Progress Part 1

This WILL be a multi post topic…so stay tuned!

While traveling a few weeks ago I found myself sitting in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on a layover…no wifi available, and lost in thought.  I was heading to a competition in the USA that I honestly expected to finish last in but had already long realized that I wasn’t going down there to win. I was going for an experience, to say I did it, and to be with friends.

Then my mind wandered and I got to thinking, “what if one day I actually go to one of these competitions with a realistic plan to do well?  I mean in this case, in hindsight, I did better than I thought, but what if in two years I go in wanting to be top 15.  How will I get there?”.

I sat down with a book I recently purchased, “Progress” by Chris Moore (@barbellbuddha on social media)

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Chris has become a bit of a reprieve for me from day to day life.  I work as a police officer and sometimes the days can be weary.  Often, more often that not actually, I find myself listening to his “Get Change” podcast as a way to shift my mind from police work and hyper vigilance while on the way home…I’ve listened to every episode at least twice, some episodes more.  At home I have to be a  husband, brother, uncle, son, and friend…I don’t have to be a cop all the time, I’m more than that. The dude’s done a lot and is far more intelligent than I, but we share many of the same philosophies and his ramblings make me think, ponder, and even sometimes meditate.  It’s quite relaxing.  This book though…read this book…

Click HERE to shop for his books
$10 for an ebook, $15 for paperback.

I had to put the book down about 7 times by my count during my layover in flight to process “mind blasting” moments (as Russell Peters would say!).  There are many dog eared pages and I’ll be reading this one again…I don’t read as much as I should, and I read this cover to cover in one sitting.

Now, even prior to reading a page, I started thinking about goals. I made the conscious decision that I needed to write some things down that I want within my fitness journey and determine a reasonable timeline to make significant change.  So I wrote down the following inside the back cover with a goal of June 2017.

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When you open the book, the first sign that Chris is different is the first three sentences you find:

This content is not under copyright.
Take any idea and share as you see fit.
It’ll make you feel good.

Well, he said so, so as part 1 of this topic, I want to share Chris Moore’s 8 thoughts on goals.  It’s a fluid process but it needs direction.  Take a read, I’ll be back in a few days to delve much much deeper into the topic.

Enjoy, friends.

Taken from “Progress” by Chris Moore.

  1. What’s your commitment?

You can write it down in a notebook, on your phone, or in bright red paint across the back wall of your garage. Anything will do.

The tool doesn’t matter, only your commitment. So, what is your goal? Think carefully. Yes, write it down. Have a scotch and read it aloud. Do it again. Know it well.

Every journey begins by pointing to a desired destination. That comes with some pressure and expectation, but believe me, it really doesn’t matter what you pick. You just need to stop circling and assume a trajectory. Everything else will soon work itself out.

Just pick something to shoot at for now. Start where you stand, with a load that you can lift right now with very good form. Your target can be anything within reason, but a good guide might be a 10% increase in two months.

Is that too much? Too litte? Well, you’ll learn that soon enough.

 

  1. The motive.

Writing down your commitment is a critical first step, but it’s only a temporary sugar rush designed to get you moving.

If you really want to pull that dream down from the clouds and make it real, then you’ll have to work really hard for it, for a really long-time. Let’s embrace that now.

What’s a good reason to train? Well, wanting to be the biggest, strongest, or fastest person in any room is a TERRIBLE one. Really. No matter how much you change, grow and achieve, you will never be satisfied. So do better. Don’t repeat those mistakes. Know exactly what you’re after and WHY.

What is it? To qualify for a competition? Break the record? Catch up with the friend that got a head start? Lose the baby weight and knock them dead in the pink bikini? It can be whatever pleases you, you sexy beast. Just don’t let it be about ego alone. It won’t work.

If you feel nothing now at the start, then you’re sure to get lost when the journey gets tought. Make this count.

 

  1. The art of projection.

You have written down your commitment. You have carefully assessed the motive. Now what?

