They Call Me A Silverback…


March 3, 2015 by Ray Yanek

I’m 41 years old.  Sometimes, when I look back, I see a lot of wasted time, a lot of time spent doing everything other than what I should have been doing.  I have to be careful with that, because sometimes that line of thinking makes me rush.  I take on more than I can handle in my present; I try to do too much, and I set myself up for failure.

This was something I knew I needed to keep in mind as I went in search of a workout to incorporate into the The Consistency Project.  I started many workouts in the past that were a little too intense and time consuming because I felt like I needed intense results in a short amount of time.  Of course, I never followed through and spent more money on Icy Hot than any one human should ever spend on Icy Hot.

But at the same time, I enjoy pushing myself these days.  There’s a thrill in seeing how far I can go.  Last summer, when I was running a lot, I would end those long runs exhausted, knees aching, feet screaming, and lungs burning but filled with satisfaction and a feeling of confidence that I became addicted too.  Plantar fasciitis, snow and ice have kept me from those long runs, but that feeling of accomplishment was definitely something I wanted to continue.

I think I may have a found a program that I can stick too, but that will have all those good feels waiting at the end.


I found Cross Fit.

Then I found out that Cross Fitters refer to those over 40 as “Silver Backs” and I got pissed.

But I got over it and went back to the gym–because I absolutely loved the workouts.

Cross Fit has a little bit of everything.  There’s strength training, Olympic lifts, running, jumping, medicine throwing, balance exercise all put together to make to increase one’s metabolic conditioning.  If you’ve never been certain precisely what makes up your core, you will definitely know after one of these workouts.

In other words, Crossfit will make you stronger, get you in better shape, help you sweat off the pounds, and basically kick you square in the ass.  And when you get to the end of the workout….

On the Crossfit website, you can find the WOD’s or Workouts of the Day.  They’re short and sweet and generally will leave you a sweaty, worn out mess after 20 minutes or so.  The problem though that the tagline for Crossfit is “Forging Elite Athletes” and what I found was that a lot of the workouts were geared toward those Elite Athletes and were far, far out of my ability range.  The disappointment was starting to set in as did the belief that I was once again Living the Crash Diet life.    It’s a common complaint that Crossfit is too difficult, if not downright danger, for causal practitioners, and it is IF you try to do to much or work too high above your ability level just like with any workout.

I learned though, about this thing called scaling and it was then I knew Crossfit was for me.

Scaling is basically taking the workouts and adjusting them to your ability level.  You can adjust the weight, the reps, the sets, the times etc. while still making the workouts challenging.

brandxThere’s a website, run by a gym in Cali called Crossfit Brand X (their tagline in “Row faster, I hear banjo music” as rowing is a mainstay Crossfit exercise and the banjo music signifies…oh you know…) and the good people at this gym would scale the WODs to different levels.  You can find the WODs here.

For example, the WOD of the day for February 18th was this:

5 rounds for time of:

Run 800 meters

2-pood kettlebell swings, 30 reps

30 pull-up


I’m good for the runs, don’t know what the hell a ‘pood’ is, but no way am I doing the 30 pull-ups.

Crossfit Brand X however, scaled the workout down to different ability levels:


The Porch:

Five rounds for time of:

Run 800 meters

2 pood Kettlebell swing, 20 reps

30 Pull-ups


Five rounds for time of:

Run 800 meters

1.5 pood Kettlebell swing, 30 reps

30 Pull-ups


Three rounds for time of:

Run 400 meters

1 pood Kettlebell swing, 20 reps

20 Beginner or assisted Pull-ups


Three rounds for time of:

Run 400 meters

15-24# Kettlebell swing, 15 reps

15 Beginner or assisted Pull-ups

Find your ability level or, like I would have in this workout, mix and match. I would have kept the runs, found a proper weight the for the kettlebell swings and went with the 20 assisted pull-ups and voila!  you have a challenging, custom made workout that will make you feel like you accomplished something at the end.

Disclaimer:  For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been getting away from the the WODs and following the Brand X Method.  The Brand X Method follows the same general ideas as Crossfit and it incorporates the same exercises, but I feel like this method is a better fit for me.

As this post is getting long, I’ll talk more about that later.  It’s still Crossfit though, just different workouts.

But give Crossfit a try.  If the main sight, or even the Brand X workouts seem to intimidating run a Google search.  There are many, many different workout out there that utilize the Crossfit methods that may be a better fit for you.

Be careful though!  Don’t push yourself to hard and don’t start off going to heavy with the weights. Use a broomstick if you have too. Form, especially with the Olympic lifts, is the most important thing.

Here are some links to some beginner Crossfit workouts:

5 Beginner-Level Crossfit Workouts

Crossfit Workouts for Beginners from Quick10 on YouTube

A 30-Day, At-Home Crossfit Challenge from

Have you done Crossfit workouts before?  If so, share your experiences in the comments!




8 thoughts on “They Call Me A Silverback…

  1. Jsell says:

    Good for you, Ray! My initial thought when I saw Crossfit in your post was “be very, very careful,” but you hit the nail on the head. Stick with it, and I have the utmost confidence that you may yet one day see your toes again!

    • Ray Yanek says:

      That was one of the most insightful articles I have ever read! Thanks for sharing. My wife and I talk all the time about not really ever feeling like ‘grown-ups’. I think the article was spot on that there really are no grown ups–just people winging it.

      Thanks again for sharing. Will definitely go back and read that again.

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