"Training and Competition: What’s the difference?"

When we think of other sports, i.e. football, basketball, hockey, or baseball, we can look at how practices are run and how games are played.  It starts with youth programs and goes all the way up to the professional level, but they have a practice schedule and game schedule.  During these practices, the coach may have their athlete’s work on systems, different plays, skills, and sometimes (depending on the level of competition) they will do video analysis of themselves or their opponents.  

Why do these sports programs do this?  The answer is simple; to sharpen their skills and to prepare for an upcoming game(s).  Looking back at weightlifting, how can someone sharpen their skills (lifts) before a competition?  Again, the answer is simple; training.  You don't typically see athletes of these other sports going into practices playing an all scrimmage/game against each other.  You will not get much better if you just do that.  Same concept holds true to weightlifting.  If you just show up everyday and try to max out your lifts without regard to your technique, you will probably not see a whole lot of results.  Do not get me wrong, some people respond better to training heavy and some people respond better to training with more volume.  

At Kingfield Barbell, we like to have a certain mindset both for training and for competition.  Today, we will dive into each of these mindsets and difference between training and competition and how I approach each.

 

Training:
One of my coaches, Kirksman Teo, shared this amazing quote with me and how I should approach training.  He said, “We want to approach training with the mindset of a hunter instead of a rabbit.”  His reasoning behind this was that a rabbit just chases things that it wants... but the hunter will take a step back and evaluate different ways to catch the rabbit.  It might not be that same day, but over time the hunter will be smart enough to catch the rabbit.  Too often I find myself chasing numbers in training, which was frustrating and resulted in me lacking confidence.  Once he told me this quote, I realized that I needed to stop chasing the numbers and let them come to me while I worked on improving my technique and trusting it once the weights got heavier.  

Not everyday is going to be a good day.  Some days we will feel great and some days we will feel like we got hit by semi truck.  Take a step back and iron out technique instead of forming bad habits. It has helped me in my training to pick 1-2 things to focus on for that given day.  I will spend about 10-15 minutes just moving with an empty bar to really work on those things.  For example, I may notice I am not pulling with my elbows up.  I will do a few sets of standing muscle snatches to really feel that I am pulling up on the bar.  I understand that time is a factor for a lot of people but it will help in the long run if you slow things down instead of forcing it.  

In training, we like to focus on technique and being as proficient as possible. No matter what cycle we have our athletes doing, the biggest emphasis will be technique. Our rule of thumb is technique over load, or quality over quantity. We want to have the mindset of getting better and being consistent everyday. Just because the weight might be lighter, this does not mean going through the motions.  We want to focus on the movement with 40 kilos on the bar the same we would if there was 140 kilos on the bar.

 

Competition:
Everyone approaches competition differently. Some go into competition light hearted, wanting to have a good time.  Some go in not wanting to talk to anyone and really trying to get into the zone.  For me, the light hearted approach has worked the best.  Yes, I still listen to music but I like to joke around and just laugh when I am warming up.  My thought process on this: happy thoughts equal happy lifting.  I know that sounds kind of corny but it is true.  The more positive I was, the better my performance was.  I tried a few competitions where I would go into being super serious and just focus on the weight.  I would not talk to anyone and rarely smiled...it did not end well. Whichever works for you, stick with that mindset going into competition.  I will say though, it is easier going into competition with the same mindset you approach training.  Think about it.  If you have a heavy day in training and you are having a great time with the other lifters in the back smiling/joking around and you hit a PR, it feels good!  Why would you want to flip a switch and put added pressure on yourself in competition?  Keeping things consistent (technique, preparation, routine, and mindset) will go a long way.

It never hurts to have a plan.  You and your coach should sit down together and come up with some numbers that you want to hit at the competition.  This conversation should be a 2-way street.  A little bit of give and take from both ends.  One thing that Kingfield Barbell will always say to our athletes is that you should aim to get at least one on the board.  After that, it is bonus lifts. If we get one on the board, that will give us an extra boost of confidence going into our 2nd and 3rd attempts.  Some competitions will require different game plans too.  You and another lifter might both be in the running to get 1st overall so now it becomes like a chess match. Or maybe you haven’t competed in a while and we want to encourage some confidence on the platform.  If this is the case, we will go with lighter weights and the goal will be to go 6/6.  But most importantly, have a plan.

