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10 traits you need to be a great Crossfitter and Regional Athlete

Posted by Talayna Fortunato on

10 traits you need to be a great Crossfitter and Regional Athlete from WODSuperStore.com

Good integrity of movement and efficiency. 

Probably the most important aspects of movement efficiency, or what some call virtuosity, are strength, coordination and mobility.  If one of these facets is missing an athlete's internal power output will be much greater to achieve the same amount of work and they'll be leaking energy with every repetition.  Besides, no one wants to be a leaky athlete that's just gross!

For example, you can have all of the mobility in the world but without the strength to maintain it you will fall out of a good position under stress.  Conversely, you can be very strong but without the mobility to get into a good front rack position to propel a bar off of, you will always be muscling overhead movements with your shoulders and burning them out quickly.  Coordination comes in play by being able to transition from one efficient position to another using the least amount of energy required.

Here's a little front squat video demonstrating efficient technique vs. what I like to call the squatting dog technique. This video also proves you don't have to be elite to move well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dehR3d6NuQE

Developed aerobic base

This one is easy to explain.  The Open qualifies you for Regionals and it consists of hundreds of repetitions and multiple workouts lasting over 10 minutes.  Without an aerobic base it's hard to maintain a pace throughout workouts such as these.

Example of what a 10min. workout can do to you.

High level of skill acquisition

Most athletes at the Regional level are somewhat gifted in the areas of learning new skills.  They don't have to be elite or get muscle-ups their first day, but in general they should have above average body awareness.  With the number of different skills included in CrossFit® at the Regional level now it's important to be able to learn them in a timely manner just because there are so many to get good at! 

Proficiency in the olympic lifts

Like it or not olympic lifting is a very large part of CrossFit® and the best at CrossFit® are in the upper echelon of olympic lifting CrossFitters as well.  Here is a chart showing the % break down Olympic lifting takes up compared to other movements at the Open, Regionals and the Games.

Full link to the interesting article is here, along with a ton of other statistics.  This guy is obsessed with CrossFit® statistics! http://cfganalysis.blogspot.com/2014/09/a-closer-look-at-2014-games-programming.html

The ability to go to the dark place mentally and physically.

When I first started CrossFit® I was not in the greatest shape at my gym but I would continually beat people in better shape than me because I was more willing to hurt.  After enough time of doing this they could no longer beat me even if they had wanted to hurt.  In order to progress you have to want to go faster and get better more than you want the pain to stop.  It's as simple as that.  The other thing is no matter how far you progress if you're going hard enough there will always be a workout that takes you into the dark place.  And the dark place never gets easier, you just get faster there!  


Adequate recovery.  

This includes getting enough sleep and a low stress environment outside of the gym.  If you're getting 80% of the sleep you need you can be guaranteed you'll have 80% of the energy you need during your workouts.  You also will not be healing as well because most growth hormone production happens while you're sleeping.  Additionally, if you are in mental anguish outside of the gym and hurting emotionally it's hard to make yourself want to hurt physically.  The body interprets physical and mental stress much in the same way.  It knows when it's dealing with too much and won't allow you to push as hard or else it will start to break down.  

Don't be that guy.

Nutrition regimen that works for the individual 

There is no one way for athletes to eat.  Some need to perform on an empty stomach and others need to be eating something on the start line.  The percentages of macros is also individual, as is total calories.  The one thing that remains consistent though is athletes need to fuel themselves well enough for performance and recovery, and this means not skipping any energy substrate.  You may eat lower fat or low carb, but you can't not eat them and do well.  It's important athletes experiment to find out what's optimal for them, and that doesn't always mean being super clean either.  This will take recording things and observing the effects with some trial and error, but it really does make a difference and is one of the things that is easily controllable when it comes to performance.  I can't control my femur length, but I can control what I put into my body so might as well do it! 

The ability to focus during a workout and mastering the mental game. 

Often new CrossFitters get tunnel vision when they start a workout.  You know the look, like deer in headlights, unaware of the drool dripping onto their shirt as they bend forward hands on knees looking at a wall ball that might as well be 100lbs now.  This is about the point where people report that they miscounted (but that's a whole other issue!)  You could replace their wall ball with one 15lbs heavier and they might not even be coherent enough to realize something has changed from the last round and check their equipment.  They may know it's harder but the ability to think within a workout and realize things aren't going as they should and then adapt is imperative to success in competition.  

I think the mental game in CrossFit® is very under-emphasized.  There is a lot of strategy to many workouts, and a good competitor can focus well enough to implement the strategy or even change it when needed. Instances where this is the case might be a strict or even non-communicative judge.  While you need to be focused on what you're doing you also have to pay attention and if you're getting no-repped figure it out as quickly as you can.  Other mistakes due to lack of focus are things like grabbing the wrong object to run with, transitioning to the wrong exercise, or forgetting the rep scheme all together.  Beyond staying in your own game with all of this, the next level is being able to juggle your own performance while gauging where your competition is.  Are you able to catch them without reaching beyond your own limits and blowing up?  Is the risk worth the reward for trying?  And if you're really good can you push at just the right time to make your competition question themselves and break?  See what I mean by the mental side?

 

A training program that makes progressive sense.

This one should be obvious.  There are many skills in CrossFit® and you should be sure you are practicing all of them with enough frequency to be proficient.  There should also be a focus on weaknesses in your program.  Cherry picking will not get you to Regionals, and if by chance it does you can bet the programming will make cherry pure out of you.  That's just how it seems to go, but it's the beauty of CrossFit®.  If you want your deficiencies exposed, go compete.  That said you can't complete hero workout after hero workout without diminishing returns at some point either.  That's the progressive part.  Training should be varied and challenging, not random and demolishing.  

