CrossFit Games Open – Thoughts and Opinions

Alright, here we go.  The 2014 CrossFit Open is now in the books.  I completed all the workouts (yes, I forgot to record my score for 14.3 on the official page, but I did complete it).  Now is the time when I look back and state some thought and opinions on the event itself.  I will start off by addressing the open as a whole and then get into a few specifics on the workouts and end with an question for everyone else to consider and answer.

First and foremost, I enjoyed the diversity of the workouts this year.  I thought the combinations were solid.  I did miss seeing a triplet this year, but that is nothing to complain about.

The biggest complaint that I can offer with this years Open is the same thing that many of said; the first two workouts started with elements that did not need to come out that early.  The reason that I say that…is the marketing of the event.  It was markets utilizing everything from the newcomer to a pregnant woman to the elite athlete.  The initial events did not line up with the marketing of the Open.  As a coach and someone who encouraged people to sign up, it was a little disheartening to see events that defeated people out of the gate.  After seeing all the events and going through them, all you would have had to do is change the order so that the more technical elements came out later.  Please keep in mind the issue I have is that the event was marketed as “This is for everyone…”.  If the marketing had been as subtle as “See how you stack up against the fittest of the fit…” then you can throw anything out that you want.

In order to keep the average or new athlete interested, I would have had 14.1 start on the bar and not on the jump rope.  Again, it allows people to have a score.  I also would have started the Open with 14.3 (yes, the one that caused all the chaos because of the “heavy” deadlifts).  14.3 was elements that everyone could do.  Then you could release the G2OH workout.

Here is the quick recap of all the WODs:

14.1 – Double-Under; Ground 2 Overhead

14.2 – Overhead Squat; Chest 2 Bar

14.3 – Deadlift, Box Jump

14.4 – Chipper (Row, Toes 2 Bar, Wall Ball, Clean, Muscle Up)

14.5 – Thruster, Burpee

When I look at the workouts themselves, I actually thought they were good.  I thought that they were some good pairings and I was glad to see the rower make an entrance into this years Open.  Continuing with my opinions, I would like to see some new elements introduced or some increase in the skills set.  I would like to see the Headstand Pushup make an entrance into the open.  I also would like to possibly see some barbell complexes come in.  What is wrong with having two bodyweight, gymnastic elements make up the couplet?  Or two barbell movements?

I am glad that they finally introduced a workout that was for time and not just how many reps can you complete in a set time frame.  It was about time for that to happen.  That is what the majority of workouts at most affiliates are.  I am a product of the Every Second Counts Generation and think that is vital to testing your fitness.  Get it done quick or slow, but get it done.

With all that said, I do tip my hat to HQ for the work that they have done with the Open and what it has done for the sport of fitness and how it has helped to build community in the gym.

My question for everyone out there, though, is was the Open a valid test of the 10 components of fitness, in your opinion?  Was it a solid starting point to finding the fittest man and woman out there?  If you think it succeeded, tell me your reasoning…if you think it failed, share what was missing?  What did this years Open teach you about your own training?

Why I Coach…

I have often heard is said that you must have a “why” for everything that you do.  That is what drives you and motivates you.  What pushes you to give it your all each and every day.  In most things, it has and always will be my family.  I want to set the best example for my daughters of hard work and being happy in what you do…

But when it comes to coaching, my why is each and every person that walks in the door to train with us.  I coach (and more specifically, I coach at the BodyLab CrossFit) because that is where I got started when I was going through a rough time in my life.

I was young and thought that I was in good shape.  I would play basketball in the park about once and week and had good job.  Then I started to look into life insurance and all those fun things you do when you become an adult (something I have not fully committed to being just yet).  In that, I had to go and have my cholesterol checked and all the other tests run.

Turned out, I had high cholesterol and the doctor was ready to write me a prescription to take care of it.  Me being me, a little stubborn, I said let me try something new and see if I can get it under control.  My father-in-law had been raving about this place called the BodyLab and their nutrition program, so he covered me starting there.   My wife and I went to the 6 AM class and changed our diets.  I HATED IT!  I am not a morning person.  My first workout was 50 weighted burpees…and I thought death would be a nice vacation.  Plank holds, wall sits, laps through downtown Bryan…double unders! and not being able to walk for 2 days at a time.  Slowly though I adjusted to the intensity and managed to get my double unders.  My wife inspired me to keep going (read dragged me every day kicking and screaming)…we ate better and we were happier all around.

