the spaz of fitness has arrived

Posts Tagged ‘Vacation’

CrossFit Center City

In General, Training on October 7, 2012 at 8:47 pm

To the most understanding and ridiculously good-looking readership a Wandering Jomad could ever ask for: It has been far too long since my last update, and I apologize… profusely. I’ve been busy the past few weeks cramming my work together so I could prepare for a brief, three-day vacation in Philadelphia, and  my weekend involved… enjoying that vacation and blithely pretending that graduate school and life and responsibilities did not exist. I was quasi-triumphant—as in, I spent all my days from waking until roughly 9:00pm rejoicing in the fact that I was in a city—with pedestrians and public transportation, and people!—and then from 9:00pm to 1:00am, I sat before my computer screen cursing all of academia and all its anxiety-inducing ways.

Nevertheless, my vacation was delightful (thank you for asking). I discovered the wonders of Reading Terminal Market (omg FOOD), the Mutter Museum (omg CADAVERS), and took my requisite picture with the Rocky statue. I also had the fortune of visiting CrossFit Center City, where one of my friends is now a coach. Perhaps you’ll remember my post, “Life’s Small Lessons” in which I bid farewell to 70’s Bove. Only a year ago, he wandered into our gym unable to define a muscle up or a thruster, and now he has a damn good shot of making regionals this year.

Thus far, I’ve only visited a handful of other boxes outside of my home gym, and the experiences have been wildly varied but always enlightening. CrossFit Center City is definitely a gym to watch out for—I could easily see this place sporting a competitive team for regionals in the upcoming years. Apparently they’ve only recently moved into their new location, but it’s a fantastic space—with designated Olympic lifting platforms, a strongman room, a yoga room (in-progress), and a dedicated space for gymnastics. Their coaches are knowledgeable, talented athletes (who undergo an extensive hiring process), and their members were welcoming and inclusive.

To be honest, I still harbor a slight anxiety about visiting other gyms. There’s no rational justification. I’m just afraid I’ll somehow embarrass my box or myself by screwing up. And I want to do justice to the coaches who’ve trained me and the places that has converted me from a completely stickling spaz to… a slightly less stick-like, slightly less spazzy spaz. But the people at CrossFit Center City made me feel right at home.

I’m always interested in seeing how other gyms undertake their programming. At Center City, they have a longer, involved warm-up (something we’ve gravitated to as well, here at LionHeart). Their workouts are also very strength-centric at the moment. I would say, of the hour I spent there, the first ten minutes were warm-up, the next half-hour involved finding a 3 rep max back squat, and the final ten minutes was the metcon (15-12-9-6 Box Jumps (30”/24”) and Ring Push Ups).

As 70’s Bove informs me, the box is scheduling their programming so that they have a strength program for now, and then they’ll ramp up the metcons as they near the CrossFit Open. As far as I know, that adheres pretty closely with Rich Froning’s own programming. Right now, the Games are so strength-dependent that no competitor can survive without the sheer muscle required by the weights. As we could see by this year’s games, smaller athletes like Chris Spealler and Annie Sakamoto suffered significantly compared to their performances in previous years. At any rate, by orienting their programming around the Games’s schedule, CCC is positioning itself to be a major figure in this region, and I’d definitely watch out for them in coming years.

The CCC WOD was my only workout for the weekend. Since it was a short trip, I decided to take the opportunity to just… rest completely. I walked a lot of Philly, attained bacon-nirvana at Green Eggs Café. Of course, I also took advantage of Chinatown like the former Asian fat kid I am (I’m pretty sure I need to sacrifice about 5 grassfed cows to the Paleo gods for exactly how un-Paleo this weekend was 😉 )

Anyway, I’m now back in State College and back to work. Hope everyone else had a lovely weekend!


Strength Losses and Women’s CrossFit

In Training, WOD on June 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Well, I’m back in the States but not at all feeling normal yet. I’m still trying to shake the jetlag and general headfog of being relocated by 7,000 miles and 15 hours. Despite that, I thought I’d write you all a general fitness update. My lifts are actually… tragically disappointing at the moment, though I’d anticipated a measurable setback. After some tentative testing at LA fitness, I’ve found that my squats still feel strong, but my press 5rm has dropped by at least 5 lbs and my power cleans by 10lbs. I’d really like to attribute that power clean loss to the lack of bumper plates, but I suppose we’ll find out. I have another week here in Arizona before I return home and reacquaint myself with the comforts of the Rogue rig and rubber plates.

Speaking of bumper plates, I did manage to pay a visit to a local CrossFit gym. I won’t name them here due to the nature of my commentary, however. For a while, I’ve been nervous about visiting another affiliate. Worried that I’d both embarrass myself and my gym. When I rolled my jetlagged butt out of bed and realized I had only ten minutes to get dressed and get to the box for the scheduled class time, I deliberated over whether or not to wear my Lionheart shirt for fear that I’d make a fool of myself. Again, I overthink things. At any rate, I eventually shoved on the Lionheart shirt and sped my way to the gym where I was told to hop in during their WOD.

The owner/trainer of the box was very inviting. She allowed me to work out for free and after my WOD actually invited me to return and join them anytime I’m in town. This gym is actually a “women-only” CrossFit gym. I didn’t attend it for that reason; I chose it because it was closest to my house. Structurally, the class wasn’t all that different from that of my own gym. We started with a warm-up that involved tabata-based core work, then we moved to 5/3/1 deadlifts. However, instead of having each individual class member lift according to her own strength stats, there were only three “tiers” with prescribed weight numbers. For me, the tiers seemed surprisingly low. I lifted the prescribed weights for the top “tier,” which was actually still lower than what my actual 5/3/1 programming would be. I say this without any sort of an inflated ego because my deadlifts are on the low end among the women at our gym. Yet, in a class of maybe 12 women, I was one of only two that lifted in “tier one,” and I was still easily one of the smallest individuals in the gym.

