This past weekend, several of us went down to the Honey Badger Invitational Olympic Weightlifting meet hosted by our friends at Evolution Tucson.
Reuben was “talked into” competing on Monday, and walked in with a whopping 3 days of actual lifting preparation. He did great for his first meet, hitting lifts at or near his all-time PRs to win his weight class.
Sara lifted at the East Valley Open about weeks ago, and wasn’t happy with her first meet performance. She trained hard, and put up much better numbers at the Honey Badger. That being said, she was still throwing around the barbell like it was a matchstick, and can definitely put up a lot more weight. Look for her to have some really big meets in 2013 if she decides to stick with it.
Many thanks to Matt D. for coming down to help coach, and Cali for taking pictures. (We’ll post a few in the next few days). Also, thank you to Fredy, David and Steven for making the trip to support our lifters.
Next stop: Arizona Affiliate Cup in Flagstaff December 15th!
As promised, a blog post about movement quality and range of motion and all that. I’m not sure if it’s the weather, or the impending holidays, or just the fact that we have a lot of new folks running around. Regardless, I’ve been slacking in my duties. So, here’s a reminder:
IF YOU DON’T COMPLETE THE REPETITION, THROUGH THE ENTIRE ACCEPTABLE RANGE OF MOTION, DON’T COUNT IT!!!
You know who you are, and you know what I mean. Pullups that are scarcely forehead to bar, pushups that don’t approach the floor. Quarter squats.
So, this is your warning. We’re going to crack down on questionable reps.
And, I’ve posted this before, but it’s a message that needs to be heard. Via my friend Doug Chapman at CrossFit Ann Arbor, Clock Whores.
A friend recently dropped some mythology my way, in the form of Sisyphus. You may know him as the King who got a little too clever for his own good, and was sentenced to an eternity in Hades, pushing a heavy boulder up a steep hill all day. At the end of the day, he would reach the crest of the hill, exhausted. As the first stars appeared, the boulder would roll down and he would have to start again from the bottom.
His punishment was intended to represent futile effort—a useless, grinding task in retribution for disrespecting the Gods. To this day, Sisyphus brings to mind the idea of mindless, unending toil.
Sounds a lot like your workouts feel sometimes, right? You work hard in the gym, grunting and swearing, sometimes collapsing in a sweaty heap. And the next day it feels like you have to start right back at the bottom of the hill. Over time, it can feel like you’re fighting your way over the same ground, over and over and over. That boulder can start to feel immovably heavy, and the slope impossibly steep, and it’s easy to lose the will to keep going.
We are all familiar with this feeling, in life as well as the pursuit of fitness. It is at times like these that we can draw inspiration from Sisyphus.
(Indulge me for a moment, I promise we’ll bring this back to fitness. First, though, a brief layover in French Existentialism.)
Albert Camus published an essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, wherein he examined the nature of life and man’s place in the universe. I won’t bore you with details, but the short version involves the search for reason and meaning in a world which may be devoid of such. According to Camus, when faced with the realization that there may not be a greater meaning in life, Man is faced with 3 choices: assign responsibility to some higher power (Fate, Destiny, the Gods, etc.), surrender to hopelessness (ultimately requiring suicide), or acknowledge that this search for reason may be futile.
Camus rejects the first two, and instead argues this contradiction between the human need for reason and the unreasonable world must be acknowledged. Acknowledged, but never accepted—one must constantly confront and revolt against it. Facing this, then, allows us to embrace life, and live it to it’s fullest.
Sisyphus becomes the embodiment of this concept to Camus. Day after day for eternity, he faces his boulder, and fights and claws his way to the top of the hill, only to see his efforts are in vain. The boulder crashes back to it’s starting point at the bottom of the hill, and Sisyphus must make his weary way down to begin anew. It is during these moments when Sisyphus is headed back down the hill that he is most conscious of the absurdity of his fate—and, according to Camus, it is during these moments where he is free. Knowing that he faces the same soul-wrenching journey up the hill, still Sisyphus chooses to walk down, place his body against the rock, and begin again. His fate is his own. ”The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.” In this acknowledgement, Sisyphus is content. In fact, according to Camus, ”We must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
So it is with fitness. It’s easy to get caught up looking for a higher authority to take responsibility for everything—that magic diet guru or plastic surgeon are prayed to frequently. It’s also easy to just give up hope and stop trying at all. To commit fitness suicide, if you will. But to me, you must acknowledge that it’s hard, and that making progress takes time and effort, and isn’t always a smooth road.
