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Derby City CrossFit Pro Tips, Part 1

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Derby City CrossFit Pro Tips, Part 1
Written by: Coach James

This article will focus on some small hints/tricks/pro tips that can and will make your experience at Derby City a little better and easier, especially for beginners. We have all seen that one person do something so simple and we just stop and think “that was so smart”. I am going to break it all down and let everyone in on these tricks and tips.

Walking the Bar into the J Hook

Have you noticed the black and clear plates on the J hooks? These are here to protect the J hooks and the rig. You do not have to be gentle with these. You have probably heard the coaches say at some point “just walk the bar straight in and set it down”. We tell you this so that you are not twisting under a heavy load. The J hooks should be set up so that you are able to walk the bar out and in, without having to come up on your toes or do something awkward. Walk the bar straight into the J hook and then set it down.

Unloading the Bar on the Ground

We all love to lift heavy, this can be deadlifts, cleans, snatches or any variation of the shoulder to overhead. What sucks is trying to strip the weight off after we are done. You think you look silly and maybe even feel frustrated fighting with the weights? There is one easy trick to fix this problem. Place a 5lb or 2.5lb plate on the floor and roll the first plate on the bar onto the plate you just placed on the ground. This will elevate the other plates off the floor so that you are able to remove the plates without having to fight with it. Once you have one side completely stripped of weight just stand the bar straight up to make a nice stack with the other side and simply remove the bar.

Clips & Jump Ropes During WODs

We have been in the middle of a WOD with barbell movements, and as we drop the bar, the clips will slowly start to slide out and the weight follows. (We all know we cannot lift a bar with uneven weights.) So we have to stop and push the weight back on and adjust the clips. One way to fix this problem is to turn the clips around and put them on backwards (like the picture above). This will cause the clips to be under tension and therefore harder for them to slide off saving you that valuable time during a WOD.

The second thing that will make WODs a little easier, is what you do with your jump rope once you are done. Most of us just throw it down and move onto the next movement. When we come back the rope is all knotted up and now you have to undo it and you are frustrated and it’s just a mess. A simple trick for this is to take that extra second to lay the rope out on the floor so that you are not wasting 10 seconds later trying to undo the knot. Another trick you can do is to hang the rope off the J hooks. Once you have finished the jump rope portion, simple hang the rope up for faster and easier access.

How to Make Exercise *Stick*

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How to Make Exercise *Stick*
Written by: Coach Slater

We’re halfway in to our Summer Transformation challenge, and the four males & females who either lose the most body fat or gain the most muscle will win over $400 each. Two of the biggest keys to winning this challenge are Consistency and Nutrition. Today, let’s talk about Consistency by addressing “how to make exercise stick”.

Whether you prefer to workout in the morning, afternoon, or evening, exercise needs to become your routine, your habit, and creating new habits can be a challenge. The most successful people at Derby City don’t exercise ‘sometimes’, they attend the gym on most days without fail. Here are some ideas on how you can follow in their footsteps, making your workout just a part of your normal life.

Get Enough Sleep

This is like the Prologue before Chapter One. The first step before the actual first step. Everyone knows that feeling of running on empty because they didn’t sleep. It’s going to be impossible to keep your new exercise habit if you’re not sleeping. So, if you workout in the morning, but you don’t go to bed early enough, you’ll find it hard to get out of bed. And, if you workout after work, that’s the time of day when a bad night’s sleep will catch up with you making you more likely to go home and sit on the couch rather than get to the gym. Don’t let lack of sleep be an excuse. It’s largely within your control.

Set the Alarm

This is for you early risers. Create the habit of waking up with enough time to hit the gym, by consistently getting out of bed at the same time every day. This recommendation may sound oversimplified, but if you simply make it a habit of waking up at a certain time every day, it’s hard to break that habit without intervention. If you set the alarm but find yourself hitting snooze frequently, then you need to go to bed earlier.

Get Your Gym Stuff Ready Before Bed or Before Work

You’re starting a new habit, so it helps to eliminate any possible excuses. One of which is preparing your gym clothes, gym bag, and pre/intra/post-workout shakes before going to bed or before leaving for work. If you commonly use your pet or running errands as an excuse to go home after work, then think about changing your routine to do that on your lunch break so you can go straight to the gym after you leave the office. Make it so there’s minimal thinking required to get moving. When the alarm goes off in the morning or you get in your car at the end of the workday, you don’t think, you just do.

