“Bosco Lite” – Tearing it Up!

Waking up this morning…I felt great.  It was the first morning in a couple of weeks where I did not feel any pain from the shin splints in both legs I had been struggling with.  The soreness in my quads from Fran was finally gone and I had a decent nights sleep.  All was good with the world.  Sneaking out of the house around 5:15 am, as soon as I got the door open I felt it.  Humidity.  It was back.  Early in the morning it is not bad but I just knew that it was going to be a sticky day in the CFP Box.

Yesterday brought another installment of “90 Seconds with BK” to the CFP Blog.  This installment discussed the life and times of Anthony Bosco, a veteran of CFP since March of 2009.  I run into Bosco during my work at the 5:30 am class as well on Saturdays.  He helped me through the last round of Fight Gone Bad a few weeks ago so it was great to learn a little bit more about him and his journey through crossfit.  Of course with these interviews comes the details of the Wednesday workout.  BK takes the WOD created by the athlete…may tweak it…and puts it out for the Box to take down.  Bosco’s favorite exercises include double under jump rope, pull-ups, and squats.  His ultimate WOD brings all of those exercises together into a form of Annie…but instead of duble unders and sit-ups it is a circuit of all three of Bosco’s favorites…for time.  Here is how the workout breaks down:

“Bosco”

50 – 40 – 30 – 20 – 10 of the following exercises:

Jump Rope – Consecutive Double Unders

Pull-ups

Air Squats

As Fast As Humanly Possible (AFAHP)

The way this works is that the athlete completes 50 double unders and then rolls right into the pull-ups.  Once those are done…you got it…straight into the squats.  If you are trying to do the math…that is 150 pull-ups.  Right.

The workout was scaled down for those athletes who were still in elements.  We were treated with “Bosco Lite”.  The difference in the workout was in the jump rope and pull-ups.  Here is how the lite version broke down:

“Bosco Lite”

100 – 80 – 60 – 40 – 10 – Single jump rope

30 – 25 – 20 – 15 – 10 – Pull-ups

50 – 40 – 30 – 20 – 10 – Air squats

Again for those who are mathematically challenged (I needed to use a calculator myself) that is 100 pull-ups.  Right.  The workout was a beast.  Forty minutes after the WOD when I got home…my wife asked me if I fell in a puddle.  I was drenched.  I managed to get through the workout doing the pull-ups as prescribed up until the last set.  This is when “Bosco Lite” really tore it up…literally.  On my last set of pull-ups my calluses started to rip.  With three left on the last set of ten I had to quit…one rip on my left hand and two on the right.  Pretty torn up.  But like I say…bring the hurt.

I loved the metcon today.  We’ve been doing a lot of olympic lifting recently in the Box…and while it is great to increase strength…I feel as though my cardio is struggling slightly.  It was great to get back into cardiovascular swing of things and get the heart rate up.  Really need to work on my jump rope skills.  I really get behind in any metcon that has jump rope involved.  Will probably start doing some work on that during the off days to really get things going.  Hope the hands heal quickly.  Bring the hurt.


Fran – The Wicked Witch of Crossfit

So as I approach a month in full workouts with the elements athletes at Crossfit Performance I have started to look back at the progression I’ve made from when I started.  I’ll save the full flashback post for a few weeks down the road but in just a brief glimpse there have definitely been a bunch of changes.  I’ve increased my physical fitness, changed my diet, maybe lost a few extra pounds, but all together I just feel better.  Both at work and at home I just feel more alive.  I don’t think it is so much that I am doing crossfit, though it is an awesome program, but it is just the activity.  It is having something to throw my entire self into with no consequences.  It is a place I can go and really focus on myself.  I’ve also met some great people.  All of the folks at the Box…BK and Janet…it is really an awesome crew.  I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting a few of the “Ladies of Crossfit” or so I call them.  The Ladies of Crossfit are prescribed WOD that are killers.  So far I’ve met Helen, Karen, and Annie.  This past Saturday I met Fran.  Fran is the wicked witch of crossfit.

