18 May – 14 June

True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.
Wilhelm von Humboldt


I know it has been way too long since my last post. Apologies. My only excuse is that I’ve had some wild work deadlines this past month, and I’ve prioritized getting outside or working out when I have some time off. I’m through the worst of it for a while now though, so I’m excited to catch up on everything I have been missing.

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about workout buddies. I met one of my closest friends working out, and even though we live in different states now, whenever we get together the workouts really ROCK because we push each other through it. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time working out with her this week, and it has emphasized to me the importance of having someone of a similar ability to workout with that pushes you to go that bit faster, further or heavier.

Recently, because of my crazy work schedule, I’ve been working out at all different times with whoever is in the class I show up for. Sometimes there’s someone of a similar ability to ‘compete’ against, sometimes not. I say ‘compete’ because it’s not so much that I’m trying to ‘win,’ but that I would like to keep up because I know I am capable of it. I’m quite a self-motivated person and enjoy the feeling of pushing my mental and physical boundaries, but still there are times when I finish a workout and think, “you really could have done better.” A regular workout buddy of a similar ability is a great fix for that.

Anyways, on with the words…


This post provides a written and video tutorial on kicking up into a handstand. It emphasises that the kick-up is as important as everything else in the handstand to set you up in the right way.

This post is about learning how to breathe to be most effective in WODs. It seems like this is something we should all be able to do instinctively right? When that clock starts though and things get tough, we often resort to mouth breathing, which really isn’t effective as this post outlines.

What are you thinking during your breaks in WODs? I always count myself down – a certain number of breaths before I start again and I always hold myself to it (counting down to one helps). This posts suggests that planning what to think will help you get back on track to moving efficiently. A lot of CrossFit is about controlling the mind – this is one way to do so.

This post bounces off The King of CrossFit aired on 60 minutes a couple of weeks ago, which if you haven’t seen yet, I would recommend watching. This post is a review of some of the issues raised on 60 minutes and supports the idea that “CrossFit and Greg Glassman are good for fitness.”

Bobby Maximus describes how to do ‘Death by Burpee,’ a workout that will push you to a dark place and test your mental grit. This paragraph from his post resonated with me, “If you want to nail a lofty goal, you have to put yourself in an uncomfortable place. It’s in that dark, uncomfortable place that true change and transformation happens. It’s there that you build the physical and mental grit to meet—even exceed—your biggest personal challenges.” I need to work on that. Perhaps I’ll give ‘Death by Burpee’ a go and see how far I make it.

The four pacing rules suggested in this article will help you strategise in wods: 1. Panic breathing rule, 2. Heart rate rule, 3. 40% rule, and 4. Total volume and the last round rule. It’s also suggests criteria to help you know if you have paced right, or if your strategies have failed.

I often preach to athletes about the benefits of yoga and how yoga and CrossFit complement each other. I have found that a regular yoga practice improves my flexibility, which definitely helps in Olympic weightlifting, and it helps to work out the tightness and sore muscles that I sometimes get after a tough WOD. It also helps me train my breathing and my mind. Mentally and physically, I find the calm and restorative effects of yin yoga a great balance to the fast-paced yang of CrossFit. This post provides the following four examples of how CrossFit and yoga are a perfect match: 1) They keep you in the present moment, 2) Learning by doing, 3) Beginners mind, and 4) Fast and easy.


This post suggests building in more hip hinge exercises to programming in order to work on the posterior muscles (hamstrings and glutes). It provides suggests of exercises to do this with a video.

This post includes a video and a written article about the snatch balance and describes variations of the movement to help improve snatch performance. It also lists some coaching points and explains when to do it.

This post gives pointers for successfully setting up the jerk after the clean. It discusses foot position, bar position, hand position, elbow position, mental position, and training considerations.

I’ve known quite a few women who afraid of deadlifting – some because they are afraid it will make them big and bulky and some who are afraid of hurting their back. This post explains why women SHOULD deadlift. The key points are summarised at the beginning of article as: 1. Higher-rep sets of deadlifts can build endurance and burn fat. 2. Deadlifts won’t thicken the waist. That’s a myth. 3. Deadlifts lessen some of the negative effects that come with high heels and bad posture. 4. The deadlift is a foundational movement that will help with more advanced training like Olympic lifts. 5. Use the “laddering” training method to get used to the exercise and master the form.

The crux of this post seems to be that we all lift for different reasons – we all have different goals and non are more worthy than another.

I posted parts 1 and 2 of this series last time. This post focuses on programming and provides details on the following advice: Beware of random, Commit to one program, and Be consistent.

Injury Prevention

We saw a lot of athletes in tape at the CF regionals and I’m seeing more and more in gyms these days. This post describes how athletic tape works, the different types of tape, do’s and don’ts before you tape up, and tips for taping different parts of the body for specific goals.

This isn’t really injury prevention, it’s more about taking care of yourself outside of the gym, but it seemed most linked to this section. This post answers the questions: Should you nap? How long should you nap for? and When should you be napping? The long and short of it is that napping is a good thing. Phew!


The steps to muscle mass maintenance suggested in this post are as follows: Step 1: Eat at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight daily, Step 2: Eat a lot of high-quality protein from sources like fish, poultry, pork and lean beef, and Step 3: Ensure adequate protein intake through a protein-powder blend containing whey protein isolate or concentrate.

This Barbell Shrugged episode is about post-workout nutrition “including the exact foods and supplements you should be consuming after training to get the best possible results.”


This post links quite nicely to something I talked about a few weeks ago and describes the impact a coach can have on athletes and vice versa. I particularly like these summaries at the end: For athletes, “When you’re a member of a gym, you’re one of the parts in the engine. Even if you’re not a big celebrity like the carburetor, YOU MATTER. The car won’t run perfectly unless you’re doing your job. The main point of this article is that your “job” is to strengthen the program through some kind of daily contribution, and it all starts with the personality and attitude you demonstrate to others.” For coaches: “If you’re the coach, you’re the mechanic. And if you want the best possible performance from your engine, you have to handle every single part with the importance it deserves.”

In this post Travis Jewett explains how he uses the Turkish Get-Up to evaluate shoulder, hip and spinal mechanics in order to determine where athletes are failing at speed.

Which one are you? A coach or a workout administrator? I think all coaches have been guilty of being workout administrators at some points, whether it’s because you are sick or something unexpected happens in the class that takes your focus, but this should definitely not be the norm. This post provides some good reminders on what a coach should be like to inspire engagement and motivation in his or her athletes.

4 – 17 May

The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen the body, and polish the spirit.

