Who Else Benefits??

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Staying motivated long term in any area is not easy, let alone fitness. This is particularly true at the beginning of your journey.   
 
There are three areas to find motivation: Extrinsic (outside of you), Intrinsic (inside of you), and Prosocial (benefiting of others).
 
Prosocial is the type of motivation that has the most long-term effects. It is human nature to want to help and/ or do things for others. 
 
The benefits of your fitness can impact the lives of many others.  We may look at fitness as an individualized journey; however, it affects many others.
 
Here is a list of how your fitness may benefit others - 
1.  Your Partner - 
  • Feeling Confident about yourself does wonders for your relationship 
  • Keeping that body in check is never a bad way to keep your Partner happy.
  • Setting an example for them on how to live a healthy lifestyle
2.  Your Children - 
  • You are their first teacher & coach. What you do, they will learn.
  • Mothers empowering their daughters to be strong and confident through fitness. Helping them see past any social judgements that may come their way.
  • Fathers & Mothers showing their children how to make time for themselves to keep their cup full in order to serve them and others better.
3. Your Community- 
  • Doing workouts next to someone and setting an example is quite motivating.  You holding the standard makes others want to strive for the same.  Believe it or not you have a lot of power. Use it for goodness. 
4.  Charity -
  • Doing workouts to benefit others. Sacrificing for others is a great way to keep moving and pushing hard. 
5. Your Coach - 
  • Coaches dedicate their lives just to make you better.  Being a great student, that gives his or her best, pays attention, and helps others is how you show your coach you are grateful for their hard-work.
 
Don’t wait until your next “motivation slump" to start thinking about this.  Start writing down who you love, what you care about, and connect how excelling and staying dedicated to your fitness program helps them. 

How To Get Your First Strict Pull Up

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Coach Zack here with some thoughts on skill work.  When I say skill work, I mean pull-ups (strict or kipping), double unders, rope climbs, handstand pushups, etc.  The movement I’m going to focus on the most is pull-ups because I feel like many people have the goal of getting a strict pull-up.  However, these same ideas can be applied to any skill work. Like I said, many of us want a strict pull-up.  That was one of my goals when I first started.  Strict pull-ups take work, a lot of work.  You’re pulling your whole body up so your chin can get over the bar.  That is pretty darn impressive.  What I have noticed through my years of coaching is that people come in and maybe work their strict pulling strength one day a week and expect to be able to do a pull-up sooner or later.  That would be so so wonderful.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.     As a gym programming for the general public, we can’t program strict pulling enough for members to see progress without taking away from other important areas of strength and conditioning.  What that means is that someone who wants to get their first pull-up has to take initiative and really focus on spending the time necessary to get their first strict pull-up.  That doesn’t mean you have to stay for an hour after class or come an hour earlier (although we’d love to have you guys around).  It really just takes some focused work 3-4 times/week.  Maybe on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you stay after class for 10-15 minutes and work on your pull-ups.  That is really all it takes.     If you have some more time and really want that strict pull-up, we have our FitBot program that’ll help you reach it faster.  I want to help all of you reach your goals and so do all the other coaches.  We’re here to help you with the exercises you can work on after class or before class.  It just comes down to being committed and putting in that extra time.  Again, those 15 minutes can be spent working on double unders or handstand push-ups.  I just used pull-ups as an example.   One other thought I had is the use of bands with pull-ups.  I’m unsure of how vocal I’ve been about it, but I think banded pull-ups are completely unnecessary except for maybe one instance, which I will explain soon.  I want you guys to think about what the band is doing when you’re using it for pull-ups. The band is essentially slingshotting you upwards with you doing minimal work.  The band also lets you move past the most important part of the pull-up, which is the scap pull-up.  The scap pull-up initiates the pull-up and engages all the proper musculature needed for a strict pull-up.     So my question to everyone is how do you expect to get a strict pull-up if you never train the initial pull for it?  Like I mentioned there is one thing that bands could help for and that’s strength at end range.  For instance, I cannot do strict chest-to-bar pull-ups.  I can do regular strict pull-ups so I have that strength and I know how to engage the proper muscles.  One day, Angelo and I figured out that I have the range of motion to get into a strict chest-to-bar pull-up, but I just did not have the strength to get into that position on my own.  This is where a band, the smallest band possible, can help.  A band would allow me to start training that end range position and help me reach my goal of doing a strict chest-to-bar pull-up.  Like we do in class, the ring pull-up or pull-ups with box support are the best bet in gaining the strength and properly training the musculature needed for a strict pull-up.   Thanks for your time everyone and good luck with those skills! Coach Zack