Here are some experiences I have had with training versus competition.  I hope some of the mindsets we have talked about help and you take some time experimenting with both to find out which one works best for you.  Thank you!

- Coach Josh, Kingfield Barbell

Tony's Training Tip: Crossover Symmetry Pt. 2

Lets pick up where we left off a few weeks ago... Very rarely are injuries catastrophic. By that, I mean they seem to always happen very gradually. There is not much you can do to avoid tearing your rotator cuff in a car accident (catastrophic injury), but there is a lot that you can do to prevent tearing your rotator cuff doing pull-ups at the gym. Crossover Symmetry is a tool that you can and should employ to prevent injuries. Just because your shoulder feels good today, does not guarantee that it will be that way tomorrow. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to invest a few minutes a week to stay on top of things.

In addition to the exercises shared a few weeks ago, here are a few more that will “bullet-proof” your shoulders. Next week, we will throw together a quick video to show you just how simple this protocol truly is.

1. Reverse fly
This one is simple and very effective for warming up the scapulae. Set the attachment point to shoulder height and begin with arms fully extended, and shoulders pushed forward. Initiate the movement by pinching the shoulder blades together and sweeping the arms out to the side.

Starting position

Starting position

Finishing position

Finishing position

 

2. Scaption
For the scaption exercise, lower the attachment point to knee level and face away from the rig. Start with the hands down behind your hips, arms fully extended, and shoulders pinned down. Raise your arms to shoulder height and out to the side at roughly a 45 degree angle. Remember to move slowly and keep your shoulders pinned down. Shrugging the shoulders up while raising your hands is a common error.

Starting position

Starting position

Finishing position

Finishing position

 

3. Incline Plus
Again, the attachment point here is knee height and we face away from the rig. Initiate the press by keeping the shoulders pinned down. Once the arms are fully extended, you then actually want to push your shoulders into the resistance. Be sure to check out the video next week!

Starting position

Starting position

Finishing position

Finishing position

This may seem like a huge pain in the butt to do a few times a week, but I assure you its quick and easy! And your shoulders will thank you!

-Coach Tony

"Macros: What are they?"

Relatively speaking, I think it’s safe to assume that if you’re reading this you’re pretty health-savvy. You likely wouldn’t have found this blog post if you weren’t in some way involved in taking steps towards improving or maintaining your health and fitness. So I’m going to make the assumption that you know that nutrition, or the nutrients we consume for energy and survival, is an important part of the equation. If you read my last post, you know that it might be the most important part of the equation when it comes to our health.

I’m not the only one who thinks this. We are pretty much inundated daily with information on what to eat, when to eat, how to eat, where to eat. So how can we make sense of all this information? You can take in as much advice and education as you can handle but at the end of the day, as I’ve said before, you have to figure out what works best for you. You are your own lab rat. Experiment away, my friends (disclaimer: within reason…).

The first experiment I would like you to consider is understanding macronutrients and paying attention to their role in your diet. Macronutrients, simply speaking, are the major organic (being built off a carbon backbone, not in the sense of "organic farming") building blocks of our food. They are major because, relative to their counterparts, micronutrients, because we need a lot of them to survive. You may have already heard of these bad boys, the common shorthand being “macros.” There are FOUR macronutrients. And we are going to touch briefly on all of them today.

Four? Yes, you heard me correctly. Carbohydrates, protein, fats (or lipids) and alcohol. Alcohol is kind of like the estranged brother. We talk about it in hushed voices and usually it’s not mentioned in colloquial discussions about macros. It’s bigger, more popular siblings tend to get all the headlines and attention when we discuss our diet. It’s also likely that we don’t discuss it because we know that it’s most likely not the best choice when fulfilling our caloric needs. However, it needs to be acknowledged and you need to be aware of it’s effect on your diet beyond often resulting in poorer food choices.

