Getting Better

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So, you don’t think you are getting any better. Most of that is negative think and negative speak. Leave it at the door. Nobody wants to hear it. No negative Nancy’s or Mancys here. Fact of the matter is everyone gets better, perhaps at a different pace. Want to get better faster?

Ask Questions:

Ask good questions. CrossFit is more expensive than other gyms because of the access to personal trainers. Ask them questions. Insanity is doing something the same way and expecting a different outcome. Trainers have a wealth of knowledge to share and should be your go to person with questions about scaling, form, practice, aches and pains, etc.

Set Goals:

You can’t get there if you don’t have a destination. Set tangible numeric goals. Instead of “I want to get better at pull ups” set a goal of “I want to do five unassisted pull ups by March 30th.” Keep your goals realistic. Setting unattainable goals is leads to a path of disappointment and regression.

Track your WOD’s. There are dozens of apps for tracking weights, times, meals, etc. Log your information and then review it before every WOD.

Lift Heavy Weights:

Lift a calf in the morning and then a cow in the afternoon. When someone first starts, the weights should be scaled and more handleable, however once you have several months under your belt and the form is good, pack on the plates. Talk to your Coach about whether the purpose of the WOD is to be fast or you should be using the prescribed weights. We don’t get stronger by lifting the same weights we did six weeks ago.

Two weeks ago your max dead lift was 225, this week your max attempt should be at least five pounds heavier. The rep we don’t get is the one that gives the most benefit. Failure is an important component of getting stronger.

Read:

Do your homework. There is a significant amount of information available which can help anyone overcome sticking points. Stick with reliable sources like CrossFit HQ, Mobility WOD, etc. A quick post on your Facebook account may yield additional resources which have proven useful for your friends. Face it, if you are doing CrossFit, it’s the only thing on your FB page anyway, right?

Heal Thyself:

Generally, we know what’s wrong, we may just have a tough time admitting it. Eating junk and partying two or three nights a week will not lead to success. Unless you are in your late teens and early twenties. For the rest of who are more advanced in years, it’s time to get serious. Eat better, sleep better, rest better, perform better. Getting old is better than the alternative.

Positive Mental Attitude:

Think good things and good things will happen. Visualize success before you step in the door. Don’t make the muscle between your ears an enemy.

Additional Resources:

It seems like other people decided to write about the same topic. See, I do know what I am talking about. Don’t even have a Level 1 Cert.,…yet.

Fifty Ways to Get Better at CrossFit

What I Learned After Three Years

Getting Better at CrossFit

Getting Better

Break a record today.

CrossFitRook

Ten Things That Will Happen When you Start CrossFit

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CrossFit is taking over. Chances are above average there is at least one Box within five miles of your house, and another getting ready to open. It is taking over because it works. It is a holistic approach to fitness that incorporates strength, cardio, flexibility, nutrition, and a bunch of other good stuff.

Thinking about starting? You should if you want any of the following to happen:

10) You will be Excited/Nervous/Apprehensive

Everybody had a first day and had the same feelings. It is the same as the first day of school or your first day at a new job. Most of the members are nice and are welcoming. Every place has one or two who aren’t friendly and that’s fine. Find the ones who are and hang out with them. Surround yourself with good people and good things happen.

9) Finishing Last is OK

Everybody finishes last at least once. I still do. It is part of learning. Try not to sacrifice form for time. Scaling is a good thing. The trainer will be able to help determine the right weight or the right substitute. It takes time and lots of practice to get better, however it does happen! Push yourself at every WOD. Always give 100%.

8) Getting Beat Up

No, not by the bully. Muscles that you didn’t even know you had will hurt. You will get strains, pulls, pops, tweaks, cracks, and creeks. Knees, ankles, and shoulders will be swollen and sore. It is part of the fun. There is a difference between good hurt and bad pain. Talk to your trainer and let them know what is happening. They can make recommendations. Stretching and ice packs are your friend. I have one on my knee right now.

7) These Workouts are HARD……and Rewarding

I started at a local gym when I was 16. Basic lifting with some cardio. I did that for fifteen years before I started CrossFit. I do not remember having a workout so difficult that I laid on the floor flat on my back, unable to catch my breath. Now it happens two or three times a week.

6) Make some very good Friends

We have met so many great people at CrossFit, we don’t remember what it was like before we met them. They become your support group. Everyone is going through the same WOD’s together, so you better cheer each other on.

5) Paying more Attention to what you eat

Good stuff in, good stuff out. Whole Life Challenge, Whole Thirty, Paleo, Zone, etc. Ten to one your local Box will host nutritional seminars or have a challenge which will help you eat better. Once you eat better, you will perform better.

