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  • Why I Kicked an Athlete Out Of My Box

    Check out this awesome Article written by a Coach at Rocket CrossFit in Seattle: 

    Link: http://alyssaroyse.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/why-i-kicked-an-athlete-out-of-my-box/

    My job as a coach is to make people stronger. It’s really that simple. It is mostly a physical task, as in, my job is to make you physically stronger. But there is also a fairly large emotional component to it, one that is too-often ignored. Because the path to physical strength is a long one. It involves you being able to assess any task, figure out whether it will help you or harm you, make adjustments on the fly and proceed with your own self-interest as your foremost responsibility.

    Or, as I more often say it, “listen to your fucking body.”

    Over the years I have watched Sam (which is totally not her name) make great strides. She was never timid, but she sure as hell wasn’t physically strong when she arrived. Now she is. Her body and spirit have changed immeasurably. She is a joy. Her journey has been a source of pride.

    But she doesn’t listen to her body. It is something that we’ve talked about a great deal. I’ve pulled her aside, as she was wincing through a workout or two, and told her that she has to listen to her body. That we DO NOT WORK THROUGH PAIN at Rocket. EVER.

    We work through fatigue. We work through fear. We work through uncertainty. We work through sore muscles. WE DO NOT WORK THROUGH PAIN.

    We talk about that a lot in our gym. Ultimately, Brady and I look at each other and often shrug, remarking that adults can do whatever they want with their bodies, there’s not a lot we can do about it. If they don’t listen to their bodies, if they don’t listen to us, what are we supposed to do?

    Sam came in today. Nursing at least two legitimate injuries that I know of. (As in, not sore muscles and fatigue, actual injuries, that have involved doctors.) Our awesome coach of the day modified the workout for her, and told her NOT to use her arm, at all. I was working out next to Sam, and concurred whole-heartedly with our coach.

    Sam did it anyway. The coach laughed and said, “Sam’s a stubborn one.”

    I told Sam to put down the weight and leave. I would clean up her stuff.

    “No, really,” I said. “You can’t be here. I won’t watch you do this to yourself, not on my watch. You were told what to do to be safe, you ignored it, you can’t be here.”

    It sounds mean, I know. I felt like a bitch, but my job is to make you stronger. If you are broken, you are not stronger. If I sit back and watch you break yourself, it’s my fault. “Right now, you are turning me into a tool of your pain and destruction, and that is totally not fair to do to me. I don’t deserve that. You cannot do that to me. You cannot do this in here.”

    I really like Sam. A lot. I do.

    We talked a bit. Sitting there, in the middle of the gym floor. (It was a small class. And really, we are a tight-knight community at Rocket, I like to think it was all very supportive, if not jarring.)

    I explained, as simply as I could, why I was kicking her out, for now. And why she would be sent home if she tried to come in and work out again in the next week. I gave her a hug, I told her I adored her and cared so much, and that she had to figure out how to heal herself emotionally and physically so that she could continue this incredible journey on which she has already accomplished so much. 

And she left.

    But here’s the deal, as simply as possible:

    1. The goal here is getting stronger. It is not bragging rights. It is not the ability to say you did some cool – which is often, really, just stupid – thing. It is getting stronger, and that is a longitudinal process. If you are injured, you are the opposite of stronger. While injuries can be great teachers, they are not great accomplishments.

    2. As a community, we all set the standard of acceptable behavior. While I will always applaud grit and passion, I will never reward dangerous ignorance. No matter how benign or well-intentioned. Just like standing up to a bully, the mere act of calling it out helps others better learn their own boundaries, and the strength they have to stand up to bullies. So to when we abuse our bodies. I do not want to normalize the idea of doing things that are bad for our bodies in this gym. Although, on the one hand, I could shrug and say, “she’s an adult, she can do whatever she wants,” in a community this tight, that changes the boundaries of acceptable behavior. If it causes other people to think they should work through pain, then it makes a more dangerous environment for everyone. If it causes other people to think “well, Sam does it, I guess I’m supposed to also,” then it’s dangerous.

