March 5th, 2013, by Bill · 2 Comments
The CrossFit Open is finally here! At 7pm Wednesday, the first workout will be announced live on the CrossFit Games website. All participants will have until 7pm Sunday to complete the workout and submit their score online. If you haven't registered yet, fear not, there is still time. Simply head over to the Games website and register today. Don't let your self doubt or inner fears hold you back from partaking in a challenge of your mind and body. The confidence and pride gained from pushing yourself to your limits and beyond once a week for the next 5 weeks is invaluable. Don't miss out!
Some of you have inquired about a training schedule during the Open. If you will be completing the weekly Open WOD on Saturday morning, I recommend working out Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Rest on Thursday and then come in Friday to get some touches on the movements to be included in the workout.
I strongly urge all participants to complete the Open workout on Saturday morning with the rest of us. Do whatever you have to to be available. The energy and excitement at the Fort for the next 5 Saturdays will be an experience in and of itself. It truly is something that every single one of you should have the privilege of experiencing. If for some reason you are unable to attend Saturday morning, you will need to complete the workout at any one of our regularly scheduled classes on Thursday or Friday.
If you have to complete the Open WOD on Friday, workout Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday still, but come in Thursday to get touches on the movements.
To accommodate those who are participating in the Open, our weekly programming will have a few minor changes as well. For one, we will only be going hard and heavy on Mondays and/or Tuesdays while Wednesdays will tend to be more aerobic in nature. Thursdays and Fridays will be reserved for active recovery/strategy sessions once we know what the workout is for that given week. See? You're all going to be completing the workouts anyways, might as well sign-up and compete alongside the rest of us!
We will be having afternoon classes tonight! The snow appears to have been more like a kitten than a lion, so we must WOD-on!
EMOM for 10:00
3 touch and go snatches
:90 clean & jerk (60/45kg)
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November 12th, 2012, by Bill · 3 Comments
Understanding the 85% Test
The 85% test is nothing new for most of you. In fact, we have performed such a test on numerous occasions in the past. Inevitably, every time a test like this comes around, I hear people utter such things as: “what do I need to get to beat so and so” or “so and so beat me” or “I didn’t do as good as so and so”. Now, I understand the mentality of a CrossFitter. I understand the competiveness that you possess. I also understand that you are willing to die for that additional rep. What I need you to understand is that none of this applies in this instance. You can’t compare your score to someone else’s score without understanding what each score on the 85% test represents.
- The results do not mean you are more or less fit.
- The results do not mean you are more or less strong.
- The results are what they are and give me more insight into whom you are and how you are made up.
Why you scored what you did
There are many variables contributing to your score. In no specific order, they include:
Training Age – The less trained you are, the more reps you can do at 85%. This is because you weren’t working off of a true 1RM. It takes time to develop your central nervous system to the point that you can “dig deep” so to speak. This has nothing to do with your will, it’s just reality.
Gender – Females can do more reps at 85% than males. This is because females have less neuro-muscular efficiency than their male counterparts.
Current Training Program –The energy system(s) focused on by your current training can move your score in either direction. Focus on the CP pathway and your 1RM may go up quite a bit, resulting in fewer reps at 85%. Focus on anaerobic capacity and/or aerobic capacity/power and your absolute strength may decline, but 85% test will increase.
Essence – Those who are cheetahs (explosive, fast, and powerful) will do fewer reps than the grinders who prefer longer work efforts. It’s just who you are and you must except it if you are to excel.
Diet – Eating in a manner that optimally supports your health and training will allow you to maximize your potential.
Biological Age – Aging biologically results in less neuro-muscular recruitment and thus more reps at 85%
Applying it to the CrossFit Athlete
CrossFit requires a certain amount of balance when it comes to fitness. There are also certain levels of absolute strength (1RM) that are most definitely needed for entry into the sport. Beyond that, one can argue that neuro-muscular efficiency, muscular endurance, and a great ability to move your bodyweight through space becomes more important as absolute strength is rarely, if ever, tested.
How efficiently you move heavy weight is much more important than how much weight you can move for a single rep. After all, most workouts consist of 30 reps or more of a given movement, not 1.
Putting it all together
There comes a point when strong is strong enough. Beyond this level of strength, I would argue that efficiency begins to matter a whole lot more. This means that we will have training cycles throughout the year aimed at improving your efficiency with near maximal weights. During these cycles, your 1RM may take a slight dip, but if your ability to rep out at loads close to that 1RM increases, you should be a better CrossFitter for it.
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March 28th, 2012, by Bill · 1 Comment
Every single day, we are bombarded by headlines making claims about what is good for our health and what will inevitably kill us. Most are fallacious, but we would have to do some research of our own to determine this and diving into scientific journals can be quite daunting.
Here are some tips to help with such efforts:
- Realize that journalists are not scientists.
Get your hands on the scientific study in question.
- Headlines in newspapers and on popular internet news sites are written by journalists, not scientists. The person writing the eye catching headline doesn't necessarily know a single thing about the subject matter. His/her single mission is to grab your attention and get you to read their newspaper or website.
Know what to look for.
- If a claim about a scientific study catches your interest, go directly to the journal that published it. If the news article doesn't cite the study directly, try locating the study's author and/or title within the article. Once you find that, put it into google to find the original paper. By reading the 'Method' and 'Results' of a study yourself, you will be better equipped to draw your own conclusion instead of relying on the interpretations of others.
- When it comes to nutritional science, there are 2 general types of studies that we are concerned with:
Understand that 'Correlation does NOT imply Causation'.
