Are opinions worth much?
How is that advising a population that is 39% obese to eat less thought of by the general public to be irresponsible? Could it simply be that the same 39% that so obviously doesn’t account for what they consume be the same people that are outraged?
Let’s agree to try and resolve one misconception: there is no evidence that shows that nutrition advice CAUSES the rare case of an eating disorder that leads to an unhealthily low body-weight, if the opposite were true don’t you think obesity rates would be plummeting? It’s analogous to thinking the sight of Kylie Jenner drinking a martini causes alcoholism. To expand on this idea, the image of “impossibly” skinny models flaunted on the cover of magazines and used in media also do not CAUSE eating disorders. It would actually be less illogical to conclude that the sight of overweight or obese people caused an eating disorder—the negative portrayal of a behavior is far more affective than the positive (see anti-smoking ads). But you don’t hear this from social justice pundits screaming about fat shaming, no, they only blame “unrealistic expectations”. On a side note can something be unrealistic if someone else can achieve it?
There is this idea in our culture that being hungry is a negative thing. Yet hunger also drives many important health functions of our metabolism. Our species was defined by hunger for 200k years, yet somehow today going to bed not completely stuffed is some kind of deprivation. The most correlated behavior of animal longevity is caloric restriction + adequate nutrition, so it is no wonder that mortality rates are on the rise because we have caloric abundance + nutrient deficiency. This can’t be defended directly so instead the idea gets morphed into “body-positivity”, or other cute ways to empower those who have failed to understand their own nutrition; I’m sure you have heard of such a thing: “big is beautiful” or something to that effect.
So maybe we should try and agree on something else: big is not beautiful and skinny is not beautiful. But before you start frothing from the mouth about “privilege” and choke on your avocado toast, strong isn’t beautiful either. Beautiful is beautiful. Strong is strong, Fat is fat. Quit trying to make the thing you do be the thing you want to look like and then maybe you’ll have a chance at becoming what you want.
Your impression and emotional state surrounding your appearance, influences your behavior. YOUR behavior. This will help very few people because it is not easy but it is true: no one can make you something you regret to be, only you can. Consequently, only you can change it.
So treat yourself or don’t. Be a bit hungry in order to achieve the pointlessness of seeing your abs, or be considerably educated and proactive in your nutrition and training to achieve the highest power to weight ratio possible. No one will care either way, but one may lead to an experience that is not available to others.
So before you go posting about your anger of thermodynamics, understand that physics doesn’t care about your feelings or the way you wish the world would be, it doesn’t care about you at all, which I think is the most freeing feeling of all, to know I exist in a universe where I have the choice to exist how I want as long as I understand the implications of doing so.
Our training sessions seem relatively mild, on purpose. We are not testing the limits of what we can handle under artificial circumstances—in most cases. We are training to improve, NOT training to impress. This is yet another reason to add to the list of why fitness is fucked. People have exchanged the idea of training to support a task to training being the actual task.
The blame for what this industry looks like is not purely external. We have done our fair share of glamorizing the “brutal session”. In the past we glorified adversely intense training because it seemed remarkable that people were just unwilling to be uncomfortable, and in order to create an environment that pushes boundaries you need to select for certain types of people that are able to do so. A truly hard effort can clarify any hesitation you have about an individual, in this matter, hard training is second to none. But this practice of testing felt a little too good and instead of focusing on improving by building an unbearably harsh environment, we got enamored with power and the “look how hard my creation is, you can’t even finish it” attitude. We not only were distracted from getting better, we became focused on trying to break people, physically and spiritually—which made us feel better, no matter how morbid it sounds.
This is hard to admit, because there is something about hard training that is beautiful, serene even. After your ears stop ringing and the tunnel vision opens up slightly, you have this insight into the future and what you can handle—what might be possible. Sure, it might be chemically induced euphoria but it’s your euphoria, that YOU created by your effort.
Unfortunately, we have helped make training extreme, but only in the sense that it is unrecoverable, a form of psychological torment. And by doing this we have made actual performance underwhelming, in fact, most people who train and train others—people who program a “scientific” progression for grade-B athletes—have never put their proverbial engine to the pavement; most people are untested. We are surrounded by a company of fools, who tell us how hard to work, describe what discipline is to us, yet never leave the comfort of their temperature controlled “training dungeon”.
