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Coach Skeds 2018 Reflections

Coach Skeds 2018 Reflections

I started off 2018 with a lot of opportunities and a vision. On December 31, 2017, I officially separated from full-time military service with no clear landing zone. I had a vision, though, and an opportunity and that I held tight to. My intention for 2018 was to become a CrossFit coach, and I feel confident that I achieved that intention.

Becoming a coach, truly becoming a coach and not just filling a title as a coach, is at the center of everything that I did in 2018.

Early 2018

I came into 2018 with a lot of certificates from both schooling and a few organizations. Because of these certificates, I could title myself a coach but where the rubber meets the road, schooling does not a coach make. Don’t get me wrong, personal and professional development is always valuable and at times certification is a required first step down that path.

I also came in with an unrelenting desire to foster the culture and community that I’d discovered at Icehouse. I’d walked through the doors about 6 months earlier and had experienced that personal transformation that having teammates again had created in me. I definitely experienced this at Icehouse through spending time with a diverse cross-section of people who all want the best for themselves, and the best for the athletes that they spend time with.

So with education and enthusiasm, my first tactical step was to develop the tools to be a serviceable coach on the floor. CrossFit HQ breaks coaching down into seven aspects: teaching, seeing, correcting, group management, presence, attitude, and demonstration. I spent hours upon hours in the early part of 2018 practicing each of these aspects. Practice, practice, practice; by myself, one-on-one, then being on the floor shadowing and finally leading.

Every day since I coached my first class I’ve done my best to do better. The tactical part of CrossFit coach development; seeing movement, correcting, demonstrating, and teaching never stops. Repetitions make the tasks easier and feel more like second nature, but make no mistake there are opportunities during every class for me to do just a little better.

Middle 2018

The middle part of 2018 my focus surprisingly shifted inward. When teaching, demonstrating, correcting, and seeing movement became more natural, the next step turned out to be bringing my depths as a person to my everyday. It was easy to navigate most of my adult life without ever having examined who I was as a person. I made a lot of small-talk, checked a lot of boxes, and kept a very clear line between my professional life and my personal life.

In order to be effective, in order to tap into the art of coaching, I needed to become real. This profession isn’t one where I am able to clock in and clock out. This profession is based on real, authentic human connection. I had to become real, and I couldn’t do that by reading a book or listening to a podcast. I had to do work. It has taken a village to help me with this aspect of coaching development, and I am very fortunate to have a number of people help me work on this every day. They ask questions and allow me the space to process and uncover my answers. Just like seeing, teaching, demonstrating and correcting, becoming real gets easier with repetitions and time, and each day provides me with an opportunity to improve.

Late 2018

I spent the last part of 2018 trying to put the tasks of the previous months together into a complete package, call it building a toolbox. I learned skills in the early part of the year, I learned about myself in the middle part of the year and by the end of it I started working on using the right tool for the right circumstance:

  • sometimes athletes need a kick in the butt and sometimes they need a hug
  • sometimes they need a shout of encouragement from across the room and sometimes they need a quiet whisper of encouragement from right next to the barbell;
  • sometimes they need to put five more pounds on the bar, sometimes making it to class is enough for the win.

2018 was a year of development for me and I couldn’t have done it without the people in my daily life. They inspire me, they challenge me, they support me, and most importantly, they love me unconditionally.

Here’s to what 2019 will bring!

Coach Jake’s Recap of 2018: The Year of the Moment

Coach Jake’s Recap of 2018: The Year of the Moment

The Daily Grind

Our daily lives start and finish with a task of some kind and the fact that we all have those tasks, regardless of what the specifics of them are, is something we all have in common. Each of us wakes up every day with tasks that we have to do, places to go, jobs to show up for, children to raise, and family to interact with. But then there are those other things that we know we should do, but seem impossible because of the other tasks: eat healthier food, exercise more often, read a book, spend more quality time with your loved ones (emphasis on quality), volunteer time to a good cause, write in a journal, and meal-prep healthier food. The list of tasks can go on and on and be filled with endless possibilities that we have been told will be beneficial, but may be impossible to plug into your daily life.

I started 2018 thinking that if I could just shove all the extras into my life then I too could live as a happier and healthier version of myself, but the truth is the more things I shoved into my life the more stressed out and less healthy I became.

The Realization

Fortunately, my moment of clarity came. You know that moment that can sometimes build up for days, weeks, maybe even months or years. For me, it was the stress of trying to be the healthiest version of myself where it finally all came crashing down. I was so focused on trying to shove it all in, I was never truly enjoying or ever gaining anything from doing those beneficial things anyways. I was tired, stressed out, and treating the people that I cared about the most very poorly. The latter of which being something that ultimately made me the saddest.

What I came to realize was that reaching all of my goals (being a better coach and expert in my craft, being a better athlete, having better skills in gymnastics and weightlifting, having a stronger mindset and sharing it with others) did not have anything to do with my overall happiness and health. In fact, the more I tried to focus on them the more stressed out I got.

I was so fixated on doing something or being somewhere in order to achieve those goals that I completely missed the value the journey holds in getting there. Somewhere along the line, I decided to have a mindset of growth rather than being so fixed on an end result that could only be achieved through fixed and forced action. When I started to take the time to enjoy those extra tasks that were once forced into my life, I began to see the real benefit of them and honestly stopped resenting the fact that I “had” to do them.

My life had become about the process, focusing on the moment and how great it felt to grow. Whether that growth came from learning something new when I read a book, practicing gymnastics or weightlifting, or working towards any of the myriads of goals I’ve set for myself.

What has happened for me is that now those forced in activities are just a part of who I am. I get up every day before the sun and read my book, eat a healthy paleo balanced diet, work on my mobility every evening, and read to my kids every night. There a lot of things that I do on a daily basis that make my life happier and healthier. The difference now is that I enjoy them and they are a part of me.

Embracing the Moment Through Pie

Imagine you are at Village Inn (or your favorite pie-serving diner) and that you just ordered a  pumpkin pie. Your goal is to eat that entire pumpkin pie, so you start shoving the pie down. All the while thinking about that entire pumpkin pie: what is the next piece going to taste like, are you even going to enjoy another piece of pumpkin pie, or will there be enough pie for you if you don’t hurry up and finish this piece of the pie. Before you know it, the first piece is gone and you don’t remember what it tasted like, if you even enjoyed it, or if you really want pumpkin pie anymore.

Embracing the moment means not knowing what kind of pie you really want in the end. Maybe to begin with pumpkin was what you thought you needed, but at the end of the day you end up with being happiest with key lime.

Please friends, enjoy your pie and the end results will come, one piece at a time.

Coach Jake’s 2019 Goals

  • Spend 20 minutes a day reading
  • Mobility work 3x per week
  • Meal prep 2x per month
  • Work on Olympic Lifting specific work 4x per month
  • Learn about property management
  • Work on our family’s life investment plan
  • Learn about property management
  • Attend USA weightlifting level 1 course
  • Achieve level 2 CrossFit certificate
  • Attend leadership conference
  • Read to my youngest daughter every day
  • Spend 15-20 minutes with my oldest daughter daily
  • Hug and kiss my wife daily
  • 30 min a week no devices spent together with wife
  • Date night once a month
  • Spend time weekly working on sales tactic
  • Invest In the growth of a veteran-specific service
  • Invest in the growth of Rock Steady Boxing programs in the community

 

“I’ll Start Monday”

“I’ll Start Monday”

How many times have you told yourself that you’ll start something on Monday? I’d bet it’s more than one. I’m here to tell you that sometimes, you don’t need to wait until Monday. Start today. It’s like the old saying goes, “the best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago, the second-best time is today.”  You might be wondering what I’m talking about so hang in there and I’ll explain. (more…)

The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule

Like most human beings, my family has an obnoxious amount of unhealthy food ready and waiting during the holidays.  All the starch, sugar, and cream-based goodness you could ask for is just sitting there, staring you in the face.  How do you, someone with fitness and health goals on the brain, survive the temptation, especially when grandmas and aunts are personally offended if you don’t eat what they have provided?

Enter the 80/20 approach to food.  This is not a diet.  It’s a lifestyle guideline designed to focus on balance, but allow some indulgence, in your intake.  Let’s be honest, a hyper-restrictive diet that allows for no deviation is difficult/impossible to maintain.  You can’t be perfect 100% of the time.  You just can’t.  And if you attempt that 100% perfection and slip up by having one sip of soda or a nibble of chocolate, it’s very common for a person to feel guilty about what they have done.  A lot of people feel like a failure if they indulge slightly.  This can wear on a person’s mental health as well as their self worth.  

Food is delicious!  We shouldn’t feel bad for being humans and enjoying it.  On the other hand, indulging too much can have the same effect as being too restrictive: a loss of self-worth and feeling out of control.

The beauty of the 80/20 rule is it allows you to satiate your cravings for salty chips or sweet candies every now and then without compromising your entire diet.  80% of the time, (and this can be per day, week, month, what have you), consume clean food.  Clean food means unprocessed munchables.  Stuff you can pull off a plant and eat or meat, (for you herbivores, some protein substitute that’s naturally produced).  Cook this with healthy fats, spices, and herbs.  Essentially, follow Greg Glassman’s credo to eating.  We’ll discuss that further down the line.  Food for fuel!  

The other 20%, feel free to eat whatever you want.  Within reason. 

Always a catch.

