Bladium CrossFit is a fitness training program with workouts consisting of constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity.
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The Crossfit Games are upon us!!!
We will be starting competition prep training this Saturday @ 7am(Jan 11).
We will also be doing Wednesday at 6:30pm (Starts Jan 15th)
IMPORTANT: If you plan on competing, please join our Bladium Crossfit Competitors page.
10 Good Mornings w/Plate
10 Mountain Climbers
2 Wall walks
In Groups of 3-4
Med Ball hot potato
Power Cleans 135/95
30 Double Unders after each round of Thrusters.
A Numbers Game
3 x Split Jerks at 165lbs
I love numbers, weights and stats, because it give me a means of tracking my progress and seeing whether or not I’ve improved.
e.g. I used to be able to squat “x” but now I squat “y”, and I can do “x” for a warm-up set.
A couple of weeks ago I discovered an App, “BarSense”, that lets me take this to whole different level and track things like
- bar path & deviation from the “ideal”
- max bar speed
and omfg I think its the coolest thing ever because it lets me compare “good” and “missed lifts” to see what went wrong.
I think this is part of the reason why I enjoy CrossFit and Oly lifting so much (it being measurable…not the Barsense app…though that’s cool, too): because it is so based around numbers, quantifiable results, and the ability to track progress.
The other day I was asked to fill out a bunch of my stats (height, weight, max lifts, benchmark times), and this made me realize a couple of things:
- I wish I’d done a better job at logging when I first started… I am seriously kicking myself for this.
- I think I’m shrinking… I swear I was almost 5’4″ when I started but when I was measured last I’m down to 5’3″.
- I still “fail” or “miss” as much as when I first started, BUT I’m attempting weights and movements that I never even considered possible.
So… how do you define progress?
It’s easy to think about progress in terms of PRs, winning competitions and other successes; however, it’s just as important to look at the “missed lifts,” “failed attempts,” and “fuck-ups” because those can be just as telling. I want you to think back to when you first started CrossFit (or lifting) and see if you can remember the type of numbers you were putting up… but I don’t want you to focus solely on your PR lifting numbers; I want you to look at the other less exciting weights as well.
This includes warm-up weights, “light” working sets, “heavy” or “challenging” working sets, and the “target weights” you couldn’t yet lift but were aiming for.
Compare these to where you’re at now, and chances are there’s a pretty big difference.
“It doesn’t get easier; you just get better.”
Failed attempt at a 140 Snatch
The first time I tried a snatch with a “real bar” (i.e. not a dowel or PVC pipe), I fell over backwards and landed on my ass. That was a little less than 3 years ago, and I’m pleased to report that it has been some time since an empty barbell has gotten the best of me. However, if I tried to tell you I’m now at the point where I no longer fail lifts, that would be a downright lie. I probably miss lifts as much (if not more) than I did when I started — that hasn’t changed. What has changed, though, is the weight at which I start missing lifts and to me that’s as much a sign of progress as hitting PRs.
We can’t hit PRs every day, and sometimes can we go weeks — even months — without seeing an increase, but that doesn’t mean we’re not improving. It just means we have to look at different things/numbers to gauge our progress, such as:
- improvements in technique at submaximal weights
- speed under the bar
- bar path
- bar speed
- consistency (i.e. missed vs successful lifts, particularly at our “higher percentages”)
To be honest, I think these metrics give a more accurate representation of our progress because they create an overall picture. There are days when I’m “on” — when the bar feels light and I’m hitting lifts near, at, or over my previous PRs with relative ease; but there are also days when I feel like I’m dropping “light” lifts left right and centre. It’s on days these that it’s good to take a step back and realize that a year ago I was nowhere close to lifting or even attempting the weights I’m trying for now, and that is progress.
5 Mile Bike
7 Rounds of Kinda Cindy (Modified)
15 Air Squats
4 Mile Bike
*30 Clean and jerks for time 95/65
3 Mile Bike
*30 Snatches for time 95/65
*Coaches Note- Below is a small workout designed for targeting the core, this could be a short workout for some of you and you may choose (Or Chose not) to do this workout after your 14.2 attempt.
20 Russian Twists w/Slamball 30/40
20 Flutter Kicks
1 min plank
1000m Row (500 Slow/500 Fast)
20 PVC Pass Throughs
5 Wall Squats
10 Ball Slams
3 Minutes Kipping/Pull-Up skill work on the Pull Up Rig
Every 3 minutes for as long as possible complete:
2 rounds of:
10 overhead squats
10 chest-to-bar pull-ups
2 rounds of:
12 overhead squats
12 chest-to-bar pull-ups
2 rounds of:
14 overhead squats
14 chest-to-bar pull-ups
Etc., following same pattern until you fail to complete both rounds
MEN - includes Masters Men up to 54 years old
95-lb. overhead squats
WOMEN - includes Masters Women up to 54 years old
65-lb. overhead squats
MASTERS MEN - includes Masters Men 55+
65-lb. overhead squats
MASTERS WOMEN - includes Masters Women 55+
45-lb. overhead squats
Jumping chest-to-bar pull-ups
Each 3-minute section begins from the standing position with the barbell on the floor and the Athlete standing tall. Using a ball, box or other object to check for proper depth is not allowed. Every rep counts in this workout. You will enter your score as the total number of reps. See the Scorecard for assistance in calculating the rep total.
This workout begins as a standard three-minute couplet of two rounds of 10 overhead squats and 10 chest-to-bar pull-ups. If you complete all 40 reps (two complete rounds) before the time cap you will rest until the three minutes is up before beginning the next segment. In the second segment, minute 3 to minute 6, you will attempt two rounds of 12 overhead squats and 12 chest-to-bar pull-ups. If you complete all 48 reps (two complete rounds) before the time cap you will rest until the six minutes is up before beginning the next segment. In the third segment, minute 6 to minute 9, you will attempt two rounds of 14 overhead squats and 14 chest-to-bar pull-ups. If you complete all 56 reps (two complete rounds) before the time cap you will rest until the nine minutes is up before beginning the next segment. You will continue in this pattern for as long as possible. Sixteen reps of each during minutes 9 to 12, 18 reps of each during minutes 12 to 15, etc.
