Workout of the Day

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I’ll be straight with you: I’m going to hate on juice for a minute.

I like juice, and juice can be a fine dietary choice at times, but the very notion of juice points to the exact reason that obesity and un-health has reached epidemic levels.

Juice is supposed to be easy to consume and taste good. That’s kind of the whole point. No one decided it would be a good idea to blend, squeeze, concentrate, and otherwise extract liquid from fruits or vegetables because it changed the foods’ nutritional makeup for the better or because it would diminish sugar consumption. Take a look at any juice label and it will boast how many fruits and vegetables are contained inside the convenient, delicious, (and fructose-packed) 12 ounce bottle. There will be claims of heart health, meeting USDA daily fruit and vegetable consumption recommendations, and ease of consumption.

Juice exists because we all know we’re supposed to eat fruits and vegetables and otherwise take care of and flourish in our bodies, but people can’t be bothered to endure something that’s less than enjoyable or that takes any effort beyond grabbing something from the fridge. It’s the same reason that fitness gimmicks are a multi-billion-dollar industry and cheap gym memberships sell like hotcakes and go unused for decades. We cling desperately to the idea that we can outsmart the system.

Look, broccoli sprouts don’t taste good, and that’s perfectly okay. There’s absolutely no reason they have to or should taste good, and the fact that you don’t get momentary mouth-pleasure from them is not an adequate reason not to eat them. We need look no further than what happens to the human system when you constantly feed it dopamine to understand why a steady stream of momentary pleasure is not the right way to go.

If you want a tasty treat, by all means, go for a juice. But let’s stop deluding ourselves into thinking that we can cheat our way through to health and wellness.

- PS


10/19/18

  • Tabata pull-ups

  • Rest 1 min

  • Tabata burpees

*score total reps from each

Then...

  • 4 RFQ:

    • 3 attempts at max time freestanding handstand hold

    • 10 parallette shoot-throughs

    • Max time unbroken dead hang from pull-up bar


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This Sunday, October 21st from 4-7pm, the official unofficial CrossFit No Boundaries book club will meet to discuss our most recent reading: “Unplugged” by Brian Mackenzie, Andy Galpin, and Phil White.

Join us to talk about the role of technology in our lives as it relates to health and fitness, how we can use technology well, how we may use it poorly, and to toss around ideas about how we can develop a healthy and productive relationship with the tech around us. Agree with the thesis of the book? Great! Come discuss why. Disagree completely? Great! Dissenting ideas are the heart of good discussion. We want to hear it.

If you’ve read the book, or even if you haven’t finished reading the book, join us, and bring a friend and some snacks/drinks. No fitness required.

Meeting location and further details will be posted on Facebook.

See you there!

- PS


10/18/18

  • Work up to a heavy hang squat snatch single in 10 mins

Then...

  • 16 min AMRAP:

    • 1 hang squat snatch (135/95)

    • 25 DUs

    • 2 hang squat snatch

    • 25 DUs

    • 3 hang squat snatch

    • 25 DUs

    • etc.


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Did you know the same word can have multiple, simultaneous meanings? In the case of the word “functional” as it applies to movement and exercise, it’s true.

I’m going to choose to willingly cast aside the more cavelier use of the term “functional,” commonly used to justify elaborate and silly exercises aimed at fooling people into thinking a coach/trainer must be smart and have tapped into some deep training secrets, because why else would they be standing on an exercise ball and attached to seven separate resistance bands with kettlebells hanging from their waist?

All jokes aside, functional movement or functional training has two meanings:

First, functional refers to a movement or exercise program with a close proximity to basic, natural human movement. This definition of functionality looks at how humans are naturally built and move (biomechanics), and what basic movements are and have been an integral part of human existence. Generally, this leaves us with some basic patterns, as well as a tendency towards complex, multi-joint movements. Think walking, running, jumping and landing, hinging, squatting, pushing, pulling, carrying, and throwing. This also means moving more slowly for long durations and distances, moving quickly and powerfully for short bursts, and even domains in between.

