Strong start, weak finish

I spent the day working on the new and vastly improved website. It’s looking awesome!

Barbell Club

I truly enjoy James’ coaching, and I look forward (as I dread) each session.

A: Front Squat 5×5
James told us to go heavy, so heavy I went. James and I went forth and back about starting weight, as I always think in terms of percentages of 1RM. He makes a valid point in that he wants some folks who might not know just how strong they are (I’m talking about you, Evelyn) to go heavy enough to make gains.
I know my capabilities. I truly do.
I began at 65% of 1RM and completed sets of 5 reps @ 145, 150, 160, 185, and then 4 reps @ 220#, 88% of 1RM. Why that heavy? Because James encouraged me to do so. He said, “Even if you don’t get all 5 reps and fail, that’s okay. Try 3 at 90%.” I really struggled on the 4th rep, but there was no way that I going to fail. I knew, however, that I didn’t have a 5th rep. I was feeling strong.
And then I got very light-headed. I’m craving carbs. Yup, the Paleo diet is taking its toll on me. Perhaps.
B: Clean and Jerk (Not TNG; mod to heavy weight)
I completed sets at 95, 115, 125, & 135. Uhm, yeah, so I push pressed one of the reps at 135#. It’s hard for me not to think, “I’m attempting to jerk just a little less than my body weight over my head.”
My very good friend May said that my form was spectacular. And as always, she’s right! (Inside joke, ladies and gentlemen.) James did compliment clean form, but not jerk form.
C: Metcon (Time)
21 Thrusters
21 Pull-ups
15 C and J
15 C2B pull-ups
9  Squat snatches
9  MU or 2 C2B pull-ups + 1 ring dip
I was not looking forward to this. Again, I was feeling very light-headed and weak. Dammit. I briefly contemplated 105 (very close to power snatch 1RM). James observed and suggested 105 for everything but snatch. I said, “I’ll stick with 95 for everything.” I should’ve snatched 85 instead of 95. Dammit.
I completed thrusters in reps of 11, 7, & 3. I was already winded. I completed 21 unbroken pull-ups (with Janet watching me the entire time). Fifteen C&Js one at a time. I was very ready to quit. I thought, “If 95# feels this heavy now, how the f@ck am I going to be able to snatch this over my head?” Chest to bar pull-ups in reps of 9 & 6. Then the dreaded snatches.
I completed power snatch and OHS, per approval of James. One. At. A. Time. James did observe and ensured that I squatted below parallel. He was very encouraging. I completed 4 unbroken muscle ups, felt a twinge in my right shoulder, completed 1 more muscle up, failed 2 attempts, and completed rings dips and chest to bar pull-ups.
I could barely focus, and honestly began to consider asking for a ride home.

Pressing, running, snatching, pulling

IMG_0363 IMG_0364

Ah, Mondays, how I no longer dread you. I most certainly dreaded Mondays when I worked in the “Real World!”

I worked out at 8:30 am, and was joined by Steven Stephen Dodge Burke for the floor presses. (Nice work, Steve Dodge!)

CrossFit Surmount – CrossFit

WL: Floor Press (5 reps @ 85, 3 reps @ 90, & AMRAP @ 95% of 1RM)

I only managed 1 rep @ 190#. But that sh!t was heavy! How heavy! 1.35% of bodyweight. That heavy.

Metcon (Time)

Run 400m
21 hang power snatches (75/53)
9 chest to bar pull-ups

I was sore from yesterday’s barbell club, particularly in the gluteus maximum region; thus, running was somewhat of a chore. I completed the first set of 21 HPS in reps of 11 (surprising myself), 6, & 5, the second and third sets in reps of 9, 5, 4, & 3. Chest to bar pull-ups were completed unbroken the first 2 rounds and in reps of 5 & 4 the final round.

Time = 12:11

The Paleo challenge continues to go well, and I haven’t knowingly cheated. It’s most difficult whilst grocery shopping, as there are so many goodies, you know, like bread and milk. Ha! I’ve settled at 142#, just 1# less than normal weight, so I’m also happy with that. I sure am eating a substantial quantity of food. We had lunch at Tribeca Tavern today, and it was delicious! Grilled salmon on a bed of wilted spinach and carrot/ginger puree. I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it.


Picture courtesy of the lovely Rona.
Picture courtesy of the lovely Rona.

The 4th Annual Xander Tribute WOD was held at CrossFit Surmount yesterday, and this is the first time that I’ve not completed the workout. I needed a day of rest (both physical and psychological). Today is the anniversary of Xander’s death; thus, I’m very emotional and short-tempered.

Today’s Barbell Club Club session was a welcome relief.

A: Back Squat (2 sec pause Back Squat)
James instructed us to BS 75% of 1RM, but as that is 180 I rounded up to 185#. Rising out of the squat was a challenge each and every rep, but particularly the 3rd rep of each set. I nonetheless enjoyed this, as I love back squatting.
B: Snatch (In 25 mins, warm up SN,  3 sets 3 pos. snatch work)
I don’t think I’ll ever like the snatch. That’s what he said. I worked up to 85#, which for me is a good, challenging weight. High hang and hang are better than below the knee. Full squat snatches, yo.
C1: Single leg squat (With KBs)
C2: Pendlay row
I used 35# KBs for single let squats and 125# for rows. This certainly felt like a metcon. Again, it’s obvious that my left leg is stronger than my right.
Metcon (For Time)
DL 21@135, 18@185, 15@225 12@275
Box Jump 21@20″, 18@24″, 15@30″ 12@36″
This was, dare I say, fun! I weighed myself (fully clothed and after having been up for hours and having eaten a full breakfast) and I weigh a whopping 142#. Thus, the first set of deadlifts was almost at bodyweight. I easily completed 21 unbroken reps. I practiced faster box jumps and failed 2 consecutive reps in that I didn’t open my  hips. Those were the last reps that I failed. I was the first to begin round of 18. I completed deadlifts in sets of 11, 4, & 3 reps and unbroken box jumps. For the set of 15 deadlifts @ 225 I began to drop the bar at the top of each rep. I completed in sets of 5, with a brief pause to shake out my legs between sets. Whilst completing 15 unbroken box jumps @ 30″ I began to be plagued by self doubt, as it was challenging to jump that high. I thought, “If I’m struggling now, what’s the likelihood that I’ll be able to jump half my height?”
I completed 12 deadlifts @ 275#, i.e, almost twice my bodyweight, 2 at a time. Yup, I grunted loudly. James positioned himself near me as I completed 1st box jump. I think he may have been as surprised as I was when I easily jumped that height, jumped off of the box, and began to complete 1 rep after the other. He said, “You know you don’t have to jump off of the box for he to be considered prescribed. You can step off of the box.” I replied, “It’s easier for me this way.”
And it is. I lose my rhythm if I step off of the box, as 1 foot lands before the other. When I jump off the box I tell myself to immediately jump again, and that cue works for me. Do you know the difference between “cue” and “queue”? I do.
Time = 9:03
That’s pretty f@cking fast.

Night Sweats

Thursday, September 24

Barbell Club

James led another awesome session. I do, however, need a day of rest.

A: Split Jerk (From the rack)
I don’t much care for the split jerk. I worked up to 2 @ 155, 10# less than 1RM.
We next did some accessory work, consisting of 1-legged KB deadlifts and 1-legged elevated squats. We were encouraged to hold barbell on back for the latter, and I did. I used 53, 60, & 70# KB for deadlifts and, while challenging, the lifts felt good. I am, however, much weaker in right leg than left. I know not why.
We next worked on RDL and hang full squat cleans. I worked up to 155#, and it felt heavy. Very, very heavy.
B1: Bench Press
B2: Hang Power Clean
10-8-6-4-max reps
James and I went forth and back regarding weight to use. It appears that most people can clean as much as they can bench. Uhm, not me. James encouraged me to use begin at about 50% and end at about 80% of 1RM. We were also instructed to rest a minimum of 90 seconds between sets and we could optionally rest 1 minute between bench and cleans. Uhm, I didn’t. No surprise there. Ten reps @ 95, 8 @ 105, 6 @ 115, 4 @ 125, & 8 BP and 6 HPC @ 135, close to 90% of HPC 1RM.
Friday, September 26

Snatch Grip Deadlift (3 reps @ 80, 85, & 90% of 1RM)

Snatch grip deadlifts felt great today! I completed reps at 230, 245, & 260#.

