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Hometown: Huntington Beach, CA
Age: 25

Occupation: Operations Specialist @ Postmates
When did you first start CrossFitting?: First time ever? June 2011. Consistently CrossFitting starting 2014 after a long hiatus.
When did you first start training at CFLA?: January 2014
Favorite WOD: My “Favorite” aka the lesser of the two poisons would have to be anything with rowing and/or power cleans. Also, I LOVE WODs that wind down with a stretch in child’s pose or savasana, but that might be a bit of a “stretch” (pun intended).
Least Favorite WOD: Any iteration of Franklin Hill … although I feel there’s a new evil in town that goes by the name of Assault Airbikes.

Tell us about you sports & fitness background: I bounced around with different sports growing up from soccer, to tennis and basketball. I ended up playing volleyball throughout high school and on the club team in college. I never took weight training too seriously, just enjoyed being active. I’d be ‘that one guy’ on the team that was never really lifting weights seriously during weight lifting sessions pre/post practice.

Today, in addition to CrossFit, I’ll hop in a yoga class every now and then, I play on an indoor volleyball rec team, play as much beach volleyball as I can and am currently getting into Spike Ball :)

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? In college, my student government advisor and her husband owned a box on the side, so as a team building session, she thought it would be a good idea to have us all over for a WOD. My first question, What the eff is a WOD? I remember it was an AMRAP of some sort. Not sure exactly what the WOD was, but it consisted of burpees, pull ups, squats, running — all of which I hated. Needless to say, I ended up throwing up at the end of the workout and got to sign their infamous Puke Bucket (no one actually puked in the bucket, that would be gross). I walked out of that workout and never thought that I would look back…

In the past few years, my sister has gotten really into CrossFit — as a matter of fact, so much, that she decided to become a coach. Soon enough, over half of our conversations would be me listening to her rave about CrossFit, the awesome workouts, the great coaches, the fantastic community, the amazing results you see. She made it seem like such an exceptional experience, so I decided to give it another shot and join a box, because, well … FOMO. She was right; two and a half years later, still going strong w/ CFLA!

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? For starters, I’m stronger than I’ve ever been in my life and I feel great, both physically and mentally. I’ve seen, and am still seeing, changes in my strength and fitness; the testing weeks really help to show the progress that I am making. The biggest change for me though has been a lifestyle change. I am more conscious of what I am putting into my body when it comes to food and drinks (eating healthier, cooking myself, drinking less, etc) and overall making exercise a priority in my life.

[Although, I must say that I would see a lot more changes in my body and health if I didn’t keep giving into fast food temptation. Damn you, Taco Bell.]

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? I’d say mindfulness in my lifestyle and going into a workout has been the biggest change. CrossFit started out just as a “gym” for me, a place where I would go to be pushed to exercise more and exercise harder. As time progressed, I realized that my fitness goals would be more attainable if I changed my lifestyle outside the gym. As a result, I started to shift different elements in my life to create a more cohesive lifestyle: making an effort to get more sleep, drinking less beer/liquor, drinking more water, eating healthier, etc. In addition, my mindset has completely changed going into workouts as well. Starting CrossFit as an outsider is intimidating enough and I remember the days when I would cringe at just seeing the word “burpee” on a WOD. Nowadays, I have more of a “Bring it on” attitude towards workouts. The harder the workout seems, the greater the feeling of accomplishment afterwards. I am constantly trying to grow and challenge myself in all lights from bettering my form, to lifting more, to decreasing my time on workouts and constantly out-do myself from the previous week, month and year.

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments: Is saying the CFLA holiday party too obvious? Aside from the holiday party, I remember rowing during a WOD as part of someone’s last workout with CFLA. I can’t remember his name, but he was an old time CFLA-er and got to program that day’s WOD in celebration of his last day. There was A LOT of rowing that day and we were all rowing, mid-workout, set up where we were in 2 rows facing each other (instead of facing the window like we normally do); Wonderwall by Oasis starts playing. One person started to sing along to pass the time, another person joined and soon enough, the entire class was singing along and rowing. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but it was such an organic moment and is something that has still stuck to me after all this time.

