What Are Your Goals For 2015?

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Sure, everyone wants to lose weight, drop pant sizes, feel great and just look the best they can overall; but as they say, “the devil is in the details.”

What happens when you do not have specific goals?

When goals aren’t specific, or when they do not have an end date, you are aimlessly moving in a direction which you might feel is the right way, but how do you know for sure? How do you measure progress? Are you actually making progress or are you regressing?

Why did Rocky Balboa always beat the can’t lose, on top of the world champions in the “Rocky” movies? Because he had one specific goal in mind: to dethrone the best. And to do so he would run over broken glass, climb through fire, scratch, claw, never give in, never quit, and go to hell and back to get there. You won’t have to fight Apollo Creed, Mr. T, or the Russian, Ivan Drago, to reach your goals, but you will need to approach them with the same dedication that Rocky had to becoming champion in order to achieve them.

Goals must be specific, so that you know exactly what they are and when you have reached them. I often hear people say, “I’m working out here just to maintain,” or “I’m just trying not to look any older than I already feel.” Maintain what? How you going to achieve feeling younger?

Goals must be meaningful. They must be something that you truly want and will work towards achieving. If need be, you can tie something to these to motivate you. For example, “I will buy myself that new pair of shoes if I can work my way up to getting that first muscle-up.”

Goals must be attainable. If I just started CrossFit and was working on ring rows and banded pull-ups, getting my first strict pull-up by the end of 2015 would be attainable.

Goals must be reasonable. If you just started Olympic lifting, and you have a tough time even supporting the technique bar overhead, your goal should not be to snatch 200 lb by the end of 2015. A reasonable goal would be to support an empty bar overhead with perfect form before the end of 2015.

There is a lot more to goals than just making them. To reach them you must WRITE THEM DOWN! You need to tell someone who will keep you accountable while working towards them. You must have an action plan and not just hope to get there by accident.

We as coaches would like to let you know that we aren’t just here to bark at you guys and expect you to do something we wouldn’t do ourselves. So here’s the deal. We have all come up with three goals that we will work towards achieving in 2015. We will post them on a wall in the gym and we need your help to keep us accountable.

Without further ado, here are the coaches’ goals for 2015:

Kayser

-       Snatch 185 lb
-       String together muscle-ups
-       Pistols on each leg

Lizzie

-       10 unbroken chest-to-deck push-ups
-       Strict pull-up
-       Complete my first WOD with lifting elements at Rx

Teddy

-       Earn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu purple belt
-       2k row under 7:00
-       Top 100 in my division/regions in the CrossFit Open

Joe W.

-       20 unbroken muscle-ups
-       Jerk 225 lb
-       Complete “King Kong” at Rx (3 rounds- 1- deadlift 455 lb, 2 cleans 250 lb, 3 muscle-ups, 4 HSPU)

Andy B.

-       Clean & jerk 265 lb
-       Handstand push-ups
-       Better lean body composition, less than 16%

Tracy

-       Legit chest-to-bar pull-ups
-       Deadlift 400 lb
-       Bodyweight clean & jerk

Ashley

-       Do a straddle press to handstand and a pike press to handstand
-       30 consecutive double-unders
-       5 consecutive muscle-ups

Emily

-       10 consecutive kipping pull-ups
-       Transition from firefly to handstand
-       Complete “Jerry” under 20:00

Peter

-       Snatch 200 lb
-       10 unbroken muscle-ups
-       3 consecutive freestanding handstand push-ups

Drew

-       Snatch 200 lb
-       Sub 5:10 mile
-       Back squat 375 lb

Clare

-       3 consecutive strict pull-ups
-       10 unbroken chest-to-deck push-ups
-       Clean & jerk 200 lb

Keela

-       Clean 200 lb
-       Rx WODs with ring muscle ups in them
-       Finish in the top 500 women in the North Central Region

Bobby

-       Sub 6 minute “Fran”
-       String together 3 muscle-ups
-       1 strict HSPU

Martha B.

-       100 unbroken double-unders
-       Pistols on each leg
-       10 minutes of hip and ankle mobility each day

Brock

-       Clean & jerk 315 lb
-       150 unbroken double-unders
-       30 pull-ups, 20 chest-to-bar pull-ups, 10 consecutive muscle-ups

We would like to know what you are working on as well, so we have created an email specifically for you to send us your goals to goals@twintownfitness.com. These will be posted up in the gym for everyone to see so make sure you spend some time thinking about what is important to you. When writing them please make them specific, measurable, attainable and reasonable.

There is more to reaching your goals than just writing them down. Stay tuned for a further breakdown of how to achieve your goals.

We all look forward to helping you work towards what drives you in 2015!

