It’s Sunday. For most of us that means work on Monday. That may mean back to the stress of your job, stress from your commute, stress of getting through the week; a lot of stress. Often times, stress doesn’t just present itself as easily as grinding one’s teeth at night or raging headaches. Stress is a slow killer and along with its buddy cortisol, can lead to some serious health issues.
Personally, I never feel like I have enough time. It’s not just from the jobs and hobbies I have. I put my own personal stress into the mix which is unnecessary. Even though sometimes I do feel that having 30 hours in a day would help me complete all of my personal project goals. But I’m going to take a back seat here and blame cortisol. As the folks over at Whole 9 say:
“ . . . elevated cortisol also skews time perception – making us feel as though we’re always behind schedule and time is always running out”
. Good to know it’s my hormones making me crazy and not just my own brain.
In their article, a second part of a series on stress, there are some good pointers on how to balance stress and manage it more efficiently. I encourage you to read this article. It will take 5 minutes and I promise it will be 5 very helpful minutes.
This last week a fellow Intrepid wanted me to inform the gym of an upcoming race. On October 4th Manhattan Beach will be putting on their annual 10k run. It is a yearly tradition for the city that dates back to 1978 when a group of local runners wanted to have a race “in town.” Since that first 10k this race has been pretty popular among the residents of the Manhattan Beach community. The 10k does help generate a small profit to give back to the city, especially the local schools. Manhattan Beach Middle School received an $11,000 exercise facility in recent years and the track team of Mira Cost High School uses their donations for new equipment for the track program. Over the years, the Manhattan Beach 10k has generated over $250,000 that has been donated back to the community.
For this year’s race you can register in one of two places. The easiest would be online and you can click here and follow a 4-step process. By going the online route your bib and other race day items will be mailed to you. The other option would be to drive to Village Runner in Manhattan Beach. Although this option would be slightly more time consuming you would leave the store with all your race information. Registration is $30 for runners ages 15 and up and $25 for anyone under the age of 15.
The race starts at 7:30am near Manhattan Beach Blvd. and Ardmore. The course takes runners around the city and finishes at the pier on the strand. A few years ago we had a handful of Intrepids participate in the 10k. From what I remember everyone did really well. The course, if it is still the same, is flat for the most part with some hills here and there. It is all doable. I think there is some general interest for this year’s race and we all know that I like to see or members get involved in the local races. If anyone needs some pointers about the race please don’t be afraid to ask me. I’ll be available the week before the event.
Jake’s Favorite WOD:
30 Box Jumps
30 Wall Ball Shots
15 Box Jumps
15 Wall Ball Shots
If you’ve been following along with the CF Team Series competition, yesterday was the opening day for Weekend #2. Again, there are 4 events that the teams of 2 men/2 women will have to complete and scores must be submitted by 5pm on Monday, Sept 22. As you peruse Events 5 – 8, you might notice that they look oddly familiar. In Event 5, the movements are the same as CF Games Open WOD 13.3 (aka CF Games Open WOD 12.4). Although instead of dubs, you now have cleans. Event 6 pairs deadlifts with handstand pushups. If that couplet is familiar to you, then you’ve most likely made acquaintances with the benchmark WOD “Diane”. Event 7 is pretty similar to Games open WOD 14.2, replacing chest-to-bar pullups with toes-to-bar. Rounding out the last event, Event 8 is the first WOD where bench press has been introduced in a CF Games WOD.
Events 5 – 8 are as follows:
Rx Event 5
For time, with one athlete working at a time, work together to complete:
150 wall-ball shots, 20 / 14 lb. to 10-foot target
100 cleans, 155 / 105 lb.
Rx Event 6
As male/female pairs perform as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of:
50 deadlifts, partner holds deadlift, 225 / 155 lb.
50 handstand push-ups, partner holds handstand
Rx Event 7
Each athlete performs 21-15-9 reps as a relay:
Overhead squats, 115 / 75 lb.
