Monthly Archives: February 2013

42 Things I Learned Leading Up to 2013

Here are some gems from John Welbourn at CrossFit Football.  And while I don’t agree with everything, the guy does know his stuff when it comes to training.  And how could he not after playing 10 years in the NFL.  Read and ponder.  Read and ponder.

In early January, I was working on a year in review and scraped it as it seemed much of the same content regurgitated in humorous ways. So, I decided to offer a different format. These are the 42 things I have learned leading up to 2013.

1. Know what you are training for.
We often sat at the seminars and my gym, “What are you training?” This translate into, you need a goal, a destination for your journey. Without you are left to wander, and this site is not called Kung Fu and you are not Caine. Pick a goal, chart a course, keep your head down and don’t come up for air until you meet it.

2. The squat is the foundation of any good program.
A program that does not involve the squat is incomplete. Any coach that tells you, you shouldn’t squat as it is bad for your back and knees, but if it is done you should not squat below parallel needs to be punched. Email me and I will send someone out who specializes in punching people who need a punch. And when I say squat, I mean the one where you put a heavy bar on your back. If I were talking about the front squat or overhead squat, I would have said front squat or overhead squat.

3. Be a performance whore.
Your only mark for progress should be performance and success. Don’t get caught up in dogma, realize all that matters is performance. Don’t get married to one philosophy or stuck in one circle. Look to expand your training arsenal and realize your only master is getting better.

4. “Know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em.”
When you start hitting the weights, certain days you feel like the weights are made of foam and you could lift the gym. Other days, the weights seem to be made of adamantium. Realize on the days when the weights are light, go for broke and set a new personal record regardless of what the program says. On the days when the opposite is true, all you need to do is survive and realize the weights will be there tomorrow.

5. Don’t fall prey to the Secret Squirrel Program.
This is what happens when late at night while scanning the internet you decided to hybrid CrossFit Football’s strength WOD with CFE’s running 2 days a week with CrossFit’s hero WODs and Outlaw’s Olympic programming just for good measure. All the while doing 23 hours a day of ketogenic interment fasting. If you think this secret squirrel program will help you become the fittest man on the planet you are delusional. All that will happen is you become a massive ball of injury, end up doing nothing but Mobility WOD for 2 years with the testosterone levels of a 14-year-old eunuch.

6. You need to warm up.
Warming up is key to raising core temperature and getting the muscles, tendons and fascia warm. You are warming up because you are preparing to train. Take the old boxing proverb to heart. “If you go into the ring cold, you come out cold.”

7. Use Lacrosse balls
If rolling out with a soft foam roller is painful, you have led a life of luxury and share the energy expenditure with a veal. Real athletes roll out with two lacrosse balls and Kelly Starrett sitting on your body part adjacent to it.

8. Static Stretching is great way to cool down. Period.

9. The first movement at the beginning of your training week needs to involve a heavy bar on your back.

10. All the machines and praying in the world will not build a physique like the one crafted from lifting free weights over 85% of your 1 RM.

11. Weighted Pull Ups can cure world hunger.

12. Isometric holds build stability and strength.

13. It is better to live like a farmer than a bartender.
Farmers go to bed when the sun goes down and wake when the roosters crow. Bartenders hang out with drunks, don’t go to bed till 3 or 4 in the morning and sleep all day. Be a farmer.

14. Heavy prowler pushes cleanse the soul.

15. Sleeping 8 hours or more a day makes you bullet proof.
Yes, if you sleep more than 8 hours a day, bullets will not harm you and you will be able to control the minds of those around you.

16. Shower in ice-cold water in the morning. Hot shower before bed.

17. Vitamin D is the most important vitamin of all, so go outside and get a tan. As George Robert’s dad once said, “Georgie, even fat looks good tan.”

18. The only proteins that count are the ones with faces, souls and a mother. I do not care how you process hemp and peas…it is not real protein.

19. Earn your carbs.
Don’t get lulled into thinking a primal or Paleo diet is low carb diet. If you are a hard charging athlete that lifts heavy weights, sprints and moves, eat some carbs. Low carb diets are for fat people and sedentary people with metabolic disorders. If you are training for the CrossFit Games, playing football or trying to run a hundred miles you have earned your carbs.

20. I don’t care how far or often you run, running slow will never help you get fast. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and marathon runners. I am not impressed that you finished a marathon in 5 hours. I am more impressed that it took you 7 hours to sprint 421 100-meter repeats.