I would hate to break it to you but most training is easy. Most training is boring. The best training isn’t fun to read about or post about. This is the point I would like to make: There is a difference between training to survive and training to succeed. Strength sessions are a perfect example of this. You’ll notice a lack of straight sets within our training, and if there are, the percentage of max is usually less than 70%. This is what I call the Beat and the Pulse (a reference to the song I was listening to when my natural behavior became conscious). You should be able to hit a rhythm on a metronome (not all of the time, but most of the time). This means control of speed and pace, an acute sense of timing. The entire Bulgarian system of weightlifting was feared because it was purported that they trained to “max” everyday, but what they considered failure was any loss of speed or hesitation of movement, smooth reps, fast reps, anything else was a bad stimulus.
We get a similar “optimal” rep/set structures in the end, but we break ours up so that the lifting feels fresh, snappy—fuck it, I’ll say it—easy. Our lifting feels easy. Above 70% you will start to discover personal limitations, leg strength, back strength, mobility issues, lifting in straight sets compounds stress to what is already a weak link of a movement. Instead, we limit to singles or double but hit our sets “within the minute” or every 10-15 seconds until the end of the set, this allows the player to adjust breathing, position, grip or timing in between a set, which reduces the chance of failure when percentages get high. It also allows for small recovery, even if it’s only psychological.
If you are reading this and you think this is the excuse you have been waiting for to not learn how to grind through something, then you have missed the point. This is for the person who has done nothing but struggle through training and has yet to progress. If you have learned how to NOT be lazy then this might be for you.
The point is not a prescription but to point to a way of thinking. How can I make this feel easy? If things feel easy they are easier to do and get done, easier to do again, and easier to recover from. You should notice that I didn’t say that doing them is easy, there is a magic in “feel”. I should not be tormented by the activities that I know to be good for progression, I should only be tormented on my inability to progress.
10min easy bike
Clean position mobility Rack, Overhead etc.
10m of each
Lunge + kick
Lunge + kick + SLDL
Lunge + kick + SLDL + shrimp squat
Work to heavy (add 30lbs each set) Clean complex 3x 1 Power clean + 1 Hang clean (15sec between) each “set”
3x2 DB clean and press @ 35, 45, 55, 60lbs
Belt squat (4 plates) 2x reps every 10sec for 1min
5 rounds 2 min rest between
90min ride zone 2
Is every day special?
If you think this is an expansion on gratitude journaling, fear not, a rant is coming.
“It’s my birthday, I deserve it”
“It’s Christmas, enjoy this with the family”
“It’s Valentine’s Day, you’re supposed to enjoy a treat”
“It’s Easter, live a little”
“It’s Cinco De Mayo, just a few margaritas”
“Come on, it’s Becky’s Birthd... you know, Becky from HR, it would be rude not to take a cupcake”
“It’s international donut/ice cream/I don’t give a fuck about my own progress day, it’s special”
The common theme is that none of these moments are special, and yet we let the weak dictate what is special to us, which makes us weak.
The voice sounds genuine—caring, even—insinuating that we might be missing out on an experience of a lifetime. But it is vocalization from a proverbial crab in a bucket. If we can convince others to partake in our gluttony, in our lack of self control, in our mindless consumption, then it doesn’t feel like any of those things because we are all doing it.
Beware the voice of confirmation because it sounds seductively like our own.
Enjoy life, by all means. But don’t think the pressure to celebrate an arbitrary day or event is enjoyment. Enjoyment through celebration comes from the overcoming of, not in the participation of, and it certainly isn’t just the passing of time.
This question pushed me to reflect, what is enjoyable to me? I’m not quite sure I can articulate specifically, but I know it isn’t a lunchroom birthday with people I am forced into a relationship with. It’s not an arbitrary day that we have been told is special. It certainly isn’t stuffing my face with food and drink to celebrate the non-accomplishment of adding a year to my life.
What I can say is that I’ve seen people partake in these “once in a lifetime” events and pretend that it is enjoyable, so if anything, I enjoy not being them.
The amount of requests we get to post more in-depth glimpses of training make me feel a little better about posting an entire week down below. I hesitate out of fear of context, but I concede because the desire to learn is strong with those that follow us. My program is not your program. For fuck’s sake, my program isn’t even a program, I only decide the time spent doing the work, the warm up, and the long endurance activities. I just show up for BJJ and do what I’m told, other players often dictate the pace of free rolling. Hard sessions are usually done at various CF gyms around the valley, I protect myself from injury but mostly “ride” the effort for intensity. The mobility sessions I modify to fit on the day, and the hard sessions on Friday are delegated for the most democratically.
Other than those hesitations, the view of whats going on could be helpful when you are able to compare this in 4-6 months. To emphasize the essay: none of this is special, most of it could be swapped out and no one would ever know the difference—unless the volume or intensity are drastically different.
