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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

National Pro Fitness League - Flash In the Pan or Legs to Stand

The National Pro Fitness League



Have you ever witnessed a birth? That is what I think about as I watch the NPFL take shape. 

There is some uneasiness, excitement, doubt, hope, uncertainty and fear surrounding the formation of this new professional league. Will it tank? Does it cater only to a niche market? Does it have the funding to really come out strong? Will it make a mockery of the functional fitness community and its athletes?

When I initially heard about the NPFL I had a bad taste in my mouth about it. I pictured American Gladiators or American Ninja Warriors. I pictured something seriously awesome being made into a joke of a sport. If you have ever participated in CrossFit, you know that the athletes are no joke. Yes we like to have fun and wear silly stuff but when it comes time to perform, it is not grins and giggles. We’re a competitive bunch by nature and the thought of someone toying with that makes me a little uneasy. 

That being said, the caliber of athlete that has thus far been drawn into the league development is impressive. At least on the women’s side.   Names like Annie Thorisdottir, Lindsey Valenzuela, Annie Sakamoto and  Becky Conzelman and Elizabeth Akinwale have  already signed to teams. That is a good start. Draws to the area combines show a good list of names with Kris Clever, Andrea Ager and Becca Voigt representing at LA. 

Where are the big names on the men’s side? Laying low at the moment. With the vague response from Rich Froning regarding his upcoming retirement from the CrossFit Games individual competition, the door has been left open for his slide over to the NPFL.  Maybe HQ is putting some kind of pressure/incentive on him and others, Jason Khalipa, to keep them quiet until the finale of Open season. It’s pure speculation on my part. 

I really think the smart thing to do would be a symbiotic relationship as much as possible between CrossFit HQ and the NPFL. They have opposite seasons. The NPFL is a team competition whereas the CrossFit Open is dominated by the individual competition at least in the media coverage. Sounds like a potential yearlong domination by the functional fitness community to me. Interesting times my friends. 

I wish the NPFL much luck and can’t wait to cheer those athletes on.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thoughts On My 2014 CrossFit Open



I've not posted on here about this but I just completed competing in the CrossFit Open.

Every Thursday night for the past 5 weeks the folks at CrossFit headquarters released a workout for over 200,000 folks to complete. We timed and counted our reps and posted our scores to see where we fell in the CrossFit universe. The first couple weeks had some movements that I am not good at or just plain can't do so my scores reflected that. 
The picture above is a classic CrossFit problem. 50 toes-to-bar will mess you up. Especially if your form is gone and you just go swinging like a monkey to get those toes up there. Eating my words on hating bad form but I wanted those 50 TTBs and I got them plus a ripped up hand!


We did other movements like Thrusters and burpees which wrecked me for several days. The soreness in my hammies was viscous. We also did double unders and chest-to-bar pullups. We did wall ball shots and deadlifts and several other funny named exercises.

We suffered and cried and bled all on a voluntary basis. Why? If you have to ask, CrossFit is probably not for you. 

Here are 5 things I learned doing my first CrossFit Open:

1. I've come a long way baby. I've been doing CF for 8 months now and I'm amazed at how far my fitness has come. I'm in the best shape of my adult life. 
2. I've got a lot to learn. One of the cool things about CrossFit is that you never fully arrive. There is always something new to learn. Just when you think you've got a movement nailed down it gets teamed up with another movement and you are humbled yet again. I've got to get my double unders before next year! Argh!
3. If you stay in your comfort zone you will never expand said zone. CF is expert at "discomfort" zones. But it works. Before the open I would have never believed I would have gotten 5 toes to bar. But the open forced me to confront that weakness. 50 toes to bar later I understand that I can do more. 
4. People are amazing! I witnessed some incredible things. New PRs, unbelievable determination, crazy fast times and incredible strength. Some of this stuff is just incredible. 
5. Community support boosts performance, motivation and fun. You can go your fitness journey alone but you're missing out. The support of a dedicated group of athletes is incredible. Iron sharpens iron and if you want to squeeze out a little more from your workout, then get a cheering squad to train with. The give and take of lifting each other up produces great performance from all.

Here is how I ended up in the 2014 Open

35,861 out of women worldwide
3,161 out of Masters women 40-44 worldwide
224 out of Masters women 40-44 in the South Central region

I have lots of room for improvement before the 2015 Open and I can't wait. I plan on whittling  those numbers down a bit.