On Saturday BK called for a guys only workout at the Box.  The workout began at 11 am and the WOD was unknown.  Not having much to do on Saturday I decided to forgo the 8:30 am standard workout and hit the guys only workout.  The reason for the “guys only” was because it was the start of BK’s bachelor party.  After the session the guys were hitting the open water of Long Island Sound and then traveling on to dinner and the bars of SoNo.  With a little guy at home I missed my little guy so I figured I’d hit up the WOD with the boys and then go on my way.  After the WOD…I went on my way…but was not feeling to merry.  Getting to the box around 10:50 there were already about 12 guys getting warmed up.  BK wasn’t there yet but came strolling in with a few bags of ice a minute or so after I did.  Warm beer needs ice.  It was then that BK announced that we were going to be doing Fran.  Here is what Fran is made up of:

As fast as humanly possible:

Reps: 21 – 15 – 9

95 pound thruster

Pull-ups

In this workout the athlete completes the first rep range (21) of the thruster and then goes immediately into the pull-ups for the same rep range.  After that is completed the athlete moves into the round of 15.  That continues through until the athlete completes 9 pull-ups.  This is a timed event and the best time wins.  Since there were 17 of us there for the WOD BK decided to split us into teams of 4 for the workout.  BK would then go after we had completed to get an accurate read of his time.  For those of you who don’t know what a thruster is…check this out.  Since this was my first Fran…I was allowed to modify…I was doing thrusters at 65 pounds and my pull-ups were 10 – 7 – 4 with no band.

It doesn’t look like that much on paper.  Try it.  The thrusters are killers.  It is Monday and my quads are still smoked from the workout on Saturday.  This is the type of workout where the pull-up portion is your rest period.  Imagine that…pull-ups as rest.  It is pretty crazy.  I ended up finishing my modified Fran in 5:12…which I was pretty happy with.  The other three guys on the team really pushing you to perform helped a lot.  Just for some perspective…BK…who did the WOD after everyone was done…finished the full Fran in 2:48.  It was unreal to watch.  Can’t wait to get to the point where I can tackle the witch head on…bring the hurt.


A Crossfit Surprise – “The Mo”

This past Tuesday I made my way to the Crossfit Performance website in order to update the day’s blog with the results of the morning WOD. Everyday each athlete is asked to post his or her results in the comments section in order for the training staff to review how people are responding to the workouts. Arriving at the page I was intrigued to see that the title of the blog was “90 Seconds with BK“.  BK of course is Ben Kelly, the owner and head training guru of the Box.  It turns out that on a weekly basis there will be a feature on the blog that highlights one of the athletes at CFP.  What a great idea!  Along with getting to know a little bit more about the athlete one of the questions BK asks is: “If you created a WOD and named it after yourself, what would the workout be?”.  A great question that really makes you think about what makes you go during crossfit workouts.

This week the athlete featured was Mo Reynolds.  Mo is actually one of the regular Elements athletes I work out with every morning during the 5:30 am class.  Her favorite workouts consisted of Kettle Bell Swings, Dead Lifts, Push Press, Bench Press, and the 10 meters to death.  These are all great individual workouts.  After reading the interview I added my results from the morning and went back to work.  Later in the day during lunch I went back to the blog to check out the other comments that were made.  BK happened to comment and made mention that Wednesday all athletes would be taking part in the same WOD.  You guessed it…”The Mo”.

Here is what “The Mo” consists of:

10 Minutes, as many reps as possible of the following:

  • 10 Dead Lifts @ 75% of your body weight
  • 10 Push Press (shoulder press with leg dip) @ 65#
  • 10 Kettle Bell Swings 36 (unbroken)
  • 10 Push ups
  • 10 x10 meter shuttle sprints

Once finished with the sprints, repeat, final score is total repetitions in 10 minutes.

