Potomac – Wednesday 150304

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Weather Update for Thursday, 3/5:

Please check the blog and FB before you head in for classes tomorrow. Erika and I are going to talk at 0430 tomorrow after we look at the traffic cameras, weather reports, and outside our respective windows and let everyone know if classes are cancelled.

This is a tough one because if the temp predictions are accurate, we may be covered in ice. If it’s off a few degrees, it’ll just be some rain.

So check online before you come in!

  • Join PCF for the Hudson Trail Outfitters Spring WOD series. First workout is 10:00am, Saturday, 11 April at HTO!
  • Want to dial in your personal nutrition plan? Take a look at our nutritional consulting options!
  • Did you know that we’re part of the Reebok Key Partner Program? You can order Reebok gear through our online store here!


  • Education and Trust by Brian Wilson

    “The authority of those who teach is very often a hindrance to those who wish to learn.” Michel de Montaigne, “On the Education of Children”

    We try to strike a delicate balance in teaching you how to do CrossFit. Much of what we do could be considered techne, which is “craft”. We are trying to get you do “do” CrossFit well.

    We don’t spend a lot of time on episteme, or “justified true belief.” You either want to be there or you don’t. If you do, we are going to get you to spend as much time as possible on the art of CrossFit. And we’re also going to try to let you explore CrossFit in a way that excites and interests you.

    Much of my coaching cues as I’ve become more experienced in coaching end with “let me know if that’s better or worse.” Meaning, “did you get more weight”, “did you go faster”, “did it feel more comfortable?”

    If the answer to those questions is yes, than maybe what I told you is good for you. If not, than we need to try something else. My skepticism of both my doctrinal beliefs, or episteme, and my specific coaching cues has grown rather than lessened over my now six and a half years of coaching CrossFit as a full time job.

    I’ve seen a lot of stuff work, and a lot of stuff that I thought would work not work. Part of this is the shared experience, between teacher and student, of learning. “The tutor should make his pupil sift everything, and take nothing into his head on simple authority or trust.” We have a wonderful laboratory where we can collectively try new things, practice them, and get accurate measurable, observable, and repeatable data. This is wonderful for me in terms of both learning about human nature and learning about human movement.

    The goal of this is the same goal that Montaigne lays out in his education: to be free. I take this to mean, in terms of human movement, free to accomplish whatever task we wish to accomplish or more importantly, that which we need to accomplish. Whether that’s snatching your body weight, running a Spartan Race, losing 15 lbs, or getting a sub-4:00 “Fran”, we hope that we’ve equipped you with the tools to pursue those goals. We also hope that you can go through your day pain free, you can play with your kids, you can pick up a bag of groceries, and you can have some self-confidence in your abilities.

    Whatever your goals or necessities, remember to try to have fun while you’re doing it, follow the courses that intrigue and excite you, and don’t believe me unless you have overwhelming evidence that you should.

    Warmup: EMOTM 8 Min
    3 Good Morning Squat
    3 Superman
    Alt: 3 Ring Row Drill/3 Inchworm Pushup

    RX’d Level II Level I
    Press
    1-1-1-1-1
     
    3 Rounds:
    AMRAP 2 Min
    6/4 Ring Dip (m/w)
    12 Box Jump 24/20
    REST 1 MINUTE
    Press
    1-1-1-1-1
     
    3 Rounds:
    AMRAP 2 Min
    6/4 Assisted Ring Dip (m/w)
    8 Box Jump 24/20
    REST 1 MINUTE
    Press
    5-5-5-5-5
     
    3 Rounds:
    AMRAP 2 Min
    6 Push-up
    8 Box Jump 20/16
    REST 1 MINUTE

    *Score = the round with least amount of reps.
    Post loads and SMALLEST set of rounds + reps to comments.

    Potomac – Monday 150126

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    “The Cure is the Process” by Brian Wilson

    As we approach the end of the Paleo Challenge, I want you to think about unicorns wearing football helmets.

    No reason there, but I think wherever you are and whatever you’re doing the idea of a unicorn wearing a football helmet is funny. Obviously, the horn would go through their helmet and they wouldn’t be playing football, because if you have a horn and too much head protection, that’d be dangerous.

