If you answered "yes" to both those questions, then Congrats: you're officially a CrossFitter! Now, I don't know why we're like this, but I know that I asked a lot of you those very same questions and every time the answers were "yes" and "duh".
When I ask people why they're upset about doing something they've quite literally never done before, the most common answer is "I should have done more". Well, what's this whole "should have" thing about? When it comes to lifting weights, you either do it or you don't and what you achieve is what you achieve through your own hard work and effort. Wanting to be stronger or run faster or be better is a good thing, and that self competition is what really drives us to CrossFit, but losing sight of the things we've actually accomplished and earned just because we want more is immature and foolish.
Being hungry for improvement is crucial to what we do, because if we weren't obsessed with improving ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, etc. then why would we put ourselves through these painful, difficult, challenging workouts every day? But don't let your desire to be better cover up the fact that you are indeed better.
And you have actually improved because that is precisely what a PR is. It's a new Personal Record, a new best. It means that you just did something that you've never done before, something that you probably thought was impossible not too long ago. Maybe it's only an improvement by 5 pounds, maybe it's an improvement by 50 pounds, but who cares? Improvement is improvement. I don't care that you don't squat 500 pounds and I don't care if you do squat 500 pounds.
You know what I do care about? Effort. Grit. Determination. Showing up and working hard at the gym is impressive. Making time in your busy schedule to be here, setting aside an hour a day to make yourself a better human being...those things are impressive. Caring about your peers, cheering on the people you work out with, being helpful, and doing things you thought were impossible: all things that I respect.
Holding yourself to a high standard is good too, but being blinded to where you're actually at is a recipe for disaster. You need to be able to honestly look at yourself in the mirror and say "Damn, you're awesome! You just did something you've never done before in your entire life, and that accomplishment was a result of your own hard work, your own spilled sweat, your own sacrifices, and your own determination. You're awesome. And soon, you'll be even more awesome".
That PR you got this past week, and the ones you're gonna get next week? They're yours. You earned them. I didn't give them to you. They're little trophies, badges of honor, proof of your hard work. Be proud of them and be proud of yourself.
PS: We're closed tomorrow, Sunday, and Monday. Hope you all have a great Labor Day weekend and we'll see you on Tuesday for some more hard work!
rest 10 minutes
Posted by Armen.
How many of you regularly check up on yourselves? I'm talking about taking stock of how you feel in general, specifically how happy you are on a daily basis. I know I don't do this nearly as much as I should. I say that I set aside one day per month for introspection. These days are designed to help me get my mind right and to prevent daily stress from running my train off its rails but in truth these days tend to take place every couple of months. I bring this up because we as a culture are so focused on performance. How are we doing in the gym? How are we doing in our relationships? How are we doing in our career? From my perspective we have become so caught up with how we are perceived by others that we don't take enough time to ask the basic fundamental question: how do I feel about myself?
These mental health days, as I like to call them, usually manifest themselves on a day off where I wander about the hills while allowing my mind to go wherever it chooses. During these meandering journeys I think about who I am, what makes me happy and what makes me feel complete. I believe paying attention to these things is important because it is easy to lose sight of them when moving at the speed of life. I like these days because I have the opportunity to slow down - I have the chance to reminisce about the past and hope for the future. I don't know where your "place" is but I would encourage you to find it and spend some time there every now and then. We take time to regularly maintain our bodies through stretching, working out and eating right, but how many of us take time for mental maintenance? Sound off in the comments about where you go and what you do to get your mind right!
Our barbells are tough as nails but even they need maintenance from time to time!
A. 1RM back squat
B. For time:
1 mile run
40 back squats (50% of A)
Posted by Commish
Your fitness is a lot like trying to get a 500lb. boulder rolling. When it isn't moving at all, it can seem impossible to get moving. Your first few weeks at CrossFit 818 were probably a time of struggle and acclimation, however with the help of your coaches and fellow CrossFitters you finally got that boulder rolling. As you continue to push that boulder, it rolls more easily and eventually it takes a relatively small amount of effort to keep it going.
