CrossFit Open 2018 – Final Scores


CF Open 2017

  • Worldwide Masters (35-39) – 86th %tile
  • Europe Central Masters (35-39) – 87th %tile

CF Open 2018

  • Target: place higher than 2017
  • Stretch Target: 90th %tile


  • Worldwide Masters (35-39) – 85th %tile
  • Europe Central Masters (35-39) – 89th %tile

I’m happy. I dropped a placing Worldwide and gained 2 in Europe Central. When you look at my per-WOD scores and take in to account the car crash of 18.2, you see that I actually did pretty damned well. Indeed, only 30 secs faster on 18.2 would have seen me well above the 90th %tile, perhaps as high as 91st, with my Worldwide score beating my target handsomely. Oh, for a bit of a kick in the pants during that WOD. Nevermind. It’s done now.

I hadn’t quite realised it either but this is my final year in the 35-39 Masters category. As of next year I shall be in the 40-44 age group!

So what’s next?

Well, tomorrow I begin my first non-Open competition with “The Battle For The Middle Ground“. 3 WODs over 3 weeks as Qualifiers, with the finals in Huddersfield 15/16 June. I’m competing in the Masters Middle Ground division and obviously have no intent on reaching the finals, I just want more competition experience to ensure I don’t crash out as I did in 18.2. And besides, it gives me something to work towards, I love competing and don’t get the chance all that often. After this…more of the same, I hope, with the UK Throwdown Event in October looming too.


Leave your Situations at the Door

Leave your situations at the door

So when you step inside jump on the floor

– Mary J. Blige 

Staring in to the down gazing eyes of one of our athletes, it was clear that she was about to just give up on the day, if not the week. Hard work ebbing onto the floor, leaving a sullen shell to clear the rower and remaining kit away before shuffling out door defeated. 


Not having that shit in this box! 

I don’t care what is going on in your life outside the box (well, I do actually but my upcoming point still stands), you do not allow it in to the box. Leave it at the door. I say this not from a standpoint of how it might affect the mood of others, nor how you’re not going to be on your game – both of those are valid – but from the this:

Your time in the box is your time. 

What you do in that hour is for you. It is your opportunity to develop, to succeed, to improve, and to win. How DARE the comments of colleagues, the stresses of work, or the rising cost of the bus fare impinge on YOUR time?! You have your goals, you have set out your plan, and you have paid your subs. The effort you put in within the hour we set for you is all yours. It is not to impress coworkers, it isn’t to think about tomorrow’s meeting, it certainly isn’t to worry about that note you forgot to write – all of those things are important but they won’t be solved in your hour with us.

This is YOUR TIME. Everything else can get f@#&ed. When with us, you are not judged, you are critiqued and not criticised, you have nothing to prove to anyone except to yourself.

How often in your daily routine do have to answer to none except yourself? How many times a day do you end something a stronger, faster, more powerful version of you than when you started? When else do you get to shut the world out and focus on your own needs? Give yourself over to this time, this chance, and kick the rest of the world in to touch.

This is YOUR time. How dare anyone ruin it for YOU. Own it. Dominate it. Leave as a fitter person, on YOUR terms, than when you came in.

Rant over.

Setting an Example, Out at the Front, not at the Top.


We are the Coaches.We are empowered and entrusted to develop the health and wellbeing of athletes. We have a responsibility to Deliver. We Set the Example. We Lead from the Front.

This statement I firmly believe in and I would like to take this time to break it down.

The Whiteboard. Being a coach to athletes is not about being at the top of the whiteboard, day in and day out. As a coach, there is certainly a degree of credibility that comes from being in the top few % though. Who is going to follow the person who doesn’t demonstrate a strong level of all round fitness, regardless of their competencies. At least, not in this game, perhaps more so in elite, specific sports where the coach is intentionally detached from playing but who has demonstrated high levels of competence as a dedicated coach. In fitness, you trust the person who demonstrates fitness. As coaches, it is our job to make those around us better than us and so there will always be people above us on the whiteboard. Plus, time spent coaching is time spent not training which will have an impact.

