What the Running Skill Series Taught Me

11014907_1033991843285678_6970487767183500957_o

Do you enjoy running, or do you hide from it? Is it a way for you to relax and calm yourself down, or the exact opposite? Are you part of the 80% of people who get injured when they run, or are you the happy minority?

If you’ve had negative experiences with running, what was it that caused you to dislike it so much? Does running make your workouts exponentially harder? Is it boring? Do you hurt yourself every time you try to run?

For me it was all of the above, especially the last one. For as long as I can remember, I have had shin splints when I’ve gone running. This dates all the way back to my high school football days, where the only time I wouldn’t feel them was when the adrenaline kicked in during a game. Even running the bases in softball was tough. It would almost make me want to not try for anything more than a single so I wouldn’t have to limp further than to first. To most recently when we would have a running workout in CrossFit and I was forever resigned to rowing.

I tried all kinds of running shoes, orthotics, shin compression sleeves, you name it I’ve tried it.

I remember about a year ago when I hurt my wrist and couldn’t do many of the gym’s workouts. I was sick of doing squats and sit-ups, so I decided to go for a run because I couldn’t stand sitting around anymore. I was going to run all the way around Lake of the Isles without stopping, or at least that was my hope. But just in case I needed to stop or my shin splints flared up, I had my wife follow me in the car blaring the Rocky 4 soundtrack as I ran in my all-gray sweatsuit. Just kidding… well only the rocky 4 part. Everything else actually happened.

To my surprise, I made it all the way around the lake without stopping once. The second farthest run I’ve ever run. Well, for the next week I could barely walk because my shin splints were so bad.

So needless to say I hated running!!

As a competitive guy it always bothered me that I couldn’t run and I’d have to scale to something that I knew my body could handle. Six weeks ago I decided to do something about it and forced myself to take on the uncomfortable task of  joining the TTF Running Skill Series.

This clinic is designed to teach you how to run with the proper mechanics, and mobility that is required. At this point I had tried everything else, so why not.

We started off with a heavy dose of mobility and how to treat any hot spots or places we tender after running.

Think of it this way. If you are deadlifting with a round back a coach sees you doing it, what is their response? Do they say “well that was terrible, now try one hundred more until you get better?” No! A good coach will correct any faulty mechanics immediately, and will point out any movement/mobility issues so you can work to improve them.

Why should running be any different? Because it’s a basic movement and we have been doing it our whole life?

Week by week, we increased our running and every week I had no shin splints. Fast forward to week six, back on Lake of the Isles for thirty minutes of straight running. Once again I made it all the way around without stopping, but this time no shin splints. The next two days I ran again, still no shin splints. I was amazed.

This course taught me something that anyone can learn. It taught me how to run without pain and how to supplement my activity with proper mobility tricks to keep me moving.

If you are someone that has pain every time you run, or if you were like me and avoid running at all costs for fear of injury, you should check out our next Running Skill Series on May 23rd.

Take control of your workouts instead of letting them dictate what you can do!

 

2016 Memorial Day “Murph”

Murph_Poster

Each year on Memorial Day, CrossFit gyms across the country take on the workout “Murph” as a way of paying tribute to the men and women who lost their lives while serving our nation. The workout is named after Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEAL who was killed in an unimaginable battle in Afghanistan in 2005 (a story made famous by the book and movieLone Survivor).

Here’s the workout:
For time:
1 Mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 Mile Run
*pull-ups, push-ups and squats can be partitioned however you choose

We will continue this tradition of honoring our fallen service members at TwinTown Fitness on Monday, May 30.

We will run the workout in five, hour-long heats beginning at 8:30 Memorial Day morning. Heat time reservation and “Murph” t-shirts (available on a pre-order basis only) will both be handled on sign up sheets at the gym. Grab a spot in a heat and order a t-shirt the next time you’re in the gym!

Remember, we have a complete training program laid out to prepare you for the workout. Check out the details here.

We will also have a BBQ/potluck in our parking lot throughout the morning and afternoon. This will begin after the first couple heats have finished. We’ll have a grill going and will be providing some food, snacks and beverages, but feel free to bring something to share!

There is no charge to participate in the event, but we are accepting donations ($25, suggested) for the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans. Donations can be handled the day of the event and charged to your Wodify account, or you may donate with cash or check.

This Memorial Day, it’s on! Rain or shine, come sweat it out with us and the rest of your TwinTown people.

Sometimes You Just Need To Go

11807651_1039727836045412_2842831553556510238_oIf you are new here at TwinTown, or if you have been here for years, you know that we place a high value on moving well and moving correctly.

