Archive for December, 2009

To Be Governed…

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Dec 31 2009

Stole this quote from a John Stossel article over at From Pierre-Joseph Proudhon:

To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place(d) under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored.

Happy New Year!

Weighing and Measuring, Kind of…

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Dec 29 2009

So the plan for the last few days is to zoom in on a measurable amount of macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrate, and Fat) that will optimize performance and keep me from being hungry. So entering my food intake in FitDay here.

Here was today’s breakdown:


This is not including any cooking oils that I used as well.

So if we do a breakdown of these macronutrients to Zone Blocks, what we get is:

Protein: 30 Blocks
Carbohydrate: 10 Blocks
Fat: 67 Blocks

I can live with that, we’ll just see how my body weight moves around and how my performance feels.

I did a Tabata KB Swing and Thruster WOD today and felt pretty good, I also PR’d Death By Handstand Pushups. Will keep you posted on how this works out.

Another Date with Fran

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Dec 28 2009

PR’d at 4:00 compared to 4:20 on 090211.

Broke this one up much more than the one in February, but still super slow on thrusters. Going to work on lighter front squat and thrusters over the next few weeks to try to get a little more explosive out of the bottom.

Fran from Brian Wilson on Vimeo.

How to Make Anything Taste Good

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Dec 17 2009


A typical lunch for me, big pieces of meat, bunch of veggies. Specifically this is ground beef from Alison made with one egg and some almond flour.

The veggie is kale sauteed in bacon fat with the beef fat left in the pan from the burgers drizzled on top along with kosher salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar if you want a little bite to it.

If you don’t like vegetables, you’ll love these.

Paleo Butter?

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Dec 13 2009

This may be close enough. Ghee is made from butter, but with little to none of the milk solids left behind. The idea came from a post on Robb Wolf’s blog from Dave Werner of Level 4 Crossfit.

Since I didn’t have any organic butter handy, I just went ahead and ordered some here. What I’ll do is run out and grab some organic butter and try to make my own Ghee and do a little taste test. I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

Has anybody ever cooked with Ghee?

I’m mainly planning on using it with my eggs and bacon in the morning and for my baked whole chicken. I get all this stuff from Alison and it’s extremely tasty. Adding a good amount of butter makes it just about the best thing on earth. So I’ll play around with the Ghee to see how the taste changes.

I’ve got 12 days to go on my 30 Day Paleo Challenge. So far I’m averaging a daily score of 34.4 out of 40 (you can see my tracker here). The biggest thing taking me down is my stress level. This is pretty subjective, but pretty accurate. Too many tasks, not enough time. And too many tasks that are taking forever and not seeing actualization. Good times…

Of those who are doing the 30 Day Paleo Challenge using our new tracking sheet, what’s your score?

Have a few benchmarks coming up (Fran, 5x400m) so if I PR on those by some significant degree, that’ll probably help the stress level out quite a bit.

The Battle of the Diets

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Dec 10 2009

This was on the Crossfit mainsite on 11/30, but wanted to make sure everybody got a chance to check it out.

Fascinating look at not only the real clinical studies that have been done comparing “low-carb” and “hi-carb” diets, but also some interesting anomalies that the low carb believers (myself included) need to take a look at.

Specifically, the comparisons Dr. Gardner points out in a study based on carb intake as compared to a fasting insulin test (about 41:30). This study showed that women who were insulin sensitive lost more weight on a high carb/low fat diet, while women who were insulin resistant lost more weight on a low carb/high fat diet. Moreover, it showed that the opposite wouldn’t happen. Meaning if you were an insulin sensitive women on a low carb/high fat diet, you would not lose as much weight as on a high carb/low fat diet.


Realize that this study (full study here) was hypocaloric, meaning all the subjects ate less than their baseline metabolic needs. Also, there were only 21 total subjects in the study. However, Dr. Gardner shows another study (about 42:16, full study here), completely independent of the first that shows the exact same thing.


This second study also showed that a low glycemic load (meaning a low carb) diet would result in greater weightloss for insulin resistant men and women than a high glycemic load diet, but that this wouldn’t be the case for those subjects that were insulin sensitive.

Now the first thing I want to point out about these two studies though is that the amount of carbohydrates is still extremely high from a true low-carb perspective. Both studies had the high carb group at 60% of calories and the low carb group at 40% of calories. For we Crossfitters, 40% is the absolute highest we would go for carbohydrates if we were doing strict Zone. For most of us on Paleo or reduced carb zone, we’re going to be somewhere between 10%-25% of calories from carbohydrates. As Gary Taubes, Dr. Eades, Mark Sisson like to point out frequently, a true low-carb study has yet to be done.

