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    Holy Sh!+ I Just Did That!

    “Named must your fear be, before banish it you can.” – Yoda

    Amy’s story made me realize something about CrossFit -- actually the most important thing about CrossFit. Hear me out…

    Most people join CrossFit to lose fat, build muscle, seek an adrenaline rush, and feel stronger, which as we all know - leads to looking better naked (oh come on…you know it’s true!). But, what we soon realize once we start getting into it, is that all those pluses just happen to be really great perks and benefits – mere by-products, if you will.

    In reality, what keeps us coming back is the fact that we begin to accomplish things we’ve never been able to… EVER. You know exactly what I'm talking about. That "Holy sh!t, I can't believe I just did that!" feeling where you frantically look around hoping someone else witnessed the miracle that just happened (if a tree falls down in the woods and no one's around...) Just saying.

    Hard work yields easier lives. And it's this hard work that shy people away. Let's face it, some folks just do not enjoy physical suffering. But after doing CrossFit consistently for a couple of months or so, we begin to actually relish it. We embrace the discomfort and persevere, knowing that the discomfort will lead to growth -- mentally, physically and spiritually. This is why the slogan at CrossFit JAX is “mentally tough, physically hard, spiritually strong”. We do it because enduring a small amount of physical discomfort is worth the mental strength we'll gain. The juice is most definitely worth the squeeze. It not only develops our character, but enables us to step out of our comfort zone, which is a great thing. Once we get over our fear & discomfort, we realize there was nothing to fret about in the first place. The great news is that this empowerment stays with us throughout the entire day and filters over into our relationships both at work, and more importantly, at home. Those few minutes of discomfort are totally worth the benefits awaiting us on the other side.

    The CrossFit Open takes this up a notch. It's a chance to name our fears and put the discomfort behind us. This is why the Open is such a big deal and why we are recruiting you to register along with the rest of us. Besides, it's only $20 to sign up!

    So, now that you’ve been intrigued…what will your “Holy sh!+” moment be?

  • WHEN SHOULD I WORKOUT?

    I love working out in the morning. It’s one of my keystone habits - the one routine that occurs at the beginning of the day that naturally puts me in the right frame of mind and on the path to a successful day. After my morning workout, I’m more energized, my mind is clear knowing my workout is behind me, and I just feel great after.

    If I tell myself I’ll exercise after work, it never happens. Life catches up and my priorities change by the end of the day. But that’s not to say the morning is the best time to exercise.

    When is the ideal time – morning or afternoon/evening?

    It depends.

    AM Workouts – The Pros

    When you wake after sleeping for 8 hours, your body has burned through the carbs and starts to tap into fat for fuel (yes...at least 8 hours of sleep is HIGHLY recommended...but that's a separate story). You can take advantage of this if you exercise in a fasted state. You can also increase your calorie-burning rate throughout the remainder of the day. If you do workout in the morning, I recommend getting some protein and fat (optional) in prior to prevent a catabolic state (which means your body eats your muscles for energy). My pre-workout food of choice is evolved coffee.

    Also, if you have a difficult time getting your workout done in the evening because your drained from work or your willpower’s spent, its best to get it out of the way first thing in the morning.

    Morning workouts are also a great time to use moderate amounts of caffeine from coffee or tea to improve performance and increase fat-burning (read more here).

    The one potential downside to early morning workouts (besides having to wake up early!), is the perceived effort may seem higher.

    Since your core body temperature is relatively low first thing in the morning, it’s important to get a good warm-up in along with some dynamic stretches to reduce the possibility of injury.

    So, if your goal is to burn fat and lose weight or you lack motivation at the end of the day, it might be best to do your routine in the morning.

    PM Workouts – The Pros

    Physiologically, the window for peak performance is in the late afternoon or early evening when your focus, strength, reaction time and physically flexibility peak. Core body temperature and the rate at which your muscles can repair and recover (protein synthesis) peak around this time as well.

    Research has shown that cardiovascular efficiency (VO2max) and sprint capabilities are also higher in the afternoon.

    According to Dr. Charles Czeiser, the chief Division of Sleep Medicine in at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, this is the time the body is sending out its strongest drive for wakefulness and funny enough, when most Olympic records are broken.

