Sunday, November 24, 2013

What a Journey, My First Year of CrossFit-Constantly Varied and Continually Improving

Hello and welcome back my friends.

One year ago today, I succumbed to my urges, overcame my fear and apprehension and stepped into CrossFitPRx to do a workout that became the catalyst for a lifestyle change that has taken me farther in strength & conditioning than I ever imagined.  More of what led me to CrossFit can be read in my February post, (Time Off The Bike...).

In the last 12 months of being a novice CrossFit athlete, I have improved my technique on Olympic lifts, increased my skill in Double Unders, developed a love/hate relationship with Thrusters and Burpees and have a greater understanding of mobility that have improved how I walk, sit and stand that were once thought were pretty well mastered.  The list could go and on as I'm sure it would for anyone that has spent the same amount of time developing new skills and I am not going to go through each and every thing I have learned.  Reflecting on the CrossFit journey, I want to thank everyone that helped along the way to my current level of fitness.

Thank You DK and Wendi for encouragement to try CrossFit and being there as I did my first "fitness test".  Thanks to the CrossFit PRx family for welcoming me in and bringing a level of friendship, competition, and fellowship that is indescribable.  Thanks to the 5AM BeastMode class, back when there were a small handful of us crazy enough to be up at 5AM to workout.  DK, Coop, Dave, Big Dave, and JP are inspiring men that were always willing to help anyone out, push each other harder and made the workouts fun.  Each of you have a drive and focus that always made me want to push harder and look forward to the next day.  My hats off to you gentlemen!

I also want to thank the following people and organizations that I have not met directly, but have benefited greatly from their expertise.  The hilarious men of the Barbell Shrugged podcast and developers of Technique WOD.  Mike, Doug, Chris, and CTP have been my online coaches that have helped fine tune techniques and train with a clearer purpose.  Kelly Starrett and MobilityWOD for helping me to become the Supple Leopard I want to be and to the CrossFit community that share a passion for healthy living and physical fitness.  

I have learned so much and have so much to be thankful for.  Several years ago, I incurred a back injury and was diagnosed with Occulta spina bifida, a malformation of my L-4 vertebrae.  I had no idea of this issue throughout my childhood, but as an overweight young adult, poor posture made the problem worse as I grew older.  After the diagnosis, I was instructed that squatting and lifting were practically eliminated as this could cause more strain and damage to my spine.  Naturally scared of doing something that could re-injure my back or cause more pain, I was very apprehensive to lifting heavy weights.  Through the constantly varied training of CrossFit, learning proper form and understanding technique, I have strengthened my back muscles and have been doing some form of squatting and weight lifting on a consistent basis.  I continue to listen to my body and make sure to keep correct form when lifting weights, knowing that if not mindful of body position, I could easily injure myself.  I may never compete in The CrossFit Games, but through the constantly varied schema of CrossFit, I will continue to improve and be better than I was yesterday.  Here's to the next 12 months where anything is possible.

Until the next time, 
Keep your mind sharp, body fit, and pedal hard 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

DIY-Tire Drag/Sled to Build Strength

 Hello, my friends.  Thanks for checking in.    

Today, I decided to share an inexpensive project that will aid in developing strength for everyday cyclists, CrossFitters, athletes, or general fitness.  I built this tire drag/sled and spent less than $30 for all of it.  You heard me right, $30.

I called my local Discount Tire Co and asked if I could rummage through their old tires and they obliged allowing me to take whatever tire I desired at no cost.  These tires end up going to a scrap yard to be repurposed and the tire company usually has to pay a fee for the disposal.  I found this All-Terrain tire and selected it purely for its bulk.  You can choose any tire that suits your gym or need.  The remaining parts were purchased at my local hardware store.  The tow strap was the most expensive item ($20.00).  I used a rubber handled hitch pin, but I've seen drawer pulls, carabiners, large fish-eye bolts and several others used as the anchoring point for the tow strap.

I used a drill bit with the same diameter as the hitch pin to make the hole in the tire and made the hole close to the middle of the tire tread.  Make sure you keep a firm grip on the drill.  Drilling through the rubber is the easy part and it gets a bit more difficult when the bit makes contact with the steel belt.  Once you get through the steel, try to clean out the hole of any excess debris.

Insert the hitch pin as shown below.  This pin is a bit longer than desired, but I used it for the handle that will not bind up the tow strap, which you will see shortly.  To make sure the pin stays in place, I used two over sized washers before inserting the lynch pin.

Next, run the tow strap through the handle so you have the straps of equal length to use for dragging or pulling.  These straps come with sewn loops at the ends so you can also run the strap through the loop as shown on the right picture and now you have the ability to hand over hand pulls.  I've used the empty tire as a warm up and then added weight to increase the intensity.

There you have it, my friends an easy an inexpensive piece of strength building equipment for your home gym.  Now let's see how long it takes the neighbors to stop calling me the weird guy with tire strapped to him. Have fun making this for yourself and shoot me a comment or an email if you have any other questions.

Until the next time, 
Keep your mind sharp, body fit, and pedal hard