Integrity In Training || Coach Gen

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On Tuesday, Coach Wes posted a meme that was the perfect intro to today’s article. He had no idea what I planned to write about, but the fact that there is a meme about it says it’s a common occurrence.

In the midst of all the New Year’s resolutions and the hype of The Open coming up there tends to be an added pressure to ‘perform’ in the gym. People’s focus turns to the numbers on the board and the actual work being done becomes secondary. This leads to mediocre training just to get that score and very little actual progress. I challenge you to find a way that that is going to serve you in the future.

In my opinion, as a coach and an athlete, training is very rarely about the score. It’s much more about the quality of movement and the development of the skills so that I can progress. That’s not to say I don’t push my people or myself, only that if it’s a shitty rep, we’re not counting it. Yes, there are those who straight up shave reps (see below video), but in my opinion, it’s just as bad to count reps that you know aren’t up to par when you are trying to. Here’s why:

Let’s say I’m working on my toes to bar. I can get close, every once in awhile my toes get all the way up there, but for the most part I just do the work and say “eh, that’s close enough” with a good 8 inches between my toes and the bar. How am I EVER going to get better at the skill if I settle for mediocre? What do you think would happen if instead, during every single WOD with toes to bar, I held myself accountable and only counted the reps where my toes truly touched the bar? I’d probably progress more quickly because I’d get pretty damn tired of doing all those extra reps that didn’t count.

Another option I have here, is to take a step back in the progression. Maybe I never actually get my toes close to the bar, but I can get my knees to my elbows almost every time. What’s the better option here? Do shitty toes to bar reps or do proper knees to elbows reps? At least in the second option I’m practicing proper form and I’m going to develop the skill and my strength. Once I’m efficient in that progression, I can move back up and continue my progress. Poor practice makes for poor performance.  Proper practices makes for improvement.

Now let’s look at those rep shavers. ‘Karen’ is on the board (150 wall balls for time).. I’m scanning the scores from the earlier classes and I see that ‘John’ did it in 5:15. Well… I’m going to do it in 5:00! 3-2-1 go… rep after rep (let’s say for the sake of this scenario that all my reps are legitimately good).. I’m getting tired and no one else is counting my reps, but me….. Rep, rep, rep… oh jeez the clock says 4:45 and I’m only at 119… eh screw it, I have to beat John so I just call it at the 5:00 minute mark even though I only completed about 130 reps. No one will know. I report my score, Coach gives me a high five, and no one is the wiser.

A few weeks down the road, ‘Karen’  comes up again and we do it with a partner who helps keep count. Where am I now? I shaved 20 reps last time to get that score and I’ve done nothing between then and now to improve my ability in this WOD. I’m in trouble because there is no way I can repeat that score with a proper rep count… busted.

Guys, regardless of what your scenario is, it all boils down to integrity and diligence in your training. If you truly want to improve and succeed you have to hold yourself accountable. We as coaches do our best to give corrections and cues throughout, but I can’t stand next to you and count every rep or watch to make sure your toes hit that bar every time. There is always room for improvement and I am the first to admit that sometimes fatigue, injury, or whatever else affects the movement. If that’s the case, do your best at the proper progression, but don’t come report RX when 90% of the time your toes were 8 inches from the bar.

If you need help with a progression, ASK US. We are here to guide your progress so if there is something you’re struggling with or you don’t know the proper way to progress, get with your coach and we’ll figure it out, but don’t settle for mediocre movement for the sake of the score.

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Be excellent.
-Coach Gen

Why you’re still falling short of your goals in 2017

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Today marks our final sunny day of January, and hopefully all of you are in hot pursuit of more fitness “wins” in 2017. Now that said I’m sure many of you like myself left a few things on the table in 2016.  The inconvenient truth is we all set out to accomplish something last year only to fall short (or maybe not even start at all).  

Most times this is less a product of effort and more a product having a flawed approach.  Often times people think that to improve at a specific movement they just need to keep practicing whatever movement it is they want to get better at. While the reality is there’s much more below the surface that needs to be corrected for that movement to progress. Confused? take the conversation below:

Athlete: “I want to add 20 lb. to my clean this year. My best right now is 200 lb.”
Coach: “What’s your 1 rep max front squat?”
Athlete: “I think around 210 lb. Why does my front squat matter?” It’s my clean I want to get better at.”