This workout was a beast.  I finished with 165 reps within that 10 minute time limit and was totally gassed.  I went out a bit heavier than I should of on the dead lift.  Made it through two rounds at 135 before BK saw me struggling and dropped the weight for me.  Could have definitely put together a few more reps with a lighter load on the dead lift.  That is one thing that BK stressed after the WOD is to make sure that you stay within your comfort zone.  Put the ego in your pocket, lower the weight, and focus on technique.  I’ve been fighting with shin splints over the last week or so and this is definitely something I need to keep top of mind.  No sense in lifting heavy if you are not lifting correctly.  The weight will come.  Focus on technique and range of motion.  Ass to Grass.

Starting post workout protein shakes on Friday.  I haven’t had the best luck with protein supplements in the past.  We’ll see how it goes this time around using a custom protein blend.

Bring the hurt.


Why I Don’t Unsubscribe

It has been a little while since I’ve posted about email on the old blog. I’ve been guest writing on some other blogs and have been trying to come up with a few good things to write about. Like most in their morning routine I got into the office, booted up the machine, and started checking some email. With the work emails reviewed and followed up with I decided to turn my attention to some of the emails that had found their way into my Hotmail account. I was excited to see that I had also been upgraded Hotmail’s latest version. While I’m not impressed with the new layout upon my initial reviews I’ll give it some time before I start to complain.

I’m pretty sure I am in the minority where when I say that if I receive a promotional email in my inbox, I am not quick to unsubscribe. I like to take some time to read the content and see if there might be anything of interest within the content that could possibly provide value or benefit to me or anyone I may know. One of the morning staples in my inbox is an email from Omaha Steaks. I love Omaha Steaks. They send me at least four to five emails per week trying to entice me to order whatever they might have on sale at the time. Here is a look at today’s offer:

I usually just delete these emails from Omaha when I see them in my inbox. Four to five emails a week is a little overboard. But I haven’t unsubscribed from the program yet. Why? I tolerate their daily emails for offers like the one today. How can you turn down an offer that provides you $170 worth of value for only $50. Not to mention two free gifts with your order! You can never have too much steak and these combination offers are a great gift idea! While not in the market for steak everyday…I’m still curious to see what they come up with.

Here are a few more reasons why I don’t unsubscribe:

  1. Value – Like the email this morning there is always the potential for a company, vendor, friend, to provide value in an email campaign.  In a recent study from Litmus of 14 million email readers it found that 51.1% of those readers only spend two seconds looking at an email before deleting.  That is all it takes to decide whether or not to engage.  I can spare two seconds reading an email.  Especially if I signed up for it!
  2. Interest – I only sign up for emails from companies I have an interest in or have purchased from previously.  Why clutter your inbox with emails that you are just going to delete?
  3. Competition – I’m in the email marketing game.  I sign up for emails so I can see what other people are doing.  These emails are coming to my personal email account.  Aside from being in email I am also a consumer.  Where I might critique an email harder than others…I will also convert off of email promotions!  I like to see what drives me to convert to provide strategic insight into what their competition might be doing in the channel.
  4. You never know! – You just never know when you might get an email that speaks to you.  Emails are not always focused on sales and promotions.  It is true that emails are sent with the goal of driving the recipient to a revenue generating action but there is a lot of good email out there which provides great insight.  I love the emails from Eat This, Not That!.  Yes…they try to sell me a magazine subscription as soon as I hit the website but that is OK.  I get a ton of information from their emails regarding nutrition and healthy food options.

