500 Double Unders

The weather in Jersey City is gorgeous! There is a park/pier beside the hotel, so I worked out outside this morning — and I wasn’t the only one doing so, including a group of women being led by a man through what appeared to be a boot camp. They were running, doing sit-ups, planks, modified pushups, and other activities. 

Uhm, I was frequently stared at. 

Every minute on the minute for 20 minutes: 25 double unders and run remaining time. 

To make it even more challenging, if I failed before doing at least 10 double unders I had to start over AND I ran to the same 2 stopping points on the pier. Thus, the slower I completed double unders the faster I had to run in order to reach starting location for next round of dus. I was able to complete at least 10 rounds of dus unbroken, including the last 3 rounds. Yes, dus became increasingly more difficult, but as this was an endurance workout this was to be expected. 

I rested 3 minutes. As I was doing so, 2 of the boot campers approached me and 1 of them said, “Great job on the double unders! You made them look far too easy.” 

I next completed 8 reps of sprinting @ 95% effort and running backwards for recovery. I ran a “U”, so I ran 4 reps in both directions. I completed in 8:54. 

There was a young man stretching and then doing pushups, and I noticed his lack of range of motion. You probably know what I did. I approached him and said, “May I offer a suggestion? You can say ‘no’ and tell me to mind my own business.” He welcomed the feedback, and I demonstrated proper form, i.,e., chest to the ground, elbows close to the body, tight abs and glutes, etc.  He gave it a try, and his form was much improved. He said, “Wow, that’s much more difficult than the way I was doing it. Do you work out here every morning?” I explained that I was from out of town, and he told me he was attempting to become an amateur boxer, and was interested in some intense cardio. CrossFit NYC! 

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Carol Burnett

I once again had the pleasure of visiting CrossFit908. Tim led this evening’s session. To give you a sense of just how gracious Tim and Pat are, my drop in fee was refused. I owe you, Tim, and will hold a running clinic for you in the very near future! It’s the least I can do.

I made sure to arrive early this evening, and warmed up with a 300m run and a series of double unders. I completed 25 and 50 unbroken, and then attempted max unbroken. I completed 63, 63, and 63. WTH?

I also had the opportunity to watch a group complete today’s met-con. All left a pool of sweat, so Tim grabbed a mop and began to clean up after them. I starting singing, “I’m so glad we had this time together. Just to share a laugh and sing a song. Seems we just get started and before you know it, comes the time we have to say, ‘So long’. Good night everybody.” Tim had no idea what I was singing. Yes, I’m that freaking old.

I demonstrated some running drills for Tim, and it was then time to start.

Skill–Push Press
3-3-3-3-3

I warmed up with just the 45 lb bar, and then did 3 reps of 65, 5 of 75 (as Tim was providing guidance I didn’t stop after 3), 3 reps of 85, 95, and 115.

Tim is a great coach, and constantly tweaked his vocal cues. First, he noted that I was dipping and then rising too fast. “Slow dip and quick rise, Paul.” He then noticed that I was dipping too low. He did say, “I watched you from the side and the bar went straight up, just like it’s supposed to.” The best guidance he gave me was to make sure that the bar rested on my deltoids. In all honesty, all of the lifts, including 115 lbs, felt very solid.

Speaking of which, when I finished set of 95 I asked Tim how heavy I should go for last set. He suggested adding 10. I informed him that 95 felt easy, and he said, “Then put on another 20.” Good idea.

Met-con
5 rounds:
40 seconds of toes to bar; rest 20 seconds
40 seconds of handstand pushups; rest 20 seconds
40 seconds of 52 lb kettle bell swings; rest 20 seconds

The total was calculated by adding the total of all reps. I made sure to keep track of all skills within the 5 rounds, and not just the total for each round.

T2B | 16, 15, 14, 12, 12 = 69
HSPU | 8, 5, 4, 4, 4 = 25
KB swings | 22, 22, 20, 18, 18 = 100
Total = 194

I was able to complete first 3 rounds of T2B and KB swings unbroken, but then my arms began to give, particularly forearms when hanging from the bar. I completed HSPUs against a rack with a bar. Tim said this was “questionable”.  Haha! HSPUs were, obviously, the most challenging. I did ensure that my head touched the ground, and that I had full range of motion.