21. Percentages are a waste of time for beginners.
Why you ask, because to efficiently lift a true 1 RM you need an extremely well training central nervous system. And efficiency in the CNS comes from prolonged training. Hence, how could a beginner have enough control over their body or their CNS to put forth the ability to lift a true 1 RM? They can’t. So don’t do it.

22. Every man should own a slow cooker and a grill that uses lump wood charcoal.

23. Meat from grass-fed cows should make up the bulk of your daily food consumption.

24. Drink water.
Anyone who tells you they don’t like to drink water needs to grow the fuck up. How much…at least 1 ounce per 2 lbs of body weight.

25.  Dont let fear be your limiting factor.
Louie Simmons told me, “To master kung fu, the training must be severe.” What Louie means is, don’t take the easy way out. Winners and champions are forged in the crucible of competition and hard work. Don’t let fear of not meeting your goals be your limiting factor when it comes to training or success.

26. Full Fat Greek Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and probiotics. Anyone that tells you dairy from pasture raised animals is bad, should be pushed in the mud.

27. Have the talent to rest.
If you think taking a rest day is weakness, you have never really trained hard. And you definitely have low testosterone levels.

28. The Second Amendment was put in place to guarantee the First Amendment. Problems arise when we allow our leaders to suspend the First Amendment and many other rights given to us in the Bill of Rights because of fear. When terrible things happen in society, we are so quick to give away our rights so the government can protect us and make it so it never happens again. It is impossible to stop bad people from doing bad things, but you can train and prepare for the day when good men are called upon to stop evil men. That is Edmund Burke.

29. Guns are inanimate objects that can be used to do harm. Much like cars, airplanes and knives, all these things can be turned into weapons if someone so chooses. Banning the sale, use or ownership of inanimate objects will no better cure the world of evil, and then eating low-fat food will cure a fat ass.

30. Lift heavy and awkward implements.
The power from picking up and lifting awkward and heavy objects creates a strength not found in a weight room. Anyone that grew up on a farm or wrestled or played football with farm kids knows what I am talking about. We also call this Field Strong.

31. Having kids puts everything into perspective.
My wife and I had twin girls in late 2011; I just came up for air in late 2012. Kids put things in perspective. The things that mattered so much, seem small and unimportant. What is important is raising your kids, providing a positive role model and keeping your wife happy and loved so she doesn’t drive the whole train off the tracks.

32. Learn to cook.
Even if it just involves adding meat, water, salt and root vegetables to a slow cooker or burning meat on a grill. Learn to cook. Nothing is as unimpressive as someone who cannot or will not learn.

33. Stop posting on message boards. If you have more than 100 posts on any message board, kick your own ass.

34. Twitter rocks.
If you can’t say it in a 140 characters, it doesn’t need to be said.

35. Training Vs. Testing.
Learn certain days are training days other days are testing days. Have a plan each day and realize professional athletes don’t compete everyday. They save that for when the money is on the line and the crowd is in the stands.

36. Read. Real. Books.
In this Internet age, digital books, periodicals, websites and blogs consume us. I feel something is missing, hard copy books.

37. Bacon.
I started eating bacon in the 70’s. I am not sure when many of you found bacon, but if it was last two years, I am sorry. Up until recently for many, bacon has been a mystery. But upon finding it, it is all they talk about. I am proud of you for finding bacon. I am sorry your dad didn’t make bacon on Saturdays when you were growing up. I believe it makes you feel primal and talking about bacon on social media is your way of thumbing your nose at society, but enough. Welcome to the party and guess what? We are serving bacon.

38. I don’t care that you are 100% Paleo; if a friend offers you a beer, drink it. Nothing says “FU” like not accepting a drink from a friend because of a diet. Grow the fuck up.

39. Work the tissue.
Active Release Therapy. Graston. Deep Tissue Massage. Mashing. Do something to mobilize tissue and speed recovery.

40. Move the bar as fast as possible.
When lifting weights, you should move the bar as fast as you can at all times. Think compensatory acceleration. If you have never head the term “compensatory acceleration”, go google it now. I will wait. Slow reps are akin to the splinters in your ass from sitting on the bench watching the explosive guys play. The only thing moving slow did, was make me slow. Fuck slow.

41. Don’t be a cartoon character.
In today’s age of social media and virtual existence, people are not held to the same standards they were so long ago. Individuals are more cartoon characters than real people. Be a real person that can be depended on and does not take every opportunity to take advantage of those around you. Being a man involves more than growing a beard and drinking whiskey…even those things do help.

42. High testosterone levels = nice guys.
I read a study a while back that related mental wellness and all around nice guys having higher testosterone levels than their male dick head counterparts. Next time you meet a douche bag, instead of cursing the day he was born, realize he is a lesser male and just has low testosterone levels. Pity him, because there is nothing worse for a man than having low testosterone levels. If you are reading this and think you might have low test levels, go see a doctor.

