Archive for November, 2010

“Your NASA for cryin’ out loud, you put a man on the moon, you’re geniuses! You-you’re the guys that think this shit up!”

Posted in Articles, Athletes, Competition on November 30, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

This is the first of a two part article on the science behind lifting. This article started how most other articles start, curiosity (with a  mix of ADHD). Our friends at Strength Villain posted their second challenge which consisted of a favorite of the Club and those we train with. A 50 rep squat test, (for more details on the Villain challenges check out the site, it is a great read) the sheer mention of such things makes women faint and men soil themselves. Anyways, while discussing the challenge’s parameters they mentioned “Quadzilla” himself , Tom Platz. Who is Tom Platz? Rather than look at you with you scorn I educate you. Tom Platz was a highly successful bodybuilder in the 80’s who possessed maybe the best legs the sport ever saw.

Now that is a quad sweep. Anyways, Tom Platz’s leg workouts were legendary and unorthodox, focusing on high reps and heavy weights. His love of the squat and amazing legs lead to his comparisons with another great of the iron lifting sport, Fred “Dr. Squat” Hatfield (I could regal you with stories of the Doctor but that is another a story). Their competition came to a head at a “Squat Off”, an event so beautiful that I cannot put it into more words (we really need a poet on call in the Club). Anyway the exhibition was broken into two seperate events, the first being One Rep Max squat. Platz reportedly got 765, Dr. Squat put on 855 and easily won the event. The next event was a herculean challenge, a Max Rep 525 “Squat Off”. Dr. Squat went for 11 reps, and Platz did well watch for yourself.

That was no Bullshit right there (love Kaz in the back stepping up to spot on rep 23). How did Platz get smoked in the one rep and than dominate in the max rep, especially when he and Hatfield were about the same weight? Is there a reason why two people of relatively similar size can be so dramatically stronger in the same lift but at different rep counts?

Lets look at the physiology of muscle fibers. There are two main types of muscle fibers, slow twitch muscle fibers (aka Type I or red muscle fibers) and fast twitch muscle fibers (aka Type II or white msucle fibers) which itself can be broken down further into 3 additional types (IIa,IIb, and IIx). Slow twitch muscle fibers fire more slowly and are more efficient at utilizing oxygen to create ATP. Because of this, slow twitch muscle fibers can go longer before fatiguing and hence are used for endurance events. Fast twitch muscle fibers fire faster (wow big shock) and use anaerobic metabolism to create ATP. Because of this anaerobic nature the muscles fatigue much quicker but create more strength in a shorter amount of time and are primarily used in explosive events. Of the 3 subsections of fast twitch muscles fibers, IIa is a mix of fast and slow fibers and IIb and IIx are the classic explosive muscle fibers.

All that science hurt my head, but lets apply this knowledge to our question. A person predisposed to have more Type II muscle fibers will be more explosive than than person who has more Type I muscle fibers. He/she will have a greater vertical, 40 yard dash, or one rep max but may be lacking in the long run. Let’s break it down further, a person with a greater propensity of IIb and IIx fibers will have an even greater advantage in short explosive endeavors while a person with more IIa fibers will have an advantage in endeavors require intermediate usage of the explosive fibers. Take 100m and a 400m track atheletes for example. The 100m sprinter explodes out of the gate and muscles fatigue quickly at the sheer power they are exerting while the 400m sprinter is still activating his muscles fibers in an anerobic state for the speed required of the event but his/her muscles fatigue less quickly due to different muscle fibers allowing them to keep their pace in the longer event.

Platz and Hatfield both had a great deal of Type II muscle fiber overall as evidenced by their strength output. While training and conditioning of the muscles does play a factor in your results it is pretty safe bet that Platz had more Type IIa muscle fiber as displayed by his legendary high rep squat totals and Dr. Squat a greater deal of  Type IIb  and IIx fibers as evidence by his world record powerlifting squats.

This analysis seems fine and dandy, but can we translate this to the real world and not just  two atheletes at the apex of their sport ? Part two of this series on this will examine an actual examples of different muscle fibers in action with members of Old Country Barbell itself.


Posted by: Nickay

“Building a Nation of Linebackers…”

Posted in Articles on November 28, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Alvin Mack…

Number 56…
“Let the paramedics sort ’em out…”

The ESU linebacker that terrorized running and quarterbacks alike in the movie “The Program.” (Part of the OCS Syllabus)

Ray Lewis…

Number 52…
Baltimore head hunter that has run shit on the grid iron since his days at the U.

These were they guys that inspired me growing up. Yes the work ethic of the likes of Dan Gable and the Brands brothers drove me in the gym. But the intensity I drew upon to accomplish my goals came from guys like this. Guys like my old man. He calls it a “Linebacker’s Mentality,” and I guess he’s right.

