Friday, May 22, 2015

Murica.

Well the time is upon us for the first holiday weekend of the summer.  Or Spring, whatever.  This is a time to celebrate our freedom with grilled meat sandwiches, binge drinking, and not going to work on Monday.  As CrossFitters, we like to add our own brand of stupidity into the weekend and create a sandwich of our own, except we use ridiculously high-rep calisthenics as the meat and 1 mile runs as the buns.  Of course, I'm talking about Memorial Day Murph.  This is a long-standing BARx tradition, dating back to 2013.

That was slightly after the founding of Murica, and slightly before the founding of Rx Bars.  Two important events in human history.

For those of you who don't know the story of Murph - first of all - welcome to Murica.  Second of all, get to Googling.  Here is the original Crossfit post of the workout.  And here is his Wikipedia page.

And here is Marky Mark in the movie Lone Survivor.

A couple other gyms throughout this great nation will also be following suit and performing this WOD on Monday.  Like all of them.  So get on board and get into the gym.  And before I catch a bunch of heat and BS comments on Monday, no I won't be joining you for this suckfest.  But I have performed 3 Murphs in my lifetime, and 2 of them were in heavy weighted vests.  A highly motivated internet stalker might be able to find photos of such things taking place.

I was only able to find this shot of me before the WOD, unfortunately they cropped out my head.

We will be running heats every 30-45 minutes between the hours of 7 and 11 am.  Sign up in Wodify, or do it like you normally do and don't sign up in Wodify.  Either way, we'll be there.  And if you're looking for other "fun" events for the weekend, Steph will also be hosting a 24ish mile bike ride on Sunday morning, May 24th.  Meet at the gym at 7am.  Anybody is welcome, so feel free to bring your bike-riding family members as well.

Or your bike-riding monkey if you've got one.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Programming For Yourself

I am currently not writing my own programming.  I don't trust myself.  Yet I do trust myself, and ask you to do the same, to write your programming.  Why is this?  How can this be?  Well, allow me to explain.  You see, I suffer from a problem that many of you may also be suffering from:  I'm a human.  And when it comes to writing a program for themselves, humans can run into several road blocks that make the task challenging at first, then downright impossible in the long run.

Even the Terminator didn't write his own programs, and he only had human skin.

So here's the problem.  As a human, when you attempt to write a program for yourself, you will always end up biasing it towards the things that you like or the things that you are good at.  In other words, you'll do the stuff you really don't need to be doing, and ignore the stuff that will actually make you better.  As hard as you try to fight it, this is a fact.  As sure as the sun comes up tomorrow, you will leave out something - intentionally or completely by accident - because it "totally sucks bro."  And you'll add in kettlebell swings because they're super fun and you're really good at them.

Kettlebell Swings?  Is that what the kids are into these days?  I don't even know.

So why does all this matter to you?  Well, for a couple reasons.  First of all, it helps you to understand why I have to remove myself from the equation when designing a program for the gym.  Since I'm not following the same program, it allows me to be more objective and balanced.  Secondly, it's also a good reason to have help in the form of another unbiased set of eyes, or perhaps a set of eyes that is biased in a completely different direction (and drives a Stubaru).  And finally, it's something to keep in mind for those of you that are doing any of the following:

1.) operating your own chosen program in Open Gym times
2.) making choices about make-up skills throughout the week
3.) picking and choosing what to do from the program with your Open Gym time
4.) cherry-picking which days of the week to come in based on the programming

Just be aware of the fact that when given a choice between something you need to do and something you want to do, you're always going to find a reason to pick the latter.  And don't get me wrong, this is perfectly okay if you're just looking for a good time.  But if you're looking for overall long-term improvement, do what I do:  take yourself out of the equation.  Ask someone else - perhaps me or another coach - for help.  We're happy to tell you what you suck at.

Or you could just always pick this to be safe.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Everything Inside You Will Fight Improvement

Not surprisingly, the posts I've made that have elicited the most positive feedback have simply been links to other people's posts.  I can only assume this is because I aim to be very discerning about what I actually choose to share, rather than just posting up every single article I stumble across daily (which would total about 18 posts a day).  Today's article has a ton of misspellings and some poor grammar, which is just the way I like it.  It's also written more from a coach's perspective, but I think there are huge lessons here for every athlete or really anybody trying to improve themselves.  Enjoy:

Everything Inside You Will Fight Improvement




Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Working Hard ... Or Hardly Working?

