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Crushing Goals Together #FITFAM

Crushing Goals Together #FITFAM

One of the greatest joys that I have experienced as a result of my own fitness journey, and at times obsession, is the influence it has had on my family as a whole.

Reasons families that workout together CRUSH together:

  • When your family takes part in fitness the understanding of the importance of it in our lives becomes clear to everyone.
  • Setting a positive example for the people we love the most, is one of the best ways to motivate and encourage them.
  • Our children are like sponges, they always want to do what mom and dad are doing, especially the little ones.
  • Nutrition becomes much easier around the house when everyone is on board.
  • It’s motivating to have your kiddos want to be fit, and think its fun!  Because it is fun, even if we forget that sometimes.

In a lot of ways, we have to think about how our own selfishness can actually be a positive thing in the lives of the people that we love. I agree that taking time away from your children to work on your own health feels crappy sometimes. But the amount of quality that you are able to inject into your own life overflows into the lives of those that are closest to you. When that starts to happen people take notice.

All of a sudden your energy levels are higher, and climbing up the slide the wrong direction isn’t as hard to do, even if it is for the hundredth time. Your patience for that teenager who for some reasons finds it to be the end of the world that you would ask that they unload the dishwasher is a little better. The foods you eat and give to your family provide well-rounded nutrients that they need to feel good about themselves and be fit too.

Before you know it you’re a family of active, motivated, happy, and fit people!

The best part is that now those healthy habits have lead to a family that spends more time together. Whether it is at the gym or on the bike trail, your family is fit and the love and pride you have in each other’s accomplishments become a topic of regular conversation at that dinner table.

No one is perfect, and being tired is very much so going to be a thing still. But when you start to prioritize taking care of your self and your family does the same, it’s a good tired. The kind of tired that leads to a good night’s sleep and another day of crushing goals and achieving dreams!

Top 3 Reasons You Should Be Using SugarWOD

Top 3 Reasons You Should Be Using SugarWOD

If there is one simple way to take your training from good to great it would be tracking your workouts.

There seems to be a direct correlation between those who track their workouts and nutrition with those who gain the best results.  To break it down further, here are the top three reasons you should be tracking your workouts…

1. Accountability

We all need it.  That little push or nudge to keep us on track.  Your training log is there for you.  If you miss a day tracking it’s like missing a day of working out.  Use your training log to not only record your weights and scores but also put some notes in there about how the day was.  Are you low on sleep?  Did you boss make the day not awesome?  Did you forget your shorts and had to wear pants (my best day ever)? Make these notes so you can see where your training is on or off track.

2. Feedback

A training journal can be a great reminder of how awesome you are and how far you have come.  Remember when we left SugarWOD and have now come back?  My old results are in there, my deadlift is up almost 40#’s!!  That was awesome to see!

Once a week look through your training, are you making the progress you want?  If not maybe it’s time to schedule a meeting with your coach so you can make a plan.  Your coach can see where things might be off and help you make those corrections.

3. Fist Bumps!

A few weeks ago I was in a 4:30 class with Zac.  This kid is half my age (yep that’s scary to say) and an endurance monster. For whatever reason I decided I wasn’t going to let him beat me…oddly enough he knew.  Went head to head on a crazy long AMRAP with man makers, sit-ups and a run for him bike for me, it was AWESOME!  We tied which was even more fun.  After we logged our scores I could go into SugarWOD and give him a virtual high five, just like the one I gave him in class.  I noticed the next morning I had lots of encouragement from other peeps too, no better way to start my next training day.  Helping lift up your fellow Icehousers is one of the best reasons we’re here right?

Track your scores, give some fist bumps and let yourself see the progress you have made.

Movement with TRAPS: A coach’s perspective

Movement with TRAPS: A coach’s perspective

Its been a long day and the competition has been fierce. 5 works outs in, they have tested you in every conceivable way. The final work out is announced, its the last and final opportunity to lay it all on the line, give it your all, and walk away feeling proud of the efforts you’ve put forth. Sometimes the body has a different idea.