We’re coming off a string of heart felt emotional posts. They could go on for weeks when I look at the comment sections. But it’s time to get back to what we do here and actually the root of these posts. Moving weight. Lifting iron with reckless abandon.

So when I received an email about what goes through your mind before a lift, I felt it was a good way to get back on track.

You ask every lifter, they have their own way to get there.
Music… Be it rock, rap, classical, hell I’ve heard some really weird shit played to get fired up before.
Gear… Lucky socks, certain belts, lifts, chucks, tape, shirts with holes in them, beanies and hats. You’ll see certain trends in lifters and those they lift with.
Atmosphere… A blasting stereo, bar dropping, metal clanging, chalk floating in the air. Or maybe not, maybe it’s quiet music, hat pulled low over the eyes. Maybe it’s early morning after a stiff cup of coffee. Maybe it’s night time with a single light on in the gym with no one there to tell you good job.

I’ve done all of these. Few things stay consistent in my lifts except one thing. INTENSITY…
I know people are different, some joke and laugh, some turn towards an internal storm, not everyone is like me. But this is how I approach my lifts.

It’s a fucking battle…
I always tell my athletes one thing. “Come ready to bang…”
I don’t care if you don’t have it that day. You’re not gonna PR every day. But you should come ready to bang.

Life is always throwing shit at us. Don’t bring it onto the platform. Fuck that. Let what’s out of control in your life fuel you: trouble at work, girlfriend, husband, bills, kids, not enough time in the day to stay sane. Your time with the iron is your time. Your time to take the shit you can’t control and harness it into something you can. Moven weight.

I kick, I spit, I bark (loudly), and I don’t care if people don’t understand why. I’m not lifting to make people understand me. I’m lifting to understand myself. I lift to know I’m fearless. I’m going under a bar and stepping out from a rack. I have hundreds upon hundreds of pounds on my back and I don’t give a shit. I tell gravity to kiss my ass and I drop below parallel.

It’s a dog fight. Five rep deadlifts, PR jerks, 20 rep max squats. You gotta be ready to bang. I choose to take everything out of control in my life and let it build a fire inside myself. I stoke it until I feel out of control. I’ve almost cried before lifts. I spit again, I stomp some more, I bark louder. I approach the bar. The fire feels hotter every time. I feel the steel, take a breath, and then…
I put the fire out. I know that all those things in my life don’t matter at this point because this is about me. I love to lift.

Get Some…

Posted by: Z

“Arsenic is edible. But only once…”

Posted in Lifestyle, Nutrition on November 23, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Today’s post comes from one of my athletes with the inside scoop on living  paleo. As I always tell you about the diet. It can be broke down and I can explain what to eat. But for first hand knowledge go to the source. There are individuals who don’t have a choice in following this diet. I can tell you the benefits but I’ll let someone who really knows them explain. Thank you Anna for the great writeup. – Z

My Road to Paleo

From as far back as I can remember I’ve always had headaches. In kindergarten, my mom was called in to meet with the principal because I was always asking to go to the school nurse and lie down. They thought I didn’t like school and was using headaches as an excuse to get out of it. No one had ever heard of a little kid with so many headaches. By the time I was in high school, I just accepted headaches as a daily part of my life. Sometimes they were fairly minor and I could go to school or hang out with my friends. Other days they were so crippling that I’d have to find the darkest room in the house, put an ice bag on my head, wrap a towel around it to block out any sounds or light, and hope to sleep it off.

Growing up in a small town in New York, where half of my town was Amish and where we had to travel an hour to get to the nearest grocery store – there wasn’t a large selection of doctors. My parents tried a few – each one did a CAT scan, determined my brain looked fine, diagnosed me with migraines and said they couldn’t help.

When I got to college things took a turn for the worst. I couldn’t concentrate in classes and I started sleeping 15 hours a day – but no matter how much I slept I was always tired. I started to gain weight and pretty soon the freshman 15 turned into 50. Even more frustrating was the fact that I had to just accept the weight gain, because exercise was one of the things that was guaranteed to trigger a migraine.

After I graduated from college I moved to Seattle. One of the first things I did was head to UW and demand to see a specialist. My specialist quickly turned into a team of specialists and 6 months plus a ton of tests later they presented me with a diagnosis. It read: depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, restless leg syndrome, insulin resistance, crohn’s disease and adult-onset ADHD. I started to cry, they told me it would be okay, handed me a stack of prescriptions and told me to talk to a nutritionist.

For 6 months I took the drugs and followed the balanced diet that the nutritionist recommended. The diet included lots of whole grains and low fat foods. Nothing got better but I did develop a cool new tremor in my hands from some of the drugs. Finally one night I got fed up and threw the whole set of drugs and the instructions from the nutritionist into the garbage. Everything felt out of control in my life, so I decided to tackle the one thing I could control which was my weight. I dove hardcore into this strange diet fad called Atkins.