Second, and more often forgotten, functional refers to a movement or exercise program that yields functional (useful) adaptations in an individual. For an example, let’s look at the bench press, an exercise often caught in the “functional or not” crosshairs. Having stronger shoulders is a functional adaptation. It allows for greater shoulder health, greater pushing, pulling, carrying, and throwing capacities, and (side benefit) looks good in the mirror, too. While one could attempt to argue that the bench press is not a functional exercise because you’ll (hopefully) never find yourself lying down and needing to push an object horizontally over your chest, the fact that the bench press is one of the most simple and effective ways to develop shoulder strength renders this argument against its functionality nil. The more effective a movement or program is at developing a desired adaptation, the more functional it is. It should be no surprise that movements can, and often do, adhere to both definitions of functional.

Can you spot how the movements and protocols used in CrossFit No Boundaries' programming are functional according to definition one? According to definition two?

- PS


10/17/18

  • “Jackie”

  • For time:

    • 1000m row

    • 50 thrusters (45/35)

    • 30 pull-ups

Then...

  • 3 rds

    • 10 front rack reverse lunge (5/leg)

    • 10 bent over BB row


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It’s easy to look at an organization or culture or society made up of many people and moving parts and to point the finger at how it falls short. It’s not so easy to view yourself as an integral, influential piece of that organization or culture or society and to point the finger back at yourself. You are a leader -- an influential part of it -- whether you know it or not. Your family, your workplace, your team, your friend group, your neighborhood, your political party, your city, your country.

Of course, the next questions is: what can we do with this information?

The answer I hope you do not default to is, “look for ways to diminish my own responsibility to the result” or “point to those who have more responsibility so they may take the fall.”

Rather, ask, “what is in my control?” or “how can my influence improve this organization/culture/society?”

You’re on the hook, and that’s not a bad thing.

- PS


10/16/18

  • Max unbroken ring muscle-ups

Then...

  • 3 rounds for time:

    • 8 ring muscle-ups

    • 400m run

    • Rest 1 min


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If you had a car with six gears, but only two of them functioned properly, your driving performance and economy would surely be affected. First, you’d only use the two functional gears, because you wouldn’t really have a choice, even if the road demanded something different. Second, these improper gear choices would have some negative consequences. You shouldn’t be maintaining highway speeds for long durations in second gear, or trying to start and stop in fourth gear.

Many athletes have this problem of missing and untrained gears in their fitness practice. Athletes with only one or two functional gears will apply the same strategy to two workouts that actually demand entirely different efforts. The most common is the athlete who is trained and comfortable working at a moderate intensity for 10-20 minutes; ask them to apply maximal intensity to short, 30-90s intervals, and their functional gears will be inadequate. They will attempt to go at maximal intensity and will quickly implode, or may just miss the mark entirely. On the flip side, ask the athlete who is trained and comfortable only in short, fast, intense efforts to sustain anything for 15+ minutes, and they will fall apart.

Variation is a centerpiece of our programs at No Boundaries for this very reason. No one in their right mind would buy a new car with only two functional gears, and no one in their right mind would consider someone generally fit if they can only perform within a small range of intensities and types of effort. Your motor’s not worth much if you don’t train the full range of your gears.

- PS


10/15/18

  • Parallel box squat - 2,2,2,2

Then...

  • 3 rds for reps:

    • 40s max DBL KB front rack 10m carry (106/70)

    • 80s rest

    • 40s max stone to shoulder (145/95)

    • 80s rest


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Run...row...jump...

Today we have three highly technical skills programmed together in one, sort of, long aerobic effort. Sounds like a good chance to look for some adaptation.

Your commitment to the process is all it will take to find success.

Set a goal for each skill and push your capacity to train up to that goal.

This will be a mental challenge as well as a physical challenge.

Bring your "A" game.

