Friday, September 29, 2006

At My Signal

Fight Gone Bad. Sounds gnarly, huh? It is, but it’s not that horrible. Sure, you’ll be a panting puddle of useless bile when it’s over, but three or four minutes later you’ll be your normal self again. The steamroller of Crossfit Love that ran you over will be history, and you’ll look back fondly on the choice moments:

“Yo dude. Remember in Round Two, when you told me to ‘SUCK IT UP!!!’ in front of my grandparents, and I totally knocked out three more box jumps? That was cool. Yeah. If I’d gotten 14 more reps, I would’ve beat you. Next time, bro, you're going down!”

On Sunday morning, you’ll whine about how everything hurts, and you couldn’t possibly make a pot of coffee, let alone workout. You’ll limp around all day, vacant-eyed and wincing, telling strangers about the previous day like you earned the Medal of Honor for jumping on a hand grenade.

That, or you could come to Again Faster.

We’re going to be living the dream, banging out an hour of sprinting less than 24 hours after a mythical encounter with FGB. For the first time, we’ll introduce sled drags to the AF Curriculum, switching between full-out 200 meter sprints and 100 meter sled pulls until your legs feel like they’ve been dipped in concrete. You’ll love it.

Ten Rounds for Time:

200 meter Sprint
100 meter Sled Drag

We’ll meet by the pull-up bars at Jamaica Pond at 8:00 a.m. Now that’s active recovery!

Go faster!

Photo of Chuck Liddell, moments after Randy Couture's Fight Gone Really Really Bad, courtesy of

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Training Maturity

I’m having a little trouble with maturity. Not jokes-about-poop-in-business-settings maturity, but a different kind.

For the last few weeks, my shoulders have been bothering me. I cranked out a 21-15-9 of 135 pound deadlifts and 135 pound jerks a while back, and I’ve been smoked ever since. Instead of scaling back, I’ve been pushing right along as if nothing happened.

Lo and behold, my shoulders still hurt. I’ve been bathing them in Biofreeze and taping bags of mixed vegetables to them every night, all the while avoiding ibuprofen like the plague.

(Last week, I read a study that showed that ibuprofen consumption limits muscle development. F*cking study.)

My pain-reliever-free regimen, combined with a stubborn unwillingness to de-load, is exacerbating my problem. I should step back, assess, and lighten up for a week.

That would be the mature thing to do.

On Saturday, we're hosting the Fight Gone Bad Fundraiser. I think I’ll half-ass during that. It’s only an Open House—who’ll be watching?

The following weekend, we have the Certification Seminar right here in Boston. Greg and Lauren will be there, along with Tony, Nicole, Kelly, Lynne, and a bevy of fantastic athletes. I’ll be surrounded by Crossfit Gods, but that’s no reason to push hard. I’ll definitely scale back then.

If I was my own trainer, I’d demand rest days. “Jon,” I’d say, “you’re not doing yourself any favors. Recovery is just as important as training, and you know it.” Like a million other trainees, I’d tell my (trainer) self, “You got it, Coach,” and then I’d go home and do whatever I was going to do anyway.

I’m a stubborn bastard. I know that recovery is the single most important factor in athletic development aside from training. I don’t care. I train heavy and hard every day, damn it! My ego demands satisfaction!

This morning, I had a conversation with an athlete who’s going on vacation next week. He’s trying to cram in five workouts before he leaves. I told him how dumb that is, how he needs to rest, how he can workout on vacation, how eating 10,000 calories today and nothing tomorrow is the nutritional equivalent of his workout plan and a retarded way to do things.

God, I’m such a hypocrite.

I learned my lesson. I’m going to give up the alpha male schtick and get some rest. It’s time to let my shoulders heal.

Back squats don’t work the shoulders, do they?

Picture of me swinging, back when I was smarter, slower, and weaker, courtesy of my beautiful girlfriend.

Monday, September 25, 2006

On The Turn

I went to bed on Saturday night thinking Sunday was going to be a bust. The National Weather Service claimed rain, and I’m not one to doubt the Masters of Meteorology.

