Wednesday 150812


Cindy (with a Gun)

20:00 AMRAP of:



10-Pistols (5 per leg)

CrossFit athlete, 77, makes full-body transformation

A remarkable 77-year-old woman is reshaping more than her body, by breaking a sweat. Constance Tillet is living proof it’s never too late to push yourself in the gym, reports “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell.

Keeping up with her today, it’s hard to believe that just a few months ago, Tillet’s body was failing her.

She’s been through more than just two hip replacements.

“Two knee replacements, two rotating cuffs — a partial and a full,” she said.

But all that couldn’t stop her from turning her life around.

She believes it’s important for seniors to be working out.

“Get up and do it. Stop with the whining,” Tillet said. “Stop with ‘Oh you have to take care of me.’ Take care of yourself.”constancetilletcrossfit3.jpg

Constance Tillet at CrossFit South Brooklyn

That’s something Tillet didn’t used to do. Her health problems started almost 30 years ago, when she was 50. She took insulin four times a day for diabetes and 60 pills to treat high blood pressure, congenital heart failure and arthritis.

Then last fall, Tillet’s son suggested she try CrossFit, and helped her find CrossFit South Brooklyn.

She said she never worked out until now.

Tillet met gym owner David Osorio and, after just 10 months of working out together, she is down to just a few pills a day, and has lost 50 pounds.

“People have this perception that, you know, you have to be some really exceptional physical genetic person to kind of come in and make tremendous progress like this, but it’s just about consistency,” Osorio said.

And there’s strong evidence that movement improves seniors’ health. In the largest study on the issue, by the National Institute on Aging, doctors followed more than 1,600 seniors over a two-year period. They found that regular and moderate physical activity reduced the risk of disability by 18 percent.

Osorio said he has been most impressed by Tillet’s attitude.

“People love seeing her. She lights up the room when she comes in,” he said


Constance Tillet at CrossFit South Brooklyn

Osorio said there’s a psychosocial element to fitness.

“Part of all this is meeting people and expanding your social base and just having more people in your life that you can depend upon and that you can trust,” he said.

For Tillet, that moment came in June when her devoted husband, the man who took her to every CrossFit session, died suddenly, on the same day he was scheduled to start his own fitness plan.

“He was my nurse, my doctor, my friend, my everything,” Tillet said. “He was my encouragement. He’s still my encouragement.”

That encouragement, Tillet said, will keep her working out. She said it’s changed her mentally and spiritually.

“When my husband died and the word spread, in my wildest dreams I never thought they would be there with me, and they were there with me to his grave site,” Tillet said. “And they are still with me and they will be with me till I leave here. South Brooklyn CrossFit is my family, my children, and I mean it with the bottom of my heart.”

Wednesday 150114


Dead Lift
50% x5, 60% x5, 70% x5, 80% x5


5 rounds of 4 minute AMRAP:
7 – Kettlebell Swings (53/35)
7 – Box Jumps (20)
7 – Toes to Bar
Rest 2 minutes

So it is a 30 min workout….6 minutes per round.  Four minutes of work and two minutes of rest.

From Mark Rippetoe

Cardell and Dr. Coleman: My Biggest Regret as a Strength Coach

Decades ago, still nervous about advising the elderly to lift weights, I missed the chance to help a frail man improve his quality of life.

I have worked in the fitness industry since 1978, and have owned a gym since 1984. Since I went into business for myself, I have approached the teaching of strength training from a completely different perspective than the industry’s standard model — I have taught all my members to lift barbells, as opposed to the machine-based exercise paradigm used by the commercial fitness industry at large.

During my time as a gym owner I have made several mistakes, none of which had anything to do with my decision to teach everybody how to use barbells safely, efficiently, and productively. Rather, my biggest regret was not doing so, once, when I should have.

Dr. Coleman came to the gym on the advice of his doctor. He was in his late 60s at the time, still a working cardiologist, but he was not terribly robust even for a guy his age. He was a very nice man, excruciatingly polite to everyone and generous to a fault. I remember the first question I asked him, being one of the first doctors we’d had in the gym and me being curious about lots of things: “How is it, Dr. Coleman, that a dog can drink nasty water out of a puddle in the road and be perfectly fine, but if I did that I’d get sick — as a dog? Haha.” He regarded me momentarily, as if deciding how to respond to a curious but dull child (not an altogether inappropriate assessment), and calmly explained that there were profound differences in the digestive environment between that of myself and my little bulldog girlfriend Dumplin. He was a patient man as well.

My friend Cardell ended up with Dr. Coleman as his personal training client. Cardell and I had trained together for years, starting at the YMCA in downtown Wichita Falls, Texas, in the early ‘80s. This was the same weight room in which Bill Starr, former editor of York Barbell’s Strength and Health and one of the first strength coaches in the world, had started out in the late ‘50s – the room had history. It was important to us too, as a place where we honed our skills and grew as lifters and men. When I bought Anderson’s Gym in 1984, we moved our training headquarters to the renamed Wichita Falls Athletic Club, and I began the task of applying barbell training to a commercial gym’s clientele.

