Swimming At the Games

I love that the Games incorporates swimming into the intro session.  This year seems like it will be better for most folks than the open water swim, but those wet hands for a bar muscle up scare me.

That being said…I totally need a pull up rig at the end of my pool.  Squat rack at one end and pull up rig at the other, that’s what’s been missing!

Tough Mudder

Michigan Tough Mudder


I ran the Michigan Tough Mudder event on June 30th.  It was awesome.  While we didn’t break any course records for time, I was definitely near the top of the “Mud Consumed per Obstacle” charts.

For anyone not familiar with Tough Mudder, here’s a brief intro:

I felt this was my first true test of my year of CrossFit training, and I have to say, it seems to have paid off.  I had only two issues.  First, the running.  The back half of the course was long, and had long distances between many of the obstacles.  I had never ran more than 2 miles or so in one day.  basically Murph is the longest I ever run.  And 12 miles is just f-ing far.  So I ended up doing a mix of run/jog/walk for the second half.

The second issue, and the bigger one, was all mental.  Every one of these obstacles is more than doable, but my brain kept getting in the way.  I would freak myself out, sometimes for good reason, other times not so much.  On the Boa Constrictor obstacle, as you near the bottom, you are forced to get your mouth and nose under the water, and I was not ready for that shock.  My mind went into “you are drowning” mode, and I had to back up a foot or two (in the tube) to collect myself before I could shut my brain off long enough to muscle down into the water.  And the reward for that, was having to do it going up the other side.  That was rough on my brain.

The Funky Monkey also got me.  The bars near the platform were very slick from all the mud and water from previous people’s attempts.  So as soon as I got going, my brain said “there’s no way you can do this”, and I had that in my head as I started across.  I think I made it about a third of the way, and after those first few bars, they were no longer slick, as not that many people made it that far, but my brain kept telling me “you’re gonna drop after this one”.  I needed to get myself to shut the F up and just attack this thing.  This is the only obstacle I wish I had back, and is a big part of my motivation to get out there and do this whole damn thing again.

These mental challenges were something I had thought about going in, and was hoping to make some gains here.  And I think the Tough Mudder really paid off.  I definitely feel stronger for having done this.  Learning CrossFit at HyperFit definitely has helped my mental toughness…doing Kettlebell Thrusters is no joke, but it’s nothing like this type of an event.  It’s also strangely addicting.  The day after Tough Mudder, I signed up for GoRuck Light.  Who’s with me???

I Can’t Clean 155

Jason Harper Clean HyperFit CrossFit Ann Arbor


This morning we did a “Pause Clean” progression, which meant as you start your clean, you pause in position 2 (barbell at the knees) for a full 1 second count before you proceed to ‘explode’.  I have to say, this was one of the best working techniques to get me to thinking about exploding to full extension with my hips and shrugging with my shoulders. I’m not saying I was able to actually do that every time, but at least I was thinking about it.

We did 30 of them EMOTM and I was able to load up pretty well.  I was able to hit several at 135 pounds, and even got a few in at 145, which is my clean PR that I just set last week.  Since things were going well enough, I decided to take a couple shots at 155.  Not even close.  I think I have the physical ability to pull it off, but my brain said “OH SHIT” as soon as I went to explode with the hips, and my brain then sent an impulse out to my hands… “LET GO NOW”.  I took 2 attempts, and same result.  2 fails.

I’m a little pissed I didn’t get 155 up, but I’m hoping I can use that to convince myself to jump under it next time.

And then there’s this guy, showing us all how its done… fast elbows and all!

[Guest Post] Fitness While Traveling – Squeezing Fitness Into a Busy Itinerary

Here is another guest post from one of my readers.  Mike wanted to share some thoughts around maintaining a healthy lifestyle while traveling.  Speaking as someone who has logged over 150,000 frequent flyer miles in single year, I can attest that travel places a huge burden on accomplishing your fitness and health goals.  It is so important to find a way, even though it is so easy to find an excuse.  I hope this post helps you stay motivated to stay healthy on the road!

San Francisco Airport Yoga RoomBusy professionals concerned with remaining fit while traveling must focus on discipline and planning to reach their fitness goals. Without discipline and planning, it is hard for a person to stick to any type of regimen. Following these traveling tips will give the person the tools needed to stick to one’s fitness routine while on the road.

