Monday, December 6, 2010

2nd email for the Adopt and athlete program

Here is the second email I sent to the elementary class that in Vancouver that has adopted me through the Canadian Olympic Adopt an Athlete program!

Hey Guys and Gals! 

Thanks for the great questions this week, I have answered them as best I could!

1. Why did you choose beach over indoor volleyball?

Well I played every sport under the sun before I was 10 but my main focus at that point in my life was swimming. I was ranked in the top 10 in Canada for the freestyle 50 meter sprint and I still have records that haven't been broken from 16 and 17 years ago! Sadly I had an allergic reaction to chlorine so I had to stop swimming and I found beach volleyball in a fun professional demonstration event that was played in a local ice arena when I was 10. I couldn't stop thinking about it and told myself in grade 6 that I would move to Australia to play pro!!! I started playing in tournaments when I was 14 and I have been leading my Olympic dream since then.

2. Do you know the opponents you play?

This is a great question. I do know many of my opponents because alot of the time we are taking the same airplanes and staying in the same hotels. We get to know each other off the beach and I am really good friends with guys and gals from New Zealand, Brazil, Switzerland, Australia, Norway, England and France. 

3. What % sure are you that you will make it to the Olympics

This is a very difficult question to answer because it is 2 years away and a lot can happen between now and then. With over 100 teams trying for 24 spots in the Olympics the competition is fierce. Lets just keep it simple and say that the odds are 50/50.

4. Do you ever relax at the beach?

One of the reasons I love beach volleyball so much is because of the beach! It is my favourite place to hang out because of the waves, the sun, the people and all the fun activities that can be enjoyed in the sand. If I could, I would be on the beach every day for the rest of my life!

5. Favorite food after a match

After a match I love a good pasta meal. Big chunks of italian sausage or chicken with a nice margarita sauce is delicious!

6. Favorite move in beach volleyball

I would say that nothing beats the feeling of a really big block on someone. That is my favourite thing to do to my opponent.

7. Cohen loved the alligator response and is now quite curious about great white sharks

Well Cohen, thanks for asking. I find white sharks to be extremely interesting because they are so powerful and so feared which in some part has turned them into an endangered species. Did you know that if a white shark stops swimming it will sink and drown?! Also I really enjoyed the Planet Earth video where it showed the sharks jumping out of the water to hunt seals in slow motion, that was really cool. 

8. We were also hoping you could recommend a video of you playing. We already watched Can 1 vs. USA 1 in Cayman islands with Ray.

Well without being biased I would recommend the video of us playing in the National Championship final where we won!

There is also a really neat one where I am playing with a partner named ray against a German team on Ipanema beach in Brazil. You might enjoy that one because I show a bit of the beach and the scenery is amazing with the "Two Brothers" mountains in the background.

And to you Jackson, thanks for the videos. Pretty neat to see giant squid in their natural habitat because they are normally so deep in water. Did you hear about the time when a lot of them washed up on the beaches of Tofino on Vancouver Island? Here is the link to the story.

And to keep with our little tradition of watching videos, I wanted to send you my favourite funny video of all time. It is called "Bizkit the sleep walking dog" and it is HILARIOUS!

Until the next email!!!

All the best and keep working hard.

Martin Reader
2010 Canadian Champion
Youtube - beachballincanada

"You are as strong as your drive"

Adopt an Athlete program

Recently one of my best friends Sean Rupert introduced a program to me where a school class adopts a national team athlete. The program is called Adopt and Athlete and it is run through the Canadian Olympic Committee. 

Sean is a teacher in Vancouver and was keen to give this interactive fundraising program a shot. It would be a great opportunity to involve myself with a community, share my dreams, challenge individuals and positively influence youth to follow their dreams and pursue their passions! Sean and I dove right in immediately and I thought it would be neat to blog the interactions I am having with the class! 

We have had two back and forth messages and I will be visiting their classroom this week for the first time! I am super excited! 

Here is the first email we shared. Enjoy, there great, funny and rogue questions! 

Sean's first email -

We gave a little info of we are from University Hill Elementary and we are Div 3 (grade 6) and Div 12 (grade 2/3). We live in Vancouver and loved the Olympics in 2010!!!!

Here is what we want to know:

  • What age did you start playing beach volleyball?
  • How old are you? (we want to do the math to figure out how long you have played)
  • Who is your partner?
  • What sports are your favorite to watch?
  • What do you do when you aren t paying beach?
  • Where are you from? (I didn't tell them)
  • How did you learn volley?
Also Cohen is wondering if you like alligators.....totally random, inappropriate questions. But funny and i am curious!

Andrea (the other teacher) and i will read your response to the class. 

The kids are excited!!!

My response -

Unreal! Love how this is happening, you are right on it!

Here are the answers to your questions.

  • What age did you start playing beach volleyball?

I started playing beach volleyball when I was 14 years old. I saw there was a tournament in Parksville on Vancouver Island that summer and entered with my first partner named Patrick Gallager. 
  • How old are you? (we want to do the math to figure out how long you have played)

I am 26 years old 
  • Who is your partner?

The partner I am going to qualify with for the 2012 Olympic Games is going to be Chaim Schalk. He is a 6'5 and will play defence behind me. He is a fun guy and has a large blonde afro!  
  • What sports are your favorite to watch?

I love watching tennis, snowboarding, ping pong and diving  
  • What do you do when you aren t paying beach?

I have a passion for physical training so I am always in the gym working out. I also love to snowboard, surf and listen to music! 
  • Where are you from? (I didn't tell them)

I am from the Comox Valley which is in the middle of vancouver island on the east coast. To get there you need to take a BC ferries to Nanaimo and then drive 1 1/4 hours north on the Island Highway.
  • How did you learn volley?

I learnt volley when I was in grade 5 and have been playing it every year since then. I played basketball, soccer, volleyball and did track and swimming until grade 8 when I chose volleyball as my main sport. I am still learning how to play volleyball every day and I know I will learn every time I play until I retire from beach volleyball.

And for you Cohen, do I like Alligators? We'll I ever since I did a project on Crocodiles in grade six I have been very fascinated with them large reptiles! I love the you tube clip "Battle at Kruger" which is an amazing video involving crocodiles, lions and water buffalo. Also, when I was in India I saw their largest Crocodile! You can see in the photo he is ENORMOUS at 23 feet long.

Thanks for the letter and talk soon!


Martin Reader 
2010 National Champion
Youtube - beachballincanada

"You are as strong as your drive"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Crossfit day 28 - a date with Cindy

I am pretty sore from this week but am feeling amazing. Yesterday's surprise running main page WOD added some soreness but overall I am still functional and fully capable of completing WOD's to the best of my abilities.

I stepped into strength this morning and launched 295lbs for 3 sets of 5 reps with relative ease. I am really happy with my gains in deadlifts, squats and front squats because it still feels like I am lifting the weights I started with a month and a half ago. The slow progression of adding 5 pounds a workout has allowed me to adapt quickly and adjust perfectly to the linear progression.