Luckily, they were wrong.

It was clear and cool at the Pond when we arrived. The grass was freshly cut and slightly wet, perfect for getting a taste of chlorophyll mid-burpee. Patrick and I hung the rings amid a hail of acorns, standing under a turning oak tree. The AF Bar was mounted down by the shore, and we were ready to go.

We split into two teams, holding sway over two thoroughly shuffled decks of cards. Sam, Thor, and I took on Josh, Pat, and Ilene, each team responsible for 96 Overhead Squats, 96 Beck’s Burpees, 96 V-ups, and 101 pull-ups. A lone Joker sat in each deck, signifying a bonus round of “Cindy”—5 pull-ups, 10 pushups, and 15 squats mid-melee.

Ilene and I pulled the first two cards, launching into a half-hour of nausea-inducing bodyweight exercises. EC looked on, simultaneously coaching, taking pictures, and entertaining one very hung-over bystander. 106 cards hit the deck, each one bringing us closer to victory.

We finished just before 9:00, high on endorphins and soaked in sweat. In the post-workout haze, I began cranking out kips on the AF Bar, while EC “filmed” for a super-low-budget commercial. My ancient digital camera breathed its last on Sunday, but we managed to get some footage before it died.

Thanks for coming out, guys. We’ll be at the Pond next Sunday, less than 24 hours after the semi-apocalyptic Fight Gone Bad Fundraiser.

Fitness waits for no man.

Go faster!

Friday, September 22, 2006

When the Facts Change

If it works, we use it. Evidently, so does everyone else. In the last few days, an epidemic of anecdotes has flooded my cell phone and my inbox:

“Jon! They’re doing Crossfit, but they’re not calling it Crossfit. It’s Captain Joe’s Superhero Bootcamp, except it’s not! It’s our stuff! What do we do?”

We do nothing. Not out of apathy, or lack of indignation. We do nothing because they’re doing everything that we’ve already done. Crossfit is a conglomeration of the best fitness systems known to man. We didn’t make up the clean, the 400-meter sprint, the back lever, the muscle-up, or the sledgehammer swing. We didn’t make up the high-intensity circuit either. We took other people’s stuff, and they took it from the folks who came before them. Somebody’s bound to take it from us.

Crossfit is a synthesis of hundreds of years of training experience. Guys were performing on rings and lifting weight above their heads before your Grandpa was born. Man has sprinted and deadlifted heavy objects since the dawn of time. The fittest athletes on earth have always exhibited competency across a wide variety of physical skills.

None of this stuff is new, ladies and gentlemen.

Moving heavy objects quickly builds speed, strength, and power. Diet is critical. Sugar is bad for you. Sleep is important. Stress will kill you. Ice reduces swelling. See anything earth-shattering in this list?

Greg Glassman is, by all accounts, a brilliant man. He has dedicated his life to collecting and espousing the most effective training methodologies on the planet, with the caveat that if he found something better, everything would change overnight.

The willingness to abandon and rebuild is the mark of a stoic and reasonable individual. For better or worse, many of our direct competitors have become reasonable individuals, and they’re encroaching on our market space. We are no longer the sole purveyors of effective, full-body, functional fitness.

Fortunately, we don’t have to be. We’ve got something they don’t—Community.

Patience, persistence, and indomitable will are the hallmarks of the Crossfitter. They also happen to be the hallmarks of a good person. Through this undeniable connection, we know that the people who make up Crossfit are good people, bound by hard work, sweat, and collective suffering. We embrace total strangers when they mention the word “Crossfit”, because they are us, and we are them.

The rest of the world is waking from the Nautilus-induced coma that has plagued fitness for the last two decades. Once again, people want to train hard and fast, using the techniques and methods of elite athletics.

We should wish them well, and continue the revolution with or without them. In the end, they can never have what we have, because we stand together.

Go faster!

Picture of John Maynard Keynes courtesy of Mr. Keynes famously quipped, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Double Decker

Last night, a new trainee asked me why I put on the Weekly Workout Series.

