17.5

10 rounds for time of:
9 thrusters, 95 lb./65lb.
35 double-unders

Finally, the last open workout of 2017…

If you do not have double unders or are someone who has trouble stringing these together, prepare yourself to be working out until close to the 40 minute time cap.  If you have double unders, there is almost no way you will not finish this workout, even if you did singles for every thruster.

The key to this workout for most of us mortals is pacing.  The elite can and will sprint through this workout going unbroken for nearly everything.  For everyone else, you have to almost treat the first few rounds or first half of this workout as “warm up.”  This means that you need to not get your heart rate crazy at the beginning or you will be gasping for air midway though the workout and will start failing reps and tripping over your rope.

If nine thrusters unbroken is not in your wheelhouse, break them up from the first set.  To easily gauge this, if you do not think you will go unbroken for the first 5 sets, break them from the start.  I prefer to have a much smaller set after a bigger set, so my suggested breakdown is 6-3.  Obviously, you can also go 5-4, but this is too even in my opinion.  Some of you will even have to break it into 3-4 sets, and this is fine.  Your main goal should be to not excessively rest or fail any reps.

That’s all folks.  I hope everyone met and exceeded all expectations for this year’s open and have some goals for the upcoming “offseason.”  The open is not meant to embarrass you, but it will expose your weaknesses.  Also, by forcing you into heavier weights or movements that you thought were out of your skill set, I hope this changes the way you approach future workouts and not automatically feel like you have to scale everything.

Good luck!

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17.4

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 13 minutes of:
55 deadlifts
55 wall-ball shots
55-calorie row
55 handstand push-ups

Men deadlift 225 lb. and throw 20-lb. ball to 10-ft. target
Women deadlift 155 lb. and throw 14-lb. ball to 9-ft. target

The annual repeat workout is here…

For me to say this was unpredictable would be a lie.  This is your standard CrossFit chipper as evidenced by the high rep sets.  Just to f*ck things up a little bit, Castro added 5 reps to make it 55 rather than 50.

There is nothing extremely difficult in this workout (i.e. high skilled) until you reach the handstand push ups.  Therefore, the key to success will be pacing.  I hit this workout twice last year with different strategies each time and got nearly identical scores (FML).  The strategy that kept me fresher going into the handstand push ups was SMALL SETS WITH SHORT REST.  This is neither new nor revolutionary, but the problem all of us face is DISCIPLINE.  It is very easy for us to go crazy when something is “easy” for us, but that will eventually catch up to us later in the workouts.

For this workout, I suggest no more than 10 reps on the deadlift and 15-20 reps on the wall balls.  Obviously if the deadlift is heavy for you, you will have to consider a smaller rep scheme, but for those who can easily do 20 reps unbroken, going for the huge set will likely have you gassed by the time you sit on the rower.  For the wall balls, time under tension for the shoulders will start to kick in around 20 reps and you do not want to blow your shoulders out before the handstand push ups.  Let the last rep of your set drop and pick up the ball within 5-10 seconds.

I cannot mention any type of pacing to maintain on the rower as last year showed that many people could not even finish the 55 calories in the allotted time.  You time remaining will determine Howard you will have to row.  I estimate that 55 calories will take about 2:30-2:45 for them men and right around 3 min for the women, so if you happen to sit down on the rower with much more time than this, it is very likely that you will make it to the wall.  If this is you, row at a pace that will not kill you and allow you to start HSPU as soon as you get off.  If you are going to be cutting it close, you will have pick up the pace on the rower.  Reach for the cage on every stroke, keep your chest up and upper back tight, and pull the shit out of that handle.

The elite athletes will finish the handstand push ups and get back to the deadlifts.  The rest of the mortals will get stuck somewhere on the HSPU.  If you are in the latter category, small sets are again the key assuming you will be able to attempt multiple sets.  Hit about 80% of your threshold for failure and get off the wall to rest for the next set.  Just like everything else, small sets with short rests is the key.

One last thing…10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 = 55. 55 is a very daunting number.  Set small goals for yourself prior to the workout and stay disciplined to your game plan and resting scheme.  Good luck!