A Letter to Our Confidants

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Dear Confidants....
Congratulations!  You have already succeeded in this first week of the challenge.  You made the decision to try something, that at some point may have seemed to be completely out of your comfort zone, and you did it.
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A couple of things to keep in mind during your journey with us throughout this second week.  This week the fear will begin to subside, but may creep up on you the next time you’re having a difficult time.  Remember, this is still new and its ok to struggle.  After all, its part of the process.
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Second, you are more than likely still sore from your first couple of classes, it gets better, I promise :)  Consistency is key here; your muscles and joints are still accommodating.  The best way to help them out is by showing up.  They need to move and be stretched to improve and maintain range of motion.  Be a good human to your body, stretch!  Also, stay hydrated.  Water is your friend, carry it with you and add some flavor if its too boring.  I personally love lemon water.
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Lastly, yes, it is a lot of learning.  Think of it this way, you are essentially learning how to move again.  This time properly, and under the care and eyes of movement specialists.  CrossFit is functional fitness, you are not simply being trained for success in an exercise program…. You are being trained to succeed in life outside of the gym through movement that will not only keep you healthy but safe as well.
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Cheers to you all and onward!

Sunday 10.29.17

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PERFORMANCE/FITNESS 
A. Gymnastics  -
12 minutes to choose 1 movement per category to complete 3-4 sets of each
Upper Body Push
Strict Handstand Pushup or Handstand Pushup Variation x 3-7 reps
Ring Dip or All Dip Variations x 4-8 reps
Ring Pushup or any Pushup Variation x 5-10 reps
Upper Body Pull
Legless Rope Climb x 1 rep
Rope Climb w/ legs x 2 reps
Ring Pullup @33X1 x 2-5 reps
Weighted Pullup x 1-5 reps
Strict Pullup x 3-7 reps
B. Midline Work
Mountain Climber w/ pause at top x 30 seconds
Spider Plank on Elbows x 30 seconds **Keep hips low here**
Plank on Elbows x 30 seconds
Rest 60 seconds
C.  Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 4 minutes
27/21 Cal Row or AB
27 Burpees
27 Kettlebell Swing 55/35#
rest 4 minutes
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 4 minutes
21/15 Cal Row or AB
21 Burpees
21 Kettlebell Swing 55/35#
rest 4 minutes
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 4 minutes
15/12 Cal Row or AB
15 Burpees
15 Kettlebell Swing 55/35#

Fails Don’t Mean You’re Failing

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I have been having some trouble with my training lately.  Now, when I say have been having trouble I mean for the better part of 5 months I have been in struggle mode.  I can’t emphasize enough how difficult this is for me because I am my own worst critic when it comes to my lifting, there are honestly a lot of tears shed throughout the weeks because I love to train but it can be a little daunting when you give it all you have and nothing is feeling better.   When I first began here at O’Hare CrossFit I did not allow myself to want to be good at movements because I knew that I would have to put in a lot of work and at that time I was simply not committed to doing it and that was ok. It also meant I had no right to complain of not having the body or skills I wanted. Once I realized that with better movement I would get closer to the body composition goals I had at time I was all in. Since then I have been doing extra personalized programming to improve my gymnastics and weightlifting.  It has been three years of that, of a lot of lonely sessions working out alone, a lot of longer hours at the gym and a lot of repeated failures.  But in those three years I have pushed my body to do things I thought I just would never be able to do like: legless rope climbs, strict ring muscle ups, cleaning 125% of my body weight and deadlifting double body weight. Plus, with every added skill or heavier weight my body changed to give me the aesthetics I wanted.   Now the awesome thing about Crossfit and Olympic Weightlifting is that you are never satisfied and want to continue with the progress, but unfortunately that is not always the case. Training like most things are cyclical and I have reached a point in my strength where now I need to take a step back and revisit and change some movement patterns and work with my positions again which might take a long time for the body to get used to.  Does that mean I am going to stop and give up? Absolutely not! It means I must be motivated every day and deliberate in my training. On those days I don’t wake up motivated I have to then find the motivation to do it because at the end of the day the extra work is what I love and what has always gotten me to my goals.  Don’t for one second think I come in here every day and it’s easy to train, easy to fail and easy to get over the bad days because it is not.  But now after a long time I’m able to smile after some sessions and that in itself is the biggest win.   -Coach Susie

Sunday 10.22.17

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PERFORMANCE/FITNESS 
A. Gymnastics  -
12 minutes to choose 1 movement per category to complete 3-4 sets of each
Upper Body Push
Strict Handstand Pushup or Handstand Pushup Variation x 3-7 reps
Ring Dip or All Dip Variations x 4-8 reps
Ring Pushup or any Pushup Variation x 5-10 reps
Upper Body Pull
Legless Rope Climb x 1 rep
Rope Climb w/ legs x 2 reps
Ring Pullup @33X1 x 2-5 reps
Weighted Pullup x 1-5 reps
Strict Pullup x 3-7 reps
B. Midline Work
Mountain Climber w/ pause at top x 30 seconds
Spider Plank on Elbows x 30 seconds **Keep hips low here**
Plank on Elbows x 30 seconds
Rest 60 seconds
C. Teams of 2 Perform in You go/ I go Fashion, complete
Three Rounds for time:
15 Dumbell Hang Power Clean 50/35#
15 Dumbbell Shoulder to Overhead 50/35#
15 Burpees
15 Dumbbell Thrusters
15/12 Cal Row
**Reps Should be Unbroken Here** 
Partner 1 will do 15 Hang Power Clean, then partner 2 does Hang Power Clean, P1 does 15 Shoulder to Overhead, then P2 does 15 Shoulder to Overhead, etc…

Marriage Material: Making a Conscious Change

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I remembered thinking to myself once that the only true benefit I found from going to the gym was in those moments when, “3…2…1… go!” was screamed and the music was at full volume.  I saw these time domains which ranged anywhere from 2 to 40 minutes as the optimum moments by which to improve my fitness.  Ironically, my Fran and Isabelle time got in the way of me improving my Fran and Isabelle time; I was obsessed with outcomes, but I never wanted to learn how to achieve them.  It is only when I altered my perspective that I began to see change. While I pray that you realize that you will go nowhere without stretching and movement prep, I would like to address the strength portion of our workouts.  Part B is not the ugly step sister to the sexy part C; rather, she is the smarter, more well-rounded of the siblings; she is the one you marry not the one you take out for one night only.  The strength portion of the workout is meant to increase your skill set through practice as well as provide you with an opportunity for wide range muscle recruitment.  This function is essential to burning fat and developing skeletal muscle.  The idea here is that we intend on losing fat not weight.  If you are looking to be skinny and devoid of muscle, take up Meth and avoid weights all together; however, I think our collective goals are much grander than merely losing weight. Your approach to weight lifting should be a two-part process; wherein, you are learning and exerting each day.  In the learning process you want to ask your coach (not each other) questions about your form and appropriate loading.  Do not always wait until you are cued to make corrections.  Commit your errors to memory and make solid attempts at improving upon them; if you fix your feet positioning in your squat one week, do not go back to your bad form the next.  Also, you should make a conscious effort to build a knowledge base and vocabulary.  If you have been at OCF for two years and the terms RM, Power, and Hang are still foreign to you, then it is time to focus a little more.  Finally, you need to record data.  Each time you go into a lift, you should not have to figure out what weight is good for you; rather, you should have a sense of an ideal starting weight and finishing weight. The exerting element of your lifting is where you place demands on yourself to achieve work.  Work is when you move something heavy a distance.  Your body is built to accomplish a great deal and demands consistent variation of expectations in order to continue to evolve.  To put it simply you need to life some heavy stuff at least once a week.  “Heavy” is a relative term, so you need to find weights that are going to require exertion while maintaining quality form.  Here is a good test:  If you are not sweating and taxed from part B, you are not doing it right!  You should need some recovery before you get to part C. So, in review, start taking your lifting seriously, stop being a silly, and all your Isabelle, Fran, Angelica, and Rebecca times will improve.