4) Competitiveness

After a few weeks the competition gene will kick in. It’s natural. We aren’t that long out of the caves. Our ancestors called competition “survival”. This can be a blessing and a curse all in one. Try to compete only against yourself for a while. Competing against the elite athletes is a sure-fire path to disappointment. Set realistic goals and expectations.

3) Going all in

It can easily become obsessive. The gear, shoes, clothing, food, etc. It’s a great cult! Some people CrossFit to get better at other sports and some CrossFit to get better at CrossFit. It doesn’t matter. Doing CrossFit properly and eating better will make your more healthy and improve your quality of life. Give it a few months before you drop two bills on the Romaleos. They help however they are pricey.

It won’t take long before all of your family and friends know you are a CrossFitter. It will be plastered on your Facebook page and it’s all you’ll talk about. It is fine.

2) Surprise, You’re a Beast

Things that you immediately thought you couldn’t do, you will do, and it will feel awesome. You will start repping out heavy dead lifts, squatting more than you weigh, and then following it up with a run or getting on the rower. Double Unders will become second nature. Yanking lbs over your head while in a full squat, otherwise known as the snatch, will get easy. Alright, easier.

1) Why did I Wait so Long to try CrossFit?

I don’t know. Why did you?

You will notice improvements in any sports you play. Also in your professional and personal life. I am sure you have heard “get your head right and your body will follow.” The opposite is true as well. Get your body right and your head will follow. No sense in getting in shape before you try CrossFit. Just try it.

I hope you decide to take advantage of the free session offered by CrossFit boxes. It is well worth it!

First Week Back

This week was my first week back and the kickoff of Whole Life Challenge, so it was a double whammy!

For those of you who are not familiar with WLC, it’s well worth it. It is an eight week program where exercise, mobility work, and perfect nutrition are the goals. It can be challenging, however it is well worth it. I lost about 10 lbs the last time, unfortunately I found it again. These things happen.

Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit, and good fats like coconut and avocado.

None of this:

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Lots of This:

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I published a blog not too long ago about Paleo. It can be expensive, time consuming, and frustrating, however if it was easy, it wouldn’t be any fun! Work with me people.

The first couple of days are the hardest because your body is clearing itself of a drug. It it is similar to other withdrawals. Speaking of which, please watch Flight if you have not already. Wow. Your body is addicted to sugar and when you take it away, your body wants it again. You will survive. You will get through it. You will feel better and perform better.

It was great to get back to CrossFit this week. Working out in a regular gym is fine but it’s not the same. I definitely pushed myself harder and got a much higher caliber of a workout. As proof, I am having a tough time walking today. Quality time with the roller is needed.

First Wod:
Nicole
20 min AMRAP
500 M Row
AMRAP pull ups

I subbed rowing for running and got six rounds and forty two pull ups. I was pretty beat afterwards. It felt great.

Second WOD:
Six Rounds
10 BW Bench Press
30 Slam Balls
100 ft BW stone carry

I scaled this down and kept the bench press weights between 185 and 205. Subbed 20 squats for slam balls and used a 115 lb. stone. I didn’t record the time. I was just glad to be done!

Third WOD:
Five Rounds
10 reps of 185 lb dead lift
15 Wall Balls

I subbed 135lbs and did the wall balls. TIme was 9:50.

January is Almost Over….

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Which means less people in the gym! It was actually empty the past two days which I think was the result of our unseasonably warm streak. People took to the trails and streets for running and biking.

It also means the Whole Life Challenge is right around the corner. I strongly suggest you enter the competition. It’s $45.00 but you will learn a lot about yourself. It is worth it!

I have not been getting to the pool in the afternoon so the cardio has been lacking. I plan on going his afternoon. As usual, the goal is not to drown, and not to drink more than a gallon of pool water. I don’t remember swimming being so difficult or so tiring.

Tuesday’s WOD:

Rep Count: 7, 5, 3, 3, 1

Shoulder Press

Weight: 135, 145, 155, 165, 175

Three Rounds:
5 pull ups
10 push ups
15 squats

Wednesday:

Rep Count:
10, 7, 5, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

Weight: 135, 185, 225, 225, 225, 245, 245

Three Rounds:
5 pull ups
10 dips
15 sit ups

A Week of Rest and Cleared to get Back at it!

I had my physical therapy evaluation on Friday and I was cleared to do CrossFit, on a scaled basis. Still no running, box jumps, for which my shins are thankful, no heavy snatches, etc. To say I am happy is an understatement. I need to take it easy and not try and blow the doors off. It took me four days to recover from Angie. That was kind of dumb. My Patella tendon was very angry with me. I really don’t know why. 100 squats isn’t that many.

