2013 has been a big year for CrossFit 727. Dana and I have so much to be thankful for, but one of the things we are most blessed with is each one of you! We couldn’t be more thankful to have a box filled with amazing members, coaches and families. Speaking of coaches, I am especially thankful for Coach Jen, Coach Dana and Assistant Coach Rebekah. I joke about the fact that I am surrounded by women on my staff, but I would be lost without each one of you. Thanks for your continued commitment and amazing work at CrossFit 727. Also, I am extremely thankful for Tim, Pam and Greg because without them, there wouldn’t be a CrossFit 727. Thank you for believing in me and knowing that we could make our box something special.
Turns out you guys are thankful for quite a bit too by the looks of the board in the box. On that note, I hope all of you all have a great day with your family and friends and are ready to hit a good WOD with us on Saturday morning.
Other than eating well, gaining the right amount of sleep, and routinely hitting the gym, the single most important thing any of us can do to maximize our CrossFit performance is to stretch. Stretch (and roll!) everything…with bands and foam rollers and a lacrosse ball if you have one…every day.
Ah. Easier said than done.
Our experience is our members have less of a problem taking on an actual WOD then they do with the concept – or reality — of stretching. People simply hate to do it. This makes sense: we don’t like to stretch because it hurts. It hurts because we lack mobility. We lack mobility because we don’t stretch. What a vicious — I’d even say dangerous — circle.
Before and after every WOD, you are provided with the necessary equipment, space and time to warm up and cool down. We don’t mean sitting on a foam roller gabbing with your fellow CrossFitters (there’s time for that, too). We mean the real deal. If you are not taking advantage of this, what can we do to help? If you are not stretching, what is holding you back?
What about outside the gym? Do you stretch at home? A few minutes stretching your back, calves and hamstring right when you awake can set up your day. At the office, try getting out of your chair and standing (sitting = horrible for us). Watching a movie in your living room? Why not try the couch stretch? The movie may prove a great distraction.
Dr. Kelly Starrett is a name well known throughout the CrossFit community. His blog/website, MobilityWOD.com is a tremendous resource on the topic of, well, mobility. If you haven’t checked it out, do give it a try. We also have his book Becoming a Supple Leopard in the back stretching/mobility area of the box. At nearly 400 pages, it’s loaded with a plethora of easy-to-follow information on how to “resolve pain, prevent injury, and optimize athletic performance.”
By building stretching into our daily lives, we have the opportunity to minimize injury, to move more efficiently, to improve our athletic ability and overall fitness. Just as everything in CrossFit, however, it only works if we DO it.
Here’s the fun part! A photo contest!
In typical CrossFit fashion, we will be turning this idea into a contest. Submit us a photo of your best “mashing face” and we will post it on our Facebook page. Now, here is where the contest part comes in. Whoever manages to get the most “likes” at the end of the contest wins:
First place: 50% discount off monthly membership + 1 personal training session with Ryan Second place: 1 personal training session with Ryan
The “constantly varied” part of CrossFit is what keeps each of us on our toes. “Constantly varied” means the workouts will be different every day, calling upon different skill sets and muscle groups. It also helps keep away boredom. And for those of us who logged hours and hours in globo gyms, or trained as endurance athletes being put through the same routine day in and day out, “constantly varied” is a real blessing.
Nonetheless, there are times when even the most hardcore lovers of our sport experience some sort of stagnation. We become stuck. We have trouble motivating. We may even feel “burned out.” If you believe you’re falling in a rut, consider taking some steps to pull yourself out:
1. Change your schedule
Routine can be a necessity, and it can be comforting. We’re all for it. But if you’re dragging to class and no amount of caffeine or power food is helping, maybe you just need to mix it up! If you regularly attend the 8:00 a.m. class, try coming at 4:00 p.m. People give off energy in the gym: perhaps you need a new set of faces to “throw down with.”
2. Revise your goals
It’s important to set fitness goals. It’s critical to regularly evaluate those goals. If you’ve been working on double unders every day for a month then it’s likely you have them by now, but, if not, put down the rope. If your attempts to master muscle ups are proving to be more frustrating than fruitful, leave the rings. When you fail at handstand pushups, come off the wall. Practice may very well make perfect but mental fatigue can be every bit as damaging as physical. Take a little time off, go work on something else, and then return to your nemesis with renewed commitment.
3. Relax the Rx
Finishing a workout “as prescribed” is an important milestone in a CrossFitter’s journey. It shows that you have gained a certain level of strength, speed, and/or agility. Just don’t be obsessed with having that Rx next to your name on the whiteboard. Instead, focus on technique. Take some of the weight off your bar and really work on the depth of your squats. And never mind about what other people are doing! That’s their business.
4. Take some days off
As shocking and impossible a concept this might be for some of you hardcore CrossFitters, not coming to the gym is an option. Go do something else: ride a bike, go for a hike, hit yoga or, yes, just rest. We’ll be right here waiting for you.