MC1: J.T. (Time)

Handstand Push-ups
Ring Dips

It’s been a very long time since I’ve completed this Hero WOD. I hadn’t forgotten, however, just how difficult it is. Nothing but arms.

I completed 21 HSPUs in reps of 11, 6, & 5, and ring dips  and pushups in reps of 5, 5, 5, 4, & 2. So, yeah, my shoulders were on fire. I completed 15 HSPUs in reps of 3 or 2. I did fail a rep, the 3rd of a set, so I began completing in sets of 2. I completed ring dips and pushups in reps of 5, 5, 3, & 2.

The last set of HSPUs were difficult, and I competed in reps of 2, 2, & singles, as I missed 6th attempt. Ring dips were completed in reps of 3, 3, 2, & 1 and pushups in reps of 3.

Time = 11:16. That’s a definite PR.



Monday, September 22

I worked out at 8:30, and was joined by many wonderful athletes.

Floor Press (3 reps @ 80, 85, & 90% of 1RM)

Presses two days in a row is never a good thing. I’m trying to find a healthy balance between CrossFit and Barbell Club.

I completed 3 reps @ 160 & 170, but only 2 reps @ 180#. Sh!t got heavy very fast.

Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)

5-min AMRAP
5 power jerks @ 50-55% of 1RM
25 lateral bar hops
Rest 5 min
5-min AMRAP
5 power jerks @ 40-45% of 1RM
25 lateral bar hops

My current push jerk 1RM is 165. I lifted 90 and 75, i.e., 55 & 45% of 1RM. This was a fun workout!

As I communicated to the athletes that I coached, the goal was to work continuously for both of the 5-minute rounds. I missed just 1 rep, the 7th bar hop of the final set. Dammit. I lost focus and that’s what happens.

I completed 8 rounds + 3 PJ the first AMRAP and 9 rounds + 5 PJ the second AMRAP for a total of 518 reps.

Tuesday, September 23

Barbell Club! Great start and finish, not so great middle.

A: Front Squat (5×3@20×1 80% of RM)
I completed sets @ 170, 175, 180, 185, 190, greater than 80% of 1RM. James provided positive feedback, and encouraged me to go heavier. I should’ve gone even heavier, as last set didn’t present much of a challenge.
B: Snatch (work to moderate 2 TNG with near perfect mechanics)
Snatching always presents a challenge. I’m glad we’ll be working on this consistently. James confirmed what I know I need to work on: mobility and speed. I completed a mere 2 reps @ 80#. I did, however, focus only on myself. I’m pretty damned good at ignoring others.
Snatch Grip Deadlift (41×1+1 Mid hang snatch pull )
This was fun! I used 115#.
Metcon (No Measure)
EMOM 10mins
Thruster 5-7 Moderate weight
Strict Pull up 7-9 (strict c2b)
I should’ve paid more attention to rep scheme, as I did 7 reps of both activities each round (and I could’ve easily completed 2 more C2B pull-ups).
I began with 95# for thrusters. As the weight felt manageable and since James provided positive feedback (“Good, Paul.”), I increased weight by 5# each round; thus 95, 100, 105, 110, and 115#. I completed first 3 sets of C2B pull-ups unbroken, 4th set in reps of 5 & 2, and last set in reps of 4, 2, & 1.
Another good session!
Luke likes to be as close to me as he can be whilst I work out.

Thursday, September 24

WOD 3 for Paleo Challenge. I knew it was going to be tough. I learned a valuable lesson: don’t wear Nano 3.0 for box jumps. Dammit.

PC-3: Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)

I woke up with very tight hip flexors and pain in ITB. Not good. I prolly shoulda waited until a later than 8:30 am session to complete.

11-min AMRAP
3, 6, 9, 12, 15…
Wall balls (20 & 10)
Box jumps (24)
Dead-lifts (115)

Heather was kind enough to judge and count for me, and I’m glad that she was there to do so. She also provided some much-needed encouragement! I thought deadlifts would easiest and wall ball shots the hardest. Uhm, box jumps were the hardest and wall balls were the easiest to complete. And deadlifts were much harder than I anticipated.