Any advice for people just getting started? Don’t compare yourself to others. I know it can be hard, especially if you have a competitive nature, but the best thing you can do is to focus on yourself. Make sure your form is flawless. If that means going down in weight or going through the WOD slower and sacrificing your time, than so be it. You don’t want to injure yourself, trust me, it’s not fun. One of the reasons I love CrossFit so much is that the community and members are so supportive of you no matter where you are in your experience level. Never have I ever heard someone making jokes or negative comments because someone took too long to finish a workout or the weight they’re using is too light. The support is there, the community is there. And it also helps that we have the best coaches in town.

Also, scale, scale, scale. As an outsider, CrossFit has such an intense stereotype, and while that can be true at times, a lot of people are unaware that you can modify all the movements and workouts. Scale as much as you need to until you gradually can do movements with less support. It’s an awesome feeling to scale and to come in one day and realize that you don’t need to scale that movement anymore. #progress

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? I love to eat; there are few things that bring me as much or more joy than eating. I particularly love tacos and ramen and am on a mission to finD the best of both in LA. Let me know if you have suggestions!

Traveling is right up there for me as well. I love backpacking through other countries and immersing myself in other cultures. I just want to travel all day, errrrrday. I love the beach, and playing beach volleyball, watching movies, cooking, drinking beer, BBQs, camping and eating — can I say that twice?


Friday’s Workout
Practice

A)
Jerk Skill Practice
5-5-5-5-5
BTN Jerk balances (light)

B)
FQT
4-5-6
Front squats (60-65% FS or +3-5)
Back squats
–5min Cap–

C)
3 RFQ
20cal Bike
400m Run
12ft 2×4 Backward walk
1 Pivot reverse
12ft 2×4 Backward walk

Saturday’s Workout

“5 RFT
15 DB Burpee deadlifts (45/30)
12 DB Front-rack lunges
9 DB Seated floor presses”

Sunday’s Workout

“Tumminello Complex Cluster””

AMRAP 8
(at 55% of 1RM clean)
1 Bent Over Row
2 Romanian DL
1 Hang Clean
1 Push Press
(4x’s through the 4 movements counts as 1 rep)
– 4 min rest-
AMRAP 8
(45/30)
1 One-Arm Burpee
1 DB Snatch
2 One-Arm Thrusters
(4x on one side then switch
every 4 counts as 1 rep)

Monday’s Workout
Mental Toughness

8am Event – No reg classes

“Memorial Day Murph”

FT
1mi Run
100 Pullups
200 Pushups
300 Squats
1mi Run
See here for scaling options.

 

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In my previous post I brought attention to the fact that we are use the Tall Jerk in 6 skill sessions this cycle to help your speed and aggressiveness under the bar. There will also be six skill sessions that will focus on the Jerk Balance. This drill will allow you to train the proper movement of your body under the bar and develop improved stability and balance in the split position. I encourage you to look at the programming and come to the days with these sessions if you need help with movement, stability, and balance in the jerk.

We’re already seeing a lot of technique improvements in many students who have been consistently attending jerk days. Keep up the good work!


Thursday’s Workout
Practice

A)
FQ
3 Sets @ 80% C&J
2 Clean pulls
1 Hang clean (Above-knee)

B)
QAMRAP 14
12 Burpees
10 Alt Pistols
8 Power snatches (55-60%)
6 Muscleups

And Coming Friday
Practice

A)
Jerk Skill Practice
5-5-5-5-5
BTN Jerk balances (light)

B)
FQT
4-5-6
Front squats (60-65% FS or +3-5)
Back squats
–5min Cap–

C)
3 RFQ
20cal Bike
400m Run
12ft 2×4 Backward walk
1 Pivot reverse
12ft 2×4 Backward walk

 

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CFLA community, we have another member that has hit an impressive milestone, and that is Charlie Windisch-Graetz!!  Charlie has been crushing WODs since 2007, an achievement that takes dedication, a huge commitment of time and effort, and of course the will to want to be fit, and support our cause.

Be sure to give him a high five the next time you see him, and thank you Charlie, for your past years of being a model member, with more years to come!

