Posted by Andy Petranek : Tuesday, May 01, 2012
When I started adventure racing, waaaaay back in 1995, I did it for two reasons that have the look and feel of one... fun and adventure. I had no expectations, no idea how I would do, no idea how I would pay for it (I wrote a $10,000 check to get my team in, but didn't really have that kind of money), didn't even know how to do many of the outdoor skills required of me in the race. All I knew is that it was going to be fun, exciting and an incredible adventure.
When I retired from my short "professional" adventure racing stint ('99-'03) in 2003, things had changed for me. I was bored with traveling to the same courses year after year, I knew all the how's, when's, why's, what's, and who's of every location, every race, every season. I knew all the strategies, I knew how to cut all the corners, I knew how to train, what to wear, how much to drink and eat, when to wake up in the morning, how to pack my bike in the my well worn travel case. And, more importantly than all that, I had an expectation. I expected to win, or at least to be in the top three. So not doing so led to me feeling disappointed, like it was a waste of time.
One of the things that I LOVE about CrossFit is that even after 8 years of doing it, it doesn't get old or boring. There is always something new, fun and different to learn, something I'm not as good at as someone else, something that makes me want to get back into the gym and train again the next day. For me, the ONE thing that has had the ability to "taint the water", is my own expectation (judgement) of my performance. For CrossFit to continue to be fun, exciting and an adventure for me, I have to constantly remind myself to let go of the outcome. If I keep showing up, the outcome will come, in spite all the things in my head that might say otherwise (why aren't you rx'ing the weight, why haven't you pr'd in a year, why didn't you qualify for the games as a master in your first year of eligibility, you should be faster, you really suck at Olympic lifting, why are guys 40# heavier than you doing more muscle ups than you, you should be more flexible, you should spend more time training in the gym, you should be able to run a marathon barefoot, you shouldn't be getting beat by so-and-so, you should be on the leaderboard in EVERYTHING, etc).
So now, I continue to train for fun, adventure and excitement, but I also train to keep my mind from poisoning the well, training to continue to let go of the outcome, expectation, judgement. When I'm succeeding, I'm looking forward to tomorrow and having fun today... that is a big win for me. And I'm finding THAT to be as big a challenge and as much "fun" as any other training I've ever taken on!
Complete as many rounds as posible in 20 minutes of:
200m Farmer’s Carry (50-55# dbs/35# dbs)
10 Dead Hang Pull Ups
Posted by Andy Petranek : Monday, Apr 30, 2012
If you didn't think I was a geek before, now you most certainly will. When I buy an appliance or product that is supposed to work in a very specific way, I always go to great lengths to ensure I got exactly what I want. That often includes ordering multiple versions or types and returning the ones that don't meet my standards. Many of you know that I did that with our robot vacuum cleaner at the gym testing both at great lengths before finally deciding that Roomba was the way to go (winning out over Neato).
Now it's happened in the area of juicing. After my post last week about getting re-started juicing, I've got an update for you regarding the best juicer for the job. I wrote my last post after juicing two times with the new juicer, the Omega VRT-350hd. I remind you, this one is the latest technology, a vertically oriented, low RPM juicer that looks great, takes up minimal counter space and creates quality juice. Compared to the Breville, I was impressed, and could taste the quality difference in the juice it made.
Over the next several days, as I added diversity to my juicing recipes, I found out a few things:
1. Carrots almost always result in a "jam" - the motor stops and you have to switch it to reverse to unjam it (not a problem, just a fact).
2. Celery, a staple of my juices, with it's long, stringy fibers that run the length of the stalk, clog up the pulp ejection port. This leads to other problems - veggies and fruits that go in after the celery tend to not juice completely resulting in a high moisture content pulp or in pulp remaining stuck in the auger/juicing chamber. Even when I cut the celery into small pieces, though better, it was still a problem.
3. I don't understand why, but beets are a problem. Don't get me wrong, they juice fine, but the final product contains small bits of beet pulp, just enough to be really annoying. They get stuck in your teeth and I found them to make the experience of drinking the juice slightly gross.
4. Apples. Really? Apples. Yes... a problem. Well actually, only a problem if you juice them after juicing high fiber vegetables like kale, chard, spinach or celery that start to get the ejection port clogged. When that happens, apples do not juice well - lots of remnants remain stuck in the auger and juicing chamber. Nor do they juice completely with the pulp coming out with a high moisture content.
