Community Archive

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Two years ago, I had no idea if we would still be training out of a park or not. I didn’t know if CrossFit would bust, or if some major corporation would wipe out all the small Affiliates.

I still don’t know those things today, but what I do know is that we’ll continue doing this for as long as we can, as best as we can.

I remember telling our small group of students back then that if our move into a facility didn’t work out, I’d see them all back at the park and we’ll continue training for fun after I got off of working at McDonalds or where ever.

Our classes are reaching capacity, our On Ramp continues to grow, and our students continue to progress and hit new records. Watching yesterday’s On Ramp orientation and seeing how supportive our students are and how fundamentally sound our Coaches are is crazy, pure crazy. It’s watching excellence become an attitude, a way of life.

As we continue to move forward, we’ll continue to keep our mission on focus, which is to help people change their lives for the better. And, along with every business decision we make, we ask ourselves if it will allow us to sustainably meet that mission.

With that, we’ll be adding an additional group class on Tuesdays at 8:30pm to open up the evening classes. A Thursday 8:30pm class will also be added for competitors (tryouts to come).

Thank you for being a 101er, keep training that positive mindset, and enjoy every burning rep in the gym.

Group A:
Strength:
1RM snatch balance

Work:
“Nancy”
5 rounds
400m run
15 overhead squats, 95lbs

Cash out:
2:00min Hip Flexor Stretch, each leg

Group B:
Strength:
1RM snatch

Work:
“Cindy”
AMRAP in 20min
5 pull ups
10 push ups
15 squats

Cash out:
50 Russian twists, no weight

Advance Strength

Check in with a coach before starting.

Floor Press 1 RM (regular bar regular bar wide grip)
Accessory work:
Low rack floor press (2×8) for speed at single reps, explosive movement
Kettle Bell Skull Crushers (3×12)
Band pull downs (100 reps for time)
GHD sit ups (100 reps for time)

Results:
060612 Nancy & Cindy

“Rest and recovery are just as important as the training if not more.”

First, the biggest component is sleep. Ideally, you need 8-9 hours of sleep to allow your body to do its repairs and adapt to the stimulus from the workouts.

Then, it’s nutrition. Without the right building blocks, your protein, carbs, and fat, your body won’t have the material it needs to build you into a fitter you.

Next, it’s ice baths. Freeze a block of ice and toss it into your tub and spend time there to flush the lactic acid build up in your body.

After that, it’s body management. Myofacsia release in other terms means using the foam/plastic rollers and lacross balls to unglue your muscle fibers.

Lastly, it’s checking your ego. If you are genetically gifted and can recover without any problems, more power to you. But if you’re not, don’t be afraid to take an extra rest day to give your body adequate time to recover. Just don’t allow yourself to use that as an excuse when you’re just not feeling it.

Work hard and be smart about your training. Put yourself in the best position to succeed!

Happy Valentines Day!  Helen has provided some bundtinis for those participating in the workouts tonight.  Use the sugar as a post recovery snack…this time… 

[slideshow]


Workout
1-1-1-1-1-1-1 Thruster

Working sets:
L4: 135, 155, 185, 205
L3: 95, 115, 135, 155
L2: 45, 65, 75, 85
L1: 15, 22, 32, 42

Then,
In couples, complete as many rounds as possible in 3 min of:
2 burpees
2 thrusters, 2x45lbs

Results:
021411 1RM Thruster

This time last weekend, I experienced an incident that has left me a different person. I write about this not to dramatize the incident, but to communicate and share what I have learned. In actuality, it’s probably more to get the thoughts, which are looping in my head, out.

I, and 7 others, all TracFitters at one point or another, and all in good physical shape, headed out this past weekend for a backpacking trip in Yosemite. We spent a month planning for the 3 day trip and spent the better part of a week prepping our gear and planning for all sorts of contingencies to risks we knew we would face. We fully understood we would be on our own backpacking in an isolated wilderness area.

We were all excited, ready for the challenge, and after a long drive, we finally arrived at our trail head. Full of anticipation of an extreme fun filled weekend, we hit the trail. Ten minutes into the hike, we covered about 400m and took a short break underneath some shade to sort out some of our gear. During that break, a member in our party suddenly loss consciousness while standing and fell head first, impacting his head and jaw at full force against a rock on the ground. Watching this happen, it felt unreal and it was as if it had happened in slow motion. As our friend laid there motionless on the ground, I think all of us were expecting him to start picking himself back up, but when he didn’t, the seriousness of the matter sunk heavily down on us like a wave holding us under water. As we turned him over, we were given our first glimpse of the trauma of the fall. To see someone who was just full of life seconds ago, lay there in bad shape, was shocking to say the least. It suddenly felt like time was accelerating and while some of us were still in shock of the accident, myself included, cooler heads prevailed and got us refocused on assessing the situation and providing first aid. Lesson 1: Good leaders must also be great followers.

