Thursday, October 30, 2014

Brutes and Babes …. But Mostly Babes.

Well it’s time for the moment you've all been waiting for, and the team you've all been dying to hear about … Or maybe it’s just me (remember: my own entertainment is first priority).  Nothing against the rest of the BARx competitors, but naturally I’m going to have more to say about my own team than any other.  Also we are way cooler and better at metconning than you all, and more importantly I feel like our team contributed the most to the weekend’s debauchery.

We also led the way in hilariously mustached judges.  I don’t think that guy understood why I was so excited to meet him.  Notice how I'm just longingly admiring it.

We all know that I had my reservations coming into this weekend so I don’t feel the need to rehash them here.  Having dedicated myself solely to the pursuit of strength for the last year, I waved goodbye to metcons long ago (that’s not entirely true – typically I row about 300 meters for a warm up).  For me to simply say or write that I was helped through this weekend by my teammates is just not enough to give them the credit they deserve.  I needed a way to show it graphically and make it glaringly obvious, using mathematical proof to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that I was carried through these events.  Well here it is:

For the purposes of the event 9-10 analysis, I assumed that each rope climb was 5 reps.  Why?  Because it takes about 5 pulls for the average person to get up there, and they were about 5 times as hard as anything else we did all weekend.

If you’re asking yourself “did he really add up all the reps for each WOD, then calculate his contribution and express it as a percentage in a clustered bar chart?” then you really don’t know me at all.  Just to clarify what you’re seeing here, this is my contribution in terms of reps for each event (or group of events) compared to the AVERAGE contribution of reps from the other team members (the formula is  [total reps – my reps]/5 for anyone who wishes to check my math).  The numbers in the bubbles are how far BELOW that average I was.  What the graph doesn't show is that the workload primarily fell on Dan and Eric, seeing as the majority of the events were evenly divided between female and male reps.  I probably owe both of those dudes a steak dinner, or at least (another) hug.  As Big John and I discussed at one point during the weekend, we were both very correctly type casted for all these events:  do the heavy stuff, keep the reps and heart rate low, and try to stay out of everybody’s way.  It couldn't have worked out any better.

Had I attempted to complete 100 Goblet Squats, I would still be in Springfield scouring the competition floor for the remnants of my kneecaps and dignity. Thank you guys.  Also congratulations!  Although we didn't stay for the award ceremony, I received official word that our team took home the award for "Least Head Hair."  Very prestigious.

While the dudes definitely kept up their end of the bargain, I think we were all most impressed with the ladies of the team.  Take Karen for instance.  I heard talk ever since she joined our gym about how strong and quick this young lady was becoming, but I had no idea how true it was until this weekend.  Having to immediately follow her in a relay-style event on two separate occasions, I can safely say this with the utmost confidence: That. Chick. Can. MOVE.  My favorite Karen moment was walking out to the floor with her before Event 7.  She seemed a little shaky, and finally turned to me and asked “do you get nervous before these events?”  I shook my head and said “no, why would I be nervous?  You’re the one who has to move really fast to give me a prayer at finishing this thing.”

And if this picture was taken from slightly a different angle, you would see me in the background yelling “slow down woman!!”

And then there's Cari. Little Cari who packs a mighty punch and took down every task that was asked of her all weekend.  Although I am still trying to teach her the value of having confidence in herself. I figure I'm the perfect person for the job, because maybe a little of my obnoxious and undeserved OVER-confidence will rub off on her and make us both normal. Clearly the highlight of the entire weekend was her discovery that switching from a pronated (palms away) to a supinated (palms facing) grip on C2B pull ups may just give you the boost you need to finish the work. Or as I like to call it, do the "Cari dance."

This is the Cari dance.  It's pretty simple, just turn your palms in, pump your fists in the air, and make an excited face like a little kid who just discovered ice cream.

Just to hammer the point home one last time.

And finally, I'm not going to triple nipple my own fiancĂ© because let's all just admit right now that's super annoying. It's also unnecessary, simply because she gets all the love and respect she deserves at home ... Which is a lot considering the fact that we always hold ourselves to only the highest standards of excellence in our household.  The only thing I will say is had she not stepped it up big time on those rope climbs, we'd all still be standing there arguing about who's NOT going next ...

