Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Crossfit at The Arnold Sports Festival 2011

Where to begin with all the amazing events of this past weekend?  I guess I'll start from the top and see where it leads me.

Thursday evening Rodrigo and I made the trip over to C-bus so we'd be in town and ready to go for Friday.  Friday was mostly an expo for all the sponsored athletes to showcase crossfit.  They were to begin their expo at noon according to the email we had received, the email also informed us that registered athletes would be able to jump into the workouts along side the sponsored athletes, which was a treat to hear.  On the trip over, I told Rodrigo, that I would only jump into one of the Friday workouts if it was Elizabeth (21-15-9 reps of Squat Cleans@135lbs and ring dips).  We discussed how much fun we thought the weekend was going to be and enjoyed a smooth ride over to Columbus.  Once we arrived, we made a quick trip to the grocery store and stocked up on food for the weekend and then stayed at my buddy Jon's place and made a late dinner.

Friday morning, we got around and made our way back downtown to get to the expo and see the spectacle.  Once we walked into the grand ballroom, we saw that they had just finished a workout.  Huh, they started well before the time that was relayed to us in our email.  It was almost 11:00, an hour before the first workout was to begin.  We missed watching them do their choice of Cindy or Mary.  Both 20minute amrap workouts.  Having arrived we saw the posted list of workouts for the day:
Wod 1 - Cindy or Mary
Wod 2 - Fran completed by sponsored athletes only (registered athletes would do this on Saturday)
Wod 3 - Elizabeth!  Boom, Instantly excited because I know that I'm going to be able to compete with the best of them on this.
Wod 4 - King Kong with a twist.  This was also a sight to see, King Kong is a workout with huge weights getting tossed around.  It is 3 rounds for time of 1 Deadlift at 455lbs 2 muscle ups (gymnastics move) 3 squat cleans at 255lbs and 4 hand-stand push ups.  The twist was they also added a 12 foot wall climb after the HSPU and also a 6 foot wall jump at the beginning of the workout before each deadlift.

Watching the Fran was pretty exciting as most of the guys finished right around 2:20 some a couple seconds before that mark and the bulk of them a couple seconds behind that mark.  One scary point to Fran was Dan Bailey falling off the pull up bar with 1 rep left and basically Nestea Plunging on the floor.  It looked bad, but luckily he was ok, just a little sore.  Dan still PR'd the workout!  Amazing.

Finally after Fran it was time to warm up and get down with the get down for Elizabeth.  During my warm up I felt pretty good and made some small talk with a few of the guys, and talked with Matt Chan for quite a bit.  Matt is an amazing athlete and all around cool dude.  I spent many more times over the course of the weekend talking with Matt and learning of his training schedule and just shooting the breeze as well.  Once it was time to fall in for Elizabeth, I chose a spot in the back of the room so I could watch everyone else and see where I was in the workout.  It was mainly people who were registered for the weekend in this event, with the addition of Mikko Salo (2009 CrossFit Games Winner) Dave Libson, and Matt Chan.
I locked into the first set of 21 squat cleans at a great pace and was the first athlete on the rings and breezed through the dips as well.  1st back to the bar for 15.  In the set of 15 Jason Khalipa (2008 CrossFit Games Champion) took notice of me and started watching me from about 4 feet away.  This kept me motivated to stay on the bar and continue to forge ahead.  I was no longer paying attention to anyone else, but I could hear Nick Urankar yelling from the crowd that I was leading everyone.  Again, first athlete to the rings... The second round of ring dips was more difficult, but I was the first back to the bar for the set of 9.  The final round became a struggle and things got very difficult to maintain my pace. About 5 or 6 reps in Mikko ended up passing me and went on to a 4:02 finish.  I was still on pace with Dave Libson onto the rings and had to break the round up into 2s and 3s.  I believe Dave finished right before me at around 4:16 ish and I came in 3rd at 4:19.  My PR before this attempt was 4:49 I believe.  So a :30 PR was pretty amazing!  On my final set of ring dips I had Dan Bailey on my left and Jason Khalipa on my right cheering me on.  Once I finished, Jason was going off the chain about my performance.  This was a surreal feeling, to have a Games Champ telling me "that was awesome, You're Legit" was amazing.  I cheered on the rest of the guys and then walked back to my area to get a recovery shake.

Once Rodrigo had finished, he walked back through the warm up area where the sponsored guys were hanging out to hear Khalipa telling everyone about my workout and that it was an awesome performance.  Rodrigo told me this, and I was pretty taken back.  I couldn't believe that I had those guys talking about me!  Usually, WE are the one's who are amazed by THEIR performances, not the other way around.  It really hit home that it really happened when Dave Libson stopped me as I was walking through to the warm up area and told me good job and he heard I killed it.  I was a little dumb founded to be honest.

