The Weekly Dose of Awesome

It's pretty cool when a couple works out together. I like to call them Power Couples. They motivate each other, and keep each other accountable. This Dose of Awesome's wife has already been an Awesome, and it's high time we complete the set, because this dude is the other side of the totally awesome coin. 

Marc C is a positive guy. I've never heard him once complain about the WOD - he just gets stuck in. You know how some people just really like working out? Not just because it makes them look & feel better, not just to be strong & healthy, but because they physically enjoy it? I get the impression he is that kind of person - and yet I don't hate him ;) His positive attitude and willingness to tackle anything has seen him make steady progress in class.

Marc's the first out the door for the warmup run, and is always supportive to his fellow athletes. He and Michelle were there cheering on the competitors at the Ultimate Lift Off - though I neglected to ask why he wasn't competing himself, I'm sure he had a good reason. Perhaps taking notes for 2015 ULO domination?

Michelle, you better watch out! Marc's got the eye of the tiger!

Michelle, you better watch out! Marc's got the eye of the tiger!


And the Winners Are....

First and foremost I would like to thank all of you who participated in the Ultimate Lift Off this year.  This was our biggest showing of participants, both new and returning.  The energy in the gym was supportive and energetic and everyone seemed to be having a great time.  Those of you who were new to competing showed no fear and went after the barbell like you were old acquaintances.  Those of you returning to the ULO came in with goals and based on all the yellow below (the PRs)... you mostly dominated!  Great work everyone!

ULO Results

And if you haven't figured it out by now, the winners of the day were.....

WOMEN

  1. Colleen F
  2. Hayley B
  3. Nikki S

MEN

  1. Jason L
  2. Rich Stone
  3. Marshall Hawks

Congrats to you six!  Your hard work paid off and you inspired us all!  Please make sure to collect your medal and hat when you are next in UB!

 

Lastly, if you have photos from the day, please send them in!  We are posting our ULO photo album on the blog this weekend. 

Again, great work to all!  Saturday was yet another day that made me proud to be a part of this fantastic community!

 

Food for Thought: The Whiteboard is Meant to Help not Hurt

So... Tomorrow I will be posting the winners from the 2014 Ultimate Lift Off!  How did watching your fellow athletes in your heat inspire your or intimidate you?  Do you experience the same thing when you walk into the gym every day?  What about when you look at the white board?  Here is a little sports psychology for you from Fletcher Fitness


Fran.    For Time.    Goals.   Top Scores.   Max Reps.   James – 22 ½ rounds. Charts.    WOD.    Rx’d.    Kim -100kg.    6:14. Do the markings on your CrossFit’s whiteboard make you anxious? Amped? Focused? Fearful? Many members dread the whiteboard and many people outside of the CrossFit Community can‘t fathom belonging to a fitness center where their workout outcomes were going to be posted. Whiteboard is simply a name for any glossy surface, most commonly colored white, where non-permanent markings can be made (as defined by Wikipedia).  So why do these WORDS and NUMBERS that are TEMPORARY elicit such a psychological response, and why, oh why, does the CrossFit Community insist on using such a device?

CrossFit was on to something when they decided to utilize the whiteboard. The whiteboard is a type of public posting, which is a technique widely studied in the field of Sports Psychology. Public posting is actually a behavioral strategy that has been shown to improve performance.  “Public posting has demonstrated robust effects across diverse populations, a variety of settings, and a broad range of behaviors” (Ward & Carnes, 2002).  Sound familiar? It seems as though this behavioral strategy and CrossFit have some commonalities.   We CrossFit because we are interested in results. The whiteboard likely improves your results.  Whether you like it or not.

the UB white board

Take a moment to think about each of these questions.

– If everything that you ate in the past week was going to be written on the whiteboard in your box, for everyone to see, do you think you would eat differently?

– If your max overhead squat goal for that month was the only circled one on the whiteboard, do you think you would try harder to achieve it?

– If you saw Jason Khalipa’s WOD score before you began your workout, would that intimidate you and cause feelings of self-doubt?  Or invigorate you to try to compete with it?

The whiteboard may elicit positive psychological responses such as motivation, positive self-criticism, confidence and/or reflection.  On the other hand, it may also evoke negative psychological-responses such as fear, intimidation, negative self-criticism, and/or doubt. Take some time and figure out what type of response you get from certain postings on the whiteboard, even take a few notes in your personal journal.

Awareness is the first step in mental skills training, which is necessary in order to reach the highest level of performance.  Mental skills training is simply a term used to describe becoming aware of your mental processes and behaviors and developing methods to improve your control over them.  Future articles in the CrossFit MENTAL Series will delve into ways to improve control over your mental skills and processes.

