2018 has been an incredible year for my health and fitness and I couldn’t have done it without the help of CrossFit. The goals I set at the beginning of the year have been met and I am excited for the next chapter in my fitness journey come 2019.
2018 was a great testament that consistency wins. I certainly didn’t see the big gains out of the box but after months and months of consistent hard work, reshaping my nutrition, and seeking out valuable advice, I was able to improve dramatically and reach new PRs along with become more technically savvy with some of the complex moves.
A couple notes to bookmark for the year end:
1 RM Split Jerk – 135 lbs (12-16-18)
1 RM Clean – 145 lbs (12-12-18)
1 RM OHS – 100 lbs (12-10-18)
1 RM Deadlift
– 307 lbs (12-20-18)
– 300 LBs (9-20-18)
1 RM Front Squat
– 175 Lbs (12-16-18)
1 RM Back Squat
– 200 Lbs (Nov)
– 170 lbs (7-9-18)
5 RM Back Squat
– 165 lbs (12-18-18)
– 135lbs (4-16-18)
– 8 (7-9-18)
14 LB Wall Ball – 8:19 (12-23-18)
14 LB Wall Ball – 9:20 (July)
14 LB Wall Ball – 9:40 (May)
I have some sights on huge gains next year but overall it’s that my body and mind are in the best position they can be in to crush each day. I think that is the overall motivation so when I continue to age my body doesn’t break down and limit me. That’s one of the big things that keeps me driving forward.
What about you?
Hope you all have written down your goals for 2019, both long and short term, and are focused to achieving them.
Have a great new year and start to 2019!
Now that I’ve gone to write these CrossFit posts once a month it’s giving me a chance to sit back and reflect a bit more on the bigger picture. My life has changed a lot recently and it has made me have to alter my entire schedule and has completely shaken up my world.
However, when you have motivation followed by an intent to achieve certain goals nothing should keep you down. You have to keep pivoting and make it work and do whatever it takes.
One of those areas is around your overall fitness health. I’ve never seen a Chiropractor but with some encouragement from neighbors I decided to at least go to a sesh or two and see what they had to say. It was quite an eye opening experience. First, Dr. Staker and his staff are phenomenal and really know their stuff. I knew I had a family history of back problems but didn’t realize until I got X-rays that my L4 and L5 vertebrae were fused together from birth. Certainly explains a few things but Dr. Staker did compliment me on my overall back health and that I didn’t have too much to be worried about if I was smart about it. My main issue was my right hip that was just overturned inward and probably why I felt imbalanced at times.
So, taking Doctor’s orders I’ve been stretching and foam rolling a ton over the past month and after a couple sessions recently he’s been pleased with the improvement in that hip and lower back area. I have to say, I can definitely tell. My workouts seem easier especially with my squat and I just feel I don’t have as much pressure in that area any longer.
Only time will tell but the morale of the story is this. Don’t think you know it all. If you are curious about something go seek out answers and find the truth as you never know how it might impact your life for the better. I never thought I needed to go see a Chiropractor but my newfound knowledge will help me reach my fitness goals and give me overall better health in the lower back / hip region for years to come.
I hope you continue on your journey to better health and seek out wisdom in areas you might struggle or need more insight.
I had been dogging it on my CrossFit journey posts lately due to some personal challenges on this end and only getting to the gym 2-4 times a week the last several. But, my focus is back and I was reenergized today by spectating at the Triangle Invitational hosted by the gym I belong to, CrossFit RTP.
It was amazing to see the teamwork and camaraderie across the various events and was awesome to see our team, the RX team from CrossFit RTP bring home 1st Place!
I believe the reason I was so inspired is that it reminded me that getting in great physical shape and becoming more healthy is not a short sprint but a long journey through many obstacles. These athletes competing didn’t just show up but they had been working toward this for many months and years. It was a culmination of perseverance, patience, and positivity…all factors leading to success.
I’m proud to call CrossFit RTP home and it was a tremendous effort by all of the volunteers from our gym and our winning squad! Excited to be involved some way next year…heck, maybe I’ll even compete!
This past week was a short week due to Hurricane Florence ripping through North Carolina and that brought about cancelled/postponed classes. However, it did teach me an important lesson about overexerting yourself.
On Saturday, they had an open gym as the weather was starting to clear up but there was still a threat of bad storms. I went in for a short period of time and did the prescribed WOD.
The first part was to do a 5 Rep Max of Deadlifts. This was another milestone day for me with Deadlifts as my 1 Rep Max 10 weeks ago was 300 LBS and on Saturday I did 5 Reps at 295 LBS. I felt good and was pumped that I was able to push that out.
However, here was my mistake I learned from.
The next series of exercises were Over the Shoulder Stone throws followed by Pull ups in a 15 x 12 x 9 breakdown. I’ve always had problems with the Over The Shoulder Stone Throws because of my height and I tend to not always get into a full squat but cheat as I get tired by using more upper body/back. And, I am trying to go from the 70 LBS weight to 100 LBS. Well, I sure did something to my back after completing this because when I got home my lower back was really sore and couldn’t move it for most of the rest of the day. Luckily, I iced it and stretched it out and by Sunday night I felt pretty good again.
Lesson learned: Proper form is the most important. Don’t try to be a hero and lift heavy weights just because you have confidence. Your form might suffer and that might knock you out for several days or longer if you get injured. You can have great gains even with a lower weight and still get a tremendous workout it. Be smart!
Until next time, keep grinding!
Well, this weeks post spilled over by a day as I wanted to share a quick story that was a big accomplishment for me.
It was only 6 weeks ago when I stopped doing squat therapy (normally squatting with plates under my feet) and was able to move to no plates and doing a normal squat. The squat was tough for me and my 1 Rep Max for the Back Squat (with plates) was 170 LBS.
