Success and Responsibility

Successful people, in any arena of life, but especially health, fitness and nutrition, are the ones who take responsibility.

Responsibility is the understanding that you are the reason for your current position (and your past AND future too). Your successes and failures. Wins and losses.

You are the source of what you are, have and do.

Responsibility is you accepting the phrase “if it’s going to be it’s up to me .”

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It’s not burden, fault, blame, complaining, guilt or even credit. Those would include judgement. Responsibility is ownership not judgment.

Taking responsibility is pure freedom. Instead of what’s happening to you, it’s just what’s happening, you ultimately have the choice on any matter your in.

Accepting this is only to your benefit. The realization and acceptance that you always have a choice and no one makes choices for you except you provides a strong foundation based on principle not feeling or judgement.

It’s you, owning your life; and there’s nothing more powerful than that.

Missed The Athlete's System? Read This.

-by Coach Joe

Dear CrossFit City Line Family,

We know that many of you were disappointed to miss registration for Round Two of The Athlete's System--we wish that we could take everyone! 

The good news is that you can still embark on a nutrition journey, one that works and will improve your results. 

Nutrition is the foundation of CrossFit. Coach Greg Glassman, the Founder of CrossFit, made this very clear in penning “World Class Fitness in 100 Words,” which states:

“Eat meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar. Keep intake to levels that support exercise and not body fat.”

Out-training a shitty diet is impossible. Nutrition is 70% of the equation when it comes to health and fitness. Our goal as coaches is to educate each athlete walking through our doors to nutrition’s importance in truly optimizing results, because we are confident that’s why most of you come here - look better, feel better, perform better, etc. These goals will never be truly realized without a solid foundation of nutrition. We control 100% of what we put into our bodies - remember that.

Anything worth achieving in life takes hard work, whether it be studying hard for an exam, or preparing tirelessly for the interview that may lead to your dream job - nutrition and fitness are no different. You get out what you put in. Literally in this case.

So, if I am not signed up for The Athletes’ System, what can I do?

We have come up with some relatively simple guidelines and we challenge all of those not signed up to explore this on your own. For 30 days starting on Monday April 15, try the following:

  1. Log your food - this can be done via a notebook, but most folks will find the MyFitnessPal app for phone or computer easier. If you do not know what foods you consume on a consistent basis, it will be very difficult to implement any serious changes and observe any results from those changes.

  2. Cut out added sugar - This is hands down the most simple thing needed to improve one’s nutritional habits. Added sugar means the white, tasty table sugar. It is not the sugar inherent to fruits and vegetables. To do this, thoroughly read nutrition labels. Even if it has a “0” next to “Sugars,” check the ingredients. Food companies love to hide sugars and if it says anything along the lines of “cane syrup, fructose, sucrose, sucralose, high fructose corn syrup, cane syrup, cane juice, etc” - don’t eat it, those are added sugars. These ingredients are found in pretty much all processed foods - condiments, salad dressings, “sweetened” products, cereals, PROTEIN BARS, etc…The easiest way to avoid these foods is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Stop adding it to your coffee/tea routine and avoid all types of soda. The World Health Organization recommends only a 25g/day consumption of added sugars for adults, that’s only 5 teaspoons. It adds up quick, so be mindful here. Just because it says “organic” and “gluten free” does not mean it is an optimal choice. It takes some extra time and effort, but simply examining nutrition labels will give you the answer.

  3. Have a protein, carbohydrate, and fat with each meal - many folks out there do not eat enough. Our bodies need all 3 of these macronutrients to function properly. Proteins could be eggs, fish, meat, chicken, etc. Carbohydrates - grains (ones without added sugar), fruits, veggies (these will be found primarily on the perimeter of the store, except for rice and steel cut oats/oatmeal). Fats could be avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, almonds, peanuts, cashews, etc (as long as they are not “smoked, sweetened” etc).

  4. Add in more colorful, veggies, as many as you can. One of my best friends and CrossFit O-G, CrossFit HQ Seminar Staff Flowmaster Denise Thomas once told a Level 1 Seminar during a nutrition lecture, “I dare you to get fat on broccoli” - we dare you as well.

  5. Have 3 main meals: breakfast/lunch/dinner and 2 snacks - 5 total - balancing consumption across the day helps to keep blood sugar at a stable level. This helps all other physiological processes and hormonal responses to stay balanced as well. This may require some preparation of meals in advance - remember, we didn’t say it was easy.

  6. Read the CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide, pages 45-70 - This tells you everything you need from a quality perspective to a quantity perspective. For those who want to weigh and measure their food, follow the Zone Diet by Dr. Barry Sears. Everything you need start is there, meal plans, block prescriptions, etc. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.

As always, if this is a journey you need more guidance on, don’t hesitate to come to talk to one of the coaches. We have plenty of experience working 1 on 1 with folks to better their nutrition. If doing this on your own, keep it simple and don’t get wrapped around the axle with this stuff. The application and sticking with it is always the hardest part - stay the course and know that the results will materialize if you put in the work!!!!

2018 Opens Wrap-Up - 18.5 and the Intramural Winner!

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What an awesome finish to this year's CrossFit Open! 

Top Scorers:

Rx Men: Lucien Charland (160), Mat Frankel (132), Casey Askeland (131)
Rx Women: Cassi Rebisz (125), Gabby Montenegro (115), Leigh Paris (102)
Scaled Men: Brian Nelson (134), Hadley Stern (103), Jon Chen (89)
Scaled Women: Steph Wankowicz (135), Allie Brouckman (133), Julie Panichella (125)

Spirit of the Open Awards!
Coaches selections for Spirit of the Open! These athletes demonstrated great sportsmanship, teamwork, and grit!

Andy Bailer - Made challenging changes to his nutrition in the weeks leading up to the Open and saw big PRs! 
Marianne Cameron - The Ultimate Cheerleader
Luke Cassereau - Always smiling and always jumping in to judge whenever we needed him, his positivity is infectious! 
Greg Dorsey - Greg started CrossFit about 6 weeks before the Open started and jumped in head first! 
Barbara Imperiali - Prepared weeks ahead of the Open for the wallball standards in her division by practicing them! 
Forrester Liddle - Tried Rxing workouts he wasn't sure he was capable of, and then encouraged others to do the same! He believed in himself and believed in others.
Rita Ryan - Rita's name might as well be Grit-a, because that's what she is--all grit! 
Mei Stern - Accomplished so much more than she thought she was capable of, and then got decked out in green to support everyone else. 
Isa Terzi - Made himself available to assist coaches at the 5:25 AM and at Friday Night Lights--we can't thank you enough, Isa!

Team Scores 18.5:

We Cannoli Win - 96
Green Monstahs - 88
Quad Squad - 75
You Wanna Pizza Me? - 75

The Team Spirit Award for 18.5 goes to.... The Green Monstahs! 

And the winner of the 2018 Intramural Open is.......

WE CANNOLI WIN! 

How did they know?!?! 

We Cannoli Win - 461
Green Monstahs - 438
Quad Squad - 422
You Wanna Pizza Me? -380

We Cannoli Win kept their weekly scores high by submitting their scores, wearing blue, and attending FNL the most consistently! Way to go, guys! 

 

How to Read the Leaderboard for the 2018 Open

-by Coach Rachel

So you’ve finished the 2018 Open--congratulations!

Now what?

For most of us, starting Tuesday, March 27th, our competitive CrossFit season was over, and our training for the 2019 Open began. What did we find out about our training this year--what are we already good at, and what can we improve?

By using this guide, you’ll be able to determine where your training focus should be for the next year. 

To start, you’ll need to find your name on the full CrossFit Games leaderboard. From there, you’ll be able to see your placements for each workout throughout the world. What was your strongest workout and, more importantly, what were your weakest workouts?

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Principles for Long-Term Success

Minimum Effective Dose
The “minimum effective dose” is an important principle to bear in mind. We have a tendency to take an all or nothing mindset when it comes to our training and nutrition. Minimum effective dose is the smallest amount of time or energy we can devote to a process that allows us to see changes.
Every single WOD is an opportunity to practice at what your particular weaknesses are. This is good news, because many of us do not have the time for extra work before or after training. Come to coaches with your training and nutrition goals and know ahead of time what kind of time and energy you can devote to making changes.

Choose the Lowest Hanging Fruit
The most glaring weaknesses are the ones that we have the most room to improve on, and will give us the biggest bang for our buck. Often, our most glaring weaknesses are the things that we hate to do--while it may be more fun for me to work on high level gymnastics skills, if my Open performance reflects a greater weakness in aerobic conditioning, I will be better served by focusing on that.

Understand the Why
By no means is this an exhaustive guide. It is one thing to know what a weakness is and another to know why it is a weakness. The why is important when creating a plan for improvement. For some of us, mobility limits our overhead squat. For others, it is motor patterning, and for still others, it is midline stability. Should you find yourself unable to determine why a movement or metabolic pathway is a weakness, a goal setting session with a coach is a great step to take.

Mindset Is King
Our mind can be our greatest ally or it can be our biggest liability. The most simple thing (remember minimum effective dose?) we can do for mindset is to set a training focus before every single session. This is based on what we want to practice: what we want to focus on getting 1% better at that day. We can then leave every workout knowing that we practiced what we needed to in order to get better, rather than worrying about how our results compare to everyone else’s. Remember: you’re training not to prove how good you already are, but to improve where you are now.

18.1

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AMRAP 20
8 T2B/HKR
10 DB Hang Clean & Jerks (5 ea arm)
14/12 Calorie Row

*Aerobic conditioning (long, sustained effort) needs improvement.
*Rowing efficiency needs improvement.
*Grip strength needs improvement.
*Toes to bar are inefficient.
*DB Hang C&J are inefficient or need more strength.

Aerobic Conditioning:
If it was the length of the WOD (needing to sustain your effort for 20 full minutes) that weakened your score, then the fix is simple: prioritize coming to long workouts. You can also add in the Cardio/Endurance Focus found on the Daily Challenge page if you have an All Access Membership.

Rowing:
If you know that your rowing needs work, commit to rowing once per week on your own, practicing technique for 5 minutes. When rowing comes up in WODs, work with your coach to reduce volume so that you can prioritize technique.

Grip:
If you needed to break up the DB clean and jerks or the T2B or hanging knee raises a lot, you may need to work on your grip strength. Start hanging from the bar each week, setting goals like 0:30, 1:00, 1:30 unbroken.

Toes to Bar:
If you had trouble stringing together T2B for the duration of the WOD, train more kipping L-sits this year. This builds the motor patterning for the kip while strengthening your hip flexors. As you become more proficient, start lifting your legs higher than parallel. Doing GHD Sit-Ups correctly will also strengthen your hip flexors.
If your shoulders became tired from the T2B, work on hip flexor strength this year. Many of us learned to compensate for weak hip flexors by using our lats (the big muscles on the sides of our bodies) to pull ourselves high enough to kick the bar. Practice kipping L-sits during WODs.

DB Hang Clean + Jerk:
If this was the movement that you lost the most time on, you may need to work on your shoulder to overhead strength and stability, your grip strength, or on your ability to hang on to weights beyond comfort, building intensity tolerance.

18.2/18.2a

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With a 12-minute clock, For Time:
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
DB Front Squats
Bar Facing Burpees

In remaining time:
Set a 1RM Clean

*Anaerobic conditioning (fast, powerful, short duration) needs improvement.
*Squat efficiency needs improvement.
*Squatting strength needs improvement.
*Burpee efficiency needs improvement.
*18.2a: Squat clean technique needs improvement.

Anaerobic Conditioning:
We earn the right to go fast in a workout like this one by moving with great mechanics consistently and then by adding intensity. If your burpee or squat mechanics need improvement, focus on those first, then add speed or weight to them once they have been refined.
To practice anaerobic conditioning, add in a Tabata workout once per week (8 rounds, 0:20 max effort, 0:10 rest, for a total of 4 minutes), changing the movement each time. Wallballs, assault biking, burpee variations, light sled pushes, and rowing are all safe for the majority of trainees to perform a Tabata outside of class.
Prioritize coming to classes with a short workout and hit it with everything you’ve got. Less is more.

DB Front Squat:
Are squats challenging in general? Understanding why is critical (and the cues coaches use during classes are a clue). Develop power by lowering into squats with control (which sometimes means slowly) and driving fast through the heels to return to standing. Once your squat mechanics are sound, learn to use the stretch reflex to stand from the bottom of a squat fast. Develop mobility by working at it intentionally, with a plan to follow each week.
If the weight was challenging and mechanics are sound, start going heavier during workouts this year. Start with 5 lbs heavier than normal, while still committing to move fast. Bit by bit, you’ll find yourself getting stronger.

Burpees:
Bar-facing burpees with a new standard threw lots of us off. Keep practicing it: CrossFit made the change because they know that it’s more challenging. It will increase our fitness more to perform burpees with the jump back and jump forward.
Burpees also challenge many of us because our mechanics and efficiency need improvement. If this is the case, like with the squat, understanding why is important. Ask coaches for tips and experiment!
Burpees are also a movement that may challenge our mindset. What are your strategies for flipping your mindset from a negative one to a positive one, one that is oriented around the process of improving?

Clean:
Technique, technique, technique! Scale back in weight and/or modify to a hang position in order to refine your Olympic lifting! Challenge your ego to practice at lighter loads or less volume so that technique is the priority, rather than the results of individual workouts.

18.3

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Two Rounds For Time:
100 DUs/SUs
20 Overhead Squats
100 DUs/SUs
20 Ring MUs/Pull-ups
100 DUs/SUs
20 DB Snatch
100 DUs/SUs
20 Bar MU/Pull-ups

*Jump rope technique needs improvement.
*Overhead squat needs improvement because:
-you tend to squat with your knees forward vs your hips back,
-your thoracic, shoulder, ankle, or hip mobility limit your ability to get to the bottom comfortably, or
-your midline and/or shoulder stability need work.
*Still working on pull-ups or muscle-ups.

Jump Rope:
Commit to practicing singles correctly, only cycling in double unders when proper technique is employed.

Overhead Squat:
There are many reasons that an overhead squat challenges us--understand why!

Pull-ups/Muscle-Ups:
Have you mastered the strict version of the kipping version? If no, return to building strength before continuing to practice kipping. This builds a stronger foundation for dynamic movement, keeping our shoulders healthy and our movement efficiency sound--in fact, we should always be practicing the strict versions of gymnastics movements.

Have you mastered both the strict and the kipping pull-up? This is the year to learn butterfly pull-ups.

If you have strict chest to bar pullups and ring dips and you’ve been practicing muscle-up transitions, check your false grip strength. Practice hanging from the rings or even from the bottom of a ring row in false grip for 0:15, 0:30, 0:45, and 1:00. Check out CrossFit Gymnastics' Progression for Muscle-Ups here.  

18.4

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For Time:
21-15-9
Deadlift
Handstand Pushups/Hand Release Pushups
21-15-9
Deadlift (heavier weight)
50’ Handstand Walk/Bear Crawl

*Conditioning needs improvement.
*Deadlift efficiency and/or strength needs improvement.
*Pushup or handstand push-up efficiency and/or strength needs improvement.

Conditioning:
Another consideration to take if conditioning is a weakness is nutrition. Are you fueling your body with whole foods in the right amounts for you? Without proper fuel, we are always fighting against ourselves in training.

Deadlift:
What do you receive coaching on when you deadlift? Is it keeping your lumbar curve/stabilizing your midline? Is it keeping your hips and/or knees back? Is it pulling the bar in closer to you or staying in your heels? These are great clues to determine where your training focus should lie when you deadlift.

Hand Release Pushups or Handstand Pushups:
Like the pull-up, there is an important progression in strength building for the handstand push-up. When pushups with great midline stabilization (no snaking or lifting the hips) can be executed, then strict handstand pushups are ready to be worked on.
Strict handstand pushups are a pre-requisite for efficient kipping handstand pushups. Are your strict handstand pushups a thing of beauty (consistent tripod, hips off of the wall throughout the movement, and no back arching)? If no, your focus is on building the midline stability and shoulder strength and stability to support strict handstand pushups.

18.5

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*Anaerobic conditioning needs improvement.
*Thruster efficiency needs improvement.
*Chest-to-bar pull-ups need improvement.

Anaerobic conditioning:
Jumping pull-ups are another generally safe Tabata movement to train anaerobic conditioning with. Check out 18.2 and 18.4 for further information on training conditioning.  

Thrusters:
Thrusters are a movement that challenge us mentally as much as physically. What are the pre-workout, mid-workout, and post-workout habits that you’ve developed to keep a process-oriented mindset?
Squat mechanics, push press mechanics, breathing, and squat and pressing strength all play a role in how efficient our thrusters are. Understand why they need work and develop training focuses for working on them.

Chest to Bar/Jumping Pull-ups:
Efficient chest to bar pull-ups were necessary for getting far in this WOD. Take note of what you’re coached on during kipping or butterfly pull-ups and implement the feedback during WODs and practice on your own.
Being able to consistently get our chin over the bar is critical for the jumping pull-up. Training strict pull-ups that are bar assisted or banded are great for building this strength.

2018 Opens Wrap-Up - 18.4

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18.4 is in the books! We had another week with lots of firsts to celebrate: first Rx Diane, first HSPU and HRPU, and deadlift PRs!

Week 4 Scores:

We Cannoli Win - 93
Green Monstahs - 79
Quad Squad - 78
You Wanna Pizza Me? - 76

Team Spirit Award: No surprises here, Team You Wanna Pizza Me? won the spirit award this week, because pizza. 

Top Performances 18.4:

Rx Men: Lucien Charland (138), New Dad: Mat Frankel (136), Casey Askeland (130)
Rx Women: Cassi Rebisz (136), Gretchen Gavett (111), Tarin Jackson (111)
Scaled Men: Brian Nelson (7:06), Steven Ruhl (8:13), Nate Butze (8:37)
Scaled Women: Steph Wankowicz (7:10), Kate Orlin (8:36), Samantha Jeffrey (158)

Photos courtesy TJ Danenza Photography!

Coaches Highlights
A coaches' collection of shout-outs for the sportsmanship, spirit, and grit that make our community amazing!

Sung Choi got 5 deadlifts at 315#, each one lifted from the floor with great technique. After each one, he shook his head, thinking there was no way he was going to do it again, and yet he did! 
Rita Ryan and Marianne Cameron were an unstoppable team when it came to Rita's hand-release push-ups, Marianne the biggest cheerleader and Rita fighting fiercely for every rep!
Kari Loverro is rehabbing from a shoulder injury--convinced that there was no way she was going to be able to do her first handstand pushup, she tried anyway and gave herself a major surprise and got her first one!
Allie Brouckman attempted 18.4 Rx twice on Friday, once in the morning and once in the evening to try to get her first HSPU. Throughout both workouts she was smiling, getting tips and feedback from friends and coaches, and never stopped giving each attempt her very best. This kind of grit and positivity is what makes coaches proud. 

From the CrossFit Community

Let's watch kids do CrossFit:

Did you see the news about 18.5??? For the first time in Open history, Dave Castro will allow the CrossFit community TO VOTE on what 18.5 is going to be. Make sure you tune in and cast your vote on Thursday, March 22 at 3 PM EST at games.crossfit.com. 

Next week we'll be sharing our tips for improving throughout the coming year by using our leaderboard scores from the Open. To get a head start, check out this article from Coach Rachel on Breaking Muscle: Leaderboards Done Right: Adversity and Growth.

2018 Opens Wrap-Up - 18.3

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Wow, what an event! 18.3 brought out the best in us by bringing our weaknesses to the forefront.

Week 3 Scores & Team Spirit Award: Check the Facebook page for updates on team scores and team spirit award!

Top Performances 18.3:

Rx Men: Mat Frankel (612), Matti Oberg (609), Matt Duplessis (577)
Rx Women: Cassi Rebisz (412), Gabby Montenegro (319), Ali Pappas (229)
Scaled Men: Matt Lagarto (917), Andres Gomez-Rivas (694), Nate Butze (464)
Scaled Women: Samantha Singer (836), Becky Muller (574), Meiera Stern (539)

Photos from 18.3, courtesy of TJ Danenza Photography! 

Coaches Highlights
A coaches' collection of shout-outs for the sportsmanship, spirit, and grit that make our community amazing!

Bomin Kim has been diligently working on her muscle-up technique for months, and was rewarded with getting her first during 18.3! 
Craig McMahan has been positive force throughout the Open, working hard for every rep, and 18.3 was no exception. 
Simone Kotraba was discouraged to learn that there were no scaling options for pull-ups in 18.3 and thought she had no hope of getting past them--instead she got her first pull-up and then 11 more!
Dan Appugliese was no repped on many overhead squats. With a big smile on his face and no sign of frustration, he continued to push himself to meet the ROM standards and made it back to DUs!
Carolyn Cassetina scaled 18.3 at FNL because she was unsure about the OHS at 80#. On Saturday, she did 18.3 Rx and made it through 3 Muscle Ups! 

We had more PRs this week than we can keep track of, but here is a list of everyone we could think of who got their first pull-ups, first MUs, and PRed their overhead squats. Congratulations to all of you! 

First Pull-ups
Jesse Creedy-Powers
Simone Kotraba
Craig McMahan
Elaine Metzker
Steve Monahan
Meg Steere
Tat'yana Vdovichenko

First Muscle-Ups
Bomin Kim

Overhead Squat PRs
Beth Amedio
Nick Tsantinis
Jackie Shapiro
Judy Silvan
Ashley Sullivan

Have you seen Coach Joe's article about using the CrossFit Open to steer your fitness results? We'll be keeping the content train rolling regarding working on weaknesses for the next few weeks. If there are movements you want to see content about, send us a message: info@crossfitcityline.com

From the CrossFit Community

Mike Warkentin of the CrossFit Journal doesn't care what you're good at. 

CrossFit Games athlete Emily Abbott shared her thoughts on inadequacy, a familiar feeling that comes from facing down our weaknesses. Read the full post here. 

The 18.3 Men's Leaderboard Updates:

And Women's Leaderboard Updates:

We've got our next hint from Dave Castro here, as well as a warning. Watch the LIVE announcement of 18.4 at games.crossfit.com on Thursday, 3/15 at 8 PM! Get ready for another fun FNL! 

Fitness Ownership During and After the Open

by Coach Joe Masley

“The needs of an Olympic athlete and our grandparents differ by degree not kind.” - Coach Greg Glassman, Founder of CrossFit

Perusing the CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide for a quote that sums up the “why” of CrossFit, I came across this one that I have used countless times to explain the universal scalability and innate need as humans to perform functional movements (squatting, pulling, pressing, running, etc). This statement beautifully and concisely packages this above need but also speaks to why we each need to take ownership of our fitness - to live a healthier, happier life.

Currently, we sit halfway through the annual CrossFit Open. This represents an exciting time for us as CrossFitters to celebrate community and the fact that we have the ability to perform these movements and simply move. The Open naturally fosters competition, which in turn increases intensity. Intensity is what gives us results across all data-driven fitness and health markers - faster times, higher rep counts, heavier loads lifted, improved lean body mass scores, lower: blood pressure, triglycerides, blood sugar, etc. Anything in life (not just fitness) worth achieving takes sacrifice and hard work. The past three workouts, our City Line community has cheered each other on and seen first double unders, pull ups, muscle ups, overhead squat PRs, clean PRs, etc. These accomplishments are amazing and definitely deserve celebrating!!!

However, after the Open, should we still need a competition to push past our limits, reach intensity, and still realize these amazing, personal achievements?

The answer is a resounding, “No way, dude!”

Each class represents an opportunity for improvement and reaching our own relative intensity. We should be constantly striving for improvement and should be exhausted at the end of each training session. If we feel as if we could do another workout, we have not pushed hard enough. Do not mistake this for task accomplishment at the expense of technique - we need to balance technique and intensity and that’s why we coaches are here, to tell you to go faster when able, but also to pull back on the reins when we see technique start to deteriorate.

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We all have different strengths and weaknesses, and we do not need special programming, competitor classes, or a cheering section to take ownership of our fitness and increase our results - we simply need to consistently come to class with a desire to give our best effort within the parameters of our own psychological and physical limitations: the definition of relative intensity.

We as a coaching staff are here to shepherd your journey towards reaching individual goals. Will we PR every day? No and that is ok. However, personal ownership over your individual fitness is something we can continually improve no matter what the outcome of our efforts in class are. This, in turn, will aid us in reaching our desired goals faster.

How do we take ownership of our fitness?

  1. Log Workouts - Record: reps, weights, scaling options, how sets were broken up, what movement gave us trouble, etc. The more data we have the better. Use a journal and pencil, a note-taking application on a phone, whatever you need, in order to record these efforts.
     
  2. Work on weaknesses - If we only concentrate on strengths, our weaknesses will never get better. Want to get better at double unders? Practice them. Want to be more efficient at overhead squatting? Grab the PVC pipe and hold the bottom position of the overhead squat. To this end, quality of movement yields far greater results than quantity.
     
  3. Communicate with the coaching staff - We are here for one reason - to help you in any capacity we can. Come to us with your log books so we can give you challenging modification options that will still meet the workout’s intended stimulus briefed at the introduction of class. Coming to us simply asking “What should I do?” will take both coach and athlete longer to figure out than instead including some concrete measures, such as, “Last time I did overhead squats, I used 95lbs and was able to complete 15 reps in a row.” There is a big difference between those two ends of the spectrum.
     
  4. Nutrition and lifestyle - No need to beat a dead horse on this one. Results will never be maximized if these are not dialed in. It is impossible to out-train a shitty diet. Looks are not a defining characteristic of health and fitness - workout times, reps, biometric markers such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, lean body mass, resting heart rate, etc. are. We will be doing a group nutrition application soon after the Opens end, so stay tuned!

When can I take ownership of my fitness?

Everyday!!!

  1. LOG YOUR WORKOUTS!!!!! Air squat needs improvement? Cool, 5 challenging squat therapy reps everyday at home. Easy day. Push ups not great? Complete 10 for quality utilizing a challenging modification option everyday. Boom.

    Before you know it, these basic movements will become easier to perform. Again, this doesn’t mean completing double or triple sessions, it just means that we consistently add in a small number of reps each day in those areas that we can improve upon. This small but consistent application will avoid overtraining and we will become more competent at them over time.
     
  2. CrossFit Warm Up. This warm up is designed to expose us regularly to basic movements in order to improve our ability to perform them. However, we can work our weaknesses here as well. After the first round of the basic movements, the second and third rounds can contain some graduated progressions of these:

    Samson Stretch: overhead walking lunge with a bar
    Squats: Front squat and overhead squat with a PVC
    Push Ups: Handstand push ups, handstand walks, ring dips, etc
    Pull Ups: strict pull ups, ring rows with feet elevated on a box, strict chest to bar pull ups, muscle up transitions, muscle ups, bar muscle ups, toes to bar, etc.
    Sit Ups: GHD sit ups to parallel, GHD sit ups to full range of motion, L-sits, etc.
    Hip Extensions: Good mornings, back extensions, hip and back extensions, etc.

    These are all just suggestions. Talk to the coaching staff and explain where your individual weaknesses in these basic areas of: lunges, squats, pressing movements, pulling movements, and midline stabilization exercises lie. We will help you find some challenging options to help turn these weaknesses into strengths over time!

    Start implementing these small behaviors and amazing things will continue to happen!!

I love the CrossFit Open - it represents a time for us to come together as a community and celebrate the fact we are physically able to move our bodies through space under our own power. We celebrate hard work and achievements gained by pushing past our limits of experience. Do not reserve these special moments and community spirit for just 5 weeks out of every year. Strive to make every class attended epic in its own way.

Each of us alone are the keepers of our fitness. Take ownership of it in the ways listed above, come to class with questions ready for the coaching staff regarding that day’s effort and together we will make the amazing happen everyday.


 

2018 Opens Wrap-Up - 18.2

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Welcome to the 18.2 Wrap-Up, and WOW, can we just say, way to bring the team spirit this week!

Week 2 Scores:

Green Monstahs - 89
We Cannoli Win - 85
Quad Squad - 84
You Wanna Pizza Me? - 68

Team Spirit Award: We Cannoli Win (Blue) was beat out by the Green Monstahs (Green) for the Team Spirit Award, but it was a CLOSE race! 

Top Performances 18.2: 

Rx Men: Lucien Charland (5:18), Matti Oberg (5:31), Jason Arnt (5:58)
Rx Women: Erin Vacaro (5:58), Cassi Rebisz (6:23), Gabby Montenegro (6:45)
Scaled Men: Jon Chen (8:21), Nate Butze (8:27), TJ Danenza (10:02)
Scaled Women: Elaine Metzker (8:01), Simone Kotraba (8:42), Meg Steere (9:00)

Top Performances 18.2a:

Rx Men: Casey Askeland (348), Lucien Charland (318), Eddie Melara (295)
Rx Women: Gabby Montenegro (217), Nicole Bernhardt (197), Amanda Sullivan (195)
Scaled Men: Nate Butze (215), Steve Monahan (175), Alex Mufson (162)
Scaled Women: Kristin Beville (125), Maura Leahy (125), Simone Kotraba (115)

Photos from 18.2! A huge thank you to TJ Danenza photography for the awesome memories!

Coaches' Highlights
Our shout-outs from 18.2 for those athletes who displayed great team spirit, grit, and courage this week!

Eric Riak performed the workout at 5:25 AM, then came back to give the Green Team some major support! What a monstah!
Caitlin Kudlate didn't know what was loaded on the bar when she went in for her final lift, and it turned out to be a PR of 177#! Way to go!
Meg Steere had her first Friday Night Lights experience and was an awesome judge and athlete!
Julia Huard is still battling an injury from back in the fall, but she Rxed 18.2 like a boss! 
Amanda Sullivan has been working hard on her clean and PRed at 195#! Sometimes adrenaline is the best medicine!

CrossFit Community Highlights

  • If you haven't seen it yet, Ro (Rory McKernan) Vs Boz (Adrian Bozman) is back again this year! These guys work for CFHQ and bring fun and a competitive spirit to the Open every year. 

There was a little controversy regarding Ro's performance--can you spot the no reps?

The announcement for 18.3 goes LIVE on Thursday at 8 PM! Follow the CrossFit Games on Facebook and watch at games.crossfit.com to see Kyle Kasperbauer and Neal Maddox (both Masters athletes) go head-to-head!

Why Variety is Key to Your Success

-by Coach Rachel Binette

CrossFit works. All around the world, people are losing weight, getting stronger, and living better lives because of CrossFit.

But how does CrossFit work? What makes it special compared to other fitness regimens?

Here is the definition of CrossFit:

Constantly Varied
High Intensity
Functional Movements

CrossFit employs constant variance of functional movements at high intensity to improve fitness. Each of these components are critical to the definition of CrossFit. If we take any one of them away, we lose a potent part of what achieves results for CrossFitters.

We have been taught that specialization is the best way to achieve a high level of fitness. That is true when we are competitive in a sport--if we want to become a gold medal-winning Olympic swimmer, we must train swimming. However, training for a specific sport only improves our capacity for playing that sport. If we run for 3 miles per day, we become very good at running 3 miles per day, and that’s it.

 We improve more when we apply many stimuli to our training. 

We improve more when we apply many stimuli to our training. 

In these two pictures, we have the input of “stimulus,” the workouts we perform, and we have the output of “adaptation,” which is what our body is doing when it improves in fitness. The bottom picture is the ideal–more stimuli leads to more adaptation. Variety is our friend, and “routine is the enemy.” Being stronger is good, being faster is good. Being stronger and faster is best.

How does this translate to our training? Programming. CrossFit programming is designed to maintain a variety of stimuli for increased adaptation over time. We see long workouts, short workouts, workouts with a variety of movements, each of them designed to train a facet of athleticism that transfers to increased adaptation. What are the different types of stimuli and how can we, as athletes, ensure that we’re receiving a constantly varied training regimen? By training the three metabolic pathways and by training every variety of functional movement that we can.

The Metabolic Pathways

Our bodies are capable of exerting effort over many different time domains. We can perform a 1RM back squat. We can do “Grace.” We can run a marathon. These tasks use different metabolic pathways to exert effort. Each metabolic pathway uses different sources of energy to fuel our activity.

We’ve all heard of aerobic and anaerobic training: aerobic training uses oxygen for fuel, and anaerobic training doesn’t use oxygen. Anaerobic sources of energy are ATP for the Creatine-Phosphate System, and stored carbohydrates, or muscle glycogen, for Glycolysis. The Creatine-Phosphate System is our top speed–it’s what we use when we are sprinting away from a bear, running for our lives. As we work at max effort, our ATP runs out after about 10-12 seconds. Then our body begins using muscle glycogen for energy, running out after between 90 seconds and two minutes of work. Glycolysis is another energy system for moderate to high speed--sprinting 400m for instance. After we’ve run out of muscle glycogen, our body can only use the oxygen we are breathing in to continue to fuel our effort. Once we’ve started to use oxygen to fuel our effort, we are moving more slowly. Athletes with superb stamina replenish their energy stores better and faster. Through recovery, our ATP and muscle glycogen replenish, and then we’re able to move quickly again.

CrossFitters train all 3 of the metabolic pathways. Deadlifting heavy on Friday to train our Creatine-Phosphate System, then performing a partner workout that uses our Glycolytic System on Saturday, and following up on Monday with a 30 minute EMOM, we have allowed our metabolic pathways to develop and support one another. This means that some days, our workouts must be under ten minutes long. Those five to ten minutes, when performed with high intensity (either heavier load, longer distance, or more repetitions within that time), will be more than enough to force adaptation. Training our anaerobic capacity has been proven to support the development of aerobic capacity.

Monostructural, Gymnastics, and Weightlifting

The movements we perform are probably the easiest form of variety to spot in programming. Here are some quick examples of each of these “modalities” for your reference:

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Monostructural: running, biking, swimming, rowing, jump roping. 

Gymnastics: pull-ups, push ups, dips, handstands, toes-to-bar. 

Weightlifting: deadlifts, snatches, back squats, kettlebell swings. 

The variety of movements in CrossFit is astounding, and is a large part of what makes it such a special training regimen. In avoiding specialization, our muscle recruitment is more nuanced than that of the specialist. Through muscular balance, by pulling, pushing, holding, running, jumping, squatting, rotating, stabilizing, flexing, extending, and on and on, our adaptation supports more of what we may want to do. Invited to go rock climbing one weekend? You’ll be prepared. Need to help an elderly relative move furniture? You’ll have it covered. A marathon runner’s training prepares them for running marathons. A CrossFitter’s training prepares them for everything.

A quick note on linear periodization: 

A key component of the definition of CrossFit is constantly varied. Linear periodization (like the Wendler) is a popular method for building strength, and it is easy to see why: over the course of 8-12 weeks, lifters who employ this program do improve their strength benchmarks. What CrossFit recognizes, however, is that any linear program, one that does not employ constant variety, leads to plateaus in that specialized focus--this is known as accommodation. We stop improving when we do the same things over and over. (And isn’t that the truth for every part of our lives?) In addition, when the program ends, the adaptation is no longer needed, and so the strength that was gained is lost again. In order to facilitate adaptation, we employ variety.

Loads, Holds, Carries

In weightlifting and gymnastics, there are 3 more modalities to consider in training: loads, holds, and carries.

Load: a moving weight, whether it is bodyweight, a barbell, a kettlebell, or a D-Ball. Most CrossFit training incorporates loads through prescribed weights and bodyweight movements.

Hold: a static, or unmoving, position under tension. Examples include a handstand hold, the pause in a pause squat, and hanging from a pull-up bar.

Carry: a weight that is carried; yoke carries, sandbag runs, and farmer’s or suitcase walks are some examples. 

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Each of these modalities contain their own value in training muscle recruitment. A load, like a squat, is an everyday movement that staves off decrepitude. When we can get up off of the floor after falling at the age of 70, we have trained well. A weighted or gymnastics hold improves our muscular endurance and stability. As fatigue sets in, other muscle fibers take over.  In weighted carries, we learn to use our midline more effectively to stabilize our spine. A strong midline supports every part of our lives, from deadlifting 500lbs safely to picking up our grandchildren.

How does constantly varied training impact us as athletes?

When we train consistently, we have a greater chance of receiving a constantly varied training regimen, and therefore a greater chance of seeing the results that we seek: improved health biomarkers like blood pressure and resting heart rate, athleticism that supports our lifestyles, and improved body composition.

In evaluating the training we receive, we look at time domain to see the metabolic pathways we are training (with the understanding that intensity is a critical factor--ATP runs out at 10 seconds of max effort) and we look at the variety of movements that support improving our athleticism (squats and deadlifts for lifetime functionality, Olympic weightlifting for developing power, and monostructural work for advancing our cardiovascular health, to name just a few). Great CrossFit programming is varied CrossFit programming, so great CrossFit training contains as many time and movement modalities as creativity allows. While the programmer provides the variation, it is up to us, the athletes, to ensure that we are undiscriminating when it comes to our training. Avoiding short workouts ensures that the two anaerobic metabolic pathways will remain a weakness. Avoiding a movement that challenges our egos neglects our capacity for improvement.

Constantly varied training gives us the biggest bang for our buck. In the next installment of this series, we’ll talk about High Intensity--why it is so important and how and when to use it.

 

2018 Opens Wrap-Up - 18.1

Welcome to the Opens Wrap Up, a weekly post with highlights and updates from the Intramural CrossFit Open! 

And the winner of Week 1 is....

If you haven't seen it yet, check out our post announcing this week's Intramural winner! 

Team Scores

1st Place: Quad Squad (87)
2nd Place: We Cannoli Win (80)
3rd Place: You Wanna Pizza Me? (73)
4th Place: Green Monstahs (72)

Team Spirit Award: Quad Squad won the Team Spirit Award with their black war paint during FNL. Cool move, guys, let's see what you've got next week! 

Top Performances

Rx Men: Lucien Charland, Mat Frankel, Casey Askeland (<--and special congrats to Casey on the birth of his daughter this week!) 
Rx Women: Gabby Montenegro, Cassi Rebisz, Gretchen Gavett
Scaled Men: Matt Lagarto, Nate Butze, TJ Danenza
Scaled Women: Maura Leahy, Kristin Beville, Amy Wiswell

Coaches' Highlights
A collection of shout-outs from the coaches to athletes who displayed spirit, grit, and courage this week!

Beth Amedio made the coaches proud by giving everything she had to her first Open workout!
Karla Mendoza used a 35# dumbbell for the first time in 18.1. Wow, Karla!
Leigh Paris displayed incredible mental grit, beating her goal of 200 reps in 18.1!
Nikoleta Tsaousidis has been doing CrossFit for 3 months and jumped head first into the Open!

CrossFit Community Highlights

Kevin Ogar gets his first knee raises. If you haven't heard Kevin's inspiring story yet, check it out here.  Get your tissues ready.

The CrossFit Games Update Show gives us the lowdown on the top athletes in CrossFit:

We've got our next hint from CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro about what 18.2 is going to be. Can you guess? 

The announcement for 18.2 goes live on games.crossfit.com at 8 PM on Thursday, March 1st! 

CrossFit Changes Us!

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If you haven't heard, the month of January was all about change!  We're focusing on how CrossFit and what we do each and every day here in classes somehow creeps into other aspects of our lives, and for the better!  Whether we started classes feeling a little bit timid or unsure of ourselves and now walk in every day knowing exactly what has to get done (and then see that happen in our jobs, too!) or have worked our deadlift to new maxes with better form (and now can shovel no matter what Snowmageddon throws at us!), what we do in CrossFit transfers to everything else we do!

Here’s a few amazing things that have changed with some of our community since starting CrossFit.

Stephanie Mullane

  1. Sleep!  I am sleeping better and longer!  Doing CrossFit made me aware about how much sleep affects my overall performance, both in and out of the gym. I have started to make sleep a priority.

  2. Strength!  I can feel new muscles in my upper and lower body. :)

  3. Nerves!  I am ok with being nervous for an event or workout.

Michela Salvucci

  1. (Dis)Comfort!  I am more comfortable with being uncomfortable. Crossfit is a huge social/physical/mental hurdle that has given me more confidence to go out of my comfort zone in all other aspects of life.

  2. Nutrition!  I’ve found that I want to fuel my body in the most effective way possible, keeping in mind what my workout is later on in the day and how my nutrition will affect it. This had led me to start various short and simple nutrition challenges at my workplace to keep myself and my coworkers on track.

  3. Sports!  I play in a lot of intramural soccer leagues, and adding crossfit to my lifestyle has made me quicker, stronger and way more confident on the field.

Grace Mlady

  1. Confidence!  The biggest thing that comes to mind is an increase in confidence and a decrease in anxiety when facing something challenging. After many of our WODs, I think, "Well, if I can do *that*, I can handle this work meeting or presentation."

  2. Task Focused!  I've also learned to tackle my work day much like a WOD -- set several goals for the day and give it your best shot.

Andy Bailer

  1. Core Strength!  Better, overall core strength - I have the ability to do things because of my core strength that I couldn't do when I started 2.5 years ago (kipping pull-ups for example)

  2. Go Before I’m Ready!  The ability to push myself and have the "Go Before I am Ready Mentality" - I love that Mat instills this in us; Great coaching from all the coaches always helps!

  3. Constant Improvement!  Hitting PR's in workouts like Fran & getting to benchmarks in terms of weight for Front Squat / Back Squat / Clean (getting stronger overall).

These are just a few BIG changes that our members are seeing both in and out of CFCL.  What changes have YOU seen since starting CrossFit!?

How has CrossFit changed you? 

How to Maximize Your Fitness ROI - Part Two

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There are three important factors that go into maximizing the return on investment that we make into our health and fitness: efficiency of the program, number of training sessions per week, and most importantly, our nutritional plan. 

In Part One of this series, we looked at what the return on investment would be from doing 1-7 workouts per week and eating a standard nutrition plan. We also assumed that all workouts were CrossFit, the most efficient fitness program.

The end results: when eating a standard nutrition plan, even if we train really hard and work out a lot, lasting favorable results are not seen often. Initially, we may see some favorable results, but do not continue to see ongoing improvements.  In fact, regression often follows the initial improvements. More simply, improvements can be made quickly, but they don't stick around long. 

So what do we need to do to maximize improvements and earn results that stick? 

Check out the table below.

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Table 2
Assumptions and Notes for Table 2
Assumption/Note 1: Athlete has 4+ months of CrossFit Experience.
Assumption/Note 2: Each individual is different. Favorable and unfavorable results are not rules, guaranteed or promised. Some may have constant improvement with fewer training days. Many will not.

What does this mean?
Following a whole foods and/or macros nutrition plan will yield a far better short- and long-term return and will be amplified with consistent exercise. 

  1. Simply by doing CrossFit, challenging ourselves and eating well, we can have small improvements that last. This may be getting a little better at running and push-ups, lifting around the same weights and our clothes fitting just a little better. Minimal results are better than no results. But I know that's not what you're looking for. 
  2. For many people, doing 4-5 workouts per week will maximize ROI; get results and keep them for the long haul. (Keep in mind assumption #2.) This may be improved endurance, strength and flexibility (to name a few), the ability to do skills that once seemed extremely difficult or impossible are now ones that you're able to do. Clothes fit better and keep fitting better. Friends, coworkers and family start taking notice. Health and fitness has definitely improved. 
  3. For many people, doing 3 workouts/week consistently is a good place to start. There may be short term improvements and maintenance of those improvements, however it may not yield long-term consistent improvement. Moderate improvements would be breathing easier during workouts, lifting a little bit heavier and a little bit of weight loss and clothes fitting a little better. It's progress, which feels good, but it may feel like it's happening very slowly, and at some point it may not feel like it's happening anymore.

Many long time CrossFitters find that CrossFitting 3x/week will maintain their fitness level, while 4-5x/week will improve their fitness. 

Summary

To maximize Return On Investment, do three things: 

  • Eat foods that will get favorable results fastest, 
  • Perform the most efficient fitness program (CrossFit), and
  • Train consistently (3-5 days/week)

How to Maximize Your Fitness ROI - Part One

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-by Coach Mat

ROI is Return On Investment. We want a high return for any investment we make. We don't put money into the stock market to watch it lose value or stay the same. We should get a return, an improvement. The same goes for our fitness. We wake up early and move things around in our schedule to get to the gym, say no thanks to happy hour and fried food and we work our butts off at every workout. We should see a positive, long-term return in our fitness.

Simply by doing CrossFit, we're already maximizing our return on time spent in the gym. CrossFit is the most efficient and effective fitness program. We’ll achieve maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort, time or expense. That's a great start to maximizing our ROI on our time. 

But how often do we need CrossFit to see results?
What if we do other workouts and mix CrossFit in?
When we “do CrossFit” doesn't that mean we should see results?

In this article series we’ll show you how to maximize your fitness ROI by adjusting the most important factors next to what workout you're doing, workout frequency and nutrition. 
We'll look at the typical initial and long term results vs. training frequency vs. nutrition and the impact they have on our ROI. 

Let’s first define “results”.
Burn fat, build lean muscle, look better, do better in (and out of) the gym and have better biomarkers like blood pressure, resting heart rate etc. These are the results we're talking about and they are called...fitness. We're not talking just about a better looking body. We can have a good looking body but unhealthy biomarkers or poor performance. Health and fitness are intertwined, not mutually exclusive. By improving fitness, body composition will also improve. 

"Results" also include getting better at specific things like pull-ups, toes to bar and handstand push ups. Improving form and technique for cleans and snatches (which will allow us to improve rapidly!) and feeling more comfortable with the program will allow us to go faster, heavier, do new exercises and, get better results.

Below is Table 1. We’re assuming an individual has been doing CrossFit for longer than 4 months. Why? For most athletes who start CrossFit, results come more quickly based off of the training being new. Imagine waking up 2 hours earlier than you do now. It’d be a shock for a little while, but then your body would get used to it. This is the same principle; it's called accommodation. Many people find that when they start CrossFit, their body is shocked and produces results quickly. Over time their body becomes used to it and accommodates. (This phenomenon is also called "newbie gains.") It's our goal to maximize your ROI for the long haul. 

If you are just getting started, you can improve your ROR (rate of return, how fast you see results) by following the same guidance. You’ll get better results, faster!

Table 1
Assumptions and Notes for Table 1
Assumption/Note 1: Athlete has 4+ months of CrossFit Experience.
Assumption/Note 2: Each individual is different. Favorable and unfavorable results are not rules, guaranteed or promised. Some may have constant improvement with fewer training days. Many will not.

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*The Standard Western Diet is roughly 50% carbohydrates, 35% fat, 15% protein.  

**Doing ”other workouts” will improve your ability in that specific area. If you run, your running in CrossFit workouts may feel better. If you do yoga, you may feel more flexible. If you do a double-under workout every week, you’ll get better at double-unders. Specific training will lead to that specific area improvement.

***The likelihood of plateauing is much higher if there are no nutritional changes being made.

What does this mean?

  1. By simply doing CrossFit or challenging ourselves progressively during our workouts, we may see an initial positive result, but long term, it may not stick.
  2. It is a steep uphill battle to get the results we want without a nutrition plan, even if we train really hard.  
  3. For many people, doing 3 workouts/week won’t make big improvements. It will maintain their current state.
  4. For many people, 4-5 CrossFit workouts/week, without any nutrition improvements, could lead to initial improvements, but not the major improvements that would come with an improved nutrition plan. 
  5. If you feel that you train frequently and "should" see results, review your actual attendance per week and nutritional choices.
  6. There is such a thing as "too much". When we train too frequently at high intensity, our bodies may not get enough time to recover. Recovery is essential for results. Recovery includes sleep, hydration, mental restoration, stretching and soft tissue work, and proper nutrition. 

Check back for Part 2, where we'll show you what the results table looks like when nutrition comes into play and how you can maximize your ROI on all of your fitness efforts. 

The One Change That Makes the Biggest Difference

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-By Coach Rachel

There is one change that we can make that will impact every aspect of our lives in a positive way. It will make our relationships better, it will give us clear paths towards our goals, and it will empower us to do what must be done in order to transform ourselves, our lives, and our worlds.

The one change is taking ownership, and there are only two steps to taking ownership:

  • Remove self-imposed obstacles.
  • Make and follow a plan.

Self-imposed obstacles come in two forms: complaints and excuses.

Complaining

Complaining is a national past time, one that I recognize is a source of conversational fodder and entertainment for all of us. Complaining begets drama, and drama is a distraction from what we have control over. It focuses us on the negative, drawing us further from finding solutions to the roadblocks before us.

Addressing the issues we complain about requires that we recognize what we can change.

Things we can change:

  • Our habits
  • Our priorities
  • Our focus

Things we cannot change:

  • Other people.
  • The weather.
  • The Earth’s rotational axis.
  • What Coach Mat programs for tomorrow.
  • Bird migratory patterns.

When we learn to recognize what we can and cannot change, our relationship to the problems in our lives changes. We can change our habits and priorities: for example, by making mobilizing or nutrition a higher priority, we change how our body performs. We can also change what we choose to focus on. There are certainly some problems in our lives that are upsetting. Ill family members, neighbors who take our shoveled out parking spot, world hunger, the list of things in the world that are imperfect could go on for hundreds of pages. Yet the only thing that we can control is our response to these things, both externally and internally. A problem that is out of our control is one that we must either release (a bad job or a bad relationship) or one that we will have to find a new way to relate to (parking spot thieving, medical diagnosis).

Excuses

A phrase that is all too common is, “I don’t have time.” One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was to change that phrase into, “That is not a priority.”

How does that change the relationship we have to our priorities?

“I don’t have time to work out,” becomes, “Working out is not a priority.” That may be true for very good reasons: perhaps we’re taking care of an ill family member or we have an important work deadline. Sometimes, “working out is not a priority” may be true for reasons that need more examination: perhaps we often prioritize other things over caring for ourselves, like caring for others or watching television for hours each night.

Said often enough, “that is not a priority,” empowers us to examine our priorities and to own them. There is no judgment behind “that is not a priority” if we know that our other priorities do, in fact, belong closer to the top of the list.

Making and Following a Plan

Once our self-imposed obstacles are removed, the path is open, and making the plan gives us the first steps down the path.

Sometimes, a problem feels too big to tackle on our own, or we’ve tried and we haven’t yet been successful at finding a solution. That’s when bringing the problem to a friend or expert is the next step. An outside perspective can be invaluable, shedding light on possibilities we had not considered.

When we find that following the plan is the most challenging part of solving a problem we’re having, examining why is critical for moving forward. Perhaps we become impatient when success is not forthcoming, or perhaps we take on too many priorities. Whatever the reason, it is the next roadblock to examine, whether on our own or with an expert.

Feeling stuck is a given in life, something that everyone has experienced. We must remember that we always have a choice, because contentment comes from recognizing the power we hold over our circumstances. Our mindset, positive and focused on what we can control and change, and our response, creating and implementing a plan, are the two things we can control, and they are more powerful than we realize. If you make only one change this year, take ownership of every problem before you.

Your coaches are waiting to help you reach your goals and come up with a plan for success!