Annie getting great tension in the bottom of her kettlebell swing.
One of my favorite mental toughness teachers is Navy Commander Mark Divine with SealFit and the Unbeatable Mind project. I have had the pleasure of working out at SealFit with actual Navy SEALs, attending Kokoro yoga classes, and reading most of Commander Divine's books.
Commander Divine is a rare man. He's a retired Navy Seal warrior, a CrossFitter, a yogi, a devoted meditator, and a mental toughness mentor. All things to which I also aspire.
One of the best lessons I've learned from Commander Divine is to feed the my courage wolf. He writes about this American Indian parable in his blog post What Wolf are You Feeding?
In this parable, we have two wolves who reside inside us. In our mind is the fear (or hatred) wolf and in our heart is the courage (or loving) wolf. What type of person we are is dependent upon which wolf we feed. Doubt, self loathing, negative thoughts, etc., all feed the fear wolf. Compassion, encouraging others, and forgiveness feed the courage wolf. According to Commander Divine (and this is what he teaches aspiring Frogmen in his SealFit program):
Feeding the wolf of love and courage makes us more kind, patient, tolerant, powerful and present. We will avoid conflict and be better leaders. We won’t hesitate to lean into the hard tasks; fear will cease being an influence in our lives.
I challenge you to notice which wolf you feed. Which wolf do you feed when you're driving to the gym? Which wolf do you feed right before the coach yells, "3,2,1, GO!" Which wolf do you feed when the workout gets really, really hard? Do you feed the courage wolf and lean into the hard task? Do you feed the fear wolf and convince yourself it's too hard, too heavy, too...whatever.
Feed the Courage Wolf. Feeding this wolf will make you happier, your family happier, your friends happier, your coaches happier, the world happier.
Happy Halloween! Are you ready for a CrossFit Linchpin Monster Mash? It's no secret we have a CrossFit Crush on Pat Sherwood of CrossFit Linchpin. Pat and his cadre of coaches come up with some brutally elegant programming. Today's workout is brutal, that's for sure. Pat describes the development of the weekly Monster Mashes as thus:
"The Monday Monster Mash began as a request from a few buddies that work with me at CrossFit HQ. They asked me to program them a weekly competition so they could throw down against each other. They had all been doing CrossFit for multiple years and could handle the volume, so I agreed. Eventually, I began to post these Monday Monster Mashes on social media and they developed quite a following of people from all around the world. A word of caution, these workouts are potent!
Coach James, Ben and Kerri row hard.
Rowing is a point of pride in our gym. Both Coaches Leslie and Heidi were collegiate rowers and they bring all of their combined rowing knowledge and experience to bear on our rowing workouts. Rowing is an Olympic sport and indoor rowing is developing into a world-wide sport of it's own. We love participating in Row'd Royalty every January. We have consistently placed in the top 15 teams in the world for the past 3 years. We will begin our Row'd Royalty training in November.
You know what's cool about rowing? Anyone can do it! Yes, there is some specific technique involved, and once you get your technique dialed in you get really crank on an erg! I know some of our smaller statured athletes get frustrated because you feel at a disadvantage. Yes, mass and length do make for a stronger rower, but lightweight rowers can be very powerful! Don't believe me? Check this out.
Meanwhile, enjoy this short video tip from Coach James It will come in handy today when you're trying to breath! Good luck!
Kim and Tami working on their Olympic Weightlifting technique.
By now I should no longer be surprised one someone assumes that lifting weights will make you bulky and inflexible. However, after several years of talking to people about CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting I understand many folks don't understand the difference between weightlifting and lifting weights.
Weightlifting is a sport, in fact there are two competitive weightlifting disciplines. Powerlifting which consists of the deadlift, back squat and benchpress, and Olympic weightlifting which consists of the snatch and clean & jerk. Olympic weightlifting is an Olympic sport and is governed by the International Olympic Committee. Powerlifting is not an Olympic sport, and has several national and international regulatory committees.
Lifting weights is not a sport, but rather a fitness pursuit. We do not lift weights. We practice the sport of weightlifting. Like any sport, weightlifting requires flexibility, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy, power, speed and strength. All of these physical characteristics, along with stamina and endurance are specific adaptions we try to illicit through the demands of our training program.
Flexibility (which we often call mobility) is a physical trait that can be trained and it is ESSENTIAL to the sport of weightlifting. You simply must have full range of motion of your ankles and knees to squat to depth. You must have full range of motion in our shoulders, elbows and wrists to support and receive the bar.
One of our favorite methods for flexibility and mobility training is the physical practice of yoga. Yoga asana (the poses) develops flexibility, balance, coordination and to some extent strength. If you don't believe me, take a look at Dmitry Klokov's warm-up in the video below. You will recognize the plow (halasana), seated forward bend (paschimottanasana), wide-angle seated forward bend (upavistha konasana), and the squat (malasana). Klokov is a Russian Olympic weightlifter who won Silver at the 2008 Summer Olympics. His flexibility is so good he can do the splits. So, tell me again why you don't want to lift weights because it will make you inflexible.
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