Tag Archive: crossfit games


The Crossfit Games Open workouts are not even completed and I am looking forward to next years events. The reason is I have goals, not wishes, for improvement at this sport. Goals are what is going to keep me on track with my progress not wishing I could do it.
My plan started late in 2013 was to get more mobility and range of motion. Other than the usual stuff we did at the box for mobility I had nothing else to go with and basically asked lots of questions on what I needed to do. The owners directed me to the Mobility WOD site and I took it from there.
I got the chiro to get the big things fixed and give me a check-up every now and then when all the bugs came back. This all brought positive change to my posture and even with my focus on ROM and mobility I did not lose that much strength, maintaining around 90%-95% without doing too much heavy weights so I could heal. This was when I made a connection that ROM, mobility and technique have a greater influence on my ability than just trying to lift heavy.

I have no real goals for this year’s open other than to have a score for all the workouts that are posted and have them as my benchmark for 2015. I have incorporated running and pool work to give a change of pace to constantly being at the box. Included in these are now scheduled rest/mobility days a much overlooked part of a workout. If you have to ask why, you have not got it yet.
The next part of this plan was the diet I have and how that needed to change to facilitate my goal. I need to lose 25-30 pounds for this plan to work. I am too heavy for the bodyweight workouts, I get a good sweat going but I move like a walrus on land. I have bought a freezer and have started prepping and measuring food quantities while reducing the amount of bad carbs I take in. Bread is my weakness and I must find a Paleo/Low carb version to have on hand for those weak moments and finally the last and key part of any loss of weight attempt is the drinking of water. I have failed miserably at this for the simple fact I do not like water in bottles. The water at my house is fantastically clear and clean as it is from a well and I could drink that all day unfortunately I have to work and city water sucks.
I will give the tale fo the tape as of March 24th – weight 219, BP 128/81, resting HR at 56 and sitting in 806th place out of 1016 competitors in the Mens Masters 55-59 dvision and while writing this I have managed to sip almost 500ml of water. It’s a start!
Have fun, enjoy life and good luck to all the competitors who are excellent, good and normal.

It’s always nice to revisit the past and while most people pull out old pictures and the like, most Crossfitters do workouts from the past.
Today was one of those days and as per the usual ritual at our box before the official Open workouts we have one day per week that we do last years workouts. This year it is every Friday for the next 5 weeks, last year it was on a Wednesday.
13.1 for those who don’t know, don’t remember or care to remember was a 17 minute couplet of burpees and snatches.
40 burpees to a 6″ target above your hands when your arms are over head, then 30 snatches(75/45/45), 30 burpees, 30 snatches(135/75/75), 20 burpees, 30 snatches(165/100/75), 10 burpees and finally as many reps as possible of snatches(210/120/120) – the numbers in brackets indicating the weights for men, women and masters men divisions(which is my division) and your score is the total number of reps you complete. Last year my score was 139.
I did not know how I would do this time around. I had slept in, 2 hours longer than usual, and almost was late for work, did not have my usual breakfast, thank goodness for the magic bullet I have in my desk at work and was able to whip up something healthy to scarf down before 10am. Thinking about the workout I thought of how I did last year and where I could have possibly made up some reps and had a plan.

The plan – “Don’t go out fast as I suck at burpees and that will kill me and don’t waste time on the light weight snatches.”

It worked! I may have been the last finishing the burpees but I finished the snatches second(another member beat me by a few reps). I did the first round of snatches in set of 15, 10, and 5, then back at the burpees. By the time it was over I had completed the 20 burpees and was changing the weights to 100lb when the 17 minute cap was reached. Total score was 150 beating my last one by 11 reps.

Maybe I am finally realizing what I have to do to improve, which is mobilize, and take “REAL” active rest days that focus on skills and technique. I have had a number of setbacks in 2013, have not worked on any real aerobic type stuff and I still beat my score from last year. I have changed only 2 things, diet and mobilization, nothing else and yet I beat my score from last year. Can you tell I am ecstatic with this improvement! This bodes well for me in the future and now I have to stick to the plan. Next week will be 13.2 and that one was a triplet of shoulder to overhead, deadlifts and box jumps.

Let see how that blast from the past works out.
Now I have to figure out this weight loss part maybe the diet part will start working in a few more weeks.

Remember to stick to the plan.

I found this out the hard way. It was not until I started to think on how I got to where I am today. I did the small things to improve, it was not like all of a sudden I was able to deadlift 300+ pounds. I did it through small incremental steps working on the small details, foot position, grip, body position, back straight, lift shoulders first, etc. I was barely able to lift 140lbs without my back bending when I started three years back.
Thinking back to those days I also started to think on how to improve myself by the time I turn 60. I want to be able to, no need to do toes to bar, pullups, thrusters, burpees, and all the basic movements required to do well in the Crossfit Games Open competition.
I found out today that I still suck at thrusters and have not attempted toes to bar in over 6 months because I feared what it would do to my healing shoulder. That does not bode well for me at this years Open events, however I am not concerned as I have written off doing well this year. I am now focused on small things to improve my abilities. I have started mobility work and figured out I must include some volume work on mobility days.
This means I need to do more reps at moderate weight and build up the speed of the reps as that is what counts when one competes during the Open phase of the Crossfit Games. More reps equates to higher placement in the standings. You can be the strongest person in the world but if you cannot do lots of reps, literally you are fucked as this is to fnd the fittest not the strongest – they have a competition for those individuals.
Now it looks like 75 and 95 pounds are going to be my friends for the next little while and once they get comfortable, add some weight and do it all over again.
Yuppers it is going to be a fun year.

Last year I wanted to do many things with my health. Some things I accomplished others I did not. Was I successful, well that depends.