Just Show Up

At first, don’t focus on crushing the workout, chasing the time of someone on the whiteboard, or beating everyone in class. We need to create a habit of exercise that is so easy, you can do it even when you’re running low on willpower and motivation. So for now, just focus on showing up, even if that means you only perform the workout at “sub-Life”, get time-capped every day, and are always the last to finish. No one cares how you perform, they just care that you came and gave an honest effort.

Focus on the Process, Not the Results

Most people join Derby City telling us “I want to lose 20 pounds” or “I want to lose the jiggle”. In fact, many people said similar things to me when signing up for the Summer Transformation challenge! I think it’s better to focus on the system, the habit of working out, rather than the results. You’re trying to establish a new normal of never missing workouts, a routine of consistent attendance, because doing so will lead to your goal. Remember, “Hitting DCCF 3 days per week is just enough to *break even*, but if you’re serious about seeing dramatic physical changes, then consider 4 or 5 days per week.” Focus on what you can control, and the result will come more easily.

Treat Yourself

If you’re the type of person that justifies eating something bad because you did something good, then A) you really need to break that habit, and B) use your pre/intra/post-workout shake as a treat. Of course, I want you to make that shake a healthy one, not just a vessel for a pint of ice cream. My post-workout shake uses a bit of Kool-Aid powder, and I really look forward to the days when I put in the Orange powder. Many in the gym rave about mixing our Driven Nutrition Vanilla Whey Protein with an Orange Gatorade for a creamsicle-like taste. Focusing on that reward might make it easier to get yourself to your workout.

We want to make exercise a habit, one that is hard to break. An active life is proven to make you happier, healthier, and full of energy. So, start creating the habit, and we’ll do our part to keep you accountable.

The Antithetical Pursuit

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The Antithetical Pursuit
Written by: DCCF-Member Elizabeth Ann Duncan

“The Heroin Chic glorified by the fashion industry is, at its very root, inhuman. It demands that life’s rich resources (mobility, strength, even intelligence) be squandered in the pursuit of a pitiful aesthetic.”

This line from “Letting Beauty Speak Up For Itself” is nothing short of perfect. As a former pursuer of the pitiful aesthetic, I sometimes cannot even believe a community with such ideal expressed exists in America today. Previous to hearing this perfect prose I have been known to quote the slightly less artful words of Kate Winslet: “I’ve been skinny; It’s f*cking boring.”

When I finished writing my recap of my first year at DCCF, I had a moment of pride upon realizing I didn’t make a single reference to body composition or weight. I am a female, who wrote about a year’s worth of fitness accomplishments, feeling zero need to talk about my body in terms of pounds or inches or percentages. I didn’t purposefully avoid it, it just didn’t seem that important. It wasn’t part of why I was proud, or why I keep coming back. This paradigm shift can be largely attributed to CrossFit. I am the member discussed around the 5 minute mark: I came to work out and I quickly wanted a pull up (check) and a body weight clean (check) and a double body weight back squat (not far on the horizon).

One of the best compliments I’ve been paid since finding CrossFit was a co-worker saying “Please tell me how your mother raised you so I can do the same for my daughter so she will have the relationship with exercise and food and her body that you have.” While I will certainly give credit where it’s due (HI, MOM! Thanks for always being supportive and a great role model!) I had to tell her she was looking at a very small piece of the data. The path to today hasn’t been completely smooth. Great role models or not, society is brutal and scarily convincing.

If you go to watch ‘Letting Beauty Speak Up for Itself’ on CrossFit Journal you will find a link to Emily Beer’s “Saved By the Barbell” which also had a line that struck me: “She managed to avoid major body-image eating disorders and depression. She is one of the lucky ones.” I, too, count myself among those lucky, but make no mistake; I have some ugly stories from days of the pursuit of the pitiful aesthetic. I’ve cried on a scale. I’ve used exercise as punishment for what I’ve eaten. I’ve body shamed my own friends. These occurred during some of the loneliest, most boring days of my life. So, I can’t help but think it is damn near magical that this video is becoming as popular as it deserves to be. As I listen to the thoughts and views expressed by each person interviewed, I’m hopeful that the paradigm shift is not just personal, but societal.

