Ah, It’s The New Year

Let me be honest with you, I’m not a fan of New Years Resolutions.  In fact, I think that they suck.  Don’t get me wrong, I support positive, health-enhancing lifestyle changes, but I don’t think that they need to wait until the beginning of a new year.  You don’t need to wait for a deadline or starting point to improve yourself.  Its an ongoing process that should occur regardless of dates.  Perhaps taking a look at the Man in the Mirror will help:

You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change

Damn MJ, that sounds good.  Resolutions don’t tickle my fancy, but I certainly have some things that I want to improve on or do differently this year.  So many of them are related that creating a ‘list’ wouldn’t do them justice, and it would be obnoxiously long.  Instead of New Years Resolutions, I have a New Years Declaration for you:

I’m sure that many of you were up late last night partaking in the New Years festivities, and I hope it was fun.  I was able to take my longboard for a spin down the block to my friends house, where she continued the tradition of having people over.  It was over 50 degrees, and I got away with wearing shorts!  Even if it was colder, the Equi-Block on my quads would have kept me pants-free.  As a point of interest, apparently some people think that skateboarding to a party is the coolest thing ever.  Go me!

After a less-then-optimal sleep last night, it was up early to sneak in a workout before I worked at the gym.  After some scrambled eggs and beans, I braced myself for the onslaught of New Years resolvers who were ready to exercise every day for the next 5 weeks before falling off the band wagon.  I encourage their every effort, and even had a twenty minute discussion with a middle-aged man about the appropriate heart rate level to work out at.  He was very excited and very nervous about it, so I gave him a basic explanation.  Don’t worry, once he starts to show up on a regular basis I’ll get on him about picking up heavy things.  I can’t let that slide!

After my lift and an hour on the floor, I made sure to put the CrossFit Games marathon on ESPN2 on one of the televisions.  I’ve stated before that I don’t agree with the execution of CrossFit’s training philosophies, but that for the most part I agree with what they’re saying in:

World-Class Fitness in 100 Words

  •  Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.
  • Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds.  Bike, run, swim, row row, etc, hard and fast.
  •  Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense.
  •  Regularly learn and play new sports.

The marathon was televised from 1pm-7pm, and began with 3 straight hours of the women’s events followed by the men’s events.  I wouldn’t program those workouts for clients or necessarily recommend them to folks, but many of the skills and exercises are valuable ones to train.  It was nice to see some dedicated athletes busting their butts, and I think that the re-broadcast of the event is a good thing for the fitness world in general, not just the CrossFit community.  Here’s the ESPN ad that they put together before the broadcast of the mini-series:

If I have one big observation to make from the Games, it’s that form wasn’t nearly as poor as I expected it to be; after all these were the most elite CrossFit competitors out there.  That being said, I don’t think I saw a single good looking hip hinge.  Most of the deadlifts were completed with rounded backs, as were the first pulls of the cleans and snatches.  (A handfull of second pulls and kettlebell swings looked okay.)  Hip hinging is important, but I don’t think that poor technique should be encouraged for the same of timed workouts or extra repetitions.

My second observation was that Julie Foucher is really cute, and she’s going to be a doctor.  Our first date will involve sled pushes:

During the games, I was having a great conversation with my friend Kyle about ‘modifying’ or hacking the CrossFit WOD’s to make them safer and more user friendly.  I think it’s a great idea, but it takes away from the inherent nature of CrossFit’s randomness.  Expect some expanded thoughts about this in the future!

Finally, I’d like to share a programming tweak that I started today that I’ll be carrying into the New Year.  Well, for the first 60 days that is!  T-Nation writer Chad Waterbury published the PLP 60 Day Challenge last March, and it was well received in the online community.  I had several friends begin the program, but I was a little nervous about deviating from the training system that I had set up for myself.  After a very successful Fall change in my programming, I’ve decided to give the PLP program a try, and what better day to start than the first of the year!  The basics of the program are simple:

If you can perform more than 10 continuous pull-ups, start with 10 reps of the pull-up, 10 reps of the lunge (each leg), and 10 reps of the push-up on the first day. Keep adding one rep to each exercise each day until you reach 69. reps on day 60.

After 60 days, that’s 2,370 reps of each exercise!  Day One was a breeze, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all goes.  These workouts are in addition to your main training, and I’ll be taking care of them in the morning before I head off to student teach.  This will give me at least 7 hours to ‘recover’ before any of my real workouts for the day.

Kyle predicted that the student teaching will kick my butt in the first week, and I half expect to get sick in the first few weeks, but I’m excited to take 2012 as another great year.  Let me know how you feel about New Years Resolutions, the CrossFit Games, or the PLP 60 Day Challenge!

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