So I haven’t written in ten days or so, so there’s a fair bit to cover.

Holiday Workouts – spent the holidays with family in Upstate New York and had a pretty grand time of it. Kept up with working out in informal ways. I hauled my gymnastic rings the 600 miles from Durham to New York with the hopes of stringing them up in my in-laws barn. Unfortunately, the architecture of the barn wouldn’t allow that. There were no gaps between the rafters through which I could feed the straps. Still, I took it upon myself to improvise, adapt and overcome.

So over the course of the week of travel, I spent one full day downhill skiing with the kids. Then concocted a couple of workouts around my in-laws hundred plus year old farmhouse. Turns out there’s plenty of heavy shit to lift and haul, if you take the time to look and use a little imagination.

I spent one morning in the cellar doing three sets of 5 stone cleans with a pair of considerable field stones that used to be part of their foundation. That was a funky little event.

First off, the stones were irregular in size and shape and the weights were considerably different. It took some monkeying around to work out the best grip and lifting techniques to clean them effectively and safely. This wasn’t like wrapping around the smooth round atlas stones at the box. The additional effort to sort that out was kind of entertaining.


Second, as you can see in the photo, the cellar floor is earthen and dry. I would clean the stones and while I was pretty careful to set them down and not simply drop them, by the end of the workout the dust in the basement was palpable. It was like standing in a storm of dust. As you look at that picture of the stones, it’s not blurry due to camera issues. That’s the dust!

By the time I finished, I was filthy. I was scraped and scarred, I was sweaty, slightly battered and feeling fantastic.

On another day, I hijacked an 80# sandbag that my father-in-law keeps in the back of his pick up truck for ballast and traction during winter weather. I used that for shoulder to overhead work, coupled that with burpees, then pushed and pulled a “wheel” that would normally be used for flattening terrain. I would do the shoulder to overheads, then some burpees then push the wheel approximately 30 feet, then pull it back to the start point, then repeat the entire series a few times. That was a very entertaining little workout.

Couple of toys I found lying around.

Couple of toys I found lying around.

I honestly don’t know the weight of the wheel. Initially, my father-in-law and I were guessing around 200#. I got to mulling that over and it seemed light. I measured the wheel. It was four feet long from end to end and was 16″ high. It was filled with concrete. Using a couple of formulas I googled, I’m now estimating it at 800#, but I’m a marketing guy, not a math guy, so I completely accept that I could be off. Doesn’t change the fact that I took the initiative to find some creative ways to get some solid full body functional fitness workouts while on vacation. That’s the key here.

Once we returned to Durham, I got right back into the gym swing.

Monday, Dec 29.

Strength: Power Snatch

I had big ambitions coming into this workout. My last farmhouse workout was on Friday. So I was feeling pain free and ready to work. I was hoping to pull off a big lift this morning. Best I could manage successfully though turned out to be 135#, about 80# of 1RM.


Shoulder to Overhead (155 Rx)
Over the Bar Burpees
12 min cap

I let one of the young bucks talk me into taking a run at this WOD. File this squarely in the “old enough to know better, young enough not to care,” box.

I had spent much of the strength portion of the WOD wondering how I would approach this one. I knew there was no way I could complete the WOD Rx in the time allowed. Still…I really was kind of curious to see how far I could take it. So Chip really didn’t have to do too much cajoling.

I got through the round of 6, completing the last burpee with about 3 seconds left on the clock. That was a GRUELING 12 minutes.

Tuesday, Dec 30

Strength: Deadlift

Apparently, Monday’s lessons didn’t really sink in because I walked into the gym fully expecting to PR my deadlift too. I was even arrogant enough to expect that I’d finally crack the 400# ceiling. It seemed like the perfect ending to the fitness year.

Believing wasn’t enough. My last successful lift on the day was 345#, 40# shy of my 1RM. Ah, well.

3 Rds
10 DL (225)

Then move immediately into
3 Rds
10 thrusters (95#)
10 Chest to Bar Pullups
15 min cap

Bottom line up front: my grip was SHOT by the end of this METCON! Oy!

The first portion went by fairly quickly. I think it was completed in less than 5 minutes. The second portion was a whole other story.

The first round of thrusters was HORRIBLE! So bad that I seriously questioned whether or not I was going to complete the METCON at all. I really wanted to just walk away.

I stuck with it though and moved on to pull ups. I substituted chin over bar pull ups for chest to bar. I attempted chest to bar to begin with and quickly realized exactly how much I indulged on holiday cookies in December. Whew!

The second round while no quicker, felt much better than the first. Guess the joints just needed to loosen up and get accustomed to the thrusters. Once I got past the thrusters in this round, I knew I could see the METCON through to the finish line.

Still it took me 14:15 to get all the work done.

Wednesday, Dec 31

Partner WOD
20 Min AMRAP
5 burpees
15′ rope climb, 1 ascent
30 double unders

There were only 4 of us attending the 6:15 session this day. Coach Ami was gracious enough to let me tinker with Turkish Get Ups for a while before we did the METCON. It’s been a year or more since I’ve done TGU’s. I was inspired to experiment with them because some of the Crossfit boxes that I follow on Facebook incorporated them into their work and posted pictures. I was just curious to see what I could accomplish.

I used a kettlebell (25#) to warm up and refresh my memory on proper form and the sequence of movements. I can never remember which leg should be bent and which one should be straight until I’m on the floor with the weight pressed out. Once I was sure I was doing things correctly, I put the kettlebell away and worked all remaining sets with a barbell. I started with a bare 35# bar progressing in 10# increments on both sides up to 65#. I also managed a very awkward looking 75# TGU on the right side and then called it a morning.

The METCON was great fun! I was lucky enough to pair with Rebekah. She had never done a rope climb before. By the end of the morning she had accomplished 5! I legitimately got more enjoyment out of seeing her accomplish that, than the METCON itself.

We each completed 6 full rounds and I think I got in 3 or 4 additional burpees before time ran out. I was pleased with my rope climbs. In 3.5 years of Crossfit, that’s the first time I’ve done a METCON that included multiple rope climbs, so that felt pretty cool.

Double Unders evaporated on me! First round was cool. It took two sets to complete 30 reps. Second round took maybe 4 sets. Third round I literally did 15 sets of 2 reps each. For the remaining three rounds I did 90 single unders per round. Not thrilled with that, but eh. Nothing to get too worked up about.

Looking Ahead —

So I said in an earlier post that a) I wanted to take part in at least one fitness related event every month; and b) I want to earn my Level 1 Crossfit Coaching Certification. Well, working towards both of those goals, February is now booked.

Guess this officially qualifies as 'taking the first step.'

Guess this officially qualifies as ‘taking the first step.’

I’m looking forward to taking part in the training and hopefully earning my certification. Of course, I love what Crossfit has done to change my life and I look forward to sharing that with others and seeing them evolve. Beyond that though, part of what excites me most is the opportunity to really study movement. This is going to be a whole new field of learning for me and that’s pretty damn cool to consider.

For anyone that’s reading this who’s taken the Level 1 Cert course, I welcome any and all advice on things to bear in mind, tips to succeed, common mistakes to avoid. All input is welcome and appreciated. I’ve printed out the study guide and will be diving into that immediately. I’ve got about 7 weeks to work out exactly what I do and don’t know!