Abbreviate EVERYTHING

12/19/2014
Strength
3 sets of:
6-8 RFESS @ 3011 - each leg
1:30 Rest
6-10 Weighted Push-ups
1:30 Rest

WOD
6 DB Man-makers
750m Row
6 DB Man-makers
50 KB Swings (24/16)
6 DB Man-makers
750m Row
6 DB Man-makers

It's funny how much we abbreviate stuff. We are some of the fittest people on Earth, but we just can't bring ourselves to write out the full words. RFESS = rear facing elevated split squat. RAN = rest as needed. All these abbreviations can make it seem like we are speaking our own kind of language over here, and apparently it's the language of lazy writers. :-)

Don't let the abbreviations and acronyms overwhelm you. If there is ever anything you need clarified, just ask!

SCHEDULE REMINDER - Friday, December 19th is our 6th annual holiday party, starting at 7PM. Friday evening we will only have the 4:30PM class - 5:30 and 6:30PM are cancelled so that all of our coaching staff can attend the party. Hope to see you all at the party!

I didn’t want to own a gym

SPANDEX. Growing up, I never said, "I want to own a gym some day". I think I told people that I wanted to be a doctor. Or a trapeze artist. Or whatever job it is where you get to wear tap shoes every day. I was going to either wear a white lab coat, or bedazzled spandex with a tutu. But I never, ever thought about owning my own gym.

TIME. As I sit here in my kitchen answering emails, responding to voicemails, mailing gift certificates, planning events and capturing my random thoughts for the blog, I realize how much I love owning a gym. For other small business owners, I don't have to tell you how much hard work you have to put into your business. It becomes like a baby. "Hey, want to start your own business? Or maybe you should adopt 12 infants." Either way, it would be the same time commitment.

BABY. But it's not just time that your business requires, it's love. It's nurturing. It's patience. You take this tiny idea and help it grow. You feed it with your heart and soul, and it starts to get bigger. Suddenly, you have a 4' long iguana living in a fish bowl, and you need to get yourself an aquarium. But what I've found, is that no matter how big this thing gets, it's still my baby.

SMILE. I still get excited every time I drive to the gym. I smile as I sing along with Taylor Swift on the radio, because I know I'm going to the best place in the world. My gym. The place that is uniquely mine - an extension of myself and all the things about the world that I love. All the hard work, all the heart ache, all the time invested...it's all worth it.

SHARE. So while I don't get to wear a tutu or tap shoes to work, I do get the immeasurable pleasure of watching my baby grow, and sharing it with all of you. I love sharing pictures and stories about the gym, and my friends there, just as much as parents love sharing stories and pictures of their children. I fill my Facebook page with videos of amazing feats of strength, and pictures of people who inspire me. People who also love my baby. The very people who I had in mind when I conceived this gym-baby.

LOVE. Thank you for loving my gym-baby, and for making it what it is today. You guys are the reason I've been nurturing this baby since 2008. Without such amazing people to share my gym with, it would just be a lonely, hollow shell. Thank you for filling the gym with love, laughter, triumph and extraordinary effort.

I love you guys! 

The OTHER way to not break your wrist

12/18/2014
Strength
15:00 to work on:
1.1.1 Squat Clean (drop b/w singles)
RAN

WOD
8:00 EMOM of:
5 Hang Power Cleans + 3 Push Presses
12:00 EMOM of:
Odd: 10 Thrusters (45/30)
Even: 5 Bar-hop Burpees + 15-25 Double-unders

Let's talk about how NOT to break your wrists. Seems important enough, right? Whether you're front squatting, cleaning, or doing thrusters, you have the bar in what is called the front rack position. The bar sits nice and deep on your chest, and should actually be gently touching your throat. Your grip on the bar is a little loose, allowing the bar to rest on the meaty bits of your shoulders, and your triceps stay parallel to the ground.

A beautiful, perfect front rack requires a lot of upper body flexibility. Plenty of you have had to endure hours of uncomfortable dowel rod stretches in order to achieve this. The danger of not developing this flexibility is that at the bottom of your squat, if your elbow bangs into your knees, you're at risk of breaking a wrist. Seriously. I haven't personally seen it happen, but I personally know one or two athletes that have had this unfortunate accident happen to them.

OH MY GOD! I DON'T WANT TO BREAK MY WRIST!

Perfect. I don't want that either. If you lack the proper flexibility to have a beautiful rack (giggling), then you need to get your butt to the movement and mobility class on Wednesday nights ASAP. You can also check out this video from our buddy Kelly Starett. He'll walk you through how to diagnose where your rack issues are originating from, and also show you some mobility drills you can work on before and after class.

