Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This is the Card that myself and Mallee Sato (Greg Amundson's Fiancé) put together for Greg Amundson while he was away for 6-months of military training. Greg has been a dear friend, not only to myself, but to the CrossFit community as a whole, over the past many years. He regularly participated in my Wednesday night at 6:00 pm class ("Team-6 Baby!!!") and he really missed everyone in the class. So I had the idea to create a workout in his Honor and organize a large group of the consistent "Team-6" group to all do it and take a large group photo before and after and then make a giant card and have everyone sign it and have Mallee hand deliver it. This wouldn't have worked if everyone hadn't gotten together to do the workout and make it happen. It really was a group effort as it wouldn't have worked if everyone hadn't shown up and busted their ass to push through the workout. It took me many hours to actually cut/glue/write/tape/etc the card together to yield the final product, but it was well worth it. The end result was Greg being away from home and from CrossFit and from everything he loves and then getting a giant card signed by all the regulars in Team-6 with a workout designed specifically with him in mind, hand delivered by his Fiancé. ...He said it was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for him. Well Greg, how you felt in that moment when you got the card, well, ...that's kind of how you make all of us feel just having you in our lives as a friend.

As for the workout itself, well, Amundson truly loves the classic CrossFit couplets such as "Fran", "Diane", "Elizabeth", etc, so I wanted to capture a classic couplet (Fran) with a traditional CrossFit rep format (21-15-9), I also really wanted to capture the "flavor" of my Wednesday Night Class (Team-6 baby!!!), which is often "Heavy-at-high-heart-rate". I was oft laboring as to how best implement this and it wasn't until Ronnie Boose presented me with a rep format he created that truly allowed this workout to work and come together as I had envisioned. The Military has Amundson do a lot of running, so we just HAD to include a run! :) After all, we are doing this in his Honor. :) The rep format is simply breaking up the rounds into three segments, so the first round is 7-Thrusters, 7-Pull Ups, 7-Thrusters, 7-Pull Ups, 7-Thrusters, 7-Pull Ups. The second round is 5/5, 5/5, 5/5, and the third round is 3/3, 3/3, 3/3. An 800 Meter Run follows each round so the rounds are separated with the 800's. By "heavy", I mean heavier than Fran weight if possible, such as 135 or 155 for men, and 95 or more for women. Many of us have also raised our personal standards on pull-ups, choosing to "thud" our chest against the bar for every rep for as long as we are able.

So the workout is Heavy-Thrusters & Chest-To-Bar Pull-Ups at 7/7, 7/7, 7/7, followed by an 800 Meter Run, then 5/5, 5/5, 5/5 & 800 Meter Run, then 3/3, 3/3, 3/3 finishing with an 800 meter run. Also, ...since Amundson has to wear body-armor, a 20# weighted vest is preferred. :) The rep format is what really allows for heavier weight on the Thrusters and sustaining chest-to-bar on the pull-ups. 7 heavy thrusters is a lot more doable at a time than 21. LOL So instead of standing there staring at the bar you can instead do some explosive pull-ups. :) This workout also would have worked well with rope-climbs instead of pull-ups. (likely at 3/3/3, 2/2/2, 1/1/1)

Yes, this workout is savage and yes, as with all CrossFit workouts, it is totally scaleable. I had everyone use dumbbells due to logistics simply because it was such a large turnout for the tribute class.

Everyone in the class did such a great job. It was such an awesome class! A truly great group of people. They all put everything they had into the workout and left nothing behind. Zack Pine, Ronnie Boose and Dan Grant all wore 20# weighted vests for the workout too! Savage! :)

Overall, the whole experience was a great one for me as a Coach, and it wouldn't of happened if it weren't for the amazing people I have the opportunity to Coach every week in Team-6. I love you all.


The following for time;

7 Heavy Thrusters
7 Pull-Ups
7 Heavy Thrusters
7 Pull-Ups
7 Heavy Thrusters
7 Pull-Ups
800 Meter Run

5 Heavy Thrusters
5 Pull-Ups
5 Heavy Thrusters
5 Pull-Ups
5 Heavy Thrusters
5 Pull-Ups
800 Meter Run

3 Heavy Thrusters
3 Pull-Ups
3 Heavy Thrusters
3 Pull-Ups
3 Heavy Thrusters
3 Pull-Ups
800 Meter Run

*Pull-Ups are Chest-to-Bar
**20# Weighted Vest is preffered if able

Thank you everyone who participated and made this possible! :)
Left-to-Right from the first photo:

