Saturday, October 30, 2010

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead...

Me as Batman...go Halloween!
Well, still have not gotten any better.  My seep last night totaled about 3 hours or so, and thanks to that I made the intelligent decision to take a "rest" day.  At this point I am aware of most of the reason why I am not sleeping, and perhaps knowing this will help me figure out ways to work through them.  I was able to hang out with my friend JP for a bit, also went back to the Marine Corps Marathon expo to get my dad a wind breaker (they didn't have it...go figure), then off to the store to get food for dinner, which ended up being way too late in the end so I'll save it for tomorrow's monster cookout (Courageous Meals 5 is on its way!).

Perhaps tomorrow I will get a little some strength work in, but what I do know will happen is joining my good friend Jeff for a few barefoot miles along the Marathon.  Then it's to the grill to cook up a feast.

Now, in my tired, whipped, slightly-uncertain-as-to-what's-going-on-for-some-weird-reason state, I'll have a little bit of pumpkin pie (read: a LOT) and watch a little TV before I head to sleep.  Exciting I know.

Apologies for the depressing post, I hope my regularly uplifting posts trump the one in a million crummy posts I put up.  But even a positive fitness nut has his down days.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

F*&k That

Well the irony of yesterdays post and today's workout is overwhelming.  I came up with a good upper body dominant metcon to do post max effort strict presses, and I joined a group of ten wonderful fitness geeks at CrossFit Balance for the fun.

50 double unders
5 muscle ups
20 push press 95#
50 double unders
5 muscle ups
20 KB snatch 1.5 pood (each arm)
50 double unders
5 muscle ups
20 toes to bar

Last week I did a fun metcon with 15 total muscle ups, got all them with ease.  Last month I strung up the rings at Coyote Point Park and banked out 20 muscle ups with only 2 misses.  Today was a different monster.  Flew through the first set of double unders, banged out 2 straight muscle ups, then 1, then...nothing.  I missed 10 straight, giving each and every attempt my all.  After those first three, the remaining 12 in the workout all came in very, very messy fashion with more struggle than I ever imagined I would put into that move.  Everything else was fine, I got the push presses in a blaze of efficiency, same with the KB snatches (I actually surprised myself at how fast I got through those), and the toes to bar went unbroken as well.  But, despite the satisfying speed with which I flew through the other movements, I ended up with the slowest time of the entire group, 24:18.  I KNOW this is a sub-10 minute workout.  I KNOW I can get all those muscle ups unbroken.  I gave every single attempt everything I had, and I mean everything, and I just did not have it in me today.  GOD WAS THAT SO DAMN FRUSTRATING!

After sitting there for about 2 minutes, I went about hanging out and catching up with all my good East Coast friends, then headed back home and out to dinner with trainer friend Jim and good friend Bob and his partner Jonathan, it was great to catch up and spend time with them.  Now I feel in good spirits, have great energy, am looking forward to tomorrows workout, but still, through all this, I have no reasonable explanation as to why I failed like I did.  I will make a guarantee right now: I will string up my rings Wednesday of this coming week and bang out a muscle up metcon and it will be the polar opposite of what just happened.  So strange, so annoying, but so much a part of working out and life.

Builds character.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Thursday, October 28, 2010


This morning I went into my old stomping grounds at Balance Gym to get my max effort front squats in.  I felt very strong, and (using kilograms) got to 135 without any issues.  But anything more than that just crushed me.  I was so frustrated because I wanted to break that 300# mark (135 is 297#) and I just could not do it.  While thinking about what to write for my next post, I was going over how distracted I was going into the lifts.  I had old friends around, catching up, talking, smiling and so on, and I was just not focused, much like the past couple sessions at CP.  I then proceeded to look over my posts for the past month or so and noticed a pretty obvious theme throughout: I was not working at my potential, and I was coming up with a lot of excuses. 

I can not believe I have been sounding like this for so long.  The way I normally think about an exercises is: if I was not able to perform is is because I was not prepared enough to perform it.  There should be none of this "there were too many people around", "it was too late at night", "I slept wrong" and so on.  I should be at the level now where if I feel as though I am not prepared for a lift or exercise, I should re-work my programming to make sure I am prepared.  There is no point in doing something I know I should not be doing.  I need to focus on things more!

Here's what it should look like, and the way it will look from today on:  when I approach the bar, the weight, the starting line, whatever it is, I will empty my mind of anything that does not promote executing the event I am committing to at that moment.  If there is a thought of doubt, a fleeting idea of what I might want to cook for dinner or that I'm too tired to do this, if there is a person next to me wanting to chat, or a TV or radio playing something I really want to see or listen to, I push it all away for that moment.  I will step away, take away those thoughts, ask the people to respect my need to workout, turn off the TV and get focused.  I am re-committing myself to getting after it the way I need to if I actually want positive change.  Nothing will stand in my way of getting better this week, this day, this hour, this moment.  There is always time to talk, to goof off, to listen to music and watch TV; but that time is not before a lift, before a metcon, before a run or before a challenge.

Now don't get me wrong, this is not me saying that you need to be that negative stereotype CrossFitter, vomit dripping from the side of your mouth, blood mixing with your sweat as you scream and curse your way though a workout.  No, in fact, please, please do anything in your power to NOT be that person.  What a pain in the ass that person is!  Smile when a workout is completed, slap hands and give hugs, even if you didn't achieve a PR or get exactly the time or weight you wanted.  Take it seriously because it's what you love to do, because when you get ready to do your thing, there is nothing in the world you would rather be doing.  Focus on your exercises because at that moment there is nothing else that matters but you and the workout.  Embrace the joy of the struggle to lift the weight and reach that finish line. 

I am re-committing myself to the love of fitness.  I am focused now.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Running and Pushing

In the morning, I slipped my Vibrams on and left for what I was guesstimating would be about 6 miles worth of running.  Turned out to be 7 miles on the nose, and I did it in 1:04.  That is almost exactly a 9 minute mile.  My goal for the half marathon Lindsey and I are doing on the 7th is between 8 and 8:15 minute miles, so, gonna have to step it up a notch.  I felt good the whole time though, and I think I just cruised along, thinking about programming, business growth and other weird things that always seem to run through my head as I run (I come up with so many ideas when running, both good and bad...).  I am pretty confident I'll be able to get my goal time for the 13.1 miles in San Fran, but, not too stressed about it, just expecting a good Sunday morning with a whole slew of people who like to run around and challenge themselves.  And I love doing active things with Lindsey, so, it's all around perfect!

On to my PM workout.  I spent most of the day getting stuff done around the house and prepping for classes to start up in less than a week (as well as having a late breakfast with Brendan, owner of CrossFit San Mateo, great, great guy!).  So, my workout ended up being at around 6:30pm, much later than I am used to, and pretty tough to get into the mood when all I want to do is lie down and chill for the evening.  But, part of being prepared for anything is not always working out at the same times, so, here's to GPP!

4, 4, 4, 4 push press

4 rounds for time of:
3 handstand push ups
4 left and right and forward box jumps (jump to an 18" box to your left, then the same to your right, then a 30" box in front of you for one rep)
5 max height ball throws 20# (underhand throw the thing as high as freaking possible!)

Not a bad outing.  I again got a little interrupted with talking to people as they came in, and this time it did nothing but take what little energy I had away from me.  I ended up not doing a 4th set of push presses, finishing with some decent reps at 205#.  The metcon was actually pretty easy on the whole.  The HSPU's were rough, but I was able to get them all in (with a 10# bumper and abmat to limit my range of motion...).  The jumps and ball throws were a pretty cool addition.  With this focus of getting all planes working in my programming, I new adding the lateral box jumps before the explosive forward jump would be a great agility builder.  The max height ball throws helped with exerting maximal power into a lighter weight, which will assist the Olympic lifting, and also is so functional in the sense that the human body must be able to move all manor of weight quickly.  While it was easy enough, having me finish in 5:32, it was just the type of challenge for today, post long run and heavier push presses.

Up early tomorrow to get max effort front squats, then it's off to the airport to head back east.  For those of you who have not heard yet (and are part of my DC area crew!), I'll be doing a workout at Balance Gym Thomas Circle at 4pm on Friday, please come on by and workout and hang with us!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Damn, No PR...

My New Home!
Today, feeling damn good and ready to get after these max effort power cleans, I went into CP to get the job done.  Building up to this, I had a bit of an adventure picking up my old bike case at the lululemon store in San Fran, then off to find some stadium stairs to run.  I tried Skyline College, no good, so I went off to the side of the school to get a steep hill to run, and would you believe it, the one area I look had nothing good and steep.  I ended up running/walking about a mile and a half around the outskirts of the school looking for a short steep hill and when I found nothing, I just went back home.

Over at CP, I got a heavy duty warm up in because my legs are seriously lacking in recovery thanks to my horrible ability to sleep.  Then I loaded up the bar and got after it.  Worked comfortably up to 255# where I proceeded to fail 4 times before sloppily getting under it.  Ugh!  I then got 260# on the bar, unenthusiastically, and tried it out twice.  Nothing.  So damn frustrating.  I KNOW I can get that, and more; the weight gets all the way up to my upper chest, I just do not have the technique to get under the damn bar.  Along with my beyond troubling snatch form, I officially need desperate help on all Olympic lifts!
Another View

My metcon was so much fun!  50 reverse burpees, 50 toes to bar and 50 Russian twist ball slams.  I got this in 12:32, which was a little slower than I wanted, but I did actually engage in two separate short conversations in the middle of the workout.  Totally fine with that though, people expressing interest in what i am doing means nothing but good things for the future of my company here, so, I was more than happy to oblige.  It was cool to have a huge group of high school basketball players in there, watching in sheer confusion and eagerness as to what I was doing.  Pretty cool.

I finished up with 3 rounds of 100 meters 1-arm farmers walk (50 meters one arm, 50 the other), the 30 seconds of an L-sit, and then 10 1-arm overhead lunges (10 steps each arm).  Pretty straight forward stuff, and great to get some unilateral work in.  I felt very solid and balanced with some pretty heavy lads, and I know this will support my hopeful strength gains.  I will speak a bit more on the benefits of unilateral work in a later post.  All good things.

Oh, and here's a video from the other days muscle up workout.

Then spent the rest of the evening hanging up flyers around town.  Time to get the word out!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Go Giants

Yesterday was a huge day out here in the Bay area, and I was damn happy to be a part of the big happenings.  I had my friend Jake in from Vegas and we headed to the City to check out Alcatraz and to hang out for a bit.  The weather was brutal, and when we hopped off the train, it was straight pouring rain.  We figured what the hell and went off on the ferry for The Rock anyway. Good times all around, and the cold wind and rain actually added to the creepiness of the place.  Jake snapped off that "look at me I'm a typical CrossFitter" picture of me above, in the solitary confinement cells.

We then found a cab (after about an hour of searching for one...) and set off to find a cool Mexican place I had read about.  On the way though, I contacted my buddy Mike from college, and it turned out he was watching the game at a buddys house about a mile from where we were.  So, we changed course and met up with them.  This proved to be the best decision of the day!  Mike and his friends were INSANE Giants fans, and watching this awesome game with them was so much fun.  When Wilson snuck in a back door slider to catch Howard looking for the strike out and the final out, sending the Giants to the World Series, the room went ballistic.  The remainder of the night, wandering about the city, things were boiling over in celebration.  It was such an uplifting thing to be surrounded by, so much positive energy and emotion.  What a night!

And to rewind a little.  Earlier in the day, Lindsey, Jake, Jake's brother, girlfriend and friend all joined me for a workout at CP (that's what I'll be calling the new space until I can come up with a better name).  I wanted to do something basic enough, but still tough with some heavier weights and unique conditioning, and I wanted overhead squats in the mix.

5 rounds for time of:
10 overhead squats 115#
10 pull ups
10 broad jumps 6'
10 half moons 52#

Got everything unbroken as I went, but felt like I may have taken too much time on the half moons and on transitions between rounds.  I finished at 12:35.  Jake's brother is a CrossFitter, and tore up the workout in about 17, the rest of the group did modified versions or their own thing.  All around it was a good time, and was real fun to work out with a decent sized group.

Today was an off day for me, I joined Lindsey while she did deadlifts and strict presses.  My focus was a good solid foam roll session, then some shoulder support work, nothing tough or challenging, just goofing off with different moves and holds.  So pumped for 1RM work on my Max Effort training this coming week, AND, I will be making my way across the country at the end of the week; more on that tomorrow or Tuesday.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Friday, October 22, 2010

Yay, Sarcastic Post Time!

I got a PR!  Zippididooda!  Max Effort strict press and I got 175#!  Absolute BEAST baby!  Yeah, if you have read any number of my posts you know that my complete downfall are the shoulders.  I have been focusing on them to obnoxiously slow gains for some 2.5 years now and it's so not cool.  Today, after testing my strict press 1RM well over a year ago at 165#, then getting 170# about 8 months ago, I was able to up it another 5 pounds!

Now, don't get me wrong, in my eyes any gain is a gain I am legitimately happy about.  And what actually makes me mildly smile about it is that I have been struggling so badly with this damn area for so long, so it's nice to see something actually paying off a little.  But come on!  10 total pounds in almost two years!  I have made gains 10 times that in almost every single aspect of my physical body in the past 6 months, seriously.

Good god, and I'll throw an "oy" in there for good measure.  How slow my shoulders are to figure this whole "it's actually pretty cool to be strong" thing.  I guess the only thing I can do is:  Keep working hard, keep trying new things, and keep hoping for the gains to hit me.

After failing at 180# (a weight I SHOULD be repping for 5 or more), then attempting and failing 175# again, I called it a day on those and moved on to my metcon:

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 muscle ups w/
50, 40, 30, 20, 10 air squats and
10, 20, 30, 40, 50 double unders

This was a cool one.  Goal was around 5 minutes, and I was purely focusing on getting those muscle ups.  Which I did!  got all rounds unbroken except for, um, the round of 1.  I failed.  But quickly jumped back up and got it.  I think the focus on getting those made me move kind of slowly through the squats, and I only noticed this around the round of 30, and then just started banging them out like I know I can do.  The double unders went well after the first round.  Yeah, the round of 10 actually had me tangled in the rope 3 times!  I finished in 7:20 and felt good all around.  I know over a minute could be shaved off if I went after the squats and double unders right from the start.  I'll probably do a modified version of that pretty soon, it was great. 

I skipped the supplemental work after because Lindsey and I had spent the 4+ hours before bringing all my equipment over to the gym.  We had had a good breakfast at around 8am, a coffee at around 11.  That, was, it.  Well hey!  Maybe if I had a good lunch and was properly fueled I would have pushed up 180#?!!  Totally, that was the issue.  I'll get it next week.

My buddy Jake is in town from Vegas, so I will try to get the video from today up, along with some pictures of the new spot tomorrow.  I make no guarantees though.  Schmoozing with volleyball parents at the gym and a solid workout in the AM, Alcatraz visit, Giants/Phillies and Brock Lesner fight in the PM.  Good times.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rest Day

For those of you like me, we all need to be sure to take a day off now and again.  And I don't mean one of those days where you go for a nice jog, maybe hit the pool for a little, and work on some of those weaknesses you've been neglecting.  What I mean is a full on off day, hang around and catch up on work, watch a movie, take a long nap, cook an awesome meal, that sort of off day.  

So, ran a few errands, designed a flier for my Burlingame, CA fitness take-over, watched a bunch of Hulu shows and wandered over to pick up a big van/truck to get all my equipment to 1st String Athletics tomorrow.

Here's to recovery folks!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

AnywhereFit Reader Challenge Submission

Today's double dip started off with a journey into the hills just south of San Francisco.  My buddy Blair Morrison started a readers workout challenge last month, and I wanted to get in on this months fun: do a workout at a monument.  So, I searched around and ultimately found this sweet one where the San Francisco Bay was first discovered.  I drove up to Skyline College, searched around for about 15 minutes until I finally found the trail head.  Then 2.5 miles, and some crazy hills later I arrived at the site.  Standing about 20 meters apart, on a large, flattened out ridge, was two monuments.  One was basically a large rock, seen bellow.

The other was this one!

I was feeling the trek up there a little, so I decided to keep it simple with the workout and chose to run back and forth between the two of them, climbing to the top of each ten times through.  Forgot to time it, but I would say it took about 6 minutes or so.  It was a great time, and the crazy fog added this eery feel throughout the entire trip.  After the workout, I jogged most of the way back to the car and headed back home.  Check out the video: 

Later on in the day I went for my Max Effort front squats and was feeling very good.  With the knowledge that I am all out maxing next week, I held back a hair to work on form and really feeling every aspect of the lift.  Got 285# on the final set and felt very, very good with it; I am hoping to get this over 300 next week which, given my crappy history with front squats, would be awesome!  I then hit a short metcon of 5 rounds of 1 bear complex at 95# (power clean, front squat, thruster, back squat, thruster) and 5 box jumps at 30".  This was quick as expected, but my legs just got to burning real fast.  I finished in 2:18, perfect workout for the days work.  Finished off the day with 3 rounds of 10 good mornings (worked up to 125# and felt good) and extreme leg raises (lie on a bench, let your legs hang off the end, then lift them and your back off the bench reaching your legs as high as possible before returning them to the ground.  The idea is to keep your torso and legs rigid the entire time, freaking hard).  Here's the video from that workout:

A good days work that leads into a well-deserved rest day tomorrow.  I will be bringing equipment to my new space and snapping off some pics to post up, so check that exciting stuff out tomorrow!  So pumped to have a space!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

A Quick One

After making the official steps to open Courage Performance here in Burlingame, I hit some heavy power cleans and then a short metcon.  Got 255# very cleanly, but then failed three times at 265#.  I was pretty bummed out about that, but I know I'll end up getting that next week, I just feel it!  The metcon was a quick 5-1 ladder of handstand push ups and KB snatches with 63#.  I got it in just under 5 minutes, and know this is a sub-2 minute one if I could actually do HSPU's!  Check out the video HERE.

Today I got my first workout in at 1st String Athletics.  I did 4 rounds of 6 reps of push press, getting up to 195# on my already sore shoulders.  Then I moved on with a quick 10-1 ladder of pull ups and push ups (got 3:01).

Have some fun planned for tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.  And, if you have yet to read about the news, check out the post below!  Burlingame is about to become a damn fit city!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Courage Performance Has A Home!

Courage Performance (the athletic training company powered by CrossFit) is officially opening up its highly unique and effective training methods out of the volleyball-based performance center 1st String Athletics.  Courage Performance's introduction will take place at a huge open house on October 24th (from 9 to around 3ish).  I will be there offering CrossFit demo training (11-11:30am), along with a few fun challenges that are sure to get the blood and muscles pumping (all day)!  After that, classes will start up on November 1st.

An introductory package is being offered to anyone wanting to give this fun workout program a try: over the months of November and December, we will be offering a total of 54 classes.  You can attend as many of these as you want for only $350.  Here are the class times:




I have some very grand plans over the course of the next six months for Courage Performance and CrossFit Courage.  We expect classes to fill up very quickly given the effectiveness of the training, and the need for this wonderful fitness community in the Burlingame area.  Expect many new times to start up soon, and please send in your requests for times that would work best for you!  We will add them according to demand.

On to my personal thoughts.  I am beyond excited to get things going here in Burlingame, and it makes it that much better knowing that I will be running my company from such a wonderful facility.  1st String Athletics is a non-profit center that offers coaching for teams and camps, along with athletic training at a damn affordable price to anyone and everyone, and that fits directly in line with everything that I believe in.  With no CrossFit, and nothing like my training methods offered anywhere in the greater Burlingame area, this announcement could not come at a better time.  All you need to do is walk into this place and you will instantly feel your heart rate rise with excitement over the potentially awesome workouts that could take place.  The space is cavernous, the ceilings seem endlessly high.  Collegiate level squat racks and Olympic platforms with top of the line bumpers and a vast collection of everything you could possibly imagine to lift, throw, push, pull and climb cover the massive rubber flooring.  And to top it all off, two full-sized basketball courts and a massive upstairs studio top off the place making it the most deal training location for anyone.

I am moving all my equipment in and putting together the necessary changes to the website over the course of this week, so be sure to stay tuned for pictures and programming concepts.  Just know that this site will stay pretty much the same as it is now.  The daily workout can be seen just to the right, and clicking on the "workout archive" will take you to the, well, workout archive.  Clicking on the location and pricing links above will supply some more information as well, and pretty soon you will be able to register for training directly through this site.

And you better believe it folks, some exciting events will be taking place before you know it.  So all you West Coasters, come check it out, and all my old East Coasters, get your trip out here planned soon!  So much more to come over the next few weeks!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Monday, October 18, 2010

Courageous Meals - 4

Garlic Crock Pot Pork 
w/ Sauteed Green Beans and Mushrooms, and Sweet Potato

 This meal was planned for a while ago, and we got to it on Sunday in typical fashion: a little unknown and slightly "winged" if you know what I mean.  Lindsey based the pork of a recipe, but it was still pretty personalized, so we just did not know what to expect.  Turned out awesome!  But make sure the windows are open or something, the smell will be strong enough to kill a few vampires.  Trust me though, it tastes so good.

  • 1 pound pork shoulder
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Black pepper
  • 3/4 cups red wine
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 heaping tbsp corn starch (for sauce, not required)
  • 2 handful green beans
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp balsamic dressing
Start off by cutting your onion into long pieces, or just keep them in their natural circular form.  Then crush up all but one of the garlic cloves.  Take the one remaining clove, cut little slits around the pork and place small pieces of garlic into the slits and then rub a very thin layer of black pepper over the meat.  Load up half the onion into the crock pot, then place the meat in as well.  Pour 1 cup of water over it, then pour the wine and soy sauce over it as well.  Next add the crushed garlic over the meat, and the remaining onion.  Cover, turn on low, and go about your day.

About 4 hours later (give or take depending on your crock pot of course) grab the rest of the ingredients and get to work on them.  Rip the ends of the green beans off while heating up a pan on the stove over medium heat.  Then add about a tsp of extra virgin olive oil to the pan before dumping your green beans and mushrooms into it.  Mixing them around constantly, add your balsamic dressing (make sure to watch your arms as this will sizzle and spatter a bit).  Add small amounts of water if you feel as though anything is burning, but just keep the veggies moving about the pan for a good 10 minutes before plating them.

Remove the pork and onions from the crock pot, and dump the juice into a bowl.  Add the corn starch to the juice and stir for a minute or two.  Cut the pork up how you please, plate it next to the green beans, drizzle the sauce over it, pour a nice glass of water (or red wine if you please), and boom, there you go!

Lindsey and I added a small sweet potato to our meal as well.  We did this very quickly by forking a few holes in them and setting them in the microwave for about 8-10 minutes.  We added our soy butter and it was wonderful.  We had wanted to make sweet potato fries but completely forgot!  Do what you will of course.


Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Evening Workout

Because of Lindsey's brutal travel schedule forcing her to the airport tomorrow at like 5:30am, she did her strength work tonight.  And me being the nut-job who hates to sit around and do nothing while someone else is getting all this wonderful exercise in, I just HAD to find something to do!

20-15-10-5 of:
Power snatch 75#
Lateral jump overs 20"
Pull ups
GHD sit ups
Row (kCal)

This turned out to be a little harder than I thought; I also ended up adding about 2 or more minutes in total just trying to deal with the different obstacles.  First, the pull ups on the door-mounted bar was just about impossible for any legit sort of kip, and I smacked my head on the garage door treads three times during the first round making myself a bit nervous throughout with the exercise.  And second, I had to navigate through a pretty tight squeeze to get to the GHD.  No worries at all though, I just wanted to get the heart rate up and the muscles pumping, and it did the trick.

Besides the breaks on pull ups and the GHD maze, and a few botched jumps on the lateral jump overs, everything went real fast.  The lateral jumps were without a doubt the most fatiguing, but I was slowly able to get them all without any serious breaks.  I finished in 15:09.

After the workout, Lindsey and I went up to chow down on a wonderful meal that will be posted up as Courageous Meals 4 tomorrow, so make sure to check back for that one!  Oh, and I should have a video on the workout up either tonight or tomorrow morning.

I have a ton of sweet workouts planned for this coming week, along with a couple insightful posts on some cool topics.  And finally, that wonderful announcement should be coming within the next few days!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We Are Filthy!

Lindsey lunging away back at The Garage in MD

Todays wonderful challenge for Lindsey and myself:  The Filthy Fifty.  We both did this one back in July and both of us wanted to get a little better (as anyone should of course).  My last score was 19:55 and I remember being pretty pumped about getting a sub-20 time there.  I was so spent!  This time around, we had a couple different things to deal with: first was my awesome new plyo box that has  three-height capabilities (Lindsey hates it, I love it, we'll see how it holds up when I get classes going), next was our crummy little door mounted pull up bar that we had to use for jumping pull ups and knees to elbows.  It worked fine, but it was a little awkward.
My new Plyo Box!

"Filthy Fifty"

For time:
50 Box jump, 24 inch box
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double unders

Started off strong with the box jumps, stringing them together with ease.  Except for a miss-jump around 25, I did them all unbroken, AND, I think I actually did 60 of them.  Oh well.  Everything went well after that, until the knees to elbows.  These got me big time before, and I tried to focus in by stringing 10 or so together at a time, then keeping my breaks as short as possible.  This helped a ton!  Usually when I break from K to E's, I propel my body forward off the bar because that's the direction I am moving.  This leads to me taking a few steps away from the bar before turning around and getting back to work.  I think I probably saved about 3-5 seconds per break here, so I ended up probably saving over a half a minute in total, pretty sweet.  Push presses and back extensions just flew by unbroken, and wall balls felt fine (I dogged these a little, breaking them up three times when I knew I did not have to).  Then came the dreaded burpees.  I actually saved all my time on these, banging out 15 right off the bat, then getting 10, then 20 (!) and finally 5.  Last time I think I got like 10's and 5's throughout.  Yeah, totally faster this time.  And the double unders I got in two quick rounds giving me a finishing time of 18:05!  Very happy with that time, especially seeing how I felt like I was not at max effort.  I got more in me!  Yeah, and Lindsey tore up her last time by about 10 minutes!  Freaking ridiculous.

Now off to ensure the Rangers don't screw it up again, and cheer Lincecum and the Giants over those damn Phillies (sorry KG!).

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Friday, October 15, 2010

Come On Shoulders!

Today my workout called for Max Effort shoulder presses and a fun little metcon I based off a workout Lindsey I did with Blair Morrison when we stopped by his place on our way to our new home.

5, 5, 5, 3, 3, 3 strict press

5 rounds for time of:
5 walk outs (with 3 hands off ground push ups each walk out)
25 double unders

Then I got a little support work in as my cool down:

3 sets of 10 each:
Good mornings with scapular retraction to press
Cable stability press
Heavy lateral raises

I need some major help!  My shoulders are just about the most frustrating things I have had t deal with over the past year, and they are not getting any better at all.  I worked up to 155# (a weight I should be pressing for 5+ reps) and was only able to get 2.  I got the same for my final set and it was an absolute struggle to get those 2 reps.  How the hell do I get these things stronger?  I have tried so much and am at a complete loss as to how to get them up to par with the rest of my body.  Good lord it is damn annoying to work your butt off and ultimately never get anywhere.  I NEED to get 185# in the somewhat near future, NEED to!

The metcon was a good one, especially after the pressing, I was able to get it in 5:43.  I'm sure a 5ish minute finish would be a great time, and I was good and spent after this one.  But still had some good energy to get that supplemental work in.  Hoping the added shoulder support work will help to get that press up...

After a handful of more insightful posts, I'm keeping this one short and sweet.  But, still have this sweet announcement coming super soon, and I am excited to share with everyone what's about to happen out here!  Stay tuned...

Never Stop, GET FIT

Josh Courage

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Courageous Meals - 3

Gluten/Dairy Free Pizza with Veggies and Chicken
(w/ Melon and Prosciutto Appetizer)

Lindsey wanted to do this a bit ago and I absolutely love the idea of making good, healthy pizza (I even hosted a make-your-own-pizza party a while back)This one took it to a whole new level, even the dough is from scratch.  For you Paleo-nuts, this is not for you, the crust is grain (but not gluten) based, and we added rice cheese to it as well.  I know it is possible to make this completely Paleo if you want, with almond and coconut based crust and almond or other types of cheese, but that just was not what we had in mind!  So here you go:

  • 1 package Bob's Red Mill gluten free pizza meal/flour
  • 1 small packet yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 red pepper thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow pepper thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1 small package organic salami
  • 2 andoulle chicken sausage
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 can organic tomato sauce
  • 1 package Galaxy natural Food Rice Cheese shreds
  • Seasonings (salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, oregano, 1 clove garlic)
  • 8 1"x1" cantaloupe cubes
  • 8 slices prosciutto
Start off by mixing the flour, yeast and eggs into a bowl using a wonderful mixer (Lindsey picked this one up the day of this meal!).  Cover the bowl with saran wrap and set aside to let rise for about 10 minutes.

Use this time to chop up your veggies and meats the way you want them (I also cooked up two chicken breasts, seasoned lightly with pepper and cut into thumb-sized cubes) and set aside.  You can also use this time to season up your sauce with a little crushed red pepper and crushed up garlic and put that in a pot over very low heat (make sure you stir this every couple of minutes...).

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and go grab a baking sheet and rub the entire surface with butter (we used soy butter).  Then grab your dough and slowly start to work it over the sheet.  A trick Lindsey found to help keep it together while spreading it is to keep your hands a little wet with water.  We literally covered the sheet, you can make any design you please!  Just remember, the dough will end up shrinking a bit once in the oven.   Slip the dough-covered baking sheet into the oven and set your timer for about 8 minutes.

Take this time to wrap your melons in the wonderful prosciutto.  I skewered mine up to make the presentation a little nicer.  We ended up eating them all as we cooked, so, do what you will!

When the timer goes off, grab your mostly cooked crust from the oven and begin to add your toppings.  Lindsey and I added the same things, I just added a ton more than hers; typical meat-head huh?  We put a thin layer of sauce, then individually added the spinach.  Next came the salami, then the rest of the veggies.  Everything was topped off with the sausage (I added some chicken as well) and then the rice cheese was liberally sprinkled on top.  Slip the whole shebang back in the oven for another 16 or so minutes.  Perhaps a good time to pour a glass of nice red wine...

When your timer goes off, or your pizza looks about as done as you'd like it, pull it on out, cut in any manner you chose, and chow down!

The dough made ended up being enough to fill the baking sheet twice, so we had pretty much the same meal for lunch the next day.  It is a wonderful feeling to know you are wolfing down some pizza, but with the knowledge that it is YOUR pizza, where every single thing on it is known and perfectly healthy.  Gotta love it!  Hope you enjoy!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Am I Sleeping Enough?

My Nephew Jad

Short answer: no.  Not at all.  And man am I becoming more and more aware of just how important it is that I get more.  Long answer: let me talk briefly about my workout and I'll get right back to it...

Yesterday, my second workout went a little sub-what-I-would-have-liked.  Hitting up the Burlingame High School track, I got a good warm up in, then did 2 x 400 meters and 2 x 800 meters sprints.  My goal was sub-1:10 for the 400's and sub-3:00 for the 800's, and I did not achieve this at all.  Got 1:09 and 1:12 for the first two efforts, then 3:04 and 3:05 on the longer runs.  The worst part of this was that I was so spent that I ended up flailing away to just cross the finish line without slowing down too much.  And because of my lack of control at the end there, I ended up tweaking my knee a little.  We'll see how it feels with front squats and a heavy metcon today...

Back to sleep... Having trained a large amount of super-busy business folk in DC, along with your typical high school and college student during school, I have seen my fair share of people who function on very little sleep.  I have heard people talk about how they need more, others talk about how they are perfectly fine with just 5-6 hours per night, still others claim they literally can not function properly without at least 7 (and they prefer 9 or 10).  I personally have been functioning (notice I did not say functioning WELL there) off around an average of 5-6 hours per night for the past year and I am about at my wits end with it.  Now I know everyone is different, I am more than aware of the need to acknowledge this as a trainer and coach, and have become even more aware as I got focused on the effects of food in peoples lives.  Sleep is no different; I can wake up and train 4 people after only 3 hours sleep.  While I would prefer not to, I have trained myself to adapt to feeling tired and can function relatively well.  But does someone being able to perform normal daily duties on minimal sleep mean it is ok to do so?

Hell.  No.

Having talked to so may people, and having read a few too many articles (a few of them are linked below), it is very clear that stress is the leading reason people do not get enough sleep.  And the tough part of this is that when you combine stress and lack of sleep, you are promoting the release of cortisol in double the dosage.  Cortisol is a hormone that any human interested in being healthy wants to avoid releasing in high/lengthy doses.  It is known as the "stress" hormone as it ends up being secreted during the most stressful times to help the body function better under stress (gives a burst of energy, heightens senses, lowers pain sensitivity).  But, given the fact that we as humans these days love to be stressed all the time, we never allow our bodies to return to a relaxed state, allowing the cortisol to continue running around.  This leads to decreased bone density and muscle mass, increased fat, higher blood pressure and major blood sugar imbalances.  Holy cow!

And to think, all this could probably be avoided if you just got a couple more hours of sleep each night.  But of course this is a lot easier said than done, and believe me, if I had it figured out I would probably win some sort of major prize.  But of course I don't, I need help with this like crazy.  So all I can do is share my ideas and try things out and let everyone know how it works for me, with the hope that it can work for you as well.

Number one goal would be to de-stress in the evening.  I tend to sit in front of the TV and/or computer after dinner for a good long while, and this does nothing but add to my stress (thanks to the overflow of light, electricity, information and changing colors).  I have committed to going for a nice little walk a bit after dinner.  Just stroll around and take in the outdoors, breathing and thinking.  I have not done this enough to know if it works for me, but the idea sounds great.  Other steps I will be taking will be avoiding food for a couple hours before I plan to get into bet, keeping the computer off for at least an hour before I hit the sack, and doing some very light static stretching to relax my muscles.  There are endless ideas for for trying to get better sleep (writing down your thoughts to get them out of your head, praying/meditating, reading, counting so on, so on), and all of them include some form of stress reducing.  So, if you have trouble sleeping, or just think that you don't need sleep like everyone in the world really does, read up a little bit and go get to bed!

I will be re-posting on the topic in a couple weeks to let you all know what I have found in my experimentation.  In the mean time, if any of you have any tricks, share them!

T-Nation Post
Harvard Business Review
American Psychological Association

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This being a month dedicated to raising awareness to an issue that is pretty close to my heart, I have decided to do a short post to remember my mother.

My mom died of breast (and a few other types of) cancer just over two years ago, and not a day goes by where I do not think about what she has done for me and so many others.  She battled an absolutely inspiring battle with cancer, choosing to forgo the typical chemotherapy and radiation route to pursue becoming as healthy as she possibly could, with the mentality that a perfectly healthy body and mind will heal itself of any sickness.  During this journey of hers, she completely changed not only her life, but many lives around her to always choose health and happiness before anything else.  In the end, she died surrounded by her family and friends, and with the knowledge that she truly lived those last years of her life the way she wanted given what she had. 

I miss my mom like crazy.  I miss our conversations, I miss her stubbornness and naivety towards deep, philosophical and religious life views.  I miss her freedom, her simple smile and the easy-going way she walked around the house.  Clearly, I was a mommas boy.

During this month, events are being held, money is being raised, and almost all of it goes to research to help modern medicine find ways to help and cure breast cancer.  This means better medicine, better testing machines and so on.  All I can hope for is that more people can realize that dedicating your life to being healthy and happy will probably do more than any medicine out there.  If some of that money could go to community programs, to food education and stress-reducing, relaxing lifestyles, well shoot man, I am sure things would be better. 

I know my mom would have loved to see more people walking around the woods with a couple family members or friends, laughing and smiling and sharing stories.  Eating good, organic, whole foods, sleeping for hours and reading great books.  Imagine that in contrast to hospitals, pills, billion dollar testing machines, packaged food, alcohol and too much work. 

So instead of just sending in a few buck to support this cause, send in your money, then go get in touch with nature.  Pick a flower, talk to random animals, build a fort, keep your phone and computer and TV off, and share your stories, no matter how "goofy" or "weird" this all might seem.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how good you feel when you live like a child for a day.

And go hug your mom if she's still around.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Am I Eating Enough?

Today's workouts were basic enough:  5 rounds of 8 push presses (got to 165#, felt pretty solid with it), then 4 rounds of 500 meter on the rower (got 1:37, 1:35, 1:36 and 1:37).  Legs felt a little thick, and would like to do that all in sub-1:35, so, gotta row a little more.  But, the running and swimming are more important!  Later on in the day I'm to the track and pool to get yesterdays workout in: 2 x 400, 2 x 800 and 1000 total meters in the pool by any means (posted this up before I went to do that workout, I'll talk about in conjunction with tomorrows fun). 

So, food.  The growing concern for me is whether or not I am actually fueling myself enough.  At this point, I know for sure that I am getting the right kind of nutrients in my system.  I know I splurge a little here and there in terms of carbs and sugars, but nowhere near enough to even begin to worry that I am teetering on un-health.  Quite honestly, my only question is if I am getting enough to fuel my output (I am NOT getting enough sleep, but that is a post for tomorrow!).

I know I could get all scientific, break down my energy output and my calories out, factor in resting and active metabolic rate, post-workout metabolic rate and then factor in the amount of calories I would need to take in for maintenance, weight gain and weight loss in terms of body fat.  But goodness, while I know it is interesting to do all that, I know exactly what I would become if I did (because I have gone through that whole process a few times so far in my life).  I would become this super analytical, nit-picky control freak and my life would be all about numbers which, if you know me, well... me and numbers do not mix.  So what I end up doing, whether this makes sense for most people to do or not, is I take a step back and look at my days food intake, think about it and how I have been feeling, then come to a conclusion.  Luckily I write every single thing I eat down, I have been doing this now for over 6 months and I can not advocate it enough.

So here is what I found:  For the most part I am doing pretty well, but there are probably about 2-3 days a week on average where I will go for an extended time without consuming anything.  Now I know there is this whole concept out there of intermittent fasting (IF), but I'll tell you what, I do not believe in this at all.  The cavemen fasted because they had to, because they had no brontosaurus to eat that day and there was literally nothing there to eat.  I have a fridge full of chicken, veggies and so on and I have no reason to ever be hungry.  It's a matter pf preparation.  I have no doubt that I have the ability to survive off not eating for a few hours, but as a serious athlete, my goal is to survive at a comfortable and personally acceptable level of health.  So, I need to make sure I am always prepared enough to have proper food ready whenever I need it.

Really, besides better preparing myself on a regular basis, the only thing I would change right now is my carb timing; I tend to consume my complex carbs in the evenings.  I think that if I am feeling a need to get some sort of carb-based energy (I go with rice-based crackers, sweet potatoes, oats and flax mostly, I try to stay completely away from gluten), I need to get it in the mornings or afternoons.  Also, I need to rely more on getting my carb fix from eating larger quantities of vegetables.  And, the great thing about veggies, I could just eat and eat and eat those things like nobody's business.  Totally going to add a bit more of that in.

That's how I approach all this, but, perhaps it would be good, if you've never looked at this sort of thing before, to see what the process is like to actually figure out if you are eating enough or too much.  Because of the generalization of some of the factors here, the main key is to be as brutally honest about yourself as you can.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) - 

655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)
66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)

Now, to calculate your Total Metabolic Rate factor in your activity level according to the following:

Sedentary: BMR from above x 20 percent
  • Lightly Active (most professional office work, house work): BMR x 30 percent
  • Moderately Active (exercise most days): BMR x 40 percent
  • Very Active (regular, intense exercise): BMR x 50 percent
  • Extra Activity (hard labor or sports training): BMR x 60 percent
Last, add this new number to your original BMR number.

Now, to understand this correctly, your Total Metabolic Rate (TMR) is the number of calories (extrememly generalized) you burn in an average day.  Quite simply put, all you would need to do is decrease, increase, or stay in terms around 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, so, if want to lose weight, attempt to decrease your caloric intake over one week by 3,500 calories.  To increase, add 3,500 (probably more than this) per week. 

Here is how mine looks:
66 + (6.3 x 205) + (12.9 x 73) - (6.8 x 28) = 2108.8
2108.8 x 60 percent =
Calories I burn in a typical day = 3,374.08

When you go over the figuring-out process, it's really not that hard.  Where it starts to get a bit tedious is when you start weighing and counting your calories each meal.  But, for those of you who have a difficult time eye-balling your caloric intake, and whether or not you are eating too much or too little; I would highly reccomend giving the obsessive tracking a go for about a month so you can educate yourself on how all this actually works in practice.  Then, keep your food journal and just eat good food, on a regular basis, and don't overdo it.  Simple right?

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day Double Wammy...Or Not.

Today, to celebrate Columbus Day (or, just to celebrate getting to workout with Lindsey on a Monday because she's off from work) we attempted to hit up two good workouts:

Workout 1:
2 x 400 meter sprint
2 x 800 meter sprint
500 meters total swimming (no specific pattern on swimming)

So, this one looked like like a great time when we walked out the door; but, three hours at the DMV later, getting our new CA licenses and plates, and with the Burlingame High School track and pool swarming with student athletes for after school practice, it became a no-go.  So, with energy levels insanely low, we lumbered down to the garage to attempt workout number 2.

Workout 2:
5, 5, 5, 3, 3, 3 Power cleans

This marks the spot of my new strength training program.  I am doing Micheal Rutherford's Max Effort Black Box (MEBB) program.  From here out though, I am calling this just max effort, or ME, still not totally understanding as to what the "black box" aspect of the name even means.  I was able to pull 235# pretty easily off the ground after a great deal of volume, and felt good with that.  However, my form is all around sketchy.  My legs pop out dramatically on the catch, I find myself leaning back a bit here and there as well.  Also, right off the ground I tend to drive my legs to a lockout way too early, and end up almost RDL-ing the bar to the hang position before snapping the weight up.  I have the strength for this exercise, big time.  My proof is that I smacked my chin with the bar on 235#; so yeah, it's getting up there easy enough.  I just need to work on my mobility and confidence a good deal more.

So, Max Effort program.  Here's how it works in a nut shell:  Max Effort day 1 is a total body lift (I am doing power cleans), ME day 2 is a lower body lift (I am doing front squats) and ME day 3 is an upper body lift (I am doing strict press).  You can choose any lift that falls into the category, and you do that lift for the entire collection of cycles before moving on to working on another lift.  Similar to the 5/3/1, it is based around 3 increasing weight cycles. 

Cycle 1 - 5, 5, 5, 3, 3, 3
Cycle 2 - 3, 3, 3, 1, 1, 1
Cycle 3 - 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

This is how I am doing it.  Some people do 5x5, then 3x5 then 1x5 (that is how it was originally written), others repeat cycle 2 for their 3rd cycle, just at a higher percentage of their 1RM.

I will be working the 5's on cycle 1 at around 75-85% of my general 1RM.  The 3's of cycle 2 around 80-90%; and the 1's of my final cycle around 90-100%.  Then, I will mix metcons and activation and mobility work in for these days as well.  I am doing ME work on Mon/Wed/Fri and will fill you all in to what my Tues/Thurs and weekends are looking like when I work them over the next couple days.  So, I did power cleans today, front squat Wednesday, and strict press Friday.  Here is what a day (this coming Wednesday) will look like:

Template ME day:
  • Warm up with dynamic stretches and specific mobility moves
  • ME lift
  • Workout/metcon
  • Engagement exercises (mostly posterior chain and core work for me)
  • Rolling and static stretching
Specific Workout:
  • Dynamic warm up with hip mobility and shoulder mobility focus 
  • 5, 5, 5, 3, 3, 3 Front Squats @ 75-85% of 285#
  • 10 minute AMRAP of: 15 OH squats (w/ 115#) and 200 meter run
  • 3 x 6-12 of weighted bridges and GHD back extensions
  • Foam roll and stretch
My goals are to reach a 275# clean, a 325# front squat and a 180# strict press by November 1.  Not sure if that is a little overzealous, but I'll find that out by the end of the week. I'll post more on this program as I progress into it, it seems like a very interesting one.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Courageous Meals - 2

Egg, Spinach and Chicken Apple Sausage Scramble
with Side Salad

This is, hands down, my all time favorite breakfast.  I have made this combo of foods in many different ways, but the way depicted here is the one I enjoy the most.  The great thing about this is that it is so incredibly simple to throw together, and it is so easy to throw in little additions should you feel the need.  I am going to keep it straight forward for the post, but I will put together a small list of add-ons that are really great at the end.

  • 4 good sized chicken apple sausage*
  • 2-4 whole eggs
  • 1.5 cups egg whites
  • 3-4 large handfuls spinach
  • 1 handful small, sliced mushrooms
  • Seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder)
(Optional side salad.  Ingredients shown are just what I felt like making this particular meal)
  • 1 handful mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup sliced onions
  • 1/4 cup cut tomatoes
  • 5-8 kalamata olives
*I have tried many different kinds, but tend to find the best ones at Whole Food and Trader Joe's.  Lindsey and I just discovered a great brand at Costco and we stock up with about 32 sausages per trip!  Yum! Check the ingredients and go with the ones with free range chicken and the least amount of additives.  It is very tough to find these with little or no sugar, so keep your eyes open for those and grab them when you can!

Start by putting a medium pan on very low heat.  Then cut up your chicken sausage by cutting them in half length-wise, then cutting them into small (about .5 in by .5 in) pieces; set aside.  Go ahead and break the eggs into a bowl, add extra egg whites and a pinch of salt, a pinch of chili powder, and a couple shakes of pepper.  Whip that up with a little gusto.

Head back to your low heat pan and add about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and throw your handfuls of spinach in there.  Sprinkle a couple pinches of garlic powder over your spinach and mix it up.  Next add your mushrooms and sausage and cook (mixing them all around occasionally) until the spinach starts to shrivel up (probably about 3 minutes or so).  Take your whipped up, seasoned eggs and pour over the cooking ingredients.  Turn the heat to medium.  Mix occasionally and remove from heat once the eggs are completely solidified (or however you like them).

Keeping the eggs in the pan to stay warm, head over to the cutting board and mix up your salad.  This could be a simple mixed green salad, or you can add a few other ingredients if you so choose.  I am a fan of a good deal of additions to my salads, so today I added onion, tomato, kalamata olives and a Tuscon Italian Balsamic dressing.  It fit perfectly with the flavors of the eggs and chicken apple sausage!

Plate it on up and enjoy the absolutely most wonderful breakfast you could ever imagine!

Here is a list of ingredients I have found are great to mix into the scramble (any combo really):
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini 
  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Turkey bacon
  • Grilled or rotisserie chicken
  • I'll sometimes mix my eggs with almond milk
  • I'll use coconut oil instead of olive oil
Try it out and let me know what you think.  And, if you have any special/favorite breakfasts, share them, perhaps I will use it (or a variation of it) in a future Courageous Meal post.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Back To Regular Posts

    It turns out that I suck at keeping my site updated while on the road, I guess I just find too many distractions.  Anyway, back in CA now, Lindsey and I slept in this morning after watching the Giants lose in dramatic fashion last night, then watching about 4 episodes of Entourage.  After a quick protein shake we drove over to Coyote Point Park, parked the car, hoisted out the sandbags we brought along (I had a 52#, Lindsey had a 32#) and ran along the bay for probably just under 4 miles.  My good buddy Blair Morrison did something similar to this and wrote up a great post on the experience, check it out HERE.

    Lindsey and I felt very similarly towards this workout.  It was really fun, not exhausting in any possible way, just annoying as hell.  What I mean is that it was too heavy to run very fast, so your lungs don't fatigue really, adding extra weight is tough on the muscles and joints, but it's not heavy enough to bring you to any sort of complete muscle fatigue.  What ends up happening however, is that the awkwardness of having this ever-changing shape weight strewn over and across your shoulders for any sort of extended period, just gets you uncomfortable.  What ends up making this so difficult is that you never have the ability to get comfortable, it just gets worse and worse as you move along.  So, in the end, your legs are a little tired, your stomach feels a little tighter, and your shoulders and traps are just about gone.  All around it's just a cool workout that anyone can do anywhere.  It does a great job at testing ones ability to endure being uncomfortable for a lot longer than most typical CrossFit workouts.  It took me 45 minutes, Lindsey 47, and we were both very tired, but not completely spent at all.  Highly recommended.

    After restocking our fridge and cabinets with Costco and Trader Joe's food, we zipped over to Burlingame High School track to get workout number 2 in.

    8 rounds of (90 second rest between sets):
    200 meter run
    10 burpees
    15 sit ups

    I am still struggling pretty bad with my hands thanks to "Daniel" the other day at CrossFit 702.  And by the way, if any of you doubt my toughness on this one, check out these pics:

    So yeah, stayed off my hands.  Instead, I went ahead and did the 200 meter run did 40 sit ups off a 1/2 foot!  We just went ahead and went all out with this one, I would say we both averaged about 2 minutes per round in all, but not totally sure.  It was a nice day of good conditioning though.  Looking forward to tomorrow, then Monday calls for the return of heavy strength training!  Lindsey is back for her second round of 5/3/1, and I am attacking a new program.  I will write all about that on Monday when I start it.  A not-so-on-time Courageous Meals post is coming tomorrow!

    Never Stop, GET FIT.

    Josh Courage

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    The Contradiction That Is Las Vegas

    So, hanging here in Las Vegas I am constantly struggling with two strong feelings: entertainment and depression.  Here's why.  Las Vegas as everyone knows it (the strip, the gambling, the drinking and so on) is confined to a relatively small area surrounded by some of America's most incredible natural resources.  Red Rock Canyon, Mt. Charleston,  Gold Butte Region, Lake Mead, and on, and on.  If you want to hike, bike, run, climb, paddle, or just be wonderfully active in some amazingly scenic areas, the land surrounding Las Vegas is so great!  But then you go "downtown",  this is about as ugly an area as I have ever been.  I totally understand how it can be fun (hence the use of "entertaining" earlier), but when you take a step back and just look at what's going on, it is just sad.

    It is the definition of American consumerism, people coming out to spend endless amounts of money with the blind hope that they will strike it big and go home shiny millionaires.  Everywhere smells of smoke, each turn is met with hoards of overweight, unhealthy tourists with drink in hand, clearly not very happy with the days "winnings".  On the other side, you can see groups of smashed-out-of-their-minds bachelor and bachelorette parties, insisting on attention, and hoping to experience what The (absolutely hilarious movie) Hangover says Vegas is all about.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not a complete buzz-kill.  I enjoy a drink from time to time, I enjoy goofing off with friends, I also enjoy spending a few bucks here and there for no apparent reason but for sheer entertainment.  But this place is where those fun little rampages get blown way out of proportion.  This is where people can use the excuse "I'm in Vegas", or "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" to drink too much, eat more food then the human body even knows what to do with, throw away most or sometimes even all of their money, and just experience what it must be like to be a gluttonous, unhealthy person.

    Here's what I think is a good idea if you want to come to Vegas.
    • Go hit up one of the many awesome CrossFit gyms
    • Take a day trip out around the city and check out what the crazy mountains and dessert have to offer
    • See a show (especially Cirque Du Soleil, they are such beasts!)
    • Go to a fancy restaurant
    • Wander around a bit and be reminded (or be inspired) why it's so important to be active, healthy and fit
    • Yeah, go ahead and gamble a little, have a drink or two; just don't be "that guy/girl" like most people seem to be in Vegas
    Oh, and one other thing: Las Vegas Athletic Club.  For all you CrossFitters out there, this place IS the definition of a globo-gym.  There must have been over 400 people jammed into a shopping mall size athletic center, moving slowly, hanging out and watching music videos on the hundreds of flat screens lining the walls between sets of chest flyes and smith machine tricep extensions.  Wow!  I have an article brewing about all this that would be preaching to the choir by my readers, but needs to be read by everyone else.  I'll be sure to share it with everyone when it is posted though!

    Now that my little rant is over with, I can share with you my second workout at the awesome CrossFit 702.  Chris and I headed over for the noon class which was being run by Zach (co-owner of 702 and CrossFit Las Vegas).  Three girls came in for class, and we were joined by 702 trainer Josh as well.

    50 pull ups
    400 meter run
    21 thrusters 95#
    800 meter run
    21 thrusters 95#
    400 meter run
    50 pull ups

    Man did this one rock!  First off, got to give some major props to Zach.  His energy and passion were so clear as he put us through a great warm up.  His knowledge and efficiency for getting information across was top of the line.  Another thing that impressed me with him, and this is something that I have very, very rarely seen, was that he would make sure people did each rep perfectly during the workout.  This meant that he would even stop you if he felt that you were off enough and needed that specific attention.  It is so common to see coaches just let people go and finish, no matter what, then tell them afterward they need to work on something.  And I have always felt that that method is just no good.  So, mad props to Zach for that.

    So back to the workout.  I was able to get the first round of pull ups in sets of 30 and 20, the took off hard on the run.  The first set of thrusters I did in two sets as well, 15 and 6.  I then struggled through the 800 meters, but still felt good.  The second set of thrusters I got in 3 sets, then went all out for the last run.  It was the last set of pull ups that got me.  I got 15, 10, then just started getting what I could.  On my 30th rep I felt a little something on my hand and when I fell from the bar I was able to see that I had peeled the entire right side of my left hand clear off.  And I do mean the entire side.  It's gross.  With Zach pushing me along I finished in 13:58 and feel really good with that time.  I would love to get it in sub-13, and I know I dogged it a little on the thrusters, but still very happy with that time.
    A view of CrossFit 702

    Another great experience at CrossFit 702!

    Never Stop, GET FIT.

    Josh Courage