Before we get to alcohol though, I want to cover the more popular macros. We will start with protein. Proteins are comprised of amino acids, which are carbon-based molecules that have nitrogen attached to them (as well as other elements). It is this nitrogen that differentiates protein from its cousins, carbohydrate and fat. These structures are most famous for their role in the formation of the building blocks of muscle tissue, though they have other functions as well. As far as your health and performance goes, you need protein. It is the singular macronutrient that is most challenging to synthesize in the body (your body is pretty cool in that it can convert one type of macronutrient into another, but it’s energy expensive and our bodies are cheap and prefer the least expensive means to ends). To support activity, muscle mass and metabolism, our protein ingestion should be our main focus. Calorically speaking, one gram of protein is equal to 4 calories (4 cal/g). Recommendations vary based on activity level, body weight, and age (among other things), but generally consuming 0.7-1.0 g of protein per pound of body weight is ample intake for most people. This should come out to be roughly 30% of your total caloric intake in a given day. I would encourage you to figure out how much protein you’re getting and see if you currently fall in this range.

Second, after protein, we are going to touch on lipids. Lipids are the broad category that is filled by things like fatty acids (there are healthy and not so healthy ones), fats (think triglycerides), sterols (think cholesterol). For our purposes today and to simplify things in this post, I will be referring to fats as what we consume in our food. A later blog will touch on the differences between lipids and what you should pay attention to in your diet. Fats play, as we well know, a huge role in energy storage. But they also form cellular membranes and factor into hormonal pathways and metabolic function. They are critical in your diet. For too long, we have been told that “Fat will make us fat.” This is false and in fact, this message as actually played a major role in our rising obesity rates (more on that in another post). As the low-to-no fat diet has been preached, we’ve gotten fatter. Doesn’t add up. The moral of the story: fat is necessary. There are certainly good fats (mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids, even some saturated fats and cholesterol) and bad fats (transaturated - avoid like the plague) that you should be aware of but, fat should not be avoided. Even the maligned butter, eggs and animal fats can play a critical role in our diet, so long as they are well-sourced and high in quality (and they aren’t the entirety of your diet). As far as quantitative recommendations go, it varies widely from person to person and goal to goal. One gram of fat is equal to 9 calories, over double that of protein (and carbohydrate, as you’ll soon learn). We can create a rough estimate based off our total caloric intake by saying that roughly 30-40% of your total calories should come from fat. For example, if I eat 2,220 calories per day, 660-880 of those calories should come from fat. Using the ratio above, that means I should be consuming roughly 73-97 grams of fat per day. So do you think you're eating enough fat?

Third, we have good ol’ carbohydrates. In recent years, carbs have come to the forefront as the culprit for our current obesity epidemic and Western diseases - coronary artery disease, diabetes, cancer, metabolic syndrome, etc. Paralleling the recommendation for “low fat” also came “high carb.” This is what I was taught in school and, as a result, what I did while in school. At the time, I was a runner and I know that this mantra is still preached to the endurance community. However, further education, mostly through reading, self-discovery and experimentation and now hard evidence from the some of the scientific community, taught me that carbs are not all they’re cracked up to be. Now don’t get me wrong, they are important. In fact, our brain and heart can only function off of glucose, the simple sugar that is primarily the result of the breakdown of the carbohydrate we ingest. However, fun fact, our bodies are actually capable of converting things like fat and even protein into glucose when pressed. Which means that ingestion does not need to be through the roof! If you are training for something, working out at high intensities or are on your feet a lot in your job, you certainly will have higher carbohydrate needs than those who are inactive or who sit most of their day. Carbs are the number one variable to change when trying to achieve weight loss goals. There is a ton of information surrounding this macronutrient - type, timing, starch versus sugar, refined versus unrefined, glycemic index, etc. - and I hope to get to all of it in time. For today, let’s talk recommended intake so you can review your own diet. First, 1 gram of carbohydrate, like protein, is 4 calories. From our protein and fat sections from above, we already know that 30% of our daily intake is coming from protein and 30-40% from fat. That leaves us 30-40% from carbohydrate, depending on your fat consumption. Like fat, the needs vary widely from person to person and goal to goal. However, I would encourage you to assess your current diet and see if you meet these recommendations.

