Little Balls of Go Faster Food – A Review

All comments in this review are mine alone, without any influence from the product supplier/manufacturer.

20171205_2108081556029137.jpg

Kate’s story, “Back in 2000, Kate radically altered her family’s diet to help her husband, Mark, who was struggling in his training for the New York Marathon. Mark’s performance was totally transformed! Kate didn’t last long playing the dutiful wife to the heroic marathon runner. She decided to run a marathon herself. And the rest is history!”. Not only did she take her nutritional knowledge and apply it to her husband, she subsequently “guinea pig’d” herself and enjoyed personal success; not content with that though, “Her best-selling recipe books and education programme are used by Olympians, Great Run, 220 Triathlon and the GB Youth Winter Olympic Development Squad.” – What better endorsement is there?

With thanks to HelsBels at  “HelBels – Running & Fitness Blog“…. I was given the opportunity to review “Kate Percy’s Go Faster Food“. As with previous nutritional reviews, this too is ‘all natural’; indeed, I am unlikely to review products that aren’t.

So it was with high hopes and expectation that I opened a neatly packaged box of 3 types of “Go Faster Bites” and the book, “Go Faster Food for the Active Family“. I’ve broken up the review below in to the “Bites” and the Book.

20171205_210122689113246.jpg

The Bites

Contents. The Go Faster Bites are a cold-pressed fruit product, similar to others on the market, but have been specifically tailored to suit pre / during / post exercise. Not only that but rather innovatively they have been delivered in 3 mini-mouthful-sized balls; you don’t have to eat a whole bar in one go! Gluten-free (key in my house), dairy free, and with no refined sugar. The contents are all natural and are as inflammation-free as I think it’s possible to be.

Boost. Date, Raisins, Coconut, Gluten Free Oats, Coconut Oil. Higher in fruit sugars and starchy oats, these little balls of energy are designed to give you a literal sugar boost right in time for an intense workout, or to kickstart and endurance event.

Refuel. Sultanas, Dates, Apricots, Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds, Linseed, Oats, Honey. Delivering a slower-release carb inject, these are tailor-made for “on the go”, to keep you going throughout endurance events, or in between competitive events such as CrossFit comps, 7s Rugby events, 5-a-side comps, etc.

Repair. Dates, Raisins, Roast Hazelnuts, Dark Chocolate. Some fruity carbs, a dollop of protein, a little chocolate, -ideal to recover from any event.

20171205_210728343771200.jpg

Quality. One thing I noticed from the outset was the high quality ‘processing’ of these balls. All too often with similar products, I’ve come across small pieces of pit or a fruit stone; I think you just come to accept it – however, when you dive in to a cold lake for a long-distance swim, only THEN to discover a sharp fragment wedged in your teeth, it really does wind you up! So far, nothing of the sort with these little beauties. Smooooooth throughout. I’ve ‘tested’ 11 so far, that’s 33 balls, and it was one of my key criteria to look out for.

Look & Taste. They taste great. I’d expect nothing less. In this era of advancing health nutrition, taste has to be king. There are so many competing products on the market that to taste poor, regardless of performance, would be to sink your own ship; if it doesn’t taste good, it won’t get eaten. Without any refined sugar (a little honey in the Refuel balls), none of them are overly sweet; for me that is absolutely perfect. I don’t have a sweet tooth, preferring the delicate taste of coconut and hazelnuts to that of a rich, milk chocolate.

Performance. I’ve intentionally left this paragraph to the end, so that you would read all the way down the rest of the post to get here. How do I assess performance in a food? Well, knowing what they were designed for, I decided upon using the fact that I train so early in the morning, and having fasted for 8+ hours, to assist me.

0600 hrs Training – BOOST. 3-4 mornings a week, I conduct specific olympic lifting training, aiming to increase strength. I need sugar in my body to generate the power necessary to through 115kg in to the air. Typically, I’ve downed an apple or banana, plus a mug of coffee, but it’s either not enough or doesn’t digest quick enough to deliver and I find tired legs dominating about halfway through the session. For 4 mornings in a row, changing nothing else, I switched out the apple/banana for the “Boost” balls. Of course, this is hardly scientific and may well suffer from a placebo effect, but it’s as good as I can do with only 4 packs. However, I can honestly say that for those 4 mornings, I felt a genuine difference. Eating them 30 mins before the active portion of the work, there was a significant difference in the fatigue in my legs compared to a regular morning. I was able to do more, for longer. This should come as no surprise, and you might say “well eat more before a workout then” but at that time of the morning, I just can’t. These suited me down to the ground.

