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What’s Your “Why”?

Did you start CrossFit to lose weight? Meet new friends? Mix up your workout routine? Get back to doing something competitive?

Whatever it may be, it’s important that you never forget why you started. We all have days where we feel like we aren’t progressing, we’re tired, or we’ve just lost all  motivation. These are the days that, more than ever, you need to take a step back and remember your “why”.

I always thought my why was to mix things up. I had always been an avid gym go-er, and thought CrossFit would be a fun change of pace (and something to completely kick my ass!). But, when I take a step back and really think about it, my real “why” is without a doubt my mom.

When I was in 6th grade, my mom was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer, and since then has had more medical experiences than anyone else I know. Some of her medical issues we are unsure if they would have happened if she never got cancer, but we will never know.

I started going to the gym to let out stress and take a step away from reality.When I think of all my mom has been through, I realize that you can’t plan for these types of things, but you can help prevent them. The gym became not only a place for me to let stress out, but it also became a way for me to give myself and my body the love it needs, and help prevent any medical issues I can on my own time.

Every year around this time, when talk and action for Cancer Awareness becomes more prevalent, I’m always reminded to put my health in my own hands.

Remember, you started this journey for your own reason. So, whatever that is, make sure you don’t forget it. Fitness is an investment into your own health – in whatever way that means to you. So let’s go out there and put ourselves first. Your “why” is different than mine, but we all are in this because we want to make ourselves better. Even when you are having a bad day, take a step back and think of why you’re here. You may not have lifted your goal weight for the day, or beat your time on the WOD, but you’re out there doing the damn thing, and that’s pretty awesome!

-Coach Ali

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Strengthening Your Glutes To Prevent Pains

“But I do all these squatting motions: wall balls, thrusters, squat cleans, etc.!”

You may think you are building strong gluteal muscles, but many CrossFitters end up being more quad dominant. This can lead to some problems if you aren’t stretching and activating your glutes properly to keep them working along with your quads. I know personally I have neglected my glutes, assuming the things I was programmed to do were enough, but what I should have been doing were extra stretches and glute activation exercises before starting my training for the day.

By neglecting to use and/or activate our glutes, you may find that you will start to have some pains and problems arise in places like your lower back, hips, or down your leg. These pains may be happening because muscles like our Piriformis (gluteal region of lower limb) or Psoas (core muscle that connects your lumbar vertebrae to the femur) are tight (from poor glute activation, of course).

Some things you can do to prevent (or maybe use to start the healing process if it’s too late) these pains include stretching a few times a day (no, not only on Thursdays for ROMWOD!), and also making sure that you focus on glute activation before any activity! Glute activation can be things like glute bridges (extra bonus to add in a 3 count pause at the top), x-band walks, and russian KB swings.  These are easy movements to add into your warm up, and will make sure your glutes are ready to go.

If you need help with stretching, check out this video from SmashweRx! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo3cWlQu7eM

Having strong quads is certainly not a bad thing, but having both strong quads and glutes is even better! Be aware of glute activation, and make sure you are activating them when necessary during certain movements.

-Coach Ali

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Jordan Pennings: Dropping Barbells (& Daily Random Facts)

Brief personal history and journey towards beginning your CrossFit journey:

I had taken a pretty lax approach towards working out and eating healthy throughout college, so when I graduated I started just casually running since it was easy and simple, and I was doing some online work for Run Away Shoes, and figured I should at least run casually to better understand the products/races I was covering.

The Great Whiskey Fire of Dublin killed 13 people in 1875. None died as a result of smoke inhalation or burns. All victims died of alcohol poisoning by drinking the whiskey flowing through the streets.

What brought you to CrossFit Oshkosh?

I was getting really bored with the running routine that I was in and was looking for something that was more varied and less monotonous. I had researched quite a few different workout options and really liked the idea of someone else programming the workouts for me, combined with multiple different movements and modalities that were utilized in CrossFit versus the other options.

In 2005 the word “Mate” was banned in the Australian Federal Parliament. The ban was revoked within 24 hours.

Your first impression of CrossFit Oshkosh?

It was a lot harder than I thought it would be in the beginning. What I really liked though was that because the classes were so diverse in terms of skill and strength levels, everyone could get the same intended benefits from the workouts.

