Author Archive

Why do The Open?

Posted: February 24, 2014 by Uncle D in Uncategorized

It’s a good question. There are days when I don’t really want to do it either, especially since I feel like I’m a little behind after a hectic holiday and work travel schedule. But here’s the thing, it’s just a temporary marker for you. This is not an end goal. It is not make or break. It’s simply a way to give yourself a brief representation of your position compared to people of all ages and abilities around the world. In theory you can compare your placement from year to year but even that is difficult as the number of people competing increases by orders of magnitude each year, and the workouts are different each year as well. So at best it’s a very loose way to judge your progress on a year to year basis.

So you’re probably still going, wait why should I do this again? The short answer is that it’s really fun if you let it be. For you golfers out there here’s an analogy, it just takes one great shot to make the whole day of golf worth it. The open is the same, one workout where you do better than you thought possible makes the whole 5 weeks worthwhile. Plus you get to complain and commiserate at a whole new level :).

Don’t take this thing too seriously folks, none of us are going to regionals. However, you do get to put all the skills you have been working on to a test. Will it show you a weakness, you betcha! But guess what that’s good news, not bad. You can know where you might want to focus some extra attention, over the remainder of the year. But here is the real secret to why you should do the open, it’s a tremendously high energy time at the box. It’s like being at a competition but you aren’t competing against other boxes. Everyone that is there is cheering like crazy for you to simply do the best you can. The more people who participate, the more people we have there cheering, and that is a really cool atmosphere to take part in. Plus we started a new tradition last year and do some cool personalized open competitor t-shirts, only people who compete are allowed to wear those shirts for the remainder of the year. So sign up, put yourself out there, it’s a great way to test your skills and generically see where you stack up!

P.S. As an added incentive we are having a beat the old guys list each week. If you beat Dion or Craig’s score (whichever one was highest) we will give you a shout on FB and the whiteboards at the box!

Uncle D


So Uncle D has been absent from the blogosphere as of late. Haven’t had anything worthwhile to say, and I really don’t want to waste people’s time. That is until today. This blog is a complete waste of 2 minutes in your life that you will never get back so feel free to check out now!

You were warned.

This blog is about my complete lack of coolness. I know, I know, you are gasping in shock, “not cool, say it isn’t so.” Ok maybe not. Let’s face it I haven’t been cool since I owned a surf shop in my twenties, and even then I was only marginally cool. But now, I am absolutely, super geek, 15 year old dungeons and dragons not cool.

Why you ask? Because I am the absolute worst – cool hand shaker, fist bumper, high fiver, probably in any crossfit box ever! Yes it’s true. Some of you have been subjected to my hideously geeky attempts at PR sharing joy. For those of you exposed, I’m truly sorry.

It doesn’t matter what you try, high five I go fist bump. Fist bump, you get a five hand, probably with some really awkward, highly uncomfortable, sort of grab to finish. Cool arm wrestle hand shake with mini chest bump, I have no chance of getting that right. Guaranteed to be awkward for all parties. I mean, when does that handshake actually stop anyway? Is there a back pat rule, 1 pat, 2 pat, break???? I’ve got nothing.

Seriously, it’s horrible. I actually try to avoid it if at all possible. So now you’re thinking, “Why don’t you just see what the other person is doing and react accordingly?” Because apparently my hand, unbeknownst to me, must make some alternative gesture that the cool person picks up on and changes in mid-stream, which of course leaves me dead center in the land of super awkward gym guy who is trying to do a low slap on the middle fist bump. Ugh!

So please, for the love of God, and your own degree of coolness, avoid trying to fist bump/high five me at all costs. Because this might just be contagious, and trust me you sure as hell, don’t want to catch what I have!

High five!

Uncle D

50 Ways

Posted: July 11, 2013 by Uncle D in CrossFit

While Craig is away partying it up on vacation in the land of happiness, I thought Uncle D should post a cool link I found….

