WOD – 2/1/11


4 Rounds:

5 Push Press

10 Burpees

15 Ab mat Situps

Maximus Boot Camp warming up

“Training for a fight by running twenty minutes everyday makes perfect sense if you plan on running away from your opponent and know you will be getting a ten minute head start.”

This is for the Ladies

Every time I hear women talk about resistance training, they talk about using light weights with a lot of repetitions. I think this huge misconception should be blamed on the millions of enormous bodybuilders and men who lift to be half man half monster. I can see a girl going to the gym for the first time and seeing a bunch of meathead men completing heavy exercises. She thinks to herself, “I do not want to look like them.” So she does the opposite—lifts light weights.
Now that seems like it would make sense, right? Except it makes zero sense. You see, there is a common misconception that women will “bulk up” if they lift heavy weights. I’ll say this only once—building muscle is an extremely difficult thing to do. If your body had to choose between breaking down muscle and building it, you’d look like a bag of bones. Genetically, you won’t and can’t bulk up unless you want to compete in competition and take some illegal injections if ya know what I mean.

Females want to get “toned,” right? I hate to burst your bubble but there isn’t any such thing as toning or shaping a muscle. Muscles can only get bigger (hypertrophy) or smaller (atrophy). Now to make those muscles look better, you need to shed the fat around the muscle and make the muscle bigger. This can all be done by taking a leap of faith with me and changing what you have always done. Stay with me. You may think I’m crazy, but the research is out there and I have been in the trenches seeing women transform their bodies by simply…lifting heavy weights!

Lifting heavy weights is a beautiful thing and it does so many wonderful things to your body. First, let’s talk muscle. I bet most of your training career, you’ve done mostly endurance exercise (running, biking, swimming, high repetition weight training). What if I told you by doing only endurance activity, you’re only tapping into a portion of your muscle potential?

Your body is made up of both type I (aerobic/endurance) muscle fibers and type II (anaerobic) muscle fibers. Type I fibers are used for endurance activities and don’t have great potential for growth. Type II fibers are those used during sprint and heavy resistance training activities. (In my opinion, those activities are harder and better.) Type II fibers have a much better potential for growth and strength improvements when trained. That means train intensely and with heavy weights and watch strength and muscle size shoot through the roof. (See ya later flabby arms!) In addition, research shows that strength is related to life expectancy. Increase strength and live a longer life!

Metabolism, metabolism, metabolism. As we all know, losing weight is about calories in and calories out. What if I told you that the leaner you are, the more calories you burn doing nothing? That’s correct. You can sit on the couch and watch Dancing with the Stars and blast calories. In fact, every pound of muscle you pack on takes 50 calories a day to maintain. So long story short, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day.

It doesn’t end there. We can all agree that high intensity exercise such as heavy resistance training or sprinting is harder than steady state cardio or high repetition resistance training. (Everybody nod yes.) This means we are surely burning more calories during the exercise, which is all good, but what about when the training is complete? With aerobic training or light weight, high repetition lifting, our metabolism doesn’t stay elevated for very long after our training.

There is something called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which is a process your body uses to repay metabolic debt after anaerobic training. This includes repaying oxygen debt, repairing cells, refilling energy stores. This is a great thing because this elevates our metabolism for 12–24 hours and beyond. So when you’ve finished your heavy training, you continue to burn calories for hours on end.

Which leads us to progressive overload…simply put, we need to constantly increase the weight and intensity of our training. Our body does an unbelievable job at adapting. So if we continue to lift those five-pound dumbbells, we will only be as strong as those five-pound dumbbells. You lift children over your shoulder and pick up fifty-pound suitcases, so why lift tiny weights and get tiny results? To get stronger, look and feel better, add muscle, and burn fat, we need to continuously increase our training. Without the increase, we are all just five-pound pink dumbbells. Now throw some weight on the bar!

So what should you be doing at the gym? I’m not talking about going to the gym and spending an hour doing fifteen chest or bicep exercises. I’m talking two to three days a week of total body, multijoint, compound movements. (Those bang for your buck exercises!) Check back for some sample exercises and training sessions that will surely kick your butt!


