Monthly Archives: May 2011

6-1 WOD

“Captain Jack” Courtesy of CrossFit Iota… This is WOD #1 from the competition on June 25th.

400 Meter Run


15 Wall balls

15 Toe 2 Bar

400 Meter Run


15 Wall balls

15 Toe 2 Bar

400 Meter Run

The below article is courtesy of CrossFit Impulse

Most serious CrossFitters adhere to either the Paleo Diet, the Zone Diet, or some blend of the two. Christina and Jeff Barnett have compiled some information on the Zone Diet to make it easy for anyone to understand, complete with a thorough Zone block chart and pictures of example Zone meals. While we actually recommend first focusing on quality of food by shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, balancing your portions and carb/protein/fat intake with the Zone is an incredibly valuable tool for both elite athletes seeking the best CrossFit diet and everyday people seeking weight loss. To take your nutrition to the next level you need the hormonal balance that the Zone Diet provides.  Read on to find out more, and when you’re done use this PDF file to find the block equivalent of most common foods.  It’s even color-coded! Figuring out your perfect 4 block zone dinner couldn’t be easier. crossfit diet

Diet comes from the Greek language and means “way of life”. A diet is a lifestyle–not a set of draconian rules that you blindly follow. The Zone Diet controls gene expression and hormonal balance to give you the longer and better life to which we all aspire.

The Zone diet is primarily concerned with controlling your hormones.  Hormonal balance affects all important components of your wellness: body composition, energy utilization, blood chemistry, and much more.  Food is a drug.  This may seem shocking, but think about the definition of a drug.  Loosely, ingesting drugs causes physiological changes in your body.  Ingesting food has the same effect.  It can bring about positive or negative changes in your body.  Would you take 17 Tylenol capsules for a headache?  Would you consume expired, low-quality medicine?  Of course not.  Then why should we expect different results when we feed our bodies 17 times our necessary food intake, and comprise our diet of low-quality processed garbage with no nutritional value?  You see the results of this lifestyle in America today.

The Zone Diet isn’t about eating “low-carb” or “high-protein” or anything like that. It’s a diet balanced in

• Protein (lean, natural meats are preferred)

• Carbs (mostly low glycemic-load fruits and vegetables)

• Fat (one of the most important macronutrients!)

With the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats, you can control three major hormones generated by the human diet – insulin, glucagon and eicosanoids.

Insulin – A storage hormone. Excess insulin makes you fat and keeps you fat. It also accelerates silent inflammation.

Glucagon – A mobilization hormone that tells the body to release stored carbohydrates at a steady rate, leading to stabilized blood sugar levels. This is key for optimal mental and physical performance.

Eicosanoids – These are the hormones that ultimately control silent inflammation. They are also master hormones that indirectly orchestrate a vast array of other hormonal systems in your body.

Into to Zone Living

A One Block meal consists of one choice from the Protein List (pink), one from the Carbohydrate List (blue) and one from the Fat List (green).

A Two Block meal consists of 2 choices from each list.

A Three Block meal consists of 3 choices from each list…and so on.

You can mix and match blocks as you wish.  If you aren’t very hungry when you first wake up, then a 2 block meal might be just right for you, perhaps with a 3 block lunch and dinner. Or maybe you prefer to start your day with 3 blocks and have a lighter dinner or lunch.

Here is a sample menu of a possible routine (times can be adjusted 30 minutes or so either way):

7:30 am          10am           1:00pm         3:30pm         6:30pm        9pm/9:30 (bedtime)

bkfst                snack            lunch                 snack             dinner               snack

2 Block           1 Block         3 Block         1 Block           3 Block           1 Block    = 11 total

10 to 11 blocks of balanced food is about right for a small woman.  Feel free to experiment with your number of daily blocks and move them around as you see fit.  Every athlete is different.  The below chart will also help you determine your block requirements.

zone chart

You don’t have to set alarms. The point is to develop the habit of eating at regular intervals so your hormones are balanced all day. Eat within an hour of waking up in the morning, don’t go more than 4 hours without eating something, and eat a snack before you go to sleep so you have some fuel to dream on.

Buying a digital food scale is a great idea since it makes measuring blocks fast and easy. Use “tare” to make it even easier, and you won’t have to use math at all!  Put your plate on the scale and hit the tare button. It subtracts the weight of the plate and makes the scale read zero. Measure out one of the items. Hit the tare button and again it starts you at zero once more for the next item. Finally your plate will be full of all your foods, all measured individually, but all on one plate. Very easy!

