I have written several times about the importance of competition. Many folks say that competition builds character. I disagree, competition reveals your character.
I enjoy healthy competition and that's exactly what we had over the past 3 weeks of the 2021 CrossFit Games Intramural Open. I hope you had as much fun as I did.
So, who won? Team Summer is our 2021 CrossFit Games Intramural Open team champion. Team Summer earned 263 total points and Team Winter earned 244 total points. Team Winter won last week's workouts.
Here are the top finishers of last week's final workouts 21.3 and 21.4 in each category, Rx, Scaled, Masters (55 and older) Rx and Scaled, and Foundations.
Here are the top 10 finishers of last week's second workout, 21.4. We gave points to the top finishers in each of their perspective divisions.
There were some great PRs and firsts last week. Congrats to Adam and Heather U who got chest to bar pull-ups and to Sean, Bethanie and Kelsi who got their most pull-ups in a workout.
This week's Spirit of the Open winner was Tami McCauley
The top 3 point earners for Team Summer are:
The top 3 point earners for Team Winter are:
Share your thoughts about The Open with us in the comments. How do you think the teams should be divided up next year? Do you think this was a fair test of who is the better CrossFitter? If not, would do you think the best test should be?
I started wearing a Whoop strap in July and have blogged several times about my experience.
WHOOP and CrossFit just announced a multiyear partnership naming WHOOP the Official Wearable of CrossFit. The partnership will help athletes at all levels of the sport benefit from WHOOP data around training, sleep, and recovery. I am super excited about this partnership.
The Whoop strap is a wearable performance monitor that measures your strain (workout intensity), recovery and sleep. Since my Sleep Number bed monitors my sleep, I am most interested in Whoop's ability to measure my recovery and strain.
I started wearing my Whoop strap on July 2020 and within the first 3 days learned that I was not recovering from my workouts. I certainly was feeling this in my body and I was not at all surprised that the data correlated with my feelings.
It takes 7 days of data collection before you can access the Whoop coaching features. Until then, you just wear it all the time. You still get very interesting data within the first week, you just don't get analysis and suggestions.
Here's what my recovery and sleep looked like over the past 7 days. My sleep is totally dialed in, yet several days last week I had poor recovery. I consider my recovery poor if I'm not in the green. Since I have great sleep, there must be other factors that are inhibiting my body's ability to recover.
Whoop calculates recovery using heart rate variability (HRV), resting heart rate and sleep. Before I started wearing my Whoop strap I knew very little about HRV. Now, I'm managing my recovery to maximize my HRV. HRV varies based upon age, gender, health and aerobic fitness. Since the first two variables are fixed, I'm focusing on health and aerobic fitness.
According to Whoop there are about 5 health factors that can influence your HRV. They are hydration, nutrition, sleep, limiting alcohol and stress management. Since my sleep is solid and my nutrition is on point (thanks to working with Coach Audy) I am focusing on hydration, which Whoop confirms is the number 1 way to improve recovery and HRV.
Being properly hydrated has many benefits, all of which I have blogged about, and the benefit that has the most significant impact on HRV is that hydration helps circulate oxygen to your working muscles. My heart is my most important working muscle and HRV tells me how efficiently it's working. According to Whoop I need to drink more water (and less beer;)
How much water should we drink? For many years I have followed the 1/3 to 1/2 your body weight in ounces. Now that I weigh 170 again (thanks Coach Audy) I should drink 51-85 ounces of water (or other hydrating liquids). That's a big range and according to Whoop it's not enough. This inadequacy is expressed both by my low HRV and by the thousands of data gathered by Whoop users. They have calculated the optimal hydration strategy for athletes (that's what we CrossFitters are) to be 1 ounce of water for every pound of body weight. That means I need to drink 170 ounces of liquid every day! I have been barely getting half that amount!
In order to drink 170 ounces of water I need to down a little over 5 Nalgene bottles EVERY DAY! I better start drinking and staying close to a bathroom. I have not yet achieved 170 ounces in a day. I am making this a top priority and am looking forward to seeing HRV improve.
If you are interested in joining me on a Whoop journey, use my link to get your first month free. If you're already a Whoop user, join our True Spirit Whoop Group with the team code: COMM-AD6416. Stay tuned for my next Whoop! Wednesday post as I explore the strain score and how it relates to CrossFit workouts.
How SMART Are You?
So many of us have a best wish. "I wish I could get to the gym more often." "I wish I ate better." I wish I worked on my mobility more often." Wishes are not a plan. You need a SMART goal.
SMART goals are specific. Instead of saying you want to get to the gym consistently. Your SMART goal is to get to the gym 12 times this month.
SMART goals are measurable. Attending 12 classes this month is a measurable goal where as going to the gym consistently is not.
SMART goals have a plan. You will pack your gym bag the night before you plan to attend class. You will enroll in class and set a reminder on your phone. You will block out your schedule so no one can take your gym time away from you.
SMART goals are meaningful to you because they move the needle in the direction you want to go. You want to attend 12 classes per month because you want to have a lower resting heart rate. A lower resting heart rate will reduce your risk of hypertension, heart disease and might reduce COVID symptom severity.
SMART goals are time bound. You will attend 12 classes in April, and then 14 in May. This is more specific than working on "being consistent". The best thing about a time bound goal? You have an end point and you know when you've achieved you goal! How great is that?
How can you make your "best wishes" into SMART goals? How can you make anything you want to do into a SMART goal? Share with us in the comments.
If you need help creating SMART goals, I can help you in our Spring Check-in. Be sure to schedule yours! Spring Check-ins start next week.
Myth: Squatting below parallel is bad for your knees.
I have this pet peeve. It's when one of you post some fantastic image of you doing something amazing in our gym and your Facebook friends tell you how unsafe it is. Oh really? I'm so glad people outside the gym have such a grasp of human movement and the science of strength and conditioning.
You know what I'm talking about, "Deadlifts are bad for your back," and my all time favorite, "Squats are bad for your knees." I always want to ask these Facebook experts how to pick up something heavy and how to get off the toilet. Taking a crap is a squat exercise.
We are born with the natural ability to squat below parallel. Our natural range of motion is to squat below parallel. Squatting below parallel is only bad for your knees if you do it wrong! Check out the image below and then watch the video from Barbell Logic on the safety and efficacy of squats.
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