Category Archives: Articles & Videos

Articles & Videos to Inspire

How We Program – Part 1

As we are getting our facility up and running, we are getting a lot of interest from people who already know about CrossFit to some level and degree. We aren’t posting daily WODs yet, so a question we get asked frequently is about our programming. (Which is absolutely something you should be concerned and informed about as an athlete/member.)

I want to make very clear that CrossFit is designed to be constantly varied, but should never be random. We don’t scour the internet and pick and choose workouts from other places. We do look at them to get ideas and see what others are doing, but we rarely scalp someone else’s WOD unless it fits in exactly with what we are doing. We don’t want to re-invent the wheel and we certainly use other WODs and sites for inspiration and ideas, but each WOD we program is thoroughly thought out and planned to elicit a very specific response from your body. We have daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and long term goals and plans for ourselves and our athletes. CrossFit is a lifestyle and we want to be sure you can do it injury-free for a long time and continue to make steady gains without plateauing.

We have an hour of your time as often as you come into our gym. We know that no one is coming in 7 days a week, even though we offer classes and open gym every day. We know that some of our athletes will come in as they can with their busy lives to enjoy the community, some are using CrossFit as cross training for something else, some of our athletes have goals to go to the Games, and people will fall into all areas of that broad spectrum. We know that and try to plan for that. The great thing about CrossFit is that all of those people can still come in and work out together and get what they need. Our necessities as athletes, of any kind, vary only by degree and intensity, not kind.

First, let’s talk about the different aspects of all around fitness. It’s good to know the difference between Areobic Conditioning, Strength, and Power and why we need and program for all 3.

Metabolic Conditioning, or MetCons as we refer to them, builds capacity in each of three metabolic pathways, phosphocreatine happens first and suddenly, 10-15 seconds of hard fast work. Anaroebic happens in the 10-60 second burst. Aerobic is the long term stuff. MetCons increase the storage and delivery of energy for any activity.

Strength is the ability to generate as much force as possible with no concern for how long it takes to perform the exercise. Strength is most important to weightlifters who are trying to perform their one rep maxes such as bench press, deadlift and squat.

Power is the ability to generate as much force as fast as possible.  It is the intersection between speed and strength.  Power is needed for almost all athletic movements such as swinging a baseball bat, Olympic clean and jerk, and a golfer’s swing.

As CrossFit defines fitness, you know there are 10 different aspects to making you the most well-rounded athlete, we consider all those and work all 10 into your time with us. Maybe not every day, but certainly within the week and month.

We want to be consistent with our schedule so that you as athletes know what days you should come. We all have goals and know the things we are working on specifically or if we just want good all around fitness. (And we can help you decide that if you’d like or aren’t sure what to be focusing on, that is what we are here for.) Tomorrow’s article (Part 2) will explain in very specific details how we plan our daily workouts for you.

As soon as there is enough interest, we will have Specialty Classes for Mobility, Olympic Lifting/Technique, and Power Lifting/Strength. We include elements of these in every class to expose people to some of the basics, but there isn’t enough time in that hour to cover it all. We think all of it is extremely important to being a well-rounded athlete and if you want more in depth training in any or all of those areas, we are set up to do that according to your needs and goals.

You, Your Ego, and CrossFit

By Dirk Gessler

You have overcome all of the barriers, you have persevered in the face of overwhelming odds, you have finally decided to try CrossFit. Congratulations! You are embarking on a life long adventure that will improve your physical and your mental well being. Your strength will go up and your Fran time will go down. You will realize that you are capable of so much more than you have ever thought possible.

There is only one problem: your ego.

Your ego has the potential to crash your CrossFit adventure into a tree. It can grind this whole amazing trip to a teeth shattering, bone splintering, white knuckled halt. If you don’t learn how to check your ego at the door you are in for a world of hurt. Not only in potential injuries but also by stalling or slowing (or even worse, regressing) your progress.

We write WODs for specific purposes. Many people think of CrossFit as random, but it isn’t (or at least it really shouldn’t be). It is constantly varied, but it is never random. We have deliberately planned the weights and movements to illicit a very specific response in your body. If you don’t believe me, ask me sometime, I will wax poetically about metabolic responses, lactate thresholds, intensity, and potential strength gains. Seriously I love this stuff. The problem comes in when you decide you would rather see the RX next to your name instead of sticking to the plan.

CrossFit is an overall, long term, lifestyle plan, it isn’t meant to get you ripped quick. We want to see you continually make gains, not make fast gains and then plateau. We also want to make sure you stay healthy so that you CAN continue to workout and see progress.

Putting an RX next to your name is worthless if you are well outside the time domain we wanted for you. There are no accolades if you did the WOD as prescribed and your time was double that of the next slowest person. Your ego robbed you of the adaptations we planned for your body.

There is a flip side to the RX issue as well. Some people want the fastest time regardless of the intention of the WOD. If you routinely come in 2 or 3 minutes (or more) faster than everyone else but you use lower weights your ego might be standing between you and increased strength (as well as a faster metabolism and increased bone density that comes with being stronger). This doesn’t help you at all either.

The last point I would like to cover is potential for injury. If we strip weight or modify movements before or mid WOD, don’t let your ego flair up. We are doing it because we see an unsafe situation and we don’t want you to end up injured because your form breaks down. Our job is to make you the best you can be. Help us by not letting your ego get in the way.

Building a CrossFit Community

By Dirk Gessler

Other affiliates are not my competition.

The idea of competition in business is a divisive issue among CrossFit Affiliates. Some insist that other Affiliates are not their competition. Others fight with each other tooth and nail for each client, undercutting and bad mouthing each other until nobody wins. This is a bad way to do business. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth of everyone involved, especially the would-be CrossFit client who goes elsewhere because for them, all* CrossFit boxes are greedy and underhanded.

This is unfortunate because I believe that other CrossFit affiliates are not the competition.

The couch is my competition.
Diabetes is my competition.
Sedentary lifestyles are my competition.
Obesity is my competition.
Poor health is my competition.
Decrepitude is my competition.
Running on a treadmill for hours a week with no effect is my competition.
Countless bicep curls for no progress is my competition.

I believe this so much that I have links to most of the other CrossFit affiliates in my area on my web site. If my box isn’t right for an athlete, one of theirs is.

The world is full of reasons for people not to work out. That is my competition. That is really what I am fighting against. Everyone may have plenty of reasons not to work out, but there are even more urgent and compelling reasons for them to be working out.

We as a CrossFit community are much better equipped to lead a health revolution in this world than any of us as individuals. My goal is to help people live a healthier and fuller life. If that happens to be at my gym, great! If it happens to be at a neighboring box, that’s great too! At least we made a difference…together.

* I use the word all here to illustrate that for most clients, one or two Affiliates behaving poorly is enough to poison them to CrossFit altogether.

What Is Your Why?

 

“Do you live for the applause? Live the way that you cheer and scream for me.” Lady Gaga, Applause

Why do you do it? Why do you get out of bed every morning at 5am and head to the gym? Why do you spend your lunch hour at the gym? Why do you stop at the gym on the way home from work? Why do you get up on the weekends and make your way to the gym instead of sleeping in for a few hours?

Why do you tolerate the fish oil burps and drink Hard Apple Cider instead of Guinness? Why do you opt for grass fed beef patties with farm fresh veggies over the convenience of a $5 pizza or frozen meal?

You need to know your why. There will be days when you won’t want to do it. But you need to know your why and in those times you need to remember why you work as hard as you do. Why you push yourself to your limits and then go past them. Why you take care of your body so that it will take care of you for a long time.

Knowing your why will be very important as CrossFit becomes a part of your life. Remembering your why will be integral as you take on the challenge of the CrossFit Games Open workouts coming up. When you are in the middle of that tough workout and you want to quit, and you will want to quit, you need to remember why you push yourself to do the things you do. Remember them. And then use them to drive you forward to that next rep, that next minute, that next round.

Why do I do it? I have no ambitions to ever make it to the CrossFit Games. Sooner than I’d like, I will be of the age that I could compete in the Masters Division. I admire all of those woman, and all of them would quite handedly kick my butt.  But I signed up for the Open this year. I have 3 young kids, and I would like to teach them to take some chances in life. Show them it’s OK to show up and participate and compete even if you have no chance of winning. Teach them the value of competition, sportsmanship, and camaraderie.

I would also like to get over myself and my fear of feeling inadequate. To actually push myself harder than I think I can. To challenge myself physically and mentally. The applause I am seeking is only from inside myself at doing something I didn’t think I could.

Why do you do it? Is it for the thrill of competition? Is it just to say that you did it? Is it to prove to yourself and maybe others that you can? Is it to be in the ring with others simply to support and cheer them on? Is it to set a good example for your kids? Is it simply for the love of CrossFit?

What is your why?

What should you do to maximize your CrossFit experience: Part 3

By Dirk Gessler

FinishedPlyoBoxes

In the past week I have posted the first 3 articles in a four part series.  Today I will wrap up the series with the final two ways you can maximize the effectiveness of your WODs, sticking to a schedule and showing up with the appropriate attitude to workout.

Life is crazy and hectic.  It can be unpredictable and we have all had to make difficult choices with our schedules.  I know sometimes you will have to take care of something instead of working out, we all do.  What I want you to be careful of is rationalizing skipping your workout frequently.  Its easy to feel tired and sore and decide that running an errand after work is more important than stopping in and sweating through a workout.  Time for you and your health is also important.  You are less effective as a parent, employee, or friend if you are sick and unhealthy.  Do yourself a favor and make an hour a day for 3-5 of the 7 days of the week.  Your healthier self will thank you for it.

We also understand that sticking to a schedule is hard, which is why we try very hard to offer classes as often and at the most convenient times possible.  Too busy in the morning?  Stop in over lunch, get your workout in, hit the showers, and get back to work.  Too many errands at night?  Get your workout in before work and feel refreshed and energized all day!  We have done everything we can think of to remove the barriers in between you and a healthier life, help us out by not erecting bogus ones.

Attitude.  It seems like such a small thing but it has such a profound effect on so much in our lives.  There are all sorts of catchy cliches about attitude but I will refrain from using any of them here.  I have a lot more to say about this in future posts, but for now I want to cover the basics.

Show up knowing that you will give your all for the next hour.  Understand it may be difficult but it will make you stronger, faster, and healthier in the long run.  Maybe you don’t like pull-ups, or double unders or whatever else we happen to be doing that day.  We aren’t doing it because you don’t like it or because you aren’t good at it.  We are doing it to get a specific adaptational response from your body.  Just ask me, I’ll be happy to tell you what the intention of the workout is that day.  Try not to get discouraged or frustrated, we all have problems with certain movements.  You won’t get better unless you work on them.

There is one more point here that ties these two items together.  Don’t let yourself look at the WOD, see a movement you don’t like or aren’t good at, and then decide that you really have to get to the post office after work instead of working out.  Either commit to working out regardless of what is posted for the WOD that day, or don’t look at the WOD until you get to the gym.

What should you do to maximize your CrossFit experience: Part 2

By Dirk Gessler

Over the last few days I have been posting a series of articles on how to make the most of your CrossFit experience.  Today in part 2, I want to talk about the next two points, sleep and nutrition.

The first thing I want to talk about is probably the most important and also the one that gets cut the fastest during our hectic lives: rest.  Sleep.  The single most important thing you can do on your fitness journey is make sure you get enough rest.  Lack of sleep will short circuit your fitness faster than just about anything else.  You do not get stronger while you are lifting heavy things.  You get stronger while you rest and your body recovers from you lifting heavy things.  If you put your all into every workout but don’t insure you have enough recovery you will stall your fitness progress or worse yet you will regress.

How much sleep should you get?  That is a very good question.  My favorite quote on the subject comes from Robb Wolf, an expert on paleo lifestyle and healthy living.  He says, “Sleep as much as you can without getting divorced or fired.”  If you can’t commit that much to sleep at least make sure you are getting at least 8 hours at the bare minimum.

You should also strive to makes sure the sleep you are getting is the best possible sleep you can get.  Not all sleep is created equal.  You should try to make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible.  You should also work on not using electronic devices within an hour of bedtime.  I find that reading an actual book is much more relaxing than playing on my phone or laptop when I am getting ready for sleep.

Second only to sleep in importance is getting the proper nutrients so that your body can recover and repair itself after your workout.  I am not going to take this time to push a specific diet or lifestyle.  I will make some general recommendations though.  Within 45 minutes of working out you should ingest a good solid amount of protein (at least 20g).  In a perfect world this protein would come from real, solid, unprocessed food.  I like to think of myself as a realist though and I fully understand that very few of us have the time or dedication to make sure this happens.  At the very least make sure you get that protein from a source you trust.  If you decide on a post workout shake, make sure that it doesn’t have things like artificial sweeteners (or sugar at all if weight loss is your main goal).  Remember, the stuff you put into your body actually becomes you.

Both of these points are intertwined.  Getting enough sleep without eating the right things won’t help much.  Likewise, eating the right things but short changing your sleep doesn’t help much.  Committing to working on both is where you will see the most gains.

What should you do to maximize your CrossFit experience: Part 1

By Dirk Gessler

The other day I posted an introduction to 6 things I think are integral to getting the most out of your workouts.  Today I wanted to drill in a bit deeper on two of those points.  First I am going to talk about being on time for classes and then I want to discuss actually being ready for the class when it starts.

Punctuality is stressed all the time in life.  From very young we are urged to be on time to school, work, dates, and everything else. Showing up on time is important in life, but I would like to talk about my own little corner of the world.  CrossFit classes are jam packed.  There isn’t any extra time to spare at all.  We need to take 6-12 different people from varied walks of life, get them safely warmed up so they can perform without injury.  We need to get through a skill or strength session, then go over the WOD movements, perform the WOD, and then get everyone stretched out and cooled down.  Oh, and we try very hard to get you out of the box on time, we understand you have a life outside of CrossFit. That is a lot of things to pack into an hour.  Even starting a minute or two late can force the coach to make some tough decisions on what has to get cut or shortened to make up the time.  If you show up after the warmup has started, now the coach has to worry about getting you sufficiently warmed up to be able to move safely. The rest of the class loses the coach’s focus while they catch you up.  It is really much better for everyone if you make sure you are on time.  Granted things happen from time, unavoidable circumstances and all that, but don’t make it a common occurrence to stroll in 2 minutes after the class has started.

The second thing you can do to get the most out of your workout is actually just a continuation of the first.  Be ready to work out when class starts.  This probably means showing up for class 5 or 10 minutes early.  Being on time doesn’t really help anyone if you still have to change your shoes, fill up your water bottle, and adjust your new speed rope.  All of this should be taken care of prior to the warm up starting.  On the same not, if you have special warmup needs for old injuries or stiff joints you should make it a habit to arrive early enough to class to get that taken care of before class starts.  We work very hard to design warmups that cover all the joints well, but if you have issues with certain joints or need to roll out some sore muscles, make sure you budget time before class to get that done.

Focusing on being in the box on time and ready to workout goes a long way to making sure you and your fellow CrossFitters get the most out of your time with us.  Stay tuned next time when I go over nutrition and sleep tips that will help you recover from your workouts faster and perform better!

What should you do to maximize your CrossFit experience: Intro

By Dirk Gessler

Now that you have decided CrossFit is for you, I wanted to share a few things I have learned over the years that will help you get the most out of your WOD. Each of these points is important and deserves some consideration, so stay tuned for more in depth information on each point in subsequent articles.

Let’s face it, CrossFit is a commitment in both in time and money.  You may as well get the most out of it, so to be sure you are taking full advantage of your time at the box by remembering the following.

Show up on time.  This is self explanatory but more important than most people understand.

Be ready to work out.  This seems to be obvious but I can’t possibly count the number of times I have been tripped up by it or see it trip others up.

Be rested.  Easily the most important item on this list.

Consume the right and enough nutrients.  Extremely important, second only to getting enough rest.

Stick to a schedule.  Commit to a workout schedule and stick to it.

Bring the correct attitude.  Don’t defeat yourself before you even show up.

I will go into each of these in more depth over the next several articles.  Start thinking about these now to insure you get the most out of your time in CrossFit.

What’s Holding You Back?

Written by Nikole Gessler

We are all afraid of something. Probably many things. And some fear is a good thing, but don’t let it cripple you.

The most common things I hear when I tell people they should try CrossFit are:

I need to lose some weight first.
Let me get in a little bit better shape first.
It’s too expensive.
I don’t have time.
I have kids with me all day.
I don’t know enough about CrossFit.

And I’ll even let you in on a little secret. I have said all of those myself. But I am going to call bullshit on all those excuses right now. Change is hard. Trust me, I know. At one point in my life I weighed 215 pounds. I am 6’ tall, so as everyone used to like to tell me, “I carried the weight well.” I said all those things because it was easier to stay the same than it was to change.

I did lose 40 pounds and gain muscle mass, and a big part of that was eating clean, working out and eventually CrossFit. So when it came time for me to face some of my fears and go forward with starting my own CrossFit box, I have been very conscientious about those initial excuses I had myself. We at CrossFit Recursive are trying very hard to make sure there are no barriers to entry. No excuses.

You need to lose some weight? Fantastic – CrossFit is a fabulous way to do that. Losing weight, getting toned/fit, and gaining muscles mass are the 3 main reasons people start working out. We all want to look in the mirror and be proud of what we see. CrossFit can help you get there. We can provide nutritional advice, help with supplements, direction for the best recovery, plus moral support through the fantastic community that CrossFit creates. You won’t ever be on your journey alone.

You need to get in shape? So that you can get in shape? CrossFit is HOW you get in shape. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never stepped into a gym before or never laid hands on a barbell, we will guide you safely every step of the way. We even offer two options for you when starting out to make sure you are comfortable.

The first is a boot camp or lite style class offering called CrossFit Base. There you will still be doing CrossFit workouts, but the barbell work will be light and only in the skill portion of the class. None of the actual workouts will involve the barbell, but you will use your body weight and some other small ancillary tools. Trust me, you will still sweat.

The second thing we do is offer a Foundations Class for everyone new to CrossFit. There you will learn everything you need to know to safely do all the CrossFit movements. Classes are kept very small to get you a lot of individualized attention. We want to make sure you are comfortable and get the most of your time with us.

It’s too expensive? Yes, CrossFit costs more than the 24 hour gym down the street. But, at CrossFit, you will never be stuck on a treadmill reading a magazine while listening to music and watching re-runs of How I Met Your Mother. Each hour long class is instructor lead from start to finish. Classes are kept smaller so you get the attention you need. You develop a sense of community as you work out with people, you bond over the struggles you’ve gone through together. You can’t get that anywhere else. Consider the cost of personal training, which runs anywhere from $20 – $80+ an hour, while the cost of CrossFit typically works out to be less than $7.50/class. And, it is also worth noting that many Flexible Spending Accounts will cover gym/fitness memberships.

You don’t have time? I get it that we are all very busy in life with families, and jobs, and other obligations. Working out, doing something to better yourself, usually takes a back burner to life’s other obligations. We have tried to make our schedule fit your needs. We offer classes before work, over the lunch hour, and after work/evenings, plus classes on both Saturday and Sunday. We even have shower facilities so you can get ready for work at the gym. We also have a kitchen area and recovery beverages available to grab on your way out. And let’s think a little bit bigger here. We all need some time for ourselves, we need to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others for years to come. You are worth an hour a day.

You have kids? So do we! Three of them ranging in ages from 4-12. So we know that time is scarce and money is tight and we need to work out because sometimes fast meals are what we get. We want to set good examples for our kids and that is hard. We do offer two different spaces for kids in our facility, a play room for younger kids and a study room for older ones. We know what it is like to have kids and struggle with getting to the gym. We also offer couples/family discounts so both parents can work out together while the kids play at the gym.

You don’t know enough about CrossFit? There is a lot on the internet about CrossFit, you can certainly google it to find a huge range of articles and thoughts on it. You should also visit the CrossFit main site – www.crossfit.com. there is a wealth of information there. We also offer a Free Trial Class for you to come meet us, see the facilities and try a workout with us.

If you have any other legitimate excuses to not try us out, please let us know. We’d love to hear them so we can try and help you work them out. Let go of your fear, put your excuses to rest, and come give us a  try.

Is CrossFit for You?

Written by Nikole Gessler

I could be wrong, but I don’t think anyone has ever just woken up one morning and said, “Yes, CrossFit is for me. It’s the thing I want to do.” I think most people go through a period of self-doubt about this whole “CrossFit thing.” I was certainly no different.

We wonder if we are in shape enough, fit enough, strong enough, fast enough, or good enough to do this thing we see on TV and all over the internet. We wonder if we will fit in, if people will talk about how slow we are or weak we are, if we are wearing the right shoes and clothes and talking the right lingo with the AMRAPs and the OMEMs and the WODs and the Paleo and the Zone.

It is also probably safe to say that CrossFit is in fact not for everyone. And that is OK. I do think that there is a very large demographic that can take advantage of the unique fitness structure that CrossFit is based on.

See if you fit into one or more of these categories. If you do, maybe you should at least give this “CrossFit thing” an honest try.

Are you or do you have developing kids, kids with special learning needs or high school athletes?

Are you someone who is trying to lose weight or gain mass/muscle or just look good naked?

Are you an experienced athlete training in the off season or an elite athlete looking to compete?

Are you an adult fighting cognitive disabilities due to disease or accident or part of the older generation trying to keep their mobility and stay out of a nursing home?

Are you a parent who needs to make the best use of an hour away from home while getting fit and doing something good for yourself and your family?

Are you tired of spending 3 hours at the globo gym and not getting results or tired of the monotony of the treadmill?

The things we need as humans to maintain a fit, healthy, and happy lifestyle vary only by degree, not kind. Everything in CrossFit is scalable and modifiable to best fit the athletes needs, goals and abilities. It’s why the most elite athlete training for the next competition can work out next to the high schooler trying to lose weight and get off the diabetes meds who is working out next to the grandma of 12 keeping her mobility so she can carry her own groceries who is next to the soccer mom just trying to get away from the house for an hour and do something good for herself.

This is what also drives the CrossFit community in the huge way that it does. CrossFit is cross generational, doesn’t care about your gender, and isn’t phased by what level of fitness you start in. Everyone starts the class together, does some version of the workout together and ends by stretching together. You get to know people you wouldn’t in any other setting. You get to go through the vulnerability of the workouts and pushing yourself to go faster, go harder, not quit – even when you really want to. And all of these people were right beside you going through the same thing. You can’t help but form a bond with people who have been to battle with you.

So really, at the end of the day, I am just not sure that there isn’t anyone that can’t, shouldn’t or couldn’t benefit from what CrossFit has to offer. So, go ahead, give that box near you a call and schedule a free trial class and see where that leads you. If you were waiting for a sign, this is it.