Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Glassman says, "the art [of CF] is in the programming". So true, and yet that alone isn't enough; even perfectly designed programming is rendered useless without the right coach to deliver it. In my opinion, the things that matter most about any CF gym, are these two facets: programming and coaching. All the other stuff is just details...what type of bumper plates you use, square footage, T-shirts, membership options... Solid and skillful coaching, coupled with creatively diverse yet structured and intentional programming, makes a box truly exceptional.
CF is a core strength and conditioning program. It is not sport specific. Because it incorporates a broad range of physical skills, it will positively transfer to just about every other athletic endeavor. But it's not enough to simply throw the skills into a hat and randomly draw out the WOD every day, trusting that the result will be well-rounded progress. Although the "hopper deck" is fun to utilize sometimes, there's a lot more detail and forethought that goes into purposeful programming.
Because CF operates under an affiliate structure, each gym has control over how they do what they do. Although the programming differs considerably from affiliate to affiliate, it's generally done by the gym owners or head coaches. Here's how it goes down at Paradigm. No, we do not follow some schedule sent to us from the CF gods every month, nor do we insert the mainsite WOD into our programming every day. And we definitely don't wake up at 4:45am every morning and sleepily wonder what skills we should toss together and what numbers we should assign to them. For Ronny and I, programming is one of the parts of our job that we enjoy the most. This is partially because we love constructing WODs that will leave everyone wrecked from the havoc, cursing us while purchasing ice cold coconut water...but also because we enjoy the process. We peruse other websites in the community, read up on the methods of coaches that we respect, and implement our own ideas and designs to reach certain goals for our members. This all gets integrated together to create your week at Paradigm.
While the beauty for you is that the programming is taken care of and you just need to show up, there are some key things about programming that you should understand that will help you saturate as much as you can from it:
1. Mechanics - Consistency - THEN Intensity. The intensity with which you train must depend on your level. Most of the anti-CF world's complaints center around injury, and most of the injuries revolve around poor technique partnered with a premature degree of intensity. During your CF infancy, you will still get an adequate ass-kicking from the cardio (running, rowing, plyometrics). But the skills must be solidified on a foundational level before intensity is loaded on. If you shift into beast-mode gear too soon, before range of motion and proper form is met, poor habits will be reinforced and engrained.
2. Your WOD frequency depends on your level. Newbie: start with 2x weekly. Eventual goal: 5 days a week, ideally following either a 5-on and 2-off pattern, or 3-on, 1-off, 2-on, 1-off schedule. Too much too soon always ends bad. Keep in mind that your overall training and progress will differ greatly depending on your weekly attendance. If you come to 1 class a week, it may seem like all you do is squat, while going months without deadlifting! Our programming targets the advanced athlete who will train 5 days a week, and yet it is fashioned in such a way that it can always be modified or scaled for ANY athlete.
3. Before adding double-days or supplementing your CF training, consider your actual deficiencies and priorities. Everyone should address mobility issues early on, rather than later in the game. The first type of supplementation I like to see in our members is mobility work. Eventually, you will need to add skill-work time to hone in on deficiencies and possibly extra sweat sessions if weight loss is a goal. Should some athletes schedule double-days with CF? Advanced athletes, yes. But it's really crucial to realistically evaluate yourself as an athlete. Let's take a high level athlete who is quite advanced in some areas, yet has some fairly pronounced mobility issues which affect their OHS, and is shy of "elite status" due to the fact that they are not currently capable of L-sits or free handstands. What is more important currently for this athlete's training? Is the main priority currently for this athlete to add a 2nd high intensity WOD for the day with the intent of increasing overall work capacity with extra loading? I would argue that this athlete would benefit much more from a 2nd session that centers on skill-work directly related to his or her deficient movements and additional mobility time to iron out restrictions in that department. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the idea that working more is good, that we forget to work smart.
4. Recording your workouts and results is the single best thing that you the athlete can do in order to ensure that you are fully reaping the benefits of proper programming. Don't rely on the gym's "leaderboard" to keep track of your numbers. Even if you don't really care about your CF Total/never plan on competing/aren't competitive, you still will be shortchanged at times if you do not take on the personal responsibility of logging your workouts and numbers. Often in class, we work off percentages of your 1RM, 3RM, etc on various lifts. If you have no idea what these numbers are, your workout will consequently not be as precise as it could be, therefore failing to yield ideal results. And even non-competitive people want to see change - and things that get measured tend to get better!
"Your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself". -lululemon bag
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This weekend I finally got around to watching the 2011 documentary, Forks over Knives. The movie claims that animal based proteins and foods are the major cause of poor health and disease in our nation, and urges people to adopt a plant-based diet of vegetables and grains. As I was reading various critiques and analyses of the studies used in the film, I stumbled across this satirical letter in one thread. While I'll be discussing the movie in more depth later this week, (stay tuned!), I'm going to allow this funny read to kick off the Forks over Knives discussion.
In case you don't know the characters referenced in this letter, let me quickly fill you in:
Dr. John McDougall is an American physician and author who teaches that degenerative illness can be prevented and treated by adopting a plant-based diet, rich in unprocessed and low-fat foods, and rejecting meat and animal products. His most well known book, "The McDougall Plan", was published in 1983.
