Want More Sleep?

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Want More Sleep?

By: Coach Ryan

We see friends, family, Facebook friends that we kind of know but not really, and F.O.F.F.T.W.K.O.K.B.N.R (obviously Friends of Facebook Friends That We Kind Of Know But Not Really) post tons about sleep. Sleep memes. Pictures of hilariously oversize coffee mugs on Monday morning, and just general posts asking for help with sleep. If this is you, good news, we think we can help and you certainly aren't alone.

In a 2013 Gallop Poll, 14% of adults polled reported getting 5 or less hours of sleep on average, 26% between 5-6 hours, and 25% between 6-7 hours of sleep per night. That's 65% of US adults reporting that they get less than 7 hours of sleep per night. And this doesn't even factor in sleep quality.

Ok, so if I am making it a big deal that MOST people don't sleep 7 hours, what am I saying is a good number to shoot for. I think a good range to shoot for is 7-9 hours a night (depending on lifestyle factors). Like 1/3 of the hours you are alive everyday should be with you asleep. 

"Why do I need to sleep that much, Ryan?" Awesome question generic internet person! Medical research has shown that not getting enough sleep leads to (or is at least correlated with) health issues and cognitive functioning impairments. You get less healthy and think less gooder. If you didn't catch that, you probably need more sleep.

Here's a brief list of things research shows get worse when you don't sleep enough:

  • Lack of sleep is linked with obesity.
  • Increased cortisol levels.
  • Decreased levels of leptin.
  • Increased levels of ghrelin.
  • Correlations with Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Correlations with heart disease.
  • Increased hypertension.
  • Increases in mood disorders.
  • Seems like enough to get the point across, right?

I won't nerd out on the "why" behind all of those (but would be happy to in another blog if there is interest) but we can all agree that if that list IS true, then we need to make sleep a bigger priority. So how do we go about doing that? 

First thing, you need to stop staring at the glowing screen that is 9 inches from your face directly before trying to sleep. Phones, TVs, computers, and tablets all emit "blue light." Blue light is a part of the spectrum that acts a signal to your brain that it is time to be awake. The sun emits blue light. See how those coincide? Neat. So when the sun is down, if there wasn't a bunch of blue light waves jamming into your eyeballs, your brain would recognize it is sleepy time and start bringing you in for a bed landing. Habit Change: At least 1 hour before you plan to get ready for bed, turn off blue light devices. Read a book, meditate (if that word is too out there for you, think about your day), journal, talk with your spouse/friend/kids, or anything else that allows you to calm down and stay away from those light sources. If you have to watch TV, look at your phone, or be on your laptop leading up to bed, buy a pair of blue light blocking glasses. You'll be a nerd like me but I sleep like a bear in the winter.

OK, so we are staying away from blue light, what's next? Get your bedroom to a cool temperature. Try to get it pitch black. Eliminate or find a soothing noise. Get everything out of the room that goes against these things. And don't do things in bed that aren't sleeping (well, I mean don't work on your laptop there or lay in bed on your phone). That is creating the optimal sleep environment for you. All of that will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep (the quality of your sleep is super important as well). Habit Change: Take the TV out of your bedroom. Treat your bedroom like your sleep palace. Your brain will trigger "Sleep!" when you walk into your bedroom if you do a good job giving it all of these cues. Brains are neat like that. But if you treat it like your home office, it's no wonder you can't fall asleep!

Now that we have the bedroom designed for sleep and we aren't watching homicide mystery shows right before trying to turn our brain off, we can introduce some things to help us get to sleep quicker and keep us asleep better. I am a big fan of a Magnesium supplement called Natural Calm (you can find it on Amazon or probably most hipster grocery stores). The short as non-nerdy as possible version of why Magnesium is good at helping you fall asleep is that it helps you calm down (hence the catchy product name). It does that a few different ways. It helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system (remember your anatomy/biology class?) which allows you to relax, it helps with melatonin (which is a hormone that kind of turns up or down the light dimmer switch in your brain), and it binds with GABA receptors (GABA is a neurotransmitter that allows you to relax and turns down your anxiety levels, sleep drugs like Ambien use this pathway to work). That was still kind of sciencey. Sorry. Another option would be to use a tea that has calming/sleepy properties. Google "Sleep Tea" and you'll find a ton. I have never gone that route myself but I think it is a good option for some people to try. Habit Change: Have a drink of Natural Calm or a sleepy tea blend before you start getting ready for bed.

Lastly, before you go get ready for bed write down everything that is on your mind. All of the things you need to get done tomorrow, stuff you don't want to forget, etc. If you are someone who has a million thoughts swimming in their dome when they get in bed, this could really help. Habit Change: Write things down to clear your brain. Just list anything that's rolling around in there, get it out, and get to sleep.

Hope that helps. Feel free to message us if you have any questions and we will do our best to help! Let's get more sleep and be #everydaybetter!

Play More Sports, Not a Sport More.

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Play More Sports, Not a Sport More.

By: Coach Ryan

I want to start this conversation by saying my wife and I only have one kid and he is not even 2 years old. So this isn't something I have dealt with (yet) as a parent. But it is something we have dealt with as athletes and, a ton, as a coaches (both as sports coaches and Strength Coaches). Anecdotally, my wife and I were scholarship collegiate athletes. We did not grow up playing only one sport. We had a pretty diverse activities background and also were allowed to "be kids" and climb trees, ride our bikes a mile away to a friend's house, and do other kid things. We have worked with many kids that earn scholarships and/or are professional athletes, so while anecdotes don't always do a great job of accurately nailing situations, I wanted to say that we do have some experience and credibility on the subject matter.

Your kid (especially any kid younger than high school) should not be playing only one sport if they have dreams of being successful and continuing their careers past high school. To phrase it differently, you are doing your child a disservice by having them specialize in a sport at 10 years old. You're hurting their chances of playing at the next level, not helping (like I am sure you think you are). Obviously I am not saying you're a bad person or anything like that, I am just highlighting that you might have a misunderstanding of how athletics, specifically elite athletics, work.  

Let me give you a few "for instances":

  • 26 out of the 31 1st Round draft picks in the NFL this year played multiple sports in high school. That's about 84%.
  • To further that, 224 of out the total 256 draft picks in this year's NFL draft played more than 1 high school sport. That's 87.5%.
  • A sport specialization survey done at UCLA surveying 296 Division 1 athletes found that 88% of them played multiple sports.
  • Anecdotally, I have coached (Strength Coach) with one of the best team sport athletes on planet earth. He played multiple sports up until he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated at the age of 16. He then stopped playing other sports. I also coach an athlete that was taken very high in the MLB draft. His brothers look like they will be collegiate scholarship soccer players. They grew up in the same house and didn't specialize until they were a little older.

I understand that to be great at a sport, you need time (10,000 hours) to develop the sport specific skills. However, if your athlete specializes early they start to move in very specific movement patterns that can lead to a higher prevalence of injuries. NFL/NCAA Strength Coach Joe Kenn talks about guys coming to him in college as scholarship athletes and they cannot perform one proper push up. If you play a sport that involves pushing giant strong people around and don't have the correct mobility/kinesthetic awareness/positional strength to do a standard push up, you are in a prime position to get injured (and to not be nearly as good at the sport). And he says it isn't like he saw one kid that was like this, it is dozens of them.

Additionally, learning how to move your body in a variety of movement patterns will make it easier to learn the specific ones in a sport. The more tools you have in the tool box, the better chance you have to set yourself up for success. This is one reason I think CrossFit is the single best training modality on the planet (for people wanting to have a bigger tool box). If your athlete really isn't interested in other sports, have them do CrossFit. They will be exposed to a range of training modalities that will broaden their athletic horizons, make them stronger and faster, and help prevent injuries.

Lastly, I have seen so many great XYZ players be "done" with their sport by the time they would be going to college. So they don't want to play college XYZ. And that's ok (their decision is ok, not that being burned out by 18 is ok). But as parents, you are in a position to safeguard that. One easy way to do that is to not let your 7 year old play on 4 softball teams that go year round. Your kid might even want to do that. Your job is to say, "No." Help them find other things to be interested in. Even if they can't find a sport to play, just having time off during the year is crucial. Professional athletes have off time. Off time. Time they are not doing anything related to that sport. Your 7 year old can afford some off time if athletes making 10's of millions of dollars a year can afford it. Also, to further this point, being an all-star 7 year old softball player has, almost, zero bearing on being a collegiate softball player. Until puberty, all bets are off on who will be great athletes vs. good athletes vs. mediocre athletes. Some of the best 10 year old kids I played sports against couldn't make our high school team. I was a mediocre athlete until 8/9th grade and then grew into being a college scholarship level athlete. So burn out is real. And, for the most part, talent identification in a specific sport doesn't happen until they start becoming their "full grown" size.

