5 Keys to Change…

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Now that The CrossFit Games Open has come to a close, we have become keenly aware of our shortcoming and areas that need improvement. You might have already made a short list of things that need to be worked on, and maybe you’ve even come up with a plan to get better. 

If your problem is fully extension on the Handstand Push Ups, then you might have the idea to simply work on them throughout the week in addition to your normal programming. Of course, there might be better ways to help improve then simply doing the movement more. In fact, doing it more might make you want to do it less, which might move you into not doing them at all. Sounds like a possible recipe for disaster. Don’t underestimate auxiliary movements to strength specific areas that can improve over all movement. 

Today, I don’t want to focus on the art of auxiliary movements but I do want to focus on what it takes to make changes in our lives…

Over the years, I have successfully and unsuccessfully made many changes in my life. I have noticed that there are some key things that have to happen in order to make changes that actually work. You will have more things specifically for you in your life that will work in addition to these things, but for the most part these are universal helps to make changes. 

Here they are, 5 Keys to Change: 

First: Document the things you want to change and the WHY

Sometimes the hardest ting to do is to articulate what specifically we want to change, and MORE importantly WHY we want to change those things. Writing them down helps bring clarity and vision to your ideas. If your why seems superficial, keep asking why until you get to something substantial. I listened to a podcast recently that talked about asking why 5 or so times until you get to the real issue. This practice might benefit you as it has for me. 

Second: Find some people for accountability. 

The vast majority of us can’t do things well if left to our own devises. We make excuses and follow our emotions rather than our plans. We need other people looking, asking, and walking with us in the change. You want to get “bigger”? Well, the easy road is to seek our Pharmaceuticals and couple that with working out. With accountability, hopefully, you have that friend that will say… “you know, that might not be the best way to go about this goal”. 

Third: Plan

I beat this drum all the time! Not planning, is planning to fail. If you have no plan, you will go exactly where you planned to go… nowhere! There are also great people out there who can help you depending on your plan. For example, I need help with nutrition and I have 27 Health and Wellness to write plans for me and hold me accountable to those plans. It’s great! Either make your own plan or find someone to write one for you. You might be able to get some help from the coaches in your local box. 

Be sure to actually calendar the plan, set timers for the plan, and/or go over the next day’s plan before you go to bed each night. 

Fourth: Set your baseline

Take pictures, measurements, note movement limitations, and/or numbers. Knowing where you are starting will be key when you can’t seem to “see” the changes. Numbers don’t lie and neither will that baseline as you compare to the weeks moving forward. Also, test your mobility often if your goals are physical. Sometimes you might not see physical change but your mobility might be drastically different. 

Fifth: Celebrate the wins!

I don’t care how big or small of an improvement you see, celebrate it! Take note, take a picture, or just do a dance. Take the WIN! Warning: sometimes we might chose to celebrate by doing something that goes against your plan. It’s up to you, but that might create a bad situation for you in the long run. 

I hope these 5 things help. Post below the things you will be focusing on in the coming months or years. Can we be apart of your journey? Let us know.

-Jacob: @fitby40.blog

This is me before I decided to make changes (2008ish) and then a picture of me a couple of months ago. 

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RX or Scaled?

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The Open is drawing to a close this week... This means that this is the last week, us mere mortals, must ask ourselves… RX or Scaled? 

Whether you just started CrossFit or you’ve done it for years, your fitness level might not be to the point of RX’ing everything. Maybe you can do most movements but those pesky ring muscle ups haven’t come. Maybe those Double Unders are still hit or miss or you haven”t found the right jump rope yet.  Maybe the RX weight is still just around your PR weight. Either way, you are in that limbo of: should I RX or Scale this workout?

I’ll be the first to admit that things happen during The Open that don’t happen all year long. There’s something about the adrenaline rush of all your friends cheering for you or the rush we get from the pressure of competition. Either way, that tension helps us to achieve more than we though could be possible, and it happens often in The Open. 

I’ve been doing CrossFit for almost four years now. I still struggle with gymnastic movements. Half of the reason is weight and the other half is strength. One day, body weight movements won’t be an issue for me, but today I still am limited. When I started CrossFit, I learned one the core principles: leave your ego at the door! I think this is one of the principles that sets CrossFit apart from other things. Ego doesn’t have a place here.

