Archive for June, 2012

Get Mad at the Bar

Posted: June 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

It is strength day, you are poised to get a PR, you have your lifting shoes, and your lucky shorts on. You are stoked to get into this lift and get that new record so you warm up really well and spend some extra attention on the critical parts of your anatomy for this movement. Then you finally get to that bar and start warming up the movement and get into your first couple of sets. This is easy; you know you have these weights, just building up to the big dog. Then it is time, time to go for the PR. At that moment, the moment you step up to the bar and are ready to set that new record, what is going through your head? I have heard a lot of people say to get angry or get mad at the bar, is that what you do? If it is and it works, then good on you. Keep it up and stick with that strategy. For me that does not work, I need to find clarity, I have a lot of noise going on, people all around doing their thing, going through the movement in my head, maybe a little self-doubt, butterflies in my stomach, feeling a little anxious, and then I find it. I find that spot where it gets quiet and the only thing on my mind is getting that bar to where it needs to be. I rely on my instincts and muscle memory to make my body move as efficiently as possible to make this lift. It is not my intention to tell you this is the best way to get that PR, simply a reminder that if one thing doesn’t work, try something else. I have tried getting angry and for whatever reason that does not work for me and then one day I noticed a pattern after getting a PR on an overhead squat. It took me a while to find it, but I did, so if one suggestion from someone doesn’t feel like it works for you, don’t sweat it, try something else.


Keep Your Box Clean

Posted: June 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

You might think I am talking to the Box owners, but I’m not. In my experience the vast majority of Box owners take very good care of their gyms. I am talking to the members. Treat the box like your home, or even better, like someone else’s home that you’re visiting. Keep it clean, if you take something out put it away. When you put stuff away, put it in the back in the correct spot and put it there neatly. We may be throwing around big heavy metal things that seem unbreakable, but they are not. Don’t throw down an empty barbell, don’t drop kettlebells, these things are not only expensive, but I might want to use them and if you break them I can’t. Also, in all boxes there is somewhere to put your junk (bag, jacket, water bottle, ect…), so don’t use stacks of weights or box jump boxes for a shelf. I get tired of moving your stuff so that I can WOD, and others do too. Take pride in your box, when you leave at the end of the WOD it should look as good as or better than when you came. Nobody wants to come into a dirty, unorganized box, I am sure you would rather spend your time hanging with your friends and getting your WOD on rather than searching for a barbell that isn’t broken or digging through a random pile of weights. We are all gassed after a WOD, but catch your breath and get your gear away nicely and clean up after your kids if yah got em. I am not thrilled to help clean up a bunch of toys all the time either, but I make sure my kids either get their stuff or I help them out. Everybody loves a clean box.

10. Going to a school function and having the other parents think you are a lot younger than you are.

9. Being at a Girl Scouts picnic and having your wife help move a large table and when some guy says, “Oh no she shouldn’t do that, let me help” and then you get to say, “She can deadlift well over 200lbs, I think she’s got it.”

8. Having your child pick up a PVC and bust out a pretty darn good Snatch.

7. Being able to keep up with your kids and having fun playing with them instead of just watching.

6. Getting to make the most of birthday parties that are at Gymnastics facilities, pools, bouncy houses, trampoline gyms, ect… So much more fun than just sitting around chatting.

5. Getting the opportunity to teach other parents about CrossFit when they ask you how the heck you stay so fit.

4. Being able to show your kids how to do things, rather than just trying to explain it.

3. Knowing you are setting a great example by keeping fit and eating real food. It is fun to hear someone ask you if you want some cake and your kid says, “He is not going to want that, my dad eats paleo.” That doesn’t mean I never take the cake though 😉

2. Feeling secure about being able to protect your family in an emergency. Whether it is being able to run 5 miles to your kid’s school, carry one for an extended period of time, or putting the smack down on some idiot that tries to harm your family in any way.

1. Knowing that you are doing the best you can to stay healthy so you can have a long, active life to provide the best life you can for your kids.

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Working Through an Injury

Posted: June 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Getting injured can be one of the most demotivating things that can happen in CrossFit. Unfortunately a lot of people try and take care of their injured body part by not coming into the box. Instead of resting just that one injured area, they are resting their entire body. Then by the time they do come back to the box, they have lost so much of their fitness they get discouraged and sometimes even end up quitting.

Don’t get me wrong, being injured sucks, but don’t let that detour you from staying fit. Recently I have been dealing with an injured shoulder and it was preventing me from doing anything overhead and anything with a big pull off the ground, like power cleans. So I experimented to find out what I could still do; I could use a kettlebell, do pull ups, toes to bar, knees to elbow, and a couple of other things. I started going to my physical therapist and I followed my normal workout schedule. What I ended up doing is just substituting any movement I couldn’t do with something I could do. For me, this was hard because I have a bit of a competitive side and I hated not being able to stack up what I was doing with what everyone else was doing. But, never the less I was at the box my usual 5 to 6 days a week and a little over 2 months later I am already starting to be able to ease back into some overhead movements.

The key to getting back into the game as quickly as possible is recognizing you have an injury early and taking care of it.  For me this meant getting that first PT appointment scheduled. Then once you have gone to your healing professional, make sure you actually follow the plan they set out for you. This is easy for me to say because my PT gets CrossFit and is an active person himself, often times they do not get CrossFit and basically just tell you to stop doing what you are doing. If you run into this problem, ask around your box where other people go. I will stop there because this could be an entire post in itself. Next, figure out what movements you can and can’t do and work with your coach to adjust the WOD to suite your needs until you are back to good. As you go through this process, slowly start testing out the movements that were bothering you before. First try it with no weight, then low weight, and then slowly build up to where you were before you got injured. For example, if pull-ups hurt your shoulder you could just do the pull-up movement without hanging on the bar, then move up to using a thick band, then try and just hang in an active position, then start doing low reps, you get the idea.