I've had a couple of mind-blowing conversations lately about how the stress outside of the gym can affect your performance and injury rate inside of the gym.  And I've seen enough anecdotal examples of this happening that I now know it to be 100% true.  Much like the main purpose of having other people in your life is to completely eff up your macros (post coming), the main purpose of having other activities in your life besides working out is to completely eff up your workouts.  Today though, I'm mostly talking about your job, your occupation.

Nobody leaves this room until we figure out a way to sabotage Tim's carb count for the day.

Here's what I mean:  the stress at work starts to mount.  Maybe it's a big meeting coming up, a presentation that you're not prepared for, or the end of the school year (these are all real examples).  You're still coming into the gym and pounding away, just as hard as you always do.  Then all of the sudden your back goes, or your neck tweaks, or your hip starts to ache (also real examples).  You can't figure out why this happened all of the sudden, but the truth is that the stress you're under outside of the gym has a profound effect on what happens to you inside the gym.  And now you've quite possibly suffered an avoidable injury because of it.

Was it the kipping HSPU that caused your neck to fire up, or that TPS Report you forgot to turn in last week?  Okaaaaay, maybe that's a bad example.

So what to do?  There are two ways out of this.  One is to quit your job and find something less stressful and awful that doesn't make you want to murder everyone around you and then drive haphazardly off a cliff, laughing manically all the while.  Let's call this the "Tim Method."  The other way is to simply cut back your workout volume and/or intensity during those times of your life that you know are going to be high stress.  I know it sucks (and I would never do it personally - I'd rather get hurt) but it just might be the ticket you need to avoid that next nagging injury.  Take it for what it's worth.

If you need any other advice on work/life balance, please contact Ed Lampitt.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Please Don't Do That. Ever. Again.

Today let's have a little talk about dropping barbells.  Mind you, I'm not talking about dropping LOADED barbells (with bumper plates on either side), because that is 100% acceptable behavior.  As a matter of fact - for safety reasons - dropping a LOADED barbell is encouraged and should be practiced by those who struggle with it.  No, today's topic of discussion is about dropping the EMPTY barbell, which causes the fires of rage to ignite so brightly that I'm having trouble putting it into words.

Yes, something like this.

I'm not going to go into a long diatribe about why dropping the bar without bumpers is so bad for the bar, blah blah blah.  That's like trying to explain why running with sharp objects can be dangerous, or why setting yourself on fire is probably a bad idea.  If you don't already know then there's nothing I can do to help you.  Instead I'm going to flip this around and approach it from another direction.  Today I'm going to share with you a list of things I'd rather endure than EVER having to hear the sound of an empty barbell falling to floor again, from any height.

1.)  I'd rather cuddle with a hundred kitties in an enclosed space while they rub their poisonous dander directly into my eyeballs.

You little bastard.

2.) I'd rather scrape chalk off an old school chalkboard with my fingernails.

3.) I'd rather watch any Nicolas Cage movie, with the exception of The Rock because that's not actually punishment.

4.) I'd rather rip all of my calluses off and then soak my hands in New-Skin.

New-Skin:  It's pretty much just rubbing alcohol and acid.

5.) I'd rather hop in a small airplane on a windy day, piloted by a drunk with a learners permit.

6.) I'd rather watch Harlee do double-unders in his grandmothers singlet.

7.) I would rather listen to other people talk about the stupid crap they did today and then look at pictures of their food/babies/puppies.  AKA, I would scroll through Facebook for an hour.

Facebook:  Why? What is wrong with us??

8.) I'd rather go on vacation ..... at an undisclosed location without access to a weightlifting gym!

9.) I'd rather cheer-lead somebody through 7 minutes of burpees.

10.) I'd rather do a 400 meter lunge.

