THREE “C”s – Community, Consistency, Competition.

COMMUNITY. Not a crowd.

A crowd is a gathering of people. A globo-gym is a crowd. So is a store and a movie theatre. A Community is a group that defines its success by the whole.

Communities become crowds when their members, who aren’t really sold on this whole selfless attitude thing crave attention because they were messed up to begin with.

The best cure to a crowd is a CrossFit community. It will give you the world as long as you’re selfless enough to focus on making sure everyone gets their piece of heaven. When you think its all about your personal happiness, we will eat you alive.

The question is; does CrossFit deliver because you got your pull-up, or does CrossFit deliver because you got involved with a community far from the crowd that just happened to like pull-ups?

CrossFit is one of the most life changing communities on the planet. The land is littered with thousands of affiliates to choose from. The first life changing “C” is Community. A community you must have to hold you accountable while challenging you for more. The community found in CrossFit.

 

CONSISTENCY.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said; “Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” I believe he meant consistency as a synonym for stubbornness and failure to grow. When we talk of consistency we mean the continued application of good habits that divert attention from addictions.

CrossFit preaches mechanics first – get it right before you do it fast. Most people hate starting out slow, but this will save you a world of pain in the long run. In fact it’s a natural state of life to learn how to move before you can learn how to move quickly.

After most of the rudimentary mechanics are in the bag you gotta use them. Consistency follows mechanics. There is no reason to practice proper technique if you don’t employ them enough to work. No matter how good CrossFit is, it doesn’t work if you don’t do it.

Our bodies work best when we lay on the accelerator in short bursts, resting every few sunrises. Even those rest days should be full of activity. Learning new sports or games, playing with pets and kids.

Truth be told, I feel worse after a day off. This is relative to how hard you push yourself and the quality of your food of course, but nine times out of ten I rest because I think I should, not because I want to.

Work consistently, no less than 4 days a week, and if you can get away with more go for it. Remember, a workout can take less than 5 minutes if done right. Duration is deception, and consistent intensity = results.

 

COMPETITION.

The CrossFit Games are the world’s premier test of fitness. There’s nothing like it for proving fitness, and there never will be.

The CrossFit community bore the Games through the competitive edge each end every community member cultivates. When you’re standing in a room full of other fitness superstars, average folks, newbies and soccer moms, you just go harder than if you were alone.

Do you have to compete at the CrossFit Games to be fit? No. But you have to compete.

Competition begins inside us, even that who says he doesn’t have a competitive bone in his body, that’s code for I hate losing so much I quit trying.

The third “C” is completion. The sort of competition CrossFit is built on. Not you against the fittest man in the world, you against yourself. Take an honest look and measure yourself today, now beat that tomorrow.

The three “C”s – Community, Consistency, and Competition – are more than a map to fitness. It works for everything; church, school, music. It’s intrinsic. It’s human.

Start by building or finding your community, and then you can easily become more consistent with the assistance of others, finally becoming intense enough for it all to work by way of competition. The pieces of the pie may not be equal but if you don’t have the full circle, the filling will just spill out no matter what size the hole.

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The above is an extract from Josh Bunch’s book – Paleo with a Purpose. As you can see it’s about way more than just eating habits. It’s one of the best books I have read on healthy lifestyles, the individual challenges we all face day to day, and the power of the CrossFit community.

I highly recommend this book to everyone!

NUTRITION – THE FOUNDATION

Practicing CrossFit without any regard to nutrition is similar to only having “one oar in the water,” according to CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman. Diet is crucial to optimising health and performance, supporting the reasoning as to why CrossFit Nutrition is the foundation of CrossFit.

Now, you wouldn’t expect to jump straight into the main class and be performing WOD’s with RX weight without having first completed your foundations. Why does this occur with nutrition so often? We all need to be doing the foundations of CrossFit nutrition Every. Single. Day. It needs to be a lifestyle, something that is a habit and that you enjoy. The basics of nutrition don’t come in a shiny tub with a list of 20 different ingredients. The basics can be the mundane stuff – prepping meals, eating more vegetables, limiting alcohol consumption or getting to bed early.