Check out the evening class’s reaction after I read them this above list. 

20130228-191913.jpg

They were totally floored.

Friday’s Workout

Skill:

Clean grip deadlifts

3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3

Workout of the Day

14 minute AMRAP of:

7 push presses/jerks (50#/30# dumbbells for women) or use kettlebells for intermediate

21 air squats

100 meter run

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So….How’s It Going?

Hello Mergers!  I’m calling out to those of you on the Whole Life Challenge.  Since not everyone has access to our forums, I thought it would be fun to let those that are not participating in the WLC this time around get a feel for your thoughts/experiences.  So please use up the comments section and tell us how you are, what you’re struggling with, what you’re excited about, what awesome recipes you’ve found, etc 🙂  That way, we can share our wealth of knowledge and hopefully get a few more mergers on to the next WLC 😉

Thursday’s Skill:

Double Unders Practice

Workout of the Day (WOD):
 
In teams of 2 (or individually), 4 rounds, each 3:30 long of:
 
Round 1 (3:30 long): Run 400 meters together, then when both are back, AMRAP of burpee pull-ups.  Rest 30 seconds.
Round 2 (3:30 long): Run 400 meters together, then when both are back, AMRAP of burpee box jumps (24/20) Rest 30 seconds.
Round 3 (3:30 long): Run 400 meters together, then when both are back, AMRAP of burpee pull-ups.  Rest 30 seconds.
Round 4 (3:30 long): Run 400 meters together, then when both are back, AMRAP of burpee box jumps (24/20) 
Only one person may work at a time
 
Record total number of pull-ups and box jumps.
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When Good Paleo Goes Bad

This is repost but it’s still applicable.

Trying this Paleo gig can yield some pretty remarkable results.  Eating a diet comprised of meats and fish, loads of veggies, fruit, and then rounding it out with healthy fats like coconut oil and avocados can be your path toward a fitter, healthier, and better looking life.  But, and you knew a ‘but‘ was coming, you can take Paleo down the wrong path and end up not seeing your desired results.

Ways Paleo Can Go Wrong

1.  Fruit and Too Much of It – Fruit, it’s delicious, succulent, sweet…and it has a lot of sugar.  Just because fruit is Paleo does not mean you should sit down and finish off an entire watermelon.  Moderate the fruit, will ya?  And as a corollary, don’t drink fruit juices, it’s all the sugar but none of the fiber.  Just eat a piece of fruit instead.

2.  Getting Crazy with Nuts – Nuts are a good source for fat, and they can make a pretty convenient snack.  But that innocent handful of almonds can pretty easily turn into sucking down a whole pound of nuts.  No bueno.  Don’t turn into a vacuum cleaner on the nut consumption.

3.  Paleoizing Foods – A steak is just a steak, not a Paleo steak.  A salad is salad, not Paleo salad.  But if you find yourself chomping down on “Paleo cookies”, or your morning meals are a lot of “Paleo pancakes”, or “Paleo muffins”, then you’re definitely bending the rules.  You want your shopping cart to be loaded with meats and veggies, and not so much of almond flour and sugary dates.

4.  Paleo Snack Bars – These are becoming quite popular.  Their packaging has ‘Paleo’ emblazoned on them, but their ingredients usually include a lot of honey, dates, and nuts.  If fat loss is a goal, be careful with these.  

5.  BACON! – Okay, gang.  I know you all love bacon, and I think I saw one poll about how Bacon is making a serious run at surpassing Judaism as a popular religion, but don’t live off the stuff.  Bacon is cool and all, but think of it more as seasoning.  It shouldn’t be your primary source of animal protein.  (That’s doesn’t mean you can’t sport your favorite bacon shirt to the gym.  Those are always welcomed.)

Also, a good article on carbohydrates

Earn Your Carbs

Wednesday’s Workouts

Intermediate Class and Power Hours

Skill: 1 clean + 1 front squat

7 sets, increasing weight each set

Workout:

6 rounds for max reps of front squats of:

1 minute of 3 power cleans then max front squats

1 minute rest between rounds

Beginner Class

Skill: Thruster

3 – 3 – 3 – 2 – 2 – 2

Workout:

10 minute AMRAP of:

7 front squats (75#/53# for women)

5 push-ups

7 thrusters (75#/53# for women)

5 burpees

 


Firecracker Race!

Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, has defined it as:

“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.”