Someone commented that our monkey-limbed kids are going to be excellent at climbing rope. To which I responded: "KIDS?!?!?"

All things said and done, the time has come to admit that I had a tremendous amount of fun this weekend. Steph saw right through me from the beginning and kept insisting that I was actually excited to do this whole thing ... I'm here to tell you she was right. More to come on this, but for now I just want to thank you all for letting me be a part of it.

Now I've
The time of my life
No I never felt like this before
Yes I swear
It's the truth
and I owe it all to you .... Jackasses!

WOD 10/31/2014 - Friday

A): Snatch EMOM (Every 2 Minutes perform two Hang Squat Snatch)
B1): Rope Climb (4x1)
B2): Handstand Push-ups (4x Max (strict))

Metcon (Calories)
Partner WOD/10 minute amrap
Athlete 1: row for calories
Athlete 2: perform 10 db burpee cleans (30/20)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How To Lift Like A Bose

If you haven’t quite figured it out yet, I’m doing these HOA posts on a team-by-team basis.  It was the only fair way to make sure everybody gets equal love (on an unrelated note, the next 4 posts will be dedicated to my team).  But today I want to talk about the first BARx scaled team, Salsa Debil.  First off, the team name:  the Spanish to English translation for Salsa Debil is “Weak Sauce.”  Now that’s a pretty hilarious and creative team name … Master’s of BARx take note.

Somehow it’s even funnier when you see it like this.

Unfortunately since this team was in the same division as mine and they were constantly in the heat before ours, I really didn't get to see them compete in a single one of the events for more than a few brief moments.  But just when things were looking dire and I might possibly run the risk of having nothing cool to say, Facebook comes to the rescue:

If that isn't just the most precious thing you've seen all day then you must work in a puppy factory.  Full credit to Mandy's Facebook page for this picture.

This letter from Mandy’s daughter hit the nail right on the end.  Honestly I don’t think I could have said it any better myself.  With a team full of first-time competitors, they certainly had to be up for anything.  And I’ll be damned if every last one of them didn't lift like “boses” all weekend long!  Not only am I pretty sure they all had an awesome time this weekend, but they also managed to eek out a 2nd place finish out of all BARx scaled teams at HOA.  I mean, wow.

As they very quickly figured out, competition is really a peripheral reason that we participate in these events.  If there were points awarded that weekend for elite senses of humor, this team would have been on the podium.

At one point during my warm up for Event 8 (Heavy Thrusters and Pull Up variations) I wandered out to the floor to watch me some Salsa Debil.  I quickly became concerned about the team making it through the C2B portion of the workout (15 reps) because I knew that would be a tough movement.  As Becky churned through her Thrusters I turned to someone next to me and asked "can she even do chest to bar??"  Their answer:  "I think so."

The real answer:  HELL YES SHE CAN.  And quite efficiently I might add.  Side note:  she also learned a valuable lesson about lifting weights this weekend:  while working, you must multitask and continue to intake oxygen and expel CO2.  It's science.

The cool thing about doing a big competition like this is that there are always important takeaways for everyone, and most of the time they have nothing to do with results.  Everyone tends to learn a little something about themselves, and of course you also learn a lot about the people around you.  Sometimes, you learn a little too much about the people around you ...

Sisters always room together and with nobody else.  That's just a rule from now on.

And what would a team full of first-time competitors be without a fearless leader?  I'll let Ed have this one:

"I challenge anyone to find a cooler picture than this one ... It perfectly captures Rachel. It was taken right at the time her partner was [giving] it everything he had with time running low. Instead of stressing about how much time she had left, she stood with this incredible grace and totally consumed by how hard he was working. Maggie showed me the picture as soon as she took it..............I will never forget this moment and something we all can learn from."

I think he nailed it.

And some other cool pics:

Ryan quietly went about crushing everything all weekend .... as per usual.