Matt Skeffington

Published: January 26, 2011


Rest Day – 1/30/11

- Rest Day -

Bo Hornback and Matt Sharp taking a breather at the 2010 Regionals

What Grok Can Teach Us About Leisure Time

When we think of Grok, we often imagine him in full-fledged hunting action – spear in hand, muscles in action, eyes on the latest prize prey. (Hence, the logo.) But such dramatic displays of power and prowess were fairly limited engagements. Grok, of course, had no full-time job. The lives of hunter-gatherers entailed much more than our label for them suggests. -click for full article-

Maximus Boot Camp Powered by Kathy

Sallie posted on your Wall.

Sallie wrote:
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WOD – 1/29/11 – Share the Pain Saturday!


Teams of 2 complete:

Split up reps and exercises as needed

2000m row total

100 DU

100 Wall Balls

100 Burpees

100 Sit-ups

100 Push-ups

Kris Freeman assisting one of his clients

World-Class Fitness  in 100 Words:

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

10 Tips For Success For The Crossfit Newbie

Stepping into a Crossfit gym for the first time can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming.  You might see a bunch of half-naked hard bodies showing off their ink and abs, ripping out butterfly kip after butterfly kip. You might ask yourself, “Is that person having a seizure or doing pull-ups? What’s with all the Chuck Taylors? Do they get a group rate? What’s with the guy in the corner wearing only sweatpants, shirt off, all tatted up and muttering to himself? Is he on a work-release program?” Fear not newbie; these people won’t bite. They’re actually pretty darn friendly and overly supportive once you get to know them. It can be a lot to take in at first glance, especially if you’ve had limited exposure to Crossfit prior to stepping into a box. But don’t worry; we’ve got your back. The following are 10 things to keep in mind as you begin your Crossfit journey.

1.) You’re Competing Against Yourself, Not Others

When it comes time to throw down in a wod, don’t feel like you have to do everything RX’d or be able to complete 20 rounds of Cindy right off the bat. Go at your own pace. Let the intensity find you. You need a solid foundation of strength and flexibility in order to progress into more demanding workouts.  Start light, get your form down, and don’t worry about the mother of three who is deadlifting 250 as you struggle with the bar. Chase your own capacity before chasing the person next to you. Which brings me to my next point…

2.) Don’t Be Too Proud To Scale

Sing it with me now:

Ain’t too proud to scale, sweet darling.
Please don’t leave the wod. Don’t you go.
Ain’t too proud to scale, baby baby.
Please don’t leave the wod. Don’t you go.

Tony Budding (of Crossfit HQ) describes scaling as another form of programming. Scaling is such an individualized topic that it’s hard to make sweeping generalized statements. You have to know your own body and its limits. But most importantly, there’s no substitute for common sense.

3.) What You Eat Is More Important Than What You Lift

Nutrition is the key to every aspect of your life. It affects your energy levels, your recovery, and your overall defense against disease. To quote the late Jack Lalanne, “You put junk in, junk comes out. You put good in, good comes out.” When you’re first starting out, the quality of your food is far more important than the quantity. Call it whatever you want: Paleo, Primal, Hunter-Gatherer, Pretentious D-Bag Diet; just eat clean. If you’re eating as clean as possible, you don’t even need to worry about the quantity. You are a Ferrari. You wouldn’t put regular unleaded fuel in a Ferrari, would you?

4.) Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Clarification, Over and Over and Over Again
It’s your time, money, and most importantly, health. If you don’t fully understand something, ask. If you still don’t get it, ask again. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you don’t fully grasp the concept, or you think others in the class will get frustrated with you for taking up too much time. We were all newbies at one point. We’ve all been there. Learning the mechanics of certain movements like the kip, squat, deadlift, or any of the olympic lifts takes lots of practice and critique from a trained eye. If you need help, just ask.

