Entries Tagged as 'Must Read Posts'
December 3rd, 2013, by Jennie · No comments
PHONE CALL. I received a phone call a while ago. It wasn't unlike hundreds of other phone calls I have received. Someone was looking to join the Fort. We talked for a while about what she has tried in the past to reach her fitness goals and then she asked, "So what can you do for me?" It's not often that I'm speechless. Caught off guard. But somehow I didn't know how to respond.
GIFT. What can I do for you? That question just burned into my brain. There was only one way to respond. I said, "well let me ask you this...what are you willing to give?" As anyone who has had success knows, it's not about what you're given, it's about how you use it. It's about how much you put into each WOD. How hard you are willing to try. I can't "DO" anything for you other than provide you with the tools you need to succeed. The tools are there. I've handed them to you in a gift wrapped package. Bow on top. It's your turn to open the box and see what's inside.
AUDIT. Use all the tools in there - don't audit which ones you're using. We give all the tools because we know that the combination is what produces success. CrossFit Fire gives you the workouts, the nutrition program, and the community. Every tool you need to have great success is there. All WOD and no diet makes for strong chubby people. All diet and no WOD makes for skinny fat people. Eliminating the community from either of those scenarios makes for people who only commit for a very small time. You MUST do it all.
TOOLS. So which tools are you currently using? Take a second and really think about it. Are you using all 3? Community, WOD and nutrition? If not, it's time to open up that toolbox again and take another look. We're here if you need any help learning to use your new tools.
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November 11th, 2013, by Jennie · 6 Comments
- A Guest Post by Amber Rich
Ever wish you could travel back in time and tell yourself what you should’ve done, or what you should’ve NEVER done? After being in CrossFit for one year, I have seen myself change both physically and mentally. I’ve done things that I never thought I could do, and have done some pretty stupid things. Since there is no time machine, I wanted to share my first year as a CrossFit Rookie. Here’re a few things I learned as a Rook:
Jump in with both feet! Introduce yourself to everyone. Even if you have seen their face, but have not officially met; go right up to him/her and introduce yourself. Why? So you can encourage them during the WOD. “Good job, So-And-So!” “C’mon, So-And-So, keep moving, you’ve got this.” It’s the kind of community that makes the Fort so cool.
“Like this?” “Can you watch me do this?” “Am I doing this right?” Next, ask questions! Ask a lot of questions. It’s ok to be needy, especially when it’s something so new. Plus, if you have never lifted weights you MUST have some questions. There’s so many things you have to think about to get the movements just right. This is a brand new thing; Ask, ask, ask! Knowledge is power; and it keeps you safe.
Watch out! Keep on the look out! See how experienced people are doing things. Chances are, they are using great form and are being as efficient as possible. Mimic them. If they do burpees differently than you, try it their way. Also, be careful; steer clear of someone when they are lifting. Give them space in case they fall backward or drop the weights.
Coaches. You need a Coach for encouragement, advice on weight allotment, and to watch your form. This is the external coach. You also need to equip yourself with an internal coach; the one in your head. The one that tells you to, “move your ass!” or “don’t give up now, keep going!” This coach is just as important as the external coach. Be your biggest fan by having that one extra coach in your head telling you that you can and you will. You will do so much better on the WODs by listening to both of your coaches!
Eff the Clock & Eff the HEAVY Weights. Take your time to learn the form. Form is golden. Form is king. Form is safety. DO NOT COMPROMISE FORM FOR TIME! You are new to the game and this wonderful world of Olympic weightlifting. Allow yourself to be a beginner. Take your time. You will need to practice over and over again, and not every movement is focused on daily. Trying to beat people on the board with better times and heavier weights will get you injured. Spend the first year focusing on form and stretching. If you take nothing away from this blog post but one thing, let this be it: You will perform better and lift much heavier weights if you learn the technique inside and out, first.
Lastly, Go To Events! Go to Team Saturdays and as many CrossFit Fire events as you can. It’s about meeting the people you workout with and making friends with them. Be a part of it. The hardest part is walking in the door for the very first time, after that, no problem! It’s such a blast and it makes you really see and value CrossFit Fire Fire for the family and close community that sets the Fort head-and-shoulders above the others.
Good Luck, Rookies! Be Safe & Have Fun!
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October 28th, 2013, by Jennie · 3 Comments
PREEBOK. See this picture? This was our very first location. We got to claim 600 square feet of AWESOME as our very own. There were about 7 of us working out together consistently. We shared one 24" box. One rower. One barbell. One Squat rack. It was a fun and exciting time not only for us, but for the entire CrossFit community. We were doing something new, something that made us unique.
NEW GUY. I can even remember the first time somebody found us that wasn't from our group of friends. He came to our gym and asked who our "best guy" was. I just shrugged and smiled and pointed at one of our guys, "he's the one who always finishes first in our workouts." Compete? Us? That seemed silly. How did you even find us!?