“So you don’t charge a dime?” she asked, “You just do it out of the goodness of your heart?”

Yeah, I do it out of the goodness of my heart. That and I have some minor sadistic tendencies that need a good outlet. Luckily, I’m not the only one who finds growth through endorphin-riddled, sweat-soaked sprints and weight-tossing metabolic blasts.

This week, we’re bringing back the team race, Again Faster style.

The deck-of-cards workout is making its second appearance, albeit with a twist. Two decks, two teams. First team to make it through their deck wins. The concept is simple enough.

Clubs: Pull-ups
Spades: Beck’s Burpees
Hearts: Overhead Squats
Diamonds: V-ups

Pull the Eight of Clubs, everyone does eight pull-ups. Two of Hearts, two overhead squats. Etcetera. Face cards count as ten, the Ace as eleven.

The entire team must finish before the next card is pulled. 52 cards later, we’ll have a winner. Start thinking about who you’d like on your team now, so I can disappoint you later.

The Again Faster Weekly Workout Series is not paid for in dollars. It’s paid with effort, perseverance, and sweat. It will be free until somebody starts charging me, and then I might suck up the cost anyway. It's just that much fun.

See you at the Pond, 8:00 a.m. sharp. If you need directions, shoot me an email.

Go faster!

Image courtesy of

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Learning the Hard Way

The student-teacher relationship is complicated. Knowledge flows in innumerable directions—teacher to student, student to teacher, teacher to teacher, student to student.

The source of authority is blurred as these flows spin into a web of setbacks and improvements. As the student and teacher learn from each other, each experiences psychological and physical gains that would not occur in the absence of the relationship.

Allowing this process to follow its natural course has given me some preliminary insight into one of the basic tenets of strength training.

This morning, two of our athletes were working toward a one-rep maximum, cranking out heavy thrusters. We started with a five repetition set, using a 115-pound bar to prime the movement. I was slightly aloof as Leo and Mike went through the set, observing but not absorbing.

Despite their previous demonstrations of strength, each athlete struggled to push the bar overhead. I immediately fell back to my stock lifting speech:

“Use the legs to power the press! This is not a segmented movement. You need to transfer the power from hip extension to the upper body. This is not a press! Snap the hips open faster!”

We loaded 135 on the bar for a three-rep attempt. Mike gripped the bar and pushed it overhead twice, failing on the third lift. He scrambled to get under the load as he went to lockout on each attempt. The bar was four or five inches behind his midline, pulling him backward and off-balance. Leo jumped on the bar, exhibiting the same shaky form and exaggerated lockout. He made two lifts before failing, dropping the bar to the rubber mat.

As I cleaned the bar back to the rack, I started preaching, intent on remedying the shortfall.

“Tension is extremely important. You need to grip the hell out of the bar. Rigidity in the shoulder girdle is going to help you get that bar overhead. Take a deep breath, and hold it.”

I turned to Mike.

“Get f*ckin’mad. Let your eyes bulge. Get pissed at the bar. Hell, when you fail, you have a reason to be mad. Get angry.”

Mike got mad, and the tension came immediately. He racked the bar to his chest, totally solid from head to foot. He pushed out the two required reps, slamming 135 overhead easily.

“I could’ve done another one,” he said, grinning.

Leo followed his example, making the lifts with strength to spare. Based on their effort, I added nickels to the bar, bringing the total to 145 for the first one-rep attempt.

After such a stunning turnaround at 135, I was surprised when both guys failed to put it up. Once again, the hip extension lacked force, the extra tension limiting the athletes rather than propelling them to PRs.

Blaming a lack of rest between attempts, I gave Leo and Mike several minutes to rest, reemphasizing the need to transfer power and maintain tension. As Mike set up on the bar for his second attempt at 145, he was visibly shaken. The fury was gone from his eyes as he began his lift, the bar high across his chest.

He dipped into the squat and drove upward, getting the bar just over his head before failing to lockout. During this attempt, I noticed his grip, hands two inches outside shoulder-width.

Suddenly, the light bulb went off.