Your workout is over whenever you do not complete two full rounds of the couplet within the time cap and your score will be the total number of reps you complete.
For example, if you complete the first two rounds of 10s (40 reps) in 2:30, you will rest until 3:00 before beginning the rounds of 12s. If you then complete one full round of 12s plus an additional 10 overhead squats (34 reps) by minute 6, your workout is over. Your score will be 74 (40 reps from the first segment plus 34 reps from the second segment).
10 Burpee box Jumps
20 Air Squats
20 Push ups
5 Bupee Pull ups
10 Hanging Knee raises
Max Push Press (95,65)
20 Russian Twists
20 Mountain Climbers
5 Clean and Jerks (95,65)
20 Sit ups
1 mile run for time:
100m Row x 6 (rest :30 seconds)
10 Side Lunges
20 Mountain Climbers
10 Jumping Squat w/Slam Ball
4×5 Front Squat
* Explode up, 4 Seconds down
*5 mins rest between rounds
Adrenaline Is the Early Bird’s Best Friend
Squat Clean Ladder
*Do 1 Rep on the minute, add 5-10lbs each minute.
Side Shuffle (End of court)
20 Shoulder Dislocates w/PVC
:30 Hand Stand Hold
Toes 2 Bar
12 Min EMOM
Odd: 5 Toes 2 Bar
Even: 10 Ball Slams 40/30
M-Comp: 10 Toes 2 Bar & 50 Lbs Ball Slams
The truth is only a few people understand the importance of how a high intensity athletic performance is impacted by the mind and how having great mental strength is critical for their performance. This can be seen in programs like CrossFit where your mind helps you to push through the process and work your body to new levels of intensity. Unfortunately, there are some people who still don’t see the correlation between these, and the result is an inconsistent or subpar performance.
Understanding just how powerful your mind is, you will find your mental strength is the key to long term success. However, this doesn’t guarantee you will reach your peak levels in a high intensity athletic performance that can take you to professional athlete levels. Instead, it will ensure that with the focus and the dedication that comes with it, you will remain a consistent performer within your own unique athletic ability.
During the next few weeks, I will introduce you to some specific steps that help you to:
• Better understand how mental strength training is critical to your routine.
• Provide you with the tools and techniques that are essential for your long term performance when combined with your mental strength training. The result being enhanced athletic performance.
So let’s get to it…
Step 1: Being Aware
Although it is obvious, there are still many athletes who still have no idea what is going on in their mind. While this step is fairly short, it is one of the most critical ones for your mental health. If you aren’t aware of what you are focusing on, you are cursed to continue repeating poor performances time and again. Of course, you will remain restricted to your technical athletic skills, so you need to make certain they are also where they need to be.
With this step, you need to become aware of the power inside your mind and understand that your mind controls the success or failure of this process.
This means you are focusing on things that are not important and they are beyond your control: your mind is too focused on doing well but can’t perform because you are becoming tense. The result is a performance decline.
Your mind is giving you a negative self-talk that is distracting you from being your best. During this time, your desperate attempts to break free of the slump only will reinforce the mind frame that something isn’t working and distract you even further. These are the mental mistakes that are impacting you before and during your athletic performance and the results are negative.
Once a person is aware something is happening, and it is not their physical or technical skill, they can begin to move on to the next step of focusing on their mental strength.
Step 2: Getting Back in Control
To get back in control, you need to recognize the mental slump and how you can move past it. As soon as you understand just how powerful your mind can be, you will recognize how it undermines your performance or enhances your athletic ability.
Two Key Mental Mistakes
It is important to recognize there are two main mental errors that can diminish your athletic performance.
- Participating in destructive self-talk
- Area (focus) of concentration (before and during event) is on all the wrong things.
Once you understand these critical mistakes, you can focus on building your mental strength so you can avoid future problems. This is done by:
- Learning to maintain your cool in the clutch.
- Letting go of mistakes.
- Mastering the art of positive thinking.
- Remaining motivated.
- Being constructive after failing.
- Preparing for events and get into a zone.
- Boosting self-confidence.
To gain a better understanding of how your mental state directly impacts your performance, it is important to understand how the death spiral hits you. This is a slump you experience and as an athlete, likely stay in that zone.
The Cycle Nature of a Slump and Poor Performance
- Often, an event or trigger hits — it can be something as simple as a missed shot or a pass that was dropped.
- This then turns into a negative event where you badger yourself and you continue to repeat the event.
- The result is your confidence takes a negative blow.
- Your mind becomes consumed with the thought that it will happen to you again.
- This creates the expectation it will happen again. .
- Before each event, you will think back to the event and think it will happen again.
- This heightened state of nervousness makes your muscles tense and causes deterioration in your performance.
- This can cause you to over try later on or focus on hoping it doesn’t happen again and create a negative focus on the event in this manner.
- This negative focus causes you to ignore the areas you need to concentrate on for peak performance and you instead begin to slip.
- This poor performance then carries over into the self-fulfilling prophecy.
What’s worse is you most likely aren’t even aware you are doing this. So each time the cycle happens, you reinforce the situation rather than controlling it. While this negative loop can occur, you can also create a positive one that helps to reinforce good performances.
This is done by:
- Focusing on and engaging in positive self-talk.
- Focusing on the right cues and allowing them to help maintain your concentration. Make sure your post-game dialogue also maintains this same level of positivity.
In sports and in life…you will always get what you anticipate.
You need to remember that the race is won prior and during an event, not after the race is over. At that point, it is too late.
This is why your mind and your attitude have to be in the right space before you begin and during the time you are practicing. You want to thrive and be your best, and that will come as you build your mental strength. You will find there is an interrelationship — a direct connection — between your mind (what you are thinking) and the ability of your body to perform.
