The Mental Game
Hey all. . I wanted to share something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I debated on whether or not it would be understood in writing or even if it would be taken to heart by the general CrossFitter. It’s something Coach Jonathan and I have discussed a lot in the past. And just recently coach Maggie and I had a great conversation about it. From personal experience its something that I subconsciously learned but it hasn’t been till lately that I realized how important it can be to actually teach and encourage this.
So here it goes….. Many athletes go through workouts with no real sense of what they should accomplish other than the time they finish. That’s great for some workouts but not for most. Every workout should be approached with some sort of goal. If you want to be a better athlete, there should still be objective improvement even if it’s not a benchmark. That objective improvement is understanding pace and understanding your limits. For instance, if there is rowing in a workout, instead of just approaching it as “get it done as fast as I should”, I should go into that workout trying to average a certain pace. If I hit it, great, if not back to the drawing board next time. The goal is to understand the type of pace you can normally hit in a certain type of workout so that
1) I can confidently game plan the workout
2) I can see increases to my ability to output as the average pace eventually becomes faster
3) Mentally concentrating on something objective during the WOD can take the mind off some of the “suck”. (well maybe just a little. haha)
Another example may be concentrating on the thing that you suck at. For me, in this WOD, that would be the burpees. Barbell work comes easy so my first thought may be to suffer through the burps and kill the barbell work. Instead, how bout making the burpees my goal. Maybe try to average a 12 per min pace? (in this WOD that’s about 2min for 21’s /1min for 15’s /45s for 9’s) Or maybe its just to not stop. Or maybe its to really jump over with two feet instead of step over.
It’s limitless but as long as you find small goals during a workout, that workout no longer becomes random workouts that you grind through on a daily basis, they are short term goals that help you quicker accomplish the long term ones.
That being said, you will start to see a shift in the programming for most days. We want to help give you some mental goals and give you a glimpse into the mindset of the programmer when are looking for a certain stimulus. Also there may be directed scales 🙂
Every so often I get this question…. Why implement movements like bench press into our programming when they are not “CrossFit”??
Well here is 3:
1) You can’t argue with the triad of strength. Deadlift, squat, bench. These are the “biggest bang for your buck” in strength gains. The movements produce the most muscle contractions. The bench is focuses on producing the most upper body contractions while the deadlift and squat concentrate more on trunk and lower body. All that strength in chest, delts, and triceps transfers into everything else we do. (pressed, ring dips, pushups, ALL Overhead work)
2) Building CNS efficiency. Your Central Nervous System (CNS) is responsible for firing the muscle fibers. The more muscle fiber we recruit and more muscle tension we create the more the communication and greater stimulation correlating to strength gains. Basically, the more we train in this heavy realm, the better you get and recruiting muscleHarder to do with “smaller” movements. Along with plyo & oly , these heavy movements are king in building CNS efficiency.
3) Testosterone release – Testosterone is king in muscle building. Although not drastic, lifting heavy increases testosterone release.
Note: Shoulder width grip- You can try changing to shoulder width. This puts less stress on shoulders, which we all can appreciate and will transfer a bit better to overhead movements.
Hope you’re enjoying the benching in the programming.
– Coach Marc
By: Coach Noemi Dimuzio
Winter is my favorite season especially when it comes to food. But just because its Christmas time doesn’t mean we have to eat badly. There are so many recipes out there. I’ve picked one of my favorites as my healthy holiday recipe. Baked apple cranberry sweet potato, it’s the perfect season for cranberries, since they are everywhere during the holidays.
Large baking dish
6 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced.
2 peeled medium apples you can use any kind of favorite apple but I use pink ladies.
½ cup fresh cranberries. Do not use canned cranberries or ocean dried cranberries they are loaded with sugar and tossed in canola oil.
Fresh cranberries can be found at your local supermarket.
2tablespoons of coconut oil
1teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 if you love cinnamon
a dash of sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease the inside of a large baking dish with coconut oil.
2. Take your peeled sweet potatoes and apples and chop them into 1/2 inches cubes.
3. Place half of your chopped sweet potatoes and apple into the dish. Followed by ¼ cup
of your fresh cranberries, ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon (if you are using 2
teaspoons in your recipe) and a pinch of salt.
4. Repeat step number 3, with the remaining half of your ingredients.
5. Drop small dots of coconut oil on top of your dish.
6. Cover your dish with foil and bake for one hour or until sweet potato and apples are
Tis the perfect season to stay healthy and enjoy a mild sweet flavored side. I usually pair this with holiday ham or turkey.
By: Coach Amy Duchene
Every now and then, I’ll see an athlete vigorously rolling out the lower part of their leg- focusing on the front edges of their tibia or shinbone. Pain faced and frustrated this person may not understand why they feel discomfort in their shins throughout the day, the pain eases up during the workout, but comes back immediately worse as they begin to cool down.
If this sounds like you, you may be dealing with shin splints.
Shin splints are a painful condition caused by inflammation and micro-tears in muscle and bone tissue of the lower leg. This pain is typically felt along the edge of the shinbone, and ranges in length from 4-6 inches. If your pain is more specific, such as a spot you can pinpoint and very painful, you may have a stress fracture, which is more serious and requires separate care and recovery than what is mentioned here.
Shin Splints are most commonly caused by:
- Too much, too soon of high impact movements like running or jumping
- Worn out shoes
- Not stretching enough
- Poor running form
The bad news is, you need to address the problem right away or it is going to get worse. The good news is the treatment for shin splints is simple and if followed, you should feel much better within 2-4 weeks.
How to Treat Shin Splints:
- Stop ALL high impact movements for a minimum of 2 weeks. This includes running, box jumps, singles, double-unders, taking the jump out of your burpees, and any other plyometric movements that may come up. We want you to avoid aggravating your lower leg muscles as much as possible. Your coaches are always available to help you modify as needed.
- This step will help decrease swelling and pain. Icemay also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your shin for 15 to 20 minutes at least once per day.
- Stretch your Calves & Achilles Tendons. Here is where we can apply some mobility procedures. Check out this video by Kelly Starrett, MobRx for Shin Splints for a step-by-step plan you can follow to loosen up your heel cords, feet and calves.
- Consider getting new shoes or an arch support. Many specialty running shoe stores offer machines or someone on site who can help you identify if you are flat-footed or if you have a high arch and find you right insoles to match. Secondly, as much as we all love our Nano’s or Nike Free’s- if you suffer from shin splints you may want to consider a shoe specifically made for running. Saucony, Asics, and Brooks are examples of brands that offer styles with more support.
- Gradually reintroduce high impact movements. After two weeks of 100% compliance, if your shins feel better, start to lightly incorporate jumping and running again. In week 3 you may want to try just a little bit of these movements, no more than twice within the week. If your body responds well, continually to gradually increase until normal activity can be resumed.
If shin splints are a reoccurring issue, you may want to also consider the following steps for long-term recovery and prevention:
- Vary your running surface. Avoid cement, wet grass, and sand as much as possible, instead run on the asphalt, dry grass, or compacted dirt.
- Increase your running distance slowly. Add mileage little by little. Listen to your body to avoid overuse injury.
- Incorporate exercises to strengthen your lower leg and prevent injury. Here are a few suggestions from Runner’s World: 4 Exercises to Prevent Shin Splints
By: Coach Amy Duchene
A lot of people tend to get frustrated in the pull-up department, but I would really like to make 2016 more about seeing pull-ups as a goal instead of something that discourages you. So, why have some people been doing ring rows (or another variation) for months or even years, but they still aren’t closer to their strict pull-up? Usually its one of these three reasons:
- Your Modification is too Easy. If you can do 15-20 ring rows unbroken you aren’t doing them right. Ring rows when performed correctly, should be tough! Get your body into a flatter position and really challenge yourself in this department. If you can do more than 3 or 4 in a row, its too easy. You can continue to scale this movement up by elevating your feet on box and eventually moving on to pull-ups with a band. The same principle would apply with a band- don’t bounce at all and if you’re getting more than 5 in a row, its time to scale up. Many people tend to get caught up with going “fast” in a workout, but if your goal is strict pull-ups- slow down on this portion of the WOD and focus on building strength.
- You’re not spending extra time on your goal. Simply put, if you have a specific goal such as a strict pull-up, strict pushups, toes to bar etc, you need to devote additional time to training this weakness. Our general group programming will help you progress all around but it can’t account for each person’s individual goals. Start small- spend 15-20 minutes, 3 days per week devoted to your goal. Ask coaches for advice/ suggestions for extra work.
- Strength to Weight Ratio. Gymnastics is all about optimizing your strength to move your body through a range of motion. For some this is more difficult than others. But as you lose weight, you’ll start to see that this ratio improves in your favor- it will become easier to do a handstand against the wall, to hold a plank or even do a pushup or ring row. Stay motivated with your nutrition goals and you’ll see your performance can get an extra boost too!