Coaches Corner: Why we need to mobilize by coach Missy Daicoff

You get to the gym five minutes early, put your stuff in the locker room, grab a foam roller and roll out for a couple minutes before class. An hour later class ends and you have somewhere you need to be so you rush out of the gym right after the workout. We are all guilty of this. Life is busy and hectic and there never feels like there is enough time in the day. However, if you can dedicate an hour of your day to a grueling workout, then you should do your body the service of 10-15 minutes of mobilizing as well. Your body will thank you after those tough CrossFit workouts and you will even recover faster and prevent possible injuries. Here’s a challenge for you. Can you accumulate 10 minutes in a full squat position?

I’ve done this challenge multiple times and it’s amazing how difficult it can be. The majority of us are so used to spending most of our day in the sitting position, whether you work in an office behind a desk, have long commutes in your car, or even sitting in front of the TV for long periods. There are multiple studies that show sitting for prolonged periods of time can even cause low back pain due to the static posture maintained in the sitting position, which can add large amounts of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs. Don’t even get me started on the body position of being slouched over the keyboard or sinking down in the chair for extended periods. Also, as mentioned by Kelly Starrett in the video above, he states that there is very little hip disease, low back pain, and disc disease in countries where people sit in the squatted position and even sleep on the ground.

Supple Leopards

Kelly Starrett is a physical therapist who focuses on performance based Orthopedic Sports Medicine and has revolutionized how athletes think about human movement and athletic performance. He is the writer of the New York Times bestselling book Becoming a Supple Leopard. This book lays out a blueprint for athletes from all backgrounds and disciplines, offering clear, concise methods for limiting pain and injury risks, keeping the body at peak efficiency, and reaching one’s maximum potential. There is a copy of this book at the gym and I highly recommend anyone to read through it. He also has countless YouTube videos and even a mobility program called MobilityWOD, which posts a daily follow along WOD video lasting 10-15 minutes of mobility exercises. If you are looking for something more specialized you can search the catalog, which includes over 200 hours of comprehensive movement, mechanics, mobility, and general health and fitness videos. There is a small fee for the MobilityWOD subscription or you can search for some of his countless videos on YouTube.

ROMWOD/ Yoga

Another excellent type of mobility exercise to add to your programming is ROMWOD/yoga, which is offered at the gym on Wednesday evenings starting at 6:30pm. Lorena, who is a founding member of CrossFit 727, has been teaching yoga at the gym and has recently incorporated ROMWOD to her sessions. ROMWOD helps to increase range of motion in order to generate power and promote efficiency of functional movements through improved position and posture. This is done through many different stretching exercises that strengthens the ligaments and tendons which in turn accelerates recovery time between workouts.

Torture Devices

Also, feel free to use any of the “torture devices” at the gym in order to help mobilize. I have found that spending as little as 5 minutes on trouble areas with the lacrosse ball has not only worked out kinks but, I believe, prevented further injury by rolling out the lactic acid build up within those strained muscles.

Everything is connected

Here’s a hot tip: For example, you could be suffering from ongoing knee pain and not realizing it was caused from the thrusters you did in the workout earlier in the week and because your weight was on your toes (let’s admit it, not all of our form is perfect 100% when we are going hard during a CrossFit workout, sorry Ryan!!) your quads are now tight and guess what – the tight quad muscles are now pulling your knee and potentially causing the knee pain. Or, lets say you are experiencing shoulder pain. This could be caused from tight lats or even tight biceps. The problem may originate upstream or downstream of the pain point. Everything is connected in our bodies so if you do experience pain, think of what movements or workouts could have attributed to that pain so you can narrow down the source and mobilize those areas better going forward. You can always ask one of the coaches if you are experiencing pain in a particular area and we will help you find the source.

I hope to see you all, myself included, spending a little more time mobilizing before and after the workouts!

Coaches Corner: Why we do hero WODS for those who have fallen but will never be forgotten by Ryan White

Hero WODs are some of CrossFit’s most arduous workouts, and they serve as a fitting memorial for CrossFitters killed in the line of duty. As we observe Memorial Day weekend, we thought it would be good to give everyone some background on how Hero WODs started, and why CrossFitters all over the world push themselves through the pain and struggle to honor the fallen soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country and our freedom.

Visiting my best friend, Russel White, in Arlington back in 2014. RIP, brother.

The First Hero WOD Honoring Lt. Michael Murphy

On June 28, 2005, four Navy SEALs on a reconnaissance mission in the Kunar province of Afghanistan were ambushed by an overwhelming Taliban force. Team leader Lt. Michael Murphy, unable to call for help from his location, walked into the center of enemy fire, where his satellite phone might work. He punched in the numbers to HQ and calmly requested reinforcements.

Even after being knocked to his knees from a gunshot wound to his back, Murphy calmly sat back up, steadied himself and continued the call, knowing that it was the only way he might save his men. Once the call for reinforcements had been completed, he returned to the fight with an MH-47 Chinook helicopter on the way. Outrunning its escort of attack helicopters, the Chinook rushed into the battle for a daring daylight rescue. Attempting to set down in tremendously rugged terrain filled with hostile militia, the Chinook was hit by a rocketpropelled grenade. The eight SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers aboard were killed, leaving Murphy and his men to continue the fight. When the battle ended, Murphy and all but one of his men had been mortally wounded. Murphy was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions that day. Among those killed in the rescue attempt were Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Taylor and Lt. Michael McGreevy. Both SEALs were posthumously awarded Bronze Stars for Valor and Purple Hearts. These men were fathers, husbands and sons. They were brothers to their fellow SEALs. They were also CrossFitters. In their actions, these men embodied the values and spirit of true heroes, and to immortalize their courage, bravery and self-sacrifice, the CrossFit Hero workouts were created.

