Thursday, October 29, 2009


Alright, starting this Sunday, November 1st,  I will officially be starting my new program.  I have thought for a couple days about what direction I want to move in with everything and I have come up with my list of goals.  A few notes on this selection first:  I have a small amount of very specific goals that I will really be pushing towards (I will explain how my workout choices will help with these goals in a bit), I then will have a larger selection of generalized goals.  These are goals that are not necessarily very specific and even sometimes not even measurable by numbers.  I will also be going for a few "CrossFit goals".  What this means is that I will be taking a selection of staple CrossFit workouts and trying to achieve a great score in it.

Here are my specific goals:

- Drop below 10% body fat
      I hover between 12-13% and I know getting here will be almost completely diet.  I want to do this with longevity as a focus, where I can healthily get to this point and comfortably continue living my life in that same range.

- Perform 5 handstand pushups
      I have a major weakness with these as I spent a large majority of my lifting career in college lifting heavy weights with my legs, chest and back (being a baseball player forced me to NOT focus on heavy shoulder work according to my trainers...).  Now I have a huge imbalance in my strength and I will be focusing on this skill during off days and mixed into the weightlifting days.

- 25 strict pull ups + 3x 105lbs weighted pull up
      I put these in the same category because it's my belief that if I can get the weighted one, I can get the rep one.  I got 20 strict about a month and a half ago, and last year I was able to pull 100lbs for a single.  So I think with the added pull ups work that this program will involve, these two are attainable.

General Workout Goals:

- Achieve a minimum of a 5% increase in my 1 and 3 rep max on the following lifts each month: Deadlifts, front squats, clean and jerk, snatch.
      I don't want to set specific goals with these lifts because I feel I will themn be forced to really focus on my strength training during this program.  Because I need to be focusing on my biking, I don't want to overdo it and I don't want to lose focus of what I really need to do.  So, I want to just make sure I'm making steay progress on these inprotant lifts each month.

- Bike at least 3 x per week. 
      I need to focus on my biking, but I don't want to get obsessive with my training routine.  So, I will just make sure I get on the thing all week and get some good, diverse rides in.

CrossFit Goals:

- Sub- 2:45 "Fran"
      The first and only time I have done this famous and damn hard workout, I got 4:30.  I am sure I can get a much better time with a little work.  Workout: 21/15/9 of 95lbs thrusters and pull ups.

- Four other famous workouts done for respectable time
      There are so many to choose from, so, if you have any suggestions...I will post what I come up with later.  HERE is a list.

Well, there are ther goals.  Over the next three days I will post up some details on the Zone Diet, a few more details on the actual programming, and finally, the manner with witch I will be posting all this information.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The small shift

Starting Sunday I am working in conjunction with a special someone to put together a pretty serious workout plan. We will be doing slightly different things seeing how our lives are pretty different but the concept is to hold each other accountable for reaching the goals that we decide on. Both of our goals are to cut body fat, and I personally will be working towards a small collection of other goals that I would like to see myself achieve by the end of the program.

Here is a skeleton of my program:

After finishing up the CrossFit level 1 certification, I have decided to experiment with the root program of CrossFit. The only difference is that I will be designing my own program that will be a little less geared towards General Physical Preparedness, and more towards being able to finish 30 straight 100+ mile bike rides in 30 days (that's what I'll be doing next April for charity. www. So a lot of the workouts of the day (WOD's) that I will be putting together will end up being a little more specialized, making this program not completely CrossFit by definition (I make a point of this in case people chose to comment on the fact that I am not actually following CrossFit theory spot on). What I will do however, is take the root programming design that CrossFit uses, and base all my workouts on singlets, couplets and triplets (and a few more every now an again) of metabolic conditioning workouts (MetCon), gymnastic workouts (body weight) and weightlifting workouts (added on weight like barbells, kettlebells etc.). I will be using the 3 days on, 1 day off routine and I'll use my off days to practice specific skills (like handstands!) and light activity like pickup basketball or hiking.

Day 1 will be focused on a single element, like a hard run, ride or swim if it's MetCon; perhaps muscle ups work including dips and pull ups if it's gymnastics; maybe heavy deadlifting if it's weightlifting.
Day 2 will generally be a two element day formed as a task priority, meaning I'll pick a number of rounds for the exercises and perform the given set and round scheme for time.
Day 3 will generally be a three-element day designed as a time priority, meaning the exercises will be performed as many times as I can in a certain amount of time.

