Category Archives: Articles

Mirrors Can’t Make You Work Harder

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Mirrors Can’t Make You Work Harder
Written by: Coach Slater

You won’t find any mirrors on the gym floor at Derby City. If you’re a veteran, you know and love this fact. But, maybe you’re new(er) and don’t yet understand. Every other gym you’ve been to your entire life has mirrors.

Cyclebar? Pure Barre? Plant Fitness? LA Fitness? Globo Gyms? They all have mirrors. Not here. Why?

We believe that your body performs better by feel, not by sight. And, your body is meant for more than whether or not your biceps look buff. They do, don’t worry about it. But looking at ’em ain’t gonna make ’em grow. The thing is, mirrors don’t lift the weight, and they don’t help you fix your form. Appearance doesn’t matter. Effort does.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good, but if you focus on fitness, and if you actually do improve it, then you will look better. Guaranteed. Are you improving? Are you getting stronger? Are you getting faster? We write down what we lift and how fast we lifted it because that gives us an objective number that doesn’t lie. As Henry Rollins famously said, “Two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

So, you lifted your old 1RM back squat for five reps. You finished “Helen” 20sec faster than before. You got stronger. Or faster. Or both. You improved. No mirror will tell you that.

When you get home, then you can look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Did I give my very best effort in that workout?”

How to Win Our Next Transformation Challenge

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How to Win Our Next Transformation Challenge
Written by: Coach Slater

Let’s do a quick recap of what we saw in the Summer Transformation challenge and how we can kick even more ass later this year during our Winter Transformation challenge.

Our females saw the greatest improvements in body fat, losing around 3% from their starting numbers. However, their muscle gains were mostly flat during the two month challenge. The men were similarly flat in their muscle gains, adding just 1% overall; but, they had some dramatic body fat loss. They lost over 11% from their starting levels, an average of 2lbs of body fat. To understand how much that is, the picture below is just ONE pound of body fat.

The men lost TWO cans of tomatoes!

So, if the key to winning the Winter Transformation challenge is adding muscle and losing two cans of tomatoes in body fat, let’s determine how that happens. And, we’ll start by discussing macronutrients.

Protein
Because our programming tends to be “strength based”, you’ll need more protein than if you were a spin-cycle bunny or 5lb dumbbell aerobic class devotee. An easy place to start with protein, is 1g per pound of bodyweight. If you’re not there currently, then at least get yourself to 0.8g x bodyweight. If this number is a lot higher than what you’re eating currently, then I recommend slowly ramping up to that number by adding 15-20g of protein each week so your digestive system has time to adjust.

Fat
Your body type and current level of body fat make a difference in how much or how little fat you should consume daily. Being a member at Derby City, I assume you have an an athletic build or some athletic history, so you only require about 25% of fat in your diet. If you are a little heavier at the moment and looking for a bigger fat loss, I’d recommend bumping this up to 30% (or possibly even 35%) and decreasing the remaining carbs. On the other hand, if you’re relatively lean already, then I’d lower this number to 20% and have you eating a shitload of carbs.

To put easy math to those percentages, I specifically recommend 0.35g x bodyweight for the “25% person” in this scenario. 0.4g or 0.45g x bodyweight for someone who currently has a high body fat level. And, 0.3g x bodyweight for someone who’s already lean. If you’re trying to lean out, eating high protein and high fat is usually the recommended route; one simple reason is because protein & fat make you feel fuller, longer. So, you don’t feel the need to eat mindlessly throughout the day.

Carbs
Now that we’ve decided your protein and fat, carbs are determined based on the calories you have remaining in your total daily energy expenditure. You can figure out your own numbers here, or let me give you a “loose” guideline: 2.0g x bodyweight on training days, and 1.0g x bodyweight on rest days. Aim to take in 50% of your total daily carbs during the window 90min prior, during, and 90min post-workout. We would fine-tune those generalities if you were asking for personalized nutrition coaching from us, but this is a reasonable ballpark to start from.

Other Tips
I highly recommend you pick a day to cook meals for the rest of the week, so you always have food and aren’t forced to make last-minute decisions when you’re hungry. Alternatively, buy pre-made meals from Bite Meals, a local meal-preparation service sourced from Creation Gardens, and use the discount code “DCCF” for 10% off. Meals are dropped off at Derby City every Thursday afternoon.

