Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Observations regarding Regionals

So I've been playing around with this and have noticed some interesting trends and stats that I wanted to point out.  There really isn't much analysis behind this, just a series of observations I found interesting.

  • The events that best predicted overall performance were Jackie (event 1), the 100s (event 4), and the Chipper (event 6).  Strong performances in these events correlated most with qualifying spots.
  • The event that was least correlated with overall performance was men's event 3.  Strong performances in this event for the men had the smallest relationship to overall performance.
  • Women's completion percentages by event:
    • 1 - 94.09%
    • 3 - 4.08%
    • 4 - 2.02%
    • 5 - 88.54%
    • 6 - 42.2%
    • 7 - 84.18%
  • Men's completion percentages by event:
    • 1 - 100%
    • 3 - 47.7%
    • 4 - 12.7%
    • 5 - 79.32%
    • 6 - 50.43%
    • 7 - 84.25%
  • Deepest men's region was Central East.  If ranked globally by performance, Central East would have qualified 8 men (all of which placed top 20 globally and 7 of which were in the top 10 globally).
  • Deepest women's region was Central East.  If ranked globally by performance, Central East would have qualified 7 women. 
  • 73,153 men input a score for 13.1, 753 men started Regionals Event 1, 673 started Event 7, and 47 qualified.  0.0006% of all Open men's competitors qualified for the Games.
  • 46516 women input a score for 13.1, 643 women started Regionals Event 1, 512 started Event 7, and 45 will be sent to the Games (44 qualifiers and 1 invitation).  0.0096% of all Open women's competitors qualified for the Games.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The 2013 Open and Cert Suggestions: Hey Naked #8

Hey Naked,

What do you think we're gonna see in the Open this year?  Is it gonna be a trainwreck?  Any repeat workouts?


Hi AJ,

So you're gonna do the Open huh?  You wanna see how large of a gap there is between you and the 50 or so best CrossFitters in the world?  Or maybe you wanna see how badly you can beat the other 100,000 or so people who don't stand a chance?  Or maybe you wanna try and catch some peeps redhanded while they just make up scores?

Well, you'll have a chance to do all of that while also hating yourself for doing another 7 minutes of burpees.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Lightning Round: Hey Naked #7

Gonna try something new today: multiple questions with shorter answers.  Let's see how it goes.  Today we'll cover my Games predictions, what your training should look like heading into the Open, the CrossFit and Reebok Twitter debacle, and the decline of shirtlessness in CrossFit.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Take Two of These and Call Me in the Morning: Hey Naked #6

Hey Armen,

I've heard you quote and reference some impressively obscure and awesome movies on your podcast.  How do you do it?!


Hey Aron,

I can lift a lot of weights, I can run pretty quickly, and I think I'm generally good at CrossFit, but what I'm proudest of is being able to drop solid, relevant movie quotes that no one sees coming at the drop of a dime.  I've got friends who communicate solely through movie quotes, and while that's incredibly impressive, I prefer to apply my talents sparingly to keep the element of surprise on my side.

So I present to you my short list of quotes you should know and love, and when to use them:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Opening a Gym and Lil Wayne's Hidden Identity: Hey Naked #5

Hey Naked,

I wanna open up my own affiliate.  Care to share anything I should avoid or anything I should definitely do?  Grassy-ass, brochacho.


Hey MT,

Before I start, let me say I'm glad I'm not the only one dropping the "brochacho" bomb; that's a pretty hard "b" and it can take some peeps by surprise.  Also before I start…"grassy-ass"?  Really?  

Anyway, congrats on taking a big step forward.  Owning your own business is freakin' sweet and you'll be a baller in no time.  There are some pitfalls you should look out for though, and if you can stop yourself from getting sucked into those mistakes, you should generally be okay.  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Online programs and The Hammertime Protocol: Hey Naked #4

Hey Naked,

There are a ton of those online programs and coaches all over the place. What would you do if you had your own?


Hey PJ,

Let me start by saying that if someone calls themselves an "online coach", then they either don't understand what it means to be a coach or they're selling you a lie.  Being a coach is not just about writing workouts; the most important thing a coach does is handle their athletes' psychological states, and it's kind of hard to do that if you've never even met the poor bastard who's paying you for your "coaching".

If you're not paying for your online coaching but are instead following some free program online, then the "coach" behind it is just using that term for marketing and you're a sucker for falling for it.  Even worse: if you pay to go to some "training camp" so you can meet your coach for the first time and do some workouts over the course of a weekend, you're feeding the whole shitty system and you're being dumb at the same time.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

'The OC Throwdown Was Good' and Other Things I Never Thought I'd Say: Hey Naked #3

Hey Naked, 

How'd The OC Throwdown go?

Hey Naked,

Give us some updates on The OC Throwdown!

Hey guys!

