Zombie Apocalypse…I don’t have to be the fastest. I just have to be faster than the other guy.

I threw myself out of bed this morning, excited and genuinely motivated. Sure, it doesn’t always happen that way  (as Mrs Regular Reader will know), but after an under-par performance in a couplet last night (Kettlebell Swings and pull ups…..Lots and lots of them), I really wanted to make amends. 

Plus……today is FIGHT GONE BAD day!

A benchmark among benchmarks, FGB is a brutal, high volume / low weight engine workout. Feared by many, I saw this as an opportunity.

So it was with proper whooping joy that I bounded in to CF Watford this morning. Yeah, the large Costa Americano ‘might’ have had something to do with it but it was mostly just me.

The excitement was well noted, as it was during max height box jumps last night (44″), and it got me thinking again about my ‘why’.
Why do I get excited by my fitness? why am I enthusiastic about hard charging the box and putting myself in to a dark, stinking pain cave?

The standard answer: I will be that 50+ year old who is throwing a long pass out wide to my rugby playing daughters at the park. I will be the dad on sports day that my daughters are proud to see winning the parents’ race. I will be the old man helping others move in to a new home, shifting furniture that someone half my age struggles with.

The real answer: I will outrun you when the Zombie Apocalypse comes. 

It’s survival of the fittest, baby! 

Global pandemics, war, environmental disasters, zombies. My family needs me to be on my game to protect them and lead them to survival when the time comes.

Am I the strongest? No. 

Am I the fastest? No.

But I don’t need to be. I just have to want it more than the me of yesterday, and the guy next to me in the fight for survival.

Zombie Apocalypse – they’ll get you before they get me πŸ˜€

I am that guy who finds the deactivated escalator to walk up.

With that, Fight Gone Bad was up on the board today and I was grinning from ear to ear. Some 5RM Deadlift work first, I kept this at around 85% of my 5RM, with 140kg lifts. Intentionally not hitting the heights, I had bigger fish to fry today.

Fight Gone Bad

3 Rounds

1 min on each station, Max Effort 

  • Wall Balls, 9kg to 10′
  • Sumo Deadlift High Pull, 35kg
  • Box Jumps, 24″ (standard is 20″ for this)
  • Push Press, 35kg
  • Row for KCal 
  • Rest

Total: 326 – a 13 rep improvement on a year ago.

https://beyondthewhiteboard.com/workout_sessions/31616467

So, with the world going to hell in a handcart, I’m setting myself up for the survival of my family.

Zombies….they’re coming πŸ˜‰

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.

IMG_20170504_185642_272

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 πŸ˜‰

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

Strength

  • 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.

IMG_20170508_210805_149

Swim

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! πŸ˜€ How I’m expected to run 15km, I’ll never know. Still there’s about 5 weeks until the event – plenty of time πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Nutrition

  • 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)

Early start after a week of lay-ins

No photos today as the Android WordPress App is being crap and refuses to upload anything. Pictures just sit there…..queued…..forever…….like zombie passengers at Heathrow.

The alarm screeched at me at 0520 this morning. After a week of relative lay-ins, this was an unwelcome bitch of a wake-up call. However, knowing I had CF Watford to get to, and willing athletes raring to go (maybe), I dragged my sorry ass out of bed, in to the bathroom and splashed water on my face before hauling my hunched frame to the Tassimo and the glorious Costa Americano that awaited me. A quick swig of the steaming awesomeness and I was already feeling up for it. Grabbing my kit and leaping like a gazelle down to my awaiting chariot (ok, that might be a bit much….I jogged, at best), I was up for the box and well up for the WOD.

Confronted by two newcomers, Ola and Darren, among the regular legends I was immediately struck by their determination to succeed through:

Strength

  • 3 x 5 Thrusters
  • Superset: 3 x Max Effort Unbroken Push Ups

60/65/70kg – If I’d bothered to check BeyondTheWhiteboard, I would have seen that this was my previous best and I could easily have beaten it with just a few 1.25 or 2.5kg plates! Idiot! πŸ˜‰

MetCon

18 min AMRAP

  • 200m Run
  • 5 x Bar Muscle Ups
  • 10 x Burpees
  • 15 x Wall Balls, 9kg @ 10′

Total: 5 Rounds with 15 secs to spare. I didn’t bother attempting a run at the end. There was significant time spent coaching during this one, as I am there to do. I certainly don’t begrudge it – I only workout when there is capacity and freedom to do so and the athletes always come first. Having said that, I completed all rounds completely unbroken, Muscle Ups included. This is a huge achievement and I have been rocking it all day.

AMRAP Plus One Strength Programme – Day 14

I began this 2 weeks ago and am enjoying the focussed attention on the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. Last week, I spent a great deal of time in my garage working this solely, without any associated metcons. On Saturday, I trotted through a Snatch routine and EASILY moved 70kg above my head. Why I didn’t continue upward, I don’t know. Instead, I moved on to the next part of the programme. I know I’m getting close the most elusive PR of them all though (for me).