Two weeks into my new diet the weight started coming off. But more importantly, the headaches suddenly stopped. I waited two more weeks, still no headaches and I found I was less tired. I went back to my team of specialists and told them what happened. One blood test later, they ripped up my diagnosis list and replaced it with one thing – Celiac Disease, an immune disorder caused by a protein called gluten that is found in wheat.

For the last 5 years, I’ve lived completely gluten free. I also started reading – not just about gluten and all the places it can hide, but about the other vitamins and minerals that are important to a healthy, happy life. In my reading I discovered something called the Paleo diet, which was really exciting because it offered me a much broader range of foods compared to Atkins, and a much more balanced set of vitamins and minerals. I started taking supplements based on what I learned – I added acai for it’s important antioxidants, fish oil supplements for it’s omega-3’s and vitamin d for Seattle’s lack of sunshine, in addition to a daily multivitamin.

Each time I made a change to improve my diet, I noticed an improvement in my energy levels and ability to think clearly. My co-workers make fun of the giant bag of supplements that I keep on my desk, but I don’t care because I feel great and it’s all because I think carefully about what I eat. Instead of sleeping all day, now I do a lot of crossfit and play soccer 3 times a week. I’ve dropped 40 lbs, I can concentrate at work and I no longer feel tired.

We’re about to start a new CC, and Zach will be telling us all to try Paleo because eating meat and veggies will make our squats strong. Zach is completely right, but I wanted to encourage people to give the diet a try for a different reason. We live in a world where most foods are heavily processed and made mostly from chemicals. The Paleo diet is all about eating real foods, full of important vitamins and minerals that make our bodies work properly.

Paleo is not just for people who want to lift heavy weights or people like me who have Celiac disease. In the last 5 years I’ve read countless books on nutrition and there’s plenty of science to back up that the Paleo diet is good for all types of people with a broad range of goals. But more important than science in books, I’ve seen it help my family and friends. My parents finally adopted it after years of my nagging and my dad was off his blood pressure and cholesterol medication in 6 weeks. He’s lost 30 lbs in 3 months and he doesn’t even exercise. My aunt went from severely diabetic to off her insulin in 8 months on the diet. I’ve had at least a dozen friends try the diet in the last year, some have stuck with it and some haven’t, but each one has mentioned to me that while they were on it they felt more alert and energetic than ever before.

I asked Zach if I could write this blog post, because I really think people should give Paleo a shot during this CC. It’s only six weeks and I promise that Paleo isn’t as hard to follow as it seems – there are still plenty of foods you can eat and I happy to help people with suggestions about easy and delicious things to make. In the end, Paleo may not work for you for whatever reason, but I think everyone owes it to themselves to try. You never know when one little vitamin, mineral or protein could completely change your life.

Posted by: Anna Sweet

“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself…”

Posted in Articles on November 18, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

I’m really proud of everyone who has helped this all happen. All the writers featured this week have been Barbell Club members. We are a pretty cheeky crew, we drink with eachother, give eachother shit, and on many occasions have cried together. The article below is written by an athlete very close to me. All my athletes are close to me, but then you have Carrie.

The little southern belle that was good at pushups that Big Bad Coach Zach would always give shit for not lifting. Carrie is a amazing athlete and friend. Coming from where she started to where she is, Carrie is inspiring to me and should be inspiring to everyone.

And here we go…

When Zach asked me to write a week-ending post for Strong is Beautiful Week I was flattered. And lord, felt a little pressure, especially after these two posts this week by Roo and Joey. He said I may have some good perspective because I’ve got a pretty varied athletic background. A long history with gymnastics, yoga, an apprenticeship in a Circus troupe (really), competition cheerleading, NCSU dance team, teaching spinning classes, dance, and hiphop, along with some really sad uncoordinated ball-sport experiments along the way, ie soccer, basketball, softball.

It was about this time last year is when I started lifting. Real lifting. With barbells and plates and chalk. I had been doing CrossFit hard for about 6 months but skipping the so-called Heavy Day. “Heavy” just didn’t sound fun to me. I was always “too busy” on Wednesdays. I wanted to keep doing push ups and pull ups and box jumps until I died!


This was not an easy article to write. I’m about to get real on you.

If this post was a movie, this is where everything would skip backwards, a fast rewind montage of 20 years of my life.

I was 9 when I first turned the yogurt container around to read the nutritional information. I’m not really sure what prompted this, and I’m sure I had no context for what any of that information meant. But I do remember it was strawberry yogurt, and I decided then and there I would only eat half of it.

Now, I have a muscular body type, even as a little girl. But when you are 9 you don’t understand. At this age, I was taking dance twice a week at a little dance studio in my little home town in NC. In class, I had begun to compare myself to other girls in class. I remember specifically judging the size my legs in the mirror against others. As an adult, I know I was beginning to develop muscle definition, but through the eyes of a little girl I saw my legs as lumpy. I hated my calves. I thought they looked fat. I was jealous of Claire’s slender legs. Katherine’s thin arms. In the dark mirrors of comparison I thought I was chubby.