5.) Crossfit Isn’t Everything
Crossfit is a strength and conditioning program that focuses on building general physical preparedness (GPP). It is quickly evolving into a sport of its own, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be your sport or your lifeblood. I Crossfit so that I can do whatever I want: Go out, play sports, learn new things. Having that GPP allows me to take on new challenges. Crossfit is not my life. I Crossfit so that I can have a life…and be awesome at it.

6.) It Doesn’t Get Easier, It Just Sucks Less

The longer you immerse yourself in the suck, the less it sucks. You get stronger, build a greater aerobic capacity, and become mentally tough.  All of these aspects, combined with experience, allow you to know when to push yourself and when to back off, so that you can attack each workout to the best of your ability. Soon, you’ll come to love the beatdowns. Much like Kevin Bacon in Animal House, you’ll be screaming, “Thank you sir! May I have another?” Well, maybe not. But you get the point.

7.) You Won’t PR Every Day

Don’t mistake intensity for hard work. Even if you’re having a bad day and the intensity just isn’t there, you can still get a lot out of your time in the gym through hard work. Intensity and hard work are not the same thing. Don’t skip a planned session just because you don’t think you’re going to kill it and leave everything out on the table. Not feeling too strong that day? That’s fine; scale the weights and/or rounds or time domain back. Something is better than nothing.

8.) Have Fun

Let’s face it, some of the workouts are not fun. Frankly, some of them just plain suck. I’m looking at you, Hero wods. But when it’s over, you feel a sense of accomplishment and maybe a little queasy. You shouldn’t be pissed that you didn’t get as many reps as the person next to you. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Smile. Laugh. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know. If you’re not having fun, why are you here?  Do you enjoy your overall time spent at the gym? Do you enjoy the people, the community, the knowledge and support that it provides? If so, then don’t be too concerned with your competitive nature until you have a strong grasp on the 9 Foundational Movements.

The things you’ll learn in a Crossfit gym are fun: gymnastics, olympic lifts, new swear words (see: Mary Martin). You can’t do this stuff in a globo gym. The attitude is different too; no one is going to get in your face and cheer you on as you knock out those last five minutes on the elliptical. And the feeling you’ll have the first time you get an unassisted dead hang pull-up or full squat snatch is an amazing sense of power and accomplishment.

9.) You Are All Firebreathers

The term “Firebreather” comes from Crossfit legend and bad ass Greg Amundson, and he defines it as such:

Firebreather –Fie-r-bre’-th-er: (n) 1. One who faces the triumphs and tribulations of great physical opposition with an indomitable spirit. 2. An optimistic energy associated with the heart of an athlete.

You don’t have to be an “elite” Crossfitter to embody the essence of a true Firebreather. It’s not your Fran time, it’s the spirit you bring to Fran that makes you a Firebreather. Don’t forget that.

10.) Respect Rest and Recovery

Too many newbies (and even those of us who have been doing this a while) get caught up in overtraining. Don’t be afraid to schedule in a deload day once per week, or a deload week every 4-6 weeks where you cut the weight, rounds, and intensity in half. You have to think about this from a longevity standpoint. If you’re killing yourself every time you step foot in the gym, week after week, month after month, year after year, you’re going to eventually break down. You need to respect your time outside of the gym. There’s an old weightlifting adage that goes something like: “You don’t get bigger and stronger from lifting weights, you get bigger and stronger from recovering from lifting weights.”

Proper nutrition, hydration and sleep all play their part in recovery, but you also need to listen to your body. If you continuously beat yourself down, you’re going to get hurt, injured or worse. Stay on top of your mobility work. If you haven’t done so yet, pay a daily visit to Kelly Starrett’s MobilityWOD. The information there is invaluable.

So, what now? You’ve signed up for the Elements class. You’re about to start eating like a caveman. And your vocabulary will soon include words like burpee, thruster, and snatch. Welcome to Crossfit Delaware Valley. Have you tried the Kool-Aid? Don’t worry, it’s Paleo.