1030 hrs mid-Morning – REFUEL. After a workout, I typically have 80g of Huel for my breakfast. This keeps me going until about 1100 when I start to look at my watch and wonder why the morning is taking so long; I’ll usually eat about 10-15g of mixed nuts but am unhappy with the amount of fat that goes with it. For the same 4 days, I ate the Refuel balls instead and staved off the cravings quite happily for another few hours, no insulin-slump occurring either.

1930 hrs Evening Workout – RECOVER. I’m not sure I can really measure any tangible effect of these little bad boys other than to say that I had these immediately after 1830 CrossFit workouts; the increased protein is required for muscle repair, while the chocolate carbohydrate hit refuels tired body and mind – these are also my favourite tasting, by far. Typically, I head straight back to my cave for dinner about 45-60 mins later, these are a lovely filler in between that.

Recommendation. OF COURSE I RECOMMEND IT! Didn’t you read above?!

20171205_210824729641043.jpg

The Book

The book was an eye-opener. Unlike other recipe books that I’ve looked over, this one is very targeted. As per the balls, the first target is to those conducting sporting events; the second target is to families, more specifically, active families. Immediately, this appeals to me. With my 4 warrior princesses, 3 of them at the start of their active journeys, I take this stuff super, uber seriously. 

20171205_213805105207556.jpg

Contents. The book is well-structured, beginning with the bit most recipe books neglect, “Why”. Why nutrition is important, why we need to tailor it to our needs, why childrens’ nutrition is different and increasingly important, especially to keep them active and adventurous. It breaks “why” down in to “easy science”, logically taking you from one step to another, covering macro and micronutrients, the need for balance, and the ills of processed foods  the bit I love the most is the emphasis on preparing and eating together too; it’s something that Mrs Nomad and I absolutely believe in. I’ve been coaching CrossFit and associated basic nutrition for 6 years, learning a vast wealth of knowledge over that period. However, this book just gave me the tools to be able to articulate it to a whole new audience; I don’t mean just kids, either. I also mean adults for whom typical approaches haven’t worked.

Recipes. This is the bit that saddens me the most; I’ve not been able to get stuck in to nearly enough recipes!! Because I spend the majority of my time holed up in a cave, away from my action princesses, I haven’t had the resources or time to make the beautiful range on offer. Instead, I’ve had to stare longingly at the photos. However, having been through the ingredients and nutritional values in each meal, you can logically deduce who they’re focused on, and for what aspect of training/recovery/daily life. The recipes are simple to make. There’s nothing complicated in there at all, making this entire ‘programme’ 100% accessible for all.

Utility. Given the obvious target of this book, it has immense utility in planning and supporting both an active lifestyle and sports training. I am sure that there must be similar products on the market but this is the first I’ve had an opportunity to review. While I do live like a hermit for much of the week, with nothing but a microwave, kettle and fridge/freezer, I am going to attempt to adapt some of these recipes to suit my twice-a-day training regime. It’s the run up to Christmas now, and so any attempts to regulate or control my diet will likely crash down in the excitement and over-indulgence of the season, but when I return to strict training in January this book will underpin all that I do.

20171205_2143521073026436.jpg

Examples. Again, I’ve left the best part of the review for last. For me, the absolutely best parts of the book are the specific “active kids” examples; rugby players, runners, swimmers…there’re multiple interviews with children right at the top of their game, Olympians and Champions of the future. I read these articles and come away feeling intensely motivated for my own children. Thanks Kate!

Recommendation: Of course. It wasn’t going to be anything else, this is an excellent product in its own right.

Advertisements

Unexpected Gains. No Goals, but still some Successes.

Motivation is What gets you Started,

Habit is what Keeps you Going.

