Tuesday, June 26, 2012
-Mary Ann Sharf, Paradigm Grand Opening 2011
"...this is a completely different kind of test, one where passion has a funny way of trumping logic..."
The word "competition" draws out one of two reactions from people; it either gets them completely fired up, or it instantly turns them off. What is highly motivating for some, can be completely intimidating for others. But the aspect of competition that makes it stick is that it does truly motivate the masses. When our abilities are put to the test, we are forced to perform above and beyond our normal bare minimum. What perhaps needs to change is not the presence of competition, (since it will always be there regardless), but our attitude towards it.
I believe that most people are competitive to some degree. Not all, but most. And even those who assume that they are not affected by competition, are on some level. It doesn't mean you have to register for the CrossFit Games. But if all competition was removed from your training, if times and weights were never measured and compared, and you worked out in a cubicle where no one else could see your performance and you were restricted from witnessing theirs...would you train as hard? I would like to think that if I was doing my own WOD off on my own solitary island with no one watching, I would be going 110%, driven by my own inner beast. But the honest truth is, I probably wouldn't. I'd probably be basking in the sun drinking out of a coconut.
Before you assume that you are one of the few who are a bit apathetic towards competition, take a moment to analyze your conclusion. Read through this list and see if you might fall into one or two of these categories:
1) I've never really competed, but I know I don't like it. Ok this could be similar to your first glass of wine or your original sushi experience. It may not be for everyone, and that is fine! But give it a fair shot before you write it off. Like anything in life, try it at least once, and you might surprise yourself. And just because you don't like competition in one arena of life doesn't mean that you won't like it another!
2) I know I won't do that great, let alone finish first. So if your kid doesn't have a shot in hell at being valedictorian, do you let him drop out of school? Enough said.
3) It scares the crap out of me! As it should!! A few butterflies in the stomach often precede life-defining moments and experiences... walking down the aisle to get married, jumping out of a plane to skydive, the 10-second countdown before a grueling WOD..."Fear of failure must never be a reason not to try something". -Frederick Smith
4) If other people are depending on me, I'm paralyzed. Maybe...but I doubt it. Most of us go to a whole new level of animal when our comrades are depending on us. When their success is continent on our performance, we generally turn it on. For many people who don't crave the center spotlight, the element of a team challenge is a completely different experience. Instead of competition, it becomes cooperation. Communication and teamwork take precedent over individual performance. We are, innately, social creatures. Just as we push harder in our training when we are surrounded by others in a group setting, we also take ourselves to a different level completely when someone else is depending on us. I would like to think that if I was doing my own WOD off on my own solitary island with no one watching, I would be going 110%, driven by my own inner beast alone. But the honest truth is, I probably wouldn't. I'd probably be basking in the sun drinking a coconut.
5) It just doesn't sound fun at all. Does any WOD honestly sound fun? It's an experience that is going to forge and fashion you into something better. Challenges cause us to grow. And if you have never put everything on the line while your friends and fellow members cheer you on, then to be honest, you are seriously missing out. It is incredibly empowering when others believe in us.
Being a highly competitive person myself, I know my view is slightly biased. I DO relate to being an underdog who has to work ten times harder than others to achieve what they seem to come by easily, and I am aware that I only give it my true all when competition forces me to. But, my opinion is drawn only partly from my own story, and largely from my experience training and coaching various types of people. The vast majority of the people I work with, while maybe not self admitted competition-cravers, get the best results with a healthy dose of peer pressure and testing added to their regimen.
Still not convinced to give it a shot? I've got one more angle for you. Watch this video and tell me you don't get goosebumps. Maybe you aren't ready to take the plunge yet, but I'm convinced that on some level, the nature of competition lights a spark deep within you! You might just be that underdog. And in this game, passion truly does trump talent over and over again. I would choose teammates based on their zeal any day over their ability.
-Alexis and Michael Leasure (11 and 4) practice CF at the park
For many years, I taught children piano. I would often have novice students (or their overly ambitious parents!) request that they learn a favorite "Beatles" song or perhaps "Fur Elise". An instructor who merely wants to appease the student or parent might go ahead and let them learn the song slowly by ear, bit by bit...not really understanding the composition, and certainly not executing it properly. But they would be selling the student short in the long run. It would be a far better plan to put that piece on the shelf a while, and take the time needed to build up to it. First the scales, the notes, the finger agility, the rhythm patterns....then the Beethoven. Requires patience for sure, but learning and mastering the fundamentals of anything before jumping to the fancy stuff, is crucial.
