Tuesday, July 31, 2012
-Miranda Oldroyd, NorCal Regionals 2012
I'm pretty sure that I've heard just about every objection to CF. Sometimes I feel like I should have a phone line where complaints can be filed or something. I can't help thinking, why all the animosity? How can people not see all the GOOD that is flooding from this community? On a daily basis I see healthier people, stronger relationships, active youth becoming passionate about caring for their bodies, tighter-knit families, and increased self-confidence. As a self-acknowledged recovering "CF Snob", (a person who believes CF is paramount to all other programs and who looks down on non-CF's with disdain... by the way, do they have some sort of support group for us?), I really should just focus on improving my MU's rather than wasting time and energy with the haters out there. But CF honestly did change my life, and I desperately want to share it with others. Which is why, nine times out of ten, I generally attempt to politely listen to the claims and try to give the world of CF half a decent defense.
The #1 objection, without a doubt, has to be that it is SO DANGEROUS. Before I rip this conclusion to shreds, or better, allow Miranda to do it for me, let me say that there is some truth to this gripe. Unfortunately, there are some under qualified coaches encouraging inexperienced clients to use inappropriate weights. And let's be honest: falling from a rope climb could surely result in some serious ramifications. It is a sport, and most sports (with the exception of maybe ping pong...hey it's in the Olympics!) involve occasional injuries. My worst CF injury to date, (knock on wood), is a hand sprain a couple months ago going for a max squat clean. Bugged me for a few months, and caused me to have to steer clear of cleans and OH movements for about half that time. More serious injuries in my past included swing sets, skate parks, and high school PE. And no one was avidly trying to keep me away from those life-threatening locales.
So how do I rationalize the sport of CF when I get horrified looks from people who hear we have a kid's program? (probably envisioning the tiny tots being forced to max dead-lift or carry heavily laden yoke bars...) Put simply, the pros outweigh the cons. The real killers are not rope climbs and handstands. They are heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. And the tragic newcomer to the current top ten causes of death in our country? Suicide. Think teaching the youth that their body is an incredible gift, and giving them a supportive community to grow up in, might help that stat a bit??
But surely all that muscle that makes active women look "bulky", the heavy loads and high intensity, is going to wreak havoc on our bodies as we age? I'm ready to place bets against this claim any day of the week. In fact, all that muscle might actually just save you at some point. Here's an incredible story told by one of my favorite athletes to watch, Miranda. Her story is long, but reading it all the way through is a must. Share it with the next good meaning CF hater you stumble upon.
-Chris Spealler, 2011 Games, courtesy CF HQ
"Be patient. Your fitness level is something that is going to generally take a long time to get to where you think you want it. And when you are there, you will want it higher. Don't define yourself by your numbers and your times. Define yourself by who you are and what you are about. CrossFit is something you do, it is not who you are. That can help keep things in good perspective." -Chris Spealler
Our fitness path is like every other journey in life. Rather than a road towards a final pinnacle of health with a final summit, it is a lifelong adventure, with ups and downs. Sometimes we can become so mono-focused on our goals, measurements, and current deficiencies within CF, that we forget about having fun. Don't take yourself, or your CrossFitting, too seriously. We CF because we love it! While training and disciplining our bodies makes us better and more complete in many ways, it is the enhanced person we are that matters, not that number or record that stimulated the change. No matter how good we become at something, someone will inevitably beat us. Performances will be trumped, and numbers forgotten. We are remembered by the impact we leave on others...not the records we set.
While the milestones are meaningful and serve a purpose, we have to remember to keep things in the proper perspective. There is a fine line between passion and obsession. Passion fires who we are while obsession takes over and actually stifles our development. The lessons we learn in the gym impact so many different areas of our lives. When our bodies become healthier, our minds become sharper, our relationships stronger, and our entire outlook on life can improve. Let CF color who you are, rather than define you. Just as we should never stop learning, we should never be finished becoming who we are. Be ambitious with your goals while balancing that zeal with a decent dose of patience.
Just in case you are finding regular muscle-ups a tad boring, there's always ways of shaking things up. CF is, by definition, "constantly varied, functional movement, performed at high intensity"! While we don't have hot air balloons on the menu this morning, we do have a nice smorgasbord of skills going on today. Come down, partner up, and start your weekend off right.
Summer Throw-Down participants: three weeks till go time! Everyone else, be there on August 18th to cheer on your fellow athletes. Teams will be announced this coming week. Prizes awarded for First place team, "Spirit of the Throw-Down", and "Best Dressed Team"!
