We Wouldn’t Trade You Guys For The World

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In our day-to-day endeavors at the gym, as coaches, we have many things that a lot of gyms and businesses would be really jealous of. We share in the victories and challenges that you all face each day.

But here is the kicker, you guys grind it out day-in and day-out because you want to, not because you have to. There is no monetary reward for what you do. This consistency is intrinsic, and is what makes it so beautiful to watch and be a part of.

You guys show the heart and determination that I have only seen in organized athletics. The type of work ethic where you don’t want to let the guy or girl next to you down. Work ethic where you push yourself to the brink of failure, to complete exhaustion, and sometimes to the point of barfing.

We as coaches may not express it enough, but you make our jobs so rewarding. The thing that pushes what we have here to the next level is our community. And that is one hundred percent you guys!

In the past few weeks we have seen so many inspiring pictures, videos and posts from you guys. Here are a few of them: “There’s No Crying in CrossFit”“How to Become a Better American in 39 Minutes”“CrossFit Confessions”.

We would not trade you guys for the world. Thank you for those of you that have shared what this place means to you, and we know there are a whole lot more of you than we displayed here!

Taking His Medicine

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In golf, the term “taking your medicine” means chipping out into the fairway instead of trying that heroic shot between ten trees for the one percent chance of hitting the green.

It leaves a sour taste in your mouth to do the right thing, but at least you live to fight another day

Here at TwinTown, one of our members took his medicine and now is reaping the benefits. If you come to the gym in the wee hours of the 5:30 & 6:30am classes, you know who Scott Pollack is

Recently, I asked Scott to tell me about his journey from when he started CrossFit until now. I’m going to let him tell you how it all went down in his words.

“I started at TwinTown in February of 2013. In June of that year, I had to stop with an injury. I have a bone spur in the channel where the nerve root leaves my spinal column and starts to branch out in my neural network. There’s also some disk degeneration that causes narrowing of the channel that houses the nerve root around my C5 vertebra. Most people have disk degeneration of some kind. Disks stop receiving look during our early teenage years. The disks crack, leak fluid, and compress over time, especially if you’ve lived an active life.

Somehow I banged the nerve. I had immediate and constant tingling in my thumb and fingers, traveling up my arm the pain was less frequent, but more intense. I also had weakness and atrophy in my right arm – two neurological red flags. I went from being able to do scores of pushups to not being able to do a single one. I had an epidural injection of a steroid into my spinal column which relieved the symptoms. I didn’t know if I’d need spinal surgery. One doctor suggested I not ever lift anything more than 5 lbs. (A gallon of milk weighs 8.3 lbs.) Another told me his brother had a similar injury. He recovered and was able to resume all the activities he had previously enjoyed. It never happened to him again. He told me to go SLOWLY and LISTEN to my body. I decided to take this course, even though it went against my cement headed nature. (Surprisingly, the doctors let me play hockey. I wasn’t going to question it.)

I went to physical therapy, spending time in traction and doing exercises to strengthen all those stabilizing muscles in my back and neck. I worked a lot with thera-bands and a Swiss ball. Next I started doing yoga. Eventually, I felt well enough to ask Kayser for CrossFit style workouts that I could do at home. I started doing them in February of 2014. I weighed 278 lbs – too many pints of Ben and Jerry’s and too many pints of beer.

By summer of 2014, I felt well enough to return to the gym. I started in foundations 3x/week in July of 2014, determined to work on my form and to continue to strengthen all those stabilizing muscles that would help me do the required movements in a biomechanically sound way. I wanted to go really slowly as my doctor suggested. I stayed in foundations until February of 2015, far longer than most. It took me that long to pass the dumbbell push and pull, which was testing all those atrophied muscles from my injury. During the early part of 2015 I also did the nutrition challenge. The results speak for themselves. I now weigh 228, so I’ve lost an even 50 lbs. since February of 2014. My blood sugar went from pre-diabetic to normal levels. My cholesterol went from elevated to normal. I can now string together double-unders and I did my first unassisted pull-up since the early 1990s.

I continue to try to go slowly and focus on form. In the long run I’ll make more progress by going slowly and avoiding the injury/recovery/starting over cycle.

I’d also like to thank the coaches who hung in with me during my recovery. I’d only worked out for five months and then took me almost a year to rejoin the gym. They were supportive throughout. Getting back was important. I love the TTFitness community.”