Wednesday’s Workout:
Competition

FT
1200m Run
45 KB swings (32/24)
800m Run
30 KB swings
400m Run
15 KB swings

And Coming Thursday:
Practice

A)
FQ
3 Sets @ 80% C&J
2 Clean pulls
1 Hang clean (Above-knee)

B)
QAMRAP 14
12 Burpees
10 Alt Pistols
8 Power snatches (55-60%)
6 Muscleups

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The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

Over the last two years, I’ve developed a bonded friendship with a group of women who happen to be from the gym. This last weekend, we went on our second annual trip to Vegas together. Throughout the year, we try to have dinner once a month even though our lives are non-stop with careers, kids, spouses, and self care. Friendships, when nearing or passed the age of 40, are not easily formed. In my 40’s, I was more prone to not trust people, new especially, with my deepest emotional vulnerabilities. Intellectually I know that is not healthy, but actually being vulnerable enough to create a solid connection is scary. My experience with past friendships – whether they’ve just fizzled or have been separated by distance — most likely influenced me to believe that new, close friendships at my age may not have been possible. Plus I’m so busy — how would I find time to hang out! But what I’m experiencing is that  — just like everything else — if I’m brave enough to let go and trust and put in some real work (emotional and time-wise), close, adult friendships can be something very special and they contribute  — as much as anything else — to my health and well-being.

There are many books and articles written and studies done on the subject of friendship and its importance. Mark Vernon’s book, The Philosophy of Friendship, suggests that we spend at least a fifth of our time with our friends. “Is this not what children do in their persistent requests to play with their friends?” “Playing” with our friends contributes highly to our happiness. Vernon also writes that a close friend is a mirror of your own self, someone with whom you realize that, though autonomous, you are not alone. He adds that friendship “cultivates the virtues, such as creativity and compassion, which are essential to a flourishing society”.

Good friends may help your life last longer, too. A recent study followed nearly 1,500 older people for 10 years. It found that those who had a network of friends outlived those with fewer friends by more than 20%. Some think good friends keep you from doing things that are bad for you, like smoking and heavy drinking and can influence you to do the good things like exercising and eating better. They encourage you to live your best life. Friends may also ward off depression, boost your self-esteem, and provide support. As people age, they tend to be more selective in their choice of friends, so they spend more time with people they like. Close relationships with children and relatives, in contrast, had almost no effect on longevity. Lynne C. Giles, one of the researchers who conducted the study, emphasized that though family ties are clearly important, they just seem to have little effect on survival.

“People with social support have fewer cardiovascular problems and immune problems, and lower levels of cortisol — a stress hormone,” says Tasha R. Howe, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Humboldt State University. “We are social animals, and we have evolved to be in groups,” Howe says. “We have always needed others for our survival. It’s in our genes.”

Friendships are vital for well-being, but they take time to develop and can’t be artificially created. I’m incredibly grateful for my group of girlfriends — a group that I helped build as they build me up, too.

 


Tuesday’s Workout
Practice

A)
FQ
3 Sets @ 80% C&J
2 Jerk drives
1 Split jerk

B)
5 RFQT
5 Deadlifts (65-70%)
5 DB Chops-R (20% BW / 15% BW)
5 DB Chops -L

C)
EMOM 7
7 DB Thrusters (55-60% of Press)
7 Toes to bar
–35sec cap each round–

Wednesday’s Workout
Competition

FT
1200m Run
45 KB swings (32/24)
800m Run
30 KB swings
400m Run
15 KB swings

 

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Monday’s Workout
Competition

FT
1000m Row
100 Pushups
750m Row
75 Plankups
500m Row
50 Burpees

And Coming Tuesday
Practice

A) FQ
3 Sets @ 80% C&J
2 Jerk drives
1 Split jerk

B) 5 RFQT
5 Deadlifts (65-70%)
5 DB Chops-R (20% BW / 15% BW)
5 DB Chops -L

C) EMOM 7
7 DB Thrusters (55-60% of Press)
7 Toes to bar
–35sec cap each round–

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On Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day), CFLA will honor Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

On August 18, 2006 Crossfit main site wrote: “This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it ‘Body Armor.’ From here on it will be referred to as “Murph” in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.”

Memorial Day Murph is a long-standing tradition for us and the event always has an amazing energy: Reflective, introspective, communal, grateful. Come experience it again — or for the first time.

An Opening Talk will be given at 8am with Mark Semos of SEAL Team Five. Those of you who were here last year know you won’t want to miss that.

First heat begins at 8:30, with heats running every 15 minutes. There won’t be any regular classes that day. A sign up sheet if you intend to come is in the main gym.

Here are the workout’s variations. Scale however you need or want:

“Murph”
Rx (straight through):
1 Mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 Mile Run

Full, Cindy-style:
1 Mile Run
20 rounds of:
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats
1 Mile Run

Three Quarters:
Big Loop
75 Pull-ups
150 Push-ups
225 Squats
Big Loop

Half, straight through:
800 Run
50 Pull-ups
100 Push-ups
150 Squats
800 Run

Half, straight through:
800 Run
10 rounds of:
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats
800 Run


Friday’s Workout
Competition

“Chelsea””

EMOM 30
5 Pullups
10 Pushups
15 Squats

Saturday’s Workout

AMRAP 25
15 burpees to 45/25 plate
10 KBS (32/24)
15 bar dips
200 m run

Monday’s Workout
Competition

FT
1000m Row
100 Pushups
750m Row
75 Plankups
500m Row
50 Burpees
–Courtesy of Crossfit.com–

 

 

 

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I LOVE food! Eating it, cooking it and looking at it, I love it all. I even find food prep therapeutic.  But lately that has been lacking. There is a specific time and place for all of this in my life and lately my lunch time has been all about eating out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of a meal out, but at a certain point, like, NOW, I have to get it under control. I have to make food shopping and prepping a priority and do a little planning. Oh, it’s so easy to just head to work with no food prepped, but so much more satisfying knowing that I’ve prepped ahead of time, not to mention its cheaper, healthier and cleaner.

This past weekend my girlfriends and I decided to get back on track and doing what helps us feel healthier. My plan is to stop eating lunch out. That means I have to do some food prep. My plan is to make 1-2 main dishes  (chicken, eggs or a vegetarian alternative) at the start of the week and then have fresh vegetables available for salads and roasting. Historically I’ll prep a vegetable every two days and use that to combine in a few different ways during the week which usually seems to work.

So- I’m committing to getting back on track to prepping food and NOT eating lunch out, unless of course it’s social.  The photo above is cooked up quinoa, atop fresh arugula. I then sautéed some fennel with olive oil and ghee, blistered some heirloom cherry tomatoes and seasoned up the quonia with some lemon juice, cayenne, salt, pepper and smoked paprika.  I’ve eaten a variation of this dish all week. For lunch, on greens, for breakfast with eggs on top, minus the arugula. I’ve also added in bacon for lunch one day, and another day topped with a little parmesan.

I’d love to hear what all you guys have been cooking.


Today’s Workout
Practice

A) FQ
5 Sets @ 70% C&J
2 Clean pulls
1 Hang clean (Mid-thigh)

B) 4 RFQR (30s:30s)
Burpees
Kipping CTB pulls
Bike for cal
Alt Pistols

And coming Friday
Competition

“Chelsea”
EMOM 30
5 Pullups
10 Pushups
15 Squats

 

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This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to participate in a 4 hour meditation at UCLA, as part of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) study.  Up until this point, the most I have meditated was about 30 minutes, and I didn’t know what to expect.

A group of about 8 individuals, and two leaders gathered Saturday morning on campus, and immediately the bell rung, and we were to hold ourselves in silence for the remainder of the practice.  We performed Yoga, body scans, walking and sitting meditations, and also had a mindful lunch break, silence included.

It was one of the most powerful and amazing experiences I have ever encountered!  I had never sat in silence in a group setting for that long, nor had I positioned myself to practice the art of mindful meditation, for over an hour. 

The practice of mindfulness isn’t about “relaxing”, it’s actually about “awakening”, in order to catch yourself and your thoughts in those crazy patterns that we all know too well.  Think of the sky as your “awareness”, and the clouds as just thoughts, sensations, and emotions that come and go.  Think of yourself as a mountain, strong, steady and rooted into the ground, with no weather or storm that can you break you down! 

I must admit that since I have implemented a daily practice into my life, even if it is just 10 minutes each morning, I have noticed that I am less reactive and anxious, and have more clarity as I move through each part of the day.

