Archive for May, 2012

“For the Thousand in Attendance and the Millions Watching at Home…”

Posted in Competition on May 24, 2012 by oldcountrystrong

It’s here, the 2012 Crossfit NorthWest Regional Championships

Nickays gonna try and keep a running update on here for everyone between helping Coach and everything else involved with a event like this.

The Comp Teams lookin to do the I/C proud.

Posted by: Z

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“Irene…”

Posted in Competition on May 22, 2012 by oldcountrystrong

Two years ago a Team I was part of represented the Club at the first NorthWest Regionals that actually had a Team qualifier. The Team was  raw, very Raw, and some  on it had little to NO competitive Crossfit experience. That crew was also the first time I started CC programing on anyone outside a few individuals that I trained or shared a bloodline with.

That Team was a big turning point for me as a Coach.

That Team has trained with me every since. Again this coming weekend all six of those individuals will take the floor to represent the Red, Black and Grey. Five from that Team qualified inside the top 30 in our Regional Open this year. The other is the strength anchor for our ladies on this weekends Team.

Those athletes are what I like to in my head refer to as my RedNose Original.
Without them there wouldn’t be a Team this year, there wouldn’t be a Program followed by others outside the walls of our home gym. I owe them a lot, more then they know.

But this weekend isn’t only just about them. Its not about the 6 person Team we have going or the 5 Individuals we have representing. It’s about the Club, the Club is the community, its our Colors, its what we fight and brawl for. We do it to make those that support us proud. We’d just be competitors if it wasn’t for all of you, you make us Real Athletes.

It’s tradition to post a video or something on friday for those about to compete. But instead I’ve decided to allow you all the chance to wish those competing luck today if you can’t make it this weekend. Fridays post we’ll be a message board where Nickay will tirelessly try to Coach and keep you all updated at the same time.

As far as addressing the Team with word of encouragement or a public rant about putting boots to asses I figured I’d step out of my usual type cast role and simple say this.

Good Luck…

Posted by: Z

“Harry’ll do it. I know it. He Doesn’t know how to Fail…”

Posted in Articles on May 20, 2012 by oldcountrystrong

Today’s title post is something I guess Harry Stamper and I have in common.

I have notoriously dragged relationships and jobs out in the past that I should have called quit long before they ended, but I didn’t. Why? Because I hate failing. I don’t let myself consider it an option. As I’ve grown I’ve learned that the way I try to keep from failing is to take on as much responsibility as possible. If I’m in charge I know someone else isn’t gonna mess it up.

I’ve gotten to the point where when people talk to me about things I just smile and humor them cause I know I won’t except whatever “Help” they may want to offer.

Back when the Club first started I had no idea it’d ever get to where it is now. People I don’t know following our program, folks in other countries rockin our gear and an In-House Competition Team that I’m very proud to Coach. The Comp Team is a huge source of pride to the I/C. For those that really go out there and represent for the Red, Black and Grey its pretty consuming. Training, Eating, Recovering, Trying to WORK a regular job.

Let’s be real here, there isn’t too much money in the different arenas the I/C goes to war in.  And let’s be honest Crossfit Competitions along with Kettlebell and Lifting Meets aren’t exactly cheap. And they never seem to be all that close for the most part. Travel, lodging, etc, etc, etc…

Well I take my role as Coach very seriously and with what little I make from OC merchandise sales I try and help out. When I saw what the cost could be for my Team to take off work and Compete in next weekends Crossfit NorthWest Regionals I wanted to help. Like I said I don’t know how to fail, I was gonna find a way. We did a Shirt Sale which was a big hit, but in the grand scheme was really just a small dent and then it happened.

I got an offer from someone to help out.

What’d I do?

Well it’s simple I stonewalled and stalled because I flat out didn’t know what to do with the offer for help. I’m not use to accepting help, makes me feel like I’m not working hard enough myself. But then I had it told straight to me.

“I’m really not use to accepting Help Deb.”

“Well you’re just gonna accept it and say thank you.”
I guess sometimes someone telling you how it is is really all it takes.

What Deb was talking about was Donna Bevan-Lee’s offer to sponsor the Competition Team at next weekends Crossfit NorthWest Regionals. I’m just not use to people following through when they offer to help, so when I was told to accept it and just say thank you, I did just that.

Donna runs The Legacy Center in West Seattle. She has also always been active in helping sponsor local Teams and charities in the area. Donna’s son James has been an athlete of mine for nearly 3 years. In that time I’ve been lucky enough to see him graduate from both college and the Coast Guard Academy. More than anything I’ve seen James grow, and I’m proud of how much he’s grown.

So again when he came to me in the his classic James manner with, “My Mom wants to help sponsor the Team.” I didn’t know what to say. I still don’t really know what to say, so I’ll say this.

Thank you Donna.

My first Crossfit Competition was 5 years ago, it was 30 bucks to enter and was held in a park in Portland. I didn’t know at that time someday I’d be dragging a group of people including your son all over the State, Coast, Country and over the Border to do what we love. And because of your help it makes it a little easier to  do just that.

And thank you for helping me realize accepting help isn’t always a bad thing.

Myself and the rest of the Club hope to do you proud this weekend.

Posted by: Z

“I’ll Make ya Famous…”

Posted in Competition on May 17, 2012 by oldcountrystrong

Here we go folks, Regionals Week four, and with the HOTTLY contested Norcal Reason underway this weekend it’s time to put your money where your mouth it.

What not enough HYPE for you? How bout this little vid hearing the boys of Norcal sound off about eachother. Jason Khalipa talking about Blair is pretty entertaining.

Still not enough Drama? Well how about this, Pat Barber is now OUT. Woke up Monday with stomach pains by mid week his appendix was out. Now shits interesting.

Same format as prior weeks. Feel free to Pick as many of the Qualifying Men, Women and Teams as you’d like. All Regions are sending 3 each, with Norcal potentially sending 4 if you pick Khalipa in your top 3 . If you want, throw some facts supporting your picks along with your choices.

NorCal – Click Here

North Central – Click Here

Australia – Click Here

Posted by: Z

“We are the Jamaican bobsled team”

Posted in Articles, Athletes on May 15, 2012 by fiman61

Z and I were bantering to and fro the other day on an important topic, what sports were we going train my kids to partake in? The usual choices got thrown out but than Z got an epiphany and said it was clear as day. Z said he was going to turn them into shit brickhouses of pushing strength and speed, he was going to turn them into the engines for a living NASCAR. I looked at him perplexed and than he put it on me, Bobsledding.

Most normal folks only interaction with bobsledding was watching “Cool Runnings“. You haven’t seen “Cool Runnings“? It was a Disney movie for Christ’s sake! Anyway, in the movie John Candy creates the famous Jamacian bobsled team. His character’s premise was Jamaica had the best sprinters in the world, he could take some of that talen and transform them into a contender for Olympic Gold. Rasta and cold jokes aside, the rational behind the premise of the movie is totally true. How do I know? Because the good ole U.S.A. has been doing it for years.

Let’s dig into the requirements for a bobsled race. My family is not much of winter sports buffs so I do not have the right experience to discuss the skills needed to battle the inherent danger in riding in a metal sled at speeds in the 150 mph range in a concrete tunnnel filled with ice and possible death which makes up the majority of the race. But, every story has a beginning and the race starts with “the push”, something easier to discuss.

A couple of facts to chew on when considering the push. An empty 2 man sled weighs around 463 lbs, a 4 man sled around 860lbs. You have to push your bobsled around 50m, jump into it on the fly, all while trying not to fall on your ass because of the ice. You do have grooves in the ice so you don’t have to worry too much about steering the thing. Basically, any of y’all who do not like the prowler would probably not like the first part of the bobsled race.

With the push being an important aspect, bobsledding has traditionally seen athletes cross over from track and field to try their luck out. Well America likes to think outside the box. You need strong, explosive fast, athletes over a short distance and time to team up with a driver with nerves of steel. Now where we could find such athletes?

That is winning 4 man bobsled team from the 2010 Winter Olympics. They are some big ole boys. The pushers include a decathlete from Univeristy of Florida, a HS football star who decided to serve his country in the Air Force, and a starting linebacker at Nebraska. Their stats, 6’2″ 216, 6’2″ 235, 6’1 220 and I am not sure if they are carrying a lot of unnecssary weight (the driver Steve Holcomb carries a little more but since he is the guy who keeps everyone alive he’s cool). Big, fast, powerful human beings, as Z claimed, literally a human engine. And how do these men train. Curt Tomasevicz puts it in eloquent Midwest terms:

“To break it down even further, our lifting workouts are probably 80% lower body work. My two favorite words are “squats” and “cleans”. These two lifts make a bobsledder. Some of our workouts in the past few years have included up to 180 repetitions of squats. A wise strength coach once said that “Squats can cure cancer.” Maybe that’s a meat-head comment, but that is the type of mindset we must have to endure the grueling offseason workouts. I’ve been known to lose my lunch a few times throughout the summer due to the training exertion. I love being in the weight room testing my body’s limits every day. I may not be one of the fastest guys on the team, but I take pride in being one of the strongest”

And these men where not the first, countless other power athletes have become U.S. pushers including a certain Heisman trophy winner who does a bit of everything. I guess this is just another example that it pays to be squat and clean heavy and often. Who knows, maybe in 15 years you will see a Filer boy/girl being the human NOS button for a bobsled on NBC.

Posted by Nickay.

“Only suckers Buck the Tiger, the odds are all on the House”

Posted in Competition on May 10, 2012 by fiman61

Hopefully you have seen The Avengers already so you spend your time on more important things this weekend, and no I do not mean Dark Shadows. No I’m talking about Week 3 of Regionals.

We got four Regionals coming your way this weekend, one with the past two champions competing for a place in this years Crossfit Games.

Same format as prior weeks. Feel free to Pick as many of the Qualifying Men, Women and Teams as you’d like. The American regions are sending 3 each, Canada 2 each, and only a single competitor from Latin America. If you want, throw some facts supporting your picks along with your choices.

Here are the four Regions. Furthermore in a first, the slobberknocker which is the Central East this weekend will be broadcasted live on ESPN 3. Click Here.

Latin America- Click Here

Southern California- Click Here

Canada East – Click Here

Central East- Click Here

Time to seperate the Men/Women from the Boys/Girls.

Posted By: Nickay

“If you can Beat that last bit out of them… They ain’t Fighters at all…”

Posted in Articles, Athletes on May 8, 2012 by oldcountrystrong

The title of this post is so true to what I get the honor to talk about today.

There are a hundred different ways I could start out what I have to say. I’ve thought about them all and started to write and delete most of them more times than I can count. I’m very good at my job and I also supposedly have a talent for writing (though I do need an editor), so I figured this writeup would be easy but it has me somewhat at a lost for words. This is usually not the case for me, talking is a large part of my job and talking shit is another gift that comes naturally to me. When I write it out like that, I feel this post should already be half done but it hasn’t even started.

Maybe that’s half the problem with what I want to talk about today. I only get to write about it once, and life long goals achieved are hard to write about. But here I go…

I’m a Coach/Trainer by trade, I love my job. I got into almost 6 years ago when I was living at a Fire Station as a Resident Firefighter. At the time I had been on a course to become a firefighter most of my life. While I was there started to help out some of the other guys and one of the girls in getting ready for fitness tests and what not.

It started that simple, I slowly found something I cared about more and I’d change the path I was on. But I wouldn’t change paths right away it’d take some time. During that transitional period, I had my first Real “Help Me” training case. I wasn’t officially a Coach or Trainer or whatever it is you want to call it yet but someone was asking me for some real help in achieving a goal.

Her Name was Annie and she had been in the same class as me. She had received an offer through the Seattle Fire Department and was more then likely going to get hired. The Seattle Fire Departments Drill School is notoriously hard. And if you can’t cut it things are simple, you’re fired.

She needed to get ready for Drill School and asked me for it. I’m not gonna go in depth on how we got her ready because that not whats important to the story.

What is important is that out of the four women that started that drill school, Anne was the ONLY one to graduate. What’s even MORE important is what happened after she graduated.

She’d be the last female candidate to achieve that goal.

Now I feel like we have set the stage for our story. My work with Anne convinced me that I was good at what I did. I changed my goals and began a career as a trainer later transitioning into Crossfit and now into my more current role as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. I run a gym in West Seattle and this is where our story begins to tie together.

One day I walked into the gym and was told, “Hey some new girl joined, said she was a firefighter or wanted to be a firefighter or something like that. Said she knew you.”

I racked my brain when I heard it but couldn’t come up with who it could be. I had become somewhat known for training firefighter candidates and figured it was someone who knew of me and not someone who Knew me personally. But the next week when she came back in I looked at her sideways and I recognized her. Her name was Amina and I had met her through one of the guys in Annie’s SFD class, small world. Anyways she wasn’t looking to get any kind of special training she was already a career firefighter and just needed a gym to workout at.

Amina and I became pretty fast friends and even roommates for a while. One thing I knew about Amina was she wanted to be a firefighter, and she was. But she wasn’t with the Department she had made a promise to herself when she was young that she’d be with. She had told herself she was going to be a Seattle Firefighter. During the time Amina was at the gym we had two guys come and go who got hired with SFD. Then another Testing cycle came up with SFD and Amina told me she was going to take it.

I didn’t think to0 much about it at the time. But she kept moving further and further in the process. Until one day she sent me the text.

“I got Hired.”

What she’d ask me next caught me off guard.

“I need your help to get ready”

As I took in the whole Obi-Wan theme of the conversation, I respond the way I do to anyone looking to accomplish a goal.

“Gonna have to put in the work then.”

We both knew what we were undertaking. As I mentioned earlier in the post the last female candidate to complete Seattle Drill School was someone I trained. But that didn’t mean there weren’t other candidates in between Annie and Amina. No in fact it had been 5 years, 4 recruit classes and 11 other female candidates since a woman had finished Seattle’s Academy. Considering I was batting a thousand so far getting people though Drill School, I PROMISED Amina I’d have her ready.

We went to work.

Now Amina is no slouch, and this wasn’t her first rodeo. She was already a firefighter. Which also ment she would have to leave her career with one Department to take a shot at completing the SFD Drill School. She was gonna follow her dream and I couldn’t tell you how much I respected her for that. But  just cause you have a dream doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen. She was gonna have to earn it. Five Years and eleven other candidate had failed, the pressure was on.

It would have been easy to have her follow a program I was writing for one of her male counterparts that was also attending the Academy as well but I had a special Hell set up for Amina. You see as I said I made a promise, and I was gonna keep it.

I told her straight.

You’re Strong, but you’re not strong enough. We’re gonna get you Stronger and BIGGER. You know what happens when you tell most girls that your goal is to actually MAKE them BULKY, yeah they usually either A) Cry or B) Tell you to get fucked. She didnt do either she just nodded her head. I let her  know we were gonna build a suit of armour around her using squats, deadlifts, shrugs and a shit load of food.

I also told her, “I know I told you we don’t do curls, but guess what? Your gonna start doing curls, LOTS OF THEM.”

She loved it, lifting and eating how awesome was that? Well then the day came where it was time to start hardening her mind.

You’re Tough, but I need you tougher. I need you to forget that your legs are burning, that your backs sore. I need you to take that fucking inhaler of yours and crush it under your boot, cause you don’t need it anymore. I had trained Amina for a couple years, I knew what she could do and what she didn’t think she could do. My goal was to honestly make her cry once a week. I always told her I needed more, that she needed to show me more then she was giving. I did this even when inside I was prouder of her then anyone in the room.

I never let up on her. And you know what, she never cried, she never complained. She didn’t bitch when I’d send her a morning lift session only to check her phone later that day and see that I wanted her to row 7 1ks after dinner. It never ended. I’d find sandbags bigger then her and tell her I needed them off the ground and to her shoudler 10 times before she had to sprint around the block then smash a tire with a sledge hammer.

She never quit on me. I pushed her well passed her comfort zone, I tried to beat the fighter out of her but I never could.

She tackled her fears and she pushed passed level of exhaustion she didn’t know she had. She was ready and she walked into that Academy ready. Her whole time during Drill School she never complained to me. Never let the work load or the long days beat her down. She put her head down and marched. And when the day came that she was facing an obstacle in the way of her dream she texted me.

“I have to pass that fucking dummy test Saturday.”

If you think dragging a near 200 pound dummy up a stairwell in full gear doesn’t sound bad your dead fucking wrong. But thats not what I told her. I told her the same thing I told her while she was training for Academy.

“You have to. You dont have a choice. Grab that fucking dummy pull it into your body and fight through burning legs and arms and get that fucker up and out.”

When she texted me that Saturday that she had done just that I knew she was set, I knew she could do anything else they through at her.

Amina finished out the rest of the Seattle Fire Departments notorious Drill School. She is the only women in five years to do this. She earned it and tonight she is graduating.

I am so very Proud of you girl, you took a life long goal and made it a reality. It was not a easy path for you and you earned this. I’m glad I got to have a small part on this long road of yours. Congratulations, and enjoy your new career with the city of Seattle.

I have yet to have a male or female fail under my watch, still batting a thousand.

Posted by: Z