Going with the Flow

Sorry for the major lack of posts recently… we’re at that stage where we’re “just doing it” and that isn’t all that exciting, but I do have a report from the front and some perspective on a few things now that I am starting my fourth month of CrossFit.

My wife has lost a LOT of inches, mostly around her waist and she is having to buy all new pants, which is a good thing! I’m starting to see a little more progress around my own waist, but I am continuing to feel more muscle development and “convert” more than lose. Something I picked up in a book recently was to cycle your calories from day to day so your body doesn’t get as stressed out about your weight loss, which might help, although we don’t count calories. In other words, if you know you should be eating 1,500 calories a day, let’s say, the author recommended eating 1,000 calories one day, then 2,000 calories the next day, and mixing it up day to day. In any case, we’re both seeing progress, just in different ways.

Patience: my wife has none. She is extremely impatient about learning the lifts and thinks she needs to build basic “gym strength” to move forward. I’m not sure I agree, but she is going to see a personal trainer a couple times a month that she used to go to a long time ago for more traditional workouts and we’ll see if that translates to what she is frustrated with in CrossFit. Our coach, Scott, at CrossFit I-35, keeps telling her to have patience, but he has had as much luck as I have. LOL I think working out is a lot like being in a new relationship… it starts out hot and heavy and as time progresses things change and calm down a little bit, then you’re into going with the flow like we are now.


Skills: if you want to get good at certain things in CrossFit and/or defeat your goats, you’re going to need time to practice them. Trying to work on them only when they come up in WOD’s is going to get you pretty much nowhere. If you suck at double-unders, you need to buy yourself a decent jumprope (I have an Rx Jump Rope that is nice because you can progress with the weight of the cable as you get better at jumping rope and doing double-unders, although the RPM ropes are supposed to be good and everyone likes the Rogue and Again Faster speed ropes, too) and work on them for 5-10 minutes every day until you no longer suck at them. If you don’t practice being able to do a handstand regularly and get comfortable being upside-down, you are never going to get handstand pushups, etc. That doesn’t mean you need to buy a $3,000 home gym setup from Rogue (although if you have the discretionary income, why not?!) but you need to have a place at home to be able to work on these basic things, or show up at the box early or stay late, if they let you, and work on them every day you do a WOD.

Eating: we’re paleo now without a cheat day and my wife is doing Whole30 and may do Whole60, which are even stricter forms of paleo that work on the psychological side of our relationship with food. I would recommend trying out paleo yourself. It’s pretty easy in many ways, but the caveat to that is that we cook most of our own meals, don’t go out a lot and haven’t lived out of processed food boxes anyway for a LONG time, so our transition to paleo was a relatively short step. Cutting the gluten out was the biggest stretch for us, but we both feel SOOOOO much better without it that it isn’t that tough. I cheat from time to time and grab a couple cookies at the occasional clinic meeting or have a couple squares of GOOD quality chocolate every day or two, but otherwise we have been doing pretty well with this. I recommend Robb Wolf’s book, The Paleo Solution as your entry into this, and I’ll do a separate article on paleo resources we’ve found helpful soon.

Aches and pains: you’ll have to walk that fine line between knowing what is good muscle soreness and ache and what is an actual problem, and it’s not the easiest thing to do. My best advice is have a good manual therapist or chiropractor in your pocket and use them frequently. If you get a chance to attend a Rocktape workshop for laypeople definitely check it out. I’ve had one calf muscle strain (took me out of running and jumping for a week, but I did everything else) and sprained my ankle really early on, which was just bad luck. Otherwise I’ve got a little teninosis in my left knee that I think comes from mechanically compressing it during things like Turkish Get-ups and my biceps tendons where they attach at the elbow have been consistently achy, which is my biggest problem. Working on all of them and doing preventative maintenance, but the prevention is well worth it. See Kelly Starrett’s awesome blog, MobilityWOD.com to learn some things you can do for your own maintenance.


Kate’s Story

It just struck me that it has been a while since an update! Minor setback this week… had to do a long sprint through Ohare airport on Sunday night and I think I set my leg up for problems. We did five jump squats during our warmup on Monday and after the fifth one I couldn’t walk too well because I pulled something in my calf. Calf sprains are a bitch, but what can you do?

I couldn’t do the WOD so I swung a heavy-ass 40kg kettlebell and did 16kg snatches and long cycles for the 15 minutes everyone else was doing burpees and overhead squats.

Anyway, today’s homework is Kate’s story. See her site at CrossFit Kate and watch the video below. Check her out around the 3:15-3:30 mark and file this under your personal, “What the ^&%! was my excuse, today?” part of your brain.

CrossFit Games Open Workout 13.1 – 91!

Well, the CrossFit Games are upon us and because of the way the Games work, “anyone” can compete. What that means is you can register, log your scores and see your ranking, but if you are reading this, you aren’t going to be one of the guys or girls we’ll see this summer on TV! LOL That being said, it’s a great way to see how you are doing now, and then compare in a year (although the workouts will be totally different then).

Last year’s Games opener was a controversial workout of 7 minutes AMRAP (as many reps as possible) of burpees. That was it, burpee hell. They took a lot of flak for that, I guess.

This years Open Workout 13.1 (read all the details and see the standards here) is a brutal mix of two of 2012’s season most-hated WOD’s: the burpees and an ascending snatch ladder. In 17 minutes, you do as much of the following as possible, in the order posted, with each successful lift or burpee counting as one point:


  • 40 Burpees
  • 75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 30 Burpees
  • 135 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 20 Burpees
  • 165 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 10 burpees
  • 210 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible


  • 40 Burpees
  • 45 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 30 Burpees
  • 75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 20 Burpees
  • 100 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 10 burpees
  • 120 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

As of Friday (3/8/13) morning the best men’s score that has been turned in is Neal Maddox’s 199 (that means he went through the whole thing and pounded out 9 of the heavy snatches! For the women, Julie Foucher (see video link below of the standards for what counts as a rep as well as her whole submitted workout, which is amazing!) and Janine Walinski are tied up at 195. Crazy!


Our gym is going to do each of the Open workouts on Friday mornings. We just did 13.1 and I scored a 91. If I look at the rankings that puts me very close to the bottom of the barrel, but you know what? 91 is better than zero, so congratulate yourself if you even ATTEMPTED this WOD, my plus sized friends!

Here is a video from the MobilityWOD/GymnasticsWOD/EnduranceWOD crew at San Francisco CrossFit giving you tips for how to tackle this workout:

For A Good Time, Call Fran 21-15-9

It has been a while since I posted last, so let’s get caught up… we’re still up to the Paleo diet and that is going fine. I’m not sure how well a cheat day works in Paleo because the point of Paleo is getting the gluten out and blood sugar normalized, so saying “&^$@ You!” to the previous six days once a week may not be wise. We’ll have to reconsider what we do on our cheat days or if we’re even going to continue with them.

This is the time of year that I start traveling a lot to teach postgraduate seminars for other doctors, so I was out this past weekend and I’ll be traveling the next two weekends, too. Paleo is not TOO tough to do on the road assuming you prepare and bring some jerky and nuts with you and then stick to salads when you can.

Today’s WOD was one of the classic benchmark CrossFit workouts, Fran. This is an old workout that CrossFit founder Greg Glassman developed in order to try to replicate the feeling of a two minute gymnastics rings or parallel bars routine. He said once that if a hurricane can be named Fran, why can’t a workout? Hence the name.

Fran is a timed WOD consisting of 21 thrusters, 21 pullups, 15 thrusters, 15 pullups, 9 thrusters and 9 pullups done as quickly as possible. Rx weights are 95 pounds for men and 65 for women.

This was my first Fran and I scaled to use women’s Rx weight and jump pullups. I finished in 9:30. The toughtest part for me was how my wrists feel in the rack position during the squat part of Fran. Of course, if I could do real pullups that would be a huge challenge, too! LOL We’ll see what happens when we repeat Fran in a couple months.

Here’s a video of Camille Leblanc-Bazinet doing Fran. Elite crossfitters can knock it out in under 3 minutes.