It was in this final workout that my shoulder decided it would have no more and slipped out and under the ring on that last muscle up. The damage I did while not devastating was done. Thus began my road to recovery, filled with:
1. doubt
2. anger
3. fear
4. MOST IMPORTANTLY GROWTH! (both physically and mentally)

When I first approached Coach Jordan regarding my injury I had spent the previous 3 months:

Month #1: pretending that there was nothing wrong and that I could grit my way through the pain.
Month #2: attempting every bit of PT, Chiropractic, Massage, and yoga that I could think of without result.
Month #3: taking More IBUPROFEN then one’s liver is meant to handle, Got a MRI and offered Cortisol Shots on numerous occasions

It was at the discussion of my MRI results that it became clear I had 2 choices. Continue to do the same things expecting different results. Humble myself and ask for help.

I am happy to say I choose the latter. Thank God I did!

Coach Jordan took me through his process of assessment, planning, support, evaluation, and revaluation like a true pro.

If this is sounding like it was so easy to get going with a new plan, dedicate myself to it and truly believe that the results would follow. If you are reading this blog that way, truly I am sorry because it was not that easy, and I am glad it was not.

There were plenty of moments where me and Coach had to sit down and talk about the value of trying things a new way, not allowing my ego and pride take over and dismiss the progress I was making no matter how slow it felt to me. Let me not forget that heated conversation regarding the approach we take towards the goals we want to achieve.

“Change the approach you take to your training, to one of belief in the process, and change the outcome for the positive” Coach Jordan.

Not only did we change the way we approached my training which affected the way I felt about the outcomes for the better. We also put and emphasis on the abilities I still possessed at the highest level. As a Result I saw improvements far beyond making my shoulder better and more stable.

1. increase in core strength
2. my engine saw a dramatic improvement
3. my squat numbers and the health of my knees improved
4. I accepted and acknowledged that my ability to perform in the gym does not define me as a human being!

Its hard to trust someone else with your success, and even more so your health. As people we want to think that we have the answers and that we are in control. But an outside perspective, one that has altruistic intentions and at its core wants to support you and see you be happy, is worth taking a chance on.

I truly regret nothing, not the all out effort I put forth in that competition leading me down this path, not the up hill battle I have spent the last 6 months trudging, and certainly not the idea to ask for help.

Coach Jordan AKA TRAPS AKA BABY TRAPS AKA BABY FACE COACH AKA my colleague, my Friend, and a man I trust and respect fully lead me on the path to sustainable recovery. He did it in ways that challenged me and helped me to grow in ways that I didn’t even know that I needed to.

I truly am grateful for him and for the expertise in movement he brought into my life.

If this blog spoke to you at all and your in pain, it does not have to be that way, ask for help.

Coach Shoe’s Guide to Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 2

Coach Shoe’s Guide to Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 2

Meet Day

What to Bring (I always forget something, so here are my musts)

  1. Weightlifting Shoes (or whatever shoes you usually lift in)
  2. Singlet
  3. Any training equipment you usually use to lift. Knee sleeves/wraps, belt, tape. You may want to bring some chalk just in case.
  4. A written down plan for your warm-ups (or a coach who is doing this for you, we can help with this!)
  5. Your USA Weightlifting membership card. You’ll need to show this during weigh in (can be printed out or a digital version on your phone works too).
  6. Food, water, supplements and anything else you like to use before a workout.
  7. Layers of clothing to stay warm, and maybe even a pillow if you’d like to lie down and relax after you weigh-in.Weightlifting

Weigh In

You will get notified (usually via email) of what time your session & weigh ins will be, usually 2-3 hours prior to your session.  If for some reason you are over or under your originally declared weight class, you just need to tell the official at your weigh in BEFORE you hop on the scale. You will also need to tell them your opening lifts at that time. Remember to divide your planned weight in pounds by 2.2 to get the correct weight in Kilos to submit.

The time between weight in and lifting tends to be the most stressful.  Do your best to stay relaxed, stay hydrated eat a light snack or meal (especially if you fasted for weigh in). I like to watch the session happening before me to get a feel for timing and flow of the event, and it’s also a nice distraction and a great way to support your fellow lifters!