#developyourself


10/12/18

  • For time:

    • 1 mile run

    • 2k row

    • 200 double-unders


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I am regularly inspired by the sacrifices I see individuals make to pursue their goals and self development in the gym. I know, for example, that some of the students at No Boundaries regularly have long days away from home, going straight from the gym in the morning to a long day of work, or straight from a long day of work to the gym for the evening. Of course 12+ hour days away from the home aren’t their first choice, but these individuals have taken ownership of their process and accepted that some sacrifices will be necessary. I know also that many of our students juggle raising children, difficult work schedules, late nights and early mornings, tight budgets, long commutes, and more, and still manage to make the time and space to dedicate to a regular physical practice. Again, these individuals have not chosen to have long commutes or difficult schedules because that’s what they prefer; they’ve recognized the value of showing up to learn, struggle, commune, and improve their physical selves here at No Boundaries, and have chosen to manage the things that they control (and to accept what they cannot control) to create space for this practice.

On the flipside, I have seen many individuals shy away from the idea that sacrifice may be necessary. I’ve seen the inconvenience of commutes, the discomfort of early mornings, the difficulty of learning new things, the challenge of work schedules, the financial cost, the discomfort of physical training, the burden of long days away from the home, and the idea itself that sacrifice may be necessary stand as a barrier between people and the results they so fiercely insist they want.

It is not my place, nor will it ever be, to judge whether these individuals are making the right or wrong choice. It is not my decision what sacrifices, inconveniences, and discomforts they should or should not be willing to make, and we all have to draw our own lines in the sand and determine our own values. Sometimes a sacrifice really isn’t worth it. Other times, it absolutely is.

What you can do for yourself is get out a pen and a piece of paper and write down a list, right now, of what you are and are not willing to do. Define your boundaries.

Are you willing to get up when the alarm goes off before the sun, and you want nothing more than to sleep in another hour? Are you willing to change how you eat? Are you willing to adjust your schedule? Are you willing to set aside time that could be spent doing something you otherwise enjoy? Be honest with yourself. Remember, this isn’t a competition to see who has it the hardest. This is no one’s decision but your own, and there are no right answers.

I don’t want to make this out to be some big life sacrifice, because it’s not. It’s fitness. It’s enjoyable, rewarding, and an opportunity more than a burden. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, and it doesn’t mean you won’t have to make difficult or uncomfortable choices along the way.

- PS


10/11/18

  • Overhead press - 5,5,5

Then...

  • In 5 mins:

    • Max C2B pull-ups

    • Every minute on the minute, complete 4 deadlifts (275/185)

  • Rest 2 mins

  • In 5 mins:

    • Max K2E

    • Every minute on the minute, complete 4 deadlifts (275/185)


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One of the classic events you’ll encounter at an Oktoberfest celebration is the beer stein holding contest. The event is as simple as it gets: contestants hold their beer stein (full of liquid) with a fully extended arm for as long as possible without bending, dropping, or spilling. Last person standing is the winner. Don’t let the simplicity fool you, though. If you’ve ever taken part in a stein-holding contest, you’ll understand how even 60 seconds can feel like a lifetime. (Side note: one of our very own students is a two-time stein-holding champion at a local Oktoberfest competition. Can you guess who?)

Now, a beer stein, even when it’s full of beer or whatever liquid you prefer, isn’t all that heavy. The challenge of this contest is a matter of levers. I would bet all of the money in my wallet that if two people went head-to-head in a stein-holding contest, but one person was allowed to hold the stein at their chest while the other held it with a fully extended arm, the person with the stein at arm’s length would surely break first. The longer the lever (extended arm), the more torque (rotational force) at the shoulder. This makes holding a three-pound stein at arm’s length a more challenging task than holding even an oversized, ten-pound stein at the chest.

