Back to work (unless you’re resting)

Monday 101213

BLACK BOX WOD (current skill: shoulder press):

press 5-5-5-5-5

Post loads to comments.

A big thanks to C.J. Martin (pictured here in front of the WOD he created) for being our third-ever Visiting Coach (as part of our Visiting Coach Series). To those of you who attended the Lecture/Q&A and also stayed for the WOD, please post your thoughts/experiences to comments!
photo 4.JPG

Holiday eating strategy
Great barbell warm-up drills
Kitchen tools I love — inexpensive gift ideas / Rare, wonderful balsamic
Shoulder to overhead
Sorting out salmon

Scaling Your Diet by Hari Singh
Everyone scales the WOD’s. Even those who usually go RX’d don’t show up three-on-one-off for years on end. (Anyone who has done 273 WOD’s as RX’d during the last year, please post to comments, so I can reevaluate my position.)
Given that the WOD’s are scalable, either by weight, reps, time, or frequency, it’s worth asking whether there a similar effective approach to diet, something other than all or nothing. There is. The notion that you need to eat perfect Zone-Paleo is as realistic as the notion that you need to do every WOD RX’d.
If you’re making diet a form of religion, I won’t try to convert you. But at least be aware of CrossFit’s equivalent of the Ten Commandments:

Protein should be lean and varied and account for about 30% of your total caloric load.
Carbohydrates should be predominantly low-glycemic and account for about 40% of your total caloric load.
Fat should be predominantly monounsaturated and account for about 30% of your total caloric load.
Calories should be set at between .7 and 1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass depending on your activity level. The .7 figure is for moderate daily workout loads and the 1.0 figure is for the hardcore athlete.
What Should I Eat?
In plain language, base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar. That’s about as simple as we can get. Many have observed that keeping your grocery cart to the perimeter of the grocery store while avoiding the aisles is a great way to protect your health. Food is perishable. The stuff with long shelf life is all suspect. If you follow these simple guidelines you will benefit from nearly all that can be achieved through nutrition.

The great appeal of Paleo is that it allows you to ignore all numerical details above while pretty much getting all the benefits. Sort of like another religion that isn’t really at odds with the CrossFit prescription. Sure there is a debate about whether you should maintain the same ratios of protein, carbs, and fat (Zone-Paleo) and how many calories you should consume. But at some level, this is like arguing over precisely where in the horizontal and vertical planes you need to get your chin when you’re butterfly kipping. Not really meaningful to people still using the green band. And face it, when it comes to diet, most of our members are still at the band stage. So, for those of you who want some realistic ideas, here is some more from the the link:

What Foods Should I Avoid?
Excessive consumption of high-glycemic carbohydrates is the primary culprit in nutritionally caused health problems. High glycemic carbohydrates are those that raise blood sugar too rapidly. They include rice, bread, candy, potato, sweets, sodas, and most processed carbohydrates. Processing can include bleaching, baking, grinding, and refining. Processing of carbohydrates greatly increases their glycemic index, a measure of their propensity to elevate blood sugar.
What is the Problem with High-Glycemic Carbohydrates?
The problem with high-glycemic carbohydrates is that they give an inordinate insulin response. Insulin is an essential hormone for life, yet acute, chronic elevation of insulin leads to hyperinsulinism, which has been positively linked to obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mood dysfunction and a Pandora’s box of disease and disability. Research “hyperinsulinism” on the Internet. There’s a gold mine of information pertinent to your health available there. The CrossFit prescription is a low-glycemic diet and consequently severely blunts the insulin response.

If you want more good information, go to the CrossFit Journal. If you haven’t already, pay the $25 for an annual subscription (which also gets you access to the entire archives of the journal). There are currently 77 articles on nutrition.
I encourage our members to post their own thoughts and suggestions to comments.


  • brett_nyc

    For those of you that weren’t able to make CJ’s seminar missed out on a brief but enlightening conversation. The biggest take aways, especially for Crossfit NYC members, would be to evaluate if your workouts are training days or test days and if your workouts will help achieve your short term and long term goals.

  • Lenny

    I follow the “Twinkie” diet based purely on anecdotal evidence.

  • Chris H.

    I really enjoyed CJ’s talk and am intrigued by his general approach to programming with its focus on strength development and short, intense met-cons. I also appreciate the Black Box skill sessions on rest days – these, along with scaling of the workouts, allow me to approximate CJ’s approach, although I would like to experiment with actual Invictus programming.
    Lenny, so long as your “Twinkies” are manufactured by Zone Labs, Inc., you are on solid nutritional footing! Also, here is a candidate to be our next guest coach…

  • Martin F

    Lenny – Twinkies or Twinks or both?

  • Billy

    Regarding Hari’s comments above: “Something other than all or nothing” is a great question.
    Paleo has been great for getting to a more ideal weight and what I am convinced is faster recovery for me. Following Paleo (pretty strict), has been almost too easy as it has been wonderfully self adjusting. When training more and otherwise active, I want to eat more. A few days off and stuck in the office? Eating less. I am never “hungry” and never crave anything.
    I would not mind a few slices of pizza and some bagels, but am afraid to up-set the whole applecart.

