Body weight: 164.2

Mood: Great!

Upcoming Competitions: n/a


…to be continued (skip to the bottom for a rant on poorly organized CrossFit competitions!)


I have maintained my rowing regimen at a higher-than-normal frequency for the duration of the month, although I’ve been rowing one less day per week.

Regardless, I crushed my old 5K time without even really trying (I completed it as the first part of somewhat…odd 9,100m piece) and I can honestly say that I’ve never felt more comfortable on the rower.

As my time of dedicated rowing comes to an end (more on this later), I have felt a bit of a mindset shift when it comes to the discipline. It makes me think back to one of the last things Coach Cam Nichol said to my group at the Rowing WOD seminar I attended back in 2019.

“I’d be pleased if people changed their perceptions of rowing and looked at it more of like how the world looks at running…something you can enjoy doing every day.” (paraphrased)

I don’t see myself ever becoming a daily rower, but the thought of being aimless about my training for the day and simply strapping myself in for a 20+ minute row doesn’t sound nearly as daunting as it previously did.

At this point, it actually sounds a little therapeutic! 

If you’re not quite where you’d like to be with your rowing, give a month or two of more dedicated sessions a try. With even a tiny amount of eyes-on coaching (like I got from Coach Nunn) and some perseverance, you’re bound to make some improvements. 

…and you won’t lose nearly as much of your “CrossFit stamina” as you might imagine (more on this later, too!)

Double Unders

Oh boy, what a struggle!

I know can’t really expect to count on a single program to magically “solve” all of your fitness struggles (especially one retailing for $21).

..but Train Heroic’s “Get Better at Double-under” program…man what a bust.

To be fair, I didn’t completely finish the program (I couldn’t bring myself to do the final workout…so..I only completed, like, 93 percent of the program), but I can safely say that this was not the double-under program I needed.

Coming to this realization near the beginning of the month, I began incorporating double-unders into my warmups. I would generally perform 3 sets of between 15 and 25 unbroken  double-unders and by the end of the month, I started to see some improvement. However, consistency continues to be my enemy as some days, I can knock out 50 straight in ~25 seconds while on others, I can barely string 10 together.

I would also say I need to get more deliberate with my rope sizing. I can actually spin the rope pretty quickly and experience a lot of rope drag. I could probably shorten my rope, but I’m too cheap to take the chance that I might cut it too short and have to replace the whole thing. Maybe when I am making millions from this blog, this mindset will change (probably not!)

Until then, double-unders remain a work in progress for me!

Bodyweight Exercises

These have been largely hit and miss (mostly miss, to be honest) over the last month as I have really lost the desire to work these at the end of my workouts. Even though these aren’t overly taxing and don’t take much time, I just don’t think they represent time well spent in relation to other things I could be doing.

Because the challenge level is right in the sweet spot of “just hard enough to be annoying” but “not hard enough that I’m probably getting any significant benefit”, I’ll likely replace these with more CrossFit-specific versions of these exercises (ex. Dedicated sets of pistols, chest-to-bar pull-ups, kipping handstand push-ups).

Calisthenics are really cool and a lot of the prominent men in that space are really ripped. However, I do have access to a lot of heavy weights (which will get me stronger than any bodyweight exercise program) and am not too interested in performing the “party tricks” (ex. Flag holds,) that seem to be the main focus of many calisthenics training programs.

Maybe…one day…to be continued…


Yeah…mobility. Most boring topic in fitness?


Most important topic in fitness (particularly for…”older” athletes…like me)?


Over the past few months I have gone through one of my “sore” phases. This has taken the form of of a painful, tight right shoulder (particularly when bench pressing and, to a lower extent, when overhead pressing) and knees that are more sore than usual (especially when squatting).

I call this a “phase” as I seem to go through these somewhat often. Thankfully, I had pretty much avoided one of the sore phases over the last ~18 months so I guess I was finally “due”.

As obnoxious as the pain is, the thing that really sucks is being limited on my lifts. I hate having to lower my squat weights not because I can’t handle the weight, but because of my (irrational) fear that my painful knees will buckle.

…and I know the older I get that the sore phases will come at a much greater frequency.

I’ve read up on some mobility solutions in Rebuilding Milo and the Becoming a Supple Leopard…but it is difficult to develop a more personalized program. Maybe once I have my issues diagnosed better, the content in these books will be more valuable to me and easier to appy…but for the time being…not so much.

So I ordered a mobility screening.

I won’t say who performed this screening just yet as it will likely factor into next month’s programming content (spoiler!), but I have a feeling that they will be able to help me with my mobility…a lot.

The sheer number of positions I simply couldn’t get into that were involved in the screening, while disheartening, leads me to believe that I have a lot of room for improvement by just making small, 10 percent mobility increases at a time. 

The review was thorough (~18 minutes long of just the YouTube video plus another dedicated ~30 minutes or so).