But, with continued practice AND now having the proper nutrition I have been able to crush numbers especially my squat.
Tonight we were working on Back Squats and I just went for it because I felt good and energized. Not only did I beat my PR but crushed it by 15 LBS from 170 to 185 and with no plates to support the squat.
If you couldn’t tell I was ecstatic over the result but more importantly it gave me confidence to know that I am continuing to make smart choices outside of the gym as it relates to my overall health including sleep and nutrition.
Moral of the story: Don’t be settled with status quo and the way you have always done things. If you feel your energy is low, for example, investigate and try to A/B test how you can improve it with changing up your routines or habits. It will only help you in the long run and the gains you might have could be incredible to your performance and your lifestyle.
Anyone that strives for anything needs motivation. That is certainly a blanket statement but it is important to remember. Motivation, the cousin of Momentum, can help you excel to another level and improve your performance beyond your current capabilities.
The reason I bring this up this week is a conversation I had with a fellow CrossFitter this week. She had been away all summer in NYC but has now returned to town to go back to school and, of course, get back into the CrossFit RTP scene again. I had been very confident this summer with my change in nutrition and gains I knew I had but it was a simple kind gesture and comment by her that helped keep me motivated. She said something along the lines of “You’ve really improved this summer…your deadlift has gotten much better…”. We all strive for our own internal motivation and “chip on the shoulder” mentality but often times, if we aren’t afraid to admit it, it is the compliments of our peers that can bring about additional motivation and that extra to reinforce all of the great work we’ve been doing.
I think many of us are capable of much more but it is generally the “negative talk” that we listen to and often follow…the “You can’t do this” or “You’ll never make it” appears to have a much greater impact on us than the positive reinforcement. What I have found through many years of listening to this negativity, often by others and my own internal doubts, is that there is no place for it. No need for it at all.
We need to focus on the positives and present an attitude that is positive to combat the negative but also fuel the motivation that we might be given by others to ultimately help us to that next level.
To end on a funny note, a classic scene that often gets lost in a classic movie, -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAs2PBL1RsA
Over the last several weeks I have started to think about different aspects of fitness and how they all work together and will certainly get back to the training aspect in upcoming weeks but I did want to layer in on the topic of consistency.
My schedule has been a bear and very weird. Somedays I was going to CrossFit at 5:30am while others I had to make it to the 6:30pm class. The word “consistency” comes up time and time again when you are looking at successful individuals and that “success” can be a number of things. What rarely happens is someone try something for a short period of time and think all of a sudden they will see a huge leap. It never happens.
This is why diets don’t work.
But, anyways, the reason I thought this post was relevant was that whatever you are doing you must stay consistent with it even through the tough times especially if other competing priorities come into play. You need to be looking at the long game and understand that some sacrifices will have to be made or changes may have to happen but you need to stack rank what are MOST important and what can be brushed aside even if it feels like you are giving up something really cool.
In regards to CrossFit, being consistent with 4-5 days a week always me some flexibility where I am not going all 7 but also keeps pushing me later in the week if I have new things pop up on my schedule. I wouldn’t have near the gains I’ve had in 6 months had I not been committed and stay consistent with my schedule. I’d encourage everyone to take a look at their day or week outlook at what things will set you up for long term success and which ones are merely “time robbers” in the short term.
More to come on this in the future but certainly relevant at this point as Football is starting back up, kids are back to school, and holidays are right around the corner.
This week was a big learning week for me and it made me reflect on the last 6 months and this CrossFit journey I am on.
I look at my progress and where I came from and it again reinforces that old Tony Horton saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was your body”. The commitments I make each and every week to get to classes and my increased focus on nutrition has allowed me to accomplish many new goals that I never thought possible.
From squatting heavy weights to my endurance, I’ve been able to get in the best shape of my life and do it by learning a tremendous amount about proper technique, work ethic, nutrition and having a lot of fun doing it.
Short post this week but one of the cool things was I did get to talk with Dr. Zach Long from the industry leading fitness website, BarbellPhysio.com as I had him as a guest on my Just Get Started Podcast. Check out the episode here -> https://brianondrako.com/podcast/drzachlong
Week 27 of my journey saw me only hit 2 days at the gym (Monday and Sunday) due to a work event most of the week and wanting to get a round of golf in on Saturday. But…some of that was intentional and used to give myself a little rest before I go straight for about 2 weeks.
I’m continually coming back to the notion that you must listen to your body and not try to overwork it when you feel a bit off. I had a sore left should/neck area going into this past week and after the workout Monday I felt that the few days I thought I’d miss might end up being good and not to stress it.
Additionally, I was jacked up to get back there today so it put a little pep in my step as i’d been missing it.
Crushing workouts and feeling fit is always great but it can’t be done if your mind and body are not healthy and recovered.
Sometimes a little rest goes a long way to making your progress even that much more.
Make sure you audit yourself and listen to that internal dialogue.
I cannot believe 6 months of CrossFit is already in the books. Incredible!
Each week has been it’s own special challenge but I wanted to piggy back this weeks post off of one from a few weeks ago and just confirm that proper nutrition, along with proper sleep, are so important to training. Maybe more important that I’ve ever realized. Earlier in the summer and, in fact, in workouts well prior too I definitely didn’t put a lot of thought into how much eating the right amount of calories and proportions of Carbs, Protein, and Fat were to reaching my fitness goals.
Long story short, after tracking my calories for 3 weeks and really focusing on hitting 3,000 calories a day I have absolutely been crushing my workouts and having so much energy to stay powered all the way through. I’m noticing that I am now starting to keep up with some of the CrossFit veterans in our class (although sometimes I’m doing a much different weight) but it’s still in comparison to my strength.
