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August 5, 2015

aug 5

Finally Summer Vacation

Summer is my favorite time of year and we are in the dog days of it right now.  I love to sneak away from the city and out to Kelowna with my kids every year.  We live in Canada and my kids are off school for the months of July and August, but being a basketball family that means we roll with club ball right up to the end of July.

August is truly our only off season and we take full advantage of it.

No sports, no activities.  Just down time to connect with one another, eat dinner together, jump in the lake, eat breakfast on the patio, enjoy the heat and have fun.  It’s good for the soul of the family and everyone in it.

I coach in a corporate wellness setting and the stats are staggering around vacation usage.  Nearly half of all people don’t use their full vacation days.  We see clients who are in automatic patterns of behavior, what I call the “day in day out” folks.  They wake up and do the same routine day in and day out with little thought to what they are actually doing.  Generally speaking, the routine is not healthy either.

The funny thing is that because they are in an automatic pattern of doing they don’t often think of alternative ways of being.  That’s where coaching nudges come into play.  I’ve had clients who were stressed out and when asked if they had any vacation time available they usually do, but the thought hadn’t even crossed their mind.

I like to get outside of my everyday environment and away from my business to spend time reflecting on vacation. Being away from my everyday creates the space for massive amounts of creativity and outside the box thinking that generally pays off in productivity when I return.  However not everyone likes to travel as much as I do, and many of my clients are homebodies and sometimes this is the reason they don’t use their vacation days.  With these folks we redefine what a vacation means and the intent of it.

We use it to snap them out of the daily grind and spend time taking care of themselves.  This may include food prep and taking the time to try a few new recipes, a long over due massage or other self-care appointments, going for daily walks or doing a private oly lifting session, creating the foundation for new habits, etc.  And quite frankly most, if not all, of these things can be done on the road as well.

This is just another piece of the puzzle you can use with your clients to align their health and fitness over time.  In the mean time, I’m going to be jumping in the lake with that crew in the pic.

Sharon Prete
CCP Life Coaching Co-Conductor

August 4, 2015

french toast

10 Ways Your Diet Can Crush You

There’s no doubt you work hard.

You love training and are dedicated, day in and day out, whatever your daily program entails.

You put the work in.

However…for every hour or two or three that you spend in the gym, there are  21-23 hours left in the day.

How are you spending them?

After all, what you do outside the gym impacts your results and performance just as much, if not arguably more, than the work you do in the gym.

Think: Your sleep and recovery habits. Your stress levels. And, the thing you consume at least 3-6 times per day: Your food.

Not to beat a dead horse. You know nutrition is vital to your health and your workouts. You’ve heard that statistic: “80% of your results is attributed to your nutrition.”

But what exactly does that really mean?

Eating consistently? Eating a gram of protein per pound of body weight for muscle gains? Cutting out carbs? Eating carbs post-workout?

There’s a lot of information out there.

That being said, here are 10 Ways Your Diet Can Crush You (as well as your goals and performance in the gym) if you are not on top of your nutrition game.

Getting too caught up in what others say you should do (rather than listening to your body).
body shape
Intuitiveness. What is it? Ask most adults, and they are stumped. In short, it means: “Listening to your gut.”  What is your body asking for? What does your body need? What works best for you? It’s easy to get caught up in all the ‘should dos’ and ‘must dos’, according to the influx of information you’ve heard and read about in articles, online buzz-feeds or been told by coaches all your life—many of which are even conflicting.  For instance: “Consume a post-workout shake within 30-minutes of your workout”… “Don’t drink protein powder at all—it’s processed and full of additives.” Or, “White rice is a good fast acting carb to have”… “Don’t eat grains at all.” In all honesty, every BODY is different. And while some of the ‘bigger’ guidelines for nutrition are agreeable across the board (i.e. eat protein, fats, veggies and lots of water; chew your food well; opt for homecooked as much as possible), the ‘littler things’ are not an exact science, since no two snowflakes (or humans) are alike. Learn to listen to your body. Experiment with various schools of thought around your nutrition. Some great resources for pointing you into a more individualized approach with your nutrition include: The Metabolic Typing Diet, The Paleo Athlete: A Beginner’s Guide to Real Food for Performance, and Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Individualized Diet Solution to Staying Healthy, Living Longer & Achieving Your Ideal Weight—all great resources for educating yourself around your own nutrition.

