Sunday, January 31, 2010

SuperFit Games Videos

SuperFit Games Photos

Great row!!

Holy struggle...

Big Dan in the green, Jayson in the bandana

Loving burpees!

And thruster!


That's Steve I'm hopelessly shrugging to (talking about the HSPU's).  And that picture of me just kneeling there, staring at the mat...priceless.

Thanks so much to Jenn, Steve's wife, for the pics!! 

Videos coming next!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

SuperFit Games - After the Sweat!

Well folks, reporting now from a wonderful concrete floor inside CrossFit Charlottesville, after waking up from a little power nap on that same floor.  Three workouts finished, and looks like that will be it for me.  In a frustrating event for literally every single competitor, 54 went into the third workout, and only 23 came out!

I have plenty to comment on that event, but let's go through the whole day, because it has been a damn fun one despite that last debacle.

I woke up in my grand room at Red Roof, well, to be fair, it really was not that bad at all, I guess that's an inside joke with that comment...  6am was my alarm, and I popped right up ready to go.  I slept deeply and was feeling very fresh for the workouts.  As I arranged my things together I remembered the weather threat, so, I opened the curtains and sure enough, it was snowing, hard.  Sweet.  This made the ride over to the box a little shaky.  My Avis "compact" car was not too happy the entire trip, and I am sure, as I write, it is pretty pissed at me, hidden beneath over a foot of snow that is still coming down!

I parked along the street outside what appeared to be just a huge warehouse.  Gathered my things and trudged through the already 5-6 inches of snow to the front door.  I large tractor tire welcomed me as I entered into a small little alcove to where another door lead to the gym.  Your typical rugged box was there, a single string of bars for pull ups, rubber flooring on most of the concrete floor, not super big, but just right for a group of 10 or less to get any WOD.  Barbells were set up for the deadlifting event there, and I moved back, following the signs for registration, to a back door, a small hallway and into the main room.  This one was a huge, very high ceilinged room completely empty of any normal fitness equipment.  An office, a bathroom, a couple porter johns and portable heaters were really the only thing in there besides the row of rowing machines set up behind caution tape for the first men's WOD.  

I registered and found an area on the floor to store my stuff.  People began trickling in, and soon enough my friends from CrossFit DC showed up which, to be totally honest, was such a great feeling to see a group of familiar faces.  WOD #1 came up on us fast: 1500 meter row for time.  I expected 5 minutes or less and I was feeling very good as my heat came up.  Fourth heat was called and I strapped in.  On the go!, I took off at an easy pace, trying to keep it at 1:40 or just under for the first 1000 meters.  When I hit 500 to go I tried to turn it on and my legs just had nothing.  I was able to get it down to 1:36-1:38, but that was it.  I finished at 4:58.6, and yes, that .6 put me in 5th place behind my now and again training partner Dan by...yup, .6.

Some dried mango and a handful of pecans for recovery and in about an hour it was deadlift time.  Max reps of 289# in 3 minutes.  I was in the 6th heat here and was able to watch to build a strategy.  It looked as though breaking the reps up early and often was really the way to go, so, I decided for 10 the first set, then we'll see after that.  My goal was 55.  I hit them strong and felt good with the first 10.  Dropped to 7 the next round, 5 the next and then just started banging out 3's.  In retrospect, I think set of 5 from the start would have been best.  I finished with a little energy to spare (meaning I could have attacked this one harder) with 47 reps, enough for 12th place on the event, tying me at 5th place with my other here and there training partner Steve.

A protein shake, some more nuts, almond milk and two hours till the thing went down hill.

WOD #3: 50 burpees (hands had to come off the ground at the bottom), 25 thrusters with 111# and 25 handstand push ups.  My HSPU PR at this point was 1.  Three times.  Yesterday.  I was just going to pace myself and chip away, that was the goal.  The first heat went (I was in heat 4) with a good collection of beasts.  They went smoothly through the burpees and thrusters, and three of them got to the HSPU's at the same time; and all three of them crashed.  The first rep came from the middle guy (who was in first overall at the time) after two minutes or so of attempts.  The competitors, the fans and the staff were all a little, no, incredibly shocked.  So much so that the folks running the thing had to yell out that the rep count would be 10, instead of 25!  AND, the cutoff would be 15 minutes instead of 10!!  But that did not help too many people either.  We all watched as competitor after competitor just did not make the time, or just could not do a damn rep.  We quickly realized that they never even tested this workout to see how it would go.  In my opinion, this is bad programming, unprofessional, and just poor judgement all around.  To have an open competition where well over half the competitors can not even finish one of the WOD's, makes for a pretty disappointing competition all around.  I would have understood more at regionals, or the games, or a competition that claimed to be "hardcore" or something. But to have that many people fail, and it not being coincidence, I think is NOT cool.

So, with a litte apprehension, I ducked under the tape to get going.  My plan: go very easy through the burpees, take the thrusters in sets of 5, then really take my time and just try to chip away, one at a time with the HSPU's.  And that's how it started.  I got the burpees like it was nothing, thrusters too, I felt so good, no muscular fatigue, only minimal cardiovascular fatigue, which actually surprised me.  I finished well before most people at that point in the workout, and, even taking almost a minute to rest before the HSPU's, I was still ahead of people.  Then came attempt one.  I got up, lowered down, and, nothing.  Tried another hand postion. And another, and another, and another.  I had people screaming encouragement, people suggesting different angles, and still, nothing.  I must have gone with 50 attempts or more and was not able to get a single damn rep!  And while I kept the general Courage attitude of just having a blast, smiling because I choose to put myself through this pain, and it really is so much fun to me.  This broke me.  I was so demoralized by not being able to get even one, I was crushed.  With 10 seconds left, I dropped, banged out 10 push ups, and that was that.