Now, as you can see, this is a pretty generalized program and there is tons of room to improvise within it. And that's the point really. I personally will be utilizing exercises that I have been neglecting for a while now, mainly the Olympic lifts (clean, jerk and snatch) and adding an intensity factor to my workouts that I have shifted away from in the past month or so in prep for the Marine Corps Marathon and because of my bike accident. I firmly believe that the CrossFit theory of exercise is the all around best for building a well rounded athletic person and what I plan to do with my program and with this journaling of it, is show how the concept of CrossFit is adaptable to any person and their goals. I have been reading so much lately, these arguments about what CrossFit truly is, and people are going back and forth, nitpicking on definitions and practices. But what I have found as an underlying theme is that CrossFit, when put to practice, supplies a perfectly balanced base to any workout program. If one chooses to stick to the exact definition and goal of CrossFit (constantly varied high intensity functional movement to achieve general physical preparedness) they most likely achieve a generally balanced level of fitness. This is great and should be prescribed to a person looking for goals like that (my training partner would be a perfect example of this). But for me, I have a specific need, which is get better at biking long distances. So, while I have a specialty goal in mind, I can still use the CrossFit template to help achieve a balanced progression into a fitter state, while also altering my workouts to help improve my specialization.

Now, I realize that some people who know and have trained with me would ask: how is this any different than what I used to do? Or different then the way I have trained most of my clients for so long? Well, the fact is, it really isn't any different. Any good athlete who is serious about their training has probably used the "CrossFit" template with a modification to work on sport specific movements or energy systems. I personally used this style of training well before I ever read about it on the Internet four years ago. The great thing is though, that there is now a set template for this stuff. There is something that we can turn to to set a base and to work off of which, in my opinion is a great thing and I am thankful to CrossFit for that. The detail with which they describe their program is incredible, and strong effort to keep everything generalized and balanced keeps people on their toes and constantly working on weaknesses rather than just building on strengths more and more. Because someone came up with an actual definition for all this, and took the time to write everything down in detail, we all can benefit by utilizing those clear-cut tools. Even if we choose to specialize in strength training, biking, swimming, tennis, whatever, we can still use the methods. And, if we choose to do so, we will see some incredible gains, I guarantee it.

Obviously got off on a tangent there, but an important one I think. So, to continue on with my programming, each month I will assess my gains and adjust my workout plan accordingly to make sure my generalized program has the proper tools to fit my specific goals in the most efficient and effective ways. To supplement my training, I will also be focusing a great deal more on my nutrition. Seeing how I am basing a lot of this on the CrossFit methodology, I figured I should stay as true as I can to their beliefs and give the Zone Diet a try. I will begin my program on the prescribed Zone plan and then, after a month, I will assess my progress and alter my nutritional intake accordingly. The basic concept of the zone is to consume a set number of "blocks" of the macronutrients protein, fat and carbohydrates where the total caloric intake equals 30% protein, 30% fats and 40% carbs. Each block consists of a specific number of grams of each macronutrient and I will be required to consume a specific number of those blocks per day (I will go into more detail on this plan on another post).

The underlying goal of all of this is experimentation. I want to see how this stuff works and I want to see how my body reacts to different methods of living. As most of you know, I am a pretty adventurous person in terms of things I enjoy trying, and I am always searching for new challenges to see what happens. I have certain expectations with this program and I feel very strongly that all the goals I set for myself will be achieved if I stick to the program; that is why I want to write it out. Like my very first marathon, writing out the plan while talking about how it is making me feel and everything around it, really helps me stick with it and push through any hardships.

For now, that's what I got, I have a lot of planning to do in the next few days, so expect some more info coming out soon enough.

Hope you enjoy!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Marine Corps Marathon

Well at this point I feel like I can say I have some pretty good experience with marathoning. As of today I have completed 11 total and in just over two weeks I will be running another 26.2 (not officially sanctioned, but I feel it is a valid enough run).

