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.

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!

Beginner’s Mind

shoshinIn some ways experience is a burden.

First, the longer you do something the more preconceptions you have about it. It’s difficult to learn if you think you have all the answers. How great would it be to let go of your mental clutter so you can be eager and inquisitive again?

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Second, experts are encumbered by vanity. You see this all the time in CrossFit when an experienced athlete sinks into a mindset of “win” every day rather than learn every day. Why does this happen? Because when you’ve been doing CrossFit for a long time, it’s hard not to let your self-worth become enmeshed with the white board.

In Zen Buddhism this notion is expressed in the term shoshin, which translates somewhat clumsily to “beginner’s mind”.

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few. ~ Shunryu Suzuki

Keep Eating Well

 

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For those of you who committed to the Eat Well Challenge and have made it this far without cheating or dropping out; great job!

I mean it; great freaking job. You took on a difficult challenge, and to this point, you have followed through. You should be proud of your efforts.

Hang in there. It’s not over yet. We have to make it just over one more week to get to the finish line. Don’t stumble now. Just stay the course and you can party when it’s over!

But don’t party too hard. If you’re like me, this has been an eye opening experience. I now realize I don’t have to eat poorly, and that eating poorly is detrimental to my body functioning well. This should be common sense, but for many of us it just didn’t register until we started this challenge.

Eating poorly is letting yourself off the hook. Don’t let yourself off the hook. I don’t know about you but I feel a lot better now than I did when I was eating like crap. Use this experience to guide you going forward and make healthy eating the norm.

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

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.