I was a sweaty mess! I’m very much looking forward to my next visit!

“Paul’s on top?”

I had the pleasure of attending an evening session at CrossFit908, my CrossFit home away from home. It was wonderful seeing Tim & Erin, Coach Pat, Jay, Ron, Brian, no-longer-sporting-long-hair Jason, and Jimmy. 

Tim kicked ass at the CrossFit Games Regionals, and at one point was ranked as high as third. I know a celebrity. 

Okay, about today’s workout… Unfortunately, I didn’t arrive early, due to traffic, and didn’t have an opportunity to warm up. You know what? Life’s like that sometimes. I could’ve waited until a later session, but I chose not to. 

CF908 is focusing on diet for the month of July, so today was a baseline workout that will be completed again at the end of the month. I may have to plan a visit! 

10-minute AMRAP of the following:
5 burpees with jump on 45 lb plate
10 box jumps, 24″
15 wall ball shots, 10′ target, 20 lb medicine ball

Tim reviewed the very strict standards. 

For burpees, nipples had to touch the floor, both feet had to land on plate at the same time, hips had to be extended, and you had to pause at the top of the plate. 

For box jumps, you had to extend hips and pause at the top of the box. 

For wall ball shots, you had to squat to wall ball, i.e., your ass had to touch a medicine ball placed on the floor, and the ball had to touch the wall above the 10′ mark. 

Tim was reviewing form one last time. 

Tim: Pause on top of plate. 
Me: Paul’s on top?
Tim: Yes, pause on top of plate. Also pause on top of box.
Me: Paul’s on top?
Tim: Yes, pause on top. 
Me: (while pointing to myself) Paul’s on top?
Tim: (finally getting it) Yes, Paul’s on top!

I first had the pleasure of counting for and judging Erin. She’s phenomenal! Her box jump form is exceptional in that she jumps off of the box quickly, lands on the balls of her feet, and quickly jumps back up. This is a skill I most definitely need to work on improving. in addition, after throwing the wall ball she would reach out ever so briefly to touch the wall in front of her and regain her balance. 

Back to me. This WOD was much, much more difficult than I thought it would be. Jay was my judge, and he had the pleasure of yelling “No rep!” on more than one occasion. 

I began the burpees at a very fast pace, and Jay had to remind me to, you guess it, pause on top until he counted the rep. I also couldn’t just jump back to start next rep, but instead had to step back. Nonetheless, burpees were the easiest part of the WOD. 

I missed 2 box jumps during first round. Huh? Remaining rounds were done unbroken and with no missed attempts. 

I usually enjoy wall ball shots, but today was a poopy mess. Why? Because squatting to the medicine wall actually slowed me down, as I usually squat more deeply than the medicine ball allowed. The medicine ball acted as a brake. I also missed at least 10 or so attempts, even throwing a few air balls. Huh? Even though a missed a few attempts, I completed the first round unbroken. That was the only round in which I did so. 

In fact, I was very, very close to completing my final round of 15, when I missed the 10′ target on the 14th shot. With 7 seconds lefts, I let the ball drop to the floor and walked away from the wall. I felt d-e-f-e-a-t-e-d. 

I completed 4 rounds + 5 burpees, 10 box jumps, and 13 wall ball shots. 

As everyone else was weighing themselves for Tim to record, I stepped on the scale. I weighed a whopping 144.4 lbs. Yes, it appears I’ve lost about 5 lbs, and I had a feeling this was going to happen. I’ve been so obsessed with keeping a lower body weight that weighing 150 lbs kinda freaked me out. Whether it’s happening consciously (likey) or subconsciously (also likely), I’ve been eating less than I’m used to eating, and I appear to have lost some of my voracious appetite. For example, I had a bowl of cereal @ 7, a grilled chicken and avocado sandwich, banana, and sour cream donut for lunch @ 2, and falafel pita, sweet potato fries, and a 1/4 cup of rice pudding @ 8:30. That’s less than half of what I would typically eat during a normal day. 