Fearing carbs.
carbs

In today’s nutritional ‘wisdom’, low-carb and ketogenic diets are hot…sometimes so much so that this comes to the detriment of many athletic endeavors. I see this especially amongst women—women wanting to ‘be good’, or lose body fat, or ‘eat the perfect diet’ almost find a sense of personal achievement in their ability to stave off carbs. While this is more of a generalization, if you are training with athletic endeavors or fitness pursuits in mind, carbs are not the ‘devil.’ Depending on your goals, on both training days and non-training days alike, carbs (i.e. starchier carbs, like sweet potatoes, squashes, root vegetables, and even properly prepared—soaked—steel cut rolled oats, some rice or quinoa can find a place into your diet). Moderate amounts of carbohydrates play a great role in muscle development, energy boosting and restoration. I am not talking about carbo-loading here either (the concept that you need to stock up on a carb fest before a big workout or pre-load your body with carbs). Rather, through taking an individualized approach (as mentioned above) to your carb intake, you will find that carbs can enhance your performance in the gym if anything. For some, with early morning workouts, this may mean consuming a sweet potato at night with their dinner (to promote glycogen storage in the muscles for the next day). Others find, in the post workout meal, some carbohydrates with protein help them feel more recovered. Unfortunately (and fortunately) there is no ‘black and white’ to this, so it really is trying multiple ‘ways’ to sneak some carbs into your training. Timing and percentages of carbs for your body to thrive and train will be different from the next person.

Neglecting fats.
fats
Another ‘powerful weapon’ that far too many athletes neglect out of ‘conventional wisdom’ that fats impede with your performance and results. Quite the contrary, fats are energy powerhouses (more so even then carbohydrates) and when consumed appropriately, can serve as energy sources for your more intense sessions. Old school literature has advised us not to consume, in particular, around workouts—stating fat slows us down, or impedes with digestion in the post-workout meal. However, as of late, with more experimentation and enhanced knowledge, some fat can actually find its place in your pre- or post-workout meal or snack . In fact, a little bit of protein and/or fat can go a long way in sustaining your workout efforts (particularly pre-workout), as your body is able to convert proteins and fats into glucose (energy, most commonly associated with carbohydrates) through a process called gluconeogenesis. The problem with relying solely on carbs to fuel your performance? Unfortunately most pre-workout shakes, bars, and drinks are non-effective sources of fuel (the carbohydrate powders, pre-workout powders, Gatorade, Cliff Bars, etc.). These pre-workout options are high glycemic in nature, loaded with simple carbs that initially give you a spike of energy, only to deplete it not long after consumption. Carb loading (as briefly mentioned above) prior to exercise will not only inhibit fat burning abilities (ability to ‘tap in’ to fat as fuel), but also set you up to ‘hit a wall’ in your long-term performance (the ‘bonk’). Instead, if you know you have a longer session coming up, try this nutbutter ball ‘treat’!

As for post-workout fuel, popular wisdom has told us to consume carbs and proteins in a 2:1 ratio post-workout. YES, carbs can be effective post workout, but this ratio is not necessarily rocket science, and some fat really won’t hurt you if you’re in recovery mode. According to one study on nutrient timing, for instance, the researcher found that in the endurance athletes he tested, that “High amounts of post-exercise fat (up to approximately 165g) do not reduce 24 hour glycogen synthesis. Therefore, concluding, that even for the ‘every day folks’ (those who do not train the same muscles to glycogen depletion, or even near depletion more than once a day) shouldn’t be concerned with a normal fat intake, even in the post-workout period.” Feel guilt free to cook those veggies in coconut oil, or make a post-workout shake with a little bit of raw almond butter or coconut milk-base if so inclined. On this point, one last note: Not everyone needs nutrient timing. If you are training for life or health, in particular, the more you can focus on just eating real, whole foods—around workouts included—the better and healthier you will feel. Instead of getting caught up in the ‘perfect’ pre- and post-workout nutrition, the majority of us Average Joes can do just fine with balanced meals throughout the day—carbs, fats and proteins included. 