Next up was King Kong and it was really cool to see the guys cruise through it like it was nothing.  The 255lb squat clean is what would get me in that workout.  I need to get stronger at my olympic lifts.  They made the weight look easy and pretty effortless. After King Kong, we took off for the evening and went out to dinner then back to Jon's house to relax and get some Zzz's before a long day on Saturday.

Saturday began with Fran (21-15-9 of Thrusters and Pull ups).  My PR going into the weekend was 2:47 and I really wanted to hit 2:30 on this attempt.  I locked in pretty good from the get go and moved solidly through the workout.  Hit everything unbroken, and when the dust had cleared finished at 2:28:92.  A :19 PR!  Really, 2 huge PRs in 2 days?  I need to have 4 former CrossFit Games Champs watching me more often. (Past Champs attending were:  Jason Khalipa, Mikko Salo, Graham Holmberg, and Katy Matter Heninger).

We were then paired up for the rest of the weekend and the next two workouts on Saturday were pretty fun.  1st they recreated the final events of the 2010 games and I did the 7min amrap of 30 toes 2 bar and 21 ground to overhead with 95lbs.  Tore pretty bad on the toes 2 bar and finished 2 complete rounds.  We finished the day with a team Grace, 90 total reps for time with 2 bars moving at a time.  I did approx. half the reps and we finished in 4:02 a decent time, but far off the winning teams time.

At some point either between the 2nd and 3rd workout on Saturday or possibly after the 3rd Rodrigo and I were sitting down chatting when Miranda and Carey were walking around looking to interview someone for the CrossFit Journal.  I happened to flash a smile and over they came (not really in that order, but hey, they did come over).  We had a pretty good interview with Rodrigo and my views differing.  I must say that if they cut any of the interview out it will be my comments because Rodrigo's statements will definitely make people laugh and comment more than mine.  It was pretty cool, and I look forward to seeing it online, at least I'm crossing my fingers for it to happen!

Saturday night, Reebok sponsored a private after party that was a lot of fun with all the athletes gathering and mingling.  I spoke with quite a few guys and met some new people at the party.  Good times all around and also got a pretty cool Reebok Crossfit Pint Glass.  How's that for promotion?  Giving me a beer glass that literally says 3-2-1 GO on it!  Sweet, now I can drink for time!  After the party we went back to Jon's and crashed.

My team Sunday: Vince, Josh Everett, and myself
Sunday I woke up feeling pretty good.  Not too sore and was interested to find out what was to happen in terms of workouts and my team.  I got notification on Saturday night that one of my teammates wasn't going to be back on Sunday, so I was hoping to get a sponsored athlete thrown in with my team.  As luck would have it, Josh Everett was tapped to join us.  I was absolutely thrilled to have Josh as a teammate.  He is a great guy, and is a crazy competitor.  Our first workout of the day was a Heavy Medball (100lbs) sprint relay.  Basically the object was a 5minute AMRAP of picking up the medball sprint about 40 meters with it, throw it over a 6foot wall and follow the ball over the wall, pick it back up and return it to the start line.  We moved through the workout at a great pace and finished 24 trips.  Good enough for 2nd place and a spot in the next workout.  We moved from 12th to 8th after this workout.

The second workout of Sunday was an Axle bar deadlift and run.  The axle bar had to be lifted with an overhand grip and was very taxing to the grip.  Josh and I did the lifting on this workout as our 3rd competitor Vince could only manage 1 time of deadlifting the bar and struggled with it.  We completed 144 reps in 10 minutes and took 4th in the event.  This was a good enough placing to move us up 5 more places to a tie for 3rd.  After this workout I was feeling it, my lower back was screaming and my grip was pretty well shot.

The final workout of the weekend ended up being another fun Strongman type event.  With 2 men working at a time we had to:
Complete 40 burpees, load a Yoke with 750 total lbs (must be done in 2 trips) stop midway and do 60 KB swings, and at the stopping point complete 30 Wall Climbs.  The sequence had to be done twice since all 750lbs couldn't be loaded and carried at once, it was by far too much weight.  We moved pretty good through this workout and after the dust had cleared we finished 3rd in the event.  Our 3rd place finish in the event was good enough to give us a 4th place overall finish!  Having Josh definitely made this happen and I'm very thankful for his willingness to jump into all the workouts for the day.

I really didn't know what to expect going into the weekend and really I had planned on it just being a fun weekend.  I got WAY more than I bargained for out of the weekend and it's by far and away the best competition experience I've had.  There are videos and photos available on my FB Page.

