What Adele, Jennifer Lopez & Pitbull Have To Do With My CrossFit Journey

When testing your endurance and strength…

…you normally expect to listen to some really intense shit – rap, dubstep (like a lot of people out there, I hated it, but now I’m hooked), and some good old rock. Then, every once in a while, one of your fit trainers is just like whatever with the Pandora playlist, as he or she is already busy coaching the class.

So imagine out of nowhere…things go from DMX…

…hold on a second. Before I continue this entry, I’ll leave you with a bit of Christmas awesomeness involving DMX if you haven’t seen it already:

…okay, now that’s out of the way…yes, things go from DMX “Up in Here” to some popular, really club-friendly dance hit (okay, in this case, popular a year ago).

Adele Jennifer Lopez JLo Pitbull On the Floor Rolling in the Deep

At this point, I was amping myself up to PR my deadlift…

Part of today’s WOD was 12-15 minutes to build up to a 1 rep max deadlift. For the longest time, I’ve had recurring lower back problems, most of which came from my terrible posture working at my computer 8 hours or so every day. It wasn’t until I switched to a standing desk that the back problems disappeared and my deadlifting began to progress.

The last time I PR’d my deadlift was during an in-house throwdown wayyyyy back in January. Almost a fuckin year, ya? It’s been way too long. Every time I’d progress a bit, my deads would hurt my back somehow, slowing things down for me.

I think I tied my PR of 355# a few months after, although it really was a struggle.

So today, I was in the zone. Warmed up with 135#. Cool beans. Another warm up set at 225#. Sweet. My grip’s there. Then started my single reps at 295#. Followed by 325#. I was feeling nice. And 355#. I matched my PR with ease.

My lower back was feeling solid and healthy.

To play things smart, I spaced my sets by at least 3 minutes.

I threw on a pair of 5s, calmly walked over to apply some chalk on my hands, then walked back slowly. You can say I was in my own trance. I really wasn’t paying attention to what or who was around me. All I wanted was that PR.

Pulled 365#. Went straight up. No struggles. I was pretty damn stoked as I ran over to the other side of the gym to ring the PR bell.

As I looked to my lifting partner, he asked if I was doing another set. Instantly, #YOLO was the only thing that came to mind, so I grabbed another pair of 5s.

After about 2 minutes into this rest, MISTA WORLDWIDEEEEEEE and JLo came onto the speaker system:

Fuck.

So what’s wrong with PR’ing to Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez?

Well…I always laugh when this kind of music comes up. The lyrics are always ridiculous. Also, I have that itch inside of me to bust a move. Don’t threaten me with a good time.

Back in high school, I was such a music snob. You could call me hater. I couldn’t stand anything popular, any band that wasn’t popular that became popular, or any rap/hip hop. As a result, I was so out of touch with some fun music.

Now, things are completely different. I enjoy pretty much anything out there, especially songs with a good dance beat. That’s why initially, “On the Floor” was so damn distracting.

All I could do was get my chuckle to myself out of the way, get more chalk, then patiently wait for the 4 minute mark to grip it and rip it. I tightened up my body, went down to reach for the bar, and everything was good to go.

Shit.

As I was pulling up, I noticed my back was rounding a bit. It’s interesting what a mere 10 pounds could do to your form. I battled. I fought. I scraped whatever energy I had in me to get that fuckin bar past my knees.

Inching. Upwards. Finally. Hit 375#. 20# PR.

Getting the bar above the knees pretty much guarantees a homerun for my deads. Although, I doubt that’ll always be the case, especially once I get into heavier weights.

Hey, 400#…I look forward to making you my bitch in the new year.

What about Adele?

Okay, so the last part of our work out involved 25 second sprints for average max wattage, followed by 1:35 breaks, 4 times. I was too busy joking around with people about the music playing today that I didn’t really remember my watts. It was something like mid-to-high 400s each time.

When Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” came on…

…at first I was thinking to myself, “Really?” Then, I just decided to laugh it off. “Hey, Coach…this kind of music gets me really pumped…I mean, JLo and Pitbull helped me PR my deadlift…so why can’t Adele help me tear things up on the rower?”

That beat actually did get me amped…somehow…

Overall, it was a pretty solid workout. Adele’s already been blogged about before for a previous appearance of hers at the box, so I think it’s just a recurring theme. She’s meant to be part of my legit CrossFit music playlist, along with JLo and Pitbull (sarcasm).

But to tell you the truth, I’ll always remember this day because of the randomness of the songs I PR’d and tore it up to. I’m sure most people would be able to ignore the music and just do there thing, but I love and appreciate music way too much to completely zone it out at the gym.

Do you ever come across non-workout-friendly songs mid-workout? If so, do you just ignore it? Do you enjoy it (like me lulz…)? Or do you let that kind of stuff get to you? Let’s hear what you think in the comments below 😀

Kip it real, my friends.

Why CrossFit Sucks

Wait…I really think CrossFit sucks?

Well…CrossFit sucks when your body complete shuts down during Fran haha.

My goal of a sub-5 minute Fran just didn’t happen. As much as I wanted to get that time, my body simply broke down.