Rx Event 8
2-rep max bench press
To follow the leaderboard, or to find out movement standards and scaling for any of the past events, visit the CF Team Series page here.
Clean 3 x 3
* Sub strict pull ups or rings dips for HSPU
I will start with the bad news. There is not enough interest in the partner competition to justify holding it, so we are cancelling the Oct 11th comp. The competition will be rescheduled for early next year. If you signed up for the competition already, Competition Corner will refund you today and it should credit your cards in 5-7 days.
Okay, now to the good news. Instead of the partner competition we are going to be hosting a chili cook-off instead! It will also be on October 11th, and we’ll set up some friendly corn hole/ladder ball contests. We request that the chili be primal/paleo friendly + dairy if you’d like, but definitely gluten free. If you are interested in entering a chili into the contest, please sign up on the board in the gym or comment on this post. If you’d rather not bring chili, please feel free to bring a side or desserts to share. This is meant to be a family friendly event, so please bring your children!
Looking forward seeing what the Intrepids can pull off, I’m expecting some pretty impressive chili…I know coach Alia is already plotting her recipe!
Pull-ups are a regular part of the CrossFit diet, so if you’re not good at them, you probably dread when they come up in a workout. The bigger question is, do you work at improving them? If you use a band, they might not be getting better because of how you use the band.
Bands can be a decent aid when working on strict pull-ups, provided you put in the effort to still get your chin over the bar. I see many people who fail to do so. These individuals use the band where it is most helpful (at the bottom of the pull-up) and when it comes time for them to do work (at the top), they call it quits. Note – this will not get someone any closer to an unassisted strict pull-up.
Ruth has done a few posts in the past on setting your shoulders during a pull-up and engaging your rhomboids, perhaps most recently regarding shoulder impingement. Having control over your shoulder blades is very important to being able to do pull-ups.
You must develop the strength to really set your shoulder blades before beginning the pull, but this is when the fully stretched band is helping so much that you don’t really have to set your shoulders, and so you never develop this crucial skill. At the other end – the top of a good pull-up, fully lifting your body to the bar requires a strong shoulder retraction. You must be able to pull your elbows down and slightly behind you, while at the same time squeezing your shoulder blades together. The band is usually fully relaxed at this position and you can’t get all the way to the bar, so no strength development there.
The band is allowing you to fool yourself. The nonlinear assistance prevents you from developing strong scapula, prevents you from developing a full range of motion, and allows you to “do” the motion without fully engaging all of the necessary muscles.
For some, this inability to stabilize the shoulder, done by retracting and depressing the scapula, is the main reason they can’t do a pull-up. If you have ever hung helplessly from a bar, this is you. For others, the inability to maintain this scapular position causes the loss of stability, and strength to complete the pull.
Bands only exacerbate this problem by giving the strongest push at the bottom. At the bottom is where you need to learn to retract your scapulae. As you continue up toward the bar, the band’s resistance decreases. You begin to pull harder and your shoulders slip further forward. The results can often lead to shoulder pain and serious injuries.
This all gets amplified during any workout with high volume pull-ups. I’ve seen far too many people jump off a box into the band, allowing the band to slingshot them back up. Many will have additional bands nearby as backup and very few focus on actually getting their chin over the bar each rep. I do not typically see much progress made this way.
To quote another post on this topic:
Many people may not realize that bands recoil back, making an athlete not use the load (body weight) and even giving him or her a period of weightlessness. The best example of this problem I can give involves ring dips. At first, many people will use the band to help them get their form down during ring dips, but as they get tired, they use a bit of “bounce” to make the movement easier, creating a period of almost “weightlessness” as they begin to mimic the kip.
As noted above, using the band during ring dips can also cause form faults and hinder progress. For both ring dips and pull-ups, I would encourage you to only use bands to work on strict variations of the movement. If you cannot keep yourself doing the movement strictly during a metcon, you should look to an alternative, such as jumping pull-ups or ring rows.