 

Here is an overall example of our macronutrient breakdown for a 165 pound person:

Protein = 165 pounds * 1 gram protein/pound body weight = 165 g protein per day (660 cals)

Fat = [2200 total cals * .3] = 660 calories of fat; divide by 9 cals/g = 73 g fat per day (660 cals)

Carbs = 2200 total cals - [660 cals P + 660 cals F] = 880 cals from C; divide by 4 cals/g = 220 g carbs per day

Use these formulas and plug your own weight in. I used an arbitrary daily caloric intake - there are more sophisticated ways to determine how much you should be consuming on a daily basis.

Now, back to alcohol. Besides impairing our better judgement, from a nutritional standpoint, alcohol is expensive. One gram of alcohol is 7 calories, nestling it right between carbs/protein and fat as far as it’s caloric cost. That’s nice to know but unless you’re drinking moonshine (more power to you), you can’t just weigh out your drink, divide and get the calorie content. Beer, wine, and booze all have other things mixed into them. This serves to add flavor, bring the alcohol content down to a manageable (for moderate intakes) level and to increase production volume. Guess what macro is added in? Carbs. Sometimes a little fat - think Bailey’s Irish Cream - but mostly carbohydrate. However, most beverages don’t list their nutrition facts. For the most part, we’re in the dark when it comes to how alcohol factors into our nice equations shown above. Easiest way to navigate this? Don’t drink. You’re probably better off. However, enjoying an adult beverage or two in a social setting is not a terrible thing to do. Note: the sentence reads “an adult beverage or two” and “in a social setting.” These are really good guidelines for your consumption. Limit yourself to one or two drinks and try to only do so for a special occasion or event. It’s a slippery slope to have booze on hand at home and use it to “wind down” after work. I’m not saying you shouldn’t, I’m just saying it can be a slippery slope. Use your best judgement, and if you don’t trust your judgement, enlist a friend or coach to help you.

Whether we count them or not, all four macronutrients factor into our diet. Your consumption of them plays heavily into your overall health, fitness and mental well-being. Try out these recommendations, pay attention to what you’re eating. Decide if you need to make some changes and if you’re unsure, let me know. Sometimes having someone else guide you is easier than doing it all on your own.

Until next time,
-Coach Caitlin

Once Upon a Time: How exercise is not the only part of the fitness equation

It is true: you cannot out-train a bad diet. This week we’re going to talk about the most common pitfall that I see as a coach when people are trying to achieve their goals.

Recall from my last post that first that we must make sure that our goals, reality and expectations of ourselves are aligned. From here on, we will proceed assuming that you’ve gone through that exercise of setting realistic, albeit challenging, goals. If you still need help with that, don’t hesitate to contact one of your coaches and schedule a time to chat about what direction you want to go. 

Returning to the topic at hand, I will share with you a common story I’ve seen in my years working in fitness, specifically in CrossFit. In my very biased opinion, CrossFit (when applied correctly) is the most effective general exercise program (we refer to this as general physical preparedness, or GPP) ever to come down the fitness pipeline. Bold statement, I know, but I believe it to be true. What happens as a result of this is that people start CrossFit and see immediate, dare I say near instantaneous, improvements in their strength, their bodies and even in their minds. They become stronger, tougher, and they feel accomplished. They think they’ve found the magic pill, the silver bullet that every other infomercial in the world is trying to sell you. They think it’s the training program alone. They are wrong.

So, continuing the story, this CrossFit newbie comes in 4-5 days a week, sees weekly improvements in their lifts, they’re slowly but surely starting to RX more workouts, they’re seeing more definition in their legs and arms and even a hint of a six-pack is starting to peek out. They think it’s the training program alone. And now, because they think they’re working harder and getting fitter, they “treat” themselves more often, going out for wings, pizza, beer and ice cream more than they have in the past few years. They keep PRing. They keep looking better. They think it’s the training program alone. They are wrong.