When you do nail the basics, the effect on performance and health are incredible.

CrossFit is unique in that as it is constantly varied, it can stress all of your energy systems, mental capacity and push your body to limit – all in a one hour class!! If you do not employ basics to your CrossFit nutrition then you are not giving yourself the foundation to reach your potential.

EAT THE RAINBOW

The fact is that the majority of people underestimate the impact that eating enough vegetables has on health and performance. The intensity of CrossFit means that your body requires more support than the average joe. You need to be supplying it with a variety of nutrients. In addition to this a recent meta-analysis concluded that a higher consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of all causes of mortality, particularly cardiovascular mortality. There is no supplement that has this kind of effect!! Adding more vegetables (particularly green veg) into most meals is where you need to start. Add kale/spirulina into your morning smoothie, spinach to your omelette and a variety to your lunches and dinner. Bottom line is to eat vegetables at every meal.

INDIVIDUALISE YOUR NUTRITION

Finding what works for you is so important. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. This takes a little bit of awareness. Do you have those days when you feel superhuman?! Just note down what you ate in the meals leading up to this. Additionally note down what foods you ate when you feel like death and everything feels like 200kg!

MINIMISE THE STRESS OF DECISION

Deciding what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, pre workout, post workout etc etc etc…it can become overwhelming. The sheer number of decisions we have to make regarding food is staggering. Employing some simple strategies to minimise the stress of making these type of decisions can help you focus on other areas like training, work and your social life.

  • Meal prep– you don’t have to prep every meal for a whole week but maybe just cook extra from dinner or roast some meat and veg a couple of times.
  • Get some go to meals in your locker– this could be a good smoothie recipe, a quick tasty superfood salad lunch or a spicy stir fry. Having these quick go to meals allows you to stay on point with your CrossFit nutrition regardless of the situation.

EAT THE BEST QUALITY PRODUCE THAT YOUR BUDGET ALLOWS FOR

You don’t have to buy everything organic from expensive health food shops, but one basic thing to do is to buy the best you can afford. Do a little bit of research to find a local producer that does amazing eggs for a fraction of the supermarket prices, or buy up superior cuts of meat and fish when they are on sale and freeze them. Another tip is to buy larger cuts of meat and cook for a few meals at a time, this is always cheaper than buying the pre cut fillets, allowing you to spend more on better quality veg!

 

The cool thing is, is that Nutrition is completely within our control. We have the power to build the strongest foundation not only for performance but also for our health. Together with CrossFit, our nutrition protocol provides us with the biggest hedge against the leading cause of death worldwide each year; chronic disease (heart disease, obesity, diabetes, alzheimers, cancer).

RECOVERY – WHY AND HOW.

CrossFit consists of high (relative to each person) intensity training. If you are a first timer, then you will face some new challenges each day in terms of your body adapting and recovering. You will experience muscle soreness and fatigue. But, the end results will be worth it. CrossFit will make you love the workout and will lead you to an active and a healthy lifestyle.

Why Is Recovery Important?

As your workouts may be strenuous, it will leave you exhausted and tired, especially if you initially had a sedentary lifestyle. So, you will need to spend the hours apart from training in recovering your body from the workout session. You will also need to get your body used to the intensity of the daily workouts and follow a particular routine in terms of nutrition, like a proper diet plan, in terms of stretching which will ease your muscle soreness, and in terms of time, meaning a proper routine timetable.

If all these things are met, then your body will easily recover from the training session and you will start to love your active lifestyle.

Stretching

Warming up and stretching are two different things, but stretching exercises can help to prepare you for a WOD and improve your recovery. A proper warm-up will help any athlete have a better session with the weights and equipment and greatly reduce the risk of an injury. Stretching exercises after an energetic session will help to improve overall flexibility, lessen muscle soreness and enhance recovery.

Stretching allows your body to more easily move through the full range of motion when it comes to hitting weights, in effect creating long, full muscles instead of stunted ones.