There’s a restaurant on Staten Island in New York that doesn’t employ chefs; they employ grandmas. Every day, a different grandma from around the world designs her own menu and cooks the dishes with her own spin.

What has been your biggest hurdle since starting?

Finding the patience to learn the correct way to do the Olympic lifts. They’re much more technical than most other aspects of CrossFit. Oh and Double Unders.

A single piece of glitter is called a scintilla.

What is your favorite aspect of CrossFit?

Being able to track your progress and see improvements. It’s crazy to do a workout and think there’s no way you could have done any better/faster, and then re-test it 6 months later and beat your time with ease. Also the Saturday partner/group WODs.

The past tense of William Shakespeare would be Wouldiwas Shookspeared.

What are your current goals in CrossFit? 

I’d like to hit a BW snatch, but current shoulder problems are hindering working towards that goal. (I guess I could just lose some weight but let’s not be ridiculous.)

Also, butterfly pullups.

Author Stephen King considers Dolores Umbridge of Harry Potter to be the greatest made up villain since Hannibal Lester.

What is something we don’t know about you?

Well I talk a lot so I feel like everyone knows everything already.

I used to have a pet Rainbow Shark named Dexter and I’ll give you a high-five if you can correctly guess who he was named after.

Also, I think most people have caught on already, but if you haven’t, all of my WODs in ZenPlanner have fun facts for notes.

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Our Goals For Your Children – Through CrossFit Kids

CrossFit Kids is a great program that we offer for children ages 4-12. This program is meant to get kids moving, provide them with FUN, and teach them healthy habits. Rather than a sports specific activity, like soccer or basketball, CrossFit teaches kids general physical preparedness – and makes them good at as much as possible, rather than focusing on specific skills. Through CrossFit Kids, they will learn body awareness, how to control external loads, and so much more.

When you send your kids to our CrossFit Kids program- you’re not just sending them to any summer activity. We have goals in place that we want your child to achieve through our program, and we’re determined to make it happen!

Goals

Shaping Your Child’s Life

Through CrossFit, kids will find potential. The environment in the CrossFit box is encouraging, motivating and inspirational. When they are in such an environment 2 times a week, they catch on and learn by example. They create goals based around health and fitness without even realizing it. Exercising and fitness not only become fun for them, it becomes second nature, a habit. They are suddenly in a perfect position to live out a healthy lifestyle, never getting to a deconditioned phase, or having to worry about preventable diseases. They learn to love to move, as much as possible, everyday.

Defining Fitness as Fun

For both kids and adults, working out shouldn’t be thought of a as a chore or a punishment. When you have this mindset about it, the less likely you are to do it. We want to make fitness fun for kids, so they develop a positive relationship with it that they can keep through adulthood. To us, fitness equals play. It’s not always about the barbells and tough WODs!

Avoiding Health Issues & Creating a Positive Self Perception

Preventable diseases are a scary thing that, as a nation, we can’t seem to get away from. Even though they are, well, preventable. Kids should be educated on what these diseases are, and what they can do to avoid them. We want to make health and fitness your child’s normal. Through CrossFit, we have a goal that your child will create a positive self image. There is pressure from society to look a certain way – but our hopes is that CrossFit will teach them their main focus should not be on looks, but rather living out a healthy and happy life. We want them to focus more on what their body can do, rather than what it looks like.

Hone Life Skills

Through our CrossFit Kids program, your child won’t only learn how to squat, press, run and burpee – they will also important values and skills. They will learn not to quit- and gain the mental strength it takes to keep going when things get tough. They will learn the difference between winning and losing – and that there are benefits and life lessons that come from both. They will master hard-work, and get a grasp on how important it is to always stay motivated and positive. They will face new challenges and learn how to overcome them with no fear.

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Tips & Tricks For Taking On “MURPH”

MURPH

1 mile run – 100 pull ups – 200 push ups – 300 air squats – 1 mile run

This is the workout we do every year on Memorial Day to honor our Military, fallen service members and Michael Murphy (whom the workout was named after), a Navy SEAL who was killed in action in 2005.

Murph is a workout that requires not only a lot of physical strength and endurance, but mental strength and endurance too.  Strategy, planning and prepping will play a key role in your success in completing the Murph workout.