If you’re reading this and confused on why you are sluggish during the day, always hungry and different points, or just feel like you don’t have the energy to workout then it may be time to consult a nutritionist and put some effort into what and when you put stuff into your body.
I can speak from experience of how it was before and now seeing the after and what it can do for you.
Keep listening to your body and doing the right thing!
Had some great workouts this past week but thought I’d take an opportunity just to mention the importance of listening to your body, especially when it comes to injury. I’m not a doctor but I’ve found that logical diagnosis often times wins the day.
During Tuesdays workout I was pushing hard through this RFT workout of 70 cal row, 50 pushups, and 40 wall balls. I must have tweaked something with my bicep because on Wednesday it didn’t feel all that great. I had a little soreness but my arm felt weak.
My self diagnosis was “bicep tendinitis” which I realized last in the week.
So, I decided to workout on Wednesday to “test” it out and it was semi-painful to the extent that I couldn’t put 100% into the workout.
With that, I got smart. I decided to rest for a couple of days and put minimal movement into the arm.
I decided to test it again on Saturday and everything seemed great until we got into some rope climbs late in the workout which ended up tweaking it slightly.
Had a great chat with one of the coaches there and was encouraged to do some maintenance on the arm (ice, massage, etc) whichever I felt I should do as well as stay away from doing major pulling movements for a week or two or at least to resist doing them.
All in all, I iced my arm through the weekend and feel like it will take some time to fully heal but I’m not focused on not overworking the arm and being smart about my level of effort with it.
Moral of the story: Listen to your body because taking a few days off to recover and heal is much better than tearing something more and having to sit out months. Egos get in the way a lot so being smart about those type of decisions could lead to better results down the road.
Had another great week of killer workouts but this week I’m going to focus on nutrition as it has been a big key for me lately.
I’ve been monitoring how I feel in correlation to my eating over the past month or so and realized I’d be spent in regards to energy when I tried to workout in the evening. What I came to realize was that I wasn’t getting near enough calories a day and lacking very much in my protein intake (which wasn’t helping my muscle gain goal).
I spoke with a nutritionist on Monday and it cleared up many things for me. It confirmed several of the things I was doing right and highlighted some of my core areas. I’ve started to track my calories for a period of time to make sure I am hitting some goals. Right now, I am trying to hit about 3,000 calories per day. It’s insane how much food that actually is but I know in the long run I’ll put on some weight and start to see my muscles get some growth as well.
Cliffs Notes version of changes:
- I was eating a “good” breakfast in regards to nutritious foods like bananas, avocados, oatmeal, etc but was lacking big time in protein intake. This was putting me behind the eight-ball for the day and I was always hungry midday.
The Change: I am now eating 2-3 eggs in the morning and having that on top of avocado toast or scrambling up with some sweet potato hash / pepper combo. It’s kept me full for the last week and I feel I have way more energy.
2. For snack, I was eating mainly fruit and about 1-2 cups of blueberries, strawberries, or a banana.
The Change: I am adding some protein like peanut butter or some yogurt to the snack and still eating the fruit.
3. Since I took away meat from my diet 18 months ago, I’ve been trying to figure out what to replace it with and have come across these plant based items that taste and feel like meat. I used to eat a lot of this stuff like several servings a weeks.
The Change: I didn’t realize that not only are these heavily processed but they are made mainly of soy. For males, too high of soy intake adds a lot of estrogen into the body and can mess up hormone levels a bit. So, I’ve cut back on this drastically to see if I notice any big changes. I’ve added more fish to my diet to get back to a cleaner protein.
I’ve been very conscious the last several years of my food intake and eating cleaner but didn’t put this level of thought into it. Just recording my eating habits this week and monitoring how I feel I can say that not only am I full throughout the day but I have a lot more energy when it comes to evening workouts.
Moral of the story is that it’s important to always be asking questions of yourself on how you can improve and get better and don’t be afraid of the answers as hopefully figuring that out will improve “YOU” in the long run.
Keep at it folks!
Well – the 12 week Strength Training Program came and went and it was an incredible ride of learning, pushing, and grinding until the end. Here is the final sheet of the breakdown – Strength Training Program Weekly Breakdown
Overall I was pleased with my mindset going into each workout and focus on improving the movements in order to maximize the weight I can safely lift. Additionally, just pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, which I’ve written about throughout this program, was something I am proud of and can use as I continue on.
One last piece I didn’t think about during test week but was relevant is that I’ve gained 8-10 LBs of body weight over the last few months. Some of these numbers (like pull-ups) are even better since I am pulling more weight than during the initial test week.
Some results to note:
Back Squat -> 1 Rep Max @ 170 LBs (max 3 @ 145 lbs12 weeks ago I did )
Strict Pull-ups -> 8 Strict Pullups (7 Strict Pullups 12 weeks ago I did )
Bench Press -> 1 Rep Max @ 170 LBs (1 rep max @ 165 lbs12 weeks ago I did )
Deadlift -> 1 Rep Max @ 300 LBs (1 rep max @ 265 lbs 12 weeks ago I did )
Front Squat -> 1 Rep Max @ 155 LBs (12 weeks ago I didn’t get to establish a max)
“Karen” (150 Wall Balls FT) -> 9:20 time with 14 lb wall ball (9:44 time 12 weeks ago)
Mile Run -> 7:22 (In the past I’d have trouble breaking 8 minutes)
Being over 5 months into this CrossFit thing I’m extremely pleased with my results, how I’ve managed my schedule, and understanding my nutrition to keep energized and gain the muscle mass I’ve set out to gain.
