Tuesday, November 25, 2014


In the spirit of the Thanksgiving Holiday this week's bro session is going to be one in the same as the Thanksgiving Day WOD. This is going to be a partner based workout. Depending on how it goes you might thank your partner when it's done or curse them out all the same. Are you ready to burn some pre-feast calories this week? Drum roll...

Thanksgiving Partner WOD (only 1 partner working at a time)

-200m Buddy Carry (each partner) followed by 400m run (each partner runs individually)

-200 seconds of Plank Hold

-200 KBS (16kg/12kg)

-200 Lunge Steps

-200 K2E

-200m Buddy Carry (each partner) followed by 400m run (each partner runs individually)

-200 Push Presses (45#/35#)

-200 Supermans

-200 Wall Ball Shots (20#/14#)

-200 Burpees

-200m Buddy Carry (each partner) followed by 400m run (each partner runs individually)

Workout Breakdown
  • This is a partner workout, but can be scaled to accommodate anyone who prefers to workout alone or that does not have a partner. So do not stay home just because you do not have a partner, we will try and pair people up as best as possible and we will adjust as needed. We can even make it a three person version if needed and having done that already I can promise it is a good time!

  • The volume of work and the loads are always scalable so adjust weights and reps as needed to ensure that you get the stimulus you are after. You are going to leave here and spend the day with family enjoying yourselves. Please do not leave here broken battered or bruised as this is not the spirit of it all.

  • Pace yourselves and develop a plan of attack before hand. This is being done for time but will prove to be a grinder. Rest as needed, hydrate and chip away at it piece by piece.

  • If you cannot make it in for the holiday, you can make this up over the weekend and as always during Open Gym time next week.

Workout Date and Times

Thursday November 27th, 2014 at 8:30am and 9:30am.

See the man in this picture...he is one bad ass, tough as nails former Navy Seal Commander and his name is Mark Divine. As many of you know I have developed something of a penchant for the likes of Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle over the last few years. In fact, I have developed a huge respect, beyond anything I had previously known, for all first responders as they lay it all on the line for the rest of us on an almost daily basis. For whatever reason though Navy Seals have truly fascinated me and Mark Divine is no exception. He is as articulate as any person I know, he is incredibly smart and most importantly he is a motivator without peer. After all, he knows what it takes to turn the average fighter into the ultimate warrior. Having retired from the service he is now involved in numerous ventures including Seal Fit (www.sealfit.com), The Unbeatable Mind Program and The Kokoro Camp (which I would like to put a group together and go do, but that's another post at another time). Let me refer you to his biography as it is rather impressive.


NYT Best seller, WSJ Best seller and #1 Amazon for books
Ranked the #1 trainee of SEAL BUDS/class number 170
Served 9 years on active duty and 11 years as a Reserve Seal, retiring as Commanderin 2011
Founded NavySeals.com, the leading website for gear and information about the Seals
Launched US Tactical, leading to increased quality of life for Seals and became the inspiration for…

SEALFIT has helped thousands transform their lives, both online and on-site in Encinitas, California
Mark is a highly sought after speaker, coach, author and makes frequent media appearances to discuss Seal way of life

Mark Divine is from upstate New York with a degree in economics from Colgate University and an MBA in Finance from New York University Stern School of Business. Mark’s first career was with Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouse Coopers) as a Certified Public Accountant. Clients included luminous financial firms such as Solomon Brothers and Paine Weber.

Four years after joining Coopers, Mark left behind the corporate world to pursue his vision to become an elite Navy SEAL officer. At 26 he graduated as honor-man (#1 ranked trainee) of his SEAL BUD/s class number 170. Mark served for nine years total on Active Duty and eleven as a Reserve SEAL, retiring as Commander in 2011.

Mark embarked on his third career as an entrepreneur in 1996 by co-founding the successful Coronado Brewing Company (CBC) and founding the web e-commerce site www.NavySEALs.com. He later sold his interest in CBC, but continues to run NavySEALs.com as the leading web site for gear and information about the SEALs. In 2006 he launched US Tactical, a government contracting business where he gained contracts with Naval Special Warfare Group ONE for training support and with the Navy Recruiting Command for a nationwide mentoring program for SEAL trainees. This latter program was credited with increasing the quality of Navy SEAL candidates and reducing the attrition rate at BUD/s by up to 5% and was the inspiration for SEALFIT.

Mark was an adjunct professor of leadership at the University of San Diego, where he left a PHD program due to the Iraq war Reserve call up. In Baghdad with the SEALs again in 2004, he conducted a special study for the DOD on the role of the USMC in the Special Operations Community. Upon return home he decided to focus fully on his business and family.

Mark is an accomplished martial artist with black belts in Seido and Goju Ryu Karate, a military hand to hand combat certification in SCARS and senior ranking in Saito Nijutsu. He is teacher trained in Ashtanga Yoga, and created the innovative Unbeatable Warrior Yoga program taught to his students.
After working with thousands of special ops candidates and professionals developing mental toughness, Mark self-published his first book Unbeatable Mind in 2011 and launched the at-home study program www.unbeatablemind.com. He is also the author of The Way of the SEAL published by Readers Digest and 8 Weeks to SEALFIT published by St. Martins Press.

SEALFIT is uniquely effective at developing elite level physical fitness and mental toughness. The program has helped thousands to operate at an entirely new level in their personal and professional lives, and is used by military, first responders and sheepdog-like professionals of all stripes worldwide.

Mark is a highly sought after speaker for corporations where his Unbeatable Mind program is helping to forge mental toughness among business leaders. He lives in Encinitas, CA., several blocks from the SEALFIT Training Center, the 20,000 square foot facility where he enjoys training with his family and team.