My last post covered the problems associated with having no over-arching “Why” to drive you to achieve success. Well, me, specifically. We define “the Why” as that intrinsic (internal to oneself) motivator that keeps you focused on your goal. Without one, I would argue, you could become lost to the wilderness of laziness, sitting in your pants on a bed eating mince pies (“maybe”), and consigning training to the ‘all too difficult’ pile. I argued in my last post that while you can achieve a level of success without a ‘Why’, you will never achieve your true potential.

Strength

Well, while I struggle with my ‘why’, and just let “Habit” drive me to the box on a pissy wet Thursday 6AM session, I should also take stock of the successes I’ve had in CrossFit and strength over the last few months. Specifically, I embarked on a Weightlifting programme much earlier this year, with the goal of, by Christmas, a 110kg Clean & Jerk, and an 80kg Snatch. “Why”? Because the last few CrossFit Opens have highlighted a weakness in my strength. Why do I want to do better at the CrossFit Open despite it not leading to anything higher? Dunno…..

Anyway, I began the programme in March, I think, with my personal bests as:

  • Clean & Jerk – 102.5kg
  • Snatch – 75kg (persistent for 2 years)
  • Bench Press – 105kg
  • Strict Press – 82.5kg
  • Deadlift – 200kg (last achieved in CrossFit Keelhaul, circa Jan 14)

Following the AMRAPPlusOne 13-week Weightlifting Programme (@amrapplusone on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), I dipped in and out as my schedule allowed. There was a 3-4 week break in May, and I restarted the programme as soon as I completed it; I’m on Day 55 again now.

In that time, I also recognised that I wasn’t eating enough, and upped my KCals per day to 2400 (from 2100) to cope with morning strength sessions and evening CrossFit Watford sessions. My bodyweight was 82kg when I started.

As at now, my scores are:

  • Clean & Jerk – 107.5kg +5kg
  • Snatch – 80kg +5kg
  • Bench Press – 112.5kg +7.5kg
  • Strict Press – 85kg +2.5kg
  • Deadlift – 200kg +Same

Bodyweight: 84kg +2kg

It’s now late November and I have defeated my Snatch goal; I reset that immediately in an attempt to get an 82.5kg Snatch by Christmas. I have also achieved 77.5kg at 0630hrs very recently (yesterday) which shows that I am becoming more comfortable at those weights. A 5kg increase in C&J is pleasing and I’m ploughing on to get my target. If I don’t, it’s no biggie, it might have been a little ambitious and I am pleased with where I’ve got to so far. The Bench Press and Strict Press have been a bit of a surprise but perhaps shouldn’t have been given CF Watford’s strength programme, and my extra food intake. While the Deadlift was a ‘match’ for a previous best, I have not been able to get even close to that since Jan 14; considering the extra 3.5 years I now have on that, I am exceptionally pleased with that.

CrossFit

Without going back through my notes too much, there are also notable increases in CrossFit across the board: Barbell cycling has improved (not as much as I would like but it really has done); balance and proprioception (especially in Pistols!!);  Wall Balls (50 unbroken this morning, without a warm up and ‘easily’); I have a much better endurance ‘engine’ (seen with significantly improved FGB-style WODs); and I’ve improved in gymnastic ability overall (muscle ups, handstand walking, etc). As the New Year rolls in, I’ll be seeking to lean-out a little after Christmas and will then switch focus to the 8-15 min MetCons that are typical of the CF Open. Goal for CF Open 2018? Better than last year, despite the age 😉

Reflection

A reflection like this is extremely important every so often; it’s easy to think that you’re in a rut and have plateaued but if you stick to CrossFit as it is meant to be (5 days per week, 3 days on , 1 day off) then you’re unlikely to truly plateau and will always see gains, as long as you get the nutrition, rest and mobility in too.

So, even without a deep, burning “Why”, “habit” is enough to keep you going – for how long? I guess we’ll have to wait and see; that said, I feel a new goal is just around the corner (top 20% on CF Open, anyone?)

When you don’t have a, “why”.

The location that this photo was taken was a powerful motivator for me.

I’ve been planning this post for a while, based on where I find myself at this moment in time. Having completing my annual fitness test this week though, I decided to just sit down and write it. It was my worst ever fitness test performance and while I destroyed the basic times and scores set for my age group (and of those literally half my age), it was still my worst. I felt no motivation to push myself, and no drive to do more than “just enough”. My fitness hasn’t really degraded, and I ‘could’ have done better but I didn’t.

You see, right now I don’t have a, “Why”.

I’m too comfortable.

There is nothing positive to focus my training and pull me forward, nor any threat or fear to push me from behind. There is no challenge to prepare for, no competition to win, and no team relying on my best performance.

http://emgn.com/entertainment/8-common-nightmares-mean/

Coaches often talk of the, “why”. It’s our challenge to assist a coachee with drilling right down in to that intrinsic spark deep inside that them that truly motivates them. Rarely is a stated goal the true intent. In the military, we call it the, “in order to”. As in, “I want to beat my lose weight…in order to fit in to my favourite dress.” Even then, it might be, “I want to fit in to my favourite dress…in order to look amazing at the Christmas ball.” And THEN there will be a deep-rooted reason behind wanting to look amazing at the Christmas Ball.

You get my drift.

Right now, I have no, “why”. Sure, I tell everyone that I want to be the fittest 50-60 year old that I can be in order to be able to do absolutely anything that my kids throw at me, including when they have kids of their own (*scary times*). And yes, that is a long-term driver which keeps me going to CrossFit, keeps me attending Obstacle Course Races, and keeps me generally fit. But after that, there is nothing. Although I was a competitive athlete in my teenage years, and I enjoyed playing rugby, I’ve never been a natural. I am not what you’d consider to be talented. I will never win OCRs, nor achieve anything of significance in CrossFit, even locally. It’s not that I don’t want to, but because it’s just fact.

And this is not necessarily a bad thing, it doesn’t make me a bad person and I know that.

So why do I bother then? Why do I haul my sorry ass out of bed at 6am or drum up some motivation at the end of a long, draining day?

Without a goal, or a short-term challenge, I firmly believe in doing some things…just because.

Why? Because.

Taking pleasure, and seeing success, from the daily routine can be just enough to maintain stability and maintenance fitness. It won’t get you too much further forward but it’s enough.

Seeing the WOD on the spreadsheet (because I see it before the athletes) and not cherry-picking which ones I attend, or setting mini targets (such as going unbroken in pull ups or adding 2 extra wall balls to the previous max effort best) can be all it takes to achieve enough success to maintain the overall motivation to keep going.

Taking pleasure from the shared challenge of the workout is an area that CrossFit excels and something that coaches should capitalise on.

http://attackofthecute.com/on/?i=10137

Those fist bumps and back slaps at the end demonstrates shared achievement in adversity and is powerful enough to deliver a sense of belonging, driving you to come back for more until a powerful motivator unmasks itself.

Of course, having an underlying , “Why” is powerful and always to be harnessed where it exists; without it, you’re unlikely to see real change and success. But not having one doesn’t mean you need to regress.

I’m also a believer in the next, “Why” being right around the corner, just a few moments, hours, or days away. And you want to be in the very best shape to dominate it when it arrives!

https://wasted49.deviantart.com/art/Danger-Zombies-264686736

Recovering from Injury; “We Can Rebuild Him”

We can rebuild him!

Thanks to tvtropes.org

“We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster.”

– Oscar Goldman

Recovering from an injury, short term or long term can be both a physically and mentally debilitating process. You might feel that you’ve reverted to a long and happily  forgotten position after rising to a particularly good place; or you may feel that goals you’d set are further away than they’ve ever been. You might tell yourself that you can never recover what you’d had or wanted to attain. Below, is a story from Grant, one of our athletes in CrossFit Watford. He requested an article on recovering from injury, having been knocked back over the last half year, having been operated on, and now focusing on getting back to his prime:

