Today marks the end if the Whole Life Challenge. It’s been an interesting 8 weeks, that’s for certain.
Despite being gone since 5am sponsoring an opening for a new CrossFit affiliate across town, I still had to come home, do measurements, and cap it off with 7 minutes of burpees. I saw improvements all around in all measurements taken. I also learned a great deal about my body, performance, and nutrition, some I will continue, some I will not.
Will write more later, but for now its time to celebrate with pizza.
This is a sequence capture from Coach’s Eye of my power snatch this past Saturday. We worked some really light weight reps and it was very interesting to me to see this in slow motion. The trainer that recorded this drew the line for the bar path and helped break the entire lift down in slow motion.
I have two goals with this lift. I want to be able to power snatch 200lbs (I am 15lbs away from that) and I want to start really working the full snatch, focusing on moving under the bar so that I can go heavier on this.
2013 CrossFit Games - Open Competition Recap
This is my second year participating in the CrossFit Games Open. With about 2 years of CrossFit under my belt, I had different goals this year, though somewhat undefined. I did not go in with the desire to attain a certain placing within my region. I merely wanted to do better than I did last year. If that was the sole measurement of success this time around, then I feel confident that is exactly what happened.
Whole Life Challenge - Final Days
There are a mere 5 days left of the Whole Life Challenge. This has been an interesting 8 week challenge to say the least. I have not blogged a ton about it, but this has really been on my mind a lot.
The bottom line is I am torn by the results.
I absolutely love how I feel from eating this clean. Never before have I cut out the things that I cut out. It has given me new perspective into the food I eat and what I need to do to properly fuel. I used to have entirely too much sugar, and that was just in the pre/post WOD drinks I would make. Not to mention what I would have through the day. I feel better throughout the day, not at all bloated or even starving like I thought. As odd as it sounds, being so restrictive on food places a lot of limitations on what you can eat but it also frees up what you can eat. Strange, but it makes it harder and easier at the same time.
This is not a challenge where anyone looking to get stronger should participate. At least in my opinion. I believe that if you have never been working out, take on this challenge, and start to workout, you will probably see gains in that area. Me on the other hand, with the exception of a few lifts, most are off my 1RM by 20-30lbs. I think a great test of this challenge, for those who disagree, would be to make the fitness benchmark the CrossFit Total. Do that before and after and see if the numbers go up.
While I want to improve in all areas, strength is the most important to me. It is what I enjoy the most. To see it suffer has been tough. The only reason I have been able to tolerate it is because I feel like I am getting rid of the bad inches so I can put on the good. I guess what I see in the mirror has been balancing out what I am not seeing on the barbell.
Is it really possible to lean all the way out while at the same time continuing to hit PRs on all of your lifts?
Moving forward, there are a lot of concepts from this that I want to continue with. I think there were far more good than bad. Don’t read this like this challenge sucks and isn’t worth doing. I very much like the no grains, no dairy, and yes, no sugar part of this. I feel like my body is responding to that in a good way and I like limiting the amount of processed crap that I put in my system. Now, that is not to say that I think pizza is a sin or if you have a cheat meal you are burning a pit of eternal damnation. I plan on having a cheat meal from time to time. But I don’t plan on my nutrition being something so restrictive that I am basically living from one cheat meal to the next. I want to eat good, clean, healthy food, couple that with an active lifestyle, and when I want to have some freaking pizza, then I am going to and I am not going to feel guilty about it.
I also love the mobility/stretching requirement. That has helped me a lot and I feel better in the mornings when I wake up as a result. As I have found, just 10 minutes of mobility each night and doing something active every day makes a big difference in how I feel and move.
At the end, my wife and I get to do measurements again and will retest our fitness benchmark. While I do not expect to have lost much, if any, weight, I do feel like some inches will have come off. I am not looking forward to doing the 7 minutes of burpees again, but want to shoot for 90. I think I can hit that and would be a really good improvement, especially when compared to last year’s Open when I only got 72.
Weekly Training Log - 04/01/13
MONDAY - 04/01/13
TUESDAY - 04/02/13
WOD - For time: 800m run, 10 strict presses, 15 OHS, 20 push presses, 25 front squats, 30 push jerks, 35 back squats, 800m run. All at 115lbs. Basically a modified version of the main site workout the other day, with a run bookending the WOD. Subbed a 1000m row (3:36 & 4:04) for the runs to save my knee a bit. This sucked and I tried to stay moving. The few hours of yard work prior to going most likely didn’t help me. Didn’t drop the bar on the back squats because I did not want to re-rack it. Time was 25:01.
Cash-Out: 10x1 power snatch @ 115
WEDNESDAY - 04/03/13
Pool: 10x100m w/45 sec ri. Best 100 was 1:39 and worst was 1:49. Happy with staying close to the same average over the course of the swim. Total time was about 26 minutes I think. I want to test a 2000m swim and check my 100m splits and see if I can keep a sub-2 average on them.
THURSDAY - 04/04/13
Pool: 8x50m w/varying rest. Not really pushing the pace at all. Just keeping loose and went no more than 80%.
