Michael Kelley is a diva. Just ask the server at Tyler’s.

Another Saturday, another drama-filled day at CFZ…

I arrived at the box at 9:20, and didn’t receive a Welcome Home Hug from Michael Kelley until 9:45. True story. Michael Kelley led the 9:30 and I coached the 10:30 and Community WODs. A good time was had by most.

After a dynamic warmup, athletes completed 3 chin-ups on the minute for 10 minutes or 11 minutes (in Michael Kelley’s and my sessions, respectively). I substituted 3 strict handstand pushups; thus, it was relatively easy. Next time I’ll do strict negative handstand pushups. I’ll also wear my awesome shirt!

Next on the agenda were 100 thrusters. Each time the athlete set down the bar they did 30 lateral bar hops or 10 pull-ups, alternating activities. I completed the following:

100 front squats, 110# (50% of 1RM); each time the bar is racked perform 30 lateral paralette hops or 10 strict pushups, alternating activities

I set up a rack, a paralette, and my yoga mat outside, and as it was a beautiful day this was an ideal setting. My goal was to complete lateral jumps and pushups unbroken, and I did just that. I completed front squats in reps of 30, 20, 15, 10, 13, & 12; thus completing 90 lateral paralette lateral jumps and 30 pushups. My total time was 10:35.

I often began a round of FS completing fast an unbroken, and then would rest the bar on my delts, i.e., rack, and complete 5 or more additional FSs. My. Wrists. Hurt. Very. Badly. While I could have completed more FSs each round, my wrists hurt so badly that I had little choice but to place the bar on the rack. I received meaningful direction and support from my favorite coach, Jay one condescending phrase of encouragement from Michael Kelley. As I’m confident with FSs, lateral jumps, and pushups, I suppose no direction and/or support were needed. Another hug would’ve been nice, though.

I enjoyed coaching the 10:30 session. Sara, Margie, and Jeff win the award for best hopping ability, Darren for embracing the pain, and Thomas for best form for thrusters.

About 8 people attended the Community WOD, and the workout was a beginner’s version of Fight Gone Bad. Three rounds for time of 1 minute of the following (with 1 minute rest between rounds): wall ball shots, dumb bell push press, box jumps, and kettle bell dead-lifts. One regular gets on my ever last nerves, as she’s very negative and often talks back. She thinks she’s funny. She’s not.

Michael Kelley called me a diva. He knows how much I hate being called a diva. Should I forgive him? Cast your vote!


As I had to leave CFZ promptly at 7am, and was thus unable to join the 7:15 group, I worked out at 5am. I was dreading “Diane”, as I know firsthand just how challenging this benchmark WOD is, having completed it dead-lifting 225# only one time in the past – and that was before I started blogging. Thus, I don’t know what my previous time was, but I know for a fact it was slower than today. What I recall is that I did every dead-lift as a single, often dropping the bar instead of bringing it to the floor. I would then walk away from the bar, catch my breath, and prepare myself to do another lift.

Handstand pushups were a hot mess, in that at that time I walked up the wall, facing the wall, did a handstand pushup to an Abmat (or possibly even 2), and then often just dropped to the ground.

Today was a different day altogether…

As fast as possible
225# dead-lifts
Handstand pushups

As I was the only person in the box, I had the entire space to myself. Michael Kelley had set a time limit of 10 minutes, and I wanted to make sure I completed the WOD within that time. I contemplated lowering the weight for dead-lifts, but talked myself out of doing so.

I set up 2, 35# plates with an Abmat set between them for handstand pushups, a bar (more on that bar in a moment) for dead-lifting, and a handy bucket of chalk.

I completed the set of 21 dead-lifts in reps of 15, 4, & 2. I used regular grip, and my hands started to give by about the 12th rep. By the last few reps, the bar was feeling very heavy, and with a mixed grip. I completed the first set of 21 HSPUs in reps of 11, 5, 3, & 2. It’s amazing how difficult HSPUs become as the shoulders become tired.