The important thing isn’t just the goal at the top of whatever hill you are climbing—the journey itself should be embraced. Each session is an opportunity to take another step, to move your boulder a little higher. The times of despair, of wanting to give up, that is the rock’s victory. Every rep, every pound, every time you grasp the bar and vow to fight once more—that is your victory over the rock.
"Myths are made for the imagination to breathe life into them. As for this myth, one sees merely the whole effort of a body straining to raise the huge stone, to roll it and push it up a slope a hundred times over; one sees the face screwed up, the cheek tight against the stone, the shoulder bracing the clay-covered mass, the foot wedging it, the fresh start with arms outstretched, the wholly human security of two earth-clotted hands. At the very end of his long effort measured by skyless space and time without depth, the purpose is achieved. Then Sisyphus watches the stone rush down in a few moments toward that lower world whence he will have to push it up again toward the summit. He goes back down to the plain. It is during that return, that pause, that Sisyphus interests me. A face that toils so close to stones is already stone itself! I see that man going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end. That hour like a breathing-space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness. At each of those moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock."
THANK YOU to everyone that came out today to compete and support the CFSW community! That was a lot of fun for us to put on, I hope everyone enjoyed attending.
Special thanks to Matt D. and Steven for all their help, Lisa for getting the medals, and Cali for taking photos. There are some great pictures up already on the Facebook page, and it sounds like there are a couple hundred more to get through.
Congratulations to the Winners today!
Men’s Rx: Patrick
Women’s Rx: Emma
Men’s Scaled: Sathish
Women’s Scaled: Meghan
Master’s Men: Jim S.
Master’s Women: Lisa
As they say, everyone who competed today is a winner. These folks just won a little more than the rest.
Again, thank you all for coming out. Let’s plan to do this again sometime!
For those who haven’t been to the gym yet, here is the first workout for Saturday morning’s Competition:
(Use the same barbell for all movements—prescribed is 135# for Men/95# for Women)
One time through for Time:
Barbell Ground-to-Overhead x 15
50 Double Unders
Barbell Clean (Power or Squat) x 15
50 Double Unders
Barbell Front Squat x 15
50 Double Unders
For the Ground-to-overhead, the barbell must be stationary on the ground at the start of each rep (no bouncing), and finish with the barbell fully overhead, with elbows, hips, and knees fully extended. The barbell may be lifted by any means needed (e.g., snatch, clean and jerk, clean and push press, clean thruster, etc.)
Score will be the time necessary to complete the workout, or total number of reps completed at the end of 12:00, whichever is appropriate.
This is a belated recognition for one of our 6 am folks. Over the weekend, Marius competed in the Mogollon Monster 100, a ridiculous 106-mile race up on the Mogollon Rim. Racers ascend the Rim four times, and climb approximately 18,000 feet over the course of the race.
That’s some serious work!
Only 9 out of 37 runners finished the course this year, and Marius finished 4th (31 hours, 5 minutes).
Updated Schedule for Saturday:
We will be holding an open/combined class 830 am class only! It will be open to everyone.
Individual Workout 1: First heat starts at 10 am
Partner Workout: First heat starts at 11:15 am
Individual Workout 2: First heat starts at 1 pm
Came across this quote a few days ago, and thought it might be appreciated. This comes from Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible, one of two Marines based out of Yuma, AZ, who were killed last week in Afghanistan.
Take out the specifics of ‘attack pilots’, and I think this is pretty solid advice for anyone. Just wanted to share.
From: Commanding Officer, Marine Attack Squadron 211
To: Squadron Attack Pilots
Subj: COMMANDER’S GUIDANCE FOR SQUADRON ATTACK PILOTS
1. Professional hunger. My goal is to identify those Officers who want to be professional attack pilots and dedicate the resources required to build them into the flight leaders and instructors that are required for the long-term health of our community. This is not a socialist organization. We will not all be equal in terms of quals and flight hours. Some will advance faster than others, and because this is not a union, your rate of advancement will have nothing to do with seniority. Your rate of advancement will instead be determined by your hunger, professionalism, work ethic, and performance. If flying jets and supporting Marines is your passion and your profession, you are in the right squadron. If these things are viewed simply as your job, please understand that I must invest for the future in others. Your time in a gun squadron might be limited, so it is up to you to make the most of the opportunities that are presented.