    So if your goal is to improve performance and achieve the highest possible intensities during your routine, go for an evening workout.

    One note about evening workout - limit any type of exercise two hours before bed to prevent interruption in sleep.

    Ultimately, the best time of day to exercise is the time of day during which you’re most likely to actually do it! Also, it’s just as important to move often throughout the day (if not more important) than to just rely on one structured exercise period each day.

  • WOMEN ONLY

    by Tammy Haggerstone

    I recently had a 15-year-old girl come to me for personal training to get her back in shape before cheerleading started up again in the fall. Having done cheerleading and knowing just how many issues teenage girls can have with their bodies, weight and over-exercising, I’ll admit I was a little worried about what I might be dealing with.

    A Refreshing Perspective

    That girl, however, completely blew me away before our first session was even over. Right off the bat she came across happy, confident and comfortable in her body, and it was clear as soon as I’d put her through some basic exercises that she was pretty capable. In the middle of the session, while I was showing her some technique for her pushups, she just looked at me and said:

    OMG you have an amazing ass — you look so strong!

    This definitely made me laugh, but the message/mentality behind what she said made my entire weekend. For those of you who don’t know me, yes I do have a big butt, and while my legs are by no means huge by CrossFit standards, they’re definitely not small either. I know since I started CrossFit/lifting I’ve gotten bigger, and I have even had some girls say they “don’t want to look like me” and that’s cool — to each their own. I don’t particularly want to look like them either, because it would mean sacrificing my strength and being unable to do so many of the things I love and which make me happy/proud (rope climbs, tire flips, weighted squats, partner carries…).

     

    Partner Carry
     

    When I heard her comment, I could only think, “What?! I’m not even that muscular! You want to see muscles? Look at Lindsey Valenzuela or Camille Leblanc-Bazinet — now that is muscle-y … and hot!”

    But during the entire session, not once did this girl mention wanting to lose weight or get smaller, nor did she mention any fear of bulking up (or looking like me). Instead she talked about wanting to gain strength; how annoyed she was that her PE teacher (a football coach who called her princess) never pushed her because he thought cheerleaders were “girly” and “weak”; and how much she loved outperforming the boys in her class.

    She asked what I did for sports/training, so I told her about CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting (neither of which she had heard of, but seemed intrigued by). She came back to me after she had watched some CrossFit videos on YouTube and said:

    Those girls are amazing. They’re so strong! They’re gorgeous!

    I can’t even begin to describe how happy/proud this girl (whom I had met only recently) made me because she gave me hope. Hope that things are changing: that “skinny is sexy” is on its way out and that girls growing up today are looking up to healthier and stronger role models.

    Learning a Different Mentality

    Learning a Different Mentality
     

    I went through high school convinced I needed to be skinny, and it wasn’t until my 20s — when I was introduced to CrossFit and weightlifting — that I realized the fact that my natural body type will always be strong (not petite) and began to accept that. Suddenly I was in a world where the focus was NOT on:

    • “burning calories,”
    • “losing weight,” or
    • “being a size zero.”

    Instead I discovered that

    • performance trumped appearance;
    • training was something you did to get stronger/faster/better; and
    • you ate to fuel your body.
    I’m even more glad that a young girl who has never done CrossFit (or even heard of it) already considers strength way more important and attractive than being a size zero.

    For me it took finding CrossFit to finally let go of the “Skinny is Sexy” mentality, and I’m glad that I did; but I’m even more glad that a young girl who has never done CrossFit (or even heard of it) already considers strength way more important and attractive than being a size zero.

    I know she is only one girl, and there is still so much value placed on “skinny as sexy”; however, I honestly hope that the emphasis will continue to shift to being strong and healthy instead. I know that in 2, 5 or 10 years down the line, “strong is sexy” will likely get replaced by something else… but perhaps the lessons it has taught us will stick around for good.

    Visit Taryn Haggerstone’s blog, Go Hard Get Strong, for more of her thoughts on training. Follow her on Twitter @TarynHaggerston.

  • MANAGING YOUR FREAK OUTs

    Thousands of books have been written about the management of stress in our daily lives. They describe relaxation techniques and acceptance techniques as ways to cope, which we discussed in the previous article in this series. As I was scanning the CrossFit Journal for material, I came across a seminar conducted by Andrew Bernstein, author of The Myth of Stress, that explained his framework for dealing with stress and how that can be applied to CrossFit and our daily lives. Since watching the 8 part series (of which I highly recommended everyone watch, by the way) I have been trying to apply this framework in my own life and have found it useful and effective, as I battle stress in my own life.

     

    Mr. Bernstein begins his framework by encouraging participants to think about what makes them stressful. Each individual has different stressors and it is important to word the emotion in a “should” or “shouldn’t” statement, for example, “I should be better at CrossFit” or “I shouldn’t be so bad at the Clean and Jerk”. Then he asks to rate how strongly one believes this on a scale from 1-10, 10 being the strongest. From there, the feelings that are associated with the stressors are examined, such as, anxious, annoyed, insecure, inadequate, impatient, etc. In the next step, his method is fully put into place. Take the “Should/Shouldn’t” statement, make it a negative (turn Should to Shouldn’t or vice versa), and add in this statement, “In reality” to the beginning of the statement and “at this time” to the end of the statement. So the statement then should read, “In reality, I shouldn’t be better at CrossFit at this time”. One then must explore reasons, such as, lack of training, nutrition, injuries, natural ability, time devoted to training, etc. Once one sees that there are reasons behind the stress, an acceptance of the reality of the situation occurs, thereby reducing the stress associated with it.

    Here is an example of this template – using traffic as the stressor:
    1. What makes you stressful? Word it as a “Should” or “Shouldn’t” statement.
    a. I shouldn’t be stuck in traffic
    2. Rate how strongly you believe this on a scale from 1-10
    3. The feelings associated with the stressor – be honest and thorough
    4. The negation of the statement with “In reality” and “At this time”
    a. In reality I SHOULD be stuck in traffic at this time
    5. Why should you be stuck in traffic?
    a. Construction
    b. Rush hour
    c. Poor Infrastructure
    d. Weather
    6. Now how do you feel about the stressor when you see the truth?
    7. What can be done to change?
    a. Leave earlier
    b. Avoid roads under construction
    c. If stuck in traffic, use it as a time to call old friends or family
    8. How strong is the feeling now 1-10?

    Stress occurs because there are things in our lives we want to change; our jobs, fitness, status. This framework helps push us into the reality of the situation and reveals ways we can change the situation. This framework is perfect for the elite athlete who is continuing to linger on a poor past performance or the new CrossFitter who is struggling with one of many technically complex skills, such as the snatch. Or for everyday life – family stress, work stress, marriages, kids etc. Using the framework to relieve stress in these areas not only will be beneficial to your performance inside the gym but it will allow life to be fuller outside the gym.


  • WHY YOU ALL STRESSED?

    Most of us experience it, the tightening of the chest, head-spinning, tormenting anxiety that occurs when we encounter a stressful experience. Throughout time, stress has been an important aspect of human life. The earliest humans experienced stress as part of the fight or flight response when hunting for food. Today however, stress has manifested itself to include even the smallest obstacles of everyday life. This article aims to examine the effect stress has on the mind and body, with special attention to the risks involved for CrossFit athletes, inside and outside The Box.

    During the Paleolithic period of hunting and gathering, humans developed the stress response as a means of coping with dangerous and life-threatening situations. According to the Harvard article, Understanding the Stress Response, this is known as “fight-or-flight” because it evolved as a survival mechanism, allowing humans to react quickly to life-threatening situations. As society grew and became more complex, stress manifested itself to include much smaller situations than that of life or death. Things such as traffic, work pressure, and family difficulties are common stressors in today’s society and have a huge impact on the health and well-being of people everywhere.

    Stress can be a good thing.  We intentionally stress our bodies physically so that it recovers and heals better and stronger than previous.  But as with anything in life, too much of it can be really bad.