Sure, nom on the good stuff, the things you have cravings for during the other 80% of the time.  However, since you are part of the community that is focusing on self-betterment, challenge yourself to select “treat food” that is on the healthier end of the spectrum.  Instead of ice cream, try mashed frozen bananas with a little vanilla extract.  No, it’s not the same, but your body will thank you later.  Instead of four slices of cheese pizza, try two slices of veggie or meat pizza.  Homemade sweet potato chips instead of Doritos.  The list goes on and on.

Spread out your 20%, too.  Instead of being healthy and consistent through the week then gorging on the weekend, allow yourself a small treat each day.  Small.  Did I say small?  A SMALL treat each day.  And while you’re enjoying a SMALL indulgence every day, make healthy, clean meals that taste good.  Do your research.  Find recipes that include foods that you know you like.  Take time to prep them for the future so you don’t deviate from the 80/20 world into the 50/50 world.  

Other than the 80/20 allowing for little bits of happiness each day, it is also sustainable.  This is a highly functional method of thinking about food consumption.  When you eat primarily healthy food, you will see improvements in athletic performance, brain function, and bodily function, such as digestion and respiration.  At the same time, acknowledging your cravings and being in control of them keeps you from going crazy with said cravings.  Guilt will be less and less of an issue because you know you are fueling your body more than you are spoiling it. 

Take the time.  Prep your food, prep your snacks, prep your treats, and don’t worry.  You got you.  

The Importance of Sleep

The Importance of Sleep

As I get older, one of the things I appreciate more and more is sleep. Yes, sleep. Not just for the ability to completely relax and shut off my brain, although those are the primary reasons that I enjoy it. Sleep performs multiple other functions that lead to a more productive and fulfilling life.

Sleep helps with concentration. This is a no-brainer. If you’re at your desk during the day and you start to lose focus, daydream, or do the recognizable head-nod, it’s probably because you didn’t get enough good sleep during the night. Just like a fatigued body doesn’t perform as well as a rested one, a tired mind doesn’t think as well as a rested one. Getting enough quality sleep sharpens the mind so that daily tasks, even the tedious ones, stay crystal clear.

Sleep speeds up recovery after workouts and makes you a better athlete. That downtime of 8 hours at night requires nothing of the muscles. This means that blood full of oxygen and nutrients can flow uninhibited into worn out tissues. Sleep is shown to reduce inflammation and cool down an over-worked body. It’s a paradox, but as long as you’re sleeping, you’re working to repair and re-energize so that you can take on the next day. If you miss sleep, you’ll likely feel even more sore and tired after a hard day at the gym.

Sleep regulates your metabolism. Interestingly enough, the area of the brain that controls sleep also controls your metabolism. When a person doesn’t get enough sleep, (Coach Emily is a good example), they tend to make unhealthy food choices. It’s kind of linked to the grumpy-tired mentality of, “Screw it, this is yummy.” Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, if the body doesn’t get enough rest, the metabolism gets wonky. It doesn’t burn at as high a rate as it could if the body was well rested. Just like tired muscles, a worn-out metabolism won’t perform. If you’re trying to lose those last 5 pounds that just keep hanging on, make it a priority to get quality sleep at night. Chances are, that weight will disappear more quickly than living on a treadmill.

Sleep makes you more creative. A refreshed mind is capable of more complex thought and critical thinking. Everyone has heard the wisdom of, “Go to bed. You’ll have an answer in the morning.” This isn’t just for advice or decision-making. Getting sleep allows a person to see problems from different angles, and thus makes them more capable of problem-solving instead of problem-dwelling. And let’s not forget dreams. Some of the most creative phenomena for mankind are dreams. A whole artistic movement was founded on the impact of dreams (surrealism).

Sleep reduces stress. Not just in the fact that everything is shut down when you’re sleeping. After taking that power nap, or even sleeping on something, a person is generally more willing to look at a situation with a level head instead of being overloaded with emotion. Stress is emotional and, as humans, we are slaves to our emotions whether we like it or not. Allowing ourselves a break from our emotions via sleeping calms us down, letting us see things more clearly.

With all these benefits of sleep combined, sleep can be credited with lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease, and can reduce your risk of depression. Just to name a few. Sleep is the most basic natural-healing regimen.

To make the most out of a night of sleep, set up your bedroom specifically for sleep. Make sure it’s dark and quiet. If you need white noise, try a fan or sound-machine. Ensure that you will be comfortable. Get a good mattress, supportive pillows, maybe even weighted blankets. Stay away from screens for at least 30 minutes before sleepy-time. TV and cell phone usage immediately before bed stimulates brain activity, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Train your body to learn that your bed is for sleeping. When you hit the bed, you are going to sleep.

Sleep is the one thing that requires zero work but gives 100% return on investment. Get ready. Set. SLEEP!

Why Flux?

Why Flux?

As a coach, I am biased towards the greatness of Flux.  I know that it creates flexibility in a stiff frame, builds strength in under-worked muscles, and develops stamina in a tired body.  Flux proves itself both as a supplemental program or as a stand-alone regimen again and again. (more…)