Jul
22
2014

Weightlifting In Minneapolis

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I used to divide the human species into two buckets. Those who love weightlifting, and those who don’t.

I never understood those who don’t. Moving external objects hard and fast is part of our innate design as humans. We have opposable thumbs for grabbing things; we have eyes in front of our head so we can aim; the ball-and-socket design of our shoulders means we can pull and push along the same line of action, without moving our feet. Most mammals can run, but only one creature on earth can clean and jerk.

Lift and throw, fast and hard…that’s the essence of human physicality. Denying weightlifting seems like a strange form of self-abnegation. What gives?

After years of coaching people, I now realize that the “two buckets” idea is dumb. People are scattered along a continuum, and the difference between those who love weightlifting and those who don’t can be summed in one word: training.

Mind you, when I talk about training, I’m not talking about the “ten thousand hours” concept which is so in vogue. With rational programming, good instruction, and focused training time, weightlifting becomes fun, and when training is fun, people get good very quickly.

In a couple of weeks we will be opening Minneapolis Barbell in our old Northeast location. I’m very excited to offer focused weightlifting training to our clients. Next week we will have the schedule finalized so check back here for more details.

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    Jul
    21
    2014

    Double Under Clinic

     

    Floyd "Money" Mayweather arrives for a open media workout in front of the Kodak Arch on Hollywood Blvd, just days before his fight with Juan Marquez Sept. 19 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas  which will be produced and distributed live on HBO Pay-Per-View. Thi

    The double-under is probably the most frustrating skill one has the displeasure of learning whilst doing CrossFit.  I’ve even heard some argue (dare I say it) that it is not even functional and therefore has no place amongst all the other movements

    The double-under is definitely functional and absolutely serves a specific purpose when one is programming workouts.  The rope develops speed, agility, and coordination, and the skill transfer is absolutely essential to anything involving bounding.  Additionally, the rope acts on your neurological system making all other movement patterns work at a more efficient rate.  Greg Amundson blew his chance at the 2009 games during the dead-lift + double-under workout.  Check out the story here and pay especially close attention to what happened once he mastered the skill.

    I’m going to run a double-under clinic at 12:30 pm Saturday August 16th  in which we will practice bounding, and the jumping positions, as well as a couple other fighting moves to further your coordination with the rope.  This clinic will be best utilized by people who can not regularly string a set of 10-20 double-unders together, or by those who have a  flaw in their bounding mechanics (ie. you’re terrible at box jumps).  You can sign up here.

    I’ll see you all there!

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      Jul
      18
      2014

      Yoga for the un-bendy

      yoga

      I used to have a bad relationship with yoga. I would often tell people who tried to get me on the yoga train that my body is not made to move that way because I’m built like a brick. It is true that my body really isn’t designed to excel at yoga, but I now know that this doesn’t matter.

      About a month ago I decided to give yoga another shot. I figured it must work since so many people rave about it. I decided to go once a week to see if I would take a liking to it.

      I have indeed started to like yoga. On the nights that I do yoga I sleep well. The day after a yoga class I feel amazing.

      It is also golf season, and yoga has helped my game by helping me become limber, which allows my swing to be more fluid and powerful.

      I am by no means “good” at yoga, but I show up and improve each session. This is good enough for me.

      Plus, Emily is a phenomenal teacher who walks me through the poses and helps me get the most out of each class. She starts each session by asking us what we want or need to work on and plans her class around our answers. If you haven’t tried one of our yoga classes yet, I highly recommend you jump on it and give it a shot.

      And I sweat profusely while struggling through the movements, which I like. So for now this brick will continue to attempt to bend like Gumby.

      What new activities are you trying this summer?

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        Jul
        17
        2014

        Beyond the Whiteboard

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        How long does it take to improve in CrossFit?

        What a great question, one that all of us have wondered at some point.

        How do you measure improvement? If you are not tracking it, how do you determine if you have improved, stayed the same, or regressed?

        If you don’t use BTWB, how are you tracking your progress and results?

        Since Monday, March 3rd of this year we have been tracking our gym results on Beyond the Whiteboard. We have almost 5 months of data that we use for a multitude of purposes.

        And the term “We” I am using very loosely since less than half of our gym actively uses BTWB.

        So why aren’t you using Beyond the Whiteboard?

        ◦ Not convenient enough for you?

        ◦ Don’t bring your cellphone to the gym and by the time you get home you have forgotten your scores?

        ◦ You still haven’t transitioned from the handwritten journals we use to use?

        Well, I have great news for all of you…drumroll please…we are installing a kiosk in the gym so that EVERYONE can punch in their scores immediately after workouts!!!

        SO as of now, you have no excuse for not using BTWB, and your coaches will give you time at the end of class to enter your scores at the kiosk!

        If you don’t have your login credentials, let your coach know. They would be happy to help.

        Next week I will pull back the curtain and give you some benefits and tips for BTWB.

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          Jul
          16
          2014

          Highland Fest CrossFit Expo

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          This Saturday from 11:00 – 2:00, Keela, Tracy, Brock and myself will be participating in a CrossFit demonstration at Highland Fest in St Paul. The demonstration will be run as a short competition between the team from TwinTown and teams from other area gyms.

          If you’re not familiar with Highland Fest, think a mini version of the State Fair with plenty of delicious food and cold beverages available in abundance. Come by and cheer us on if you’re going to be in the area!

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            Jul
            15
            2014

            I believe….

            Tony-Robbins

            Belief: an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

            Belief:  trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.

            Belief: it can shape your destiny.

            The other day I was on a road trip up north and I got to listen to good ‘ol Tony Robbins, a life coach and motivational speaker. I was intrigued by his talk about Beliefs. He talked about how what we believe determines who we are and who we will become. If someone asked you today who are you? What would you say? Some would say a mother or father, brother or sister. Others might say a teacher, personal trainer, manager. And some might say loving, loyal, or determined.

            Who do you believe you are? Do you base who you are on the work you do? The relationships you have? Or your role in your family?

            Sometimes we accept lies that people tell us into our belief system. These lies can deceive us and make us believe we are ugly and fat, or stupid and dumb. We can accept these lies, or we can choose to accept only those beliefs that serve us and will help us grow. What do you believe and why? Did someone tell you that belief and you just accepted it? Or did you create that belief yourself? Either way, good or bad, positive or not, we need to realize that beliefs are an important part of who we are and who we will become.

            If you could have your dream job, what would it be? If you could be anybody, who would you be? Take time today to write down what you believe. Do these beliefs support your goals in life? Do they set you on a path of success to be who YOU want to be? Take time today to accept only those beliefs that encourage you and will help you grow! Embrace beliefs that will lead you to a YOU that you can love and embrace. You only have one life, embrace the beliefs that allow you to live it to the fullest!

              Posted In blog, motivation

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              Jul
              14
              2014

              Power Defined

              Powerlifting

              What is Power?

               

              Often times, we hear this word surrounding an exceptionally athletic feat in a game or a match. Secondly, we hear it used to describe the bodies of women and men who are at the pinnacle of their athleticism. Lastly we hear it describe a formidable lifter; one who when gazed upon, impresses and inspires. I have found myself wondering over the past few weeks what the actual components and traits are of this word from a physiologist’s point of view.

              Power may be defined as the combination of speed and strength to produce movement. Specifically, power represents the ability of the athlete to produce a high level of work through a given distance. The more power an athlete is endowed with, the greater the level of work performed. Thus, power is a combination of strength and speed. In mathematical terms:

              POWER = STRENGTH (force application) x SPEED (velocity)

              Strength

               

              Physiological and neural adaptations comprise our strength component. The physiological components of strength consist of an increase in muscle tissue through hypertrophy and connective tissue density.

              The neural component can best be described by as an increase in motor units; increased firing rate of motor neurons; synchronized firing of motor neurons; and lastly an increase in intra-muscular coordination.

              Speed

               

              Can be described by a variety of factors.

              These are; muscle fiber type; skill; muscle insertion points; lever (leg, arm whatever is in motion or causes motion) length; muscular posture; and the use of elastic energy.

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                Jul
                11
                2014

                Moving from Thinking into Doing

                ddd

                Three years ago this week, I saw Kayser post on Facebook that he just did a CrossFit workout and it kicked his butt. Not knowing exactly what CrossFit was and confusing it with some P90X system, I left a comment on his post asking, “Is that some sort of DVD?”

                He excitedly responded that he did the class at TwinTown, just four blocks from our building, and that I should do an intro with Teddy as soon as possible. Since Kayser grew up in the town over from me out east, I trusted his advice and have never regretted it for a moment.

                I could extoll the virtues of CrossFit for the community that it introduced me to in Minneapolis and beyond. But you probably already know that I have made lifelong friendships and spent the last few years happily celebrating countless birthdays, new jobs, random Fridays and even two weddings.

                I could speak volumes on the high-quality coaching, support and encouragement that I have received from Teddy, Peter, Kayser, Joe, Brock, Ashley, Michael, Andy, Martha, Emily, Drew and others. I could tell you how they helped push me to achieve new PRs in every movement and exercise, from being able to actually squat below parallel to cutting my baseline time in half.

                But what I most want to discuss is how CrossFit, and thus TwinTown, helped me transform from thinking into doing. And through that process helped me finally connect with my actual self.

                Growing up, I wasn’t very athletic but always wished I was. I thought constantly about how great it would be to be picked first for kickball or score the winning run for my team. I got to high school and college, dreaming about how much I would like to be stronger and be in better shape. I wanted to take so many more risks, try so many more things, but was always thinking, never doing.

                Post-college, I was always busy. I organized lots of social activities for my friends and was always running around to see a new play or concert or gallery opening or happy hour, etc. It was an active life, but with little physical activity. I filled up my time to mask the fact that I was dissatisfied with my life. I even did improv for a few years, enjoying the ability to escape and be anyone but me.

                Cut to that summer in 2011 when I did my first month of CrossFit and felt every bone and muscle in my body suddenly be forced to work and shake and be sore. And from there, I was eventually getting my chin above the bar and climbing to the top of the rope. I was using equipment that I had never dared to touch before and sweating by choice. And I was happy!

                I improved and worked harder and allowed myself to be vulnerable in front of strangers and friends. Allowed myself to wince and tremble, grunt out loud and collapse in a pool of sweat and tears. And I wasn’t playing a character or doing it for laughs. I was me.  For better or for worse, I was being my true self, warts and all, displaying all my quirks and all my grit.

                Outside the gym, I was now signing up for half-marathons and (multiple) Tough Mudders and on vacations going horseback riding and zip lining and training at a Muay-Thai gym. On my weekends, I was going to yoga and boxing and stand-up paddle board classes. I was competing against people and standing up in front of a crowd of 700 plus and telling my story. I was no longer thinking about all these things in my life. I was actually doing them.

                Now, three years later, I am physically stronger thanks to CrossFit. But more importantly, I am mentally stronger and more closely connected to who I am, rather than just always thinking about whom I want to be.

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                  Jul
                  10
                  2014

                  How Eating Affects Your Mental Toughness

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                  “Mental toughness is combined with a perfectly disciplined will, that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind- you could call it ‘character in action.’” 

                  “Having natural or developed psychological edge that enables you to: generally, cope better than your opponents with the many demands (competition, training, lifestyle) that sports place on a performer; specifically, be more consistent and better than your opponents in remaining determined, focused, confident, and in control under pressure.”

                  These definitions are from our friends at Wikipedia and I feel that every time we step through the doors at TTCF this mental capacity is demanded of us. But if you lack discipline outside of the gym, it’s hard to muster it at game time.

                  The difference between athletes and everybody else is that athletes eat for performance, which requires intention and discipline around the clock. What is fueling you for your workouts? Are you intentional about what you put in your body? Are you setting yourself up for failure or success?

                  Most of us live a fast paced life where we gravitate towards convenience. Gotta have it now and gotta have it quick!

                  Cooking every meal might not work for you. But until someone comes out with a Paleo friendly drive-thru we have to find other ways to eat right. Here are a few pointers that have worked for me:

                  http://paleomg.com , http://nomnompaleo.com , http://www.paleocupboard.com

                  1) Pick out some yummy recipes (Hint: I pick out easy ones, lots of crock-pot meals because leftovers are never a bad thing)

                  2) Spend a few hours cooking meals for the week. You can always freeze extras.

                  3) Plan for healthy snacks for when you are short on time (trail mix, veggies, protein, fruits)

                  You know when you are going to be busy for the most part. Plan out meals for the day so you feel great before, during and after workouts.

                  All of us have had times in the gym where good nutrition translated into good performance. Make eating right your full-time habit instead of your part-time hobby!

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                    Jul
                    09
                    2014

                    Ay Breh, You Got Some Protein?

                    o-OATS-HONEY-CHEERIOS-PROTEIN-570

                    What’s the deal with so many different snack foods now featuring protein? It’s certainly a selling point for the companies that are marketing it as something that is apparently otherwise hard to find, and maybe in the eyes of the food industry it’s a step towards making meals more balanced, but I just don’t get it.

                    If you are craving a bowl of cereal, go for it. If you really need to crush a candy bar, do your thing – but call it like it is. If you are trying to fix something that’s lacking in your diet by getting an important nutrient from an additive put into cereal and “nutrition” bars you’re missing the point.

                    Eat real food and your body will love you for it. Cut corners and you’ll get half-assed results.

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