A Drive to Succeed

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If you are one to watch our daily leader board, you have surely noticed Keela’s name on it. With a work ethic that is to be admired, she is an exceptionally talented athlete who exemplifies our “Be Humble, Have Hustle” motto.

A longstanding goal that Keela has had is to get a sub-5-minute Baseline score – a goal that she recently kicked in it’s little behind. Last Monday, she came in to retest her score and whipped up an impressive finishing time of 4:56 (down a whole minute since July!) Goal completed! But then, because that just wasn’t good enough, she beat her score AGAIN in class on Friday. This time bringing her score down to 4:43!

Here’s a couple questions that Keela was gracious enough to answer for me about her training at TTCF and what has helped her to get to her goal:

How long have you been doing CrossFit for, and what made you want to get started?

I’ve been doing CrossFit for just shy of 2 years. Before CrossFit, I always enjoyed seeking athletic experiences & challenges that were most difficult for me and conquering them. I found CrossFit when a friend of mine posted pictures of a winter challenge TTCF did and I was instantly intrigued. I get to use a lot of skills that I have experience in from my own athletic background as well as new ones to conquer. I have definitely met my match :)

Pull-ups are one of the most common goals for people that walk through our doors. What has been the biggest help in getting them down?

Pull-ups and, in general, movements on the bar have been hard for me from the start. I think what has helped was first being patient enough to work on the strength behind the movement and then holding myself accountable to working on and improving technique as I started getting better at them.

There have definitely been numerous MetCons with pull-ups throughout the year where it felt I finished hours behind everyone else. As hard as those workouts were in the moment, that push out of my comfort zone coupled by the ending feeling of, “I never want that to happen again!” kept me motivated to get them down.

Now that you are kicking the Baseline workout’s butt, what other goals do you have in your sights?

I still have so much to work on. Right now,  I’m working on getting my butterflies down, chaining more chest to bars together, then I want to move towards bar muscle-ups. Off the bar, I have Isabel Rx in my sights.

You’re an inspiration to us all, Keela. Keep up the hard work!

MDUSA Seminar in Review

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This past weekend, Andy, Kayser and I spent two full days at a weightlifting seminar put on by Coach Don McCauley and Travis Cooper of Team MDUSA. This was two days of nothing but specifics on the Olympic Lifts and we all walked away with a wealth of knowledge on how to further fine-tune these ever challenging movements. Much of the seminar consisted of time working on our lifting under the eye and guidance of the coaches. I’ll spare you the wordy descriptions of tweaks in lifting mechanics that we learned (until you’re in one of our classes!) and instead share some of the more universal pieces that I walked away with.

First, there is no magic programming that is going to get you results without you putting in the work. You can browse online forums and blogs looking for that special program to get you as strong as you’d like to be, but nothing breeds success like hard work. Find something that works for you, and stick to it. If you’re too quick to discount the program that you’re using without allowing an appropriate amount of time to see the results you are looking for, you’re never going to find something that will work. Make a plan, and stick to it!

The basic idea behind both the clean & jerk, and the snatch (the bar goes up, you go down) are going to be the same from athlete to athlete, but the way the mechanics might look can vary greatly. Depending on your mobility, experience, and how you are built (long arms, short arms, longs legs, etc.), your setup, and even catching position might not look exactly like the person’s next to you. Listen to what your coach says about how you look during the lift, and don’t sweat it if it’s not exactly what someone else is doing.

Sometimes you’re not going to make your lifts. It happens and it’s not the end of the world, but see the experience as an opportunity to examine your flaws and work on them. You’ll only be stronger for it.

Use drilling to practice, so you can just go to your happy place and lift when you’re testing your maxes. There is a difference between time training and time competing, and it’s important not to confuse the two. You are not competing every time you work on a skill in class. That is your time identify problems and improve your weaknesses. Get the kinks ironed out during training, so when it counts, everything is smooove like buttah.

Olympic lifting obviously requires strength, but much more than that, it requires finesse, patience and practice. The staff at the seminar were quick to point out that working on these lifts is more similar to gymnastics that to any other form of lifting.

Ok, now a fun one. At the end of day 1, Travis was kind enough to demo some of his lifting skills and I got a couple of his lifts on video. Here he is snatching 315# like it ain’t no thang. Enjoy!

Progress

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Katie H. just put up a great post on her blog about her experience and success since starting at TTCF. Head on over to her site to check it out! Katie is a full time photographer who is regularly putting out wonderful new work on her Flickr site. I’d highly recommend taking a look.

Keep on kickin’ ass, Katie!

Shake off those Winter blues

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It is way too easy to end up hibernating and depressed this time of year. The small amount of daylight, constant mess on the roads, and less-than-tropical temperatures really don’t make the idea of venturing out very appealing. However, despite what might not be ideal conditions, there is a LOT to be enjoyed this time of year. Here’s a couple of my favorites…

Go climb some “rocks”. Vertical Endeavors has a couple locations (one is just down the street from the Uptown gym) and has all needed equipment available for rental. There’s plenty of beginner-friendly climbing too. Midwest Mountaineering also has a small bouldering cave that’s free to use. You can even take a short class from them to learn the basics.

Try a yoga class. Many studios will offer a free trial of some sort so you can give their style a shot. Yoga is a great stress reliever, and makes for an excellent compliment to CrossFit. Check out a “restorative” class for some recovery stretching without anything too taxing or advanced.

Go ice skating. There are parks all over the city that have public skating rinks set up, but you can also go indoors at The Depot. They have skates available for rental, so you don’t need to have your own, and there are people of all skating abilities there, so don’t sweat it if it’s your first time.

Go tubing. Yep, seriously. Theodore Wirth Park is nice and close by and even has a tow rope!

Spend a couple hours at the Como Park Conservatory. Do you know what kind of climate they need to keep plants in for them to survive in Minnesota this time of year? A warm tropical one. Need I say more?

Have a favorite? Please share it!