Missed Lifts and Threshold Training


Missed Lifts and Threshold Training

 

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or new to lifting there always seems to be an area for improvement. As you train each day you are working hard to make progress and hit that next PR.

 

Some days when you’re pushing the weight you might feel your form start to break down. It might be a low catch on the clean you couldn’t quite rack or taking ten steps across the gym floor to stand up a snatch or jerk. You want your lifts to look snappy and butter smooth. A performance worthy of a super slow-mo breakdown to epic music like the folks on Hookgrip. Unfortunately your running man snatch is like that bad high school yearbook photo your girlfriend always laughs at.

 

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

-Winston Churchill

 

You’re working hard and no one is going to hold an ugly lift against you, but sometimes the best way to move forward is with a work smarter not harder approach. Working with an experience olympic lifting coach can help you tackle your weaknesses head on. There are many reasons why you could be missing lifts and many of them have nothing to do with your time in the gym. Sleep, nutrition, stress and recovery are all important areas to consider before addressing the training program itself. If you feel that things outside the gym are good then it is time to look at your training program as well as you as an individual athlete.

 

A proper training program should incorporate some form of periodization. This means alternating volume, intensity, and exercise selection in a fashion that keeps continuous long term progress. The program should address your goals and take into account the whole body of work. If you are missing lifts during a lifting session you first need to identify if the issue is technique based, strength based, or a mobility issue.

 

If it is technique based there are accessory drills to help you address the weak component of your lift. If it is strength based you can adjust the percentages you are working at to ensure you are able to successfully complete. You may also need to incorporate more strength work based on a strength inadequacy or imbalance. You may simply need to dial back volume to prevent neuromuscular fatigue. Mobility issues can be corrected by screening a series of movement patterns to identify where to tackle with stretching and mobilization.

 

Missing a lift during a lifting session has different implications than misses on olympic lifting movements incorporated in a metcon based workout. The first thing you have to remember is the intention behind the workout programming in terms of the energy system being taxed and desired physiological response. It wouldn’t make sense to incorporate Cleans at 90% of your 1 rep max into a workout designed to build aerobic capacity. The lift would slow you down too much in between attempts and make it challenging to repeat the efforts with an elevated heart rate. There could also be a discrepancy between movements that is holding you back. For example it may be dangerous to attempt snatches after performing grip taxing movements like deadlifts, pull ups, and kettlebell swings. Some workouts are designed to tax the grip and that is perfectly fine but you need to be smart about the goals of the workout to keep your training both safe and effective.

 

Finding a coach who can help you improve your technique, strength, and mobility is a surefire way to stop missing lifts! If you want to improve get in touch with us today!

 

www.crossfithtown.com/getting-started

 

5 Reasons To Find Your Tribe


5 Reasons To Find Your Tribe

 

The word tribe may conjure up the image of native americans working together in a small village or a handful of cavemen chasing after a wooly mammoth with crude spears. Tribes have been an essential part of human existence for a long, long time. And guess what? Today they are more prevalent than they have ever been before.

 

By the end of this read you’ll have 5 reasons to go out and find your own tribe.

 

“A Tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to each other, a leader, and an idea.” -Seth Godin

 

The tribes of today certainly have a different look and feel than any image you may conjure up and for good reason. We are now fancy and well off 21st century people that have less need to collaborate for survival in that whole hunter-gatherer fashion. Today we have the iPhone X, the interwebs, and virtual reality glasses. We gather in online communities to fight for causes we believe in, ping our friends when it is time to celebrate a special occasion, and tune in to our favorite artists, athletes, and actors to hear them live from anywhere in the world. There is an incredible opportunity to connect like never before.

 

There’s just one problem. Despite the incredible technological advances people are feeling more alone and unheard than ever before. We have unlimited information, but don’t always know where to start when we want to make a change. There is a conflicting facet to social networks that make people oddly enough, antisocial.

 

If you feel like you’re not being heard in the noise it is probably because you’re not connected with the right people. If there’s an area in your life that feels like it is lacking, it’s probably because it needs to be filled with the right tribe. Your tribe.