  • Simon P

    Paleo for me is difficult in that I’m never satisfied. No matter how much meat and veggies I eat I’m hungry very shortly afterwards. I can seriously eat a pound of meat and a pile of broccoli, feel stuffed, and then half an hour later I’m hungry again. It’s really frustrating and therefore leads to non compliance. All it takes is a little piece of bread, a couple chunks of potato or a cup of pasta and I’m good.

  • Jason W

    on today’s WOD: 95-115-125-135-145(f)
    This was the last day of my post-elements two week period. Just wanted to thank all the trainers (especially sara) and all the great athletes that I’ve gotten to work out with for the past 14 days. It’s been a fantastic time and I’m hoping to get in full time after the new year.
    Regarding diet, I’ve had a bit of a crazy experience. About six months ago, it became really clear that my nutrition wasn’t keeping up with my body’s needs even though I had ramped up my caloric intake with my workload. I was only getting about 70g of protein (I weigh 170lbs) a day and it just wasn’t cutting it.
    After doing some research, I decided to start upping my protein intake. I wasn’t aiming for zone or paleo, but rather something more balanced. I called it zone-ish at the time. First thing to go was the morning cup of OJ. I replaced that with two glasses of soy milk, one pre and one post-workout (more on this later). Next I switched out my breakfast of yogurt, granola and fresh fruit with two eggs. I also added an afternoon snack of almonds and beef jerky. Those changes alone, added about 50g of protein to my diet and I was started to feel a ton better. The final kicker was adding fish oil (9g/day) and some beta-alanine to the mix as well as eliminating all processed sugars from my diet.
    That regimen worked extremely well for me . . . for a couple of months . . . and then one day I woke up with gout in my left foot. For those who don’t know, gout is The Suck. It felt more like I a stress fracture than arthritis. When the doctor diagnosed me, she was pretty shocked that someone my age had gout and she quickly prescribed a diet high in carbs. On the list of “good” foods to eat were pasta, bread and . . . soda! Pretty much all meat was off limits. I pretty much scoffed at that and asked how I could maintain a high protein diet, to which she returned my scoff and asked my why I would wish to do such a thing. Not a very productive conversation. The only positive that came out of it was her telling me to ditch the soy milk because I might grow breasts (really).
    Anyway, with no good professional advice, I turned to the internetts for help and discovered the concept of blood alkalization. I took 1 cup of water with half a teaspoon of baking soda and within 30 minutes the swelling in my foot had almost completely vanished. I promptly went to the gym and banged out ten rounds of 135# deadlifts and pushups. (disclaimer: i’m not a doctor. this approach worked for me, so i’m relaying that info. if you have similar issues, please consult your doctor. if you want to give this a try, know that baking soda is very high in sodium)
    Nowadays, I’ve switched up the soy milk for a whey protein bar pre-workout and a why protein shake post-workout (still not paleo, i know). this does not work nearly as well as the soy milk, but what’s a brother to do? I’ve also started moving toward grass-fed meat whenever possible. I haven’t noticed any physical differences from that switch, but damn is grass-fed meat tasty.
    Final word: I still eat carbs. I have bread with my sandwiches, pasta with my chicken, and rice, but I’ve changed up the portions to make them a lesser part of the meal. The hardest part of my diet is living with my girlfriend who is a carb monster and will go entire days eating nothing but cereal, bagels, and pirates booty. Luckily, I do most of the cooking.

  • Brett_nyc

    How much fat are you eating Simon?
    “Nowadays, I’ve switched up the soy milk for a whey protein bar pre-workout and a why protein shake post-workout (still not paleo, i know). this does not work nearly as well as the soy milk, but what’s a brother to do?”
    Jason, in what way does the soy milk work better?

  • Adam H

    Sorry if this has been discussed as I don’t read the board every day…
    Another Crossfit possibly located in NYC is essentially running classes in 2 different levels now. Basically, if you pass their assessment of knowing what you’re doing, you qualify for “Level 2” classes. While I don’t think having different class times for different levels works for our gym, I do think a system like this could greatly reduce the time and equipment clogs I experience almost every class.
    I think it would be very beneficial to essentially offer a “Level 2” start time right at the beginning of certain set class times that tend to be overcrowded. Basically once the class started anyone who doesn’t need instruction and has taken the initiative to warm up on their own would be given the option to go ahead and jump into the workout.
    This could cut the total time of classes that need multiple heats by that much, and it would give those that require more instruction much better face time with the instructors.
    I know this sort of “rolling start” has been done in the past, and from what I can tell has worked wonders for time and equipment. Honestly I would be alright with having the “immediate start” open to everybody, but since it’s worked so well in the past but doesn’t really get presented as an option, I can only guess the reason it’s not being done is because the instructors want to make sure everyone knows what they are doing. If that’s the case, this should solve that.

