Nancy Boy

My first workout into a new training & eating cycle. We work on single support hang power cleans, which are comically difficult, and do the CrossFit benchmark WOD “Nancy;” my result: 15:18 w/ 65 lbs.


I barely squeeze out a new five rep PR in Back Squat, and miss a new three rep PR by a mile, then a fast jumprope / burpee 10 minutes AMRAP. Finally a 1.3 mile warm-down barefoot run at the YMCA.

Thrusters and Siete

A new 5 rep PR in Thrusters and a decent time in the Met-Con WOD “Siete,” consisting of thrusters and ring dips, make for a great workout this morning. I was feeling well rested from two days in a row of rest, and I worked hard. Today is also the beginning of a 28 hour fast.

A Higher Power

strength work on Turkish Get Ups and metabolic conditioning with the workout “Overhead Power,” a brutal workout last performed on September 26th, 2009, involving six different weighlifting moves (Hang Power Snatch, Overhead Squats, Hang Power Cleans, Push Presses, Hang Squat Cleans, and Push Jerks), in a patterned and progressive cycle that totals ninety reps.

Total Tee Time

Today’s WOD: Hang Power Snatches and a killer 5 rounds for time of 50 meter Suicide Drills and 20 kg Kettlebell Swings.

Oh Fran Fran Fran

CrossFit Asheville does Fran. Strength Work: Overhead Squats, with a new 5 rep PR at 95 lbs. Followed by the benchmark most loved and feared, in which WOD I smash my previous time and performance (from February).

Deadlift and Sit n’ Slam

For strength, the Deadlift, work sets at around 77.1% of 5 rep PR, or 212.2 lbs. For met-con, the “Sit n’ Slam,” which is a fun little AMRAP with a progression through increasing reps of sit-ups and med ball slams, with a 200 meter run. Later, it turns into a Halloween Weekend alcohol cheat night.

Push Back

Training Cycle: Week 4/6 (Work Week)
Dietary Cycle: Week 1/3 (Building)
Daily Calorie Target: 3350
(Zone “blocks:” approx 23 pro/cho [161 g / 207 g], 69 fat [207 g])
Second WOD of this Week

My sleep was horrible. Not sure why. Probably I should cut back on TV and computer after the dinner hour. 1 block breakfast, coffee, out the door to CFA for the 6:00 am class. I was late but caught up quickly.


Running around. Stretching. Push-Ups (20), Overhead Squats (20), Wall-Ball Shots (20, w/ 12 lbs ball), and those cross over thingies (10 per side w/ 25 lbs kettlebell).

Strength: Push Jerk

Worked on 3 rep max.

Note on method: these were done from the floor, with hang power cleans and power cleans.

Results: 5 x 45 / 3 x 95 / 3 x 115 / 3 x 135 / 1 x 135, fail on 2 / 5 x 115

Volume: 1,950 lbs.

None of these are PRs. And the volume was not too impressive. For example, I hit a volume of almost 2045 on October 6th and before that, on Sep. 14th, when I hit my 3 rep PR, I had a volume of 1,915. HOWEVER, if you count also the push-jerks done for the WOD, total Push-Jerk volume for today increases to 3,875. Which explains my super sore upper body this afternoon!

Probably, this level of volume should result in new PRs in Push-Jerk soon. We shall see.

WOD: Push Jerk, Push

7 Rounds of
5 Push Jerks
15 Back squats
For time.
Use 50% of Push-Jerk 5rm

I used just under 50% of 115 lbs (55 lbs), not 50% of my book-record (from June 6th) of 135 (which would have been 67.5).

I did not set the bar down, but worked through this straight.

Time: 8:38.

Warm-Down: Barefoot Treadmill Running

At the YMCA: Running for 10 minutes, at 6.0 mph (10 min/mile), 1.01 miles, barefoot 140 cals.

A Note On Calorie Cycling

A couple of days ago I wrote about my “experiment” with Calorie Cycling (see post of Oct 25th, 2009). Since then a couple of things worth noting have happened.

First, my FB/CrossFit/Paleo-Zone Blogger pal Steve Parsoneault dropped a comment on the post in which he called into question my math regarding my body composition data. Steve was right, there was a problem with the math. I’m going to rethink the data and create a new post, soon, in which I examine again whether the “system” I am using really works for me or not.

