Month: July 2016

When Wellness Becomes Fitness

CrossFit KMC is located at the Kirby Medical Center in Monticello, Illinois, and is one of the first CrossFit affiliates to open on a hospital campus.

KMC CEO Steve Tenhouse and Director of Health and Wellness Services Josh Newton are using CrossFit to give the hospital a new focus: keeping people out of the hospital.

“A lot of health care organizations are reactive and prescriptive in nature,” Newton says.

KMC leaders wanted to change that.

“We really sat down and tried to look to see where health care was going to go,” Tenhouse explains. “What we realized is that this organization, Kirby Medical Center, needs to be about not only health care, but about health and about disease prevention and not just disease treatment.”

Likewise, the hospital changed its vision statement.

“I think what we’re doing here at CrossFit KMC is influential in the health care community,” Newton says, “impacting people’s lives in a positive way.”

Video by Michael Dalton.

3min 6sec

Additional reading: “The Hospital Affiliate” by Andréa Maria Cecil, published April 21, 2014.


When Limber Becomes too Loose

Theresa Larson explains when and how to stretch—and why some people shouldn’t stretch at all.

Theresa Larson’s physical-therapy patients come to her with a variety of ailments, but back pain is one of the most common complaints.

Recently, a woman who does CrossFit and yoga came to Larson complaining of low-back pain that radiated down her leg.

“What stretches should I be doing?” she asked.

Before answering, Larson asked the woman to bend at the waist with her legs straight and touch the ground.

“She flopped over and put her elbows on the ground,” Larson said. “I asked her if she felt any tension—any hamstring stretch at all—and she said no.”

Larson, a physical therapist specializing in movement and rehabilitation for athletes and adaptive athletes, told the woman she could help, but the treatment wouldn’t involve any stretching. The woman was too flexible. She lacked stability in her joints, and that was contributing to her low-back pain.

Stretching is something we all feel we should be doing, but according to Larson, not everyone needs to stretch. People with too much mobility frequently lack stability.

“When you bend over and touch your toes, you should be able to feel tension in your hamstrings and butt. If you don’t, you need more stability. So stretching more isn’t going to get you that. It’s going to hinder you,” Larson said.

If you can’t touch your toes, you could benefit from increased flexibility, but research shows traditional static stretching—holding a stretch for a few seconds to a few minutes—is better after the workout. This doesn’t mean you should jump into a workout cold, however. Movement-specific dynamic stretching is an essential part of any athletic pursuit, and proprioceptive-neuromuscular-facilitation (PNF) stretching is also a valuable tool for athletes.

Stretching is simply not a one-size-fits-all prescription. Before you join your friend for an epic mobility session, assess your flexibility, stability and the type of activity ahead.

Affiliate Roundup, Part 8: “The Hiring Process”

It takes more than just a Level 1 Certificate to run a successful CrossFit affiliate. In this series, learn about the various ways affiliate owners and trainers evolve and plan as they work to lead the fitness industry.

In Part 8, the conversation continues as CrossFit Inc.’s Tyson Oldroyd discusses the process of hiring trainers with Pat Burke of MBS CrossFit, CrossFit Verve founders Matt and Cherie Chan, Nicole Christensen of CrossFit Roots, and David Tittle of CrossFit Low Oxygen.

Christensen has a specific approach to hiring new coaches. First, the prospect observes a class and takes note of what stands out. Next, he or she watches a class with an eye on just one athlete and his or her interactions with the coach. Eventually, the trainee identifies individualized cues that are given, working on the essential skills of seeing and correcting. At that point, Christensen determines if the trainee has the potential to move forward in a coaching role.

Tittle uses a similar approach but says he takes another huge factor into account: personality.

The crew is in agreement that caring about the clients and the business is essential to succeeding as a coach—new or seasoned.

Video by Mike Koslap.

4min 42sec

Additional reading: “Experience Required” by Lon Kilgore, published July 19, 2016.

Training vs Exercising – Episode 219

This week coaches Kurt Mullican and Michael McElroy come back to join us for a special episode.

There was a passionate conversation that stemmed in our Cookeville trip a while back about the difference between training versus exercising. The conversation got so amped up we decided it was a solid topic for an episode.

What are you training for? Do you have direction? Or are you just exercising?

What’s the difference?

To us, it’s whether or not you’re working toward a specific goal.

