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!
"I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature." ~John D. Rockefeller
Just a quick post to catch up on a few things that have been rattling around in my brain:
As the 5x5 programming has progressed, you will have noticed that the last set(s) is getting hard. We’re pushing into PR territory every day, and people are digging deep and moving some big weights (which is awesome to see). You’ll also notice that our off days are becoming more and more ‘off’—we’re focusing on mobility and recovery, lots of skill work, and a little bit of conditioning. To steal from Dan John, “remember that the goal is to keep the goal the goal”. We’re trying to maximize strength, and that is where the bulk of your efforts should be directed.
The intent with this programming is to essentially create a wider base upon which to build more specific performance. Becoming stronger enables you to practice more complex skills longer and harder, leading to improved performance. You would be hard pressed to find a measure of physical performance that will not be improved by becoming stronger, up to a given point. It’s true that eventually you will reach a point of ‘strong enough’, where additional strength will not increase performance for a particular activity—but I don’t think many of us are at that point.
A few people are already starting to realize the benefits of all this hard work. Just off the top of my head, we’ve had a few people in the last week or two that mastered new skills: John M. is hitting muscle ups now, and Chip held a 10 second static handstand. It will be fun to see how things look when we transition back to more conventional CFSW programming in a few weeks.
One girl who’s putting her strength to good use is Firewoman Extraordinaire Sara. Along with her brother, she took 2nd place in the Toughest Competitor Alive competiton last weekend at the US Police and Fire Games Championships. PRs across the board including 11 strict pullups and a sub-26 min 5 k! Nice job Sara!
And finally, huge congratulations are in order for CFSW’s long-time dentist in residence, Dr. CJ Metz. Some of you might know CJ more for his hair (or the time he snatched a barbell into his forehead), but he’s also been busy growing a successful practice in Mesa, and making some big changes in his personal and professional life. If you haven’t seen CJ for a while, you’ll be in for a shock the next time you see him. He looks great (and well-groomed), and has created changes in his life that almost defy belief.
I’ve known CJ now for more than 5 years, and I couldn’t be more impressed with the perseverance and dedication that he’s put into his personal transformation. But, you can judge for yourself:
CFSW house videographers Rob and Nate put together this video, which was submitted for a national contest. The Grand Prize was a Lamborghini—currently on it’s way to Mesa, AZ. Hopefully CJ will swing it by the gym sometime.
As many of you are beginning to notice, this 5x5 programming starts to get significantly more challenging along about week 4 or 5. Because of this, our alternate day programming is beginning to emphasize mobility and recovery to a larger degree. Many people are choosing to completely skip the gym on their off days.
I applaud the idea of listening to your body, and taking recovery as needed. Allow me, however, to put forth an idea. Anyone can do this, but especially for those of you who would normally be in the gym—take that workout time, and use it for food preparation. Plan some meals, go shopping, pre-chop, pre-cook, whatever. But take that time you’ve already allocated for CrossFit, and put it to use doing something that will benefit your workouts (and overall health).
Resistance training improves cardiovascular fitness
via Conditioning Research
Even more proof of the importance of being strong: researchers in the UK have published a review of the available literature concerning the effects of resistance training on markers of cardiovascular fitness. Please feel free to read the entire paper here, but allow me to hit the highlights.
Research demonstrates resistance training produces significant improvement in cardiovascular fitness (VO2 max, economy of movement). This paper attempts to outline the underlying physiological mechanisms for this improvement. Of particular interest is the effects of intensity on these physiological mechanisms.
Acute (short term) metabolic and molecular responses to resistance training to momentary muscular failure “do not differ from traditional endurance training.” Myocardial and vascular function are maintained.
Chronic responses to resistance training include several things which are associated with improved cardiovascular fitness: an increase in mitochondrial enzymes and mitochondrial proliferation (you grow more of your cells’ “powerhouses”, and they function better); a conversion of muscle fibers to a more “fast-twitch” IIb fiber type, and increases in capillary density.
So basically, performing resistance training at high intensity produces many of the same physiological changes that are traditionally associated with cardiovascular training. Pretty cool stuff.
