The significance of “Murph”

Happy Memorial Day

A special Thank You to the Men and Women of our Armed Forces, protecting our daily lives. Your sacrifices are not forgotten, and cannot be repaid.

In Crossfit there are several workouts which are labeled HERO WOD’s. These WOD’s are designed to push you mentally and physically in the effort to pay tribute to those who have laid down their life in the field of battle, or public safety. Each WOD has a story, each story has a purpose.

Many Crossfitter’s have heard of “Murph.” Few have experienced it, including myself.  The Murph WOD is for time:

  • 1 Mile Run
  • 100 Pull Ups
  • 200 Push Ups
  • 300 Squats
  • 1 Mile Run

Doesn’t that make you want to shit your pants? Because it should. Most of this WOD is mental. You have to push yourself to the point that your body is literally going to fall apart. Here is the story of Lt. Michael Murphy KIA on June 28th 2005:

A team of 4 Navy SEALs led by LT. Michael P. Murphy on a mission to capture or kill a key Taliban leader, found themselves seriously outnumbered in a firefight with well over 100 enemy troops. Pinned down and under intense enemy fire, their communications operator severely wounded, they were in desperate need for help. Due to the mountainous terrain, their communications could not be received. Understanding the situation, LT. Michael P. Murphy moved to open exposing himself to enemy fire, to use his satelite phone to request immediate support to save his team. LT Murphy was mortally wounded making that call. They continued fighting until Lt. Murphy and two of his three team mates were mortally wounded. His fourth team member, severly injured himself, managed to escape where he was taken in by a local villager until he was rescued 4 days later. He went on to tell the story in a book titled “The Lone Survivor”

For his selfless leadership, courageous actions and extraordinary devotion to duty, LT. Michael P. Murphy received the Medal of Honor, the first service member to receive the medal in Operation Enduring Freedom, and the first Navy recipient of the medal since Vietnam.

How you do “Murph” can vary from Box to Box. It is pretty common to see the WOD done in partner form. Basically this splits each part of the WOD in what ever form the partnership would like. This allows for one partner to carry the load when the other partner needs a rest. All in all, you are keeping the sacrifices of people who you don’t even know in mind. You keep their sacrifices in mind when you feel like cheating a rep, or feeling like you cannot continue. You keep in mind that they couldn’t stop. They couldn’t see their families one more time, and it helps you pull that last possible ounce of energy out of your muscles in order to succeed in the WOD.

As hard as the “Murph” WOD is…I cannot wait to try it for the first time.

Obviously, Crossfitters around the world doing the various hero WOD’s will not bring those lost on the field of battle back to us. It does, however, help you take LESS things for granted. It helps you remember that someone, somewhere died. You may NEVER know their name, but they were thinking of you, and every American when they took the risks that cost them their lives.

Keep this in mind when you are enjoying that cold beer with your families this summer. To all those who have fought, and currently fought for my freedom…thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Click HERE for an article from the Crossfit Journal that explains the Hero WOD’s a little bit better than I can.


The New Obsession, is it Healthy?

As many of you CF’s out there know, we have a pretty awesome thing going on. We have the support of our fellow WOD’ers when ladies like “Fran,” or “Helen” decide to rear their ugly heads and kick our asses. The question I am going to pose to you today:

Is there a point where Crossfit & Paleo Nutrition can become unhealthy?

My gut reaction to that question is no, at no point can Crossfit or Paleo Nutrition become unhealthy for a person. You have to think about it. How could working out, eating right, and improving yourself actually be bad for you? For the 99.95% of CF’ers out there, it is completely a healthy occupation of the mind. We get into the program wanting to better ourselves in some way, whether that be appearance, strength, or some people can get into it for mental preparation.


See what I did there? I just put a big BUT in the post! HA!

I know….It’s 0745 on a Thursday morning and I am blogging because I woke up early, and can’t go back to sleep. Please excuse the cheesy humor.

Anyway, where was I? Right…I am waiting for the Crossfit God’s (Glassman flanked by his two angels Fran and Grace) to smite me down for this bit of pseudo blasphemy I am about to spew thru the keyboard.

Crossfit can be unhealthy for a person. Many of us feel the need to workout. We get used to certain routines feel like we need to push ourselves to exceed the normal, or the comfortable. It can reach a point where it does become unhealthy. There is sufficient evidence out there that Crossfit can cause Rhabdomyolsis. “Rhabdo” for short is the breakdown of muscle fibers that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Myoglobin is harmful to the kidney and often causes kidney damage. Scary shit right? This CAN seriously F*ck up your life.