Morihel Ueshiba


I read a thread on a CrossFit gym social media page this week that made me think. The gym had posted, “Tell us a highlight of your workout today,” and instead of a whole list of PRs and positive celebrations, there were a lot of, “I didn’t die,” “Walking out the door afterwards,” “Not throwing up,” and “Not killing Name of Trainer.” Some of the trainers had tried to chip in with positive things they had seen from athletes, but still the sarcasm and ‘jokes’ continued. Many of the athletes totally missed the purpose of the post – to celebrate the great things about that community. Instead they seemed to be trying to out do each other for the most sarcastic or ‘funny’ post, yet it came across as incredibly negative. I checked on the post again the next day and it had been removed from the page. I wonder how much further it went downhill before it was taken down. What does that say about the culture of that community? How does it feel to be a part of that from the inside and what does it look like from the outside? I know that as a larger community, CrossFitters generally embrace sarcasm and like to brag about “the suck.” But that can get old pretty quickly and isn’t going to do anything for you when you need a pick-me-up on a bad day. If we were all a little bit more unicorns and rainbows sometimes, perhaps ‘the suck’ wouldn’t suck so bad.

What is the culture of your CrossFit community? The culture determines how coaches and athletes describe their community and see themselves as part of it. The owners and coaches usually set the stage, but the athletes are the main players. So what role do you play and how does it impact the rest of the community? These days it isn’t just about how you behave in the gym either, but what you put across about your gym experiences on social media too. Before you post something or respond to a comment on your gym social media pages, think about what it says about your gym culture and how it will impact the rest of the community. Remember – no-one is forcing you to go there. You make the choice to do so.

Lots of Bobby Maximus and BOXROX stuff this week – articles and videos.


This post reminded me of what CT Fletcher says about overtraining. Bobby Maximus of Gym Jones explains that a lot of people who think they overtrain probably don’t, and provides an example of overtraining as an athlete who puts in 1000-1300 hours of training per year (19-25 hrs per week). He goes on to explain that a lot of people who think they are overtraining are just under-recovering and provides us with the valuable equation: Training = work + rest. He suggests four essential recovery strategies 1. Sleep, 2. Stress Management, 3. Recovery Practices and 4. Recovery Workouts.

We’ve all seen the shirts and the memes, and we all got the memo that burpees suck. So why do we do said awful movement? What are the benefits of it? This post lists the benefits as: strength and tone, weight loss, cardiovascular, and efficient and convenient. It also suggests some ‘fun’ variations. Yay Burpees!

Bobby Maximus has been writing in a few different places this week. In this post he describes a movement he feels is useful for recovery days: the Turkish get-up. Specifically 100 for time with a lightweight. This is what he says about recovery days,  “Recovery days” should be spent doing things that allow you to go as hard as possible on your hard days (our programs typically have three to four “hard days” each week).”

Like to indulge in a post-WOD beer or two? Wonder if it helps or hurts your recovery and performance the next day? Ross Hamilton begins this post by explaining that this is a difficult subject to research because of the number of variables that need to be accounted for, so this post aims to address, “the general effects of alcohol and how it may interfere with physical performance.” He breaks it down into the physiological impact, performance, recovery, the hang over, and things we don’t consider. Spoiler alert: the main takeaway is that it is “generally not a good thing for performance.”

These are both video tutorials. In Part 1, Keira Newton goes over some of the elements of the kb rack position and in Part 2, she provides additional tips and cues to improve your kb clean.

This is a heated update from the Russell’s on a fitness licensure issue that could result in CrossFit trainers being required to get certifications from organisations like American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) in order to legally be able to train athletes at CrossFit gyms. It outlines the steps CrossFit is taking against this threat and also suggests some reasons for why this might be happening.

The title of this post speaks for itself, but in a nutshell the four training tips she suggests are: 1. Never give up, 2. Warm-up, 3. Recover, and 4. Sleep. Videos of Sara are embedded throughout to reinforce what she describes in writing.

Bobby Maximus explains that whether your palms face in or out, the aim of the pull-up is to get the chest to the bar. He suggests the following will help you do 20 strict (dead hang, no kipping) pull-ups: 1. Do pull-ups, 2. Own the negative, and 3. Work your pulling muscles.

This is a summary of the 2015 CrossFit Open workouts using the data from Beyond the Whiteboard. It summarizes some key takeaways and learnings that might be useful when prepping for the open WODs next year.

Science geek alert. We all worry about taking time off from training, but sometimes it has to happen, like when we get an injury. This article goes into the science of muscle memory and how, “New evidence in muscle science suggests that all of your hard work may still be paying off, even after months or years of de-training. In other words, you may have lost muscle mass and strength, but you can get it back way faster than you think.” Phew!!!

In this post Lisbeth Darsh suggests that the following things might happen to women when they start lifting and working out: 1) As your glutes get firmer, the girls up front might get smaller, 2) Your hands will change, 3) No matter how feminine you are, if you gain ANY muscle, at some point a jack-wagon is going to say something about how you “look like a man,” 4) Your bathroom scale becomes like Allison from the 3rd grade: she used to be your best friend but you just don’t see her value anymore, 5) You want to eat more and — get this — it’s OKAY! and a bonus 6) You’re improving your longevity.


This series of posts is in two parts, each containing a written summary and video. The main purpose of this series is to emphasize the importance of getting bigger and stronger to get better at the Olympic lifts. The points highlighted are: 1. You must commit, 2. Community is critical, 3. You need to eat a lot more food, 4.  Try committing fully to Weightlifting, Forget the kipping for a while, 5. Train hard, but fuel and recover harder, 6. Don’t skip the conditioning, 7. Don’t sweat the fluctuations.

Injury Prevention

This is a great list of mobility drills, including a written description and videos, using resistance bands to help prevent injury and improve performance.


In this video, female weightlifter Morghan King takes us through how she fuels her body for her sport.

Yummy sweet potato recipe for the grill!

27 April – 3 May

The human body is the best picture of the human soul.

Ludwig Wittgenstein


'Kim' Photo Credit: Sarah, CrossFit Navarre, FL

I’m fortunate enough to work with some incredible people and the working relationships that I have are so effective and productive. One reason for this is that we all have a great deal of respect for each other. That respect isn’t automatically given because of the job titles we hold, our academic achievements, or our previous work. We work hard to maintain the respect of each other through our commitment to the work and each other.

When I apply this to the CrossFit community (and life in general actually) I am reminded that no-one is entitled to respect purely because of the role/title they hold, or the certificates, medals or prizes they have earned. Owners, coaches, and athletes all have to work to maintain the respect of the community through their commitment and attitude to their facility, to each other and to the sport.

I have visited many CrossFit gyms over the past few years and, as in the rest of my life, I always go in with an immediate respect for everyone I encounter there; however, I have experienced first-hand owners, coaches and athletes who feel they are entitled to respect because of their role, title or achievements, without behaving in a way that earns it. I don’t care whether your name is over the door, whether you are so and so’s boyfriend or girlfriend, what brand of clothing you are wearing, whether you have coached a CrossFit Games athlete or whether you are a CrossFit Games athlete, you have to behave towards your facility and everyone in it in a way that maintains respect. That also means I don’t care what you choose to do in your private life – my concern is whether I am getting what I need from you and your community in order to have a great workout. I don’t expect you to be my friend – just to be respectful and I will be in return.