When you focus on the negative and tear yourself down, you become nervous and your muscles will tense as your heart rate increases. Your breathing will turn shallow and your blood pressure can spike. This will give you a funny feeling, like your system is shutting down and you will feel a chill to your core. That, of course, causes you to have a negative experience with your athletic performance.
Let’s look at two of these components:
1. Tight Muscles:
When you have tight muscles, you will have a performance issue; this can ruin your performance and prevent you from being at your peak.
Tight muscles lead to inflexibility, slowing of any speed, improper body mechanics, an increase in fatigue, and a greater chance of injury.
2. Cold Hands and Feet:
With many sports requiring the use of both the hands and feet, having problems with them can be a devastating experience. Touch and feel is important in the success of sports and a problem with them can have negative results.
What does it take to get back in control though?
First, you need to become aware of where you are mentally before the event. Do that by focusing on your best performances.
Then go over them before and during the performance.
Now, think of a poor performance.
You got that?
Think about what you did and thought before and after that performance.
Now compare both of these. Understand the differences between them and what your inner thoughts were during this time.
Hopefully, you can see how your mind was powerful enough to control and guide both. It is critical for you to regain control of your thoughts, your focus and your prep talks to see a boost to your performance.
Start now and explore the good and bad performances of your past in great detail. Think about the patterns and focus on them and their impact. If you are unable to become aware of what is there, you can’t move past the negative self-talk and it will continue to impact things in your life.
Next time, we’ll build from here and look at the next step in creating mental strength for high intensity athletic performance.
Gregg Swanson is a peak performance coach specializing in the development of mental strength. He owns Warrior Mind Coach and his blog can be found athttp://WarriorMindCoach.com/blog. You can also check out Warrior Mind Coaching on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WarriorMindCoach.
400M Run x 3
Work/Rest = 1:1
30 Min AMRAP
5 Pull Ups
*Every 5mins run 400 meters
1000m Row (Slow 500m/Fast 500m)
The Plate Game
(Stand On 2/25lbs plate across from each other. Throw Slam Ball back and forth untill you knock the other person off the plate, Play to best of 7. Throw to side, high, low, get the body moving in all directions)
Clean and Jerk 3-2-1,3-2-1
4 mins C+J 135/95
4 mins Row for Cals
4 mins Russian KB Swings
*add up total reps for all 3 movements for score
How Olympians Stay Motivated
Until the 1990s, Olympic figure skating included a segment called “compulsory figures,” in which athletes would slowly trace precise, intricate shapes into the ice, and judges would inspect the resulting swirls and loops to determine much of the skater’s overall score. These “figures” gave the sport its name, but they were gradually phased out because not even the most ardent skating fans would watch the tedious process on TV. Today’s competitive figure skaters only do what their predecessors called the “free skating” portion—fast-paced programs set to music, packed with jumps and dance moves.
When American figure skater Dorothy Hamill won gold in the ladies’ single competition in 1976, compulsory figures were the first event. They played a decisive role in whether the skater would medal. Hamill adored skating, but training to execute the figures perfectly at the Olympiahalle in Innsbruck that year was, frankly, kind of miserable.
“I would spend four hours a day going in circles and trying to perfect the compulsory figures, and no one ever saw those but the judges,” Hamill told me. “They were so complicated and so hard to perfect. I changed coaches just to get someone to help me with my compulsory figures.”
At the time, Hamill was 19 years old and living in Colorado with her mother, who had moved with her daughter from their family’s home in Connecticut so that Hamill could focus on training to the exclusion of almost everything else. Each day, she awoke early and skated in the morning, then went to school, then skated after school, then had dinner (steak was big for athletes back then, when they could afford it), and then skated for another two hours.
Full days of training consisted of four hours of practicing compulsory figures, then two hours of free skating, then running through the short program and the long program, and then … repeat.
“The same thing, day in and day out,” she said.
Many Olympic winter sports involve feats of incredible dynamism and gravity-defying stunts, making it seem as though the life of an elite winter athlete would be a nonstop adventure full of half-pipes and triple Axels. And to some extent, it is. But what audiences don’t see are the grueling practice sessions that involve hours of repetitive, muscle-straining movements.
A 2009 Boston Globe article about a school for Olympic snowboarders describeda typical day as, “up at dawn, stretch, watch video of the previous day, hit the slopes till lunch, go to class, do more conditioning, eat dinner, and then go to study hall for an hour and a half. At most, they get about an hour of “free time” a day, but it’s usually used for homework.”
With schedules like that, some of the most successful athletes aren’t necessarily the strongest or fastest, but simply the ones who are best at staying motivated.
“A lot of times before you physically give out, you give out mentally,” said Thomas Hong, a high-school student and speed skater who placed 11th at the Olympic trials this year. “You know you’re going to be sore for a while, you know how bad it’s going to hurt you.”
Hamill said part of what spurred her on were the sacrifices that her parents and coaches had made. She wasn’t very interested in school, and most of the family’s money went to her training. It was skating or bust.
“I had a commitment to myself and all the people who were helping me skate,” she said. “It’s like a marriage, you don’t walk away from it. It was a huge investment in everyone’s life—my mom and my brothers and sisters and coaches.”
And most of the time, she said, the training was enjoyable. But some of the time, “it really wasn’t.”
We can’t all be Olympic athletes. (In fact some of us, including your humble narrator, should not be allowed anywhere near ice or blades.) But we all face times when we really don’t want to do something that we, nonetheless, really have to do. Drawing from interviews with top athletes and their coaches, along with psychological studies of athletes, here are seven ways Olympians stay motivated through the training slog.
