Recovering From Last Year : Jeremy Kinnick

I have competed in every CrossFit Games Open. I placed 99th and 75th worldwide in 2011 and 2012 respectively, and was fortunate enough to make it the CrossFit Games both years. Last year, 2013, I finished 216th world wide and didn’t make it to the Games. After regionals, unlike the previous years, I felt burned out, and decided to re-evaluate my training methods. This year I placed 40th worldwide and, more importantly, realized a lot along the way.

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Getting Less With More

What was wrong with me? I trained as much as I could. Heck, I trained more than I ever thought possible. I went 2 weeks or more without resting. I hit multiple workouts daily, plus strength portions, endurance efforts, and skill work. All I did was workout. I went to get ART work done once a week for the entire year. I mobilized constantly. I ate perfectly and upped my intake to give my body more fuel. I did everything my coach said to do. I followed the plan. It left me wondering how I could possibly fail. It felt like more than just falling short of my goals. It felt like I failed to perform at my full capabilities. All the work I put it didn’t amount to much. I wasn’t better than I was the year before. If anything, I was worse. It left me wondering if I truly wanted to continue competing at the top levels in CrossFit. I was doubting all the sacrifices I was putting in. I was giving up precious time with my wife, my boys, and sacrificing everything else in my life to be the best. I understand sometimes you have to do things like this when pursuing great things. But the strain it was having on every aspect of my life was not something I was willing to continue with.

Back To Basics

Flash forward one year. I had my best CrossFit Games Open ever in 2014, placing 40th worldwide. I finished 10th in the world on 14.3. I have never felt better in my life. What changed?! How did I get here after such a disappointing year?

“Stick to the basics and when you feel you’ve mastered them it’s time to start all over again, begin anew – again with the basics – this time paying closer attention.” -Greg Glassman

From early 2012 all the way to late 2013, my brother and I took a break from handling my programming because we were busy with so many other things. Looking back now we realize we made a big mistake. We took the easy route and it showed when I did not make the progress I needed to and fell short of my goals. When we realized that I had stalled out we took my programming and training back into our own hands. We went back to the basics. Using Beyond The Whiteboard, we identified what my biggest weaknesses were and made a plan to attack them. What was even more frustrating is that the weaknesses we identified were the same ones I have struggled with since starting CrossFit. It’s funny how easy it is to go so long ignoring the hardest things to improve on. The specific weakness training was something I did separately from my workouts and I took an extremely focused approach that attacked them from all different directions. I basically committed time 3-5 days a week working on those weaknesses. Toes to bar, pulling strength, pushing strength, etc.

From late July until mid January, I really focused on getting stronger through powerlifting. I would powerlift 3 times a week, hit workouts only 3 times a week, Olympic lift twice a week, and work on gymnastic movements twice a week. From January until now I have upped my workouts to 4 times a week, switched my lifting focus to 3 days of Olympic lifting specific strength and skill work, and I also added endurance work with running and rowing repeats 4 times a week. We focused on the quality of the work I was getting in, where as the previous year I feel like I was grinding away at a higher volume with much less purpose. Another big realization I made is that I have performed at my absolute best at a much lower bodyweight than what I was competing at. I have dropped down from 217# in October to a much lighter 189#.

All of these changes to my training regimen were a big part of my turnaround. It was more focused on what I personally needed to do and it was much less volume. It changed everything as far as the time and energy I now have to put into the things that matter most to me. I get more time with my wife and boys. She gets to train more and improve as an athlete. I can give more attention to my gym and do what I love, changing more lives through proper nutrition and CrossFit. Most importantly it has allowed me to enjoy life and focus less on me and more on others. I can credit a lot of my success to these changes that allowed me to get back to having fun this year.

At CrossFit Kinnick I do all the programming for the competitors and the group classes. For the first time in around 2 years I started working out in group classes. I would program the gym workout and then make a competitor version that would usually include more advanced versions of movements and mix in heavier weights. And my athletes were beating me on workouts. My wife, Giermaine Kinnick, would beat me some days. Nick Robles, Daniel O’Brien, Chris Nicholson, Elyse Persico, Melody Sanchez, Christine Navarro, Sariah Veirs, or Andrew Perry might best me on others. It was awesome because it pushed me. Some days I would program workouts that I knew were strengths for other athletes and use that as an opportunity to try to beat them at something in their wheelhouse. Other days I would program to my strengths and try to lap them. The competitive drive was there but we were all having a blast working out together and pushing each others limits.