After about a month you’ll be able to “eyeball” the food and you won’t need to measure precisely anymore…unless you’re having something new you’ve never measured into blocks.

Don’t worry too much about being exact; this isn’t a chemistry test!  You’re never going to eat many of the items on the list anyway, and some items you like to eat may not be on the list, but you can find out how to convert anything into blocks.

One last thing: Read the label on already prepared foods you like.

7 grams of protein = 1 block.     14 grams = 2 blocks.      21 grams = 3 blocks.

9 grams of carbs    = 1 block.     18 grams = 2 blocks.      27 grams = 3 blocks.

1.5 grams of fat  = 1 block.        3 grams = 2 blocks.        4.5 grams = 3 blocks.

For example, if you get a snack bar that says:

8 grams of protein

29 grams of carbohydrates

6 grams of fat

You should count this as a carbohydrate and not worry about the protein and fat in the snack bar. You must be careful not to micromanage your nutrients.  If you incorrectly count all of the macronutrients in this snack bar (~1 block of protein, ~3 blocks carbs, ~4 blocks fat) then you will end up underfed and driving yourself crazy.   In the case of this snack bar you should just count it as 3 blocks of carbohydrates. Add 3 blocks of protein and fat for a complete 3 block meal.  This takes practice and can be frustrating at times, but the results will make the effort worthwhile!

I hope you feel as good as I do living “in the Zone”.  Below you can see some examples of Zone-friendly meals, including a 2, 3, and 4 block zone dinner that will perfectly complement your CrossFit diet!

2 Block Meal

2 block meal

  • 2 eggwhites & 2 turkey links

  • 2 small tomatoes or one large tomato

  • 1 tsp cashew butter (1000mg fish oil not counted)

3 Block Meal

3 block meal

  • 6.7 oz cottage cheese

  • .5oz (1/8 cup) rolled oats, 3.7 oz (1 cup) strawberries, & 2.4 oz blueberries

  • 9 cocoa almonds

4 Block Meal

4 block zone dinner

  • 4 eggwhites, 2 turkey links, 1 oz cheese

  • 2 cups strawberries & ½ oat pita

  • 12 cocoa almonds

4 Block Meal

4 block zone dinner

  • 4.5 oz chicken meat & 1 oz cheese

  • 1 whole oat pita

  • 12 cocoa almonds

4 Block Meal

4 block zone dinner

  • 6 oz grilled fish

  • 36 asparagus spears and 1 cup mushrooms

  • 2 teaspoons of cashew butter

Finally, buying natural, paleo-friendly foods (shop the perimeter of the grocery store) and preparing for the week is a great way to ensure success:

Storing healthy food in the refrigerator

Much of this information is derived and paraphrased from the Zone Diet website here


5-31 WOD

*Courtesy of CrossFit Inc


Push Press

Box Jump


Then Rest for as long as needed and do 100 Double Unders or 400 Singles

These Hands
by: Lisbeth Darish

With these hands, I . . . Deadlift, Clean, Snatch, Pull up, Thruster, Bench, Swing, Press, Jerk, Row, Push Up, Walk, for short distances. Throw things to the sky. And catch them again. Do work.

Sometimes, these hands bleed, no matter how I try to avoid that happening.

These hands are used to pat people on the back, to lift them up, but they are also slammed down in frustration, raised in victory, and used to beg for mercy from above.

With these hands, I pray. And then I lift the barbell, and my soul.




For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

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

Please read the below article about “Murph”… It brings tears to my eyes.

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run.

Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy – Medal Of Honor recipient gets a ship named after him.

Engaged in a frenzied firefight and outnumbered by the Taliban, Navy Lt. Michael Murphy made a desperate decision as he and three fellow SEALs fought for their lives on a rocky mountainside in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province in 2005.

In a last-ditch effort to save his team, Murphy pulled out his satellite phone, walked into a clearing to get reception and called for reinforcements as a fusillade of bullets ricocheted around him. One of the bullets hit him, but he finished the call and even signed off, “Thank you.”

Then he continued the battle.