17.3

Prior to 8:00, complete:
3 rounds of:
6 chest-to-bar pull-ups
6 squat snatches, 95 lb.
Then, 3 rounds of:
7 chest-to-bar pull-ups
5 squat snatches, 135 lb.
*Prior to 12:00, complete 3 rounds of:
8 chest-to-bar pull-ups
4 squat snatches, 185 lb.
*Prior to 16:00, complete 3 rounds of:
9 chest-to-bar pull-ups
3 squat snatches, 225 lb.
*Prior to 20:00, complete 3 rounds of:
10 chest-to-bar pull-ups
2 squat snatches, 245 lb.
Prior to 24:00, complete 3 rounds of:
11 chest-to-bar pull-ups
1 squat snatch 265 lb.

*If all reps are completed, time cap extends by 4 minutes.

Welp…we finally have a workout that will separate the true CrossFitters from the general gym rat.  All the movements in the first 2 workouts were ones that could have been done by anyone who works out (yes, even the bar muscle up).  The squat snatch is arguably the most complex/technical movement done with a barbell and something that not everyone can perform.

At first glance, this looks like a snatch workout, but the true beast here is the chest to bar pull ups.  Yes, if you cannot snatch the prescribed weight, you will obviously get stuck, but neglecting to see the effect chest to bar pull ups will have you wondering why you could not snatch a weight that is normally “easy.”

For the majority out there, getting out of the first 8 minutes will be the goal.  If you are in this category, you are worried about either completing 6 chest to bar pull ups or you are worried about snatching the 2nd weight, 135/95.  The most important thing here for you will be to not have any failed reps.  Sounds simple, but we all know what the clock does to our heads.  Find a pace and stick with it.  In order to evenly split up this first portion, you must complete 6 rounds in 8 min or 1:20 per round.  At this point, we have 3 scenarios:

  1. You can barely do C2B and/or the snatches.  One rep at a time, get the best score possible by not failing any reps.  You already know that there is no way you are getting out of this first 8 min, so your goal will be to the best of this group.
  2. You can do C2B, so you are worried about the 2nd weight.  My advice for you is to use the first 3 rounds as “warm up.”  By warm up, I mean establish a rhythm for how you will complete the C2B (sets of 3, 2, 1…etc..) and focus on getting into a groove with the snatches.  Do not go touch and go on the first weight and rush through it.  Go with quick singles.  This first weight should be an afterthought, so all you are doing is working on your speed and timing at this time.  Stick with the game plan for the C2B on the 2nd weight and stay calm and relaxed doing the snatches.
  3. You can snatch the weights, but struggle with C2B.  Small, quick sets of C2B will be your best friend.  Do not blow up your biceps and engine by trying to do too much on the C2B.  You will make up time in the snatches.  Out of the 3 scenarios here, you have the best chance of getting into the next 4:00 window.

The common theme with these 3 groups is to stay calm and relaxed through the workout.  The snatch is one of those movements where having the bar an inch away from where it should be will make or break the lift.  The 1:20 is just a guide, but if you are moving well, do not hold yourself to staying on here.  Remember that any extra time you have under the 8 min cap can be used in the next round.

For the folks that have both C2B and have a snatch max well over the 135/95, it is going to pretty much be determined by how well you pace/break up the C2B and how much you can actually snatch.  If a weight is over 80% of your 1rm, I think it will be very unlikely that you will finish that particular round, regardless of how good your C2B are.

Now that I gave my tips, I think I am allowed a little rant…I love this workout for many reasons, but I will give a few here.  If there is one movement that most CF gyms ignore, it is full, squat snatches.  How do I know?  Because the majority of the transfers or drop ins we get have absolute horrendous form and have no idea how to complete a snatch properly.  This is not their fault, it is the fault of the coaches at their gym (assuming they are not just skipping snatch day).  A lot of the middle of the pack scores will be moving around quite a bit this week due to the fact that you are not allowed to power snatch + overhead squat in the RX division (many gyms will be very “loose” on this standard lol).  There are also a lot of “annoying” CFers out there who just focus on metcon after metcon and can do 100 unbroken toes to bar, but ask them to complete a full snatch and the barbell instantly becomes some sort of torture device.  We laugh at how “bad” our cardio is at our gym (even though it is not that bad in my opinion), but I believe the general skill level at our gym is higher than average.  There are very few gyms that program the entire scope of CF movements on a weekly basis and that is something that we take pride in, along with being able to teach/coach these movements proficiently.