Don’t stress out over the exact macros. Instead, try to be close when you first start out. Stress is actually counterproductive to your physique goals, so don’t freak out if you miss a macro here or there.

With our high-intensity training program, you may find that you benefit from going a little higher carb and a little lower fat on training days. As a result, you may find that you’ll lean out further, to better show off those highly defined muscles, while coincidentally feeling like you have more energy in the gym. That’s a win-win.

Changing your lifestyle takes time. Everyone’s natural metabolism is different, so it may take a month or so of tweaking your numbers to find what’s optimal for you.

The point of this article is to help you make healthy nutrition a lifestyle and take away the stress of a restrictive diet. Your nutrition can be strict, but it shouldn’t be restrictive. Give your body the fuel it needs and it’ll respond accordingly.

Bad Combo: Fitness and High Heels

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Bad Combo: Fitness and High Heels
Written by: Coach Slater

Ladies, I KNOW you’ve heard this argument before, so don’t expect anything novel here. I’m just reminding you that wearing high heels is not only bad for your feet, but also your calves, knees, hips, and spine. High heels aren’t just “less functional” than flats, they are actively harming you.

But, don’t take it from me. Listen to an expert.

“High heels, in general, are an unnatural way to walk. We weren’t meant to walk on our tippy toes,” says Dr. Neal Blitz, a foot surgeon based in New York and Los Angeles who is board certified in both foot surgery and reconstructive rearfoot and ankle surgery. “That’s what high heels do, they put women on their tippy toes, and what that does is put excessive force on the ball of the foot. In the short term, because the foot is in this altered state and not functioning properly, you wind up getting a lot of muscle activation in the intrinsic muscles inside the foot which can lead to muscle spasms, cramping, and acute pain.”

High heels also lead to bunions, stress fractures, and abnormal calluses. They can cause the Achilles (the strongest and largest tendon in the body) and the calf muscles to tighten and shorten over time. That can limit your ankle mobility and lead to a higher risk of sprains and strains. So, if you hate running now, imagine running in the future when one of those ugly ailments rears its head. And even if you never choose running when that pops up in a WOD, those ailments make the foot less stable, so it affects your power lifts and weightlifting, too.

Looking beyond the foot, heels also pitch the body forward, putting pressure on the knees, while forcing you to compensate by extending your lumbar spine while pushing your butt and chest out. You’re forced to make active corrections to keep your head centered over your hips and stay balanced. By spending hours in this position, multiple times each week, you’re creating more stress on your spine over time. That stress can lead to pelvis and back issues later in life.

Solution?

Look, I know you’re still going to wear heels. You’re not going to throw yours out. I get it. So, if I can’t convince you to wear flats only, maybe I can ask that you wear your heels less often? Dr. Adam Lipson, a New York-based neurosurgeon and specialist in spinal surgery, suggests, “…no more than two days a week of very high heels (3+ inches). Two days a week in medium heels (1-2 inches), and three days with flats or sneakers. Cycling your higher heels with your lower heels is appropriate, so you’re not constantly exposed to higher heel height.”

To reverse the foot issues brought on by high heels? Keep strength training with us in class, learning to “grip” the floor with your feet. Doing so creates a natural arch in your foot, which lifts the foot just enough to allow the ankle, knee, and hip to stay in a straight alignment. Also, look at some self-massage of your feet and calves with a lacrosse ball. Below, I’ve added an old video of ours showing you some examples. These simple measures can help correct the problems you’ve encountered.

References:
-Spine Health Institute, “How High Heels Affect Your Body
-EliteFTS, “Build Your Arch: Why Flat Feet Kill Your Squat
-Time Magazine, “You Asked: Do High Heels Actually Damage My Feet?

Know Your Fitnemesis

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Know Your Fitnemesis
Written by: DCCF-Member Phil Newton

There’s a lot to be said about the power of competition as a motivating factor in your fitness. Just about anyone you ask who’s been in a comp will tell you about hitting that PR on game day because of that surge of adrenaline from being there in front of a screaming crowd. What if I told you that you could harness that energy in your day to day training?

One of the major components of improving your fitness is to push yourself past your comfort zone. If you aren’t uncomfortable, you aren’t growing. Well I’m not here to feed you platitudes and cool catchphrases to put over a stock photo of a sunrise, I want to give you a trick that will help elevate you to the next level.

There is a pretty solid consensus that suggests if you treat an objective as a game, you are likely to try harder and give yourself more satisfaction from your smaller incremental successes. Thereby making it easier to achieve greater long-term results. Look at some tips from Navy SEALs on how they handle the rigors of their training. We aren’t pushing ourselves to the brink like they are usually, but there’s a lot of good that can be taken from their mentality.

As with any game, it’s only fun if you have an opponent. My suggestion to you is, find a fitnemesis at the gym. You may be familiar with the concept of a frenemy, a fitnemesis is a similar arrangement but also a wholly different affair. They are a rival for you to compete against in the game of fitness you are creating for yourself. But that doesn’t mean that you dislike each other. Actually quite the opposite!

This new training partner of yours could be at your level of fitness, could be a new member fresh out of Elements, or could be a coach or one of the competitors. They could be a regular in your class, a person you hang out with outside the gym, or a name you see regularly on the whiteboard or in our awesome app that you haven’t even met in person yet. The important thing is that they are/were/will be present and you can use their effort as a gauge to measure your own. Not whether you beat them on the workout, but rather if you achieved your expectations of your performance. You could have several folks who are your fitnemesis. All of them at varied levels of fitness to get a broad data set to compare your fitness level.

The best part about this, is the other people DON’T EVEN HAVE TO KNOW.

Since Carl Duvall came to Derby City he’s been my Fitnemesis. He’s stronger than me in almost everything, and to beat him on a metcon, I need to sometimes go to that dark place that I rarely see outside of the Open. But I’ve used just about everyone for this purpose at one point or another. Coach Evan and I will discuss how he performed on a workout and I’ll try to beat his score; though I usually won’t, sometimes I’ll have a good day and rack up a “W”. I will often even compare myself to Lexi. I know she’s gonna kill me in every workout, but my goal isn’t to beat her; it’s to never get doubled. If she finished a workout in 6 minutes, I better not take more than 12. If I finished in 11:59, I won. If she got 20 rounds, I’m after at least 10. If I get 12 rounds to her 20, then that nerd got schooled by a VERY mediocre CrossFitter.

You should lose these challenges you make for yourself sometimes, that’s what encourages you to continue to improve. When you do lose, it exposes a deficit in your fitness that you can work on. And since you have a fitnemesis who just did better on the workout with those movements, you already have someone you can talk to and ask how to improve!

Raw Strength Starts with Strict Pull Ups

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Raw Strength Starts with Strict Pull Ups
Written by: Coach Karlie

So you want to kip your pull ups but have you developed enough raw strength of the shoulder joint? The kipping pull up requires strength, body awareness and learning body control. If we lack any of those we set ourselves up for the possibility of dealing with a shoulder injury later down the road.

You may have noticed that we did a lot of strict pull up work last cycle. This is not by accident. We purposely want you to get stronger and we saw a lot of great improvement! If you are still unable to perform 3-5 strict pull ups and with proper form then your shoulders are not yet ready for kipping pull ups. You should continue to develop that raw strength by doing more strict pull ups.

But Coach! Yes, I get that kipping pull ups look cool and they are fun. I know that most of us have pull ups on our goals list so let’s keep the momentum going with progressions that will help get you there. Work hard and take no shortcuts when building pull up strength. Start doing the progressions listed below 3 days a week and you’ll be one step closer to getting your first pull up or to making your pull ups even stronger. We always talk about building a foundation and strict work is one of those foundations.

Day 1:

a) Banded Pull A-parts – Take a red band in both hands with arms straight in front of you. Stand with feet under hips while squeezing your glutes and core. Now punch your shoulder blades down and back then pull that band apart while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Make sure that you keep your arms straight out as you pull the band apart making contact with your sternum and that your ribs and spine stay neutral. Don’t let your back arch.

2 x 20 (1x palms up / 1x palms down)

b) Negatives – Get a box and set it up under the pull up bar. Get on top of the box then jump up with chin over the bar while slowly lowering yourself to the bottom of a pull-up position. The goal here is to lower yourself with control

5 sets of 5 negatives (aim for a 5 second decent to the bottom of a pull up)

Day 2:

a) Hollow Body Hold – These holds are a gymnasts foundation. Master this and you will see improvements in not only your gymnastics but also in your Olympic lifts.

Tabata holds: hold hollow for 20 seconds / rest 10 seconds – repeat 8x (4 minutes total)

b) Chin over Bar Static Hold – Jump up with chin over bar and hold that position as long as possible. Make sure your hands are just outside the shoulders, pull up grip, thumbs wrapped around the bar and maintain a hollow position with your core to toes.

Hold 10 to 30 seconds for 5 sets

Day 3:

a) Banded Pull A-parts – Take a red band in both hands with arms straight in front of you. Stand with feet under hips while squeezing your glutes and core. Now punch your shoulder blades down and back then pull that band apart while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Make sure that you keep your arms straight out as you pull the band apart making contact with your sternum and that your ribs and spine stay neutral. Don’t let your back arch.

2 x 20 (1x palms up / 1x palms down)

b) Scapula Pull Ups – Start from hanging position on the rig with hands just outside the shoulders. Find your hollow body position then pull your scapula down and back resulting in a slight elevation of the clavicle and chin. Hold this hollow body position with the scapula down and back for 2-3 seconds each.

10x for 5 sets

Work your weaknesses and build shoulder strength by getting those strict movements first before you start to kip. Keep your shoulders safe and live to CrossFit another day.

Look for the second edition of this article that talks in detail about how to master the kipping pull up.

How to Trick Yourself into Greater Fitness

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How to Trick Yourself into Greater Fitness
Written by: Coach Slater

I’m a terrible person. I hate reading books. Terrible, right? I used to read a ton of books. My place is littered with them. But, technology has taken over much of my life, so my reading has shifted to the iPhone. Nightly, you can catch me reading stories on the Apple News or Digg app, or re-reading our own articles on the DCCF WOD Page.

I’m here to tell you that Nudge is a fantastic book that you should pick up (for your eReader probably because honestly who buys books anymore?). The book looks at psychology and behavioral economics to understand the engineering of people’s choices and decision-making.

Let’s say you’ve made a commitment to exercise. You’ve made a goal of attending 5x/week because we’ve frequently stressed how important *consistency* is for reaching your fitness goals. But, you find yourself working late or being tired after driving home from work, so you only attend 2x or 3x/week.

Here’s a Nudge trick that you can use.

Specific Goal

Don’t make a generic goal, like saying that you want to get fitter. Instead, make a specific goal that you can measure. We recommend committing to “attending class 1x more days each week than I have been”. This is super easy to measure and we, Derby City, can vouch for the improvement that you’ll see from greater consistency in your attendance.

Public Commitment

Next, make a “public commitment” that will up the stakes for yourself. Post a big sign at your desk, office, break room, or anywhere you work that your colleagues can see and says “I will workout 5x/week!” Don’t just state this in your head. Make it public. A public commitment increases the stakes for failing by risking public ridicule. You don’t want your co-workers to see you fail, right? And you certainly don’t want them making fun of you. Not Danny. That dude is out of shape anyway. I’m not letting that dude talk shit to me.

Commitment Referee

Next, get a “commitment referee”, someone willing to keep you on task. But, don’t pick your significant other. When you don’t want to follow-thru, they’re notorious for letting you off the hook. Instead, pick someone at the gym, or someone at work who can help that risk of public ridicule. This person now helps keep you accountable.

Temptation Bundling / Punishment Bundling

Now, you could use a small reward for yourself that’s paired with your attendance. This is known as “temptation bundling”. There’s a positive reward attached to a behavior that’s hard to commit to. Like, maybe tell yourself you can have one of those delicious FitAid drinks from the fridge whenever you attend a class. But, research suggests that attaching a punishment is more effective. Rewards can backfire, but punishments seem to stick better. For example, if you don’t follow-thru on your commitment to attend 5x/week for an entire month, you’re forced to wear a rival school’s uniform to an upcoming game. Can you picture EA Duncan being forced to wear a UofL jersey at a UK game because she didn’t attend enough classes?!? Oh my god, THAT is a punishment bundle.

So, those four steps are all you need. Makes behavior change seem easy, doesn’t it? It can be. These small tricks can create lasting behavior change. You just need to be resilient and use deliberate effort to get the ball rolling. Then, we can celebrate your success next month.

How to Survive Test Week

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How to Survive Test Week
Written by: Coach Evan

We’re coming up on the end of our training cycle. For those of you who don’t know, our cycles are 8 weeks long starting with one week of testing new movements/lifts/workouts. This sets up the foundation of our strength work and conditioning work, which takes up the following 6 weeks. The 8th week is a retest, an exact copy of the first week to see how we’ve progressed. I hear often that test weeks produce anxiety for many athletes at Derby City CF. Here are some tips that will help you do well during the retest week and future test weeks.

1. Don’t change your routine. Your body is used to how and when you perform, and changing things will throw it off. We want to put ourselves in the prime conditions for testing. Unless your routine involves poor sleeping and eating habits, stick to the normal routine. If your routine does involve the above, maybe now isn’t the time for a big overhaul, but it’s time to start thinking about making those changes.

2. Don’t get hung up on a number or a time or certain number of rounds/reps. Our biggest obstacle is almost always our mind. Our bodies are capable of far more than our brains usually allow. Case in point, for a while I was stuck at a 295# back squat. 295 would be nice and smooth, 300 would be failure. Every time. Until Coach Slater loaded my bar for me one day without telling me what he was putting on. I proceeded to squat 305 and then 310, almost getting 315. I don’t suggest that kind of psychological trickery all the time, but the following is something I do almost every day.

3. Envision your lift. When it’s time for the big lift, tighten your belt, chalk up your hands, walk to the bar, look forward, and then close your eyes. See yourself performing the lift. Go over every minor detail. Feel how the bar feels, how the weight moves, how your muscles react. Imagine that perfect drive off the floor; the smoothest sweep into power position. Envision the perfect lift. You know what it looks like. You now know what it should feel like. Open your eyes, tighten down on the bar, and lift. No extra thinking, no pausing after getting ready, commit to the lift once you grab onto that bar. If you aren’t ready, or you screw up your pre-lift ritual, that’s ok. Start over and don’t go until it feels right.

4. It is not do or die. All that being said, don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Enjoy moving your body in ways it was meant to be moved. Enjoy expressing athleticism and beauty of movement. If you fail a lift, evaluate and try again. If you keep failing, you are not a failure. Testing requires our central nervous system to be in prime condition. Just because it’s test week doesn’t necessarily mean your body is ready for test week. If you do worse on a workout it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re less fit, especially if you put in the work. Not everything will be perfect, and life and training goes on. There will be better days. Enjoy those good days.

5. Last but not least, enjoy the air of competition and camaraderie! There’s nothing wrong with a shout of joy after hitting a PR. Ring that PR bell. Scream for your friends, encourage strangers, run and jump around. Have fun. What is all of this if it’s not fun? A boring class can be the difference between a PR and a failed lift. You can make that difference.

Test weeks can be stressful, but they can also be fun. Let’s be good accountability partners and make sure everyone shows up and let’s have an excellent week of fitness.

Derby City CrossFit Pro Tips, Part 2

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Derby City CrossFit Pro Tips, Part 2
Written by: Coach James

In Pro Tips, Part 1, we talked a little about some tricks that will make your life a little easier here at Derby City. This week, we’ll continue with the Pro Tips to help make your experience even better.

Research New Movements / Ask Questions

Throughout our 8-week cycles, you may come across a new movement or accessory piece that you are not sure about, especially for those that are new to CrossFit. We announce the workouts the night before at 8pm. Take this time to look over the strength and the workout and prepare any questions you may have for the Coach. Remember there are no stupid questions. We want you to feel comfortable here and with the movements, so please ask as many questions as you like. Another way you can prepare for the class is to YouTube the movements that you are unsure about. This may help you understand what we are asking and how the movement looks. You may still have questions after you search it, but you will have a general understanding of how the movements looks.

Set Up Close to You

We all have done at least one workout where we needed multiple pieces of equipment (especially if you have taken an Unloaded class). When it comes to these types of workouts, it is best to set up in the smallest area possible. Doing so will cut down on your transition times and help with the flow of the workout. I suggest that you set up your equipment in a circle. This way it will help you remember the order of the workout without having to second guess yourself. I would also recommend you find your spot on the rig first and then set up around that spot. That’ll keep you from running across the gym to find your pull up bar and then back across to get to your box.

Practice Failing Properly

No one likes to fail, but it is good to know how to fail properly. If you are new to CrossFit and have never back squatted or done any type of Olympic lift, this can be a scary thing and prevent from going heavy. I highly recommend that you make yourself fail at a lighter weight to understand how to fail properly and get it out of the way and out of your head. If you are unsure on how to fail properly during a movement, ask your coach! Again, there are no stupid questions and we want you to feel comfortable no matter what. We want you to feel confident in yourself and go for those big P.R.s during test week or even heavy during the strength portion of the cycle.

Angle Your Box for Step Ups

We all want to go fast during the WOD and box step ups can be a pain and feel like they take forever! A little tip to help speed up this movement (and save your hip flexors at the same time) is to step up on the corner of the box. Rotate the box so that the corner of the box is facing you directly. This will allow you to step straight up and onto the box without having to swing your hips up and around as you do when doing a normal step up.

Sleep Better. Titles Are Dumb.

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Sleep Better. Titles Are Dumb.
Written by: Coach Evan

Sleep. The thing we want and need most but can’t get enough of. There are plenty of reasons why we all need to get enough sleep, around 7 hours a day, and at this point if you aren’t taking sleep seriously you need to fix that. If you still need more convincing, here is another reason to add to the list:

If you are trying to change your body composition and you don’t sleep enough or get poor sleep you’re putting yourself at a huge disadvantage.

Why dial in the macros and eat as clean as ever and only get 4-5 hours of sleep? It’s like washing your car inside and out and never changing the oil or getting the motor serviced. You’ll still get somewhere, but there are too many variables to explain why your progress might slow or completely halt.

There are the obvious positives from sleeping enough: you’ll feel great and you’ll be ready to work out harder and more often. Let’s dive into other reasons why losing sleep means losing out on muscle gains and fat loss.

First up is the secretion of growth hormone (GH). You may know GH as the hormone responsible for developing size during childhood and especially puberty. You’ve probably also heard of it being used as a steroid. Your body creates it naturally and its secretion increases during sleep. Again, the longer we’re sleeping, the longer GH will be secreted and help us recover, help us rebuild the muscle, help us grow the muscle, help us get stronger.

But did you know that GH helps utilize fat as an energy source? Related to the after burn that I talked about in this article, the elevated levels of GH will help use excess fat as the energy needed for repairs, recovery, and any metabolic processes. More sleep means more GH, more GH means burning more excess fat, which means lowering body fat percentage. Has that not swayed you yet?

Important processes happen during sleep that are directly related to efficient metabolic processes or are the catalyst for those efficient processes. Lack of sleep directly decreases the effectiveness of insulin, the hormone that takes sugar out of your blood and uses it for recovery and metabolic processes. This means slower metabolic processes and more blood sugar going into storage. In laymen’s terms, the less you sleep, the slower your body with utilize energy from carbohydrates and fats, creating excess fat.

One catalyst for efficient metabolic processes is the release of a hormone called leptin, a hormone that subdues appetite. This hormone’s secretion increases during sleep. It’s safe to suggest that if you sleep less, less of this hormone will be secreted, you’ll feel hungrier, and end up eating more than you should. Pair that with your decreased insulin effectiveness and you’ve created more excess fat.

Whether your nutrition is totally dialed in or not, more and/or better sleep will push you further towards your body composition goals. If your nutrition is dialed in, even better. There are too many uncontrollable variables to knock you off track, take charge of the ones you can control. Sleep more, be healthier by creating a more efficient environment in your body, feel better, get fitter, smash goals.

If you’re interested in the science behind these ideas, check out this article: “Sleep and Metabolism: An Overview

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.