Saturday CrossFit Evaluation:

Following is the rep scheme I used to get sense of where I was with my lifts, and of course, how much they would hurt. I can tell that I am close to back where I started. Squats aren’t deep enough and I am still reverse curling the cleans. It will get better, and hopefully quickly.

3, 3, 5, 5, 7

Squats and Dead Lifts: 135lbs
Front Squats, Push Jerks, Hang Cleans: 95lbs
KB Swings: 50lbs

Surprisingly everything felt good, just very tight. Need to get on the roller and the field hockey ball.

Sunday Funday WOD:

Five Rounds:

5 pull ups
10 push ups
15 squats
500 meter row

I did it a regular gym and the rowers were in a different part of the gym so people were looking at me like I had three heads. Actually, that happens often and not just in the gym.

Sunday Cooking:

With the exception of bagels on Friday and cocktails on Saturday, we have stuck to 100% Paleo 85% of the time. It definitely makes it easier to prepare the week’s breakfasts and lunches ahead of time, otherwise I’ll fall right off the wagon, and they won’t let me back on. Repeat offender.

Breakfast:

15 eggs
2lbs spicy turkey sausage
Big box of baby spinach
Cherry tomatoes
Coconut oil

I usually have a either oven roasted squash or sweet potatoes with the egg and sausage medley. It tastes great and it keeps well in the fridge in a big tupperware container.

Lunch:
Roast
Coated in Montreal steak seasoning
Garlic cloves
Carrots
Celery

Usually have another vegetable like green beans or peas. It’s so easy to put it in the Crock Pot and forget about, Eight hours later you have lunch for the week.

Need to get some snack ideas. I get hungry at 10:00am and 3:00pm without fail. Probably pick up a couple packets of tuna, almonds, and some apples. Good times.

Have fun out there.

So, You are Thinking About Going Paleo

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You have taken the plunge and are Nano deep in CrossFit. You have taken a sip of the Kool-Aid and are now ready to go all in! It’s time to go Paleo.

Primal Paleo Beginnings:

So, literally the beginning of Paleo is from our primate cave dwelling ancestors. Think paleolithic era….see the connection? Animal fur coats, spears, horrible BO. You’ve got the idea. This period lasted for roughly 2.5 million years and supposedly our ancestors were stronger, with bigger brains, and suffered less disease. It came to an end roughly 10,000 years ago with the agricultural movement; i.e. processed food.See Here

What is Paleo?

Eat lean meat, poultry, fish, seafood, vegetables, some fruit, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats like avocado and animal fats. Don’t trim that steak! Stay away from dairy, starch, processed sugar and processed carbohydrates, legumes (means beans and peanuts people), and sadly alcohol. Nothing is perfect.

What does it Do?

What happens about an hour after you eat a big serving of pasta or bread? You get hungry again, right? It doesn’t make sense considering you just consumed more than enough calories to get you through a few hours. Spikes in blood sugar cause the feeling and the mood swings, etc. that come with it. A Paleo diet stabalizes your blood sugar and some other helpful things as well. Check them out here

Paleo and CrossFit:

CrossFit Approved version here. I am not sure if CrossFit Headquarters fully sponsors Paleo or not. I thought I had read a few things about them moving to Zone. All I know is the best CrossFit athletes I know follow the Paleo eating plan. Want to be successful? Study those who are successful, and then copy the hell out of them, tweaking only what you need to make it better for you.

First Week:

Usually sucks. High grocery bill. Spend all day cooking. Need to buy enough tupperware for a family of eight. Then there is the detox. Sugar is a drug. What happens when a drug addict goes without a fix, minus knocking over a gas station? They come down hard. The same is true here. When your body goes without sugar, it craves sugar, and it results in irritability, headaches, stomach pains in some cases. Is it worth it? Hell yes! That crap is no good for you! Stop eating it.

High Grocery Bill:

It’s not cheap to eat healthy. One of the keys to the agricultural age we referenced earlier was to make it easier for people to get food. How did we do that? By processing everything and in turn removing many of the nutrients or just using plain crap to begin with. Animals were taken from the fields and stored in commercialized farms where they were fed hormones and god knows what else to fatten them up more quickly. You can imagine how that ends. Garbage in, garbage out. It is expensive to eat healthy however you are investing in your health. How can you make it more affordable?

Buy in bulk. Find a local butcher and see if you can go in with family or friends from the gym. That makes it easier for meat. Another option is Costco. It might not be grass fed but it is cheaper than what you pay in the grocery store.

