Categorized as: CF Naples

Mental Toughness

Written by Sage Burgener (and her brother, Casey)

I’m not going to say much in this post, I’m going to let my brother’s letter do all the talking (he doesn’t know I’m posting this. He’ll probably be upset. I’m ok with that).

But I will say that last year when I was training for the CrossFit Games I was struggling with feeling like I was mentally weak. I saw all these amazing athletes around me that, during the hardest of workouts, never had one look of pain or struggle across their face. They appeared to be immune to the torture. I never felt that way when I was working out. I feared workouts. I feared getting under heavy weights. I feared the pain that was to be inflicted upon me via thrusters. Because I feared so often, I was certain that I had some rare, possibly fatal, medical condition.

My brother Casey got his degree in physics,which basically means he knows everything. Therefore, I burden him with all of my questions about life, liberty and the pursuit of chocolate. I wrote him an email asking him, as an Olympic athlete, what he thought it meant to be “mentally tough.” The letter he wrote to me seriously changed my life. I am not saying that I am mentally tough by any means, but I at least have a better understanding of how to go about becoming a better person each day. I read this letter almost everyday and it has gotten me through many times of self doubt. It is long, but I promise you won’t be disappointed if you read the whole thing…especially if you feel like you may have the same medical condition that I had.

First, you need to decide what you are going to do. This may sound like a simple step, or like you’ve already done it, but let me tell you, it’s the hardest, and most important step in being tough. Once you make the commitment to do something, then almost nothing can stop you. This is why it took me so long to decide to come back to lifting. I knew once I committed, nothing was going to stop me from achieving my goals, no matter what the costs, or how much workouts sucked, or how badly my body felt.

So with you, you have to really really really decide that the Crossfit Games are what you want to do. Once you decide this, the process will be easy. When you commit, it’s easier to block weaknesses out of your head, and workouts will seem like steps forward to your goal, rather than burdens. When you commit, I really believe you can do anything. Really take this decision seriously though, because if you only “half” decide you want to do it, or do it for “fun”, then you shouldn’t even worry about Regionals, and just train whenever you want to and not care about how a workout goes. If you decide to do it for “fun”, then you can’t be bothered by any performance at Regionals or any meet, because you decided not to take it seriously.

Now, either decision in your case wouldn’t be a bad one (in my opinion), just make sure you stick to your choice wholeheartedly. I read a great book recently, and it talked about how when someone commits to something, they should do it all the way, and be satisfied with whatever the outcome. So if you commit to the Games and start training as hard as you can, you have to be comfortable with the possibility that you may succeed tremendously, or fail miserably (in terms of winning and losing). The important thing is that you committed, and you did everything you could to make it happen. Trust me, if you do that, the thoughts about winning and losing seem to almost disappear. It’s about overcoming yourself, and pushing yourself to become greater than you were the day before, that’s what really matters. Read More…

Handshakes Better Predict Life Expectancy Than Blood Pressure

You probably give a couple of firm handshakes a day. A firm handshake not only helps you make a good first impression, it can also serve as a good indicator of your health. According to a recent study published in the journal The Lancet, the firmness of your hand grip, which measures muscular strength, is better than your blood pressure when it comes to predicting mortality and morbidity.

Typically, hand-grip strength decreases as you age, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. This makes it more difficult to accomplish routine activities, such as opening a jar or even turning a key. The simple squeeze can become an important diagnostic tool in assessing strength and quality of life. It can be highly predictive of functional limitations and disability years later.

“Grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual’s risk of death and cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Darryl Leong, principal investigator and an assistant professor of medicine of McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and cardiologist for the hospital, in the press release. “Doctors or other health care professionals can measure grip strength to identify patients with major illnesses such as heart failure or stoke who are at particularly high risk of dying from their illness.” Read More…

Using static holds to improve performance

As hard working as most gym rats are, the truth is that, deep down, we’re all looking for a quick performance fix. It’s hard to ignore the promise of a shiny new skill or goal. The urge for the rapid fix is always alluring, but the best things are worth working hard for.

Some things need to be earned.

It’s easy to covet the skills of another athlete, but what we often fail to acknowledge are the years of training, discipline and hard work it takes to actually get there. The push for rapid outcome and improvement causes massive amounts of needless frustration.

We get impatient when the quick fixes don’t feel so quick. We think about throwing in the towel too soon. Everyone feels this way from time to time. What you have to do is constantly remind yourself that it’s the journey that carries value, not any particular outcome.

Refined skill is not something you discover. It’s built one day, one session, and one movement at a time. I love gymnastics training because it enforces the importance of hard work, patience, focus, and process. One thing must follow the other, and at no point can you abandon your roots or your fundamentals.

