Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Don't go see 'Marley and Me'

Total sentimental clap trap.

Jennifer Anniston looks exactly the same the entire movie, while 15+ years passes, her children grow up etc...

Plus I cried for like 30 minutes at the end.

Don't go see it.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas

Happy Chanukah

Monday, December 22, 2008

Can't beat 'em

The last few years its dawned on me that your chances of not breaking your diet rules during the period 11-15 through about 1-5 are very slim.
We all here the anecdotes about pounds, the complaints about the types of foods, etc. If it were really such a problem, you'd just go to Vietnam. Have you seen those skinny bitches?
Really, what you are looking for is an excuse; an out. But I'm with you this time. Me too, boo hoo hoo.
So for the last couple of years, I have relished this period, and I have made lemonade. Not literally, as you can buy that at Chik-Fil-A, but rather figuratively, in that I have made every 'Holiday Season' into my corner of the year to actually pack on some pounds.
So, while everyone else is crying about getting fat, I am eating their babies. I started for the seconds time on my 'Superer Squats' just over two weeks ago. I am done squatting for now (can you believe my parents don't have a power cage???) but I will continue with some other hypertrophy workouts through Jan 1st. It's gone good so far; I was light at the end of the last IF cycle, ~ 152ish, and I am nearing 167lbs now. Not too shabby for 3 weeks.
This is pretty consistent with the results I received the first time I worked this program, as well as the time I have led one client through it.
Here's a video of me wrapping up my last workout; it's ten sets of five, performed every minute on the minute in the back squat. This load is 185lbs. I did this program last year, peaking at 172lbs, with a final workout at 215lbs, but it was done off a box, not the ball, and was likely a tad higher.

Superer Squats at 185lbs from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Here's some other dude doing a similar program on a smith rack

You Need Me

Check out a little essay from Jon Gilson

look him and his gym up the next time you wanna learn how to do anything;


29 Reasons why you're Vegetarian diet isn't Working... yet

This Got me Laughing. From

You haven't reached the magic 2-year mark yet. (Or if you have, then you haven't reached the 11-year mark yet...) If you aren't getting results, you simply haven't been on the program long enough. Just hang in there awhile longer. (After all, natural methods take more time.)

2. You aren't sick, you're just going through a healing or detox crisis. There is no such thing as being sick if you're doing the program right. When you are getting better the body has more energy for "toxic elimination episodes." Be patient, wait it out some more. (And some more, and some more...)

3. If you are feeling bad, that's actually good. It means your body is making needed adjustments and detoxifying years of bad habits that have gunked your body up. Do you really expect that to feel good? The worse you feel the better you are getting, and the more it means needed good things are happening to set your body straight.

4. You aren't trying hard enough. You just gotta have more discipline and be more pure! Even one chocolate bar a year could be too much junk and block your body from succeeding.

5. You're trying TOO hard. You could be doing everything right, but if your mental attitude is too uptight your body won't be given the chance to heal properly.

6. You've got bad heredity or weren't breastfed long enough. The damage has been done. (You poor sucker.)

7. If your body is adversely reacting to things more than before, it is only because you are becoming more refined and sensitive. Don't forget, the more cleaned-out you get, the less your body can handle the bad stuff--which is as it should be. Your body is trying to tell you something: you should take the hint and move to Guam where you won't have to be bothered by anything at all.

8. You're not doing things the RIGHT WAY (which is the ONE TRUE WAY I subscribe to). You should be eating more fruit in your diet--humans were originally fruitarian, you know. And fasting for 7 days really isn't long enough--you've got to go for at least 10 to 14 days to get into the truly rejuvenative phase. Also, you're eating too many dead, cooked foods--gotta eat more live, raw stuff. But some people should try LESS fruit in their diet--too much can wreak havoc with your blood sugar making you tired all the time. Or DON'T fast at all--perhaps your reserves are too low and you need to rebuild your body first before you ought to attempt any fasting. Or maybe you need to try MORE cooked foods like potatoes and squashes in your diet--you can't get enough energy from an all-raw diet, the calories just aren't there.

9. You need to be combining your proteins correctly. All essential amino acids have to be present at the same meal to ensure utilization. Combine beans with rice, potatoes with pasta, papayas with pumpkins, and so on.

10. Nope, don't do that, because if you are combining proteins with starches like potatoes and pasta, none of it will digest efficiently. Different foods require different digestive secretions which are sometimes incompatible. You need to be combining foods for best DIGESTION, not for PROTEIN complementarity. Besides, more modern research has shown the existence of a recirculating amino acid pool in the body that makes protein combining obsolete.

11. You're not getting enough trace minerals. Modern farming methods have eroded and stripped our topsoil and depleted it of essential elements. Spend more money on premium-priced organic foods raised with regenerative agriculture.

12. Grow your own SPROUTS! It's the only way you can ensure you're getting REALLY live, unadulterated foods with a high vitamin content.

13. No, you should eat ALGAE instead! Sprouts grown in jars aren't getting the benefit of minerals in soil or if they are grown in trays the soil is probably depleted. Algae is the richest source of all known elements since everything drains into the lakes and oceans including the topsoil destroyed by modern farming.

14. Pollution. You can't expect to feel perfect if you live in a city.

15. You need to move to the tropics. The human species originally evolved there and is not suited for the temperate zones everyone lives in now.

16. You're overlooking the crucial importance of vigorous exercise. Get out and walk, run, bicycle, swim, do aerobics, whatever. (But don't breathe the city air if you live there.) You can't expect to have energy if you don't exert it. (ED: Notice the inclusion of only aerobics :) )

17. Huh-uh. You're doing TOO MUCH exercise! Anything more than slow walking is excessive. The body wasn't meant to run long distances or do unnatural exercises like bicycling that weren't around when the species was evolving. Too much peak performance depletes you and siphons off energy the body could be using for healing purposes. Walking is better than running, sitting better than standing (causes varicose veins), reclining or frequent napping best of all. (Remember, cats sleep 18 to 20 hours a day, and look at the bursts of energy they are capable of.) Be nice to yourself, slow down, relax, sleep more, do nothing.

18. Modern life is too stressful. Quit your job, learn to meditate. In general, tune in, turn on, drop out, and trust things to come to you. If you love enough, the universe will support you. If it won't, it's proof you're selfish and thinking about yourself too much.

19. Insecticides and herbicides are poisoning you. Make sure to wash your produce carefully!

20. You might be low on vitamin B-12 so DON'T wash your produce! When eating natural unwashed produce you get B-12 from the microorganisms in the dirt on it. Since vegetarians don't get B-12 from animal sources, and all B-12 is ultimately manufactured by bacteria anyway, it's important not to wash your food TOO carefully.