The difference between leaving your Ego at the door and competing in the Open is that Competition requires ego. Competition requires us to think that we will win, we should win, and that we must win! 

All that intro to bring us to the topic of today’s blog: To Scale or Not to Scale… that is the question! (My hope is that we will be able to get some feed back on this topic, so feel free to comment below after you finish reading.) 

Every year, in The Open, the tensions get tight with those of us who are mere mortal on wether or not to scale. This year is no different. This year, in 18.3 we had ring muscle ups and bar muscle ups in the RX workout. Talk about a game changer! This means that you had people get 100 double under, 20 over head squats, 100 double under, and then attempt ring muscle ups. What I noticed was that the majority of RX scores where 220. Why? Because people can’t do Ring Muscle Ups! 

It’s one thing for the persons who are really close to getting a Ring Muscle Up, but it’s a completely other thing for people who aren’t even close to being able to turn over at the top to try, with their remaining time, to pray to the gods of CrossFit for one stroke of luck to get their first Ring Muscle Up. This is the place where pride and ego collide with potential disastrous consequences. On the practical side, this is where injuries come from: us trying to do things that we have neither trained for, nor practiced. The other side is that tension within ourselves that tells us that it’s beneath us to do a scaled workout… which we wouldn’t potentially finish either. If you can do the scaled and smoke it… I mean really smoke it, then absolutely try RX.  No questions asked. However, I’m willing to bet that most who are in this category won’t smoke the scaled version either. 

In the middle of the pride and ego doing battle within us, we also are reminded that this IS a competition. The difference is that this competition isn’t a real test of you as an athlete unless you can actually do the workouts. Just because you do all the workouts RX, yet are unable to complete any, doesn’t make you competitive, it makes you stubborn and prideful. It’s like showing up to a sword fight with nunchucks. Sure, you will be able to move around and use what you have, but if you don’t have a sword nor know how to use it, then you’re out matched, out of luck, and dead. It’s not a competition, it’s a shit show. 

Maybe we forget that, for the most part, we aren’t going to regionals or the games. (Those few of you that might, won’t be phased by that last comment.)  We have to remember that competition is fun and should be competitive. Anything less is a shit show… so have fun with it! Leave the pride at the door and work your hardest at what you can do and what you can potentially finish. Working hard for a few minutes only to stop and pray to the gods of CrossFit isn’t competition, it’s only a few minute workout that was supposed to be 18 minutes. 

Let me end with a reminder. This is written about the mortals, not the CrossFit Athletes who actually compete and do those movements and weights that others dream of… this is about those of us who still dream to be you when we grow up. 

I think the question goes deeper than just scaled or RX… It might be more about how we view ourselves or how we need others to view us. 

What are your thoughts? Ask yourself deeply why you Scale or go RX? Is it, deep down, about pride and ego or even your own need to be placed above others? After all, CrossFit has always been about more than just exercise. All of us are trying to beat back the demons in our lives.

It's Finally Time!

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It’s this week… it’s finally time.

The Open is upon us. 

This is the time of year when the whole world of CrossFit pauses to workout together in a weekly WOD. 

Although he CrossFit games are not CrossFit, The Open is all CrossFit. The Open is a part of the weekly grind in your local box for five weeks, and it’s for EVERYONE! 

Sure, the majority of people don’t compete or participate in the Open because they think they will go to the games. However we do all compete to be a part of the world of CrossFit. We all show up to compete in the Open to see the miracles and the first-times happen. When someone gets so jazzed that they do what they previously thought to be impossible… that’s what we all live for in the Open. We show up to the Open because we want to scream our heads off for our friends and teammates. We show up to the Open for the party of fitness. 

I love watching people complete just as much as I love competing. This year we will see the unbelievable, the miraculous, and the never-before. 

The Open is not about what you can’t do or even how you might feel like you are not good enough. It’s about what might happen. Whether you are scaled or an RX athlete, you will surprise yourself and you will have fun! 