Don't get complacent, however, because that boulder will eventually stop rolling if you stop pushing, and then you have to start all over again to get it rolling again. Don't wait until that boulder stops moving completely; if you need help keeping your fitness rolling, reach out to your coaches and we'll help you stay on track!
A. 1RM snatch
B. 3 rounds for time:
12 snatches (115/75)
12 pull ups
Posted by Zareh.
I feel like a kid anxiously waiting for Christmas morning because it’s testing time ladies and gentlemen. For the past couple months we have been on a pretty intense strength building cycle in our programming. The number one thing most crossfitters lack is absolute strength. Being strong is a foundational building block of the fitness pyramid.
This week, and a couple days next week, we will be testing for absolute strength improvements. All that squatting, pressing, and lifting heavy things off the floor is going to have a significant impact in your overall performance inside and outside the gym. It’s time so see how much progress has been made. This week we are testing one rep maxes in the press, snatch, and back squat. I’m excited because I know how hard all of you have worked and I’m looking forward to seeing you smash your old records. I’ve seen old one rep maxes turn into weights used for a 3 x 5. My favorite part about coaching is watching improvement, especially when it comes to adding pounds on the bar. I have some advice for all of you when it comes to testing a 1RM.
Weights can be scary, especially as they approach the limit of your potential. I can tell you all about this because I’ve been there too. There’s a small part of me that gets scared every time I approach a certain number in regards to the deadlift or squat. Getting over that fear is crucial to you success. I’ve found that a controlled aggression is the best way to get over being afraid. Get pumped up, but not so much that it affects the quality of your movement. Trust in your training and realize that a weight you used to think was heavy is probably not so heavy anymore. Make sure you are getting adequate rest this week. Get a full eight hours of sleep, eat right, and stay hydrated. If you can, have some simple sugars and a cup of coffee an hour before you come into the gym. It’s always the little things that are overlooked and they can have a huge affect on maxes. I’m really looking forward to pushing all of you this week and I know the other coaches are too.
I'd strongly recommend getting a little more pumped up this week.
A. 1RM strict press
B. For reps:
1 minute push jerk (135/85)
1 minute toes to bar
rest 1 minute
2 minutes push jerk
2 minutes toes to bar
rest 2 minutes
3 minutes push jerk
3 minutes toes to bar
Posted by Tyler
Occasionally you'll hear me mention my two cardinal rules of CrossFit: never do the math and always go first. I learned these rules almost 5 years ago from my first CrossFit coach Becca and I try to follow them to this day.
These rules give an important insight into how you should approach your training sessions and classes here at the gym. Following these rules means that you have a very specific and powerful mindset. Not doing the math means that you must be present, aware, and conscious about how your workout is going in realtime. It means that you're ready and willing to attack the workout one rep at a time, to grind away and get the work done without pysching yourself out before it even begins.
Always volunteering to go first means you're anxious and ready to jump into the workout and get it done without trying to overthink everything and mess with your own head.
At the end of the day, these rules are about simplifying your approach to training. We're not here competing at the CrossFit Games, there isn't thousands of dollars riding on the results of these workouts, and none of us are professional exercisers; basically, these rules are the suggestion that maybe you should just get into the gym, try not to overthink things, and just have a good time exercising!
Power cleans (155/98)
*1 round of Cindy between every round
*1 round of Cindy = 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats
Posted by Armen.
Over the past few months, we've seen tremendous improvements in all facets of fitness from many of you and I have personally witnessed dozens of personal records in workouts and movements. Your coaches and I are proud of the work you have all put in and the way you have adapted to the relatively increased level of work we have brought your way through our programming.
CrossFit 818 will be closed for Labor Day Weekend (August 31st, September 1st, September 2nd) and we encourage you all to enjoy your long weekend and the R&R you have earned. We'll be emailing this reminder out, as well. We encourage you to take this opportunity to give your bodies a chance to recover for a few days... you have earned it!
A. Work up to a heavy 1+2 Power Clean & Jerk
In 12 minutes:
Run 1 mile
10 Clean & Jerk, 115/65
10 Clean & Jerk, 135/85
10 Clean & Jerk, 155/95
AMRAP Clean & Jerk 185/115
Posted by Zareh.
