Congrats Freeze Fest Competitors!

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It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.  - Teddy Roosevelt

Biggest ups to the TwinTowners who competed at Freeze Fest this weekend. Addi Rizvi, Amanda Redepenning, Brett Burgstahler, Josh Peterson, Lindsey Burstahler, Matt Onken, Shane Christenson, and Tracy Gabrelcik, we are proud of you!

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.

Why I Eat Rice

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I can’t help but laugh as I write this. It’s ok if you’re laughing too. Let’s face it. Asian people eat a lot of rice.

But for me it was not always thus. When I first discovered the Paleolithic nutrition plan, I was neurotically strict.

No grains means no grains, right? I was so strict that I would discard the rice bowl at the Korean BBQ. I was that guy.

But something always bugged me about the eliminationist aspect of Paleo. Ethnic differences are a matter of evolutionary forces. I don’t look like other people. Maybe I shouldn’t eat like other people?

It’s not so far-fetched. Geneticists know that most Asians lack the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol. (Which explains the red, puffy faces you see at the karaoke bar) If most Asians don’t tolerate alcohol is it so unreasonable to think that most Asians do tolerate rice?

My theory was put to the test the first time I visited my mom after going Paleo. In my mother’s house you do not refuse food. So I ate the rice she put in front of me, convinced that I would be convulsed and retching into the toilet within minutes.

Lo and behold, I was fine. I did not get a headache and drive my car into a tree. My butt didn’t explode. Cool.

In the ensuing months I learned something very important. Rice doesn’t make me sick but it does make me fat. I eat rice sparingly now, primarily in the context of a recovery meal, when I am very motivated to get my insulin levels up.

The main point I want to make here is that I only made this discovery because I started from a clean slate. I knew what it felt like to be on a clean diet so I had a point of reference when I started to introduce a questionable food.

If you want to learn how to thrive; if you are sick of one-size-fits-all diets, join us in our Eat Well challenge. The challenge is six weeks long. The first four weeks will be a reset where we rid our diets of foods that are known to be problematic (think processed foods). During the final two weeks we will systematically reintroduce the foods we eliminated to see how our bodies react to them.

It’s going to be awesome. Register here.

Eat Well – The Nutritional Challenge That YOU Need

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Eating well is a constant challenge. We live in a world where gluttony is the norm and the worst food for you is the cheapest to get and easiest to find. Despite the challenges that eating well presents, there truly are countless benefits for those dedicated to putting their diet first.

This January we are kicking off our first nutritional challenge in quite some time. Our past events were plenty successful, but unfortunately the benefits were usually only as long-lasting as the challenge itself. So this time we are taking a slightly different approach.

Everyone’s body reacts differently to certain foods. A certain food might sit perfectly fine with some, while leaving others with major digestive issues. It is crucial to plan for these differences. This is why we will follow an approach outlined in Chris Kresser’s book Your Personal Paleo Code, where we will use the foundations of the paleo diet to figure out which foods work best for you.

The challenge will last six weeks. During the first four weeks we will reset our diets by eliminating anything that could be problematic. The last two weeks will be a trial period where we systematically reintroduce the foods that have been removed to see how our bodies tolerate them after we’ve gone without them for a month.

I’ll be the first to admit that this will not be easy. However, the knowledge that you will leave with at the end of the six weeks is something that you can use to inform your eating choices for the rest of your life. Worth it? I think so.

Preparation and community are the two pieces that will make or break our collective success, so we are going to host group gatherings every Sunday night to hang out, eat amazing food, and answer questions that come up over the previous week.

We are fortunate enough to have our friends at Origin Meals on board to help too. Everyone that signs up will get three pre-made, challenge-approved meals on the night of our first get-together. Origin Meals will also provide information about how their meal plans work, and will supply free samples of their culinary awesomeness.

We will provide all of the details on what you can and cannot eat at the opening night get-together of the challenge. My challenge to you: sign up!

Here are the details:

Sign up on Zen Planner
$50/person (includes introductory week meals from Origin)
Opening night – Sunday Jan. 4, 6:00pm
Superbowl party – Sunday Jan. 25, 5:00pm
Closing Party – Saturday Feb. 14, 4:00pm
Weekly get togethers will be on Sundays at 6:00pm throughout.

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.

Why Molly is Great

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Molly has been a part of the TwinTown community for the past six months. If you have been in a class with her, you probably already know why she’s great. If you haven’t, well then, let me tell you.

The spirit that she brings with her to class is first and foremost – I have just never seen her not happy, and it is contagious in the best way. Molly shows up ready to work, every time. Even before taking on Fran last week (which she clobbered, by the way), she was all smiles and ready to go.

As far as gym-specific progress, Molly is all over it. She is steadily making small tweaks and improvements to her lifts, and watching her numbers go up in the exact, attainable ways we want to see them rise. She is also now just crushing pull-ups without any problem. When she first started she had yet to get them down. After a brief one-on-one with coach Joe, and some persistent practice, Molly is now among the top finishers in our pull-up workouts. Her first swing at Fran as prescribed was in 6:02?! Come on!

Keep up the hard work, Molly. We are all really excited to watch your progress continue!

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!

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!