 

I'm to the far right, judging Brian. I'm sweaty.

Fraternical Twins

Today was yet another busy & exciting day at CFD! I began my workout by practicing dead-hang muscle-ups & back levers. I then completed a PP original WOD.

5 rounds for time of the following:

25 GHD back extensions

Run 200m

25 GHD sit-ups

25 double unders

My 2 goals were to do all rounds unbroken and to complete the WOD in 20 minutes or less. I got this close to achieving both goals. Alas, I faltered where I thought I was least likely to — the double unders!

I did complete all 5 rounds of GHD back extensions and GHD sit-ups unbroken, and kept myself honest regarding form. How so? I made sure that my chest went well above horizontal at the top & that I touched the floor with both hands at the bottom of the back extensions. For sit-ups, I made sure that I locked my knees and touched my toes at the top & that 1 hand touched the ground at the bottom.

For whatever reason, I lost my rhythm during the 3rd round of double unders, and had to restart at least 5 times. Huh? I did first 2 rounds in reps of 5 and 20. Again, huh? I did last 2 rounds unbroken. If I hadn’t faltered so much, I’m certain I could’ve completed in 20 minutes or less. Instead, I completed in 20:24.

I then coached the 10 and 11 am sessions. We first focused on progressions for skinning the cat as well as the proper way to spot someone when they’re doing a ball-up on the rings. Unfortunately, I didn’t have nearly as much time to work on this as I would have liked…

(When Dave sent weekly WODs, today’s skill work what to have focused on running drills. I politely let him know that I didn’t want to be know as “that guy” who only focuses on running, and he kindly let me choose today’s skills. I’m pretty badass on the rings, by the way.)

Athletes completed WOD in teams of 2 or, in the case of McKell, Chris, and Kerry, a team of 3, with McKell and Chris completed the rounds together.

1o rounds for time of the following: 10 thrusters (115, 75), 10 pull-ups, 400m run. Person A completed thrusters, Person B did pull-ups, Person A ran 400m, Person B did thrusters, etc. Kristen & Troie posted the fastest time during the 10 am session, and Jack and Jason posted the fastest time for the 11 am session. Jack, look up when you run! Weight in your heels!

My friends Tegan and Ken visited CFD, and completed a modified WOD consisting of box jumps instead of thrusters and push-ups instead of pull-ups. Nice job, you 2 lovebirds!

Tegan and Ken, along with myself and the Kelley brothers, attended Ashley Thompson Denton’s coaching “circle”, wherein she teachifies us abouts proper forms and alls. Today’s focus was the press, push press, and press jerk. Way to coachify, ATD!

Whilst departing CFD, a discussion ensued regarding the Kelley brothers. I attempted to communicate that Thomas and Michael were not identical but rather fraternal twins. I instead said, “Thomas and Michael are fraternical.” I think I may have invented a new word. AND, I’m pretty badass on the rings.

Coaching, WODding, Coaching. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Oh, Saturdays, how I love thee…

I coached the 9am endurance WOD, and we first focused on using arms whilst running; thus, I had the athletes hold 7.5 dumb bells in each hand as we moved hands to a variety of positions. This was followed by hamstring stretch and “Charlie’s Angels” drill. We ran together as a group, including 5-minute warmup, 20-minute fartlek, and 5-minute cool down. I continue to see improvement. I made sure to run at least 1 fartlek interval with each runner, and to provide specific feedback. I also had each runner critique another runner’s form and offer suggestions for improvement. We finished the day using the foam roller and focusing on glutes, hamstrings, calves, and adductors.

Ryan led the 10am session. In teams of 4, we completed the following:

Row 20 calories

30 burpees

30 ground to overhead, 40 lb each hand

30 toes to bar

100′ walking lunges, 45 lb plate overhead

50′ run

The second person could row only after the first person had finished rowing, could do burpees after the first person had completed burpees, etc. Jack, Sarah, and Linda (I think that was her name) were on my team. We discussed strategy, and Sarah and Jack suggested I go first. Just before we were to begin, Jack suggested that he go first and that I go last. I was fine with this, as Jack is a good athlete. Most days. Not today. You suck, Jack! I kid because I loathe love.

