Friday, December 2, 2011

Periodization


Okay, so who knows what periodization is? Despite the fact that I have been involved in competitive athletics for nearly two decades, I have only recently become familiar with periodization and its benefits. Over the course of the last three months, I have implemented periodization into my training regimen. And let me tell you: it was the missing link. If you are a serious athlete that strives to excel in competition, then you must consider the importance of periodization.

I have been following CrossFit methodology for nearly six years. For the most part, I have adhered to the "3-on-1-off" microcycle. As I mentioned earlier, periodization is quite new to me, so I never really considered a mesocycle, let alone a macrocycle! However, now I see the importance of really dialing in on what I am doing, how often I am doing it, and when I need to stop doing it for awhile.

Here is a snapshot of how I've adapted my training:

-Every two microcycles (~7-10 days) I take two days of complete rest. Maybe one of those two days, I will get on the C2 Rower for five minutes or so, followed by about 10-20 minutes of stretching/mobility.

-Approximately every 60 days, I will take three days of rest. During these three days, I will make a point to get out and go for a bicycle ride, take the dog for a long walk, or just chill.

- Approximately every 90 days, I will take up to five days of rest. During these five days, again, I may hop on the rower for a few minutes and work on my stretching/mobility. Perhaps the next day I'll go for a hike. The bottom line: I stay active, but I do not train!

Long story short: so far, so good. Periodization not only prepares you for your next competition, but it also helps to prevent you from "burning out" with your training. "Bonking" on a WOD is never a good feeling...it happens to us all. However, with periodization and discipline, I strongly believe that you will make more gains in the long run. Getting better at CrossFit is a process--it does not render instant gratification, nor does it reward over-reaching or over-training. Take a few days now and again; it will do your body (and your mind) good.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad...



When I press F5...when I right-click and hit "reload"...I realize that my fate has already been sealed. You may be asking, "what the heck is he talking about?!" Well, if you are half as obsessed with the WOD as I am, then you will be able to empathize.

What I mean to say is: I get anxious because I am waiting to overcome the next "unknown and unknowable" obstacle. Whether it is the CrossFit main site WOD, or another affiliate's WOD, I know that the challenge will be "constantly varied, functional movement, executed at high intensity" (quoted by Greg Glassman). But, still, I have no real idea what the workout is going to be! That messes with my mind.

On one particular day, I decided to go with CrossFit Blacksburg's WOD. I opened my browser, navigated to my favorites, and clicked on the appropriate link. In the milliseconds that it took to arrive at the requested website, my heart leaped and skipped a couple of beats. Why? Because I was anxious...I was nervous...I was waiting to overcome the next CrossFit obstacle. I scrolled down the page to see what the WOD was going to be. My reaction, and in the words of Meatloaf, "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad". Here's what it was:

Three rounds, 3 minutes on, 3 minutes off:
Perform as many rounds and reps, each round, as possible of:
3 Box jumps, 34"
3 Push Presses, 155lbs
3 Muscle-ups


My score: 113 reps


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Regularly Learn and Play New Sports"--Greg Glassman

The one part of CrossFit that many of us may neglect, myself included, and in the words of Greg Glassman, is to "regularly learn and play new sports". To ensure that I was adhering to CrossFit methodology, I decided to choose a sport to learn: golf.

Okay, so it may have been a bit of a bold move to choose golf as my sport of choice; however, I consider myself a fairly well-rounded athlete, so I figured golf was the appropriate choice. And besides, my house is on a golf course for crying out loud! Lakewood Links to be specific. After a couple of outings on the driving range, I felt that I was ready to hit the links! Now, please understand that I have previously attempted to golf on many occasions. In fact, I have been "golfing" since I was a teenager; however, I never did it often enough to become any good at it.

Take the "accuracy" aspect of CrossFit and multiply that by about 10! That is how fine-tuned you must be to excel at the sport of golf. Needless to say, my accuracy was very few and far between. I decide to play only nine holes today; my score: 53. Multiply that by two and you get 106--nowhere near "par for the course". In a word, my experience was: humbling. However, I did have a handful of "good" shots--these will be the shots that will keep me coming back for more. And that is the lesson learned today: just because we suck at something, doesn't mean we should give up; no, it should drive us to learn from our mistakes, and improve upon them next time!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Box Jumps

PJ executing the famed box jump (21 June 2009)
CrossFit programming, when done right, will expose our weaknesses. If we, as CrossFit athletes, have a say in our own programming, then we will gravitate to the things that we are good at doing. However, if we remain true to the CrossFit method, then we will invariably be faced with a WOD that will incorporate (in some cases, more than one) weakness. In today's particular case, I was faced with one of mine: box jumps.