These are feelings I couldn’t really escape. Over the next several years a body dysmorphic disorder slowly crept in manifesting itself in anorexia and bulimia. It was ugly. By high school I was restricting my eating as a way to control my little world. An honor student, cheerleader, jr. Rotary club member, I wanted to control “perfect”.  I kept a secret food diary and wrote down every bite. At one point I was getting by on less than 600 calories a day, sometimes going days without eating. I remember taking packets of saltines, breaking them into fourths and having ¼ every hour just so I wouldn’t pass out and get in trouble. To have such a fear of food, I loved food. My life revolved around food.

I hated who I was. I hated sneaking around. I hated all the guilt I brought on myself. All I wanted was to “eat like a normal person”. I kept what I was feeling a secret. But soon enough though, the weight loss became apparent to others— my parents, coaches, teachers.

By the summer of my junior year, I weighed 87 pounds. I went on a youth group rafting trip, freezing the whole time because I had no body fat left. I was dizzy and cold and utterly and completely miserable. I was imprisoned by my obsessions. And I was scared. I had to let go. I had to get out of these cycles.  I’ll save you all the rest of the gory details, but by my senior year, I was beginning to look more healthy. The next few years I struggled with myself to accept my own body. It took many more years to shake those demons.


I know my story is one shared by many. One in four women in college has been affected by an eating disorder. We can blame media all we want. We can blame stress. We can our blame family histories. But I think we individually have the power to reverse these pressures on young women.

It starts with you. I had to learn this. You have to accept yourself. It takes strength. Guts. We need to stop comparing ourselves to each other, and instead, work on become strong, positive role models for those around us. Be that woman that shows others that strong is beautiful. Advocate it. Evangelize it. Be that woman that little girls look up to who proves that women can be just as strong as men and look good at the same time.


I no longer come to the gym to burn off calories. I come to the gym to get stronger. I come to the gym to build my confidence. That’s when I started lifting. I was tired of having to scale workouts. I know there is a connection between my physical, outside body and my inside one. That’s the power of what we’re here doing: building strength physically and mentally. One hour a day is completely mine. I come to the gym to celebrate me.

Ladies, I challenge you. Tonight, and every night for a week, I want you take a look at yourself in the mirror. I don’t mean that critical kind of look where you pinch this and poke that. I want you to look at a part of your body that you love. Think about all the work you’ve put into that part or muscle to get it that way. Do you love your calves? Thank those muscles that carry you around the world. Do you love your arms? Appreciate those muscles that you hold your babies close with. Is it you shoulders? Your butt? Your back? Love those muscles in the mirror, even if for just a few seconds. You won’t be able to hold back a smile.

Posted by: Carrie

I’d like to thank everyone who reads these articles and more importantly I’d like to thank the writers. You guys never let me down… – Z

“There is magic in fighting battles beyond endurance…”

Posted in Articles on November 17, 2010 by Swole Patrol

Strong is beautiful: A Silverback soliloquy.

A week or so ago a friend of mine was questioning whether lifting heavy weights or Crossfit was right for her. As usual she was worried that all the lifting we were doing was gonna make her bulky and she was afraid she would build certain muscles over others and wouldn’t look proportional. It breaks my heart when I hear women talk about not wanting to lift anymore because they’ll get bulky, or talking about quitting Crossfit to just diet and do yoga. It kills me to see what female role models young girls have to look at on TV and in mass media, over skinny, underfed, skin and bones girls. I’ve been fortunate in my life to have some very strong women love me, teach me, and inspire me. None of these women inspired me because they were rail thin size zero runway models, they inspired me with their strength of character, strength of mind, and strength of body.

I am also inspired by our Crossfit Ladies and OCBC members, every day these women are smashing the myth and showing everybody that strong is beautiful. I am filled with hope when I see “Ear Muffs” come skipping in the gym with “Grey Beard,” going through our warm ups and then finishing her own WOD, the next generation of OCBC members will be full of strong women. Below is an email I wrote to my friend, I truly hope all women can see through the trash and realize that strong is beautiful.

How your body will look is largely determined by genetics, ectomorph, endomorph, mesomorph, are the three basic body types: long and lanky, athletic and lean, stronger and softer. Changing your body type isn’t impossible but for somebody like me who is pretty much a mesomorph I’ll never be long and lanky, it’s not in the cards. I could get more athletic and lean by adjusting my nutrition accordingly but I probably won’t ever look like Brat Pitt from fight club (I would kick that guys ass anyway). So to some extent you are limited by what your parents gave you.

