CrossFit

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 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.

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.

Commuting: 

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?

People:

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.

Conclusion:

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.

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.

CLICK BAIT! HERE’S HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT FAST!!!!

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CLICK BAIT! HERE’S HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT FAST!!!! -or- Why high intensity workouts are better for losing fat.
Written by: Coach Evan

You may have heard the idea that you burn more calories after a workout than during it. In theory, this is true. However, generally people view “burning calories” as actively doing work. How can we be burning calories if we’re not working? Technically, your body is constantly burning calories, but that’s a different conversation. What’s really happening is your body is doing more work to restore itself to a pre-exercise state.

When we jump into a super-intense workout, our bodies rely mostly on energy systems that don’t require oxygen, for a bit. Although these energy systems are super fast acting, they are REALLY inefficient. They can’t bear the brunt of the work load for long and eventually the energy systems that do require oxygen start taking over the majority of the work.

Because of how inefficient the first responder energy systems are, a lot of “damage” has been done to your body, especially because they don’t call it quits after the late responders show up and just keep plugging away. The more intense the exercise, the worse the damage.

Now let’s clear the air here and define “intensity”. Strictly speaking, in this situation, intensity refers to a percentage of your maximum power output. You may feel like an exercise or workout is intense, but that is really ambiguous and it could feel intense for so many different reasons. Here in this conversation, we have to be specific. The closer you are working towards your maximum capacity, for longer, the more damage is done to your body.

But this damage isn’t bad. It’s not permanent, or even that long lasting. Your body is good at clearing the rubble. It’s called recovery. Your body’s energy stores have been so depleted that your body turns to any readily available source of energy. This is where the fat loss comes in. Your body wants to get rid of excess fat. When we are resting and recovering, fat is the easiest energy source to use. So what better source to pull from to replace those energy stores? Now, not only is your body using the fat stores to run the normal show, as long as your diet is in check, it’s using even more fat, “burning more calories”, to replenish the stores and help rebuild and recover your body from that really intense workout.

“The high intensity workout doesn’t burn as many calories as a long, slow, steady workout. Wouldn’t it be better to do that long workout, not have to kill myself, and reap the benefits of the “afterburn”?” says the skeptic.

You’re right, you could sit on the rower or bike or go on a run for an hour and burn more calories during that time than you would in the 5-10 minute high intensity workout. But the “afterburn” from that low intensity workout doesn’t exist. You would have to spend an exorbitant amount of time running or rowing or biking to make up for the afterburn you experience at a near maximal effort workout for just 5 minutes.

High intensity workouts are the best form of exercise if you’re looking to lose fat. The more intense the workout, the better the results will be because of the afterburn, concurrent with the right kind of diet. The higher the intensity and the longer the duration, the longer the afterburn, meaning the time it takes your to body to fully recover will be longer, which means your body will be burning that excess fat even longer. Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t be recovered enough for your workout the next day, but it does mean that this debt that we create does build up over time and we eventually need prolonged rest, aka rest days. If you don’t give your body time to fully recover, you’ll begin to work at a lower intensity, even if it still feels intense, which screws up the whole process. Push the intensity, push the weights, feel the burn, lose the weight.

6 Ways Derby City CrossFit Will Change Your Life

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6 Ways Derby City CrossFit Will Change Your Life

Maybe you haven’t tried CrossFit because you’ve heard some negatives about it: it’s dangerous, it leads to injury, it makes you bulk up… but, if it were so bad, why do so many people love it? We strive to make a class at Derby City CrossFit the best part of someone’s day. We don’t teach a “dangerous” or “injurious” form of training. We teach a sustainable, long-term approach using high-intensity exercise to make you the fittest you’ve ever been.

We do so while creating a fun atmosphere, similar to the team environments of sports from your youth and young adult life. Members of Derby City CrossFit stumble into our doors and emerge as changed people, having regained their youth. These changes aren’t just physical (although they’re a bonus!); many of the greatest changes are mental. If you walk in our doors and truly make yourself a part of our family, then here are 6 ways Derby City CrossFit will change your life.

Increase Your Confidence
When you see what your body is capable of in workouts, you can’t help but get a surge of confidence. This kind of confidence doesn’t end when you leave our gym. In fact, you might just find it helps you to ask for a raise or negotiate a sales agreement with a tough client. Think all that focus on form is limited to your workouts? Think again. Your body starts to retain awesome “muscle memory”, and that begins to positively affect your posture. You’ll stand up a little taller, sit a little straighter, and carry yourself with much more confidence.

Expand Your Sense of Community
The Derby City community is known for being notoriously loyal. That loyalty doesn’t stop at the gym door, it extends to the communities we live in. Our community supports each other by hosting baby showers for each other, graduation parties for each other’s kids, and monthly get-togethers at the newest bars/restaurants in Louisville.

Challenge Yourself in New Ways
Training at Derby City is known to improve your energy level, and all of that enthusiasm and stamina has to go somewhere, right? Our members find they want to keep pushing at their comfort zones in ways that aren’t purely athletic. Some may go back to school, while others may start new careers or their own businesses. The future is wide open for dreamers and achievers with ambition.

“Up” Your Sex Drive
If you’re looking for a boost in performance between the sheets, you’ll be happy to know that Derby City has been known to make people a little “randier”. Why shouldn’t they want to get their groove on, especially after they feel so much better about their bodies?

Increase Your Focus
Adults who suffer from mild ADHD may find that training at Derby City is a good way to gain focus in ordinary life. Our training is all about having short-term and long-term goals, and really honing in on them. As your mind starts to become accustomed to this kind of concentration, you’ll pay more attention at work, in school, or during daily activities.

Better Understand Your Body
Training at Derby City will give you a new appreciation for what your body can do. Many people go through life never really “in tune” with their bodies; if you can find that connection and maintain it, you’ll benefit tremendously.

So, if you want Derby City CrossFit to help change your life, contact us below and we’ll tell you more.

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“To Change Your Life, You Have To Change The Way You Think. Behind Everything You Do, Is A Thought. Every Behavior Is Motivated By A Belief. Every Action Is Promoted By An Attitude. Be Careful Of How You Think. Your Life Is Directed By Your Thoughts!” – John Wright

How to Get the Most Out of Your Coaching Experience

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Coaching Experience
Written by: Coach Evan

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a coach is that not every athlete responds to the same style of coaching. I can be a hard ass with some athletes, which lights a fire in their eyes to finish the workout. For other athletes, I know they want gentle encouragement. Some only need a quick and clear cue to fix a snatch error. Others prefer a little more explanation. While this is the most important thing a coach needs to learn, coincidentally it can be difficult to figure out what type of athlete you’re coaching. And let’s be clear; anyone in my gym is my athlete.

It all comes down to communication. At Derby City CrossFit, we have cultivated a very open and trusting atmosphere. The coaches want you to move well; we want you to succeed. We can read your face and body language when we give you a cue, we can tell when what we say is more confusing than helpful, and we can feel your skepticism when we tell you to do something that feels wrong, even though it’s technically correct. Although the coaches are trying as hard as we can, sometimes we don’t get our point across in a way that makes sense to you, or we use the wrong sort of motivational tool. This is where it can be helpful to us, and in turn to yourselves, if you tell us how you like to be coached. What sort of style helps you the most. Are you the athlete that needs to be yelled at? Or do you hate attention? Is it impossible for you to listen during a workout while your heart is beating in your ears and the music is loud? Pull us aside after and let us know. I’d much rather coach you after the workout if that works better for you.

When I’m being coached, I like to be pushed. I like all critique. And if I’m dogging it in a workout, I want to be yelled at. If the coach knows I can go faster, then I want them telling me to go faster. If I’m resting too long, I want them to yell at me to get back on the bar, or to pick the kettlebell back up.