1. Talk yourself through the stress
In 1993, researchers interviewed 17 national champion figure skaters and identified 158 unique coping strategies they used. The most common, used by 76 percent of the skaters, was “rational thinking and self-talk,” which the study authors describe as logically examining all of the potential stressors, determining what could be controlled, and talking oneself through the problem rationally. The skaters would say that they tried to “gather all the valid points, sort through everything … take what you think is a good comment, disregard what you think is not a good comment.” One tried to displace the weight of the competition by convincing herself it was just for fun. “Listen, if I want to skate, I have to skate, I have to do it for myself,” she told the researchers. “I’m not out here for anyone else or the USA. I’m out here to do it for myself.”
2. Love—or at least accept—the grind
Studies of college-age swimmers and professional rugby players have shown that, more so than physical exhaustion or even defeat, the biggest factor in predicting burnout was the athlete’s own devaluation of the sport—caring about it less or attributing negative qualities to it.
Successful athletes were repeatedly described as being intrinsically motivated and “loving” their practice, not just their competitions.
“The women that I’ve worked with that medal are the ones that really enjoy the process,” said Teri McKeever, the head swimming coach at UC Berkeley who has also trained Olympic swimmers. “They enjoy the working out as much as they enjoy the competition. They love that idea of pushing the limits and learning and being challenged emotionally and physically.”
3. Be optimistic
Yes, it’s a cliche. But in a 2002 study for which researchers interviewed 10 Olympic medalists and their coaches, all of the athletes and eight of the coaches described the athlete in question as “optimistic/positive.” By comparison, only two of the athletes described themselves as “intelligent” and only four called themselves “organized.” Zero athletes called themselves nice.
You don’t have to be an especially pleasant, smart, or even detail-oriented person, it seems, as long as you’re irrepressibly Pollyanna-ish about your own abilities. Other studies have shown that a sunny outlook also helps Olympic athletes bounce back from defeat. Meanwhile, negative moods tend to hurtperformance.
In another study of 10 participants in either the Olympics or the Commonwealth games, “having an unshakable belief in your ability to achieve competition goals,” was found to be the most common definition of “mental toughness” among the athletes. The participants also believed they possessed “unique qualities and abilities” that made them better than their rivals.
“Everyone’s gonna fail or get beat or get injured or whatever, but [successful athletes] figure out how to reframe it so that it can be a positive thing instead of a negative thing,” McKeever said. “Failure and setbacks and struggles are where all the good stuff happens, if you can take that approach.”
4. Anticipate things before they occur
Becoming a Navy SEAL requires swimming for 50 meters without taking a breath. One trainer realized that the SEAL-aspirants who are most likely to have trouble with this task are the ones who get intimidated by it before they even try. So, he began telling them to focus on executing each stroke individually instead of the entire, 50-meter stretch.
“That re-calibrates the brain to pay attention to the body’s moment-by-moment change,” said Martin Paulus, a psychiatry professor at the University of California, San Diego, who studies both military members and elite athletes as part of the university’s OptiBrain Center. “He was then able to have some of these guys do much better than if they were beforehand saying ‘Oh my God, I have to dive 50 meters.’”
If a particularly arduous training session were to seem overwhelming to an athlete, the brain’s motivation centers might falter and the person would feel like they just couldn’t go on.
But new research from the OptiBrain Center suggests that a grape-sized section of the brain called the insular cortex is especially fine-tuned in top athletes, helping them anticipate upcoming pressures and adapt to them quickly.
The insula “can generate strikingly accurate predictions of how the body will feelin the next moment. That model of the body’s future condition instructs other brain areas to initiate actions that are more tailored to coming demands than those of also-rans and couch potatoes,” Sandra Upson wrote in an article about the structure in Scientific American.
In clinical studies, people with greater insular activity were also able to guess their heart rates more accurately and had faster reaction times. Paulus doesn’t know whether people are gold medalists because they have stronger insular cortices, or vice-versa—but he did say the insula, like the athlete, gets better with practice.
5. Stick with a coach who’s more like South, not North, Korea
Unsurprisingly, the coach (or boss, or spouse, or parents, in real life) matters almost as much as the athlete. In a 2000 study, Division I athletes were shown to be more motivated when the coaches were neither too easygoing nor hard-charging—they reinforced consistently, but with a democratic style of instruction. (“Autocratic” coaches, meanwhile, are the ones who shout orders with no explanation.)
It also helps if the coach provides rationale for each point of feedback. It’s been suggested that parents who explain their disciplinary choices are more likely to gain compliance from their children because they seem more rational. Similarly, a process called “internalization” helps athletes follow the well-reasoned guidelines.
David Park, a trainer for Hong, the speed skater, and for other athletes, said Hong differentiates himself by internalizing each of Park’s instructions.
“When I work with Thomas and other elite athletes, when I tell them something, they ask why. ‘How is it going to help me?’” he said. “It enables them to connect it to themselves.”
6. Try mindfulness
Mindfulness is loosely defined as the nonjudgmental focus of attention on an experience as it occurs. Some researchers think being mindful helps athletes achieve a state of flow, or feeling fully immersed in an activity.
Athletes who experienced flow said they felt time going by more quickly or a sense of effortless control. In a 2009 paper in theJournal of Clinical Sports Psychology, French swimmers at the national level told researchers that while competing, “I had the sensation of being in control of what I did, so everything seemed easier” or “I wasn’t aware of time anymore. Everything went very slowly at the beginning . . . and everything went so fast after.”
Elite golfers who had been trained in mindfulness techniques, such as greater awareness of breathing or accepting emotions without judgment, all increased their national rankings, compared with only two golfers in the control group.
Another study published in 2011 found that high-performing university athletes who took a mindfulness class were able to increase their levels of flow, though to a more limited degree.
7. Think about your next big event
Psychologist Steven Reiss believes that all behavior is guided by 16 basic desires, which are as wide-ranging as the need for power, independence, curiosity, or acceptance. He has also argued against seeing “intrinsic motivation” as being somehow superior to other motivators, like money or power. After all, who can know when or how an athlete’s internal drive morphs into a vision of themselves atop the Olympic podium, their national anthem blaring in the background.
“Individuals differ enormously in what makes them happy–for some, competition, winning and wealth are the greatest sources of happiness, but for others, feeling competent or socializing may be more satisfying,” Reiss once said. “The point is that you can’t say some motivations, like money, are inherently inferior.”
Even some renowned athletes don’t intrinsically enjoy practice—they just see it as a means to win the next competition. Often, when artists or athletes give up on their craft, they tend to stop practicing it entirely. They don’t train just for the fun unless there’s a competition worth training for.
“Competitions and public performances provide short-term goals for specific improvements. At this point the motivation to practice becomes so closely connected to the goal of becoming an expert performer and so integrated with the individual’s daily life that motivation to practice, per se, cannot be easily assessed,” one 1993 study of top performers in the Psychological Review said.
Hamill loved to perform, and she said she always kept her sights on her next opportunity to be in front of an audience.
“The few times that I was so sick and tired of it and I really considered not wanting to keep up with it, I’d go in the rink and put in my hours, but my brain wasn’t there,” she said. “Ultimately, I’d think ahead. I’d think, ‘Oh, what about that the competition in a few months.’ Okay, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and then things start to get better.”
“Skating is cyclical. I’d skate really well and then I’d have a series of lousy performances. Then all of a sudden you’re skating and everything feels great. It’s being able to get through those tough times. It’s looking ahead and thinking —what the end result is supposed to be. That’s where I think our minds can be pretty powerful.”
1 Min Barbell Therapy Squat hold
1 Min of Jumping Rope
10 Roll Ups
EMOM Min 10
Odd: 3 Back Squats, you choose the weight
Even: 3 Strict Pull-Ups
3 Min AMRAP x 2
10 Back Squats 95/65
*1 Min Rest In Between AMRAP’s
NEARLY six weeks into the 2014 diet season, it’s a good bet that many of us who made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight have already peaked. If clinical trials are any indication, we’ve lost much of the weight we can expect to lose. In a year or two we’ll be back within half a dozen pounds of where we are today.
The question is why. Is this a failure of willpower or of technique? Was our chosen dietary intervention — whether from the latest best-selling diet book or merely a concerted attempt to eat less and exercise more — doomed to failure? Considering that obesity and its related diseases — most notably, Type 2 diabetes — now cost the health care system more than $1 billion per day, it’s not hyperbolic to suggest that the health of the nation may depend on which is the correct answer.
Since the 1960s, nutrition science has been dominated by two conflicting observations. One is that we know how to eat healthy and maintain a healthy weight. The other is that the rapidly increasing rates of obesity and diabetessuggest that something about the conventional thinking is simply wrong.
In 1960, fewer than 13 percent of Americans were obese, and diabetes had been diagnosed in 1 percent. Today, the percentage of obese Americans has almost tripled; the percentage of Americans with diabetes has increased sevenfold.
Meanwhile, the research literature on obesity has also ballooned. In 1960, fewer than 1,100 articles were published on obesity or diabetes in the indexed medical literature. Last year it was more than 44,000. In total, over 600,000 articles have been published purporting to convey some meaningful information on these conditions.
It would be nice to think that this deluge of research has brought clarity to the issue. The trend data argue otherwise. If we understand these disorders so well, why have we failed so miserably to prevent them? The conventional explanation is that this is the manifestation of an unfortunate reality: Type 2 diabetes is caused or exacerbated by obesity, and obesity is a complex, intractable disorder. The more we learn, the more we need to know.
Here’s another possibility: The 600,000 articles — along with several tens of thousands of diet books — are the noise generated by a dysfunctional research establishment. Because the nutrition research community has failed to establish reliable, unambiguous knowledge about the environmental triggers of obesity and diabetes, it has opened the door to a diversity of opinions on the subject, of hypotheses about cause, cure and prevention, many of which cannot be refuted by the existing evidence. Everyone has a theory. The evidence doesn’t exist to say unequivocally who’s wrong.
The situation is understandable; it’s a learning experience in the limits of science. The protocol of science is the process of hypothesis and test. This three-word phrase, though, does not do it justice. The philosopher Karl Popper did when he described “the method of science as the method of bold conjectures and ingenious and severe attempts to refute them.”
In nutrition, the hypotheses are speculations about what foods or dietary patterns help or hinder our pursuit of a long and healthy life. The ingenious and severe attempts to refute the hypotheses are the experimental tests — the clinical trials and, to be specific, randomized controlled trials. Because the hypotheses are ultimately about what happens to us over decades, meaningful trials are prohibitively expensive and exceedingly difficult. It means convincing thousands of people to change what they eat for years to decades. Eventually enough heart attacks, cancers and deaths have to happen among the subjects so it can be established whether the dietary intervention was beneficial or detrimental.
And before any of this can even be attempted, someone’s got to pay for it. Since no pharmaceutical company stands to benefit, prospective sources are limited, particularly when we insist the answers are already known. Without such trials, though, we’re only guessing whether we know the truth.
Back in the 1960s, when researchers first took seriously the idea thatdietary fat caused heart disease, they acknowledged that such trials were necessary and studied the feasibility for years. Eventually the leadership at the National Institutes of Health concluded that the trials would be too expensive — perhaps a billion dollars — and might get the wrong answer anyway. They might botch the study and never know it. They certainly couldn’t afford to do two such studies, even though replication is a core principle of the scientific method. Since then, advice to restrict fat or avoid saturated fat has been based on suppositions about what would have happened had such trials been done, not on the studies themselves.
Nutritionists have adjusted to this reality by accepting a lower standard of evidence on what they’ll believe to be true. They do experiments with laboratory animals, for instance, following them for the better part of the animal’s lifetime — a year or two in rodents, say — and assume or at least hope that the results apply to humans. And maybe they do, but we can’t know for sure without doing the human experiments.
They do experiments on humans — the species of interest — for days or weeks or even a year or two and then assume that the results apply to decades. And maybe they do, but we can’t know for sure. That’s a hypothesis, and it must be tested.
And they do what are called observational studies, observing populations for decades, documenting what people eat and what illnesses beset them, and then assume that the associations they observe between diet and disease are indeed causal — that if people who eat copious vegetables, for instance, live longer than those who don’t, it’s the vegetables that cause the effect of a longer life. And maybe they do, but there’s no way to know without experimental trials to test that hypothesis.
The associations that emerge from these studies used to be known as “hypothesis-generating data,” based on the fact that an association tells us only that two things changed together in time, not that one caused the other. So associations generate hypotheses of causality that then have to be tested. But this hypothesis-generating caveat has been dropped over the years as researchers studying nutrition have decided that this is the best they can do.
One lesson of science, though, is that if the best you can do isn’t good enough to establish reliable knowledge, first acknowledge it — relentless honesty about what can and cannot be extrapolated from data is another core principle of science — and then do more, or do something else. As it is, we have a field of sort-of-science in which hypotheses are treated as facts because they’re too hard or expensive to test, and there are so many hypotheses that what journalists like to call “leading authorities” disagree with one another daily.
It’s an unacceptable situation. Obesity and diabetes are epidemic, and yet the only relevant fact on which relatively unambiguous data exist to support a consensus is that most of us are surely eating too much of something. (My vote is sugars and refined grains; we all have our biases.) Making meaningful inroads against obesity and diabetes on a population level requires that we know how to treat and prevent it on an individual level. We’re going to have to stop believing we know the answer, and challenge ourselves to come up with trials that do a better job of testing our beliefs.
Before I, for one, make another dietary resolution, I’d like to know that what I believe I know about a healthy diet is really so. Is that too much to ask?
400m run with Wallball
30 Lateral Hops over Wallball
15 Russian Twists with Wallball
30 Lunges with Wallball
15 Medicine Ball Cleans
15 wall balls
12 Bent Over Rows 75/55
9 toes to bar
-3 min rest-
15 Push Press 75/55
12 SDHP 75/55
9 Toes to bar
I worked up to 355 lbs on the squat. I just barely hit depth, and squatted up as slow as a snail, fighting the weight and only just coming out on top. I was supposed to do two sets of doubles with that weight today. After my first rep I racked it, put my head down, and walked away feeling very defeated.
:30 Hand Stand Hold
10 Jumping Lunges
30 Double Unders
Teams of 2
10 Clean and Jerks 135/95
75 Box Jumps
10 Clean and Jerks
10 Clean and Jerks
75 Box Jumps
10 Clean and Jerks
One athlete works, while the other rests.
If you train alone, this does not apply to you. However, for the vast majority of lifters, BE ON TIME. Your partners may not be relying on you directly, but as a member of whatever team, organization, or crew are affiliated with, you owe it to the others to be there when they are. Being on time is a sign of respect, and respect has to be earned. Setting up for strongman events is work in itself, and if you show up thirty minutes late after your partners have been setting up a deadlift medley with 2,000 pounds of plates, they are going to be pissed. I support them.
This is quite possibly the absolute most important thing you can do. If you are not ready to give it 100%, you need not show up. If you are sick, you probably shouldn’t be there in the first place. Creating a deep and vast black hole of energy on your platform is not only annoying, but also blatantly disrespectful. When someone is about to take a PR attempt, you had better be paying full attention, slapping their back, and getting in their ear. If said lifter responds better to silence, then shut up. They put in the hours and sweat to earn a few seconds of your time. Demand this out of your fellow lifters as well.
Also see: not being a jackass. Unless you hate the crew you train with, offer a hand. If you’re done with your set, help someone else load their bar, wrap knees, or baby powder some thighs. If your lifting career has been a solo mission… You’re a dirty liar. I’m sure you have received help along the way. Now is your time to reciprocate the favor.
This might seem odd in a community where bleeding, puking, or peeing mid-workout is not uncommon, so I will clarify. You know that guy who fails to put anything away during the workout and “forgets” to do so before they leave? Don’t be that guy. Put your plates and equipment back when you’re done. I love having to unload bars that are across the gym from the weight tree! Said no one ever.
5. Be An Equal
One of the most rewarding aspects of training (personally), is watching others grow as lifters. If you’re the strongest, most seasoned person in your crew, step out of the spotlight for a second and remember where you started. Unless you are a legitimate world record holder, someone out there is destroying your total and laughing while they do it. Don’t let your ego outgrow your weight belt.
1 hour to complete the following in what ever order you want:
100 air squats
80 double unders
70 walking lunges
60 medball kayaks (in v sit, feet off ground, rotate ball side to side)
50 wall balls
40 push ups
30 pull ups
10 miles on the bike
20 Double Unders
20 Pass Through w/PVC pipe
10 Good Mornings w/Plate
10 Snatch Grip Deadlifts w/Empty Barbell
CrossFit Games Open WOD 14.1
10 Min AMRAP
30 Double Unders
15 Power Snatches 75/55
5 Quick Thoughts for Maximizing Your CrossFit Open Score
*Author’s note: These tips apply to athletes who are serious about posting the best score possible (and/or aiming to qualify for Regionals). If the CrossFit Open is simply a fun challenge for you, then just have fun and hit the workout with your community and friends!
1. Don’t re-adjust your weights or collars!
This one drives me insane. Have you ever caught yourself readjusting your plates and/or collars when they are completely fine? This is a mental break/weakness that you need to resist. If your plates are literally falling off the bar, that’s one thing, but a few inches away from the collar is NOT a reason to stop and retighten everything.
I’ve seen athletes waste up to 5 seconds a rep re-tightening their weights. In the case of the snatch ladder, this can mean up to 2 minutes of lost time!
2. You don’t need more chalk!
You know who you are. Every time you go to pick up a barbell or jump to the pull up bar, you run to the chalk bucket to lather your hands in the white stuff. We see this often in athletes who are uncomfortable with chest to bar, snatches, and toes to bar. Trust me… the extra chalk isn’t going to magically make you a bodyweight ninja. Push through your mental block and get yourself up to 60 seconds of extra reps!