-Games 2012 Track Snatch WOD, courtesy CF HQ
I'll admit it: it's not always pretty to have CF hands. While I used to reach for the gloves prior to touching a dumbbell pre-CF, my desire to improve my performance far outweighs my hand appearance these days. You decide: perfectly manicured hands, or bar muscle-ups? If you envision pull-ups in your future, rough hands and horrified looks at the nail salon are the real-life price for the ability to bust out the bar skills. But just cause the hands are gonna get rugged, doesn't mean that they don't have to be maintained. Don't wait till they bust and you are forced to deal with the resulting injury; start paying attention and caring for your paws now, before they tear. Unfortunately, ripped hands are sometimes paraded around as a CF badge of honor. But don't get it twisted...they hurt terribly, can completely screw up your training schedule, and can usually be avoided in the first place!
Check out this awesome article by Tabata Times on prevention, treatment, and taping. Ronny and Melody's secret to maintaining CF hands? The Dremel power tool + buffer kit. I'm dead serious-this tool is a life saver for calluses (and you can sell your spouse on it by showing how handy you will be with all those fix-it projects around the house!)
Tabata Times Hand Repair Article
No matter what you face, ask yourself if someone at some time has had it worse, and has overcome it anyways...the thought is both humbling and inspiring. Our greatest fears can transform into our greatest feats; the power is ours. What is your biggest challenge, and what can you do despite it, with the day that you have been given?
"Fear is only as deep as the mind allows." -Japanese Proverb
Most of us have been CrossFitting since we were babies, doing all sorts of stuff from deadlifts, squats, sprints, climbing, and variations of pushups, planks, pull-ups, and sit-ups.
Then life happens. We learn how to sit. And work behind a computer. And our "CrossFit career" takes an eventual crap.
We lose the ability to move functionally. We learn how to play video games, (or at least I did!), and use toys that slowly replace our adventurous and active lifestyles. The "seat" starts to play it's influence more and more. We stop CrossFitting until finally this cool guy Ronny and his wife Melody decide to open Paradigm CF in South San Jose.
Then BAM! Now we are getting back in touch with our roots. We are learning how to properly deadlift, squat, climb, pull, push, carry, throw, and weight lift. We are getting better at life, and we are growing YOUNGER, fitter, and finally having a lot of fun while doing it (as opposed to running like a hamster on the treadmill!). Friends and family might think we are crazy, but the way we are feeling as our functional capacity increases, speaks for itself.
Two points I wanna make here:
1. It's not too late for your kids. They NEVER have to lose the ability to CrossFit. CF Kids wasn't around for us, but it is for your kids-and they'll probably love it.
2. When your friends don't think that they can CrossFit, let them know that they were made to move functionally, and it's time to get back to it!
Everything that we do in CrossFit is some variation or expansion of what we were designed to be able to do. Although life provides a myriad of distractions, that does not change the fact that we were still made to move. Taking care of yourself is a prerequisite to taking care of others - and don't underestimate how much those "distractions", (relationships, responsibilities and even careers) will dramatically improve when you become healthier...and thereby happier and more confident! CF involves exercise that takes us back to our roots. We relearn how to not suck at life. Some of us might have a longer way to go, but we're all heading in the right direction.
Sometimes kids and babies can be our best CrossFit coaches. The next time you see a kid playing around and exploring the world, observe his functional movement and think about how to apply it in your next WOD. Combining natural biomechanics from our youth with perfect nutritional intake from our ancestors, is what we strive to do daily with CF. Except...don't BE a baby, just try to move more like them!
Alex Mijares and Jessica Reyes at Paradigm Grand Opening Throw-down, January 2012
We are just over a month away from our Summer Throw-down! Four person, mixed level, Paradigm member teams will go head to head on Saturday, August 18th. Although spaces for the competition are now full, don't miss out on the fun - plan on coming out that morning as a spectator, and cheer on your fellow Paradigm teammates. Prizes will be awarded for "First Place team", "Best Dressed Team", and "Spirit of the Throw-down". Social time following the event!
Stay tuned for official team rosters and announced WOD's. In the meantime, train your weaknesses (hint: you can count on some running!).
-U.S. Marine Base, Camp Pendleton
Just when we thought we were three days out from the 2012 CF Games, athletes are informed that they kick off tomorrow! For the first time in history, the men and women will face four days of competition, with a rest day after day #1. Tomorrow morning, July 11th, competitors will go head to head in four events, all taking place at the U.S. Marine base, Camp Pendleton.
Equipped with fins and bikes, athletes kick off the week with a 700m (7.5 football fields) ocean swim. Next, they will advance to an 8K bike ride over harsh terrain and soft sand. The event finishes with an 11.3K run, which includes 427m (1,409 feet) of elevation gain. This event will be scored as two events.
