Archive for August, 2011
Adrian Fulk, our farmer who supplies us with pasture raised meat and local organic veggies every monday, is looking for help locking down his farm before the hurricane…if you’d like to help, email: Mike Lib
There were about 30 of us in total, ranging in age from 18 to 51, encompassing the globe from as far away as Sydney, Australia, to New Jersey, to some native Icelanders. It did not matter our ages, or our nationalities. What we experienced as a group transcended all boundaries. We were all strangers at the start, but we came out of the 9 days together a family. One of the things I have enjoyed the most of CrossFit as a whole, and Providence, was the community we have formed, and the company of the members. During this trip, the same sense of community was established, and it happened amazingly quickly, and for some, tight bonds were established. I guess this is to be expected when you stick 30 strangers, all of like minds, in a bus, in a guesthouse, and in each other’s personal space for nine days straight. Each and every person on the trip contributed something to each and every person, in some way or form. While for some, so much togetherness, so soon, and in such an intense manner, could lead to disruptions within the group, the grueling nature of the trip, and our love for adventure, and fitness, was the cohesive gel which allowed us to not let this happen to us. The crappy bus(ses), the tire changes, a cranky bus driver at the start, long stretches of nothingness, the group lodging accommodations (30 people, one room) all potentially could have spelled disaster for the trip, however, we as a community overcame any curveballs or obstacles, and it was done with patience, with humor, and with passion. While there were many individual things not ideal about parts of the trip, what was ideal was the community around us at every instant.
It also is not often that within a new group of people that everyone feels comfortable with each other enough to be their true self. Due to many of our accommodations being group accommodations, we had no choice but to be. Everyone saw each other bright and early in the morning. We could detect who kept everyone up the night before snoring, or farting. We sometimes had to shower in groups. This broke down many barriers, and people opened up and were themselves. We were all real.
Meeting so many different people, of all different walks of life, and hearing their individual stories, and how they came to be here at that moment was incredible. Talk about connectedness. I felt wired into each and every one of them. While I may not have known every intimate detail about everyone, I knew I could rely on them, and as it turned out, for parts of the trip I needed to. Individual moments with members of the trip will be cherished in my memories. Living in the technology age we live in, it is exciting to know that these foundations for friendships established during this trip can be nurtured online, through Facebook, or Skype, and could potentially grow into even something deeper. It was difficult leaving such a great group of people. Promises were made that many of us hoped to see others again, offering our countries, our homes and ourselves to our new found friends. It is difficult in today’s world to find such a group of strangers as we did on this trip. But that is CrossFit. That is the community I belong to. It is the community which brings me hope.
Check It Out:
+ CrossFit is available to everyone – find out about our CrossFit Volunteer Program
+ Friday night: Rugby Union vs Rugby League @ Classical High (630pm) + the social @ Lola’s (8:30pm)
click here for more
+ Saturday night: Live music at India Point Park, come listen to Damian from CFP: http://www.parkseries.com/
Hang Power Snatch Review
5 Hang Power Snatches (115/85#)
30 Pike Sit-ups
30 Pancake Sit-ups
“Thank you Maggie Bublitz for being my inspiration. Your desire to exercise was initially crazy to me. Now I see exercise as apart of life. Thank you to everyone at CrossFit Providence for keeping me motivated, pushing me, teaching me, and for the many friends I have made.”
I grew up just like every other New Zealand lad – playing sports. Before school, during school, after school and on weekends, I played rugby, soccer, cricket, tennis – you name it, we were playing it. Needless to say, I was active ALL the time. It wasn’t until my final years in high school that things started to change. I had a car, and in order to fuel the car, I got a part-time job. The part-time job meant I didn’t have time for sports anymore. This coincided with my 18th birthday, and I could (legally) drink. In addition, after high school I moved out of the family home. The culmination of these things led to a few years of personal neglect and I went from being a “sprightly young whipper-snapper” (my grandads words, not mine) weighing about 160 lbs to an “out-of shape, probably still drunk from last night, Fish n’ Chip, Big Mac and KFC devouring, juvenile Beluga whale” (my words, not grandads) weighing about 225 lbs. Although 225 lbs isn’t really that big, I felt horrible – both inside and out. I was very unfit, constantly exhausted and not exactly happy about the way I looked. I joked about it in public and laughed it off as a beer belly and puppy fat.
