New Cycle

September 16, 2014

New cycle information and some throwbacks!

We are wrapping up our current 10 week cycle that focused on olympic lifting.  So far this morning, we have had a ton of PRs!  Hoepfully we can continute to see everyone PR throughout the day.  I am going to try to breakdown this cycle in a more bullet point style, it is a pretty complicated cycle and I want to avoid leaving you with a wall of text.  This cycle is running off a Westside Barbell template, but is heavily modified to fit our needs.

 

Andrea 2012

FUN FRIDAY WARM-UPS

We are going to take a break from the Fun Friday Warm-ups.   I think they were a nice change of pace and got everyone to have some fun and realize in the end it really is just working out.  Honestly, we are out of games and I think it has run its course.  For now we are going to play around with a question of the day on Mondays before we warm-up.  The gym has more and more athletes every month and I want everyone to get to know each other's names and get you guys laughing together.  My goal is to make a gym of over 300 athletes feel likes its a gym of 50.

 

Gail and Syl 2011

 

DELOAD

After this cycle, there will be a 2 week deload.  During the deload, if you need to take some extra days off, now is the time to do it.  The new cycle does not have a built in adaptation stage like our previous two cycles have had, so we will also be using the deload to teach a lot of the new lifts you will be doing in the upcoming cycle.  The deload will give us an opportunity to teach these new movements without worrying about how much weight is on the bar.  This will work great for the deload because we can teach new movement patterns and promote recovery to gear up for the next cycle.

 

Alex "Big Cat" 2011

 

REST DAYS

The rest days for this cycle will be Sunday and Thursday, but the programming on Thursday will be very different then what it has been.  The past few cycles I have been programming for 5 days and then basically putting a strength and workout on the rest day that did not fit in around the current cycle.  I had to do it this way because the 5 day cycle had to work together and build into our focuses, while the rest day programming was less important and was more about working on movements we saw beginners struggling with.  This cycle we are going to try something new.  If you come in on Thursday, you will have two options.  You can either do the strength and workout from Wednesday or Friday.  The major positive to this scheduling is that everyone will be following the same programming.  The only real negative is that it doesn't allow people to come Monday through Friday.  I actually think coming straight through the weekdays is way too taxing, so I am not broken up about it.  If you are stuck coming that schedule because you are away the weekend or whatever, you have two options.  You can either take Thursday off and have an extra day off for the week, or you can come and do an active recovery day.  I will have the active recovery day programmed (it will be the same for the whole cycle) and the coach running class can give it to you for that day.  The other off day - Sunday will still have open gym 10-12 so you can make-up whatever you want on Sunday.

 

Sam 2012

 

LINEAR PROGRAMMING VS. PERIODIZATION (instead of performance)

"The levels will be labeled L and P.  The L is short for linear progression.  For those that have been lifting for less than a year(seriously lifting, not benching 5x a week and doing curls - most likely it will be whatever your time here is), this program is for you.  A linear progression means that you start at a weight that is fairly easy to do you with 3 sets of 5 reps for the first day.  The next time that lift comes up, you will simply add 2.5-10# depending on the lift (this set up will be for squat and bench this cycle).  You keep continueing to add weight each week until you cannot do it any more.  The linear progression for olympic lifting will feature simpler variations on the olympic lifts and will be set based instead of percentage based.  This will allow us to nail down important positions and use the less complicated movements to build strength and basic movement first.

The P is short for periodization.  The periodization will be our usual cycle and will be for those that have run out of their "newbie" gains.  Since we are introducing this program now, I would say that periodization is for those that have been here over a year.  When the new cycle is done, the write-up will go into depth on each strength and why we are doing it."

For more information click here.

 

Chris Long circa 2011Chris Long 2011

 

MONDAY

Monday will be a Max Effort squat day.  Max Effort means we will be focusing on moving weight for a 1-3 rep max.  This is a 12 week cycle and we will be rotating between 4 movements.  This means you will see each movement 3 times.  Each time the movement comes up, you will be trying to PR from the previous time you did it.  The four movements (in order of appearance) are Low Bar Squat for a 2 rep max, Sumo Deadlift for a 1 rep max, a Front Squat with a 10 second descent for a 1 rep max, and a High Bar Squat for a 3 rep max.

 

Chris Dixon 2012

 

TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY

Tuesday and Wednesday will be olympic lifting days.  They will alternate between clean and snatch.  This cycle will focus on doing the full olympic lifting movements since we just spent 10 weeks breaking down the lifts with different variations of the movements.  The movements will be percentage based but will have an extra set every other week that will go by feel.  This means that you will have the opportunity to go heavy for an extra single, or stay lighter depending on how your form and mechanics are for that day.

 

Lynda and Debbie 2012

 

FRIDAY

Friday will be our Dynamic Effort squat day.  This means we will be doing 60-75% of our max back squat + chains on the bar for 10 sets of 2 reps.  The idea behind this day is to move the bar with max speed and explosiveness.  The squats will be low bar box squats, so the bar will be in the low bar position and you will be squatting to a box below parallel.  We are looking for max muscle recruitment from these squats so we will be looking to keep the hamstring loaded on the box and explode up from there.  While on the box, we will teach you to relax your hips flexors, while keeping your posterior chain and abs contracted.

 

Mike R. 2012

 

CHAIN WEIGHT BREAKDOWN

Max Squat

0-200# - 1 chain either side

200-400 - 2 chains

400-500 - 3 chains

500-600 (Big Evan) - 4 chains

The idea behind the chains is something called accomodating resistance.  In a back squat, the lift gets harder as you descend and easier as you stand up.  This is why most people fail at the bottom of their squat.  This is also why you breathe out halfway up out of the squat.  You are pretty much out of the danger zone at this point.  The chains will add their full weight at the top of the back squat.  As you descend the chains will deload onto the floor, taking the weight off the bar.  As you ascend the chains will reload.  This will make the whole movement harder and it will require you to have an explosive drive out of the bottom of the squat all the way to full extension.

 

Naza 2011

 

SATURDAY

Saturday will be benching with chains.  The bench press will be 9 sets of 3 at 60-70% of your max bench.  The bench will also use accomodating resistance in the same way described about.  The idea behind these sets will be to drop the weight quickly but under control and then explode off your chest to the lockout position.

 

Larry 2012

 

CHAIN WEIGHT BREAKDOWN

Max Bench

0-100 - 90% of max + 1 chain either side

100-200 - 1 chain

200-300 - 2 chains

300-400 - 3 chains

400-500 - 4 chains

 

Soo Mi and Mags 2011

 

EXTRA WORK

The extra work will follow a very defined template for this cycle.  This cycle is about bringing your weaknesses up to speed.  A few weaknesses we have identified are hamstring strength, abs, and full olympic lifts.  That's why you see them in the strengths.  The extra work is set to fill in the remaining gaps.

Monday - Olympic lifting + GHD Situps 3x10

Tuesday - Max Effort Bench day - this will be similiar to the max effort squat day.  There are 4 lifts we will cycle through - close grip bench 3 rep max, dumbbell bench 3 rep max, floor press 1 rep max, and strict press 2 rep max.  You will try to PR each time these lifts come up.  If you are following this cycle 5x a week, make sure you do this extra work as it is an integral part of the cycle

Wednesday - Gymnastics + Glute Ham Raises 3x8

Friday - Strongman (axle, farmer's carry, yoke)

Saturday - Sprints + GHD Situps 3x10

The extra work for these days will be denoted, so it won't say olympic lifting on Monday, instead it will say 6x1 behind the neck split jerk at 70% of your max (or whatever the work for that day is).  This extra work should catch a wide sprectrum of movements for you to have some fun playing around with and work on improving in different types of movements.  Please listen to your body for the extra work.  If you are run down or are not into it for the day, then do not do it.  The only really important day of extra work is Tuesday.

Andrea C 2011

 

 

 

WORKOUTS

The workouts don't have a specific focus this cycle.  We are starting to get back around to the open so you will see some workouts that closely mimic open workouts.  On certain days, I focused on hitting certain parts of the body depending on the lifts.  This means you will see ab and hamstring work on max effort squat days.  You will also see deadlifts or olympic lifts on box squat days.  For the bench days you can expect a lot of arm and ab movements (pull-ups, ring dips, toes to bar).  This cycle really has taken the focus away from 1 thing and started to broaden out and focus on GPP (general physical prepardness) as well as including all of the movements found in Crossfit (instead of having to leave out thrusters and wallballs because of the high level of squatting in the cycle).  I am excited for this cycle because it will give you an opportunity to learn and try out some new lifts and focus on just getting overall stronger and fitter.

 

Dana 2011

 

As always, if you have any questions, please email me at tommy@crossfitmtl.com.  I love to talk about this stuff.

 


Fall 2014 Paleo Challenge

September 14, 2014

Get your ice cream eating in now - Tomorrow is the beginning!!

Tomorrow we will begin another Paleo Challenge.  

First, click on the link below, if you haven't already, to post your BEFORE pictures.  I will need one from the front, side, and back.   (Remember that I will be the only one to see these.)

CLICK HERE to Post Pictures

 

Next, remember to record what you are eating in your food journals.  Here is a link to the spreadsheet that you will be using.

CLICK HERE for Food Journal

Each of you have your own tabs at the bottom.  Click on your name and type "yes" next to each that applies to you in the green space and log what you ate throughout te day in the white area next to each day.  (Everything will save automatically.)  Below is a screen shot of what you sheet will look like.

 

 

This weeks Bonus challenge is:

Week 1: Instead of eating the same thing each day, try out some different paleo recipes.  I would like you to share a max of 3 recipes that you have tried this week.  For each recipe you post to the CFMTL Paleo Facebook page you will receive 2 bonus points (you can earn up to 6 points this week).  Post some pictures too!!  If you do not have a facebook page, e-mail me (danap@crossfitmtl.com) your recipes and pictures and I will make sure they get posted.

 

Last, if you are new to the Paleo Lifestyle, here are 5 easy steps to get you started...

  1. Clean Out Your Pantry: Remove all tempting foods from your house.  Get rid of the bread, rice, pasta, cookies, chips, crackers, waffles, pancakes, juice, cereal, ice cream (just to name a few things).  Put them all in a bag to take to a homeless shelter or to donate.  I know if you have kids this is a little more difficult and where the next step comes in to play.
  2. Go Shopping: Stock up on proteins, veggies, fruits, nuts, fats, herbs and spices.  And also some food conatiners for prepping.
  3. Start Cooking: Rather than eating out, not really knowing how your food was prepared, start cooking your own meals.  If you don't have time to cook each meal, prepare your meals in advance, ie: take the time on Sunday to prepare your meals for the upcoming week.
  4. Go For A Walk: In our case, get to the gym, but if you aren't able to attend a class, get outside and move.
  5. Sleep: 7 hours should be enough!! Try blacking out your room - no lights, no TV, etc.  Go to bed early.  Do not watch TV, go on the internet, or answer e-mails at least 1 hour before bed.

And there you have it.  Sounds easy enough, right?

For more information on where to begin, check out http://robbwolf.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/thePaleoSolution_QuickStart.pdf

 

 


Powerlifting Program

September 14, 2014

Starting strength

We are starting a 3x a week Powerlifting program - the program is set to start September 29th and will be every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:30 pm.  This program is designed to replace your Crossfit programming, so you will come off of your Crossfit membership and switch to just powerlifting for 8 weeks.  The cost is $185 for 4 weeks.  The program will be 3x a week for an hour and half.  It will also be capped at 9 people to ensure you get a high level of coaching during the whole 90 minutes.

 

This class is designed for 3 types of people.  The first type is for people who wish to increase their strength so they can improve at their Crossfit workouts.  If you feel your strength is holding you back, then this program will allow you to essentially specialize in strength for 8 weeks.  The second type is for people who simply love to lift.  A lot of people's first introduction to true lifting happens when they first come to Crossfit Mount Laurel.  Some people quickly learn that they love getting stronger and doing the lifts, but the workouts are just not their thing.  I want to offer a program that gives these people another option.  The last type is people who are just stuck in a rut or need a change of place.  Sometimes mentally or physically we can get burned out, this program will offer an in-house option for those that want to try something new.

 

The powerlifting program will come from a knowledge base.  Each class will have at least 2 short whiteboard sessions sometime during the 90 minutes where you will learn more about the mechanics of the lifts you are performing, the science behind the program setup, or even nutritional information to help you on this 8 week program.  If you sign up for this program, you should be interested in getting stronger mentally and physically.  Often times, knowing why certain things are happening can help us to move better and smarter.

 

The programming will be based off of Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength.  This means you will have an A day and a B day that alternates each session.  The main lifts you will focus on will be the back squat, press, deadlift, bench, and power clean.  The program will follow a linear progression which means you will try to add weight to each lift each session.  This means that the first 3 weeks of the cycle will be easier, but by week 4 the lifts will get hard and you will spend your off-time eating and sleeping.  If you do this program, you will be doing nothing else because it will simply slow down you strength gains.  The program is designed for 3 - 90 minute sessions each week and expects you to rest on the other days.  Running or doing Crossfit classes will simply slow down your gains.  The program will end with the Crossfit Total to see your improvement.

 

If you would like to sign up for the class please email James@crossfitmtl.com.  The class spots are first come, fist serve so please do not hesitate if you are interested in this program.  The program is open to anyone, you do not need to me a member here.

 

Cliff Notes:

Want to get stronger?

8 week Starting Strength program

3x a week for 90 minutes

Mon, Wed, Fri @ 6:30 pm

Capped at 9 people

Cost: $185 for 4 weeks (no CF membership)


What are the coaches reading?

September 5, 2014

Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe

Part of being a coach at CFMTL is constantly learning and improving.  We recently decided to take this to another level by adding required reading each week that we can talk about at our weekly meeting and implement into the programming.  James called it a book club, so thanks for making us feel like old ladies.  All four of us are super excited about reading about training and anatomy and then being able to discuss it together.  I figured there were probably some people at the gym who share the same interests, so I want to start making a post each time we switch to a new book so that I could share what book we are currently working on.  This way you can increase your training knowledge as well if that is something you are into.  If you aren't, then no worries as we will teach you the important things we learn without you even knowing.

If you do get the book and have some questions or want to talk about any of the topics, feel free to talk to us at the gym.

 

CURRENT READING

Starting Strength (edition 3 is the newest one) - Make sure you get the 3rd edition if possible.  I have read the second edition before and the third edition did add a lot of drawings and some information.

TOPIC

Most of the book is spent breaking down the compound lifts - the low-bar squat, bench, deadlift, press, and power clean.  The book does get into basic anatomy on the lifts so it will help you to understand what is happening as you perform each lift.  Rippetoe also covers proper mechanics, positioning, and the science behind each lift.  There is also a lifting program detailed in the book that has become one of the most popular and success linear progression programs for beginning lifters.  The nutrition in the book is not the best, but remember his target market when he first wrote this book was skinny teenagers.

PAGES

At just over 300 pages it is a quick read, but it is very detailed so you may have to reread some chapters

WANT TO BUY IT?

I got the book for 23 books on amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Starting-Strength-3rd-Mark-Rippetoe/dp/0982522738

 


Linear Progression vs. Performance

September 4, 2014

LP or P

The new cycle is wrapping up so I have been slaving away on the new upcoming cycle.  The new cycle will be loosely based off some principles from the Westside Congugate method.  This means we will be box squatting with chains once a week and benching with chains once a week.  Don't worry, we will be spending our deload hammering out the form on these movements and how to set them up.  The deload will be shorter then I originally planned because the current cycle hasn't been too much volume so I think I can get away with 1-2 weeks deload depending on the start of next cycle.

One big change I am implementing from now on, is splitting the strength into two levels.  I have had this idea on my mind for years, but I never could figure out the right way to implement it.  This week I had the chance to head to South Brooklyn and meet up with the owner David, who runs an awesome gym.  After talking with him and seeing how he levels his programming, I think it is smart to start setting it up in my programming.  

The levels will be labeled L and P.  The L is short for linear progression.  For those that have been lifting for less than a year(seriously lifting, not benching 5x a week and doing curls - most likely it will be whatever your time here is), this program is for you.  A linear progression means that you start at a weight that is fairly easy to do you with 3 sets of 5 reps for the first day.  The next time that lift comes up, you will simply add 2.5-10# depending on the lift (this set up will be for squat and bench this cycle).  You keep continueing to add weight each week until you cannot do it any more.  The linear progression for olympic lifting will feature simpler variations on the olympic lifts and will be set based instead of percentage based.  This will allow us to nail down important positions and use the less complicated movements to build strength and basic movement first.

The P is short for performance.  The performance will be our usual cycle and will be for those that have run out of their "newbie" gains.  Since we are introducing this program now, I would say that performance is for those that have been here over a year.  When the new cycle is done, the write-up will go into depth on each strength and why we are doing it.

Why are we doing this?  Quite simply, this will be a quicker, safer, and more effective way to get stronger.  When you first start, you need to focus on improving movements patterns and motor control first then adding weight.  Also, as a beginner, you will get stronger everytime you touch the bar.  The first year is amazing because your body is adapting and improving at such a quick rate because they are all new stimuluses to your body.  This means you don't need fancy lifts or percentage numbers to get stronger, you just need to put in the work.  This also means you will get stronger, faster by sticking to the basic lifts and adding weight each time.  Unfortunately after your first year or so, your improvements slow down and you need to use more intricate plans just to improve 5-10#.  Enjoy the first year!  It is so much fun to improve so quickly!  Lastly, most of the beginner's don't have percentages anyway.  This will alleviate that problem and allow you to get strong in the basic movements first.

Who will choose?  The athlete will ultimately make the decision for which strength they follow.  If you truly are a beginner and pick performance, you will simply be slowing down your gains because it is the less efficient plan for your current level.  The plan for beginners will be to run the linear progression until you fail.  Once you fail you will take 70% of your max and progress linearly again.  After you fail the second time, you will most likely be instructed to switch over to performance.

I don't know what the hell a linear progression is. The coaches are all very knowledgeable on how to set up a linear progression for each athlete.  Don't be afraid each day to talk to the coach during the strength to help you decide how much you should improve from the last lift, what your warm-ups should be, and how long you should be resting between each set.  I also will put together a post for the basics on a linear progression once I am done writing the next cycle.

 

As always, if you have any questions about the programming, send me an email tommy@crossfitmtl.com


Four Week Olympic Lifting Program

August 27, 2014

Tommy came to me before this latest cycle began and asked what I thought about doing more of the classes and blending my Olympic weightlifting training with the new cycle.

Tommy came to me before this latest cycle began and asked what I thought about doing more of the classes and blending my Olympic weightlifting training with the new cycle.
 
I was honestly skeptical, only because I  have a tendency to want to train too much. I would not say that I overtrain because I am not an elite athlete. However, I have limited my progress at times due to not resting. The "more is better" mentality does not work when it comes to Olympic weightlifting. One of my coaches is known for saying "train smarter," so for me that means I need rest. I agreed to follow the two rest days associated with this program and re-evaluate after the cycle.
 
I enjoy the challenges of CrossFit although Olympic weightlifting has always been my first love. I knew that I wanted to improve my gymnastics skills, but I was concerned that I would want to do too much. I decided to trust Tommy and agreed to try four classes a week, with some lifting before or after, and one Olympic lifting day with no conditioning. I work out five days a week, which is actually less than what I was doing prior to starting this cycle. So far, it has been working nicely. I feel stronger, my body weight is down (for Olympic lifting you compete by weight class) and other than one day of doing too much, I have found a good balance. The rest days have been extremely beneficial to my recovery. 
 
This experiment was the motivation behind the creation of the Olympic lifting class. This will be a structured and programmed four week class that is one and a half hours of Olympic weightlifting only. We are limiting it to 9 people, so there will be an awesome coach to athlete ratio. We suggest that you still do five days a week, with two rest days. There will be no met-con on that day for those who do the Olympic lifting class. It will focus on technique first, but we will follow a percentage based progression for the lifts. The cost will be $60 for the 4 week cycle.
 
The main idea behind is the class is allow you to "focus" on your olympic lifting without sacrificing your conditioning and your skilled movements.  This class can be used to increase your olympics lifts to improve at Crossfit, to prepare yourself for an olympic lifting meet, or just to hammer down the proper form. 
 
 
The cliff notes:
4 Week Olympic Lifting Program
Starts September 10th - Last Class October 1st
Wednesday at 6:30 - 8:00 PM (90 minute class)
Cost: $60
 
Suggested schedule - Crossfit - Monday, Tuesday.  Olympic Lifting - Wednesday.  Crossfit - Friday, Saturday.
 
If you have any questions, email lauren@crossfitmtl.com


FALL PALEO CHALLENGE

August 27, 2014

Now that summer is winding down and it’s time to get back to reality, it is the perfect time to hold our next Paleo Challenge. We could all use a push in the right direction to get our nutrition and workouts back on track.

 Paleo

First, I want you to think of this as a “lifestyle” not a diet.  Also, it is time to say goodbye to refined sugar, dairy, legumes, and grains and hello to meat, fish, poultry, fruits, nuts and veggies.

Why no grains?  Grains are composed of carbohydrates, and those carbs are turned into glucose (a type of sugar) in our system to be used for energy and various other tasks to help our body function.  Any glucose that isn’t used as energy is stored as fat.

The Paleo Diet also almost completely erases sugar from our diets. Unless you are getting your sugar from a fruit, don’t eat it.  Sugar causes an energy spike and crash in your system, turns to fat (unless it’s used immediately), and is just overall bad for our bodies.

If we are not eating carbs every day, how do we get our energy?  Our bodies are designed to operate on a lower amount of carbohydrates than what we are used to eating, therefore, less carbs is not an issue.  When there is an absence of carbs (which is how our bodies are supposed to be operating), our bodies will take stored fat and burn that for our source of energy.  Less carbs equals less glucose in our systems which means our bodies will have to start burning fat as its fuel source.  

Not all carbohydrates are bad.  Carbs still serve a purpose in our diets, but they are not essential.  Carbs from vegetables, sweet potatoes, and fruit are okay because these foods do not need to be processed in any way (unlike grains) in order to be consumed.

What can you eat?  

 

 

The Challenge

 Start Date: Monday, September 15th

End Date: Tuesday, October 14th

Buy-in: $30 (goes towards running the challenge and the prizes)

 On Sunday, September 14th at 11am we will hold a kick-off meeting/Q&A session which will outline the challenge - point system, foods that are allowed and not allowed, etc.  We will also perform a test workout and take your before measurements.  If you are unable to make this, let me know and we will schedule a time for you to make this up.

 I would like each of you to visit the website below and fill out the form before Wednesday, September 17th.  The questions in this form will help me keep you all on track to reach your goals.  This is also where you will be posting your before photos.  You will be responsible for taking your own photos so we do not have to awkwardly do this at the gym.  For the photos, I would like you to take 3 - one from the front, side and back.  Girls - sports bra and spandex, Guys - shirts off and shorts.  These photos will help determine one of the winners.  (I will be the ONLY one seeing these).

 https://cfmtlpaleo.wufoo.com/forms/before-challenge-form-september-2014/

 

Point System:

  • Your Food Points are earned as follows:

    • 3 Points = Ate clean all day! Had lean protein + veggies/fruits + healthy fats with each meal, avoided grains and gluten products, avoided refined sugars.

    • 1 Point = 1 Item Off List - Had croutons on my salad, my eggs in a wrap, a candy bar snack, etc.

    • 0 Points = 1 Full Cheat Meal - Sandwich with soda, pizza and beer, bagel with cream cheese, etc.

    • -3 Points = More than 1 Cheat Meal

 

  • Your bonus points are as follows:

    • 1 Point = Fish Oil - Took 3 grams of EPA/DHA in fish oil.

    • 1 Point = Sleep - 7 solid hours on a regular schedule.

    • 1 Point = Active recovery - 15 minutes with a foam roller or a lacrosse ball or some other tools working on myo-fascial release and mobility, or...practicing meditation or yoga.

    • 1 Point = Hydration - Drank ½ oz of water per lb of bodyweight.

    • 1 Point = Workout

    • You can earn 8 points total in one day.  You will post your points and what you ate that day to a scoresheet.  I will have the link to this as we get closer to the date.

 

Helpful Resources

 www.marksdailyapple.com

www.paleomg.com (recipes)

The Paleo Kitchen (cookbook)

Paleo Comfort Foods (cookbook)

CFMTL Paleo Facebook page

 

Extra Information

I would also like to host a Paleo Pot Luck.  I have tried this in the past but it hasn’t seemed to work so let’s make it happen this time around.  I will have a date and more information on this soon.  I also want to try some fun weekly challenges within the challenge to help you guys make it thru the 30-days.  If you have any ideas for this, shoot me an e-mail.

 

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at danap@crossfitmtl.com

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s transformations.  I recommend beginning now to prepare by ridding your kitchen of things that are off the list, making sure your kitchen is ready to prepare and store food, maybe looking into nearby restaurants and take out spots that can be a part of your challenge.

Good Luck guys!!

 


Upcoming Clinics

August 5, 2014

Schedule in Wodify

Here is our upcoming clinic schedule.  As always, they are on a first come, first serve basis and are capped at 8 people.  The cost is $15 and half price for all unlimited members.

 

Kipping Clinic with Lauren

Monday, August 11th at 7:30 PM

The clinic will focus on basic kipping mechanics and then apply them to toes to bar and kipping pullups.  There are no strength requirements to take this clinic (but you must have 5 strict pull-ups to kip in a workout).

 

Jerk Clinic with Dana

Tuesday, August 12th at 7:00 PM

This clinic will focus on proper form for a Split Jerk.  The split jerk can be very complicated, so Dana will break it down into manageable pieces and work on improving overall form.  It will focus on footwork, hand position, mid-line, and overhead position.

 

Muscle-up Clinic with Dana

Tuesday August 19th at 6:30 PM

Want to get your first muscle-up or need help on making them more consistent?  This is the clinic for you.  All you need to take the clinic is 1 chest to bar pull-up.

 

Clean Clinic with Lauren

Wednesday, August 20th at 6:00 PM

This clinic will work on imrpoving your clean position and will tackle everything necessary to work on ideal form.

 

Snatch Clinic with James

Tuesday, August 26th at 6:30 PM

This clinic will help you improve the worst lift ever - the Snatch!

 

 


Is Crossfit Dangerous?

July 30, 2014

How we've made it safe and effective.

I have been seeing a spike lately on articles attacking Crossfit to be dangerous.  At Crossfit Mount Laurel we have a super low incidence of injuries, so these articles are always puzzling to me.  I wrote this article more for someone interested in Crossfit because everyone here already knows the processes and protocols to keep them safe.

At over 300 members, our super low injury rate isn't because of the number of athletes we have, so I began to brainstorm the things we do to keep our athletes moving safely and effectively.  I ended up with a super long list of different things we do with safety in mind - it seems that we put so much thought and effort into keeping people safe and injury free.  I ended up writing a small novel on the things we do here at CFMTL and to be honest, I left out a lot and just tried to stick to the bigger things.

 

Exercises are not universal

Crossfit has a pool of exercises that fit under its methodology - "Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense."

These movements are not for everyone, especially not when someone is starting out.  If you do not have the proper mobility to do a movement, you flat out should not be doing it.  The biggest culprit is usually overhead movements.  If you cannot even put your arms directly overhead, how are you going to safely perform a press, snatch, or overhead squat?  Your short term goal should focus on developing that mobility instead of doing the movement incorrectly (usually by extending the back and putting more stress on the erectors).  We have a handful of members that have been here for over a year that simply do not go overhead and they still can Crossfit 5x a week.  One athlete has been a very high level runner for his whole life, which now at 57 has wrecked his shoulder and thoracic mobility.  He has spent the past year focusing on mobility and improving these positions while still getting stronger in Crossfit - he just will not go overhead until he has the full mobility, so for now he continues to sub overhead squats with front squats, snatches with cleans, and does his pull-ups in a strict fashion.  The idea is to always work towards achieving optimal mobility, but for some people they will work with a slighty scaled pool of movements and that is more than ok.

 

 

Progressions and Standards

Crossfit has always utilized progressions for movements.  I am a big fan of using progressions to build up to the full movements because it can help to limit the stress on the joints and muscles especially on someone just starting out.  One example is having a streamlined progression for pull-ups which are a movement that can put a lot of stress on the elbows and shoulders from simply hanging on the bar, even with a band.  Starting people out with body rows can limit the hanging stress while building up the joints and muscles since you are not holding your full body weight up on the bar. 

The idea for standards is simple.  At CFMTL, we require 5 strict pull-ups before doing kipping pull-ups.  This is to ensure you have the proper strength before attempting the movement.  We also require 5 strict pullups, 1 strict ring dip, and 1 chest to bar pullup before attempting a muscle-up for the same reason.  These simple standards are common knowledge in our gym and help people to focus their energy in the right areas.  Instead of someone with no pull-ups jumping up on a bar and working on their swing and kip to get a pull-up, they know the first step is to work on the strict pull-up so they can build up to 5 strict pull-ups and begin learning how to kip properly.

 

Form

I always laugh when I see articles arguing that high-rep olympic lifting is dangerous or stupid.  I have found it to be a great tool as a part of Crossfit programming.  Then I went to a bunch of Crossfit competitions and I saw other people doing olympic lifts who are missing some of the most basic elements of the lifts and are just asking for injury.  At CFMTL, we are unique because we have 4 full time coaches and studying, teaching, and communicating with others is all that we do (not to brag but out staff boasts an olympic lifter who also is a part of Mike Burgener's coaching team, a Regionals athlete that can coach better than she can lift - which says a lot, and a scientist that knows anatomy like the back of his hand).  We are constantly teaching, fixing, and critiquing form in the olympic lifts in the strength as well which has a huge carry-over to the workouts.  I am confident to say that a fatigued clean or snatch at CFMTL during a workout looks pretty damn close to a fresh one.  If it doesn't then we will simply take weight off the bar and slow you down until it does.  My coaches aren't scared to stop someone mid workout or to pull weight off someones bar because they know the importance of keeping solid movement.

 

 

Programming

I am a big believer that if you are going to a gym that doesn't put a ton of time and thought into its programming (or use someone's that does), you should probably leave the gym and find one that does.  Writing a good program takes hours upon hours because there is so much to consider when putting it together.  You have to consider the back volume, the shoulder volume, the leg volume, how much jumping is going on for the week, the overall intensity and weights for the week, and this leaves out a lot of other important factors such as what you are trying to accomplish with the cycle and how to program to make that happen.

A huge part that is overlooked on the safety at a Crossfit gym is the workout of the day, namely the length of it.  I am a firm believer in the 6-12 minute time frame for most workouts (we stay in this time frame about 80-90% of the time).  This time frame has a lot going for it, the first is the intensity.  Everyone should understand that volume and intensity are always at odds.  The longer the workout, the lower your intensity can be because you will simply burn out before the end.  This 6-12 minute time frame allows us to operate at maximum intensity for a large duration of the workout.  A lot of gyms program 20+ minute workouts everyday, with this longer time frame also comes more repetitions of each exercise.  When you are putting 20+ minutes of repetitions on your body in a very fatigued state, you are continuing to break down an already broken down body.  It also helps that I have found the best results in strength, body composition, and overall athletic performance to come from this time frame.

 

Beginner's Protocols

When you are first starting out at Crossfit, you are definitely at your most vunerable.  The movements are foreign and new, most people's mobility is a wreck, and it can be a huge mental challenge stepping into this brand new world.  Because of this, we have few different ways to start beginners off that allow us to focus on form and mechanics in a 1-on-1 or small group fashion with other beginner's.  These classes allow us to be more hands on and quickly identify any movements or mobility issues an athlete may have (as well as give them the tools and exercises to fix the problems).  It also allows us to streamline the learning process so that everyone learns all of the movements in the same fashion to prepare them for the Crossfit classes.

 

Rest Days

We preach the hell out of rest days.  No one is allowed to Crossfit 6x a week here and if you are then you are not giving your body proper rest.  It usually takes a few weeks to catch on to someone coming 6x a week, but when we figure it out we will stop you for your own good (ask Mike R. - I took his jump rope from him in the middle of Annie because he was coming 6x a week).  We also send out an email when you join explaining how many days a week to workout and why rest days are important.  Remember, a rest day is not just off from Crossfit, it is off from any strenuous activity for that day (this includes running and swimming).

 

Warm-ups

About a year ago I sat down and redesigned our whole warm-up protocal.  I was reading up on the idea of activating muscles before use as a warm-up.  I also had noticed that shoulders were a common point for aches and pains of most athletes who were coming consistently.  At CFMTL, we have been able to drop the complaints of shoulder pains to almost nothing by incorporating banded shoulder work into the warm-ups 3-4 times a week.  The other activation drills for the midline, hamstrings, and quads have also helped to improve movement and mobility in the strength and workout portions.

 

Stretching

I know there are many arguments for and against stretching and when to do it.  I am a huge fan of Kelly Starrett and the stretches that he uses which focus on the positions necessary to perform the movements in Crossfit.  We leave 5-10 minutes at the end of class to go over and time the stretches for the day which forces everyone to stretch.  Sometimes, you have to make people do things for their own good and this is definitely one of those cases.  Forcing them to stretch for 5-10 minutes after every workout helps to improve their mobility and obtain the positions necessary to properly perform each movement.  It also keeps away the aches and pains that come with poor movement.

 

This is just a small taste of why we have been able to keep Crossfit so safe at CFMTL.  I think our dedication to form and mobility first has been the biggest factor in having a huge community of healthy athletes and I hope that everyone understands that Crossfit can be done safely and effectively at a high level.

 

Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports. - See more at: http://crossfitcsa.com/start/what-is-crossfit/#sthash.wNfqEiP7.dpuf
Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports. - See more at: http://crossfitcsa.com/start/what-is-crossfit/#sthash.wNfqEiP7.dpuf
Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports. - See more at: http://crossfitcsa.com/start/what-is-crossfit/#sthash.wNfqEiP7.dpuf
Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports. - See more at: http://crossfitcsa.com/start/what-is-crossfit/#sthash.wNfqEiP7.dpuf


Keeping Crossfit Fun

July 25, 2014

How to avoid overtraining

This blog post is for the 5x a week, type A personalities.  I have been doing Crossfit in some fashion for 8 years now.  I say some fashion because I strarted when there was almost no Crossfit gyms, so naturally I avoided snatches forever and I had a pretty bad car accident in the middle of there somewhere.  I also have gotten way more improvement out of training in the classes with everyone the last 2 years and under the watchful eyes of the other 3 coaches than I did my first 6 years of training alone.  I am bringing all of this up because over the past few months I have gone from almost dreading my workout to not being able to wait to get into the gym each day.  I have picked up some tricks over these 8 years to keep working out fun, so hopefully they will help some of you guys when working out starts to feel like a chore.

 

1.  Find new outlets - One of the easist ways to burn yourself out is to focus solely on the numbers in the gym.  We all go through funks for whatever reason, and if you constantly focus on that 95# snatch week after week, you will eventually burn out over time.  One of Crossfit's core ideas is to constantly learn and play new sports.  The idea is that Crossfit is a tool that allows you to do other things in life.  The other nice part about doing activites other than Crossfit is that your improvement as an athlete is usually much easier to see outside of the gym.  Some ideas of things to try are paddleboarding, an obstacle race course, volleyball, learning to surf, or rock climbing.  This stuff doesn't need to be something to start to do multiple times a week, instead it can just be something fun you try once in awhile.