The year threw some interesting curves at me and I believe I adapted to them quite well. This year will be different! I have set no goals for the year and have set more long term plans. While I am striving to get better each time I go to workout. I will be going to incremently improve instead of trying for the big gain. I know I have the ability to “lift big” however this does me no good if I am constantly getting injured and .have to start the process all over again.

I needed to be more intelligent on my programming. Why was I getting injured? Why was I sore more often then when I started? I had to review what I did when I started and that was more basic training and work on my mobility. When I started I could not squat to proper depth, lift anything with weight without having my back bent and list went on. Improve came when I did those simple things, so why was I complicating things?

Lately I have focused mobility and the changes in how I feel have been great. Shoulder and knees pain have decreased to managable levels and somehow the PRs have started to increase.

The plan for this year is for a gradual increase and to work some skills that I lack to move up in the standings in the Crossfit Open. I have not finished in the top half of the my age group since the first Open and that was due to the small field. I expect this year that there will be close to 2000 competitors just in my age group (55-59). This years Open will start February 27 and run the usual 5 weeks.

Should be fun and good luck to all the people who enter and compete!

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.

Maritime Mayhem

The previous posting stated I needed to go back the basics. I did not exlain why exactly I came to that conclusion or the reason why I need to. This revelation came when I entered a small competition on Saturday Nov 2nd held out our box called “Maritime Mayhem”.

There were three divisions that one could enter, Rx’d(prescribed), Scaled/Recreational, or Masters. I entered the Masters division and soon found out that I was the oldest competitor in the entire field of 127 athletes, plus I was judging eight different heats during the day.

I had not entered any competition involving weights in over a year other than the Tough Mudder, Mud Hero race and two Five Mile runs so I knew that it would be a rather rough day but one that I could handle,  or so I thought.

First event of the day and I was in the first heat. A lovely triplet 10 minute AMRAP of 10 Hand Release Pushups, 10 Kettlebell Swings 55lbs, and 10 Goblet Backward Lunges with same 55lbs. With my shoulder issues of the past 8 eight weeks and knees just getting over the Tough Mudder I figured that I would die on the back lunges and that was pretty much the case. My swelling knees took two days to recover, while the shoulder took only a day. The second event was 24 Burpees, followed by 10 Deadlifts, 10 Hang Cleans, and finally 10 Shoulder to Overhead all at 115 pounds. This brought me to the hurried and correct conclusion that I need to rethink what I needed to do to improve when the Crossfit Games Open arrives in February-March. 

I did okay in the first Games Open that I entered and slightly bettered myself the next year before an injury took me out of the gym for almost three months. I have slowly come back and relunctantly decided to enter this competition as it was at our location and I needed to know how I would hold up when there was competition. The answer was clear at this point, “I sucked” I know I could do better and truth be told I did better than some as I, at least, entered. Others did not because they did not train, had nagging injuries, ect., but that is not the point of entering for me. It is the fact that I get to judge where I am in my training, where my weak points are, and how my mental attitude is when I reached that point of pain/exhaustion. I got lots of answers and with my chiropractor looking on as an observer he noticed some things that said we are working on the wrong part of my body. The problem is not your shoulder it is your core being weak and making your shoulder work incorrectly.

So it is back to the basics and start working the core every second day at the gym while working with light weights to start and build back the strength that I had late last year. Patience is the key along with sticking to a plan instead of bouncing around like a bee searching for nectar. 

This is not going to be easy…     

Time to get back to basics

Unbelievable, last post was in August. A lot has happened since then. Completed a Tough Mudder lost some toenails in the process and got pretty banged up. Shoulder issues have continued but I have continued with going to the gym. This past Saturday competed in an event at our gym and realized how much I have gone backwards with all these nagging injuries.
With all this I have decided I need to go back to basics, work on the core, stamina and lower the weights to concentrate on form. It is 5-6 months until the Crossfit Games Open competition and if done correctly I should be on track to make some improvement from last year.
Stay tuned.

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.

Well, Mr. Castro, thanks for keeping things simple for most of us. I say that now since I have not done 13.2 yet. Watching Annie Thorisdottir kick this squarely between the … she made this look so easy and Lindsay Valenzuela is no slouch for lifting.
After watching these two go at it, I started thinking how would I attack this and what would be 1) a great score for me 2) a good score and 3) what is my weakest link in this triplet.
Lets start with point 3, the weakest link, as that will help me achieve points 1 and 2. Normally I would say that lifting overhead at this point would it, due to shoulder injury, but it is only 5 reps and anything goes for getting it overhead, but my box jumps are horrid. They have no pace, I am unbalanced when I land, my quads are burning after 20 or so, the list is exhaustive.
The question is how to I make these tolerable to achieve point 1.
Today I was at our box to go through the motions and plan a bit of a strategy, if there is on after 4 rounds. I found that I can make the best use of my time with step ups jumping up takes too much time which I cannot afford at my level. I also calculated that an optimum score for me would be 9 rounds or a score of 270 which means I have to complete every round in roughly 1:07 seconds. A possibility for the first few rounds, as my practice round was completed in 1:01, and my wife called one no rep. But I am no greyhound except for the grey part.
That leaves a small margin of error to get to 270 and it was amazing to hear one of our coaches killed this with a score of 309, that is friggin’ awesome.

Lets recap – 270 means a killer pace for me of 1:07 and a good score would be 240 which is a solid pace of 1:15 for each round with a bit of recoup between box jumps and shoulder to overhead.
The one thing to remember is that there is no rest point in this one except moving from Box to Bar and vice versa and that is not much.
God how I wish I was a gymnast on this one.

I’ll let you know how it turns out Friday night.