Communication is about more than words. It is the sum of our words and deeds. Simply put, we cannot expect athletes to listen to what we say if we don’t follow it ourselves. We are being watched ALL THE TIME. Our words are just part of what we are saying. How we act, how we move, the example we set…these are powerful messages. Don’t get me wrong, I am hardly the most virtuous CrossFitter out there. I like chocolate, I like a little cake sometimes and I drink too much caffeine in the form of Monster Zero (yep, I do); I may or may not have a secret thing for Cool Doritos too. But in front of the athletes (and 80% of the time generally), it’s professional, competent and leading by example. While on communication, be careful to not overstep the bounds of your own knowledge – not rumour or heresay, knowledge. Bad advice and guidance, no matter how well intentioned, is bad advice and is not guidance. Seek help the moment you are outside your comfort zone. And then go and dive in to the books and learn!

Programming. If we are following completely different programmes then how do we sell our programme to the athletes? Standfast those on competitor programming vice General Physical Preparedness (although CrossFit opposes this view too), but if you turn up and stroll to the other end of the box to do your own thing while others are sweating in a heap on the floor then it screams, “this programme isn’t good enough for me but it’s good enough for you”. Back to my previous point about not being top of the whiteboard, you still have to be ON that whiteboard. Athletes want to see how they measure up against you; as coaches, it’s good to see where you measure up too.

Nutrition. In the words of the guy who took me through my Level 1, 5 years ago, “here be monsters”. Nutrition is a thorny subject – everyone is set in their ways, there are thousands of competing ‘diets’ and approaches. However, one thing that almost all agree on is to reduce/remove refined sugars, have some starch, have some nuts & seeds, eat lean protein, eat tonnes of beautiful, green leafy veg (REAL FOOD). Within that, you can weigh/measure/count what you like within your preference. Personally, as you know, I weigh my food for 5 days a week and see considerable benefits by the 35% Carbs / 35% Protein / 30% Fat model. Of course, quantities of each do depend on your activity levels and goals. BUT what is not included are heavily processed, manufactured, brightly coloured products that contain clearly artificial ingredients but which have killa names obviously designed to get you to part with your cash as quickly as possible.  As coaches, it is hard enough attempting to talk about basic nutrition while competing with highly-funded advertising, what is even harder is if trainers in your profession advocate them too – I should mention that this is not a common occurrence in CF Watford; it really isn’t. I’m merely highlighting a point as something that I have witness. The only way we can compete with dissociated advertising is with the up-close-and-personal approach that a coach delivers.

Effort. We might not be the best in the box. Our mobility might not be where it should be. We will have our ‘goats’ too – things to work on. But as coaches, we demonstrate the effort required to get to that next stage of fitness. We put in the full range of movement in the burpee box jump, and we explain why. We fight to maintain external shoulder rotation in the shoulders during overhead squats, and we explain why. The athletes have to see that we work as hard as they do in every facet of the coaching session. You might not think it but they are looking to see your progressions too. And this goes for that 6am session that we really didn’t want to get out of bed for too. The athletes made it, we need to bring our A-Game, even if we don’t feel like it.

Scaling. We might Rx most things…but we didn’t used to. Not only that, we shouldn’t always, either. Scaling plays its part in all our development but the coach scaling a workout occasionally will also send the message to some of the more ‘determined’ athletes, “hey, if coach is scaling, perhaps I should too”. You might have told that to scale a thousand times but nothing demonstrates “leave your ego at the door” better than actually doing it ourselves.

Jumping in on WODs. This is a habit that I started getting in on but have now drawn back from. CrossFit is not cheap. It is far more expensive than typical gym memberships, despite not having the free towels, DVD memberships, spas, beautiful changing rooms and TVs. It is expensive because athletes pay for the value that a coach brings in giving them the personal attention throughout the 60 mins of the day that they invest in. It is our duty to unrelentingly pursue their progression and development. If there is another coach present to take over then dive on in – athletes do want to compete against the coaches, after all. But ultimately, they pay for coaching; they didn’t pay for globogym.

So, that about covers it, I think, although I’m sure I’ll think of something else as soon as I publish this.

Is there anything you look for in your coaches? Are there strong examples out there that we could learn from? Are there bad examples out there that we can learn from?

Answers, not on a postcard, but in the comments box below.


Enjoying the Journey, Strength, Open Water Swimming, Recovery

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,

for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself,

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

The intense beauty of Istanbul is all well and good but it did smash through my workout plans for last week. There was little strength training beforehand and none out there at all although I did manage 7 miles on a Treadmill and a WOD that I’d programmed for long haul flights.


