“At least I was honest”

Does being “honest” about a transgression mean that it no longer causes disappointment, hurt or regret?

Being honest is a great quality but it isn’t an absolution from consequences.

I haven’t been myself lately. I’ve been grumpy, irritable, and generally in a pissy mood.

Why? For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been dealing with a back injury for the last several months. I recently started getting treatment and was restricted from most movement: no running, jumping, lifting, etc.

I have a high-level psoas strain which led to my core “turning off”. Since I didn’t seek treatment when I first started feeling pain, this instability in my hips led to vertebral joint damage. This prognosis left me depressed, basically wanting to crawl in bed with a bowl of ice cream.

When I went to see the doctor today, I started the session by telling him how grumpy and irritable I have been since not being able to work out. He responded by saying that this is completely normal for someone who is used to working out.

What he said next was eye-opening. He said that the way I’m feeling now is how most people feel. People who do not have fitness as part of their daily life feel grumpy, irritable and generally in a bad mood most of the time, they may not even realize it! When I think about the person I was before CrossFit, he’s exactly right! I was stressed and irritable most of the time. It’s why I truly believe that CrossFit changed my life.

The good news is that I’ve been cleared to workout (although I still have to modify a lot). I’m so stoked about this. I’d like to thank you - my athletes, co-workers, friends and family – for putting up with me during this time and I hope to be back to normal soon!

I’d also like to ask that you don’t put yourself in a position like I did. If you feel pain, that’s your body’s way of telling you that’s something’s wrong. Take care of it before further damage is done and you’re out of commission for months. If you don’t, you’ll just get cranky and that’s not fun for anyone. ;-)

Rethinking the band…

This week we’ve had a couple athletes at CrossFit Canton who have achieved unassisted pull-ups for the first time. Yesterday, an athlete did unassisted pull-ups for the entire WOD. These are incredible accomplishments! 

I’ve realized lately however, that some athletes may be trying to get to that unassisted pull-up too quickly. Too quickly? What does that mean. I’ll tell you what it means… when I see athletes who do not yet have an unassisted strict (dead-hang) pull-up doing kipping pull-ups with bands, that’s too much too soon.

So what am I trying to say here. If you’re using a band, STOP KIPPING. If you don’t possess the strength to do an unassisted strict, dead-hang pull-up, you have no business kipping. With or without a band. 

"But everyone else kips with bands!" … So? Remember when your mom used to say "If everyone else jumped off a cliff would you follow them?". Same concept. Your mom & I both have your best interests at heart. If you don’t possess the strength to do a strict pull-up, your chance of injury is significantly increased. 

So if you use a band now, stick to dead-hang pull-ups. If that means you need to add a band or use a different one, fine. Build strength & avoid injury. 

Olympic Lifting - the other 36% of CrossFit

I teach Elements 3 nights a week to new athletes coming in to the CrossFit Canton program. We review the movements that we do most often in CrossFit classes. On day 3 we teach the Olympic Lifts.

I always give the athletes a little heads up of what’s coming on day 2 by letting them know that Olympic lifts are different that any movement they’ve probably ever done. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the Olympic lifts involve the nervous system as well as the muscular system.

I’ve never been one to be able to put this very eloquently in words. Rudy Nielsen of Outlaw CrossFit recently wrote a couple blogs that I think explain perfectly why we train on the Olympic lifts and why they are so beneficial.

You want to be better at CrossFit? You better be learning the Olympic lifts… click here 

Here’s why… click here

My favorite CrossFitter & bad-ass Olympic Lifter, Elisabeth Akinwale

My Mobility Soapbox

At CrossFit Canton, your coaches stress technique as the key to success. We also emphasize that until an athlete has the mobility to perform a lift properly, they shouldn’t focus on lifting heavy. 

All too often however, we see athletes go too hard, too heavy, too fast. And all too often, this results in injury. For example, lack of a good rack position can lead to shoulder, elbow or wrist injuries.

On the third Tuesday of every month we offer a free Mobility Clinic to CrossFit Canton athletes. (Click here to register for the next clinic next Tuesday, January 15).  I coach the 7pm WOD while the Mobility Clinic is going on. Although I love to coach, I try to encourage as many athletes as possible who are there for the WOD to participate in the Mobility Clinic. Why? Because I’m convinced that mobility is critical to the success of our athletes. I also believe that for many athletes an hour of mobility can be more beneficial than a WOD. 

Coach Justin and I recently did a 30 day Mobility WOD challenge - 30 MWODs in 30 days. I invite you try your own 30 day MWOD challenge. You can find MWODs to address your personal weaknesses at www.mobilitywod.com

Be patient. Focus on your technique. Devote time to your mobility. You’ll notice the improvements in performance before you know it!