If you are an owner, do your athletes see you:

  • Working hard to improve your facility?
  • Listening to and taking action on their suggestions and concerns?
  • Taking the time to connect with them?
  • Taking on the same workouts they do?
  • Providing professional development opportunities for your coaching staff?

If you are a coach, do your athletes see you:

  • Listening to and taking action on their suggestions and concerns?
  • Taking the time to connect with them, even those who are dropping in?
  • Taking on the same workouts they do?
  • Reading more about your sport to provide the most up-to-date advice?
  • Taking part in regular professional development to develop your skills and techniques?

If you an athlete, do you:

  • Show up with a positive attitude ready to learn and grow (both mentally and physically)?
  • Show commitment, support and loyalty to your fellow athletes and your facility, including those who are dropping in?
  • Make suggestions to your owner/coaches when you don’t like something rather than complaining to other athletes? 


This post also builds on the idea of skill versus intensity that I put forth a few weeks ago. Christopher cites this quote from Pavel, “Practicing is about technique, but that’s not all. In essence, practice is more focused on quality of movement, rather than quantity.” He then goes on to describe three different types of training: practicing, training and testing, and suggests balancing these in programming, and being very intentional with the focus on each.

Meditation isn’t just for yogis. This post highlights the important benefits of meditating and lists three reasons why athletes should meditate as: 1. Control heart-rate variability, 2. Effects on lactate levels, and 3. Increased immunity. It also offers three steps to get started.


In this post Taylor Chiu aims to answer this question using videos of lifters to support his ideas, “Should you bend your arms during the pull, or will it throw you off?” Spoiler alert… Ultimately, he comes to the conclusion, “early arm bend doesn’t work for me, and I wouldn’t teach it to beginners, but I can see it being effective for certain lifters,” but the video examples he has selected and the other articles he has linked to make this post worth a read.

This post is about pause work to build a stronger pull, primarily in the deadlift, but Travis Mash does mention at the end that this could also be applied to any of the lifts. He provides suggestions on exactly how to program this pause with explanations as to why doing so will result in success.

This post suggest 5 mistakes you might be making when you squat and suggestions for how to fix those mistakes. The mistakes are: 1. Knees tracking forward, 2. Overextension of the spine, 3. Knees collapsing in, 4. Not maintaining an upright torso, and 5. Lack of mobility.

Injury Prevention

This post is about Upper Cross Syndrome, which is overactive musculature in the upper back causing hypertonicity and under-active muscles, and is usually a product of bad posture. The post suggests ways to address both the overactive and under-active muscles. Reading through this I may have suffered/do suffer from this myself!

Matt Foreman describes the pain that it can take to become a successful athlete. He discusses the different types of pain and the different lengths that go along with them: acclimation pain (temporary), daily training pain (permanent), not-taking-care-of-yourself pain (as long as you want it to last), and the amusing dealing-with-jackasses pain (getting worse as technology advances)!!!


The title of this article speaks for itself. This quote piqued my interest, “a recent wide-scale meta-analysis clearly demonstrates that dietary fatty acid consumption has no impact on cardiovascular disease (1). On the contrary, saturated fat may in fact be a healthy addition to every day diet and a particularly good addition to the diet of athletes that want to improve performance.” The article discusses trans fats, fats and athletic performance, and when and what fats to eat.

Omega-7s are not gaming machines from the ’90s. This post explains why you need Omega-7s and where to get them, and describes the three most important Omega 7s: 1) cis-palmitoleic acid (cis-PMA), 2) Trans-palmitoleic acid and 3) Vaccenic acid (VA). I really like the emphasis in this post on getting them through real food rather than taking supplements.

Warning: Nerd alert! This very scientific article suggests that creatine is useful not only for gains in muscle mass, gains in maximal power/strength, increases in work performed in sets of maximal effort muscular contractions, improvement in single effort sprint performance, and enhancement in work performed during repetitive sprint practice, it can also improve cognitive performance, have a positive impact on diabetes, and improve bone building while reducing bone breakdown.

Read about Jamie Toland’s experiences of taking the time to prepare meals for the week on a Sunday. This is something I aspire to do, but love my Sunday Funday hikes and trail runs too much I think. Perhaps in the winter…

I LOVE egg salad, and this is a great recipe (I went the Greek yoghurt route).

I would like to have the willpower to avoid the ‘healthy’ sweets because quite often, they really aren’t healthy at all – they are just healthier than the non-healthy version! However, I have a sweet tooth, and because I have been feeding it lately it is currently on the rampage. I really need to go on a cleanse to get rid of these cravings (I hate being controlled by unproductive cravings), but until then options like this dessert are a great alternative for me to the much less healthy version.

15 – 26 April

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.

John Rohn


'Kate' Photo Credit: Sarah, CrossFit Navarre, FL

This week I have been thinking a lot about values and how successful relationships are often built on shared values. Part of my reflection of my own personal values led me to think of the shared values that unite CrossFit communities: challenging mental and physical strength and boundaries, commitment to a goal, loyalty… While we may also have other values that relate to our lives outside of the gym, those values usually thread their way through every part of a CrossFitters life and bring us together  each day in shared suffering of a 20 minute WOD.


When you look around a gym when push-ups are on the WOD menu, you see all kinds of things going on. This article brings me back to the point I made last time about appropriate scaling for high-reps to ensure good form, full range of motion and minimal rest to maintain intensity. It highlights 7 push-up mistakes and how to fix them: 1) Your butt rises, 2) Your back looks more like a hammock and less like a board, 3) Improper arm placement, 4) Poor head alignment, 5) Dead legs, 6) You’re holding your breath, and 7) You’re only doing half a push-up.

Patrick McCarty drives home the importance of careful rather than random programming with the bigger picture in mind, and reminds athletes not to cherry pick WODs because CrossFit and functional fitness gym programming has usually been designed with the bigger picture in mind. I agree with the main points he makes; however, I don’t see the harm in a random birthday WOD every now and again, more for mental stimulation than anything else. If we are slaves to the programming without an element of fun or surprise every now and again, working out can become tedious. But, for the points McCarty brings up, it should only be every now and again.

If you play a competitive sport and want to compete in CrossFit competitions, you might find this post useful. Christie Jenkins describes how she has balanced being competitive at beach volleyball while also competing in CrossFit competitions. She suggests that the key is to determine which sport is your priority for that season because you can’t expect to win at both. She provides advice under the following headers: Set Big Goals, But Have Realistic Expectations, Forget Stalking the Leaderboard, Cut Out Extra Training, Focus on What You Will Lose First, Rest is More Important Than Another Session, Be Mentally Tougher Than Everyone Else, and The Best You Can Be

In this 23 minute podcast Brian MacKenzie, founder of CrossFit Endurance, talks about, “his thoughts on traditional volume-based training for things like a marathons or triathlons, the best way to train strength for endurance athletes, Diet; his best recommendation for a solid diet for endurance and training, and Brians’s best advice for becoming a better human!”

