Monday, April 25, 2011

Keep On Track

It's hard to believe we are 1/3 of our way through 2011. Are you "on track" for reaching your goals this year? Have you clearly defined those goals? You might be blowing your fitness or business goals out of the water, but how about your most valued relationships? What adjustments have you made this year that have allowed you to succeed?

More important than acknowledging what IS working is what is NOT working and needs to change. It's early in the game, with plenty of time left on the clock to rally and get back on track. Take a moment to consider what needs to change to improve your trajectory. Write down a list...put it somewhere like the fridge or bathroom mirror where you will see it multiple times every day.

It's not too late to rally. Not even close! The upside of making mistakes early in the game is you of course learn valuable lessons and understand the pain associated with those mistakes.

Consider Charles Barkley: Former Olympian, NBA legend, multimillionaire. In retirement, he let himself go. 10 sneaky pounds gained became 20,
then 50, some point carelessness became resignation, which became despair. This is not only self-destructive but suicidal.

Regardless of his bank account, trophies or mansions, Sir Charles' trajectory in life was way off. A man of that size is quite likely headed towards a terrible slow demise of diabetes, heart attack and early death.

What is he doing about it? RADICAL CHANGE for the better! He has summoned his will in the past with almost unparalleled success. A 6'4 power forward/center? If he wants something, he can make it happen. It will be interesting to follow his commitment to change with CrossFit North Atlanta...Apparently Mrs. Bill Cowher was the one motivating Chuck to get his ass in The Box!

Where there is a big enough WHY there is a HOW. Stop what you're doing and find a way to make it happen. One step at a time...

What is your "Why"?

Once you're on track again, remember to ignore the "interference".

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Keep Fighting...

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were giving 100% of your very best, executing almost flawlessly but you were still getting your ass kicked? What did you do in that situation?

I have been on both ends of this equation in Adventure Racing National Championship races as well as the business world, and found ways to both win AND lose "big races". Looking back, you will never, EVER regret fighting at 100% intensity to the very end.
Nothing is as satisfying as lying in a heap at the finish line (literal or figurative) completely exhausted, knowing you gave it everything you had.

You may come in 2nd, you may come in last, or you may even the end you go with what you've got, make adjustments as nimbly as possible and NEVER EVER QUIT. Because guess what happens when you let up for even ONE SECOND? That's right, you get your damn ass kicked.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Keep Choppin'

"Most of the important things in the world were accomplished by people who have kept trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fight Gone Bad

This morning I took my first crack at the infamous & gnarly CrossFit workout called Fight Gone Bad.

I joined the 9:30 am crew coached by Shane Upchurch at Boulder's CrossFit ROOTS, but arrived early so I could watch the end of the 8:30 class. Seeing the intense exertion on the cyanotic & crimson faces of this FIT group of people (a couple former professional cyclists) let me know that I was scheduled for an extra special ass-whuppin'.

FGB is known as one of the harder WODs, and truly one of the best benchmarks of Fitness, or Work Capacity. The workout was designed by Greg Glassman while he was training legendary UFC Champion BJ Penn for a big fight. Glassman wanted to create a WOD that would exceed the great metabolic demands of a championship UFC fight, hence the 3 rounds of 5 minutes each, all-out, on 1 minute rest.

After B.J. Penn did the workout the first time (and regained the ability to stand up and talk) Greg asked him "So, B.J., what did you think?"

BJ answered "it was like a fight gone BAD!"

Click here for the origin, story and video of FGB at CrossFit HQ in Santa Cruz. NOTE: These women are fitter than you guys!

So, what IS the workout exactly?

Athletes perform three rounds of 5 exercises, one minute each, for maximum number of repetitions, battling muscle failure. No rest between exercises; the clock keeps running, so you actually have less than a minute per exercise as you move from station to station with your heart POUNDING. You get one minute of rest after each 5 minute "round".

17 minutes total for the workout. Sounds easy, right? WRONG!

20lb medicine ball shots to a 10 foot high target (squatting with the ball before launching each one at top of squat)
75lb Barbell Sumo Deadlift High Pull
20" Box Jumps (That box seems higher by the 3rd round, doesn't it?!)
75lb Barbell Push Press
Concept 2 Row: Max Calories Rowed

As athletes battle both muscle failure and the ticking clock for maximum number of reps at each station, each rep or calorie counts as "1 point". This was my first attempt and I managed a humble 277 total points. To put it in perspective, some of the top CF athletes are in the 400+ range. Without knowing how hard to go or how to pace the work, I learned quite a bit about the most glaring holes in my current fitness and also how I will approach my pacing of the workout next time.

In my hurried & hypoxic state, rowing at max intensity, I somehow managed to "levitate" and fall off the seat on the first row! Not easy getting back on when your feet are strapped in. It was good for laughs at least.

FGB does not come up often, but I look forward to taking another crack at it sooner than later now that I have one under my belt. Hopefully posting this score will be motivating enough for me to go extra hard next time to blow my current "P.R." out of the water.

Beaten, but Unbowed!

I have always called especially heinous workouts like FGB "Deposits" into the Bank of Fitness, compared to the "drops in the bucket" of most everyday workouts. The adaptation from a workout like this is hard to get anywhere else. Just ask B.J. Penn.

The most impressive performance today? My classmate who did the workout (scaled) while 8 months pregnant. It seems like she is in every class I do, and I am on a 3-on, 1-off schedule.

Remind me, what was your excuse again? We joke that her baby will be born already addicted to CrossFit and will go through withdrawals in their little crib.

It doesn't matter if you are a 18 or 80, 90 or 290lbs, 4 limbs or two, fit or unwell...the beauty of CrossFit is it is designed to absolutely destroy Olympians, but it's scalability allows anyone to train and reap the same physiological benefits from day one.

Wherever you are in life, it is not too late.

Monday, April 11, 2011

CrossFit Mobility Cert/Seminar in San Diego

Of the Ten General Characteristics of Fitness...

Strength-Cardiorespiratory Capacity-Stamina-Power-Speed-Coordination-Accuracy-Balance-Agility-FLEXIBILITY/MOBILITY

...Mobility/Flexibility has the greatest capacity to LIMIT the other nine. You know it's true. What are you doing about it? It doesn't matter who you are...Levi Leipheimer? Chris Spealler? It doesn't matter what your sport or goals may be, or your level of competition. You get ONE body and it has to get you through 80-100 years. That's a long time. What are you doing to maintain it?

One of the things I realized looking back at my training logs over the last few years was that I never invested enough time on body maintenance and keeping my muscles limber and UN-TACKED. With frequent flights to races and long drives this exacerbated my flexibility issues.

It is easy for an athlete to identify extraneous training time with a higher-volume program, where you spend perhaps 5-10+ of your 20-30+ weekly training hours just logging more saddle, pool, boat or trail time, but conversely the POSITIVE R.O.I from a mobility program takes very little time with guaranteed results.

Watch THIS video and re-evaluate the relationship of mobility, strength and any of the 10 SKILLS.

What I am doing about it is addressing my LACK of Mobility in 2011 as my NUMBER ONE PRIORITY...stretching after your workout? That's a D-. Twice per day? That's maybe a C. If you have a chronic or recurring issue the reality is a 5 times-per day commitment. In the work...relaxing after dinner. Make it a priority. If you're broken, or break often, make it THE Priority!

Over the weekend I joined 150 other sick twisted CrossFit athletes and trainers at CrossFit Invictus in San Diego for Kelly Starrett's Movement, Mobility & Maintenance Trainer Course.

A couple days before the Mobility cert, CrossFit Invictus hosted the Week 3 WOD competition for the 2011 CrossFit Games Open, which left athletes on the floor, completely destroyed by the short, intense workout.

On Saturday the scene was a bit different, with athletes ALSO on the ground in pain, but a different type of self-inflicted pain...using lacrosse balls and other medieval masochistic spherical elements to break up LAMINATED tissue all over our bodies.

There was one exception during the seminar: Before the end of the day, Navy SEAL Josh Bridges showed up to have his Week 3 WOD certified. Not much to say except he is a BAMF. But we already knew that: A VIDEO of Josh busting out a 2 minute FRAN only a few days after pinning on his SEAL Trident has been floating around since 2008.

From the Pre-Seminar Notes:

The course is about understanding the general theory behind identifying movement inefficiency and movement dysfunction. For example, if you have shoulder pain doing ring dips or muscle ups, you will learn the mechanism of injury, how to spot it in other athletes, and will have a toolbox of ways to treat the problem.

The course is designed to give each athlete a toolkit of ways to identify and address common movement problems on their own. To the extent you have a specific movement/mobility problem that is not addressed during the seminar, there will be plenty of time at the end of the day for questions.

To maximize time at the course, you will have a chance to apply the movement theories discussed in the morning to squatting and dead lifting during the lunch hour.

Coach Kelly Starrett founded San Francisco CrossFit in 2005 with his wife Juliet. Since opening its doors as one of the first 50 CrossFit affiliates, this athletic training center has become a prime coaching resource for coaches and athletes alike including reigning Olympians, national and world champions, triathletes, runners, and recreational athletes.

Kelly received his Doctor of Physical Therapy in 2007 from Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, CA. Before starting his own physical therapy practice at San Francisco CrossFit, he practiced performance-based physical therapy at the world-renowned Stone Clinic. In current practice, Kelly continues to focus on performance-based Orthopedic Sports Medicine with and on returning athletes to elite level sport and performance.
His clients see exceptional results from his progressive blend of manual physical therapy and strength training.

