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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2009 BRAND X Pilgrimage !!!!!

Total miles driven visiting Brand X over the last 5 days:  1779.3   ...  but who's counting?  and Who cares?  It was worth every mile of the way.  

Without a doubt the highlight of the weekend were the people.  The outstanding community.  What an awesome group of people!  Had the pleasure of meeting for the first time:  Unforgibbon, Gonzo, Nichole811, SuperSwede, Essie, Lucky Dawg, Nichole's Mom, Gimpy, Aileen and a host of others!  Had the pleasure of seeing the following again:  the entire Martin family, Sifu Dan, Debbie, Cindi and Laura R.  I'm sure I'm forgetting more then one person.  The point being that these people are what make Brand X such an incredible place.  The generosity and hospitality shown by the Martins and the entire Brand X crew was so cool.  Coach Jeff especially.  I mean he has probably never been before been tag teamed by a pair of info starving twins who just constantly pepper him with questions.  

Before we left I told my brother that this trip would be the highlight of his crossfit year.  It certainly did not disappoint.  As Josh put it, it was like a huge hit of pure crossfit directly injected into the bloodstream.  Very potent stuff!  Consider yourself forewarned if you haven't been fortunate enough to make it yet to Brand X.


Got off work in the early morning, took a quick nap and started the drive.  Made it down there in about 8 hours, drove directly to Brand X and made it to the 6pm class 20 min late.  

Angie 33

3 Rounds

33 Pullups
33 Pushups
33 Situps
33 Squats

1 Min Rest in between Rounds


Was coached directly by Jeff and Nichole.  Cool!  Need to stay tight at the bottom of the squat and not collapse.  Breathing during the squat in a metcon has got to influence this negatively.  Need to finish the ROM each and every rep and open the hips ALL the way.  That last 2 inches or whatever just doesn't seem to want to happen when you are trying a silly fast cycle rate.  Showed Jeff my amazing kipping pushup.  Jealous aren't ya?  Keep the core tight and the plank rigid ... even during the last few reps of Angie!


1400 hours Skunkworks with GD, Big D, SS, Gonzo, Nichole, and Unforgibbon

Front Squat

165 x 5
185 x 5
195 x 5

LOW Bar Back Squat

190 x 8 then 12 more 

On rep 8, I leaned back too far and like a schmuck lost the weight in the bottom of the squat.  I dropped it behind me and sat there in the squat feeling like a tard.  Nichole encouraged me to do 4 more.  I was determined to do all 20.  So I got back under the bar and finished off the set of 20.  That was some very, very hard work.  It also got real ugly on the last rep.  My low back was screaming at me afterwards for doing that to it.

Then the stoopidity began.  Thanks Sven and Jeff.  You are a programming inspiration!

3 Rnds

500m Row
Hypoxic Ladder 1 => 7 KB Swings 1.5 pood
10 Burpees


My first encounter with anything hypoxic.  It certainly won't be my last.  The suck factor was through the roof!  Its an interesting experience when the panic starts to set in as you wonder if you'll be able to finish the set without the world turning black and going night-night.  

Cash Out

Partner Handstand/wheelbarrow Walks
Ice Cream Makers
Incline Dip Walks
Hamstring Death
Skin the Cat/Pullup

Now that is a proper cash out.  I need to work on improving my cashout programming.  Today also marks the completion of a goal that I set last July on my previous Brand X visit.  I vowed last year to complete a wod as Rx'd with Jeff.  It was fun to fulfill that goal today.  Hurah for progress!


Buy In -

400 m run
10 squats
10 pullups

20-minute AMRAP (start circuit wherever you want)
10 x 25# one-arm db thruster (also went with vaginal scaling because thats what Unforgibbon did)
10 x 25# one-arm db snatch
5 jumping muscle ups
1 rope climb
1 monkey bar pass
1 traverse back along pullup bar
3 forward rolls
1 balance beam pass
1 pullover
1 dip walk

3 rds + thrusters + snatches + jumping mu, + rope climb + 3/4 monkey bar pass

So basically I chased Unforgibbon around the gym until it came to the rope climb where he really smoked me.  I have zero rope climbing skills.  My 'foot clamp' ability is in the approximate range of a 3rd grade girl whose training program is Wii fit.

Cash Out - 
partner handstand walks
ice cream makers

Then Jeff worked for an hour with Josh and I on Snatching.  Key points for me is to push my shins into the bar (you'll see this again as a cue for my deadlift form.... coincidence?  Nope!) and get full hip extension.  Working muscle snatches as part of my cash out would help this.


Rest Day.  A bit of active recovery on the beach throwing a 'disc' around.  Thats a frisbee for you non Ultimate Frisbee players like me.  Got my first sunburn of the summer for this pasty white graveyarder.  Fun.


Connor's 9:00am Weightlifting Class:


135 x 1
185 x 1
225 x 1
265 x 1
290 x 3

Getting coached by Connor.  How cool is that!  In the starting position I need to put my shins closer to the bar and get my shoulders in front of the bar more which also raises my butt up a bit and gives me a more parallel back.  I then need to concentrate on keeping my upper back uber tight.  Great cues and progress made.