A confession: as this WOD is likely to be redone at the end of the challenge, I didn’t push myself too hard.

I missed far too many box jumps, probably more than a half dozen. I didn’t miss a single wall ball shot, and ensured that I squatted below parallel and that I hit target squarely in center. Uhm, unlike quite a few folks so far today. I completed through round of 18 unbroken and round of 21 in reps of 13 & 7. I completed all rounds of deadlifts unbroken. I can’t recall which rounds of box jumps I completed unbroken.

Score = 238 reps

My goal is to complete through round 21, as I just had a few more deadlifts to complete in order to do so.

My feet hurt after the workout, due in part to the Nanos. Dammit.

Weak start, strong finish

Another great Barbell Club session! As I coached the 8:30 workout, I once again wasn’t able to warm up as much I would’ve like to have prior to BBC. And yesterday’s workout left me tired and somewhat sore. I may have to make both Wednesday and Saturday rest days.
A1: Push Press
We warmed up and I mentioned to James that even 95# felt heavy. He said, “You don’t have to lift 75%. Go lighter.” So that’s what I did. However, the first set felt good, so I added 5#. As I warmed up push presses felt even better. James said, “Good, Paul.” That’s all that I need to hear.
Sets @ 115, 120, 125, & 125 (a little more than 75% of 1RM).
We were instructed to immediately transition to ring rows, with the rings set low.
A2: Ring Rows (@4 1×1)
A count of 3 for negative and a count of 1 for the row. I competed 9 reps of 4 sets.
B: Push Press (4 1×1 Front rack 4 reps after rep 4 back rack 2 rep)
Negative push presses for a count of 4; 4 from front and 2 from back rack position. James suggested that I go as light as 75# to begin. I attempted that weight and it felt far too light. I began with 85, and increased weight each of remaining sets to 100. After each set James asked how it felt and I honestly replied “easy.” He allowed me to complete a 5th set at 105#.
Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)
5-min AMRAP; rest 5 mins & repeat
5 KB thrusters
7 Burpee box jump-overs
9 Dips
Wow, this was tough. We warmed up KB thrusters and James encouraged me to use 53#. Dammit. I completed the first set of thrusters unbroken, but missed the 4th rep of second set. I completed the 4th rep and then failed on the 5th. That’s 2 failed reps. Dammit. I also failed the 3rd rep of the 3rd set, even though I was completing singles. Dammit.
Burpee box jumps overs were a challenge, and in retrospect I should’ve faced the box when jumping over, as lateral box jumps are a bitch. I completed both sets of ring dips unbroken.
First go around = 2 rnds + 2 reps for a total of 44 reps.
James instructed some of us, myself included, to decrease the weight of the KBs for 2nd go around. Thanks, James! I used 44# KBs and completed first 2 rounds unbroken and 3rd rounds in reps of 3 & 2. I completed first 2 rounds of ring dips unbroken and last (and final) round in reps of 5, 2, & 1. I attempted the last rep but wasn’t able to lock out my arms before the clock sounded.
Second go around = 2 rnds + 20 reps for a total of 62 reps.
Grand total = 106

I should know better…

I worked out at 8:30 am this morning, and Jeff was kind enough to lead the session.

We had arrived at 8 and I had every intention of warming up. That didn’t happen. As often does happen, I spent time before the session getting the box ready for the day.

OPT A: Metcon (Time)


Complete 10 reps of the following:

Power cleans (135)

Plate burpees (45)

Burpee bar pull-overs

Chest to bar pull-ups

Hip touches/side


Box jumps (33)

I completed 2 power cleans, failed the 3rd attempt in that I didn’t pull myself under the bar, completed the 3rd rep and failed the 4th. Decision-making time. I thought, “Too many clean & jerks and snatches in the very recent past. Either skip the cleans altogether or lower the weight.”

I moved onto the plate burpees. No problems there. I moved onto the burpee bar pull-overs. Minor problems and I missed 2 reps. I have to constantly remind myself to kip BIG. I moved onto chest to bar pull-ups and completed is 2 sets of 5 reps, even missing the very 1st rep. WTF? I began to think that things might not go so well today. I knew I wasn’t going to complete 5 rounds. I set my goal to complete 3.

