Category Archives: about me

CrossFit

ImageAfter my two weeks and four intro courses of CrossFit I can say two things for sure.

1.  I am going to be really sore for a while

2.  Overall they do a nice job teaching the movements.

I joined CrossFit to see what all the hubbub was about.  I have always wanted to give it a shot because I did admire the shear intensity of the workouts that I saw posted on their website.  www.CrossFit.com. I have also seen the CrossFit games on TV.  Everyone I see who does CrossFit seems to be in incredible shape and something has to be said for that.  In the end I was curious and just needed a change of pace.  I like to be challenged physically and this seemed like the place to do that.

When you sign up for CrossFit they require a two week and 4 classes intro class.  I attended the past two Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m.  Each class follows a simple format.  Explanation of the workout of the day.  They use a white board to explain what the day’s plan is and how it is going to be done.  They might mention a few keys to look for or a tip of the day regarding nutrition.  Then a warmup which might be a dynamic warmup or a mobility drill but most likely a little of both.  Then the W.O.D. which is the Workout of the day.  The actual workout is usually short but quick and high intensity.  Their mantra is Constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements.  They openly tell you that if you do CrossFit you will be good at everything but great at nothing.  It is a well rounded fitness program.  You will develop some speed, some strength, some endurance, and some power.  There is nothing that you will not be able to do.  Climb a mountain?  o.k!  Run a 5k?  no problem!  Hop a fence?  easy!  Kill Zombies?  Any day!

The four workouts that I did lasted no more than 10 minutes each.  They said that 85% of the workouts are between 5-15 minutes but some go as long as 40 minutes.  When the workout is done there is a cool down and a recap.  You always write your score or time on the white board when you are finished.  It feels like a community but there is also competition which I like.  It is so different from my old gym where I would put my headphones and and do my own thing.  Here it is like everyone is suffering / achieving together.

My workout of the days were as follows:

Day 1:  Kattleball swings and box jumps timed.  You had to complete 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 of one alternating with 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 of the other.  I completed the workout in 5:16 seconds and I was more winded and more sore than I had been at my own gym in months.

Day 2:  Thrusters and jumping pull-ups.  A thruster is a front squat into and overhead press while a jumping pull-up is off of a box and jumping up to the bar and fully extended the arms each time you come down.  The workout was to do 5 rounds of 10 Thrusters and 10 pull-ups.

Day 3:  Deadlifts for 5 reps. 10 Burpees and 250m Rowing.  As Many Rounds as Possible in 10 minutes.

Day 4:  OverHead squats for 10.  Pushups for 5 and full range sit-ups for 15.  AMRAP in 12 minutes.

The coaches are there the whole time coaching technique and stopping you to correct and teach if needed.  The technique and the range of motion took priority over the workout.  All workouts could also be modified or scaled as they called it to fit your needs.  If you couldn’t do a full pushup you would drop to your knees or add a pad under your chest to decrease range of motion while still working on technique.

The 4 days were very logical and sequential.  They went with a top down approach which I would always recommend.  They started with Overhead squats which led to Front squats, High Pulls, Jerk snatches, Hang Cleans, and eventually Deadlifts.  Every movement was taught with an excellent sense of functional anatomy and how the body was designed to move.

If you were teaching these movements to High School kids or really anyone you could no doubt spend more than 4 days drilling them.  Some people spend years trying to perfect their technique.  But you have to remember that everyone comes in at different skill levels plus the fact that people joined a gym because they want to work out so you can’t keep them out of the regular classes forever.  I commend them for making everyone attend the 4 intro classes before entering the regular gym atmosphere.  From all the negative things that I heard about CrossFit I have to say that my experience at Guerilla CrossFit in Morristown, NJ has been overall positive so far.

There are a few negative but not from a standpoint of coaching or knowledge or anything like that.  Just the programming risks.  I still feel that plyometrics and olympic lifts are not meant to be endurance lifts.  They are meant to develop power which is a combination of strength and speed.  When you make these lifts endurance based people can easily lose their technique due to fatigue or just the pounding on the body can result in injuries even if technique is sound.   If the coaches are willing to stop and correct during the actual workouts like they were for the intro workouts than I think this problem can be negotiated to an extent.  The one thing I am not sure of is how many coaches are on the floor during a typical session.  In the intro classes we had a 5 to 1 ratio.  If it is a 20 to 1 ratio then that might be risky.