“I found CrossFit in January 2016, my aim was to lose a few kilos I had added after quitting smoking. Not only did I manage to shed the unwanted weight, I also developed a greater zest for life and confidence. I found a new job (leaving one I was ‘comfortable’ with) and pursued my studies with a renewed vigour (I was ready to call it quits at one point). These are just a couple examples of the impact the CrossFit Watford community had on me. All was going well, until 5 months ago when I sustained an injury. Cue several months of zero sleep, literally. An intense burning sensation started around my shoulder and ran all the way down my left arm into my fingers. Coupled with this, was a pain I can only describe as having knocked the ‘funny bone’ part of the elbow – 24/7!! After a time my palm, thumb, forefinger & forearm were numb. Oh, to top it off I couldn’t straighten my arm. My outlet had been taken away from me & felt like I was no longer part of the team. Instead the necessary pain of rehab, self doubt, negative thinking and anger of what had happened took over. Rehab started to get ‘easier’ and I finally had surgery last week to release a compressed nerve (on a side note – God Bless the frontline staff of the NHS). It is going to be months before full feeling & movement is restored in my hand. Further tests are also needed to resolve the numbness in my forearm. The surgeon is happy for me to start light training again & encouraged me to keep moving. On one hand, I am over the moon as I have missed training so much. But, on the other is the thought of re-injuring myself & the associated pain. On top of this is the negative thinking of ‘you can’t break the bad habits again’ – habits such as the crappy diet & the longer than needed lay in. How am I going to lift a bar above my head again?? I know I’ll get over the doubt eventually. This is just another obstacle to get over & we ALL have our own individual obstacles – I just need to do it…”

So that’s Grant’s story.

20170131_061220.jpg

Stay Positive, see Opportunities. Perhaps the hardest part, but the most important. Whatever your goals, life is a journey; we might want to get there that little bit quicker but life may have other plans for you. The trick is to see the opportunities around you at each step. I’ve written this in previous posts but an injury is an opportunity. It may be an opportunity to work on other areas of your game that you’d not had time to focus on before. It could be a chance to really specialise in another aspect. It is certainly the time to establish a pathway to coming back stronger, fitter, faster than you were before, especially strengthening the area of the injury.

giphy

Re-Discover your “Why”. You started down this path for a reason. What was it? Does your “Why” still hold true? Be as passionate now about your journey as you were when you first walked through that door and begun building the new, better, faster, stronger you.

Goal-Setting. When you have your “Why”, start to break it down in to manageable, achievable, relevant chunks. Ask a trained coach for advice on helping you to build your new path to your goal. Sure, it might now not be the path you were once on (although, it may be), but the important thing is the end; what it is that you really want to achieve and why? The road that gets you there is not the goal in itself, it’s the way. Noone spends a day travelling to stunning mountain ranges only to comment, “well, wasn’t that lovely tarmac, I really enjoyed the motorway services!”.

tortoisegoingdown

Take it Slow. Depending on the nature of your injury, this is going to be a slow process. Accept it from the outset and get over it. It doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get back to your best – you can. This just means that human bodies take time to heal and it can be frustrating; see “Stay Positive” above – there’s an opportunity in this. What’s worse than the injury? Re-injury.

404139_329609313761127_249056118_n

Get the Community on board. I firmly and whole-heartedly believe in the power of the community. There is nothing as miserable in the fitness world as training alone. It’s proper shit. Sure, there might be times when it is unavoidable, but generally there is beauty and strength in facing a challenge together. I have always loved CrossFit for this reason. As a coach, I see it in the faces of our athletes every time they step on to the floor; the banter, the nervousness, helping each other out, cheering each other on, and the shared relief at the end. In Grant’s case, despite the injury, we’ve seen him in the box regularly, adapting movements, training other areas, doing different workouts to everyone else, but still there joining in with everyone. This is critical, in my view. Don’t stay away and go through it alone, get the team included in your journey.

wp-1479936741673.jpg

Listen to your Coaches / Specialists. We are exceptionally fortunate in CrossFit Watford to have some genuine talent in the coaches. not least the physiotherapists and movement specialists that coach (and the technically talented athletes too!). Listen to your coaches and specialists. They know what they are talking about and, as I overheard earlier this week, if they don’t then they will not bullshit you, they will seek specialist advice on your behalf. As coaches, it is our goal to see success in others, as odd as that might be for a goal. Your recovery and rehabilitation, your achievements, your wins are our goals.

