Monday, January 27, 2014

The Coaches Corner: Snatches & Burpees

Hey yo!  It’s one week closer to the start of the 2014 CrossFit Open.  Who is with me?  
This week I’ll be going over burpee and snatch standards.  Who doesn’t love this wicked combination of movements?!

Before you start doing everyone’s favorite movement – we’ll need to set up a target.  The target must be at least six inches above the athlete’s fingertips when they are standing and reaching as high as possible.  Athletes must touch their chests to the ground at the bottom of the burpee and hit the target with both hands at the top.  Easy peasy, right? 

Snatches are a little bit more complicated.  And by a little bit more, I mean a lot.  Each rep counts once you have control of the barbell overhead.  Pressing out the arms at the top to complete the movement is allowed as long as the barbell does not touch the shoulders or head. Also, sorry to tell you – but you are responsible for loading your own weight on the bar.  If the workout includes a ladder – I’d recommend having all the weights that you need lined up and ready to go.  Doing math when you are hopped up on adrenaline is not something that anyone wants to do. Snatches must start from the ground and return to the ground at every rep.  

You can definitely expect to see these movements in the 2014 Open.  They will be brutal and you’ll want to quit.  Don’t!  You’ve got this.

Past Examples of Burpee/Snatch Workouts 
In 17 minutes
40 burpees
30 snatches (75/45)
30 burpees
30 snatches (135/75)
20 burpees
30 snatches (165/100)
10 burpees
AMRAP snatches (210/120)

AMRAP 10 minutes
30 snatches 45/75
30 snatches 75/135
30 snatches 100/165
As many reps as possible, 120/210

AMRAP 7 minutes

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Things Often Left Unsaid

It's that time of year.  The time where I need to take some time to recognize the most important person to ever come into my life.  Two years ago, I lost my fiance, Will, in a skiing accident.  I don't talk about him a lot but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss him. I always hesitate to post about him - it's so unbelievably private and hard to share - but here goes.  

Tomorrow (Jan 22) is the actual date that he died but today is almost just as hard.  It's the last totally normal day that we had - filled with hair cuts, trips to the Post Office for wedding stamps, homemade dinner, and a bad made-for-tv movie.  Today is the day that I really miss him - tomorrow is a day I remember to be totally filled with chaos and shock.  Nothing about this week is easy - I don't think that it ever will be.  But I stay busy and smile and go about my regular life - all the things that he would want me to do.  Even when I'm older and hopefully have a family of my own - he will never cease to be a crucial part of my life and his death was one of the defining moments that made me who I am now.    

Will was my other half. He was that person who made my life complete and the last two years have been harder that I ever like to admit.  It's hard to explain, but you move forward knowing that someone can't come back - but yet you are still holding out hope that it could somehow happen.  

I remember him every single day and I know that I will for the rest of my life.  I'm a different person now than I was when I was with Will - neither is better, neither is worse - I'm just different.  It's impossible to go thru something like that and not come out differently. 

In November, Will was honored by the military by having a room at the European Command Center in Stuttgart, Germany dedicated to him.  During Will's time in Germany - he helped design and implement a communications suite.  It was a huge project and one that he was incredibly proud to be a part of.  I remember him talking about it almost daily during our long-distance phone calls and chat sessions.  He worked his tail off on that room and the military honored him by naming it after him.  

Will would be incredibly humbled and honored to have his name on a room that he worked so hard for.  It sounds so silly.  After all - it's just a room right?  No.  It's not just a room.  One of Will's best friends (who happens to be married to one of my best friends and is the reason that Will and I were together in the first place) sent me an email explaining to me just how big of a deal this is (and I hope he doesn't kill me for including it here): 
There are currently 10 Combatant Commands.  Each with a 4 Star General or Admiral in charge.  These commanders along with the service chiefs (top ranking officer of each service) run the DOD.  It doesn't get any higher than a Combatant Command unless you are at the Pentagon.   Will having a bronze plaque, dedication and room named after him is monumental.  To put things in perspective: I have served in the Navy for 18 years and have never known anyone to receive this honor and I have been fortunate to serve with a lot of great Americans that people refer to as Heroes.  There have been roughly 6,500 Service members who have lost their lives serving their country in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  I would guess less than a 100 have a bronze plaque with a room named after them.  Even less at a Combatant Command.  Think about this, 50 years from now meetings will be held in the William J. Barnette room.
I've always been proud of Will.  Ever since I met him over six years ago.  Everything he's done has made me proud to call him my boyfriend, my ex-boyfriend, my boyfriend, my ex-boyfriend (and so on and so forth for a solid two and a half years), and finally, my fiance.  We were together for just over four years at the time of his accident and no matter how mad at him I was - I was always proud of his dedication to his service to this country.  Because of this, we did most of our relationship apart - deployments, being stationed abroad - we did it all.  But because he loved this country so much and was so proud to be part of the military - I was proud of him.  And it was okay to be apart, because he was making a difference. 