Day 14:

On the Minute

  • Snatch 5 x 1 @ 73% – 55kg, 5 x 1 @ 78% – 57.5kg, 5 x 1 @ 83% – 62.5kg, 5 x 1 83%+ – 70kg, 75kg Fail, 72.5kg Fail, 72.5kg PASS.
  • Snatch Pull 3 x 3 @ 85% – 65kg, 3 x 2 @ 90% – 67.5kg

Further accessory movements.

I am not going to be disappointed for not hitting my PR or getting above it today. I think I put a little too much expectation on myself. My movement is good and I know this programme will get me over the line.

Nutrition

Back in military-world, I am able to control my intake much better than at home. Still, I ate a Cadbury Creme Egg (it fit in my macros though!) pre-WOD. I am keeping to 2300 KCal at the moment and feel good about it. As macros, that equals:

  • Carbs: 201g (804 KCal – 35%)
  • Protein: 201g (804 KCal – 35%)
  • Fat: 77g (693 KCal – 30%)

Other than the wondrous chocolate goodness, I’ve eaten lean beef mince, an avocado, 3 eggs, a truckload of veg, some oats and some whey protein. Oh, and 10 almonds. And 5g Creatine.

Open 17.3, Goals; Now to have Fun.

I’m sat in Starbucks, just off Petty France in London. I’ve a meeting a few streets away and there’s 30mins to kill. This weekend, post-Open WOD 17.3, has been a funny one, mentally. Approaching the Open,I set myself the goal of hitting the top 25% of Individual Men globally in the Open. Historically, I’ve taken my placing as a percentage of all who have completed at least 1 WOD. This has become more complicated in recent years, with the incorporation of the Scaled division. It further complicates with people perhaps missing 17.1 but then submitting a single rep on 17.2 (loads of these and I don’t understand it).

I therefore have begun to take these with a punch of salt and look to Beyondthewhiteboard instead where I compare against RX in each WOD and then average it over the 5 WODs.

Well, on the first method, I am sitting in the top 19%. Sounds good, right?!

On the second method, I am not even in top 33%.

Therefore, which one is correct? It matters to me because I am goal-orientsted and see my performance in this competition as an indicator of my credibility as a CrossFit athlete and coach to others. I appreciate that credibility comes from ability to coach, specifically, but in this environment how can I ask others to perform to their potential if I am not demonstrating the same?

So, unless WODs 17.4 and 17.5 are long, lightweight chippers with loads of gymnastic skills then it’s likely that I will slump lower. This highlights the work I have to do on strength training, which is a worrying  and separate issue.

What next then?

Well, the pressure is off. It’s time to have fun. Sure, I’ll dig in and give it everything but I’m not going to get frustrated to see others push past me. Indeed, I’ll revel in their success and will enjoy the atmosphere in the box a lot more. I suspect there’ll be more fist bumps and High 5s but what you gonna do?  πŸ˜‰

Strength 

  • Box Squats 4×4
  • Superset Bent over Row 4×8

60/70/90/100kg

Not as high as I would like but strong form. 

MetCon 

2 Rounds of:

8 min window 

800m Run plus,

AMRAP (in remaining time)

  • 8 x Power Clean @ 42.5kg
  • 8 x Shoulder to Overhead
  • 8 x Bar over Burpees

Round 1: 3 + 4 

Round 2: 3 + 3

I’m very happy with this, especially as it turned out to be the top score of the day. Power Cleans and Shoulders to Overhead were all unbroken and done together.

Strong Women and “So THAT’s where the Energy went”

She is clothed in STRENGTH and DIGNITY

and she LAUGHS without Fear of the Future.

 

I just want to give a big-up to all strong women everywhere. I don’t just mean the obvious physical strength aspect. I mean the mental toughness that most women have that most men can only dream of. From my grandmother at the head of the family, to my courageous mother, my incredible wife and my warrior princess daughters; to my sisters, cousins, aunts and great-aunts; I am surrounded by strong, incredible women.Β Independent, strong, intelligent, imaginative, fun, amazing, beautiful women. Thank you for all that you do, all that you are and all the you will become.

 

Update

For those who read yesterday’s post and have signed in for a 2-in-a-row streak, you’ll know that I was upset at myself for not having been able to motivate a small group early in the morning. As I acknowledged at the time to myself, some days it just ain’t there, no matter what you try. That said, there were lessons I took away and will look to rectify.

And then there are days like today πŸ˜€

6am session and 14 people show up! This is my first early morning session with a full house and, given the WOD, I was really nervous about it. While it was was not a particularly high-skill event, it was a long one and I was focused on keeping it to time as I have to back in the office for 0800. But, not only did 14 people jog through the doors, there was considerable energy in the room too. Lots of banter for that time of day, bags of questions and bucket loads of determination to succeed. Some days, it is there and it just works. Probably best not to analyse it but to accept it and embrace it!