Each CrossFitter has a specific and individualized mental skills set and can learn to use a variety of postings to their benefit.  Therefore, I would encourage coaches to vary the types of posts (scores, goals, etc.) on the whiteboard.  Research in the field of Sports Psychology has shown that goal setting is strengthened when publically posted.  Are your goals written on the whiteboard in your box? Try posting a couple of personal goals up there.  Another highly effective strategy in improving performance is combining goal setting, public posting and oral feedback (Brobst & Ward, 2002). This simply means writing your goals on the public white board and having someone orally state what has been posted.

If coaches would continuously verbalize the goals that are written on the whiteboard, it could increase the likelihood of those goals being achieved. These findings are just reinforcing the idea that making goals and scores public can help you improve your performance.

I would suggest using the whiteboard as a tool to learn more about yourself and your mental game. The whiteboard is simply used by the CrossFit Community as an open journal to display information.  It is another distinction that sets us apart from Globo Gyms.  CrossFitters should learn to embrace the whiteboard and all the markings that are temporarily posted on its glossy surface. So, use the whiteboard. Get outside of your comfort zone.  Become comfortable with the uncomfortable. The infamous CrossFit Whiteboard likely enhances your performance more than it hinders it…and by the way, it isn’t going anywhere.

So You Entered the Ultimate Lift Off

So you got nominated to lift in the ULO.  You didn't even know what it was until last week, and now you are thinking about competing.  Or maybe you've been looking forward to this competition all year but you don't know how to go about it..... Either way, this post is for you.

Part 1: Heats

Remember, you need to check in 20 minutes prior to your heat to weigh in.  You can weigh in as much or as little as you'd like.

ULO 2014 Heats

Part 2: Know the Rules

There are posted movement standards at the gym.  Please check later today for an online link to the movement standards.

Part 3: The Attempts 

Your Opener

So you get 3 attempts per lift... what do you open with?   Open with 200 when you have hit 195 in training.  Go big or go home... right?? WRONG!  Your opener should be something that you know you can hit.  That means maybe it's a weight you've done it for a triple.  Or maybe it's a weight you know is your last "safe" weight before the nervy mental stuff starts to kick in.  Either way, it’s there to build confidence.  It sets the tone for the rest of your lifts, and even the rest of the competition.  If you set the bar too high, the rest of the meet will seem like a chore... and nobody wants to walk away with a "0" because they over shot it.

Your Second Attempt

Presuming your opening went well, this is where you’ll find yourself getting close to PR territory. This is normally a middle ground to the final attempt where you go for broke.  Think that this is where you want to aim 95-97% of your end target and typically somewhere around 98% of your max.   Think of it as your launching point into the glory you should visualize as your final attempt. 

Didn't make that first attempt?  Don't stress.  Take one moment longer than you think you need to stop, relax, visualize yourself coming back and making the attempt and give yourself the cue you need to hit your weight and move on.

Your Third Attempt

Finally!  The third attempt!  Go for gold! Take a second to be present with how #2 felt, and choose your jump from there.  Once you made up your mind, don't touch the bar until you've made the lift in your head.  Whatever you do - NEVER MATCH your PR.  If you aren't 100% on competition day, hit what you are going to hit, but if you are near the magic number, throw the .5 kilo plates on.  Matching a PR is settling.  NEVER SETTLE.

Part 4: Check in with Your Body

No matter how much you plan, life happens.  You'll have trouble sleeping, your shoulder will hurt, you'll forget your lucky wrist wraps at home, you'll not feel like your normal superhero self.  Remember to take a second and chill out.  At this point you've done whatever you can do to show up strong and ready, and now it's 90% mental game.  So keep your head in the game and don't let a missed lift or something out of order throw you.  After all, you are here to compete with yourself above all, and a poor mental state starts you in a losing position.  And oh yea... just shut it out and have fun!

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

I had to check twice that this person had not yet been highlighted as one of awesome athletes here at UB.  Surely this lady has been written about.  No?  Well, let me tell you... this post is long overdue.

This lady has been coming to UB for a couple years after her hubby convinced her to give this whole CrossFit thing a shot.  She may have needed some convincing in the beginning, but Amy is now a staple of the morning crew.  She is a true student of movement.  You can find her after class, working on her next goat in line for slaughter.  Even with some shoulder issues, this lady never settles.  She is always working on improving her range of motion and is determined to do everything in her power to continually reach her next level. 

Shoulder issues or not, Amy's on a mission to rock a heaving snatch balance!

Shoulder issues or not, Amy's on a mission to rock a heaving snatch balance!

Amy is an example that you can make it happen if you put in the work.  In the last few months her movement patterns have found a new fluidity, and the weights on the bar have been going up.... Just ask her about her pull ups or how she did on last months "Burgener Total" (PR Snatch, Clean and Jerk and Front Squat)!

Keep putting in the work Amy!  You're determination and great attitude set your awesome a cut above the rest!