Try using your imagination. Really.

One of the most useful skills you can cultivate is the ability to visualize yourself in the future. Day to day, week to week, month to month, see yourself calmly achieving your goals just as planned.

See it done. It will bring an immediate benefit.

The practice will reinforce the plan daily. It will anchor you in rough waters. It will reassure when you get cold feet. It will cultivate a familiarity with success and make it much more probable. Believe it’s possible. Change the reality.

I might add, looking back can be just as useful. Every successful day, week and month gives you valuable data. So, pay close attention along the way. Look back on that record and trust it. Utilize it.

When you project back forward you’ll be more confident and ready for ascension.

 

  1. Setting the scope.

Knowing what you’re after is terribly important, but so is knowing what you’re NOT after.

I could provide a scientific, evidence based rationale as to why you should avoid trying to get better at everything all at once. But, I’d rather just share a saying. I was originally told it was of Hungarian origin, but who knows where it came from.

It goes something like this. “If you only have one ass, you cannot ride two horses”. Yeah, I think that does the job just fine.

If more strength is your pressing need, set aside at least a few months to devote your focus to it entirely. Give it everything you’ve got. Pour yourself all over it.

Let’s be clear. You still need to go out and do everything else that’s important to you, but, you have to back off and save the real work for the barbell.

Drive what is needed. Make it happen. Preserve what has been earned before. Rotate in due time. That’s all it takes.

 

  1. Step by Step.

Training is an act of cultivation. It’s like gardening.

You create and maintain the conditions for growth – water and feeding, weeding. Then you let the process unfold as it will. There is no rushing things.

Let’s say that you’re trying to add 50 kilograms on your squat, and you’d like to do that in ten weeks. That means your target is an average increase of five kilos per week across your work sets. Sounds reasonable.

Stick to that plan! Ideally you would hit each weekly increase. If so, congrats! You are a success.

If things come too easily, be more aggressive with your goal next time around. Take advantage of the new data. If progress ever slows and success seems unlikely during the coming weeks, that’s your cue to start building in more rest. Unload for a week, then resume right where you left off. This is how you learn to manage your fatigue and tune your approach.

If you just get crushed and buried under a suspiciously heavy load, you know you began with ego. Try starting over with at least a 10% lower load. Take your time. This in no race.

 

  1. Use what you’ve got.

I don’t know of any writer who wouldn’t love a brand new MacBook Air for work. It’s sexy as hell. But does that matter?

Ultimately, it doesn’t. Success in art starts with the individual and their vision.

Writers write with what they’ve got – computer. Typewriter. Paper and pen. Lump of coal. It could be anything. The art, the vision, the belief will still shine through anything.

Strength is absolutely no different. It starts with you. Not a program. Not a coach. Not a piece of equipment or a pill. It’s YOU.

Do your best to secure a barbell and plenty of weight. For everything else, get creative and use what’s around. Toys at the gym. A log, or stone. Or perhaps just your body! Just do not be discourage with what you lack. Instead focus on all the things you can do now.

Remember, everything starts with you.

 

  1. What’s in the way?

If you really want to be successful during this journey, then work with your limitations. Don’t disregard them. Don’t assume they’re a barrier.

How are things going at work? …Busy? Are you in a sour relationship? Have you been sick lately? Did you recently become a parent, and are you now getting a shaky three hours of sleep per night, maybe?

These are all factors that WILL affect your plan. Don’t push forward blindly in pursuit of the goal. If you do, I can say from experience that you will only wear down and lose interest.

When time is restricted, just focus on reaching your weekly loading target, then lower the load by 20% and do a few sets of 2-5 reps.

Hit the important exercises hard two to three times per week. Only consider adding work when your schedule allows, and progress slows with the current plan.

As always, take your time. You will be fine. Just try and take it easy on yourself when you can.

 

  1. A final note.

A simple and progressive plan is powerful and life changing because it is cumulative. The work adds up, and before you know it, you’re different. You’re stronger, and on to brand new goals.

