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The Half Marathon Obsession: train to kill a 5K first! Part 1

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In my quest to be relentlessly helpful, I wanted to chat about the very admirable goal of…

completing your first half marathon. Notice I didn’t say running your first marathon…Why people pay to jog, walk and struggle through 13.1 miles to be able to slap that sticker on their car is beyond me.

A couple of the reasons I hear people sign up for their first half marathon:

– I need to lose weight and get healthy; marathon training will keep my accountable.

– I need to train to make up for my horrible diet – I’ll burn a ton of calories running a lot of mileage.

Neither of those (independently) should dictate whether you pay an upwards of $100-$150 to run 13.1 miles. Running does not build health and it is certainly not a good weight loss solution on it’s own (nutrition needs to be your focus).

I have seen countless amateur runners sign up for races and distances that are completely out of their capacity, leading to injury. They’re wrecked for a week, even two after the race. Knees are swollen. Ankles are aching. Feet are on fire. Hips are tight. Back is shot.

Now, I’m not a running or endurance coach by any means. But I am a trainer… I teach people how to move and move well in space. How to squat, press, pull, jump, run, etc.

I would never advise someone who squats like crap with 10Ibs to suddenly increase the weight to 100Ibs – you must master the basics and develop the skill and strength before you increase the intensity.

The same principle applies to running: you must learn and develop the ability to increase your mileage SAFELY.

Running is a skill.

Running is… high-repetition single-leg plyometrics.

The sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll realize you need to be strong enough to run consistently and you need to develop good technique to prevent injury. More on technique later.

Here is an example I use often: If you take around 10 minutes to run one mile, you shouldn’t attempt two yet.

That’s right…more mileage does not make you better.

If you stink at running 1 mile, then you simply need to get better at running one mile without adding volume.

You may ask…well then how will I ever get to run more than a mile?!

The safe, smart and efficient solution: drill, cadence and pacing work

I have the benefit of having one of the BEST endurance coaches in Florida work out of my facility:

Roy Foley of Aeropro Coaching. He’s incredible. He’s passionate about his craft. He cares deeply for his athletes. He also practices what he preaches: he’ll kick your ass on a bike ANY DAY.

Check him out here: http://aeroprocoaching.com/

I see him training his athletes daily. His athletes are podium finishers. They kill it in the endurance world.

Do you know what their training consists of? drill, cadence and pacing work.

Even though he has Ironman slayers and marathon killers…they are doing interval work. And drills – developing and refining their running skills. They don’t just run miles, on miles on miles. That’s not quality, that’s just quantity – a one way road to overuse and injury.

His athletes are doing 1/4 mile repeats, 1/2 mile repeats, mile repeats, mastering 5Ks- quality intervals.

They’re EARNING THEIR MILEAGE.

So.. how is your one mile? Taking around 9-10 mins? If so, don’t waste your money to simply “finish a half marathon” and risk serious injury. Build up to it. Earn that mileage. You need to master the smaller stuff before you tackle a HUGE challenge like a half marathon.

Train to kill a 5k instead!! Then you can build up to a 10K, 15K and so fourth. I enlisted the help of Roy  to help put together some progressions for you.

PART ONE OF YOUR QUEST TO KILL A 5K:

First and foremost – Form and cadence work.

Form: Pose Method. Pose method is the official running method of Crossfit for a reason – it works and it’s easy to learn. Roy teaches 95% of his athletes the Pose method (or some form of it). This is about being aware of your body, moving with intention and viewing running as a skill…running is not about the shoes.

Pose breaks down running into three simple steps: The running pose, the fall and the pull.

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POSE. FALL. PULL. This will be your mantra.

You can find a lot of good stuff on Pose running drills here.

Once you have the pose, fall, pull method down, then it is time to apply it to cadence drills. 

Cadence is the number of steps taken per minute, with the an optimal goal being 180 (90 each leg) strikes per minute.

**You keep the same cadence no matter how fast you’re running. This way your body maintains a similar PRE (Perceived Rate of Exertion) no matter how fast you’re running. Being that your cadence remains the same, your stride lengthens as you speed up and shortens as your slow down.

Download a metronome app on your smart phone (they have one ones synced to music).