I'm going to pass on the obvious joke here because it's just too soon.  Instead:  are you still sure about that spot bro?

Kiva, making Kiva face.  And climbing rope like a bose.

And my personal favorite from the weekend.  You know you're doing something right when the team next to you just stands there in awe of how cool you are.  Congrats on a great weekend guys.

WOD 10/30/2014 - Thursday

A): Deadlift (5x5 (5RM))
B): Turkish Get Up (3x3 (each arm - increase weight each round))

Metcon (AMRAP - Rounds and Reps)
20 min amrap
400m run
10 Toes to Bar
20 Pushups
30 Air Squats

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Masters of BARx - Masters of The Universe

While we were almost certain heading into the weekend that they had absolutely no chance at receiving the award for most creative team name, this was definitely the BARx team with the best chance to win, place, or show in their division.  They brought a very well-rounded group in terms of strengths and weaknesses, a Regional Athlete that nearly went to the Games, and most importantly half of their team just crossed the master’s age threshold last weekend.  They were literally the youngest old people out there.

I'm pretty sure we were the only team that was asked for an ID check at the registration booth Friday.  The officials weren't going to do it until they got a glimpse of the Smith's.

Well they certainly did not disappoint.  All weekend long the Masters team put on a clinic in strength, teamwork, and super-cute outfit coordination (led by Amy based on the texts I saw).  While I certainly could spend days talking about all the great stuff they did – Stoob’s easy Clean and Jerks, Lampitt’s monkey-style legless rope climbs, Roger's C2B Pull Ups, Steph's rope climbs, Amy’s Scott’s beautiful head of hair – instead I've decided to focus on something more noteworthy to me personally:  one of their defeats.  Who were they defeated by?  So glad you asked.

FYI, I've been brainstorming ideas for next year’s team name.  What do you guys think of “People From BARx", “BARx Members", or “CrossFitters?”

Event 7 was a triplet that was performed relay-style between two members of each team – one male and one female.  For the scaled and master’s divisions, the movements were 15, 12, and 9 rep rounds of Dumbbell Push Presses (45/30), Hang Power Cleans (155/100), and Box Jumps (24/20).  For the scaled team, it was Karen and I competing.  For the master’s team (the HEAVY favorites) they put out Ed and Steph.  It was on.  In my pre-WOD pep talk (an HOA tradition), I told Karen that there were only two acceptable outcomes for us in this event:

1) We out-score Ed and Steph.
2) She takes long enough with her portion of the work so that I didn't really have to do anything afterwards before the 12 minute time cap runs out.

Well of course that little pit bull doesn't know the meaning of the words “slow down.”  For your convenience, I went ahead and graphed the results of this friendly head-to-head showdown below, along with the respective percentage of actual CrossFitters on each team.

For the official record and just so you understand that I actually had VERY little to do with this, Karen finished her portion of the work (108 reps) in a little under 5 minutes.  That left roughly 7 minutes for me to complete my 108 reps, of which I only made it through 92 (85%) despite being given about 140% the amount of time.  Yes, she’s good.  And yes, I suck.

Afterwards, the excuses began to flow like an avalanche.  Steph blamed the fact that they strategized poorly and she should have gone first.  Ed blamed the fact that he didn't have the proper nutrition before the workout, and after the cleaning crew scraped him off the floor he immediately left to set up a conference call with some of the country’s top nutrition experts and get this anomaly straightened out.

Turns out he was right:  three more grapes with his breakfast would have put his macros in proper alignment and prevented this agonizing defeat by a lanky jackass who’s biggest concern during the WOD was facing the other direction during the push presses.  But those grapes were sour my friend, very sour.

Despite this performance, the team obviously had a stellar weekend which led to their 5th place overall finish.  No small feat considering the competition they were up against (seriously, I saw a 45 year-old woman with 14 abs) and for many of the events it all came down to execution.  There weren't a ton of standout individual performances, just a bunch of great team members doing exactly what they needed to do, exactly when they needed to do it.

Even Rob knew his role very well the entire weekend, and executed with striking efficiency.

If I had to call out one gutsy performance that I witnessed, it would probably be Stoobs taking on the heavy thruster portion of Event 8.  Quivering with fear and waiting for her turn go, she turned to me for some sage advice on the Thruster reps seeing as I had just completed the same portion of the WOD an hour before.  Beer in hand, I told her in my most calm and soothing coach voice:  "don't put down the f***ing bar."

She did not.

Congrats to our BARx Master’s team, you couldn't have made us more proud.  Just think, next year you guys will be even older, even wiser, and even stronger (hmm, "Older Wiser Stronger").  And in 10 years you will all be retired, so you can work out as much as you want!

And in 20 years, Rogers will still be looking, acting, partying, and metconning like a 21-year-old.

WOD 10/29/2014 - Wednesday

A): Shoulder Press (5x5 (5RM))

The Bear Complex (Weight)
5 Rounds
Power Clean
Front Squat
Push Press or Jerk
Back Squat
Push Press or Jerk (behind the neck)

Perform the above movements in order, 7 times for ONE round.  You can rest as long as you like between rounds but should not drop the bar during the reps.  Start very light and work your way up to your heaviest round possible.  Score=Load.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Everybody's Alive ... Pretty Much

We have returned from Heart of America, or as I have started to call it "Tim Picks Up Six Weeks Worth of Post Material."  Literally, something awesome or hilarious happened every minute, on the minute, for about 2.5 days.  We laughed, we cried, and there were so many poop jokes you'd have thought we were on a 7th grade field trip.  While I couldn't possibly recount all of the events here, that's not going to stop me from trying.  I figure I'll just write about it until I am no longer entertained by writing about it - because as we all know 95% of the motivation for these blog posts is my own personal entertainment (the other 5% is to keep me from doing actual work).

Let's start out by talking about the thing I was most concerned with coming into this weekend:  me.  On day 1 I arrive to see custom lifting platforms set up for the first WOD, which just happened to be 1RM Olympic Lifts.  It's almost as if the organizers knew I would be showing up at this event and looking for reasons to bitch, and they did everything possible just to shut me up.  Well it worked.

I know what you're wondering:  did they have custom barbell end caps with the HOA logo on them?  The answer is HELL YES THEY DID!  Side note: nobody else seemed to find this quite as exciting as I did.

I feel it's important to mention that once I found out that I was competing several weeks back, I had to make some slight adjustments to my "goals" for the weekend.  In reality my mind became focused and zeroed in on one overarching thought:  don't get injured you goofy jackass.  Well, it saddens me to report that I did not achieve this goal.  On my first (and final) rope climb of WOD 9, I suffered a category 7 MFer of a rope burn on the tip of my right middle finger.  WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT TO FOLLOW.

You suckers.  The injury isn't bad, this is just my clever way of finally getting to flip you all off for making me do HOA.  Also FYI, the extra 5 feet of height between the rope climb at the event and the one in our gym is like the difference between going up 3 stairs and climbing Mount Everest.

But before you scoff at the severity of this injury, let me remind you of a few things.  First of all, this is my RIGHT MIDDLE FINGER.  That's like my favorite finger!  The psychological damage alone might keep me in bed for a few days.  Had this happened to the left pinkie it wouldn't even be worth mentioning.  Secondly, don't forget what I do for a living: I sit in a chair typing and clicking.  This injury could not have occurred in a more frequently used spot, other than the fat of my ass.  Now I either have to try to avoid typing the letter "I" and commas for a couple weeks, or resort back to hunting and pecking the keys.  Do you have any idea how long this post has already taken me?

Okay I'll stop, but only because I can sense Monica is shaking her little fist in the air and cursing at me right now.  This is all just a nice setup for my first observation of the weekend:  Mon Mon's bravery.  As you may or may not know, she didn't exactly enter the weekend with a 100% health meter, and her back issues only got worse after Friday.  However she was a trooper the entire weekend and did exactly as much as she could, which is all any of us would have asked.  She even managed to keep a positive attitude about the whole thing (is anybody really surprised?)  Not to mention that she did one of the most upright and rigid 205 pound sled drags that the world of CrossFit has ever seen.

If you get a chance this week, ask Monica to recount her Chiro visits from the weekend ... it's like an excerpt from a erotic romance novel.  I'm actually starting to wonder if she's getting injured on purpose ...

In the midst of these setbacks, somehow our Rx team managed to claw their way through the weekend to a respectable finish despite injury to one of its strongest and peppiest team members.

Although Justin did an admirable job of picking up the slack in the "pep" department ... and also single-handedly dominated the Barbell Javelin Toss.  Unfortunately for BARx, this was not a scored event.

As a matter of fact, this is a good time to Triple Nipple the entire Rx team.  They did some really impressive stuff this weekend despite the injuries ... let's not forget the fact that Abby was out of the gym for 4 weeks before the event due to an unprovoked barbell attack.  I'm convinced that when she claims to "take time off," she's really just at home secretly doing sets of 50 power cleans in her basement and chewing on barbed wire ... how else does she always come back so damn strong?

Also after watching Susie on the pull up rig Sunday, we have decided to officially rename Toes To Bar to "Susies."  As the only fully healthy female on the team, I'm going to venture a guess that those shoulders are a little sore right about now.  While I managed to sneak out of the weekend at a little under 200 total reps, she probably did about 600.

But perhaps the greatest Rx moment came during the final WOD of the weekend, when the Rx guys gave the crowd exactly what they wanted to see and finally stripped off their shirts before the tire flips.  You know, because you don't want any loose fitting apparel getting caught on the treads mid-flip ... Or something like that.  Nathan led the way, not only in shirt removal but also in badass tattoos and manly tufts of chest hair.  He was followed shortly by Justin and the crowd began a hootin' and a hollerin'.  But moments later we were at last brought to our feet when Donny accepted the inevitable and joined the bare-chested bro-fest.  He would like the record to show that he did so quite reluctantly.

Two unfortunate spectators happened to be seated in the BARx cheering section during this debauchery, and I overheard their conversation:
Spectator 1:  What the hell are they cheering for?
Spectator 2:  I think it's because those guys took their shirts off.

Hands down, the most physically attractive team at the event.  Congratulations guys.

Tuesday 10/28/2014 - WOD

A): Back Squat (5x5 (5RM))
B1): Pistols (3x5 (each leg))
B2): GHD Situps (3x10 (or banded sit-ups))

Metcon (Time)
200m Farmers Walk (53/35)
   3 rounds of
   10 Pullups
   20 Wallballs (20/14)
200m Farmers Walk (53/35)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

See You On The Other Side ... Of These Metcons

This will be my last post until we return from the Heart Of America, as I will be intensely focused on dominating some wods staying alive for the next 3 days.  Should I not return, I bequeath the jerk blocks to the greater BARx community, my Eleiko Barbell to nobody (bury me with it), and my moldy old thigh sleeves to Brian and Ed (they each get one).

We are no doubt ready for an exciting weekend, with an extremely exciting unveiling about to take place.  That's right, the BARx Box In A Box, a.k.a the BARx Porta-Gym (patent pending) is poised to make it's very first appearance outside of the realm of Facebook.

And It.



Barbells, rowers, plates, kettlebells, and livestock.  You name it, we got it.

Yes, that's right, as if we needed another reason to be made spectacle of at this event, now we have a trailer full of equipment and our own personal warm up area to attract on-lookers.  I'm sure there will be throngs of people lining up to get a look, and not just because of my futuristic double-unders or Ed's patented 90 minute fool-proof warm up routine.  No, they'll want to see the trailer too.  And maybe get Steph's autograph.

So I must leave you now, it's time to pack.  This is the hardest part for me, as I always seem to forget something ....

Snacks for the ride?

Check!  I wonder what Lauren's bringing ...

Booty shorts, knee-high socks (so people know I'm a CrossFitter), and color-coordinated outfits for each individual WOD?

Check!  Note to self:  spray tan your thighs before Friday.


CHECK!  Springfield here we come!

