Tuesday
Oct052010

Interview with Chip Conrad

 by Shane Williams
 


Home


 
Chip Conrad, owner of Bodytribe Fitness in Sacramento, CA, might be the hardest working man in the strength biz.  In addition to being a gym/owner and trainer he's a musician, an author, a blogger and a competitive Olympic weightlifter and powerlifter.
A student of the late Mel Siff, Chip is well-versed in everything from the old-timey strongman lifts to clubbells and yoga infused mobility moves.  He also claims to know 75% of all Tom Waits songs and about 75% of the lyrics Sir-Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back." 
Somehow he does it all while maintaining a busy lecture schedule traveling across the country giving his Brutal Recess seminar.  Here, in an effort to help you all get to know Chip a little bit better before this weekend, is a short yet sweet interview with the man himself.  Enjoy! 
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Chip, your bio opens very similar to a lot of our members/trainers with 'i didn't grow up an athlete"  you were (and still are) a musician.  Now you are a competitive olympic lifter, powerlifter and sought after strength coach.  Fill in the blanks for us on how you got into the you to the world of physical culture?
 
21 years old... got into cross country skiing due to the need for a job.  Ski resorts hire a lot of folks.  I was one of them.

23 years old... skinny guy (about 127 pounds), wanting to get bigger. Skiing gave me some lungs, but I wanted some brawn.

About 24 years old... got certified as a trainer and was working at a gym.  Soon became fitness director.

28-ish... started questioning everything I thought I knew.  Wondering why an industry named 'fitness' wasn't really interested in anything of the sort.  Seemed built off aesthetic dreams and insecurity... ya know... sex and sex appeal.  Decided that ability, strength and... well... fitness, actually meant something, but it wasn't found in gyms at that time (still isn't in most of them).  Stumbled upon the underground world of strength athletics.  Pretty cool place, have been here ever since.

2. Crossfit has a very specific definition of fitness.  In your work you also talk about the importance of defining the term "fitness" and also offer a rather different definition.  Tell us a little about yours and how you arrived at it? 

Simple. My definition (fitness = the increase in the quality of life, or personal empowerment,  through movement) answers the question of "why is this important?"  It's the metaphysical (beyond physical) definition.  What most people list, including CrossFit, is the tenets of fitness, not actually what fitness means to anyone personally.  To embrace a passion means to define it, personally define it.  Then we begin our own philosophy, and that's how we take the first step of our journey.

Would a truly passionate musician explain music as a series of notes, harmony and rhythm? Would a brilliant scientist explain math as addition and subtraction? No, these are the tenets of those disciplines, but they sure don't DEFINE what they are.
 
 
3.  In Brutal Recess you stress the importance of various forms of play, something we as adults and athletes sometimes forget there is a critical need for.  Can you share a little about the Brutal Recess concept and what play brings to our time inside and outside of the gym?

A common chronology of our relationship to movement for us westerners:

Preteens: we enjoy recess and playtime, making up games, being silly and only dabbling a bit in the rules and structure of organized sport.  Movement, for the most part, is a tension release valve.

Teens:  For many, movement is limited to organized sport.  'Play' is now to win.  Fun is becoming less of an option, stress through competition is replacing the release of tension we enjoyed at an earlier age.

Young Adulthood.  Most folks have dropped movement at this point, unless they continue the path of rule-based competition.  Recess is gone, fun in movement has been replaced with obligation, if there is any at all.

Older Adulthood: Lack of movement has led to disease and decay of the wonderful machine that is our body.  This is not only a waste, but completely avoidable.  Keep the fun within movement, keep the concept of recess, and we have longevity in our bodies and minds!


4.  Mobility has recently (finally) become increasingly popular in the Crossfit community thanks to things like Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD blog.  You've been including mobility complexes and movements into your training for years now and it's a big part of of the Brutal Recess seminar.  You've taken a rather integrated approach to the subject making it almost a workout unto itself.  Talk a little bit about why mobility is so key and its role in the Brutal Recess concept.


Training has gone from movement for the sake of movement (what children and only a handful of evolved adults do), which is, as mentioned, a tension release valve for the body, to a redundant, intense event that creates permanent and potentially dangerous stress in the body. That's right... our workouts are stressful, and not in the good way all the fitness literature is spewing at us.

What everyone is calling mobility now is simply moving the body through all of the possible full and healthy ranges of motion.  Most training doesn't do that, instead focusing on a handful of incomplete movements for high loads, repetitions or both. But just tacking on some obligatory bonus moves at the beginning or end of a workout doesn't quite complete the picture either.  Why not use the body as it should be used WITHIN the workout?  Slowly some factions of the CrossFit world are beginning to understand that there is much more to overall fitness than just workload/power. 