The set of 15 dead-lifts were completed in reps of 6, 5, & 4. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the dead-lifts felt so different. I had to repeatedly chalk my hands so as to not lose grip of the bar. The set of 15 HSPUs were completed in reps of 4, 4, 3, 2, & 2. I was, however, able to complete all reps successfully, i.e., my head touched the Abmat at the bottom, my arms were locked at the top, and I did not bend at the waist or allow my feet to drop before completing. By this time I had gotten quite adept at kipping.

I was finally on to the set of 9 dead-lifts. They. Felt. Heavy. I completed in reps of 5, 2, & 2. HSPUs were completed in reps of 3, 2, 2, & 2.
I was very happy when the workout ended. I was also sweaty and close to tears. Ha!

I completed “Diane” in 7:56. As this was the first time I truly completed Rx, this is a PR.

I then coached the 6amers. As I very well knew what to expect, I attempted to prepare my friends for the task at hand. I encouraged Chad, John, Heather, Lauren, and Michelle to not do any activity to failure, as they would pay for it in the long run. I also encouraged them to chalk their hands for both dead-lifts and HSPUs, as sweaty hands can lead to unsteady HSPUs.

I had left my bar set up with 135 to demonstrate dead-lift form, and I asked Chad to complete a few lifts. He did so, and then set up his own bar. I said, “Chad, you could have used this bar if you had wanted to.” He said, “That’s the thick bar.” So that’s why I had such a difficult time maintaining my grip! I blame Michael Kelley, as this bar should be clearly marked: DO NOT use this bar, Paul, as your hands are too small. (Very much like my penis.) – Michael Kelley.

Title TBD

Another Saturday. Another day of CFing and coaching.

It’s a beautiful day in Gaypex (remember that the “g” is silent), so I took Luke for an early morning walk. On days like today I truly do missing running. And racing. I miss racing more than I miss running.

15 minutes to work up to a 1RM max clean & jerk

Given my continued pain in left bicep, I knew I wasn’t even going to be able to match my current 1RM of 160#. I did, however, manage a successful lift at 150# — even though it was quite painful.

10 handstand pushups
20 dumbbell snatches
30 kettle bell swings
40 Abmat sit-ups
50 double unders
40 Abmat sit-ups
30 kettle bell swings
20 dumbbell snatches
10 handstand pushups

I intended to use a 35# KB for snatches, but as all were taken, and since I didn’t want to go any heavier than 35# due to injury, I used a 26# KB for snatches. I was kind enough to give Paul A. my 52# KB, so I used a 60(freaking)# KB for swings. MK had originally informed me that we would be doing 30 Abmat sit-ups and 40 squats, and I had planned on doing GHD sit-ups and jumping squats. I did GHD sit-ups nonetheless. Eighty of them in total. Ugh. Good thing I’m “abulous”.

I completed 10 unbroken HSPUs with full range of motion, i.e., head touched floor, elbows locked at top, and feet made constant contact with wall. A PR! I heard Ryan say, “Aren’t you supposed to use an Abmat when doing handstand pushups?” I replied, “Not if you’re doing them as prescribed.”

I completed 20 KB snatches unbroken, switching hands every 5 snatches. I completed 30 KB swings in reps of 20 and 10, and GHD sit-ups in reps of 10, 10, 10, 5, & 5.

I was quite dizzy after completing so many GHD sit-ups. I grabbed my rope, did about 3 dus, and felt myself falling backward. I paused for a moment, and did up to count of 40 unbroken. I paused briefly once again, and completed last 10.

I had to break GHD sit-ups into reps of 10, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, and 5. I was struggling to touch my toes, but was able to do so for all reps. KB swings were done in reps of 10, snatches in reps of 5, and HSPUs in reps of 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, and 1. I was spent.

I completed in 13:19. As there was a 15-minute cutoff, I was pleased.

Class went over time, though, so I had to almost immediately begin coaching. The 10:30 group did awesome, and I want to call out Darren, Margie, and Leah for particular attention to form and/or amazing feats of strength!

The Community WOD was next. Ten-minutes to complete as many rounds of pyramid of pushups, air squats holding plate, and push press using same plate. It. Looked. Miserable. Ha!