    It is common knowledge that stress contributes to many negative responses in the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can cause headache, fatigue, upset stomach, sleep problems, anxiety, lack of motivation or focus, sadness or depression, addictive behavior and much more. While these problems are certainly severe, they are well documented and discussed adverse effects of life under stress. However, stress can also attribute to many sports injuries. It is essential for every CrossFit athlete whether just starting or those at an elite level, to continually monitor stress in his or her lives to ensure the mind is working with the body rather than against it.

    Reducing stress can take many forms. For some it may be a day at the beach, others may be a drink with friends. However you find peace and calm, be sure to make it a priority as part of your CrossFit training and overall wellbeing. Some great stress-reducing techniques include yoga, ocean swimming, hanging out with those that love you, practicing your favorite hobby, hot bath, massage, watching a movie, listening to your favorite music, anything that is good for you and helps your mind, and hence your mind, recover.

     

    For our sake, if you find yourself unhappy with your training, constantly stressed about your performance, lacking motivation to train, or realize that your relationships at work and home are suffering, it might do some good benefit to take a break from CrossFit for a week.  Not a rest day; but a rest week.  De-load and seek serenity from the above recommended ideas.  Only YOU can take care of yourself.


  • BREATHING HARD, MUSCLES BURNING

    So, the guys from Harvard (yes, THAT Harvard, where they “row boats, and eat ivy”... Get it? Anyone? Empire Records! “Damn the man, save the empire!” Sorry, I digress...) describe the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise as this:

    “Exercise falls into two general categories: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise is activity that uses oxygen to burn both carbohydrates and fats to produce energy, while anaerobic exercise is activity that does not require oxygen and only burns carbohydrates to produce energy.

    In practice, aerobic exercise means activities such as walking, bicycling or swimming that temporarily increase your heart rate and respiration. Aerobic exercise (also known as cardiovascular exercise) builds your endurance.

    Anaerobic exercise typically means activities such as weightlifting and push-ups and sit-ups, which builds muscle and physical strength through short bursts of strenuous activity. An ideal exercise program should include both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.” - Harvard’s Medical School Publication, Glossary of Exercise Terms, September 2008

    Did you read what it said there about weightlifting and how it builds physical strength? This is why us CrossFitters have that weightlifting aspect in workouts. We define weightlifting, as in lifting weight - literally - in other words, external objects outside of our own bodyweight (not just things inside the gym). It also ties into one of the three modalities we use of CrossFit, “functional movement.” We want to gain strength so that we can sit on the toilet when we’re 93, easily pick up heavy bags of groceries, and be the ones our friends call to help them move.

    All kidding aside, many of us skip the “heavy” days for fear of getting bulky, not leaning out, or thinking that we’re not strong enough. When, in reality, we need to weightlift because it can combat getting bulky, help you become lean, and make you stronger. According to Coach Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, who precedes these statements by saying this isn’t his opinion, it is the factual physiology of this matter, that anaerobic exercise is: high power (power = intensity) and the higher the power, the faster our 10 general physical skills (agility, balance, endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination and accuracy) will be brought on. Anaerobic exercise is a better fat burner; fat continues to burn for 12 to 18 hours after you’ve stopped, while fat burning stops when an aerobic exercise ends. In other words, we have nine times the fat burning capacity when doing anaerobic activity. And, on top of all of that, anaerobic exercise builds muscle (not bulk), while aerobic exercise burns muscle. (These comments were taken from a video of Coach Glassman at the first CrossFit certification seminar on December 3, 2002.)

    Everyone wants results, right? That’s why we’re here, why we joined CFJAX, and why we CrossFit. Whatever the result is that you’re after, anaerobic exercise will help you reach your goals.


  • KP AT THE GAMES

    When I was asked to write about my experience as a Judge at the 2014 CrossFit Games I thought, "How am I going to put this experience into words?"

    The question I got when I returned from my trip to California (yes, I missed my flight home…let’s get past it), was...

    “So, how was it!?"

    But I feel like I’ve been giving generic answers...

    “It was amazing. So much fun. Trip of a lifetime”.

    All of those things are 100% true, don’t get me wrong. But I went with those answers because I wasn't quite sure how to elegantly state how I really felt about it, especially at the box where I don't really have the time during or between classes.

    So, here it is. Besides being all of the things I described above, this experience honestly filled my heart and soul with so much passion, inspiration and just good ol’ classic f*%king EXCITEMENT. Excitement for the sport of fitness, sure. Excitement to get to meet so many amazing athletes, yes. But more than anything I was excited – I AM excited – to be smack dab in the middle of such a world class community of people; athletes, staff, volunteers, coaches, fans, spectators. The CrossFit community is unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. It is the best of the best. And while the CrossFit Games is that community on a larger than life scale, our tiny slice of that here at CrossFit JAX is the real deal. I was honored and privileged to represent our CFJAX community at the biggest, most badass CrossFit event in the world.

    Now, while watching elite athletes demonstrate their incredible fitness feats does not actually make one fitter (such a bummer that it doesn’t work that way), ALL OF YOU made me feel like I was really doing something special out there. Thank you for the constant support and reminder of how lucky I was to be a part of that. But know this – YOU are the special ones. You, the CFJAX member, are all an extraordinary inspiration to me every day, and to others within our community. The Games is a little piece of the pie. But the magic lies within what we do in our gym day in and day out. Don’t ever forget that!

    Love y’all,
    KP

     

  • GAINING STRENGTH

    What is strength?  An online search defined it as "the quality or state of being strong".  No help there.  So I looked up the definition of what strong meant.  The same website defined that as "having a lot of strength".  Vicious circle much?  It's obvious that I needed a precise and measurable definition of what strength is, if my goal is to gain and increase it.

    Specifically, I looked to what the definition of what muscular strength was.  Here's what I came up with:

    • a muscle's ability or potential to generate force
    • the contractile potential of a given muscle
    • the ability of a muscle or muscle group to exert force

    Furthermore, an electromyogram can measure how much force a muscle can produce via electromyography.  But in CrossFit, these traditional definitions are very limited.

    It's not enough that a muscle can produce force, or has the highest potential to generate force.  Because if you can't do anything with that contractile potential, or do not possess the ability to accomplish a task with the strength you have...then what good is it?  What benefits are there if you can generate the most amount of force, yet can not accomplish work?  What good is it to be the strongest person around, but can't get from A to B?

    "I have the potential to lift that weight, but I can't find a way to do it right now" sounds the same as "I have the potential to do the dishes, but I can't find a way to do it right now".

    In CrossFit, it's not enough that one has this potential or ability to generate force.  Without task accomplishment, there's no value or worth.  The goal of CrossFit is not only quantifying how much work you can get done, but also how long it took to get done.  This is power output.  But you're not very powerful if you can't accomplish work, yet have all the potential to do so.

    Let's take the gymnastic movement of the ring muscle-up and break it down to its essence. The ring muscle-up is nothing more than transitioning from hanging below the rings to on top of the rings with both arms locked out in support.  Essentially, it's a deep ring pull up into an extended ring dip.  One person might have all the muscular ability (potential) in the world to do both a ring pull up and a ring dip, yet still cannot accomplish or complete a full muscle up.  In other words, they can't accomplish the task. Which means that they aren't producing any power output (the time rate of work, in this case, is zero power output).

    The reason is simple enough.  This individual is lacking the skills necessary to accomplish the task.  In CrossFit, those skills, positions or movements that allow us to accomplish tasks are called technique.  In this case, this person lacks the technique required to transition from the pull up into the dip.  Therefore, strength for us in CrossFit is technique dependent. Having all the potential ability and contractile force won't do you any good in our program if you can't productively apply it.  This is why the CrossFit definition of strength is measurable. Our definition is the productive application of force; not just it's ability or potential.

    This concept is universal to us in our program.  It's not limited to gymnastics. We need the same productive application in weightlifting and in our "cardio" efforts, or monostructural metabolic conditioning.  If I improve my technique, I can efficiently move more weight in that single particular effort, OR, over the course of repetitions.  This translates into completing more work in a faster time, which again, means we are producing more power, which translates into a higher level of intensity.  This is why CrossFit is efficacious and the reason why people are getting the results in an efficient manner.