*First Row;
Matt Strickland
John Sheppard
Sam Radetski
Jama Stratton
Mallee Sato
Maggie Larson
Melissa Stroud
Kyle Bokariza
Samuel “Shark” Kahn

*Middle Row;
Mark Rosen
Ronnie Boose
Chriscilla “Cill” Adams

*Bottom Row;
Robin Boose
Heather Peterson
Mike Hom
Dan Grant
Nareen Kadekian
Zack Pine
Dylan Vandenburg

This is Dylan Vandenburg and Samuel “Shark” Kahn. I’ve had the opportunity to work with them in private training sessions over the past few months and have had a GREAT time doing so. I’ve known Shark for many years now as he and his parents have been involved with and doing CrossFit since before we ever had a website or our own facility. (If it weren’t for his parents we may well have never even had our own facility.) Anyway, over the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to work with Samuel and Dylan as private training clients. During that time I’ve gotten to know them both quite a bit more and have grown quite fond of them. They have great attitudes, are a lot of fun to work with, and just are genuinely great kids. They were both best friends with Blake Glassman (Coach’s son) growing up, before I helped the Glassman’s move to AZ. Dylan will be heading to New York for College soon, and Shark to Hawaii. Samuel “Shark” Kahn is a very talented and competitive sailor and has been a part of the Internationally competitive Pegasus-Sailing Racing Team for a long time. I’ve had a GREAT time working with them over the past few months and they have both been doing SO well and making consistent gains and improvements across the board, consistently getting PR’s in Weightlifting, Gymnastics and the CrossFit “Storms”. Just last night they did “FRAN” for the first time and they did legit kipping pullups and used the specified 95 lb barbell load for the Thrusters!!! Samuel got 6:19 and Dylan 8:02. Again, that was their FIRST TIME ever doing “Fran” and they did the whole thing as Rx’d! That was so fucking cool!--I was so stoked for them!!!

I’m really happy I’ve been able to work with them during the past few months as not only have I had a great time training them, but I have gotten to know them as friends and have grown quite fond of them.

...Between private clients and group-class clients, I have several who will be going away to college within the next few weeks. To be quite honest, I’m really bummed about that because as you already know, my clients are the most important thing to me and I usually develop a strong bond with my clients. Well, ...I have been mentally “prepping” myself, I guess you could say, for all of them leaving for school, knowing full well that I’m really going to miss them. Well, anyway, ...It was my understanding that I had another few weeks to work with Shark, just as I do with everyone else, before he leaves for college, but during our training session on Sunday evening he told me that he is leaving this coming Thursday. ...I was a little shocked and it hit me kind of hard. I bit my cheek and we finished out the workout, but after they left it just caught up with me a bit and I got teary eyed. (Ok, so I pretty much fucking cried a little.--I know, pathetic, right?) Anyway, yah, it hit me kinda hard. I started to get teary eyed and I didn’t want them to see me so I sent em on a quick warmup run while I gathered myself. I didn’t want them to see me all broken up about it because I just want their last few days training here to be a lot of fun. I want them to have a great time before they leave for school so I didn’t want them to see me getting teary eyed. As I said though, after they left I shed a few tears. I just couldn’t fucking help it. I mean, I tried not to, believe me I tried. I love those kids man, and I’m really going to miss them when their gone.

So, as a Coach, is that pathetic of me?...Crying because my clients are leaving and I’m going to miss them? Well, if it is then so be it. Those kids mean a lot to me and I really care about them and I’m going to miss them. Period. It’s been a great experience training them and getting to know them.

Shark will be in good hands, I think, at CrossFit Oahu training with Bryant Powers. Bryant made the Top-Ten cut of contestants for G4TV’s contest to send one competitor from the United States to Japan to compete in “Ninja Warrior”. Out of ten (TEN!!!) seasons and hundreds of contestants, only two individuals have ever completed all four stages of Ninja Warrior. Bryant was just notified by G4TV that of the ten finalists, he made the top-three cut and will be flown down to LA to compete against the other two finalists for the one G4TV sponsored opportunity to represent the United States (and CrossFit) in the Ninja Warrior Challenge. Pretty cool, I think. Not only did Bryant Powers have a great audition video, but he was the ONLY one to do everything in one take! ...Yah, ...I think Shark will be in good hands in Oahu. ...But I am still really going to miss him and Dylan.