The pursuit of a pitiful aesthetic is inhuman and lonely and boring. CrossFit is the antithetical pursuit. We strive to improve the human experience through exciting camaraderie building. What a beautiful thing.

Elizabeth Ann Duncan (“E.A.”) is an attorney by trade and an amateur CrossFit nerd by choice. She will celebrate 5 years with the Derby City Fit Fam in August.

Take Aminos, Feel Better, End

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Take Aminos, Feel Better, End
Written by: Coach Slater

Hey fellow old people, listen up. Why aren’t you buying more Branch Chain Amino Acids? You hate feeling sore and crappy all the time, right? Did you know aminos can help that? No? Oh, ok, oops my bad. Then let me tell you why you should be taking it.

First, let’s clarify that Nutrition & Sleep are the two most important factors for recovery. If you’re not doing either correctly, then additional supplements aren’t going to fix the problem. I’ve previously mentioned Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Vitamin C here and Magnesium again here, as well as a handful of items in my Combating Soreness article.

With that out of the way, allow me to rave about about Branched Chain Amino Acids. BCAAs refer to three amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They’re typically presented in a 2:1:1 ratio (2g Leucine, 1g Isoleucine, 1g Valine), with leucine being the star of the BCAA cast. It’s like the “On” switch signaling the body to use proteins to build new muscle. Anyway, BCAAs have been shown to reduce the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that seems to occur due to the tiny micro-tears that occur to your muscles during a workout. So, since BCAAs play a role in repairing muscle, they also play a role in reducing soreness. Got it?

Most studies point to BCAA supplementation to the tune of 100mg/kg body weight, but I’m from ‘Murica and don’t understand kilograms, so math, math, math…. I don’t know. If you weigh 150lb, it’s recommended you take about 6.8g of BCAA, which is like one big scoop of our Driven Nutrition Aminos. I weigh in at around 235lb, so I’m taking two big scoops a day, about 11g. Unfortunately, I can’t objectively measure my level of soreness I was experiencing BEFORE I started consistently taking BCAA’s, but subjectively, I can tell you that I feel much better day-to-day and less achey now that I am taking them. I still get achey, don’t get me wrong, but much less achey, which means I can train a little harder and get a little fitter.

So, let me end this article with a quick plug… we’ve got Aminos in stock, which is what I take daily, and recommend for any athlete, but especially our older ones who generally ache more day-to-day. We also have a product called “Dysrupt” which contains BCAAs AND a little caffeine, which gives you a nice
boost while also reducing soreness by blocking some central nervous system receptors related to pain. Try either one out for 30 days and let me know if you don’t also feel “less sore”.

Amino acid supplementation and impact on immune function in the context of exercise“, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Branched-chain amino acid supplementation before squat exercise and delayed-onset muscle soreness“, International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
BCAAs And Taurine Reduce DOMS“, Breaking Muscle
Nine Amazing Ways to Reduce Post-Workout Muscle Soreness” Poliquin Group

Make the Most of Your Time

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Make the Most of Your Time
Originally Posted on Gym Jones

DCCF Note: We were so impressed with this article that we felt it deserved to be reprinted in full, to make sure the Derby City family read it. It’s conclusion is dead-on with the message we strive to consistently deliver. Enjoy.

Time Isn’t an Excuse

Training can have a remarkable effect on all aspects of your life. Improving physical fitness will make you healthier and better able to cope with stress. You will look better and feel more confident. Your psychological being will be far better off. Training can help make you a better father or mother, a better husband or wife, and it can allow you to enjoy more of the things you love. And yet people still refuse to invest the necessary time.

Much of the training discussion focuses on training and nutrition, but one of the biggest obstacles people have when it comes to training is finding enough time. Time management seems to be the biggest determinant in a person’s success in any given training program.

The first question I always ask when it comes to writing someone a program is, “How much time can you commit each day and each week?” If you tell me you have twenty hours a week and you can train twice a day, I can write you the best program in the world. On the other hand, if you tell me you only have one hour to train each week and can only make the gym twice, my hands are tied. There’s no magic I can work at that point.

