Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blade Runner

     Happy Halloween readers! I hope you're all having a great day, I know I am. Today I will be bringing you a motivational musing of a very motivational athlete. One of the fastest runners out there, Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius.

Blade Runner in action

     Oscar was born November 1986 in a small town in Johannesburg. Oscar was born without his Fibula in both legs, so when he was 11 month old his legs were amputated just below his knees. Growing up, his disability never stopped Oscar for his love of sports playing water polo, tennis, wrestling and rugby. However, while rehabbing after a rugby injury Oscar found his true love... Running!

     In 2004, at the age of 18, Oscar ran in the Summer Paralympics, setting a World Record in the 200m sprint, with a blazing time of 21.97 seconds. The following year he set another World Record in the 400m sprint with a time of 47.37 second, as well as taking the gold medal in the 100m and 200m sprint (where he beat his old world record)

     Oscar, obviously, had a great talent for running. He set his sights on what could be his greatest achievement, a spot at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Oscar pushed hard, breaking some of his own records in the process. Unfortunately, Oscar could not qualify for the games as an individual, or the 4 x 400m relay. He refused being given the "Wild Card" spot on the team stating, "If I have to take part in the Beijing Games I should do it because I qualified."  Controversy surrounds the decision that was made that year, but this will not be the last we would see of the "Blade Runner". Oscar, continues to aim high as he is training harder than ever for a spot at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

A strong runner, by any definition

     Oscar's story can be read in the 2008 Italian Autobiography Dream Runner, which was also translated to English in the Book Blade Runner A year later. Such strong performances goes to show that athletes shouldn't be judged on what is outside, but what is inside. Or, as Oscar has been quoted, "You're not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have." Aim high everyone, and you'll be surprised what you achieve.

3,2,1 GO!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween came early

     Happy Halloween Eve to all you out there! Well, we at CrossFit St. Louis could not wait to get our "Scary" on, so we held the: CrossFit St. Louis Good vs. Evil Halloween Throwdown. So glad everyone got to come out, get a WOD in, some Paleo food and... non-Paleo drinks.

Spooky, huh?

     So the night started off with 3 WODs, participated in by some or all of the teammates. So here's what we had going on.

WOD #1: one male and one female from each team competed, one working at a time
Girls: Deadlift 3100 lbs total
Guys: 31 pullups
Girls: 31 Box Jumps (20")
Guys: 31 Kettlebell Swings (1.5 pood)
Girls: 31 Empty Barbell squat jumps
Guys: 31 Burpees

The girls nailing the Dealifts

Chris doing a great job on his burpees

Clark Kent swinging away

Team Good

     Good triumphed in WOD #1, but it was close throughout.

WOD #2: One guy/gal from each team participated
Teammate 1: - 400m run with a Pumkpin
                     - 20 Pumkin Squat Cleans
Teammate 2: - Suicide Run with Pumkin, 40 foot intervals
                     - 20 Pumkin Squat Cleans
Teammate 1: - Suicide Run with Pumpkin
                     - 20 Pumpkin Squat Cleans
Teammate 2: - 400m run with a Pumpkin
                     - 20 Pumkin Squat Cleans

Getting ready for WOD #2

Busting through some pumkin cleans

Suicide runs in the dark... spooky

Team Evil

     Team Evil got the point for WOD #2, once again a very narrow victory. So it all came down to WOD #3 to decide the fate of the world

WOD #3: 2 people working at a time in order
- 3k row (one of the 2 people had to be on the row untill the row was complete)
- 500 single unders
- 200 ball slams
- 150 box jumps (20")
- 100 burpees
- 50 situps
- 31 ring dips

Rowing like the fate of the world depended on it

Making easy work of the jump rope

Halloween crew chipping away

Finishing strong

Team Evil working hard

The whole crew

     Team Good pulled off the last WOD, and therefor controls the fate of the world! However a congrats should go out to everyone that came. Even more Kudos need to be given to Laurie, Leeny and Lisa. We couldn't have pullup off the Throwdown without the 3 L's! After the WODs, it was time to kick back, get a little silly (which we alerady were), and enjoy!

