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

My daily warmup

I have been wanting to establish a daily warmup that is fairly quick, efficient and does a good job getting me ready to WOD. This is what I came up with. I have been doing it for a few weeks now and I like it. This is a general warmup and I do some movement specific warmup depending on the WOD after this. Give me your thoughts if you think I am missing something.

Start with joint warmup – neck circles (10 circles each direction), shoulder circles (palms down with small to large circles one direction then palms up and small to large opposite direction), elbow circles (10 each direction), shake out my wrists and open/shut fingers rapidly, hip circles (10 each direction, slow and wide stance), knee circles (10 each directions) and finally ankle circles (10 each direction).

Then I do 30 jumping jacks where as I loosen up my goal is to make a solid clap at the top and a solid clap at the bottom behind by butt. I then move immediately into 20 more jumping jacks where I swing my arms front to back, rather than side to side. I try to swing my arms forward and throw my thumbs behind me at the top and swing them hard and down with my pinky fingers pointing behind me at the bottom. I got these from the Matt Chan warmup.

I then do wide leg inch worms where I do 5 pushups, then 4, 3, 2 and 1. I stand with a wide stance and when I walk my hands back after my pushups I walk my hands behind my legs to stretch and hold. Then I stand up and push my hips forward to stretch. Then walk my hands back out for my set of 4 pushups, etc.

Now I move to the GHD and do 10 GHD situps, but do not touch the ground, I’m still loosening up. I then do 10 hip extensions (faster than this video and I really squeeze my butt at the top).

20 walking lunges with back knee making contact with the ground. (LOVE – LOVE the old school CrossFit videos with the death metal. I do mine without any weight.)

And to wrap up I do 10 more GHD situps, this time touching the ground and 10 more hip extensions.

What am I missing?