March 2011

Opening Day Update/The Boy Who Cried Wolf

by Jeff, Coach on March 31, 2011 · 0 comments

I’m beginning to feel like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. Every time I think I know when we’ll be ready to open, I’m informed of yet another reason of why things will be delayed. Since I’m currently batting .000 with my predictions, I’m just going to pass along the information that I have been told by the contractors and tell you that as SOON as we receive our occupancy permit, we will be open for business.

-Today we passed our “Building Shell Inspection.” While I don’t exactly know what this is, I do know that it involved putting address numbers above the front door.

-PGE is currently working on moving our electricity over from the old circuit box to the new circuit box/electricity room. This was supposed to be completed last Monday, and I was told today that it won’t be done until next Monday. The result of this is that the bathroom lights, hot water heater, and HVAC system are currently offline.

-The City Inspectors that are responsible for granting occupancy are “unavailable” until Tuesday. Once they show up they may either grant us occupancy on the spot, or give us a list of items we need to take care of before we open

-Our pull-up structure and rope/ring hanging fixtures will go in after we receiver occupancy approval. Aside from those two items, and a few more 4×8 mats, everything else is in place.

Thanks everyone for your support and patience throughout this whole process. I wish I could make things go faster, but some stuff is just out of my control. We’ll be open soon… I promise.


Move In… For Time

by Jeff, Coach on March 22, 2011 · 0 comments

Hey Everyone! If you haven’t been following our super cool Facebook page, here’s a little update on what’s happening:

-It’s taking a bit longer than expected to have all of our tenant improvement’s constructed (i.e. paint, floors, walls, bathroom, office, lighting, ect…). On the bright side, everything is turning out great and we’re almost to the end of it all!

-Some final touch-ups with the paint are happening tomorrow, and the rest of the bathroom fixtures should also be in by the end of the day.

-Our landlord is re-leveling/finishing our concrete floor (most of which will be covered by 3/4″ inch gym mats anyways), which should occur on Wednesday, and will require a 48 hour lock-down of the premises afterwards. Will this has added a few extra days to the build-out process, at least we won’t have to worry about any run-away barbells…

-If all goes as planned, Saturday and Sunday will be the official “move everything in for time” workout, and Monday we’ll be ready to roll up our garage door and get to training!

If anything changes between now and Monday, I’ll be sure to post an update both here and on Facebook. Until then, stay hydrated, rest well, and dream of the super cool things you will soon be capable of doing.


2011 CrossFit Games Open: You Be the Judge

by Jeff, Coach on March 14, 2011 · 0 comments

With the much-anticipated 2011 CrossFit Games Open nearly upon us, I thought this would be a great time to touch on a subject that is near and dear to just about every CrossFit Games Competitor, as well as any fan of the CrossFit Games: Judging.

For 2011 CrossFit Games Open, CrossFit HQ has elected to leave the responsibility of judging the events to the community at large. While this has drawn criticism from many sources, the reality of this move is simple: Judging never was, and never will be, perfect. This reality not only applies to the CrossFit – The Sport of Fitness, but to other professional sports as well, including: Soccer, Basketball, Football and Baseball.

Who will be the Judge?

Athletes that are participating in the Open will have two options for qualifying for their respective Regional events. The first option is to perform the workout anywhere the proper equipment can be setup, videotape it, and submit the performance via the CrossFit Games Open website. Second, will be the option to perform the workout at a registered Affiliate that has elected to host and certify each of the week’s events.

Competitors who choose to submit their workouts by video will be judged in a digital, frame-by-frame world that will allow each repetition of each movement to be broken down by anyone willing to register on the CrossFit Games Open website.

For the Competitors who decide to compete at local Affiliates who have “opted in” to host each week’s workouts, the responsibility of ensuring proper movement standards and complete range of motion will be left up to a judge who has been chosen to watch and score each athlete, as well as the Affiliate who has chosen the Judge to represent them.

What’s your Strike Zone?

While the CrossFit Games are still in their relative infancy, the challenges in judging the events are old as… dirt. Speaking of which, if you stand on top of a pitchers mound or step into the batters box on a baseball diamond, you will more than likely find what I am talking about.

Major League Baseball defines the Official Strike Zone as the following:

That area over homeplate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.

With each week’s workouts, which will be posted each Tuesday at 5pm PST on the CrossFit Games website, CrossFit HQ will “define the strike zone” by providing a list of standards and range of motion requirements for each movement. Although the movement standards and requirements will certainly be as clear and concise as possible, there will no doubt be different interpretations on what full range and proper execution is. In other words, while we can all agree that “crease of the hip below the knee” is in fact, just that, we would be hard pressed to randomly choose 10 CrossFitters – let alone, CrossFit Judges, who will come to the same conclusion on what that threshold actually looks like.

While some may criticize this inconsistency among judges, saying that judges SHOULD be able to enforce the same exact standards, the reality is this: Umpires in Major League Baseball are required to make hundreds of split second calls each game, earn upwards of $300,000 per season, and have their calls reviewed and graded regularly. Despite this practice, pay, and oversight, each seem to enforce a slightly different version of the strike zone, and you know what…?

Somehow, the best teams still manage to make the post-season, the worst teams still manage to finish last, and the no matter how great of an “on-paper” defense the Seattle Mariner’s field, their lack of anything resembling an offense continues to mathematically eliminate them from reaching playoffs by mid-season (Hey, did I mention that I’m a Mariner’s fan and love baseball?).

Behind the Plate

While some of you may be scratching your head right now wondering how being a Judge in a CrossFit competition is like being a Home Plate Umpire in baseball, take a moment to consider the following similarities:

“Did the ball cross the plate?” – “Did the crease of the hip pass below the knee?”
“Did the runner touch home plate before he was tagged?” – “Did the competitor lock out the rep before he dropped the bar?
“Bottom of the 9th, 2 outs. 3 balls, 2 strikes.” - “Round 3, Rep 12…13…”

Now condense the three hundred or so calls that a Baseball Umpire makes in a 2-3 hour long baseball game into a 10-minute period, and you basically have the responsibilities of a CrossFit Judge in a nutshell (not a peanut nutshell though, because those aren’t paleo).

Sound easy?

Affiliate Competition Judges

Before you decide to volunteer as a judge at your local Affiliate, I would encourage you to answer the following questions as truthfully as possible:

1) Are you willing to set aside your personal interpretations of movement standards for those of the official competition standards?
2) Are you capable of setting aside your personal feelings about a competitor and judge impartially?
3) Are you able to accurately and consistently judge range of motion standards that are being executed at high intensity levels?

If you answered “yes” to all of those, read them one more time and answer them again. Still answered “yes” 3 times? Fantastic. Our community needs more judges like you. Answered “no” to any of them? Well, maybe you should consider becoming a judge via the second option…

Internet Judge aka the Paleo Chair Quarterback

Anyone who has access to the Internet and registers as a fan on the 2011 CrossFit Games Open website is able to judge the competitors who opt to upload their workouts for approval. However, keep in mind that you will be required to submit your name and e-mail in order to register, and the videos you approve or reject will be a reflection of both your own personal standards, as well as whichever Affiliate community you are a part of.

That being said…

Do you have different feelings about what constitutes a properly executed movement? Do you want to support your favorite CrossFit athlete, regardless of how well they do? Are you only capable of accurately and consistently judging range of motion standards when they are executed at a frame-by-frame rate?

Awesome! Sign-up as a fan and go wild judging the Internet submissions, but just remember, the people you reject may walk into your box one day and see your name on the board… In which case, pray that can’t clean and jerk more then you weight, or that you can run, row and swim faster then they can.

Competitor Advice:

For anyone who is competing in the 2011 CrossFit Games Open, my advice to you is simple: Throw it down the middle of the strike zone and don’t leave anything to the judges. If you’re barely hitting parallel in your squat, go farther. If your elbows are still soft at the top of your kettlebell swing, lock them out harder.

In baseball, a good catcher will make sure that they “frame” each pitch. By holding the glove still when they catch a pitch on the edge of the strike zone, they allow the umpire an extra second to make the right call. Sure, this is more work, but they will ultimately get more of the calls that they deserve.

If your hips are locked out for only a split second at the top of your deadlift and you aren’t getting the rep, then start locking them out for two split seconds. Will this be slower? Certainly. However, it will be much faster and much less work then having to repeat a rep.

Be it CrossFit or any other professional sport, athletes will always have issues with the way they are judged. Also like any other sport, arguing with a judges rarely leads anywhere beside an early exit from a competition.

(Obviously, having a great judge that can fully appreciate your lightening fast movements and full range of motion is preferred, much in the same way that having 3 rounds of 5 muscle-ups and 5 clean and jerks at 135lbs come out of the hopper would be great. Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world.)

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

While competitors are no doubt training their hardest to increase their work capacity across broad time and modal domains, obsessing about their diets, and sleeping patterns, they may do well to also consider the following:

1) If you are planning to submit your performance by video, you will be required to have someone in the picture frame with you at all times. Since this is the case, you might as well ensure that they fully understand the movement standards and have them alert you in the case of any borderline reps.
2) Sometimes our self-awareness of what we are actually doing is lacking. This is often the case at both the bottom and the top of an air squat. If you think you could even remotely fall into this category, record yourself doing a few reps of each movement before the workout and watch yourself in slow motion. See if you doing what you think you are doing, and hitting the ranges that you should be.
3) If you decide to opt for the Affiliate route of competition and are worried about getting “screwed” by a bad judge, plan to videotape your workout in accordance with the online submission standards. That way you always have a fall back, should you feel that you were judged unfairly.

One Final Reality Check

When it comes to the challenges of Judging, the reality is that the issues facing the CrossFit Games are no easier or different then the ones that exist in any other professional sport. If anything, CrossFit HQ has made their judging process open and transparent, which will allow them to ensure that they make the right decisions and the best and most deserving people qualify for Regionals. The biggest challenge will almost be for the competitors involved to live up to those standards.