8 08, 2019

Reframing Competition

We live in a world where every society has a different level of freedom. Although, many types of societies have different rulings on this freedom, some with less and some with more, there is one freedom that runs consistently through the world, and that is the freedom to choose our own thoughts and response. No matter what happens to us, we are the only ones who control our minds and ultimately the direction of our responses to these happenings, good or bad. This is part of being human and will never change, this has been true since the beginning of human history. We have the freedom to respond with courage, bravery, and kindness, or with doubt, cowardice, and revenge. It has been demonstrated throughout history in our heroes and villains, and in our athletes through competition. Whether it be war, sport, or the business world, competing is part of who we are. More so now than ever, competition receives a negative connotation, and for valid reasoning, competition for most of civilization has brought war, slavery, hunger, and depression over entire societies. However, it has also brought prosperity, truth, triumph, growth, and wellbeing to the entire world. Competition has a way of forcing the individual’s hand into a response. The growth we have experienced from the brave and courageous has been so vital to the survival of mankind; we have seen that we learn from competition, we grow from it, and we prosper. We currently live in the most peaceful time of all human history when most of competition is seen in sport rather than bloodshed, but it seems we are running from competition now more than ever. Humanity has come so far from competition, without it we would never have gone to the moon (and now pushing to colonize mars), developed life saving technologies, ran 100m’s in under 10s, humanity is amazing and continues to have exponential potential to do great things, but we need competition to do it. Competition has been the platform for our societal growth, without its highs and lows we have no means to push for learning, achievements, or even self discovery.

The answer is not to avoid competition by eradicating scoring methods and handing out participation trophies to make everyone feel the instant gratification of being equals, because the truth is that we are not equal, we have different strengths, weaknesses, fears, and passions, which run so deep that it’s challenging to discern them even for ourselves.

Our scores on the whiteboard are important because they do elicit a competitive response allowing us to learn about ourselves and others in our community. The answer, therefore, is but to relish and embrace competition, relish in the learning that comes with it’s failures and successes. It is up to us as individuals to answer with a paralyzing response to competition of worry and shame, or with a growth response of learning, courage, and exercise our ability to compete in a productive way.

15 07, 2019

The Nazca Spiral, Part 1: Progression Parallels

The Nazca plain in Peru has large figures laid out on the ground. They were made from about 200 BC until about AD 600, and they are still there because there is practically no rain. There are animals and other shapes, including the left, which might be a maze. There is one theory that these shapes were walked through for ritual purposes.

Now if we pause to reflect, this strange phenomenon that has seemingly no significance to the context of an athlete, can actually start to harbour some meaning. When I look at this spiral I cannot help but see it as a natural course of improvement, development, or progression. When beginning a new sport, workout regime, or learning anything new at all; there is an initial learning curve where we tend to see linear progression (left). This is when learning is fun, engaging, and we often see improvements. We soon come to realize that our line of growth is not and cannot be exponential, there are natural progression limits. But when we are immersed in our goals, it becomes hard to see this macro perspective. It’s when athletes start to doubt: themselves, their training, their nutrition, their program etc… which is not all bad, we learn a lot in this phase of the athletes progressions because we are questioning. If we look not at the linear progression graph, but at the Nazca spiral, it gives us a more realistic visual aid as to what progression looks like over time. If we start at the beginning of the Nacza (with our goal to be to get to the centre), it looks identical to the linear progression, we start moving towards the centre right away. But rather than just falling off the graph, the charted Nazca path circles around the center briefly and then starts to move away. If we continue following the path, we can see that there is a pattern of moving toward the centre, then moving away, but ultimately getting closer to the centre or our goal over time. Observing this from a macro perspective, it is very clear that the path eventually leads to the centre, but in reality when we are walking the path, living the micro perspective, it’s almost impossible to see.

In CrossFit, getting new skills is damn sexy, it makes us feel good instantly. Something we are very used to- instant gratification. What is it to work for something? There is a learning factor amongst the grind, the basics, the very core of hard work.

Herein lies the paradox. The intention of crossfit almost always goes against the mentality of the athlete. Blame the alluring feeling of getting new skills like the pull-up and the muscle up, the pr.