By reverting to stock lifting advice, I’d failed to notice a simple solution to a complicated problem. The transfer of power wasn’t failing because of tension or hip extension—-it was failing because of structural flaws.

In any overhead lift, power generation comes from the legs and hips, traveling through the core, and ending with a full lockout overhead. If the athlete is not perfectly aligned, some of that power is lost. The feet must be directly under the hips and the hips directly under the shoulders, creating an efficient path to facilitate power transfer. This path must continue through the arms, the elbows as close to the body as possible, aligned directly under the wrists.

If this alignment is achieved, power will move from the lower body to the torso to overhead with minimal reduction.

I moved Mike’s grip inward, putting his wrists over his elbows. We pulled the 5s off the bar, bringing the weight down to 135. Mike made the lift, exhibiting near-perfect form and crisp movement.

Training is a never-ending process. There is always something to learn, something to improve. The same can be said for teaching—-it is a continual evolution of trial and error, a journey of interaction and reflection. Improvement is predicated on looking outside of our current toolbox, seeking solutions that are not immediately obvious.

I’d spent a good part of our morning session rehashing old advice. Mike and Leo heard the same speech three times-—tension and hip extension, tension and hip extension, tension and hip extension. While these points are certainly valid, they were not responsible for the failed lifts. The cause was outside my narrow view, and I had to watch the guys do twelve lifts before it dawned on me.

To help Mike and Leo, I had to reject my assumptions as to the source of the problem. I was looking at symptoms rather than causes, telling them to stop drinking the water rather than remove the water fountain.

Never again will I assume I know the answer before I've examined the problem. Next time, the speech goes: "Structure, tension, hip extension!"

Today, I learned more than I taught, and I'm sure it won't be the last time.

Go faster!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Super Sunday

“...the chief value of any routine lies in abandoning it for another.” –Crossfit Foundations

Normally, Sunday mornings at Again Faster are a pretty relaxed affair. Get out of bed, roll out to the Pond, set up a few things, rock out a workout, and go home. This Sunday, the routine was shattered, and I was getting nervous.

My front door key was inexplicably ineffective, leaving Sam outside when she was supposed to be inside. As a result, I was without a camera or whiteboard at 8:15, and nine athletes were milling around, wondering why I wasn’t pointing and yelling and gesturing and cajoling.

Five minutes later, Sam power-walked across the Arborway, holding two espressos, no camera, and a Jimmy Neutron whiteboard the size of a paperback. It was time to adapt and overcome.

Luckily, Dave brought his camera, and I had a rough idea of the workout I’d applied to my very large and very absent whiteboard. The Again Faster Crew would be doing a variation on the Filthy Fifty theme, cranking out nine sets of 50 at a breakneck pace.

This week, Eric and Julie joined us for the festivities, losing their newbie status to a conglomeration of dumbbells, bars, sandbags, and sledgehammers.

Again Faster is extremely accessible to beginners—in this case, we scaled the volume down to match each athlete’s fitness level. They responded by cranking through at full speed, courting the massive metabolic wallop that is Crossfit.

As always, the workout stressed full-body functional movement, originating at the core and moving outward. Hip extension permeates nearly every exercise we do, because we recognize it as it the most critical component of elite athletic performance. We practice it endlessly.

The Faster Fifty came to life in the bright sunshine. My inability to count and a health dose of Starbucks combined to produce a nine-set chipper.

Dave ripped through the workout in fine fashion, taking a seat on the grass after 24 minutes of action. The rest of the Crew came in shortly thereafter, wrapping up the effort before the 35-minute mark.

Despite the inauspicious start, we got through the Faster Fifty, giving our veterans a great workout while introducing two new athletes to the Crossfit methodology. To top it off, I have a new Jimmy Neutron whiteboard. Thanks, Sammy!

If you’d like to join us, we meet at the Pond every Sunday morning at 8 a.m. The Weekly Workout Series is free, and beginners are always welcome. You can contact me via email, or stop by Crossfit Boston to schedule a one-on-one introductory session. We’d love to have you!

Go faster!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Faster Fifty

We're back. The Again Faster Weekly Workout Series is on for this Sunday. According to, it's going to be a beautiful day, and I'm not one to argue with the infallible folks at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They're always right!

We'll be at the Pond at 8 a.m., cranking out an Again Faster version of the Crossfit classic, "Filthy Fifty".

For time:

50 Sledge swings (10#/8# hammer)
50 DB Good mornings (20/30/40#)
50 Double Unders
50 DB Swings (20/30/40#)
50 Push-ups
50 One-armed DB Snatch (20/30/40#)
50 Burpees
50 Sandbag Cleans (25/50# bag)
50 Sit-ups
50 Pullups

This is a high-volume metabolic conditioning workout--great preparation for our Fight Gone Bad Fundraiser! On September 30th, Crossfit Boston, Crossfit MetroWest, and Again Faster are joining forces to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation with a full day of FGB. The event is only two weeks away, so get your conditioning in now!

If you haven't signed up to participate, you can register on Sunday. We still need athletes for all our time slots! If you can't make it, we're accepting donations via the team website or in-person.

See you on Sunday!

Picture of Jamaica Pond courtesy of

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


The true masters of any sport engage in endless repetition. This practice turns contrived movements into automatic responses. Conscious processing is eliminated from the action sequence, and the athlete goes on autopilot.

Achieving this state of mind is critical to elite performance. In “Getting into the Optimal Performance State”, Dr. Robert M. Nideffer explains that stellar performance is predicated on outward focus—the athlete must concentrate on the external environment rather than internal thought processes.

Engaging in conscious thought during athletic endeavors can severely limit performance. Any beginning athlete can attest to this phenomenon. It manifests itself in a total and utter inability to complete complicated motor sequences. The clean and jerk becomes impossible if the athlete is trying to keep fifteen sub-movements in his/her head simultaneously.

It benefits the athlete to react on instinct rather than engage in step-by-step mapping of the movement. Toward this end, repetition is critical. As the athlete repeats a movement over and over, muscle memory forms, and the body allows a complicated sequence to follow from a single thought. Rather than “dip, drive, shrug, pull, squat, stand,” the athlete thinks “Clean!” and ends up with hundreds of pounds in the rack position.

The act of repetition is equally important for less complicated movements. The less time the athlete spends thinking, the more time he/she spends moving. This translates into better performances, whether the benchmark is repetitions, time to completion, or points scored.

In the context of Crossfit, there are a number of core movements that deserve this treatment. Among them, the squat, the pull-up, the pushup, the thruster, and the clean are paramount.

They should be practiced in a low-intensity, low-pressure environment, outside of the main workout. This allows the athlete to focus solely on technique, temporarily disregarding the competitive aspects of Crossfit.

The warm-up provides an ideal environment. A significant number of repetitions, done before each and every workout, will ingrain movement patterns rapidly. Although we preach the efficacy of constant variation, the warm-up is not the place for endless variety.

The original Crossfit Warm-up emphasizes six movements, each performed 30-45 times over the course of three rounds:

Samson Stretch
Overhead Squat
Back Extension

This warm-up activates the entire body, using functional movements to bring the athlete up to operating temperature, thereby preventing injury.

I recommend a similar scheme with slightly fewer repetitions. The sit-up, the dip, and the back extension, while certainly useful, are very simple movements, and require relatively little practice to master.

The overhead squat and kipping pull-up are more technical movements, and therefore require more practice. Given the prevalence of the clean and the thruster in Crossfit programming, I recommend including them in the lineup as well.

The Modified Crossfit Warmup

3 rounds, 10 repetitions each:

Samson Stretch

3 round, 15 repetitions each:

Overhead Squat

For the weighted movements, use an extremely light load--no more than 30-40% of your 1-rep maximum. Rather than spur organic change in the body, we’re trying to encourage neurological adaptation. In this context, a heavy load is unnecessary, and will detract from subsequent workout performance.

When your movements become automatic, you’ll be able to dial up the intensity of your workouts, achieving greater metabolic benefit during each session. Use the warm-up as an opportunity to permanently incorporate important movements, and performance-oriented results are sure to follow.