–BY LARRYPALAZZOLO, ON JANUARY 27TH, 2011 – CrossFitdelawarevalley.com

WOD – 1/27/11


1000m Row

21 Dead Lifts

21 Pull-ups

500m Row

15 Dead Lifts

15 Pull-Ups

250m Row

9 Dead Lifts

9 Pull-Ups

Kellie Hornback

Always remember this . . . There is only ONE recipe for strength. A secret recipe that was handed down from Sandow to John Grimek to Paul Anderson to Vasily Alexeev to Bill Kazmaier to me. Now I’m giving YOU that magical recipe…

Hard work + proper nutrition + TIME =STRONG

Ok, so it wasn’t really a secret, but it seems to be a lost formula. The one ingredient of the recipe that most people miss out on there is TIME, strength is built over a long period of time. If you are like me you will enjoy the journey immensely. Like the Japanese sword makers of old, layering steel and hammering it over and over produces the indestructible blade of the Katana that lasts a thousand years. You need to layer hard training with good nutrition and hammer away in the weightroom for years.

Strength is NOT something that just comes to you, a person can’t concoct it through a mathematical equation. You can’t trick your body into becoming strong. Strength is something you need to constantly ATTACK and go after, its takes a tremendous amount of aggression. You need to keep thinking, keep pushing, and stay focused.

Steve Pulcinella

Click for Full Article

The Paleo Table: 6 DIY food projects to try in 2011

Make your own jerky. This is the number one project on my list! I am investing in a food dehydrator with some Christmas cash I got, and I can’t wait to make my own. Diane of Balanced Bites explains how easy it is to make your own jerky, WikiHow has an illustrated guide, and there are even more tips at Mark’s Daily Apple.

Build a meat smoker for ah-maze-ing barbecue. Buying a smoker is expensive for a single-use appliance, and you probably don’t have a tin-roof shack you can convert into your own authentic barbecue smoker. But never fear – you can build your own ceramic smoker for under $50. Watch Alton Brown do just that and make pulled pork with a flower pot, a trashcan, hardwood smoke and a lot of patience.

Cook a chicken standing up. You’ve probably heard of beer can chicken, but if you haven’t cooked a chicken this way, you’re missing out. The skin gets super crispy and yummy, but the meat inside stays moist thanks to the steam coming from the can of beer. Now, I wouldn’t go for beer can chicken anymore because beer is filled with nasty gluten. However, there are countless other options. A can of fruit juice or coconut milk would do just fine, or use a pint mason jar filled with chicken stock, wine, apple juice, or any liquid of your choice. Get directions for making a stand-up chicken on the grill or watch Christopher Walken make a chicken with pears (it’s kind of awesome).

Pickle something. Making Jalapenos en Escabeche is super easy and here’s a video on how to do it. You can also make fridge pickles with cucumbers (no canning equipment or boiling jars or any of that). This recipe has jalapenos in it too, but leave them out for regular ol’ tasty pickles.

Grow your own fresh herbs. This spring I dug a hole in the backyard, put in some compost, planted some baby herbsthat I got from the hardware store, and then pretty much neglected them all summer besides watering them every now and then. For all that effort (ha!) they repaid me by growing huge and providing me with fresh herbs to use in my cooking. Rosemary for roasting lamb, thyme for stews, basil for curries, and parsley for everything else. I love my herb garden – it almost makes me feel like a real farmer or something. Herbs do great in container pots too, and CHOW has a pretty good guide about growing them indoors too if you don’t have the space outside.

Grind your own meat for killer burgers or meatloaf. Grinding your own meat sounds a little scary but you don’t need some medieval-looking contraption to make this happen. If you have a Kitchenaid mixer like I do, there’s a meat grinder attachment for it, but you can also make ground meat in batches in a food processor. Whenever I can, I do my best not to buy pre-packaged meat. Mark Bittman’s piece on making great burgers does a good job of explaining why. He also gives tips on selecting cuts of meat as well as seasoning.

About The Paleo Table

Amber Karnes is author of The Paleo Table. She’s a fearless home cook from Norfolk, Virginia. She makes websites, hangs out in the kitchen, and loves a heavy deadlift. Follow The Paleo Table on Twitter, won’t you?