“Murph” was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his gallantry on June 28, 2005. Only one other serviceman has received the award while serving in Afghanistan.

A Community Honors the Fallen

To the average CrossFitter, Hero workouts are symbolic gestures of respect for our fallen. CrossFitters from all over the world, regardless of country or allegiance, throw themselves wholeheartedly at these intentionally gut-wrenching workouts that serve as a tribute to our lost protectors. CrossFit established this tradition as a way to immortalize the fallen and remind ourselves that, even in their untimely deaths, these fellow CrossFitters were committed to the safety and freedom of the rest of us.

Every Hero workout has a special person behind it, and CrossFitters around the world struggle through the WODs in tribute to the deceased protectors. These workouts are just another expression of this sense of brotherhood, and they are uniquely suited to a unique community.

Lest We Forget

For those of us who undertake these physical tests, the psychological effects of performing a Hero workout are tremendous. It’s easy to treat these prescriptions as any workout of the day, but for those who take the time to learn about the heroes they honor, the WODs can become as spiritual and emotionally demanding as they are physically grueling. When keeping the stories behind the real-life heroes in mind, slowing down during a Hero workout becomes harder to justify. When the pain of pushing harder becomes too great, I am reminded of the sacrifice these men made for my freedom, and my struggle becomes laughable. And when I compare my temporary suffering to the lifelong sorrow felt by the grieving families of these men, dropping the bar becomes an embarrassment to my country. The Hero workout is more than a test of physical ability. It bridges the gap between the body and the mind, emotion and experience, and gives us the chance to do more than just remember our soldiers. It gives us the chance to sweat, bleed, suffer and grieve for our fallen heroes one rep at a time.

My Hero WODs List

Below is a list of some other hero WODS besides the ones above that speak personally to me. You will see the first one, White, coming up soon!

Murph Tips and Scaling Options

Now that you have a background of the origination on hero WODs I wanted to provide some tips and other things to keep in mind for Murph this Monday.

Pace, Pace, Pace

This is a LONG WOD. Don’t come off sprinting the first mile or your first 5 rounds of movements. The name of the game will be to keep a steady pace that is sustainable throughout the entire workout. It will be tempting to come out of the gate strong, but trust me on this one!

Hydrate Like Hell!

It’s Florida, summer is coming and we will have a LOT of work to get through. Come hydrated, bring a water bottle and take small quick breaks to hydrate throughout the workout.

Think Small Chunks

If you think about the rep portion of the WOD in terms of smaller, bite size chunks, it is less overwhelming. I know, for some people, they break the sets down into 2 – 4 – 6. Other common options are 5 – 10 – 15. This helps it feel more doable when you aren’t thinking about the culmination.

Scaling is NOT a Bad Thing

Our biggest priority is safety and quality. Just because this is a hero WOD, don’t feel pressured. Some common scaling options are:

  • Pull-ups: banded pull-ups, jumping pull-ups or ring rows
  • Push-ups: incline push-ups, abmat push-ups

Also, if you are newer to CrossFit, completing Murph in its entirety is an extremely daunting task. Below is a great breakdown of some rep scaling options that you can try OR you can partner up with a friend to split the reps!

Mind Over Matter

When you are only 30 pull-ups, 60 push-ups and 90 squats into this workout are tired and winded, it is EASY to feel overwhelmed. Instead of focusing on whats LEFT focus on the single rep at hand. A “one-rep at a time” mentality will really help you push through this workout.

Recovery

I know that it is Memorial Day weekend, which typically includes some of our favorite “all American” foods and beverages, but remember that you just put your body through a TON of work. Coming to the workout hung-over or getting wasted after completing Murph is a HORRIBLE idea and, honestly, unsafe. Hydration and replenishing your body should be a top priority for the remainder of the day Monday!

*References: http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_Berger_Fallen.pdf

Coaches Corner: “Quality” by Melanie LeBlanc

All right, so the Holidays are over. We now have guilty consciences, and are all wanting to work off all the extra pumpkin pie and whipped cream. So, we come to the gym with great
expectations, but then what… Why? What’s our focus? All I want to do is… How do we… the questions start to come. STOP. Just STOP! Breath. Our main goal, every one of us, is to become better. Not just better than Suzy or Bob, but better “us’s”. We have a primal desire to BE BETTER: to function better, feel better, to live better lives. “Ok great… get to your point”. My point: to be BETTER you must BE better. Yes, that is rhetorical, but hear me out… Anything of quality has had deliberate attention to detail. The more attention that item, that “thing”, receives the better the quality becomes.

Coaches Corner: “6 Reasons to Drop Into a Box on Vacation” by Dana White

With summer vacations in full swing, we thought it would be the perfect time to encourage everyone to visit a local CrossFit box while on their travels. Ryan and I LOVE having visitors at CrossFit 727 and know our fellow box owners feel the same. Despite what you may think, you can get WAY more out of the experience than just a good workout. Here’s six reasons why I think you should take the time to drop into another box the next time you travel.

1. It’s not as intimidating as you think.

Walking into a new place is never easy, especially when you don’t know anyone let alone the area itself. But 9 times out of 10, the box you will be visiting will have just as many friendly members willing to stop over to say hi and welcome you, just like we all do. Scaling and/or modifying movements is also nothing to be worried, it is something all trainers are used to. Just ask questions and communicate with the trainer and you will do great!

2. Getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing.

To piggy back off point #1, even if you aren’t intimidated, there is a good chance that attending a class at another box will get you out of your comfort zone. You won’t have your spot near the fan, access to your favorite barbell or pull-up station and you may not even have a bucket of chalk to use (yes, this actually happened to me once). Instead of looking at these things as WOD sabotage, embrace the fact that it is different and adapt. After all, one of CrossFit’s principles is “constantly varied” and what better way to practice this than to vary your environment outside of what is comfortable.

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3. You will get to meet new people from different backgrounds and fitness levels.

When you walk in, introduce yourself and ask others how long they’ve been a member. You will be sure to find beginners and probably some more advanced folks and it is always good to get their perspectives on the sport. I like to ask, “What’s your favorite WOD?” or “Do you remember your first WOD?” and it is always fun to hear the different answers. You can even use it as an opportunity to ask questions about the area. The last time we dropped into a box we asked for breakfast recommendations and the place we ended up going to was AMAZING!

4. You will always feel better after a WOD, even on vacation.

We get it. When you are on vacation you want to relax and take it easy. When you are traveling for work, you are busy with meetings and after work commitments. While these things are all true, there is no denying that ten times out of ten, you feel better after working out, no matter where you are. Sure it may be somewhat inconvenient and you could do a travel type WOD in your hotel room , but what fun is that? Are you REALLY working out as hard as you would in a community atmosphere? Yeah, that’s what we thought. 🙂

5. You may learn new exercises, stretches and coaching tips to bring back.

Just like when you experience different coaches here at home, when you travel to another box you have the opportunity to learn some new and different tips and tricks. If the coach at the box you are visiting tells you something different, don’t respond with something snarky like, “well that’s not what MY coach taught me!” Instead, use it as an opportunity to see a different point of view, as it may prove to be helpful. When traveling, I met another coach who showed me an AWESOME scaling option for pull-ups, which I then added to my own toolbox when I got home.

6. There’s no place like home!

Okay – so you’ve dropped into a box and had a great time. Maybe there were some things that were different that you didn’t like as much. When you get home and walk back through the doors at CrossFit 727, you see the place with a new set of eyes. Maybe it is a revisited appreciation for the nice air conditioning, your favorite barbell or the amazingly challenging WOD we programmed. Or, what it will most likely be, is throwing down with your fellow comrades and coaches, because…after all, there’s no place like home!

Drop in Etiquette and Tips

Now that we’ve convinced you to go, here are a few things to do and keep in mind in advance:

  • Do your homework – Go to a bunch of different websites to check out local box WODs and trainer credentials.
  • Contact them in advance so they have a heads up – It is always helpful for a box owner to know in advance when drop-ins are coming so that they can notify staff, give guests any special instructions and maybe have them proactively fill out some information.
  • Show up early – Much like the point above, it is always good to arrive early to get the lay of the land, fill out any necessary paperwork and complete payment.
  • Be respectful and represent! – When you visit another box, respect the coaches, equipment, facility and other members the same way you do CrossFit 727. Don’t ghost drop your barbells, leave your equipment out or clean up early. Remember, you are representing not just yourself, but your home box as well!

Coaches Corner: Competition Prep Tips by Jen Waite

With the CrossFit Open upon us I thought it would be worth our time to explore how to prepare for a competition, whether it’s one WOD or a weekend full of them. And first off, to everyone participating in the open, congrats on pushing yourself out of your normal routine!

Prep

Preparing for a workout really starts a few days in advance. You should be prepared with food and hydration leading up to the competition and also plan your rest day, both before and after. For example, if you’re going to be working out on a Saturday, I’d recommend you rest on Thursday. You do actually want to workout the day before! Think about it – it’s a lot easier to rev your engine come Saturday than to have to start it up completely. The day prior don’t go completely crazy, but get your heartrate up and get a decent workout in.
You want to make sure to drink plenty of water the day prior to competing. Remember, once you’re thirsty it’s already a sign of dehydration. Add some extra carbs to your diet the night before if you’re doing a competition with multiple WODs.

The Big Day

Okay, now for the day of. If you’re working out in the morning make sure you’re up at least three hours prior to working out. Go for a long walk, get those legs loose, before heading to the gym or competition where it can sometimes be a little chaotic. Eat at least two hours prior to working out. If you’re at a competition, you need to pack food. Think easily digestible (low in fiber) food. I recently learned in our 30 Day Challenge that you want to choose things like applesauce over apples, nut butter over nuts, baby food is a good option over whole starches. Keep your fat low. Other great choices would be hard boiled eggs, plain boiled chicken. You want to eat a carb + a protein after each event, even if you’re not hungry. And don’t eat anything or wear anything that you’ve never done before – rookie mistake! You don’t want your pants sliding down during a competition, while doing double under – am I right Dana?! You’ve got to keep your mental game strong! I hear so much negative self-talk at the gym. Think about what you’re about to do as being a hell of a lot of fun, and try to get rid of that negative stress. You WILL do great and you WILL be proud of yourself!

Warm-up Properly

Now onto the warm-up. Grabbing a PVC bar and doing a few twirls, along with sitting at the bottom of a squat does not constitute a warm-up my friend. You need to REALLY warm-up for what you’re about to do. We’re talking 20 – 30 minutes. That means 10 minutes of getting your heartrate up with something like jogging or light rowing, followed by dynamic stretching; not static. Static stretching can loosen your muscles up too much. Movements like walking lunges, a walk out with a push up at the end, etc. Think about what muscles are about to be taxed and make sure you hit those. And stay warm – keep your pants and sweatshirt on during the warm-up.

