Category Archives: The Coach’s Corner

Coaches Corner 1/15/2012

We are all athletes here, and unfortunately one inevitability of being an athlete is injury. No one likes to get hurt, but a more prominent phenomenon among the CrossFit community seems to be that no one likes to acknowledge that they are hurt. Most of us have been there; that nagging “snag” in your lower back during your deadlifts, or that sometimes-painful “pop” in your shoulder during overhead movements. If you are anything like me, then at the debut of these annoyances, the “just ignore it and go” mindset kicks in, and soon enough that nagging pain or pop becomes a very painful and very restrictive injury. Unfortunately, many of us lack the tools – or the brains – necessary to either: A. avoid these mishaps, or B. DEAL with these issues properly when they arise.Let me tell you a story. There once was a young, very attractive, stunning, charming, witty, and incredibly humble young woman who had been a martial artist and a dancer for quite a while before starting CrossFit. In her first few months of CrossFit, she managed to hurt her left knee…she was, at the time, training for her second-degree black belt and did not want to risk a major injury, so she dished out the cash to get physical therapy and she combined that with SMART training and rehab to get things back on track. ← THAT story is good. Let us now fast forward to about two years later: during the workout “Grace,” this amazingly charming and stunning young lady felt a very odd “pop” in her left shoulder about half way through the workout. It was not devastating, and she was trying to train for sectionals, so she kept going….and she kept going…..and she kept going….until one day she couldn’t lift her left arm above her head anymore. Around that same time, an extremely sharp pain in her right hip began to arise during any kind of hip flexion under load, BUT she thought “I can’t do any overhead movements; if I can’t squat, I will have to basically stop training, and that sure as hell won’t happen.” So she kept going….and going….and going….until one day she realized that she couldn’t squat below parallel anymore. AROUND THAT SAME TIME, the left knee pain began to creep back in intermittently, and she also started to have issues with plantar fasciitis in her right foot. This young lady had to resort to high box squats, resistance band exercises, and rowing, not without pain, as her sole training tools for about 6 months. Once the shoulder and hip injuries became at least a bit LESS of a problem, she began competitively powerlifting. Issues would arise off and on, but, again, nothing devastating, so she didn’t stop….until November of ‘11, that is, when she managed to “ignore” a lower back “strain” for long enough for it to develop into a serious injury that has kept her away from barbell training for over a month and a half now. ← THAT story is bad. Trust me. (Also: the amazingly lovely, intelligent, stunning lady in the story is currently getting skinny-fat from lack of heavy squats. That’s probably the worst part.)

Obviously I am an extreme case that involves stubbornness, hypermobility, and poor judgement, but stories very similar to mine are more common than you might think. Upon injury, your movement patterns are often drastically changed, even if you don’t realize it. Here are just a few things you can do to avoid the dreaded gimp syndrome:

Rest, recovery, and nutrition. I know that I have probably pounded these three words into all of your heads by this point, but, for realz: get adequate sleep (at least six hours of sleep or no workout at all), TAKE SOME EFFIN’ REST DAYS, and stick to an anti-inflammatory diet. Kudos to the Spring Leaning Challenge participants. Also: take fish oil.

Prehab. I am prepared to get beheaded by the “hardcore” athlete community for this one, but here goes: I am not only a big supporter of mobility, I also support stability *gasp*. Has anyone ever seen me do those retarded-looking stretch band exercises in the gym? I found those from googling “rotator cuff exercises” online; they look dumb, and they may not be particularly “functional,” BUT my shoulders are an issue for me, so I do the tedious exercises, and they help. Bands are an EXCELLENT tool to increase stability in the joints, and Google is an excellent tool to find out how to use them on problem areas. Accessory core work including planks, lateral flexions, back extensions, hollow/arch drills, asymmetrical farmer’s carries and overhead carries can help a ton, even though they are boring. Asymmetrical accessory work like single-leg squats, single-arm dumbell bench press, and turkish getups can quickly expose any deficiencies you have. MY POINT: FIND YOUR PROBLEM AREAS AND ACTIVELY REPAIR THEM. It SUCKS to work on weaknesses, and like I said, it’s boring as hell, but….do it anyway, and do it before you wind up like me.

