Author Archives: Jim Kean

How to Build An Active Workspace (and Why It’s So Important)

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I, like many people I know, want to seek balance in my life between work, family, and personal health. And yet our culture and habits often keep the three separate. So why is it important to have an active workspace?

The workplace is increasingly becoming a voracious consumer of our attention and time. And as it currently exists, the average workplace does little to promote time with our families, more sleep, or physical health. Continue reading

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Competing in 2012 CrossFit Games – Workout 2

The second CrossFit Open workout, or 12.2, posted Wednesday February 29th at 5 pm. The amount of participation in the Open this year has led to so many people hitting the Games website at that time that the site crashes. No different this time around!

If you recall, the first Games workout was to do 7 minutes of jump-up burpees. This workout was really targeting an all around full body movement that emphasized efficiency of movement as well as metabolic conditioning. Brutally effective.

12.2 went the other direction and prescribed an Olympic weight-lifting movement – the power snatch to be done in a laddered approach. The workout looked like this for men and women up to 55 years of age:

The format was really smart and kept within the vein of trying to keep it approachable for all levels of CrossFitters in the Games but as the workout progressed make it increasingly demanding so that only the elite Games athletes would be able to continue. They accomplished their goal – the workout was technical, emphasized skills, and ultimately strength and endurance.

When a workout posts, the first thing I do is read the description of requirements and then I watch the demonstration video. This year the people organizing the workouts (Dave Castro) and judging (Adrian Bosworth) are flying around the world and utilizing famous CrossFit Athletes to demonstrate the workouts. Last week the went to Valley CrossFit in Los Angeles and had Kristin Clever (Women’s World Games Champion 2010 and 2nd Place Games 2011) and Rebecca Voight ( 3rd Place 2011) demonstrate the workout. This week they flew to Cookville, TN and had Dan Bailey (2011 Open Champion) and Rich Frohning (Men’s World Games Champion 2011) demo the workout.

It was impressive watching the two men do the workout. Both made it through the first 3 weight categories and got to 210 lbs with about 90 seconds left. Dan’s technique started to fall apart slightly at 210 lbs (95 reps) but Rich’s was flawless (98 reps). Rich’s score ended up being the top men’s score.

Whenever a workout posts, I view the materials but then overlay my own potential and characteristics onto the workout. I also do this against the backdrop of being a 50-55 year old Masters competitor.

I just started learning all the Olympic lifts in August so this area is not my strongest. In particular, the Snatch and Power Snatch are difficult lifts for me because of tightness in my shoulders, hips, and ankles. I have been really working to concurrently improve my technique as well as my mobility (mostly viewing videos in mobilityWOD.com by Kelly Starrett) in all of these body systems. However, my one rep max (1RM) for power snatch going into the competition was 155 lbs and I really had to work to get 135 lbs even a few times. One thing going for me is that I do have quite a bit of raw strength and thought I would be able to achieve a good result regardless.

The other thing that was potentially an advantage is that a vast majority of my fellow Masters would have the same issues. I definitely thought that a fair number of people would be able to do all 30 of both 75 and 135 lbs. However, most of the ones who did well in 12.1 would not have the strength to do well in 12.2. The stronger, larger people who didn’t do well in a 12.1 metabolically oriented WOD would have a great shot at getting some really good scores in 12.2.

I am more of a generalist. I can survive and do fairly well in just about anything but not the best either. Being a generalist is an advantage as no one workout can cause too much damage in the standings.

However, I also thought that getting 60 reps would be crucial as the drop-off below the 60th rep would be too big of a point hit to overcome if I wanted to finish in the top 20 at the end of the Open and go to the Games.

I set two goals. My first goal was to get all 30 reps of 75 lbs and 135 lbs or 60 reps in total. My second goal was to have enough time at the end to take a whack at a few reps in the next weight category of 165 lbs. This would be the ultimate as I thought very few Masters would be able to do this.

