We All Lose Steam Sometimes: Finding ways to stay motivated on your fitness path

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We have all been there; the dull times, when your body hurts, when you are possibly injured, work is stressing you out, personal or family relationships are not the best, and the only illogical solution is to quit working out. It seems like it is getting in the way; you do not have any energy or desire to put yourself through the pain of a CrossFit workout. So what do you do?  First, you need to view CrossFit like this: it is a genuine relationship where you will find amazing promise if you allow yourself.  Consider your workout experience prior to it and how unfulfilling it most often was.  I recall doing monotonous cardio (back in the day) and thinking to myself how completely futile it all was.  I was in a relationship with my fitness that left me feeling lost.  CrossFit is not the bad first date that cost you too much for dinner; it is the marriage that will improve you as a person and all components of your life. We cherish our relationships in life, with our partners, friends, or family.  We all have had times; however, when times were not at their best, and we have thought about taking the easy way out and throwing in the towel.  That is not progress; unfortunately, it is a recipe for complacency and sadness.  Not everyday is going to be ideal, a good time, and easy; but nothing worth doing is.  In order to make something really last and see the fruits of the “good times”, we need to stick it out and force ourselves to put in the effort. I firmly believe if you find the courage to do that you will eventually be led back in the light of why you started your journey. Every relationship requires faith and overcoming daily adversity.  We must work to get to the “good times” and the moments of progress; otherwise, we aren’t being true to ourselves. Why do we run away from things that we know will help us?  If you get a promotion at work or have added stressors in your day, treat your experiences as a means of achieving some clarity.  Added responsibilities and a tumultuous schedule is an even greater reason for not quitting your journey.  Build your training into your schedule, and you will see progress in all other areas of your life.  I see it as a time where you can clear your head and get your body moving. To my worker bees out there, I want to leave you with some scientific rationale that I found quite moving.  Recent studies regarding sitting and living a sedentary life style are staggering.  “Sedentary behavior is associated with an increased risk of the development of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.” (www. Heathharvard.edu)  The study elucidates the notion that every hour of sitting lowers your life expectancy.  Your work and family must be your primary focus; therefore, you need to make your health a priority.    Coach Angelo

A letter to first time Open Athletes

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Dear first timer, Congratulations on having the courage to take on your first CrossFit Games Open. Signing up and performing all five workouts is in itself is an accomplishment. Now, I would like to give you some hard truth. Please realize that this comes from a place of pure love without malice. 99.9999999% of the world will not be moving on to the regional, and an even smaller percentage will be going to the games. The games athlete is the anomaly not the rule. Your journey in the open has greater reaching ramifications than making it further in the games season; rather, it is a quest for self-actualization. Step back and come to the realization that you are doing this for the fulfillment of accomplishment, to have fun, to be apart of your community, and to test your fitness against a larger group of competitors and athletes. You are doing this to better yourself and see this task through to the end. The open is a cathartic experience that will change you and how you few yourself both physically and mentally. If you do not enjoy every aspect of these five weeks, than you are truly cheating yourself out of the intended experience. Avoid negative self talk, block out doubt and nervousness and allow yourself to be you within the workouts. Focus on your own private victories and take great pride in them. If everyone could do it than everyone would! These five weeks will fly by just as fast as they came. It will be the end of March in a blink, and all you will have left is the memory of your experience and the thirst to do it again next year. Take time to reflect during these five weeks on how adversities you have conquered translate to your everyday life. The remnants of the open should not be heartache and torn hands, but it should be a new found sense of self. The CrossFit Open scores do not define you as a person, but your participation speaks volumes about your strength. Whether we are games athletes or scaled athletes, we are measured on our attitude, determination, and willingness to stare down vulnerability and tell them it get the f@#$ out of our way. Please keep that in mind. Good luck to everyone competing this year. Please know that I am truly proud of each and every one of you. Love you all, even if you can’t do a muscle up 😃 Coach Angelo Sisco

An Email from OCF Client- Laura Reeves

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Wall Climb 2.23.16 I received an email this morning from Laura Reeves this morning, and with her permission I thought I'd share. This is why we do what we do, why OCF was even created, no doubt about it. Seeing someone progress through consistency and hard work is as inspiring as it gets. Coach Angelo Please read below -
So, I don't know if you remember...but I will never forget. It was only a few weeks after I joined OCF that you had the Saints and Sean Payton in for a Saturday morning workout, I was in the 9 am class. To date, that was the most challenging and frustrating WOD I've ever done for one reason: the wall climbs. I had never attempted them before and was irritated by how hard they were for me. I felt defeated and broken, struggling to even kick up at all. Angelo spent most of the class kneeled down right in front of me, pushing me to give those damn wall climbs all I had. At the time I felt like all eyes were on me and I was embarrassed of my inability. I ended up just holding plank with my feet on the wall since that was as far as I could get. I left that day in tears, the only ones I've ever shed at OCF. Wall climbs have since then been my complete nemesis. I've struggled but slowly have made progress kicking my feet up higher and inching my way towards the wall. Last night after 2 years of struggle and slow progress, something just clicked and on my first kick up I found myself at the mother fucking wall!!! I couldn't believe it. All the frustration and fear was gone and replaced with pride. I made it to the wall on every attempt during the entire workout. So I am celebrating this small victory. I can finally say that I can do wall climbs!! Who dat?? Laura Reeves

When Being “Tough” Becomes A Burden

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Are you the kind of athlete that digs deep in your workouts? Hits that extra gear when the going gets tough? (Some of you are victoriously shaking your heads right now). Being a tough athlete, however, does not always correspond with being a smart athlete. One of the most important elements to training is knowing what your body needs. This could be the appropriate fuel, some auxiliary mobilization, or identifying movement deficiencies. All of these things signs of a conscious athlete; however, even the most aware of people get hurt. Working out at any cost and using “toughness” as a masking agent for true pain very harmful to your progress. While your coaches appreciate your dedication and love to see you going full tilt in class, our primary concern is the longevity of your health. I never want to break your competitive spirit, but I insist you are selfish in this one regard. Come into the gym and “bother” us with your issue because that is what we are here for.   The care and consideration our staff reaches far beyond the confines of the gym. We care about how you functioning in your everyday life. Consider this scenario: Day 1 comes and your shoulder is irritating you.   You get through the workout and try your best to hide the painful grimace on your face. The coach, focused on your form, does not notice that you are favoring because he or she is resting on the assumption that you are well. Once the session is over, you sigh with relief because you didn’t scream out in agony for the entire hour.  You are “tough!” That night you sleep on the same shoulder, causing a reverberating, dull pain the entire next day that causes you to take the day off from the gym because you barely made it through work. It is at this point you will exhaust all of your illogical resources and find yourself on Web M.D. methodically self-diagnosing your shoulder pain. While you did learn a lot in the process, you are not on the road to recovery. This situation could have been easily avoided. The conscious athlete would have confided in his or her coach and found a practical means of fixing the issue. The coach would design and implement strategies to combat the issue as well as scale the workout avoid further injury. While I admire your toughness, I want you to possess a greater awareness of what is best for you and use all the resources at your disposal. As coaches, we want to be there to assist you in the victories and the adversities. -Coach Angelo Sisco

Why Training Alone Can Be So Beneficial

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I am not going to go on a rant about how to training alone creates a greater sense of mental fortitude, and you alone can be the star in your own Rocky training montage.  However, as someone who has primarily trained alone for the greater part of my 7 years in CrossFit, I have experimented with a vast array of training methodologies.  While working out with the community has a multitude of benefit, I would like to focus on the progressive outcomes of training along.

There is something about the mental part of isolation training that requires a degree of perseverance that I find rewarding.  When you are responsible for your own course of training the onus is on you and not the culminating actions of the group.  When you do not have the communal energy to feed off of you must delve into your own reserve of determination.

In the warm up you must find the appropriate mindset for that particular day. What are going to be the specific elements of your focus?  How will you handle errors or successes?  As you look at your videos in between lifts, check your form and work on refining your movement and self-correcting.  This is crucial to the development of an athlete because you must build a stronger sense of physical awareness.  Coaching is wonderful, but true progression comes with an intrinsic understanding of needs.

In conditioning you must be hypercritical of your form.  While this may detract from your score, who cares!  The idea here is to move efficiently and appropriately; the outcomes will render themselves in time.  No one is there as a means of checks and balance; consequently, your integrity will dictate the strides you make.  The score is secondary to you holding yourself accountable

As I finished my interval rowing for today, which I considered quitting several times, I explored the universal need to challenge the “self.”  As we are all defined by different matrices throughout the day the unifying one is the internal drive to accomplish.  Test yourself and find something new within you that you may not have known was there.

Here is a little test to get you on  your way – put your headphones on and see what you are made of…

My rowing workout if anyone would like to try, I’d love the feedback. Courtesy of Chris Hinshaw

Workout 1250m Row rest 90s 1000m Row + 250m row rest 90s 750m + 250m+ 250m rest 90s 500m + 250m + 250m+ 250m rest 90s 250m +250m + 250m+ 250m +250m Pacing (1250, 1k, 750, 500, were all at 12-15s off 2k TT pace 152-155 for me) (250m were at 2k TT pace (140 for me, got into 142-143 on last series) How to perform easier paces right into 250s, rest 10s btw 250m efforts IE, 750m Row @152 - immediately into 250m @140, rest 10s 250m Row @140.

Equipment Needed for CrossFit

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As current CrossFitters, or those of you looking to try CrossFit, we all have an idea of what gear we need. I have decided to put together a list of what I think one must get as he or she progresses through his or her fitness journey. Keep in mind, it is not necessary to get all of this gear all at once, but instead; this list is what Coach Lu thinks will help you through your many workouts.
  1. A Positive Attitude- I think this is so important for those who are just starting, as well as those who have been in the game for so long to possess a amiable willingness to be open to coaching. We need to remember our goals and enjoy the process, not take it all so serious. You will improve exceedingly if you allow yourself to be receptive to new ideas. #NoRoomForNegativeNancy
  1. A Clear Mind – Staying positive could be more and more difficult when you walk through the doors with the stress of your day on your shoulders. Channeling that anger onto the barbell is important but letting it all go before the call to the whiteboard may be more important as well. Each workout seems to be more fun and a tad bit easier when you aren’t still worried about what happened at work or at home. Allow yourself these moments in the gym to distress and focus on becoming a more ideal you; this is your designated time to escape. #stresscauseswrinkles
  1. Compression Compression Compression- It all starts from the inside out right? For my guys, getting a good pair of compression shorts or tights can make a huge difference for those long rowing workouts. A sports bra can also make a huge difference for you ladies in several movements. These serve a greater purpose than just making your butt look good, they keep your body warm and circulation fluid. This type of clothing will provide greater muscular support and can prevent injury. #TheTighterTheBetter
  1. The Right Shoe- Now don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of shoes just as much as the next guy; however, we need to find the right pair of shoes for CrossFit. We all have seen the video of that woman doing deadlifts in heels. (If you have not, you might want to look it up). This might be an exaggeration of what can happen if you are not wearing the right pair of shoes, but the right message is there. Rebook and Nike have both put out a shoe specifically for CrossFit; I strongly recommend both pairs as they are the best I have tried. Regardless of the shoes you purchase, nothing looks fresher than kick a@# form! #HeelsarenotforCrossFit
  1. Knee Sleeves- Especially if you are in a competition group, knee sleeves can be a great purchase. There is nothing better than knee sleeves to keep your knees healthy, as well as giving you that experienced CrossFitter the temperature and fluidity desired in his or her knees during heavy lifts. #LookGoodFeelGood
  1. A CrossFit Shirt- Do you even lift if you don’t post a selfie at the gym? Well do you even CrossFit if you don’t rep your gym with the latest shirt they have? We are lucky enough to have some stylish and comfortable shirts here at OCF, stop by and get one.   At the very least try to find breathable material that is sized not to suffocate you in a difficult workout. #RepYourGym
  1. Tape- Tape is like currency for CrossFitters. We all have heard someone asking for tape and then following with “I’ll get you back when I get more tape”. Taping your thumbs for long barbells workouts will help with your hook grip. Taping your hands for pull ups or muscle ups can really save you from the rips we all hate. Beside that who doesn’t feel more bada** when your hands are taped. Remember when taping you want to provide support while not hindering circulation. #LookingLikeABoxerBeforeAWorkout
This gear is optional; however, I would like all members to buy into is having a positive attitude, other than that the rest of the objects are just material. There is not a single piece of gear that will help you get through a workout faster or help you PR every week. Enjoy the process, treat yourself to some nice gear every now and then, but most importantly; work hard and have fun with all of us at OCF.-#LiveLaughLou -Coach Lou