    Anyway, Irvin D. Yalom is a pretty smart guy sometimes and he has a great quote “The cure is the process.” Yalom is a psychotherapist who is a big proponent of group counseling sessions where individuals simply (or not so simply) discuss their thoughts, feelings and emotions to a group.

    What was confusing and enlightening for me when I first got into his work were two things: First, that he had a hard time describing what the end state of therapy was. Second, that a lot of the group dynamics and the patient/therapist relationship had a lot of similarities to CrossFit training and coaching.

    Part of this similarity is in describing the goal, or “end state”. I’m a bit obsessed with the idea of “end state”. It’s something that’s drilled into us in the Marine Corps. The task you assign may have to change constantly, which is why we are always drilled to give “task and intent”: what do you want to have happen and what are you planning to accomplish with this?

    The end state of Yalom’s methods are described in a variety of ways: “courageous engagement with…life’s predicaments and personal distress”, “claiming our own freedom”, “overcoming existence pain.” I find these descriptions similar to the end state of CrossFit “increased work capacity over broad time and modal domains.” What’s the thing that jumps out at you immediately when you look at all these: they are relative, not absolute.

    Secondly, his group therapy techniques and description of the client/patient relationship is pretty similar to what we do in the Paleo Challenge and in CrossFit. So partly because you are getting quasi-kicked out of the nest soon at the end of the Paleo Challenge, I want to equip you with some knowledge bombs that will help you out.

    Obviously, you can still ask me questions, but because you won’t have a defined “end state” anymore, e.g., the “Paleo Challenge Finale” on the horizon, I want you to have some tools you can use:

    1) Get some Paleo buddies. Folks you can reach out to and hang out with and enjoy some Paleo chow together.
    2) Continue to try to get better. Get a little wackier with your food. Try a CSA, buy some new kinds of meat, try some different restaurants. In short: don’t make your diet boring.
    3) Ask for help. Coaches and your fellow athletes like helping you. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

    [Cross posted from Paleo Challenge blog 150126]

  • Registration for the CrossFit Games Open is up! We’ll be performing the WODs on Friday at Patriot and Saturday at Potomac, with a make-up at 1pm on Sunday at Patriot. First WOD will be announced on Thursday, February 26th. More info and registration here.
  • Starting the week of January 19th, CrossFit Preteens will hold classes every Monday AND Wednesday from 5:30pm to 6:15pm.
    For more information, visit www.pcfkids.com or email info@pcfkids.com!
  • Did you know you can order PCF apparel online? Click here!
  • The Potomac Pro Shop now has PaleoChef Dressings and Marinades! They are perfect for any summer time BBQ or to help put together a quick Paleo meal!


  • Warmup: EMOTM 8 Min
    3 Hang Squat Snatch
    3 Situp to Straddle
    Alt: 3 Strict K2E/3 Planche Pushup

    RX’d Level II Level I
    Back Squat
    4x5x80%

    Three Rounds For Time:
    5 Hang Squat Clean, 165/115
    50 Double Under

    Back Squat
    5-5-5-5

    Three Rounds For Time:
    5 Hang Squat Clean, 115/85
    25 Double Under

    Back Squat
    5-5-5-5-5

    Three Rounds For Time:
    5 Hang Squat Clean, 75/55
    100 Single Under

    Post loads and time to comments.

    Potomac – Tuesday 140513

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    “Rashness is one of the properties of illness – outlaws that we are – and it is rashness that we need in reading Shakespeare. It is not that we should doze in reading him, but that, fully conscious and aware, his fame intimidates and bores, and all the views of all the critics dull in us that thunderclap of conviction which, if an illusion, is still so helpful an illusion, so prodigious a pleasure, so keen a stimulus in reading the great. Shakespeare is getting flyblown: a paternal government might well forbid writing about him, as they put his monument at Stratford beyond the reach of scribbling fingers. With all this buzz of criticism about, one may hazard one’s conjectures privately, making one’s notes in the margin; but, knowing that someone has said it before, or said it better, the zest is gone. Illness, in its kingly sublimity sweeps all that aside and leaves nothing but Shakespeare and oneself. What with his overweening power and our overweening arrogance, that barriers go down, the knots run smooth, the brain rings and resounds with Lear or Macbeth, and even Coleridge himself squeaks like a distant mouse.” -On Being Ill, Virginia Woolf
     
    What Woolf is trying to say, I think, is “don’t listen to experts.” This is for two reasons: first, you need to exercise your wits otherwise you’ll either be bamboozled. Second, if you make it instinctive to listen to experts, you’ll lose confidence in yourself as a thinking being. On the flip side of this as a CrossFit coach, you pay me to be an expert at CrossFit and you need to listen to me to make progress.
     
