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Entries in btt (8)

Lego Workout Format

Brian the Trainer was kind enough to meet up with me yesterday and helped brainstorm the final details of tomorrow's Lego Theme Workout. Here's what we came up with:

Split group into teams of two.

There are four phases of Lego building:

  • Load-bearing (building a base)
  • Execution (following the directions)
  • Gift-wrapped (passing the set to someone else)
  • Out the door (letting your imagination run wild)

Each team gets four minutes at each phase of the workout to complete as many reps as possible. The more reps a team completes, the more Lego blocks from our stash they accumulate. After the final phase, each team will have 5 minutes to build the highest structure possible out of the Legos they have.

Winning team is solely determined by the highest Lego structure, not the reps completed.

You guys should know by now that any workout Brian is involved in creating is never this simple; there always needs to be rules in place to help Brian gain an advantage. So for this workout, there will be four "cards" available for teams to play on someone. They are:

  • Missing piece
  • Glued together
  • Angry sibling
  • Leg-oh! (don't step on the Lego)

Details will be revealed on the cards handed out during the workout.

Tomorrow. 9 am. This should be a good one!

Quote of the Week vol. 192

VJ's second installment of Thinking Out Loud to be posted tonight at 5 pm.


"If they come to you with bad habits, it's out of your control. If they leave you with bad habits, then it's on you."

- Brian the Trainer

You know Brian used to be able to do handstand push-ups?

From the Vault: Ryan and Brian

I have said before that sometimes I cringe looking back at our older videos. This one is not the worst, but it definitely shows a few things that would not necessarily be embraced knowing what we do now.

Here is Ryan Richard and Brian the Trainer on their 1 RM Hang power clean from June 14, 2011. You also get to see a jew-fro Jack Trastevere in the background.

A few years later (in February 2013), Ryan went for his 2 RM hang clean at 230 lbs.

Performing Olympic lifts from the hang position is challenging because it takes away the momentum that helps with the unweight portion of the lift. But it also can be used as a way of "blocking movement" in the sense that it will often force the correct timing of the unweight and drop. Since there is no momentum, pulling with the arms does not get you very far. Just a few things to keep in mind for today.

Lifts 4 Gifts Prep

Hey kids, just a last reminder than tomorrow is Lifts 4 Gifts at Jarrod's gym CrossFit BMW. We will be meeting at our gym at 9 am and carpool there. Be on time or we will leave you out!

Also, check the archives for your max lift in the squat, press, and deadlift.

CrossFit Total: 2/21/2014 12/21/2013 11/15/2013

1 RM squat: 8/29/2014

1 RM deadlift: 1/17/2014

Remember, bring 20 bucks or a few toys to donate. All proceeds will be going towards Toys for Tots. Prizes will be awarded to guys and girls with top lifts in 21 & under and adult divisions. Also, I may or may not have confirmation that a certain trainer might be making his return to defend his title from 2011 and 2012...

Cross-Town Guest + New Brian Sneak Peek

New mini-editorial by Brian the Trainer will be coming out Friday at 7 pm. It is titled "AMPed up."


Shouts to Wendy from Jarrod's crew at CrossFit BMW who stopped by yesterday for a private running session. Can't wait till the next BMW/Champions Club collaboration.

Behind the Champion vol 7.2: The 11 Things I Learned from Brian the Trainer

Think about what you were doing four years ago. What grade you were in, what sports you were playing, who you were hanging around. That is when the stirrings of the Champions Club began.

Now think about what you were doing four years before four years ago (which would be 8 according to Marygrove math). That is when I was introduced to CrossFit by the legendary Brian Hassler (or BTT/Brian the Trainer/brian t as he is commonly referred to).  This 260 pound powerlifting workout addict stumbled upon the original Men’s Journal article about CrossFit in November 2005 and began to follow the workouts like religion into the spring.

That would be around when I joined him in the daily torture (for a brief account the early days, check out Building a Champion pt. 1.) Understand when we first started, there was no CrossFit Games, no Rogue Fitness, and no knowledge of mobility – as Kelly Starrett’s own San Francisco CrossFit did not even exist at the time. In fact, there were only thirteen CrossFit affiliates in the world (including the most recent addition, Hyperfit/CrossFit Ann Arbor). Aside from a few videos being posted on the main site, it was all learn-on-the-fly. He did the workouts, I followed his lead, and we both became engulfed in what is now a world-wide revolution.

November 12, 2013 marked the 8 year anniversary of my first CrossFit workout, and my time in CrossFit can be evenly divided into two sections: BCC (Before Champions Club) and ACC (After Champions Club). There is no doubt that what the Champions Club is becoming is the most gratifying part of my CrossFit experience. But there is also no doubt that training with Brian the four years prior set us up for success. He didn’t necessarily preach a lot, but he didn’t have to. Like he said, “More is caught than taught.” So in honor if his Quote of the Week, I present:

Behind the Champion pt. 2: The 11 Things I learned from Brian the Trainer.


1. Compete.
Much of my trash talking can be attributed to the days of hanging with Brian. Often times before or after the workout, Brian and I would play a game called Z-Ball. Conceptualized by Brian and his fellow staff members, Z Ball was basically a concoction of tennis, baseball, Saturday Night Live, and monopoly. Tennis, in the sense of volleying back and forth and serving. Baseball, with the fielding and throwing. SNL for the trash talking. And monopoly for the assumed and blatant cheating that occurs. And when Dan Wickham was thrown into the mix, the trash talking elevated from SNL to Wedding Crashers football scene. If we were not warming up with a game of Z ball, then one-on-one was usually the next option. And while the Z ball games were always close, basketball games were not. However, that did not mean that Brian lost his competitive drive. Much of my ability to drive and finish with contact came from the days of Brian trying to keep our games close by any means – which meant hacking the shit out of me. But there was not much that could match the daily competition we would experience in the weight room. Two wins out of the three workouts would earn one of us “The [Weight] Belt” until next three-day cycle was finished.

 

- our results from the CrossFit benchmark workout "Elizabeth"

2. Support what you like. When Brian bought into CrossFit, he literally went all-in. He sported the old-school CrossFit t-shirts, participated in the Message Board, and was a regular contributor in the daily comments section. CrossFit was special because of the community it created. And for that community to work, people had to participate. Brian got that. Even though he was not rolling in dough, the product was worth the money he put in (and then some). It can be a new music group, your current sports team, or especially an important person who came before you. If something or someone is good and provides a positive effect on you, show your support with money, actions, and words.

3. Quality > Quantity. In the early summer of 2010, the “30 Muscle-ups for time” workout came up. With the rings hanging on the back of the bleachers, Brian successfully completed his first ever muscle-up while we were practicing before the workout. So in a sudden and uncharacteristic rush of confidence, Brian decided he was gonna do thirty more – just like the workout called for. So…I started the timer. From that point on, it took Brian exactly seven minutes and not even one successful muscle up to decide he needed to change his plans. Quality is often better than quantity. And it took many humbling experiences CrossFit offered us to learn that “as rx’d” is not set in stone.

4. Family comes first. I’m not gonna lie, Brian’s family activities made me mad. Every summer from 2006-2009, Brian would leave this teenager to fend for himself while he traveled to the west coast from mid-June to mid-July to visit his brother. Then during the Fieldhouse/new weight room era, Dani, Lalla, and Giorgio came into the mix. When family came up, his attention was no longer directed solely on training, or coaching. And now that I think about it, that’s probably exactly the way it should be. It is also part of the reason I will be taking some time off in December when my family from California is coming in.

5. Embrace Popsicle-stick humor. I have always been uncomfortable in any kind of social environment. And Brian was a grown-ass man, so you would think it would be awkward for the 16-year old Chris Sinagoga to be around him. But the exact opposite was true. He would always keep the conversation about sports, music, or CrossFit. And I really began to notice how he controlled the conversation when the Champions Club started. Instead of the off-colored jokes shared when Wickham was around, he would resort to his witty-slash-lame Popsicle stick humor. He always made sure to keep the conversation level comfortable for the audience around him. Renshaws talk should be saved for Renshaws.

6. You shouldn’t always act your age. What good does it serve to be an adult when you are surrounded by kids? If you can’t bring your maturity level down, kids won’t be able to relate to you. Would a “mature adult” be able to come up with creative ideas like the Hawaiian Workout or Z ball? Would a “mature adult” have the imagination to still incorporate play into their workout program? When youthful energy stops, creativity seems to go with it. Being a kid has nothing to do with age.

Playing with backflips - the only known footage pre-Champions Club.

7. There is good music beyond the world of hip hop. Believe it or not, my musical mind was very narrow early on. After early stints with The Beatles and Michael Jackson, my Eminem event happened and everything took a back seat to rap music. But a weird thing happened during our first summer of CrossFit. Brian, for whatever reason, didn’t like rap music. So we listened to his collection of obscure bands such as Dispatch, Flipsyde, and a Christian-rock group called Third Day (which still reminds me of the Filthy Fifty.) After a while, his music grew on me quite a bit. And what I realized is that Hip Hop gave me a solid base to understand music.  Then once I branched out to other genres, I took what I learned from them and applied it to rap. As a result, my understanding of music as a whole became much more developed.

8. Make use of the Create-a-Player option. In MLB 2004, BTT created Brian Hassler: the 180 lb switch-hitting shortstop who would lead the league in home runs, batting average, relief pitching appearances, and steroids taken. I always told him he wasn’t realistic and that his player should be a 250 pound catcher who got tired running to first base. But Brian insisted that when you are in control, you have the ability to make yourself into whoever you want.

9. The 4-plate Club. Brian never once told me to clear up the weights after I was done. I just saw him do it and naturally followed along. And I noticed that if you keep things clean and in good shape, then cleanup is easy. But if you make a mess, then you are responsible for cleaning it up. And if I ever reached the 4-plate club, someone would clean up for me.

10. Wait on your screens. When I rushed through things in basketball, the result was never good. And this was never more evident than in our pick-down Offense. Instead of waiting on the down-screen to get me open, I would get impatient and try to cut to the ball before we were ready and it threw off our team’s rhythm. But one day, Brian stayed in the gym with me for an hour after practice until I got the technique down and figured out that being patient now helped set me up for success later.

11. What you allow is what you encourage. I have never seen anyone train as hard as Brian. And considering the fact that he didn’t have a specific sport to provide extra motivation makes it that much more impressive. You would think that with only two pieces of equipment (Old Faithful and a set of rings), a lack of CrossFit knowledge, and dealing with whatever the elements outside presented, the training would be compromised. But the thought of skipping the workout never crossed his mind. Instead, it was “how can we make this work?” In the process, Brian became one of the fittest people on the CrossFit community by far. Just to give you an idea, we are talking about a guy who posted a 10 minute Helen time and a 500 pound deadlift exactly one week apart (April, 2009). And it all came down to never allowing himself to not work hard. Just work hard and people will pick up on it.

Post your thoughts and interpretation of the lessons to comments.

Behind the Champion vol. 7.1: Up Close with Brian Hassler

Yesterday, I sat down with Brian Hassler to do this highly anticipated Behind the Champion feature. Topics include his high school days, Dan Wickham, and some great words of wisdom.