After getting a job in Wellington as a Scuba Instructor I decided to join a gym (mainly because I got a sweet pair of Nike’s upon sign-up – they were silver). It was Les Mills. By NZ standards this was the mack daddy of gyms. It had everything. Free weights, machines, cardio equipment, boxing ring, boxing bags, group classes, sauna, even a dude handing out towels whenever you seemed to need one! Despite this, I had no motivation, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and felt like a douchebag surrounded by all these jockstraps who looked like they ate small children for breakfast. From then on, when the topic came up, yeah I belonged to a gym, I just never went.
I moved to Australia to teach diving in 2007. It was a life changing experience, through no actual effort on my part. I went from working behind a computer, eating crap, drinking beer, and gaining weight, to a manual labour position. I worked 10-14 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, diving about 4- 5 times a day. We were busy. ALL day! Consequently, I lost weight. I figure it was just a matter of calories in versus calories out, because I still ate shit. McD’s and KFC were still on the menu but Fish n’ Chips not so much (the Aussies have crap Fish n’ Chips FYI).
Then I met a girl. Maggie. She was an American girl studying abroad in Canada who was holidaying in Australia. So I moved to Canada, naturally. If you haven’t been to Vancouver, let me paint you a picture. Triathletes, runners, cyclists, hikers, skiers, boarders, climbers, outdoor enthusiasts, steroid enthusiasts, beach volleyballers, martial artists – and they are everywhere! A friend who visited Vancouver said it perfectly, “Where are all the ugly people?” and it’s true. Everybody is in great shape, and even if they’re not model material, they’re active and that’s impressive.
Maggie is a runner. And a good runner. Being so modest I didn’t actually know how good until I met her father who proudly showed me the records she held and still holds. She was out almost every day. Long runs, short runs, tempo runs, hill runs, every day, rain or shine. I slept in. One day something clicked in me as if to say, “I gotta get my ass into gear and do something otherwise I’m going to lose this girl to one of those bodybuilding drones down at the beach”. So I started running. Generally, as not to slow Mag down, it was just me and my iPod but sometimes we would run together. She would leave home about 45mins before me, circle back home and pick me up and then run another 30mins with me, because 30mins was about my limit in those days. I was eating better, mainly because Maggie eats well, and I wasn’t about to cook two meals or to have someone cook me something different. It was great, I discovered vegetables. I was feeling a lot better. Hockey night in Canada (which was actually closer to 4 nights a week) meant I was still drinking a lot though, and I still had fast food every now and then.
We moved to the US in 2009 so Maggie could do an Internship at Brown. We discovered P90X. It was a great supplement to running trails at Lincoln Woods and around the neighborhood of the East Side. It was a wicked hot summer and we bounced around the living room working “Chest and Back”, “Bi’s and Tri’s” and “Plyometrics X”. It was actually quite fun too, and by the end of it I was banging out over 15 dead hang pullups on my pull up bar. After I finished the 12 weeks, I tried to start again and do the ‘next level’, but by that time I had enough of watching the same DVD’s day in day out. I joined the Brown gym and tried to recreate my own workouts based loosely on P90X. It didn’t work. I was bored. About this time I started reading books by Michael Pollan. I read “In Defense of Food”, “Food “Rules”, “Omnivores Dilemma” and watched documentaries like “Food Inc”. Maggie and I were inspired. From then on, we ate by Michael Pollan’s food rules: We bought local foods, avoided corn, and ate loads of vegetables and good quality meats. As a New Years resolution in 09/10 I stopped eating fast food. When New Years 10/11 came around, as much as I talked about getting a Big Mac on New Years day, it never happened. And still hasn’t.