    But as a consumer, you need to not believe anything I say unless and until you see results. If you’re not seeing results there are only three options: either I’m hustling you, I’m wrong, or you’re not doing what I told you to do. If the first is true, stop paying me. If the second, please tell me so I can fix my model. If the third, either ask for help or try harder. -Brian PCF
     
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    Don’t like cooking? Let Power Supply do the work for you: Paleo meals delivered right to the gym!
     
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    Warmup: EMOTM 8 Min
    3 Snatch Balance
    3 V-Situp
    Alt: 3 Strict Pullup/3 Diamond Pushup

    RX’d Level II Level I
    EMOTM 10 Minutes:
    10-15s Ring Tuck Planche
    5-10s Ring Back Lever
     
    For Time:
    21-15-9
    DB Hang Power Snatch .25xBW
    Back Rack Lunge 95/65
    Bastard
    EMOTM 10 Minutes:
    5-10s Box Tuck Planche
    5-10s Ring Inversion
     
    For Time:
    21-15-9
    DB Hang Power Snatch .20/.15xBW
    Back Rack Lunge 75/55
    Bastard
    EMOTM 10 Minutes:
    5-10s Box Tuck Sit
    3 Toes To Wherever
     
    For Time:
    15-12-9
    DB Hang Power Snatch .15/.10xBW
    Back Rack Lunge 55/35
    Bastard

    Post time to comments.

    Potomac – Monday 140428

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    Playing Music and CrossFit: One of my absolute favorite essays on education is “Lockhart’s Lament” about how bad the current public and (most) private school systems teach math. The gist is that you couldn’t really design a worse curriculum to get kids to learn and get excited about learning math. Lockhart asks us to imagine if we taught music like we teach math: learn the notes in elementary school, the scales in middle school, and organizing music notation into musical pieces in high school. Maybe by college you’d get to pick up a recorder and actually hear and play music!
     
    We try to teach you CrossFit similar to how kids play learn music. We give you some basics to play with (the squat, the deadlift, the pushup, etc). We then let you play, i.e., we have you do our WODs. We give you some instruction, but we want you to actively work on the movements by practicing and having fun doing it. For some people it’s hard to do CrossFit this way. Everything is about answering a question with one right answer and/or getting a grade. While we do compare your abilities using time and load, just like in music some folks are going to be better at some things than others, but everybody’s got their strengths and weaknesses.
     
    So have fun playing and learning to play CrossFit, and don’t focus too much on your “grade” or always getting the right answer. -Brian PCF
     
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    No more 7:15pm classes at Potomac effective 28 April.
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    Warmup: EMOTM 8 Min
    3 Cluster
    3 Hip Raise
    Alt: Strict Chinup/3 Divebomber

     

    RX’d Level II Level I
    Back Squat
    3-3-3-3-3
     
    3 Rounds For Time:
    10 Hang Squat Clean 135/95
    800m Run
    Back Squat
    3-3-3-3-3
     
    3 Rounds For Time:
    10 Hang Squat Clean 95/65
    600m Run
    Back Squat
    3-3-3-3-3-3
     
    3 Rounds For Time:
    10 Hang Squat Clean 65/45
    400m Run

    Post loads and time to comments.

    Potomac – Tuesday 140408

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    “Don’t talk about ‘progress’ in terms of longevity, safety, or comfort before comparing zoo animals to those in the wilderness.” -Taleb

    This is the most succinct explanation of the Paleo/CrossFit model that I’ve seen. I have been putting statistics on zoo animals in my Paleo Challenge briefs for a while now because they are staggering. For instance wild Asian elephants live for THREE TIMES LONGER than their relatives in zoos.

    By inhibiting animals natural freedom and hence their natural instincts, activities and diet, no zoo animal can be called as healthy as their wild counterparts. We try to recreate some of our more “natural” conditions within Potomac CrossFit. We eat the way we’re designed to eat, we change our physical stimulus frequently, and we are all a part of a pack to one degree or another. But we’re definitely not as healthy as our hunter/gatherer ancestors in terms of the type of chronic disorders that are killing the majority of the western population.