Farmer’s Market or Farm Co-op. Again this is a great opportunity to split with family or friends and as our society is beginning to recognize the importance of a better diet, more of these are popping up. A quick Google search is usually all it takes to find one near you.

Preparation:

Fail to plan and plan to fail. Planning meals ahead of time is pretty much a necessity. It is also a great way to save a few bucks by planning your meals around what is on sale at the grocery store. Kylie is the queen of planning meals. Kylie is my wife and partner in crime.

It does take more time to make meals and prepare breakfast and lunch for the work week, however it is very worth the investment. There are hundreds of websites and cook books with meal ideas. Take advantage of the wealth of information that is available on the Internet. It’s more than just games and Facebook.

Detox:

It sucks. You’ll get through it. Just remember that if you cave and eat some junk, you’ll have to start the detox process again. I’ve done it quite a few times. Fall off the wagon and then just get right back on!

Second Week and Forward:

You will notice that your joints don’t hurt as much and you will have more energy. You will also probably sleep better as well. All pretty good benefits. Your workouts will be better and you will generally “feel” better. Friends have stated they no longer get headaches like they used to, etc.

Following are a couple of links that are really helpful including the Whole Life Challenge which is a great way to get started. By tracking your score daily and journaling, you are keeping yourself more accountable.

Whole9

Whole Life Challenge

paleOMG

Have fun out there.

Seven Weeks After ACL Surgery

I’m done. I’ve had it. I am ready to get back to normal and get back to CrossFitting. Being a globo gym goer sucks. Alright, in all seriousness I am happy and fortunate that my knee is coming along really well and I am able to do quite a bit of stuff. Box jumps, running, snatches, etc. are still a ways away, however it could be a lot worse!

What was it like?

The first week consisted of:

  • sit in chair
  • elevate leg
  • ice knee
  • flex quad
  • lay on bed
  • eleveate leg
  • ice knee
  • flex quad

Luckily the pain wasn’t bad. The day after the surgery was the worst, as is expected because the anaesthesia wore off, as did the fun pain meds the nurse gave me afterwards. I don’t know what they were, but they were GOOD! I was off the percocet after three days and off the crutches after seven days.

Rehab:

I started rehab five days after the surgery, three days a week for six weeks. Then twice a week for four weeks, then once a week for four more weeks, and then as needed. My recommendation is to find a smaller place where you work with only one physical therapist. I think that would be a better experience. The rehab is challenging. Many of the exercises look easy. Only when you try one do you realize you have zippy for strength in your leg and it’s unstable as all hell. Good times. Do your exercises no matter what. The more often you do them, the sooner you regain strength and the sooner you are back to normal.

Gym Time:

After three weeks i was cleared to go back to the gym and do upper body stuff. Nothing that involved my knee. So I did some bench presses, shoulder work, curls, etc. but decided they really wouldn’t help me get back to CrossFit so I focused on bodyweight exercises like push ups, sit ups, dips, and pull ups. I was also cleared to swim which was a bonus. After the fourth week I was ok’d to do dead lifts and squats, but nothing over 150 lbs. I was also cleared to do leg presses and calve raises.

What’s Left?

My next appointment is the first week in March and at that point I should be allowed to start jogging which I am looking forward too, surprisingly. I know it sounds weird considering how often I vocalize my previous opposition to running. I am really looking forward to running again. Weird.

I also have to continue to work on strengthening the muscles around the knee to increase stability. Lots of band work, muscle flexing, standing on one leg….fun, fun, fun.

I plan on going back to CrossFit the middle of February which will be three months post op. I will not be able to do box jumps or high impact lifts like snatches but I will be able to do the majority of the movements, just not heavy. I am really ready to be back at it. I miss the people and the competition. It will also coincide withy he start of Whole Life Challenge, round two.

My advice is to get it done as soon as it happens. I waited twelve years and that was probably a bad idea. I caused damage to other parts of my knee because of it.

Do You Know Squat?

The lovely squat. Simple in design. Trunk stays perpendicular to the floor, tall chest, butt goes back, knees push outward, butt drops down so your quads are below parallel, and up you come. Repeat as needed with a ton of weight. Sounds easy, right? Look, even a toddler can do it!

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So what is so hard about squatting?

Balancing the Weight:

Stand in front of a mirror for a side view. Try not too flex your biceps. We all know they are huge and beautiful. Pull your shoulders back and up. You will notice a groove between you traps and rear delts. That’s where the bar goes. It doesn’t go on your neck or directly on your traps. Practice it a couple of times and get used to the feeling. If the weight doesn’t feel secure, neither will the squat.

What am I looking at?