 5.  Lastly, I'm going to give you a variation on the desert island question.  Imagine you're stranded in a traditional globo gym. Forever.  You can only take one implement (i.e. Kettlebell, barbell, sandbag, etc), one training book and have one song to workout to.  Forever.  Pick 'em. 


Implement: Barbell if it is adjustable, sandbag if it is not.
Training book: a workout log.  Blank pages to ruminate on and contribute to.  Most of us know the basics... we have to trust ourselves to get creative from there.
Song: aw, come one... just one? The best I can do for now is to narrow it down to a top three list...

For Heaven's Sake
by 16 Horsepower
Victim Support by Distance
Payback
by Slayer


 

Monday
Oct042010

October Athlete of the Month

DMG
David McGrath!



Here we are folks, time for the 2nd CFSBK Athlete of the Month honor to be announced. We figured this one would be easier than the first since we’d already broken the ice, but so many of you kept coming up in the conversation. In the end we came to agreement on this special guy for a slew of reasons. Here are a few of them…


-        He’s Old School SBK. He’s been with the program since early on
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He’s come a LONG way since those early days
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He shows emphatic support of fellow athletes
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He is very coachable, and always looking to improve
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He makes his training schedule work around family life and responsibilities, and has in fact managed to make his wife, daughter, and now son a part of the SBK community as well


Ladies and Gents, I give you David McGrath!


Fox – Thanks for staying late McG. I wanted to sit down with you because you’re our Athlete of the Month, so, congrats!


DMG – Shite! Really? I’m honored. Holy Cow…/turns away and maybe wells up a bit/


Fox – Yeah man. You’re it. So now you get to sit on the couch and get interrogated by me. Here we go. Tell me a bit about your backround and how you came to CrossFit?



DMG – Basically, I was fed up with globo-gyms. I wasn’t getting anything out of them. The short version of a long story (note: there are no short Irish stories) is this… As a kid I was a competitive swimmer for 12 years, quite a good one, My brother Jason and I tried out for the Irish Olympic swim team and fell short. After spending a bit of youth I went to school for animation, moved to Germany for work, partied and got fat and lazy. Liese and I had a blast over there. Eventually we moved to the States and somewhere along the way started running together. We first used the Galloway Method of run/walk and ran the Marine Corps Marathon and then the NYC together. I soon got tired of the one sport and decided to try triathlon. I did a sprint tri with literally no training. Figured to do the NYC Olympic distance with a little more training. That went well and I decided to do the Lake Placid Ironman next. I didn’t know him at the time, but I was actually stationed at Lake Placid right next to the fellow who would eventually introduce me to CFSBK, Rob Maldonado. He was a member of the Brooklyn Triathlete Club (BTC), as was I. I remember a thread on the BTC site saying to check out CrossFit and a visceral response by a few members who said it was dangerous, blah blah blah…Like I said I was fed up at my globo, so I gave it a shot. I started out at another CF for a spell and wasn’t enamored. That’s when Rob recommended I check out David Osorio at the Brooklyn Lyceum, said he was the real deal and there was lots of good folks over there. I haven’t looked back since.



Fox –What was it like transitioning from endurance sports to CrossFit, culture and training alike


DMG – At first the short stuff KILLED me. Left me flat on my back. It was the stuff like Murph that I could break down into pieces that I had an easier time with. That stuff is mental in a way similar to endurance sports. CrossFit was the first time since competitive swimming that I felt that push. That didn’t happen for me in endurance. The cultures of the two though are actually pretty similar. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but supportive members of both communities always surrounded me. People want to see you do better and have success. It’s one of the things that I love most about CFSBK is the community. David has created a high caliber of community with coaches second to none, and it shows. (note: I did not prompt or pay DMG so say that, it was totally unprovoked).


Fox – We all know and love Lucy Goosey, and now Finn, and the CrossFit bug has bitten even Liese. What’s it like having your family be a part of the gym?


DMG – It’s a blast. We’re fortunate to work freelance so it frees us up a bit schedule wise to be able to be here. I think it’s so great to have our kids exposed to the physical culture at an early age. Look at us (gestures to me), we didn’t find CrossFit until later. Just imagine what these kids are gonna be able to do later in life. Lucy can’t WAIT to begin CrossFit Kids, and I already told Shane he’s gonna have to lower the age requirement for Finn! Rest and recovery is tough though, with a little one at home. Finn still doesn’t sleep the night.


Fox – You came from endurance, then did SBK’s Strength and GPP for 2 years or so, and are now doing coach Jeremy’s Strength cycle. What’s that like?


DMG – I can squat now! Back in the globo days, I used to be the leg trifecta guy: Leg Extension, Leg Curl, and Leg Press. I had a knee injury that prevented me from squatting blow parallel safely for quite a while and now I’m there. (Jeremy’s note: DMG has also been doing a ton of mobility work to help get him there, including the MWOD). It is hard concentrating on the same lifts, week in and week out. I used to love it when the blog would be posted late and I had no idea what I was walking into at the gym. I am however, thoroughly enjoying the tight Strength community and the gains I’m making there.