Warming Up Overview

Timing warm ups is probably the toughest part of the meet.  I would HIGHLY recommend having a coach or a friend help you plan this out and submit your weights to the marshal, even if they are just the runner so you can focus on lifting it will help.

The lifting order with athletes’ openers will be listed either on a TV, or the cards with attempts will be laid out on the marshal’s table.  You will want to take a look at that list so you can determine the starting order and where you fall within it.  The easiest way to plan is to assume each attempt will take about one minute.

I like to do a warmup before touching the barbell consisting of PVC pass throughs, air squats, inch worms & some yoga flows for shoulders and upper back openers.  Then an empty barbell warm up, finally building up to my snatch opener.

At some point during this time, I like to find a focal point, or something to look at during your lifts on the platform.  I’ll peek around the corner, look above the judge centered in front of the platform and pick a spot that I’ll look at while I lift.  It’s usually a logo, or a wall ball line or even the top edge of the back wall.  Something I can focus on that won’t move if someone in the crowd does.  (At my first meet I missed a lift because I made weird eye contact with someone in the crowd.  Don’t be like me.)

Strategy to Build to Your Opener

The easiest way to explain this is with an example.  You NEED to be flexible in your plan as things change with lifts the day of, but having an outline of your planned building sets will help greatly!

Here is an example of how to time your lifts for the snatch:

In this example there are 10 lifters in your session, and you would like to open with 70kg (154lbs).

There are three lifters opening with 50kg, two opening with 60kg, two opening with 65kg, you at 70kg, and two more at 80kg.

  • The lifters opening with 50kg will likely take all three of their attempts before you open – that’s nine lifts.
  • The lifters opening with 60kg will likely take at least two attempts before you open – that’s another four lifts.
  • The lifters opening with 65kg will likely take one attempt before you open – that’s two more.
  • There’s no need to worry about the guys opening with 90kg, because they’ll open after at least your second attempt.

So given this example, there will be about 15 attempts before your opener (9+4+2=15). And we are assuming 1 min per attempt, so that puts us 15 minutes out from the first lift, so we want to be ready at about that time.

  • 3 lifts out/mins (when there are three lifts before your first attempt) take 68-70kg (last warm-up)*
  • 6 lifts out/mins, take 65kg
  • 9 lifts/mins out take 60kg
  • 12 lifts/mins out take 55kg
  • 15 lifts/mins out, take 50kg
  • 18 lifts/mins out, take 40kg
  • 20 lifts/mins out, warm up with the bar

Since you are the 16th lift of the session, this means you should be done with your general warm-up (rolling out, stretching, etc) and taking the empty bar roughly 5 minutes or a little more before the session starts. Particularly in your first meet, it’s better to be a little bit ahead of the clock than a little bit behind it, so start a few minutes before you really need to and slow down a bit if you get too far ahead.

There is also an introduction that happens just before your session where all of the lifters are introduced.  Takes about 3-5 minutes, so plan for that.  So if this session began at noon given the lifts shown, I’d start my warm up at 11:40 (non barbell stretching), and pick plan to pick up the barbell at 11:50, then lifting every 3 minutes or so.

After snatching is complete, C&J is up next.  Grab a light snack & make sure to hydrate. Meets have a 15 minutes reset between snatch and clean & jerk, so keep an eye on time once the last lifter goes to time your warm ups for the clean & jerk.

You’ll want to do the same math as we did previously to see if you are still 16th to open.  It will likely be a similar spot, but since not all athletes have balanced lifts, you may be quite a bit earlier or later in the session so don’t skip the math!

Warm ups for clean & jerk are similar, but with a few tweaks.  Let’s say you are opening with 90kg (198lbs):

  • 4 lifts/mins out, take 85kg
  • 8 lifts/mins out, take 80kg
  • 12 lifts/mins out, take 75kg
  • 15 lifts/mins out, take 70kg
  • 18 lifts/mins out, take 60kg
  • 21 lifts/mins, take 45kg
  • 24 lifts/mins, take the empty bar (if you take the bar before clean & jerks)

Biggest difference here is we are lifting every 4 minutes/attempts once it gets heavy or so vs 3 for the snatch.  C&J is heavier and more taxing so a bit more rest is helpful between lifts. So if we were 16th again, I’d start with the barbell about 10 minutes prior to the first C&J attempt.