So... that being the situation, what's the solution you might ask? When I bought this juicer, I was agonizing over deciding between two juicers. I ordered the Omega VRT simply because it looked cooler and took up less space on the counter. From the reviews and videos I read and saw, it seemed equal to the other I was considering. I couldn't have been more wrong! Last Wednesday I ordered the Omega J8006 Commercial Masticating Juicer and put them to a head-to-head test. Here's what I found.
1. ALL the problems I was having with the VRT were solved with the 8006! Yes, ALL of them. No jamming. No issues with celery, kale or chard fibers clogging up the ejection port. I don't even have to chop up the celery into small pieces. No pulp in the juice - zero (even without the included additional strainer). And no problems with apples, regardless of the order I fed them in.
2. On top of it juicing fruits and vegetables, it also makes nut butters. I haven't tried this yet, and from what I've seen in videos, it's not the easiest thing to get right.
3. The VRT is easy to clean. The 8006 is even EASIER!!
4. The 8006 is $80 cheaper than the VRT!
5. The ONE drawback to the 8006 is the size of the feed chute. It's really small. I have to cut things up much smaller than I did with the VRT, which takes a bit more time and attention.
Conclusion: For me it was simple. The Omega J8006 wins, hands down! After juicing only four times with my new 8006, I re-packaged the VRT, printed out the return labels, and took it off to UPS. No brainer. I wish the feed tube were the same size on the 8006. In my opinion, that would make it perfect. But for now, it will do. It makes fantastic, pulp-free, high quality juice, is easy to clean, operates at low RPM, is relatively inexpensive... what more could you ask for?
21-15-9 rep rounds for time of:
Power Cleans (155/105)
Box Jumps (32/24)
Posted by Andy Petranek : Saturday, Apr 28, 2012
Have you thought about it? You see people all over CFLA mobilizing, stretching, rolling around on foam rollers and lacrosse balls to increase their ROM (range of motion). Have you ever asked yourself the question why? I mean really... do you stretch just because you've heard it's good for you, or because for the couple of minutes you do it twice a week actually do feel good (when you're done)? And what, exactly, should you be able to do with the flexibility you gain? Once you've gained some, how do you know how much is enough? Do you look at someone that is "really flexible" in the gym and think that you should be able to do that (splits, pancake, etc)? Or is there some number in a book somewhere that gives you the "right" answer for each joint in your body?
Is it possible that it's much simpler than that? Could your ideal ROM be determined by your functional ability to perform various functional movements... like the squat, deadlift, or overhead press? And, if you're competing at higher levels in CrossFit or need more ROM for specific movements in your sport, those movements dictate your requirements? If so, then it's probably slightly different for everyone. Can you squat easily? If not, what holds you back? Can you bend over with an arched back and slightly bent knees and pick something up off the floor without losing your midline stabilization? If not, what holds you back? You'll find your own answers, and those will help you determine where to put your efforts for the 5 minutes you spend each day mobilizing.
In the video below from the mobilitywod, K-insightfullyfunctional-Star discusses this topic - insightful to hear the thoughts of a guy who's treated ROM issues in tens-of-thousands of athletes. Watch it. Worth it!
Five rounds for time of:
20 Renegade Rows (40/25)
200 m Run
10 Dips / Ring Dips
Posted by michael stanwyck : Thursday, Apr 26, 2012
My body has gone through a lot over the last 6 years. I began CrossFit in September of 2006. Without question one of the most profound and powerful choices that I have made in my entire life. For so many reasons - physical, personal, developmental, educational, and more.
I have been through both major and minor injuries. I have recovered from a back injury that had me thinking I wouldn't walk normally again, let along work out. I have injured and rehabbed my shoulder, my elbow and my knee. Most of those injuries came from not stepping back, looking at my life and having a plan. I didn't spend much time evaluating where I was and much of the time didn't have a clear picture of where I was going. So I trained hard. I trained because it was fun and I just plain loved being physical and being in shape. Good, but maybe not great.