There is a reason as to why we are trained to stretch before and after exercise. Not only does stretching warm the body, but it does wonders for recovery and may just prevent the dreaded Delayed Onset Muscle Syndrome. Exercising creates toxins in the body as muscles are exerted. By stretching the muscles after exercise, these toxins move into the bloodstream and out of the muscles, where they can be broken down and eradicated. So in effect, stretching after a tough WOD means that when you’re tying your shoes or trying to sit on the toilet the next morning, you won’t be left feeling like a mummy just released from its sarcophagus.

Nutrition

For an extensive workout, you need to keep your energy levels high or your body may not be able to sustain the workout. There are many diet plans offered by CrossFit trainers according to your training level. You can follow that. But the best diet plan is to eat everything healthy but in limited quantities and small portions. You need to have your daily intake of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, fats, and mineral. These can be attained by eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Basically going for clean eating. Moreover, you will need to cut down your junk food, fatty foods, and sugar from your diet.

The best time to eat is within an hour of your workout, as the body is still in the workout stage so it will break down the foods faster and the foods will be digested faster. Also, you need to stay hydrated, as a well-hydrated body is a healthy body.

Time

Rest days are necessary to allow the body to adapt to training and to recover. Whether you choose to take a full rest day (doing nothing), or an active recovery day (skill work, mobility/stretching, non-intense running, swimming, etc.), taking a rest day is important to your performance and more importantly your health. We encourage you to take true rest days. Contrary to popular belief; more is not better. Don’t let your rest day turn into a workout. You need to be ready to come back after a rest day with intensity. Choose to rest before it chooses you. This will allow a return to full intensity on the next training day. Training days on end might seem like a good idea, but it actually decreases the intensity of your efforts over time which means even though you are training, you will not achieve favourable adaptation or increase your fitness as much as you could when rested and doing a workout with 100% effort.

OVERCOME YOUR PLATEAUS

CrossFit is gaining popularity by the minute because it is more than just your average fitness program; it is the perfect marriage between sports and recreation so naturally people are constantly striving to get better at it. Following is a list of ways in which you can overcome any plateaus in your performance and improve. Let’s get started.

Work On Your Squats

Squats make up a major part of a CrossFit workout routine; therefore, if your squat technique is faulty, you will never be able to make progress in the right direction. Your body weight squat is what you need to perfect first. How do you start? Have someone film you doing one and then you study your body movements. More specifically, make a checklist of the following:

– Heels make constant contact with the ground?

– Knees track out over the toes?

– Neutral spine?

50% of all CrossFit workout movements are squats. Perfecting this one basic core move will not only help your progress but also prevent any stress injuries.

Put in the Effort

When it comes to anything in life, consistency is essential. The same applies to your workout routine: you need to keep at it at a regular pace and along the way you must learn how to take chances and strive to do better. Maintaining a steady routine will help you get fit overall but it won’t necessarily help you get better. You must learn to step out of your comfort zone and try to work harder; put in more time. Set realistic goals every time and strive towards bettering yourself every time.

Skill Progression

The key aspects that must be perfected when it comes to working out are mobility, skill, strength, and effort. Mobility comes with gradual progression. You must invest a good amount of time in mobilization exercises to get your body to become more agile. Once your body is mobile enough, you can move on to building your skill set. The key is to keep practicing. Some will take more time than the others but you must remain motivated. Put in extra effort every time you feel you are lagging behind or hitting a plateau.

Stay Motivated

Staying motivated is probably the easiest yet the most difficult part of it all. You must keep pushing yourself. Instill the idea in your mind that you must do better. Set a new goal every day. It doesn’t have to be big. Start small such as an extra rep or more mobility exercises. The point is to do more than what you did the previous day.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

A positive attitude will help you overcome obstacles easier. Plain and simple – suck it up. Hate rowing? Hard to wake up on Mondays? Shins scabbed from deadlifts?  Suck it up. Don’t like thrusters because you have poor hip and shoulder mobility? Suck it up and do mobility every day.

Here are some final attitude rules:

-Never skip reps

-Never count a no rep

-Never give less than 100%

-Never let the clock or the person next to you define how you perform.  The clock and the reps are measuring sticks, not ends themselves.  If you cheat, skip reps, display sloppy technique or do anything for any reason other than self-improvement, you have lost the forest in the trees.