 

2.  Take some time off - The way our cycles are set up, there are ideal times to take a few days off.  On the last cycle, I noticed a huge increase in attendance during the cycle, which makes sense because this is the time to put in the work and improve.  Then during the deload, a ton of people took a few extra days off to rest up both mentally and physically.  In an ideal world, this would be the setup for everyone.  However, if you are in the middle of a cycle and just feel run down (especially if your nutrition and sleep have taken a hit also) then it may be smart to take off a Monday and Tuesday (as that will give you 4 days off with the Sunday and Wednesday off days).  You will find you are dying to workout by the time Thursday comes around.

 

3.  Lower the intensity - We can't go 100% all the time.  I think this was a big cause for why I got burned out at the end of last cycle.  Every workout, I was score watching and busting my ass to be the best.  I think everyone should take a week every month or so and not look at the scoreboard.  If you are looking at other peoples times and spending parts of your day strategizing on how to get the best score, it will get old very fast.  The scoreboard is an integral part of Crossfit, but it should not become all consuming.  If it does, take a few weeks and don't even look at the times and weights.  Get back to doing Crossfit for yourself.  Also, it is ok to come into the gym some days and not go 100%.  If you come in and push yourself to 80% on the workouts or lower the weights on a day you feel run down, you are still doing more than 99% of the population.  This shouldn't become a daily crutch, but should be used from time to time on training days.

 

Hopefully some of these tips help you keep Crossfit fun for years to come.  One of the first signs of overtraining is when you start to dread working out, so if you start to get this feeling then talk to one of the coaches about what you need to do to get back to 100%.


Our Next Cycle and Clinics

July 2, 2014

Starts July 14th

Our new cycle is approaching quickly!

First let's start with these 2 deload weeks.  Over these next 2 weeks, use this as an opportunity to rest your body as well as to rest mentally.  If you need to take a few days off, now is the time to do it.  Also if you have any aches or nagging pains, now is the time to scale workouts or completely take the time off to get it healthy.  We can't go 100% all the time, so now is the time to pull it back and get yourself ready to go for the next cycle.

Our last cycle was amazing!  We had multiple athletes with 30+ pound PRs on their back squat.  I noticed that everyone's front squat, back squat, bench, and deadlift shot up, while the olympic lifts didn't go up much or at all.  This was by design.  While it would be nice to improve at everything all the time, it is not realistic (except for the newbies).  The next cycle will look to take that increased strength and combine it with solid olympic lifting mechanics so that we can get the snatch and clean and jerk to PR big!

The next cycle will focus strongly on olympic lifting - clean and jerk and snatch.  We will only be back squatting once a week in this cycle on Mondays.  We will do a significant amount of volume on this day.  We will work up to a heavy single, back off the weight for 2x5, then back off for another 2x5 that will be paused at the bottom of the squat.  These will be percentage based and will get heavier each week.  The paused squat will be for a 3 second pause at the bottom of the squat.  This will erase any stored energy in the body and will build strength from trying to accelerate as fast as possible out of the bottom.

One other day of the week will be spent working on clean or snatch pulls.  These will work on the setup for the olympic lifts as well as the proper bar path off the floor.  The cycle mixes in straight pulls with paused pulls so that we can adjust and teach proper positioning at different parts of the lift.  Some of the bigggest errors on the olympic lifts happen in the pull off the floor, so this will be the time for us to address the first two pulls.

The other four days of the cycle will be spent on olympic lifting.   This cycle will run for 10 weeks.  The first 6 weeks will be "by feel."  This means that no percentages will be written out - instead we will start from the simpliest forms of the olympic lifts (hi-hang) and work our way into the more complex full movements over the 6 weeks.  The weights will be written out mostly as singles or doubles and you will add weight if the form is solid.  This will also allow us to clean up different points of the movement week to week.  Also the olympic lifting days will be mostly full squat variations and we are going to stress receiving the bar in the bottom of a squat instead of doing the power version and then riding it down.  If you truly cannot get into the bottom of a squat effectively, you should email your off the floor coach for some stretches to fix the problem.

 

The suggested off days for this cycle will be WEDNESDAY and SUNDAY.  We are changing it up from the Thursday/Sunday schedule.

 

The workouts will have a strong focus on gymnastics movements, but you will see the usual variety in the workouts.  Expect to see a larger volume of pull-ups, handstand push-ups, double unders, pistols, and ring dips.  The gymnastics movements will help improve your olympic lifts as well as allow us to teach you how to use your new strength to make you move faster and more efficiently in workouts.  The main goal of the cycle is to take the increased strength from last cycle and use it to make you a better athlete.

For the warm-ups we are going to use them as an opportunity to spend more time teaching.  We plan on going over progressions for handstand walking, push-ups, kipping, burpees, pistols, and handstand push-ups.  We will break up the progressions over multiple days and use it as a chance to work on improving your positioning and your ability to perform them in workouts.

Also, in the warm-ups we will be teaching 3 advanced gymanstics movements - do not worry if you cannot do anything close to these movements yet as we will have scales for them.  These 3 movements will be the bulk of the focus for the programmed extra work for after class.  The 3 movements are the planche, front lever, and the L-sit.  If you are curious, you can see some of the progression for 2 of the movements here.  The goal will be to teach some new advanced movements to get you out of your comfort zone - especially for those that have been doing Crossfit for 3+ years.

Front Lever and Planche Progressions

 

CLINICS

These clinics will be input into the computer today and open for registration.  Remember all clinics are $15 and capped at 8 peopler.  Unlimited members get 50% off on clinics.  If you sign up for a clinic, you must cancel more than 24 hours before the clinic.

Split Jerk Clinic - July 14th at 6:00 PM with Lauren

This clinic will focus on the technique of the split jerk.  The clinic will start by teaching the split jerk from scratch and will focus on the head tilt form we are beginning to teach in class as well as the proper footwork in a split jerk.

 

Kipping Clinic - July 15th at 7:00 PM with Dana

This clinic will focus on kipping as it pertains to pull-ups and toes to bar.   You will learn the basic hollow hold and superman positions as well as the transition between them on the bar.  Then you will learn how to take that movement and use it for efficiency in movement. There is no strength requirement to take this class.

 

Muscle-up Clinic - July 16 at 6:00 PM with Tommy

This clinic will focus on obtaining your first muscle-up or becoming more consistent with them.  To take this clinic you must have 1 chest to bar pullup and 1 ring dip.

 

Clean Clinic - July 22 at 7:00 PM with Dana

This clinic will focus on the finer points on the clean.  The clinic will work on improving your pull over the floor, your second explosive pull, and the receiving position for the bar. 

 

Snatch Clinic - July 23 at 6:00 PM with Lauren

This clinic will focus on everyone's dreaded lift - the snatch!  Lauren will break the snatch down into easy to understand pieces and get your lift looking better when you leave than when you came in.

 

Kettlebell Clinic - July 31 at 5:30 PM with James

This clinic will focus on two things - statics and swing movements with the kettlebell.  You will work on some movements we use in Crossfit such as KB swings and the dreaded KB snatch!  If you usually murder your forearms on the KB snatch then this is the clinic for you.  The clinic will also go over useful movements (especially for shoulder rehab and stability) that are not in the Crossfit program - things such as the KB arm bar and the turkish get-up.

 

Some Notes:

There is a Liberty Box League coming up in September that puts an RX'd and a Novice team from our gym against another gym on a Saturday for 5 weeks.  I am going to select who will be on the teams and I really hope this is an opportunity for the gym to rally together and cheer on their friends and it doesn't become something divisive.  Some weekends the events will be at the gym and others they will be away.  This will not affect our Saturday classes at all.

We all do Crossfit for a variety of reasons - to be healthy, to be able to complete the mud run (which is coming up!), to get better at our jobs or sports, and some people get into and find they like to compete in it.  At CFMTL we will never segment people into groups of competitors and non-competitors.  I will have to pick the teams and I will have to leave people out who want to do it.  If you do want to compete in the sport of Crossfit, there will be many other opportunities as well.  We currently have 6 teams signed up for the Test Your Metal event in July.  http://tym.crossfitadvanced.com/  For masters looking for an event, we have a bunch signed up for the MFFL World Masters Team Championship which is an online competition similiar to the open for Masters (35+). https://www.mastersfunctionalfitnessleague.com/world-team-championship/ that I am hoping to set up and give each athlete a judge. Basically I will always be looking for ways to encourage our members to try new things, so I hope to use this league to give some of the advanced athletes a taste in competiton that they haven't had before.

Remember, we are here at CFMTL to support your fitness goals whether it is to compete, become a better athlete, learn to include fitness in your everyday life, or just to feel stronger and more self assured.

 

Also we are plannign an upcoming TUBING trip for Saturday July 26th so keep your calendar open.  It will be around $20 and we will rent tubes to hang out and float down the river.  It looks like you are allowed to bring any beverages you want as long as they are in a sealable container that you will take home with you.

 


THE END...

June 17, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 30

You did it!  You survived!  Was it really all that bad?  The results are definitely worth it.  This is the best challenge that we have had so far so keep it up.

Today is the last day that you have to post and log your food so don't forget.

This Sunday, June 22nd, at 11am we will be doing the post challenge WOD and measurements.  If you are unable to make Sunday (and it better be a good reason not "because I want to drink on Saturday"), let me know and we will figure out when the best time to do everything will be.  I will be announcing the winners on Wednesday, June 25th so everything must be submitted by Tuesday.  That means journals up-to-date, after measurements taken, post wod performed, and after photos which you will submit at the following link.

Click Here to Submit Challenge After Photos

 

Michelle and Steve Julianna always tell me this story and I think it is a fitting one to share for the end of the challenge.

Michelle and Steve participated in the very first paleo challenge that we held at CFMTL.  They maintained a perfect score throughout the 30 days.  Both managed to survive traveling, parties, and every other challenge that they were put against.  At the end of the challenge they decided to celebrate with their other paleo challenge buddies by going to a nice Italian dinner at Maggiano's. (CARBS EVERYWHERE!)  Here they ate pasta, bread, dessert, drank things other than water with lemon...living the dream as most outside people would think.  Needless to say this was NOT the best decision.  They did not feel very well the following day and could not wait to get back to eating paleo again.  

Let Michelle and Steve's story be a lesson as to how NOT to end the Paleo Challenge.  I'm not saying don't reward yourself with a little treat but do not over do it.   Do you have anything to add Michelle or Steve?

I want to end by congratulating you all.   You all look amazing and hopefully are feeling equally as fabulous.  You put in the work so now it's time to go hit some new PR's!!


Paleo Challenge Prizes

June 12, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 25

As we get closer to the end, I am seeing less and less food journal entries.  Here is a little incentive to keep on going...

4 winners will be chosen at the end of the challenge. 1 from each of the following categories:

- Total Points

- Total Inches Lost

- Before/After Photos

- Most Improved on WOD

 

Each winner will receive:

- 1 month's membership

- Steve's Paleo Goods

- Gift Card to Whole Foods

- Gift Card to Trader Joe's

 

Keep up the good work!!

 


1 Week Left

June 11, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 24

There is just 1 week left of the Paleo Challenge.  You are all doing awesome so don't fall off track now.  

Hopefully you have all adapted by now and are seeing positive results.  I can say that I am seeing a big difference in many of you - both in your performances and the way you look.

Once the “challenge” is over and you have no one to report to, it makes it very easy to give in to temptations.  Here is an article that was recently posted on Mark’s Daily Apple.  Great timing for the end of this challenge.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-say-no-to-yourself/#axzz34MD1vW8R

 

 


Chicken Bacon Rice Bowl

June 6, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 19

Last night I actually had some time to cook and this is what I decided to make.  It was delicious (even with me as the chef) and I have plenty leftover for the next few days.  Here is the recipe from PaleOMG for a Chicken Bacon Rice Bowl (http://paleomg.com/chicken-bacon-rice-bowls/ ):

Ingredients:
  • 4 pieces of bacon, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ yellow onion, minced
  • 1.5 pounds chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes (I used skinless, boneless breasts)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans of diced green chiles
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, riced (use a shredding attachment on a food processor to rice the cauliflower)
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • avocado, to garnish
  • green onions, to garnish
 
Instructions:
  1. Place a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add pieces of bacon and cook until crispy then remove and set aside on paper towel. Remove some of the bacon fat from the pot if needed, leaving behind about 3-4 tablespoons.
  2. Add garlic cloves, yellow onion and chicken. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. Cook until chicken is almost cooked through. Then add diced tomatoes, green chiles and cauliflower and mix well. Add a good amount of salt (the cauliflower will soak up a lot) then add chili powder and red pepper flakes. Mix well, place heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. When done simmering, mix in bacon pieces into the rice mixture.
  4. Place in bowl, garnish with a bit of salt and pepper, avocado and green onions.

 


Still Stuggling with the Paleo Lifestyle Change?

June 5, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 18

Hopefully by now you all have this whole paleo thing down.  If not, here is a very easy to understand beginners guide from Robb Wolf.

Paleo Quick Start

 


Robson's Farm

June 4, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 17

Looking for some locally grown produce at a great price? Here is the information on Farmer Rose's buying club.  I used it all last summer and everything was not only delicious but very convenient!

Sign Up for Buying Club

"Buying Club deliveries will begin the week of June 2 and continue until Thanksgiving.  Each week, gym members can visit our online store to order fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables from our farm. We deliver your purchase every Friday during the first afternoon class (3:30 class)."

You can join at any point during the season.


Rowing Myths!

June 4, 2014

Setting the rower to 10 makes you go faster ... true/false?

There are a few prevailing ideas that seem to float around the gym that may actually be detrimental to your rowing workouts.  The first has to do with the damper settings, and the second idea has to do with how quickly you pull, specifically how many strokes per minute.  There are some distinctions to each of these that could potentially help or hurt your performance.  It seems like the only people who enjoy our rowing workouts are our guys over six feet tall, and a few of the ladies who have prior rowing experience.  Hopefully this post will alleviate some fears during rowing days, and maybe even a few people will learn to like rowing workouts.

 

The first issue I want to address is the damper.  The damper is the lever on the side of the flywheel housing that controls how much air flows into the cage.  Higher damper settings allow more air into the flywheel housing. The more air, the more work it takes to spin the flywheel against the air. More air also slows the flywheel down faster on the recovery, requiring more work to accelerate it on the next stroke.  Lower damper settings allow less air into the flywheel housing, making it easier to spin the flywheel.  Damper setting is similar to bicycle gearing: it affects how rowing feels but does NOT directly affect the resistance. A lower damper setting on the indoor rower is comparable to easier gears on a bike.

 

A rower is a measure of power, which is defined as the ammount of work done in a given period of time.  When a rower does a 500-meter test, the 500 meters represents the amount of work they will do. Everyone doing the 500 meter test will do the same amount of work, regardless of the damper setting. The rower who does that work in the least amount off time will generate the most power. So an athlete who is using the erg to train for maximum power output should set the damper where they can go a given distance in the shortest time. That is how they will generate the most power. 

 

So your damper setting should be determined by your individual skill level and goals.  If you're newer to rowing, setting the damper higher means you wouldn't need to pull as fast to generate the same amount of power.  This allows you to focus more on technique, however you should still be driving forcefully to keep the flywheel spinning.  This example of a higher damper setting comes with a tradeoff in that the flywheel will slow down more in between each stroke, meaning you will have to work harder to get it moving again.  A lower damper setting might be better for more experienced or powerful athletes.  The lower the setting, the more responsive the rower will be allowing a rapid application of force to the flywheel and generating a lot of power.  However this will also allow a faster stroke rate and there can be some wasted energy as the fly wheel is still spinning rapidly when the next stroke begins.

This leads into the next myth, that a faster stroke rate means a faster time.  Again, stroke rate is related to the damper setting and should be adjusted to maximize power out put. It is important to note that, unlike weightlifting, the goal is not to use a higher drag factor as a means of achieving fitness on the indoor rower. If your goal is to train for maximum power output, I suggest trying different damper levels, while improving your speed, form, and muscle coordination, to discover where you can achieve the highest power output. This will be where you are able to get your best time for a test distance.

 

 

 


Carb Flu

June 3, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 16

We are now past the halfway point so hopefully many of you have overcome the dreaded "carb flu" by now.  It is normal to experience this and will go away so don't give up!

Carbs and sugar are made of glucose, which is easy for our body to use as energy (but also easy to store as fat).  The goal that we are trying to get our bodies to accomplish is to turn fats and proteins into glucose to use as energy. This process is a little more complex, but our bodies are completely capable. During these first couple of weeks you may experience carb-flu while waiting for our body to get up to speed. Overall, this process will take time and everyone's body is different. There is no solid diet (I mean 'lifestyle") that will work for everyone. Experiment with eating more protein or including some starches, such as sweet potatoes into your diet. Here's an article from Mark's Daily Apple, that goes a little more in depth on the carb-flu.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/low-carb-flu/#axzz1shPxU8Lv

"As any Primal buff would attest, this temporary setback pales in comparison to the benefits once the transition has passed. Without the persistent carb-induced peaks and crashes, you should enjoy a measurable boost in energy – steady and stable – in no time."

 


Rebounding Box Jumps: What's the deal?

June 2, 2014

To rebound or step down?

Even though the blog posts on the internet make it sound like your arm will fall off if you do Crossfit, we have managed to have a crazy low level of injuries of any kind at Crossfit Mount Laurel.  When done properly, the risk can be made extremely low.  There is one move that we do at CFMTL that I do have some reservations about, so I wanted to put together an article explaining where the reservations come from and how to address them.

 

 

The rebounding box jump is a move in theory very similiar to the kipping pull-up.  It is much faster than its stricter movement - the step-down box jump and the strict pull-up.  Both also bring new concerns into place.  Kipping pull-ups have greater mobility demands while the rebound box jump requires more coordination.  Where the movements differ, is that the kipping pull-up when done with full mobility - does not put a large amount of stress on the shoulders.  The rebouding box jump on the other hand - requires a strong stretch/contract of the calves and achilles under force.  This strong contraction over high repetitions has caused achille injuries.  That is not up for debate.  The debate is how should you attack workouts with box jumps in them?

 

1.  Know your goals

We ask people during the intro session, what are your goals?  Goals should drive most of the decisions you make, including how you do certain workouts.  Rebounding box jumps are 100% necessary if you wish to make it to Regionals.  Last Regionals (a year ago) the workout was 21, 15, 9 of deadlifts and box jumps.  If you did your box jumps with a step down, you would take last place 100% of the time.  The rebounding option is just that much faster. 

If your goal is simply to get stronger and healthier, then you should always do box jumps in a jump up, step down fashion.  Sure, your time will be a little slower, but you still get the main benefits of a box jump - the agility and power that make it such an intergral part of Crossfit programming without the extra stress.

If your goal is to compete in Crossfit competitions, then you should have some experience with the rebounding box jump. 

 

2.  Our programming

The programming at the gym has always taken box jump volume into account.  This is one of the reasons why I hate the Filthy Fifty and I have not gotten around to programming it in a few years - too much jumping volume between the jumping pull-ups, box jumps, and double unders.  I tend to stay away from box jumps in chippers where you are just banging out box jumps and try to keep the volume as a whole down (only doing box jumps 1x a week in most cases).  I have decided to take that even a step farther this cycle with workouts where everyone is forced to step down.  You will notice that this option is much more taxing on your leg muscles, but it also gives me an opportunity to level the playing field for non-rebounders and also to better control the volume on rebounding box jumps people are doing.

The days where a step-down is not required, the decision will be completely up to the athlete.  This goes back to knowing your goals.  Are you going to need to be efficient at rebounding for some competitions?  Then you better get some practice in on the days it comes up. 

 

3.  Ways to keep the rebounding box jump safer

1. Do not rebound box jumps your first 3 months of Crossfit.  GIve your muscles, joints, and tendons a chance to strengthen and adapt to the jumping volume before you start to try this more advanced movement.  We already slow new athletes down on everything else, but sometimes people can slip through the cracks on box jumps if they come in with some "hops."  Also, do not rebound until you can do the 24 inch box for guys or the 20 inch box for girls in a workout.  This way you have worked your way up to that size box over some time.  Also, if you cannot jump those box sizes yet, your focus should be on improving your box jumps, rebounding should be way down on your list.

2.  Mobilize your calves and achilles.  Do this especially on box jump day, but make it a part of your weekly stretches.

Here are some links to play around with:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYp1U8-c7h4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMQL7_HNV_Y

3.  Focus on your squats first, a perfect air squat and then a bodyweight back squat should be achieved before worrying about a rebounding box jump.  This will help to strengthen the neccesary muscles and to ensure that you have the proper mobility that is needed for a rebounding box jump.

 

 

I do not think you have anything to worry about with the box jump when done correctly.  I have removed movements from the gym programming that I simply think are poor decisions in the past - one of them would be the sumo deadlift high pull.  You won't see them done in any fashion here at CFMTL in the daily programming (the exception has been fight gone bad in the past).  Also, this article was not brought on by any injuries, but I just thought that everyone should be aware of the rebounding box jumps so they can make their own decision on the movement.  I much prefer to be pro-active than reactive and I hope you guys appreciate the care we put into everything to make sure you get stronger and faster in a safe manner. 

One last thing about being pro-active, the shoulder bands we have implemented into the warm-ups have been UNBELIEVABLE in curing almost all shoulder issues.  We will continute to program these into the warm-ups 2-4 times a week, but it does make the warm-up pretty long on those days.  If the bands are not in the warm-up for that day, still feel free to pull them out and go through the warm-up protocols on your own before class.  It has been so cool to see how the small changes in programming and warming up has allowed us to get down to almost no shoulder aches and pains outside of being sore.

 


Why am I drinking so much water?

May 30, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 12

I am going to take this time to explain why you are drinking so much water

By the time you experience the sensation of thirst, you are already dehydrated. That thirst is your body calling for re-hydration.  When dehydrated, you are affecting the performance of majority of your body.  Nearly all of our systems do not function as well without the proper water intake.  

The digestive system needs water to function properly. Because waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat, if one does not drink enough water, the waste collects in the body causing problems.  Water is also essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body.  

Another benefit to drinking enough water is that it can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated.  Proper hydration contributes to increased athletic performance.  Water composes about 75% of our muscle tissue, therefore dehydration can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance.

Many of you are also curious as to how drinking this much water will help with weight lose and not have you retain water weight.  First, sometimes we think we are hungry, when actually we are thirsty.  Our body just starts turning on all the alarms when we ignore it so staying hydrated can serve as an appetite suppressant and help with weight loss.  Also, it has been found that after drinking water, one’s metabolic rate increases (this is the rate at which calories are burned) which also aids in shedding some pounds.

Next, surprisingly enough, not drinking enough water plays a role in water retention.  Water helps your liver convert fat into usable energy.  If you do not drink enough, your kidneys are overwhelmed with concentrated fluids and will make your liver do extra work.  Your liver works hard to turn body fat into the energy that you use but if it has to do the kidney's work then it simply holds onto the extra fat that would have been burned off if you simply had enough water.  

What's worse is that instead of excreting water and waste products, your body retains existing water to reuse.  This is what causes water retention and bloating.  When you do not get enough water, your body goes into panic mode and holds on to it selfishly as if  you were in a famine.  Dehydration can make you look bloated and fat instead of thin and taut.  The best way to get rid of this water retention is to drink enough of it to return your body and its processes back to a normal equilibrium.

Last, I know water can get boring and sometimes you may need a little flavor.  Try adding flavor with additives such as slices of fresh citrus fruit (lemon, lime, oranges) or I know cucumbers also work well.  And one more thing, the water intake is supposed to be throughout the day, not all at one time.

 


Getting tired of eating the same things over and over again?

May 29, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 11

A few of you have approached me this week asking "What else can I eat?" because you are over eating the same thing every day.  Breakfast, in my opinion, is the hardest meal to find variety.  Here is a simple recipe from PaleOMG for pancakes.

3 Ingredient Simple Protein Pancakes
 
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
 
Serves: 2-3
 
Ingredients
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • ½ cupVanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or other oil – to grease the pan)
 
Instructions
  1. Mix together bananas, eggs, and protein powder until well combined.
  2. Place a pan over medium heat. Grease the pan with a bit of oil. Once pan is hot, add a large spoonful of the pancake mixture to the pan, about 3-5 inches wide.
  3. Once the pancakes begin to bubble, flip them. Cook for about 1 minute each side, depending how hot the pan is.
  4. Regrease the pan, as needed.

ENJOY!!

 

Don't forget about your food journals!!  

 

 


Week 1 in the Books...

May 27, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 9

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend - now back to reality!  While I know staying paleo this weekend was very difficult, from what I hear, most of you survived.  If you are one of the ones who was not able to resist the temptaions (I am guilty), here is an article from Mark's Daily Apple that will help you to get back on track.

How to Recover From Holiday Indulgence

 


Spinach and Artichoke Dip

May 24, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 6

Who doesn't love Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  It's a great appetizer for any party so why not make it paleo.  (I bet people whouldn't even know the difference).  I am actually going to attempt this one tomorrow!  This recipe is from everyone's favorite PaleOMG.com  
 
 

 
Serves: 2-4 
Ingredients
  • 2 (14oz) cans artichoke hearts (mine were in brine), chopped
  • 16oz frozen spinach
  • 1 cup cashews, roasted and unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
 
Instructions
  1. Add frozen spinach and artichokes to large saucepan over medium heat and sprinkle with just a bit of salt.
  2. While your spinach thaws and artichokes warm up, pull out your handy dandy food processor.
  3. Place cashews in food processor and turn on. Grind until your cashews become a flour then begin to pour in your olive oil until you get a creamy consistency. Kind of like a super creamy cashew butter.
  4. Once your spinach is completely thawed and it’s all good and warm, drain the excess water from your saucepan and add spinach and artichoke to a large bowl.
  5. Add your creamy cashews and seasons to the bowl and mix thoroughly.
  6. Serve with sweet potato chips or veggies!


How to Survive Memorial Day Weekend

May 22, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 4

I know many of you will be hosting or heading to a BBQ or two this coming weekend so you will be faced with many challenges.  This will be your first big test.  The one good thing about BBQ's is that there is usually plenty of meat.  This is a good place to start however there are a few things that you will want to avoid like barbecue sauce, buns, and cheese to name a few.  Yes, people will look at you like you are crazy but oh well, it's not their business how you choose to eat.  The second big thing that you will need to avoid is ALCOHOL.  That means no beer, no wine, no vodka, no rum, no tequilla, no whisky, no scotch, no cider, and I think that covers everything.

If you are looking for something to bring, try bringing a paleo dish.  Over the next few days, I will be posting recipes so that you will have a few options.

The first one is a super simple one - Cucumber & Watermelon Salad (from Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook)

Yes this is as easy as it sounds...

Ingredients:

4 cups watermelon, deseeded and either cubed or shaped into balls using a watermelon baller 

2 cups English cucumber, sliced

3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (optional)

Directions:

1. Take the watermelon, cucumber, mint, and lime juice, and mix in a bowl.

2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve place the salad into the gutted halves of the watermelon. And if you feeling daring try to add some cherry tomatoes.

Told you it was easy!!

 

 


June Clinic Schedule

May 21, 2014

Clinics

June Clinic Schedule

-Clinics are $15 (unlimited members get 50% off).  The clinics are open on wodify now and will be capped at 8 people (there is a waiting list so if people cancel you will slide into a spot in the order of the waiting list).  If you want to cancel your spot, you must go into wodify and do it yourself.  The clinics spots will lock in 24 hours before the scheduled time.  Those athletes signed up 24 hours before will be the ones charged for the clinic. 

 

Kipping Clinic with James

June 5, Thursday at 6:30 PM

This clinic will focus on kipping as it pertains to kipping pullups and kipping toes to bar.  There are no strength requirements, but if you do not have pull-ups then realize that you will spend half the class working on the form for kipping pullups.

 

Butterfly / Chest to Bar Pullups Clinic with Dana

June 12, Thursday at 7 PM

This clinic will focus on chest to bar pull-up form as well as the butterfly kip for pull-ups.  To do this clinic you must have 5 strict and 5 kipping pull-ups.

 

Muscle-up Clinic with Tommy

June 18th, Wednesday at 6 PM

This clinic will focus on helping an athlete either get their first muscle-up or to hit them more consistently.  It will also focus on the most efficient form for a muscle-up.  The strength requirement to take the clinic is 1 strict pullup + 1 strict ring dip as well as 5 kipping pull-ups.

 

Handstand Walking Clinic with Dana

June 19, Thursday at 7 PM

This clinic will spend time teaching you how to walk on your hands.  The hour will include work on learning how to tumble out of a handstand, balance on your hands, and then walk forward in a handstand.  You must be able to kick up into a handstand to take this clinic.

 

Snatch Clinic with Lauren

June 23, Monday at 7:30 PM

This clinic will focus on improving your form on the Snatch.  The clinic will be focus on the areas that commonly give an athlete trouble in the olympic lifts.

 

Clean and Jerk Clinic with Lauren

June 25, Weds at 6 PM

This clinic will focus on both the clean and jerk and on putting the movements together.  Part of the class will be spent on each movement individually, hopefully allowing you to improve your form on your future clean and jerk attempts.

 

Rope Climb Clinic with James

June 27, Friday at 5 PM

This clinic will focus on multiple options for how to clamp your feet on the rope.  It will also include instruction on the l-sit rope climb and legless rope climb.  There is no strength requirement for this clinic.

 

 


Calories - Stop Worrying About Them

May 21, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 3

Food Journal


Am I eating enough calories? Am I eating too many calories? These are some questions you may be asking yourself. What's great about the Paleo lifestyle is that you don't have to worry about either of these. There is no need to count calories.

I personally do not like keeping track of how much I have eaten or obsessing over how many grams of a particular nutrient I have had. Calories are really only half of the battle, as they’re not all created equal – 400 calories of Doritos do NOT affect your body in the same way as 400 calories of high-quality vegetables and protein. Fortunately, if you can expand your horizons and remove certain types of food from your diet, you can stop worrying about counting calories FOREVER.  And this is where the Paleo lifestyle comes in to play.


Here are some interesting articles that breaks it down for you.

http://paleoleap.com/all-about-calories-1/

http://paleoleap.com/reasons-not-count-calories/

http://primaltoad.com/calorie-counting/

 


Paleo Challenge Day 2

May 20, 2014

May 20, 2014

I understand many of us have busy schedules and cannot get in full meals throughout the day, nor do we have the time to prepare anything in advance. Therefore, we find ourselves feeling hungry throughout the day and look for something to snack on.

On the paleo diet, traditional snack foods like pretzels, crackers, and potato chips are out. However, there are plenty of healthy and delicious Paleo snacks to choose from.


Here is a list of some ideas for Paleo snacks - from sweet to savory - that are both easy and quick to prepare and easy to carry while you are on the go.

1. Nuts – nuts are a great Paleo snack because they’re so portable: just toss a few in a baggie and you're good to go. Try almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, or pistachios, but NO peanuts, since they are actually legumes. (Trader joes, whole foods, and similar)

2. Hard-boiled eggs – eggs aren’t just for breakfast. Hard-boiled eggs are simple to make and travel well for a protein boost on the go. Boil a whole bunch on Sunday, and you have a snack for the entire week.

3. Jerky – if you can find store-bought jerky with no sugar or soy sauce, it’s a great Paleo snack option; otherwise, you can make your own in a dehydrator or even in the oven. Beef is traditional, but buffalo and turkey jerky are also tasty. There are also some Paleo Stix in the lobby you can buy.

4. Fresh fruit – fruit is easy to transport and holds up well at room temperature. An apple or some barries makes for a quick and simple Paleo snack.

5. Chopped raw veggies – if you chop up some carrot, celery sticks or cucumbers on Sunday and toss them into plastic bags in the fridge, you’ll have an easy Paleo snack to grab and go all week.

6. Paleo trail mix – round up your favorite group of mixed nuts, add some dried fruit (but not too much as dried fruit is high in sugar), coconut flakes, some pumpkin or sunflower seeds and mix well! Put small portions into a few ziplock bags, and you have yourself a paleo snack to last you a few days. (Trader joes, whole foods, and similar)

7. Frozen Grapes - wash some grapes and put them in a freezer bag to have a very easy on the go Paleo snack.

 

8. Kale Chips - wash and dry your kale, preheat your oven to 350, cover in avocado oil or olive oil, and then bake for 12 minutes.  Add salt and pepper and you will have a Paleo snack better than potato chips.  This snack is packed with protein and fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals.

9. Roasted pumpkin seeds – you can buy these separately, or just scoop out the seeds when you cook a pumpkin, and roast them in some coconut oil with a dash of sea salt until they’re a light golden-brown.

10. Dried fruit – be sparing with this one, as dried fruit is high in sugar, but for an active athlete this can be a great energy boost.

There are also plenty of Paleo Snacks in the lobby. Paleo Krunch, Paleo Stix, and more!

Note: these are snacks and should be treated as such. Don't go overboard on the snacking. While they are healthy and paleo-friendly, snacking is not what being Paleo is about. You should eat full healthy meals and are encouraged to do so.

With regards to bars, we are NOT allowing them in this challenge. So, Larabars will be considered a point off.

Lastly, NO CHOCOLATE.  Yes, I said it.  Dark chocolate will not be allowed on this challenge.  Going without 1 square for 30-days is not going to kill you.


PALEO CHALLENGE - 3, 2, 1...GO!

May 19, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 1

 

Today we begin our 30-day Paleo Challenge.  I know many of you are quite nervous about this lifestyle change so I am going to try to make this transition as easy as possible for you.  I will have a blog post everyday - some days may be some helpful information, others may just be a recipe.  Please ask questions and let me know if there is anything you want more information on and I will write about it because I am sure you won’t be the only one with these questions or concerns.  One important thing I really want you all to do is to stick with it.  The first week or two may be a little challenging but stick it out because in the end it is all worth it.

Below is a link to the Scoresheet where you will be tracking what you eat each day.  Remember, just answer “yes” next to what applies to you and it will update automatically.  You should each have a tab along the bottom (alphabetical order by first name). 

Click here for Food Journal/Point Tracker

Also, don't forget to take your before/after photos and upload them to the following website by Wednesday.

Before Challenge Form

 

For those of you joining our 30 day Paleo Challenge, here are a few tips to help you get through it. And for those of you that have partaken in one of these challenges in the past, these tips can be helpful to you as well.

 Don't Believe Everything You Hear:

Do your own research — trust me, there’s plenty out there — and come to your own conclusions. Study the science behind the rules, so that when someone asks you why you don’t eat grains, you can give an intelligent answer. This is also important so that you know why you shouldn’t have that pasta salad that looks so yummy.

Don't Stress About Points:

Unless you’re just in it for the competition. True, it’s fun to beat your buddies, but at least try to stay focused on the point, not the points. Nutrition is more important than a 30-day challenge. 

Do Write Down What You Eat:

This was actually a really fun part of my first Paleo Challenge. I never really realized some of the peculiarities of my eating habits until I logged my meals.

Do Try New Foods:

Pomegranate, asparagus, avocado, oysters — if you look, you’ll probably realize that there’s a whole world of foods you’ve never tried. Try shopping at a new grocery store to see what else is out there!

Do Drink Water:

A lot of it.  All by itself.  Try to add lemon, lime , cucumber to the water for some more flavor.

Do Talk About your Paleo Challenge:

Think about it, obsess over it the way you obsess over your WOD’s. Write about it in your blog, take pictures of the new dishes you make, and have fun with it. Invite your non-Paleo friends over for dinner and show them what it’s like. Keep up with the popular Paleo bloggers, and get into the “lifestyle” of it. These are the kinds of things that will keep you motivated in the long run, not the points you earn for “obeying the rules.”

Do Pay Attention to the Amount of Sleep You are Getting:

It can make a tremendous difference in your mood and in your health.

Don't Get Distracted by the word "DIET":

Some people call it a Paleo diet. Diet just means the stuff you eat, although it bears with it the unfortunate stigma of gimmicky, cheap marketing. That’s not what Paleo is about, nor CrossFit. It’s fair to be skeptical, but don’t let that keep you from making real changes.

Don't Give Up:

This is the most important.  If you’re truly persuaded that nutrition is important, and that your current diet of disgusting crap isn’t cutting it anymore, then you’re in it for the long haul. Like everything, practice makes perfect and no one gets something perfect the first time. So you failed today (which is something most CrossFitters are used to by now, it’s part of what we do); that just means that you’re actually pushing yourself to do something difficult. Be confident that you will improve. Eating real food in our culture isn’t easy, but it’s doable if you want it.


Memorial Day

May 18, 2014

Murph!

So every year we usually do Murph in the middle of the summer.  I know on Memorial Day is a tradition for a lot of places to do Murph and I have always chosen to do it later in the summer because 90% of the South Jersey population will be down the shore for the workout.

 

This year we will be doing Murph on two days. 

 

We will be doing it on Memorial Day - May 26th.  There will be only 1 class on Memorial day at 10 AM.  I think it will be fun to get everyone together in one big class to suffer together.  I (Tommy) will be running the class, Dana and James want to complete the workout with a vest on for the first time ever.  Also: we have 2 vests here - I know I have a ton of military and police officers with vests so please bring in as many as you have so others can have 1 too.

 

We will also be doing Murph on Wednesday, July 16th - it will be the workout of the day for our regular class programming.  This workout will be during our deload in the strength cycle, so if you do Murph on Memorial Day and do not wish to do it again, then you will just make this one of your off days for the week (you should have enough notice to plan around it).

*Like always, Murph is completely scalable.  In fact, many people usually start with a quarter Murph, work up to half, then 3/4, then the full workout, finally finishing with doing the workout with a vest.

 

"Murph"

For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

 

In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

This workout was one of Mike's favorites and he'd named it "Body Armor". From here on it will be referred to as "Murph" in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you've got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.


Is the Paleo Challenge For Me?

May 8, 2014

PALEO CHALLENGE INFORMATION

Since announcing when the next paleo challenge will be, I had many people ask "What is paleo?" or "Is Paleo for me?"  Hopefully over the next week, I can get enough information out to help you make your decision as to whether or not you should do the challenge (plus its almost beach season so that should be motivation enough).  

PALEO

The first thing I am going to tackle is "What is the Paleo Diet".  Well for one, I would like you to think of this as a "lifestyle" and not a "diet"  Also, it is time to say goodbye to refined sugars, dairy, legumes, grains, and alcohol (yes, I said it - NO ALCOHOL) and hello to meat, fish, poultry, fruits, nuts and veggies.

Why no grains?  Grains are composed of carbohydrates, and those carbs are turned into glucose (a type of sugar) in our system to be used for energy and various other tasks to help our body function.  Any glucose that isn’t used as energy is stored as fat.

Why no sugar? Unless you are getting your sugar from a fruit, don’t eat it.  Sugar causes an energy spike and crash in your system, turns to fat (unless it’s used immediately), and is just overall bad for our bodies.

If we are not eating carbs every day, how do we get our energy?  Our bodies are designed to operate on a lower amount of carbohydrates than what we are used to eating, therefore, less carbs is not an issue.  When there is an absence of carbs (which is how our bodies are supposed to be operating), our bodies will take stored fat and burn that for our source of energy.  Less carbs equals less glucose in our systems which means our bodies will have to start burning fat as its fuel source.  

Not all carbohydrates are bad.  Carbs still serve a purpose in our diets, but they are not essential.  Carbs from vegetables, sweet potatoes, and fruit are okay because these foods do not need to be processed in any way (unlike grains) in order to be consumed.

What can you eat?  

Some helpful resources for information and recipes are

www.marksdailyapple.com

www.paleomg.com

www.nomnompaleo.com

www.everdaypaleo.com

 

THE CHALLENGE

Start Date: Monday, May 19th

End Date: Tuesday, June 17th

Buy-in: $30 (goes towards running the challenge and the prizes)


On Sunday, May 18th at 11am we will hold a kick-off meeting/Q&A session which will outline the challenge - point system, foods that are allowed and not allowed, etc.  We will also perform a benchmark workout and take your before measurements.  If you are unable to make this, shoot me an email and we will schedule when this can all be done.

I would like each of you to visit the website below and fill out the form before Wednesday, May 21st.  The questions in this form will help me keep you all on track to reach your goals.  This is also where you will be posting your before photos.  You will be responsible for taking your own photos so we do not have to awkwardly do this at the gym.  For the photos, I would like you to take 3 - one from the front, side and back.  Girls - sports bra and spandex, Guys - shirts off and shorts.  These photos will help determine one of the winners.  (I will be the ONLY one seeing these).

Before Challenge Form

 

Point System:

  • Your Food Points are earned as follows:

  • 3 Points = Ate clean all day! Had lean protein + veggies/fruits + healthy fats with each meal, avoided grains and gluten products, avoided refined sugars.

  • 1 Point = 1 Item Off List - Had croutons on my salad, my eggs in a wrap, a candy bar snack, etc.

  • 0 Points = 1 Full Cheat Meal - Sandwich with soda, pizza and beer, bagel with cream cheese, etc.

  • -3 Points = More than 1 Cheat Meal

  • Your bonus points are as follows:

    • 1 Point = Fish Oil - Took 3 grams of EPA/DHA in fish oil.

    • 1 Point = Sleep - 7 solid hours on a regular schedule.

    • 1 Point = Active recovery - 15 minutes with a foam roller or a lacrosse ball or some other tools working on myo-fascial release and mobility, or...practicing meditation or yoga.

    • 1 Point = Hydration - Drank ½ oz of water per lb of bodyweight.

    • 1 Point = Workout

You can earn 6 points total in one day.  

4 winners will be chosen at the end of the challenge - 1 for most points, 1 for most improved on workout, 1 for before and after photos,  and 1 for measurments.  The prizes will be determined by the number of participants we have.  Last challenge the winners received a 1-month membership to CFMTL, Steve's Paleo Goods, $30 to Lululemon, and $30 to Whole Foods.

 

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at danap@crossfitmtl.com

 

PALEO SUCCESS STORIES

"If anyone is on the fence about the upcoming paleo challenge I encourage you to do it!  Why?  It's a challenge!  What Crossfitter  doesn't love a challenge?  It's really not as hard as you think!  A little pre planning & shopping.  After 30 days, you may be pleasantly surprised to see inches melt away.    I personally was so excited & surprised to see 6.75 inches GONE!  An added bonus was my energy levels were balanced through out the day.  No need for that 2pm coffee.  I'm still not eating any processed junk food & to date I lost 14 lbs.  And the benefits ...to name a few...better sleep habits, better digestive health, balanced energy, less mood swings from high/low blood sugar,  plus you know Dana will be there for you w/ tips and encouragement!  My sincere good wishes to the upcoming group of Paleo Challengers!" -Karen Boguski

 

"Over the past several years my diet, as I saw it, was pretty healthy, although often times certain foods did not seem to “agree” with me (pasta, nuts, breads, dairy). I knew that one day I would have to make some kind of change so that I wouldn’t feel sick all the time. Approximately a month or so after joining Crossfit, I heard of the Paleo Challenge and wondered if this was the answer I was looking for. The first thing I learned was that it's often called the "caveman" diet"....NO carbs (except for fruits), nuts, legumes, dairy, sugar, and most importantly no processed foods. I was skeptical and wondering “what can I eat?”.  The answer was Protein, lots of it, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and as much bacon as I could handle.  So I decided to give it a try.  Dana said that it would take a week or so for your body to not “crave” the foods you ate before.  I thought for sure my body would forever crave the wheat thins and peanut butter I had every morning, but surprisingly Dana was right (as she seems to be most of the time). I also heard that it was a lot of work to be Paleo.  This part is actually true, however if you plan ahead and have a system, it’s not bad at all. Every Sunday my wife and I would cook for the week, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.  This made it easy and kept us on track. So, what happened after a week or so was truly amazing to me….I started to feel better! Now I’m not going to lie and say I am 100% strict Paleo. That is not even recommended by our trainers.  I’m trying to stay about 90%, using the 10% when I go out to eat or travel. I travel quite a bit, and it’s oftentimes a challenge, but I do the best I can. I try to keep the mantra “everything in moderation” in my mind.  I recommend giving it a try.  Maybe it’s for you, maybe not, but it’s worth the effort to feel good. " -Ephraim Cohen


Paleo Challenge

May 1, 2014

The Next Paleo Challenge is Upon Us!!!

Our next Paleo Challenge will begin on Monday, May 19th and end on Tuesday, June 17th.  It will be a $30 buy-in for 30 days.  There will be a meeting on Sunday, May 18th at 11am.  Here I will get your before measurements, you will perform a benchmark workout that you will repeat at the end of the challenge, and I will answer questions that you may have about the challenge or paleo.  If you are unable to make this day, please let me know so we can figure out when to have you do the WOD and get your measurements.

 

For the challenge, you are responsible for posting your points each night and maintaining a food log.  We will use the same scoresheet that we used for the last challenge.  If you are new to the challenge, here is a link to the scoresheet that we used back in February.  February Challenge Score Sheet

 

You will also have to post before and after pictures.  I will post more information on this closer to the start of the challenge.  Just know that I will be the only on to see these.

 

On Sunday, June 21st at 11am,  we will retest the benchmark workout and get your after measurements.  Again, if you are not able to make this date, please let me know beforehand (I don't need to know now).

 

At the end of the challenge, a winner will be chosen from each of the following categories: total points, most improved in the wod, before/after pictures, and inches lost.  There will be prizes for all of the winners!

 

Want some information on paleo?:

What is Paleo?

Sample Day

More Links

 

 

If you have any other questions feel free to ask my at the gym or you can e-mail me at danap@crossfitmtl.com.


Goal Setting

April 28, 2014

Goal Setting

When you first showed up at CFMTL I would bet most of you had a goal in mind.  It may or may not have been very specific, but you were taking a determined step toward something you wanted.  It could have been for any number of reasons.  Maybe you wanted to get stronger, lose weight, return to a level of fitness, etc.  As the weeks and months (and even years for some) passed, you may have started to consider some new goals.  Often we see others achieving something that inspires us to set our sights on something new.  A first pull-up, muscle up, double under; deadlifting or squatting a certain amount of weight, Rx-ing a WOD, or getting a new personal best at an Olympic lift, etc.  


The programming here at CFMTL gives us many opportunities to set goals, work steadily toward them, achieve them, celebrate and then re-establish new goals.  Having a goal in mind at every stage of your development is important.  It often gives our activities meaning.  And yet there are opportunities for us to become as competent at goal setting as we are at let’s say deadlifting.  


The most powerful goals are like heat seeking missiles.  Once we define our target, we can apply our advanced internal guidance system to steer and adjust our path so that we achieve our goal.


There are many ways to go about setting goals.  The one I personally use came from a book that I read many years ago called Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  I have found that the method that he described has helped me achieve almost every one of my goals.  Here is how I would describe Napoleon Hill’s process:


STEP 1:  Be specific and concise about what it your goal is.  
STEP 2:  Determine exactly what you are willing to give/do in return for achieving your goal.
STEP 3:  Establish a definite date when you intend to have achieved your goal.
STEP 4:  Create a definite plan, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.
STEP 5:  Write your goal out in a clear concise statement in positive words as if already achieved.
STEP 6:  Read your written statement out loud at least twice a day; prior to going to bed and first thing in the morning.


At the risk of sharing something very personal, here is an example of one of my current goals and how I am using the process above.   
    “It’s May 1st 2015 and I have just learned that I made the final cut in the Masters 55-59 age group . . . I am on my way to California!  I was first inspired to take on this goal by Sue Velot.  For the past 18 months I have followed a detailed progression of strength building.  I have actually put on a few extra pounds of lean muscle.  But my biggest gain has come from increased mobility especially in my shoulders, T-spine, hips and ankles and all the daily work in these areas have enabled me to conquer snatches and OH squats!  Bring them on!  I have experimented for more than a year and have finally dialed in my paleo and found the right mix of carbs & protein to support my activity and recovery.  In addition to the role that nutrition played on my recovery, I have experimented with my sleep cycles, EMS, and breaks from training.  Looking back, each day seemed so ordinary and uneventful, but the cumulative effect has been astounding.  I am looking forward to enjoying everything about The Games, then setting some new goals.”
Do you need to follow this process (or one like it) for every little goal you have?  Of course not!  BUT, for those goals that are extraordinarily meaningful to you, a process such as this will almost certainly stack the deck in your favor.  


Sometimes setting BIG goals can be scary!  But at the same time, it’s our goals and dreams that help make us feel alive.
If you would like some help increasing your competence in setting goals, feel free to reach out to me friedman.larry@verizon.net.  Additionally, keep your eyes out for a goal setting clinic in the near future.


Our Current Strength Cycle

April 21, 2014

Hatch Squat Cycle

We are currently starting the fourth week of our strength cycle (thankfully with a deload deadlift day).  I have talked with James and Dana and I try to continually keep an update on what everyone thinks during each cycle.  I have heard a lot of positive remarks about the current cycle as well as some grumbling about the heavy weight in both the strengths and workouts.  I figured if everyone understood the reasoning and rationale for what we do and then why we do it, it would allow everyone to understand how this cycle will help them.

 

I first want to talk about what this gym is about.  I have spent a lot of time the last few months trying to figure out exactly what Crossfit Mount Laurel wants to help each athlete accomplish.  If you have visited other Crossfit gyms, you know that there are many different kinds of gyms (that's without even bringing in non-Crossfit globo gyms).  Some gyms are all about creating athletes for competitions, others are for beginners, while some just want you to have a good time.  After talking with Larry, he helped me to realized that we don't do anything at the gym without a purpose (which doesn't mean we aren't going to have fun doing it!).  Every day you come in, you are working off a structured plan to help you reach you goals.  This is why we work in strength cycles and deloads.  This is also why we bring on new challenges - things like 20 rep benchmarks, the Hatch Squat cycle now, and the gymnastics focus of last cycle.  All of these things are designed to get you to your goals, whatever they may be - things like running a half marathon, completing your first workout RX'd, going kayaking on the river, or competing in Regionals. 

 

I have decided that what we do here at CFMTL is we "SET GOALS, REACH GOALS, CELEBRATE THEM, and then SET NEW GOALS."

 

So what does this mean to you?  It means you should have a goal in place, something with a time frame and a tangible change.  One of my favorite changes to see in an athlete usually happens in the first 2 months.  When people start, their goal is usually to simply lose body fat.  Then as they get into working out the goals turn more task based - things such as to get my first pullup, or to do double unders in a workout.  When your goal becomes performance based, it can be a lot easier to start putting steps in place to reach that goal.  For new members, this means that we are definitely your home if you want to put a structure into place that will help you identify your goals and then put together a plan to reach them.  I am also hoping to get more information out on goals and how to set them over the next month, so we can help streamline the goal reaching process.

 

Back to the current cycle.  I like to treat the Crossfit Open as our competition season (similiar to playoffs for sports).  For some people this is a chance to measure up against the rest of the world.  For others, the Crossfit Open means absolutely nothing.  That's fine!  Imagine if you were a baseball player that played the same baseball schedule 52 weeks a year.  Year after year of 4-5 baseball games a week would take a huge physical toll on your body and even if your body was fine, you would mentally quit without an offseason to switch it up and recharge.  This is why I use general seasons for the programming, so that we can have a structured layout over the year that helps us reach our current goals. 

 

Since we just finished competition season, it makes the most sense to use this first 12 week cycle of the "new year" to get stronger.   I have chosen to put higher skill movements on the backburner (olympic lifting, gymnastic movements, thrusters, wallballs) to instead focus on making everyone stronger - especially in the squat and pulling movements.  This will be helpful, because if you can increase your squat, all of the sudden wallballs, squat cleans, pistols, thrusters, rowing, running and other movements using your legs will be become easier.  The same goes for the deadlift and bench which can help strengthen all pulling and pushing movements respectively.  We can focus on just pure strength because this is our off season where we don't need to worry about performing each movement with perfect efficiency to save time during workouts.  That is why this cycle has put things like burpee progressions and handstand push-up work on the side while we just get stronger.  Imagine how much easier power cleaning 135/95 will be after this cycle has asked you to repeatedly power clean 20, 30+ pounds more.

 

Now that you hopefully understand the why of what we are doing, we can get into the how a little bit.  On Tuesday and Fridays you will squat in the strength and the workout.  This also means that your legs will get minimal work on the other 3 days, simply because we need all the recovery we can get by the next squat day.  You will also notice that the workouts on these days are heavy and are 4 rounds of some form of squatting coupled with non-leg heavy movements.  We will almost always do our workouts for time and reps and this is no exception, but time is really not the most important part of these days.  The focus instead should be on hitting each round of squats with solid form and without breaking them up.  If you take a little time on these workouts, but move the weight each time, then you will be doing what is necessary to reach the goal of this cycle - to get stronger.

 

In case you are curiuos about the general outline of the year it will look something like this (note this is a very broad idea).

