Groundhog Day

One of my favorite movies ever is Groundhog Day.

You’ve seen it, right?

(If not, close this email/web page and find it and watch it; it’s awesome!)

The main guy, Phil (played by Bill Murray), lives the same day over and over again in a small town, but he’s the only one who knows it.

He goes through all sorts of emotions: It’s confusing at first, then kinda cool, then depressing, then completely awesome!

One of the main things he tries to do is “get the girl” by finding out everything she likes and trying to “stage” the perfect day so she’ll fall madly in love with him.

He learns her favorite ice cream, her goals in life, and even recites some French poetry to try and impress her.

It works to get her attention, but he always falls short of the “madly in love” part (eventually leading to the depression).

At some point, he stops caring about her and focuses on helping people and improving himself, learning the piano, helping a homeless guy, saving someone from choking, etc.

The part that fascinated me about the movie were the piano scenes.

He signs up for piano lessons, and his first one was terrible. He had no idea how to play.

After living the same day over and over again and doing the “first lesson” over and over again … he begins to crush it.

One day while he’s playing Bach while chewing gum and looking totally relaxed, the piano teacher says to him,

“Wow, you say this is your FIRST lesson?”

There’s something about that scene that just gets me.

How good could you be at something if you just did it over and over again, every day … without fear that you’re getting too old, or “wasting time”?

What if you were able to let go of pretense, relax, and enjoy the process?

What if you had all the time in the world?

(This is the premise of the movie, btw … it was even in the trailer.)

I think about this often … and it’s why I’ve seen this movie at least 20 times.

People say life is short, but the truth is, life is LONG.

Every 10 years represents 3,600 days of life. You can master anything if you spend a few hours a day on it for 10 years.

If you don’t want to master something, you can be GOOD at it with focused practice in 12 months.

And if you just want to acquire a basic skill? Three months or less.

In three months, you can learn how to swim, train for and run a half marathon, lose 40 lb. or even learn the basics of piano.

But you have to be willing to start, and you have to be willing to be TERRIBLE for a while.

I see a lot of people walk into the gym and expect to be good at things on their first day.

When they aren’t, it’s a big hit to the ego.

“Why am I finishing last?”

“Why can’t I do this movement?”

“Why is everything so HARD?”

This leads people to quit because they just don’t get it, it’s too hard, or they can’t handle the ego hit.

Why would you expect something to be easy if you’ve NEVER DONE IT BEFORE?!?

The thing that makes Hale special is that it’s NOT EASY to do this stuff.

And because it’s not easy, it’s more than just a workout you do every day, day in and day out (like Groundhog Day).

It’s a set of SKILLS you have to acquire over time by PRACTICING them.

Phil found meaning in his life when he focused on improvement on a daily basis, not just having everything he wanted.

This brought progress and joy to his otherwise mundane days.

And it ultimately led to him escaping the loop.

Look at your workouts as skills you’re developing, rather than just goals you’re achieving.

Focus on getting better every day, and you’ll break out of the “Groundhog Day” mentality.

Coach “Punxatawny” Jay



Summer of Skills:

Our next few skills sessions will be:

7/17: Rowing with Lauren Nielsen*
7/24: Oly Skills (Clean) with Nathan Loe*
7/31: Oly Skills (Jerk) with Nathan Loe*
8/7: Oly Skills (Snatch) with Nathan Loe*

All clinics at 6:30 p.m.

These are FREE for members.

*Advanced sign-up is required and space will be limited. Please sign up here or in person at the front whiteboard.

Is there something you’re dying to learn more of? Please drop a line to

Mark Freeman (of Freeman Technique, Cirque du Soleil, and Cal Gymnastics fame) will be running his clinics on Wednesdays at 5:45 a.m. Cost is $20 for members; $25 for non-members. Our regular 5:45-a.m. Group Coaching class will continue as scheduled.

Oakland Tri and Alcatraz Swim

Now that the Hero Challenge is done and dusted, the coaches are training for two upcoming events. More info to come, but the more the merrier! Give us a shout when you sign up!

  1. The Oakland Triathlon: Sunday, August 18 (Coach Jay)
  2. Odyssey Alcatraz Swim: Sunday, September 21 (Coach Heidi)

Outdoor Workout: Saturday, July 20

All athletes and guests welcome, no CrossFit experience required. We’ll meet at Albany Middle School/Cougar Field. Classes at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. FREE!

Workouts for the Week


5 rounds, E3MOM:
9 deadlifts
5 squat cleans
3 thrusters

(You MUST stand up the 5th squat clean before you begin the thrusters. If you drop the barbell after 5, you may squat clean into your 1st thruster).

Heavy barbell work today. This does not have to be done unbroken—today, we are going for load. You should aim to finish the reps in 2 mins or less to allow for some rest before your next set.