I understand there are probably some parents out there that wouldn't be happy to read this. (And they have stopped reading by now if that's them, I am sure.) If you feel like I am stepping on your toes a little, let me try and ease that a little. You don't know what you don't know. And I am sure your decisions were made with your athlete's best interest at heart. So you are doing your best as a parent and that is rad. To show that I am not making this stuff up, I am attaching some journal articles below (from scientific journals). Most people don't casually read scientific journals, so I tried to distill many of the points made in these research studies down to a more "readable" format. But if you want to dig in, here you go (these will open in a new window):

Sport Specialization in Young Athletes

Early Single-Sport Specialization: A Survey of 3090 High School, Collegiate, and Professional Athletes

Sport Specialization, Part I: Does Early Sports Specialization Increase Negative Outcomes and Reduce the Opportunity for Success in Young Athletes? (Scroll down to see the article)

 

Regardless of what you decide to do with this information, I appreciate you being invested in your child's life. If specializing early is the route you go, try finding other things (like CrossFit) to give your athlete some balance without that being other sports. Additionally, breaks aren't a bad thing and it might be nice to take a family trip one weekend instead of spending your 145th consecutive weekend at the ball field!

 

2018 Regionals Primer (For the Casual Fan) - Weekend #1

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Regionals Weekend #1

South Regional competitor Jared Enderton getting in some Ring Muscle Up work.

Tomorrow kicks off the first of the three weekends CrossFit will run its Regional competitions this year. You like CrossFit. You enjoy watching some of it but you don't know that many athletes. I'll attempt to breakdown the events and let you know who the big names are in each Regional so you know when to tune in (I will say watching some of the earlier heats is awesome too because they are great athletes as well even if you don't recognize the names since they haven't been to the Games). Also in the past, most of the Team competition was tough to watch. While I think there will be improvements, I won't go into team stuff here (as even most die hard CrossFit fans don't really know much about the teams).

***Regions get different number of athletes/teams at Regionals based on demographics and competitiveness***

 

Weekend #1 (May 18-20)

East Regional - Comprised of the North East & Canada East Regions. The North East gets more athletes (25 vs Canada East's 15 & 20 Teams vs Canada East's 10). The top 5 men/women/teams advance to the Games.

The Dudes.

The East Regional competitors are probably pretty happy that there is a name notably absent, Mr. Mat Fraser. Fraser moved to Cookeville, Tennessee this year and left the North East Region. That essentially opens up one more spot to the Games here (and takes one away from the poor souls in the Central). Pat Vellner is the favorite to win the Regional and I'd be shocked if he didn't lock up a spot to the Games. Vellner has back to back podium finishes at the Games and doesn't have any major holes in his game. Alex Vigneault is a stud and I expect to him be a "household name" in the CrossFit world soon. He takes a podium spot and makes the trip to Madison. Tim Paulson is coming off of a Regionals podium spot and a solid showing at the Games (top 20). I expect him to be in the top 5 and make his sophomore appearance in Madison. Another Canadian I expect to be in contention for one of the top 5 spots is Jean-Simon Roy-Lamaire. He finished 4th in the world-wide Open. Yeah, in the WORLD. His performances were balanced and it looks like he has the requisite strength needed to get through Regionals. My final pick for the top 5 is Michael Palomba. He finished 11th world-wide in the Open. Made a trip to the Games last year. And he is strong as an ox (he cleaned 377# for 18.2a). Cody Mooney is someone who could easily jump into one of these spots. I know he was a little banged up this year but if he is 100% ready to roll, I think he could knock one of these guys off the Madison guest list (and I personally hope he does, I am a Cody Mooney fan). Being a bigger athlete that has a great motor, I think he can do well in Event 1 where most bigger fellas might not, and could be in contention to win Event 2 and Event 6. I am talking myself into picking Mooney.  Give me Mooney 5th and Palomba 6th.

The Ladies.

Katrin. Davidsdottir. I know she isn't a fan of how the Games went (5th place, I mean...it can't be that bad). She will want to reclaim her usual spot on top of the podium. Expect her to crush Event 1. Pulling gymnastics have been her biggest issue in the past (Rope Climbs cost her a trip to the Games in 2014), but I'd be shocked if she isn't on the podium. The events seem good for Kari Pearce. And she is awesome, so she'll be in the top 5 for sure. She finished 10th at the Games last year and she'll knock Event 3 out of the park (she's my pick to win it). Carol-Ann Reason-Thibault (those Canada East folks love some hyphens!) had a great 2017. She won her Regional (beating Davidsdottir) and finished 15th at the Games. Another "gymnasty" athlete who seems well positioned with these events, I fully expect her to be heading to Madison. Carolyne Prevost destroyed the Open this year, finishing 3rd world-wide and winning her Region. She has a hockey and taekwondo background. That isn't the story with most of her competition (lots of gymnasts in this Regional), so the events would appear to put her at a slight disadvantage. Maybe she crushes Event 2 or finishes up the weekend with a big performance on Event 6 and that's enough to earn her a top 5 spot. I think she makes her rookie Games debut in 2018. Dani Horan rounds out my top 5. She's a veteran athlete. She's a strong athlete. I think she does enough in the events that don't favor her and turns in some top 5 finishes when she needs them. I like her closing Regionals with a top 5 finish in Event 6 to seal the deal and her trip back to the Games for the 4th time (and 5th time qualifying).


Europe Regional - This Regional is comprised of the North and Central Europe Regions. Each gets an even split of athletes/teams there and the Regional will send 5 males and females.

The Dudes.

BKG (Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson) is my favorite to win the Regional. He is awesome. He is well-rounded. His Regional competition got worse (they split the Meridian Regional and he is in the side opposite most of the heavy hitters). Frederik Aegidius has been around, essentially, forever. He made it back to the Games last year. I'd love to see him go one more time. Plus he seems like a super likable fella. Oh, he is also Mr. Annie Thorisdottir. Lukas Högberg has been to the mountaintop before. With all of the new guys in the Regional, having been there before will help you stay calm and weather the storm. Högberg is in my 5. Marcin Szybaj has improved each year. With open spots available, I like him to grab a spot. And I can't write a blog about the Europe Regional without picking my man, Alec Harwood. I got to spend time with Harwood in London when we did some stuff with Nike. He is a stud. He is handsome. And hopefully he'll be visiting the States this summer when he qualifies for the CrossFit Games!

The Ladies.

Ragnheidur Sara Sigmundsdottir. Þuríður (Thuridur) Erla Helgadóttir. Anníe Mist Þórisdóttir (Thorisdottir). Kristin Holte. I am going to group all of them together to make this easy. I will be SHOCKED if any of these 4 don't qualify. So everyone else is playing for one spot. And I think Björk Odinsdottir, Laura Horvath, and Emma McQuaid will be the three battling for it. McQuaid has been so close. Odinsdottir has been there before. After 3 years of being in the top 20 in the world-wide Open, I think McQuaid finally punches her ticket to the Games.


South Regional - This combines the South West and the South Central Regions sending equal numbers of competitors and qualifying 5 to the Games.

The Dudes.

Sean Sweeney wore a cowboy hat at the Games 2 years ago. Good enough reason for me to pick him. Jared Enderton is probably the best Weightlifter in the Regional. He had a great Open. If he can hang on through Event 1, he has a good chance to make it to the Games. Rogelio (Roy) Gamboa is a barbell monster. There are a few of those in these 6 events, so that bodes well for him. He took last year off competing, so he might be the freshest of all these athletes. He's fun to watch and I hope he makes it back to the Games. Speaking of people with mutant powers when a barbell gets in their hands (seems to be a trend in this Regional), Tommy Vinas looks poised to make it back to the Games. While there is no max lift in these events, his barbell skills should allow him to place in the top 5. The last of the 5 spots will go to Logan Collins. He finished 8th world-wide in the Open. He won this Regional last year and will want to repeat his podium performance after just missing the top 10 at the Games last year (11th). I think he is the most balanced of these 5 athletes and should secure another trip to Madison.

The Ladies.