Rehab. Rehab, YAY! Physical therapy CAN be a great tool for rehabbing injuries, however that depends greatly on who your physical therapist is. Also: ice is your friend, did you know that? Also: luckily for us, we happen to have an amazing in-house sports massage therapist who works miracles, and his name is Rob Fontecchio. Dr. Aaron Gaily is also an amazing and affordable chiropractor and client at CF Monterey. Call them, and get your rehab on. On that same note: please keep in mind that rehab often means dialing back the intensity of your training for an extended period of time; yes I know it sucks, but in the scheme of things, it is not that bad, and it is definitely better than going balls-to-the-wall out of the gate and exacerbating your issues or re-injuring yourself.

Last but certainly not least…PLEASE talk to your coaches about any ailments you may have. The loveliest part about CrossFit is the S&M factor. Scaling and Modifying, of course…what were YOU thinking? If you are hurting, something can be done to scale the workout. Some coaches (me) might give you an annoyed look when you try to approach us (me) with your issues, but have no fear, that scowl is just because we are (I am) anti-social and extremely lazy. IF any coach is insensitive to your ailments or injuries, you have my permission to fish-slap them.

❤ Coach Mariah


Coach’s Corner

Lets Get Physical

Oh my God Becky! Look at her BUTT!

Okay..don’t feel bad if you did not get my reference to Olivia Newton John’s “Lets get physical.” It is circa 1981, so I understand.  However, if you did not get my reference to Sir-mix-a -lots”Baby got back,” then you live under some form of communist regime, and must be educated on why these two songs can help you thrive in Crossfit.

Let’s start at the beginning shall we… A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Olivia Newton John came up with the greatest idea for a song, and the worst idea for a video. You want to know why we Crossfitters do NOT use machines in our workouts? Watch this music video and try to not vomit..Heck amrap it…see how long it takes you to physically upchuck. “Physical” enough for ya?  The “in shape” boys in these videos are a perfect example of what I refer to as DMO’s, or, “display models only,” tighty whities… ewwww… Basically, sure they look good, all plasticy and shiny on the outside, but performance wise they are KAH-PUT. Give them something heavy to lift or ask them to snatch 100lbs and they will not be able to perform.. but I can tell you right now that not only can the boys in our gym lift way more than DMOs, they do it without white spandex…I think… that’s a story for another time. Anyhoo, moral of the story , machines don’t really make you strong! They don’t teach you proper body positioning. Machines don’t teach you technique, and they don’t teach you how to use your body in the real world. You know, a few synonyms for the word “physical” are “solid, concrete and substantial.” You are not display models guys! In Crossfit YOU are your own machine. You generate the power to move heavy things from the floor to overhead, and if you choose to wear tighty whities while doing so, then so be it cause, “Baby Got Back!”..Which leads me to my next rhythmic mover and shaker, Sir-Mix- a Lot…
Well, I got you out of the 80’s at least. Welcome to 1992 my friends! Magazines all over the world were plastering paper thin, emaciated models on their covers,and telling us, this was beautiful… riiiiiiiiggghhhhtt… Sir-mix-a-lot told the world they should think again. What does this have to do with Crossfit?Well, some of you ladies may have noticed that while you’re definitely looking hotter, healthier and getting stronger, your shirts and pants may be feeling a little tighter, but in different areas…for example, your skinny jeans may not fit over your rock hard thighs that you squat masterfully with:) You may find that your boots feel a little snug over those wickedly awesome calves. Heck, you may even find that a few of your shirts nearly bust at the seams like the Hulk when you reach for your steering wheel.   (Those are your lats ladies, we get them when we do pullups:)…and then there is the ever beloved booty…yep I noticed my pants feeling a bit snug, and then I remembered that I PRd both my deadlift and my squat these past 2 weeks..yeah, probably not a coincidence:) I got stronger, and so are you. Now of course we all have different goals as far as lifting and weight loss, but what’s important is that remember that our main goal in CF is to be HEALTHY. So lift some heavy weight and run your butts off..but not literally, as Sir-Mix-A-:Lot says, a little booty is good!

Coach’s Corner

On the Effectiveness of Weightlifting Shoes, Belts, and Other Equipment in Training for the Zombie Apocalypse

Jacob Tsypkin

It plagues me.

Quite regularly, when I suggest to someone (often loudly) that they need to get a pair of weightlifting shoes, I’m met with the response “I won’t have weightlifting shoes at work/in the real world/in the field.”  The thought process seems to be that it is “cheating,” that if one uses shoes or a belt or wrist wraps, they’re not training in a manner which will allow them to implement their fitness during the Zombie Apocalypse (if the Zombie Apocalypse is not your main concern, we have MUCH more serious problems to address.)  The purpose of this article is to explain why the use of the proper equipment in training is NOT cheating, and how it can actually improve your capacity “in the field.”

Of utmost importance is understanding Coach Dan John’s words:  “All training is complementary.”  As a weightlifter, everything one does in training is there to improve his best snatch and clean & jerk.  Thus, everything but the contested lifts themselves, everything is a complement to those lifts.  Everything a 400m sprinter does, other than max effort 400m sprints, is done to make his 400m sprint faster.  As a CrossFit athlete, or someone looking to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, this is a bit trickier, as one never knows what they will encounter.  But since this is the case, one cannot train perfectly for it anyway.  Training should not, in fact, cannot mimic the demands of competition/life/Z-Day. Instead, ones goal should be to train in a manner that has the greatest carryover to their chosen sport; in CrossFit/Zombie Warfare the end product is the broadest range of physical capabilities.  If we can accept this as true, we then have two questions to answer: 1) how is this best accomplished, and 2) how can the use of training equipment help accomplish it?

To answer the first question, all we really need to do is refer to CrossFit’s definition of fitness, and training methodology: lift heavy with basic compound movements, run fast, achieve base competency in novice gymnastics movements, and perform relatively short, high intensity conditioning circuits made up of the aforementioned elements.  In order to ensure the greatest scope of events possible, occasionally mix in more obscure training methods: odd objects, running with additional load, competing in various sporting events (triathlons, weightlifting meets, etc.), having your unsuspecting, non-CrossFitting friends dress up as Zombies and chasing them with a flaming battleaxe.  Simple enough.  Now on to the second question.

If we accept that the vast majority of our training is complementary, then we can focus on improving the quality and effectiveness of that training for its own sake, and thus improving it’s carryover to the Zombie Apocalypse.  Proper equipment helps us do this by allowing us to move in a safer, more stable, and more organized manner.  If weightlifting shoes improve the squat, snatch, and clean & jerk, that’s going to mean an improved ability to explosively extend the hip, whether one is wearing the shoes or not.  Since “powerful, controlled hip extension is necessary and nearly sufficient for elite athleticism” (“Why Squat?,” Greg Glassman, CrossFit Journal December 2002,) we can see how weightlifting shoes would improve ones performance on Z-Day.  If a belt helps an athlete lift more weight in the deadlift, it has allowed the athlete to undergo a greater stressor, which will lead to a greater adaptation, and thus greater capacity.  Incidentally, if one adds 100lbs to their deadlift wearing a belt, rest assured that their unbelted deadlift will also improve.  If wrist wraps allow an athlete to get through “Fran” without wrist pain slowing them down, that athlete has trained more effectively than they would have otherwise.  Additionally, if equipment allows us to move in a safer manner (as is often the case with weightlifting shoes and belts) it is then reducing the risk of injury, and an uninjured athlete is far more capable of annihilating Zombie Hordes.

Is there a line?  Of course.  I will never advocate the use of a squat suit for an athlete preparing for Z-Day.  The trick is balance: use the shoes when squatting, snatching, and cleaning.  Use a belt when deadlifting heavy.  Use only your wits and whatever you are wearing when your friends call you and say “Zombie Apocalypse Training Drill, right now.”

If you have read this and still completely disagree about the usefulness of training equipment, I suggest you keep the following in mind:  a barbell has an infinitely greater effect on your ability to move a load than shoes, a belt, or any other piece of training equipment ever will.  It is an item specifically designed to be lifted.  Therefore, I suggest that you immediately cease using barbells in your training, as well as squat racks, dumbbells, kettlebells, gymnastics rings, pullup bars, running shoes, weight vests, athletic clothing or an indoor facility designed for training.  Essentially, anything that was created specifically for the purpose of improving ones fitness, is useless to you, since you are unlikely to encounter it “In The Field.”  If, however, the idea of all training being complementary makes sense to you, strap on your shoes, squat heavy, run fast, and make sure you keep your battleaxe close at hand.  You never know when they’re coming.

Jacob Tsypkin

Coach’s Corner

All I want for Christmas is a bodyweight snatch PR.  So come on now Santa–is that too much to ask!?!?  Or maybe I’ll wish for handstand walks, a 400lb deadlift, a 200lb press and a 315 Squat…  Well, ok, there’s plenty more than one single thing I want for Christmas and I know that wishing for Santa to provide them isn’t going to make them come. At CrossFit Monterey we know that it is the hard work we put in during the WOD that will get you the ‘gifts’ you are working for, not wishes to a jolly old bearded fat man, trust me on that.  So keep your goals in mind if you take time off your training.  Keep your eyes on the prize at your holiday meals and indulge with moderation.  Be prepared to do work. Staying healthy and making progress are never easy, add the temptations and stress of family and the holidays and some people completely go off the rails.

So now matter what you do for the holidays, remember all the hard work you’ve put in and don’t become part of ‘the crowd of statistics’. Who do I mean? I think you know them, they are that crowd whose holiday heating gets them in dire need of New Year’s resolutions and yo-yo diets come January 1st. Soon they will cram into globo-gyms across the country, They will soon after become part of the statistics that we hear about over and over each year, about how many people will start working out on New Years day, and how many of them won’t be in the gym on January 30th.  Stay focused on your fitness during this crazy/jolly time of year.

With all that said here’s a quick run down of things you can get for the CrossFitter in your life, or add to your own wishlist this holiday season. From big to small here are some simple ideas to keep you focused on fitness and make the WOD a bit more merry for the yuletide season:

  • Get a good gym bag. Sounds unnecessary to many of us at first, but having a well organized and stocked gym bag makes getting to the gym and getting after the WOD much, much easier.  A bag, whether its is from Nike, KING KONG or LuLuLemon is like a portable gym locker to keep everything from your water to keys, phone, sweat towel and all the other goodies on this list. Make it distinctively yours and fill it with all your needs.
  • A personal jumprope makes for a WOD anywhere, anytime.  Think about how often you rush to get that one rope on the rack that you can do ‘perfect’ double-unders with. It’s just the right length, the handles fit your hand expertly and it flies through the air with ease. Now put that jumprope in your gymbag and you’ve got it anywhere you go without one of the coaches assigning you 500 burpees for theft of gym property. Check out a Rogue speedrope, RxRopes of a good Buddy Lee rope, but check them out.
  • Tape. There’s never enough and it’s never the kind you want, unless you bring it yourself.  I prefer cloth athletic tape some people prefer the nylon medical tape.  One inch or two? This is another thing where personal preference comes in and having it handy makes the WOD more comfortable and keeps the focus on your fitness instead of cleaning your DNA off a bar.
  • Oh, you bet your ass I’m gonna bring up shoes. Whether it’s vibram five fingers or oly lifting shoes there are advocates within CrossFit and within our small community for wearing all kinds of things on your feet.  The point is to know that certain shoes are better for specific activities.  Weightlifting shoes are available online and can be viewed in person at Play-it-Again sports in Santa, Cruz.  VFFs are good but you should work your way from your old Reebok Pumps/Nike Shox to a barefoot style shoe gradually. As you work your way through the spectrum of minimalist shoes you’ll find something with little drop (difference in sole thickness from heel to toe) like Adidas Sambas or Puma S-Streets works best for all types of workouts.
  • And you know you betta know what time it is… Even if you don’t want to be a contestant on ‘Flavor of Love’ you may need to keep track of your own junk at times.  A timer like the GymBoss is a soul-crushing tabata timer extraordinaire. Many sports watches have similar timers and ways to track your rounds, splits, and personal speed.
  • A personal painball. If you haven’t seen MobilityWOD then leave here immediately.  Coach K-Star, aka Kelly Starrett, Phd in Physical Therapy, provides numerous simple lessons in self-torture…I mean self help for the athlete.  Put a simple lacrosse ball in your bag and learn how to use it.  Soon you’ll be finding relief from soreness in the office, on the ride home, everywhere.
  • Give the gift of bodywork.  If you are still sore and tight go see our own Rob Fontecchio and get yourself some body work, it is both rewarding and worthwhile. Rob’s massage thereapy is accompanied with personal instruction on how and what to stretch and mobilize to avoid getting yourself a tight mess all over again after your visit to his table.

There’s an old saw about putting your gear on and lacing up your shoes when you don’t feel like getting to the gym or going for a run.  So pack your bag to get into CrossFit Monterey this holiday season.  Make the effort to be prepared and you’re half way into the gym.  That’s just a quick list of things you can do to and gear to consider. What is on your wishlist? What have you go that should make any CrossFit Monterey athelete’s day? Post  your own ideas and must-haves to comments.

-John Hoffner

Happy Thanksgiving!

The gym is closed today, we hope everyone has a great time with some family or friends, be sure to eat large amounts of meat and potatoes!

Here’s a thanksgiving coach’s corner from Cyndi Cook, enjoy:

Your only issue is between the 6” of space between your ears:

Devising Goals and Maintaining a Positive Mindset

By: Cynthia Cook

We have all done it at one point in time. We come into the gym, we lull around waiting to be told what to do, we discuss the foreboding effects of the WOD and project our performance, and we grind our teeth in anxiety and anticipation approaching the “3-2-1, GO!”  Well, we’re off to a good start; we are in the gym despite our hectic schedule, family obligations, and job stressors…but are WE really in there in a positive mindset for optimal performance? Let me take that a step further and ask all of you a very important question. I warn you, this question may be difficult to answer at first. Why do you come into the gym each day, and what are your personal goals in CrossFit?

I take this topic very personally right now. As an athlete and as a coach, I’ve forced myself to keenly scrutinize my CrossFit mindset as well as personal goals. I know that direction is critical to every facet of life, so I continue to search for answers on how to form that direction for my athletes and myself physically and mentally. To start with, I consulted the experts in our field; I did my research to hear from the best of our CrossFit icons.

It all starts in the head. Renowned CrossFitter Greg Amundson has published a plethora of material about the mental side of what we do and why we do it in the CrossFit Journal. His physical and mental prowess and fortitude have been smelted into him from long hours of training, personal reflection, and fervent optimism. His mentor Greg Glassman influenced him greatly on his athletic journey advising him “…the greatest adaptation to CrossFit is what takes place between the ears” (Amundson, 2010).  With that advice, he reached out to other CrossFitters abroad to help them devise “nutrition for [their] destiny” (

Greg Glassman describes the foundation of a CrossFit athlete as a pyramid where the bottom tier depends on nutrition followed by metabolic conditioning, gymnastics, weightlifting, and then sport (or specific adaptation) (“What is Fitness?”, 2002).  Amundson takes that a step further. Consider, instead, that the bottom tier of that pyramid as an athlete is the constant stream of consciousness—the athletes thoughts and words. Even if subconscious, the language we use to interpret the tasks ahead of us foretells our performance to an extent; it almost becomes our destiny ( So, Amundson advises us to change our thoughts and words to coincide with what we want and towards our end goal. So consider, “What am I thinking? What am I saying to myself?”

Ok. Let me reorient you to a different mode of thinking. Consider the 10 general physical skills of CrossFit as described by the CrossFit Journal: endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy (“What is Fitness?”, 2002). Those fundamental skills were painted on the walls of my first box, and are continuously reiterated by the coaches throughout lifts and WODs. Now think about those same traits as they relate to a mental, emotional, character and “Leader-Fit” trait. They take on a more complex meaning. Suddenly, that which is physical is even more mental. Endurance becomes the ability to maintain belief in oneself as well as others. Stamina now applies to one’s ability foster and maintain strenuous mental effort, focus and resilience. Strength comes from the ability one has to resolve decisions. Flexibility is controlling one’s emotional reaction in differing contexts as well as their ability to strategize various methods to accomplish a goal. Power is the positive motivation one uses for oneself as well as fellow athletes to push through grueling workouts. Speed is how well someone can think and plan on their feet—their reaction time. Coordination is balancing the body and mind in a matched productive physical and mental state. Agility is helping others as one pushes forth themselves and responding with deliberate attitudes and believes in any given environment and circumstance. Balance is maintaining one’s mental, physical, and emotional wellness while sustaining a positive state of mind despite external stimuli. Finally, accuracy is the ability to set an attainable goal and master it but also remaining intuitive about their thoughts, emotions, and perceptions. All of this is described by Amundson in his CrossFit Goal Setting Course as the “Total Athlete”, and he uses this model as a means of resetting thought and orienting his athletes to “… recognize and overcome mental and physical limitations that hinder their concentration and performance” (

My dear friend, Mandy, constantly tells me “game face” when we are working out together. I have a tendency to get too caught up in my head and focus on the negative aspects of the workout such as exhaustion, weight fluctuation day-to-day, and pain, but that rather defeats the purpose of going to the gym in the first place. That is to have fun. I’d like to tell everyone to approach their workouts with a game face. Risk failure with a positive attitude; imagine that every set is your best set. Instead of comparing yourself to your fellow athlete, see them as a partner in your athletic journey, and encourage their improvement as they will yours. Don’t get so caught up in the final time of finishing a WOD or the weight you successfully lifted, but rather focus on how well you did it and if it was your best effort or not. Don’t wear defeat on your face. This past weekend at the Greg Burgener Olympic Lifting Certification I heard a great anecdote from Josh Everette. He has done some competitive weightlifting in the past, and he said that every time he had a missed rep, he would smile at the judges. He only had three times to master lift, so if he lost his mental control and function on the first one, he would have set himself up for disaster thereafter. I think that is a great example of the power of the mind and how it relates our abilities as athletes.

Consider this, on average, we think between 800-1400 words per minute in thought. Our words are tools that can either propel us towards success or utterly debilitate us (Moawod, 2010). Negative thinking can accumulate to become your worst Achilles Heel that inhibits your achievement which can lead to what Trevor Moawod cordially refers to as “give-up itis.” To extend beyond the “me” spectrum, also consider that your attitude also shapes the attitude of those around you. Attitudes shape atmospheres. Have you ever worked a crappy job and it felt even crappier because everyone was miserable? Not fun, right? Have you ever worked a crappy job, but everyone around you was happy so the job wasn’t so bad? It might not have paid much, but you left with some good memories and a good mindset. It is the same thing. Negativity is contagious. Don’t fall prey to making excuses on why you can’t do something. Just get out of your head and get it done.

So now you’re finally in the right head space, you’ve shed all the pollution that clogged up your perception and performance, and you’re ready to tackle any obstacles in pursuit of your goals. How do you do that though? Aside from personal evaluation, consult your trainers to help you focus your training. Say you come in day after day and do whatever…then you might not feel personal accomplishment with your gains when you don’t have a mental direction or focus. Conversely, coming in without a goal may mean that you don’t see the overall improvement you’re looking for in your physical ability because you might not be pushing yourself in the right areas. Either way, knowing where you are and where you want to be is part of “…the greatest adaption to CrossFit [that] takes place between the ears” (Glassman to Amundson). It is almost like driving your car without directions to a distant location and wondering why you never get there. Devising goals is the beginning of sketching your athletic map.

In “Coaching the Mental Side of CrossFit,” Amundson describes three primary steps to formulating goals. First, the goal needs to be concise and specific such as “I want to complete 50 double-unders unbroken.” (That would be my goal because my double-unders are still atrocious.) Next, back to the mental side of things, the goal should be expressed in the positive tense ie. “I want to safely perform a snatch locking my arms out at the top keeping the bar in the frontal plane of my body.” (On the negative side, “I don’t want to drop that weight on my head or lose control of the bar during my snatch.” That negative thought has a funny way of biting you in the butt and causing you to do exactly what you “don’t” want to happen.) Finally, as it pertains to any personal goals, they should be set within a realistic timeframe that is challenging yet realistic. So going back to my first example, say I want to diligently work up towards my 50 unbroken double-unders. Obviously that will not be a goal that I could achieve in one month, so I would need to break it down into smaller increments. Ok, then I would say, “I want to successfully complete 10 unbroken double-unders consistently by next month.” I took that goal of 50 and broke it down into seemingly manageable increments spread out over a period of time. The objective to devising goals is to “give yourself small successes to meet along the way as you work up to your ultimate goal” (Amundson, 2010).

You want the goal to be attainable, but you don’t want it to be set too far in advance that it lacks urgency…the “I can get to it later” attitude. It should also focus on your weaknesses. Don’t let yourself get caught in the loop of only working on what you have already mastered. Push yourself. Diversify your skills by choosing a goal that is motivating yet challenging. Our performance is affected by our mental state—how we think, feel, and interpret the world around us.  Negativity is a forlorn element that may stunt strides towards our goals.  They may inhibit us from challenging our abilities to master new skills and make improvement. Be mindful of your mindset before you begin your workout, while you’re working out, and how you interpret your performance once it is all done. Even after it is all finished you can still create a mental block that affects how you perceive your ability that may carry into other training days or the next time you do that specific skill. Goals should be equal parts inspiration, motivation, perspiration, dedication, and direction. Go ahead, be passionate about it; get enthusiastic. It is a never ending cycle of setting goals, formulating a plan for those goals, and achieving the goals. There is always room for improvement. That’s part of what is wonderful about being human.

I’m remarkably impressed with the athletes at our gym. Every day I see our athletes reach new personal records and share that achievement with their peers. That turns into motivation for others to achieve the unachievable. Don’t lose that. Set your mind frame from the beginning. Decide you’re going to do something, and devise the plan on how you’re going to get there. Most of all, remain optimistic. Optimism is an empowering self-talk approach to ensure best performance and improvement.

“Your thoughts will become your words. Your words will become your actions. Your actions will become your habits. Your habits will become your character. Your character will define your destiny.”—Gandhi


Amundson, Greg. (2010). CrossFit Goal Setting: Forging a Winning Mindset.

Amundson, Greg. (2010). Coaching the Mental Side of CrossFit.(Video) CrossFit


Amundson, Greg. (2010). Positive Self-Talk: Defining your Destiny.(Video) CrossFit


Amundson, Greg. (2010). Positive Self-Talk: Defining your Terms. (Video) CrossFit



Amundson, Greg. (2010). Positive Self-Talk: Focusing your Goals. (Video) CrossFit



Glassman, Greg. (2002). What is Fitness? CrossFit Journal.


