Posts Tagged ‘CrossFit’

“You are your own worst enemy.”

I started this post on February of 2016. Yep. I didn’t finish it because it didn’t seem powerful enough. Like I said yesterday, I suffer from “paralysis by analysis” in most areas of my life. I sit and think, and overthink, and think some more. Then, I’ll ask one person for their opinion, then another, then another. At that point, I’ll convince myself that what I wanted to do in the first place is good enough. Rinse. Repeat.

But now I’m just going to share more. Half thoughts. Incomplete thoughts. The “gist” of certain thoughts. My hope in doing that is to start dialogue with all of you. I don’t expect my posts to be the *hard stop* of any of my thoughts. I started this blog to create a conversation with all of you! So, here’s to starting that two-way street again.

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As a trainer, my greatest goal is to prove to the athletes that I coach just how powerful they really are capable of becoming! Given that I’ve coached thousands of athletes, I’ve notice some trends. First, a woman who walks into the gym for the first time and considers herself “out of shape” is usually MUCH harder on herself than a man who walks into the gym for the first time. What happens next, though?

Through a supportive community, consistency in their effort, and a bit of decent coaching, in no time at all the confidence of the woman (re)appears. The empowerment they gain from an increased sense of accomplishment and independence, the belief that they’re capable of so much more than they had imagined, the desire to uplift and encourage others around them…. on average, I notice female athletes adopting those traits far more rapidly than men.

Many of us can quickly think of several “top performers” at our gyms. Often times, they might be the men who can lift the most weight, or run the fastest. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, if we stop and think about who creates the heartbeat of each individual box, of our unique CrossFit community, I’ve found most of these core members are women. Like most of us, they’ll be struggling through a workout but they’ll see a friend struggling across the gym and shout a few words to keep them moving. They might be done first, but they’ll rarely clean up and leave without cheering on their colleagues. In this world of ours, I don’t think it should be about thinking, “how good am I”, but rather, “how good can I make this place, this secondary family of mine?” Women do that more often than men.

It may seem like a blanket statement, but I’m just saying what I’ve seen. Women, in so many aspects of “American” culture, are almost trained to view themselves as underdogs or “less-thans”… but I’ve found that through helping these individuals see just how powerful they are, barriers are knocked down in their own heads and this new sense of strength is transferred into every other area of their lives.

To quote Queen B: “Who run the world? Girls!”

The next time you’re in the gym, look around. Look for that “eye of the tiger” stare in your fellow classmates. Remember that “beast mode” isn’t just defined by who lifts the most or moves the fastest. The individuals who inspire others around them the most are typically the ones who push on when things get tough. They’re the ones who never quit.

Ladies, you’re awesome. Please don’t ever forget that! Thank you for constantly inspiring me to push myself just a little bit more every day!

Know that your friends can see your progress, and they’re amazed by what you can do. Don’t ever stop believing in yourself.

…. Post that I started 18 months ago: Published!

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“Hey, maybe knock that down 10 lbs and focus on staying tight at the bottom of your clean.”

“You could go Rx, or you could go a little lighter and finish in the suggested time domain.”

“Sorry, I know you thought it was a PR, but you didn’t stand all the way up before dropping the bar.”

Just a few of the examples of things I say on a regular basis to athletes in class. Over time, I’m able to create pretty meaningful relationships with most of the people that I coach (thankfully), but there’s always a certain few who refuse to take advice or listen to the suggestion of the person directing the group.

I’m sure there have been times where a coach is jealous that an athlete can out-perform them. Or times where athletes feel like the coach is insulting them by suggesting a lighter weight, or requesting and increased range of motion. I, however, am not one of those coaches who participates in either one of those games. The eye rolls, the weight or movement selection out of spite, the sighing and being bitter for a few days… it doesn’t help anyone!