If you made it this far into the post you deserve a medal!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I've been MIA for quite some time haven't I?  It's ok, I think I'm about the only one who pays attention to this anyway.  It's been since the Crossfit Regional competition in the spring that I've posted.  Well a lot has happened since then and I'm sure not going to post about it all.  I am going to let you know that I came back to this blog for 1 reason.  To get the link that I posted a while back of Will Smith interviews from his philosophies.  It's such a good video that always picks me up.  Unfortunately the version I uploaded was no longer available, but I've found it again so I'll post it here at the end of my post.

I think the reason I like this compilation so much is that what Will has to say is so poignant and true.  It doesn't matter who you are, you can achieve greatness if you truly want it bad enough and you put forth the effort to get there.  I am by no means the most gifted person, but the things that I'm passionate about, I'm borderline rabid about and put all of myself into them and will do just about anything to become more skilled in that passion.

The point that being realistic is the most common road to mediocrity is possibly the best quote I've ever heard.  Period.  We need to remember to be unrealistic in our goals and in our pursuits.  To have the level of success that you truly want in life, it's going to take a lot more focus and passion than setting your goals low or what you see as "achievable."  I am going to make a point to re-evaluate my goals for this next year, and I'm going to set a goal that seems absolutely unrealistic, and I'm going to chase, pursue, and track that goal down with everything I've got, until one day as I lay my head down before going to sleep, I will be able to say "I did it."  The day that I achieve that goal, is a day that I'll be excited to have reached such a milestone, but once I've enjoyed it, I'll know that I'll have to set a higher goal to achieve.

It is in the pursuit of goals that I feel alive.  Thank you Will Smith for getting me so pumped up at a very needed point in my day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Regional Competition of The CrossFit Games 2010

Running down the weekend....

I will first say that Rogue runs a lackluster enterprise when it comes to organization.  You will probably see a lot of complaints on the mainsite/gamespage comments about it, as I spoke with a LOT of people who were dissatisfied about the running of the event.

So now back to running down the weekend...

Friday was the affiliate cup and it was really eye opening to see some of the teams work, especially Apex.  The first WOD was pretty brutal and left Indy Crossfit with a DNF.  There was a 25 minute cap and again, watching Apex was so insane.  Their full team was in sync the full time and 3 of their 4, (Tanya, Josh, and some tall dude) finished within 15 seconds of each other at a blazing pace.  Josh only beat Tanya by about 10 seconds tops.  You could definitely tell the box's that train together and have a serious focus on competition, I would absolutely love to be a part of a box like that, they were humble, but in action they were elite. 

The snatch event was 2nd and there were some impressive lifts during it.  Ugly, but impressive, a guy with a bw of around 170 got a 205 snatch, fell to his knees and stood the weight back up and got the lift.  It showed sheer determination and will.  One of my favorite moments of the weekend.

The affiliate teams then took to run the 5k trail run and we headed to the hill to cheer them on for the sandbag portion.  There is not a picture that will do this hill justice, but seriously it was an 800m hill with a crazy grade.  Teresa took a picture of me on the hill and it looks like I'm climbing straight up.  This hill was the 3rd of the race and the first one was possibly the worst as it just kept going up.  The trails were 4wheeler trails so they were all chewed up and nothing near what you'd find on a typical trail run.  The paths were all made to make being on a quad fun which meant mud, stumps, and tons of ruts.  More on the trail later.

After the trail run the day was finished and we took to resting up for the day of misery scheduled for me for Saturday.

Saturday, I awoke feeling good, but definitely had nerves and we got out to the venue and were greeted by stiff winds and it was about 40 degrees cooler than Friday.  The temp would have been okay without the wind, but 40mph winds all day sucked.  I was in the last heat so I had the chance to watch all the others as they went through the complex.  The complex wasn't terrible, it was the damn muscle ups that killed me and a few others.  The Complex was:
Muscle ups
barbell complex (power clean>front squat>overhead>back squat>overhead 115lbs)
I did 4-5 muscle ups during my warm up and felt strong....
Then it was time to go, Katie counted us down and...
I synced my first 5 muscle ups, Perfect!  I have not synced more than 3 together before this time so I was amped going to the barbell.  5 complex's later and I was back on the rings.  Synced my first two together and then did two singles, no problem this is going to be cake.  Barbell was easy once again.  On the rings for my set of 3, first muscle up, check.  Second, not so fast my friend, (that's right, I just quoted Lee Corso).  The struggle had begun, took a few minutes and finally got the second and then the third eventually came too.  Barbell, thank God, the barbell complex is so easy.  Rings for set of 2.  Struggling more than 10 minutes in and everyone else had completed.  Frustration set in and for some reason I couldn't shoot my head and my elbows wouldn't stay tight.  Got the first one of two, great.  Struggled until time ran out for the second, it just wouldn't come.  Got up once, but lost my grip and was resting on my wrists trying to 1. press myself up and 2. bounce weight around to regrip the damn ring, I just couldn't get it.  If HQ wants to make an epic fail video they have plenty footage of me to go around.  Once everyone else had finished I had both HQ's video and photo people locked in on me.  I cussed a lot to keep it family friendly. 