Being injured takes a lot of patients and is both mentally and physically hard to work through. I didn’t even talk about different extents of injuries. If you tweak your shoulder a bit, you could be back to good in a couple of weeks, but if you break your leg you are going to take a lot longer to get back into your regular routine. Either way it is the same process, just the length of each of the phases of healing are different. The main thing to take away here is not to quit, it is much easier to stay in your basic workout rhythm than it is to take a break and come back. Don’t sacrifice your health because of one injury, tough it out and get your butt into the box, you will be much happier in the long run.

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Deep down in the belly of CrossFit there are thousands of professional exercisers on the hunt for the best and coolest CrossFit gear. Late at night long after the WOD is over, these pro exercisers scour the deepest, darkest corners of the internets to find out when a special edition shoe is going to release, what new t-shirt line has the coolest phrases, and where you can score a great deal. In other sports there are clothing and equipment that are required, like soccer cleats, shin guards, baseball gloves, etc…. In CrossFit things aren’t necessarily mandatory, but having good gear sure can help you through a tough WOD. Is some of this more of a placebo effect? Probably, but either way it helps, and the true CrossFitter understands that. I know some of my most prized possessions are the shirts that represent my box. I think this is for two reasons, first I am proud to be part of my box and these people are my family. Second, CrossFit may have gotten a lot bigger, but it is still not main stream, so when someone sees your Buck Furpees t-shirt and asks you what box you go to, it is like finding out you had a long lost sibling.
What is your favorite piece or CrossFit apparel and why? Or if it is tough to narrow down, list a couple.

Your CrossFit Coach is not there to baby you, they are there in the literal sense, to change your life. That is not to say they are mean and will be yelling at you, but they sure as heck won’t be sugar coating the truth. It is their responsibility to point out your crappy form or try and push you harder when it looks like you are wimping out or even question why it looks like your body composition is not changing when according to Facebook you are the poster child for eating Paleo. It is their responsibility to make you the best you that you can be. For the athletes that get it, this is respected and appreciated, and for the athletes that don’t, their CrossFit career is short lived. CrossFit is for everyone, but everyone is not for CrossFit. It still shocks me every time I see someone new come into the box that clearly needs some lifestyle changes, stays long enough to hear all of the huge transformation stories, and maybe even long enough to see some people change before their own eyes, and then ends up quitting. These are also usually the people that don’t seem to ever really challenge themselves and don’t appreciate it when their coach points that out. To those people I say, “Harden the F$%# Up” Your coach is not trying to tear you down, they are trying to build you up. Being able to control your body and improve your health is extremely empowering and they just want you to experience that first hand. They still remember what it was like when they first felt it themselves and they want to share that feeling with you. So in short, your coach will never tell you, don’t worry about working hard today if you are tired, all of your lifts are perfect and you are done improving, eating paleo can be a tough transition so don’t bother, but they will tell you what you need to hear, when you need to hear it. Thank your coach the next time you see them, they deserve some feedback too.

#5 – The Cherry Picker

This is the person that only comes in for the WODs they think they will be good at. This in turn means they never get practice working on the movements they are not good at, which turns into minimal growth.

#4 – The Complainer

Ugh, I can’t believe the warm up is soooo hard, it is too hot, why do we do so many OHS, my arms are sore, I have a headache, it is too early, it is too late. Get my drift?

#3 – The Big Ego

Often times this is a problem with newbies, but can also be found in those that have been around for quite a while. The ego seems to rear its ugly when one can’t actually do the movement they are supposed to be doing at the Rx weight, so they are doing their very own special dangerous version of the movement so they don’t, heaven forbid, have to scale the weight and do it right. The really annoying part of the big ego is when a correction is given they do it one and go back to doing what they were doing before, don’t listen at all, or have to have someone else actually remove weight from their bar.

#2 – The You Should Know Better

This person has been at your box for quite a while now, maybe even one of the longest, but they still don’t seem to grasp basic concepts. They still don’t know what a Thruster is, they still don’t know how to figure out if they should go Rx and if they have to scale they seem clueless as to what they should scale to. This person might even try and be helpful and teach new people how to do stuff incorrectly. This person is just plain frustrating to watch, because they really should know better.

#1 – The Cheater

In CrossFit there is no room for cheating because it flat out gets you absolutely nowhere. Not only do people not respect the cheater, but they also question their integrity in general. There is no reason to cheat, when it comes down to brass tax and you are judged, you will be discovered and called out. On top of that the cheater might feel great that they are always toward the top of the leaderboard, but they are not progressing as much the person that is next to them because they are doing less work. Over time they just have to cheat more and more to try and keep up. Really, they only thing they are cheating are themselves. They are cheating themselves out of maximum results, out of respect from others, and out of feeling the absolute satisfaction of being proud of laying it all out on the line and getting an honest win.

All of these types of CrossFitters are annoying, but larger than that, these are all things we don’t want to be labeled as in any part of our lives. My kids come to CrossFit with me and my wife almost every day and I have a feeling if other people can spot these characteristics, my kids can to. I am going to display the characteristics that I want them to grow up to have. It might seem insignificant at the time, but our kids learn by watch us and assume that what we are doing is the right thing to do.

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