Fox – David, what’s you’re favorite CrossFit moment or accomplishment?


DMG – There’s a few. Doing the gymnastics cert, that was huge. I had always been afraid of being inverted. Also being able to do pull ups. When I first started I had Shane pushing my ass up with the green band, poor bastard. Doing most WODs Rx’d or even scaling up. When I first started I had to scale it all down. And finally having Liese, Lucy, and Finn there and seeing how much fun they have.


Fox – Alright David, last thing. Tell us a little about your life outside CrossFit.


DMG – Liese and the kids (laughs)…that’s really most of it. I do love movies and music, and taking photos (if you’re facebook friends with David you’ve no doubt seen some of his great shots). I actually wrote a horror film I’ve been shopping around, and am currently writing Speed Racer, the animated kids version. I am really fortunate to be able to do work I enjoy, and be freelance. I also love music of all kinds, I’m pretty eclectic there.

*We discovered that David used to have a career in Ireland as model. Liese tells me that he was in fact, quite a popular pin up in many  young girl’s bedrooms! His folks eventually told him to find a real job and he fell into animation. We searched hard for photographic proof of the fact but came up empty. David says that all proof of his modeling days is 20,000 leagues under the Atlantic somewhere…maybe.



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            Thanks again David for sitting down with me, especially at 9 pm after a grueling Strength session under the bar. We coaches are proud of what you’ve accomplished in the last few years and look forward to seeing more of it. You’re an inspiration and a fantastic presence in the gym. It will be both sad and glorious when one day your kids can squat more than you or us!

Sunday
Oct032010

WOD 10.4.10

Complete 5 rounds of:
On the rings, lower from an inverted hang, slowly, with straight body and arms, 3 or 7 reps
5, 10 or 15 Ring Push-ups
Move SLOWLY and methodically attempting perfect execution. Ideally this is done with two pairs of rings - one pair hung app. 8' off the ground and the second 4" off the ground.


Post impressions to comments.
Back Off Week
Traing intensity will push back up starting next Saturday

WOD Demo at CrossFit Santa Cruz - video [wmv] [mov]


Home

Kit Zipf placed first at our 2010 Fight Gone Bad event.  I asked Kit if he could let us all get to know him a little better and he sent me the following message.  Enjoy!

I like long walks on the beach, and puppies....oh shoot, wrong bio....I was a two sport varsity athlete in high school (squash and baseball). I was recruited and played four years of varsity squash at the United States Naval Academy, where I held team captain my senior. In my four years, I helped my team to its highest national rank in over 10 years (10th in the country) and the winningest single season record ever in college squash (27-8). Prior to doing CF full time, I learned Oly-lifts from some very good coaches while at Navy (Coach B's brother-in-law...lets just say he also knows his stuff and has an olympian child) as well as had done some CF workouts with squash skill work intermixed. In March of 2009, I switched to CF full time in preparation for my commission as an officer in the United States Marine Corps and my six months of follow-on infantry training at The Basic School in Quantico, VA. Currently, I am awaiting training as a Student Naval Aviator in Pensacola, Florida- aka, they're going to teach me how to fly.

My home is not 10 minutes away from CrossFit King of Prussia, and have spent a significant amount if my time home with Aimee Lyons and my friends, coaches, and teammates of CFKOP. Through CFKOP I have earned my Level 1 certification, trained for the CF Games Sectional Qualifier (23rd of 118 plus individual invitation for regionals), helped our Affiliate Cup Team qualify for the CrossFit Games 5th place performance at Central East Regionals, and helped our team to a 58th place finish at the CrossFit Games.

CF KoP is my home box, and they truely are second family to me as they have transformed my training but most importantly saved my father's life and my mother's sanity. I dragged my father into CFKoP the same week he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He could only do 3 squats to a 29" box as well as had blood sugar above 300. 15 months later he has a 295# deadlift, a 215 FGB score, and a consistent blood sugar of 100-110. Thats what a community can do for people.

My training revolves around my weaknesses, what I really want to do, what I know I really should do, and ultimately do what I really don't want to do- regardless it all usually hurts, the good kind of hurt. I have no real rest work schedule. I've done 3 on/1 off, but have found that a randomized schedule in terms of number of training and rest days in a row works best for me, and is a lot less stressful if I miss a workout. I've done 6 months of the Wendler 5/3/1 program prior to the Games coupled with WODs specifically designed by CFKoP for the athletes competing. Currently I follow the CF Football strength WODs as Rx'd, as well as do met-cons from either CrossFit King of Prussia, CrossFit Main Page, CrossFit Football, CrossFit Endurance, or from the sadistic crossfit depths of my own mind. Ultimately it depends on equipment and time available. I eat Paleo most of the time (sorry no percentage of how often I eat Paleo, that's out of my scope of mathematics), dabble with intermittent fasting, and have a general disdain for all grains...with the exception for beer...(that Bierkraft gift certificate went to very good use!)