I am a bit disappointed I couldn't finish that Wod especially being 90% of the way complete, but in the same sentence I can also say I'm proud I stuck it out and PR'd in both consecutive and total muscle ups in one sitting, so there is small victory in defeat. 

Our second WOD came an hour and a half later and it was our turn to take to the hills.  On the go I took off but immediately knew I was not going to be a direct front runner, these dudes were on pace for sub 6min miles out of the gate.  I got locked in about 15-20 spots behind the leader and about 70% of the way up the first monster hill I lost sight of the pack.  My legs were toast by the top of the first hill and before you knew it we were heading up the 2nd one.  At the top of the second hill it then dropped and we had a massive descent that was all rock and gravel.  Guys were flying down it and I kept under more control because for some reason it was stuck in my head about how badly it would hurt if you lost it and fell.  I locked in behind a couple of guys going into the sandbag and passed 1 on the way up and couldn't get around the 2nd, he kept blocking me off every chance I got to pass him.  Kudos to him to have the awareness he did.  Once we dropped the bags it was an all out sprint down hill to the finish line.  I came in at 22:30ish and finished in 32nd place.

Had approximately 2 1/2 hours to recover for the Max Deadlift event and I rolled out my legs quite a bit during that time as they were completely smoked.  Finally when it was time for my heat I knew I'd be hitting my current PR, but wasn't super confident about passing it as I was tight all over.  I warmed up with a few sets of 365 and I felt pretty tight throughout my warm up.  My first pull was 405 and it moved easy.  I made the jump right there and went for 455.  Again, the lift was easy.  I then went 465, getting difficult.  475 some struggle, but got it and was jacked.  I put on 485 and cranked the Rage as loud as my little iPod would let me, fell back to my days of lifting with Luke (Google Luke Edwards, one of my HS buddies that now has his procard & is a WestSide lifter) shouted "Easy Weight" and picked it up.  I hit it and quit it.  Still had 4 mins on the clock, but didn't feel it was necessary to go any further.  I do see 500+ in my near future, by July 4th at the latest.  I didn't see the need to hurt myself as I saw the guy who hit the #1 dead at 575 get help walking off the lifting area.  He didn't compete on Sunday and I'm sure he is still having trouble moving today.  My lift left me 5lbs behind Tincher and was good enough for 23rd place.

Once I was done with the DL we packed up, and headed out for the day.  They didn't have the heat schedules up yet, so I figured it'd be the same as it had been all weekend.  You do know what happens when you assume right?  Needless to say, Sunday morning I slept in some as I ASSumed that my heat wouldn't be until around 10am.  We got there at 9:00 and the first head had just begun.  I went up to watch, noticed a guy from my heat so I knew something was up.  I went to the schedule and saw that they had changed the way the last heat was going to run.  I missed my heat and there was nothing I could do.  I could have petitioned to get in the next heat, but had just had breakfast and I definitely would have been puking it back up so decided to call it a day as it wouldn't have changed my outcome anyway.  I do take responsibility for missing my heat as I should have made sure to be there at 8 instead of 9, but they could have alerted people.  Every other night they sent the heat schedule out to us so we knew.  They did not do that on Saturday night for Sunday.  At that point, I cracked up my first beer in quite some time and enjoyed a few frosty beverages being a spectator the rest of the day.  During that last chipper there were some BEAST efforts.  The girl that won the womens competition (Kristi) is INSANE.  Absolute BEAST is all I can say, seriously. 

A few things I learned this weekend:
- Next year I dare them to throw muscle ups at me.  No way I let a ring ruin my day again. 
- It's time to get stronger.  A lot more strength work is going to go into my wods from here on out.  I'm going to look at changing the programming at the box to look more like what 90% of the boxes are doing.  Strength first, short metcon to finish each day.
- Visit more gyms and make connections with owners.  I'm going to need to network outside of Indy to receive advice and suggestions on programming and whatnot.

- Next year:  Next year I plan on competing at Sectionals and then seeing where things fall from there.  I would really like to take a qualified team to regionals for the affiliate competition.

Peace out suckas'


Tuesday, April 13, 2010


It sure seems like forever since I've updated my blog.  Sorry to the 1 person who follows me, I guess I got lazy when it comes to posting.  It's been 5 weeks since I have posted and really all I've been doing since qualifying for the Regional event has been training.  Outside of my work of course.  Let me break down the past 5 weeks, it will be brief I promise.