Cher can do pullups!

OMG its Linda Blair... wait, its Laurie... run!

Quite the tastey spread

Parth... he is, the WODfather

Um... Superman?

Kirsten rockin' it!

That's a good look for you Kelly

     So again, I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween! Remember, if you want to scare someone... just add burpees
3,2,1 GO!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hungry? ... then don't eat

     Good day to the Frosh hungry public. I am a man with his faults, I can admit that. I am also not without controversy as well. Today we hit up on a "hot-button" issue (our diet) and take a look at a controversial and, often, misunderstood diet... Intermittent Fasting!

Where the hell is the food?!
     Intermittent Fasting (or IF) has been studied and written about for over the last 15 years. Why have you not heard of it? Well, maybe the sure thought of not eating will mess with peoples perceptions on a healthy diet (even I'm skeptical). What I'm not talking about, is Calorie Restriction (at least not entirely). Calorie Restriction would mean that everyday we have very small portions that add up to a fraction of our recommended daily caloric intake. What IF means, is that every other day you reduce the amount you eat.

     So let's try to define this a little better. On your IF day, you will consume 20-50% of what you normally eat, and this is done by skipping meals. So you may skip breakfast... still feeling alright? Try skipping lunch. For dinner you don't need to binge to make-up for what you didn't eat (that would be missing the point), just have a normal meal. The next day, eat as you normally would... healthy, clean meals.

Does he look hungry?

      Above is a picture of Spencer Hendel. Ol' Spence place 17th at this years CrossFit Games, quite the impressive feat itself. In interviews Spencer goes on to talk about his diet... Intermittent Fasting! He feels an functions better on IF, as was even using it while participating at the games... seems like the diet works well for some doesn't it?

     So maybe you're not a WOD-killing, Iron-eating Fire Breather (neither am I). What can we expect from an IR diet. Well, studies in the lab have shown the following:

  • Weight Loss (obviously)
  • Reduced blood glucose and insulin levels (markers of improved health)
  • Increased fatty acid oxidation
  • Maintenance of lean mass (muscle)
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Increased cellular stress resistance (esp of heart and brain)
  • Decreased risks associated with degenerative diseases of aging (cancers, heart diseases, diabetes, Alzheimers)

     So I'm just giving you a little glimpse into the IF world. You should, of course, consult with a Doc/Dietitian/Leeny before attempting a diet like this. If you're interested do a little looking around on your own. Even Mark Sisson (of the Primal Blueprint fame) weighed in on a faily positive note on IF ( So what do you think? Lunch is on me today!

The Simpsons Tik Tok from Hugo Pereira on Vimeo.

3,2,1 GO!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


     Good day to all, and what a wonderful Fall day we are having (It's good over here anyway). Alright, pleasantries aside, we have something to discuss. Today's society says that fake is just bad/weird: false eyelashes, spray on tan, fake nails... implants... the list goes on and on. But, there is something false that is good... that's right everyone... The False Grip!

Tada: the False Grip

     The False Grip is a must-have for achieving the highly sought after Muscle-up. I'm not going to go over Muscle-up progression (that may come later), so let's start with a good understanding of the setup.

     As you can see in the picture above, we don't need to hold onto the rings the same way we would the pullup bar. The weight is actually on the palm and the wrist, as opposed to the fingers. When you set this grip it is sometimes best to first lay your wrist on the rings and put your entire hand through the rings, see the picture below for my jumble of words to make sense.

Make sense now?
     Once we're here you just wrap your thumb back around, toward your arm, and the rest of your fingers will be on the other side (see the picture before this... yes, they're out of order). Then all that needs to take place is to grip the rings with you thumb and fingers, while keeping your palm and wrist laying on the rings... sounds simple right? Well, it is and it isn't. Just like trying something new (like the Hook Grip we talked about), it takes time to get used to it. This will cause a little discomfort in wrist area at first, maybe even a little skin-tearing will occur (get used to it!). So what kind of work can we do for our Flase Grip? Well simply use it when possible. Try these on for size:

  • Practice holding the False Grip for as long as possible
  • False Grip ring rows (getting you ready for...)
  • False Grip pullups (this helps toward Muscle-ups also)

     So let give this a try. Stop faking it and get your Flase Grip on... does that make sense? More fun to come in tomorrow's post.