21. Drink only distilled water. Even bottled spring water has inorganic minerals dissolved in it that the body can't assimilate and that will only clog up your system. Distilled water leaches out toxins and helps purify your system.

22. No, no, no! You shouldn't be drinking ANY distilled water! It's artificially man-made and like a solvent that ROBS your body of important minerals. Drink spring water!

23. Wait! Don't drink any water at all--eat a high-water-content diet! Humans are NOT drinking animals. (Do we lap like dogs? Of course not!) Having to drink any water at all is a pathological sign. If you eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables you will get all the water your body needs, and in a purified form perfect for your body.

24. You might be getting too much protein at the expense of carbohydrates in your diet. Protein doesn't give you energy--carbohydrates do! Human breast milk is only 5% protein--and growing babies do fine on it! Too much protein requires calcium to metabolize the excess, which robs your bone reserves and leads to osteoporosis anyway. Don't worry about protein, focus on carbs!

25. You may need to add several ounces of nuts or seeds to your diet since you might NOT be getting adequate protein. Vegetarians have pooh-poohed protein for too long. Newer research shows it really is important after all. Nuts and seeds are the only ALL-RAW high-protein source.

26. You shouldn't be eating ANY nuts and seeds. Actually, you can get enough protein without them if you are doing other things right. And in addition to causing all that bad mucus, nuts and seeds overstimulate the sexual system, leading to excessive sexual activity (any is probably too much) which drains your energy.

27. You're eating too much. Overeating is the worst dietary sin and overwhelms the digestive system so it can't absorb nutrients efficiently. Also, since even the best of nature's foods have naturally occurring levels of toxins, you should eat as little as you possibly can of them to make sure you aren't ingesting anything more than is absolutely necessary.

28. You're probably not eating enough. Many vegetarians get too few calories because they don't eat enough. If you eat mostly all raw foods, it is impossible to overeat anyway.

29. You aren't spiritual enough. Finally, never forget that vegetarianism is an entire way of life. You can't focus just on food and expect to get complete results. Only people who are really evolved can be vegetarians. (ED: this is probably the right answer)

Sunday, December 21, 2008



In Crossfit, typically defined as work capacity. Over broad time and modal domains.

That could mean I am good at a lot of stuff, at a lot of relative outputs; big heavy things once, light things many times, or over great distances.

Traditional wisdom says doing both is basically impossible. There's a little truth to that. You can't be the World's Strongest Man and win the Boston Marathon. Between extremes like this, you're gonna have to choose.

Somewhere in the middle, and Greg Glassman hopes at just about every point between the two widest outliers, fall elite Crossfitters. What do I mean by 'elite Crossfitters'? I mean Crossfitters that are substantially better than most others at Crossfit stuff. The ones that perform very well on a variety of benchmark workouts. For example, upon statistical analysis of the results of the 2008 Crossfit Games, it was found that the combined total time of Fran and Grace was a reliable predictor of rank in the games.

What these workouts have in common is that they move a moderate (depending on who you ask) load a pretty great distance (in weightlifting terms) very fast for quite a few reps. They tend to represent work periods of about 2-12 minutes for the best Crossfitters, at power outputs approaching (and even sometimes exceeding) 1 Horse Power. This intermediate time period, and this supramaximal intensity ( > 100% VO2max) combined with incomplete or non-existant rests remind of another famous and much discussed, debated and mostly applauded training schema;
The Tabata Protocol
Tabata found that by taking existing Exercise Physiology knowledge to it's categorical imperative, that he could improve VO2max values substantially while additionally gaining other conditioning benefits. You see, some eggheads, from here to Sweden/Finland, have understood since at least the late 1960's that as the intensity of aerobic exercise increases, so do the increases in VO2max. And somehow, just about everyone decided that rather than running faster, we'd just run longer. Seeming to completely ignore the facts they themselves discovered, and published time and time again.

Exercise Physiologists have also been using things like the Wingate Test to measure 'power' output. As you can see, this is a 30 second test. Before you underestimate it's correspondence to a broad range of power outputs, be advised that the bike is weighted, and that initially, power output is something akin to 12-14 W/Kg. Considering that elite Olympic lifters in the lower weight classes reach values of 20-25 W/Kg, it ain't bad. The test is first and foremost a test of your ability to 'embrace the suck'. Power output stays at one level for the first few seconds, and then drops some for the period 4-14 or so, and then it plummets rapidly. This represents the storage and utilization of ATP and the phosphocreatine sources of energy more than anything else. To 'game' the test you'd want two things:
The ability to extend the knees and hips powerfully
The ability to do this as fast as possible as many times as possible in 30 seconds, without a reduction in performance (power output)

Tabata's research concluded that his protocol was equally (if not more) effective in rendering an improved VO2max value. What he also found was that lactate clearance and other major factors affecting 'anaerobic' performance were also substantially increased, in contrast to traditional (60-85% VO2max for 20-60+ minutes) protocols which provided entirely insignificant adaptations if any. His protocol calls for a supramaximal effort for 20 seconds, and then a 10 second respite, repeated 8 times. When done correctly, this can and will induce things like tears, vomiting and bargaining in the hardest of men. It's not difficult to predict that this type of training would make one better at tolerating higher concentrations of lactic acid, lower pHs, clearing said lactic acid, storing more ATP/CP and other adaptations. All of these things would increase your performance on a Wingate Test. They'd also raise the 'holy grail' of ultra endurance, the 'lactate threshold' the max speed at which one could operate before lactate accumulates, and therefore one of the (if not THE) limiting factors in endurance racing of all sorts.

Changing directions, let's step away from energy metabolism and look at force production. It's undeniable that there's a strong correlation between deadlift performance and that upon similar strength and power based movements, such as:
particularly when deadlift performance is viewed in terms of relative strength rather than absolute strength. Having a 600lbs deadlift may not improve your vertical that much if you're a super heavy. However, a 600lbs deadlift in the hands of a 195lbs man makes him an instant threat on the basketball court, even if he's a midget. And remember, in the case of a test like the Wingate, what we're measuring is peak power, and then what percentage of that peak is maintained for how long. So, all things being equal, that super midget has such an advantage, becuase peak power, both absolutely but especially W/Kg, is starting SO high.

