Finally watched a GRID match

I had some free space on one of my monitors at work and saw that GRID put the entire San Francisco Fire versus Phoenix Rise match on Youtube. I like Sam Dancer and I like most of the athletes on Phoenix because most are OPT followers, so why not give it a watch?

Here are my thoughts as I watch it (EDIT – and after I posted this I realized this was a match from last year. Are the crowds better this year? That also nullifies my point about LaChance below, too.)

  • This feels more like a high school athletic event than any sort of professional “sport”. Outside of the impressive field of play and the rig, they keep showing the teams bench (or I assume that is their “bench” area) and with the visible doors to the gym behind them it feels like this is happening in a high school gym. I am having flash backs to going to basketball games in high school.
  • Speaking of high school, I have seen bigger crowds at girls high school volleyball games. (I must admin, I never have attended a high school volleyball match, but I did attend a division two volleyball match when I was going to UNC many years ago.) I wonder how many people would be in the stands if family and significant others from the athletes were not in the crowd?
  • They just showed a fan with a Phoenix Rise t-shirt…people are buying league paraphernalia. I’m fairly shocked.
  • The coaches attire is ridiculous. Someone get these guys a stylist. Suits too big, silly hats and they look like gym rats trying to dress up. I guess that makes sense since that it what they are. They probably haven’t worn a business suit in years, if ever, and it is showing.
  • Sandbag to bar, eh? I guess they have to keep coming up with some sort of silly movement to test these athletes, right?
  • Speaking of movement, I hope some poor person who might have an interest in CrossFit doesn’t see this and decide not to give CrossFit a try based on the movement seen here. I understand that moving very quickly will cost you some points in technique, but man my back started to hurt watching some of the athletes speed through snatches.
  • I obviously don’t know or understand the rules around substitutions or who you can use from your roster, so take this next one with a grain of salt. I see Alexandra LaChance just standing on the sideline for the Phoenix Rise. After this last CrossFit Games season LaChance left OPT for another coach. I have no idea why, I just happened to notice that since I follow her on Instagram. The majority of athletes on the Phoenix Rise are OPT athletes. Many competed on their team that made the Games or are individual competitors that represent OPT. I feel like LaChance would be a better athlete at some of this than some of the other girls competing, yet she has not seen the floor during this match. I wonder if there was some sort of fallout between LaChance and OPT and if it has carried over to GRID. If there is another season…if…I wonder if she would still be on the Rise?
  • Speaking of season: how long was the season? Each team played like three or four matches? I found the standings and all teams played four matches except the Brawlers and Rise…they played five? Is that because those are the two teams that played for the Championship? What kind of season did they have?? Is it really a championship if you only play a few matches or games before the championship?
  • I wish I knew the politics behind this. Why aren’t the really big CrossFit names competing? Are there any GRID athletes on the CrossFit seminar staff? I’m guessing the answer is “no”. Is there someone at CrossFit keeping their buddies and pals from competing in hopes to kill GRID? In just watching this I don’t think it will take much to kill this. I love watching CrossFit videos, but this clearly isn’t the same and it isn’t nearly as entertaining. I think it is because they break it up so much. Why let athletes like this break up 40 reps of any particular movement between several team members? Make one person do it and show some semblance of fitness.
  • I think they need to shorten the time caps. I haven’t seen a team get close to not completing the work under a cap yet.
  • Limit the number of athletes per “race”. Limit the number of substitutions. Lower the time cap.
  • In the final race Courtney Walker was doing pistols on one leg and she was CLEARLY not getting full hip/knee extension at the top. Back to the standard of movements…there are none.

I can see why this hasn’t taken off. Again, as a CrossFit fanatic I can’t get into it. If they can’t capture CrossFit fans who will watch?

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Battle of the Rock – take 3 – review

My snatch effort at 170 - I think

My snatch effort at 170 – I think

Late last week I went through my strategy and predicted results for my first comp this year: the Battle at the Rock.