After a short rest, athletes begin their next adventure for the day: a bracketed tournament style competition, as they make their way through the Camp Pendleton School of Infantry Obstacle Course. The day concludes with a standing broad jump test (sound familiar anyone??).
Although the announcement shocked many last night at the athlete welcome dinner in L.A., this new twist for the competition is ironically classic CrossFit. In Glassman's "World-Class Fitness in 100 Words", bike, run, and swim are included! Athletes are urged to avoid routine, changing up the order and elements of their training as much as possible. And many suspected swimming would be on the menu. Especially since last year, much to the surprise of many athletes who hadn't included swimwear in their suitcase, the competition was launched at the Santa Monica pier. The beach WOD began with a 200m ocean swim, followed by a soft sand run.
This is the reason why athletes can never be fully prepared; they must expect the unexpected, and rely on training that has been varied enough to cope with curveballs. It is why we should practice new random skills. It is why the Games athletes truly are the fittest in the world - a fact that I believe will be challenged less and less with every passing CF season. It is why, years later, we still aren't bored with CF. In fact, the only thing I'm bummed about is that they haven't been able to finagle live coverage at the military base! Don't miss out - check HERE for updates, coverage, and results during this coming epic weekend.
Read the full article about tomorrow's events HERE.
-Ian Nyquist, starting the day with "Cindy" in Buena Vista, Mexico
The 2012 CF Games are just 4 days away! Checkout the individual WODs HERE and the Team WODs HERE to see what is store for this year's athletes. Live stream coverage can be seen on ESPN3 or on the Games site. . Coverage begins Friday @ 5:15pm ET.
"Perfection is not attainable...but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
95 lb OHS, July 2012
Remarkable change follows consistency! And Missy is walking proof of this. Just one day after full clearance from her doctor, with a 6-week old baby boy at home and a now typical patchy night's sleep, Missy began her CrossFit adventure. Although we knew she was no stranger to commitment and hard work, even we have been blown away by her rapid progression these past few months. Missy averages 4-5 classes per week, normally starting her daily routine with a WOD. When she isn't training, she can usually be found with baby Michael at Starbucks, shopping, or spending time with family and friends. Just this past week, Missy is back in her favorite pair of jeans, and is just a few pounds away from her pre-pregnancy weight. But just as impressive as the dramatic changes to her physique, has been the focus and determination she has exemplified daily at Paradigm over the past few months. Her eyes were set on where she wanted to be and with confidence and daily follow through, she didn't look back. She says that ”a happy mom/wife, is a happy baby/hubby”...and no one would doubt the truth of that after meeting sweet, smiling little Michael! We are so proud of you Melissa and know that your example inspires those around you!
Full Name: Melissa aka “Missy” Afentoulis
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Occupation: Executive Assistant PayPal
When did you first start CrossFitting? April, 2012
Favorite WOD: So far, my favorite was “The Chief”. I typically like AMRAP's.
Least favorite WOD: That’s a big toss-up between the "Hotel Room WOD" or the "CF for Hope" Workout (both are brutal!)
Tell us a bit about your "Fitness Story"...
It begins in 2003 when I weighed in at 275lbs. From that very moment I stepped off the scale, I knew I had to take control of my life. I joined a weight loss program and started to hit the gym. Over the course of a few years, I was successful and lost a good amount of weight. When my body reached a plateau in 2007, I decided to change things up and start personal training with Ronny. That was the best decision I ever made. Once I started to train with Ronny, my body transformed in ways I never thought were possible. I started at a body fat percentage of 26% and with time, patience and dedication, it dropped to my lowest ever of 17%.. I was literally in the best shape of my life and felt so incredibly healthy & strong.
I was pretty much able to maintain my weight and activity level until I became pregnant in July, 2011. At that time, I was participating in Ronny & Melody’s bootcamp, which I continued for the first two months pregnancy. I eventually stopped attending once I moved to the other side of town and found myself with no energy to do anything other than go to work and sit on the couch. Pregnancy was a lot harder than I thought.
Although I wasn't happy about the 44lbs I gained during my pregnancy, according to my doctors, I had done very well. I ended up having to get a c-section on March 6th and on April 19th, I got approval from my doctor to work out again. I started my CrossFit Foundations the very next day! I wasn’t waiting any longer than needed; I was ready to get back in shape and determined to shed the baby weight. As of today, nearly three months into CrossFit, I’m about 8- 9lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight and feel extremely positive about the direction I’m headed.
This is hands down the best workout program I’ve ever participated in. I love the variety of the routines and the continuous encouragement from the coaches and members. It’s such a positive environment and I’m thankful to be part of it all.
How have you dealt with the challenges of being the mom of a newborn and CrossFitting?
I’m a firm believer in “mind over matter” and while being a new mom has its fair share of challenges, I don’t allow myself to make excuses for why I can’t find a balance. For me, when it comes to fitness and getting myself back into shape, it’s extremely important. I’ve been blessed to have a supportive family who has stepped up to help me with the baby so I can attend CF. Obviously with a newborn, finding time to do anything is very difficult, so I’ve had to learn to prioritize the things I do in my life. If that means I’m not able to get my hair or nails done because I would miss a WOD, so be it.
Have there been any unexpected changes in your life that you have experienced as a result of taking on CF?
After attending the nutrition seminar that Paradigm CrossFit offers, I learned how to make healthier food choices by changing to a Paleo diet. It has really opened my eyes to a new world of great nutrition and has helped give me the energy I need to get through classes.
Any favorite CF moments that you have had so far?
Besides the silly time I realized I was still able to do a cartwheel, the one particular moment that stands out was when I was able to get my name on the leaderboard for the 2000m row. This occurred shortly after I started CF, so it was a huge accomplishment to know I was able to push myself enough to get up there!
Any short-term CF goals on the horizon?
I would like to be able to do at least 15 consecutive DU's. And one un-assisted pull-up!
Advice for people just getting started?
My advice for any new mom trying to get back into a fitness routine is this: It’s easy to put ourselves at the bottom of the list. But if staying fit and healthy is important to you, then it’s okay to be a little selfish by doing whatever possible to make that happen. Try and carve time out for yourself...it makes a huge difference in your overall attitude.
Don’t get discouraged or think CF is too “advanced” for you. I promise it gets easier and you will see results as long as you stay focused, committed and make healthy food choices.
What seems impossible today will become reality tomorrow.
Rarely should athletes at Paradigm miss their workouts. If you're not hitting it 5 days a week, then maybe you are new and since you're perpetually sorer than crap, you should ease into it. If you're not hitting it 5 days a week, you've been with us for at least a month, and your schedule doesn't allow you to attend that often, then you should NEVER ask yourself the title of this post. You should be in here every opportunity you get... and hopefully that equates to minimally 3 days a week.
Paradigm's programming is awesome, if I may say so myself! It's varied, and will allow you to make progress beyond what you thought was capable - so long as you never allow yourself to consider that detrimental question! Keep in mind the picture below,
Phenomenal gains are a result of showing up and working hard; form the right habits and watch your life change. Refrain from making excuses and you'll find yourself in the best shape of your life and hitting PR's on the regular!
-Ronny Varghese, Bora Bora 2010
Chances are that you're pretty passionate about the Overhead Squat...you either passionately love it, or passionately hate it. Since I am the former, I have to remind myself that a lot of you haters out there might need to warm up a bit to this one. So many different elements must work in synthesis for the the OHS to be successful, making the skill incredibly challenging, but also extremely rewarding.
When the pieces start to fall into place, a few things will be apparent. First of all, you will feel the OHS "sweet spot" - that special niche where the bar sits, directly bisecting your body throughout the range of motion. When this spot is found, you will be able to utilize balance and core control to dominate that weight, rather than straining under an attempt to use raw strength to harness a weight that is actually controlling you. Second, your abs will probably be sore the next day. Soreness does not determine a good workout, but it usually follows one. It goes without saying that your shoulders, quads, and glutes are hard at work during the OHS, but don't forget about the core - it should be working the hardest!
Limiting factors with the OHS that you may need to address:
#1: Shoulder Flexibility. I'm not a big advocate of people purchasing treadmills or stair masters for their homes, for the simple reason that they become dust-laden clothes racks. But I AM a huge fan of every household having a 30 cent PVC. Practice pass throughs and squats regularly with the cheapest fitness tool you will probably ever add to your array. This will enable you to develop a more narrow and flexible OH grip.
#2: Any issues that you have with your basic air squat. Piling weight and complexity on top of poor form definitely won't help anything. If, in the air squat, lack of calf flexibility causes your heels to lift, or your inner thighs are tight resulting in your knees collapsing inwards, chances are it will only happen more in the OHS. A solid air squat must be in place before weight is added OH (again, stretching is needed).
#3: Core Control... Or the lack thereof, blatantly manifests itself in the OHS! This is one time when strength in another area of our bodies cannot compensate for a weak core. If you struggle in this department, practice holding weight overhead while simply standing. Start with a light bar and concentrate on "tucking your butt", (squeezing glutes and opening hips), while drawing your belly button back and in. Keep the core tight while breathing. Gradually work up to heavier weights and longer times as you build stability with the weight OH.
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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