Low water intake.
boy-drinking-from-bottle-738210_640
Protein shakes, coffee, tea, energy drinks do NOT count as your water consumption per day. You need at least half your bodyweight in ounces of water everyday for baseline function. And, with exercise factored in there, at least an additional 16-20 ounces for every pound ‘lost’ during a workout. You don’t necessarily have to weigh yourself either—just make sure you up it on workout days. Not drinking enough fluids alone is enough to ‘crush’ you. In addition, do not wait until you are thirsty to start drinking water (thirst is a progressed indicator meaning that you are starting to dehydrate).

Overtraining & Undereating (Loss of Appetite).
loss of appetite
As mentioned above, you train hard…but at what cost? If you are a competitor, especially (or just like to train like one), chances are you get more than your fair share of work in the gym. Even if you don’t compete, but have goals or extra momentum for taking your fitness to the next level, the ‘more is better’ philosophy can easily seep into your ‘norm’ if you let it (training is fun!). Coupled with overtraining, and overreaching, are multiple side effects. One of the primary ones being: Loss of appetite. This happens primarily due to a rise in cortisol levels in your body (stress hormones), and in flight or fight survival mode, your body is less concerned about tasting, digesting and assimilating nutrition (which occurs in a parasympathetic state), and more concerned and being on the alert for whatever next challenge, training session or demand it may have to face. While your body needs the energy…your hunger signals are blunted, and you easily fall into a nutritional-training black hole—training harder, not fueling up appropriately, and coincidentally chasing your own tail in the gym.

Overdoing the protein.
protein
How much protein do you need to train? 1 gram/per pound of bodyweight? 1.5 grams/per pound? Even 2? Protein is the key to muscle gain right? Sort of. Yes, protein is the building block for life and muscle building, but the ‘push’ for protein, protein, protein has gotten a bit out of hand to the point that…you may not be digesting all that protein. Overconsumption of protein can set you up for GI distress that ultimately impedes your digestion, appetite and assimilation of nutrients to fuel your performance if you are getting too much. Ever had multiple protein shakes in a day, only to be in the bathroom multiple times that day (basically excreting all that ‘protein’ you just consumed)? Or over-stuffed on eggs, chicken breasts and beef or turkey burger patties, only to feel like you have a rock sitting in your stomach? Protein requires more time and energy to break down, and this, coupled with the fact that many people are hypochloridric (low stomach acid) can make protein intake incredibly taxing on your system. Yes, eat protein with your meals and snacks, but ‘more’ is not necessarily better. Aim for 1-2 palm sizes at most meals (men-2 palms, most women-1 – 1.5 palms) and approximately 2-3 ounces if you choose protein for snacks (about 7 grams of protein per ounce, so 14-21 grams of protein).

Over-Supplementing (with the wrong supplements) or not supplementing at all.
pills-347609_640
Supplements can do one of three things: Help you, not help you, or hurt you. Far too often in the training world, we take anything and everything under the sun because we are told it will enhance our performance, or…we take nothing at all (convinced we get everything we need from our food alone). Supplements are meant to be the bridges between what we can eat in a day—and the lack of nutrients we may be missing in our foods (since we can only eat so much in a day). Unfortunately, the labels on many produces can be highly deceiving, and the nutrient ‘bang’ from that $12.99 Omega-3 fish oil on the shelf of your chain grocery store, for instance, can be completely different from the quality of that high-grade cod liver oil, sold in your local health foods store. In other words: You most often get what you pay for (not always the case but often). In addition, since supplements are not regulated by the FDA, or really any ‘oversight’ at all, the dosage or claims on a label may not be 100% accurate, as this one ‘study bust’ found earlier this year. Even with things like your protein powders, you honestly never know what is in that whey protein, and not all whey proteins are created equal. As an educated consumer you need to recognize the differences and be able to discern quality whey from cheap, ineffective powders. Most whey proteins are processed from ultrapasteurized milk and many are exposed to acid processing. Heat and acid damages the protein and makes it insoluble in water (poorly shaken up in your protein shaker, and poorly digested). Manufacturers ‘take care of this’ by adding chemical flavors and detergents to reconcile the flavor and solubility. They add genetically modified soy lecithin, along with chemical surfactants, which are used in soap, such as polysorbate 80, propylene glycol,, ethoxylated mono-diglycerides and maltodextrin, caseinates, and hydrolyzed proteins (which are really MSG). Additionally, they also use artificial sweeteners (aspartame or sucralose). The overheated whey protein is then a non-beneficial form of whey that should be avoided because it contains putrid proteins that are damaging to your health. The bottom line? Do your research and know what you are getting—both supplement-wise and with your protein powders. On the protein powder front, look for organic-grassfed, unpasteurized, cold processed, and water soluble proteins that are highly-digestible.