First, let me say this event keeps getting better and better. The first year I did it the final heats were completely re-seeded and the release of the schedule for the final heat took way too long. It was annoying. But CrossFit Castle Rock learned from it and last year that was not the case. This year? It was flawless. CFCR keeps learning and keeps getting better at running an event.

They had 140 athletes this year competing and one of the events was essentially an eight station max rep event. I had noticed that the heats were spaced out exactly eight minutes – leaving NO TIME for any transition between heats, re-organizing of barbells, weights, kettlebells, etc. There was no time left for a heat that starts late, no time available to make up time, just constant heats. Well, this was run perfectly. Each heat had 10 individuals and they sent us off congo style, in groups of two. So the first pair from each heat started their eight minute WOD while three pairs from the previous heat were still finishing their WOD. The way they had it laid out, the way they started us off and the way they ushered us from movement to movement was flawless.

Job well done, CrossFit Castle Rock.

On to my review. Continue reading

Battle at the Rock – take 3

This weekend I am competing at the Battle of the Rock at CrossFit Castle Rock. This will be my third go at this competition. I think it is well run and each year I have loved the WODs.

My first solo competition was in 2013 at the Battle of the Rock and it was fun and I competed in it again last year and I thought it was even better. This year I make it three in a row.

In 2013 I finished 42nd out of 72 and last year I finished 48 out of 68. As I wrote in my results last year, I think my strategy failed a bit and cost me some points. That along with some missed wall walks that certainly hurt. This year I hope to finish in the top half.

Last year there were more serious competitors, too. I saw guys and gals with those big compression things on their legs to help speed up recovery. That’s a whole other level in local competition that I hadn’t seen yet. I guess I take these comps the same as I do a 5k; sure it is competitive and more so than working out at the gym, but I am not investing thousands of dollars to do something that I do a few weekends a year. Kind of like how I haven’t purchased really nice hiking shoes, although I try to go on at least a few hikes a year and at least one 14’er a year. Then again, maybe some of these folks do several local competitions a year and it is more like golf – and I have spent a few hundred dollars on golf clubs, at least.

In any case, I just want to finish in the top half this year. Compete with the kids who are in the early to middle 20’s. I figure if I can keep up with half of them at the age of 38 I am doing good.

So, as I like to do, here are my thoughts and strategy for the various WODs coming at me on Saturday.

WOD 1: 4 minutes to find max snatch + hang snatch and then at the 4 minute mark, 2 minutes max rep parallel bar burpees.

I haven’t really snatched in a few months trying to let my shoulder heal. And I was going to take today and tomorrow completely off from the gym so I was fresh on Saturday…well…I had to test the snatch portion of this WOD this morning.

After trying some squat snatch complexes at 135 and hitting some and failing on others I decided to ditch the squat variation for my snatch and just go power…and go ugly. Catching the bar in the squat is still a little shaky with my shoulder, but catching it in a more standing position is not as unstable. So, wide leg split and even a press will be on the menu this Saturday. The snatch will count as long as the bar is moved overhead and if you press from there, they will count it. It will make for some ugly snatches, but I am going to play with the rules, ugly snatch and all.

This morning I nearly had 170 for the complex. The power snatch was good, almost pretty, but the hang variation was really ugly. Being that it was early in the morning I think I can hit 175 on Saturday – that’s my goal. Warm up to at least that in the warmup area and then at “go” for the WOD hit 135 at about the 30 second mark (have to load the bar), then 155 around 1:15, then 165 around the 2 min mark and then try 175 around the 3:15 mark. I don’t want to make another attempt close to 4 minutes so I am ready for the burpees. However, I could see that if I get really close to hitting 175 (or 175 feels “easy”) then I could see trying 175 again or 180 before the 4 minute mark.

I would like to think that I can do at least 15 burpees each minute, but hoping for 20. I am going to try to go at a “slow and steady” pace to start and if there is gas left in the tank around 1:30 then floor it and finish hard.