I’m hyper competitive and I will be able to finish ahead of other people, but that doesn’t matter. This year, I am better than last year. That’s what matters. Having participated in the Open since 2014, I have years of Open experience to see progress and that’s all a part of the journey. 

It’s not to late. Sign up for the open and order your Barbell Voodoo clothes to wear while you compete. Just because you aren’t going to the CrossFit Games doesn’t mean you don’t have to look like you’re going to the games! 

Comment below what movements you think will be involved in 18.1…

Under Pressure...

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When the pressure is on, how do you react?

Pressure can affect people differently. Some people fold under the pressure, while some might change their goals along the way to accommodate the pressure, while the rest might focus harder and dig deeper to push through. 

What do you do? How do you react?

Maybe this is something you don’t know until you are in those situations. In CrossFit we get placed in those situations daily. Each day we try to push harder to reach certain stimulate pressures from our programming. 

Each day we can show up and choose to coast through a workout, do the best you can for that day, or you can push as hard as you can. How do you approach the WOD?

In a few weeks, the CrossFit world comes together to compete against each other around the world. The CrossFit Open is for all CrossFitters to see how the line up with everyone else all over the world. Does that stress you out or excite you? 

I remember my first Open and I was scared to death! I didn’t understand why I signed up or why everyone around me was so excited about it. I was new to CrossFit and I didn’t really know what was happening, but I just jumped in blind. That first open was an experience that caused me to fall more and more in love with CrossFit. The way my box rallied around each person to cheered them on as they finished and push each WOD… it was amazing. I went faster and lifted more than I thought possible. It was unbelievable. 

This year, once again, I will compete in The Open. Each year has come to serve as a barometer of my CrossFit journey. Each year I have learned new things, gained new skills, and been able to compete more than the previous years. To be clear, I’m not a games athlete, I’m just a regular guy on a fitness journey who still gets super nervous before each WOD. I compete in the Open for me. I want to know how far I’ve come and even surprise myself along the way. 

If this is your first year, sign up. Send me a message about your fears or worries. I’m glad to help!

If this is your second, third, to more times…

Why do you participate in The CrossFit Open? Let us know your Why. 

It’s Open Season! Bring on the pressure and let's see what unbelievable things you can do!

If you need shirts or other gear for this year’s open, let us know how we can help! 

Why is it called a "Clean"?

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I have often wondered why this certain lift that begins with the weighted bar on the ground and ends in a front rack position is called a Clean. There's nothing clean about it! To catch a weighted bar below parallel in a squat; to have that weight force you down and somehow bounce you out of it while catching that bar in a front rack is not clean... it's painful... it's beautiful... it's powerful... it's far beyond clean. 

In weightlifting we find this clean often accompanied by a Jerk. We will have to cover this relationship in another blog. 

Life lesson #1: Don't get into a relationship with a jerk!

Keep your clean separate from your jerk, otherwise your just a thruster! Moving on...

The clean has been around for a long time. In fact, the original lift was not called a clean; It was called a Continental. The Continental lift would begin with a weighted bar (other other object) on the floor in front of the lifter and the lifter would basically deadlift the bar to the belt or waist. It was perfectly legal to rest the object on your belt if you were wearing one. 

Life lesson #2: always wear a belt! 

Once the bar was at the waist the lifter would regroup or readjust themselves in a way as to hoist the bar or object unto one's shoulders in a front press or front rack position. I think it would be similar to the way the strong men move those ridiculously heavy objects. You know, the lift were you are certain their backs are going to snap in half with the tension and angles it's being contorted into. 

Life lesson #3: If you hurt watching it, then no one else wants to see it. 

In order to classy up the lifting meets they decided to add some rules around this Centennial lift. They decided that it should be judged on more than simple practicality of lifting up a heavy object. They wanted something more ... well... Clean. 

They officially changed the rules for the lift and said that in order for it to count, it must cleanly transfer from ground to the front rack without touching the lifters body. They really liked this!

Well, they mostly liked it...

Eventually they realized that lifters couldn't lift as much. The show got boring and they needed to make the lifts more entertaining again. They wanted the big numbers. They wanted lifters to lift more weight and the new Clean was limiting. Eventually the rules changed to allow contact with the body once again but could not to stop at the waist. It still needed to be clean despite minimal appropriate contact. The Clean as it stands today is a lift that is pulled from the ground, makes some contact with hips (or packets) without stopping, and then into the front rack position. The lift is complete when the lifter is fully extended and locked out through the body and legs. 

