Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Creating Vision

The 2013 Games Season is now complete and those of you who competed for the first time may be wondering, “What can I do to better prepare myself for 2014”? Now I’m not by any means saying that we need to start training specifically for 2014, but making sure we’re heading in the best general direction is paramount and having a few things in your daily arsenal to help with this is a pretty darn good idea.

The concept I want to address today is Strategy and how we can be thinking about it in a typical daily WOD.

Strategy: The science and art of military command exercised to meet the enemy in combat under advantageous conditions.

This above definition of Strategy I specifically picked out because every day we find ourselves in a glorious battle at CrossFit against the whiteboard, our friends and ourselves. Finding those “advantageous conditions” is something we are challenged with in order to get the work done faster!

The concept of Strategy for CrossFit may be:

A. Completely foreign to you: 3...2..1.GO! ANDOFFTOTHERACESWITHNOPLANWEGO!!!...other than to somehow get through all this crap that somebody wrote on the white board one way or another…wait how many rounds and of what?

B. You may be doing it already without knowing It: “Fran” – 21/15/9 Thursters/Pullups and you purposely broke into sets of 7/7/7, 5/5/5, 5/4…not extremely fast breaking the sets up but as long as the rest between sets was minimal, you should still be happy with your effort/score.

C. You have dabbled in an attempt at it with little success: Wod 13.3 is a perfect example of many people assuming that since they can do a single set of 30 Wall Balls on a good day, that they now should be able to maintain sets of 20 with 10 seconds of rest all the way through “Karen”…not anywhere as easy as that sounds when talking to yourself let alone putting into practice.

No matter where you stand, I’m here to tell you that with a solid strategy and awareness of your own capabilities as an athlete, having direction is the only way to approach each WOD…this goes for Strength WOD’s also…I can’t stress enough the importance of methodically breaking down warm-up sets based off of percentages.

You may have read articles/heard pod casts/watched videos of many well-known CrossFit coaches throughout the community give their breakdown strategies for each of the 2013 Open WODS and more than likely for the general CrossFitter, these prescribed strategies were not written for you but rather regional caliber athletes. What decision did you come to after this realization…throw the strategy out the window or to start thinking about how to make it work for your abilities?

The process of Strategizing for a WOD is just like everything else we do and it requires a very realistic account of one’s self as well as being dedicated to practicing it every day.

Upon entering the gym each day, the first thing you should do each day would be to look at the WOD and begin the mental breakdown…prior to warming up. Then during your warm-up and mobility is a great time to be thinking critically about the WOD and your plan of attack. Now this doesn’t mean neglecting the purpose of the warm-up but rather redirecting you’re daydreaming about Rich Fronning Jr. or Camille Leblanc-Bazinet (I can’t be the only one?) into constructive thinking about the work to be done.

When starting to break down a WOD, here are some of the things you need to be thinking about:

1.) Can I go UNBROKEN…if so, how expensive (how will this affect my efforts in later rounds) will UNBROKEN be?

2.) If I can’t go UNBROKEN, how many sets of each item will I need to do to ensure I do the most work I can while
still limiting my resting periods

3.) Is my Pride of RX more important to me than my efficiency and work intensity which is the true goal for CrossFit?

4.) Are the scaling options still making me work hard enough to get better at the actual movement?

5.) Be realistic about over all abilities

6.) Be prepared to adjust the strategy on the fly based on what your body is telling you

7.) Don’t SANDBAG (Holding back effort early only to try and make up ground later…rarely works)



Now the 2nd to last one may seem crass but let’s put a stop to this over-hydrated ridiculousness. Also, the very last bullet may seem hypocritical to some end yet it’s really a matter of efficiently balancing the strategic process, which is really what requires your practice.

The next time you’re in the gym I challenge you to discuss your tentative WOD strategy with the Coach (and rest of class if you’re looking for more accountability) prior and then again after to see what ended up taking place, whether it worked perfectly or had to be tossed out the window in round 1. Also, just as you document the WOD’s I’d encourage you to begin jotting down your strategies and how they played out in your WODbooks on a daily basis.

Every athlete operates slightly differently, but let’s find the best YOU that we can by attacking each WOD with strategy!

-Coach G

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Real Challenge: Discipline

This is the busiest time of year for many of us; work, family, gym (those are the only 3 things in our life right?)and then the Holidays throw in a nice little wrench in...Anyhow, those 4 things probably are demanding all of our time...where did we free up room for the Holiday's anyway!? Not to mention once again The Open is upon us (initial details released this past week, kicks off March 6th).