THEN. Back then, CrossFit was small. It was a secret underground society of people who liked punishing workouts and going against the grain. If you found a CrossFit affiliate in your area, you were considered lucky. It wasn't uncommon for people to drive an hour each way to their nearest affiliate. We were the 2nd affiliate in Illinois, and now there are over 300. My how things have changed.
COMMITMENT. The best thing about "back then" was the level of commitment from the people who found CrossFit. It wasn't something you could just stumble upon. You weren't shopping in Dick's Sporting Goods when you happened to walk by a rack of "CrossFit Reebok" shoes when you decided, "CrossFit sounds fun, I think I'll try it". People who would normally succumb to all the latest fitness fads were so busy buying Shape Ups, that CrossFit wasn't even on their radar. There wasn't a single main stream way of finding us.
NOW. Change is good. I liked CrossFit when it was "secret", but I also like it now. I remember buying 3 copies of the issue of Men's Health magazine when they first ran an article about CrossFit. I liked when my Mom called me to say she just saw CrossFit on TV. I still remember feeling excited when I heard about celebrities who were doing CrossFit. All of that meant that CrossFit was growing, gaining popularity. It meant that more people than ever were going to be able to experience the glorious thing I had come to love so much. Lives EVERYWHERE were going to be changed by this fitness movement.
What I want to drive home is that CrossFit isn't a "get fit quick" scheme. It isn't a fad. There isn't an infomercial claiming that you can get 6-pack abs or add 7" to your biceps in 30 days. CrossFit is about putting in hard work, and getting amazing results in return. In the end, there is no magic pill you can swallow. No worm hole you can disappear down and magically emerge healthy. When you're considering CrossFit, ask yourself how badly you want to reach your goals. We're not going to make it easy for you, but we're going to give you all the tools you need to work hard and get results.
WELCOME. All you need to do in order to reach your goals is to keep showing up. So come on out to the Fort and give CrossFit a try. Heck, you can even wear your CrossFit Reebok shoes. Because in the end, it doesn't matter how you heard about us, just that you want to join us for some fun and hard work.
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September 23rd, 2013, by Jennie · Comments Off
AND THEN WHAT? Couch to 5K. Your 26.2. 10 Week Half Marathon Program. Know what all of those programs have in common? They all have a very definite goal, and a clear end. You do XYZ and at the end you ABC, because that's the goal. Run. A long, long time. But after the running, what happens then? What do you focus on after you cross the finish line and collect your participation medal?
YAY FITNESS. I'm a huge supporter of any program that gets people off the couch and moving. I love fitness. I love exercise. Do I sometimes get caught mocking people on elliptical machines reading magazines and not breaking a sweat? Yes. Have I actually laughed out loud when I saw a woman on a treadmill talking on her cell phone? Yes. I'm an asshole, I guess. But at the end of the day, I love when people are working hard for a goal that is important to them. What I don't love is when people are going through the motions just to say they did something.
EFFORT. Did you spend 45 minutes on that treadmill? Yep, you sure did. But....you spent the whole time chatting with your sister about how she needs to stop dating online and meet a "respectable man". And how if she ever wants to be taken seriously at work she needs to get rid of her nose piercing. Seriously? Don't kid yourself. What you did was go through the motions without putting in the effort. It's kind of like sitting through class in college and making eye contact with your teacher, but listening to Katy Perry through your headphones simultaneously. The worst part of all of that, is that everyone can reach their "goal" regardless of how much effort they actually put forth. Sure, you ran a half marathon. But how hard did you ACTUALLY work? What did you take away from that program? Can it be applied in other areas of your life?
JOURNEY. Know what I love about CrossFit? It's not just one goal. It's a journey. There is no finish line. It's a never ending quest to get better, faster, fitter. (yes, fitter is a real word. I own a gym, I would know. Pfffft) You will get out of CrossFit exactly what you put into it. You're not going to be able to say that you reached the finish line even though you were the lady on her cell phone on that treadmill.....because CrossFit will not reward you with that satisfaction. If you want it, be prepared to work your ass off for it!
CHANGE. When you start CrossFit you might not even know what your goals are, but they will eventually emerge. The key with CrossFit is that you can't ever STOP setting goals. Always be on the lookout for something to keep working towards. And maybe you even set a goal and it changes. When we first met at your free assessment did you tell me you just wanted to lose 10lbs and feel healthier? Those are great goals! But maybe these days your focus has changed and now you want to get unassisted pull-ups, 100kg+ deadlift, AND run a 5K. Those are ALSO great goals.
POINT. Believe it or not, this post isn't intended to bag on running. There are a lot of people that I train daily and love dearly that like to run. I'm enormously proud when members of our Fort family run 5K's, half or full marathons! CrossFit is definitely helping prepare you for whatever lies ahead! The point of all this is to never choose a single focus for your goals. Choose a variety of things that will take you anywhere from 30 days - a year to accomplish. CrossFit is going to have a spiderweb effect, and your goals will branch out creating new and diverse goals in all areas of your life. This will make your fitness journey more fun, challenging and rewarding. Don't put in just enough to earn a participation medal...because there isn't one in CrossFit. You have to earn your goals.