I’d like to focus on the “regularly learn and play new sports”.  As fun as everything we do in CrossFit is, we must also learn to mix things up, practice other sports, and compete in other events.  After all, becoming fit is not just about being “CrossFit” fit, it’s about being “life” fit.  So with that in mind, I’d like to congratulate the Merge athletes that participated in this year’s Firecracker Race in Chinatown (for more information on the Firecracker Race, visit http://www.firecracker10k.org).  They are not only consistent with their diet and their CrossFit, but they are engaging in new things as they help out the community, have a blast doing it, and realize how strong they really are.  Props to you for trying something new and being successful at it!  All of us at Merge are proud of you and can’t wait to see you achieve even more athletic goals 🙂

Normand, Griselda & Jane did an awesome job at the 5k!

Normand, Griselda & Jane did an awesome job at the 5k!

Alex Rx and Kevin also participated in the "hilly" 5k!  Good job guys!

Alex Rx and Kevin also participated in the “hilly” 5k! Good job guys!

Chevy, the running rock star, plowed through the 10k!

Chevy, the running rock star, plowed through the 10k!

Tuesday’s Skill:

High Bar back squat

 
5 – 5 – 5 – 5
 
In between sets of squats, perform a max set of dips, for a total of 3 sets.  Record the total number of dips.  Use bands if necessary.
 
Workout of the Day (WOD):
12 minute AMRAP of:
6 goblet squats (70# for men/44# for women)
9 kettlebell swings (same weight)
12 box jumps (24″ for men/20″ for women)

The Open is Back!

March 6th, 2013, the CrossFit Open returns!  The Open is the first stage for athletes seeking to qualify for the CrossFit Games.  Anyone can participate in the Open, and we’ll be doing the Open workouts here at Merge over the next 5 weeks.

Let’s keep up the good training!

Monday

Intermediate Class

Skill:

2 power clean and push jerks on the minute for 10 minutes
Use 85% of 1 rep max

5 power clean and jerks (155#/103# for women)
100 meter run
5 clean and jerks
200 meter run
5 clean and jerks
300 meter run
5 clean and jerks
400 meter run
5 clean and jerks
500 meter run

Beginner and All Levels Class

Skill:
250 meter row
Rest 3 minutes x 3 sets

Workout:

5 wall ball shots (20/14)
500 meter run
10 wall ball
400 meter
15 wall ball
300 meter run
20 wall ball
200 meter run
25 wall ball 
100 meter run, then finish with 20 burpees


An Apology, Because We Were Wrong…

...about the squat.  This article pretty much lays out an irrefutable case for why you should never ever, ever, squat.  

Here are 10 Reasons Squats Are A Terrible Exercise

It is well documented that squats are a horrible exercise choice for anyone who actually cares about their body. They are reckless, dangerous and an inefficient use of your time. You’re better off doing basically anything else. Here’s why:

• Squats hurt your knees. We all know this to be true – especially if you squat anywhere near to parallel. All of those Olympic weightlifters, pro athletes, powerlifters and bodybuilders who squat all the way down are genetic outliers with divinely engineered knee joints. Plus, steroids.

• Squats require you to place a loaded barbell on top of your spine! It’s practically in direct contact with the vertebra. This is just stupid. It would be different if there were some kind of muscle group there, maybe trapezoidal in shape, that could form a cushion between the bar and your delicate spinal structure but since that hasn’t yet been discovered this statement is 100% accurate.

• You just don’t need to do squats to build muscular, strong legs. Focusing on things like leg presses, leg extension and lunges is a far more effective way to build great legs. All those lifters who used squats were on steroids and that’s the only reason they got results. You need to train the small, assistance muscles in order to pull the skin closer to the muscle anyway.

• The back squat is more of a low back exercise than a leg exercise anyway. Just look at the name: BACK squat. Plus the physics says so. If my math is correct, and according to my PhD. in Mathology from the correspondence college of Nigeria it is, the following formula illustrates my point perfectly:

L2*Sq=(R3/3I)531

I won’t bore you by actually explaining what any of that means in terms that any normal person could actually understand. Just suffice it to say that back squats are terrible for you spine. Anyone who says differently is probably on steroids.

Steroidsmeme

• No sport outside of powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting or Crossfit requires you to place a load on your back and lift it straight up. Therefore, squats are not a functional exercise. So why waste your time? It’s not like the ability to exert force using a rigid, neutral trunk and activating the musculature of the hips, knees and torso is ever going to come about in every day life.

• I know this dude whose friend went to school with a Navy SEAL who says squats suck. This point is axiomatic.