Clearly this person doesn’t see the same opportunity their coach does to improve the clean via squat strength improvement. That’s not an indictment of the athlete. It’s a simplistic example of the gap in experience and knowledge between a coach whose job it is to know this stuff inside and out, and an athlete who may be excited about what’s in front of them but hasn’t dug deeper to understand their own limiting factors.

Another example:

The athlete who can’t perform on overhead squat but wants to improve his snatch and thinks the answer is to spend an extra 20 minutes after class each day hammering away at snatches.

The better approach is to work with his coach who can provide him homework—probably a bunch of tedious seemingly unrelated drills, stretches, and fundamental movements that make him wonder how this will translate to the snatch—to help him gain stability overhead, and mobility in the hip, ankles, and upper back.  A far better approach than just hitting snatches four days a week hoping something will eventually click.

And since we’re on the cusp of the Open:

Athlete: “I want to get a muscle-up this year.”
Coach: “How many strict chest-to-bar pull-ups and ring dips can you do?”
Athlete: “1 or 2 ring dips and I don’t think I can do a strict chest-to-bar pull-up.”
Coach: “Well let’s start by improving your strict pulling and pushing strength before we get thinking about a muscle-up.”
Athlete: Makes a sad face.

The point is simply to say that getting better at cleans or snatches or muscle-ups or toes-to-bar involves way more than just logging time flailing around on the rings or a bar. It involves diagnosing what’s preventing you from improving—is it strength, is it positioning, or is it just a small technical correction?— then removing the limiting factors and building the necessary movement qualities to help you achieve that ultimate goal.

You can spend years using trial and error or spends hours a week researching on the internet trying to self diagnose why you still can’t do certain things. Or you can work with a great coach and start knocking those goats off your list systematically, and successfully. Let’s do it different in 2017. Get a coach, get a plan, and start winning.

 

Play with Patience || Coach Tim Garland

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Patience is a virtue. Ever hear that? You undoubtedly have, but how does this apply to exercise?  If I wait around to move, I won’t get stronger, leaner, insert any other goal-oriented adjective you’d like….

The patience I’m referring to could be viewed from two different, yet very similar situations. Let’s take a ride with John and Jane through their respective situations.

John is brand new to the world of exercise. He played football in middle school and has been pounding away at the keyboard with a steady diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew ever since. He wants to get moving and is on fire right now for his New Year’s goals. He has done his research on local gyms and decides that going the 1-on-1 private training route is the best place for him to safely learn and begin.

He goes through 15 private sessions and decides he’s ready to move into group classes. John and his coach talk about being smart, and not getting in a rush when he transitions to the faster paced group classes. He takes several months, progressing at a slow, steady pace. He decides after a few months that there are a few movements that he is ready to tackle, and schedules another private session with his coach. The coach assesses, and decides that John is not ready for the next level movement just yet, but assigns certain drills to aid John in his progress toward his goals. John is diligent with his homework and patient with his progress. This patience pays off, and he’s rewarded with successful completion of his first set of kipping pull-ups!

Jane is the exact opposite of John. She is an ex-collegiate athlete, with weightlifting and gymnastic experience. She is a STUD! Jane has done CrossFit for nearly 2 years, when work transfers her to a different state. Jane is a social butterfly and quickly gets involved in the Social Sports group scene in her new city…and blows out her knee in the first month. After surgery, rehab with her Physical Therapist, and a few sessions with a trainer bridging the gap between the therapy room and weight room…Jane is itching to get back to her old self. She goes light and moves smart in her first week back. Jane is feeling GOOD. The following week she decides that she is ready to attempt close to the same weights she was moving prior to surgery as well as moving at the same pace/speed. Wrong! Crack,snap, pop. She’s back on the floor because she rushed her recovery which sets her back another 6-8 months. In the meantime, ‘ole John is cruising at his pace, and surpasses all of his goals for the year!

All that to say, no matter where you begin…you have to listen to your body and respect the weights/movements that you are attempting. You can’t rush progress. It is a compilation of correctly-focused work and drills. The CrossFit Open is right around the corner. Keep Jane in mind, and be like John. Constant quality begets longevity!