Meanwhile, you can do like Andy is doing in this picture. He doesn't have a perfect rack, but to protect his wrists from the smash doom they could face at the bottom of his squat, he angles his elbows INSIDE his knees.

But seriously. Develop this flexibility. Don't wait. If you need help, then for the love of Siri Cruise, just ask one of your coaches!

Get your hook grip ready

12/17/2014
Strength
15:00 to work on:
1 Snatch-grip Deadlift
1 Hang Power Snatch
1 Hang Squat Snatch

WOD
20:00 AMRAP of:
10 Deadlifts (70/50)
10 Box Jumps w/ Step Down (24/20)
350m Row

Sometimes you just have to endure a little discomfort in order to get better. And with today's strength work, that discomfort comes courtesy of the hook grip.

The hook grip is helpful, especially in a strength complex like this one, where you need to hang onto the bar for multiple reps. With your hands out in that side snatch grip, the bar can be particularly tricky. The solution is to wrap your other fingers on TOP of your thumb when you grab the bar - this is known as the hook grip.

Unfortunately, the first few times you try and use the hook grip, it's going to feel like you are flattening your thumb. You'll grab the bar, stand it up, and then immediately feel like putting it down. You'll shake out your hands, curse my name, and vow to NEVER try that stupid hook thingy again. Trust me. That part goes away. 4 or 5 training sessions using the hook grip, and you'll hardly feel anything at all. All you'll feel is the awesomeness of having an extra strong grip on your bar!

Choose the Wrench

12/16/2014
Strength
3 sets of:
8 Presses
:30 Rest
12-15 DB Bench Presses
:30 Rest
16 Step-ups (24/20)
1:30 Rest

WOD
3 Rounds for Total Reps & cals/miles:
1:00 Russian KB Swings (32/24)
:15 Rest
1:00 5 Push-ups + 6 Jumping Lunges
:15 Rest
1:00 Row or AD
1:30 Rest

Whenever the WODFather gives you the option to row or use the Airdyne, ALWAYS pick the Airdyne. Know why? Because it's like choosing the wrench. For those of you who have seen Goodwill Hunting, you'll know what I'm talking about. For those of you who haven't, well then at least watch this clip. There's an F-bomb in there, so make sure you're not within ear shot of your boss.

We're not trying to give the WODFather the F-bomb, but we ARE trying to prove our mental toughness by choosing the more challenging option. The AirDyne is WAY harder than the rower if you attack it with vigor and vim. You are free to choose the rower, but just know that it's not the wrench.

Reminder - Our 6th annual Holiday Party is this Friday at 7PM! Please RSVP right away so I can give them a headcount for food. I hope to see all of you there! In order to make it possible for all of our coaches to be there with us, we will only have the 4:30PM class this Friday.

It is its’ destiny!

12/12/2014
Strength
3 sets of:
6-8 Single-leg Romanian Deadlifts @ 3011 - each leg
1:30 Rest
4-6 Weighted Dips @ 21X1
1:30 Rest

WOD
1 Round of:
1000m Row
100 Double-unders
4 Wall Climbs
750m Row
75 Double-unders
3 Wall Climbs
500m Row
50 Double-unders
2 Wall Climbs

The first thing I thought of when I saw this workout was, "WE GET TO USE THE NEW WALL!" A lot of work went into putting up that wood wall, and I have about half a dozen people to thank for their help. It was definitely a team effort, but it was well worth it! That bad boy is going to be a dream come true for wall climbs! And best of all....you can't put your foot through it! So wall climb like maniacs, my friends. The wall is ready for you!

REMINDER - Saturday night is our CrossFit Fire ladies night out! So clear your calendar, curl your hair, and get your push-up bras out, because it's time to have some FUN!

Get Excited

12/11/2014
Strength
15:00 to establish heavy single of:
1 High Hang Squat Clean
1 Hang Squat Clean
1 Squat Clean

WOD
8:00 EMOM of:
2-4 NPU DB Man-makers (35/25)
12:00 EMOM of:
Odd: 10 Wall Ball Shots (20/14)
Even: 8-12 cal Row

Know who's always excited to be at the Fortress? THIS GIRL! Every time I see Jen she has a big smile on her face, ad she's giving 110% to her workout. Not only that, but she takes time to stop and encourage other people while they're working out! Jen, we love your energy and your enthusiasm! Thank you so much for being part of the Fort Family!

This Saturday night is the CrossFit Fire ladies night out event! We'll be hopping on a 6PM train, and we have a 6:45 reservation at La Tasca in Arlington Heights. I hope each and every one of my beautiful Fort ladies can make it - I miss you all so much!