Month: August 2011

Clean and jerk refresher


30 reps of clean and jerk (135/95 lb.)

Lifting the RX’d weight is not the goal today. Improving your Olympic lifting technique is the focus. Good form is mandatory!

Happy birthday to Jenny O!

The Headstones, one of my favourite bands, dissolved in 2003 after 10 years of offending people in clubs around Canada. Lead singer Hugh Dillon then embarked on a career as an actor, and you can see him regularly in Flashpoint and a bunch of CTV programs.

A few days ago, the Headstones released a new track after a small reunion tour brought them back together for a few nights. Binthiswayforyears is not safe for work or families, but most good rock isn’t.

The best line of the song comes before the chorus, and it immediately made me think of CrossFit 204:

“There’s nobody fading away here.”

I’m 34, and it’s disappointing when friends my age start talking as if their physical life ended several years ago.

“I’m too old for this stuff,” some say regretfully.

“I’m not 20 anymore,” others moan.

“This was easier when I was younger.”

It gets worse when people go past 40, and past 50 people give themselves every possible excuse for not being active: too busy, too tired, too stiff, too weak, too old—too whatever.

I don’t really care what age you are. Whether you’re 28 or 68, you are not too old for physical activity. You might be too lazy, but you are not too old. In fact, don’t even mention old in our gym. It doesn’t matter how old you are.

Here’s the thing: sports science shows that there are some inevitable declines in performance as you age. Athletes, for instance, lose peak power output as they age, and they lose it slowly. Big deal. Most can afford a percent or two over the years.

The NSCA’s  Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning will also give you a list of things that decrease as you age: strength, power, endurance, muscle mass, muscle fibre size, metabolic capacity, resting metabolic rate, bone mineral density and overall physical function.

Aging does increase one thing: body fat.

Now before you throw out your sneakers, get this: resistance training—let’s just call it “physical activity”—will increase every single thing on the list above. Except body fat. Training decreases that. Nice.

If you think about it, most performance declines are probably the result of just not doing anything. They aren’t the result of aging but of inactivity. Again, sports science says you can actually stave off most of the physical effects of aging if you stop being lazy and start doing something.

Don’t sit there and complain that age is taking something from you. It’s not stealing if you’re giving it away.

I’ll admit that when I feel tired and sore, I sometimes wish I was 24 and still invincible. But that’s nonsense. I’m just making excuses for being lazy.

To get my mind right, all I need to do is watch any of our members work out. We have a wide variety of ages at CrossFit 204, and age hasn’t stopped any of them from getting stronger, faster and healthier. They’re basically waving a middle finger at aging and laziness, and their lives are better for it.

If the scientists are unsure of which physical declines are related to simple aging and which are related to the inactivity that comes with laziness, they can feel free to stop by our gym and study active people who are clawing things back from Father Time.

And if Father Time wants to rob me and our members of our strength and endurance, he knows where to find us. We’ll be running fast and squatting heavy at CrossFit 204, and he’ll be in for one hell of a fight.

No one is fading away here.

Fall is coming, and it’s time to get out of lazy summer mode!

CrossFit 204 will be offering a September On-Ramp at its St. James location starting Sept. 12, 2011, at 8 p.m. Join us to learn all about how CrossFit can change your life!

The on-ramp program is used by various CrossFit gyms around the world as a way to integrate new people into the program. Unlike a traditional gym, we don’t just sign you up, hand you a towel and cut you loose among the machines. You are the machine, and we want you to know how to use it properly and safely.

In our six-class program, you will learn exactly what CrossFit is and why it works. We’ll teach you exactly how to perform all the movements you’ll need to find success in the gym. Don’t worry if you don’t know what a kettlebell is or how to do a barbell snatch. We’ll show you!

Some of the movements you will learn include several variations of the squat, as well as the press and the jerk, the deadlift, the clean and the snatch, the kipping pull-up, the kettlebell swing and much more. We’ll make sure you know what you’re doing and can perform all the movements safely and effectively. We believe mechanics and consistency come before intensity.

During on-ramp sessions, we’ll also slowly ease you into the intensity of CrossFit workouts to make sure you’re working at a challenging but appropriate level. You’ll work hard, but you will work at your level. You absolutely do not need to “train” to come to these classes. Whatever level you are at is fine, and if you are feeling intimidated, put your mind at ease: we will make you right at home!

Finally, on-ramp classes are a great way to meet other people who are learning the same things as you.

The On-Ramp is $157.50 for six sessions, and you need to be at all six sessions for entrance to our group classes. You must make all six sessions. If you can’t commit to these sessions, you are not ready to commit to fitness.

If you would like to continue the program at the conclusion of the On-Ramp, you can purchase a monthly membership.

Here’s the schedule:

Session 1: Sept. 12, 8 p.m.

Session 2: Sept. 14, 8 p.m.

Session 3: Sept. 16, 8 p.m.

Session 4: Sept. 19, 8 p.m.

Session 5: Sept. 21, 8 p.m.

Session 6: Sept. 23, 8 p.m.

To register, or for more information, e-mail

See you in the Bomb Shelter!

CrossFit Total

Squat: 1 rep

Press: 1 rep

Deadlift: 1 rep

You will be given a period to work up to one heavy single rep on each lift, and your score for this workout will be the total of all best lifts added together.

Coaches will pick your weights unless you have regularly attempted 1RMs before.

Good form will be rigidly enforced on all attempts.

Bring on the records!