Writing on the Wall

This is how Dana White destroyed what could have been the best year in UFC history.

white mcgregor copyIf you’re reading this, you know the back story: Conor McGregor smashes media records and has a two year stretch that would rival any newcomer in UFC history. He’s like a character from Irish lore, driving a Bentley.

By all accounts he earns a shot at doing what few have done, holding duel championship belts. A thirteen second shot to the jaw of Hose Aldo put an exclamation mark where there was a question mark.

The momentum of enthusiasm leading to the 155 contest between Conor and Rafael Dos Anjos could not have been more fever pitched. There were more people watching a press conference for McGregor than a whole year’s worth of the Belletor promotion.

Maybe it’s the lack of quality water, a corrupt government, or an anxiety disorder brought on by how bad the Rio Olympics are going to tank, but whatever the reason, Rafael Dos Anjos does what many Brazilians have a habit of doing, and has to pull out of the fight. Which is a bit like someone kicking the cord to the dvd player on your favorite moment in a Rockie Movie. Except in this case it may take a year to plug it back in.

Dana White by no means wants to lose the media and publicity that he has accumulated leading up to this fight, so with twelve days to go, he decides to find a replacement for Dos Anjos. Somehow Nick Diaz, who has every right to fight McGregor, steps up to take the fight, except he can’t make weight.

This is where Dana White should say the following: “The fight is at 155; if you can’t make weight, we’ll find someone else.”

But he doesn’t.

For some reason White lets Diaz fight at a higher weight, and then lets the Conor up the weight again to 170, out of sheer hubris. I can understand that, at the time, Conor looked invincible at any weight. There was even a video of him “sparring” The Mountain from Game of Thrones. He looked beyond human. But of course, he’s not. And he loses to Diaz, essentially running out of gas after pounding the brainless Californian to a bloody pulp.

So UFC 196 goes down as one of my least favorite UFC paper-views of all time. There was an extremely boring main card and two major upsets. This I could have gotten over. Throw your hands up and say everyone has a bad night or point out the obvious, that this was an ill-fated plan from the start. No problem, lets get back to fights that matter. Title fights. Let Conor defend his belt and wait for Dos Anjos to get better. A no brainer, right?

Nope.

Dana decides to let this stupidity continue with a freakin rematch that means absolutely nothing in terms of titles. If this isn’t bad enough, Dana and Conor decide to get into a pissing match over the promotion of what should be the biggest event in UFC history.

Now UFC 200 is by all accounts a disaster and it hasn’t even happened yet. Meanwhile for fans of a sport that makes you wait an excruciatingly long for time for the fights you want to see, the wait for a Conor fight that matters will continue. While adding insult to injury we have to endure the circus side show and a “possible” tapping match between McGregor and Mayweather—why not let Michael Jordan fight Mayeather while we’re at it; after all, that who baseball experiment worked well for him. And that’s not to mention what may be the most annoying thing of all, the constant click-bate stories in our newsfeed that have about as much real-world bearing as a tweet about what Conor is wearing today.

All with one fatal decision to let two guys who should have fought at 155 fight at 170.

Maybe new ownership at the UFC is not such a bad idea after all.

Advertisements

Watch Crossfit and get Better

watch copy

Watch Crossfit to get better at Crossfit.

We all love to watch Crossfit.

We watch on Instagram, on YouTube, Facebook, and on ESPN (damn it HQ! Why can’t everything be free!)

So here is some great news. Watching Crossfit might actually make you better at Crossfit.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “My uncle Bob watches sports all day, and he can’t lift his ass off the couch without assistance. Since when does watching fitness make you fitter?

For the rest of this blog….

http://wodnationgear.com/blogs/the-whiteboard/116392900-watch-crossfit-and-get-better

May the 4th be with you.

Today I want to tell my favorite star wars story.light saber tag

May 16th 2002.. The release of Star Wars II The Attack of the Clones.

My friends and I headed up to Kansas City to stand outside and enjoy the Comic Con like environment of waiting to see the newest release of the Star Wars Saga. We had always wanted to join in the festivities of the crazy fans that will stand in line all day to see a Star Wars movie. We chose the best theatre for the job which was an AMC in Olathe Kansas.

One of the guys in the group had a farm in Ottawa Kansas which is forty-five mile south of Olathe. That night we came up with one of the greatest games I have ever played.

