Increasing Flexibility

September 8, 2017

One of my least favorite things to do when exercising or playing a sport is warming-up or stretching. I’ve played a lot of Basketball, Baseball, and Softball over the last 40 years and the joke among my family and teammates has always been that I would show up one or two minutes before game time and go directly from my car to the playing field. For some reason I just can’t do this anymore….I’m being told it’s because I’m getting older.

Increasing flexibility is one of the ways for me to improve my Fitness. Probably the biggest reason that I haven’t enjoyed stretching is that I’ve always thought that my flexibility is very limited. One of my favorite TV shows is “Big Bang Theory”, here is a scene from the show that epitomizes how I’ve always felt about my flexibility.

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Improving Through Strength Training

September 1, 2017

Last week I wrote about “Holes in my Fitness” and mentioned four areas that I believe I have to improve upon to get rid of these holes, the four areas were:

  • Improving Strength
  • Increasing Flexibility
  • Improving the Mental side of Fitness
  • Weight and Eating

In this week’s post I’m going to focus on what I’m doing to improve my strength. The easiest answer would be that I plan on continuing to do CrossFit, the fact of the matter is that if you do “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains“, you will get stronger, if you recall from a previous post this is how CrossFit defines Fitness. I currently do CrossFit about four times per week, meaning I participate in the classes offered by Veneta CrossFit multiple times weekly. While I believe that this improves my Strength, to reach my goal of being one of the Top 200 male 50 – 54 year old I have to augment this standard CrossFit training with additional strength training every week. At this time I add a weight lifting session about three times a week. I’m finding that although I may want to exercise more, my body doesn’t always allow me to do CrossFit as often as I want. To help counter act this limit I’ve incorporated riding my Bike a couple of times a week. Bike riding has been a welcome addition as it allows me the opportunity to enjoy the awesome Oregon summer weather, and is an exercise that my wife Darlene and I can enjoy together. As we head into the colder months I expect that I will replace the Bike rides with swimming.

In my weight lifting sessions I mostly focus on the lifts that I demonstrated in this video here last week. These lifts include the Clean & Jerk, Snatch, and the three Squat movements, Back Squat, Front Squat and Overhead Squat. Although I didn’t mention the Deadlift previously, it is also a movement that we practice and perform often. A key component in getting stronger is tracking how much weight you are lifting, and making sure that you are not missing or short changing a movement. Everybody has a favorite lift that they love to work on, it is imperative that our hardest lifts aren’t skipped. In the chart below I’ve listed the six major lifts and what my one rep maximum is on each as of August 27, 2017. The one rep maximum is usually referred to as your PR (Personal Record) for that lift. I’ve also included the PR’s for a random Top 200 male 50 – 54 year old, a random Top 20 male 50 -54 year old, and the PR’s for Matt Fraser the Fittest Man in the World.

08/27/2017   David’s PR      Top 200         Top 20     Mat Fraser

Clean & Jerk        205                   205               250           375
Snatch                   155                    145               202            315
Deadlift                 375                   425               485            505

Back Squat            335                  285               385            485
Front Squat           255                  245               325            405
Overhead Squat   185                   180               215             395

In looking at the amounts in the Chart above you can see that my PR’s are comparable to our random Top 200 male. This tells me that while I need to keep getting stronger I don’t need to stress improving my PR’s, more just improving my strength foundation. I’m hopeful that improving this foundation will help in making me proficient in the areas where I have holes, especially the complex body weight movements.

In the video below you see the last four lifts of an Overhead Squat session from Monday August 28th. In its entirety this lifting session was about 45 minutes long, whereas the video is only about 2 minutes long.

While the last lift wasn’t very pretty it was a very satisfying lift. I was able to PR on the Overhead Squat, referring back to the chart you can see that my PR was 185lbs with this lift being 190lbs. WooHoo

It is very exciting to PR a lift but I want to tell you that it is very humbling to share this video. I see many faults while watching the video, everything from my positioning in the lifts, how I look in the video, to how the video is presented. I only mention this because in a few weeks I will be talking about the mental side of exercise and the major role it plays in trying to get and stay fit. It is amazing how hard we can be on ourselves.

Thanks for sharing in my Journey.

Holes in my Fitness

August 25, 2017

What do I need to do to make it into the Top 200 of the 50 – 54 Year old Male Division in 2018. Because we won’t know what the five events are until they are announced during the 2018 CrossFit Open, I will base where I stand and what I need to improve on off of previous years Open results. These results aren’t pretty, pointing towards the fact that I have a lot of work to do, so it’s a good thing that I have already been trying to improve on the areas that I perceive to be weakest.

As I mentioned last week there were over 6,500 competitors in the Male 50 – 54 age division in 2017, my placing in that division was a sparkling 1,681st place, a long way from being in the Top 200. While I’m not discouraged by my placing it is a large reminder that I have a very long way to go, and not very long to get there.

In reviewing my previous results it doesn’t take long to find a glaring weakness in my fitness, in CrossFit terms I have a hole in my fitness. The hole for me, really it is more like a crater, is “Body Weight Movements”. For those of you unfamiliar with Body Weight Movements a few simple examples would be Sit-ups, Push-ups, and Pull-ups. While I consider myself to be somewhat proficient in these three movements it is when these movements are taken to the next level of complexity that a crater size hole in my fitness become evident.

Examples of next level of complexity would be:

  • Toes-to-Bar (Hanging on a pull-up bar and bringing your toes up to touch the bar)
  • Hand-Stand Push-ups (Hand-Stand against wall, dropping down into a Head-stand, and back up)
  • Chest-to-Bar (Instead of just getting your chin over the bar on a pull-up your chest hits the bar)
  • Bar-Muscle-up (Hanging on a pull-up bar, ending with body above bar with your hands support)
  • Ring-Muscle-up (Same as above only on Gymnastic Rings)

I’ve included a video below of my son Casey performing these movements, the reason that Casey is performing the movements and not me is because, well like I said they are a hole in my fitness, some of these things I can do poorly and some of these I can’t do at all. For me to hit my goal I will need to do all of these movements proficiently.

Included in the CrossFit Open will be many other movements, examples of other movements would be:

  • Olympic Lifts (These lifts include Clean & Jerk, and Snatch)
  • Weighted Squats (Back, Front, and Overhead Squats)
  • Jump Rope (Double Unders where the rope passes under your feet twice on each jump)
  • Rowing (Concept 2 Rowing machine)
  • Miscellaneous (examples being Wall Balls, Burpee’s, Box Jumps, etc)

Below is a video of me showing each of these movements

While I need to also improve on these movements I believe that I have at least a solid foundation to build upon.

In future posts I will spend time explaining how I intend to improve the holes in my fitness. This includes but isn’t limited to:

  • Improving Strength
  • Increasing Flexibility
  • Improving the Mental Side of Fitness
  • Weight and Eating

The last three of these are a constant struggle for me as I think they are for a majority of people. I don’t pretend to be an expert in any of these three areas but every year their importance only seems to grow and grow. I intend to share what it is that I am doing and how my process seems to be affecting me, I don’t believe there is a one size fits all for these areas and most of us just have to keep working until we find what works for us.

What are you trying to do again?

August 18, 2017,

Last week I posted my personal goal of being one of the top 200 fittest 50 – 54 year old males in the world. So the first question should be how does one go about determining if they are one of the 200 fittest 50 -54 year old males? CrossFit makes the claim, and I agree with this claim, that Fitness is defined as “Constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains”, with the stated goal of improving Fitness, defined as “Work capacity across broad time and modal domains”. Every year CrossFit organizes a competition that measures your work capacity, which is then compared to all of the other competitors to measure who is the Fittest. This competition is called the CrossFit Games.

CrossFit has divided its competitors into divisions, these divisions range from the “Open” division, which for clarity I will call the “Main” division, to the different age divisions for both men and women. There are currently eight age divisions broken down by the following:

  • 14 – 15 years old
  • 16 – 17 years old
  • 35 – 39 years old
  • 40 – 44 years old
  • 45 – 49 years old
  • 50 – 54 years old
  • 55 – 59 years old
  • 60 years and older

There is also a Male and Female division inside each age grouping.  In 2017 there were over 400,000 competitors that signed up to compete in the CrossFit Open, if we focus just on the 50 – 54 year old male division there were over 6,500 competitors. It is out of this roughly 6,500 competitors I have the goal of being in the top 200.

The CrossFit Games are actually the culmination of a three step process that CrossFit has created to crown the fittest overall athlete, out of the “Main” division, as well as the fittest athlete in each age division. The first step in the three step process is a five week online event called the CrossFit Open. During the Open, CrossFit Headquarters posts a workout which all competitors are required to perform within a five day window. This workout can be attempted as many times as possible during this window but you have a deadline to post your best result online at the end of this window. After the deadline CrossFit headquarters tabulates the results for the workout and posts the results ranking how you did on the workout compared to everyone else that posted results. This process is then repeated each week for the five week competition with scores and rankings being updated each week. At the end of the five week competition it is determined where everybody ranks in relation to everyone else that posted results, with a further drill down to see how you rank against other competitors in your age division. It is at this point that I will be able to see how I did in trying to reach my goal of being one of the top 200 fittest 50 – 54 year old males.

If I meet my goal of being in the top 200 I would then move on to the second step in the three step process. For the age divisions the second step is called an online qualifier. The online qualifier, while similar to the Open, condenses down to having to perform four separate workouts posted by Headquarters, but you only have one five day window to perform all the workouts and get your scores posted. An extra step in this process is that all workouts must be recorded and submitted to headquarters so that your workout can be verified. At the end of the five day window headquarters will review all scores and recordings allowing them to post the top 20 competitors in each age division. These top 20 competitors in each age division are then invited to participate in the third step of the process, the “CrossFit Games”.

At the CrossFit Games all of the top competitors compete for four days in August with the winner laying claim to the Fittest in the World for their age division. For the past six years I’ve attended the CrossFit Games as a spectator, including the Games just completed at the end of the first week in August. Each year has been an awesome experience with the event becoming a bigger and better spectacle. CrossFit Headquarters have made the CrossFit Games a fitting ending to the CrossFit season.

Below is an example of one of the events at the CrossFit Games, the name of the event is “Bar Fight”. The participants are in the 50 – 54 year old age group and the workout was :

  • 12 Clean & Jerks 155lbs
  • 15 Toes to Bar
  • 12 Chest to Bar
  • 15 Toes to Bar
  • 12 Chest to Bar
  • 12 Clean & Jerks 155lbs

This was one of eight workouts performed over 3 and ½ days.

As great as the Games are and as much fun as it appears it would be to compete at the Games my goal for this year is a bit more modest. I would really like to have the opportunity to compete in the Online Qualifier, the second step in the process. This would mean I have met my goal of being in the top 200 fittest 50 – 54 year old male competitors.

Dave’s Vision and Goals

August 11, 2017

My name is David Cole and I own Veneta CrossFit. I’ve decided to start a blog on this web-site because frankly I’m not sure what to do with the web-site. One of the requirements of maintaining a CrossFit affiliate is to have an operating site, and while many affiliates have created and maintain awesome sites it really hasn’t fit well with my vision and goals for VCF, at least until now…….hopefully.
I started CrossFit in 2011 at Eugene CrossFit, I only have positive things to say about ECF and their fantastic coaches, unfortunately because of work commitments it became difficult to make enough classes for it to make sense to me financially. Because of this my family and I began to do CrossFit workouts in the shop at our house, which turned into neighbors joining us, then friends from church and finally random people working out with us. This led me and my daughter-in-law Destiny, as well as a close family friend, Chris Canham, to getting our Level 1 certificate which allowed us to start Veneta CrossFit. Due to a fortunate experience I was able to retire early giving us the opportunity to move VCF out of our shop and into our current location off of Hwy 126 in Veneta Oregon.
I mentioned earlier that I had vision and goals in mind for VCF, CrossFit is hard and expensive, while I don’t plan on making CrossFit easy I do plan on making CrossFit less expensive. My vision for VCF is to help make the people in the Veneta/Elmira area fit. To do this we had to make VCF less expensive then what it costs in the Eugene/Springfield area. We charge $75/Month for the first family member and $50/month for each additional immediate family member, for unlimited classes. This rate is 50-70% less than what you will pay at other CrossFit affiliates. We do this because we can’t make the people in this area fit unless they walk through our doors. The other reason we do this is because I’ve found that the people willing to work hard at CrossFit are people that I want to surround myself with. In general people that do CrossFit and specifically people that come to VCF are the friendliest, positive, fun, energetic, and honest people I know, uplifting my life and my family’s life.
Now “My” goal for CrossFit. Every year CrossFit holds a worldwide competition to find the fittest man and woman, called the CrossFit Open. They’ve also created five Master’s division for both male and female with one of these division being 50-54 year old male competitors. After the Open competition the top 20 competitors are brought together at the CrossFit Games to determine the fittest 50-54 year old man. I’ve always had a goal of being one of the top 20 fittest men, while I still have this goal I’ve realized that I need to set my sights a little more realistic shooting for one of the top 200. So my goal for the next eight months is to train and attempt to become one of the top 200 fittest 50 – 54 year old men in the world.

This brings me back full circle to what I’m going to do with this web-site. I intend to blog about how the process works for determining the top 200 and then what I think it takes for me to reach my goal. Once the Open competition starts in February of 2018 I will update on how I’m doing in the competition. This process will take the next eight months ending sometime in April of 2018. Now if you choose to follow me on this I promise that I will give you an update at least once a week. I enjoy reading other people’s blogs but there is nothing I hate more than investing time in someone’s blog only to have them become disengaged and quit updating on a regular basis. Because of this if you are reading this I promise that I have already written other posts and have numerous ideas for future posts.
Thanks for joining me on this journey and I welcome feedback and questions.