3. You’re not going to die of thirst!
Oh you’re thirsty? I’m sorry… I thought you wanted to prove how ELITE your fitness is. Unless the workout is a 24-hour AMRAP — which is completely possible — you don’t need to drink any water during your WOD. Resist the urge to grab your water bottle and get yourself 20-80 seconds of extra reps!
4. Shirts or skins … not both!
Do you start the workout with your shirt on only to remove it part way through? I’m not sure what you think is going to happen. Maybe you think you look like the hulk or that everyone will be impressed by your “Otter” tattoo, but removing your shirt in the middle of a workout is a solid way to cost yourself 5-15 precious seconds.
5. Plan on hitting them twice.
Unless you’re a consistent Top 15 Regional level athlete, you better plan on hitting these workouts 2-3 times. Is this healthy? Heck NO! But we’re not concerned about health here. This is a sport and competing in a sport means dealing with some pain, discomfort, and an increased risk of injury. You can gain up to 10% on your score through experiencing how the workout “feels” and improving your game plan the second and third time through.
Run 800m x 2
Death By Barbell Thrusters (15 Min Cap)
*Begin at 8 reps
** If you can’t make it in the minute cut your reps in half
15 Min AMRAP
Run 2 Laps
20 KB Swings
10 Goblet Lunges (Total)
3 Min Double Unders/Singles
1 Min Lightbulb hold (Hold a light Plate above your head and slightly in front of you, have you ever changed a light bulb? Yes this is functional)
1 Side Shuffle to end of court and back
2 Negative Pull-Ups
10×2 Tempo Front Squats @ 70-75% of 1RM
*2 Seconds Down, Explode up.
30 Double Unders
There is always a vigorous debate when it comes to athletes and dietary fat. For years, we were told to avoid it or risk compromising all that hard-won athletic performance. Now, to a growing degree, we are told the exact opposite… so what gives?
Famed strength and conditioning coach Charles Poliquin lays out why you should be eating fat in the first place and provides seven reasons why fat is good for you, along with his famed meat & nut breakfast (see below):
1. The Right Fat Will Not Make You Fat, But It Might Make You Lean
Eating “good” fats won’t make you fat. Rather, they can improve body composition and make you leaner. Strange but true since everybody knows that fats contain a lot of calories — nine per gram. Fat is more calorie-dense than protein, carbs, and alcohol.
Fat tends to be known as the macronutrient that is most easily processed in the body, meaning it requires the least energy to break down—a process called the thermic effect of food. However, things are not so simple and all fats are not created equally.
Scientific studies show that the body processes the assorted types of fat very differently. The body does not store the essential fatty acids (EFAs) — such as the omega-3 fats found in fish and flaxseeds — as fat in the body. The body likes to use these fats to make hormones and build the lipid layer of cells.
The effect is that eating the omega-3 fats will raise energy expenditure, leading you to burn more calories than you would otherwise. For example, a study of overweight men found that when they increased their omega-3 intake from 0.43 g/day to 2.92 g/day, they experienced a 51 percent increase in the amount of calories they burned after eating…. We see this in practice: Association studies repeatedly show an inverse association between the consumption of “good” fats, such as nut and avocado, and body fat percentage.
2. Go Low-Carb When Eating Good Fats & Avoid All Processed Foods
The fats highlighted here will improve insulin sensitivity, decrease inflammation, enhance cellular health and gene signaling, and support hormone balance. But they can’t fix the damage that you do if you eat lots of carbs, trans-fats, or processed foods.
For example, recent research shows that it is carbohydrates, not fats, that elevate cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, contributing to the development of heart disease. Carbohydrates activate pro-inflammatory processes through their effect on the fatty acid composition of blood lipids and cell membranes. This leads to the development of atherosclerosis.
Therefore, eating a diet that limits carbs but is abundant in an array of healthy fats will give you the perfect diet for promoting health and preventing heart disease. Elements of the perfect diet include the following:
• Eat whole foods instead of processed or refined foods. Many healthy fats can be consumed in a whole form or a more refined form—opt for the whole form. Eat whole avocado rather than avocado oil and nuts rather than nut oils, for instance.
• When choosing animal fats—yes, they are delicious and healthy!—get them from animals that are pasture-raised and that eat a natural diet appropriate for them.
• Limit carbohydrates, particularly grains and sugar. Eat abundant green vegetables and a variety of other veggies and fruits. Choose local and seasonal when possible.
3. Eat a Lot of Omega-3 Fats
You shouldn’t be surprised that the fat derived from fatty fish is extremely important for a healthy body. The omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, support body composition because they are incorporated into the outside lipid layer of cells. This improves insulin signaling to the cells, which allows for a better metabolism. …
Dietary Tip: Get EPA and DHA from fish, fish oil, and organic, pastured meat, wild meat and dairy. Eating a small quantity of flaxseeds to get the third omega-3 fat, ALA, is also ideal, but don’t rely on flax for all your omega-3 intake. Don’t cook with omega-3 fats because the polyunsaturated fats they contain are easily oxidized.
4. Use Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is full of medium chain fatty acids (MCTs), which have been shown to promote health, aid brain function, and improve body composition. The MCTs don’t enter the cholesterol cycle in the body. Even though coconut oil is 92 percent saturated fat, it won’t elevate cholesterol levels. …
Dietary Tip: Make sure the coconut oil you buy is “virgin” and not partially hydrogenated—this is extremely important! Use it to flavor coffee, or try cooking with coconut oil in place of vegetable oils. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and can be treated like butter in recipes, however it has a high smoke point (around 350 degrees), making it ideal for stir-frying.
5. Eat Butter
Butter is good for you as long as it’s organic and from grass-fed cows. Butter has lots of fat soluble vitamins, especially vitamin K, which is important for bone health because it enables calcium metabolism. In addition, it contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a potent cancer fighter, aids in muscle building, and has been found to produce fat loss when it is eaten daily.