I said my piece on how I felt about that workout.  I knew it was going to hurt me, I know there were a handful of people more than a little confused by the selection, but after my nap, and walking around a little, talking with people, I know that this is the beauty of CrossFit.  The idea is general physical preparedness, or GPP.  I have a weakness, a major one, any strict overhead motion.  If they had picked any other WOD, I would be prepping for the championship WOD right now, but they did not.  I love the fact that on any given day you can be the best, or, you could be a bottom feeder.  I literally went from 5th of 100 people, to nowhere near the leaders.  7 of the top 10 competitors were WELL behind me after the first two WOD's and they finished better.  It is motivating to me to have a workout style that can do this to anyone.  Rather than just showing off your strengths, it forces you to stare your weaknesses dead in the face and work and make your training choices accordingly.

I take from this the joy of being surrounded by people who love to push themselves, who feed on nuts and fruit and seasoned chicken in a bag to fuel their quests for higher fitness levels.  We all grimace, sweat and experience pain together, yet we all smile, high five and hug it out after.  We all know that we are here for the same reason: to challenge ourselves at any time, and just continue to get better. 

The crowd has thinned out, people looking to find a way through the snow back to their houses.  I am sticking around to cheer on big Dan who is in 1st as of this point.  I am thankful to CrossFit Charlottesville for hosting a great event (hoping it is not just the competitors that learn from the challenges...), I am grateful to all the other competitors and fans who gave it their all and cheered everyone on the entire time.

Some pics, and videos to come!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CrossFit Charlottesville SuperFit Games 2010

After my baseball guys Friday evening, I will be headed on down to Charlottesville, VA to relax and prepare for my first CrossFit competition at CrossFit Charlottesville.  I was turned on to this one from my buddies at CrossFit DC, a good collection of them are going down as well; I am sure this will end up being an awesome time.

We have all been following along the site, waiting to see what new information gets posted. They hinted at sandbags a week or so back and I got all excited because I am a huge fan of anything sandbags, especially running!  The only problem I see so far is that it's supposed to be pretty rough weather this coming weekend so I do not foresee running being a part of this competition.  So, I figured they would be incorporated into short sprints, clean-type exercises and/or throws.  All this was just speculation of course, knowing that all I had to do was wait until tonight to find out what the WOD's were going to be.  And here they are!  From: SuperFit Games

WOD #1:
1500 meter row -
I am so pumped up about this and expect to finish it sub-5 minutes which I assume is a pretty good time. I have always liked rowing and I know with the added competition I will be able to push that much harder.  I just plan on going all out, ALL out.

WOD #2:
3 minutes max reps deadlifts with 289# -
Hell yes again!  Trans-Continental #4 was a max reps deadlift with 315# and I got 15 reps and felt like I took it easy.  I expect to get at least 55 reps.  I know that is a lot, but I know I should be able to bang out 15-20 reps unbroken with this weight, and I know that with the recovery after the row I will be pretty fresh.

WOD #3:
For time: 50 burpees, 25 thruster 111#, 25 handstand push ups -
Crap.  Burpees, fine, sweet, feel great about that.  Trusters at 111#, absolutely awesome, feel very, very good about that.  Handstand push ups.  Well.  I CAN'T DO THEM!  No clue what to do on this one.  Guess I really have to step it up on the first two.

WOD #4:
3 rounds for time: 50 double unders, 30 box jumps (32in.), 50 double unders, 15 hang snatches (111#) -
So, if I make the top 5 men after the first WOD's, I will be qualified to join the fun for this last one.  I would love to get to this one because I really feel confident about this one.  I enjoy double unders (if I can get that rhythm), I absolutely love box jumps, and hang snatches with that weight I feel I could bang out pretty quick.

Well folks, pretty pumped up.  Nervous as hell about the handstand push ups, but I guess my only option is to just go crazy with the first two WOD's and hope for the best.  You never know, maybe I will just turn something on and be able to get through them.  Either way, I am super excited to get down there and hang with a bunch of fitness nuts and pick people's brains, I like nothing more than hanging out with people who share my passion for fitness, so, I know this will be a great time.

I will be posting all along, so, keep checking out the blog!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Kipping PR

Today I had a nice little workout with my good buddy Matt.  We got 4 rounds of 10 deadlifts, 4 rounds of 5 squat cleans to thruster and 1 set of max rep pull ups.  I finished with a nice 30-mile bike ride out towards Mount Vernon and back.

Yesterday was amazing weather here in DC.  So I had to get outside.  A nice 7 mile run with the VFF's on, and a heavy backpack with 5 burpees every 5 minutes.  Took 55 minutes in total.  Then hopped on the bike and got an 8 mile ride back into the city.  Best part of the day though, getting 3 consecutive handstand push ups to a abmat.  Still not full, but that is more strict HSPU's then I've ever done, a PR by 3...!

The deadlifts felt great today, stayed light (only did 265# for the last rund of 10) but was able to work on form and breathing patterns.  The squat cleans were good too.  Got 185# on the last round, got two straight then missed two.  Readjusted my focus and got two after that.  I struggle with the deep front squat, and of course, struggle with shoulder pressing of any kind, so I was happy with that last set.  Then the pull ups.  I was able to butterfly kip through 34 reps and I only switched to normal kipping because I was not feeling as smooth as I felt I needed to.  Once I hit 37 (my last PR), I remember saying "get 42" in my head.  And when I got 42, I hopped off the bar.  It was only a few hours later I realized that I stopped short of what I was truly capable of.  Kind of strange that I did that, but either way, to PR by 5 reps and know that I did it easily is a great feeling.

Now it's chill time for a few days before the CrossFit Charlottesville SuperFit Games this coming Saturday!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Few Days Off

My lack of posting over the past few days has been dew to yet another minor injury to my abdominal wall.  It was a frustrating day to wake up in such pain, especially since I had absolutely no clue as to how it could have happened.  My only assumption is that it never fully healed from the time before and that is was just a matter of time before it happened again.  I plan to hit a great physical therapist I know to see if there can be some form of detailed assessment on what might be going on.