    3. When your body is injured, it needs to heal. Period. However long that takes. Even the slightest aggravation will add time on to your recovery and increase the risk of not healing properly. It is your job to protect yourself. Period.

    4. Under all the muscles and sweat, the greatest thing that CrossFit can do is teach us to respect our bodies. It can teach us to push our boundaries, but respect them. The emotional fortitude that comes from this journey is far more important than the brute strength. Learning when to walk away because the fight won’t help you is hugely important. (It works in love, in life, at work, with friends, everywhere – and you can learn it in a gym.) Claiming the right to your own health and happiness even when you think everyone around you is doing something different, or expects something different, is hugely important. (It works in love, in life, at work, with friends, everywhere – and you can learn it in a gym.)

    5. You have to learn to take personal responsibility without taking it personally. Just because you are hurt, or can’t do something right now, doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Or dumb or bad or weak or stupid or anything else. It is what it is. An injury is simply the result of an action that didn’t go as planned. It is no more an indictment on your worth as a human than the weather is when it rains on a picnic you planned. It is an unexpected event. How you handle it says more about you than the fact that it happened.

    My job, first and foremost is to help you get strong. Physically, and emotionally. It takes a lot of strength to walk away. To change plans. To let go of expectations. To feel your pain and learn from it. To judge yourself based only on how you feel, not on the external metrics of what others are doing. Or the purely imaginary metric of what you think others expect.

    Because the path to emotional strength is a long one. It involves you being able to assess any task, figure out whether it will help you or harm you, make adjustments on the fly and proceed with your own self-interest as your foremost responsibility.

    That’s the emotional strength that we build. And it is impressive as hell when people get good at it. It is also something that last a lifetime.

    Injuries are not accomplishments, but they can be great teachers. They can teach you how to listen, how to redirect, how to rebuild.  If you listen.

    I can teach you that, too. But you have to listen.

    I will not hurt you. I will not let you use me to hurt yourself.

    I will help you. Using whatever means I have. Even if it means taking a break, so you can listen to your body.

    It has taken me years as a coach and gym owner to learn that I can do that. But I can. And I will.

    I think it makes me stronger. I think it will make Sam stronger. I think it makes the whole Rocket community stronger.

    As she was leaving, another member said, “way to take the high-road” to her as she left. There were smiles. Well-wishes.

    As a coach, having watched her get so strong in the past few years, I have still never been more proud of her than when she walked out, head held high, smiling, and said, “Okay, I’ll see you next week.”

    She worked hard for that strength, and it will serve her well.


  • CrossFit and Community

    Coach Malcolm here, Im always preaching about the Community of CrossFit or for that matter at LivingStone.

     

    CrossFit & Community 

    JULY 2, 2014 / HUNT.GATHER.GIRL
    So my choice of exercise is Crossfit – I greatly value the Crossfit community because:

  • I never have to exercise alone (If it was left to me to keep myself fit I’d fail miserably)
  • There’s always room to improve
  • The person who is last gets cheered for just as loud as the person who is first
  • You meet the best and the worst version of yourself. But the best version of you exceeds your expectations by far.

  • I don’t want to blow the Crossfit horn too much because there is enough of that on the internet (and the opposite) but I have a story that I’d like to share.

     

    I have been on a less that highly committed routine concerning Crossfit and exercise due to a hectic time at work and a general stressful time. So on Monday I dragged myself to class to at least stick to my moto of “keeping on” and “keep on going back no matter what”. There was a big power failure in the neighbourhood so we had to exercise by car headlights – pretty hardcore feeling. :)

    The workout consisted of 10 rounds for time – 200m run, 15 kettlebell swings and 16 hammer swings. I did the workout as best as I could and after I completed it there were still a few people finishing. As is custom at our box – the people who finished cheered on the rest and I joined in. Eventually there was just one lady left and I cheered her “Come on! Last round!” She looked up and said – “You think? I still have another round!”