It was a privilege to have the opportunity to push hard on such a meaningful day. It was truly one of my most memorable moments I've ever had among the CrossFit community.  The community you have developed is exceptional and seems to be a real family. When Mike Voigt said told me to come to CFSBK for FGBV, he said only one thing about it, "they do it right." You absolutely do it right. Keep it up.

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Tomorrow we unveil October's Athlete of the month!

Saturday
Oct022010

Deadlift

65%x3x3

Post load to comments.
Use 65% of 9.20.10
Back Off Week

Skill Work
Snatch technique work

Assistance Work
Turkish Get-Ups

Allison
Allison gives Tim a subtle cue

Happy Birthday, Ashley F!

Upccoming Foundations Cycles!

October Morning Foundations
10/7/10-11/2/10
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00am-8:00am
Register Here!

October Evening Foundations
10/26/10-11/18/10
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00pm-9:15pm
Register Here!

___________________
If you went to Brutal Recess yesterday, what was your favorite part or most important take away from it?

Friday
Oct012010

Brutal Recess With Chip Conrad

Chip
Welcome, Chip!

There are no group or teaser classes today for our Brutal Recess Seminar with Chip Conrad.

What is Brutal Recess?
Brutal Recess is accepting that freedom means responsibility, and to embrace our freedom of movement, our freedom of strength, we must embrace intensity. It’s the fun of accomplishment. We’ve stolen from all the great movement arts: fighting, dance, yoga and even child’s play and tumbling, and liberally sprinkled them into our workouts, usually in the workload or GPP phases. Get your heavy foundation lifting going and then challenge your stamina and range of motion.

Topics:
+ The philosophy and program design of Bodytribe Fitness
+ The Brutal Recess intense mobility concept
+ Getting weird with barbells
+ Unique kettlebell and dumbbell movements and drills

For more information, check out Chip's website, Physical Subculture

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Check out the Free Live coverage of the CrossFit/USAW Weightlifting open

Thursday
Sep302010

Rest Day

Home
Willie warms up his final exposure of Overhead Squats

Want to see all the pics from Fight Gone Bad 5? Check out the photo album here!

Remember there are NO Group or Teaser Classes tomorrow while we host Chip Conrad for Brutal Recess


COME ONE, COME ALL!!!
Please join Paulie's South Brooklyn Weightlifting Club for a few fun-filled hours of odd object lifting. Impress your friends and intimidate your enemies with your fantastic feats of strength. Try your hand at stone lifting or steel yourself for the perilous yoke walk. Do you think you can handle the 9' slosh pipe? Come down and find out!  For more information and to register, click here!


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CFSBK Interviews Chip Conrad
Part 2


4.  Mobility has recently (finally) become increasingly popular in the Crossfit community thanks to things like Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD blog.  You've been including mobility complexes and movements into your training for years now and it's a big part of of the Brutal Recess seminar.  You've taken a rather integrated approach to the subject making it almost a workout unto itself.  Talk a little bit about why mobility is so key and its role in the Brutal Recess concept.


Training has gone from movement for the sake of movement (what children and only a handful of evolved adults do), which is, as mentioned, a tension release valve for the body, to a redundant, intense event that creates permanent and potentially dangerous stress in the body. That's right... our workouts are stressful, and not in the good way all the fitness literature is spewing at us.

What everyone is calling mobility now is simply moving the body through all of the possible full and healthy ranges of motion.  Most training doesn't do that, instead focusing on a handful of incomplete movements for high loads, repetitions or both. But just tacking on some obligatory bonus moves at the beginning or end of a workout doesn't quite complete the picture either.  Why not use the body as it should be used WITHIN the workout?  Slowly some factions of the CrossFit world are beginning to understand that there is much more to overall fitness than just workload/power. 

 5.  Lastly, I'm going to give you a variation on the desert island question.  Imagine you're stranded in a traditional globo gym. Forever.  You can only take one implement (i.e. Kettlebell, barbell, sandbag, etc), one training book and have one song to workout to.  Forever.  Pick 'em. 


Implement: Barbell if it is adjustable, sandbag if it is not.
Training book: a workout log.  Blank pages to ruminate on and contribute to.  Most of us know the basics... we have to trust ourselves to get creative from there.
Song: aw, come one... just one? The best I can do for now is to narrow it down to a top three list...

For Heaven's Sake
by 16 Horsepower
Victim Support by Distance
Payback
by Slayer


Check out Chip's Brutal Recess Seminat at CFSBK Tomororw.
Register Here

Thursday
Sep302010

CFSBK in the Media