As daunting as this sounds, don’t be scared off – just like anything else in CrossFit, Murph can be scaled to something equally as challenging, but more appropriate for your current fitness level, like doing a “half” Murph, or partner Murph! Please, instead of making the decision not to do it because you don’t think you can, talk to a coach to learn how you CAN do this workout.

Some tips for preparing to take on Murph…

  • Don’t go out too hot too quick! You might be a little anxious to get going and want to push yourself, but start at a pace you can keep for a substantial amount of time, then kick it up at the end with what you have left!
  • Don’t sacrifice quality for speed! Breathe through your movements and make sure you are keeping good form and technique, especially in your push ups and air squats.
  • Hydrate! Start hydrating for Murph two days ahead. With the holiday weekend, it may be hard to make the best nutrition choices, which will make basic water intake seem inadequate. It’s going to be a hot one on Monday – so make sure to bring plenty of water the day of for during the workout.
  • Fuel up! Just like hydration, make sure you are fueling your body properly with good, whole foods and complex carbs! The better your body is fueled right, the better you will feel during the workout.
  • Wear the right gear! Make sure you plan ahead on what you are going to wear. Instead of your normal CrossFit trainers, you may want to consider wearing running shoes to give your feet some extra cushion and better support. If you are going to be doing pull ups, consider wearing grips to prevent any tearing during all of those reps! Pick out your outfit ahead of time, and maybe even wear it for a mini test run so you know you’ll be comfortable.
  • Mind over Matter! This is a tough WOD, but remember you can do it. Take one rep at a time and check it off the list. Have fun and remember why we are doing it – to honor all of those who have lost their lives for our country, push extra hard for them. After you complete Murph, go get some food and hang out with our awesome CrossFit community!
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Three Reasons You Should Do ROMWOD

We absolutely understand that rest days are used to sleep in, or to not worry about rushing to the box right after work – but your body might thank you if you make the time to come to the box on Thursdays at either 5:30 am or 5:00 pm and stretch it out with us during ROMWOD (Range of Motion Workout of the Day).

You train hard all week, it’s important that you give your body the love it needs to recover properly. Stretching to improve range of motion is just as important in the sport of fitness as training hard and eating ring. Here are 3 reasons why you should make time to come to ROMWOD.

Optimize Range of Motion

According to ROMWOD’s website: “Range of Motion is optimized through the strengthening of ligaments and tendons while simultaneously removing excess fascia through specific stretching routines.” Fascias are a sheet of tissue made up of densely packed protein fibers that weaves throughout the entire body and binds and supports your muscles, bones and organs. To be able to work properly, your fascias need to be, in lack for a better term, super supple and bendy. When they get tight and don’t move around properly – the result is sore muscles and decreased ROM. The stretches done during ROMWOD looses and releases fascias to get them back to that supple state so they can properly support your muscles again.

Boost Your Performance

Increasing your range of motion can help generate power and promote efficiency of functional movements. Weak range of motion / little to no mobility in your ankles and hips will make squats tougher and can cause unnecessary pain. Lack of mobility in the front rack position can lead to inefficient cleans, front squats and jerks. Bottom line – increase your range of motion, and feel better during training.

romwod

Accelerate Recovery

Through the natural release of hyaluronic acid, a natural substance in skin that binds and lubricates movable parts of the body, such as joints and muscles, recovery is increased while the central nervous system is simultaneously reset.

 

If you can’t make it to the box for ROMWOD, we recommend you add some type of stretching routine into your regimen. If you stick to it – you will surely see a improvement in your recovery, performance, and overall range of motion!

 

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How a A Weightlifting Meet Works

Hey guys and gals!  It’s finally time for our Mock Meet in our Barbell Level 1 and Level 2 classes! Because of this, I wanted to take some time and give you a little crash course in the sport of Weightlifting. Without getting super technical and overwhelming you with details, I am going to explain how a meet works.

