Competing with Yourself

Competition.  It's good for performance, it's good for character, it's good for the soul.  In games season, competition is everywhere, but why limit yourself to competing in an official arena? Every day can be a competition with yourself. It might be as simple as beating your time or score, but maybe it's to not walk one step of the runs in a WOD, or maybe it's to do all your pull-ups unbroken.  

Why frame it as a competition?  It keeps you in check with your goals - What are you doing every day to get there?  Does every choice you make get you closer?  Winning involves the entire journey - from committing to your goals and working your face off to achieve them.  You are up against you and every excuse you give yourself.  To win is to choose to push yourself a little harder everyday and overcome the obstacles you have set up for yourself.

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Of course, all of this requires that you are not just setting goals, but tracking your progress - you can even set up mini goals and give yourself small prize rewards for hitting your marks, both integral pieces to climbing the mountain of athletic success.

Food for Thought: Control vs Concern

More delicious mindset food for thought from Comptrain.  Want your mindset to take you to the next level in the 2018 House Cup?  Get in on Coach Jason's Mindset Seminar February 11th!

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As athletes, there are only five things that we can truly control—our training, nutrition, sleep, recovery, and mindset. If it doesn’t fall into one of those categories, forget about it. Control the things you can control and ignore everything else. 

The above diagram illustrates some of the most commonly overheard topics in the athlete warm-up area at the CrossFit Games (or any other competition). Most of them are concerns that lie outside of the athletes’ control.

This concept of control versus concern is the cornerstone of the process, and—like everything else—it requires some practice. 

Before the Games each year, as a mental exercise, CompTrain’s elite athletes (Katrin Davidsdottir, Brooke Wells and Cole Sager) make a list. They write down every possible thing they can think of that could go wrong at the CrossFit Games. No stone is left unturned—the final 2017 list had 101 items on it, and included things like the weather, alarm clocks not going off, nutritional distress, judges miscounting reps, travel delays, and shark attacks. We named the list “101 Things That Could Go Wrong At The Games,” then went through it one by one, categorizing each item into things we could and couldn’t control. The things we couldn’t control got erased from our mind, and the things we could control got a plan. 

A huge piece of chasing excellence is attention to tiny details, but the key distinction is that you pay attention to the right details, the ones within your control over which you have power. Most people go through life having no idea what they can actually control. They’re concerned about a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean they control those things. Many people struggle to recognize the difference between the two. Imagine a book of matches. A typical matchbook has 20 matches, and together, they represent all of your energy for the day. Energy is a finite resource; once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. If you burn through your matchsticks on things that are outside your control, you have less energy for things you can control—things that can actually move the needle on your performance.

In the sport of CrossFit, there is so much that lies beyond our control. All of the buzz in the athlete area falls into this category. No amount of concern will enable us to control things like the weather, workouts, standards, judges, or other athletes. Whether we’re training in December at home or competing at the Games in July, we train our mind not to focus on anyone’s performance but own own. At the end of the day, the only competition is with ourselves. 

Sleep Posture

As a very pregnant human, I think a lot about sleep and sleep posture... but this is a topic y'all should be considering!

You will hear us say posture is an important skill - you have to actively work to improve it. Posture influences how you move, think, and recover. But did you know it's a skill you can work on while you sleep? Sleep posture plays a big role in your overall posture and physical well being.  Think about it.  You spend a lot of hours on that mattress.  That position you habitually sleep is a big contributor to your mobility issues you have to deal with during your waking hours. Do you sleep on your stomach? This often creates a very asymmetrical cervical spine range of motion that influences the rest of the spine all the way down to the lumbar spine and the sacrum (low back pain anyone?).  Pile those pillows high?  Look for a forward head posture issues. Do you curl your wrists in and hug an imaginary teddy bear while on your side?  Watch for neck pain, diminished bad wrist mobility, and a whole lot of shoulder of issues.  Tuck your feet tight into your sheets so they point down like a ballerina?  Check your ankle mobility... you see where I am going here.  Don't take your sleep posture for granted.

How should you sleep then?  The answers vary. The two most ideal positions are either on your back or on your side.

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Side Sleeping

If you choose to sleep on your side, you’ll need enough support under your neck to keep your spine neutral and be able to maintain stacked hips. Some find using a body pillow is great support. If a big body pillow doesn't suit you, you can get away with a regular pillow or a bolster pillow for the knees, and a pillow under the neck. When you are in a neutral position, you should not feel the need or desire to curl your wrists to tuck under your head or neck, bring one leg down in front of the other, or sleep with your head on top of your arm or shoulder.

Back Sleeping

If you prefer to sleep on your back, make sure your neck is properly supported (too high can be just as bad as too low). Make sure your neck is not pushed too far forward by too many pillows.  If someone were to look at you from the side, your neck should be in line with your body and not in front of it.  You can lie with your head flat on the mattress if you’d like. A pillow under your knees can provide extra comfort (some people even prefer two pillows or a bolster to elevate their legs a bit more). Make sure the sheets aren't pulling your feet down, untuck them if you need to necessary. This position will maintain a neutral, supported spine while promoting optimal blood flow.

Do these positions sound crazy?  Are you willing to give them a try?  Changing your sleep habits takes time, but happy, healthy slumbers are well worth the effort and the postural benefits will pay you back in dividends!

The Open is Coming!

Hey!  Hey you! Have you registered for the house cup yet?  Why not? 

The Mambas stole the trophy in 2017.  Who will take the lead in 2018?

The Mambas stole the trophy in 2017.  Who will take the lead in 2018?

Head to head and team challenges, team spirit and CrossFit!  What more do you want?

Head to head and team challenges, team spirit and CrossFit!  What more do you want?

While we aren't ready to announce all the changes for this years 5 week House Cup smorgasbord, here are some things to help you get on board:

It's Free

Register for the 2018 CrossFit Open Here!

Register for the 2018 CrossFit Open Here!

In 2016, registration for the CrossFit Open was required in order to participate in the United Barbell House Cup. But in 2017, we decided to only require members to register with us to participate in the House Cup.  The same is true for 2018.

We know many of you love participating in the CrossFit Open.  There is a great sense of competition and community created by comparing yourself to athletes participating globally.  You can absolutely still participate in the 2018 CrossFit Open... In fact, registration opened yesterday!  However, you don't have to to participate in the House Cup.  

If You Miss a Week

If you are out of town and need to miss a week or two, it will not penalize your team.  No excuses!

Scaled Division

For those of you who are new to the House Cup or the CrossFit Open, there are both scaled and RX versions of each workout, so all can participate.... see?  NO EXCUSES!!

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  The teams draft is happening in less than 2 weeks, so stop thinking about it and register!  (Captains - get to recruiting!)

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

Warren is a guy whom, if you are not familiar with him, you should add getting to know him to your list of New Year resolutions. Whether in class, or grinding it out during open gym in between classes and finals, he is always giving his best, always looking to improve and get better. Where as some people may shy away from feedback or being watched and critiqued on their movements, Warren seeks it out and strives to get better. No matter what the workout is, even if its his least favorite movement of running, he always has a can do attitude and attacks it head on. While may seem shy at first, once you crack that shell you'll realize what a great addition to our community he is! He has a head down and hard work mentality that motivates me and I hope will come to motivate you as well!

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Name: Warren S.

Nickname: Sheffy

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Occupation: FireFighter for Fresno Air National guard and Part-time  Sales associate for Macy's Union Square

When did you first start Crossfitting: I started crossfit in March of 2017

When did you first start Crossfitting at UB: September of 2017

Favorite WOD: I don't think i have any favorite WOD, I guess anything that would put me to work i would say

Least favorite WOD: My least favorite WOD is anything that has running in it.

How did you first get exposed to crossfit: I didn't care much about my health and did not workout out for 1 year. When it was time to take my PT test i was in the worst shape i have ever been in years and i actually failed it miserable. So i told myself that i did not want to feel this way again, I started to go back to the gym but this time it was to a crossfit it help me get back into shape and pass my PT test. After that I was hook because of all the support you get after the workout

What is an unexpected way Crossfit has affected your life: Growing up i was such an introvert just wanting to be left alone, With crossfit it help me with my confidence and pushed me to come out of my shell. Im really grateful for that and met a lot of amazing people because of it.

What is the first song in your favorite playlist right now: Born Free by Kid Rock is the first song of my playlist and it is actually the first song that i listen to, to start off my day.

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Food for Thought: Optimism: A Competitive Choice

The following is from the folks over at Comptrain.  Like the concept?  Get in on Coach Jason's Mindset Seminar February 11th!

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Look around the room and count how red things you see. 

Done? Great. How many green things did you see?

If you’re like most people, probably not many. If you’re looking for one thing, it can be difficult to see anything else. That’s how positivity works too, and it’s an important characteristic of successful people. 

Positivity is what sets talented people apart from exceptional people.

Great performers share a way of thinking—a set of attitudes and attributes that cause them to work harder and smarter than other people as they prepare for competition. It starts with optimism. Individuals who achieve durable, frequent success are optimists. Optimism is an attitude people they choose to have—instead of looking for or dwelling on the negative, successful people focus on the positive. 

No one is arguing that a positive attitude is going to win championships. Champions win because they have talent and they worked very hard over many years to hone it. Optimism works like fertilizer—enabling and enhancing all the efforts you make to improve your game. And while the correlation between optimism and success is imperfect, there is an almost perfect correlation between negative thinking and failure. So why wouldn’t you be optimistic if it were a choice you could make?

And it is a choice. The first thing you have to do is decide being optimistic is important to you, because you understand optimism is essential to fulfilling your dreams and attaining your goals. Once you make that decision, you have to start looking at things from a different perspective. 

Misfortune happens to everyone. Champions just refuse to let it push them into doubtful, fearful thinking.

Will you focus on the things that go wrong? Or are you going to focus on what you have going for you? Will you see yourself succeeding where others don’t? 

Will you own your mind or let others own it? 

BodySpec Coming January 30th

Body Spec is coming!   Set your 2018 goals and get motivated by establishing a new-year comprehensive body scan.  These scans are comprehensive and individualized snapshots of your body that give you the information you need to:

  • Pinpoint the exact impact of a new training or diet plan
  • Track progress over time, down to exact muscle and fat changes in different areas of the body
  • Optimize your training to suit your body’s specific needs
  • Compare your bone density to others like you
  • Identify long-term health risks

Save your spot here to get your January 30th scan scheduled!

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Conscious Athlete Mindfulness Course Next Month!

Join Coach Jason Luk in a half day course to teach you (and 19 of your closest friends) how to be a conscious athlete.  Want to see how mindfulness may elevate your game?  Curious to see what else is possible on top of technique, programming, strength and nutrition?  Mental awareness, confidence, and manifestation are the prerequisites to being a conscious athlete.  This course is for you!

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THE DETAILS

WHEN:  Sunday, February 11th, from 11:45am-5pm (includes one hour lunch break)

COST:   $95

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WHAT:   Negative self-talk getting you down?  Join your fellow members and spend five hours with Coach Jason Luk, 2008 CrossFit Games Athlete and mindfulness leader learning how to incorporate meditation to strengthen your practice.  Jason teaches mindfulness tools like visualization with the goal of mental preparation, confidence, and manifestation.  Whether you have a mindfulness practice or not, all levels are welcome.  Beginners will learn how to start to incorporate mindfulness and seasoned practitioners will learn new possibilities to enhance their practice in this five hour course.  In fact, the only person who won't benefit from this is someone who is unwilling to be open, vulnerable and share what’s going in their mind (If that's you, see your coach after class).

Keep in mind, space is limited to 20 athletes!

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The Weekly Dose of Awesome

What makes this week's dose so awesome?  Is it her can-do attitude?  Perhaps it's that you can find her cheering someone on mid-WOD despite the being rounds deep in her own workout?  Maybe it is her willingness to throw down and participate in a competition?  Or is it the fact that she knows your name, even thought she has only been a member for 4 months and only met you once? Maybe it's just that she has the coolest pups ever? ... All of this is just the tip of the iceberg for this lady. Whittney is just that awesome.

Whittney joined UB last fall after a month of trying out the UB community.  While she seemed shy in our initial conversations, it didn't take long to see that we were gaining a friendly and fierce beastess.  She quickly made herself a staple of the Level 2 class as well as the greater community, striking the balance between practicing virtuosity and striving for new athletic prowess.  I am both grateful to see her face in the gym and excited to watch her grow as an athlete.   

Thanks for choosing us, Whitney... we shine a little brighter with you on team UB!

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Name: Whittney T.
Nickname / Alter Ego: “Whitt” or “Pokey” – short for Pocahontas (long-story)
Hometown: Foster City, California (The Bay!)
Occupation: Program Manager, Corporate Partnerships at TechSoup (I work with tech companies to make technology more accessible to nonprofits around the world.)
When did you first start CrossFitting?: I tried it for the first time in Spring 2015 at CrossFit Ballston in Arlington, Virginia and then became a full member in September 2015 at CrossFit Balance in Washington, DC
When did you first start CrossFitting at UB? September 2017!
Favorite WOD: I like most of the “Girls” and “New Girls” WODs, but 12 Days of Christmas is probably my favorite as this past holiday season at UB. I love all the variations that the rep scheme can take and I had the most fun doing it for the first time this year – first with the morning crew and then with the weekend crew!
Least favorite WOD: I didn’t like the Open 17.3 workout with increasing snatches because I was stuck at #135! So frustrating!
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? I was bored with my normal gym workout/group training and one of my best friends in grad school convinced me to tag along with him after we graduated in the summer of 2015!
What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life? Working out has always been a
constructive way for me to decompress, but after the November 2016 election I felt the most anxious and stressed than ever before. CrossFit was really the only place that I really could let go of those daily concerns, be present, and just work hard and have fun with my fit friends.
What’s your secret talent? My best friend says I can make conversation and befriend a doorknob...I love meeting and getting to know new people all the time!
What is your biggest phobia? Getting injured…just kidding (sort of)…I’m not sure I have a phobia, but I am pretty dedicated to keeping in touch with friends and family around the world just in case something happens unexpectedly.

What inspires you?

  • For fitness inspiration - I am constantly inspired by how people of all shapes, ages, and fitness levels can come in, do the same workout, cheer each other on, and create a community no matter where we are from or what type of day we are having.
  • For life inspiration – I lived in East Africa for a year and then lived abroad for another year in the Middle East and Asia so those experiences constantly remind me to make the most out of every day and appreciate our relationships and resources. As an example, the fact that we have free clean water throughout (most of) the United States is incredibly fortunate and that level of development here inspires me on a daily basis to work hard and continue to find ways to make our communities and world more equitable.
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What’s your next goal in fitness? In life?

  • Fitness goal – To invest in our UB community by getting involved in the House Cup and really compete in the Open. Last year I was just getting serious about CrossFit, but also was traveling to China in the middle of it so I did it just for completion. This year, I really want to give it my all and see how I do.... I also want to be in good enough shape to have fun with our UB team at Tough Mudder in March and to complete an 11-mile race in April with my girlfriends.
  • Life goal – I want to to slow life down a bit, invest in quality time with friends/family, and prioritize sleep more.
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