Any athlete who develops the ability to produce that much force, and then maintain it for a moderate period, is gonna be blowing most of the world out of the water. So here's my proposal:

Raise the deadlift
Measure/Increase performance on a Tabata workout

While thrusters and the clean & jerk require there own skills, the raw strength to move a lot of weight off the floor and then doing something hard and fast viciously for 8 minutes is sure to make you a stud in a few worlds; you will be concurrently increasing your prowess as a powerlifter, a Crossfitter and an endurance athlete. What would be particularly frightening is to see the performance enhancement derived from a program such as this on a sport that relies primarily on anaerobic energy and has short-moderate time periods, perhaps free-style wrestling at 3 sets of 2 minutes, or Judo at 5 minutes (speaking from my own experience).

The Deadlift done right

There are many protocols for lifting heavier weights:
Linear Periodization
5x5 based programs
Texas Deadlift
Power to the People
I prize PTTP for it's simplicity as well as it's focus on relative strength, or avoidance of hypertrophy. I also dig the basic concepts behind WestSide training; gaming the lifts and working them from different angles (ME/DE/RM).

Look into some of those answers on the Force production side, and on the tabata side, I would recommend the following:
Tabata n Dumbbells
Ross Emanait Article
classic tabata; a bike
better tabata for most; an ergometer

Combine these two intensively for a two to six week period. See what it does for you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Assistance to Muscle Up

Muscle Up Techniques from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Here's some things I am working on to increase my muscle up capacity; The kips and bent arm muscle ups are not a problem, but I'd like to do a true, strict dead-hang muscle up. Like they do in them there Olympics.

Go to my Kettlebell Class

If you are on the Revolution team, you need to think about coming.

All the cool kids are doing it.

If you've got questions about how KBs can transfer to your on mat training,
you may like to check out the link below;
Me 'n Klint: KBs


Friday, December 19, 2008

Plan to Fail

Great Empires are not maintained by timidity



Join the party

Take the poll

The culture gets 'interactive'


Kettlebell Workshop

Kettlebell Workshop

Eric Burdo ( www.richmondbjj.com )(sexiest vegan I know) is going to be hosting a 2 hour workshop at his academy January 31st.

Space is going to be limited; our goal is to present a smaller breadth of material but to explore that material in much greater depth than most coaches/classes.
It is with this in mind that we've decided to call our class a 'Kettlebell 101' workshop, and to focus on the fundamentals.
After all, a house is only as sound as it's foundation.
After completing the workshop, most students should feel confident practicing the techniques on their own in solo training or with a partner. After some review, they will be well prepared to begin training in more advanced techniques later on, as they will have increased their capacities in the basics substantially!

I will post a little more on this soon.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Superer Squats

The Communist Party

I'm not saying, I'm just saying

Not my favourite dude ever, but sometimes we misunderstand Texans,
and we have to give them a second chance.
And a wide berth.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Me working a special program I adapted for Hypertrophy

Superer Squats from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Some snatch lifts

High Hang Squat Snatches
4 sets of 4 at 100lbs
(1 set of 4 at 100, 2 sets of 4 at 105)

Snatch Balance
5 sets of 2 at 145lbs
(2 sets of 2 at 145, 1 set of 1 at 155 and 165lbs) (PR)

I felt really good snatch balancing 165lbs, though depth and speed could be better. The main thing is it's 20lbs heavier than I have ever done before (never did heavy snatch balances before). I think that if I keep making progress, doing 175 and perhaps 185, then I can make 155lbs look as for sure, and that's the main goal; perfection at the more realistic weights of 145-155lbs that I am struggling to achieve snatch-wise right now.

Here's the view;

High Hang Squat Snatch and Snatch Balance from Full Circle on Vimeo.


63kg Womens Snatch Competition from 3lusive on Vimeo.

The final lifter is Nathalie Woolfolk whom in addition to being a Burgener by marriage, is a woman-sized woman who can snatch at least 70lbs more than I can ( at a significantly lower bodyweight)

but then again, she brings it!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Losing fat

If you've been reading, you may have noticed that the counsel given to 'lose weight' is different than that given to 'lose fat'.
They are not the same thing. A caloric deficit alone (eating less) will allow you to lose weight, but in all likelihood will not allow you to lose much fat.
Typically, a reduction in caloric intake over a prolonged period (72 hours to 2 weeks or more) leads to a downward trend in resting metabolic rate, or so biology, physiology and nutrition texts tell me.
But why? Is it a loss in lean or metabolically active mass? Not in 72 hours.
It is most likely due to the downregulation of hormones like Thyroid stimulating hormone, or responses to changes in blood glucose or glycogen stores that shift the body towards an emphasis on preserving energy.
Fat is energy. If you want to lose fat, the last thing you want to be is 'energy efficient'.
If you want to win a marathon you must be energy efficient; that's why most ultra endurance athletes share a common look with refugees, internees, prisoners of war and survivors of genocide. Harsh perhaps, but it's just common sense.

This is , one of the world's leading 10K 'ers

In order for your body to lose fat, there has to be a regular supply of food, and the balance of hormones has to slide towards things like Growth Hormone, glucagon, testosterone and IGF-1.
Most of these hormones are produced or released in greater amounts as the intensity of exercise goes up, there are numerous studies (mostly misapplied to running... at 70% VO2max versus 100%VO2max etc) showing this. They show that serum GH goes up while Insulin goes down as % VO2max goes up. Taken to it's categorical imperative it should be clear what a positive impact resistance training, which is always in excess of 100% VO2max as far as relative power output (work done/time) is concerned, can and will have on the balance of metabolic hormones. This is part of why bodybuilding via weighlifting is effective, whilst bodybuilding via jogging is by comparison an absurd idea. But people still try to do both at the same time...

The hormones responsible for the mobilization of fat as an energy source are for the most part the same hormones that enhance protein synthesis. Ie, in the sense of fat loss or muscle gain, the prescription for exercise is much the same. What is different is energy intake.
That's right folks. That's what I am saying. Do the same workout. One goal requires you to eat more. One goal requires that you eat less.

Am I oversimplifying? Yes. There are things that I would change in programming for each, but the similarities would far outweigh the differences.

Let's face it; Exercise alone won't make you big or lean.
Diet alone won't make you lean either. Small maybe, but not for long. We'll discuss that soon.

You can only train for so long each day. Let's say you do Crossfit, and you go 3 on 1 off. That means on average you train 5.5 days a week. Let's assume you spend 45 minutes doing your Crossfit workout. That's 248 minutes, or about 4 hours and some change a week. What about the other 164 hours (or 97.5%) of the week? If exercise choice, selection, volume and performance (and in this case 2-3 times the exercise most americans get) only accounts for less than 3% of the time can it really be the sole component in success? Doesn't there have to be something else going on?
There's plenty of research out there that shows that people that diet regain most of the weight lost in a few months to a few years. If you take it for granted that diet alone isn't very effective what's the missing link?
Exercise changes hormones. Hormones change body's use of food. Exercise for hormones 3% of the day, have hormones do the work for you the other 97% of the day. Endocrinology is the missing link. Exercise that directly and expressly enhances hormones that will change your metabolism.
These athletes run too. The only difference is how fast and for how long. Same exercise.
They are Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt. Two jamaicans who contest the title of 'World's fastest Man' every couple of weeks it seems.

