2018 Holiday Watches

Each year I tend to watch a lot during the holiday break. This year it started a year and one day after sharing the Ocean’s 8 trailer. I was browsing iTunes movies and rented it as soon as I saw it. Exactly what you’d expect from the Ocean’s movies. Cool that there was some character carryover between the movies too.

On Christmas day I watched a few movies on Hallmark Channel with Mom. All very predictable and heartwarming. They were Christmas Made to OrderIt’s Christmas, Eve, and Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa.

When I’m sick, I usually tune in to some type of marathon, because I can fall asleep and not care about missing anything. The Incredible Dr. Pol is a fascinating show about a veterinarian right here in central Michigan. I’ve seen so many calves delivered I’m pretty sure I could do it myself.

I watched CrossFit – Killing the Fat Man – Season 2. Shows the power of the program, especially combined with solid nutrition. Inspired me to try an experiment of my own.

One night I was browsing movies on Netflix and Wind River caught my eye. I liked it and thought it was one of the best Jeremy Renner performances I’ve seen.

Tiger Woods: Return of the Roar on ESPN got me pumped for the upcoming golf season and reminded me how lucky we are to experience this comeback. 2019 could be something very special.

To close out my vacation I watched Mission: Impossible – Fallout last night. I almost went to see it when it was in theaters so it’s been on my watch list for a while. It was enjoyable.

I also watched countless videos on YouTube, but that’s the norm.

You know what I didn’t watch? A single play of college football. It was great.

7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of CrossFit

Seven years ago I did my first CrossFit workout, was destroyed in less than 7 minutes of a scaled “Cindy,” and I was hooked. Over the years I’ve changed my approach many times, done a lot of add-on programs, and worked out in a lot of different gyms. Here are seven things I’ve learned.

  • Almost everyone should scale a lot more often.
    I bet I’ve scaled more workouts in the last year than I did in the previous two or three years combined. Intensity is king in CrossFit.
  • Going hard more than three days in a row should be rare.
    Our bodies need to rest, recover, and rebuild. Especially as we get older. Not many people can go HAM five or six days in a row without eventually getting injured or sacrificing progress.
  • Nutrition / Diet – what might work for your friend might not work for you. Experiment. Find what you enjoy and what works for you most of the time. Give yourself time to enjoy food and have fun eating though.
  • A Concept 2 Rower is one of the most powerful pieces of equipment for improving conditioning.
    Monitor keeps you on pace and you don’t beat up your joints like you do running.
  • Track your workouts.
    Helps with percentage work, estimating maxes, setting/recognizing PRs, seeing progress, etc. Keep a notebook, write blog posts with notes, and/or use a service like BTWB (my favorite).
  • A CrossFit (or functional fitness gym) is worth the price.
    I have enough equipment in my garage gym to do 90% of the workouts, but I don’t get the intensity I do when I workout at the gym with everyone else.
  • You don’t need to spend more than an hour in the gym.
    A lot of people want more results sooner, but a lot of times less is more. These days if I do more work, it tends to be technique or accessory work instead of extra conditioning or strength stuff.

Over the last year and a half, the tweak to my back, really changed my perspective and goals. I want to keep doing this because it makes me feel good and is a healthy life. This quote by Pat Sherwood sums it up…

Image Source: https://www.pascalecommunications.com/blog/2017/6/28/making-time-for-you


Thoughts on the New CrossFit Games Qualifying and Sanctioned Events

This new sanctioned event stuff is going to be interesting. Seems a lot hinges on athletes and teams having enough sponsorships (or crowdfunding? haha) to continue traveling to the events if they don’t qualify early in the season.

For example, if (what would be) a top 5 team travels to events 2, 6, and 10 and loses out to other top teams, do they have enough to keep traveling to some of the remaining events? How many of these events can athletes realistically go to and give 100% while also trying to fix their weaknesses, improve their strengths, not burn out, peak for the games, etc? Especially if they also have to do qualifying workouts for each sanctioned event to gain entry.

Or do we have something like the golf mini tours where golfers live out of their cars and carpool to tournaments each week, while also trying to get family and friends to invest in their dream by giving them some spending money? The big difference is that even the bottom of the pack golfers that make the PGA tour make a lot more money than any CrossFit Games athlete.

On the individual side, will athletes like Tia and Mat dominate even more because they’ll have all year to get better, while a lot of the other top athletes will have to fight through a bunch of sanctioned events?