The post discusses whether we should be squatting as deep as possible or whether deep squats are bad for your knees based on the science. It describes a recent study which found that shallow squats (about 60 degree knee angle) improved lower body strength and vertical jump performance, but deep squats (below 90 degree knee angle) were more effective because they promote “greater muscle mass and strength development.” It goes on to describe the mechanics of the knee and what is actually happening to the joints, ligaments and cartilage in terms of the safety of deep squats.

Injury Prevention

This article provides some possible causes of debilitating lower back pain including Lower Cross Syndrome, which is described as, “a movement dysfunction that can lead to joint degeneration. Chalk it up to the society in which we live, where we have become “flexed” creatures sitting at our desks day after day from 9-5, ultimately creating a thief of proper movement mechanics. Lower Cross Syndrome is created by excessively tight hip flexors (like iliopsoas and rectus femoris) and tight erectors. Coupled with underactive abdominals and glute max/med.” The good news is that this can be corrected with stretching and strengthening movements, which the post then provides suggestions for working the underactive and overactive muscles that might cause this problem.


Before I get into describing the nitty gritty of the article, I think the subheading is the main thing to take away here, “Yes, Happy Meals, according to recent research, make for a surprisingly effective post-exercise meal. But the real takeaway has nothing to do with the Golden Arches: real food—not expensive bars or scientifically formulated shakes—is almost always best.” Basically in a recent study, athletes were given a range of sports nutrition products and fast food, and neither proved more effective than the other for post workout recovery. Obviously there are other side effects of fast food that weren’t tested in the study, so this is not suggesting that athletes should go out and eat fast food as post-workout recovery. It’s more a caution again the scientifically formulated stuff, which can actually be very heavily processed, and, as the subheading suggests, to eat real food instead.

This is a useful list of unhealthy foods and possible, more healthy, replacements for them.

Dessert is definitely my downfall. I’m not suggesting all of these desserts are actually healthy (as in eating them is good for you) – in fact I’m sure there are things you could be eating that are much better for you, but they might kill some cravings in a more healthy way than eating a giant slice of chocolate cake, for example.

More sweet goodness…

16 March – 14 April

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.
John. F. Kennedy


Photo Credit: Sarah, CrossFit Navarre

The CrossFit open and an article on the Invictus website recently got me thinking about making the clear distinction to athletes between scaling for skill work and high-rep scaling for WODs. It also emphasized the importance of carving out time for athletes to not only work on the skill, but to figure out what their low rep and high-rep scaling is for every skill within the gym programming.

I’ll use the example of the muscle-up because it came up in the open and social media was flooded with videos of the many who got their very first muscle-up. So you can do a single muscle-up. Does that mean from then on that whenever muscle-ups come up in a workout, you should be doing them? No it most certainly does not. It means you should be working on building reps in skill time, but should have a scaled version of the movement that you can perform at full range of motion, with good form, for high reps, without rest in a workout, in order to maintain intensity. This should be applied to all skills, even those as basic as the push-up. Gyms should be striving to have all athletes performing every rep in their WOD with good form at full-range of motion and without a lot of rest time between reps, and athletes unable to do this should be scaled further until they can. All athletes should also be practicing less scaled versions of these skills at low reps during skill time in exercises like EMOMs or ‘Death By..’

FYI: This is the second time I have written this post. The first time I was just finishing up when I accidentally closed the window without saving, Good lesson for me – save, save, save; however, I hope I can recreate my first attempt…


  • **WOD Words Pick of the Week**: Simple (Station 515)

The beginning of this post hooked me immediately, “it is a common enough question: why do you train like this? why do you do that to yourself? the athletes we have answer these questions quickly and easily – they have their sport, their motivation, their tangible “why” – they do this to win. but what about the rest of us? the new mom? the stressed out lawyer? the veterinary assistant? the gym rat? many of us are “fit enough” to get by, so why? why to we seek out this obvious discomfort?”

The rest of the post attempts to answer the question and provides some suggestions that, as one of the people who has to train this way in order to function in effectively in the rest of my life, I can definitely relate to.

Having trouble with your double-unders? This post suggests five reasons that you might be struggling: 1. Arm Positioning, 2. Rope Length, 3. Piking Your Hips, 4. Jump Height/Timing, and 5. Practice.

The title of this is pretty self-explanatory, and my ego has caused me to learn this lesson the hard way. The post begins by briefly describing how rowers work in order to move on to explain why you shouldn’t set your rower to 10. It discusses how to determine which damper setting to use based on something called drag factor and based on how you feel. I’m not going to spoil the punchline though. Read the article to find out why setting it to 10 isn’t such a great idea.

Dreaming of making it to the Games one day? Amanda Allen brings us crashing down to earth with the reality of how difficult it is to make it now, and what it actually means to be an athlete in the CrossFit Games.

I’ve had about 10 different workout logs since I started CrossFit, some paper and some electronic. I wish I could say I have filled each one with my workouts and I now have a nice collection of a few years of WODs and progress to look back on. I can’t though. Half of those log books are more than half empty. I get on a kick and start logging my workouts religiously for a few weeks, then I’ll have a bad workout that I won’t want to log and I’ll fall off the wagon. I see the same thing with clients in the gym, and the frustrating thing is that when they need to know their 1RM or their last Murph time, they look blank and don’t get to clearly measure their progress.

Reading this post has inspired me to give it another go though and encourage others to do so, and I have been logging my workouts for two weeks now. I designed a workout log especially for me and my needs that I’m very pleased with so far (http://www.journalmenu.com), so I’m stating a commitment to myself here that I intend to finish this one. The 5 reasons the post lists for logging your workouts are: Progression, Injury Prevention, Motivation, Trial and Error, and Preserve Memories.

What type of coach do you have? This is a tongue-in-cheek blog post about the different types of coach you might encounter: 1. The multi-medal winner who is always right, 2. The motivator, 3. The lecturer, 4. The pseudo-science guru, and 5. The artist.

There has been uproar about the mid-open changes in the teen and masters divisions this year and Patrick McCarty tells it how it is in this post.

Olympic Weightlifting

Do you jump forward in the snatch or clean? Olympic Weightlifting guru Greg Everett not only suggests ways around this, he also discusses two approaches to doing so that can be applied to correcting any error in Olympic Weightlifting: the ‘Scorched Earth’ approach and the ‘Finesse’ approach. Everett describes the scorched earth approach as, “like a weightlifting analog of conventional medical practice: treat the symptoms with near-fatal doses of pharmaceuticals and worry about collateral damage later. In other words, we’re not going to even bother considering the cause, and simply find ways to make the lifter stop jumping forward one way or another with just about anything short of blunt force trauma to the head,” while the finesse approach is about figuring out why the athlete jumps forward and then figuring an exercise or a series of exercises to “retrain the bad habit and result in a correction.”