The WOD that followed was rx’d at:

5 Rounds

10 clean and jerks (55lbs)

15 squats

The board simply stated “squats,” so with that weight, I actually assumed front squats with the bar. However, the intended prescription involved air squats. Again, I was only one of two attendees lifting the prescribed weight.

Now, I’m the last person to recommend rash entry into the world of lifting heavy…. and I’ve had my ruminations on the dangers of the too-much, too-fast CrossFit attitude, but I almost felt as if this class had underestimated the women in the room. Looking around, I felt as if a number of the girls could be/probably are more powerful athletes than I. They were simply fearful of adding weight to the bar. Similarly, I was a little stunned when a couple women paused mid-wod to start a casual conversation. It’s not that I think CrossFit should involve “killing it” every second. I don’t think every workout needs to leave you breathless, slack-limbed, and incoherent. But I also felt a little strange lifting more weight than women twice my size who were sort of halfheartedy swinging up 30lbs with poor form.

I guess it was just a very different environment than that to which I’m accustomed. I’ve heard visitors remark that our gym is already a lot less competitive than other CrossFit gyms (which I love), though we also know how to bring the intensity. I could see how someone might feel more comfortable in a low-key environment. Considering the fitness woes faced by our country, I think most activities that get people up and moving are fairly commendable. My bigger disappointment was that the athletes weren’t given much advice on form for their lifts– in which case, it’s probably safer that they remain with lighter loads. It’s just also a shame considering that I could see how much stronger some of these women were; they just don’t know it.

That said, I’d like to revisit this gym–perhaps just because they were kind enough to invite me back. But they don’t have open gym hours and I can’t do anything there but the prescribed WOD, so… for right now, I’m a little more concerned about getting back to my linear progression program– of which I’ve been entirely neglectful for the past two and a half weeks.

This morning’s visit to LA fitness (whereupon I swear I witnessed a man standing in front of the dumbbell rack, conducting pelvic thrusts with a dumbbell held to his crotch….) involved the following (after I finished gawking at the dumbbell-violation)**:

**For once I wasn’t the most noticeable weirdo at the LA Fitness…

Power cleans: 5×3 (had to drop 10lbs lower than my pre-vacation weight… not thrilled about this… hoping to recover soon)

Dips (also felt very weak)

WOD: 15 min EMOM

2 power cleans (2x @ 60% 3RM)*

5 pull-ups

* I have to admit I succumbed to my ego a bit here and used my old 3rm rather than my shitty one from this morning…

Also, for the hell of it, I tried tabata sprints on the treadmill (just four minutes worth) 12% incline on the 6.5 setting. If you want to meet Jesus in four minutes of running, I’d say that’s the way to go.


EDIT: On an unrelated note, if you’re wondering where you stack up against the average Games athlete, here’s a nifty breakdown of the “average” 2010 Games competitors:,614/


In General, WOD on May 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Tomorrow morning, I will wake at 4:00am and travel to the State College airport. A miniature propeller plane will then convey me to the Washington DC airport. There, after a frantic dash between terminals, I will hopefully board a six hour flight to Los Angeles. I will then spend ten hours killing time in LAX until I finally trudge onto my fourteen-hour flight to Taiwan. Amazingly enough, because I’m actually spending the first few days in  Hsinchu with my aunt before returning to Taipei, I will then have a 3 hour drive before I can crash onto the hard, unfamiliar slats of a bamboo sleeping mat. I’m whining now because I’m trying to get the negativity out of my system. I’ve actually traveled rather often throughout my life. In college, when I was competing for the speech and debate team, we flew so frequently (~2x a month) that I’d streamlined by packing and unpacking process. I could get through airport security in one fluid motion. But… no matter how many times I’m ushered through the crowds and onto noisy metal tubes, I can’t get over my dislike of crowds, of sitting still in close quarters for such protracted periods of time. Worse yet, I’m uncomfortable with the structured rigidity of everything that comes with air travel and how brusquely everyone shoves through these environments.

That said… I’m very lucky to have fit a visit to Taiwan into my life agenda this summer, so I don’t want to pollute any of the experience with my travel-induced temper.

With my impending departure, today was probably also my last day in the gym for about a month. I realize some time off will do me good, but I confess that the monthlong hiatus worries me. I dread how heavy that bar is going to feel the next time I’m under it. So today’s last workout:


Deadlift 1×5, followed by 3 sets of strict pull ups to failure


15 minute AMRAP

3 deadlifts

6 hand-release push ups

9 lateral jumps over bar

12 overhead walking lunges (25lbs overhead)

It was an enjoyable little WOD. I think next time I’ll trade the lateral jumps for something more definitive though… I saw the movement on another CrossFit site and thought I’d try it, but because it’s just a short hop, it doesn’t feel as satisfyingly explosive as… say, a box jump or even double-unders. I considered subbing in burpee-smashballs, but I figured that might be too harsh on the shoulders following hand-release push-ups.

Also, in my last few days, as I’ve had final dinner/lunch/coffee dates with the people here, I’m realizing how much I’m going to miss everyone. It’s a little silly, since I’ll be back soon, but also not quite because State College is such a transient town and by the time I return I’ll only have a few weeks left with some of these people– or none at all in the case of those that will be leaving while I’m gone. Despite my too-frequent complaints about this city, I’ve definitely discovered its charms… but what I dislike most is the fact that everything feels impermanent. It gives life a feeling of precariousness… at least in my unbalanced mind ;).

Anyway, I’ll be back, most likely with news from the other side of the world.

Stay awesome.