Body Fat Testing

Posted: June 26, 2013 by Uncle D in Uncategorized

Hi All,
Forwarding you this information I received from Chris Antonio on the BodPod testing at the Schell Brothers gym. If you have additional questions not answered here, just give me a shout. BodPod measures body fat percentage and lean muscle mass. It is a much better way to gauge you’re overall progress then by being a scale whore. You know who you are! 🙂 Seriously though it is a very good tool in your fitness tool box to help set realistic goals and monitor your results. – Uncle D


As you may know, I recently purchased a BOD POD, which is state-of-the-art body composition assessment equipment. It will give you extremely accurate results, and measure your body fat and lean body mass (in percentages and pounds), as well as track your progress each time you are tested, allowing you to adjust your program accordingly. I’ve researched this for over a year, and I’ve found the BOD POD to be an extremely valuable tool in evaluating and assessing your health and fitness level. It’s used at the NFL combine, Mayo clinic and the Biggest Loser TV show, and many large universities. Now, it’s available to you, right in Rehoboth.

Most people use the pounds on the scale to determine how fit, or healthy they are. Although this can be a helpful, that number doesn’t tell you how your body is composed – how much fat and muscle you actually have. The BOP POD gives you that information, in accurate and specific calculations. The lower number on the scale that you get excited about might actually reflect a loss of lean body mass, and not fat. But how will you know what’s actually happening inside unless you are tested?

We will be offering BOD POD testing Monday, July 1. Testing will begin at 8 a.m. and will continue until the last test is finished. For scheduling purposes, please book morning appointments first.

To schedule your BOD POD test, contact Melanie Murray at or 443-223-9137.

Please take a few minutes to review the testing protocol below, and remember drinking the day before your test will definitely negatively affect your results.

Testing Protocol

Prior to testing:

– do not work-out 2 hours prior to testing
– do not eat or drink 2 hours prior to testing
– drinking alcohol the night before testing could negatively affect your results

During testing:

– do not wear any accessories (glasses, jewelry, hair accessories)
– wear minimal form-fitting clothing such as Spandex/Under Armour type compression shorts. Single-layer compression shorts and/or lightweight sports bras are also acceptable, without padding or wires
– wear the provided hair cap to compress your hair


– the BOD POD uses air displacement technology, and does not have any dangerous Xrays
– the test takes only a few minutes to complete, and you will be given a copy of your results to take with you

Shared Pain….

Posted: June 16, 2013 by Uncle D in Uncategorized

Thought this had parts in it that everyone could relate to at least a little bit. Enjoy.

Uncle D


Posted: June 10, 2013 by Uncle D in CrossFit, Olympic lifting, the box, Warm Up, WOD

Sometimes you are happy with good enough. Hell, sometimes you are happy just getting through the damn WOD. So it’s super easy to get comfortable with good enough because you can do the workout, but it is not a good long term plan. In fact it’s a fantastic way to hit the dreaded plateau.

So how do you get past good enough?

I’m going to use a personal sports analogy because I know many of our crossfitters played sports as well and I am hoping you may be able to relate to a non-crossfit example more readily on this particular topic.

When I played volleyball in college, I went in knowing nothing and got by strictly on athletic ability. I quickly realized I was so far out of my league that if I didn’t get better every day I had no chance of ever making the travel squad. So I went to practice and picked one thing every practice session to give my undivided attention and full focus to improving that day – opening my hips prior to hitting, crossover steps in transition, reading opposing hitters, serving to a specific spot, etc. In downtime at the dorm I would lay in bed and set balls, or sit in bed and bump with one hand until I missed. None of these items individually were particularly hard and most were actually fun. All of these pieces and focused attention helped me transition from not making the travel team to captain and MVP my last year.

I relay this story not because I want you to be impressed, but because I didn’t think specifically about becoming a captain or MVP. I didn’t really have an end goal or a specific place at which I was trying to arrive. I simply liked the sport and wanted to be a little better every day and the rest followed on its own.

Crossfit can be exactly the same. 99% of us aren’t trying to be in the Games, we do it because we like it and it makes us feel good about ourselves. But here is a little secret, if you stop getting better it can get un-fun in a hurry. I totally get that you have a life and you don’t have the time to practice constantly (very little downtime in the dorm these days…) and it’s awfully hard to come early and stay late consistently, I’m in the same boat. But you can retrain your mind to strive for continuous improvement in form, body positioning, and technique. The simple act of choosing one thing in the warm-up or during the WOD to truly focus on and give your undivided attention can go tremendously far in improving that particular skill. Improvement in skill leads to improvement in performance, and improvement in overall satisfaction.
(That’s what she said….)