 

So what exactly are the benefits of finding your tribe? Let’s dive in…

 

 

  • Tribes help raise your awareness

 

Like Seth Godin says, a tribe is connected to each other, a leader and an idea. If you already have an idea, for example, I want to improve my health and fitness. Now it is time to find a leader and some friends who are on the same track as you. So often people go on personal crusades to make make a change in their life but they stay in the same environment. By joining forces with your new tribe you will be in a heightened state of awareness with a focus on the habits and activities that your particular tribe engages in.

 

 

  • Tribes create an instant network for success

 

Members of a tribe gain the privilege of caring for one another. When a group of diverse people are able to collect in one place they bring an extensive background of knowledge, contacts, and opportunities to the table. They form a bond over the common interest of the tribe and are able to assist one another based on unique skill sets, each person has strengths they can use to help their neighbor.

 

 

  • Tribes create positive social pressure

 

When you surround yourself with people on a similar mission every individual action has an effect on the group. Individuals will feel the urge to act and perform in a manner that is congruent with the groups goals. That means increased accountability and less stumbling on the part of the individual.

 

 

  • Tribes help you feel a sense of belonging

 

Sebastian Junger in his recent book Tribe:On Homecoming and Belonging, discusses how modern society has been successful in so many ways, but as wealth goes up so does depression. That is because in our daily lives we no longer experience codependence and using our survival instincts. Our brains and bodies are equipped to function in 30-40 person groups taking on a harsh environment that no longer naturally occurs. He has worked closely with military troops and identified that a platoon in combat experiences this feeling at a high level and subsequently experiences a new deepness in their relationships.

 

What does this mean for you? Enduring hardship and struggle (even if it is voluntarily chosen) with a group will bring you closer together and provide you with a sense of belonging that is so primal to us.

 

 

  • Make a difference that is bigger than you

 

Let’s not forget that tribes are also connected around an idea. Achieving a goal or raising awareness to a cause is great but that effect is magnified when you help others do the same. Decisions that carry more weight in their effect will provide a deeper sense of meaning to the individual because they know they are making the world a better place.

 

Now find your tribe and make a ruckus!

www.crossfithtown.com/getting-started

Coffee, Wine, Bacon, and Fitness


Coffee, Wine, Bacon, and Fitness

The truth about some of your favorite indulgences

 

When you’ve gotten into a consistent fitness routine and finally started to feel good about the healthy choices you are making you tend to adopt a few new favorite foods along the way. At the top of the list for many folks are coffee, wine, and bacon. These foods are dietary staples in the fitness community and seem to fall somewhere in the category of “not bad enough to worry about and maybe even good for you.”Obviously with this kind of grey area it’s worth taking a deeper dive into the health benefits and potential pitfalls that can occur when eating these favorite foods.

 

Coffee

More than 450 million cups of coffee are consumed everyday in the united states alone. Coffee also happens to be the world’s number one source of antioxidants due to widespread consumption and high levels of polyphenols and hydrocinnamic acids. Despite its amazing capacity to fight free radicals in our body most people reach for a “cup of joe” each morning for one reason only. That energizing boost of energy from it’s high caffeine content.

 

Caffeine has become a huge catalyst for many of us to have a productive start to our day. For some of us taking one day without it and WHOA, watch out! Caffeine is also a popular beverage choice before a workout due to the increase in focus, energy, and alertness that make us feel ready to perform. Caffeine has even been shown to reduce pain associated with exercise making it a truly powerful training partner. Caffeine may also create a more favorable environment in the cells of muscle tissue that facilitate force production.

 

It also turns out that a cup of coffee can be beneficial post workout as well. When we exercise our bodies utilize glycogen, a form of glucose stored in our muscles, as a fuel source. In one study it was observed that athletes who consumed caffeine with carbohydrates after exercise had 66% more glycogen in their muscles 4 hours later. This significant boost in glycogen storage means you have set the tone for success in your next workout in terms of available energy.

 

Challenges arise when the quantity and timing of caffeine consumption begin to interfere with rest and recovery. Caffeine has been shown to interrupt sleep even when consumed 6 hours before bed time. Individual caffeine sensitivity can vary from person to person so you need to really listen to your body.

 

Wine

Red wine has long been touted as “heart healthy” and the best choice if you do wish to drink. However if you are a competitive athlete, trying to build muscle, or on a mission to lose fat there really isn’t much of a place for alcohol in your diet. After all, alcohol is merely empty calories (it will only contribute to fat gain, not lean muscle growth) and interferes with sleep, testosterone production, and puts extra wear and tear on your already busy liver. If you do find yourself in a situation where a drink is fitting, red wine tends to be a better than cocktails and heavy beers when it comes to calories and sugar.

 

What about the heart health benefits and antioxidants in red wine, don’t those make a glass worth it a few times a week?

 

Yes and No. And mostly no…

 

The link between red wine and heart health is still unclear and a positive correlation between the two has not been found. Red wine also doesn’t seem to perform better than other alcohols in its effect on cholesterol and heart health. Some of the hype around red wine comes from its resveratrol content. Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in the skins of grapes. It is possible that resveratrol reduces LDL levels and prevents blood clots. Unfortunately to consume high levels of this nutrient means drinking more alcohol and creating other potential health problems. Resveratrol supplements may not be absorbed that well so look for other good sources in foods like blueberries, peanuts, and plain old unfermented grapes!

 

Bacon

Bacon. Crispy. Crunchy. Delicious.

Is there any dish that can’t be improved by its presence?

Bacon may be the most controversial and beloved food in existence. In the wake of the paleo dietary movement and a shift in the way our country views dietary fat intake bacon has become the “little cheat food that could” for folks in the fitness community.

 

Bacon is made from pork belly and contains high levels of both monounsaturated and saturated fats. Bacon contains the monounsaturated fat oleic acid which is found in other healthy fats like olive oil. Saturated fat, long considered a culprit of heart disease actually plays an important role in our body’s signaling mechanisms. The ratio of different fats in the diet, genetics, and lifestyle choices all contribute to how much saturated fat we can consume for our optimal health.

 

So it turns out that bacon may not be so bad for you after all, but you have to be choosy. You have to consider the quality of the pork and the processing it undergoes during the curing that transforms bacon into the product we all know and love. The process generally involves curing the cuts of pork belly with salt and sugar and then the application of heat through a smoking process. There is also generally the application of some form of nitrates or nitrites to help preserve quality and appearance of the bacon.

 

For starters when you select your bacon product focus on where the pork came from and how it was raised. The tops brands will be pasture raised or humanely raised and organic is definitely an appropriate choice for this food. Next you will want the ingredients list to be short and not too sweet. That means pork, water, sea salt, and a small amount of sugar in the form of brown sugar or maple syrup. If you see a long list of preservatives and words you don’t recognize steer clear.

 

Finally some brands will use different sources of nitrates, even if the brand claims to be nitrate free it will often contain an ingredient like celery powder which has naturally occurring nitrates. Nitrates can convert to a carcinogenic compound known as “nitrosamines” under high temperatures. If you like your bacon crispy and brittle then you increase the chance of consuming these compounds. No fear, our body blocks the effects of these carcinogens in the presence of Vitamin C so grab a slice of orange or grapefruit with your bacon to play it safe!

 

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be sure to enjoy your “healthy” vices in the most appropriate ways possible. If you have questions about nutrition and how other dietary and lifestyle choices are affecting your training it can help to discuss them with a qualified coach who is experienced with nutrition as well.

www.crossfithtown.com/getting-started

3 Key Steps To Starting An Effective Daily Routine


3 Key Steps To Starting An Effective Daily Routine

 

“I’ve been thinking about taking up a meditation practice.”

 

“I really need to drink more water…”

 

“I feel so good when I exercise, I want to go to the gym more often, but can’t find the time!”

 

If you’re like most people you probably have considered starting a new daily routine to optimize one or more aspects of your life. In a world where time has become more and more valuable, distractions are at an all time high, and to-do lists are as long as ever – people are looking for ways to better themselves. One of the most common ways that folks use to make a change is by adopting a new routine.

 

Routines are actions or a combination of actions that yield a specific outcome or result.

They are the surest way to make an impactful change in our lives. By the end of this article you will be familiar with the 3 key steps to consider if you want to start an effective daily routine!

 

“Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.”

-W.H. Auden

 

Step 1: Keep the end result in mind.

 

As humans we have hundreds of little routines we practice each day. Most of these we don’t care to or need to focus on, they simply happen. Adopting a new routine is usually in pursuit of something new that we wish to attain. The benefit of successfully completing the routines could improve us physically, mentally, or emotionally.

 

Make sure to keep the end result in mind as you select your routine.This life changing benefit will keep you motivated and excited to stick with your routine!

 

Some common results people shoot for with their routine include:

  • Decreased stress
  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep
  • Improved mental clarity
  • More time
  • Better performance at school/work/sport

 

Routines to achieve these outcomes might look like:

  • Take 10 deep breaths before beginning a new project at work.
  • Exercise at least three times each week.
  • Turn my phone to airplane mode 1 hour before bed.
  • Make a list dividing each job into its constituent parts.
  • Plan out my daily schedule every morning while I drink my coffee.
  • Visualize what a successful outcome would look like for my upcoming event.

 

rou·tine

ro͞oˈtēn/

noun

 

  • a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.

 

 

Routines are most effective when practiced daily. Sometimes we need to focus extra hard on following through with a new routine until it becomes a habit. This is an important factor to consider in both the selection and implementation of your new routine.

 

Dr. BJ Fogg, a behavioral scientist from Stanford, has a basic behavioral model he uses to describe the steps to change. He claims that in order for a behavior change to happen you need to have the right mix of motivation, ability, and a trigger.

 

If we are highly motivated to complete a task then the odds are that when a trigger occurs we will produce a successful outcome. Likewise we tend to be successful at tasks that are easy to complete even if we are not so motivated to get them done.

 

Makes sense right?

 

The challenge many of us face is that we fail to set up routines that take into account the motivation required to complete a task requiring a higher level of ability. We shoot for the stars and quickly burn out after our initial gusto wears off.

 

Does this mean that we shouldn’t aim to make big dramatic change with our new routine?

 

Kind of…not exactly…but yes.

 

At least Dr. Fogg would advise against it. Instead he suggest focusing on the smallest possible change available to you in your new routine. Consistency wins the long term change game so you should pick a routine that you know you you can complete every single try. This will generate momentum and a new skill that you can apply later to more challenging target areas.

 

Action Step: Get out a pen and paper and spend 5 minutes brainstorming some ideas of areas you would like to implement a routine. Think about the end result you would like to achieve and make note of the top 2 or 3 new routines that would be a first step on the path. Then let’s move on to step 2!

     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Step 2: Determine the lay of the land

 

This is a chance to take inventory of your assets and keep an eye out for potential pitfalls. Implementing a new behavior is challenging because it requires knocking our brain off of autopilot. Rather than coast through our day following the usual agenda we are throwing a strategic interruption to our thought pattern that lets us try something new. This step can be split into two categories:

 

Supporting Factors, things that can help you implement your routine. Some examples could be:

 

  • A supportive partner or best friend
  • A commute to work that offers some alone time
  • Sticky note reminders you place all over your house
  • A trainer, coach, or mentor who wants you to succeed

And

 

Distracting Factors, barriers, or common faults that would get in the way of you completing your daily routine. This might look like:

 

  • Social settings where you may feel awkward practicing your new routine.
  • People who interrupt you and take up your time (EVEN IF YOU YOU LOVE THEM)
  • Physical struggles with things like exercise or waking up early.
  • Bad influences on your diet, behaviors, or actions.

 

Action Step: List the top 3 assets you have that could help you start your routine and then the top 3 distractions that may keep you from succeeding. For the distractions, find a solution for how you could overcome it (eg. Coordinate workout schedules with a friend, sIgn up for a class the night before, or prep healthy lunches for the week on Sunday afternoon)

 

Step 3: Track Your Progress

 

Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the founding father of using routines for personal development knew the importance of tracking and measuring his daily practices. Each morning Franklin asked himself, “What good shall I do today? And in the evening, “What good did I do today?” Taking the time twice each day to check in on his progress created more opportunities for growth and self-improvement.

 

Not only that but Ben cycled through a list of 13 virtues he chose to improve his morality. He would focus on one for a week at a time and document any infractions to the redeeming quality. He noticed significant improvement in his adherence cycling through each virtue four times a year.

 

As you prepare to start your new routine you want to keep track of your progress. Having clear defined parameters will make you more likely to succeed and recreate the process again for future habits.

 

Action Step: Make a plan to track your progress. What is the the key aspect of the routine are you measuring. What time of day will you log your results? Are you writing it in a notebook or on your phone or laptop? What will you write on days when you forget to adhere to your routine?

 

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”Archilochos

So now that you have the 3 key steps to starting an effective daily routine how are you going to implement them?

 

www.crossfithtown.com/getting-started