Then I had to go back to the doctor to have my levels re-evaluated.  Much to my doctor’s surprise everything was normal to great.  And I was hooked on the BodyLab style of doing things.  I had become a strong believer in doing things right for the right reason.  Technique was more important than intensity and results will come if you are patient.  There were lessons that I was accepting into my life that were bigger than just in the gym.

And so I started to intern.  I started on the path to coaching…why because I believe that everybody deserves the chance to go on the same journey that I did.  Everyone deserves the chance to work hard and reach their goals.  I coach because it allows me to do something that I love which is share with people my life.  I have been in your shoes, and fought some battles.  I coach because I know that you probably need a kick in the pants some days to keep working and other days you need someone to let you know it’s ok to have an off day.

So the simplest reason that I coach is…you!

Success Secrets

Originally written for my home gym…but very important information so sharing it here.  Originally found here

Success Secrets

Recently I was sitting at a table with my family and friends and someone asked me why it is so hard to accomplish certain things.  This particular topic was on weight loss, but it is bigger than that.  The question could have been, why is it so hard to be a good dad or mom…or why is it so hard to start a business, sustain a business, make a million dollars…essentially, why is it so hard to succeed or to accomplish my own goals.  After a lengthy discussion, I came home and put pen to paper and came up with the following reasons.  I hope they help you get where you want to go!

  1. Wrong Mindset – We fail because we do not really want to succeed.  We are afraid of our own abilities and our own success.  What happens when we go from being average to being successful?  What happens when we become one of those people who say…I want more and I am going to go out and get it?  Or what about when we truly commit to those weight loss goals and we become a completely new person because we grow in confidence.  We do not reach our goal because it’s hard and we see every obstacle as an impassable wall because going back to the way things were is comfortable and we just might not be able to accept what success really means!
  2. Discipline – It takes discipline.  It takes being able to say no to something in order to get something else.  There is a great line out there that says “We are afraid to give up something good for something great!” and that is the truth.  You have to let go and resist in order to get to the next level.  You have to give up sugar and walk away from certain foods that are your weaknesses if you want to lean up.  You have to show up to the gym if you want to gain strength and get better daily.  You have to give up the wants of right now, for the goal of owning a business tomorrow.  You have to have the discipline to make whatever your goal a priority in your life and that means some uncomfortable times in the here and now.  You have to choose wisely, my friends.
  3. Sacrifice – Along the same lines as above not only do you have to have discipline you have to sacrifice something.  Usually you are sacrificing comfort in this moment for the joy of success tomorrow.  Hopefully you are blessed with an amazing support network to help you to make these sacrifices and come through on the other side.  But you cannot make it to the top of the mountain if you are afraid of the risks that come with climbing and getting out of the valley.  Have to give up the known for that which is unknown.  No matter what you will grow!
  4. Honesty – You have to be able to look yourself in the mirror and honestly assess where you are at.  You have to be honest with yourself.  If it is something that you can fix or accomplish in a month, great!  Get after it, but be honest if it is going to take time and give yourself that time.  Then during that time, have the right mindset, be disciplined and make the sacrifices necessary.  Don’t just think because you have a plan that everything is going to work out…you have to put that plan into action and be honest with yourself through all steps of the journey.
  5. Time – There are no shortcuts!  It takes work, it takes everything above and it doesn’t happen overnight.  It is that simple, there is no magical pill that makes you successful.  You define what success is, but you cannot define how long it will take to get there so be ready to grind and work to get there.  Get derailed…don’t stop…adjust and push on!

These are just my simple opinions…but they are things that I have seen out there.  I am not going to sugar coat this either…being successful or finding your greatness is rare because it takes all those things listed above to get there and most people are perfectly fine and comfortable where they are.  Be more, go out there and find your greatness!