I did some searching on the great and knowledgeable internets. I found a CF Journal article from an MD in Northern Arizona. Rhabdo is commonly seen in burn patients, severe bee sting patients, and  victims of crush injuries. According to Dr. Ray, Rhabdo is occasionally seen in patients who have been exposed to high intensity exercise in high heat. Athletes will first notice their symptoms of Rhabdo when they start urinating “coca-cola” colored urine. You can also feel nausea, and muscle fatigue but as Crossfitter’s sometimes we overlook those symptoms because that’s how we feel after a really great WOD.

So I am not going to go much more into the science behind Rhabdo, I did link up to the article above and please feel free to read it for yourself. It is very informative. If there is anything you should take away from this blog post, its not that Crossfit is bad for you. I’ll admit I may, or may not have used that tag line to draw you into the post. Sue me. I want you to be educated so that you can properly hydrate, and rest after WOD’s to make sure that your body has time to recover and doesn’t literally destroy itself in protest to the exercise. If ever you doubt, or question any of  your symptoms after a high intensity WOD…SEE A DOCTOR. You only get one body people, take care of it. That is, after all, the reason most of us started doing Crossfit in the first place right?

Now…remember when I said Paleo can be bad for you too? I will admit I may have embellished that line a tad as well. Sue me, again.

I follow the Paleo Diet Lifestyle’s blog. I have all his cookbooks. There are some BOMB recipies on there, its an eBook download and let me tell you it was worth the $29.99.

Anyway, I am getting off track here. On the PDL’s website, there was an article that got my attention. It had to do with Eating Disorders and a Paleo Diet. It actually has a lot to do with how American society thinks about food. I am telling ya, it was a great article to read. I have talked a lot lately about nutrition, mostly because when it comes to food I have no will power. I try not to stress over what I am eating, but sometimes you just can’t help it.

What I love about this article is it touches on some very good points about combining Paleo with a person who has disordered eating. He does a great job noting that it is NOT actually the diet that causes these problems, but it is the effort to maintain the diet that can spiral out of control to an unhealthy obsession. In case I don’t say it enough, this was a great article. Please click the link in the paragraph above and read it over. Even if you don’t suffer from disordered eating, it provides a wealth of information on a topic that is so often tabooed in our society.

For example, he uses this self assessment to determine if you are taking the Paleo diet to an unhealthy obsession:

  • When you break your own food rules, do you feel like you’ve failed as a person?
  • Do you assign extreme moral qualities to food, especially negative qualities (e.g. “white flour is evil. Sugar is the devil. I don’t need to abuse my body with poison like that.”)
  • Are you nervous about eating something anyone else has cooked, even if the person tells you the ingredients?
  • Do you frequently get frustrated because nutrition information isn’t precise enough?
  • Do you feel fear or hatred for certain foods (not the people or the advertisers or the culture surrounding the foods, but the foods themselves)?
  • Do you ever lose sleep worrying over something you ate or are considering eating?
  • Do you consistently feel that you have to keep making your diet stricter and stricter?

If you can answer “YES” to any more than two of these questions, you should have some serious concern. Basically, if you find yourself obsessing over the food that you eat to the point that it effects your life, that’s when you have a problem.

Remember that this is not to put down the Paleolithic Nutritional plan. Like I said earlier, it is the best plan that I have encountered to date. It is backed by scientific research, and most importantly (for me) is not commercially motivated. No one profits off of you switching to primal eating…except for maybe Whole Foods, but that’s a topic for another day.

I hope this post gave you a little self-awareness about your nutritional plan and exercise routine. Neither of these plan’s are actually bad for you people, remember that. It becomes destructive when it becomes an obsession. The kind of obsession that keeps you up and night and effects your relationships with others.

This is not McDonald’s. This is My CrossFit Box.

“What we do want, as a community, is for everyone to love their CrossFit Experience from their very first WOD.

WOD Nomadic


McDonald’s has rationalized their business to a Global presence.  When you enter a McDonald’s restaurant you know exactly what to expect.  When you order a Big Mac you know exactly what it will taste like, what it will be wrapped in and what type of table you will be sitting at when you eat it.  They also have somehow trained us to pick up after ourselves – good job McDonald’s, something did transfer into CrossFit.

Now let’s move from why we engage in fitness to where we engage in fitness. Similar to McDonald’s, gyms like 24 Hour Fitness have rationalized their existence (Globo Gym).  When you walk into a 24 Hour Fitness you know where to find the free weights, how to find the next scheduled spin class and don’t worry, there will be a trainer who will put your weights back.

These gyms can also offer muti gym memberships…

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I’m Moving On…

No, I am NOT giving up on CrossFit!