While wearing everything you own!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Just 6 Cents a Day Could Help a Barbell In Need

Today begins my 20 part series on how to properly care for a barbell.  Not really, maybe 3 parts - and they're only separated to save me time.  There's been some questions lately about certain aspects of Barbell Care that have made me think these would be worthwhile posts.  Some of this information is probably new to the vast majority of you.  Some of this has been covered in previous posts by me, albeit years ago.  And I'm sure I can do it better now.

Lesson #1:  This is a barbell.  The shiny steel thing in the middle, not the colored discs on the ends.

In some of the more forward-thinking gyms around the world (such as my basement), barbells are divided into two separate but equal classes:  squat bars and weightlifting bars.  There are several reasons for this, but the main reason is what I want to talk about today:  metal squat rack hooks have a detrimental effect on the knurling of a barbell.  The knurling is the rough part of the barbell that is more receptive of chalk and makes it easier to grip, instead of trying to sling a sweaty and slippery object over your head.

I just wrote over 60 words, so here is a visual to keep your attention.  

The knurling is the non-smooth part of the barbell on either side, where you would grip for a clean or snatch.  It serves a purpose, and that is to assist your grip.  Now for a little experiment:  next time you're in the gym, take your hand and run it across the knurling of one of our barbells.  You'll notice it feels quite rough, until you reach the edge near the collars.  This is where the barbell sits in the squat rack, and what you'll immediately notice is that the knurling has been worn down to nothing.  It's now smooth as a baby's bottom.  It's also important to notice that for many taller lifters or those of us blessed with long ape arms, this is exactly where the hands would be placed for a snatch or overhead squat.


Here's a photo of me with a wide grip on the barbell from last year's World Championships.

So let me get to the point:  what can you do to help these poor barbells?  Well, nothing really because they're pretty much already ruined.  But what you can do is not make it worse.  The number one thing that will help is not storing the bars in the racks, and placing them back in the upright storage containers located around the gym.  The second thing is that when the bar is loaded in the rack, try not to shift it around or twist it in your hands prior to liftoff.  This is only wearing the knurling down further.  Hopefully you learned something today, and stay tuned for part 2 where I talk about how the empty barbell likes to be touched.  Hint:  it's not rough, just like our knurlings.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Do You Want To Come To A Party?

Better late than never.  This weekend we will be hosting a BARx Grand Re-Opening Party to celebrate our recent move.  It will be done up just like all of our parties in the past:  pretty half-assed, but just far enough past half-assed that it actually looks somewhat coordinated as though we put in a little effort.  Let's call it .6-assed.

Just like ... Well ... I ... I'm just going to let you make up your own caption for this one.

As some of the more astute readers might notice, this is typically the type of post that Rachel would draft for us.  Unfortunately she's busy getting all wrapped up in the "real world" (welcome, by the way) and taking care of various lawyerings .... I think she specializes in Bird Law.  The main reason we normally let her handle these posts is that I don't pay any attention to all the minor details such as where, when, why, and how we're doing things.  You might also have noticed that I'm yet to mention any such details about this party, and that's mostly because I don't know them off hand.  I was simply told to bring a big cooler full of beer- which I will do.  

Hope everyone likes Costco brand!  It tastes like a Miller High Life that somebody left in the sun for 4 days, but the price is right.

No but seriously, here are the details that I do somewhat remember from the various thousands of emails I get every day:

1.) Show up around noon.  Or 10 minutes late like you do to class.
2.) There will be BBQ, such as burgers and brats maybe.  If anyone mentions the word Pa-lay-oh they will be escorted off the premise.
3.) There will be optional workouts running every 30 minutes or so, depending on demand.  I think they'll involve tire flips and water balloons in some capacity, although I may have dreamed that 2nd thing.
4.) There will be a raffle and prizes, mostly old sweatshirts that we couldn't sell this Winter and nearly expired supplements.
5.) This is a family and friends event.  Bring whoever you want, as long as they're cool.  Even creepy people who just stalk the website and don't come to the gym are invited (this means you mom).

6.) Everyone will have a chance to try out our new director's chairs, which are pretty much just as relevant and clever as the bar stools we originally suggested, but much cheaper.

Wow, I think that's it.  Hope to see everyone on Saturday.  This Saturday, May 2nd.  Did I mention that?