Good luck everyone.

Why?

It has only been two weeks into this year’s CrossFit Open and I have already seen a ton of extraordinary performances by the athletes of my gym.  An extraordinary performance to me is not defined as a leaderboard topping score, it is defined as a performance that exceeds expectations.  Not my expectations, but the athlete’s expectations.  This feeling and experience should be more than enough to motivate someone to participate in the CrossFit Open.  However, every year it is the same f***ing story about why someone is not participating.

“I don’t want to pay $20 to enter my score online.”

“I don’t care about the leaderboard.”

“It’s really not for me.”

After 5 years of excuses, I am simply jaded at the idea of trying to convince people why they should do the open.  I 100% agree that the Open is pretty much a joke these days compared to how it was 5 years ago.  Back then, the open was used for qualifying for the CrossFit Games.  Nowadays, this only applies to the 0.00001% of athletes that participate.  Hardly a motivating factor in spending $20.

So why do I decide to spend my hard earned $20 each year to sign up for this “meaningless” event?  I have no idea.  But…like every other nerdy engineer out there, I decided to try and figure out an answer to this question.  My idea for the best way to find my answer was to simply talk to the members and observe the open workouts each week.

Let me go down the list of all the generic answers that I have heard or given:

  1. Community
  2. Competition with friends
  3. Year-by-year tracking to compare your results
  4. Fun
  5. Etc..

Giving these same answers got old to me and I started feeling like a telemarketer or salesman.  Plus, no one believes any of this BS.  I could already see my answers going in one ear and out the other.

This past year has been the first time I truly had to adjust my training schedule due to life.  My responsibilities at my job increased exponentially and the wear and tear of having 2 jobs was starting to really take its toll on me.  I was always tired and my body was not recovering like it used to (that whole thing about recovery slowing down as you age is 100% true in case you are wondering).  Due to all of this, I decided that powerlifting with occasional CrossFit was what I wanted to do with my training time.  Therefore, going into this year’s Open, I knew that I would have some performances that would probably be worse than what I had accomplished in the past.

Cool story bro…

The reason I shared that story is because some folks at the gym swear that the coaches are participating in the open because of their good scores and will not be “embarrassed” by whatever they enter.  As I just stated above, I am nowhere near the top of the leaderboard and I am pretty much somewhere in the middle with everyone else.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Rich Froning is not going down the leaderboard searching for your name and laughing at you because he beat you by 100 reps.  Dave Castro is not scrolling to the 25000th place person saying “I really got this motherf**cker right here…2 rounds..hahahahaha.”

The ultimate reason any of us should participate in the Open is Accountabilty.  For the first time in my engineering career, I was in charge of hiring and firing people (it is scary as f*ck if you are wondering).  One of the qualities I ultimately look for in a person is accountability.  Do you actually give a sh*t about this job or are you chasing a paycheck?  Are you happy with just setting foot in the gym or are you actually going to try today?  Like I said above, I do not care if your max lift is 100lbs, as long as you are giving me 100%.  I believe the Open keeps you accountable for your effort in these workouts.

The Open is famous for taking people that “dark place.”  The dark place people are referring to is the point where you feel like you are about to throw up and black out during a workout.  For some of us, this is round 10.  For most of us, including myself, this is round 2.  Registering for the Open and knowing that you have someone standing right next to you for every single rep is keeping yourself accountable and pretty much guaranteeing that you put maximum effort into each workout.  It is very easy to half-ass a workout when no one is looking, but when your fellow gym mate is standing next to you encouraging you and pushing you through each rep, it is pretty damn hard to not give it your all.

I do not know if I actually encouraged anyone of you (maybe I discouraged a few as well), but I hope I provided a different perspective or different insight as to why the Open is still relevant to us that have zero chance of making past these 5 weeks.  Most of us have “nothing” to train for except for our own health (no big deal), but for 5 weeks out of the year, we have an event that pushes us beyond our expectations and keeps us honest as to how hard we have been working the entire year.  No one (lies cause as a coach I am supposed to) should care for your fitness and training as much as you do.