Start out with periods of 30 seconds and work up from there. Work on this for about 10 minutes a few times per week. You will also be applying these drills as warm ups for your run during the first few weeks of your 5k training.

Become familiar with these basics and then we’ll add some mileage… part 2 can be found here. 

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Willpower: don’t bank on it

You’re on a diet kick, right? Or “changing your eating habits”…whatever you’d like to call it.

You want to kick a bad habit. Trying not to drink all of the wine.

You’re trying to power through a never-ending work or school assignment to excel and do well.

You’re trying to make a change in your life.

So what do you do? Change 9 things at once, never come up with a solid action plan to work with from the beginning and hope that you have enough willpower to stay the course and reach your goal.

First off, many people try to change too many things all at the same time. For instance, they have a fat loss goal. They decided that in order to be successful and attain said fat loss goal within their (usually impractical) time frame,  A- they need to commit to working out 6 times per week, twice per day is best B- cut out all sugar and sweets C- cut out all CARBS because they’re evil and make you fat D- cut out all alcohol E- significantly cut their calories, etc.

I can tell you right now that you will soon find yourself elbow deep in a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos while gulping a margarita sugar-bomb if the above is your “plan.”  You actually don’t have a plan at all…you’re just making a bunch of rules.  More on why too many changes does NOT always equal better results on another day.

I want to talk about willpower in a way that isn’t normally addressed.

You see, many people view willpower as a limited resource. Many people think the more you “use,” the less you will have.

Going back to the fat loss goal, let’s talk about your willpower over the course of a week.

  • Monday – you killed it. You prepped your meals on Sunday and you’re very motivated to stay the course. You’re bragging about your homemade dressing to everyone at the office. You’re totally going to share it on Facebook.
  • Tuesday – Sam’s birthday at the office. You’re presented with cupcakes… looks tempting but you’re still armed with your previously prepared meals from Sunday so you pass. Phew. Keep focused. It’s only day two. Just get over it already.
  • Wednesday – Your prepped food supply is getting low.. you now …have to…. go OUT FOR LUNCH! You frantically search the menu for a “healthy” option. The healthy options are there buuuuut they’re no where near as tempting as the asiago cheese, bacon bit smothered chicken fettuccine alfredo. But you know you have to be strong here. You think of your motivators. Your fears. Your desires. And you pass. But you do eat a piece (or 3) of bread that they so inconsiderately placed right in front of you before your meal (don’t they know you’re trying not to eat that stuff!?) Rude. Minor deviation from the plan but you’re victorious over the entree department. Patience is wearing thin but you’ve told yourself you’re strong enough to fight through this. Stay the course.
  • Thursday – Wednesday night you made a large, healthy dinner that provided you some left overs. Yesterdays lunch was really stressful and you didn’t want that to happen again. You came prepared to face the lingering cupcakes from Sam’s birthday celebration on Tuesday. They still look delicious….You pick one up…and smell it….fantasize about eating it…. AND THEN YOU DUNKED THAT SHIT IN THE GARBAGE! Get the eff outta there. It’s been four days since you’ve started this journey and you’re getting the hangry/carb-deprived combo. Not. Good. For. Anybody. Later, you force yourself to go to sleep hungry before you raid the fridge at home. You’re not too stoked about anything right now.
  • Friday – Day five. Last day of the work week. You begrudgingly gnaw on your healthy lunch as everyone indulges in take out, fast food, etc. You think…this sucks. Is this even worth it? Maybe I’m just not meant to be leaner/thinner/smaller. This is too hard, too stressful. Dinner is when you deviate from your “plan” and you reward yourself . These past five days have been hard and you feel sorry for yourself. Your willpower has been drained and your tank is empty. Saturday and Sunday goes down the crapper and you’re back to square one next Monday.

As the days went by, even though each day you were accomplishing something…you set yourself up for failure because you were only riding on your willpower to get you through.  You defaulted to willpower over formulating a solid action plan. The biggest mistake you made was assuming that you had a limited and finite amount of willpower. That each time you “used it”, you then had less of it available. Instead of viewing each of those feats as a sense of empowerment, you felt drained.

How you think about willpower will determine how effective it is.

Do you think the more willpower you exercise, the more confident you will become?

Or do you think you only have so much to give and it will run out after so much wear and tear?

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The Henry Ford quote “whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” really takes the cake here. It’s all about your mindset and attitude.

Do you genuinely believe your willpower will help you overcome or are you just hoping it happens?

You need to take a positive approach to willpower and try to think that the more you use it, the better you will get at tackling new challenges. Keep the ball rolling and generate a positive momentum. Think “if I had no problem throwing out that cupcake the other day, I can easily keep this up. It was actually really empowering to do. I showed that cupcake who was in charge. I actually spared someone else from eating it so that’s worth double points. It was easier than I thought and I’m now that much closer to my goals because of my dunking skills. I’m awesome.”

When I hit a goal, it just makes me want to set and exceed new ones! It gets me pumped up. I have learned to embrace the positive growth and achievement that comes with challenges. I need them. I look for challenges. It keeps me on my toes. You need to draw positivity from previous accomplishments. Remind yourself of how awesome you are. Positive self talk and self love. More on what self love should mean here. 

Remember, willpower is another tool in your tool belt when working to achieve a goal. Don’t put all of your eggs in the infinitely large willpower basket.

If this is a concept you’re struggling with, we can help. Reaching a goal always takes a multi-method approach. The experience, guidance and care from our coaches at St. Pete Strength and Conditioning can help you develop the habits it takes to create that positive snowball effect.

Click here to sign up for your free trial to experience the SPSC difference.

What “loving yourself” should mean.

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This post is coming from the heart. It comes from a good place although it may sting some of you. I’m going to share my feelings in hopes of helping someone out there. So here it goes…

I’ve read and heard a few statements lately from out of shape and overweight women that made me think.. if only you knew how to love yourself and what that means for your body, your life would be very different. There are 2 extremes that come to mind on this topic…

Woman number 1 – We’ve all seen this woman before. She’s very overweight, she’s loud and she’s proud. She claims she is a “real woman” and loves her extremely overweight and unhealthy self. She boldly displays her “voluptuous” body for all to see given the opportunity. She bashes any woman who is lean, fit and/or skinny because she assumes if you’re any of those things, you are deprived. She thinks a healthy body fat level comes out of self-hatred and punishment. She assumes anyone who is lean doesn’t know how to “live life and accept themselves”. This woman is CONVINCED that letting yourself go is the same as accepting and loving yourself.

Woman number 2 – I see this woman too often…This woman is overweight, unhappy and does not love herself. In fact, she has given up on herself completely. She feels she could never love her self or her body unless she was to look a certain way and lose “x” amount of pounds. She is completely defeated and has given up on being happy with her body. She no longer values herself and doesn’t deem herself worthy of anyone else’s love. She looks at herself in the mirror and hates what she sees. She hates her body. She is disgusted. She does not want to be seen. In her eyes, she will “always be the fat girl” and has convinced herself of this hurtful lie. This woman goes through a roller coaster of diets and binges. Feels motivated temporarily and then feels defeated, leading to the sense of failure and eventually gives up.

I believe in self love.

I believe you must love yourself in order to know true happiness. I believe you must love yourself to allow others to love you. There are certain things you must accept about life, about other people and about yourself. I also believe that many women tend to blur the lines of acceptance and giving up when it comes to their bodies.

I’m not assuming that if you have one of these characteristics or thoughts about yourself, you have all of them. I’m not assuming that women will fall into one or any of the these categories. But I truly believe positivity and being motivated from a loving place.

The first woman I mentioned is the toughest person to influence. They are usually very ignorant in the matter of health and nutrition and frankly don’t care what kind of facts or statistics you present to them. They don’t want to change. They’re not concerned with their health or quality of life. Most of these women were once unhappy with their bodies. At some point, they were convinced to accept and love themselves for who they are…that some how turned into some warped sense of what “natural” means for their body – not giving two shits about their bodies and letting it all go. You are suppose to take care of the things you love. You don’t hurt and neglect things that you love. You sacrifice for love. You work for love. The same applies to your body. If you love your body, you wouldn’t fill it with horrible foods and neglect it with lack of exercise, sunshine, water, activity, etc. This woman infuriates me. The ignorance they spew is heard by the young children in their lives. And they’re wrong..so, so wrong. You don’t love your body; you’re hurting yourself. You’re hurting others in your life. And their hate and disgust for “thinner women” is what really gets me. That cynical attitude leads you down a lonely road. I believe the negativity they hold towards other people is really how they feel about themselves. The loud and proud show is just that, for show. I wish they would realize that loving yourself and accepting yourself doesn’t mean not caring about what happens to your body. Loving yourself means taking pride in how you maintain your body. Loving yourself takes work and commitment. Trying to convince this type of woman to change is extremely difficult. I have found that if they ever change, it was because of some very extreme event or incident that finally opened their eyes to their backwards thinking. I honestly don’t put much energy into negative people like this.