Some days you have it…

…some days you don’t.
I attended the 5:30pm session @ CrossFit King of Prussia, PA (which is actually in Bridgeport). I arrived early and got to observe the 4:30 CFers. I had some idea of what I was in for.
Melanie coached, and she is very good! We first warmed up with rowing based on strokes per minute, and then practiced single and double unders. I strung together 68. Once my shoulder completely heals, I’m going to attempt 100 and/or 1 more than Michael Kelley’s best.
I was feeling tired already. I shouldn’t left then! Ha!
Melanie then walked us through proper form for power snatches. She carefully observed form and made correction when needed.
21-15-9 for time:
Handstand pushups
Power snatches (115#)
I informed Melanie of my shoulder injury and let her know I was going to only snatch 95#.
Melanie counted down from 3 and we were on our way. I was the only person attempting HSPUs as prescribed. I was able to complete 8 unbroken, but then for the remainder of the round of 21 as well as remaining rounds of 15 and 9 was only able to do 2 at a time at the most. Stupid shoulders. I was one of the last to complete the round of 21 HSPUs.
I was, however, able to quickly complete 21 power snatches, and was one of the first to begin round of 15 HSPU.
I had perhaps the worst met-con moment of my life. I had completed 5 or so HSPUs, and then had about 10 failed attempts. And by failed I mean FAILED. I couldn’t remain in an upright position let alone bring me head to the floor. I tried positioning my hands differently. Didn’t work. I tried resting. Didn’t work. I tried swearing. Didn’t work. I was ready to try quitting when, for reasons I have yet to determine, I was finally able to complete a HSPU. Stranger still is that the remainder of my HSPUs were successes. Huh?
I was the very last person to finish the round of 15 HSPUs, and by this time it was too late. Even though I quickly completed round of 15 power snatches, I was taking so long to do HSPUs that I just couldn’t catch up. In fact, there were quite a few who had started to put away their weights before I had even begun round of 9.
I did quickly complete 9 power snatches. Nonetheless, I was the VERY LAST person in my session to compete the workout. The VERY LAST. My time was 15:24.
I’m humbled. I’m not, however, humiliated. Should I be?

I’ll see you at 9, Paula…

I coached 3 sessions at CFD yesterday, and ran much more than I should have. I estimate that I ran at least 3 miles, including running backwards. Yes, I always run with athletes when coaching endurance and/or when the WOD includes running. While I had every intention of merely walking with Luke yesterday afternoon, he insisted that we run 4 miles. Thus, my legs was a wee bit sore this morning. I contemplated resting today, but Luke was going to be spending the day at Doggie Village so I did indeed attend the 6am session at CFZ.

A quick aside…

Yesterday while leading mobility for the 10amers, I noticed Tony (who had just participated in his second endurance WOD) doing pushups. He wasn’t holding the pike position, and he was lifting his ass. I yelled to him from across the room, “Tight abs, tight ass, Tony!” Doug commented, “Paul’s always looking at the boys’ asses.”—or at least that’s what I think he said. I replied, “I don’t just look at the boys’ asses, I also look at the girls’ asses. I’m biassual.”

Michael Kelley finally got a haircut. Unfortunately, his new do makes him look that much fatter.

We were on our own for 10 minutes of mobility. The scheduled strength was determining 1RM for clean & jerk. I attempted 1 lift at 95#, felt pain in my left bicep and shoulder, and called it a day. Michael Kelley suggested that I do some heavy front squats. I maxed out @ 195# and failed 2 attempts @ 210#. C’est la vie.

There was much discussion and speculation regarding 12.3. Michael Kelley is convinced that the workout will be at least 14 minutes, and may likely include toes to bar. I would like the workout to be 60 minutes and include running. And dead-lifts. And muscle-ups. And pushups. And dead-hang pull-ups. And spooning. Heather commented, “I bet there will be double unders.” When I asked her why she thought this, she said, “Because the first 2 workouts were burpees and snatches. Not many people can do double unders, but everybody can do burpees and snatches.” I said, “Heather, I’m 48 years old and I have yet to successfully do a snatch.”