 

17.2

I missed out on giving my tips for 17.1 due to a work trip, but here we go with 17.2…

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of:
2 rounds of:
50-ft. weighted walking lunge
16 toes-to-bars
8 power cleans
Then, 2 rounds of:
50-ft. weighted walking lunge
16 bar muscle-ups
8 power cleans
Etc., alternating between toes-to-bars and bar muscle-ups every 2 rounds.

Men = 50lb dumbbells, Women = 35lb dumbbells

Another dumbbell workout from our favorite friend Dave Castro.  I think the easiest way to break this workout down is with each movement.

Walking Lunge:

The most critical part of the walking lunge is the front rack requirement.  According to the standards, the rear head of the dumbbell must be clearly behind the center of the body.  This is NOT the most comfortable position in the world.  If you have a terrible front rack position with a barbell, this one is not much better.  Prior to starting the workout, I strongly suggest playing around with various positions and holds with the dumbbells. Once your biceps burn out from the other movements in this workout, you will be glad you found this position.

In regards to the steps, I suggest taking normal or smaller sized lunges that you can easily get out of.  Taking too large of a step will tire you out much faster.  As I mentioned above, the lunge with the db in the front rack will feel quite awkward at first, so make sure you choose a stride length that does not cause you to drop the db.

Toes to Bar:

If you do not have connected toes to bar, fast singles is the key.  Even if you do have connected toes to bar, taking smaller sets and saving your forearms and biceps is something to consider. This workout is very grip intensive in both the dumbbell portion and the gymnastics.

The better gymnasts will cruise through this portion of the workout, but for the rest of us mortals, consider the following sets to save both your grip and core: 4-4-4-4, 5-4-3-2-1-1, 4-3-2-1-3-2-1

DB Power Cleans:

These are essentially kipping dumbbell curls.  If the dumbbell is heavy for you, it is important that you keep the dumbbell as close to your body as possible.  I tried a few variations of this movement earlier and the one thing that you should absolutely NOT do is stop the dumbbell at your waist.  Having a pause makes the db movement much less efficient.  You want to use as much of the momentum as possible.

The best breakdown I was able to come up with was to do a stiff leg db deadlift, followed by a hammer curl.

Stiff legged deadlift video is below, however instead of having the db perpendicular to your body, have the handles parallel to your feet.  Every time you go down to touch the ground “relax” your grip to let the front db head touch the ground.  Aim for a point parallel to the laces to touch the db each time.

Hammer curl video, except in our case you will have to bring the db head all the way up and over the shoulder:

Bar Muscle Up:

If you have one…cool.  If you don’t…good luck.

Kidding.  If you do not have a bar muscle up, but have a solid chest to bar pull up, you may be able to get your first one during this workout.  The key will be your kip.  If you have ever paid attention to the difference in kip between a chin over the bar pull up and a chest to bar pull up, you would notice that you get your hips much higher and your body much further behind the bar.  Naturally, the next progression would be to wait even longer behind the bar until your arms are as close to parallel with the floor as possible.  If you are in this position, a small pull will get your body high enough to throw your torso over the bar and into the dip position for your first bar muscle up.

It is not likely that watching this video will instantly give you a bar muscle up, but as you are fighting for your first one, maybe you’ll remember something here and it will get you over.  My two favorite analogies for getting over that bar are imagine either hopping over a fence (the cops are chasing you!) or getting out of the pool.

I think that just about covers it.  The best athletes will easily finish the 4 rounds listed above and get back to the toes to bar rounds.  There is going to be a huge clusterf*ck at the rep number where the bar mu come in, so try your best to get at least one.  This could easily be a few 100 places on the leaderboard.

Good luck!

 

CrossFit Open WOD 16.4

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 13 minutes of:
55 deadlifts
55 wall-ball shots
55-calorie row
55 handstand push-ups

Men deadlift 225 lb. and throw 20-lb. ball to 10-ft. target
Women deadlift 155 lb. and throw 14-lb. ball to 9-ft. target

I know I have not been as consistent posting my tips and tricks for the workouts this year, but for some workouts (like 16.3), either you have the movement or you don’t.  This week’s workout has elements that most of us can probably complete.  I encourage most scaled athletes to attempt this workout, so long as the deadlift weight is not like 85% or more of your max.

