Apr
15
2014

Life Without a Microwave

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This winter our microwave broke. I think ice got into the wall and fried the electronics – the clock doesn’t even turn on. I considered replacing it but somehow I never got around to it.

Anyway, it was rough at first but now I kind of like it. Life without microwave changed my relationship with food in three important ways.

First, I eat less. If you are addicted to convenience, the microwave is your syringe. Take away the convenience of instantly warm food and suddenly you find you don’t really need to eat that hot pocket, or instant oatmeal or whatever.

Second, I eat composed meals instead of snacks. A meal is something you plan. A snack is like a drive-by – it’s you being victimized by food. If you don’t have a microwave, you have to plan and so you end up eating more meals, and less snacks.

Third, I eat higher quality foods. It’s just weird to cook fresh vegetables or produce in a microwave. There doesn’t appear to be any way to do so without transmuting the food into inedible, albeit steaming hot, goop.

My experience with the microwave fascinates me because it underscores our uneasy relationship with technology. Yes, the microwave makes things faster; it allows us to keep up with an incredibly frenetic pace of life. But maybe the key to wellness is to slow things down.

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    Apr
    14
    2014

    The Beginning of A TwinTown Renaissance

    Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 9.08.32 AMNo doubt a lot of us have seen Matt Erickson’s name climbing to the top of the leader board in the past couple of months.  Matt joined the gym in October and was by all means fit at the time.   Last Wednesday Matt deadlifted 435 pounds, coming a couple pounds shy of hitting 3X bodyweight.  After speaking with him yesterday I found out his deadlift upon entering our doors was around 335.  A near 100 pound increase in 7 months.   Sure Matt has natural talent, no one is going to argue that point.  But Matt shows up.  He is in the gym at least 5 days a week and he hammers out his weaknesses on his own whether it be mobility or the overhead stuff he’s currently working on.  Matt is just one example of the recent greatness we coaches have seen.  Last Wednesday was the most fun I’ve ever had in our garage whilst a member or a coach, Saturday as well.  The recent focus and drive I have observed is something really special.  Almost everyone I see is finding some way to improve upon weaknesses.  Congratulations Matt, and Congratulations to all of you who Pr’d and more importantly to all of you who have upped your game and started to take things a little more seriously.

     

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      Apr
      11
      2014

      A Big Week For Our Athletes

      addi

      This was an awesome week in the gym. Our athletes put up impressive front squat and deadlift numbers. Actually, you badasses blew my mind with the weight you squatted and pulled.

      On Monday, 6 men front squatted over 250 pounds, and 7 women front squatted over 150 pounds. On Wednesday, your numbers were even more ridiculous. Eight men pulled 400 pounds or more. The top pulls for men were 465, 455, 450, 445, and 435 pounds. Five of our women pulled over 260 pounds. The top pulls for women were 310, 305, 300, 275, and 265 pounds.

      This is the stuff you live for as a coach. Watching our athletes dominate their lifts and set PR after PR throughout the week is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had coaching at TwinTown CrossFit. Witnessing the camaraderie on display as you pushed one another to achieve greatness showed me what the athletes at our gym are all about: you aspire to big goals and inspire each other to achieve them. You all kick ass at life.

      What PRs are you gunning for this spring?

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        Apr
        10
        2014

        1 – 2 – 3 Shake Your Booty Fly Free!

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        “1 – 2 – 3 Shake Your Booty Fly Free!”

        This was the chant we did at the end of our first day of Boot Camp. Many Boot Campers said this with a question mark on the end. It probably didn’t make sense at the time, but now that Boot Camp is done it does.

        Many of our Boot Campers had no idea what to expect. Many were afraid to work out in front of others and were unsure if they could do the Boot Camp workouts. But after the first day even after the soreness set in, the Troops came back. They built a bond with each other, they supported each other, and they grew closer and closer everyday. THAT is what Boot Camp is all about.

        One of our Troopers, Teresa couldn’t do a hurdle jump on the first day, she hopped over and collapsed to her knees. She was also very nervous to even go to Boot Camp that first day. I know if we didn’t have the supportive, encouraging environment that we did she wouldn’t have finished. Everyone cheered her on even when she lost the energy to do it herself. Near the end of Boot Camp Teresa could do over a 100 hurdle jumps and she took 3 minutes off of her Baseline Test. AMAZING!