Because CrossFit is adaptable for all kinds of athletes, the coaches must also be adaptable for each athlete. The coach needs to able to tell what works and what doesn’t. The ultimate goal is to have fun while we get incredibly fit, and there’s nothing quite as miserable as being yelled at during a workout when that’s not the way you’re motivated. Coaches need to ask questions and try different techniques, and to help build a trusting relationship, the athlete should vocalize what kind of technique works best for them.

So, what works best for you? Tell your coach, I guarantee they want to know.

Thank You for the No-Rep

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Thank You for the No-Rep
Written by: Coach Slater

Dear Judge Whomever,

Thank you for the no-rep. Thank you for holding me to the standard. Sure, I may see others getting by with a slightly less-strict standard, and maybe they beat my score as a result; but, I don’t care. I’m glad you held me to the rule. I want to know where I stand.

I remember a workout during last year’s (2016) Open. I remember my judge giving me credit for a chest-to-bar pullup which prompted me to say “No, I missed it. No-rep”. I no-repped myself. I was proud of that moment. I want to know that I’d no-rep myself again, whether or not anyone else holds themselves to the same rule.

If someone were watching me getting by with no-reps, they’d be pissed. But, knowing that I’m getting no-repped means that others are getting no-repped as well. I know there are expectations. It’s means everyone’s judged equally. We’re on level playing ground. And, if I watch someone getting by with no-reps, and they’re okay with it, then that’s on them. I’m not angry at them. It doesn’t affect my performance. I’m satisfied that I gave my best effort.

Maybe the regulation isn’t fair. Maybe it doesn’t make sense for a guy who’s 6’7″ with a massive wingspan to have to do a handstand-pushup in a 36″ wide box. Maybe that makes no sense. But, that doesn’t stop me from giving my best effort. Maybe it’s also not fair that I’m so much closer to the wallball target than someone who has no issue with the handstand-pushup “hand box”. But, who cares, right?

If this were a normal class, and I had slid off the wall before completing my handstand-pushup, I would have no-repped myself then, too. I don’t want my desire to beat my neighbor to negatively affect my character, so thank you for keeping me accountable. Thank you for helping me maintain my integrity. I want to know that my score is legit. I want to know that I was held to the highest standard.

I also want all of my movements and technique to improve by consistently going thru the full range-of-motion. I know that shorting a rep only robs me of future performance. I workout because of how it makes me feel outside of the gym, making me fully able to use my body in multiple capacities in the real world. I want to be feel prepared and feel good, day-in and day-out. So, when I don’t perform a full rep, I want to know it, because there aren’t any half-reps outside of the gym. It’s my choice to show up, do work, be judged, fail, succeed, try again, improve. I chose this.

So, thank you, Judge Whomever, for reminding me and holding me to that standard. I appreciate you.

Sincerely,
Slater

On Becoming A Morning Person

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On Becoming A Morning Person
Written by: DCCF-er EA Duncan

I have never been a morning person. I was raised by night owls who eat dinner at 9 p.m. and never go to sleep until after the 11 o clock news. I spent my childhood as the kid that had to be physically removed from bed 8 minutes before I needed to be in the car. I never purposefully scheduled a college/ law school class before 9 a.m. and I certainly never saw the inside of a gym in the morning.

Therefore, when I started CrossFit my beginner “options” were 6 a.m. or 6 p.m. and I saw no option and began my journey in Jenn’s 6 p.m. class. When I completed that I asked her what class she regularly taught and she said 7 p.m. and I followed her because I was a scared newbie CrossFitter and I wasn’t ready for the world of new coaches. From then on I was a tried and true night class person. I was so all in and addicted I never noticed that this meant I rarely accomplished anything outside the gym on weeknights.

Last spring being a commuter, owning a dog, the gym moving locations and a shift in priorities requiring more night time commitments all came to a head and I realized I was going to have to make a morning class work or quit the gym. I will never forget the look on people’s faces the first day I showed up at 6 a.m.

“I know, it’s weird for everybody.”

I wouldn’t say my transition was flawless. I have hit some rough patches along the way. Daylight savings is a bitch and I cannot wait until it is not completely dark every morning. The holiday season means more events and later bed times and more skipping than I wanted. I will fully admit that I do not feel as strong at 6 a.m. as I do at night. I obviously miss the friends and coaches from nights that I only see on weekends now. But for me, the trade offs have been huge and my commitment level is back where I want it. (Someday I will actually check in on the ipad every day I work out and get some social media credit and stop getting the side eye emails but I digress.)

My Common Sense Pro Tips for Becoming a Morning Class Person: 1. Pack your stuff the night before: I shower at the gym and go on to work so one of the worst parts of the process is need 7 different bags every morning but as long as they are packed and by the door I manage 2. Sleep in your gym clothes 3. Set your alarm (shout out to Apple for the “Bedtime” feature that nags you to remind you to go to bed & wakes you up with a gradually louder soothing noise) for 5 minutes earlier than you need so you can have a full internal debate where you remind yourself to just put your feet on the floor and stop being a baby. 4. Do only the 100% required morning task (mine: brush teeth, let out dog, make coffee, grab 7 bags) and get your ass in the car: I’ve found that until I am in the car I am the angriest human on earth. Once I’ve got my coffee and the radio is blaring, I’m good. The great part about CrossFit is that is all you really have to do. The programming and motivation are provided upon arrival.

Pep Talk If You’re Considering Becoming a Morning Person: When I tell you “if I can do it, [almost] anyone can do it” I believe it. It’s only been a few years since I was twice as likely to see 5 a.m. on the back end of a day than the front and now I have a standing 5:15 alarm. By the time I arrive I’m happy to be there and see my friends. (I may not always look it, 6 a.m. friends/coaches… but I am!) And what my morning people have always said is SO TRUE: there is this magical moment later in the day where you think to yourself “Oh shit! I already did that work out! I am done for the day!” because you were half asleep while you embraced the suck earlier and now it all feels like a weird dream. Plus, now you can make happy hour. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Elizabeth Ann Duncan (E.A.) is an attorney by trade and an amateur CrossFit nerd by choice. She joined Derby City CrossFit in 2012 and she has been a 6 a.m. person for almost 1 year now. No one is more surprised about that than her. She’s almost always down for happy hour plans.

When Motivation Fades

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When Motivation Fades
Written by: Coach Slater

I received this anonymous text last week, “Thought to ponder. What do you do to motivate an experienced CrossFitter who is doing it for fun (not with a goal of seriously competing) who has lost motivation? I was talking to someone on this situation. I’m curious if it just becomes hard to stay motivated when you’re not seeing big improvements or new milestones.”

I immediately had some thoughts on the matter, but realized that the correct answer totally depends on the person. So, here’s my $0.02, covering a wide range of possibilities. Maybe one item hits home for you, personally.

Appreciate the Minutiae
The reality is that training slows for an advanced athlete. Personal records are no longer set by the 10s or 20s of pounds. They come in small 2.5lb increments, over the course of six months, a year, or two years. Maybe they’re improvements not in pounds, but in increased range of motion or a honed skill. So, appreciate the minutiae, but don’t miss the forest for the trees. Meaning: don’t ignore the big picture. Look at how far you’ve come and appreciate where you are now. Then, focus on the small improvements which you’re continuing to make. Maybe you haven’t PR’d your deadlift in awhile, but you’re PR-ing WODs we retest at the end of cycles.

How Hard Are You Really Working?
You can’t become so overwhelmed with the act of “trying” that you sit around and complain. Instead, get up and work. “I am working,” you say. Are you? How’s your nutrition? How’s your stress levels? How’s your sleep? Hate to tell ya, but you’re not 22-years-old anymore. We need to spend as much time recovering as we do training, if not more. As we age, fitness is more than lifting weights in the gym. Working on those things outside of the gym is important for you to continue seeing progress inside the gym. Don’t want to work on those things? Then, accept the reality that you’re going to plateau or regress.

You Might Be Overtraining
On the flip side, maybe you’ve lost your mental edge because you’re overtraining. Not working out is worse than working out a little, but working out too much might be worse than not working out at all. Maybe you need to dial it back a tad so you find more energy and drive on the days you are at the gym.

You’re Injured
It’s hard to mentally recover from an injury. There’s anxiety from wondering if you’ll heal fully, fear of re-injury, and depression or low self-esteem from feeling “left behind” by other athletes potentially surpassing you. Luckily, there are some well-documented ways of coping with the mental effects of an injury. Here are three. 1. Social Support. Reconnect with your social crew to help you get thru this mental sticking point. Become a cheering spectator for others so you stay socially connected. 2. Journal & Set Goals. Be open with yourself about the negative emotions you’re feeling, then set realistic goals for recovery, which may just be increased flexibility for now. 3. Be Patient. Allow yourself to heal. What’s two weeks in the long run? Nothing! Going half-speed for a couple weeks or taking time off is okay.

Discipline Over Motivation
Maybe you’re looking for motivation, when you should really just be developing discipline. Just gonna quote Jim Wendler here: “Discipline always trumps motivation. Motivation is about emotion and too many times, we rely on emotion to raise our performance. Unfortunately, this can quickly wear you down and if you aren’t motivated, lead to lackluster or missed training sessions. Discipline doesn’t care how you feel, what the weather is or if you’ve had a bad day. Discipline will carry the strong. Discipline will drive success. Discipline doesn’t need a *hype* video or loud music. Discipline over motivation.” TLDR: Train because you’re disciplined to do so, not because of a fleeting motivational meme you saw on Facebook.

Forget Setting a Goal. Focus on the System
This one is related to the “discipline” bullet point. Maybe setting a goal of cleaning a certain weight, or snatching a certain weight, or hitting a certain number of consecutive pullups no longer excites you like it did when you were new to CrossFit. So, instead of setting a new goal, focus on the system. Rather than the performance, focus on the practice. You’re an experienced CrossFitter, so maybe you’re no longer interested in setting new PR’s. You’ve hit some big numbers in the past and you’re fine with all of that. You just wanna enjoy your life nowadays. So, forget the goals and commit to a system which says “on these days of the week, I workout.” Then just do it.

Live. Learn. Pass On.
Find joy in helping someone else. I picked up an important goal from Dave Tate at EliteFTS. His personal motto is “Live. Learn. Pass On.” Transfer knowledge, energy, and advice for the greater good. Your gainz may have slowed but what’s stopping you from putting someone under your wing and helping them or reveling in their successes? Maybe seeing the fire sparked in someone else’s eyes will relight it in yours. Maybe it’ll shift your focus from “woe is me”, and remind you how fun this can be. Get out of your own head and have fun with others around you.

Public Accountability & Accountabilibuddies
Go public with your goals, your frustrations, and your desire to help others reach their goals, then be amazed at the positive reaction that will ripple thru Derby City when you do so. There’s nothing as surprising and inspiring as someone declaring their own accountability. It immediately creates a solidarity with others who will help you reach those goals. So, go public and get the help of a like-minded community around you. Then ask others to be your Accountabilibuddy. “Hey, text me to drag my ass to the gym.” Done. Or, talk some casual, friendly shit to someone in your class or another class to give both of you something to shoot for. Use the community to help get out of the rut. You’re not in this alone.

If It’s Important, You Will Find a Way to Make It Happen
Maybe, it’s time to forge a new you. Yes, we all need support and you must look for help when needed; however, at the end of the day, everything is on you. There are thousands of people meeting their goals by prioritizing what is important and making it work. If that means waking up early, if that means skipping a post-work happy hour, if that means working out on a Sunday, then you make it happen. If you have to make certain sacrifices that many others don’t have to, then do it. Making excuses that you can’t find the time to train, or work on your mobility, or eat well makes you sound like a loser. If meeting your goals by fitting training into your busy schedule means you have to give up watching a Netflix show, then throw away your TV and get to work. You have to make time for it. No goal was ever attained by thinking about it. Maybe this fade in motivation is your gut check, here and now in front of you.