3 Handstand Push-Ups
6 Power Cleans
9 Toes-2-Bar

I had no intention of doing power cleans, so Michael Kelley suggested that I substitute heavy kettle bell swings—70# KB swings, to be exact. My first thought when he mentioned the heavy weight was, “Bitch. I hate you, Michael Kelley.” I thought about it a moment and then thought, “Bitch. I really hate you, Michael Kelley.”

My one and only goal was to complete all reps unbroken. I honestly didn’t think this was a realistic goal, as I was certain that HSPUs would be the limiting factor. I did complete all reps of all 3 activities unbroken [insert applause here].

In fact, HSPUs presented very little challenge, and I am delighted to report that I kept my feet touching the wall for all reps – a first! I did attempt to kip, and Michael Kelley observed. Evidently, I merely lower my legs slightly and don’t really kip. Michael Kelley said, “If you’re going to kip, use some force. You’re not really even kipping.” Hell, if I can do strict HSPUs, why should I even bother to kip?

There were a few times when I wanted to put the KB down after doing 3 or 4 swings, but I didn’t allow myself to do so. Yes, swings were American style. I didn’t even bother to ask Michael Kelley if I could do Russian swings, as I knew what his answer would be. Bitch. I really, really hate you, Michael Kelley.

Toes to bar went more smoothly than in the past, and there were very few times when I had to “re-kip”. I thought I was indeed going to have to drop from the bar during the last few rounds, as my grip was giving weakening. During one of the rounds I did 12 reps. I suck at math. I didn’t, however, merely do 6 reps the next round.

Total = 8 rounds + 3 HSPUs
27 HSPUs
48, 70# KB swings
75 (including 3 extra) T2B


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Another Wednesday, another solo WOD…

I wanted to experience today’s WOD in all its glory – if for no other reason than to be able to effectively manage time as well as set expectations for 6amers.

I arrived at 4:55am. I spent 15 minutes on mobility, and then practiced split jerk technique. I still have a little bit of pain in my left bicep, so I didn’t lift very heavy. I completed 3 reps of 105, 115, 125, and 135#. I didn’t have time to do much more, as I wanted to be sure that the box was open (I keep it locked when I’m the only person there) by the time folks arrived. Next was “Nate”, a hero WOD. Let me go on record as saying this was perhaps the most difficult WOD I have yet to attempt.

AMRAP 20 Minutes
2 Muscle-Ups
4 Handstand Push-Ups
8 Kettle bell Swings, 70#

My goals were to complete the WOD as prescribed, i.e., to not scale down, and to complete 10 rounds, as I thought I could manage 2 muscle-ups, 4 HSPUs, and 8 heavy KB swings every 2 minutes. As I don’t want to relive the 20 minutes or misery, I’ll merely provide highlights…

I easily completed the first 2 rounds of 2 muscle-ups unbroken, and was thus feeling rather cocky confident. I completed 1 muscle-up for the third round, and then failed on the second attempt. Huh? I dropped from the rings and attempted a muscle-up again…and again…and again. That’s 4 failed attempts! I thought, This is going to be awful. I’m going to end up spending much of my time just staring at the damn rings. I finally completed the second muscle-up. Uhm, and successfully completed all remaining rounds as 2, unbroken muscle-ups. I lost it, yes, but just during the third round. And. I. Know. Why. I’m not going to record the reason, but I do indeed know why. I’ll only tell those of you who ask.

For HSPUs, I placed 2, 45# plates by the wall and placed an Abmat between the plates, i.e., CrossFit Games style. As I often bruise the top of my head when completing HSPUs, this helped considerably. HSPUs were by far the most difficult of the 3 activities. I did, however, achieve a first in that I completed quite a few kipping HSPUs. This wasn’t, however, a conscious effort on my part. I just found myself with my head touching the mat and then while I was pressing with my arms my legs joined in. Good legs, good!

The most surprising part of the WOD was not only that I used a 70# kettle bell for the American kettle bell swings – the first time I’ve ever done so – but that I completed all rounds unbroken. How the hell did that happen?

I very seriously considered stopping after 10 minutes, as I was sweating profusely and was having a difficulty catching my breath after KB swings.

I completed 10 rounds + 2 muscle-ups + 3 HSPUs.

I then coached the 6am session, attended by Sandra, John, Lauren, AC, and Chad, and got to witness firsthand just how brutal this WOD was. About 10 minutes into the WOD, athletes were really suffering, and I could sense some were beginning to feel discouraged. I attempted to lighten the mood by interjecting what I hoped were humorous comments. “Rings, I’d like to introduce you to Chad. Chad, I’d like to introduce you to the rings.” “Lauren, it’s head to the mat, not hair to the mat.” “Lauren, don’t let the kettle bell swing you!” “John, why are you yawning? Is this WOD boring you?”

In all honesty, 6amers did an awesome job with a very challenging workout. Kudos to you all!


Strong wrists, warm heart.

Low Bar Back Squat
10 @ 60%
8 @ 70%
6 @ 75%
4 @ 80%

4 Rounds
1 min Handstand Push-Ups
30 seconds rest
1 min Front Squats
30 seconds rest


AMRAP 2 minutes
L- Sit Hang

Michael Kelley, thank you for stating 1 minute instead of 60 seconds. However, what is a 2-minute AMRAP of L-sit hang? Shouldn’t it be ALAP (as long as possible)? That’s what he said.

It was yet another awesomely wonderful day of lifting, conditioning, and spelling. Michael Kelley couldn’t spell “subtle”. No surprise. Michael Kelley could spell “altruistic”, although he didn’t know the meaning of the word. No surprise.

I was altruistic in that I allowed Chad, John, Heather, and Lauren to use the racks on the pull-up rig. I used the free-standing racks that I detest that are usable.

I thought that I had yet to establish a 1RM for LBBS, and communicated this to Michael Kelley. I did, however, lift a mere 180# on my last attempt just last week. It appears that both my short- and long-term memories are shit. Michael Kelley “established” that I should base percentages on 210#.

10 @ 125#
8 @ 145#
6 @ 160#
4 @ 170#

We spent a considerable amount of time focusing on mobility prior to squatting, and I could immediately discern a noticeable difference. Squats felt solid from start to finish, and I squatted well below parallel each and every rep. Michael Kelley said so. Here’s a recording of the final round. You’ll hear Michael Kelley say “A little deeper” on the third rep. (I shall make no inappropriate comments — even though I’d really, really like to…) What I heard was “No rep.” Thus, I did a 5th rep.

The conditioning workout was exceedingly challenging in that it was a wrist destroyer. Michael Kelley told us to FS 50% of weight used for final round of LBBS; thus, I lifted 85#.

I completed 8 unbroken HSPUs (a new PR) and a total of 11 the first round. Things went downhill from there, and I was only able to complete 7, 6, and 6 for the remaining rounds, often only doing 1 rep at a time.

Uhm, 85# was probably too light in that I was able to complete 20 FS all 4 rounds. How was I able to complete the same number of reps each round, you ask? I stopped after 20 unbroken FS the first round and had about 20 seconds of the minute remaining. I completed round 2 in reps of 15 and 5, round 3 in reps of 10 and 10, and round 4 in reps of 12 and 8, and each round I had at least 5 seconds of the minute remaining. More rest for me!

After the 3rd round I yelled, “Show of sore wrists: who hates Michael Kelley?” If I recall, most if not all wrists were raised. I also said this, “Listen up everyone, because I’ll only say this and I’ll never put it in writing: Michael Kelley is a very good coach.

Totals: 30 HSPUs and 80 FS

After a very short break, we were told to hold an L-sit for as long as we could and up to 2 minutes if possible. I used the rings, kept my legs bent but parallel, and held for 1:15. My. Back. Was. Killing. Me.

I will be coaching the 6am sessions each Wednesday beginning tomorrow morning. As I was preparing to leave, Michael Kelley said, “Paul, make sure you use two different color markers on the whiteboard, one for the WOD and one for the list of athletes.” I replied, “Sometimes I wonder who the gay one is in this relationship, Michael Kelley.”