I’M DREADING GOING BACK…. ITS LIKE I AM STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN…

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You’re right… it is.  And at this very moment, its best to just accept it.  We’ve all been there, life, work, family, and/or special occasions are abundantly taking over every part of our lives.  We allow the overwhelm to steer the wheel on all the decisions that we will face in the days, weeks, and sometimes even months to come.
In the process we abandon our routine and the habits that we have implemented to get us somewhere…a goal, a mission that we so excitingly sought out to begin with.  So what do I do now?  Just show up.  Be honest with yourself and realize that the shame is keeping you from getting back on track.  Understand that it will be like starting over.  You will be sore more often, there will be days you can’t lift as much a you used to.  Heck, there may even be things you may not be able to do that came so easy before.  Own it, learn from it, and let it go.  It won’t last forever.  Nothing like this does.
And prepare, in case new obstacles arise, and they will, to avoid feeling like this again.  Try the following to build a solid training routine, that won’t be susceptible to destruction, no matter what gets thrown your way :
  1. Be consistent.  Pick training days and times that work with your schedule and stick to them.  Every day.  Every week.  Its best to pick one class to attend consistently, if your schedule allows.  This will help not leave your training up to chance and risk not getting it in.
  2. Put it in your calendar and treat it like an appointment that you can’t miss.  If it’s not in your schedule, it’s not happening.
  3. Give yourself a reward when the task is completed. For me its a post workout snack, like my protein oats.  Every time you reward yourself, you reaffirm and reinforce the behavior.
  4. Lastly, adjust your expectations.  Accept that it may take some time and work to get back to where you were, especially if it’s been more than a week since you’ve been in the gym. Talk to your coaches about possible adjustments and modifications
Through practice and repetition, you can develop the healthy healthy habits incorporate into your training routine that will endure long-term.

When Did Being “Content” Become the Norm?

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America as a whole, and so many of us, got to where we are because of nothing but HARD work.  Not because of being exceptional at anything in particular, but simply because we wanted something and we went and got it. Whether it was a job, whether it was our “goal body”, or whether it was our high school or college degree.  We were relentless in our pursuit.   It seems that a recent trend has arose though where being content, taking the “easy” route, or avoiding discomfort or grueling work is now common.  We don’t want things to be hard.  We shy away from challenges.  We are afraid to fail.   The problem with this is that if we avoid failure, we avoid our potential.  We avoid the things we truly want.  We avoid happiness and we settle for a false happiness.   So starting today (on a Monday, a new week, a new month), try embracing failure.  We learn in the midst of failure; we learn what our true limits are.  No more of ‘that workout was hard, but I could have gone heavier’, or ‘I don’t want to try that, I don’t think I can do it’.  Stop being so content with ‘sort of hard’ and get excited to start trying new things.   Seek Failure.  Embrace Failure.  Surpass Failure. It’s what makes us human.   -Coach Becca

Meet Your Newest OCF Coach – Zack Jankiewicz

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Dear OCF members,   It’s everyone’s new favorite coach, Zack, also known as New Zack or Zack with a k (just kidding, I can’t compete with all of our incredible coaches yet).  Now felt like the right time to share with everyone a little bit about myself.  I’m just your ordinary middle child, future-puppy-owner, football-fanatic, and fitness-enthusiast.  I grew up here in Chicago right around Harlem and Foster so not to far away from OCF.  Growing up, I played all types of sports from basketball to football to volleyball.  As time went on and as I grew taller to displace my chubbiness, football became my sport.  I started playing at 10 years old and continued to play all the way through my years at St. Patrick High School.  I could have played in college but I ultimately decided not to, which is a choice I still regret at times.  I love football.  Obviously I am a little biased, but in my opinion it’s the best sport.  It builds character inside of you as well as toughness outside.  Your team turns into a brotherhood that goes to battle every Friday or Saturday night.  It’s violent but beautiful.  I’ll stop myself now because I could go on for hours.   Deciding against playing football, led me to attend the University of Iowa.  Go Hawkeyes!  I spent four years there graduating in May of 2016 with a degree in Human Physiology.  It’s a degree that requires you to take all of the science classes and helps prepare students for medical school or another professional program like physical therapy.  I had the time of my life at Iowa, which made me feel better about giving up football.  I made a bunch of friends, learned a lot and grew up a bit, or at least tried to.  The summer between my freshman and sophomore year I found Crossfit with my buddy here in Chicago.  We were doing typical bodybuilding stuff until one day he saw a video about CrossFit and shared it with me.  The next day at the gym, we tried the workout of the day and both died.  From that day, I was hooked.   As my years in college went on I kept doing CrossFit while trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  I went to school thinking I wanted to be an athletic trainer.  That didn’t work out.  I then thought about physical therapy, which led to chiropractic and then I wasn’t sure about either of those.  At this point in college my senior year was approaching. I began to freak out.  I needed a plan.  I did not want to graduate with no idea what to do.  That’s when it hit me.  Something I was passionate about was there all along and I never really noticed.  All the careers I was interested in had to do with helping people get healthy and be active and out of pain.  CrossFit had helped me tremendously so I thought to myself, why not become a coach.  This way I could help people be active and healthy doing something I love.  It was the perfect solution.  So that summer, I graduated, I got my level 1 certification and started applying for jobs.  I got a job shortly there after in North Liberty, Iowa, which is right outside of Iowa City where the University of Iowa is.  So I moved back to Iowa after moving home last summer to coach at my new gym, CrossFit Philia.  I coached there since September of last year until this past July.  I moved back home to Chicago in July because life in Iowa on my own was tough.  I really enjoyed coaching but living on my own became expensive and working two jobs was not enough.  Plus, all my family is here in Chicago or the suburbs so its good to be back close to them.  Luckily enough, I applied for a coaching job here at OCF and Angelo liked me enough to offer me a position.  This brings me to where I am at today.   As a coach, the body intrigues me.  The way it moves, the way it functions, and the way each body differs from somebody else.  What intrigues me even more than all of that is pain or injuries.  What is pain?  Why is this movement painful but this one isn’t?  There are so many questions, but sometimes it feels like there is never an answer.  It’s as if pain is a puzzle.  I have been there myself in terms of pain and it’s frustrating.  It makes you think and get creative with some stuff that may help fight the pain. With that said, attending physical therapy school could be extremely beneficial to me as a coach.  So in a year or two, I may be off to physical therapy school, while hopefully still coaching simultaneously because I am not quite ready to give it up.  Being a football player, I was always strong with my legs so I really enjoy Olympic lifting and moving heavy weight, especially, squatting.  Since those movements are my strengths I learned a lot about them and feel very confident in coaching those movements.  So if any of you are hurting or need advice when it comes to the Olympic lifts or squatting, I would be glad to help!   Coaching is something I am truly passionate about.  The feeling inside when someone you’re coaching hits the weight they have been struggling with for so long, or when someone gets their first strict pull-up or rope climb is indescribable.  The look of joy on their face makes me know I made the right choice of becoming a coach.  I am constantly inspired by so many of you who come in day after day and put the work in to move better and be active.  I hope one day when I’m older (I’m 23 for those that don’t know), I can do what each of you do in the gym and in life.  It truly amazes me.  I have met so many great people here already and I look forward to getting to know everyone here at OCF more!   Whether I am in the gym struggling with gymnastics, or big man-nastics as Rocio calls it, or just hanging out waiting to coach, feel free to say hi and have a chat!   Thanks for reading this unnecessarily long post, Zack