Possible schedule change for Ramp Up class beginning tomorrow (Tuesday, 6/5)
This is just a reminder that our next Ramp Up group introductory class is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, June 5, at 6 pm. Please see here for more details.
Also, there have been a few people that were having trouble with the Tuesday/Thursday format. Would Monday/Wednesday be better? Please reply to comments or contact us with feedback.
We will still meet Tuesday at 6 pm! Any changes to the scheduled time/days will take place after the first meeting.
We're making you better looking AND smarter (and stop looking at food porn!)
A couple of quick articles that shouldn’t come as much of a shock to anyone:
Exercise makes your brain healthier, too. You’re not only tightening your tush, you are also improving the health of your brain tissue. Exercise causes nerve cells to multiply, protects them from damage, and essentially prevents (and even reverses) brain decay.
Another take home: sugar suppresses the activity of BDNF, a hormone that, among other things, causes new neurons to be created and protects your neuromuscular system from degrading. So, a low sugar diet combined with exercise will keep both your body and mind healthier and younger.
And you thought CrossFit was just about the Abz. Looking at pictures of food makes you hungry. More specifically, those food photos stimulate the production of Ghrelin, a hunger-stimulating hormone. When Ghrelin is administered to rats, both food intake and body weight increase. Now take a minute to think—is it even possible to get away from images of food nowadays? Maybe there are some implications to be drawn re: the obesity epidemic. At the very least, anyone trying to curb their food intake should be careful what they spend their time looking at.
I just wanted to post this story, because it’s awesome. This is the type of thing that keeps me going some days.
Many of you have met my client Bette. She comes in driving the big Lincoln on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 0930. I’ve been working with Bette for about 9 years now, and she’s followed me from 24 Hour Fitness, to a private training studio, through the various incarnations of CFSW. The main reason that we started training initially is that her doctor wanted her to get a hip replacement, and she wanted to try to avoid it, or at least put it off as long as possible. She finally went ahead with the surgery last year, about 7 years after the doctor said she would need it, and she was back in the gym about 4 weeks later.
We have done all sorts of different types of training over the years—at one point she could deadlift about 130% of bodyweight, she’s got a pretty solid kettlebell swing, we even played around with getting her to do an unassisted pullup by her 70th birthday (really close, but never quite got there). In any case, she embodies the whole notion of scaling the exercise to what’s appropriate for the individual.
In any case, over the weekend Bette asked her husband to hang a shower curtain for her. He didn’t get to it until later at night, and she dozed off on the couch waiting for him to finish. So, she wakes up around 11 pm, and realizes that he is still in the bathroom. It turns out that he had been standing on the edge of the tub to hang the shower curtain, lost his balance, and fallen into the tub. Fractured and dislocated shoulder, and a pretty good knock to the head. He was a little disoriented and wasn’t able to move without pain, and hadn’t been able to get himself out of the tub.
Keep in mind, this is a 110 lb woman, with a total hip replacement last April, who will turn 75 years old next Tuesday. Does she call 911 and wait for EMS to show up? Nope. She “got down in a good deadlift position”, hooked under his good arm, and lifted her husband to his feet and out of the tub. They then took a cab to the hospital (where he stayed for a few days).
How freaking awesome is that??
No muss, no fuss. Let me just pick you up out there.
That, folks, is why we train. Gym performance is nice and all, but I want to be able to pick up a loved one in an emergency. (Or lift a car off someone-that would be pretty sweet.) Be strong. Be functional. Be able to do stuff. That’s what’s important.
Oh, and she also went back and hung the shower curtain herself.
You’ve probably all seen them. You may have even commented on them. Perhaps you even are one: The Shaker Bottle Guy.
You know, that guy who finishes his exhausting workout of curls and close-grip-pinkies-out-Czechoslovakian-decline-press, and immediately starts downing a protein shake. I mean, he’s basically Cartman, right?
Well, not so fast. Shaker Guy might be on to something. I came across this study recently, and what with our new Strength cycle, it seemed to be an appropriate time to post.
I just wanted to take a moment to say Thank You to everyone who’s been coming in and doing work this week! It was incredible to look around the room tonight at 6 and see nothing but barbells and big weights! You guys are starting this off right!