When I was a kid, I was told that the best way to offer constructive criticism is the sandwich method: start with something positive, mention something that they could work on, then finish off with something positive.  Now, I'm clearly very fucking bad at this, and after going through some mild misunderstandings with a multimillion dollar international corporation/fitness movement/fucking sport, I've been trying to make my language a little more conducive to progress and little less about calling everyone a dick.

That said, The 2013 OC Throwdown was not only a vast improvement over last year's event, it was a really solid event.  It ran on time, the volunteers and staff were all on top of the event from the very beginning, the weird, dark dance club vibe from last year's event was replaced by an awesomely sunny and bright indoor/outdoor venue, and scores were quickly and accurately updated online.  Overall, The 2013 OC Throwdown was a well organized combo of exciting events, cool venue and generally sweet peeps.

See what I did there?  Those are honest compliments about the things Justin, Darren, Gilly, and the rest of their staff got right (I'm sure I forgot someone integral to putting on the event, but those are the peeps I personally know).  Now that that's out of the way, we can work on fixing the things that went wrong: 1) over-programming the weekend and 2) a very sudden and significant rule change.


What the hell does that even mean?  It means a few different things, but it really just comes down to the conversation of what it takes to test fitness.  What we're looking to do at all these competitive exercise events is to find the guy and girl who are fittest across broad time and modal domains.  So organizers mix up all these different elements and hopefully at the end of the weekend they've tested across the board and the winner emerges.  That's why you see events with short workouts, long workouts, strength tests, etc.  The more data you get, the more reliable your result is.  

With this in mind, it follows that if we had a test with an infinite number of events, it wouldn't matter what those events are because at some point deep into that never ending test the statistical winner would emerge (and I'm pretty sure that winner would be Doomsday).  Since we don't have an infinite timeline to administer an infinite number of tests, we have to pick and choose our tests carefully in order to use the short time we do have efficiently and hopefully get the same result we would have if we did have an infinite timeline.  Still with me?

Here's a picture of a guy with his lawnmower, because this shit is getting too serious.

So when someone "programs" for an event that's testing fitness, they've gotta have some framework of what 4-8 events to choose that can provide a good data sample.  When they don't have a framework, they start making shit up based on what sounds cool or what sounds hard.  I think the latter happened this weekend.

The events were exciting and challenging, and they definitely filled out the whole "I'm at a competition and this is the next level" feel that The OC Throwdown is looking for.  Unfortunately, I think they went a little overboard and shot by the "this is a solid test of your capacity across broad time and modal domains" and ended up in the land of "fuck yo couch" (this isn't the video you think it is, and you should definitely watch the whole thing).  I can offer plenty of qualitative evidence supporting that claim: how wrecked almost everyone was after the first couple events and the obvious insanity (and cheeky douchebagitude) of programming muscle ups and chest-to-bar pull ups in the same workout (I get it: you want to see who doesn't give a fuck about the health of their shoulder girdle, and that's cool I guess) both back me up.  But I won't stick to my qualitative guns…here are some numbers to help me out:

Men's numbers - 

72 men started the weekend
14 DNF'd the first event = 19.2% failed (I've got more to say about this, that's next)
46 DNF'd the second event = 63.8% failed
59 DNF'd the third event = 81.9% failed

Women's numbers -

61 women started the weekend
30 DNF'd the first event = 49.2% failed
36 DNF'd the second event = 58% failed
54 DNF'd the third event = 87.1% failed

What do the numbers tell us?  That as Saturday wore on, the events got more and more challenging and people got more and more exhausted.  More importantly, the numbers tell us that either the majority of qualifying athletes were entirely unprepared to compete of that the events themselves were too destructive and challenging.  The OC Throwdown selected the athletes they wanted the compete through the qualifier (lulz), and the athletes they specifically culled from the masses still failed in huge quantities.  

It's okay if some competitors are failing your events; you're looking for the fittest and there will be some attrition.  I'm gonna take a stab in the dark and say that if the bottom 20% is failing out of your test, then you've done your job right.  If 50% are failing your test, then you're either being really harsh or you don't know what you're doing.  If 80% of your field of competitors can't finish your workouts, then you are out of your goddamn mind and shouldn't program anything ever again.

Sure, you found out who was the fittest across these events.  And yea, the brutal nature of the workouts are clearly something you were going for.  But you've gotta realize that there should be finesse when it comes to testing athletes; there's a time and place for workouts that remove a large swath of competitors (that's the whole point behind a deadlift ladder or clean ladder or snatch ladder), and there's a time and place for absolute body destroying tests (running 4.8 miles where the middle 1.5 miles are spent carrying a 70lb sandbag on your neck), but every event shouldn't be one or the other or both.

Changing the Game

A simple, sudden, and significant rule change that took place early on had a profound effect on how the weekend turned out.  

"Time cap of 45 minutes. Automatic DNF rest of competition if athlete does not finish under the time cap."