Now am I ready to give fasting glucose tests to everybody at the gym and prescribe a diet based on that? Not quite yet. But interesting data nonetheless.

Good Hip Stretch

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Dec 09 2009

This stretch is sometimes tricky to execute, but play around with it.

Fish Cooking Made Easy

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Dec 04 2009

Take one can Jyoti brand Indian sauce mix, one can Coconut Milk, and some white fish (in this case cod fillets).


Put in a pan on medium-low for 12 minutes, covered. I would have added some cilantro or parsley if I had it, but I went with dried basil.


Add some steamed veggies on the side, and here you go.


This isn’t super strict Paleo because there’s a little dairy and cornstarch in the Indian sauce, but life will go on. Total prep time, 5 minutes; cooking time 12 minutes.

Best place to find the Indian sauce and Coconut Milk is at the Shoppers Food Warehouse on Rte. 1 south of Crystal City. They’ve got a huge “ethnic food” (read: not filled with preservatives and extra shit) with a lot of selection. If you aren’t a fan of fish, this is a great way to start.

WOD Update

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Dec 03 2009

The MEBB experiment continues. I’m tracking and planning all my WODs on a Google Doc now, then I’ll post when complete on the blog. To take a look at the Google Doc, click here. Here’s the last few WODs:

Thursday 091126
Rest Day

Friday 091127
Squat Clean
3 Rounds for time:
Row 500m
20 Parallette Pushups
Time: 8:37
Notes: Greg got 7:45, pushups were limfac.

Saturday 091128
Weighted Pullups
Rest 5:00min
For time:
50 Double Under
30 Clean and Jerk, 135
50 Double Under
Time: 5:40
Compare to the European Competition.

Sunday 091129
Back Squat
Rest 5:00min
AMRAP 10 Min
1 Muscle Up
10 Deadlift
Rounds: 6 + 3 MU Transitions*
Notes: So only got 3 actual Muscle-Ups in the WOD, then had to switch to MU transitions. Did however add 10 lbs to my back squat.

Monday 091130
Rest Day

Tuesday 091201
Power Snatch
Notes: Doing over 5 Snatch movements is retarded, which I found out the hard way in the 2nd set when I failed on the 5th rep then had no pop by rd 3. So just did what I could do and moved on. Elbows were hurting this morning and they were hurting again tonight so decided to lose the ring dips in the METCON.

3 rounds for time:
Run 1 Lap
10 DB Squat Snatch (right), 35 lbs (scaled to 5 reps after first round)
10 DB Squat Snatch (left), 35 lbs (scaled to 5 reps after first round)
10 Box Jump, 24 in
Run 1 Lap
Rest 2 minutes.
Rd 1: 4:45
Rd 2: 4:06
Rd 3: 4:15
Notes: This was freaking HARD! DB Squat Snatch are no joke, getting that db in the right place and staying balanced on the squat (in running shoes) was nearly impossible. Add the box jumps at the end and your legs are fried!

Wednesday 091202
Notes: This was challenging, but I don’t feel like it was a 100% effort. Looking at my PR Sheet, I don’t do this nearly enough, which is no doubt part of the reason I suck at it.

For Time:
Double Unders
Situps (Armpits to Knees)
Time: 6:40
Compare to 090109: 9:14
Notes: Tried to do the DU really fast, and only missed once in the set of 30. Those felt pretty easy, I was actually resting during the DU and gearing up for the Situps, which were by and large pretty slow. I also had to break once in each set for 3-5 seconds. Still a 3 minute PR!

Thursday 091203
Notes: I did this in bare feet and cluster style, so not touch and go. Rested somewhere between 2-5 seconds between reps.
Rest 7:00min
3 Rounds for time:
5 Deadlift, 50 lbs 40 lbs dumbbells
5 Hang Squat Power Cleans
5 Push Press
10 Pullups
15 10-15-15 Box Jumps, 20 in
Time: 5:13
Notes: Probably a good idea to scale down as I did the first two rounds unbroken w/o putting the db down, but the third round was pretty challenging. Did the first two sets of pullups unbroken too, traditional kip. Last set broke like three times. I totally spaced on not doing hang squat cleans and then did 10 box jumps the first round.

Mike Crisci – The Burgener Warmup – And a 30 lbs Snatch PR

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Dec 02 2009

I was talking to Mike C. the other day at the gym and he mentioned off hand that he had hit a 30 lbs Squat Snatch PR. Now Mike is already a pretty strong guy and pretty coordinated, so hearing that I’ve got to ask as a coach: How’d he do that?