Look forward to sharing how the rest of the year goes!
This was our final week of the 12-Week Strength Training Program and my first week back from a 10-day vacation – See Results here – 12-Week Strength Program Results
I didn’t take it easy, however, and pushed myself through 6 straight days of workouts to get me back on track. My body was beat come Sunday but I felt really good and it was a nice “off” day to relax a bit. Here’s a peak at the workouts I went through this week:
I had a lot of fun this week with some of the workouts and really enjoyed the team workout on the 4th of July called “DT”. It was pretty brutal and definitely pushed me to the max to finish!
One thing I learned, again, this week is to find the edge of your comfort zone and try to push past it just a little to see what could happen. On Friday, we had a 10-minute Row for max calories and my goal was to have more than anyone that day in the class. Sure enough, after pushing through some pain near the end I ended up with 162 and the most for the day. Those little wins keep you focused on growing and building on each and every day’s workout.
Lastly, I am going to be starting Yoga again this week as I hadn’t done it at all during this Crossfit journey. I’ve realized I need to get my flexibility back which I know will help me improve my movements. This will be part of my training going forward and look forward to seeing the results as it runs parallel with CrossFit.
Keep grinding everyone!
Well, after 20 weeks of CrossFit I finally took a long break and relaxed for the past 9 days. Besides a ton of walking (which just offset my poor eating and many LBS of Ice Cream), I really only worked out one time during the vacation. On past vacations I made it a point to work out more but I’ve changed my thinking a lot on this..here’s why.
I believe it’s good to take a break from your routine and just relax your mind and body and let it rest. You can continue to push yourself day after day but part of improving is listening to your body and understanding what it needs. For me, it’s taking time off and “missing it” that gets me recharged and amped up to go hard at it again next week. It also gives you a perspective to see how you feel when you aren’t working out or eating how you’d normally eat and it can help reenforce that what you are doing is correct and help keep you focused on your goals.
Bottomline, whether you take a bunch of days off in a row or not, I believe it is crucial to rest at certain points during your training in order to let your body and also your mind recover and reset for the next wave of training.
Fortunately, this upcoming week is our last in the program and is a Deload week so it will help me ease back into my training.
Can’t believe 21 weeks are already in the books in my CrossFit journey. Excited to see what the next 21 hold!
Heading into the final stretch of our strength training program and had a short week this week due to a family vacation.
Two big “Aha” moments of the week:
- I noticed that my food intake wasn’t the best and I was lacking energy on some of the days. This has also been a trend the past week or two especially if I am working out after work. Teh combination of not enough calories along with using my standing desk is making me a bit more fatigued. The key here is I have recognized this pattern early and will take measures to correct it in the coming weeks.
- My strength gains have been solid over these past 10 weeks and nothing shines a light on that more than the fact that I did 13 max rep set @ 245lbs on the DeadLift this week compared to 1 total rep @ 265 just 10 weeks ago. Insane!
Next week is an off-week due to a vacation and will be a nice chance to recharge the batteries after 20 weeks of CrossFit!
Well we are in the home stretch of our 12-week strength training program and maybe it was the light week that helped from last week or taking a little Shakeology Power Boost prior to some of the workouts but I definitely got back on track with some solid numbers this week.
Here is my updated Strength Program Worksheet Link
This week’s highlights (max rep #):
Back Squats – 11 @ 130
Bench Press – 8 @ 135
Deadlift – 15 @ 220
Also had a couple fierce endurance workouts that I absolutely crushed. Starting to really understand my limits and where I can take chances to push through in a workout. I know one of my strengths in Rowing so I can use that to my advantage and pick up the pace there while staying consistent on the rest of the workout.
CrossFit isn’t only about putting up big weights but learning the proper techniques. On Saturday, I was learning how to perfect the muscle snatch which I’ve rarely done before. I took a light barbell and worked through it for that particular OTM cadence. Definitely recommend anyone starting out to take this approach and ease their way into certain movements, especially a more advanced one like the muscle snatch.
Can’t believe next week will be an even 20 weeks of CrossFit. So amazed with the results and how my body has transformed over these past 4 months and excited for the next 20 weeks!
A much needed “Deload” week during this 12-week strength program but unfortunately when we deload we throw in a ton of endurance so I saw my fair share of rowing and biking!
One of the things I worked on this week was really focusing on less weight and practicing my squat which has been shaky as of late. I took a step back and realized that I needed to make sure my form was solid before progressing in weight. The help I had in the prior week with how I thought about the squat position and then some additional insight this week by the owner of CrossFit RTP, Lei, got me feeling really confident about the movement.
18 weeks into this whole CrossFit thing and one of the things I look forward to is getting absolutely roasted during a workout where I feel I’ve pushed myself to the limit but kept going just a bit extra. Unlike the old days when it was all about throwing around heavy weight, I’ve learned that lighter weights with deeper movement and staying active for a length of time can do way more in regards to building strength and muscle then doing the traditional 5 sets of 6-10 reps with some progressing weight.
Tip to those out there trying to get fit – Weight is great! You aren’t going to get too bulky but you also don’t have to always do your max. Lighter weight with more reps will still help you build strength and you’ll also trim the your body fat % too!
…One more thing…If you haven’t tried a team event or team workout I absolutely recommend it. On saturdays, we normally partner up in groups to do the workout and it is an opportunity to meet and work with people of different skill level and strengths. Additionally, you get a chance to cheer on your team so you can have the fastest time and they can also motivate you. It’s a win-win and makes the workout that much more fine. I’d encourage you to try it!
Until next time!