- Observational (i.e. cohort or epidemiological) - In these studies, researchers follow large groups of people over long periods of time (long enough for participants to be stricken by disease). Numerous variables (height, weight, age, sex, diet, lifestyle, income, medication, etc.) are recorded along the way and then analyzed at the end of the study. The goal is to find a variable that is related to a given disease (note that I did not say 'causes'). These findings are what future hypotheses are formed from.
- Controlled (i.e experimental or intervention) - Using the hypotheses formed from the results of observational studies, controlled studies are created. Participants of these studies are randomly put into at least 2 groups. The diets of each group will differ from one another while being controlled by the researchers. The results of a properly setup controlled study are the gold standard of the day, but the high costs associated with such studies prevent them from occurring often enough.
- When 2 things are related to one another, it is said that a correlation exists between the two. However, this does not automatically mean that the one causes the other. Therefore, there is no implied causation between the two.
- As an example: If you were to study reading ability and shoe size in this country, you would find that reading ability correlates with larger shoe size. That is, those who read the best tend to have larger shoes than those who don't read as well. I know what you're thinking, this is absolutely preposterous as we all know that having large feet does not cause one to be a better reader. Thus proving that 2 things can be correlated, but not necessarily causative.
There you have it: A very general overview of how to approach scientific studies. By following the above steps, you will now be able to quickly discern if the latest headlines have any validity to them at all.
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February 20th, 2012, by Bill · 4 Comments
The 2012 Games season is here! As with last year, there are 3 rounds of competition: The Open, The Regionals, and The Games.
Why you should register:
- Registration for the first round of competition, The Open, is available to everyone.
That's right, The Open is your chance to compete against the best CrossFitters in the world. What other sport can make that claim? Later this summer, when The Games are being televised on ESPN2, you'll be able to tell your friends, family members, and coworkers that you participated in the first round of the 2012 Games alongside the fittest humans in the world. How cool will that be?!
- CrossFitters love to compete against others.
Let's be honest, each and every one of us are competitive. Sure, some are more competitive than others, but I am willing to bet that everyone reading this blog has at one time or another, walked into the Fort, looked for a specific name on the whiteboard, and proceeded to use that person's score as motivation for that day. The Open is not only an opportunity to compare times and scores to 30,000+ CrossFitters from around the globe, but it is also an opportunity for some friendly, motivational in-house competition.
- CrossFitters love to compete against themselves.
Competitiveness does not always have to be outward. One can also compete with themself. The Open isn't necessarily about being the best: it's about being your best. It's about measuring yourself on a personal level. It's about competing with yourself and pushing yourself harder than you normally would. There is something to be said about the camaraderie that is established when you push yourself beyond your personal limits alongside your fellow CrossForters. There is nothing else like it!
There you have it, 3 good reasons why Every.Single.One of you should register for The Open; no matter where you currently are in your CrossFit journey.
And if that isn't enough, here is a video that our very own Ryan Powers made last year during the 2011 Open:
Once you are registered, be sure to look at the righthand column of your profile and select CrossFit Fire as your Affiliate so that you are added to our team.
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January 5th, 2012, by Bill · 1 Comment
In case you were holding out hope that the Wall Street Journal was authored by journalists who had a clue, I offer you this: New Ways Calories Can Add Up to Weight Gain.
I hope you were reading carefully because if you weren't, the author of the piece might have you believing his foolishness:
The findings suggest that it matters little whether a diet is high or low in fat, carbohydrates or protein, it's calories that build body fat.
You don't even have to hunt down the full text of the study being referenced to see that this is the wrong conclusion. Simply read to the end of the article and you will find this:
Carbohydrates were held steady at about 41% to 42% of calories while fat levels varied with the protein regimen.
What this means is that overeating by 1,000 calories a day while getting more than 40% of total calories from carbohydrates will cause you to gain fat no matter what your protein to fat ratios are.
Taking it a step further, we can read the full text to get the precise nutrient breakdown:
Low Protein Diet Daily Averages
6% protein (47g), 52% fat (181g), 42% carb (329g)
Normal Protein Diet Daily Averages
15% protein (139g), 44% fat (181g), 41% carb (380g)
High Protein Diet Daily Averages
26% protein (228g), 33% fat (129g), 41% carb (360g)
I hope they all liked carbs going into the study because that is a LOT of carbs.
The point I'm trying to make in all of this rambling is that you must not let a journalist or someone with a fancy title in front of their name tell you what to think. Every time you go to a site such as Yahoo! Health, open the newspaper to the health section, or turn the TV channel to The Dr. Oz Show, it is imperative that you seek out the actual data and draw your own conclusions. Otherwise, you risk becoming another sheep in the herd; a fat and sickly sheep at that.
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December 16th, 2011, by Bill · 1 Comment
There was a study (Specific fatty acid intake and the risk of pancreatic cancer in Canada.) published in the 2005 British Journal of Cancer. This study looked for an association between specific fatty acid intake and pancreatic cancer risk. The authors concluded:
The results suggest that substituting polyunsaturated FAs with saturated or monounsaturated FAs may reduce pancreatic cancer risk, independently of total energy intake, particularly among obese subjects.
If that wasn't clear enough, they are telling you to eat more ribeye steaks and butter instead of deadly vegetable oils if you want to decrease your risk of pancreatic cancer.
Here is how I feel about those who continue to vilify saturated fats:
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December 15th, 2011, by Bill · Comments Off
Here is another reason why you should be sure to eat plenty of grass-fed ruminant fats:
Vitamin K2 found in said fats will protect you from:
- bone fractures
- bone density loss
- coronary calcification (i.e. heart disease)
Consuming adequate levels of Vitamin K2 is especially important if you are supplementing with Vitamin D3 and Calcium.
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