Tag Archive: workouts


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.

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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.

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…     

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.

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.

One of the added benefits that I have found since joining Crossfit is the sense of community that is pervasive through out all of the locations. When I was at other fitness locations there was never any of that sense that you have of belonging. That is not to say that the people there are not nice or fantastic people as I we all know a lot of people who are at those places, it is just different at any Crossfit location. Everyone wants you to succeed, plus when support is needed somewhere it is given 100%.

This Saturday was no exception. By now most people have heard of the Sandy Hook tragedy, rather than explain it just check the news. The Crossfit community has workouts that are named Hero WOD’s for people who have fallen in the line of duty, fireman, police officers, people in the armed services, and this teacher, Victoria Soto, was no different. Most of the gym was there except for some people who had work schedules or were on vacation out-of-town to raise money for the families of this tragedy.

The workout as well was fitting for the situation as all the numbers meant something – 5 rounds (years of work), 10 thrusters (room 10), 14 box jumps (the day), 12 sumo deadlift high pulls (the month), 12 burpees (the year) and 27 Kettlebell Swings (her age) – plus we had a donation button on our website for people to contribute. The amazing thing is that every Crossfit location in the Maritime Provinces did this workout we even had an equipment supplier in Quebec – Again Faster Canada – make their members do this as well.

BTW if you do wish to contribute the donation button will still be active until Tuesday click on the link I hope it will work:

http://www.crossfitsaintjohn.ca/2013/01/03/very-special-hero-wod/#comments

This workout was rough and took a lot of mental fortitude to complete but as one member mentioned in her comments, as she is 27 years old, every time she got to the kettlebell swings  she thought od what she has done during her 27 years. I think she had the right attitude, for me Ms Soto could have been the age of a child I might had and that those children she saved may have been my grandchildren.

Now when people ask YOU why do you go to your gym, what do you say?

The heart and mind is just as important as the muscles to stay in shape.

Pole work

We were doing a WOD that included Air Squats and one female member who has had two complete hip replacements(not resurfacing) requires some assistance to complete a full depth squat for balance. She usually grabs hold of the pullup rig post for this.

Coach M: Who’s got change for a $20? The way she is working that pole I need to give her something

Coach T(female) was providing encouragement during a wall ball and situp WOD.

While making our way in a downward ladder, that is 50,40,30,20,10 counts of these lovely movements you need someone to always make sure you are doing them correctly.

T:  Come on Chris, deeper, deeper, that’s it. Now get it up, get it up, deeper, deeper.

Me: T, is this really what you should be saying to me in a crowded gym.

T: What? I need you to go deeper. (then the light went on)

Wall Balls with T will never be the same.