After completing “The Murph” on Monday, this week became a tad lighter due to some personal commitments as well as I was very very very sore after Monday and needed time to recoup. I ended up going to two classes the rest of the week and then did some Open Gym work today to ease back into next week. However, here is the link to my workout chart and what I am focusing on each week – Strength Training Program
This was a good week to listen to my body and try not to overexert myself as I maybe would have done in the past. My pecs were probably sore until Saturday so pushing too hard mid week wouldn’t have been good. We did keep up with our Strength Training Program this week and we used Thursday for Bench Press which I handled fairly well given the soreness. Unfortunately I only made it to one of the Strength Days but will get back on track this week.
CrossFit is teaching me to push my boundaries while staying focused on form. The gains I have had in 17 weeks has been incredible and I’d encouraged anyone needing motivation that it comes in the form of consistency. Stay active and stay with it. Even if you miss a day or two that’s fine. Just don’t have long stretches where you miss and you’ll be fine.
Lastly, on Sundays we have Open Gym to come in and work on things on your own and today I chose to focus on Double unders which are very difficult. I am fine with jumping rope with single unders but adding a second pass through makes it challenging. I was becoming a bit frustrated because I wasn’t getting it too well but some words of encouragement from the owner Lei that it took him 18 months to perfect it helped calm me down a bit. Going back to consistency, I just need to focus on the right motion and with time I’ll be able to bang them out easily!
Keep grindin ya’ll!
Week 16 was a phenomenal week with many great achievements and I completely annihilated any past records on number of Squats I did this week, that’s for sure!
But…For this week (which I am posting the wrap-up on Memorial Day Monday instead of Sunday) is reserved for “The Murph”.
The most grueling workout I’ve ever done in my entire life.
…And it’s a salute to Lt. Michael Murphy who lost his life in Afghanistan and this was his favorite workout.
Thankful to have the opportunities I do and like most of the CrossFit world I wanted to honor Lt. Murphy by participating in this which is my first time.
The workout is simple…
1 Mile run
300 Air Squats
1 Mile Run
Once you finish the first mile you are trying to complete the middle portion before you finish the workout with the final mile. My strategy was breaking up into 20 rounds of 5, 10, and 15, respectively to batch this and try to accomplish in under 1 hour.
By round 9 I was feeling toasted but my adrenaline kicked in and feeling the motivation of my peers I grinded til the end.
The folks out there that actually do this with a vest on and complete in an ungodly short time is impressive.
5️⃣8️⃣:4️⃣2️⃣ was my time and couldn’t have been more pleased with it since my entire body was in pain!
Congrats to all who participated and pushed themselves past their comfort zone to achieve success!
The next few workouts should seem simple compared to that!!!
Til next time, keep Grindin’
After a week of “Deload” and a “lighter” week we got back to things and didn’t skip a beat.
This week was intense and I was able to get in 4 workouts and my legs hate me for sure!
I’m going to keep it short this week but a few takeaways to note which are important:
- We noticed that my max weight on Deadlifts was a bit low and that could’ve been due to how I felt during the test week. So, we bumped it up just a bit (10 LBS) and did the specific workout. Not only did that still feel good, I was able to blow away my Max Set number as I did 17 unbroken reps in the final set at a weight of 215
- We noticed my squat wasn’t looking good and we figured to widen my stance a bit as my legs could allow for it. It was definitely a different feeling but I noticed I had more stability and could get out of the low spot of the squat. Will keep working on this each week but feel the wider stance may be more beneficial
- Still love the competitiveness of CrossFit but also the camaraderie. I enjoy the Saturday workouts as we generally turn those into partner workouts and it’s neat to be able to pair up with others and push ourselves together and achieve results. If you like being motivated and pushed to succeed then the partner workouts will surely do that for you.
All in all, each week I continually learn a few things, some big and some small, but all to get a tad better and get closer to my goals. It’s important to reflect on each day’s workout, both good and bad, so that you can start to map out areas where you can push harder and areas where you need to improve or focus more.
Excited to hit the 4 month mark this coming week and would’ve never believed I could have the gains I’ve had in that short period of time and continue to enjoy the process each and every day.
Until next time, keep grinding!
We are now 1/3rd of the way through the 12-week strength building program and Week 4 was our “Deload” week although it was anything from easy. Our Deload consisted of doing 3 sets of 5 of a low weight (roughly 40-60%) just to work on form and keep the movement fresh. However, it was a week to let our bodies relax slightly in preparation for the next 3 weeks of intense work. For a reminder of the program and weight you can follow along on my progress here – 12-Week Program Details
Remember, the 4 main moves we are hitting each week are Back Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift, Front Squat.
We focused a lot on core movements and endurance this week and boy was I gassed after a couple of them.
Learning moment for me was this AMRAP (As many rounds as possible) with strict shoulder presses and then a 200 meter run. I was determined to be the best in the class and accomplished that by doing 6 complete rounds in 8-minutes. It was a lot of mindset endurance as well as the physical aspects that of course are a part of it.
As I head into week 5 I am continuing to be conscious of my nutrition and sleep and recommend others reading this to make sure you are getting your calories right but also you’re eating foods giving you the right amount of energy. I can’t stress sleep enough and it’s be so impactful getting at least 7-hours a week. For those interested, I highly recommend to check out the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast Episode #1109 with Matthew Walker, Author of Why We Sleep. The most fascinating podcast episode I’ve ever listened to. It’ll be a wake up call for many, no pun intended – Here is the link to it – Matthew Walker Podcast Interview – Joe Rogan Experience
Until next time….take care.
As we turned into week 3 of this strength building program I was eager to push my limits and continue building muscle and strength in various core areas. Remember, each week I’ll post my progress here in this updated Google Sheet -> 12-Week Program Details
As I am learning, the time of day I work out has a lot of impact on my gains and it appears that earlier is better in regards to more energy. Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury to always do morning workouts so will have to figure out ways to keep my energy at a high level into the evening as normally I am working out after work.