Play smart,
Coach Tim

Your First Day at CrossFit Austin

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Do you have a friend or family member who wants to join but is too scared?

 

If I had a penny for the number of times a client has gotten my hopes up by saying, “I have a friend who wants to join,” (yet that friend, or sister or husband never ends up showing up) I would be a rich coach.

 

I talk to people outside of the gym world all the time. Some of the most common reason folks don’t start improving they’re fitness is because they’re “intimidated” or aren’t “in good enough shape.

 

I have also learned in 9 years of coaching that the hardest part for many people about joining a gym is just walking through those doors on their very first day. The fear and apprehension of the unknown can be crippling.

 

So I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m about to reveal exactly what the process will look like from the moment you contact our website and the end of your Day 1 one-on-one introductory session with a coach. Here goes:

 

After you contact our website, or call us, we’ll get back to you within 24 hours and you will be paired up with a coach. You’ll likely have a back-and-forth e-mail with this coach, or better yet, a phone call. You’ll compare your schedules and will settle on a day and time for your intro day.

 

Then, you will walk, drive, bus to the gym and damnit, you will walk through the doors.

 

You will be greeted by your coach. At some point you’ll probably sign a waiver, but more than anything you will talk. That’s it—talk!

 

You won’t be weighed and measured (unless you want to be), and you won’t be thrown into the fire of a group class workout with experienced athletes.

 

What will you talk about?

 

To a large degree, this will be up to you. But the end goal is simple: To see if you’re a right fit to train with us.

 

To do this, we will ask you about your wants and needs, and what brought you into the gym. The only thing we ask for is honesty on your part. If we’re going to help you, it will help if you let your guard down and be a bit vulnerable (that might be the scariest part of the whole day for you).

 

Why are you really here today? What do you really want to get out of this? (We dont want the PC answer; we want the REAL answer).

 

The reason we do our intro days in a one-on-one setting with one coach and one client is to allow the two of you to get to know each other and truly discover if you will work well together. Discovering this in a group setting with 8 to 10 new athletes all sweating together chaotically is next to impossible—and is what sets us apart from many other gyms in the area.

 

If at the end of your conversation—be it a 20-minute, 45-minute or hour-long chat (some people are chattier than others)—if you want (and if time permits), you will be put through a short fitness assessment—just some basic pushing, pulling and squatting. Or if you prefer, the fitness assessment can be done during your second session.

 

The assessment will give your coach a chance to see where you’re at physically, and will help him/her decide approximately how many personal training sessions you will need before you’ll be able to graduate to group classes (This decision will be made together based on your wants and needs).

 

Then if you’re game, you’ll book session number two and then the real fun begins…

 

That’s it. That’s as scary as walking through the doors is going to be.

 

If you have a friend or family member who has been considering joining, but is terrified to take the leap, dont hesitate to forward this to them if you think it might give them the nudge they need to get fit.

Prep To Move: Deadlift

Hey all! Last week we talked about the movement of the deadlift and a few focal points to maintain a great position.  Here, we will touch on a few things you can do to to get yourself aligned and primed before beginning the lift. We can think about this preparation in 3 phases;

1)Soft tissue work

2)stretch

3)activate and tie together

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We can begin our prep with some soft tissue work, targeting several key areas. We can spend a minute or
two per hip on the foam roller, as well as the hamstrings. If you’re like me, it may be somewhat difficult to set yourself up and find an effective position for those hammies on the foam roller. An alternative that I like to use, requires you to place the bar on the J-hooks with the hooks set around the upper ⅓ of your thigh. Looping one leg over the bar, place the belly of the muscle on the bar. You can manipulate how much pressure you need, simply by bending your grounded leg and/or bending your arms. Settling over the bar, you can gently extend/flex the leg or “tac and floss” by rolling the leg side to side.  Again, we don’t really need to spend long bouts of time here, :60-:90 should suffice. However, it can prove helpful to come back to these soft tissue drills in between sets as we warm up and build our bar.  

2)Quick Stretchscreen-shot-2016-12-12-at-6-42-14-pm

Since the deadlift requires us to hinge from the hip, unlocking the hips and ensuring that the femur can move properly within the hip capsule is a must. One stretch that allows us to do this is the pigeon stretch, or a variation thereof. We perform this stretch by placing one leg in front of us at roughly 90 degrees, placing weight into the “grounded” hip.  Variations of this stretch can be done off of a box or using a band to help assist in un-impinge the hip.

3)Activate

Waking up the core is also a crucial component of movement prep for the deadlift. Completing 1-3 short rounds of this circuit is one way to achieve this;

5 Iron Cross/side

5 scorpions/side

15 hollow rocks or :15-:20 hollow hold

There are multiple approaches for preparing for this lift. If you have been missing movement prep as part of your practice or have been in a rut with your current practice, give these a try!

-Coach Tim

Fall Programming Update

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As we finish up Test Week I have a quick update on what you can expect from our programming this cycle. We’re testing out some new concepts this cycle so the weekly format may look slightly different than in the past.  

 

Some cool new things you can expect:


“Scaling Guides”
Most days will include a more in-depth scaling guide. This will give you the athlete, as well as your coach, a more detailed approach for the day’s workout. It will also help folks accomplish the “spirit of the workout” as opposed to the “letter of the workout” (I’ll explain more about this in a later article). Lastly we’re expanding our listed scaling options to help standardize the workouts a bit more.

 

“Weekly Format”

The biggest change here is we may not always have a dedicated strength day on Wednesdays.  In an effort to offer a more complete programming package to those of you that can only train 2-3x a week some Wednesday’s will include a conditioning element. Not to worry, we will still always include a strength element on Wednesdays and we will still have certain Wednesdays in the cycle that will focus solely on strength and strength practice.

 

“Cash Outs”  

Some days will include optional cash outs.  These are designed for folks to grab a little bit extra conditioning, and auxiliary work. If you feel like you scaled to much or paced a workout to slow this is an opportunity to do a bit more work at the end of class. A word of warning this is not extra volume just for the sake of extra volume, and don’t “leave some in the tank” just so you can do the cash out.

 

I want to thank our friend Jeremy Jones at Thrivestry for the help on the new programming stuff.  If you’ve been here for a long enough you know that I don’t stay static on what we do in the gym. We’re always pushing and experimenting to try and make things better. Our hope and expectation is that this will result in an even fitter and healthier community.

How to win at the Open and Everyday in the Gym || Coach Wes Kimball

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We are now officially in CrossFit Open season. Whether you care about the CrossFit as a sport or not, your life (at the very least your Facebook feed) is now a buzz with the ups, downs, trials, and tribulations of thousands of people competing against one another in an online exercise competition. I personally like the Open because it amplifies all the things good and bad we experience as a community dedicated to self improvement. So today’s article isn’t really about the Open, it’s about how we operate on a day to day basis with each other and how we can make those experiences continue to be fulfilling.

 

It’s ok to be competitive
For better or worse, CrossFit is based on competition. You compete against yourself, and you compete against those around you everyday. If you have a goal you’re trying to achieve, you are competing against that asshole in your head that says you’re not good enough and you can’t do it.  It’s healthy to want to beat the negative voice inside your head, it’s good to aspire to be like the athlete in class that’s been training consistently for the last five years, and it’s good to see your name move up or down on the leaderboard each week. Competition is the nudge out of the comfort zone that most of us need to seek fulfillment in what we do in life.  


Don’t be overly competitive

However, there is an ugly side to competition. The side that rears its head when competing and becomes all consuming. When it’s your only motivation, the only thing you put value in, then it becomes a problem. The only purpose you have at the gym or in life, and in this example, your only reason for doing the Open. This is a problem because ultimately the joy of accomplishment is fleeting, the moment will pass. Stress, anxiety, and general unhappiness will engulf you if you only seek fulfillment from your accomplishments.

 

Focus on you, and enjoy the process  

We all fail, and we all struggle. The goal is to not fail permanently, to take pride in who we are win or lose. To enjoy what you do, and do it to serve a bigger purpose and bring value to yourself and those around you. Love the process, help those around you, and bring good energy to the space you you occupy.  The pursuit of self improvement gives us pride, confidence, and a purpose that can’t be quantified by a leaderboard or a trophy. So give yourself the opportunity to enjoy what really matters.
-Coach Wes

Black Friday at CrossFit Austin!

CrossFit Austin has some amazing deals for Black Friday! All deals are in limited supply so get them while they last! These deals will begin on Wednesday {11/25} and run through Cyber Monday {11/30}

CrossFit Austin’s Prep Course:
$100 Group Prep {limited to 12 deals} Regularly priced – $200 {purchase online with code: PREPSGIVING2015} *The Prep begins Mon. Nov. 30!
$200 Private Prep {limited to 2 deals} Regularly priced – $250 {purchase online with code: PRIVATEPREPSGIVING2015}
[choose “personal training” from the drop down menu, then Private Prep]

CrossFit Austin Memberships:

12-Month Unlimited Group Class Membership – Paid In Full
$1500 for 12-months of Unlimited Group Classes
($2028 Full Price – Save $528)

6-Month Unlimited Group Class Membership – Paid In Full
$1200 for 6-months of Unlimited Group Classes
($900 Full Price – Save $300)

Limited to 3 offerings of each – When they’re gone, they’re gone!

Current Members: 12 Months of Unlimited Classes begins on the first day of your next month’s current contract ‘start’ date

New Members: 12 Months of Unlimited Classes begins on the day of your purchase

No Refunds Available // Prices Do Not Include Tax

Contact us to purchase!

 

**Don’t forget our New Member November deals running through November 30th!

 

CrossFit Austin || Night of Champions!

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Are you a champion? Show us your stuff!
On Friday November 20th we’re going to be holding an in house event we’re calling “Night of Champions”.
This “battle for the championship” will consist of two separate “Ladders” in the Push Press and Clean (power or squat).

This is just a fun way to get the community together and lift some heavy weights!
All of the proceed will go to a gym “Christmas present” i.e. new piece of equipment we’ll let everyone vote on after the event is complete.

$20 Entry Fee – All of the proceed will go to a gym “Christmas present”
i.e. new piece of equipment we’ll let everyone vote on after the event is complete.

Come show us how much of a champ you are!

REGISTER HERE 

PS – This is more than just a little competition. It’s another excuse to hang out as a community! BYOB and let’s make a night of it!

 

“Clean Ladder”

The Clean will be from the ground, and can be performed as a  muscle clean, power clean, or squat clean.  

8 Bar Ladder

Rx
205, 135
225, 145
245, 165
265, 185
285, 195
300, 205
315, 215
330, 225

Scaled
95, 65
135, 75
165, 85
185, 95
205, 105
215, 115
225, 125
245, 135

*This is a “ladder” style workout each person will have 1:00 minute at each station men and women will lift at the same time. If the athlete(s) cannot complete the weight on the bar in minute they exit the ladder. If the athlete clears the ladder they can try to complete as many clean as possible on the last bar.

Women’s Rx weights (pounds): 135, 145, 165, 185, 195, 205, 215, 225
Women’s Scaled weight (pounds): 65, 75, 85, 95, 105, 115, 125, 135

Men’s Rx weights (pounds): 205, 225, 245, 265, 285, 300, 315, 330
Men’s Scaled  weights (pounds): 95, 135, 165, 185, 205, 215, 225, 245

 

“Push Press Ladder”

The Push Press will be performed from the rack. The bar must move from the shoulder to overhead in one continuous motion. The knee and hips cannot rebend to get back under the bar.

8 Bar Ladder

Rx
135, 115
165, 125
185, 135
205, 155
225, 165
245, 180
265, 190
285, 200

Scaled
95, 55
115, 65
135, 75
155, 85
165, 95
185, 105
195, 115
205, 125

*This is a “ladder” style workout each person will have 1:00 minute at each station men and women will lift at the same time. If the athlete(s) cannot complete the weight on the bar in minute they exit the ladder. If the athlete clears the ladder they can try to complete as many push presses as possible on the last bar.

Women’s Rx weights (pounds): 115, 125, 135, 155, 165, 180, 190, 200
Women’s Scaled weight (pounds): 55, 65, 75, 85, 95, 105, 115, 125

Men’s Rx weights (pounds): 135, 165, 185, 205, 225, 245, 265, 285
Men’s Scaled  weights (pounds): 95, 115, 135, 155, 165, 185, 195, 205

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