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We continue onward with some basic OPEN prep. Remember if you haven’t found your 1RM Back Squat or Snatch do it Monday and Thursday respectfully. 


 

Monday’s Workout
Practice

A) Back squat (Use 90% of 1RM as 1RM)
     75% x 5
     85% x 3
     95% x 1+

B) 4 RFQ on the 4:00
     20 Box jumps with step down
     15 Thrusters (45%)
     10 Toes to bar
**2:30 cap**

Tuesday’s Workout
Mental Toughness

FT:
     5 rounds of 5 strict pullups & 10 pushups
     1 Mi Run – perform 50 squats @ halfway point (~Princeton & Arizona)
     2 K Row
     1 Mi Run – perform 50 squats @ halfway point (~Princeton & Arizona)
     5 rounds of 5 strict pullups & 10 pushups
**45 min cap**
**See 10/30/14**

 

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Hometown:  Syracuse, NY Age: 26
Occupation: TV Writer’s Assistant
When did you first start CrossFitting?: October 2012 (I think?)
When did you first start training at CFLA?: Same time
Favorite WOD: Any heavy lifting!
Least Favorite WOD: 
Franklin Hill!

Tell us about you sports & fitness background: I grew up playing sports – soccer, softball, lacrosse, snowboarding. My teams were really a huge part of my daily life and my friendships. Then I went to NYU Tisch to study photo – and because of the people and type of activity I found myself surrounded by, all those sports and teams dropped out of my life for about 4 years. When I moved to LA I joined a softball team, and realized how much I’d missed being a part of a team and having an active lifestyle – and a good excuse to be competitive!

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? I’m not sure how I heard of CrossFit – but I remember typing “CrossFit Los Angeles” into Google, and clicking on the first result – the CFLA blog. I spent days, weeks really, just reading the CFLA blog and trying to bolster the courage to give it a try. Finally – months later – I moved to Santa Monica and had no more excuses. I came in for an intro session – and the baseline workout is the ‘WOD’ I’ll never forget. It was a 500m row, 40 squats, 30 sit ups, 20 push-ups, 10 pull-ups. And it felt – horrible. And humiliating. I’d always considered myself an athlete – just not in the greatest of shape sometimes – and here I was, so incapable of finishing 10 banded pull-ups on my own that Stanwyck had to hold my feet for me. But, perversely, that was motivation in and of itself – I couldn’t be the person who couldn’t do a pull up and ran away from a challenge! I signed up that day and have never regretted it.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? Aside from the obvious weight loss/muscle gain, I’ve learned to listen to and trust my body more. I’ve learned to listen when something feels wrong (or right!), and to trust that feeling instead of trying to muscle past it or argue against it. Plus – I just love feeling stronger, more confident, and like an athlete again.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? I’d joined just hoping to lose some weight. Instead I got stronger, and became an entirely different person. I felt so confident and like my high school self again – both in and outside the gym. I realized how much I’d missed having an active community and being a part of a team – so I joined a soccer team again. I feel confident and excited about trying new things – like surfing or stand-up paddle boarding or tri-training – because I’m not so worried about being “out of shape” or about failing. It sounds hokey, but I think CFLA has taught me a lot about failure – that it isn’t something to be afraid of, it’s just a part of the process, a standard to work from that gives you a goal to aim for. And that’s a theory I’m trying to apply across the board.

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments: My favorite part about CFLA is the community – so I love any event where I get a chance to see old friends and make new ones – the WLC, the Open, Tri-Training, the Christmas Party – even stretching after class! The friends I’ve made through CFLA play a really big part of making Santa Monica home for me and help to make going to the gym a treat and not a chore!

Any advice for people just getting started? Just keep going! You’ll be blown away by the progress you’ll see and the friends you’ll make.

I started in the 6am class (an intimidatingly strong bunch, to be sure) and the first few weeks were hard for me because I hated going into class knowing I would be the last person in from the run, or the lowest number on the board. But the more I went, the more I improved. And that made me realize that the only person I wanted to compete against was myself. And the girl I was when I first started (who needed help with banded pull-ups) was easy to compete against – and fun to beat!

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? In addition to playing on a soccer and a softball team (did I mention that enough?) I spend a lot of my free time reading, writing, and watching TV. I’m always looking for any excuse to spend more time at the beach – and love meeting up with friends for a coffee, a good meal, or a night out dancing! Oh and instagramming. But that might be more addiction than hobby.