Eventually, and everyone is different so no one can say for sure when this will happen, they will plateau. Their strength will level off, conditioning with taper, and their body will actually start to look puffy or soft again. But I didn’t change anything! Well, you did. You made the error of believing that training is the key to health, fitness and a sexy body. You thought your new-fangled training regimen made all the difference. And then you changed your diet. Don’t get me wrong, an effective training program certainly helps and, in fact, it serves as a major motivator but the key, the crux, the MOST IMPORTANT PART is nutrition.

That’s the common story. I’m sure there are a few of you reading this thinking, “Oh shit, that’s me.” At the same time, I’m sure there are a few of you thinking, “Hell no, I did not fall off the nutritional deep end. I eat right! But I’m plateauing anyways. What do you have to say to that, Caitlin? Huh? Huh?” First, I have an answer for you. For today, I’m going to give you the short answer. Over the coming weeks, we will expand upon this short answer to dive more deeply into the elements that might be plaguing your health and fitness goals.

Back to your story: It doesn’t matter what you did. Paleo, Whole30, macros, keto, vegetarian - it doesn't matter. What does matter is that you took the time to pay attention to how you are fueling your body and that you were consistent about it. There are many facets to nutrition, some well-known, some not so well-known. Whenever I talk with someone about nutrition, I relate it to training. Most of us know that the PR train we ride for the first 6-8 months of any sport, program or training regimen slows down and that if we don’t do something to rejuvenate it, we’re going to end up sputtering to a halt. So we switch it up (see my post a few weeks ago about shaking up your training schedule) and stick to something revamped and again, see results. In CrossFit, we do this for you. We program to specifically tax your musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory system differently so that you're constantly able to adapt consistently. Over time, you will eventually find what works best. What your body adapts to and likes. Where it feels comfortable. Nutrition is no different. What worked for you at one point in your life may not work for you in the same way the second time around. We have to make subtle (or sometimes, not so subtle) adjustments to stay on track. What works for one person will NOT work for the next person. It’s incredibly individual and yet simple all at the same time. The approach is individual but the simple part is consistency.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll outline some of these individual approaches (from a generic standpoint). You’ll hear words and phrases you might recognize, like macros, paleo, anti-inflammatory, and you’ll hear about processes and interactions that you may not know as much about as you’d like, like glucose-insulin-glucagon relationship, ketosis and the gut-mind connection. With a better understanding of these, we can begin to identify what approach might be best for you and which will have the most profound effect as you march towards your goals.

I am looking forward to opening up the dialogue about food and how it relates to health, fitness and performance. If any of you would like to talk more specifically about your goals and how I might be able to help, shoot me an email or grab me at the gym!

-Coach Caitlin  

Memorial Day Murph: "What to Expect"

While there’s rain in the forecast right now, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for some nice weather on Monday while we’re out in force for Memorial Day MurphIf you haven’t yet heard, we’ll be running three heats of the workout starting at 8:50am on Monday, May 29th. “Murph” or “Body Armor” is one of the most famous CrossFit workouts, certainly the most famous Hero workout. If you want know a little more about the man behind the workout, watch the movie Lone Survivor or click here to read what we had to say about him. As if you need a reminder, the workout is as follows:

1 mile run

100 pull-ups

200 push-ups

300 air squats

1 mile run

 

Partition the reps as desired. If you have a weighted vest or body armor, wear it.

What we’re going to cover today is:
1) The Process - how things will run on Monday
2) The Approach - common ways to attack the workout
3) The Aftermath - how you will feel immediately after and what you can do in the minutes and days after to get back in your groove sooner.

The Process:
On Monday, we will run three heats of the workout - 8:50am, 9:50am and 10:50am. There will be a 70 minute time cap on
each heat. A better way to say this is, if you are still in the gym at the 60 minute mark (when the heat after yours starts), we will send you out on the second mile. We have different variations of the workout that can be done - partner, 30 minute AMRAP or full - and if you haven’t yet decided which one is best for you, keep reading. We’ll get to that in the Approach section below.