I'll be 39 in June and over the last year have started to grapple a good deal with what this all means to me. Last year I wanted to be on the Team and I wasn't. I decided to train to be on the team this year. But I didn't really know why. Did I want recognition? Recognition is almost never a great reason to do anything. The struggle became more evident as we really started training for it. I saw what it was going to take and I was pretty sure I didn't have in in me. At least I didn't want it bad enough to put that much into it. Then the Open came and so did the heart palpitations. So I didn't participate. Kind of a bummer. And really, a wake up call. What do I really want from my training? Am I a competitor or am I in this for my life? That question will certainly shape how I do what I do.
I always want to get better, but at this point radical gains are about as important to me as big biceps. They got me in the gym at one point in my life, but big improvements in weights, times or scores aren't quite enough for me. I've also been looking at the things that I have done to my body in the name of performance -- ignoring pain, not resting, spending oodles of time creating programming for myself and eating massive amounts of food (OK, I'd do that anyway). How much WORK and how much FUN do I want this to be?
I've decided that the best way to get what I want out of this is to have the most fun possible while still stretching myself physically. I'm taking a seasonal approach right now. The weather is getting warmer and training outdoors is fun, so I think I'll run some more. As the summer gets into full swing I'll probably still train in the gym a bit, but I'll head out to the beach more, play football, do gymnastics workouts and train with just my body -- climbing ropes, jumping around, playing like a monkey. It sounds like a great way to spend my summer. Maybe in the fall I'll head back indoors for some more weights again and get stronger through the winter. It doesn't sound RIGHT, it sounds like FUN.
No matter what I do, unless something dramatic happens, after 6 years I'll probably always possess an exceptional level of fitness. Thank goodness for that. What an opportunity to break free from the constraints of what I think I have to do and do things exactly the way I want to do them.
What do I want out of my training now that I'm 39? To be around this planet as long as I can to help as many people as possible before I'm gone. Yup, that'll do it.
2008 CrossFit Games WOD #2
5 deadlifts (275/185)
Posted by Becca Borawski : Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012
Sometimes when someone makes a request of me I fill in the outcome in my head, before I’ve even had a chance to truly ponder, and so I respond based on my preconceived notions and not to the actual scenario at hand. Because perhaps last time I was presented with this scenario it didn’t go well. Maybe I finished last in a similar workout, maybe I didn’t enjoy spending time with a certain person, or maybe I failed at something and felt stupid. Why would I invite that in again? And maybe what you’re presenting to me isn’t even all that much like the past scenarios, but I’m so wary I don’t even see that. I am stuck in a pattern of expectations and comparison. I’m not living in a free world.
When you make a request, I compare it to all my previous experiences. If I’ve always been miserable at a certain exercise, why would I assume today would be any different? If I’ve always thought a person was a jerk, why would I enjoy time with them today? I compare your request to my past and I create an expectation. I live into that negative expectation. And you? You all have no hope but to live into my miserable expectation. I won’t let you be anything but what I’ve already decided. I won’t let myself enjoy this exercise. I can’t see you, or it, or us as anything else.
But what if that wasn’t so?
What if I forgot I’d ever done wall ball before? What if I forgot that girl always annoys me in class? What if I forgot I thought I’m no good at this stuff?
Imagine today you get to be whoever and however you want. Imagine today you are a superhero, an adventurer, an Olympian, or simply a you who loves each moment all day long. Imagine everything you do is right, and good, and perfect. Imagine you are having fun and you like that girl and you love this workout.
If we live our lives based on comparing and assessing, we live on a planet locked in the orbit of negativity and failure. Instead, let’s launch into space and see what happens there.
Rowing Intervals -
1:00 on / 2:00 off
Posted by Andy Petranek : Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012
Do you believe, as I do, that your brain, just like the other organs and muscles in your body, improves with use, and declines with underuse and age? To me, that makes perfect sense, use your brain, and keep it functioning well. But what surprised me is learning that your brain also responds to physical exercise, in and of itself. From a recent article in the NY Times How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain, in a study done with mice, "Animals that exercised, whether or not they had any other enrichments in their cages, had healthier brains and performed significantly better on cognitive tests than the other mice. 'Only one thing had mattered,' Rhodes says, 'and that’s whether they had a running wheel.”
Whether you know it or not, you're physically strengthening the neural pathways in your brains when you work out - improving your ability to think clearly now and later in life!
How's THAT for great Tuesday morning news?!
Overhead Squat 5-5-5-5-5
Complete as many rounds as possible in 7 minutes of:
7 DB Push Press (45/30)