Thursday, August 22, 2013

Quantity Perception

Often times we measure our training by the amount that we did. We do this in our regular lives as well. The more time we spend doing something the better we'll get. The more money we have the happier we'll be. We're breed to believe this. That's why training is tough. That's why life is difficult. Its a perception. And its quite powerful.

I write this post because I've been thinking a lot about this topic as of late. As an athlete, coach and person, I constantly question am I doing enough? Am I getting happier the more I do? Again this is why training is tough. This is why life can be difficult. In my 3 1/2 years of CrossFit training and coaching I've discovered so many things. The one thing I've learned is that this question will always remain. It will stand strong in the mind of the hardest working athletes and people in this world. You'll always hear it from them. You'll see it take place in your box. Most of the time you'll be unable to do anything about it. It will hurt. It will be hard to let go. At the end of the day, these athletes and people you see will have to overcome this perception in their time. It takes time. Grasping and understanding this will only do one good.

There's only so much time. Time to train. Time to sleep. Moments to eat. Memories to make. The amount of time actually never changes. Its how you use it that does. Twenty-four hours at your disposal. Disposal decided by you and only you. Please understand these last two points. We can't do the same thing day after day expecting the same results. Your body will get complacent. Second of all,  perception is not your fault, but ignoring it always will be. It's your job to find the quality in your training, but more importantly your life.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Inspire - SD Wall: Shoulds vs Musts

We're taking a quick break from the elements series. We'll make sure to wrap it up next Sunday so those who have been following along can piece it all together! This week, I wanted to call you attention to an important brainstorming - identifying your shoulds vs musts. Ever think about 'em?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Triathlon - Swim Efficiency Tips (Progression)

When you tell someone that you "do" triathlons I think the first thing they ask is "Why?" and then the second thing they say is "I could do the bike and the run, but that swim would be rough." Even if you were to ask the majority of triathletes they'll tell you that the swim is their least favorite of the three disciplines. I don't think this should come to anyone's surprise. Let's be honest, swimming is probably the most technical sport out there (yes even more so than running) and the fact that your typically surrounded by at least thirty other bodies (hundreds if its an Ironman event) claustrophobia anyone?

When you train for a sport it involves progression. Not just a progression to more difficult distances or CrossFit WOD levels, but a progression of skill sets. Before entering CrossFit, I wouldn't have though of it that way, but the fact is this type of training (if you're doing it correctly) always exposes your weaknesses. I think that's where traditional models might lack. There is less of an emphasis on what you suck at. I know that in order to achieve the most difficult goal I've set in front of me I'll have to improve the skill. It's weird saying that. Wouldn't you think it just takes more hard work? more time? The health and fitness community would say so. I think we're been programmed that way. That's why when you throw someone into their first few months of CrossFit they believe the prescribed workout is where they should immediately be. Again, I'm not saying everyone, but seriously this is how the world wants us to think. More is better. There will come a point in every athlete's career, whether it's Basketball, Tennis, CrossFit or Triathlon where they finally realize its a progression of skills. Cardiovascular endurance and strength are totally sexy, I get it, but they can only take us so far. Hardware components are needed, but software makes the system improve its wires so that the hardware can be more efficient. Looking at the skill is what it will take.

That hurts doesn't it? You can't just run or lift more ... ouch. Are we okay? I've dealt with this issue plenty of times and I think for any dedicated athlete it will always come up. Simply believe in your programming. Believe in the skills. Too often do we forget that this is the answer that will lead us to achieving our goals. Mine included.

Scared of the water or just looking to be more efficient here are some quick tips!

- Get as long as possible in the water
- Stretch yourself out, think taller
- Knuckles need to stay out in front
- Keep a straight neck always inline with your spine
- Think "laser pointer" on the reach out, think straighter

- Stop holding your breath, always make sure to exhale in the water
- Air should be headed OUT in the water and IN out of the water
- Work on both sides, 3-5-7 depending on the intensity

To get to the next level you'll need a swim coach. Just like a high quality bike fit this is what it will take to have strong technique in the water. Video feedback is key.

A quick note about training ... Don't be scared to mix your CrossFit in with the pool. Bodyweight exercises and lap swimming will crush even the most seasoned athlete. Youtube's got plenty of legit clips to show you how to program something.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Two Minute Tuesday: Jump Rope Drill P1

Hey runners! Quick question. Are you including jump rope in your current training prescription? If you're not get on it! Not only should you be utilizing the jump rope in your strength and conditioning workouts, but even more so as you warm up to go for your run. The jump rope pieces all the key components of good run mechanics together. I swear it took me at over a year to get good at this one. Give it a shot! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

CrossFit for Weight Loss

Given my background I'm sure your thinking I've already written this post, but today's actually the first day. Immediately out of school, my career began in Fitness as a specialist for Hilton Head Health, voted by Fox News as America's number one weight-loss spa. An incredible experience. Great people. Couldn't of asked to be anywhere better. 

What I find interesting is that before working at H3 I had never heard of CrossFit. It had to be 3months starting my new full time job that my former boss first introduced me to it. I was skeptical. Simply loved to run. I ran all the time. Also, included in my routine was classic strength and conditioning 3 x 15 Back, Biceps, Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Legs, ABS. You know, Old school. I've got a different perspective now of what's fitness. 

When it comes to weight-loss and picking the right fitness program there is so much out there. Too much. The most common psychology as fitness relates to weight loss is calories in verses calories out. If I burn more than I take in I will lose weight. I will see the number on the scale go down. I'll lose inches.  I'll achieve my goal. Right? If it were only that simple. The whole mentality of I'll "work it off" can only take us so far. Let's back up. Think about that 1 intense hour you had in the gym last week. Got it? Now think of last Saturday night. Remember? This post may or may not be for you, but do you get it? The 160 hours outside of maybe the 8 hours your working out each week is more important. Check out this blog written by Kevin Geary. "Are CrossFit Workouts, a Good Choice for Reaching your Weight-Loss Goals." He brings up some valid points, but I'd like to take it one step further... 

I believe the 5 - 8 hours your working out per week can effect weight-loss. Drastically. Here's why... 

Everyday athletes achieve at CrossFit. Instant gratification. This is the one element that everyone typically desires in . I've been around it. Guests at H3 stepping on the scale EVERY single morning. Folks emotionally attached to the number. I get it. It's a benchmark. Its part of the outcome you're looking for.  CrossFit provides instant gratification for the right people. Executing better technique. Reducing a 400m time. Going from kneeling pushups to the toes. Getting that first double under. These are big milestones. It takes emphasis away from the scale. Its a sport. Seeing improvements is fun. The first 3months are full of them. 

CrossFitters are called athletes. I'm big. I'm tall. You're fat. You're boney. Everyone is CrossFit (at least at CFHH is known as an athlete). There's only one classification where I work. Classifications drag people down. Hilton Head Health is great. It's an environment where folks who are less confident can comfortably start there weight loss journey. Everyone is the same. I'd like to think the same about CFHH or any box with good trainers. Everyone's an athlete. Everyone has goals. How can we help you meet those goals?? 

Sustainability. I've switched careers to be a full time Endurance Coach. Run my own business and work out of a CrossFit gym. I've trained for marathons, triathlons and CrossFit competitions using CrossFit. I haven't taken more than a week off. Haven't gotten bored yet. The biggest issue with most weight-loss programs is they offer a quick fix. I'm going to pick fewer words than Kevin Geary, if you're going to lose weight fix your head. Maintaining a consistent weight is difficult. Life only adds responsibilities as we get older. Priorities change. The amount of time you have changes. I see good CrossFit boxes as sustainable. You meet people. They get to know you. There's accountability there. Sustaining a healthy weight is hard to do without that component. Social affiliation is a physiological need. Its also motivating. Its fun to see others progressing. 

If you pick it, you stick with it - Coach Craig. No one bails from a CrossFit WOD. Yes some of us have puked in a workout. Some have ripped their hands on a pull-up bar, but did you stop? Did you give up when it got tough or physically hurt? Any goal whether it's weight-loss or training for the games is over before it starts if you cave. At CFHH, you go all in every day. It teaches you something. A something that's tough to recreate outside our walls. Mental strength improves drastically when your faces with suck and you keep going. CrossFit develops strong minds. A strong mind is needed to shed pounds. Think of all the special occasions? How about the aisles with chips? Ice cream? 

At the end of the day, you all know I'm a fan of CrossFit. I'm also a fan of CrossFit for weight-loss. My last video post on "My Gym" is why. CFHH is different. I've also had a ton of first hand experience recommended CrossFit to Hilton Head Health guests and encouraging them to give it a go. The large percentage of those people not only tried CrossFit, but are still participating to this day and have successfully sustained their weight-loss. A few of which most likely lift more than me now! It's inspiring to see anyone's confidence improve. It motivates me to be better. 

CrossFit is a sport. There are goals within itself. It's an option just like any other out there to get healthy and move more. Calories in verses calories out as the sole predictor of weight-loss is bull shit. It's not an individualized approach. Too many factors. Eating clean IS critical. Above all, if weight-loss is your goal the non-scale victories should take precedence. If you continue to have a goal outside of the weight your focus will shift. Allow yourself to gain confidence in other areas of your life while the number on the scale does its thing. 

Screw the strongest back squat or the fastest 5K time. I want the strongest brain. The strongest heart. The confidence in life to continue to pick goals and stick with them. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Gym is Different

My involvement in CrossFit roughly spans greater than three years now and what I've noticed is I often get questions like "Why are you so into CrossFit? or can you really get a workout in 10minutes?" I don't think these are dumb questions anymore. Not at all. I think what I've come to realize is exactly what Ben Bergeron is saying in this video...

I've gotten stronger. Developed lasting relationships. Grown mentally. Physically. Increased speed. Improved nutrition. Achieved every goal set. Made it a career. My gym is different...

Monday, August 5, 2013

SD Wall: Elements VI - Supports and Strategies

Have you ever thought about the people who support you in your life? How about the environments that enable you to achieve your goals? Supports are more than just people and environments they include the various resources at our finger tips and the structures we have in place. Routine and creating a detailed plan is a structure. The question is have you dialed in on YOUR true plan? 

This week's SD wall focuses on thinking about not only your supports, but brainstorm solutions to the challenges you came up with in the previous video. 

Remember, "you've only failed if you stop trying..."