Push press was up next and I destroyed that as well with 155lbs for 3 sets of 5 reps. My wrists are getting more flexible so I can carry the weight better while resting it on my shoulders before pressing. I am getting more wholesome leverage on the bar and with a full grip and maximal push from my lower body the weight seemed light. I love improving!!!!

I then did a wonderful yoga session with Katie. It was just Marc and I today so we had a really nice intensive workout which seemed to be perfectly designed to loosen our shoulders and hips from this week's rigorous activity.

I went home and caught up on two weeks of blogging (sorry, I wasn't on top of it and fell behind) and then returned to Titanium Crossfit for a date with Cindy.

Cindy is a little lady who usually goes by the description of as many reps as possible in 20 minutes of
5 Pull ups
10 Push Ups
15 Squats

I love going into the gym in the morning for strength so I get a peek at the workout of the day so I know what I am returning to in the afternoon. Cindy was on my mind all day and I was so prepared to bring her down!

I ripped off my first set in 35 seconds and clearly my pace decreased over the 20 minutes. I felt like I was screaming "ROUND" every 10 seconds, chalk was flying everywhere and my towel, shirt and arm bands were sopping with sweat as I aspired to hit my goal of 18 rounds.

Not knowing how to pace myself I was able to crush every set of 5 pull ups together but had to split my push ups into smaller sets after the fourth round. I went for 5 reps, 2 reps, 2 reps and 1 rep to complete the 10 total reps with just two breaths in between the 2's and 1. Squatting is a strength of mine so I was able to pump them out unbroken without suffering too badly.

Well the beauty of Crossfit is that you are against time, therefore you must change your perception of rest and breaks. I performed all 20 minutes with no more than 4 or 5 breath breaks where I wiped my hands and chalked them up before pull ups. This workout was a beast and Cindy certainly broke me down so that at 20 minutes I collapsed to the floor.

My lungs are bigger, my muscles are firmer and I am moving my body weight (which is 222lbs and more than I have ever weighed in my life) like back when I was in college at 195lbs.

I am happy and I am toast but I crave more. Damn you Crossfit, I am under your spell!

Helping back home

It is always a pleasure to come home to rest and train but the most enjoyable part of the experience for me is coming back to a fresh batch of kids who are eager to play volleyball!!!

I always work with my mother's elementary school and this year we had over 24 grade 6's and 7's who wanted to play! The kids were keen and my mother opened the gym 8 times a week (4 morning/4 afternoon sessions) so the kids could improve as much as possible during the short season

Over a 7 week period I helped them a couple times a week and we went from barely being able to bump balls against a wall to pepper and consistently making 3 hits a side during rallies! There were spikes, a few blocks but mostly the kids really improved on their ability to control the ball once on their side of the net.

We really worked on calling the ball and serving tough with few errors and by the end of the training period we had one of the fiercest volley teams in the school district!

Here is a video I put together of our last practice as well as of the last playday for the boys. It was a blast to be around such energetic and coachable kids and I can't wait until next year's season!

Our fashion show in Chennai, India

A little video summary of our trip to Chennai, India

Video of us visiting the orphanage in Chennai, India

Crossfit day 27

December 1st -Strength.

I moved 235lbs in my bench press for 3 sets of 5 reps no problems. Looks like I am moving to 240 next week!!! I then hit up some ring dips for 4 sets of 6 reps with good form but I am super shaky on my 5th and 6th reps.

Then I was convinced to step into a main page sprinting workout with Marc and Jesse. The workout was
1 mile run - 3 minutes rest
3/4 mile run - 2 minutes rest
1/2 mile run - 1 minute rest
1/4 mile run

I was planning on going soft and easy but after the first mile run I turned it up a notch and by the time I got to my 1/2 mile run I poured on the gas! I ran super hard in the final 1/4 mile and was really pleased with the following times!

1 mile - 6:28 (easy pace cause I hadn't run in a long time)
3/4 mile - 4:11 (upped it a bit but still had lots in the tank)
1/2 mile - 2:47 (stepped on it on the last 1/4 mile)
1/4 mile - 1:18 (ran hard for as long as I could)

I went home and napped and returned to hit the WOD of 5 rounds of deadlifts at 275lbs and 10 burpees for time. I finished in 5:13 and I pushed it nicely. I was pretty sore from running but I powered through the burpees and had no issues with the deadlifts. Good times!

I then hit up single arm 55lb Kettlebell snatch swings for 6 rounds of 7 reps with each arm. It really destroyed my fingers but I nailed the movement after my second rep.

Crossfit day 26

November 30th started with a nice easy foam rolling session and then I eased into a wonderful power yoga class. I went home, napped and returned to the gym for the WOD.

Our workout of the day was as many reps as possible in 15 minutes of 5 overhead squats with 95lbs, 10 knees to elbows and 15 kettle bell swings.

I kept a mean pace and completed 8 full rounds in 15 minutes!!!!!!! It was a great workout for me and I really pushed through a few mental barriers as my body was hurting! 

I then stuck around and did an Olympic training session with a qualified coach who happens to live in the Comox Valley! I did a bunch of snatches and wound up learning the movement and putting 185lbs overhead! For a lanky 6'7 guy I think that is pretty good, however, my height and length will never be an excuse so I will continue to improve that number. I can't wait to be putting over 250lbs overhead! 

I then power cleaned 235lbs for 5 sets of 1 and did some great video analysis on it. My form is looking excellent and I am getting more and more confident each time I work the movement. 

Crossfit day 25

November 29th was a late starting Monday and I paid for it later in the day with a killer WOD.

It started with a 500 meter rowing sprint followed by 3 round sof 10 hang cleans at 135lbs, 20 push ups and 30 squats. Once those 3 rounds were completed you had to rock 50 double under skips as a last little gasser. This workout was pretty serious and I finished it in 12:24.

I quickly left the gym and rolled to Vanier where I practiced with the boys before they left for the Provincial Championships. Stoked to help them out and send them on their way!

Crossfit day 24

November 27th brings Strength on a wonderful little Saturday. Back Squats and Deadlifts are the topic of lifting for the day and some snatch explosions which I learnt last week in an Olympic lifting session with an amazing coach in the Comox Valley.

I squatted 285 for 3 sets of 5 and deadlifted 350lbs for 2 sets of 5 reps. I then did my snatch explosions with 225lbs for 2 sets of 3 and then 185 for 3 sets of 3.

The snatch explosion is where you take the bar from the ground all the way up to a fully engaged hip thrust into the bar timed with a maximal shrug. These two movements combined improve your general power from the floor and really force maximal engagement with your calves, hips and upper back to get the weight as high as possible in the least amount of time. I am loving the Olympic lifting and have noticed nice gains in my speed and general strength. I can't wait to test my vertical when I get to Toronto!