Cool Down

Now I know you’ll kick ass at the workout so we won’t spend time here. Let’s go to the cool down – so important! Skipping the cool down can contribute to lactic acid build-up, which will not feel good later (Hello 16.1)! High five and fist pump your friends, then keep moving for a faster recovery. Collapse on the floor if you must, but limit it to 30 seconds or less and then begin light rowing and stretching or foam rolling. You want to lower your heart rate progressively and this is the first step. Focus your cool down stretches on the major muscles that were just involved.

Celebrate!

Finally – once you’re recovered later in the day – let’s eat! Here’s where you want to get those fats. Try to keep it nutritious; real food. Avoid the pizza and instead opt for a nice grassfed steak with a potato and veggies. Hard boiled eggs and almond butter are also good choices, especially at the end of an all day competition. And keep drinking that water!
And lastly, take the time to focus on your success. So many of us focus on things that we didn’t do and forget about the things we DID do. I get it – we’re CrossFitters and we want to be able to be really awesome at everything; but take the time to be proud. I know I am proud to be a part of CrossFit, and I hope you are too.

Screenshot 2016-03-06 13.30.42

With the CrossFit Open upon us I thought it would be worth our time to explore how to prepare for a competition, whether it’s one WOD or a weekend full of them. And first off, congrats on pushing yourself out of your normal routine!

Preparing for a workout really starts a few days in advance. You should be prepared with food and hydration leading up to the competition and also plan your rest day, both before and after. If you’re going to be working out on a Saturday, let’s say, I’d recommend you rest on Thursday. You do actually want to workout the day before! Think about it – it’s a lot easier to rev your engine come Saturday than to have to start it up completely. The day prior don’t go completely crazy, but get your heartrate up and get a decent workout in.

You want to make sure to drink plenty of water the day prior to competing. Remember, once you’re thirsty it’s already a sign of dehydration. Add some extra carbs to your diet the night before if you’re doing a competition with multiple WODs.

Okay, now for the day of. If you’re working out in the morning make sure you’re up at least three hours prior to working out. Go for a long walk, get those legs loose, before heading to the gym or competition where it can sometimes be a little chaotic. Eat at least two hours prior to working out. If you’re at a competition you need to pack food. Think easily digestible (low in fiber) food. I recently learned in our 30 Day Challenge that you want to choose things like applesauce over apples, nut butter over nuts, baby food is a good option over whole starches. Keep your fat low. Other great choices would be hard boiled eggs, plain boiled chicken. You want to eat a carb + a protein after each event, even if you’re not hungry. And don’t eat anything or wear anything that you’ve never done before – rookie mistake! You don’t want your pants sliding down during a competition, while doing double under – am I right Dana?! ☺

You’ve got to keep your mental game strong! I hear so much negative self-talk at the gym. Think about what you’re about to do as being a hell of a lot of fun, and try to get rid of that negative stress. You WILL do great and you WILL be proud of yourself!

Now onto the warm-up. Grabbing a PVC bar and doing a few twirls, along with sitting at the bottom of a squat does not constitute a warm-up my friend. You need to REALLY warm-up for what you’re about to do. We’re talking 20 – 30 minutes. That means 10 minutes of getting your heartrate up with something like jogging or light rowing, followed by dynamic stretching; not static. Static stretching can loosen your muscles up too much. Movements like walking lunges, a walk out with a push up at the end, etc. Think about what muscles are about to be taxed and make sure you hit those. And stay warm – keep your pants and sweatshirt on during the warm-up.

Now I know you’ll kick ass at the workout so we won’t spend time here. Let’s go to the cool down – so important! Skipping the cool down can contribute to lactic acid build-up, which will not feel good later (Hello 16.1)! High five and fist pump your friends, then keep moving for a faster recovery. Collapse on the floor if you must, but limit it to 30 seconds or less and then begin light rowing and stretching or foam rolling. You want to lower your heart rate progressively and this is the first step. Focus your cool down stretches on the major muscles that were just involved.

Finally – once you’re recovered later in the day – let’s eat! Here’s where you want to get those fats. Try to keep it nutritious; real food. Avoid the pizza and instead opt for a nice grassfed steak with a potato and veggies. Hard boiled eggs and almond butter are also good choices, especially at the end of an all day competition. And keep drinking that water!

And lastly, take the time to focus on your success. So many of us focus on things that we didn’t do and forget about the things we DID do. I get it – we’re CrossFitters and we want to be able to be really awesome at everything; but take the time to be proud. I know I am proud to be a part of CrossFit, and I hope you are too.