Following the prescribed industry methodology we had both been taught by the then-becoming-mainstream National Strength and Conditioning Association, Cardell used a machine-based approach in his work with Dr. Coleman. It was perfectly congruent with the thinking at the time, and it still is: the client was old, free weights are dangerous, we mustn’t hurt old people — we mustn’t even entertain the possibility of hurting old people — and Dr. Coleman skated through his workouts with Cardell unscathed.

He also failed to make any significant progress toward a more robust physical capacity. Dr. Coleman joined the gym as a frail older man, never walking with the aggressive, confident stride of a fit person, and never assuming the positions of sitting, standing back up, or getting in and out of the car without carefully and deliberately measuring his position. He left the gym many years later a still-frail, even-older man.

And I let it happen. My fault for standing there, watching but paying no attention, as the potential for reversing the effects of age and a sedentary lifestyle slipped through our fingers.


I really didn’t know at the time what I came to understand later — and what I’m explaining to you now. I hadn’t yet exposed enough people of Dr. Coleman’s demographic category to legitimate barbell training, and I hadn’t seen the response over both the short and the long-term. I had begun to suspect, but didn’t yet know, that older people respond to the systemic stress of correctly designed barbell training the same way everybody else does: they get stronger. The muscles that move them through the day, the connective tissues that keep their skeletons tight and efficient, even the bones themselves — everything gets stronger under the bar.

So, read carefully my important lesson: The most significant loss in physical capacity with advancing age is strength — the ability to produce the force of muscular contraction. Your ability to interact with your environment effectively is predicated upon your ability to exert the force of muscle contraction against the system of levers that comprises the skeleton, and therefore to control your own body’s mass and the masses of the physical objects you interact with.

All the other physical problems associated with age — the loss of muscle mass and balance and bone density, the increased risk of diabetes, and the much higher risk of physical injury — are related to either the loss of strength itself or the process by which this loss occurs. Balance, endurance, power, accuracy, and speed are all aspects of strength. And the things we do to remain strong — the use of our muscles to do physical work, and the associated use of carbohydrate as the fuel for muscle contraction — keep our metabolism functioning normally, thus preventing the acquisition of Type II diabetes, and perhaps even dementia.

I am aware that this seems like a rather lavish statement. But the facts are rapidly emerging, and those of us who have been in this business long enough to see the patterns already know that the opposite of sitting on your butt is not running — it is lifting weights. Walking is the way you get from your car into the store — it’s not really exercise unless you’re already two-thirds dead. Running is fine; it keeps your heart and lungs working pretty well, but so does strength training. More importantly, lots of older people simply cannot run, and running absolutely fails to convey the other benefits that strength training enjoys as a monopoly.


As it turns out, everybody can train for strength, if it’s done properly. We learn from teaching, and teaching thousands of people to squat, press, bench press, and deadlift has taught me a lot about exercise, training, the exercises themselves, how to teach them, and what happens to people who do them for years. I have followed many people over the course of decades spent in the gym, and experience has condensed for me the following facts:

1. Barbell training is the best way to get strong.

It allows everyone to make improvements in strength, power, and general physical capacity, regardless of age, sex, and current ability. It works the whole body, it’s more effective than running, and it’s much safer than the constantly varied popular fitness Craze of the Day, neither of which are doable by most people after a certain age.

2. Barbell training is basically normal human movement patterns which are loaded with a gradually increasing weight.

In the same way that picking a load up from the floor, shoving a load up overhead, and squatting down and back up with a load is safe when you do it without a barbell, barbell training is a safe way to gradually increase the strength of these normal human movements. Your knees, back, and shoulders are designed to work under a load — barbells allow the loading to gradually increase and to remain biomechanically efficient.

3. Since you’re standing on your feet while you lift, barbell training teaches balance.

Too often, a broken hip is the first in a series of events that lead to death. Learning not to fall down as you move the load is the first step in barbell training. For example, a squat is the same motion as sitting down and getting up from a chair — a thoughtless given when we’re younger, but often a great effort for the elderly. Barbell training dwarfs the ability of a machine-based program to make changes in general physical capacity because machines don’t allow you to fall. If you learn how not to fall while you get stronger, you improve much more than just your strength.

4. Barbell training is the most effective way to increase bone density.

One of the key features of living organisms is their ability to recover from stress in a way that produces an adaptation to the stress, so that next time it happens the organism is prepared for it. The gradually accumulating loads used in the primary barbell lifts strengthen not only the muscles, but the bones, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and recovery systems. Quite literally, every part of your body adapts more effectively to systemic stress than to a piecemeal approach, since heavier loads can be lifted and greater stress can be applied.

5. Old age should not be a holding pattern for death.

Perhaps someday it won’t be. None of us should be parked and left to die. Our gyms have worked with people who have diabetes and its associated pathologies, like blindness, neuropathy, heart disease, dementia, and profound frailty. When we improve their strength, we improve their lives, and sometimes we can make their final years more productive than their wasted youth.