Not eating enough.

tiny meal consisting of one shrimp, a tiny potato, and a single short asparagus stalk

If you want to experience success in the gym, you need fuel. This is probably the MOST common lifestyle factor we at OPEX have to address with our clients. Everything you do with your body requires energy; from pulling a heavy snatch, to taking a nap afterwards, even the process of eating and metabolizing your food depends upon energy availability and it all adds up to influence your total daily energy expenditure (i.e. how much you have to ‘give’ in the gym). Chances are, if you train with intensity and purpose, but have never been coached up around your nutrition and diet, you are not eating enough.

Trying to do exactly what the other guy or girl does.
ice cream
Rich Froning coined the classic post-workout meal of chocolate milk and peanut butter. Jason Khalipa can get away with pizza. Scott Panchik keeps it clean the majority of the time with a Paleolithic approach. Camille gets clean meals delivered to her every day—sticking to what it is she is served. Another girl eats very little carbs and her body looks amazing. And,  yet, from another source, you heard that ice-cream is the secret to unleashing your inner athlete in the gym. This goes back to point number one, one more time…Every body is different. Therefore what works for one person will not necessarily work for you—or be the ‘gospel’ for you. Get to know YOUR body.

Not caring at all.
not caring
This is perhaps the worst of them all. Sure the superhumans of the world openly talk about consuming sweets, treats and otherwise ‘junk food’—and rightly so, can ‘get away with it’ if they are training for hours on end. For the vast majority though (i.e. not the top 1% of the population), what goes in (to your mouth) has a direct impact and influence on your performance and health. Aim to keep it clean folks—clean eating promotes optimal digestion, health and balance for training (and feeling) your best. Protein, healthy fats, veggies, plenty of water, some fruit, little starch, no sugar. You’ve got it.

The main thing: Get to know your body. 

August 3, 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, james fitzgerald

Significance

Inside the beating of every human heart is a desire for something significant—a dream, a vision, an achievement, a goal, peace, happiness, love.

What does significance mean to you today?

How has that meaning evolved, changed or remained constant throughout your lifetime?

Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Happy Living, an organization with the mission of empowering others to improve their health and well-being—one person at a time.

I fully believe in their platform and message, and was challenged to reflect deeply on the meaning of this little word (significance) in my own life.

Significance means importance to me – or where my priorities lie. Honestly, values and priorities are everything to me. They play a daily role and are a constant thought. Significance attaches me to the reasons why we are here, why we are doing anything we are doing, and what happens when that physical time is done.

Things that were significant to me years ago are different now… that in itself is fascinating.

Years ago, I may have told you “significance” meant:

  • Being the best (athlete)
  • Setting a new PR on CrossFit.com
  • Starting a company, and being able to pay my bills, to live out my passions for fitness and helping others
  • Witnessing a personal training client ‘get it’—inside and outside the gym (a proper squat, a pull-up, giving up a Diet Coke addiction, transforming their lifestyle)

Today, “significance”, for me, looks like:

  • Being a great father to my two girls, and loving husband and supporter for my right-hand woman, my wife, Leighanne
  • Empowering coaches worldwide to become the “total coach” through OPEX’s CCP program
  • Revolutionizing the methods for fitness development through individualized design training programs
  • Witnessing a client ‘get it’ through adhering to a program, uniquely specified to them

The future holds hope and excitement as I wonder what will be significant for me in 40 more years? Don’t you?