55 reps is a lot and it is going to suck.  The majority of us are not elite enough to complete any of the given movements (minus the row) in 3 or less sets.  My suggestion for these reps is to break them down into manageable sets and as I have said in the past, descending repetitions each set.  If any movement on this list will be your demise, it will be the handstand push ups, assuming you can perform them to the open standard.

The deadlift will all depend on your strength level, but I guarantee everyone’s back will be feeling something after the 55 reps.  If you have not really been doing deadlifts for large sets during training (who the f*ck really does?), then I suggest that you do not try this now.  My other bit of advice is to find a good tempo that is not sprint-like.  Focusing more on your technique will save you and enable you to do all 55 reps rather than being forced to doing rounded back singles at the tail end of the set.  I will be going over some rep schemes at the end of this post, but do not let the deadlifts cripple you for these 13 min (or the rest of your life, it’s just CrossFit folks!).

Wall balls.  Do not miss the target.  If you cannot perform a proper wall ball, you are f*cked.  This workout is going to be a downhill mess for you as you will be no repped to the point where you have pretty much done Karen (150 wall balls for time).

Rower.  Keep moving.  This is a machine.  It has no idea how hard you are working no matter what that stupid screen says.  I hope you have practiced efficiency on the rower during the multiple times you have “warmed up” on it.  If you are pulling above 30 strokes/minute and your name is not Samantha Briggs, you will be a dying mess at the end of this.  Pull all the way through, maximize each stroke, and try to keep that number to 25 s/m or less.  This is 55 calories, not 55 meters.  Pace accordingly.

Good old hand stand push ups.  This is where most people will get stuck, whether it be because they cannot do a single handstand or because 55 is sh*t ton of reps.  Kip these, take your time, and maximize the leg drive.  Establish your rhythm early and avoid the temptation of hitting that big set to start these off.  Trust me on this.  I remember the regionals workout a few years back that had 50 hspu right after 100 du and I saw elite, games level athletes getting no repped somewhere around the 35-40 rep mark.  Very few people will be able to get through all these hspu using large sets and odds are, you are not one of them.

Rep schemes to consider (there are far more than these, so put on those thinking caps and be creative)

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

5-5-5-4-4-4-4-3-3-3-3-2-2-2-2-1-1-1-1 (4-3-2-1 = 10 reps, 5-4-3-2-1 = 15 reps)

21-15-9-6-3-1

13-11-9-7-5-4-3-2-1

Good luck everyone!

 

 

 

CrossFit Open 16.2

Beginning on a 4-minute clock, complete as many reps as possible of:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
15 squat cleans, 135 / 85 lb.

If completed before 4 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
13 squat cleans, 185 / 115 lb.

If completed before 8 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
11 squat cleans, 225 / 145 lb.

If completed before 12 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
9 squat cleans, 275 / 175 lb.

If completed before 16 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
7 squat cleans, 315 / 205 lb.

Stop at 20 minutes.

Sorry for the missed post last week everyone.  I wish I could make up for last week’s miss, but there is not too much advice I can give for this one.

Assuming you can do toes to bar and double unders, the weights for the cleans are what will be the limiting factor here.  Pretty obvious right?  If you cannot do fast singles for any of the weights listed here, it is likely that you will run out of time before completing all the reps.

On to the tips…

  1. Do not kill our grip on toes to bar.  The worst thing you can do to yourself is sprint through the toes to bar and double unders and have no forearms left for the cleans.  Break your toes to bar sets up into manageable sets and save your energy for the cleans.
  2. There is no need to go touch and go on the cleans unless you are closing in on the time cap or you are 100% sure you will not make the next weight and are going for the tiebreaker (time of last completed round).
  3. If you know you will be into it for a few rounds, move at a steady pace through the early weights and buy yourself some time and energy going into the final weight.  For example, if you know your final weight is going to be 275lbs, finishing each of the first 3 rounds slightly under time cap (i.e. 3:30) rather than going as fast as possible hoping to buy yourself as much time on the final bar.  You will be able to keep your breathing under control and will give yourself a better chance to catch some cleans at the final weight.