They look different don't they.

Friday, December 5, 2008

how to lose fat and gain muscle

do one,

then the other

How to lose Fat

Maintain a caloric deficit

While exercising (preferably intensely)

How to lose weight

Eat less

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More snatch

I hit 125lbs x 3 earlier in the week.

So obviously I have to go for 135lbs x 3, or a new PR or something.

I hit 125lbs x3 again, not clean, but did. Then I went for 135lbs x 3. Lost is forward on the first rep. Then two good reps, then I came short/weak on the pull on rep four.
so, 135lbs x 2. New PR.

I tried to hit 145lbs, but my ass wasn't havin it. Didn't try the third pull at all.

So in review; Good week. Losing weight/fat, hitting PRs almost every day. IF ain't so bad.

Black Friday Snatch from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Friday, November 28, 2008

10000 Visitors


RCPC has now had over 10,000 visitors in the past year (11 months really).

Hope you guys are having as much fun as I am

Thursday, November 27, 2008

More Jerks


This is week 4 of about 5-6 in our programming for more strength/power. We've adapted some concepts from Catalyst Athletics and Gant Grimes
Basically, most days of the week we are starting off with some skill lifts, power lifts and strength lifts drawing heavily from O lifting culture.

Today was no different;
I hit 185,205 and 225x3 in the clean pull (225=PR, +5 over earlier in the week)
I also hit 135,145 and 155lbs x3 in the high hang squat clean

Then it was met con time.

Jerks - 95lbs
Pull Ups - BW

This was Fran with out all that squatting. Given that I weigh 150lbs, and my max strict press is about 125lbs, 95lb thrusters fuck me up pretty quick. But I am working on it. Today's workout seemed like a step in the right direction...

It's been interesting getting smacked around by three days in a row of Jerks, from 115lbs x 7 for rounds, to 12,9&6 with 70lbs KB and now finally 21-15-9 at 95lbs. I am a better man for it.

Kettlebells are not your friends

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day Three

Again with the Jerks!

Who comes up with this shit?

So, the WOD.

Got it done in 7:03.

Did it with 2 16kgs bells. I couldn't hold the lockout right, and I could not maintain the rack in the front squats. My delts, or my coracobrachialis, was not having it. None of it!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tsuri Komi Goshi

Tadashi Koike making me see it in a whole new light. Fucking beautiful!

Day Two

I am a little woozy while writing this...

I just completed Tuesday's WOD at Full Circle

My performance...

Clean Pull 145x5, 165x5 and 195x5 (PR)


Jerk 115lbs
Row 500m

four rounds for time

I finished in 16:18

I thought I'd burn right through the jerks, but for some reason I really stumbled through the first two rounds. Ironically, I took little down time in rounds 3 and 4 when I was considerably tired.
Perhaps my mistake was completing the first row in 1:48, about 9 seconds behind my PR. Of course, I told myself I'd do it about 2:10, so that I'd really fresh for the more demanding jerks...
once I get one fast pull, i can never slow down. It's almost impossible for me to pace myself on the erg. I could never compete beyond 1000m. It just wouldn't work.

my rows were approximately;

do the math... that means I spent more time 'pressing' than anything else, again. Well, there seems to be a pattern emerging!

Jason needs some stick time with just about every type of barbell overhead lift there is, as well as a reacquainting with the russian military press, more time on the rings and lots more time upside down.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fucking Smashed

In the spirit of science, I have endeavored to try a little experiment;

restrict my total calories using ADF intermittent fasting, and perform every single one of my WODs at Crossfit Full Circle this week. That's at least 5 in a row. I am not sure about Saturday or not yet.

I have experimented with IF on and off over the last few months, but never for more than three weeks straight. Not necessarily because it couldn't be done, wasn't working or I didn't like it... just things kept coming up; school, work, family, bills... stuff.
I actually have only tried Alternate Day Fasting. I have not done the whole 'window' thing.
What I have done is to plan a diet based on the Zone and Paleo principles mostly, (loosely!), and then to consume about 25% of my load one day, and about 150% the other. The corresponding average leaves a mild deficit, usually made up for on Sunday, the pretty much anything goes day.

This time around, I have gone two weeks on this pattern, in this case consuming a little more than before;
Fast= 6 blocks, with 6 extra blocks of fat
Eating= 30 blocks, with 10 extra blocks of fat
MWF= Fast
TRS= Eating
Sunday= Jason EAT!

So far, I have kept to fasts ok, with one 3 block sandwhich snafoo once. On eat days I have yet to eat all 30 blocks, but I always get my fat in.

I don't have any numbers body comp wise, but I may have lost 1 pound maybe. I am tiny bit leaner.

Here's the fun;
A lot of people wonder about IF and performance, namely how does low intake affect anaerobic energy production. After all, if you're blood glucose gets low, you can't sprint right?


Obviously no one asking these questions reads the clinical stuff about insulin sensitivity or neurological adaptations. Nor do they have a really good understanding of metabolic or exercise physiology. That's ok. Few do it seems.

Let's go with a concrete example from my experiment.

Jason Struck
29 years old
154 lbs
Max Snatch 135lbs
Max Overhead Squat 165lbs x 4 reps

Today's WOD at Full Circle

Here's how I did...

Snatch Balance 135lbsx3 (PR)
Snatch 125lbsx3 (PR)
OHS 175lbsx3 (PR)

Then I did 150 KB Swings with 20kgs in 5:51

My forearms are tired.

I feel great.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

One thing I suck a little less at

To Melissa;

There's plenty I suck at. Today, I feel a little less like Overhead Squatting is one of those things...

Smolov (which the first two weeks have in fact taken me about 5 to complete) called for 10 sets of 3 today at 165lbs.
The first few sets went very smoothly, and as anyone who's worked the OHS knows, the next few sets only got better... Something about the OHS: You're never warmed up until you're 3rd or 4th set...
So, the first nine sets went great. I lost rep one around set 6 or 7, but I turned the music up, cleaned it back into the rack and started over.
Everything felt so good that I decided to go for a little extra credit;
set 10, I completed 4 reps. I think that was all I had. But pretty good shit for what should be a 'I don't know if I am going to finish this workout' type of stuff.

So, 165lbs x 4 reps. New rep max. New MAX MAX. I have never done 165 before, so yay me. It suggests a max around 190lbs. I used to snatch pull 155 pretty consistently... Why can't I snatch more?
Jan-Feb, we'll see what we can do about that!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I suck at Ring Dips

And presses generally.

What follows is Crossfit Full Circle's WOD from 11-13-08.
It took me 9:26 to complete, and I assure you that 6+ minutes of it was probably dips.

11-13-08 WOD from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Crossfit and the USMC

If you dig Crossfit, the USMC, freedom or just whatever...


Some in the community have endeavored to provide enough functional training equipment to serve the needs of every Marine (that's just over 200,000!).

Greg and Laura already donated their entire gym, that's right, the old 'HQ' is now part of Camp Pendleton.

Check out the video at the link to learn more.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Overhead Squat Progress

Here's towards the end of my second week on the Smolov cycle
It's seven sets of five with 155lbs, which is in excess of bodyweight at this point.
That is a great feeling.

Overhead Squats - Smolov Week Two from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Gymnastics Rings - MD USA

Check out the new rings offered by Muscle Driver USA

haven't tried 'em out yet, but the price IS RIGHT!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

French Ne Waza vid

Here's Patrick Roux, Rokudan and 87 European Champion
talking frog talk about ground work fundamentals;

Monday, October 27, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Me and Rhadi

I just spent the night training with Rhadi Ferguson and Taraje Williams Murray.

Owe it all to Chuck Wall.

Special Judo Workout tonight

I'm pretty excited about a special workout tonight.

In the last few months, I have had the pleasure of training with the collegiate champ of Japan, and now two Olympians.

I owe it all to Chuck at Fredericksburg Judo, a gentlemen and tireless promoter of our art and sport;

Fredericksburg Judo

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hitting a new Pull Up PR

Crossfit Full Circle's WOD today;

Max Pull ups

here's my best set

Coach Jason hitting 26 Kipping Pull Ups from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Cuz you gotta have role models

Dimas, Naim and few other greats. Inspiring.

for a more modern american flair;
Cara Heads, alternate for the 2008 team

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Olympic Lifting Seminar this weekend

This weekend,
Crossfit RVA will host Chris Wilkes again for another Olympic Lifting seminar.


I went to the first one of these, it was excellent. If you are new or fairly new to the lifts, this is a great way to get started. You will learn the legit assistance lifts, the right way, from the beginning.

You'll also likely see some of the Wilkes boys lift some crazy weight.

I mean crazy weight.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kettlebells 101

An Introduction to Kettlbells

A lot of new people are discovering kettlebells, and I get a significant amount of traffic to the blog everyday with searches like 'beginner's kettlebell''kettlebell basics' and others.

What follows is a guide to help you get started as easily and with as little wasted time and money as possible.

The smartest first step would be to find a qualified instructor. I personally am an RKC, which means I have been certified by Pavel Tsatsouline to teach his methods of basic kettlebell lifting. I would also recommend any coach certified by Valery Fedorenko of the AKC or any CSCS.
With it's emphasis on general fitness, with a leaning towards functional mobility, strength, power and meaningful endurance cacpacity, I think that the RKC system or the 'Hard Style' as it is often called is a great place to start for almost anyone.

Early in your training, the best thing to focus on is the swing and core stability. Hence Enter the Kettlebell;
Enter the Kettlebell Book
With it's focus on the Swing and the Turkish Get Up, it provides the beginner with everything he/she needs to get started right.

After a little progression, I'd recommend trying out the Russian Kettlebell Challenge;

It's more akin to a beginner's dictionary of all the basics.

Should you outgrow these, there are several other wonderful resources, but I say work on your snatches and sign up for the RKC. What an experience!

You can of course get your kettlebells from Dragon Door as well, here's a link to get a catalogue of all their products;
Click Here to download the latest issue of Hardstyle Magazine

But I find them a wee 'cost prohibitive'. I typically recommend that people get MuscleDriver bells, as they represent the best value. They are almost (90%) as good as the best bells out their, like Dragon Door, but they cost half as much. I prefer the Gray bells, as they have a rough finish like the RKC bells, and nice dimensions. If you ever attend one of my workshops or classes, you will most likely be using a MD bell.

Well, that's it for now. With the Hard Style catalogue, the Muscle Driver bells, the Enter The Kettlebell book, you're off to a pretty solid start. Pick a bell that weighs about 20-30% of your own bodyweight, and start practicing the swing!

Monday, September 8, 2008


Friday, September 5, 2008

Eastern Open

Yours truly, losing again.

My favorite part is when about 10 seconds into my pin, they come over and tell me I am pinning him. As you can imagine, distracting. He was awarded a Wazari for the ko soto gari. You could go either way. You could give him Ippon too, or koka. I was in a rush on my feet. I didn't get to the grips I really needed, and I did not unbalance the guy. Then when I got to the guard, well, the calls were really inconsistent on the ground. And I looked really lazy. This guy was not that knowledgable, and I should have just come at him really hard. Instead, it was like another day at the Dojo. Kind of dumb, considering the drive.

Crossfit Full Circle

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Newer Crossfit in Richmond

Headquarters has tentatively accepted our affiliation request!

We have a few more pieces of paperwork to get straight, but look for group classes to start soon!

I will be offering small Crossfit group classes about 20-25 hours a week, Monday through Saturday, mornings and evenings.

We are still figuring out exact prices and ordering equipment, but we hope to get started in September!


Monday, August 25, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

VS Athletics

VS Athletic are selling these shoes for $45.00

Normally, they'd be about $80, but apparently the manufacturer wasn't supposed to make the toe 'White'.
They are kind of ugly.
But if you've been complaining about not being able to afford weightlifting shoes, you don't have much of an excuse for the next week or two until these sell out.

Check it out HERE

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Favorite Blog

I told you about Melissa a few weeks ago;

Gets Diesel

If you'd like to follow the day to day, check out her blog. She covers her Crossfit training in detail. I think you'll find it, if not inspirational, at least reinforcing.

I added it to the links section of my page, but you can hit it directly

Check it out, and tell me (or her) what you think!

New Crossfit in town

Welcome Crossfit Swift to the neighborhood.

I don't personally know Jen or (?) her partner, but I have corresponded with her via e-mail.


they seem pretty nice!

It looks like they were ready to set up shop, but got jilted at the last second. Now they are beginning to conduct workouts in their clients' backyards. If you check out the rest of their webpage, you'll see some pictures. Looks pretty great. They will be out in the Short Pump neighborhood from what I understand, so if you're way out West, why don't you look em up.