Form follows Function

My goal when I joined CrossFit Canton was to lose weight. I was busting out of my “fat clothes” and ready for a change. One thing that I loved about CFC was that there wasn’t a focus on appearance. Coach P said that the goal should be function (performance) but “form follows function”.

Basically, instead of working out to lose weight, we set performance goals (like get a unassisted pull-up or run a mile without stopping) and as we work toward those goals, changes in our form (physique) naturally occur as a positive side effect.

Unfortunately, most people will work out and think that the rest of their life can stay the same. It can’t.

You may have heard that “you can’t out work a bad diet”. What this means is that the 165 hours in the week that you aren’t in the gym are more important than the 3 hours a week that you are. Your nutrition, hydration, sleep, recovery are all huge factors in reaching your goals.

We must fuel our bodies with our performance goals in mind. When our nutrition, hydration, sleep and recovery are in line, our function/performance improves. When our performance improves, our physique improves as well.

It’s a symbiotic circle. Eat well, perform well, look good! 

And remember the opposite is true. Eat poorly, perform poorly, lose the looks. 

To learn more, attend the Nutrition, Rest & Recovery workshop on the second Tuesday of every month at CrossFit Canton. The next workshop is Tuesday, January 8th at 11am or 7pm. Register Now!

Two Year Anniversary

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I received an email today from CrossFit Canton… it is my two year anniversary. The email said “We truly hope that you have enjoyed your experiences at CrossFit Canton…” 

Ok, so it may not be the most personal email ever but that sentence got me thinking… 

I came to CFC depressed, lacking self-esteem and self-discipline. It seems so trivial to put in words but I have learned so much about myself and changed so much - I can honestly say I am a different person than the girl who joined in December 2010. 

It’s easy to see the external changes. I have a before and after picture and display it at the gym so new members can see what is possible. 

I wish there was a way to show a before and after of my heart. If I could only explain the changes I’ve been through, the healing I’ve experienced and the love of the family I’ve found. But all I have are words that seem so inadequate. If you’ve been to CrossFit Canton, perhaps you have had an experience similar to mine.

I coach full time at CrossFit Canton now and have never been happier. I recently told one of my classes how cool it is that my boss lets me work at CFC and pays me. :) Coach P and Coach Karen are my mentors, friends and biggest supporters. 

So, have I enjoyed my experiences? Well, I haven’t “enjoyed” every aching muscle or grueling workout, but has it been worth it? Absolutely, every minute. 

How to read your WOD

Have you ever read the Workout of the Day (WOD) and thought it was written in a different language? Well, fear not, in this post I will attempt to list and define the most common CrossFit acronyms! I’ll even list them in alphabetical order in case there is one that you desperately need to know, just skip to it! Also, if you can think of any more, contact me and I’ll add them!

AMRAP – As Many Rounds/Reps as Possible

BP – Bench Press

BS – Back Squat

                HBBS – High-bar Back Squat 

                LBBS – Low-bar Back Squat 

BW (or BWT) – Body Weight

CFCrossFit 

CFCCrossFit Canton

CFT – CrossFit Total – combined weight of max squat, press and deadlift

CLNClean 

C&JClean and Jerk 

C2Concept II Rowing Machine 

C2BChest to Bar – as in C2B Pull-ups in which the athlete must pull themselves up so their chest touches the bar 

DBDumbbell 

DLDeadlift 

DUDouble Under – when jumping rope the rope goes under the feet twice for every jump 

EMOM – Every minute on the minute (as in “2 reps EMOM for 5 minutes” in which case 2 reps would be performed every minute on the minute with the remaining time as rest)

FSFront Squat 

GHDGlute Ham Developer 

GHD Sit-upSit-up using the GHD 

GPPGeneral Physical Preparedness (aka fitness) 

HPCHang Power Clean 

HR – Hand-release (as in HR Push-ups)

HSPUHandstand Push-up 

IFIntermittent Fasting 

KBKettlebell 

KBSKettlebell Swing 

K2EKnees to Elbows 

ME – Maximum Effort

MetCon – Metabolic Conditioning workout (what most people call “cardio”)

MUMuscle Up 

OHSOverhead Squat 

PCPower Clean 

Pood – Archaic weight measurement for kettlebells (of Russian origin)

PR – Personal Record

PPPush Press 

PJPush Jerk 

PUPull-ups, possibly push-ups depending on the context 

Rep – Repetition; one performance of an exercise

Rx’d, as Rx’d – as prescribed, as written – WOD done without any modification/adjusting/scaling

RM – Repetition Maximum; your 1RM is your max lift for 1 rep

SDHPSumo Deadlift High Pull 

Set – a number of repetitions; 3 sets of 10 reps, often seen as 3x10 means do 10 reps, rest , repeat, rest, repeat

SJ –Split Jerk 

SPP – Specific Physical Preparedness (aka Skill Training)

Subbed – Substituted – the correct use of subbed as in substituted is “I subbed an exercise I can do for one I can’t”

TGUTurkish Get-up 

TTB / T2B – Toes to Bar 

UB – Unbroken

WODWorkout of the Day 

Giving Skittles to the Kids?