Kelly's clients have included reigning Olympic gold-medalists world champions, world-class extreme skiers and X-Games medalists, professional dancers with Smuin, Sacramento Ballet Companies, elite military operators, and competitive age-division athletes.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dropping In: CrossFit Newport Beach

Over the weekend I flew back to my former home, Newport Beach to visit some friends before and after my CrossFit Mobility Certification in San Diego. As a creature of habit, on Sunday I returned to one of my favorite running out-and-back courses: Corona del Mar to Reef Point and back. It would be a solo-mission with just the sound of the waves crashing on the shore on this sunny and 80 degree day.

My Corona del Mar run is an 8 mile lap starting and finishing at "Big Corona" beach, taking runners through town and over to dirt paths running through Crystal Cove State Park, atop bluffs with some of the most spectacular views anywhere.

I was curious to benchmark my fitness at a very-sumo 200lbs and minimal running for the last few months vs. my former 180lb, 20-25hr per week self. I know that I usually finish this loop around 53-54 minutes for 1 to 2 laps at my "steady", sub-LT, marathon type every-day pace. NOT ON SUNDAY! I had a great time, and took a couple snapshots (seen here) but used all of 59 minutes to knock off my favorite non-trail run in the world at a conversational but steady pace.

But hey, I'm running pain-free!

Start of the run at Corona del Mar beach park

"Little Corona" just south...and my old swim course for long Wednesday Night summer ocean swims...

Before leaving town, I was lucky enough to get into CrossFit Newport Beach's early class with coach Carl Borg. My friend Cat Mills belongs to CFNB and was able to get me into the class, which was already packed. I recognized Chris Hanson, CrossFit Endurance cyclist and RVCA artist who last week posted some great shots of racers on the Vision Quest course while the race was happening.

The hour I spent with Carl and CFNB was painful (the WOD was 20lb wall ball shots to 10'/30 meter broad-jumping burpees...5 rounds for time) but even in this short amount of time I was able to recognize some things I was doing wrong and Carl shared some fantastic advice and insight. I finagled my way into the class not just for the workout, but to learn from Carl and see how he runs a class. Super cool people in that box. Check it out if you are in OC. They are near HOAG hospital.

One of the best parts of visiting Southern California is catching up with my sea-level friends spread out between LA and SD. I could have done the Mobility Cert somewhere else, but I am always looking for an excuse to get back "home" and catch up with my crew.

In addition to my trip to CrossFit Newport Beach, I was also able to catch up with friends, fellow Team GENr8 Vitargo S2 members and ultramarathon crushers Mark Matyazic and Alexa Dickerson of CrossFit Anaerobic Inc.

When I first moved to Huntington Beach in early 2005, Mark was the first guy I met on weekly 3-4hr trail runs in the Santa Anas. Why doesn't he bring water or fuel?
I received quite an education on all of our long runs, and I always appreciate a chance to pick the brains of guys like Anthony Almada or Mark on biochemistry, physiology and nutrition. Alexa gave me some killer Paleo recipes that blew my mind. Tasty, awesome stuff. Email me if you want a copy.

Before heading to the airport I was able to catch up with my friend Ryan Weeger, a fellow cyclist, DreamCrusher and also an exceptionally talented photographer. (His TumblR: He is finally going to make himself more available for weddings and other events. If you are getting married in SoCal, you should check out his work. His website is Ryan's wife Sarah runs Great 8 Creative, designing websites for folks like professional mountain biker Alison Mann, Adventure Racer/Ultraman Slater Fletcher, cyclist/triathlete James Walsh, and many more. Quite the creative couple!

Overall, another packed weekend traveling, learning new skills, working with some of the best coaches in the world, visiting old friends and making new ones. Successful trip.

The Journey continues...


HUGE THANK YOU to my other Team DreamCrusher/GENr8 Vitargo S2, FeedTheMachine and nuun teammates and friends Slater & Monique Fletcher letting me invade their home in Irvine for the weekend. You guys rock. Slater, fresh off a victory at a gnarly adventure race in Chile is off to Italy for another adventure race tomorrow, on the island of Sardinia. CRUSH IT!


HUGE Congrats to fellow Team-DreamCrusher teammate James Walsh and his wife Beth for BOTH winning their Age Groups at Ironman 70.3 California and BOTH qualifying for Ironman Hawaii World Championships. How AWESOME is THAT!? Their kids are going to be little freaks.


More Information on how to follow the 2011 CrossFit Games, and the athletes busting their asses to make it there...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

CrossFit Level 1 Certification: IWCABTAMD*

Humbled again by the awesome people in the CrossFit community and phenomenal HQ trainers.

Over the weekend I attended the CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certification Seminar in Golden, Colorado.

"The Level 1 Trainer Course introduces the mechanical, conceptual, and theoretical foundations of CrossFit. Additionally, there will be “break out’ sessions for demonstration and practical application of the 9 Foundational Movements. The lectures, demonstrations, presentations, and breakouts all serve to indoctrinate participants with CrossFit’s conceptual underpinnings, while the workouts serve to reinforce/ drive home the application. Events rotate approximately hourly for the duration making for two long days..."

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