I’ve trained many different types of people with varying commitment levels. On average I am disappointed with the amount of time people are willing to commit. So I want to make one thing clear: time is not an excuse. The real issue is usually that a person isn’t dedicated enough or has poor time management skills.

Case in Point:

There are 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week, which totals 168 total hours. That is a lot of time to fit everything you need into your schedule. When I encounter a person who claims he or she doesn’t have enough time, we go through an exercise together. We examine where their time is going. Essentially, I perform an audit on their schedule.

I ask a person how many hours they spend at work in a week. For the purpose of this exercise I will assign seventy hours to work. That is a person who works fourteen hours a day, Monday to Friday.

Then I assign that person eight hours of sleep a night. I don’t ask them, I tell them, because at this point everyone says they can’t get that much sleep (which is entirely another issue I could address). That is a total of 56 hours of sleep in a week. The person now stands at 126 total hours used out of a possible 168.

Then I ask what the hell they do with the rest of their time. I remind them they have 42 hours left. They start shouting out things like, “I have to commute to work,” “I have to go grocery shopping,” “I need to spend time with my family.” I assign them values for these. I give them two hours a day for commuting time, which adds to ten hours for the five days of work. I give them three hours per week to grocery shop, and I give them twenty hours in quality time (without the phone or any outside distractions) to spend with their family per week. That brings their total to 159 hours.

They still have nine hours left to train. Usually the person gets the message by this point.

The funniest thing about this exercise is that most people who say they don’t have time to train don’t actually work seventy hours a week. They don’t sleep eight hours a night, don’t commute that far, and don’t spend that much quality time with their family. So they end up having a lot more than nine hours a week to train. Do you wonder where all their time goes? I have an idea: TV, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, text messages, screwing around, etc.

If you really believe that you can’t find enough time, then two issues need to be addressed. The first is time management and the second is your level of commitment and desire. I can’t help you with the latter. Commitment and desire must come from within. But hopefully I can help you with time management.

Be the Dentist

The first step in taking back your life and freeing up time is to take command of your schedule. Don’t let others plan your schedule for you. It’s your schedule and your life so you make the rules. Your time is the most precious commodity you have. It is the one thing that you can give and never get back. Treat it like it is important. Be dominant and make protecting your schedule your ultimate priority.

Force other people to work around your schedule. When you make appointments don’t ask, “When works for you?” and then get stuck in appointment that you don’t like or that wreaks havoc on your schedule. Tell them when you can make time for them. Start planning your schedule in a way that allows you to train. If you claim your training is important, then you will protect it. People always make time for things that are important to them, like their favorite television show or a night out with friends. Why not do it with training?

I know a businessman who routinely tells people he cannot meet with them between 11am and 1pm. He also tells his secretary not to take meetings during that time. When people ask, she politely says, “I’m sorry, there are already meetings booked during that time. Are there any other times that work for you?” People don’t need to know he is going to gym or doing other things. They respect the fact that he is unavailable and acquiesce to another time. Job done.

Think back to a time you called the dentist and attempted to make an appointment. You ask to make an appointment and the receptionist gives you a time. It’s usually a few weeks out at a time that works best for them. For argument’s sake, say they tell you November 11th at 10am. You say you cannot make 10am because you have to work. So she advises November 19th at 3pm. You say the same thing and tell her you work between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. So she suggests November 27th at 9am. Once again, it is on a weekday between 9am and 5pm.

So what do you do? You say you’ll take the first appointment and rearrange your schedule to make it work. Why do you do this? Because your teeth are important and you have to make time for them. The dentist isn’t going to come in at some time that doesn’t work for his or her schedule. The dentist isn’t going to come in at 6am on a Tuesday morning because you decided that works best for you. They will not skip their lunch or stay late for you. You are at their mercy. Learn from this.

When it comes to your schedule, be the dentist. You’re the boss, you make the decisions, you make the schedule.

Avoid Time Wasters

There are a few common time-wasters. I will address three here: commuting, people, and your cell phone.


If you have a long commute, do whatever you can to avoid getting stuck in traffic. Sitting in a traffic jam is dead time. Avoid busy times by leaving your home earlier in the morning and/or coming home later.