*Some people like to hit their opener in the back before their first attempt. I aim to hit about 5-10 lbs shy of it for my last warm up to save what I can for the bigger lifts/attempts, and its consistent with how I build to heavy lifts in training.  This comes down to personal preference.

Go Time – On the Platform

RELAX. You have put in the work. You had a solid warm up plan, you are ready.

The announcer will call the next lifter, as well as who is on deck.  This is when I stand up and prepare to walk on once they call my name.

The most important thing to remember once your name is called: YOU HAVE TIME! DO NOT RUSH. With 30 seconds remaining on your clock, a buzzer will sound, to let you know where you’re at.

As soon as my name is called I walk to the chalk bucket, and take a deep breath while I chalk up. Upon approaching the bar, find the focal point which you located earlier. Once you’re set on it, don’t take your eyes off of it unless you absolutely have to. Forgot to pick one earlier?  No biggie, simply walk to the center of the platform, take & break & look past the crowd. Find it, then your approach the bar.

DO NOT rush your set-up. Approach, setup, & lift just like you do every time in training. This is probably where I see the most new lifters miss their attempts – they get too excited and hurry through their set-up.

Once you stand up with the lift, WAIT for the down signal! This may be a referee saying “down!” or a buzzer going off. I have even added holding the bar overhead for an extra second to my training to prepare and get used to this. This is probably the most frustrating way to miss a lift in competition, so HOLD THAT BAR!

When the first attempt is done, smile & take a deep breath, the toughest lift of the meet is done. Head straight to the marshals table (or have your coach do it) and declare your next attempt. You should officially declare it within 30 seconds, otherwise you will not be allowed to make any changes. Once you’ve declared, just relax until your next attempt.

Try and pick your attempts so that you don’t have too long a rest between lifts (reference Part 1 on how to pick you attempts before hand). Stay relaxed and follow the same process for every lift.  And most importantly, HAVE FUN!

If you happen to be competing in the Star of the North on June 15th and want some awesome action shots, make sure to sign up with with Samantha Chin at https://www.samanthachinphotography.com/ for an amazing photo package (like the photos in the blog)!

I Gave Up Coffee…Here’s Why

I Gave Up Coffee…Here’s Why

If you have been to one of my classes at some point you know my coffee cup was never very far away.  I’ve read the blogs and listened to the podcasts that say “a coach should never be drinking coffee during class.”  I thought that was cute, coffee is life…well was life.

It Just Happened

I woke up on a Monday, looked at my partner, and said “I’m done with coffee.”  You can imagine the shock, we have a coffee pot, French press and Nespresso in our 5’ x 6’ kitchen.  We have a small space and prioritize coffee.  I would usually have a coffee with a shot of espresso in the morning and then another coffee or latte in the afternoon.  Sunday’s were a day of caffeination, I would drink coffee pretty much all day.  It was magical!

A Little Bit Nerdy

Coffee, at roughly 200mg of caffeine for 10 oz, can keep cortisol levels elevated.  Cortisol is a hormone that helps our body respond to stress. If your cortisol levels stay elevated, meaning you stay stressed, it can have very negative effects on weight training, body composition and recovery.  Long story short high cortisol levels mess with your gainz, no good!

Saying Goodbye

If you’ve been anywhere in the United States you know, it was a Long winter.  I was living on coffee.  We made some changes at work, I have been doing some really deep emotional work and it was cold, like really cold, I was in a full stress spiral.  I went three full months with very little sleep, two colds, two flus and I was a wreck.  It was time to control the things I could and that meant no more added stress, coffee had to go.  I needed to give myself the best chance I could to sleep, to restore, to let my body and spirit breathe.