Back Squats this week I did 11 as my max set at 125lbs (about 85% of my max weight). This has continued to improve each week and it may be that I’ve worked out in the morning on 2 of the last 3 weeks
Bench Press was solid at 7 max reps at 145 lbs. I also changed my grip up slightly to go narrower as I was way too wide in early weeks (and throughout my entire lifting career).
Dead Lifts were fun and actually really loving them. Maybe my taller frame makes it easier but they are becoming my favorite movement in this series. Did 12 max reps this week at 220 lbs.
Front Squats have continued to be my nemesis and I think it is because I partially guessed on my max weight and that has made me do a bit more than I should be. Also, learning from some of the coaches that I may have not been going as deep in the squat as I needed to and that’s why the first week I was able to hit 10 max reps and then past 2 weeks have been barely 2 each time.
Lesson learned this week….It’s better to do the movements correct and have less weight involved than try to push extra and compromise the motion. My focus this week will be on my squats and making sure I get down the entire way.
I’m encouraged being 1/4 of the way through this strength program and looking forward to seeing where I can push myself in the coming weeks.
We are now in the thick of things with this 12-week progression to build a ton of strength in core movements of the Back Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift, and Front Squat.
A couple observations in week 2 that I’d like to share.
- Every day is not going to be the same and if you’re body is just off a bit that could really affect your numbers. If you look at my max reps from week 1 to 2 on both the Back Squat and Front Squat they are completely opposite. My back squat went up 5 from the prior week even with the additional max rep weight. Conversely, I was toast on Thursday as I worked on the Front Squat and could only muster 2 compared to the 10 I did the prior week.
2. We had a ton of conditioning this week and a lot of rowing mixed with other movements. I absolutely crushed these portions of the workout as I’ve improved my endurance to a point where I don’t get nearly as winded as before and can break through the barriers.
Moral of the story: Recognize how you are feeling each day and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have it. Stay focused on good technique and get after it next time. What I learned from the observation is that I worked out at 5:30am this past week for the back squats as opposed to later in the day the week prior. I’ve noticed that when I work out in the morning (although more rare) I tend to have a ton more energy and see greater gains. These details can help you improve as well and recognize patterns to improve your overall fitness.
Remember, each week I’ll post my progress here in this updated Google Sheet -> 12-Week Program Details
Onward to week 3 of this Strength Building Program!
Collectively as a CrossFit Gym we are embarking on a 12-week strength building program and this was Week 1.
We are ramping up for 3 weeks and then using Week 4 as a slight recovery before ramping up more in subsequent weeks.
After the initial trial week to get our max #’s, Week 1 was a full go!
Each week we have a similar focus on specific days. As a reminder they are:
Monday -> Back Squats
Tuesday -> Bench Press
Wednesday -> Deadlifts
Friday ->Front Squats.
I had never worked out like this before where I was doing about 6 progressions and then a max set at the end (as well as adding additional conditioning after these were done).
Remember, each week I’ll post my progress here in this updated Google Sheet -> 12-Week Program Details
- I did a max set of 5 back squats at 135 lbs -> I think I was a bit tired this day and my legs were shot from the get-go so we’ll see how next week goes
- We did some conditioning on the rowing machine and I accomplished 2320 meters in a 10-minute window
- We ran a mile and I set my all-time fastest speed with a 7:11 mile!!!
I feel incredibly energized to go into next week and see how I can push myself toward some more gains!
Week 10 was a test week to get ready for a 12-week training program we are doing as an entire facility. We wanted to test various movements to benchmark where our gains will happen over a 12-week period. It was cool to see where I landed on some of the areas and excited to see my progression over the next dozen weeks.
For anyone that is interested to see the chart I am using to access weight progressions you can view the Google Sheet here -> 12-Week Strength Program Details *
*As a quick note to the chart, the only numbers I input are in the yellow boxes (at the top after this test week and then at the bottom as I hit my max for each exercise each week). The pre-filled numbers on the chart auto-populate based on my 1 or 3-rep max and the % of weight we are doing for that week. Make sense? It didn’t to me at first so let me know if any questions.
Some areas of note:
Back Squat (max 3 reps) – 145 lbs (with 10 lb weight under heels)
Dead Lift (max 3) -> 255 lbs
Strict Pull-ups – 7 uninterrupted
Bench Press – 165 lbs
“Helen” -> 3 RFT -> 400 m run, 21 kettlebell swings (35 lbs) , 6 pullups -> = Time -> 10:56
5 RFT 5 DL (135 lbs) and 10 burpees -> = Time -> 5:17
Ab Mat Sit-up (2 min max) – 44
150 Wall Balls FT (14 lb) – 9:40
Will update on progress as this moves along!
Week 9 was a leg burner all week!
I was surprised with myself for pushing through a front squat workout and hitting my 3 rep max at 225 LBs which was more than I’ve ever done for 1 rep let along 3 in a row.
We also had a workout where I had to do an insane amount of wall balls followed by burpees for 5 rounds squeezed in between two 400-meter runs.
This week flew by but I could tell that my strength is continuing to improve when I powered through a workout with deadlifts doing 10 reps @ 135 LB and didn’t get phased. Back in week one that might have been a struggle.
I worked out for 4 days this week and decided to take off the weekend to do some extra father/son bonding time while I rested and got ramped up for Week 10.
Going to go hard Week 10! Check back in for more results next week…
Week 8 got me back in the swing of things after a light week 7. 5 Days of intensity capped by a brutal but rewarding Saturday workout.