10min easy spin
Dynamic lunge work
20min bike erg (hard)
20min alt. EMOM
-15x KBS @ 52
10min easy cool down
90min BJJ (easy)
3 hours steady state
12 box jumps @ 30”
21x front rack squats with 2x 50lb DB
Total time 16:36 (includes resting time
EMOM Snatch to heavy 135-205
10min easy bike
3x10 varying dynamic lunges
3rd world squat mobility
Work to heavy back squat
5x3 @ heavy but perfect
5 sets NFT
10x bench @ 185
8x strict pull ups
2hr 30min BJJ (hard)
Ride 1hr 30min steady state
5min easy spin
Lunge + kick + hold + SLDL
30sec in each: squat + 1st pos. Crouch + 2nd pos. Crouch
30sec rest 3 rounds
3x10 s-mount leg raise front and trailing leg
Forward roll progressions
Arch, bridge, and wheel practice
10min easy spin
Shoulder priming with band and lower trap activation
5x10 seated military DB press @ 50
3x12 lat pull down
3x10 BB curl
30min alt EMOM
-10x alt. pistols
“Grace” (30c C&J @ 135) “85%” (be able to walk away)
PM 2 hrs BJJ (hard)
What is program design?
Essentially, it’s a buzz word. The fitness world’s take on “corporatese”. But that doesn’t mean it’s useless.
Program design is the architecture of physical progression. It takes into account all of the inputs that one can control and orders them according to priority—the least of which is exercise selection.
This is where most coaches stop, sending out the proverbial blueprints and moving on to the next client. But anyone that has “broken ground” on a creation knows how vastly different ideas must become once the foundation is laid on the earth and one can see the reaction of the materials. Adjusting to deviations given the reaction of an athlete in order to achieve the desired goal is what separates coaches from program writers.
Program design is important, it shows the ability to logically progress an idea with a starting and ending date—to put priority on paper. It also provides an athlete with the assurance of a plan—“faith”—which may be the most important ingredient of achievement.
The overarching program design that you will see played out over the next few months is based on the following:
The need to complete an ultra cycling event in July(6-7hours) and Sept. (5-6 hours). Complete, NOT compete, that doesn’t mean coast, it means protecting expectations for a pure experience.
The desire to qualify for some team or individual “fitnessing” competition between May and Sept.
To progress in BJJ, which includes potential tournaments.
My endurance base needs to be reconstructed, starting at 5 hours a weeks of aerobic “zone 2” style work. Luckily this supports all other endeavors until time doing it detracts from other needs (somewhere around the 10-hours/weeks mark).
Strength and strength endurance are at their lowest in years, especially in squatting movements, which means they need to be progressed in order to have any chance in competition. This is supportive as well, until it’s not. Body weight needs to stay relatively low (under 200) for both BJJ and to have any kind of enjoyable experience for cycling events, which means strength by way of volume (hypertrophy) needs to be watched.
To progress in BJJ, I need to stay injury free, which is impossible, so I’ll aim for “as healthy as possible” and work around any injuries, which usually means riding a bike (bonus for the first goal).
Strength will be written out and adjusted on the days where there is the most amount of time to recover, sets and reps can be decided on the day.
Endurance will be programmed “buffet” style, which means throw it in when I feel hungry and try not to choke.
I have dates, an idea of where I sit in all relative energy systems, and I’m not married to any one idea—this is program design. Now all I have to do is all the work, while avoiding the traps of psychological burn out, injury, and boredom... easy... kind of.
I am the architect, the builder, and I’ll even choose the color of the fucking drapes. It seems like a lot to take on until we remember that we are simply exercising, and whether we succeed or not depends heavily on how well we understand our shortcomings.
Warm 10min easy spin
3x10 dislocates + band pull apart + standing band cat stretch
2x30 sec “L-prone bridge”
-15cal Assault bike
-15x wall balls
-10x Strict C&P @ 2x35lb DB
1x high hang power + high hang squat + hang power + hang squat + power + squat clean
every 3 min Add weight each round, make it meaningful but not impossible
2 hours BJJ: drilling + free rolling (easy efforts, not quite zone 2 but also some hard digs that make it a blur to plot what it actually counts for)
The Threat of Pop
“You know of, you know nothing about”
This quote stays scribbled on our whiteboard. It was written in haste while stewing on our contempt for a popular “fitness” related periodical—misinforming the world of what we do. It’s a completely banal complaint, you know, about shit that doesn’t matter. But we aren’t the only ones that notice media exploits the general public’s desire to believe that they understand.
Pop, is what I call it. Pop-science, pop-news, and pop-fucking-music. It’s the digitalization, mass production, and annihilation of reality—it is a life lived on “auto-tune”. Almost every major industry is affected by it because people love to believe they understand, and if that is confirmed by what is POPular, even better.
Take any subject that you have special knowledge in—an activity or hobby—and place that activity in a major motion picture and writhe in agony as writers and directors misconstrue what any novice could point out (this includes movies that meta-conceptualize movie making).
Admittedly, half of what I think I know of the world is based on some sort of pop-information that I gathered and stored as a truth because I didn’t take the time to confirm it. And since “knowing of” something feels eerily similar to “knowing about” something—especially if one is ignorant—few of us will ever confront the very real difference until or unless we have to.
Pick up a barbell, a wrench or a gun and notice almost immediately that the actual use of any tool is much more technical than what we would ever fathom. I’m feeling this now as I clumsily strike a dead string in Em (E-minor, probably the simplest chord) on the guitar. Despite starting to learn two months ago and practicing everyday, it is hard to put together a single coherent riff. I have loved and listened to music my entire life. I know what good guitar playing sounds like. I have watched people play in-person, some of the best in the world, and I can even play the air guitar with the best of them, but when I actually try to play I realize that my ability was imagined and imaginary.
I can still see myself playing a full song because I have the hubris to do so but my current depiction (and the timeline to achieve it) is more accurate, having been tempered by actually trying to play it. When I hear the kind of musical complexity that I hope to some day understand I appreciate every second of it and know that every hour I practice gets me a little closer to “knowing about”. It seems the more I learn the harder it is to comprehend the details that make up expertise. “Knowing of” sheds little light on those points.
POPular culture is full of arrogance, a conceit regarding “knowledge”, which is often painted as truth, presented as a 42-minute program made to justify 18 minutes of sales pitches. Reality. on the other hand, is full of a grace and gratitude because understanding is difficult. Understanding takes humility. It takes presence, NOT presentation. Understanding cannot be bought.
We tend to make things more complex because complexity can appear as expert knowledge. Sometimes though, true understanding comes from being present, from exploring what you sought to know about, from being constantly curious, from recognizing that you simply don’t know but that one day you may.
10-20-30-40-50 Double Under
1-2-3-4-5 Ring Muscle Up
20min Alt. EMOM
-10x seated DB Strict Press
-50x double unders
Then VIA CrossFit La Parada in Lima, Peru
Front squat 95#
4 rounds for time
10x toes to bar
10x Box jump over
20x Clean and Jerk @ 145#
Why do I always feel like I’m starting over?
This is a common sentiment and also a bad habit. It’s consistent, glorification of our past abilities, and it’s one I fall victim to when I lack the attention necessary to progress correctly.
Whether I’m recovering from a cold, injury, or I’m excusing a lackluster performance, I often and begrudgingly vocalize the notion of “getting back into it”. It’s a poor attempt to excuse that my current state is my own fault.
It’s a strange trick that we play on ourselves, by trying to convince the external world that we are simply a bit off track, and that given the right circumstances we would be as good as new. We are simply blaming what is outside of our control—which is giving up our only control.
This idea hides that we actually lack direction because it is impossible to return to our former selves. Even if we can reassert an ability, we cannot return to the state or moment that we are memorializing. The past is intangible.
We need to move forward in the direction of unknown territory, towards the possible, not the past. And even though it can include past abilities it won’t be under the guise of recreating the “glory days”; it will be under the banner that at any given moment we want to know what we are capable of doing.
Serious injury puts this in perspective by usually giving us the motivation to rise above a doctors prognosis of “never being able to do X again”. It is a challenge so we respect it as such and work in a way to find what is possible. This attitude should be the one that is present despite setbacks and limitations—this mindset is what we should “get back into”.
I hear/feel a pop in my lower back during a sloppy clean at a “who gives a fuck” weight, and all I can think is how far from my former self I am. I haven’t even dared to test the actual injury and I’m already putting myself in the worst possible spot, one that clings to the past and is fearful of the future. It isn’t about who we are at our greatest power, it’s about the accumulation of who we are in our worst moments, those added up inform the world what is possible—not our excusal of it.
So even though I haven’t left the floor yet, I’m trying to imagine who I might become, which is a world different from who just became injured and who I want to be.
60min spin @ conversational pace
Warm 10min of
-Lunge + kick + SLDL
20min Alt. EMOM
Even: Clean + 2x Jerk @ Heavy
Odd: 3x Ring Muscle Up
5 rounds for time
rest 2 min between