    I like to just keep this in mind the next time I sit in front of a computer for several hours at a stretch and meditate on how to eliminate the stuff that’s causing my slow march towards a non-infectious disease driven death. Standing desk is on the list, what’s on yours? -Brian PCF

    PS. This is a little bit of an O.G. workout. A lot of folks that are still around went down to Regionals in 2009 in Virginia Beach. This was the last event, here were the results [women, men].
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    New stuff in the for spring. You can also check out our online PCF apparel here.
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    Warmup: EMOTM 8 Min
    3 Hang Squat Snatch
    3 Situp to Straddle
    Alt: 3 Kipping TTB/3 Planche Pushup

    RX’d Level II Level I
    EMOTM 10 Min
    5-10s Ring L-Sit
    5-10s Ring Back Lever
     
    21-15-9 reps for time:
    Squat Snatch, 95/65
    CTB Pullup
    EMOTM 10 Min
    5-10s Box L-Sit
    5-10s Ring Inversion
     
    21-15-9 reps for time:
    Squat Snatch, 75/55
    Pullup
    EMOTM 10 Min
    5-10s Box Tuck Sit
    3 Toes to Wherever
     
    21-15-9 reps for time:
    Overhead Squat, 55/35
    Assisted Pullup

    Post time to comments. Compare to Mid Atlantic Regional CrossFit Games 2009.4 [women, men].

    Potomac – Tuesday 140114

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    “It takes a lot of intellect and confidence to accept that what makes sense doesn’t really make sense.” -“The Bed of Procrustes”, Taleb

    I wrote last week about some of the false heuristics (rules of thumb) that “make sense” to people but cause major health issues: saturated fat, cholesterol, and heart disease; calories in versus calories out; and the fact that CrossFit “looks dangerous.”

    It seems that all of us have some innate desire to obey authority (Milgram and Zimbardo being the most famous academic examples) and to conform to tribal norms (Milgram and Zimbardo again, and everybody since Aristotle). One hopes that we can reason our way out of false heuristics by observing the negative effects of our actions and then make adjustments, but it seems like even both folks that are very sick and folks that aren’t make bad decisions that they know is bad for their health.

    I don’t really have a solution to this and I’m not super interested in bringing enlightenment to the world. I guess I’m just wondering if anybody wants to contribute an answer to the question: why do you (or somebody you know) continue to make bad decisions once they’ve been presented with significant data that what they are doing is bad for them? -Brian PCF
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    Warmup: EMOTM 8 Min
    3 Cluster
    3 Hip Raise
    Alt: 3 Strict Chinup/3 Divebomber

    RX’d Level II Level I
    EMOTM 10 Min
    1 Max Height Box Jump
    5-10s Ring Tuck Back Lever

    For Time:
    Row 2000m
    Rest 3 minutes
    150 KB Swing, 53/35

    EMOTM 10 Min
    1 Max Height Box Jump
    5-10s Ring Inversion

    For Time:
    Row 2000m
    Rest 3 minutes
    150 Russian KB Swing, 53/35

    EMOTM 10 Min
    1 Max Height Box Jump
    3 Toes to Wherever

    For Time:
    Row 1500m
    Rest 3 minutes
    100 DB Swing, 35/20

    Post box jump height and time to comments..

    Potomac – Tuesday 140107

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    “Knowledge is subtractive, not additive – what we subtract (reduction by what does not work, what not do to), not what we add (what do do).” -”The Bed of Procrustes”, Taleb

    You can look at this as a mirror image of the health and wellness question in terms of positive empiricism, or searching for data and finding something that supports your model. My second biggest concern in my business is convincing myself that a certain model works and sticking with that model regardless of evidence. Every major post-Descartes philosopher repeatedly cautions against this because it is part of human nature.

    Taleb’s has another quote from TBoP, that describes this problem elegantly: “We humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things we do not observe, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life into commoditized ideas, reductive categories, specific vocabularies, and prepackaged narratives, which, on occasion, has explosive consequences.”

    I see this a lot with the Paleo Diet, the Paleo Challenge, and CrossFit because people generally don’t accept “you should do it because it works.” The major challenges I get are based on “commoditized ideas” about saturated fat, cholesterol, and heart disease; calories in versus calories out; and “that looks dangerous!”