Agility is one of the 10 general physical skills that we strive to master. My power is good. My explosiveness is good. However, when it comes to box jumps, I am simply not efficient. My rhythm is off, my pace broken. I have been following CrossFit programming for over five years. I should have this box jump thing mastered by now, right? What (or who) else to turn to for answers, but Google, right?

I typed into the Google search bar the following words: "the trick to box jumps". To my delighted surprise, the fourth Google "hit" was from none other than the CrossFit HQ Queen herself: Lisbeth Darsh. I followed the link to one of CrossFit Watertown's (Lisbeth's formerly-owned affiliate) older posts, entitled: Conquering Your Fear of the Box Jump. Now, do not get me wrong: I am not afraid of the box jump; nay, I just suck at them.

I have sworn to adopt Tip #5 of Lisbeth's blog post (you'll have to read it to find out what it is).

What is your weakness? Are you going to shy away from it, or are you going to face it, challenge it, and overcome it?!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Coming Back For More


What is it about CrossFit that keeps us coming back for more? Is it the WOD, the people, the competition, the personal record (PR), the spiritual feeling? Maybe it's a combination of all of those things...with one being more predominant than the other, on any given day. The bottom line: we keep coming back for more.

Whether you are working out on your own or with others, the WOD will get done. We feel a certain loyalty to the WOD, be it the main site, another affiliate's workout, or your own. We owe it to CrossFit to get it done. But why? What drives us? What keeps us coming back for more? I believe it is because we feel we are a part of something that is much more significant than ourselves.

I am not a sociologist, but I strongly believe that we are driven by purpose--a purpose much larger than our own course. We have an inherent notion to want to contribute to our own institution. But how do we do that? In the best capacity that we see fit, with regard to our own personal strengths and convictions.

In the end, it does not matter what keeps you coming back, it is just the fact that you do.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Manifest Destiny

Tree, rings, and will.
Who has daydreamed before? All of us, right? I would say that daydreaming occupies about 25% of my day. Is that such a bad thing? I think it's a GREAT thing. However, if all we do is DREAM and not ACT, then what is the point of it all, right? About a week or so ago, my day [life] dream inched closer to reality.

After months of hearing how wonderful Portland, Oregon is, my wife and I finally had the opportunity to form our own opinions. The rumors were confirmed: Portland is wonderful. Our two-week visit reaffirmed our decision to "go west" at the end of the year. I will admit: the fears, uncertainties, and risks are there. I am a very happy man; however, I am through with just being content with my "purpose". Because, I truly believe that what drives man to great things is, simply stated, purpose.

My very first and foremost purpose is to be the best possible husband and father that I can be. Second to that, is to affect a positive impact on the lives of others. Through CrossFit, I firmly believe that I can achieve this. Even if it is on a relatively small scale; I know this is what I need to do.

The training never stops. And at the end of the year, the [CrossFit] training will continue, and never stop for whoever trusts me and my great friends and colleagues, with improving their fitness and quality of life.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Hammer"


If you have been CrossFitting for awhile, then you will understand what a "Hero WOD" is. However, if you are new to the term, then let me take a moment to explain.

The Hero WOD represents much more than just the workout of the day. Do not misunderstand me: the workout of the day is always a challenge, both physically and mentally. However, Hero WODs are programmed to [humbly] represent the extreme challenge and sacrifice of a fallen comrade. Of course, nothing can compare to the ultimate sacrifice to one's country: their life.

CrossFit Inc. has been recognizing our fallen heroes for more than a decade. In the moments right before I take on a Hero WOD, I reflect on the reason why I am doing the workout. The motive is not to outdo another person. It is not to get a new PR. It is not to beat the clock. No...it is none of these; however, it is to honor the individual...to give the best possible effort in the face of adversity.

My wife (13 weeks pregnant) and I gave our best to honor the "Hammer" WOD; check it out:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

CF Games Open WOD 11.6, and the Wrap-Up

Many people forecasted an event such as 11.6. But why did they do this? If you are a CrossFitter, then you will, without a doubt, know of the workout named "Fran". It is the classic benchmark CrossFit WOD. Although the programming of 11.6 was not exactly like "Fran" it definitely had some similarities.

