Mentality

Stop Changing Your Weights Mid-Workout

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

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

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

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

STOP.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

What Happens After Your Newbie Gainz Stall (and when under-eating no longer works)

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What Happens After Your Newbie Gainz Stall (and when under-eating no longer works)
Written by: Coach Slater

Newbie Gainz
When you first start at Derby City, it’s almost a guarantee to PR every time you step in the gym. In the first 8 months, you’re gaining muscle and losing body fat at a crazy pace. You’re exposing your body to new stimulus, learning new techniques every single day, and your body is physiologically adapting as a result. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that these gainz will continue in a linear fashion forever. You’re going to clean a gazillion pounds in six months, or you’re going to win the CrossFit Games in two years.

What’s happening in this newbie phase is called neurological adaptation, which means that you are causing a large number of neurons to fire rapidly in a more synchronized way, enabling you to rapidly lift heavier weights. So, your muscles aren’t necessarily growing yet, you’re just training your nervous system to create more efficient pathways. After your body begins to cement the neurological adaptations, then you’re able to push yourself harder and harder, triggering muscular adaptations, which is when muscles grow and get stronger. That’s why it’s important to focus on technique when just beginning, so you’re not neurologically adapted in poor positions. You want to give your body the ideal opportunity for future growth when those newbie gainz slow, to not create muscular imbalances by recruiting the wrong muscles in a particular movement.

So, when your typical neurological adaptations slow (aka, your newbie gainz stall), you begin to rely on muscular adaptations. This is the phase where discipline and dedication are needed, because you’re no longer setting new PR’s every time you walk in the gym. It “feels” like you’re flat-lining, but you’re not. You’ve just progressed to the next inevitable step in your training evolution. Now is when you need to find discipline to stay consistent with your workout frequency, nutrition, sleep, and stress reduction. Whereas you were once focused on achievement every time you first walked in the door… “first pullup, first bodyweight back squat, first snatch over whatever pounds”… you need to discipline yourself to focus on “progress” now. Achievement is so ingrained in our culture that we often ignore progress. But, you’re in this for the long haul, right? Now’s when you prove it with discipline and consistency. That’s what you do when you newbie gainz stall.

Ruining Your Newbie Gainz
Let’s go back to the beginner phase I mentioned earlier to talk about how you could be hurting your future progress by undereating. You can make gainz in that neurological adaptation / beginner phase while in a caloric deficit. You could come into Derby City, undereating because you think that’s what you have to do to maintain the body you want, while actually doing damage to yourself, and still make gainz. You could eat only 500 calories a day and still PR your back squat every week because your brain is just learning to do the movements efficiently. You haven’t really hit overload yet. But… when you finally do hit that point, you’re going to regress and you’re not going to like it. Now you’re under-recovered and going into a negative hormone state. Maybe you’re wondering why that awesomeness couldn’t last forever? Well, you have to adapt. What works today isn’t going to work next year.

This is the first time your body has done this kind of training, and your body doesn’t know any better than to adapt. Now the next bikini season rolls around and you think, “Well, 1,000 calories worked last year. Let’s do 800 calories this year.” But, you find that you can’t lose weight, or worse yet, you gain weight. Your body learned to create homeostasis at 1,000 calories, so there’s no longer a caloric deficit which will work. Your body is going to remember the stimulus that took you into adrenal fatigue and it’s not going to allow you to get there again. So, typically, you dig harder and add more volume via running or extra “cardio” outside of the gym, without fixing the real issue related to your recovery/nutrition. You’ve metabolically adapted to undereating and now you have to start from scratch to reteach your body how to eat and produce.

So, using this theoretical 1,000 calorie human, they can’t just start eating 2,200 calories tomorrow, like maybe they should have been doing the entire time. What if they’ve been eating 1,000 calories/daily for years now? Well, if they start eating 2,200 calories now, they’re going to gain weight incredibly quickly and lose trust in the process. Instead, they need to slowly adjust by gradually increasing calories, basically starting a metabolic repair program. Specifically, I suggest keeping your protein intake constant at around 0.8g/lb of bodyweight and adding 5-10% to your total carbs and total fats each week until you get to a “more reasonable” total number of macronutrients based on your lean muscle mass, body fat, and activity level. I like to suggest Carbs at 0.5g/lb of bodyweight for Off Days, 1.0g/lb for Easy Days where you’re moving slowly just trying to get loose for the day, and 1.5g/lb for Moderate Days at Derby City where you’re working hard, getting in a good sweat, etc… I typically hold beginners and intermediate athletes to “Moderate Days” and never progress to Heavy Days or something higher, because honestly, most people overestimate how hard they’re working.

Bringing It Home
To summarize, let me say that you needn’t be disappointed when those newbie gainz slow. It’s a natural part of your progress, and it marks the point in your fitness development where you need to learn discipline. Working out, eating right, and sleeping well should become a part of your daily regiment, just like brushing your teeth, showering, and going to work. I included “eating right” because you could be harming your future progress by messing up your nutrition during this beginner phase. In reality, I should have said “eating right” before anything else, because nutrition should be at the base of your fitness pyramid. It’s importance can’t be overstated. If your newbie gainz stall completely, the answer is always the same: you’re not eating enough, and you’re not recovering. Recovery is made possible by food and sleep. Set yourself on a path for future success.

References
Predicting metabolic adaptation, body weight change, and energy intake in humans”, Hall, Kevin.

Changes in Energy Expenditure with Weight Gain and Weight Loss in Humans”, Muller, MJ.

The Truth About Metabolic Damage”, Teta, Dr. Jade.

Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy

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Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy
Written by: Coach Slater

You may have heard that Coaches Lexi and Steve had the opportunity to attend a special training camp in New York recently. Two of the big takeaways from the weekend were “intensity” and “mindset”. I asked Coach Steve if he’d like to write about what he learned, and he’s working on that article now. In the meantime, I wanted to touch a little on the “mindset” concept, because every week, I see someone having a string of bad training days, and I want to remind you: don’t be your own worst enemy.

Feeling like you’re in a rut with your training is frustrating. You know you can perform better, and you know how to perform better, but something just isn’t clicking. There are times when we need a confidence boost; a reminder that we’re much better than we think we are at that moment. Here are ways to break out of your rut.

Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself
I put this first, because it’s the easiest trap to fall into. If you tell yourself a workout is going to suck, you’re probably right. Your body can handle so much more than your mind thinks it’s capable of. When you feel like dropping the bar, knock out five more reps instead, then decide what to do next when you get there. Maybe you’ll tell yourself to do another three reps. If you take a break, don’t sit there and think about it. Don’t question your ability. Get back on the bar and move. Don’t leave the workout with regrets or questions.

Did you trip up on a few box jumps? Did you miss a couple snatches? Did you no-rep yourself on some handstand pushups? Did you not get your toes to the bar this week, but last week you did? That doesn’t mean you suck at those movements, and it doesn’t mean you’re never going to get them right. An isolated incident doesn’t mean you’ll never improve. You can decide to keep a positive mindset and avoid an over-generalization. Stop yourself, recognize this negative feeling, and don’t do it again.

Don’t Be a Victim
Someone with a positive mindset doesn’t complain, cast blame, or find excuses. Negative mindsets are contagious, so one of the best ways to avoid that kind of helplessness is to surround yourself with positive, motivating people. They view events with positivity. They’re not victims. They express gratitude for small things… Did you get a PR today? Did you reach 90% with better technique than last week? Did you perform one more pushup when you didn’t think you could? Great work! You can teach yourself to not be afraid of success by building on this small win. Acknowledge how good this moment feels, so you can visualize it later.

Let Go of Your Ego
You can’t reasonably expect yourself to be good at something before you even try it. And, comparing yourself to others, or being worried about failing is just holding you back from doing your personal best. Get rid of your need to win, or lift something heavier than Jane Doe, or avoid being the last person working in a WOD. If you’re too worried about “putting yourself out there”, you’re going to avoid your weaknesses, and never give yourself a chance to improve. You know full well that the only way to grow is to try things out of your comfort zone. Improving is all about being better than you were yesterday, so have confidence in your ability to adapt.

Help Someone Out
The previous three issues are inward-facing, but this last one is about shifting focus from yourself to others. The way you act and think toward others has a big effect on how you act and think towards yourself. Be more kind to other people, and you tend to be more kind to yourself. Congratulate someone on their performance in today’s WOD, and you may find yourself being more accepting of your own performance. You can’t be your own worst enemy if you’ve changed your focus to help someone out instead. Self-pity is easy, but luckily, it’s also easy to be nice to someone else.

Trust the Process

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Trust the Process
Written by: Coach Shark

Excuses are like assholes. We all have them and they all stink.

When did we become a society of excuse makers? Our grandparents would have had a shit-hemorrhage if they heard some of the ridiculousness I hear from some people on a daily basis. And the worst part is, not that we are making the excuses, but rather that we actually believe them. I hear it everyday – “I’m following the diet, but I’m not making any progress.” “I only drink on the weekends.” “This programming doesn’t work for me.” “I’m insulin resistant.” Blah blah blah. I know these excuses, because I’ve used these excuses. Yeah, you read that correctly. I was that guy at one point in my life. Sure, I was nipping at the heels of a 600lb back squat and front squatting over 500lb, but I was incredibly unhealthy. Weighing in around 290lbs, I was the poster child for prediabetes. My resting heart rate was close to triple digits and my blood pressure was through the damn roof, and all I really wanted was to be lean.

But I was lying to myself. I was my own worst enemy.

I was one of those arrogant assholes that believed I was different, that the rules of thermodynamics didn’t apply to me. “It’s not that I’m gaining weight because my calories-in are greater than my calories-out, it’s that I don’t process carbohydrates very well.” Excuse me, but horse shit. Does this sound like you? If it does, stop what you’re doing and smack yourself in the head. YOU ARE LYING TO YOURSELF.

You can attribute similar excuses to the athletes that believe that they aren’t making any progress because of the “programming”, or the “coach”, or the “gym environment”, etc… Who exactly are you trying to fool? Yes, your coach may be an asshole, he might think he hung the moon, but chances are he’s actually looking out for you. So let’s look at the facts – you’re in the gym, you’re putting in work, and yet you’re not making any progress. Well, sorry to tell ya, but it’s probably because of what’s going on outside the gym rather than inside that’s hindering your success.

You think you need two-a-days? Nope. You think you need to squat 4 days a week? Nope. You think this Russian program is better than that German program and Misfit vs Outlaw vs Invictus yadda yadda yadda. You probably need to have fewer bourbons, fewer late night trips to T-Bell, a few more hours of sleep, or just take better care of yourself in general.

Love yourself. Stop lying to yourself. Stop placing blame on others. Trust the process. Do what needs to be done.