Certifications, experience, honors

• CPA, New York State
• BUD/s class 170 Honor man
• SEAL TEAM 3 Platoon CDR
• Commanding Officer, NR SEAL TEAM 1
• Commander, US Navy Reserves
• Colonel, Kentucky Order of Colonels
• Ambassador, SEAL (NSW) Foundation
• Ashtanga Yoga Instructor training
• Author, 8 Weeks to SEALFIT, Way of the SEAL, Unbeatable Mind
S.C.A.R.S. Military H2H instructor
• Seido Karate: black belt
• Goju Ryu Karate: black belt
• Saito Ninjitsu: brown belt
• Special Adviser to Women’s Olympic Cycling Team
• Warrior Yoga founder and head instructor
• Adviser, Spartan Race inc.
• Board Member, CSSP, Performance Psychology
• US Army Master Fitness Course
• Various special operations courses – advanced Free Fall, SDV Operator, Leadership

Lesser-known Fact:
Mark founded the always-packed Coronado Brewing Company, and was nicknamed Cyborg in the SEALs

About Mark’s Latest Book
In The Way of the SEAL, Mark outlines exercises, meditations and focusing techniques to train your mind for mental toughness, greater intuition and inner strength. You’ll learn to approach your goals in life like a SEAL approaches his or her targets—with the utmost precision and never-fail determination. Way of the SEAL will act as a practical guide for businesspeople, athletes or anyone who wants to be an elite operator in his or her life, helping you tap into 20x your current perceived ability. For more about this book and to get it from Amazon, click here.

About The Unbeatable Mind Program
This is the ultimate, at-home training program that guides you through the mental and physical transformation you need to attack your life like a SEAL. You’ll discover what’s currently holding you back, uncover your unique purpose and mission, build laser-like focus, master your mind, harden your body, and learn to perform at the highest level each day. This step-by-step monthly video coaching program features training from Mark and his team and can be taken and applied anytime, day or night, from anywhere in the world. Click here to learn more about how you can get started.

About Mark’s Bootcamp Intensives
If you really want to take your performance to the next level without compromise, then consider attending one of Mark’s live, hands-on training events at SEALFIT Encinitas, California. There, he and his team will take you through the ultimate transformation as you’re pushed beyond your limits, just like SEALS are during their training. You’ll arrive unsure, and leave with the confidence and know-how to get the most from every single area of your life. There are several different options, ranging from 1-day all the way to 3 week intensives. Click here to learn more about the different camps.

Having read this far I hope you can appreciate why I would choose to listen to what this man has to say. Hopefully you are feeling the same way and are willing to listen and implement his sage advice on various topics. Ultimately our journey with Beards, Bulking, Bros, Bras and Boarding will culminate with our collective participation in the NYC Marathon (at least for those that are interested). Along the way though we will all inevitably find ourselves faced with different circumstances -- some will be challenges that need to be addressed and some will be obstacles that need to be overcome. Regardless we will see each other through from start to finish and we will never leave a bro or bra behind. I am including the following post from Mark because I think it provides a good launching point for this notion of team building, mentoring and making changes. These changes will be made in ourselves individually, in our group collectively and then hopefully within the greater context of the world in which we live. Read and enjoy! Hooyah!!

September 10th, 2014 by Mark Divine

Recently I was invited back to Colgate to give a homecoming speech to 900 students and parents in September. I was honored and terrified at the same time. Just what value I could offer these students – who are on the cusp of entering a “real world gone mad.” I had a sense that this generation is to be the turning point for the human race. Either they step up and lead, or we could perish as our scarcity model of life devours life and tips the scales toward oblivion.

It will be 2045 when this young group of men and women are my age. The world will be very different place than what we know today. I believe it will be a more beautiful world if they learn how to be special. Over the next 30 years there will be many chaotic, confusing and violent challenges to overcome and make wise choices about. Most of the institutions we now rely on in the West will likely be gone and replaced by a new model. More important, the myths of our human co-existence will be challenged and must also transform– to include all of the unsustainable, separation-based stories that guide our everyday actions: the corporate structures, nation-states, fiat currency, centralized economic manipulation, health care, food production, the educational systems and more. Yes, this new generation of graduating smart kids will not only witness it all, but must step up to take a sheepdog role to lead the sheep, protect them from the wolves, and find the pastures in the more beautiful world that lies beyond the veil of normalcy.

So, in the spirit of becoming the mentor (and in gratitude for my own mentor Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura), I offer these ten principles to follow once you choose to be special and co-create a more beautiful world together. If every student in that room, and everyone reading this blog, makes this choice, and then influences just one other person to be their swim buddy on the journey, I believe the ripple we send out into the world will become a tsunami of positive change.

Here they are:

1.  Uncover Your Purpose and Ignite Your Passion
2.  Stoke Your Inner Vision
3.  Live with Honor and Take a Stand
4.  Find an Enlightened Mentor and Model Him or Her
5.  Get Committed and Starve Fear
6.  Forge Grit
7.  Take Bold Action but Know When to Stand Down
8.  Trust Your Gut
9.  Soften Your Heart and Love Your Teammates
10. Never Quit

Train hard, step up and make the call. Hooyah!

Mark Divine

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I am going to refrain from a long drawn out introduction for this week's Bro Session announcement. Instead I am going to provide a brief description to the notion behind this workout. This week we will hold our Bro Session on Saturday November 22nd at 1:30pm. For the workout this week I have chosen a Hero WOD called the Lumberjack 20, however I have put a little twist on the WOD to make it especially grueling. I will explain in just a moment but first a little background on the workout.

On November 5, 2009, at 1:34 p.m., a terrorist named Major Nidal Hasan attacked fellow soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood, Texas. When the shooting ended, he had killed 12 soldiers and one civilian and wounded 43 others.

Four of the slain soldiers, Spc. Frederick Greene, 29, of Mountain City, Tennessee, Pfc. Aaron Thomas Nemelka, 19, of West Jordan, Utah, Pfc. Michael Pearson, 22, of Bolingbrook, Illinois, and Spc. Kham Xiong, 23, of St. Paul, Minnesota, along with eleven of the wounded were active CrossFitters in the 20th Engineer Battalion, home to Lumberjack CrossFit.

The hero WODs are named after Heros who have given their lives in the line of duty. Their purpose is to remind us to think outside of ourselves. Try to sit back and look at the bigger picture for a minute. Forget about the number on the board, the time on the clock, what everyone else’s times are, etc. The point of a hero WOD is to show courage, to put yourself outside of your comfort zone. This workout is in honor of these fallen soldiers, five years after the murderous rampage. Put yourself into a level of discomfort that brings this whole thing back into perspective. Give yourself a reality check.

A CrossFit hero WOD is not meant to be an everyday training regimen, nor should it be. These workouts are nasty, and for good reason, they take you to a place that you may never have been before. A level of discomfort that is indescribable to most that have never been there, and when it is over, you should feel accomplished not because of the time on the clock, but the fact that you finished, the fact that you put it all out there to honor a fallen Hero.

Give this workout everything you have. It will be tough, but in the end, I promise you will be proud of what just went down.


Lumberjack 20 (The Original Version)
20 Deadlifts 275#/185#
Run 400m
20 Kettlebell Swings 32kg/24kg 
Run 400m
20 Overhead Squats 115#/75#
Run 400m
20 Burpees
Run 400m
20 Chest to Bar Pull Ups
Run 400m
20 Box Jumps 24"/20"
Run 400m
20 Dumbbell Squat Cleans 50#/35#
Run 400m

Lumberjack 20 (Version 2.0 or Version Br.0)
3 Rounds:

20 Deadlifts 275#/185#

20 Kettlebell Swings 32kg/24kg

20 Overhead Squats 115#/75#

20 Burpees

20 Chest to Bar Pull Ups

20 Box Jumps 24"/20"

20 Barbell Squat Cleans 135#/95#

Rest 2 min

You will notice that the 400m repeats have been removed from this workout but instead of 1 round we are doing 3 rounds (of course you can scale this and do 1, 2 or 3 rounds). What about the running you ask. Good question! Had the 400m repeats been left in place this would have resulted in 8400m being run throughout the workout. That translates into something north of 4.5 miles, crazy talk right? Well just so we can get our dose of running covered I am including an optional 1 mile run after each round. If you do all 3 rounds then you will run 3 miles, 2 rounds will be 2 miles and so on. Remember the running is optional, it's just a matter of how sadistic you want to get with this one.

Workout Breakdown
  1. This calls for up to 3 rounds of work but of course this is not mandatory. You are always welcome to perform the original version and include the 400m repeats but only do 1 round.  You can do 2 rounds or 3 rounds and no running just rest for 2 minutes in between. Remember the 1 mile repeats after each round are optional.
  2. The weights are on the heavier side and that's the point, it adds to the suck factor. However, you can always scale/modify here. In fact, it is whole heartedly encouraged that you look at your 1 rep max weights for these movements and make sure to scale accordingly.
  3. As always you can go heavier and scale down the number of reps for each movement. This will allow you to go heavy and hard but not break down due to fatigue.
  4. The warm-up for this workout should be comprehensive and should definitely include some lighter weight versions of all the elements included. However, this is going to be a real grinder and you are going to have to pace yourself so a 5-15 minute warm-ups should suffice. Address the gnarly stuff, get some cardio in and address the ranges of motion in question.
  5. Have fun broskis and braskis!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Perhaps one of the most talked about aspects of CrossFit is the potential danger it presents and the supposedly higher rate of injuries incurred though CrossFit style training. Let us try and put this to rest once and for all, before we beat it like the proverbial dead horse over and over some more. I know it seems hypocritical for me to even suggest such a notion, albeit sarcastically, as I once again open this can of worms for further discussion. However, I promise you I will focus this post more on training through and around injuries and not on a defense of the safety inherent in performing functional movements (you know the very same ones found intrinsically in our DNA).

One of the most common questions circling the gym immediately prior to a workout is what can be done to scale or modify the WOD. Generally speaking this is not an attempt to find the easy way out, but rather is an attempt by one, if not multiple participants, to determine what can be done to accommodate their current situation. Typically this "situation" is some form of an injury.

Now let's make sure we address the idea that acute injuries are very different from chronic injuries:

Acute injury is a sudden injury that is usually associated with a traumatic event such as a fall or accident. Your body will subsequently undergo, often negative changes, in the immediate aftermath of this incident. A traumatic impact can cause your bone to crack, muscles to tear or ligaments to snap. You will likely experience a sudden sharp pain that is often severe, there is often times immediate swelling and even cold purple regions in your body that indicates a lack of proper blood circulation in that injured part. Almost all of us have missed at least one box jump, need I say more?!

Chronic injuries can be also called overuse injuries. Like the name suggests, such injuries are usually caused by the overuse of a particular part of your body either through sports or exercises. They develop slowly and last a long time. Initially the symptoms of such injuries are mild compared to acute injuries and the pain they cause can be minimal. This often leads to a false sense of security, which in turn prompts a person to ignore the injury and carry on with their activities. Over time, the symptoms will likely build up and cause more problems. Some common symptoms of chronic injuries include experiencing pain whenever you engage in sporting activities, swelling and constant aching even when you are otherwise immobile. In other words, chronic injuries are lifestyle threatening as they restrict you from participating in many things. Some examples of chronic injuries are stress fractures, tendonitis and tendinosis.

After 12 years of existence CrossFit has been featured in numerous articles, blogs and even television shows. Although the coverage has often been relatively impartial there still seems to be a deeply held belief that CrossFit is inherently dangerous at best and even deadly at worst. I'm not going to go down the rhabdomyolysis path during this post, I will save that for another time as it is a fairly meaty subject worthy of its own attention.

Constantly varied, functional movements delivered at a RELATIVELY high intensity sounds like an oxymoron right? Well it is not. Needless to say you can have your cake an eat it too when it comes to CrossFit but only if you are smart about. 

Constant variety does not imply randomness. To be random something must be "proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern." This would preclude us from ever being able to measure, test and retest ourselves in an effort to measure our progress. While yes we must be prepared for the unknown and unknowable we can prepare for such using systematic and progressive overloading principles found in any basic exercise physiology textbook. The devil is in the details and the art is found in how we apply such principles in a fun and challenging context.

Functional movements, as mentioned earlier, are those movements found in our original DNA. Movements like running, jumping, climbing, squatting and lunging are just a few of these examples. Oh and yes we do "pick things up and put them down," but we do so with a purpose and with an assurance that what we do in the gym will have an appropriate functional analog in nature as well, for we are looking to improve our lives outside the gym as well as inside it. 

I intentionally highlighted the word "relatively" as a precursor to the notion of high intensity because this is where this tend to get dicey. Seen the CrossFit Games on TV? Good because that is not CrossFit, that is in fact the CrossFit Games. Even CrossFit HQ defines The Games as being distinct from CrossFit itself. It has been suggested that this spectacle of fitness is reserved exclusively for the upper one half of 1% of people/athletes participating in CrossFit. This is not to suggest that performing some of these workouts is not possible, and they are most certainly often a fun and good time. It is to suggest that this is not often where we should look for examples of what CrossFit is, especially if you are new to this style of exercise. Instead you need to find an affiliate with qualified coaches, a long track record of delivering a quality product and an atmosphere that feels warm and embracing. You should also look for a program that caters to multiple fitness levels and experience levels and you should make sure that there is always appropriate scaling and modifications available to meet your current needs and demands. What is intense to one is not necessarily to another and everyone needs just the right dose to get the most out of what they put in. Fitness cannot be dictated to anyone, it can be facilitated and the onus for the rest falls squarely on head of each person. 

My friend Anthony Roberts has looked into the research and found that the incidence of injury in CrossFit was 3.1 injuries reported per 1000 hours of training. This was found to be similar in rate to sports such as Olympic Weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics and even lower level contact sports such as rugby. http://romanoroberts.com.mx/the-nature-and-prevalence-of-injury-during-crossfit-training-study/  

All that being said I do not currently know one active, or even semi active, person that has not gotten hurt at some point and had to train with, through or around some sort of injury. Chances are the longer we participate in something the more likely we are to get injured at some point. This is where one's true character is often revealed. It is easy to be motivated when we feel good and we can do everything, but when we have to struggle or persevere a little bit that is when we find out how badly we really want something be it competitive or otherwise. It takes fortitude, mental toughness, and discipline to train through injuries. By now we have all heard the saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." Although this may at times seem cliche there is some real substance to this notion.

So let us walk through how we should approach an injury, be it acute or chronic.

FIRST: Let's determine how we may have incurred the injury and then clearly identify what movements specifically cause pain or discomfort.

SECOND: Let's get real! If the pain in your shoulder is bad enough that you cannot lift your arm then we need to consider going home or at least sitting out today's WOD and consider possibly working on some form of mobility or recovery. You can come to the gym and do something but let's be smart and find the right something to do. If the pain is not that bad but we simply want to avoid further strain then you need to get to the gym a little earlier, warm-up a little more than usual and discuss what modifications and/or scaling might need to be employed to get you through the WOD. All WODs are infinitely scalable and modifiable. Our needs never change just the means to which we achieve our ends.

THIRD: Rest, Rest and Repeat! Although this is probably common sense it often gets lost in translation. Admittedly we are all very committed to our fitness endeavors, some of us even border on obsessive/compulsive and that's ok too. Sometimes the only remedy is a few days off. While it might turn into a few weeks depending on the situation, this rest period is huge when it comes to getting healthy again. During this time you can research your injury. Just do not become a hypochondriac and diagnose yourself with every disease and mental disorder under the sun, that will not help. Seek out others who have experienced the same injury and pick their brain a little bit to see what helped them and how. Focus on recovery. Get out your foam roller and lacrosse ball and start addressing those adhesions. The caveat here is to make sure you understand your injury and any potential repercussions to using these tools on swollen areas or inflamed tissues. You may also ned to visit a health care provider such as a chiropractor or massage therapist.

FOURTH: As soon as reasonably possible start working range of motion. Most injuries will not necessarily hurt through an entire range of motion. Try and identify what your pain free range is and use it. Scale your WODs and pick alternate movements that work for you, but as always discuss these adjustments with your coach to make sure everything is copacetic.

FIFTH: Avoid creating new injuries. This can happen when you start to create new imbalances based upon your new training approach. Try not to do too much of any one thing and continue to use that constant variety principle. Use this time to address you core strength (we could all probably use some extra focus here) and little things like balance training and even mental training.

SIXTH: Do not limit your research just to muscle groups. Include movements, and how they affect each other. There are an incredible amount of angles, movements, and resistance methods to target nearly every muscle regardless of what is hurt. It takes creativity and educated experimentation. If your hand or forearm is broken, you can loop a band around your elbow/tricep and perform handless rows. Figuring out ways to rig bands and bars around a power rack will surprise you with how diverse you can train your body even with injuries. Even performing the same movements but with a different “groove” or tempo can be outstanding, especially if the injury was suffered performing that movement.

SEVENTH: Try and get an idea on when it is ok to push it a little bit more in your training. If you want to get back to your pre-injury level then you will need to push it a little at some point. Obviously this will be a nuanced path so take your time and be deliberate. Start by getting back a full range of pain free motion. Once established you are clear to start adding weight back into the movement. It is okay to be cautious at first but just remember that trying to hard not to get re-injured is a good recipe for getting injured again. We have all heard about being in the zone right? The idea is that when you feel good and are performing optimally you do not have to think too much or try to hard at what you are doing, instead it comes naturally and freely. The same applies here, if you are too tense or too hesitant moving heavier weights again you are likely going to move in a stunted abnormal manner that will likely get you hurt all over again. Eventually you will need to find the guts to push harder again.

EIGHTH: Never stop learning! The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. So every time you get hurt, use it as a learning opportunity. Figure out why you got hurt and try not to do the same thing that got your hurt. Really analyze what happened or went wrong. Was the weight too heavy? Were you not as focused on form as you should have been? Were you benching again before you had recovered from your previous session? Understanding how you got one injury will also help you avoid future unrelated injuries. Train smart and stay healthy.

At the end of the day just remember there is no quick fix, i.e. a cortisone shot. Although this may provide some relief and can be an very necessary component to our recovery it is not going to fix things at a fundamental level. For the vast majority of us, we work out for fun or because we are committed to a certain level of health. We are not professional athletes, nor for the most part even competitive amateur athletes. Our priorities in our lives are different from a pro-athlete and therefore our priorities in the gym should be also.

Your mission in the gym is to get stronger, fitter, and healthier for the long haul. Training through pain and skipping recovery will not get you to that place. You can do it in the short-term, but it will come back to haunt you in the form of continued injuries, arthritis, chronic pain and more.

Think about the people in the gym who have the best form and put up the best numbers. They are the people who put in the work day in and day out, not the people who try to muscle through things. Treat your injury recovery the same way. Take the time necessary to heal properly; it will serve you in both your performance and your quality of life for years to come.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

These weekly workout announcements are starting to take on an air of an award show, dare I call this the Academy Awards of CrossFit? Maybe the Tony Awards of CFTR? Admittedly, the name may take some work but the theme is there and in the end we all win, right?! Maybe one day I can get a celebrity to announce the workouts. Anyone know if Jean-Claude Van Damme is still making Volvo commercials? Anyway, I won't keep you waiting any longer. Here is our second Bro Session WOD:

Take 30 minutes to perform the following:
  1. Front Squat -- 2-2-2-2-2
  2. Thruster -- 1-1-1-1-1
These may be done from the rack or from the ground, your choice. I would recommend using this time to emphasize what you may be missing, i.e. if taking things from the ground is an issue then start from the floor vs. if your absolute strength on one of these skills has not been improving then start from a rack.

Teams of 2 complete (1 athlete works at a time):

50-40-30-20-10 of:
Power Snatches, 95#/65#
Box Jump Overs, 24"/20"

Immediately followed by:
50-40-30-20-10 of:
Overhead Squats, 95#/65#

Immediately followed by:
50-40-30-20-10 of:
Wall Balls, 20#/14#

A couple of points about this workout:
  1. The first part of this workout is meant to be a strength piece. Warm-up well and hit this part hard! Rest somewhere between 2 and 3 minutes per set and more if you start to feel tired. The rep scheme here is low and this sometimes makes people want to move quickly between sets, this will be a mistake as you are taxing your nervous system doing these lifts with heavy loads and low volume. As such your nervous system takes more time to recover, use it.
  2. If you wish to get here a little earlier to work on the strength piece that is fine and welcomed.
  3. The second part of this is a partner workout. Partners should be of comparable ability and strength but this is not an outright necessity and we can surely adjust/modify if and where needed.
  4. If you do not have a partner do not worry this can be done as an individual as well by simply scaling the reps accordingly.
  5. This workout can be scaled up by using heavier weights, a higher box, etc. It can also be scaled down by reducing the number of reps, lightening the load, lowering the box height and so on.
  6. Don't have Toes-to-Bar yet, don't worry we can do Knees-to-Elbows or Leg Levers or floor work.

WOD Date and Time: Sunday 11/16 @ 1:30pm (as always if you cannot make this time you are welcome to make it up during Open Gym time).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


In May of 1995 I headed home from college for summer break fresh with my brand new MasterCard and a $5,000 spending limit. Needless to say I could not head out to the bars as my fake ID had been confiscated by the police in an incident that still haunts me from time to time. So where else does a 19 year old head off to, why GNC of course. As I walked into the store conveniently located in Paramus Park food court I was greeted almost instantly by a an older gentleman I will here to fore refer to as Paul. Paul had a name tag that clearly identified him as a salesman and therefore my in house expert on all things supplement wise. Paul was no body builder to say the least, in fact he looked like he had never seen the inside of Gold's Gym, my current home away from home. Paul had the permanently red nose of someone who might have done a little too much boozing and the smell of cigarette smoke could not be hidden by his excessive use of cologne. Alas, Paul was my new best friend and current swole mate, whether he realized or not. I would return to seek Paul's council repeatedly that summer no matter the expense.

After my first encounter with Paul I returned home with my own goody bag full of B Complex, Chromium Picolinate, HMB, Amino Acids, Androgen, Agent Orange (the pre workout formula), Xenadrine and some protein powder. The cost of my goody bag = $575, the experience of walking into the gym ready to rip the heads off stuffed bunny rabbits before I boiled them = priceless. Did it matter that Paul had no idea if I needed B vitamins for energy nor Chromium Picolinate since neither he nor I really knew what it did? Did it matter that I was 19 years old and probably did not need Androgen, a testosterone pre-cursor? I had enough free testosterone floating through my bloodstream I could surely have donated some to Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa and still had enough left over for myself. Who cares that my pre-workout formula shared its nom de guerre with the same chemical used to defoliate trees in Southeast Asia while causing cancer in those routinely exposed to it. Little did I know at the time that combining Agent Orange and Xenadrine was akin to the recipe for Crystal Meth (I was the original Walking Dead). It did not matter if I almost shat myself repeatedly for time, the ensuing feelings of immortality were mitigated only by heart palpitations not seen since Alien's the movie. The only thing I think Paul sold me that summer that made sense was a protein powder, needless to say I probably did not need the version that had 1650 calories in one serving. Imagine drinking that and then trying to eat dinner, not a good combination, on several levels, I assure you. By the end of the summer I had racked up funny money bills approaching $2,000 and I had probably rendered myself impotent, at least temporarily.

Ultimately I learned my lesson from all of this and I can, without question, assure you there is no currently legal quick fix when it comes to what can be accomplished in the gym. There is also a tremendous amount of misinformation and partial information out there about supplements, their uses and proposed benefits. I have often considered myself something of a guinea pig when it comes to fitness. I am not quite on the level of Tim Ferris, and probably have more of a fitness ADD than a rigorous scientific approach to everything I have done or tried. That being said I am obsessive compulsive when it comes to seeking out information, science and data before I ever council anyone on what to do for themselves. I have spent the last 16 years attempting to find the best combination of workout supplements available today. Here is what I have found and what I believe everyone should at least consider taking, mind you this is neither a prescription nor a definitive solution on all levels. This is merely a list based on resources I feel are reliable, consistent and valid across multiple disciplines and domains.

In a nutshell, it’s wise to make sure your diet is complete with all the nutrients needed for health and wellness.

Healthy eating remains the best source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. A multivitamin is not a substitute for healthy food or a healthy lifestyle, but it can provide a nutritional back-up for a less-than-ideal diet.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identified calcium, vitamin D, dietary fiber, and potassium as nutrients of concern for inadequate intake in adults and children. All of these nutrients, except fiber, come packaged in a multivitamin. Fiber can be obtained as a separate supplement, but it's still best to try to get all your fiber from the foods you eat.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than half of U.S. adults take dietary supplements. Multivitamins are the most commonly used supplement, with 40% of men and women reporting they take a daily multivitamin.

The Harvard School of Public Health suggests a once daily multivitamin with extra vitamin D for most people as a nutritional back-up. The Linus Pauling Institute’s Micronutrient Information Center at Oregon State University suggests taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement with 100% of the Daily Value (DV) for most vitamins and essential minerals to maintain health (www.webmd.com).

The risk of dietary deficiencies is greater than the risk of overdosing on a multivitamin. Vitamins and minerals act as coenzymes and allow for very important cellular functions and processes within our bodies to take place when and where needed. The most important of these actions being at the DNA level where all of our body's systems must maintain some semblance of homeostasis for us to enjoy long healthy lives.

One recommendation that comes up often is the multi vitamin made by Synergy.


They say a picture says a thousand words and quite frankly I think this sums up the various aspects of Vitamin D as well or even better than anything else I've seen. That being said I took this image from www.foundmyfitness.com a website run by Dr. Rhonda Patrick who is bar far one of the smartest people I have come across. I will include a video link to an interview she did with The Barbell Shrugged Podcast at the end of this blog post.

By now everyone should know that when we discuss fish oil we are talking about Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in the green leaves of plants, like grass, phytoplankton, algae and seaweed. This is the food that OUR food is designed to eat, which makes grass-fed beef, pastured organic eggs, and most importantly, certain types of fish (wild-caught fish and fish lower on the food chain, like herring, anchovy, sardine and mackerel) are good, natural sources of omega-3′s. Unfortunately, due to poor meat quality, and over-consumption of fast foods, processed foods, and vegetable oils, most of our diets are lacking in these essential fatty acids (and overly rich in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids).

Fish oil is not a magic bullet, but there are an infinite number of well-documented benefits for a whole host of lifestyle diseases and conditions. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA ( docosahexaenoic acid) are specific types of polyunsatured omega-3 fatty acids found is fish oil supplements. Your body cannot produce these fatty acids – you must get them from the food or via supplementation. EPA and DHA are natural anti-inflammatory agents. They both play a role in brain health (over 30% of your brain is composed of DHA) and heart health (specifically through a reduction in C Reactive Protein levels). These omega-3's also help fight of insidious diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and depression. Additional benefits include but are not limited to improvement of skin conditions like psoriasis and acne, fetal brain development, inflammatory bowel disorders, and arthritis.

Always read the ingredient label before purchasing a fish oil supplement, or any supplement for that matter. Try to find a version of fish oil that is mostly free of soy (including lecithin), dairy, wheat, rice, sweeteners or other artificial ingredients. The caveat here is that trace amounts of soy are usually considered acceptable as they may be a necessary evil in your actual supplement's production cycle.

Always focus on the EPA and DHA amounts per serving instead of the "total fish oil" amount. A concentrated source means you have to take fewer pills or teaspoons a day – it’s more efficient, and makes it more likely that you’ll actually take your recommended dose each day. You can even get prescription strength fish oil if your doctor is willing to prescribe it for you, as this is the most concentrated form available on the market.

One of the effects of fish oil is a reduction in the stickiness of platelets, your blood's clotting factor. It is recommended that if you have any of the following conditions, that you see your physician to discuss whether you should take fish oil capsules:

-You have a bleeding tendency

-You are on blood thinning medications

-You are about to have surgery

-You are a first responder in specific danger of being wounded

Then again always consult your physician if you have any concerns before starting a new medicinal or supplement regimen.

It is generally recommended that you aim for around 2-4 grams of EPA/DHA per day. However, if you eat lots of wild-caught salmon, grass-fed beef and other natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and generally avoid sources of omega-6 (like vegetable oils, factory-farmed meat, nuts and seeds), you may not need to supplement as heavily.

Keep fish oil in a cool, dark place. Your refrigerator is the ideal location, especially in summer. If your pills don’t have a dark capsule coating and/or come in a light colored bottle, this is especially important. Fish oil reacts to light and heat, and can turn rancid. Rancid fish oil – obvious based on the smell – should be immediately discarded.

We currently carry the PurePharma 3-in-1 packets. These are 30 daily servings organized in pouches for ease of use. They also contain magnesium and D3. If you would prefer another brand they are easy enough to find in Vitamin Shoppe or GNC and Nordic Naturals is another reputable brand.

The inclusion of Vitamin E in this list is almost exclusively to assist in the consumption of our fish oil supplement. Omega-3's are polyunsaturated fatty acids meaning they are missing their full complement of hydrogen atoms in their molecular structure. Without getting all nerdy scientist on you, lets just say that this means oxygen can attack and potentially damage these fatty acids through a process conveniently known as oxidation or oxidative stress. In a worst case scenario as it pertains to fish oil this can cause rancidity. Rancidity in turn can do damage to our bodies cells and ultimately lead to negative impacts on our DNA in effect reversing the very benefits we are attempting to harness.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that stops the production of reactive oxygen species formed when fat undergoes oxidation. Hence it ameliorates the potential damage caused during the consumption of fish oil.

We do not need to consume any great abundance of Vitamin E here. Anywhere from about 22.5 IU for basic maintenance up to 1000 IU for more active individuals should suffice.

Magnesium is probably one of the top three recommended supplements for athletes as it is an essential element in biological systems and most athletes are likely deficient. I’ve seen recent studies stating that 85% of Americans are deficient and we all know that most Americans most certainly lead the typical sedentary, American lifestyle so imagine the deficiencies in the trained and even arguably over-trained population. Magnesium is found in every cell in our bodies and and over 300 enzymes within the body require its presence for catalytic action.

Magnesium is important to athletes because it regulates heart rhythm, allows muscles to contract and relax properly, reduces blood pressure, and is necessary to produce ATP (the main source of energy in our cells) which must be bound to a magnesium ion in order to be biologically active.

In nature you can find magnesium in high concentrations inside chlorophyll. Chlorophyll you may remember is the chemoprotein that gives plants their green color. Natural sources of magnum can be found in dark leafy greens (think kale, spinach and swiss chard), nuts and seeds (squash and pumpkin seeds), fish such as mackerel, avocados, low-fat dairy (plain non fat yogurt), bananas and even dark chocolate.

If you are using a supplement version check your bottle to avoid Sudden Poop Onset (SPO) here: Supplements based on amino acid chelates, such as Mg glycinate and Mg malate are much better tolerated by the digestive system and much more absorbable by the body the other (cheap) forms of magnesium such as Mg oxide or Mg carbonate. This is best taken post-workout on an empty stomach. Sedentary individuals need 600 mg a day and larger athletes in heavy training mode could do up to 2,000 mg a day.


If you have a spare hour some where over the next few days click the link above and check out Rhonda Patrick's interview on The Barbell Shrugged Podcast. It will be well worth your time I promise!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014


As I mentioned in my first post, the idea behind our weekly "Bro Sessions" is to see just how far we can push ourselves individually and collectively.  We are going to crank up the music, smear chalk on  everything in sight and throw down in what should become epic WODs that easily match and hopefully far exceed everyone's wildest expectations. Most of us will find ourselves obsessively readjusting our clips for the third or fourth time just to buy a few more seconds of rest. After all, loose clips sink ships (thanks Doug for the constant stream of one liners lol). We will all contemplate at some point whether anyone will notice if we just slink out the back door before finishing. In the end, we will all support each other through every last rep no matter how bad it gets. We will all finish what we started and we all come out the other side better for our efforts. As this journey unfolds there will be good training days and bad training days. There will be days when we have to scale or modify and there will be days when we move mountains. These will be the moments memories are made from. While I could wax poetic about this I'm sure you are all getting a little bored, and may have even stopped reading, so without further ado here is the 1st WOD announcement:

100 Rounds For Time:
-1 Clean (135#/95#)
-2 Handstand Push-ups
-3 Burpees

In the words of Matt Damon, "how do you like them apples?" Once you are done cursing me off and or swearing yourself off this stupid idea please come back and finish reading the rest of the post. I promise there is a happy ending...not that kind, get your head out of the gutter jeez!!

Needless to say I wanted to kick things off with a bang so to speak and I think this will certainly suffice. However, this is not just the insane idea of a delusional sadomasochist. This is a well thought out plan with a purpose and plenty of options to get through it.  Let me explain. 

First off, we need to see just how mentally tough we all are. I do not think anyone will question or overlook the degree of grit and determination clearly necessary to get through 100 rounds of anything, even napping.     

Secondly, you will surely cover all 10 of the general physical skills espoused by CrossFit. If you have not heard this before CrossFit considers these 10 general physical skills -- 1) Cardiovascular/Cardiorespiratory Endurance 2) Stamina 3) Strength 4) Flexibility 5) Power 6)Speed 7) Coordination 8) Agility 9) Balance 10) Accuracy -- to be the under pinnings of a well rounded and comprehensive fitness.  All of the afore mentioned are in fact represented by this WOD.

Third, you can scale and modify this WOD to meet any and all fitness levels, backgrounds, experience and limitations if and when needed. Want to make this harder you can go heavier or do full squat cleans or both. You can go to deficit handstand push-ups and you could do Burpees Over The Bar. Want to go a little easier you can go with a lighter weight and do more of a power or muscle clean. You can even do a Medicine Ball Clean or use a PVC pipe and use this as an opportunity to master the skill and execution of the movement. You can use 1 abmat on your handstand push-up, do a piked version off a ploy box or even drop to do a regular push-up. Finally, you can do an up-down or even just a squat jump in lieu of the Burpees. While the prescribed version calls for 100 rounds you can scale this to 75, 50, 25 or any other number you feel appropriate. There is no limit to what we can do with this WOD to make it work for you. All you have to decide is how hard and how far into that dark place you wish to go. No matter what, I can assure each and every person that is able to make it, we will all be there on the other side when you finish and we'll embrace our collective accomplishment together! 

I am looking forward to this with an almost giddy excitement and I hope you are too, even if it's a somewhat muted giddiness (is that even possible?). 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

For the first time in my 16 year fitness career I got a chance to witness the NYC Marathon up close and personal this weekend.  To say I was in awe would be an understatement, I was simply blown away.  While I was there to support Dan De Rienzo and Aviv Mihalic on their 26.2 mile journey I could not help but be captivated by the entire experience.  It was everything I had expected and then some!

The day started at about 10:40am with a power walk through Central Park in effort to see the elite men and women make their way into the home stretch.  Although a valiant effort this proved to be a failed attempt.  These athletes covered more than 10 miles in the time it took to walk roughly 15 blocks.  The next stop was the 59th St Bridge, a point we had agreed to meet in case Dan or Aviv needed anything.  As we tracked their progress and waited anxiously for a chance to cheer them on directly we saw literally hundreds, if not thousands, of men and women run past us on 1st Ave.  Some ran as if sprinting while some ran at a smooth steady pace.  Some looked like they might be cramping while others looked like they could go on forever.  Some even walked, but everyone had a big smile and a look of determination to finish what they had started back in Staten Island on the Verranzano-Narrows Bridge.  Finally, Dan and Aviv appeared and we spent the next 5 minutes grabbing a hug, sharing a quick story and posing for a few pictures.  As they headed off for what was roughly a balance of 10 miles my mind started wandering and racing at the same time.  First off I was beyond  impressed and proud, I knew how hard they had both worked to get to this point and now they were literally killing it.  Then I started thinking could I do this? Did I want to do this? Would anyone else be motivated/crazy enough to join me? I would mull these questions over for the rest of the day and subsequent evening.

Four hours and fifty three minutes after they started Dan and Aviv finished their first NYC Marathon, for Aviv this was her second marathon (she ran Philadelphia last year).  After a long day I finally went to sleep sometime around 10pm last night and was awakened in the wee hours of the morning, my mind already hard at work.  As I lay there in the dark trying to fall back to sleep I could not help but continue to mull over my thoughts from the marathon.  Alas, an idea was born and I have appropriately named this idea Beards, Bulking, Bros, Bras (credit to Doug here) and Boarding.

Now let me take a few moments of your time to explain the rationale behind the name and what the point of this blog will be going forward.

So I have been told everything is better with a beard. There are beards for Movember, playoff beards, hockey beards and so on. In the military members of Special Forces are encouraged to grow beards. People often swoon over celebrity beards. There are beard growing contests, websites devoted to the ins and outs of beard growing and some even suggest it takes a full year to grow an appropriately manly beard. While women do not often sport beards they are more than welcome to, after all there is always employment with the circus. That being said beards can confer some additional warmth during the winter and they can even be used to store snacks for later. I am therefore encouraging anyone that wishes to partake to grow a beard from now until whenever. Pat already has a head start on the rest of us but I'm sure we can give him a run for the money.

Ok raise your hand if you like food! Who does not like food after all, admittedly some of us like it more than others. You can put your hand down now, you look funny staring at your computer with one hand up in the air. Who needs to be convinced to eat a little more, especially if they are going to train harder, heavier and longer? It should be no secret by now that fueling your body to grow, repair and perform is absolutely essential to any and all success you will have regardless of your sport or fitness endeavors. As we go into the winter months and concurrent holidays some people refer to this a bulking season, the time of year when we will typically wear heavier bulkier clothing and as a result we can afford to put on a little weight without it being too noticeable. That being said no one will ever advocate eating just to eat or eating an abundance of crap food because the health repercussions will subsequently outweigh the proposed benefits. Here is what I will advocate and what I will personally be attempting to follow, it is up to each individual to decide what is right and works best for him or her. When it comes to eating it takes very little to convince me to eat more, but I do try to keep it mostly healthy with just a few indulgences here and there. I am in Kendrick Farris's camp when it comes to "Pancakes for PR's." I personally hate to count calories and believe it is largely a metric of convenience or inconvenience if you ask me. Therefore, my calorie allotment will be just north of a lot and just short of too much. I am not going to worry excessively about Paleo because I do believe that foods like oatmeal, other whole grains and low fat dairy products can be very helpful during such a phase of training. I even believe pizza, chinese food and moderate amounts of alcohol can have their places in such a program. Obviously the latter three items need to minimized but they can and should be enjoyed. I am not going to worry about whether I have a six pack for the next four months, instead I will be concerned about how much I squat, clean, jerk, snatch, deadlift and even curl. If you do not share these sentiments entirely that is fine I am not here to force my ideas upon anyone, do what is best for you and enjoy the ride along the way.

So I think this part may be self explanatory. Bros = guys and Bras = ladies. I tried to make it rhyme but in the interest of not offending anyone I thought it best to use Doug's idea and that also afforded me the witty title of this blog which of course is themed. We will be starting what will likely be called Bro Sessions on the weekends starting this coming weekend, Sunday November 9th. Before anyone feels this is an unfair title I figured Bra Sessions sounded too much like lingerie party and might confer the wrong connotation. During the winter months these workout will have a strength and power bias, come the spring and summer the bias will shift in accordance with our goals at that point (more on that later). These workouts will be where the shit gets a little crazy. We will be doing longer, harder, crazier workouts. We will be doing partner workouts and team WODs. We will be doing the sort of things that sometimes give people a bad impression of what CrossFit is.  However, we will keep things safe, healthy and efficacious to say the least. We will adjust, modify and scale when and where necessary to make sure everyone walks away better for the time we spend together. For those that are unable to attend do not worry we will post what we do and you are more than welcome to make it up as we go. We will also alternate the days we do these on between Saturdays and Sundays so as to maximize the availability for everyone. It still may not work for everyone all the time but we'll give it the Old School try and see what happens...Let's do it for Blue!! (Anyone get the movie reference?).

As some of you may already know and some may even agree, I generally hate the winter. Between the darkness and the bitter cold I have often thought of moving to California, but alas I am determined this year to make the most of it. CrossFit whole heartedly embraces the notion of expressing our fitness through sport and activities that require a combination of skills both new and old. That is why I am proposing that as the winter months drag along we will try and get out to snowboard, ski and even go ice skating. Whatever the activity we will try and make the most of the next few months and embrace the winter sports so we have something to look forward to.

So here is the plan. For the next 6 months, from now until early April when the weather starts getting warm again, we will train to maximize our strength and power. This will give us a higher baseline level from which to start our endurance training in the spring. Along the way we will go out of our way to plug the holes in our respective game and address the little nagging things that may have already come up or will likely rear their ugly head as we go. Come the spring we will shift toward an endurance based mindset and start adding in some running, biking and even swimming. We will map out our calendar and try to partake in as many competitive and friendly events as we can find.  These may include CF style competitions, 5Ks, 10Ks, Triathlons, Biathlons, hiking trips, rucking sessions and so on. Nothing will be off limits but nothing will be mandatory either. The key for all of this is to have fun, motivate ourselves and hold ourselves accountable along the way so that we see it through to the very end. While I would like to get a list of those that are interested in signing on to this idea I also realize that some people may want to take the ride but get off before the end, and that is fine there will be nothing holding you to this other than your own will and determination. Everyone is welcome regardless of how long they want to be a part of this and despite what their endgame may be.

What is the endgame you ask. Drum roll please...did you already guess it?...be honest...need a few more seconds?...ok times up...we are going to run the NYC Marathon in 2015 as a group! Ok, now that you all think I marginally crazy let me know who is in.