Crossfit day 23

My body is sore but that has never stopped me before. I am not feeling like anything is going to snap or break, it is more of a deep hurt stemming from workouts that have pushed my limits. Eager to continue pushing those limits I jump into the days workout.

5 rounds of 10 thrusters, 15 knees to elbows and 10 sumo deadlift high pulls. I saw it on the board and didn't think much of it but oh my goodness was I ever wrong! This on was a silent killer and left be BAGGED with a total time of 12:24. Holy smokes was I ever punched as my forearms were barely functional. To top it off I decided to do 3 sets of 10 strict ring pull ups with minimal hand grip to continue with the day's theme of grip strength.

Crossfit day 22

Today was a strength day with power cleans. I was super sore from the long week but decided to push forward.

I moved my weight up in cleans from 45lbs all the way up to 225 for a single rep. I then pushed to 230lbs but failed on my first attempt and decided I was too toast to go heavy. I dropped to 165lbs where I did 3 sets of 5 reps with clean form.

I then did yoga with my fave teacher which helped me refresh but still counted as a nice workout.  I am fatigued but not overtrained and I will monitor the next couple training days so I don't hurt myself.

Crossfit Day 21

The WOD was 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps of the following circuit

Wall ball
Box jumps (30 inches)
Kettle Bell Swings (55lbs)
Double Under skips

This workout was very difficult and I pushed as hard as I could for a time of 13:11.

We then fooled around withs some box jump heights and we wound up making a video out of it! Check it out below. After the jumps I did 40 ab roll outs and called it a day!

Crossfit Day 20

November 23rd I hit strength even though I had just done totals the day before. I pushed my front squat from 245 to 250 for 3 sets of 5 reps and also increased my bench from 230 to 235 although I wasn't able to complete my last set of 5 due to failure on the 4th rep. This means I won't be able to increase my weight in bench until I can destroy 235 for 3 clean sets of 5 reps. I guess I had to hit my max somewhere!

I then did yoga at Crossfit with the amazing instructor by the name of Katie. She is wonderful and I love yoga with her. Need I say more?

I then played vball with the Vanier highschool team from 3-5 and then stepped into the WOD at crossfit around 5:15.

The WOD was "FRAN" which is 21-15-9 reps of Thrusters followed by pull ups. It is a bench mark workout and I completed it in 5:58 for my first time. Not a great time by any means but I guess the first time you do a benchmark workout you don't want it to be amazing!

Crossfit Day 18/19 with 1 rep total maxes!

On Saturday the 20th I kept it simple and improved my front squat and bench.

I hit 245 on my front squat for 3 sets of 5 and then 230 for 3 sets of 5 on bench. Solid numbers and I am pleased I am putting up over 2 plates a side for my bench press! Two plates has always been a weight I have struggle with for reps and I have finally pushed through and am now building past it with no pain and 100% range of motion in my shoulder.

On Monday the 22nd we did Crossfit totals. They take your max 1 rep weight for squat, push press and deadlift and add them for a total score. I had never done it before but figured pushing 1000 pounds was a reasonable goal to set! Well I lifted some heavy weight and scored 1005 total pounds!!!! Super stoked!

I hit 385 on my back squat, 165 on my push press and 455 on my deadlift. Here is the video of my successes and failures!

Crossfit day 17

I have slacked as of late with my postings and will try to keep the last 10 days quick and tight as I play catch-up.

November 19th brought 10 one minute all out sprints on the rowing erg divided by one full minute of rest. I LOVE sprinting cardio stuff and I knew this one would kill me!

Mark Mazzocchi the trainer and owner of Titanium Crossfit made 3000 meters a must for the men and threatened to punish us with 1 burpy for ever meter we were under 3000. HEAVY!!!

My goal was to get to 3000 with 9 sprints as I am longer than most and have an advantage rowing. I went balls to the wall in all of the sprints and missed my goal of the by 35 meters in the 9th sprint; four more pulls and I would have had it! I wrenched through the 10th sprint with as much vigour as I could and battled to 3269 meters in 10 minutes of work. This marked the first time I lied down and couldn't find a comfortable position because my body was in so much pain.

I tried to do 20 abb roll outs but my hamstrings cramped. I ended it there with nothing left in the tank and was very satisfied with my output as I went to what I felt was 97% of my human potential. I pushed to the wall and challenged my maximum and I know that I won't experience that kind of pain for some time to come.

Friday, November 19, 2010

An amazing day of working out

You know those days that get you so excited about life and reaffirm that you are on the path to achieving your goals? Well today was one of those days and my serotonin levels are just JACKED!

It started in the morning with a strength workout. I hadn't done strength for a few days so I was feeling complete and fully prepared to push through my allotted weights for the day.

Squats, push presses and deadlifts were the exercises for the morning and I was blown away at how each rep and set came with ease! My reps were fast, powerful and clean throughout each stage and I was really stoked about how hard I was pushing through the deep portions of my lifts. 

I easily squatted 280lbs, push pressed 145lbs and deadlifted 345lbs each one for 3 sets of 5 reps. I was feeling fresh at the end of the workout which means I really need to add weight next time! We are doing a totals workout of that same 3 exercise day next monday so I will establish my 1 rep maxes and adjust my percentage according to the results. 

I then rocked yoga in the Titanium Crossfit gym and boy was it ever difficult. I was warm to the core from doing strength so I was sweating nicely throughout allowing me to find extra range of motion in my hip flexors. I pushed myself hard through the downward dog phases and I can see that my flexibility is really improving! 

After the challenging yet rejuvinating yoga class I went and picked up an old high school friend for lunch. We chatted about his recent scores on his final exam to become a Dr. and he scored in the top 95%!!! Sick score and all his hard work over the last few years truly paid off. Super happy for him as he can now commit to planning his life the way he wants to. He also has committed to doing a 4 weeks stint volunteering in Haiti before he goes off to do his 42 weeks of residency. What an amazing experience that will be!

I went home, changed and then hit up the tanning salon at On the Darkside Tanning. They have been supporters of mine for a few years and they keep me in the sun even when the snow is falling! Great people there and I am pleased to visit them whenever I can.

I then returned to Crossfit and pumped out a workout called "Dirty Thirties" which consists of 10 exercises done in a row with 30 reps per. It looks intimidating but doing is is something else!!!!

30 Box Jumps
30 Pull Ups
30 Kettle Bell swings (55lbs)
30 Lunges
30 Knees to elbows
30 Push Press (65lbs)
30 Stiff legged Deadlifts (65lbs)
30 Wall Balls
30 Burpees
30 Double Unders

15 minutes and 40 seconds later I completed the workload and collapsed. Holy smokes, this one was lethal! Is it sick that I liked this workout?! I love going into a workout and knowing that I am competing against myself. I pushed hard and was a little more strategic with my execution but in the end I didn't rest longer than 5 breaths during the entire workout and I am quite pleased with my time!!! I am getting crazy fit!

