Archive for October, 2009

The Mental Transition of CrossFit and the power it has to change your life

Posted in Crossfit Philosophy, Members on October 23, 2009 by Crossfit Sioux Falls
The AMAZING 530a crew in the ZONE!

The AMAZING 530a crew in the ZONE!

We often talk about the mental aspect of CrossFit is much more important than the physical aspect.

Earlier this week we discussed Training Your Brain. The mental toughness that CrossFit can provide “fits like a glove” to compliment training your brain.

This is a MUST read story from a CrossFit Sioux Falls “stud” member, Matt Byers. Matt describes his mental transition into CrossFit and it is an awesome story.

“Six Weeks and Counting.

While shooting the breeze the other day with Chris we briefly talked about my progression thus far. Upon responding I had nothing but positive thoughts and was ready to fire off several different areas of improvement. But after a brief hesitation, I passed on the more obvious areas and mentioned my mental transition. I don’t want to discount the gains made in strength, overall fitness, and the physical changes I am noticing, but in my opinion I have made the biggest gains in the mental aspect of being a CrossFit’er.

Starting back in my high school years, “fitness” was always just a byproduct of playing sports. Between playing football, soccer, and wrestling there was plenty of running, lifting, and going to practice to keep me in pretty good shape. Narrowing things down to just soccer, it was more of the same in college. With the season in the fall, and practicing all winter and spring, I always had a solid cardio base. We did some lifting as a team, but nothing of real substance. Not being the tallest lad on the team I always had to keep my upper body fairly strong in order to prevent being firmly placed on the ground by opponents. While spending time in the weight room I became a touch of a gym rat. This is where working out was first embedded in my lifestyle. Post college I was fortunate enough to be able to play for a couple more years in a developmental league. Although it was only over the summer months it kept me fit and motivated to continue to work out.

Enter the real world… I joined the realm of cube dwellers and lost that “reason” I had always had to keep fit. For a few years it was a roller coaster of commitment. Six weeks on, a month off, two weeks on, three weeks off…very little structure or commitment to something that came so easy in the past. Same for my diet, I was hot and cold. Thankfully the gym rat in me never fully left. Over the past few years I have managed to keep working out as part of my lifestyle. It was a lot of stealing routines from muscle magazines, going to spinning class, pretending I was going to do a triathlon. All of these things kept me interested, but they also kept me on a plateau of results. I never really felt it was my lack of dedication that held me back, it was my lack of mental progression. I wasn’t accountable, things were “good enough”, and my desire to compete was left in my gym bag. It just became enough to go to the gym.

It was the last week of August this year when I was hanging out with some friends having some cocktails. I don’t know exactly what sparked it, but a couple of them mentioned CrossFit. I had no clue really, they both had great things to say and said I should give it a try. That next week I was also able to hit up a buddy I work with (Shout out “BIG Mike” 5:30am). He gave me a quick overview and finally said, “You just need to try it for yourself.” Being a previous work out partner of his I knew if he was into it, it was worth a shot. I mean it’s only going to take me like 15 minutes…can’t be that hard. J

In I went, found Chris, got the housekeeping out of the way and waited as the rest of the class walked in. Stood around like a kid at a new school, wondering what the marker board was for. Ten minutes later I was hunched over wondering if my heart was going to explode. I finished up the workout not caring about my time, I just wanted my water bottle and a place to sit down. I told Chris thanks, and walked out. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great first experience, I just didn’t realize what I had just started, I merely thought I got in a good workout. I woke up the next day, and even though it was a bit more difficult to get a shirt on due to soreness, I figured “What the heck, these workouts will probably be harder than if I just go to the gym on my own.”

I decide the next day I will give it a couple weeks to give it a fair look and figure out if CrossFit was worth it. Plus I needed to figure out who Fran is. Over the course of the next couple weeks I drag myself to class each time half asleep. I’m zoned out and all I want is a good workout, I just space out until I hear the squeak of the marker board. While warming up I just think to myself that I am about to be really tired. I read the board, the names and numbers don’t mean anything to me and I just dig in. Even early in the workout as soon as discomfort sets in I’m mentally mush. I break early and often and just want to pace myself so I can finish. I quickly write my time down because everyone else did and bail. On my drive home I feel accomplished because I’m tired. As if that alone means anything.

During weeks three and four I start to notice a difference. I’m waking up a little earlier to get some food in me and actually “wake up” before I leave. When I get to the gym small talk with the other members has started, I stretch a bit more, and start thinking about what we might be doing. During the workout my thoughts are turning positive, I’m telling others “good job”. I’m noticing the people that are always beating me and start wondering if I could do better. I start caring about my time on the board, asking myself if I really gave it my all.

Now after finishing my sixth week I get excited when I even mention CrossFit. I’m getting to bed earlier on nights I don’t have anything going on. I get up even earlier now to get some food in me, even trying ideas from a book I am reading about the Paleo Diet. I’m now listening to music on the way to the gym to get me ready mentally. During the workouts my internal voice is tell me “TWO MORE REPS!!” versus “man…you are tired.” I want to beat the clock, I want to be happy with my performance, want to catch the people ahead of me, distance myself from the people behind me. I enjoy sticking around and talking about the workout, failing miserably at muscle ups, knowing I will get them soon. I want to get home and take in some post workout nutrition. I pay attention to how my body feels, get ready for the next workout, check the CrossFit Journals.

Bottom line, after six weeks the fire is back. It’s no longer just “good enough” to go to the gym. I can’t wait for the day I compare my currents times with the new times I’m going to achieve. I can’t wait for the day I have it in me to push until I puke. I can’t wait to see how many pull-ups I can do. I can’t wait for someone to look at my future Fran time and say, “Holy sh*t!” Monday morning is no longer the start of the work week, it’s my first WOD of the week.

To Chris, Annie, Cody, Casey, and the crew at 5:30 am, thanks for a great start and here’s to becoming a CrossFit’er.

Later Gator,

Matt B.”

So what benefits have you noticed since doing CrossFit?…..Tell us your story.

Today’s WOD:

Oct 23

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Exercise and Brain Function with Adults and Children

Posted in Lifestyle, Nutrition on October 22, 2009 by Crossfit Sioux Falls
Heidi's getting it done with Kettlebell Swings

Heidi's getting it done with Kettlebell Swings

We have been told our whole lives, that living a healthy lifestyle requires some sort of physical activity along with making good nutrition choices. But, if you look at our society today we are becoming less active and more obese with every passing year. The American Heart Association reports the average child spends four to six hours per day on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games (this is even more for adults).

The Journal of Exercise Physiology looked at nearly 900,000 children 11-14. They tested them in six fitness areas along with math and reading. The results were astounding, the more fit the child the higher the test scores. An article done in the UK on children 11-12, who exercised three to four times a week achieved higher than average grades on their exams. This proves that Scholastic achievement is directly linked to higher functioning levels in the brain.

Acta Psychologica (2003) offer compelling evidence that exercise can facilitate cognitive functioning as well. The benefits of exercise reported included: brain changes associated with better performance on an attention taxing task; improved abstract reasoning in the higher mental processes of memory and “executive functions” involving planning and organization; the ability to multi-task more effectively.

Exercise also increases cerebral blood flow, which helps deliver nutrients and oxygen to the brain cells at a higher rate. This increased blood flow can cause cerebral blood vessels to grow larger creating a healthier more efficient brain. Most importantly, exercise aids in the generation and retention of nerve cells and neural pathways.

Exercise positively effects the delivery of chemicals, known as neurotransmitters, to the brain. Neurotransmitters largely aid brain function by countering the negative effects of cognitive-suppressing conditions such as anxiety and depression. Exercise-induced delivery of neurotransmitters to the brain also provides the essential component of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) “Brain Fertilizer”. BDNF boosts the overall performance of the brain. It has also increases neurotransmitters to “lock-in” memories when they form.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “A strong body makes the mind strong” Brain function is positively impacted by exercise. So not only are you getting physically stronger so is your brain!

Today’s WOD:

Oct 22

The CrossFit Total-The Importance of Measuring Strength

Posted in CrossFit Workouts on October 21, 2009 by Crossfit Sioux Falls

DSCF0155

This Saturday (the 24th @ 10:30) will be the first time we test the CrossFit Total. On the September 3 blog last month, we discussed what the Total is: a test of the three lifts that best showcase your functional strength: Shoulder Press, Deadlift, and Squat. Why is this important?
Many affiliates everywhere are beginning to understand the importance of increasing strength to increase fitness. We don’t just want to do this solely for the sake of getting stronger; increasing strength allows you to have more work capacity and unlocks the ability to increase speed, endurance, and so-on.
Simply put, the stronger you are, the easier WOD’s will be and the better you will become. No other aspect of CF can improve the rest like strength can. Testing the Total will give you an idea of how strong you are, with that RESULTS just happen!

By: Casey Mouw

Today’s WOD:

Oct 21

How to Motivate Yourself- Train your brain like you train your body

Posted in Lifestyle, Members on October 20, 2009 by Crossfit Sioux Falls
Hard work + Consistent + Positive = Renee Jasmer

Hard work + Consistent + Positive = Renee Jasmer

Ever heard the phrase: “When you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything”? I have found this to be very true for my personal life. Life can be challenging, staying consistent with CrossFit can be challenging, continuing to eat healthy and stay on track with the Paleo can be hard.

How do you stay motivated?

It’s all in our head.

-When it is 5:05am and you roll out of bed, it’s your brain that tells you get up and go workout vs. roll back over and get that extra 2 hours of sleep!
-When you are out to eat with friends, it’s your brain that tells you to order the salad vs. the double cheese burger!
-When you are stuck in a rut with your workout routine and tired of not getting results, it’s your brain that tells you to go for it and try something new (CrossFit Sioux Falls:-) and break your old habits that are NOT fulfilling you!

There are so many ways for a person to get and stay motivated. One way that has worked for me is to train your brain like you train your body. So many people in American say, “This is it, it’s Jan 1st, I’m going to get in shape this year” and by Jan 22nd they already quit 3 days ago. The intentions are always good, but you have to execute to make your goals a reality.

How do you train your brain?
-Daily affirmations/Quotes
-Personal growth/Motivation books
-Surrounding yourself with positive
-Listen to motivational CD’s

Breaking our old habits takes a while. So does losing 50 lbs. But to lose the weight it takes many many hours in the gym, it takes lots of healthy eating.

The same is with breaking old habits and creating new ones. The more you educate yourself, the more you fill your head with positive thoughts, the faster you create new habits and achieve your goals.

Here is a great quote:

“There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened. We all have a choice. You can decide which type of person you want to be. I have always chosen to be in the first group.“ -Mary Kay Ash

Make it happen!

Today’s WOD:

Oct 20

Athlete of the Week

Posted in Members on October 19, 2009 by Crossfit Sioux Falls
Don't make Korena angry. She turns into an ANGRY GORILLA!

Don't make Korena angry. She turns into an ANGRY GORILLA!

Korena Chester is our Athlete of the week. Korena is a fierce competitor always looking for ways to improve herself. She has seen some significant improvements in her strength and fitness since she arrived here.

Read what see had to say recently about her CrossFit experience:

“I have never had an issue with weight…that is until I had a “rare” thyroid condition that went undetected for over a year….and after struggling with energy & weight, I switched to my current awesome dr who figured it out in 1 visit. I gained almost 50 lbs over that time. For the past few years, I have struggled trying to get the weight back off and eventually lost my confidence and self-image (but I still took showers…didn’t go quite that far! ).

Before joining CF in late July, I had lost about 20lbs on my own. Mary introduced me to CF (thanks, gurl!) and I fell in love with it immediately! Even though my first visit I thought: “Holy *BLEEP*! I don’t know if I can do that!” I proved to myself that I can and I will. In the time of being at CF, I have lost another 19 (almost 20) pounds with 12 of them being in the first 2 weeks! I slowly started to gain my self image and confidence back. Now, I have people that even notice at work and ask me what I’m doing to get so toned and lean so quick! Talk about an awesome feeling! I end up spending about 30 minutes or more telling them about how CF has helped me both mentally and physically and how it gives you RESULTS! My husband has also complimented me and is happy for me because he not only sees physically how it is helping me (partially because he had to drill a few more holes in my belt so I don’t do the “moonwalk”!) but the big difference in my confidence and happiness! When I’m stressed, I run to CF! Nothing compares! I set my goals and I feel confident I can meet them and have a “family” that believes in me and I know is behind me 100%: the Crossfit Family. I can now run a 800m without stopping or feeling out of breath, I feel stronger (but I’m going to get even stronger!!), and I find myself not only pushing myself in the workouts but also outside of CF now.

