I’m Dense

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I rested yesterday, although I did coach at CFD. I had a moment while coaching when I thought, “I truly enjoy coaching CrossFit. I should do this even more!” It was a passing thought. 

Lal, massage therapist extraordinaire (www.aesportsmassage.com), worked out some of the kinks in this middle-aged body or mine this evening. There were many times when I came this close to saying our safe word. I once again asked him, “When you are going to come to CrossFit Zeal?” He replied, “I really want to. I need a body like yours.” I looked at him quizzically, as Lal is a personal trainer as well as a massage therapist and is most definitely fit. He said, “You’re dense.” I paused, smiled, and said, “I’ve been called many things, but ‘dense’ has not been one of them.” Ha! He went on to explain that my body composition is dense. I suppose that’s a compliment.

1) 5×2 Hang Snatch, rest 60 seconds
2) 5×3 Push Press, rest 60 seconds

Michael Kelley coached, and there was a full house (as many folks, including myself, chose not to drive on the roads this morning). Jeff also attended. He’s much more flexible than I am. Michael Kelley is dense, and I’m not referring to his body composition.

I hang snatched sets of 45, 55, 66, 75, & 85 lb. I mostly power snatched and then did an overhead squat. Shoot me. I don’t care.

Lal worked on my left bicep, and it still feels very sore. I push pressed 3 reps of 95#, attempted 1 rep at 115#, and felt excruciating pain in left bicep. I was smart enough to set the bar down and call it a day for push presses. See, you can teach a middle-aged gay man new tricks.

7 Overhead Squats
14 Toes-2-Bar
21 Kettle bell Swings

I miss WODs that last 20+ minutes. I truly do. In fact, I’d rather do Filthy Fifty or Cindy than this met-con. The met-con sucked almost as much as the shitty music that Michael Kelley insists upon playing. One of my favorite bands is Linkin Park. Nonetheless, I don’t have to hear heavy rock to work out. I loves me some o’ dem dance tunes!

At Michael Kelley’s insistence, I only lifted 55 lb for the first round of OHS. Immediately upon completing, I said, “That’s too light!” Thomas was kind enough to replace the 2, 5# plates with 10# plates. (Thanks, Thomas!) I completed all rounds of OHS unbroken.

T2B were more of a challenge today, in that try as I might, I just couldn’t activate my lats. Stupid lats. I performed first round unbroken, second and third round in reps of 7, and last round in reps of 5, 4, 3, and 2.

I used a 52# kettle bell and completed first round unbroken, second round in reps of 11 and 10, third round in reps of 7, and was able to get in 2 last reps.

I completed 3 rounds + 7 OHS, 14 T2B, and 2 KB swings.

This met-con sucked. I hated every moment of it. I did, I did, I did. I did. I. Did. 



I attended the 9:30 and coached the 10:30 session – and 15+ people attended both sessions. The soon-to-be-27-year-old Michael Kelley led us through 10 or so minutes of mobility. He and I were supposed to have been partners, but he dumped me at the last moment. I was crushed elated! I partnered with Shari. She’s not fat.

Take 15 minutes to work up to 1RM Power Clean.

I’m still feeling discomfort in my left bicep, so I knew today wasn’t going to be a day to establish any PRs. I lifted 145# and failed 3 attempts at 155#. I did not, however, record my lifts. The music suckity suck suck sucked.

For Max Reps:
5 Minutes Clean & Jerk (full or power) | 115#
4 Minutes Double Unders
3 Minutes Walking Lunges
2 Minutes Pull-Ups (Rings)
1 Minute Wall Ball (20#, 10’ target)

Having known about this WOD since last week, I was dreeeeaaaaading it. Four minutes of double unders? Why, Michael Kelley? Why?

I settled on 115# for clean & jerks, and yes, I should’ve gone heavier. I completed all as power cleans, and split jerked all reps for the first 3 or so minutes. I thought I overhead Michael Kelley say that we couldn’t split, so I no longer did so. What did he actually say? I’m not sure, but it was probably, “My mother and father are attending the next session. I hope that after Paul crushes my father that my mother doesn’t split up with him.” Or something like that. I completed 29 clean & jerks, and was disappointed that I didn’t do 1 last lift. I am, however, looking forward to “Grace” in my very near future.

The box was once again crowded, and this was once again to my detriment. I kept hitting the pull-up rack with my jump rope. In the 4 minutes I was only able to complete 180 double unders, but all were successes and I did not count any failed attempts. I also began each set with a double under.

I. Hate. Walking. Lunges. I lunged my way out of the box via the garage door, and did 10 lunges at a time. Given that I was lunging on pavement, my knees quickly became scratched. Damn pavement. I completed 100 walking lunges.

The pull-up rig was as crowded as the plate of “Fajitas for Two” that Michael Kelley consumed for lunch. Yes, it was that crowded. I had determined before the workout that I would complete ring pull-ups, and using the lowest set of rings. Unfortunately, Michael Kelley had intentionally (in a failed attempt to sabotage my efforts) moved the barbells underneath said rings, and I had to use a different set. This also meant that I had to leap quite a height in order to grab the rings. Uhm, since accuracy is one of the 10 CrossFit skills, I shouldn’t complain. I am doing so nonetheless. I hadn’t done ring pull-ups in a very, very long time. I was surprised, I tell you, surprised, that I kipped the pull-ups without even thinking about doing so. Once I realized that I was kipping, I stopped doing so. I was playing mindf@ck games with myself. With just 5 seconds left, I attempted 1 last pull-up, but was only able to grasp 1 ring. Damn far-too-high rings. I completed just 21 ring pull-ups.

Just 60 seconds of wall ball shots. Nothing to it, right? Wrong, so very, very, very wrong. I had planned on doing wall ball shots unbroken, but stopped after just 10. I was then only able to complete another 6, for a total of 16 wall ball shots.

Total = 346

Michael Kelley’s mother (Sally), father (Kevin), sister (Kathryn) and brother (I can’t remember his name) attended the 10:30 session, as did Jeff – and many others! There were quite a few PRs today, and even Michael Kelley cleaned & jerked (& jerked & jerked) 235#. He did not, however, posted that highest score, as he completed a mere 337 total reps. In fact, I crushed quite a few of the Kelleys. (Kelleys is plural, Kelley’s is possessive, just in case you were wondering, Michael’s brother whose [whose is possessive, who’s is contraction of “who is”] name I can’t remember).

Burpee Box Jumps

I coached the 6am and attended the 5:15pm session, led by one Michael Kelley. You may know him from such blogs as “I hate Michael Kelley”, “To know Michael Kelley is to loathe Michael Kelley”, and “Michael Kelley – my worst nightmare”.

High Bar Back Squat
10 @ 50% | 100
10 @ 60 % | 120
10 @ 65% | 130
10 @ 70% | 140
10 @ 75% | 150
Rest 2-3 minutes between sets.

Although I disagree, as I feel my 1RM is probably more than 200# (as my FS 1RM is 205#), I followed Michael Kelley’s guidance and based percentages on 200#. I recorded all lifts, and made sure to review recording before advancing to next set. Once again, all lifts felt – and looked – solid. My form has improved significantly, and I owe it all to Michael Kelley’s brother, Thomas. Here’s the last set of 8 reps @ 150#.

Barbell Bentover Row
8 reps, heaviest weight possible, rest 30 seconds
Front Squat
5 reps, heavier than last time, rest 60 seconds
4 rounds

We did this same routine last week, and Michael Kelley encouraged us to increase the weight. I did just that. I increased both BBR and FS by 5# each round, beginning and ending with 100 and 115, respectively, for BBR, and beginning and ending with 130 and 145#, respectively, for FS. 145# is 70% of 1RM and 2# more than bw.

5 Rounds for Max Reps
40 seconds Burpee Box Jumps
20 seconds rest

Uhm, I almost wish I hadn’t witnessed the melee of the 6amers, as I freaking dreaded this met-con. When all was said and done, however, I kinda sorta enjoyed it. I completed 11 reps each round for a total of 55 reps, and used a 24″ box. I should have, however, completed 12 or more reps for rounds 3 and 4, but stopped at 11 and let the clock tick down the remaining 5 seconds. Why, you ask? As I completed 11 the first round, I determined that I should keep steady and complete the same number of reps each round.

Jeff attended the session with me. I know, right? Can you believe it?

Cluster Fiesta

As today is “Open Gym” at CFZ, I took the opportunity to make up yesterday’s WOD. Yes, I rested yesterday. I truly did.

Clean Thruster
Take 15 minutes to work up to the heaviest 1 rep Clean Thruster.
For the Clean Thruster, the bar starts on the ground. Clean the bar (full squat) and press it overhead as you rise out of the front squat.

I completed 1 rep of 95, 105, 115, 125, 130, 135, and 140#. I failed 1st attempt at 145# (2# more than bodyweight) but ran out of time and called it a day. I recorded and immediately reviewed all lifts to ensure that I squatted below parallel and locked my elbows at the top of press. I didn’t fail until 1st attempt at 140#. I fell on my ass. I failed again at 2nd attempt in that I didn’t lock my elbows at the top of press. I finally succeeded on 3rd attempt – and was quite pleased with myself. I showed Michael Kelley the video to confirm that my form was correct. I’m not sure if he noticed that I locked my arms at the top of the press as I’m certain he was looking exclusively at my ass.

5 Rounds For Time:
10 Clean Thrusters, 50% 1RM
15 Jump Lunges
20 Abmat Sit-Ups

As 50% of 140 is 70, that’s how many pounds I lifted for clusters. I substituted GHD sit-ups for Abmat sit-ups.

Uhm, this was one of those workouts that sound far less daunting that it actually turned out to be. My only goal was to finish in less than 15 minutes.

I completed the first 2 rounds of clusters unbroken, and the remaining 3 rounds in reps of 6 and 4. While the weight wasn’t that heavy, I struggled bringing the bar back down to the floor. It wasn’t until I pictured Paul Pi. and Jack W. doing unbroken clean & jerks that I remembered to bring the bar back down to mid quad and then to the floor, i.e., the opposite path the bar took on the way up.

I completed rounds of jumping lunges unbroken – but my legs (particularly left ITB) were burning.

I completed the first 2 rounds of GHD sit-ups unbroken, rounds 3 and 4 in reps of 12 and 8, and the last round in reps of 10, 6, and 4.

My thought after completing the 1st round was, Shit. I have 4 more rounds to go, and this already feels like torture. During the 3rd round I thought, Since I’m doing GHD sit-ups I can just complete 4 instead of 5 rounds. There’s nothing keeping me from doing so.

Michael Kelley was at CFZ “coaching” a newbie. As I wasn’t sure if he was keeping track of my rounds I forced myself to do all 5.

MK: What was your time?
PP: 14:19.
MK: How heavy were your squat thrusters?
PP: 70 pounds.
MK: You should have gone heavier. I told people to lift 70 to 75% of their one rep maximum.
PP: You didn’t tell me. I was wondering why folks had posted 75 to 95 pounds, as those would’ve been heavy one rep max clusters.
MK: You didn’t ask.
PP: Isn’t our policy don’t ask, don’t tell? Besides, I did GHD sit-ups, so that was more than enough.
MK: I suppose.

He supposes? Also, am I a mind reader? Should I have known to go heavier than 50% — even if 50% was written on the whiteboard? As I was originally scheduled to coach yesterday, would I have known to tell athletes to go heavier? As today is the day after yesterday, would it have hurt Michael Kelley to change 50 to 75? Come on, Michael Kelley, help a brother out.

Aaron’s Birthday WOD

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I can’t remember the last time I did a double…
I’m visiting my home state of NJ and arranged to visit CrossFit Mercer in Trenton. I’m glad I allowed extra time to get there, as I get lost in a bathtub — and tonight was no exception. Dolph, the owner and coach, was kind enough to provide directions via phone. He did, however, provide a warning. “You’re in downtown Trenton and we’re on the outskirts. Lock your doors until you get here.” I did just that.
Why is it that I can visit most any CrossFit and immediately feel at home? Everyone was warm and welcoming. The box is huge, probably bigger than CFD, and very well equipped.
I had mentioned to Dolph that I was a coach, so he asked me to warm up the 6:30 session. I did just that. Dolph went over standards for burpees and kettle bell swings, and the WOD began.
38 Special
3 Burpees
5 Box Jumps 24″
7 KB Swings 24#
Complete one round on the minute for 38 minutes — you may rest 8 of those minutes
Today’s WOD was in celebration of Aaron, who was at tonight’s session.
I enjoyed this much more than I should have. I completed the required 30 rounds unbroken, finishing each round in no less than 28 and no more than 34 seconds. Why the difference? I missed 2 box jumps and had to redo. I rested a minute, and did 2 rounds using 30″ box. I rested a minute and did 2 more rounds. I rested a minute and did 1 last round, still using 30″ box.
105 burpees
175 box jumps
245 kettle bell swings

Born to be Wild!


I hate when people shout. Mixed case, Michael Kelley. MIXED CASE!

Take 10 minutes to work up to a heavy single.

I’m still experiencing some pain in my left bicep. Sayeth Michael Kelley, “If you wouldn’t do muscle ups every day you wouldn’t keep hurting yourself.” Does your right wrist hurt, Michael Kelley? I thought so.

I worked up to 125# and failed at 130#. My left bicep did indeed hurt. Stupid left bicep.

Low Bar Back Squat
10 @ 50% | 105 (% in parentheses)
8 @ 65% | 125 (126)
8 @ 70% | 150 (147)
6 @ 80% | 170 (168)
6 @ 85% | 180 (178.5)

I have become completely enamored of the LBBS. When I originally read the post I only recalled reading Press and AMRAP. Michael Kelley and I exchanged the following sexts:
Me: I thought Tues was LBBS. I may skip 2morrow.
MK: Boo
Me: Press? Sux.
MK: U suck
Me: MK = VD.

Upon reading this last exchange, I realize that I might sound like a schoolboy – and Michael Kelley like a schoolgirl.

Lift continues to feel solid, and I (of course) recorded all sets. Whilst completing the 5th of the last 6 reps of 180#, I felt a “presence” behind me. I thought, Is that Cupid behind me? Is that his arrow I feel pressing against my firm buttocks? During the very last rep I thought, Is Cupid now trying to fondle my breasts? It was then that Michael Kelley began whispering into my ear, “Come on, come on.” I replied, “I got it, I got it, I got it.” Enjoy!

AMRAP 8 Minutes
1 Dumbbell Ground to Overhead
1 Pull-Up
2 Pull-Up
3 Pull-Up
4/4, 5/5, etc.
We had very little time to warm up. I nonetheless completed a few reps of G2OH with 20 and 30# dumb bells and then asked Michael Kelley, “Should I use 40#?” He rolled his eyes and batted his eyelashes yet again and said, “Yes.” I almost wish I hadn’t listened to him.

My goal was to rest no longer than 3 seconds when rest was needed, as I knew this was going to be an intense workout.

I placed the dumb bells between my feet, cleaned to my shoulders, and then push pressed overhead. I completed rounds 1 through 6 unbroken, round 7 in reps of 4 and 3, round 8 in reps of 5 and 3, and round 9 in reps of 4, 3, and 2. Yes, G2OH became increasingly difficult, and 3 seconds wasn’t nearly enough time to rest.