The second woman is where my heart lies. I really want to help these women. I want them to know how amazing it is to let go of the hate they have for their bodies and learn to love what they’re made of. Its so liberating to be free from your own negativity. When you’re motivated in a positive way and come from a loving place, your whole perspective changes. Everyone has things they want to change, improve upon..and that’s totally ok. Its healthy to want to see yourself at your best. The key here is YOUR best…the best version of YOU…not someone else’s best. When you care for your body, you want to fill it with nutritious foods. When you like yourself, you’re motivated to maintain your body. After all, you only get one body in this lifetime. I’m not saying its easy to do, but it is simple: love yourself. Take care of yourself. Do it for YOU. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself. There is nothing wrong with looking in the mirror and saying “I want to lose weight”. It’s possible to be honest with yourself without being hateful. I promise you, the body is capable of doing amazing things! You just have to give it the opportunity to shine. And that means feeding it whole, quality foods, sleeping well, staying hydrated, exercising and getting some sunshine. This woman needs to practice compassion for themselves. They may have had a few years under their belt of self loathing. They’ll need to retrain the way they think about themselves, how they speak about themselves, how they react when they see themselves in the mirror. They are their own worst critics and its time they lay off! Learn to find joy in the process of transforming yourself. Learn to love the changes, the challenges, the achievements they will experience. The thing is, there is no end game here. Fitness and health is a life long pursuit. You’re never “done”, you just get better at it. You must learn to be motivated by love and value yourself. You need to look yourself in the mirror and say “I’m worth the work. I’m worth the sacrifice. My happiness is worth fighting for!”. And most importantly, your worth is not based on your ability to lose weight or change your body. You will always have your ups and downs. You will feel defeated and unmotivated at times. But if you learn to truly love yourself, you won’t give up. Your body and physique does not define you. Embrace your body, its shape, its limits and respect yourself.

-Nicole Race, Owner/Coach St. Pete Strength & Conditioning

Guest Post: Stop stretching those “tight” hamstrings! (by Dr. Maggio)

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Matt Maggio. I have a doctorate degree in chiropractic, but my focus is completely on the diagnosis and permanent removal of scar tissue with my hands. I like to refer to myself as a soft tissue specialist. My office is adjacent to SPSC Crossfit.

On many occasions the coaches and I get to talk about various aspects of being physically active (training, injuries and recovery.) The coaches and owners of the box asked me if I would like to do some guest blogging based on problems/injuries they see on a daily basis. Of course I had to oblige!

The first topic I wanted to dive into was hamstrings, especially the people that have those chronically “tight” hamstrings.

I will start of with a mini rant; I tend to do this from time to time. Whenever I hear the word “tight,” it triggers off a response by me and often gets me a little mad. Using the word tight is so basic and truly lacks any substance to what is going on. I then follow-up with a question in my own mind…

Why are these hamstrings “tight?”

Reason 1:

You just had a crazy and hard workout a day or two ago, with a lot of dead lifting/squatting/jumping/running or anything that involves the lower body.

Being “tight” in that context is a completely normal process by the body in the recovery process, and the “tightness” and soreness should resolve in about 72 hours after the workout.

The next two reasons are by far the most common reason for “tight” hamstrings and can cause the majority of the problem.

Reason 2:

You have lousy posture and are forced to have to sit all damn day at a desk job. The modernized aspect of society has wreaked havoc on our muscles and they spend all day in a state of constant contraction trying to battle back for the crappy position it is put in.

Reason 3:

You have a lot of adhesion (aka scar tissue.) This is the most common and most under diagnosed aspect of “tight” muscles and pain. For a review of what scar tissue is check out my YouTube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDCdhYKxLS8

Now we get back to what causes those hamstrings to be “tight.”

My colleague Dr. Cody Scharf, owner of Thrive and Sport sums up a concept of protective tension in the following blurb from a recent article:

“Muscles do what they are told. If the nervous system says, “get tight,” it tightens. The body’s main mechanism of protecting itself from injury or damage is compression, termed protective tension.

Protective tension provides stability and protects the joints. This allows the body to move as efficiently as possible, while not creating pain. Over time, the body will run out of compensatory means through protective tension and will have to create pain in order to stop movement and damage to the body.

While most stretch, flexibility is only found in the short term, lasting minutes or even hours. Eventually, protective tension will return the body to its previous state to restore the stability it is demanding.

The body requires a combination of strength and flexibility for health. Stretching is one of the most overprescribed and ineffective methods of reducing pain and increasing flexibility. While it has worked for some, many find themselves in a continuous struggle of stiffness.

Protective tension is a natural response from the body to deal with overuse and overload. While seeking help is the next appropriate step, many still will resist.”

 

The second part of this blog will be a video focusing on some techniques and ideas to help ease some of that protective tension and how to screen yourself to see why those hamstrings are “tight.”

Thanks for reading.

-Dr. Maggio

Your road to strict pull ups

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The strict pull up.

Its a beautiful thing and a true test of strength. Pull ups are one of the most effective body weight exercises for developing strength and adding muscle mass.  The reason  they are so effective in developing strength is because they’re challenging.

For a lot of people, getting their first strict pull up is one of their main fitness goals. So, how do you get there?

  • First of all, say goodbye to the bands. Yes… you read that correctly. Bands should be used for mobility and adding RESISTANCE to movements (not assisting). Besides, using a band for pull ups assists primarily at the bottom of the pull up (when the band is stretched the most). The majority of people need the assistance at the top portion to get their chin over the bar. That leads people to use a band thick enough that assists in the top portion,  sling-shotting through the first portion of the pull up and never learning to retract their shoulder blades (how you initiate a pull up properly and get your lats involved).  Sometimes, the band leads to a funny looking half-kipping pull up. Bottom line…its doing more harm then good if you’re always reaching for the band.
  • V-O-L-U-M-E is going to be key here. You want to attack this weakness multiples times per week. I would say you need to work on developing pull up strength before or after your WOD 3 times per week. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to go to failure all three days. You’ll want to leave a little gas in the tank each day. But we always need to attack our weaknesses.
  • Generally speaking, the less you weigh, the easier it is to pull yourself vertically off of the floor. Now I’ve seen plenty of big guys crank out pull ups and chin ups. But if you have excess body fat you know you need to get rid of, it definitely makes pull ups easier when you have less weight to pull.
  • Stop making excuses. Big, small, man or woman…if developing your pull up(s) is a goal of yours then you need to focus and do what it takes to make it happen.

Now lets take a look at accessory and isolation (yes, we will be curling 😉 exercises you need to focus on to develop the pull up strength.

  • Rows. Lots of rows and all variations. Inverted rows on the rings, inverted rows on a  racked barbell, bent-over barbell rows and bent-over single-arm dumbbell rows. Row variations is something that everyone can do and this will be the starting point for all levels. Rows develop basic pulling strength and is the first progression in the road to pull ups. For body weight, start with ring rows. Once you master those and build up enough strength, its time to move on to inverted rows on a racked barbell. Barbell and single-arm dumbbell rows can be progressed by increasing reps and using heavier weights.

 

  • Batwings. I got this idea from Dan John. If you don’t know who he is, check him out. Anyhow, this is essentially an isometric hold of a row. Another great way to develop pull strength.
Batwing. Done laying facedown on a bench, pulling your elbows behind you and pinching your shoulder blades together. Its a lot more taxing than it looks. You want to hold this top position for about 5 seconds.

Batwing. Done laying facedown on a bench, pulling your elbows behind you and pinching your shoulder blades together. Aim to pull your thumbs into your armpits. Its a lot more taxing than it looks. You want to hold this top position for at least 5 seconds.