I completed hip touches, HSPUs, and box jumps unbroken. Well, okay then. Maybe things weren’t as bleak as I had begun to imagine.

I yelled to Jeff and asked him to bring me 35# plates. He must have heard “plate” as that’s all he got for me. Uhm, why would I need just 1 plate? Perhaps he thought I was going to lower the weight for plate burpees or height for box jumps. Remind me to ask him.

Anyhow, I slowly and painstakingly retrieved a plate and put 2, 35# plates on the ends of the barbell. I then completed 16 power cleans @ 115#. And the weight felt light. Uhm, I’m confident that I could’ve completed 135# power cleans if I had only warmed up more effectively. Dammitdammitdammitdammit.

With the exception of the 2nd round of C2B pull-ups (reps of 6 & 4) and the last round of hip touches (reps of 5 as my hands slipped off of the bar) I completed all remaining rounds of activities unbroken. even burpee pull overs. And I learned something about burpee pull overs. Nope, I’m not sharing.

I completed 4 rounds in about 42 minutes. Wow, that was tough!

The Paleo Challenge continues to go well. I’m all in. As my mother always said, “If you’re going to do something half-assed, don’t do it all.”

My time was an estimated 42 minutes. IMG_0086

“I didn’t that you were going to get that last one.”

Uhm, I’ve completed a lot of snatches in the past 14 hours.

I worked out at 8:30 this morning, as I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to complete WOD 2 of the Paleo Challenge later today.

Snatch Grip Deadlift (5 reps @ 65, 75, & 85% of 1RM)

Deadlift (5 reps @ 65, 75, & 85% of 1RM)

My hamstrings were still tight, but snatch grip deadlifts went better than expected. Lifts at 185, 210, & 240#. I didn’t lose snatch grip. Yay!

PC2: Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)

9-minute AMRAP
20 G2OH – 65
7 Bar Facing Burpees
15 G2OH – 75
7 Bar Facing Burpees
10 G2OH- 95
7 Bar Facing Burpees
5 G2OH- 135
7 Bar Facing Burpees

In retrospect, I am very glad that I chose Option 2 instead of Option 3, as option 3 began with 95# G20.

My goal was to complete power snatches for as long as I could, i.e., not clean & jerk until necessary.

This was tough, but fortunately I wasn’t feeling lethargic.

I completed set of 20 power snatches @ 65# unbroken, 15 snatches @ 75# in as many as 5 unbroken but the last 2 as single reps. Uhm, the set of 10 power snatches @ 95# were done one at a time. One. At. A. Time. I also really had to struggle to finish the 10th rep, but fortunately I didn’t have any failed reps.

A little bit about the burpees. I mistakenly wore my weightlifting shoes, and to my dismay they impeded my performance. Dammit.

I completed set of 5 clean & jerks @ 135# one at a time. Notice that I completed first 45 G2O as power snatches? Did you notice? That’s quite an accomplishment.

I really, really, really had to fight for it to finish 5th rep. I completed 7 burpees but didn’t have enough time to get the 10# plates on the ends of the barbell.

Afterward my wonderful judge Kelli said, “I didn’t think you were going to get that last one.” I replied, “You know me well enough to know that I’m going to fight for every rep.”

Score = 78 reps.

I weigh 141 pounds.



A few things to note:

  1. I rested yesterday. It was much needed.
  2. I completed 3 sets of 10 thrusters Tuesday, but forget to record. Weights were 100, 105, & 115#. Sh!t felt heavy.
  3. I need to determine if I should continue using hook grip for OHS.
  4. Whilst playing with Luke one of his claws caught my navel ring and tore my skin. Wearing a weightlifting belt is somewhat painful.
  5. Paleo diet continues to go well, and I can already tell that my body and brain are adjusting.
  6. I got new glasses, and (like me) they are progressive. It’s going to take some getting used to.
  7. I finished the first season of the Blacklist. James Spader is awesome.
  8. I watched the first two episodes of True Detectives. Matthew McConaughey is awesome.

I didn’t participate in the Barbell Club Tuesday, so I was looking forward to doing so tonight.