Scott exemplifies what it’s like to have a goal in mind, to put it out there and then have the dedication and determination to reach it. Make sure to give Scott a pat on the back when you see him.

Members like Scott make this community what it is. We love having you as part of our family Scott! Keep working hard and keep reaching for those goals!

Put Your Head Down And Go To Work Like Tom

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Tom Huynh has been a staple at TwinTown Fitness since 2012. He shows up with his helmet on and his chinstrap buckled, leading by example every time he comes to the gym.

Tom never complains or takes the easy road. No, Tom pushes himself and tests his limits. You have probably seen him on the ground in a puddle of sweat and pain after just giving it his all in a workout. This is the only way Tom knows how to work when he hits the mat: 100% or nothing. It is inspirational to watch for members and coaches alike.

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Tom’s work ethic, grit and desire to improve make him a dream to coach.

Tom, you put the “beast” in beast-mode!

Why meatheads need yoga

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Can you deadlift 400 pounds, but not touch your toes? Are you able to do dozens of pull-ups, but unable to reach your back in the shower? Are pistols and handstands out of the question because it is uncomfortable or impossible due to range of motion deficiencies?

How are your overhead squats? Are you able to keep your heals on the ground, getting full depth on your squat, all while keeping the weight centered over your head?

Some, or should I say a lot of us laugh or snicker when asked how often we do mobility or yoga. But we will puff our chests out and brag about the countless hours of lifting that we have done in the past week.

I’m going to let you in on a secret. The difference between those who can consistently snatch 200+ pounds isn’t strength, but flexibility.

I would bet on someone with mediocre strength and good mobility, over someone with great strength and poor mobility any day. Why? Because a high-powered athlete with poor range-of-motion is going to be nursing injuries on the sideline.

What does the Eat Well challenge have to do with my mobility?

For those of us that participated in the Eat Well challenge, not only did we improve our diet and overall health, but more importantly we learned the power of discipline. We saw the effect of our channeled energy towards one main goal. We now know what foods our bodies can tolerate, and which ones we cannot.

The Eat Well challenge had no shortcuts. There wasn’t instant gratification in the sense of that quick fix, like you get from that slice of cherry cheesecake.

You had to put in your time, punching the clock day in and day out, as you marched towards day 45 where your goal would be complete.

I dare you to do the same with your mobility!

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My best recommendation would be to go to a yoga class. This takes the guess work out of trying to figure out what to do, for us meatheads out there.

One or two yoga classes will not give you a bodyweight snatch. But over time an active yoga practice will give you quicker recovery, better focus, increased balance and fewer injuries that keep you from WOD’ing. The list of benefits goes on.

Just know that you have to put your time in. Yes, you will feel amazing when you walk out of yoga each and every time, but the gains pay for themselves.

Anne Carlson: Fighter, Survivor, Winner

 

 

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Last September, Anne Carlson showed up to one of our Saturday introductory classes and immediately filled the room with her positive energy.

During the next hour of the intro class I learned that Anne is a fighter, a cancer survivor, and a winner in every sense of the word.

Before we started the Tabata sit-up workout, Anne told me that due to cancer she doesn’t have ab muscles, and she struggles with sit-ups. Before I could offer her a modification, Anne grabbed an ab mat and plopped down next to everyone else.

Watching her fight for each rep for the next four minutes was one of the most awesome things I have witnessed as a coach. Her attitude made everyone else in that room aspire to be great for that workout.

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Since joining TwinTown, Anne has continued to impress and inspire everyone around her with her drive and positive attitude. She refuses to give up and pushes herself to be great. I wish I could bottle what she has and give it away because most people, myself included, lack her grit and determination.

Within the first minuter of meeting Anne I knew she would be a great addition to our terrific community. After the hour-long class I was hoping that she would join the gym. Now, I can’t wait to see her walk into my class and watch her warm smile, positivity and determination to get better inspire everyone to dig deep and work harder.

You rock, Anne!

Chase Anderson’s One Two Punch

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How do you attend twenty-two classes in thirty days?

There are two different approaches.

1) Yeah, many people can probably push themselves to make it to class three out of four days for a month. But what they may find is that they are not recovering as they wish, they feel over-trained, or they develop nagging injuries.

2) You can work smart and work hard, like Chase Anderson. Chase sprinkles in 1-2 yoga classes per week into his attendance, so that he can keep WODing. If you look at Chase’s strength, mobility and recovery dials, they are all pointed north.

Chase started off in our Boot Camp program, and in December decided to give Foundations and Yoga a try. He has not taken his foot off the gas or looked back yet.

He is the perfect example of allowing the programs to work for him. He moves safely and intentionally in class without compromising his form.

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Chase did not take any short cuts. He put in his time in Boot Camp, passed his Foundations screen on his first try, but stayed in Foundations for 2 weeks to learn the movements and our crazy acronyms/lingo while hitting up Yoga. Now he is beasting out in WOD classes.

If you want to steadily improve, take the Chase Anderson approach. Don’t sacrifice form to be one second faster or put up extra pounds. Help your body recover and mobilize properly by going to Yoga (oh and in case you don’t know, Yoga also helps you recharge mentally). Add this to an already awesome work ethic and you will become a coachable athlete with maximal potential.

Keep up the great work Chase. We love having you as part of our TwinTown family!

One Step At A Time

10422080_942381635780033_319106715722349795_nOf the people who submitted their goals for the New Year, 20% of you eluded to wanting to improve your body composition. Countless others have mentioned wanting to improve their body comp in class and one-on-one meetings.

For those of you not doing the Eat Well Challenge, what is your game plan? Do you have one?

Does losing weight, increasing lean muscle mass, decreasing body fat, or whatever your specific goal, really matter to you?

Or was it just a logical goal to put down that is more wishful thinking than anything, and if you happen to stumble across it through 2015 it would be a job well done?

One month of the year is already past us, some who started off on the right track have now resorted to their old ways because it is comfortable common ground that they have to put very little time and energy into doing.

If you haven’t read coach Kayser’s blog post from last week, do so. To echo what he is saying in four words, “nothing good comes easy”.

Isn’t that true for anything that you have accomplished in life? Don’t you feel great when all of your hard work has paid off and you achieve what you put so much effort in to?

Sure we all want to win the lottery, but you have a better chance of being struck by lightning, so why not have a backup plan.

Whatever your goal is around body composition, does it seem like an insurmountable mountain to climb? Does the thought of it alone just depress you or make you nervous to even take the first step?

One of the great life lessons that I have learned from this Eat Well Challenge, is just that- you need to take the first step. Personally speaking, and you can ask my wife or any of the coaches how nervous I was to begin this challenge, I was actually more scared of doing this challenge than taking a step into fatherhood, which is now around five weeks away.

How foolish! Looking back the thought of not being able to order that pizza or grab a fresh pack of Swedish fish whenever I wanted was terrifying! I now know how stupid I was for saying and thinking that way.

For the past five weeks, I have told myself just to keep taking that next step; keep putting yourself in smart situations; keep your eye on the prize.

I can honestly say that I feel the best that I EVER have! Not only because of my physical health, but because I have done what I said I was going to do. I did not take the easy way out. Mentally I feel as strong as ever, because I know how hard I worked in just this short amount of time to get to where I am. I would not have changed a thing!

What is holding you back from getting started on your pathway to achieving your body compostion goals? Fear, procrastination, laziness? Ditch your excuses and get a game plan together.

If you need help with putting together a plan or being held accountable, hit up your personal coach.

Take the first step towards climbing that mountain in your life. Don’t look back; keep taking those small steps, all while keeping your eye on the prize!

Getting Better and Better

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I’m just going to start this by saying that Larry is the man. If you’re a morning-goer, you probably already know what makes him so great. I will elaborate for those that aren’t so in the know.

I remember when I did an intro with Larry. He got done with the workout and was almost immediately asking for more. He wanted to figure out his kipping so he could be more efficient with his pull-ups and was hungry to learn how to make it happen. That same passion is still in him and I know it will continue to push the boundaries of what he can do.

I had the chance to coach Larry through Fran back at the start of December. This is a notoriously fast, but tough workout that almost every CrossFitter fears. Larry didn’t find some magic way of outsmarting this workout, but he did impress me with his relentlessness. He got his butt kicked like everyone else did, but not once did he look like he was in over his head. He worked methodically, with amazing form, blew his old best completely out of the water, and couldn’t have been a better example of how to work hard.

He is also one of a very few badass people that commute to the gym everyday on a bike. He rides in for our early morning classes and is still the first one there – all year round! Think about that the next time you’re lying in bed thinking about how hard it is going to be to get up and drive in.

Keep doing what you do, Larry. You’re an inspiration to us all.

Just Show Up

10917440_927878980563632_32964233361846055_nFor the past few weeks we have spent time figuring out our 2015 goals; goals that we would move mountains to achieve. Prepare for victory by breaking down these goals into not so overwhelming steps.

You have goals. Now what?

Now it’s time to walk the walk and do what you said you were going to do. A lot of us make it a huge deal to have actionable steps broken down so much that you almost forget about what your trying to achieve in the first place. Don’t over think it.

1) Just show up.

2) Track your progress.

3) Watch the great results you’ll get just from following the weekly programming.

Just show up does not mean come when you feel like it or when it’s convenient. It means plan out your week in advance, come to the amount of classes you committed to, and move towards your fitness goals. Personally speaking, I plan the rest of my day around when I am going to workout, because it is that important to me. I assume that most of you fall into this category yourselves. You can choose to make it a habit or a hobby.

Track your progress does not mean that you gauge where you think your athletic abilities are in your head. It means that the first thing you do when you get done with your workout, yes before you drink your muscle powder shake, log your results into Beyond the Whiteboard. This is not optional. You are all at this gym for a reason; track your workouts! We all have smartphones that have the Beyond the Whiteboard app., and we now have a kiosk located by the door where you can enter your scores.

Beyond the Whiteboard put out a blog post that talks about tracking how much you come to the gym per week, per month, and per year. If you logged your 2014 workouts, it will show how you stack up from an attendance standpoint, right on the home screen of the app.

Showing up is ninety percent of the battle. The other ten percent is making a plan and executing.

If you need help breaking down the goals you’ve made into how you can work towards achieving them, please let your coach know and we will tailor a plan for you.

In 2015 be intentional with your health. Plan when you are going to workout. Show up and track your progress!

If you have not yet submitted your goals to goals@twintownfitness.com, please do so by Sunday, January 11th.

Prepare for Victory

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Last week we went over how to go about choosing goals for the New Year.

If you really want to achieve your goals you need to be specific, and also have something that is reasonable, measurable, and attainable. Pick something that is going to drive you until you have achieved it.

Do you have an eerie feeling when you think about your goals? Oh man, why did I tell everyone what I want to work on, because I don’t even know how to get there? I’m not even sure where to start?

Any goal that has ever been written looks overwhelming to begin with, so thats why it is important to break them down into small actionable steps. There was a great article on TED Talks earlier this week, where Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist at Stanford University, mentioned to focus on the process, not the outcome.

“People often get lost thinking they have to change everything all at once,” says McGonigal. “But small changes can pave the way for bigger changes.” Ask yourself, what is the smallest thing I can do today that helps me reach my goal? For example, if you’re shy and you want to be more outgoing, you might accept someone’s invitation to lunch or say hi to someone you usually walk past in the hallway. From there, just follow the breadcrumbs — one small choice after another.

“You can make very, very small changes that are consistent with your big goals without having to understand how you’re going to get to the endgame,” says McGonigal. If you make daily choices that are consistent with your goal over and over again, you will eventually reach it

If your goal is to do one strict pull-up, actionable steps may start with nothing but ring rows for the first 2 months of the year. While doing your ring rows you can constantly challenge yourself, but you have to make a conscious effort to do so. Start your ring rows at a forty-five degree angle to the floor and slowly inch your way closer to parallel  to the floor.

The next step would be to move to banded pull-ups. You may have to work on them on your own time, before or after class. I promise that these guys will not care, as long as you stay out of the way. Everyday that you enter the gym, do not leave until you have done five sets of five pull-ups. Every week or so shoot to decrease the tension of band that you use.

There are many areas in which you can improve towards getting that pull-up. If you need help with it ask a coach to put together a plan with you.

In addition to breaking your goals down into actionable steps, there are other ways to move towards reaching your goals. Maybe your goal is to be able to do a snatch with an empty bar, but you lack the shoulder mobility to do so. Something that you need to improve would be your mobility. Your coach can help you with movements to increase range of motion. Yoga should be a part of everyone’s weekly routine if you lack the discipline to spend adequate time on mobility.

Lastly, just by coming to class consistently our programming will help you in ways that you will only notice when you start tracking your progress. And unless you are a direct descendant of Nostradamus, and you can accurately predict what your fitness level is going to be at any given time, it is mandatory that you enter every score into Beyond the Whiteboard!

It is not too late to get your goals for 2015 sent to us. Email them to goals@twintownfitness.com