Go faster!

Picture of Mike Regan courtesy of Crossfit Boston. "Getting into the Optimal Performance State" was brought to my attention by the Main Site on July 31, 2006. It's well worth the read.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Again Faster

Earlier this month, Again Faster became an official Crossfit Affiliate. To me, this seemingly minor event was a watershed moment. The shuddering muscles and torrents of sweat had manifested into something tangible, something real.

Again Faster was on the fringes of the Crossfit Community, a simple attempt to demonstrate my devotion to the methodology and the people who employ it. I began with a few pithy sentences, ridiculing the current state of fitness, and those who would buy into its lies, misnomers, and myths:

"This site is dedicated to one thing--athletic performance. This is not your standard bullsh*t. We will not be spinning, doing Pilates, debating 8 by 12 rep schemes, or discussing the merits of the South Beach Diet.

My athletic goals revolve around speed and strength. I want to be stronger and faster. If you don't, that's okay. Just don't spend any time posting about the muscle-wasting effects of interval training, or the twelve reasons that working out more than twice a week leads to rare blood disorders. I don't care.

I'm not a trainer, or an expert of any kind. I want every word I read and every site I visit to add to my knowledge. If it doesn't, I'm not spending too much time with it. I hope this site adds to your athletic knowledge. If not, well...don't let the back button hit you in the ass." –Again Faster, May 2nd, 2006

Two things have changed since then. I am a trainer, and Again Faster is no longer on the outside looking in. Now, we’re responsible for the strength, speed, and power of every athlete who trains under our banner. Our philosophical musings have morphed into a call to action—we spend every day helping normal people become formidable athletes.

My motivations spring from one source—I love what we do. For me, Crossfit is an allegorical journey of pleasure, pain, failure, and redemption. Its tenets of strength and fortitude don’t stop at the confines of our gym. They carry beyond, into our relationships, our occupations, and our ambitions.

Our tools—dumbbells, sledgehammers, medicine balls—are merely a means to an end. We pursue elite fitness, and the mindset of indomitable strength that accompanies it. We do it by pushing our boundaries ever-outward, testing the limits of stamina and strength with every transient effort.

By training others, I hope to impart the collective wisdom of those who have trained me, and those who will train me in the future. Crossfit drills to the core of what I hope to become—ceaseless and strong, engendering an atmosphere of support and determination.

See past the veneer of our activities, and you’ll see hundreds of individuals with the same mandate:

Speed, Strength, Power, Progress.

Working toward this simple and indelible goal is a life-long pursuit, and one that everyone should undertake. If I can help you on this journey in any way, whether the first step or the last, please let me know. It would be my pleasure to give whatever I can.

Go faster!

Thursday, September 7, 2006

So Sorry

Sam and I will be out of town this weekend, traveling up to New Hampshire to visit my folks. Unfortunately, that means no Again Faster Workout.

It doesn’t mean you guys can’t get together over at the Pond for a little madness and suffering. You don’t even have to bring the sign or help me lug dumbbells across Arborway!

Continuing a recent meteorological trend, it’s going to rain on Sunday. Suck it up, and go bang out Boston Murph.

Run the loop around the pond, do 100 pullups, 200 pushups, and 300 squats (in any order or combination), and run the loop again. You’ll love every agonizing moment.

Use the comment board to arrange a meeting time and place. I suggest 8:00 a.m. by the pullup bars—it’s become a tradition.

Any natural-born leaders out there?

Go faster!

Wednesday, September 6, 2006


Crossfit is extraordinary in its breadth. The physical tasks we undertake are remarkable for their constant variation and immutable intensity.

To the beginning Crossfitter, the sheer size of the curriculum can be daunting. You’ll learn Olympic lifts, gymnastics, sprinting, kettlebell swings, medicine ball work, basic nutrition, and a hundred other things. Crossfit has combined these modalities and a good dose of creativity to develop an inclusive model of fitness programming.

In an effort to make Crossfit a little easier to deal with, here are the things you need to know to become an elite athlete. Everything else will come with time.

