“Train with aggression. The atmosphere in the weight room is critical. A perfectly planned training regime with no passion and no intensity leads to no results. A great program coupled with passion, intensity, and commitment is where the magic happens.
“The true vision of a champion is someone bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when no one else is watching.” – Anson Dorrance
“The weight room is a place where the trials never end. It is the place where we test ourselves continuously. We struggle to reach one goal and, as soon as we reach it, there is another and more difficult one to meet.” – Dave Tate
EZ Strength 4.0
8 Rounds Every 2 minutes on the minute:
EZ Strength Intermediate Template
Every 1:45 minutes for 8 sets, perform the following:
12 Push Ups
20 Swings (24/16 kg)
“Life is a wonderful thing. You laugh, you cry, you make friendships, and hopefully you improve the journey for someone else along the way. It’s a grand, beautiful, tragic, wonderful story.
Treat it as such. There are a few things in life that really matter, and are worth defining yourself by. There are many more that do not rise to that level of importance.
Among those things in the second category: Coffee, Beards, Weightlifting Equipment, and Bacon.
I drink about a quart of coffee per day. Why? Because it’s delicious. It is potentially the most delectable beverage in existence, and without it I am quasi-homicidal by noon.
Also, the more evidence that comes out about coffee, the more reason there is to love it. It’s beneficial to your metabolic and mental health, both acute and chronically.
However, coffee is a beverage. Coffee is not a movement. Coffee is not a lifestyle.
Coffee is a beverage.
You know the kid who has a Monster energy shirt and snapback who rides motocross bikes, and his brand identification with Monster is a defining characteristic of his existence? You know how pathetic that seems to you? Well, take a look in the mirror cupcake – that’s how most people are looking at you.
Coffee is a beverage.
I think this is a reactionary position. For years we were told that coffee was the devil. Sure, it may put some pep in your step in the morning, but there was something unhealthy and insidious about it. As we learned that coffee was, in fact, quite good for you, we collectively lost our shit and the pendulum swung too far the other way.
Coffee makes you feel good. Unless you go way way overboard, coffee is quite good for you. But.
Coffee is a beverage.
If a beverage is your life, you have a sad sad life.
If ‘the best part of waking up is Folgers (or any other type of coffee) in your cup,’ then you’re probably about a dozen cups away from realizing that there’s not much in your life worth waking up for.
Few things culturally denote masculinity the same way a full, glorious beard does. The last time beards were REALLY in was the 1910s. They fell out of style in the roaring ‘20s, and remained the domain of hobos, creepy uncles, and stylized fatcat tycoons for the better part of a century. Now that they’re starting to come back into style, people are overreacting because they realized how cool a nice beard could be.
However, don’t forget the distinction between being a man and simply having a beard. A beard may be an emblem of our culture’s definition of masculinity, but if it’s all you have to hang your hat on and say “I’m a real man – can’t you tell because I have a beard?” then the only purpose it serves is to highlight your other masculine shortcomings.
If you want to grow a beard, then grow one. If you don’t, then don’t.
However, obsessing about it too much and putting too much stock in simply having a beard undermines any attempt to demonstrate the manliness that a beard may have otherwise assisted you in.
If the proliferation of $200+ weightlifting shoes has proven one thing, it’s that weightlifters are just as insecure and susceptible to marketing as any other athlete.
Now, to make sure you’re not hearing me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with having nice things. If weightlifting is your main hobby, and you have a good job and plenty of disposable income, then by all means buy things you enjoy. Weightlifting gear is certainly cheaper than a new set of golf clubs, and well-to-do folks sink a ton of money into their golf game.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting and getting nice things if it makes you happy.
BUT, don’t act like it actually matters too much beyond your personal enjoyment.
A slumping Tiger Woods would still wreck you on the links with wooden clubs from the 1920s, and Ilya Ilin on his worst day would destroy you on the platform lifting barefoot.
It’s not that nice equipment doesn’t help SOME, but don’t act like it’s a make-or-break factor. It *may* be the 2kg difference between gold and bronze in an international meet for people whose bodies are well-oiled machines and for whom a very small thing could make a meaningful difference. Unless you’re reading this article as a break from writing your training plan leading up to Rio 2016, that does not apply to you.
The more important factor is simply getting stronger and becoming a better lifter, independent of your equipment.
If you think new equipment is fun and you have money to burn, by all means go for it, but don’t act like you’re a better lifter simply because you have 3 pairs of $200 kicks.
Bacon is similar to coffee. It’s something else that was a guilty pleasure for a long time. As soon as some reviews started coming out saying “saturated fat and salt don’t instantly kill you,” the pendulum swung WAY too far the other direction.
People who had been living deprived lives of chicken, rice, and broccoli since the ‘80s woke up and realized some foods could have a mystical, hitherto unknown quality called “flavor.” Bacon, perhaps being the most flavorful and fatty actual food on the planet (not talking about straight butter and coconut oil that some people drop in their coffee), became awkwardly fetishized.
Yay. Congratulations. You’ve moved into the 21st century and have realized that you can eat bacon. We’re so happy for you.
Newsflash: bacon isn’t a health food.
While saturated fat won’t instantly destroy your arteries, it’s still not something you should consume in mass quantities daily. Also, although red meat has been largely vindicated in the scientific literature, excessive consumption of processed meat (like bacon or sausage) is still implicated in a host of unpleasant health outcomes.
You like bacon? Sweet. You just joined a group consisting of 99% of human beings. Your love of bacon does not make you special or unique – it means you’re evolutionarily hardwired to seek salty, fatty foods just like every other person on the planet.