    As I mentioned it was dark! And to do the 200m run you had to run out of the building onto the sidewalk next to a busy street. If anybody had left me to run alone in the dark I’d be a bit upset so it only made sense to run with her. We chatted a bit (obviously both of us very tired). She had just started Crossfit – and I was so impressed because the fact was – she was still moving and did not try to take shortcuts. We finished the run and she completed the last reps of kettlebell swings and hammer swings (which she killed by the way.) We cheered her on the whole way.

    Afterwards I talked to her and told her how it’s just important to keep coming back. I confessed that I also cried after workouts sometimes when it sucked not being able to do everything as well as you’d like to. She smiled at me and said, “I cried because of all the support. I’ll definitely be back.”

    Thank you Julie for reminding me that Crossfit is not just about becoming fit and being the best version of yourself – but it’s also about helping each other and about being part of a community and family that build and support each other – no matter what.


  • "Should Kids Do CrossFit?"

    Royse City teen impressing local CrossFit community with weightlifting skills. Brooklin said healthy food gives her strength so she can work out for an hour to an hour-and-a-half almost every day, except for the days she rests to let her muscles recover. Jeremy Correll-Smith, her father, said Brooklin competes and works out with women who are three or four times her age, but it doesn’t phase her. 6 of 6  
    By LIZ FARMER
    LIZ FARMER The Dallas Morning News

     

     

    For 13-year-old Brooklin Smith of Royse City, lifting 60 kilos — more than 130 pounds — is just another day at the gym.

     

     

    Brooklin is training for the USA Weightlifting Youth National Championship on June 13. She’ll compete against weightlifters from around the U.S. She qualified for the competition at the College Station Classic in April.

    “I like to be able to compete,” Brooklin said. “I’m kind of a competitive person, so I like to push myself against other people.”

    Brooklin just finished 7th grade at The Fulton School, a private college preparatory in Heath, and practices Olympic weightlifting at CrossFit Rockwall, where her parents work out. The family plans to move to Austin in the near future.

    CrossFit is a high-intensity fitness program that incorporates various exercises into one workout.

    Brooklin said she found that CrossFit encompasses elements of sports she enjoys, like gymnastics, volleyball and basketball.

    “You get all of it just mixed into one,” Brooklin said. “It’s not that you’re just focusing on one thing.”

    Jeremy Correll-Smith said his daughter started the CrossFit kids class a few months after he began in August 2012.

    “She just immediately liked it,” Correll-Smith said. “We stopped going to gymnastics and just had her doing the kids class.”

    Brooklin said the CrossFit kids program emphasizes the movements and proper techniques of weightlifting. Kids start out by lifting PVC pipes and then bars without weights.

    “I did the kids class for about a year, and then some of the coaches that teach the kids class said ‘You’re really good, you shouldn’t be held back,’” Brooklin said.

    She then moved into the teen program and quickly moved again into the the adults program.

    “The teen class is kind of like the adult class only they don’t do intense weight, they’re not maxing out as much,” Brooklin said. “Maxing out means you go to the heaviest weight that you can for that day.”

    Olympic weightlifting consists of two types of lifts. The snatch lift involves lifting the bar from the ground to above one’s head in a single move. The clean-and-jerk lift involves lifting the bar up to shoulder height and going into a squat. The weightlifter then jumps and puts one foot in front of the other as he or she raises the bar above the head.

    Brooklin’s trainer Mike Woodruff, co-owner of CrossFit Rockwall, said he suggested that she take her skills to the competitive arena.

    “I saw the potential that she could qualify for youth nationals,” Woodruff said. “I thought that could be a really cool thing for her to do.”

    Brooklin’s competing is not only a unique experience, Woodruff said, it’s an impressive one.

    “You do these lifts in front of a whole group of people watching you,” Woodruff said. “It’s a lot of pressure, and she went out there and made all of her lifts.”

    Woodruff said she’ll be competing against people who are her age and weight class, 48 kilograms or about 106 pounds, at the upcoming championship in Port Orange, Fla., but that wasn’t the case at College Station.

    “She was the only youth girl who was lifting,” he said.

    She’s used to being the odd one out.

    At school she’s the only person who routinely eats the same thing everday — vegetables, sweet potatoes and a portion of meat.

    “Sometimes I get like picked on about what I eat,” Brooklin said. “They’re like, ‘Ew, you bring the same food everyday,’ but it doesn’t bother me. Actually there’s so many things to eat out there that nobody takes times to find it. We’ve made so many creative foods.”

    Her favorite creations? Mashed cauliflower, turkey burgers and a chocolate cake made without sugar.

    “I used unsweetened cocoa and I made my own frosting,” Brooklin said. “It’s cool to see how many things you can make that are healthy.”

    She said healthy food gives her strength so she can work out for an hour to an hour-and-a-half almost every day, except for the days she rests to let her muscles recover.

    It’s a challenge that she enjoys, she said, in part because of the people involved in CrossFit.

    “The community is amazing. They’re good about supporting you and inspiring you,” Brooklin said. “Outside of school it’s fun to make new friends while doing something you love.”

    Correll-Smith said Brooklin competes and works out with women who are three or four times her age, but it doesn’t phase her.

    “She can look at them respectfully and have a conversation with them,” he said.

    He said such moments show how Brooklin has benefited from CrossFit in more than just physical ways.

    “It really helps with confidence,” Correll-Smith said. “She’s a lot more mature than many 13-year-olds. ...She’s kind of blazing a new trail as she goes along.”

    Rockwall/Rowlett editor Liz Farmer can be reached at 214-977-8027.

  • RSS Feed

    When I started CrossFit back in 2011, I really didn't take my diet serious. I had the mentality that you can eat what you want as long as you worked your tail off in the gym and I did that for 18 years. Then Crossfit happen to me, and my body started to react differently and I couldn't recover fast enough and I was also 37 years old. Previous to CrossFit my workouts were broken in to body building (chest & tri's, back & bi's, leg press & calf raies) and long cardio workouts. In my mind I still wasn't covinened Paleo would be a solution for me until the early part of 2014. I cleaned up my diet some but I wasn't going to take away my "quality of life." In the past to slim down I just decreased my carbs and drank more protien shakes. With the CrossFit games approaching I wanted to increase my strength, so I started a strength program and half way through the second cycle my body started reacting in weird ways. My joints and tendons were inflamed and slow to recover. Yes I was putting more stress on them but I wasn't yielding the results this program had promised or proven to others. So I said "what do I have to lose" and I tried it and tested it by going off and back on Paleo and the results were night and day! It takes a couple of weeks for your system to clean out but when its full blown Paleo, Performance is Better!! Don't take my word for it try it for yourself and read Rod Wolf's great info below. -Coach Malcolm, LivingStone CrossFit

     

    What Is The Paleo Diet?

    The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility. – Robb Wolf
    Okay To Eat Avoid
    Fruits Dairy
    Vegetables Grains
    Lean Meats Processed Food & Sugars
    Seafood Legumes
    Nuts & Seeds Starches
    Healthy Fats Alcohol

    Building A Healthy Paleo Diet

    Lean proteins

    Lean proteins support strong muscles, healthy bones and optimal immune function. Protein also makes you feel satisfied between meals.

    Fruits and Vegetables

    Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that have been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing a number of degenerative diseases including cancer, diabetes and neurological decline.

    Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat

    Scientific research and epidemiological studies show that diets rich in Monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats dramatically reduce the instances of obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and cognitive decline.

    Saturated fat has been demonized by our health authorities and media. What is the basis for this position on Saturated fat? Are current recommendations for VERY low saturated fat intake justified? How much saturated fat (and what types), if any should one eat? Without a historical and scientific perspective these questions can be nearly impossible to answer. In this paper Prof. Cordain looks at the amounts and types of saturated fats found in the ancestral diet: Saturated fat consumption in ancestral human diets: implications for contemporary intakes.