Start with a heavy-ish working weight and add as you are able. All 5 rounds should feel like hard work, ending in one round at your top weight. Thrusters will likely be the limiter here!


500-m run—moderate (60% effort)
**rest 2 mins**
400-m run—fast (65% effort)
**rest 2 mins**
300m—faster (70% effort)
**rest 2 mins**
200m—fastest (75% effort)
**rest 2 mins**

500m run—moderate (75% effort)
**rest 2 mins**
400m run—fast (80% effort)
**rest 2 mins**
300m—faster (85% effort)
**rest 2 mins**
200m—fastest (90% effort)
**rest 2 mins**

(30 min cap)

Goal today is to work on PACING, not necessarily get the fastest time. You should actually feel a difference between your exertion levels on each run.

Control your breathing and cadence, control your workout! You should feel like each effort is ACCELERATING relative to the last one—not just holding on to go hard the whole time!


A. Warm Up:

15 mins for quality:
50 single skips + 20 on each leg
3 inchworm + push-up
(get a great calf/hammy stretch!)
5 box OH stretch to hollow

B. 5-min AMRAP in pairs:
P1 holds DB OH (2x 25/15)
P2: 1 round:
**Mini Cindy**
2 ring rows
4 push-ups
6 air squats
(switch, repeat for entire 5 mins)

Rest 2 mins

5-min AMRAP in pairs:
P1 holds active squat
P2 1 round Mini Cindy
(switch, repeat for entire 5 mins)

Rest 2 mins

5-min AMRAP in pairs:
P1 holds plank
P2 1 round Mini Cindy
(switch, repeat for entire 5 mins)

Score is combined rounds + reps for each round. Mini Cindy may only be completed while other partner is holding position.

Move fast, and hold. Work on positions (this = active mobility!) and focus on breathing in position to lock it in.

C. Mobility:

2 mins/side LAX ball delt smash
2 mins/side pec smash
2 mins/side puppy dog/child’s pose


A. Max set strict pull-ups

Test it! Just once!

B. Every 90 s for 5 rounds:
3 strict pull-ups

If this is too easy, add weight! Note scaling (i.e. bands/negatives) or heaviest weighted load you worked up to.

C. 3 RFT:
500-m row
15 hang power cleans (115/75)
10 T2B

Training your row (and grip) for a long Viking journey. Focus on EFFICIENCY (LEGS!) in the row and smooth, even strokes.

Barbell cycling will be key to maintaining your grip on the cleans—DO NOT go to failure!

Lastly … T2B. Kind of rude, but this is your test to link them together. PRACTICE linking under fatigue, and you’ll be better off for workouts in the future. 6 + 4; 5 + 3 + 2 … whatever you need to do!


For time:
50 wall balls (20/14 to 10/9′)
50 alternating DB snatches (50/35)
50 alternating pistols
50 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Rx+ 70/50 DB
MissFit: 14/10; 35/25; lateral step-ups; jumping C2B

Single leg and single arm movements! You’re only as good as your weakest link. This one also alternates upper/lower body, but it’s likely everything will burn. Working on power, stamina, and pacing today.

Have a strategy to keep moving smoothly. Try to string together a few bigger sets of C2B to start, even if it means resting a little. PRACTICE these tougher skills under fatigue!

Saturday—TRAIN (& Guest Day at Albany MS)

Outdoor workout today! Meet at Albany Middle School track at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. Guests welcome!

20-min AMRAP in pairs! (One person works at a time.)

200-m burpee broad jumps

With remaining time:
10 med-ball chest passes
20 MB Russian twists
10 MB over-the-back throws
20 MB fast feet

Get sweaty, work together. Note, try to “fall forward” on burpees, versus kicking legs back (kind of like an inchworm). Should be a fun burner!


In pairs, for time:

400-m walking lunge


Take the day off OR pop in for Larry’s Legendary WOD.

This is a Granite Games 2018 qualifier WOD. Scale as needed!

15 burpees over Concept 2 erg
40/30-calorie row
15 burpees over Concept 2 erg
40/30-calorie row
15 burpees over Concept 2 erg

In the remaining time…

Establish a 1-RM snatch

Quick scale:
10 burpees over rower
30/20-cal row
Find max snatch OR complete one rep at moderate weight every 30 s.

Note snatch weight in comments

A successful workout today means:

1. You aggressively push the pace on the burpees/row just over the line you think you can sustain. Try to hold pace on row #2! Do not stop on the burpees!

2. You take a few attempts working up to a heavy-ish snatch with good technique. Allow yourself some time to cool off, load your bar, etc., before you take a crack at it. If you have time, start lighter than you think to get a few SOLID reps in, then take a few jumps.

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