Our friend laid there with a deep lacerations, bleeding, face pale and green, and after shaking from seizures, stopped breathing. “Who knows CPR?!” “I do!” As we began chest compressions and clearing his airway, he started coming back and took a few breathes on his own. “Thank you God.” As he started to regain consciousness, we sat him up so that we could clear his mouth of the blood that was now starting to fill up rapidly in his mouth. This marked a long and difficult set of problems that our friend and our party had to solve for the remainder of the weekend. I can’t speak for the rest of our party, but I believe our training helped us both mentally and physically cope with the problems we faced. Lesson 2: Break big problems into small ones. Take it one step at a time.

It became an ultimate situation of the unknown and unknowable. We had researched and planned for how to deal with bears (which are prevalent in the area), snake bites, weather changes, water resupply, and every other high risk situation we knew existed, gun shots included. We as a group have done some pretty risky, aka stupid stunts in the past, but the thought of one of us losing consciousness and suffering a serious injury like this was one that never crossed any of our minds. We had addressed injuries like broken arms and legs, but the way that this injury occurred felt like someone pulled the rug underneath us. This was not part of our plan, we did not want to accept it, but here the situation was, and we could either stay in shock or we could do what we could to help our friend. It became an application of TYB (try your best) mentality and it forced us to adapt. Lesson 3: Welcome to the New Plan.

We’ve all been trained in first aid and CPR, but none of us have ever had to apply it in real life. Watching videos and practicing in a sterile environment just doesn’t prepare you for the speed at which real emergencies occur. Lesson 4: Skills, you lose them if you don’t use them, so train how you fight.

Our friend was not breathing, our sole purpose at that point was do what we could to address his breathing. Once he started breathing on his own, we moved on to address the next problem which was his bleedind. Once we addressed that, our next goal was getting him professional care. Lesson 5: Triage. Focus on what has the most impact first.

This led us to our first of many dilemmas of deciding what was best to do. We had to decide whether we would keep our friend stationary and send some in our party to head back out to the ranger station, which was at least 30 minutes away by car, and bring help back, or try to carry our friend back out to the car and then all drive back together to the ranger station, or see if we could assist him to walk back down the trail to our vehicles. Would we be doing more harm than good? Would we be wasting time? Do we help him walk or do we carry him out? There was an endless list of questions that ran through our heads. After observing his state and asking him questions to gauge his condition, we decided to help him walk back down the trail. We would double up on backpacks so that one of us could be free to shoulder him out. Lesson 6: When there’s no more new information, it’s time to make a decision.

We were able to get our friend to our vehicles. There is no cell phone reception anywhere in the park, so the only way to get help was either randomly running into a ranger patrolling the park, or drive back out the front of the park where we checked in. We decided that either way, we had to make our way back out to the front of the park. Once there, a ranger assessed our friend and gave us our first indicator that our friend had fractured his jaw. We were then presented the option of waiting and having an ambulance come pick him up or take him to an emergency room ourselves. After going back and forth weighing different factors, we decided to not waste any more time and take him to the ER ourselves. As I look back, I don’t know if that was the best decision knowing now how serious the matter could have been, but at the moment, it was the best decision we could make. Lesson 7: Make the best decision you can as fast as you can. Making a wrong decision is better than making no decision at all.

When we finally arrived at the ER, we felt relieved to finally be in the hands of professional care. But, as one chapter closed, another one began. What started was a long ordeal of tests, scans, more dilemmas, and a lot of anxious time waiting. Our friend was not only physically suffering, but he was mentally suffering as he had to cope with the seriousness of the injury and sit with the thought that there is nothing that could be done to reverse the occurrence of the incident. I felt helpless for him. As much as I wish and prayed that he didn’t have to go through this, there was nothing we could do but move forward with the next steps in his care and recovery. Through it all, we did our best to keep his spirits up, but we really couldn’t do much but just be there. His own positive voice was strong enough to help him on his own. He told himself that he would get through this, he understood that it could have been much worse, and that he would be stronger because of it. Through a multiple fractured jaw, he even cracked jokes about the whole situation. It was truly inspirational as I do not think I could be as strong as he was in this kind of situation. Lesson 8: Focus your energy on what is in your control.