My big mistake was made before I learned these lessons. I allowed Cardell to take a less-effective approach with one of his clients, and the client paid the price. My gym, my fault.


Dr. Coleman was never profoundly incapacitated until the last years of his life. He was merely very frail, with the tentative approach to every movement of his body which marks the condition. Unfortunately, these years were significantly more numerous than perhaps they could have been had Cardell, and I, taken a more aggressive approach to his training when he first asked us for help. Once physical capacity is lost, it’s much harder to recover than it is to merely maintain it, and it’s certainly harder to increase it in your 80s than in your 60s.

Had I insisted that he be trained like all the other people we worked with all those years — and as I have since approached the older people who have come to us, including our 91-year-old gal who currently deadlifts, bench presses, and pushes her very own weighted sled, who is using less insulin, and who has abandoned both her walker and her cane — things would have been different for Dr. Coleman. I’m convinced we could have made his last years more productive and his death a shorter event than the protracted chaos of losing his physical grasp on life.

Had I been able to explain it to him at the time, he would have understood. I won’t make the same mistake again.

Thursday 141009

20:00 of:
5 Cleans (135/95) + 5 rounds of “Cindy”

From Breaking Muscle

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet: Strong, Real, and Less-Than-Perfect

 CrossFit, Masters Athletes

There exists an epic, ongoing tug-of-war for the attention, self-esteem, minds, and hearts of young women. On one side, you have Madison Avenue, advertisers, giant retail, fashion, and media. On the other, parents, counselors, advocates, and the women themselves. Often, the women are caught in the middle.

Advertising and Body Image

Advertisers care nothing about the mental health and well-being of women and girls. Their job is to sell products. They make you believe that you must look like, wear, or buy whatever it is they are manipulating you into accepting. As a result, there is a scummy film of advertising muck coating the perceptions many young women have of themselves.

Buy this. Apply this. Wear this. And for the love of all humanity, look like this.

Sled Sprint Event at the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games.

Young women and girls succumbing to eating disorders or other mental health concerns because of the impossible standard to which they are being held has been extensively discussed. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1999 found that 69% of girls said that magazine models influence their idea of the perfect body shape.1

Some researchers even believe that advertisers purposely normalize unrealistically thin bodies in order to create an unattainable desire that can drive product consumption.2 No one, it is said, looks like that, even the models in question themselves. What once was “airbrushing” has given way to Photoshopping. Take a picture, then manipulate it to perfection, then thrust it on the buying public who is lead to believe that if they buy the magazine, clothes, or make-up, that they might look like that, too.

You only needs to Google “advertising and body image” to see the glut of articles, research, websites, and links devoted to the subject. We as a society have crafted an unrealistic ideal of beauty. Young women see it, try to emulate it, and as a result are sometimes heavily damaged by it.

Then along came CrossFit.

Two-Time CrossFit Games Champion Annie Thorisdottir.

From Cover-Model-Skinny to CrossFit-Chick-Strong

The advertising and media mold seemed to shatter once women discovered CrossFit and began to embrace the idea that skinny was not necessarily the goal. The phrase “strong is the new skinny” became the maxim that swept the community as thousands of women found a new ideal – not cover-model skinny, but CrossFit-chick strong.

As athletes like Annie Thorisdottir, Heather Bergeron, and Miranda Oldroyd emerged into the public conscience, women saw something different than what they had come to idealize. Muscles. Glutes. Definition. Power. Confidence. Strength. There was something new, something healthy, to emulate.

These images eclipsed the waifish and gaunt runway models, with their faces drawn into a permanent scowl. What young women could now appreciate was the image of a smiling Iceland Annie, waiving to the crowd after a 2012 second championship, strong, confident, and packed.

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet took it a step further. Camille is strong. Take a look at her hang-snatching 160lbs for five reps. That’s a 1RM for a lot of elite CrossFit competitors, but Camille does it five times from a hang. Power snatches, mind you. Her social media accounts are peppered with her doing mostly strength-related moves.

What set Camille apart, though, was that she looked real. By that I mean – and I need to walk gingerly here – she looked normal. Not overly ripped, not overly muscular. She has the build of someone who is interested in performance over aesthetics, in strength over cut. By choosing not to lean out to a scant 10% body fat, she allowed herself to remain strong. You don’t see every last vein in her arms, abs, and traps. You see a normal, strong, confident woman.

In a Fitness Magazine article, Camille said this:

I had a dark moment where I fell into being anorexic, and in my head, beauty was being as skinny as you could be. Now I see women who are successful because they work hard and they dedicate themselves to things that they believe in. In my eyes, those types of people are the most beautiful ones by far.

And then this happened:


Less Than Perfect

The Box published a cover photo of Camille in what appeared to be a highly Photoshopped state. Her body appears Read more Thursday 141009