February to March - Crossfit Open

March to June - Strength Cycle focusing on the power lifts

June to August - Strength Cycle focusing on the olympic lifts

August to November - Movement cycle focusing on applying our new strength to each movement

November to February - Weakness cycle focusing on working on our weak points and going over the finer points of each movement.

 

Remember this is a very broad schedule, so don't worry about this too much.  We will still be olympic lifting during each cycle.  We also will still be teaching and coaching movements during each cycle.  This is to just give you a very basic idea of where the programming will head month to month.  Also remember that there is a deload process after each cycle that we will go through (I chose to leave these out to keep it simple).  The deload is similiar to my baseball off season analogy as it will allow us to recharge both mentally and physically before taking on a new cycle.

 

I hope everyone begins to understand the purpose of this cycle.  If you have any general questions, or just want to talk about you personally - reach out to your off the floor coach.  We are there to help you with nutrition, personalized extra work to help you with certain movements, and anything else we can give you information on.  If you have any questions on the cycle itself, just email me at tommy@crossfitmtl.com


Benefits of Olympic Lifting Shoes

April 17, 2014

Oly Shoes

 

Many of you here at CFMTL now own a pair of Olympic weightlifting shoes and notice a big difference in your squatting and oly lifts but do you know why wearing these shoes is so beneficial?

It is obvious that Olympic weightlifting shoes are not just any ordinary shoe.  Oly shoes have a hard, flat sole, an elevated heel, straps, and a snug fit around your foot. Here are some benefits to the shoe.

Elevated Heel:  This is the most important feature of the shoe.  Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to squat with a raised heel (put 5 lb plates underneath your heels, and you will notice the difference)?  You can get deeper in your squat, knees stay out, and your ankle flexibility is improved.  That is what the elevated heel does for your squat.   Olympic shoes typically have at minimum .5” to a 1” heel, which allows you to utilize every aspect of your musculature for the lift you're going for.  People who have tight ankles and hips will see a huge improvement in their ability to squat while wearing Oly shoes.   The raised heel also allows the lifter’s chest to stay upright, even in the bottom of a deep squat with the bar held overhead or racked across the deltoids.

Hard, flat sole: When these shoes first came to be, the soles were made of wood.  Nowadays, a lot of brands have a hard, plastic sole.  The reason for these hard, flat soles is to get as much force off the ground as possible.  Squats, snatch, clean and jerk are some of the movements that will benefit most from this force that is created.  When you wear regular shoes, you will notice a softer sole.  The result of this is that you are only going to generate about 90% (give or take a little) of the force, whereas with Oly shoes you will be getting 100% of the force off the ground.

Straps: This is the last feature of olympic lifting shoes.  These straps give a snug fit feeling.  In the olympic lifts and squats, you don’t want your foot to be slipping around inside the shoes.  You want your feet to be in a nice, secure stable position.   More stability means that you'll have a very consistent platform from which to push. Not at all inconsistent, unlike that from compressible soled shoes.These straps also allow you to push out against the side of the shoe with your foot, increasing hip activation.  More hip activation will translate to a stronger pull or squat.

Now, which shoe should you buy?  All weightlifting shoes serve the same purposes that I have mentioned above, now it is just finding what pair is comfortable and works for you.  Everyone has different preferences, so you might swing and miss a couple times before you find the right one.  For Crossfit, I would suggest the Reebok Lifters.  These are designed so that you can perform other movements outside of squats and oly lifts like box jumps and double unders for example.  Some other brands that I have heard good things about are Nike, Adidas, and Do-Win.

If you were on the fence about whether or not you should get a pair, hopefully this was helpful and you will now all go and purchase a pair.

 


CFMTL GOES BOWLING

April 9, 2014

Saturday, April 26th at 10pm at Laurel Lanes

Our next CFMTL event will be at night of bowling on Saturday, April 26th starting at 10pm at Laurel Lanes (2825 Route 73 South, Maple Shade, NJ 08052).  The cost will be $25 per person. This includes 3 hours of bowling and shoe rental.  Please bring in your money and hand it to any coach so that we can have somewhat of a headcount beforehand.  Also, connected to Laurel Lanes is Brewsters Pub for us to go hang out at.

 

Some other upcoming events to look out for:

  • Phillies tailgate and game
  • Beach WOD
  • Dance Class
  • Bar Crawl


Upcoming Progams: Run Club, HS Strength & Conditioning, Clinic Schedule

March 31, 2014

It's back!

RUN CLUB

The Run Club is back!  Starting in April, Saturdays will be devoted to building your running skill.  There will be 2 classes to choose from.  One class will be for beginners.  A second class for those who want to push their running to new levels.  Additionally a number of members will be meeting to do runs together on other days.  These runs will be organized on the CFMTL Run Club Facebook page.

The Saturday classes will last 1 hour.  We will be teaching & reinforcing the POSE METHOD (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7zEruVUwr4).  Each class will generally look like this:

Warm-up (5-10 min)Learn/practice/drill POSE (15-20 min)Do a Run workout (10-15 minutes)Stretching & Mobility work (5-10 min)

POSE RUNNING METHOD

EXPLANATION

DATES/TIMES

Brand New To Running as a Skill

We will start from the beginning with posture, skill breakdown, and drills.  Your skill and confidence will increase each week.  If you attend all 6 weeks, you will look forward to a WOD that contains a run!  Guaranteed.

Saturday 10:00 – 11:00

4/5, 4/12, 4/19, 4/26, 5/3, 5/10

Push Your Running to New Levels

After a quick review of the basics, we will use a variety of drills to reinforce and improve your running mechanics.  After 6 sessions you will be a CFMTL POSE Method Ninja.

Saturday 11:00 – 12:00

4/5, 4/12, 4/19, 4/26, 5/3, 5/10

 

Contact Larry Friedman (friedman.larry@verizon.net) if you have questions.

 

HIGH SCHOOL STRENGTH & CONDITIONING CLASS

Starting Monday, June 23rd we will be offering a High School Strength and Conditioning class.  The class will be 1-hour long and will utilize compound movements and high intensity to increase all aspects of fitness.

Cost will be $110 per month from June 23rd to August 31st (month of June will be prorated and if you need to end early we will take that into consideration).  Class will be held Monday through Friday at 11am.  Then beginning September 1st, we will have classes just three times per week - Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 4pm - at a cost of $80 per month. 

 

CLINIC SCHEDULE

Below is the upcoming clinic schedule.  These clinics will be capped at 8 people and will cost $15 with half off if you are an unlimited member.

Snatch: Wednesday, April 16th at 7:30pm with Tommy

Muscle-up: Thursday, April 17th at 5:30pm with James

Clean and Jerk: Tuesday, April 22nd at 6:30pm with Dana

Handstands: Thursday, May 1st at 6pm with James

Kipping (Pull-ups and Toes-to-Bar): Tuesday, May 6th at 7pm with Dana


New Cycle Breakdown

March 31, 2014

Goal: To get stronger

I hope everyone enjoyed the Crossfit Open.  It was fun to see everyone push themselves to their limits every Saturday and now we have a year to improve until it comes back around!

Normally after each dedicated strength cycle, we re-test our maxes to find out where we now are.  Since the open started immediately following last strength cycle, I chose to focus on the open workouts rather than worry about findind new maxes.  When I designed the new upcoming cycle, I took this into account.  Usually I would have everyone use training maxes - take 90% of their max and use that number, because this cycle will get pretty heavy in weight and volume.  Instead we are going to use our full maxes to account for the improvement that happened on the last cycle.  At the end of this cycle we will be retesting, I promise.

This new cycle is taking a break from focusing solely on the clean and jerk and snatch form and will be focusing on overall strength.  Some movements also will take a back seat - as we focus on getting stronger on the back squat, deadlift, bench, and olympic lifting complexes.  I know that if you can squat more, your wallballs and thruster will become easier.

 

Also this cycle will stick to Thursday and Sunday as the off days.

 

BENCH

We will be benching once a week.  The bench should help to improve overall strength for the pushup and any kind of overhead press.  The bench is actually the most confusing part, so I will do my best to explain it.  I know I even confused Dana a little, so read up even if you already got her explanation.  The bench will rotate between Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.  The first 5 weeks of the cycle will be the same for everyone, and then it will adapt based on how well you do.

Week 1 : 5x Max Reps (capped at 8 reps) at 60%

Week 2 : 5x Max Reps (capped at 8) at 65%

Week 3 : 5x Max Reps (capped at 5) at 70%

Week 4 : 5x Max Reps (capped at 5) at 75%

Week 5 : 5x Max Reps (capped at 3) at 80%

Ideally each week you will do 5 sets at the capped number.  If you end up completing less reps, that is fine, you will still move on to the next week.  Almost everyone will have no problem until week 6.  If you do have a problem, you probably are not using a realistic max.  After week 6, it will start to auto regulate.  If you hit 5x3 at 80% on week 5, then you will add 5 pounds and go for 5x max (capped at 3) again.  If you did not complete 5x3 at 80%, you will take a set away the following week and stay at that same weight (so you will do 4x3 at 80%).  If you complete the 4x3 that week, then the following week you will stay at 4x3 but add the 5 pounds.  If you don't complete the 4x3 then the following week you will drop down for 3x3.  This will continute until week 11, where we will retest your 1 rep max.

 

SQUAT

We will be back squatting on Tuesdays and Fridays.  We are running a variation of the hatch cycle, which involves back squatting as the strength twice a week.  On those days, you will also be doing some variation of squatting (front squat, squat clean, or overhead squat) in the workout.  The workout will usually be 4 rounds, the squatting movement will be a % of your max (not a set weight) and it will be paired with movements that will allow the legs to rest.  I basically am using the crossfit class structure to trick everyone into getting a high level of squat volume.

 

DEADLIFT

I don't want to mess with something that works.  We will be running Wendler's 5/3/1 again this cycle for the deadlift.  This means we will be running three 4 week cycles.  A cycle consists of a day of 3x5, a day of 3x3, then a day that works up to a heavy single.  The fourth week will be a light deload week.  The 5/3/1 progem uses weights that you can definitely hit and will keep you lifting heavy each week.  On the last set of weeks 1-3, you do not have to stop at the written number of reps.  If you can do more reps while maintaining excellent form, then you can continute going.  There is no magic to this program, just consistent work which should help everyone get stronger and more confident with the deadlift.

Week 1 : 5x75%, 5x80%, 5x85%

Week 2 : 3x80%, 3x85%, 3x90%

Week 3 : 5x75%, 3x85%, 1x95%

Week 4 : 5x60%, 5x65%, 5x70%

 

OLYMPIC LIFTING COMPLEXES

For the olympic lifting, we will be focusing on complexes.  While increasing your 1 rep max on the Snatch and Clean and Jerk is important, if you cannot take that pure strength and use it for reps, then it won't have a direct carryover to your Crossfit workouts.  This will also help us to build up grip strength, get better at moving weight with an elevated heart rate, and working time under tension.

 

We are going to have some fun and test out the Shankle Complex this Saturday.  We will then retest it during week 12 to show how much you have improved.  Here is Donny Shankle completing how own complex with 440 pounds.  No big deal.

 

EXTRA WORK

There will be extra work posted everyday but Thursday and Sunday.  The extra work will be filling in the gaps that the program is not focusing on.  You will see a lot of olympic lifting, odd object, midline work, and hamstring work.  If you want to do the extra work, plan to hang around 10-15 minutes after class.

 

The goal for this workout is to make you stronger.  If you eat properly during this cycle, it will also make you look damn good in a bathing suit.  It is the start of April now so start to tighten up your nutriton and don't hesitate to use your off the floor coach to help you out.

 

 


And the winner is.....

March 19, 2014

Paleo Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the following who are our Paleo Challenge Winners:

Jamie received a perfect score of 180 points for her eating.

Lisa had the biggest improvement in her workout.  She improved 75 reps.

Karen lost a total of 6.75 inches.

And the before and after pictures were tough.  It's going to be a tie between Priscilla and Jeanette.

You all did awesome and are looking amazing!!  I hope you all continue to keep it up.  If you have any Paleo questions or need help staying/getting back on track, do not hesitate to ask.


Paleo Challenge

March 18, 2014

Last Day to Enter Info!!

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO GET ALL OF YOUR PALEO INFO IN!!! WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED TOMORROW!

Enter your food points here: Scoresheet

Enter your After photos here: End of Challenge Form

 There will be 4 winners. There will be 1 winner based off of points, 1 off of measurements, 1 on biggest WOD improvement, and 1 based off of the before/after photos.  Winners will receive: 1 months membership, a sampler from Steve's Paleo Kits, $30 to Lululemon, and $30 to Whole Foods.


New Cycle and Upcoming Events

March 16, 2014

New Cycle and Upcoming Events

I hope everyone is enjoying the open so far.  The open is awesome because it creates a competitive atmosphere that shows everyone how hard they can push themselves.  The open isn't necessarily about making it to regionals, it is about pushing yourself.  It has been so cool to see things like Kelly Ghegan get her first chest to bar pull-up in a workout, Meri to PR her deadlift, and Yelena to RX her first workout with chest to bar pullups and 65# overhead squats.

To celebrate the end of the open (we have 2 more weeks), we will be having a BBQ after the last heat of the Open on Saturday, March 29th.  When you finish your workout on the last week, you will be given a beer (word on the street is Syl will be bringing some Sylvies for the non-beer drinkers.)  I will also get some food to grill out back to go with your alcoholic beverage.

 

Also, the week after the final open workout, we will be turning off the computers (they will only be on for our music).  Competition is great and is one of the strongest motivators we have, but sometimes you need to realize that if it isn't fun, it won't be sustainable.  For the week starting Monday, March 31st, the workout will not be posted online and we will not be recording our times or weights on the computers.  I think it will be a fun little experiment to give you a week off from "leaderboarding" and for you to just push yourself through a workout for yourself.  You will be coming into the class "blind" to the workout and I am going to ask that the morning athletes don't tell the later classes the workout no matter how bad they ask.  We will still be running the clock during the workout, but we won't be storing them in the computer.

 

Upcoming Cycle

I am about halfway through on creating the upcoming cycle.  This next cycle is going to be 12 weeks long, but it should be a fun one.  We are going to take a step back from the olympic lifts and just focus on getting stronger.  We will be using the Hatch Squat cycle and squatting on Tuesdays and Fridays (here is a link to the full Hatch cycle, I did bastardize it to some extent buit it will still be farily close - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AqDfpQ0A9vF1dENwdnZ2aEV2NEwxQ0ZFU2JnNG5tTEE#gid=0 ).  On these days we will be back squatting as the strength and then the workout will include some form of squatting (front, overhead, squat cleans).  Because we will be squatting in the strength and workout 2x a week, the other days will feature minimal squatting.  This also means that the new cycle will focus on more deadlifting and benching (you can expect to see each every 7-10 days).  We will still be olympic lifting, but we will be focusing more in complexes especially those using the power and pull versions of the lift - a complex means a series of lifts done together such as 3 hang cleans + 1 push jerk + 1 split jerk.  I will write up a full post as we get closer to the new cycle.

We will be continuing to use the activation exercises in the warm-up.  Since adding the shoulder activation band protocol, complaints of shoulder tighness and pain have dropped to almost nothing.  It has been incredible.  We will continute to program them in the warm-up 2-3 times a week, so if you want more, you can come in early and do the bands yourself on the other days (it can be done everyday).

 

We also are in planning for a couple of events.  Dana is currently working on a potluck, a bowling night, and we are coming up on the time for another bar crawl.  As we iron out the dates and details, we will announce the information.

 

Don't forget to sign up for the mud run we are doing in the summer.  We usually all carpool from the gym and have a blast on the race.  Do not worry about what kind of shape you are in, as we all tend to run in 3-4 big groups.  There usually is a fast group and a group that hangs around and takes their time throughout the course.

The race will take place on Sunday, July 13th. When registering, enter "Crossfit Mount Laurel" as your team name and the heat start time of 10:45. Here is the link:


http://www.ruggedmaniac.com/events-details/items/new-jersey-2014.html

 

 


Weekly Mobility Class

March 10, 2014

Learn to properly execute and identify which mobility exercises coordinate with different strength and WOD components to maximize your performance.

When a joint (ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, etc.) is unable to move through its full range, we call it compromised. When compromised movement is present in a joint, surrounding joints take up the slack, creating extra stress all around. A typical example is inflexible ankles that can create stress and injury to the knees, hips, and lumbar spine.   Everything in our body is connected in a “kinetic chain”.  Poor mobility in one area can cause pain and stress in seemingly unrelated areas.  This becomes especially true with the extra stress we place on ourselves each day at CrossFit.  During a typical one-hour class we don’t have time to do in-depth mobility work.  In an effort to help you develop your own mobility warm-ups and cool-downs, as well as help you with issues you may currently be dealing with, Larry Friedman and James will be facilitating “Mobility WODs” on Thursday evenings.  Each Thursday will have a specific focus (see the schedule below).  You can sign up through WODIFY and there is NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE for members.  If this is successful we will look for other ways to expand on this theme.  For questions, contact Larry at friedman.larry@verizon.net or James at james@crossfitmtl.com.

              

SESSION

DATE

   TIME

FOCUS

1

THUR 3/13

   6:40-7:25 PM

Thoracic Spine (Upper back, neck, scapula)

2

THUR 3/20

   6:40-7:25 PM

Shoulder (Lat, Deltoid, Pec)

3

THUR 3/27

   6:40-7:25 PM

Arm (Triceps, Elbow, Forearm, wrist)

4

THUR 4/3

   6:40-7:25 PM

Trunk (Psoas, lower back, QLs)

5

THUR 4/10

   6:40-7:25 PM

Posterior Chain (Glutes, Hips, hamstrings)

6

THUR 4/17

   6:40-7:25 PM

Anterior Chain (Hip Flexsors, Quads)

7

THUR 4/24

   6:40-7:25 PM

Shin & Calf

8

THUR 5/1

   6:40-7:25 PM

Ankle & Plantar Surface


The Challenge is Coming to an End...