It's not so different with CrossFit, or at least it shouldn't be. Perhaps one of the greatest mistakes within the CF world is placing weight before form. Our ego often gets in the way. In his article "Virtuosity", Glassman puts it perfectly; "What will inevitably doom a a physical training program and dilute a coach's efficacy, is a lack of commitment to fundamentals....Teaching a snatch where there is not yet an overhead squat, teaching an overhead squat where there is not yet an air squat, is a colossal mistake. This rush to advancement increases the chance of injury, delays advancement and progress, and blunts the client's rate of return on his efforts. In short, it retards his fitness."
Just like a house that is built on a crummy foundation will crumble at some point, the athlete who aspires to Rx weight and performance before mastering the mechanics will wreak havoc on their body and progression. Take the time to slow down and learn the skills step by step. We have the rest of our lives to get better at CF...don't cheat yourself by skipping the proper development.
Saturday @ Paradigm:
Skill: Max DU's
round 1...farmer's carry w/ DBs, 20 DB push press, 4 rope climbs
round 2...run a lap, 15 DB push press, 3 rope climbs
round 3...100 DU's, 10 DB push press, 2 rope climbs
round 4...50 DU's, 5 DB push press, 1 rope climb
Well, I did it. I cooked and ate my very first liver ever. Convicted by watching Dr. Terry Wahl's amazing story earlier this week, (if you missed it, check the last blog post), and after years of conveniently glossing over the organ meat chapter from my "Paleo Blueprint" Cookbook, I decided to take the plunge. I cooked it up with some asparagus, onion, garlic, zucchini, bacon, and spices. Ok I'll be honest: it wasn't the most delicious thing ever, but it also was not terrible. I don't particularly remember loving asparagus the first time I ate it either, so I'm thinking liver will fall in the group of "acquired tastes"!
1. SUPER nutrient rich. Liver is high in vitamins A and B. It is an excellent source of Folic Acid and Iron. It is also one of the best sources of CoQ10. Lowered levels of this enzyme are associated with Heart Disease, Cancer, Hypertension, Periodontal Disease, Aging, Obesity, Autoimmune Diseases and Muscular Dystrophy.
2. It's freakishly cheap. For "step 5" quality beef liver at Whole Foods, (if you don't know what this means, check it out HERE) I paid less than $4. And it cooked enough dinner for two, plus leftover lunches for the following day.
3. Liver increases muscle growth and the metabolism (what CrossFitter doesn't want that?).
4. And the most interesting, Liver contains a mysterious anti-fatiguing effect. In one study, published in Prevention magazine way back in 1975, rats were forced to sink or swim. The control group swam for an average of 13.3 minutes. The rats who were fed liver swam for 63-87 minutes!
1. Eating too much can lead to an unhealthy level of Vitamin A in the body, which can result in negative side affects. So don't eat it every day, and skip the Polar Bear liver since it is SO high in Vit A that it is toxic (sorry to all you Polar Bear hunters and chefs out there). Experts say to eat organ meats once a week.
2. It's "gross". Sorry, that's the only other Con I can find out there! And talk about subjective...people all over the world eat liver and some even consider it a delicacy! An egg is kind of gross too if you think about it, so just don't.
Hippocrates had it right when he coined the famous phrase, "Food should be your medicine, and your medicine should be your food". While proper diet and nutrition doesn't make us completely invincible when it comes to illness, it is arguably the best preventative and medicinal tool that we have at our fingertips, to treat any and all conditions that we are dealing with. The problem is that changing our way of eating requires a wiliness to revolutionize our lifestyle (while taking pills is so easy!)
"I don't have the time to commit to it". If that hits home with you, then you better make the time for sickness and disease. Education is required in order to inform ourselves on the whys and hows, and it will take some time and energy. The commitment to truly change your nutrition is simply too great to just take someone else's word for it; you have to believe the benefits are worth the cost, and want it bad enough to make it happen! And yes, it will take longer to cook your food than to grab the take home pizza from Costco. We take the time to do what we want to do (so be honest, and chalk it up to lack of desire).
"I just don't like the taste". (Or any other excuse that shares the common theme of personal preference). It requires some patience as you come to develop a new appreciation for healthy foods. This is the sticky point that turns most people off, whether they admit it or not. We WANT certain foods. We are wired at a young age to love sugar and hate veggies. Processed foods are fast and accessible, and are manufactured to be tasty. They are drenched in sugar and designed to make you addicted. Time to do some reprogramming! Your body deserves so much more than instant gratification. Whole natural foods are actually quite delicious. Spices and herbs give amazing flavor and diversity to dishes. But it takes some adjustment time to come to appreciate and enjoy it. If you stick with it long enough, the new way you feel after eating will be the main stimulant for you to reach for the right choice. But self-control, and a willingness to branch out from habits, personal tastes, and tradition, is required.