CHOOSE A CROSSFIT BOX THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

The needs of our grandparents and those of Olympic athletes differ by degree, not by kind. The one is simply looking for functional dominance while the other is seeking functional competence. This means that everyone can do and benefit from CrossFit, no matter their level of fitness.

Right, now that we’ve established that CrossFit is for you, what’s next?

We have to choose your gym.

What are your goals and why do you want to join CrossFit box?

Firstly, be clear about your goals which include the fitness level and strength level you want to achieve. Additionally, understand why you want to achieve something, keeping your athletic or non-athletic profession in mind.

It’s a well-known saying that ‘a man without goals is like a ship without a rudder.’ Before setting out on your search for the best CrossFit box, know your targets to be aimed at.

Interview the Coach or Owner

Coaching is central to your training and programming your workout routines. An excellent coach is an all-rounder who excels in the domains of strength and skill training, nutritional coaching, programming each class based on skill/strength level and maintaining a safe-zone to avoid any injury.

A coach and a cheer-leader are two different people. No doubt, your motivation level should be kept high throughout; but without results you will end up giving up on CrossFit completely. So, search out all the nearest CrossFit boxes to interview the coaches and owners there. Ask them about how they will be training you according to your specific goals? Moreover, ask them about the valid qualifications of their coaches.

What have they done outside of CrossFit? Do they have other certifications? Have they been athletes themselves? Was their life transformed by CrossFit somehow? What is their reputation amongst other people in the fitness industry? Find these things out and take from it what you will, but do some research.

Beyond your coach’s background, the next thing to look into is what sort of coaching you will receive. Do you have access to the coaches outside of class? How much time do they spend on skill work? Are they able to coach beginners as well as advanced students? Do they seem to have good communication and class management skills? Do they write blogs that are interesting and edifying? Is there nutrition and lifestyle coaching included in the curriculum?

Take the Free Introductory Class

After understanding why a good coach is important, you need to search him/her out from the crowd. You’ll have to take out time for attending introductory free trial classes of different CrossFit boxes that you have found to be perfect for you after the initial interview.

Programming is crucial to a CrossFit box, find out what they offer?

Check out what kind of PROGRAMMING they have? Is it structured and regular with zero dynamic capacity for individual needs? CrossFit programs should be dynamic and vary from person to person or group to group.

Inexperienced coaches often program back-to-back sessions of workouts without giving you space to recover. The goal of CrossFit is not to throw everything at members and see how long it takes before they break. Programming should also not be random. It takes a lot of time and preparation to program for the needs of the members while making sure they recover properly and avoid injury.

Check Out Availability of Their Online Programming

A confident CrossFit box will publically display its services and the programming it follows. They program the workouts weeks before training to make everyone aware of what services they offer and how they are going to help you achieve your fitness goals. If a CrossFit avoids posting their programming schedule online, there might be something fishy there. So, just walk away!

Nutritional Guidance is Imperative to Results

Are they providing Nutritional guidance? Nutritional guidance besides workout is crucial to achieving a toned body. Top CrossFit coaches guide the trainees about their daily nutritional needs. If your diet is not proper, you will get almost zero results.

Safety Requirements Fulfillment

Are proper recovery and mobility requirements discussed with the athletes? Does CrossFit really care about your safety? What it refers to is the coach who trains you. Is your coach aware of what level of fitness you have?

The Community at the CrossFit Box

Who are the people getting trained at particular CrossFit Box? If your goals and targets match up theirs, then count that in as a plus factor. Best coaching is no doubt the top requirement but if negativity surrounds you, you are bound to get de-motivated. Working with like-minded people enhances your chances of improvement and performance to a great extent.

Equipment and cleanliness

As much as people around you matter, so does the environment surrounding you. Just have a look at whether equipment and rugs are being cleaned regularly to avoid any diseases.

On the other hand, equipment, whether less or more, doesn’t really matter; as much as a certified and experienced coach does. A coach knows how to utilize them productively.

CULTURE, SUPPORT AND CAMARADERIE

What are your first thoughts when you think about people who CrossFit?

Hardcore? Intense? Crazy?