While the biggest name here is Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, I don't actually think she is the favorite to win the Regional. I do think she will be in the top 5 (2nd or 3rd place) and will win an event or two. But I think Tennil Beuerlein (Reed) is the favorite to win it. She's athletic and these events seem to have a little more of that feel to them than usual. Also she is good at the long duration, distance stuff. I think she gets a lead on CLB right out of the gate and holds on to it all weekend. Alexis Johnson is a strong gymnast with Games experience. I don't think day 1 will be great for her but I think she makes a strong push on days 2 and 3 to secure a top 5 finish. She's also a PhD student in Algebraic Geometry (???), so that's impressive! Bethany Shadburne was a Regionals rookie last year. She parlayed that into being a Games rookie last year. She is still improving and is so new to the sport (relatively) that I think she is a little bit more of a wildcard than the others on this list. However I think she makes it 2-for-2 and punches her return trip ticket to Madison. Colleen Fotsch trains with Tennil Beuerlein. That has to help you prepare for something like Regionals. She is also crazy strong, so look for her to have a good time with some of these heavy barbells. She was a collegiate swimmer, so if that translates to Event 1's endurance testing, maybe everything lines up for her to make her first trip to the Games. 

 

Progress Isn't Linear

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Progress Isn't Linear

One of the awesome things about our gym is that we get so many people brand new to fitness and, more specifically, brand new to the barbell. The first few months are awesome. Every time they show up and touch the bar, they add weight. The last set of 5 they did feels easy and now they can do that for 7 or 10. And this can go on for a while...

But then it happens. They come in and can only do what they did last time. Or, even more shockingly, they can't even do what they did last time and do less weight this time. This can be tough on the new lifter mentally. "Am I getting worse?" "Did I do something wrong?" "I knew I wasn't going to be any good at this." And many other things can swim around in their head causing them to doubt their future progress and, more importantly, themselves.

Good news! This is how it works for everyone. All of us, at some point, hit a plateau. You won't add 5# to your Back Squat every time you do it for the rest of your life (or else so many people would squat 700#). The important part is staying consistent. Keep coming. Keep bringing it! Because when you zoom out and look at your performance, you'll see how much progress you've made over a year or 5 or 25.

Here's two real life examples. If you zoomed in and only looked at a few weeks or even months, you might see a downward trend. You will see multiple sessions in a row where it looks like your progress is stagnant or declining. But if you keep showing up, putting in effort, taking care of yourself (sleeping,, eating well, and minimizing your life stress), when you zoom back out you'll see what looks like steady progress. 

 Serious progress over 15 months or so. Over a 300% increase!

Serious progress over 15 months or so. Over a 300% increase!

 This is a longer period of time. More zig-zaggy. But a "line of best fit" would show some pretty steady progress. They have more than doubled their Deadlift!

This is a longer period of time. More zig-zaggy. But a "line of best fit" would show some pretty steady progress. They have more than doubled their Deadlift!

Graphs really help illustrate the point. Sometimes I'll get all mopey about not making progress. And then I will look back at 2014 and 2015. And my numbers are MUCH better. It reminds me that I was stoked the day I did 225# for a Back Squat and I have done more than that for 20 reps now. I remember being super impressed that people could Deadlift "4 plates" (405#). That didn't seem possible when I started. Now, that isn't an issue.

Progress feels slow. But it is steady if you are steady. Show up. Give what you have to give that day. Take care of yourself. And you'll look back and realize you aren't the person you were 2 years ago. Day by day. #everydaybetter

Lies, Lies and More Lies

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Lies,  Lies, & More Lies

By Coach Rachelle

BMI is B.S. and the scale is a pretty deceitful character too. 

In order to prove my point, I volunteer as tribute...
When I was 29, I decided that I wanted to have a better understanding of my body composition and went in to get a hydrostatic body composition analysis done. This is where, more or less, you strip down to a bathing suit, submerge yourself in a tank, expel all the air out of your lungs, and walk out with a nice little printout that tells you everything from your lean body mass to your body fat percentage.

Now, here's the part where I get real vulnerable and tell you all my body stats and in return, you promise not to judge me because you appreciate my transparency, deal? 

  • I am roughly 5 feet tall (5' 1/2" by some accounts).
  • On this particular day in 2013, I weighed 147lbs.
  • My hydrostatic test results told me that my body fat percentage tested at 26.81% (No judging!)
  • In order to reach "the ideal body fat percentage for women" (22% for my age according to their chart), the report said I would need to lose 9.07lbs of fat (or in other words, weigh about 138lbs).
  • At 147lbs, my BMI clocked in at 28.7 classifying me as overweight and probably quite literally one carefree vacation away from being classified as obese. (After playing with a BMI calculator, I was able to determine that gaining 7lbs (weighing 154lbs) would have officially classified me as obese, a BMI of 30+.) 

Now, full disclosure: Once upon a time, I WAS extremely overweight and most definitely had a BMI weeeellllll over 30. But that was many years prior and here at 29 years old, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was doing CrossFit, eating decently, and while I clearly wasn't rocking the body of a Regional's athlete or anything, I certainly wouldn't say I looked or was physically borderline obese. In fact, I had tons of energy, felt amazing and strong, and thought like I *kinda-ish, maybe-sorta* looked like some sort of an athlete. So seeing that my BMI had me classified as almost obese was quite terrifying. Not only because I had been there once before and never wanted to go back, but also because I know there is the potential for some serious health complications that are associated with having that much extra fat on your body. But let's not get ahead of ourselves...

Let's really take a look at this whole BMI calculation by doing some math together: 

  • According to my hydrostatic test, I would have needed to lose 9lbs and weigh 138lbs to have been at an ideal weight (assuming my lean body mass didn't change). 
  • According to the BMI, someone of my height would need to weigh no more than 127lbs to be at an ideal weight and not classified as overweight. In order to obtain this, I would have needed to lose at least 20 lbs.
  • But remember - my hydrostatic test said I only needed to lose 9 pounds of fat and weight 138lbs to reach an ideal body fat percentage (and thus, a healthy weight), NOT 20lbs! Ya'll, that's an 11lbs discrepancy between my hydrostatic body composition results and BMI results!!!!
  • If you consider that The American Heart Association defines obese as meaning that "you are 20% or more above your ideal weight" (1), then the discrepancy between these two numbers is even more staggering.

The problem with BMI, is that it doesn't take into account things like an individual's muscular build. It's simply a ratio between your height and weight. And for athletes, who tend to have a more muscular build, this can be incredibly misleading since BMI will tend to overestimate an athlete's body fat. Moral of the story - don't place too much weight on your BMI (no pun intended). For athletes, it's pretty much B.S. and it's not worth getting all worked up over because it's almost guaranteed to overestimate your body fat.

Now let's discuss another little liar: the scale. 

I can't tell you how many times I have heard others (and myself) express frustration about how they are busting their butts in the gym, eating healthy, but still aren't losing any weight. But I can look at them and totally see a change in their appearance - they simply LOOK like they have lost weight. Then how is it possible the scale isn't in alignment with what can so easily be seen?


Again, it often comes down to muscle. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same (obviously - they both weigh a pound!). However, the physical space that a pound of muscle takes up on a person's body is much less than a pound of fat. "In fact, one pound of fat is roughly the size of a small grapefruit; one pound of muscle is about the size of a tangerine." (2) If you are working out and building muscle, there's a chance you will look and measure smaller as you lose fat, but dense muscle development might make it so the scale doesn't change much (or at all, or it might even show that you are gaining weight! #GAINZ).

Let's revisit my hydrostatic experience: 

About a year after my first hydrostatic test, I went in for a second to test to see if I had managed to make any changes to my body composition. I wasn't particularly hopeful though because, admittedly, I hadn't been as consistent or diligent about my fitness or eating habits as I would have liked. In fact, I knew that according to my home scale, my weight was slightly up over the previous year.

But to my delight, my new hydrostatic evaluation produced some encouraging data. On this day in 2014, my weight was slightly up (149.4lbs as compared to the previous year, 147lbs) BUT I had gained over 4lbs of muscle and my body fat percentage had dropped to 25.18% (previously 26.81%). Sure, these are small improvements, but THEY ARE improvements. Had I allowed the number on the scale to dictate how I felt about my progress, I would have been terribly discouraged (since technically I was gaining weight) and it probably would have been detrimental to my motivation.


What I want you to take away from this is... please DO NOT allow your BMI or weight alone to define your physical health (or more importantly, self-worth!).  As you can see, particularly for athletes, there are plenty of limitations to these measurements. And if you are like me and can easily be discouraged by what certain health markers might indicate, you might want to consider other ways of measuring your progress or physical health.

