Saturday, July 31, 2010

Just Another Friday...

I was really looking forward to getting after it a bit extra today, and I, along with many other wonderful Garage-Goers joined in the fun!  I wrote out a great looking chipper I aptly names "The July Chipper", and had everyone attack that after some good strength work.

Squats for most people, a handful of others added bench press into the mix.  I was able to get 310# for 12 reps on the squats and felt so strong with that.  My squats have been feeling more and more solid lately and it really fires me up to feel the improvements,  Bench was a little weak.  I finished with 240# for only 6 reps and really feel as though I should be in the 10 rep range with that weight.  Next week I am on the last phase of my second go-around with the 5/3/1 program; perhaps a max test month is in order...

"The July Chipper"

RX'd is with no weight the first round, 20# vest on the second round, and no weight the third round.  I decided to push myself a bit and did two vests (40#) the first round, one vest (20#) the second round, and no added vest the final round.

6 DB thrusters each arm 40#
6 burpees
12 pull ups
12 push ups
12 lunges each leg
18 box jumps 20"
18 air squats
18 KB swings 35#
18 half moons 20#
200 meter run

Yes sir was this a blast!  Thankfully I had Teddy and Tucker stick around after their session to help support me through the suffering, and it was great to have them there for the little extra motivation.  I think the best time of the day within my clients was just above 19 minutes, so I was shooting for that with the extra weight vest on.  I was able to get it in 17:51 and felt very good with that time.  I am pretty sure I could work this chipper down to the 16-minute range, but that might be in a while.  I think sub-15 would be absolutely insane.  The great thing is that I am now curious about going back and working through a bunch of older WOD's I've written.  As many people argue: what's the point of timng something if you've nothing to compare it to?  Well, I really don't have a great argument against that, so, perhaps it's about time to start recycling some WOD's!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Friday, July 30, 2010

Just Row

My wonderful little Concept 2 rower has been perched up, center stage in The Garage for a good long time now and I have been neglecting it.  It wasn't until yesterday, when the crazy thunderstorm caused Toddy and Brian to come over here rather than meet me at the track, that I pulled it down, wiped the dust off and put it to use again...finally.  The guys did a 100 to 1000 meter ladder, taking turns on the thing while the other rested.  It looked like fun.  So, I replaced my 3 mile run with 10,000 meters for time.

This was purely mental for me.   My legs were a bit tight from the weeks workouts, but I assumed they would loosen up as I rowed; this was mostly the case, until the last 2500 meters.  My goal was to stick around a 2-minute per 500 pace, which I did for the first 3k or so, then I just got bored.  It has been a while since I have gone out and simply moved for a really long time, and my mind was not prepared for it.  I never really tired fully, I sweat like crazy, but was never totally fatigued until I pushed the last 1500 meters.  My first break came when I tried to put tape on my heels.  See, I stupidly went barefoot with this, and the foot-holders began ripping up the backs of my feet right around minute 2!  The tape promptly flew off.  So, my second break came when I throw my vivobarefoots on.  This helped a ton and I was able to make up some time, but I had already lost so much.

I then proceeded to take about 3 other breaks to grab a sip of water and towel off (when I say I was sweating, I was really, really, really SWEATING!  For those of you who know me well, that means it was more then most people can truly imagine!).  I was able to attack the last bit with a sub-1:45 time (proving I was dogging it for most of the way) and finish with a time of 42:06.  I know this is a sub-40 minute workout for me.  I then finished with a selection of couplets that included barbell overhead lunges with a rotation, isometric front raises with a weight hanging from a cable, martial arts kick-throughs, isometric hanging knee raises, KB figure 8's and wall sits with KB clean and presses.  It was a fun day.

Heavy lifting today, then off to Albany to show my buddy Kenny a good time (I feel like I missed out on supporting him in a way I should have for his wedding, so I wanted to give him a fun weekend, just him and I).  I have another post on nutrition coming up, with some cool pictures I found while visiting the National History Museum with my cousin. 

Enjoy the last couple days of July; not really sure why I feel this way, but I want to go all out in August!  Going to make it a crazy month in terms of fitness (it's going to be crazy enough given it is my last one living on the East Coast!)

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Fun Season

Now that my summer of coaching is complete, I can sit back and think about how the season went.  This being my third season helping at Headfirst, I have never actually talked about the experience on my blog.  So, here it is.

In three years of coaching, I have met a ton of great people and great ball players, I have seen amazing plays and some really, really bad ones as well!  I have enjoyed myself and the experience of helping out a whole slew of athletes compete at a high level, and I have cursed the sight of the baseball field on a handful of days.  And in the end, I can look back on these three seasons and say without hesitation that I had a damn good time.

This year, while it was actually the worst in terms of records, I had a great time.  I got even closer to head coach Justin Cronk and that has been, without a doubt, the greatest thing that I take away from this all.  I made the announcement after the season this year, and the more I hang out with the guy, the more and more I feel about this:

He is the perfect baseball coach.

His passion towards the game is unreal, he just loves baseball.  He is so dedicated to helping all these guys make it to the next level that I honestly feel he wants them to make it more than they do sometimes.  But the best part about the guy is that he knows how to connect to these kids.  He understand the game, he understands how they play the game, and he really understand what it takes to play the game at any level.  This collection of understanding is what leads him to so positively inspire so many players each and every year. 

I look up to coach Cronk quite a bit, and I hope that my training and coaching compares to his.  He is incredible!

Thanks Cronk, and as I know you think and do:

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Group Training Baby!

Nothing to do with the post, I just love this picture!

Monday morning Derrick got a great workout in with waited Andrew Whitener:

3, 3, 3+ at 70%, 80%, 90% of:
Strict Press

For active rest we threw in controlled ab wheel roll outs between deadlift sets, and under/overs (3 x each direction) between strict press sets.  Felt pretty good while focusing on keeping my body fluid on the deadlifts and was able to pull 390# 6 times.  I know I could have struggled with 2-3 more reps, but I really want to get these with perfect form.  Presses were, well, about the same as always.  I got 145# for 5 reps and continue to just feel like I am not improving with shoulder work.  But my programming has been changing, so, we'll see.  Our metcon:

3 rounds of:
6 each arm DB snatch 65#
15 box jumps 24"
20 half moons 32" SB

I did this before (6/14) and got 8:06.  This time I got 6:36.  Sweetness!

In the evening, Dan and JP came out to The Garage to join Derrick and myself, my clients Teddy and Brian showed up early and were able to cheer us on through this insanity:

For time:
2 rounds w/ 20# vest of :
10 squat clean thrusters 115#
10 pull ups
10 lateral jump overs (over a 12" plyo box)
2 rounds w/ no vest of:
12 reps of the same exercises.

(Video up on YouTube.  It's a bit rusty as it's my first video taken, edited, and uploaded all from the new iPhone)

Holy spent.  Dan and I went first and it knocked us both clear out.  Flew right through the first round, then just hit a wall on the barbell work.  The pull ups and jump overs never really got me all that much, but the higher reps with that barbell got me banging out combos of singles and triples from round 2 on.  I finished in 9:36 with Dan right behind in the low 11's.  JP and Derrick tore through the WOD with lighter weights and the effort there was absolutely awesome!

Today was at the track with Brian, George, Fred, JP and Derrick.  We busted through Brian fitness test for Princeton Football:

16 x width of the football field and back in under 18 seconds with 45 seconds rest in between.  I hung with Brian to assure the time stayed sub-18, which it did for all but 2.  That meant 20 burpees at the end of the session.  Next we did this:

4 laps of:
sprint straight away
jog curve
double step up stadium steps
bear crawl down stadium steps (do this three times as you move down stadium)
jug curve

I got this in 16:18 with George coming in around 18 and everyone else coming through in a mixture of the mid-20's.  This was SO much fun.  The inverted bear crawls lead to a complete lack of recovery time leaving everyone so gassed.  Then, 20 quick burpees and done!

So, I love training with groups of people.  The energy just fires through everyone and it ultimately becomes practically impossible for someone to dog it.  There is always someone either just behind you or just ahead of you, always pushing you that much harder.  Then, you always have someone there to give you a little push, a little motivation.  My guys are great at this, and everyone is so good at picking each other up it makes me so damn proud to be able to get workouts with them here and there.  As i write this, I realize this topic calls for a much more in-depth post, and it deserves a strong point especially with the growth of CrossFit and the absolute positive effects pf group dynamics.  I promote the hell out of getting a slew of people together and getting after it.  I can not think of anything better to do with a group of friends.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Trip To NYC

So here's a funny story for you:  A few years back, I move myself up to NYC to be part of the opening of a sports facility in Long Island.  Thanks to a couple not-so-great business men, the facility had a real hard time opening and I was left with nothing.  I ended up crashing with my buddy in Brooklyn, living off cup-o-noodles and oatmeal cream pies, and wandering around the city for a couple weeks going to random auditions for NYU Film school projects.  Yeah...  In the fun of this, I ended up meeting a talent agent who just so happened to have a fiance who graduated from Siena College.  He told me he would look out for me.

So, three or so years later, I get a random phone call from some guy saying he "found" something for me.  It literally took me a day or so to process who this guy was and what he he had for me.  But he had found an audition looking for baseball players for an ad campaign for MasterCard.  I figured, why the hell not.  Rented a car lat Thursday night, and Derrick and I left at 3:30 in the morning Friday to get to the city for my 10am audition.  Ironically enough, the building for this agency just so happened to be the same building my brother worked at.  Of all the places in one of the largest cities in the world.  So, we hung out in his office until I had to get down for this thing.  The cool part was though, that Dave (my brother) told me that this place was truly the real deal.  So, I walked down, signed in, changed into my baseball uniform, and sat down with about eight other "models" to wait for our turn to head into the room.

Most of the guys that I saw looked like they hadn't touched a baseball in either years, or never.  But, the one guy I ended up talking to was a 5 year veteran of the Indians organization, and he had hung up the cleats to take up real estate, and acting/modeling.  Good guy all around.  People seemed so nervous as they sat, and I just could not get my head around doing this thing for a living.  When I was asked if I was a full-time actor, I involuntarily blurted out in laughter.  Immediately I realized the insult I just made to everyone in the room, and felt, well, only a little bad.  When it was my turn to head in, I stood on a mark on the floor, got my picture taken from super close up, answered a couple questions about height and weight and baseball experience, then, I took 4 check swings from the right side, 2 from the left, made a dumb joke, and left.  That was it. 

I guess it will all be worth it if I actually get the job, it pays 3k.  But for some reason, I feel like I won't, I'm an athlete not a model.

After getting some decent sleep Friday night, we woke up early to get a workout in before our baseball game.  A whole slew of guys came in for Squat/Bench day, and we had some great numbers.  Derrick squatted 205# for 4 reps, which is damn good for someone who has never touched a barbell in his entire life.  I got 290# for 13 reps in my second phase of the 5/3/1.  Got 10 reps of 225# on the bench as well.  The we went off to the game.  We lost the game in a dramatic walk off walk, too bad because it ended up being our last game of the season.

So Derrick and I headed over to Balance Gym, got a 2 on 2 basketball game in with Ori and big Dan, then did this crazy little number:

30 Wall ball
6 full court sprints to layups (if you miss, you must go back across court)
30 Push Press (95# me, 65# Derrick)
6 layups
30 Tire Flips
6 layups
30 Hammer strikes
6 layups
30 Pull ups
6 layups

Took me 16:13, Derrick 16:39.  I missed a grand total of 2 shots which really screwed my time.  But this one was a real fun one, exhausting. 

Today will be a down day, we'll probably head out to Great Falls, or do a little pool workout.  Watch Inception, and chill.  Back at the heavy lifting tomorrow!  Oh, and even though I am convinced otherwise, I still have my fingers crossed about this modeling thing...

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Overhead Squats / Nutrition

Yesterday brought on a full day of overhead squatting.  I was excited for two reasons: one, I haven't worked on this one in a while and was very curious as to where I stood with it.  And two, my cousin Derrick came to town for 7 days to hang out, work out, and explore.  He's going to have a blast working out with me and the guys, going to the baseball games, checking out DC and Great Falls and so much more, really happy to have him in town for a while.

So, with the squat, I ran through all the points with all my guys, and most of them struggled through what I call (and a lot of you readers probably know) probably the most uncomfortable of all lifts. Some of them clicked with it, others had to fight through a few sets before it began to sink in how to hold their bodies so they could get it.  I was able to get 175# for 5 for my final set, and while i was shaking like crazy, I felt very good with it all around.  Happy with that for now.

So yeah, nutrition.  I may have mentioned a while back that I would be trying out this whole Paleo thing for a month.  And I am about 3 days out from completing that month with a whole slew of thoughts on this one.  First, as many of you may know, I am not actually a firm believer in the science of the Paleo diet.  The main points being that certain foods (grains really) have carcinogens in them that, if we were to not break them down through cooking or physical grinding, we would not be able to consume.  And because of this, they are not healthy for us to eat.  While this makes perfect sense on the whole, Paleo then proceeds to go into eating massive amounts of meat.  Now I challenge any of you to go out, kill yourself a large cow, skin that thing, and go to town.  Pretty sure you will get insanely sick, and potentially get a lot worse than that.  My point being, the breaking down of foods is needed with the fast majority of them (unless you go straight raw and only eat veggies, fruits and nuts).  Now, I know I, and many others could argue this on and on, and that is fine, I would be happy to.  But for the sake of this post, let's just say that Paleo is controversial in terms of overall health at the least.  In terms of fitness gains, well, I personally know a good deal of people who have had great success with fat loss and performance gains while sticking to a pretty strict Paleo diet.  Cool I say.  If it actually works for a fitness nut, then why not give it a try?  I really don't care too much (I DO care mind you, just not too much) about the science of something if it truly works.

One month of no dairy (easy enough, I don't consume dairy anyway), no grains of any kind, no refined sugar, little to no added sugar, lots of meats (read: animal products), veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds.  During this time I had two moments where I strayed:  My buddies wedding, I had a few extra drinks, my trip down to North Carolina where I had a couple cookies and goldfish crackers in the car.  Besides that, I have been pretty strict.  My personal critic of my plan thus far is that I could get still more veggies in, I could probably cut back on my nuts and olive intake (I am assuming my increase in consumption of those has a lot to do with my decrease/complete neglect of any grains), and I could probably afford to actually make more of my own food.  This last point is something I will be focusing on a lot more as I continue.

What I have come to in terms of me (I need to really strongly state that this is for me, and me alone, others will of course come to different conclusions) is that I need stronger carbohydrates in my diet.  Perhaps I can continue with this plan and really work on getting more veggies mixed in, perhaps I need to work on timing my fruit and protein intake a little better.  I will of course attempt this before I begin to incorporate grains back into my plan.  But, from past experience, when I tried gluten free for a little over three months, I returned to gluten and my performance just sky rocketed like crazy.  I think my body truly responds well to grains in some way shape or form.  My mind says to go ahead and bring in oats, some bread here and there, and some brown rice every now and again.  I will put money on my energy levels going up pretty high, and my numbers increasing like crazy.  I will know for sure in the next month as I continue!

I also consulted with a great nutritionist who gave me some great stuff to work with.  I will save a detailed post on this for next week sometime.

Now, it's off to the woods for a very fun workout with the football guys!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Back East

After some huge success out in CA this weekend, I am back East to continue training, coaching and planning.  The last couple days saw a couple pretty cool workouts with Lindsey and myself:

4 DB deadlift to power clean to thruster 50/25 (performed between each set of the ladder)
10-1 ladder of:
Burpee jump overs (lateral jump over BD's)
Pull ups
Med ball sit ups 12/10

This one took me 16:36 and Lindsey 16:58.  This was very, very tough.  We performed it in the hotel gym and when we were done, we were drenched, and so out of breath our lungs felt like they were on fire.  The cool part about this one was that there was no time to recover at all.  This one is a new favorite, and I know my guys will feel the wonderfulness of this one soon enough!

5/5/5+ at 65%, 75%, 85% of the low 1RM of deadlifts and strict press.  We did this over at the local YMCA in San Mateo, which was tough in terms of equipment, but it workout out great.  We had old iron weights on linoleum floor, so we needed to find ab mats to protect it.  I worked off 435# on the DL and 155# on the press.  Both felt pretty good.  With the DL's I was focusing on the spine stability as best I could, and I am feeling it today (especially after the 6 hours of flights home).  Core, scap and shoulder focus in programming for the next couple months!

Today I throw a quick one together to really burn out the shoulders.  I did 100 push press with 95# for time.  But, every time I broke them up, I did 25 double unders.  Short an sweet, did it in 5:50.

Oly lifting tomorrow with a metcon, and my cousin's coming in for 7 days so I will be rolling out the fitness education like crazy!!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Sunday, July 18, 2010

House Hunting

This post finds me sitting in a hotel room in San Mateo, California, next to Lindsey and going over all the places we have seen in the past two days.  It has been quite the ordeal I must say.  But in the end, we have found a house/condo type thing we are very excited about (let's hope the landlords feel the same way and let us move in!) and, on top of that, have found some potential for my new gym.  Tomorrow we will see yet another house, and another potential gym location, and we are always hoping for the best.  All in all, I can tell that our move to California, while challenging and maybe even a bit insane, will be absolutely awesome!

Ideas have been spinning around in my head like mad, and it's been tough to keep them at bay to stay focused on what is important.  But I know that things are going to take off out here.  This area seems to need a guys like me out here.  Not to sound arrogant or anything at all, I mean that in the sense that there really is nothing out here like what I offer.  There are only a couple CrossFit affiliates along the Peninsula by the Bay, and there are no serious athletic training facilities for the high school and college athletes that I enjoy training.  There is so much potential.  It is beyond exciting.

Amidst our search, we were able to watch the CrossFit Games over the live feed quite a bit.  It was very inspiring to watch those sweet workouts being performed by such incredible athletes.  Blair and Christy both had great performances and I am pumped to know such hardcore people.  I hope to be up there in their ranks this time next year!

So, congrats to them, and all the other competitors who braved three days of blissful torture in from of hundreds of thousands of eyes.  CrossFit is truly growing each and every day to become something very unique and special.  I am visualizing a major change in America thanks to this community, and as stated a few days before, and many times before that, I hope to be a large part of that change. 

Oh, and to all my baseball guys: we are back at it Wednesday.  And with the end of summer ball approaching, you all can expect that the work in The Garage is going to become all the more "fun"!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage


Friday, July 16, 2010

Good Luck At The Games!


Today marks the start of the 2010 CrossFit Games, and while I am a bit bummed out that I can not be there to cheer on all my friends, or, of course, to have potentially competed with them, I want to give a huge shout out to all of them that I know are out there.

Blair Morrison!  After a stellar performance last year, finishing 7th overall, his incredibly inspiring methods to train for this year have lead him all over Europe, finding new and unconventional ways to stay in top shape.  With a 1st place finish at the European Regional, I am sure Blair will have yet another impressive performance this year.  Best of luck buddy!  Looking forward to getting workouts in together when I get out to CA.

Christy Phillips!  After getting closer with Christy through my CrossFit Community Week and the DC's Most Primal Competition, I know first hand just how insane this girl is.  She completely owned her Regional, and I am 100% convinced she is going to turn out something awe-inspiring at the Games this year.

Deepak!  Just a freaking cool dude all around, met him at the SuperFit Games last year, then reconnected at DC's Most Primal.  He'll be competing with his Affiliate team and I know with him as part of the group, they will do damn well.

Lee Knight!  Working with Lee to help get a good at-risk youth program going in DC has been great.  We are underway with the "DC Youth Fitness Coalition" and her drive and in her own fitness and in helping others is a motivation.  Have never worked out with her, but I am convinced she is a beast in the gym, and will help out her Affiliate team immensely.  Good luck!

For those of you who are interested, this year they will be streaming all the events live.  So, if you want to see the best of the best in the fitness world, go check it all out here!

In other news, I have been getting to work a little the past couple day.  Working squat clean form on Wednesday and getting a fun metcon in with sandbags and the TRX.  Yesterday was crazy.  Went out with a couple of my football guys to the Wilson High School football field and did the following:

24 x 60 yard sprint (sub 10 seconds each sprint with 40 second rest between sprints)
This is the fitness test for one of my guys, and I made the requirement to finish in sub-9, which he did in all but 6 of them.  So, I had the punishment:

Football field Suicide:
Sprint 10 yards and back, 20 yards and back, 30 yards and back so on until 100 yards and back.  At the 100 yard sprint, do 6 burpees.  I finished in 4:40, one of the guys promptly lost his lunch at around 40, the other finished in a little over 8 minutes, having dry-heaved about 4 times throughout.  Good times.

Well, then, Lindsey and I hit the CrossFit Total.  I did not expect big things here given the past few days, but Lindsey was pumped up to give it a try, so, why the hell not.  I got 365# on squat, decided to cut it there as I did not want to risk anything, felt very strong with it though.  Got 165# on the press, so slow on improvements here.  I tried something Blair Morrison once told me with 170#, power clean to strict press.  Got so close, I will be trying this method again soon enough.  Got 455# on deadlift and it was bad.  Having deadlifted for speed three days before, and after all that running I knew these would be a little rusty, but I had no interest in risking any injury here, so stopped 15# short of my goal total of 1000.

Lindsey had much the same experience, rough squat, good press, and a very, very shaky 255# (PR) on the deadlift.  This put her 10# away from her goal of 500.

Right now I am in the Las Vegas airport about to catch my next flight to San Jose where Lindsey and I will be looking for a place to live, and I will be looking for a gym!  Expect to get filled in on this process, as well as hear about some of our funky workouts I am planning for the trip.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Random Pain In The Ass

So Monday, right around 9am or so, my sciatic nerve acted up like nothing I have felt before.  It literally knocked me over and I could barely function the remainder of the day.  I told myself that I would roll it out, stretch and what-not, and if it was feeling bad on Tuesday I would go in and check it out.  Needless to say, nothing was wrong Tuesday.  Strange.  So, I stretched it out, and was a little careful on it.

Yesterday Lindsey and I got a late workout in.  Push press, chest to bar pull ups and double unders.  Hm.  My push presses suck.  Like to a point where I just got pissed.  I may have to break off the second round of 5/3/1 and just do a complete shoulder strength focus for a couple months, because if I am truly failing at 205# on a damn push press, I need to get some serious work in.  All the other stuff was fine yesterday, chest to bars felt good, double unders felt strong, and the metcon of 3 rounds of 10 shouldering of a 52# sandbag and 25 TRX knees to chest was a fun one.  Today, I got a 1 second up, 3 second down x 5 deadlift work in, working up to 295# and feeling strong.  The went ahead with some light squat cleans and a fun little ab focus workout.  Tonight I'll get the 10-1 pull ups/push ups ladder in for something quick.

I have been thinking more and more about nutrition and how I am approaching things, and how I choose to help others approach it, and I will be posting up more thoughts on this over the next few days.  I am sold on nutrition being so much more important than most people realize in terms of overall fitness.  I want to learn more, and share more.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Is Fitness Strong Enough?

Over the past couple weeks I have been to a couple different areas of this country that are not necessarily known for their impressive population of fit people.  This has brought on a lot of thinking and conversation for me, as I have some pretty strong reactions to the sight of obese people.  It used to be pure disgust; but it has turned to a deep feeling of depression that people can actually get to be that way.  It is especially difficult for me to handle the sight of a young person who could be tipping the scales at well over 200lbs.  This should just not happen in my eyes.

But my views are perhaps biased.  I surround myself with fitness.  I live in the gym, visit a large number of gyms wherever I go, attend competitions and races, and head outdoors to trails and rocks and rivers where the majority of the people I would probably run into would be pretty fit.  I always say to surround yourself with like-minded people and you will be happy.  And the fact is, I still say that; but that does not mean avoid all other people.  Especially when it is my life's-work to help people in need, people who desire to be fitter and more active. 

There is an epidemic after all.  Despite the impressive growth of CrossFit around the world, the increase in the registration of runs, triathlons and other multi-sport races (warrior dash, urbanathlon etc.), there is still the ongoing problem of un-health in this country.  My question looms strong in my mind all the time: is fitness strong enough to defeat this epidemic of un-health and obesity?

Being so involved in the fitness world, I really do tend to surround myself with like-minded people.  In doing so, the idea that people do not know what CrossFit is, or do not know how to eat properly becomes unbelievable to me.  This is, of course, an ignorant view on my part, and if I truly want to help people make changes in their lives, and get involved in the changing of the world to become fitter and healthier, I need to always keep an objective view on how things are working.

Walking around St. Louis, around small town North Carolina, you tend to get a small sampling of what the majority of this country is actually dealing with.  It was almost impossible for me to eat properly in NC, my choices were fast food and chain restaurants, and I resorted to going into Texas Roadhouse and getting unseasoned chicken breast with two servings of steamed veggies.  They looked at me like I had twelve heads.  The side salad came out, iceberg lettuce with literally 15 croutons (yes I counted) and covered in shredded cheese.  Some salad.  I remembered that the minority are those that go to Whole Foods, and the fancy, often pricey grocery stores to purchase good, real food.  Most people find the need to resort to the cheaper version of things, which generally means packaged, "fake" foods.  But this is a whole different post (one that I am planning, so keep an eye out over the next couple weeks for that one).  What I really am curious about is the idea that with the growing strength of fitness out there, will it be strong enough, powerful enough to overcome the problems in health and fitness this country has let take over?  Will fitness, and those promoting it, be able to reverse this horrible cycle of problems that go from lack of education, to improper eating patterns, to sedentary lifestyles, to sickness and disease, to crazy medications, to obesity and to early death?  Will we be able to become a healthy, active, fit country?

God I hope so.

This post raises an ever-growing concern of mine; something that weighs at my mind every single day, and drives me to do more, help more people, spread the word of fitness as widely as possible.  I have no intention of supplying all my answers here, right or wrong, I simply want to put forth the question to people and perhaps re-ignite that spark under those of us who want to help.  As I prepare for my move out West, I am constantly coming up with new ideas to help people in need; and I truly hope that I can be a part of the grass-roots, perhaps unconscious at the moment, group that will lead this country out of its disgusting habits and on the road to good health.  And, as I always try to get my clients and friends to do: please spread your stories, tell people about your adventures in fitness.  Share your happiness as you challenge yourselves daily.  Do not keep it to yourself, do not hide all that you've learned.  Help someone next to you make a change.  If I can do it, and you can do it, anyone can do it. And you just might be their motivation to start, or to go a little harder, or to spread the motivation on themselves.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Sorry For The Miss

So it's been a few days since the last post, I am aware of that.  I have had so many things I want to write about and each time I sit down to do so, something come up.  So, I plan on two today.  This one, just about the past couple days workouts, and tonight I have a couple things I really want to talk about, things that I've been thinking about for a while now.

So, the past four days had me in the Winston Salem area of North Carolina for a baseball tournament.  My team did not fare too well, losing four games and finishing last of 10 teams.  A bit of a bummer to be honest, but so goes life.  We were able to get a couple workouts in however, the first was a stability and mobility session with a few players on the second day out there.  Nothing too fancy, just lunge work with planks and so on.  Yesterday however, now that was a fun one.  16 people came over to the globo-gym I worked a deal out at.  We all bustled in, warmed up, then split into two groups of 8 athletes.  With a running clock, each athlete performed one exercise for a minute, then quickly transitioned to the next exercise at the end of the minute.

KB Swings 35#
Weighted sit ups 50#
Stability ball planks
Overhead lunges 35#
Squat to press 25#
Farmers walk 45#
Pull Ups

The only exercises that truly mattered was the burpees.  Each team had a running count, and the team with the most burpees won.  I think the final score was: Team 1 - 159ish, Team 2 (my team) - 161ish.  That was fun.

Then, almost the entire team (and I was very happy to see this happen), ran back to the hotel.  And this was no easy run.  At about 2.5 miles, it had an absolutely brutal climb right off the bat.  The, rolling hills along the main roads all the way back.  And, it was easily in the 90's with an insanely high percentage of humidity going on.  Most of us jumped directly into the pool when we got back, it was great!

Now home, after a 6 hour drive that began at 6am, I am going to chill by the pool, reading up on my fitness magazines and non-profit starting info books, then catch a movie with Ori.  A chill Sunday.  Tomorrow Lindsey gets to town, and I know we are going to get some damn good workouts in.  Thinking CrossFit total on Wednesday, see how the 5/3/1 fared on the first go-round.  But I have some fun metcon ideas that will get us outside and being extremely innovative!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Monday, July 5, 2010

Back From St. Louis

Over the July 4th weekend I was out in St. Louis for my buddy Shawn's wedding.  It was as good time, all over the place, what with helping out and such, and I was happy to be a part of it.

Sunday, being the birthday of the great old US of A, we went on over to Busch Stadium to check out a Cardinals games, then explored St. Louis a little while people began filling the parks and streets for the fireworks bash.  It was fun walking around a new city, people watching and taking it all in.  After a while, Lindsey and I headed back to our hotel to have a quiet dinner.  We were excited to see the fireworks from our hotel window, so we sat and enjoyed the view, it was pretty cool.

Today, I was back to working out hard!  Had back squats, and was able to get 315 for 8 reps, that felt very good.  Then later on, hit the woods with my friend Michael Donovan for an awesome workout.  It's a little complicated to explain what we did, so you guys can check it out on the video when I edit it up.  It was fun though, except for forgetting to bring gloves while hoisting a heavy sandbag up the side of a bridge with a very thin rope.  Both our hands are destroyed right now.

Looking forward to a workout filled week!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Getting Fithy

It was Friday Fun-day at The Garage today as I had to consolidate all my baseball guys into one session so I could get to the airport in time for my flight to St. Louis.  I'm headed out to my old college roomie's wedding!

But before I hit the air, I had a little fun.  5/3/1 strict press to start.  Felt very strong and was able to get 135 for 7.  Still not making very good progress with this stuff, but making small gains as I go, and I will take those any day!  Then, inspired by Lindsey and her workouts up at Albany CrossFit, I decided it was about time to hit the "Filthy Fifty".  The first, and if I recall correctly, only time I have ever done this, must have been about 3 years ago with Blair Morrison.  We both got in the mid-20's for time, and neither of us could handle the double unders, had to do singles, we were so done after that.  We have both made some pretty decent gains since then for sure.  So, I came into this with the goal of sub-20.

The Filthy Fifty is a staple CrossFit WOD that is generally a perfect example of a chipper.  It is 10 exercises at 50 reps of each; done for time.

Box jumps (24")
Jumping pull ups
KB swings (1 pood)(I used 44#, not sure about poods still...)
Walking lunges (50 steps)
Knees to elbows
Push press (45)
Back extensions
Wall ball (20)
Double unders

Here's why I like this WOD: it is sneaky hard.  At first glance, it seems a bit "easy", with the jumping pull ups and light push presses and such.  But if you take a very close look at it, or, just do it, you'll find that it taxes the body perfectly.  Each exercise makes the next one just a little bit harder because of the muscles that get worked.  The most noticeable is moving from back extensions to wall ball, just tough.  Burpees and double unders at the tail end is all around rude, but makes this the wonderful workout that it is.  I was able to pull out 19:55, and know exactly what got me.  Knees to elbows and burpees.  They were…um, fun.

Once I got my head about me after finishing that up, I wrote out a partner workout for the big group coming in.  Here's what they did:

Each group picked a weight, between 20-50lbs, just a single weight.  They had to perform the total reps in total as a team.

800 meter run (with weight)
1500 meter row
100 squat to presses (with weight)
100 sit up
100 push ups
100 lunges (with weight)
100 russian twists (with weight)
100 pull ups
50 swings (with weight)
50 weighted jumps (obviously with weight)
50 unweighted jumps

They all started with the run, passing the weight back and forth when they felt they wanted to.  Then, they had to perform the exercises, in any order.  That means, one of them could do all the sit ups while the other does all the lunges, or, they could trade off when they felt like it.  I did this for two reasons: one, to beat them up a little before they lounged around for the 4th of July.  And two, to make them communicate and use their heads while under a high amount of stress and fatigue.  This proved very interesting.  A couple of them mis-communicated their transitions and found themselves waiting at the end for the other to finish one thing so they could jump in.  The groups that planned it out together, and kept talking throughout, they got great times and finished at the top.

Had a fun time with that one and would love to incorporate that more, even into my own programming is at all possible.  I think it's a great idea to work the mental side of fitness whenever you can.  And I don;t mean just the "fight through the pain" mental aspect.  But the planning, the pacing and the communication with training partners.

I'll be getting some exciting outdoor workouts with Lindsey and whomever feels like joining over the weekend, so keep an eye out for those!

Happy 4th of July weekend!!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pulling More Weight

Yesterday was deadlift day for most of The Garage followers, and we had some impressive numbers.  Proving the 5/3/1 program really is effective, Steve was able to pull 325# off the ground 3 times, after struggling for a single with that weight just two months ago!  I got 4 reps at 410# and felt very strong with the form on this one; something I have been paying closer and closer attention to as I get into heavier weights.

The real fun came in with the metcon for the day.  I got out a good sized tire, hooked climbing rope to it and wrote this one up:

3 rounds of (rest 90 seconds between rounds):
25 meter tire pull
50 meter barbell overhead carry

This was an all out effort workout.  Non of the weights were all that heavy (I used 135, most guys used 95, some guys used 75), so the times per round were about 28-38 seconds.  But it was fun.  One of those unconventional enough workouts that leaves everyone gassed, but smiling like crazy afterwards.  Big fan of this one.

Today will be some agility work, then tomorrow is going to be about as innovative as I can get.  I am leaving midday to head to St. Louis for a wedding, so I have to consolidate all my baseball guys from three groups into one.  With 200 square feet of space, having 15+ people at one time is a bit crazy.  So, Friday Fun-day is about to get extremely "fun".  It's about time these younger guys get a feel for the outdoor style of crazy workouts I enjoy so much!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage