Category Archives: Articles & Videos

Articles & Videos to Inspire

Fitness Pyramid (Spoiler Alert: it all begins with Nutrition)

Let’s spend a little bit of time today to talk about this Fitness Pyramid. As you can see, it starts with the wide base of Nutrition and builds to the top where at the peak we see Sport. Just like the actual pyramids weren’t built in a day, neither is your fitness. And just like building the pyramids, you have to start at the bottom and build a good base before you can start on the next level.

Your fitness goals will define how far up to the top of the pyramid you go, not everyone has the desire to get the top Sport level. But, wherever you want to go with your fitness, you will need to start at the bottom and work your way up as far as you would like.

CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman laid it all out beautifully in 100 Words:
Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, clean & jerk, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.

Nutrition – 7 Days a Week
Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.

It may or may not surprise you that Nutrition is at the base of it all. Your Nutrition is where everything else will come from. Let’s compare this pyramid to a car. Nutrition is the quality of the gas you put into the tank. Low quality in, poor performance out. Looking at this pyramid, we also have to realize that Nutrition is something we should be working on 7 days a week. The way we fuel our bodies is a constant in our lives and something to be cognizant of every time we put food in our mouths.

This is the most important aspect of your wellness and fitness. Without a good base of Nutrition, nothing else will function as well.

Metabolic Conditioning – 4-6 Days a Week
Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense.

This is your body’s capacity to do work efficiently. It’s the car’s gas tank. And it isn’t just the size of the tank that matters, but also how efficiently you use the fuel you have – like getting good gas mileage in a street race (fast and furious), a medium trip to visit family (good, steady pace), or a cross country drive (long and consistent with planned rest stops.) Being able to do all well is to your advantage.

Gymnastics – 3 Days a Week
Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds.

This is your ability for finer body control and range of motion, it means more than just muscle ups and handstand push ups! This piece is like the frame of your car. All of the other systems and part rely on it for support. You would surely rather drive a well built car than something that has been in an accident and has a smashed front end and dented doors. Safety is a huge concern. You want to know that the vehicle you are occupying will take care of you if something happens. With a nice solid frame and solid core, you are better able to control movements and body positions as well as absorb the impact of weights.

Weightlifting – 2 Days a Week
Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, clean & jerk, and snatch.

Once you have the rest (solid foundation of nutrition/quality gas, a nice big gas tank of stamina/endurance, and the frame/solid core to put it all on), then we can start to work on the load/amount of weight we are working with. Think about a Mini Cooper and a Ram 1500. Both have the quality gas, the gas tank, and the frame work. Both vehicles have the capacity to pull a boat behind them. But which vehicle do you think can pull that boat MOST efficiently. The bigger vehicle (the one with more horsepower)  is going to be built for that task. Both can do it, one can do it well. This isn’t just about carrying the weight, it’s about doing it efficiently. Only after you have the rest can you build the strength though. Your body can only build so much at a time – muscle mass is expensive to build and maintain!

Sport – 1 Day a Week
Regularly learn and play new sports.

Training for sport is the very tip of the pyramid. Once EVERYTHING else is working well, then we can specialize and work on a specific task. It’s your Jeep off roading through the mud. Playing a football game once a week, or running a race – it’s the big day. You are expending a lot of effort and energy and your body needs time to fully recover after a full out effort. That is why it’s something that happens once a week, not everyday. And, to take this back to the beginning, if the foundation, your nutrition, is solid, your body has all of the resources it needs to rest, recover, rebuild, and get ready to do it all again.

I can not stress enough how important getting a good, solid Nutrition base is. Whatever your goals are, Nutrition is where you start. Eating to lose body fat, gain muscle mass, improve energy and performance – what you put into your body matters. Garbage in equals garbage out.

Click for more information on our 28 Day Nutrition Challenge or Nutrition Coaching Programs

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Skill:
Handstands
WOD:
3 Rounds
10 Handstand Push Ups
50 Double-Unders
Run 800m
3 Rounds:
3 Rope Climbs
50 Double-Unders
We’ve been working towards improving our shaping this month with handstands. The foundational goal for improving our handstand (whether it is a kick up, nose and toes, or free standing) is to have full joint stacking from top to bottom. Meaning from the ankles to the wrists there is one solid line of skeletal support, this is why we play with hollow positions and nose and toes holds, to develop the awareness and stability of maintaining that stacking for efficiency. This last of this month’s handstand work this week will have a bit more flexibility to work the actual handstand and kick-up (to wall or free standing), but don’t forget to keep in mind the reasons for all the previous work we’ve done.
Pushing, pulling, running, jumping, oh my! All we need is to climb some trees for a full fledged adventure (don’t worry, no tree climbing in this WOD). This is a task completion workout, so get through the rounds and run as quick as you can!

Nutrition, Supplements, and Sleep

If you have ever done a CrossFit WOD, you know they are brutal. Nowhere else can a three minute WOD named Fran leave you gasping on your back. We don’t need to work out for hours and hours to get a good workout. We do need to be sure we are recovering properly after these WODs though.

How we recover after workouts is as important as the workouts themselves. The workouts are where we physically tear our muscle tissues so that as we are recovering our bodies can rebuild them into something even stronger. The key is to make sure we are giving our bodies adequate recovery time and all the necessary resources to do that. Getting stronger in one way or another is usually at least part of our workout goals. And our bodies need all the right tools to do that.

The first thing we need to make sure of is that our bodies have all the right nutrients to build our muscles bigger and better. Whether you are vegan or vegetarian or Paleo or primal or Zone, be sure you are getting enough nutrients to sustain your current schedule and intensity of workouts. Also make sure to consider what your goals are, if it is weight loss, you may need to watch your calories a bit more, if you are looking to build mass, you may need more calories.

The best thing to do is research each of the above mentioned eating lifestyles, try them out, see how you feel during them and how you perform and recover and then tweak them little by little to fit your lifestyle and goals (it can be overwhelming, but a Nutrition Coach can help.) You need to look at how and what you are eating and see if you need to fill in any nutritional gaps. Maybe a multi-vitamin is in order for you. If you are vegan/vegetarian, be sure you are getting adequate protein from other sources. Your Coach can surely offer some advice and insights for you as well.

Natural ways to get nutrients is always best, but there are a few supplements that may be worth looking into. An after workout protein/recovery drink and fish oil/omega-3 supplements are two of the biggest ones for athletes. A good protein drink will have a decent amount of protein (20 or more grams per serving), it should come from a good source (like grass fed cows), and it should be low in sugar and not contain any artificial sweeteners.

Fish oil will help reduce inflammation and swelling in the joints. Be sure to look for one that is in high in omega-3 primarily from fish with a ratio of roughly 2:1 EPA to DHA when choosing one.

Sleep is so vitally important to our recovery and probably the most overlooked piece of the puzzle. The amount of sleep per night varies per person, but is usually around 8-10 hours a night for adults. Many of us do not get enough sleep or sleep poorly when we do sleep. And sleep is usually the first thing to go when we are stressed or busy. Magnesium (which is a powder mixed with water and taken before bed,) may be something that is helpful is making sure that the sleep we do get is deep and uninterrupted.

You work your body hard when you CrossFit, make sure you are giving it everything it needs and letting it rest and recover properly.

If you would like more information, please visit our Nutrition Page.

Would YOU Benefit from Personal Training?

Whether you have a regular membership to a gym facility or you are just looking to get started with your fitness journey, Personal Training has a lot of benefits for you.

Just because you attend regular classes at a gym, doesn’t mean that you couldn’t benefit from some one on one training – either long term or just here and there to work on some special skills. Maybe you are just getting started with your fitness journey, and looking for some personal attention based on your needs and current abilities. Many people are intimidated by group classes (and that’s OK), Personal Training can help you get ready if group classes are a goal of yours.

There are many reasons to request the help of a Personal Trainer. And the benefits are just as plentiful!

Accountability, Motivation, Challenge, Results
Maybe you are bored with the same old workout DVDs or repetitive classes. You need to be challenged both mentally and physically. It’s helpful to have someone to personally help you set goals with an objective eye to keep them realistic. If you are not seeing results or not sure where to start, a Personal Trainer can help you reach your goals and maintain them. They will be in tune with you and what you are working for and are going to be sure that you are putting in the work to get the results you expect. They are also going to know you well enough to be sure you are challenged as you progress (and to keep you progressing.) They are going to make sure you are seeing results.

Education and Efficiency
A Personal Trainer isn’t just going to tell you what to do for the hour you are with them. They are also going to educate you on all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. They are also going to make sure you know proper movement technique. Your training doesn’t last just that 60 minutes – you will have information you can use in between sessions as well. You may even get homework to do so you can keep working towards your goals and progressing at a suitable rate. Eating for your goals, sleeping well for recovery, plus safe and proper movements you can do at home in between your scheduled session are all very important. The goal is maximum results in minimal time.

Sports-Specific Training
Many amateur and professional athletes work with a Personal Trainer during the off-season to prepare themselves for in-season competition. Whether you want to shave some strokes off your golf score or beat your brother-in-law at tennis, a Personal Trainer can tailor your program to your sport of choice. Do you need a lot of power, agility, and skill to get the ball down the soccer field? Do you need a lot of strength to throw that discus further? Do you need a lot of speed to run that football to the end zone? Would an improved vertical jump help you with your basketball game? Training for all those things is completely possible, and very different, depending on your goals, and your Personal Trainer will develop a training plan specifically for what you need.

Injury Rehabilitation
Injuries and accidents can prevent you from participating in your favorite activities. An experienced Personal Trainer, however, can make the road to recovery a smooth one by recommending exercises that emphasize overall muscular balance to prevent future injuries. Even if you can’t be back to doing all of the things you love, it is still good to get up and moving to prevent too much muscle loss (and depression from not being active and doing things you love.) Maybe you aren’t going to be doing 100m sprints with a strained hamstring or squatting 300 pounds with achey knees, but there are still a LOT of other movements you can do to keep your mind and body sharp and to gain strength around the injured area to prevent future down time.

Special-Needs Training
Research confirms that individuals with health challenges such as diabetes, asthma, osteoporosis, or heart disease benefit greatly from regular physical activity. These conditions, however, can make exercising safely a challenge. Many personal trainers are experienced in designing programs that address the special needs of these and other conditions. The goal is always to make quality of life better, both short term and long term. A major reason the aging population ends up in a nursing home is because they can’t take care of themselves. Things like getting off the toilet (an air squat) or getting up after falling (a burpee.) Worse yet is breaking a bone in a fall because of weak bones (which can be made stronger by lifting weights.) Personal Training has been proven to help cognitively, physically, and socially with other types of special needs such as ADD/ADHD, autism, Parkinson’s and more in both children and adults. There are all kinds of enrichment available through exercise – and not just physical – there are mental aspects that can be added to workouts.

Plus, if all of that wasn’t reason enough, Personal Training can give you a few extra added bonuses as well!

Your trainer can teach you new things. It’s great to have fun and try some new things – maybe tumbling or some gymnastic movements. Even movements like power and Olympic lifting that maybe you never even knew you wanted to know how to do! You will even take home some movements and workouts you can do at home in between your personal sessions.

Your trainer will also become your sounding board and therapist. Something about having your trainer see you at your most vulnerable in the middle of a workout just makes you want to get all sorts of things off your chest. Sometimes life around you affects our workout at the gym. It’s good for you to tell your trainer what is going on. If you need to work out some frustration, maybe a heavy, fast paced workout will help. Your mood will affect your workout performance and your trainer needs to know what is going on so they can best help you work through stuff AND get a good workout in that day. With a Personal Trainer, each workout is geared for you.

Your trainer will help you get over your fears. Whether real or imagined, we all have fears. It might be the fear of being inverted in a handstand, or maybe it’s a fear of lifting heavy weights, or maybe that 20” box seems like a mountain to you. Sometimes we can be our worst enemy and facing change isn’t easy. Having the extra support to guide you and lean on can give you the confidence that you need. You should never stop pushing your limits. Growth only happens outside of your comfort zone.

At CrossFit Recursive we have a variety of experienced Coaches to help you with whatever your needs and goals are. Schedule a No Sweat Introduction to come in and talk and we can help you get started with the program that is best for you. We can’t wait to help you get started!

Hydration – By Coach Valerie

All humans need water. Water is essential to body functions such as removing waste (this is where fat exits the body), regulating body temperature and lubricating essential joints and organs.

Water also helps in general regulatory processes, which can assist in differentiating thirst from hunger. Over 50% of the body is water, which means in the same way gas is needed to help a car run, water is needed to help a body run.

In addition to general health needs, athletes need water for performance. As little as 2% dehydration can lead to diminished performance.

The best way to properly hydrate yourself is to drink water. Though some hydration can come from the food you eat, the majority of hydration comes from plain old water. Don’t like plain water? Try flavoring it with fresh fruit or vegetables.  If you really hate water, adding a splash of juice can help, but be careful about how much sugar you end up consuming.

Drinks with caffeine do not count in your daily water consumption as caffeine is a diuretic which pulls water from the body.

Most people need a minimum of 80 ounces of water a day, but really the best way to determine if you are hydrated enough is to look at your pee. The goal is for a light yellow color. If you drastically increase your water intake, you’ll likely pee a lot in the beginning, but that two will regulate over time.

To assist in maintaining proper hydration it’s a good idea to have water available easily. Keep a bottle on your desk, a cup in your bathroom or bedside table, and start your day with at least eight ounces before you even have coffee.  

Happy drinking (and peeing!)

Shoe Review – Reebok Nano 6.0

I get a lot of questions about shoes for the rigors of the variety of workouts we do at the gym. So, to keep with the trends I buy and try all of the latest CrossFit shoes so I can give an honest, unbiased review.

A few things before I tell you about the newest Reebok shoes. First, I think that all of the shoes that are made for cross training are great. They will all get the job done. I think the biggest thing comes down to each individual person and their shoe fit and aesthetic preferences.

I do have a wide variety of shoes that I rotate through when I workout, and I do pick which shoe I am going to wear based on the movements in the workout each day. I have that luxury. I like to watch for sales and pick up new shoes when they aren’t full price.

Most people are going to buy one pair of shoes and wear those every day they come to the gym and that is perfect. If you are working out 5-6+ times per week, I might then recommend that you get a second pair of workout shoes. Alternate days so that your shoes can air out and dry between sweat sessions. Pick 2 different kinds of shoes so that you can use them depending on the demands of the workout. And, like women wearing dress shoes/heels, if you are wearing shoes that often, if it good to have a variety to alleviate blisters and other repetitive motion ailments. Plus, you’ll cut back on the wear and tear of a single pair.

Now let’s talk about the Reebok Nano 6. I was late to the game with these shoes. I usually try to get new shoes within a month or two of their release because being a gym owner, athletes always ask about the newest shoes.

I really love my Nano 5.0s. (Which I was also late to the game buying – I just loved the 4.0s so much I bought 3 pairs of those and it was hard to justify another new pair of shoes.) In my opinion, the 4.0s were great, the 5.0s are awesome, and the 6.0s are amazing.

I didn’t really like any of the color combos of the 6.0s when they were first released, but I did finally order (and pay for) a custom pair of the 6.0s. Not only do I love the way they look, I love wearing them.

I judge my athletic shoes in several different criteria – can I stand in them all day and coach, how do they move and feel when I am working out with all of the variety of movements that CrossFit demands, and how is it to run in them?

The answer to all of these is a resounding YES with the Nano 6.0s. They have become my new favorite coaching and workout shoe. Bonus that I love the colors and design.

These shoes are solid enough to be supportive while standing for long periods of time or Olympic lifting work, and flexible enough to do burpees, sit ups, and box jumps.

These shoes fit my feet particularly well, with being a women’s size 12, that is a big deal. (Though they didn’t offer women’s sizing that high, I had to buy a men’s 10.5). So losing out on some of the fun girly colors and custom options is a bummer, I am still very happy with the way the shoes turned out.

They fit well right away and I didn’t feel the need to have to break them in at all. The upper shoes are soft and flexible, and the sole is sturdy but also flexes well with my foot. I feel secure and stable wearing them to Olympic lift, and they are soft and flexible enough for lunges and box jumps.

They are specifically made for cross-training so they also do well in rope climbs with side grips and kevlar overlay so you won’t tear them out. They are also comfortable enough to do the shorter amounts of running required in warm ups and workouts.

These shoes fit my feet really well. I have large feet (again, women’s size 12) but they are proportionate. I have bog feet, but not wide feet. Earlier versions of the Nano had a wider toe box, I don’t think these are as wide, but they still are roomy enough for your toes to spread out.

If you have wide feet (or really narrow feet) these may not be the best fit for you. There are also other shoes out there that are more minimalist (Inov-8s) or a bit more solid (Nike MetCons – especially in the sole.)

Overall, these are my favorite Reebok CrossFit shoe and favorite shoe all around. They are made just life a good CrossFitter – good at everything, specialized in nothing.

Change – By Coach Valerie

If you read no further and remember nothing else, commit the next sentence to memory. The two primary elements leading to behavioral change are importance and confidence.

Now for an exercise. Stop and think about something you want to change. Don’t pick the most significant change in your life, but something small: major hair change, making sure you clean the kitchen every night, etc. Why haven’t you done it yet?

Maybe you’re scared that if you go from brunette to fire engine red it won’t look good. Maybe going to bed is simply more important than a clean kitchen. See what I’m getting at here? Confidence and importance.

For the vast majority of high functioning people (like you all out there), the primary barrier to change is confidence. Most of us can look at a behavior, determine its level of importance and adjust accordingly.

For example, I would very much like to have a clean kitchen every night, but sometimes I leave the dishes in the sink. I don’t feel bad about this decision; I’ll get to it eventually. It is simply not important, so my behavior will not change.

On the other hand, my health is very important to me. Working out is important to maintaining my mental health more than my physical health. I will avoid doing other things to prioritize working out, particularly if I’m feeling stressed. I will change my behavior to make working out a priority. Makes sense right. Important = change, not important ≠ change.

Too bad this isn’t a simple equation (math!) The other variable is confidence. How many times have you invited a friend to come to CrossFit class and they won’t. They may value working out, they may value health, but there’s still no way they are going to try this awesome, high-intensity, constantly varied, functional movement workout.

Likely you’ve heard the reasons related to fear of what they will be asked to do and their ability to do it. That’s confidence my friends. Fear of failure keeps us from making behavior changes.

So here’s the full equation: importance + confidence = change. You need both.

I share all of this information because we are rolling out a nutrition program and most people fail at making nutritional changes because of fear.

People worry about the consequences of changing what they eat (what will I tell my friends? What will I eat at parties) or their ability to sustain the change (how will I pass up donuts at the office meeting?) Changing how we eat is hard, especially if you’re eating generally okay, trying to take it to the next level can be exceedingly tough.

So what to do? Own it, find a program that works with an accountability piece so that you can learn to making sustained change over time. The new nutrition program at CrossFit Recursive offers an affordable package with a program designed by a licensed dietian and implemented by a psychologist to assist you in achieving wellness.

For more information on the Nutrition Coaching Packages available, visit: http://crossfitrecursive.com/nutrition-coaching-program/

You can register right on-line and book your first appointment, or you can schedule a time to meet to talk about what program is best for you.

Handstand Hijinx – by Coach Patrick

Full Disclosure – this is a long article, but there is a lot of great information. I recommend you take the time to read through it all.

Happy March everybody! The skill focus this month is handstands and I wanted to share some philosophy and methodology behind the approach we’ll be taking to get our upside down on.

Instead of reading through my regurgitation of the concept, I will provide a solid doctrine written by Kaitlin Hardy, essentially a badass lifelong gymnast turned CrossFitter who knows her stuff on connectivity, gymnastic positioning, and the transference into CrossFit training. Enjoy…

“A. Why Handstands?
The point of learning calculus is to learn how to think; there are engineers out there who are legitimately concerned with advanced calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra, but the majority of us learn calculus to train our brains in the art of abstract thought.

The point of learning a handstand is to learn how to manipulate your body. Serious gymnasts spend hours developing perfect handstand technique, partially because a vast majority of skills in gymnastics pass through a handstand shape, but most importantly because the art of fine-tuning your body to find the perfect handstand shape trains your brain in the art of body awareness.

Mastering the perfect handstand will help improve your handstand walks, and maybe your handstand push-ups, but developing the process of complex skill acquisition and precise musculoskeletal control will improve every single movement your body makes.

Every skill or action that an athlete performs—whether it be a complex Olympic lift or a handstand, involves the activation of neural pathways. The study of neuroplasticity encompasses the changes in these neural pathways, which in the case of exercisers result as a change in behavior.

Physical exercise has been shown to both facilitate neuroplasticity and, “enhance an individual’s capacity to respond to new demands with behavioral adaptations” (Hotting K, Roder B, 2013). Spending time practicing a perfect handstand will develop the same neural pathways that are essential in controlling your body through complex exercise movements.

Mastering the art of feeling exact body positions, and being able to do it while upside down, will transfer to the ability to make quick corrections in form and technique elsewhere. There is a reason that amongst the top games athletes, especially on the women’s side, an overwhelming majority have some kind of gymnastics background.

The handstand is the movement of choice for developing motor neuron pathways applicable to exercise because it requires precise control over every body part. Holding a handstand requires activation of each of the major muscle groups as well as the sensorimotor control systems essential to maintaining balance.

The cues given to athletes just learning handstands are complex and most likely conceptually brand new. Furthermore, having to think about multiple specific body cues, while attempting to balance upside down adds a new level of challenge and likely general discomfort.

A broad comparison would be attempting to master linear algebra while standing on your head. The ability to process complex thought into bodily action while in an unnatural, and likely uncomfortable, state is a careful skill that takes time to develop and will carry over to each of your exercise endeavors.

The point of mastering a handstand is to develop motor-learning skills. The benefits to your exercise elements skill set are secondary.

B. The Perfect Handstand
The ability to hold a handstand requires equal parts flexibility and strength. The ability to achieve a completely open shoulder and hip angle are paramount to the success of any gymnastics related work in the sport of fitness. Muscular control, specifically throughout the shoulders and midline, are essential for maintaining the perfect position.

  1. Arms should be shoulder width apart. There should be an exact straight line from the wrists to the shoulders, to the lower body. Ears should not be visible. This position allows the athlete to achieve full shoulder extension.
  2. Throughout the duration of the handstand, the athlete should work to push the floor away as much as possible, essentially making the body as long as possible. Attempts to make the body long will naturally move the body into a straight line. There should be no space between the neck, ears, and arms.
  3. The head should be held neutral, in a manner that from the side the head appears to be in line with the arms, and the chin is not buried in the chest. The athlete then uses their eyes to look at their fingertips.
  4. There should be no shoulder angle, when viewed from the side there should be a straight line from the wrists, to the shoulders, to the hips, and finally to the ankles. Focus on the cue, “open shoulders.”
  5. Ribs should be rounded inward and not visible from the side. The musculature of the thoracic and lumbar spine works to maintain a flat back with no visible arch.
  6. Hips should be pressed flat so that no hip angle exists. The gluteal muscles should be contracted as much as possible to maintain a straight hip line.
  7. Legs should be straight and pressed together with pointed ankles.
  8. Fingers are rounded upward with fingertips pressing directly into the floor. Body weight remains over the palms of the hands and fingertips are used to aid in balance.

C. Why Precision is Necessary
“Physical skills will disintegrate under duress and fatigue—even in athletes with the mental and emotional attributes and stamina to be the best in critical competitions. In other words, athletes don’t rise to an occasion—they sink to the level of their training; so the training bar needs to be set high.” – Peter Twist

Elisabeth Akinwale competed NCAA Division I gymnastics. She also went unbroken during the Cinco 1 event at the 2013 CrossFit Games to easily win the event. Her handstand walks during this workout are far from perfect; her legs are bent and apart, her hands are slightly wide, and her head is out too far.

Despite these form breaks, the most essential elements of handstand technique are in place. Her shoulders are actively pushing away from the ground, there is no space between her neck, shoulders, and ears, and she is actively fighting any arch in her lumbar spine.

Most importantly, all of these points require absolutely no thought process for her. She has spent so much time forming the neural pathways essential to the mastery of her gymnastics skills that being upside down is natural. She may as well be walking on her feet.

Approaching the mastery of gymnastics related movements with the goal of perfection is not just essential in the abstract sense of refining the motor-learning development process. Approaching gymnastics with the goal of perfection will make easy (physically and mentally) work of gymnastics related exercises when your body is already under stress and fatigue.

If your technically perfect work disintegrates to a level of sub-perfection, you will still be performing well enough to complete the task assigned so long as you understand the absolute essential elements of the movement. If the bar has only been set to a less than perfect understanding of the movement, your ability to complete the task when your skills start to crumble under stress and fatigue will be compromised.

Get upside down. Put in the work. Make your brain coachable.”

(For full article: click here)

Are You Not Entertained…!? – By Coach Patrick

Ooooweee Chun Li, it’s finally upon us. The 2017 CrossFit Open season has landed in our laps and on our doorsteps with merriment and mayhem at every turn. Whether this is your first rodeo or you’re a seasoned Open vet, it’s time to strap in and enjoy whatever ride each Thursday announcement brings.

There are dozens of articles out there about finding your why, motivation for joining and how the Open is for everyone; I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment of Open inclusivity and the awesome broad diversity of reasons to get involved with it so I won’t rehash those words that are already out there.

I’ll just give a bit of history and perspective. I joined CrossFit in 2010 and have had the privilege of participating in every Open since they began in 2011.  Open WOD 11.1 (10 Minute AMRAP of 30 Double-Unders and 15 Power Snatches (75/55)) will always be my favorite, not only for it’s devastating simplicity and carnage but also because it started the course of history for the Open to usher in new individual challenges and ways to bring a community closer.

So here’s just some small bits of my brain space as we get going in this festive ball of sporty exercise and excitement. These are just some nuggets from a bloke who’s ran the gamut of ways to be in the Open, from scaled to prescribed, nursing injuries to posting great numbers, improvements and setbacks, judge and competitor, coach and fanboy, and even the guy who once bought Bill Grundler and Dave Castro two giant burgers at the Navy Pier before they wasted away during Regionals.

The Open is just as much individualized as it is a competition.
Simply put, it’s all about perspective. Perspective in how well you find the value and use of the numbers you score, how they relate to your past, current, and future performance and aspirations, how they relate to other athletes’ scores, and even how they stack up with the Games-bound elites. There is substance in knowing where you are as a barometer for where you’ve been and can go, there is light-hearted camaraderie in pitting yourself against someone similarly skilled or a different team, and there is appreciation in seeing the vast badassery and dedication of an elite level athlete putting up their numbers. All of those have caveats though, that substance for your barometer should be free from judgment or angst, that competition shouldn’t turn into the win at all costs or loss of light-heartedness, that appreciation shouldn’t convert to frustration over the distance between you and the elite.

Be humbled and enjoy it.
Some of these workouts can and do leave people soulless on the floor having an existential crisis. Own it, love it, develop that mental toughness and perseverance to respect a WOD that forces you to feel some misery and intensity like you may not necessarily be used to. That isn’t to say overextend yourself physically to the point of risk or injury, that’s why we train form and consistency in mechanics, but once you’re there, breathe deep, find your fire, and go to war. It’s a powerful introspective tool to get outside of a comfort zone and keep on keeping on. This Open has the chance to put you face to face with discomfort and the struggle bus. Get on, learn something new about yourself, your capacity, and capability. We as a community are all around you doing the same thing and supporting the hell out of your mental toughness PR.

Train how you fight, fight how you train.
An old adage in tactical, martial arts, and boxing worlds and true enough for the Open. You’ve already been hitting WODs, you’ve already played in the CF Open sandbox with old Open WODs sprinkled into programming, you’ve already learned new technique, you’ve already seen jumps in your strength or speed or performance. This isn’t anything alien or unfamiliar, you’ve got this because you’ve done things just like it before, and if for whatever reason you haven’t (*cough cough* dumbbells), myself and the other coaches are going to make sure you’re aware and prepared of how to knock out the movements, whatever they are. You’ve been here before and will be here again, unless of course you’ve sandbagged and held back on your effort for every WOD up until now (cue a stern look and a grumpy head-shake), now it’s time to just do work and…

Have Fun.
That’s it. High five your teammates, smile, laugh, sweat, and enjoy all the small and large moments of what will assuredly be a challengingly grand time had by all.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday FUNDay:
Split up in teams of 2, one person “judges” while the other one works, then switch

Open WOD 14.1
AMRAP 10
30 Double unders
15 Power snatches (75/55)

Another FUNday, another open WOD. This time 3 year ago. We were still under construction during this Open so the few people that actually did it here did it in the Foundations Room when it still had a hardwood floor. Ah memories!

The WOD itself is deceptively simple. Start of with 30 Double unders then it’s 15 Power snatches. Repeat as many times as possible in 10 minutes. The genius of this one is several layers deep. First we slam the heart rate into overdrive be leading off with 30 Double unders (and it’s only 30 so no time to relax and get into a flow). Then we are asked to do 15 reps light weight reps of a very technical movement that, despite the light weight, still takes a fair bit of power generation. This will further ramp up the heart rate and require even more oxygen. Be prepared to be gasping for breath in a shockingly short amount of time.