Crushing “Fight Gone Bad”

IMG_9685On Saturday, members of TwinTown Fitness took on the beast known as “Fight Gone Bad”, and you kicked some serious butt. It was awesome to see so many people give this workout everything they had from start to finish. A lot of you achieved personal bests, and a lot of you threw your hat into the ring for the first time. Great job accepting the challenge and rising to the occasion.

Beyond the tremendous athletic achievements of the day, something else stood out to me: all of you, whether before or after your heat, stood on the sidelines supporting your buddies. You cheered one another on and helped each other push through the pain. This show of support reinforced my belief that our community is truly special. We have a group of dedicated athletes who work their tails off and help each other push themselves to be their best. I could not be more proud of all of you.

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As coaches, we are truly fortunate to be surrounded by such an amazing group of people. For me, it makes this a dream job because it’s like being on a team again. Camaraderie like this is special because it is rare.

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I appreciate each one of you more than I could ever express here in words. You are an awesome group and I can’t wait to see you dominate our next challenge.

Play With the Hand You Have Been Dealt

10641030_884241811594016_3771034519819827184_nIf you have been to the gym in the past two months, you likely have seen this guy. He is the type of dude that will walk up to you when you walk in the door at 5:25am and introduce himself. He always has a confident, positive mood that makes people feel comfortable. His work ethic never waivers. He doesn’t sacrifice form to move faster, because he wants to get better.

This handsome gentleman is Scott McMahan. Scott has been an athlete most of his life. He waterskied for the University of Colorado all the way through college.

In the summer of 2009, while waterskiing, he was going around a buoy like he had a million times before when out of nowhere he felt a pop in his shoulder area. He tore his pectoralis minor right off his shoulder.

After the incident, Scott had a surgical consultation where the doctor said there wasn’t anything that could be done to reattach the muscle. In the doctor’s words, “it would be like sewing ground beef back onto a steak.”

The injury put him out for four months, where he did a lot of physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles. Due to his hard work and commitment to rigorous physical therapy, Scott still skis regularly and also competes from time to time.

He says that the injury hasn’t so much affected the pulling motion, but he feels pain and weakness during pushing movements like the bench press and push ups. Still, Scott hasn’t stopped working out since his injury.

What I really admire about Scott is that he doesn’t let his injury define him. He was dealt a bad hand but he chooses to work through it. Scott will always be successful because he chooses to see no other option.

Scott, it has been fun to have you as part of our community. Keep pushing yourself and having fun!

How is your relationship with sleep?

10653734_887950794556451_8639299496106600015_nWe have all heard the recommendations for the amount of sleep you should get nightly numerous times: between seven and nine hours depending on the individual and other variables involved.

If sleep were a line of credit, how often would you be borrowing against it for each hour you under slept?

Are you in serious sleep debt? Do you forget what it feels like to even get a night of “average sleep?”

Harvard Health Publications says, “Once sleep deprivation — with its fuzzy-headedness, irritability, and fatigue — has us in its sway, we can hardly recall what it’s like to be fully rested. And as the sleep debt mounts, the health consequences increase, putting us at growing risk for weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and memory loss.”

Studies done by Penn State University College of Medicine, talk about how we cannot fully recoup our Workweek Sleep Deficit just by sleeping in on the weekends and napping.

Another article by the “Sleep Doctor” himself, Michael J Breus, talks about a few other factors you are facing because of not getting the proper amount of sleep, including:

  • Diminished cognitive performance
  • Reduced alertness
  • Increased inflammation
  • Interference with healthy immune functions
  • Triggers metabolic changes
  • Impulse to overeat
  • Increased insulin resistance
  • Disruptive hormone levels
  • Elevated blood pressure

Now think about how this may affect you in the gym. Our workouts are demanding enough to stack the odds even more against us by not sleeping enough.

There are plenty of things that life can throw at us, but typically, for most of us, it is no more than a night or two off the beaten path of our normal sleep pattern (parents of new borns not included) that throw us off our game.

If you are looking for results in the gym, sleep should be pretty high on the totem pole of priorities. Help yourself out by going to bed around the same time every night. Stay away from electronics up to two hours before bedtime. Sleep in a cold dark room.

If you are no longer in college your motto shouldn’t still be, “I can sleep when I’m dead.” In this world of instant gratification, sacrifice an episode of Game of Thrones and set yourself up for success tomorrow!

Holiday nutrition game plan

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It’s that time of year again; the holidays are right around the corner!

The holidays are a fun time of year filled with family, friends and festivities, but they also present a challenge when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. Bad food choices are everywhere you go from late November through the new year. But if you come up with a game plan, and have self-discipline, this year’s holidays can be stress free when it comes to your diet.