10/24/2014 - Friday

1): Metcon (AMRAP - Reps)
4 Rounds (For Reps)
3:00 min to complete
400m run
Wall ball with remaining time (20/14)
2:00 min rest between each round

2): Metcon (Time)
5:00 minutes rest
4 Rounds for Time
15 situps
15 kbs (53/35)

10/25/2014 - Saturday

A): Front Squat (3x3 @ 75%)
B): Clean (Skill work)

Metcon (AMRAP - Rounds and Reps)
10 Minute AMRAP (115/75 for all lifts)
1 Deadlift
1 Hang Power Clean
1 Front Squat
1 Push Press
5 burpee penalty if weight settles on ground

I Can't Help But Feel ...

Somewhat responsible.  You see, I messed up this week.  As some of you may have noticed - and as one of you DEFINITELY noticed - the skills have switched days.  But I forgot to give the customary 6-week notice prior to them changing, as was agreed upon in the contracts that you all signed that never existed.  And now Brooks has gone missing.  Nobody can find him, and the current best guess is that he's completely lost his mind and holed up in a damp cave somewhere in New Zealand.

Why does they change the skillz so often without informing Smeagol? For the purposes of this analogy, picture Brooks in the fetal position clutching a printed out listing of the old skill days and repeating "my precious" over and over.

If these jokes are lost on you, then perhaps you're the one living in a cave.  Or maybe I'm just a bigger nerd than I thought.  Without further ado, here are the new skill day assignments, and not a second too soon:

Monday - Bench
Tuesday - Back Squat
Wednesday - Press
Thursday - Deadlift
Friday - Front Squat
Saturday - Make Up

In other news, Steph has decided we need to do something for Halloween, which I'm told is coming up later this month.  So we will be handing out Rx Bars to anyone who's brave enough to wear a costume to the gym on the 31st.  I already heard some buzz the other day about this event, and a little bird told me Eric Z is super excited to finally get to try out his Wonder Woman costume ...

You owe the censors a huge thank you ... He was doing Good Mornings.

10/23/2014 - WOD

A): Deadlift (3x3 @ 75%)
B1): Bent Over Row (3x8)
B2): Single Leg RDLs (3x8)

Christine (Time)
3 Rounds for time:  
500m Row  
12 Deadlifts, bodyweight 
21 Box Jumps, 20"

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


So we’re over the halfway point of the BARx Diet Challenge, which may have a more official name but if so, I definitely forgot it already.  At this point (in theory) you've given your new lifestyle a pretty good shot for the last 4-5 weeks.  So it’s probably about time to ask yourself a very important question:  are you making any progress?

We've definitely made progress with cool new tag lines:  “We’re going red!” is the new phrase to use whenever you intentionally plan on eating and drinking like crap for an upcoming event.

As you know, progress can come in many forms depending on your goals:  weight loss, strength gains, feeling better, etc.  But sometimes the hardest part of committing yourself to something might be having to admit that whatever you’re doing is not working.  It’s like buying a new pair of lifting shoes, and you absolutely L.O.V.E the way they make your calves look ... but on the inside they are rubbing blisters on your feet in six places and causing painful bone spurs.

Wait, that’s not a lifting shoe ...

So it’s time to be honest with yourself.  Is Paleo really working for you by causing positive changes in your health and performance, or are you just so indoctrinated that you’ll continue to do it no matter what?  Has adding 300 grams of carbs per day really helped your performance in some way, or is it just a delicious way of justifying all those donuts?  Has adding those extra 4 workouts a week made you fitter, or do you now indefinitely avoid making right hand turns of the steering wheel due to shoulder pain?

Fun fact:  I can make it all the way from the gym to my house with only left hand turns.  Believe me, it was necessary for about 6 months.  Incidentally, this is also a good time for a safety lecture:  ALWAYS hook grip your steering wheel.

10/22/2014 - WOD

A): Shoulder Press (3x3 @ 75%)
B1): Ring Rows (3x10 (as difficult as possible))
B2): Plank Holds (3x1:00 (weighted if possible))

Metcon (Time)
7 Rounds For Time
7 Pullups
7 Jerks (115/75)

7 Burpees