  • Take progress photos.
  • Take measurements with a measuring tape.
  • Have a particular shirt and/or pair of pants that you occasionally try on to see how they fit differently.
  • Go get some sort of body composition analysis done like a hydrostatic test or dexascan.
  • Ask yourself: How you feel? Do you have lots of energy? Do you feel good? Do you sleep well? Do you have a positive outlook? Do you feel motivated? Do workouts feel easier? Are you lifting more? Getting faster? 

And most importantly, try not to focus on what a silly number tells you, be it BMI, a scale, or even things like body fat percentage. You are SO MUCH MORE than just a number.

_________________________________________

(1) http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/WeightManagement/Obesity/Obesity-Information_UCM_307908_Article.jsp#.WuDCQ8gvyUk

(2) https://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/7-stubborn-fitness-myths

"The Tahoe Throwdown" - AMRAP History Vol 1.

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The Tahoe Throwdown

AMRAP History Vol. 1

After years of making references that not even my CrossFit friends get, I decided someone needed to explain "where we come from". Like an anthropology course (not an Anthropologie course as I know very little about Volcano candles and high waisted pants) on the people in the Sport of Fitness. These won't be in chronological order. There will be no structure. I will just think of a random "historical" CrossFitty thing, and write a blog about it (and post YouTube links too). So if you are not "Prebok" (that's the cool OG way of saying CrossFit before Reebok became the title sponsor of "The Reebok CrossFit Games" in 2011 - link about Reebok deal), then there might be some names, places, companies, and stuff that you might want to know/learn about to understand the history of CrossFit. (Disclaimer, I will probably write about stuff as recent as 2014/2015 because that's really when the Affiliate world blew up, so many of our CF family wouldn't even know who my CrossFit man crush Matt Chan is or that his giant quad almost exploded (https://games.crossfit.com/article/after-fall).

So where to start? Or rather, which topic jumped to my mind first? The Tahoe Throwdown! This is classic CrossFit athlete goodness with a 28 episode YouTube playlist that is a must watch in my eyes (it is lots of 3-15 minute videos, so you don't have to watch it all at once...but you might once you get started). 

Why you should watch it:

  1. It shows a team battle of 20 of the best CrossFit athletes on earth at the time with fun events.
  2. It pits super team and equipment mogul Again Faster vs. the upstart rebel equipment company with the lesser known athletes, called Rogue Fitness. ("Ryan, obviously you have mixed up the team descriptions because I have never heard of Again Faster and Rogue is the most famous company on earth." Sweet summer child, you don't know what you don't know...)
  3. There's a lesser known AGAIN FASTER athlete that is in the background of these videos that you might have heard of. Yep, the Rich Froning Jr is donning the running man AF logo and competing against Rogue. And he doesn't get much camera time because nobody knows who that guy is...yet.
  4. The world starts its crush on CLB aka Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet because of these videos. And she marries Dave Lipson a few years after this. Dave was one of the resident CF badasses and one of the three dudes that I credit for making strength the "coolest" part of CrossFit (Rob Orlando who also is in these videos and Josh Everett round out the 3 strong guys). There's a hot tub scene that exists entirely to "encourage" viewers to do CrossFit that features CLB.
  5. You probably don't know who Pat Barber is. He is worth knowing. He sets, what can only be, the world record at the time for rope climbs to sneak out a big W. He also dives face first into a barbell to try and beat Chris Spealler in a foot race. They tie. This is event 3 but don't skip to it. Just enjoy it as you get there. (And if you don't know who Speal is, sad emoji.)
  6. A guy chases off a bear?!?

Hopefully I have sold you on watching these videos. You'll see how much the sport and athletes have changed when you watch some of these throwbacks. You'll see some of the best ladies in the world get 9 Clean and Jerks in a minute at 135#. For perspective, I am sure you have someone at your gym that can beat that number now. That was what Games athletes were doing in 2010.

You'll meet names that you will recognize now, some others that maybe you won't but would have know if you were into CrossFit by 2015 or so, and some that very few will know or remember. 

This is also one of CrossFit HQ's first media pieces like this. This sets the stage for the awesome media we have now and the stuff like "Behind the Scenes" at the Games. 

Watch it. Enjoy it. Class dismissed.

The Truth About Partner WODs

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The Truth About Partner WODs

By Coach Rachelle

I have a confession: When I first started CrossFit, I would 100% avoid partner WODs. You could have put all the things I love about CrossFit into one beautifully programmed WOD but add the phrase “With a partner” to the description and NOPE! Not going!!

What gives!?! Am I antisocial? Nope. Do I dislike people? Not at all. Do I think I am better than others and therefore refuse to work with anyone? Abso-freakin-lutely NOT!! Unfortunately, I used to suffer from terrible self-esteem. Which, in my early days of CrossFit, meant I was extremely self-conscious about my abilities and skill set as an athlete. I was afraid I would hold a partner back. I was afraid I’d embarrass myself. I was afraid that by being partnered up with someone, my weaknesses would be even more obvious.

But here’s the thing - CrossFit is a no judgment zone. That’s one of the many things that makes it so amazing! We are all here to make ourselves #everydaybetter. And CrossFitters continue to be CrossFitters because we thrive in a community that is supportive and encouraging. Not one that is judgmental and makes you feel inferior.

My dislike for partner WODs was entirely stemming from the negative self-talk in my head and I really needed to change my mentality. Instead of worrying so much about what others may have been thinking of me, I should have been focused on all the benefits of a partner WOD. For starters, partner WODs provide you with the opportunity to do something fun with another human being. It’s an incredible opportunity to get to know other members of the gym better by pushing through a grueling workout together. You might find yourself more motivated being part of a team. You might find that having a partner holds you more accountable to making sure you fully meet movement standards or exhibit proper form. You might find that your partner’s encouragement during a workout can help you push yourself a little bit harder than you might otherwise do on your own. You might even learn something from your partner - It could be how they pace themselves, something noteworthy about their form, or a tip they have for a particular gymnastics skill. 

As soon as I got over my unnecessary fear of judgment, I started appreciating all these things that I stood to gain from working out with a partner. 

My current feelings about partner WODs? Well, assuming there’s no running, they are pretty awesome! 

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

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Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Why are you so damn harsh? Written by Coach Morgan.

There is something about taking a good long look at yourself in the mirror that can just make you down right depressed. How many of you actually look at yourself in the mirror for more than a minute when you aren’t brushing your teeth, or doing your hair or make up, or shaving, or whatever “job” you may have to do. I feel like you are in the minority if you do. The longer I look at myself in the mirror, the more flaws I find and the more upset I get. The only time I enjoyed looking at myself in the mirror was when I was pregnant with our son and knew that this miracle was happening with my body that I had no control of and it was awesome. But if
you flash back or forward from that time in my life it’s never been my favorite thing to do. The mirror can be our worst enemy. But if you are like me, I am tired of letting it have that much control.

I have talked about comparison before. When you see someone else over there being mr. or miss. perfect and you instantly hate them for it. It’s like, WTH?! But you’re over here trying to eat right and look good naked but you can’t stop grabbing your fat roll every time you sit down. Guys, I am sorry if this doesn’t apply to you, but ladies, you gotta feel me. I mean I
literally just did grabbed my fat roll and gave it a little jiggle. But I digress. What I am trying to say is that it sucks when you compare yourself to other people. You almost always feel inadequate because you can almost always find people around you that are better looking, stronger, faster, smarter, and you can assume they look better naked (unless you know for sure
haha).

But the thing we forget a lot of times is that there are people out in the world that feel that same way about YOU. Sit on that one for a minute. Someone thinks that YOU are smoking hot and wants to look just like you. Someone thinks that YOU are an amazing athlete and wants to be just like you. Someone thinks that YOU are the best parent or the best friend or nicest person or best co-worker or the funniest or coolest or whatever it may be. But the fact of the matter is, there are people who think that you are straight up awesome sauce. No ifs ands or buts about it.

The mirror is a dangerous place to stop and stare if you are looking with the wrong mindset. If you are looking with the mindset of comparison to the perfect people you have in your mind, you are going to be disappointed every time. If you are looking with the mindset that the people around you see you as amazing, that could be a game changer! Here is an honest bomb. When I look at myself I see wrinkles that make me look old. Muscles that used to be way bigger. Abs that used to be there that I can kind of see if I flex hard enough. A belly that used to be tight that now looks like a pooch. Boobs that sag. A butt that used to be way perkier. Skin that’s pale and not perfectly bronzed. And if I looked long enough I could probably go on. But I can’t help but feel defeated when that is my mindset. Which it is 99.9% of the time.

