Saturday, October 30, 2010


One of the 10 general physical skills of CrossFit is balance. How often do we train this? Oh, probably about every day; however, we probably do not even realize it. All functional movement requires some degree of balance. But does one movement require more balance than another? I would think so.

Take for instance, the air squat versus the snatch. The air squat requires us to maintain balance--keep the weight rooted in the heels, chest up, good lumbar, etc. However, the snatch requires much more from an athlete--as a matter of fact, the snatch requires competence in each of the 10 general physical skills. However, balance is by far one of the paramount skills involved in completing a successful snatch.

Check out the dude in the picture. His name is Philippe Petit, and he is most notably famous for his high-wire walk across the Twin Towers of New York City in 1974. Think you could do this? Not only would it take an immeasurable amount of balance, but it would also take a brass set of.....!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I Love Chocolate Milk. Do You?

As athletes, are we not constantly searching for the next best thing to improve our performance (short of anabolic steroids, of course)? What will make me stronger? What will make me faster? What is the best diet? Do I need to take supplements? What about my recovery...what do I do about post-workout nutrition?

Ah-hah! Post-workout nutrition. We have heard (and probably tried) so many different methods: sweet potatoes, bananas, some "super-shake"---but what about just plain old chocolate milk? What's this you say, chocolate milk?!"

It has actually been proven that consuming chocolate milk, post-workout, replenishes glycogen stores just as effectively as most conventional "sports recovery drinks" that we find in the market today. In addition, chocolate milk provides essential nutrients that other sports drinks do not.

For more information, check out the following links:

My personal, first-hand experience goes like this...

For a time period of four weeks, I drank 8-12 ounces of low-fat chocolate milk within 30 minutes after my workout. It did not matter whether the workout was a met-con or a strength day--I drank the chocolate milk. After a few days, I felt a difference. The difference was the next day's workout: I felt great, absolutely recovered! The DOMS was still present; however, not as severe. But it wasn't the DOMS that I was worried about--it was my WOD performance. And I can honestly say, that consistent, post-workout chocolate milk consumption, had a positive and significant impact on my recovery.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

CrossFit Total II

Fortunately, after Event #2 at the Fit as Fu*k CrossFit Challenge, I ranked high enough to be able to move on to Event#3: CrossFit Total II

The time limit was nine minutes. The task: to establish a one-rep maximum lift for the clean, the overhead squat, and the bench press. Because the format of this event was released a week prior, I was able to formulate some kind of game plan. What presented the most difficulty for me was converting pounds to kilograms. Hey, I am all about forging elite fitness. But forging elite mathematics? Not quite my bag.

My game plan was the following: complete the clean first, move on to the overhead squat, and then finish with the bench press. I remember JB and I discussing the plan. When it comes to CrossFit workouts, we always have a game plan. However, when we hear, "3...2...1...GO!" our game plan (at least mine) gets thrown out the window. I don't know--it's like a switch. Once the switch is turned on, it is just GO, GO, GO! Of course, that method almost always comes back to bite us...and hard! This time, however, I was able to stick to my game plan--that was until I got to the bench press. 

I remember the judges telling me that I only had time for two good, heavy lifts. Okay. So, my game plan had to change; however, my mind was reeling and I could not get the "pounds to kilos" conversion straight. I just started stacking on weight. As it turned out, I ended up benching 120kg, which I was satisfied with. I failed at 130kg, which is nearly 290lbs. I am okay with that. My best one-rep maximum bench press is 295lbs--that was well over 10 years ago. I do not bench press...I just don't. Perhaps I will start incorporating some heavy bench press into my routine. Every Monday, right? Isn't Monday international bench press day?

Long story short: I cleaned 100kg, which I was not completely satisfied with, I overhead squatted 100kg, which was a personal record, and I benched 120kg. Bottom line: it was good enough to advance me on to Event #4.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Skills Session

Absolute energy and adrenaline: that is what fueled my performance for the first event of the Fit as Fu*k CrossFit Challenge in Denmark, on September 25. JB and I were upstairs, warming up; we wanted to be prepared for the 70kg snatch. That is a very manageable weight for both of us; however, we wanted to ensure, at the very least, that we got a couple of rounds of the Burgener Warm-Up in as well as some skill transfer exercises. The athletes' warm-up room upstairs was full of CrossFitters. There was barely enough room to breathe...finding an area to warm-up was difficult. However, JB and I found a couple of dowels, strung our laces tight on our weight lifting shoes, and proceeded to get busy with the Burgener Warm-Up.

All of a sudden, from across the room, we saw Lauren. She was screaming at us, "HEY, YOUR HEAT IS UP NEXT!" Um...what?! All thoughts of preparation left us--we vaulted barbells, side-stepped bumper plates, and spun past whirling jump ropes! We flew down the stairs as fast as we could to the sports hall, where the first event was taking place. Whew--we had a few seconds to spare! The first skills challenge: the six meter rope climb.

All of the athletes in our heat, including myself, were so amped full of adrenaline that we started climbing the rope too early! At the time, however, my judge told me it was time to go--that is why (when you watch the video) you will see me "all of a sudden" grab the rope! Fortunately enough, we were not required to climb the rope again.

Check out the video below to get a feel how the first event went down...

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Spirit of the Gym

It was a rest day for me yesterday but I still went to the gym; not to workout however. I went to work on some mobility issues of mine. I recently started following Kelly Starrett's MobilityWOD...magnificent stuff! I was propped up against a wall, taking a break between stretches, when a buddy of mine approached me. He asked me, "What are you doing, taking a trip down memory lane?" I must have had a long-lost look on my face--I realized that I had slowly been scanning "our box"...of course, I am talking about the fitness center where all of us had shared so much blood, sweat, and tears. 

As most of you know, unfortunately, CrossFit Ramstein has reached its end...effective today. To be honest with all of you, I really don't feel up to explaining all of the "whys"...I have done that countless times and it upsets me every time I talk about it. Long story short: it is a matter of misunderstanding, the unwillingness to support us, bad information, and negative perceptions. But, that is not the theme of this blog post. The theme is about the Spirit of the Gym.

As I gazed out upon the floor of the gym, where countless WODs had taken place, I felt a sense of pride. We have accomplished so much in the last two and a half years. We have trained hundreds of people; we have touched the lives of many. I would like to believe that CrossFit Ramstein was a significant catalyst with regard to the growth of CrossFit affiliates in Europe. Although our affiliate is no longer, the spirit of what we accomplished radiates throughout the gym. I have confidence that that spirit will it in one person attempting a one-rep max snatch on one of the weight lifting platforms or in a group of CrossFitters banging out the "Filthy Fifty" together.

For all of those who still hit the WOD regularly at the North Side Fitness Center: keep the spirit alive, okay? If you see someone new, attempting a CrossFit workout, introduce yourself. Just because we are not allowed to train CrossFit anymore, does not mean that we cannot share our passion for it!