You’re not Alone, You’re Inspiring. Your recovery, done well, will inspire others. We all get injured, we all have set-backs. Seeing someone recover positively from an injury is inspirational and gives fuel to us all when faced with similar problems. So really, we should Thank You for getting injured, you’re doing us a service! 😉

giphy

 

Mission: Unbreakable – 10km OCR Review

For the first time in 2 years, I had an obstacle course race last weekend. Sunday 15 Oct, North Molton (N Devon), “Mission: Unbreakable”, 10km. In support of North Devon Hospice charity.

I’ll start by saying that I loved it. Highly recommended, this is now my second favourite OCR. Having completed Tough Guy (Summer and Winter), Rat Race Dirty Weekend, Brutal 10km, Spartan Beast, and Rock Solid Race, I can compare and contrast evenly. With Spartan Beast at the bottom, and Rock Solid Race at the top, this comes a very healthy second.

Billed as “definitely not a race”, I should have paid more attention to the blurb about it being a team event. Arriving without a team, I was pretty stand-up obvious. Being as competitive as I am, I also wasn’t going to let “not a race” hold me back, but I’ll get to that.

On arrival, we were greeted, marshalled, and warmed up by the highly enthusiastic and professional support team of 24 Commando Royal Engineers. Throughout, they were excellent, encouraging and very humorous. Big B.Z. to them!

Registration was smooth, well controlled and swift. With none of the “village” (stalls, shops, etc) to divert the attentions, it was clear where to be and when. After check in, and the beautiful mock-camouflage t-shirt, we were funneled into a holding pen, awaiting our turn to begin.

Not A Race. In the spirit of the event, we were “cammed up” by on-hand soldiers; seeing my t-shirt, they let me do my own face painting. We then received a safety brief, again articulating the “not a race” message, a thorough, and very good natured warm-up from the physical training instructors, and were off. There was no starting pistol, no horn, no timings chips…we simply strolled off.

  • Shoes: Inov-8
  • Compression Tights: Sub Zero
  • Shorts: New Balance
  • T-Shirt: 30 Commando IX Group

The Not Race. Well, that was weird. Somewhat disorientated by the start, I bimbled off with “The A Team”, a four person crew of 3rd-timers. We hit the first obstacle, some monkey bars, together but their team leader quickly identified that I was champing at the bit to get moving and so told me not to wait around. So, picking up the pace, I opened it up and found myself crawling through mud, under barbed wire, over hay bails, up ropes, across chasms, against strong water flow, up lots of hills, down an extremely long water slide, through ice baths, over fire, and scaling cargo nets. There was all the usual fayre that you would expect.

Unlike my Spartan experience, this was all highly professional, well-marshalled and safe. As I had no team, I did take safety in to my own hands on one occasion though – the telegraph pole carry. It was supposed to be a minimum of a 2 man-lift, following a short course. Unperturbed by lack of anyone around me, I lifted and carried it myself. The same was true on the tyre flips although arguably it was only a 1-man lift for that really. Where I joined another team was for the paintball event (awesome!).

The Difference. For me, what made this event standout was the team nature of it. All the way round, I got to chat to teams from far and wide who were there to help each other through it. Their collective humour was infectious. The marshalls and 24 Commando soldiers absolutely bought in to the humour side of it all. The level of encouragement was absolutely fantastic and for me it places this event high on my list of “must repeat”.

Improvements. For me (for Mrs Nomad and the Team Nomad), one change could have been made. By giving out a map of the course, and permission to allow people to watch at certain locations would have made the world of difference to the supporters. In my case, they ‘only’had to wait an hour before I popped up at the water-slide and then the ice bath. Other than that, there was nowhere to view the event which meant a long wait for many before their athletes returned. It’s a no-cost, huge return change that really would make a difference.

Time. 1 hr 13 mins. Of course, it wasn’t a race 😉

Thank you. A big thank you goes to North Devon Hospice, 24 Commando Royal Engineers, and to the sponsors. I will be returning to this event next year, family with me to take part!

