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Embrace the Process

It’s officially February and if you walk into any other non CrossFit gym you will probably notice something.  All of the crowds are gone.  That’s because by February 1st almost 70% of people already give up on their new years resolutions.

We see the same kind of thing from beginners in fitness.  At first personal records, improvements and change happen at a rapid fire rate.  It’s easy to be motivated during that first high.  However once the process slows down the motivation seems to lag.  People that are motivated purely by constant results will fall off the wagon.  They will leave the program they are at to “go find something else”.   They constantly jump ship and never stick with anything.

What I would rather see is for you to find something that you enjoy.  Not results you enjoy, but rather enjoyment in the process of fitness.  Enjoy the actual exercises, the sweat, the breathing, the environment.  Find something that you will continue to come back to regardless of the results because you just love doing it.  When you do this you will begin to realize some of the non physical benefits of exercise.  Things like stress relief and improving your mood, finding new friends, etc.

Most people who can’t stick with a program were there strictly for results.  They may have even hated every minute of the program but stayed because they wanted to get those results no matter what.  Eventually, those rapid fire results slow down and they leave.  In order to find a long term solution, you need to find something you love to do.  Those of us who have been in the CrossFit world for nearly 10 years now love the process, not the results.  It’s rare for me personally to hit a personal record these days but I still work hard in the gym because I enjoy it.  I have embraced the plateau where I am at and enjoy all of the things I get from exercise that aren’t directly related to traditional results.

CrossFit for Tomorrow, Not for Today

One of the Core Values of many CrossFit gyms (including us here at True) is to “CrossFit for Tomorrow, Not for Today”.

What does this mean?

Well to us it means that our goal is to ensure that our clients are constantly improving, getting better and moving up that continuum from sickness to fitness and wellness.

The goal is not to get everything right now at all costs. The goal is to make small improvements, safely each and every day, so that in the future you are making large strides as those small improvements add up. The goal should be to build a strong foundation.  A solid base that you can move on from, then progress up that pyramid.

We can look at something as simple as a back squat to illustrate this. If your goal is to get the maximum weight on the bar today you can do that.  You can probably set a personal record and move some serious weight.  But what if your knees are caving in? Or you are up on your toes?  What if your back is rounded?  What if you are nowhere near full depth? You might feel alright today but your knee might be pretty jacked up come tomorrow.  Or worse you could seriously injure yourself in that squat today and be out for weeks if not months.

What we would rather see is a perfected air squat before we begin adding weight to the movement. We can fix depth problems with mobility work and probably have you begin by sitting to a ball or box. Knee tracking issues can be fixed with band work or some tactile cueing from your coach.

Don’t think that by working on the “basics” you will not be getting a good workout. We can make the movement very difficult even at this level.  We can get those legs burning just by holding the perfect squat position for a few minutes.

Doing things correctly always, every single time, will make sure you develop the skills, strength and body awareness that is needed to continually progress forward. If you try to move on too quickly you will find you hit a plateau sooner than you would have.  Or worse you could get injured.

Make sure you keep this in mind while you are working out. Always leave just a little bit in the tank for tomorrow and make sure that everything you do is correct.  Always strive for perfect technique and be patient.

Remember…this is your life…play the long game.  Your goals should be to move beautifully not just maximally.

 

Where it all began for me

When I was first starting CrossFit back in 2008 it was no where near as popular as it is now.  In fact it was rare that CrossFitters actually worked out at an affiliate.  Most of us back then worked out on our own.  In parks, at regular gym, wherever we could because there were only a handful of affiliates in existence.  When I was starting out I was completely self taught.  I spent hours on CrossFit.com watching the videos and reading the forums (a forum is a place people talked online before Facebook, I know crazy right?).  One of the early videos I found that hooked me on CrossFit was the “Nasty Girls” video.  The Nasty Girls workout first appeared on CrossFit.com back in 2005.  You can see the post here and even read some of the comments if you want.

The workout was…..

3 Rounds for time of:
50 Air Squats
7 Muscle Ups
10 Hang Power Cleans [135/95]

The reason the video got my attention was because of the intensity in which they are moving.  Right off the bat you see the girls just absolutely crushing some air squats. Following the air squats they move onto the rings and begin doing STRICT muscle ups.  At the time I had no idea you could even exercise with rings and I had never seen a Muscle Up before.  I immediately wanted to get a pair of rings and do them, little did I know how hard they were and that it would take me over 2 years to actually get a muscle up and several more years before I could do my first one strict.

The original video is below if you want to check it out and see what CrossFit was like back then.  They are in the original CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz California.  That is where Coach Greg Glassman started it all.

You were made for more

While I was running the other day I was listening to a podcast, as I usually do, and it was about swimming.  It was relevant to me because I want to do a few triathlons this summer.

