This video shows how building control and stability in your Olympic lifts will help you reach new PRs and avoid injury.
Laura is a TreeTown member who had been lifting with us for about three months in the video on the left. She performed this lift at one of the mock Oly meets our Barbell Club holds. While Laura came to us with raw strength and capability, she lacked the stability and control in her form to achieve heavier lifts. As you can see in the video on the right, her dedication to the TreeTown coaching she received resulted in impressive improvements and results!
The best way to warm up for a squat is to squat, the best way to get ready for a clean is to clean, the best way to get ready to run is to run, the best way to get ready to do pull-ups it to–you get the idea.
If your warm-up does not include any of the movements that are part of the task at hand, then you are warming up improperly. The best way to prepare you for the day’s effort is to do reps–lots and lots of reps–beforehand at a slower speed, lighter weight, or from different positions. During this preparation phase, it is important to get the blood pumping and to refine technique and movement patterns. Your warm-up is every bit as important as the workout, and so it should be taken just as seriously, and you should be just as attentive. Movement patterns are being set, confidence is being built, and your focus here can determine the day’s results.
You can do all the stretching, mobility, banded stretching, banded mobility you like, but if you are not doing multiple reps before your workout, you may be leaving results on the table. Or inviting injury.
Follow Coach Claire as she works with members during the general warm-up to get the blood pumping, and through the skill-specific warm-up to improve technique, ensure safety, and build your confidence for the day’s workout.
At CrossFit TreeTown we believe that a good air squat is the key to success, both in and out of the gym! Take a few minutes to follow along as we show the progress Amanda makes with the help of a coach. We are committed to our members success, even if that means being relentless in our standards and expectations of what they are capable of!
Here at CrossFit TreeTown we have incredible athletes, but not everyone starts out that way. When people talk with me about starting CrossFit, I quite often hear ” I need to get in-shape before I start coming to CrossFit.” I usually chuckle a bit at this because getting you “in-shape” is what we do here. It’s akin to saying, “I’m too dirty to take a shower”.
From time to time, I ask people to share their CrossFit story with me, and I thought I would share Jenn’s inspirational journey with everyone!! If Jenn would have waited to come to CrossFit until she got “in-shape”, I question whether she ever would have started? We are certainly glad we could help her get “in-shape”.
For reference, I put “in-shape” in quotations because what does that really mean? You can define that in so many ways that I will not even begin to address it, because we all have individual goals and determination of what fitness means. I put “in-shape” in quotations, for the same reason we put the term “fun” in quotations here at TreeTown. We all have our own definition of “fun”, or being “in-shape”. We are training at TreeTown to become better, whatever that means for you. The foundation for becoming “better” here at TreeTown is to work towards becoming fit, healthy and happy individuals!
Jenn points out in her story below, as Arthur Ashe said, it’s the decision to simply “start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
There are so many benefits to Crossfit that have been written, but the most important are the ones that benefit you as an individual. At Crossfit Treetown, two stand out in my mind and they are bookends. At the beginning, it’s the ability to scale each and every exercise no matter WHAT your fitness level is. At the other end, it’s the fact that you can ALWAYS improve and work towards new goals. The constant thread throughout that journey has been the exceptional training I’ve found in Max Finkbeiner and the trainers at TreeTown, and the amazing community of supportive and fun people who make going to the gym such an enjoyable part of the day.
For me, I started my journey toward health as a very sick, weak and emotionally broken individual. Having my mom die suddenly from preventable illnesses woke me up to the future that lay before me if I didn’t make the necessary changes in my life.
Beginning to restore my health through a fantastic nutrition program, with Dr. Jenn’s Nutrition Response Testing, at Lakeland Chiropractic, I then began crossfit over 2 years ago. I had NEVER been an athlete and had never done any of the things I’d seen in all the crossfit videos. To say I was intimidated would be putting it mildly. I was 44 years old and I could hardly run, I couldn’t squat, jump rope or pick up a 10 pound ball. It was incredibly discouraging at first, but Max wouldn’t let me give up on myself. I had to choose to keep coming and I had to get comfortable with failing and trying again. But finishing each class was accomplishment of its own.
Image: jenn treetown1-2 NO SUCH IMAGE EXISTS IN ASSETS
Nutrition and crossfit go hand in hand and it’s like iron sharpening iron. I became healthy, lost 70 pounds, put on at least 10 pounds of muscle and transformed my body, overcame lifetime asthma, stopped taking 3 medications I’d been on for 30 years and completely overhauled my lifestyle in those two years. It’s gradual progress that has now become a way of life because of the baby steps, support and encouragement.