Everyone should have their 5 x5 spreadsheet filled out by now, and your workout destiny should be mapped out for the next several weeks. Now make it happen.
So, there have already been a few questions thrown out vis-a-vis the 5x5 program that we’ll be following. I’ll attempt to answer them briefly here, but please feel free to email or ask me in person for greater explanation.
We will be completing a common warm up every day, and there may or may not be a ‘finisher’ at the end of the workout.
1. If you have your 1 Rm/estimated max for the Squat, Bench, Row, Deadlift, and Press, you can go to this link and input it into the spreadsheet to create your next few weeks worth of workouts. If you do not have all of the lifts recorded, you may wish to enter what you have for the first workout, but hold off on printing until you have the rest of the sheet filled out.
2. If you do NOT have all of the estimated max numbers for those lifts, we will use the first workout(s) for you to establish them. Afterwards, refer to #1 above.
3. Again, there will be an alternate workout provided on most days for those of you who are not scheduled to or choose not to do strength.
4. The goal is to complete 3 strength days per week (for convenience, referred to as days 1, 2, and 3). You may complete them on any day. Day 1 consists of Squat, Bench Press, and Row. Day 2 is a light Squat, Press, and Deadlift. Day 3 is a heavier day for Squat, Bench, and Row. Ideally, try to take at least 1 recovery day between each strength workout. If this does not work for your schedule, talk to me about how to arrange things.
Please let me know if you have any other questions (and I’m sure there will be).
There. I said it. Strength is King. (This should come as a huge shock to just about anyone who’s ever heard me speak about training…or not.) I’m not even going to bring in all of the studies and science—generally, if you get stronger, good things happen.
That being said, we are going to make our annual foray into summer strength training. It’s too hot to be running around all the time!
So, here’s the basic plan:
We’re going to take all of those numbers we just established (max squat, deadlift, bench, press, row) and we’re going to plug them into a modified Bill Starr 5x5 program. [If you are already familiar with this program, you can skip to the end and prep your spreadsheet.] We’ve played around with some different programs in the past (5,3,1, etc.), but I think this is a very solid, versatile program. You’ll notice (if you check out the link) that this is what’s known as a ‘Linear Progression’ program—which means that every week you’ll be performing the same lifts with more weight. Your goal is to keep increasing the weight incrementally, week in and week out, for as long as possible. We’ll be shooting for about 8 weeks worth.
Because everyone has a different schedule, we’re going to have to do some modifications to the way we run classes. Basically, every person will have 3 days per week of the strength work already lined up. So, on those days, you’ll warm up with the group and then hit your strength work. There may or may not be a short ‘finisher’ for that day. For everyone that is not doing the strength program that day, we’ll have another workout prepared. This ‘off day’ workout will have a heavy emphasis on mobility/recovery, corrective strength training (e.g., unilateral work, core work), and conditioning.
I strongly encourage everyone to commit to at least these 3 days of strength work for a few months. If you aren’t able to make it in to CFSW for one of the days, you will have your exercises and weights to be able to do it at the SRC, while travelling, etc. In theory, if you chose to not be strong, you could show up and only do the ‘off day’ workouts. But who wouldn’t want to be more of a badass??
Here is a link to a spreadsheet which will allow you to calculate the workouts for the next several weeks. Notice that you can not only enter your 1 rep max (if you happen to know it), but also use a multiple-rep max to estimate. So everyone should be able to generate at least a pretty fair idea of their numbers.
Take a look at the program, enter your numbers on the spreadsheet, and then save it! Print it. Email yourself a copy. Save it on your phone. Leave it here. But have a way to access that sheet during your workouts.
We’ll be starting this next week (5/14), so come prepared!
In all their glory, here are the max numbers for the bench press.
REMINDER: You will need to have at least a ballpark idea of your (1-5 rep) max for the following lifts: Back Squat, Press, Deadlift, and Bench Press.
