Posts Tagged ‘Training’

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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Did the 2018 CrossFit Games get you fired up and ready to improve more by next year’s Open?

Do you have an intelligent plan in place to get there? You should.

You don’t need a personalized coach to help you create that plan, but if you do it yourself, I suggest at least running over your plan with someone else that you know and trust. Let me know if I can help you in any way.

Train safe, train smart, and have fun out there!

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!

When a workout is programmed (or created), there is almost always an intended stimulus in mind. This means that the coach writing it likely expects the work to be completed within a certain time frame. When athletes complete workouts, they’re not always aware of these goals, or given specific things to strive for in their efforts. Does this matter?

If you walked in the gym and saw the workout of the day was Helen (3rds of 400m run, 21 KB swings, and 12 pull-ups), what would you think? Would you look at the movements and decide whether or not you could them, and do them at the weight they’re prescribed? Would you think about your previous PR and whether or not you’d be able to beat it? Would you simply think about whether or not you like the movements in the workout?

Does the thought ever entire your mind about how long a workout “should” take an athlete? Maybe some days are more or less important than others to scale up (or down) in order to finish within a particular window of time?

Should coaches play an active role in explaining those types of things to athletes, or is our role simply to make sure no one gets hurt?

These are questions that are really important to me, and I’d love to hear what you think about this topic. Check out the video below, and then…. let’s chat!

The next week of Smashby’s Tip of the Week is live, and it’s the final of my four week handstand push-up progression!

Although the video is a bit long, I cover a lot of information.

The first three weeks focused on my process for teaching athletes how to safely get upside down and support their own body weight. This final week moves through progressions I use to continue to build confidence in athletes, along with timelines for when I think the next step should be t

Here’s a snapshot summarizing my 4-week series:

  • Learn and progress through the steps to safely learn Wall Climbs/Wall Walks
  • Learn and progress through the steps to safely learn a Headstand
  • Learn and progress through the steps to safely learn a Handstand
  • Build strength and control through the use of Negatives
  • Learn and progress through steps to safely apply Kipping to Handstand Push-Ups

What did you think of this series? Did you find it helpful? If not for yourself, do you think it’s a good way to teach other athletes?

Let me know in the comments, and let’s talk about this. If it’s good, I would love to share it with others. If it sucks, help me improve my content so it can help others.

Thanks in advance!

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.

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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!

I saw this really funny post on the UnitedLifters Instagram page yesterday, and it made me think a little bit.

WorkoutTiming

All my life I’ve claimed to *not* be a “Morning Person.” Yet, I chose swimming as my main sport through high school and college (filled with 5:30am practice times) and I have been a morning class coach at CrossFit gyms for the last 6+ years! I know, it doesn’t make sense to me, either. Before I coached CrossFit full-time, I had another job during the day, coached in the evenings after work, and then I’d often work out after the last class at night.

That means that in my 9+ years of CrossFit, I’ve worked out at five in the morning and at nine at night, based on my schedule at the time. I think it’s such an important experiment to conduct for yourself to see what times work best for you and your lifestyle. While it’s easy to say, “I’ll never set an alarm before 5am because only vampires and crazy people are awake at that hour,” I’ve seen people whose lives completely change when their workout is done for the day before the sun even comes up. As you might assume, anyone who is willing to get up that early is probably pretty determined! That also means the “family” of people who train at that hour really look out for one another. I must say, the Rooster Crew is an awesome group of people! And since you’re done for the day at school or at work, when you leave you can do whatever you want. You won’t need to worry about getting home after 6, 7, or 8pm and still needing to find time and motivation to cook and eat dinner, clean, and then relax. I dunno, that sounds pretty sweet to me!

That said, I’ve also seen other people who come in to the gym that early looking like they rolled straight out of bed and into their car, showed up to class still half-asleep, and left class still looking that way! While there are perks to being in and out early, it’s certainly not for everyone! One benefit of going to class in the evenings, is that they’re typically busier and bustling with energy. After a long day at work, people want to unwind, and the athletes here often form strong friendships of their own. “Work, Gym, Sleep, Repeat” becomes the routine for thousands of people in adulthood, and there are fewer places that can have fun, be social, and help you stay in shape than a good CrossFit box.