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September 16th, 2013, by Jennie · Comments Off
Over the last 6 years I have met hundreds of people looking to try CrossFit. I might even be closing in on a thousand people. There's one thing that always baffles me about people who are new to CrossFit - the men are always worried that CrossFit will make them "too skinny", and the ladies are always worried it'll make them "too bulky".
Isn't that odd?
It doesn't even seem to matter how physically active these scared men and women are. It could be a soccer Mom looking to lose weight, or a lady who played sports through college. There is this fear that if you step off the treadmill and pick up a barbell - BOOM! You'll have giant biceps and quads that could crack walnuts. Like you'll just wake up one morning and be like, "SHIT! I can't get my arms over my head because my traps are SO HUGE!" I made a whole long post about how lifting weights can't make you bulky. If you're a lady who genuinely fears this, please take the time to reference my old post. In a nut shell, the old belief that you will "turn your fat into muscle" seems to be at the root of this fear. To clarify, you can either BURN fat, or BUILD muscle....but fat doesn't ever directly get converted into muscle. Ever. I promise. Hence the reason no woman has ever had solid breasts made of muscle.
And you men out there who are scared that CrossFit will magically poof you into a size 26 jeans, and you'll have to start shopping at Baby Gap....let's not get silly here. Are there men who are extremely lean who do CrossFit? You betcha. There are also men who manage to maintain a good amount of body mass while getting in the best shape of their lives. I have never met a man who said, "can you make me a skinny little bitch please?". If that was the service I was offering to men, I wouldn't have a single male client. Your testosterone and calorie intake will keep you a buff and beefy man. So fear not.
I suspect that these irrational, opposite fears aren't actually the reason people don't want to give CrossFit a shot. It's more likely that they're just intimidated to start a new workout program, especially one that is so unconventional and foreign. Put your fears aside and give CrossFit a shot for 90 days. You'll NEVER regret it.
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September 12th, 2013, by Jennie · 2 Comments
100%. Yep, I said it. The record board doesn't matter. Neither does anyone's time for a given workout. Know what REALLY matters? That you gave it everything you had today. That you finished and went face down into the black mat, breathless. Your 100% today might not be as fast as your 100% was 2 months ago, and that's ok too.
SCORE. I watched you grind through that WOD for 15 brutal minutes. There was a puddle of sweat under your bar and chalky hand prints dotting the mats where you did your push-ups. Yet when the timer ran out you shouted "F*CK!". Don't ever, EVER be disappointed with your performance based on what someone else did. Don't let your "score" dictate how high you hold your head for the rest of the day.
BURN. Don't be a whiteboard watcher either. Don't allow yourself to feel like a failure because you didn't beat someone else's score, or because you were 15 seconds slower than the last time. The whiteboards don't matter. If I tore them off the wall and burned them, it wouldn't change anything. I would still expect you to come into the Fort, bust your ass, and give me whatever your best was for that given day.
WIN. As long as you pushed yourself to the max and didn't quit, that should be marked as a win. Maybe you set a mental goal for the WOD and didn't hit it. So what. Just go faster next time! The whiteboard allows us to see where we rank among our own gym, but it doesn't tell the whole story. It doesn't tell me what your potential is. It doesn't tell me what your day was like. It doesn't tell me about your sleep, your nutrition, your stress level, or even what your mental attitude was coming into the WOD. All it is, is numbers. Forget the numbers. Just live, breathe, and die to be the best CrossFitter YOU can be each and every day.
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August 22nd, 2013, by Jennie · Comments Off
HAPPY. Is it safe to say that everyone in the whole universe prefers to be happy? I think it is. I've never met anyone who was content being crabby and dissatisfied all the time. So why are you frowning? Why are you letting all the little stuff ruin your day?
SMILE. The way I see it, you can find a reason to be happy every single day. As my father in law always says, "every morning that you wake up and you're not on that cold steel table, is a good day". And he's kind of right, isn't he? Even if your kid misses the bus, you burn your scrambled eggs, trip over the dog and spill your coffee down the stairs, and knock over your garbage cans backing out of the driveway, there still has to be SOMETHING that you can smile about.
MIRROR. I'm not sure if you've ever noticed, but people in a group tend to mirror each other's facial expressions and emotions. You're frowning? Ok, I'll probably frown too. You're giggling? Then let's giggle together! Without even meaning to, your frown could be making somebody else frown. So don't smile just for yourself, smile for everyone around you!
FORT. Every day that you get to walk through the doors at the Fort, lace up your shoes, chalk your hands and grab a barbell you should be smiling. Maybe you'll set a new PR today, or maybe you'll be 15 seconds slower. My vote is that either way, you should do it with a smile.
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