Dan Murphy, the sailor’s father, said it didn’t surprise him that his slain son nicknamed “The Protector” put himself in harm’s way. Nor was he surprised that in the heat of combat his son was courteous.

“That was Michael. He was cool under fire. He had the ability to process information, even under the most difficult of circumstances. That’s what made him such a good SEAL officer,” Murphy said.

A warship bearing the name of the Medal of Honor recipient will be christened Saturday — on what would have been Murphy’s 35th birthday — at Bath Iron Works, where the destroyer is being built.

[Related: Afghan vet: The enemy is still dangerous]

Murphy, who was 29 when he died, graduated from Pennsylvania State University and was accepted to multiple law schools, but decided he could do more for his country as one of the Navy’s elite SEALS — special forces trained to fight on sea, air and land — the same forces that killed Osama bin Laden this week in Pakistan.

Heightened security will be in effect as Murphy’s mother, Maureen, christens the ship by smashing a bottle of champagne against the bow of the 510-foot-long warship as Murphy’s father, brother and others watch.

Murphy, of Patchogue, N.Y., earned his nickname after getting suspended in elementary school for fighting with bullies who tried to stuff a special-needs child into a locker and for intervening when some youths were picking on a homeless man, said Dan Murphy, a lawyer, former prosecutor and Army veteran who served in Vietnam.

Maureen Murphy said he thought he was too young to take a desk job as a lawyer. Instead, he went to officer candidate school, the first step on his journey to become a SEAL officer. He was in training during the Sept. 11 attacks, which shaped his views.

His view was that there are “bullies in the world and people who’re oppressed in the world. And he said, ‘Sometimes they have to be taken care of,'” she said.

[Related: Military wife: Our troops are still fighting]

On June 28, 2005, the day he was killed, Murphy was leading a SEAL team in northeastern Afghanistan looking for the commander of a group of insurgents known as the Mountain Tigers.

The Operation Red Wings reconnaissance team rappelled down from a helicopter at night and climbed through rain to a spot 10,000 feet high overlooking a village to keep a lookout. But the mission was compromised the following morning when three local goat herders happened upon their hiding spot.

High in the Hindu Kush mountains, Murphy and Petty Officers Marcus Luttrell of Huntsville, Texas; Matthew Axelson of Cupertino, Calif.; and Danny Dietz of Littleton, Colo.; held a tense discussion of the rules of engagement and the fate of the three goat herders, who were being held at gunpoint.

If they were Taliban sympathizers, then letting the herders go would allow them to alert the Taliban forces lurking in the area; killing them might ensure the team’s safety, but there were issues of possible military charges and a media backlash, according to Luttrell, the lone survivor.

Murphy, who favored letting the goat herders go, guided a discussion of military, political, safety and moral implications. A majority agreed with him.

An hour after the herders were released, more than 100 Taliban armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades opened fire, attacking from higher elevation, and maneuvering to outflank the SEALs, said Gary Williams, author of “Seal of Honor,” a biography of Murphy.

Dan Murphy said his son made the right call.

“It was exactly the right decision and what Michael had to do. I’m looking at it from Michael’s perspective, that these were clearly civilians. One of them was 14 years old, which was about the age of his brother. Michael knew the rules of engagement and the risks associated with it,” the father said.

As the only survivor, Luttrell has pangs of regret for voting to go along with Murphy, his best friend; he now believes the team could’ve survived if the goat herders were killed.

In his own book, “Lone Survivor,” Luttrell wrote that Murphy was shot in the stomach early in the firefight, but ignored the wound and continued to lead the team, which killed dozens of Taliban attackers. The injuries continued to mount as the SEALs were forced to scramble, slide and tumble down the mountain in the face of the onslaught.

Three of the team members had been shot at least once when Murphy decided drastic action was needed to save the team, Luttrell wrote. With the team’s radio out of commission, Murphy exposed himself to enemy gunfire by stepping into a clearing with a satellite phone to make a call to Bagram Airfield to relay the dire situation. He dropped the phone after being shot, then picked it up to complete the phone call with four words: “Roger that, thank you.”

By the end of the two-hour firefight, Murphy, Dietz and Axelson were dead. The tragedy was compounded when 16 rescuers — eight additional SEALs and eight members of the Army’s elite “Night Stalkers” — were killed when their MH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade.

It was the largest single-day loss in naval special warfare history. All told, 33 SEALS have been killed in action since the Sept. 11 attacks, officials say.