That’s an exciting thing.

Get lost in the process. Take those first few steps and get your momentum. Check off the milestones. Tailor your approach as you get new data. Rest hard when necessary. Adjust your goal-setting so that it’s more accurate.

If you can get that far, you will start to see why that first goal didn’t matter much at all. It was only the motion that matter. The rhythm.

That’s what changes your reality. That’s what allows this transformation to take place.

Let that be your focus. No matter what happens, find a way to stay in motion. All those results you’re after? Like I said, that will all take care of itself.

For now, the barbell is waiting on you.

 

Made In CrossFit

June 29, Arizona

Remember how I said I was stressed just picking a box when I had three choices? Here’s what came up when I was in Tempe (Phoenix):

map

 

Holy. Crap.

I started with the ones closest to my hotel, as well as either of the airports I’d be working from. I swiftly axed the airport ones as I had no interest in driving 20 minutes home after, soaked in sweat. It’s too dang hot.

wx

 

(And this was AFTER the workout and the quick drive back to base!)

To be totally honest, I spent a LOT of time comparing, but I’m pretty sure I picked Made In CrossFit because they had Murph pics up. Off went a message and back came a very welcoming invitation. Since they had scheduled intro classes, I plugged my info into their website and waited for the next one.

Upon arrival, owner Oscar welcomed me, and assured me form and mobility were tantamount (Yep! Look what I found!). I watched a bit of the previous workouts finishing up, and witnessed some new PRs – heard the bell ring and lots of congratulations from everyone else. It felt like an awesome environment to be in.

leopard

 

Coach Katie took the newbies and went over all the movements, including scaled options available; then we went for a run, and I got SUPER lightheaded (due to some huge issues happening back home, I really hadn’t eaten that day or drank enough water). I’ll admit up front I didn’t push hard, my lunges could have gone deeper, my Spider-Man’s longer, but my goal was not to black out. I let the coach know so she could keep an eye out, and she kept form in check where any weight was involved.

We did 3 rounds of 5 Spider-Man wall walks, 100′ weighted walking lunges, and 5 diamond push-ups. I finished right at the 15 minute time cap, tired and SOAKED.

me

 

Due to the aformentioned issues back at home, I pretty much finished my work and booked the first flight back, but if I find myself back in Phoenix, I plan to go visit again!
A couple more shots of their giant facility (lifted from their facebook page)

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Made In CrossFit
http://www.MadeInCrossFit.com
Oscar@MadeInCrossFit.com
http://www.facebook.com/MadeInCrossFit
(480) 415-4745
#5, 1130 W. Alameda Dr, Tempe AZ

Silver Strike CrossFit

June 7-20, Nevada

When I finally caved, bit the bullet, and started looking for the box where I was stationed I was in Carson City, Nevada. I thought it was a small town, imagine my surprise to find three local gyms.
At first I panicked a bit at having to choose, but I got on some message boards and asked opinions, as well as found a poster at local java hangout Comma Coffee (it just has this ‘trust us’ vibe). So I sent my ridiculously hesitant message off. Jen was quick to reply, reassuring, and just so darn friendly, that off to Silver Strike CrossFit I went.

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On arriving I found puppies and very welcoming, friendly folks. It wasn’t huge like 403, more like 403 was in their last location. These guys had been open for a mere month.
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And I found out the gym owner Jen sufficiently creeped me back on facebook, and discovered mutual law enforcement connections. I can be apprehensive confiding in people that I’m away from home with minimal supervision, for obvious safety reasons, yet I unknowingly chose the gym owned by a cop; with at least one other police officer and a corrections officer among their membership. Josh had seemed a little concerned with all my talk of “people I met at the gym” and I laughed silently, wishing I could tell him how safe I was (remember he’s currently in the dark on this). Another reason I knew I chose the right gym-a copy of Supple Leopard on the stereo.