If you need to make up a workout from this week to get said numbers, we will be doing a ‘Cinco de Make Up’ day tomorrow (Saturday) during normal class times. Come in, do the CF Total, Filthy 50, Bench Press/Lynne, or just pick and choose the lifts you need. If you’ve been here and don’t need to make up anything, there will be a normal Saturday workout provided as well. \
Just digging through the CFSW archives a bit, came across this CrossFit Total entry from ‘07. (Apparently May is CF Total month.) Notice that it took me 5 years to add a monstrous 11 pounds to my press. And note Matt D’s 275 deadlift! I keep telling you guys, there’s hope! And, upon consultation, we decided that Matt’s squat was actually 265, not 365. Big difference…
Some of you have met Andrew (he sent us the Ranger banner in the front room), most of you know Will and Matt. Kind of fun to look at what we were doing back in the day.
Posted on Monday, May 14th, 2007 at 12:00 am.
warmed up with some PVC movements: Dislocates, OHS, FS, BS, Sotts, rows, DL, etc.
CrossFit Total tonight. 1 RM of Deadlift, Strict Press, and Squat. Warm up as necessary/desired, and then 3 attempts to hit a max.
PRs were falling all over the place tonight! I think everyone hit at least 1 PR, a couple people hit 3, and everyone ended up with a PR for the Total. Strong work all around. Although, Andrew was a little disappointed that he didn’t add more carefully.
(Results listed as Deadlift, Press, Squat, Total)
Andrew 356, 131, 312, 799 total. Bummer. 1 pound…
Will 290, 145, 235, 670 total.
Matt 356, 150, 275, 781 total.
Patrick 336, 181, 332, 849 total.
ken 376, 181, 344, 901 total.
Coral* 95, 50, 55, 200 total. *first time in, kept weights down.
Yep, several people were asking for it, so we did a quick Filthy 50. Some good scores there! But…I did note that we’ve been remiss in teaching/enforcing the double unders. You really can’t call it a Filthy 50 unless you complete that unholy trifecta of Wall Ball/Burpee/Double Unders to finish.
So guess what we’re going to be working on for a month or two…
"You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with" -E. James Rohn
You may not have considered it in the same terms, but it’s hardly surprising that you are influenced by the people around you. Now, data from The Eatery is confirming that this applies to your eating habits as well.
The Eatery is a self-described “Massive Health Experiment”, where users can download an app which allows them to take pictures of their food and submit it to a personal timeline. The Eatery then provides personalized breakdowns of the individual’s eating habits—things that went well, areas to improve, and how your eating compares to similar people. (Actually a very cool idea—I’ll be trying it out. ~Ken)
Using data from hundreds of thousands of users, they determined that what you eat is influenced by those around you to a remarkable extent. Individuals with an obese spouse are 37% more likely to be obese. Obese sibling? 40% more likely that you are also obese. But that’s not the most powerful influence—it’s your friends. If your friends are obese, you’re 57% more likely to be obese.
There’s a nice infographic breakdown here (you know I love infographics), but the take home message is truly to ‘choose your friends wisely’. Notice how they compare healthy eating to an infectious agent—if you can nudge it into a population, it starts to spread and grow. Before you know it, you could have an outbreak. Any other CF old-timers remember when Paleo was the ‘New Thing’. Think there’s a CF gym on earth now that doesn’t have Paleo adherents?
I really like the idea of eating habits being contagious, and I think this ties in really well with what we’re trying to accomplish here at CFSW. If your friends are exercising and eating well, you’re more likely to do the same. Surround yourself with the people that you want to be. You can’t choose your family, but you aren’t doomed to follow them down a path of illness and disease. Choose to spend time with positive, healthy people, and you will become more positive and healthy.
Better still, you can become the positive and healthy influence on your loved ones. Lead by example, make the extra effort, and you’ll be rewarded with an outbreak of healthy eating.
As some of you know, the last few months have been a little bit crazy around the Urakawa household, and that has definitely bled over into CFSW business. While I am getting pretty good at not sleeping, I’m thinking that it’s going to be a better long-term strategy to organize my time a little better, and take advantage of the resources available to me.