I came to realize that in strictly following outside programming and pouring everything into my own training I had lost sight of what makes CrossFit so fantastic…the community. Hitting workouts alone or separate from my athletes was a grind. I needed a change but I couldn’t see it. Even though I overhauled my training program and changed my focus, I truly think the biggest change this year is that the fun is back.

Interact With Jeremy

Twitter: @JeremyKinnick
Facebook: Jeremy Kinnick

Programming Breakdown: CrossFit Games Open 2014

Earlier this week we released a scores breakdown for the this year’s CrossFit Open. We also thought it would be informative to breakdown the programming(workout structure) for this year’s Open as well.

Movements in the Open
Monostructural Gymnastics Weightlifting
Row Double Unders Power Snatches
Chest-to-Bar Pull-ups Overhead Squats
Box Jumps Deadlifts
Toes-to-Bars Wall Ball Shots
Muscle-ups Cleans
Burpees (Bar Facing) Thrusters

At CrossFit’s Coach’s Prep Course, there is a section on analyzing programming. It’s a great course and we highly recommend it to anyone who has been through the CrossFit Level 1 Course. We built these areas of analysis into Beyond the Whiteboard, allowing you to see how your own programming stacks up (see: Analyze > Programming). The following is a breakdown of the 2014 CrossFit Games Open programming based on these characteristics.

 The Open Workouts were primarily AMREPs, Couplets, High Rep, Short-Medium Duration, Medium Load with GW Modality.

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Scores Breakdown: CrossFit Games Open 2014

Now that the 2014 CrossFit Games Open is behind us, we thought we would compile our weekly stats for you all in one place. Below you can see how you stacked up to the rest of the community, week by week. Enjoy!

14.1: Double Unders & Snatches

75% of BTWB users PR’d on 14.1, compared to their 11.1 result.

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14.2: Overhead Squats & Chest-to-Bar Pull-ups

72% of Men made it past the 3 minute cut-off. 30% made it past the 6 minute cut-off. Less than 9% made it past the 9 minute cut-off.
36% of Women made it past the 3 minute cut-off. 12% made it past the 6 minute cut-off. Less than 3% made it past the 9 minute cut-off.
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14.3: Deadlifts and Box Jumps

The top 10% of women beat the top 10% percent of men, but the bottom 90% of men beat the bottom 90% of women.
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14.4: Row, Toes-to-Bars, Wall Ball Shots, Cleans, Muscle-ups

Over 80% of the men got to the Cleans, but only 40% got to the Muscle-ups.
Over 50% of the women got to the Cleans, but only 10% got to the Muscle-ups.
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14.5: Thrusters and Burpees

53% of Men finished in under 20 minutes. 13% of Men finished in under 15 minutes. Less than 1% of Men finished in under 10 minutes.

50% of Women finished in under 20 minutes. 13% of Women finished in under 15 minutes. Less than % of Women finished in under 10 minutes.

Then Men in the 1st-75th Percentiles had better times than the Women.
The Women in the 76th-94th Percentiles had better times than the Men.
Then Men in the 95th-99th Percentiles had better times than the Women.


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What CrossFit Has Taught Me About Life

All people have weaknesses. Most people are content to hide them or downplay them, focusing the attention instead on their strengths. CrossFit challenges us to identify our weaknesses, and work hard to turn them into strengths. Whatever your “goats” may be, find them, and work on them. Whether it be strength, flexibility, or double-unders, don’t avoid them, don’t ignore them.

The same is true in life. We each have our own struggles. It may be anger. It may be bitterness, or resentment. We may be judgmental, or selfish, or self-righteous. But if we soberly examine ourselves, we can identify these shortcomings and work to address them. And we should.

“CrossFit challenges us to identify our weaknesses, and work hard to turn them into strengths.”

I expect my coaches to care enough about me to point out the chinks in my armor. I expect my friends to care enough to point out the flaws in my character. Not in order to tear me down, but to allow me to grow. And that’s a rare and difficult thing. It takes tact, and empathy, and compassion.

Granted, some people come into the gym so beaten down physically and mentally that they don’t need anyone to tell them how terrible they are. They already know. They need someone to lift them up. Someone to encourage them on their air squat progress and point out how awesome it is that they showed up.

“If we soberly examine ourselves, we can identify these shortcomings and work to address them. And we should.”

And that’s where some people are in life, too. They are so overwhelmed with their shortcomings, they can barely function. They don’t need someone to point out their flaws. They need to be loved. They need to be encouraged. They need to be lifted up.

They need hope.

It’s the responsibility of good coaches, and decent humans, to recognize where someone is, and act accordingly.