The score is weight plus burpees so I am hoping for 175 + about 40 burpees for a score of 215.

WOD 2: 8 movements, 45 seconds max reps, 15 seconds rest. This is pretty straight forward and here is what I hope to score…

Wall balls: Being the first movement, I hope to get 25. I will go UB for as long as I can and then depending on the clock see if I can get more. I think 25 might take me 45 seconds.
Slam balls (40#): 20? 15? These won’t go very fast.
Alternating goblet lunge (53# KB): I think I can just keep moving on this one and get at least 20. I feel like about 2 seconds per lunge is good.
Toes 2 bar: These will be hard as I will be gassed. Hoping for a set of 8-10 and then a second set of 5-7 for about 13-17 reps.
Shoulder to overhead (95): I hope to plow through this. I will stop my T2B a bit early if needed ot get a few extra seconds of rest to kill this one. It’s in my wheelhouse. So if I get 2-3 less T2B it might translate into 5-8 more reps here. I hope to get about 30 reps.
Deadlift (185): I think I will be gassed and will shoot for about 15 reps.
Front squat (95): Again, now I will really be huffing and puffing. I will try not to put the bar down and get 15-20 reps.
Pullups: 10? 15? Depends on how out of wind I am.
So all in all I am guessing I will score somewhere between 133 and 152. That feels like a lot. We’ll see!

WOD3: Buy-in: 30 cal on rower, then 2 rounds of 10 C&J (135), 20 box jump overs (24) (or on and over) and a cash-out of 100 DUs

This one is a bit scary. I think 20 cals on the rower is about 1 min, so I am going to shoot to get the rowing done in 90 seconds. That way I am not gassed, but I could also see me completing the 30 cals in about 1:15. 10 C&J should take about 30 seconds, tops and the box jump overs maybe 1 minute as I will be gassed. In fact, as box jumps aren’t my thing, I will definitely be jumping OVER the box as I think that is easier. So, if the 2 rounds takes me 5 minutes, at most, that will leave me about 3 minutes to complete 100 DUs. Definitely doable. I just wonder how much I overestimate how good my cardio is.

Row in 1:20
Start C&J about 1:30 or 1:35 – round 1 done by 2:15 at worst.
Start BJ about 2:20 or 2:25 – round 1 done by 3:25 at worst.
Start 2nd C&J about 3:30’ish – round 2 done by 4:15 at worst.
Start 2nd BJ about 4:15’ish – round 2 done by 5:15 or 5:20.
Start DUs around 5:30 – finish by 7 minutes. I am going to shoot for 7 minutes for this WOD.

Floater – some sort of shuttle run with sandbags and throwing them over a 6 foot wall.

That’s all that is released as of today. My only goal here is to get my floater time scheduled about 15 minutes after WOD 1. I will be fairly fresh and still loose/warm from WOD 1. 2 short WODs to start the day (I think there is a 3 minute cap on the floater). Then rest a bit, eat a bit before WOD 2.

It’s going to be fun and I can’t wait!

I want diet advice from someone who was fat

Time for a bit of a vent…I am sick of seeing people on TV and the internet giving advice on how to lose weight when they themselves have never had to lose weight. Pictures of some ripped or skinny person selling their diet when they have never had to lose weight.

I imagine, and I guess I can verify this, gaining weight is a lot easier than losing it. I mean, stuffing your face with donuts and milk to gain weight would sure be a lot more fun than stuffing your face with spinach, kale and chard to lose weight. Right?

I know a little about both. As a guy who once weighed over 300 pounds I sure know a path to gaining weight. OK, not the kind of weight that most want to gain, but I can sure pack on the pounds if I want to. And now that I weigh about 210 I know how to lose it, too.