 


 

Friday’s Workout
Practice

A) Snatch high pull
70% x 5
80% x 5
90% x 3
95% x 3
100% x 1

B) 3 RFQ
75 Double unders
10 Wallballs to 10’
1min Rest
15 Burpees
10 Wallballs
**2min Rest between rounds**

And Coming Monday
Practice

A) Back squat (Use 90% of 1RM as 1RM)
75% x 5
85% x 3
95% x 1+

B) 4 RFQ on the 4:00
20 Box jumps with step down
15 Thrusters (45%)
10 Toes to bar
**2:30 cap**

 

 

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Last week, I blogged about our back squat progression this cycle. Well, another focus of this cycle is to develop the squat snatch. This cycle, we will see 4 Practice Days that have workouts that include the squat snatch. We will also see 8 Practice Days that have sessions dedicated only to the squat snatch and getting underneath the barbell. The priority this cycle is getting underneath the bar.

This cycle’s snatch program is posted on the wall in the classroom, but you can take a look at all the upcoming snatch sessions here.

Now, since we are prioritizing getting underneath the barbell this cycle, we have written up a specific progression of scaling for the snatch. This progression is posted in the classroom, but please familiarize yourself with it here. It is important to follow the steps of this progression in order when scaling, so that you can focus on things that will help you get stronger and more proficient underneath the barbell.

Patience and consistent attendance of classes with snatching will help you PR your squat snatch in Retest Week!


Thursday’s Workout
Competition

“Pushing, Lunging Daniel”
FT
50 Pushups
400m Run
22 Alt. front rack lunges (95/65)
800m Run
22 Alt. front rack lunges
400m Run
50 Pushups

And Coming Friday
Practice

A) Snatch high pull
70% x 5
80% x 5
90% x 3
95% x 3
100% x 1

B) 3 RFQ
75 Double unders
10 Wallballs to 10’
1min Rest
15 Burpees
10 Wallballs
**2min Rest between rounds**

 

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Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. 
Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
~ Samuel Beckett
 
We’ve all had the experiencing of failing. Especially doing CrossFit at CFLA… in fact, if you’ve been doing coming consistently for awhile, you’ve probably become quite the expert. It’s one of the most valuable aspects of your training… failing. 
 
Say what?
 
Yup. Failing. Not succeeding.
 
In most of our lives as adults we don’t participate in things that time time, consistency, and regular effort in order to succeed. Instead we look for success around every corner, growth at each turn. We’ve become soft in our need for instant gratification…  success without much work or investment of time. Quick results… the faster the better. Or even worse, a level playing field so that everyone wins, everyone gets a trophy, no one fails.
 
We’ve forgotten that much of what we owe our success to, the things that have meant the most to us in our lives, are the things that took time, commitment, struggle, sweat, blood, sacrifice, hard work, resiliency, and yes… failure.
 
Why are the things that are most meaningful to you as meaningful as they are? You stared failure in the face, and refused to back down. In one way or another, you got it done. And it was a struggle. 
 
Get used to failure. Bathe in it. Breathe it in. And success, with patience, will come. 

Wednesday’s Workout
Practice

A) Toes to bar skill practice

B) 6 RFR (30:30)
Jerks (50%)

C) 4 RFQ on the 4:00
250m Row
10 Bar muscleups
**2min Cap each round**

And Coming Thursday
Competition 

“Pushing, Lunging Daniel”

For time:
50 Pushups
400m Run
22 Alt. front rack lunges (95/65)
800m Run
22 Alt. front rack lunges
400m Run
50 Pushups

 

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We’re just over a week into our Whole Life Challenge 2015. How are you feeling? Are you using the website to your full advantage? Are you leaning on teammates? Are you utilizing the CFLA coaches to answer questions and to pull you through when you feel like things are going sideways?

Often when we first start a challenge, we are so gung ho and energized to make changes that we get a bit discouraged when things start to feel, well, challenging. Being challenged is perfectly ok, by the way, and our resistance against the hardness of something often might mean we’ve lost sight of the original reasons WHY we wanted to take on the challenge or make changes in the first place. We then tend to come up with reasons why this challenge is not for us. To be clear, this challenge absolutely may not be for you. And to be crystal clear: There is no right or wrong way to play this game. There is no messing up. There is no perfection. This game is simply awareness cleverly disguised as a leader board and colorful graphs and shiny buttons. Our reaction to the game — before, during and after — is a reflection of what’s going on within us. And again, there are no wrong reactions or reflections. Just ones to be examined further.

Hang in there if you’re having a rough go. Lean on other players — and coaches. We’re more than happy to lend our support. Remember: This game is about YOUR life. It’s about discovering a flow toward health habits that best serve you. Nothing more, nothing less. Play accordingly.


