crossfit Games, which is why I started writing this blog in the first place.

Crossfit Games WOD 13.1 is in the books and I thought last year’s first workout was crappy. This year I looked forward to it as I figured I was in better shape even though I missed 3 months from the beginning of July to the end of September due to injury. I have slowly improved and watched mostly my form/technique during workouts to avoid what happened in the summer. I then worked on some conditioning when I came back, I did 2 or 3 workouts in a week instead of 4 or 5, days I did not do a workout I did lots of sprint rowing, sprint running, burpees, situps and squats to build some endurance. These small things helped, slow return, form conscious, endurance and stretching. I may not be a mobile as some younger people but I am better than yesterday and that is a Crossfit motto.

13.1 – if that did not make people gasp when it was announced it was because they were to stunned to even take a breath. AMRAP 17 mins – 40 burpees to a 6 inch target, 30 snatches, 30 burpees, 30 snatches, 20 burpees, 30 snatches, 10 burpees, AMRAP Snatches. The snatch weights for normal mortals mens/ladies in ascending order was 75/45, 135/75, 165/100, 210/120 the mature group of mortals (+55 years) followed the weights for mortal women.
I was prepared for something like this, I figured it would have been AMRAP 10 mins of squats or something similar. I was a bit happy as 13.1 included one of my favourite movements the snatch. For some reason I like this movement and can do it fairly well with my relatively novice weightlifting skills. I went in with a plan, keep moving, as my goals were different from most of our box as I am the only Master’s group competitor at our box. I knew I could snatch up to 100 lbs and my goal was to get to that weight and see where I placed as I figured it would at least be a better start than last year.

Looking back, I did what I wanted even though I was a bit short, 11 burpees, of what I set for myself. I managed to keep moving and did not waste as much time as I did last year. That was the good part. The bad part, I did not hit the 100 pound snatch level which is not much to get upset about.

So bring on 13.2 and all the surprises that comes with it, I may not like it but I’ll be ready.

I also want to take a moment to say what fantastic performance my wife did during this workout. She managed only 18 burpees however according to doctors she should not even be doing what she does as she has had two complete hip replacements, not resurfacing but replacements, and one revision due to an infection. Falling to the ground, getting back up and jumping six inches up off the ground are not recommended movements for people who have had this surgery, yet she was determined to do so without assistance. her goal was to complete one and be on the leaderboard for the Games and she did more than that. She was so pumped up you would have thought she won the event and now cannot wait til next week.

This goes to show that Crossfit is for everyone but not everyone is for Crossfit. If you don’t believe me find a location do one or two workouts and make a decision.

2013 and New Things

2012 has left the building and 2013 just marched right in without a care in the world. Just like it owned the place. In one sense it does, as tomorrow will come and it does not matter if a day, number or name is attached to it. It just rises as it always does, it keeps moving.

Not sure if this is philosophical or not, don’t really care either way, but I think I will follow same relentless and determined goal of the sun rising every day and see what happens. The sun rises without question usually every 12 hours after it sets, give or take the earths position. It is relentless in its quest to keep shining as we revolve around it. With this, I decided, I too need to be relentless in my pursuit to achieve what I want. The goal does not have to be met tomorrow so that I feel like I have failed somehow if it is not achieved. The goal needs to be worn down by the relentless pursuit of being one little bit closer to it, just like the sun rising every day it continues on and on.

Today during the workout I kept that same rule, keep moving, keep going and pounding out the next move as it brings you closer to the end. This worked as I managed for probably one of the very few times, no make that the only time, to beat the time of someone who is a small tank and normally crushes these workouts by 10 seconds. That is akin to Team USA (Lake Placid 1980) in hockey beating the Russians. I feel great!!!

2013 will also bring new things for me. I put in place some goals to achieve for the first time in a long time and will do my best to make them happen. Do I expect to achieve them all? I could say yes but that would be silly as one never knows what the future holds, but I can be relentless and take them one by one. If I have 10 and clear one of them there will be 9 left and I will be that much closer to getting them all completed.

To all who read and follow my blog, thank you. I hope your 2013 will be a success and brings you much joy and happiness. I hope you have the relentless pursuit to achieve what you want that I tried to explain here. I know that tomorrow I will be one step closer to what I want to complete.

May you have the same success.

The first week of my W/G free world has passed. Has there been any change? The answer so far has been a resounding YES! I have dropped 4 pounds one week, blood pressure has dropped to closer to a “normal” level, I have not had a real hunger craving for food and I bet my blood sugar levels have dropped and the good HDL has improved. Another positive is the increase in endurance that has shown up, usually I am drained during a workout pretty quickly and I have been working to improve that part of my fitness regimen. Whether this is due to the endurance program I adapted or the W/G free diet or a combination of both, I am not sure. The key point is that I am getting further into the AMRAP’s before really sucking for air.