  • Hari

    We are looking at the possibility of offering different levels of classes; however, that approach is not without its problems, including the fact that people ultimately seem to prefer to be able to come to any class at any time.
    Since we have switched to a single WOD with two instructors, the flow has been dramatically improved. Coaching time per member has literally doubled, and equipment bottlenecks have been minimal.
    In addition, we will be offering 10 additional WOD classes starting in January: Mon thru Fri 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. With this change, we will be offering 60 WOD’s per week.
    We are constantly trying to adjust to accommodate our members. Our current efforts at upgrading the showers and changing areas (and adding a towel service, hairdrying are, etc.) may enable a significant number of people to switch from evenings to mornings.

  • Jason W

    Brett_nyc: the soy milk worked better in terms of recovery. with the soy milk solution, basically, i never got sore after a work out not matter how awful I felt afterward. It was really liberating knowing that i could blow myself out and be able to recover in time. with the whey protein, i experience minor to moderate soreness and inflammation, all of which is manageable, so I don’t really mind it that much.
    that being said, soy is one of the more controversial foods on the market today. setting aside the whole gmo-monsanto-is-evil-and-will-crush-your-soul argument, there’s about ten novels worth of he-said, she-said crazy which has or has not been proven about the bad/good of soy. in the end, i discovered i had a mild allergy to the stuff, so i stopped drinking it.

  • Mike N

    In regards to 10AM and 3PM, has there been a lot of interest for people to come in at that time? Iโ€™m just wondering as to why those times were chosen over letโ€™s say 9-10AM or 4-5PM

  • Hari

    Yes, those people who have expressed an interest in additional WOD times have most frequently suggested those hours.
    This may be because most (though certainly not all) people who might prefer 9:00 AM can still make 8:00 AM; and most who might prefer 4:00 PM can make either 3:00 PM or 5:30 PM.
    Finally, it is pretty stressful to ask an evening instructor to teach five hours straight. We will certainly consider shifting these classes a bit, but we had to start somewhere.

  • Simon P

    @ Brett_nyc: I get lots of fat from my diet. I’ve never been a low fat person. I eat whole dairy. Eat my egg yolks. I prefer the fattier cuts of meat. I get about 150g of animal protein per day, so I’m definitely eating lots. I just don’t seem to get satiety from meat and veggies without some form of starch. Maybe I should eat more fruit?

  • Jason L.

    Snatch Practice: 95-105-115-125-135(pr)
    8 Crazy Nights WOD (scaled to 7 lazy nights/rounds): 24:05 subbed pistols for DUs…that was a poor choice
    In regards to nutrition, I’ve been following the paleo + dairy/protein shake for about 3-4 months now and I really like it. I’ve definitely decreased my body fat and have gained about 5-6 pounds (of muscle) since I started. I’m probably going to cut out the dairy in the spring when I need to be doing more running/endurance work to get ready for the summer. I try to get my veggies into every meal, and when I’m feeling a like I want to cheat, but I have no reason to, I’ll drink a protein shake – Syntha 6 tastes absolutely delicious. I’ve just recently started taking fish oil (about 3-4 grams per day)…haven’t noticed any improvement just yet though.
    Jason W, are you lactose intolerant? I hope so…well I don’t hope so, I just hope you’re drinking soy milk over real milk for a reason (please don’t kick my ass tomorrow morning). Two things that make me cry are when people drink skim milk and when people only eat egg whites.

  • drake

    125, 135, but only for 3 reps. I think, however, that my technique was not as good as it could have been on the 135 attempt. I got the 125 relatively easily. Will push for 135 next time.
    9-8-7-7-6 c2b pullups. Feeling stronger.

  • Lisa

    Great working with Jackie and Lynne this evening.
    53, 58, 68, 70, 63

  • Lenny

    @Martin comments like that are very offensive. You are going to hurt Mike Mishik and James Kellar’s feelings with comments like that. I know they both love twinkies.

  • Mike Mishik

    yeah…what Lenny said!

  • Jason W

    Jason L: ha! i know what you mean. yeah, the soy milk was because i was formerly on the chocolate milk train . . .which was phenomenally tasty . .. until a couple hours later when things would get . . . uncomfortable.

  • Emily

    5X5 front squats
    73-83-88-93-95 (PR)
    not quite my max, but close. it’s probably up around 100#, which was a previous 1RM. progress is good. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks to Avery for the tips. always nice to hear from a badass lady that knows what she’s doing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • elizabeth j

    On the presses: 60-65-70-70-75 (F on 3)-70 (F on 5).

  • Alex B

    today’s WOD: 115-125-125(F on 3)-125(F on 4). It’s a slow comeback to loading under a bar, but that’s my number 1 goal.
    Regarding training, I’m with Mr. Martin on training days vs. test days. Also, Robb Wolf’s blog has convinced me of (among other things) the need for periodization. Any one else strength preferencing?
    Also, leangains anyone? Been dabbling.