Desire to achieve and work ethic.

No one in CrossFit® gets to Regionals without putting in the work anymore.  I have yet to see even the most talented athlete come in and have no weakness their first day or month for that matter.  The work ethic required to turn a weakness into a strength is one of the keys to mastering this sport and differentiates athletes with time.  Mostly because the person with the fewest weakness, not the most or greatest strengths, is usually the overall winner.  

Working weaknesses is usually not fun either.  That's where the discipline comes in.  Becoming competitive requires the ability to stick to a skill until you master it and the tenacity to stick to a lifting program until you get stronger.  I've seen many class members try muscle-ups and when they don't get them after a few minutes abandon the endeavor.  The approach from someone hell bent on competing is quite different and goes something like this: research on progressions towards a muscle-up, relentless practice of those progressions and the ability to delay gratification while their strength increases until one day they get their muscle-up. Then the process begins again when they want to learn to string them together efficiently.  It's never ending.  You can always add more weight to the bar, make a skill harder in some way, or go faster. 

That's sort of the beauty of it as well.  You may arrive at game day, but you never truly "arrive" as a progressing athlete and you can't cheat the grind.  It knows if you've worked for it and competition will reveal it.  I've had people surprised before by how hard I work.  I think they view the top athletes in our sport as just being more gifted, and in many other sports that might just be the case. In CrossFit® the top athletes, however gifted, all work as hard as anyone in any other sport.  I've seen a World Champion Decathlete train over the course of months while I was in college on the UT track team and most Games athlete's training is harder.  So hard that you really have to be desirous of it because training with a work ethic that great isn't for everyone!  For those who think it is go back through the list and start checking them off!   

Read more

10 traits you need to be a great Crossfitter and Regional Athlete

Posted by Talayna Fortunato on

10 traits you need to be a great Crossfitter and Regional Athlete from WODSuperStore.com

Good integrity of movement and efficiency. 

Probably the most important aspects of movement efficiency, or what some call virtuosity, are strength, coordination and mobility.  If one of these facets is missing an athlete's internal power output will be much greater to achieve the same amount of work and they'll be leaking energy with every repetition.  Besides, no one wants to be a leaky athlete that's just gross!

For example, you can have all of the mobility in the world but without the strength to maintain it you will fall out of a good position under stress.  Conversely, you can be very strong but without the mobility to get into a good front rack position to propel a bar off of, you will always be muscling overhead movements with your shoulders and burning them out quickly.  Coordination comes in play by being able to transition from one efficient position to another using the least amount of energy required.

Here's a little front squat video demonstrating efficient technique vs. what I like to call the squatting dog technique. This video also proves you don't have to be elite to move well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dehR3d6NuQE

Developed aerobic base

This one is easy to explain.  The Open qualifies you for Regionals and it consists of hundreds of repetitions and multiple workouts lasting over 10 minutes.  Without an aerobic base it's hard to maintain a pace throughout workouts such as these.

Example of what a 10min. workout can do to you.

High level of skill acquisition

Most athletes at the Regional level are somewhat gifted in the areas of learning new skills.  They don't have to be elite or get muscle-ups their first day, but in general they should have above average body awareness.  With the number of different skills included in CrossFit® at the Regional level now it's important to be able to learn them in a timely manner just because there are so many to get good at! 

Proficiency in the olympic lifts

Like it or not olympic lifting is a very large part of CrossFit® and the best at CrossFit® are in the upper echelon of olympic lifting CrossFitters as well.  Here is a chart showing the % break down Olympic lifting takes up compared to other movements at the Open, Regionals and the Games.

Full link to the interesting article is here, along with a ton of other statistics.  This guy is obsessed with CrossFit® statistics! http://cfganalysis.blogspot.com/2014/09/a-closer-look-at-2014-games-programming.html

The ability to go to the dark place mentally and physically.

When I first started CrossFit® I was not in the greatest shape at my gym but I would continually beat people in better shape than me because I was more willing to hurt.  After enough time of doing this they could no longer beat me even if they had wanted to hurt.  In order to progress you have to want to go faster and get better more than you want the pain to stop.  It's as simple as that.  The other thing is no matter how far you progress if you're going hard enough there will always be a workout that takes you into the dark place.  And the dark place never gets easier, you just get faster there!  


Adequate recovery.  

This includes getting enough sleep and a low stress environment outside of the gym.  If you're getting 80% of the sleep you need you can be guaranteed you'll have 80% of the energy you need during your workouts.  You also will not be healing as well because most growth hormone production happens while you're sleeping.  Additionally, if you are in mental anguish outside of the gym and hurting emotionally it's hard to make yourself want to hurt physically.  The body interprets physical and mental stress much in the same way.  It knows when it's dealing with too much and won't allow you to push as hard or else it will start to break down.  

Don't be that guy.

Nutrition regimen that works for the individual 

There is no one way for athletes to eat.  Some need to perform on an empty stomach and others need to be eating something on the start line.  The percentages of macros is also individual, as is total calories.  The one thing that remains consistent though is athletes need to fuel themselves well enough for performance and recovery, and this means not skipping any energy substrate.  You may eat lower fat or low carb, but you can't not eat them and do well.  It's important athletes experiment to find out what's optimal for them, and that doesn't always mean being super clean either.  This will take recording things and observing the effects with some trial and error, but it really does make a difference and is one of the things that is easily controllable when it comes to performance.  I can't control my femur length, but I can control what I put into my body so might as well do it! 

The ability to focus during a workout and mastering the mental game. 