    One of the greatest deviations away from our ancestral diet is the amounts and types of fat found in modern grain feed animals vs. the amounts and types of fats found in grass fed or wild meat, fowl and fish. What we observe is wild meat is remarkably lean, and has relatively low amounts of saturated fats, while supplying significant amounts of beneficial omega-3 fats such as EPA and DHA. In this paper Prof. Cordain and his team analyze the complete fatty acid profile from several species of wild deer and elk. The take home message is that free range meat is far healthier than conventional meat: Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: Evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease.

    Paleo Diet

    Image courtesy of Primal Palate – http://www.primalpalate.com/about/the-paleo-diet/

    Health Benefits of a Paleo Diet

    For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is all they need. Improved blood lipids, weight loss, and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough.  Many people however are not satisfied with blindly following any recommendations, be they nutrition or exercise related. Some folks like to know WHY they are doing something. Fortunately, the Paleo diet has stood not only the test of time, but also the rigors of scientific scrutiny.

    With a very simple shift we not only remove the foods that are at odds with our health (grains, legumes, and dairy) but we also increase our intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here is a great paper from Professor Loren Cordain exploring how to build a modern Paleo diet: The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. This paper also offers significant insight as to the amounts and ratios of protein, carbohydrate and fat in the ancestral diet.

    Come on! Our Ancestors lived short, brutal lives! This Paleo Diet is all bunk, right?

    The Paleo concept is new for most people and this newness can spark many questions. We like people to not only read about and educate themselves on this topic but also to “get in and do it.” Experience is perhaps the best teacher and often cuts through any confusion surrounding this way of eating. Now, all that considered, there are still some common counter arguments to the Paleo diet that happen with sufficient frequency that a whole paper was written on it. Enjoy: Evolutionary Health Promotion. A consideration of common counter-arguments.

    Does it work for diabetes?

    A great question to ask is “Does the Paleo diet work?” Here we have a head to head comparison between the Paleo diet and Mediterranean diet in insulin resistant Type 2 Diabetics. The results? The Paleo diet group REVERSED the signs and symptoms of insulin resistant, Type 2 diabetes. The Mediterranean diet showed little if any improvements. It is worth noting that the Mediterranean diet is generally held up by our government as “the diet to emulate” despite better alternatives. You can find an abstract and the complete paper here.

    Cardio Vascular Disease

    According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Interestingly however, our Paleolithic ancestors and contemporarily studied hunter-gatherers showed virtually no heart attack or stroke while eating ancestral diets. The references below will explore these facts to better help you understand the heart-healthy benefits of a Paleo diet.

    Autoimmunity

    Autoimmunity is a process in which our bodies own immune system attacks “us.” Normally the immune system protects us from bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. The immune system identifies a foreign invader, attacks it, and ideally clears the infection. A good analogy for autoimmunity is the case of tissue rejection after organ donation. If someone requires a new heart, lung kidney or liver due to disease or injury, a donor organ may be an option. The first step in this process is trying to find a tissue “match”. All of us have molecules in our tissues that our immune system uses to recognize self from non-self. If a donated organ is not close enough to the recipient in tissue type the immune system will attack and destroy the organ. In autoimmunity, a similar process occurs in that an individuals own tissue is confused as something foreign and the immune system attacks this “mislabeled” tissue. Common forms of autoimmunity include Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Vitiligo to name only a tiny fraction of autoimmune diseases. Elements of autoimmunity are likely at play in conditions as seemingly unrelated as Schizophrenia, infertility, and various forms of cancer.

    Interestingly, all of these seemingly unrelated diseases share a common cause: damage to the intestinal lining which allows large, undigested food particles to make their way into the body. This is called “leaky gut and the autoimmune response”. Here is a 7-part video series by Prof. Loren Cordain describing the etiology of Multiple Sclerosis. And please watch this TED talk by Dr. Terry Wahls, MD as she describes how she reversed her Multiple Sclerosis with a paleo diet. If you have an autoimmune disease you might consider trying the autoimmune protocol of the paleo diet. If you do, please tell us about your experience.

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