I completed rounds 1 – 7 or pull-ups unbroken, round 8 in reps of 5 and 3, and the last round in reps of 3, 2, 1, 1, and 1. I really, really, really wanted to complete the round of 9. Stupid Cupid. I blame him.

Total = 8 + 17

I immediately opened the garage door, as I was convinced that I was going to hurl. I did not. Thank you, Cupid!

Rushed blog today, as I’m on my way to NJ for the next 2 days. I may visit a local CrossFit or 2…

Post-Adele Workout

Olympic Lifting
Snatch Balance

Max reps in 5 min. Hold bottom position for a 5 count. Cannot put the bar down. Focus on stability in the bottom position.

At Michael Kelley’s insistence, I used a 33# bar. I recorded the 5 minutes in its entirety, and will humbly admit that I didn’t squat deeply enough until a full 2 minutes into the practice. I held last 2 squats for 10 seconds.

Hang Power Snatch
Take 10 min to work up to moderate doubles. Form over load!

I started with 65# and performed about 10 reps, attempting (somewhat successfully) to focus on form. I completed another 10 or so reps lifting 75#, 2 reps at 85#, and then another 5 or so at 75#. I need to focus on locking – and not pressing – my arms. I also, of course, need to focus on explosiveness. Valuable lessons learned. Michael Kelley is anything but clean-shaven.

21 pushups
21 kb swings
15 pushups
15 kb swings
9 pushups
9 kb swings
9 air squat
9 toes-2-bar
15 air squat
15 t2b
21 air squat
21 t2b
Air squats should be performed with bumper plate.

Uhm, yeah, so I really liked this met-con, although it was quite challenging. I grabbed a 52# kettle bell and set it in front of the pull-up rig. The following conversation took place…

Michael Kelley: Paul, it looks like you’re going to be using a 62# because all of the 52# kettle bells are taken.
Me: I took one of them. I placed it over there where I’m going to be doing pull-ups. (For whatever reason, I was convinced that we were going to be doing pull-ups, not pushups.)
MK: (To Paul A.) Paul, you can use the 44 or 62# kettle bell.
PP: (To Paul A.) Paul, you can use the 52, and I’ll use the 62# kettle bell. Michael Kelley, this means I’m not going to do all of the swings unbroken, is that okay?
MK: (Rolling his eyes and batting his eyelashes.) Yes, that’s okay, Paul.
PP: What weight should I use for the air squats? (I grabbed the 62# kettle bell.)
MK: (Scoffing and batting his eyelashes.) Use 45#.
PP: Michael Kelley, this means I’m not going to do all of the air squats unbroken, is that okay?
MK: (Rolling his eyes
and batting his eyelashes.) Yes, that’s okay, Paul.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, I did not establish any goals for the met-con.

I completed all rounds of pushups (chest to the floor, I assure you) and kettle bell swings (American) unbroken. Even I was surprised that I was able to complete kettle bell swings unbroken. Perhaps I am getting stronger. I give Michael Kelley some take all of the credit.

Even though Michael Kelley suggested resting the plate on one’s back for air squats, I chose to hold the plate against my chest. I completed the rounds of 9 and 15 air squats unbroken, and the last round in reps of 14 and 7. Toes to bar were more of a challenge, as I could not for the life of me kip! My lats just wouldn’t activate. Damn lats. I completed round of 9 unbroken, and rounds of 15 and 21 in reps of between 5 and 2. My forearms were aching.

I completed the met-con in 8:16. My forearms were in such excruciating pain that I could not even extend my ring or pinky fingers. I was, fortunately, able to extend my middle fingers, and I did so in Michael Kelley’s direction.

Another great day at CFZ! I’m (still) enjoying the programming, and I am certainly seeing improvement in form and gains in strength.  

I can't extend ring or pinky fingers!