Thoughts on the 2018 CrossFit Games

  • Haley Adams in the girls 16-17 had the most dominating Games performance in history, winning 9 of the 11 events. The other two events? She was 2nd in both! She earned 1,080 out of a possible 1,100 points. Can she be the first athlete to make the jump from teens to the Games?
  • We should be talking about Tia-Claire Toomey as the best CrossFitter in history instead of Mat Fraser. If she can match Rich Froning’s 4 straight championships by winning the next two years, she also has two silver medals vs his one. She didn’t show any weaknesses throughout the weekend.
  • I wish they would switch back to YouTube Live. Facebook is horrible.
  • I will never row a marathon. Boring as fuck, but impressive to see their times.
  • The Crit was such a crapshoot event. The top 20 women in the event were separated by less time than they were in the time trial!
  • Speed lifting ladders are still the most exciting to watch.
  • It’s incredible to watch what the Games athletes can do with their bodies. I’ve been doing CrossFit for almost 8 years and they always blow me away.
  • May have to get out to Madison next year after not attending these last two years.
  • As I predicted, the stupid Handstand push-up standard from the Open was nowhere to be seen. When doing any type of overhead pressing movement they don’t require your shoulders to be extended up so why do they require it when we’re upside down? Makes no sense whatsoever.
  • The announcers are clueless about what is going on way too often compared to any other sport I’ve ever watched. There were so many times when they were completely wrong on strategy, placing, points, saying someone was finished when they weren’t, etc. It often seemed like they were often watching a different event.
  • Huge inconsistencies with judging. No surprise. They need to start training people and paying them instead of getting volunteers. The job is too important.
  • In other sports you get explanations of decisions by referees. In CrossFit they never explain what goes on with a judging mistake or when an outcome is contested and adjusted. Even the announcers would comment on how judges seemed to throw the rules out the window for certain athletes.
  • Watching on TV it seems like they complicate way too many things with movement standards, judging, layout, barriers, etc. Keep it simple. The cones separating the rouse course for the Battleground events is a good example. You’re never going to have some athletes running in one direction while others are running back, so why put those barriers in the way?
  • It’s annoying to watch some of the same things repeated every heat when they go down to the floor for “inside” info about the event that is about to begin. I understand doing it for people who may be tuning in for later heats, but hearing something like Fibonacci numbers explained eight times gets really old.
  • The planning and work that goes into an event like the CrossFit Games must be unthinkable. I wonder how many volunteers, employees, and hours are involved over the course of the year.
  • Mat Fraser didn’t seem quite as dominating this year, but still won by a huge margin in the end. I’m still not a fan.
  • Speaking of Fraser, he screamed and waved at a cameraman again this year, who wasn’t in his way, but was in his sight line. Come on dude. You’re the fittest man in the world. Get over it and concentrate on yourself. I have never seen anyone else yell at the camera crew during an event.
  • Laura Horvath was impressive throughout the competition. I think we all kept waiting for her to disappear and she seemed to get better. Being 21-years-old probably helps a lot with recovery!
  • Too early to guess who might replace Lindy Barber on CrossFit Mayhem Freedom? Last year I guessed Jen Smith would replace Kristin Reffett and was obviously wrong.

Rehabbed Back

As I posted back in February, I’ve been following some Active Life programs since December to rehab my back. I finally finished up the programs on Sunday after dragging them out over the last 2 months. During these 6+ months I went through 40 Single Leg Bias, 40 Hips, and 80 Back Max workouts, usually with a Bax Max workout plus one of the others on the same day since each takes about 10-20 minutes.

The programming had a good mix of movements and rotated through them with clear progressions for reps and loading. This really kept it fresh and pushed me compared to other programs that have you doing the same thing every week. I’m really happy with the results. My last bad back tweak was in August and I had a minor tweak in January.

Another reason I know the programs worked is because of changes on the golf course that are a bit hard to explain. Over the last couple of years I’d feel things in my back while out golfing. Almost like minor tweaks from the twisting and bending over. These never affected my swing or caused any issues after the rounds, but I’d feel them here and there. I’ve had none of that this year.

I’ve learned to listen to my body much better and not to push my back on consecutive days. These workouts proved to me that most CrossFit programming doesn’t focus enough on single sided work, which ends up causing imbalances in our bodies. Then we try to compensate, making things worse.

Going forward I plan to substitute some of the movements into my regular workouts so my body doesn’t fall back into the condition I was in. I’d been doing most of the rehab work at home in my garage and only going to the gym twice a week, so I’m looking forward to getting back to the gym 4-5 days a week.

Since my membership to Active Life runs through November I’ll try out some of the shoulder programs to see if I can’t get rid of this impingement that’s been bothering me since the Open. I highly recommend checking out Active Life if you have anything you’d like to rehab on your own.