What does this all have to do with fitness? Well, other than perhaps giving you an intellectual leg up should you find yourself competing in a local Oktoberfest event, these same physical principles apply to any of the movements you do in the gym. Consider a deadlift. If you’ve been a student with us for any time, you’ve likely heard us cue you to keep the bar close to your legs during the deadlift. This isn’t some arbitrary standard -- it’s meant to keep the lever arm as short as possible, which decreases the torque at the hips. This equates to heavier weights moved more safely and efficiently. This also gives us an insight into why the strongman implements we use in our training are so effective at increasing hip and core strength (and why they’re often so challenging). The odd objects place the center of mass of the implement further from your body, which increases the lever length and the force you must generate to overcome the torque applied by the object.

These same beer-stein principles of physics can be seen in just about every movement you’ll encounter in your training. Feel free to share your beer-and-fitness-related wisdom next time you find yourself lifting a heavy object or sipping from a stein among friends.

- PS


10/10/18

  • “Fight Gone Bad”

  • 3 rounds for reps of:

    • 1 min max wallballs (20/14)

    • 1 min max SDHP (75/55)

    • 1 min max box jumps (24”/20”)

    • 1 min max push press (75/55)

    • 1 min max cal row

    • 1 min rest


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You’re familiar with the notion of the weakest link in the chain, right? The idea is, if you have a series of links in a chain, each load rated at 2000lbs, but one link somewhere in that chain is only capable of withstanding 700lbs, your chain, effectively, can only handle 700lbs. Apply 701lbs of load, and even though all of the other links in the chain can handle far more, the chain will fail.

When we move, we operate a bit like a chain -- more like a web-shaped chain with multiple connections in multiple directions than a simple straight chain -- but a chain nonetheless. And just like a chain being used to pull a car out of a ditch, when we apply stress to our system through movement, the weakest link in the chain will determine whether we succeed (execute the movement safely and properly) or fail (cannot execute the movement, or do so at the cost of injury). This means that even if every other link in your chain is twice as strong as it needs to be for this movement, if one of your links is weak, you will not succeed. (Note: weakness can be literal weakness in a muscle group, or can be weakness of position or a lack of range of motion.)

Fortunately, this gives us a simple and effective blueprint for continually getting stronger. Find the weakest link. Address it by improving movement patterns and adding specific training. When it becomes stronger, your movements in general will be stronger. Now reassess -- determine what is now the weakest link and repeat this process.

We shine a light on our weakest links every time we approach the fringes of our capacity (think heavy weights, stresses on stamina, endurance, etc.). When this light is shining, take a look at what’s being exposed, and get to work improving it. (And don’t forget, that’s what your coaches are here to help with.)

- PS


10/9/18

  • Keg clean and press - 3rm

Then...

  • Every 3 mins for 15 mins:

    • 5 keg C&P (AHAP)

    • 100m sprint

*record fastest time


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Consider this: the reason for damage to tissue (pulls, sprains, strains, etc.) will always be related to strength. Simply put, the stress put on the tissue -- whether it’s from going for a jog, lifting a heavy object, or colliding with someone or something -- is greater than the strength of that tissue and its surrounding structures. This is a somewhat simplistic view of things, and the more closely you look at things, the more necessity for nuance; but as strength coach and author Mark Rippetoe aptly puts it, “stronger people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.” The weak and under-muscled individual is going to take a lot more damage from a fall up the stairs or a bad step on the field than the strong and athletic linebacker.

It’s a bit ironic, then, that when people encounter pain or injury, their first response is often to permanently swear off of any heavy lifting or challenging movements in the name of health and safety. Of course injury demands rest or movement limitation, of course movement patterns matter, and of course loading must be incremental and appropriately scaled. That was never even in question.

But don’t get it twisted: your tweaked hip or funky shoulder is about the worst reason in the world to not lift heavy again. Your strength is more than just big numbers on the PR board or party tricks. It’s your shield and armor, and you’re going to be glad you have it some day. Don’t swear off the very thing you need most when you get some bumps and bruises along the way.

- PS


10/8/18

  • “Chelsea”

  • Every minute on the minute for 30 minutes:

    • 5 pull-ups

    • 10 push-ups

    • 15 squats