2. Professional focus. Our approach to aviation is based upon the absolute requirement to be ‘brilliant in the basics.’ Over the last few years Marine TACAIR has not punted the tactical nearly so often as the admin. Sound understanding of NATOPS, aircraft systems, and SOPs is therefore every bit as important as your understanding of the ANTTP and TOPGUN. With this in mind, ensure the admin portions of your plan are solid before you move onto objective area planning. Once you begin tactical planning, remember that keeping things ‘simple and easy to execute’ will usually be your surest path to success. If the plan is not safe, it is not tactically sound.
3. Attitude. I firmly believe in the phrase ‘hire for attitude, train for skill.’ Work ethic, willingness to accept constructive criticism, and a professional approach to planning, briefing, and debriefing will get you 90% of the way towards any qualification or certification you are pursuing. The other 10% is comprised of in-flight judgment and performance, and that will often come as a result of the first 90%. Seek to learn from your own mistakes and the mistakes of others. Just as a championship football team debriefs their game film, we are going to analyze our tapes and conduct thorough flight debriefs. It has often been said that the success of a sortie is directly proportional to the caliber of the plan and brief. The other side of this coin is that the amount of learning that takes place as a result of a sortie is directly proportional to the caliber of the debrief.
4. Moral courage. Speak up if something seems wrong or unsafe. We all know what the standards are supposed to be in Naval Aviation and in the Corps. Enforce them! When we fail to enforce the existing standards, we are actually setting and enforcing a new standard that is lower.
5. Dedication. If you average one hour per workday studying, 6 months from now you will be brilliant. That is all it takes; one hour per day. As you start to notice the difference between yourself and those who are unable to find 60 minutes, I want you to know that I will have already taken note. Then, I want you to ask yourself this question: ‘How good could I be if I really gave this my all?’
6. When all else fades away, attack pilots have one mission: provide offensive air support for Marines. The Harrier community needs professional attack pilots who can meet this calling. It does not require you to abandon your family. It does not require you to work 16 hours per day, six days per week. It requires only a few simple commitments to meet this calling: be efficient with your time at work so that you can study one hour per day; be fully prepared for your sorties and get the maximum learning possible out of every debrief; have thick skin and be willing to take constructive criticism; find one weekend per month to go on cross country. When you are given the opportunity to advance, for those few days go to the mat and give it your all, 100%, at the expense of every other thing in your life. To quote Roger Staubach, ‘there are no traffic jams on the extra mile.’ If you can be efficient during the workweek, give an Olympian effort for check rides and certifications, and are a team player, the sky will literally be the limit for you in this squadron.
C. K. RAIBLE ————————
CFSW Member’s Only Competition and BBQ
Saturday, October 6th.
We will have two individual workouts, and one partner workout. The first individual workout will start at 1000 am, the partner workout will begin at 1130 am, and the second individual workout will begin at 1 pm. Tailgating is encouraged! Bring along something to grill, or your favorite side dish or dessert.
Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:
Men’s Masters (35+)
Women’s Master’s (35+)
Registration Deadline is October 1st. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the gym. If emailing, please include your name and age, and the name of your partner (if you are competing in the Partner Competition). There will be a $10 per person entry fee, due on or before October 1st.
You may participate in either or both of the Competitions (Individual and Partner). Workouts will be announced during the week of Oct 1, and you can decide the day of the competition if you are competing in the Rx or Scaled division.
This competition is open to any current CFSW member, regardless of experience level. If you are a past member who would like to participate in the individual competition, please contact us for details. You may invite a non-CFSW to be your teammate for the partner competition, but please contact Ken in advance if this is the case.
Spectators and guests are, of course, welcome!
Please direct any questions to Ken.
I’ve moved away from posting the daily workouts on the blog, but in an effort to post a bit more regularly, we’ll be posting the occasional workout highlights.
We are finishing week 8 of our Olympic Weightlifting emphasis, and will be moving on into our next block of programming in another week or so. The extra work has been paying off, and everyone’s technique is really shaping up—and it’s noticeable. A few people are really putting things together I didn’t get it on video, but Jon’s snatches the other day were sweet!
We did this workout Wednesday, but it was sneaky hard, and I wanted to put it up. After our barbell work, we finished things up with:
dumbbell snatches x 8 each hand
200 m run
Men’s weights were 40# - 70#, women’s ranged from 25# - 35#. This was a great effort from everyone involved!