What I don’t know and what I am struggling with is losing the final 10-20 pounds of fat. Maybe it’s loose skin, maybe it’s not. From what I have read loose skin is paper thin and what I have left isn’t paper thin. My skin might be a bit loose, but there is something there I can still lose. I would LOVE to do a muscle-up someday weighing under 200 pounds. Chest to bar pull ups would sure get easier and maybe I wouldn’t think handstand push ups are the bane of my existence.

How do I do this?

I workout five to seven days a week. When I workout I nearly throw up from time to time and I always soak my shirt with sweat. I am not doing some easy things when I workout. I see my strength numbers growing and my metcon times dropping. Most would say that those numbers are all that matters, not what the scale says. And I agree with that. However, I want to look better with my shirt off. I look better now than I did even a few years ago and definitely better than I did five years ago, but I want to get ride of these last few pounds. Count calories? Did that. Whole 30? Did that. Paleo? Still doing that. Zone diet? Did that. Counting macros? Currently doing that.

What I am sick of, and this will seem like I am picking on one person here, is seeing Christmas Abbott looking ripped and skinny and trying to sell me a diet. Why? Because she used to look like this:

#TBT in 2000/2001 before I started to love my body. I was about 95#s here, all skin and bones. Smoked like a chimney and drank daily. If you look at my mother you can see she was living the same lifestyle (minus the excessive drinking). Since she has also quit smoking (after 30 years of being a smoker) and had been taking care of herself better, loving her body better. It's never too late to start a change. Find your inspiration, your reason and go for it. Find out how I transformed my life through my #thebodyreview www.ChristmasAbbott.com #christmasabbott #relentlesslife #thebodyreview #badadsbodybook #fitaid #Fitmoo #nfsports #neverquit #rehband #eleikosport @fitmoo @fitaid @nfsports_ @eleikosport @rehband @fitmarkbags @powerandgraceperformance @questnutrition

A post shared by Christmas : Badass Body Life (@christmasabbott) on

We – especially the fat people I know and used to be – know this kind of person. The uber skinny person that can eat a steady diet of fried mozzarella, ice cream and pizza and never gain a pound. I used to live with a guy who ate frozen White Castle burgers, cheese pizza and cereal like it was the only food on Earth and never weighed more than about 130 pounds at about 5’10”. I have a cousin who lives off of a similar diet with the same results.

Not everyone is created equal. Some of us have to really work hard to not get fat. Some of us do not. Jealous? Sort of.

So when Abbott peddles her new diet I wonder. I wonder what makes her qualified to tell me what to eat? When I searched “Christmas Abbott dietary experience” this came back as the first result from Google, which is on the cover of her book:

CrossFit celebrity Christmas Abbott shows how to attain the body of your dreams with a targeted eating strategy and total-body workout plan that will whip glutes and hips—and every problem area—into top shape.

As a formerly “skinny fat” woman, Christmas Abbott knows what real women need to get the butt and body of their dreams. In The Badass Body Diet, she dispels the myth of the health benefits of a “pear shape” body, teaches readers how to spot-reduce excess fat with targeted meal plans and recipes that zap cellulite, and galvanizes them with a quick and simple workout plan for a toned butt—the key to total body fitness.

So she is a CrossFit celebrity who was “skinny fat”. I want someone to teach me what to eat who was “fat-fat” and isn’t just a face/body. One who actually had to lose weight, the tough weight, and how they did it. Or how they got others to lose that weight.

Abbott is probably the nicest person you meet and probably one of the hardest working, I just find it hard to buy….

…ahh…who am I kidding? I am bitter. I wish I was skinny and just had to add some muscle to an already super skinny frame. Let me lift all the weights and drink a bunch of milk. That would be awesome. I would mix in some chocolate milk and peanut butter for sure. Sounds like a much more fun battle than trying to lose 100 pounds only to look like you have small bags of skin hanging from your body that probably requires surgery to correct.

Damn! Why did I sit around playing Tecmo Bowl while eating chips and salsa in school?!