I then rolled to the Vanier School gym where I was scheduled to train with their senior boys volleyball team who are preparing for the Island Championships. They are a strong team and worthy of Island gold so I brought a whole whack of energy to get them jacked. 

Well, after 3 other workouts and being super warm from the dirty 30's I went in there and played really strong. Although I was playing against high school kids I was on fire with blocking and attacking and really added value to the session. I love getting into practices and challenging all players to be the best they can be and execute no matter the circumstance.

It was a great day and I am hyper excited about life and my mission. I LOVE MY LIFE!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crossfit Day 14/15/16 with my first Muscle-Up!

So I had my sore tummy and it didn't go away. Apparently I contracted a stomach virus and it hurt me throughout the weekend and during my workout on Monday. I just couldn't digest my food and I was burping up breakfast mid afternoon! Worst.

I did the workout anyways with the attitude of powering through it to get over it. well The workout was

15 burpees, 15 knees to elbows and 100 meter lunge walk with 100 pounds over head for three rounds. Bad news cause burpees alone make me want to throw up even when I don't have two meals sitting undigested at the top of my stomach!

After my first 15 burpees I yelled "Marc I am going to need a bucket!" and the rest of the workout was slower than I imagined due to the constant threat of losing my cookies. I got through it and felt faint after but I was pleased I trooped it out.

The next day I felt a lot better and I got into yoga for an hour. I then practiced with Vanier for a few hours and then ripped to Crossfit for an Olympic lifting technique session with a local coach with over 20 years of coaching experience.

We did a bunch of lifts and he critiqued us and then we moved into some exercises to improve our speed moving under the bar for overhead lifts. It wasn't very complicated and we didn't get into the heavy technical coaching because of time but I learnt a lot and next week I will offer even more great technical advice.

November 17th brought a nasty little workout of 5 power cleans, 5 push presses (both with 145 lbs) and then a 200 meter run for 5 rounds.

I found out that I have a strength in running in the last running WOD so this time I pushed myself a bit more and vowed not to rest a second. I did just that and completed the workout in 9:03 without stopping for a single breath. I was definitely pleased with that finish and all my lifts felt good even though I was pretty haggard.

I then played on the rings for a bit as I had set a goal of being able to do a muscle up before leaving for Toronto. I hadn't every tried and Marc told me I needed to be able to do a chest to the ball pull up and then a deep dip on the rings. Well I tried both and nailed them on the first tries so I then stepped right up to the rings and gave the Muscle up a shot.

I was nearly there for the first few and then it all came together on my 5th attempt! I am really excited about this movement because to me it really brings together athleticism, strength, balance and flexibility. Marc recorded the following video of me as I attempted my 5th successful rep. Check it out!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dengue fever and tummy soreness

November 11th, 12th and 13th were full of sickness. I guess I overreached with my training and pushed beyond the reserves my body had for recovery. All my muscles felt like there were full of concrete and my joints felt as is they had been injected with steel wool. I tried stretching it out but everything was just too painful and my range of motion was horrific. A rest day was needed for sure!

On the 12th my tummy acted up and I was doubled over in pain for the majority of the day. I went to the 4 WOD session but just stretched and did a few light overhead squats before I had to lay down. I don't know what it was but my muscles and joints felt better but I had a serious ache I had never experienced. I laid low yet again and indulged in the tv series "The Wire" which my father and I have taken a serious liking to. Another rest day.

On the 13th my tummy settled a bit so I tested out a workout. I did strength front squats and bench press and kept my rest time long so I didn't raise my heart rate too high. It felt ok and I was able to complete all the exercises and down a protein shake which I hadn't had the stomach to do for the last few days.

Front squat felt solid so I upped the weight by 10lbs so I was at 225. I did the same with my bench press and completed 3 sets of 5 reps for both exercises. I then did technical work on my kipping pull up and was pleased to make some progress. For those of you who don't know a kipping pull up check out this video

Freshies and Crossfit Day 13

It was a pretty serious storm last night and that left one thought in mind, SNOW ON THE MOUNTAIN! My local ski resort of Mt.Washington is an excellent hill and gets considerable snowfall come winter time. With snow stoke running through my veins and what turned out to be a crystal clear day I rocked up the mountain with my good friend Josie Boulding for a day hike and a chill at her cabin.

The sun was out and the snow as light and fluffy. What I didn't really look at as a workout turned out to be one as I broke trail through 60cm plus of fresh snow on a steep run. We hiked for what was about an hour and camped out at the top of the run for a bit of a picnic before we hit the first session. Josie's dog was out with us and Silva was just LOVING running through the deep powder. I wasn't as joyful as her but being outdoors in the first snowfall with my shirt off hiking in the sun certainly forced me to appreciate my life!

The first ride was nice but my bindings weren't in the best position. At the bottom of the hill we hiked back to her cabin for some eats, changed my binding stance and positioning an then hiked our trail again to hit a second ride.

The second hike was quicker and easier as the sun had softened the snow and packed it a bit. Once again it was hot enough to take off my shirt and I laughed as we took photos because I knew my friend were going to call me out for my usual topless antics!

The second run was even more of a peach and with my primo stance I was able to launch some nice airs and really make some hard turns in the fresh snow. Stoked on life and riding is all I have to say!

We packed up and went into town for sushi before I had to get my gear for Crossfit. I was pretty fatigued and my diet that day didn't support recovery but I went for the workout regardless because that is why I am home right now.

The workout was death. As many reps as possible in 20 minutes of 20 backward skips, 20 squats, 20 double under skips and then a 200 meter run for one single rep! I paced myself nicely but I got into a progressive zone where each run was a little more aggressive. I felt really really good and pushed myself harder than I have yet. I didn't rest once and didn't stop for longer than 3 seconds throughout the entire 20 minute workout period. I focused on finding a rhythm and pushing through each round with a steady breathing pattern.

I completed 8 rounds plus 20 backwards skips and 12 squats before time ran out. Fatigue is an understatement but I recovered and then completed my 40 knees to elbows for core.

After 3 pretty full on days I can honestly admit that I was maximally fatigued.

Crossfit Day 12

Today is another triple day with Strength in the morning, yoga after and then a WOD to complete the day's festivities.

For squats I pumped out another improvement and completed 270 for 3 sets of 5. Once again my body has adapted and it seems like I am lifting the same weight of 245 when I started!

I then did push press and my flexibility had improved since the last time so I was able to support more weight on my shoulders than before. I completed my 3 sets of 5 reps at 140 with relative ease and could jump up by 10 no problems. I felt great!

Yoga was another stellar practice and this time it proved to be a little more difficult. I guess doing push press before yoga fatigued my shoulders so downward dog was PAINFUL! A great practice though and my hips loved me for the release.

I then practiced at Vanier with the boys for two hours and then moved in to my WOD at 5.

