2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Farewell Resolutions

My take on New Year’s Resolutions (also posted here: http://laxcrossfit.com/2014/12/farewell-resolutions/)

2014 is just about done which means new year, fresh beginnings. I’m not a big advocate for New Year’s Resolutions mostly because we vow to do them a few glasses of champagne in on NYE and completely forget about them a few days later. Instead, I think we should all use the new year to reset behaviors and expectations of ourselves as an ongoing thing (and forgive ourselves when we slip up).

I did some real heavy analysis (aka I googled) to find the most common New Year’s Resolutions and am offering up alternatives to them.

1) Lose weight. Ok so this isn’t a bad resolution per say but it’s vague. Come up with a plan to actually change something in your diet or workouts to accomplish this. Instead of “Lose Weight”, try “Eat more protein and less sugar” or “Add 1 more workout per week”.

2) Be More Social. Ok so maybe you feel like you spend more time on your couch than you do going out or maybe you feel like you are always the person left off of social invites. Instead of “Be More Social” make your resolution something like “Talk to 1 new person a week.” You can easily accomplish this when you are at LAX. Think of it as networking and getting out of your comfort zone instead of trying to get yourself out of anti-social mode.

3) Get Rid of Stress. Unless you are planning to make a major life change, like switch jobs or dump the douche you are dating, let’s face it, stress isn’t going anywhere. Try making it more of  a mantra to not allow your triggers to stress you out. Perhaps something like “Take a 20 minute mediation break every day at work.” To sound all yogi and stuff, get yourself centered and keep things in perspective. (Chances are if you are stressed outside of the box, it’s somehow translating into your time in the box. And since our lives are very CF-centric, let’s get our heads on straight).

4) Help Others, Volunteer. I love this one because come the end of the year, a lot of us start feeling like we took a lot this past year but we didn’t give. And what better way to clear our consciences than to volunteer? I am by no means knocking volunteering. I volunteer regularly and find it gratifying as well as beneficial to the people who need my time. My advice is to figure out the best way you can impact someone else and make your volunteering time worthwhile for everyone. It’s like fitness. If you don’t find something that works for you, you end up not keeping up with it. Instead of “Help Others, Voluteer”, do your research and make your resolution “Volunteer 40 hours a Year to XYZ Organization.”

5) Be Less Grumpy.  Negative Nancies aside, chances are you are grumpy for one reason or another. It could be that you don’t get enough sleep. You work too many hours. You hang out with the wrong people. Figure out what it is that is making you one of the 7 Dwarfs and make your resolution to correct that. “Get 7 hours of sleep every night.” or “Leave work by 5:30 once a week.”

2015: Abs of Steel

I posted this for LAX CrossFit today.

Zoo and I are on a mission to get amazing abs. It’s always been a problem area for me so I am finally doing more about it. On top of my regular workouts, I’ve started doing abs specific ones to help with my core strength and stability.

If you think doing all those sit ups in “Annie” is tough, I say it’s a piece of cake compared to the ab workouts Zoo and I have been doing the last few weeks. You may have noticed us doing some weird stuff recently. I can explain. In an effort to conquer a tough area, we’ve embarked in doing about 3 extra credit WOD’s a week to get great abs and  super strong cores in 2015 (and to hold our own besides Alex PD and Keenan within LAX Team United Nations for the Legendary Competitor Affiliate Showcase in Feb). Because Zoo is Zoo (i.e. one of the best coaches ever) she has come up with really creative and challenging workouts. I had no idea how many different movements she would find that would take ab work to a whole new level. In case anyone is interested in doing some extra credit too, here are a few of the workouts we have done:

4 Rounds:
20 GHD sit-ups
40 leg raises
10 glute ham raises
40 bicycles

4 Rounds:
5 back extensions
10 GHD sit-ups
15 v-ups
20 bicycles
30 sit-ups
40 obique KB raises (1 pd)

4 Rounds:
5 manmakers (10# dumbbells)
20 single leg reach (each leg)
10 plank punches
6 slamball twist lunge steps
10 Good Mornings (65#)

And the most recent one that was a real bitch… I would like to affectionately name it “Zoo”:

4 Rounds:
1 min overhead static hold with a barbell (65# or if you want Zoo Plus do 85#)
2 L-sit pull ups
20 med ball situps (14#)
40 leg raises

So go get to it everyone. Forget LAX tank tops, we are all going to be sporting crop tops soon.

l sitoverhead hold

No Rep!