    So what's the point of this article?  One doesn't necessarily need to lift heavy weights more often to get stronger.  Increasing volume and lifting heavier more often, will definitely improve your muscular ability to generate force.  But let's not neglect the technique factor.  Improving the way our bodies interact with external objects, in a more efficient manner, will manifest itself as strength by eventually adding more weight to the bar.  Practicing to improve said technique usually demands minimal to no weight and/or low intensity and speed.

    DON'T GET CAUGHT UP INTO LIFTING HEAVIER MORE OFTEN!  Biasing with this approach, will cause imbalances in your overall physical preparedness and fitness, which is not our goal with CrossFit.  We don't want to get so strong and increase our strength at the expense of other skills and attributes.  In contrast, we don't want too much endurance or stamina at the expense of our strength, either.  We strive for a balance and an increase with that balance, as a whole entire unit.

    So if I'm suggesting to not necessarily increase the volume of your heavy lifts, then how does one get strong(er)?

    By completing more work, faster.  Whatever weight you're moving in the workout, move it faster.  If it's 75lbs. for high repetitions, get the task done quicker. Refrain from resting as much as you are during the workout and keep working to complete the reps, while utilizing enough technique to provide economy of motion.  If you are resting more than you're working, then it will take you longer to complete the task.  This means your power output is lower, which means you're relative intensity level is down, which means that you are delaying the results you are seeking out of the program, to include....STRENGTH. Safety is an important factor to consider, for sure, however there is a universal tension and balance that exists with not only safety, but efficacy and efficiency need to be considered as well. Minimizing risk is accomplished by prioritizing mechanics, first and foremost. Once you are able to move correctly, then you must strive for consistency with those mechanics and fundamentals. Once consistency has been proven with volume, then and only then one can expect to add speed and additional weight to the object.

    Our programming at CrossFit JAX allows a sub-maximal/maximal lift at least once, if not 2 times a week.  Don't miss out on these opportunities and workouts to increase your raw strength.  But don't neglect the amrap's and workouts that are 'for time' either, because they too, are an opportunity to get stronger.  It just so happens that moving faster hurts more. Maybe that's why people would rather lift heavy weights...because it doesn't hurt as much.

    GET COMFORTABLE WITH THE UNCOMFORTABLE.

  • PICKING CHERRIES

     Merriam-Webster's definition of cherry picking is as follows:

    cher·ry–pick (verb):  to pick or accept the best people or things in a group.

    What does this have to do with CrossFit?  Because at some point or another, we are all guilty of it.  Cherry-picking the WOD means that you decide not to do the workout because you either don't like one of the movements, or it's not what you're good at.  It goes something like this:

    1. I hate ___, and since the workout involves it, I'll skip today and just do something else.
    2. I feel like a complete beginner/loser/idiot when I do the ___, and since it's one of the movements in today's workout, I'll just stay home and call it a rest day.

    1. ___ again?!  We just did ___ the other day!  What is going on?  I'll just go to "Traditional Gym" and work on my calves since they haven't seen any action lately.

    The issue with all of the above is that you're avoiding weaknesses.  If you can relate, then it means you have a glaring deficiency in your overall general fitness.  Some of us have lots of these.  And the only way to improve and maximize your overall general physical preparedness (or GPP), is to do exactly that one thing (or 2 or 3 things) that you hate, suck at, or are weak at the most, as opposed to continue doing those things that you're comfortable with, or feel like you're good at.  Diving headlong into improving your weaknesses will make you fitter overall; at least by our definition of it.

    Our definition of fitness in CrossFit is your work capacity across broad time and modal domains.  In other words, your ability to accomplish various tasks across a multitude of skills & drills over a broad spectrum of short, medium and long time durations.  From moving your own bodyweight to external objects in light, medium and heavy loads at short, medium and long rep schemes.  The goal with our fitness in CrossFit is to increase our work capacity across broad time & modal domains.  This definition is measurable and can be quantified.  Nothing about it is descriptive, nor are they about markers that are merely poor correlates to intensity, such as:  VO2 max, lactate threshold or body composition.  You would not want a decline in work capacity across broad time & modal domains in exchange for improved body composition/VO2/lactate threshold.  Our holy grail is work capacity and the improvement thereof.  Coincidentally,  those poor correlates are vastly improved as a by-product of improving and chasing an increase in work capacity.