Here are some tips to help you navigate the holidays and hit 2015 with your nutrition in check:

Don’t go it alone. Enlist a family member or friend and hold each other accountable for your holiday eating habits. This doesn’t mean guilt one another when you drink too much eggnog, but if you have someone you’re accountable to you might think twice before reaching for that second piece of pumpkin pie.

Moderation is key. It’s okay to eat bad food sparingly. Maybe one slice of pie per week, or whatever makes sense for your situation. Enjoy the holidays but don’t go off the deep end.

Work out. Stay active with backyard football games, hockey on the pond, family plank challenges, or whatever makes you sweat. In other words, don’t stuff your face and sit on the couch. Keep moving.

Drink a lot of water. Drink a glass of water before meals. Water is essential to digestion, but it also makes you feel full.

Opt for smaller portions and eat slowly. Try to fight the urge to go to pound town and inhale your food. Chew and enjoy your food.

Don’t binge on alcohol. Liquid calories are the worst and quickly derail your healthy nutrition habits.

Eat until you are satisfied, not full. After you eat, wait fifteen minutes and drink more water. Then, if you are still hungry, eat some more.

Don’t stress, it’s the holidays. Come up with a game plan to make good decisions and follow-through.

Stay tuned for details on our 2015 Nutrition Challenge.



Before the Bell: Keela’s Tips for Positive Self-Talk

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A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about TwinTowner’s self-talk Before the Bell. Another part of the survey I posted also asked people to reflect on whether they feel their self-talk helps or hinders their performance. The good news is that about seventy percent of people felt their self-talk helped their performance. However, that also means that nearly one third of our fellow gym mates feel that their self-talk either doesn’t benefit them or even hinders their performance.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” ― Henry Ford

We are all smart humans and recognize that self-talk does not directly and singularly equate to a positive outcome in the gym. We also know that “positive” doesn’t have to be synonymous with cheesy, uber optimistic statements. That is generally ineffective and simply exhausting. However, “positive” self-talk must align with your goals and the work you are putting in to achieve those goals. A disconnect between the two is counterproductive. So, yes, if you think you can or can’t- you’re right, but the footwork and the lip work must align.

There are lots of good reads out there that will give you tips and pointers on how to improve your positive self-talk in CrossFit. Here are some suggestions to add to that:

  • Consider your ultimate goal. What is the goal you have for that day: Finish a WOD Rx? Put together a larger set of push-ups? Get on a good sweat and forget about the stress from the day? Just plain finish? Then, decide on a positive self-talk statement that aligns with that goal.

  • Focus on creating a statement that is centered around what you can control: you, this WOD, this moment

  • If you’re visual, try writing the statement on your whiteboard before the workout. Anytime you find yourself saying something that doesn’t align with your goals, reference your chosen statement.

  • Still not working? BREATHE. When we are in that primal threat response mode, shallow, rapid breathing often accompany frantic thoughts. Make a conscious effort to breathe from your belly. It will help your brain slow down just enough to settle that stress response. Then, repeat your chosen positive self-talk statement again and get back to work!

Just like working on all the physical skills in CrossFit, reframing self-talk takes practice, repetition, faces set-backs, and external variables inevitably get in the way at some point. Be patient with yourself and keep working on it!

Abdullahi Abdi has stick-to-itiveness

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Stick-to-itiveness: the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult or unpleasant.

This is the word that comes to mind when I think of Abdullahi Abdi, who has been with us for almost three months now. Since day one, he has brought a good coachable attitude to the gym.

When he first came in it showed incredible courage, because I know that CrossFit, and everything we do, was something Abdi had never encountered before. I remember the first time that he did air squats in class. He came nowhere near parallel, all his weight was balancing in his toes and he looked like he was going to injure himself.

Squats were very difficult in the beginning, but kettlebell swings presented an even bigger obstacle. I could tell it was extremely frustrating for him to learn. We had him using the smallest kettlebell and it felt like the timing wasn’t going to ever click. His spine position was all over the place, he couldn’t send his hips back, lat engagement was nowhere to be found, and the list goes on.

Even though I let doubt slip into my mind, I know that Abdi didn’t. He has bought into the foundations programming. He shows up with his hard hat on ready to work each and every time he comes to the gym.

The strides that Abdi has made are downright incredible. His squats are well below parallel while staying in his heels now. His kettlebell swings have improved to a point I thought would take him two years to get to. His determination to get better at everything he does is an inspiration to all.

Stick-to-ititveness. Do you have it?

 

Before the Bell

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One month ago, coach Keela wrote a post in which she asked members of TwinTown Fitness what kind of self-talk they experienced before the bell rang to start a workout. Here’s what Keela found:

So, what’s going on in TwinTowners’ minds before the bell?

Think about this, the next time you are in a class with eight other fellow athletes, here’s the self-talk flooding everyones’ heads at, “Starting in ten!”

  • 31% Instructional: these are the people who stick in their “rational” brains and talk form, count reps, sending simple affirming statements to themselves like, “Ok, just 3 easy rounds.  Get down on your squats every time.”
  • 19% Motivational: these were the adrenaline-charged, enthusiastic “Bring it on! I’m going to kill this!” type people who may or may not also be motivating themselves with the idea of rewarding with food (ice cream and tacos were favorites to earn!)
  • 17% Questioners: these are the people whose talk was full of self-doubt or a variety of statements/questions that started with, “I can’t…” “I don’t want to…” or “Why do I…”
  • 10% “I have to pee”-ers: these people think about and/or feel like the have to pee (for the 8th time), puke, or, um, otherwise…
  • 8% Nothing-ers: these people report that they say nothing to themselves before or during. Nada.
  • 6% Competitive and/or Comparative: these people either use their self talk to compete with others in class and/or make comparisons of their performance to others. “Alright, stay on pace with him/her!”
  • 4 % Suckers: these people have statements involving various forms of the word ‘suck.’ They are either talking about the WOD itself or referencing the feeling the WOD is eliciting in them.  Use your imagination…
  • 2 % Comedians: these people crack internal jokes to distract from the inevitable.
  • 2% Skippers: these people think about and contemplate skipping reps or cheating. “If I just skip a few reps, no one will notice.  No, I should do them all!  Well, maybe- I don’t want to be last… again…”

So, there you have it.  TwinTowners before the bell. Which category do you fall into? More than one?

Next time, I’ll get into where our heads are at in the dark place of the WOD. I’ll also explore the results around TwinTowners’ self-assessment of whether we believe our current self-talk helps or hinders performance as well as tips and advice on how to reframe negative or hindering self-talk.

Stay tuned…

Get Like Carla

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Carla has been a staple in TwinTown classes for a long time. If you’re predominantly an evening-goer as she is, it would be impossible for you to not have taken class with her at some point.

Never one to skip class, shy away from a tough workout, or avoid a new challenge, Carla has not only improved a great deal since starting with us, but is continually looking for ways to further her progress.

One specific instance perfectly illustrates the drive that I see in Carla.

A few weeks back we were working on overhead squats, a movement that is a significant challenge for even long-time CrossFitters, and I had offered up a substitution for anyone that wasn’t ready or able to take on this technical lift.

As I was walking around checking on the athletes’ progress, I noticed that Carla was struggling a bit and told her that I thought it would be best to either use the substitution, or continue to work on her form with a training bar or PVC pipe. I’ll never forget her reaction. She looked me dead in the eyes and told me that she was “NOT interested in a substitution!”

Carla spent the rest of class taking on the lift with no more than 15 pounds. She could have taken the momentary satisfaction of working with a much heavier weight on a lift that she could handle more easily, but she instead took a more humbling path and spent time working at something that she has been wanting to improve at for some time.

No, she didn’t master the overhead squat by the end of class. She did however get better at it. This very much sums up the work ethic that I see in Carla when I have the pleasure of coaching her in class. Carla continually works her butt off, takes on new challenges, and is willing to put pride aside in the name of progress when she needs to.

Carla, you’re an inspiration to us all and I can’t wait to see your skills continue to improve even more (especially in those overhead squats!).

Cori Van Brunt Has Grit

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The on-boarding platform for new clients at TwinTown Fitness is our Foundations program. 

Half of Foundations is learning to move your body safely, solidifying your technique, before applying heavier weights to the equation.

This is the easy half.

The other half cannot be taught.

It is a combination of a strong mental attitude, an open mind, and taking coaching cues while pushing outside your comfort zone.

This takes grit.

Four months ago this week, Cori Van Brunt joined our TwinTown Fitness team. Cori exemplifies what it takes to be a successful Foundations athlete.

When Cori first joined, she was nowhere near getting to parallel, let alone below parallel, on her squat. 

Kettlebell swings caused her to severely round her back, and she could not engage her lats on the downswing.

Core stability seemed more like a distant dream than a reachable reality.

Wow! What a difference a few months makes.

Cori’s squat depth is awesome, and she is able to keep her chest vertical throughout.

Her kettlebell swings are a thing of beauty and should be posted on YouTube as a “how to swing a kettlebell properly” tutorial.

And if I were given the choice to have a plank off  with Cori, or walk away, I would sprint in the other direction.

As coaches, athletes like Cori make our job simple. She makes everyone around her better. There might be a touch of competitiveness involved, as well!

From all of the coaches at TwinTown Fitness, thank you for all your hard work, Cori. It is a true pleasure to have you as part of our community.

Keep working hard!