I do plan on geting back to the workouts tomorrow, but it will be a little more simple than normal.  I will allow for intensity, but with little variance of movement (meaning no Fight Gone Bad type workouts...)(heavy max load, or even sub-max load lifting).  I will also be working on some core stabilization, planks, iso leg lifts, roll outs and so on.

A point of conversation today:  nutrition, again.  I invited a great nutritionist Michael Donovan to run a seminar on Saturday, and he had some very great points I would love to share.  Timing.  As I have been learning more and more, it is WHEN you eat that is so important.  If you have too structured an eating schedule, your performance will suffer because your life is lived, and your workouts are structured as ever-changing.  Cortisol.  This is known as the stress hormone  But, interestingly enough, this is very misleading.  What cortisol actually does, is get released into your system when you ARE stressed to help reduce it.  The only problem is that cortisol will slow the metabolism because it works to relax the body down.  When metabolism is slowed, it becomes harder to make gains (no matter what your gains may be).  So, the solution?  Reduce your stress and you will make seriously major gains.

I'll post up the workout for tomorrow soon!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

CrossFit Works Visit

Bright and early Monday (1/18) morning Lance, Lindsey and I drove out to CrossFit Works in Tucson.  Lance suggested we check it out as he has been going there since he moved to Arizona.  When I contacted them, I got a great response and got pretty excited about my visit there.  Dave (the guy who was my contact there) and Lance had set up a little special time for us between classes and Dave was hoping I could be the guinea pig for a workout they would be using for a competition this coming weekend.  That sounded great to me!

The entrance to CrossFit Works was priceless, a huge banner over the front door stating "CrossFit Gym" welcomed everyone.  We walked in to a large room that was pretty empty.  This room was almost as big as most affiliates spaces, and they had it perfectly set up for practice work or personal work; when we left, one of the owners was working one-on-one with someone in that space, it was a perfect spot for mobility and movement work. The large room lead past the bathrooms and into the CrossFit space.  Pull up bars lined one wall, racks and platforms the other.  Bumper plates, med balls, climbing ropes and everything else needed were placed perfectly throughout the facility.  We hung by a desk and office area while a class finished up and then began to get warm.

I was told the workout:

8 rounds for time of:
4 deadlifts 1.2xBW (310#)
10 burpee box jumps
12 wall ball

Well.  This one just straight up hurt.  Lindsey and Lance opted out and took the normal WOD, so, I loaded up the bar and got started.  The first couple rounds went pretty smoothly, but it was the third round when I just crashed.  The deadlifts were fine, the wall balls were even fine (I only broke them up a few times in total the entire workout).  It was the burpee box jumps that just destroyed me all around.  Muscular fatigue AND cardiovascular fatigue set in quick, and left me feeling almost worried I would not make the jump.  I just kept on trucking through as hard and fast as I could, and was able to pick it up just the smallest amount for the 8th round.  Time: 17:39.  My neck was already sore from the strain.  What an awesome workout.

Had a great conversation with the guys after I caught my breath and we all agreed that maybe cutting the burpee box jumps to 8 would be a good call.  All I can say is that I really liked this place.  They marketed to such a large demographic, but still kept that special CrossFit edge that people tend to be a little turned off by sometimes.  But they found the balance, and clearly is proved successful.  All the people I met were warm and welcoming, they new their fitness inside and out, and they had, from what I saw in the hour and a half I spent there, the most versatile group of members of any CrossFit box I have seen.  And that is exactly what I appreciate about what CrossFit can really be.  I know that with the proper perspective, CrossFit can bring in any person at all, from the complete beginner to the top, most elite athletes in the world.  They can all join in the fun.  CrossFit Works clearly believes this same perspective and it makes me want to return to their spot and feed off that energy.

Thanks so much guys for the hospitality!  Looking forward to seeing you guys down the road!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sabino Canyon, Arizona Workout

Saturday, the 16th, Lindsey and I drove down to Tucson to visit my good friend Lance and his girl Emily.  It was a nice little road trip that culminated wonderfully, with Lindsey getting her first pair of Vibram Five Finger shoes!!  I had had a great climb up Camelback with mine, and I knew Lindsey would love them just as much.

After hanging at Lance's for a bit and catching up, we all piled into his car for a the quick drive out to Sabino Canyon.  After hiking up the paved road (with a little, relatively pointless side-track out to a big concrete block...don't ask), we ran back down to a dried out riverbed we had hiked past.  Trudging up it a little, we found a perfect location, and I came up with this fun little ditty for the four of us:

15 minute AMRAP of
100 meter rock sprint
5 x rock squat toss
3 x boulder scramble
10 x pull
10 x push

This was just all around awesome!  It was fatiguing, in the perfect way though; muscles were tight, breath was heavy and we all just felt great afterward.  The main aspect that supported my belief that these workouts are the best kind was the setting.  We were outside, in the mountains of Arizona, great weather; ultimately the perfect gym.  It reinforced my belief that being outside and being active is just such a great way to live life.  Don't get me wrong, I love gyms, I enjoy visiting different facilities and I get that excited feeling deep in my stomach every time I see a collection of great weight equipment; but really, the best feeling I have ever felt, and the most honest and real experiences I have ever had, are when I am out in nature, by myself and with friends and being active.  I feel truly human.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

CrossFit Southwest Visit (and climb up Camelback)

On Friday I took the long journey down to Phoenix, Arizona to pay a visit to Lindsey and to check out a few fun workout locations.  First stop: CrossFit Southwest, January 16, 10am.

Hidden back in a sort of industrial park, CrossFit Southwest utilizes the open area very well.  In fact, besides a few warm ups and some sandbag squats and throws, we were entirely outside in the large parking lot.  The gym itself is great; super high ceilings, plenty of room to store all equipment comfortably while keeping a huge open area for training.  There is a large bag storage area, bathrooms and a few other rooms in there as well.  I was introduced to Ken, the owner there, Lindsey had been there three times already and was slowly starting to get into the swing of things.  Ken told me that the place was pretty new, abut five months if I remember correctly.  Before that, he had a spot down the road a little bit.  With the 80 or so members they had already, I have a feeling that this particular affiliate has a ton of room to grow.  They got the good name, they have a great CrossFit style location, and they seem to be, as I am finding is very common, very, very welcoming.