Today's clean is not as clean as it used to be, but it's what we have for today! Now you know how it came to be known as the Clean!. 

Let me end this with a disclaimer. This blog is not written from an academic place. I trolled around the Internet and pieced together my own narrative with the consistent pieces that others wrote about the clean. To be honest, I could be completely wrong on all of it, but it's still a good story and I hope you enjoyed it. Truth be know, this subject seems to be a source of a lot of debate and maybe no one really knows. At least I didn't open up the debate that members in boxes across the world fight about... when the program says "Clean" or "Snatch", does that mean squat or can those be power? (For the record, the answer is always squat)

Never Miss A Monday...

I was staring at the piece of paper wondering what I would write down. The page seemed to be deeper than any ocean I’ve ever seen and I couldn’t get to it. It’s as if the words would get lost from my brain to my pen and I had no idea what to write down. I know I want things to be different this time and yet this feels like I’ve been here before… stuck and trying not to fail… Not again.

You ever found yourself here trying to write down the changes you want to make for your life? 

Maybe you start writing... 

This time it will be different. 

This time I’m really going to be consistent.

This time I’m going to do it right.  

Yesterday was my last cheat day which really was a cheat week. 

Tomorrow will be different… better… a new life. 

Tomorrow everything changes.

Tomorrow I will start my new plan… the plan that takes me to the next level. 

 

Monday is coming!

 

These are all things we tell ourselves right before New Years day and/or Mondays. Have you ever found yourself at the bottom of a fast food container or a fifth of liquor and thought, I feel awful? Maybe you feel like you have to make some changes, and after this weekend you'll start being better.

We like to think that each Monday is magical. That things can actually change if we wait till Monday to start. 

Something inside of us likes to make us believe, that this time, everything will be different because Mondays are Magical. 

How are your New Years Resolutions going? Still in the game or already given up?

Don’t worry, Monday is coming! 

Every Monday you might see various posts from athletes that say “Never Miss A Monday”. It might even be hash-tagged from a picture at the gym or box where they workout. 

I think we have two things at play here. First, we have the fact that Monday’s are the days when people like to start new things or start over. Mondays are not to be missed because they are the days of new beginnings and new hope for a different future. Secondly, we are talking about consistency. In order to be consistent, you must start the week off right. Theoretically if you can make Monday happen, you can make the rest of the week work too. 

The important thing is to start! Whether you are depending on Monday to be a magical and life changing experience, or you are trying to be consistent in starting your week off right, then Mondays are essential. 

The magical Monday can also be a make or break it day. If you miss Monday then chances are good that you are going to blow off the rest of the week as well. Have you done this before? 

No one takes a rest day on Monday. Set the tone for the week and go kick it’s butt. Be a winner on Monday and attack the rest of the week. You can do it! 

Whether its magical or constancy, never miss a Monday. Set the tone for the week and go do your thing! Today is a new day… go take control of it! 

Never Miss A Monday!

-Jacob

follow me on instagram: @fitby40.blog

How the blog and podcast will really work...

As I posted last week's podcast, I realize I had misspoken about the way podcasts and this blog would work. Each week we will be putting out content from www.barbell-voodoo.com We will alternate weeks with the Blog and podcast, so each will be bi-weekly. (I said bi-monthly in the podcast... opps!)

Since last week was a podcast, this week is a blog. It will be uploaded later today/tomorrow, depending on me scheduling it correctly. haha! 

In reality, the blog will be updated each week with content because we will place pictures and such from the podcast here as well, but only every other week will we have an actually blog to read. The moral of the story... check back on the blog each week! 

If this is all confusing, just subscribe to everything... it's easier that way! 

Feel free to let me know anything you might be interested in us talking about on the blog or podcast and I'll see what we can do. We want to make sure we are providing content in which our people are interested in reading and/or listening. 

Thanks and enjoy! 

-Jacob 

follow me on instagram: @fitby40.blog