It was also kicked off by the 35th Birthday.
Fitness is one of those things that everybody knows they have to do to stay healthy but most people neglect. For me, Fitness has meant many different routines over the past 16 years but this CrossFit Journey has been incredible. The amount of gains in 2 short months and the level of comfort doing movements I’ve never done before has been astounding.
This all goes back to the one word that people that succeed talk about a lot…consistency.
In fitness, it is so important to stay consistent with your workouts as well as your eating to go along with it. One bad day or week doesn’t ruin it by any means but taking a long layoff or never working out can have compounding effects on your body as you get older. You don’t always have to go hard each and every day but finding the right mix is something I believe in and the results speak for themselves.
I’m ecstatic with the improvements in 8-weeks and look forward to reporting back even better results in months to come.
Big challenge I crushed this week….First, I battled through a Part C workout on Friday for 3 rounds OTM and ended up improving each round of Burpees and Biking. Secondly, the next day I did 12 full rope climbs with no leg assist over a 3 RFT team workout. It ended the week strong and gave me confidence heading into week 9.
Until next time, Keep grindin’!
Week 7 was a short week for me based on travel to Tennessee later in the week. (Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go to Mayhem and workout with Rich Froning.)
One of the cool things we did one of the nights was a team workout that was really fun.
We split up into groups of 5 and did 3 rounds.
AMRAP for the first 5 minutes – Pushups
AMRAP for the next 7 minutes – Wall Balls
AMRAP for the final 5 minutes – Pushups
It was intense but cool to be a part of that. Here’s why: You get the opportunity to not only meet some new people but compare yourself in how you are doing with the movements and are you doing them properly. Plus, the more experiences CrossFitters are extremely helpful to coach on improving technique so you can continue to grow.
Was only able to do 3 classes from Monday-Wednesday but the 4 day break was actually a good things as my body needed to recover after 7 hard weeks of this new fitness routine.
One of the important lessons I’ve learned over time was that REST is so key. You have to give your body time to recover. Remember that as you push through your fitness goals and it will help you actually make gains much quicker and prevent injury.
Excited to get into the grind more next week as I hit my 2 month anniversary!
Week 6 was a light week for me in regards to number of workouts I was able to attend due to several conflicts especially the start of my son’s soccer season. But, with only 3 workouts in, I was still able to manage to feel like I was continuing to expand my comfort zone and increase gains in some areas.
This week had a LOT of rowing and I am really noticing my endurance picking up tremendously. I was always weak in this area so it feels good to be able to stay strong through a workout with a lot of endurance needed. One thing I have noticed is that being taller helps but also it is important to remember to keep my knees straighter slightly longer when retracting back towards the machine. Old habits of knee bend try to creep in from time to time!
My deadlift has improved tremendously (from like nothing) to being able to handle 135 lbs 14 times for 4 rounds during one of the workouts and that also included other movements like rowing and pushups. My movement is getting really precise since I have understood that I need to keep the bar very close to my body and almost touching at points when I get above my knees.
One big moment in understanding where I have improved was doing Hollow holds to V-ups at the end of the Thursday workout. In the past I’ve had trouble with these and have worked to just do Hollow holds so far. But, I did 5 rounds of 7 Hollow hold to V-ups per round really solid (besides a couple poor balanced ones). This has given me confidence that I have to continue to trust this new fitness process, stay focused on upping weight and testing it out, and not worry about how many workouts I do a week but realize I need to put all my effort in on each of them.
I know Week 7 will be a limited week as well with a trip at the end of the week scheduled so I’ll have to try and be consistent these first 4 days and grind through.
Will update next week!
Week 5 was one for the ages! I was gassed most of the week and had to conjure up some extra mojo to get through my 4 workouts. I’m very much starting to learn where I can push myself and where I still need to be smart about the weights that I am picking but when I do get “in the zone” I am able to impress even myself with some of the work.
A couple of key thoughts from this week:
My wrists were sore from doing the workout a week ago where I had to hold hand stand push-up position for 30 seconds for 4 rounds. On Saturday, We had more handstand push-ups and I could already recognize that my body had built up a bit of a tolerance to it and didn’t have any pain while going through 4 rounds holding for 30 seconds.
I practiced the “kipping pull up” one night and realized not only is it harder than it appears but that the thought is more of a “C” shape with straight arms as I go into the move vs trying to bend my elbows and pulling. Something I’ll have to continue to practice and improve.
Rope climbs are extremely difficult but something inside me overcomes that challenge as we had to do 4 rounds with a partner each doing 2 per round. This is more than I ever have had to do and was pleased that I got through all 8 using no legs and got to the top on every one. My hands were a bit torn up but I’ll chalk that up to building the strength into my hands.
“If you are comfortable then you are not growing” was something one of the instructors said to the group and it was necessary to hear. I’m there to workout and improve my overall fitness and If you just half-ass it then your body can’t get the gains you ultimately want.
I’m starting to feel more like I belong and I have to continue to believe in myself and my ability to accomplish some of the more difficult workouts.
Thanks for reading.
One month down and I am starting to get in the groove…as well as turn up the volume a bit on my workouts! Another 5 workouts in the books this week and I recognized that I am understanding my weight patterns better and able to challenge myself with different exercises now that I’ve done them a handful of times.
My squat is getting much better and although I am still getting comfortable adding a lot of weight to front squats or doing overhead squats with more than a light bar I can see the incremental changes. Flexibility is a tough thing for me and in one of the early classes with Lei, the owner of CrossFit RTP, we discovered that I have minimal shoulder mobility and I will have to work hard over time to increase that to be able to perform some more challenging movements like the overhead squat. Although I am still a long ways away from being where I want with the mobility, I was able to get a handful of overhead squats completed with a bar in the correct position.