**Guys, if you have made it this far. Thanks for hanging in there.
You rock. But know your lady probably feels like this too.**


Here is my challenge for myself and for you. When you look in the mirror I want you to think about how far you have come and where you have come from. I want you to think about the hours of work you have put wear and tear on your body doing the things you have enjoyed doing. I want you to think of the happiness your body has brought you. I want you to think of the love your body has been shown. I want you to think of the memories you have made with your body. The places your body has gone. The scars you have earned. If you are in a relationship with someone who loves you and appreciates you, think about your body using the words they tell you and NOT the words you tell yourself. I have a smile on my face just
writing this. Go right now. DO it. Try and tell me it didn’t make you smile. Don’t let the mirror be your enemy. Let the mirror be a constant reminder that your body is an incredible machine that needs to be loved and well taken care of. Don’t stare into the mirror and think about the what if’s. Think about the what has been’s and the what will be’s. Work at making your body and your mind #everydaybetter.

Is It Time to Break Up?!?

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Is it time to break up?

What you should do when you hit a lull in your training.

I’ve heard it many times before (and even experienced it myself): You start CrossFit and after your first or second workout, you are hooked. As a newcomer, you’re experiencing PRs all over the place. You’re crossing new skills off the list right and left. You’re at the box 5 or 6 days a week and when you’re not there, you’re either thinking or talking about it. Some might say you’re obsessed and you’re totally ok with that.

Fast-forward to maybe a year or so down the road – the PRs aren’t as frequent and maybe you’re experiencing a plateau. Maybe you’ve lost a bit of the passion you used to have for it and while you still go 5-6 times a week, sometimes it’s with a lot less enthusiasm. What does that mean? Have you fallen out of love with CrossFit? Is it time for a break up?

Short answer: Heck no!

But like any relationship, there could be a number of reasons you are feeling a little “meh” about it and maybe all you need is a little break to help you get out of your funk:

  • The honeymoon is over. As a newcomer to CrossFit, it’s exciting to hit PRs almost every time you pick up a barbell or do a benchmark WOD. But this honeymoon period won’t last forever. As you become a more seasoned CrossFitter, you’ll find growth happens at a slower pace than when you were a newb and that’s TOTALLY NORMAL! Remember, progress is not linear, and you should even expect to encounter some plateaus throughout your journey. It can certainly be discouraging, but it’s perfectly normal and shouldn’t have you walking away from CrossFit for good.
     

  • It feels like a chore. If you are a recreational CrossFitter (which is the majority of us) and lately only find yourself going to the gym because you feel like you SHOULD, not because you WANT to, you’ve officially made CrossFit a chore, rather than an activity you enjoy. That hour in the gym with your friends should be one of the best parts of your day, not an obligation motivated by guilt. 
     

  • You’re bored. You might simply be bored with your routine. Have you tried changing things up? A new class time or coach? Maybe it’s time to set some new or different goals so you have something to work towards. Maybe encourage some non-CrossFit friend or family to drop in for a trial to see what it’s all about. Sometimes having someone new to share it with can revitalize your love for the sport. 
     

  • Your body is tired. If you have been going hard, sometimes your body just needs a rest. Simple as that. It might be time to give it a chance to recover and rebuild. This could also be because your diet doesn't support your activity needs or you aren't sleeping enough. Being tired sucks, so looking into these areas for help are the places we would recommend you start.
     

  • You’re burnt out. Sometimes we simply need a mental break too. Stepping away from CrossFit for a moment can give you the opportunity to actually miss it (and give other areas of your life attention). Just like romantic relationships, sometimes you just need a little space. Maybe come just 2 or 3 days (instead of 5 or 6) for a week or 2. Use the other days to go for a walk or go run some trails. Go do something outside and fun.

So, no, you don’t need to breakup. But perhaps a short break would help. I know that sounds sacrilegious. I am not suggesting you go on a 6-month hiatus, just maybe take a few days off. Maybe a week. Maybe even… (GASP!) two weeks! I’d say most importantly, listen to your body and what your inner voice is telling you. Do what feels right for YOU and give yourself the permission to take the time off you need. After a short break, chances are you’ll find your passion for CrossFit renewed and your body refreshed.

 

- Coach Rachelle

8 Reasons You Should Compete in The Open, Even if You Aren’t Trying to Go to Regionals

The 2018 CrossFit Open begins next month! I sometimes hear athletes say they aren’t going to participate in The Open because they “aren’t trying to go to Regionals.” But I would argue, that for most of the CrossFit population, The Open is about much more than that. Even if you aren’t Regionals-bound, here are some solid reasons why you should DEFINITELY participate in The Open.

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The Open is Coming

And why participating in it is good for you!

 

  1. ANNUAL MEASUREMENT OF YOUR IMPROVEMENT
    The Open is an awesome way to see your improvement year-after-year and get a sense of your growth as an athlete. You can see how you have improved within your home gym, against other athletes in the region, or where you stand globally. This annual comparison is a great way to a look at your fitness level at a macro level and not just focus on individual daily workouts. And if you are interested in seeing how you are improving with individual WODs, one of The Open workouts is always a repeat from a prior year, which provides the perfect opportunity to see EXACTLY where you stand compared to your formal self.

  2. ALL THE PR’S
    There is something magical about The Open. Maybe it’s the extra adrenaline or the accountability of submitting a score to the ultimate leaderboard, but I regularly see athletes surprise themselves during The Open. Getting their first pull up, hitting a new PR – it just happens! It’s happened to me on several occasions. One of my favorite Open memories was from a few years ago - my husband got his first ring muscle up only a few days prior to 15.3 being announced. He then proceeded to do nine, NINE, during the workout! I am telling you – magic happens during The Open. You might just surprise yourself.
     

  3. HELPS IDENTIFY WEAKNESSES
    Not only can The Open help you hit some new “personal bests”, it will also help you identify your weaknesses. If you want to submit a score for the leaderboard, you won’t be able to avoid or substitute any movements that you haven’t mastered yet. You’ll have to face these weaknesses, head on. And with a judge watching your every move and holding you accountable to some very strict movement standards, any slacking you might be getting away with during the daily WODs won’t cut it – you’ll need to demonstrate full competency and range of motion. No bro reps during The Open.
     

  4. ADDS FOCUS & PURPOSE TO YOUR TRAINING
    Identifying your weaknesses isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s great! It gives purpose to your training and something to focus on and strive towards. If you know you could have killed a workout if you only were better at a certain movement, now you know what area of your training you might want to give some extra attention. With the 2018 Open just weeks away, you have plenty of motivation to focus on any areas of improvement and train with intent.
     

  5. BOND WITH YOUR GYM
    You know that feeling of camaraderie you experience after a grueling partner WOD? The Open creates an atmosphere similar to that, but on steroids. Everyone is so supportive and excited for one another. You’ll even have athletes who aren’t participating in The Open simply show up for the workout announcement or “Friday Night Lights” to support their friends. It really brings the whole gym together.
     

  6. IT’S FUN!
    The atmosphere, the PR’s, the comradery – it’s so much fun! Walk into any CrossFit box on a Friday night during The Open and it will be buzzing with excitement. There really is no way to describe it, you simply have to experience it.  
     

  7. YOU SOUND LIKE A BAD ASS
    Someone invites you out on Friday night and your response is, “Sorry, I can’t. I am competing in the CrossFit Open.” They might not know what that means exactly, but it’s probably safe to say, you sound like a total bad ass.
     

  8. MOST IMPORTANTLY, YOU’RE FUNDING DAVE CASTRO’S SALARY
    I mean come on, it’s probably not cheap to pay someone to come up with those nonsensical clues he releases before each workout. I’m kidding, of course. Your small registration fee is worth every penny when you consider everything I previously mentioned.

- Coach Rachelle

Tell someone your goals for 2018….now.

Here it is, 2018. Happy New Year. New year, new me. The year to get this diet started. The year to get in the gym. The year to start really taking care of myself. The year I’m going to stick to my resolution through the whole month of January. Maybe even February! The year for change.

WHO’S WITH ME???

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We're in this together!

Talk about your goals with someone. Multiple folks. Your coaches. Your friends. Your spouses. Your classmates.

I am going to straight up tell you, it aint going to happen UNLESS you share your goals with someone else. If you don’t let anyone in on your little secret then who is going to know when you cheat, stop trying, or just down right give up? I am going to be completely honest. I have NEVER stuck to one resolution or completed one goal I had set for myself in January. I am not that disciplined and I have almost always given up for one reason or another. I find an excuse to cheat on the diet or skip the gym. I will talk myself into buying something I don’t need just because I want it. I will stay up too late watching some pointless TV show even though I have told myself I need to go to bed earlier. There is always going to be that little voice inside your head that wants you to fail. But when there aren’t any louder voices telling you that you are going to succeed, that little voice wins.