Staying healthy on the road is hard when people are forced to eat out at local restaurants often. Since cooking isn’t usually something the average professional can handle on the road, the person can try researching the area to get an idea of the healthiest restaurants nearby. Checking out the restaurants close to the location and skimming through the menus will make it easy to plan meals well ahead of time. [Jason’s note: I use VegOut to find good restaurants while traveling, it’s powered by HappyCow.net, so you know it’s good]

When it comes to catering to the healthy traveler, airports are getting on board. Many airports are adding all sorts of amenities to cater to the health conscious crowd. For example, the San Francisco International airport has added a new yoga room for its patrons. Airports like the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport have created walking paths in several concourses. The Los Angeles International Airport has added a golf course and a yoga room for its travelers.

Traveling causes stress and jet lag for some business travelers, which causes the serotonin levels to become depleted. Taking HTP supplements can balance the serotonin levels out. Tablets are taken twice daily with food and helps one catch up on sleep. The person awakens refreshed with a clear mind and is able to remain alert.

Planning ahead can help one remain on track in reaching all personal fitness goals. Make sure to do some research before booking a hotel in order to get the best out of the trip. On my most recent trip to San Francisco I was able to book a hotel where I could get in my early morning workouts. I did this by checking through a travel reviews site called Gogobot. Here I could see all of the hotels in San Francisco and look through to see which ones had the right fitness amenities for me. Avid runners can check for nearby trails near lodging while those who prefer a gym can verify that there is one located on the premises. Actually scheduling a workout in between meetings during the downtime may make it more of a commitment for some. Some travelers plan their workouts once they’ve completely mapped out the itinerary.

Staying fit on the road involves making time for workouts, getting the proper amount of sleep, and meal planning. Proper planning affords the busy traveler the opportunity to sneak in a workout with the most demanding of schedules. With planning, most people are able to stay on top of their routine.

Mike Manning is a fitness and healthy living enthusiast. You can read his future posts at http://mikemanningmusings.blogspot.com/


WODs with Integrity

Jason Harper No Rep Pull Up


During the set up for our Murph on Memorial day, instructor Mike, a.k.a. MOB, reminded us that the work out we were about to do was a tribute (see: Murph).  He told us that as such, we should approach the WOD with integrity.  What I took that to mean is be true to the movements.  Technique is always important, and for the Murph, hitting the markers (chin totally over the bar, full squats etc) was even more important.

I’m the first to admit, sometimes my wall balls don’t quite hit as high on the target as they should, or on a thruster I may not get quite to the bottom of my squat on a rep or two here and there.  And for the Murph, I pulled out my No-Rep stick, and it was painful.

I had more no-reps during this WOD than I ever did in any other work out.  Probably just as much a function of the fact it was damn near an hour long for me, but I was watching myself.  It was really painful to not count that pull-up where I had pulled my chin up higher than my forehead, but still just didn’t quite break over the bar.  But, I no-repped more than a couple of those.

When I look back at my time for the Murph this year, I know it was the absolute best I could do, it was legit, and I can be proud I approached it with integrity.  I really appreciated and enjoyed the seriousness that MOB put behind the WOD, and I feel that it translated into a gain for me personally.

My Murph Time: 54:04


There are many men and women to be remembered, thanked and loved for their service to our our country and the gift they and their family gave to us and ours.

I look forward to being a small part of the CrossFit community as we remember and honor Lt. Michael P. Murphy this Memorial Day. I can’t fathom the situation he chose to be in, nor the course of action he chose once he was living it.

Thank you Murph for all you gave for all of us.

Medal of Honor Citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life and above and beyond the call of duty as the leader of a special reconnaissance element with Naval Special Warfare task unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005.
While leading a mission to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June 2005, operating in an extremely rugged enemy-controlled area, Lieutenant Murphy’s team was discovered by anti-coalition militia sympathizers, who revealed their position to Taliban fighters. As a result, between 30 and 40 enemy fighters besieged his four member team. Demonstrating exceptional resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly led his men in engaging the large enemy force. The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of the team. Ignoring his own wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lieutenant Murphy continued to lead and encourage his men. When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his beleaguered teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communicating in the extreme terrain, and in the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into open terrain to gain a better position to transmit a call. This deliberate, heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate support for his team. In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his selfless leadership, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Murph Hero WOD
(F.K.A. ‘Body Armor’)
With 20# Weight Vest:
Run 1 mile
100 Pull Ups
200 Push Ups
300 Squats
Run 1 mile