I’m happy to say that our friend received care for his injuries and is OK and home now. He has a long road ahead of him for recovery, but we are all glad that he is in the condition that he is in, because to all of us who witnessed his fall, we know that things could have ended much, much worse. I used to think that people who had PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) probably had some mental weakness that made them preconditioned for it, but after witnessing this accident which is relatively much less severe than what many who have PTSD experience, I can empathize with others who have witnessed those they care about get hurt. It’s quite difficult to keep those images and the feelings associated with them under control. Lesson 9: You don’t know until you know.

Things could have been much worse. Lives were changed within seconds. There was no way we could have expected or prevented what happened. I think I know why I’m writing this now, and it’s to highlight the resilience of the human spirit. Our friend held tough and continues to be strong through the whole ordeal and it helped us hold tough to resolve the problems that faced us so that we could help him out as best as we could. The moment we notified his family, they were ready to come travel to be by his side. We can’t live risk free. Even if we mitigate every risk in the world, we will never be able to guarantee our safety. We were given this problem and left with choosing either to move forward positively or break down and do nothing. We can either make the most of things and appreciate the fullness of life, or we can waste energy and focus on what we lack in. I don’t know if I’ll ever face another difficult situation like this or not, but I do know that I won’t mind training for the rest of my life if it means that I’ll be just a little more prepared and effective for a time when I am tested again.

I’m glad that we had the physical capability of carrying our friend back down the trail if it was necessary. I’m glad that we had the mental strength and endurance to provide care for him in a calm and effective manner. And, I’m ultimately glad, thankful, and blessed that we still have our friend in our lives. Lesson 10: It’s not about living to train, it’s about training to live.

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable weekend and I look forward to a new week of making every second count with our time with each other.

Boy Scout's Motto: "Always be prepared"

To the TracFit/CrossFit 101 Family,

This time last year, my wife and I were driving down to San Diego so that I could attend the CrossFit Level 1 Certification Seminar (here’s some of the first posts on this blog 11/28/09, 11/29/09). If someone would have told me then, that in one year, we would be running our own CrossFit affiliate and be training over 100 athletes, I would have been hard pressed to believe them.

So much has happened since then. My life has been literally turned upside down and I could not be happier. Because of the TracFit family, I know that I am truly blessed. I want to take this opportunity to share what gratitude I can, through these words with you, knowing that it will never be enough to truly show you all how I feel.

First of all, I would like to thank my wife Helen. I am the type of person who gets tunnel vision when pursuing a goal. She has been with me every step of the way. Through the highs and lows, the long hours, the lonely evenings, and the stresses that come with starting a business, she has been there, doing her best to help me, the business, and the athletes grow. CrossFit has made me a better husband, but more importantly, it has made me realize that I always need to strive to be better. Thanks hon for hanging in there. I can definitely say that our marriage is constantly varied, functional, and highly intense :)

Next, to my trainers, assistant trainers, and support staff, you are truly a team and all this would not be possible without your dedicated work. You take care of things that I don’t have the perception to see. When something needs to get done, you take the initiative to do it. Anytime I need help, you are there without question. What more can a leader ask for? Your individual skills, character, personalities, and love, truly inspire me. There are times when I watch you all and ask myself is this really real? It’s a dream come true to see how far you’ve come and it humbles me to know that you are just getting started. I cannot thank you enough for your individual contributions. From the time you have sacrificed, to the support you have given us in your talents and skills, all I can offer you is that I will try my absolute best to help you obtain your goals in and out of the gym. I truly believe that you can take things way beyond whatever I can accomplish.

Lastly to our veteran athletes. From our days at the global gym, your work place, your homes, and the park, isn’t it crazy how far we’ve come? You’ve stuck through 100+ degree whether, bug swarms, gangsters, rain, cold, a scary bathroom, and cinder blocks of all things. Those will be times I will never forget for as long as I live. I know that many people around Cataldi Park are missing the positive atmosphere you brought to the area. Being with us from the beginning means a lot to me and I will do my best to never forget that. You show me day in and day out that what we do means something special and there’s really no way I can ever repay that.

