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!

Happy Trails, Addi!

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The worst part of our job at TwinTown Fitness is losing a good person when they move. Recently, Addi Rizvi moved to Washington state and we lost a great member of our community, and this one is going to hurt for a while.

Sometimes, in this line of work, you come across someone who inspires others without intending to. The type of person who works hard every time they enter the gym, has an infectiously positive attitude, and is just fun to be around. Not just at the gym, but in all facets of life. Spend just a little time with Addi and you will realize he is such a person.

We will miss seeing Addi in the gym on a regular basis dominating WODs and pushing those around him to be better. Our community’s loss is Spokane’s gain, and they are getting a great man.

Addi, we wish you, Ann, and the kids health and happiness. Come back to visit soon!

A Future CrossFit Champion Is Born

Ethan Harling

I am pleased to announce that on Wednesday, March 18, at 6:19 AM Coach Brock and his wife Shannon welcomed their first child, Ethan Kevin Harling!

Weighing in at seven pounds, two ounces, the future heartthrob joined the world happy and healthy. Everyone is at home doing great!

Hopefully he takes after his mother who is smart, kind, caring, and tough as nails. According to Brock, Shannon was a champion throughout the birthing process, which comes as no surprise to those who know her.

Shannon and Ethan

But if Ethan is anything like his old man, he’ll be juking hockey defenders out of their jocks, driving a golf ball three hundred plus yards, and snatching two hundred pounds in no time.

Brock and Ethan

Ethan is one fortunate little dude because his parents are two of the best people I know and he will be showered with love.

We are all ecstatic for you two and wish you much happiness on your amazing journey as new parents! Much love from the TTF community!

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!

Kipping Clinic

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Do you want to learn the kipping pull-up? Does one of your 2015 goals involve kipping pull-ups? Do you want to crush WODs at RX?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’re in luck! We are holding a kipping clinic on Saturday, March 14 at 1:00PM.

Spend an hour working on the fundamentals of the kipping pull-up and learn this incredibly important skill.

Sign up and own pull-ups every time they show up in a WOD.

More Than Tough

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If you attend our evening classes, you surely know Cathy. She has been a staple at TwinTown for almost as long as we’ve been open, and has since proven herself to be one of the toughest people I know.

The success that she has pushed herself to achieve is almost hard to comprehend. It’s one thing to be a motivated person and allow a coach to push you, but to have an internal drive that pushes you the distance that it has for her is truly remarkable. Those of you that have seen the transformation over the years know exactly what I’m talking about.

Achieving the amazing weight loss that she has is worthy of all given praise, but I’ve been able to watch a shift in her that is much more than just a transformation in her physical body. She is now the happiest I have ever seen her, her confidence is at a (seemingly) all time high, and there is no challenge she won’t take on.

While we are fortunate to have many very driven members at our gym, Cathy still manages to stand out even amongst such a motivated group. Never one to make excuses, she regularly asks for travel workouts so she can stay on track even when she’s out of town. While some might welcome the opportunity to have an excuse to miss some gym time, she stays responsible for her own goals and pushes herself to achieve them – no matter what.

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Cathy is the definition of resilient. In my time working with her, I have seen her have her fair share of ups and downs. Whether the kind of trouble that life sometimes throws your way, or a set-back in the gym, nothing has taken her eyes off the prize. Even when things are not going her way, she always shows up with a smile on her face, ready to get to work.

There just aren’t enough good things to be said about Cathy. She is a hero of mine and a constant source of inspiration to those around her. I am SO proud of her and all that she has accomplished, and I am honored to be able to work with her on a regular basis.

8 Week Pull-Up/Push-up Program

10430456_938849396133257_2568539751138169983_nDo you remember what your 2015 fitness goals are? How are they going? Have you made progress? Have you started to work towards conquering them?

Out of everyone who submitted there goals, “strict pull-ups” where the top goal with 50% of you wanting to improve them, or in most cases to be able to do them without any assistance.

Another 25% of you hope to be able to improve on your pushups or to ditch those abmats for good.

Instead of running clinics on these movements like we are doing for most, if not all of the rest of people’s goals, starting March 1st we will be rolling out a Pull-up/Pushup Program.

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Even of you did not submit a goal on either of these elements, and just want to get better at them, you are ALL welcome to participate.

The cost of this program will only be the time that you need to put in to get the results you want, which in turn will be the results you deserve.

The program will run for 8 weeks, with different requirements depending where your initial test results are.

The initial test for pull-ups will be: 1) Set of 5 with the least amount of band resistance. 2) If you can do pull-ups without band assistance, then you will record a max effort set of strict pull-ups.

The initial test for pushups will be: 1) Set of 10 with the least amount of abmats possible. 2) If you are already doing chest-to-deck pushups, then you will record a max effort set of chest-to-deck pushups.

After you record your initial test results the program will look like:

-Pull-ups- You will do 3×3 with the least resistance that you can or, if you are not using resistance you will do 3×5 for the entire first week every time that you come into the gym (either before of after workouts)

-Pushups- You will do 3×10 with the least amount of abmats that you can or, if you are not using abmats you will also do 3×10 EVERYDAY at home or when you are at the gym.

So to recap, Pullups will take place at the gym when you come to workout (the more days you come, the more practice/the better you will get at them). Pushups will take place EVERYDAY regardless of where you do them.

You are allowed to take as much rest as needed between sets. If you are doing your pull-ups before or after class, you must stay out of the way of the class. If they are using the pull-up bars, then you will have to wait.

The full 8 week schedule will be sent to all participants, and will also be posted around the gym so you know what to do at all times.

If you would like to be part of this let us know, email goals@twintownfitness.com and let us know what your initial test results are for both pull-ups and pushups. Also, indicate what type of assistance you used. We will be discussing this further in our daily announcements and all coaches will be able to answer questions you have.

Last but not least, this program will conclude on April 25th, where we will retest both of these elements. Coincidentally, April 25th is exactly one month before Memorial Day (March, 25th) this year, where we will be participating in the workout “Murph”!

Spoiler alert, there will be a pull-up kipping clinic between the end of this program and “Murph” to really hone in your skills, so that you can PR or participate for the first time in this event.

Eat Well Challenge Wrap-up

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This past Sunday marks the last day of our Eat Well Challenge, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Six weeks of squeaky clean eating is no easy task, but the group stuck with it and we had almost 50 people see the challenge through to completion!

The idea behind Eat Well was not just to provide some quick dietary changes and momentary results, but instead to leave our members with something that they will be able to use to inform their eating choices for the rest of their lives.

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On our last night, we went around the room and each person said a few words about their experience throughout the challenge. Accomplishments ranging from weight loss (up to 25 pounds for some people!), to increased performance in the gym, to a better feeling of control over their own bodies were just a few of the mentioned results. Hearing all the different varieties of success was truly amazing to hear.

Not only was the group able to end the challenge on a high note because of their progress, but everyone also left with a lasting knowledge of how they need to eat to feel best.

Everyone’s hard work and dedication to themselves and the rest of the group made this a remarkable experience to be a part of, and I am excited at the thought of kicking off another in the future.

Congrats to all of the participants on all your dedication and success!

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!