CrossFit’s intention is a training program to be fit in all areas, to increase work capacity across broad time and modal domains. It has since become a sport to see who exemplifies its intentions in the best manner. Who is the most virtuous within CrossFit or fitness. Games athletes are always held in high regard, and made examples in our vastly growing community. We can learn a lot from them, however, with our skewed perspective of what we think is accomplishment we actually digress from using these athletes as examples. We do not see the forest for the trees which causes our mentality on training to be skewed.

The games athlete is a great exemplar of virtuosity and achievement of pursuit, they seem like they are living amongst their goals, they are living in the centre of the Nazca. It is clear that this is highly untrue, they might be in the centre of your Nazca, but the games athlete, the professional, the virtuoso is most likely further from their centre spiral then the average person from a relative standpoint.

If we can recognize and trust ourselves to have confidence with our progression, we can go from depending on daily motivations to thriving off of the discipline we were looking for in the first place. Because when you are disciplined, motivation is unnecessary.

5 07, 2019

A two way conversation

Coaching must start with relationship, we put a high value on the relationship between the coach and the athlete as a crucial step to progression. Logically, if we have not built a relationship first, we do not have access to the emotional tools in order to provide insight and ultimately results. Like in any relationship it takes two people having two way conversations which means authentic communication and authentic listening, from both sides. In no way should coaching an athlete ever be a dictation, the coaches responsibility is to allow for this natural communication. But results cannot come from the extreme opposite either, where the ownership falls solely on the coach, because it is ultimately about the athlete.

There is a lot of social media buz in our industry about coaches being the ultimate listeners and relationship builders. This is great, but very one sided and comes from a place of confirmation bias; it’s also a self fulfilling prophecy approach for the coach and provides lack of accountability for the athlete. 

What we are in fact speaking about is coachability, when we teach coachability we are not just teaching how to learn more effectively in the gym, this habit spills into our every day lives and allows us to develop valuable skills like patience, authentic listening, ability to understand others, allowing us to be more productive absorb more information and basically allows us to become better at learning in general.

In the name of two way conversation, the athlete must be willing to listen and grow with the coach, the coach must be willing to guide the athlete to this level of coachability. The two people involved in a coaching situation form a team that both have a common goal; where the athlete would ultimately like to make progress toward achievement and have fun doing it, the coach is invested in assisting that athlete toward their achievement. It is in every sense of the cliche a two way street. Our growth happens together and as a team, not just a one sided view point from either side, both have to build a relationship that allow for productive communication. The fitness industry, it seems, has gotten to a tipping point where the old adage “the customer is always right” is now on steroids; chalk it up to a fear of bad social media reviews or a misguided approach, it is apparent that effective coaching has been lost in the social media wave.

It is difficult to have learning scenarios without coaching or guidance, we cannot have coaching without a relationship, because when we care about the subject you’re going to gain knowledge on the subject, but if we care about and value the person delivering the material on the subject, we will gain more than knowledge we will gain experience. We are so lucky at CFO to have the culture that has been shining on our social media as of late, our athletes not only hold their coaches accountable but they are ready to be held accountable themselves, because we know that on the other side of accountability are the results we’ve been looking for.

20 06, 2019

Building Community through Culture

Love them or hate them, there is no better process on our planet, currently, than the 2000-present New England Patriots. It is the reason the New England Patriots have appeared in 5-6% of all of all time Super Bowl Championships, 41% of the ones that take place in this century.

Another team with a world famous process is the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Team. In the decade from 2000 to 2009, New Zealand won 100 tests for an 82% winning percentage.

Most people like to assign a hero to the story and attest that the talent of Tom Brady, the Genius of Bill Belichick, or the secret training of the All Blacks is the reason why teams like this are consistently winning. One may be lead to believe that the teams have a secret ingredient that nobody else has. But the real reason why these teams have found everlasting success is because they have found a way to allow their process to be dictated by their culture.

The two teams have been able to build in a relentless commitment to their internal culture, thus creating a substantial process, and with every individual contributing, it forms their community, the teams are unstoppable making the individuals unstoppable by default. Momentum is a great tool. When the people develop the culture that provides the community with momentum, it can then foster the process that serves the people for success. This is our “success loop.”

