Posts Tagged ‘FitFam’

There are thousands of people around the world who are “certified” to coach CrossFit. Does that mean they’re all good at it? Absolutely not!

Like any other profession in the world, you’re going to have some variation of a bell curve: A small few who are really good at what they do, some who are really bad at it, and the majority of others falling somewhere in between the two on that spectrum.

The difference with CrossFit coaching and other professions, however, is that a bad cue from a coach in the middle of class could potentially lead to an athletes injuring himself/herself, or others around them.

Let me be clear, this post is not about whether or not you like a cue a coach gives you. It’s intentionally about what you think should be done if a coach gives you BAD, and wrong, advice!

I’d love it if you’d watch my video below, and let me know what you think. Do you agree or disagree with me?

What would you do, or advise others, if they found themselves in the position of being given bad advice. Let’s chat!

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Thousands of athletes around the world are laser-focused in their desire to get better at certain movements/skills in our sport of CrossFit. Whether their goal is to improve strength, endurance, mobility, or any other aspect of fitness, there will always be a laundry list of skills to choose from at any given moment. While I love how CrossFit inspires and motivates people to want to make themselves better, it also leads to people trying to do too much, too often.

If they want to get stronger, they’ll add a squat program to their weekly programming. To improve their ring muscle-ups they’ll spend thirty minutes every day practicing transition drills and kipping technique. When the goal is to improve aerobic capacity, multiple 3-6 minute sprint workouts and a few track workouts will get tagged onto the end of an already brutal training week.

By themselves, those scenarios are not necessarily a problem. What is a problem, however, is when people do so much work that their bodies are constantly beat up and are never given a chance to recover properly. Being sore and tired is part of the game, I get that. Anytime you train hard as an athlete, those feelings come with the territory. It becomes counterproductive, however, when athletes constantly live in that state of fatigue.

Prioritizing rest and recovery is the biggest missing piece in the puzzle for so many athletes to achieve their next training breakthrough. When you take care of yourself (through stretching, massage, and other forms of self care), you’re giving your body a chance to repair all of the damage that intense training puts on your muscles.

Take a look at my video below and see if you agree with me. Regardless, let me know your thoughts, and let’s talk about this together. Happy Thursday!

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines an Ivory Tower as “a secluded place that affords the means of treating practical issues with an impractical often escapist attitude; especially a place of learning.” I think there are a lot of trainers out there making statements about fitness from a very similar place!

They read in a book that the back squat is taught one way, or learned a skill from a coach in a particular way, and from that moment on they live and die by the concept that no other way of teaching that movement could possibly be correct! Well, if you’ve ever coached actual humans in an actual gym, you quickly learn that no two people learn things the exact same way. If you only have one way of explaining, you will miss connecting with a variety of athletes.

In my opinion, as long as your athletes are safe, there is no right or wrong way to teach something. I believe it was Matt or Cherie Chan who once said to me, “the best cue to give an athlete is the one that works!” Instead of sitting back and commenting on how other people are teaching things incorrectly, open up your mind and consider that some people just need to hear the same thing explained in a different way for it to click for them!

Check out this episode of Drive Time with Smashby, and let me know whether or not you agree with me…. and why! Happy Thursday!

One of my favorite parts of being a coach/personal trainer is being able to see your athletes improve through their hard work!

A really funny part of coaching is when you give an athlete a cue on how to improve a particular skill, and then a few days or weeks later having them share “this brand new cue they heard” from somewhere else …. that is the exact same cue you gave them previously. It happens more often than you might think.

There are so many factors that explain why moments like this happen (information overload or ineffective cuing from the coach, athlete physical and mental fatigue, the list goes on), but they can each be used as a learning experience if you let them!

What do you think about what I have to say on the topic? I’d love to know!

The third week of “Smashby’s Weekly Throwdown” is ready to go! It’s been so fun receiving messages from people who are participating in these weekly challenges. Keep letting me know how you do, and if you get the courage, post your times and notes in the comments. There’s a few of you out there, I promise!