Stuck on a plateau with your lifts? This post might help you out with 6 tips to get you moving on with your training: 1) First, get uncomfortable, 2) Raise the standards, 3) Learn thyself, 4) Drill down, 5) Ride your waves, and 6) To perform better, teach.

This post breaks the clean down into its components, and provides faults and solutions for each part with videos to illustrate the points made.

Injury Prevention

It seems that more and more CrossFitters are using Kinesiology tape now. Read this short article to find out what the research is saying about the answer to this question.

This is an inspiring story. I applaud everyone who is getting out there working towards achieving their goals and this story is a good reminder that there are no excuses!

9 – 15 March

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” 
Jim Ryan


"Luke" Photo Credit: Russ Robertson, CrossFit Navarre, FL

Inspired by Kelly Starrett’s frequent posts about how sitting down all day is terrible for you, and the social media pics and posts about push-ups by Bobby Maximus of Gym Jones, in January I started working in 10 good form push-ups and 10 good form squats every hour, on the hour throughout my workday (when I’m not traveling), averaging between 60-80 of each per day. I stare at a computer screen for most of my work day, so the push-up/squat break gives me a movement and refocusing brain break, and I’m noticing some serious improvements in my push-up form and strength as a result. Quite frankly, my push-up was embarrassing before, but after videoing myself on Friday, I can proudly say that it is almost respectable now. I’m going to start pushing the number I do each hour up slowly from 10 – my goal is 20 – and this is something I intend to keep doing in the long-term. Just a little bit of work often, can go a long way.

Lots of CrossFit stuff this week…


One of the things I love about the posts and articles written by the Gym Jones instructors is their emphasis on training the mind as well as the body, and building mental strength and toughness as well as physical. In this post Bobby Maximus suggests 3 strategies for overcoming self-imposed limitations: 1) Adjust Your Standards, 2) Use Trickery, and 3) You Become Who You Hang Around. I have no doubts at all about #3 – I always do my best work and achieve things I never thought possible when I am pushed and challenged by those around me.

One of the things I always like about the Mentality WOD posts is that you can apply them to CrossFit or working out, but also to life in general. If you are having trouble letting go of what you wanted to happen in a situation, this post suggests four ideas to help you do exactly that.


Apparently after Kevin Ogar’s catastrophic spinal injury at the OC Throwdown, CrossFit’s Greg Glassman reached out to the organizer of the event, Darren McGuire, requesting to see video footage of the accident. In this controversial post, Patrick McCarty questions why CrossFit got involved in this when they had already distanced themselves from the event by saying it wasn’t sponsored or sanctioned by CrossFit. McCarty also discusses whether this request for the video was made, “to get the video into Ogar’s hands for moral responsibility purposes” or, “to get the video into their own hands for injury prevention and community education.” McCarty also makes the claim that, “CrossFit, led by the Russes, is trying to publically discredit Darren McGuire and the OCT.” Wow – the politics of CrossFit can be fascinating.

Note: For anyone who isn’t familiar with “the Russes,” check out The Russells blog

I don’t know about you, but I hate thrusters. With a passion. I hate them because I am terrible at them and I’m terrible at them for many of the reasons listed in this article: 1) Your front squat needs more work, 2) Your front rack mobility is a challenge, 3) The bar starts to slide down: off your shoulders, 4) Your push press needs more work as well, 5) You lose balance: put on the Oly shoes, 6) You begin too fast: don’t start unbroken, and 7) Don’t forget about the cleans: they also need more work. There are lots of helpful tips and videos in the article to help you fix it!

In this post for the The Box Magazine, Andy Petranek, owner of CrossFit LA, asks athletes to think about what they training for and argues that as CrossFit is about functional movement, and functional movements in everyday life rarely require isolated, single-joint moves, for example bicep curls, they don’t really have a place in a CrossFit gym. He suggests that an exception to this is the shoulders, which notoriously give people the most trouble in terms of injury. I’m still thinking about this one. I have to admit that I used to think and say exactly the same thing because that’s what the CrossFit Level I trains us; however, having incorporated some isolated single-joint movements to my training and seeing my weightlifting improve and feel much better and less risky in terms of injury, I am beginning to disagree. Back in February Bobby Maximus of Gym Jones (yes I know, I’m obsessed with him this week) posted, “A lot of people in the “functional” community disregard the Bicep curl. I think it can be valuable, especially in a mass building program. It can help prevent elbow tendinitis and also helps build good supportive strength that is useful when performing pull-ups, heavy rows, and other big body exercises. Don’t focus on the weight here, the real value is in doing the form correctly.”

In this thought-provoking post, Chris Spealler talks about the differences between the volume required by an elite CrossFit Games level athlete and the volume required by someone who is just doing CrossFit to be “fit for life.” I particularly like this question that he poses, “The question you have to ask as an individual, an affiliate owner, or a coach should be, “Is the volume you are prescribing appropriate, and if not, is it worth the potential consequences?”

This post is a good reminder to not lose perspective during the open. Based on the Maya Angelou quote about not complaining, I would suggest this post could be a response to the high number of people disappointed by some of the announcements CrossFit have made about some of the rules. It raises some very good points to remember though.

Do you take the time to work on the skills you want to get better at? If you are a trainer, are you programming this time for your athletes? Nichole DeHart reminds us that just because we can do something once, it doesn’t mean we are ready to do it in a workout, and that quality practice and continued patience working on that skill will get us to that point eventually. She uses the example of getting a first muscle-up, which I think is a great example given that some people got their first muscle-up in the 15.3 open WOD this week.


Looking to get your snatch weights up? Greg Everett suggests the snatch pull, muscle snatch, snatch balance, dip snatch and tall snatch as exercises that will help you to improve your snatch. He also explains why each of these exercises is beneficial and suggests pointers on execution with links to demo videos if you aren’t familiar with any of your movements.


If, like me, you are a geek who keeps a track of every workout you do and loves measuring and keeping track of your workout stats using technology, you might be interested in this review of the new Apple Watch and how it compares with other similar workout wristband/watches. In terms of what I want from fitness technology, from this write-up, I’m not impressed enough to splurge the $$$ on one.


A lot of people I know rave about fish oil. Being vegetarian, I can’t partake, but this post suggests the following 4 ways that fish oil can improve recovery: 1) Decrease Inflammation, 2) Relieve DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), 3) Aid Muscle Growth, and 4) Boost Your Immune System.

This is so inspiring. Enough said.

4 Feb – 8 March

Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. 
-Lou Holtz


Photo credit: Russ Robertson, CrossFit Navarre, FL

It’s been a while. It feels like I’ve been traveling pretty much non-stop since I wrote the last post, including overseas, and given the choice in my free time between working out or writing about working out, I’ve opted for the former. I’m sure you all understand my plight and respect my choices.

As the weather is warming up, I’ve been trying to stay out of the gym at the weekends, preferring to trail run or hike. It’s been quite glorious to be outside and feeling the benefits of work in the gym applied to things like running up steep hills in the real world. Satisfied sigh*

Heads-up: I don’t know whether it was a particular personal interest in nutrition this month or whether there were significantly more interesting nutritional posts popping up on my feed, but this post is definitely nutrition heavy.