In certification they called this concept Virtuosity. One dictionary definition lists virtuosity as a person who has a dazzling skill or mastery of technique in any field of activity. That can be you. Will you be awesome at everything? Not anytime soon and maybe never but better to keep working towards that goal then not.

So pick something, anything, your air squat, hook grip, elbow position on pushups, hand placement on the pull-up bar, how you breathe during thrusters, the way you land on box jumps. The choices are endless and just like with crossfit workouts you should never get bored or feel completely comfortable. Mess with it, ask questions, test it in a workout or ten. Watch a video online. Watch someone at the box who does something particularly well and ask them. And please, don’t be a hard head, if the whole world says this is the most efficient way to do ‘x’ and you think – “Well, not for me, I’m better doing it the way I have always done it.” 999 times out of 1000 you are going to be wrong!

You won’t always be better right away, occasionally you will, but most times you might have to take a step backwards while learning proper technique only to vault four steps ahead once it clicks. That’s what happened to me on the hook grip, I was the aforementioned hard head, and once I finally quit fighting it and got comfortable with it, my lifts increased rapidly and dramatically. Miniscule steps of improvement have a way of showing up as some serious compound interest when they all decide to click together at once.

So there you have it. The secret to avoiding the plateau is simply not to accept good enough. Strive for virtuosity. Find your mastery, show me your dazzling skill! Wow… Now I’m just being super cheesy and ridiculous but you get the point.  Make it happen!

Uncle D

P.S. This post was inspired by Carl Paoli, (, I highly recommend the progression videos), for some reason the stuff he says really seems to resonate with me, maybe it will with you as well.

Follow Up to Keep Progressing

Posted: May 17, 2013 by Uncle D in CrossFit

I thought this blog post from Eat to Perform was a nice compliment to the keep progressing blog.

Keep Progressing!

Posted: May 14, 2013 by Uncle D in CrossFit, WOD

I have seen many times for myself and for others where you reach that place called “hitting the wall”. You aren’t getting any better, stronger, or faster. One of the biggest causes of this is what I call comfort acceptance. For some it’s getting to RX and being happy, for others it’s a particular lift, I always do ‘x’ pounds in overhead squat because I’m afraid of ‘x’. Or sometimes it’s just a failure to remember how awesome you are. “I can’t clean 135 pounds.” Why not? You couldn’t clean 65 correctly when you started. What’s really different between the 65 and 135? YOU! You like where you are in Crossfit. You’re comfortable getting through the WODs, you know your limitations, and that my friends, is the problem.

Listen, I live in the glass house, I have been there and done that. When we did the games weights during wods in prep for the open it was a wake-up call for me. We used weights I never thought in a million years I could compete a whole workout with, and sometimes I couldn’t but more often I did.

This is a friendly kick in the pants reminder to get outside of your comfort zone again, just like you did when you first started Crossfit. Talk to the trainers, have them help you, pick one wod a week or every two weeks, and go heavier. Or struggle through a workout without the band. Promise yourself to get off your knees for pushups, even if you are only doing 2” pushups to start. Forget the clock, modify the reps if you have to, but break down your barriers. I know this is old news, but if you think you can’t clean ‘x’ in a work out, then guess what you never will. Baby step it, be safe, but take steps. It’s ok to suck, its step one in making progress. Don’t fall victim to the acceptance of this is all I can do, you couldn’t do any of it when you started and look how far you’ve come. Just because the hill is steeper and rockier here doesn’t mean you get to stop climbing.

So if you think any of this stuff sounds like you, then here’s your chance to start progressing again. Go out there and make yourself uncomfortable. You might just remember how awesome you really are!

Uncle D

Cookies, Pastries, and Pie…. Oh my!

Posted: May 11, 2013 by Uncle D in body fat, nutrition

So there’s a rumor going around that there is some new ‘diet’ thing that people at Crossfit are doing and they are eating pastries, and cookies, and cakes. It’s a free for all, eat whatever you want post work out?!? What the hell is going on here? What happened to paleo and clean eating?

Well what you have heard bits and pieces of around the box is something called Carb Back Loading. And the main reason you haven’t heard more about it, is not because we are trying to keep it secret, but because we don’t have enough information yet to be able to provide any real feedback. However, since there is so much chatter around the box we figured we had better continue introducing the topic so you can do some research on your own.

