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

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Almost ...

HOA is only a few days away, and thanks to our amazing coaching staff I am almost passable as a CrossFitter ... Almost.  Saturday Steph taught me to climb up a rope like a champion spelunker (pretty sure that makes no sense).  Turns out it's a hell of a lot easier if you actually use your legs.

Also, how long do you think it takes to develop giant calluses on the base of your shins?

I also found something else out this weekend:  Double Unders hurt my knees.  Wait, technically I have no evidence to back up that claim.  What I mean to say is Double Under ATTEMPTS hurt my knees.  Still not sure about actual Double Unders, as I am trying to learn to do them Monica-style where you don't flail around like a deranged primate.  Not only did we test the limits of my coordination this morning, but also the depths of her patience as I griped about every single thing she made me do.

Still don't really understand how patting my head and rubbing my tummy for 35 minutes is going to help my DU ... But I trust the process.

Please note that there are some schedule changes coming up this weekend due to HOA.  Wodify has been updated, and here is a screen shot for your convenience:

Big thanks to Brian for filling in for a couple classes.  Try not to terrify our members too much.

And last but not least, here are your nutrition leaders for this week:

We get it girls, you can have a cookie now.

10/20/2014 - WOD

A): Bench Press (3 x 3 at 75%)
B1): Ring Dips (3 x Max Reps)
B2): Windmills (3 x 10 (5 Each Side))

Metcon (Time)
For Time
400m run
50 DB ground to overhead (35/25)
100 air squats
50 burpees
400m run
(db ground to overhead, squats and burpees can be broken up anyway athlete wants to)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Get Down There

Paused squats.  Is there anything worse?  Your arms and face go numb, black spots dancing in front of your eyeballs, the music fades out in the background ... and then you stand up (or you don't).  I'm sure you've done them before, I used to program them from time to time and ask you to do a 3 count, or 3 Mississippis, in the bottom.  Most reps turn into about 1/8 of a single Mississippi.

It's not your fault.  After doing some research, this is what happens to time when you're at rock bottom with a heavy weight on the back of your shoulders.  Trippy.  Front squats are similar, except for some reason there are leprechauns floating around in there.  And not the Lucky Charms kind, the 90s Jennifer Aniston movie kind.

So why would anyone want to subject themselves to this punishment?  Because they make you awesome, that's why.  Every day I see people struggling with some portion of the bottom of the squat, whether it's simply the mobility to get down there, the ability to stay tight, or managing the transition.  Pausing in the bottom helps all of these things.  Even if they're not programmed, feel free to jam a few sets in there during your warm ups or whenever .... especially if you're someone who could use some improvement in any of the items listed above (read:  everyone).

Personally, I do them once a week.  And being cool like me should be reason enough for you to get on board with this.  Every Thursday morning I go down in the basement, put on some early 2000s rock, and torture myself with 5-6 sets of these bad boys.

Don't worry, I'll pump up the Lifehouse to wake your from your black out.

Important Programming Note:  Rope Climbs on Friday!

Bring tall socks, sweat pants, boots, hockey shin gaurds, whatever you need.

10/16/2014 - Thursday

A): 1 Hang Snatch + 1 Snatch Balance + 1 OHS (Every 2 Minutes for 20 Minutes)
B): 1-Arm Dumbbell Press (3 x Max Reps (each arm))
** Rest 1-2 minutes between sets.  Use a weight that allows you to get 8-12 reps, and increase each set.

Metcon (AMRAP - Reps)
12 minutes for reps
Every 2:00 minutes alternate between (1:30 work/:30 rest)
Run 200m, max jumping lunges
Run 200m, Dumbbell Hang Squat Cleans (35/20)

10/17/2014 - Friday

A): Bench Press (1 x 10)
B): Bench Press (1 x 8)
C): Bench Press 

Rope Climb (Skill Work)
Metcon (Time)
For time, break up however you want:
4 rope climbs
60 KB Snatches (alternating arms)
50 Calorie Row

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Mean …

You know better than to send me anything, especially if it’s related to diet while we’re in the midst of a challenge.  For these reasons, I assume this was sent to me because she is truly proud of it and wanted it posted.  Hell, I would be.  And as an FYI to the rest of you, if you’re headed to Vegas this is how you do it right:

Think about it.  This means there wasn’t even a 3 hour timeframe over the course of 5 days where she just refrained from eating or drinking at all.  Like I said, impressive.

Since it’s so not like me to call somebody out like this, I’m going to let you in on a little not-so-guilty pleasure of my own:  Peanut Butter Spoons.  Here’s the conversation at my house last night:

Me:  (excited look on face) Tonight I’m going to teach you about Peanut Butter Spoons!!
Lauren:  Is that where you put peanut butter on a spoon and eat it?
Me: (dejected look on my face) Well … Yeah.

It’s not quite that simple though.  Here are the detailed steps you’ll need to follow to make it happen:

1.) Measure out 4-6 TBSP of Peanut Butter, and enter into your “Pie” (MyFitnessPal).
2.) Pump fist in the air because you still have 115 grams of fat left today.
3.) Make a really thick protein smoothie.
4.) Cover the spoon in peanut butter, then dip into the smoothie and eat.  Enjoy a little peanut butter with each bite.
5.) Thank me for improving your life.

VERY IMPORTANT:  Don’t try to use that organic all natural crap.  Choosy Tims choose Jif.  And I swear if you even try to suggest using creamy ....

10/15/2014 - WOD

A): Deadlift (1 x 10)
B): Deadlift (1 x 8)
C): Deadlift (1 x 6)
D): Muscle-ups (Skill Work)

Metcon (AMRAP - Reps)
For Reps with Partner
2 Rounds of:
2:00 Air squats (partner holds bottom of squat while other works)
2:00 Deadlifts (185/135) (partner holds farmers carry 53/35)
2:00 Hand release pushups (partner holds straight arm plank)
2:00 Toes To Bar (partner holds v-sit)

2:00 minutes rest

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Recovery: Me, You, and Josh Bridges

I've had some interesting conversations as of late about just how much working out is too much.  All of which of course have been with people who are beat up and struggling from doing too much, with one exception (hint:  he just snatched a PR with many red plates).  I hesitated at first to write about this because I don't want anyone to take it out of context and be dissuaded from doing constant hard work:  this is the key to success in any endeavor.  Except getting a tan - anybody can do that, some of us just choose not to.

Don't make fun of me, I will bring the lightening down upon you.

But let's face it:  we're all type A personalities, or else we wouldn't be at BARx to begin with.  We all want that next PR tomorrow morning, and are willing to do 17 sets of squats today to get it.  The problem is that there is a definite continuum of individual recovery ability, graphed below for your viewing pleasure.  Some of it is genetics, and some it is just a matter of how long you've been exposed to the workout volumes (longer = better).  Building up that tolerance is matter of small incremental increases over the course of years and decades.  It's not jumping from 3 workouts a week to 6.  It's not jumping from 1 squat workout a week to 4.

Been way too long since we had a useful graph on this website.

So how much is too much?  I have no idea, that's why I'm usually hurt.  HOWEVER, I do know that your body will tell you when you've overdone it.  You just have to listen.  And when those days come, you may have to make some tough decisions, like taking a little weight off the bar or reducing the amount of reps.  And that's okay, and nobody is going to make fun of you for that.

We will make fun of you for stuff like this though.

Another question that commonly comes up is when to shut it down completely if you're injured, beat up, or just really sore.  The answer is never.  Never shut it down.  You can always do SOMETHING.  Back hurts?  Do Front Squats.  Front hurts?  Do Back Squats.  You get the point.  I just read an article about a weightlifter who messed up her wrist.  Guess what she's doing for the next 12 weeks?  Squatting.

Nutrition standing as of 10 minutes ago.  Hang in there, and put down that muffin! Or, pick up that muffin! (depending on your goals and diet)

10/13/2014 - WOD

A): Back Squat (1 x 10)
B): Back Squat (1 x 8)
C): Back Squat (1 x 6)
2 Minute Max HSPU (AMRAP - Reps)
Complete as many HSPU as possible in 2 minutes (Benchmark)
** Rest 3 Minutes aferwards
1 Minute Max T2B (AMRAP - Reps)
Complete as many Toes To Bar as possible in 1 minute

Metcon (Time)
For Time
KBS (53/35)
Box Jumps (24/20)
400m run BETWEEN rounds