The heat assignments are listed below. If you do not see your name, it is because you didn’t let us know you’d be coming. You can still come in and do the workout - we would love to have you! We will fit you into a heat accordingly.

 

Please arrive at least 20 minutes early to your scheduled heat time. We will be at the gym by 8-8:15am so you can show up any time after then. Warm-ups will be very general and more will be spent reiterating movement standards and figuring out where each athlete will be doing their thing. Each heat will have a group going in BOTH the main CrossFit room and the turf room. We have a few rules about this:

  1. Pull-ups - we will have kipping/strict, jumping or ring rows as options. Once you complete your pull-ups, whether you’re doing them straight through or doing small sets, you MUST move away from the rig to do your push-ups and air squats. This will be crowded unlike any workout you’ve ever done; we need to be courteous of those around us.

  2. Push-ups - your chest must touch the floor on each repetition but hands DO NOT need to release from the ground. These are the most challenging part of the workout - break them up from the beginning and stay tight!

  3. Air squats - go to your full depth and stand all the way up! These are the easiest part of the workout but you will feel them the most in subsequent days. Be consistent, do them right!

  4. DO NOT deviate from the run route (see map below). We will have the 1 mile course marked at each corner and will even have a some people at certain intersections to ensure safe crossing.

The "Murph" Mile - the route starts along the yellow arrows by the star. Athletes will run south down the alley towards Lake St. and turn right. Cross Garfield Ave and turn right to head north on Lyndale. The next turn will be another right on 28th St. Continue to Harriet, turn right and head south. The arrows turn to orange because of some overlap, as athletes will run along Lake to GARFIELD and head north to finish the mile. The final right turn will be the north alleyway loop to return to the gym.

The Approach:
No matter how you slice it, “Murph” is a daunting workout. It is not about speed; it is about consistency. If you go out too fast, you will finish slow. This a marathon CrossFit workout: start conservatively and push towards the end if you have anything left in the tank.

Our options for performing the workout are as follows:

  1. Full Murph - you will complete the entire workout, splitting up the work in the gym how you like (more on that in a second), by yourself. Some may wear a weighted vest if coaches agree.

  2. 30 minute AMRAP Murph - you will run both miles at the start and end, but we will limit the middle work portion to 30 minutes max. This is a good option if you have just started CrossFit in the past couple months, if you haven’t exercised (moderately) for longer than 45 minutes straight in the past couple months, or if you really struggle with one of the movements. By cutting it off at 30 minutes, you are moderating the volume, which is a smart thing to do, especially if you’re new.

  3. Partner Murph - an alternative volume modification. You AND your partner will run both miles but you will share the work in the middle. You may share those reps however you like, until it is all completed.

  4. Friends and family - if you are bringing someone who has never done CrossFit before, they will likely do a combo of b) and c). We want to challenge these new folks but we don’t want to turn them off completely. Your coaches will help them figure out which option is best for them.

Some strategies for completing the work in the gym are listed below. Keep in mind that what works for someone else may not be the best approach for you. We’ve talked a lot in recent weeks about focusing on what you’re doing and letting the rest fall away. Take that to heart while you’re in the middle of Murph - there will be A LOT going on. The only thing you need to focus on is you.

The Aftermath:
A lot of you will be doing this for the first time. We aren’t going to lie to you - you will be sore. There is more volume in this single workout than you probably accumulate in three days of regular CrossFit classes.

This is not meant to scare you. We take on this challenge for both personal significance and for something bigger than any of us. The workout is meant to honor those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom, our friends, our family and the great privilege we have to take care of ourselves through fitness. If you think on that for a minute when things get tough, your personal suffering in the workout suddenly seems like small potatoes. On a more personal level, this is a benchmark and a tough one at that. It is - believe it or not - fun to come back to it every year and see how much you’ve improved. Plus, the energy is unreal when we have 30 people working out at the same time!