 

Tuesday’s Workout
Practice

A) Back squat (Use 90% of 1RM as 1RM)
80% x 3
85% x 3
90% x 3+

B) 6 Rounds For Reps (30:30)
Power cleans (50%)

C) AMRAP 8
40 Double unders
10 Alt. pistols

And Coming Wednesday
Practice 

A) Toes to bar skill practice

B) 6 RFR (30:30)
Jerks (50%)

C) 4 RFQ on the 4:00
250m Row
10 Bar muscleups
**2min Cap each round**

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Coach Silber kills at the end of this week’s coaching video…

 


 

Monday’s Workout
Competition

“Nancy”

5RFT
400m Run
15 OHS (95/65)
**See 8/29/14** & (Open Gym) **1/2/15**

Tuesday’s Workout
Practice

A) Back squat (Use 90% of 1RM as 1RM)
80% x 3
85% x 3
90% x 3+

B) 6 RFR (30:30)
Power cleans (50%)

C) AMRAP 8
40 Double unders
10 Alt. pistols

 

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Hometown: Garden City, New York Age: 32
Occupation: UCLA Student, CFLA Coach
When did you first start CrossFitting?: 2009
When did you first start training at CFLA?: August 2014
Favorite WOD: Grace (the non-CFLA way!)
Least Favorite WOD: Oh boy, tough question. I’d have to stay FRAN.

Tell us about you sports & fitness background:
I played little league baseball and soccer for the town up until middle school, where I continued on playing soccer for the school, and picked up basketball as I had been playing in a church league for many years. Football and lacrosse were gaining popularity in my town at that time, however my overprotective mother would not let me play those contact sports until I was older. When high school came around, my friends and competitors were already much more proficient in those sports so I decided to focus on basketball and track. I would split my time between playing sports and music. College brought fun with greek life and intramural or club teams sports.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel?
I was a member of Equinox in Greenwich, Ct, and was practicing yoga during one of their group classes. A woman whom I had become “gym” friendly with, asked me if I had ever heard of Crossfit, to which I of course answered with “no”. She said I would love it, and to call Rob Orlando at Hybrid Athletics to try it out. I remember walking into the small space, being one of just two participants in the daily WOD, as the box had just opened for business. I believe the WOD was 20 seconds of pushups, squat tucks, and flutter kicks, then 20 seconds rest, for 10 rounds. I remember I was dead on my back after that, and said to myself, wow, this is amazing!!! I also remember watching head Hybrid trainer Tim Burke perform kipping pull-ups with ease, and I was so inspired and impressed that I needed to learn the movement immediately. It was at that point, that my life would change.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)?
I have been suffering with a chronic intestinal disorder for many years, and being exposed to Crossfit has given me the motivation to refine my diet in order to incorporate clean and healthy eating. Crossfit is a total body conditioning program, with so many elements mixed together, that I can’t think of another program that yields the quickest results related to building lean muscle, loss of body fat, but also increasing endurance capacity.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected?
I think all Crossfitters would agree that the program is extremely mentally challenging. Being challenged on a daily basis takes us out of our comfort zone, and that is when personal growth occurs. We as fitness individuals have completely removed the words “I can’t” from our vocabulary, and have replaced them with “I can”. Crossfit provides a foundation for confidence, and that is one aspect that I love. For example, as I shared with KK and a client today, the mental fortitude that Crossfit has provided me has given me the confidence to get back onto the music stage and perform at an open mic.

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments:
A CFLA moment that comes to mind occurred this past Saturday, at the kick-off event for the Whole Life Challenge. What a turnout! Over 100 members and guests entered our gym, to compete with and against one another. I am currently part of the coaches development program, and to assist at an event with such a strong sense of community was not only impressive, but also motivating.

Any advice for people just getting started?
Many people are scared of Crossfit based on what they hear, see, or read about. One of the many reasons why Crossfit works is because it is applicable and scalable to people of all health and fitness abilities. I am very impressed with the CFLA Fundamental program, it is the best introduction to Crossfit I have ever come across. When broken down into simple movements, anybody with a strong positive attitude can succeed at this program.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
MUSIC!!! I moved to LA for many reasons, and one of those reasons is to get into the music scene. I am a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who loves playing the guitar and piano, which provide an escape from hectic everyday life. I have recently begun a morning mantra meditation practice, which is adding a sense of calm to my day. A weakness of mine is cooking delicious meals, so I am learning and experimenting slowly. I am currently a pre-med student at UCLA where my focus is clinical nutrition.