If you can keep refining the basics as your skills improve then you can achieve an optimal result. BUT, it takes time and close attention to detail to get there. Read More…

WHY WE LOVE WALL BALLS

“The wall ball drill comprises two highly functional classical weightlifting movements brought together at light loads and extended duration to create a super—potent metabolic conditioning tool with an enormous potential for increasing athletic performance.”

Gregg Glassman, CrossFit Journal

True, the wall ball does seem to be a bit of an animal. So how does one perform it properly? Glad you asked…

How to perform a ‘wall ball’

  • Grab your wall ball (at the respective weight for you) and approach the wall. When determining your wall ball position, the general rule of thumb is to hold the wall ball out in front of you at chest height with straight arms until the ball touches the wall. This is your starting to position, but you can adjust as necessary in order to efficiently perform the movement and hit the target every time.
  • Once you have your position, begin by holding the ball at chest height in a ‘goblet position’, with your hands placed on the side of the ball towards the bottom, much as you would for a kettlebell goblet squat.
  • Next comes the squat portion of the movement. While keeping your shoulders back, chest high and feet shoulder-width apart, descend into a full squat with the aim of achieving the same depth as you would in a barbell squat (you should actually be able to get lower more consistently as there is far less resistance).
  • Immediately upon reaching your full squat, drive through your heels and stand up explosively, using that energy to drive the medicine ball upwards (much like in the thruster), striking the target on the wall.
  • Absorb the ball as it rebounds off of the wall with your hands ready in the “goblet position” and immediately squat down to repeat the previous steps. Read More…

12 Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat

1) You’re Eating Too Many Calories

This should be pretty obvious to most people, but there are still those who are claiming that you can eat all you want as long as you avoid carbs.

That’s just not true. At the end of the day you need to eat less. It’s really simple.

If you’re eating the right amount of healthy food it would be hard NOT to lose fat. Most people eat way more than they think they do.

Eating less is challenging. That’s why most people look for another answer. Consuming just 2500 calories per day requires some discipline. But then so does anything else worthwhile that you’d want to accomplish.

When you’re not losing fat the way you want to the solution is pretty simple. Eat less food.

2) You’re Not Eating Enough Calories

This is the opposite side of the coin, #obvs. Some people diet too hard and in turn basically shut off their metabolism.

When you cut calories too low your thyroid will shut down and losing fat will become very difficult. One easy way to monitor this is by taking your temperature when you wake up. If it starts dipping way below normal you’ll know you’ve royally fucked your metabolism.

At that point the best thing you can do is crank your calories through the roof for a while. Nothing else will help. Unfortunately, this may be a very long process of eating your way back to a steady 98.6 degree temperature. But you’ll be a lot healthier in the long run for it.

3) You’re Looking for the Quick Fix or Latest Celebrity Diet

How long did it take you to get fat? How much time and effort went into it? How many shitty meals did you have to eat and how many training sessions did you have to miss?

Add all that up and you’ll get an estimate of how long it’s going to take you to lose that fat.

There are no quick fixes. That kind of crap doesn’t work and you always rebound and gain the fat back later. The only thing that works is a complete lifestyle change.

Eating healthy has to become habitual. It’s something you do every day without thinking about it or frantically counting and weighing all day some kind of neurotic lunatic.

You have to accept that eating a balanced diet of protein, carbs and fat is where it’s at. No foods are solely responsible for fat gain. And there is no food that will magically make the fat fall of your body. Click Here To See The Rest Of The Tips…

Pre-Workout Warm Ups

Written by Nuno Costa

What does it take to get someone ready for a workout? That is a great question and the answer may differ for each person. I am beginning to understand this better each day as I get older – or should I say, wiser. Or maybe just more experienced. When I was in my 20’s, I could roll into the gym and start a workout immediately with no problem. Now, in my 30’s….it’s a different story.

There are a few key concepts that are important to incorporate in every warm up in our group classes. A good warm up will increase the core temperature and prime the body’s systems for high intensity work. During an effective warm up, we want to prepare connective tissues and muscles for movement. It is also essential to review the mechanics of the more complicated movements in the workout.

There are several components that we, at Invictus, will use to get our athletes ready, and we generally start by working on mobility drills. This can be something from Mobility WOD, banded stretches, lacrosse balls, foam rolling, mashing, and voodoo flossing. The primary goal here is to get the major muscle groups that are going to be utilized in the workout ready and nimble.

Next, we’ll start doing some dynamic drills, such as perfect stretch, reverse lunges with a twist, and lateral lunges, followed by some quicker drills that focus on increasing the heart rate. We want to prime the muscles and joints for the work that is demanded of them. Dynamic stretching will be targeted towards the movements we will see in the workout. For example, if we are doing squats in the workout, you can expect to see a variation of lunges to get the hips nice and open; if we have a pressing motion, then we will target the shoulders. Read More…