To be honest, I do use the unsubscribe link. I’ll unsubscribe when I receive an email from a company with whom I did not register for their email program. I’ll unsubscribe from anyone who sends me more than an email a day. That is just too much email. It really does take a lot for me to unsubscribe from an email campaign. These days I’ve found that people are very quick to unsubscribe. Is it annoying to log into your inbox and see a flood of email, sure. Just remember that you signed up to get these emails..or hopefully did…so you should expect email from them! Give them a chance to prove value before you jump all over that unsubscribe link. You never know what you might miss if you eject from the program too earl


Fight Gone Bad

This past weekend, Saturday to be specific, Ben Kelly, the owner of Crossfit Performance and lead guru, called for an all athlete WOD and meeting at 7:00 am. Coming off a 12th place finish at the Crossfit Games the previous weekend it was anyone’s guess what this meeting was all about. Needless to say I was pumped to get back into the Box after a great workout on Friday and was definitely excited to take part in my first workout with the entire gym.

The heat and humidity on Saturday was brutal here in the northeast. As I usually have more time to get to and from the gym in the morning for Saturday workouts I like to ride my bike to the Box as a nice little warm-up. It is only about a mile from my house and it is not that strenuous of a ride. As I walked out of the house to the garage I was hit with a wall of humidity. At around 6:30 am the humidity was already at 80% and only going higher. It was thick. Getting a breeze going while on my bike it turned out that the ride in the heat was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Arriving to the Box about ten minutes early I was surprised to already see a group of athletes warming up and getting ready to go. More to my surprise was watching Ben doing some pretty strenuous exercises. This was my introduction to Fight Gone Bad (FGB).

After about ten minutes Ben finished his workout and brought the team in for a talk. It was during this time that he formally introduced the WOD which was Fight Gone Bad. This might sound like a weird name for a workout. It’s origins are with Mixed Martial Arts and a trainer who created the workout for one of his fighters. After the fighter completed the workout the trainer asked what he thought. A bit disoriented the fighter responded with something like “It felt like a fight gone bad”. The workout was then dubbed Fight Gone Bad. Here is what it consists of:

Five Stations, one minute at each station, 1 minute break after the 5th station

Station 1 – Wall Ball: 20# ball
Station 2 – Sumo Dead Lift High Pull: 75#
Station 3 – Box Jumps: 20 inch box
Station 4 – Push Press: 75#
Station 5 – 1 minute row for calories

Repeat 3 times. Final score is the combined repetitions for each station in each round.

So you are asking yourself, is this for real? The answer is yes. You are going for the maximum repetitions within each station in one minute. There is no break between stations. It is five minutes of pure hell, a minute break, then back to the beginning. Three times through.

Going through the workout for the first time, it is a beast. When you are in the throws of FGB you are pounding out the reps and at around the fifty second mark you wrap up the station and prep for the next. You think to yourself…there is no way I could have gotten another rep. After you complete the eighteen minute workout, you’ve cooled down, you look at your score and say “I could have gotten one more rep at each station!”. That is the rub. It is not about brute strength, though that helps. It is about strategy. It is about staying within yourself and not going for broke in the first round. It is about control and endurance.

Crossfit Performance, the Box, puts on a competition every fall where other teams come in from around the area and compete in rounds of FGB. To the winner goes a trophy and bragging rights. Last year CFP lost the battle. This year the Box is prepping to get the title back. Saturday was the first step in the training for that moment. It was a great introduction to a tough workout. One that not only challenges the physical but the mental as well. I look forward to getting at this workout again. Score: 202

Bring the hurt.


Annie Get Your Gun

Tomorrow will officially be two straight weeks for me at Crossfit Peformance. I’ll tell you what…I have never felt better. Getting into the Box 5 days a week has certainly been a challenge, especially when class starts at 5:30 am. I love every minute of it though. The workouts are definitely a challenge but the aspect I like most about the work is that it brings a team mentality to individual training. The other athletes working out are there not only to fell the burn themselves but to encourage and motivate the others to keep going. It is awesome.

This morning I met my third lady of Crossfit. That is right…three ladies in a single week. Not sure if that is normal or not but for me…it has been a tough week. Today I met Annie. Annie is a tough lady. Here is the workout:

50-40-30-20-10 reps of
Double Under Jump Rope
Abmat Sit-ups
As Fast As Possible – 10 minute cap

Now because I am a novice I was only doing single jumps for my rope work. A double under is when the rope goes around twice in a single jump. The way this works is you start with the 50 jump rope then go directly into the 50 sit-ups. Once you complete that set you go directly back to the rope and start your set of 40. Continue down to 10.