That’s about it everyone.  Good luck.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.” -Alan Lakein

The current trend in CrossFit and in the general fitness world is nutrition plans.  Bodybuilders have been onto this for decades and it seems to have finally caught up with the fitness world.  Being a former bodybuilder myself, I cannot believe it took this f*cking long for everyone to realize that nutrition is actually an important part of health and fitness.

If you have not noticed, there are a ton of people trying to capitalize on this market.  By far, the greatest service I have seen so far are the companies offering meal prep services where you can tell them your desired meal size in macronutrients and they will weigh and pre-package everything for you for the week.  This is a bit costly, but if you can afford it or if you are short on time, this is an absolute life saver for people.  As with anything trendy, there are also people who try to take advantage of this trend and scam and steal people’s money.  In my opinion, these people are the nutrition “gurus” or diet template folks.  Before I expand on this, let me preface part of my rant by saying that there are a few credible coaches out there, but please do your research before throwing your money at that company.  Just because your favorite athlete or fitness model endorses them, does not mean you will reap the same benefits or attention.  Remember, these are their star clients.  Of course they will give them 110% of their time.  You, on the other hand, are just another form of income.  It is a harsh statement, but also a reality of the industry.

Now, before I get into a few tips on how to set up your meal plan, let me give a few tell tale signs that you are being scammed by your “coach”:

  1. Their diet program is a template.  Number one automatic sign of a scamming piece of sh*t.
  2. Their diet specifically outlines what you have to eat.
  3. Their diet has a guide for how to make your own adjustments.  This is exactly where your money should be going for a coach.  The end goal should be that you can make your own adjustments based on your first hand diet experience.  But if the template includes some bullsh*t like every 2 weeks, remove 200 calories.  You are being ripped the f*ck off.
  4. The diet does not take your exercise schedule, weight, or body composition into consideration.  If the diet is for a specific weight range, it is crap.

Onto the meal planning.

  1. Find your Basal Metabolic Rate using this link: BMR Calculator
  2. Use the Harris Benedict Equation to find your general caloric range

HB

Most of you should be in one of the top 3 categories.  The only people who fall into the final 2 categories are people who train multiple times a day and/or folks who have jobs like construction, then go to the gym afterwards.

3. If you have followed the above steps, you now have your total calories for each day.  We will now break this down even further by establishing how many macronutrients (protein/fat/carbs) will make up these total calories.  The starting ratio that I recommend is 40/40/20 or 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates, 20% fat.

Let’s use my numbers right now and set up my meal plan.

Stats: 205lb Male, 32 years old, 5’7″

BMR (using link above): 1976.45

Harris Benedict Adjusted BMR: 1976.45 * 1.55 = 3063.49, which we will round up to 3100 calories.

Using 40/40/20, this means I will have 1240 calories from protein, 1240 calories from carbs, and 620 calories from fat.  We will now break this into grams since that is the easiest form of measure.  Each gram of protein is 4 calories, each gram of carbohydrate is 4 calories, and each gram of fat is 9 calories.  For my drinkers out there, each gram of alcohol is 7 calories.

Carbs and Protein Calculation: 3100*0.4 = 1240/4 =  310g protein and 310g of carbs, which is roughly 1.5x my bodyweight.

Fat Calculation: 3100*0.2 = 620/9 = 69g of fat

4. Now that you have your numbers, you need to assess how you will distribute them throughout your day.  The easiest way to do it is to take your total macronutrients and divide them over the course of however many meals you plan on eating.  For example, if I wanted to eat 6 times a day, I would take 310/6 = 52g of protein and carb and 11g of fat per meal.  In an ideal world, this would be all we needed to do.

However, we are ATHLETES.  Athletes require some form of specialization in their meal plans because we need to optimize our performance.  Pre and post workout nutrition is another complicated subject on its own, so I will get into that for a later blog.

For the purpose of this blog, we will return to how to set up your day.  Using step number 4, try to get a general range of how many of each macro you will need for each meal.  Now, if you currently have pre and post workout shakes, make sure you subtract that from your totals and re-calculate what you’ll need around each meal.  For example, I drink about 100g of protein shakes, so I would subtract this from my 310 total up above.