Lifting weights will not make you ‘bulky’ and yoga will not make you ‘long and lean’. Anybody who tells you lifting makes you bulky and inflexible is a moron and probably doesn’t know shit from shit. Look at female gymnast, or Olympic sprinters who are jacked out of their minds and tell me they are not flexible. Muscle don’t stretch permanently, when you stretch your hamstring your quad shortens and the opposite happens when you stretch your quad. If you really could make your muscles permanently “longer” you would have to also grow taller, where would the extra muscle length go right?

You as a woman are constantly overwhelmed with body images in media that are probably enhanced to unnatural and unattainable levels, achieved via very unhealthy practices, and generally are sickly looking. I know myself and almost every man I know would take an athletic “Crossfit Lady” over a skinny sickly runway model any day of the week and twice on Sunday. The dudes that like super skinny girls are tiny little wimps anyway so they don’t count.

On a personal level I’ve struggled with body image issues my whole life and still do. I’ve never been skinny, or shredded like Ryan or Zach. Even in college wrestling when I wrestled at 187lbs, nearly 100lbs lighter than I weigh now I didn’t have a six pack. In college when I had to make weight and maintain my weight I did a lot of unhealthy things to do so and it caught up with me. After I was done and I stopped wrestling I gained like 70lbs almost over night, so do a lot of weight class athletes, so please don’t do anything unhealthy. I literally have been on teams and competing with dudes that are the best conditioned athletes in the world, no body fat and muscles for days, and here I was a chubby dude that no matter what I tried it didn’t seem like I could get there. In the end I guess I figured out that it doesn’t matter what your body looks like, I’m not saying you should get morbidly obese, but the things people are drawn to are attitude, confidence, and personality. Strength makes you confident, confidence improves your attitude, a positive attitude improves your personality, and a good personality will take you farther than being super thin ever will.

Have faith in yourself, have faith in what we are doing in the gym.
Most importantly… be strong.

Posted by: Johnny

“Age ain’t Nothen but a Number…”

Posted in Articles on November 16, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

The next installment in our “Strong is Beautiful Edition” comes from our very own Joey McCune. If you don’t know Joey, you should. She squats 285, deadlifts 365, and has climbed more mountains than I can name. She is one SEXY beast… – Z

And here we go…

Strong is the new Sexy.

For me, a recent confidence boost has coincided with an amazing realization that my body is powerful. I joined my neighborhood CrossFit gym and in doing so boosted my strength and confidence. Strong is sexy.

At the ripe 40-year mark, I’ve noticed a slight change in plans.

Call me crazy but it might have something to do with this unspoken elephant in the room named, “aging”. These days, no matter how much I work out, I can’t seem to get results. When I say results, I mean “bounce-a-quarter-off-my-ass like when I was 25”, results. So, after years of competitive distance running, triathlons, followed by high altitude off-piste skiing, rock climbing and international summit bids, I was bored, tired, and needed something new (and local). Going to Gold’s Gym, 24-hour fitness, or Curves wasn’t going to cut it for an adventure girl like me.

I decided to try out a local cult following called “CrossFit”.

Now an athlete that scales some of the world’s largest peaks is naturally a mental hard ass anyway. There’s a pretty high level of mental toughness and ability to deal with pain to push through a 4 week, successful summit bid with little oxygen. Being mentally strong is not something I generally questioned about myself.

So, I walked into my local gym, with an “I’ll probably be bored in no time” attitude, and thought to myself, I’ve been running up mountains with back packs on for fun- how hard could this really be?Moreover, “How fun could this really be?”

Boy was I mistaken. I am a hard nut to crack when it comes to mental endurance: My first 3 weeks, I must confess, I wondered if I would be taken out via body bag. I mean, Zach the head trainer looks like he eats dump trucks for breakfast, how the hell would I survive? Not to mention, most of the gym averaged 15 years my junior, leaving my aged ego checked at the door.

My strong will and competitive edge took over. Years of being a varsity athlete, followed by years of “not being” a varsity athlete, drove my inspiration and peaked my interest to persevere. I realized how much I had missed a competitive, team environment.

Suitably inspired, I got to work. Dragging into the gym, one tired, old-lady body part at a time.

Skill and technique are critical to CF success and I was guided through each step, ensuring I was moving properly and not risking injury.

(from which my husband, after witnessing me limp home like a cripple, groaning from basic movement involving core muscles and crying for help from burning quads while trapped on the toilet: had real, valid concern “There’s only so much arnica in the house, honey.”)

Each WOD (work out of the day) involves a high level of intensity and efficiency guaranteed to bring even the most elite athletes to their knees. It’s ever-changing, keeping muscles confused. It sucks. We read a daily blog and are surprised each day with what hell we are walking into.

I read once, “It’s CrossFit, not “alltheshityoulikefit”. It’s hard. It’s supposed to be. That’s why we’re there. And that pretty much sums it up.

