Thursday, May 17, 2012

CrossFit Mid-Atlantic Regionals: WOD 1 and WOD 2 in Pictures

Here are some pictures I took during the Mid-Atlantic Regionals (or KDitty took if I was working out). The first set is WOD 1 (deadlifts/handstand push ups) and the second set is WOD 2 (row/pistols/hang power cleans). Enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gary Taubes on America's Failure to Stop Obesity

Usually if I find an interesting article on the interwebs, I'll Twitterize it. But since Gary Taubes is a well known figure in the obesity world and this article is written so anyone can understand it, I wanted to share it via the blog. Here is his Newsweek article "Why the Campaign to Stop America's Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing."  In it, he describes HBO's new four-part series The Weight of the Nation. Although the creators have good intentions to address America's obesity, it still relies on old-fashioned thinking: calories in should equal calories out, you should exercise to lose weight, etc. 

I eat a lot of meat with plenty of saturated fat... that means I must be really fat!
Taubes has already addressed these issues ad nasium in his books Good Calories, Bad Calories  and Why We Get Fat.  He, and other paleo/primal gurus such as Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, and Kurt Harris, have all addressed the fact that calories are not created equal and despite the recommendation to be active and exercise, it will not impact your weight/fat loss as much as your nutrition. I know, I know, it's hard to believe that 1000 calories of cupcakes does not equal 1000 calories of meat and vegetables. And no, that elliptical you were on for an hour will not help you lose weight. I address this in my post Skinny-Fat, Cortisol, and Why Cardio Doesn't Work.

If this is all news to you and if you want to read more from Taubes, pick up Why We Get Fat if you the average Joe Schmoe and need things in plain English. If you are a biochemistry nerd, or love citations, then hit up GCBC. But if you are in fact a biochemistry nerd with a preference towards paleo/primal eating, then you probably have already read GCBC. 

If Paleo/Primal is new to you, then head over to my Paleo 101 post. Keep reading and learning, as doing so will help you make your own decisions when it comes to food and nutrition. It's one thing to eat a certain way just because someone tells you to. It's a different thing when you know WHY.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

5 Things I Learned at Regionals

CrossFit King of Prussia competitors
This past weekend I had the privilege of being on the team for CrossFit King of Prussia at the Mid-Atlantic Regional competition held in Landover, MD. Our owner, Aimee Lyons, competed as an individual and six of us competed as a team. We went in ranked 29th out of 30 teams (140 competed in our region during the Open) and came out 24th. Our best finish was 11th in event 1 (partner deadlifts and handstand push ups) and overall it was a great weekend. Seeing all of those teams and individuals compete was awe-inspiring and provided some food for thought, so I thought I'd share five things I learned at Regionals.

21 year old Ben Smith snatching 265# for 1st place
1. No matter how good you think you are, there's someone better than you. 
You can be big fish in a small pond, but Regionals is a much bigger pond. Drawing the top competitors from PA, MD, DE, WV, VA, and NC means you can be the top dawg in your gym and still be bottom of the ladder at the next level. Even Ben Smith, who dominated the Mid-Atlantic Region with five first-place wins, came in eight for the dumbbell snatch event.  The constantly varied nature of CrossFit almost guarantees that no one will be the absolute best at every single thing. (some of you are probably going to argue for Froning/Thorisdottir/Clever, but I don't consider them human) It's one of the great things about CrossFit and it's why we say "leave your ego at the door." Humility comes with the territory. 

Danny of CF KoP on the 100# dumbbell snatch
2. Being strong makes the difference. 
Strength is the deciding factor when it comes to success vs. failure in CrossFit. The dumbbell snatch (100#s for men, 70#s for women), the 225/135 hang power cleans, and the max effort snatch separated the big guns from the water pistols. Athletes big and small were fine with pull ups and even pistols, but the heavy stuff allowed the elite to pull ahead. I think this trend will continue as the field of CrossFit competitors grows and the need for stratification remains. The 2008 CrossFit Games final even was 30 squat cleans to overhead at 155# (105# for women). Back then, that was a heavy weight, but now Graham Holmberg does that workout once a week. My only contention is that if they're going to have a max effort lift, they should balance it with an aerobic exercises such as a mile+ run. But I digress.

"Reebok" chairs

3. The sport of fitness has arrived...and Reebok is here to stay. 
Reebok is here and it's here to stay. Whether you like it or not, the branding was apparel, I mean, apparent. We got to Regionals a day early and decided to check out the facilities. As we were walking around the athlete area, we noticed the chairs had Reebok headrests. At first I thought it was insane that Reebok made chairs, but then I noticed a guy literally labeling the headrests with iron-on stickers. I'm not in the marketing world, so I'm sure this was normal, but it was really incredible to see "Reebok" on everything from those chairs, to the huge banners on the spectator fences, to the little cards that showed how much weight people were lifting. Reebok was smart to get in on CrossFit and they are here to stay. I'm sure those who win the $250,000 prize money at the Games will appreciate their involvement.

Dawn of CF Wilmington on the last bar of the snatch ladder, 185# and a 15#PR
4. There's always room for improvement.
"Get busy living or get busy dying." "You're either getting better or getting worse, no one stays the same." I don't think anybody comes away from Regionals thinking they are good where they are; I know I didn't. Watching the events, especially the snatch ladder, motivated me to focus on my weaknesses. These include the overhead squat and the snatch. Seeing the technical prowess and power from these individuals made me want to train the lift. I had always known I needed to work on them, but seeing proficiency in person motivates you more than seeing it on Youtube. I am calling this post-Regionals time frame the "Year of the Snatch."

BQ and Steve Pinkerton congratulating each other after a grueling event 4

5. The CrossFit community is awesome.
Members of CrossFit King of Prussia drove 2+ hours to see us workout for a few minutes at a time. It was so great to have them there for support and very generous of their time and money to come down and cheer us on. There were plenty of fan sections from each box, but one of the things that separates CrossFit from other sports is the fact that competitors cheer on EACH OTHER. Whether it was the first place team or the last place, we all congratulated each other on a job well done. Hearing "nice job" from people you've never met is a pretty cool thing, especially when you're directly competing against one another. One of the coolest events was the snatch ladder. Teams started on the 155# bar and worked their way up to heavier bars. If you didn't make the lift, you went over and waited on the side. As the crowd of us grew on the sidelines, we first fist bumped to acknowledge each others' efforts and then turned our attention to those remaining. One team member from CrossFit Wilmington made the 265# bar and we went nuts. A woman from the same team made the highest bar (185#) and the entire crowd went crazy. (see #4) People were there to support their own team or individuals, but no one was there to keep others down.

There was a lot more to Regionals, but these were the top things that I took away from the weekend. Did you attend any regional event as a competitor or spectator? What did you take away from it?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

CrossFit King of Prussia at Mid-Atlantic Regionals

Tomorrow, CrossFit King of Prussia will send one team and one individual to the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Regionals competition. Aimee Lyons will be competing as an individual, while Cate Kelly, Kristin Trostle, Laura Pappas, Vinny Joyce, Danny Spataro, and I compete as team members. Here's CrossFit KoP's blog post about us, and here's a video of us on the CF Games website. I'm pretty pumped to workout, meet some great people, and watch some amazing feats of fitness!

I'll be updating Twitter whenever I can, you can follow me here. Or if you want even better coverage, follow the CF Games Mid-Atlantic Region here.
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