    So how does one increase work capacity across broad time & modal domains i.e. fitness?  By doing constantly varied, functional movements executed at high intensity.  In other words (or in one word), CrossFit.  By doing CrossFit, you will improve your fitness.  But ONLY if one constantly varies.  Cherry-picking is not being constantly varied.  Cherry-picking is being constantly routine.  We want variation because it is the mechanism that allows us to widen, expand and broaden our adaption...our fitness.

    WE FAIL AT THE MARGINS OF OUR EXPERIENCE.

    If I bias my training towards the barbell all the time, I will fail significantly when I have to perform gymnastic-type movements.  If I enjoy endurance so much that I neglect to lift heavy on occasion, I will not perform at the capacity I'm truly capable of; only a mere fraction of it, which is a shame.  But there is hope...

    CrossFit JAX adheres to the CrossFit protocol to a T.  We perform couplets and triplets at least two, if not, three times a week.  We lift heavy at least once, if not twice a week.  And we'll program a long chipper-type workout once a week or every other week.  Within all of that, we change up the equipment (barbell, kettlebell, dumbbell, prowler, tires etc), the reps, the type of workout (task= for time, or time= amraps), the movement functions (pushing vs. pulling, extending vs. flexing), the distance traveled (meters, calories etc), and time domains (short duration, medium duration and long duration). But keep in mind: any program not matter how complete and badass you think it might be, will always contain within its omissions those results you'll never attain…to include even our programming.

    Yes, every now and again there will some redundancy.  "Squats again?  We just squatted yesterday.  More pull ups!  I'm still sore from the other day when we did them.  I can't believe we are doing more sit up/core type exercises...so much for variance, huh?"  Life punishes the specialist and those that cling to routine.  Nature rewards those who prepare for the unknown & unknowable, and the likely and unlikely.  However, every now and again, life throw things at us that are repetitive and sequential, if not redundant...same thing day in, day out.  We mimic it as much as possible, but with variance as being the priority.

    Trust and understand why we program what we do.  There is a reason for everything.  Nothing we do is haphazard, nebulous or random.  Our job as your coaches is to provide, deliver and give you your needs; not wants. Most of us want something easy, secure and comfortable. But we know you don't need that. What you need is to be challenged to take risks, and to prevail and overcome those things you are insecure and uncomfortable about. The goal is to want what you need, not need what you want.

    So come in when the WOD calls for a long run...with a vest...followed by a long row...or if the WOD isn't even a workout and it says "Skill Day" instead.  We just might be working on something you NEED; rather than what you WANT. See you at the box!

  • WORK SMARTER AND HARDER

    We've all heard the saying, "Work smarter not harder."  But with CrossFit, we know that this is not so the case.  Working hard has always been the name of the game...right?

    We would first have to define what we mean by smarter and harder.  In order to begin a plausible discussion, terms have to be first defined which is what separates CrossFit from other fitness programs.  Having a measurable, observable, repeatable and quantifying definition no longer makes the topic nebulous or subjective. 

    "CrossFit is constantly varied, functional movements performed at a relative high intensity level.  This prescription and stimulus provides an increase in one's work capacity across broad time & modal domains (i.e. fitness).  This fitness ready-state over the course of your life and age domain just happens to be our definition of health, as well.  By design, our program is broad, general and inclusive.  We are after general physical preparedness."

    That statement above doesn't get any more simple and elegant.  But implementing it via the workout of the day (WOD) can be misconstrued.  This article won't touch on technique or form and how it relates with intensity (although both are a necessity and required in our program), but more so on what we mean by intensity as a whole.

    Intensity is word that is thrown around everyday life and has become a buzz-word of sorts, which tends to lose its meaning.  Again, intensity for us in CrossFit means a tangible and measurable statistic & data point; not just perceived effort by means of yelling, grunting, puking or how high one's heart rate is.  Intensity for us is "the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing the rate of return on favorable adaptation" - in short, it's what gets us the results.  Intensity is the one thing that has made CrossFit such an efficacious fitness program.  It can also explain why the growth in population and numbers keeps increasing.  It simply works.  But we have to remember and keep in mind that intensity varies from individual to individual, from day to day.  This relative concept is what allows for any and all to reap the benefits of the program, regardless of age, background and experience.