The week after Sectionals I got right back to work, had to open up the gym bright and early that Monday morning and I did take the day off as I had just completed 4 body wrecking wods.  On Tuesday I couldn't stay away from strength night though and got right back on it.  My body was not fresh but I plugged away for the week and then took two rest days the following week which aided in my recovery.  That first Saturday was my first trail run of the year in the D.IN.O. trail run series.  It was a muddy mess.  I finished 24th out of 400 and was happy to be done.  The mud was ankle deep for a large majority of the course.  I'm okay with some mud, but the extent of this slop was crazy, it was like running in quick sand.  People were losing shoes it was so bad.

The following week was more training and work.  Work has been going pretty well lately, I've really been pushing for my new job description, which is still being processed.  Hopefully it is finalized by the 1st of May.  It's been a year long transition and I'm very ready to have the switch/title/JD completed.  I have been working on a lot of different video projects and brain storming for new ones.  I've had some help with events going on at the school, and we've got more on the books this week to keep me busy.  I am also gearing up to do a spotlight video on a graduate and one of our advisory board member's new restaurants.  These two videos are going to be awesome. 

The last couple weeks have been a blur pretty much, as I've ramped up my training and have included more tasks to prepare for Regionals.  I signed Teresa and I up for Yoga classes and our first class was last week.  The class went well, and I am really looking forward to working on my flexibility and enjoy flowing with my body and the calming effect I feel from Yoga.  Last week I also attended an adult gymnastics class and it was a great experience.  I worked on the rings some more, my muscle up is getting stronger and I'm starting to link them together.  I also worked on some back hand springs, back tucks, and just basically played for an hour and a half.  It was a fun experience and I hope to make it back up to Interactive Academy for some more play time this spring and summer.

I've also purchased a 1/4 slab of Beef and it's to be delivered within the next couple of weeks and it's good knowing that we're supporting a local farm, eating healthier meat that is grass fed, and saving money by buying in bulk.  I've been getting a lot more of our food from Farm Fresh Delivery lately and supporting another local business. 

Okay,  I know it's not a thorough explanation of what journey's I've been on lately, but it will do.  If you want to get the full version call me or send me an email folks, you know how to get a hold of me.  I look forward to running into you somewhere down the line.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Operation Crossfit Games: Update...

Well, this past weekend was the Ohio Sectional for the 2010 CrossFit Games. The Ohio sectional was for athletes in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky. I competed on Sunday and here is a recap of my day.
It was a sadistically fun day. I say that because the WODS (wod= workout of the day) were each brutal in their own way and I couldn't take down a whole lot of food throughout the day, but fruit and the sweet potato blend was my saving grace. Protein was not my friend during the competition and I'd say I only could force down about 4grams of Jerky throughout the day. That is total, not 4grams at a time, my protein intake was terrible. I did manage to crush 2 gallons of water with ease though. I'm currently working on editing the video throughout the next couple of evenings and am trying to get a short video posted in the next couple of days *(I hope). Photos are coming, as soon as they get passed on to me I'll post them.
Here is a breakdown of the day:
When we got there in the morning they announced that they switched events 1 and 2 to accommodate logistics so we did the Sandbag Sprint first. The sprint wasn't terrible, it just sucked. It ended up being 40 yards each way dropping off sandbags going 1 way and running back for another each time. The bags went up in weight 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100lbs. I fell down while unloading my 1st sandbag and that cost me about 3 seconds. I ended up @1:15 which tied me for 64th place, those 3 seconds literally would have taken me to 22nd place in the event and overall I would have finished 14th, stupid slippery floor. This is the only workout that I have a gripe with the scoring system because each second literally cost you 10places or more 7 seconds was the difference between 1st and 64th places.
WOD 2 was the Deadlift burpee (5 rounds for time: 7 DL @225# and 11 burpees, all with a 30# vest on) and I knew I was going to crush this Workout as I did it Friday morning and felt strong practicing it. On Friday I did it with a 20lb vest and hit cruise control after the 3rd round and finished @4:34 so my goal on Sunday was sub 4:20. I finished at 4:12 and I don't know that I've ever gone that hard in a WOD. It felt like my lungs were going to explode and my last set of burpees were absolutely atrocious. I knew I was killing it when HQs video guy was circling me with his camera and that kept me going because I had to keep it up for the camera.
My heat was fast all day long and we had more people in the finals than any of the other heats. 11 of the top 20 that are moving on to Regionals came from my heat! That's insane if you ask me. It was nice though because I knew if I did well in my heat that I was in the tops overall.
After WOD 2 I said that I laid it all on the line and I honestly wasn't sure how I was going to recover for the 3rd WOD because it took over 1/2 hour for me to start feeling normal again.
WOD 3 is my nemesis, it was 2 rounds, 500m row 15 overhead squat 95# 500m row 15 Toes2Bar. I had a bad feeling about it going in and I felt slow the full time. Ended up with a 12:42 and that was good for 82nd place. The good thing is that I still scored over 80 points for that placement and that was a really good thing for me. I fell from 17th to 30th after the 3rd WOD.
When they announced WOD 4 I wasn't sure what to think. The workout consisted of: 15-12-9 reps of Power Clean & Jerks 155#, Chest-to-bar pull ups, and 24" Box Jumps. I haven't ever done a heavy grace(30 clean & Jerk@155#), but I was happy that I had practiced going heavy with C&J in the weeks before sectionals and that gave me a little confidence. My legs were completely smoked after the first 15 C&J and the box jumps didn't come as easily as they normally do for me. I had to do step downs for the majority of them. The CTB pull ups sucked too and definitely cost me a decent amount of time. Once you finished with the triplet, it was a mind (expletive) knowing you had to go and pull a 110lb sled 40 yards when your grip is already completely shot. It felt like the sled wasn't moving at all and when I got the 1/2 way point I was pissed because I wanted to be done so bad. When I finished I looked to both sides of me and saw 9 guys still working on their sleds, I knew I had to beat at least 10 guys in front of me to get into the top 20 and after seeing 9 still working I knew I had a chance at making it. Ends up I finished 12th in the last event and that projected me up 13 spots and back into 17th place over all.
I'm taking a couple of days off and then it's high time to start training for the Regional. Regional competition is being held the first weekend of May and I have a lot of work to do!