    Those models are all critically flawed, as they put a pattern together in a way that’s comforting to the psyche but wholly inaccurate. And the explosive consequences are evident (at least to those that have changed their thinking and embraced a Paleo/CrossFit methodology): sickness and decrepitude.
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    Schedule Announcement: Daytime (0930 and 1200 classes) at Patriot will be relocated to Potomac Crossfit (1320 N Courthouse Road, Arlington, VA) on Thursday and Friday, Jan 9 and 10 due to HVAC repair and remodel. We apologize for the inconvenience, but the repair will require demolition of the existing ductwork that cannot be done while the building is occupied. Childcare will be available at Potomac on those days.

    Potomac parking info here.
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    Paleo Challenge Early Bird Special on sale now!!!! Save 15% off!!! Click here for more details.
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    CF Teens Announcement: Starting 1/13, we will be adding a second teens class on Mondays at Potomac Crossfit! Class times will now be 5:15pm and 6:15pm- teens may attend either class. Check here for more information or to sign up.
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    Warmup: EMOTM 8 Min
    3 Cluster
    3 Hip Raise
    Alt: 3 Ring Row Drill/3 Divebomber

    RX’d Level II Level I
    EMOTM 10 Min
    1 Rope Climb, 15’
    5-10s Ring Tuck Planche

    For Time:
    50 DB Burpee, .25/.20xBW
    50 Pullup

    EMOTM 10 Min
    1 Rope Climb, 10’
    5-10s Box Tuck Planche

    For Time:
    50 DB Burpee, .20/.15xBW
    50 Assisted Pullup

    EMOTM 10 Min
    5-10s Rope Foot Hold
    5-10s Box Tuck Sit

    For Time:
    40 DB Burpee, .15/.10xBW
    40 Assisted Pullup

    Post total rope climb and time to comments..

    Potomac – Monday 130610

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    Congrats to all our PCF athletes for their success in this year’s CrossFit Games Mid Atlantic Regional: Jen Navarro, Chris Martirano, and the Patriot CrossFit Team: Erika Moburg Jones, Andrea Bates, Mary Lacey Gilbride, Johnny Craighill, Ben Wiley, and Logan Smith.

    A special shoutout to Jen Navarro for her 5th straight Regionals appearance.

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    Cafeteria Style Fitness

    “My subject is liberal education, and today more than ever the term requires definition, especially as to the questions: What is a liberal education and what it is for? From Cicero’s artes liberales, to the attempts at common curricula in more recent times, to the chaotic cafeteria that passes for a curriculum in most American universities today, the concept has suffered from vagueness, confusion, and contradiction.” –Farewell Speech, Donald Kagan

    “The primary indication, to my thinking, of a well-ordered mind is a man’s ability to remain in one place and linger in his own company. Be careful, however, lest this reading of many authors and books of every sort may tend to make you discursive and unsteady. You must linger among a limited number of master thinkers, and digest their works, if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind. Everywhere means nowhere.” Letters to a Stoic, Letter 2, Seneca

    I think folks that align their “goals” (even though I hate that term) with their actions with respect to fitness get the best results. While CrossFit is a “general, inclusive” program and we should be able to do a random amount of fitness stuff, those that spend time doing spin, yoga, pilates, jogging, etc, are not going to get the same results as someone who digs in and goes hard at just CrossFit. -Brian PCF
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    PCF updated FAQ here.

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    CrossFit Teens goes 5:15pm on Mon/Wed at Potomac CrossFit.

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    Interested in joining PCF? Click here.

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    Warmup: EMOTM 8 Min
    3 Snatch Balance
    3 Hip Raise
    Alt: 3 Strict Pullup/3 Divebomber

    RX’d Level II Level I
    Front Squat
    5-5-5

    AMRAP 12 Min
    8 Barbell Lunge, 115/85
    10 Toes-to-Bar
    12 Box Jump, 24/20

    Front Squat
    5-5-5

    AMRAP 12 Min
    6 Barbell Lunge, 95/65
    8 Toes-to-Bar
    10 Box Jump, 20/16

    Front Squat
    5-5-5-5-5

    AMRAP 12 Min
    6 Barbell Lunge, 55/35
    8 Toes-to-Wherever
    10 Box Jump, 16/12

    Post loads and rounds plus reps to comments..