Unfortunately, the run was in minimalist shoes…cue getting up for my flight the next day and collapsing in a fit of one-legged agony at 0430, my left calf as solid as the marble on the mosque roof on the other side of the dawn-bathed Bosphorus. It wasn’t exactly funny at the time but imagine the inevitable pain that comes another 24 hours later! Saturday morning, trying to get down the stairs to the Action Princesses was hysterical. Trying to get a cup of tea up to the Chief Warrior Princess was even funnier! It turns out that walking backwards up stairs isn’t very clever either (unless you like Early Grey covered carpets).

I want to highlight my last post. Before heading out to the continental bridge between Europe and Asia last week, I got a new Clean PR baby! 103.5kg! I kind of brushed over it in my last musings, covering the Level 2 CrossFit Trainer course instead. But hell, I got my first major PR in AGES! Boom and, indeed, SMASH! I put it down to the strength programme, CF Watford’s programming, good nutrition and adequate recovery.

Having a goal is really keeping me motivated at the moment. More than that though, I’m enjoying the process. I’ll be honest, I do enjoy weighing and tracking my food. I love seeing my power output in workouts and I’m pushed to keep writing this blog in the vain hope that someone might read it 😉

Anyway, back in to it today with Day 24 of the AMRAP Plus One Strength Programme and my first proper Open Water Swim training.


  • Cleans 5 x 1 @ 75% – 77.5kg
  • Cleans 5 x 1 @ 80% – 82.5kg
  • Cleans 5 x 1 @ 85% – 87.5kg
  • Clean Pulls 3 x 3 @ 90% – 92.5kg
  • Halting Clean Deadlift (3 x Knee), Finish (x1), Floating Clean Deadlift (x1) @ 87.5kg

I didn’t warm up completely this morning and felt it in the catch, in the lumbar. It took me all day to unknot it. However, each rep was strong. I’m enjoying this programme.



1km Open Water @ Denham Water Ski

Time: approx 24 mins.

Nothing fancy, a chance to try on the new DHB wetsuit (which I love) and get in to the cold water (11C). I plodded around (is there a ‘slow swimming’ verb?) and made my way out in good order. Of course, what noone tells you (unless you actually read triathlon websites! – Ed) is that trying to walk after a 1km swim is REALLY funny! 😀 How I’m expected to run 15km, I’ll never know. Still there’s about 5 weeks until the event – plenty of time 😀 😀


  • Pre-Strength – Banana
  • Breakfast – Porridge, Whey Protein, Milk
  • Snack – Brazil Nuts and Cherries
  • Lunch – Turkey Burgers, 2 x Eggs
  • Snack – Seed Mix
  • Dinner – 2 x Organic Bramley Apple Pork Sausages, tonnes of carrots, broccoli and parsnips.
  • Post-Swim – Whey Protein & Milk, Chicken, Rice, Egg

Total Carbs: 202g (808 KCal)

Total Protein: 211g (844 KCal)

Total Fat: 73g (657KCal)

Motivating a Group, Training Under Fatigue

Motivational Quote



Enough of these, thanks Dave.


I hadn’t intended to train this morning. On the board to coach, I arrived in the box on cue at 0545 to get it set up, put the WOD up and motivate myself before meeting the athletes. As they arrived though, it was immediately obvious that the energy was lacking; you could feel it in the conversation, you could see it in the way people moved through the warm up and the drills. Early mornings are always tough to gauge anyway; you can’t give the same energy to a 6am session as you can for an end-of-the-week Friday night extravaganza, for example. As coaches, we have to be able to read the athletes and the group as a whole, and balance accordingly in order to get the best out of them.

So, I started slowly with the warm up, gradually trying to increase the tempo and enthusiasm; we upped the music; we chatted about 17.2 and about what might come up on Friday in 17.3. Nothing. Sure, everyone was working but there was no intensity.

So, I did what every good leader should do and decided to get stuck in and lead from the front. Picking one member of the group, Jav (and we’d gone head to head the night before in 17.2), I decided to really go for it, despite my rather sore glutes and generally fatigued state.


I’d love to say that by getting amongst it and giving my all I was able to motivate the group. I’m not entirely sure I did though. This is an area that I will revisit shortly. One of the factors is that despite training every morning together, they don’t even know each other’s names (some do) or anything about each other. In order to generate team cohesion and a sense of camaraderie, this has to be a baseline; like I said, more to follow.

I also had the evening class tonight but they’re a completely different kettle of fish altogether!


  • 4 x 12 Bulgarian Split Squats (per leg)
  • superset with 4 x 6 Straight Leg Kettlebell Deadlift (Single Leg)

2 x 12kg / 12kg / 12kg / 12kg (so, 24kg each time)

After last night’s lunges, my glutes and quads were wimpering throughout. There would have been no point trying to go heavier.