The sources of your macros do not really matter so long as your hit your numbers.  Remember ,your body has no idea if it is digesting a chicken breast or a rib eye steak, all it sees is proteins, carbs, and fats.  However, for the sake of simplicity in setting up your meal plan, it is much easier to choose sources that are predominantly in one category.  For example, a chicken breast is a protein source and has very little fat.  A rib eye steak is also a protein source, but also has a high content of fat.  If you specifically need 50g of protein and 11g of fat in your meal, a rib eye might not be the best choice because you will probably get 11g of fat in your rib eye way before you hit the 50g of protein.  Let’s break this down further by looking up the nutrition data of a rib eye (I normally use Nutrition Data but myfitnesspal is a popular app with a huge database of foods that cuts the step of looking up the data out).

ribeye

As you can see here, you can only eat about 3oz of rib eye, which yields 24g of protein.  Given that I needed 50g of protein, this would now mean that I have to find 26g of protein from another source that essentially has no fat.  While this is not impossible, it is a pain in the ass to do.

While we are on topic, let me give everyone a quick history lesson as to why bodybuilders prefer chicken breast and egg whites as their main sources of protein.  Contrary to popular belief and other myths out there, there are no magical properties from these “bodybuilder” foods.  The main reason these foods are chosen is because they are the easiest to calculate and fit into your schedule.  Just like everyone else who works out, spare time is a luxury that bodybuilders do not necessarily have.  When preparing for a show, each macro needs to be calculated and accounted for.  Sure, they could have that tasty rib eye at one meal, but then it throws the rest of the day out of whack.  As humans, we are creatures of habit.  Having a routine is the easiest way to make your day more efficient.  Therefore, eating the same thing every day and preparing a ton of it in advance is the most efficient way for bodybuilders to get their hectic schedules under control and maximize their time.  So the next time you hear some elitist fitness enthusiast blast the bodybuilder and their chicken breast, shake your head at their ignorance and give them a nice karate chop to the throat as your pass them.

OK folks, there should be enough information here to get your meal plans started.  In my next post, I will discuss pre, intra, and post workout nutrition.

Effortless

A lot of athletes think the trick to getting better is just to work harder. But there is great power in non-action and non-thinking. The hardest thing, after all the work and all the time spent on training and technique, is just being fully present at the moment.
—Phil Jackson, in his foreword for George Mumford’s The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance

I came across this quote during my morning reading and it reminded me of my mentality when it comes to CrossFit workouts.  We spend a ton of time drilling technique and pushing strength on people and sometimes the true meaning behind that effort is missed and/or forgotten.  The goal of part A is not to just hit the movements and move as much weight as possible.  In addition to those things, the goal is to build mental toughness and confidence.  A perfect example right now is the muscle up.  Recently we have had quite a few people accomplish the gold standard of the muscle up.  I will let you gloat and celebrate that muscle up for about 24 hours before I will start to get in your head about getting the 2nd, 3rd, 4th…muscle ups.  When things happen once, it’s chance or luck.  When you are able to have consistent success, then you can consider it a true accomplishment.

There is not too much thinking involved when people get into “met con mode” at the gym.  This is why you see crazy technique (i.e. starfish cleans and rounded backs), invented movements (the snatch grip clean and jerk…wtf?!?!?!), and bullsh*t movements that seem to make people think they are accomplishing something (pull ups to your nose, wall balls without a squat, air wall balls, wall balls to 6 feet).  There is something about being against a clock that has people scrambling and in constant panic mode with no regard for their own good.  Is there something wrong with this?  Not really.  Is there something wrong with this when it starts to compromise safety?  Most definitely.

The reason you get wall balls in your warm up is not to torture you.  Aside from being a great warm up movement, it is a movement that will be done in high quantities during a workout.  It should be in your best interest to perform these warm up movements as correct as possible.  When you play basketball, do you warm up by shooting baskets to miss?  When you go out for a run, do you perform your warm up jog with poor running form?  So when you warm up wall balls or other CF movements, why would you do those movements incorrectly?  I have people do an average of maybe 60 wall balls a week in hopes that this movement becomes automatic for the met cons.  This should be the norm for all movements done in a warm up.  In other words, pay attention and take that sh*t seriously.