Yesterday and today were good examples of that change. Yesterday was an endurance day along with the usual strength component, simple push presses with 80 pounds 5 sets of 5, then on the rower for 10 rounds of 300M, I should have done some running but with hurricane strength winds plaguing the city all day it was safer to do the rowing. What I noticed was that the 300M did not feel like it going to kill me. I managed to do the first 5 rounds fairly effortlessly and even though I was going at a pace that would have beaten my previous best I did not feel like I was going to die. The next 5 were a bit different and by the time I finished the ten, I was breathing pretty heavily just not like I would have been 2 months ago when I would have died after one rep at 300M.

Then today’s workout was two 10 minute AMRAP’s set one was 50 double unders and 25 push presses at 75 pounds. I have not mastered double unders, my PR is 2 in a row, so I did the 3 to 1 ratio for singles. Today was just a bad day for skipping as I could not string together a good set, the longest was 69, and I have done 3 sets of 150 during a workout unbroken. I don’t know what happened as I had some poor co-ordination for these today. Then right after that WOD it was another 10 minute AMRAP of 10 overhead walking lunges I used a 25 lb plate for this and 30 Ab-Mat situps. These would have caused some serious issues 4 months ago especially the second WOD no matter what it would have been. Not this time, WOD one, I completed 2 rounds and 2 reps – WOD two I managed 4 rounds + 2 reps and I felt really good throughout the workout, yes I had a good sweat on but no serious issues if I had done this 4 months ago.  I will keep following this W/G free plan and see where it takes me.

It has been good so far…

Measurements for the record – Waist 40 inches (no change) – Weight 215.2 (a loss of 4.8lbs) – BP 129/81  – Heart rate resting 55 I did not have the BMI and Water percentages available and will have them next week.

 

The Tale of the Tape for the record

When I started this adventure of getting fit I did not think it would take as much of my time as completing university. I have researched more information on diets, regiments, nutrition, recovery, injuries, techniques, etc., that I care to admit. It comes down to this, I am in better shape that I have been in a long time even with my injury time off, and do I want to continue what I am doing.

The answer is YES. I feel better and it has affected the way I work. I tend to have better focus and more confidence in what I am doing. That it radiates from me when I talk to people, the way I walk, and even my body language has changed for the good. I dress differently now that I am in better shape. SO… why change what has been working before I decided to go wheat/gluten-free. My answer is that I need to find a way to reduce the paunch I still have, yes it is smaller that over a year ago, but it is still there. I can see it when I sit, and when I do my pants up I still have the belt overhang, it may not be like before but it is still there. Enter the wheat/gluten-free journey.

I forgot to list the tale of the tape at the beginning of this journey:

Waist: 40 inches

Blood Pressure: 133/89

Heart rate resting: 55

Weight: 220

BMI: 32.7 – (obese) anything over 30 is considered obese

Water % – 44.7

After 3 days of returning to the gym after only 2 months out is rough. When I first started going to Crossfit I knew I was out of shape and that everything I did would be a challenge and an accomplishment. It was a success. I went 3, then 4, and finally 5 times a week. I dropped 40 pounds and felt better than I have in a long time.

After having an injury that put me out for 2 months and then starting back, it is harder than I thought.

Reason 1) I now know what I was previously capable of, lifting, running, squatting, just about anything else at the gym.

Reason 2) I am being watched and reminded constantly by my wife and the trainers to “not do anything stupid”

Reason 3) I had poor stamina before and now it feels like I have none

Reason 4) confidence has been scarred – where when I started I did not have any pre-conceived notions of what I could do everything I did was a milestone. I was able to clean and jerk 150 lbs before injury, now I am cautious on lifting 50 lbs.

I know everything will be alright in the end however it does feel like a backwards step at time.

There are positives in all this:

1) technique will get a good working over

2) I am able to work on weak points that do not affect shoulder – mostly endurance and core

3) I am back at the gym

4) I have full use of arm with no lingering nerve damage

5) I will not 2013 Crossfit Games Open workouts

Last thing – my legs have been taking a beating and feel just as bad as when I first started in November 2010.

Stairs are not my friend!!

We are getting nearer to that point of no return for the 2012 Crossfit Games. While I am not yet Games material in technique, I do have the determination to enter and see what happens. While I have not mastered or in some cases have not been able to complete some movements, it does not mean I should not enter.

The point is that I did my best and if I come up short then so be it. Life is too short to take chances that I will be able to compete “next year”. Things happen that can derail any of the best laid plans, but I will be able to say I entered the competition and did my best. What is great about the people of Crossfit is that they will still cheer me on and encourage me to go further. They will not judge me, they will not tell me I “can’t”, they will not laugh at me, for I have at least attempted and did my best.

This is what I like about the Crossfit community.

So February 1st I will sign up and do my best. I hope to see you do the same.