The cool thing about this workout was that with the smaller class size for a late Saturday morning (6 people), two were visiting (myself and one other), one was her first day, and Lindsey was on her 4th day.  This proved to me that Ken and his spot could really be the go-to CrossFit box in Tempe, Arizona.

We started the day with introductions (everyone was a little quiet off the bat, understandable since we were all so new to this place), then we went through some great mobility and active warm up exercises.  This actually was the first time I have been with a CrossFit group where we went through a specific set of warm ups directed towards the days workout.  It was clear that we were going to be running a bit since Ken had us really work hip, knee and ankle mobility, along with a warm up that included learning proper running form.

The workout:
partner up and perform 2 sets of 8 total each of Sandbag squat cleans (alternating shoulders) while your partner performs push ups.
Then, each person performs two lengths of the gym floor of sandbag reverse throws.  This was fun, just chucking the sandbag as far as we could over our heads.
We then did some med ball throws and sprints and then came the main workout.  Each of us performed 2 rounds of:
1 lap driveway sandbag sprint
1 length sandbag/tire pull
1 length med ball chest pass

This was a sneaky hard workout.  It just really weighed you down to do all this running with different weight loads.  I mentioned to Ken how I like the sort of rope harness they have fr the tire pull; it forced you to figure out the best way to strap yourself in for the run.  The legs burned a good bit during the workout, but we had a ton of recovery time (I think all of us had a two person recovery, as in, two people went before we got to go again).  That time was spent just hanging out and chatting.

All in all, I had a great time there and I think the way Ken has everything set up makes it so welcoming for anyone to give it a try.  The workout was not timed, Lindsey said that there really is no real competitiveness there, which is a unique aspect that I feel Ken is doing a good job with.  And while I would always be more than excited to check out other affiliates in the Phoenix/Tempe area, I feel that CrossFit Southwest would very quickly feel like home to me if I went there a couple more times.

Thanks so much guys!  I will be back in a few weeks for a workout or two.

2027 E Cedar St.
Tempe, AZ 85281

In the evening, Lindsey and I marched up to Camelback Mountain.  Took us about two hours, maybe a bit less (mostly because I kept jumping off the trail to explore random rock fixtures to scamper up).  The climb was exhausting, very technical and challenging for anyone; but the view from the top was breathtaking.  Coming down while the sun set over Phoenix was a moment I will never forget.  My legs were shot, my shirt completely soaked in sweat, and I had a huge smile on my face the entire time.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Friday, January 15, 2010

Off Day / Travel Day

Well, at the airport now waiting to board a flight out to Arizona to hang with Lindsey for a few days.  Along with that, I have been able to confirm visits to to CrossFit affiliates out there and I am excited to meet some more CrossFitters and get some good workouts in.  And even better: Lindsey and I are planning a fun little escape out to the wild for a long hike and workout the way nature intended, no bars, no dumbbells, no kettebells, nothing like that.  Just rocks, cactus, trees (though trees will be spars out in desert Arizona), crazy terrain and anything else we can scrounge up as we wander around.

Yesterday was an interesting experience.  I got some structured deadlift support work in.  This means I put a two supersets together, one of cable pull throughs and hip thrusts, and one of RDL's and rollouts.  The goal was to work on better recruitment of the posterior chain and work on strengthening my core muscles.  I worked specific rep and rest counts and honestly, the RDL's felt like they helped the most.  I was able to really focus on keeping proper arch in the lumbar spine, keep my shoulders set, and most of all, to really get my glutes involved in the movement.  Getting 245# for 6 felt so strong and excited me for my next deadlift session.

I then got some 5x5's, with incline DB chest press and weighted pull ups.  I was able to get all five rounds of chest presses comfortably with 85# and started with 45# additional weight on the pulls but had to decrease the weight to 40# on the 3rd set and 35# for the ast two.  I then had to wait an hour for my "short" metcon (thanks to my poor planning on getting started with the workout before my clients came in).  The challenge: 3 ronds of 10 muscle ups, each timed, with 2 minutes rest between sets.  And all hell broke loose.

I expected it to be a little rough seeing how I am no muscle up expert, but seriously, I got two straight right off the bat, then missed 7!  After 18 minutes had elapsed I finally finished the first 10, wrists ripped wide open and my emotions overwhelming.  It was so frustrating to just not be able to do something that you would expect to be able to do.  I know it's a stretch, but it's like deciding you want to jog all of a sudden and every time you attempt to, you just fall over.  You keep trying and trying, and maybe get a step or two into it, maybe even string together five or six steps.  But ultimately, you just can not do it.  I hadn't felt that frustrated or demoralized since I got smoked by Fenty and crew on the bike, and when I gave up a walk off home run at the end of my second season of pro ball.  There is just nothing you can do in those situations, you are stuck, blocked out completely from success and it happens right in front of your eyes.  Pretty annoying all around.

So, today, I'm away from the gym, breathing it all in, enjoying the journey to a new place and the excitement of seeing my girl.  In retrospect, it truly is a great experience to put everything you have into something and fail.  It keeps you grounded, keeps you wanting more and sparks something new deep inside the body to make the proper adjustments and push on.  So, I can not wait until I get to workout again.  Overcome my own physical and mental blocks and just, get, better.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Yesterday and Today (Trans-Con #5)

Well first things first, these past couple days have been a little rough for me.  That's the bad; the good is that I know exactly why: literally for the past three days I have been off on my nutrition timing.  I have been eating healthily, I've been comfortably living sans dairy, red meat and gluten (starting to get a little curious about the gluten thing...another post), it's just been WHEN I chose to eat that is of my concern.  I have not prepared properly and have paid the price (nice alliteration there, haha!).