"I can't afford all this organic, grass-fed, fresh and locally produced stuff. Sorry, we are on a budget". Yep, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and organic grass-fed meat is a lot pricier than boxed pasta, starches, and grains. Terry Wahls says it perfectly in her video below; "...you will pay the price now for food that restores your health and vitality, or you pay the price later for doctor visits, prescription drugs, surgeries, missed time from work, early retirement, and nursing home care; the choice is yours".
Sit down and take the 17 minutes to watch this amazing video!
My current favorite kitchen accessory: Grill Basket. It is, hands down, the easiest way to cook delicious veggies, and perfect for outdoor summer dinners. Chop them up, toss them with some spices and olive oil, and throw it all in the basket. Fire up the BBQ, and grill some salmon, steaks, or chicken up to go with it. On the morning of a busy day, prep the veggies and put the meat in the marinade. When you arrive home, all you have to do is throw it on the grill. Try using zucchini, red onion, summer squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, and asparagus.
Before you smother your awesome Paleo dinner with marinade from the fridge, take a second to read the ingredients. Chances are, sugar is one of the first three items listed! Don't be daunted - making your own is actually quite simple. Click HERE to check out some unique marinade ideas from "Marks Daily Apple".
6 year-old Ari, one of our Paradigm Panthers, performed some CF skills at his school talent show this past week. To the tune of "I CrossFit and I Know It", Ari rocked his routine! Today, in his honor, we are doing the "Ari" in all classes.
If proper movement is learned from an early age and coordination is built over the years of growing and developing, then the foundation is perfectly set for an active and healthy adulthood. Kids LOVE to move! Our mission is to preserve that love and associate fun with exercise and physical activity. We aim to build confidence, raise self-esteem, and learn new physical skills.
For more info on our Panthers Program for kids ages 5-10, click HERE.
I often sing the praises of the blog "marksdailyapple.com" by Mark Sisson. He hits the nail on the head over and over, providing enlightenment and clarity on many issues regarding nutrition and health.
It can be frustrating trying to explain CrossFit to non-CrossFitters, and it can similarly be very difficult to "defend" your paleo nutritional choices that seem, to much of the outside world, completely wacky! Meat every day? No bread? BACON is allowed?!?
Check out his recent article which gives perfectly logical responses to some of the most common reactions people have to your grain-free diet. And if you are skeptical of going grain-free yourself, read on as well! Don't take our word for it...educate yourself, try it, and see for yourself if there's a reason for tossing the pasta. Check the article out HERE
Full Name: Jessica Reyes
Hometown: Santa Clara, CA
Occupation: Research Assistant / Therapist
Started CrossFit: October 2011
Favorite WOD: Any type of "CHIPPER"
Least favorite WOD: Not sure if I want to answer this because Ronny & Mel may program it more! The AMRAP's are the most difficult for me since it is a continuous repetition of butt kicking. Never-ending!
Current Goals: a sub 5 "Grace" (currently 5:36) and be able to complete "Isabel" Rx (just 10 lbs off right now!)
How did you first get exposed to CF? Take us back to your first WOD...what was it, and how did it feel?
My very first taste of CF was with Ronny & Melody at Hellyer park for a 6am bootcamp workout which incorporated kettle bells, jump ropes, and pushups. I started to watch inspirational videos of women throwing up heavy weight and was instantly mesmerized with the incredible athletes that CF created. My first WOD was "Trevor with a Twist" in October 2011. It had push ups, pull ups, running...it was terrible! You can see our picture right before the workout on the Paradigm home page - we did not look like that afterwards for sure! It was different. It was tough. It pushed me further than any bootcamp workout had ever done. But like they say, no one ever regrets a workout. And I didn’t.
What was your sports and fitness background?
I played softball and soccer from a young age through college. In 2007, I fell off the fitness wagon and gained a bunch of weight. Starting in October 2009, I joined a bootcamp for a few months with Ronny, but then fell off the wagon again. I started back up one year later in October 2010 at the same bootcamp and then transitioned into CrossFit with Ronny & Melody at Paradigm in October 2011. Outside of CF, I run with girlfriends on the weekends and work out at Gold’s Gym to focus on weight training.
What kind of changes have you seen with your body, health and fitness level since starting CF?
Before CF and finally getting back into workouts in October 2010, I was at my heaviest weight ever - 220 lbs at 5’2”. I felt okay with myself because no one ever told me I was overweight...that was until one of my son’s friends told my son that I was fat. This broke my heart when my son told me this. I wasn’t fat, was I? I WAS FAT and UNHAPPY. I felt beautiful inside and life had opened up many amazing opportunities for me, but I was not happy with my health and how I looked. I had become a lazy overeater who ate because she could. My boyfriend had gotten tired of me constantly comparing myself to these skinny models on television and told me that I either needed to change what I don’t like or stay the same and quit complaining. Reality Check!! I started to workout and I focused on my overeating. I created a support group for myself that was there for me when I needed them. With the dedication to fitness, I now actually have arms with muscles in them. My back is so much stronger than it has ever been before. I have stomach muscles and my legs are toned. Every part of my body has changed and I can’t express how happy it makes me to see these changes. It only drives me further to continue to push myself to get results. The results keep me going. I’m back at my high school weight. My junior prom dress is big on me. My blood pressure is in the athletic range. With the help from others and motivation from within, I am able to love myself more than I have before.