My job is to help you get better. My goal is to keep you healthy. My responsibility is to not let you do something that could get you hurt. So when I’m leading a class and make a comment to you about slowing something down, or being more in control, please don’t be offended. Talk to me if you have any questions, ask me to video a rep or two and show you what I’m talking about (I’m a very visual learner), or respectfully tell me you’re going to do it anyways. But please don’t think I’m ever trying to hold you back. I’ve been doing this for a long time (in comparison to a lot of people in the CrossFit Game), and have one thing in the forefront of my mind each day… to be able to walk out of the gym and say, “Nobody died!”

As a rule, I’d always rather you go a little lighter and practice perfect form in workouts than “going for it” and risk getting hurt. Besides… almost none of us are going to the Games. We’re doing this fitness thing for fun, to stay healthy, and to look better naked. Get a time that’s 20 seconds slower to put up on the white board, but walk out of here on your own, knowing you did everything right!

Help me, help you!

Safety first. I’ve got your back. I’m here for YOU!

-Smashby

Oh my…… he’s done it. He’s finally done it. SOMEONE has finally created an effective ratio calculator for the Olympic Lifts, and some of their accessory counterparts.

If you known anything about Olympic Weightlifting in the United States, then you know the name Sean Waxman. A coach for nearly 25 years, he has owned and run Waxman’s Gym for the last 6+ years. The lifters that he has produced through his experience, his coaches on staff, and his personal style have gone on to produce great results at the national and international level, and has also helped train some of the top athletes in the CrossFit game.

When I saw some of my “high-profile” friends on Facebook share a link this morning, I didn’t think it could actually be what the Title of the post claimed, but it is!

You, the lifter, plug in your max Snatch and Clean and Jerk numbers. Then, based on what information you have you can also put in certain supplemental lifts or variations, for your Snatch (Overhead Squat, Power Snatch, Snatch Blocks Abv Knee, and Hang Snatch Below Knee) and your Clean and Jerk (Clean, Back Squat, Front Squat, Jerk, Clean Blocks Abv Knee, Hang Clean Below Knee). From that info, an INCREDIBLE summary of your lifts, along with feedback on ways to improve them.

Example, here are my numbers:

First it asked for my current lifetime PR’s for the two Olympic Lifts

Next, the variations of the Snatch and Clean and Jerk. You don’t NEED to have any of these, so I put in the ones I was fairly confident were correct

After that…. you click the “Evaluate Me” button. Complicated, huh?

The next part is where you get all of your feedback and suggestions. First, it shows the variance from your 1RM lifts, to the other variations and movements for each

I am a very visual person, so this was fun to see. However, by themselves, the graphs don’t mean too much. Here’s what followed

The site begins by specifically referencing the ratio between your snatch and clean and jerk. Then it goes on to give you a diagnosis and some suggestions on how to strengthen the supplemental movements to make yourself either stronger, more balanced, or perhaps more well-rounded in general.

This site is SO cool, and I think that every lifter and coach should reference it as a key resource to help identify key areas for improvement!

Want to try it for yourself? CLICK HERE!

Do you want help with your lifting? Reach out to me, I’ve been taking on new remote clients and would love to help!

Lift well, friends.

For the last 8.5 years, almost to the day, CrossFit has been a huge part of my life.

In that time, I’ve ranged from being a rabid advocate of the program, badgering everyone I knew to try it with me like a beach vendor who nearly accosts foreigners in hopes of selling them his local trinket… to the head coach of a gym with over 350 members, who didn’t feel the need to push it on anyone, rather just loved the program because he knew it worked.

I’ve had periods of time where I would spend nearly three hours per day working out, completing two training sessions per day, 4 days per week, I’d compete in local events every few weeks to try and put my fitness to the test, and I looked forward to planning my next soul-crushing workout each every day. There have also been times where I simply couldn’t find the motivation to pick up a barbell because it just didn’t feel fun anymore.

Now, I find myself at a crossroads.

Recently, I’ve experienced more change at the same time than at any other point in my life. Usually, life spreads the big things out, at least a little! In the last 6 weeks however, I’ve left my job, planned to move across the country, got married, traveled to Brazil to visit family, decided not to move after all, and had the privilege of learning how much fun it can be to look for a house in one of the most competitive Real Estate markets in the entire country. That’s a lot in a month and a half!

What’s crazy, is that it’s all really positive change! Some people are hit with bad break after bad break, yet for me, these have been really good. I think the kids say #Blessed, right?

The crossroads has to do with what I will do for fitness now. Do I stick to CrossFit? Maybe a strength/squat cycle to focus on getting stronger and improve my technical movements? Is it time to head back to a Globo gym and try to get those 6-pack abs in time for summer? Do I go cardio for a bit, and get into running or swimming? Obviously the answer that me, the coach, tells myself is to do it all! I live in a place where you can be as active as you’d like outside. I’ve got so many friends who own or coach at CrossFit gyms that it shouldn’t be that hard to find people to train with here and here. And the thought of a “Bi’s/Back” and “Tri’s/Chest” training regimen really doesn’t seem that bad some days!

The reason it’s so tough for me to decide is because I had always convinced myself that I needed to train FOR something. I had to be in a squat cycle because if not, how would I get stronger? If I wasn’t Snatching at least once per week, I’d lose all of my “gainz” and regress. Want to do burpees without stopping? Then keep doing burpees! But at the end of the day… why does it matter?

I always tell people that CrossFit can prepare you for just about anything. It will make just being active more fun. So, with that logic, I don’t need to go through brutal workouts all the time. Visiting the “Pain Cave” every time the clock counts to “3, 2, 1, GO” isn’t required for someone to be fit. It isn’t required to be healthy. It’s only required if the END GOAL is being a good CrossFit athlete. And I’m not sure that’s what I want right now.

I’ll tell you what though, it’s hard to say that to myself and not feel like I’m letting “2011 Tom” down just a little bit!

Over the next few weeks I’m going to assess what makes me happy, what gets me fired up to go do, and what I find to be…. fun! I have always told people that fitness should be something you enjoy (even when I wasn’t necessarily feeling that way myself), and I want to get back to that place.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. Who knows, there might be a competition or race I decide to train for sometime in the next few months!

Wish me luck!

Alright.

Enough.

As someone who typically tries to present himself as confident and capable on the outside, I’ve battled with some internal struggles for most of my life. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before….

“I worry that the work I produce isn’t ~good enough~ for others.”

Now, reading those words, I want to slap myself silly and give the same advice I’d give anyone else who has ever come to me with that same concern. And you know what? That exact conversation HAS happened dozens, if not hundreds of times. People who I know often share that same fear that they have with me… and all I can think is to tell them how silly they’re acting. Of COURSE they’re good enough. Of course people care about, and believe in, what they say. Of course they are adding value in whatever topic they’re considering discussing. Yet, I occasionally turn around and question myself with those very same thoughts.

First of all, what does “good enough” even mean?! I started this blog back in 2010. Ha! Read that again. Two thousand and ten. We were just kids, then! No, I’m serious… babies. The number one song on the Billboard charts that year… Tik Tok by Ke$ha. (You’re welcome, Birddog)

In 2010, CrossFit wasn’t even a fad yet, and I had already found myself completely consumed in the belief that fitness could make the world a better place. This blog started as my way to try and help as many people as possible. It allowed me to share things I was learning that I felt could make others either better, faster, stronger, healthier… or at the very least leave them a little bit entertained. Fast forward SEVEN years. This hobby that I found, then became a passion, then a part-time job, and then a full-time job. I found exactly what I had wanted to do with my life. I found a way to utilize a skill set I convinced myself I had to HELP others. And in turn, to be honest, help myself.

I share that to give context to the “good enough” idea I have battled with since before I can remember. I wasn’t the best coach. I didn’t know everything about human anatomy and physiology. I couldn’t provide the perfect nutrition plan for someone. But when I was in my element, none of those thoughts even entered my brain. If I had an athlete in front of me, I’d do everything I could to help them to the best of my ability. If someone emailed me about how to recover from not being able to walk down stairs after heavy squat day, I’d give them the best answer I had. If an athlete wasn’t losing those last 3-6lbs of fat they aimed to shed, I’d give them advice based on what I knew. And when I didn’t know an answer… I’d look it up. I’d learn. And then I’d share again.

It was so easy for me to do when I was dealing with ONE person. But when I’d get home and open up the laptop to write a post, the doubt would start to creep in. I’d tell myself reasons why MY opinion probably didn’t matter. Or why I may have been wrong on this one topic. It was so easy for me to NOT EVEN TRY, knowing that there will always be haters out there. The thought of one negative comment squandered my desire to try and help even one person.

Not anymore.

The good news for me, is that I have never claimed to be perfect. In fact, some of the most impactful interactions I’ve had with clients, friends, and strangers through this blog have stemmed from PRODUCTIVE conversations where contrasting opinions met head-to-head.

That’s my super weird way of saying that I’m going to start writing again. I’m going to share my thoughts and opinions on things that go on in the world of fitness (and other places, too). I’m going to get back to sharing videos and stories and books that make me happy. Or make me think. Or make me cringe. I’ll get back to letting you know if I try and like (or hate) a new product. And I’m doing this because as one of my very good friends has told me for over a decade now: “Your network is your net worth.”

It’s connecting with all of you that has always what filled me with the most joy! THAT is why I started this blog in the first place. To connect with my “network” of friends, whether near or far. Whether I coached them that day, or had never even met them in person. The ability to connect with and learn from a worldwide network is what has always motivated and inspired me!

So, how am I going to get over the “is this good enough” concern I’ve always had? I’m simply going to try and silence that voice of doubt. I’m going to try NOT to always be my own worst critic to the point where it stops me from even trying.
What’s one way that a person can get better at a skill or craft? Do it more often, right? Practice. And while I know that practice doesn’t really necessarily make perfect, I do think that writing more frequently will continue to give me more confidence in how I communicate. It will let me feel that there is at least ONE person out there (thanks for reading, Mom!) who might benefit from the information I can provide or share.

So, as I sit in a crossroads in my own personal life, I invite you all to join me on this journey of self-discovery and vulnerability.
It’s about to get real.

You know what? It already feels good to be back!

-Smashby

DISCLAIMER:
The thoughts featured in the post are mine and mine alone! 

I have never claimed to be a great writer. In fact, I usually say my writing is like my talking… I usually do too much and use too many words! But every once and a while I see some piece from a blog or a FB post that makes me want to literally jump up and down and high five a stranger. Today, I read one of those posts! *High Five*

The topic covered was is something most of us typically refer to as “rep-shaving” in our little CrossFit world. My blog has featured at LEAST 2 posts on the topic, so I’ll include the link right below here if you care to go back and read my thoughts.

https://smashbytraining.com/2016/02/25/smashby-speaks-the-crossfit-games-open-2016/

Now this NEW post, written by Mike Warkentin (who is the managing editor of the CrossFit Journal and the founder of CrossFit 204) is probably the most brutally honest, and all-encompassing blocks of words that I’ve read on the topic. It’s called “An Open Letter to Cheaters” and basically says what almost all of us think on the issue:

Why? Why would someone intentionally skip reps/rounds during a workout, shorten range of motion, or write the wrong weight used for that Shoulder Press?

We all have had brain meltdowns during or after a workout and lose count when we can’t even see straight, but some athletes out there do it on purpose. Often. My typical approach as a coach (which falls into one of his categories in the piece) is to just let it go. I’ve said the sentence, “They’re only cheating themselves…” countless times, but Mike makes a point: while they’re only cheating their own physical progress and development, it can STILL have a negative impact on the community around them.

Even when I started competing back in 2010, I remember no-repping myself during workouts!

Even when I started competing back in 2010, I remember no-repping myself during workouts!

As competitive creatures, person “A” could become discouraged if they keep doing full range of motion push-ups, and time after time person “B” beats them in a workout by not locking out a single one. CrossFit is founded upon the concept that we all suffer together, so we that we all get better together!

In my nearly 8 years of CrossFit, I’ve probably posted a few hundred videos of myself working out. While some of them are to share my accomplishments with friends, most of the time it’s for the silly reason that I want my friends to know that when I talk about my “exercise racing” times or numbers, that I’m being honest. (And to hope I can get some remote coaching on technique, since 95% of my training is done alone!)

Enough of my rant, please check out this article, and let me know your thoughts! I really enjoyed this one. I’m going to start trying to write more often, too. It makes me feel good to hope that my years in this “sport” of ours can potentially help (or entertain?) at least one person out there.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

DISCLAIMER:
The thoughts featured in the post and video are mine and mine alone!

Usually I post meal prep videos to try and give viewers ideas of healthy and delicious food options that are fairly easy to make. The goal of today’s video, however, is to show you guys the entire process of how long it takes me to make 8 steak salads! The recipe is fairly similar to what I’ve posted in the past, but for the serving portion, I leave the camera running through it all.

The prep phase today ran around 30-40 minutes. Seasoning and grilling the steak took me 10-15 minutes, the hard-boiling and peeling for the eggs took 15-20, and washing and cutting fruit probably took 15 minutes. Some of those tasks were happening at the same time, so I’m just sharing total time figures in case any of you decide to do something similar for yourselves!

As always, feel free to substitute any portion of the meal for food options that are more in-line with your fitness/health/nutritional goals. I just wanted to show that once things are ready to go, it takes less than 4 minutes to combine ingredients and make enough meals to last over half of the week!

To the viewer who challenged me to cook something without peppers…. Boom! 🙂

Next “Smashby’s Meal Prep” video will feature a meal I’ve never made myself. Get ready for some kitchen shenanigans! I hope you guys like this video. Have a great week, friends.

Week 2 of the 2016 CrossFit Games Open is here! After watching the video for the 16.2 Workout Reveal, I was pretty floored by watching those guys get after it. Obviously most of us know how much of a beast Dan Bailey is after watching him at the Games for the last few years, but even then I never would have expected him to get through the entire thing in 20 minutes! (I know there was the “missed rep” debacle after the live show, but I’m just saying I didn’t think that 275 and 315 pounds would look that light to those guys!)

Strategy on this one, for me, is going to boil down to knowing your own ability level on Toes to Bar and Double-Unders. In my mind, those are two movements where being proficient can be an absolute game changer. Just because an athlete CAN do 25 reps of TTB in row, does NOT mean that they SHOULD do 25 reps in a row. Once your TTB fatigue your grip and/or your core, sets of 10-15+ will very quickly become sets of 2-3 reps. It is not worth crashing and burning that hard for that movement.

For athletes who have controlled kips, and can get through reps smoothly, I think sets of 5-10 will be best to try and maintain throughout the entire workout. Remember, hopping down off of the bar, turning around, chalking up, hopping back up, can all take a MINIMUM of 5-10 seconds every time. The smoother those transitions can be, the easier it will be to make it through to the next round.

I feel the same way about DUs. Just because an athlete CAN do 50 in a row, if it’s going to take so much out of them that on the next round, they mess up every 5-6 jumps because they’re so tired, 50 in a row wasn’t worth it. While in my video I emphasize the importance of getting to that tie-breaker as quickly as possible, unless time in the round is about to expire, I don’t think it should be at the expense of absolutely crushing your pace.

Remember, after all of that jumping rope, you need to pick up a heavy bar, quite a few times. So, if fatigue starts to set in by the 20th or 30th rep of DU, take a short rest, regroup, then finish the set. That will minimize the time needed to feel prepared to attack that next set of cleans.

In my opinion, the longest rest of the round should be taken after completing the final clean, and before the first TTB. If an athlete rushes back to the TTB too soon, they’ll likely get far fewer reps before needing to jump down. Remember, every time you hop off of the bar, it’s probably going to take 5 seconds to get back on. So, sets of 5-7 reps will be far more efficient than having to hop down every 2-3. Take your time, and make sure you’re getting slightly larger sets before having to hop down as long as your kip is solid.

Truthfully, unlike 15.1 last year, I don’t really see this as being a workout where TOO many people will PR and hit a weight for the first time and keep repeating. However, given how the tiebreaker is set up, I do think that the folks who move through the other movements (TTB and DU) as smoothly as possible, will have a big advantage over their counterparts who come out swinging and just can’t hold on.

I feel the breaking point for “regular” people 🙂 on this one will be the round of 225lb squat cleans for men and 145lb for ladies. The athletes who can cycle through consistent singles and keep their breathing under control will pass the folks who get too excited and try to hit 3-5 reps of touch-and-go through the first few sets. Athletes who make it through the round of 225 will have a HUGE advantage. If time is getting close to capping during that 4th round, athletes will be able to go harder with their final sets. Remember, if toes to bar get completed, the reps added to the score due to double-unders at the end are significant! Get to that final tie-break as quickly as possible on the last round!

Have fun, and as always, please let me know if you guys found this helpful!

It’s finally here! They announced the first workout of the 2016 CrossFit Games Open, and it’s a long, slow, grinder.

The 20-minute adventure includes Overhead Walking Lunges, Bar-Facing Burpees over the Bar, and Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups for the Rx’d Division. Scaled athletes will complete the Lunges in the “Front Rack” position, and Jumping Pull-Ups as their two modifications.

Please CLICK HERE to go to the official workout page to read up on all of the details.

In my first video of the 2016 Open Season, for those of you who actually use my videos for strategy and advice on how to attack this thing, please let me know what you think of it! As of the time I’m writing this, I haven’t done it yet, and didn’t get a chance to watch the ladies do it tonight… so I may be way off.

The word for 16.1 in my opinion, however: PACE!

Let this workout be one where when the halfway point hits, athletes still feel pretty good. Very few people will be able to go at a blazing pace for the full 20 minutes, so slow and steady throughout will be the way to go for most of us.

Let me know what you think, and let me know how you do. Good luck, friends!

-Tom

As some of you know, I started this blog a years ago, and have given my thoughts on a lot of topics in that time. When the video below from four years ago popped up in my feed today, I took a few minutes to watch it.

First of all, yes, I’ve always been a huge nerd and watching this video made me laugh. Second, aside from the gym where I work, not much has changed in regards to my feelings on the integrity of athletes who compete in this event. So, instead of writing a huge post on it, I’ll be brief, and then just share my thoughts from 2012 with you guys once again.

My friends and I always joke with each other about how one’s ranking or placement in “The Open” really has no impact on any aspect of practically anyone’s lives (unless you make it to the next level.. then, you’re a better exercise racer than other people… congrats). So, to be 682nd in the Region, and to do so by cheating even though your squats weren’t low enough, or you didn’t lock out your arms, is honestly just kind of sad.

Most people, nearly all in fact, who compete in The Open do so honestly and fairly. Most of us simply enjoy the spirit of competition and the excitement of being pushed out of your comfort zone for a few weeks. Most of us think it’s fun. However, as the next five weeks come and go, and you start seeing names you’ve never heard of before, and scores from people you DO know that jusssst don’t seem right…. my advice is simple:

Don’t worry about it. Smile. Have fun. And enjoy the competition and sense of community that this event brings to the CrossFit world.

Good luck. Have fun. I believe in you guys!