I LOVE Coaching! (and PRs) – Thurs 12 Oct

It hasn’t quite been the case for a while but this morning I leapt out of bed and in to my gear, buoyed by the impending class at CrossFit Watford. After last night’s awesome power play (92.5kg Overhead Squat 1RM, followed by 5 RFT: 20 x Med Ball Cleans, 10 x Push Press @ 50kg, 5 x Chest-to-Bar Pull Ups – 11:19 Rx), you’d think I’d be a little wary of firing my way in to another huge WOD so soon after. But I wasn’t in the WOD, I was taking it. Tuesday and Thursday 6AM classes are my chance to give something to the CrossFit Watford Dawn Patrol. On Tuesday, I wrote a small dit on the board as they walked in, “If 6am is the only time of the day to Workout, it’s the Best time of the day to Workout!”. I’ve said it many times before but if someone can motivate themself to push themself through a brutal S&C session at 6am then they deserve my respect; the least I can do is be positive, enthusiastic and on top of my game for them.

And so, it was down the hatch with the Costa Americano, stuffing a few jaffa oranges in to my mouth, and a sprint down to the car. The drive in is always the same, a little Radio 4 to catch the news and then a switch to Absolute Radio to wake me up. Getting in to the box before the athletes, I get to pick the music; (nearly) always some kind of power ballad / rock anthems – I grew up in the late 80s guy, what can I say?

There was a look of horror on the faces of the stars as they saw the board. 2 MetCons, a 21-minuter and a short sprint to the finish.

EMOM 21

  • Row 12/10 Kcal
  • 50 x Double Unders
  • 10 x Burpees
  • 15 x Kettlebell Swings
  • 20 x Sit Ups
  • 25 x Air Squats
  • 10 x Squat Tuck Jumps

 

Depending on ability, there was enough time after each movement to get the breath back and really go for it in the next one. Having a workout like this is excellent for a coach because it gives us the chance to get around a lot of people with cues, tips, and (today none) no-reps 😉 Working the far end of the Anaerobic/Glycolytic pathway, and just about in to the Aerobic/Oxidative pathway, it also meant that there was enough in the tank for MetCon 2:

21-15-9

  • Wall Balls @ 9/6kg
  • Push Ups
  • Empty Bar Thrusters @ 20/15kg

 

You’d be forgiven for thinking that there would have been little appetite or intent to complete this after the first one. But you’d be wrong. They went for it. There is a quiet, brooding sense of sense of competition in the morning class but it is there nonetheless. Julie R knows it and you can see it on her face; when she knows she’s within sight of someone close to her, she really digs in and finds another gear. But this morning, it was Hannah vs Jessie that really made my morning. This morning Jessie was going for it. Powerful and strong, (and, as I’ve just found, a spinning instructor) Jessie took the lead from the outset. Hannah’s normal position is out in front so I knew she was not going to let this lie. Just one or two reps ahead at all times, Jessie hit the 9 Push Ups while Hannah still had about 5 Wall Balls remaining. Hannah clawed back 2 reps and Jessie started the Thrusters 3 ahead. Hannah put her foot on the gas and they completed their 9 Thrusters at exactly the same time! Boom! Fist Bumps all round! I love the morning class!

And, then it was my turn.

After last night’s was complete, Charlie said to me, “you’re gonna love tomorrow’s – get yourself a weight vest – it’s a Hero WOD – “RILEY””

We typically do weekday Hero WODs with a partner; this is because getting something like this in to a single session is often unworkable. With the late nights and darkness drawing in, you also don’t want people running around the streets en masse. So, for tonight, we amended it slightly to “Almost RILEY“:

  • 1 mile Run (800m each)
  • 150 x Burpees, between partners
  • 1 mile Run (full distance together)

 

Of course, I still did this with a 10kg weight vest. Teaming up with a Royal Navy Diver, called Tom, we completed the Split Jerk work first. My previous best for this was 115kg, and I have a video of it somewhere, which I was really pleased with. Tom is a big guy, and deadly strong. It was clear he was going to destroy whatever I put up; and so it proved. While I hit a new PR of 117.5kg (SMASH!), he went up to 150kg. The guy is STRONG. And then, on to “Almost RILEY”.