Today we did 5 rounds of the following; 9 deadlifts, 6 powercleans and 3 clean squats at 135lbs. Another workout that didn't seem all that tough but holy smokes, it was tough! I actually didn't feel comfortable with the clean squats because I don't quite have the flexibility in my wrists to perform the movement perfectly. Since the lift is overhead I really don't want to mess around with it so instead I completed 3 power cleans and then performed 3 wall handstand push ups. This increased the workload substantially and added time to the clock because I had to walk over to the wall and back again to the bar. I am only competing against myself so time is irrelevant and I still got a bomber workout out of it!

After that I worked on 1 arm kettle bell presses leaning back on a bench in bridge position. I used the 75 pound kettle bell and definitely had to work for it! I then completed the core exercise which was 40 knees to elbows on the pull up bar. This was a nice learning lesson because the Crossfit way of executing the movement is way more power based then my experience with just lifting your knees up. They perform it as if it is an ab plyometric movement where you stretch out completely with legs extending backwards and then swinging right up, however, this movement is done with your body at a backward angle rather than straight up. I improved my form a lot and am excited to use this movement when I get to brazil because of the bars they have all the way down the beach!

Crossfit Day 11 "a quickie"

I had a complicated day with a lot of things to accomplish and then I conversed with a trusted friend in the volley community for a bit too long. Sadly I missed my WOD because I was training with the local high school boys team at 5 but I managed to squeeze in 3 rounds of 15 wall balls and 10 burpees for a 3 minute special. It was a great warm up and got me fired to play some indoor ball!!!

The local team at Vanier is ranked 3rd in the province for Senior boys and I am training with them a few times a week to keep my skills. It is a fun atmosphere and man do I miss crushing balls down the line! Beach has definitely increased my indoor control and I am 100% in favour of athletes training in the sand over summer to improve their indoor game. Many coaches disagree with it but I can say with utter confidence that the vision I have been forced to develop in the sand has opened my eyes for indoors as well. No doubt the sports can be used together to develop a well rounded all-star.

Crossfit Day 10

The gym is closed today November 6th because Marc and a few of the guys have gone to compete in the Crossfit competition in Victoria. I wish I could go down to watch and support because I feel I am now a part of a team. Someday I will compete in Crossfit and wreck myself in public in silly hard workouts but that time isn't now!

I went to a local rec gym and prepared for my strength workout. I had done squats and deads at the beginning of the week but we went for them again because I was feeling good. I was feeling really solid and my Jack'd 3D shake had my blood flowing maximally; it was time to lift some heavies.

I pushed my squat up by 10 pounds rather than 5 because I felt great and successfully lifted 265 cleanly for 3 sets of 5 reps. I then went for some extra reps and moved 325 for 2 reps and then 365 for a single power rep but I didn't sacrifice form or depth. I managed to squat deeply and bring it right to the top cleanly; I was pumped! Some kids were working out there and I always caught them in the mirror looking at me while I was lifting over 6 plates a side. They came up to me after and said "You are a beast!" which is something I will never tire of hearing. My skinny man syndrome runs deep and I it will probably never subside because the guy I see in the mirror is never strong enough.

Deadlifts only moved up by 5 and I crushed the reps leading up to the final strength set. I was sweating pretty hard at this time so I asked the gym supervisor if she had any chalk tucked away. Turns out there was some baby powder so I coated my palms with that and went on lifting heavies smelling lovely! I moved my 5 set max to 240 and pumped the reps out clean. I am still increasing my max every strength day and I am showing no sings of stopping. I then bumped it down to 310 for 5 more reps for volume and used my last 5 available minutes a the gym to perform 40 abb roll outs on the little wheel.

A solid leisurely saturday in a tiny local gym.

Crossfit Day 9 - Jackie

Today is another strength day consisting of squats and deadlifts with the added bonus of yoga (actually a surprise) and an afternoon WOD.

Squats I moved through the weight warm up and executed 3 sets of 5 reps at 255 pounds perfectly. I am really finding new strength in my deep squat and that power coming out the bottom is allowing me to finish each lift with authority. My deadlift is coming along nicely as well and I have no added a set to my maximum to add volume. I threw down 335 for 5 reps and then lightened the load to 305 to perform an extra 5 reps cleanly. I am lifting hard and I can't see myself plateauing anytime soon.

I was heading out after the workout but was then asked to join a yoga class afterwards. Marc and his wife were hosting a new yoga instructor so I thought I would test it out. They are looking to offer a few different classes a week and this class was their first of a power yoga series.

The instructor is a lovely woman named Katie who embodies her practice and has one of those voices that you just want to close your eyes and listen to. From her opening sentence I knew she was going to be a fabulous teacher and that was definitely the case. Her sequences challenged all my weaknesses (hips especially) and by the end of it I had a lot more range of motion and my midsection felt elongated and supple. It was a great yoga session and an no brainer in terms of adding it to my workout regime.

My afternoon WOD went by the name "Jackie" and it consisted of 1000 meter row followed by 50 thrusters with the bar and then 30 pull ups.

All of the workouts don't seem all that intimidating on paper but once you are mid workout, fatigue sets in and the reality of the workout humbles you.

The rowing wasn't that big of a deal but the thrusters hit me hard. Doing a front squat and then pressing into an overhead lift uses in my opinion 100% of your muscle mass which truly increases your oxygen requirements. I wanted to get through 5 sets of 10 for the 50 total but wound up doing sets of 5 and then 4 and then 3. I actually did about 25 strict shoulder press reps with the bar before one of the other athletes yelled at me that I wasn't doing the right movement! Oops, I lost about a minute and fatigued my shoulders; I guess I won't make that mistake again!

The 30 pulls ups were difficult as I am not great at body weight exercises. I broke them down into sets of 5 but once I hit 15 I was limited to 3 and then 2 and then single reps to finish the workout. I am pretty sure I finished in just over 9 minutes but I didn't write my score down so I might be wrong. Regardless of time I did my best to complete it as fast as possible so that is all that matters. I am pushing myself hard and I am not comparing myself to anybody else. It is me vs me and I am going to win!

Cross Fit day 8

With my body adapting nicely to the workload of the Crossfit WODs, I am far less sore the following day than I anticipate! A lovely gift seeing as I am working extremely hard!

Today's WOD consisted solely of rowing sprints. Our task was to sprint 500 meters on the rowing machine 4 times with 5 minutes rest in between sets. This workout didn't seem that hard until midway through when I realized I have never done sprints on a rowing erg!

My times were 1:31, 1:36, 1:38 and 1:37 and that laid me on the floor afterwords. I left a little in the tank because I didn't know how hard I would have to dig late in the sets but I definitely pushed myself hard and did my best to power through.

The diversity of the Crossfit workouts continue to perk my interest and I find myself coming into the gym with an attitude of wanting to win my workout! Never before have I had the opportunity to see each workout as a change to engage in a battle of will against myself. I am getting fierce and my ability to push through adversity and pain is certainly advancing. Many thresh holds are extending and I know they will serve me well as I compete on the beach volleyball world tour.