Dr. Loren Cordain is a Ph.D. scientist who is considered the leading expert in paleolithic diets. In his main book, "The Paleo Diet", he defends his philosophy of eating vegetables, meats, some fruit, nuts and seeds, similar to our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
Dear Dr. McDougall,
I am writing to thank you for showing me the light. For a period of time, I was seduced by the primal way of eating and living. You can see how I would have fallen under their spell. They promise increased energy, better health, mental clarity, and more sex — all while eating bacon, steak, delicious coconut curries, and chocolate chilli. I mean, it’s basically the perfect con, isn’t it?
It wasn’t until reading your post that I realized this group had a much more nefarious agenda than helping me live longer, healthier, and happier. No, it seems their real goal, as you suggest — was to eat me. Me! A human being! Their promises of bacon and brisket were no more than an adult version of the witch’s candy house in Hansel and Gretel. It was a lure, meant to fatten me up and increase my deliciousness. Needless to say, I was repulsed.
After this horrifying realization, I continued to dig deeper into this rogue community. I found myself thinking of your quote from Dr. Cordain, where he wrote: “Without them (starches, like wheat, rice, corn, and potatoes), the world could probably support one-tenth or less of our present population…”
I found myself wondering … what if this was more than a simple observation on the over-population of our planet? What if it was … a clue? A thinly-veiled hint at the paleo movement’s greatest plan? Was Dr. Cordain sitting in a giant leather chair somewhere, pressing his finger tips together and cackling maniacally as he contemplated his world domination?
Yes, I realized I was onto something. It is my belief that the paleo community intends to attempt to take over the world, and kill off, enslave, or possibly dine on 90% of the world’s population.
I’m sure this will come as no great surprise to you, as you seem to be able to clearly imagine the depths of depravity within this community. But I urge you to do more than write bitter blog posts about it — we must act. Soon.
If we are going to mount a counter attack, though, we have a lot of work ahead of us. I mean, have you seen these people? I don’t mean to alarm you, but a lot of them are pretty darn ripped. Many of them seem to be involved in something called “Crossfit”, which originally I thought seemed quite benign, but now I realize must be a part of their militia training. I’m afraid we will have a difficult time defeating them. I propose we look into the possibility of robot sharks. It may be our only hope.
Until then, I would like to make you an offer. I will gladly stay in the primal community, posing as one of them, learning to eat as they eat and live as they live. You know, to be a mole for you. It will take great sacrifice on my part, but I am willing to do it. That is how deeply I believe in our cause.
Yours in gratitude,
-courtesy of Andrea, http://www.milkshakable.com
The Almond & The Coconut - a Bakery & Coffee Shop. Ok, it's mythical. But why doesn't this exist yet? A charming cupcake-style food truck that hits up all the NorCal CF's! If anyone wants to front all the money and do all the work, i will gladly be the visionary and you can promptly steal my idea. My only request is that you please drive by Paradigm on weekdays around 7am. I'm convinced that if it was given a fitting name that was adequately nebulous, the uninformed wheat junkie could be converted on the spot. Baking with coconut flour is so delicious. Served alongside a coconut milk latte, what's not to love?
I have to thank my sister Corrie for the perfect little cookbook that I get this treasure from. Cooking with Coconut Flour, by Bruce Fife, is not a completely Paleo book. While many recipes are made with honey, some call for regular sugar or sucanat. However, almost all also give reduced sugar options using liquid Stevia, making tons of recipes in this book WLC-friendly. I generally substitute honey, agave, or maple syrup in place of the sugar, (often reducing the amount of total sweetener by a third), and everything that I have made so far has been absolutely fine. They are all baked with Coconut flour, and use butter or coconut oil as fats. The book also has some great dinner dishes.
Today's recipe starts with the basic "honey muffin", which is then given a few upgrades:
HONEY MUFFIN RECIPE
-3 tbsp honey (or 30 drops liquid stevia)
-2 tbsp butter or coconut oil
-2 tbsp coconut milk (I usually use 3)
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp vanilla
-1/4 cup coconut flour
-1/4 tsp baking powder
Mix dry ingredients, mix wet, and then throughly blend together. Pour into greased muffin cups and bake @ 400 for 15 minutes.
A late weekend brunch at home this time of year is absolutely perfect with these freshly made warm muffins, scrambled eggs, and coffee. There's a ton of ways to shake this recipe up, and I still can't decide on my favorite - although today it was the Walnut Date!
*Walnut Date: Add 5 dates chopped into small pieces, and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts.
*Cherry Muffins: Add 1/2 cup dried cherries and 1/4 tsp almond extract.
*Lemon Poppy Seed: Omit the vanilla, instead adding 2 tsp lemon extract or 2 tbsp lemon juice. Add 1-2 tsps of poppy seeds.
What is the movie about? Food Inc is a riveting 2008 documentary which examines the industrial production of meat, grains and vegetables, and the economic and legal powers which have promoted the unhealthy eating habits of the American public. It is directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Kenner. We recommend that you not watch the film if you desire to remain blissfully ignorant about the food which you consume on a daily basis...because you'll never look at dinner the same way again.
When is it? Friday October 5th, @ 7pm.
Who is invited? Anyone! You do not have to be a member of Paradigm to attend. Bring your spouse, a friend, your sister...anyone is welcome. Mature children are welcome to join, provided they are able to quietly watch and listen (or at least as well as the average adult!)
What should I bring? Bring a comfy lawn chair to sit in, otherwise it's a box or the floor! Also bring a dish to share for the potluck dinner that is Whole Life Challenge friendly. Please support the majority of our members who are participating in this challenge by making something yummy that they can enjoy too. If you are not sure what is allowed during the challenge, you can read up on it HERE.
My favorite season is Summer. I love the sun and I hate being cold. So usually when the signs of Fall start to flutter in, I get a bit bummed out...wishing I went to the beach a few more times, relaxed in the sun with cold iced tea more, and enjoyed more late warm evening walks.
No better way to get over that pity party than making soup - seriously! In preparation for our quarterly Nutrition Seminar this weekend, I decided to give this new recipe a shot. Not only was it incredibly easy to make and out of this world delicious, but it is also "Whole Life Challenge" compliant (one week away folks!). My entire house smelled fantastic and I found myself getting excited for Thanksgiving... (yes, still nearly three months away). I seem to forget every year how wonderful Autumn smells, until the season reminds me; pumpkin spice candles, homemade dishes, and the unique crispness of the air outside, all make for a cozy home. Topped off with a fragrant pot of soup, perfection!
Here's the recipe for the dish that got voted best of the seminar:
Butternut Squash Soup (taken from "Make it Paleo")
-1 onion, chopped
-2 tbsp coconut oil
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
-1 quart chicken stock
1. Saute the onion in coconut oil in a large pot.
2. Add spices and salt.
3. Add squash, pour in broth, and boil till squash is tender.
4. Puree in blender or food processor till smooth.
5. Garnish with a dash of pumpkin spice.
*If you are in a hurry, get butternut squash already peeled and chopped at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or Costco (seasonal). If you have the time and want to take the dish to the next level, roast the squash yourself in the oven.
*Also super yummy topped with crumbled bacon and walnuts!
*Take it to holiday dinners or potlucks in a crock pot to serve warm and fresh.
Every so often, I'm reminded of just how great a workout is. This past Sunday was like that for me. I have a really bad habit of overbooking myself on underbooked days. Somehow I'm capable of taking a few precious free hours, and cramming every second full of tasks. It's super lame.
This particular day was no exception. I was incredibly overambitious with what I could pull off to begin with. Then, due to some poor planning and careless mistakes, a quick run to Trader Joes turned into two separate trips, the kitchen was left a disaster, and time got away from me. Funny how when push comes to shove on the to-do list, the "workout" gets pushed to the "if time allows" section. And that's what happened. I was left with 45 minutes to get my workout in, shower and get dressed, and drive to our engagement. Simply not enough time. I then proceeded to waste another 5 minutes wondering if it was worth making an outfit sweaty for a less than optimal sweat session. But, being one of those freaks who honestly does love to train, and knowing that my mood would be so much better if I could squeeze it in, I stopped second guessing it and ran out the door.
20 minutes can = a fantastic workout. I ran a fast lap around our block. That includes two very steep hills, so I was quite warmed up, especially since it was so hot. Then I ran 5 simple wind sprints down our street, about 100meters: full sprint there, slow jog return, and straight into the next sprint. There is something about sprints...
1. I honestly would have loved to run 8-10 sprints instead of 5, and a cooldown jog at the end would have been beneficial for sure.
2. Training hard and fast in a neighborhood draws curiosity. As if I wasn't running late enough, our neighbor had to launch a full discussion on running and body fat composition.
3. Due to the convo with the neighbor and my shower (despite it being super speedy), we ended up arriving to our engagement 10 minutes late. My husband was thrilled.
But it was completely worth it! I was reminded of a good lesson, my metabolism got a good spike, and I felt great.
Stop using time as an excuse. If you have less time, you don't cut out whatever you need to do...you just get it done faster! The funny thing is, in other areas of our lives, we apply this all the time: Less time = move faster. When we leave for work 10 minutes late, we speed. When guests are on their way over and the house is a wreck, we act like a maid on crack to get the place presentable. It might not be perfect, with stuff shoved under beds and couches, but we make it work for the time being at least. And some of the best papers in college were written under time pressure...right? So when time gets away from us and we don't end up with the full hour we had hoped to train, why should we use that as an excuse to skip the workout entirely?
And it's no secret to the CrossFitter that the real WODs to fear are the short ones. Fran leaves you a lot more wrecked than Cindy, and all because of the intensity. When you cram a lot of work into a short time frame, amazing things happen. Ditch the old-school thinking that you have to keep yourself in the "fat-burning zone" of sub-maximal intensity for 60 minutes plus. Not only is it outdated silliness, it is a waste of your time. Make every minute count. And sometimes, all you need literally, is a few minutes.
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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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