As Craig mentioned previously, there is a book called Carb Back Loading by John Kiefer that does a really good job of discussing the science behind this approach and I would definitely recommend that you read it. There is also a Facebook page called Crossfitters Eat to Perform that offers a subscription to a more customized approach for Crossfitters. This is important because the original CBL book was written with power lifters in mind.

I know, I know, you’re going “yeah, yeah, get to the cookies and cakes part already!” Alas the short answer is that it’s ok once in a while and best right after a hard workout but not recommended on a full time basis. Bummer, I know.
The other important part of this is that like any true change CBL/ETP becomes a lifestyle choice like Crossfit, it isn’t really a diet. It’s a way of eating that is designed to maximize your performance. It is NOT designed to rapidly shred body fat and make you a fitness model. It IS designed to make you stronger and have greater endurance during your workouts. AND as a nice side effect has the capacity to slowly over time reduce your body fat percentage, using what is eloquently termed the gradual approach to awesomeness. Gradual being 6 months to a year.

There is a lot to this approach so I’m going to provide follow up blogs explaining more about it, and my experience with it to date. I will tell you that I am still trying to figure out the best practice as it applies to me and my workout schedule. I encourage you to do some research on your own, read the book, read the Eat to Perform site. Know this going in though, we all want someone to tell us exactly what to do, “give me the formula to follow!”, that includes me, unfortunately each person’s physiology and workout schedule is unique. So learn from me and use all of this information as a guiding principle not as dogma. Think of it like Crossfit programming, just because we don’t do what is listed on the main site every day doesn’t make what we do less effective. That has been the hardest part for me to get over. I have spent the first two months mostly trying to be formulaic about my approach. I have seen improvements in strength and recovery, (As an example my previous front squat PR was 285 for 1 rep, this week I did 275 for 3 reps 3 times.) , but I have also gained some weight and felt uncomfortable.

I am now working on a revised program that I think will be a better long-term fit for me and my schedule. I am having a Bod Pod body fat analysis done on Monday and I will be using this as my baseline. (Note: If anyone would like to have this test performed the cost is $65 it is one of the more accurate testing methods available and a great way to begin collecting real data on your progress and performance) I am going to use my personalized version of Eat to Perform for the next three months and monitoring my results. I will keep you posted on the progress and outcome. Feel free to catch me in the box or shoot me a note with questions. But I will reiterate that this is a complex subject with a lot of information, you have to research it yourself and get familiar with the concepts and the science. It is not something that I can say “oh yeah just do A, B, and C and you are all set.”

So that’s it for the introduction of the topic, plenty more to come, including my first two months on CBL/ETP, why carbs aren’t all bad, how much protein you should be consuming, metabolic flexibility, and updates on my approach and progress. And sadly no, there is no new magic diet where you get to eat crap and look like a fitness model…..

Uncle D

In case you forgot, you are awesome!

Posted: April 15, 2013 by Uncle D in Uncategorized

This seems to be a topic to keep popping up lately, so I’m writing to remind you that what you do is amazing.

If you were lucky??? enough to attend Saturday’s workout you had the opportunity to complete

7X of
100M run
4 Handstand Pushups
6 Cleans at 185lbs/105lbs
8 Deadlifts at 185lbs/105lbs
10 Bar Jump Overs

I’ll use the Men’s RX math for you.
So let’s say you are a 185 lb male doing rx in this workout. In somewhere between 17 and 30 minutes you performed the following
You ran just under 1/2 mile
You moved your own bodyweight in a handstand 28 times for a total of 5,180 lbs
You cleaned your bodyweight 42 times for a total of 7,770 lbs
You deadlifted your bodyweight 56 times for a total of 10,360 lbs
And you completed 140 lateral hops over an approximately 7″ target

So in a timeframe somewhere between 17 and 30 minutes you moved a total of 23,310 lbs. Just over a 11 tons. Pause….
Holy Crap!

Just in case all the kick-ass women are wondering, you moved 14,350 lbs in the same time frame. 7 tons. RIDICULOUS!

If someone told you “Hey I have 30 minutes I need you to move 11 tons for me”, you’d ask them what kind of crack they were smoking. Apparently it’s the Crossfit Kind.

A friendly reminder from Uncle D – you are awesome!