18min AMRAP

  • 30 x Push Press @ 50kg
  • 20 x Wall Balls @ 9kg
  • 10 x Box Jump Overs @ 24″
  • 200m Run

Total: 3 + 20

I really pushed the pace on this one. The only thing to have any breaks were the push presses, broken in to 10s and 5s each time, never less – these slowed me right down. All Wall Balls unbroken and fast. Box Jump Overs were consistent. This surprised me quite a bit given how tired I feel. It does show that your body will do what your mind tells it.

The evening class. Determination in spades.


  • Pre-WOD: 1 x Banana
  • Breakfast: 60g Spelt Wheat / Oats with 250ml Protein Milk + 25g Whey Protein
  • Lunch: 3 x Scrambled Eggs, 70g Spinach, 90g BBQ Chicken Breast. 1 x Banana.
  • Dinner: Sunday Leftovers!! (love it!) of 2 x Lean Pork Sausages, 2 x Roast Potatoes, Parsnips, Carrots and Gravy
  • Snack: Battle Oats
  • Pre-Bed: 90g BBQ Chicken Breast


Snatch Increase (not PR), Weighing My Food

Train Hard.

Eat Well.



The reason for Fitness: to be able to explore and enjoy as much of the world as possible, for as long as possible.

After a long and tortuous journey on Friday, it was a relief to get home for a weekend of just ‘family time’. Since early Dec, we have been with friends or family every weekend; this was the first opportunity in what felt like ages to just do our own thing. What a superb weekend it was too! From walking around Burrator Reservoir, to Scratch coding with our eldest, doing colouring-in (DC Super Heros colouring book for Christmas 😉 ), to an awesome family Sunday lunch (with leftovers today, thanks Mrs Nomad!!), it was excellent. I just had to get that in there 😀


Batman rest on Sunday with a Superman mug of coffee.

One thing I noticed over the weekend was that I am starting to get my abs back. Now, I’ve never had a six-pack and am unlikely to but I’m getting back in to the shape I was in during last Summer. I had set that target for the start of the CF Open in late Feb but I’m there now after 3 weeks of disciplined eating (for the most part anyway).  I’m now going to take this further and see how I pan out over the next few weeks. With that in mind, I’ve taken Mrs Nomad’s kitchen scales and will spend this week weighing my food so that I can actually see what I am eating – I’ve already noticed that some of my estimates over the last few weeks have been well off. By creating a little notebook of quantities, I’ll be able to gauge my intake better in future as I tweet my training and nutrition.

But on to this morning….



…it was COLD! It hit -4C as I was driving back last night and no doubt a little further down the slide over night. Walking to the gym for the morning Snatch session was not a pleasant stroll.

Morning Snatch Session

Chatting through my Friday frustrations with one of the CF Watford Coaches (Hat, cheers for the logic!), I decided to switch my programme around slightly so that my Snatch 1RM work is done on a Monday, leaving Wed and Fri for the technique / accessory work. This way, I am rested and more likely to get in to the 85% bracket.

And that’s what happened today. Despite struggling and failing to get beyond 60kg on Friday, I achieved 67.5kg today (90%). Ok, there were a few fails in there but that’s because I’ve been messing with my technique a little as I seek to keep that bar as close to the hips as possible without actually smacking it forward and away.

Evening CF Watford Session


3 x 5 Strict Press

60 / 65 / 67.5kg

My record is 70kg but I wasn’t able to get to that in the time this evening. It’s fine, I’m confident with upper body strength.


30min Partner WOD – one completes entire round while other rests.

  • 15 Cal Row
  • 12 x Clean & Jerk @ 42.5kg
  • 12 x Wall Balls @ 9kg
  • 12 x Toes to Bar

Total: 9 rounds + 28 reps. Between Tom and I, we completed 9 rounds. I completed 5 of those but only because I started first. Had  Tom started, I doubt I would have done so well; while I completed each set of 15 cals in under 40 secs, the C&Js slowed me down – first round unbroken, others were 6+3+3. Wall Balls were unbroken and TTB were 6+3+3 or 6+6. My grip strength really struggled but it wasn’t just that. My head wasn’t in it but I’m actually not too fussed by it at the moment. I know I’m in a strong place overall.



Having listened to the very excellent “Eating for Strength” from Barbell Shrugged, I’ve tweaked my requirements a little to support strength and recovery.

  • 182g Carbs – green leafy vegetable carbs, on the whole.
  • 180g Protein – Lean Meat, Nuts, Seeds, Whey Powder to supplement.
  • 70-90g Fat – keeping it closer to the 70g mark while I lean down a little.

These numbers won’t be hit exactly and will require a little tuning over time. I am including more carbs late in the evening though in order to raise insulin, which leads to a drop and a subsequent drop in cortisol, which aids sleep.

Thursday Thoughts, the new Snatch PR is getting closer!

Strive for Progress,

Then your Position on the Whiteboard

It has been a tough day today; it was one of those days that just didn’t seem to ever want to end. Endless, conflicting meetings, filling the space in between with note writing and taskers, little chance to stop and smell fresh air. I recently listened to a great Barbell Shrugged podcast about how to make the most of the morning and be able to leap out of bed with vigour, energy and enthusiasm; I think it’s fair to say that I’m not there yet 😉 Bleary eyed and with Doc Emit Brown hair, I pushed myself through the dark mist, over to the gym, with my awesome Batman mug of Kenco Americano Coffee. Sipping it gently, I prepared myself for the overhead work to come. After setting a strong benchmark last week in the Heaving Snatch Balance (3 x 70kg), I was determined to at least match that this week in a 1RM attempt.


Morning Snatch Accessory Work

Heaving Snatch Balance

  • 5 x 5 @ 40kg
  • 5 x 3 @ 50kg
  • 10 x 1 @: 60 / 65 / 70 / 70 / 70 72.5 / 72.5 / 75 / 77.5 / 80kg

Despite the initial grogginess, I recovered well and am happy with this work; it is giving very high confidence for future Snatch work.

CrossFit Watford PM Session


Complementing the morning Snatch work, the strength portion of tonight was:

Overhead Squats 5-3-1

  • 5 x 60kg
  • 3 x 70kg
  • 1 x 80kg
  • 1 x 82.5kg
  • 1 x 85kg


Partner WOD

15min AMRAP

  • 10 x Power Clean @ 60kg
  • 20 x Wall Balls @ 9kg
  • 30 cal Row

Working with Ben P on this one (a beast on the rower!), we managed a fine 5 Rounds + 30 Reps. It wasn’t the top score, managed by an extremely strong pair, but it was next up.



The whiteboard is REALLY important. I absolutely believe this. Within CrossFit, that extra dimension of competition, and the simple act of recording the workout, drives people to work that little bit harder. Further, working in pairs or teams adds yet another pressure to perform well. But ‘perform well’ does not mean ‘take short cuts in the name of whiteboard position’. All too often, we see a chin not quite make it above the bar in a pull up, the hips not get below parallel in a wall ball squat and the knees not fully extending in a push press. These little things matter.

Firstly, “full range of motion” is what we are about. We don’t do half movements; high numbers of reps in a poor position will reinforce bad movement patterns and ‘lock it in’, making it harder to move out of later.

Secondly, if the girl or guy next to you has absolutely hit every movement properly but has come up on the board a few seconds behind you, they will feel aggrieved; they will have noticed too and will either begin to feel resentful or may actually be persuaded to do the same as you, just to keep up. Respect the others in your box and get it right,

Thirdly, don’t argue with the coach when they no-rep you. We’re not doing it be power crazy idiots. We genuinely care about your development and want to see you improve across all aspects of fitness. We want to see you shine. We know what we are doing, trust our decision and take it as a sign of a new development opportunity for you to work on.


My food diary is now on MyFitnessPal at:

  • Pre-WOD: 10g Walnuts
  • Breakfast: leftover Chicken Curry and Rice <– Amazing!
  • Lunch: 3 Scrambled Eggs, Kale, Watercress, Chilli, Coconut Oil
  • Snack: 10g Mixed Nuts
  • Dinner: 1 x Roast Chicken Breast (no skin), 1 x Roast Chicken Leg/Thigh (no skin)
  • Post-WOD: 25g Whey Protein + 12.5g Dried Skimmed Milk Powder
  • Supplements: Wellman Tablet, 2100mg DPA/EHA Fish Oil


In just two weeks since coming back, I am noticing change already. I am less achey in my joints, less bloated and am recovering pretty quickly. Indeed, having such a hearty breakfast really made a difference today. Sleep is still a bit of a problem area; it must take me about 20mins to nod-off, on average, and I really want to get this down.