Since i am on a mental kick i will take another look at elite athletes and what makes them better than us.

I picked this up from Max while i was in California the first time and i think it is a very interesting observation. Take a look at the elite guys in any sport and you will notice that when they are at their peak performance they appear to be super relaxed. Their face is relaxed and their movement is fluid. They make the amazing things they do appear simple and effortlessly.

How does this transfer to performance? Physiologically i’m not sure. But if you think about it, tension starts in your face, travels to your shoulders, then your arms and hands. If you can’t see the tension in someones hands watch their shoulders or hands. Relax the face and the body will follow. Use the muscles you need and let the other ones chill. Making faces when you are training doesn’t make it any easier, in fact they probably make you feel like it is harder.

Think about it next time you are training. Take a big breath and relax your face. It will transfer to the rest of your body and you will perform better.
Enjoy the pictures of these relaxed athletes performing at the highest level in sport. Also don’t forget about the UEFA Cahmpions League final on May 27th in Rome!!


Strength of Mind

Whats the difference?
I want to shift gears from the last couple posts and talk not about what goes into making great fitness but what is already on the inside. In case you haven’t noticed, the guys that are at the top of the field in Crossfit are pretty consistent. (speal, Manimal, Thiel, OPT…) Sure their training is am important part of how they have developed their fitness but what motivates the consistent performance?

I have a couple ideas but i am hoping ya’ll will contribute to these ideas and let me know what you think. (Spencer, put all that schooling to good use).

I began thinking about this topic during Hells Half Acre qualifier. After the first day there were not many surprises. The guys i was expecting to be at the top were at the top. There were some unexpected competitors that seemed to be worthy but ended up choking on one of the workouts. Neither of the workouts were extremely hard but they were a good test of capacity so a good crossfitter should have done well with both of them. So what caused the top 5 to pull away?

Here are my ideas and they are not proven or scientific they are just my thoughts.
First, I think the top crossfitters are stupid. Not in a sense that they don’t think for themselves or don’t know things but in the fact that they don’t listen to their body. When they get to that point in a workout when most people would take an extra breath (why not??) they push harder and embrace the pain.

Maybe they are more aware of their body and therefore know its limits better. They know that when everyone else takes a breath, they have a little extra. Competition makes it easier to do more than their buddy but its not only the competition with someone else but the internal desire to push themselves past their perceived limits.

Maybe the top guys know precisely what their body is capable of and are able to manage their work to rest so efficiently that they never go to failure and always recover just enough to get through the next exercise. I seriously doubt this one. How many times have you gone into a workout only to have your plans smashed after the first round?

For those of you that routinely finish workouts and feel that you didn’t push as hard as you could, put yourself in Speals shoes and go longer and harder than you did yesterday. Your fitness will benefit.

What do you think makes the top guys stay at the top?

Athletic vs Fit

The Crossfit Community is full of self proclaimed athletes.  I have a bit of a problem with this.  I have grown up playing sports and trained with some true athletes.  They come in all shapes and sizes but have a couple things in common.  They easily adapt to new skills and learn movements very well.  You can toss them into any sport (anything with a ball (im gonna catch hell over this one)) show them the fundamentals and watch them flourish.  Deon sanders and Bo Jackson are great examples of an athlete.

Crossfit provides fitness, and a really fucking high level of it.  I believe, however, that it does not produce athleticism.  I have worked with many people and can distinguish the athlete from the non athlete pretty easily in the first 15 minutes i see them move.  They have all kinds of core to extremity violations and are overall spastic.  These things can be overcome but as soon as you throw in a new movement the learning process starts all over.
So who are the best athletes?
I say Soccer or Rugby players.  Why not a decathlete?
There is no variance in what they do.  Every competition consists of 10 events, the same 10 events everytime!  How athletic do you have to be?  You have to be fit sure but not athletic.
The same can be said for Crossfit.

Wrestlers never know what their opponent is gonna do.  Same can be said about anything with a ball.  Even badmitton and ping pong are more athletic in my opinion.  The guys that couldn’t play sports do decathlons, triathlons, marathons…

An athlete has a steeper learning curve meaning they pick up the same movement quicker and more efficiently than their non athletic counterpart.  This is not to take anything away from the non athlete.  There are quite a few people in the crossfit community that i would not consider athletic but are much more fit than I.

Take a step back next time you are in the gym, at practice or at dance class and see if you can identify what i am talking about.

Where: Crossfit Tulsa
When: May 23, 2009 (the day after my birthday!!)

Obesity is a Handicap!?!