I initially had an opportunity to observe and cheer for my teammates. I encouraged Jack to row 1 calorie per stroke, and he informed me that he did — and sometimes even rowed more than 1 calorie per stroke. I also observed jack attempt and sometimes succeed at ground to overhead. He and I had discussed form prior to the workout, and he suggested placing the dumb bells between spread legs and snatching overhead. Ryan suggested placing the dumb bells outside of legs, bringing to shoulders, and push pressing overhead. Uhm, Jack, so what exactly did you end up doing? The facial hair can only make you so strong.

I set my goal to row 1 calorie per stroke, and that’s exactly what I did. When I got off of the rower Ryan commented, “Paul knows the proper form for rowing for calories.” That I do, Ryan. That I do.

I was watching Sarah complete ground to overhead when I suddenly realized that Linda had completed her round of burpees. I did 15, and observed that Linda was just beginning her ground to overhead. I thus took my sweet old time with the remaining 15 burpees, completing in reps of 5 and relaxing between rounds.

I was dreading the ground to overhead, but found them much easier to complete than I had anticipated. I completed in 6 rounds of 5 reps, resting briefly between rounds. Ryan suggested that I push and not just press (novel concept), and later suggested that I make sure I was set before push pressing. This worked. Thanks, Ryan! (Thanks, too, for allowing me to play my tunes.)

I set my goal to complete toes to bar unbroken, but dropped off of the bar after 20 and 25 reps. My forearms were aching.

Walking lunges were also surprisingly less challenging than I thought they’d be. I think I may have gotten not only heavier but stronger. I wonder if there’s a relationship between the two. Probably not.

I than ran 50′.

I can’t recall our finishing time, I just know it was faster than Jed’s and Paul Pi’s team, and that’s all that really matters. I like Paul Pi. How are you today, Jed?

I led the 11am community WOD, and the focus was on the kettle bell swings. Then, in teams of 2, participants completed 4 (I had originally planned on 5, but this was too much) rounds of 200m run, 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 airs squats, 20 lunges (10 each leg). Teammates took turns, i.e., person A ran, person B did pull-ups, Person A did push-ups, etc. Thus, each person did 2 rounds of each exercise. This was much fun, and folks seemed to enjoy themselves.

I ate lunch with Michael Kelley at Alivia’s. I like Alivia’s. How are you today, Michael Kelley?

 

I like skinning the cat. I don’t like cleaning.

I arrived at CFD at 5:50, and Will was patiently waiting for the doors to be unlocked. I like his dedication. AT 6:05 no one had yet arrived. 6:10 and still no one. I was beginning to think that folks had heard that I was going to be coaching and decided to not attend this 6:15 session. At close to 6:15, 4 others arrived, Troie, Kristen, Holly, and another Holly. Whew! I led the group through warm-up, mobility, skinning the cat, and met-con. Kristen was kind enough to tell me that I was a great coach. That made my day!

I attended the 7:15 session, led by Doug, and there were but 3 of us in attendance, me, Jayme, and Punky.

Skill—Skin the Cat

Perform 2 skin the cats every minute on the minute for 10 minutes.

I focused on keeping my core and legs straight. My form has improved. I didn’t find this to be very challenging, and, well, I shouldn’t have found it to be very challenging. The met-con was an altogether different story.

Here’s a video of me skinning the cat. Enjoy!

Met-con

5 rounds for time of the following:

15 power cleans (135 lb)

30 Abmat sit-ups

Doug asked what weight I was going to lift. “Not 135, that’s for sure. Last time I did power cleans in a met-con I used the women’s prescribed weight, and I’m planning on lifting the same today, 95 lbs.” “Lift 100.” Doug replied. It was neither a command nor merely a suggestion. As I trust Doug, I offered no argument, and lifted 100 lb.