My heat for Friday night March 2nd was slated at 7:30. My judge was Chris Medieros. I also was listed as a judge for the 6:25 pm heat. My athlete was La Mar Shepard. I showed up early and did a one-mile run to get warm. I then worked my shoulder mobility and warmed up with the movement at a variety of weights.

I judged La Mar. He did really well and scored a 78.

When my turn came, I started out doing the 30 reps of 75 lbs in 3 sets of 12, 10, and 8. I had a good transition putting on the 135 lbs weights. I got into a really good rhythm of doing one rep every 7 seconds. I could tell my technique wasn’t that great but I was getting the weight up and most importantly I did not miss a rep. With 90 seconds left, I had ten reps to go and really kicked it in. I finished with about 15 seconds to go but didn’t have a enough time to try 165 lbs. However, I was happy with the result, I had never done that many consecutive reps of 135 lbs before.

My score posted and once the dust had settled I had placed 39th out of a little less than 850 people for workout 12.2. The prior week I had place 100th with 12.1 so this score was significant and allowed me to move up to 32nd in the World.

With three more workouts over the next three weeks, I have the opportunity to continue to improve and move up in the standings.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Background on CrossFit Games

Jim Kean

Jim Kean | COO

In 2007, a number of the early CrossFit pioneers decided to hold an event to see who was the “fittest” and thus was born the CrossFit World Games. Since 2010, the Games have been held at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles to allow the many fans and spectators to follow.

The 2011 Games represented a watershed event for CrossFit in a variety of aspects:

  • Sponsorship: For the first time, the 2011 Games were sponsored by a large corporation, Reebok. More significantly, Reebok anted up a large cash pool of $1 million for the top finishing athletes.
  • Athletes: CrossFit allows anyone to compete, but with the large cash prize, the highest level CrossFit athletes can make a living.
  • Coverage: ESPN3 covered the 2011 Games, rebroadcast the games in 2012, and is providing more coverage for the 2012 Games.

The structure of the Games follows the grassroots democratization ethos that runs strongly through CrossFit’s culture. The Games run through three levels culminating in the World Games.

First level – the Open:

  • Beginning in late February, CrossFit Headquarters posts a workout every Wednesday at 5pm PST with specific instructions on what constitutes an acceptable workout. An athlete then has five days to submit their results.
  • Your workout can be judged either by a registered CrossFit Affiliate or via a videotaped and posted workout.
  • The structure of the Open workouts is based on totaling up total repetitions and then assigning you a score of based on how you ended up placing vs. the rest of your group. For example, the first Open Workout of 2012 was an AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) of Burpees (a hellish combination of a pushup, squat, jump) in 7 minutes.
  • Workouts are posted to the Leaderboards and ranked according to completion. For example, as a Masters 50-54 Male, I did 99 reps in 7 minutes. This ranked me worldwide at 98th meaning 98 people either did more than me or the same. This result gave me 98 points.
  • There will be 4 more workouts in the next 4 weeks. They will attempt to hit all manner of movement related to strength, speed, skill, endurance, etc. as well as attack any weak areas an athlete might have.
  • After the five weeks of workouts, the 60 athletes with the lowest total scores in the Open Men’s and Women’s Categories in each of the 17 Worldwide Crossfit Regionals will be sent to a regional competition.
  • As well, each affiliate will send 3 men and 3 women to compete as a team.
  • Lastly, the top 20 Masters athletes worldwide in eight categories will bypass Regionals and go directly to the World Games in July.

Second level – the Regionals:

  • In April and May the Worldwide Regional Games will be held in 17 Regions.
  • These will generally represent 7-10 different workouts over 3 days.
  • The top three individual men and women athletes as well as the top three teams from each region will go onwards to the World Games in July.

Third level – the 2012 World Games:

  • The Games follows the same format of 3-4 days of competition in a variety of skills and events.
  • On the last day, the top 10 competitors in each category will be selected for the final workouts.
  • The top three finishers in all categories will ascend the podium.

This year’s Games should be huge for Crossfit worldwide. Last year saw 20,000 participants. This year it is estimated the 55,000 will be registered. Last year’s Open Leaderboard and televised segments were some of the most popular sites on the world wide web and it should only be larger this year. We’re excited to see what’s in store, are you?

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

WellnessFX and CrossFit

One of the fastest rising sports phenomena in history has been that of CrossFit. Starting from a few thousand West Coast adherents at the early part of last decade, it has grown into a worldwide sports movement of over 2.5 million people with its own sports language, standardized methodology, and culture. With current growth rates of over 50% annually, it has created a sport around being “fit.”

As a training methodology it emphasizes being a good general athlete performing a variety activities in different circumstances. As opposed to a regular gym, you not only compete with yourself to improve but also work with a group to perform the Workout Of the Day or WOD. These generally involve performing a warmup, learning specific skills and applying these skills within a 10-15 minute workout aimed at improving your metabolic conditioning. The entire ethos of CrossFit is self improvement combined with teamwork and encouragement from the CrossFit community, both at your gym and worldwide.

Crossfit Affiliates or “Boxes” are also very much into the sharing of best practices, workouts, and results online – whether through posting videos to YouTube or updating CrossFit forums. It is literally the first worldwide open source sport phenomena. In part, its appeal also arises from the fact that everyone does the same workouts. The only difference between a world-class athlete and a 70-yea- old grandmother is intensity and scale. This grassroots level of programming and democratization has led to CrossFit becoming viral worldwide without a huge amount of corporate investment from a central authority. Needless to say, CrossFit in its current iteration would have been impossible even 15 years ago since the method of communication and spreading is that of the internet.

At WellnessFX, we applaud as well as embrace the CrossFit movement as we feel it closely aligns with our mission to democratize health. CrossFit empowers and supports everyone in the community to lead a healthier lifestyle, tailoring fitness to suit their abilities and needs, yet always pushing them a step beyond.  Sign up for your local box today to see what the movement is about.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Why Engineers Do Better in Startups

 

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, Dierken

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, Dierken

I agree with a lot of Bindu’s article, Why Engineers Are Better off Joining Startups. I started a fairly successful Web 1.0 company in the 1990’s. At that time we had to hand roll even the most basic infrastructure to get the service up and running. Waterfall development was the rule. It was necessary to raise a lot more money because even basic services like Paychex, outsourced HR, Hosting, etc… were not available across a spectrum of what a functional company needs.

We still had a very successful exit as investors/employees received a 27x’s money return.

I recently came back and decided to do WellnessFX, funded in 2010. It has been nothing short of mind boggling to see the breadth of technology and business services available. What’s more, the variety of venture funds available that actually service early stage and seed companies is equally mind blowing. The talent pools are diverse and incredibly smart. Also, because there are so many services and outsourced resources available, it isn’t necessary to have a huge employment base. This means less dilution to the company equity structure. This is hugely in favor of investors and employees.

While the pay and job security are perceived as being superior with a large existing company like a Google, Facebook, or even Groupon, in reality there are several downsides: (keep reading >>)

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Cancer, Your Health, and the Environment: Presidential Cancer Report

style=”float:left” Cancer Cells

Last weekend I was reading the President’s Cancer Panel publication “Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk.”

It is a long report (240 pages) but well worth reviewing given the effect the environment has on personal health. A lot of the insight was expected, but it’s nice to see it backed up by research.

The report states:

“With the growing body of evidence linking environmental exposures to cancer, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the unacceptable burden of cancer resulting from environmental and occupational exposures that could have been prevented through appropriate national action.”

According to the report, approximately 41% of the U.S. population will be diagnosed with cancer at some point of their lives and 21% (or half) will die from it. The biggest single influence comes from exogenous factors.

Continue reading >>

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.