**That’s where your friends come in.**

Whether it is your spouse, significant other, family member, friend, coach, or fellow gym member, LET SOMEONE KNOW. They don’t have to ask you about it. Just straight up tell them. Find out if someone has similar goals and help each other out. Stick to it together. If your goal is that serious to you, you are going to need reinforcement. I have encountered some difficult things in my life that I needed to overcome and not one of them I was ever able to do alone. I needed support. Back up. Encouragement. Prayers. Good vibes. Whatever anyone could do to help me along.

I honestly feel like sticking to resolutions and goals is one of the hardest things ever. It seems damn near impossible for me to go 30 days eating whole foods. Or going 6 weeks eating meat, veggies, and some fruits. Like I’m over here like WHERE IS THE MILK AND CHEESE AND SUGAR AND GOODNESS??? I almost always make my goal to eat healthier and not eat “x food”. It doesn’t work for me. I can’t do it on my own. And if you are anything like me, you can’t either.

As your coaches, we want nothing more than to help you succeed. It brings us so much joy to see you guys meet and exceed the goals you set for yourselves. But we can’t help if we don’t know. I feel like I get slapped in the face when I hear about someone who has wanted to get “x movement” or lose “x amount of weight” or do “xyz” and they haven’t gotten/done it for years and I had no idea that’s something they even desired. TELL US! Let us know your short term and long term goals and let us help you. We want you to be #everydaybetter.

 

Coach Morgan’s goals for 2018:

  1. Get into the gym 4-5 days a week EVERY week.

  2. Limit myself to 2 DD coffee’s a week. (addiction)

  3. Lose 5-10lbs by June. (it’s not baby fat guys)

  4. Compete in 3-4 RX competitions by December.

Ask me. Help me. Let’s do this together.

 

- Coach Morgan

New Year New You.

 2018. The year you crush it. Sounds nice, eh? Let's become #everydaybetter. One day at a time.

2018. The year you crush it. Sounds nice, eh? Let's become #everydaybetter. One day at a time.

Happy New Year!

I am not here to talk crap about New Year's Resolutions. I am sure you have seen plenty of that recently. No, I am here to take the opposite position.

Set goals. Be consistent. Fall down. Get back up. Give yourself some grace. Get back on it!

  • Set goals. They provide direction and magnitude, OH YEAH! (Watch this reference here.) It's tough to hit something without aiming at it.
  • Consistency is king (or queen, it's 2018 after all). Going to the gym M/W/F every week, is better than randomly going. Even if some weeks you make it 4 times. Routine is your friend. Unless your goal is to be more spontaneous. Then nix this point.
  • You will mess up. Own it. That isn't what keeps you from you goal.
  • Get back up! This is what will keep you from your goal. Don't stay down. Want to drop 20 pounds and go to a wedding and eat a steak, 2 pieces of cake, and have 6 glasses of Rosé. Yeah, that was a swing and a miss. But don't let that carry over to tomorrow's pursuit of the goal. 
  • Grace. Be kind to yourself. This is new to you. It's something hard, that's why you haven't done it before. Dust off your pants and...
  • Get back on it! Messed up? Awesome. You learned what not to do in the future! Maybe evaluate why (environment, stress, habit, etc) it happened and find out ways to avoid it happening in the future. Took Friday off from the gym even though your goal was to go every M/W/F? Why? "You were tired and burnt out from work." Doesn't going to the gym always make you feel better though? "Oh yeah, it does!" Cool. Remember that next time and be there Monday. Or maybe sneak it in on Saturday since you have no plans because you have no social life because work is so stressful! Blessings in disguise.

The goal to lose 20#, run a marathon, add to your savings account, learn a new language, or whatever you choose isn't an overnight fix. So don't treat one day like it is the end of the road. You might not remember, but it took you a few years to learn English. Heck, you couldn't even walk for like a year, you little baby! (That's tough love, from me to you.)

Let's do big things in 2018 by constantly doing little things, over and over and over again. By 2019, you won't even remember when this was hard!

7 Things to Stop Doing in the Box Immediately

Nobody’s perfect and we are all bound to accidentally commit a gym faux-pas once in awhile, but below are 7 things that you should try to avoid doing in the box:

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Wait, what's the WOD?

Le sigh...We just talked about it, bro.

 

1 - Walking in front of someone about to lift

Imagine getting all set up for your snatch. You're focused, you take a breath and are about to start your first pull when.... someone walks right in front of you…

 

– FOCUS BROKEN –

 

Try to be mindful of what others are doing around you. If you see someone getting set up for a lift, don't walk in front of them. Walk (safely) behind them or pause for a moment to let them finish the lift.

 

2 - Talking while the Coach explains the WOD

Anyone can read the workout as it’s shown up on the board/screen, but your coach will go over movement standards, give helpful tips, discuss scaling options, give a rundown of the equipment needed, and help clarify any confusion about the workout. Take this time to stop chatting with your friend and give them your full attention. Not only will it help you be prepared, but it’s an easy way to show them respect (or quite honestly, they might feel disrespected if you’re not listening).

 

I’ll fill you in on your coach’s biggest pet peeve: It’s when someone who was talking during their explanation later comes up and asks for the WOD to be explained to them.
 

3 - Marking your reps on the floor with chalk

It’s a little thing, but most coaches/box owners don't like you marking up their floor with chalk to keep track of your reps. Instead, use things like a white board, poker chips, or some other counting method that doesn't leave a mark or require the coach to clean it up.

 

4 - Stealing someone's equipment during a workout

Easiest way to avoid this – listen to your coach when they go over the equipment needed for the WOD (see item 2). If you find yourself ill-prepared during a WOD and must suddenly borrow someone else’s equipment (without giving them warning), be courteous – don’t make them wait while YOU finish 100 wall balls with THEIR ball. If know ahead of time that you’ll have to share equipment, just make sure you coordinate with others. That way there won’t be any surprises.

 

4 - Dropping your empty bar

When unloading your bar, make sure you support your barbell as you pull weight off. You don't want your empty barbell to come crashing down as you pull that final weight off. It's loud and damages the bar.

 

6 - Putting your equipment away while others finish the WOD

If you finish a WOD early, it’s tempting to start putting your equipment away and moving on to the cash out or heading home. Instead, I encourage you to support and cheer for those still trying to finish the WOD. You’ll help them get through it and it will mean alot to them. And someday, if they finish before you, they’ll probably cheer you on in return.

 

7 - Leaving equipment out

Unless the coach has asked you to leave equipment out or someone from the next class has called "dibs" on your stuff, make sure you are putting everything away. Everything. Don't forget about things like clips, bands, mobility tools, etc. If you must leave in a hurry for some reason, just ask a friend or coach if they would be able to help you out. I’d be willing to bet that if you ask, they’d be happy to help.

 

- Coach Rachelle

Comparison is the Death of You.

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Comparison is the Death of You.

Blog by Coach Morgan

When I was in high school, I would go to the gym with my best friend after school. We would always warm up on the treadmill, listen to music,
and occasionally talk about our day. Let me say that my best friend and I were not cut from the same cloth. She is long and lean, blonde hair, blue eyed, and super fit. I on the other hand was (still am) short and squatty and a major tom boy. One day I was feeling super envious of her. We got to the gym and hopped on the treadmills like normal and went for a run. I found myself peaking over at hers every couple of seconds. I was watching her distance and her speed and wanting so badly to beat her. I started to turn up my speed little by little until I was in almost a full sprint. She noticed and was like what in the world is happening? I have no idea what came over me. I wanted to be faster. I wanted to run further. I wanted to BE BETTER than her. WHY?? She was my best friend. What was the point? But I couldn’t stop comparing myself to her in the moment and it ruined my attitude and outlook.


Fast forward to now. I am obviously an adult and shouldn’t compete over petty things like warming up on the treadmill, but I still find myself
comparing myself to others in the gym. It might not look the same but the comparison and urge to be better is still there. Here are just a few
scenarios that happen in my head. Part of working out requires the need to wear workout clothes. Workout clothes for females are usually pretty fitted. Pretty fitted means that you need to look good wearing them. Looking good wearing them gives you more confidence. More confidence means you perform better in the gym. (seriously guys, this is my logic). So here I am, in the gym, comparing myself to other women by how we look in our work out clothes. It’s just plain ridiculous.