Weight vest on, he ran first, getting his 800m in around 4.5 mins. I headed off next, realising the weight vest wasn’t tightened properly and securing it en route. 3 mins 44secs – not bad. We did the burpees in 5s, non-stop, rapid. And then the 1 mile run (together). Despite him being immensely strong, I had the edge in the running. I got around the loop 2 mins ahead, waited for him on the line and we got back in to the box dead on 25 mins!

Teamwork. An immense day, inspired by the athletes in the morning class, and finishing with a new PR, meeting a new athlete, and feel pretty awesome. Boom.

 

 

 

 

 

Gains, Losses, Goodbye Instagram

Wow. Well, what a few weeks it has been. Utterly maniacal at work, I’ve been unable to blog since my Jiminis Insect Protein bar review. Even then, it was a few weeks before that too. I promise to get back on track as of now. In that time, there have been gains to the Snatch (oh yes!), the Thruster (vom!), and I’ve said goodbye to Instagram. I’ve reviewed my own outlook and perspective on my fitness, nutrition and goals. It’s been a busy time, that’s for sure.

Starting in reverse order:

Outlook. I’ve written about it before; I am competitive by nature. I always was while growing up and used to play a lot of rugby, sprint a lot of races, and jump in a lot of sandpits. My aptitude my have been somewhat debatable but I competed. I am motivated by competition. It’s what got me through the Commando Course, and it motivated me to leave the Army for the Royal Marines (competition against myself). As I’ve grown older (😢) so I’ve moved away from rugby and ahletics, no longer spend time yomping around the hills and sleeping in bushes, and instead found CrossFit. At the same time, I’ve hit a point in my career where I’ve taken on a lot more, and where family situations mean I simply don’t have the time to compete at weekends. That may change in the future but not yet (standfast the 10km OCR I have coming up this Sunday). But I still work best under the pressure of competition. So what? So I’ll be using my time in CrossFit Watford more wisely to identify specific individuals and compete against them. It’s what CrossFit should be about anyway but we tend to be a little ‘British’ about it over here…very polite. I’ve also begun revisiting those things that motivated me to push myself to great lengths before and will regularly refer back to a few ‘totems’ such as the Commando Dagger and Dartmoor Map above.

Nutrition. I’ve not been eating enough to build mass and strength. Simple. I have been carefully managing my intake to not appear flabby and soft. Appearance-first. Well, you can’t put on muscle mass and stay trim easily. I’ll now be upping my intake, still monitored, to at least 2500Kcal per day, and to 40% Carbs, 30% Protein, 30% Fat. Close to Christmas, I’ll reevaluate and begin to focus on conditioning once more.

Instagram. Instagram made me sad. I’ve concluded that unless you are happy to take your top off (which noone wants to see of me!), make awesome food, or take amazing photos, then Instagram just isn’t going to work (oh, and post at least 5 times a day). After a year, I have the total of 240 followers, even though over 1500 have followed/unfollowed (highly irritating). I only joined to try and build an audience for this blog but the time taken to fight for followers in a congested domain (fitness) wasn’t worth it. I found instead that I was rearranging coffee pots, contriving situations, and staring at my phone during workouts. I noticed a horrible narcissism developing and I got upset every time I saw someone in better shape than me (perceptively, everyone). So, I’m taking that time back. Goodbye Instagram. I’ll still be on Twitter @nomadiccrossfit though!

THE GAINS

Now, the successes.

3 weeks ago, CrossFit Watford, “15mins to a heavy Thruster”. Previous best of 90kg. New Personal Record of 100kg!

2 weeks ago, at home in the garage, @amrapplusone programming to work up to a heavy Snatch. Previous best of 77.5kg (achieved only about a month or so ago). I fought and fought for this, failing 3 times on the way up. 80kg. Boom. I have chased and chased this for 2 years or more when I finally took 75kg after years of trying. I was ecstatic all day after this. Done at home, with a York Beefy Bar (no spin) and 1″ hole mixed plates, this went up easier than I was expecting. It took a lot of working up to, granted. I couldn’t have achieved this on a 6am session, for example. However, I’ve reset my numbers on the Amrapplusone programme and will continue to push onwards.

There we have it, all caught up. Well, the main events anyway.

As I endeavour to write more often again, what would YOU like to see on here?

Let me know.