The thruster. The pull-up (this time, chest-to-bar). How many reps can you complete in seven minutes? Okay, so the weight of the thruster was five pounds heavier than the "prescribed Fran" WOD; however, five pounds is negligible. As most of the other Open WODs went, this one tested your output...your capacity to move weight as fast as you could.

My goal for this WOD was to complete 115 reps. I completed 114 reps. I made up considerable ground over the last three Open WODs. I only wish that the first three WODs would have played more to my strengths, but hey, that's CrossFit...ever exposing your weaknesses and motivating you to improve upon them! Check out the video below to see how it all played out for me...



CF Games Open WOD 11.5...set a pace

I will start off by saying this: Rob, you are a beast! Rob was able to get 300 reps for this WOD--and he had to transition from outside the box and back inside, just to do the WOD as Rx'd. Me, on the other hand, had the advantage of being able to complete all three movements within a compact area. I was reached my goal of 10 rounds, with two reps to boot (302 total).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

CF Games Open WOD 11.4...yay, burpees!

When the CrossFit Open WOD 11.4 hit the streets last Tuesday evening, I became excited. While not all three movements were necessarily among my greatest strengths, they were not among my most dreaded weaknesses either. The bottom line: I could stay efficient with each movement.

Burpees are burpees--whether they're bar-facing, hand-clapping overhead, or whatever. Burpees will forever remain a CrossFitter's bane. The overhead squats, at 120lbs, seemed reasonable. And the muscle-ups? I can do muscle-ups. Put them all together in a nice little 10-minute AMRAP, and you've got one nasty little WOD.

I did a "one-round test run" before I actually attempted the WOD. I did not go all out--I just maintained an even pace. I ended up completing one full round (100 reps) in 9:17. I then proceeded to set my goal for 120 reps, and planned to knock it out on Saturday afternoon. I always feel, that when setting a goal, it should be very challenging to reach, yet not unreasonable. I feel that I hit the mark on this goal: I completed one full round plus 15 bar-facing burpees (115 reps). Just like 11.3, I had to video tape this one and send it up to HQ (and the world) to judge. Here it is:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

CF Games Open WOD 11.3...Getting Heavier

Many CrossFitters had been wondering when the CrossFit Games Open was going to get heavy. 165 pounds may have not seemed that heavy to most; or, maybe, it seemed ridiculously heavy to some. The bottom line: yes, the weight got heavier...especially taking into consideration the fact that the workout was only five, short (or long, depending on your perspective) minutes long. Complete as many rounds as possible in five minutes of: 165 pound clean and jerk (or ground-to-overhead). That was it. Was there a strategy behind this workout, or was it just "go as fast as you possibly can".  As all WODs go, the strategy was arguable.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Walk Away...But Come Back, and Soon!


Sometimes we need to just walk away. And I am not talking about quitting--this is different. Honestly, it is difficult for me to explain, but I will try. Let me give an example--a personal account.

If you read my previous blog post, you'll know that I had planned on reattempting the CrossFit Games Open WOD 11.1. The plan was to give the workout another try within the safe and warm confines of my garage. The night before, my sleep was broken and restless. But I will not attribute that to nerves. I will attribute it to the fact that I did not take the necessary, personal steps to prepare for such a mentally and physically demanding task.

The alarm clock sounded, and I reluctantly rolled out of bed. My body ached. I had been already telling myself that "this was gonna suck" and that I simply did not want to do it. First mistake. I not-so-figuratively dragged my feet to the dresser drawer...trying to find something appropriate to change into for the workout. Finally, with the correct attire chosen,  I trudged out into my garage. My lovely and supportive wife was right there the entire time, with video camera and timer ready to go.

Friday, March 25, 2011

11.1--Redo

Vic showing 'em how it's done!
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines the word redo, as follows: to do over or again. As CrossFitters, and given the opportunity, will we redo a WOD to achieve more favorable results? Of course we will. As CrossFitters, we are rarely satisfied with our original performance. And this is not only in regard to the WOD, but also in life.

We have developed a newly-found sense of excellence. Mediocrity is no longer acceptable. Put simply, mediocrity is no longer found in our vocabulary. This particular blog post was inspired by two things:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mind over Matter?


