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CrossFit Charlotte - 6th annual Fight Gone Bad

One of the regulars at my YMCA fitness classes told me he was competing in the CrossFit event, "Fight Gone Bad".  This was the 6th annual event, also serving as a fundraiser for three different charities, including the Wounded Warrior Project

I've written about CrossFit before, but as a reminder each workout has a unique name, often in-memoriam of fallen soldiers and servicemen and women.  "Fight Gone Bad" was designed to mimic the physical endurance demands of a mixed martial arts bout, featuring five minutes of work, one minute of recovery, over three rounds. "FGB" got its name after all-time great UFC fighter B.J. Penn undertook the workout one day, and described it afterwards as being much like "a fight gone bad".  The name stuck.

Here's a glimpse at the workout structure:

Three (3) rounds of:

  • Wall-ball, 20/14 pound ball, 10 foot target (Most reps) 
  • Sumo Deadlift High-pull, 75/55 pounds (Most reps)
  • Box Jump, 20" box (Most reps)
  • Push-press, 75/55 pounds (Most reps)
  • Row (Most Calories according to meter)

The weather was much cooler than a normal early September Saturday thanks to the cold front that came in yesterday, but the athletes toughed it out and I saw some tremendous performances. 

I had been debating taking a few breaks from my half-marathon endurance training (races in October and November) to add some Crossfit-style workouts.  Being in this atmosphere has definitely motivated me to get off the spin bike and put the running shoes away once in a while and not to forget mixing in a CrossFit-style workout.  I'll also be adapting the FGB workout for my YMCA classes, beginning next week.

Here's a sample video of "Fight Gone Bad":


UFC's Phillipe Nover talks nutrition


When Phillipe Nover was featured on Season 8 of Spike TV's "The Ultimate Fighter", he was known for three main things.

  1. Fainting during the orientation speech on the first day  
  2. Having explosive knockout power
  3. Being fanatic about his sushi

One of the other fighters started eating his sushi out of the fridge for a while before a few (gross) measures were taken to teach that fighter a lesson about messing with another man's food.  What wasn't lost on me was Phillipe's belief in eating well and taking care of his body, and the results showed as he advanced to the final round before losing to Efrain Escuadero.

  In an interview with PR Cole of Fuel The Fighter (Twitter: @fuelthefighter), Phillipe outlines his approach to nutrition and trying to keep things "clean" and natural while still having enough in the tank for his intense MMA sessions.

Among other things, he mentions his preference for training early on an empty stomach (or close to it) which I have also found better results with in my own experience.  Phillipe also covers how he gets healthy fruit/vegetable-based carbs in his system as opposed to grains, and how to cook meals based around lean proteins.

Also check out his "Incredible Hulk" shake receipe, which is pretty similar to what I try to get in every day as well.


Key Takeaway:  It takes slightly more planning and attention to detail, but it is VERY possible to eat a clean diet based around natural foods, fruits, and vegetables and still train at an intense level every day.  Easy-to-access grains like breads and pastas can be a cop-out, since the body does not burn off these processed foods as efficiently as more natural ones.



Fitness Spotlight: Georges St. Pierre


For our "Fitness Spotlight" segment, every so often I'm going to highlight an athlete, entertainer, model, or just a regular everyday person and what they've been doing to reach peak levels of fitness. 

We all need targets to aspire to and examples to emulate, so hopefully the men and women I highlig ht in these posts give you some valuable information, and a few tools you can borrow into your own everyday workout and diet routines. 


Georges St. Pierre (GSP) is as of this writing, the champion of UFC's welterweight division.  He's widely regarded as one of the top 3-4 MMA fighters in the business. 

He recently signed an endorsement deal as the first mixed martial artist to represent a major sports apparel line - Under Armour.


Anyways, odds are you already know a little about GSP but I want to delve into his training (besides the actual fight-based training).  GSP is trained by Jonathan Chaimberg and Firas Zahabi, and their focus is on brief, quick bursts of energy as opposed to longer endurance workouts.

"If you train for two to three hours, the intensity level can’t be the same as somebody who trains for one hour," Firas says. "So, the first 20 minutes of the training is warm up. We’re not really working out; we’re just stretching and getting the body warm. Then, we do only 40 minutes of work, but at as high a quality as possible, and by high quality I mean very intense."

"Let’s say I trained Georges St-Pierre on the mats for two hours," continues Firas. "He obviously couldn’t kick as hard and as often as if he was doing it for 40 minutes; if you tell someone 'I want you to sprint 100 meters,' he’s not going to hold anything back -- he’s going to go as hard as he can because he knows it’s only 100 meters. But tell someone 'I want you to sprint for 800 meters' and he’s going to start slowly, but he’s going to pace himself. He’s going to do 800 meters as fast as he can, but he’s obviously not going to run as fast as if you’re telling him to do 100 meters. So, our first objective is to raise the intensity -- how hard and fast can you go."

Here's a video of GSP doing an interval-style circuit using multiple peices of equipment.  Don't focus on the specific exercises he is doing (like the weighted pull-ups) but instead focus on the overall theme, structure, and philosophy of his workout:

Key Takeaway:  Whether you're training to defend the UFC Welterweight Championship, or just trying to burn off some calories after sitting behind a desk all week, there's a place for brief, high-intensity workouts in your overall plan.

I structure my fitness classes the same way for this reason. Not everyone wants to pound their knees on the pavement for 5 miles or spend 60 minutes on the treadmill because it bores them.  If interval-based circuit workouts get things done for high-level athletes like GSP, they'll work for the average person trying to get their heart rate going and break a sweat to work off last night's desert also.