Second, I have noticed that it is really hard for me to adopt the calorie levels that I have set for myself. For instance, during the first three days of this nominal “building” week I actually ate WAY fewer calories than is implied that I will eat by my published “calorie targets.” WAY FEWER. I did this in response to my body, which basically has been telling me it needed a few days of variation down from the average calories I had eaten in the week prior. The week prior was a “cutting” week in which I had eaten just as if it had been a “building” week. Anyway, I ate about 2800 calories on Sunday, 2800 on Monday, and 2500 on Tuesday. Today, I am on target to eat more than 3000 calories (thank you, coconut oil in my oatmeal, olive oil on my chicken, pecans in my lunchbox, etc.) Anyway, I noticed this morning at the gym that my weight was a bit down below the bottom of my desired range. NOT my idea of success on the program.

See, it’s my goal to increase my lean mass. And reduce my percentage of body fat. If I could do this by keeping my present body fat stable, or only whittling it down very slowly, while increasing lean mass, I would. Because I am presently below my desired weight. But it’s not all bad news. In his comment on my post Steve also pointed out that I have lost lean mass since August. It’s true that in the range I specified (Aug. 22nd to Oct. 25th), I had apparently lost lean mass. But overall, I’m gaining lean mass at weights below 178. The previous week, Aug. 15th, I had measured bodyweight at 178.5 and lean mass of 155.3; compare that to weighing one pound less on Oct. 25th at 177.5, with lean mass of 156.2. That was the figure I was really working with. Anyway, I’ll work on all this in a different post on the subject within the next few days.

Jump Ball, Hey Ya!

An excellent start to the workout week, with new warm-up routine, then Hang Power Cleans (new 3 rep and 5 rep PRs, 130 lbs and 120 lbs respectively), and a fun 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 / 3-6-9-12-15-18-21 Kettlebells and Boxjumps WOD, 9:48, Rx’d.

Go Big or Go Home (Grace)

Training Cycle: Week 3/6 (Work Week)
Dietary Cycle: Week 3/3 (Cutting)
Daily Calorie Target: 2800
(Zone “blocks:” approx 24, 2.5x fat)
Third WOD of this Week

I was excited going into today, knowing we’d be doing “Grace,” one of the simplest and straightforward of the CrossFit Benchmark workouts.

I had a decent sleep, not too bad, with only slight, normal interruption. I had coffee and a 1 block breakfast. And went off to the 6:00 am CrossFit Asheville class.

It was a huge group of great people this morning at 6:00! What amazing energy! What a powerful experience to be with so many people so dedicated to living out the advice of Coach Corey: “Just be awesome.”


Agility Ladder. Stretching. Push-ups (20, continuous); Sit-ups (20, continuous); overhead squats to pad (20, continuous); dead-hang Pull-ups (10, in two sets: 6, and 4).

Note well: 6 is the largest set of deadhang pull-ups I’ve done in a while! I’ve been slacking but I’m coming back. I am steadily working my way towards an unbroken set of 10. Once I get there, I’ll start doing 20 pull-ups as a part of the warm-up. (Which, for me, will actually constitute some heavy strength work.)

Skill: Handstands

We worked on some handstands. Among other things, I worked on kicking up to freestanding handstands, did a handstand hold for time (result: 1:33), and did a set of band assisted (green as the vertical, purple as the harness) handstand push-ups (10).

WOD: Grace

30 clean and jerks for time.
Rx’d weight: 135 for men, 95 for women

I last did Grace on June 9th, 2009. I love the simplicity and focus of this WOD, and was happy to see it, and the handstands, on the menu for today.

For today’s WOD I decided to follow coaches’ advice from last time and bump up my weight to 50 kg. I was the only one doing that much weight this morning; even though Tom Rehm is more than capable of putting up 30 reps of 135 lbs, he went for form and speed at 95 lbs. Most members were approaching the WOD in that way too. I was ready to go heavier AND focus on form, and knew I might sacrifice some speed.

Result: 5:55 w/ 50 kg (110 lbs).

Power Analysis and Comparison with June

My last Grace came about a month before the start of my seven week long summer pause for surfing. During that time I lost weight and strength, although I was very active. I’ve noticed that, since my return, in some areas I continue to set new PRs, whereas and in others, I have seen measurable decreases in power output.

In order compare today’s “Grace” with my “Grace” from June 9th, it’s necessary to do some math. Several issues complicate the matter.