Cross Fit day 7

After a solid weekend in Victoria visiting with friends, partying to amazing electro beats and running some marketing ideas by Bill Sood at Spank It sports on the Monday, I returned home fairly exhausted and took the night off.

I stepped into my strength regime on Tuesday morning and got into some front squats, bench presses and power cleans. I squatted 215 lbs comfortably for 5 reps in 3 sets after a thorough warm up and moved into bench. I then pressed 215 for the same amount of reps and sets and felt strong throughout. Power cleans were a beauty and now that I am up to some pretty heavy weight I am quite careful considering it is a very technical lift. I made sure the reps that counted were well executed and told myself I wouldn't push this lift beyond my comfort zone. I did my warmup sequence and got up to 225 for 5 sets of 3 reps. I took my time and rested well between sets to maximize my form and I came out of the workout with nearly a 100% execution rate. I drank my recovery shake and headed home to recover as the afternoon workout promised to be exhaustive.

The WOD for November 2nd was as follows.

1 full round/rep consisted of 3 power cleans followed by 3 sets of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats. We were to perform as many reps as possible in 20 minutes!

I LOVE that I have had to change my perception of rest as the Crossfit mentality involves finding a rhythm in each movement and performing straight through the time given. When I began I would go hard then rest and then go hard again but I have changed my mentality and goals towards working through fatigue and only taking two breath breaks as rest. I am finding out that I can push through more than I think with less reps than I imagined necessary.

I was able to perform 4 rounds with an extra 3 cleans and 5 pull ups and man was I FINISHED after! A lovely workout medley of bodyweight exercises mixed in with some power lifting. Good one today!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chris Lake meets Wolverine

After my workout and photo shoot I hopped into my truck and rocked my way south to Victoria. I made better time than I thought and by 6 I was unpacking my gear at Rob's place downtown Vic. As it turns out, the ride Rob had lined up to pick up Chris Lake from the airport bailed so showed in perfect timing! We rolled immediately with Rob's new business partner Christine and arrived a few minutes after he landed. We dropped Chris off at his hotel to check in and once he had done so we capitalized on our reservation at Victoria's prime sushi spot. We had a fabulous meal and I had some sushi treats I had never had before! Amazing meal all round with fabulous company!
After our gourmet feast Chris went for a snooze at his hotel and went back to Rob's to chill for a bit before this monumental evening.
Rob's roomate and good friend goes by the name Joe Girard. He is one of those guys you just want to hang out with because whatever he says is absolutely hilarious and whatever he does is always fun. He was dressing up as "Girls Gone Wild" and he had prepared a video camera with a flashlight on top and had even bought a microphone which he planned to interview people with. His counterpart Mike "Soulfix" (who would open for Chris Lake later that night) we are solid mix and promised to be a hit at the party. We tossed a football around in the dark for a bit and then cruised up to Campus before things got too hectic. We got in the back door, got our all access passes and I immediately went to the DJ booth where friend Ryan Hrechka was shredding the decks early. 

The greenroom was full of costumed up party goers and we all had a blast while hanging to the backbeat of great music. There were over 500 people grooving to the tunes and the anticipation rose the closer we got to Chris' set. My cousin Caitlin was showed so we danced it up on the stage and all over! I love just rocking out to great music and rock out I did. I was all over the place and Rob had to tell me a million times to get off the stage! We partied until 3AM and then went to Rob and Joe's place to after party.

The after party consisted of only a few people but Ryan "RAFH" Hrenchka brought his decks and he spun INCREDIBLE music along with Rob and another random guy until 7am. I was exhausted but I laid on the bed in the party room moving my feet cause I couldn't leave!!! Finally went downstairs to the living room and took a good 2 hour sleep before I had to wake up at 10 to take Chris for brekke. 

Here is my buddy Roxy and I after snuggling all night. Lovely to have her poach some of my warmth.
Now off to breakfast!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cross fit day 6 Wolverine edition

I have been growing my beard out for quite sometime and it all came down to today! I had been planning to dress up as Wolverine for Halloween for about a month and I came to Titatnium Crossfit this morning in full gear with my homemade claws, dog tags, wife beater, dark skinnies and a pair of chops that would make a burly pig jealous.

The workout was strength based and I had squats, push presses and deadlifts on the agenda.

I started with the classic warm up of double unders and a few squats, pull ups, sit ups and spiderman lunges and got right into the workout.

My squats were feeling solid and I pushed out a progression series and a final 3 set sequence of 5 reps at 250 lbs. They actually felt easy which I can attest to getting used to the deeper squatting range Crossfit encourages.

Me working out in full Wolverine costume!
Push press is difficult for me because of my long arms and limited wrist flexibility at this time. Each day gets a tiny bit better but I am nowhere near comfortable when I am resting the bar on my shoulders while gripping it. I did my progression series and got up to 140 lbs at 3 sets of 5 reps. I completed the lifts with relative ease, however, the pain in my arms and my inability to grip the bar throughout the whole lift will hold me back until I can get it sorted.

Now for my strength of deadlifting. This is one of my favourite lifts and I was feeling AMAZING at this point in time of my workout. The progression series felt light and and I completed my final set of 5 reps at 325 with ease. I then decided I wanted to push it and Jesse (wicked crossfitter) and Marc (owner and head trainer of Titanium Crossfit) were both hitting some big weights next to me so the energy was elevating us all. I threw on 355 for 1 and nailed it, then 395, then 405 then 435 and didn't max out! We decided to leave it at that as I had done quite a bit of work for the day and needed to get on the road to hit up a photo shoot with friend Josie Boulding.

I was crazy stoked on the day and really look forward to establishing my one rep max on deadlift but I have a feeling it will be about 455 or 460!

I took off and met Josie in a choice forest and we snagged a few photos of me in my costume. Here is my fave!

I then ripped home, burnt some road trip CD's and then hit the road because I had a massive event to go to in Victoria where great friend Rob Berkowitz was putting on a Halloween party at Uvic with world renowned DJ Chris Lake.

Let the good times begin, especially after such a great morning!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Crossfit day 5 - WOD

After finding out my maximal lifts the day before I thought I would be a bit more stiff the following morning. I guess the addition of protein shakes directly post workout are allowing my muscles to recover quicker. Gotta love smart nutrition!

Today was a workout that consisted of double under skips which is a new movement to me and one I have been fearing to enter a workout! The workout went like this

30 Double Unders
30 Pull Ups
30 Double Unders
45 Push Ups
30 Double Unders
60 Sit Ups
30 Double Unders
75 Squats (body weight)

It didn't look like a crazy one but if there is something I have learnt it is that WOD's are deceiving.

Going into this workout my double under record in a row was 15. Not very promising considering I had to get through 120 reps and I usually completed 2 or 3 in a row before I duffed.