One of the things I’d like to focus on again is the blog/website. I have some ideas for new posts/articles, but I’d also like to have new material posted more regularly than I care to churn it out. So, if anyone is interested in writing articles, posting current events/updates, etc., or if you have ideas of your own about what you’d like to see on the blog, please contact me. As they say, the pay may be low, but at least the working conditions aren’t good.
We were also thinking about making a few changes/additions to the schedule over the next few months. There have been suggestions about adding in a mobility class, as well as bringing back a strength class. Any other suggestions? Now’s your chance, call, email, or comment below. We’ll probably roll out any changes or additions later on in the summer.
We need to have another CFSW get together. We could grill at the gym one last time before it gets stupidly hot(ter) outside—Paleo-ish potluck, grilled meat, feats of strength? Or we could meet out at a real establishment for happy hour (4 Peaks is always a good call). Any suggestions? Let me know, we’ll get it set up. (Unless someone wants to open up their house and/or pool to the CFSW crew.) I’d have you guys out to our house again, but I’m not sure anyone wants to drive out to North Tucson.
I think I need to hire a ghost writer, so something gets put up on this blog more regularly! (Anyone willing to write in exchange for a hearty handshake and a slap on the back, let me know.) On that note, people do frequently send me things—articles, videos, blogs—that they think might be of interest. Sometimes I even remember to post them.
So, in no particular order, here are some cool links that I’ve been meaning to put out as stand-alone posts, but haven’t gotten around to yet.
Is sugar toxic? (from 60 Minutes, no less!) Gosh, it’s almost like people aren’t meant to eat crap… (via John M.)
On that note, do you know how much sugar is in the ‘food’ you eat? Here’s a handy video from consumer reports that gives some tips for finding . (via Nick M.)
This is a great article from Dave Tate at EliteFTS. This is something that get’s remarked upon frequently here at the gym—the people with whom you spend time are going to influence you, for good or ill. Choose to surround yourself with positive, motivated people, and you will reap the rewards in your own attitude.
Thank you to everyone in the CFSW for providing me with positive influences.
I like Robb. We share the same birthday, interacted frequently back in the early days of cf, and have a similar sense of humor. I have my opinions about where he’s going with things, but overall he fights the good fight and has changed a lot of people’s lives. I really like this post.
There’s a lot cooking around here lately—new folks coming in, current folks getting older. Just a lot of stuff. So, in no particular order, some things that I’ve been meaning to get to and haven’t yet:
Still have a few spots available for the next Ramp Up class. It’s starting Tuesday, so you better hurry.
Also wanted to throw out some birthday wishes to Jim and Ben, who both celebrated this week. And I was thinking—anyone interested in a monthly birthday celebration night out/day out kind of thing? Get everyone who’s interested together to celebrate that month’s birthday girls and boys? Let me know.
And on that note, if you don’t go to the Facebook page (and you should), you might have missed this: April 7th (saturday), you’re all invited over to the new house for a BBQ/CFSW get together. Planning to start around 1 pm. Let me know if you’re interested.
Finally, I came across this blog post doing some internet browsing today. It’s a call to arms, and definitely one I can get behind. Some salty language, but you’re all adults (mostly).
UPDATED---Next Ramp Up Class begins April 3rd. Only 2 spots left!
For anyone interested in getting started at CFSW: our next Ramp Up introductory class will begin on Tuesday April 3rd. We will be meeting on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6 pm, and Saturday mornings at 0930 am, for 4 weeks.
Just heard some sad news. Some of you might have met Kaye Whitney, founder of CrossFit Upcountry Maui, when she came in to the gym for a few days about a year ago. We exchanged emails here and there, and were hoping to get together the next time she came to visit family or I made it out to Hawaii.
The early crew this morning decided we needed a Crossfit Southwest March Madness pool so, I created one on ESPN. Group name is CrossFit Southwest and password is crossfit. Brackets need to be in by the first game in the morning - 9am I believe. (I know short notice but I couldn’t remember my blog password earlier). $10 per bracket and up to 3 brackets allowed. Money needs to be in by Monday. Let me know if you have any questions…
"The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.
It Is Not Working!
These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.
The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences. ”
You may have noticed that we’ve been having some Server issues for the past few days. Happy to report that we have (hopefully) taken care of all that and will be moving forward with business as usual. Many thanks to our talented web developer Spencer, who came out of CFSW retirement to get us back up and on track.
Please let me know if you are experiencing any irregularities or issues with the site, and we’ll address them as soon as possible.
This post has been a long time coming. It’s not easy to write. I’m not sure anyone wants to read it. But here you go—I’m going to tell you a story.
A few years back, I received an email inquiry. I WISH that I still had a copy of it, but unfortunately it’s been lost in the sands of time (and email upgrades). To paraphrase, though, it went something like this:
"Hey! This is Ben, I’m in North Dakota right now but I’m moving to Phoenix. It’s all cold here and sh*t, so I can’t wait to get out to the heat. I’m a Marine, and lost my leg in Iraq, but I just started doing CrossFit and want to keep up with it when I move. So I wanted to say what’s up, and come in when I get out there. Later!"
The original was much better, but that was the general flavor. So, I sent back a “We’d be happy to have you come by, let me know when you get out here and we’ll get you set up” kind of reply and pretty much forgot about it.
[So this is where I take a personal detour. I don’t typically offer up too much of my personal life—to anyone, in any situation, let alone on this blog. I hope you’ll indulge me.] At that point in time, I was pretty much in the worst shape of my life. After a lifetime of athletics, constantly striving to get to the next competitive level, trying to outwork and outwill my opponents—I had retired from competition (I thought). I was still coming to terms with that a few years later, not having something to work towards. Lots of stress, general business ineptitude in a bad economy, family conflict, lack of goals, etc. were all coming together to create a mindset where I ate like crap, drank too much, and randomly wandered through my (irregular) workouts. Not a pretty picture.
So a few weeks after the email, this skinny kid with a prosthetic comes walking up to our door. I’d mostly forgotten about his email, but it was pretty obvious that this was Ben.
That was the beginning.
When we started talking, it came out that Ben had only been CrossFitting for a few months before moving down. Initially, I was a little worried about how he would hold up to the workouts, and what we’d have to scale or modify—basically if he could actually do this stuff, or whether we’d be attempting to build him from the ground up.
I shouldn’t have worried.
Ben tore into everything with (sometimes reckless) abandon. There wasn’t a workout he wouldn’t tackle head on, not a movement that he wouldn’t attempt. Sometimes we’d have to put our heads together and play around with his positioning a little bit, but generally we just treated him like everyone else and watched him work. Out of respect (or uncertainty with how he would react?), I never really asked Ben about the circumstances of his injury. If it impacted an exercise or movement, we’d deal with the physical aspect, but otherwise we didn’t talk about it.
And Ben just kept attacking the workouts.
The atmosphere around the gym started to change a little bit. It was a little harder to quit during a workout. It became difficult to not workout because you were “tired” or “sore”. Everyone was a little more positive, more motivated—including me. At first, it was just that I felt like such a wuss letting this guy outwork me. After a while, I just wanted to kind of be a part of it, ride the wave of his enthusiasm. I think it made everyone work harder.
A couple of months later, the CrossFit Games qualifying started. This was only 2 years ago, but the Games were not the behemoth that they have become. So the process was basically Sectionals, then Regionals, then the Finals. We were sending a group to San Diego to compete in Sectionals, and Ben announced that he was going to do it. Keep in mind, this is with maybe 6 months of CrossFit, coming off of extensive rehabilitation. I was a little concerned, mostly because of Ben’s relative inexperience—there were things we hadn’t worked on enough, things he hadn’t mastered yet. But, as always, Ben was committed 100% and he was going to compete.
I won’t rehash everything that went down, but a couple of facts tell a lot of the story: Ben finished 80th out of 103 competitors. More importantly, he finished every workout, when several of the competitors did not. This included learning how to do double-unders during one of the workouts.
It’s hard to explain what that performance meant, and continues to mean. Ben did an amazing video interview*, which literally brings tears to my eyes every time I see it (and sometimes just trying to describe it). The CrossFit community at large got to meet and be inspired by this guy who had been driving us. And those of us here got to know Ben on a deeper level, and understand his motivation a little better, and be motivated to try a little harder as well.