So what has happened you might ask?  Well, I have been very sore and fatigued, tired, lethargic and my sleep has been very shaky.  But the one thing I can tell you is this:  it is so gratifying to know exactly why I feel a certain way, to how to fix the way I feel.  Be a little more prepared, eat after workouts, get to bed a little earlier and it will all be better.  It starts tonight.  As I write I have chicken baking in the oven, a large salad to prepare and breakfast to prep.  I have protein rationed out for the gym and small, single serving bags of nuts and raw veggies to put together.  I am actually very excited about getting all this stuff prepared, it's fun really!

So, on to the workouts.  Yesterday I headed over to the exorcist steps for 5 rounds for time, got 4:07.  Then, jogged to Georgetown U and hooked up the TRX to a soccer post and did this:
1 rep of each knees to chest, bicycles, pike ups
50 yard sprint and back
2 reps of each
40 yard sprint and back
3 reps
30 yards
When I got to 5 reps of each and 10 yards, I started back up the ladder on the sprint until I got to 10 reps of each on the three core moves on the TRX.  I got 10:17 and felt like that was a bit slow.  I was just feeling all around slow, it was frustrating.  From there, I headed back to the steps for another 5 rounds; got 4:09 this time.  After a meeting and class, I went back to the gym for a strict overhad press session.  3, 3, 3, 1, 1, 1.  I got 160# for my 5th round, and missed my last round.  Same as my last best, maybe a little smoother, but pretty rough all around.

Today was the Trans-Continental #5 with Blair Morrison who is out in Paris now.  He had a great workout and a great post to follow where he talks about how he had been feeling a little slow as of late, so he just turned it on for this one.  I literally had the exact opposite feeling towards this workout.  I came into it with low energy, I was sore, fatigued and feeling low energy all around  I told myself to pick it up but there's picking it up, and shifting your mind honestly.  I did not shift my mind, and I paid the price.

50 push ups, 50 air squats, 25 burpees, 400 meter run
40, 40, 20, 400
30, 30, 15, 400
20, 20, 10, 400
10, 10, 5, 400

I finished with an out of breath time of 23:35.  I knew immediately that this would be a sub-20 minute workout.  While it was rough, it was even more rough to see that Blair got it in 18 something, a full 5+ minutes faster!  And I am usually really good with body weight metcons.  It was humbling to say the least.  BUT, I know why, I need to prepare my fuel and fuel myself correctly.  And if I slack, even a little, with the amount I am pushing myself, I will feel it big time.  So, all I need to do is sleep more and eat better.

So that is exactly what I will do.  Supplemental deadlift  work and heavy upper body tomorrow, and a wonderful off day Friday as I travel to Arizona to see my lady and work out like crazy!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Got Two In

Yesterday was a fun one; left my legs feeling very tired, not sore really, just very, very tired.  This was taken from OPT ( from a couple days ago, heres what I had:  In the late morning (just before 11am) I performed an AMRAP 10 minute 1-5 ladder of 225# back squat.  This means I did one rep, racked it, then two reps, racked it, three then rack, four then rack and five then rack and started over at 1 for 10 minutes straight.  This proved to be exhausting, but interestingly enough, I got deeper and deeper into the squat as I went along.  After ten minutes I had finished 5 rounds plus the 1, 2 and 3 of the 6th round.  I then rested five minutes.

Then I loaded 115# on a bar (supposed to be 30% of my 1RM) and did 6 sets of 6 reps jump squats with 60 seconds rest between sets.  I love weighted jumping, it is sneaky hard!  Then I did 5 sets of 20 GHD sit ups.  Tough, but did them all unbroken and felt strong.

In the evening, at 6:15pm, I returned for a metcon and endurance workout.  I did AMRAP 45 seconds of double unders, then a 15 second rest, the AMRAP pull ups and then a 2 minute rest.  I had 5 rounds of that and then hit the spinner bike for a low intensity 60 minutes of biking.  The metcon was really tough on the arms, and the entire bike ride I could feel the major pump from my hands to my shoulders and through the back.  Below is the rep count I got for that.

DU - 78, 74, 60, 60, 70
PU - 30, 17, 16, 15, 18

The bike ride was harmless, maybe a little boring...

Outside today, exorcist steps!!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Next Little Bit

Additional Note Added (go to bottom of post...)

Hey all,

So, for the next few weeks I've decided to (for the most part) follow the programming of well known coach James Fitzgerald, or, as most people know him, OPT (Optimum Performance Training).  More on that in a second.  Besides that, I am about to eneter in to the slight "down period" of my work cycle in terms of training clients.  All the college guys are back to school, high school ball will be starting up soon, and most people who hounded me with emails about training post-resolution setting, are realizing they are actually not as committed as they thought, and drop off the edge of the earth.  It's a tough phenomenon to witness as so many people get so excited for a change to happen but do not focus on changing the thing that matters most, their minds...but I digress.  The focus, now that I will have more time away from the gym, will be put onto a couple things:  the new facility to run my programming out of out in McLean, VA, and the bike ride across the country.  Now of course, there is a good deal, well hold on, an overwhelmingly large deal of baggage that come with both of these projects, so, it is going to be a pretty filled up few months.

The new space is so exciting.  I will be bringing in a trainer or two, who will be taking the programming that I have been using for many years now to help athletes reach their potential and beyond.  It is a big, big project, but it will be so good not only for Courage Performance, but for so many young athletes who have no real programming to follow right now.  The bike ride is one of the most exciting adventures I have put on myself in my life.  The process of organizing the second event (a silent auction where I will lift 100,000lbs in one hour) is a bit stressful but only because I have no real idea as to how to do it.  The ride itself is going to be a blast.  There are lots and lots of details to figure out, sponsorships, route, Children's Hospitals to visit, support etc.  But at the base of it all, I am just thrilled to know that I will be spending the most of each day, for 30 straight days, outside on a bike.  What a freaking cool experience this will be.