These are paramount to everything we do whether we are squatting, working on pull-ups or perfecting our Olympic lifts.

If you are moving well and executing movements within a safe range of motion, where is the next area to improve?

INTENSITY, BRO!!!

For a lot of us in the gym, we have accomplished good movement patterns and now it’s just time to go!

What does this mean?

I’m glad you asked. If you just came off the pull-up bar or finished up your ring rows and now it’s time to do a set of ten heavy deadlifts, there are many things going through your mind and many different voices trying to pull you in different directions.

Catch your breath. You need a sip of water?  You have been working out for three and a half minutes now, after all. Okay, I’m going to start right after I chalk up and make one little lap to the garage door and back.

I have had everyone of these go through my head and you know what? I still do. But you need to remind yourself what your intention is for the workout.

Maybe your intention is just to survive the workout. Okay, I get it. We do some difficult things in here and you still may be new to them. What if your intention is to increase your stamina or endurance? Sure you can do these by just showing up and doing the programming, but to really excel you need to move past the mental hurdles that stand in your way.

Rest feels good to everyone, but you know what feels better? Improvement!

Personally speaking, I have been experimenting with this approach of eliminating or reducing rest periods in workouts for the past few months. It has gone super well and I feel that it has brought me to a different level than I was at before. Yes, this different level I’m talking about does mean quicker times along with the physical benefits, but what I value most is the power to crush those mental hurdles. I feel like I have taken control of my workouts.

*** Again, very important, this is not an approach that everyone should take just because you are reading this, but one that you should experiment with if you are moving without impingement and with great form.***

I want you to try something crazy now, the next time you feel winded and you want to take a rest, don’t!

What?!      But I…        I need to…       Ugh…

I know. The next time you feel (keyword) like you need to take a rest, don’t. Just go right into the next movement without stopping. I mean what is the worst that can happen? You will eventually take that rest you were going to anyways. But guess what, you have delayed that rest. What if you do it again the very next set? And again? And this keeps happening until you are done with the workout.

Then you come in the next day and do the same thing. And on and on. What have you done? You have increased your cardio capacity, you have increased the intensity and your stamina and endurance are now better than before.

People who excel don’t always have something that others don’t. Well come to think of it, yes they do. They want it more. What is “it” for you?

Remember that form is king, and that increasing your range of motion is vital to your longevity as an athlete, but if you can check these two boxes then the next box that needs to be checked is intensity.

And sometimes you just need to go!!

A Marathon Ace

lindsey b.

This past Monday, our Lindsey B. set a personal record of 3:23:58 at the Boston Marathon.

Lindsey placed 826 out of 5,948 in her division: females 18-39; her gender placing was 1,021 out of 12,168, and she placed 5,958 out of 26,639 overall.

Are you frickin kidding me!? These are awesome accomplishments from an awesome woman!

Lindsey sets a great example for anyone with goals. She didn’t just hope she’d hit a personal best, or feel that she deserved it, she put in twelve months of work to make this happen. Sometimes Lindsey would run 10 miles in the morning before work then come to the 7:30pm class at the gym that night. This is dedication! But this is what it takes to crush your goals, and Lindsey has mastered the practice.

Lindsey, thank you for inspiring us and showing us that accomplishing your goals can be done through hard work. Your kicking-ass-at-life skills are unrivaled and we are fortunate to have you in our ranks. We could not be happier for you or more proud of you!

LindseywithherMom

Small Steps, Everyday

IMG_0287

What are you doing today to make yourself better?

In the back of our heads we’ve all got a list of things that we’d like to improve at. The list is most likely pretty expansive, but the truth is that if you take regular steps towards a couple of them, you can make real progress.

What trips many of us up in class is getting distracted (even just momentarily) by what someone else is doing, and losing sight of what we really would benefit most from.

We want you to leave knowing that you took one small step towards a better you after every class you take with us. You’re putting forth the effort either way, so you might as well take some time to be specific about your outcome.

If today is a day that you need to hit a workout hard, then do that. But know why you’re doing it. If this is a day that you need to just get moving around, then listen to your body and don’t change plans just because someone else is going full speed. Maybe today is a day when your score doesn’t matter and your focus is on fine-tuning a movement that’s been giving you problems instead.

You could go to any gym and leave in a puddle of sweat – one of our challenges to our members is to be better than blind effort. Be deliberate about what you’re looking to accomplish when you come to class. We are here to help guide you, but at the end of the day the decision is yours.

So, what’s it going to be today?

Start Preparing for “Murph” 2016

11259342_1004283256256537_5637255490750911995_o

Each Memorial Day, we take on “Murph.”

For time:
Run 1 mile
100 pull-ups
200 push-ups
300 squats
Run 1 mile

Seems straightforward, right? Well, there are multiple ways to slay this dragon. You are allowed to break up the 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups and 300 squats however you wish. Usually, people use the strategy of five pull-ups, ten pushups and fifteen squats at a time, to break the workout down into more manageable sets. I’m not saying this is what you have to do, but I wouldn’t recommend doing all of the reps for each movement at once.

This workout is a beast, and we will release all sorts of information about the event as we get closer, but for now we have a few plans of attack to help you prepare for “Murph.” For the running and squatting portions of the workout, just show up to class regularly. As we get closer to Memorial Day, we will ramp up running and squatting in our programming.

We have devised a plan for the pull-ups and pushups to have you peaking when “Murph” comes along eight weeks from now. Follow this link, “Murph” Prep, where we have broken down to the day how many pull-ups and pushups you should do to get yourself ready for May 30.

Before you get started on your weekly regimen, you will see a few “Initial Tests” on the spreadsheet. For pull-ups, if you are using any kind of resistance bands right now, do a set of five at the lowest level of resistance possible and write it down to see how much you improve over the next eight weeks. If you are doing bodyweight pull-ups, then do one max set of strict bodyweight pull-ups and write down your number so you can compare later.

For pushups, you will do something similar. If you are using ab mats for your pushups, start off by doing a set of ten in a row with the least amount of ab mats possible. Record the amount of ab mats you used. If you are not using ab mats, then do a max set of pushups and record your number.

For the weekly programming, most of you will do your pull-ups at the gym, unless you have access to a pull-up bar away from TwinTown. So, follow the “Murph” prep program everyday that you come to the gym. Each Monday, start at Day 1 on the spreadsheet. The next day that same week you come to the gym, do the required sets for Day 2. And so on.

Most of you may only get through Day 3 of the pull-up programming each week. This is fine. For those of you that come more than three times per week, you will get some additional work. All of you could come to open gym at 11:00am on Sundays to get another day of work in each week!

You can do the pushup programming everyday on your own at your home or office. Begin each week on Monday Day 1 of the programming, and end each week on Sunday Day 7 of the programming.

To summarize: do your pull-ups at the gym on days you come in. Do your pushups everyday on your own.

The point is, this is volume work. The more reps you do, the better. But every day you commit to working on your pull-ups and pushups will help you on May 30.

We will have spreadsheets posted around the gym for you to reference, or you could also print them off to keep with you. We will post weekly reminders on the whiteboard at the gym of which week of the programming we are currently on throughout the next eight weeks. If you have any questions, please ask one of us when you see us.

This is your year to crush “Murph!” Let’s prepare to take down this monster together.

2016 CrossFit Games Open Recap

The 2016 CrossFit Games Open comes to a close tomorrow and I am proud of our members.

Whether or not you signed up to participate in the Open, you all worked hard, overcame fears and obstacles, and gave it everything you had.

We saw a lot of great moments this year, both individually and collectively. This picture of Adam getting his first bar muscle-up sums it up. I’m glad Josh P. was there to capture the moment on camera.

FB Adam

The picture says so much about who we are as a gym and the bonds that our members have formed. Look at the excitement on Adam’s face, and the faces of everyone around him. This is pure elation.

I was fortunate to witness this event in person and it was one of those moments as a coach where you almost have to pinch yourself because it seems unreal that this is what your life’s work is all about.

This was just one of many moments like this that took place at TwinTown Fitness during the Open this year, and I am happy that we were able to share them with you all.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to moving properly and safely. Nobody did anything foolish to get a few extra reps. Nobody sacrificed form or personal safety for a better score.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to reel yourself in and prevent losing form or taking shortcuts to shave time or get more reps when the clock starts. But we all know the consequences are not worth it. Let’s finish this year’s Open doing it the right way with quality movement.

Good luck crushing it tomorrow!

 

TwinTown Fitness Running Skill Series

Running_series

We run. We run for fun, to burn off stress, to shed some lbs. We run in CrossFit, in run clubs, in marathons. We have always run. But how do we become better runners? The running culture is based around volume. Unfortunately more miles does not equate to better performance. Running is a skill to be learned and continually refined, just like swimming or deadlifting. The same way we can inefficiently pick something up off the floor, we can run inefficiently. Inefficiency leads to injury, and injury leads to a breakdown in performance. The TwinTown Fitness Run Series was created to help you achieve greater running performance.

The approach is simple. We will help you achieve greater running performance and injury prevention by:

  • Preparing and maintaining the body for running through consistent mobility work and strengthening, uncovering and correcting old injuries and structural weaknesses
  • Teaching and promoting efficient running technique

In other words, we are going to fix and prevent aches and pain instead of pushing through them, and adjust running mechanics to minimize the stress placed on the bodies joints and tissues over thousands and thousands of steps.

Come join us. You’ll run better. You’ll feel better. Sign up here.

Keep It In Perspective

25160507793_9a6ed8e1e7_o

I’m writing this for me as much as I am for you.

I was emailing with a long-time member a couple weeks ago and he was explaining to me that a bunch of stuff had come up and he hadn’t been able to make it into the gym in a while. It happens – not the end of the world!

What was troubling to me was then he told me that since everything had calmed down, he was having some trouble getting back in because the thought of “starting over” was becoming more and more intimidating.

He didn’t want to come back and feel like he had regressed, or that he wasn’t going to live up to what he knows he is capable of in class. I’m paraphrasing a bit here, but I understood completely what he was telling me.

What we do at TwinTown is exercise. Yeah, we push you to go hard and we have members that are competitive people and talented athletes, but at the end of the day, we all just want to be in shape. When we lose sight of this as we get better, we begin to miss the forest for the trees and start setting ourselves up for certain disappointment at some point down the line.

Get in shape, challenge yourself to continually expand your capabilities, and set the bar high. But most importantly, enjoy what you’re doing and understand that it’s a process. Never let the time that you spend bettering yourself at the gym become a source of stress. We are not perfect and we shouldn’t expect that our time working out always be.

With the Open right on top of us, this drive to be superstars is probably more evident than ever. Keep the big picture in mind if you start to feel overwhelmed. It’s just exercise and you are already pretty damn good at it.

How Little Things Make Big Differences

1795897_1106266209391574_673943306945917366_o“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek small improvements one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens–and when it happens, it lasts.”- John Wooden

How can you apply this to your workouts?

Elite athletes excel at the little things. They don’t cheat efficiency. They put in the time needed on the basics and only then do they start to ramp up the intensity.

This is the only way you can have something last. You might be able to get away with bad form and still do really well, but it’s only a matter of time before it catches up to you.

If only we could all remember this when the clock starts each workout instead of throwing caution to the wind and just going as hard as possible.

Why not start today? Start with the basics. Do the little things right. If you can’t do the little things right, right away, then that is your starting point. Once you get that down, then you can ramp up the intensity, not the other way around.

How can you apply this to your mobility?

For those of you that were with us back in September, do you remember the Squatember Challenge? How comfortable were you in the bottom of your squat for ten minutes a day?

Personally speaking, it wasn’t very easy the first week. The second week was better, the third week was even better and the last week was awesome.

We did exactly what this quote says and little by little things got better, not at day two or three, but over time. Which means if you want something badly enough you will have to work for it.

Let’s say that you currently are experiencing shoulder pain. Each workout you are faced with two options: 1) you can gut it out and push through the discomfort hoping that it doesn’t getting any worse; 2) you can come into the gym early or stay late working on shoulder mobility and ask for a modification until your shoulder mobility improves or pain subsides.

This seems like an easy decision, but when you are faced with that cool looking workout that has overhead squats in it and you really want to do it, what are you going to do?

How can you apply this to your nutrition?

You don’t have to completely overhaul your diet to notice results. Well, for some of you, this probably is not a true statement, but for those of you who eat well during the week and go crazy on the weekends, there seems to be a glaring way to improve.

Instead of eating and drinking whatever you want on Friday and Saturday, and making that easy call to the local pizza shop for lunch on Sunday, try cutting this down to one day per week instead of the two and a half to three days of terrible eating.

You don’t have to be a complete saint, you can have fun too, but how fun is it when year after year nothing changes and you always feel the same way?

Once you make a little change, continue to do so in other more manageable ways each month, and at the end of the year, look at how far you have come.

How can you apply this to your life away from the gym?

Maybe a way to improve your lifestyle outside of the gym means having a better work-life balance. Instead of grinding through each day because you can, take a hour or two break to do something you enjoy or maybe that your significant other enjoys. Watch how you reduce your stress by doing this everyday over a period of time.

Maybe its shutting down the TV, computer and cell phone two hours before bed, and spending time with people or getting cozy to read a book. I was amazed at how much of an effect this had on me and that the results were almost immediate.

Maybe it’s just going to bed an hour earlier than you are now, or in the case of this quote, going to bed fifteen minutes earlier each week going so at the end of the month you have eased your way into going to bed one hour earlier. Watch how energized you will feel and how ready you are to get out and tackle the day.

There are many different areas in our day-to-day lives that this quote can help us slow down and do it the right way. How else can you make a change in your life by taking this simple advice?