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.


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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.


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.

The Difference Between *Life* and *Sport*

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The Difference Between *Life* and *Sport*
Written by: Coach Slater

A couple years ago, we modified our group class programming to include two levels of participation, Life and Sport. We first got the idea from our friends at CrossFit Maximus who suggested that it helped better address the fitness needs of wide array of members. Almost immediately, we found that leveled options actually made both writing workouts and running classes much easier. Here’s what all that means to you.

“Scaling” Versus “Leveled Programming”
I define *scaling* as a modification of components of an individual workout to preserve the intended stimulus of the Rx’d version. This might include decreasing the load or overall volume of the workout and substituting or assisting particular movements. The reality is that scaling happens daily, in every workout, for most people. However, *leveled programming* takes a more long-term perspective and considers the needs, abilities, and training age of everyone at Derby City. It is essentially “scaling” on a macro level. We use the common labels of Life and Sport to broadly describe our two levels of programming.

The Difference Between Life and Sport
*Life* programming is designed for all members between zero and six-plus months worth of consistent training at our gym, as well as intermediate athletes who find the Life workouts to be better in line with their capacities and goals. “Julie,” fresh out of Elements, should default to Life programming, along with a veteran member, “Clarence,” since he’s a little overweight, has a temperamental back, and is more interested in keeping up with his kids than training like Rich Froning. *Sport* workouts are designed for individuals who have spent several months to several years developing a solid foundation and are interested in pushing the envelope of their performance and capacity. Sport programming provides exposure to advanced movements and more demanding workouts.

Of course, everyone won’t fit neatly into either category in every way, but having defined levels helps you define your training goals, and provides some broader options for you to make decisions. Some days you may choose Life. Some days you may choose Sport. Having options in life is powerful.

Barbell Training
On the slow lifts (squats, deadlifts, press), we program basic linear progressions every cycle for our Life athletes. Early in your training age, we encourage you to “find a heavy 3” or add weight to a previous week’s loads. Technique permitting, every week you should try to add a conservative amount of weight from the previous exposure until you fully exhaust your linear progression. Only then should you consider Sport level barbell lifting. In general, your ability to generate maximal effort isn’t fully developed yet, so basing lifts off a percentage isn’t recommended at this early stage. That’s why we tell you to just find a heavy number of certain days.

So, below is what a typical deadlift day might look like for Life folks:

Find a heavy 6, then a heavy 5, then a heavy 4, then a heavy 1
*Add 5-10lbs from last week’s numbers. Drop & reset each rep.

While we list percentages, that’s really designed for athletes who’ve found a true 1RM that maxes both their strength and technical ability. But, a lot of normally-Life folks may fall into Sport category with barbell lifts, allowing them to take advantage of percentage work or volume and intensity days. Sport programming might look like:

1×6 @ 72.5%
1×5 @ 82.5%
1×4 @ 92.5%
1×1 @ 100+%
*Touch & Go.

Novice training is generally boring, in the sense that there is more consistency in rep and set schemes, and we’re simply trying to build a base of strength and technique. Intermediate programming is a lot sexier to talk about and there is no shortage of productive methods that can be found around the internet. A more advanced athlete generally requires more nuanced programming in order to continue to push their numbers up.

For the Olympic lifts (snatch and clean and jerk), we’ll often modify how the movement is segmented in order to teach proper positioning in these more technical and dynamic lifts. For example, on a clean and jerk day, we might tell Life athletes something like:

Take 15min to find a heavy but perfect single of:
Clean Deadlift to Mid Hang + Hang Power Clean + Front Squat + Push Press or Jerk

This segmentation within the Life programming allows you to break apart the lifts into sizable chunks and ingrain proper positions before attempting to execute the lifts in full. We can also make considerations for movement restrictions; say you can’t front squat below parallel without caving your upper back and dropping your elbows. We might tell you to remove the front squat portion and train just the power clean, which might be your deepest stable position. Similarly, snatches can easily be programmed to start above the knee if a correct starting position can’t be obtained below the knee. You just have to stop and reorganize yourself at the mid hang before attempting a dynamic pull.

Sport athletes will often perform the full versions of the movements with sequencing that inherently requires masterful execution of the basic lift. On a clean and jerk day, we might tell you:

Take 15min to find a heavy but perfect single of:
Power Clean + Hang Squat Clean + Split Jerk

We don’t always split up the WODs by Life and Sport designations. Depending on the workout, some simple scaling can be applied and will work easily for all levels. Other times, it might be more appropriate to designate the levels, so we can simplify the scaling options and remove a movement that many people won’t be able to do. For example:

3 Rounds
Run 400m
5 Muscle Ups
10 Deadlifts – 275/175

3 Rounds
Run 200m
10 Burpee Pullups
10 Deadlifts – 185/125

We designate a shorter run because the work capacity of a Life athlete may still be developing, and longer runs would diminish the amount of intensity they’re able to generate in a WOD with such distance. The burpee pullups aren’t meant to develop the attributes that would bring you closer to a muscle up, but many people will never perform a muscle up and won’t get much out of doing an overscaled version of one. Instead, by programming burpee pullups for Life folks, we preserve the metabolic stimulus and save a bunch of time not having to set up 20 ring stations with a bunch of bands and monitor people who can’t even do a ring support, yet are attempting to organize an entire muscle up sequence. We tend to think that people appreciate doing something simply hard rather than doing something that ends up either being too hard, too easy, or just awkward and frustrating to organize in a timed setting. The weight on the deadlift is leveled to take into consideration the average strength ability of different levels of athletes.

Below is another example of a leveled WOD, and in this case, you should be able to quickly see which version you’ll get the most out of.

Row 300/250m
10 Chest to Bar Pullups
10 Overhead Squats – 115/75

Row 300/250m
10 Jumping Pullups or 10 Bar-on-Rig Pullups
10 Front Squats – 95/65

These two versions have clear designations between volume in chest-to-bar pullups, jumping pullups, and bar-on-rig pullups, as well as a comparable sub for people who may not be able to organize 10 overhead squats at any significant weight. I’d rather someone front squat 95lbs for reps than crumble while attempting to overhead squat a 65lb barbell.

Generally speaking, Life WODs often require fewer skills and are less ballistic versions of the Sport WODs. We can easily write a version that ends up being systemically more challenging for the athlete and requires much less setup, coaching, and modification, instead of attempting to scale more advanced or demanding movements.

Other Movements
Besides the lifts mentioned above, we also program levels of the Snatch and Box Jump. For the same reasons that we would modify an overhead squat, we tell Life athletes to perform Power Snatches instead of Squat Snatches. And, we say to modify a Box Jump into a Box Step Up because no one needs to suffer thru a busted up shin from a missed jump. The risk of injury for some individuals is too great with Squat Snatches and Box Jumps, and the alternatives of Power Snatches and Box Step Ups provide a similar stimulus while maintaining the flow of the class.

Final Thoughts
Got questions about what we recommend for you and why? Ask us. We’re happy to explain our rationale. Just be prepared for the answer, “It depends.” See you in the gym.

A Year From Now, You’ll Wish You’d Started Today

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We know you want to try CrossFit. We hear it every day from people inquiring with us. “I always wanted to start, but just never took the leap.” Why wait? A year from now, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come.

Working out is already hard enough when you’re going to a boring, faceless, commercial gym. What helps is a community of like-minded individuals who just want to move a little better, look a little leaner, get a little stronger, and enjoy their life inside and outside of the gym.

Your body will change, your mind will change, and your life will change. We guarantee it.

We’ll combine strength work with conditioning workouts to gradually integrate you into our normal classes and get you feeling the best you’ve felt in years, both mentally and physically. By the time you’ve finished, you’ll have a great knowledge of how to lift and move, thanks to our team of incredibly qualified coaches.

We make it easy to get started, no matter your current fitness level. We know that jumping full speed into a new habit, like a new fitness program, is not recommended for long term success. That’s why we offer our Elements program designed to get you up and running confidently as you start on your new lifestyle. The classes for this program are held on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 7:30p to 8:30p. The three-week session will consist of 9 classes designed to start you on the path to changing your life, and includes a free fourth-week. Regardless of your current training status, we’ll train you properly on how to move and lift safely, efficiently, and powerfully. Are the Evening classes not ideal for you? We can find a schedule that works better for you, in a one-on-one setting.

Our Elements program is limited to 8 people to ensure a close student-to-coach ratio, so don’t wait to register. Our sessions fill up fast.

The cost of the Elements program is $99 and you can register by contacting us below.

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Open Ourselves Up

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Open Ourselves Up
Written by: Coach Slater

Everyone keeps certain personal things to themselves. It’s not easy opening up about anxiety, apprehension, vulnerability, etc… but opening up at the gym allows us, your Derby City coaches, to help you be a better athlete.

The other day, while coaching an afternoon class, Megan Courtney said to me, “Are you on your happy pills today?” I guessed that she thought I was unusually cheerful (maybe?), as opposed to other days. I told her that, “Coaching makes me happy”. It’s the behind-the-scenes stuff that’s monotonous to me, and oftentimes boring, but important for the growth of the gym, the employment of some wonderful coaches, and the betterment of many athletes at Derby City. To me, coaching is pure fun. I enjoy coaching others and helping them find something in themselves that they didn’t think was there.

But, I know what she was saying. I can come off as a quiet and aloof. And I *know* I’m that way in the mornings. I don’t bust out of that shell until after noon, usually.

I come from a background of quietness, showcased by men who never revealed too much of anything to anyone. At least, that was my impression of the men in my family. Nowadays, I have a habit of holding onto things, and I have some tendencies toward perfectionism. Sometimes I’m a little quiet or moody, but exposing those feelings and emotions actually helps me acknowledge and quickly overcome them. Other people always seem to notice because my body language tells all.

I tell you this because, as a coach, I try to read your body language every day. There are many variables in a class setting, and there are days that I need to coach you differently than the day before. I’m not going to ask, ever, for you to talk about something you don’t want to talk about. Some days you just need to be left alone. I get it. But, when I’m having a bad day, I know it’ll be better if I tell someone that I’m a little off, or if someone calls me out on it. Opening up and showing that vulnerability can help me perform better in the gym. So, if you’re having a rough day, tell a coach and we can respond accordingly. It takes courage, but opening up allows coaches to help you more directly and it might make our hour together easier on the both of us.

I’ll help call you out if, in turn, you help call me out. Be my AccountabiliBuddy. Let’s open ourselves up.