Now that you’re coaching, tell us when you knew that coaching at CFLA was your calling?
I first dropped into CFLA last summer for a WOD, after discovering that it was 2 minutes from my apartment. I was greeted and introduced to the class and immediately felt at home. The sense of community is something I truly believe in at CFLA, and the passion of the coaching staff and members is awesome. Our training program and philosophy (thanks to the man Kenny Kane) is intelligent, safe, and results yielding, all while providing a fun experience.

Friday’s Workout
Mental Toughness

“The Tim Martin”
4 Rounds For Time
200m Sandbag Front Carry (100/70)
50 Sit Ups
800m Run
*40 min cap*

And Coming Monday
Practice

A) Back Squat (Use 90% of 1RM as 1RM)
80% x 3
85% x 3
90% x3+

B) 6 RFR (:30:30)
Power Cleans (50%)

C) AMRAP 8
40 Double Unders
10 Alt. Pistols

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Something we do a lot here at CFLA is squat. Squatting yields a number of physical benefits including, but not limited to, stronger glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core, and increased speed, power, flexibility, and stability. In addition to these physical benefits, squatting can enhance grit and confidence.

One of our priorities this cycle is to develop skill and strength with the back squat. Most of you tested your 1RM back squat in Test Week last week, and you’ll have the opportunity to do so again in Retest Week. During the 12 weeks in between, we will see back squat in the programming once each week. We are following the Wendler 5/3/1 program for back squat. In this program, you’ll lift at very specific percentages of your 1RM, so if you weren’t here for Test Week, make sure to find your 1RM next time you are at class on a back squat day. Then you’ll know your percentages for the following back squat class that you attend.

The back squat program for this cycle is posted on the wall in the classroom, but you can also see it here. Print it out and keep it with your workout journal, or grab a printout in class. I believe it’s important to have an awareness of the program you are a part of. Such awareness, can provide a perspective on the program that can help your understanding of why you are doing what you are doing in class. And who wouldn’t want that?

Let’s lift heavy things!


Thursday’s Workout
Practice

A) Toes to bar skill practice

B) 2 RFQ
20 Unbroken burpees
1min Rest
20 T&G DL (50%)
1min Rest
20 Unbroken wallballs to 10’
**2min Rest between rounds**

Friday’s Workout
Mental Toughness

“The Tim Martin”
4RFT
200m Sandbag front carry (100/70)
50 situps
800m Run
**40min cap**

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As much as I have enjoyed the show the Biggest Loser over the years, this sort of extreme physical makeover comes with extreme consequences. And while most of us will never experience those “outlier-like” extremes in our lives, there are things we can take from what doesn’t work in real life from the show, and apply them to our lives.
 
Don’t look to an event, person or destination and think that it is the solution to all your problems. While at the time, that event, person or destination may feel like it is [the answer to all your prayers], an event always ends, a person (other than yourself) can leave, and a destination isn’t permanent. After all these go away, you’re still stuck… with you.
 
Don’t think you can un-do a lifetime of bad habits in a few short months. This is one of the biggest hooks, and problems with the Biggest Loser – seeing those amazing amounts of weight loss and body transformation over the course of the show is tantalizing… it’s incredible… it’s addicting (to watch). But don’t let that fool you. I’m pretty safe in saying that NOTHING of any value in your life you got in just a couple months. Sure, you might have attended a life-changing seminar, been on a crash diet, or attended an incredible event, but if for it to have resulted in sustainable change (that means not gaining the weight you lost, back), you actually had to do something about it for many more months or years – after the event was over. 
 
Don’t get trapped into thinking that weight loss alone is the path to happiness, health and well-being. Many things in life lead to happiness, health and well-being. As my good friend Mark Sisson (of Mark’s Daily Apple) once said, “Who says that that stress relief from the glass of red wine I drank with dinner doesn’t have a greater impact on my overall well-being than the hormonal impact of the sugar and alcohol in that glass of wine?” Of course, there is point at which your bodyweight alone causes the most significant threat to your life expectancy (this is the case with every contestant on the Biggest Loser), but for most of us, there are many choices that we make each and every day that while not having a direct effect on weight loss, will certainly have a big impact on our happiness and well-being.
 
Don’t be fooled – More isn’t necessarily better. If 15 minutes per day of exercise is good, doesn’t it stand to reason that means 30 minutes is better, or 60, or 90? On one hand you could say yes, to all of these – 90 minutes being the best of all. For today. But what about tomorrow? And the next day. And the day after that? This is the trap of the New Year’s resolutionary. Going full blast right out of the gate for a good 3-4 weeks because he or she feels and believes that more is better, is motivated, excited, and has made it a priority. But then the reality of life hits… and he misses a day, and that becomes two days, and a third, and suddenly he doesn’t know how he found any time at all each day to work out. I’ll take the person who commits to 10 minutes per day for an entire year… 10 minutes x 365 = 60 hours. Amazing how much you can get done in a year in 10 minute increments!
 
Don’t always be a tough-guy – pain doesn’t necessarily equal gain. While it is important to push yourself when you exercise (if you don’t, you’re body really has no reason to make an adaptation), knowing when to push is the key… and this only comes with experience. Remember the tortoise and hare? Slow and stead wins the race. At whatever your level, and whatever the workout, think “just slightly outside of my comfort zone”. This means in weight, duration, and intensity. Sure… there are exceptions. But if you keep making small gains, and don’t get greedy, it will pay BIG dividends in the long run. Oh, and one other thing – if it hurts in a joint, ligament, tendon or muscle, you should consider not doing it. Pain can serve you, and while human beings are incredible in our ability to overcome injury and pain, if you make doing that a habit, it will come back and bit you.
 
While some of these may seem like “no-brainers”, they are things that I work on with my private coaching clients all the time and traps that I see people falling into when I look around our CrossFit LA community. Stay alert. Keep your eyes open. Focus on the basics and fundamentals. Take small, incremental steps, every day… repeat for the rest of your life. The results will come. Promise.  

Wednesday’s Workout
Competition

“Franklin Hill 100’s”
4 Rounds on the 9:00
4x100m on the :90

And Coming Thursday
Practice

A) Toes to bar skill practice
 
B) 2 RFQ
20 Unbroken burpees
1min Rest
20 T&G DL (50%)
1min Rest
20 Unbroken wallballs to 10’
**2min Rest between rounds**

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I’ve been following fitness coach Bret Contreras since early August, at the being of my bikini bodybuilding journey. I’ve become an online  disciple of his because he is the self-proclaimed “Glute Guy.” I initially needed to build glute mass for my competition, but the act of strengthening my glutes has transformed my training in general — and my coaching.

I follow Coach Contreras for more than butt advice. Through his expertise — and as a PhD candidate in Sports Science — he’s an incredibly knowledgeable and scientific coach who speaks into a lot of things we emphasis here at CFLA. Yesterday he posted an instructional video called: “Why Should I Use ‘Good’ Form If I’m Stronger with ‘Bad’ Form?” A compelling and controversial topic to say the least.

I am a HUGE supporter of us using our best form 95% of the time, saving that last 5% for the throes of competition when we might need to get a little sloppy. I admit to being a more conservative coach only because, as a whole, our gym is comprised of everyday athletes, not trained Olympic lifters. And for the most part, Contreras agrees. His main example in the video is the back squat. When a weight gets heavy, many athletes tend to raise their hips up faster than the chest, performing what he calls a “squat morning.” This is often caused by an imbalance of quad strength to hamstring strength, and probably an inability to activate glutes in the bottom of the squat. Now, on competition day does your 1RM count when you achieve a heavy “squat morning”? Sure it does. But it doesn’t mean we want to practice that pattern. For a lot of us that means taking down the weight to practice better body mechanics even if we are stronger with the “bad form” – for now.

I can already hear your egos yelling at me: “I don’t wanna take the weight down!” So why change? Why practice with an upright torso and not folding over if that’s where you’re stronger? The simple answer is two-fold: 1. Reduce the risk of injury. 2. Strengthen imbalances. This will need to be coupled with a good amount mobility — what doesn’t?!–but strengthening your quads (or whatever weakness one has in “good ” form) and learning how to activate glutes better will only help you in other movements, inside and out of the gym.

Check out Contreras’ video here. He has interesting points about deadlift form, too. Our coaches here typically encourage athletes to practice movement with impeccable form to drive home better body mechanics even if that means lower weight. We’re just looking out for you!

Tuesday’ Workout
Practice

A) Double Under Practice

B) 5 RFR on the 3:00
5 Thrusters (50% 1RM Jerk)
5 Jerks
10 CTB pull-ups
*90 sec Cap**

And Coming Wednesday
Competition

“Franklin Hill 100’s”
4 Rounds on the 9:00 of
4x100m on the :90
(16 sprints total, with a 3 min rest btw sets of 4 sprints)

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