… I was quickly turned into a whimpering, complaining baby, crawling across the mat floor, begging for a hot Epsom salt relief, and an after-party at Banya 5 bathhouse, followed by a martini.

But I began to notice a shift. After each session, my retired metabolic memory started to fine-tune itself. My hands grew calluses the size of dimes, my shins were proudly displaying bruises and my collarbone was scabbed.

Without realizing, I had evolved into a crossfitter.

The sinews and muscles of my body strengthened and my energy and endurance rose to the challenge.

Thus so did my confidence.

Hence my enthusiastic jump onto the CrossFit bandwagon.

It’s been a year and a half. My body has toned, my posture improved, my strength has quadrupled.  Ok- so my weight is not where it needs to be but inches count and damn-it, I’m an almost 40 year old Italian with two teenagers! I like my wine and and my mama’s homemade spaghetti (no matter how un-paleo that is!)

Although my push-ups and pull-ups remain ugly (I blame it on my breeding; voluptuous Italian genes causing a busty, heavy, upper half, weakening my true capabilities) … my overall ability to hold up a VW bug, (just kidding) has impressed many, including myself, and I’ve grown a new kind of confidence I dare say, I did not see coming. Cross Fit has taken my natural strengths and provided memory to my once varsity athlete muscles.  A special kind of pride has slipped into my step knowing that even the “aged” can benefit. I walk into each WOD and know that today: I survive pain for time.

And that’s just plain cool.

This past summer I competed in a CrossFit event. It was an epic and memorable day for me. Not only did my 16 year old daughter compete with me, but our planned 4 rounds of competition turned into 5 with a last minute tie-breaker WOD. It was hot. I felt old. I was dog-tired, and I brought what I had.

On the fourth WOD, (thinking it was the last one) I looked at my daughter (because mom’s have to teach life lessons, right?) and said, “I am just going to finish this.” I was worried she would be disappointed in seeing me come in last. I honestly couldn’t fathom digging any deeper but I didn’t want her to see me quit. At that moment, even finishing seemed impossible. I drew upon my confidence, because God knows I didn’t have any energy to draw upon, …and finished. Not only did I finish, but, I won that WOD. The look on my daughters face was a look I will never forget. It was a proud moment. It taught my daughter about confidence, believing in yourself, and pushing yourself past your limits. The day ended with a tie-breaker and an exhausting final WOD. I ended up in 3rd place. Not bad for an old mom.

My daughter said, “You’re still a varsity athlete to me”.

I smiled.

More importantly, my confidence smiled.

I may not be able to bounce that quarter off my ass like the old days. And, half the time, I want to cheat during push-ups, because they hurt and suck as my weakness bleeds out of me.  And I HATE V-sits. My body just wants to collapse on the mat, arms and legs splayed open like a turtle on its back. But I don’t.

Because that’s not what CrossFit is about. And, what I have gained from CF, is confidence. However we choose to apply it, confidence is strength. And strength is beautiful. So, even though I’m not the “perfect 10” at 40, I have pride knowing my body is strong as hell and THAT just plain feels amazing.

With my boredom factor at zero and my challenge factor of, well, infinite. CrossFit has been my sanity saving grace. Good people, good times. Solidarity. No machines. No mirrors. No egos—because we check those at the door.

CrossFit is the challenge I love to hate. I do love the results.  The big test will come the day I master the dreaded clapping push-up (for show-off’s), and the (bastard) kipping pull up (for non-Italian girls with tiny boobs).

…Oh yeah, and when I can bounce a quarter off of my ass.

Until then: Run. Jump. Lift. Puke. Repeat for time.

Being strong rules.

Strong is the new Sexy.

Posted by: Joey McCune

“Is this your fighter… This is my fighter…”

Posted in Articles on November 14, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

I love the ladies…
My ladies to be exact. My ladies make my job totally worth it. Early mornings, late nights, long hours… it’s all worth it. What is Zach rambling about this time? It’s simple.


What? I know this site is for pillaging, heavy squats, and planning how to defeat the zombies. But it’s also here to spread the good word of lifting iron. My ladies love to lift. Some of them lift the house. Some out lift the boys and look damn good in a cocktail dress after (I look pretty good in a cocktail dress too, thank you squats).

They like to pull, push, swing, and jerk heavy weight. I’ve seen some scream during lifts and others cry after because they never thought they’d be able to do what they just did. It makes my job worth it.

I’m as hard if not harder on my lady lifters.

“That weight isn’t gonna pick itself up.”

“I don’t care what got in the way Joey, you should have caught that clean.”

I even told my Ma one time, “I don’t care if you cry, but not on the platform.”

They all listen, better then most of my guys. I’d do anything for my girls. Even take a whole week on Old Country and dedicate it to the fact that “Strong is Beautiful.”
There will always be ignorant people who don’t understand what we do. It’s too bad too because they’ll spend their whole life trying to convince other people that a certain look is what’s right. Sad ignorant people. You’ll hear from a number of different people this week what we all already know. “Strong is Beautiful” – Z

And here we go…

“Her arms are too big. All of the girls there have big butts. I don’t want to get bulky.” Do these sound familiar? I squat, I do pushups chest to deck, I like to pull heavy things off of the ground, every day I strive to get stronger, but to some it seems having muscle definition in my arms is a bad thing and having a nice toned backside is undesirable and my heart breaks when I hear this, not because of the ignorant hurtful nature of such remarks. But because they really don’t know what they are missing out on.

Let’s take things back to July of 2009. I walk into a CrossFit weighing in at 165, a weight that for my body type I never thought I’d be. I’ll save you all the time from reading why I let myself get to this point and we’ll just sum it up to instead of putting on the freshman 15 when I went to school I put on the sophomore 25. I dropped 10 pounds doing the traditional CrossFit most of us fell in love with right away and in January of this year Z started me on my own separate program with Johnny because we were interested in a heavier lifting program. Anyways, this is when I began to really fall in love with heavy lifting.

Fast forward a few months and a couple of what we know as Caliber Cycles (strength and conditioning cycle for those of you unfamiliar). I am stronger than I have ever been, yet I am the smallest I have been since high school. I weigh 140 lbs which is actually what I weighed when I graduated. I run into people I went to school with and they say I am the skinniest they’ve seen me. I’ve lost the fat that I had on my arms. But now that they are leaner ignorant people say “bulky”, what? Oh and I have a squatters ass that is all muscle, yet smaller than it was a year ago, and some say it’s “too big”, weird. It’s funny because when I started lifting heavy weights I lost  another 15 pounds and it gave me a lean athletic look.

It would be really easy for me to let these comments get me down but I don’t. Why you ask? I feel better about myself than I ever have. Through getting stronger physically I have gotten a lot stronger mentally, I have a confidence in myself that I have never had before. Most men will tell you that a confident woman, one who walks with her head held shoulders back, is more beautiful than one who walks around with her head down and shoulders slouched forward. Being strong makes women more confident and being more confident is beautiful. “Beauty is a state of being content and strong… strong in body, mind and soul.”

Don’t get down on yourself if someone says your arms are “bulky” just because you are strong.
Most people look much bulkier in the gym than they do on the street. Tight fitting gym clothes and muscle pump can make you look very different, as any fitness model knows! The same woman who seems ‘bulky’ in the midst of a workout will look fantastic in a little black dress at a party. (gubernatrix)Embrace your strength. If you feel better about yourself now because you feel strong that is beautiful. Be proud of the hard work you have put into your body, and know that being strong is a beautiful thing.

Since I have started lifting weights my life has changed drastically. Getting stronger everyday has made me believe in myself, it has made me a much more confident woman. I don’t obsess over how much I weigh, I once told Zach, “I don’t care how much I weigh I just care how much I lift.” As I said before it breaks my heart to hear people talk negatively about women lifting and it is simply because lifting and getting stronger will make a women feel better about herself and in a society that tends to tear women down finding a way to make a woman stronger in mind, body, and soul is hard to find and I have found this through lifting.

I have seen many of you, just like myself, become stronger, more confident women, you are all beautiful! If someone makes a negative remark about you being strong just remember how strong and confident you feel when you hit a big lift or when you PR on a workout, carry that feeling with you throughout every day. You know how working out has changed your life and with that it is our job to help inspire those around us so that they can share the benefits we have gained by becoming stronger. Don’t hesitate to share your story with others and help spread the message that “STRONG IS BEAUTIFUL”.

I don’t remeber where exactly I found this but I think it’s appropriate.

“I am a Crossfit Woman

I sweat
I grunt
I curse
I bleed

I am a CrossFit Woman
I will not shy away from failure
I will not hide me emotions
I will not quit
I will not hold back

I am a CrossFit Woman
I am a competitor
I am a daughter
I am a friend
I am a CrossFit Woman
I am confident
I am strong
I am beautiful
I am a CrossFit Woman”

Posted by: Roo

gubernatrix, . “The toning problem: why women are missing out when it comes to weight training.” All around strength training (2010): n. pag. Web. 12 Nov 2010. <>.

The Never Ending Battle for Truth, Justice, and for Maximum Jackage!

Posted in Athletes on November 10, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

There is a name which has circulating through the gym. At first it was but a whisper. The name would be mentioned briefly, almost in passing, with a silent nod between the parties. That whisper grew to a chatter. The name began to make it’s way onto the posts, giving out inspirational quotes. No one knew who this person was, man or woman, old or young. But the legend grew and soon everyone began to wonder the same thought…

“Who is Captain Barbell?”

Who is this provoker of iron talk, this instigator of intensity, this champion of the gym? Is our fearless leader Z? Is the crafty veteran Greybeard? Is the unstoppable Roo? The intense Iceman? The silent assassin Hollywood? The comical Neil? No one knows, or knew until now. Every story has a beginning, an origin mind you. Here is Captain Barbells’.

It’s Halloween. I am walking from door to door with the “Earthquake” (aka Fox) and the “Hurricane” (aka Alura). I hear the sweet roar of Chewbacca in the crisp Seattle night air. This can mean only one thing, one of my brothers has just texted me. I look at my phone and see this text word for word from Z.

“Nickay there is Filipino super hero named Captain fucking Barbell. I need a post on this”

Captain fuckin Barbell

“Who is Captain Barbell?”

While the story has changed over the years due to retcons, movies, and a popular TV show, the basic tenants is the same. Enter Enteng, a poor, wimpy and skinny but kindhearted boy who always gets bullied because he is undersized . He tries to weight train to improve his physique but his poor status prevents him from doing so properly. Obviously Enteng never met Hannibal.

Anyway Enteng ends up buying an old, secondhand and rusty barbell and soon discovers that the barbell contains hidden powers. When he lifts it in one hand (strongman style course) and shouts the name “Captain Barbell”, he transforms into Captain Barbell, a superhero possessing invulnerability, super strength, x-ray vision, incredible speed and the power of flight. People who feel Captain Barbell is a rip off of Superman but those people just cannot appreciate the sheer awesomeness of Captain Barbell (and if we can be serious here, he is a rip off of Captain Marvel).

“Who is Captain Barbell?”

Captain Barbell is everything you want to be in the gym. Sets of 50, ha he does sets of 100. You deadlift, he Zercher deadlifts. You eat chicken breast and veggies every meal, he eats rice, lumpia, rice, tocino, and fried rice and still looks better.

Even Captain America tries to get as strong as Captain Barbell

Every great hero needs a great villain, Batman needs the Joker, Superman Lex Luthor, Wolverine Sabertooth. Who in the Philippine Islands is said villain. His main arch nemesis is Viel Villian (yes that is spelled correctly). But don’t worry Enteng befriends Viel’s son after saving him in a car crash while secretly being Captain Barbell and he searchs to figure out who saved him with Enteng’s help… wait a minute isn’t that the first like 4 seasons of Smallville? Maybe there is more to the Superman rip off theory.

Another major foe of Captain Barbell is Aerobika, a once an overweight schoolteacher who was driven to try all sorts of weight-loss remedies in an attempt to forestall her rapidly descending self-esteem. On an impulse, she uses some herbs from her backyard for a new brew of tea infused with the element which the magical barbell is made from. This super tea slims her down into a buxom beauty obsessed with making everyone conform to her newfound standards of beauty. I felt like I saw Aerobika somewhere else, where was that?

I knew you couldn't trust that gym!

“Who is Captain Barbell?”

He is the protector of the weight room (and downtown Manila), the patron saint of iron if you will  Today OCS celebrates you. Guide us on our way.

Captain fuckin Barbell squats. Do you?

 Posted by Nickay

“Checkov? Well, this here’s McCoy. We find a Spock, we got us an away team.”

Posted in Athletes, Syllabus on November 7, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Today we go over two seperate actions that were long overdue. First, we like to acknowledge James Bevan-Lee introduction into the Barbell Club. James is a young lad and currently at Coast Guard Training in New Jersey (which he almost failed due to the all muscle he gained in becoming a member of the club). Here is a picture of James getting “jacked” (its like getting “Iced” but only with a shot of Jack) into the club on Halloween in his nice cowboy zombie outfit.

Secondly, we have another addition to the Syallabus from young James, “The Boondock Saints”. The Boondocks Saints is just like “Gandhi” except for the fraternal twin brothers who believed they have been chosen by the Lord Almighty to smite evil doers. But there are several important things that you can learn from this movie to not understand what it is to be OCS but also to survive I don’t know a “cough” “cough” zombie acoaplyse.

1. Always have rope, Charles Bronson did.

2. Toliets can be an effective weapon in a pinch (be ready for serial crusher theories to run amok).

3.  Irons have many uses other than pressing closes.

Posted by Nickay

“Can’t Rain all the Time…”

Posted in Articles on November 3, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

On Sunday we all gathered to celebrate the memory of fallen police officer Tim Brenton. “Can’t rain all the time” is a quote from one of my favorite movies. I say it a lot and I believe it applies to Sunday. We came together to celebrate and remember a dear friend and brother.

Roo put together this video of friends and family honoring Tim:

The weekend saw friends supporting friends and Matty, Betsy, DP all made their way into the Barbell Club. You guys have always supported me, and for that I am so grateful. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to support you.

Posted by: Z