And all along, I will be continuously training.  I have a CrossFit competition on the 30th of this month.  I have sectionals for the CrossFit Games in late March; and, I have fun to be had at all times, every day, of course.  Along with this training, and in line with that fun week of promoting the CrossFit community, I will most likely be traveling around where I can continue spreading the wonderful community CrossFit is growing.  For example, next week I'll be out in Arizona visiting the wonderful Lindsey, and while there I plan to hit two affiliates for a great workout and to chat everyone up.  So, what I've been doing has been writing my own programming and just upping it each week in prep for the competitions.

So, on to the new programming trial.  OPT has some pretty interesting stuff, he is extremely thorough, he is very, very intelligent, and, he practices what he preaches.  I figure, why not let another professional help out (even though he won't be physically helping)?  Here is what I have concluded on it:  I have been writing my own programs for years now.  Most of the time, I use many different resources to help design my programs, from internet sources, to books, friends, and other trainers and coaches.  So, when I find someone, or a resource that intrigues me, I enjoy following it along and, depending on if it ties into my goals, try to implement the stuff into my own work.  So, as an experiment, I have decided to base my training for at least the next couple weeks on this guys programming.  I will most likely be adding a little bit to it as well, short metcons, maybe some extra strength work, and of course, biking.

As I mentioned before in some of my posts, my main weakness is my shoulders.  So, I'll continue to work on mobility and strength for them through corrective exercises, stretching, some yoga, handstand push up work and strict overhead press work.  I also found that I am starting to weaken a bit with some of the main lifts like deadlifts and squats.  I honestly think that this is on account of my core strength not keeping up with the rest of my body.  So, I will be focusing a bit more on that too; TRX work mostly for that one.  And finally, biking.  I will be utilizing the weekends for a long ride, then, I will get at least two more shorter rides during the week.  If I can fit more in, I will.  The cool, and depending on your view, boring thing about this training style of biking is that I will just be focused on logging miles.  No focus on timing, pushing the hear rate etc. just getting on the bike and riding.  Again, all I have to do is ride a little over 100 miles a day for 30 days.  So, that's what I need to train for.

Well, here goes another fun adventure!

OPT info:

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

*Turns out I will not actually e following OPT (he is training for a competition and his schedule is just off mine), I will, however, continue to use his programming as a base for my own programming for a couple weeks to see how it goes!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chip This

Really wanted to get a good long metcon in on the day, and with no Trans-Continental Workout planned (Blair as traveling out for a ski trip), I came up with this little ditty:

800 meter run
50 air squats
40 push ups
30 pull ups
20 box jumps
10 squat cleans (135#)
10 push press(135#
20 burpees
30 GHD sit ups
40 KB swings (24kg)
50 double unders
800 meter run

This was a freaking awesome workout!  The way the exercises were strung together allowed for no recovery at all, just had to burn through and hope nothing went wrong.  I finished in 21:24 and was surprised at how the GHD sit ups of all things gave me the toughest time.

A long bike ride in the sub 20 degree weather Saturday morning and an easy weekend to recover before I hit it again just as hard next week.  As a good heads up here, I'll be headed out to Arizona next weekend and I plan on getting to a couple affiliates out there.  Hoping for some good write ups as I grow my affiliate visit list!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fight Gone Bad

This morning I teamed up with a good baseball buddy, Matt and did a little barbell work.  6 sets of 4 split jerks, then 4 sets of 6 overhead squats.  I learned yet again that I am just not as strong as I need to be; or at least, that I feel I should be.  I got my last set of jerks at 225# and felt pretty strong with them, but not nearly as strong as I expected to feel.  I was feeling very strong on the push, and my confidence to get under the bar was completely there, which was a big boost to feel.  Normally I get a little worried about overhead exercises seeing how they are a weak point for me.  But today, I felt very good with the mechanics of the move.  The overhead squats, well, I just got nothing with those damn things.  They are my all out least favorite exercise.  I need to work on them more regularly.  My last set I got 165#, which is really light weight in comparison to what I can do on other lifts.  I felt tight in the shoulders, lead with my knees and, am getting to proper depth, just nothing more, very shaky all around.  It was a big struggle for me.  I think some more shoulder mobility work is in order in my programming.  I'll talk about that as I get more into it starting tomorrow.

We finished with a fun little metcon of 10 to 1 pull ups with 5 burpees between each round.  I was able to get 5:14 and felt pretty good about that time.  Definitely a metcon do mix in in the near future for comparisons sake.

I returned ready to go after my evening clients to attack Fight Gone Bad.  Last time I did this was about 8 months ago and I got a 315, something I actually felt good about.  Another good buddy, Ryan offered to help with timing and charting reps, big shout out to him for the help.  Another friend asked me what I expected and I said around 350.  After we talked a little, I realized that my mind kept saying 375, it was around the range of some of the top CossFitters from the games.  So, I hoped to at least get close to those guys if I could.

Ryan started the clock and I just turned it on.  It felt good, I mean, hard, exhausting, but I was just really enjoying each exercise, except for maybe the sumo deadlift high pulls.  I moved quickly, took minimal breaks, and was spot on with my form.  That has been a big focus for me lately, keeping proper form, and to be honest, I feel like it has helped my ability to keep going.  I just feel that there is no real point to cheating this, I want to be fit, I want to reduce my risk of injury, so, I should take whatever measures I can to do things right.

So, after I finished, I tallied up the reps and finished at 431!  Damn did that pump me up.  A PR by 116 reps, really, very gratifying.  Tomorrow I will recover with some light conditioning with a couple ball players, then hit a yoga class in the evening.  I am really enjoying working out these days!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

CrossFit Community Week Summary

What a great week!