We spend hours each week planning our grocery lists, searching for Paleo recipes and making healthy meals for ourselves. We exert effort, sweat and sometimes blood and tears at the gym working towards our fitness goals. Meanwhile our kids are eating lunchables, drinking kool-aid and soda and snacking on cookies.

Why are we taking care of ourselves and setting our kids up for failure?

At this point you either agree with me 100% or are saying to yourself, “you don’t even have kids! How can you tell me how to feed my child!”.  And you’re right. I don’t have kids. And I can’t tell you how to feed your children. But as a coach, my job is to teach athletes how to adopt a clean eating lifestyle for themselves and their families.

If you have ever participated in a nutrition challenge at CFC or elsewhere, you know just how difficult the first week (sometimes two) off sugar is… headaches, irritability, and complete lethargy. The complete withdrawal process from sugar can take up to a month or longer.

Knowing this, why would we want our children to be subject to this same outcome?

I don’t have kids, but most of my friends do. They struggle with picky eaters and trying to feed a houseful of people on a healthy diet. So what’s a parent to do?

picky eater

I may not have to do it (at this time in my life) but I know it can be done because I’ve seen it. The key is preparation and planning. Coach Karen says “kids won’t starve themselves”. Meaning, you don’t need to cook two meals, one for you and another for your family. The kids will eventually get hungry enough that they will eat what they are served.

Resources abound on how to eat healthy on a budget! You can visit www.paleoonabudget.com to get started. Our website also has great ideas and grocery lists, www.crossfitcanton.com/nutrition.

17% of American children and adolescents are obese and nearly one of three children is overweight or obese. On a positive note, there’s increasing evidence that a child’s behavior improves when their diet improves.*

If we agree that nutrition plays a role in improving our own health then it’s important to provide nutritious food to those we love for sake of their health. Preventing obesity, improving behavior and improving the overall health of our children – great motivation for the planning and preparation necessary to create healthy meals for our families!

*Teaching Expertise: The Effect of Diets on Young Children’s behaviour

*Center For Science in the Public Interest: Diet and Behavior in Children

*Time: Hyper Kids? Cut Out Preservatives

From “Skittles” to Coach Sharon

So, this is my first official blog and I’ll start by introducing myself. Hello! I’m Coach Sharon! I became a member of CrossFit Canton after my brother, Coach Josh, spent 5 months convincing me to come to a Bring A Friend workout. I was a competitive runner in high school and college but after 8 years in a cubicle there was little resemblance of my former athletic self.

After I joined, I immediately registered in The Big Push, a 60 day Paleo Challenge. During that challenge, I lost a total of 9 pounds, gained 7 pounds of muscle and lost 8% body fat. Coach P. informed me that these were not typical results, these were phenomenal results. I had seen such an incredible change because my previous diet was, to be blunt, piss poor. I remember telling him that I was a “vegetarian”. Well, after looking over my food journal, “skittles” became my nickname for a while. ;-)

After the challenge, I maintained the diet of “meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar, no dairy” and continued to see results. One thing Coach P. and Coach Karen always talked about was “function over form”. As coaches, they wanted me to function better, not just focus on my appearance, or form. What I found however, was that as I improved my function: as I got stronger, faster, and gained stamina, my “form” improved also.

11 months from the day that I started The Big Push Paleo Challenge, I had lost 30 pounds, over 26 inches and 20% body fat. Coach Karen pulled out the yard stick and showed me what 26 inches looked like… I was amazed.

What is even more exciting is what I can do now. When I went with Coach Josh to the first Bring A Friend workout, I was exhausted halfway through the warm-up! I could barely complete a 400M run and all my WODs were scaled – some modified beyond recognition!

I’m now doing things I never thought were possible, climbing ropes, doing un-assisted pull-ups, cleaning, jerking, and snatching (all things I used to think were just offensive!) and I am this close to doing a handstand pushup!   

I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to be a coach at CrossFit Canton. My ambition is to improve the lives of our members and the community of Canton through fitness and health as I continue to advance my fitness and health. 3, 2, 1, Go!