The coaches were made well aware of the fact that I knew NOTHING, and Mike went over all the movements we would be doing in the workout with me. The warmup was back squats so we started with an empty bar and practiced form while everyone went through their warmup. A LOT of form was corrected (yes honey, my squats suck), and true to CrossFit form, even though half of my warmup was instruction, the warmup felt like a workout.

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I’m in there!

4

 

Then came the actual workout. Sprints were outside. In the sun. In the 95 degree desert (at least it’s a dry heat).
I only had an empty bar but the rest of the class treated me like I was one of them and we all chipped away at the tasks. I rewarded myself at each sprint turnaround with a pat on the bulldog’s head.

5

 

Tried my best to focus on the form, and squatting deeper since I had the advantage of no weight, but I’m sure by the end I was only going down about 3″.

True to CrossFit form there were lots of “congratulations” and “good jobs”. I was DEAD, and it took three days for me to be able to sit down unassisted again.

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But I went back for more…NOT the next day like my sadistic husband’s first time. Four days later. The same coach and two of the same people from my first class were there. A nice small group so I could stay supervised without taking too much attention from others.

Once again, I was ready to be done after the warmup (wasn’t that the workout?). Alex & Mike put weight on my bar-just 10 per side, but it was enough to feel the dynamics of the movement more than PVC pipe offered. Kind of neat to have a ‘click’ moment. 10 more per side was added but I lost form quick so we pulled it back off (yay for being safe!).

Setting up for the workout we opted to split the difference and add 5 to each side. Holy crap honey I did a workout with a 45lb bar! (Shut up that’s big for me.) I was REALLY ready to be done after three rounds, I’ll give CrossFit props for having that peer pressure aspect that made me finish. I wasn’t fast, but I finished. And I was wrecked again.

 6

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Umm…and again (despite posting now, I was composing as I go). A long story involving airplanes and explosives (that do belong on the airplanes!) and FedEx and I was stressed and upset and still stuck NOT going home. So why not add some physical pain to the mix. We tried handstands, did strict presses (mine suck less than my squats form-wise, I just have ZERO strength. Bar only, albeit the 35lb one) paired with Michelle who had been there every time with me (who just about got back to her 1RM!). Then Annie, which I kind of did in 13 minutes. I didn’t double the single-under count on the 40s set (the coach said I didn’t have to at all) but I figured I paid to be there, why cheat myself out of it. It would be like leaving for 15 minutes in the middle of a movie. It got super awkward (to me) at the end when I was the last one going and everyone watched, but I’m starting to like this crowd ❤️

Silver Strike CrossFit
http://www.silverstrikecrossfit.com
SilverStrikeCrossFit@gmail.com
http://www.facebook.com/silverstrikecrossfit
(775) 720-8304
3260 Centennial Park Dr, Carson City NV

Hostile Takeover

Hi, I’m Josh’s wife, and I am NOT a CrossFitter…so unless you know him/us in person, you’ve probably never heard of me (No, wait! He posted our Christmas card pics in 2012…where he called my roller derby a “hobby” but CrossFit “who I am.”) I guess you could call me a box bunny because I’ve been around 403 enough to be friends with a lot of the members, but as long as Josh has been doing CrossFit, I’ve been holding out on it. It’s just not my style, I don’t like getting yelled at, the gangster music, the excessive effort required…a lot of reasons. If this progresses, I will still refuse to call myself a “CrossFitter”, I will just be a person who does CrossFit. (I KNOW that’s possible, I’ve met some even at 403!)

However, for many reasons, I’m giving it a go:
-recent body image dissatisfaction, and very little motivation to actually do anything about it
-travelling for work, why not check out different boxes and see how many I can go to
-a ‘grand gesture’ of sorts to add a common interest between my husband and I (although I confess part of my lengthy holdout was absolutely begrudging of how my roller derby was never taken seriously)
-and, you know, to put something back in this space he has neglected for so long!