I am no runner. I have never trained to be a runner. I played soccer in college and was more of a quick burst sprinter than a long distance person. But here comes the miles and I get smoked by someone who is in fact, a runner. I beat myself up over and compare my time to theirs. Stupid, I know. Wall balls are in the workout. Dang it. And I am standing next to our 8ft. member who could touch the line just by raising his hands (exaggeration). But I am so frustrated that he finished his wall balls before me and didn’t have to break. I had to do sets of 5 and was
jumping completely off the ground by the end just to get my ball to the line.


It just isn’t fair.


So as silly as those may seem and as completely ridiculous as they sound, they still happen. I still find myself comparing my performance to
people who are nothing like me. Who have been blessed with height, who put in the time and the effort to train a specific skill, or work really hard on their diet to make sure they stay in the best shape possible. None of those things are me, so why do I put myself in their shoes?
To be honest, this is one of the reasons I don’t look at the whiteboard before I come to the gym. I want to show up and do the workout completely blind. Most days, I don’t even know what the workout is until it’s time to set up. I look at my stats and only my stats because the only person I should be comparing myself to is my previous self. I should want to beat the old me. Be better than the me from last week, last month, or last year. Comparison will rob me of my joy in the gym. It will take away the excitement of performing well on a work out. Because if I continuously compare, I finish the workout and say, “damn it, I got whooped.” But if I performed my best, did better than before, than there is nothing to complain about.


We all have different goals. We all have different backgrounds. We all have different bodies. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. If
we continue to compare ourselves to others, we are never going to excel on our own. There is always going to be someone who is stronger or faster. But look at who you were 1,5,10 years ago. Compare yourself to him/her. Have you improved your life? Your fitness? Your health? If the answer is yes, than you have succeeded. Keep it up! Stop comparing yourself to others, because not one of us is the same, not even close. All you should care about is being #everydaybetter.

Is Routine Killing Your Game?

The very definition of CrossFit is “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.” So, if the workout itself is constantly varied, why do we often allow ourselves to fall into a routine in almost every other aspect? When we hit up our box every week on the same days, for the same class time, with the same coach, and same classmates… are we hindering our potential?

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Change It Up!

Sometimes a new class time means new energy and a different coach's eyes and cues. If you're in a rut, mix it up!


COACHING
Different coaches means different coaching styles. Maybe one of your box’s coaches has an
awesome eye when it comes to technique or uses cues that simply “click” with you and can help
you improve your form and hit some PR’s. Maybe one of them has the kind of energy you need
to motivate you through those last grueling reps of a hero WOD. Maybe one is good at breaking
down and explaining the fundamentals of a movement, allowing you to finally RX a movement.
The point is – all coaches are different, have different styles, and different strengths. Don’t limit
yourself to just one or two coaches, even if they are your favorite. Seek out other class times so
you can be coached by someone different. Having many sets of eyes watching your technique
and performance can help you out a lot in the long run.


CLASSMATES
Community is a huge part of CrossFit and it isn’t uncommon to form tight friendships with your
fellow athletes. These are the same people cheering for you when you are the last to finish and
the first ones to give you a high-five when you are gasping for breath on the floor.
Trying out new class times gives you the chance to meet and make friends with other members
your box. You may find that a new group of faces renews your motivation and helps you set
some PR’s, learn a new skill, or simply enjoy CrossFit in a new way. You may even find some new
friendly competition giving you that extra boost to push yourself and set new goals.


ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONING
Whether you head to the box at 5am or stop in the evening on your way home from work, it’s
easy to fall into a routine where you are working out the same time on the same days under the
same conditions. But let me tell you, the conditions can change dramatically between a 5am and
5pm class. Consider things like temperature, humidity, your mental state, energy levels, food, and water intake, etc.
CrossFit helps to develop athletes who are generalist, NOT specialists – good at most things,
rather than the best at one thing. Testing your performance under a completely different set of
environmental conditions, especially on a regular or semi-regular basis, can help you become a
better CrossFitter who is “ready for anything” and not just kick-ass at 5:30pm on a Tuesday
evening when it’s 71 degrees out with a new moon in the forecast. 


Throughout our CrossFit journeys, it’s common to hit plateaus. And while progress is not linear,
sometimes all it takes is changing things up a bit, to getting things moving in the direction you want
again.

Rep Shaving & Why You Shouldn't Care

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Rep Shaving

Why you so mad, bro?

 

We all know that one person who consistently shaves reps during a
workout. You aren’t the only person who notices, trust me. As soon as your
gym has a rep shaver, it is only a matter of time before everyone knows
and is talking about it. We feel the need to talk about it to make ourselves
feel better about the situation. We have to say it out loud so that when you
get beat, everyone knows the real reason why. We have to vent about it
because when you see that name at the top of the leaderboard it makes
you so fired up that you want to beat their score, even if it is made up. The
rep shaver is one of the reasons why you hate to see a 21-15- 9 workout
because you know for them it will be more like 18-12- 5 and their time will
be bogus. Don’t deny it. We have all felt this way before.

To be real honest, I have been a rep shaver hater for almost my
entire CrossFit experience. Coming from a competitive sports background,
I couldn’t stand it when someone wasn’t putting in their work. When you
play on a sports team and everyone has a job, you are always picking up
that person’s slack and it sucks. So transfer that into a competitive workout
environment and it made me SO fired up. When someone would beat me in
a workout because they shaved their reps, I would literally want to punch
them in the teeth. I would huff and puff and throw a baby tantrum inside. I
would whine and complain to my husband about how pissed I was. I not
only hated it as an athlete, but also hated it while coaching. I started to
count people’s reps for them, let them know what number they were on, or
tell them how many they have left. I would have hawk eyes on them making
sure that they were completing every rep to standard and not missing any.
All of this as a coach and athlete was just plain exhausting. It was messing
with me while working out to where I wasn’t completely focused on my best
effort. It was taking away my attention from other members because I was
so caught up with “catching them in the act”. Thankfully, my wise husband

helped me get over my issues with the rep shavers in my life. And to just
focus on me.


If you relate to anything I just said, here is my question to you. Why
does someone else cheating in THEIR workout bother you so much? They
are the ones cutting their workout short, they are the ones who aren’t
putting in the effort, and they are the ones who will be missing out on
GAINS….not you. So why does it get under your skin? My brain thinks, well
they are cheating. They aren’t doing what they are supposed to do. They
aren’t doing it right. They aren’t working as hard as everyone else. They
are LYING!

Well, all that is true, but what part of that effects your life?
I have finally gotten to the point where I have realized that someone
shaving reps shouldn’t bother me at all. I am super competitive so that has
been a hard thing to finally accept. I know that I am doing the best I can,
putting in MY best effort, getting results, setting PR’s, and feeling great
about ME. No one else should be able to take away from my joy and
excitement from doing my best in a WOD because they aren’t. When you
hear “3-2- 1-GO” you should only be focused on how well YOU are going to
do. You shouldn’t care one bit about the person next to you who
OBVIOUSLY cheated. The coach sees it, others see it, and they know they
are doing it. So let it go.


We all know a rep shaver. We all have them in our gym. We know
that the only time they will get it right is if they miscount or someone is
counting for them. But guess what, who cares? The answer should be,
NOT ME! The world keeps turning. You keep showing up. You keep doing
your job when you hear the beep. You are striving for greatness. You are
becoming #everydaybetter.

Why I CrossFit - Rachelle

It would probably be pretty easy to sum it up as… I CrossFit because it makes me FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF. And it’s CHALLENGING. And it’s FUN. And I get to do it WITH MY FRIENDS. And it’s GOOD FOR ME. Basically, what’s not to LOVE?!

And while that’s all very true, it goes a bit deeper than that….

Once upon a time, I was very overweight. I didn’t exercise, I ate like crap, and I felt TERRIBLE about myself. Flash forward several years, I lost nearly 60 lbs and would work out occasionally (although nothing ever really “stuck”). However, out of fear of gaining ANY of the weight back, I developed a VERY unhealthy relationship with food (read: eating disorder). Even at a healthier weight, I still hated my body – I was obsessed with trying to be “skinny.”

It wasn’t until I started doing CrossFit that something inside me just clicked. From my very first on-ramp workout, I started appreciating my body and what it is capable of. I have learned to focus less on the number of my weight or clothing size and instead focus on how I FEEL, how HEALTHY I am, how STRONG I am, how much ENERGY I have, and so on. It has transformed my entire life, helping me to develop a healthier lifestyle all around.

I’ve been doing CrossFit for over 4 years now and I have never physically felt better, nor have I ever felt better about myself.