Step one

Take as many semi-adult individuals you can find to your local retail store and buy toy light sabers.

Step Two

Find and open fields, preferable mowed and with the least amount of things to trip on.

Step Three

Wait for the Sun to go away.

Step four

Mix hide and go seek, with light saber fights to determine who is actually tagged.

Yes this is as amazing as it sounds.

Running around in the dark you could see epic battles between to two light sabers in the distance.

You could then make a choice of getting a better hiding position or heading as fast as you could to challenge the victor.

One could make the mistake of walking toward and ongoing battle between two opponents with ones light saber drawn and lit. This could lead to another opponent waiting pounce.
There may even be two or three fights going on simultaneously.

This seemingly simple game still brings a smile to my face more than ten years later. That is the magic of Star Wars. I know there is plenty to of reasons to begrudge the movies, but this memory reminds me of the power of great imagination, and the power of play.

I am Sisyphus

For most of us the Crossfit season is over.

altas stone copy

We trained all year to see how we would rank in the Open. It was fun, and hard, and inspiring. But it’s done.

Like many of you, I walked back into the gym on and realized that I still have passion for this. I still have weaknesses. And I still have goals for next year.
I am 34 years old and have been doing Crossfit for five years. Yet here I am again, at the bottom of the year-long hill, ready to get rolling.

I am Sisyphus.

Let’s talk about the Legend of Sisyphus. Sisyphus was a King who apparently was deceptive or dishonest. So the gods cursed him to push a boulder up a mountain. But when the boulder reached the top, it just rolled back down. Sisyphus was cursed to do this seemingly futile work for all of eternity.

We can take one of two approaches to this story.

First there are those who identify with the soul crushing futility of work. They see only external rewards, a number on the Scale, or when they fit into that pair of jeans. In Sisyphus they only see toil with no true reward.

The Second group says Sisyphus actually fell in love with the toil. It never goes into great detail of the psyche of Sisyphus but there are plenty of us who know that whatever our life goals and aspirations might be, we are all perusing goals in some way overlooking the futility of it all and just learning to love the process.

As a trainer, I work with people who come in with goals. Usually they want to lose weight, especially around their mid-section. I try to tell them right off the bat that those who fall in love with the process see the best results. These results come when you aren’t paying attention.

For some the scale is the boulder. Every morning it’s telling them they aren’t good enough. They want results—bad—, but they also want the process to end once they reach the top. Sadly, this mentality is usually not enough to keep the results they want. Sometimes, they get the boulder to the top, but they hate the process. And it’s crushing to watch it go back down the mountain.

Results can even get in the way sometimes. People can get all sorts of benefits from exercise but not recognize it because they aren’t a certain weight or dress size.
For others the process becomes they thing we love. We live for gym time. Oddly, we love the challenge, and the struggle. When the boulder goes down we see it as opportunity.
There’s another skill we can learn.

There’s another challenge we can conquer.

There’s another Open next year.

Is that crazy? Is it futile? Maybe.

But here’s the truth: One way or another, we are all Sisyphus.

We can either let the boulder crush us, or we can learn to love the process.

Recipe for Disater

Recipe for Disater

Ever since the 1980’s we have been told that there are “bad” fats called LDL (Low-Density Lipoproteins) known to you and I as Saturated Fats.  New research is coming out that says there more to the problem than once thought.  The good news is it might mean the end of the war on fat.

fatfree.JPG

First let’s start with the standard wisdom concerning Saturated Fats.

 According to the American Heart Association

“LDL cholesterol is considered the “bad” cholesterol because it contributes to plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can clog arteries and make them less flexible. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, heart attack or stroke can result. Another condition called peripheral artery disease can develop when plaque buildup narrows an artery supplying blood to the legs.”

But according to  2010 meta-analysis study (which is a study of other studies) Conducted by Rajiv Chowdhury-a cardiology etymologist at Cambridge University, there was not sufficient evidence to support the idea that a low consumption of saturated fats or high consumption of polyunsaturated fats did not effect Cardiovascular disease.

Continue reading “Recipe for Disater”

Zen and the Art of Crossfit

Zen and the Art of Crossfit

The 2014 Open was my first experience of what I call, “Talking with the Spirit People.”  It was 14.2 and as the rounds went on and the other people that were in my heat starting falling off, I became the only competitor making into the next round.  I remember the sensation of tunnel vision and the whole world completely drowning out, but it wasn’t till later when I saw the video footage that I realized how much I had actually drowned out.

The video footage had the whole gym in my face yelling as loud as they could for me to keep going, and I didn’t hear anything.

That feeling of pure, raw existence is what many throughout the years have been trying to reach.  It is a partial step to the enlightenment of gurus, and yogis. Come to find out you get your heart rate high enough, and keep pushing yourself past previous barriers and bang, you start to “talk with the spirit people.”

The more I study Meditation, HRV breathing techniques, and Chakras the more I realize I learned some of this intuitively from Crossfit.

Research is coming out every day on the importance of meditation, breathing, relaxation, yoga, and all the other hippy crap you have probably thought is for lulu lemon-wearing soccer moms who can’t deadlift their groceries, let alone a decent weight on a barbell.

But let’s get real.  You might not be living up to your full athletic potential because you’re not training your brain.

Here are a few examples.

1.HRV Training

wim hof

What is HRV Training? There are great video’s and articles to talk about Heart Rate Variability training but to put it into simple English, with simple rhythmic breathing techniques you can calm down the part of your nervous system once thought uncontrollable. This can take you out of the fight-or-flight response, and allow you to get more from your nervous system.  What does this mean for Crossfit?  You can get into those really intense workouts and if you are using HRV training you can get more performance out of the high intensity moments that used to drop you.  There is an incredible example of how far the human body can adapt in Wim Hof.  While scientist were using heart monitor machines to test the time between beats while people meditated in a lab, this guy was throwing himself into extreme cold.  For an awesome piece on Wim’s story, check out this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaMjhwFE1Zw

To dig deeper on Heart Rate Variability here are some great articles.

http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/heart-rate-variability-a-good-intensity-measure

http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/heart-rate-variability-the-new-science-of-recovery

http://www.8weeksout.com/2011/12/05/heart-rate-variability-research-review/

2. Meditation

b1

Now how is Meditation different than simple breathing? First it’s a powerful way to use visualization and use auto suggestions that you can create by repeating a mantra. A mantra is a sacred utterance or group of words believed by some to have psychological and spiritual power in Sanskrit. But for our use, let’s just say it is repeating a message, or an emotional cue that can improve your performance.  Studies have shown that people who use visualization get the muscles firing similar to the exercise that they are visualizing.  This means you are priming your body for work. http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/02/08/simple-activity-increases-muscle-strength.aspx

3.Hypnosis

b2

Now this might be the most underutilized tools at the disposal of Crossfitters.  It not only is a great way to get deeper sleep, the example in the link below is a tool that can give you a huge mental advantage and emotional boost to hit hard WODs.  It’s easy to see professional athletes using emotional signals to get more out of their performance, why should we act any different, especially since it’s such an easy thing to access on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tepDYtQKK0

4.Eft tapping

b3

Now if you are still with me let’s go to a couple activities that may be outside the comfort levels of most people when it comes to meditative practices. EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique and involves tapping a few acupuncture points of the head, face, and body that allow you to calm down the fight or flight response, or any other negative emotion that might come up.  For example, if I walk into a workout with a bunch of wall balls in them I automatically get a pit in my stomach. What is that?  Just the thought of doing certain movements can trigger an emotional response that doesn’t help me in the workout. Using EFT, I can try to rewrite that emotional response before I sabotage my success in the workout.

http://www.emofree.com/eft-tutorial/tapping-basics/what-is-eft.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKDhRohzSdU

5.Chakras 

 b4

Now one might argue that Chakras are not the mind but and exercise for the body. You also might argue that they are made up spiritual mumbo-jumbo for people in yoga, and have no value for Crossfit. You are entitled to your opinion. However it is interesting to note that all of the above examples (HRV, meditation, and hypnosis) had yogis and mystics talking about them for years before modern science caught up and realized their effectiveness. A quick google search will show how hard it is to define a Chakra, so I’m going to put my definition here and let you do your own search on the subject. Simply put Chakras are energy spots along the spine that can either help of hinder your physical and spiritual well-being. So let’s say for argument sake that Chakras can actually help with energy systems in your body and mind, giving you greater athletic performance. And even if they don’t, perhaps the very idea can give us some benefit via the famous Placebo Effect.  So if you’re interested in trying this meditation tool start here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8kwc1lkiAQ&index=10&list=LL6NCjMzgLCmwOntBtpTb0TA