For further reading, check out the posts I referenced today:
How Bands Are Actually Holding You Back by Breaking Muscle
Elastic bands are doing more harm to your pull-up progress than good by moveSKILL
4 rds each
1 rope climb
Then 4 rounds each of:
7 Hang Cleans (135/95)
One partner does climb while other does burpees etc. “A” group has to do Hang Cleans (with squat), “B” group does hang power cleans.
When we see people take on the Whole 30 Program during our nutrition challenge, most will automatically default to a very low carbohydrate diet, cutting all starches and fruit. Usually this happens cold turkey, and most of the time after a Mardi Gras style binge on Day 0. Naturally the withdrawal hits hard and the first week or two can be miserable. While some see positive results from this, others (mostly hard gainers/ectomorphs) have a hard time maintaining weight and see a decline in performance.
1. Do you have underlying conditions/diseases?
A diabetic will need a low carb diet to thrive, where someone with chronic adrenal fatigue will need more. Take a look at your health and lifestyle, understand your body type, and be honest with yourself.
2. Get started.
Kelsey suggests for the average person with no underlying diseases to follow a “Rule of Thirds,” where your plate is 1/3 protein, 1/3 starchy carbs, and 1/3 greens or veggies. I would suggest to also make sure you have enough good fat in each meal.
3. Take notes and experiment.
From here you take notes on everything from how you feel after the meal to how you perform in your strength lifts as well as your high intensity workouts. How is your recovery during workouts and from one day to another? Does that amount of carbs trigger you to crave MORE sweets and carbs? Are you always hungry?
Click here to read the full article and see Chris Kresser’s chart breaking down the different levels of carb intake and what goals and population they suit the best.
Back Squat 3×8 (not a typo)
15 Toes to Bar
Back in August Greg Everett, owner and head coach at Catalyst Athletics, posted an article on his site to asking a valuable question: “Are you an Athlete or an Exerciser?” Unclear to many, the lines between athletes and exercisers is often blurred or forgotten (or not even understood to exist). Neither is better than the other, they’re just different approaches to training so it’s important to understand the differences. As Greg puts it:
Why does it matter which you are? Because even if both athletes and exercisers do many of the same things, HOW they do them is often different, and without knowing which you are, you may be going about your business in a way that’s not ideal. Keep in mind as you read that these labels are not value judgments—exercisers aren’t bad people or inferior to athletes, they simply have different priorities and goals. The point of the article is to help you determine how to do what you’re doing in the best possible way.
So what exactly are the differences between Athletes and Exercisers? Is competing the sole defining characteristic of an Athlete? Although an important element of being an Athlete is competition, Greg (and I) believe there’s more to it like how you manage training within life and your mindset and intentions.
In order to know where you fall on the spectrum, Greg points out differences between the Athlete and the Exerciser in several areas:
Learn more about the differences between Athletes and Exercisers in each area by reading his entire article on the Catalyst Athletics site: http://catalystathletics.com/articles/article.php?articleID=1867
Bench Press 3×5/Wendler
A-4 Rounds for Time:
5 Push Press (185/123)
10 Box Jumps (24/20, no step-ups)
B-4 Rounds for Time:
10 Push Press (95/65)
10 Box Jumps (24/20)
Cash Out: 6 Rounds of Tabata Push-ups, Score Total Reps
I know that there aren’t a lot of hardcore Yoga practitioners in the gym. But you may or may not have heard of the passing of a man known as B.K.S. lyengar. I heard of his passing on National Public Radio and was fascinated by the memoirs and recap of his life achievements.
I have never been a regular practitioner of yoga, beyond the classes Intrepid offers on Thursday evenings with Amanda, my only regular practice includes downward dogs in our yoga push ups. Lyengar is known as the father of modern yoga. Following a scooter accident that dislocated his spine, lyengar explored and popularized the use of props in yoga to help those who may be disabled or lack flexibility. Let’s just all take a minute to thank him for that! Less flexible persons like myself are in desperate need of all the straps, blocks and padding I can get. His practiced focused on physical stamina and flexibility.