There’s nothing wrong with eating a few strips of bacon from time to time – as with anything else, although it’s not the healthiest food in the world, the dose makes the poison. It would be a sad life where you had to only eat “clean” 100% of the time. Have a few strips of bacon and a bowl of ice cream and live a little.
But keep in mind.
Bacon is a food. Bacon is not a lifestyle.
Bacon is a food.
If you are that obsessed with a particular food, you do not have a healthy relationship with food. You need to stop reading fitness articles immediately and seek the help of a mental health professional.
I promise you will not look back on your deathbed and say ‘my biggest regret was that I didn’t buy another pair of weightlifting shoes,’ or, ‘if only I’d drank more coffee.’ That is all.” – Greg Nuckols
“In a group of five workouts, I tend to have one great workout, the kind of workout that makes me think in just a few weeks I could be an Olympic champion, plus maybe Mr. Olympia. Then, I have one workout that’s so awful the mere fact I continue to exist as a somewhat higher form of life is a miracle. Finally, the other three workouts are the punch-the-clock workouts: I go in, work out, and walk out. Most people experience this.” – Dan John
The longer you train as an CrossFitter and the more you develop and improve as an athlete, the more the above quote begins to ring true. The number of people who have the privilege of being full time athletes who do not have to work full time to support their physical pursuits is small indeed. The rest of us have to find a way to balance our training with our jobs, families, and other extracurriculars. We do not have access to athletic trainers, massage therapists / PT’s, personal chefs, and other handlers that generally keep you from being burdened with the distractions the rest of us regular folks must contend with on a daily basis.
As we grow out of the novice stages of training and improve as lifters and CrossFit athletes, progress becomes much more incremental. We are progressing forward hopefully, but often times setbacks will occur in the form of travel, injuries, illness, vacation, etc., that cause us to at times regress. This ebb and flow is natural as only the mediocre are always at their best. The perfect program or perfect circumstances don’t exist so we must seek to do our best given our current lifestyle parameters. Learn to temper your expectations; enjoy your great workouts, but don’t write your goals based on one great day in the gym. Similarly, don’t assess your ability or self-worth as an athlete based on one bad day in the gym; everyone has them, and it will pass. Have a long term vision of where you want to be, keep track of progress indicators, and expect there to be an ebb and flow along the way.
“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” – Teddy Roosevelt
One of the most useful aspects of the CrossFit methodology is the fact that it is inherently inclusive of all practical movements, regardless of the implement being used. If you have access to sleds, ‘bells, bars, bumpers, a pull up rig, medballs, etc., then by all means use every implement at your disposal in your quest to improve fitness. If you are on the road and have a sparse hotel gym with a treadmill and some dumbbells, get creative and utilize bodyweight movements, running, and dumbbell exercises to craft a quick and effective workout. Maybe you’re out on a hike or camping trip and don’t have access to any traditional equipment- no problem. What’s more functional than climbing some stress, carrying logs, shoulder rocks, and hiking around on unpredictable terrain?
The main thing to always keep in mind is that the “perfect” workout/program is an illusion. We are always dealing with a host of sub-optimal and limiting factors that affect training, so rather than getting caught up in what you can’t do, focus on what you can, where you are, with what you have.
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““What advice can I give to the young ones who come out onto the platform with their teeth chattering from nerves? First, you must enter a competition well-prepared. And for this you must train sensibly; you must work on yourself physically but save your nerves. It doesn’t pay to get excited over nothing while training, to show off your courage, to swagger. Save this charge for the contest. And then be alert when you go up to the barbell . . . And, to be frank, even with all my experience, I am sometimes very nervous – you cannot imagine.” – Vasiliy Alexeyev, 2X Olympic Champion & 8X World Champion Weightlifter
“It takes discipline to focus only on high-value targets instead of giving in to the temptation of the low-hanging fruit life serves up daily.” – Mark Divine
EZ Strength 4.0
Max Effort 500m Row Sprint
Rest 4 minutes between sets
Find new 1RM
Max Effort 500m Row Sprint
Rest 4 minutes between sets
“If you want an easy to remember way to measure your food…count it in pounds. “How many pounds of meat did I eat today?”. Simple.” – John Welbourn
One of the common issues people typically face when switching over to a paleo / primal diet is the issue of satiety. Namely, since we’ve eliminated a lot of our normal caloric sources, and likely drastically reduced our carbohydrate intake, you’re probably noticeably hungrier after meals or generally find it more difficult to feel “full”.
We need to first understand that the notion of “satiety” is in fact a hormonal and neurological signal that comes from the brain and the gut. It’s fairly complex and multifactorial, and also typically operates on a time delay. For example, if you’ve ever gone on an ice cream bender, you are familiar with the feeling of going from hungry to uncomfortably stuffed with seemingly little notice in between.
If you find yourself constantly hungry throughout the day, here are some tips to help combat your insatiable appetite. First, start by increasing your protein intake. For athletes, especially those looking to gain strength and build muscle mass (read: everybody), shooting for 1 gram of protein / lb. of bodyweight is great number to shoot for. Your next line of defense is increasing your fat intake. Think more eggs (eat the dang yolk!), cooking with butter, ghee, & coconut oil, snacking on nuts and almond butter, and throwing avocado on everything as a few suggestions. Lastly, look at increasing your starchy (roots and tubers) carbohydrate intake- think potatoes of all varieties, squash, yams, and white rice. If you are training hard, you need your quality carbs. Eat ‘em up!
Here’s the last thing to keep in mind: if your body composition is good, your performance is good, and you feel good, don’t worry about how much food you are eating. Some people have big appetites, and that’s just fine. If you are eating a ton of food, but things are going well for you and you aren’t piling on the body fat, then don’t fret over calories or portion sizes. Focus instead on your results and body composition.