On the bright side…I did improve my hang squat clean form and PR’d my front squat prior to that 5 minute AMRAP of Fran (basically a 5 minute cap). Sure, I can easily blame the lifts before Fran, but I’m not going to do that. It was just one of those days. As my friend just texted me:

Not Your Fran Day

I did catch myself shitting myself mentally…

…when I couldn’t get the first 21 pull ups unbroken.
…when I had to break up my set up 15 thrusters.
…when I didn’t even finish the 15 pull ups within 5 minutes.

Why CrossFit Sucks

You win some, you lose some, ya?

No worries. There are still many more opportunities to get a sub-5 minute Fran time. My hang squat clean form improved a lot thanks to 1 tip from my coach. The rep scheme we had for these was 3.2.1.1. Did 3 reps of 185#, then 2 of 205#. I knew 225# was what I wanted next, followed by 230# to tie a previous PR that was pretty damn ugly from what I remember.

The first try of 225#…uh…it looked terrible as fuck. I didn’t catch it high enough, so I muscled through it, even walking forward to help lock the bar properly on my shoulders to finish the rep.

I’m never proud of myself whenever I have to resort to such shit. Why? Pretty much every time it happens, I have the strength in me to pull it off properly. My form would just be off.

That’s why rather than screw a part of my body up with 230# on the next attempt, I knew I had to get 225# clean this time. Coach did some pretty good teaching when he asked if I knew why I ended up leaning forward like that. I said it was cause I couldn’t get under the bar enough to catch it properly. But he said there was more…

…my biggest issue was not extending my body enough during the pull of the hang squat clean. I’ve been focusing way too much on the drop all this time. So I listened to coach, and guess what happened?

I caught that fuckin barbell with the best form I’ve ever had. Feels good man. And to think about a year ago I couldn’t even do a normal squat clean, let alone hang squat clean, at over 200#.

And my front squat? My last PR from August was 255#…went for 265#…had it…but for some reason I had to drop the weight about halfway up. Went for 260# with a tough battle for the last quarter of the rep, and BOOM. Got it. Rang our PR bell lol.

As I’m writing this, I’m feeling much better about today’s workout. It didn’t affect the rest of my day, but it was a bummer at the time that I didn’t even come close to finishing Fran. Combining the racing of my heart post-workout and feeling a bit like shit, things weren’t looking good. Seriously, if I didn’t chill the fuck out during our cool-down stretch, I probably wouldn’t have accomplished anything else today.

Gotta love simple breathing/meditation exercises.

CrossFit sucks when you’re not eating right…

…that’s true. While I did have success with upping my carbs during my back-loading the past few weeks, this weekend I went overboard, as I mentioned yesterday. It did catch me by surprise to see Fran for today, so next time…I’ll be prepared.

Even with a cheat day on Saturdays, I know I’ll be able to handle Fran if she decides to show up again on a Monday. That bitch.

Kip it real, my friends.

Eating Weird & Making CrossFit Funny

Making CrossFit Funny? What?

Okay, remember when I started carb back-loading? Well, for a few weeks, it was doing well for me…performance-wise.

That’s why it made CrossFit funny to me. While I was doing some intermittent fasting from morning to pre-workout/post-workout, I would slam high glycemic carbs like white jasmine rice in addition to my protein, veggies, and some fat. I was Rx’ing almost everything thrown at me. My times were ridiculous.

And you know what else?

I no longer felt that post-workout “hangover.” Yeah, that’s the best way I could describe it.

For the first week or so, my weight was manageable. I was gradually dropping some weight in the process, but there was just something about carb back-loading that didn’t really work for me. It had to be the kinds of carbs I was using. I learned all this stuff from various sites out there, so I knew that these were the right carbs recommended, with white jasmine rice even considered the “cleanest of the junky carbs” for this process.

Unfortunately, I don’t think my body can handle these carbs properly. After a while, I noticed my weight was harder to control and my gut was starting to get a little bigger and softer. Not cool.

I’m sure it’s possible to get down in body fat with carb back-loading, and while it was hilarious seeing my performance go through the roof with this kind of eating, I think I’m going back to a slow-carb/close to Paleo approach with the back-load.

As I said, I’m not afraid to experiment with things. These past few weeks, I learned that my body was simply not getting enough carbs. Since I was gaining some body fat, I think my next tweak is simply to up my intake of something like sweet potatoes. That should be a good thing to have at dinner.

Eating like Tim Ferriss suggested in the 4-hour Body is just easy for me to do. Basically eat really clean and basic stuff during the week, then go all out on a cheat day once a week. Of all the different nutritional things I’ve tried, slow-carb has provided me with best aesthetic results given the amount of effort I had to put it.

Ferriss is just all about that “minimum effective dose.” It falls under the 80/20 Pareto Principle, where 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Man…if I had a dollar for every time someone mentioned “Pareto” or the “80/20 rule” at the gym and reversed the meaning of the numbers…

…but yeah, I said “aesthetic results.” Dropping my body fat percentage is my goal right now, but it’s not easy when workouts always leave you with that hangover feeling in the end. My previous successes with slow-carb and Paleo resulted in this along with stunted progress in performance. Now I know it had to do with the lack of carbs.

There’s just that negative vibe whenever I read, hear, or say the word “carb.” Don’t some of you feel that? Especially to those of you who CrossFit mainly to lose fat and look better. I need to just let go of those fears. I’ve already let myself go for the sake of experimenting the past few weeks, so what’s the worst that could happen?

So my goals right now are to keep my protein high and to up only healthy carbs when back-loading. This should help me drop fat while providing enough fuel for those WOD’s. Gradually, I’ll figure out this puzzle that is my body.

And one last thing…this weekend, I was just like YOLO to top off these few weeks of experimenting. Had half of a homemade pizza for dinner…then I just found out tomorrow’s WOD is a 5 minute AMRAP of Fran.

WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

I’m going to beat my time of 5:15 from nearly a year ago. During the Garage Games, I managed to get 5:23 after a full weekend of WOD’s, so I know for sure I can finally break the 5 minute mark tomorrow.

But…a 5 minute AMRAP? I’m only going to get 5 and change. Most people won’t even get one. I won’t be surprised if this WOD gets changed up to a non-AMRAP in the morning.

Kip it real, my friends.

Eating Weird Makes Me CrossFit Funny

Still Don’t Know How To Do Double Unders?

A few times the past two weeks I was asked…

“What’s that one secret to double unders?”
“How the FUCK do you do double unders?”

…and so on.

Honestly, there’s nothing more I can say than “practice.” Everyone’s going to have different issues with their double unders, so the only way you’ll be able to figure out what’s wrong is by learning from your mistakes.

Here’s another sweet video I came across on my Facebook newsfeed a few times recently. It’s an older video with Mikko Salo. There are some pretty helpful tips within this vid, so if you’re still struggling with your dubs, I highly suggest you check it out:

Seriously, if a CrossFitter as elite Mikko struggles with double unders, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Just kip practicing. Make sure you’re learning from each of your attempts.

Kip it real, my friends.

Ben Smith, His Crew & Good Vibes

Watch This Vid With Ben Smith:

Yeah, this is old and from before the 2012 Games, but I have to say this is an awesome vid with Ben Smith. For a while, I’ve already known he was a pretty cool guy. Then when I came across this video a few days ago, damn…I got nothing but good vibes from watching it.

Ben Smith CrossFit Mario Kart

The kid’s really down-to-earth and seems really normal on the outside. When it comes to CrossFit though, he’s a beast. I remember watching his videos from the 2011 Opens. This one really stood out to me as it was a WOD I struggled with, getting only 9 reps LOL. I had to do squat clean and jerks for this and man did I suck at getting shit overhead at the time. It’d be interesting to see what I can do now.

This was Open Section WOD 3 in 2011:

5 minute AMRAP
165# squat clean thrusters (squat clean and jerks, as I did, were acceptable as well)

That music haha…reminds me of my box’s Pandora playlist at the time…

…because of these videos he made then, I always thought Ben just worked out by himself in his garage by that damn refrigerator. Then when I came across that 18 minute video mentioned at the top of this post, I was pretty stoked to see he had his own bro-tastic workout group.

Ben Smith Garage CrossFit Refrigerator

Seriously, nothing beats working out with a great group of people, especially those that both push you and carry on some good vibes.

Garage CrossFit Workout Group

When I saw the YouTube comment above, I thought, “Damn, I’m lucky.”

Okay, lots of people out there might prefer working out by themselves in a garage (I used to be like this). That’s cool. However, there are a bunch of people like that YouTube commenter who feel like something’s lacking when they’re just tackling WOD’s on their own.

If you happen to be in that kind of predicament, definitely do something about it. Alright, certain circumstances might prevent you from doing so, but if you have the opportunity to workout at a legit CrossFit box or partner up with another CrossFitter you know, do it.

As I said, I used to be one of those guys who preferred working out alone. In high school, I would hit up Planet Fitness, pizza and bagels galore, by myself. I wanted to go at my own time and do my own “programming” (I definitely have a Word doc with some of my routines on my old desktop…it was definitely shit and full of Nautilus nonsense). Then in college, I would go to the campus gym with roommates. Luckily, most of the guys I went with either gave up and started doing cardio only or they preferred doing their own shit which was rather inefficient (at least not as bad as my high school routines lol).

It was pretty much myself or some partner sessions with my friend who eventually became a CrossFit coach.

Not gonna lie.

Transitioning into the class setting was kinda weird for me at first. I just wanted to workout on my own, dammit! But it was just a better idea of signing up for a class – for logistics and monetary reasons. And you know what? I’m not sure if I could ever workout on my own again…unless I were to do some specialized programming down the road.

Aside from getting a glimpse of Ben Smith’s pre-real world day (didn’t he just open his own box recently?), this vid reminded me how important the class setting has been to my progress.

I’m sure the class dynamic has helped many of you out there as well.

So what do you all prefer? Hitting up a WOD alone? With a partner or two? Or a full-out class? Post in the comments below.

Kip it real, my friends.