Not Even Hurricane Sandy Could Stop Me…

…from CrossFitting of course.

Yeah, shit got pretty bad in my area – power was lost (the least of everyone’s worries), homes by the coast floating away, and places we cherish absolutely destroyed.

Fortunately, our house only lost power for 3 days. No biggie. Honestly, it was actually a great change of pace. Since I couldn’t work, I simply read, ate, relaxed, and CrossFitted. The things I had were luxuries compared to the stuff most people had to deal with.

Which is why I found it pretty ridiculous that people would call into local radio stations complaining they couldn’t watch the previous night’s football game or wrestling match. Cool story bro. People died, are homeless, and don’t have the bare necessities we take for granted every day.

I just felt very thankful that my friends and family made things out okay. Last year because of Irene, my friend and business partner at Weekend Swap had a HUGE tree branch go through his bedroom.

Scary shit.

So What About This Workout?

Alright, so I chose to stay home on Tuesday rather than venture out on roads scattered with electrical wires and tree branches just to hit up the box. We didn’t have power there, but some really dedicated athletes hit up a 6:30am class with only a truck’s headlights in the garage doorway as light. Some pretty cool stuff.

My WOD for that day was supposed to be a 1k row, 50 hang squat cleans at 85#, and 35 pull ups for time. Here’s my modded version of it:

For time:
5 minutes on a bicycle trainer @ about 70%-80% effort
50 hang squat cleans with a Powerade cooler of ice (lol)
35 strict pull ups on a good ol’ Iron Gym

Hurricane Sandy CrossFit Workout WOD

Gotta love that Walmart mountain bike lol

Uh…Powerade Cooler Hang Squat Cleans?

Sounds like a mouthful, but they weren’t that complicated. Basically, I’d hold the cooler (the ice was for keeping our food cool) by the handles, clean until I have the hip extension, then bear hug that cooler into a squat…repeat.

And why strict pull ups? Well…I wanted more of a challenge and kipping just doesn’t fly with an Iron Gym.

Iron Gym CrossFit WOD

There are 3 problems with kipping on this pull up bar setup:

1) The bar most likely would fly off.
2) The doorframe is too narrow for some crazy kips (I’d clip my elbows…or maybe my elbows are 2 pointy :P).
3) The bar’s too low to the ground. I pretty much only butterfly now, so my feet would hit the floor when I’d kick my legs (even though I’m short haha).

Finished with 13:42.

There’s Always A Way

With all the people online and on the radio bitching about really small things regarding this hurricane, I knew I had to turn off that noise. It’s funny/weird how much we were able to post things online despite the lack of power. And as I said, that’s the least of our worries.

Being in a really fortunate situation, I knew to make the most of it. I’m sure there were people also complaining that our box wouldn’t open at certain times or our owner wouldn’t post some at-home workout. Uh…he has his own family to take care of…

There’s always a way to solve these small problems or avoid them. Just think differently. I’ve probably said this before, but since I love it so much and have applied it so much lately, I might as well say it again…when people zig, you zag.

Any of you east coasters still battling with the aftermath of that bitch Sandy? Let me know what’s up.

Kip it real, my friends.

Garage Games Part 1: Jabba The Hutt Paleo Poops


…this was what stood out to me during the first day of the Garage Games New England Throwdown.

There were porta potties lined up in the back of CrossFit Milford. And of course, each and every workout brought about some bouts nervousness beforehand. So I had to piss, sometimes even multiple times before a WOD.

I noticed one girl opened a porta potty, only to quickly move onto the next open one. It was pretty obvious what was behind those doors, but I just wanted to get things over with. That’s how bad I had to piss. That’s how pretty damn nervous I was.

So I was like “Fuck it” and #yolo.

Lo and Behold

I encountered Jabba the fuckin Hutt. Mannnnnn…so this is what a legit Paleo poop looks like.

Jabba The Hutt Paleo Poops

Don’t worry…I didn’t take a legit pic.

Got out of there ASAP.

Okay, about the actual Garage Games. What an experience! Sure, the wait times did get nerve-racking, but once you were there and in the zone, adrenaline and the energy of the crowd took over your performance.

I’m currently reading Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest book Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story, and in one section he writes:

“A guy from the other team who was a better lifter than me found the audience distracting and failed to complete his last lift. He told me afterward that he couldn’t concentrate as well as in the gym. For me, it was the opposite. The audience gave me strength and motivation, and my ego kicked in more. I discovered that I performed much, much better in front of others.”

The same rang true for myself.

For example, with the first WOD – 12 minutes total for your whole team to get a 3 rep max overhead squat – I shot up that weight from my back to overhead easier than ever before. Usually, the awkwardness of going overhead from the back would hold me back. At times, I would mess up the lockout.

The ease was all thanks to the crowd. Despite hearing friends of mine yelling my name and random shit to get me amped, it was like I was somewhere else. I tuned out all that stuff out, even with the environment naturally fueling me.