Any unexpected changes in your life that you have experienced since taking on CF?
I have found an amazing second family that is there for me when I need to call on them. You come into the CF box and know no one - and then you leave like brother and sister. The bond is so tight and everyone is there to cheer each other on. Life’s stressors are left at the gym door and we come together to workout. For that hour, we are busting our butts to better ourselves and that time is just for us. We learn in that hour how to push ourselves to the next level where change happens.
Any favorite CF moments that you have had so far?
My favorite moment is one that I had dreamt of for a long time. I had been working on my pull ups for some time and would go to the gym to work on my back strength and just practice, practice, practice. One day I came into the gym and was playing around on the bars thinking that just like every other day, I wouldn't get it. But that day was different. I surprised myself. I was so excited I had to make sure it was legit! Mel and Ronny watched me as I got not just one pull up, but four consecutive pull ups. I couldn’t stop smiling! Hard work and consistency had paid off.
Advice for the people out there just getting started?
Don’t give up. Results don’t come overnight. It is with hard work, consistency, and dedication to yourself, that change will come. If you can’t get a double under or handstands, work on it. Don’t feel down because you can’t do it. Take pride in the fact that you are actively working to achieve something. And when you do, know that you deserved it and continue to master the skill. Don’t ever stop.
Hobbies, interests, or talents outside of CF?
I enjoy running with my girls, singing in the car, and learning about history from my amazingly smart son. I love spending time with family, BBQ'ing and camping. I love to be in the sun and would love to one day learn how to surf. I love country music and dancing salsa. I enjoy working out at Gold’s with my fiancé Carlos. I love helping others achieve their fitness goals. I am a full time graduate student at Notre Dame de Namur University and will graduate in December 2013. I’m a member of an International Honor Society, Psi Chi. My favorite animal is a horse and I have a crazy dog named Cowie who keeps me warm at night.
"...you have to have balance in life. Have something that you are dedicated to, but you have to enjoy it.....At the end of the day, when you are 50 or 60 years old, people will forget the medals. But they're not gonna forget who you are as a person." -Shawn Johnson, Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast
Perhaps the most forgotten of the physical skills is balance. Often more neglected in the gym than strength or power, balance should be the bedrock of all of our movements. It should also be evident in our life at large! What an amazing example this video provides of a supportive mother, who while empowering her daughter, simultaneously taught her balance and humility. Generally easier said than done! It's often quite challenging to work our hardest, even when we want to quit, and yet still remember to have fun with it and keep a proper positive outlook.
Give priority to the things that really matter: how we treat others and how we conduct ourselves. Even if you aren't where you wish you were performance-wise, remember that there is someone out there who would kill to be in your shoes. No matter how good we get, there's generally someone better out there, so don't act like your s#@% don't stink! And when we get to where we are going, we will only want to climb higher anyways. Milestones are important. Victories should be celebrated. But who we are as people is of such greater significance than our accolades. Keep it in perspective!
CrossFit Events Section
Next Happy Hour!
Sign up for our Happy Hour… limited to first 25 people… HERE. This will take place on 5/10 at 6pm until 8ish.
Beach Body Competition!
Are you ready to get in a bikini?? Or Man-kini? Summer’s around the corner, weather is getting hot, and clothes are coming off!! Strut your stuff this summer, and let this challenge drive you!
2013 NorCal Regionals
In the biggest NorCal CF competition of the year, 48 women, 48 men, and 30 teams battle it out for the coveted 3 Games spots granted each division. Don’t miss this spectacular event going on in Santa Rosa, Friday May 24th-Sunday May 26th. Check out details HERE. Paradigm Schedule: Friday all classes except Ninja, all Saturday classes, NO Sunday Open Gym.
Allergy Elixir: Summer Edition
Communication Hill: Summer Field Trip #1
Allergies “Bee Gone”!
Paradigm Beach Body Challenge
Keeping Priorities Straight
Athlete Spotlight: Scott Wojnowski
13.5 Coaching Advice
13.4 Coaching Advice
Paradigm/Brethren HOOVER BALL Tourney!
Lunch For A Week
Success Depends on Commitment
The Best Smoothie EVER
Easter Bunny Gone Paleo
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