For example, I have a friend who lives in a busy urban center. If he leaves his home at 7am, he can barely make it to work by 9am. Sometimes he is late. If he leaves at 6:15am he gets there by 7am and has time left to train and shower at a local gym. At the end of the day he does the same. If he leaves at 5pm, he gets home at 7pm. If he leaves at 6:30pm, he gets home at 7:15pm (only 15 minutes later) and created an extra hour and a half in his schedule. He saved almost four hours in his day just by adjusting his commute times. That is a lot of time to accomplish your goals.

The Cell Phone:

Most people don’t have a concept of how much time they waste daily on their phone. So do me a favor. Every time you check your phone for a text message or social media update, do five burpees. You will learn fast how much of a time suck the phone can be. I bet most of you waste hours of time each day. The cell phone also makes your other tasks take much longer because it’s a distraction.

Have some self-control. Put the phone away sometimes. Don’t be so attached. Sounds easy enough, right?


You can’t be everything to everyone and you can’t give everything to everyone. There are people (you know the ones I am talking about) who enjoy talking your ear off, ask you for help when they don’t really need it, or show up late to appointments you have with them. Learn the power of saying “no.” Be kind, be nice, but know it is okay to protect your time. Time is precious. Spend it on those who deserve and respect it.

Be Creative With Your Training

If there is a time you really cannot get to the gym, then start to get creative with your training. Doing repetitions every hour on the hour can be powerful. How many push ups do you think you’ve done this year? 1,000? 2,000? More? Try doing ten push ups ten times throughout the day. You could do ten every hour or five every half hour. If you could accumulate 100 a day, you would accumulate 36,500 by the end of the year. Not bad, especially since it’s easy. It doesn’t take much to fit into your schedule and you won’t even break a sweat. You could do the same with squats, pull ups (if you have a bar in your house that hangs from the door frame), or lunges. It is incredible how this volume approach adds up.

Multitasking is another helpful tool. When you watch your favorite show or football on Sundays, do work during commercial breaks or every few minutes, rather than just sitting on your ass. I remember once watching The Lord of the Rings with my son. It’s one of his favorite movies. Do you know how many burpees, push ups, and lunges you can get done in a three-hour movie? It doesn’t take away from the movie. You could also have an exercise bike in the living room. I have routinely ridden a Fan Bike while watching some of my favorite shows. This is the kind of thing committed people do.


Just remember, time is a precious commodity. Protect it and respect it. We are all capable of making time for the things we love. Learn to make time for your training. It could change your life. You just have to want it.

The Benefits of Bro-Pumping

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The Benefits of Bro-Pumping
Written by: Coach Slater

“Oh bro, you’re crushing that! Add some weight to the bar!”

“Girl, seriously, that looked easy!”

Bro-pumping is the act of “pumping up” someone in the gym to give them the mental edge they need to do something they’ve never done before, didn’t think they could do, were scared to try, or simply never considered. Bro-pumping takes the supportive environment you see in Regional CrossFit competitions and brings it home, on a smaller scale, for your class time with your classmates. Bro-pumping is gender neutral, and can be utilized on anyone and everyone at the gym. You see somebody kicking butt but maybe needs a suggestive nudge to try that new PR? Give them a bro-pump!

Bro-pumping is intentionally and distinctively different from Bro-shaming as it doesn’t cut anyone down, police someone over their effort or appearance, or ridicule people who workout at a different pace/intensity than you. It’s welcoming and supportive of all, because it respects weightlifting and all those who better themselves by it.

Often times, it’s on the gym veterans to initiate a bro-pump. When someone looks lost, it’s on us to help them out, instead of acting annoyed or ignoring them. We can let them know that we were in the same position when we started. Remember the people who helped us and pay it forward. Be a teacher and help someone understand that it’s ok to try our hardest and not quite succeed, but that’s infinitely better than not trying. It’s ok to feel embarrassed about finishing last in class because we tried a weight we wouldn’t usually try, or timid that we’re trying a personal record that we just saw “Becky” hit during her warmup sets.

But, bro-pumping doesn’t just apply to newcomers. Sometimes, a fellow veteran needs a boost, too. Maybe they had a rough day in the office or simply need an adrenaline boost. Pump up that person and watch your energy level rise with theirs. Bro-pumping helps everyone raise their level of performance just like a rising tide lifts all boats.

If you go to this gym, you clearly want to get better. No one is here to waste their time or money. So, the Derby City culture is, and will always be, welcoming. We’ve even mentioned it in Coaches Meetings when we say that we should never shame someone for being late. Instead, we should show how glad we are that they arrived and help them quickly mix into the ongoing class. We appreciate the transformative power this training has on us and others, so we want to share that feeling. We want to teach beginners (and remind veterans alike) that we should do everything in our power to give those around us the opportunity to succeed.

So, bro-pump somebody tomorrow. Help them succeed.

“Bro, you crushed it.”

Stop Changing Your Weights Mid-Workout

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Stop Changing Your Weights Mid-Workout
Written by: Coach Evan

Many of us find ourselves staring at the whiteboard and the prescribed weights trying to decide what weight to use. Maybe it’s Fran and you finally want to do it as prescribed. Maybe you’ve been wanting to try a heavier weight in a workout, but have been apprehensive. Big weights scare all of us, you’re not alone.

You decide that today is the day. You’re going to try it. You’re feeling good, you’re ready to lift that heavier weight all through the workout. You warm up, you’re feeling confident, even though you might move a little slower, you’re still going to be able to do it.

First lift: smooth. Feels heavy but yea well duh. First round: Oh, man that was a little harder than expected. This is where the doubt and fear sets in. Second round: there’s no way I can finish this. Get to the third round of five: changing plates to a weight I know I can do.


Unless you are hurting yourself or others around you, don’t change your weights mid-WOD. Safety and proper technique are always the most important. The second most important thing is that you are constantly pushed out of your comfort zone. Most of the time you are changing the weight because you’re afraid you won’t finish, or you’re afraid you’re going to fail a rep. You’ve heard this time and time again, but it’s easy to forget and easy to not want to apply it to your situation: failure is a great way to grow. I would encourage you to try new strategies often until you find what works for you to keep growing as an athlete; to push yourself. Then you’ll see your progress soar. Whether the strategies work or whether you fail, you will learn a lot from trying them. If they fail, you can analyze and adjust. If they worked well you’ve found a new strategy to use in future workouts. Not failing is great way to grow, too.

You may also be afraid that you’re going to hurt yourself. One of the great things about Derby City CrossFit is that our coaches are always watching, whether you can see it or not, and we’re paying attention to how you lift, especially in the middle of a workout. If we notice that something is going badly, we will come over and help with technique and possibly suggest that you modify the weight. If we don’t, have a little more trust in us and more importantly in yourself that you are moving well. You might not be able to do sets of 7 or 8 and have to back off maybe even to sets of 3. But just because it feels hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the weight.

I see athletes use the same weights in workouts over and over again who crush the workouts with that weight but then wonder why they aren’t making progress. I also see athletes who are eager to try heavier weights start the workout with them and then immediately strip the weight down only five or ten pounds and then crush that lower weight. Why did they take the weight off? Because it’s hard to live outside the comfort zone.

Unfortunately that’s what CrossFit and growing as an athlete (and everyone in this gym is an athlete) and becoming fitter is all about. You have to be willing to push outside of your comfort zone to get better, which goes for most life situations too. Make a commitment to yourself that as long as the reps are still possible and still safe, you end with the same weight on the bar. Even if you get time capped, even if you barely get through any part of the workout. See it through to the end, and you’ll have better information for next time, or you might even surprise yourself by doing better than you thought. The latter is almost always the case.

Cheat Sheet for Summer Transformation

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Cheat Sheet for Summer Transformation
Written by: Coach Slater

Nutrition can seem overwhelming. One article tells you this, another one tells you that. The reality is that there isn’t one right way to eat, and the only person who truly knows what works best is YOU based on how you feel inside and out, what works with your lifestyle, etc… and that nutrition plan will change over time. Changing a program is not only essential, but inevitable, to continue toward your goals. But, here are four simple guidelines to get you started on your summer transformation. In later weeks, I’ll come back with some more specifics to help you fine-tune your approach.

1. Eat Real Foods
This is 80% of the battle, and this alone solves sooo much. If you haven’t figured this out yet and are worrying about Juice Cleansing, Intermittent Fasting, Neuron Velocity, or whatever the hell else, then you’re missing the point. Those are “…just details, not big picture items.” Buy more food from the outer rim at your local grocer. Only dive into the aisles for whole wheat items, rice, olive oils, etc.. There’s also a time and place for fruit, but as Gary Taubes has said, “If you’re overweight, fruit is not your friend.”

Make most of your food choices based around natural foods, but don’t become neurotic and believe that Fruity Pebbles or a Pop-Tart now and then is going to kill you or make you fat overnight. Likewise, don’t think they’re the same things as broccoli or sweet potatoes.

2. Eat For Your Goal
If you need to lose fat, you need a calorie deficit. So, eat until satisfied, not until full. If you need to gain weight/mass, you need a calorie surplus. So, you may have to get used to eating to an uncomfortable state for awhile. And, if you’re eating for performance AND body composition, then the timing of your carb intake needs to be around your training, with fats coming at other times of the day.

Ultimately, the best diet is the one that you can apply on a consistent basis that promotes good health, increases lean mass, promotes fat loss, and doesn’t cause you to end up with some kind of eating disorder. A diet is only as good as your consistency with it. Despite all we know through science, and even through anecdotal evidence, people have to find their own way. Most of the time, especially when it comes to eating/dieting/nutrition, the best answers usually fall somewhere in the area of moderation. Eat some carbs, some good fats, get your protein in. Reduce calories to lose some fat, eat some extra calories to build some muscle.

3. Do More on Your Rest Days
Resting three days a week? Don’t just sit around on those days. Get up and go for a bike ride, a hike thru the woods, or come to the gym and find people to play some games of Spikeball. To lose weight, you want to increase your total calorie burn each day, and one way to do that is simply be more active every day by increasing your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). Evan has also written about how high intensity workouts like we do at Derby City are much better for fat loss than long, slow, distance running.

4. Meal Prep
“Food Prep” can make a night & day difference with your nutrition. It doesn’t mean you have to prepare EVERY meal for EVERY day of the week, but a little can go a long way. Maybe you just cook some animal protein ahead of time since they take up so much time usually, and cook some vegetables or carbs through the week. Invest in some glass Pyrex containers (they’re always on sale at Kroger) and stop making the excuse of “I just need to prep my food. I catch myself stuck without prepared food.” You are in control, and delicious comfort food will always be around for you if you want them, but you’re making a conscious decision as to how much, when, and how often you have such foods. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

Is the Comp Class Right for You?

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Is the Comp Class Right for You?
Written by: DCCF-er Phil Newton

As summer creeps in and everyone is on that mad dash to finalize that hot beach bod to show off on the ‘gram, I have had a few people ask me about the Comp Class and what it’s done for me. I’ve been doing the extra programming for a solid year now, and I can tell you, it pays off. With that being said; I can’t say that it’s right for you. There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you dive into the additional programming:

1. Are you going to the gym consistently? 4-5 days a week minimum?

If the answer to that question is no, then stop reading this article and get sweaty in a class! Doing more work on fewer days is not going to get you the results you want.

“Pfft, whatever Phil, I’m always up in there getting my fitness on.”

Well alright then chief, buuuuuuut…

2. Are you consistently hitting the workouts each day you train with high intensity?

You should be giving everything you have in the normal classes before adding additional programming. The class workouts are enough, if you have the desire to push yourself for the hour you are in the gym each day. Hit the sport weight, do the extra rounds, push yourself to do the difficult movements that you avoid. Give everything you have in class and you might just see that you don’t have the energy for extra work.

You may have seen a post I made on the DCCF Social Page during regionals about Max Bragg, the guy who made it to the East Regional and competed against Mat Fraser (You know who he is) and held his own. Well, he only did affiliate programming and look how far he got! Trust me, that dude is fitter than you.

You may be saying, “But Phil, obviously he’s a genetic freak with a job that supports his fitnessing!”

Well, you’re right, but before you think adding more work will get you where you want to be ask yourself this…

3. Is your nutrition dialed in?

If you’re eating a Whizzburger and a chocolate shake for dinner after you leave the gym every night, you’re not going to fuel yourself with the energy that you’ll need for high volume. I’m not saying you have to go strict paleo or get out the scale every time that you’re sitting down for lunch to weigh out if that extra bean sprout in your kale salad is gonna ruin your macros, but you should be mindful of the things you are putting into your body.

So, your nutrition is good, you’re hitting it with intensity, and you’re hitting it often. Surely that’s it, right? Au contraire…

4. Are. You. Recovering!?!?!

This is probably the most important step and it’s often the most overlooked. Are you taking the time to do mobility work outside of the class? Are you taking care of nagging injuries? Are you getting enough sleep? There’s a lot to consider about how much stress your putting your body through.

If you aren’t treating your time outside the gym as just as important to your training, you will see diminished results inside the gym.

If you’re nailing all the first four points, then I just have one last question for you.

5. Why?

This is a question that I ask when people say they need extra programming and almost always I get the same response.

“I want to get better/stronger/faster.” I support that decision 100%, that’s why we all show up in the first place. What you should think about is, why is this extra programming going to be the element that gets you there? Slater had a great article a while back about goals and habits that is really worth a read if you missed it.

So what goal will this extra programming help you achieve that would not be accomplished from the regular class? You want to work on additional skills under fatigue to help your chances in upcoming competitions? Yep, that’s a good reason. You want to get your bi’s and tri’s lookin’ sweet for the honeys out on the lake? A little less so. Be specific in your goals with the extra work, because it IS WORK.

The extra accessory pieces are tough, and if you aren’t ready to suffer, you’re not going to get anything out of them. But if you’re ready to sweat a lot, cry a little, and work hard; then I’ll see ya in there. I’ll be the guy almost throwing up coming off the assault bike.

Comp Class runs Mon, Tues, Wed at 5:30p & 6:30p; and Fri at 5:30p.

Nike Fanboy Bought Reebok Nano 7; World Didn’t End

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Nike Fanboy Bought Reebok Nano 7; World Didn’t End
Written by: Coach Evan

My first pair of “cross training” shoes were the New Balance Minimus. Brand new to CrossFit, I didn’t really know what I was getting into, but I was sick of working out in my Vans Sk8 Hi’s. I quickly found out that I preferred a more stable shoe and was told Reebok made the only official CrossFit shoe. I got the Nano 4 in the American flag colors. I thought it was cool, whatever.

Reebok Nano 4 – American Flag Edition

I was a little disappointed in their construction though; the front toebox started peeling off the sole within a few burpees. I’ve always had a thing for Nike, but I couldn’t find a shoe flat enough to lift in.

Enter the Metcon. I was super excited about this shoe coming out, finally a shoe made for CrossFit by Nike, and although they can’t say it is made for CrossFit; we all know it. I got them as soon as I could and was immediately in love. Were they that much better than the Nano? Was it placebo? Did they just look infinitely better?

Nike Metcon 1

A few years, versions, color ways, and total variations later, the Metcon is still my favorite shoe to train in. I’ve worn No Bull in between, but never went back to Reebok. However, when they released the Nano 7 in army green they caught my eye and I decided it was time to give them another try.

I was really excited and then immediately disappointed. The toebox is more narrow than the Metcon, and I have a wider foot. Although breaking them in usually helps this, my first thought was that any Metcon’s I’ve bought have been plug-and-play right out of the box. I wore the Nano 7 for a week which involved strength and conditioning pieces, skill pieces, and a little bit of running. I wore them during dead lifts, snatches, rope climbs and sprints. And here’s what I found out.


Great, you’re thinking, this doesn’t help me decide which shoe to buy at all.

Well, honestly it doesn’t, but here is the point of this discussion. The brand doesn’t matter. You will PR in any shoe if it is designed to perform well. At this point, we know that Nike and Reebok are reputable companies. What does matter is how the shoe feels on you. If the toebox is too tight, ditch that shit. In general, the Nano is thinner and the Metcon is wider in the toebox. Maybe it’s because the shoe isn’t right for you. Maybe you really enjoy the 70’s athletic aesthetic, in which case you’d have to go Reebok. Maybe you enjoy the modern athletic look, in which case you’d go Nike.

It’s important to try different shoes and different brands of any gear for that matter because you never know what you’ll prefer. One shoe is not better than any other. It’s all about your opinion. It’s a simple concept but it’s easy to forget, especially because CrossFitters tend to be very opinionated and stubborn. Try out all the shoes, do you, and beat the rest.

By the way, I’m looking for a good home for some brand new, barely used Nano 7s…

Reebok Nano 7 – Army Green