1.) Virtuosity: Do every rep correctly, every time. Virtuosity is the pursuit of perfection. Become a stickler for form, and you will reap the benefits of Crossfit extremely quickly.

2.) Consistency: Get out of bed. Go to the gym. Get in the habit of showing up.

3.) Intensity: Strive to minimize the amount of time you spend resting in the middle of each workout. The less you rest, the stronger you’ll become. Your workout times will plummet, and your health will skyrocket. Go hard!

4.) Nutrition: Eat enough calories to support vigorous exercise. Not eating is not a solution. Avoid alcohol, starch, and sugar like the plague. Eat lean meats, vegetables, low-GI fruits, and good fats. Fat is necessary for athletic performance--get it from almonds, avocados, olive oil, and fish oil. The best way to maintain a good diet? Clear all the crap out of your cupboards, and never ever buy it again.

5.) Sleep: Sleep is essential to your athletic development. When you sleep, you heal. Progress is a constant give and take between breaking down and building up—exercise breaks you down and sleep builds you up. Give your body the fuel it needs to heal—lean protein and fat immediately before bed will keep you in a good physiological state to burn fat and build muscle all night long. Sleep at least 8 hours every night. Make it a priority.

6.) Rest: Don’t exercise every day. You’ll burn out. Schedule rest days after every two or three days of heavy training. You can speed up healing with ice, compression, mobility work, and good supplementation.

7.) Instruction: Spend money on quality trainers, reading materials, seminars, and certifications. A few hundred bucks here and there will accelerate your gains much faster than advice from the counter guy at Gold’s.

8.) Comfort: Stray from the known path. Approach new skills as an opportunity to learn, not an opportunity to fail. The best athletes in the world spend all day working on their weaknesses, not reinforcing their strengths.

9.) Goals: Write everything down. Set goals and work to meet them every day. Look back over your progress, and change what needs to be changed.

10.) Stress: Your body doesn’t distinguish between training stress and life stress. Minimize life stress to maximize your progress.

None of this is earth-shattering. Incorporate these tenets in your training, one by one. Follow them 90% of the time, and you’ll find yourself at the top of the scoreboard each and every week.

Go faster!

Photo of Dan Osman courtesy of

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Moving Faster

Tropical depression Ernesto settled over Eastern Massachusetts on Sunday, bringing a light rain to Jamaica Pond. At sixty-five degrees, it was easily ignored.

We had a race to run, and fitness is not weather-contingent.

At 8:00 a.m., Patrick and I stood under the branches of a huge oak tree, plotting the course. At the first marker, we set up two tires and two sledgehammers. Twenty-five meters later, orange cones stood guard over two sandbags. Fifty meters beyond, two more cones marked the halfway point of the sandbag run.

The race starts at the first marker, with each contestant taking 30 swings at the tire. Dropping the hammer, they flip the tire, using good deadlift form and violent triple extension to propel the tire toward the sandbag station.

At the sandbags, our racers shoulder the load 30 times, returning it to the ground with each rep. On the final rep, they take off toward the third marker, running around it and back to the sandbag station.

There, they resume tire flipping to the finish line. When the first racer crosses the line, the race is over.

Marcia joined us at 8:05. After a quick dynamic warm-up, we were ready to go. Marcia and Patrick squared off with the tires, sledgehammers in hand. I set my Timex to “Chrono”, punched the start button, and yelled, “Go!”

They started, slamming the tires rhythmically in the shelter of the giant oak. Four minutes later, Patrick crossed the finish line, with Marcia fifty-nine seconds behind. They set a strong benchmark, giving me something to aim at as I soloed the race.

While they rested, I shot through the course. The sledge swings proved easy, and the first tire flip was a walk in the park. The sandbag would be my undoing.

The constant drizzle had turned the canvas bag into a slick mess, and my grip was suffering. I re-gripped with every repetition, dropping the bag to the ground and swinging it back up to my shoulder as smoothly as possible. On the thirtieth rep, I took off on uncooperative legs. My short stride made the sandbag run seem like a slog through knee-deep ooze, and I silently cursed my lack of speed as I willed my body to go faster.