One of the key words I just posted is automatic.  The movements in met cons should be automatic for your mind and your muscles.  Having these movements ingrained in your head and in your arsenal are what will make you most successful in completing workouts.  When you get into a workout, you should be “brainless.”  You should be able to head into a workout completely relaxed and ready to perform or as the quote above states “just be fully present in the moment.”  Think about these things during your next workout.  Pay attention to how your body moves and what is going on.  Know your personal mental cues for proper technique and what it takes for you to be successful for each rep.  I guarantee you will find that your workouts will flow much better in the future.

CrossFit Open 15.5

Here it is everyone, the final workout…

27-21-15-9 reps for time of:
Row (calories)
Thrusters

Men use 95 lb.
Women use 65 lb.

Projected Scores:

Elite: Men – Sub 6, Women -Sub 8

Above Average: Men – Sub 8, Women – Sub 10

Average: Men 10+, Women 12+

As I expected, the final workout would be one where the “scale” division would be able to compete alongside the Rx division.  There is a scale weight of 65/45, but realistically, 99% of the world should be hitting the Rx for this one.  Personally, I think Dave Castro did a pretty good job this year of weeding out the people who might sneak into regionals by making the workouts much tougher skill-wise, while also preserving some of the open spirit by keeping the rest of the workouts something most could Rx.  Workouts 15.1a, 15.3, and 15.4 were all designed to make sure that only the best of the best would move forward to the next level.  15.1, 15.2, and 15.5 are all workouts that we would have typically seen in previous opens.  For those keeping track, that’s an even 50/50 split in “tough” workouts vs “normal” workouts.  I don’t say this often, but well done Castro.

There are no tricks to this open workouts.  This workout is not won on the rower or on the barbell.  It will be won in your head and in your heart.  At this point, if you have not rowed a calorie and know what it feels like or done a thruster at the prescribed weight, you are f*cked.  That would probably mean that you come to open gym and do some bullsh*t instead of attending class.

The obvious physical key to this workout is pace.  If you kill yourself on the rower, then you’re going to stare at the barbell.  If you kill yourself on the thrusters, then your boat will be sinking from some pathetic rowing.  It is easy to say do not red line on this workout, but it is much easier to think, “breathe through each rep.”  The people who will f*ck this workout up are the ones who get too excited when the clock starts and row at some speed they have never even touched before.

The rounds of 27 and 21 are going to be the pace rounds.  If you are huffing and puffing after the round of 27, good luck, you are officially going to feel like hell for the rest of the workout.  You are officially one of those people who sprints the first mile of a half marathon and hopes for the best.  Break up the round of 27 and 21 into something you are comfortable maintaining.  Your thruster speed should mimic that of a round of 20+ unbroken reps.  This means that if you were fresh and picked up a barbell and I asked you to do 21 unbroken reps, how fast would you go?  Where most people will falter is they will give themselves a rep scheme, say 11-9-7, then they will do the 11 as if it is the last leg of the workout.  What the f*ck are you doing?!?!?  Pace that first 11 as if you had to do 20+ reps.  Pace the 9 as if you had to do 20+ reps.  Pace the 7 as if you had to do 20+ reps.  That is how you attack high rep thruster sets.

The rounds of 15 and 9 are where your head will start telling you bullsh*t lies like, “you’re tired” or “you need a break.”  If you really want it, you will go after these 2 sets hard.  These are your final kicks for your marathon.  The set of 15 thrusters should be done in no more than 2 sets if you have paced correctly above.  If you drop that final set of 9, you are either half-ass conditioned or you have no heart.  These are the FINAL 9 REPS OF THE F*CKING OPEN.  Suck it up and finish that sh*t.

Notice that I did not give too many tips on rowing.  Google and youtube will be your friends in those aspects.  I am a decent rower, but by no means a professional that is willing to give out tips on form and technique, especially over the internet.  Also, giving you pacing advice and damper tips is something that 1. I do not feel knowledgeable enough to do and 2. will probably psyche you out even more by over thinking this simple couplet of a workout.  My advice on the rower is as stated above, do not kill yourself.

Good luck everyone, avoid the pain cave as long as you can, but once you get in it, keep your head up, stick your chest out and handle it like a champ.