CrossFit Culture

In reality people who CrossFit are actually very warm and understanding people that follow the culture of motivation, drive and compassion. The basic rule behind our workouts is to know about our weaknesses, to battle them, to face our fears, to cross our limits and reach a whole new dimension of self-respect, self-esteem and self-confidence.

Motivation

In CrossFit we motivate each other every time we start working out. Although we all have our different backgrounds and personal differences in life, when you’re in a CrossFit class filled with people, you all have the same like-minded reason for being there; improved health and fitness. There is no ego. Nobody is above each other, we all are aware of the fact that CrossFit can be extremely hard and vigorous and completing our workouts can induce a meaning of victory in our bodies and minds. But instead of being jerks about it, we lift up others to reach new heights.

Support

If you’ve attempted working out and sticking to it in the past then the words “I can’t”, “enough” “not more” etc. might be familiar, especially when the going gets tough. CrossFit can make you say these words even if you’re a seasoned veteran. The best part is that the rest of your peers won’t make fun of you, or degrade you, and they definitely won’t let you give up. Rather they’ll support you and try to help you in achieving your goal. They will provide the ultimate push you need in overcoming your weaknesses and help you give that little extra in getting one step closer to your goals.

Eventually, you’ll become the type of person who won’t be able to stay away from such hard work for long and you’ll definitely want to return for more. Most of you are familiar with how much the support of even one person can lift you up in life. At CrossFit you have tens even hundreds of peers sharing your journey to fitness, all in the same battle that can use your support just as much as you can use theirs.

Camaraderie

Surround yourself with those who will inspire you to rise to the next level. It is natural for you to develop some sort of fondness for people you spend so much time with. Inevitably you will build a friendship, gain mutual trust and respect each other. CrossFit community provides you with the camaraderie you want to further excel, not only in fitness, but in your life.

All CrossFit coaches have a basic goal in mind, to help you become strong by overpowering your fears, weaknesses and inner battles. So another new member with a track record of failed fitness attempts is not frowned upon, rather he/she is understood and is guided towards the path of success.

After spending some time with people who CrossFit, you will get used to them so much that spending time with anyone else will feel different. Nobody could relate to your passion of CrossFit as your fellow CrossFit friends do and nobody can share that zeal or enthusiasm as well. Nobody will be able to understand the adrenaline rush that courses through you when you achieve a certain goal or when you master a certain technique.

All in all, it could be assured that once you join CrossFit, it is likely to consume you for good and for once, consumption or excess wouldn’t be a bad thing!

ROUTINE IS THE ENEMY, CONSISTENCY – YOUR BEST ALLY

 

When striving for your fitness goals “showing up” regularly offers undeniable benefits.  A person in motion stays in motion and never has to restart.

A lack of consistency can bring on a lack of interest, but constant progress keeps morale high and keeps you interested in chasing your success.

 

Here’s how:

 

BE IN IT FOR THE LONG RUN

Overnight success is a myth – no one wakes up and is suddenly successful without years of preparation. Success is derived from hard work, commitment, a positive mindset and clear sense of direction.

People like Rich Froning or Katrin Davidsdottir have been showing up to the gym every day for years. They’re consistent output goes all the way back to a time when no one was watching, no one was listening, and no one was paying any attention at all.

If you look at any well known or successful CrossFit athlete, all you have to do is start scrolling to see the evidence of consistency and how long they’ve been showing up. They’ve been committed to their output for years.

In order to stay consistent you need to set goals, but the key is to set the right goals. We need realistic, achievable and challenging goals.

If we only set goals that are unrealistic and will take forever to achieve we will most certainly lose interest in our journey towards those goals. We need both short term and long term goals. Short term goals are small goals that are easily within our grasp and which can be achieved weekly or monthly. Long term goals are our big goals, 1st prize, the reason why you started training in the first place. These goals will take focus, determination and a lot of time and work to achieve.

Our short term goals are what keeps us on track and interested in achieving our long term goals. The process is more important than the goal—what you do everyday matters more than what you plan to accomplish.