With the CrossFit Open upon us I thought it would be worth our time to explore how to prepare 
for a competition, whether it’s one WOD or a weekend full of them. And first off, congrats on 
pushing yourself out of your normal routine!  
Preparing for a workout really starts a few days in advance. You should be prepared with food 
and hydration leading up to the competition and also plan your rest day, both before and after. If 
you’re going to be working out on a Saturday, lets say, I’d recommend you rest on Thursday. 
You do actually want to workout the day before! Think about it – it’s a lot easier to rev your 
engine come Saturday than to have to start it up completely. The day prior don’t go completely 
crazy, but get your heartrate up and get a decent workout in. 
You want to make sure to drink plenty of water the day prior to competing. Remember, once 
you’re thirsty it’s already a sign of dehydration. Add some extra carbs to your diet the night 
before if you’re doing a competition with multiple WODs. 
Okay, now for the day of. If you’re working out in the morning make sure you’re up at least 
three hours prior to working out. Go for a long walk, get those legs loose, before heading to the 
gym or competition where it can sometimes be a little chaotic. Eat at least two hours prior to 
working out. If you’re at a competition you need to pack food. Think easily digestible (low in 
fiber) food. I recently learned in our 30 Day Challenge that you want to choose things like 
applesauce over apples, nut butter over nuts, baby food is a good option over whole starches. 
Keep your fat low. Other great choices would be hard boiled eggs, plain boiled chicken. You 
want to eat a carb + a protein after each event, even if you’re not hungry. And don’t eat anything 
or wear anything that you’ve never done before – rookie mistake! You don’t want your pants 
sliding down during a competition, while doing double under – am I right Dana?!  
You’ve got to keep your mental game strong! I hear so much negative self-talk at the gym. Think 
about what you’re about to do as being a hell of a lot of fun, and try to get rid of that negative 
stress. You WILL do great and you WILL be proud of yourself! 
Now onto the warm-up. Grabbing a PVC bar and doing a few twirls, along with sitting at the 
bottom of a squat does not constitute a warm-up my friend. You need to REALLY warm-up for 
what you’re about to do. We’re talking 20 – 30 minutes. That means 10 minutes of getting your 
heartrate up with something like jogging or light rowing, followed by dynamic stretching; not 
static. Static stretching can loosen your muscles up too much. Movements like walking lunges, a 
walk out with a push up at the end, etc. Think about what muscles are about to be taxed and 
make sure you hit those. And stay warm – keep your pants and sweatshirt on during the 
warm-up. 
Now I know you’ll kick ass at the workout so we won’t spend time here. Let’s go to the cool 
down – so important! Skipping the cool down can contribute to lactic acid build-up, which will 
not feel good later (Hello 16.1)! High five and fist pump your friends, then keep moving for a 
faster recovery. Collapse on the floor if you must, but limit it to 30 seconds or less and then 
begin light rowing and stretching or foam rolling. You want to lower your heart rate 
progressively and this is the first step. Focus your cool down stretches on the major muscles that 
were just involved. 
Finally – once you’re recovered later in the day – let’s eat! Here’s where you want to get those 
fats. Try to keep it nutritious; real food. Avoid the pizza and instead opt for a nice grassfed steak 
with a potato and veggies. Hard boiled eggs and almond butter are also good choices, especially 
at the end of an all day competition. And keep drinking that water! 
And lastly, take the time to focus on your success. So many of us focus on things that we didn’t 
do and forget about the things we DID do. I get it – we’re CrossFitters and we want to be able to 
be really awesome at everything; but take the time to be proud. I know I am proud to be a part of 
CrossFit, and I hope you are too. 
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      Coaches Corner: To Scale or NOT to Scale by Kricy Snoots

      One thing I really love about Crossfit is its “constantly varied” and extremely modifiable way of approaching fitness as a whole. Just about everyone at our box has either been next to me during a workout (I am the one that is usually yelling, groaning or cursing very loud), or has been coached by me at some point in the time that I have been a member and coach at 727. But lets start by giving you a bit more background about my personal CrossFit journey.

      My CrossFit beginnings and 1st RX WOD

      I started at another box in the area several years ago, and boy do I remember what it feels like to be the “new guy” or the “always scaled” name on the white board. Looking back I definitely remember feeling a little shame when that stupid *asterisk* was put next to my time/score due to the simple fact that I had to use a band to assist with my pull-ups, or I couldn’t lift 65# over my head.

      So this brings me to my first completed “RX” workout. “Helen”

      3 Rounds:
      400m Run
      21 KBS
      12 Pull-ups.

      I had been regularly attending Crossfit classes for almost a year. To this day every time I even hear the name “Helen” I cringe. Whether its a person I meet on the streets while running 911 calls at work, or at the gym and someone begins naming the always popular “Girls” WODs. (I’m not going to deny that I have cherry picked a few times since then, and not gone into the gym because “Helen” was the bitch I would be facing if I did).  Anyway, back to my story, my first time completing “Helen” RX’d took me over 30 min! I ripped my hands, cried, screamed and even begged my coach to allow me to use a band to help assist with the final 12 pull-ups. He said “No”, of course. At the time I didn’t understand that my coach was holding me responsible for raising my own personal fitness bar level. I had always been a part of a team and counted on the other “links” in the chain to help my personal gain. I will always remember this milestone, and thank him so much for this moment. It is with this confession that I will take the focus off of me for the rest of this blog

      Scaling is NOT an apology

      Now that you have some background, let’s get into discuss why it should be an absolute FALSE feeling if intimidation or even an urge to apologize when a workout is posted that will require someone to “scale” or “modify” a movement due to their personal fitness level or strength (for lack of a better term) happens.

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      Photo by Lisbeth Darsh

      Having the ability to scale and modify movements is the most beautiful benefit of “functional fitness.” We are all built differently. Some people have long ass legs/femurs and can row 15M with just one simple pull of the row handle. Others are petite and can throw themselves through the rings or over a pull-up bar without even a second thought. As a coach, it is important to know how to adjust for all of these differences. But as an athlete (YES YOU ARE ALL ATHLETES!) it is just as important for you to know when and when NOT to allow for these adjustments. Sure, nobody wants to finish dead last during a workout and have everyone yelling at them to “pick up the damn bar” or “stop resting and sipping water…finish strong!” But that’s life! Someone finishes first, and someone finishes last. One of my favorite quotes I have heard at Crossfit is: “Don’t wish it was easier…wish you were better!” I believe it is even written on the back of one of my old competition shirts.