(Posted today to LAX CrossFit: http://laxcrossfit.com/2014/12/no-rep/)

Competitions: we all love them, right??? We must because we keep doing them. After we compete, from time to time we talk smack about the judges who no repped us. “Man I would have had that 235 clean if that damn judge didn’t no rep me.” Maybe, just maybe, the judge made the right call. When we wod on our own, sometimes we get called out on form and reps by the coaches but for the most part we are left to police ourselves. There could be things we do (or don’t do) that in a competition without even realizing, would result in the dreaded NO REP! To avoid this and some other competition snafus, here are some tips to commit to memory.

1. LOCK OUT! For many movements, a rep is not complete if you do not fully lock out. In a clean for example, make sure you are in a full standing position with your knees locked out as well as having your elbows locked out. For a push press or push jerk even, make sure your arms are fully locked out overhead before you bring the bar back down.

2. Full extension. This could be for many movements: deadlifts, presses, etc. In a burpee, when you jump up, make sure your hips are fully extended before you drop down into the next one. When you do a box jump, fully extend at the top of the box before you hop back down.

3. Full depth in squats. What’s worse than doing 20 wall balls? Doing 30 because you didn’t get full depth in the squat. Don’t  create more work than you need. You want that 145# squat clean? Get low low low.

4. Complete the movement. Duh right? You would be surprised that people do not always do this. Athletes can be so jacked up on adrenaline and moving at the speed of light, it’s easy to not fully finish a movement. If you have to do a box jump over, make sure that you jump OVER the box. This doesn’t mean do a box jump and then drop off the back. Go from side to side. In a split jerk, make sure you bring your feet back to parallel before you drop the bar. In an American Kettlebell Swing, make sure you get that kb overhead.  Hit the target on a wall ball. If you have a mark to touch on a rope climb, make sure you do before you Spiderman on down. You get the idea.

5. Be cognizant of rules that could result in a penalty, like burpees. Often you cannot drop a wall ball or a kettlebell or even a plate you use for overhead lunges. I know. I get it.  You get done with reps, you are tired and you want to slam that shit down. DON’T if the rules do not permit it.  Or if you have to cover ground like in lunges or handstand walks, you could potentially have to go back a few steps. Every second counts and you will be mad if you have to take a penalty for something like that.

6. Chin up! For pull ups, make sure your chin gets over the bar. Chest to bar, make sure your chest actually makes contact with the bar.

7. Tag in and out. I have seen this happen a lot at the Grid and I imagine other team competitions are the same. An athlete leaves the starting mat before getting properly tagged in.  If you have to physically tag another athlete in by making hand to hand contact, make sure you do. No air high fives or  a secret wink. Tag each other. Hearing a judge yell “GO BACK!” hurts just as much as a no rep. Trust me.

Judges will do their best to tell you what to correct when they no rep you. Listen to them! You may get one free pass at what should be a no rep but next time, the judge won’t give you that rep. If you have to do a burpee broad jump that requires you to clear a marked line, landing on the line is a no rep. If the judge tells you this, be sure to correct it so that on the next one you cross that line. Otherwise, you will be doing burpees all live long day (and other than me, I don’t know many people who would actually enjoy that). Keep in mind too judges do not enjoy no repping or giving out penalties. They are there to keep the scoring consistent and fair for all athletes. Imagine training really hard to only be beat by someone who totally cheated movements. So let’s be good CrossFit citizens and stick to the rules. Now, go compete and get some good reps!

Did You Reach Your 2014 Goals?

As you all probably realize by now, I tend to post a lot for LAX CrossFit and then post to here. Some of you aren’t on Facebook  and so I want to make sure you get to continue to read all my posts by putting them here too.

This one I posted for them today and I think whether you do CrossFit or not, there may be some take aways to look back at whatever goals you set for yourself this year, fitness related or not. Hope there’s a little nugget of inspiration in here for all of you. Enjoy!

We all have goals (at least we should all have goals!). We should be setting a plan to reach them.  If we are smart about the goals we set and how to get to them, then it’s a no brainer, we should get there.

That’s in a perfect world where no outside factors ever come into play and we are super human.  I do sincerely hope all of you reached your goals this year but I suspect like me, you reached some while others are still out there for the taking. With 2014 wrapping up, now is a great time to really sit down and take a long, hard and honest look at why you may not have reached a goal.