        Another one of Troopers, Jurene emailed me to drop out after the first day. She wasn’t sure if the program was for her. I called her to reassure her that Boot Camp is exactly where she needed to be. Boot Camp is one of the best ways to get back into fitness after surgery, injury, or just lack of exercise in general. She didn’t drop out and came back. After a couple of weeks Jurene was able to finish the workouts. It was the support and encouragement of the Troops that kept her going.

        No matter what background the Troops had, no matter what they have gone through in life, I can tell you they became a team. They started together, they pushed through the workouts together, and they reached new goals together. If we did the chant at the top again there would be no question marks at the end, but there would be Booty’s shaking, as they are now flying free and reaching their goals. They are no longer trapped by the little voice in their head that told them they couldn’t. Boot Camp changed their lives and it can change yours too! I am so blessed that I could be apart of Troop 003!

        Cheers to Troop 003 for pushing past fears and reaching your goals, you are all AMAZING!

        Sincerely,
        Commander Hall

        Troop - Graduation

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          Apr
          09
          2014

          Homemade Pineapple Salsa

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          It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, so I thought this seasonally-appropriate salsa would make for a perfect comeback. I pulled it from the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook, which by the way, might be the most helpful cookbook I’ve ever got my hands on – if you’re in the market, I’d recommend this one. This specific recipe is great because making just one batch, generally provides enough fresh salsa for numerous days, and the sweet pineapple flavor makes it much easier to use with other dishes than a typical salsa. Since you are making it yourself, it is also free of any of the additives that commonly go into the store-bought variety.

          Here’s how it’s done:

          Finely dice 1 1/2 cups of fresh pineapple
          Peel and dice a cucumber into 1/4″ cubes
          Dice 1 jalapeño pepper (remove the seeds if you don’t want it to be too spicy)
          Chop 1/4 cup of red onion
          Mince 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
          Pour everything into one big bowl, then add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, juice from a small lime, a little salt and pepper, and you’re all ready to go!

          I used this as a topping for a burger, but it would be perfect for adding to some grilled chicken or steak, or even using as an alternative to salad dressing. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

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            Apr
            08
            2014

            Be Accountable To Yourself

            Greek philosophers

            In ancient Greece students of philosophy would keep journals called hupomnemata. A hupomnemata was in essence a training journal. Philosophers would use the journals to take a daily accounting of their behavior. Sextius explained how to use the hupomnemata: “What evils have you cured yourself of today? What vices have you fought? In what sense are you better?”

            The ancient Greek philosophers knew that daily and rigorous self-examination is the key to self-awareness, discipline, and progress. Sextius continues: “…Is there anything more admirable than this custom of examining a whole day’s conduct?”

            As athletes, we have our own hupomnemata in the form of a training journal. It is the key to self-awareness, discipline, and progress. I have worked with many athletes over the years and I have observed that those who make the most consistent progress and who continually surpass themselves are the ones who keep training journals.

            We offer a free subscription to all our members to a great online training journal called Beyond the Whiteboard. Think of it as your hupomnemata. If you haven’t started using it, check in with your coach to get your account set up. If you are spinning your wheels, it will give you traction. If you are on a plateau, it will push you to the next level. Start today.

             

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              Apr
              07
              2014

              Ankle Mobility Pt. 2: Ankle Inversion and Eversion Mobility and Stability

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              Last week we spoke about limited dorsiflexion and the havoc it can wreak in fundamental movements such as the squat, pistol, or even box jump’s and double unders’. Hopefully those of you with poor “ankle” mobility have begun the process of implementing some of those dorsiflexion and plantar flexion stretches into your mobility routine. Unfortunately, that will not be an end in and of itself (alas the ankle does more than simply move up and down). For those of you who have ever sprained an ankle the following are going to be crucial with running and cycling season upon us. Ankle Inversion and Eversion are widely neglected (runners will have heard these anatomical terms referred to as pronation and supination), and are a major cause or malfunction in the foot including ankle sprains. Adhering to last weeks format, we will begin with self-myofascial release.

              Myofascial Release

              Myofascial release of the Peroneals- Notice the athlete is in a position very similar to the pigeon. Make sure the side of your shin is against the foam roller. Do not do big sweeps, rather, break it down into 4-5 inch sections before moving down.
              Lax ball myofascial release- Starting at 4:00. Cross friction is a technique popularized by orthopedic physician Dr. James Cyriax, which, in the simplest of terms states, “we need to get down much deeper and more specific to a particular structure.” To get the most out of the lax ball, move it perpendicular to the peroneal muscle. DO NOT use the lacrosse ball on the fibular head as this can potentially cause nerve issues.

              Inversion and Eversion Mobility

              Peroneus Stretch- Sit with one foot resting on the opposite knee. With your hands platarflex your foot and turn the sole of your foot upwards (invert).
              Peroneus Stretch 2- Starting at 2:27, notice that the athletes leg is not at 90 degrees.
              Inversion and Eversion stretch- I prefer to wrap the purple or red band around the pole or one of the bars in the holder to perform the first stretch as it seems to be a bit more intense.

              Inversion and Eversion Stability Exercises

              Isometric Inversion and Eversion- The athlete pushes the inside of her foot against the person (a chair or table leg works just fine) turning the foot inward and outward against the resistance.
              Ankle Inversion and Ankle Eversion with band- This is very similar to the earlier video however this time one must resist the band.

                Posted In blog, crossfit, mobility

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                Apr
                04
                2014

                Recap: 2014 CrossFit Games Open

                bp

                With the 2014 CrossFit Games Open in the rearview mirror, it is a good time to reflect on what just went down. First of all, what I saw from our members at TwinTown CrossFit was nothing short of spectacular. You had the guts to accept a tough challenge, you met the challenge head-on, and you rose to the occasion. You should be proud of yourselves for this.

                This year’s Open was brutal. Each week you were asked to complete physical tasks that would make most women and men cower. You could have sat on the sideline and made excuses for why you shouldn’t compete, but instead you decided to get in the game and give it a shot. You harnessed whatever fear and apprehension you may have had, and channelled it into a commendable performance. It was inspiring to watch you attack each workout.

                If the Open exposed weaknesses in your game, start improving today. You have an entire year to turn these weaknesses into strengths. A word of caution: it is easy to quickly forget about, or ignore, the weaknesses exposed in the Open and begin next year’s Open in the same place you are right now. The 2013 Open exposed my horrible shoulder mobility, and after the 13.5 I was determined to correct the problem. But rather than put in the time to achieve better range of motion in my shoulders, I made excuses and did not do the necessary work. Due to my laziness, the overhead squats in 14.2 kicked my ass and put me in my place. My performance was embarrassing and, frankly, inexcusable. Don’t let this happen to you, it is demoralizing.

                For the majority of us the CrossFit Games Open is not about securing endorsement money, or a spot at regionals; it is about seeking to better ourselves through a physically and psychologically taxing event—did anyone else have dreams about the workouts? No matter where you finished on the leaderboard, or how many of your goals you achieved, you are all better for having gone through the experience. Now, capitalize on the momentum you have created and own your fitness in 2014. Don’t go it alone, like I tried to do, only to come up short in next year’s Open. This will lead to easily preventable frustration and disappointment. Your coaches are here to help you if you need guidance, so hit us up and we will work with you on your weaknesses. The 2015 CrossFit Games Open will be here before you know it; make sure your game is in top form before then.

                What weaknesses did the 2014 Open expose in your game?

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                  Apr
                  03
                  2014

                  TwinTown CrossFit Sport/Fitness

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                  Beginning next week, we will be adding an additional level of programming to our workouts; you will see this new programming track listed as “TwinTown CrossFit Sport” on Beyond The Whiteboard (the track that we have been using will now be labeled as “TwinTown CrossFit Fitness”). The Sport track will allow us to give a further push to the athletes that can use it, without clogging up the schedule with a separate class. The two workouts will also be formatted similarly, so everyone will be on the same schedule throughout the hour. This Sport track will not be available everyday, as the programming for it will be based off of the Fitness track, and on some days a further progression will not be needed.

                  “But Peter, how do I know which track is right for me?!” Oh, well it’s funny you should ask! Here are a couple of brief points that will help you make that decision:

                  Could you achieve a competitive score on the Fitness workout? The Fitness WOD is foundational to the Sport, so unless you know that you would crush the former without issue, adding further challenge isn’t going to be beneficial.

                  If there are weights involved in the workout, you should be able to lift twice the weight called for, as a one rep max. Generally, the Sport track will be slightly heavier than the Fitness – you’ve been warned!

                  There is no scaling for the Sport track. Scaling back an intentionally advanced workout just don’t make no sense!

                  Are the movements in the workout appropriate for you to be doing in a timed manner? Just because you can do one or two of something when you’re fresh doesn’t mean that it’s time to start throwing quantity and intensity into the mix.

                  Is choosing the more advanced workout furthering your fitness? This is what’s really most important. I don’t care who you are or what your goals are; if using the Sport track is either increasing your risk of injury, or is leaving you standing around pissed off, you need not be doin’ it.

                  You can always get in touch with your coach if you’re not sure which track is best for you, but the decision about which workout to choose will ultimately be up to you. Make sure you are choosing the appropriate workout for where you are at!

                    Posted In blog, crossfit

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                    Apr
                    02
                    2014

                    Phyllip Bids Us Farewell

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                    I just did my last CrossFit workout at TwinTown CrossFit.

                    It’s funny, but even after this much time, I still remember the first one I did here. It was a complex of “Row 1000 m, 21 deadlifts, row 800 m, 15 deadlifts, row 400 m, 9 deadlifts.” Rx for the deadlifts was 225 pounds. I did them at 75 pounds. Helping start a box from the ground up was hard. I still remember all the workouts I did at night by myself, just me and Teddy. But just like you learn in geology class, time and patience can change anything, and I’ve been proud to watch TTCF grow up over these past years.

                    It’s four years later now, and what has changed? A lot. I’m now just one year away from finishing a doctoral program. I’m getting married in July to a fantastic young woman from Texas. And I’ve never been more in shape in my life even on my worst days.

                    TwinTown CrossFit means a lot to me because it began a transformation within me, one that involved starting down the path of learning some of life’s most important lessons. I say “starting” because you always have another level to go to, and sometimes you even take a step or two back. These are lessons such as how to know your limits, how to trust your trainer and fellow athletes, where confidence and love and trust really come from, how to respect people who are different than you, how to face your fears, and what believing in yourself really means.

                    It is my parting wish that all of the athletes at TTCF have the opportunity to begin learning these lessons and about how to apply them in their daily lives.

                    However, if you miss the greatest TwinTown CrossFit lesson of all, then you have really not been paying attention in the gym.

                    The greatest lesson that you can learn at TTCF is that we are all the same.

                    TwinTown CrossFit teaches us this not because we have the same level of ability, but because we are all performing at the same level of effort. After watching countless hours of athletes of all kinds giving their best into the workouts they do, after cheering them and pushing them on towards the finish line, and after seeing the same grit and determination from everyone who comes in to do a workout, I have observed this to be the case. Whether you come in on your first day or your last, whether your are doing 20 rounds on Cindy or 8, or whether you can lift 175 pounds on a deadlift or 450, you and all the other athletes in the gym share one thing in common. You are all performing at the highest level that you possibly can that day. You are all performing to the best of your abilities. You are all champions because you conquered your fears and jumped into the CrossFit ring. You deserve the congratulations and encouragement you get from other athletes and coaches because you just performed at the highest level of your game right now. You earned that through hard work, and you should be proud of yourself. That being said, there’s always a new level to reach for and work towards, and once again, you and everyone else in the gym have this in common. We share remote similarities than differences here, this much is always true. Apply that to other areas of your life, and you will see how similar all of us on this planet really are.

                    Back in high school, I was probably the least likely to be called “athlete.” I’m glad to say that I can share the title “athlete” with everyone at TTCF.

                    My thanks go out to Teddy for making TwinTown CrossFit happen and giving it the vision any other affiliate would be jealous of, all the coaches for continuously helping all of us to advance, and all the athletes who work so hard every day to make TTCF the enjoyable place that it is and for your support and friendship even in some of the most difficult moments of these past few years. It has been hard to give up time in the gym to pursue my career as an audiologist, but being able to come to TTCF has been a big help, and all of you were a big part of that. I will carry you all in my heart as I start this new journey in my life.

                    With nothing but love,
                    Phyllip Johnson

                      Posted In motivation

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