3,2,1 GO!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don't quote me on this

     Good Day to all you hard-hitting people out there in internet-land! It's a great motivating day today... just like everyday should be. Today we take a break from the coaching tips (don't worry, I haven't run out of blog topics). Today I want to talk about motivation again. Specifically I'd like to hear some motivating quotes or saying that you live by, or makes you dig deep in that dark WOD. Here's a little collection I have for you:

"The only good thing about zombies, is that they all eat Paleo."
     -Frosh (yours truly)

"The greatest anabolic is water...anyone who tells you different is dehydrated."
     - Dave Lipson

"It's hard, to to step back up and dust the dirt off and keep on going. But that's where you learn who you are inside."
     - Kyle Maynard

"Yes, if you squat wrong it fucks things up. If you squat correctly, those same fucked-up things will unfuck themselves."
     - Coach Mark Rippetoe

"Fall seven times, stand up eight." 
     - Japanese Proverb

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'"
     - Muhammad Ali

     So what do you have for me and for everyone else? I want to hear them! Post your favorite(s) to the comments. I leave you with a little extra motivation:

"The Evolution" by Crossfit By Overload from crossfitoneworld on Vimeo.

3,2,1 GO! 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Take a deep breath

     Good morning everyone (or day/evening... whenever you're reading this). Sit back, relax and take a deep breath. In fact, take a lot of deep breaths. Today we're going to talk about breathing. All of you are alive right now, so the normal everyday breathing doesn't need to be discussed (one would hope). What we're going to talk about today is the breathing that take place when moving heavy things!

Deep breath... and lift!
     When getting ready to perform something like a heavy deadlift, or a monstrous back squat, we need our bodies to be ready to move these loads. To do so, we need an über stabilized spine and torso. So, to achieve this, we must pressurize the abdominal and thoracic cavities with a big deep breath.

      Many people may be under the school of thought that we need to contract our abs, and pull them in tight when setting up our lifts. However, this will reduce the amount of support we are giving to our spine. Think of this, from Greg Everett's book Olympic Weightlifting, "consider the structural integrity of a pyramid versus and upside-down pyramid."

Even the former Pres knows the importance of a stable spine
      So here's the how-to of holding your breath. You will draw in as much air as possible (lungs will be full) and the abs will be expanded (think about pushing them down). One you take your breath, tighten (not suck in) the abs and also tighten the muscles in the back. During the lift, you may feel dizzy or lightheaded. To reduce the risk of "passing the hell out", you can expel a small amount of air with a quiet hissing sound (pssssssssst). Doing so will give you enough "air" needed to complete the lift, while keeping a tight and stable core. Does that mean we have to keep our breath held for the ENTIRE clean & jerk? Hell no! Big breath for the clean, and reset for a big breath on the jerk.

Clean and Jerk PR - 280 from CrossFit Deep Ellum on Vimeo.

     Take a look at the video below of Power Lifter Kelli Lambert. She gets her self set (minus the hook grip), takes a deep breath and keeps it held the whole time... to pull 330 lbs!

Women's Nationals 2009 Deadlift from Kelli Lambert on Vimeo.

     I hope you haven't been holding your breath the whole time.

3,2,1 Breath!

Monday, October 25, 2010

I want to play a game

     Good morning to all my loyal followers and readers. It seems more are frequenting this blog everyday, so I aim to bring you the best in CrossFitty rambles (yes, I'm making up words). Today I want to touch up on the game play that we experience during the WOD.

what to do...
      To be clear, I said game play... not pre-game (no drinking before a WOD). So how do you attack the WOD? Do you have an idea of what you want to do, specific to each workout you face? Or, do you turn everything to 11, and just hit it as hard as you can? Well, in the famous words of... somebody, "Just because you can, doesn't mean that you should." (If that's not a real quote, it should be).