This past weekend I learned what it really meant to be strong. Armen, Geoff, Katie, and I went on a field trip to visit StrongFit in Torrance. It was an eye opening experience. I generally consider myself a pretty strong and fairly athletic guy. It turns out; there is a different kind of strong.
We pulled up to the place around 10:00 A.M. and walked into a small warehouse filled with squat racks, a bunch of giant sandbags, and some huge boulders. I felt immediately like I was home. I’ve always wanted to try out some strongman events. I grew up watching those behemoths throw kegs, carry wheelbarrows full of stones, and flip giant tires and logs on ESPN. This is the place in Southern California that you can go do those types of things. The owner, Julien, was a massive man with beard like a lumberjack, a thick French accent, and forearms like Popeye. He’s traveled the world learning how to get strong for the past 20 years. He had a wealth of knowledge about human movement, strongman stuff, and was a genuinely nice guy. I highly recommend visiting if you really want to get the full experience.
First thing on the agenda for the day was a 3x3 back squat. I paired up with Julien and we started warming up to our workings sets. Julien squats 520, deadlifts 600, and strict presses 250. I knew this before I went, so I was excited to secretly compare myself to him. His numbers are pretty similar to mine. I worked up to 450 for 3 and he squatted 440. I will admit that his set looked a little faster than mine, but I was feeling pretty good.
Things started to go considerably down hill from here. Next on the agenda was a heavy weighted yoke walk. A yoke is an apparatus invented to punish people who think they are strong, it is pictured below. We warmed up with 400 pounds and I worked up to 700 for about a 50 foot walk. Julien did 850 and it looked like he could have taken it for a jog. During this event he told me that I looked like a runway model. I don’t think it was a compliment.
After destroying all of my core muscles, we started loading up the prowler. The prowler is that weighted sled that hangs out by the platform. A few of you have had the pleasure of learning all about it on Saturday’s team workouts. I told him that I’d used the prowler before and he said in his thick accent, “No you haven’t.” He was right. Normally a prowler is pushed in front of you. He had rigged this torture device with a harness which allowed it to be dragged behind you. They tied a thick rope to a dump truck tire about 70 feet away and told us to pull on the rope, keep our feet moving, and touch that tire way on the other end of the parking lot. The sled was loaded with 720lbs. I’m pretty sure I blacked out about 20 feet in. It felt like no matter how many steps I took, or how hard I pulled on the rope, that tire wasn’t getting any closer. I know that it probably took less than 2 minutes, but it sure felt like an eternity. Luckily they let me do it twice, just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. When I was done, he loaded another sandbag, made his wife sit on top of it, and still touched that tire twice as fast as I did.
We finished the day by carrying huge 210 pounds sandbags held against our stomachs for as far as possible. I was absolutely destroyed for the rest of the day. I barely remember driving home. I woke up at 4 A.M. with the worst case of cottonmouth I’ve ever had. It took 4 glasses of water before I felt the dryness go away. I spent most of Sunday lying on the couch because my hips would not allow me to walk.
I know this doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but I had a great time. I learned that I need to adjust my training a little to include some of these types of events. I also learned that there are definitely two types of strength. The kind you learn in the weight room and the kind you can apply in real life.
We work hard in the gym so we can use that strength and conditioning to make our daily tasks easier. Sometimes you need to get out there and challenge yourself. Play a new sport, sign up for a tough mudder, or challenge a friend to a foot race. The point is, all of you have worked hard for your new bodies, get out there and use them.
Homemade yoke walks at wreck shop on Saturdays.
CrossFit Open 13.1
AMRAP 17 minutes:
30 Snatches (75/45)
30 Snatches (135/75)
30 Snatches (165/100)
Max snatches (210/120)
Posted by Tyler
Do you ever feel like you're just spinning your wheels? Like you're not improving at all? Like every workout is just as hard as the last? Maybe you don't think you've gotten any stronger or you're pretty sure you're moving way slower than usual?