I have never been more proud of him than I am now.  He has been gone for two years - but the things that people still say about him are incredible. He is making a difference, even in his passing - this room will be a crucial role in the military operations at that base from here forward and Will was an integral part in that.  
Will was the best person that I have ever known.  I remember telling someone that I knew I wanted to be with him because he made me want to be a better person. I feel that way even now - there is hardly anything that I do without thinking of him first.  I have lived my life since his death thinking about what would make him proud. He was one of the good ones - kind, compassionate, loving, smart, loyal, funny - everything that you want in a husband and a friend.  If anyone has ever deserved their name to be molded in bronze and installed on a wall at a DoD building - it's Will.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Coaches Corner: CrossFit Open Prep

It's time to start signing up for the annual CrossFit Open and therefore - time to start getting ready to kick ass in the workouts!  I've had a lot of questions about the Open is and how it works - below, you'll find some answers to those questions.  And every week for the next six weeks - I'll select a couple of movements you'll  likely see in the workouts and break them down to CrossFit standards for you, plus give you a couple of helpful competition tips.  If you have specific questions or want more information - shoot me an email or leave me a comment! 

CrossFit Open: What is it?
The 2014 CrossFit Games season begins with the worldwide Open competition. Everyone in the world is invited to compete in five workouts over five weeks, posting their scores online. In 2013, almost 140,000 athletes competed in the Open. Competitors will be ranked both worldwide and by region. The 48 fittest individual athletes and 30 fittest teams from each region will earn invitations to one of 17 Regionals.  The registration fee for the Open is $20 and you can sign up online at

How do I get judged?
Every Open workout needs to be judged to count. Athletes will be able to do the workouts at a specific time weekly at SoundCrossFit.   SCF coaching staff will serve as judges but individual athletes are also encouraged to take the online judging course.  Not only does completing the judging course allow you to serve as a judge for your fellow athletes – but it also helps to even better define what standards are expected of you as a competitor. 

When does it start?
The Open kicks off on February 27 and will run for five weeks.  Every Thursday at 5pm (PST), a new workout and demo will be posted online.  Competitors have until Monday at 5pm to complete the workout and have their scores posted and validated online. 

What should I expect?
The Open workouts are designed to test competitor’s physical strength and endurance.  Each of the five workouts will test different skills and the standards to complete the movements will be clearly laid out.  To see a full list of the 2012/2013 workout, visit the Games website.

What happens if I can’t finish a workout or lift the weights required?
No big deal.  You’ll be scored for as many Rx reps as you finish – and each workout has different requirements.   I want to encourage all of my athletes to try the workouts but I also recognize that some of these movements and weight standards aren’t manageable for all.  As coaches and judges – we will work with you to make sure that you are able to compete what you can without causing injury. If you can't quite complete a movement or make the weights - don't get down - you'll know what you need to work towards for next year! 

Movement Standards
Chest to Bar Pull-Ups
At the top, the chest must clearly come into contact with the bar.  At the bottom, arms must be fully extended.  Kipping and/or butterflying pull-ups are allowed as long as both of these standards are met. 
Make sure that your chest touches the bar below your collarbone to count for a good rep.
This is a standard barbell thruster in which the barbell moves from the bottom of a front squat to full lockout overhead. The bar starts on the ground. Use of the rack is not allowed. The hip crease must pass below the knees. A full squat clean into the thruster is allowed if the bar is on the ground.  To finish the movement, the barbell must come to a full lockout overhead with the hips, knees and arms fully extended, and the bar directly over the body.
Fully extended and locked out at the top.  Don't drop into your next rep until you hear your judge count your rep. 
Athletes competing in the CrossFit Open MUST be doing mobility at home on their own.  It is highly recommended that each athlete has their own foam roller.  Don’t have one yet?  Get one. Here are my Amazon recommendations

  • TriggerPoint Foam Rollers are excellent and run between $30-40 for a 13” roller. 
  • High density rollers are also available for $20.  They are a bit longer (usually 3') and can be harder to store for those in smaller spaces. 

Other great mobility resources? 

  • Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett.  Fantastic book with tons of mobility movements and tips.  $40 on Amazon - worth every penny!
  • Lacrosse balls.  These guys are so easy to carry around or put in your desk at work that there really isn’t an excuse not to have them!
  • CrossFit Coaches.  Ask any one of the coaching staff at your gym – they’ll be able to give you some good guidance.

Drink lots of water.  Water is crucial to recovery from competition.  Make sure you are drinking a lot of it – even on days that you aren’t working out. My tip? Get a 40oz bottle and fill it at least twice during the day. 

Nutrition.  Make sure that you are eating healthy.  Competing takes a lot out of your body – it’s crucial that you are giving it the best food and nutrients that you can.  Also – start taking a fish oil supplement.  It does wonders in helping your recovery.  It reduces inflammation and helps with blood flow – both things that will help after you’ve given a workout 110%.  Questions about fish oil? I found some good information here:  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Why Will You Compete?

Tomorrow is the day.  The day that registration for the 2014 CrossFit Open begins.  You can register up until the day before the first workout but the majority of us overzealous crazies will register early.  Somebody asked me the other day - 'are you trying to make it to regionals?'  Ummm... no. That isn't even on my radar.

So - why do I do it?  Why put myself through five grueling and painful workouts if I know I'm not going to 'win'?  Well. Lots of reasons.  

Here are the top five reasons why I compete (and why you should too):
  1. Because I can.  And really... anyone can.  The first workout in 2012 was 7 minutes of burpees.  ANYONE can do a burpee.  Don't let the weights and times of all the other workouts intimidate you.  Last year, a gal at my gym did almost 150 fourteen pound wall balls to a 10' target.  I don't know if she'd ever picked up a 14lb medicine ball, much less done a workout with it.  And she KILLED it.  That's the point of the open - to crush your limits.
  2. To beat myself.  Last year I came in 19,220th place out of the 27,820 women who completed all five workouts.  Awesome right? Okay... not that awesome.  But this year - I want to beat myself last year.  
  3. To compete with friends.  There aren't very many opportunities that you have to compete against your friends at the gym - trying to beat them while cheering for them to get one more rep.  You work your ass off, give each other sweaty hugs, and then you go have a beer afterwards.  It's the best kind of competition.
  4. To feel awesome.  Last year, I didn't think there was any way that I could do ANY of the workouts for the Open.  I was so intimidated.  The workouts are long.  The workouts are heavy.  But you finish it - and you feel awesome for finishing it.  
  5. Because why not?  Seriously... why not compete?  It costs $20 and you get to see where you rank against all the competing CrossFitters in the world. In. THE. WORLD.  Where else can you see where you rank against a whole world of athletes?  I'm not positive - but I think no where.  (Unless you are an Olympian.  And in that case - having you compete in the CrossFit Open is remarkably unfair and I protest.)  

So... have I convinced you?  Why will you compete?  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Total Case of the Mondays

Okay, I know that one of my 2014 goals was to blog more - and I'm already failing miserably. But here's the deal - I don't have that much exciting going on.  I feel lame just being like 'here's what I did in my workout today' or 'here's what I ate today'.  And unfortunately, there is no dating going on in my life.  Zilch.  

So... I don't have that much to say lately.  But here are few highlights of the last two weeks: 
  • I'm taking an Olympic Lifting class and it's kicking my ass.  However, I'd like to think that my snatch is getting a million times better.  Oh yes... I said it. 
  • While CrossFit will prepare you to 'not suck at life' - it will not prepare you to be an awesome ice skater.  As was proven by my weekend girls trip a couple of weeks ago.  Yowza.  I'm awful.
  • The Seahawks have done it again - cemented one of the reasons why I love living in Seattle.   I LOVE the team spirit in Seattle.  For those of you who live in Seattle (or have spent even a miniscule amount of time here), you know that Seattle is like a tiny town stuck in a big city body.  And the small town is super annoying when you can't go anywhere without running into the top ten people you never want to see but it's AWESOME on game days.  Everyone wears blue, everyone has on a Seahawks logo and the city practically comes to a stop when the game is on.  I love it.  It's hard not to be a Seahawks fan in this city.  Soooo... GO HAWKS!!!!!
  • The inventors of Cards Against Humanity deserve a medal of awesomeness. 
  • I finally got 10 double unders in a row - it may have been a freak accident.  We shall see.  
  • I never thought I'd say this but I'm ready for a new job.  I'm bored with being retired.  One can only look for jobs for so many hours a day.  It's exhausting.  And boring.  Did I mention it's boring???
That's about it for exciting highlights in the last two weeks.  Aren't you glad you're caught up? 

Also... I finally joined the modern blogging world and signed up for Blog Lovin'.  You can make it super easy to follow me here... <a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Thursday, January 2, 2014

And on to 2014!

Do you ever have one of those moments where you look around and think 'Holy Crap!!! It's 2014?!?! When did that happen?!?!?!'.  Ummmm... No?  Hmmm... 

Well.  I did.  Yesterday and today I've been pretty darn shocked that it's 2014 already.  And I'm pretty excited about it.  2014 is going to be my year.  It's totally in the bag.  I saw this yesterday and yes... just yes... 

It's going to be a good year.  I refuse to settle for anything less.  

So... what's up on the priority list for 2014?  I don't really do resolutions - that just seems to set me up for failure.  But I do have priorities for this year... most are private (as they should be!) but here are a few that I'm willing to share: 
  • Call my grandpa more often.  There will come a time when he won't be around to talk to - I want to make sure I take advantage of him while he's just a phone call away.
  • Be more organized and keep my house clean.  It's so easy for me to get cluttery (is that a word?!) - time to be a real adult... with an organization system. 
  • Spend more time in the kitchen.  In 2013, this came in waves - but since I've moved into my house - I really haven't cooked a whole lot.  I'm doing this in 2014!
  • Blog more.  You are welcome. 
Okay... enough about my 2014 goals.  I wish that I had something awesome else to say... but I don't.  It's been a slow couple of weeks. I did do the Polar Bear Plunge yesterday - that was awesome.  Even though I'll be the first to admit that I chickened out and didn't put my head under.  I learned two important lessons of polar bear plunges: 1) Wear shoes, and 2) Don't stop moving when you hit the water.  Next year, I'm going all in.