This past weekend marked the 34th Marine Corps Marathon and like the past couple years that I ran it, it was a great all around race. On Saturday I went out to the convention center to pick up my race packet and wander around the huge expo for a couple hours, and, like always, it did not disappoint. I spent just under three hours checking out the different booths, talking to people, getting samples and just soaking in the great feeling of being around so many like-minded people.

I realized that it had been a year since my last marathon. In fact, it had been a year since I'd run any more than 11 miles at a time. My training got put on the burner for a couple reasons: one, I just got lazy with running. I really was feeling great with the strength work I was doing, and the shorter hard runs and I couldn't bring myself to get out there for the longer distances. Two, about a month and a half out I had that wonderful knee-meet-car-door- incident that sidelined my running for a good while. So that goal of a 3:30 or faster was out the window, what would be my game plan?

I decided to just go out there and have fun. There were over 30,000 registered runners, and there'd probably be that many or more fans along the course, so, I'd just get out there, enjoy the sights and sounds, embrace the pain, share it with the other runners and just have a good day all around. So that's what I did.

I finished in just over 4 hours which, at this point, I don't really mind it being so slow for how I felt. I had so much fun though. The weather was perfect, the runners looked great and the crowds were so energetic and supportive. I'm really happy that running and marathoning is getting more and more popular, it really is such a great release all around and it's nice to see so many people out there willing to push themselves to such extremes.

The only negative is that today, a couple days after the run, the top of my foot is really bothering me. The Riding With Courage Marathon is coming up quickly and I want to be good and healthy to run that whole thing seeing how it is my event. I think I'll be pretty good, so, I'll just take it easy on the foot and get all the details worked out for this awesome event!

Another great marathon in the books!

Never Stop, GET FIT.
Josh Courage

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Remember We Are Human...

Usually this sort of statement is used as an excuse for doing something stupid or wrong. But we, as humans are incredible beings. The way we move, live, and think; it's beyond what any other species could ever imagine (and most of them can't even do that).

Don't forget that we are built up of an amazing collection of things, bones, muscles, nerves, along with thousands of other tiny and large ties that make us who we are. We take it all for granted every day in our warm houses, our cars, computers, microwaves, fancy clothes and comfortable shoes. Those are all gifts that our minds were able to create for ourselves to protect the body. But remember, our body was created to protect itself. Use it.

Run, jump, climb, crawl, lift, throw, push, pull, wrestle, do it all.

Don't let that thing go to waist.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Sunday, October 11, 2009


"If we don't change the direction we are headed, we will end up where we are going" - Chinese Proverb

I know this quote is a pretty common theme in motivational quotes, but I like it a ton (mostly because I got to finish off a wonderful Peach White Tea from Honest Tea to get to it...). It reminds me that one should always take the time to step back and look at the actions being taken at any given moment and consider whether or not they are actions that will best lead the way to what one truly wants to do.

Wow, that was a long sentence. But that's the way I thought it out.

There are so many things that I am sure about with where I want my life to go, but when I think about it, there are even more that I am unsure about; and it's up to me to take the time as often as I can to reassess my actions and make sure I am challenging myself every day so that the options for my future can always stay open.

Never Stop, GET FIT.
Josh Courage

Monday, October 5, 2009

California's Toughest Tri

A couple weekends ago (Sept. 27th to be exact), I headed out to Folsom Lake, just east of Sacramento, California to compete in the Granite Bay Sprint Triathlon. Now for those of you who are wondering why the hell I would sign up for a tri so far away, well, I was out there already, on vacation, and of course, me being me, I will search out the best ways to workout while I have even more time to do so. This tri seemed perfect.

And it turned out to be a damn good one. I drove up to Sacramento on Saturday the 26th from LA and wandered around the deserted streets of the State's capital for a while before getting frustrated and needing to rest up. So, bopped into Old Town Sacramento for a bite (holy tourist location!) and then high tailed it to the Granite Bay area to rearrange my transition bag and get prepared for the race (I remembered my goggles this time, brought two pairs even!).

Now a little back tracking: A week before this I was in San Francisco, checking out the sights and having a blast, when I came across a great looking bike shop right next the Whole Foods called Pacific Bikes and Boards. The place was a two-storied bike warehouse filled with amazingly nice and intelligent bikers who were all so open to answering questions and helping out. San Fran is known for their bike culture, and from my understanding it can get a little cultish (think CrossFit...) and elitist. But every person I talked to here was great. They hooked me up with an 08 model of the Giant TCR Composite 2 which rode like a charm and felt great (I ended up getting an absolutley increadible deal on the price for keeping it 8 days! $250!!!).

