Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone

Feel like your fitness is hitting a wall?  Want to get better?  Find a way to push through your comfort zone and reach the next level.

CrossFit is not an easy sport, is it because it’s hard physically, mentally, or both? Your mind is a powerful thing, it can help you get through the tough times, or it can cause you to fall apart. Those who continue to succeed and see results are those who learn to control their mind when it is telling them to stop. The fragile let their mind take over and defeat them.

As a coach you often hear me say “Push through at the end, this is thwkle6248when you get better.”  We can all work hard when we are rested; you have to train your body to continue pushing when you’re tired. If you never push past your comfort zone your conditioning your body to stop when you feel the slightest bit tired. Try to develop strategies to break through that mental barrier of defeat. Here are a few strategies to consider…

Tell yourself to get just one more rep. When your mind is thinking “put down the barbell” or “get off the bar,” you fight back with one more rep. Completing just one more rep when everything inside of you is telling you to stop is a sure way to grow your mental muscles, next time you might do two more reps. Over time, this builds and you begin to push just a little further in each workout.

Create small goals that are reachable during workouts. Before I even start a workout I break it down with small goals. Small goals overtime will add up to big goals. For example, if my workout calls for 30 heavy front squats, my first goal might be to get to just 5 front squats.  When I get to 5 and still feel good, I start thinking, “good, I’ll do 5 more without rest,” and when I get to 10 and start to feel fatigued I might just talk myself into “two more.” But at 12, I might use the “one more rep,” and then do it again.  After a few “one more rep” goals, I am at 16 or 20 . . . and all of a sudden I might be close enough to 30 to either take a quick break and knock out the rest in one set, or even finish it off by chipping away on more rep at a time. If we are always putting the bar down when feel the slightest bit of fatigue, when does it ever become easier?

When it’s time to break through that wall don’t quit. If you ever hear me say, “Find that dark place, and keep working.” It’s because as long as your mind tells your body to keep moving, your body won’t stop. Find a dark place meaning push out of your comfort zone and keep moving! If you are doing wall balls, running, rowing, burpees, air squats etc. these are all mental movements. Meaning, as long as your body continues to say keep going we should physically be able to push though without failing a rep. Your body can handle more than your mind thinks it can. Don’t let that little voice in your head beat you!

Mobility = Flexibility + Strength

I want to take a moment to remember why we work out. Is it the mental break from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives? Or is it general fitness that we are trying to gain so that we can live a healthy lifestyle, take care of our kids, and do the things we want to do? For some it may be to increase performance in a sport, or activity like running, intermural activities or CrossFit. In any case we want to be as efficient as possible in our efforts. If we are going to be efficient then we need to make sure and hit all components of fitness. Nutrition, cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, mobility, and proprioception (body awareness) are the key components to fitness. Everyone has his or her own list of things that make up a “fit or healthy” individual. I have comprised mine using my experience in the medical field as a Physical Therapist for 9 years and being in the fitness industry for now 17 years. These are all pieces of a pie that when put together as whole make up a fit, healthy body.

I want to draw your attention today to mobility and flexibility as they relate to one another. Mobility is the ability of a tissue, muscle, tendon, or joint capsule, to move and be moved through a full range of motion (ROM) in a pain free manor. Flexibility is the quality of bending easily without breaking. In our case we are referring to muscle tissue.

Realize that our body adapts to the forces that we put on it. Its pretty amazing machine we are given right? If we lift weights we get stronger. If we write a lot we get a callus. And when we sit all day every day we get tight. Our bodies are not made to sit at a desk. We are made to hunt and forage and move around. Also realize that everything we do is in front of us. We type, we drive, and we eat. All things that, along with our good friend gravity, will pull our shoulders forward, push our chin out, shorten our upper traps and hamstrings (along with about nine thousand other muscles), and lead to lower back and cervical (neck) pain.

What we don’t realize is that this static positioning leads to restrictions in myofacia, and muscle. Myofacia is a tissue that surrounds, contains and helps our muscles glide upon one another. These restrictions, much like scar tissue, are laid down in an unorganized fashion. When tissue is unorganized it is rigid and sticky. We need it to be mobile just like our muscles.

In order to counter act the effects that this has on us, we need to mobilize and stretch to increase our flexibility and movability.

Preferably we need to do some type of dynamic warm up to increase circulation to the muscles which increases heat and pliability of the tissue. Just give me two to tree minutes of movement. You can mobilize and stretch a cold muscle but is it the most effective thing to do? I think not!! Once we have gotten our blood flow going we want to use foam rollers, lacrosse balls, or what ever your choice of mobility tools may be. Breaking up restrictions prior to stretching is key in maximizing efforts to gain ROM and flexibility. Ideally we mobilize a muscle for two to three minutes then we follow up by stretching that muscle for at least 30 seconds three times per muscle group. So now we are breaking up unorganized tissue and lining it back up so that, if it is a muscle we are talking about, it can contract and relax, which in turn increases strength. This will also allow the muscle to circulate blood and nutrients more efficiently, which increases healing, and recovery.

Is it easy to just stretch or roll a bit because someone somewhere told you to and you are just checking a box? Yes, but if we want to make real change in our tissue we will make a little extra effort and do the things we need to do to stay fit and healthy. Just to recap, mobility before stretching will increase pliability in the tissue, which increases blood flow and nutrient delivery, as well as realigning muscle fibers to make it more efficient at contracting and relaxing. This in turn will help increase the strength and effectiveness of that muscle.

So what your saying is that mobility will increase strength as well as flexibility? YES!!!!

The Good Kind of Stress


When you finish a CrossFit workout do you feel completely wiped out? Do you work as hard and as fast as you possibly can? If you do, you are creating good stress on your body.

Stress creates adaptation. It usually goes one of two ways.

With minimal effort, you do not put enough stress on your body. You will adapt to be slower and weaker. Basically, if you don’t use it, you lose it. If you stop challenging yourself, you will become stagnant in your progress and possibly even backtrack.

With maximal effort, you will stress your body enough to make it adapt into a stronger, faster machine. When you move faster, lift heavier, and rest less during a workout, your body will adapt, making it easier the next time you workout.

This is why I call it good stress.

There are a few ways your muscles can adapt.

Neuromuscular adaptations happen the fastest compared to other adaptations. Your body can recruit more motor units for a muscle contraction. This is called motor unit recruitment. The more motor neurons that are recruited, the stronger the muscle contraction will be (you will be able to lift more weight).

Hypertrophy is another way your body can adapt. This can happen in a couple of ways. Your muscle fibers can get bigger, or your muscles can increase the amount of glycogen (energy) they store.

Your body can also get more efficient at buffering lactic acid. When you get to the part of your workout when your muscles start to burn, you are feeling that moment when your body is reaching lactate threshold. This means you’re producing more lactic acid than your body can get rid of, and then your muscles cannot contract. Over time your body will adapt by buffering it out more efficiently so you can workout for longer at a higher intensity. Just be aware that training at your lactate threshold will require mental toughness because it is not comfortable. Some adaptations do not come so easily!

Blood capillaries will become more efficient to supply muscles with oxygenated blood. Your muscles can also develop more mitochondria to produce more energy for your muscles. Even your fiber types can change depending on what type of training you do (fast twitch or slow twitch).

There are also other adaptations that occur such as cardiovascular, bone, respiratory, and hormonal adaptions.

You need to create stress on your body by moving faster, lifting heavier, etc. Then your body will make adjustments and adaptations to get better. If you struggle to lift it, your muscles will get stronger. If your legs cannot sprint anymore, your will become more efficient at buffering out the lactic acid.

Once your body adapts to the stress, you have to increase the stress. This means you have to work faster, lift heavier, etc once your body gets used to it.

There is always room for improvement!

A 3 Min Warm up for Overhead Movements


3 min Warmup for Overhead Movments

Need a quick warm up to loosen up the shoulders, bicep, and tricep in preperation for handstands, snatches, presses.




A 30 min Workout?

We know sometimes, you just don’t have an hour  to give to get your workout in. We get it, there is so much going on.

Do you have 30 min?  Great!  If you are in a RUSH, crunched for time, you can join our new RUSH class. It’s 30 min long, designed to get you in and out.  It’s a combination of Warmup, mobility, and endurance, with light weights.

Now offered at Heights on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:30am.

Have a friend that needs an assist on starting their fitness Journey but are a little scared of CrossFit?  Show them RUSH.


Welcome Coach Carleigh!


Meet Carleigh Hall.


Carleigh is joining the H-town team and will be working predominately at the Heights.  We are excited to have her join our community and you should be too!

She brings a lot of experience, specifically working with children ages 5-13.


A little bit about her:

Age: 24

Hometown: Small town in Kansas (1 stop light)

She is  a former collegiate athlete at West Virginia Wesleyan College where she received her Bachelors of Science in Sport Business. Although Carleigh only started CrossFit in June of 2014, she has quickly developed both physically and mentally as an athlete and coach.  Carleigh loves to see improvements  and helping people meet their fitness goals.


CrossFit L1

CrossFit Mobility

USA Weightlifting


Fun Facts:

Has a dog named Chloe

Loves the Water

Has her eye on Regionals

Never lived in a big city

Moved here from Florida to join H-town. (Her previous clients loved her so much, they helped her finance the trip.)  *that says a lot about someone


If you haven’t met her already, come up and say hi! You will see her most mornings, and a little at Open gym and evenings.


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James and Hope Namken Sept AOM 2016

Names: James & Hope Namken

Started: Feb. 2015 & Aug. 2015

Age: James is 54 and Hope is 53

Goals: Stay Healthy and Active into their 60’s & 70’s

Back Squat gainz

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For the next 8 weeks, we will be applying a principle in strength and conditioning known as The Principle of Progressive Overload.

We will be targeting one movement: our back squat.

Beginning at high reps with low weight, we will have a systematic approach to gradually work to low reps with high weight over the 8 week period.

Progressive overloading is effective because it places stress on your muscles, which results in your body adapting to the stimulus.

We will have a back squatting session one time per week during CrossFit class. The dates that we will be back squatting will be posted on the anouncements in Wodify.

If you want to see gains in your back squat, make sure you attend all back squatting dates and be accurate on your percentages throughout sets.


Check out this Educational video from Juggernaut Training on Progressive Overload.