It’s almost like that feeling of studying or getting work done at a Starbucks. The people might be loudly chatting about the latest iPad mini or some fixed-gear bicycles and the noise of the coffee machines might seem distracting, but seeing other people “getting things done” can inspire you to get shit done yourself.

Sure, I didn’t get to attempt my goal of 185# since time ran out, but I was pretty stoked with my 155# as it was smooth and easy and I’ve never attempted a 3 rep max that heavy. OHS used to be a HUGE weakness of mine, mainly because of flexibility issues.

Now it’s one of my favorite lifts…also rocking a pair of CrossFit shoes helps.

At Least I Set 1 PR

Yeah, my 2 mile PR with 16:57. As you all know, I fuckin hate running, so I was pretty damn happy with that time lol.

We pretty much ran around the block where the gym is, a path which had some inclines and declines. In the final quarter mile, I kept hearing some dude’s heavy breathing behind me. Things were getting too close for comfort.

Avoiding the creepiness was my motivation to not let this fucker pass me haha. That was really my only goal during the run, aside from getting around 17-18 minutes. It felt so good to beat my expectations.

And Then There Was A Chipper

As much of a bitch this chipper was (even for the scaled division), I really appreciated it. The programming I’ve been experiencing over the past year and a half or so has gotten pretty complicated and the volume has gone up, so it’s pretty sweet to experience a classic CrossFit chipper.

If you want to see some pics, check out this page:!i=2171975081&k=Dmv3zGX

Yes, I’m in some of them, but who I am is for you to figure out 😛

By the end of that 3rd WOD, my body was spent. I had no idea how the hell I was supposed to deal with the Airdyne and a Team Fran the following day. If you were to ask me to do all these workouts in a span of 2 days before this, I would’ve laughed in your face.

Competitions like these, even if you’re doing them for fun, show you that there’s more in you than you think. It’s pretty interesting how much your mind limits you. Your own mind is probably your own worst enemy. Then you hear all this talk from CrossFitters around you saying “OMG TOMORROW’S GONNA BE TERRIBLE”…”I’M NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS”…”I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS SHIT TOMORROW”…

Forget it.

And that’s what I did lol. Since my college’s alumni weekend was going on last weekend, and I managed to get out earlier than expected, I was just like #YOLO and caught up with some old friends over a few beers.

Don’t worry…I didn’t get shitty and it definitely didn’t affect my performance (too much) the next day.

So how did the Airdyne and Team Fran WOD’s go? I’m saving that shit for tomorrow. Cause it was more than just a battle with myself and my body. It was more of that mental game.

Kip it real, my friends.

Why CrossFit Is For Hookers

You See…

…when you have enough clientele at your box, you can scale your business to more than your typical classes and “private coaching sessions”…

…oh wait, wrong story. That’s Zumba, not CrossFit.

What I’m talking about is the hook grip.

Mark Rippetoe Starting Strength Hook Grip

Thanks, Rip, for the grip tip. I should probably reread Starting Strength ASAP.

Love it or hate it, the hook grip is essential to kicking ass at many barbell movements, especially with clean and snatch variations. I’m sure many of you, like myself at first, can’t stand the hook grip. That it’s bothersome and pointless. That you’re afraid of tearing off your thumbs. That your fingers are too short.


You’ll get used to it. Your fingers will adjust. It’s just like with guitar. I don’t have long fingers at all, but that didn’t stop me from learning to play some of my favorite Dave Matthews songs and whatnot the past 12 years.

No matter what you do, don’t give up on the hook grip!

Start Small

While I’m no coach, from my own experience, I learned the hook grip from lighter, clean-grip deadlifts. For the longest time, I was doing only alternate-grip deads.

alternate grip deadlift

Alternate Grip Deadlift

Clean grip is when both palms are facing your body. So whenever I’m doing lighter deadlift work, such as high rep workouts (unless the deads start to get heavy) or warmup sets for a heavy max, I’m using a hook grip to strengthen that skill. One time I actually did PR my deads with a hook grip…wtf.

From those, I progressed to doing them more often with my cleans. Honestly, if you can, use the hook grip with your cleans from the beginning if possible. Maybe your thumb flexibility may not be there yet, but once it almost is, you’ll notice a difference with your cleans.

That extra, firmer grip adds so much more to your lifting power. My grip was easily one of the factors that prevented me from getting over 200# cleans for the longest time.

Keeping At It Is Worth The Struggle

Once I had the hook grip down for cleans, I knew I had to step up my hang clean game. That’s where my thumb-tearing fear comes into play. However, I just kept at it. I stopped relying on chalk too much.

So last week, I finally got over that fear and past the 200# hang clean barrier with 215# for one rep. Before the thought of doing 30 reps at 225# like at the regionals this year seemed impossible. Now I can definitely see myself pulling something like that off as long as I stay consistent.

And This Was All Thanks To The Hook Grip

Now I just wish our programming had more snatches so I could work on my grip for that. The hook grip is crucial for snatches, as the wider grip has more focus on your index and middle fingers than your ring and pinky. Huge props to Vin at CrossFit Southbay for that info and inspiration for today’s post.

All I ask for you, my readers, is not to give up on the hook grip. It’s weird. It’s awkward. It may seem impossible at first, but I’m tellin ya…if you stick with it, you’ll get through many barriers. You’ll open many doors in your CrossFit journey.

Kip it real, my friends.

Bad CrossFit Gym Etiquette

Watch This

There’s a chance that you’ve probably seen this vid already, but “Bad CrossFit Gym Etiquette” is a good one. I love it cause a lot of these “characters” at the gym do show up.

The Coconut Burglar

I’m sure most of your boxes simply have some honor code where people actually pay for their coconut water or leave cash if no one’s around at the desk. If you’re actually stealing stuff from your own box like this…well…that’s fucked up.

Sadly, there are probably some low-life peasants out there who pull this kind of stuff all the time.

The Chalk Whore

Okay, when I started CrossFit, I’ll admit I was quite a chalk abuser, although maybe not to the status of “chalk whore” (maybe “chalk skank” or “chalk ho”). Shit finally hit me when I was constantly complaining about tearing my hands during pull up or toes-to-bar/knees-to-elbow WOD’s. Coach was just like…”Uh…the chalk’s just making things worse.”

Now I really only chalk up for 1 rep max cleans, snatches, or deads.

And I don’t know about you guys, but did that chalk whore in the vid remind you of Tyrone Biggums from Chappelle’s Show?

Tyrone Biggums Chappelle's Show

Andddd…one last thing about this section…props on the video editor for throwing in Muse’s “Plugin Baby”…one of my favorite songs in high school.

Too Fast Too Care

Fortunately, I never really see these guys or girls at our box. Our coaches are legit, so of course you’d be called out for this kind of nonsense.

The Sweat Beast

Yeah…I sweat like a mofo, so of course I try my best to clear off my stuff post-WOD. Although I do forget at times, especially when it’s a total MIND-IS-FULL-OF-FUCK type of workout and your brain is scrambled to shit.

Mind is Full of Fuck

Even in my car, I wipe down my seat, steering wheel, and arm rest once I get home. No one wants a car that smells like mold 24/7.

Sir Talksalot

Haha…I really enjoy this one cause whenever this one friend of mine is in class with me, I end up talking or bullshitting along with him, sometimes when coach is explaining something.

Now, things have been reduced to random side comments to each other, although coach will call one of us out once in a while.

“Oh what’s that, Justin?”
“Uh…yeah, we were talking shit about you man…”
“Oh that’s nice.”

When I know it’s something that could take a while to explain, you know…like a WOD that requires the order of operations on steroids to dissect, then I keep my mouth shut or just try to ignore my friend’s nonsensical random.

The Ghost Rider

The guys in this part of the vid were great, especially the wall ball scene.

I don’t really see this stuff happen, although the flying barbells or variations have come close to fucking me up big time. I’ll never forget this one time I was doing Helen for first time Rx’d, and I was on a pretty good pace, but this one guy doing farmers carries didn’t put clamps at the end of his bars.

Of course, as he was walking behind me, I saw from the corner of my eye one of his 45# plates slip out, cause his bar to tilt forward in my direction. Yes, I did end up tossing my kettlebell overhead a bit like the guy in the video while I hopped out of the way.

I wasn’t pissed at all…rather, I was happy that bar didn’t hit me. That could’ve been some bad news bears.

The Gear Borrower

Lmao that was awesome.

Nope, can’t say I’ve witnessed this…oh wait…I have! In the middle of a WOD, woman took my wall ball one time…it was a 20# too. I simply turned to our coach, and mouthed, “What the fuck? She took my ball!” So I was forced to go to the carousel of balls mid-WOD. Not sure what happened to her original ball.


The Time Fabricator

Oh man…there are some pretty douchey people out there who do this. C’mon now…the only person you’re really cheating here is yourself. Oh, you want to brag about your new Fran time to your wife or co-workers?

Cool story bro.

In the grander scheme of things, unless you’re going for a “new world record” or legit competing in the Home Depot Center, no one gives a shit about your times or your scores. Yes, people do care that you’re working on improving your health and your life overall. That’s because most people at your box are pretty awesome and want to see you make progress.

But making up your times, scores, or weights is just a waste. Hold some standards for yourself. It’s the only way you’ll improve.

Do You See Any Of These Mofos At Your Box?

Post in the comments below.

Also, if you haven’t already, join my newsletter through the form below! The FIRST EVER weekly update will be released this weekend.

Kip it real, my friends.

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