 

OBSERVE, MEASURE, REPEAT

Until you have tried something new for a period of time and in a consistent manner, you can’t decide if it works or not.  How do you measure effectiveness if what you are measuring isn’t performed consistently?

CrossFit is observable, measurable and repeatable.

What do we need for this to happen? Cold hard data.

One thing everyone should be doing no matter your skill level is keeping a training log. This is a place where you write down all of your lifting PB’s/times/rounds etc. You could even take it a step further and write down how you were feeling that day or maybe a technique issue you were having. This will provide more insight when you refer back to it in the future.

These numbers are valuable information for future workouts and making sure you are on the right track to achieve your goals.

As a coach it is extremely helpful to have a client know their “numbers”. It allows me to make more informed recommendations for movements and weights based on the information you have, thus giving you a greater workout. In contrast if the WOD calls for 75% of your deadlift max and you can’t remember what your current max is….then we have to play a guessing game and go by feel. This may work sometimes but its not optimal. For example, you may have chosen a weight that was way to heavy turning what should have been a 10 min max for time WOD into a 20 min grinder. Having numbers will help you get the best results possible!

If you don’t keep a training log, START NOW!

 

HAVE FUN WITH IT

 All too often we lose sight that fitness can be and should be fun. Once you stop having fun with the process it becomes a chore and we all hate doing chores.

 

One way to consistently have fun is to not be too hard on yourself. We often focus too much on the things we want to do or can’t do that we forget that every single day we step into the box is one step closer to why we do it and one more reason to celebrate progress and be proud of ourselves for having the will to work for what we want no matter what our goals are.

 

Have fun on the good days as well as on the bad days.

Whether you achieved something on the day or not, at least you showed up and that counts.

 

“The goal is to get fit,

make it the best hour of your day,

stay safe, turn up the music,

high five some people and blow off some steam.

So remember that.

Relax. HAVE FUN. Workout.”

– Pat Sherwood

Monday Movement Tips: RING MUSCLE-UP

If you are struggling with muscle-ups, try this tip!

MEMBER TESTIMONIAL: ELIZE MILLER

Processed with MOLDIV

I started CrossFit in May 2016.
I initially started out because we had an island vacation that I wanted to get in shape for (a quick fix).

A month into CrossFit I had tasted the so called cool aid and was addicted. I loved it so much that the island holiday was just an event that passed, I even visited the gym while on holiday. I have been active my whole life but when my son was born in 2011 I stopped exercising completely and only started doing CrossFit 5 years later. Not that I was ever overweight but there is a big difference in just being skinny and being fit, strong and healthy.

At the age of almost 40 years old this is the best shape I have been in, in my whole life. My goal for 2017 is not competing with anyone else except myself and reaching the goals that I set for myself even if it is only the short term goals of mastering a muscle up or a handstand walk. I am doing it for myself and challenging my own body and abilities and perseverance.

MEMBER TESTIMONIAL – MARI-LOUISE VAN DER MERWE

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CrossFit Pretoria, where I draw a new line in the sand each WOD thinking of my capabilities and then somehow with the help of the excellent coaches, I cross it every time. On my CrossFit journey in 4 months I’ve lost 14kg, 10% body fat and I’ve adapted to a healthier lifestyle.

I’ve had a complete mind shift and I really have CrossFit to thank for that. CrossFit and especially CrossFit Pretoria builds community like nothing I’ve ever seen before. There is something special about enduring the suffering of Fran together and seeing fellow members smash PBs like it’s nothing, or writing a time you’re proud of on the whiteboard, that you really can’t put into words.

It’s the motivational encouragement from someone lifting heavier than you and your coach saying “you’ve really improved” that makes you want to set a goal so big that you can’t achieve it until you grow into a person who can. People doing CrossFit exhibit strength and will give you the courage to do the same.

CrossFit reminds you to have goals but to write them in pencil and CrossFit teaches you that if you’re the strongest person in the box then you’re probably in the wrong box. As cliché as this may sound, I promise CrossFit is one of the few places left in the world where hard work actually pays off. I owe a great deal to CrossFit Pretoria and their coaching staff and can’t thank them enough for their influence in my daily life. CrossFit Pretoria is a place that will change you, if you let it.