March 10, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 29

So after today, Monday, you have one more day left on the challenge.  Even though we will be doing the post testing on Sunday, after tomorrow you will no longer have to post your points.  

End of Challenge Testing (measurments/WOD) will be Sunday, March 16th at 11am.  If you are unable to make this, please let me know and we will figure out when I can get your measurements and you will do the WOD one day in class.

For the before/after pictures, use the link below to fill out the End of Challenge Questionaire and upload your after photos.  

End of Challenge Questionaire

Make sure you have your spreadsheets completely updated, pictures uploaded, and after testing all done by Sunday, March 16th.

Scoresheet

There will be 4 winners.  The prize for these winners will be 1 month membership, Steve's Paleo Goods, a gift card to Whole Foods, and a gift card to Lululemon.

One last thing, since we had to cancel the Paleo Potluck in the middle of the challenge, would you all be interested in having it on Sunday after we are finished with everything.  Please let me know your thoughts and if there is interest so I can get the word out.

E-mail me at danap@crossfitmtl.com if you have any questions.

 


How to Say NO

March 6, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 28

Almost to Day 30!  Hopefully you have all adapted by now and are seeing positive results.  I can say that I am seeing a big difference in many of you - both in your performances and the way you look.

Once the “challenge” is over and you have no one to report to, it makes it very easy to give in to temptations.  Here is an article that was recently posted on Mark’s Daily Apple.  Great timing for the end of this challenge.

 

How To Say "No" To Yourself

 

 


Bacon Wrapped Dates

March 6, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 25 (I messed up yesterday's day!)

As you may have noticed, my cooking skills are not that great so the simpler the better for me.  Here is one of my favorite snacks that is super easy to make.
 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pack uncooked bacon (12 slices)
  • 24 whole, pitted dates
  • 24 toothpicks
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Lay a single-layer of bacon strips on a plate and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes (repeat with remaining bacon)
  3. Cut strips of bacon in half width-wise
  4. Wrap individual dates in half-strips of bacon, secure with toothpick at overlap
  5. Place on rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, checking at 8 minutes
  6. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes

Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!


Paleo On A Budget

March 5, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 25

Some people think that they can't eat Paleo because it costs too much money.  That is not true!  Here are two common misconceptions that often come out before one starts the Paleo lifestyle.

You can only eat the best [insert food here] when you eat Paleo.

False. First of all, there are no Ten Commandments of Paleo. Yes, there’s a basic template (no grains, legumes, dairy, artificial sugar, etc.), but it’s there to help you get started. "Paleo Police" are not going to show up at your door and confiscate all your conventionally grown bananas or non-cage free eggs. Don’t use this misconception as the reason why you reach for Doritos instead of a non-organic apple.

Yes, buying foods that are grown in a more sustainable, conscientious and ethical way is a great thing to shoot for if you can afford it, but don’t throw the grass-fed steak out with the bathwater.

Meat is too expensive compared with grains.

While this might be true in terms of actual dollars, it couldn’t be more false from nutrition standpoint. Gram for gram, meat and produce are far more nutrient-dense than grains or legumes.  A five-pound bag of wheat flour may be cheaper, but it’s not as nutritious as typical Paleo foods.

12 Tips For Eating Paleo On A Budget

  • Buy seasonal produce.
  • Shop at a farmer’s market.
  • Learn how to make homemade goods, such as almond milk/butter and ghee.
  • Grow your own produce, even if it’s fresh herbs on the windowsill of your apartment.
  • Look for sales—even stores such as Whole Foods put meat on sale from time to time.
  • For meats, if you can only afford grain-fed, buy lean cuts and trim the fat before cooking.
  • Use a vacuum sealer to prevent foods from losing freshness or getting freezer burned.
  • Limit Paleo baking or speciality ingredients. Nobody *needs* coconut aminos to survive.
  • Buy in bulk at stores such as Costco. I’ve even spotted big tubs of coconut oil there.
  • Limit how much you go out to eat.
  • Buy from the bulk bins at the health food market.
  • Purchase spices in bulk and make your own blends. It’s cheaper that way.


BACON!!!

March 5, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 24


Why are Grains Unhealthy?

March 4, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 23

So we all know that the Paleo "diet" cuts out grains, but do we know why grains are unhealthy.  Here is an article from Mark's Daily Apply (again) that gives an explanations of this.

Why Grains are Unhealthy


Metabolic Pathways

February 28, 2014

High intensity versus prolonged stress

With open workout number one in the bag, I would like to bring up some of the finer points of the training that everyone has been doing over the previoius cycle.  If you pay close attention to our WODs by themselves, and also happen to compare our programming to that of other gyms, you might have noticed that 90% of the time our workouts average around 12 minutes and that many other gyms often program much longer workouts spanning a half hour to 40 minutes.  Our WODs fall in this average by design, based on the idea that the body adapts better under certain metabolic pathways.  There are three major energy systems that the body uses to function; the phosphagen pathway, the glycolytic pathway, and the oxidative pathway.  Each of these uses its own complex metabolic processes to break down varying macronutrients into useable energy to do work, however we’re going to focus on the first two.

The phosphagen pathway applies to all your movements under ten seconds.  It is an explosive, forceful blast of energy reserves to accomplish high-powered activities.  Think Olympic lifts or a 40 yard dash.  This pathway provides a short intense burst of power, however it is also depleted quickly and requires more rest in between work intervals to replenish energy stores, which is why you wouldn’t attempt a one rep max clean and jerk three times in a row in under a minute.  I should also mention that this pathway is anaerobic, more on that later.

The other anaerobic pathway is the glycolytic pathway.  Again this metabolic system has its own specific steps to turn potential energy into kinetic energy, utilizing a completely different series of chemical reactions than the previously mentioned pathway.  I’ll include a link at the end of this article if you’re interested in the specifics.  More importantly, the glycolytic pathway functions during moderate-power activities.  The glycolytic pathway can be maintained for several minutes before a lactic threshold is reached and muscles begin to cramp and seize up.

The importance of these first two anaerobic pathways is that they foster an increase in power, speed, strength and muscle mass while simultaneously building cardiovascular capacity.  This is directly related to our WOD structure.  Most of our workouts are sharp, short, and strenuous by design to build the aforementioned qualities without adversely affecting the body.  Your training program should be built to make you a better athlete, not simply for the purpose of beating you up every day.  Doing Murph once a month or numerous other long, slogging workouts that reach into the aerobic oxidative pathway simply will not produce the same general physical preparedness as utilizing the anaerobic pathways.

If I had to take a guess I would say that most of the open workouts will be AMRAPS of 10 minutes or less, and they’re going to get you breathing hard.  In this sense many of our athletes will excel because this they’re used this kind of stimulus. In my opinion everyone did a phenomenal job this past saturday with 14.1.  Additionally, I have heard from many of our members who run 5K, 10K, half marathons, etcetera that they have dropped minutes from their record times utilizing a primarily Crossfit based training regimen.  By programming these predominantly anaerobic workouts, we’re building towards stronger, faster and healthier athletes at Crossfit Mount Laurel.

Biochem, yay!

 


New Warm-up Protocols

February 27, 2014

New Warm-up Protocols

I always laugh when Crossfit is dangerous articles start to make their loops around the interwebs.  Here, we have managed to run into very few injuries.  I think a big part of that has been focusing on form and mechanics right from the beginning.  The beginners class is a big part of that and I think another big part is that we have coaches that aren't scared to stop you mid workout to either fix your form or take weight off the bar.

 

The past few weeks I have been brainstorming about things we could improve at CFMTL and I kept coming back to the warm-ups.  I have gotten compliments on how our warm-ups are always geared to the work for the day, but I feel like we could do more.  When I talked to James, Dana, and Rob, we talked about the most complained about thing and we all agreed it was the shoulders.  I purchased the banded system on the wall a couple months ago to try and solve that problem.  I put about 15 people who had bad mobility or aches in the shoulders on a plan to use it every workout day before class (it takes about 6 minutes to use) and the results were pretty incredible.  We saw increased shoulder strength and PRs on things like the snatch, jerk, and pull-ups, and everyone reported absolutely zero aches or pains.

 

The program is based around activation drills.  I think this is so important because many of us are sedentary throughout the day.  We sit in compromised positions that turn off our imporant muscles.  Think about sitting all day in a chair, your glutes are doing absolutely nothing and over time may turn off or you may start to lose mobility in the area  Then when you try to deadlift without engaging you glutes or being able to get into the proper position, you put excess stress into the lower back.  This is how most injuries happen.  The drills also build up strength in the whole shoulder including the smaller muscles and stabilizers.

 

With that in mind, I started to figure out activation drills for the most important muscles in the body.  Areas such as the glutes, hamstrings, midline, and shoulders.  Our warm-ups are now going to change.  I have had a local welder make up pins for our rigs that will allow the bands to be used anywhere in the gym.  They look like this:

We will be using these bands 3x a week in the warm-ups.  There are charts with the exercises on them, so for the first few weeks we will walk everyone through the exercises then it should start to become second nature.  We have 10 pairs so you will be partnered up, 1 person will do 3 rounds of movements to get their heart rate up and prepare for the movements of the the day, while the other will do the banded work, then you will switch.

 

For the hips and glutes I have gotten a bunch of hip circle bands.  These will be used for monster squats (no more complaining the bands fall down on your legs) and for walking drills.  These really get the hips warmed up and ready for any kind of squatting movement.

We will be using other drills for the rest of the body.  You will see more Kang squats for the hamstrings, hollow rocks and hollow holds will always be involved as well.  My goal for this change is to properly warm-up the body, use activation drills to make sure muscles are firing correctly, and to reduce peoples aches and pains to nothing.

 

The warm-up will be a little bit longer now, but I think the benefits will be completely worth it.  If you have any questions, feel free to post below.  I am working on the next cycle for after the open now so I will be positing about it in a few weeks.

 

 


SLEEP

February 27, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 18

Sleep... Everyone loves it but it's rare that we get enough of it.

Here is an article again from Mark's Daily Apple that explains the importatnce of sleep.  This is one of the extra points that you can earn in this challenge and its a good one to focus on.

The Definitive Guide to Sleep


Paleo Snack Ideas

February 26, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 17

I know some of you have said you need something different for snacks because you are getting sick of the same thing every day.   Here is a link that has many different paleo snack ideas.

75 Paleo Snack Ideas

Note: Not all of these are challenge approved like the Larabars for example and cheese and yogurt.

Hopefully this will help a little.

Also, if there is anything you have questions about please let me know.  I'm sure you are not the only one with these questions and I can put a blog post up about it.

 


Top Questions You May Get Asked

February 25, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 16

Scoresheet

 

We are half way through, and hopefully you all are starting to embrace this new lifestyle. Here's an article I found that gives responses to just about every stupid and unintelligible question you will ever be asked about eating grain free.

 

Top 8 Most Common Reactions to Your Grain Free Diet & How to Respond


How Much Protein Should I Eat?

February 23, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 14

Another week down!!  I hope you all feel (now) as good as you are looking.  The first two weeks are the hardest for most so you should be able to just coast through this third week.

I keep stressing for you to eat more and to make sure you get enough protein.  Here is a good article from Mark's Daily Apple about how much protein you should be getting.

How much protein should you be eating?

 


Benefits of a Paleo Lifestyle

February 20, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 11

Scoresheet

Sorry I have been lacking with the posts.  I was not feeling weel the past two days but better now!!

Which of these benefits, or any others have you experienced so far in this challenge?


How To Eat Out And Stay Paleo

February 17, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 8

Scoresheet

Paleo Potluck Sunday at 2pm!!

Eating Out

It is possible to follow the Paleo diet while still eating out. There are just a few guidelines that are easy to follow.

  • Don't be afraid to ask

    • Don't be afraid to ask how something is cooked. This is the lifestyle you have chosen and your health that is on the line. So in comparison, it is not a big deal to ask if that chicken on the salad is breaded. (It is okay to ask questions, but no need to turn into the Paleo police. You can't control what happens back in the kitchen. Chances are your meat is being cooked in some kind of vegetable oil or oil blend. You just have to realize that you are making the best out of the situation. A steak, carrots, and broccoli that is cooked with vegetable oil is still a lot better than a bowl of fettuccine Alfredo.)

  • Make Substitutions

    • If a entree comes with a side of rice and corn, don't be afraid to ask them to substitute the rice and corn with broccoli and roasted vegetables. Or order your burger without the bun and cheese from the beginning. Don't create temptations.

  • Don't make it harder on yourself

    • Tell the waiter at the beginning of the meal, not to bring out the chips and salsa or bread basket. Order your fajitas without the shells, and don't even have them bring the shells to the table.  

  • Be careful of sauces and salad dressings

    • Most dressings are made with bad fats and sugars. Your best bet is to order balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the side. Also beware of any sauces on your meat or vegetables, many probably contain vegetable oils, creams, or sugars.

  • Enjoy Yourself

    • Most of the time we go out to eat to relax or to celebrate something.  Don't make a stressful situation out of something good. Remember the 80/20 principle. As long as you eat well 80% of the time, when you go out to eat will probably be considered the 20%.

There are many places around here to eat out at and easy to stay Paleo while eating there. Here's just some of my favorites.

  • Elevation Burger

    • The ground beef is grass fed and cooked in olive oil.  You also have the option to order your hamburger in a lettuce wrap.

  • Diners

    • It's easy to order an omelette with some vegetables and some bacon at nearly any diner.

  • Seasons 52

    • They base their menu off of what is in season. A lot of fresh vegetables and meats.

  • Chipotle

    • If you're looking for a quick bite to eat that isn't too bad, any of the Mexican fast food restaurants (Qdoba, Chipotle, or Panchero's) are decent options. You can order burrito bowls which have everything that is in a burrito, but without the tortilla. Just be sure to order without rice or beans. Instead ask for extra meat and get a side of some guacamole.

  • Bobby’s Burger Palace

    • Here you can order your burger “topless” which means it’s served without a bun on top of a mixed greens salad.  

If you have another other “paleo-friendly” places please post when posting your points.  I know I always like to try new places.


Clinics and the Open

February 16, 2014

Clinics and the Open

We are getting our clinic schedule back online!  Thanks for being patient with the new website and all (even though I am still working with them to fix a lot of things).

 

For the clinics, we are going to change the format.  The clinics are going to be capped at 6 people and are an hour long.  We are going to be more strict on registration.  The clinics are now open for registration, there will be 6 spots and a waiting list.  You can cancel up to 24 hours before the clinics.  Whatever 6 names are on the list 24 hours before the clinic, are the 6 that will be charged regardless on whether or not you show.  I hate to be that way, but if you are taking a spot from someone else and don't use it then that really sucks.

 

The clinics will cost $15.  If you are an unlimited member, you get 50% off clinics.  We decided not to do free clinics because we want to offer personal coaching in a small group and a free price tag would not do that justice.  Since the clinics are now capped at 6 people, they will be much more specific in their scope.  We have decided to start with a small clinic schedule as a test run and see how it goes.

 

Saturday, February 22nd at 12 PM - Tommy

Muscle-up Technique

This clinic is for athletes who already have at least 1 muscle-up.  The clinic will focus on utilizing proper positioning and body mechanics to string together multiple muscle-ups without a false-grip.  It will also focus on cleaning up any inefficiencies in your current muscle-up.

Prereq: 1 Muscle-up

 

Wednesday, February 26th at 8:30 PM - Rob

Getting your First Muscle-up

This clinic is for athletes who cannot yet complete a muscle-up.  The hour will be based on drills and techniques to help you learn the different elements of a muscle-up and to help you build up the strength and body positioning necessary to complete one.

Prereq: 5 Strict Pullups, 1 Strict Ring Rip

 

Tuesday, March 4th at 7:30 PM with Dana P.

Improving your Handstand Pushup

This clinic will go into a high level of detail on the Handstand Pushup.  This includes hand position, kipping mechanics, and body position.  The drills included will help you to take away mats on your HSPU or to string together more in 1 shot.

Prereq: Kick into the wall consistently

 

Thursday, March 6 at 6:30 PM with James

Learn to Butterfly Pull-up

This clinic will focus on the basics of the butterfly pull-up.  The goal of the clinic is to get each athlete to understand the proper setup and positions and hopefully be able to do them.  The butterfly pull-up involves a lot of repitition and practice, so this clinic's main goal is to get each person to understand where they need to be.

Prereq: 8 Kipping Pullups

 

The first Open workout will be announced February 27th.  If you have not yet signed up and would like to input your scores, you should sign up at www.crossfit.com.  Everyone that comes in to workout on Saturday will be completing the open workout.

For programming we had decided to keep the usual Thursday and Sunday off days.  I will be programming Monday through Weds (and Thurs for those that need to come in then).  I will not make up Friday's workout until the open workout for Saturday is announced on Thurs.   The schedule will loosely follow this template:

Monday: Heavy Squats - High Intensity Workout

Tuesday: Medium Oly lift - Medium to High Intensity Workout

Weds: Medium Oly lift - Light to Medium Workout

Thurs: OFF for those serious about the open

Friday: Light Lift - Light to Medium Intensity Workout

Sat: Open Workout

 

What if my goal doesn't involve the open?  Will these lighter days affect my results?  I am sure I will get this question so lets attack it now.  Even for those that don't care about the open, it is usually an eye opener.  The atmosphere we create on Saturday is electric, plus you don't have to count your reps!!!  This ebb and flow of intensity will allow you to recover day to day and then on Saturday you will find out what it means to truly push yourself.  If you eat well in conjuction with this schedule, I think you will see better results just from simply learning how hard you can actually push.

