Why Beyond The Whiteboard is Awesome

After discovering the “testimonial” feature on BeyondTheWhiteboard.com, I posted up a new page showing my CrossFit Results.  They put together a nice and short summary of some of the work you have logged.  It’s awesome to see the data in this context.  In the past 4 months, I’ve lifted over 50,000 pounds.  That’s a lot.  I also posted up a full set of photos dating back from April 2012 through this week.  It’s just amazing to see what CrossFit can do in such a short period of time.  I have never seen or done anything like this.

I usually workout around 4.4 times per week (see “The more you go” post). I have posted 116 workouts and set 14 personal records. Along the way I have run 24,453 meters and lifted 50,435 pounds. I have also done 754 push-ups, 766 pull-ups, and 277 sit-ups.


Double Unders, Toes to Bar, Pull-Ups, Wall Walks

First Wall Walk

Today, being a Saturday at HyperFit USA,  we did a benchmark WOD.  Annie.

Annie is:
50-40-30-20 and 10 rep rounds of:
(we did this with a 10 minute time cap)

In case the whole term is new, a double-under is a jump rope where you swing that bad boy under your feet two times for every jump you do.  Way, way harder than it sounds.

This was the first time I ever attempted to do a “double-under”.  Not at all ideal.  I learned the hard way today the value of spending time working on skills outside of the WOD.  For my “MOD”, a.k.a. modification, was to do single unders.  Seems to make sense.  Except it’s 3 for 1.  So that’s 150 single under jump ropes in round one.  This made for a lot of misery, and the evental time cap / DNF.

To avoid this, it’s really important to spend an extra 5 minutes before or after your WOD and work on a skill.  After my trip to CrossFit NYC.com, where toes-bar was part of the warm up, I started doing 5 before every WOD.  Then I mixed in 5 pull ups.  Mind you, I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now, and just a few weeks longer than that I could not do 1 un-aided pull up or 1 toes to bar.  It takes 5 minutes, but I actually have a kip going for both, and they are really coming along.  I banged out 6 toes to bar then 6 pull ups before Annie today, and went back for 6 more pull ups after Annie for good measure.  I also tried a few more double-unders after, but it was just getting ugly.

Starting Monday, I’ll be mixing in double-unders to the pre WOD routine.  As for wall walks, those are just fun as hell to do, and should be done when ever you can :)

If you want to track your pre WOD toes to bar and pull ups with me, I’ve got a simple workout tracker going here: http://beyondthewhiteboard.com/workouts/441711-toes-to-bars-pull-ups


Hero WOD: Murph

Lt. Michael P. Murphy

There are a few special sub sets of WODs (Work Out of the Day), and at the top are the Hero WODs.  These workouts are done in memory of a fallen soldier.  They are tough, and force you to push yourself harder than a typical WOD or even Benchmark WOD.  These are the most intense workouts most of us will ever do.

Hero WODs are one of those elements of CrossFit that remind you that you are part of a community.  This whole experience is much larger than you or me.  When you are participating in CrossFit, you are part of a team.  You care for your teammates, whether they are 5 feet or 5 time zones away, we are all in this together.

We are also afforded the luxury of being reminded of those teammates who gave it all for us.  My gym, HyperFit USA, does a “Murph” WOD every Memorial Day and Labor Day.  It consists of:

1 Mile Run
100 Pull-Ups
200 Push-Ups
300 Air Squats
1 Mile Run

It is every bit as hard as it sounds.  But when you think about it as a way to pay tribute and celebrate a teammate who gave it all, it’s extremely motivating, and a touch more rewarding.

Here’s a bit of the story behind Murph, for more info and videos visit: http://www.navy.mil/moh/mpmurphy/pg.html

Lt. Michael P. Murphy
Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) Lt. Michael P. Murphy, 29, from Patchogue, NY. Murphy was killed by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission, Operation Redwing, June 28, 2005. Murphy lead a four-man team tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan, when they came under fire from a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position. Mortally wounded while exposing himself to enemy fire, Murphy knowingly left his position of cover to get a clear signal in order to communicate with his headquarters. While being shot at repeatedly, Murphy calmly provided his unit’s location and requested immediate support for his element. He returned to his cover position to continue the fight until finally succumbing to his wounds.


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 BeyondTheWhiteboard.com

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 CrossFit.com 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

BeyondTheWhiteboard.com 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 BeyondTheWhiteboard.com. 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 BeyondTheWhiteboard.com

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.