In March 2010, I met Mike Lib. He came to rugby training with PRFC and offered CrossFit as a place to train during the off-season. From that first WOD, I was hooked and talked to the rest of the team about training there. Rugby players and apathy for fitness tend to go hand in hand, so it was just myself and Simon Ouderkirk from the team who trained at CrossFit. He became my workout buddy, and the guy I was gunning for and who was gunning for me. I felt like I had a reasonable fitness baseline coming from P90X. I was wrong. I got my ass kicked. And loved it. I was surrounded by such a diverse range of people at CrossFit Providence all racing the clock, trying to get in that extra rep, and all working on personal goals. They were all shapes and sizes and from all different backgrounds. Some had injuries, some didn’t, some were natural born athletes, some weren’t. I was impressed. I’ve found that CrossFit has been the only thing that had kept me motivated about turning up and punishing myself. The coaches, the people, the WODs – everything keeps me wanting to come back for more. No longer do I have the “Ahh, I’ll go tomorrow…” excuse. Now, it’s more likely to be, “Ahh, shit it’s a rest day and I’m missing Murph!”. I simply love it. After first dismissing Paleo as a load of bullocks, I now eat about 75% Paleo each week. I still love pizza and burgers as much as the next guy, but I simply limit the intake.
I can now run a mile in under 6 minutes. I can now do strict muscle ups. I can now do at least 25 deadhang pullups. I can now box jump all friggin’ day. Great, go me. But while I am proud of my accomplishments thus far I still can’t squat my body weight. I still can’t deadlift twice my body weight. I still can’t snatch well. I still can’t squat clean well. I still can’t do a HSPU… These are the things that keep me coming. These are the things that I need to work on (amongst many many others!). There are always things that you will be good at, just as there are always things that you won’t. There are kids on high school football teams who warm up with my one-rep maxes. That’s life. As I have learned, if you keep showing up, you will progress. I now weigh around 170lbs and am gaining more and more definition and muscle mass by the day. Just as a reminder, I still have the stretch marks to show where I was and where I never want to go back there.
Thank you Maggie Bublitz for being my inspiration. Your desire to exercise was initially crazy to me. Now I see exercise as apart of life.
Thank you to everyone at CrossFit Providence for keeping me motivated, pushing me, teaching me, and for the many friends I have made.
If you have a Before & After story that you would like to share with everyone please email Kiwi Josh and tell us how you came to be a CrossFitter. Remember, you don’t have to lose 300lbs in order to consider it life changing, the journey is the important message.
10 Minute Forward Rolling Practice
15 Skin the Cats
PVC Hang Power Clean
5 Hang Power Cleans (155/105)
30 Double Unders
Finish with 40 Hollow Rocks 3 x 30 sec frog stands
What do you get when you put 30 like-minded people on a bus for 9 days and nights, in a country where the sun does not set until after 11:30PM? An experience like no other you could have imagined.
From August 11 to August 21, I had the pleasure to visit Iceland. From the start, I was unsure of what to expect. There was no true itinerary distributed beforehand, a short packing list of necessities, and pretty much nothing else. We were at the mercy of the 2011 CrossFit Games 5th fittest Man in the World, Blair Morrison, and the Fittest Man in Iceland, Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornson, and the inaugural AnywhereFit Iceland trip. There were no expectations of the trip, except the promise made that it would be an experience of a lifetime.
For a little background, I have been following Blair’s blog for over two years now, and his motif is to experience fitness in a variety of outdoor places, as it makes for a much more memorable and meaningful experience. Sometimes he brings equipment to the place, or other times he uses what is available to him based on his location. His creativity is inspiring and his collection of essays titled, Fitness Is…, have some of the most thought provoking and cerebral ramblings about exercise I have read.
Why Iceland? Before the trip was announced it was a place I have always wanted to visit, as my father was stationed there during his time in the Navy, and he always said how wonderful it was. When this trip was announced, I jumped on board quick, as I knew it had the potential to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I was not disappointed.
Not being the most verbose of people, and lacking in the creative writing department, I find it extremely hard to put into words what I experienced and felt. Here is my feeblest attempt to convert the experiences and beauty of Iceland into words. I will separate it into four parts, the first part is essentially what we did, the second part will focus on the community we became part of, the third part will focus on personal growth and last – the Reykjavik marathon.
We arrived at the Reykjavik Bus Station at one, and immediately fell upon members of our group. CrossFitters for some reason stand out in a crowd, this group being no acception. Our arrival was filmed – unknown to us until this moment the entire trip was being filmed for a small documentary for the CrossFit Journal. We were met by Blair and escorted to our bus, a vehicle like no other I have experienced before, and our bus driver, also a vehicle like no other I have experienced before. Both were rough around the edges and looked like they were falling apart. ”What have we gotten ourselves into?” I thought. Retrospectively, the roughness of both, added an immense dimension to the trip, which allowed many chances for bonding within the group.
After a brief tour of Reykjavik and meeting Iceland Annie, we hopped on the bus and headed off into the sun. First destination, a waterfall that you could walk behind and an opportunity for the first handstand picture to be taken. Yes, it took all of two hours before someone was upside down with the camera clicking. From there it was off to walk through a crack through a mountain which had glacial water flowing through it. We all clambered off the bus, and walked through this. It was amazing to be inside a mountain, walking through freezing water, and to see the path nature had carved out inside. Then it was off to a hiking lodge. The roads throughout much of Iceland were a rough go. Roads were paved occasionally, but mostly consisted of packed volcanic ash, and rock. Most people would not actually call them roads, especially when the bus had to traverse mini rivers flowing across them.
Today’s special was a 24 kilometer hike of the Eyjafjallajokull Glacier. The hike took us through green valleys, next to a glacier, through a lava field, up a volcano (it had erupted last summer), across a plateau, along a ridgeline, etc. Name a terrain – we experienced it in this walk. It was absolutely stunning and beautiful the entire 16 miles, with new experiences and visual pleasures with each changing, challenging terrain. It was here where we were introduced to Iceland time and actual time. In Iceland, an easy 5-hour hike is actually a very challenging 7 hour ordeal, so we learned that Iceland time is approximately 20% less than actual.
When the hike was over, into the glacial river we climbed for an ice bath. Naturally cold, colder than any ice bath I have ever taken. It was neat to have the water I had trekked next to, and was awed by its beauty along the last 5 miles of the hike and followed to this point, be what refreshed my aching muscles. From here, it was onto lunch, and the first tire change of the bus! Lesson learned here was when a nut won’t budge, don’t push or pull harder, look for a longer lever arm! Into “town” we went to get the tire fixed, and along the way a bunch of us, myself included, got ditched at a gas station by our bus driver. Not very funny at the moment it occurred but in hindsight, I chalk it up to an experience which brought the group together. That night our bus was replaced, but the “new” one was just as charismatic as the previous one, just a tad bit larger.
Woke up and went to the Landmannalaugar hot spring. The air and wind chill outside was teeth chattering – well in the low 40’s. Who were these American idiots in shorts the campers must have been wondering? First part of the day we took a dip in the natural geothermal springs. A little stream in the middle of nowhere that had water flowing into it which was like a hot bath. We all stripped down to bathing suits and plunged in. The pebbles at the bottom were HOT and the temperature throughout fluctuated depending on where you sat. Then it was handstand hold practice and hollow rocks. The day got worse from here as we spent a majority of the rest of it on a bus. Eight hours driving through landscape which looked like we were on the moon. We were in a dessert, with little signs of life or civilization on something which could resemble a path, but acted as our highway road.
Along the way we stopped for a barbell complex strength workout, to help break up the monotony, but it was a long go. We basically travelled from the south part of the country to the north part. We did use the time to get to know each other, sleep, listen to music, etc. When we went to the lodging we introduced ourselves more formerly to the group and bonded as a community. While parts were amusing and fun, all in all, my least fun day of the trip, but what it was setting up for was spectacular.
In the AM we went to Godafuss, which is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland. The amount of volume of water pouring over it was immense. We each performed 50 pistols on each leg with the waterfall in the backdrop. The waterfall was a cool backdrop for the skill work. Afterwards we headed out to Skutustadir for lunch and to see Europe’s largest crater (what is left when a volcano blows its top off!). Before we got to lunch we stopped at a place that smelt like no other I have come across. It was basically a sulfur field with all the hot steam trapped underneath Iceland coming up through vents in the ground. Rotten eggs sitting in an unvented heated waste bin for 6 weeks is essentially what the smell can be compared to. It is supposedly very medicinal for people with lung or nasal issues.
When we had our fill there we played with some volcanic rocks. The rocks are called Hollywood rocks, as they are large, and look heavy but very light compared to what they should be. It was great for photo opps. We then headed out to eat in front of the crater. After we ate, it was decided for us all to climb it. Climbing it would not be good enough. We had to do it CrossFit style. This meant we partnered up, and climbed it for time, doing a partner carry. Favorite workout of the week, as the view from the top was amazing. We then drove to Akureyri where we stayed the next two nights. On the way there we were delayed for tire change number two. The accommodations were not Hilton like, more YMCA like, but in the end, they added to the character of the trip and I would not change it. Some of us went into town for a $10 beer (yes, all food and drink are very expensive in Iceland) and continued to bond.
This was a free day for us to explore Akureyri. The morning was spent perusing the main street and finding laundry services. The afternoon we went to CrossFit Hamar for some skill work. Afterwards we each ran the steps up to the church in town. It is local custom to try to beat the fastest time. I am not sure how busy Iceland is, but having a bunch of people running up the steps was newsworthy enough so the camera crew was out. Svenbjorn set the new record which was cool. Then it was off to a swimming pool and dinner, and what was an early night as the next day had a lot in store.
The day was spent whitewater rafting the Jökulsá Austari. The river has rapids rated class4+. There were some scary stretches and is fittingly named the Beast of the East. The ride to the rapids was basically on a path next to a cliff. The ride was almost more nerve racking than the rapids as the bus looked like it had seen a few years. The rafting was a lot of fun, and exhausting as we had to paddle a good portion of the trip, and the rapids made up a long stretch of the 10-mile ride. We did stop along the way of our 6-hour excursion for hot chocolate, waffles and cream, which were delicious (when in Iceland, do as the Icelanders do!). From there we went swimming and off to the night’s accommodations.
The next morning we set out to a small river near the hotel we stayed at and practiced L-sits. Having no parallettes to our disposal we used rocks (plenty of those in Iceland). We then hopped on the bus and headed to the Berserk Lava Field near Snaefellsnes. After hopping around and over the craters we had lunch and headed out to the beach. On the beach we did heavy front squats. The beach was beautiful, so we altered our plans and hung out there for the rest of the day/evening, and had a cookout on the beach. This was my favorite day in Iceland by far, as we saw amazing scenery, had a great workout, and found a place to chill and relax. That night, we drove to Olafsvik where I watched the sun set on the ocean, kind of. At 11:45 the sun had still not set all the way, and I was tired and wanted to go to bed. I had hoped for some northern lights, which I unfortunately did not see on my trip.
We woke up and started to head back to Reykjavik. On the way we stopped at Pingvellir where we swam in the continental divide as well as did a team chipper workout which was challenging and taxing, but fun. The water was straight from a glacier, and took 200 years to get to where it was. It was also very cold, under 40 degrees, and very clear, we were able to see down 80 meters in spots. As we got ready to board the bus to head back to Reykjavik, we were informed that 5 of the bolts on one tire snapped and had to be replaced. After changing the bolts on the wheel-well, we headed to Reykjavik and the first true hotel accommodations of the trip. We said goodbye to the bus, and our driver, who had warmed up to the group as well as we did to him. The evening was spent at an amazing spa, where we took care of our aches and pains, with alternating cold plunges and hot whirlpools, a sauna, and a steam room. We had a great group dinner and off to sleep we went.Day 9
Today we ran in the Reykjavik Marathon. We had to choose either a 10K, Half Marathon, or Full Marathon. Gino and I chose the full, Megan did the half. The afternoon was spent resting and recovering our aching bones and muscles. That night, our last night in town, we had one last dinner as a group than a night of festivities and fireworks. It was a fitting end to the trip. The goodbyes the next day were tough. Eyes watered as we said so long and safe travels to our new friends.
5 TGU each Arm
10 x KB Windmill each arm
10 KB OHS each Arm
20 Figure 8s
1 Push Press Every Minute for 10 Minutes (85-90% of 1RM)
15 DB Thrusters (40/25#)
400 M Run
15 Box Jumps (30/24″)
Having the ability to pull your body weight up is an important functional movement. While in the gym scenario, we pull ourselves only up to a bar, the skill is transferable to pulling ourselves up and over, or up to a taller or larger object. One would assume this ability would have been an essential survival skill of our ancestors to evade predators, to set ambushes for food, to find homes in cliff face caves, etc.
While we necessarily do not need this skill for survival in present day, many would consider the ability to pull themselves up to a bar, if not up and over a bar/barrier, a necessary movement for fitness. In the CrossFit realm, there are many workouts which require a high volume of pull ups. With high volume of reps, the latissimus dorsus, the primary muscle mover involved in any pulling motion, could become fatigued rather quickly. With many CrossFit workouts, one technique to enable more reps, more quickly is to use a variety of a kipping pull-up, which engages the hips to help propel you over the bar.
The kipping pull up is a gymnastics-based movement, which first and foremost relies on having the strength to pull yourself up to the bar on your own accord. If you do not have the strength to do a dead hang pull up, developing that strength should be the first and foremost priority of any athlete before trying to learn how to kip. In addition to developing this base strength, other benefits of dead hang pull ups are that you are working towards more balanced strength ratios between your upper and lower body, as well as greater grip strength in weightlifting, enhanced pulling motion in Olympic weightlifting, developing shoulder stability when going overhead, and balanced shoulder mobility.
There are many athletes at CrossFit Providence who are not proficient in dead hang pull-ups, some of them could be considered our more advanced athletes. There are also newer athletes in the gym who want to run before they walk, kip before they can pull of their own fruition, and there are athletes in our gym who have been coming for over a year, who still cannot perform a dead hang pull up. Why? Why is the majority of our population lacking in some of the core foundational strength of this simple movement. The answer is that too much of the focus has been on kipping in many of our population, and using aids to get to kips instead of developing that necessary baseline strength. We rely on bands to help propel us up to the bar, or really awkward swings, etc., instead of first gaining that foundational strength and utilizing this along with a solid gymnastics style kip utilizing the hollow body position.
We have coached these movements as such, and all have seen improvements, but with every solid program, self-evaluation of the program and of the outcomes of the athletes is necessary. Along with self-evaluation comes education, and as we educate ourselves as coaches, we learn new techniques, new methods, new styles, which we pass on to the athletes of our box. It is apparent our gym lacks baseline gymnastics strength. The ability to move one’s own body, and have awareness of our body, in space is a necessary skill. Part of this deficiency is that we have allowed our athletes to rely, or place too much emphasis on “the kip” regardless the exercise. The pull up is one of the movements where this is more apparent than others.
It is necessary to build the foundational muscular strength to pull your body up. We gain this strength by practicing dead hang pull ups. While in high volume workouts, kipping is necessary, if you do not have the strength to kip on your own, using bands to kip in these workouts is not fully utilizing, or developing your abilities as an athlete. You will notice many workouts requiring ring rows as THE scaling option for workouts involving pull ups, whereas before it may have been bands. This is to address the inadequacies we have seen in our population, and it will allow you to develop the strength necessary, and will allow you to successfully complete dead hang AND kipping pull ups more quickly than using other aids and substitutions.
Watch the CrossFit Providence Whitewater Rafting Video!
Hand Stand Practice 10 minutes or 20 Wall Climbs or 100 Wall Runs
1 OHS Every minute on Minute for 10 Minutes (85-90% 1RM)
15 Wall Ball Doubles
15 C2B Pull-ups
Beginner: Scaling Single Wall Ball
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