• Heavy squats, on top of destroying your knees and back (see the above points), will make you slow. Everyone knows that lifts that move slow make you slow. Therefore, heavy squats will hurt athletic performance.

• Squatting is too hard on the central nervous system. Squatting more than once a month will totally burn out your CNS and lead to overtraining. Nobody in the history of lifting has ever been successful by squatting more than once a week MAX. Nobody. I dare you to find one. The Bulgarians were all on steroids.

• The Olde Time Strongmen didn’t do squats. If they didn’t do them, you don’t need to do them. These dudes were jacked and strong and we’re all pussies nowadays because we don’t do anything they used to do. Including putting extra E’s on of the ende of stuffe that doesn’t neede it. And why didn’t they squat? Because there were no steroids back then.

I know some of you trolls out there are going to say that there are only 9 reasons there. First of all, remember my Mathology Doctorate and stfu. Second, you’re probably all on steroids. Therefore, nothing you have to say regarding training is evenly remotely applicable to us natty lifters.

I guess the only possible counter argument I can muster is that squats do make your butt look good, because no one looks in the mirror and says, “I love my flat butt.”

Buffalo-Box-Squat-2

Friday – All Classes

Skill:

Press

2 – 2 – 2 – 2 – 2 – 2

20 seconds of l-sit practice between sets

Workout of the Day

3 rounds for time of:

12 pull-ups (chest to bar for intermediate)

400 meter run

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


Double-Unders!

I’m so proud of how most of you have been coming in earlier and staying after class to practice double-unders.  I’m even more excited to see how many of you are starting to get them!  All double-unders require is a lot of time, dedication, and patience.  If you can do single unders, you can do doubles 🙂  So keep at it, practice practice practice!!!  It’s the only way to get them.  Here are a few videos to help you a bit 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV1NfxgmzT4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7XjUbUpeHE

and this next one is MY favorite 😀

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXovowbMsLE

Thursday’s Skill:

 
Pistol practice for 10 minutes
 
Workout:
 
Deck of card WOD:
 
20 minute as many cards as possible where:
 
Hearts = burpees
Spades  = kettlebell swings (53/35)
Diamonds = v-ups or t2b
Clubs = striders or regular lunges
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CrossFit’s Not a Cult…Is It?

CrossFit is not a cult.  Even though my Facebook newsfeed now consists of nothing but CrossFit related posts, I still don’t consider it a cult.  But I can see how others might think it is when you have 21 videos of CrossFitters doing the Harlem Shake. Warning: This will get old very, very quickly.

I’m not about to post all 21 videos.  For that you can follow this link.

Wednesday’s Workouts:

Intermediate Class and Intermediate Power Hour:

Skill:

3 hang power snatches

3 snatch grip push presses

3 overhead squats

5 sets, increasing the weight each set

Workout:

For total reps, complete 12 tabata rounds of:

Back squats (185#/113# for women)

All Levels Power Hour

Skill:

3 hang power cleans

3 front squats

3 push presses

5 sets, increasing the weight each set

Workout:

For total reps, complete 12 tabata rounds of:

Back squats (185#/113# for women)

Beginner Class

Skill:

Front Squat

5 – 4 – 3 – 3 – 3

Workout:

10 minute AMRAP of:

12 jumping pull-ups

8 goblet squats


Deadlifts!

Get ready for a fun filled day of deadlifts!!!  The more you deadlift, the stronger you’re getting.  So get into the box and have some fun with your fellow Mergers and some heavy weights.  I wonder how many beginners will be able to check off their sheets???

Deadlift

3-3-3-3-3

All levels and beginner Workout of the Day (WOD)

12 minute amrap of:

7 burpees
10 deadlifts (135/95) ~ 40% of skill
14 lateral bar hops

Intermediate class only WOD:

12 minute amrap of

7 burpees
10 deadlifts (155/100)
30 double unders

Image


You and The President

So you walk into CrossFit Merge on Monday and see that the workout is a team workout.  Cool, right?  And then you see that you can pick any U.S. President you want to be your team partner.  Who would you pick and why?

My choice, Teddy Roosevelt.  He was a Rough Rider and once punched a bear in the face, so I’m betting he could squat a good amount of weight. 

Monday’s Intermediate Class

Skills:

Power cleans

3 – 3 – 3 – 2 – 2 – 2

Then one max set of strict pull-ups

Workout:

15 minute AMRAP of:

4 power cleans (145#/100# for women)

8 toes to bar

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

Beginner and All Levels Class

Skill:

Banded sprints

Workout:

15 minute AMRAP of:

4 pull-ups

8 kettlebell swings (53#/35# for women)

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