Here are some things that in my humble opinion will help you understand why you did not reach a goal (and don’t be surprised if you’ve heard this all before. They are probably more of reminders than Opera-Aha kind of moments):

  1. Did you come up with a realistic goal? You can’t run before you learn to walk. Was a muscle up your goal when you still are working on unassisted ring dips? Maybe you need to break your goal up into the right progression so you don’t skip a step leaving yourself feeling frustrated.
  2. Did you come up with a plan to get there? If a muscle up was your goal, did you go right to the rings to try to do one without first mastering a false grip and practicing the transitions with a band? (Ok busted, this would be me in this example)
  3. Did you have a plan but did not spend the right amount of time investing in it? Maybe you want to get a strict pull up but you haven’t spent more than 5 extra minutes a month working towards this. (BTW, if you want to really know what it takes to reach a goal, talk to Marlene or Steve. They work harder than most people I know and really put the time in at the box. Take a page out of their books.)
  4. Did you let the world know what your goal is? I say this is in all seriousness: sing about it, blog about it, post about it, and even write it on the goal board. The more people who know, the more likely you are to reach your goal. For one, it keeps you accountable. Two, the more people who know, the more likely it is that you’ll get tips from them that will you help in practicing and training.
  5. Did you really commit to your goal? I am not just talking about putting time into it (as mentioned in #3 above). I mean mentally. We all know we could be the very thing that gets in the way of our own success. Did you do all the above but yet you psyched yourself out? So when it came time to retest, even though you trained hard and smart, you were so nervous you wouldn’t hit your goal that you didn’t. You mentally sabotaged yourself. Negativity helps you reach your goal said no one ever.
  6. Did you let outside things get in the way of your goal? (*Disclaimer: Life happens and in a lot of cases it’s totally ok to put your goals to the side to focus on other things. Family, work, health/injuries, etc give you permission to derail goals). I am referring to cases where outside factors were more like excuses. Those are where you need to really take accountability for them. Did you opt to stay up late every night watching movies when you were planning to get up an extra 15 minutes early to put in goal practice before the WOD and ended up sleeping through your alarm clock? Did you opt for more happy hours than you did gym time?  Did you let a bad day at work mess with you to the point that it put you in a mood that ended up distracting you from staying positive and focused? “My boss pissed me off today and I am still so mad, I can’t get a PR on my clean.”
  7. Which leads me to accountability. The common theme in all of the above is you are the only one who can make your goals happen. Yes, you can get help from people and guidance but if you don’t practice good habits, it’s worthless. It’s like reading a million books on cooking without ever actually making something in the kitchen. (I really need to work on better analogies! New goal for 2015).

Failure is part of success as you all know. So learn from what didn’t work this year to make 2015 your year to really shine.

Every Day Can’t Be a Good Day

I blogged for LAX CrossFit last week after a grueling workout on Tuesday.

Post the 12/2 WOD:

I was not at my  best this morning. Five rounds into the EMOM and I felt like I maxed out. Not to mention my foot was sore and I looked outside and saw the culprit: rain. I rested a few minutes and majorly scaled down the metcon for the remainder. I definitely fell more into the sandbagging category than beast mode today.

I noticed Sean too had scaled down during the EMOM at some point and was subbing different movements. So him and I were chatting after about what went wrong for us. Sean being super ambitious and typically a bad ass machine, was really frustrated with himself. He said his gas ran out and as he was talking, he was initially confused as to why. After a little QA sesh with him, we came to realize there were a few contributing factors: 1) He didn’t eat a very filling dinner. 2) He had a drink (or 3) last night and 3) He wasn’t hydrated as he didn’t drink a lot of water yesterday. I don’t know if this made him feel any better that today was an off day but at least he knew why.

As for me, I was on a strict all sugar and carb diet last week when I was visiting family for the holidays. All the discipline I usually possess went out the window in exchange for loads of red vines, pasta, bread, imitation peanut butter covered pretzels and tortilla chips. I also had a grueling time getting back to LA yesterday and as a result, I was a bit jetlagged and dehyrdated (like Sean, I did not drink much water over the last 24 hours). Plus I didn’t eat anything before working out that would give me the energy I needed.

Probably for the first time after a less than desirable workout, I didn’t beat myself up over it. I had an ephiphany, albeit a very obvious one. Every day can’t be a good day. We can’t expect our bodies to perform at a high level every time we set foot into the box. This doesn’t make us any less of athletes, it just means we are human. We aren’t just trying to get through 20 minutes on a stationary bike or banging out some 5 lb dumbbell curls. We demand a lot from our bodies and so we need to understand what they require we fuel them. I imagine this varies from person to person. Some people can function on 4 hours of sleep or come in after working a long grueling night shift (Alex PD) while some of us need a solid 7 to 8 hours to even entertain the idea of working out. Some of us have age on our side and recovery is faster (Palmer and Garrett make me envious when I see them working out to Invictus programming, which I am convinced they come in before the break of dawn and keep going until sunset). Maybe you had a PR the day before and your body is spent. Maybe an old injury is being triggered by bad weather. My point is, figure out what your body requires (or doesn’t require) to get the most out of a workout.

Likewise, Sean should be able to enjoy a few drinks at dinner and I should be able to scarf down red vines from time to time. We just need to recognize and remind ourselves that there is a trade off. AND THAT’S OK! Today might not be a good day but tomorrow will be.