B.K.S. lyengar passed away at the age of 95 on August 20th. He greatly influenced the popularity of yoga as a daily life practice in the west. From his teachings doors were opened for popular practices like Bikram yoga and the more modern power and acroyoga.
Below is an interesting video of the great yoga master at work. I found it absolutely fascinating to watch him work with others and just observe the way he moves. If you have some time, at least skip through it.
September has definitely been a busy month. Last weekend we had not one, but two competitions that members of the gym participated in. Today is no different as Sean and Mike C. will be competing in the Beach Cities Battle hosted by Code 3. Just like most Crossfit events, the day starts early with check in and an athlete briefing. After the briefing that fun starts with WOD 1 which runs from 8:30 to 10:15.
WOD 1- Snatch Ladder
1 min per station
Men’s Advanced: 165 to 275 by 10#
Women’s Advanced: 105 to 160 by 5#
Men’s Intermediate: 105 to 215 by 10$
Women’s Intermediate: 65 to 120 by 5#
In that 1 minute athletes can take as many snatch attempts as they desire. The cool thing about this WOD is that if one cannot hit their snatch weight then they will complete as many clean and jerks as possible with the time remaining. This will help serve as a tie-breaker.
At 10:30 the second workout of the day will get started.
Advanced – 135/95#, Intermediate – 95/65#
This workout is a 12-9-6-3 for time. All athletes in every division will be doing the same movements with the only difference being the weight of the barbell. The movements are toes to bar, burpees onto a plate, and ground to overhead. With a total of 30 reps to complete for each movement you can imagine that athletes will be trying to move as efficiently and quickly as possible.
From 10:30 to 3:00 the floater will be taking place.
WOD 3- The Floater
Rope climb: Advanced – Legless, Intermediate – Legs allowed
Front squat: Advanced – 155/105#, Intermediate – 115/75#
This will be a very fast workout. In an AMRAP 4 minute WOD athletes will perform 2 rope climbs and 8 front squats. There is no real strategy to this one than other to try and keep moving with the short time of the workout. I imagine just constant motion on the rope climbs and once you get down from your first climb then you immediately go back up for the second rep. For the squats, once that bar hits the rack position, it would be best to try and connect all reps.
The afternoon will wrap up with the 4th and final WOD. This workout will take place starting at 1:00 and runs to 4:30.
For time, athletes in the advanced and intermediate categories will be doing a chipper style workout.
10 Deadlifts, 315/225#
20 Box Jumps, 30/24″
20 KB Snatches, 1.5/1
10/6 Muscle Ups
40 Wall Balls, 25/20#
10/6 Muscle Ups
20 KB Snatches
20 Box Jumps
10 Deadlifts, 225/155#
20 Box jumps, 24/20″
20 KB Swings, 1.5/1
10 Pull ups
40 Wall balls, 20/14#
10 Pull ups
20 KB Swings
20 Box Jumps
As you can see, whichever category you may be in, this will be a solid challenge. I did not notice a time cap, but I imagine there will be one.
We wish Sean and Mike C. the best of luck for today!
5 Rounds of AMRAP 3
*Rest 1 minute between rounds
Above photo courtesy of Paleopot.com
Ok I know I post recipes from Paleopot.com all the time. I can’t help myself. I like sharing these recipes with you all because his recipes are so easy, they are stupid easy. They taste like you’ve slaved over the stove for hours but in reality, you haven’t! And you don’t even have to spend lots of time cleaning up after yourself. Typically everything is done in your slow cooker so you can multi-task and get other things done when you are short on time. Today’s recipe is no different.
Click here for cooking directions.
* I’ll be using using regular ground beef since it’s on sale at Whole Foods El Segundo today!
Then, 6 Rounds
Time cap of 12min