Not a fan of the NPFL or NPGL or whatever

This was posted on Drywall’s Facebook page yesterday:

A lot of people have been messaging me saying “Hey Drainpipe, Reebok is forcing WSOE exercisers to wear their shoes this year, pls comment, pls.”

Form letter response:

I should fucking hope so. Putting millions of dollars into a fringe event so has-beens can pretend they didn’t already wash out of their real sports and compete at exercise for money? Wear your free fucking shoes and say thank you.

First, if you don’t follow Drywall, you should. He’s funny. If you can’t laugh at yourself you live a miserable life. I know he hates on CrossFit a lot, but he is funny.

Second, he hits the nail on the head pretty often and this is one of those cases.

I love watching the CrossFit Games, Regionals and watching any/all videos related to the Open. My brother and his family will be in town the week of the CrossFit Games and I am already trying to figure out how I can spend time with my family and watch the Games.

I know many think that football players or track athletes or basketball players or whatever are more fit than the CrossFit Games athletes, and I disagree. Sure, all of those athletes are superfit, but they are also specialized. Football players are conditioned to put out a ton of energy in five or nine second bursts, then rest. Track athletes are specialized in their single event. Maybe the decathletes have a claim, but how strong are they? You can go on and on for every sport – they are specialized. What I like about CrossFit athletes is that they can not only run for long distances in respectable times, but they can also lift heavy weights. CrossFit athletes can perform gymnastic moves like the muscle-up and snatch large loads. They can deadlift 405 pounds and turn around and walk on their hands. They are not specialized, but they can do a lot of things very well.

The CrossFit Games tests endurance and power. This makes it unique, in my eyes. This isn’t to say that if Ray Rice decided to ditch football and do nothing but train in a CrossFit gym for a year or two that he wouldn’t give the best of the best in CrossFit a run for their money, but if you put Ray Rice in the CrossFit Games right now he wouldn’t compete. This is what I like about the Games, it is different.

This is what I do NOT like about the NPFL, among other things. Continue reading

Is the CrossFit “fad” dying already? What’s killing it?

1stI regularly check CrossFit.com to look at the courses they offer (along with the WOD). I would like to get my CrossFit Kids certification someday as I think it would be a lot of fun working with children and then the Mobility course would be cool if you got lucky and Starret was there…anyway, you can’t look at available courses without scrolling through the 50 or 100 CrossFit Level 1 courses offered first.

It has always amazed me that every weekend there are like 10 CrossFit Level 1 courses offered and all of them are sold out. I think in my Level 1 course there must have been at least 50 people. That means that every weekend like 500 people are getting their Level 1.

Now, however, not all of the courses are sold out. I noticed this last weekend for the first time. Last weekend there were several courses with space available just a few days before the course started. This weekend does not have any availability, but as you can see from the pictures there are a lot of classes coming in the near future with plenty of space available. When I registered for my Level 1 two years ago I had to wait every week and watch for when they posted the new courses a month or six weeks in advance and register. If you didn’t register for your Level 1 as soon as the date/location was announced you probably would miss out as they sold out so quickly. When I registered for mine it wasn’t unlikely that all of the Level 1 courses listed on mainsite were sold out – ALL of them.

Yesterday CrossFit announced that its 10,000th affiliate opened its doors. When I first got my Level 1 there were two CrossFit gyms in Aurora (a rather big city with more than 330,000 citizens and a suburb of Denver which, even at that time, had CrossFit gyms located blocks from each other) and now there are six in Aurora with at least 10 additional CrossFit gyms right on the city boundaries. Sooner or later the market gets saturated. That is a law, or something. Sooner or later the supply is going to exceed the demand. That is definitely a law. And sooner or later the demand will be so high that the value of a CrossFit membership will plummet. Another law.

To that last point: enter Groupon. Continue reading

And CrossFitters have horrible form

The “hang cleans” in the first half or so of this video are horrible. But, only CrossFitters have horrid form.

These two are obviously ripped and it looks like they are “hang cleaning” 235, but if they had any sort of decent form they could add 50 pounds. From the lack of creating leverage at the bottom of the lift, to the super early arm bends, to the lack of a shrug and a horrible catch which is hard on the wrists, they are ugly. Strong dudes, ugly form.

This is why you don’t let former footballers (US style) teach you the Olympic style lifts (unless they have had some additional training post-football). It’s all brute strength and little form. There are a few footballers that work out at my box and they all do this sort of stuff – and don’t get me started on how the body builder was holding the barbell. Strong as oxes, but form would add so much weight to their lifts.

Why I cut my Whole 30 short and why it still helped

Damn you Colorado and your fantastic selection of quality micro brews!

I had this bright idea after Memorial Day weekend to do a Whole 30. My nutrition had slowly went downhill and had gotten to the point where it was just brutal. And by brutal I don’t mean eating fast food once a day, but instead of eating really clean six to seven days a week and then having one cheat meal, or two, I was eating cookies and candy much more frequently. On top of that I was literally starting to base my life around when and how I was going to get my next diet soda. I would drive home and maybe take certain routes because a gas station had cheap refills.

I was getting super pathetic.

It wasn’t showing on the scale so I figured everything was A-OK. But it wasn’t. I started drinking diet soda because I felt it would keep me from eating sweets. I thought that if I had a diet soda it would keep me from treats. I figured that zero calorie soda was better than cookies, candy and other sugary treats that do have calories.

Then I started consuming both. Point defeated.

So, here I am on Memorial Day weekend and I am eating junk, more junk and then some more junk. I am downing diet soda after diet soda. I decide to do a Whole 30 and why wait? Let’s start it on Tuesday following Memorial Day.

Everything was fine and dandy to begin with. I was eating clean, planning, packing and no diet soda. A few days into my Whole 30 I was soda free and after four or five days the really bad cravings were gone. I was determined to replace diet soda with iced tea. I have never been a tea drinker, but this time I was determined to replace diet soda with tea – and it was working. I was brewing my own at work and buying it at the store when I had to go for a walk. Of course I was sure to get the kind without junk in it – just tea and water (I am amazed how many tea packets have soy lecithin in them!). Continue reading

Move the Southwest Regional back to Colorado. Please?

I couldn’t get enough this past weekend. I watched more Regional action this past weekend than any of the previous. From watching Katie Mackey fight through the weekend, to being glued to my computer rooting for BackCountry Black in the team event, to watching in dismay as the team and athletes from Front Range CrossFit struggled, to being absolutely enthralled with the men drama (sickness taking out my pick Chris Hoppe and making the Pat Burke drama even better). And then I had to watch NorCal CrossFit compete with their “super team” and the men in NorCal. I also watched a bit of the men in the North East, but once it became clear that both Spencer Hendel and Austin Malleolo weren’t going to compete for the podium my interest waned.

Some thoughts I had from watching the Southwest Regional:

  • It wasn’t said outright, but Andrea Ager was nearly given a podium spot in the Southwest this year. The thought being that the women in SoCal are so good that if Ager could come so close to getting to the Games in SoCal then she must be able to podium in the Southwest – which isn’t as good as SoCal. Or so we were led to believe. But Ager didn’t really threaten all weekend. Right from the start with the snatch and handstand walk she was trailing and never made a charge all weekend. So, much like Garret Fisher, Hendel, Malleolo, Sam Briggs and Stacie Tovar, Ager competed and just wasn’t good enough. The aforementioned athletes were all expected to get to Carson and non of them did. In weeks past I have been blaming the handstand walk for Briggs and Tovar’s failure, but Ager was just plain beaten this weekend. And speaking of the handstand walk…
  • Chris Spealler qualified for his seventh CrossFit Games and did so in impressive fashion. It wasn’t the handstand walk that set him back, but the snatch. In recent history there has been an “Olympic lift” event of some sort that has killed athletes. It is a single modality with limited forgiveness for failure. We have come to accept that if a male cannot snatch 250 pounds then he isn’t “fit”. Why can’t the same be said for a single modality gymnastics movement? Just because it hasn’t been done in the past doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. Tovar and Briggs (among others) now know exactly what they need to work on to get better. For Spealler, however, it wasn’t the handstand walk, but rather his small stature in the hang snatch event. Spealler isn’t a big guy, we know this, and his 220 pound snatch was only good enough for 28th place in the Southwest Regional this year. That’s quite the hole to dig out of, much like Tovar and Briggs did with their handstand walks. But in Spealler’s case he overcame and took second in the Southwest. After the snatch he placed second, first, first, third, fourth and sixth to lock down second place. Briggs and Tovar couldn’t do that to overcome the bad showing in one event.
  • How much would it suck to spend an entire year working towards one weekend to only come down with a severe GI infection? The viral GI bug that moved through the Southwest was horrible. How much does CrossFit hurt? How much does it hurt if you haven’t been able to retain fluids because you are constantly in the bathroom? Now imagine having an illness like this and moving through the “50′s” WOD? That’s what Burke did en route to qualifying for the Games. Unfortunately Chris Hoppe couldn’t and I was really rooting for him. I hadn’t heard of Hoppe until the Colorado Open at Front Range last fall. Watching Hoppe beat Matt Hathcock in pretty much every event put Hoppe on my map. Then I saw him at a few more local competitions and was sold – he was going to take a podium spot this year and advance to the Games. He was in fourth place and positioned well to make a run at the podium on Sunday, but the GI bug got the better of him and he had to withdraw. So unfortunate.
  • Disappointments – there were a lot of disappointments this weekend, in my eyes. I expected a lot more out of Hathcock and Jasmine Dever. I didn’t think Hathcock would podium, but I didn’t expect him to finish 16th! I guess his showing in the Open was indicative of his overall fitness. And then there was Dever who severely disappointed, too. I really thought she would perform well as she finished really high in the Open and was a hot pick last year until she was injured. I thought she would come back strong and make it back to the Games (she went in 2012). Another disappointment out of FRCF was Colleen Maher. I was rooting for the team from FRCF to have a strong showing, but early on in the event with muscle-ups Maher really struggled. It was apparent, and obvious in the standings, that whatever happened at FRCF that caused some of their better athletes to move to BackCountry CrossFit really killed their team chances. I’m not sure how many of the athletes on BackCountry were former FRCF athletes, but I do know Chris Dozier (who won the SW Open in 2012) and Becky Conzelman (numerous Games athlete) were two of the athletes that jumped from FRCF to BackCountry.
  • I couldn’t be happier for Katie Mackey. I know her a little bit from her coaching me at LoDo when I first started CrossFit and even though she didn’t do well in the standings she never gave up and kept working – hard. She struggled with some of the more advanced movements, but kept moving and moving and trying and trying. Well done Katie!
  • My picks: I had Adrian Conway winning the men’s side, but he hurt himself doing some dips just a few days before Regionals started. Big bummer. Hoppe got sick so he had to withdraw, which left only Tommy Hackenbruck as one of my picks for the podium healthy and competing – and he won the region. I had Spealler on the outside looking in, but without Conway and Hoppe, Spealler makes it. I had Burke out of the top five, but he worked hard and through illness to podium. On the ladies side I had two of the three correct, but as I said above, Dever didn’t show up as hard as I thought she would and Mandi Janowitz took third.

Continue reading