Now that I have a son, I find that I am so much more mindful of everything I do. Included in that is setting a good example for him of what it means to be healthy. And I hope to set an example so that he respects and appreciates a woman’s strength – physical, mental and emotional.

Just Show Up

Do you ever have those days where the last place you want to be is the gym? Or the days when you “forget your clothes” and decide not to go? What about pulling into the parking lot and thinking “All I need to do is just walk in! But I sooooo don’t want to!” Maybe you look at the workout beforehand and decide to skip it because it’s “too hard”. I think we have all been there. Some days we will find every excuse possible to prevent us from making it to the gym that day.

So think of your gym. Maybe you don’t like going to a class that has a certain coach. Maybe you don’t go when you see a certain movement. Maybe you don’t go on partner WOD day. Maybe you don’t go because you hate working out in the morning but when the afternoon comes around, you’re too tired. Whatever your excuse may be remember that it’s an EXCUSE. There will always be something that COULD prevent us from going to the gym but you can’t let it win. You have to dig deep, push through, and show up.

Currently, my list of excuses is pretty long. My son, the heat, my work schedule, forgetting my clothes, being too tired. I mean it’s literally always something. But I have a goal and all of these excuses are preventing me from reaching that goal. If you are like me and have a goal set for yourself if you continue to allow these excuses to win, then you are never going to get better. You aren’t going to see your numbers go up. You won’t get that pull up you want so bad. You aren’t going to get that ring muscle up you have been dying to get. You won’t move forward. You will stay in the same place or even worse, go backwards.

So what should we do about it?
We need to show up. You need to be there. People are counting on you. CrossFit doesn’t pride itself on you showing up, not talking to anyone, and getting a good workout in. CrossFit prides itself on being a community. A group of people showing up to the gym to join in the misery of the workout together. To cheer for you when you hit a PR. To stand beside you and count your reps until you finish your last one. The people in your class will notice you aren’t there. They will text you or call you and give you hell for missing a killer workout. You will miss out on the jokes, the fellowship, and the stories. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it when someone hits that
PR they have been dying to get. You might be the person that another member looks up to. You might be the reason that they are coming every day. You might be someone’s motivation to workout hard and when you aren’t there, they slack. I have shown up to workout in khaki shorts and a work shirt. I have showed up without shoes. I have forgotten to pack socks and a sports bra, which is way too uncomfortable. I have worked out with my hair down because I forgot something to pull it up. I haven’t had water more times than it’s acceptable. You guys get the idea I’m sure. But guess what, I showed up. I got my workout in. I didn’t let those little things keep from coming to the gym that I love and trying to work towards my goal. I am not saying that any of this is easy. It is hard, very hard to not let excuses keep you out of the gym.


I have learned from experience and from watching other people that any time you let yourself slack it makes it harder and harder to show back up. When you decide that sleeping in or taking a nap three days in a row is better than getting up and going to the
gym, then that fourth day is going to feel like death. When you decide that you need to take your gym membership out of your budget for the summer, when the school year starts back you might not come back. When you decide that you just aren’t feeling it one week and don’t show up, well guess what buddy, the next week is going to suck. It doesn’t ever turn out good for you or your body. You end up so sore, so tired, and then the cycle continues.


So why is it important to keep showing up? The moral of the story is that if you want to become #EVERYDAYBETTER, you show up regardless. You keep your mind and body your priority and you take care of it. You don’t let that little voice in your head tell you it isn’t important. That the workout is too easy or too hard. That no one wants to be your partner on Wednesdays. That you aren’t good at overhead squats so don’t bother going. That no one will notice you aren’t there. You tell that little voice to shut it. You show that voice who is boss. Show up and be so ROWDY. Crush the work out and give it your best effort. Don’t worry about what you can’t do but be focused on getting better. EVERYDAYBETTER.

- Coach Morgan

I Scaled Though...

Coach: “What was your time?”
Athlete: “13:21. I scaled, though.”

Every time I hear someone give their score followed by a ‘scaling confession,’ my heart breaks. As if scaling undermines all the blood, sweat and tears (sometimes literally) that you just put in during that workout. Give yourself some (or a lot of) credit! You showed up, didn’t you? Tried your hardest? Sweat a little? Got your heart rate up? Maybe even had…fun!? GASP! So what if you scaled? BE PROUD of the work you just put in!

Scaling is NOT something to be ashamed of. Maybe you are scaling because you want to focus on your technique rather than worrying about the actual weight you move. Maybe you are dealing with an injury, coming back from an injury, or trying to avoid an injury. Maybe you are having a bad day. Or maybe the weight is simply too heavy or your skill level isn’t at an RX level yet – and hey, that’s ok! These are all perfectly good reasons to scale! Some are even very RESPONSIBLE reasons, I might add. As long as you tried your hardest, got a good workout in, and scaling allowed you to retain the integrity of the workout - that’s what matters most to me (and that you hopefully had fun while doing it).

I remember seeing this Facebook post a few years ago, and it always kinda stayed with me.

https://www.facebook.com/journalMENU/posts/602691066409532:0

As athletes, we ARE ALL works in progress; working to become better, faster, stronger, more skilled. Whether you scale or RX the workout, own it! Be proud of your score. Own every grueling moment that you pushed through to get that score!

So next time you call your score out to your coach, try saying, “13:21, scaled.” Full stop. And put your equipment away knowing you’re a total badass.

- Coach Rachelle

Athlete to "Preglete"

I have dreamt of being a mother my entire life, but I will be completely honest when I say I was not and probably never will emotionally prepared for everything that comes with that sweet little laugh we all love so much! Going from top 300 in the Crossfit open to waddling through workouts at 8 months pregnant while crying to fighting my way back to being competitively good in the sport all while juggling depression, work, my husband and my new life who is completely dependent on me is a very hard task.
 

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Becka

 

&
Ella

CrossFit Mommy Vol. 3

Before getting into all the details you should all know that I have always struggled with depression and anxiety, and all those hormones didn't do me (or my husband ) any favors. Pre Ella, my almost 10 month old, I was killing the fitness game, y'all. I was top 300 in the open that year, and wondering who the heck that Morgan Pye girl was that was tying me in all the open workouts. Everything was going so well and I was on the path to another awesome year in CrossFit until one simple daily WOD of thrusters and double unders had me breathless and doing 1-2 reps at a time. A few days later we find out we were pregnant!! There were so many emotions... so many emotions. I was happy I was getting what I always dreamed of, but depression quickly followed.

I fought that depression all the way up until little miss was born. When you have depression and anxiety you don't always know why you are experiencing those feelings. I was scared to be a terrible mother. I remember being in the shower and just crying because of the unknown. What if she doesn't like me? What if I don't know what to do? I have to keep her alive?! What if I did too many HSPU? All the "what ifs". I went from RX+ workouts and crushing everyone to scaling the scaled workouts and not finishing at all. As a competitive athlete one of the worst feelings in the world is watching everyone get better and you just feel fat and tired when all you did was bend over. I heard "you're pregnant though." too much for my own good. I just mentally shut down. Pregnancy was not great for me emotionally and it did not look good on me, but the day we had her will always be the best day of my life. I'd relive that moment 1000 times.
 

We chose to get induced at 39.5 weeks and I am totally happy with our decision to do so. Ella is a perfectly healthy, happy baby who has blessed us with an awesome sleep habit since she was 2 weeks old. While seem to recover pretty well and quick after giving birth (my body is freakishly fast at everything), having a mishap with the epidural left me with tons of nerve pain in my back. My back will forever be my biggest fear to conquer in Crossfit. Back squats, GHD, kipping, and deadlifts all are my biggest weaknesses now due to the damage I got from the epidural, it through my timeline off... a lot. My timeline and vision of how things would be when I got back into working out was SO OFF AND SO WRONG. So many times I cried (still do...), I stopped working out for weeks (still do...), I made excuses (still do...) before I realized that it's okay to want to workout for FUN and it should not feel like a job! My husband gets me in the gym everyday making sure I just get something done and to keep my depression from rearing its ugly head too much, and I cannot thank him enough for that. He keeps me active, sane and loving every second of my life with my family.

While most of this blog seems as if I am/was overly depressed, I do not wish I had experienced this any different or any other way. I am a mom to the most beautiful daughter in the world, wife to the (one day) fittest man alive , and a full time caring, working, selfless person which I am so proud of. Don't get it twisted when I say I am okay with doing CrossFitfor fun, the competitiveness comes out every once and a while-- it just doesn't involve so many tears when I suck at something. No matter how much I suck at CrossFit that day, Ella is loving my presence every single second, winning or losing.