We put so much emphasis on our community, in order to build a culture that promotes the success of everyone involved. We all know the feeling of being involved in a process with a solid culture. There is an unbeatable momentum surge that we feel whenever we are in the presence of it. It’s why working out alone feels nothing like working out with a group.

At CFO, we offer two memberships, a class membership and an open gym only membership. The open gym is a much more affordable option, you can come into the gym whenever you would like and the daily program is still accessible. Athletes have all the tools they need in order to be able to go through our process on their own. The only difference between the two is the community; having all of the tools and being a part of a culture that breeds a community of people who thrive using those tools is why 99% of our athletes chose to be a part of our community.

We choose our words carefully. We haven’t created, found, or fashioned our community but rather built it, we have built it “brick by brick” (Belichick) from a culture of purpose, virtuosity, and health. We are nowhere near the New England Patriots or the All Blacks, however the foundation of our culture is rooted deep, so as long as we keep adding bricks and our people are a part of the success loop, we will continue to build greatness within our culture and ultimately serve our athletes in their pursuits.

10 06, 2019

The 4 Factors of Stimulus

T

Stimulus: The intended physical stress of an effective training program.

4 factors that comprise Stimulus:

1. Muscular activation
2. Joint performance

range of motion and lever angles:
Upper body: push/pull
Lower body: push/pull
Ankle flex/ext
3. Metabolic Range
4. Scaling and progression.

Scaling (training)
This is completely Horizontal, it is not a vertical hierarchy or a progression ladder. Scaling is using movement as a tool to gain a desired stimulus within the athlete. This is why people with muscle ups still incorporate pull-ups and even ring rows into their training.


Progression (practice)
This one is vertical, we don’t control for stimulus in our progressions, we use specific drills for a specific purpose to progress for specific reasons. Think of a beat swing (kip swing) as a specific muscle up drill, the benefit is seen in the practice of the movement, not in the training stimulus.

Thus, at the intersection of scaling and progression we find our ideal ability. We have found that the struggle for most people is attempting to operate where we want our ability to be. If we focus on stimulus, ability is a lot easier to see because it is simply a result of our progressions and scaling. We essentially remove the guessing game and ultimately lay a much stronger foundation. A virtuous approach and endeavour.

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4 04, 2018

Process

To take our focus from magic recipe’s and secret shortcuts is not an easy task. Without a process to direct that focus it becomes a near impossibility. People are naturally inclined to take the path of least resistance; it’s ingrained in our DNA as a survival instinct. But, any success story will reveal the person with their story of their arduous process. Emotionally, we love hearing success stories that involve triumph and overcoming the impossible, it’s why we love the underdog stories so much. But, our focus here is on the outcome, because the process is the boring part. As far as process goes, not much rivals the 2000-present New England Patriots. It is the self proclaimed reason the New England Patriots have appeared 41% of all Superbowl games played in this century. Outlined by the team mantra “Do Your Job.”

Another team with a world famous process is the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Team. In the decade from 2000 to 2009, New Zealand won 100 tests for an 82% winning percentage. However, most people will tell you that the talent of Tom Brady, the Genius of Bill Belichick, or the secret training of the All Blacks is the reason why teams like this are consistently winning. One may think the teams have a secret ingredient that nobody else has. Some don’t understand that without a commitment to the ‘Patriot Way’ or to the All Black culture, this level of success doesn’t happen. It’s not a secret ingredient at all, ingredients help, but it’s the act of following the recipe to the Nth degree that is what brings these margins of success.

There is a recipe or a process in everyone’s lives, whether they are aware or not. Odds are, if they are unaware of their own process,’ they are most likely ineffective. They are simply our daily routines, how we react to situations, and essentially how we live our lives. When we become aware of these process,’ we have the powerful ability to take ownership over them and learn how to create more effective versions of them. On the contrary, when we jump around look for that perfect process, they never end up working how we perceived them to because we were looking for that ‘fairy dust magic’ that never existed. The ‘magic’ is in the hard work it takes to learn from the art of building your own process; there is no secret, there is only the nobility of hard work and the ability to execute your efforts in difficult times.

20 02, 2018

CrossFit Oshawa – The Open Seminar – 2018

On Saturday, we hosted our first seminar on The Open. We started with a ‘Minds On’ activity; participants were asked to write their answer on the whiteboard to the following question: “In ONE word, describe what The Open is or what The Open means to you.” This initiated conversation that became the framework for the seminar content.

We identified a circular visual that guided our discussions; it started with the WHAT, moved to the HOW, and focused on the WHY, moreover, the PURPOSE.

WHAT is The Open?
 5 workouts over 5 weeks
 Starts with 18.1; workouts are identified by the year and the order in which they appear
 Workouts are released every Thursday evening at 8pm
 Live announcement is streamed in varied locations by CFHQ with Special Guest Athletes who complete the workout
 Scores are submitted by 8pm on Monday night
 Process of competition: Open – Regionals – Games

Some of you may wonder WHY should I sign up for The Open? We had enriched conversations that increased the understanding of what participating in The Open might suggest. We concluded that it creates the opportunity to bring people together to create a special community. The energy and excitement that fills the gym during “Friday Night Lights” is incredible. We have the opportunity to see our friends and fellow gym go-ers challenge themselves and achieve the unimaginable. How many times have you seen someone get their first pull up, chest-to-bar, handstand push up, muscle up, or PR?

There are really no words to describe the impact of gathering together to accomplish the impossible. Whether your purpose is to set an example as a parent, to have fun, to increase fitness, get social time, set and achieve goals, measure growth, finish in honour of someone, there is a place for everyone and all to join in!

HOW does The Open work at CrossFit Oshawa? We are hosting The Open as “Friday Night Lights.” This event will happen every Friday night, starting at 5:30pm. If you cannot attend on Friday night or would like to do the workout again, we will offer Open Gym on Sunday and Open Gym on Monday as an alternate.

We discussed the intent of The Open and had an insightful discussion about the mindset of the ‘One & Done’ approach. “Friday Night Lights” will ensure that all are welcome and will have the chance to partake in The Open. On Friday night, we will explain everything that you will need to know about the procedures week-by-week.
We concluded this section of the seminar by sharing the exciting news that we have branched our “Wine WOD” initiative into CrossFit Oshawa centered prizes, chosen each week and another at the end of the five weeks!
We wrapped up our whiteboard talk with a broadened understanding of perspectives as a Judge and as an Athlete:

JUDGE
 Accurately record reps, loads, and times using a score sheet
 Support the correct workout order, loading, and rep count
 Enforce movement standards
 Reminders: avoid coaching friends; avoid coaching/assessing/critiquing movement
 No rep
 Congratulate the athlete at the end of the workout

ATHLETE

 Build adversity: no rep, someone in your way, equipment malfunction, etc.
 Know yourself and make a plan
 Pacing: use pacing to calm your nerves
 Mindset: Growth versus Fixed

The seminar concluded with a workout in the style of The Open. We briefed the Judges and Athletes on the movements and then we hit the workout as it would appear on “Friday Night Lights.”

WOD
AMRAP 12 minutes of:

Rx’d
50 Box Jumps Overs (24’/20’)
40 Thrusters (95#/65#)
30 Dumbbell Snatch (50#/35#)
20 Handstand Push Ups
10 Muscle Ups

Scaled
50 Box Jumps Overs (20’/12’)
40 Thrusters (65#/45#)
30 Dumbbell Snatch (35#/20#)
20 Push Press (65#/45#)
10 Chest-to-Bar Pull Ups

Notes:
 Training vs. Testing (competition); safety first
 If you are limited on a movement, your score is where you finish, but still get a workout
 Try to PR on a movement (i.e.: Chest-to-Bar Pull Up)

12 01, 2018

CFO Nutrition

Dieting is one of the most over dramatized and misunderstood things that we do as human beings. Therefore, I am not going to sit here and tell you that I have a great diet, I have the best diet, I have the one that works. Just try it for x amount of days and you are guaranteed to see results! Following diets or any of our goals in this manner is why people fail. Essentially, diets are: goals. My GOAL is going to eat X.

Imagine you have a choice to make:

You can wake up tomorrow with no effort on your part and look like a greek god/goddess chiseled from stone or whatever it is your ideal body image is. However, in order to do this you lose your job. Would you make this deal? (this notion assumes you are doing something that either you love or financially sustains your life)

This is why most people cannot stick to diets, their motivator isn’t strong enough, when it comes down to it, maybe even on a subconscious level, you know that your basic human survival doesn’t depend on your image in the mirror or your instagram selfies. Your survival, more so, depends on the money you are making from your job. I’m not saying you shouldn’t care what you look like, we all do, we all have those days where we stand in the mirror and proclaim something like,  “shit. What happened to me.”

But imagine another choice, imagine: you had the choice between losing your job and living a healthy long life, leaving the legacy you intended to your family, partner, or the world even. You can always get another job. In this scenario the choice is tougher because both motives weigh on your survival.

Most people are motivating themselves through appearance when thinking about nutrition. Your first step to a successful approach to healthy living through nutrition is dependant on how strongly motivated you are, what is the foundation of your motivation built on? Are you intrinsically eating healthier to look better than your friends social media pictures or are you motivated by a deeper meaning of something like voiding chronic disease from your life or growing your physical capacity because it has helped you become more assertive in the workplace advancing your career to provide for your family?

Once we have a solid foundation in our motives, the next step is the realization that the only thing you can control are your choices. Your motives will only last so long, when the tough choices come we need to be prepared to control those choices:

If your motivation is superficial, when there’s pizza at work and everyone is eating pizza it’s almost impossible to say no, “I’ll just have one slice so I’m not perceived as the ‘health freak’ in the office.” Once we get that pleasure response from that slice of pizza, it almost always leads to one more slice… or 5 more.”Bet you can’t eat just one” is a great advertising slogan for a reason, it truly speaks to the individual on a deep level.  

It will be a lot easier to say no to that slice of office pizza when our motivation lies in something bigger than a material outcome. It’s not about the pleasure of looking good, it’s about the struggle of saying no to the pizza so that you can grow towards a healthy lifestyle and can be a healthy happy grandparent one day that the grandkids get excited to visit. Or, I can perform at elite athletic levels and leave a legacy through achieving my physical goals, my life being a shining example for others. But it’s not until you have a comprehensive reason to fuel your motivation enabling you to have a leg to stand on when things get tough. And things will get tough.

A  pretty standard notion that we can all easily accept that Nutrition is important if not the most important, for health and fitness.

But this is where most people stop, they say, “nutrition is important so I have to eat healthy.” Period. Then their new year’s resolution is to eat healthier. With that foundation: there’s no buy in, there’s no accountability, there’s no guidance, there’s no measurement, ultimately leading to no results. Saying and doing are completely different things. Ultimately, this won’t hold up when things get tough and you have a choice to make.

The Current Mentality of diets

Dieting became a fad around the same time as jogging in the 80s and companies started honing in on this financial opportunity. This has totally mislead the consumer to believe a whole host of issues regarding nutrition. But really consumers have mislead themselves and companies just pray on that misjudgment.

Today, people are very good at self sabotage, specifically through over complication, think about how hard it was and still is to learn things from scratch. Is that because things are actually that hard to learn, or are we internally overcomplicating things to give ourselves an excuse on why we can’t do something difficult and why other people can?

We have come to overcomplicate diets through quality control. We attempt to define what constitutes a healthy food, enter the debates. It’s like refining the gasoline we put in a ferrari but totally neglecting that I need brake fluid and oil changes as well.

What this has done has caused individuals with the good intentions of following a healthy diet having no measurement or guidance of how to approach eating these great foods. people haven’t taken the time to learn about macronutrients and how it affects them.

Our current mentality on diets is like playing darts with a blindfold.

Quantitative Nutrition

Before we control quality we have to learn Quantity:

Most people hear quantity and think about calorie restriction. This is getting on the right track but still not enough, What is a calorie: A unit of measurement for energy derived from food. But we absorb, or metabolize, that energy in 3 ways specifically:

Remember, all calories come from macronutrients. Vitamins, minerals, etc are micronutrients and do not contain calories so for our purposes right now, they don’t matter..

Only proteins, fats, carbs and Alcohol yield calories.

Macros:

Protein

Meat, fish, eggs, dairy are all good sources of protein. 

Protein is best thought of as an abundance of building blocks, your body needs protein for survival in order to grow. Further, it controls appetite and staves off hunger better than fats or carbs as it causes you to feel full longer.

For the body to digest protein it requires a lot of effort, thus effectively burning more calories gram for gram through the digestion process.

All of these reasons make high-protein diets great for fat loss and performance gains.

Many people refer to “good” protein sources, like nuts or beans, that are actually very bad, misleading sources of protein. Only about 20% of the calories in these foods come from protein.

If a person states that “nuts are great protein!” you know this is not credible nutrition advice.

 

Fat

Meat, fatty fish, nuts, nut butters, oils and countless other sources.

Fat is best thought of as Energy the driving force behind all other nutrients, it is the vehicle that carries the building blocks. It is an essential macronutrient that our bodies require to live; it assists in vitamin absorption, hormone regulation, brain function, and more.

 

Carbohydrate

Fruit, vegetables, grains, many processed foods/drinks, and seemingly everything you crave.

Carbs are best thought of as immediate energy. Carbs are stored in the liver, brain, blood and muscles as glycogen. Our bodies use carbohydrates for energy.

Fact: We can live off zero carb intake.

 

Here is an example of two day’s of diets broken down into macro nutrients and total calorie intake:

*These are actual days of everything that went into the body, both days can be looked at as “low carb.” To that I say, what is low carb? we have to realize that “low carb” is a human made conception. However, In no way do I claim this to be a perfect or even an ideal diet, this is just a stepping stone in my own process intended to assist those who are attempting to understand the quantitative intake of macro nutrients and overall calories. 

Day 1: Normal Day   Day 2:

30g Net Carb Limit (Net Carb = Total Carbohydrate – Fiber)

Food Net Carb (grams) Fat (grams) Pro (grams) Total Cals   Food Net Carb (grams) Fat (grams) Pro (grams) Total Cals
Breakfast           Breakfast
Coffee 0 0 1 7 Coffee & Bullet Proof Coffee 0 26 1 246
Clementine 13 1 1 80 Lunch
Granny smith apple 12 0 0 63 Tuna 1 can 0 1 30 120
Almond butter 4 18 6 210 Chicken breast 1 cup 0 5 43 231
Spinach 1 cup 1 0 2 15 Olive oil(3tbsp)/Balsamic vin(1tbsp) 0 42 0 360
Eggs x 4 4 20 28 280 Spinach 1 cup 1 0 2 15
Rabbit 2oz 0 6 12 80 Cucumber 3 0 1 16
Totals: 34 45 50 735 Totals: 4 74 77 988
Dinner           Dinner
Pulled Pork 9 oz 0 36 60 585 Pulled Pork 9 oz 0 36 60 585
Homemade sauce 8 0 0 31 Rabit 3oz 0 9 16 120
Brown Rice 1/2 cup 26 1 3 124 Chicken breast 1 cup 0 5 43 231
Spinach 1 cup 4 0 8 60 Banana Peppers 17 pieces 1 0 0 4
Shredded Cocconut 1/2 cup 3 25 3 260 Boston Lettuce 3 cups 3 1 2 21
Pumpkin seeds 4tbsp 4 24 36 290 Green Beens (20 beens) 4 0 2 34
olive oil 3 tbsp 0 42 0 358 Cherry Tomatoes 1cup 4 0 1 25
Avacado 2 15 2 160
Shredded Cocconut 1/2 cup 3 25 3 260
Pumpkin seeds 4tbsp 4 24 36 290
Olive oil(3tbsp)/Balsamic vin(1tbsp) 0 42 0 360
Almonds 1oz 3 14 6 170
Nestle pure life sparkling lemon/lime water 0 0 0 0
Totals: 45 128 110 1708   Totals: 24 171 171 2260
Snack           Snack
4 bean salad 79ml 13 0 1 60
Old Cheddar cheese 120g 0 40 28 480
Red Wine 10oz 10 0 0 210
Totals: 23 40 29 750   Totals: 0 0 0 0
Daily Total: 102 213 189 3193   Daily Total: 28 245 248 3248
% 20% 42% 38%     % 5% 47% 48%