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  • Dead hangs and scapular retractions (scap pulls).  You need to develop your grip strength to hang from the bar longer.  Grab the bar and hang. But don’t hang like a wet noodle. Tighten up, get your core involved. Get into a hollow position..we need your entire body to be connected and engaged. You also need to learn to how pull your shoulder blades down and back. This is how you initiate the pull up and get your lats engaged. Once you master these (lets say 3 sets of 12) then you can move on to negatives.
Dead hang. No scapular retraction.

Dead hang. No scapular retraction.

Scapular retraction. I pulled my shoulder blades down and back. You now see my lats engaged. This is how every pull up should start.

Scapular retraction. I pulled my shoulder blades down and back. You now see my lats engaged. This is how every pull up should start.

  • Eccentric or Negative Pull ups.  You’ll need to work up to this progression so make sure you have basic pull strength AND can retract your scaps correctly before attacking these. Get a box, chair, whatever gets you high enough to pull your chin over the bar. Now, hold for a few seconds at the top and SLOWLY lower yourself back down to fully extended elbows. As with any movement, the eccentric portion is where you develop the most strength because its taxing. You don’t want to go to failure on these so knock these out in 3-4 sets of sub-max reps (always leave a few in the tank).

 

  • Barbell/box Assisted pull up.  This will be your go-to during a WOD once ring rows are no longer challenging you.  Make sure you’re squeezing your glutes to stay tight. The higher the box, the more assistance it offers as you can drive more with your legs. The lower the box, the less help you receive. You can also stack plates on top of boxes to place your legs higher if needed. Make sure your torso is vertical. You don’t want your hips in front of the barbell. This is NOT an inverted row.
Barbell assisted pull up.

Barbell assisted pull up.

 

  • Bicep Curls. Yep…curls are a great way to get stronger biceps. I believe in encompassing isolation exercises as a way to build up your weaknesses, not an entire program comprised of isolation work. Your biceps have a big role in pull ups and even bigger role in chin ups. Knock these out a few times per week with 4 sets of 6-8 reps.

 

Now you may be asking…how do I piece all of this together? Like I mentioned, go for 3 times a week but not to failure at this volume.

Rows should be done all three days. What type of row? Ring rows are the first progression, building up to wearing a vest while rowing. Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. Same rep scheme for single arm bent-over rows. Always aim to increase the weight when possible. The next progression would be an inverted row under the barbell. Master them in sets of 8-10 with your legs bent and then work up to executing them with straight legs. Remember, we’re aiming for volume here so don’t do a progression that only allows 3 or 4 good reps per set.

Curls are another exercise that can be done three times per week. Dumbbell curls, hammer curls and barbell curls. Choose your poison and rep them out. Increase the weight when possible. Also aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.

On to the most taxing exercises… batwings and eccentric pull ups. You’ll want to do these on separate days. Both of these movements should be done within a few sets but never to failure. Everyone can do the batwings, its just a matter of choosing an appropriate weight.  Eccentric pull ups (negatives) are tough and need to be worked towards. Eccentric pull ups require a lot of control to make them effective. You can’t just hop over the bar and drop down. You need to be able to hold your chin over the bar for a few seconds and lower yourself to full extension over the course of 3-5 seconds as well.  Focus on building up your basic pulling strength (rows) and your scap pulls. If you can master the scapular retractions with a few sets of 10-12, you can then move onto negatives.

There you have it folks…your road to strict pull ups.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

-Nicole Race

Co-owner/coach at St. Pete Strength and Conditioning, home of SPSC Crossfit.

 

 

 

 

 

Why you can’t afford NOT to be a part of SPSC Crossfit.

“Crossfit is too expensive.”

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What are you willing to invest in yourself? What is your health, fitness and happiness worth?

I hear about peoples’ goals all day long:

“I want to lose weight”

“I want to look better naked”

“I want to feel good about myself”

“I want to get healthy”

“I want to train for (insert sporting event)”

“I want to get off of my medications”

“I want to want to keep up with my kids”

“I want to have more energy”

“I want to be proud of my body”

“I want to prove to myself that I can make changes”

“I want to smile when I look at myself in the mirror”

“I want to get stronger”

“I want to unleash my potential”

And the list goes on.

 

I also hear a bunch of negative statements:

“I hate the way I look”

“I’m so depressed”

“I’m always tired”

“I’m not motivated to do anything”

“I have no energy and feel blah”

“I never want to take my clothes off at the beach”

“I’ll never be able to participate in (insert fun activity, sport or event here)”

“I don’t feel attractive”

“I can never stick to a program”

“I don’t know where to start”

This list is, unfortunately, usually longer than the goals list.

 

It’s well known and documented that exercise and eating well allows you to meet all of the above goals and eliminates a lot of those negative statements from your life.  I’m not going to explain the many benefits of strength training to you. This post is about putting your money where you mouth is. Investing in yourself.

Do you REALLY want to get in shape? Do you truly feel unhappy about your appearance? Is it really a lifelong goal of yours to run(not walk) a half marathon?

If so, why haven’t you accomplished said goal yet? What are you waiting for?

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO HELP YOURSELF?

Now, I challenge you to take a look at your bank and credit card statement. Go ahead…  How much do you spend on shopping for things you don’t need? Going out to eat and drink ? How much money do you spend on things that are counterproductive to your goals? How much money do you spend on things that are detrimental to your health? Clothes shopping every few weeks? Really…you need new clothes every month? Manicures? You bought some$7  fancy, sugar filled drink at Starbucks  more than 4 times per week. All of those purchases add up to be a big chunk of your budget every month.

Tell me again about how unhappy you are with how you look or feel.  How bad do you want to make your goals become a reality?

At SPSC, we don’t promise a pant size. We don’t promise to get your abs popping. We don’t promise a quick fix.

What we DO promise at SPSC Crossfit  is the best opportunity to make your goals happen. We create those opportunities with our all-encompassing program:

  • We are staffed with knowledgeable and passionate trainers who have studied, practiced and implemented various training styles. We are always learning, always educating ourselves in the ever-evolving world of health and fitness. At SPSC, we value sound movement over intensity. Our trainers are very hands-on so you’ll never be lost.
  • We provide you with several well rounded and balanced programs to follow based on your goals and abilities (we don’t believe in a one-size fits-all approach to training).  Ever wondered what to do at the gym once you get there? Ok, so maybe you have a list of exercises off of the internet. Are you doing them correctly? Is it too heavy or too light? This is what truly sets us apart from other gyms. Check out our program options here. 
  • We foster a very encouraging, fun and positive environment which motivates every person to always give their best effort. Its difficult to get through a hard, effective workout by yourself. Whats more motivating than a 16 year old star athlete to your left and 65 year old grandparent of 6 to your right, both working hard and giving it their all? You better get to work.  There is no negative, self-bashing talk here. The phrase “I can’t do that” turns into “how will I get this done”.
  • We value strength training. Big time. If you just want to be skinny, go jogging for miles and miles and eat a lot less. But if you want a nice butt, cut arms and want to get stuff done in life…you better lift. Strength training offers the best bang for your buck when it comes to exercises. Be a useful person and learn to lift something heavy.
  • NUTRITION: We offer nutritional guidance based on your goals and where you currently stand. Ever heard of the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen”? Well, so is disease, sickness and poor workout results. Our health and fitness starts and ends with what we put into our bodies. We will sit down with you, work out the details and support you along the way.
  • We’re performance driven. Yes, aesthetics are important to most people and there is nothing wrong with that. Who doesn’t want to look great naked? But our focus and goals are based on improving your performance in the gym…the aesthetics are a by-product if you’re eating like you’re suppose to. We want you to view exercise as fun, stress-relieving and motivating. A challenge you look forward to tackling every day…not view it as a punishment or a way to burn calories. We want you to focus on putting more weight on the barbell, not obsessing over the weight on the scale. We want you to focus on improving your 400m run, not learn to tolerate your cardio session on the elliptical. Fitness is a lifelong pursuit, not a short term goal.

 

We’re much more than a gym membership. We’re much more than a gym full of equipment. We’re a program where every movement you make is coached. We’re a community. We’re a  fundamentally life changing experience.

Are you willing to invest in yourself? Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is? Or are you willing to stay unhappy, unhealthy and unfit?

We may be more expensive than some other gyms in the area but that’s because we’re simply better. Our facility is badass. Our programs WORK if you show up, listen to us and challenge yourself. I will CALL you if I don’t see your face in class for a few days.

Don’t take our word for it, ask our members. Come on in and ask…are they happy? Are they challenged? Do they feel safe and in the care of knowledgeable trainers?

If you are someone who is looking for a short cut, and wants to know exactly how many days/weeks it’ll take you to lose 10Ibs, SPSC Crossfit is NOT the place for you. But I’m sure some big corporate gym would love to take your money and hope you don’t show up.

-Nicole

Headcoach/Owner at SPSC Crossfit

Power – Who should be following Power and how to use it.

Back-squats-2

I’m really stoked about this program. Power is all about gaining some serious strength, adding mass (if you’re eating and supplementing for such a goal) and keeping training simple. Power doesn’t require a ton of skills as we are putting energy into moving a heavy barbell. You will definitely see PRs with this cycle so be prepared to feel sore, beat up and question why you’re following the program in the first place. You’ll adapt if you stick to it. Eat well (eat ENOUGH) and take care of yourself. You’ll want to reduce inflammation in all other areas of your life so your body can focus on recovering from lifting. Stop eating shitty food, drink plenty of water and get your favorite supplement stack ready. You won’t see a ton of fancy things in here like thrusters, muscle ups, rope climbs and handstand walks. What you will see is a focus on compound lifts, a few accessory movements and minimal conditioning to keep your body composition in check.

As we mentioned in an earlier post about all three of our programs, here is a recap of the qualifications and the reasons for following Power…

Qualifications:

  • Same as Performance qualifications.
  • Demonstrates sound technique on all lifts (squats, presses, deadlifts, olympic), but looking to increase strength in these lifts.
  • Experience and knowledge to guide yourself through the program.  Coaches will always be around to help, but will not necessarily be observing every rep of every set.
  • Must be approved by a coach

Key points

  • Power will be programmed on a 4x per week basis (Mon, Tues, Wed and Fri), with Thursday being rest or optional skill day (or makeup day). Conditioning will be maintained through the use of “finishers” that are included in the program on Tuesdays and Fridays. You also have the option of getting in some additional conditioning on Saturdays.
  • This is a STRENGTH PROGRAM. You must be consistent and stay with the program to see the best progress.  This is not intended for the “program hopper” to use here and there.  Commit to getting stronger and stay on one program.

The first 8 week cycle begins tomorrow (June 9th). Please note the following about the training you will see in the next coming weeks:

  • You will warm up with everyone else, regardless of the program you’re following. After the warm up, grab a barbell. Do one or two warm up sets then get to work.
  • Your focus and energy is to lift as much weight as possible in a technically sound manner. Lift well and rest between your sets. Every set is a maximum effort. Seriously. Sit down and rest for 1-2 mins. between your sets unless noted otherwise. If you’re flying through your sets, you’re not lifting heavy enough.
  • Conditioning workouts will not be in excess of 15 minutes and will typically stay around 10-12 minutes. We want your focus to be on lifting heavy and maintaining the appropriate output levels to cause the adaptive stress we’re aiming for (getting strong as hell).
  • “Sets across” means using the same amount of weight for all working sets after warming up.
  • The standard increases in weight on all barbell lifts is 5 pounds. In the beginning, you may use larger increases to find your current strength level. Once you have established your weight for all working sets, you should increase the weight the next time ONLY if you can complete all sets. (Ex- Monday, you put 150# on the bar for back squats for 4×5. If you complete all sets with 150#, next time you back squat to you use 155#. If you CAN’T complete all sets at 150#, then you will NOT add 5Ibs next time and you will continue to work with 150# until you complete all prescribed reps).
  • Chin ups, pull ups and dips should start out with just body weight. If you can do 3 sets of at least ten reps, then you can opt to weight the exercise with a vest or holding a DB with your legs.
  • Skill day should be mastering and practicing a fun activity (paddle boarding, riding your bike, etc) not an hour long, high rep hero WOD that will give you a nasty case of DOMs and will effect your next lifting session.

If you have any questions about the qualifications, movements or programming, please let me know. Remember, this is a strength focused program – the volume is LOW and the weight is HEAVY.

STICK TO IT AND YOU WILL SEE RESULTS.

Get your swole on.

-Nicole

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