10:15 class

Buy in
3 rds
alligator crawl
bear crawl
3 cartwheels

3 rds
12 right-armed barbell push press x 45#
12 left-armed barbell deadlift x 45#
400 m run
12 left-armed barbell pp 
12 right-armed barbell dl
400 m run


More chasing of Unforgibbon and Josh around a wod.  To my confusion I came in after the 400 at the halfway mark and Dan and Josh were sitting against the wall as if they were done.  I couldn't understand why they would be doing that.  Turns out they both misunderstood the wod and 'finished' at the 1 and a half round point.  As I continued with the rest of round 2 and 3 I spent the rest of my time on the 400m runs using that as an excuse as to why their 400m pace was faster then mine and explaining to myself that my turtle paced runs were perfectly acceptable because I was running more then they did.  Unfortunately my lazy self didn't quite convince my logical self that it was correct, but it did convince it to continue to run slowly.  It almost always wins that argument.

If I were to do this wod again...I'd take a cue from GD, Big D etc and cut the run down to 200m (cheaters!) and up the weight on the bar.  Especially on the deadlift.  Deadlifting 45# is kind of just going through the motions.  I'm not sure why I didn't put some weight on the bar except I guess I was in sheeple mode.  Just followed the others around (no one put weight on their bars in that class) with not much thought going through my skull.  But with this version I suppose it was a good wod because I don't normally go over 20 minutes and include a 1.5 mile run...blah!  I mean, ummm good times.  I did like the one armed work.  

Up to this point Josh has only beat me in Helen and one or two other wods.  This weekend at Brand X Josh beat me on the hypoxic wod (by 4 seconds, but I'll point out that he didn't front squat and high rep back squat immediately before hand) and the obstacle course wod (by half a round) and probably would have beat me on the run heavy/one armed barbell wod if he had listened to Cindy's instructions or read the wod on the board.  I suppose I'll have to start to get accustomed to Josh beating me on some metcons from here on out.  I'll do the best from letting that happen on a regular basis, but .... Good work brother!

Spent a good deal of time discussing with Jeff the idea of me opening an affiliate.  What are the steps to take do so?  What makes for a good trainer?  What makes for a good affiliate?  When should I take on this venture?  How much to charge?  And a whole bunch more.  Thanks so much to Jeff for his sage advice.  It was thoroughly helpful.  At this point I'm leaning towards doing this as a side job to my career as a cop.  I've got a million more questions swimming through my head in regards to this.  If anyone has any advice, direction, guidance, forewarnings, experiential knowledge, encouragement, criticism or whatever ....  please feel free to fire it my way!

A big thanks is in order to Coach Jeff.  I want to thank you for your generosity in allowing my brother and I to come down and spend the long weekend getting world class coaching and workouts all for free!  Your character, commitment, knowledge and passion for fitness and life are an inspiration!  This is proven through and through by those that surround you.  From Mikki to the kids, the trainers and the faithful clients.  All are absolutely top notch.  Thanks everyone for this year's pilgrimage!

Said farewell to the wonderful Brand X crew.  See some of you in two weeks at the games!


TexasPatrick said...

Very nice.

Joel said...


I have got to make it to BX on one of my trips to Point Mugu.

Perhaps we can coordinate it.

metric said...

God I miss that place!

Don't you wish you could have stayed longer?

JAK said...

Joel ... that'd be awesome. You should definitely go. I like the idea of coordinating it too! But no matter what, just go.

Metric ... Stayed longer? I talked to Jeff about moving his entire family and all his clients to my hometown. He didn't seem too impressed. The other option would be to move there. The wifey wouldn't be too impressed with that angle though. I would so love to be able to workout there daily. I did hear tell of you while there Metric. Certain words such as 'tall', 'combat boots', 'hilarious', 'great guy' may or may not have been said. Ok, ok ... TP you were mentioned too!

Sven said...

AB! It was great seeing you there. Thanks for participating in the shenanigans and actually realize that it's not just us putting together something that blows so bad yo can't walk for a week :)
I am trying to remember if Metric and TP did participate in the 1400hrs Skunkworks...
Stay in touch and come back soon.

TexasPatrick said...

Y'all talked about me? Was it that I sounded like an iron lung about the 2nd hill "sprint"? ;-)

Oh, and in the pic, which one are you? Ha!

And Sven, yes, I got be in on the skunkworks this last trip up. Sorry you couldn't make it.

JAK said...

Sven, It was great meeting you. I really wanted to pick your brain more about your job, as well as the topic of programing and how the topics relate. I have a feeling some discussions are forthcoming. I definitely agree that the 'why' is important behind the reason for the suck factor in a workout. Any jacker can create a wod with a million reps that will crush someone, but that is far from effective programming. Thanks for having me as a test dummy. I'll definitely be staying in touch.

TP, GD was talking about his crazy insane schedule and how extremely helpful you, metric and bathmatt are as the go to answer guys. I cannot confirm or deny if the phrase 'iron lung' was used or not. =P

My ugly mug is on the right.

metric said...

I'm afraid I didn't join in Sven. I was too intimidated by the volume of work you and Jeff were doing to think I could keep up. I was very happy watching, except for that med. ball clean, throw, broad jump thing you did. That looked fun.

I'd encounter serious spousal disapproval if I raised moving there too, so I daydream about being able to visit often and for longer periods of time instead.