A: Front Squat (Front Squat 5×3 1 and 1 Quarters @ 75% 1RM )
Uhm, 170# is heavy, although I remember a time in the not so distant past when that weight was my 1RM. James demonstrated, I completed, and he said, “Text book.” Best. Compliment. Ever. The last rep of each set felt like a 1RM attempt.
I love squatting. I have grown to love front squatting.
B: Snatch
Teach 3 Position snatch/snatch tech.  Establish snatch warmup, then 7 mins to work to moderate dbl  hang snatch with good mechanics
This was fun! James emphasized what I have taught, although he used slightly different terms. I snatched a mere 75#, working on technique and speed. And it’s the best that snatches have felt.
C: Snatch Grip Deadlift
Not really a snatch grip deadlift… I lifted 115#. Holding the bar with hook grip was becoming a challenge.
Isabel (Time)
For Time:  30 Snatches, 135# / 95#
Uhm, I’m not yet ready to snatch 135#. I may never be ready to snatch 135#. If I continue to lose weight on the Paleo diet (I’ve lost about 5# so far) that may very well be my bodyweight.
I had decided to snatch 85#, but since I completed snatches (albeit one at a time) during the snatch/GHD sit-up metcon, James encouraged me to lift 95# again. Dammit. He said, “There is a 10-minute time limit. If it takes you longer than 10 minutes than the weight was too heavy. If it takes you less than 5 minutes, the weight was too light.”
I positioned myself with my back towards the others, as I wanted to focus on form and not let anyone else’s pace influence my own. And I didn’t want to see the clock.
I also didn’t want anyone to see me cry.
When my form deteriorated, i.e., when I began pressing instead of pulling myself under the bar, I stopped, shook out my shoulders, and reminded myself to open my hips. This generally worked.
I completed in 3:40.
Yup, I should’ve gone heavier. Uhm, but my power snatch 1RM in 115. And I’ve only completed a power snatch at the weight, well, once.
I think I might be getting stronger.
FullSizeRender-1 FullSizeRender


photo-137The title says it all. I felt so lethargic yesterday that I didn’t even post last night. Yesterday was Day 2 of Paleo Challenge, and it was a rough day indeed. I nonetheless felt compelled to complete WOD 1, and to add insult to injury the only time that I was able to do so was at 9:30 am. Uhm, that’s my least favorite time of day to work out. To add further insult to injury I hadn’t properly fueled my body, having only eaten a small apple and a couple of walnut halves.

Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)

4 Minutes – Row for Calories
1 Minute Rest
3 Minutes – Chest to Bar Pull Ups
1 Minute Rest
2 Minutes – 165# Back Squat
1 Minute Rest
1 Minute – 135# Shoulder to Overhead

This started of okay and then got progressively worse and worse. Dammit.

I rowed 68 in about 75 strokes, pretty close to 1 calorie per stroke. Not bad for someone 5’6″.

I only completed 36 chest to bar pull-ups, and had 1 failed rep in that chest, well, didn’t touch the bar. It’s estimated that, while we speak 120 to 160 syllables a minute, we can process up to 1000 syllables per minute. In a brief 1-second period of time these are the thoughts that went through my head (in stream of consciousness):

hips dammit my chest didn’t touch the bar my shirt did but that doesn’t count who would know? I would know don’t count that rep dammit dammit dammit…

Back squats felt very, very heavy, and I only completed 3 sets of 5 and 1 last set of 6 for a total of 21.

I was exhausted when it was time to complete shoulder to overhead. Uhm, 135# is 80% of 1RM and 94% of bodyweight. Dammit. I completed 3, a single, and 2 last reps for a total of a mere 6.

Total of just 131 reps.

A lot went wrong. In retrospect I needed to position myself so that I could better see the clock. (I like to hear a count that sounds like this 10…5…3, 2, 1.) For example, I had time to complete another shoulder to overhead but thought that time was close to running out when in fact there was plenty of time remaining.

I think I also need to hire a cheerleader.

That was yesterday. Today I feel better, although I still crave sweets. I was fearful that I would have to cheat, but fortunately have been able to resist the temptation.

For the first time in months I completed a back lever, and was quite surprised that I was able to do so. Yay!