Shannon Khoury uses her personal experiences at different CrossFit boxes to describe what a CrossFit community should be like, in her opinion. This triggered a lot of thinking on my behalf. A CrossFit community can be both a blessing and curse. I have raved about my CrossFit community on many occasions – during the job interview for the job I have now, I was asked to describe a positive team I had been a part of and to explain why it worked so well. I described my CrossFit community because they are a group of people of all ages and from all walks of life who loyally come together on an almost daily basis to pull each other through some of the most physically tough parts of our days.

A great CrossFit community can inspire you to want to workout and achieve your health and fitness goals with a group of like-minded people; however, there are inevitable downsides of a close community, particularly when the community is small: clicqueyness, athletes who are competitive in a detrimental way, negative gossiping about athletes and coaches, and the list goes on. Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do about that – CrossFit gyms usually have rules to try to minimize those effects within the gym walls, and trainers have to make sure they deal appropriately with athletes who aren’t following the rules and are damaging the community as a result, but outside of the gym it can be a different story, particularly with the way social media is used today.

For a dedicated athlete and trainer/gym owner, the community of athletes at a CrossFit gym can often become their closest friends whom they spend the most time with, which inevitably provides a window into seeing the good, bad, and ugly of each other, and also into personal lives. A window that can be abused. The only way to avoid this is for athletes and trainers to keep themselves at a safe distance from the community, but in doing so potentially miss out on some great friendships with amazing like-minded people (I met one of my closest friends at the gym). From my experience there are two types of people at a CF box: there is the athlete who has their own established life away from the gym who only goes to workout and keeps the community at a safe distance, and then there is the athlete who builds their social life around the CrossFit community he or she works out with. If you are the latter, I would suggest that you have to roll with the punches that this sometimes deals, and hopefully do so in a mature, positive, and private way, rather than using social media to create a public firestorm. And if the community is an important aspect of this sport to you, and you don’t like the community you are in, wish them well, move on and find one you do like. Don’t try to tear a community apart because you have a personal beef with something or someone.

We are in the midst of the 2015 CrossFit Open, and it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and competition. This list contains some great reminders that will help make this year an enjoyable and productive experience.

Injury Prevention

Scott Abel suggests 3 movements that can cause injury in the shoulder: 1) Kipping pull-up, 2) Ring dips, and 3) Battling ropes. He explains how and why they can cause injury. I know some CF athletes, particularly females, place a big emphasis and a lot of pride on successfully pulling off the kipping pull-up. I have to admit that for the longest time I was obsessed with being able to do it. I would enviously watch other girls in the gym sailing through their pull-ups, making it look so graceful and easy to knock out high reps. Once I mastered the gymnastic kip, I was desperate to butterfly. Once I mastered the butterfly, I wanted to be able to do more and more reps. My coach was always adamant that it was important to work on strict pull-ups before learning to kip, and I followed that example when I became a trainer. I think it was the CrossFit gymnastics cert that really hammered home to me the importance of strict first. Since then, I have removed kipping from my life completely. I still work a lot on strict pull-ups, and I’d rather modify for a CF WOD than risk hurting myself. I’ve been through shoulder issues before – I don’t want to go there again. Of course, for a competitive CF athlete, this isn’t an option, so when training athletes I always recommend building shoulder strength with movements, like dumbbell presses, as Scott Abel suggests in this post to help protect the shoulder during stressful movements like the kip.

So many of us have/have had back pain. In this useful post, Meghan Rovig digs into human physiology and suggests some stretches that can help combat back pain.


Eric Velazquez approaches the dilemma of whether or not to drink water in the middle of an intense workout like a CrossFit WOD. The main message from this post is that drinking water during a WOD can be costly in terms of precious seconds lost, so it is important to be well hydrated when you step into the gym. Hydration isn’t just for during the gym, it’s something that you should be doing all the time. Doug Katona, managing partner and head coach for CrossFit Endurance said, “If you want to stick me to a hard formula, the average person should take their bodyweight in pounds and consume at least half of that in ounces daily. But keep in mind this is for someone who may not be as active, so you may need to increase that another 50 percent or more depending on the training modality or work requirement.”

Holly Willis breaks down the nutritional value of sweet potatoes, and suggests 3 recipes to help you eat more. I am a big fan of sweet potatoes. For a while I was cooking daily meals for my sister from another mister, Kim. When she cut out potatoes, I got into the habit of using sweet potatoes in the place of white potatoes for most recipes and find them to be just as filling and sometimes more tasty. I can vouch for the tastiness of the “Loaded” Baked Sweet Potato recipe link.

This posts gives some pointers about what caffeine can and can’t do for you when you are working out. I am quite caffeine sensitive – a small cup of coffee and I’m bouncing off the walls for the rest of the day. A large cup and, well, let’s not go there. I’ve dabbled before working out, but never found it to do much for the way I feel or for my performance, so decided not to waste my money, but I’ve always been fascinated by the people who can’t function, let alone do a workout without a substantial dose.

This post is short and sweet with some useful tips on foods and eating patterns that might not help your energy levels. The first paragraph is about not skipping breakfast, which strikes a chord because, due to feeling sluggish and heavy recently, I’ve been interested in trying out the 9-hour eating window (only eating within a 9-hour window within the day). As I’m an early riser for work, trying this out means either skipping breakfast or eating my dinner really early. Not a fan of skipping breakfast for the exact reason this post describes, I have decided to significantly cut down my breakfast from a hearty oatmeal or jam-packed smoothie to a couple of pieces of fruit and a glass of milk. I have to say I am feeling better from it too, and I’m enjoying my lunch a lot more these days.

If you take any herbal supplements from GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart, you might want to check this out. According to Anahad O’Connor, the ingredients in some of the supplements have been tested and found to 1) not contain the herbal supplement the packaging claims, and 2) actually contain some things that aren’t listed in the ingredients including food products that many people are allergic to.


Only in Japan would you find a wearable tomato dispenser. I never quite realised the nutritional value of tomatoes in sports. I like tomatoes a lot, so I might have to consider one when I need a running snack…

26 Jan – 3 Feb

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


Apologies for the delay and for the lack of reading material in the post this week. I managed to pick up some particularly barbarous germs on my work trip last week, which seriously knocked me down and left me with little energy or motivation to do anything other than watch cat videos. So not only am I late with this post, I also haven’t been working out half as much as I would like. In fact I think it was after 60 minutes on the rower that the little devils really got their teeth into my system.

As I am trawling social media looking for interesting stuff to feature on here, I frequently see a lot of “I am so frustrated that I didn’t…” (PR, get the best time, I’m sure you can fill in the blanks with your own frustrations here) CrossFit updates and blog posts. And I know from personal experience that those frustrations can build up and begin to turn working out from the best part of your day in which you let off steam, to be a source of negativity in the form of frustration, disappointment, or however it manifests itself.