     The elite CrossFitters can annihilate Fran without breaking anything up. However, us normal human beings man not be so inclined to do so. So if you went for the first round of thrusters and pullups unbroken, you may just happen to bonk on the 2nd and 3rd rounds. I am of this demographic, so I must break it up (thrusters being my #1 issue). This is a normal Fran for me:

1st Thrusters: 7,7,7
1st Pullups: 11,10
2nd Thrusters: 8,7
2nd Pullups: 15
3rd Thrusters: 9
3rd Pullups: 9

More like "For a bad time..."
     Above was my game plan for Fran. Even though I might be able to do the first round unbroken of both movements, I really doubt I could do the last 2 rounds as fast as normal. I know to have any gas left in the tank I'm going to have to be conservative in the beginning. One day, I hope to improve, and do more rounds unbroken. As I progress, my game plan will change.

The Fastest Show on Earth. The first sub 2 minute "Fran" from gregg arsenuk on Vimeo.

     A couplet, like Fran, is not the only thing we can game play (think AMRAP). Most AMRAPs that we do will be in the 20 minute range. Again, going "balls-to-the-wall" for 20 minutes can be very hard to sustain. So take a look at the workout, can you do a full round in a minute, or maybe 2 minutes? Find a good sustainable pace for most of the WOD. However, you're saving all of that energy for something. 5 minutes left? Let's take it up a bit. 2 minutes left? As Speal would say, "open the flood gates" and leave nothing left.

     Does the "Frosh Method" work for everyone? No, mostly it just works for me (or other Frosh folk out there). But, why don't you think about the next WOD you do. Go over it in your head, come up with a way you want to attack this... or maybe just how you want to finish. So, do you brainstorm before a WOD? Post time and thought to comments

Old Spice commercial - Flex from Victor Rivine on Vimeo.

3,2,1 GO!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book Club

     The number of followers is growing, how exciting! I digress, today's ramble is going to be a book review. Don't expect some "Oprah's Book Club" starting here. I read this book "No Excuses" by Kyle Maynard. It is the true story of a congenital amputee who became a champion in wrestling and in life.

     Kyle Maynard was born in 1986 (same birth year as myself) with both arms ending before what would have been his elbow, and both feet ending before what would have been his knees. Since he was young, Kyle had a love of life. He had never used his disability to stop him from trying anything. When he was in middle school he was a successful football player. As the years went, and kids grew, he had to find a sport that he could continue to participate in... Wrestling was that calling. Kyle never stopped working, even though he lost 35 matches in a row (which was for the first year and a half of his wrestling career). His hard work and even larger heart kept him going.

Sorry for the flattering picture

     Dedicating himself to modified weight training, and an unmatched intensity on the mat, Kyle won his first match... then another... then another. By the time he was wrestling his senior year in high school, Kyle wrestled in the state championship in Georgia. His show of strength is something to behold as well. In 2005, Kyle set the world modified bench press (Butterfly) record at 360 lbs (and has an all-time record of 410 lbs). To another note, in 2009, Kyle became the first ever quad amputee to step into the ring and battle in an MMA fight!

     I would definitely suggest this inspirational and touching book. Kyle's message is clear, don't let anyone stop you no matter what anyone says. So take this into your next WOD. When that little voice kicks in and starts to beat you down just think... "I can do this".

     Kyle is currently the owner/operator of CrossFit No Excuses in Georgia ( and gives motivation speeches around the country. So enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone, don't let anything stop you!

Kyle Maynard's Introduction Video from NoExcusesMotivation on Vimeo.

3,2,1 GO!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What scares you?

      I can't believe this... 3 people are following this blog, how exciting!!! Ok, anyway, lets talk a little bit about what scares you. Specifically, what's the worst WOD that you've experienced? There's some WOD out there that just makes you cringe. Is it Fran? ... a 5k run or 2k row? ... Nasty Girls?