These things are all daunting enough and managing your time & efforts proportionately is where it gets messy. It doesn't help our situations when we try to extend ourselves beyond our capabilities. Whether this is trying to hit a Christmas part every weekend in December, doing 2/day workouts to make up for said Christmas Parties or getting together with family and friends for good eats and libations. We need to be extremely conscious of expectations and asses how this will all affect our long term goals...I suspect most of you made goals to reach by the New Year and If you hit them already (i know a lot have and CONGRATS) does not give you the opportunity to take December off. Reassess those goals and get a new ones on paper or the white board stat.

The last thing we want to do is set ourselves up for disappointment or failure and this is one month of the year that will test every piece of willpower you posses.

Things to keep in mind for the next 30 days (lifetime actually):

Was your goal to limit your partying; do the Palo Challenge; increase lifting #'s; be generally more healthy; Get to the gym a certain amount of days, attend Yoga or Oly at least 1x week, introduce friends to CrossFit, not Snooze your alarm, gain weight, lose weight, get a promotion at work, earn more money, etc, etc, etc.

Now step back, look at the next month (and last month) and pinpoint where the challenging areas currently lie...better to have solid contingency plans in place now so you're not thrust into a situation that you then attempt to wing, in hopes that you'll make the right decision. Hate to tell you but willpower is not typically many of our strong suits. That simple word "NO" is so hard mutter and if you truly are committed your goals, you are going to disappoint some people in your circle that just don't 100% understand, be it family, friends, co-workers.

This is piggy back of the last post, but it is increasingly important that we take charge of our own situation which also happens to be the only one that you are directly in control of...some aren't even in control of that!

Tip - if you're trying to gain a bit of weight and strength, take advantage of the wonderful fatty foods you'll be eating the next month or so as the additional calories may be beneficial when reaching some of your goals (Squatting more cures all, haha). Note I didn't say cookies and Bon Bon's although I'm quite confident I will partake in a few of each!

P.S./Rant - Extra challenges, weight, days at the gym, the damned RX, Wod's are not the answer you may be looking for and unless you have a degree in Kinesiology I'd be pretty careful what you take on. For instance...a 5000 rep challenge is fine when attacked as a "challenge", this is not designed to see who can do it the fastest, really c'mon! When these challenges present themselves each of you should attempt to model them similar the beloved (joking) 100-day Burpee challenge (as Trainers we should explain this better also)...1 Burpee day 1, 2 Burpees day 2, 3 Burpees day 3 and so on...falling off the wagon to only then do 300 Burpees/situps/etc to make up for missed days does nothing for you other than show you can do 300burpees. You've completely missed out on the entire idea of what the "Challenge" portion of the whole thing was! Also, don't feel pressured into any of the challenges...in my opinion, you are way better off not putting your name on the board due to peer pressure if you do not have 100% intentions of completing it. Again always be setting yourself up for success on your own terms, screw what everyone else is doing!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Check Yourself!

Yes, I'm plenty aware that I may currently be the exception and not the rule when it comes to life but i'm also generally accepting of this as my life's complications are quite low (yet sometimes closing myself off to potential opportunities).

I momentarily live by myself, have a solid career that doesn't follow me home each night(much), am blessed with an exceptional amount of friends, and either spend the majority of my free time at CrossFit 701 obsessing over the OutLaw Way, or working hard to teach the finer aspects of what CrossFit can do for everyone's life through this fantastic fitness Community.

Where I run into trouble is that every so often I subject myself to a situations or relationships (people, things, finances) which negatively affects my motivations and focus. These very issues weigh us down to the point that our day, week or even month can be drastically affected if we're not careful.

The issue at hand here is; How do I make myself less susceptible to negative influences?

With the CrossFit Open rapidly approaching it's extremely important that we get these interactions under control and making sure we are mentally strong should be our #1 priority. Taking an honest assessment of our goals, motivations and relationships inside/outside the gym and how they influence us should be where we start.

Goals: Have you checked up our your previous goals or set new goals lately? Are they what you truly want to accomplish or subject to others ideals? Have you shared them with the masses or accountability partners?

Motivations: Why are do this? What is the benefit for you personally? What's the worst that could happen? What would you tell someone in your shoes?

Relationships: Does your family, friends, significant other back you whole heartidly? Are there people that negatively affect your motivations and decision making? Are you strong enough to reject negative interactions? What would you tell someone in your shoes?

Now this is by no means a comprehensive list, but should give you a solid base of questions to ask yourself when it comes to the direction you wish to go and who with. Making sure you surround yourself with the positive people and things you can depend on is paramount!

CrossFit is a very empowering sport and the fact that we have a worldwide community behind our every move is something that we can only hope to share with others every day. Stop accepting what comes your way and start making the proactive decisions towards living your goals and dreams!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Don't Go "Chick"!