We got going and I aspired for 6 sets of 5 double under reps to get through the 30. I made it through easier than I thought and then aspired to get 6 sets of 5 kipping pull ups. I got two sets of 5 before my form broke down and had to shift to sets of 3, then 2, then 1. Once again my muscles haven't allowed me to get enough reps in a row to gas out but I certainly got shaky!

The double unders got a little easier the more I fatigued as my form stiffened and I was forced to be more efficient. Push ups started with sets of 10 but turned into sets of 4, 2 and then my last 3 were singles. Heaving is a word that comes to mind at this point but and I was halfway throught; good times!

Another 30 double unders and I passed to sit ups. I am good at them but my speed isn't there. I completed 30, 20, 10 with breaks of 5 seconds in between and it felt more like a rest than an exercise. I was taxed but I had somehow recovered some air during the sit ups. I came into this last set of double unders wanting to shred and shred I did. Out of nowhere I hit 30 in a row!!!! Amazing! I hit 20 and couldn't believe it but went with it! I found my rhythm and performed the 30 double unders flawlessly! Off to my strength; squats.

I pumped out 25, 15, then committed to finishing the last 35 straight. I finished with a time of 12:53.

It was a great workout and my entire body was pretty evenly spent. I loved the athleticism and endurance required to do the body weight exercises and I look forward to getting fitter, stronger, faster and more aggressive in my Crossfit performance.

Crossfit Day 4 - Strength

Yesterday's workout destroyed me at the time but I recovered enough to play ball that night and not be all that sore the next morning! 

Today's lineup involved some heavy lifting as I was scheduled to find out my maximal weights in the front squat, bench press and power cleans. I was really excited about this because I haven't done much in the way of front squatting or power cleaning and I was really keen to discover my 5 rep maximums.

I did the warmup on the board and then dove into the front squat. My wrists aren't very flexible so the movement ins't comfortable but the lighter weights weren't bad in my 5 rep sets. Once I got above 185lbs I had to put on wrist braces to support this vulnerable position but my legs didn't fail me. I lifted comfortably until 225lbs and then my wrists gave out after the second rep so I had to settle for a maximum of 215. 

The bench press by no means my strength but it is a movement I am comfortable with. I hadn't done any bench pressing for the past 6 months so I was interested to know what my count would be. The warm up sets went quickly and before I knew it I was lifting 195lbs firmly for 5. I got up to 215lbs and decided that was my 5 rep max as the last rep was a struggle. I was pleased with that because my chest feels small and weak but I guess I had a little more in the tank than I thought! 

Power cleans were going to be a surprise because I have never pushed myself in that specific lift. I have had some training but all in all it has not been a staple in my training program until this last pre-season but even then we weren't pushed much. My warm ups were clean lifts and Mark our trainer was pleased with my form. I moved up in 10lbs increments and before I knew it was above what I thought I could do with no form for a 3 rep maximum. The 10lbs kept on pilling on and the heavier I got the better the lifts felt! I finally hit 225 and completed the 3 reps perfectly; AMAZING! I was cleaning more than I could front squat! I didn't see that one coming but I guess having deadlift as my strongest movement really helps with my clean. 

I was one happy camper. Power cleans are something I want to get REALLY good at and in one session my confidence and skill soared. I can't wait to push this lift and get into the 300's! I did 30 roll outs in 5 quick sets of 6 and then guzzled my protein shake. It was a great workout at Titanium Crossfit in Courtenay and I thank Mark for being such a caring and attentive trainer.

I am going to sleep well tonight so I can attack the WOD tomorrow! 

Crossfit Day 3

After a weekend of rest and epsom salt baths and stretching I recovered and blasted into my Monday Crossfit commitment. I returned to a workout named "Fight Gone Bad" and boy did it feel just like that. 

Fight Gone Bad consists of 5 exercises you perform in a row for a minute with no rest between. Once one full circuit is completed then you are given 1 minute rest and then you perform the 5 exercises in a row for a second and then a third set. Here are the exercises in no particular order-

Wall Ball 
Sumo Deadlift High Pull (75lbs)
Box Jumps
Push Press (75lbs)
Rowing (calorie count after a minute)

Well being new to Crossfit helped me because I didn't really think of how bad this workout was going to be! It was heavy, very heavy and I set a goal to complete 20 reps in each exercise for all rounds. I started on wall ball which is my strength and before I knew it I hammered out 35 in the first minute. That one hit me hard but I pulled through 20 in each of the other 4 exercises to complete the first circuit. After 5 minutes I was keeled over and breathing crazy heavy; two more to go.

I paced myself a little bit better but still went harder on wall ball because squats are my strength. Hurt, deep breaths and coughing on my saliva are fond memories I have of this workout and after pushing myself over 20 reps a couple times in a few exercises I collapsed at a total of 333.

This is a score I am quite proud of considering I have nothing to compare it to. Mark our trainer had to come over and tell me to pace myself a bit cause I destroyed myself so badly last week so I do believe I could have hammered out a few more reps in each exercise. A positive workout indeed and I then went and played 2 hours of volleyball with a local high school team! I was surprised I didn't cramp or collapse in the volley session; I guess I am adapting a bit to Crossfit!!!

Tomorrow is strength. Bring on the heavies

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 2 of Crossfit

I am pooched.

My muscles hasn't been this sore since I was training full time in Brazil about a year and a half ago but that isn't stopping me. I woke up and had to use a few different objects to get to my feet. My quads were completely spent and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to perform my strength workout. I wasn't about to bow out after my first session and I knew it was important for me to push through, so I did.

Mark and I planned on doing strength in the morning and taking the afternoon off. I got to the strength workout at 10:30 and I did a thorough 5 minutes on the rowing erg to break a healthy sweat. I was warm and my legs felt a more viscous jello than the night before. Heavy lifting time!

We worked through 5 rep progressions in squats, overhead presses and deadlifts. Each one started with the bar only and then we packed on plates until I found a challenging weight were 5 reps didn't come easily. From there we determined how my strength progression will go as each time I do strength I will have to lift that weight with 3 sets of 5 reps successfully to add 5 pounds onto the bar in the next one. It sounds like a fantastic way to increase weight slowly and I know this challenge is going to push me further than I have ever gone before in both strength and power.

With strength over and done with I went home and ate as much carbs and protein as possible. Cooking up 2 massive chicken breasts and a bucket of quinoa I feasted then went to my mother's school to teach the grade 6 and 7's in a volleyball clinic. They are progressing to the point where they are consistently getting 3 hits a side and I am very pleased with how much they have improved. Such an amazing gift seeing them rejoice after a good hit or serve!!!

The afternoon workout at 5 was a spontaneous one. I thought I would go and check it out but that plan crumbled the second I walked in the door as upon seeing the weights, bars and Medballs I knew I wanted everything to do with today's WOD. I applied heaps of KINeSYS sport stick to my quads as they weren't feeling spectacular then hit up the warm up of double under skips, burpees, quats and a shoulder mobility exercise. Once lubricated and mentally prepared to get after Crossfit again, I commenced the workout with the other two people in the gym.