The assessment was tough to swallow in some places, but better to hear all of the things that aren’t great now and start working on mobility improvement than to become a completely immobile senior citizen!

I’m looking forward to reporting more on my progress in the coming months and the stretches, movements, etc. that are prescribed to me!


I am still following the HWPO strength pieces pretty closely and have actually done a few WODs and metcons over the last few weeks. However, this is probably coming to an end in the very near future. 

I have had two discussions with my prospective new (well, new and first!) dedicated CrossFit/lifting coach and will likely be signing on to work with him and his organization sometime in the coming days. 

I am really looking forward to dedicated programming and more dedicated “eyes on coaching” (even if it is remote) to help me work on a number of deficiencies that I need to address. Worst case scenario? I find my true “ceiling” as an athlete after awhile and can put to bed my visions of grandeur…

(hopefully not, though!)

More to come!

Competitions (continued!)

Last month, I wrote at length about a then-upcoming competition that I was considering taking part in. At the time, I wasn’t sure if I would even be eligible due to my…well…”less-than-stellar” attempt at the qualifying workouts. As it was, due to the low number of 35+ Men registered for the competition, everyone from this age group received an invite.

Ahhhh…the feeling of vindication in putting in the least amount of effort to take part in a CrossFit competition. Don’t tell the people at the Northeast Semi-final Competition about it!

Ultimately, I decided against participating in the competition. I hadn’t cycled a barbell in months and ended up spending the weekend before the competition hanging out with friends in Belgrade and Vienna (with all of the less-than-macro-friendly food that goes with it). Due to all of my rowing over the past few months, I’m certainly not “out of shape”, but I’m also certainly not in my “best shape”.

This decision would prove to be very wise (for the most part!)

For starters, between the competition’s qualification phase and the actual start of the main event there was almost no communication initiated on the part of the competition organizers. A few days before the competition, there was a Facebook post detailing that there would be a swimming event (appreciated, but considering the location of the event, most people probably already assumed this to be the case).

The next day (literally being the day before the competition) the organizers put out another Facebook post casually mentioning that the location of the final event would actually be in the village of Čanj roughly a 20-minute drive from the city of Bar.

The bustling Čanj is such a happening place that Wikipedia doesn’t even have an entry for its “population” (I would estimate it is somewhere in the double digits) while the city of Bar (as in, the city that the competition is named after) is only the fifth-largest city in the country.

“Surely, this Čanj place has to be better than Bar, Tom? Why else would they have moved the competition there?” you might ask.

Here is the view from one of the “seaside” hotels

Doesn’t that just look sooo much better than what you can see in the background in the Battle4Bar Facebook page?

What’s that I see? A beach, track, and tennis courts (amongst other sports facilities)? Meh…who would need anything like that for a CrossFit competition?

Now, back to the whole “we waited to tell you that the competition will be held in a completely different location that what you expected until the day before it starts”, consider that you were from one of the eight foreign countries on this graphic and would be traveling to this event from abroad (not to mention if you were coming from a different region of Montenegro to compete) and weren’t told where it would be held until the day before?

Worse yet, if you were like any normal person and simply assumed “ohh..it’s in Bar…I’ll book some place there ahead of time” only to be told how wrong you were the day before the competition…well…you’d have to hope your reservation could be cancelled.

(to be fair, Čanj is a hamlet in the Bar municipality/county…so…in one sense, there was no deception on the Battle4Bar organizer’s part. Kind of like if the Battle of New York competition…was held in Syracuse.)

Thankfully, the organizers had secured accommodations with a very creatively-named hotel in the town for event participants to stay at (at a “special rate”) for the duration of the competition. 

The Hotel Montenegro!

Let’s see what a recent hotel guest had to say about this wonderful place:

Mr. Grzegorz was also nice enough to take a picture of how his room looked at check-in

What a place to spend a CrossFit competition weekend!

Unfortunately, being that I wasn’t actually at the event, I can’t tell you anything about the competition itself. What I do know is that it is the kind of competition where the Scaled Men’s “champion” won for the second year in a row.

(because, ya know…that is what the scaled division is all about!)

Also, there were a total of 5 movements featured in the first qualifying workout and 4 movements in the second. Of those 9…3 made their way into the competition. 

REALLY A+ programming, here!

My point in telling you all of this? Be very careful when you’re thinking about participating in a CrossFit competition in an “interesting” or “unique” less-than-developed part of the world. The organization of the competition and conscientiousness of the organizers might not quite be at a standard you’d prefer and the event itself probably won’t be at all what you expect.

P.S. Still waiting on that new phone/phone plan. I promise it’ll be here….”soon”!

Photo of author


Tom, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ISSA-CPT, PN1-NC, DPA, CAPM has been CrossFitting for over 10 years. He has participated in a number of team and individual CrossFit competitions across Europe and the United States. He was the 2012 Chick-fil-A Race Series champion (North Georgia Circuit) and has put together a few gnarly garage and basement gyms in his time!

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