That's really fucking aggressive.  It's a powerful way to start an event and send a message: you better have worked on your endurance or you're screwed.  I love it.  I mean surely the organizers of the event have tested their events and have an idea of how long this'll take, and they are looking to separate those who are actually fit across the long domains from the current crop of strong guys and girls who are useless outside of 12 minutes.

But I was wrong about that.  They must not have tested it at all because the organizers seemed to be caught off guard when almost 20% of men and almost 50% of women failed (including more than a handful of their "invited" athletes…you know, the ones they marketed on their posters).  So now this bold statement of "welcome to Thunderdome, bitch" turned into "holy shit, our silly and arbitrary cut off and ballsy shit talking just came back to bite us in the dick".

Once they realized they made a little boo-boo, they had a choice: stick to their guns and cut everyone who didn't make it, or change their minds and let the show go on.  Honestly, they were screwed either way.  If they cut that many people, especially the named athletes, people will be upset because they either paid a bunch of money to compete and showed up too shitty to do so or they paid a bunch of money and only saw their favorite athlete run for 50 minutes before being removed.  When they don't make the cut though, they fuck everyone who actually ran their dick off to make the time cap.  I don't envy their position.  

This sudden rule change was probably the most disappointing aspect of the weekend.  It just paints the organizers in a bad light no matter what: either they look incompetent because they have no clue how the events will turn out or they lack integrity because they won't do what they said they would do.

The way I look at it, they should have made the cut and said "tough titties, try harder next time" to everyone who didn't make it.  Sure, not cutting people shows that you're willing to admit your mistakes and make adjustments on the fly, but not cutting people also makes you look like you lack confidence in your own process.

My suggestion would be don't set idiotic and arbitrary timecaps along with big-talking rules about hard cuts and shit unless you're actually willing to fucking do it.  

The People I Beat

So the top 60 qualifiers were invited to the event, along with a handful of special invitees from past competitions and the Games and stuff.  I placed 174th in the qualifier.  That's page 11 of the qualifiers rankings.  I didn't place any higher than 127th in any single event during the qualifiers, and placed in the low-to-mid 200s in the other two events.  I was really, really, really far away from qualifying.  So it follows that I should have embarrassed myself this weekend…assuming the qualifiers meant jack shit.  Luckily for me, they didn't, they don't, and they honestly never will.  

In fact, I straight up beat 3 guys who placed in the top 25 in the qualifier (Andy Paik - 17th, Nick Lucchesi - 8th, and Tyler Kopacz - 24th)…those were the "pros" before they merged divisions.

At the end of the weekend, I beat 12 people (and tied with another)…but that's given the rule change about the cut after the run.  Fuck that noise; I'm going with their original rules that they should have gone with.  That means I actually beat 20 people because there were 8 guys ahead of me who should have been cut (Ben Alderman, Guido Trinidad, Danny Nichols, Colin Jenkins, Jacob Marinez, Joey Altobelli, Zack Height, and Paul Smith).  These 8 guys are fit as fuck, are pretty much all better CrossFitters than I am…but tough titties, you should have POSE'd harder (that's how you run fast right? you just POSE harder?).

[As an aside, I want to be really crystal clear about a few things: I had no chance of winning this past weekend and better balancing the events and making that cut after the run would have only resulted in me getting a little farther.  I'm proud of the effort I put into all the workouts and am excited to head back to the lab to fix the flaws in my training that were exposed over the weekend.  The guys I competed with and against were amazing to watch, fun to compete with, and showed me not only how far I've got before I get to their level but how far I've come from where I started.  Everyone I met and hung out with over the weekend was really cool and all had positive and supportive things to say to me regarding my blog and the podcast.  These guys were really badass, and I don't want to take anything away from anyone…other than pointing out that some of you really need to work on your running.  For reals..I'm not impressed by your performance (on that event).]

[As a second aside, does anyone actually understand what Dr. Romanov is talking about in that video?  Justin Burgh and Jordan Gravatt try to help him explain it and the end result is Justin Burgh talking about the snatch by saying "this is very simple: you unweight and you change pose".  Well I guess if you put it that way, now I totally get it.]

To the 13 people who ranked way way way ahead of me in the qualifiers, but for some reason could quite deliver on game day, I wanna thank you for proving me right when it comes to the bullshit nature of online qualifiers.  So big thanks to Rekis Pretorius (we tied, so I guess you're cool), Wesely Balbi, Andy Paik, Josh Snider, Nick Lucchessi, Michael Baker, Joe Garcia, Tyler Kopacz, Justin Jacobs, Mike Coopman, Michael Tromello, Nick Cowart, and Lamar Aldridge.

There are some names in there that I know well, who hung out with me over the weekend, that I train with, who I've shared meals with and who I consider my friends, but sorry I'm not sorry guys.. lulz.

And before I forget, the music selection was pretty good and the athlete area was awesome this year!  See what I did there?  That's the back half of my compliment sandwich..I guess it's more like a low carb, Paleo friendly lettuce wrap or something though, since the top and bottom are thin and the middle is full of shit.