Butter also contains MCTs, and since they don’t enter the cholesterol cycle, butter won’t raise “bad” LDL cholesterol either. Saturated fat is benign as long as you avoid eating an abundance of high carbohydrate foods!
Dietary Tip: Eat butter however you like, just make sure it’s from grass-fed cows. Avoid margarine and butter substitutes.
6. Eat Avocado, Quality Olive Oil & Nuts
Avocado, olive oil, and tree nuts have all been called “anti-obesity” foods by food scientists. They all provide omega-6 fats, which when eaten in balance with omega-3s, are very good for you.
There’s much confusion about omega-6 fats because the typical Western diet is dangerously high in them from vegetable oil. Processed vegetable oils are fats you want to avoid, but avocado, unrefined, virgin olive oil (or olives), and tree nuts aren’t processed and can improve body composition, while countering inflammation. Plus, if you eat any of these fats with vegetables, the fat bolsters absorption of vitamins and nutrients in veggies.
Dietary Tip: Add them to salads, or cooked vegetable dishes.
7. Avoid Vegetable Oils—Canola, Corn, Soy, Sunflower, etc.
At first glance these oils are not so bad because they contain a high percentage of monounsaturated fats and omega-6s. This is partly why canola is being called “heart-healthy” by the mainstream establishment.
However, a closer look shows that these oils are highly processed—heated, washed, treated with the chemical hexane—and have a poor omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. These oils along with olive oil are easily destroyed by oxidation, which is damaging to the body. Avoid vegetable oils and restrict your intake of olive oil to a high-quality product that is minimally processed.
Dietary Tip: Use olive oil raw. Do not cook olive oil with high heat! This causes oxidation, which is very very bad for you!
Meat & Nuts Breakfast, Anyone?
While you are at it, give Poliquin’s meat and nuts breakfast a try, rotating your nut of choice every morning with a different meat:
Here are five sample rotations of the meat and nuts breakfast – give them a try this week, and remember the key point is not to add anything to them!
• 1-2 Buffalo meat patties
• 1 handful of macadamia nuts
• 1 large venison steak
• 1 handful of cashew nuts
• 1-2 Lean turkey burgers
• 1 handful of almonds
• 2 lean ground beef patties
• 1 handful of brazil nuts
• 2 chicken breasts
• 1 handful of hazelnuts
Read the rest of Charles Poliquin’s article “Why Fat Is GREAT For You: Seven Tips For Eating Fat So You Lose Fat” (originally published on June 12, 2013) and read the rest of “The Meat and Nut Breakfast” (originally published March 16, 2010).
You’re Preparing for the open! We are Keeping it simple
1000m Row (Strapless)
5 Wall Squats
10 Weighted Good Mornings
10 Goblet Squats
7×1 Strict Press Starting @ 60-65% of 1RM
*Add Each set.
7 min AMRAP (Up Ladder of 3…)
3 Strict Press 95/65
3 Ball Slam
How and Why to Use All 3 Planes of Motion to Improve Your Mobility
The Sagittal Plane
The sagittal plane divides the body into left and right. When we move along this plane, we are using the strength of our muscles to move parts of the body forward or backward. Extension and flexion happen along the sagittal plane. This means most running, biking, rowing, and lifting movements make use of this plane. For example, in a squat, both hips move from extension into flexion, and back into extension. The hips and knees in particular spend a lot of time in flexion, so mobility work should involve extending both joints.
One area of the body we often forget to extend? The back. Every time we fold forward – think deadlifts or simply picking objects up around the house – we flex the spine. Many of us can go through an entire day without ever taking the spine into extension. Yogarelies on back bending to keep the spine supple and young. Finding time to extend your spine every day, even by simply laying over a yoga bolster, can leave you feeling as if you have more room in between your vertebrae.
The Coronal Plane
The coronal plane divides the body into front and back. When we move along this plane, we are moving toward or away from the midline. Adduction and abduction are movements along this plane. Many of our daily movements and exercises involve very little abduction. We tend to stay fairly neatly hugged in toward the middle.
Yoga practice takes the body through abduction each time you come into a squat, a warrior-two family pose, or draw the arms out and up as you rise to stand. Pulling your limbs away from the midline helps to both functionally strengthen and open the abductor muscle groups of the hips and shoulders. Knees and elbows, as hinge joints, are limited to flexion and extension and cannot truly move on the coronal plane. To incorporate abduction into your daily life, sit in an un-weighted squat for a few minutes a day with the arms open wide. Your body will thank you.
The Transverse Plane
The transverse (or horizontal) plane divides the body into top and bottom, but it is a little less straightforward. Any time we rotate a joint we are moving along the transverse plane. In daily life, this is the action we do least frequently, particularly with the large joints in the hips, shoulders, and spine.
For this reason, yoga incorporates a lot of twisting and rotating. Each time you come to your mat, you will likely be guided into at least one spinal twist. Spinal twisting in particular provides a large host of benefits: it relieves muscular pain in the back by lengthening the long muscles, particularly the latissimus dorsi (lats); it provides length between the vertebrae and restores movement along the spine; and, it compresses the organs, helping them send fluids and toxins to the glands in order to detoxify the body.
Every day, incorporate transverse movement into your body by lying on your back, squeezing the knees into the chest and circling the hips in both directions, rolling the shoulders around in their sockets, and twisting your knees to one side and the other. You don’t need a fancy yoga class – or even a yoga pose, really – to get the benefits of moving your body through the transverse plane.
If you’re stuck on a few movements or stretches, you may be limiting your ability to trulyincrease your range of motion. Most of our major muscles groups exist in more than one plane. The glutes, for example, aid in extending the spine, abduct the hips, and externally rotate the hips. This huge muscle group takes a part in all the planes of movement. By incorporating a movement along each plane into a stretching session for your glutes, you will better target the areas of functional tightness in this muscle group.
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.