Many companies seek brand loyalty, but not us. Loyalty is not enough, we need to earn your faith. We need your faith in many ways, but the most important one is that we want you to trust that we have your best interest in mind and that we are here to help you change your lives for the better. That is our mission. CrossFit is our medium to get that mission done. We can be the best CrossFit trainers on the planet, but if we cannot help you change your lives, we have failed.  And you know how much we dislike failing.

This whole experience has been quite scary to tell you the truth, but I place my faith in that this business will succeed based upon the premise that all our business decisions are made upon whether we can sustainably help people help themselves. That’s what has gotten us to where we are and I hope it will take us to where we want to be.

To our newest TracFit family members, I would like to say thank you for joining our family. We do some crazy things, you’ve been put through some of the hardest physical endeavors you’ve ever experienced in your entire lives, but you’re still here, and that means a lot and says a lot about what kind of person you are. It takes courage to show up to class.  It takes vision to see the long term results and it takes a very special type of person to look at a challenge straight on, be nervous or scared, yet still commit to completing the task at hand. CrossFit is blowing up, but many people still have never heard of it. I hope that you can feel a sense of pride knowing that you are part of an elite movement in fitness and I also hope you also feel pride knowing that you are a TracFitter as well.

Lastly, I truly thank God for this opportunity that I’ve been given. I hope to never come off as being pushy about religion, but it’s just a fact in my life that I receive a daily blessing everyday when I go to work. My “work” is hanging out with my friends and helping them get both mentally and physically fitter. I’ve always known that I wanted to do more with my life than just climb the corporate ladder, I just never knew how to go about doing anything else. CrossFit gave me a way. It was like everything that I did all my life was preparing me for this. All the questions that I’ve always asked, started getting answered as I was training others. You all have given new meaning to my life. Every goal you achieve, every milestone you make, and every positive result that is attributed from the training makes any and all hardships negligible.

I love CrossFit and most importantly, I love our TracFit family. Thank you for making us a family and I wish you all a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Trac

I couldn’t decide on what to name yesterday’s workout, so we’ll just think of it as a long WOD. These long chipper type workouts are not only challenging, but they’re a bit more fun because, as Annie stated, it’s like going through an obstacle course. I think that’s a great way to describe it.

Physically, I think there are a lot more effective workouts that I could have programmed for the athletes, but yesterday’s workout was more important for their mind and spirit than for just their physical development. With the San Jose Rock ‘n Roll 1/2 Marathon, they’ll need to have the confidence of knowing that they can go the distance and be okay with a long duration effort. I just don’t want the athlete’s to finish, I want them to do their absolute best.

We have many long duration efforts in life, many obstacles to overcome. If you over think a triathlon, marathon, or even a 1/2 marathon, you might feel overwhelmed by it, and that’s totally natural. How we approach it is to take it one mile at a time, one 1/2 mile at a time, 1/4 mile at a time, and ultimately to one step at a time as needed. We build upon previous successes. If you think you can’t do it, you probably won’t. If you think you can do it, you’re giving yourself a fighting chance, and that’s a pretty good way to look at life.

Main WOD
2 rounds of:
800m run
10 2-for-1 wall ball shots
800m run
20 burpees
800m run
30 dumbbell squat clean to thrusters
800m run
40 pull ups
Then,
50 toe touches
50 side raises (each side)
50 walking plank push ups
50 Russian twists
50 flutter kicks

Post results to the comments section.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCXDNT_3qw4&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fV0aptHHw0&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0]

Yesterday, Trac247 got out of the gym and went vertical. What good is building strength, power, flexibility, endurance, stamina, speed, accuracy, coordination, agility, and balance if you can’t apply it outside the gym? Part of our prescription to working out is going out and learning new sports.

This week, we hit up the rock climbing wall at City Beach in Fremont. It was truly a humbling experience. We are hooked and will be looking to build our climbing skills as quickly as possible, because that wall kicked our butts yesterday!

Disclaimer: You will have to verify with my wife regarding the accuracy of this post! I kind of don’t like this post because it’s like a magician revealing his secrets, it might come back to bite me in the butt! =P

With that said, let’s start the discussion. If CrossFit wasn’t effective at changing me or the trainees physically, we wouldn’t be gushing all over it so much. And, it’s pretty safe to say now, that the workouts also require a strong sense of mental commitment. What’s been interesting for me is how being both physically and mentally stronger has carried over into my marriage life.

My wife has joined me in training a few of our relatives, and she has seen first hand my coaching technique and style. It’s been said that there are two golden rules in training. One is that you don’t get romantically involved with your clients or students. The other is you don’t train your wife or significant other. At first, there’s no specific reason given to these two rules, except for the observation that both will end in bad terms. My wife wants to train in Crossfit, I love my wife, and I love CrossFit, but even I know that training my wife in CrossFit would be challenging at best.

Why this is would require a whole other dialogue. But, I’ll focus on some specific points that will help illustrate the problem. One point my wife brought up after she observed how I coached was how I could be so patient, supportive, understanding, and openly communicative with my trainees, but be so blunt and cold when it came to helping or teaching her about a subject. My first response was that I guess it’s because I expect more out of her and that I had an attitude of “If I’m the one doing the coaching, I expect her to just follow my lead, and stop questioning what I’m trying to teach her!” Both she and I would end up irritated and I would pretty much give up. Not a good experience for either one of us to say the least.

This left me to rethink my logic and try to see things from both her and my perspectives. I did find it odd that I really was giving my all and trying my best to be patient and communicate with the trainees, anyway I knew how, to get them moving correctly and effectively. I would also try to explain my theory on the movements and discuss any questions they had without any judgement. If one method didn’t work for the trainees, I would use another, and then another, and so on, and I would try to never give up on them. But, I didn’t know why I couldn’t do this with my own wife. And why was I expecting more out of her, when I really don’t expect anything less than excellence from all the trainees? I figured that it pretty much came down to ego and pride, both of which my wife and I have no lack there of.

I tell the trainees all the time, that ego has no place in our training. Whatever happens, I just want them to try their best. Whether it’s a workout or a problem in front of them, we’ll focus on the task at hand and figure out how to solve that problem one step at a time instead of being overwhelmed by it. If we get stuck, we’ll just find another way around it. This way of thinking is something I’m trying to change in our relationship, and at least from my perspective, I think it’s been having a positive effect.

When we get into an argument, I can feel the tension in both of us elevate and boil over. Instead of fueling the fire, I’ll try to remain as calm as possible (just like in a workout) and tell myself to “Let go of the ego as it will do nothing to improve the situation, focus on understanding what’s at the core of the problem (i.e. read through the lines), actively open up to communication, and then execute the steps that will take us towards resolving the issue.”

Far from being 100% effective, I think this process at least gets us in the right direction. The old me would just shut down, clam up, never actively pursue bringing up the issues, or I would just plain blow up and walk away. I can’t even think about walking away from a workout, so how can I walk away from my own wife. Not to say that temporarily walking away doesn’t have it’s place, it’s just that you can’t just leave the problem go unaddressed. Just like our workouts, you can take a rest if you need to, but the clock is still running, and that workout isn’t done until it’s done. I hope this change in thinking will slowly get us to a point where we’re training side by side one day.

Another aspect of how CrossFit has improved me as a husband is just the increase in my SIU (suck it up) factor. How many of you have heard “Can you take out the trash, hon?” and thought “Serious? The game is on!” or “Does it really have to be taken out now?” or the famous “I’ll get to it, don’t trip.” Well, that’s how I felt about a lot of things. And even as I told my wife that I was willing to help her out with maintaining the house or supporting her in other areas, what it really meant was that I would only do it when I felt like it, or worse, only when it was convenient for me. Not the most synergistic and supporting relationship.

If I can get into the gym 6 days a week, punch out some ridiculously intense workouts, travel from one end of the city to the other to teach 2-3 sessions a day 6 days out of the week, can’t I put in a little bit more effort towards taking care of things at home, where it really matters most? I hope I can answer yes. Like always focusing on the quality of our movements in our workouts, I need to put that same constant focus in the quality of our family life.

CrossFit’s method lies in constant variation. I don’t like every workout that comes down the pipe, some of them plain suck, every one of them is a challenge. Some of them are so hard, that it makes everything else afterwards seem not so bad. So what if there’s a new challenge at home? So what if things get tough? If you want to experience tough, try to achieve a sub 5 minute “Fran” or try on a “Murph” for size. After that, mood swings, melt downs, financial problems, time management, talking out issues, taking out the trash, costco runs, and cleaning up the house just don’t seem as hard.

I’m not going to lie. Marriage is probably the hardest thing in the world. We don’t even have kids yet. I’ll probably read this in 5 years and say what a complete idiot I was. Keeping a family together is a ridiculous challenge in our society. But, through the development of a stronger mind and body, seeing the potential for lives to be changed for the better, and being surrounded by so many inspirational people has helped me keep things in perspective and fortified my trust in the idea that “There is no quitting”.