Like many of you, i have quite a list of favorite Wod/CrossFit/Lifting Blogs that i like to read on a regular basis. The problem lies, when i read past the blog and get sucked into reading every athletes sob story about why their workout was so dang bad today! Also, like many folks in those same blogs i actually do have the occasional (sorry to suprise you) extremely shitty day where things just do not go anywhere near as perfect as i had laid them out in my mind. This unfortuneatly produces some byproducts including the possible snap at peeps that don't do exactly do what i ask/tell them to do either in the gym or at work. This can go on for multiple days in a row sometimes before i pull my head out of my rear, let my balls drop back down to their desired comfortable position, kick a puppy, punch a kitten, and quit feeling (yes quit "feeling" entirely) sorry for how damn difficult life and CrossFit is!

The thing that differs from me and many others that go through similar bouts with on again, off again AWESEOMENESS is that I strive (close to perfect but do slip, again sorry) to keep the excuse shit to myself. The problem for all of us is that in our Facebook state of acceptable Social Media and the way most boxes run, every one thinks that it's part of "COMMUNITY" to divulge every detail of why they did or didn't accomplish something. Let me assure you it is quite the contrary and no one has had the balls to tell you to your face...KEEP YOUR DAMN FEELINGS TO YOURSELF!!!

No one really wants to hear you go into detail about why you didn't make it to the gym today, missed your lift/s, stubbed your toe, calus tore, didn't sleep well, fell off the paleo wagon, didn't PR, etc. etc...I know you've spoken or hear them all!

What i ask of myself and can only ask the same of you, is the next time you feel like puking at the mouth everything that will make you rationalize your crappy efforts is to zip it closed! We are human and we do have bad days, do the best you can that day no matter how terrible it is, knowing that you are strong enough to pick yourself back up again and you will be better because of it! This in and of itself is a very important aspect of building mental strength in our daily struggles to be the best damn EXCERCISER that we can be and when the time comes that you drop kick your old PR out the door...let the entire gym and surrounding businesses feel the acoustical reverberation of a monstorous "FUUUCCCKK YEEEAAHHH"!!!

-Garrett (This is in now way, me letting you know how i feel about this mornings less than amazing execution of Outlaw programming)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Let's Find Some Better Use for that WOD Stalling Time!

Everyday you see any number of people come strolling into the gym oblivious about what they're going to be doing that day? The first thing they will likely do is glance at the whiteboard, bitch and moan for a few moments and then start their warm-up (which hopefully is directly related towards the days tasks and of course involves some of K-Stars favorite gems) before then rolling right into the Met-Con abyss of not understanding why they performed the way they did whether better or worse than expected only to walk out the door until tomorrow when it happens all over again.

For most people this will be common practice for some time but if becoming the best athlete you're capable of becoming is a goal (better be or you coaches may just ask u to leave) then you'll eventually what to starting prepping the brain just as thoroughly as the body before each workout. I'm surely not talking about "Gaming" the wod but actually breaking the work down into pieces, movement by movement, set by set and taking an honest look at how you think you'll perform each movement...Goats especially, they'll break you if you don't have some sort of contingency plan.

Think about this in comparison to evry time you get in the car. You may be heading to 5 differ places throughout the day, but most if not all of them you've likely been before. How do u decide which route to take? Are stoplights a concern? Prefer straight routes? Take the SUV, car, or bike? Do you avoid rush hour? Did you fuel enough? How you approach this most basic life scenario is just how you should take on any daily WOD.

Just like the example above, when you take a look at the workout of the day what are some question you should ask yourself?

What do I like?
What will I struggle with?
Can i do the sets unbroken?
How expensive will unbroken sets be?
If I do break the sets, what's the most efficient way?
How do I get the best value out of my rest time?
Will I need water (god I hope not)?
Oly shoes (hopefully not if it's a 5k run day)?
Who in the class is on your competitive wavelength?
RX'd for my Ego or drop the weight a bit to ensure maximum output?

This is just a short list to get your brain rocking but these are wickedly important details that should be addressed before 3.2.1...GO! As you get deeper into Crossfit and more aware of where you can push the body, this will became a very large asset in helping you accomplish your goals (because you put some of those on paper since my previous post right!?)!



Sunday, April 22, 2012

Next Order of Business - Strength

What's the difference between someone that's been crossfitting for 3 years that places somewhere near 200 in the open within their Region and someone that who has only been crossfitting for 1 year and made it to the Reginal level? In the most basic form...STRENGTH. This shouldn't lead you to believe that strength in and of itself with get you that far as that would be just as preposterous as having an elite marathoner make it, but is possibly the most important portion. Surely gymnastics, skills and an assortment of other tasks are extremely neccessary but muscle endurance would likely be 2nd which is easier to train once the strength is already under your belt.

I'd be willing to bet the majority of athletes who participated in The Open would agree that their primary deficiency was the ability to to more work in a shorter period of time than others (people, yes this is the ultimate goal FYI). This is most likely because you muscles couldn't keep the work up as long as needed, not because you didn't want to continue.

In my experience the last couple years, as my strength has continued to go up (body weight with it) my general fitness has also. RX'd metcons are not an issue, it's more fun to lift when you are lifting more, and having strength goals has assisted my respect for proper nutrition. This all sounds great but I have noticed a few draw backs, stuff that I used to crush like "Angie", "Cindy", and "Annie" are no longer my preference due to the fact my body weight has gone up faster than my ability to control it. This is something that is continuously getting better, just being aware of the trade offs that can come up when exercising a "Strength Bias" Crossfit regime is important. When we experience this we have to trust that Muscle Memory will override our issues as you work on them.

I bring all of this up because I believe NOW is the best time to get yourself on a Strength Bias plan of some sort. Most of us have are recently done with The Open and as I'd stated in last weeks blog, it's time to have Goals in mind to increase your overall performance going forward and when envisioning the 2013 Open. For myself, it's a 10-12wk Starting Strength Program that also includes a Saturday morning Oly sessions to test our Snatch and Clean & Jerk. This is a Monday/Wednesday/Friday strength routine and the Oly portion is to put our gains to actual "work". We will do the occasional metcon but right now lifting heavy and eating (or drinking if you're going GOMAD) a ton is the objective as the muscle memory will return when it enticed to do so.

Some may oppose the idea going on a gainer at this time as "Beach Season" is quickly approaching! Why, because you've been working so hard to trim the unwanted fat with hope of a better chance to attract the opposite sex (how many beaches do you midwesterners see on a regular basis not including pseudo beachs like WWW!?)? I hear you loud and clear as its a familiar theme that's gone through my head many times in the past(and present as yes i'm single) but it all comes down once again to those damn goals. I will tell you this very important fact; "you will not get the strength gains you desire as fast you desire them without eating like someone that already has that strength".

Humbling fact i know, but I hope you can digest that and follow the reasoning behind it...YOU NEED MONEY TO MAKE MONEY!!!


Disclaimer: most if not all above is something I'm preaching through this blog to myself about, its on the web so you
get the pleasure of assessing it for yourself also ;)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Post Open - Current State of Affairs

The Open finished 3 weeks ago already and if you're anythining like me, the only thing on your mind is "what do I do with myself now?" Most of us who'd been preparing for The Open had been going hard at it for 6-9 mos prior. For those of you that fall into this group, if you haven't done so already now is the time to take your much deserved week of rest. I hope I didn't stutter...yes you body would greatly appreciate AN ENTIRE WEEK OFF! Now I'm not suggesting you mold your ass into the couch for a week but use you brain and simply spend your time at the gym wisely focusing on mobility, stretching and that fabulous term Crossfitters use to avoid true rest days..."Active Rest".

The reasoning for the rest week is two fold:

1.) As mentioned earlier you just went through (still going through if are a regional qualifier) the toughest and most emotionally taxing 5 weeks of CrossFitting that you have ever experienced, not to mention all of the 2/day workouts logged on the way in preparation. Your body and mind need a break to recuperate and reinvigorate. Plain and simple you should want to take a step away and enjoy in the spenders of your exceptional achievements and hard work while endulging in a few things that make you smile (Sam Adams Summer Seasonal or a Liene's Shandy come to mind for me).

2.) The second portion of this week off is to take a mental evaluation of where you've come in the last year and what you'd like to see for yourself for the rest of 2012 and going into Games season 2013. I know, I know..."Games season 2013, you've got to be kidding me if that's on your mind already!". No I'm not kidding, this week of rest is the ideal time to take a personal inventory of yourself. The Open should have givin you a solid look into what areas of your training may need a little work and today (not tomorrow) is the best time to take an honest look at them. This would be a good time to have conversations with your coaches also to help you dial in new goals and pathways to reach them. A solid Coach will appreciate your concern and be glad to assist you here, if not my email is Garrett.strating@gmail.com and i'd be glad to!

Starting a 10 month programming cycle next week is by no means what I'm implying and your coaches would probably slap you in the mouth if you asked them to do that for you! Its time to revealuate yourself as an athlete, while having fun moving some heavy weight and Wod'ing again without the added stress of strict program. Embrace all of the awesomeness that the Regional and finally Games events will bring to your overall motivation working towards your goals for the next year and the 2012/2013 Games season!

As for me, I'm already 2 weeks into another Strength Cycle and have hit 5lb PR's in my Snatch and Clean & Jerk two weeks in a row which I most defiantly attribute to my week of relaxation, evaluation, and planning. Go on, try it for yourself!