      There are some athletes who will forever scale and modify their workouts. I don’t personally see any problem with this. If that individual wants to maintain an average fitness level then *High Five!* Who am I as a coach or peer to tell someone who they should and shouldn’t be? However, there are also some athletes who could finish a WOD like “Helen” as prescribed (RX), but will use a band to assist with their pull-ups or scale the kettle bell down to a smaller weight… because it may take them twice as long if they don’t?? So what?! This is where personal accountability takes place. All I can say to you is that you are only hurting yourself. It does not affect my personal goals in the gym. The same as an athlete who “cheats” reps or purposely “mis-counts” their reps in order to keep up with the majority of the pack. I wont lie to you and say that I have ALWAYS DONE EVERY REP EVERY TIME, we have all lost count when the oxygen in our brains is depleted and we can hardly spell our names let alone count above 10! Shit happens. Honest mistakes are just that…honest mistakes.

      Check your ego – ask for help!

      From a coaches perspective, I don’t feel that it is entirely my responsibility to tell someone when they should and shouldn’t scale a movement. As an athlete, I would not expect every single coach at the gym to remember my exact level of fitness either. Every coach is different. I will say that as a coach it IS COMPLETELY my responsibility to be able to assist an athlete chose HOW to scale or modify a movement if they need help. So with that said…CHECK YOUR EGOS AT THE DOOR! Ask for assistance if you forgot what a “snatch” is! There is no shame in forgetting what the word “Power” means in front of a lift. If you are feeling sick or extra sore and need to just push a little less today than usual (as long as laziness isn’t the reason). All of these are OK! Part of being a member at our amazing box is that you get every coach and athletes support no matter the issue. Nutrition question? ASK! Have a previous injury and don’t know what you should and shouldn’t feel pain/soreness wise? ASK! None of us are perfect. And because every coach has their own little way of doing things…it may take a second or third opinion or different technique explanation/demonstration for you to understand (or to have that “light bulb” effect) a movement. Unsure if you look like you should while doing a movement? Have a coach record you on their cell phones or YOUR cell phone! Even if you have no intention on competing in a local competition, or being the next “fittest on earth” athlete, remember that no one wants for you to get hurt…or to leave wondering if you were doing that lift correct. We are all here for each other to succeed…so again…CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR as they say, and lets build together…individually.

      Practice and come to open gym

      Hopefully my ranting will help you all walk a little taller at the gym no matter how good or bad you feel on any given day about your performance. Everyday wont be a PR day! You will not be able to perform at 110% every single day. If you can?? You are not human. Weaknesses and strengths are found with practice, and introduction of new movements. We have recently added more “open gym” hours. Open gym is meant for you as an athlete to take your own fitness into your own hands, and work on lifts or movements you may not have that extra time to work on during a regularly scheduled 1 hour class. Or maybe you didn’t quite “feel” what the coach meant when he/she said “hit your pockets” or “open your hips.” Its not often that a gym can offer you an opportunity to have one-on-one coaching that you may not get when there’s 10 – 15 people in the gym for that post-work day WOD. We want you to succeed and be confident in yourselves. CrossFit is a community and we are all family. So in the words of coach Ryan….”Relax. Have fun. Work out.”

       

      For further reading of the topic, here is another great post: http://wordswithbeth.com/2015/06/09/scaling-is-not-an-apology/

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      Coaches Corner: Burpees & Consistency by Melanie LaBlanc

      Soooooooo, we’ve all been there. We see someone on our left, or right, or in a magazine, or at a competition and we think: “GOSH, I wish!!!!” Here’s the deal, I’m going to talk to you not only as your coach, but also as an athlete that struggles the same way you do.

      When I walked into my FIRST CrossFit class ever, I was struck head-on and blindsided by the WORST possible FIRST WOD in history, Open WOD 12.1 – a 7min AMRAP of target burpees. To this day I’m not sure why I went back for more. I can still remember looking to my left and seeing an amazing athlete (who now just so happens to be one of my best friends) attack these burpees while receiving praises from the coach.  I thought to myself, “I will NEVER move like she does!”  I can still remember my total rep count: a whole whopping 34 reps.  Fast tracking a year or so later I redid the same workout and completed 133 reps. (But please don’t ask me to prove that number to you at ANY point!)

      But you know what?  I’ve learned a lot about life through CrossFit… and burpees. I know you may thing I am crazy saing this, but you can do burpees efficiently with some practice. Did you know if you widen your stance when you jump up off the floor you’re shortening your range of motion? How about if you kick your feet back as you’re “falling” to the floor you’ll get there faster? Or like if you “bounce” your chest off the floor you rebound? Heck I could go all day about burpees… Like: burpee box jumps, bar facing burpees, lateral burpees over bar, burpee pull-ups, burpee bar muscle ups, target burpees… OK, OK, enough coaching tips!! The real point is that until you do enough “burpees” you really have no feel, or body awareness as to how to make them efficient, and actually “feel good”.  Again, I apologize, whom am I kidding, burpees NEVER “feel good”. But what I’m REALLY talking about is letting go of the things (possibly in life) that don’t “feel good” but working on making those things, like burpees, more manageable, fluid, and/or efficient – and this is where I want to take you to my topic of consistency.