As you know, the sport of Weightlifting consists of two movements, the snatch and the clean and jerk.  During a meet, you will get 3 attempts in each lift. These lifts are performed on a platform in front of three judges. Each judge will signal either a white light for a good lift or a red light for a bad lift. In order for the attempt to be considered a good lift, at least two judges must signal a white light. Majority rules, just like kindergarten. A few things the judges are looking for include catching the snatch with fully locked out arms and not re-bending the elbows, no pauses in the lift at the hang position or hip, not hitting your elbows on your knees while catching the clean, and not pressing out in the jerk. Essentially, in the snatch, the bar must move from ground to overhead in one continuous motion and be received with fully locked out arms. In the clean it also must be continuous, and your elbows cannot touch your knees in the receiving of the bar. With the jerk, the bar must be received with fully locked out arms. No presses. Catching in the power is okay in all lifts.  When the center judge signals you to drop the bar, you must drop the bar in front of you, not behind you, for it to be considered a good lift.  An official platform is 4 meters by 4 meters and you must stay on the platform during the entire lift and the barbell must be dropped on the platform.

A little more on your three attempts at the lifts:

  • All athletes’ snatch attempts will take place first, followed by the clean and jerk.
  • During each session, weight will never be taken off the bar. We will be running the meet using an open format, where the person lifting the lightest load will go first.
  • Weight will be added to the bar and lifters will be filtered in to lift as the weight reaches their declared attempts.
  • You will get one minute after the bar is loaded to take your attempt. The only exception to this is when you follow yourself (there is no one between you and your next attempt), then you will get two minutes.
  • To clarify, when I say “attempt” that means you get one try to complete the lift, you do not get the entire minute to continue trying if you miss.
  • Olympic Lifter Mattie Rogers performing the "snatch"
    Olympic Lifter Mattie Rogers performing the “snatch”

This part can kind of be confusing, so I will give a quick example.

Lifter A’s first attempt is 50kg, Lifter B’s first attempt is 55kg, and Lifter C’s first attempt is 57kg.

Lifter A is first up.  It was a good lift. Good job lifter A you get a gold star.

They have 30 seconds to declare their second attempt. They choose 54kg.  Since there is no one in between them and their next attempt, they will ‘follow themselves’, thereby getting two minutes to take the attempt after the bar is loaded.

Attempt two was a good lift and they declare 58kg as their third attempt.

 The bar will be loaded to 55kg and Lifter B will take their first attempt, they will have one minute to make the attempt.

This was a good lift, they declare 59kg as their second attempt.

The bar is then loaded to 57kg.  Lifter C will take their first attempt.

And so on, you get the point.

If you successfully complete at least one snatch and one clean and jerk then you have a Total! This is your “score” in CrossFit terms if you want to think of it that way. Your total is your best snatch and your best clean and jerk added together.  Which is cool! Basically the premise of the sport of weightlifting is to put the most weight over your head as possible. Highest total wins. There are no ties. In the event of the same total between two lifters the one who achieved that total first is the winner.

So, there you have it! That is how a Weightlifting meet works! The Barbell classes have been working so hard these last 6 weeks, and I am beyond excited for the mock meet to see that hard work pay off. If anyone is interested in checking it out or cheering on our awesome members, it is May 23rd starting at 6pm!

If you guys have any questions, feel free to reach out. Until then, happy lifting ya’ll.

-Coach Reagan

reagan@crossfitoshkosh.com

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How CrossFit Can Help Build Confidence In Young Girls

When you take risks and succeed, you build confidence. All too often, as girls start to get older, their confidence abandons them. The thought of taking a risk and failing is quite scary, so they would rather stay still and quiet. With no risks being taken, no confidence is being built. From ages 12-20 instead of trying, failing, and learning – girls are instead just living life by the book with feelings of self-doubt and apprehension.

It’s important to encourage girls to start taking risks and to learn from failure instead of being afraid of it. Failures followed by a push to keep going will build mental strength. In CrossFit boxes throughout the world, not only are people getting stronger physically, but also mentally. You can’t succeed in the gym if you aren’t willing to try new things, accept failure, and learn from it.

Which is why a CrossFit box is the perfect place for a young girl to go and discover her confidence. It is in the gym where she will realize failing is okay, and taking risks is scary – but necessary. She will be encouraged to be as strong and competitive as she wants. She will be pushed just as hard as the boys, and surrounded by a community of people who will support her when she tries something new.

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At her local box, she will find a female role model who will teach her authenticity, to like herself for who she is, and appreciate her body for all it can do. She will learn that great things come from failure and perseverance, and that pushing through the hardest of challenges instead of giving up will always pay off.

With every new challenge she approaches, and every risk she takes, confidence will be built. These opportunities of hardships and overcoming challenges will be presented to her at the box quite often, if not daily.