Post-Filthy Fifty (fav WOD of mine)

     So what scares me? What makes Frosh (yes I talk about myself in 3rd person) want to run screaming into the hills? Three little words... Air... Force... WOD. CrossFit St. Louis just did this WOD on Friday, and I've been thanking my lucky stars that I missed it.

"Air Force WOD"
20 Thrusters
20 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls
20 Push Jerks
20 Overhead Squats
20 Front Squats

Barbell is loaded with 95 lbs for men or 65 lbs for women, and 4 burpees performed every minute on the minute.

     I've been grounded into the dirt twice now by the WOD... Doesn't mean I'll never do it again. I'll be excited/frightened to try this again, I will not let it beat me!

     So now I want you, my followers/readers, to sound off. What makes you want to throw in the towel? Why do you have such a problem with it? I want to actually hear from you CrossFit studs and studettes.

The following video is a little fun for those who work in an office (... like myself)

Post time and thoughts to comments...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Reach for the sky

     Good morning everybody... and good morning to my followers (I can finally use the plural now!). It's time, once again, to transform into the WOD destructicons that we truly should be. So lets raise our hands high, really high, and bring the active shoulder to it's full potential!

Who wants you to have a nice active shoulder?... We do!!!
     So what is the active shoulder? Is it the opposite of the "lazy shoulder"? Well actually... kinda. Think back when you were in grade school and you were really excited and had the answer to the teacher's question. Did you ever raise you hand so high you felt like your arm was going to come out of its socket? BAM! Active shoulder right there, before you ever knew of it.

     Basically, an active shoulder requires a shrug. When we refer to an overhead position the arms are already above us, but it is the shrug of our shoulders that makes it active. But why do I even need my shoulders active? Well when we have nice locked arms, and deliciously shrugged shoulders, we are contracting our trapezius (traps) which will then support the load that is overhead (see below). To achieve this wonderful position, try to think of this simple cue: "turn your shoulders into earmuffs" (you will hear me say this). What that means is we want you to shrug your shoulders up and center (as opposed to far forward or behind) and squeeze your traps.

Ta-da! Active Shoulder

Front/side view
       Now, the active should is not just limited to the overhead position. We can use this anytime the load must be shared. How about... a handstand hold? Don't you think it would be nice if the load could be shared. Active shoulders to the rescue! Heck the ultimate test of active shoulders is, none other than, the overhead squat. Without a good active shoulder position and a nice tight midline... it's just not going to happen.

Can someone say "Activate"?

     So, remember everyone, keep your head high... and those arms even higher.

3,2,1 GO!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How low can you go?

     Just squat... how simple is that... just squat. I mean, seriously, squatting just kicks ass! You do it right and you will soon become a Paleo-eating-WOD-annihilating-machine! Of course, that is, if you're doing it right. So you guessed it, today's blog is about our ever present quest to achieve perfect and consistent squats.

     The squat, or air squat, is something we will do in everyday life. Sitting down in a chair? You just squatted. Using the toilet? You just squatted (smelly). Done a CrossFit WOD? You may have squatted. Squatting is one of the first things we learn when joining a new box. We want to make sure they you know and achieve the point of performance, and have a good idea of what to do. But this is not something we learn and forget about... no no no. We need to make sure that this is a movement that we constantly train on, because they lead to great things! A heavy Clean, a monstrous Snatch (hehe), or a 2x bodyweight Back Squat. All of these will only be achieved once you have a sound and solid air squat.

Set up

     We need to be set for success, so what better way to do that than to get in a great starting position. This is what we're looking for:

  • Feet shoulder width apart with toe slightly pointed out
  • Stand tall with knees and hips extended
  • Head in "neutral position" (not craning up or down)
  • Midsection (abs) stay tight
  • Weight centered in the heels


     Now that we have a good start, we must perform a good squat. The points of performance a listed below in order(ish):

  • Chest stays up (during the entire movement)
  • Hips move first, sending them back then down
  • Knees bend (after the hips), and stay over the feet during the entire movement 
  • Lumbar (back) stays tight
  • Go down until hips break "parallel" (below kneecaps)
  • When rising, put pressure on outside of feet (like you were trying to separate the ground)
  • Finish with knees and hips open at the top
  • Repeat!


