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Pre-Open Phase of Training

We are now about 5-6 weeks out from the start of CrossFit Open. It the past we have had great participation of our members in the Open and we hope to see that again. For most of us the Open is our season because most of us are not Regionals or Games Athletes. Our programming this year has been geared towards the Open with a long strength phase (during which folks had some very impressive gains), a technical phase will maintaining the strength gains and now the Intensification Phase (to borrow the term from OPT – do you know who he is? have you been around long enough, are you Old School, do you know your CrossFit History?).

The Intensification/Pre-Open Phase will have several 8-18 minute classic style WOD’s which will include movements you must be proficient in for the Open (eg. Thrusters, Toes to Bar, Pullups, Cleans, Snatches, Burpees, Hand Release Pushups, Wall Ball Shots, Muscle-ups, Push Press, Front Squats, Squat Cleans, Jerks, Box Jumps) and probably ones we’ve not foreseen or combos we’ve not done, but we’ll try.

My suggestion is to hit this WOD’s as hard as you can that day. Feel out what your engine is like, how it is to be uncomfortable. There will still be some strength stimulus (like yesterday), but you’re not getting stronger between now and the Open (unless you’re a newbie), not getting a whole lot more Fit (the ground work has already had to be laid down), but we can improve our ability to work hard.

Let’s gear-up and have fun.

Testing-Part 1 “Fran”

We’ve finished the 13 week Hatch Squat program and folks have seen some big improvements in lots of different things from their Front Squat and Back Squat (obviously), to their clean, press for some others lifts too (post yours to comments).

The reasoning for doing Hatch was that based on some testing in the summer. The gym was in general weaker in the clean, in the receiving position. Folks’ Power Clean was in general greater than folks’ Clean (read Squat Clean).

Now to clarify 1 thing at this point, NOT EVERYONE SHOULD BE EVEN TRYING TO CLEAN (read Squat Clean)! If you don’t have the flexibility to receive the bar with high elbows in the bottom of a front squat, or the strength to catch it there (i.e.. your Front squat is great than your power clean), then you should not be trying to catch it there!

‘Fran’ is the 1st part of this wave of testing. You’ll see her again (sorry Mark you can’t dump her that easily), as we see if you can change your best time by either 1) improving your squat 2) improving your overhead poistion and technical parts of Thruster and pull-ups 3) is it your engine that is limiting you.

If it was ’1′, it hopefully improved. If it’s ’2′ hopefully the next 2 months of training will improve it. Their will be some Technical, sign-up sessions commencing soon. These Workshop style classes will only be held Downtown and class size will be limited.

You’ll see a couple more TEST DAYS over the next 2 weeks as we enter our next phase of training. We’ve finished laying down some general strength (especially squatting capacity), next is a Technical Phase.

Fish Oil

Fish Oil

Almost everyone has heard of the importance of Fish Oil or Omega 3′s (but there seems to be confusion about Omega 3/6/9) and their impact on health. Omega 3 supplementation is appearing in everything from power/recovery bars to orange juice. Claims of Omega 3′s ability to prevent disease and decrease inflammation… to read more

Skill Transfer Exercises

Skill Transfer Exercises

You may hear the trainers referring from time to time that a movement is a Skill Transfer Exercises.

What do we mean by that?

Well simply we’re trying to have you do a movement that mimics, builds on or compliments another movement.

A Wall Ball Shot can teach someone the concept of receiving the bar in a squat clean, a ring dip is the catch position of a muscle-up, double unders can teach you to open the hips like the triple extension position in a Snatch or double under.

All of these movements can be used to transfer towards some other movement.

Or they can counter act it!

A double under down with heels coming up towards the butt, with the body leaning forward in a partial tuck position and simultaneously spinning in the circle would be transferring to one ugly Snatch.

DeadHang Pullups and Ring Dips are essential movements before focusing on a Muscle-up.

The hip opening promoted by doing cleans, snatches and kettlebell swings is the same explosive hip opening needed for a serve in tennis, jumping for a rebound in basketball, and through impact when hitting a golf ball.

If we think of the movement we do whether at the gym or elsewhere they impact each other and we can either improve the movement pattern or counteract it.

Got double unders? Get challenged….September 21 clinic and 100 day challenge

This message is brought to you from our own “colorful” Kevin Douillette….hey when I play secretary, I get to pick the accompanying picture…small perk of the job…plus, Rich is showing most excellent form on the topic of this post.

Give everyone 2 guesses as to who the author of this post is:)

Kevin has kindly volunteered to conduct a double under clinic next Friday night, September 21st during class time. Pre or post wod to be determined. Next Friday will also kick off a “100 Day Double Under Challenge”. What the heck is that you ask…Below is his message and challenge to us all….

100 day double under challenge….

on day 1 you do 1 double under, day 2 you do 2 double unders, etc etc all the way to day 100 doing 100 double unders

You dont have to do the double unders unbroken. (Although like everything crossfit this is completely scalable to your level and some of us will be doing them unbroken as a challenge to ourselves (and maybe a little friendly competition).

I know some of you have some difficulty chaining them together. Hopefully you dont shy away from this challenge as remember you only have to do 1 on the first day! How hard can that be? And by the time we get to the 20th day you will have done plenty. This is a great way to practice double unders.

If you struggle with double unders or haven’t given them a honest try and focus yet, this challenge is for you. If you are stuck doing double singles, this challenge is for you. If you resemble someone frantically stomping out a campfire doing double unders, this is for you. You get the point, again, with everything crossfit, you pick what you want out of this challenge and get to work.

We will have a chart on one of the whiteboards for you to keep track of the days. There is no cost to participate other than doing your homework and some special rolling and mobility that will be also be talked about at the clinic.

We will also be taking some names at the clinic to place a group rope order at an approx cost of $25 each. Dont let not having a rope be the reason you dont participate. Plenty to go around to start and many of you will want your own rope as the volume increases.

Please post interest in the clinic and the challenge to comments along with your intended double under goal.

Hope to see you all next Friday night.

Fundamentals Registration

Fundamentals Registration

The next Fundamentals intake will start this week. The first class will be at 6:45 on Wednesday morning with the other class being held on Saturdays at 11:00. A third class will be added two weeks later on an evening and time that works best for the group.

Space is limited so register as soon as you can to hold your spot.

The cost of the Fundamentals Course is $250, cheque or cash. Cheques should be made out to CrossFit PEI and can be dropped off to Dave’s office, Bodyworks, 228 Grafton St., during regular office hours (8:30 to 4pm).

Please let us know if you have any questions via the Contact Us form.



30 Day Challenge: How to Start?

30 Day Challenge: How to Start?

So you’ve jumped on board with our 30 Day CFPEI Nutrition Challenge. Well done you! You’re ready…. You’re psyched…. You’re… not quite sure what to do. To help get you off on the right foot, below are some details, suggestions, and resources. Still have questions? Post your Qs here so we can all benefit from the exchage, or talk to your friendly CFPEI trainer.

This challenge is open to the entire CrossFit PEI Community. Cheryl has the registration forms, so get in touch with her if you haven’t signed up yet. The challenge will run from September 1 to September 30.

NOTE: On Saturday, September 8, there will be an information (and group therapy) session to learn more about nutrition, with a focus on the Paleo approach to eating. This will be at the gym (or a nearby classroom) from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. More to come on this front.

Food Guidelines*
No grains or gluten products (bread, pasta, beer, pastries, cookies, etc.)
No refined sugars.
No legumes.
No processed foods (i.e. from a box, bag, more than 3-4 ingredients…)
Limit, or eliminate, dairy (depending on your body composition goals and tolerance to lactose)
Avoid alcohol (though if you do wish to indulge, try Robb Wolf’s NorCal margarita)
Reduce coffee intake, it can negatively affect your sleep.
Eat good quality (organic, grass-fed, local) lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, berries and nuts. Throw in some good fat.

Other stuff worth consideration…
Sleep 7-9 hours a night on a regular schedule.
Work those movements you’ve been struggling with (double unders, pull ups, snatches, whatever).
Wear flat shoes (this means you Mokler).
Get your workouts in every week, but also your rest.

*This Challenge is not about stiff rules. For some folks, simply cutting out (pop/beer/sugar/whatever) may be a worthy challenge. This is not about losing weight – it is about improving your fuel and seeing where it can take you in terms of how you look, feel, and perform.

Additional Resources
Paleo FAQ – From Paleo Demi-god, Robb Wolf. Particularly check out the Quick Start Guide, and the Shopping List.
(Shameless plug alert) paleothoughts “How to” posts including recipe site recommendations
If you’re looking for goal-specific advice, CrossFit South Brooklyn has some good guidelines for weight loss, weight gain and weight maintenence on Paleo.

30 day CFPEI Paleo Challenge!!!

easier said than done:)

So dark mornings, back to school shopping…summer vacations are quickly drawing to an end…Labor Day is the next best thing to New Year’s…If you human whatsoever, it is quite likely your eating (and drinking?) may have changed a tad over the summer season.

So….to get our collective buts in gear, CFPEI is planning a 30 day Paleo challenge to start September 1st, with details coming in the next few days.

In a nutshell, you throw $10 in a pot, get privately measured and photos taken, take on the challenge of cleaning up your diet in a supportive community of people doing the same thing, do a couple bench mark workout as prescribed by our head coach. At the end of the 30 days, we remeasure, take some more photos and reevaluate a same or similar bench mark wod. Top finishers will be determined by performance gains, committment to the challenge and inches lost (we dont do scales) As in with everything Crossfit, the magic is in the community not winning….we will have an information session, set up a forum to share tips, recipes and a place to turn to when that extra large iced cinanamon roll is calling your name:)

Look for some coming information on what the paleo diet is and how to get started…I will be at the gym for both classes on Saturday this weekend (anticipating some long weekend vacations on Labor Day) and up until Wednesday of next week to do measurements and photos and collect fee. All will be kept private and under lock and key with your registration fee!

Post your name to comments if you up for the challenge! Thus far I have
Cindy H
Pam W
Kelly L
Kelly M
Mary Lynn


Varied Warm-up?

CrossFit’s Methodology at its core is Constantly Varied Functional Movements performed at High Intensity. We express this methodology through our programming, and this extends into the warm-up.

Here is a little explanation of how the warm-up may or may not be programmed on any particular day.

Most days the warm-up is the instructor’s choice, they may allow folks to roll in, move around and loosen up, stretch, roll, lift something, etc… Other days it may be very scripted involving some running drills, kettle bells, pushups, squats or pull-ups, but in general its just something to get you moving and warmed up. Sometimes it to hit a movement we haven’t done in a while, other times it to look at capacity of folks to see a movement in future workout. Sometime it will determine what we do that day (that was the case last Wednesday, Brugener Warm-up was slow and look more like KB Swings than Snatches so we worked on Snatches and scrapped the programming I had scripted for the day). We don’t want it so taxing that it blunts your workout or strength session.

Sometimes the instructor may choose to review the movements that are going to appear in the workout, or work a skill progression like the Brugener Warm-up (all together it works on the Snatch!). I personally like to throw in some balance, mobility or movement exploration stuff, like pressing a kettle overhead while in a lunge, or doing a lizard crawl (oh the moaning and groaning when that appears!). I like these odd things so folks can become aware of our imbalances, tendencies and deficiencies. These are the things we need to warm-up. These are the things we need to address deal with.

If doing a Turkish Get-up is hard to do on the left side why is that not part of your warm-up? Maybe Squat Therapy, Toes to Bar, a Pigeon Pose or Foam Rolling. Address your imbalance, address your movements that need some exploration, but keep it varied and not just a pain session or chore.

Try to make it fun (even the warm-up) that’s part of what we’re trying to do too. To get you loose physically and mentally. To unburden the body and the mind in preparation for the time of escape during the workout. If you can think of the report you need to write on rep 16 of 20 during your 20 Rep Max Back Squat you are not finding a Max! If you can go through a check-list of to-do items during Fight Gone Bad were not getting you enough escape time.

Setting Goals

Setting Goals

Many people start CrossFit with a basic goal: get fit. As they continue with it, they realize that there are many aspects of “fitness” and that improving their overall fitness requires focus on a particular area or even exercise. A good example are doubleunders … making that skipping rope go under your feet twice in one jump seems impossible for many when they first encounter them in a workout.

Greg Amundson, one of the original fire breathers in CrossFit, has become a huge resource to the CrossFit community in the area of goal setting. In addition to extensively publishing articles and videos on the subject, CrossFit HQ now has him providing the CrossFit Goal Setting Trainer Course that you sign up for in the same way you sign up for a CrossFit Olympic Lifting Trainer Course or a CrossFit Gymnastics Trainer Course.

Setting goals are as important as Gymnastics and Olympic Lifting because without the mental side of CrossFit your improvements on the physical side will not be as great. Greg Amundson as a number of great articles in the CrossFit Journal which in my opinion are alone more than worth the $25 annual cost to subscribe to it.

Tips for Setting Your Goals

You may want to do a pull up, do 10 doubleunders, deadlift 400 pounds or run a marathon. How you frame these goals is crucial in attaining them.

In his article, Coaching the Mental Side of CrossFit (July 2010), Amundson makes three great points about setting goals:

  1. The goal must be concise and specific – the more focused the definition, the more precise the planning, preparation and training.
  2. The goal must be expressed in the positive tense – the subconscious does not hear the negative so when you say to yourself “don’t stop running” your subconscious mind hears “stop running”.
  3. The goal must include a time frame that is challenging yet realistic and achievable – the time frame must challenge and motivate you. Setting it too far in the future will lack the urgency and “fail to create the internal fire needed for accomplishment.” Setting it too short “may lead to discouragement and despair.”

Once you have your goal, stating it publicly further improves your chances of success as it makes you more accountable. In addition, when you hit that goal, the moment is even sweeter as everyone can then celebrate with you.

Publicly stating your goals can be done by setting it with your coach or writing it up on a white board (some people even put them up on a blog or Facebook). We are going to put some up on the white board by the locker rooms. As your coaches, we can help you frame your goals, prioritize them and set the time frames in which to accomplish them.

Indomitable Spirit

If you look around the gym you will see “Indomitable Spirit” written on the wall. It is one of the five tenets of Taekwondo and is used to describe someone who has a very strong character and will not give up. They cannot be subdued or overcome and will keep on trying.

I have always been struck by the similarities between martial arts and CrossFit. Amundson concludes with this in his article stating that as you realize what the mind can believe the body can achieve, you will forge an indomitable spirit within you.

There is always that moment in the middle of a CrossFit workout where you question just why you are doing this to yourself and part of you wants to quit. Pushing through this makes you better. As Amundson states:

Regardless of the time to completion or the amount of weight used, simply facing the daunting workout of the day (WOD) puts the other obstacles of life into proper perspective: they are a lot easier.

Talk to your coaches about your goals and we can help you set them. This article only scratches the surface … check out some of the articles by Greg Amundson in the Journal, including:


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