While CrossFit can be a wonderful thing, I have learned that I need to take a step back sometimes and remember why I do it in terms of the bigger picture of my life. I workout to stay fit, healthy and in good shape, to blow off steam from the other parts of my life, and to spend time with my friends united in the shared struggle of a WOD. It’s only one hour of my day. I have no aspirations to be a professional weightlifter or athlete competing at the CrossFit Games because I know that with work and life, I don’t have the time to commit to it to make that happen. Nor would I really want to because I love my job and my work. So why then am I so hard on myself? Why are my expectations so high? Even if I sign up for the CF Open or to compete at the local level, I do so for fun, because it motivates me to keep going to the gym, and for the camaraderie with my team mates.

I want this to be sustainable. I want to still be doing this in 10 years time. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back and get everything back in focus when it goes a little blurry.


Larry Doane reminds us in this inspiring post that while numbers are great for monitoring improvement, they don’t tell the whole story. In doing a workout we are “preparing our hearts and minds for the unknown” and we “take one more step towards understanding that our limits are like our futures, unknown and unknowable.”

Inigo Del Castillo suggests the following four skills that you need to have if you want to be a CrossFit coach: 1) Technical Knowledge, 2) Competence in Demonstrating the Movements, 3) A Good Eye, and 4) Passion.

In this post Bret Contreras responds to the question: Should women squat if they don’t want big legs? He addresses the pictures of ladies with amazing derrieres that are frequently posted on social media with the tag line “She squats,” and the importance of diet in the physique you are aiming for, and the issue of whether quads can ever be too large.


I can relate to the way Melody Schoenfeld opens this post, “In my studio, I use them to assess upper body and torso strength, muscular imbalances, and the ability to move the body as a unit. Unfortunately, most of the people I see have never learned how to do a push up properly, and a large percentage can’t do one full push up.” She goes on to provide tips like, Master the Correct Elbow Position, and De-Droopify Your Torso.


Jane Brody describes the findings from several studies which suggest that HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is effective in lowering glucose levels in people with diabetes, enhances patients’ physical fitness, reduces body fat relative to lean muscle tissue, improves the cardiovascular system’s ability to respond to added exertion, markedly improves the body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently, improves the function and cardiovascular health of stroke victims, alleviates the rigidity and excessive muscle tone that makes it difficult for Parkinson’s disease patients to move their arms and legs, and is more likely to reduce the risk of a heart attack than bring one on, which is a concern of some.


I should preface this by explaining that I am not paleo and I am vegetarian, but Steph makes some good points: 1) Quantity does not equal quality, 2) Are you still hungry? Yeah I thought so, 3) It Robs Your Freedom.

I think the title speaks for itself. I am vegetarian, so this post is really kind of funny for me to be posting, but I know how much my CrossFit friends obsessively LOVE bacon. The warning on this post is that, “You will not make it through this post without salivating.”

19 – 25 Jan

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
Agatha Christie


I’ve got a lot of business trips over the next few months, so this week I’ve been figuring out a plan for working out while I’m away. I’ve mentioned my slightly obsessive tendencies around routine before, so I find comfort in knowing I’ve got my ducks in a row in advance of a trip. It also helps me to follow through when I’ve got clear plans prepared.

These plans involve dropping in to a CrossFit gym if I can fit it into my schedule (I love collecting shirts!), but more often than not I opt for using the hotel gym, going for a run, or doing bodyweight stuff either outside or in my hotel room, just for the sake of time (my schedule when I’m away often involves breakfast and dinner commitments as well as a full day of work).

This is a great list of travel WODs compiled by CrossFit Durham. My favorite ‘go to’ bodyweight workout is 10 rounds of 10 burpees, 10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, and my favorite hotel gym workout is 21-15-9 dumbbell snatch (per arm), dumbbell goblet squats, V-Ups. I think the worst idea I ever had when I was working away was 100 man-makers for time… I won’t be doing that one again in a hurry!


Aimee Anya Everett suggests the following 10 things women new to weightlifting should know: 1) Lift with other girls, 2) Know that you will cry, 3) Your cute skinny jeans aren’t going to fit anymore, 4) You will more than likely pee a little when you squat or clean heavy, 5) You need to learn patience, 6) Have a life and interest outside the gym, 7) Shorts and tights, 8) Nails, 9) Knee sleeves, 10) Knee Sleeves. She also provides nuggets of advice from other female weightlifters.

As a girl who lifts, I can definitely relate to many of these points!


As you become more comfortable and familiar in a CrossFIt gym, and are exposed to more aspects of the sport, it’s inevitable that you are going to start asking questions! This post on Tabata Times provides answers to the following questions that you may have had (I found the booty shorts question particularly entertaining): 1) Should I do the WOD as RX’d? 2) Should I wear booty shorts and a sports bra (women) to class or take off my shirt prior to/during/after a WOD (men)? 3) Should I wear those fancy knee sleeves? 4) Should I be using lifting straps? 5) Should I wear a lifting belt? 6) Should I supplement my CrossFit training? 7) Should I join a CrossFit box? 8) Should I go “Paleo”?

The Open is right around the corner. If you are unsure whether you want to sign-up, read this post by William Imbo who suggests the following 7 reasons for signing up for the CrossFit Open this year, even if you don’t care about competing: 1. Provides you with a benchmark of your current level of fitness, 2. Highlights your weaknesses, 3. Helps set goals, 4. Increases motivation, 5. Promotes camaraderie, 6. It’s a great way to enjoy the thrill of competition, and 7. It’s fun!

In this post, Josh Bunch describes, from a coaches perspective, an experience of an athlete not scaling appropriately. He uses this as a jumping off point to explain what happens when we don’t scale, which highlights why we should take care to scale appropriately.

I have been guilty of not scaling appropriately just so I could say “I RXed it,” to the detriment of my body and the workout, and to the annoyance of those around me who had to wait around for me to finish and put up with my frustration while doing it. Doing so has killed my confidence and my motivation, and has left a bad taste in my mouth for certain workouts too. When I’m reading the board, I have to remind myself that I am there to get a good sweat on and get a good workout in.

In this amusing post Patrick McCarty lists the 5 worst products for CrossFit as 1. The Kettlebox, 2. DateWOD, 3. Barbell Cards, 4. Back Squat Dickie, and 5. The WOD Diaries. I am obviously behind the times with my knowledge of random CrossFit stuff because I had never heard of any of these, but… I don’t think I’ve been missing anything!


Devon Jackson cites the results of a study from Northwestern Medicine to suggest that drinking alcohol after exercise is detrimental rather than useful for recovery. He explains the following ways that alcohol ‘screws you up’: dehydration, it interferes with how you produce energy, it could make an injury bleed or swell even more, causing more pain, alcohol can poison muscle fibers, it can mask pain that you shouldn’t ignore, it can disrupt sleep, it can throw a diet out of sync, and it interferes with your muscles’ post-workout rebuilding process by reducing protein synthesis.