I was able to get 5 affiliate visits in, along with a nice workout with a collection of avid CrossFitters in a "globo" gym.  The process was an interesting one to say the least.  With my usually high expectations, I sent out emails to 12 different affiliates all around the greater Washington, DC area.  I was able to get 5 affiliates to gladly accept my request for a visit, a few others responded that they would not be able to accomodate me at that time (their reasons were more than understandable), three non responses and one affiliate flat out turned down the idea.  Not going to lie, I did not expect a response like that last one, especially from this particular box; oh well, you never really know what's going to happen when you throw out new ideas.

I started off my journey with a couple major points in mind: first, I wanted to feel out the different spaces and coaches to get the root methods of that specific gym.  You see, while CrossFit has a definition, and has a manual and a theory, it is also openly understood to be an open-forum training method.  What this means is that any CrossFit coach has the freedom to put his/her twist to the programming based on what he/she feels is the most effective way to train.  Second, I wanted to plant the seeds to connecting ideals.  What I mean by this is that I personally have very strong feelings towards promoting a community around the world that believes in and supports fitness as a major roll in peoples lives.  The more I get into it, the more I realize that CrossFit is such a perfect vessel for this concept.  And with this week of CrossFitting, I hoped to enforce my conclusion.  And lastly, I just wanted to get in some great workouts.  That's the selfish side of the adventure...

My visits were so much fun!  I was able to meet some great minds and talk shop with a huge collection of fitness nuts like me.  And, of course, I was able to get some pretty memorable workouts in.  Along the way I took a few things in that will continue to stick with me as I expand on my travels.  The main thing is that the people I talked to, all of them, truly believe in the community.  While the number one thing you will find at any other gym out there around the world (and I have been to a TON of different gyms...almos around the world) is the push to get more memberships, CrossFit affiliates have a little different agenda.  The goal with all these coaches, the reason they got involved with CrossFit, and even more involved by opening their own affiliate, was to promote fitness and get people active.  They all seem to have this understanding that the best way to get people to love exercise, is to make them feel comfortable pushing their limits.  Again, a comparison to your typical workout facility: one, people crowded into the cardio rooms and circuit training machines, with their iPods in and moving at a nice aerobic threshold rate in general.  Then the CrossFit box: people sweating, pushing their anaerobic thresholds everyday, music pumping and coaches and athletes alike cheering everyone on to go a little farther, do one more rep.  This is wheree people go to get in shape, and all the coaches know and respect this.

The enjoyable part about meeting these different coaches was exactly what I hoped for.  Different training methodologies.  I found extremely structured programming, and easy, relaxed programming.  We had strength bias, we had straight metcon focus.  And one place had what I thought was just, well, the coolest: obscure objects (rocks, and such) to lift and throw around, true GPP (general physical preparedness, a CrossFit goal for those of you who don't know).  Coaches came from very different backgrounds: bodybuilding, power lifting, military, sports and sometimes even nothing active.  With these various backgrounds came different approches to training.  Some coaches would make up workouts and use workouts found from CrossFit mainsite or other well-known CrossFit blogs and resources.  Other coaches had serious, almost scientific approches to their programming while yet others had a system in line, but it was not so serious.  It became clear to me very quickly that different personality types would find it pretty easy to find the proper affiliate for their specific needs.  CrossFit MPH is for the athlete looking to make serious gains in their fitness, to see tangible and measurable progress on a regular basis.  CrossFit DC was more of an open workout affiliate, they had less class availability, and because of that, had no real need for that regular structure (while their gains were certainly very measurable, a story of a week before where 12 of 14 PR'd on deadlift supports that).

CrossFit Balance has a pretty detailed Foundations course all athletes must attend, while Capital Jiu-Jitsu allows athletes to join in a WOD whenever.  And Primal, well, they seem to have a good combination of very serious focus and loose "get after it however you can" focus; pretty damn versatile all around.  And then of course there was that fun meet up with a few CrossFitters at a "globo" gym.  This defined something even greater for me.  It showed that CrossFit is even more than what I hoped, it is more than a "box" or official affiliate.  It truly can be just a theory of fitness that people can practice where and when they choose.  And while it helps to have a space to work, and like-minded people to work with and support, it still exists.  And it can exist anywhere.

While all these coaches and athletes believe in CrossFit, and that it's base definition (constantly varied functional movement at high intensity) is true, they all take this definition and add their own little twists on how they put it to practice.  What this says to me is that, just like all people, all CrossFit is different.  And it is because these differences that make CrossFit so acceptable for anyone out there.

So, I will continue to travel around (two days last weekend at Albany CrossFit was so much fun), meeting new people, athletes and coaches and trying out more workouts.  I will continue to open my mind to all the different approaches to working out, and I will do my best to share everything I learn with as many people as I can.  I believe in all this so strongly, and the more I expand my adventures, the more I realize that others share these beliefs with me.

I am working on the CrossFit Community Article now, it should be out some time in the next couple weeks.  If anyone has any connections with CrossFit HQ and the journal, please let me know, I have been trying to reach people with the hopes to get this one published.  We shale see...

Thanks Coaches and Athletes!

To read about my visits, just look through my post archives or scroll down.  To check out videos click here.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Fran Video

Monday, January 4, 2010


So, after a rough AM session where I absolutely struggled with 415# for a set of 2 on deadlifts, I was left with the need to get something done.

AM -
6, 4, 3, 3, 2, 2 deadlifts
(185, 275, 315, 365, 395, 415)
5, 5, 5, 5 power cleans
(95, 135, 185, 205)

3 rounds for time of:
Pull ups x 8
Push ups x 10
Inverted Rows x 10
Ring dips x 8

I did some glute and core activation work to start and then attacked the deadlifts.  Just flat out weak.  I have nothing left to say about that.  I then did a little something weird by doing power cleans post deadlifting.  I have to say, while they were a little weaker from the fatigue on the legs, I did actually like how focused I had to be on driving that much more with the lower half.  It really forced power transfer from the lower to upper body. The metcon was tough, but only because I was a little down on myself from the deadlifts.  It was a fun one though, I really like that specific collection of exercises, and I love doing strict pull ups!