      To be consistent and proficient IN ANYTHING, takes time, practice, reps, and reps with constant variations.  To be consistent one needs to be “unchanging in (an) achievement over a period of time” – Oxford Dictionary. And that’s just it, it does NOT matter whether it’s daily life drama, problems at work, dealing with issues with your kids, that hyped diet you’re on, or doing stupid burpees… the more consistent I am, the less chances I have in a varying outcome, and this TAKES TIME!

      Now, let’s talk to you from a coach’s perspective… I LOVE YOU ALL!! And you are ALL a pain in my butt some days, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! The reason being, I AM JUST LIKE YOU!! I get frustrated! Some days I really don’t get why I’m not functioning the way I did last week, last year, or whatever… One of my recent tag lines is: #iustacould… as in I used to be able to do something.  But there’s no blame in it, life consistently evolves. The fact is, if I don’t put the time into something, I won’t get the results I wish to have. My job as your coach is to help you be accountable for the goals you are setting… achievable goals! My job is to encourage you! Allowing you to see the BEST you have within you, while working out the kinks one at a time. With every little progression you make, I am rejoicing alongside you – IT JUST TAKES TIME AND CONSISTENCY!!! That, AND, someone who believes in you! And myself and the rest of the CF 727 coaching staff believe in YOU!

      Just remember ONE thing though: to build anything of substance you need a solid, firm foundation (as well as a good architect) and if you start at the bottom and “consistently” work your way up, you WILL have what you are looking for. And soon enough you won’t be the one looking side to side, and at the people around you… YOU will be the one being looked at, and up to!  I really am proud of ALL my athletes and everything I have seen them achieve!! And even though I work weird and long hours, I honestly wouldn’t do it if I didn’t truly love all of you, see your worth, and have a desire to walk step by step beside you as you continue to grow and achieve!

      Here is a great video with someone else’s story for extra motivation!

      Coaches Corner: “5 Tips to Improve Your Olympic Lifts” by Coach George Daicoff

      Post by Coach George Daicoff:

      We hear some of the common cues in the gym regularly such as “finish the pull”, “keep the bar close”, etc. Here is a list of 5 tips that are important for improving your performance in the snatch and clean and jerk that are not as commonly drilled.

      olympic-lifts-snatch

      1. Practice

      It is well known that the snatch and clean and jerk are very technical in nature. The fundamentals of weightlifting include learning the positions as you progress through the lifts. Once you have learned the positions, you must become consistent with hitting the positions. The old saying goes “Practice Makes Perfect”. Grab a PVC, weighted PVC or light barbell and work through progressions – couple favorites are the Burgener Warm-Up and Pendlay progressions. Come into class a few minutes early or stay a few minutes after as these make for good additional warm-ups or cool-downs.

      Burgener

      Pendlay (make sure to also check out steps 2 & 3)

      2. Know when to be Patient

      All too often a novice lifter will rush when pulling the bar from the floor in the snatch and clean to the point where they are not in a good position once the bar clears the knees. Commonly, the hips will be elevated and weight in the foot will shift toward the toes to name a couple. The purpose of the first pull from the floor to the knee is to set the lifter and bar in an advantageous position where the lifter can generate the most power as they progress into the second pull into the hip. –  In general, hips should be down to maintain the back angle as the bar is lifted from the floor to the knee, weight in the heels, knees back and tension in the hamstrings. Yes, we want to accelerate the bar from the floor through the first and second pulls, however, the rate needs to be limited to where a good position at the knees is obtained.

      3. Know when to be Aggressive

      Once the bar has cleared the knees, the weight is in the heels and tension has built in the hamstrings, the lifter will want to generate as much force as possible by driving through the heels and violently extending the hips. Once the bar has brushed the pockets, the lifter will be in a race to pull oneself under the bar and catch overhead (snatch) or in the front rack (clean). If the key positions can be consistently met, the lifter should strive to be more aggressive and faster in these portions of the lifts.

      4. Mobilize

      It is no secret that the Olympic lifts require full range of motion and mobility in almost all areas of the body in order to complete efficiently. It is said that the overhead squat (major component of the snatch) is an excellent tool in exposing any areas that need attention. Three main areas to focus on in general for the Olympic lifts would be the ankles, hips and upper back/shoulders. Determine your needs and mobilize prior to lifting.

      Favorite for each:

      Ankle – 1st part

      Hips

      Upper Back

      5. Be Mindful of Technique during Conditioning

      Fatigue during metabolic conditioning will tend to affect your technique of the Olympic lifts. Common faults seen when technique is breaking down due to fatigue are pulling from the ground without bending at the knees, pulling with a rounded back and pressing out snatches and jerks. Multiple repetitions at lighter weight (common in conditioning) with compromised form will build and solidify bad habits that will carryover into your lifts for strength work. Take a few extra breaths or scale the weight in conditioning so that you can complete the lifts with your back locked in and catching the weight locked out.

      Coaches Corner: “Relax. Have fun. Work out” by Coach Ryan White

      Post by Coach Ryan White:

      I found CrossFit over 8 years ago in July 2007. Looking back I can’t believe that much time has passed. I experienced CrossFit back when nobody knew what I was talking about to now, where the CrossFit Games are aired on ESPN.

      This isn’t meant to be a post to walk down memory lane and remember the “good old days” because I truly believe that CrossFit’s evolution over the past few years has been great. However, I wanted to share my more recent personal CrossFit discovery with everyone because I think it is important to remember why we all do this. Here it goes!

      Like most people, I was hooked on CrossFit after my first ever WOD – it was Fran! Yes, it took me over 20 minutes. Yes, I ripped the shit out of my hands. However, the 5 only other members didn’t leave my side (that’s right, we only had 6 members total). There were high fives at the end and, while it was pure hell in the moment, it was fun. I was hooked!

      Taken right after completing my Level 1 in 2009. Back when the CrossFit Games were still at "the ranch" in Aromas.
      Taken right after completing my Level 1 in 2009. Back when the CrossFit Games were still at “the ranch” in Aromas.
      img_2640
      Taken when I first started coaching!

      As weeks turned into months of WODs this same feeling persisted. One of, “I can’t wait to get to the box to see everyone, train hard, blow off some steam and have fun.” After getting certified and taking on a full-time coaching position, I got more into the competitive side of things. I transitioned into 3+ hours worth of training a day while maintaining group coaching hours and personal training clients. I was living at the box. I signed up for my first competition in Chicago, placed and wanted to hit training even harder. I did, but with all that, something had to give.

      Things started to go a bit downhill when I started a program outside of what the rest of the box was doing. I isolated myself and started taking training a bit too serious. I was cranky during WODs, frustrated with my lifts a lot of the time and was being super critical of myself. I was proud of myself – my focus and my work ethic, but I wasn’t balanced, having fun or happy.

      2012 Competition in Orlando with CrossFit Games athletes.
      2012 Competition in Orlando with CrossFit Games athletes.

      DSC_0505

      Opening up CrossFit 727 in turn opened my eyes. Like a shock to the system, I started training with classes again and, because of all the business ownership responsibilities, it was impossible for me to have 3+ hour training sessions. I took Sundays off to not even enter the gym. Friday night open gym with our members got me out of my “I train alone” rut and I started having fun again. Am I PRing my Fran time today? No. But am I enjoying CrossFit the same way I did when I discovered it? HELL YES!

      #TBT 1st Annual Memorial Day Murph
      #TBT 1st Annual Memorial Day Murph

      This isn’t meant to be a post to bash competitors or their training reoutine. Instead, it just to remind you all to not take this too serious and to remember that our common goal is to be healthier and better humans. Celebrate PRs, but don’t beat yourself up over a missed lift.  Remember to enjoy every second you are in the box. Sure, we all have bad training days. Rather than internalizing it, go over and give someone ELSE a high five at the end of a WOD.  Cheer on each of your fellow athletes until the very end and I promise those bad training days will suddenly become some of your best.

      Pat Sherwood, who has been around a little longer than me sums up this personal discovery of mine perfectly!

      The goal is just to get fit, make it the best hour of your day, stay safe, turn up the music, high five some people, and blow off some steam. So remember that. Relax. Have fun. Work out”

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      This year’s open house! A great day spent throwing down with our members. Couldn’t be happier.

      05.06.14 – Tuesday WOD and VO2max, a Coaches Corner Article

      Coaches Corner Article by Assistant Coach Lindsay Smith

      VO2max and CrossFit-based Training

      What is VO2max, you ask? VO2max stands for maximal oxygen uptake and in simpler terms; how much oxygen your body is able to use in a given period. This measurement is generally considered to be the most accurate indicator of an athlete’s cardiovascular fitness as well as aerobic endurance. The better your VO2max is translates to how efficiently your body is delivering oxygen to your working muscles during maximal effort exercise.

      In theory, the more oxygen your body is able to use during high intensity exercise (such as CrossFit), the more ATP (energy) you can produce. This correlation can be seen clearly in endurance athletes who typically have very high VO2max levels.

      Although studies show that VO2max does have a genetic component it can be increased through both training volume and intensity…sound familiar? A study was done to examine the effects of a CrossFit-based high intensity power training program on aerobic fitness and body composition. The study spanned a 10 week period and included both men and women of all aerobic fitness levels and body compositions. The program consisted of lifts such as cleans, deadlifts, overhead presses, snatches and squats all performed as quickly as possible. The program also included skill work for the improvement of Olympic lifts as well as gymnastic movements. At the end of the 10 weeks aerobic fitness and body fat were tested again. The results proved significant correlations between absolute oxygen consumption and oxygen consumption relative to body weight in both men and women. Results also yielded decreased body fat percentage and improvements in VO2max also in both men and women. The administrators of the study stated that their data showed that CrossFit-based high intensity power training significantly improves VO2max and body composition in subjects of both genders across all levels of fitness. This is why CrossFit-based training is so good for athletes of any kind.  If you’d like to view the actual numbers of the study, you can visit:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439334

      If you’d like to test your VO2 max, you can visit Concept2’s website and use their online calculator. Before visiting their site, you’ll need to establish a max-effort 2,000m row time. You should use the damper setting that enables you to get the best 2000m result, as this is what was done in Concept2’s study.  Once this has been established, the calculator will generate a number in which you’ll cross-reference with a chart which will give you a good indicator of your level of overall fitness ranging through poor, fair, average, good and excellent. The calculator can be found here:http://www.concept2.com/indoor-rowers/training/calculators/vo2max-calculator

      If you have any questions at all about VO2max please feel free to ask me, as I am very passionate about it because of my running. When I am training at the gym, not only am I getting better at CrossFit; I am also getting better at running without actually running. This is due to the correlation between CrossFit training and increased VO2max capacity.

      Strength

       Snatch 4×3@85%

      Conditioning

      10 minute AMRAP:

      2 Power Snatches
      2 KBS (70/55#)
      4 Power Snatches
      4 KBS (70/55#)
      6 Power Snatches
      6 KBS (70/55#)
      …….

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