My first question when someone brings up this feeling is "Where's your log? Let me see your workout log". The reason is simple: if you're not keeping track of your data points (aka what weight you use on what workout and how quickly it took you to finish or what your score was), then we can't really know if you're improving or not.
The thing is CrossFit is hard, and it never gets easy. In fact, the fitter you are the harder the workouts become. Because of this, basing whether you've improved or not on "how hard" the workout feels is not a good idea. One of the coolest things about CrossFit is that we're measuring your fitness in simple and quantifiable terms so why not use that information to your advantage and keep track of your workouts?
You have a few different options on how to do this. The classic option is pen and paper. We gave every one of you a CrossFit 818 Success Journal when you first joined which has a huge amount of space for logging workouts. If you don't want to do the physical media route, do what I do: keep a Google Document on the cloud that you can update from anywhere. My favorite part of keeping my workout log on the cloud is that I can easily search it for past workout results and I can easily share it when I need someone else to take a look at it.
There are also a few different websites you can use to help track your workouts, including Beyond the Whiteboard which is popular with a few of your fellow 818ers. I haven't used these services extensively, but my experience with them has been positive. Just be prepared to pay a monthly fee to use some of them.
At the end of the day, the important thing is that you log your workouts in order to keep track of your progress, identify successes and failures, and work to improve your fitness!
A. 3RM Front Squat
B. AMRAP 12 minutes:
Toes to bar
Box jumps (24/20)
*ascending ladder, start with 1, 1, 1 then 2, 2, 2, and on until time is called
Posted by Armen.
Sunday is an important day for me. It's the day that makes or breaks the week ahead. I usually take care of laundry and other household chores, catch up on sleep and get my things in order for the days to come. One of my jobs the other day was to organize the files on my computer and sort through email. During this process I found a bunch of pictures that I had taken over the years. I had a nice stroll down memory lane recounting the places I'd gone and things that I'd done before arriving at the (obvious) conclusion that time whizzes by far too quickly.
The infernal march of time is one of the few things that treats us all as equals. Time does not care about our fortune or misfortune. Time is unaware of our hopes, dreams and aspirations. If we don't make good use of our precious seconds on this planet then the only thing the passage of time marks is time lost. Let me tell you, with all of our responsibilities the days are just packed.
So what am I getting at here? I'm suggesting that you take a second to breathe, to savor the moment, to smell the proverbial roses. Earlier this month I turned 26 and I spent most of the day ruing the fact that another year had passed and I wasn't exactly where I wanted to be in many aspects of life. I realized that this was a pretty lousy outlook because life is, and always should be, a work in progress kind of thing. As soon as you settle into complacency you stop experiencing new things which means you stop living (a fate that is far worse than death itself in my opinion). I have been blessed with a number of positive experiences, relationships and opportunities thus far and I'm sure you have too. These are the things that have gotten us to where we are now and will help us get to where we're going in the future. Next time you feel like your life is getting out of control take some time to get centered. Life is both good and bad, up and down, sun and rain, yin and yang. You've gotta have one to have the other. Just remember to breathe.
Taking a moment to admire the view atop Mt. Lukens during a recent mental health day.
*run 200m after each round
Posted by Commish
As a CrossFitter you've probably woken up the next morning after a WoD to only realize getting out of bed hurts! This pain is usually DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, which is caused by strenuous exercise. There are several ways to mitigate this pain: you can stay properly hydrated, make sure you get proper nutrition 15-60 minutes after your workout, and ice muscles you used in a workout. But what's the best way to get rid of DOMS? Workout! While it sounds counter-intuitive, studies (and loads of empirical data) have shown that while exercise initially causes a bit more pain in muscles suffering from DOMS, continuing to work out can relieve the pain you feel. Furthermore, you're not doing any damage to your muscles by working out when experiencing DOMS.
So next time your quads scream in protest when you get out of bed, limp over to your closet, put on your workout gear, and get yourself over to CrossFit 818 in Glendale for some more squats!
A. 5x5 push press, 5x30 second L-hold
B. AMRAP 15 minutes
120 kb swings (53/35, USA)
90 double unders
Posted by Zareh.