PS. Thank you to all who came out to support me, your encouragement really means a lot to me, I appreciate it more than you know.

PPS. My great bud Larry took video of the day and here is a long version of the workouts!  It's 30mins, I won't feel bad if you fast forward through it to get the gist of the day.  My version will be available when I get the chance, as well as, an edited down short version.

Joe T at the Ohio Crossfit Sectionals 03.07.10 (full) from Larry Palazzolo on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Recent Journey: Fort Wayne Center for Learning benefit, "The Brain Game"

Our Regional Director once started a not for profit organization to help students receive the educational help they need.  That organization is called The Fort Wayne Center for Learning.  The FWCL is a great organization that makes learning accessible to all students.  Depending on the student's families income level the cost is on a sliding scale and the FWCL has never turned a child away.  They hold two major fundraisers every year.  The first of the year is "The Brain Game."  The second is an event in the fall called Ft. Wayne: Through the Beers, and is a great event with lots of great beer.  The BG is an event that companies buy slots for teams of four individuals to battle it out with all the power in their brain.  The Chef's Academy has been represented the past 3 years now, and we have never made it out of the first round, I guess chef's have "other" smarts, like how to make people happy.
     This past Saturday was this years BG.  I had been volunteered to be part of TCA's team this year and I was not overly excited to play as I'm not the biggest fan of trivial pursuit type games.  Useless knowledge is just that to me, Useless.  Let me take you back to my post on my winter afternoons:  I also had a middle school wrestling tournament in the morning on Saturday.  I had to leave the tournament early to make it to the BG.  Let's just say that the tournament was not a smashing success.  Have you ever had a parent threaten to take you outside?  Yeah, it was one of those days and I was not in the mood to go receive a lashing of the brain after having to bite my tongue with the previously mentioned shenanigans. 
     After exiting the tournament, I caught up with my bro and we headed to Ft. Wayne.  The full way there I was still in a funk and not really in the mood to be around people when the unthinkable happened:  We got to Ft. Wayne early and stopped at Stoner's Fun store.  For those of you not familiar with Stoner's, next time you are in Ft. Wayne it is a must.  Lucas like small magic tricks and he was looking for something new and I was just gazing at all the funky masks and such when Mr. Stoner came over to lend a hand.  He started an impromptu magic show taking us through many of the tricks they sell.  I was immediately upbeat and happy.  There really isn't much that compares to watching an aging man (clearly in his 70s or beyond) mystifying you with his many tricks.  There is just something about magic that makes you 8 years old again.  I had a goofy smile on my face the rest of the night.  Thank you Mr. Stoner, I really needed you Saturday afternoon.
     Lucas picked out a couple of new tricks and we were on our way to the BG. The BG is a large event and all the teams dress up in funky costumes and is a generally fun time.  We were to go on stage a little later in the evening as there were 4 or 5 divisions of preliminary rounds.  You have to win your preliminary round to move on to the finals.  The rounds before ours I was slaying all of the questions and had more than 80% of the questions correct.  Then is was our turn.  The questions literally went from:

"How old was Michael Jackson when he died?" (50)
"What California city did the last Pony Express ride end in?" (Sacramento)
Sorry, but there is a big difference between those two questions.  But I guess that's how the cookie crumbles.  All in all the BG WAS a great event and I am happy that I was a part of TCAs team.  I am more thankful for our stop at Stoner's fun store though, as it made my weekend. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