If you do not subscribe to the CrossFit Journal, well, then you should. Today, I watched the CrossFit Journal video, "What It Takes to Be a Leader: Part 1" featuring the Original Firebreather, Greg Amundson. Greg A. is an excellent speaker. His passion for fitness is obvious; however, his passion extends much further than fitness. It transcends into real life issues and challenges.

In the video segment (and I encourage you to subscribe), he explains how he first prepares his mind for whatever obstacles are is in his way. After that, he prepares his body, and then he prepares for the actual task at hand.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Never Lose Sight


This blog's vision extends much further than my own training. Yes, it all started with the motivation of how my own training "never stops"; however, now I see it for what it really is: the training [of others] never stops.

This just came to me today actually. I was replying to an e-mail from one of my closest buddies, Chris. I was airing my grievances to him...mainly in the form of "why I can't live the CrossFit life that I truly want". In the midst of my own training, it dawned on me: I am not so concerned about how I am progressing in my own CrossFit journey (don't get me wrong, I still take it VERY seriously, just ask my wife); however, I am more concerned about how I am going to help other people reach their fitness goals. There is a big speed bump right now though--I have another responsibility to maintain, and that's alright, because I take pride in that responsibility. However, come the end of the year, my obligation to that responsibility will become significantly less intense and I will be able to focus on how I REALLY want to help change peoples lives...for the better.

Bottom line: I never lose sight. I never lose sight of the "why of it all"--the true reason of why I want to pursue a life of improving people's quality of life...their fitness...their happiness. Some day soon I will finally be able to apply my greatest strengths to the absolute reason they were meant to be shared.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Is The Training Enough?



Since I made the decision to compete in the CrossFit Games Sectionals, I have been thinking: is the training enough? In other words: has my training regimen been sufficient to get me past the sectionals and on to the regionals? Let me be honest...I don't know. I feel good. I feel like I have been making progress...increasing my capacity. But have I gotten stronger?

It may be a mistake to compare my current conditioning against my state of conditioning prior to the 2009 CrossFit Games. However, is that  not what we do as CrossFitters? Constantly tracking our times, loads lifted...progress. On the flip-side though, my training has evolved slightly from my previous regimen. I have gotten away from linear strength training; whatever comes up on the CrossFit main site (with regard to strength training) is what I do. And trust me, it is not out of laziness that I do not add a strength component to my training. I found, that in the past, the added strength workouts significantly impacted my "main site programming". Perhaps I overdid it...perhaps I just did not program the strength work appropriately. Whatever the case was, I found that I was becoming burnt out--I neglected much need rest and recovery.

Now, I stick to the 3-on-1 off schedule, sometimes even throwing in a 2-on-1 off cycle if my body needs it. I do not have elaborate visions of making it to the 2011 CrossFit Games in California. Sure, the $250,000 would be nice...well, it would be MORE than nice. However, my goal is to make it to the regionals. Anything after that is just the blessing of a wonderful opportunity, a little bit of luck, and a lot of fun!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Turn to the CrossFit Community

For the last month or so I have been kicking around the idea of whether or not I am going to give the 2011 CrossFit Games Sectionals a shot this year. The more I think about it, the more difficult it has become to find a good reason why I shouldn't. Here is a handful of reasons why I should:

1. It keeps me honest, as a CrossFitter and a human being.
2. I just cannot seem to stay away from competition, be it with myself, or others.
3. The theme of this blog happens to be: "The Training Never Stops".
4. Perhaps most importantly: the CrossFit community...my friends.

Just recently, I was reading a blog, written by one of my CrossFit buddies: Gregarious Roberticus Lobitimus (for short, of course). Greg and  I met at the inaugural CrossFit Rowing Trainer Course, in Morrisville, Vermont in the summer of 2008. In a recent post, he wrote about a few of his upcoming goals...the CrossFit Games Sectionals being one of them. That sold me. A member, and friend, of the CrossFit community helped me make my final decision.

When I feel stagnant in my training, I turn to the CrossFit community. I e-mail. I call. I blog. And yes, of course, I utilize Facebook. I tap my friends' brains for tips, inspiration, and motivation. That is the unique beauty of the CrossFit community: we all share common goals, and we are never reluctant to assist others in achieving those goals. I'd just like to say thank you to everyone...you know who you are.