We would like to congratulate Elena Janice on becoming our Athlete of the Month for July. Elena has been making massive strides during the past couple of months. Constantly pushing to develop higher level skills, she has improved her kipping movements and double-unders drastically. The other week she PR'd her double-unders by getting 50 unbroken in a warm up. This is a testament to her quiet resolve to improve on everything she can in the gym. On top of the consistent improvement we have been seeing, Elena is always enthusiastic to receive coaching advice and is always willing to accept coaching cues. When you combine all of the factors listed above it made Elena an obvious choice for athlete of the month. Congratulations Elena and keep up the great work.
“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” Lyndon B. Johnson
After this past Saturday’s class I talked for about 10 minutes on Mental Toughness. If you missed it no need to be bummed out. I will go over exactly what I talked about below! It is a bit long but Firstly, I talked about The Path of Least Resistance. Now, this can relate to a lot of things, however what I am referring to speaks to human nature. It is built into our minds to follow the path of least resistance whenever possible to conserve energy. When we need to pick something off the floor say a pencil or pen, we do send our down and back, slightly bend our knees, send our shoulders forward while maintain a braced core and intact lumber curve. We just round our backs and pick it up. In workouts however, the path of least resistance could be not sending your hips back to catch a power clean, or coming off your heels during the dip of a STO, or letting your elbows drop during a front squat. During all of these actions your body, is following the path of least resistance. It’s trying to expend the least amount of energy to accomplish the task. Ironically it is failing. When we follow the path of least resistance we become drastically less efficient, and in the long run slows us down.
When we are less efficient it can lead to the second topic I talked about: False Rest. What is false rest you ask? False rest for example is when you stop to rest at the top of a box jump when your legs aren’t really tired, when you drop a light hang power clean when your grip isn’t that tired, when you start to walk in a 400m run when you know you could still jog. False Rest is when your mind wants the path of least resistance aka the easy way out and tells you to rest. More times than not, you could have kept going. On Saturday I used the thrusters as an example. I asked a couple folks in the crowd “what is your 1 RM thruster?”. A couple men answered with numbers both higher than 200. The Rx weight in that workout was 75/55. How many times did people put their hands on the thighs or stare at the bar during their ~2:00 rounds? That’s a false rest. Between a rock and a hard place everyone could probably do 30 reps unbroken at the weight they chose on Saturday. False rest just gives you a fake sense of security and holds you back from your true physical potential. What keeps false rest occurring is the negative voice in your head. The voice telling you, this is too hard, I need to stop, I can’t do this etc. All this is, is food for one of two wolves in your head:the negative wolf. The negative wolf is fed through your own disbelief in yourself, and all the negative talk, all of the false rest you take. If you constantly feed it, it will devour the other wolf:the positive wolf. The positive wolf feeds of confidence, will, and self-efficacy. We have all been in workouts, that we lost mentally. Those instances are where the negative wolf won. How do you insure the positive wolf wins in workouts and in life?
Positive self-talk is the pep talk you give yourself in your head constantly. Ben Bergeron puts it simply, “Turn your have to’s into Get to’s”. Turn, I have to do three more rounds into I get to do three more rounds and get fitter. “I have to run into today’s workout. Ugh I hate running”. That should be “I get to go run into today’s workout. Good, time to get better”. This can apply to life as well I have to go to work, no you get to go to work. I have to pick my kids up, no you get to go to work. “It’s only ten thrusters you got this” would be a great example for Saturdays workout. Or “I get to rest after this, push hard through.”
Using simple phrases is all it takes. Having a self-mantra should be your ace in the hole. It’s a small phrase or word that has significant emotional importance and motivates you. Mine is “still breathing”. The story behind “still breathing” comes from my freshman year in college. I almost passed away. I went into anaphylactic shock after taking a medicine and didn’t breathe for over four minutes. I spent the next six days in the ICU recovering and getting tests run. I remember so desperately wanting air in the back of the ambulance, trying to inhale with all my might but to no avail. I remember thinking “this is it”. Fortunately, I lived almost right next to a hospital and am still here to tell you about it. Whenever I’m in WODs and my lungs feel like they are filling with battery acid, my heart is pounding out of my chest, my muscles feel like they are on fire, I tell myself “Still breathing”. I’m still here and I can keep going. Find a self-mantra and use it as fuel. So this next week and the following ones in and out of the gym. Refuse to follow the path of least resistance, don’t take false rests, feed the positive wolf not the negative one, use positive self-talk, and create your own self-mantra. These simple tasks will help improve your state of mind and also your fitness.
Well if you haven’t seen after a few weeks the leaderboard is finally updated! Through a small issue with Zen and the Carnival this task took us longer than we had hoped. However, the hard work and dedication has paid off and the PR’s have proved it. As a gym, in the past 4-5 weeks, we have been focusing a bit more on Olympic lifting than usual, and I must say as a coaching staff we are impressed with all the improvement we have been seeing! Along with honing in on the small technical aspects of Olympic lifting, you all have been maintaining and even building on your pulling strength from the floor and tempo front squats (everyone’s favorite). Moving onward into our next phase of the year, you will see a decrease in positional work with tempos and a return to classic style squatting, pulling, and pressing. That being said, although CFR will not be on a specific strength program (Smolov, Conjugate, Hatch, etc.). You will still be gaining strength and progressing towards your goals. Using a classical CrossFit training methodology along with the consistent development of movement mechanics will allow us to broaden your skill set and expand your fitness to new lengths. CrossFit is and will remain the backbone of our programming here at CFR.
When this phase is all said and done we will be trying something new when it comes to testing. We are restructuring the way we assess and test benchmarks. Instead of having a two week regimented period of testing filled with specifics, we will broaden the time domain in which you are all tested. Coaches and Programmers will have a general idea of when the benchmarks will appear and the dates will be chosen to maximize your potential to succeed. This isn’t something that will be announced, however it is not something that is random.
To sign off this short letter to you all I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit: “The magic is in the movement, the art is in the programming, the science is in the explanation, and the fun is in the community.” The coaching staff and I are looking forward to getting down to business and we hope you all are too!