Life After Coffee

For the most part, my life has been caffeine free.  I will have a matcha or a green tea from time to time and with a drastically reduced caffeine intake I can sleep.  I woke up the second morning and told my partner “if this is what sleep is like, I’ll give up coffee forever.”  I’m still working hard on the other ways to manage stress and do the work I love.  I’m also working with Coach Anna on my nutrition and it’s been a game changer, check her out!!  If you find yourself in a stress spiral, check in with yourself, what are the things you need to do to help yourself out?

Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 1

Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 1

How to Prepare for Your First Weightlifting Meet

Probably the most intimidating thing about a weightlifting meet is not knowing what to expect or how they work. So let’s go behind the curtain and clear all of that up!  We will go through the pre-meet details here, and part 2 will cover the day of.

Step 1: Pick a Meet & Register

You will want to find a meet that is at least 6 weeks out so you’ll have plenty of time to prepare & train. I personally prefer to go 12 weeks out so I can complete a full training cycle prior.

In order to register you will need to know a few things.

Determine your weight class

They are in Kilos, so take your weight in pounds & divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in Kilos. I would select the one that you fall into at your mid day weight eating as you usually would. You can cut or mass to hit another weight class but I would not recommend doing that for your first meet.  Use the first meet to get a feel for the flow of these events vs worrying about weigh in.

If the competition day rolls around and you gained or lost weight, you can still declare a new weight class.  You just need to tell the judge at the weigh in prior to stepping on the scale.

Weight Classes

USA Weightlifting Membership Number

You will also need to register as a USAW Member in order to compete, so make sure to do that when you sign up for the meet itself! Here is the link to join: USAW Registration.

Search for a local meet that is at least 6 weeks out and get registered HERE.

Step 2: Train & Prepare!

Pick a Training Program/Cycle: Now that you’ve determined when you will be competing, it is time to get a plan together.  There are some great free programs out there, or we can help you put a plan together based on your goals for the meet.  (More to come on this option in June!)

Learn the Rules: If you’ve never seen a weightlifting meet before, I would highly recommend reading through the rules so you are prepared.  There are a long list of rules, and if you’d like to nerd out you can read them all HERE.

A few basic rules are:

  • You get 3 attempts at the Snatch, then 3 at the Clean & Jerk.
  • The order of lifters goes from lowest attempt and builds up from there.You will need to declare your next lift to the scores table so you can be worked into the lifting order.
    • Once a barbell is loaded weight cannot go down. So you will want to make sure your next attempt is submitted so you don’t miss the weight on the bar you want to attempt. (Have a coach or friend help with this, it makes life much easier).
  • You have 1 minute from the time the bar is loaded and you are called lift.
  • If you are following yourself (for example you missed and want to repeat a weight and no other lifters will be attempting that weight), then you get 2 minutes for that lift.
  • You must catch the barbell with locked out arms for it to count. If you press out it will be a no lift.

Determine your Openers

Your opener should be something you can hit for 2-3 doubles during training. You should be able to hit it 1-2 times in the back (for the snatch, not the clean & jerk) with 100% confidence. Then walk out and crush it for your first attempt.

Second attempt should still be something you’re confident in, and not more than a ~4kg increase from the first on the snatch. For Clean & Jerk not more than ~6kg for the second attempt. The third attempt can be a bit more risky, but something you typically make at least two out of three times in training.

Set Goals: This is your first meet, so set your goals accordingly. My first meet’s goals were

  • Have fun
  • Learn as much about meets as possible
  • Get a Total (AKA hit at least 1 snatch & 1 Clean & Jerk)

While it is possible to hit a personal best lift at your first meet, I would plan to pick an opener you know you can hit. Be a bit more conservative as nerves are a funny thing during that first lift with all eyes on you.

Practice!

Find some time to get together during an open gym with friends for a mock meet (we are happy to help). Two weeks before a meet is a great time to try out your openers in this format.  Even if it is just lifting with a few friends with the timer running. Ask someone pretending to be the judge that will be in front of the “platform.” Have them simply give you the “down” call, which is what the judge will do at the meet once you have the bar controlled.

Up next: A Guide to the Day of the meet