I have a tendency to look at the floor or worse yet, look at my feet. The body follows the head. You look down and you fall forward. Not good if you are trying to balance weight on your shoulders. Pick a spot on the wall at eye level. The head and neck should be in a neutral position. Not looking up. Not looking down. It should be comfortable.

Foot Position:

Part of my rehab for my knee is to do squats with a med ball between my back and the wall. I lined up with my toes pointed slightly out, weight on my heels and outside edges of my feet, and as I descended I pushed my knees out. I was immediately told that was wrong and my feet should be straight and my knees tracking straight over my feet. Weird. I did as I was told. It felt completely and totally wrong!

Shoulder width. Weight on the heels and outside edge of your feet. Countless instructional videos from well respected coaches all have the same points.

Justsquat

Squatting

Squat tutorial

Squat Therapy

Get Depth:

If you think you are deep enough, go down more! The crease of your hip should be below your knees. Just keep working on it and you will get there. Lots of stretching for hamstrings hips. Gotta be loose to get low.

Back Up:

As in getting upright again. Drive through your heels while shrugging your shoulders up. The chest as to stay will. There will be a tendency to lean forward. Look up a little and take a deep breath in. Both of these will help you get tall. Repeat as needed.

What squatting tips can our readers provide? Please list them below in the comments section.

Have fun out there! Lift it, swing it, pull it, press it, and climb it. TIME

Compete Against Yourself

The explosion of CrossFit and Reebok’s Sport of Fitness have resulted in a massive overdose of information and advertising. The message is pretty consistent. Jump into CrossFit and you will be in awesome shape. It is for everybody. You can do this. Be elite! Alright, maybe not the last one. I drink the Kool-aid and definitely believe it fuses all of the necessary components for health; strength training, cardio, flexibility, nutrition, and competition!

The competition can be a big component, and in some instances, a hindrance to your performance and progress. We love to watch the clock and we love to check the whiteboard to look at the numbers from previous classes. Competition is good. Competing against unrealistic opponents is not good. The first few months should be focused on learning the exercises and practicing correct form. You will get faster when the movements become automatic.

Try to compete with yourself primarily. A log book is invaluable and there are a wide variety of apps like MyWOD and Beyond the White Board to help you keep track of your weights and times. Don’t be in too big of a hurry to leave when the WOD is over. Stretch and track your performance. It will help you identify opportunities and celebrate the wins. Make it a point to try and break a record at each workout and celebrate every win. Negative Nancy is very lonely. Positive Paulie is always with a crowd. Compete against people with similar experience levels like those who braved On Ramp with you.

This is by no means a suggestion that you shouldn’t aim high. Constantly pushing yourself is necessary to grow and achieve more in any aspect of life. This is simply a recommendation to keep your aspirations realistic and targeted. Write down your goals and keep track of your progress.

I will be out of CrossFit for the next several weeks. I had knee surgery and won’t be able to have fun for quite some time. I miss it already and it’s only been a little over a week. Keeping it Paleo which seems to be helping with recuperation.

Have fun out there! Lift it, swing it, pull it, press it, and climb it. TIME!

Don’t Bargain with Yourself

We live in an age of compromise. We are told that we can’t always have everything we want. We spend a lot of time negotiating, whether it be to purchase a car or get a child to eat their broccoli. Bargaining is part of business and personal relationships. We can’t get away from it. This all fine and good however we should not compromise or bargain with ourselves when it comes to diet and getting our WOD on!

Here is how it usually goes. The WOD will have box jumps, something which I suck at, and I will immediately bargain with myself to do half regular and to the other half as step ups. It is a great method to continually not do well at box jumps. We all have movements with which we struggle. Remember that the only way to get better is to practice. Don’t sacrifice your results for the clock. Being fast at a scaled version does not feel as good as writing Rx on the board.

My other favorite is bargaining that I can eat something bad or have a few cocktails and make up for it the following day with a run or “working out harder”. We know how that ends. Doesn’t happen. I am guilty of this a well.

In the end, Who are you bargaining with? Only yourself! Why purposefully short change yourself? You have already paid the dues, bought the funny looking shoes, and are all chalked up. Might as well see it through.

We often short change ourselves by automatically thinking we can’t do something, often without trying. Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’ll be right. Courtesy of Henry Ford. So what if it takes you longer to complete the WOD as prescribed. Our friends at CrossFit Syndicate recently wrote a blog pertaining to this subject: http://cfsyndicate.com/?p=5040

My point is that you may have to negotiate or bargain in other aspects of your life; however your diet and the quality and intensity of your WODs are off limits.

Break a record this week. Try something you haven't tried before. I recommend the HSPU slingshot!