Luttrell, who was blown off the mountain by a rocket-propelled grenade and knocked unconscious, evaded capture until he was taken in by villagers who protected him until he was liberated five days later by special forces. He has since left the Navy, gotten married and launched a foundation; he’s unable to attend Saturday’s event because his wife is in the final days of pregnancy, a spokesman for Luttrell said.

Navy Cmdr. Chad Muse, commanding officer of SEAL Delivery Team 1 in Hawaii, noted one of Murphy’s favorite books was Steven Pressfield’s “Gates of Fire,” an account of outnumbered Spartans and their epic battle against hundreds of thousands of invading Persians nearly 2,500 years ago at the Battle of Thermopylae.

Like the Spartans, who were ultimately slaughtered, Murphy had a spirit that didn’t give up. “It’s about sacrifice and the Spartan ideal — and valor and heroism in battle,” Muse said.



Let’s get those legs ready for Monday…

Courtesy of CrossFit Lisbeth…

What are you doing about it?”

It’s a simple question, but pretty much the answer to every complaint you’ve ever made in your entire life.

“What are you doing about it?”

People love to complain, bitch, moan, whine. Like that’s going to make anything better.

It won’t. All it does is garner sympathy for your ego, if you’re lucky. And if you’re unlucky, it simply engenders animosity. Or worse, disregard. That’s why there’s that tale of the Boy Who Cried Wolf. He was a whiner and so all the sheep got eaten. Moral of the story right there for ya. In fact, that story gets better if the wolf ate him too. That would have really taught some kids about whining.

You can eat this world or it can eat you. And, let me tell ya, the world is going to eat the complainers. You think they get ahead — and they do — for a little while. But the backlash is a sick mother and it destroys them. The only way to conquer and stay ahead of the game is to be the most resilient person you know. Grab the bar and destroy the WOD. Let it destroy you. And then get back up.

Like doing thrusters. You can approach that lift methodically and make it some combo of front squat and push press. Sure. Conserve energy, pace, etc. Or, sometimes, you can just go nuts. Let gravity have its flippin’ way. Let the bar crush you. And then get back up. Crush. And up. Again and again. Take that, bar. Take that, world. You can’t crush me. You can’t ever crush me.

And when you’re in the middle of getting crushed and standing back up? You’re in the fight. There’s no time – or air — for complaining. Just time for working. And fighting.

Don’t be the Boy (or the Girl) Who Cried Wolf. Be the person who shut their trap and went out and hunted the Wolf. There’s a much better ending to that story.


5-27 BM WOD

Clean and Jerk (We’ll scale this to everyone’s ability…Rx is 135 for Men and 95 for Women)
30 reps for time

Then rest for as long as needed and row 500 for time….

From CrossFit Inferno

Confidence is something that we MUST have in our daily lives.  Confidence isn’t about knowing you will win.  It’s not about beating someone.  It’s not about being the best.  Confidence is about how you feel about yourself and your abilities.  When you know that you will always give your best then you are confident in yourself.  When you give your best then it really doesn’t matter what the outcome is.  We are only able to do the best we can.  If you have put the work in, then all you have to do when its time to perform is……perform!  Can you still be confident in yourself even if you have to do something in which you aren’t very good?  The not so obvious answer is YES!!  Again, you can’t be confident that you will win if its a race or event.  But, you can be VERY confident that you will give your absolute all and you will do everything you can to do your absolute best.  When you are able to concentrate on this instead of winning, then you are freed from the pressure of HAVING to win.  All you can do is do the best you can do….. SO DO IT!!!!

5-25 WOD


Deadlift (Body Weight)

Box Jumps (24/20)

We’ll scale as needed

Rest 5 Minutes from then run 800 Meters…

We’ve Been Fed a Pyramid Built of Processed Food Bricks

Take just a moment to THINK about this question:

If “Food A” has gone through a factory and been processed from what it once was in nature into something else entirely…

And “Food B” is identical to what it was in nature (with the exception of maybe that now it’s a dead plant or animal)


Okay, so let’s first look at what our government recommends we eat, better known as the USDA Food Guide Pyramid (or what’s now called MyPyramid).