What Constitutes Success in your Training?

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What constitutes Success in your training?

I’ve have had this question asked to me quite a few times in my career. Like most tough questions, the answer depends on the individual. Also, one must understand the term “success” is a relative term.  Your manner of success is in direct correlation to your goals and desired outcomes; further, the willingness to improve and fervent dedication will dictate one’s ability to achieve.

 Top ways to feel successful about your training

  1. Some days success may mean just showing up and getting the workout in. We have all been there: tough day at work, fighting with a personal relationship, lack of sleep, not eating well etc… Getting to the gym, getting through the workout is an acceptable measure of success that day; wherein, you just getting through it.  It doesn’t matter if it was the heaviest weight, fastest time, or any other minor details that can drive us crazy.
  2. Picking a success for each day is a great way to set small manageable goals. Look at the workout, pick one movement or part of the workout and focus on it.  Be cognizant of making small changes to your movement, breathing, or pacing in order to improve in that particular realm.   "I’m going to not stop one time doing the burpees today" is a perfect example. One little impromptu goal is a great way to set yourself up for success
  3.  Take time to truly enjoy your successes. We live in a world that is consumed with the thought of scarcity. When was the last time you looked back at your first day of CrossFit and examined how far you have come? Some of you couldn’t squat properly the first intro class, you had issues swinging a 15 pound kettebell, you couldn’t keep your arm locked out on getup, or where unable to do one pushup or pull-up. When you’re having a rough day take a step back and put your mind in that place and smile. You have come a long way. Enjoy it.

I hope you all find a way to reach every success in your lives. It is truly an honor to be support of your journey.  Success is a great motivator, look to find it anywhere you can.

-Coach Angelo Sisco

The Missing Ingredient to your Training and Possibly your Life

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I’ve seen it a thousand times, an athlete take on a workout that supposed to last 12 minutes and they do the first 2 minutes all out and blow themselves out, or they allow their form to break so bad watching them move is almost painful. What causes this? After the workout is done we realize it didn’t go well, but how can we help it next time? Self awareness may be the most underestimated athletic trait of all.

Self awareness is your ability to almost have an out of body experience. It allows you to self-correct and determine error in the course of the movement.  Further, self awareness, in the heat of emotion, has been one of my biggest struggles. Once I realized I was lacking in this department, I have spent countless hours being focused and honing it.

Here are some ways I have gotten better at this. Keep in mind, I am work in progress like everyone; I am by no means saying I have this down.

  1. Be Present - When you’re doing something, interacting, or training be right there in that moment. Don’t let you mind drift, and for some of you this means putting down your phone once in a while. 
  2. Take that bird’s eye view of yourself and really try to tap into it. How are you moving? How are you being perceived?
  3. Just being more aware of “self awareness” – be cognizant of the fact that you must be self-assessing, and that you will always need to correct elements of movement.

To be “self-aware” may be an emotional intelligence that you are missing in your life. Take a look at yourself, not just others and most of the time the solution or key to success starts with you.

- Coach Angelo Sisco