I like a post-workout beer, so I found this interesting.

This post describes why you need protein, how much of it you need, and when. It’s short, simple and straight to the point.


In this interesting and entertaining post, Arman debunks health advice he has seen in fitness magazines for both men and women in the following areas: 1. When advising what constitutes a vegetable…, 2. When advising how to balance a family meal…, 3. Office workers advice…, 4. When asking the dietician…, 5. On seasonal eating…, and 6. On sensible snacking…

12 – 18 Jan

“Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission.”

Zig Ziglar


It seems like each week I’m balancing the scales in one way or another. Last week I described trying to balance my obsessive need of a rigid workout routine with enjoyment. This is an ongoing issue. Added to it, this week I’ve been fighting off a chesty cough, so have been balancing not wanting to spread my germs in a gym/sufficient rest to fight off the bugs, with my incessant, obsessive urge to drip with sweat and breath fire from an intense WOD.

I stocked up on some bug-fighting ‘super foods’ (see this weeks WOD Words Wildcard), took a few ‘rest’ days away from the gym at the beginning of the week working in some yin yoga for non-strenuous movement, then headed to the garage to work up a little sweat with some lightweight Oly work once I felt the worst was over. I finally hit the gym on Thurs, Fri and Sat to WOD. And it was glorious. Feeling grotty for a few days really made me appreciate feeling ‘normal.’

Lots of good stuff posted again this week. It seems the New Year has not only got people into the gym, it has inspired the experts and writers to take to their keyboards and share their knowledge with the world. Yay!

Mark Rippetoe provides detailed guidance on improving your squat. The key points of the article are: 1) When you squat, use your hips. This will require a more horizontal back angle than you think, 2) You may have heard that you must stay upright when you squat, with as vertical a back angle as possible. You’ve heard wrong. Think “rigid,” not “vertical,” 3) The angle of hip flexion must equal the back angle if the spinal relationships are to remain neutral, 4) The cue to “Point your nipples at the floor” works very well for the squat, 5) Looking up when squatting does nothing but fight against the correct back angle. Look down, and 6) If your hamstrings get sore when you squat, you’re doing something wrong.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I have struggled with my squat. I have had issues with lack of depth and creaky knees, so I’m always looking to learn more about how I can do it better. Another issue I have discussed a number of times with other trainers has been having an upright back versus a more forward angle with the back, which Mark Rippetoe discusses at length in this post.

Are you constantly feeling tired in WODs? Are you not able to work as hard as you would like? Or struggling to stay focused? If so, Dawn Fletcher suggests the following 6 areas to assess and links to relevant articles on her Mentality WOD site that provide advice on fixing the issue(s): 1) Rest, 2) Fuel, 3) Life Balance, 4) Emotional Energy, 5) Training Intensity, 6) Mental Skills.

This is an older post, but it popped up on Twitter again this week. It’s one of those timeless posts that it is good to revisit every once in a while because at some point we all struggle with one of the problems she mentions.

Gretchen Reynolds describes a study published this month in The International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance in which the gait, oxygen intake and other variables of 16 competitive male distance runners were tested both with and without compression gear. Dr. Stickford who performed the study said that the study found no statistical differences in running efficiency or biomechanics and concluded that, “Based upon the results of this study, lower-leg compression sleeves are unlikely to improve endurance running performance”

I am a geek, so the latest scientific research on anything relevant to working out is always of interest to me. The advantages of compression sleeves and clothing has interested me since Kelly Starrett of Mobility WOD touched on it in his ‘Ready to Run’ book. I personally have found benefits of wearing compression socks after longer runs in terms of recovery, and while this might be a placebo, I don’t really want to stop something that is working for me.

Krista Haapala, CrossFit owner and life coach suggests the following four strategies for maximizing your CrossFit experience: 1) Consistency, 2) Community, 3) Connection, and 4) Commitment.

I put this one in because I subscribe to the idea that if you are going to do something, you may as well do it as well as you can and make the most of the experience, including CrossFit. I particularly like this quote from the very end, “Maximizing your CrossFit experience isn’t about shiny lifting shoes. Maximizing your CrossFit experience is completely within your control.”

Last week I included a post by Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics who also provided suggestions for this issue in both the snatch and the clean and jerk. This week Mike from the Barbell Shrugged team takes on the issue and suggests several things you can do if you have this problem: 1) Do full squat snatches often to get better at doing full squat snatches! 2) Remember, getting “stronger overhead” will not allow you to get around a mobility limitation! 3) Work movements that help you with pulling under, and 4) Finally, don’t practice failure! You can read the article, listen to the podcast or both.

I included this one because getting under the bar is a common issue and having a toolbox full of different things to try can only help to make it better.

The CrossFit Open is approaching and some of us are already nervously dreading the release of 15.1. In this post, Mandy Stewart explains why you shouldn’t be scared of signing up for the open. She reminds us that the judges are there to motivate and help you by counting your reps, describes the success stories of the past open WODs she has completed, and suggests that the Open can help to improve the sense of community in the gym.

In this post David uses research to provide an explanation as to why people are drawn to intense workouts like CrossFit. Some of the reasons suggested are discipline, strength and control when it feels like your life is out of control, self-punishment when you have done something wrong, the image you present to other people as being tolerant, strong and disciplined, low self-esteem, and a healthy desire for a great challenge.

I found this post fascinating because it’s something that I have puzzled over for a long time. Communities like CrossFit are often built on the shared suffering of going through 20 minutes of intense physical challenge each day, and the people who make up those communities are often all different ages from all different walks of life who once they have experienced it realize they NEED that in their life. But why? I agree with David, that the reason varies from person to person. And I relate to some of the suggestions he makes in his article. I’m pretty sure there are plenty more too.

In this post Elizabeth Akinwale shares her perspective on working out and pregnancy, drawing on her own personal experiences.

Like Elizabeth Akinwale, it seems like a lot of my friends are currently either pregnant or new mums, so I bookmarked this to share with them.

In this post Christie describes her journey with weight loss and CrossFit in this post. She suggests why women should stop saying. “I want to be toned,” and gives a positive take on gaining weight as you gain muscle.

I included this one because I think many women who do CrossFit will relate to what she says and will be inspired by her story.

With being sick this week, I’ve not had much appetite and have lacked the motivation to cook (I’ve been living on bean chilli and veg soup that I made big vats of last Sunday), so this one is on my list to make this coming week. Being veggie I will probably sub out the chicken for either tempeh or beans and lentils. It is jam-packed with healthy and tasty ingredients, so I have high hopes.

Ryan Carey lists the following foods that can be used to fight off the early signs of flu, and explains what it is that makes them ‘super:’ honey, ginger, garlic, turmeric, and coconut oil.

This one appealed to me this week because I have fighting off a winter bug, and a lot of my friends have been dropping out like flies with one winter bug or another. I am also firm believer in avoiding pharmaceutical medicine where possible and using more natural remedies like those listed.