According to, a healthy diet is one that:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. (source:

I’m all for fruits and vegetables, lean meats, poultry, eggs and nuts. I’m not even saying that everything in that short list of recommendations is wrong. However, if you look at the LARGEST section of the Pyramid, which now that they’ve turned the slices sideways is a bit tougher to discern, it’s asking us to get the most servings per day of a food group that’s not only largely subsidized in this country, but one that requires THE MOST PROCESSING TO MAKE IT EDIBLE. We’ll talk more about the notion that “whole grains are healthy” in another post, but for now let’s just keep it to the basics of whole foods versus processed foods. The USDA even recommends that we eat fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Really? Come on, are they trying to tell us that milk that comes straight from the cow isn’t recommended but milk that’s been processed and something has been removed from it is actually healthier? Is the government smarter than mother nature?! Just THINK about it.

Upon a bit more digging, I discovered that the USDA’s Dietary Goals report that comes along with the Pyramid goes on to recommend:

“that Americans:

  • Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains;
  • Decrease consumption of:
    • refined and processed sugars and foods high in such sugars;
    • foods high in total fat and animal fat, and partially replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats;
    • eggs, butterfat, and other high-cholesterol foods;
    • salt and foods high in salt; and
  • Choose low-fat and non-fat dairy products instead of high-fat dairy products (except for young children).” (Source: History of the Dietary Guidelines: page E4-1 – PDF)

Wait, didn’t they just tell us to include eggs in our diet, but then they went on to tell us to reduce our consumption of them? What gives? Clearly they’re confused.

Whole wheat bread courtesy of Oroweat, made ridiculously cheap by the US Government. Your tax dollars at work. Coconut courtesy of Mother Nature. The USDA would rather we eat the bread, duh!

Furthermore, it should be noted that the Dietary Goals for the United States (aka: The McGovern Report) have been around since 1977. Has anyone noticed that this country has gotten a bit fatter, sicker and that people are being diagnosed with autoimmune conditions earlier and more often than ever before? Hasn’t it become a bit of commonplace knowledge that the current generation of children will be the first to NOT live longer than their parents did? I guess the government is going to need to step aside and let those of us who actually care about the health of other people do some of the educating and guiding about WHAT TO EAT.  If you’re unclear as to how the government even comes to a decision on what to tell us to eat, Marion Nestle’s book “Food Politics” is an interesting resource to peruse. While I’m not a huge fan of the foods that Nestle tends to recommend that people eat, she’s certainly a leading authority in the US on the inner workings of how politics affect what’s on your plate every day.

Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition, and Health, Revised and Expanded Edition (California Studies in Food and Culture)
Nestle’s exposure of
the political landscape
of food in the US is
worth reading.

With regard to changes that have been made to the Dietary Guidelines, Nestle states that “In an effort to achieve consensus on these innovations, the USDA invited leading nutrition authorities in government, research, the food industry, and agricultural commodity groups to review preliminary drafts because it ‘felt that the food industry groups would have a vital interest in any food guide sponsored by the government.’ Indeed they did.” (Nestle, 36) Well OF COURSE the food industry and agricultural commodity groups will be interested! It’s their bottom line, well, on the line if the government starts telling people to eat LESS of anything that they produce.

Inevitably, changes are made over the years, and as the food guide has shifted and changed, and some food groups were recommended to be eaten in lower quantities, Nestle states that “the AMA (American Medical Association) noted that ‘the recommendations carry with them the underlying potential for…discouraging the agricultural production of certain food products which may not in the view of the government be supportive of the dietary goals.’” Nestle goes on to say that “although opposition to the Dietary Goals often was expressed as skepticism about the quality of the underlying science, it derived more directly from the profound economic implications of the advice. (Nestle, 41)

Are you confused, too? Maybe because it actually
DOESN’T make sense to eat this way for your health!

Did you read that? Opposition to the pyramid that was developed was NOT mostly based on science that may or may not have supported it, it was based on the economic implications of the advice! I’m sorry folks, but I don’t see any nutritionist making money off of telling you to eat more of the foods in the diagram I’m recommending you follow. In fact, the more closely you follow my guide, the less help you’ll need from a nutritionist! On the contrary, the more you follow the USDA’s recommendations, the more processed foods you have to buy to keep up with what they want you to eat. You can’t possibly get in all those servings of grains and low-fat dairy without your breakfast cereal or your sugar-free yogurt for a snack, can you? Those foods are highly processed and large corporations are making loads of money when you buy them. Oh, and they’re made with pretty much the lowest common denominator when it comes to ingredients: corn, wheat and soy. Yes, even that innocent looking Yoplait Light Yogurt with the alluring ads describing the fantastically indulgent flavors (I should know, I used to down these puppies like crazy) include high fructose corn syrup in their ingredients. Ick.

Okay, so after all this discussion about why the USDA Food Guide Pyramid is not based on helping you to understand which foods will promote health, you’re probably wondering what the heck you ARE supposed to eat.

To explain my REAL FOOD PYRAMID in words:

Click to view larger & print.

Lean meats, eggs and fish/seafood are ideal sources of protein for human health. By lean meats I am talking ideally about grass-fed, pastured, wild forms that contain far less fat than commercially raised options and the fat that they DO contain has a healthy profile high in Omega 3s. If you’re going to consume commercially raised meats, opt for the leanest cuts possible to avoid the unhealthy fats that result from grain-feeding and stressful living conditions of the animals.

Vegetables and fruits are an ideal source of nutrient-dense carbohydrates and are easily digested by most people. There is no reason to consume grains or legumes in an effort to get carbohydrates or fiber into your diet. I promise you, you will get plenty of carbs and fiber from what mother nature allows you to pick from the face of the earth without further processing. From the ground to your mouth, it’s that simple. (Okay, maybe give it a rinse first if it’s got some dirt on it!)

Naturally occurring fats and oils are healthy. Period. We needn’t avoid those fats which can be found in nature including that which is associated with well-raised meat, avocados, coconut, etc. Processed fats and oils are all to be avoided (canola, corn, soybean and “vegetable” oil). See my post on “Fats: Which to Eat and Which to Ditch” for more on that.

Sugar has no place in my model. If you’re going to eat it, refer to my post “The Dish on Sugar and Sweeteners” to figure out which are the lesser of the evils. Artificial sweeteners are not food.

All I’m asking you to do here is to THINK. If you don’t want to follow the guide I’ve set forth, that’s okay by me. Do I think it’s what makes the most sense from a whole food / what’s appropriate for human consumption viewpoint, of course. If you disagree with me, that’s okay. All I want you to do is think about whatever report, guide or recommendation that is set forth in front of you and really consider the source of it and what they stand to gain or lose by your deciding to follow or ignore it. THINK and then decide for yourself.

Enjoy & be well!


Diane Sanfilippo


BS, Certified Nutrition Educator, C.H.E.K. Holistic Lifestyle Coach

San Francisco Nutritionist & Paleo Nutritionist serving the Bay Area and beyond via phone & Skype consultations.

Source cited:
Nestle, Marion. Food Politics: How the food industry influences nutrition and health. Berkeley, CA. University of California Press. 2007.

5-24 WOD

Kunar Province, Afghanistan

Photo is courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

3 Rounds

90 Seconds Max Rep





Rest 90 Seconds between rounds… GO right from one move to the next in this order.

What is Crossfit and why is it better than other workout programs?

By Erin Okonek, Coach for CrossFit Olympic Lifting Courses

By definition, Crossfit workouts are constantly varied, functional movements, performed at a high intensity.  More simply stated, “It is hard!! “ Yet these attributes do not sufficiently capture the true meaning of Crossfit and inadequately defend Crossfit to the copious amounts of other workout programs that people are bombarded with on a daily basis.  Overall, Crossfit is not a workout program, it is a lifestyle.  (I would personally go even further to state that it is my religion and therapy).  Granted for some of us Crossfit addicts, it is about “chasing the rabbit”, competing, and becoming a Firebreather, but most importantly, Crossfit, unlike other workout programs, makes us better overall people by creating strong, confident, and dedicated individuals.  Upon suffering through the physical and mental pain of a Crossfit workout of the day (WOD), and overcoming the deep seeded desire to quit the workout and avoid the pain, each Crossfitter discovers within them an individual ready to embrace life’s biggest challenges.  Every Crossfitter experiences the moment in a workout, when quitting seems like the best option.  When laying down sounds more appealing than fighting the fatigue in the legs, the tightening of the chest, and the torn calluses of our hands.  However, it is at that moment that the support of the Crossfit community, other individuals, suffering through the same unbearable workout you are enduring, drenched in even more sweat than you, and fighting the same desire to quit as yourself, captivates your heart and helps you find that hidden inner strength to keep moving forward.  Relief feels reachable as the clock ticks past the halfway point and each athlete begins to feel the gratification of success.  And just when you feel like lying in a pool of your own bodily fluids is more appealing than getting up and driving your tired self  home, you stand up to “high 5″ and congratulate the room of moms and dads, business professionals, retirees, and fellow athletes that all experienced and overcame the same physical and mental challenges that you personally did not realize you were capable of achieving.  I truly believe that every individual who has “drank the Crossfit Kool-Aid” has had an “ah ha moment” when they realized they were better than they thought they could be.  Each individual has left the Crossfit box, experiencing the awakening of an inner strength applicable to everyday life, that is not achieved through bicep curls and workout DVD’s.  Furthermore, sharing this experience with the Crossfit community enhances the experience and is one of the greatest benefits of Crossfit, and not experienced in other workout programs.

Personally, Crossfit has “saved” me in every mental sense of the word.   Through that “ah ha” moment, I have discovered a strength within myself to keep moving forward when life may have had me at its lowest depths.  I remember the exact moment in a Crossfit WOD when I was sure I would not physically be able to finish a workout.  I remember looking around the room and seeing others struggling just as hard, if not harder, than I was.  I heard a coach holler at me to get back up on that pull-up bar and felt my heart begin surge as I took a deep breath and told myself, “Erin,  you are not a quitter.”  That day, I found a determination within I was unaware existed.  It was at that moment, that I left the box with a renewed sense of vigor and my head held higher than previously experienced.  While enduring some of life’s challenges, I have learned that I want to live everyday with a “3-2-1 GO” mentality.  Each morning, I awake to a new day anxious to live it to its absolute fullest potential.  True, I tend to cram 25 hours into a 24 hour period, but I figure if I approach every activity with a Crossfit “3-2-1-GO” mentality and put all of my effort into life, I can collapse into bed at night knowing, I lived that day to its fullest potential. 

Yet, this inner strength doesn’t even begin to address the physical benefits achieved through Crossfit.  For 10 years, I trained for the Olympic Games in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting.  I was top 10 in the world, 10% body fat, and not just strong for a girl, I was really strong; however, I am more “fit” now.  I might have been capable of throwing 300 lbs overhead, but I ran out of breath walking up a flight of stairs.  My diet was high in carbohydrates and low in fat.  I was constantly fighting lower back injuries and ultimately was forced to retire from Olympic weightlifting due to neck surgery.  Today, I may only lift about 85% of the impressive weights I once hoisted overhead, but simultaneously, I am regularly running 400’s, swinging from a pull-up bar, and jumping on top of boxes, for time.  I am flipping tires, dragging sleds, and swinging a kettle bell fast as I can, all the while having a ton of fun!  My diet is far from perfect, but about 90% of the time I eat meats, veggies, fruit, and nuts.  Overall, I am more “fit” now than when I was considered an “elite” athlete and the variety of the workouts has prevented the injuries that once plagued me as an athlete.

Furthermore, this level of fitness is not something accomplished by 20 minutes on the elliptical machine and 3 sets of 10 lifting various weights.   Working out in front of a TV does not encourage a person to push themselves beyond their comfort limits.  Lifting weights will increase strength, yoga may make an individual bendy, and running long distances may increase cardio capacity.  However, none of these “workout programs” create a strong, flexible, and metabolically conditioned athlete encountered regularly in the Crossfit world and created through workouts composed of functional movements that are constantly varied and performed at a high level of intensity.  And why do we repeatedly come back for more Crossfit insanity?  Because, simply stated, it is so stinking fun!   Crossfitters possess an enthusiasm for getting their own butts kicked and want to make sure that today, they are a better person than they were yesterday.   In life, we encounter amazingly passionate, determined, and supportive individuals; however, in the Crossfit world, you discover these people in mobs.  In surrounding yourself with motivated individuals, a person inherently wants to be better themselves.  This attitude is contagious and is what distinguishes Crossfit from every other workout program out there.  Crossfit and Crossfitters are unique in every sense of the word.  So when somebody says to me “Wow Erin, you are in great shape, what workout program do you follow?”  I respectfully and proudly state “ I don’t follow a workout program, I am a Crossfitter.”