We can’t forget that other class; the Nooners! This group typically come from all walks of life! They’re stay-at-home parents, students with a late start for classes, folks who work from home, night shifters, firefighters or those in the medical field who work for multiple days straight and have multiple days off in a row, people on vacation. You can find anyone at a noon class!

I want to challenge you to attend a class at your gym that’s at a different time than your usual. If that thought just made you so uncomfortable to step outside of your comfort zone of the coaches you know and athletes you’re friends with, then we’re onto something! Isn’t it crazy to think you’ve probably never even seen a person that’s been doing CrossFit for the same amount of time as you, at the same gym, just because you go to different classes? Your new best friend or ideal training partner could be right under your nose and you’d never know! If nothing else, it would help make the community of your gym a little bit smaller with a few more people getting to know one another. If you do give it a shot, let me know how it goes.

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The CrossFit Games Open is such an incredibly fun time of year! It gives those of us who have been in the game for years a chance to see how far this sport has come. We sit around like alumni back at our old college bar reminiscing about the glory days. “Back when I started CrossFit, you were a beast if you could hit a 225lb snatch!” “Remember when an Open workout was seven minutes of burpees, and that was it?” “I used to be in the top 200 in the Region.” Gosh, those were the days.

Nowadays, some of us look at scores that are submitted during this competition and LITERALLY think, “Nope. That’s impossible!” I chuckle to myself trying to process some of the outlandish things we used to say would NEVER HAPPEN. Today, a 275lb. snatch for guys and a 335lb. clean and jerk rarely even causes an eyebrow to raise, and that is just beyond me. But that’s what this event allows us to see.

Click on a workout, filter by top score, and watch just how many people are capable of incredible feats of human strength. For workout 18.2A, there were over 330 men worldwide that cleaned over 350lbs, immediately AFTER a workout. I remember watching Jason Khalipa fail a 135lb snatch AT THE GAMES a few short years ago. That’s an awful lot of progress in not that much time.

With all of that there is something we all need to remember. All people are not created equal. All athletes don’t spend the same amount of time working out. No two humans have the same genetic makeup. There are always going to be athletes who are better at some things than others. All of that is normal. It is completely alright and expected. And we should never be upset if we’re not the best.

If someone beats you on a strength workout, it could just mean they’re stronger than you. It doesn’t mean that they’re a better person. If someone else score more reps on an endurance-based workout than you, they may just have a better engine. It doesn’t mean that “you wasted an entire year of your life training.” This CrossFit thing has become an UNHEALTHY obsession for thousands of people all over the world. Are there less healthy obsessions? You BET! But it kills me to see people beat themselves up over their ranking in a competition where you don’t even know WHAT you’re preparing for in the first place!

Look, with two weeks left in the 2018 Open, all I can ask of you is that you try your best. If you’ve been busting your butt for the last 12 months, be proud of that! Congratulate yourself for being that focused on trying to make yourself better. Most people do not have the determination to stick with something that hard for that long! If you have NOT been training hard for the last 12 months, then be aware that being a “competitive CrossFitter” is now a part- or a full-time job. And even then, there is ONE PERSON who wins.

It’s probably safe to say now that all of us are more likely to get drafted as a kicker for an NFL team than to win the CrossFit Games. Another fun side note is that the minimum salary for all rookies in the NFL is $465,000. EVERY ROOKIE  in the NFL will make at least that much. In a league with nearly 1,700 players. Now in CrossFit, in a worldwide competition with over 440,000 athletes registered, the OVERALL WINNER (both male AND female) make $275,000. The 20th place person makes $2,000. Two Thousand Dollars. They likely spent more than that to fly TO the Games and on lodging. If not, they very likely spent more than that on supplements and body treatment over the course of the year. The point there is that I doubt very many of us are trying to get better here to make a living doing CrossFit!

I say that to keep this thing in perspective. One of my friends recently said, “Ok, so you made it to Regionals. Congrats! What happened the next Monday? Did you still have to go to work? Yep. You did. Oh, you made it to the Games?! That’s awesome! Did you still go back into the office the next week? Yep, you sure did.” That’s not to knock the efforts, motivation, or inspiration people have to make themselves better. I love that. No, really, I LOVE THAT! And THAT is what I think your focus should be. Are you actually getting better? Are you able to live your life and be healthier and happier and stronger and faster? If yes, then you’re good. Be proud of that!

If you’re sore and hangry and miserable and lonely all the time because you “HAVE TO” train and limit your calories and go to bed early and work out again…. to hopefully be top 400 in your Region… is it worth it? That’s a question that you can only answer for yourself. I just hope that whatever your answer is, it won’t be one that you regret in two, or eight, or thirty years.

I have so much respect for athletes who commit their lives to constant improvement. I’m lucky enough to coach a LOT of them every day. But it breaks my heart when I see them absolutely devastated for not performing better at a random workout on a random day. My heart cries when they comment on their lack of self worth or say how poorly they feel they did, when after MONTHS of hard work, their efforts have improved their performance in so many areas! Imagine working really hard on something, getting SO MUCH BETTER at it, and still not feeling good about yourself? THAT is where this equation goes wrong in my brain.

Please know that your self worth is in no way assessed by your ranking in the worldwide Open. Your family and friends won’t love you any more because of how well you do. If your goal is to get better, then I’m all about it. But constantly remind yourself that all we’re doing is working out and trying to be healthier humans. I hope you can remember that most days.

Two more weeks to go, everyone. Keep your head up, and try to have some fun.

NotYourRanking

Unfortunately, I’m not close friends with any Professional Athletes. I say unfortunately because I think it would be sweet if one of my best friends was a Major League Baseball player who’d fly his crew all around the country to hang out and be obnoxious fans at his games. (Ok, I just wish I was in an entourage.) ANYWAYS, I bring that up because while most of us were never pro stars, a lot of us played sports throughout most of our childhood. Some of us were pretty good, too!

Now I’m not saying that it’s cool to act like Uncle Rico and be stuck back in your glory days, but I do think that a lot of us have some really fun stories to share about our athletic accomplishments growing up. In fact, it’d probably be fun to share some of those stories with your friends over a beer (or a Kill Cliff…..) to give a bit more insight as to what your past was like. In a sport like CrossFit, I’ve also found that experience in certain sports can sometimes shed light onto a person’s ability to be more successful at exercise racing. For example, wrestlers, swimmers, and hockey players have a strange ability to almost “black out” during a workout and push harder than a lot of other people. Football and rugby players often times have residual freak strength from when they back squatted over 500lbs and cleaned well over 300lbs, even though it may have been over 10-15 years ago. Soccer and baseball players are frequently still fairly explosive and handle body-weight movements really well. Runners… well runners still only run well. (Just kidding, runners! You’re good at other things, too.)

PreviousAthleticLife

I bring this up because as a coach I come in contact with people who join a CrossFit gym, and after a lifetime of being good at whatever sport they played, they’re humbled every single day. This usually leads to one of a few different paths for the athlete to take.

Some people are discouraged and don’t want to go back to the gym because they’re “embarrassed at how badly” they feel they did. They didn’t use a lot of weight, had to stop and rest a lot, felt like they were the worst athlete in the class, or woke up unbelievably sore. First of all, those people need to know that CrossFit is really hard. For everyone. Every day. That’s one of the first things I ever heard about the program. “It doesn’t ever get easier. You just get stronger or move faster.” Yet we all come back time and time again. The way to get better at this stuff is to keep showing up! Throw those athletic shoes in your bag and head back to the gym tomorrow. You’ve got this!

Others refuse to “accept” their current level of athletic ability and push too hard, too soon. Ok Frank, I understand you used to hit .400 and throw a 96 mile-per-hour fast-ball. News flash, sport… that was 25 years ago, you were 30 pounds lighter, and didn’t sit behind a desk for 10 hours every day. No matter how many times a coach tries to work with them, they always “have to go Rx,” even if it means finishing last in the workout every single day, or failing to meet full range of motion on barbell lifts. If this is you, take it easy. Go light on the barbell one day, reduce the number of reps to finish the workout a little faster, slow down your reps to make sure you’re doing them right. Your body, and your coach, will thank you.

Another group is overtly aware of their athletic past, yet realizes that while they may be more athletic than most, the brakes still need to be pumped a little bit to stay safe. Being able to lift something with bad technique and potentially getting hurt doesn’t outweigh the benefits of hitting a “CrossFit PR” for a given movement. They remember that in college they ran a 4:53 mile, but are plenty satisfied with the 6:04 they just ran last week. These individuals understand that most of use are working out to eat more of what we want, and to look better naked. Thanks for being smart!

Why would sharing your information about your athletic past (and history of injuries while you’re at it) benefit you in CrossFit? It’s not to brag about what you used to do or get upset that you’re no longer at the level you may have once been. It’s to equip your coaches with tools they can use to best help you. In a class of 20 people, I usually will have a different way of coaching each person. If one athlete has never played a sport in their life and the other is a former National Champion, the cues and encouragement given to each of them might be a little bit different. I certainly don’t think it’ll negatively impact your performance in the gym at all. So speak up, share your story, and be proud. Not even of where you’ve been, but of where you are right now. In the gym, trying to make yourself better. I know I’m proud of you!

BePatient3

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

We’ve all heard that saying, and for most things in life, I agree with it. When it comes to fitness, it’s almost always true! People who buy magazines, download ebooks, and perform google searches with titles like, “Shredded Abs in 4 weeks” and “Arms Like Arnold By Summer,” likely hate hearing that though. There’s a time and a place to be “Type A,” and situations that require patience usually aren’t at the top of that list!

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“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is…”

The human body (and mind) should be viewed as a canvas. One, that through years of proper care, maintenance, and training, can develop into an incredible and useful vessel to get us through a long and happy life. Can I help a client lose 20lbs in 20 days? Probably. But will that weight loss be sustainable, and will it be done through healthy means? Probably not. So come because you want that six pack in time for your vacation, but stay to work towards physical independence long into your 70’s and 80’s!

BePatient1

“Incremental Progress is STILL Progress”

A lot of the movements we do in CrossFit make up entire disciplines by themselves. For Running, Rowing, and Cycling, there are thousands of professionals around the world who devote their time to improve at just ONE of those skills. For professionals, a ONE SECOND Personal Record on a half-marathon can represent a huge success due to hundreds of hours of training! Olympic Weightlifters squat, snatch, clean, and jerk 5 to 7 days per week. During their competitive careers, it can sometimes take years to attain a one kilogram PR! Yogis work on balance and breath control constantly in hopes of improving their practice. It could take months of dedication to improve enough to finally get a single new pose. Climbers work on pull-ups and strengthening their grip in order to be more effective at getting up their mountain or wall. So then here we come, CrossFit athletes extraordinaire, and we want to get better at all of the things. All of the time. Forever. It’s simply not realistic.

Have you ever heard of an athlete going on a Strength or an Olympic Lifting Cycle? Maybe a phase during their training geared towards improving Aerobic Capacity? What about a Deloading Phase, where weights and volume stay fairly low to allow the body to rebuild and recover! There is a reason for these cycles. When an athlete is new at a sport, it can be easy to improve “all of the things” for a while since you’re just learning proper movement patterns. Once basic proficiency is gained, it will take more focus and specific training to continually make large improvements. As I said above, CrossFit can basically include ANY physical activity. Since there are only 24 hours in a day, and since most of us should also devote time to eating, sleeping, working, and anything other than CrossFit, it is literally impossible to improve everything forever. I’ve talked about it before, and will bring it up again, but there are people out there who need regular reminders!

Pick a few things to improve, devise a plan of attack, and most of all… Celebrate every victory!! If you’ve been working on Handstand Walking and take two extra steps, that’s an improvement. Are your knees caving in less when you squat because you’ve been thinking about it, well then great job! And do you want to put 50lbs onto your Deadlift 1RM? That’s a great goal to have, just make sure you’re happy when you “only” PR by 5lbs along the way.

BePatient4

It really is a marathon. By taking care of your body, training smart, and giving yourself a pat on the back when you deserve it all along the way, you’re likely to be able to keep playing for a long time.