I’m obsessed with the CrossFit Games

I’m sitting in the corner of the kind of sports bar where fitness is essentially bowling and beer. I take a breath from hammering sliders and sweet potato fries and look at a big screen. It’s on ESPN2 and they’re airing a show called the CrossFit Games.

I forget to chew I’m so awe struck by the sight. I’m watching a race. Twenty women have just swum open waters in the Pacific Ocean, then did something like 50 body weight squats, and then sprinted across the sandy beach to the finish line. These women look like they could hurt me. Their quadriceps are only outdone by their abs, which can most closely be mirrored by the men of the movie 300. They are powerful, fast, and never quit. These are the most in-shape people in the world. And thus is the goal of this competition and show: To find the world’s fittest man and woman. Then reward them with cash.

Nick and Brad were there with me and they couldn’t look away either. Thousands of international and national men and women tried out to take part in these games, which look like the toughest sports competition I’ve ever seen. On this particular day, it’s the women’s episode.

“Minus the boobs, do these women pretty much the bodies we’re shooting for??” asked Nick.

“I’d take the boobs for that body,” I replied.

Watch the video above and tell me you’re not intrigued.

That was last week. This week they showed the men and women. I watched men hanging from rings pull their weight up until their hands were touching their hips. They repeated this 10 times. Then they ran to a mat and clean-and-pressed 185 pounds 10 times. Next they completed straight leg situps off a bench that allowed them to arch their backs for added range and difficulty. Finally, they did a 50 meter sprint… then they repeated that circuit three more times. Oh yeah, they added weight to the clean and press.

Now, CrossFit is nothing new to me. I’ve even blogged about a CrossFit workout Wayne Jackson showed me. To this day it’s the best and toughest workout I’ve ever done.

Recently, marathons have been my thing. I’ve been lifting while I continue to lay off my knee for a month or so to let it fully recover. Watching the CrossFit Games was exactly what I needed. After being reminded how badass CrossFit is, I plan on stepping up the madness.

There are CrossFit gyms in my area, but the hours and prices don’t jive with me. But luckily for anyone who wants to try CrossFit, you don’t really need a gym. The guy who was in second place after day one of the CrossFit Games trained in his parents’ garage. There are no excuses.

In some cases, you don’t even need weights. Check out the Spartan Race’s blog for great examples of that.

I’m in the middle of a lifting schedule that is low on cardio and CrossFit type workouts. I’m going to fix that. I’m planning on adding bicycle kicks or burpees between each set. I have been ending each workout with a circuit I created called “The Burnout.” Feel free to sample.

Complete as a circuit, 30 seconds each (no rest between):

-Ply metric pushups on to dumbbells (Set dumbbells on the outside of your hands as you are in push up position. Push up and onto those dumbbells. Perform a deep push up from there, landing back on the floor)

-Jump-squats

-Resistance band twists (I hook my bands around something fixed, then do one Lat pullback,  one twist to the left, then one twist to the right. You could substitute in weighted trunk rotations if you don’t have bands)

-Alternating opposite hand-foot plank, 15 seconds each

-Plyo-pushup with half-bonsu ball (put the ball end of the half-bonsu on the ground, then do a push up that launches you off the ground as far as you can, then land softly back on your hands)

-Split-squats

-Mountain climbers on sliders (I have floor sliders I use for these. You don’t need them)

-Reverse crunch walk-up (Start in plank, then walk your feet up to your hands. Your butt should go sky-high)

-Weighted burpee, into a shoulder press, into curls

-Elbow walk-up, into push up (Get into a plank on your elbows, then push up off them to land on your hands, then perform a push up)

You should be able to Youtube or Google most of these moves.

As the lady in the video up top said, CrossFit is about endurance, strength and diet, but it is mainly about guts. I’m pretty sure I’ll be leaving my guts in the trashcan.

I think a bachelorette party blew out my knee

My knees hurt so badly, I ran out of real ice packs to use on them.

I’ve only been injured a handful of times in my life, and only thrice have I missed any training, games, or whatever because of it. I’m hyper competitive and freak out when I can’t compete, so I tend to rush back.

Once, I sprained my ankle so badly I had a bruise that ran from my toes to my knee. I was playing basketball two weeks later.

My sophomore year of high school, I either tore or severely sprained my hamstring and missed two months of basketball season, which was pretty much the whole season. It was torture.

Another time, I was T-boned by a drunk driver. I missed a tennis meet the next day with a minor concussion and a really sore back. Two days later I was back at practice.

The other time is now, and I am not happy. Ever since my marathon, my knees haven’t been the same. Running 26.2 takes its toll, but sprinting downhill like Gumby with no regard for your own well being takes the misery to threat-level midnight. I ice my knees three times a day, and take Ibuprofen like M&M’s. My right knee is 100 percent, but this damn left knee… it’s the bane of my existence.

Last week, I thought I was doing well. I trained on my knee twice, and only felt a little tinge. I was recovering. With another week or two of mostly crossfit training that let my knee rest, I should have been golden. But here’s the thing: I’m a sucker for bachelorette parties.

Besides being a fitness nut, I’m also a fun enthusiast. I enjoy a regrettable night out with my friends. Many times on those nights out, a bachelorette party will swing through my location. Bachelorette parties like to dupe men into buying them drinks, and my friends and I are easily convinced.

Let’s rewind to Thursday night. I’m out with something like 80 people (it was an event, I tell ya). I’m at the bar, telling stories rich in fabrication, explaining how I get into pushup competitions for no good reason, basically working the crowd like Sinatra (or so it felt like), when all of the sudden a bachelorette party is right behind me, tapping my shoulder.

This guy was out Thursday night. He kept doing this stretch-dance, where he would lean to the right like he was stretching his groin before a run, then wiggle his hips and waive his hands in the air to keep his balance.

The bachelorette wants me to buy her a shot. My protocol: 1)  I obviously let her know she’s making a huge mistake getting married. 2) I buy her a shot.

Sometimes bachelorette parties have checklists, or scavenger hunts. This bachelorette party did. They shove the list in my face and say something about a piggy-back ride. “Give her a ride around the bar!”

“Yeah, alright.”

Fast forward five minutes: I’m still giving this girl a piggy-back ride. I didn’t think someone could be bad at receiving a piggy-back ride, but what the “Boom goes the dynamite!” guy was to sports broadcasting, this girl was to being carried around a crowded bar. It was like carrying a dead marlin in stilettos who couldn’t stop burping. I think she was passing out or something, because I had to support all her weight with no assistance from her. She just went limp and giggled. What a jerk.

I sat her down and wished her good luck, and like clockwork, my left knee let out a little cry.

Here I am three days later, and my knee is in pain. It’s better than yesterday, but not healed. The pounding my knee took from the bachelorette party piggy-back ride will probably haunt me the next two weeks as I reduce my running once again, and focus on lifting and swimming.

This is frustrating. Not just because I got injured, but because I’m a hall-of-fame idiot.

C’est la vie.

I will continue to train. I will not use my knees and idiocy as reason to take a break. I know my lungs will be burning when I run in a few weeks, but I can at least build up my strength before I get back out on the roads and trails. In the mean time, though, bachelorette parties can find another sucker to buy their drinks.

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