The host said he was not able to swim a single lap in the pool a few years ago.  He was 33 and couldn’t swim.  A friend challenged him to learn so over a year he trained and by the end was able to swim a mile in the ocean without stopping. The guest said something that I felt was appropriate while I was out there alone.  He said that only 2% of American adults can swim a mile in a pool without stopping and even less can do it in the open water.  The fact that the host could do that put him in “rarefied air”.  However it wasn’t that most Americans can’t learn to swim that far.  They just think they can’t so they don’t.  Or they tell themselves that they “have no desire to do that” as a way to cover up their inability to do it at the moment.

We need to be more like little children who see the world in a much different way than us adults.  They want to do everything.  They want to try everything.  They have this natural curiosity that pushes them to learn new skills and do new things.  That is part of the reason they develop so quickly.  While we are sitting on the couch they are exploring, moving, learning.  There is no reason this has so stop now that you are grown.

Life is this great big adventure.  We should all be pushing our boundaries to see what we are capable of.  Why can’t you swim a mile?  Why can’t you climb a mountain?  Why can’t you go running in the cold?  The answer is you can. You just need to believe you can and you need to work towards it.

Get out there and find out what your made of.

December Committed Club

Here it is! The final committed Club of 2017!

 

What do I have to do to get into the Committed Club?

It’s easy! Just attend classes 12 times during the month or an average of 3 days/week and you’re in. 3 days/week is that sweet spot where you can really make some serious progress and not get burnt out. As you continue to develop as an athlete you will be able to handle more days and really accelerate your progress.

 

December 2017 Committed Club

Marc 26 Classes
Jessi Cat 24 Classes
Sue Cat 22 Classes
Dave V. 17 Classes
Kristin Cat 17 Classes
Dana Cat 17 Classes
Nic Cat 13 Classes
Joe A. 13 Classes
MG 13 Classes
Elaine 12 Classes
Kelly 12 Classes
Rob Cat 12 Classes

Congratulations everyone who has made the choice to prioritize their health and fitness. If you want to be a good parent, spouse or friend you have to be healthy. If you choose to let your health suffer in order to take care of others you may not be around when they need you the most. Just like on a plane put the mask on yourself first before putting it on others.

Runners Up with 11 classes.
Keep pushing and you all will be there next month!

Ben R.
Roz

Do things others won’t

“Today I will do what others won’t so that tomorrow I can do what others can’t.”

This is one of my favorite quotes ever.  To me it describes the natural human drive that pushes us to be the best that we can be.

This quote came to me yesterday while I was out for a run.  I have a few events coming up in the spring and summer where I need to run so I try to run or hike at least once a week right now.  The only problem with yesterday was that it was 20 degrees out.

It was absolutely frigid.

My original plan was to sit in my basement and ride the bike for an hour instead of running because it was just too cold.  Then I decided “you know what?” There is no reason I can’t run outside.  People live and work in these temperatures all over the world.  Hell I spent 2 yeas of my life in Alaska.  20 degrees is nothing compared to that.  So I bundled up, put on my hat, gloves and face mask, and headed outside.  I didn’t care how far I got, I just wanted to be outside and enjoy the beautiful world we have.

Once I started running I realized how much fresher the air feels when it’s cold.  It feels so pure when compared to the hot sticky air of the summer humidity.  As I eased into my run I began to watch people as they drove towards and then past me.  They were all bundled up in their cars and most were staring at me like I was crazy.

It made me smile.

I smiled because I realized I was pushing myself to be better.  I was challenging my boundaries and seeing what I was capable of.To most of these people they had no concept of this. They probably couldn’t fathom why someone would be outside running when there was an easier way.  Thinking of this motivated me.  I thought to myself “screw easy!” I’m gonna crush this run.  I’m going to work hard and push the pace because I can.  Because you, sitting there in your car, won’t.

So…What did I learn on my run?

I learned that next week when I go out for my run I am going to run farther.  I got back home and I actually felt pretty good.  I had more in me. I am going to push my boundaries and see what I can do.  Then once I find the limit I will push even harder.

Grease the Groove

Grease the Groove was an old concept for improving skills and strength back when I first started CrossFit back in 2008.  I haven’t heard much about it lately but the concept is still a solid one.  It follows the same principle as the 10k Jump Rope challenge we have going on right now of practicing regularly and often.

A classic example of a Grease the Groove routine is one to improve your pull ups.  Set a goal of doing a few pull ups every so often throughout the day.  If you have a pull up bar you can mount in your home place it somewhere you pass by frequently.  Like the door into the bathroom.  Every time you pass it do a few pull ups.  Eventually it just becomes a habit and something that you do.

Increasing your exposure to the movements on a regular basis allows you to not only develop skills and gain strength but also increase your confidence.

Movements that work good for the Grease the Groove concept in your home are:

Pull Ups, all grips and varieties
Squats, Lunges, Pistols
Sit Ups, planks and other abdominal work
Push Ups, Dips, Burpees

Pick a place and every time you go there or past there do a few reps.  If it is somewhere you frequent often choose a lower rep scheme like 1-3 and if you only go there a few times in the day you could do higher reps like 3-5.  The goal is not to exhaust yourself and “make it a workout” but rather ingrain the movement into your body.  Make it something that is normal and easy for you to do.

Going to the bathroom?  Do 5 squats in there.

Getting some laundry out of the dryer?  Hit 5 push ups real quick.

This is a great way to stay fit throughout the day and can even help keep you motivated during the holidays.

The Notebook

Anger, joy, frustration, excitement, all of these emotions and more happen in the notebook. No I’m not talking about the Nicholas Sparks book/movie but I am talking about a relationship.  The relationship with your notebook, or iphone or whatever you use to keep track of your progress in the gym.  Here at CrossFit True we preach about the importance of having a notebook or some other device that allows you to track and measure your progress but we don’t really ever talk about the relationship we have with that little book.

We want you to write down the workout that you do and your results, i.e. weight used, time on metcons, etc.  In addition to those hard concrete facts we also like to have you keep notes on things like how you felt during the session, how quickly you recovered after, etc.  Examples of this could be:

“Squats felt great today.  65# was the perfect weight, next time try 70#”

“Was dying after this one, took me about 10 minutes before I could remember my name.”

“Felt amazing! Finished and got my breath back super quick.  Can’t wait for tomorrow!”

However it’s important to keep the things in that book in perspective and not let them rule your life. We see this alot with strength progressions.  As we progress in a strength cycle a typical goal is to increase the weight that you are using for any given exercise.  So like a good athlete you record your weights in your notebook and go back to it before each session to see where you should be for the upcoming workout.  The problem comes when for some reason you just cannot progress that day.

Just because you wrote down that you want to do 70# next time in the squat doesn’t mean you HAVE to do that weight or that you should.  Just because you did 3 sets of 5 at 50# and today is 4 sets of 4 you don’t have to bump it up.  Each training day is unique.  Things such as sleep , hydration level and what you ate over the past 48 hours will all affect your performance in the gym today.  Use the notebook as a guide and reference, not the end all be all.  See how you feel today and use that to determine what you need to do in order to get the most effective training session that you can.

The goal is to progress forward over time, over the days, weeks, months, years.  This is the timeline we are looking at for health and fitness.  Don’t get caught up in the mindset of “I’m getting worse” or “I’m not any better”.  Just because you didn’t progress on a certain day doesn’t mean all progress has stalled.  You need to look at your results and your notebook in general over the long haul.  Take a macro look over 6 months to a year, not a micro look of a day or a week or even a month.

November Committed Club

What do I have to do to get into the Committed Club?

It’s easy! Just attend classes 12 times during the month or an average of 3 days/week and you’re in. 3 days/week is that sweet spot where you can really make some serious progress and not get burnt out. As you continue to develop as an athlete you will be able to handle more days and really accelerate your progress.

November 2017 Committed Club

Jess T. 24 Classes
Marc 20 Classes
Dave 20 Classes
Nick S. 19 Classes
Sue 18 Classes
Elaine 17 Classes
Kristin 17 Classes
Meg F. 15 Classes
Kelly B. 14 Classes
Hil 14 Classes
Ben K. 14 Classes
Gina 13 Classes
Dana 13 Classes
Lou 13 Classes
Landis 13 Classes
Wil 12 Classes
Rob 12 Classes

Congratulations everyone who has made the choice to prioritize their health and fitness. If you want to be a good parent, spouse or friend you have to be healthy. If you choose to let your health suffer in order to take care of others you may not be around when they need you the most. Just like on a plane put the mask on yourself first before putting it on others.

Runners Up with 11 classes.
Keep pushing and you all will be there next month!

Ben R.
Tanyce
Karthik
Raysa
Rozlyn
Joe A.

Those Crazy Kids

Are you a parent? An uncle or aunt? Maybe you know a kid? Or have even seen one on the street before?  I think we all can think of some little bundle of energy that we know.  Most likely right about now they are super excited about the upcoming Christmas holiday.  They have made a list of all the stuff they want for from Santa, maybe they even wrote him a letter and dropped it in the mail.

The trend for sometime now has been for kids to play inside more and more with less time being active outside.  This season is the perfect chance for you to give a child something they can use to be active.  A ball, a small indoor trampoline or even a jump rope are all great gift ideas for youngsters.  I particularly like the jump rope idea because it is something that they can do indoors and year round if needed.  Also it is much easier to learn how to jump rope as a kid than it is as an adult.  There is a ton of benefit from learning the coordination required to skip rope as well as cardiovascular benefits.

With our 10,000 jump rope challenge going on now it’s the perfect opportunity to get the whole family involved in fitness.  If you don’t have your own personal rope I encourage you to buy one and while you are at it get one for the other members of the family.  A jump rope is the perfect travel tool.  You can bring it anywhere you travel.  10 minutes of jump rope will get you sweating and out of breath.

Get out there and take advantage of the holidays to get a kid, and yourself, a tool for success.

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