The CrossFit Games Open begins Tuesday, March 15th

The six week worldwide competition is the first step in qualifying for the 2011 CrossFit Games in Los Angeles.

2010 Central East Sectionals

The CrossFit Games Open is a six-week competition that will begin Tuesday, March 15th at 17:00 PDT. This competition is the first step in qualifying for the 2011 CrossFit Games. Each week, one event will be announced each Tuesday, and everyone has until the following Sunday at 17:00 PDT to complete the event and record their scores.

There are two ways to compete:

1. Compete at a Registered Affiliate: Attend a workout session at a registered affiliate and submit your score for the affiliate to validate.

2. Compete Anywhere: Perform the workout as prescribed anywhere you can or want, and videotape it. Submit your score and upload your video.

We are developing a comprehensive website to handle the technical requirements of the worldwide Open. That website will go live the week before the competition. It will have robust registration, scoring, and reporting capabilities. If you’re an affiliate, you will have the opportunity to Opt-In each week. There will be a few criteria that you must abide by, but generally you will have a lot of freedom over how and when you host the competition.

Complete details are coming soon!

WOD – 1/25/11


5 Rounds:

AMRAP in 3 minutes of:

3 Power Cleans

6 Push-Ups

9 Wall Balls

- Rest one minute between AMRAPS -

Nathan Spitz

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
Thomas Jefferson

Krav Maga Adding Night Classes Starting 2/1/11

Starting February 1st, Krav Maga of Kentucky, located within CrossFit Maximus, will be adding night classes to their schedule.  In addition to their current schedule, they are adding classes on Monday and Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.  For more information about Krav Maga of KY, click this link.

Starting February 1, 2011, the schedule will be as follows:

Monday – 11:00 am & 7:15 pm

Wednesday – 11:00 am & 7:15 pm

Saturday – 11:00 am

CrossFit Scouting Report: Africa Edition

Christian Oman of Cape Town, South Africa

With the 2011 CrossFit Games season only a few months away, preparation for the Games is heating up. If there is anything we have learned from years past, it’s that previously low-profile athletes will come out of nowhere to challenge CrossFit’s elite.

Last week, we covered a few exceptional athletes from the US, Australia, and the UK. Today, we focus on one continent: Africa. CrossFit is just starting to put down roots in African soil. There are just eight boxes on the continent and they are all clustered in one country, South Africa. With few CrossFit athletes to come by, the Africa Regional has been small (16 men and 7 women in 2010) but growing. We suspect that the 2011 Regional will have many returnees, including . In this report, we expose a few African CrossFit athletes, including a strong fifteen-year-old rugby player, the Reichman brothers, a female Affiliate Cup competitor who may do well in 2014 Masters, and a Swede training out of Cape Town.

For those interested who may turn up strong and capable at the 2011 Africa Regional, make sure to watch theFittest in Cape Town CrossFit competition this February. We sure will.

Alphues Ngwenya

Alphues gives us a glimpse of the future of African CrossFit athletes: young, strong, and first drawn to CrossFit in order to be better on the rugby pitch. Alphues plays rugby for the Golden Lions, a provincial rugby team from Monument High School, which is among the best rugby schools in South Africa. He started CrossFit one year ago at the age of fourteen, in order to improve his tackling, rucking, and try count on the pitch. He has come away with a love for CrossFit as well. His coach, Hannes du Toit of the future Blood, Sweat and Tears CrossFit, remarks that Alphues is “very serious about his training” completing “roughly seven to ten hours of CrossFit per week.” At just fifteen years old, he shows strength and coordination in the technical lifts. He has a near bodyweight snatch and close to triple bodyweight deadlift.

Alphues’ short-term goals include receiving a rugby contract from a big rugby union like the Blue Bulls, and competing in the 2011 CrossFit Africa Regional. Eventually, he hopes to make it to the Games and compete against his heroes Rob Orlando and Dave Lipson.

Age: 15
Height: 5’ 4.5”
Weight: 139lbs

Fran (77lbs): 3:45min
Grace (110lbs): 3:30min
Max pull ups: 31
Burpees (100): 4:56min

Deadlift (1RM): 374lbs
Back Squat (3RM): 319lbs
Clean and Jerk (1RM): 187lbs
Snatch: 132lbs

Julian Reichman-Israelsohn

Julian Reichman-Israelson is the owner and head trainer of Fitness Technologies which is home to CrossFit Platinum in Johannesburg, South Africa. Before joining CrossFit, Julian lived Glassman’s motto to “regularly learn and play new sports.” He competed in multiple sports, including martial arts and cycling, which notably require different physical skill sets.

He was a natural CrossFit covert. Julian says that he enjoys the challenge of CrossFit and that it drives him to constantly work to better his times, lifts, and rounds. He appreciates the connection to the broader CrossFit community, as he puts it, he finds it “very comforting, while training alone, that there are many others out there who are suffering just as much during the day’s WOD.”

Julian is working to develop his skill in the Olympic and power lifts, which “take time to get comfortable with.” But fortunately, he has found that he is steadily learning technique and developing strength in the lifts.

Reichman placed fourth in the 2010 Africa Regional, just four points behind first place winner Neil Scholtz. He’s working to close the gap.

Age: 34
Height: 5’ 10”
Weight: 176lbs

Annie: 6:23
Barbara: 25:42
Diane: 7:52
DT: 15:40
Fran: 4:00
Linda: 21:50
Nancy: 14:45
Randy: 6:43

Deadlift: 375lbs
Back Squat: 309lbs
Bench Press: 243lbs
Clean and Jerk: 220lbs
Snatch: 154lbs
Press: 176lbs

2010 Africa Regional: 4th

Craig Reichman-Israelsohn

Craig Reichman is still new to CrossFit with just eight months of experience. He joined his brother Julian at CrossFit Platinum in Johannesburg, South Africa and has since then been making the switch from bodybuilding to functional fitness. He has yet to compete at the Africa Regional, but he’s hoping to make a strong showing this coming year. Craig is very active and described by his brother as “extremely competitive” in the cycling arena and motorsport. Craig is working on the Olympic lifting and trying to improve his flexibility coming out of the bodybuilding. Craig eats extremely clean, keeping quite close to the Zone principles.

Age: 40
Height: 5’ 10”
Weight: 182.6 lbs

Barbara: 27:47
Diane: 6:47
DT: 13:30 (132lbs)
Fran: 6:04
Helen: 10:07
Jackie: 8:51
Linda: 22:40
Randy: 6:56

Deadlift: 397lbs
Back Squat: 309lbs
Bench Press: 265lbs
Press: 176lbs
Clean and Jerk: 198lbs
Snatch 110lbs

Christian Oman

Chris Oman is a Swede training out of Cape Town, South Africa. He runs a blog detailing his training in relation to his life and thoughts. Although still new to the scene, with just over a year of CrossFit behind him, he’s done quite well in competition. He recently competed against some of the top European athletes at the Swedish SM CrossFit Challenge and placed a respectable 18th out of 68 male competitors.

Making his living as a professional poker player, Oman lives by the “no regrets” mentality. It’ll be interesting to see if he comes out for the Africa Regional this year.

Age: 30

Fran: 3:52
Angie: 17:46
Annie: 6:40
Barbara: 22:00
Cindy: 22 rounds
Diane: 5:41
Elizabeth: 10:55
Grace: 2:55
Helen: 8:58
Isabel: 6:01
Linda at 176lbs: 20:46

FGB: 293
400m run: 1:05
5k run: 21:30

Deadlift: 434.5lbs
Back Squat: 334lbs
Clean and Jerk: 231lbs
Snatch: 165lbs
Shoulder Press: 176lbs

2010 Swedish SM CrossFit Challenge: 18th

Norma Weeber

Norma Weeber comes out of CrossFit Rebel in Johannesburg, South Africa. Raised just west of Kalahari Desert in Namibia, Norma casually played sports as a child and always enjoyed running and hiking outdoors. She lived as a housewife for twelve years in order to raise her two sons, age twelve and thirteen. Two years ago she was going through a rough time in her life when a friend suggested that she do the CrossFit Bootcamp Challenge. She has been CrossFitting ever since. In July, Norma came to Carson California to compete in the Affiliate Cup alongside CrossFit Rebel. In just three years Norma will qualify for Masters competition, and may be a strong Masters contender at the 2014 Africa Regional.

Age: 42
Height: 5′ 4.5″
Weight: 125lbs

Cindy: 24 rounds
Max pull ups in 1min: 30
500m row: 1:59
400m sprint: 1:17

Deadlift: 275lbs
Squat: 165lbs

Affiliate Cup, CrossFit Rebel SA: 67th place

Cortisol Management for CrossFitters – whole9life

In it for the long haul? Here’s where you have to triage – and listen to me carefully. Eating well and sleeping enough come first. Just focus on that, and if that’s all you can do, that’s okay. Eat only Good Food, sleep as much as you can, and supplement for cortisol management. Those are your top priorities, and if you can keep those up, you’ll maintain an awful lot of your general “health”.

I received more than a few emails following that statement, asking about cortisol management, and steps you can take to help you manage your cortisol levels. Now, I’m not an expert on adrenal fatigue by any means, but I’m pretty good with Google, so I’ve pulled some basics together for y’all. I also checked in with Dallas and Mathieu Lalonde to see what their giant science-y brains could add. One word of caution – I’ve given you some supplement links as reference, but common sense should tell you to do your own research before you start taking anything new, right?

Let’s hit the basic background principles first. The adrenal glands produce many of the body’s hormones, including epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol. The function is to help us under stress – the release of certain hormones puts us into “fight or flight” mode, to help us deal with crisis situations. Trouble is, when you are under constant stress, the glands are working overtime, pumping out these hormones. The excess cortisol wreaks havoc on your metabolism, and seriously circumvents the processing of fat, protein and carbohydrates and fat loss efforts.

You can help to manage cortisol levels with the following supplements and common sense tips.


BCAA (branch chain amino acids). A general recommendation is to take 5g of mixed BCAAs per dose, 3-4 times a day, especially post work-out, and on an empty stomach.

Dallas adds that L-glutamine has been found to have immune-stimulating properties, and can help with muscle recovery when training hard. Supplement with 10 grams, twice daily on an empty stomach, with one of those servings taken right before bed. Powdered forms are inexpensive and easily mixed into a few ounces of water.

Phosphatidyl serine. Studies have shown that 800mg/day can significantly suppress cortisol, but this can get expensive.

ZMA supplements (zinc-magnesium-aspertate) or any other supplement that has zinc, magnesium and/or calcium, along with vitamin C supplements or Emergen-C Lite. Those should help with immune function and DNA repair during stressful times.

Avoid all NSAIDs (like Advil). Dallas explains that these anti-inflammatories not only negatively affect cortisol, but they decrease protein synthesis rates. This means that your body’s acute response to the stress of high-intensity exercise is diminished, which potentially could slow recovery/adaptation. Stick to fish oils for their anti-inflammatory properties.


Perform your workouts but reduce the intensity. Exercise does reduce stress. However, excessively long bouts of training or too many intense workouts deliver too much stress to an already-stressed body, and will increase levels of cortisol.

M@ adds that intense met-cons should be no greater than 30 minutes, and ideally much less than that. Monostructural cardio at high intensity (running, rowing, cycling, swimming) should be less than 45 minutes. Weightlifting workouts should also be less than 45 minutes in total.


Get plenty of sleep, but it does not have to be all in one chunk. Don’t freak out if you sleep for a little while, wake up, then go back to sleep (as you’ve been doing), or get up and take a nap later in the day. Research has shown that it is not the total amount of sleep hours that matters, but the number of sleep cycles achieved while sleeping.

Here’s something from the Center for Applied Cognitive Studies: “Studies show that the length of sleep is not what causes us to be refreshed upon waking. The key factor is the number of complete sleep cycles we enjoy.” It turns out that short afternoon naps (75-90 minutes) are very productive sleep-cycle wise. So go ahead and get your sleep in whenever you can – it doesn’t have to be a whole 8 to 9 hour block.


With respect to your overall diet, we’ve more than got that covered, don’t we? However, be sure to abstain from caffeine and other stimulants. M@ also adds that you may want to abstain from alcohol and fructose as well.

A small (no more than 2 blocks of whatever macronutrient combination suits your goals) PWO meal will help lower cortisol levels after exercise.

So now you’ve got a few options for helping you manage your cortisol levels, including some that come from a bottle. One obvious word of caution – this does NOT mean you can supplement your way out of stress and its negative effects on your health and fitness. Employing good life stress-management skills are going to do more for your efforts to manage cortisol than any combination of supplements. A little extra help never hurts, however, so add the above to see you through the stressful times.


WOD – 1/24/11 – “Dirty Thirty”


“Dirty Thirty”

500m Row

30 Knees to Elbows

30 Box Jumps

30 Pull-Ups

30 Air Squats

30 Burpees

30 Double Unders

500m Row

Will Summersett

According to researchers, low carb diets are better than low fat diets for:

  1. Lowering diastolic blood pressure
  2. Lowering triglycerides
  3. Lowering very-low density lipoprotein cholesterol
  4. Increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol

Isn’t that strange.

A low-carb diet consisting of (20 g/d for 3 months) in the form of low–glycemic index vegetables with unrestricted consumption of fat and protein turns out to be healthier than the universally accepted low-fat diet consisting of limited energy intake (1200 to 1800 kcal/d; ≤30% calories from fat).


Vegetables & meat are healthier than grains.


Who would have guessed that???

BTW, this study was funded by the National Institutes of Health – no Atkins money in sight.

Low Carb beats Low Fat once again.

Related posts:

  1. Drew Carey: Low Carb Celebrity Sex Symbol
  2. Is Paleo Eating the Cure for Diabetes?
  3. Carb Junkie Weekend
  4. The Atkins Diet for Vegans
  5. OxyCholesterol…the most serious cardiovascular health threat of all?

WOD – 1/22/11 – Share the Pain Saturday!


Teams of 4 Complete 3 Rounds:

1.  20 KBS

2.  20 Push Press

3.  20 Burpees

4.  Rest

- Everyone must complete their set of each exercise before moving on to the next -

- Athletes on team must not move on to next movement until everyone in team finishes their movement -

Bo Hornback

“When a person is born, he can embark on only one of three roads of life: if you go right, the wolves will eat you; if you go left, you’ll eat the wolves; if you go straight, you’ll eat yourself.”

-Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

I recently shared this quote with someone close to me, as I believe it adequately sums up the choice we must all make at some point in our lives.  We all have our wolves, whatever they may be.  For some it could be fear of setting goals and holding themselves accountable.  For others, their wolf could be something as simple as facing a hard reality and adjusting their paradigm accordingly.  Whatever your wolf may be it is not an easy path if you choose to face it.  However, I venture to say that few people, upon nearing the end of their lives, look back at the culmination of their decisions and wish they had taken less risk or set fewer goals.  I doubt anyone says they are glad they surrendered.


Eat the wolf.

WOD – 1/21/11 **All A.M. Classes Cancelled**

**All A.M. Classes Cancelled,

WOD’s will resume at 12:15,

normal P.M. WOD’s & Childcare**


“Med Ball Madness”

3 Rounds:

20 Med Ball Woodchoppers

20 Med Ball Deadlifts

20 Med Ball Cleans

20 Med Ball OH Walking Lunges

Amy Barnett

Today will be the last day that Amy will WOD with us.  She is embarking off to Air Force Boot Camp.  She has been a dedicated athlete and member of the CFM community.  CrossFit Maximus wishes Amy the best and good luck in her future in the Air Force!