Immediately after, get water and try to keep moving. If you can go walk a lap or hop on a rower, do that for 5-10 minutes. It might feel like the last thing you want to do but if you lay on the floor for 10 minutes, you’ll start to stiffen up soon. After you do a little flush out, do some movement and stretch. Pigeon pose, couch stretch, hanging out in the bottom of a squat (yep, I said it!) are all good things to do. Ask a coach if you need some more creative ideas. Do NOT sit down right away! Finally, get some good protein and carbs in your system. Yes, we will be eating around noon but if you’re in the earlier heats you might want to bring a protein shake, banana or something else to nibble on while the other heats go.

*A side note on nutrition: Just because you did a really long workout does not entitle you to eat heaps and gobs of bad foods. For the most part, we’ll have some pretty solid choices available to eat but don’t fall into the trap of the post-workout binge. Just my two cents.

In the days following “Murph,” MOVE! We will program accordingly so that you can still come in, move and take it easy if you’re more sore. This might mean scaling workouts - so what? Better for you to move and push that fluid around than to sit out because you can’t go RX’d or go as fast or heavy as usual. You also don’t have to move in the gym. Get out on a walk or a bike ride the day after. Do some body-weight movement at home, go to a yoga class or do ROMWOD. Drink water and plenty of it!

The less you move, the crappier you eat and the less you drink, the worse you will feel and the longer your recovery will be. Those are all things you can control and by doing so, you can get back to your regular routine sooner!

I’ll be posting on Monday as well about a few quick nutrition and recovery tidbits as an intro to our holistic approach to fitness. Stay tuned for that - there may just be a few things you can start doing now that will make a big difference later.

We’re excited to see you on Monday! And for the record, we would recommend resting on Sunday ;) Happy sweating!

-Coach Caitlin

Kingfield Barbell Philosophy: Timing

The last pillar of the Kingfield Barbell Philosophy is timing, which plays a big role in how well a lift is performed.  In our opinion, there are two ways to lift, one, simply lifting weights.  And two, lifting weights well.  In order to lift well, we need proper timing.

A good example to reference is a baseball pitcher.  When the pitcher has gotten through their wind up phase and they have planted their front foot, they rotate and open up.  Once they have gotten to this point, they begin their follow through (throwing the ball).  But, in order to throw a good pitch, the pitcher must time when he/she lets go of the ball.  If they let go too soon, the ball will sail over the umpire and into the stands..  If they let go too late, the ball will go into the dirt.  The same is true in weightlifting, and many other sports or actions that are performed, there needs to be proper timing in order to do it well.

Another way to look at timing, is rhythm.  There is a certain rhythm to the Snatch and Clean & Jerk.  It doesn’t matter what technique you use, each will have a certain rhythm.  When you watch lifts on YouTube or Instagram, you kind of know when it is a good looking lift or not. 

Finding the right timing or rhythm may take a lot of time and practice to achieve, but if you work on the first Four Pillars of the Kingfield Barbell Philosophy, proper timing can be achieved easier.  Working to perfect close, control, stable, and power will all contribute to this final pillar of timing.  

Stay tuned, as we discuss different drills and exercises that can help you work on your timing!

-Kingfield Barbell

"Putting Yourself First."

As is the case for all of us, when life picks up, we search for the areas in which we can cut corners and find more time so that we don’t feel “rushed”. In my experience (and this tends to happen a few times a year) cutting short the time I set aside for myself does not yield any extra productivity. In fact the exact opposite happens.
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Taking a moment for yourself is sometimes the hardest thing we do all day, but in all reality it is also one of the most needed things we can do.  Over the past month I have made it my priority to allow myself more time when breathing to actually be present with myself.  As is the case for all of us, when life picks up, we search for the areas in which we can cut corners and find more time so that we don’t feel “rushed”.  In my experience (and this tends to happen a few times a year) cutting short the time I set aside for myself does not yield any extra productivity.  In fact the exact opposite happens; I get caught up things that take away from my daily goals and never actually feel like I accomplished anything.

So I want to take this opportunity today to let you in on my before bed routine that I began in April.  If you are consistent with this routine every day you be able to push the intervals a bit more, which will allow you to understand on a deeper level how breathing can benefit you (disclaimer: this also might send you down the rabbit hole, but sometimes that is the best place to find yourself).