It is a killer. I did not make the cap…this time around. The jump rope killed me this morning. Need to get a rope and start practicing big time. I made it 18 sit-ups into my 20 round when the 10 minute cap hit. I finished the workout. I needed to complete the day. Don’t know why but I just felt as though I owed it to myself to finish it out.

This week was tough. Early mornings, tough workouts, but after all of that I feel great. I am energized and ready to go. Full team workout tomorrow at 7 am. Can’t wait to get back to the Box.

Bring the hurt.


My Introduction to Helen

I know it seems that I have been posting more here about my Crossfit Quest (Thanks to Scott Cohen for the quest) but in reality I have been putting together some posts for other networks like DM News and iMedia Connection so I did not want to flood the web with posts from yours truly.  So I’ve stuck with posting about my Crossfit quest and so far the journey has been pretty outstanding.  My back is feeling great…battling some slight leg issues but think it is mostly due to the fact that the workouts require more running than I’ve pretty much done in my life.  I’m also not as young as I used to be.

For those of you who are not familiar with Crossfit…the workouts are called WODs (Workout of the Day) and there is one for every day that you go to the Box (read as gym).  Depending on the WOD your lead trainer puts together for that day the types of exercises will differ from day to day.  This is to help build a well rounded athlete.  The WOD usually is comprised of a strength portion and then a MetCon.  A MetCon is a cardio element combined with strength element(s).  As there are many different variations of the WOD Crossfit, Inc, the governing body of the sport, does maintain certain standards that when performed are consistent regardless of the athlete performing the exercise.  This past weekend the Crossfit Games were held during which a lot of these standards were performed.  Team CFP, the team from the Box where I workout, competed in the affiliate competition and came in 12th.  If you check out some of the video you can really see how intense these WODs are.

This morning our lead, BK (who is still in California after competing in the games), brought us Helen.  All of the standard WOD are named after women.  They are called “The Ladies of Crossfit”.  Helen is a standard WOD and it is done for time.  This not only means you have to perform all of the exercises but you have to perform as fast as you can.  Crossfit is competition training, it trains you to get going.  Here is what Helen entails:

Three rounds of:

400M run

21 Kettlebell swings with a 1.5 pood bell

12 Pull-ups

You read that correctly.  Those exercises…all in a row…three times…for time.  For me in my second full week of crossfit…I was definitely nervous.  You always hear about the ladies and now to actually compete and do one…intense.  I think I held my own for a first time through.  The run continues to be my nemesis.  It is definitely my toughest section though the pull-ups are a killer after the first two exercises.  I went with no band on the pull-ups and was able to complete the first round no problem.  The second round I definitely struggled on the pull-ups and had to drop to ten reps.  I maintained that through the 3rd round so while I did not do Helen to a T…I definitely felt the fury that she contains.  I finished in a time of 13:23.

The way I look at it and how BK always reminds us…it is about obtainable progression.  If you kill yourself the first time out the chances are you won’t get out there for round two.  Start slow and build.  Everyone loves to see progress and improvement.  This doesn’t mean you stack the deck and not give it your all the first time out.  It means that you are in control and put your best out there every time.  While you may be competing with others the only person you have control over is yourself.  Don’t worry about what others are doing.  Stay focused on your own progression.

For me, I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings at the Box…bring the hurt.


Synergies abound between email and social media

Over the past year I have been lucky enough to be published in blogs for both DM News and iMedia. It seems as though they thought one of my recent articles on social media and email marketing was good enough to run. Wouldn’t you know it one of my Twitter colleagues @RoryCarlyle picked up on it before I even new it had hit the internet.  I do want to make one comment however…I spell email the way it should be spelled: EMAIL.  No hyphen.  I’m not going to make a big deal of it with the editors…it’s nice to be published.