PM -
long warm up


Skill work (handstands, pistol squats along with some roll outs and planks)

I was hoping for around 3 minutes and was not filled with confidence.  But, with the motivation of a buddy who decided last minute to join me, I was able to pull out a 2:58, a time I am very, very happy with.  I am so confident that with a little more work on my butterfly kip, I'll be able to get this in sub 2:30.

Video to come asap!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wonderland Chipper

On a clear, cold New Years Day, Lindsey and I took to the outdoors for an absolutely awesome workout up in Becket, MA.  After one of the best New Years Eve's I have ever had, we proceeded to one-up it by having the best New Years Day ever.

A healthy breakfast, lounging around, then this:

Well, let's just go into the process first.  We bundled up and went out to this old barn behind the house (my pops owns this house, it's right next to the Kushi Institute, a center for macrobiotics where my mother is buried).  Scouring around, we found an old wheel barrow, a large piece of piping, a long stone wall behind the barn, and, plenty of space.  So with these tools I came up with a fun little chipper.  We would get a rock, run it to the wheel barrow at the bottom of the snowed over driveway, wheel the thing to the top of the drive and back, get another rock, add it to the mix and repeat.  We would do this three times.  To scale, I started with a rock already in the wheel barrow, and used a pretty damn huge one for the final round.  So big in fact, that the wheel totally busted and made it literally impossible to push, so I resorted to pulling the thing up and back.  That.  Was.  Hard.

The wheel barrow running was followed by a 100 meter up and back sprint through the snow.  This sprint was to be done in between each exercise and proved to be a much larger challenge than Lindsey and I were expecting.  The snow was difficult sure, but it turned out to be just enough UP hill on the way back to absolutely destroy the legs.

The next exercise was 30 overhead lunges with a rock.  Not too tough for either of us.  Then the sprint again.  Next was 30 pull ups.  We hooked the pipe between two trees above the stone wall for Lindsey, and I used a perfect tree branch off a tree in the middle of the yard (only problem was that around 20, the great grip tore off, making my last 10 really challenging).  Another sprint and on to 30 rock throws.  The hardest part of this one was just getting a grip on the rock, and the fact that every rep, more and more snow got stuck on it making it more slippery and heavier.  A final sprint and we were done.  Lindsey got 13:36, and I got 14:58. 

This one goes in the books as one of the best ones all around.  Not just for the workout itself (which could easily be replicated in a gym), but for the weather, the scenery, the company, and the entire day.  As close to perfect for me as they come.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Bringing in Another New Year

The New Year brings new hope for so many people.  It represents a time of rebirth, a time to clean the slate, to wipe clear the white board and start something new, make big changes, become better, more successful and grow.  So often we hear of peoples resolutions, their plans, their intentions and their goals for the year and so often, at years end, we find that it is pretty common that people have failed to follow through.  So this year I am proposing something a little different.  Don't forgo the New Years Resolution fun, it's enjoyable, it's a conversation starter and such, just take a slightly different approach to it.

I say, make one.  Just one simple resolution.  But there is a catch.  Make another on the first of February, and another on the first of March, and April and so on, for the entire year.  It is very common to weigh yourself down with too many expectations, and when you do that, you move to slowly and are way to overwhelmed to realistically achieve what you have put in front of you.  So, simplify.

I am choosing to stick completely to my desire to eat more healthily.  I have been completely dairy, gluten and red meat free for over a month now and I plan to stick with this for the entire year (most likely my entire life).  I plan to reassess my progress every month and really focus on my physical, mental and emotional state around my nutrition, and will make changes accordingly.  But because of the way I feel, the deepness of my sleep, the progress of my performance, and the energy I have throughout the day, I plan on continuing this for a long time.

Now, this does not mean I will not be focusing on other goals.  I have two events to plan, one of them being a bike ride across the country.  I have a new business venture starting, a new site to announce, competitions signed up for and so much else.  And I have many, many goals that I am going to attain.  But it is the main goal to avoid being overwhelmed so much that I can not produce and follow through.  So, as a main focus on the first of January of 2010, I will make sure I am eating properly.

So, with my singular resolution, I can now touch on some of the plans that are in order for the new year.  First, the announcement of my new website:  The site is not quite at full capacity yet, but it's getting there. The main thing will be that the blog on that site will encompass everything.  All these posts on this blog, and all future posts will be within that site and it will just be a wonderful collection of information and stories.

The other main plans are my bike ride across the country for Children's Miracle Network, my silent auction event a month before that ride, a couple CrossFit competitions, the expansion of Courage Performance to another facility in VA and a good deal of other stuff I am just not prepared to list here.  While it's easy to say that 2010 will be a big year, I really feel like 2009 was a HUGE year and that things are just going to keep right on growing.  I look forward to all the fun, the clients, the workouts, the adventures and the suprises.  I can't wait for them all.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

(the pictures are some of my gluten and dairy free creations over the holidays)

Josh Courage

Friday, January 1, 2010

Albany CrossFit Day 2

Stopped over at Albany CrossFit for another day of fun.  Today (New Years Eve) we got a good warm up in, and then one at a time, we all did 20 reps of heavy back squats.  I was able to get 235 pretty easily, and was a little annoyed at myself for not pushing a bit harder.  After the squats (another inspiring session given that everyone was gathered in the room pumping each other up), we set up for the WOD.

5 rounds of:
9 Power Cleans
4 Front Squats
6 Jerks

The rule was that the bar could not leave your hands or rest on the ground until all three exercises were finished.  Then you could rest as desired in between sets.  There was no prescribed weight for this, so I chose 115#.  I think 135# would have been a decent choice, but to be honest, I am so convinced that I would have needed to drop that weight by the fifth round.  This thing was really tough on the arms.  By the last round my hands were numb and the transition between front squats and jerks was so tough, just trying to get the grip on it.  I was able to finish in 5:08 and was really happy with that time.

Now it's off to Becket, MA with my girl, good food, and an awesome workout planned in the snowy woods for the morning!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage