Monthly Archives: April 2012

Athlete Spotlight – Icee

It has been so much fun getting to know all of you via the Athlete Spotlight interview.  You are all so inspiring and unique.  It’s been awesome!! And today, I have the privilege of introducing to you, Icee Paramio.  They say best things come in small packages…well, Icee is no exception to that rule.  You see a tiny young lady come in, but you get some awesome and intense results!  In the short time she has been with us, Icee has demonstrated excellence in athleticism and consistency.  She’s such a pleasure to have around!!!

Super Icee!!

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I have been doing Crossfit for two months.

How did you hear about CrossFit Merge?

My boyfriend and friend train here occasionally, and recommended that I crush WODs here 🙂 Apparently, they know I am looking for somewhere to train where I would feel welcomed!

What was your first CrossFit Merge WOD experience like?

I remember that it was not the physical aspect of it that overwhelmed and touched me, but the mental side of it. I was nervously anticipating the torture, and was so scared I’d embarrass myself, trip over a barbell or something like that… Don’t get me wrong, it was very challenging (and consisted of movements that I love to do – wallballs, kettlebell swings, push ups), but the fact that I got through it okay gave me a sense of accomplishment and validation that I can be bad-a$$. Sorta… 🙂 and I couldn’t sleep that night just thinking “I gotta do it again!”

What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?

I’m a pretty straightforward person, so people around me generally know what I’m up to and what/how I think. But I’d like other people to know that not all bankers are bad… I am one of those lucky people who loves their job. My job allows me to help protect the financial system from being exploited by criminals and terrorists… Okay boring… Back to Crossfit… I am actually stubborn and generally cannot let people tell me what to do but for some reason I am like an obedient puppy following masters’ orders at Merge 😉 like:

Bryce: “Pick up the bar in… 3-2-1!”

Me (in my head): “OMG! Yes I’m doing it, now stop counting…” LOL

What is your greatest CrossFit Merge accomplishment thus far?

There are two things I consider my greatest accomplishments thus far:

– Being selected to be in the Athlete Spotlight. I am deeply honored to have been thought of as someone who can share something of value by being featured here 🙂

– Having vastly improved my mental game.  I am still shaking my head just thinking of the things I never thought I couldn’t do but did anyway. There are too many to mention.

What is your favorite WOD and why?

Anything with lifting and bodyweight movements.  I also have a love-hate relationship with wallballs, box jumps and burpees!

Least favorite WOD and why?

Tabatas. I have only done them once so far and it is the only one that sort of discouraged me. Come on, 8-10 seconds of rest?!!?!!!!!

Anything with running/sprinting and rows come second.

What advice would you give a new member?

First of all, I am a beginner myself so I humbly offer my insights on somebody trying out Crossfit…

Crossfit + Nutrition + Friends/Community = Success

Crossfit.  It is no surprise that Crossfit is a physical endeavor (a quick Google search shows the benefits, etc) However, what truly makes it work for you is that Crossfit trains your mind. Your mind is still the master of your body, free your mind and you will continually astonish yourself.  There is limitless potential, but of course, never compromise safety and technique.  There will always be a next time, and next time you will be better.  Shirley (one of my friends who recently joined Merge) once shared with me “It’s Me vs Me”, and she couldn’t have said it better.  So don’t worry about the other numbers on the board that don’t belong to you.

Nutrition. More than half of the battle is in the kitchen.  Garbage in, garbage out, always keep in mind that you are eating for performance (and that dream bod, right? ;-)).  I have been on Paleo since the beginning of the year, and reaped significant gains in terms of energy, physique and overall mood/health.  

Friends/Community. Make friends, form/join a support group to get into the groove of WODing and/or eating right. There is always something you can learn from others, and/or others can learn from you.  I can never thank my friends and the Crossfit Merge community enough for the support. Shirley and Miguel (my cave family), Delyn and Pat (the mafia), Rambert and Cindy (my Crossfit mentors), and of course, the coaches (thanks for being great cheerleaders!) 🙂 and everybody else who has given me kind and encouraging words when I was huffing and puffing during a WOD… I may have not acknowledged you at the time (since I can’t breathe) but I greatly appreciate it!

And lastly… load up on that fish oil (everyday) and ice pack (for 10 minutes after a WOD) for a speedy (and generally painless) recovery 😀

Out of all the hours in the day (both sleeping and awake) how much time do you spend working out? Thinking about CrossFit? Dreaming it? Watching vids? etc.

Uhm… More than I should? When the WODs are posted, I look up vids and tips on the correct techniques. I also visualize doing the WOD in my head… Uhm next question please, unless you want people to think I’m obsessed. (I’m not??!!!!)

If you could have only 3 electrical appliances in your house, what would they be and why?

Fridge, TV and cellphone (is this an appliance??) Easy – food, entertainment and social interaction. 🙂

Why can’t we tickle ourselves?

Because that would be kinda creepy. And I believe physically impossible. Not that I tried but…

If you were a character on a tv show, which one would you be and why?

Nobody. I’m me! 🙂

Would you rather have the power to be invisible or the power to read minds? Why?

Read minds.  Hello, who kicked a$$ more, Jean Grey in X-Men or Invisible Woman in Fantastic Four? Uhm yeah, I guess I like Marvel superheroes…

Where do you see yourself in 1 year?

Hopefully to have a slow motion video of me doing muscle ups, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet style 😉

Your enthusiasm and determination are truly an inspiration and undoubtedly contageous.  Who needs Marvel Superheroes…Icee, you are one of our superheroes!  Keep up the good work.  That slow motion muscle up is a lot closer than you think!

Intermediate Skill:

Push Jerk

3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3

Workout of the Day (WOD)

21-15-9 reps of:

Squat clean and jerks or squat clean to thrusters (95# for men/63# for women)
Pull-ups (chest to bar for advanced)

All Levels Skill:

Push Jerk

3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3

Workout of the Day (WOD)

21-15-9 reps of:

Dumbbell thrusters (35# for men/20# for women)
Pull-ups (chest to bar for advanced)

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Top 11 Tips for a CrossFitter

1. Breakfast is everything. If I can convince you to eat meat and eggs for breakfast, the other meals are usually OK. If you negotiate with me about having probiotic yogurt instead of meat and eggs, we’re in trouble.

2. I can get someone 70% of the way there in the Olympic lifts in about 3 hours. At that point, the limiting factor for men is usually shoulder and hip mobility. For women, its front squat and overhead squat strength out of the bottom.

3. If you aren’t a total idiot with what you eat, you should set a PR pretty much every time you step in the gym for the first 2 years.

4. The shorter the workout, the longer the warmup should be. You need to warmup for 35 minutes for Fran. You need to warmup for 5 minutes for Murph.

5. Unweighed unmeasured Paleo eating works best if you’ve done “The Zone” first. Your Zone experience will give you a ballpark idea of how much you should be eating. If you don’t come from a “Zone” background, you’ll likely do things like sit down and eat 85 Macadamia nuts and wonder why you aren’t losing any weight.

6. As you get better, you need to take a back off week about every fourth week (not because of injury). You can still come in and workout, but take some more rest days and just chill out.

7. You don’t need to learn to butterfly kip. Seriously, stop it. You are going to hurt yourself and you’d be much better off working toward a bodyweight press.

8. Dumbbells are the most under appreciated piece of equipment in the gym.

9. Prior runners do not need supplementary running to improve their run times. People without a running background do. I think this mostly has to do with learning to pace correctly.

10. You can’t just train weaknesses. It’s too depressing. Every now and then, pick something you are amazing at and crush it.

11. You can get away with a lot of inefficiencies if you’ve got a strong grip. Do more farmers’ carries.

This repost comes courtesy of Jon at Barbells and Bacon

And here’s a pretty inspiring video from the great CrossFitting that went on this past weekend as The CrossFit Games Regionals kicked off.  


Fitness then Brunch

Wish you could wake up Saturday morning, go to CrossFit, then head off with your friends to grab some brunch (something with cage free eggs of course)?  Well, give that plan a try this Saturday by coming to our new 9am class.  That’s right, we now have a 9am class on Saturday.  Truth be told, I don’t even care about the brunch part, just show up to the 9am class because the workout is going to effing rock.

You are some intense, BAMF.  This reminds me of training my platoon in the Marine Corps, but with way more Bon Jovi tunes.

Thursday’s Skill:

3 sets of max: push-ups, true push-ups, or ring dips

Workout of the Day (WOD)

15 minute AMRAP of:

7 burpees

10 kettlebell snatches (53#/35# for women) 

14 lunges

*Beginners will substitute kettlebell swings for snatches

Jose, Steph, and Fred experiencing that wonderful feeling that you only get mid-WOD.  


What Defines Success?

It’s typical to celebrate success.  We clap, cheer, talk about it.  But we fail to realize all the work and effort that came behind that birth of that success.   We walk into a gym and see one of our athletes linking a bunch of kipping pull-ups.  The rest of us look at her in awe and wish we could do the same.  We may even feel discouraged because we can’t do that just yet.  But did you ever stop to watch as this athlete practiced day in and day out the kipping pull-up?  She would come in early to class and practice.  Stay late and practice.  And now, after several months of hard work, effort, and determination, she’s able to link them all together.  Yes, lets celebrate our success, but lets not fail to realize all the work that goes behind reaching that point.

The following article entitled The Problem With Success is excellent!  I found it very inspiring and truly relevant on how I measure my success in comparison to others:

Process is a hard thing to sell. Nobody wants to buy the album of outtakes and mistakes, of wrong turns and misfires. They want the good stuff, the polished stuff, the mixed down and EQ’d stuff.

So that’s what we’re sold. In advertising, instead of seeing the sixty hour work weeks and the sleepless nights, we just see the guy and the new car and the wife who’s ten years younger and three times better looking. In the papers, instead of reading about the years spent refining skills, we get Jeremy Lin scoring twenty-five. Like it just happened one day. Like he just needed the chance to play. We get the correlation, but not the causation because it’s far easier to celebrate results. They’re often so nicely packaged, wrapped up so neatly it’s easy to imagine them just beyond our grasp.

But it’s a little bit like staring at a chicken and hoping for an omelette. Without process, we have nothing.

My entire life, I’ve wanted to be more, to be better than I was. As a kid, I would’ve given anything to be a better basketball player. My twenties were a wash of wishes–to be a better writer, a photographer, to be more adventurous and less fearful. And in every instance, my definition of success was other people. I want a jumpshot like he has. I want to write like she does. But never once did I wish to work as hard as he did or for as long as she would, because the problem with success is it hides all the work.

Call it the overnight sensation syndrome, the illusion accomplishment just happens, that success is a result of talent and not effort.

But life is a scalable system. You don’t become good at anything without a cross section of complimentary skills, all of which require a certain amount of mastery. In his book “The Art of Learning,” chess master and Tai Chi champion Josh Waitzkin calls this making smaller circles, advising us to “plunge into the detailed meaning of the micro in order to understand what makes the macro tick.”

The plunge requires a conscious breaking-down of the necessary elements inherent in the success. Without mastering the most basic elements, we can never hope to develop competence at the most complex levels. I’ll never be a better photographer if I don’t understand exposure. I’ll never get a better jumpshot without understanding follow through.

Without this, we are left adrift in the ocean of our own unchecked expectations. We see the shoreline, but leave it to indifferent tides to push and pull us there.

When I measure myself against the success of another, and I fail to consider the differences in elemental mastery between us and the effort necessary to close that gap, I will always fall short. For some, this might inspire action. But for many, myself included for too many years, it can lead to frustration, self-pity and, eventually, the ultimate defeat: convincing ourselves we no longer want something simply because the universe demands we go farther to get it.

To truly understand success, we must look beyond it to the work hidden in its shadow. We must pull the work out from its hiding place and examine it. We must worship it like we do the accomplishments it gives birth to.

Wednesday’s Intermediate Skill:

Snatches

2 – 2 – 2 – 2

Workout of the Day (WOD):

5 rounds of:
20 overhead squats (75# for men/53# for women)
50 double-under

then 25 wall ball shots (20# for men/14# for women)

Beginner’s Skill:

Front squats

5 – 4 – 3 – 3

Workout of the Day (WOD)

5 rounds of:
20 wall ball shots
100 single-unders

then 20 burpees

Power Hour

‘Lynne’

5 rounds for max reps of:
bodyweight bench press
pull-ups

Post time to comments


Straight Talk

Sometimes, you just have hit people with some straight talk.  This post comes from Talk to Me Johnnie.

ALWAYS HUNGERY

By John | Published: April 24, 2012

I recently read your post about leaning out; I am currently 5’11″, 235 lbs with a lean body mass around 170-175 lbs. I would like to get my weight down since I am not a football player and just trying to enjoy life and tend to engage in recreational cardio sports, (Basketball, Ultimate Frisbee, ect). I have several times tried to go “clean” on my diet, cutting out most dairy and simple carbs like you talked about in your “Leaning Out” post. I always seem to quickly lose a tremendous amount of weight, then crash and eat poorly again. I know this is due to the calorie deficient and my body wanting the weight to be lost at a slower pace. When I eat clean, it’s usually fruit, lean meats, nuts, eggs and vegetables. Again, when I do this the weight comes off fast, but I can never stick to the diet. What would you suggest, a glass of whole milk at each meal?

Just a little insight into what my normal activity is like, I play basketball twice a week, follow CrossFit or Crossfit Football (I switch back and forth) and work at a restaurant on my feet 3-4 nights a week. Other than that, I am a sedentary student.

Thank you for your time,

J****a S******t

What do I recommend?

How about growing up. Stop being a child, take some accountability and have some follow through. If you want to get your weight down so you can be more competitive at Ultimate Frisbee (5 years ago I would have kicked my own ass for uttering these words), then don’t crash and emotionally stuff your face with donuts. You are not an 18-year-old girl who just moved away from home and is enjoying unlimited soft serve in the college dining common.

Second, how about proof reading your emails before you send them. A small piece of me died while reading all of the spelling and grammatical errors in your email. If you are a college student, I expect more. Hopefully, at some point you won’t be working at a restaurant and you will have to use your education to kick in life’s door. I took my valuable time to edit your email, as I would not post it the way you sent it. Why? Because it would make us both look moronic.

You even misspelled “Hungery” in your subject line. Hungry is not commonly spelled with an “e”, unless you are sending this email via time machine from 1846. The only other place I found the word “Hungery”, was in Urban Dictionary.

Finally, years ago my dad gave me the secret to success in life:

Consistency.

He told me to get up early each day and work. And to take everything I did with great pride; success breeds success.

Tuesday’s Skill

Push Press

3-3-3-3-3

Workout of the Day (WOD):

12 minute AMRAP of:

5 dumbbell shoulder to overhead (50#/30# for women)

7 box jumps (24″/20″ for women)

Anyone else getting excited about Regionals?


The Push Press

The push press is an excellent exercise.   When performed correctly, it can provide some awesome benefits such as helping to develop power.  It also conditions the deltoid muscle of the shoulder to handle heavier weights (since it adds an “umph” to the press).  Additionally, it improves coordination. 

Here’s an excellent video on the push press from Freddy Camacho of CrossFit One World.

Intermediate Skill

Power cleans
2 – 2 – 2 – 2 – 2

Workout of the Day (WOD):

5 rounds for time of:
7 power cleans (135# for men/93# for women)
7 front squats (135# for men/93# for women)
200 meter run

All Levels/Beginner Skill

Deadlift
5 – 5 – 5 – 3 – 3

Workout of the Day (WOD):

12 min AMRAP of:
10 kettlebell swings
7 goblet squats
100 meter run

Great job, everyone!


How’d Ya Sleep?

If you’re like me, and have a bunch of things to do under a deadline, what often gets compromised is your sleep.  Bed time rolls arounds, but there you are, still awake watching TV or on the computer.  

You train really hard and efficiently at CrossFit, but the results and progress don’t magically happen at the gym, in the middle of a workout.  The rest and recovery you do once you leave the gym is when the body adapts to the exercise.  Take a look at the below graphic to see how you can improve your sleep.


Regionals!

Anyone interested in attending the CrossFit SoCal Regional competition?  The best men, women, and CrossFit teams in southern California will be competing at the Pomona Fairplex on May 11th to May 13th.  

These dedicated athletes are vying for a few precious spots to compete on the big stage, The 2012 CrossFit Games at the Home Depot Center in July.  The Regional competition is going to be huge, just look at the workouts below.

Thursday’s Skill:

Press

3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3

Workout of the Day (WOD):

Tabata power cleans (155#/103# for women)

Rest 1 minute

Tabata sit-ups

Rest 1 minute

Tabata burpees

Beginners will substitute sumo deadlift high pulls for power cleans.

Count the lowest score for each Tabata.


Recovery

Being consistent with your workouts is essential to your improvement in CrossFit.  However, so is your rest and recovery.  Getting enough rest and working on aiding muscle recovery is of utmost importance in order to become as healthy and as strong as possible.  Here are 10 Ways to Recover Quickly After Exercise:

  1. Cool Down. Cooling down simply means slowing down (not stopping completely) after exercise. Continuing to move around at a very low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes after a workout helps remove lactic acid from your muscles and may reduce muscles stiffness. warming up and cooling down are more helpful in cooler temperatures or when you have another exercise session or an event later the same day.
  2. Replace Fluids. You lose a lot of fluid during exercise and ideally, you should be replacing it during exercise, but filling up after exercise is an easy way to boost your recovery. Water supports every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body and having plenty of water will improve every bodily function. Adequate fluid replacement is even more important for endurance athletes who lose large amounts of water during hours of sweating.
  3. Eat Properly. After depleting your energy stores with exercise, you need to refuel if you expect your body to recover, repair tissues, get stronger and be ready for the next challenge. This is even more important if you are performing endurance exercise day after day or trying to build muscle. Ideally, you should try to eat within 60 minutes of the end of your workout and make sure you include some high-quality protein and complex carbohydrate.
  4. Stretch. After a tough workout, consider gentle stretching. This is a simple and fast way to help your muscles recover.
  5. Rest. Time is one of the best ways to recover (or heal) from just about any illness or injury and this also works after a hard workout. Your body has an amazing capacity to take care of itself if you allow it some time. Resting and waiting after a hard workout allows the repair and recovery process to happen at a natural pace. It’s not the only thing you can or should do to promote recovery, but sometimes doing nothing is the easiest thing to do.
  6. Perform Active Recovery. Easy, gentle movement improves circulation which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body. In theory, this helps the muscles repair and refuel faster.
  7. Have a Massage. Massage feels good and improves circulation while allowing you to fully relax. You can also try self-massage and Foam Roller Exercises for Easing Tight Musclesand avoid the heavy sports massage price tag.
  8. Take an Ice Bath. Some athletes swear by ice baths, ice massage or contrast water therapy (alternating hot and cold showers) to recover faster, reduce muscle soreness and prevent injury. The theory behind this method is that by repeatedly constricting and dilating blood vessels helps remove (or flush out) waste products in the tissues. Limited research has found some benefits of contrast water therapy at reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).How to use contrast water therapy: While taking your post-exercise shower, alternate 2 minutes of hot water with 30 seconds of cold water. Repeat four times with a minute of moderate temperatures between each hot-cold spray. If you happen to have a spa with hot and cold tubs available, you can take a plunge in each for the same time.
  9. Get Lots of Sleep. While you sleep, amazing things are taking place in your body. Optimal sleep is essential for anyone who exercises regularly. During sleep, your body produces Growth Hormone (GH) which is largely responsible for tissue growth and repair.
  10. Avoid Overtraining. One simple way to recovery faster is by designing a smart workout routine in the first place. Excessive exercise, heavy training at every session or a lack of rest days will limit your fitness gains from exercise and undermine your recovery efforts.

Wednesday’s Intermediate Skill

Power snatch

2 – 2 – 2 – 2 – 2

Workout of the Day (WOD):

Every minute, on the minute, for 10 minutes:

3 thrusters (95# for men/63# for women)
4 chest to bar pull-ups
5 power snatches (95# for men/63# for women)

*For every missed round, run 200 meters at the end of the WOD

Beginner’s Skill

1 Press + 3 Push Presses

4 sets increasing the load each set

Workout of the Day (WOD):

15 minute AMRAP:

5 knees to elbows
10 dumbbell push presses
Farmers carry to the driveway and back with dumbbells

Power Hour

12 sets of 2 rep back squats at 80% of 1 rep max
Rest 60 seconds in between sets

1 minute AMRAP of:
HSPU (sub with abmats or piked hspu)
30 seconds rest
1 minute AMRAP of:
Ring dips (sub dips with band or jumping dips or box dips)
30 seconds rest
1 minute AMRAP of:
Push-ups

Nothing but fun during Power Hour!
HSPU’s anyone?

Post times to comments


All The Haps

Here’s an update for everyone on things we have going on here at Merge.  

Saturday Dinner Outing

This Saturday, April 21 at 7:30pm at Saladang Thai Fusion, come join your CrossFitting mates for a great meal and a night out.  Be sure to RSVP to Coach Marianoel (marianoel@crossfitmerge.com).

Saladang Thai Fusion

363 South Fair Oaks Ave

Pasadena, CA 91105

New Classes

Starting Monday, April 23, we will have two new classes added to the schedule.  Starting next week, there will be:

7:30am All Levels class on Mondays

9:00am All Levels class on Saturdays

These new class times were based on your feedback.  If these times prove popular, we will consider adding more classes to the mornings and early afternoons.    

So now you have more opportunities to hang out with your gym friends both at the gym and outside the gym.  

Tuesday’s Workout of the Day (WOD):

5 rounds for time of:

20 wall ball shots (20#/14# for women)

30 box jumps (24″/20″ for women)

400 meter run

Rest 2 minutes between rounds

Time includes the rest.

Annmarie, Mike, and Jay finishing their run.

Icee and Steph syncing up on their box jumps.

Miguel giving a thumbs up to some post WOD mobility.