I recently moved, and that move took me an hour away from my current box. I am still WOD’ing 3x a week at my original box. The part that is becoming frustrating, and demotivating is that it is so far away. Two days a week, I drive down to the box after I get out of work and one day a week I have to drive all the way down from home. I have a coffee and enjoy the drive, sometimes its relaxing…other times its annoying. There is something about a good playlist, and the open road that can really help clear the head. If you combine that with a kick ass workout, that will put you on the road to stress free pretty freaking quick.

I have thought, stressed, and debated this process over and over in my head many times. I have some really awesome support at Crossfit 508, in Attleboro MA. People may not know my name, who I am, or even that I am writing this blog about them as we speak. However, after all of that, after every ounce of energy was disposed of…and I was hanging in that POST WOD haze, they were there to support me.

This past weekend our Box moved locations. We went from Attleboro, to a location in North Attleboro. Saturday was the last group WOD at the old Box. We sent the Box off with the following “Bittersweet WOD” it was a partner WOD:

  • 50 Burpee Buy In (25 each person)
  • 100m Overhead Walking Lunges w/ 20# Wall Ball. Split evenly between the pair.
  • 200m Kettlebell carry each does 200m.
  • 400m Run. Each do 400m.

I saw it up on the whiteboard, and thought…3 rounds? Sure…why not? Well, lets just say I was smoked after doing 25 burpees. No rest for the weary tho, onto the walking lunges. I have been doing a lot of work with hip mobility and getting the flexibility down to do lunges properly. I thought I was making great progress, that was until I placed a 20# Wall Ball over my head.

I can’t say enough about my partner during this WOD. I was partnered with a woman who had been with our Affiliate manager/owner for many years. She had nothing to offer but encouragement. Instead of getting in my face and yelling “NO REP” when my knee wouldn’t touch the ground during a lunge she would offer encouragement, despite being only able to speak 2-3 word sentences from the shortness of breath caused by the work out. I was the last to finish all 3 rounds of the work out. There is something to be said for that, but you know what? I finished at least. I finished the workout with a time of 31:23. I was actually surprised, I came around the corner on the back half of the last 400m run. I wasn’t sure what I heard…then it became clear.


I thought holy shit! They’re cheering for me? Aren’t they exhausted, tired, trying not to puke? Oh wait…that’s me. I got angry. I felt like a gazelle trying to get angry at the pavement and kept just slamming my legs in my stride trying to shave whatever time off of the clock that I could. I was at that moment where I thought I would surely die, and I jumped over that line that was holding me back in my head. They saw me come around that corner, and the rest was a blur. Next thing I knew I was starring at the timer wondering if I was going to vomit all over the pavement.

So…you’re probably wondering why I went on that psedo-tangent there huh?

It finally clicked inside my head, this isn’t specific to my Box. This is a mentality of the people that Crossfit. We are all there in the WOD, we all have to get thru that grueling work out one way or another. This is a form of support that will never change. It’s the same mentality from the people that do Crossfit.

I have learned more in the last 2 months of Crossfit, not about the sport, but about myself. That security is allowing me to move on. I’ve decided that it will be better for me (from a big picture) to switch to a closer box to my home. There is some comfort in knowing that the CF world is VERY small. We’ll definitely run into each other again some day.

That being said, there are a few points that I want you fellow beginner Crossfitter’s to remember:

  1. Don’t give up, the beginning is always the hardest.
  2. You’ll pass out before you die, despite how many burpees are on the whiteboard.
  3. It’s not how good you are, its how good you want to be.

Paleo Challenge, 1 Month Down, 2 Months to Go

Lately, I feel like I am writing more about eating that I am about the WOD. Maybe for good reason, maybe because this is my safety topic. Who knows? For those of you who may be a tad behind the 8 ball in everything that is going on in my life, because clearly I am worth the attention haha, I am almost to the half way point in my gym’s Paleo Challenge. Today, I am talking about how the challenge is going for me so far.

The best way that I could describe it: Picture an old man standing in front of a locomotive and trying to keep it from moving.

Years of bad eating habits have finally started to slow down, and even worked on getting reversed. I still have intense sugar/carb cravings and occasionally I give in a lot more than I would like to admint to anyone. I have learned, through this challenge that Chicken Parm is no longer my best friend. Burgers with no buns, and side salads are. I think the most important lesson I have taken out of this so far, is how much I really do love cooking. In the past it used to just make quick meals that would get me in and out of the kitchen. Now (partly because I have a bigger kitchen now) I actually enjoy making most of the recipes that I find out there on the various Paleo Blogs.

Well, now lets talk results. I have lost 15 pounds so far, and feel like I am leveling out on that front. Take note: LBS off the scale isn’t always the best benchmark for physical fitness, but it certainly is the easiest (aside from staring in a mirror.) I feel more alert, and like I require less sleep. When I wake up in the morning, I am ready to go out and tackle what lies ahead. Before I switched my nutrition, I usually needed 3-4 cups of coffee loaded with milk and sugar prior to facing the day. This is a huge improvement, as I rarely require 1 cup. 

While were on that topic…I do love me some Coffee. Nothing better on a hot summer’s day then that ice cold coffee. Well, maybe an ice cold Sam Summer…but thats another topic. I have always drank my coffee with Milk & Sugar. Now, while focusing my nutrition on more primal basis, I have to try and find better ways to sweeten my coffee and still enjoy it like I used to. Good news is, I have found the perfect mixture. I use Vanilla flavored Almond milk with a 1/2 tsp of Stevia sweetener. If you haven’t tried it yet, TRUST ME you’ll love it.

No one is perfect in this run around the sun that we have. Even in the Box there are times where we “NO REP” and miss getting our shoulders locked above our heads, or we don’t dip completely below the parallel for our squat. It’s tough, and its frustrating. Most of the time we learn from it. Every time I “NO REP” with my nutrition, my body has NO PROBLEM giving me the big ol’ f*ck you when it tries to digest it.

No one will be the same when it comes to the nutrition that works for them. Everyone will have to find the sweet spot that allows them to meet their peak performance, and feel the best. I’m not there yet.  I haven’t seen many improvements in my performance, other than increased endurance.

For more information on my sources for some AMAZING Paleo recipes, head over to my links page. Also, I just added my online WOD Journal section. I am going to use this to show my “scalable and quantifiable” progress to all of you.

The Only Easy Day…Was Yesterday.

(C) Crossfit EXP – As posted on their website.

Remember when you thought you were “working out?” We were all there at one point, running endless cycles on the elipticals, arc trainers, or treadmills. Those routines were usually followed by some form of a weight lifting routine where we would endlessly lift weights up, and put them down. We would get frustrated at our lack on improvement results, and then it happened. Someone you know, somewhere made the suggestion.

“You should try Crossfit.” instantly inside your head, you start thinking how you aren’t strong enough for it. You think about all the beastly individuals you see on ESPN late at night banging out WOD’s at the Games every year. Then it happens, you start googleing the shit outta everything you can on all that is Crossfit. You search aimlessly on YouTube hoping to get an ounce of direction to make the decision easier for you. After some searching you know exactly how many “Boxes” are in your acceptable driving distance, and then you start looking at the prices. Suddenly, you are turned off…you say “This isn’t for me.”

Money sucks, there is never enough to go around. It is dirty, it complicates things, and we always seem to owe it to someone, somewhere. So we have settled it then, might as well spend it on something that is going to get some great results.

Moving on…

That itch comes back to ya. No, not that itch that you got after your night out last weekend that requires a rather large shot of penicillin in your gluteus maximus. I am talking about the desire to change. The frustration with way things are going, whether it be professional, personal, or physical. You reach the breaking point and realize that something needs to be done. You do just that, exactly what needs to be done. You find that Box that offers you what you need, the people, coaching, and the WOD’s come together in a perfect….


The reason I am writing this post is to tell you this, not all of us look like Rich Froning. We are, for the most part, all amateurs simply trying to better our lifestyle to a form of fitness that is useable in the rest of life. You will be dragged out of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is still stuck on the treadmill back at the globo-gym that you left behind in the search of a better life.

I have a rule of thumb, if there is a workout where I have an option…I choose the option that I want to do the least. For the exact reason that it takes me outside of my comfort zone. For example, this past Wednesday we did a WOD where we could choose to row or run. It was pouring rain, I should have ran. Here is how it was structured:

Option 1: 5 X 1000m w/ 2 Minutes rest between each 1000m. Keeping each attempt within 2-5 seconds of each other.

Option 2: 5X800M w/ 2 Minutes rest between each 800m. Keeping each attempt within 2-5 seconds of each other.

I chose the rowing option, such a bad idea. I did, however, learn a lot about my form for rowing. Most of what I learned was how it went to shit after about 650m, but still…it was something learned. It was a lot tougher than I ever thought it would be.

OK, so I am finally done writing on this one. I want you to take away from this: that it is not gonna kill you. It will break you down, but you will survive and feel the best you have ever felt!

Take care everyone, be sure to check out ESPN 3 (might as well be ESPN ‘the ocho’) for the Games coverage. I have been watching last year’s games on repeat getting pumped for July.