Bottom line is if you are an athlete who needs a programmed sport specific workout for your sport then I would NOT recommend CrossFit.  There are just too many programming flaws and too much variety to really develop sport specific power. There are risks involved in all activities and if you think of CrossFit like a sport then you realize that no matter what you do there are risks involved.  If a football player gets fatigued in the 4th quarter and lowers his head then he runs the risk of having another player hitting him in the back of the head and possible breaking his neck.  CrossFit is the sport of fitness so If you want to get into great shape and really challenge yourself in all aspects of fitness then I WOULD recommend CrossFit for you.  I know I am going to have a blast with CrossFit and I can’t wait to experience the community of CrossFit and really suffer / achieve together.

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My Top 10 posts of 2012

These are the articles that received the most views in 2012.  I always love getting feedback and seeing the number of  views  for my articles so keep it coming in 2013.  This year I had people from all over the country contact me about my articles. I am always humbled and honored that people take the time to search me out for advice about health and fitness.  JerseyStrong was viewed in 60 countries worldwide.  In the month of December my articles for Stack Media made me one of the top 10 most viewed on the platform.  I sincerely hope everyone has a HEALTHY and happy new year!

1.  Product review of the Nike Plus Sport Watch

2.  High School Strength Coach.  Necessity or Luxury?

3.  How to Gain 4 pounds of muscle in 10 days.

4.  How to Warm Up Like the Pros.

5.  2012 ING NYC Marathon.

6.  Things I eat.

7.  3 Step Approach Guaranteed to Build and Protect Shoulder Muscles.

8.  The Ripped Lower Ab workout. 

9.  What an Amateur Runner Thinks during a 20 Mile Training Run.  Warning.  Explicit Language.

10.  How Long can you build muscle.

Of course there are other articles that were not the most viewed out there in cyber land but I think you should still check them out.

Hurricane Sandy and the NYC Marathon:  A Runner’s Viewpoint.

I was also featured in Men’s Health Magazine this past year so this article was probably the most viewed overall because it reached millions of people worldwide via Men’s Health Magazine.  I included the link in my blog post.  If you haven’t seen it yet check it out.  Image

STACK Expert – Joe Lopez | STACK

STACK Expert – Joe Lopez | STACK.

Holiday gift ideas for the fitness enthusiast. (Tested and Approved)

Nike + sport watch. $169.00
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The Nike plus sport watch is part of the Nike plus series of products including the sportband, the fuelband, and the new kinect training. It is clear that Nike wants to become your own personal trainer. I have had the Nike plus watch for some time and I can’t say enough good things about it. It tracks all of your runs and allows you to customize your workouts on your own Nike plus website with graphs and charts. For a further review of the watch check out my article at Stack.com. http://www.stack.com/2012/10/08/training-with-the-nike-running-watch/

Subscription of Men’s Health Magazine. One year. $19.90

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In my house when I get a new idea for anything whether it’s a recipe I want to make, a gift I want someone to buy for me, or a new look the joke is “you saw this in Men’s Health didn’t you?” Every month when I receive that magazine I sit down and usually read it cover to cover. No where else can you get more information of health, fitness, style, and just how to be a man in the 21st century. You can even find quality articles such as this one. http://www.menshealth.com/weight-loss/belly-joe-lopez With articles like that how can you afford not to get a year’s subscription?

Brooks Glycerine running shoes. $140.00

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Brooks is my go to brand for running sneakers. I think running sneakers are so important to the amateur runner. Much more so than what hat or shirt they might be wearing. Without properly fitting sneakers a runner is likely to get injured which can derail running altogether. My theory is that larger companies like Nike have so many different brands and products that they do so well. They deal in basketball, baseball, football, and a million other things. Brooks just does running. So when it comes to sneakers I choose Brooks. The Glycerines are their top of the line sneaker with plenty of cushion for a heavier runner. They are for runners with a neutral arch and they just look good.

Under Armour Charged Cotton Storm Full Zip Hoody. $74.99

This is hands down the most comfortable sweatshirt I have ever owned. I can wear with a pair of jeans and sneakers on a cold day or while I am on a run. At first I thought I wouldn’t like having a zip up hoody because it feels more like a jacket than a sweat shirt but the elongated look made me look slimmer than a cut off look of a pullover. The bottom of the sweatshirt has a cuffed ribbing that you can wear flat instead of having to fold under like a normal pullover sweatshirt. The hood liner is super comfortable and sports a waffled look that is comfortable to wear. This sweatshirt is even great for wearing while going on a run in the winter months. It kept me dry even while the snow was falling and I had no problems staying warm. This is a do all sweatshirt with style.