Wim Hof method of Breathing:
By now most of you have heard about Wim Hof.  Whether it has been in conversation with one of the coaches at Kingfield, a blog I have written in the past, or the interwebs; Wim Hof has become more and more mainstream with his method.  In my opinion, this is due in part to the fact that we as a society are drawn to things that are new and exciting.  Superventialtion and cold water immersion are now becoming common place as people are finding out how they can benefit from taking time to understand their physiology deeper (I found that spending the better part of 6 months practicing with Wim’s method exclusively gave me a much better understanding of my own breath practice and what it is that I am truly looking for).  So what is the Wim Hof method of breathing?  It is simply a hyperventilating technique in which you want to complete a full inhale into your diaphragm and relax the exhale, completing this 30 to 40 time in fairly rapid succession.  Upon the conclusion of your last inhale simply relax your exhale and hold your breath without any air in your lungs.  You will find that you are calm and can sit for an extended period of time without air.  When you feel yourself starting to need a breath, simply breathe in fully and hold your breath with air in your lungs for 15 seconds.  After that slowly exhale and repeat the cycle (generally 3 to 4 times).

Why down regulate before bed?
When utilizing the Wim Hof method we are raising the oxygen levels in our tissues.  This will allow you to hold your breath longer without air in your lungs.  As a byproduct, using this style of breathing helps us to to get deeper in the 1.4.2 apnea cycles, inevitably causing us to down regulate and become much more calm.

At the conclusion of my day I have found it most helpful to take 35 to 40 minutes to start winding down and getting myself ready to sleep.  This generally happens about 60 to 90 minutes before bed.  Starting with nasal breathing in a calm and focused position I reflect back on my day and start putting aside anything that got me worked up.  If I had a pretty easy day than I begin shifting my focus to how my body feels, and begin releasing tension via my breathing.  After about 5 minutes of focused breathing, I begin 5 cycles of a nasal inhale/mouth exhale apnea protocol.  This helps calm my mood and bring some focus to my breathing mechanics and how my mind is handling stress.  I follow this with two rounds of Wim Hof breathing with short breath holds.  My focus here is a medium pace cadence with full diaphragmatic tidal volume.  I repeat this cycle of apnea and Wim Hof one more time, before ending with one last round of apnea breathing.  Take some time this week for yourself, try and detach from your day and be okay with the effort you put in.  There comes a time in each day when we begin working against ourselves, rather than for our self.  I believe that finding where that line is for you will make all the difference in the world.

Down regulating breathing protocol: 35 minutes

  • 5 minutes of focused and calm nasal breathing sitting cross-legged or in half lotus
  • 5 cycles of a 1.4.2 apnea protocol with 5/20/10 (inhale/hold/exhale)
  • 2 full cycles of 30 medium pace Wim Hof breaths with :60 breath hold without air in the lungs
  • 5 cycles of a 1.4.2 apnea protocol with 6/24/12 (inhale/hold/exhale)
  • 2 full cycles of 20 medium pace Wim Hof breaths with :60 breath hold without air in the lungs
  • 5 cycles of a 1.4.2 apnea protocol with 7/28/14 (inhale/hold/exhale)

Give these a try and good luck!

-Coach Danny

"My Murph Experience" - Juliet Alden

1. Is this your first Murph?
Yes

2. If yes, what inspired you to participate this year? If no, how many times have you done Murph? I have been on the fence about it for the last few years. Somehow it spoke to me this year. It struck me as a fun challenge and a good way to enjoy the Memorial Day holiday. Besides the bbq afterwards was calling to me!

3. If you've done Murph, what do you remember most?
N/A

4. What are you most looking forward to this year for Murph?
I'm looking forward to seeing how my mind moves from an, "I can't do this" mindset to an "I've got this bitch." That's one of my favorite aspects of Crossfit workouts in general... Doing more than I think I can in every workout. Feeling successful is fun and amazing!

5. For people who are on the fence about participating, what would you say to them?
Come have fun. What have you got to lose?