She will walk in to her first day of CrossFit as a young girl, trying to follow social norms, trying to be accepted by everyone. Give her a few weeks, and watch her walk out of the box after a tough workout as a young girl who is unstoppable, not afraid, and proud of who she is. Who knows that she is strong, and can face any challenge she is presented with, constantly taking risks and creating new goals. Most importantly, she will be a role model for the next young and hesitant girl who walks into the gym looking to find her confidence.

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Soda Is Sugar – Sugar Is Bad – Don’t Drink Soda

If you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, but have not yet ditched soda, you are going to run into some major roadblocks.

Soda has absolutely zero benefits. By drinking it, the only thing you are doing is putting yourself in danger of some serious health risks.

One can of soda has 2X the amount of sugar that is recommended for people to have per day. With one can, you are putting 40 grams of sugar into your body. Sugar contains a lot of calories and no nutrients. Bottom line: sugar is very bad for you. 

Not only is sugar bad for you, it makes you sick. Too much sugar…

  • Overloads the liver, leading to potential damage.
  • Fools your metabolism by turning off your body’s appetite-control system, which will cause you to eat more and gain weight.
  • Causes metabolic dysfunction.
  • Increases your uric acid levels. High uric acid levels are a risk factor for heart and kidney disease.
  • Increases risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, lipid problems, heart disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and dementia (just to name a few).

Every time you crack open a soda, you increase your chances of multiple dangerous health issues. These health issues won’t only affect your body, but also put a pretty hefty dent in your bank account from endless doctor appointments and prescribed medications.

Soda also dehydrates you, depletes your mineral levels, and is linked to asthma.

If you can’t ditch the bubbly, we recommend you try an unsweetened sparkling water and get used to the lack of flavor. We promise you, you will soon learn to love it when you realize how much better it makes your body feel.

Simply said, drinking soda is making you unhealthier and not helping you loose weight, feel better, or reach your health/fitness goals. Who wants that?

Ditch the soda – it’s not worth it, and your body will thank you.

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Going With The Flow

It happens to the best of us, probably more occasionally than we would like. You walk into the gym feelin’ pretty good. You’ve got a game plan for the WOD and you’re planning to push yourself pretty hard to achieve a score you’ll be happy with. The class is ready to begin the workout of the day and you’re feeling confident as the clock counts down “3..2..1..beep!”. You start working through the motions and the next movement you need to complete is chest to bar pull ups. They’re definitely not a strength of yours, but you’ve been working hard on them lately. The total number of reps you need to complete each round is 8, so your plan is to string together 4 and 4. Will it be challenging? Yes, but it’s something you think you can definitely handle. You chalk up and jump on the rig to complete your first rep. You kip and pull yourself up, instantly you’re thinking “What the hell? That did not feel good!”. You drop from the rig, chalk up even more (because that may be the solution, of course) and try it again. Nope, they are still feeling rather shitty. You start to panic… How are you possibly going to complete the workout now that your plan is ruined?!

This is a good time to take a step back and reevaluate your game plan – which is totally an OK thing to do!  One of the most important things to be able to do during a workout (other than being able to do the movements safely and correctly) is being able to go with the flow. Creating a game plan is never a bad idea, but it is crucial to know that there is no guarantee your game plan will always work out perfectly. There’s no way you can tell how you will feel during the WOD that day. You may come into it feeling great, but surprise – your muscles are actually wrecked from a couple of days ago and are now saying “nope” to unbroken muscle ups. Or on the other side of the spectrum, you may walk into the gym feeling completely destroyed, and end up surprising yourself by hitting a PR of unbroken double unders to start off a workout.

The best thing you can do when things go south is to stay relaxed. When you get worked up, it can be hard to think on your toes. When you’re relaxed, you can easily keep working through the WOD and adjust as needed.  When you start a workout, be aware of how your body feels with each movement. You may be able to start a WOD with going unbroken in the first two rounds, but end up needing to drop the bar a couple of times to finish it off. Don’t let this discourage you to create a game plan, talk to your coach before the workout, ask them their thoughts on how you should tackle what’s ahead. But always remember – when something doesn’t workout the way you hoped, accept that it isn’t going to happen the way you planned, stay positive and give yourself a quick pep talk, and continue through the workout, going with the flow and performing it in a way that is doable for you that day, truly every day will be different!