Race entry into a favorite race. $90.00

Races are fun for the whole family. Plan a trip around a race. Visit a new city that you have never been to. There is no better way to see a city than to for for a run. After the race you can celebrate by going to a nice dinner and partaking in the post race party. My favorite is the Baltimore Running Festival sponsored by Under Armour. They have a wheelchair race, kids fun run, 5K, half marathon, and a full marathon. Best of all the gear is second to none. When Under Armor sponsors s a race you are getting top of the line race T-Shirts.

HB Tune IPhone carrier. $24.99

Sometimes I run listening to music and sometimes I don’t. When I was getting ready for the NYC Marathon I was starting to plan for all the logistics of how I was going to find my wife after the race in a sea of thousands of people. I wanted to have my IPhone on me while I was running but I have never really found an armband that worked quite right. They are great for wearing at the gym but if you plan on running 10 or more miles they always twist and slip. I didn’t want to have to worry about it on marathon day. Then I found the HB Tune IPhone carrier. How simple. A phone carrier that straps to the palm of your hand. You hardly even know it’s there. On top of it you can still use the touchscreen feature through the plastic. You should always have a phone on you during a run for emergencies and now you can.

Nike Men’s LW Wool Skully. $22.00

When running in the winter you need a hat to keep the heat from escaping. Most snow hats or skulls have that loose bottom where you just fold it over. The Nike LW Wool skull has the tight fitting bottom that goes over your ears. Combine that with the wool material and it’s a perfect hat to wear during a winter run or just when outside putting up Christmas lights.

Under Armour Coldblack T shirt. $34.99

I am very picky about which T shirts I wear to run in. This is my favorite. The material is light but not absorbent. It doesn’t get too wet from sweat and it is extremely comfortable to wear.

Brooks PureFlow running sneakers. $89.95

The Pure series by Brooks is their attempt to create a more minimalist running sneaker without going completely minimalist like the vibrams or other similar products on the market. Many runners have tried vibrams and end up getting hurt. These are a good compromise. They have a light feel almost as if you are running barefoot. The sneaker has a very low profile and a stylish design. I have gotten more compliments on these sneakers than any other I have worn as far as their looks. If you are a heavier runner like myself then you might not want to overdo it with these but instead use them as an alternative for speed workouts and shorter runs.

Nike Fuelband. $149.99

The Nike Fuelband is basically a suped up pedometer with modern day technology. It tracks your movement throughout the day and allows you to log in and create goals and really see how much exercise you get. It is stylish enough where you can wear it every day and it doesn’t look out of place. With a cool light up feature it can act as a watch, a calorie counter, a pedometer, a step counter, and something they call Nike Fuel. Nike fuel is a measure of movement that is equal from person to person unlike calories burned. I aim for 5,500 Nike Fuel a day. Because of Nike large resources you can also see how you stack up to Nike sponsored athletes. In the past year I have Twitter trasj talked to Serena Williams and Manny Pacquiao because I earned more fuel than them. I am sure both of them could beat me up especially Serena but it’s fun anyway. You can also download your results on your smart phone and look at trends.

The Grid Foam Roller. $40.00

When you workout you get tight. Any soft tissue tightness can lead to dysfunction which can lead to injury. The Grid foam roller has these little grid like features which let you customize your massage / foam rolling experience. As a runner I often use this one on my calves and Hips. I love it because I can really feel where my tight spots are and work them out. Remember to go slow and breathe. If an area hurts you can adjust the pressure but don’t skip it. It hurts for a reason.

Personal training sessions. Packages range from $40-$80 per session.

Personal training sessions might just be the kickstart you need to a new life. Whether you hate going to the gym or you are just looking for some new ideas contact me and we can set something up. I have packages for all levels and price ranges. I am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist which means I can program workouts for all athletes. My specialities are Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Endurance races, and Weight Loss. I lost 100 pounds and have kept it off for 7 years. I was featured in Men’s Health Magazine.

To find out how I can help you or your loved ones:

Call. (973) 713 4481.

E-mail. llopesl55@hotmail.com

Follow me on Twitter. https://twitter.com/JoeLopez55

Like my Facebook page. www.Facebook.com/JerseystrongPersonalTraining

Men’s Health article.

I just realized that I didn’t post my Men’s Health article on my blog.  So here it is.

http://www.menshealth.com/weight-loss/belly-joe-lopez

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