High Fat = Lean Body

That's right folks, high fat = lean body.  A lot of people at work and around my friend groups have asked me about what I eat now as I've lost 30+lbs since starting CrossFit and going Paleo.  As I gingerly talk about what the concepts of CrossFit and eating paleo are, I watch their faces go from intent listening to "I could never do that."  I know that a lot of people are stuck in the rut of going to the gym, lifting a few weights and then doing an hour of "cardio"  and in love with their bread and pasta, but have you seen changes in your body composition lately?  Have they been the changes you want to see?  I'm not going to go any further into CrossFit and High Intensity Training now, but I will humor you and discuss my thoughts on nutrition.

I've never been big on pastas and breads so for me this is a non issue.  Now for those of you who crave carbs: Just because there are one or two things about the paleo way of eating you "could never do" does NOT mean to disregard all of the information.  Research it and start with the parts about it that you like.  Then over time, start implementing more ideas and concepts to tinker with it.  Your diet/nutrition is seriously 80% of whether you lose weight or not.  Period.  Not calories in < calories out.  Make good choices for food. Stay on the perimeter of the grocery store.  If you eat 1300 Kcal of twinkies and burn 2000 calories a day, you might lose weight initially, but are you going to gain lean mass and look better naked?  Doubtful.  Quality of food supersedes  quantity.  Eat veggies, meat, nuts/seeds, some fruit and you'll be on the way to a healthier you.  This doesn't mean  you cannot indulge, learn that fruit is nature's candy.  Craving sugar?  Eat some blueberries mixed with peaches and a few almonds/pecans mixed in.  It will satisfy your craving. 
Start with Breakfast a few times a week:  few eggs with some mixed peppers, spinach, and a slice or two of nitrate/nitrite free bacon.  Take it all down with a large glass of water, add an apple and a few almonds to the mix and you have yourself a nutritious breakfast that will leave you satiated until lunch, no crash, no hunger pains.
Pack your lunch!  Cook up nutritious meals at home and bring them to work with you.  I cannot stress this enough.  Going out to eat for a "healthy" lunch is a great idea.  Does it really pan out how you envision it?    There isn't a lunch in the City that I would exchange for my Big MammaJamma grilled chicken salad.  Organic greens, 4-6oz of chicken, broccoli, cauliflower, some organic dressing, and an avocado make for another filling, delicious meal. Eating like this is not a "diet" it's a lifestyle.

Cook dinner at home.  It's a simple way to spend more QT with loved ones and helps with eating proper foods.  If you do go out to eat, don't be afraid to order with specific directions on how you would like your food prepared, just know they may not listen and the only way you have control on how your food is made is to make it yourself.    Make plenty of food, pack your leftovers for lunch tomorrow!  Experiment with new foods/ingredients find what you like and add to that list for variety. 
Focus on eating 1Gram of protein for each lb of body weight.  150lbs = 150G of protein each day.  Supplement that with leafy greens, and veggies, eat some fruit, add in nuts, good fats, and you will be on your way to a leaner body.  This is a "cliffs notes" version of Paleo and how to start down the path of healthy eating, do some research to find out more.
I suppose that is the end of my nutrition rant, if you made it this far: props to you Sir/Madam.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Short and Sweet

This is a video montage from interviews with Will Smith.  He has a lot of good things to say, I guess what started with "parents just don't understand" led to great intellectual insight such as my favorite quote from this video "Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity".  This short post brought to you by the letter D. as in Do Work, Determination, Dedication, and Discipline.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Current Journey: Operation Crossfit Games

I'm currently training for the 2010 Crossfit Games Sectional Qualifier being held on Sunday March 7, 2010 at The Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio.  Up to this point I have been really lax in how I feel about competing in this arena.  I said "up to this point," now, I am starting to get some nerves about the event.  I have not competed in anything since my boxing debut back in April 2003 see my previous post.  I am planning on taking a short break here in the very near future and then ramping up my training leading into the sectional qualifier hoping to peak out at the perfect time.  I have been adding more strength work into my schedule and have also added a lot to my warm up in the form of skill movements.  I've gone heavy a few times in the last week and I feel my strength is pretty good and my metcon ability is strong.  It's going to come down to how the Workouts play out, but I'm definitely gunning for placing in the top 20 and qualifying for the Regional event.  As of last week, there were about 150 men registered for the event, top 10% is my goal.
This is something that I've been thinking of since last spring when I heard about the regionals.  I didn't feel I was ready for competition last year, but solid progress has me excited for this competition in approx. 3 weeks.  The workouts will be posted some time the first week of March, and that will give me a few days to dial in the movements that are going to be required.  I'm hoping for a good combination of bodyweight movements and heavy lifting.  I guess I'll just have to prepare for the "unknown" these next couple of weeks.
Below is a little video I saw on Derby City Crossfit that I liked.  It is true that success has 1 denominator:  How hard you train and prepare for game day.  NO EXCUSES JUST HARD WORK.