I realize I haven’t really been including some of the workouts I put myself through or expose my clients to, so I’ll start doing that from here on out. Try doing the following:
BW Thruster, 2xBW DeadLift; 2 rounds at 10/10. 5/5, ...”For Time”, of course. :) That’s right, 10 BodyWeight Thrusters and 10 Double-BodyWeight Deadlifts, then five and five. Hit it hard and fast. My last time was 4:26, but I am pretty certain I can do it in less than three minutes. I will get it in less than three minutes for sure. Eventually I want to get it in less than two minutes. ...If that’s too easy for you, try the same loads, but do three rounds, doing 15/15, 10/10, 5/5. I finished that in JUST under ten minutes at 9:58. But I am certain that I will get it in less that 7:30. I’d really like to get sub 7:00, but it’s pretty fucking hard. ...It’s amazing how double the reps can make it that much harder. *lol* I really like the 10/10, 5/5 format though because you can really go for it; hit it hard and fast and just fucking CRUSH it and blaze through it and simply crumble and suffer the consequences afterwards. *lol* There’s a lot to be said for being able to be very STRONG and EXPLOSIVE at very HIGH heart-rates, ...but I’ll touch on that later.

From left to right; Ida, myself, Henrik, Anna, and Peter.

...When I realize how much time has passed since I last posted, I cringe. I’ve just been so busy, ...but that’s no excuse. Since the last time I’ve posted I have about 15 entries that I want to write about. This is one of them. :)

At the end of June, four athletes from Sweden came passing through the States on vacation; Ida, Anna, Henrik and Peter. Ida and Peter are Swedish Military; Anna and Henrik are Swedish police. I was in the middle of a somewhat mellow workout (my first one back in about a week and a half after a vacation) with my ipod on and I noticed them walking up to the gym, asking when the next class was. There were several other trainers around so I figured they had it covered. Well, I was kind of surprised to acknowledge that the trainers who were there didn’t make an extra effort to talk to them or find out more about where they were from or make them feel welcome. They weren’t getting any love, so I stopped my workout and introduced myself and tried to make them feel welcome. They said they had all been doing CrossFit off the main site here-and-there over the past several months and that in Sweden "CrossFit" is very trendy amongst the late-20's/early-30's/really fit people. They asked if they could participate in my 6:00 pm class, and of course I welcomed them with open arms.

Well, it became pretty clear, pretty quickly, that while they may well have been doing CrossFit for a long time off of the website, they all needed a LOT of work on form and technique, so I modified the exercises for them a bit so they could participate and get in a workout at CrossFit HeadQuarters, where it all started. They all worked VERY hard and were really pushing themselves with the workout, and they all had GREAT attitudes! They were planning on heading up to San Francisco the next day but I felt it was imperative that they come in before then for some private coaching on the Olympic-Lifts and some of the foundational fundamentals. I felt they DESPERATELY needed the private coaching and that it was essential they made the time to come in the next morning to get some private coaching before they continued on with their vacation, so much so that I told them that I wouldn’t even charge them.

I ended up spending a full 2 hours with them the next morning and by the end of the session their Olympic-Lifting had improved SO MUCH, it was like night and day!--That was so cool! I was so happy for them! I personally had such a GREAT time working with them. They were all so cool and were such a pleasure to work with. As I mentioned before, they all had GREAT attitudes and really were so much fun to train. I’m really happy that I had the opportunity to work with them while they were here. Yah, ...I know financially I'm “poor” and could have used the money, but they were all military/police, they all had GREAT attitudes and sincere enthusiasm for the program, they were here in the States visiting the birthplace of CrossFit all the way from Sweden, and, more importantly, ...they really, REALLY, needed the private coaching. I just couldn’t let them continue onward in their touring the States without making sure they got some individual Coaching to clean up their form. They were all very gracious and said they actually had some private coaching on the olympic-lifts prior but that they didn't really get a lot from it. They said they were really happy with my coaching and with the way I broke it down to them and said they thought I was a good coach and teacher. ...That made me feel good. But what really made me feel good was simply having the opportunity to work with them while they were here. I really feel blessed that I had the opportunity to do so.

...Anyway, ...I’m pretty stoked about the whole thing and had such a great time working with them that I had to write about it.  We all took some group photos afterwards with all of our cameras.  They said they are going to send me some Swedish Military Special Ops & Swedish Police shirts and/or hats for helping them out and being such a gracious host.  I thought that was way cool.  I told them if there is anything I can ever do to help them or if they ever have any questions to just e-mail me. Hopefully they will and hopefully our paths will cross again.

...This is just another example of why I love what I do and what makes my whole world go around; ...having the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing and wonderful people from all over the world. As I’ve said before, my clients and the people I have the opportunity to work with are the most important thing to me in my world, and I will do anything to help them. It’s my service and commitment to them that fuels my existence.

I currently have this photo as my wallpaper on my computer.