I highly recommend all start to incorporate this practice into your daily life, the benefits are endless!  Here is a link to a great breakdown of mindfulness, and a talk by MBSR founder Jon Kabat-Zinn. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/mindfulness/definition

Wednesday’s Workout:
Mental Toughness

“Franklin Hill: Up, Over, Around & Up”

2 rounds, each for time on the 15:00

And Coming Thursday:
Practice

A)
FQ
5 Sets @ 70% C&J
2 Clean pulls
1 Hang clean (Mid-thigh)

B)
4 RFQR (30s:30s)
Burpees
Kipping CTB pulls
Bike for cal
Alt Pistols

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Because we have ESPN on all the time upstairs now (yay!), I happened to catch a few events from The Invictus Games.

The Invictus Games are an international Paralympic-style event for adaptive athletes created by Britain’s Prince Harry. Wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in wide variety of sports.

I watched the men’s 100m run for athletes who were double amputees and below-the-knee amputees. This event was as awesome as expected not just in terms of the obstacles an adaptive athlete faces to pursue an athletic passion, but because the athletic performances inof themselves were great. US Team Captain Will Reynolds, a retired Army Captain who lost his leg after an IED detonated, handily won with perfect form and stride.

Then I watched the women’s 100m wheelchair sprint. An experienced and clearly favored Kelly Elmlinger of the U.S. flew across the finish line first. Then, after most all the women had rolled in soon after, I realized that one athlete was far down the track, almost near the start line struggling to put her wheelchair in motion. She wore a white hijab neatly in place under her helmet. She seemed to be fighting to keep the chair in her lane, but her face was zeroed in on the few feet ahead of her. Her hands were stiff and were unable to grip the wheels like the other athletes. People from the crowd started to cheer louder as the camera stayed on her. Though Elmlinger had finished the race in an impressive 20 seconds, a minute into the race, the woman was only half way done. I was riveted by her. I was rooting for her so hard that tears formed in lingering pools that blurred my vision.

Her name is Ulfat Al-Zwiri from Jordan. Al-Zwiri worked as a civilian chemist in a pathology lab for the Jordanian Army when she was involved in a car accident in 2009. She was left paralyzed below the waist and left with limited use of her hands. Al-Zwiri was the only woman among 17 competitors representing Jordan at this second edition of The Invictus Games. Before that 100m event, she had never even been in a racing wheelchair, which had been loaned to her before the event. At home, she trained in her clunky, day-to-day chair.

2:08 minutes after the race started, Al-Zwiri crossed the finish line to a waiting semi circle of the other athletes in her category cheering her in. I can’t get the image of her face out of my mind. The vehemence of her look played against her delicate features and slight frame. Though her body revealed the obvious struggle this race gave her, her face did not. It was not grimaced or pained, only intensely focused on each meter. When her wheels veered off track, it was as if her eyes willed them forward. I cried the entire 2 minutes.

I wasn’t the only one Al-Zwiri made an impact on. During the closing ceremonies of this year’s Invictus Games held in Orlando, Prince Harry praised Al-Zwiri as a shining inspiration to thousands of spectators telling the crowd how Al-Zwiri “fought inch by inch to the finish line.” Though she didn’t win any awards, Invacare, the company that loaned her a race chair, donated a custom-built racing wheelchair to her so she could continue to train and compete.

Al-Zwiri said, “This was the best experience of my life.”

Man, I’m crying again.


Tuesday’s Workout

Practice

A)
FQ
5 Sets @ 70% C&J
2 Jerk drives
1 Split jerk
2 Front squats

B)
In 60sec
Max 2×4 DB Farmer carry (2/3 BW / 1/2BW)

C) QAMRAP 8
4 Muscleups
8 2×4 Split squats w/ pivot reverse
12 Toes to bar

Wednesday’s Workout
Mental Toughness

““Franklin Hill: Up, Over, Around & Up”

2 rounds, each for time on the 15:00”

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15 May / 2016

Weekly 411

Monday’s Workout
Practice

4 RFIQT
60 Double unders
15 MB Side throws-R (20/14)
15 MB Side throws-L
20 Wallballs
10 Power snatches (50-55%)
–2min Rest between rounds–

And Coming Tuesday
Practice

A) FQ
5 Sets @ 70% C&J
2 Jerk drives
1 Split jerk
2 Front squats

B) In 60sec
Max 2×4 DB Farmer carry (2/3 BW / 1/2BW)

C) QAMRAP 8
4 Muscleups
8 2×4 Split squats w/ pivot reverse
12 Toes to bar

 

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