The catch-I’m NOT doing it at 403. I’m not even doing it with Josh (yet). I travel all over North America with my job, so I started trying it out wherever I’ve got time when on the road. Oh, and I haven’t told him I’m doing it yet…

There’s a new rookie in town.

Except out of town.

Coming to a town near you.

(Did I make that cheesy enough?)

Gettin Shredded

Dear friends and family,

I’m excited to tell you about a big commitment that I’ve made. We all know that losing weight is tough. My results in the past have been positive, with 100lbs missing from my body since 2011.  I have tried a lot of methods, found some that worked and more that didn’t.  I’ve Captained teams in weight loss challenges, and am happy and thankful that my efforts have inspired others to better themselves through hard work and nutrition.  That said, I’ve decided to try something different this time. Something better and bigger…way bigger.

For the next year, I will be living and training as an athlete.

I know that might sound intense, but it makes perfect sense. The fitness athletes that I admire most all have a have a coach, they follow a structured training program, they have teammates that drive and support them. Instead of dieting, they focus on eating lots of high-quality food so that they can fuel their body properly. They know how to rest and recover so that they can sustain that active, high-performance lifestyle. That lifestyle is exactly what I’ve committed to.  We are all very lucky at CrossFit 403 to have Heather, Regan, and the coaching staff we do, and I’m very proud to be part of that coaching staff, a staff that tries to push ourselves a little further in order to learn and bring more to the table for our members, our family.

To this end, I have been given the opportunity to work with CrossFit Games athlete Mike McGoldrick and his friends from the Barbell Shrugged podcast to be a part of the first Barbell Shredded program.  It’s 52 weeks of continuous work, it will be very hard, but should be very rewarding, and I am very much looking forward to learning some new things that will not only help me achieve my fitness performance goals, but will also provide me with new tools that I can bring to the amazing family at CrossFit 403.  I will still be coaching and working out with the 403 crew, that will not change, most of this journey will take place behind the scenes but I want everyone to be aware.

My hope is that one of these new tools will be effective in helping you achieve your goals and instill the confidence needed for you to BE the change you want to be.

Here’s my request – Please help to hold me accountable.

Some days will be easier than others. I won’t always feel like going to the gym for a tough workout. If we are at a restaurant and everyone is eating junk food, please don’t offer me any. I’ll just say no. And please don’t ask me again until I give in. I know that it’s “just one bite, just this once,” but that attitude is exactly why most transformations fail.

If we’re going to grab some dinner together, can we please go to a restaurant that is both delicious and healthy for us (this will be good for both us us after all…).

I need you to make this process easier for me, not harder.

You’re my friends, my family, and my support and I need you to be strong with me until I can do it all on my own.

Help remind me of my commitment. Please encourage and believe in me.

I’m still a normal person, I’ll have a cheat meal here and there, but I seriously do want the next 12 months to be the 12 healthiest months of my entire life.

With your help, I know I can make it happen and I can achieve this transformation.

Thanks,
Rook

Murph and 403

Murph May 19 2014

 

It wasn’t my first Hero WOD…that was Klepto.

It’s not the hardest Hero WOD I’ve done either, and there’s several that have movements I still dream of being able to do…

But this hero, Murph, means something.

I’m not sure if it’s because I think that Murph and I were pretty similar in our loyalties and values, or because we both chose careers where he knew that death was a possibility, where we run into the danger when others run away. I’m not sure if it’s because I have many other friends who are in similar careers with Police, Fire, and Military, and I understand that any watch could be their last. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve researched what happened on June 28, 2005 more than any other military mission, making Murph more human to me, or because his legacy really is just that big.

I’m just not sure.

What I am sure of though, is that I have never been emotional while briefing a WOD for 26 of CrossFit 403’s finest. Seeing 19 names on the white board, the 19 who died on that day, just brings it home for me. Nine of those 19 were younger than I am now, including Murph himself who died at 29 years old.

Murph was the third ever CrossFit Hero workout–the first two were JT and Michael, named for S01 Jeffrey Taylor and Lt. Michael McGreevy, who died when the helicopter they were in was shot while on the way to try and save Murph and his crew.

Murph–For time, complete:
1 mile run
100 pull-ups
200 push-ups
300 squats
1 mile run
If you have a 20lb weight vest or body armor, wear it.

I’ve taken this workout on a number of times, but always on my own. I prefer to break it up into 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats. It feels a little more manageable. I think I’m at attempt 7 now, and it was always a solo effort by me. Soul searching if you will; learning and training myself to know that no matter how beat up I feel, I will fix the situation, tough it out and keep moving, workout or not. In a career such as policing, the mental fortitude to continue to fight when you feel you have nothing left could be the difference between life and death. All that said, I’ve NEVER completed this workout as prescribed in any way. I’ve substituted sit ups for the pull-ups, I’ve done lots of ring rows, I’ve done push-ups off my knees, I’ve rowed instead of run, and in one attempt I did 5 rounds with real pull ups.

Today was different. Today was game day. Having run a sprint triathlon yesterday, being sick and beat up today, I didn’t care one bit what the clock said…this one isn’t about the clock for me. Today I would do this RX…pull-ups, push-ups on my toes, squats, and a 20lb weight vest. The clock didn’t matter. In fact the only time I even remember seeing on the clock was 57:12, when I started round 18 or 19.

That. Was. Hard.

But you know what? My whole 403 family was there when I was done. Regan, Drew, and Josh even ran the last mile with me, to show their support. When some people were done before I started round 14, they were still there when I came back in the door, last, and ripped the weight vest off. They were still clapping, cheering, and yelling, as if I had won the Games.

I hadn’t.  I just hadn’t stopped.

That’s what this, and CrossFit, is about. Learning what you can do, what you can accomplish. At the end of the day, this is still just a workout. This is corny, but no one has ever died doing Murph, but many have lived during it.

I’m very proud to be a part of the CrossFit 403 family, and the CrossFit community as a whole. But I was so proud today to share this workout with you guys, I just really can’t put it into any other words. Just, proud. You guys all amaze me.

1 hour, 14 minutes, 13 second. RX.

Cheers,
Coach Rook

Below is a slideshow made by our amazing in house photographer, Kelly. She’s a wonderful member of our community and has a distinct talent for capturing “those” moments. To top it off, she made the slideshow with one of my favorite songs, “Halo”, by Edmonton band Tupelo Honey. I highly recommend you listen to them! Just listen to the lyrics in the song as you watch and you’ll see why I suggested this song for the video…it just, fits. Thank you Kelly.

2014 CrossFit Open Recap

14.1 SCORE: 270 REPS
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
30 double-unders
75-lb. power snatches, 15 reps

14.2 SCORE: 20 REPS
Every 3 minutes for as long as possible complete:
From 0:00-3:00
2 rounds of:
10 overhead squats
10 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 3:00-6:00
   2 rounds of:
12 overhead squats
12 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 6:00-9:00
2 rounds of:
14 overhead squats
14 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Etc., following same pattern until you fail to complete both rounds

14.3 SCORE: 115 REPS (Completed all 25 deadlifts at 275lbs)
Complete as many reps as possible in 8 minutes of:
135-lb. deadlifts, 10 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch
185-lb. deadlifts, 15 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch
225-lb. deadlifts, 20 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch
275-lb. deadlifts, 25 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch
315-lb. deadlifts, 30 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch
365-lb. deadlifts, 35 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch

14.4 SCORE: 157 REPS (Completed 7 cleans)
Complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible in 14 minutes of:
60-calorie row
50 toes-to-bars
40 wall-ball shots, 20 lb. to 10-foot target
30 cleans, 135 lb.
20 muscle-ups

14.5 SCORE: 21:3421-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
95-lb. thrusters
Bar Facing Burpees

FINAL PLACING: (to come)
CrossFit 403 Men:
CrossFit 403 Overall:
Canada West:
Worldwide: