From PVC to PR


There is not much better than progress.  There are 40 days between the shot on the left, where I was equipped with my medicine ball and an empty bar and the shot on the right, where I was using weight (80lbs in total).

The overhead squat has got to be one of the toughest lifts we do.  It is so awkward, so uncomfortable.  I usually feel like I am about to tip over, and I have (twice).  But it is also one of those things that you just use the empty bar, the medicine ball, or what ever it takes to work on getting the form down, or at least better, and you just keep after it.

The shot on left is now the “before” picture, but 41 days ago, it was the “after” when paired against the PVC pipe I had been using up to that point.

My OHS data from

What’s a “WOD”?

Kettle Bell Snatch

WOD = Workout of the Day, the basic workouts at CrossFit gyms are called WODs, they are instructor led, should have a solid warm up before hand, and should exhaust the crap out of you.  MOB told me after my first WOD “you will be sore in fun and exciting new ways!” One of the most accurate statements that has ever been made.

In addition to WOD, CrossFit is riddled with abbreviations and lingo that is very hard to understand at first, but after a few visits they become second nature.

My favorite is “pood”.  I’m not sure exactly how it’s pronounced, but I pronounce it like any 5th grader would.  Pood is a unit of measure which typically is reserved for kettlebells.  In the picture above, I’m using a 1 pood kettlebell.  Which means 16 kilograms which is about 35 pounds.  A 1.5 pood kettlebell weighs 24 kilograms (1.5 * 16 = 24) and so on.

There’s a great resource on which has all sorts of awesome FAQ’s and A’s ranging from a full list of acronyms to equipment to nutrition.  It’s a must read for the beginner, and really for advanced CrossFit’ers too.

The key jargon that you should know, in addition to WOD, are as follows:

  • AMRAP = As Many Rounds As Possible for a given time
  • BS = Back Squat
  • C&J = Clean and Jerk
  • CL = Clean
  • DL = Dead Lift
  • E3M = Every Three Minutes
  • EMOM  = Every Minute on the Minute
  • FS = Front Squat
  • HCL = Hang Clean
  • MOB = Awesome Trainer, especially for the newbies like me
  • PR = Personal Record
  • Rx = Prescribed; this is very important, this will dictate the recommended weight or rounds or reps and is typically targeted at the more advanced CrossFitters, if you are  a beginner, you will need to scale.  For more info on scaling, check out this great post by Douglas Chapman “CROSSFIT ANN ARBOR: SO YOU UNDERSTAND SCALING“.
  • SN = Snatch
  • SQ = Squat
  • TABATA = For twenty seconds do as many reps of the assigned exercise as you can then rest 10 seconds.  8 Rounds.  The scoring seems to be varied, either lowest number of reps in an interval or total reps if you are doing multiple exercises across multiple TABATAs
  • TTB / T2B = Toes to Bar
  • WOD = Workout of the Day

I’m my only Competition Results

Looking around class today, it may have looked like I was in last place when it came to the front squats.  However, I’m feeling like the big winner.  Every time I step up to the bar with more weight than the last time, I feel good.  And every time I put up more than I ever have (a.k.a. Personal Record or PR) I feel great.

This little lightning bolt has become one of my favorite things to see pop up. It shows up when you record a PR on And it just looks so damn good.

115 pounds for a front squat @ 3 reps might not seem like a lot to many people, but to me it’s as good as a world record, and I can’t think of a better way to start the day.

The Joys of a PR

CrossFit Back Squat PR
CrossFit Back Squat PR, as Recorded on

One of the best things about CrossFit (a phrase I find my self using more and more) is the progress.  If you just follow the instructors, or as MOB says “you just show up consistently, and do what ever the hell we tell you to do” you will see progress.  Fast.

4 months ago I couldn’t do a single air squat.  Not 1.  Today I banged out 3 squats with 140 pounds on my shoulders, during my 5th round of back squats.  In total, I squatted over 1900 pounds in 7 minutes.  Once again, 4 months ago, that number would have been 0.  This program is just awesome.

WODs: The more you go, the more you want to go.

Crossfit Hyperfit WODs Per Week
WODs per week with the trend line, in case it wasn’t obvious where this is going.

When I originally signed up for CrossFit I thought it would be great to do this a couple times a week.  The first few weeks, I was in too much pain needing some solid recovery time between workouts.  I was astonished when I learned that some people would go two days in a row.  And frankly, hearing that people go every day sounded made up to me.

But then, one day it hit me.  I found myself doing the 6:30PM WOD on a Thursday, and thinking about hitting up the 7:30AM WOD the next morning.  I asked my instructor (MOB) if that would be ok.  His response was simple, and perfect: “Yes.  You just show up every chance you can get, and we’ll take care of you.”  So I did, and I learned that I could do two days in a row.  And that worked for a couple weeks.

Then I had to do some traveling for work, and I was going to miss a few days.  So I really went for it because I was kinda scared to miss that many workouts.  So I made it in 4 days in a row. 4!! I wasn’t sure that was a good idea, but I survived.  I was pretty sore and tired, but it was manageable.

Once I got over that hurdle, things really started to come together.  The general soreness is actually less now than when I was going 2-3 days a week.  And it just keeps getting better.  I’m now going Tuesday – Saturday.  That’s 5 days on, two days off.  I’ve been doing that for a few weeks now, and I couldn’t be happier.  I really miss it on Sundays and Mondays.

The bottom line is, at first 1 day a week hurts.  Then you get to 2, then 3, then… you just keep showing up and the more you show up, the better this whole thing gets.

CrossFit Tourism

The thought of just dropping in on another Crossfit while I’m traveling scares the sh*t out of me.  I love Hyperfit USA because I really feel like the know me, and I feel like I have nothing to prove except to myself, and that’s ok.  So I hear a lot about the Crossfit culture, and everyone tells me dropping in is no big deal.  But I still feel like after 4 months of working out, I’m just not ready.

CrossFit NYC LobbyCrossFit NYC Lobby

So, as I’m standing in the lobby of CrossFit NYC at 6:30 AM on Wednesday this week, I’m asking myself, “are you ready for this?”  I’m pretty sure the answer is ‘no’, but a little voice in my head is telling me part of the CrossFit experience is being prepared for the unknown and unknowable.  So, f*ck it, I proceed.

After figuring out the intermediate WOD is in another building, I pay my $25, sign my waiver, and run two streets over.  Their site did not make this clear, to show up at the other location, but I think I could have.

The instructor, Will, was nice, and so were the regulars.  It was really interesting to see the things that were the same, like everything was made by Rogue, and there was a lot of squatting.  But it was more interesting to experience the differences.  These folks were super competitive.  After each round of exercises in the WOD, your score was talleid and your class rank was given.  At the end, I awarded myself with “participant”, and I was pretty damn proud of it.

The exercises were all the same, but the warm up was different.  The best part of the whole day, was that during the warm up, there were sets of T2B (toes to bar), and in there, I actually started doing them for real, for the first time.  It was a very proud moment in my CrossFit journey.

Gathered around the Whiteboard at CrossFit NYC, checking out the scores

Gathered around the Whiteboard, checking out the scores

First Tape Job

CrossFit Taped Hands for EvaIt ain’t pretty, but it was damn effective.

Today was Eva.  Which for me resulted in a 46 minute AMRAP of 800m run, 30 Kettlebell swings, and 30 pull ups.  The thought of that many pull ups made my hands cry a little bit.  So, on the advice of a very wise friend, I taped them up following (as best I could) his instruction.  46 minutes, and 94 pull-ups later, the tape did not look pretty, but my hands were actually still together, with almost as much skin on them as when I started.