Moawod, Trevor. (2010). The Mind is Primary. (Video) CrossFit Journal.


Shrago, Steven. (2010). The Mental Game. (Video) CrossFit Journal.

Coach’s Corner

Patience Past the Knee

Olympic weightlifting is tough because it is bio-mechanically complex.
It requires good understanding of some fundamental movements and
their mechanical carry-over:  Deadlift, Front Squat, Back Squat,
Overhead Squat, and Jerk.  If we were to break down both the Snatch and
the Clean and Jerk, we would see key positions we need to hit.  For
people who like to unify athletic disciplines, we’re thinking about
key “poses” that we want to ideally hit when performing the Olympic
lifts.  This brings me to the conceptual disparity people have when
trying to put all the movements together for the first time.

Let’s assume for a minute that you understand the aforementioned
foundational movements that carry over to the Snatch and Clean and
Jerk.  We know that we set up in a deadlift-like setup, then we
eventually transition into the bottom of an overhead squat or front
squat, and for the Clean and Jerk, we eventually end up in an overhead
position.  But take a step back.  What is happening between the
deadlift and the overhead squat or the front squat??  How do we _GET

When I see people who are newer to the Oly lifts, they frequently
exhibit a concurrent display of trepidation mixed with impatience.
They hesitate too much on the first pull (think: deadlift), but they
are in such a rush to explode and get to the squat that they initiate
the second pull (think: jump or violent hip extension) before the bar
gets past the knees.  Your coaches get it.  We have been there, too.
That’s why I’m talking about it.

Most people who are learning both lifts learn to position the bar at
the “pockets”, as Sage and Coach Burgener use.  To simplify the
explanation here and not talk about nuances, we’re effectively trying
to position the bar as close to the hip crease as possible while
loading the hips up in preparation to explosively open the hips.
After that we want to generate upward force by violently extending the
hips and then re-closing them as we pull ourselves down into the squat
for the respective movement.  For those who can visualize this
happening, this means the first pull must be done in a controlled
manner.  The bar will go well past the knees.  And, more importantly,
it requires PATIENCE.

For those that saw the above wall of text and thought to yourself,
“TL;DR”, then here are some cues to think of as you hit each key

1.  Setup:  Tight back, no bar slack.
2.  First Pull:  Nice and controlled.  Not too fast, not too slow.
Target:  POCKETS!
4.  Third Pull:  Pull under bar into squat FAST.
5.  Recovery:  Stand up with weight like it’s no big deal.


-Mike Hom

Coach’s Corner

So you’ve been training with us for a few months and you’re starting to get more serious about your training.  You’re going to need to start adding to your gear bag and where better to start than with a pair of weightlifting shoes.  We get questions all of the time about what shoes to get, where to get them, and why the hell do we need them?

Let’s start with why we use them.  Two of the biggest perks are a solid and stable base of support, and a raised heel to add additional mobility and balance.  I’m going to forgo sounding intellectual and let Mark Rippetoe do it for me, here’s what he had to say about why shoes help.  “But the main feature of a squat shoe is heel compressibility. The drive out of the bottom starts at the floor, where the feet start the kinetic chain. If the contact between the feet and the floor is the squishy gel or air cell of a running shoe, a percentage of the force of the drive will be absorbed by the compression of the cell. This compression is fine for running, but when squatting it reduces power transmisison efficiency and prevents foot stability. Unstable footing interferes with the reproducibility of the movement pattern, rendering virtually every squat a whole new experience and preventing the development of good technique. Squatting in running shoes is like squatting on a bed. Many people get away with it for years, but serious lifters invest in squat shoes. They aren’t that expensive, especially compared to brand new name brand athletic shoes, and they make a huge difference in the way a squat feels.”

So where do you get them?  Unfortunately you won’t find them on the store shelves, so you’ll need to order them online.  Below are several good companies that produce quality shoes.

Pendlay Barbell

Rogue Fitness

Dynamic Eleiko