     It's bound to happen, one or two of our squats may not be dialed in. As you may have just watched, the following are common mistakes which leads to improper squats, which leads to "ouchy":

  • Knees roll inward (keep those puppies pushed out)
  • Dropping our head (can cause a loss of lumbar curve)
  • Dropping/rolling shoulders (see above)
  • Rounding our lumbar ("butt wink"/see picture below)
  • Weight shifting to the balls of the feet (keep it in the heels)
  • Not breaking below parallel (take the time to get down there)
  • Not opening all the way at the top (extend those hips!)

The dreaded "butt wink"

      You have once again been armed with an important weapon... knowledge. So spread the CrossFit gospel... you must squat! For your viewing pleasure I will leave you with someone who knows the importance of th squat. FYI:  211 kilo = 464 lbs

3,2,1 Squat!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hands-on hand care

     Like Ricky Bobby, you may be asking yourself, "I don't know what to do with my hands." Well, wonder no more! I am here to save you from a life of ripped hands, torn callouses, and stigmata... one WOD at a time!

Don't let this happen to you (even though it happened to me)

      So what causes our hands to be torn to shreds mid-WOD? Let's talk about some reasons that your hands decide to loose some skin. Some of the top culprits are grip, chalk, and callouses... could even be a cause of all three combined!


      Odd are, if you've been playing the CrossFit game for a while, you have formed some beautiful/horrible callouses. Yes, they are fun to show to your friends about how much of a badass you are. However, if you're not taking good care of those things, you made be a badass... with bloody hands. This is a great resource right here about caring for callouses once they've already formed: 

How to take care of calluses on your hands from CrossFit Los Angeles on Vimeo.

    Another preventive measure once you have callouses (and also great if you already have a rip) is adopting some good taping techniques. If you cover your blistery hands with tape this will prevent those pesky callouses from getting "pinched" and torn by the bar (be it pullup or barbell). Check this one out:

Taping your hands for pull-ups from CrossFit Los Angeles on Vimeo.


     Ok, now onto the topic of chalk. Yes, chalk can be a fabulous tool while hitting a WOD. Yes, it makes the ungrippable... grippable. However, there is too much of a good thing. We don't need to turn our hands into little snowmen (like me)! Chalk should be used when there is too much sweat on our hands and we can't hold our grip on the bar. That is when a very small amount of chalk should be used. Too much chalk will actually cause rips (see the very top picture). Also, think how much time we waste when we HAVE to chalk up before addressing any bar... that is precious WOD time lost creating a cloud of chalk that, quite honestly, might piss off your neighboring CrossFitter... especially if you're near a fan! Just take a little bit of chalk will do. Lightly chalk only the part of the hand that will make contact with the bar. Lightly coat one hand and then rub both hands together... that is about as much as you're going to need.

Got chalk? from Kevin Wood on Vimeo.


     I don't want to beat this to death, but then again I don't want you to beat your hands to death either. A few days ago you may recall our little chat on the Hook Grip (If you forget... then check it out).Oddly enough, yesterday's CrossFit Journal article hits on this exact subject (If you are not a frequenter, I would suggest it). The author, Pär Larsson, stresses people to think about how we're making contact the the bar (specifically the pullup bar). If we grip the bar like we're hanging on for dear life, and our palms are constantly rubbing back and forth against the bar... then you're probably going to rip (can't fight science). He goes onto suggest is that we modify our grip for training purposes, and save our hands so we can go "balls-to-the-wall" for things like competitions. Below is his version of saving our poor mits: 

"Training Grip" (courtesy of CrossFit Journal)

     Now that looks a little nicer on the hands! Our palms are not making contact with the bar, so its physically impossible to tear the palms. I know it looks hard... but think how much a beast you could be if this was your grip, especially wants you actually grabbed the bar at the next affiliate challenge!

     So that's it folks, hand care in the Frosh nutshell. So once again, there is very little excuse for skin to be lying on the floor like some type of weird CrossFit butcher shop. So let's get back to hitting those WOD hard, and moving heavy things!

"Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose: it's how drunk you get"
     - Homer Simpson

3,2,1 GO!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stop hitting snooze... get some real sleep!

     *Yawn* I'm sorry readers, I didn't get too much sleep last night. Which is a shame, because a good night's sleep is one of the easiest tools we have in our recovery kit. Is 5 hours, like my last night, enough? ... very doubtful. How much we need to sleep is determined by a few factors including age, sex (pregnancy), and activity level.

     So how much sleep is good sleep? statistically speaking the average adult needs between 7-9 hours, teenagers will need a 9 hours (but how often does that happen), pregnant women will need a few extra hours during the first trimester and an infants will need to take in a whopping 16 hours (and yet the parents sleep suffers).

     So let's talk briefly about the science of sleep. As you can see in the picture above we will go through 5 stages of sleep which averages out to be a 90 minute cycle. This cycle should be repeated 4-6 times throughout the night. I'll try not too get to dry in the explanations, I don't want to put you to sleep... or do I?

REM sleep vs. NREM sleep: simply put we will start in a NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) state and finish with... you guessed it a REM (Rapid Eye Movement) state.

Stage 1: This is our first NREM state, this is when you first fall asleep. Sleep will be light and you can easily be woken up. At this point our bodies are starting to sleep, eye movement is slowing down and our muscles are relaxing.

Stage 2: We are still in NREM, and sleep is still fairly light. However, the eye movement has completely stopped, respirations and body temperature decrease and brain waves slow. We are now making the transition to deep sleep.

Stage 3/4: These 2 stages mark the last of our NREM sleep. in Stage 3 we enter a deep sleep, brain waves becomes extremely slow (called Delta Waves). Stage 4 is our deepest level of sleep, and this is where our recovery comes into play. Our body will regenerate tissues, build bones and muscles and even strengthens our immune system. If you've ever been awoke from these stages you may have felt really out of it and disoriented.

Stage 5: Now we've reached our last stage in the sleep cycle and our only stage of REM sleep. Normally we will enter this state within 70-90 minutes after falling asleep. Breathing becomes irregular, heart rate and blood pressure increases and (for those of those following along) eye movement becomes rapid (hence REM). This is actually when we start to experience dreams, as our brain waves become highly active. The first cycle of REM may last roughly 10 minutes, and increases every time the entire cycle is repeated. Our final cycle may last up to an hour!

     Ok, I hope I haven't lost anyone yet. Now you are armed with the knowledge of you sleep. More importantly, you need some tools to increase your hours of sleep, or make it easier to finally get to sleep. So just try some of these:

  • Have a bedtime: It's a lot easier to fall asleep when your body is used to going to sleep at the same time. Just like we train to squat below parallel, we need to train to get to bed before 10 pm.
  • Set the alarm: Just like being used to falling asleep at the same time, we have to get used to getting up at the same time. This way our bodies now know how much time they have to sleep.
  • Avoid food/drinks/tobacco: Don't overwhelm your body before it's time to sleep. When you eat and sleep your body is focused on digesting, instead of on sleeping. And when we used tobacco before sleep (which we shouldn't anyways) our body will go through a withdrawal, which makes it a lot harder to find sleep.
  • Sleep in you bed: Avoid falling asleep on the couch/floor/car and use your bed what its for. At the same time, just use your bed for sleep. Avoid bringing work into bed with you, as they will take the focus away from falling asleep.
  • Control your environment: The best place to sleep is in a dark, cool and quiet spot. The less you have around to take focus off of sleep, the easier it will be to pass out for the night.

     You have the knowledge and the power to control a great night's sleep. I shouldn't see anyone getting sleepy mid-WOD (if that's even possible). So have a good night everybody!

"There is only one thing people like that is good for them; a good night's sleep."      
     Edgar Watson Howe