Anyway…hope you enjoy the article


Elements – Day 4

Don’t worry…I’m not going to post after every workout…but I will post every once and a while after a workout really resonates with me. As Crossfit is five times a week…I’d likely get carpel tunnel syndrome from all of the writing I would then have to do.

Today at the Box we moved away from sprinting. Crazy that in my first week of full workouts the first two days would include WODs (workout of the day) that included running…which as I’ve pointed out is likely my biggest weakness besides endurance at this point.

Anyway…today was a WOD to remember and one that I liked a lot. Here is the breakdown and my results:

5 HCJ – 68#
6 pull ups – no band
10 HCJ – 63#
12 pull ups – 6 no band, 6 w/1 inch band
15 HCJ – 53#
10 pull ups – all w/1 inch band

AFAHP (As fast as humanly possible)

In terms of a legend for what is listed above in the workout…HCJ is hang clean and jerk.  The kicker here is that this is a continuous workout…and is supposed to be as fast as you can go.  I completed the above in 8:38…which I think was pretty decent for a third day of working out in a row.  The first time through the HCJ and Pull-up combo was pretty good…but once you hit the second leg…even though you are dropping the weight…it is still a monster.  Using an elastic band for assistance in the pull-ups also helps…but in that last round of 10 pull-ups…it is definitely a struggle.  The seasoned elements folks did 18 in that last round…but BK took pity on me (likely for the sake of technique) and cut me down to 10 reps.

A great workout…I’m going to be sore tomorrow…but at least it is a day off…so that is nice.  Will be ready to kick it on Friday.

Good luck to the Crossfit Performance Team at the Crossfit Games this weekend!!!  Bring the hurt!


Crossfit – On Ramp Done, Let the Fun Begin

I can’t believe it has already been 4 weeks.  The Friday the 9th was the final on ramp class for my group at Crossfit Performance and was also the morning after my birthday.  While I did not go nutty for the big 3-0, my wife and I did enjoy a nice dinner and wine at a restaurant near our home.  Hoping that Lauren (our trainer) would have forgotten about re-testing our initial on ramp benchmark test did not workout.  We went ahead and retested the following:

– 200 meter sprint

– 12 push-up, 12 air squats, 9 push-ups, 9 air squats, 6 push-ups, 6 air squats

– 200 meter sprint

As the first time we ran the test the entire thing was AFAHP (As Fast As Humanly Possible).  The first time around I came in at 4:16 and was totally spent.  Glad to say that this time around I came in at 3:33 which was pretty awesome.  I actually felt pretty OK after the test as well.  The entire group did fantastic and it was a great way to end the on ramp part of CFP.  It was then time to move into the big time and of the group of us it looked like I was the only one planning on hitting the Box (what CFP calls the gym) the next day on Saturday.

Saturday’s working was a gasser.  It was a group workout though based on individual performance.  There were four stations and at each station you were to do AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) of each series within a three minute time period.  I’ll have to update this post with the stations once I get hands on my notebook but needless to say it was pretty intense.  The 3rd station for me was 5 burpees, 5 box jumps and it was killer.

Today, my second Elements workout, was a shoulder day.  Shoulders used to be one of my stronger muscle groups but we’ll see how long that lasts.  Since I did not have a one rep max for shoulder press I was asked to put together one for the future.  I ended up at 115 after failing at 125.  It isn’t bad but it is well off my max.  At one point I was well over 135 though I keep having to remind myself that was likely five years ago.  After the shoulder work we did some running drills.  Running is my nemesis.  After the drills we did three reps of a continuous sprint for a minute and then a 3 minute walk rest.  After three rounds…I was pretty spent.  I still felt pretty good coming out but we’ll see how it feels tomorrow.

Looking forward to getting a complete week of CFP under my belt.  Bring the hurt.