Often new CrossFitters get tunnel vision when they start a workout.  You know the look, like deer in headlights, unaware of the drool dripping onto their shirt as they bend forward hands on knees looking at a wall ball that might as well be 100lbs now.  This is about the point where people report that they miscounted (but that's a whole other issue!)  You could replace their wall ball with one 15lbs heavier and they might not even be coherent enough to realize something has changed from the last round and check their equipment.  They may know it's harder but the ability to think within a workout and realize things aren't going as they should and then adapt is imperative to success in competition.  

I think the mental game in CrossFit® is very under-emphasized.  There is a lot of strategy to many workouts, and a good competitor can focus well enough to implement the strategy or even change it when needed. Instances where this is the case might be a strict or even non-communicative judge.  While you need to be focused on what you're doing you also have to pay attention and if you're getting no-repped figure it out as quickly as you can.  Other mistakes due to lack of focus are things like grabbing the wrong object to run with, transitioning to the wrong exercise, or forgetting the rep scheme all together.  Beyond staying in your own game with all of this, the next level is being able to juggle your own performance while gauging where your competition is.  Are you able to catch them without reaching beyond your own limits and blowing up?  Is the risk worth the reward for trying?  And if you're really good can you push at just the right time to make your competition question themselves and break?  See what I mean by the mental side?

 

A training program that makes progressive sense.

This one should be obvious.  There are many skills in CrossFit® and you should be sure you are practicing all of them with enough frequency to be proficient.  There should also be a focus on weaknesses in your program.  Cherry picking will not get you to Regionals, and if by chance it does you can bet the programming will make cherry pure out of you.  That's just how it seems to go, but it's the beauty of CrossFit®.  If you want your deficiencies exposed, go compete.  That said you can't complete hero workout after hero workout without diminishing returns at some point either.  That's the progressive part.  Training should be varied and challenging, not random and demolishing.  

Desire to achieve and work ethic.

No one in CrossFit® gets to Regionals without putting in the work anymore.  I have yet to see even the most talented athlete come in and have no weakness their first day or month for that matter.  The work ethic required to turn a weakness into a strength is one of the keys to mastering this sport and differentiates athletes with time.  Mostly because the person with the fewest weakness, not the most or greatest strengths, is usually the overall winner.  

Working weaknesses is usually not fun either.  That's where the discipline comes in.  Becoming competitive requires the ability to stick to a skill until you master it and the tenacity to stick to a lifting program until you get stronger.  I've seen many class members try muscle-ups and when they don't get them after a few minutes abandon the endeavor.  The approach from someone hell bent on competing is quite different and goes something like this: research on progressions towards a muscle-up, relentless practice of those progressions and the ability to delay gratification while their strength increases until one day they get their muscle-up. Then the process begins again when they want to learn to string them together efficiently.  It's never ending.  You can always add more weight to the bar, make a skill harder in some way, or go faster. 

That's sort of the beauty of it as well.  You may arrive at game day, but you never truly "arrive" as a progressing athlete and you can't cheat the grind.  It knows if you've worked for it and competition will reveal it.  I've had people surprised before by how hard I work.  I think they view the top athletes in our sport as just being more gifted, and in many other sports that might just be the case. In CrossFit® the top athletes, however gifted, all work as hard as anyone in any other sport.  I've seen a World Champion Decathlete train over the course of months while I was in college on the UT track team and most Games athlete's training is harder.  So hard that you really have to be desirous of it because training with a work ethic that great isn't for everyone!  For those who think it is go back through the list and start checking them off!   

Read more


Hydration for High-Intensity Exercise in the Heat

Posted by Ashley Kelly on

Hydration for High-Intensity Exercise in the Heat  from WODSuperStore.com

As the temperature rises this summer, being properly hydrated for your workouts is essential for safety and performance. The reality is that MOST people are chronically dehydrated and this can lead to a number of issues. However it is important to be aware that there are dangers associated with over-hydration as well. Regardless of whether you’re guzzling a gallon of water or barely drinking 12oz of water throughout the day, read up, because there is information here for you.

Dehydration 
Dehydration is defined as an excessive loss of body-water with an associated disruption of metabolic processes. Severe levels of dehydration can be life-threatening resulting in heat-stroke and possibly even death. While most of us will never reach these levels of dehydration, most of us will experience the performance decreases associated with minor levels of dehydration. Research has shown that even as little as a 2% loss of water can result in a 4% decrease in strength or aerobic performance performance. That means if your 1RM back squat at optimal hydration levels is 300#, then at 2% dehydration your 1RM would be 285# (yes I rounded, but either way it sucks!). Minor levels of dehydration also result in muscle-tissue stiffness leading to a decrease in mobility and an increased risk of muscle-strain injury.


Dehydration issues

  1. Increased risk of heat-stroke
  2. Decreased strength and endurance performance
  3. Increased muscle-tissue stiffness
  4. Decreased mobility
  5. Increased risk of strain injuries
Hyper-hydration (hyponatremia)
Hyponatremia is defined as an electrolyte disturbance where the sodium concentration in the blood is lower than normal. Hyponatremia can result in a range of metabolic and nervous system issues that often resemble dehydration.  Hyponatremia can occur during exercise when athletes are losing excessive amounts of salt and other electrolytes through sweat coupled with drinking excessive quantities of water. This is commonly seen in inexperienced endurance runners who are drink only water at aid stations essentially diluting their blood sodium concentration to below physiological levels.  Hyponatremia is easy to prevent by consuming an electrolyte solution occasionally during exercise.

Practical Applications
As an athlete I am constantly aware of the impact my hydration status can have on performance.  I can usually tell that I am dehydrated pretty early in my warm-up, I notice that I’m not sweating very easily and its taking me longer to get loosened up. At this point it is probably too late to get re-hydrated for that training session but my immediate response is to drink an electrolyte solution in an effort to prevent further dehydration.  The reality is that an ounce of prevention is worth 24oz of cure. In other words - deal with your hydration needs before your workout, because once you start its difficult to correct dehydration.
Dehydration - WOD SuperStore
Hydration Tips
  1. Drink at least ½ your body-weight in ounces daily (this is #1 most important!) Keeping a water bottle with you throughout the day is a good way to achieve that many ounces.
  2. Utilize electrolyte solutions like NutriForce Balanced Hydration mixed with 12-24oz of water 30-60min before your workout to help prevent both dehydration and hyponatremia
  3. Creatine monohydrate MAY increase total-body water and prevent dehydration during exercise in the heat, however this is highly individual
  4. Research shows people drink more cold water during exercise versus room temperature, bring ice water to your workout to keep it cold
  5. If you are exercising for extended periods of time (90min+) consider adding an electrolyte solution to your water during exercise
  6. The more you sweat, the more water you need to drink.  In order to quantify how much water you need to replace, weigh yourself before and after your workout and drink 16oz of water for each pound lost during exercise
  7. Avoid alcohol immediately post-workout as alcohol will contribute to dehydration, deal with your hydration needs first, then enjoy the post-WOD festivities
  8. Caffeine in your pre-workout drink is a diuretic, if you’re consuming a caffeine infused pre-workout make sure you’re increasing your water consumption

Kyle Ruth M.S., CSCS, CFL-1, USAW-L1
WOD SuperStore Athlete
President: Accelerate Athletics Inc.
Owner: Crossfit LKN

    Read more

    Hydration for High-Intensity Exercise in the Heat

    Posted by Ashley Kelly on

    Hydration for High-Intensity Exercise in the Heat  from WODSuperStore.com

    As the temperature rises this summer, being properly hydrated for your workouts is essential for safety and performance. The reality is that MOST people are chronically dehydrated and this can lead to a number of issues. However it is important to be aware that there are dangers associated with over-hydration as well. Regardless of whether you’re guzzling a gallon of water or barely drinking 12oz of water throughout the day, read up, because there is information here for you.

    Dehydration 
    Dehydration is defined as an excessive loss of body-water with an associated disruption of metabolic processes. Severe levels of dehydration can be life-threatening resulting in heat-stroke and possibly even death. While most of us will never reach these levels of dehydration, most of us will experience the performance decreases associated with minor levels of dehydration. Research has shown that even as little as a 2% loss of water can result in a 4% decrease in strength or aerobic performance performance. That means if your 1RM back squat at optimal hydration levels is 300#, then at 2% dehydration your 1RM would be 285# (yes I rounded, but either way it sucks!). Minor levels of dehydration also result in muscle-tissue stiffness leading to a decrease in mobility and an increased risk of muscle-strain injury.


    Dehydration issues

    1. Increased risk of heat-stroke
    2. Decreased strength and endurance performance
    3. Increased muscle-tissue stiffness
    4. Decreased mobility
    5. Increased risk of strain injuries
    Hyper-hydration (hyponatremia)
    Hyponatremia is defined as an electrolyte disturbance where the sodium concentration in the blood is lower than normal. Hyponatremia can result in a range of metabolic and nervous system issues that often resemble dehydration.  Hyponatremia can occur during exercise when athletes are losing excessive amounts of salt and other electrolytes through sweat coupled with drinking excessive quantities of water. This is commonly seen in inexperienced endurance runners who are drink only water at aid stations essentially diluting their blood sodium concentration to below physiological levels.  Hyponatremia is easy to prevent by consuming an electrolyte solution occasionally during exercise.

    Practical Applications
    As an athlete I am constantly aware of the impact my hydration status can have on performance.  I can usually tell that I am dehydrated pretty early in my warm-up, I notice that I’m not sweating very easily and its taking me longer to get loosened up. At this point it is probably too late to get re-hydrated for that training session but my immediate response is to drink an electrolyte solution in an effort to prevent further dehydration.  The reality is that an ounce of prevention is worth 24oz of cure. In other words - deal with your hydration needs before your workout, because once you start its difficult to correct dehydration.
    Dehydration - WOD SuperStore
    Hydration Tips
    1. Drink at least ½ your body-weight in ounces daily (this is #1 most important!) Keeping a water bottle with you throughout the day is a good way to achieve that many ounces.
    2. Utilize electrolyte solutions like NutriForce Balanced Hydration mixed with 12-24oz of water 30-60min before your workout to help prevent both dehydration and hyponatremia
    3. Creatine monohydrate MAY increase total-body water and prevent dehydration during exercise in the heat, however this is highly individual
    4. Research shows people drink more cold water during exercise versus room temperature, bring ice water to your workout to keep it cold
    5. If you are exercising for extended periods of time (90min+) consider adding an electrolyte solution to your water during exercise
    6. The more you sweat, the more water you need to drink.  In order to quantify how much water you need to replace, weigh yourself before and after your workout and drink 16oz of water for each pound lost during exercise
    7. Avoid alcohol immediately post-workout as alcohol will contribute to dehydration, deal with your hydration needs first, then enjoy the post-WOD festivities
    8. Caffeine in your pre-workout drink is a diuretic, if you’re consuming a caffeine infused pre-workout make sure you’re increasing your water consumption

    Kyle Ruth M.S., CSCS, CFL-1, USAW-L1
    WOD SuperStore Athlete
    President: Accelerate Athletics Inc.
    Owner: Crossfit LKN