Friday, February 5, 2010

My winter afternoons

Well my winter afternoons have been pretty busy since November.  I am an assistant coach for a wrestling program here locally, and it has kept me very busy the last few months.  Last year when I started getting involved in CrossFit and returning to fitness and a healthy body, I started reminiscing about the days of old.  While thinking it all over one thing came back to me very often.  Wrestling was one of the things that continues to shape my life to this day.
The sport of wrestling is in my opinion a way to follow our roots back to ancient times.  On the grounds of the Colosseum men proved their mettle in a lot of facets, and I believe wrestling had to be center stage.  There are few other sports that put a person up against another to demonstrate their indomitable will, technique, and perseverance.  It is just you and your opponent, no one else to rely on, no one else to blame.  It is a sport that reveals your weakness and demonstrates your strength.  There are many things that I learned through my years of wrestling that I cherish to this day.
First, Discipline.
For a person to be successful in wrestling, they must be disciplined.  Without self discipline one will not achieve the technique that is imperative to be successful against an adequate opponent.  We drill technique in the wrestling room for hours over the season, as do many athletes.  When a wrestler fatigue's it is ever more important to remain disciplined because if we get sloppy at this time, we will be sloppy in a match and it oftentimes leads to defeat.  It is also imperative to be disciplined outside of the wrestling room.  Wrestling taught me about staying disciplined while in the classroom, or out on the streets.  I had a very short fuse before I started wrestling and oftentimes would first look for resolve with my fists.  Through discipline learned in the "room" I learned to remain calm in the face of a storm.  This discipline has helped me to learn how to "turn the other cheek" and smile in the face of a transgressor.  Discipline takes one's "mental weakness" and reforms it to "inner peace" or "mental toughness."  I really feel in today's society there are too many weak minded people period.  Having a hobby or sport that is demanding of one's self, will help to alleviate this condition.
Second,  Goals.
There is nothing like achieving a goal, especially when it takes hard work and dedication to achieve it.  The beginning of every year I made goals for myself.  Some years I made better goals than others.  I didn't always achieve my goals, but I ALWAYS expected to meet all my goals.  I make high goals for myself and I'm my biggest critic.  One of the great things about this is there is never a time where someone coming down on me is any harder than what I've told myself.  Following the KISS method of goal setting, I know I have set goals that are achievable, but are also going to be a stretch to achieve.  A lot of people set goals too low so they know they will reach them.  There are times that it is more important to fail at a goal than it is to achieve it.  It isn't until failure that we can truly appreciate success.
Third, dedication/perserverance.
Ever bailed on something that you later regretted?  I have, more times than I like to think about.  Through wrestling I learned a lot about sticking with something until it is complete.  My very first wrestling match lasted 12 seconds.  I was totally embarrassed and humiliated.  Did I want to get back out on the mat again after that day? No, that is about the last thing I wanted to do.  But I had made a promise to myself and my dad that if I started the season I would finish it.  Guess that was a great lesson from dad!  But, I did stick with it, and had a very rocky first year.  My second year got better and I won a lot more than I lost from that point on.  Having a never quit attitude has helped me endure a lot of things that have made me better for finishing out what I said I would do, wrestling helped amplify these traits.
There are many more traits that wrestling taught me, but these are the big 3 that I wanted to elaborate on.  While I was sitting and thinking about what made me who I am I did come back to wrestling a lot.  These are some of the reasons, but while I was reminiscing, I also thought a lot about my High School Wrestling Coach and how he helped shape me.  I still talk to my Coach, not as frequently as I used to, but every time we talk he always has something to say that is worthwhile.  I try to listen intently and use his advice whenever I can.  This is the reason I contacted coaches in the area to see about becoming a part of their program.  I want to be able to mentor to others and pass on the traits that my coaches have taught me.  Being coach-able is a trait that far too many young people are failing at today.  I have made it a goal of mine to help reach out to kids and help them realize their potential and prod them to stretch themselves to reach what they can become.  I know I was viewed as what I could achieve and through my coaches persistence to get me there I became a better person, as well as, a better athlete.  For that I want to first thank my wrestling coaches as they pushed and respected me more than any other coaches I had, but also thank all of the coaches I have had through life.  It is a challenge and a joy to be able to coach others and this has been a winter of learning for myself through my coaching efforts.  Wrestling season is nearing an end and I am happy to report that I neither killed myself nor anyone else.  Chalk this one up as a success!