[*On the CrossFit Journal site—this short preview is free, but you’ll need to be a subscriber to see the whole thing. It’s absolutely worth watching—I’ll be happy to play it for you if you’re interested.]
I learned for the first time about the IED that had caused his injuries. About his friends who had been killed, and the choices that Ben had made to be able to move forward. And how amazing it was that this guy had come through all that he had with the attitude and the will and the drive that he has.
That was 2 years ago.
Since that time, Ben has moved to Boston (and back), travelled to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with the Wounded Warrior Project, been to the ESPYs, completed the Tough Mudder, earned a few different training certifications, and come on board as a regular staff member of CFSW. He still inspires me to try harder, and push further, and to keep going when I really don’t want to. I absolutely credit him with reigniting my own training, and I am thankful for that inspiration.
I’ve never told Ben any of this, or brought it up publicly. Partially this is just an overdue ‘Thank You’—I’ve been meaning to put something like this together for a long time.
Why now? Yesterday was the 6th Anniversary of Ben’s injury, the death of Marine Lance Cpl Adam Vanalstine, and the injuries that would prove to be fatal for Marine Cpl Adam Zanutto.
It’s easy to get caught up in the grind and to let everyday stresses get you down. It’s even easier to talk yourself into skipping that workout, or eating that oreo (or a sleeve of oreos), or just half-assing your way through life. The key is to find what motivates you, and hold onto that. It might be your family, or the shirt you just bought, or the girl of your dreams—or it might be a skinny white kid who kicks life in the ass with a prosthetic leg.
Thanks Ben. Happy Anniversary.
So, you may have noticed that the blog’s been pretty quiet for the last week or so. This isn’t because there’s nothing going on—in fact, quite the opposite!
On top of preparing for a (family) move next, the Urakawa household has been dealing with flu-like symptoms, field trips, and assorted activities. And things at the gym have been, if possible, even busier!
So, a quick rundown of CFSW-related news, to bring you up to speed:
-We bid farewell to Justin this week, who is leaving to teach in South Korea. Best of luck as you embark of this new adventure! And remember: they have Facebook in South Korea, too—keep us updated!
-The 2012 edition of the CrossFit Games Open qualification process is upon us. We have a couple of people that are competing this year, and their first workout was this week: 7 min of burpees! The requirements were to touch your chest on the ground at the bottom of the rep, and touch an object at least 6” above your standing reach on the jump. Tyler E. put up 95 reps, while Reuben just, well, was Reuben, and scored 110 reps. Great job to both of you guys!
(As an aside, don’t be surprised if all of the classes do some version of the Open workout each week…)
-Last night (Saturday 2/25), a group of us went down to watch CFSW athlete Jesse Barrett fight for the 170# title in the Coalition of Combat mixed martial arts event. The evening was a good time all the way around, and Jesse dominated his opponent to take the belt, winning via rear naked choke in the 2nd round. Congratulations Jesse! (And thanks for the shout out—which was my first)
-This week, we finished up our 6 week Strength cycle, and I know there were several PRs on different lifts. Congratulations to everyone! This next week is going to be a little bit of a recovery/transition week (so not a lot of real heavy lifting)—expect mobility, technical work, and conditioning, not necessarily in that order.
And that should about get you caught up on the news! Hoping to get back to more normal programming after the big move, but I can’t make any promises. And remember to check us out on Facebook also (facebook.com/crossfitsouthwest) —some things get posted there first.
For those interested in either learning about or getting way too in-depth with the Paleo idea, this looks like a pretty amazing opportunity. It’s called the Paleo Summit: 8 days of free online lectures and presentations (23 of them!), from a variety of researchers and paleo celebs. And if free. Starts Feb 26, runs through March 4. You can see the lineup and schedule at the link above, but trust me—it looks like good stuff.
It’s not all just ‘Rah Rah Paleo Diet’ talks, either. There appear to be a few dissenting voices, as well as some information about health and performance. I’ve signed up and I’m going to catch what I can of it, but wanted to let you guys know if you’re interested.