The WOD consisted of two exercises performed in a diminishing sequence of reps. We started with 55 pound Kettlebell swings and then turned to a wall where we did 10 foot wall throws with a deep squat. The sequence of reps went 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 which doesn't look all that bad but it definitely hit me hard!!!

I powered through the first 21 reps in both exercises and it felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I ripped off 9 Kettlebell swings before I had to take a rest due to my right shoulder getting super sore and my cardio just not being strong enough to recuperate. I wound up having to take breaks in all the double digit sets because of my shoulder and inability to work through the fatigue but I went hard on 9-6-3 to finish at 9 minutes and 6 seconds. A burly firefighter guy by the name of John crushed it off in 6 minutes with no rest; I am jealous and humbled by the die hard Crossfit community!

I hung around after the workout to do some volley reps while I was super fatigued and boy was it difficult to get 20 rapid bumps in a row against a wall! I did 100 bumps and 100 sets and called it a day; tomorrow will be hell but my body will adapt.

Whatever I am doing, somewhere else in the world someone is working harder than me. I will strive forward; I am as strong as my drive.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crossfit = Pain in the best way imaginable

Well my life has finally allowed me to enter a world of pain I have been itching to dive into for a while. I am back home in the Comox Valley and everything is finally in order for me to explore Crossfit at local Titanium Crossfit! I had a beauty meeting with the owner named Mark Mazzocchi and he layed out all the basics. It is a perfect fit at this point in time in my career/season and it will definitely take me to the next level and beyond in terms of fitness and mental strength. GAME ON!!!

So I showed up today expecting to get my butt handed to me; it happened. We did the warm up and were introduced to the WOD (work out of the day). It was a 4 exercise Tabata workout which is a series performed under the following protocol. You exercise for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and repeat that sequence 8 times. 10 seconds of rest before you move onto the next exercise. One word, BRUTAL!!!!

The four exercises to be performed in sequence went from Pull ups to Push Ups to Sit ups to Squats (body weight). All reps performed in the 8 sets were added up to make a total for each exercise and then your exercise total was added to give you your final workout rep count.

Well the first 3 exercises weren't too bad because I don't possess the muscle mass to really work beyond my cardio system. My muscles gave out before my respiratory system was hyper taxed so I just had to deal with giving out and fully trembling muscles. After the second rep in Pull Ups and Push Ups I aspired to get 2 and eventually 1 successful rep in a row. It got to the point where 1 rep was a struggle; the burn was intense and I risked falling on my face while pushing up. It was fun.

The sit ups weren't all that bad because once again I wasn't able to really explode through them to get enough reps. I definitely fatigued but because my upper body weights more than my legs I struggled to get through a lot of reps in each 20 second split. I was tired and huffing but the pain was manageable.

Last came the squats; these were the kicker. Since I am a large human being the medicine ball placed under my bum to check proper depth had to be elevated! We placed a thick plate under it and I was then ready to get heavy. I knew this was the exercise I could really push my total on and I committed to going harder than I ever have gone before.

My goal was to perform 20 squat reps per 20 second split. I hit that on my first few attempts but then my pace declined as the INSANE burn beat me down. I resisted and persisted and those 8 sets of squats were worse than the other three exercises combined. I managed to push to 123 reps and for the next 10 minutes I was queezy and my legs shook like a 10.0 on the richter scale. Driving home wasn't safe at this point.

I tried doing some roll outs but my body wouldn't allow me to perform anything other than breathing and stumbling to my car! That was it for the day and I wasn't about to rebel against my body!

All in all my first Crossfit work out went like so

If you can spot my name, I scored 314 repetitions in a 16 minute maximal workout. Lets just say I am going to be sore tomorrow but guess what? I am doing a strength workout at 10:30 to get a baseline understanding of my 5 rep maxes in the Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!

I was warned Crossfit is addictive and I must say that after a single beating, I am in. I will become the best athlete I have ever been should I continue, although, I will monitor my body as Crossfit is hyper taxing. I will write a blog on each of my workouts so keep checking back for more stories of me getting destroyed by one of the most effective workout regimes available. It is a cult and I plan on getting my hands very dirty.

Keep pushing. Martin

Friday, October 15, 2010

Skinnies in Sweden

After our match we hung out a bit longer in Finland. There were a few good evening dinners and one rockin dance party in the Casino that was FANTASTIC! The DJ's were called "Two Big DJ's"and they played some amazing music that really got our crew jumping, I think I danced for 3 hours straight!

We then returned to the mainland with a few Canadians and the Kiwi team. The Kiwi team consists of Kirk and Jason who are the players and this year they brought a younger guy on tour who was a riot. His name is Mike but he was given the nickname "Slash" because he was a coach slash trainer slash physio slash party boy! A funny character who complimented Jason and Kirk perfectly.

Kacie napping in the cruise station
We all took the ferry back and planned to stay two nights in Sweden. The voyage was full of fun card games, candy and silliness. We were a super fun group and our madness didn't end when we got off the boat. We got to the our hotel, had a quick nap and then prepared for an evening of mayhem downtown Stockholm.

Chaim rolling up his J-orts!
Our pre-beverage party happened in the Kiwi's room and we played loads of their games. They has some hilariously interactive ways to drink socially and we struggled to move downtown because we were having so much fun! With the arrival of the taxi we were forced to move the festivities to an official establishment and one of the Swedish players lined up a nice dance place to start the evening. We got there and it was dead but the DJ was HAPPENING! We all were alone on the dance floor but it didn't matter cause we were jamming. Good tunes, hilarious dancing and the lighting was a trip. After some athletic shaking we decided to move the gang along to another location where we wound up waiting in line for 30 minutes. I tried bargaining with the head bouncer saying we were pro athletes and what not but the place was so packed they couldn't do anything for us.

With no luck there and dwindling patience we cruised along the streets looking for another party. We wound up not being allowed into one of the other recommended locations so we hopped next door cause we heard some good music. Slash wound up chatting the bouncer and said "The other place wouldn't let us in cause they are gay." and much to our surprise the place we were trying to get into was a gay club! HAHAHAH!!! He swallowed his words and wound up stuttering for a bit but we moved on before any harm came of it!

By 2 we hadn't entered any place and we were tuckered from starting around 8. We decided to head back and get a good nights rest. Fun times roaming the streets with the Kiwis!
The following day a few of us went downtown to shop. The style and store selection in Stockholm is unreal and we feasted on the incredible fashion. Chaim wound up buying some skinnies (I chickened out) but I purchased a few beauty v-necks to bring back some euro style to Canada. We caught a movie, chilled for another day and returned to Canada on Tuesday for the National Championships.

Rolled up Skinnies
Perfect fit
Chaim's new flexibility in his stretchy skinnies

A fun time in Scandinavia for sure and regardless of the insane cost of living in Stockholm, I will return.