Throwdown #3

Run 800m

20 Pull-Ups

30 Push-Ups

40 Air Squats

Run 800m

Focus/Modifications/Progressions:

Overall Strategy- Today’s pacing strategy for “Murph” will be geared towards helping those who are considering completing the workout straight through. That means they’ll run a mile, complete 100 pull-ups, then 200 push-ups, then 300 air squats, then another mile run. In that order. It’s a completely different beast to do it this way, so I encourage anyone completing my challenge this week to imagine needing to complete all reps, not just to blast through it unbroken. 

Runs– The workout has athletes running one mile total, half of the distance to be run during the full workout. I’m challenging each of you to try and run your 800’s in the exact same time! That means pacing the first run more than you need to, then pushing to match your time on the second one to complete the workout.

Pull-Ups– While there are a lot of people who can do 20 pull-ups in a row, fewer people would hit sets of 20 out of the gate on their way to 100. Pace it as if you had that much volume to complete. Smaller sets, short rest, continue.

Push-Ups– Most athletes complete sets of 3-5 reps at a time for push-ups during Murph. If you had to do 200 in a row before moving on, most people would most certainly stick with a similar rep range. Chest, hips, and quads, hit the ground at the same time. Be sure to lock out every rep before dropping to rest!

Air Squats– Imagine having to do 300 of these! I think quick sets of 10 reps or so, with a short rest before repeating, should keep you moving enough and ready to take off on that second run.

This will be the third week of getting ready for one of the most commonly performed workouts in all of CrossFit. I hope some of you are already feeling a bit more confident with different strategies for pacing and your chosen rep scheme.

Let me know how it goes!!

The first few weeks of my Weekly Throwdown is in the books, so it’s time for challenge number two! We’re still working to practice different pacing strategies for “Murph” at the end of next month, so keep that in mind.

Last week we worked on the 3/6/9 pacing breakdown. This week, we’re going to do what I view as the most common way of breaking down reps; 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats.

Throwdown #2

4 Rounds

200m Run

5 Pull-Ups

10 Push-Ups

15 Air Squats

Focus/Modifications/Progressions:

Overall Strategy- In Murph, there is only a mile run at the beginning of the workout, and another one at the end. For today’s workout, your goal is to try and get a little bit faster for each one of your four rounds. Too often during Murph, athletes run a blazing fast first mile and then a significantly slower second one. By pacing today’s short workout, the goal is to focus on being able to control your speed and effort in hopes to still have some gas left in the tank for the end!

Runs– The distance is short, so there will be some effective pacing required to not go too hard on round one! Try to get faster each round!It doesn’t end with run, so feel free to really push that final 200m run!

Pull-Ups– Kipping and butterfly pull-ups may be performed today, but remember, we want to get faster each round.

Push-Ups– No hand-release push-ups required this week, but make sure your chest, hips, and quads STILL touch the ground, AND that you lock out all the way. Since most people can’t do sets of 10 throughout the entire Murph workout, my advice is to break up these reps how you’d plan to do it on game day. Most people try 4/3/3 or 3/3/2/2, with really short rests between each small set.

Air Squats– Chest up, crease of your hip below the top of your knee! We all know how to squat, just because we’re not holding a weight in our hand today doesn’t mean we don’t need to start practicing actual full range of motion.

I will be very impressed if athletes can actually get faster each round. My main advice for getting after it is to intentionally hold back on both the run AND reps for the first round. On the last round, get after it and push both. Last round should feel like a sprint from start to finish.

Let me know how it goes!!

NEW SEGMENT ALERT!

To strengthen our community of readers, I’m going to try and post a challenge or workout that we can do together most weeks. They’ll be fairly fast and shouldn’t negatively impact any specific program you’re following!

Each week will have a different focus and “WHY are we doing this” aspect, and can be done any time from Monday through Sunday of that week. All I ask, is that you share your results here and comment on how it went!

The first few weeks of my Weekly Throwdown will be in preparation for a workout thousands of CrossFit athletes do around the world each year on Memorial Day: “Murph

Too often at the end of May people realize they haven’t devoted enough time to improving their running or their strength for the pull-ups, push-ups, and air squats that make up the workout.

Since you’re allowed to partition your reps any way you’d like in that workout, today’s variation is going to include the 3/6/9 break down, and will focus on strict and slower movements.

Throwdown #1

400m Run

5 Rounds of 3 Strict Pull-Ups, 6 Hand-Release Push-Ups, 9 Goblet Squats

400m Run

Focus/Modifications/Progressions:

Runs– Push the runs. Today’s workout includes slower movements by design. Since you’ll be standing around a little more than on a typical Murph, you’ll have plenty of time to recover before the next run. Run your first 400m at about 85/90% effort (faster than Murph pace), then try to match or beat it the second time!

Strict Pull-Ups– Make these the most challenging version of “chin-over” pull-ups you can do. Unassisted reps? Great! Pause and the bottom and don’t swing. Need a little kip to get that chin over? Use it! Can’t quite get your chin over yet? Although it’s not my favorite substitution, you can also use a band. But only if it only gives you that “little extra” push to get your chin over. If you’re needing to attach multiple or really strong bands, I always prefer a good strict ring row to build strength. These reps do not need to be unbroken, so feel free to break them up!

Hand-Release Push-Ups– My favorite version of push-up to ensure that an athlete’s chest actually touches the ground! If you’re doing push-ups from your toes, tell yourself not to let your knees touch the ground at all during the rep. At the end of each rep, come to a complete pause before beginning the next rep.

Goblet Squats– Holding a kettlebell, perform a set of 9 unbroken goblet squats. The goal with these is to ensure the chest is kept high at the bottom of each rep, and that the athlete stands all the way up at the top of every rep. It’s really easy to “shorten” range of motion in a workout like Murph, try to avoid that today!

This workout isn’t designed to be incredibly challenging. View it as a cardio component, focused skill and strength work, then a cardio piece to finish up. If you decide to tackle it, leave your time and some notes in the comments section.

I’m convinced that time is just going to just keep moving faster for the rest of my life. HOW is March already over?! While a large portion of my energy was focused around the CrossFit Open, and helping athletes prepare for it more effectively, it still felt like 31 days went by in a flash. But, we’ve got some recapping to do, so let’s get to it!

March 2018

Fitness- The 2018 CrossFit Games Open is OVER! We did it! After five long weeks of competing, personally redoing every workout once (and doing better each time), I ended up in 278th place in the South West Region out of 9,236 men. That places me in the top 96th percentile in the region, for those of you keeping track at home. Oh, none of you are keeping track? Ok, cool. Another fun stat, is that I finished as the 99th fittest male in Colorado! Top 100, baby! Check out my rankings, by year, since the Open started. I wish they’d show how many people were in each category for scale. This is fun.

OpenRankings2018

Last month I felt I had a lot of success with snatching. That’s weird because I don’t remember snatching much at all this month. The Open ruled my training mentality, and that’s fine because I knew that would happen going in. Now, it’s time to get back on track and set some goals!

My “First Ever” class this month was YET ANOTHER another Yoga class with Em. January was just a regular yoga class. February was partner yoga. This month, it was my first time doing yoga with approximately one million other people! I’ve always seen pictures of yoga mats laid out, side by side, as far as the eye can see. I didn’t understand how that could be soothing, or comfortable… and now that I’ve taken a class in that setting, I still don’t! There was a cool “Deep House Yoga” practice that took place inside a night club that I had been to many times… which is inside of what used to be an old church. Yes, weird on so many levels, I agree. But, I’m three months into 2018, and have done yoga three times. Go, me!

House- The garage is done! Check out this beauty. I’m actually really proud of this project. Now, to organize! We also bought a new tent for summer camping adventures (correct, there will likely never be any winter camping chosen by this household!) and set it up to “waterproof” it before our first big weekend trip in a few months! It’s awesome.

Tent.jpg

Other- My “baby” brother turned 18 years old in the middle of the month, and my dad randomly messaged me in a Saturday asking if I wanted to meet up with them the following weekend in Tuscon. We had a blast! I also got to try an old Stupid Human Trick during the few hours of down time I had with my bro. Here’s my pool jump!

What’s going on with all of you? I’d love to hear some of your accomplishments in March, or goals for April!

WE DID IT!!! We survived the 2018 CrossFit Games Open!!!

As someone who has done every single Open, no matter how much the workouts change, one aspect of the event remains consistent year after year. There are always first-timers, athlete’s doing it “just for fun,” those looking to compete against their friends, and individuals sincerely hoping to make it to the next level of competition. Regardless of which group you identify with, when coach yells out, “3, 2, 1, GO!” every single person in the gym gives each workout their all. It’s so much fun to watch, and even more fun to coach!

In a post last week, I talked about intelligent ways of planning out how to structure your next year of training. (If you haven’t already, I really think you should check it out!) A lot of athletes have put in countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears into preparing for a five week competition. Between sleepless nights, sore muscles, and redoing workouts, our bodies are tired! If your Open season is over, I’m here to encourage you to give yourself time to relax. It can be tempting to jump onto a new programming or add in a ton of accessory work, but your body needs a break!

Today, I think it’s important to take a step back and breathe.

I often talk about the impact proper nutrition and adequate sleep can have on your performance, your brain needs some time to recover, too! In every other sport, there’s a clear “Off-Season;” a block of time where athletes are almost forced to take a break. In CrossFit, we don’t really have that. Since “going to the gym” is such an integrated part of our lives, a lot of athletes refuse to acknowledge the fact that resting for a few days, or even weeks, might make you better! The whole “No Rest Days” philosophy is something I’ve written about in the past, and will certainly write about in the future, but not today.

Today, I want to ask you to pause, take a few minutes, and reflect.

Really think about what has happened over the last five weeks of your “fitness” life.

And only allow yourself to think in positive terms.

Reflection

 

What did YOU get out of the Open?

Did you finish any workout faster than expected? Were you able to complete a movement for the first time? Did you go “Rx’d” on your first Open WOD? I know several people who are simply happy with how positive they kept their mindset, and how well they kept their nerves under control. The happy things are easy to identify!

Now, it can be easy to look back and only think of the negative aspect of things. But not today! Were you frustrated about anything? Did you not hit the weight you were hoping to on your heavy clean attempt? Did the handstand push-up rule impact your results in workout 18.4? Were your double-unders a disaster for 18.3? Fine. Now, shift your mindset and let’s rephrase how we look at those scenarios.

  • Disappointed in weight for clean
    • “Over the next year, I will work on challenging myself to hit heavier weights when I’m tired.”
  • Handstand range of motion
    • “By devoting time to slowing down and ensuring I’m in complete control of my lockouts, it will make me much more effective at that movement.”
  • Inconsistent double-unders
    • “A few days per week after my workout, I’ll spend some time practicing my doubles. That way I’ll be used to jumping when I’m tired, and when Castro programs that workout again next year, I’ll be fine!”

Today, I want you to think about THREE THINGS you learned from the Open that are POSITIVE. They can be things you’re legitimately proud of, or areas for improvement that you’ve been lucky enough to identify for yourself!

Take a few minutes and really think about your three things. Then, share them in the comments of this post. Let’s help congratulate and encourage one another to celebrate these positive moments!

Only positive thoughts.

Here are my three:

  • This year, I reestablished a healthier personal relationship with CrossFit.
    • I’ve been doing CrossFit for almost a decade. In that time I have gone from working out in a Bally’s (globo gym) after work, to training nearly three hours per day to try and qualify for Regionals (never did, by the way!), to simply viewing CrossFit as a fun way of working out.
    • I workout by myself over 90% of that time, and while that can be really hard for me, I’m starting to appreciate those moments more. That’s where I get to recharge. It’s my hour to push myself. And it’s a block of time where I can make myself better through this crazy workout program. I’m back to liking CrossFit again.
  • I may have conquered one of my GOATS!
    • In CrossFit we call skills or movements that we aren’t good at, or just don’t like, our goats. Thrusters have always been a goat of mine. I’m not great at squatting OR pressing, so when you put them together, I’m double-excited to work out! With the final workout of this year’s Open, though, a workout presented itself that I had already done four times in the past! Instead of letting it ruin my week, I simply made a plan of how to break up reps, stuck to that plan, and survived! Yep… I did a movement I didn’t like, lived to tell the tale, and realized that maybe I’m not as bad at it as I used to be! Just imagine if I trained to get even better at it one day?! I probably won’t, ya know… because it’s thrusters… but just imagine if I did!
  • The Open has sparked a renewed interest in my blog!
    • I put my heart and soul into trying to provide valuable content for people who decide to visit my blog. My “Open Strategy” videos started way back in 2012, and although it’s a (self-imposed) stressful time of the year for me, it’s so rewarding to see messages from those who feel better prepared to attack those five workouts each year. My goal is to keep giving people a reason to come back here week after week! Whether it’s how to approach a workout, general fitness advice, something cool I’ve come across, or just some insight into this crazy brain of mine, I hope you like what you find here!

So…. what are your three? I’d love for you to share them with me!

Something pretty funny happened last week during a personal training session with one of my clients. They were in the middle of a workout, and like a lot of us do when we’re tired, they miscounted reps of one movement before moving onto the next. Conveniently, it was the movement they enjoy performing the least. “Whoa, nice try. Three more,” I said with a smile on my face. “No way, that was 10!” they replied back to me, obviously unimpressed with my challenge. “We’re in a gym with no one else around. I’m literally watching you work out and counting your reps for you. I’m pretty sure I know how to count to 10,” is the only thing I could think to say. Just waiting for the witty response I knew was coming next, they hit me with, “I guess you’re right. Do trainers even know how to count past 15? I feel like you’re all just glorified counters!” We both laughed, they finished the three reps, and we continued the session.

I’ve been a full-time personal trainer, athletic coach, health and fitness professional (or whatever you want to call what I do) for over half of a decade, and I have been doing some combination of all of those things part time for most of my life. Yet when I’m asked what I do for a living, I still don’t really know how to respond. When I say personal trainer the image of a person texting and sipping on a Big Gulp while standing next to their client who is “warming up” on a treadmill with a 20 minute jog for the first third of their hour-long session is the what pops into my brain, so I don’t love saying that. But, it IS what I am, right?

I remember sitting in my high school Psychology class with Mr. Will, and thinking to myself, “People are awesome!” Every single person we come in contact with in the world is a completely unique individual. With their own beliefs, past, goals, and quirks. And in my line of work, I get to come into contact with people from so many walks of life. I liked the subject so much that I ended up majoring and getting a Psych degree in college. It’s also one of the best parts of my job today! In one class there’ll be a high school sophomore tripping over their own legs as their body goes through some major changes, a stay-at-home dad coming to terms with not having a 9-5 because his wife is the primary bread winner and their kids love having him home, a retired couple that chose to improve their health and reconnect through fitness, and the CEO who has to block out an hour on their calendar in order to find time to work out.

While it may sometimes seem like being a personal trainer is just reading words on a white board and barking orders at paying customers, I’ve always viewed it as much more than that. It’s being given the privilege to help shape the moods and lives of the people I work with. Have a stressful day at work? Want to celebrate fitting into that dress for the first time in years? Need to let off some steam after a fight with a significant other? Earning the beers you’re going to have after work tomorrow? I’m tasked with navigating the “right now” of every person I train, every single time I see them, and understanding that tomorrow that person could be in a completely different head space. The best part is that I absolutely cherish the responsibility. So yeah, I’m “just a personal trainer,” but it’s so much more than that to me, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

JustATrainer1