Still think it’s a good thing to take away PE and recess in schools?
This study concludes that less than 10 minutes of vigorous activity daily increased heart-protective mechanisms in children and teens. 7 minutes of intense physical activity per day resulted in significant reductions in body weight and blood pressure, and increases in fitness. These results were superior to lower intensity exercise of longer duration.
"That is a huge difference," said principal researcher Jonathan McGavock, an exercise physiologist at the Manitoba Institute of Child Health.
"If we look at physical activity as the magic bullet or drug that is going to have health benefits, such as reducing the risk of overweight or reducing the risk of high blood pressure, a higher intensity is like taking a higher dose of that drug," he said Monday from Winnipeg.
"It says that the more intense the exercise is, the less likely [youth] are to be overweight or to have high blood pressure, compared to (those doing) lower-intensity exercise."
Interested in trying out a CrossFit competition? Just want to come out, grill, and support your friends? Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 6th, for our first ever CFSW Competition!
Men and Women can compete in either Prescribed or Scaled Divisions, or grab a partner and compete in the Team workout. There may be trophies involved (just sayin’), but the only cash on the line will be whatever side bets are placed (and I don’t want to know about it). Workouts will be announced the night before.
This will also be a Potluck—we’ll fire up a grill or two, and everyone is welcome to bring a dish to share.
This event is intended for CFSW members only, but you may petition to bring a Guest for the partner workout. CFSW Alumni are also eligible to play, but please check with Ken first. Of course, anyone is welcome to spectate.
The Foundations classes are run at 6 pm Monday -Thursday, and Saturday mornings at 930 am. You may enroll at any time, and get started immediately. Each class will focus on one topic or movement, with an emphasis on technical instruction, and then typically finishes up with a workout that involves some of the same movements.
The Foundations class rotates through 12 different topics, and you transition into the regular group classes as soon as you feel comfortable with the different movements and exercises. You may stay in the Foundations classes as long as you would like, and anyone in the regular group workouts are welcome to attend the Foundations classes as well if they would like to brush up on any of their skills.
For more information, or to make an appointment, please contact us.
We’ve been focusing on Olympic Weightlifting during this block of programming, so I thought it would be good to repost this graphic, as well as a couple of inspirational videos. We’ve got about 4 more weeks of this block, where the emphasis is on learning the lifts, and then we’re going to be incorporating the lifts during the next round of programming as well. So, look, learn, love.
Here’s a slow motion video of a World Record holder (Liao Hui). It’s long, but worthwhile. Notice on the first pull how his knees move backward, while his back maintains the same angle relative to the floor. We’ve talked about it, but this is what it should really look like. Also, notice how high the bar doesn’t get.
Here’s some full-speed video of Hui, winning the Chinese National Weightlifting Games (‘09), with a 163 kg Snatch and 195 kg Clean & Jerk. (358 lbs and 429 lbs, respectively) Oh, did you catch that he’s in the 69 kg/151.8 lb weightclass?
Trying to do a better job of keeping everyone updated on CrossFit and related events and happenings around the valley and state. Here is a partial list:
Sat, Sept 1st
East Valley Open Weightlifting Meet
East Valley CrossFit (Chandler)
Sat, Sept 8th
Rich Wenner Powerlifting Clinic
Coach Wenner is Strength Coach at ASU
East Valley CrossFit
Sat, Oct 6th
CrossFit Purgatory (Tucson)
Sat, Oct 6th
Barbells for Boobs
East Valley CrossFit
Sat, Oct 13th
The Furious 5
CrossFit Fury (Goodyear)
Sat, Nov 10th
Lift It Love It
CrossFit 480 (Scottsdale)
Sat, Dec 15th
We’ll probably be sending a few folks to some of these events, but they’re also a good time if you just want to go watch and see what one of these competitions looks like. Please let me know if you have any questions or are interested in competing.
Busy week or so around here, but I wanted to post up our Fran times from last week. Several PRs, and many more people performing the workout as prescribed (or with less scaling) than last time. Great job everyone!
Also wanted to give you a sneak peek of our latest shirts. This is a very limited edition design! Don’t worry if you miss out on this one though—we’ve got another design coming in the next week or two.
We have some changes to the way that we’re going to be doing things.
As of Monday, August 6th, we will be adding a new ‘Foundations’ Class for beginners. This class will be geared toward preparing new members to join the regular group workouts, and will be replacing the Ramp Up program. You may enroll in the Foundations classes at any time. You will continue to attend Foundations classes until you have demonstrated competency on the basic skills necessary for the group classes.