Which is what they did. Fair play, well done to the Dawn Patrol, it was a genuine pleasure to coach.

Because of numbers and length of the MetCon, we had to speed through the strength element a little faster than I would normally do it, and get stuck in. Also, with some relative newcomers and maximum attendance, I wasn’t able to workout and so did it tonight instead.

Strength

  • 3 x 5 Split / Push Jerk @ 65/75/85% 1RM

60 / 70 / 80kg – nothing too much to worry about here. I was cleaning each set as the racks were taken. Not the heaviest I can lift but then I’m not going to get any stronger during the Open so am not overly fussed at this point.

MetCon

8 Rounds of:

2 mins On / 2 mins Off

  • Row (Cals) 25
  • Max Effort Double Unders

Score = Double Unders = 298

Each row took approx 65-70 seconds, hovering around the 1350-1400 Cals per Hour mark. I was extremely pleased at maintaining this pace each time. The Double Unders weren’t quite so great. The first was a grand 60 but the others were all sub-40 with 1 set being sub 30! This brought me under the 300 total that I’d aimed for but it actually turned out to be a pretty good score, all told.

Nutrition

  • Breakfast: 60g Spelt Wheat / Oats, 200ml Protein Milk (Sainsbury’s), 25g MyProtein Choc Peanut Butter – I left this overnight in the fridge and ate cold this morning; delicious!
  • Lunch:Β 240g Sweet Potato, 60g Protein Cheese, 100g Chicken BreastSnack/pre-WOD: 80g Chicken Breast, 60g Banana
  • Post-WOD: 25g Whey Protein + 200ml Protein Milk
  • Dinner: Sainsbury’s My Goodness Thai Sweet Chilli Chicken with Rice + 50g Brie
  • Drink: Sainsbury’s Hot Chocolate

Totals:

  • Carbs: 180g – approx 1g per lb bodyweight – Happy.
  • Protein: 182g – approx 1g per lb bodyweight (for growth) – Happy
  • Fats:Β 73g – not bad, was aiming for 70.

Motivating a Group, Training Under Fatigue

Motivational Quote

 

20170307_055327.jpg

Enough of these, thanks Dave.

Update

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.

3…2…1…GO!

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!

Strength

  • 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.

MetCon

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.

Nutrition

  • 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

 

CrossFit Open 17.2, and the ReShow

Get Up.

Try Again.

Repeat.

So, I never let you guys in to the state of my mind after 17.1.

It wasn’t pretty.

I intentionally did not blog. Food poisoning conspired to scupper my attempt at 17.1, reducing me to fighting for everything I had just to get inside the 20 mins time cap – which I did with 17 seconds to spare! Now, while I did manage it, and food poisoning was the cause of my weakness, I did my typical mental weakness thing and start feeling sorry for myself. I played the whole, “woe is me” shit, complaining, whinging, moping about as if suddenly I’d lost my shot at the Games. It was pathetic! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Sure, I’ve got my goal for this year (top 25%) but I lost my shit at having been reduced to 57th percentile (BeyondtheWhiteboad, not Games Leaderboard) after just one WOD. Dick. Mental state: Weak. Time to move up a gear in this regard, I think, and have some freakin’ perspective, and some goddamn fun!

So anyway, 17.2 and no such illness. Also a GREAT WOD for me!

12 min AMRAP

2 Rounds of:

  • 50′ Lunge walk with 2 x 22kg dumbbells
  • 16 x Toes To Bar
  • 8 x Dumbbell Power Cleans

2 Rounds of:

  • 50′ Lunge walk with 2 x 22kg dumbbells
  • 16 x Bar Muscle Ups
  • 8 x Dumbbell Power Cleans

Repeat until end of Time Cap

At 0700 on Friday morning (03 Mar), I completed 114 reps of this. That’s 2 Muscle Ups in to the second round of Muscle Ups!! For a very short period of time, I was 10th on the Beyond The Whiteboard leaderboard!! Sure, my positioning came tumbling down over the weekend but I was over the moon to have hit that second round of MUs.

Now, right from the outset, I knew I’d be repeating this one. I knew I’d had no breakfast and would likely get the lunges a bit wrong. Interestingly, I hadn’t expected to hit all Toes To Bar unbroken, which I did, and that was a huge positive. I used the wrong bar for the MUs (yes, I have a favourite bar πŸ˜‰ ) although I switched to it late and was MUCH better when I did.

And so, tonight, I repeated it.

And I got.

120 Reps!

That’s 6 more and a SIGNIFICANTLY faster tie-break time. I hit the last round of power cleans at 8:30, took 1 min to do the lunges, leaving me 1.5 mins to get out those 6 Muscle Ups….and boy, did I need it! On Friday, I hit the last set of Muscle Ups with just 10 secs to spare. This is a top 19% score on Beyond The Whiteboard and I’ll find out tomorrow how high it is in the Games, both for individuals and for Masters (35-39).

Thanks for everyone that stayed on to cheer us on, it made all the difference.

What a Box.