I’m pretty happy that I was able to bring Jill Miller and Kelly Starrett together. They are both very important people in my life that have a lot of information to share. I’m glad putting them together has proved fruitful so far.
Check out the great blog posts from Jill’s visit to Kelly.
Tomorrow I embark on my first cadaver lab, i.e. dissection workshop, with the amazing Gil Hedley. Gil is famous for his “Fuzz Speech” which I have added below. However, that’s the least of his contributions to anatomy. He has really changed the way the modern people look at and understand the inner workings of the human body especially regarding fasciae–that inner layer of tissues that people at one time merely dismissed and discarded.
I am super honored to be working with him and am already contemplating doing this workshop again in the future.
On the downside, I decided to take the train up here and stay in a dorm at tufts. This may have been a bad decision. It took me forever to get here today. Amtrak delays for over 3 hours and a walk from the T of about a mile UPHILL! This is a true dorm room which will make me feel ilke monk.
Speaking of Monks. I read Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield.
“We’re all nothing without the Muse. But the pro has learned that the goddess prizes labor and dedication beyond any theatrical seeking of her favors. The professional does not wait for inspiration; he acts in anticipation of it.”
“The sword master stepping onto the fighting floor knows he will be facing powerful opponents. Not the physical adversaries whom he will fight (though those indeed serve as stand-ins for the enemy). The real enemy is inside himself.”
Stuff to meditate on while I’m in my cubicle. I need to form a sankalpah to get me through this experience.
Once again I am featured in a video on the mainsite. That makes me feel good although I am sort of embarrassed and cringe every time I see and hear myself on video. I need to work on my public speaking.
It’s about on-field performance. Rafi reminds us that this is for athletes and not the general population. Unfortunately, most of the athletes here have general needs that outweigh their specific needs. I agree a lot with what Rafi says to a point. It’s a crime to be a Strength and Conditioning Coach and not making your athletes better on the field. However, as a General Physical Preparedness program CrossFit’s goal is to provide a level of fitness to our members to our clientele that is broad, general and inclusive. At a certain point in an athlete’s development, more specific training is needed to improve their on-field performance that trumps their general physicality.
Tuesday evening I showed up at the Gansevoort Park hotel on Park avenue to meet the Reebok CrossFit crew and get briefed on a media campaign for the week. The athletes involved were: Annie Thorrisdottir, Rich Froning, Jr., Graham Holmberg, Ben Smith, Nathan Forrester, Michael Alfaro, Lindsey Smith, Stacie Tovar, Elizabeth Akinwale, Lee Knight and Denise Thomas. The plan was to show up to at the Empire State Building at 4am on Wednesday and do a workout on the observation deck. We were not told what the workout was other than it would be a 20 minute AMRAP. We were also briefed on the events for Thursday that would involve the press. Then we were taken to dinner at Primehouse for giant steaks. When they announced the teams at dinner Annie said, as she gave me a high five and a smile, “We are going to win. I don’t lose.” One of the best things about Annie is her positive attitude. I was already nervous about the fact that I was going to be working out with the top CrossFit athletes in the world and do it on film. But her confidence was infectious and calming.
Wednesday morning I woke at 3am put on my new Reebok clothes and took a car into the city. We met in the hotel lobby and proceeded in cabs to the Empire State Building. Theere was a film crew with us from the moment we stepped out of the taxis. We were led in through the loading dock and taken up to the observation deck. When we arrived at the 86th floor, Chris Froio of Reebok greeted us and told us we were about to do a workout. We went outside and saw that they had a Reebok shipping container out on the deck and several workout stations set up. Andy Stumpf of CrossFit HQ was there to tell what the workout would be.
Each team member would start at one of six stations: walking lunges, handstand push-ups, kettlebell swings (24kg), double unders, thrusters (95lbs) and rest. When the athlete finished the walking lunges we all rotated through the stations. Annie’s team consisted of Annie, me, Graham, Lindsey, Denise and Michael. We had about 10 minutes to warm up after the workout briefing. I was really impressed with how seriously all the athletes took the warmup. There was blur of activity as everybody started mobilizing, stretching, doing handstands and rolling on lacrosse balls.