CrossFit: Open WOD 13.5. Wrote up more details about this here, but scored 5 reps more than my goal, finishing with a total of 55. I have been really working on pull-ups and while they weren’t easy by any stretch, they were vastly improved over last year. The coolest part was getting to see my wife knock out her first C2Bs!
FRIDAY - 04/05/13
Active rest, stretching, mobilization.
SATURDAY - 04/06/13
CrossFit: Total bro session happened. Spent about 3 hours at the gym and loved every minute of it.
Rack Pulls: Worked on rack pull deads. 5x315, 5x375, 5x405, 5x425
Skill: Worked on the snatch a good bit, starting at 95lbs and did countless singles working up to 175. Ultimately I would love be able to power snatch 200.
WOD: Me and a buddy did a 5 minute snatch WOD again. One does 5 snatches (95lbs) while the other rests. Continue as fast as possible for 5 minutes. I did this for 5 minutes and felt really good. Weight was super light. Felt so good I kept going while another guy hopped in to replace the first, making it a total of 10 minutes for me. I believe I got about 16 rounds in.
Cash-Out: 10x3 hang clean & jerk @ 165lbs
SUNDAY - 04/07/13
Strength: 1 snatch grip deadlift into 1 hang power snatch from below the knees into 4 overhead squats; rest about 90 seconds. 6 rounds total. 2 rounds @ 115, 2 @ 125, 2 @ 135, 2 @ 145.
WOD: 8 minute AMRAP of 15 hang power snatches (above the knee; 75lbs), 10 situps, 5 push-ups. 4 rounds even.
This week felt the closest thing to normal that I have felt in a while. Yes, my knee is still bothering me and I think it is a chronic thing I am just going to have to deal with. Mentally, I felt better. Felt like I used to feel, especially on Saturday when I was able to do some heavier lifting. Since I am staying off my knee with regards to running, etc. I have to stay focused on swimming and other activities to keep conditioning up as much as possible. I have some nutritional changes in the queue for when the Whole Life Challenge wraps up that I will be making, along with some training changes. Looking forward to what lies ahead.
Watching the announcement, I wasn’t really shocked. I figured it would be some nasty variation of Fran. And it was. The worst part of Fran, a little heavier, and with C2B instead of pull-ups turned into an AMRAP. For us mere mortals, it was a 4 minute WOD of 15 thrusters (100lbs) and 15 C2Bs.
Despite working on pull-ups a good bit and improving, I have not been working C2B. The last time I tried them, I felt that I had improved, but sets of 15 made me nervous. Last year these things killed me and I had the worst form. I hear a lot that I am strong, but body weight movements are tough. Let’s not forget, I am about 245-250lbs and that isn’t super easy to move around. I would love to take some of the members in our gym, put a weighted vest on them to bring us even, and then let’s go through a WOD and see how well they do.
Anyway… My goal was simple, 50 reps. I would have been absolutely blown away with 60, but 50 was what I was shooting for.
First set of thrusters were unbroken and I planned on doing 3x5 on C2B until I couldn’t do that any more. With the first thruster and first C2B, my rhythm was totally off. I was on my toes with the thruster for some reason. That weight is not heavy for me but still caught me off guard for some reason. With my first C2B I pulled way too high. My wife said I was close to doing a bar muscle up. While I don’t think I was that high, I was higher than I probably had to and had to figure out how to take that down a notch. Second round of thrusters felt like someone sucked all the air out of my lungs. I did what I could and got through them. I just wanted to get some more C2Bs in. I didn’t keep count, just tried to keep going. I had to break them up more than I wanted, but I was still able to crank a few out.
The support in the gym that night was amazing and it made a difference to me. The cheers, the friends, the smiles, the yelling. Got some great coaching as well. My wife told me how Becky was able to get into her head and help her focus. I got to see that first hand. She helped me adjust mid-WOD which made a difference and despite all the noise I was able to listen to her above anything else. It was a great way to close the Open out.
Final score: 55
The final WOD of the Open and my wife and I got to cheer each other on. Couldn’t think of a better way to close this out. What will stand out in my mind is not what I did or did not do, but more of her accomplishments. With each WOD she initially thought it was beyond her, yet she still went in and achieved above and beyond her expectations. I think she proved a lot to herself that she is more capable than she realizes. That has been really awesome to watch. Last night, was no different. You see, up until last night, she was still using the smallest band for pull-ups and had never done an unbanded pull-up. I couldn’t be more proud.
Went into this “praying” for one C2B! Last pull-ups in a WOD were on the smallest bands which i just moved to in February.
Came out with 8 C2B!!!
Feeling accomplished and never more happy that I entered the Open!
Sad that it is over… Next games season is when?? ;-)
Remember, CrossFit is not the Games. The community of people that throw down every day is CrossFit. As Rx’d or not, a regional or games contender or not. Soccer mom to elite athlete, we make up the community. The overwhelming majority of the community may never walk on the Games stadium floor but will have far more impact on their local community and possibly even farther by their daily efforts in the gym. THAT is CrossFit.