I was talking to my mom the other day while she was in town. She was telling me about all the new stuff going on in health and Physical Education. She is a professor at ATM and has been a teacher educator for 30 plus years. She is also quite a crossfitter. She was in town for a planning meeting for TAAHPERD. She is on the board that decides on presenters for the annual conference.

There is an interesting topic coming up this year that has never been brought up in the past. Now that the ADA recognize morbid obesity as a handicap there must be accomodations made for children that are obese or morbidly obese. She did not elaborate on the details of the actual accomodations but that is not what i want to talk about. My issue is with the classification of obesity as a handicap.

Obesity is one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide! (sorry for not citing this, my first reaction was to cite it then i thought…Fuck it, its my blog…haha). Luckily the FDA has not approved any drug interventions for children but there is an increasing number of teenagers getting gastric bypass and other elective surgeries. Currently the only intervention approved is life style and behavioral techniques.

There was a case recently at Texas ATM where a student sued the school because she was bruised pretty badly from the desks. She did not fit properly because of her obesity. She won the law suit citing the ADA recognition of obesity as a handicap.

Another story my mom told me was about one of her students. His kid brought home a permission slip to go to Gatti Town for an educational field trip. Wait, it gets better. It was a nutritional outing. The kids were supposed to learn about portion size and nutrients. Really? At an all you can eat buffet?? That is lazy and irresponsible on the schools part.

Back to the point… Now that health and physical educators have to make allowances for obese children the children will be excused from activities that are unsafe for them. This probably means any calisthenics, running, or anything with their feet off the floor. I remember in my PE class we had a rope that had to be 25 ft and we weren’t allowed to climb it if the mat wasn’t down. The mat was about 2 inches thick and harder than the floor. My have times changed!!

I understand the safety issue but if we limit these obese kids to the activities left they will never have a chance. I would rather expose them to some more activity and run the risk of injury. Honestly kids are made of rubber so if anything did get seriously injured they would bounce back pretty quickly. How many of you had broken bones as a kid??

You might wonder why i am not yelling and cursing in this post like i should be. The reason is simple. It isn’t the teachers fault these things come about. It isn’t even the kids fault. I feel like kids are high jacked from an early age and sent down a path of obesity and unhealthiness. Kids follow their parents actions and we all know where this is going. It is a sad state and i don’t have an answer to it other than doing your part to pass your knowledge and passion for activity on to your kids. Feed them paleo food and kick them out of the house to play with their friends.

The seminar

I commonly get the question about who my seminar is for. Let me expand on this for a bit as well as give some background on why i am doing what i’m doing.

The first thing i want everyone to know is that i will do whatever it takes to make the Crossfit community better. Ya’ll have always supported me so i wanted to give back to ya’ll.

About a year ago i graduated from college and hit the road for just under 4 months. On the road i visited many Crossfit gyms. Some good, some bad. I was always asked what do you think? How is our gym? I came from a garage gym with limited space and equipment so it seemed that every gym i saw was very well equipped. I honestly believe that so long as you have a pullup bar, bumpers and a decent olympic bar you are set. Anything beyond that is a luxury.

Anyway, if something was missing in the gym we would talk about it but i always held my tongue when i saw bad training or poor programming. I still don’t think it is my place to walk into a gym and judge clients or trainers. I have my opinions of effective programming and frankly at some gyms i just didn’t see it. Funny enough, this was reflected in the athletes. I took offense to this and really thought long and hard about how i could educate people on what the really successful (performance based) gyms were doing. There were some striking similarities in the “good” gyms. Their programming was spot on and it reflected in the results their clients got, the intensity shown during workouts and the community that had developed. The other gyms, most of which were severely deficient in any quality programming, had decent communities and marginal results but limited legit athletes and no developmental program. I’ll be honest here, Crossfit done poorly is better than anything else on the market. The results of a poor crossfit will be blunted and only serve to get people to a certain point before they become stagnant.

In my seminar i try to simplify everything. I have gotten great responses from both beginners and advanced crossfitters. I feel like it is a great introduction into the foundations of crossfit both for both coaches and athletes. It will take your training to a higher level whether you are coaching others, working out in a box, or training in your garage with your buddies. Having a better understanding of what good programming looks like will allow you to not only start to think on your own but also take responsibility for your own training.

In my opinion this seminar is a must for anyone interested in their own or others development as crossfitters.

I would love it if people that have attended would put their thoughts in the comments. I want to set up a testimonial page where people that are on the fence can go to hear from ya’ll. If you haven’t made it to a seminar yet, let me know why you would or wouldn’t attend. Lastly, post what you want to hear more about both on the blog and in the seminar.

Thanks for all your support!!