First of all, one issue is that I weigh about 7 pounds less today than I did back then. This is good for my appearance and for certain aspects of my athleticism, especially since today I have approximately 12% body fat as opposed to 14% body fat then. But the numbers aren’t that favorable: my lean mass then was 158.2 but today is 155.8. 2.4 lbs of lean mass is probably a significant difference, even though not all of the lean mass is muscle. This difference is actually a good predictor that I have lost capacity for power output. And the numbers bear that out.

A second factor is that I have changed the weight I used, increasing it by 5 kg (about 11 lbs).

A third complicating factor is that my result, in time, also increased.

It would be easy to compare these things if my body composition had improved, my weight used increased, and my time decreased. But it’s a mixed set of factors, so I have to resort to math.

Power output is equivalent work, which is weight x distance over time, and the two WODs can be compared by dividing some calculation of WxD by Time. In the analysis, distance can be regarded as a constant, 30 reps.

For my first calculation I will disregard the difference in body weight, since I have the same frame today, and my mass doesn’t affect the form of the lift or the distance.

Previous Grace: 45 kg (99 lbs) in 4:48 (at 184 lbs, 14% body fat). Power output: 281.25 (kg*rep/min).

This Grace: 50 kg (110 lbs) in 5:55 (at 177 lbs, 12% body fat). Power output: 253.81 (kg*rep/min).

According to this analysis, today I put out 9.7% LESS power than last time. An almost 10% drop in power from June? That sucks. I am pissed off. Should I blame a 7 week pause for surfing? You bet. I have to figure out how to hold steady or increase power even while surfing the summer away.

If I change the calculation to use a “percent of bodyweight” factor instead of a kg factor, things improve slightly, but still indicate I am relatively weaker, or wimpier, today than I was in June. In that case the numbers are 336 in June vs. 315 in Oct, a 6.2% drop in power.

A fourth complicating factor for the comparison is that my form and athleticism has improved overall since June. I went slower today because I was more focused on using proper form. In several places slowed myself down in order to maximize the training impact of the benchmark. Also, where I was more conscious of weaknesses in my form, I got frustrated and lost energy to wasted anger.

But there is one other way to compare these attempts at grace that is worth thinking about. Granted that “intensity” or horsepower is calculated with a time factor. If you took all day to do Grace, it’s worth less in terms of power output than if you do it in under six minutes. But the fact remains that from a certain perspective the time frame of the two events is quite similar (4:48 vs. 5:55); both times were under six minutes. And this time, the total VOLUME that I lifted was greater. So, even though I was slower and my power output was less, I lifted more. Last time: 99 lbs x 30 reps = 2970 pounds from ground to overhead. This time: 110 lbs x 30 reps = 3300 pounds from ground to overhead.

I don’t think there is any way around that. The 1:07 difference in time between the two events could be disregarded, and we could talk about putting 330 more pounds overhead this time.

I really look forward to my next opportunity to rock out “Grace.” I will use 50 kg again, to prove that I can push this weight faster through 30 reps, before I move up in weight again, towards the prescribed 135 lbs (61.23 kg).

Bring Your Best To Everything

After the WOD I was talking to J-Money (J$), Jessica Tonner-Mintier, and grousing about dreading my coming day at work — kinda wishing it was over before it began, and remarking that I would miss the incredible energy of our 6:00 am class. She said something, I forget exactly what now, but in essence she pointed out that I was full of shit. We should learn from the passion and intensity we uncover in CrossFit. Why not bring that intensity to everything we do. I translated this to the idea that the philosophy “Go Big or Go Home” should apply to everything we do in life. Don’t complain that you have to do your work. Either bring it, and bring it all full blast, or get something else to do. Wise woman, that Jess. She’s given me something to think about today.

Warm-Down at Globo-YMCA

When I got to the YMCA for my customary post-WOD shower and shave, I remembered my commitment to do some warm-down running, for my leg. The leg was feeling good.

I didn’t bring my shoes, though.

So I found one of the personal trainers who was working in the fitness center, and asked him for permission to run on the treadmill in bare feet. Long story short: he was a dick, and denied permission. Typical globo-gym bullcrap. He actually said: “you might catch a toe, and then…” I might catch a toe? seriously? Do you really think I might catch a toe?

In my mind I was ROTFLOL, and also retching.

Then I remembered that there was a treadmill near the television in the Men’s Locker Room, with no supervision. So I just went and ran on that.

Results: Treadmill, 6.0 mph, 7 minutes, in bare feet. And with no shirt on.

Take that, Globo-Y.