I love power cleans. (This is like saying that I hate running. See where I’m going with this?) My form needs much improvement, as I still bend my arms too soon. On the positive side, I’m glad that I’m strong enough to lift the bar using just my arms. Ha!

I completed the 1st round of power cleans unbroken, the 2nd round in reps of 10 and 5, the 3rd round in reps of 8 and 7, and the last 2 rounds in reps of 5, 5, and 5. I did have 1 failed attempt during the 3rd round, and I redid.

I completed first 3 rounds of Abmat sit-ups unbroken, and last 2 rounds in reps of 15 and 15. After having skinned so many damn cats, my abs were on fire.

I paused only to record rounds.

I finished in a time of 11:12. I was exhausted by the end, and left a trail of sweat and tears along my path.

Doug was kind enough to provide additional coaching on the clean, demonstrating when I should bend my arms. Dave was preparing to train the 8:30 class, and he added his one cent. “Look at the photos on the poster on the wall. The bottom person is Caleb. Look at the picture that’s the third from last. That’s what you should look like during that part of the lift.” I replied, “Yes, but Caleb is a professional lifter has impeccable form. I’m a middle-aged gay man exceedingly attractive. There’s a big difference between the two of us.”

Proof that I press that bar against my legs when I lift.

CrossFit with Friends — and Beer!

I coached the 6:15 endurance WOD this morning, and the focus was on 200m reps. To mix things up a bit, runners were told they could do no less than 8 and no more than 12 reps, that they could rest between 90 seconds and 3 minutes between reps, and that they could choose which of the reps would count as their uphill and downhill time trials (as we ran uphill to the second tree and then downhill to CFD for reps). All three runners did an awesome job, and I’m seeing consistent improvement with both Meaghan and Jamie.

I usually attend the 7:15 session on Wednesdays, but as 4 trainees (from my full-time job), Chance, Hannah, Stephanie, and Erin,  wanted to give CrossFit a try, we joined Phil for the 6pm session. Today’s focus was the clean, and as Chance knew this move he was left on his own. I spent time with Erin, Stephanie, and Hannah teaching them proper form for air squats, kettle bell swings, box jumps, pull-ups, Abmat sit-ups, Abmat back extensions, and push-ups. Time flew far too quickly and it was time for the met-con to begin.

I have been dreading this met-con since Sunday evening when Dave sent the coaches the weekly WODs, as I hate, detest, abhor, and resent kettle bell snatches.

Met-con

12-minute AMRAP of the following

5 kettle bell swings right arm (53 lb)

5 KB goblet squats

5 KB swings left arm

5 KB squats

If you place the kettle bell on the floor, do 5 burpees

Coach Phil also informed us that he would make us do burpees if he found us resting too long. I heart Phil.

I watched the 6:15ers and the 5pmers perform this WOD, and I saw many people using bad form, particuarly with the KB snatches. Many people were swinging instead of pulling the KB up. Phil reminded us to think of having a zipper in front of us, and to pull the KB straight up our bodies.

As I wanted to ensure proper form, I did NOT use a 53 lb KB, but instead used 44 lb. I also planned and proclaimed my strategy, namely that I would consider 5 burpees part of the set; thus, I placed the KB on the ground after 2nd set of squats, did 5 burpees, documented my round, and started the next round. This worked very well for me, as I was able to keep up the intensity and pace without my form suffering too badly.

I was surprised by how quickly the 12 minutes passed, as I feared (as with other challenging met-cons I’ve done) that the time would draaaaaaaaaaaag.

I completed 7 rounds + 14 reps, i.e., 5 KB swings with right arm, 5 goblet squats, and 4 KB swings with left arm.

I even had fun. There, I said it. I won’t say it again.

Chance kicked ass, as did Stephanie, Erin, and Hannah (although the women completed KB swings and push-ups). We were a sweaty mess by the end of the met-con, and very thirsty. What better way to quench that thirst than with a beer from Fullsteam Brewery! Chance was kind enough to treat. Thanks, Chance!

I’m very much looking forward to coaching the 6:15ers tomorrow morning, as this will be my first time coaching friends that I normally work out with. We shall see.