 

How are we doing the open here?  We will be doing the open workout on Saturdays.  Instead of doing regular class times on Saturday.  We will be setting up time slots that you MUST reserve for.  The time slot (they will still encompass the 7 AM to Noon time frame) will be for a set number of athletes and will run at a set time (times will all depends on the workout).  We will be setting up a caution taped off area each Saturday.  This means if you sign up for the 9:15 AM time slot.  You will come in around 8:45 to stretch and warm-up.  When 9:15 rolls arounds, your names will be called.  You will step into the workout area and there you will already have your equipment set-up and a judge (don't worry it will be one of your friends).  All you will be in charge of is to bust your ass.  I am hoping everyone will hang out to cheer each other on after their workout, this way it will be just as fun and electric as it has been in years past.  I know this is different than how we ran it the past 2 years but I think this way will be better with the number of athletes we have doing the workout. 

*If you cannot do the workout on Saturday, we may set up 1 time slot on Friday night for that group, so let me know.

 

 


Carb Flu

February 16, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 7

Scoresheet

Just finished going through your food blogs for the week.  One of the common trends I saw was not eating enough.  Make sure you eat and get your protein.  This is going to be your source of energy.  On the paleo diet you should not be concerned with quantity - it's all about the quality.

CARB-FLU

Some of you have said that you are experiencing fatigue and bloating. Many people in the Paleo community like to refer to this as carb-flu.  Carbs and sugar are made of glucose, which is easy for our body to use as energy (but also easy to store as fat).  The goal that we are trying to get our bodies to accomplish is to turn fats and proteins into glucose to use as energy. This process is a little more complex, but our bodies are completely capable. During these first couple of weeks you may experience carb-flu while waiting for our body to get up to speed. Overall, this process will take time and everyone's body is different. There is no solid diet (I mean 'lifestyle") that will work for everyone. Experiment with eating more protein or including some starches, such as sweet potatoes into your diet. Here's an article from Mark's Daily Apple, that goes a little more in depth on the carb-flu.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/low-carb-flu/#axzz1shPxU8Lv

"As any Primal buff would attest, this temporary setback pales in comparison to the benefits once the transition has passed. Without the persistent carb-induced peaks and crashes, you should enjoy a measurable boost in energy – steady and stable – in no time."

 

PALEO POTLUCK

The Paleo Potluck will be this coming Sunday, February 23rd at 2pm.  All are welcome - even if you are not doing the paleo challenge.  We just ask that you bring a delicious paleo treat with you and the recipe to share with all.  I put a sign-up sheet in the lobby on the "Events Board" and in the gym area where the WOD is written.  This is just so I can get get an idea of how many of you will be attending and what you plan on bringing.  Spread the word!!

 


Happy Valentine's Day!

February 13, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 5

Scoresheet

As I was searching the internet for some Valentine's Day Paleo Recipes for meals, I kept getting sidetracked by all of the amazing looking deserts.  Just as the desserts distracted me, don't let the temptations takeover while you are out having a romantic dinner.

Here is one of the desserts that I couldn't stop looking at:

Triple Chocolate Trifle

If anyone is going to make this, I will most definitely be your valentine for the day!

 

 

 I know some people have mentioned they were having trouble entering in their food in the white space provided.  I checked all who have mentioned it to me and it was able to work.  Make sure you are clicking in the white area before you start typing.  If it still isn't working, just send me an email.  Also, I don't know what happened to the arrows at the bottom to move the tabs over but if you click on the three little lines next to the taps you will get a scroll menu of all of your names.  you can use this to get to your spreadsheet.

 


Snow Day Challenges

February 13, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 4

Scoresheet

Hope you all enjoyed your snow day.  Today was probably the first big challenge for many of you.  I know on days like today you just want to stay inside, under the covers, and drink some wine and snack on some non-paleo foods.  Here is a delicious paleo snack that Desiree post on the CFMTL Paleo facebook page.   I used strawberries instead of bananas (bananas contain a lot of natural sugar where berries contain a little less).

Banana Ice Cream

2 – 3 Frozen Bananas (Cut into pieces before freezing)
1/4 Cup Coconut Milk
2 Tbsp. Almond Butter

 

Using a food processor, puree the bananas until they’re broken up into tiny pieces. Add the coconut milk and blend until smooth. Add the almond butter and chocolate chips, blend until incorporated evenly. 

This recipe is from Paleo Kitchen Sync.

I hope you were all able to overcome these temptations and tough it out.  It does get easier...I promise!!  See you all back in the gym tomorrow!!  PLEASE NO MORE SNOW!!


I Miss My Snacks

February 12, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 3

SNACKING

After talking with many of you, I am finding that you are all struggling with one of the things that I find to be most difficult when starting to eat Paleo and that is SNACKING.  Other than nuts, what is there to snack on (especially since I took all of the bars away from you).  

Well first, for example, no one ever said breakfast foods only had to be eaten at breakfast so if you need a snack and you have some leftovers why not snack on some steak or chicken.  You need the protein!

Then there is the obvious, vegetables and fruits.  You can always try a cucumber, grape tomato, and onion mixture with some balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil dressing or apple slices with almond butter.  While these are on the simpler side, you can always try to prepare something like the following recipe for deviled eggs at the beginning of the week to last you all week.

First here's the recipe for the guacamole:

Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados

  • 1 small onion (yellow or red, your choice)

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic

  • half a lemon

  • 1 tomato

  • 1 jalapeno

  • salt and pepper

Peel the avocados and put them in the food processor with the onion, garlic cloves, juice of the lemon, and jalapeno. Pulse until the mixture becomes a creamy paste.  Pour into a bowl and stir in the salt and pepper. Dice the tomato into small pieces and stir into the guacamole.

If you don't have a food processor and have to prepare the guacamole by hand, mince the garlic, onions, and jalapeno by hand, mash the avocados with a fork, then add the vegetables into the mix.

This recipe is very simple and can be used as a dip for vegetables or it can also be put on grilled chicken to act as a sauce (instead of bbq sauce or ketchup).

 

Deviled Eggs

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Put you desired amount of eggs in a saucepan and add water just so the tops of the eggs are covered. Turn the stove to medium-high heat and wait for the water to boil. Once it begins to boil, turn it down to medium-low heat, so that it is simmering (small bubbles). Let the eggs simmer for 10-15 minutes.

When the eggs cool, peel the shells and discard them. Cut each egg in half and remove the yolk into a bowl. Continue to make you guacamole , but add the yolks into the mixture at the same time you add the onion, avocados, and garlic. Spoon the guacamole mixture into the egg halves. Top with bacon bits, because everything is better with bacon.

 


These eggs are a good source of a lot of all the good fats. Like I mentioned before, if you have extra guacamole, it is really good with chicken or steak. (especially if you're already starting to miss ketchup)

When you post your points today under the comments section, also if you have any snack ideas, post them as well.

 


Februay 10, 2014

February 10, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 1

Scoresheet

Why am I drinking so much water for this challenge?

It's only day 1 and I already heard MANY of you saying “I am peeing so much drinking all of this water” or “I woke up twice last night to go to the bathroom.”  I know in the beginning of the last paleo challenge I felt the same but by the end I noticed that I wasn’t getting nearly enough water before.  It made a huge difference not only with how I felt during my workouts but how I felt throughout the day as well.  So I am going to take this time to explain why you are drinking so much water

By the time you experience the sensation of thirst, you are already dehydrated. That thirst is your body calling for re-hydration.  When dehydrated, you are affecting the performance of majority of your body.  Nearly all of our systems do not function as well without the proper water intake.  

The digestive system needs water to function properly. Because waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat, if one does not drink enough water, the waste collects in the body causing problems.  Water is also essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body.  

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Another benefit to drinking enough water is that it can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated.  Proper hydration contributes to increased athletic performance.  Water composes about 75% of our muscle tissue, therefore dehydration can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance.

Many of you are also curious as to how drinking this much water will help with weight lose and not have you retain water weight.  First, sometimes we think we are hungry, when actually we are thirsty.  Our body just starts turning on all the alarms when we ignore it so staying hydrated can serve as an appetite suppressant and help with weight loss.  Also, it has been found that after drinking water, one’s metabolic rate increases (this is the rate at which calories are burned) which also aids in shedding some pounds.

Next, surprisingly enough, not drinking enough water plays a role in water retention.  Water helps your liver convert fat into usable energy.  If you do not drink enough, your kidneys are overwhelmed with concentrated fluids and will make your liver do extra work.  Your liver works hard to turn body fat into the energy that you use but if it has to do the kidney's work then it simply holds onto the extra fat that would have been burned off if you simply had enough water.  

What's worse is that instead of excreting water and waste products, your body retains existing water to reuse.  This is what causes water retention and bloating.  When you do not get enough water, your body goes into panic mode and holds on to it selfishly as if  you were in a famine.  Dehydration can make you look bloated and fat instead of thin and taut.  The best way to get rid of this water retention is to drink enough of it to return your body and its processes back to a normal equilibrium.

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Last, I know water can get boring and sometimes you may need a little flavor.  Try adding flavor with additives such as slices of fresh citrus fruit (lemon, lime, oranges) or I know cucumbers also work well.  And one more thing, the water intake is supposed to be throughout the day, not all at one time.

 


Why Fish Oil?

February 9, 2014

Paleo Challenge Day 2

Scoresheet

The Benefits of Fish Oil

The benefits of fish oil come from the omega-3 fatty acids that it contains.  There are two forms of omega-3 fatty acids - eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  EPA is known for regulating inflammatory process and DHA is known especially for central nervous system support (the brain and spinal cord).  Your body cannot produce these fatty acids so you must get them from the food you eat, or via supplementation.

Inflammation is a common component in almost all diseases. EPA, as a regulator of inflammation, can help in controlling these processes. Fish oil is not a cure, but it will aid in reducing flare ups and fighting the progression of disease.  DHA is a major supporter of central nervous system health and is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain. By supplementing DHA, you are improving brain function.

 

Fish Oil Brands

When purchasing fish oil, look at the EPA and DHA amounts per serving. This is more important than the “total fish oil” amount.  A concentrated source means you have to take fewer pills or teaspoons a day – it is more efficient, and makes it more likely that you’ll actually take your recommended dose each day.  Fish oil should be stored in a cool, dark place.  Your refrigerator is the ideal location, especially in summer.  If your pills don’t have a dark capsule coating and/or come in a light colored bottle, this is especially important. The brand pictured below is what we carry at CFMTL.

PurePharma Fish OilDosage

The general recommendation is to aim for around 2-4 grams of EPA/DHA per day.  However, if you eat lots of grass-fed beef and other natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and generally avoid sources of omega-6 (like vegetable oils, factory-farmed meat, nuts and seeds), you may not need as much supplementation.  

It is important to always take fish oil with meals.  This reduces the chance of an upset stomach or “fish burps”.  Think about sandwiching your fish oil inside a meal – one bite of food, then your fish oil, followed by the rest of our meal.  You may also want to split your dose up throughout the day.  Finally, if you are new to fish oil, ramp up to your recommended dose slowly.


PALEO CHALLENGE STARTS TOMORROW!!!!

February 9, 2014

Day 1 of the Paleo Challenge is upon us.

Day 1 of the Paleo Challenge is upon us.  I know many of you are quite nervous about this lifestyle change so I am going to try to make this transition as easy as possible for you.  I will have a blog post everyday - some days may be some helpful information, others may just be a recipe.  Please ask questions and let me know if there is anything you want more information on and I will write about it because I am sure you won’t be the only one with these questions or concerns.  One important thing I really want you all to do is to stick with it.  The first week or two may be a little challenging but stick it out because in the end it is all worth it.  

 

Here is the link to the Scoresheet:

Scoresheet

Remember, just answer “yes” next to what applies to you and it will update automatically.  You should each have a tab along the bottom (alphabetical order by first name).

 

I overheard many of you talking today about heading to the grocery store.  Here is a detailed shopping list from Mark’s Daily Apple that should be some help.

Shopping List

 

Some Helpful Tips

  • For breakfast, make an easy omelet. Sauté onion, peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli in olive oil; add omega-3-enriched or free-range eggs and diced turkey or chicken breast.

  • Paleo lunches are easy. At the beginning of the week, make a huge salad with anything you like. A good starting point can be mixed greens, spinach, radishes, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, avocados, walnuts, almonds and sliced apples or pears. Store the salad in a large sealable container. Each morning prepare a single serving from the large batch and then mix in meat (ground beef, beef slices, chicken, turkey) or seafood of choice (salmon, shrimp, tuna, or any fresh fish or seafood). Toss with olive oil and vinegar and you are set.

  • For dinner, try spaghetti squash as a substitute for any pasta recipe. Top with pesto, marinara and meatballs.

  • Berries and other succulent fruits make a great dessert. Pre-cut carrot and celery sticks, sliced fruit, and pre-portioned raw nut/dried fruit mixes are easy snacks.

 

Recipe and Resource Websites

www.marksdailyapple.com

www.nomnompaleo.com

www.paleoomg.com

http://everydaypaleo.com

http://paleomagonline.com


February 2014 30 Day Paleo Challenge

February 5, 2014

It’s that time of year again…New Years Resolution time and the Reebok Crossfit Open is just upon us. While we think that it’s best to go after your goals all of the time, I also know that many of us (myself included) use markers like the beginning of the year to try and kick start a change. Many of you have approached me at the gym unsure if Paleo is right for you. “I NEED cream in my coffee!” “How am I going to go without cheese.” It’s really not that hard. Here is a brief overview of what Paleo is to help you decide if the challenge is right for you.

It’s that time of year again…New Years Resolution time and the Reebok Crossfit Open is just upon us.  While we think that it’s best to go after your goals all of the time, I also know that many of us (myself included) use markers like the beginning of the year to try and kick start a change. Many of you have approached me at the gym unsure if Paleo is right for you.  “I NEED cream in my coffee!”  “How am I going to go without cheese.”  It’s really not that hard.  Here is a brief overview of what Paleo is to help you decide if the challenge is right for you.

Paleo

First, I want you to think of this as a “lifestyle” not a diet.  Also, it is time to say goodbye to refined sugar, dairy, legumes, and grains and hello to meat, fish, poultry, fruits, nuts and veggies.

Why no grains?  Grains are composed of carbohydrates, and those carbs are turned into glucose (a type of sugar) in our system to be used for energy and various other tasks to help our body function.  Any glucose that isn’t used as energy is stored as fat.

The Paleo Diet also almost completely erases sugar from our diets. Unless you are getting your sugar from a fruit, don’t eat it.  Sugar causes an energy spike and crash in your system, turns to fat (unless it’s used immediately), and is just overall bad for our bodies.

If we are not eating carbs every day, how do we get our energy?  Our bodies are designed to operate on a lower amount of carbohydrates than what we are used to eating, therefore, less carbs is not an issue.  When there is an absence of carbs (which is how our bodies are supposed to be operating), our bodies will take stored fat and burn that for our source of energy.  Less carbs equals less glucose in our systems which means our bodies will have to start burning fat as its fuel source.

 

Not all carbohydrates are bad.  Carbs still serve a purpose in our diets, but they are not essential.  Carbs from vegetables, sweet potatoes, and fruit are okay because these foods do not need to be processed in any way (unlike grains) in order to be consumed.

What can you eat?  

 

The Challenge

Start Date: Monday, February 10th

End Date: Tuesday, March 11th

Buy-in: $30 (goes towards running the challenge and the prizes which will be announced next week)

On Sunday, February 9th at 11am we will hold a kick-off meeting/Q&A session which will outline the challenge – point system, foods that are allowed and not allowed, etc.  We will also perform a test workout and take your before measurements.  If you are unable to make this, I ask that you perform the pre-workout one day this week or the beginning of next week in class and we will get your measurements when I see you.  The other guys will know the deal so just ask them if I am not around.

I would like each of you to visit the website below and fill out the form before Wednesday, February 12th.  The questions in this form will help me keep you all on track to reach your goals.  This is also where you will be posting your before photos.  You will be responsible for taking your own photos so we do not have to awkwardly do this at the gym.  For the photos, I would like you to take 3 – one from the front, side and back.  Girls – sports bra and spandex, Guys – shirts off and shorts.  These photos will help determine one of the winners.  (I will be the ONLY one seeing these).

https://cfmtlpaleo.wufoo.com/forms/before-challenge-questionaire/

Point System:

  • Your Food Points are earned as follows:

    • 3 Points = Ate clean all day! Had lean protein + veggies/fruits + healthy fats with each meal, avoided grains and gluten products, avoided refined sugars.

    • 1 Point = 1 Item Off List – Had croutons on my salad, my eggs in a wrap, a candy bar snack, etc.

    • 0 Points = 1 Full Cheat Meal – Sandwich with soda, pizza and beer, bagel with cream cheese, etc.

    • -3 Points = More than 1 Cheat Meal

  • Your bonus points are as follows:

    • 1 Point = Fish Oil – Took 3 grams of EPA/DHA in fish oil.

    • 1 Point = Sleep – 7 solid hours on a regular schedule.

    • 1 Point = Active recovery – 15 minutes with a foam roller or a lacrosse ball or some other tools working on myo-fascial release and mobility, or…practicing meditation or yoga.

    • 1 Point = Hydration – Drank ½ oz of water per lb of bodyweight.

    • 1 Point = Workout

You can earn 8 points total in one day.  I will have a write-up each day on the blog where you will post your points for the day, your total, and what you ate throughout that day.  You can also use this blog and/or the CFMTL Paleo facebook group (let me know if you need access to this) to post recipes and/or questions that you would like to share.

Extra Information

I would also like to host a Paleo Pot Luck at the gym on Sunday February 23rd at 2pm.  I will have more information on this as we get closer to the date.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at danap@crossfitmtl.com

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s transformations.  I recommend beginning now to prepare by ridding your kitchen of things that are off the list, making sure your kitchen is ready to prepare and store food, maybe looking into nearby restaurants and take out spots that can be a part of your challenge.


Good Luck guys!!