Take some time for yourself at the end of the summer to really reflect on your life, your happiness, your passions, your well-being. Come out and join me in Sedona the weekend of August 2122 for the Happy Living Retreat—two full days of inspirational speakers, guided reflection and simply centering yourself, your mission, your life vision.

You can register here

Perhaps you can even make a trip to OPEX HQ while you’re at it (approx. 2 hours away from Sedona in Scottsdale.

James FitzGerald

August 2, 2015

aug 2 2015

Back To The Beginning

When I began coaching back in the university days, circa 1996-1997, I never imagined myself doing what I am doing today and this last week.

I never imagined walking amongst the fittest CrossFitters in the world and feeling a part of it, feeling accepted and comfortable.

I never imagined taking part in a one-time competition in 2007 that would turn into a world spectacle.

And I definitely never thought I’d be as inspired as I am now to coach up coaches; In turn, helping them achieve “success” in their business.

I have always wanted to have a large impact. My impact now comes in the form of professional coaches—teaching people the benefits of what I know to be true about fitness:

IMPACT!

I answered a question from a student in our online OPEX CCP Business Systems course this past week, and it hit me: I am living out my mission.

The student’s question concerned his feelings of whether or not he is “worthy enough” to be a coach. He had fears on being ready.

My guidance I offered? Experience (as a coach) CANNOT be fast tracked.

One thing OPEX offers is solid, easy to understand, easy to implement principles on how to start, grow and run a business in fitness coaching.

In our CCP courses, we teach coaches skills and lessons on the essentials for being a great coach, such as: Communication, fitness assessment, exercise prescription and movement, and an understanding of the foundations of nutrition, like digestion. Throughout our courses, we also make certain to teach coaches how to best connect their newly acquired knowledge to their clients, on the front lines, in their gyms or through their written programs.

Ultimately, OPEX’s coaching education program (CCP) is all about teaching the best of the basics of being a great coach, a total coach.

A solid foundation built upon these essentials, allows the coach to gain outright, immediate confidence in simply just “starting”. (Side note: By the way, I’ve never seen anyone go wrong with offering advice on eating whole foods and teaching proper movements, with a little bedside manner as well).

In the same course that day, time stood still as I heard my partner, Sean Greeley, answer some students’ questions on margins and the mechanics of that for profit.

I sat there, realizing that we (OPEX) are doing a large positive service to these coaches simply by just allowing them to breathe, find acceptance and learn in an arena that genuinely desires to empower them with this information – OPEX!

Here are some written comments from several students on the course call that day, regarding how things are going in our easy-to-follow online CCP Business Systems module:

Coach Marcus – The biggest thing I’ve learned is more about myself and why I want to open my own gym and help people. This is helping to shape my mindset!

Coach Tom – I am up to Lesson 10, trying to learn that script! Biggest take away is not taking this stuff for granted, the content so far has forced me to take things more seriously and consider my future in this sector.

Coach Zack – Completed through Lesson 10. The biggest thing I’ve learned is to take action and follow the simple rules. The biggest problem/question is that I’m realizing I have very limited experience with everything in this module. So it is challenging to admit to my short comings in relation to business and sales, but exciting to implement the process at the same time.

Coach Joseph – Up to Chapter 6 CVPM. So far the biggest tak-aways have come from the that lesson. I am noticing those principles being applied in my every day life from other successful companies.

Coach Joe – Chapter 10. And the biggest thing I’ve learned thus far is how to price our services based on the value and not based on what the gym down the street charges.

Coach Heather – I have read through lesson 10, but really need to re-read and go over numbers. A little confusing to me but extremely educational.

Coach Andrew – My biggest learning has been on how I need to market myself, knowing I’m worth it and believing that I can provide the best service to a client. I also have learned just realizing how a process of selling to someone is so valuable to ensure that you are able to help people get to where they want to go, gives me vision with how to ensure I can have a future as a Coach personally to continue to help people.

Coach Elan – I’ve learned how to imply the mindset and CVPM forced me to think of these things that I never thought where important but realize it is essential for a business and its path to success. I could add more but the flavor under it all was all the same: Gratitude and challenge. I mean what else is there?

As I sat there on the call, watching these comments pour in, I realized that I am a part of offering something special to people. I am doing something that feels right in my bones, something that I stand for. It encourages one to feel purpose and fulfillment. Daily.

I challenge each of you reading this to think about taking the time to reflect and realize what you may be doing in your work as a coach; realize the benefit you may be providing for people in fitness.

AND, if you ever need help and guidance on how to do this the best way possible, how to be the best coach you can be, contact us – we want you. We can help. We want to.

James FitzGerald

 

 

August 1, 2015

aug 1

Team Reflections

As the coach for our FIRST Games team, I have had a couple days to reflect on the weekend as a whole, as well as some thoughts on everything in between, from athletes to events to preparation.

Here’s what I observed:

— Scoring this year for teams was emphasized much more on individual’s performances and male vs. female team performances.  In addition, the ordering of how work was completed also impacted teams who had weaker players. In the past, more team-based work was prescribed, so you could hide some of those weaker players.

— To have a top team you need great CrossFitters who have great endurance. The best teams had all six athletes carrying the same essence (endurance / grinders). In my eyes, athletes, like OPEX’s Jim Crowell, looked like super stars out there because of the grind required. Generally speaking, the teams need more grinders.

—Top teams this year who carried strong individual REGIONAL competitors didn’t finish well—ultimately, the bottom line: they need to be enduring too.

— Froning’s team won this year by their male team crushing their male events; The males placed 1st  in the solo events!

— Girls need to be tall, strong and gymnasty.

–Power really isn’t tested in team –Seal Fit training and Muscle endurance is…

— Teams need to practice synchronized swimming with objects more than once…

–Athletes need to be able to run, period.

—The best teams train together year round

—The Earth Worm workout in the stadium, where the team had to run up the stairs, didn’t favor teams in lanes 6-14

I look forward to this next season.

– Coach Robin Lyons

OPEX ONE July 31, 2015

opex one july 30

OPEX ONE
July 31, 201
Coach James Taylor

Observational Trends in Fitness Athletes

This past weekend I had the opportunity to make a trip to California and observe athletes competing in the CF Games as a spectator while team OPEX Red competed as well. For the first time at the Games, I watched more of the team competition than the individual competition. I saw on a big stage not only the very best of the best competing this time, though those few elite were there as well. Of course, I’ve had the chance to watch athletes at the Open level completing workouts at OPEX here in Scottsdale and at the Regional level in the South Region for years, too. Over time, I’ve noticed some trends emerge in fitness athletes as my eye for movement has been refined through trial and error in lots of program designs and competitions. Additionally, athletes’ training ages in general are getting higher within the sport and therefore there is more individual susceptibility to biases in coaching that they have received, training they have done, or movements tested for which to be prepared in their chosen sport. Here are some of my noticings about the state of preparedness and execution of fitness athletes that can be improved upon.

1.Eccentric Control in Bending

In the sport, there is a lot of emphasis on completing reps, which is obvious and incontrovertible, but the paradigm created by the testing protocols that have been implemented over time is that the concentric phase of movement is king. However, for an athlete to reach their potential in concentric movements, they should obtain high proficiency in the eccentric phase of those movements as well, and this can be overlooked by athletes and coaches. Sure, there is emphasis on the eccentric phase of movement sometimes in competition such as when an athlete’s depth in squatting is judged or full lockout between reps in hanging based movements is required, but often there is no requirement for eccentric control in upper body barbell pressing movements and lower body barbell bending based movements. This categorization includes Olympic lifts as well as other deadlift variations. For the athlete who needs to be strong holistically, ignoring eccentric control in the large global movement pattern of barbell based bending leaves many athletes imbalanced and this shows up as inefficient movement subtly and often.

2. Straight-arm Strength

Similar to the lack of eccentric control in some movements, in large part created by the paradigm of the testing environment, here we are basically talking about another case of movement that’s not concentric based. There are all types of straight-arm strength to which I’m referring that are all specific to the position and loading parameters involved. For functional fitness athletes, straight-arm strength is mostly not tested in isolation, but it shows up often with other functional movement patterns. The most important factor in realizing the importance of straight-arm strength for athletes is that training it follows the principle of training from core to extremity for many movements that are not often considered straight-arm movements, such as rope climbs and handstand pushups. Training for balance in strength at the scapula from straight-arm movements will help many athletes’ performance over time in movements traditionally considered to be bent-arm movements, as bent-arm strength starts with shoulder strength. Two straight-arm movements that I find especially potent for fitness athletes and in which proficiency played a big part in success for individuals on the main stage on Sunday at the Games were heavy Farmer’s Walks at high intensity and short distances, and single arm OHS (squat snatch) at high loading. These movements are great to test for individuals and will likely have a trickle-down effect of showing up at other competitions over time.

3. Equipment

Certain types of equipment are fine to be used for training and competition to get a better training stimulus and improved competitive advantage. However, some of the equipment that can be used in competition, such as belts, knee sleeves, weightlifting shoes, and wrist wraps, seem overused in training environments. This equipment has various beneficial aspects to its use for performance, but one thing that all of these pieces of equipment have in common is that they help eliminate unwanted range of motion and can take up the slack in movement patterns. It’s no doubt important to use in practice what you’ll use in competition, but with too much reliance on equipment away from major competitions, an athlete can lose some range of motion and stability in movement by never training it since the equipment replaces the need for an athlete to have that range of motion or stability. Overuse of weightlifting shoes can lead to silent arches and anterior tibias, and overuse of belts can lead to suboptimal breathing in movements and core bracing that’s weaker without the belt. I believe that these pieces of equipment can play an important role in competitive advantage, but for the intelligent athlete, their use may be best periodized to some extent relative to competitions.

July 30, 2015

july 30

Noticing From The Games; Scoring Potential 

1          750     Tia-Clair Toomey
2          736     Katrin Davidsdottir
3          703     Kara Webb
4          689     Sara Signmundsdottir
5          681     Sam Briggs
6          661     Chyna Cho
7          636     Lindsey Valenzuela
8          620     Margaux Alvarez
9          616     Amanda Goodman
10        569     Emily Abbott

The rankings above are how the 2015 CrossFit Games COULD HAVE unfolded with MINOR tweaks to scoring methods. If you watched the Sunday finale, suffice it to say, the pegboard proved difficult for the majority of female competitors. Out of the remaining 37-competitior-field, three completed all three pegboard repetitions, two completed two pegboard repetitions, and seven completed one pegboard repetition. This left a MASSIVE tie for 13th-place amongst twenty-five individuals NOT completing a single pegboard repetition.

In an alternative scoring method, where the 13th-place tie is given 0-points versus 54-points in PTTM1, you see how drastically the leaderboard shifts. Notably a different champ is crowned and Kara Webb stands on the podium.

And to be clear, the 13th-place tie is being given 0-points because they failed to complete a single successful repetition.  In previous events, namely the clean and jerk max, when competitors failed to complete a repetition they received 0-points. For instance, Ben Garard, Travis Williams, and Joe Scali all failed to complete a successful attempt. Instead of receiving 8-points on a tie for 36th-place, they all received 0 points. (Side note; imagine if Matt Fraser misses his second attempt on the clean and jerk max. He then joins the other gentlemen with 0-points. All only things being equal Fraser ends the competition with 795 overall points, still finishing second in the Games, mind you. However, the drama around a podium race is negligible as Ben Smith truly walks away with the title at 915 overall points).

I liked the scoring system this year. It rewarded exponential points to top finishers and allowed for major shifts across the leaderboard. I simply think PPTM1 was poorly conceived and no one in Games management saw the tie-breaker coming at that scale. Perhaps even a last minute call was made during PTTM2 in terms of how to handle scoring of 13th-place; 54-points each or 0-points each?

Let me know your thoughts on this.

– Coach Matt Springer

July 29, 2015

ryan gg

OPEX Takes 2nd for Granite Games Qualifier

While all eyes were on the CrossFit Games, if you don’t happen to be one of the less than 1% of athletes competing in Carson, there are still plenty of opportunities to do so throughout the year.

In fact, if a goal of yours is to ‘get better’ or improve in the sport of fitness, competition is not just encouraged, it is necessary. (more…)

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