Quick Shout-out

Right off the bat, I have to admit that I have no idea how to punctuate the term "shout-out." Is there a hyphen? No hyphen? Should I capitalize the "O" or is it all one word? Whatever.

I just wanted to direct everyone to Dave Lipson's blog 365 Days of Squatting. I've never had the pleasure of meeting Dave personally, but he's a strength-heathen regularly featured on CrossFit.com obliterating weights. He has overhead squatted 345x3, split jerked 340, back squatted 500x3, and deadlifted 651. So... he's kinda strong.

Anyways, Dave's blog documents his training in which he squats at least 450lbs every day. For 365 days. He also mixes other strength work and metcons into it as well, but he pretty much must squat at least 450lbs every freaking day. Aside from this being a brutally awesome challenge, the best part is that he is dedicating this effort to Amanda Miller and skin cancer awareness. Kudos to Dave for this thoughtful and badass endeavor. I am hoping to plan a fundraising event at CrossFit Balance next year in memory of Amanda. Details will be coming in the future.

You can read more about Amanda here.


The Hits Keep On Coming...

Chris set another huge PR this past Sunday. We started off with some foam rolling, mobility drills, and then basic positioning work with an empty barbell. Once I felt everything was in order, I let him clean & jerk from the floor, slowly adding weight. His previous PR was 220lbs.


Quick critique:
1) You'll notice Chris's hips rise a little early. Ideally, during the first pull, one's hips and chest will rise at the same rate. Like this.
2) You'll notice Chris's shoulders go a little soft on the jerk (at roughly ~17 seconds). Receiving the jerk with one's shoulders and elbows completely locked is crucial to a successful lift.
3) On his recovery from the split jerk position, he struggles. A lot. One reason is because... well, it's a lot of damn weight that he's never put overhead before. The main reason, though, is that he extends his back leg early rather than keeping it partially bent. This shifts the weight towards the front foot and forces him to inch backwards instead of taking the necessary half-step backwards. The ball of the rear foot should actually be bearing slightly more of the load
4) You can hear Christy Phillips and I arguing towards the end of the video. It gets cut off, but I assure you, I won.

My goal was to have Chris hit 250, but unfortunately I put him through too many attempts prior in order for it to happen. He actually cleaned 252 three different times but kept missing the jerk. I'm quite certain that with bigger jumps early on, he can hit 250 with relative ease.

And finally, Chris also did "Fran" in 2:58 last Friday. So basically, I hate him.



Believe it or not, what you put on your feet makes a big impact on your life, health, and performance. I’m not talking about toe rings here; I’m referring to the shoes you wear. Unfortunately, the advent of modern shoe technology has actually been very detrimental overall. Running-related injuries have only increased with the further advancement of cushioned heels, Shox springs, and a whole bunch of other useless crap.

The only redeeming quality of the K-Swiss Tubes is that Kenny Powers endorses them.

The problem with these super-cushioned, shock-absorbing, space-age sneakers is that they alter running technique to encourage heel striking, which the rest of your lower body absolutely hates. If you take someone's shoes off and tell them to go for a run, they might start with a few heel strikes, but it won't be long before they adjust and start using the balls of their feet. That's how your feet and body were originally designed to move. Not convinced? Try this: Take off your shoes, jump as high as you can, and land on your heels. Let me know how that works out. Simply put, the balls of your feet are natural shock absorbers, designed to withstand that type of activity.

Asafa Powell doesn't heel strike; Kanye West probably does.

We live in a world of collapsed arches, shin splints, ankle injuries, plantar fasciitis, and knee pain. Modern shoes have altered our running patterns and made our feet weak and deconditioned. Luckily, we're finally getting back to our roots. The advent of Vibram Five Fingers and the Nike Free line has encouraged people to get their feet strong again. So what am I getting at with all of this? Well...

1) Stop buying $120 shoes that suck.
2) Go barefoot more often.
3) Purchase some Vibrams or Chuck Taylors or Nike Free's.
4) Don't be a douche. Wear your Vibrams when you workout, but not with a suit. James Bond would hate Al Roker.
5) Ease into it. Don't go for a 5k run in a new pair of cushion-less kicks. Your feet need to be slowly conditioned and strengthened before that kind of stress.
6) Understand that I will make fun of you if you wear Vibrams. Again, they're a quality product and great for your feet - I just think they look ridiculous. I'm talking to you, Josh Courage!

For more information from people smarter than me, check out the following articles:

EatMoveImprove: Shoes, Sitting, and Lower Body Dysfunctions

Mark's Daily Apple: Flat Feet Treatment

Mark's Daily Apple: Even If The Shoe Fits, Forget It


Sweet Baby Jesus

Nothing poignant to say, I just needed to point out the absurdity of the following video...

Pat Mendes trains in Las Vegas out of Average Broz Gym with John Broz. He is 20(!) years old. He snatches 200kg and cleans 240kg - ridiculous numbers for his age. Excuse me, ridiculous numbers for ANYONE. The above squat is so nuts, I don't even know what to say. There are powerlifters out there working towards 800lbs squats while wearing gear and not going nearly as deep. Dude is not human.

The U.S. has not medaled in Olympic weightlifting since Mario Martinez won silver in 1984*. Pat Mendes is our best chance for a medal in 2012 (Kendrick Farris could make a pretty good run in the 85's if he gets his snatch up). Unfortunately, Pat isn't sure if he's going to compete for the U.S. or for Brazil. I was upset about this at first, but really, the U.S. is one of the few countries that does not financially support its athletes. Many athletes working towards the Olympics have full-time jobs, must rely on sponsorships or fundraising, and so on. Not Bode Miller, though. You know that guy couldn't hold a job. I don't want to delve deeper into this whole issue, but I hope Pat represents the U.S. in 2012. If he continues to progress the way he has, he's sure to make a serious impact.

*It should be noted that the Soviet Union and eight other socialist states boycotted the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The results would have been significantly different otherwise.


Shameless Self-promotion

Listen, I don't mean to toot my own horn, but beep beep. As many of you know, I have been teaching an Olympic lifting class at CrossFit Balance on Saturday mornings at 9AM. Danielle and I created this class for three reasons: 1) I love teaching the O-lifts, 2) It's an excellent opportunity for people to develop/improve their technique, and 3) You probably suck at the snatch and clean & jerk. Hear me out...

Olympic lifting is the most technically demanding aspect of CrossFit and dedicating some focused attention to it will pay dividends. Too often do you see these beautiful movements bastardized by people who care more about moving fast than moving efficiently. Newsflash: Efficient = Fast. You can only muscle through reps for so long until form breaks down, time slows, and the potential for injury increases. While CrossFit has helped provide more exposure to the Olympic lifts, it has also done some damage by exemplifying such poor technique development. Admittedly, most of the blame should be laid on the individuals and their coaches for failing to devote some effort into becoming proficient in the O-lifts.

Here is a quick case-study: Chris is a client whose best previous snatch was a 155lbs power snatch. Chris is plenty strong and has good mobility in his hips and thoracic spine. When he told me his best overhead squat was 195 for three reps, I told him there was absolutely no reason he couldn't snatch 185lbs. So I took him through some light technique work, a lot of positioning drills with a barbell, and when I thought he was ready, I slowly had him work up to a heavy snatch. The result?


With some more work, I have no doubt that Chris can snatch 200lbs. Now, keep in mind, I am by no means an "elite" Olympic lifting coach, but I know enough about the lifts and have seen enough to help correct flaws in people's form. This is an opportunity to enhance your Olympic lifting proficiency. I encourage you to do so.


Breakfast With Champions

Since I stressed the importance of nutrition in my last post, I will delve into it a little further today. On Tuesday morning, Christy Phillips - my dear friend and 6th Place finisher at the 2010 CrossFit Games - came over for breakfast. And since she's eating strict Paleo at the moment, I did my best to prepare a Paleo-friendly meal. Here is photo of the meal half-ready:

First off, I totally agree with you: my kitchen countertops are to die for! Secondly, how delicious does that look? I'll do a little rundown of what you're looking at...

Counterclockwise from the top:
-Various spices
-2 sliced chicken breasts
-6 Beaten eggs
-Diced tomato and onion
-1 sliced avocado
-Almond & walnut slivers
-Frozen mixed berries
-1 can of coconut milk
-6 strips of bacon

Alright, let's dig a little deeper into this meal, shall we?

1) Spices. I reckon the spice of life is spice itself - seasonings, not the channel you all used to watch when you were 13. Let me get something straight: I'm no chef. Honestly, I know shit about cooking. But if something has the word "chipotle" on it, I'll throw it on something. Mix it up, try different combinations. Changes the whole attitude of the meal.

2) Chicken. Anyone who doesn't eat meat in the morning is worse than Mel Gibson. That's right, if you don't eat meat in the morning, you may in fact be an alcoholic anti-Semite. Chicken, steak, pork - it's all gravy, baby!

3) Eggs. Protein = Awesome. And don't ditch the yolks, either. They're full of nutrients you're missing out on. Cholesterol is a myth. I'll save that discussion for a later date.

4) Tomato & Onion. In retrospect, this meal should have had more vegetables, but damn it, do I ever love meat.

5) Avocado. Eat a lot of these. Very high in monounsaturated fats and very high in deliciousness.

6) Almond & Walnut slivers. More monounsaturated fats.

7) Mixed Berries. "Fruit, motherfucker!" -Samuel L. Jackson. Note: That may not be an actual Samuel L. Jackson quote, but I was just picturing him saying it.

8) Coconut milk. High in saturated fat, which is not nearly as bad for you as people like to think (this will be covered more in the cholesterol topic).

9) Bacon. Six strips is never enough. Especially for two people. When in doubt, add more bacon.

Now, Christy brought ingredients 6-7 to make "Paleo cereal." Sounded odd to me at first. But you just throw the nuts and berries into a bowl, dump some coconut milk in and that's it. And it's good as hell. Captain Crunch was a dick anyways - did you ever see that guy actually captain a ship? But I digress. Anyways, I cooked the eggs, threw the vegetables and some spices in, and here is the finished product...

How motherf'ing good does that look? Presentation is half the battle, of course. The point of this story, however, is really simple: if I can cook a Paleo meal, any of you can as well. It just takes a little time and creativity. If you really loathe cooking, you need to make enjoying it a priority. Pretend you're on a cooking show and talk to an invisible audience (I actually do this). Your roommates and neighbors might think you're insane, but it really enhances the whole cooking experience. Now get out there and refine your collective palates, people!