Stay tuned for Mark Pushinsky (Big Mark) and I to offer Crossfit classes a little closer to the city in the West End in the early Fall. We'll be starting off with the garage gym set up, non-traditional, as is the local tradition in Richmond!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Re Tooting my own horn

The following are some reviews and comments left about me by former clients and workshop attendees;

Kettlebells for Jiu Jitsu Rated 10 out of 10
I was impressed by Jason's knowledge of excercise mechanics and knowledge of exercise physiology. His application of kettle bell exercises to Jiu Jitsu is a great way to understand the dynamics of both. He gave a great three-hour BJJ/Kettlebell seminar and I was eager to learn more.
Dale Mullen - Mechanicsville, Virginia

Jason will kick your ass! Rated 10 out of 10
Listen up cardio queens: Jason is not the trainer for you. If you want a serious trainer, who employs ingenious methods to bring out the inner athelete in you, then Jason is your man. I never get bored in my sessions with Jason. Just when I think I have mastered an exercise, Jason throws me something completely unexpected. Worth every penny.
Nathalie - Richmond, Va

Jason Struck Review Rated 10 out of 10
Jason provides knowledge above and beyond that of a normal personal trainer. Jason borrows from many disciplines to help guide and instruct his classes. He is also able to effectively work with a class of varying skill levels and modify the activities accordingly. I highly recommend Jason whether you're an advanced athlete, weekend warrior, or just joining the gym for the first time.
Michael Glatter, NSCA-CPT - Richmond, Virginia

Instructor Evaluation: Jason Struck Rated 10 out of 10
Jason is an informed and perceptive instructor. I have greatly enjoyed learning and discovering the world of kettlebell. His approach is easy to follow and effective. The results have been quick and steady. I continue to see fat loss, muscle gain, increases in core strength and balance. Jason has been very helpful at developing a better technique and approach to my exercise regimen. I would highly recommend anyone to work with Jason and gain from his knowledge and experience. You only think his expectations exceed your abilities until you realize your potential.
James - Richmond, VA
Instructor Review of Jason Struck Rated 10 out of 10
Jason gave me a great introduction to working w/ kettlebells. He's a knowledgeable instructor with a highly informative and relaxed teaching style. Very helpful for me as a beginner in that he was able to pinpoint the small details i needed work on to really get the most out of the workouts. Overall a highly recommended instructor and i look forward to working with him again in the near future!
Lenny Greenberg - RVA - USA

I take the time to share these with you, because, well...
there's a lot of 'internet gurus' out there.

Many of whom have never trained a client. Many who have no real background, whether it be in education, certification, or experience. While I am proud of my academic achievements and professional credentials, I am most proud of the changes I have seen in the people that have made a commitment to my training.

I encourage you to consider being the next!
Drop me a line

Sunday, August 17, 2008

World's Fastest Man just got FASTER

Back in the day, I warned you about
Usain 'Lightning' Bolt of Jamaica


Well, he did it some more.

9.69 seconds.

That's all it takes for this 6'5" man to get from 0 to 100m.

The best part; He's a 200m/400m specialist, and he's 6-8" taller than all the other guys.
It's been common knowledge for years, that if you were over 6', your chances at the shortest distances weren't that good. Maybe it was leverages and mechanics (think powerlifters), maybe it was stride frequency, but 5'10" was the presumed perfect height for sprinters.

Take a minute, and reevaluate what you gave up on because you 'just weren't built for it'. Anything good?

Raise funds for US Judo Athlete Taraje

Earlier this week I made a post about Taraje Williams Murray

Please consider viewing the post, checking out the links;
his highly technical match against Japan's Hiraoka
his blog
his bio

and consider donating to his college fund

Taraje may have fallen a little behind on some of his other responsibilities while he was paying his own way around the world to compete in Judo to prepare for his second Olmypics.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Complex Training for Judo and BJJ

One of the most popular ways to integrate high power movements into a more traditional strength training program is through a method often called 'Complex' or sometimes 'Compound' training.

Here's the concept;
Perform a slightly submaximal effort on a otherwise high intensity lift
follow closely with a power movement that mimics that same motor pattern

One of the most popular combos was always the back squat followed by box jumps.

The theory behind the practice (and it's just that) was that high intensity loads (those above 80-85% 1RM depending on training age) would thoroughly innervate the nervous system specific to that musculature. With this higher state of arousal, exercises like O Lifts and Plyometrics would be even more effective. Performance would be temporarily increased due to the excitement caused by the heavy squat, such that the box jump would be higher or faster.

I don't know if this theory is entirely right, but some of the best coaches in the states use this technique fairly frequently with high degrees of success. I would even consider this an excellent substitution or alternative to the Westside Barbell 'Dynamic Effort' day. It should accomplish many of the same goals, and provide your average powerlifter with a welcome change of pace.

As an example, let's return to the high power output hip extension example of the High Hang Power Snatch

For a grappler to improve power out of the lower grab position of something like;
sukui nage
morote gari
te guruma
high crotch
single leg
double leg

we would want to address several points along the Force x Velocity curve. At high forces, velocity is low. At high velocities, force is low. Training one aspect will not be as effective as training two or more points along this curve, hence 'complex' training.

Let's step off the beaten path, and go with three exercises in our set;
One high force, low velocity
one max power (40-60% 1Rm as fast as possible)
one max acceleration/velocity

For force we choose anything from the powerlifting or weightlifting world. If your weakness is quads or knee extension, I'd say a squat variation (I love the Overhead). If your weakness is the posterior chain, or hip extension, let's say the Romanian Deadlift.
For power we go with the High Hang Power Snatch.
For speed, let's do the 'Scoop Toss'.

Here's what that looks like;

You can see there that I have chosen three potential objects for tossing; Heavy Bag (~40lbs), Medicine Ball (12lbs), and Kettlebell (16kg). Any will do. The heavier you go, the slower, so choose carefully. What's your weakest link?

Here's what all the lifts look like in order;
PS: Music choice on this one is not work or family safe, sorry.

For the sake of ease, all the lifts have the same weight. All lifts in the video are performed for three reps. This is not how it should be necessarily done in practice.
Here are some suggestions;
Force: Choose a lift corresponds to about a 5RM load and perform 3 reps
Power: Same; if you can snatch 135, choose 105 and snatch it as HARD and FAST as you can!
Speed: Here you may afford more repetitions, for instance if you can perform the scoop toss with a 12lb medicine ball lightning fast for 9 reps, do 8.

Lesson: Leave a little gas in the tank! This is CNS training, and fatigue will only lessen your results. Give yourself about thirty seconds of rest between each exercise before proceeding to the next. For example;
3 reps RDL
30 seconds rest
3 reps HH Power Snatch
30 seconds rest
8 reps Scoop Toss
3-4 minutes rest

If you are tired, you can't produce maximal force or speed, and that is the purpose of this protocol! Don't forget why you do what you do!

Consult this 1996 classic by Donald Chu
for the whole story

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Lifts for Judo

People argue a lot about whether or not athletes (not weightlifters)
should be doing Olympic Lifts or not.

The usual arguments against O Lifts are as follows;
hard to learn
special equipment is needed

Ok. Don't do 'em.

What the O Lifts do provide in exchange for the danger and expense are;
explosive strength
starting strength
core and grip development

When the full lifts are practiced, I would add;

So when a Judoka or other grappler does choose to turn to the darkside and start lifting,
the first question is always;

"What's the best exercise to do for Judo?"

This a question not unlike "What's your favorite beer?" "Which one of your children do you love the most?" and possibly "Who would win in a fight, Superman or the Incredible Hulk?"

Only stupid people really have answers to any of these questions.

Having said that, I will now attempt to answer that question, at least in part. One aspect of grappling that is often under or unsafely trained is starting and explosive strength in hip extension. Depending on your game, this may be the one single most important bio motor ability. Even if you aren't hitting people with Te Guruma and single legs all day, this is still probably the one area that demands the most capacity in a long match or training session. In good grappling, how many movements happen without the hips?

With that in mind, I would suggest the High Hang Power Snatch.

The high hang position simplifies pulling from the floor. You basically start in the power position.
The power catch (catching with bent knees again in the 'power position') eliminates the confusion of the 'third pull' a skill that's gonna take a long time to develop for sure.
And why the snatch? The load is moved a greater distance.
The goal is to move the most weight the farthest the fastest. I think that I can give the clean more weight, but I'll take the other two with the snatch.

With the high hang power snatch, you can quickly advance to 30-40% of your max squat, and the most powerful athletes will be doing reps well over bodyweight. That bodes well for your ability to grab somebody and toss them in the air, doesn't it?
There are many variations on the O Lifts, and there are plenty of alternatives to my proposal;
accelerative lifting
I think that power snatching delivers a lot of bang for the buck, so it's just my preference.

Help an Olympian

Taraje Williams-Murray

overlooking Rio at the 2007 World's

From the Bronx, 24 years old, has been doing Judo since we has 8. Went to the 2004 Olympic games. Has spent the last 4 years sacrificing everything to make it the 2008 Olympic Games.

He made it.


Here's his match against Hiraoka, which he won by decision. He played an incredibly tight game, got up by a point, and played smart to run out the clock ahead, and beat a highly ranked Japanese player that, frankly, no one but his American fans expected him to beat. It wasn't the most romantic and exciting Judo ever played, but any international player would appreciate the strategy and tactical execution of this match.

What you may not know about Taraje, is that in the last 2 years he's medaled at the following events(this is in no way exhaustive, it's just the highlights);
Pan American Championships
USA Judo National Championships

New York Open

Tre Torri International B-Level Tournament (B)

USA Judo Pan Am Games and World Team Trials

USA Judo Nationals

NYAC New York Open
Liberty Bell Championships (66kg)
National Championships (66kg)

U.S. Open (66kg)

While no slouch, it is sort of a long shot to hope for someone from the states to win a medal in the Olympics. While Taraje has some international experience, including an incredible victory (GOLD) at Tre Torri, one of the most prestigious events in international judo, he still doesn't have near the mat time in Europe and Asia that most of his competitors would have.


Because he's lazy?

If you wonder this, please visit his blog, linked to above. Or look up his name on Youtube. Watch several intense strength and conditioning training sessions with coach Rhadi Ferguson (himself an Olympian, as well as a competitor at ADCC and the Mundials), or ask his Judo coach Jimmy Pedro if he's got any work ethic. Read his schedule on his blog, about the morning S&C followed by two technical sessions in one day and randori at night. Or about the diet that he's on to stay at 60kg (that's 132lbs).

The young man works his ass off.
All while trying to complete a master's degree from Boston University. Which brings me to my point; for the time being, it looks like it's time for Taraje to return to school. However, one of those sacrifices I was talking about earlier is rearing it's ugly head;

You see, in America, judo athletes receive no financial support from our Olympic committees. Nor do they receive a lot of support from say the national governing body of Judo, of which we have three rather than the more efficient or centralized ONE. They don't get scholarships, hell, Judo is not even a SCHOLASTIC SPORT at all, like it is an most of the countries that do best in Judo (France, Japan, Korea or Russia).

So, while doing all this training, and hiring all these coaches, Taraje still had to figure out a way to pay for plane tickets to Italy, rent in New York and tuition for grad school. The only answer he could find?
Credit Cards.
BU won't let him back in until he pays his outstanding debts (fair enough I guess). He's racked up a massive amount of debt trying to fulfill his 'Olympic Dream', but now it's time to come home.
Get back to work? London 2012?

The guy won Tre Torri. He can win an Olympic Medal. It would be the first one for the USA since Jimmy Pedro, and one of only a few in US history.
If you can, help him out. He's already had several donors so far, and he's almost a quarter of the way to his goal. Here's the link;

Donate to Taraje's School Fund via PayPal

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dogs love trucks

or so the old Nissan ad used to go.

my cats are kind of homebodies, but here's the new truck;

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kraiburg Bumpers

is carrying Kraiburg Bumpers now!

They are pricing them at $2/pound before shipping, which is a fair price. However, they are on sale for about $1.50/pound before shipping, which is a REALLY GOOD price.

Kraiburgs have become the industry standard when it comes to economical training bumpers. You can't go wrong with this as you're garage gym work horse!

They have always been very fair with me on shipping, as I am here in VA and they are in SC. Pretty awesome deal!

I am looking at buying about ~150lbs or so, and they are pricing them at about $.40/pound for shipping too, so all said and done, it looks like about $1.90 per pound to my door.

I'll be sure to let you know how fast they get here!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Byers gets Diesel

Recently, I have made a new friend through the internerd.

Her name is Melissa. I first noticed Melissa making some posts on the Crossfit Message board. She had an amusing avatar of her doing pull ups on what looked like a curtain rod. She was wearing business clothes, like a skirt suit or something, so naturally it was a pretty great photo.
I sent her a message asking her about it, and she explained that she had recently become obsessed with getting a pull up, then more pull ups. A girl after my own heart.

I was of course intrigued. I've known some women who train purely for strength, and while I respect them, and their achievements, they don't look like Melissa. I've also known women who only do cardio. I've never respected them, and again, none of them look like Melissa. Some are skinny yes, but I am not saying that as any kind of compliment.

I sent her an e-mail to ask her about her training of late, and here's some of the conversation we had;

I started CF for real in December '07, but I've been playing with KBs and CF concepts for about two and a half years.  This is how new some of this stuff is, though... I got my first dead-hang pull-up in February, I learned to DL and power clean in March and did my very first back squat in May.(All this year.)  But I can crank out pull-ups with 15#, am SO close to  1.5x BW deadlift and just recently pulled a 105# clean.  I'm working my ass off over here.  

My diet has always been really strict - paleo, no grains, no sugar, no dairy. I don't weigh/measure but I have a good idea of what I need to eat at this point. I started IF'ing about a month ago at the behest of Gant Grimes, and I love it. I fast 4-5 days a week (never on rest days). I stop eating between 6 - 8 PM, train at 6 AM the next day (while fasting) and start eating again around noon. My energy has never been better - it's far more consistently "up" than it was when I was eating every few hours. I'm still getting stronger and rocking the met-cons, and my work capacity is increasing. And I like not having to worry about carrying food around with me everywhere I go. It's really freeing. When I do eat, I eat as much as I want, as long as it's paleo. I get about 140g of protein a day, some carbs in the form of veggies and a little bit of fruit and the rest(about 50% of my overall diet) is fat. Right now I'm at about 128# and about 13% BF, but looking to put on another 5# or so.
Editorial Here: So, she can Deadlift 1.5 times bodyweight, and clean about 80+% of BW. She does weighted pullups.
Diet: If less than 50% of her diet is Protein (which it must be), in all likelyhood she eats about 140g (x4 cals per gram) of Protein and nearly as much in Carbs (let's guess 100+g). That means she gets at least ~1000cals from those two, leaving approximately the same in fat. That's 2000+ cals a day, of which at least half comes from 110+ grams of FAT a day.
Additionally, you can see here that she wants to GAIN weight now.
End Editorial

I did a kettlebell demo at an outdoor fair on Tuesdsay.  I was one-arm C&J'ing the 20K and a woman said, "Oh, those are heavy.  I don't want to get all bulky."  I just stood there like, are you kidding me?   I'm certainly not in the Nicole/Annie category, nor am I any kind of CF role model... but I am a pretty normal girl who has had some really amazing results by dialing in on my diet and CrossFitting as hard as I can.  And I am the furthest thing from big OR bulky.  I love sharing my CF experience with other women.  Dudes too.

I would love to be featured, that's pretty awesome. You can
reprint anything I've given to you, and I've dug up some pictures. I don't have a ton of "before", but I found a picture from my training at the Black Box in NYC back in March of this year.
For what it's worth, I have dropped from about 18% BF in December to 13% today. That's not that much time. I credit a program that revolves around LOTS of heavy lifting and getting super strict with my diet. It's hard to convince women to focus only on performance and results - to measure success solely by how much stronger and faster they are getting. It's even harder to convince them that the way they look WILL fall into place. But that is exactly my experience.

I'd been lurking on the CF site for a while, and was incorporating some of the CrossFit movements into my KB workouts - things like box jumps, wall-ball, dumbbell thrusters and push-ups. For two years, though, my entire program consisted solely of 45 minute met-cons with little to no weight. While my cardio capacity kicked butt, I wasn't really getting anywhere strength-wise. Of course, what was missing were (a) the big lifts and (b) moving heavier things, but I was too scared to try some of the workouts I saw posted on the main site and didn't think I could ever be strong enough for things like pull-ups. However, my progress had stalled, and I was getting really bored.
Nothing more boring than killing yourself and not getting results ;)

When I started trying some of the CF exercises (like deadlifts, pull-ups and overhead squats) it was REALLY  intimidating.   The movements felt foreign and I could barely lift the bar, let alone add any weight.  I couldn't imagine moving anything even close to 100# - in any direction. But the idea of being able to complete some of those workouts - and seeing how beautiful AND tough some of the CF ladies are - pushed me to commit myself to it.   I started really working the movements, one at a time, with a trainer... and discovered that I was a hell of a lot stronger than I gave myself credit for.  And I found I really LIKED feeling that strong!
Stepping up to the squat rack and using the "big boy bar" made me feel tough - even in my pigtails and Lululemons. So I started adding more weight, and more movements, and eventually progressed into the program I have now - primarily focused on heavy strength days, with some shorter, faster weighted met-cons, regular Oly work and a "mix" day of track, strongman and KBs.

Fixing my diet was the very last step - it was always pretty good, but
when I got really strict with my food choices and started upping my protein and fat, THAT'S when everything clicked. And the best part about this whole experience is that my body just sort of fell into line. I was so focused on getting a bodyweight front squat and learning to kip that I forgot to check myself out in the mirror. It was like one day I woke up and had a six pack. Which, although secondary, was pretty sweet.

Why should women care about Olympic lifts, deadlifts or their 400m sprint time? I can clean a 45# bag of dog food from the floor to my shoulder at the pet store. I can help my husband move a giant pile of rocks from one end of the yard to the other. I can join a pick-up game of tag football with my little cousins - and run them into the ground. That. Feels. GOOD. And the best part? I'm STILL a confirmed girly-girl. (Power cleans and lip gloss are not mutually exclusive.)

Let me know if you have any other questions - and thanks again for the opportunity.


The Picture on the left is from March 2008. The right is June. That's 4 months, tops.

I will have to thank her again for sharing that with me. She sent me another e-mail a day or two later, to point out to me that she was 'fit' before, but that she really didn't achieve excellent results until after she started using significant weight in her workouts. DUH. I'm glad she told me, but she didn't have to. This is the lecture I have been giving confused, bewildered women since 2004.
There also seems to be an inverse relationship between time and intensity that we all know, and all forget. Doing 100 cleans is cool and all, but that will never take you the same place as doing one REALLY heavy clean. I think what Melissa and I are trying to tell you, is that somewhere in the middle, is Fran, Grace, Helen whatever. They all call for moderate loads, and moderate reps for a reason. Intensity. There's no intensity if you can do it more than fifty times. There's no met-con if you do it less than ten times.
The magic is in the movements, it's true. But it's also in the load and the speed. Enough load and speed, and you have power. All things being equal, more power equals more capacity and MORE RESULTS!
Never stop pushing for heavier, faster and harder. It never gets easier. In fact, the more your Fran time goes down, the more it hurts to try and do better. But you have to do better! If the times keep going down, I guarantee you are getting stronger, faster, healthier and god damn it, sexier!