    Relative intensity is based on two factors:  one's physical & psychological tolerances.  Our job as your coaches is to find your relative intensity level for that day in that WOD, and play a game of push-pull by having you work and operate at an uncomfortable pace.  We want you moving as fast as you can with proper technique, and then we'll ask that you go faster.  By going faster, we introduce and expose you to a new threshold.  What this also means is that your technique will more than likely degrade.  You will make mistakes.  By mistakes, I don't mean safety hazards or to the point of injuring yourself; that's not the idea.  I'm alluding to inefficient movement patterns and veering off the points of performance of that movement.  And when we see these inefficient faults, we'll ask you to fix the technique WITHOUT slowing down.  If you aren't able to fix the technique and make it more efficient, then and only then do we slow you down or lighten the load.  It's not the mistakes that make you fitter, but you will not get fitter (at least not by our definition of it), without making mistakes.  And you won't make mistakes by going slow and maintaining "perfect technique".

    So what's the big deal with going fast and hard?  Why the demand for high intensity?  And how does it equate to becoming fitter?  The answer is one word...

    ...Power.

    Power output is a quantifiable unit of measure.  A powerful athlete moves a large load, a long distance and gets in done quickly.  This is exactly defined as intensity.  In other words, you are as powerful as your intense and you are as intense as your are powerful.  Chasing a relative high power output (intensity) in every workout will yield gains in your fitness.

    Which finally brings us to the point of this article.  Not everyone will go as prescribed (RX'd) in the workouts.  Chances are, the overwhelming amount of CrossFit participants will scale, modify and adjust the weight being moved, the amount of reps being completed and/or the movements themselves.  But here's the punchline:

    NO MATTER HOW YOU PERFORM THE WORKOUT, YOU MUST PERFORM IT AT A (relative) HIGH INTENSITY LEVEL.

    This manifests itself in various ways.  It could mean to only scale the load and maintain the reps prescribed.  It could mean that you maintain the load, but scale the reps.  It might mean scaling both as the option that day.  The idea is to complete the workout at a pace that closely matches the stimulus and effect on the body of an athlete that completes the WOD as RX'd.  Because if you choose to do the same prescribed weight and reps, but it takes you twice as long (or you only complete half the amount of work), then you have missed the point entirely.  You have nothing but ego, pride and stubborness to blame.  Smarter in this case, means to choose the appropriate amount of weight and volume (reps), while harder means to go fast and hard with it.  Both can co-exist.  Believe it or not, your power output (aka intensity) is LOW i.e. non-existent, when you are staring at the equipment and not doing reps because the load is too heavy or the reps are too much to complete.

    Now don't misunderstand what I'm saying here.  I'm not totally blowing off the notion that one should never RX the WOD when they can; great mental toughness can be gained and confidence to be improved upon by doing so.  Of course, if you have the capacity to perform the WOD as RX and score the same number and times as the elite, then by all means knock your socks off.  And depending on your goat (weakness), you also have the option of scaling up, or increasing the load and/or amount of reps.

    Remember, power output isn't solely based on the amount of weight being moved.  The amount of reps and the total amount of work and the time it took to complete it, has an overwhelming effect on your power output.  Most times, the right answer is to choose a lighter weight and to move it faster to get the task completed, especially if you are a beginner jumping on the bandwagon of awesome.  Intensity should always be the last pit stop, with stops at mechanics and consistency beforehand.

    Trust me, you won't feel cheated.  And, you might even get fitter in the short run!

  • CFJAX HOODIES

    Hey HOTBOXers!! Here is the final proof of the new hoodies!

    Below is the link for the sizing chart and a better view of the actual hoodie (same as the last year's grey one, but in Navy).

    Price will be $35. Please email Sam@crossfitjax.com with your orders! The pre-order will close Friday, January 31st, at which time your account will be charged.

    Stay Warm!

    http://www.independenttradingco.com/collections/mens1-all/products/mens-unisex-heather-french-terry-zip-hooded-sweatshirt

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