This is how the converation went:

Mike C.: So Brian, I hit a 30 lbs snatch PR the other day.
Brian PCF: You did what!?!?!!?
Mike C.: 30 lbs Snatch PR
Brian PCF: HOW???
Mike C.: I did the Burgener Warmup.
Brian PCF: AND???
Mike C.: That’s it.
Brian PCF: [looks dumbfounded]

I was so stupified by this that I didn’t even ask him what his old and new numbers were. I found out later that he went from 155 lbs to 185 lbs. What’s amazing about this is that he didn’t do any snatch work in between these two sessions – HE JUST WORKED HARD ON THE BURGENER WARMUP FOR A FEW MINUTES BEFORE HIS PR LIFT!

Here’s how he described it:

1) I technically didn’t start doing it [Burgener Warmup] until a squat snatch day with, Chad and Allison, probably 3-4 weekends ago. Of course, I have done it before but always kind of just went through the motions as I only really used the PVC for SPT’s [Shoulder Pass Throughs].

2) I literally hit that snatch 30 lb PR that Sunday, the first day I really went through the Burgener with a sense of purpose. Chad just did a really nice job that day going through the warmup and we spent about 10 minutes on it. For whatever reason, I really focused on it that day. Snatch and OHS [Overhead Squat] were still my 2 weakest lifts at that point so I really wanted to improve on them. I don’t recall the last time I did 1RM OHS before yesterday and what I got but I honestly don’t think i got more than 165-175. There was a day I came during open gym, you were there, and I worked on OHS but did a half-ass warmup with the Burgener before I started. I think I ended at 165 that day. I also believe this was before that weekend class with Chad. That was probably about 5-6 weeks ago. Yesterday I did 225 [on OHS] and felt like I had something left. I attribute that to the Burgener Warmup as well. There was also a day you corrected my positioning when I was doing OHS with PVC pipe. No one had corrected that before so I had been warming up that way since I started, thinking I was positioned correctly. If you recall, my arms were extended way too far back.

3) Since it wasn’t that long ago and I took some time off for my back and vacation I really still hadn’t been incorporating it other than maybe a couple more times. However, after yesterday’s results I am convinced that one squat snatch day, and your correction of my arm position are the reason I made monster gains. So with that in mind, I will be doing it every time I come into the box.

I think the most relevant thing is for anyone serious about CF to do everything with a purpose in mind. Like I said, I did the Burgener plenty of times just going through the motions and it of course resulted in nothing. There is no way it is just coincidental that the one day I really focus on the Burgener Warmup my squat snatch goes up 30lbs. I had a good strength base coming into Crossfit but, in my opinion, the snatch and OHS are not two lifts you can just muscle your way through with crappy form, like you may be able to a regular squat. A good analogy you can relate to would be to compare to a pitcher that throws bullpen sessions in-between starts. He doesn’t go out there and just play catch with his catcher. He throws to particular spots and does not go away from that spot until he has thrown a perfect strike to that location. If he just went out there and played catch he obviously will not make any gains.

So two things I want to just mention are about shoulder position and about working with a focus.

First, the shoulder position is a very simple issue that we see frequently with athletes. It usually consists of one or both of the following flaws:

Hands too far back, looking for strain in the chest and shoulders

Shoulders too far forward, looking for strain in the lats

Combination of both

Lastly, where everything should be at: bar over the middle of the foot, weight in the heels, and shoulders BACK and up.

I can’t stress enough this point of putting the shoulders back and then up. The shoulder is a delicate thing.

Mike had the combo issue of shoulders forward and up with hands back too far. I just used a very simple tactile cue of grabbing his shoulders, moving them down and back. I then placed my fingers at the top of his thoracic and said “Pinch here.” While I was doing this, I was moving the PVC into position directly over his center of mass, which would have been somewhere right around the middle of his foot.

The second point about focus is HUGE!

If you are not consciously trying to find the right “groove” as an athlete during these movements, especially skill sessions and warmups, you are most certainly going to be out of the groove the second we add load or intensity.

It’s just an example of what (guess who) Coach Burgener says all the time: “Only perfect practice makes perfect.”

For more info, check out Coach B’s own video of the Burgener Warmup here (and for CFJ Subscribers here). For more in depth info on Olympic Lifting, check out Catalyst Athletics and Coach Burgener’s Website. You can also check out’s excellent library of videos here.