      Read more


      5 Tips to Help You Prepare for the Open

      Posted by Kyle Ruth on

      5 Tips to help you prepare for the Open - Kyle Ruth
      1. Plan to Repeat the Workouts
        In my experience, most people’s first attempt at a test like an Open workout is fraught with mistakes. For the most part, we go into them not really knowing what to expect and end up with terrible pacing strategies. Repeating the workouts gives us a chance to learn from our mistakes and improve our pacing strategy. I’ve found that athletes can commonly improve by 3-5% on their second attempt just by knowing what to expect and how to pace correctly for the workout. You might be thinking 5% isn’t a very big margin of improvement but on workout 12.1 if you scored 120 in the 7 minutes of burpees then repeated the workout and scored 126 (5% improvement) you would have moved from 1995th place in the world to 793rd place in the world.
      2. Film your Workouts
        Even though there are new rules this year requiring anyone who plans to qualify for Regionals to film their workouts...I believe EVERYONE should film their workout. Reviewing video footage of yourself dramatically improves learning and will let you objectively determine your weak points (and eliminate them if you repeat the workout like I suggest in #1). Motor learning research consistently shows that people who watch themselves perform a movement make faster progress than those who don't. Use tools like your smartphone to get ahead of the curve. Check out the Perchmount Fit - it's the perfect tool to help you film your WOD!
      3. Stop Leaderboarding
        Everyone has different goals coming into the Open, some people are sign-up to enjoy the experience and camaraderie, others are trying to qualify for Regionals. If your goal is to maximize your placing, then you need to spend more time focusing on your performance and not getting caught up in the fanfare. Spending hours browsing through the leader board isn’t going to make you any closer to qualifying! Nothing is more distracting than watching your name drop down the leader board each hour, it can become addictive. I KNOW as well as anyone. Spend time finding YOUR weak links (by following my advice in #1 and #2!) and then attack them!
      4. Take Care of your Hands
        Rips take FOREVER to heal completely (mine from WODapalooza 4 weeks ago are FINALLY healed!). The best strategy is to prevent them in the first place (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure right?). My suggestion is to get a pair of gloves or gymnastics grips, and practice with them in the weeks and days leading into the Open. There is no reason to try to show how “tough” you are during the Open...let your performance do the talking without the headache of ripped hands. Basic callous maintenance goes a really long way when you're potentially doing 10 tests over 5 weeks. 
        Check out our Hand Rips collection to get everything you need to protect, manage and repair! 
      5. Be Confident in your Preparation...by Being Prepared
        There will be muscle-ups, there will be double-unders, the pull-ups will be chest-to-bar...you need to be prepared for these movements because they WILL show up. If you haven’t mastered these movements you need start spending time on them right now! For skill based movements like double-unders this might mean simply practicing before and after your workouts. Movements like chest-to-bar pull-ups and muscle-ups have both skill and strength components, your program needs to be developing both.
      Aside from that...good luck and leave everything out there. 

      Kyle Ruth, M.S., CSCS, CFL-1, USAW
      WOD SuperStore Athlete
      Owner: CrossFit LKN

      Read more

      5 Tips to Help You Prepare for the Open

      Posted by Kyle Ruth on

      5 Tips to help you prepare for the Open - Kyle Ruth
      1. Plan to Repeat the Workouts
        In my experience, most people’s first attempt at a test like an Open workout is fraught with mistakes. For the most part, we go into them not really knowing what to expect and end up with terrible pacing strategies. Repeating the workouts gives us a chance to learn from our mistakes and improve our pacing strategy. I’ve found that athletes can commonly improve by 3-5% on their second attempt just by knowing what to expect and how to pace correctly for the workout. You might be thinking 5% isn’t a very big margin of improvement but on workout 12.1 if you scored 120 in the 7 minutes of burpees then repeated the workout and scored 126 (5% improvement) you would have moved from 1995th place in the world to 793rd place in the world.
      2. Film your Workouts
        Even though there are new rules this year requiring anyone who plans to qualify for Regionals to film their workouts...I believe EVERYONE should film their workout. Reviewing video footage of yourself dramatically improves learning and will let you objectively determine your weak points (and eliminate them if you repeat the workout like I suggest in #1). Motor learning research consistently shows that people who watch themselves perform a movement make faster progress than those who don't. Use tools like your smartphone to get ahead of the curve. Check out the Perchmount Fit - it's the perfect tool to help you film your WOD!
      3. Stop Leaderboarding
        Everyone has different goals coming into the Open, some people are sign-up to enjoy the experience and camaraderie, others are trying to qualify for Regionals. If your goal is to maximize your placing, then you need to spend more time focusing on your performance and not getting caught up in the fanfare. Spending hours browsing through the leader board isn’t going to make you any closer to qualifying! Nothing is more distracting than watching your name drop down the leader board each hour, it can become addictive. I KNOW as well as anyone. Spend time finding YOUR weak links (by following my advice in #1 and #2!) and then attack them!
      4. Take Care of your Hands
        Rips take FOREVER to heal completely (mine from WODapalooza 4 weeks ago are FINALLY healed!). The best strategy is to prevent them in the first place (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure right?). My suggestion is to get a pair of gloves or gymnastics grips, and practice with them in the weeks and days leading into the Open. There is no reason to try to show how “tough” you are during the Open...let your performance do the talking without the headache of ripped hands. Basic callous maintenance goes a really long way when you're potentially doing 10 tests over 5 weeks. 
        Check out our Hand Rips collection to get everything you need to protect, manage and repair! 
      5. Be Confident in your Preparation...by Being Prepared
        There will be muscle-ups, there will be double-unders, the pull-ups will be chest-to-bar...you need to be prepared for these movements because they WILL show up. If you haven’t mastered these movements you need start spending time on them right now! For skill based movements like double-unders this might mean simply practicing before and after your workouts. Movements like chest-to-bar pull-ups and muscle-ups have both skill and strength components, your program needs to be developing both.
      Aside from that...good luck and leave everything out there. 