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If you’re training for something, it’s a different mindset. There’s risk involved, and some chance that you might not succeed.

Which is scary. But, we all know, without any risk, there’s no reward worth celebrating. And that risk, I truly believe, is what helps us feel alive.

Now….It’s perfectly fine if you’re just exercising to sweat and move. I get it. And I have nothing against it. I just challenge people to really ask themselves which one they are doing and WHY.

Give this show a listen to hear our thoughts on the topic. Then I wanna hear what this means to you. Maybe this will motivate you to choose something a little more specific, put a deadline on it, so it will get your @$$ in gear.

Or, it will help you enjoy your exercising a little more. It will help you be ok with working out, just to…workout.



For more:

If you’re tired of training without purpose and want to have a blast working toward a common goal with a bunch of other super motivated people, come join us and see what is possible.

You got us coaches to help you along the way as well. Let us guide and help you get stronger while improving your conditioning in our new program, the Shrugged Strength Challenge.

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The early bird discount is only available for a few more days and spots for the program are filling up so sign up early to save and guarantee your spot in the program.

The post Training vs Exercising – Episode 219 appeared first on Barbell Shrugged.

No Intensity, No Results

To move all significant health markers in the right direction, do more work faster, trainers say.

The only way to know intensity is to experience it.

It is not a mythical creature born of grunting loudest, sweating most or cheering excitedly. It is also not a matter of opinion. It’s physics. Scientifically speaking, intensity is defined as power: force multiplied by distance, then divided by time. Simply put: Intensity is doing more work faster.

“You have to teach people how to do it,” said Chris Spealler, a member of CrossFit Inc.’s Seminar Staff and a seven-time CrossFit Games athlete who owns CrossFit Park City in Utah.

Fran, for example, is a workout most of the general population should be able to finish in roughly 7 minutes or less, he explained. The workout calls for 21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pull-ups. For an athlete who is trying to break into that time domain, Spealler provides the road map: Do the 21 thrusters and 21 pull-ups in no more than 2 sets each, and the break can be no longer than 5 seconds. At the end of that round, the clock should read “2:00” or “3:00.”

“Giving people targets is hugely helpful, and I think that’s where a lot of affiliate owners miss it in the application,” Spealler said.

He continued: “Really, intensity is being comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

That discomfort—doing 5 more reps when all you want to do is stop—is how you become fitter.

“Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing favorable adaptation to exercise,” CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman wrote in April 2007’s “Understanding CrossFit.”

CFJ_Intensity_Cecil_3.jpgChris Spealler explained that just like proper mechanics in the air squat, for example, coaches must teach intensity.

Favorable adaptation includes improved body composition and improved health markers such as fasting glucose and triglycerides. It takes people from sick to well to fit.

“Be impressed by intensity, not volume,” Glassman is quoted as saying as early as 2002.

Crudely translated, it means this: Do more work in less time—not more work in more time.

Explained via a CrossFit scenario, if you took 10 minutes to do Fran and then did another workout because “10 minutes wasn’t enough,” you did not perform Fran with intensity. If you had, you’d still be on your back. Likewise, you will not reap intensity’s benefits.

The scenario is becoming increasingly common at affiliates worldwide.

“There’s a pervasive thought process going on in kind of the competitors’ circle that more volume equals better, and I see that leak into our regular classes where everybody wants extra work to do,” said Ben Benson, owner of CrossFit Terminus in Atlanta and coach to Games athletes Emily Bridgers, Stacie Tovar and Becca Voigt.

CFJ_Intensity_Cecil_4.jpg Ben Benson, coach to Stacie Tovar, said he sees many people opt for volume over intensity with poor results.

When he started CrossFit, he remembered, the mentality was to give 100 percent effort on every workout.

“Now I’m seeing people approach them with a gaming-type attitude,” Benson explained. “It’s a very insidious problem that I’m trying to address.”

Games athletes are able to do more because they can maintain intensity throughout all the additional workouts, he noted.

“They’ve earned that volume, and they have the measurables and the resiliency to do that.”

One way Benson addresses the problem is through scaling.

“On a day-to-day basis … we do a lot of scaling to try to get classes to be on the same page, especially with finishing times. We do a lot of time capping also,” he said. “It’s a culture thing we worked on: not letting people make short workouts huge aerobic-capacity endurance tests.”

For a workout like Kelly—5 rounds of a 400-meter run, 30 box jumps and 30 wall-ball shots—he typically institutes a 30-minute cap. For Grace—30 clean and jerks for time—it’s a 5-minute cap.

“I might do an 8-minute cap (for Grace),” Benson said, adding that he tries to balance such goals with ensuring all athletes feel included. “I don’t want to make the cap so damn hard that nobody ever finishes anything.”

Most members have the ability to complete workouts in a timely fashion and also get a dose of intensity relative to their fitness, he noted.

“That’s one of the arts of coaching a group class: You have to accommodate for what is relative intensity.”

In other words: scaling.

“It’s so important when we get to driving intensity in a class,” Benson stressed.

CFJ_Intensity_Cecil_2.jpg Chris Spealler, a longtime member of CrossFit’s Seminar Staff, explained intensity is about doing more work faster.

Spealler cautioned that intensity is not simply telling an athlete to “go as fast as you can” on Helen, for example: 3 rounds for time of a 400-meter run, 21 1.5-pood kettlebell swings and 12 pull-ups. If the athlete PRs his 400-meter run but falls on his back, unable to complete the remainder of the workout in the intended time domain, the coach has missed the point, he said.

“Isn’t that intensity? Well, no. In that workout the goal is to have a good time.”

Same goes for a workout such as Filthy 50, which calls for 500 total reps across 10 movements. Spealler has seen athletes go “just berserk and explode” on the workout upon the advice of a trainer.

“I honestly think that coaches think that’s what intensity is. That’s kind of a real bad idea, actually,” he said, laughing.

But those who pick up the barbell when they don’t want to and push the limits of their discomfort are doing it right, Benson said.

“The people that are approaching it in that manner, they’re getting the most bang for their buck out of their training, not necessarily with volume but with intensity,” he said. “That’s going to be, really, what gives you adaptation. And it doesn’t matter what it is. … Going to your end point—that’s really what drives physical and hormonal change. But I see a lot of half-assing it. And not necessarily seeing things get better.”

About the Author: Andréa Maria Cecil is assistant managing editor and head writer of the CrossFit Journal.

Photo credits (in order): Anne Talhelm, Dustin Tovar, Anne Talhelm

An Open Letter to Cheaters

Admit it: You’ve shaved a rep.

Maybe you’ve even shaved entire rounds off workouts. You might have even lied about loads or times.

Guess what: Your coach noticed. And so did the other people in the class.

Thankfully, cheaters are relatively rare in CrossFit, perhaps because “so much of repugnant behavior is about trying to get something for nothing, and the CrossFitters inherently don’t believe that it’s possible,” as CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman said in 2009.

But physical suffering can erode loosely rooted morality, and we all know cheaters exist. By bending or breaking the rules, you can reduce or end the pain and perhaps take a whiteboard win, which can be very tempting when a grueling workout demands everything you have and some things you don’t. All athletes have come face to face with the moral dilemma of the 145th wall-ball shot that didn’t quite hit the line during Karen. A choice must be made at that point, and it’s sometimes hard to make the right one. But everyone in the community expects you to man and woman up by replacing the short shot with a good rep.

Coaches most definitely understand that sometimes you forget which round you’re in. It happens. We know that sometimes you accidentally write the wrong load or time on the whiteboard because your brain isn’t functioning correctly after a screaming match with Fran. We’re aware that you can’t always tell if you squatted below parallel exactly 300 times during Cindy. These are honest mistakes made by honest people.

But some athletes cheat. On purpose. Regularly.

And when you cheat, it is most assuredly noticed.

Only you know if your chest touched the floor.

Maybe your dishonesty wasn’t noticed right away, and maybe you didn’t hear the discussion after you put your score on the board and left. But eventually your peers and your trainers figured you out. It doesn’t take too many “weren’t you ahead of him?” conversations to solve the mystery without the crime lab.

Here’s some info: Facebook hosts a group for CrossFit affiliate owners, and it’s almost 10,000 strong. In that group, trainers discuss all sorts of things, from cleaning gym mats to teaching muscle-ups. Despite the overwhelmingly large number of honest people in any gym, you usually don’t have to scroll very far to see a post like this: “An athlete at my gym is cheating, and members and coaches are starting to complain. It’s ruining the atmosphere. What do I do?”

Let it be said again: If you cheat, your coach noticed. You have fooled no one.

CFJ_Cheating_Warkentin3.jpg Adrian “Boz” Bozman didn’t see your shallow squat, but he knows about it, and he’s disappointed.

How did your coach catch you? Coaches know approximately how long it takes to complete certain workouts. Coaches also know your current abilities and level of fitness. When an athlete posts a score outside the expected range, a coach notices. That score might mean an athlete suddenly had a breakthrough—like Awkward Dude’s legendary set of 50 unbroken double-unders that came from nowhere and cut a full 10 minutes off his Filthy Fifty time. But in general, athlete progression follows a pattern any coach can see, and anomalies stand out. Big time.

Coaches also know how long it takes to do 21 thrusters, for example. It’s just an ability we’ve acquired after watching 2 million reps. Beyond that, we know every movement has a maximum cycle time. Even Ben Smith can only go so fast. When you’re working through 30 wall-ball shots to 10 ft. and you roll on to the next movement after 35 seconds, alarm bells go off in our heads because physics won’t allow that time. We’ve also coached three classes in a row, so we know that your rest break couldn’t possibly allow you to beat the guy who went unbroken two hours ago.

We sense disturbances in The Force, young Jedi.

Further, competitive athletes always count each other’s reps, either by absentminded habit, as a spot check or as part of an attempt to game your time and beat your ass. If you’re training at the end of the 5-p.m. class, it’s guaranteed your reps are being counted by a rival who arrived for the session at 6. Believe it, and rest assured that someone noticed your set of 17 kettlebell swings in the final round of Helen.

Some coaches attack the problem head on and simply tell athletes their scores aren’t correct. This, of course, addresses the issue but often leads to emphatic denials, arguments and bad feelings. Other coaches soft-sell it by questioning the athlete to see if the correct score was written on the board, which often leads to resentment and bad feelings. Some coaches ignore the issue because the athlete is ultimately cheating only him- or herself, but this, too, leads to bad feelings in members who note injustice on the leaderboard. Some coaches stand beside suspicious athletes and count their reps out loud, which usually leads to bad feelings and a lack of attention paid to other clients in the class.

The obvious point is that cheating causes bad feelings. You’re breaking the contract that binds all members of the community: We put a number on the board, you do that many reps, then you tell us how long it took. Accept a high five and have a protein shake. Same time tomorrow.

CFJ_Cheating_Warkentin2.jpg Yes, the final inch matters a great deal.

But some people cheat. They cheat because they’re lazy, they cheat because they want to win, they cheat because they lack moral character and don’t see the problem, they cheat because they’re embarrassed about their current fitness level, and so on. The reasons are endless—and they’re all bullshit.

So let it be said once more: We all notice when you cheat. And we want you to stop.

About the Author: Mike Warkentin is the managing editor of the CrossFit Journal and the founder of CrossFit 204.

Photo credits (in order): Justin Jindra, Alicia Anthony/CrossFit Journal, Dave Re/CrossFit Journal

How To Stay Young w/ CrossFit Games Masters Athletes Annie Sakamoto & Ron Ortiz – Episode 218

Audio: Itunes

This week we’re back at PowerMonkey Camp to interview CrossFit Games Master’s Athletes Ron Ortiz and original “Nasty Girl” Annie Sakamoto.

We had an absolute blast during this episode. We discuss Ron & Annie’ training history, how they found CrossFit as a sport, and how they handle being competitive athletes while juggling family life.

We’ve been asked a lot about how different training as a Masters athlete is, so we let them tell us all about what their training programs look like, who their coaches are, how they eat. We dig deep into the details of what makes them so successful on their sport.

Towards the end of the show, we ask them some questions and advice for other aspiring Master’s competitors. Stick around to learn about some of the changes and mistakes they have learned from to stay in the best shape of their lives.

Annie Sakamoto | Barbell Shrugged

It’s amazing to hear how these athletes handle daily stressors. The training life is a little different when you have families, jobs, responsibilities. They explain how important it is to have a strong support crew, listen to your body, and never sweat the small stuff.

And if you want to go an cheer them on, be sure check out as they are competing right this moment. As of this morning (7/20/16), Ron is currently sitting in 1st place in this category (Men’s 50-54), & Annie is in second (Women’s 40-44).

What did I learn from this show? Stay young at heart, keep having fun in your training, and you’ll be around for a long time. Ron and Annie are having so much fun training, and it shows. Especially in their performance. Keep having fun.

Again, interviewing these two was so much damn inspiring and fun, I can’t wait to have them again. They are amazing people. We wish them the best of luck!

For more:

The post How To Stay Young w/ CrossFit Games Masters Athletes Annie Sakamoto & Ron Ortiz – Episode 218 appeared first on Barbell Shrugged.

Experience Required

Degree or no degree, fitness trainers who lack practical experience are still students.

The state of personal training is such that criticisms are often leveled at anyone who does not have certification A, B or C or doesn’t have a college or university degree.

Strangely glossed over in most dialogs of the occupation is experience—or lack of it. Experience obviously affects both personal trainers and their clients, but let’s refine the context: A personal trainer who has gone only through an educational pathway without experiencing the rigors of training and the challenges of teaching fitness remains a student and is not an independent and prepared trainer. This is not a bad thing; it simply means that the trainer’s education is incomplete.

Trainers who work hard to gain a vocational education and certification are most frequently criticized for being trained and certified without acquiring practical skills. But experience in personal training of clients is largely absent from all preparatory pathways for the trainer, including college and university programs.

So how does a neophyte trainer fresh out of an educational program gain relevant experience before working with customers? In an overwhelming number of instances, he or she doesn’t but actually gains all experience on the job, often with no supervision.

Only one educational system in the fitness industry supplies a robust set of educational and practical requirements. The CrossFit system is a pathway of combined instruction and practical experience. To be become a Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT), a student must acquire 32 hours of lecture and practical study when earning CrossFit Level 1 and Level 2 certificates. This is about the same as a two-credit-hour university course. The CCFT candidate must also acquire 750 verified practical hours training clients in the CrossFit method. (An alternate path requires 1,500 hours of verified general-physical-preparedness strength-and-conditioning instruction at the collegiate level or higher.) Finally, the candidate must pass an examination. The CCFT credential, accredited by the American National Standards Institute, requires maintenance through 50 continuing-education units and 900 coaching hours (300 per year) every three years.

All this does not consider the amount of independent study in the preparatory process—probably about another 64 to 96 hours, as would be recommended for any college or university study.

Trainers with the CCFT credential can later take a performance exam and achieve the Certified CrossFit Coach credential (CCFC). Before qualifying to take the CCFT exam, a trainer will have spent 13 percent of time in class and study, with the remaining 87 percent of time spent in required practical work experience.

All other major personal-training certificates or certifications are based completely on class and study time, with no required person-to-person practical elements. It is also apparent that CrossFit is much more similar to apprenticeship programs than it is to university exercise-degree programs, in which it is typical to find 93 percent or more of the student’s time spent in class or study and 7 percent (or much less) spent acquiring practical experience in the workplace.

Why You Should Start Taking Pole Dance Classes

It has now gained a very good following from women and men of almost all walks of life like athletes, professionals, fitness buffs, office workers, stay- at-home moms and dads, students –  you name it.

Many fitness studios all over the United States and Canada offer pole fitness workouts and training programs for beginners and experts alike.

This has also become the inspiration for a new film Why I Dance that has gone viral. It documents why ladies have come to love pole dancing not just as a form of entertainment, but also as an exercise and fitness workout.

What eve n more inspiring is the fact that when people were asked why they have come to love pole dancing, many said that it’s “a killer workout, or “makes me feel good and happy, or “because I love my body,” and so much more..but none of them has ever mentioned because they are doing it for the money.

Indeed pole dancing today has finally earned the respect of fitness and exercise experts as a physically-demanding workout activity

An essential aspect for pole dancing is grip strength that one needs to be able to sustain throughout the entire routine. The weight and force of gravity that a dancer needs must be enough to maintain grip intensity and flexibility to control the complicated maneuvers above the ground and twists around the pole.

Many pole enthusiasts rely on a our  revolutionary grip enhancer solution. Which is a waterbased hydrocellulose thickener that is applied to the hands that promote better pole grip, prevents blisters and reduces surface resistance.

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It works just like regular hand chalk, but leaves no mess on the floor or other equipment and it easily washes off with soap and water.

Liquid Grip is ideal for use during pole dancing training routines that would allow users to fear less of falling off the poles with their grips enhanced and enjoy more time practicing and mastering their craft.

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