Like anything else, it takes practice. One of the things I am learning is that a lot of this is new to me and that’s okay. I have to be content with not having it perfected but try to push through each workout and get the most out of it that I can. In time, I’ll achieve great results.
Final note through Four Weeks…As a literal “gut check” I took a couple pictures to track progress and I must say the results in just 4 weeks have been amazing. I am noticing a lot more upper body strength in the chest and shoulders but a slimmer oblique area than before. Legs feel more powerful than they have ever been and I can start to see the gains.
Week 5 starts tomorrow. Excited to see what is in store!
Week 3 started to get me in my groove. I attended 5 classes throughout the week and became much more comfortable with the surroundings and working through various exercises. Going 4 days in a row was certainly a challenge but working out with a group kept me energized.
I remember one moment in particular on Tuesday when we were doing a retched series of Rowing, Burpees, and then Front Squats all in an AMRAP. It was getting almost near the end and I was on front squats and just toast but with 10 seconds left I could’ve stopped. At home working out I might of but I heard the instructor call out 10 seconds and I said to myself “2 more…let’s get 2 more”…as the clock struck :00 I exploded up for to hit the “2 more” goal. It feels great to accomplish the workout but to exceed when I am at the end and burnt out was extra special.
The week ended on a “relaxed” Saturday workout….just kidding! It was brutal. Had a chance to partner up with my neighbor on this one and we had fun but boy did it wear us down. 400 m run, 40 front squats, and 40 burpees and then it progressed down from there for 3 rounds. That was just part one. In part 2, the mixture of pull ups, hand stand pushups, and double unders was just what I needed to feel like I had an unbelievable week and roll into a nice rest day on Sunday.
Lesson learned this week: Listen to your body! I almost put myself out of commission with some static presses I did at the end of the workout (in exchange for handstand pushups) and almost tweaked my neck. Luckily, I was just sore a bit Sunday. You gotta listen to your body even when your ego gets in the way!
12 workouts down through 3 weeks. Time to crush week 4!
Week 2 was fun. For 2 reasons. First, I now have a firm understanding of many of the moves that I need to be performing and am a lot more comfortable doing them on my own and knowing I am doing them fairly well. Secondly, now having some confidence, I can push myself a bit further and step it up to another level ultimately helping me get to my goals quicker.
I was only able to go 3 times this past week but that is partially due to trying to figure out the best schedule that works for me and also make sure I can work around family obligations. With some unknowns (like my son getting sick) the latter half of the week got away from me.
But, this is where the learning comes into play. I am missing it. I am excited to get back to it on Monday. And that…that is what I was looking for when starting this and it makes me stay motivated to show up and dedicate myself to the process. So even though I only got 3 in this week (my goal is 4-5) I was able to use that as a motivator to roll it into the next week.
Interesting learning this week: A move called “Skin the Cat”. This move required you to use the rings and it was the first time I ever had to use it. The first time seeing the instructor doing it my jaw dropped and I was like “uh, that’s hard”. But, after getting some instruction on it and trying it I was pleased with how I could get the move down. However, I realized how weak my core is and the more I work on it I’ll be able to do this move much better. For those wondering what this move is I found a video on youtube that explains it – https://youtu.be/4i2_ImaWGzs
Onward to Week 3 and will look to share even more stories and some pictures/videos of the journey
One week down! What an incredible week it was. A lot of emotions on many ends. Couple things I learned in my first week.
- Pace yourself. Even with a lower weight you can get your butt kicked
- Challenge yourself. There were many times I could’ve given up but being in that environment made me push harder
- Group atmosphere is awesome! There is a lot of competition as you go through the workouts and you definitely want to keep up with the others that have been doing it longer
- The people are so friggen nice. Everyone comes up and introduces themselves and are so helpful to make sure you are comfortable in the setting.
This week I participated in 4 workouts and what I loved was that each and everyone of them were different. Some days there was more heavy lifting or focus on strength building while others were a lot more endurance based and hit many different exercises throughout. I think every single body part got hit and boy and I sore. But it’s that good feeling sore when you know you wrecked it!
How I challenged myself this week:
On our Saturday workout, it was a team competition and Rope Climbs were one of the exercises. This was a fast-paced routine with each of us having to do 2 per round over 3 rounds. I had never done a Rope Climb before but with some encouragement and sheer will, I did a “leg free” rope climb ALL 6 Times to the top! My body hated me after but it was a rush to accomplish that mini-goal.
Rest day tomorrow and then on to week 2.
After many years of different fitness routines, working out at gyms and at home, and doing everything from heavy lifting to cardio, I decided to make a commitment to something new.
CrossFit came calling. I was getting hit from several angles about Crossfit and had thought about doing it in the past put was reluctant to change at that time. I’m not sure exactly what put me over the edge but I think a key factor was my new outlook on life and approach to trying new things even if they scare me or take me out of my comfort zone. Starting my Podcast several months back was a recent success of mine to get out of my comfort zone and put myself out there even if I felt I didn’t belong.
It was the first step that was the most important. And I took it!
Before I get started on week 1, I worked with the owner of CrossFit RTP, Lei Fei, to make sure my mechanics were sound and I had an idea of where I needed to start with some moves. I was drinking from a firehose in those sessions. A lot of new terminology and a lot of different moves that were foreign to me.
But, it was a huge help.
- We realized my squat was being done poorly which could cause knee issues down the road
- We realized my pushup was slightly off as I had my hands a bit too high across the shoulders and needed them more back in line with my chest.
- I had zero idea what a snatch, thruster, hollow up, and many other movements were
Now, onto group classes and the beginning of the fitness journey.