At this time, Foundations classes will be held Monday -Thursday evenings at 6 pm, and Saturday mornings at 930 am. We will likely be adding another section earlier in the day, but have not finalized a time/day yet.
For further information, please check out the information here, or contact us for further details.
Is this the real life? Is this just Fantasy (Football)?
Why? Because it’s a great song. Get over it.
It’s that time of year again! Training Camps, preseason shows, and the Cardinals looking for an Offensive Line. Besides (2 time) Defending Champion Steve White, who else is in for Fantasy Football?? Reply here or let me know in the gym. Looks like we might have 2 different Leagues this year, but we’ll see about numbers.
As you might have noticed, we have started our new block of programming this week. The focus for this block is going to be the Olympic lifts, and we’ll bring back in some more conditioning, with lots of short, intense work (look for lots of kettlebells and complexes).
Wait…can you hear that?? Sounds like voices…I think some Girls are calling to us…Fran? Is that you??
As we are inching toward another Clean Living/Paleo event, here’s a timely article from PrimalToad.com. This is essentially a rebuttal, so be sure to take a glance at the article he is addressing as well.
Interesting look at two sides of the Paleo debate.
As I creep up there myself, I always like to find articles written by those who have stayed active and healthy into more advanced ages. ”The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban" is a collection of archived articles, from the ’30s and ’40s to the ’80s and beyond. It’s interesting how the advice and programs of yesterday are enjoying a new round of popularity today. Circle of life and all that, I suppose.
As noted, ”This article is aimed primarily at bodybuilders, but its main message can be intelligently applied by those whose goal is strength."
You’ve put in the hard work, now it’s time to start seeing it pay off! We’re beginning to retest some of our benchmarks this week. First up: The CrossFit Total. In case you’ve forgotten, here are the numbers from our last go-round.
Almost everyone has PRs across the board. Good work!
More news is out that sitting is, you know, “bad” for you.
The latest studies include this one, which found that sitting for 3 hours a day can trim about 2 years off of your life. Or this one, where it’s estimated that every hour of watching television (after age 25) shortens your life by about 22 minutes.
Do we really need science to tell us this? C’mon folks, it’s not that hard—get off your duff and DO something once in a while!
(You knew it was coming—click here for the infographic!)
The Ramp Up class that is beginning this evening has reached capacity. If you are interested in attending, but have not already reserved a spot, please contact us immediately. We may be able to add a coach and take everyone, but please let us know ASAP so we can plan ahead.
If you have already pre-registered, please let me know ASAP if you change your mind and won’t be attending.
As we celebrate our Nation’s birth, I am eternally grateful that I live in a country which allows it’s citizens the freedoms that we enjoy. And having been involved in CrossFit for as long as I have has given me the opportunity to meet many men and women in the Armed Forces. Through the past 7+ years, we’ve had members and guests representing every branch of Service—Grunt, Infantry, and Airman up to Ranger, Force Recon, and SEAL. I hope we’ve helped in some small way to help them do their jobs and stay safe, and to thank those whose service is behind them.
So on this day when we think about Fireworks and Barbecue, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of the CFSW Friends, Alumni, and Members who have served, or are currently serving in the Military. This list is incredibly incomplete, but Thank You to Ben, Dan, Trish, Eric, Andrew, Bart, Bill, Nate, John, John, Robert, Reuben, Patrick, Josh, and Jason.
Just for kicks, a few of us went into the Wayback Machine, and found ourselves a little MetCon from July 4th 2007. It’s done as a group:
We will have Open Gym from 9 am - 11 am on Wednesday, July 4th. All other classes are cancelled for the day. Please keep in mind that we will be closing around 11 am—plan your arrival time accordingly.
There will be no other changes to the schedule this week.
Some people will tell you to look straight ahead as you squat. Some will tell you to look at a point five or ten feet in front of you on the ground. I’ll tell you where you should be looking when you squat: into your soul. Into the depths of the fire inside, where pain and promise are one. Look into the place where hardcoreness resides.
It’s a quick and humorous read, with minor NSFW language. I haven’t had a chance to read too many of the posts, but it looks like it might be worth a look.
-I hadn’t seen this blog until tipped off by CFSW Alum Soren “I row really fast” Peterson. Thanks Soren!