      Kyle Ruth, M.S., CSCS, CFL-1, USAW
      WOD SuperStore Athlete
      Owner: CrossFit LKN

      Read more


      Talayna Fortunato's top 10 reasons to join the Open in 2014

      Posted by Talayna Fortunato on

       

      Each year the open has had tremendous growth yet there are still a lot of CrossFitters who are on the fence at the local box about signing up.  Here are my top 10 reasons to register for the 2014 Open. 

      1. Wanting to get better at CrossFit before you feel ready to try the Open is like saying you want to lose weight before you join a gym. The latter will lead to the former because the magic happens outside of your comfort zone, not in it
      2. Others without the ability to would give anything to have the gift that you've been given. 
      3. A little pain is good for your character, therefore the Opens must bring one closer to sainthood.
      4. You will most likely discover some things you didn't know you couldn't do, as well as other things you didn't know you could. 
      5. "That workout was tough. I wish I hadn't done it." - No one ever.
      6. You'll get more personal growth for your $20 at bars during the Opens than you will for $20 at any other bars. 
      7. Your friends will look at you differently... in a good way.
      8. After 5 weeks you will be harder to kill and a more useful human being in general. 
      9. You will be able to say, "this one time when I was competing against ____(insert you favorite CrossFitter's name)" and not technically be lying. 
      10. If you're warmed up and ready to go at the time of the announcement on Thursday you could be a, drumroll... "World Record Holder" for a short period of time!

      And just as a BONUS...

      Your body and its athletic ability are gifts from God. Snatching is one of the most athletic movements the human body is capable of. You will get to snatch tens if not 100 times in the Opens and thereby be glorifying God! 

       Get Signed up Today!  

      Read more

      Talayna Fortunato's top 10 reasons to join the Open in 2014

      Posted by Talayna Fortunato on

       

      Each year the open has had tremendous growth yet there are still a lot of CrossFitters who are on the fence at the local box about signing up.  Here are my top 10 reasons to register for the 2014 Open. 

      1. Wanting to get better at CrossFit before you feel ready to try the Open is like saying you want to lose weight before you join a gym. The latter will lead to the former because the magic happens outside of your comfort zone, not in it
      2. Others without the ability to would give anything to have the gift that you've been given. 
      3. A little pain is good for your character, therefore the Opens must bring one closer to sainthood.
      4. You will most likely discover some things you didn't know you couldn't do, as well as other things you didn't know you could. 
      5. "That workout was tough. I wish I hadn't done it." - No one ever.
      6. You'll get more personal growth for your $20 at bars during the Opens than you will for $20 at any other bars. 
      7. Your friends will look at you differently... in a good way.
      8. After 5 weeks you will be harder to kill and a more useful human being in general. 
      9. You will be able to say, "this one time when I was competing against ____(insert you favorite CrossFitter's name)" and not technically be lying. 
      10. If you're warmed up and ready to go at the time of the announcement on Thursday you could be a, drumroll... "World Record Holder" for a short period of time!

      And just as a BONUS...

      Your body and its athletic ability are gifts from God. Snatching is one of the most athletic movements the human body is capable of. You will get to snatch tens if not 100 times in the Opens and thereby be glorifying God! 

       Get Signed up Today!  

      Read more


      Top 10 Mistakes CrossFitters Make

      Posted by Talayna Fortunato on

       

      Top 10 Mistakes CrossFitters Make by WODSuperStore.com

      Top 10 Mistakes CrossFitters Make

      1. Not Warming Up Properly

      Everyday it takes me around 30 minutes to warm-up. I start with easy cardio for 5-10 min. then do some light foam rolling and stretching, leg swings, lunges, rotator cuff exercises, and finally movements specific to the workout I’m about to do. My warm-up has gotten more extensive (and longer) with each year I do CrossFit®. Almost to the point that it started to annoy me, and then I remembered back to my gymnastics days. Ever since I was on team at age 8, I remember our warm-ups taking us at least 30 minutes with all of the stretching and other calisthenics we did. Even though we were young and healthy I believe the gymnastics coaches knew what they were doing to keep us that way. With the intensity of competitive CrossFit® it’s imperative to put in the time for an adequate warm-up and mobility work. If you don’t put in the time now you’ll put it in later when you have an injury.

      1. Eating too Strict of a Paleo Diet

      If you are a recreational CrossFitter following a Paleo lifestyle is probably nutritionally adequate and a good way of maintaining longevity and health. However, if you are a competitive level athlete and training intensely more than an hour a day your main source of energy is carbohydrates and strict paleo simply does not provide enough sources of them. Now I’m not saying to go out and carb load on pasta, bread, or sugar. That’s just an inflammatory insulin bomb. I am saying look for complex sources of carbohydrates from plants and low glycemic grains to add into your diet, especially when training is at its peak. During an interview at the Games every individual athlete was asked who follows a paleo diet, and not a single one raised their hand.

      1. Sacrificing Technique and Movement Efficiency for Intensity and Eventual Technical Breakdown.

      CrossFit gets results due to the intensity of the workouts, but that doesn't mean throw all good form out the window. For example if your back starts rounding when you’re pulling from the ground or you’re chasing wildly after snatches, it’s time to put the bar down until you can regain efficiency. Your back and other body parts will thank you later! Also if you’re compromising range of motion enough to miss consecutive reps, take a quick rest before you go again. Otherwise you’re ingraining poor habits and when you reach that place of pain and fatigue again in competition guess what’ll happen… No Rep!

      1. Doing Volume for Volume’s Sake without Intent.

      CrossFitters are notorious for thinking that when they’re getting ready to compete more is better. This mindset leads to the performance of multiple hero WoDs in a day with the intent of “loading”, when what it really does is break the athlete down with laborious repetition and impede lasting gains. More is not better, better is better. Having a purpose, i.e. knowing the energy system and muscular groups you’re trying to tax during a workout allows you to work smart and hard, not just hard. Again, your body will also thank you later!

      1. Cherry Picking Workouts and/or Jumping Around Programs

      This is for the CrossFitter that walks into the gym and decides when they get there what workout they’re going to do based on what their gym posts and which one of the blogs they follow appears best that day. Blogs are written for a reason, with progressive intent to allow your workouts to build upon themselves for measurable improvements in your numbers. If you jump from program to program, weekly or even daily, that progress is completely short-circuited. Not to mention you’re probably doing mostly what you’re good at and not working your weaknesses enough.

      1. Following a Strength Progression that Doesn't Makes Sense or One Without Any Progression at All.

      The body adapts to load by responding to meet the load in the form of muscular hypertrophy. There have been many studies showing the best percentages of max load, sets, reps, and frequency to produce optimal gains without under or overloading the athlete. These studies have produced named strength progression tables, squat cycles, and the like. You can reinvent the wheel and use yourself as a guinea pig to do your own research, or you can find a viable progression and just follow it. I’ll give you one guess what most long-term successful athletes do. One other thought to keep in mind is how much loading your conditioning work is providing.  An example would be making your conditioning heavy on the weights during the heaviest week of a strength loading cycle (no bueno).

      1. Forgetting to Supplement Your Program with Basics, Strict Strength, and Supplemental Work.

      Just because you can kip almost any movement in CrossFit, doesn’t mean it’s in your best interest to do so all of the time. Working strict strength with things like dumbbell press or tempo bench press can do wonders for the strength of your jerk or stamina of kipping handstand push-ups. Sometimes to get better at a complex movement you need better strength with the basics as well. Think along the lines how important the hollow position is during kipping in general and you’ll see why doing hollow rocks would have carry over into almost all gymnastics movements. Basic skills and strict strength also overlap with supplemental work, which can be a great way to address muscular imbalances and push past plateaus. Supplemental work is also a staple in the work of some of the strongest people on the planet who employ Loui Simmon’s conjugate method.

      1. Waiting >90min. to Replenish After a Hard Training Session or Only Replenishing Protein.

      The fact is the majority of CrossFitters do not need a liquid protein shake post-workout. If you are just doing CrossFit as part of a healthy lifestyle or you are trying to decrease body fat, then a meal consisting of lean protein, nutrient-dense carbs (vegetables) and healthy fat is best post-workout. However, if you are participating in CrossFit as a competitive athlete and are completing multiple grueling and taxing workouts several days per week (and many times twice per day), your post-workout nutrition becomes vital to your success. Although this is a very individualized thing, there are some constants; the first being that you need more than just protein after each session. Protein combined with carbohydrates is essential immediately following a workout - it's just a matter of how much of each based on the individual. The ideal ratio of carbs:protein can typically run anywhere from 2:1 to 4:1 depending on the athlete's body composition and type of training session just completed. The source of carbohydrates should be something that will work quickly with minimal interference. Some examples would be maltodextrin or sugar. The priority is timing and you want to make sure this liquid shake is taken immediately after the session is completed in order to replenish your glycogen stores decreased from training and spark muscle protein synthesis. Approximately one hour after drinking this shake, you should then consume a whole foods meal consisting of lean protein and carbohydrates. A great example of that would be some grilled chicken and a sweet potato. Again, the amounts of protein and carbs are extremely individualized. It doesn’t have to be the size of a traditional dinner, and each athlete must find their ideal ratio, but the constant is timing and the combining of the two macronutrients.

      1. Skimping on Sleep and Skipping Rest Days

      Nearly as important as what you’re doing in the gym is what you’re doing outside of the gym. The ability to recover is instrumental to seeing consistent gains in athletic performance. Growth Hormone (GH) is an essential part of that recovery. It allows the body’s ability to repair itself after intense exercise through muscular hypertrophy and plays a significant role in the maintenance of lean body mass. Nearly 50% of GH secretion occurs during the third and fourth NREM sleep stages. If you are regularly skimping on sleep by 2 or more hours you are missing the body’s prime production time of GH, and thereby not recovering as you could or should be. Basically all the effort you put into your squat cycle was just thwarted by a significant percentage if you were sleep deprived during it. Another important aspect of recovery is taking needed rest days. Continuing to workout through a certain level of fatigue or soreness can actually be counterproductive long term.   

           10.  Asking for Advice and Then Not Implementing it.

      See 1-9

      Read more

      Top 10 Mistakes CrossFitters Make

      Posted by Talayna Fortunato on

       

      Top 10 Mistakes CrossFitters Make by WODSuperStore.com

      Top 10 Mistakes CrossFitters Make

      1. Not Warming Up Properly

      Everyday it takes me around 30 minutes to warm-up. I start with easy cardio for 5-10 min. then do some light foam rolling and stretching, leg swings, lunges, rotator cuff exercises, and finally movements specific to the workout I’m about to do. My warm-up has gotten more extensive (and longer) with each year I do CrossFit®. Almost to the point that it started to annoy me, and then I remembered back to my gymnastics days. Ever since I was on team at age 8, I remember our warm-ups taking us at least 30 minutes with all of the stretching and other calisthenics we did. Even though we were young and healthy I believe the gymnastics coaches knew what they were doing to keep us that way. With the intensity of competitive CrossFit® it’s imperative to put in the time for an adequate warm-up and mobility work. If you don’t put in the time now you’ll put it in later when you have an injury.

      1. Eating too Strict of a Paleo Diet

      If you are a recreational CrossFitter following a Paleo lifestyle is probably nutritionally adequate and a good way of maintaining longevity and health. However, if you are a competitive level athlete and training intensely more than an hour a day your main source of energy is carbohydrates and strict paleo simply does not provide enough sources of them. Now I’m not saying to go out and carb load on pasta, bread, or sugar. That’s just an inflammatory insulin bomb. I am saying look for complex sources of carbohydrates from plants and low glycemic grains to add into your diet, especially when training is at its peak. During an interview at the Games every individual athlete was asked who follows a paleo diet, and not a single one raised their hand.

      1. Sacrificing Technique and Movement Efficiency for Intensity and Eventual Technical Breakdown.

      CrossFit gets results due to the intensity of the workouts, but that doesn't mean throw all good form out the window. For example if your back starts rounding when you’re pulling from the ground or you’re chasing wildly after snatches, it’s time to put the bar down until you can regain efficiency. Your back and other body parts will thank you later! Also if you’re compromising range of motion enough to miss consecutive reps, take a quick rest before you go again. Otherwise you’re ingraining poor habits and when you reach that place of pain and fatigue again in competition guess what’ll happen… No Rep!

      1. Doing Volume for Volume’s Sake without Intent.

      CrossFitters are notorious for thinking that when they’re getting ready to compete more is better. This mindset leads to the performance of multiple hero WoDs in a day with the intent of “loading”, when what it really does is break the athlete down with laborious repetition and impede lasting gains. More is not better, better is better. Having a purpose, i.e. knowing the energy system and muscular groups you’re trying to tax during a workout allows you to work smart and hard, not just hard. Again, your body will also thank you later!

      1. Cherry Picking Workouts and/or Jumping Around Programs

      This is for the CrossFitter that walks into the gym and decides when they get there what workout they’re going to do based on what their gym posts and which one of the blogs they follow appears best that day. Blogs are written for a reason, with progressive intent to allow your workouts to build upon themselves for measurable improvements in your numbers. If you jump from program to program, weekly or even daily, that progress is completely short-circuited. Not to mention you’re probably doing mostly what you’re good at and not working your weaknesses enough.

      1. Following a Strength Progression that Doesn't Makes Sense or One Without Any Progression at All.

      The body adapts to load by responding to meet the load in the form of muscular hypertrophy. There have been many studies showing the best percentages of max load, sets, reps, and frequency to produce optimal gains without under or overloading the athlete. These studies have produced named strength progression tables, squat cycles, and the like. You can reinvent the wheel and use yourself as a guinea pig to do your own research, or you can find a viable progression and just follow it. I’ll give you one guess what most long-term successful athletes do. One other thought to keep in mind is how much loading your conditioning work is providing.  An example would be making your conditioning heavy on the weights during the heaviest week of a strength loading cycle (no bueno).

      1. Forgetting to Supplement Your Program with Basics, Strict Strength, and Supplemental Work.

      Just because you can kip almost any movement in CrossFit, doesn’t mean it’s in your best interest to do so all of the time. Working strict strength with things like dumbbell press or tempo bench press can do wonders for the strength of your jerk or stamina of kipping handstand push-ups. Sometimes to get better at a complex movement you need better strength with the basics as well. Think along the lines how important the hollow position is during kipping in general and you’ll see why doing hollow rocks would have carry over into almost all gymnastics movements. Basic skills and strict strength also overlap with supplemental work, which can be a great way to address muscular imbalances and push past plateaus. Supplemental work is also a staple in the work of some of the strongest people on the planet who employ Loui Simmon’s conjugate method.

      1. Waiting >90min. to Replenish After a Hard Training Session or Only Replenishing Protein.

      The fact is the majority of CrossFitters do not need a liquid protein shake post-workout. If you are just doing CrossFit as part of a healthy lifestyle or you are trying to decrease body fat, then a meal consisting of lean protein, nutrient-dense carbs (vegetables) and healthy fat is best post-workout. However, if you are participating in CrossFit as a competitive athlete and are completing multiple grueling and taxing workouts several days per week (and many times twice per day), your post-workout nutrition becomes vital to your success. Although this is a very individualized thing, there are some constants; the first being that you need more than just protein after each session. Protein combined with carbohydrates is essential immediately following a workout - it's just a matter of how much of each based on the individual. The ideal ratio of carbs:protein can typically run anywhere from 2:1 to 4:1 depending on the athlete's body composition and type of training session just completed. The source of carbohydrates should be something that will work quickly with minimal interference. Some examples would be maltodextrin or sugar. The priority is timing and you want to make sure this liquid shake is taken immediately after the session is completed in order to replenish your glycogen stores decreased from training and spark muscle protein synthesis. Approximately one hour after drinking this shake, you should then consume a whole foods meal consisting of lean protein and carbohydrates. A great example of that would be some grilled chicken and a sweet potato. Again, the amounts of protein and carbs are extremely individualized. It doesn’t have to be the size of a traditional dinner, and each athlete must find their ideal ratio, but the constant is timing and the combining of the two macronutrients.

      1. Skimping on Sleep and Skipping Rest Days

      Nearly as important as what you’re doing in the gym is what you’re doing outside of the gym. The ability to recover is instrumental to seeing consistent gains in athletic performance. Growth Hormone (GH) is an essential part of that recovery. It allows the body’s ability to repair itself after intense exercise through muscular hypertrophy and plays a significant role in the maintenance of lean body mass. Nearly 50% of GH secretion occurs during the third and fourth NREM sleep stages. If you are regularly skimping on sleep by 2 or more hours you are missing the body’s prime production time of GH, and thereby not recovering as you could or should be. Basically all the effort you put into your squat cycle was just thwarted by a significant percentage if you were sleep deprived during it. Another important aspect of recovery is taking needed rest days. Continuing to workout through a certain level of fatigue or soreness can actually be counterproductive long term.   

           10.  Asking for Advice and Then Not Implementing it.

      See 1-9

      Read more