Something happens to you when you conquer fears and accomplish things you never imagined you could do. You become the confident person that you always wished you could be. That confidence and belief in myself transferred into my job performance, my personal relationships and my community life. You want to do more, to try more and to become MORE. Not perfect, but progress. In 2014, I completed two triathlons for the first time and did my first crossfit competition! Remember that I couldn’t even RUN a driveway without stopping to catch my breath!
Real change is possible and the promise of your best life for yourself and those you love is one decision away. As Arthur Ashe said, it’s the decision to simply “start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
It was that decision that changed the path of my life forever and for which I cannot express enough gratitude. I love my Treetown family.
What are you really asking when you ask someone, “How many did you get?” or, “What was your time?”
We ask this for many reasons.
As a coach, I ask to get a pulse on how your training is coming along. I ask to find out if you felt you had a good workout or not. I ask to see how you are progressing.
Sometimes we ask to see how we compare. As an athlete, it gives me a guide to my fitness on that day. It may be a day I felt exceptionally good, or I may have felt like I was working harder than I thought I should. Asking can help me determine if I am tired or over trained.
If I ask you, it should not be about whether I beat you or you beat me. Yes, one of those two things happened but it does not mean anything more than that, and it gives no more value to me or my effort.
When you ask someone how they did, is it to give yourself validation? Comparing yourself to others may be the wrong mindset and will certainly lead to disappointment. Doing this uses the other person for motivation. That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself and others just so you can feel good about yourself and your workout.
I promise you, there is always someone faster, stronger, or better, unless maybe your name is Rich Froning.
Let’s be fair. Asking someone how many they got almost always leaves someone disappointed, either you or the person you are asking.
Real enJOYment comes from the process, not just the result.
There is a time and a place for racing and comparing. If you ask someone how they did because you were racing them, you may want to make sure that the other person knows they were in a race! That way it’s more fun for both of you!
Competition and racing during workouts have always been part of the CrossFit culture, and always will be. This is one of the many tools CrossFit uses to get the most out of its athletes.
The problem is when it becomes the most important tool for the athlete or coach. There is a time for racing and a time for training. It is important to know which you are doing. Training has a purpose, a purpose greater than your final rep count or time. Yes, at the end of the workout you will have a time or total rep count, but these are just reflections of your training.
For example, you want to improve your Fran time, but there are many things that need work. It could be that you are working on the speed of the reps, doing the thrusters or pull-ups unbroken, or doing butterfly pull-ups as opposed to kipping pull-ups. Dedication to any one of these on a given day could be something that slows down your overall time. You may have to sacrifice your time for improvement in specific areas of your fitness. To become a better overall athlete, it may mean a slower time for this day’s training.
Another example would be moving better and beyond competition standards. Even though squatting just below parallel meets our competition standards, it does not mean we should train this way. Our goal should be to train to our full range of motion. Shortening the range of motion for the sake of competition on a training day is not helping your overall fitness. Again, there is a time and a place for squatting just below parallel, but not on a daily basis in the gym. It is reserved for special days of competition.
Keep in mind there are days when racing is the purpose of training, and your goal for that training day is to get as many reps as possible. Some days it is all about the amount of work of which you are capable on that given day. At TreeTown we call these test days or benchmarks.
We want you to be aware of what the day’s training goals are. Often times that means slowing down a bit, and to have a training goal for the day!
When I became a CrossFit coach, I didn’t really know why I was doing it. I thought it would be fun. When I starting CrossFitting, I was quite good at it. I moved well and caught on to the movements pretty easily. Becoming a coach seemed like a natural progression.
Shortly after becoming a coach, I realized why I enjoyed it so much. To me, it means connecting with others and giving them what sport has given me. Throughout life, sport has helped to build my confidence, self belief, and inner strength that can only come from challenging oneself in different ways. Through CrossFit I have been able to do things I never thought were possible — physically, personally, and as a business man. I just want to share that with others. If I can help someone believe in themselves a little more and have courage to try new things, whether that’s in the gym or in life, it feels like a very positive thing that I can give to others.
When I opened CrossFit TreeTown, I was given the opportunity to do all of this, as well as to instill these ideas in other coaches that work at TreeTown so that they may share that same gift. Of course health, fitness, and wellness all go hand in hand with that, but it’s funny how as we become more confident and stronger, we become healthier and happier individuals.
I was having a conversation with a member last month, and I asked her why she joined TreeTown. She quickly responded, “People said ‘hello’ to me here!” I thought maybe it was the coaching, cool equipment, the facility, or the location, but no. It was all of you!
The small gesture of a member taking a moment to reach out and say “Hi!” went beyond all the other qualities of our gym. Who knows what could have happened to this member had we all just ignored her. She may have gone down the wrong path. Instead of beginning her journey to becoming a healthier, more badass version of herself, what if instead she decided to go have a donut, then pizza, then wine? We all know wine is a gateway drug to ice cream! Soon she is unrecognizable, not because she has become a happier, healthy version of herself, but because ice cream has taken over and she is living from pint to pint.
So if you see a face at TreeTown you don’t recognize, please, take a moment to say “hello” and introduce yourself. You may be making a new friend and keeping them off the pint!
When I think about why I coach, a couple of things come to mind…
Experiencing the joy of helping others thrive is the greatest reward you get as a coach. As you expand their possibilities, yours expand tenfold. Everything you have done and will do becomes full of meaning and possibility. Every athlete I coach is a mirror for me – for me to see how I can better myself for them.
The Pursuit of Human Greatness
As a member of CrossFit TreeTown (and more importantly as a trainer), setting high and consistent standards across the board for your athletes not only makes them the best version they can be, but it makes you keep a higher standard for yourself. You cannot ask your athletes to do something you are not willing to do yourself. Setting high standards in the gym translates to setting high standards in your life. How cool is it to be able to help someone grow like this?
Expanding My Cultural Awareness
As you coach people from around the world, you learn something new every day. You get to know your members on a person level – where they are from, what brought them to TreeTown, what their goals are. Eventually, people you otherwise might not have had the chance to meet, become friends, and as a community we become family.
Together we can change the world one athlete at a time – ultimately, isn’t this why we do what we do? To build true wealth in all areas of our community? Everyone deserves to be fit, happy, and healthy. So, I guess the answer to “why do I coach” boils down to one reason: to help people become the very best version of themselves!
Many times friends and family outside of my CrossFit world ask me why I spend so much time training and working out.
My quick reply to them is, “I don’t want anyone to help me wipe my ass!”
Let me explain. This all started many years ago when I was newly married and just getting started in my adult life. During this time, my wife and I would call on my ever-so-helpful father-in-law to help us with numerous things: painting our new house, installing a dishwasher, tearing out and replacing flooring, etc.
All of these projects ended with me telling my father-in-law, “Thank you, I owe you one!” His quick reply was always, “Don’t worry, you will be the first one I call.”
For a while, this was how it would always go—when I needed something, I’d call him and he was there for us.
Well one day near the completion of a three day wood floor installation project, I stopped mid hammer throw and said, “I don’t know how I would have gotten this done without you; thank you so much. I really owe you one.” He, of course, replied, “Don’t worry, you will be the first one I call!”
This time though, for some reason, I didn’t let it end there. I asked, “What exactly do you mean?” He replied, “When I need someone to wipe my ass, you will be the first one I call.”
He was, of course, joking (at least that’s what I tell myself), and in all seriousness and sincerity—if he ever needs it, I will be there for him. But it struck a nerve and got me thinking about my own motivation, my own “why” when it comes to the early and long hours at TreeTown, pushing my limits.
So where am I going with all this?
Why you come to the gym or why you decide to take care of yourself has to be greater than your desire to eat that donut, have a second helping, sip on that soda, drink that beer, or stay up all night.
You need a greater purpose, something stronger than sitting on the couch, to help get you off your butt and get moving. For me, it’s a fear of having to ask someone for help wiping my ass, or having my son, Wil, take my car keys one day. My “why” is prolonged independence and capability later in life. My “why” is being fit enough to help my kids and their families with those demanding house projects well into my senior years.
Your “why” doesn’t have to be quite so far-reaching as mine. Yours could be as simple as, “I love to sweat. I like to push myself to see what I’m made of. I love seeing my friends.” It could be you confronting a history of heart disease or diabetes in your family. It could be to have abs. Better abs. Great abs. Cheese grater level abs.
Whatever it is for you, if it’s a strong enough desire, it will get you moving and out the door and keep you on track!
So if I see you and ask, “What is your ‘why’?” be ready! Having that answer in the forefront of your mind will give you purpose, a goal to stick too, determination to make it through a tough workout, a drive to be a better version of yourself.
And thanks, Dad, for helping me find my “why!”