When faced with burn out, also take a good look at other areas such as diet, alcohol consumption, lack of sleep, or other life stressors. Are there other things in your life weighing you down? If so, address them. By making a few adjustments you may experience new found energy, new PRs, and maybe a new love for CrossFit.
Nutrition is the foundation of health and fitness. We believe that at least 80% of the effectiveness of any training program comes from what you put in your mouth each and every day- regardless of the intensity of the training. However, many people just do not know what to do when it comes to diet. They try many different fad diets looking for a quick fix or instant gratification and end up failing. The missing link for many is that they are focusing on a diet, instead of a lifestyle change. We do not believe in anything that is too restrictive or difficult to follow with modern day life. The change should be implemented gradually, so that it becomes part of your lifestyle.
In very broad terms we follow the advice of Greg Glassman, CrossFit’s founder,
Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise, but not excess body fat.
There are different methods to nutrition, but we find our trainees that have the best results conform to a more whole foods style of eating with reference to food quality and incorporate good carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats proportionately at each meal and snack.
Now that we have been open for over a month, we thought it was the perfect time to write a post about WOD/benchmark tracking and goal setting. Further more, next week well be a test week, which is the perfect time to track some classic benchmark WODs (e.g. Isabel). So here it goes.
Tracking WODs & Benchmarks
You have probably noticed that A LOT of our strength work often consists of percentages of one-rep maxes. For example, today’s strength portion of the WOD is 80% of your 1 rep-max snatch. To date, many of you have been trying to simply get a handle of the movement, but all of us really need to be following these percentages. They are important. This is where the “tracking” part comes in. Even though you think you will remember what all of your lift numbers are, you won’t. We guarantee it. Whether it is 6 AM and you just had your coffee or its 7:30 PM and you just got off a long day at work, it is impossible to remember every lift, every weight. You may be thinking, “OK, coach. What is the best way I can keep track of all this?” Here is a quick list of some options.
1. Get a simple composition notebook and pen…the old fashioned method. Bring it to class every day.
2. Get a fancier more CrossFit targeted version from WODbook.com. We are actually going to do a group order of these, so sign-up on the board at the gym if you are interested. Bring it to class every day.
3. Find a CrossFit app for your phone. Some members have used “MyWOD” and think it great.
Post on Our Website
We also encourage you to post on our website for the daily WOD in the comments section. This helps build our community and allows members see what other folks are doing. For example, if you come in at the 6 AM class, it is nice for you to be able to check the website throughout the day to see how others are doing and comment.
The physical aspects of CrossFit are obvious: you have to learn how to squat, press and deadlift. But there’s far more to CrossFit than barbells and box jumps. The mental aspect of high-intensity fitness is incredibly important, and weakness in the brain and heart of an athlete will cause just as much trouble as weakness in the posterior chain and core. To work on our brains and hearts, we must set goals.
We believe that CrossFit goals must be specific, they must be stated in the positive sense, they must include a time frame, and they must provide motivation, inspiration and direction. Stew on these characteristics of goals a bit and let us know what yours are. We even added a goals board at the box where you can post them. This helps us keep track of you and what you want to get out of your CrossFit journey. Communicate them with your coaches so that they can help you achieve them. That is what they are here for and are passionate about.
A lot goes into assuring your body properly recovers after intense workouts (sleep, nutrition, hydration, mobility, etc..). However, it is a common misconception of both long-time and new CrossFitters that they need to train hard and/or work on skills every day of the week to improve their performance and get stronger.
Most people find themselves wanting to be at the gym as much as possible. They’ve discovered something new and exciting and are driven to see gains in that new endeavor and see them quickly. What they don’t realize is that most physical gains come from rest days. Whether it’s the high reps of pull-ups or the heavy squats, you are breaking down the muscles in the body, this is a good thing BUT only if we allow those muscles appropriate time to rest and regrow. Most tweaks, strains, pulls and injuries in programs come from overuse which can easily be avoided by getting on a relatively strict schedule of work and rest days. By doing this you will allow your body the appropriate amount of training and recovery.
Below are a few simple things to take into consideration:
Have a plan. Put yourself on a set schedule that allows at least 2 rest days for every 7-8 days. For example, Ryan likes to work out on the weekends, so he rests every Monday on Thursday. With our box’s hours, Sunday is the only day we are closed, so you could schedule, for example, Sunday and Thursday rest days. We do believe it is good to set a plan and consistent schedule for these rest days. Almost like clockwork, every week you should know how hard to push yourself and when to rest. Knowing when your rest days are coming allows you to push harder during those work days and, trust us, you will be looking forward to having those rest days!
Be willing to take an impromptu rest days if you’re feeling really beat up. Also, be willing to add an additional work day if you’re feeling fresh, but try to stick to the basic template of at least 2 rest days every 7-8 days.
You can still come into the box on a rest day. Grab a foam roller, or band, or lacrosse ball and spend that time mobilizing. YOU CAN NEVER MOBILIZE ENOUGH!!!….and you can never be at CF727 enough, so come on in, chill out and support those that are on work out days.
REST DAY MEANS REST DAY!!! Rest day DOES NOT mean “ACTIVE REST.” Working on handstands and pull ups is NOT rest. Rest days are for recovery, eat some good food, get some additional sleep, mobilize sore/tight spots, buy a puppy, read a good book and further your knowledge but REST!
Moral of the cracked myth is simple. Training week to week and flying by the seat of your pants is NOT the path to full potential. Get yourself on a schedule, work 110% on work days and rest 110%on rest days. If you need help regulating, DO NOT hesitate to ask Ryan or Dana for more information or to help get on a schedule.
Because we are a new CrossFit box and have quite a few new members, we thought it would be good to provide everyone a quick reference guide to all those crazy abbreviations and acronyms. Our personal favorite is the 2nd one on the list! 🙂 Enjoy!
CF = CrossFit
CF 727 = Best CrossFit box in Pinellas, CrossFit 727
WOD = workout of the day
AMRAP = as many reps as possible
Rx = the weight or workout as prescribed, without any adjustments
MetCon = metabolic conditioning workout
Chipper = a workout with many different exercises, where you chip away at one at a time before moving on to the next exercise/movement.
PR = personal record
BS = back squat
BW = body weight
HSPU = hand stand push up
PP = push press
SP = shoulder press
PU = pull up
DL = deadlift
KB = kettlebell
DB = dumbbell
SN = snatch
SQ = squat
SDHP = sumo deadlift high pull
OHS = overhead squat
C&J = clean and jerk
FS = front squat
K2E/KTE = knees to elbow
T2B = toes to bar
TGU = turkish get-up
MU = muscle up
GHD = glute hamstring developer. Sit-ups, back extensions and hip extensions are done on this machine.
This post is 2nd in a series where we would like to address some common “myths” or misconceptions about CrossFit. If you have any you would like us to address, please comment below!
Here is another old favorite of ours. Going to sound like our grandfathers for a second and say… “if we had a quarter for every time we heard that…we would be able to quit our day jobs.”
All joking aside, the statement above simply isn’t true for CrossFit 727. Let’s break down why.
Firstly, at our box we firmly believe in a progression approach of mechanics, consistency, intensity. See the diagram below. Because each and every class is coached by an experienced trainer who is devoted to your well-being, they will determine when members can progress to each stage. For example, if a new person comes into a 1 hour intro class, we are not going to have them do 21-15-9 reps of heavy dead lifts and handstand push ups, regardless of what their fitness background is. Instead, we will break down the mechanics of a few key movements and frame them up in a WOD (e.g. air squats and medicine ball cleans). When they decide to join (because who wouldn’t), we will keep them in the mechanics stage until they demonstrate consistency in the movement. If a coach determines that the consistency piece still isn’t there during a WOD, they may say something like, “drop down in weight and…[insert proper mechanic cue here].”
Now, you may be wondering, if the intensity piece comes last, “how will I loose weight or hit PRs?” Trust us, even though you won’t be at a super high intensity level, you will still be working hard. In other words, we won’t let you get off the hook that easy. 🙂 The WODs will still be challenging, but not “too intense” that your form/mechanics are compromised.
For the injury piece, we aren’t going to sugar coat the fact that people get injured in sports all the time and CrossFit isn’t any different. Injury prevention deserves a post in its own right but, in short, injury prevention responsibility also falls on the individual athlete (it’s not just a matter of the CrossFit program or coaching). However, what IS our responsibility is to stick to the progression coaching, which we whole-heartily believe will prevent injuries as much as possible.
This post is first in a series where we would like to address some common “myths” or misconceptions about CrossFit. If you have any you would like us to address, please comment below!
By definition, CrossFit is a results-driven exercise program that is broad, general and inclusive. To prove CrossFit Myth #1 is NOT reality, let’s look at the word “inclusive” a bit more. CrossFit is inclusive because it is accessible to everyone no matter what their fitness level. As the founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman said, “The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree not kind.” This basically means that everything we do can be adjusted and scaled appropriately no matter what your fitness level. For example, a competitive CrossFitter can easily complete 50+ box jumps on a 26 inch box. A newcomer, someone in their mid 50’s or even someone with a history of back problems could scale this very movement to 16 inch step ups and even do less repetitions. Scaling can be adjusted and tweaked overtime, but individuals will still see similar results.
Therefore, even though you may think “let me try to get in shape first before I come try a workout.” Come anyway. Being in shape first DOES NOT MATTER, everyone can start CrossFit no matter their age or fitness level. At CrossFit 727 we strive to create an inclusive community so that everyone feels welcome. This type of community is what makes us love CrossFit more than anything else. As the renowned CrossFit competitive athlete Chris Spealler recently said when reflecting on the 2013 CrossFit Games Open, “Remember, CrossFit is not the Games. The community of people that throw down every day is CrossFit… Soccer mom to elite athlete, we make up the community. The overwhelming majority of the community may never walk on the Games stadium floor but will have far more impact on their local community and possibly even farther by their daily efforts in the gym. THAT is CrossFit.”
In short, come one and come all! Everyone will get a great workout in and have fun doing it! We promise!