I haven’t felt this good in YEARS! I’ve gained not only myself back but I’ve gained many friends, which I’m grateful for each and every one of them. With that being said, I’d better quit here because I could write a novel or a Letterman top 10 list on all the ways CF (Annie & Chris) have changed my life for the better (as I tear up with good tears typing this and I’m not a very emotional person!) and I can never express in words how grateful I am that you guys have been brought into my life! I have hope again….I have confidence….I have myself back….but most of all, I have you guys now!”

Korena you ROCK!!! We are so happy that you are apart of our great community.

Give her some love guys.

Today’s WOD:

Oct 19

Top 10 Reasons Heavy Weights Don’t Bulk Up the Female Athlete

Posted in Crossfit Philosophy, In the News, Lifestyle on October 16, 2009 by Crossfit Sioux Falls

DSCF0156

Having been in fitness training for over 8 years now. I can’t tell you how many times a woman has came to me and said, “I’m not interested in lifting a lot of weights, I will bulk up”. This is a subject I deal with every year regardless of how much training information is available to the public. I recently came across an interesting article that has a lot of valid points to it.

1. Women do not have nearly as much testosterone as men. In fact, according to Bill Kreamer in Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, women have about 15 to 20 times less testosterone than men. Testosterone is the reason men are men and women are women. After men hit puberty, they grow facial hair, their voice deepens, and they develop muscle mass. Because men have more testosterone, they are much more equipped to gain muscle. Because women do not have very much testosterone in their bodies, they will never be able to get as big as men.
2. The perception that women will bulk up when they begin a strength training program comes from the chemically-altered women on the covers of bodybuilding magazines. These “grocery stand models” are most likely pumped full of some extra juice. This is why they look like men. If you take the missing link that separates men from women and add it back in, what do you have? A man!
3. For women, toning is what happens when the muscle is developed through training. This is essentially bodybuilding without testosterone. Since the testosterone is not present in sufficient amounts, the muscle will develop, but it won’t gain a large amount of mass. The “toned” appearance comes from removing the fat that is covering a well-developed muscle.
4. Heavy weights will promote strength not size. This has been proven time and time again. When lifting weights over 85 percent, the primary stress imposed upon the body is placed on the nervous system, not on the muscles. Therefore, strength will improve by a neurological effect while not increasing the size of the muscles.

Information was taken and the rest of the article can be viewed HERE

Thoughts anyone?

Today’s WOD:

Oct 16

“Angry Gorilla” Leads to Perfect Deadlift Form

Posted in Crossfit Philosophy, CrossFit Workouts on October 15, 2009 by Crossfit Sioux Falls
Look at Cody doing a perfect deadlift!

Look at Cody doing a perfect deadlift!

In my experience the deadlift is one of the most difficult exercises to achieve perfect form, especially with a max load and various repetitions. I have struggled myself with this exercise, and after struggling with a back injury I wasn’t sure I’d be able to deadlift in Workout any longer. I have seen people start out with good form, but as the workout wears on the most common mistake is to forget about your legs and start using your back as fatigue sets in.

After attending the CrossFit Kids certification, I had an eye opening experience!!! Teach adults the same you would teach the kids, and that is where the term “Angry Gorilla” came to be known. When instructing kids you need to break it down make it relate as simple as possible, and they understand the movements better.

I instructed my first workout after the kids certification, and had the adults get into an “Angry Gorilla” to prep for their deadlift. Low and behold, across the board every single person in my class did a perfect deadlift! As the workout went on as people’s form started to slip I would yell out “Angry Gorilla” and BOOM they would automatically fix themselves back to perfect form. The next day no one complained about back aches, just booty aches (which is what I love to hear)!!! So for all of you sloppy deadlifters here is the most simplistic way to correct your problem:

Take a wide stance (sumo stance) and make your hands into a fist. Bring your fists down to the ground in between your feet. Lower the hips and raise your chest (just like a deadlift) and look like an ‘angry gorilla.’ Swing your arms forward and place them far in front of you. While keeping a nice back position, place all your weight on your hands and swing your body forward. Assume the angry gorilla stance and reset the back. Continue moving forward for the designated distance.

Here is a link to the CrossFit Journal on the Deadlift, which highlights the Angry Gorilla stance:
http://journal.crossfit.com/2009/01/crossfit-kids—teaching-the-deadlift.tpl

Written by: Annie Mello

Today’s WOD:

Oct 15