Back at the sandbag station, I began flipping the tire toward the finish. Extending as hard as I could, the tire would flip three feet at a time, landing with a soft thud on the soggy ground. I crossed the finish line in three minutes and fifty-eight seconds, oblivious to my surroundings as I sucked wind through my inadequately small nostrils.

After a short rest, Pat and Marcia were at it again. In true Crossfit fashion, they turned in great splits, beating their previous times. Patrick crossed the finish at 3:50 (-0:14), with Marcia at right behind (4:30 (-0:33)). My time had been toppled, and I was honor-bound to defend it.

Two hundred and nine seconds later, I chucked the tire across the line, turning in a time of 3:29 (-0:29), beating my first effort and reclaiming the crown.

Moving Day was a fantastic workout. Leaving Marcia to tackle the 2000-meter loop around the Pond, Patrick and I headed back to the Crossfit Boston Facility for some squatting.

Developing strength and power in the posterior chain is a critical component of elite athletic performance. Using the classic Crossfit protocol for maximum effort work, we worked our ATA back squat to our one-rep maximums.

Rocking out to Pearl Jam and Papa Roach, we each set a personal record, ending the day on a high note.

Rain or no, Again Faster is committed to delivering high-quality workouts. We push just as hard on the weekends as we do Monday through Friday. If you’d like to find out what we’re all about, join us for the Sunday Workout Series--the details are posted here every week. We’d love to have you.

Go faster!
Fighting Prostate Cancer Again Faster

I published this a few weeks ago. We're still looking for team members and donations for our FGB Fundraiser. If you haven't signed up, what are you waiting for? This is going to be a blast!

On September 30th, Crossfit is holding the Fight Gone Bad Fundraiser for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Prostate cancer is extremely common among men, striking 1 in 6. Over 2 million men are currently afflicted. Athletes for a Cure wants to change that by contributing to ongoing research efforts to cure the disease.

I'll be participating in the Fundraiser, along with my friends from Crossfit Boston and Crossfit Metrowest.

Fight Gone Bad (FGB) is one of the most intense workouts in the Crossfit arsenal. It's three rounds of five exercises, with a one-minute rest between rounds. At each station, the Crossfitter has to pump out as many reps as possible.

Row (calories)
Wall Ball
Sumo Deadlift High-pull (75#)
Box Jump (20")
Push Press (75#)

There's no break between exercises. For those in the know, this workout makes puddles of the strongest athletes. For Athletes for a Cure, I'm promising a personal record.

My previous best is 269. Come September 30th, it'll be at least 280.

If you'd like to help by making a donation, my page is here. If you'd like to participate, join our team.

We won't cure prostate cancer this week or next, but we'll do everything in our power to aid the fight.

Go faster!

Friday, September 1, 2006

Moving Day

Yesterday, I spent 19 straight hours moving. Up the stairs, down the stairs. Rinse, repeat.

In honor of this wonderful occassion, Again Faster is hosting Moving Day at Jamaica Pond this Sunday. We're going to be hitting, hauling, flipping, and dragging our way from one end of the pond to the other.

Moving Day is a head-to-head race, one-on-one. You'll have no team to back you up this time, so bring your competitive spirit.

We'll start at the sledge swing--30 solid hits. Then, you'll flip your tire 25 meters, ending at a 50 pound sandbag. You'll shoulder the bag 30 times, and then run a 100 meter sprint with the bag. Back to the tire, you'll flip 25 meters to the finish line.

Got that?

30 sledge swings
25m tire flip
30 sandbag shoulders
100m sandbag sprint
25m tire flip

We'll have two divisions for Moving Day--Men and Women. Winners will advance to the championship round, while second-place finishers will enter the consolation bracket. It's a double-elimination format, so you will be running the race at least twice.

See you Sunday, Jamaica Pond by the pullup bars, 8:00 a.m. sharp. If you need directions, or you'd like more details, shoot me an email using the "Contact Again Faster" link in the right-hand sidebar.

Go faster!