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!

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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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                Jul
                08
                2014

                Gymnastics Classes

                gymnastics

                Have you ever wanted to get a solid handstand?

                Or maybe you would like to get a standing tuck?

                Or perhaps you want to do a back handspring?

                Well now is your chance! I am working with a local gymnastics school to get an adult gymnastics class going for our gym. This class will be an opportunity for TwinTown clients to work on gymnastics skills. This class is for all levels; beginner through advanced. It is a class where individual goals are worked on in conjunction with physical conditioning. This is a wonderful opportunity to develop spatial awareness, core control, and strength. Anyone can benefit from this class.

                If you would like to challenge yourself to learn new skills and become a more well rounded athlete, I highly recommend this class. If you are interested please email me so I can get you a spot (ashley at wbbcminneapolis.com). There will be 10 spots available, first come, first serve. Class time/day is not set in stone, but I am aiming for Sunday nights. If the majority of those who sign up prefer a different day/time I will do my best to coordinate. This class will meet 1x/week for 6 weeks. Cost TBD.

                Whether your goal is to do a handstand without a wall, or to do a standing tuck, or maybe you just like bouncing on a trampoline, either way this opportunity is for you! Let’s try something new, challenging, and fun! I look forward to developing new skills with you!

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                  Jul
                  07
                  2014

                  You Needn’t Play To Win

                  gregg-popovich

                  “One of the most overrated thoughts out there is that if you weren’t a great player, you can’t be a great coach.  It’s a big fallacy-Frank Martin (South Carolina)”

                  Three weeks ago when the San Antonio Spurs ravaged the Miami Heat in game 5 of the NBA finals, Gregg Poppovich joined the ranks of Phil Jackson, Red Auerbauch, Pat Riley, and John Kundula as the fifth coach to win 5 NBA championships.  Additionally, Poppovich also holds the current accolade of being the longest tenured coach in any of the big 4 American Sports.

                  Tom Crean, head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers men’s basketball program, coached his former program at Marquette to an average of 20 wins a season from 1999-2008 which included a Final Four appearance in 2003.  In 2012 he was named the Jim Phelan National Coach of the year, as well as ESPN’s national coach of the year.

                  No one in his or her right mind is going to argue Phelan did a bad job recruiting, or that Poppovich didn’t have outstanding players (ie. Leonard, Ginobli, Parker), my point however is this: These two outstanding coaches never played at a high level of the game.  In fact Tom Crean never even played a year past high school.

                  ESPN staff writer Jason King states that Tom Crean, whilst at Marquette, was denied by a talented young recruit because “he wanted to learn from someone who had actually played the game,” (King).  Creans response: “You do what you want, but when we play you, make sure you pay attention to the double teams we put in place to keep you from scoring,” (King).  As for the kid “He hardly ever played, we won a lot more against them then they did against us.  I think I made my point,” (King).  As fascinating as that is, the sheer number of college coaches who have never played past haghschool is somewhat staggering.  The sweet 16 in 2011 featured 5 coaches who never played a day on the floor for a college team (Drew, Cronin, Williams, Willaims, and Crean).

                  Playing basketball and coaching basketball are separate entities that needn’t be related.  On-floor coaching is just one aspect one must consider.  There is recruiting, the off-floor speaking, the stat-crunching, and the managerial work as well.  One of the most profound things a coach can do is decide who needs to be where and doing what on the floor in order for the team to succeed. Secondly,  These “little guy” coaches have a quality that an all-star may not have; they know how hard they have to work in order for them to be take seriously. 

                  Unfortunately we  constantly see a lot of celebrity worship in the CrossFit world wherein someone who clean and jerks 350 pounds tends to be taken more seriously than the coach who can only put up their bodyweight.  In my opinion a great coach in a group fitness setting does the following:

                  1. Recruits- This does not mean poach from other gyms.  It simply means going after the people you want to work with.
                  2. Crunches stats- constant and meticulous tweaking in programming to accomplish a specific goal and address problematic areas or where a mass tends to be failing.
                  3. Off-floor speaking- The best coaches get you excited to get back in.
                  4. Manages properly- The best coaches can give a pro athlete and the person who just came back from having knee surgery the exact same experience that is safe, effective and challenging.
                  5. The best coaches can pattern-match movements.  Coaching in a CrossFit gym is sort of like being really good at the memorization game where you have to remember what box the squiggly line is in.  Good coaches can isolate movements so they make sense; and they cross-reference other things you may or may not be good at in order to help you succeed.

                  The best coaches are those who know how to coach, not those who were the best players.

                  TLDR: The best coaches are those who can coach, not play.  One of the many reasons why Poppovich just totally out coached the worst NBA franchise of all time (say what you want).  Sorry Bieber.

                  Jason King. “Stars on the Bench, If Not on The court.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 06 July 2014.

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                    Jul
                    03
                    2014

                    How Sleep Affects Your Mental Toughness

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                    On average how many hours of sleep should you get per night? Do you notice a difference in your productivity, energy, attitude, etc. depending on how much sleep you get? Does sleep determine your “mental toughness” in the gym?

                    An article in the April 2014 Success Magazine, by Larry Keller, weighed in on a few of these questions. “No matter how organized you are, your efforts at being more productive may be for naught if you’re constantly fatigued.” I feel the same holds true for your workouts.

                    A 2011 survey conducted by Harvard Medical School researchers and others estimated a $63 billion annual drain on the U.S. economy due to lost productivity from insomnia.

                    Another study by Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that participants who were limited to an average of 5.6 hours of sleep per night took longer to perform tasks such as finding information quickly and accurately on computer monitors than when they had adequate sleep. For you parents with new-borns, you can definitely echo these findings.

                    Sleep needs vary, but most adults require 7-9 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

                    If you would like to improve on the quality of sleep at night, here are a few tips:

                    - Stay away from electronics 2 hours leading up to bedtime. (Shut off the TV, stay away from your phone, and get your face booking done earlier). The lighting from electronic devices stimulates your brain making it harder to fall asleep.

                    - Sleep in a cool, dark room.

                    - Read a book or do your daily journal. This is also a good time to prep for tomorrow so you don’t lay in bed thinking about how you will get everything done that you need to.

                    If you struggle with getting enough sleep at night, try taking a 20-30 minute nap during the day. Numerous studies have shown that napping improves memory, learning and creativity.

                    Personally speaking, my best days in the gym are when I have had adequate sleep the night before. There are many factors that come into play with your mental toughness. What are you doing outside of the gym to improve on your scores in the gym?

                    …Stay tuned next week for “How Eating Affects Your Mental Toughness”…

                     

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