It was freezing but the view was breathtaking and the atmosphere was electric and that made the whole event seem so surreal. I was out there doing lunges next to Stacie Tovar and Lindsey Smith was in the station in front of me and Graham Holmberg was behind me. It was like a CrossFit fantasy camp where I got to workout alongside some of my favorite athletes. Amazing. I was on a high for the rest of the day. I gave myself a little time to beat myself up for my performance, but our team won just like Annie had predicted and even though I was the weakest link on the team I felt like I belonged.
Thursday morning we went down to a giant loft space in soho where we put a bunch of media people through a workout. My friend Denise Thomas briefed the people on the workout and we went around and coached them on their movements. Then it was go go go. As you can imagine, taking absolute newbies through a workout can be quite challenging, but we made it work and nobody got hurt. The workout was 3 rounds of AMRAP 1min burpees, 1min KB swings and 1min box jumps.
Then for demonstration purposes we did one round of the workout. I started on the kettlebell swings and out of the corner of my eye I could see Annie blasting through the swings super fast so I tried my best to keep up. As we moved to the box jumps I need two seconds to get my legs ready because they felt shaky and I didn’t want to miss a jump. Then I started jumping and felt really good. You can see on the video about half way through I lost focus and missed a jump, but then I got right back into it. I tried my best to keep up with her on the burpees too and I think I was able to move pretty fast. I think I got a total of about 81 reps in 3 minutes… I’m not sure how many Annie got but I feel good about my score.
Afterwards, the press was interviewing Annie and Rich and some of the celebrities that were there: Elizabeth Banks, Paula Patton and Chase Crawford. Meanwhile I kept myself busy with Lindsey Smith doing back squats. I ended up doing sets of 10 to her sets of 5. I think we went up to 235lbs.
After a huge lunch, we boarded a giant double-decker bus wrapped with the giant Reebok logo and drove around the city. We went to 3 different parks around town and did workouts. First, in Soho we did a partner workout that consisted of 6 rounds of wheelbarrow race approximately 50ft and fireman’s carry back. I was partnered with Graham and we did alright.
Then we went to Union Square park and I paired up with Nathan and we did 3 rounds each alternating of 5 horizontal rows and 3 burpee box jumps, then we both had to run around the park. That was the worst part.
Finally we went to Madison Square park and did a boys vs. girls wow where we had to rest in plank side by side and do an Indian run of sorts where the last person had to jump over each person in succession and then get down into plank at the end. We did this for about 50ft and then each did 50 air squats and then had to leap frog back to the start. The boys won. Then we found a scaffolding where we did a 3 min AMRAP pull-up contest with 2 teammates working at a time. I think we that too.
Then when we returned to the hotel the idea was thrown out that we should do handstand walks across Park Avenue. That was the first time in 40 years that I voluntarily touched a New York City street. Yuck!
It had been drizzling all day and I was wet and cold and tired. I came home and took a long hot shower and got dressed again to go to a party that Reebok threw in the same soho loft for all the New York area affiliates. It was a really well-done event and I got to see a lot of my crossfit friends.
As much as people are upset by the Reebokification of CrossFit, I haven’t seen anything really bad come out of it. I think more people knowing about CrossFit is better.
The reason for the long gap between workouts is because I hurt myself last week. I think I pulled something during the Christmas WOD and then reinjured it swinging the 88lb kettlebell. It felt like I dislocated a rib. Dr. Mike gave me a couple of cracks and I rested for a few days and it seems to feel okay now. There were some really fun workouts that went by that I want to make up.
The thoracic spine is the nexus of a lot of postural problems these days. Whether it’s too much time in front of the computer, long bike rides or just laziness, bad posture takes its toll on the health of your spine and limits your performance. Bad posture sets the body up for compensatory actions that can lead to pain and injury in other parts of the body. This little sequence is something I have been doing to help improve my posture and my shoulder. Doing this for about 10 minutes a day has helped reduce my chronic pain and helped improve my performance.