While it took up a huge amount of space in the car, it was great to have it along so I was able to get a couple training rides with it. On Tuesday I had a speedy 10-miler from Lopez Lake to downtown Arroyo Grande outside of San Louis Obispo, CA. And on Friday I hopped the car and rode a hilly ride from Malibu to Santa Monica, a great, scenic 21-miler. I was also able to myself into some water along the way too, thank God. This was what had me a bit nervous. I had hit the new pool in Tenley Town at Wlson High School in DC right before I left and literally felt like I had never touched water before. I needed to get into the water a couple times just to rememebr what it felt like. So, being able to get into a little pool at a resort/spa style fitness center just south of Santa Cruz was perfect. I was also able to jump into two hotel pools (both about 14 meters in length...lot's of laps...made it feel like I was swiming insane distances when it was really only about a quarter mile after 8000 laps...). But, with that extra work, it really paid off.

Bright and early on Sunday morning I got to the registration, signed in, got my number and all, set up the transition station and waisted time waking around chatting people up and checking out the great scenery. A couple things I found out: The year before, the swim start was about 50 yards from the transition area. This year, same transition area, same swim start, but thanks to the crazy dry spell and heat, the start was now over a quarter mile away. Folsom Lake was slowly dissapearing. Also, one of the reasons it was claimed to be "California's Toughest Tri" was that it was 103 degrees and most of the run took place in the sand, or trudging up a "rolling hill" after mile 3...(rolling hill really turned out to be a practically sheer cliff of about 200 yards).

When the started horn went off I jumped into the water and just found a rythmn. After what seemed like about an hour, I came out of the water and began the 1/4 mile sand trek to the transition station while lloking down at my watch to see what the damage was: 28 minutes. Well, for those swimmers out there, keep your mouths shut, I know it's bad; BUT, it was 5 minutes better than my last 3/4 mile swim attempt and I was pumped!

The bike, well, I feel really good on the bike. I passed a lot of people and nobody passed me, all 13 miles. The run. Geez. Hot, sandy, hilly. 5 miles. Only got passed by one guy, I passed a ton of people. I crossed the finish line at 1 hour 51 minutes, good enough to take home 5th in my division and 61st overall (out of just under 200). I felt real good about it and look forward to next fall when I can train like crazy for these things and perhaps compete for a top podium spot. I really like these races, I feel so good being out there with all these amazing athetes, swimming, biking and running around. But right now it's time to get focused on the marine Corps marathon coming up in a few weeks. Then two weeks later the Riding With Courage Marathon!!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Friday, October 2, 2009

Classes Starting in October

Below you'll find all the info needed for the classes I have going on from October on. All classes will be run on a six-week progressive format and everyone will have options for how often they attend. If you have any questions or comments at all, please call, email, text, anything. I'll be sure to help in any way I can.

Please try to contact me asap as there are limited spots in each class and I will only be taking a select amount of drop-ins as well. In the past, it has been pretty lenient with people coming and going, but with the amount of people contacting me and wanting to join in, I really need to make sure everything stays very organized. Thanks in advance for helping out with all this!

The first 6-week segment of classes (all classes will be run in this manner from now on) will be October 5th - November 13th

High School Athletes Class:
Mon / Wed / Fri @ 4:30-5:30pm and 5:30-6:30pm
Tues / Thurs @ 5:00-6:00pm
2 x week = $480
3 x week = $720
4 x week = $960
5 x week = $1,200
Drop-in = $50 per class

Fitness Class @ lululemon:
Tues / Thurs @ 7:00-8:00pm
1 x week = $240
2 x week = $480
Drop-in = $50 per class

Fitness Class @ Balance Gym
Tues / Thurs @ 7:00-8:00am
1 x week = $180
2 x week = $360
Drop-in = $40 per class

Again, please contact me if you have any questions, and please, please contact me asap if you plan on attending so that I can schedule you in.

Thanks! And looking forward to getting after it over the fall and winter with everyone. I'm feeling some great gain with everyone!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage