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22
Mar

2022 CrossFit Open: A Celebration of Fitness

Phew. We did it! We’re all done with the 2022 CrossFit Open. Whether it was your first time competing or your tenth, I’m sure we all found something to celebrate. Our in-house competition was super fun. We ended up having over 50 members participate each donating $20. That means we were able to raise $400 for this awesome non-profit that brings fitness to under-represented youth. After 3 hard weeks, team GREEN came out on top.

1st Place: Team Green 1,683 points

2nd Place: Team Purple 1660 points

3rd Place: Team Black 1394

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who donated, participated and gave it their all each week. The Open has always been a time to celebrate our own fitness journey while cheering on our fellow gym-mates. This year was especially great due to the pandemic life we’ve all been living the past 2 years. You all made it a special competition and I cant’ wait to see what March 2023 will bring us all.

10
Feb

Redlining in CrossFit

I thought I would write some thoughts on this topic since I’ve personally seen members, coaches and myself struggle with this over the years.

In simple terms redlining in a workout (not just CrossFit) is when you push it too hard past the point of recovery where there are diminishing returns aka hyper-ventilating, puking, dizziness, shakiness, etc. A perfect example is when you hop on the Rogue Echo bike for an all-out 50 cal sprint and when you get off your legs are so shaky you can’t imagine doing anything else after. A classic CrossFit workout where most people redline is “Fran”. 21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pullups. Meant to be done in less than 7 minutes this is a sprint where you are going close to if not past your 100% threshold. Sounds great, right?

The Morning Chalk Up recently wrote an article named, “If you’re redlining, you’re kind of doing it wrong”. When I started CrossFit 10 years ago in 2012, it was frowned upon if you didn’t go ALL out every single WOD. There were no training percentages or EMOMS or relative recovery days. It felt almost like every day was a redline day. The article argues that if you’re doing CrossFit like that, then you’re doing it all wrong. In some aspects, I agree but in others, I could also see the benefit of redlining in your CrossFit training.

To me, redlining is all relative to a person’s baseline fitness level. My all-out 100% is quite different than someone who is coming off the street with no background in high-intensity CrossFit training. And the same goes for elite games level athletes. Their redline threshold is absolutely way higher than mine. The point here is that if you never go to that dark area, how will you know what to base your training intensity on? If you always cruise around going nice and slow, how will you ever get comfortable being uncomfortable? If I were to guess, elite-level CrossFit athletes probably redline a few times a week in their training. For the rest of us, I would argue it’s productive to find that redline area about 1x every few months. That way you know when to push it, for how long and how hard during your workouts.

However, just like in the article, I would argue that redlining probably does more harm than good in the grand scheme of CrossFit training. As a coach for over 10 years, I’ve honestly pushed clients way past their relative fitness levels a few times where I probably shouldn’t have. To make CrossFit more applicable to the everyday person, it needs to be consistently scaled back on a weekly basis to fit your long-term health goals. At Boulder CrossFit, we never want someone to be so wrecked that they can’t walk the next day, thus not getting back into the gym on a regular basis. As a gym we want people to feel good about their bodies. Not day in and day out beat them up. That’s why we program Thursdays as active recovery days where you can move at your own pace. That’s why we offer percentages of training maxes in most WODS. If you push yourself to or close to redlining every day, it will eventually lead to burnout and hatred for CrossFit training. I’ve seen it in coaches, members, and myself over the years.

At the end of the day, I approach my fitness training as follows. I push it in the WODS and my lifting on a daily and weekly basis at about 75-80% of my all-out max. Once every few weeks, I will push it past that so I can see how it feels being uncomfortable and moving at that level. And then once every few months, I will go ALL out and redline so hard where I can’t get off the ground for a solid 5-10 minutes post WOD. That way I can adjust my effort accordingly based on that redline level. My goal is to continue doing this for the next 40 years and to be able to move well outside the gym, pain-free, for as long as my body and brain allow.

-Zach T.

29
Jan

CrossFit Open 2022: FAQ’S

What is the CrossFit Open?
Click here for more information. The Open is essentially a worldwide competition where, for 3 weeks, all CrossFit gyms around the world do the exact same workout programmed by CrossFit HQ. On another level it’s a time to celebrate all wins no matter how small or big. It’s a time to come together as a gym and push your teammates to new levels. It’s a time to embrace the fun and competitiveness within us all. And it’s a time to push yourself outside your comfort zone.

When is the CrossFit Open and when will Boulder CrossFit do the workouts?
Each Thursday night for 3 weeks CrossFit HQ releases the workout starting February 24th then March 3rd and finally ending on March 10th. As a gym ALL classes will do the workout the following day on Friday whether you are officially signed up or not.

Why should I sign up?
Every year we hear the same excuses on why people don’t officially sign up. We hear things like , “I don’t care about my scores. I’m hurt or I don’t care about competitions”. Or, “I’m intimidated by the workouts and can’t do most of the movements as prescribed so what’s the point”? Here’s the point. You will never grow as a person inside or outside of the gym unless you push all those doubts and questions aside and get outside your comfort zone. At the end of the competition you will feel better about yourself when you see how much your hard work has paid off all the whole doing it with your fellow teammates.

How is Boulder CrossFit running the competition?
Similar to last year, we will put each registered person onto a team with a team captain. There will be a random drawing a week before the comp to pick the teams. Each week as an individual and team you can earn points for various things like top score, attendance, and any PRs. If you are registered, you will get a judge for each workout who will keep track of your score that week.  If you can’t do the workout on Friday we will have makeups during the following time slots. Please communicate with your team captions and Zach for any make ups.
Saturday anytime before 12pm.
Monday anytime between 9:30-11:30am

I’m convinced. How can I sign up?
The cost of this event is $20/person (paid to Boulder CrossFit through Wodify). Part of your fee will go towards one of our favorite non-profits, Forging Youth Resilience. You can sign up by putting your name on the whiteboard at the gym no later than Friday, Feb 18th. If you care about inputting your scores to see what your friends got at other CrossFit gyms then you can also register through CrossFit HQ. However this not a requirement to enter our in house competition. The team with the most accumulated points at the end of the 3 weeks will be the winner and will get custom 2022 Boulder CrossFit Open Champs t-shirts. 

We’re looking forward to this 3-week competition. Thanks! 

-Zach T. 

17
Dec

New Years Resolutions 2022: Yea or Nay?

We’re here! January 2022. A symbolic day/month for people to proclaim their New Years Resolutions. A fresh start. A new outlook. And the start of a better version of yourself. The problem is, I haven’t made a new years resolution…ever! And heres why.

I have no problem with resolutions. The problem lies in how we frame them. More often than not, I’ve seen countless people make unrealistic resolutions only to break them by mid-February. Don’t get me wrong, goals are great. We all need and should have them to continue to grow both personally and professionally. But the story often goes something like this. “I want to become a happier, healthier version of myself. To do that I’m going to workout 7 days a week at 6am, eat no carbs, cut out all alcohol and get 8-9 hours a sleep a night”. Sounds great on paper but in practice this isn’t sustainable in the long term for most of us. Why not reframe our goals for something more attainable that fits our lifestyle? Let’s rework the story to be this. “I want to become a happier, healthier version of myself. To do that I’m going workout 4-5 times a week at a consistent time that allows me to feel well rested and recovered for the next day. I’m going to cut back my drinking and carb intake to 1x a week in moderation”. This sounds like something we can do for the long term, right?

If the goal is to ultimately become a happier, healthier version of ourselves both mentally and physically, (which it is for a lot people who come into Boulder CrossFit), why not set ourselves up for success? The worst thing we can do, is proclaim some unattainable new years resolution on January 1st just to go back to our old habits come Spring. Trust me, I want us all to hit our goals this year both inside and out of the gym. Theres nothing wrong with having huge aspirations and big goals but we need to reframe how we are going to achieve them in the long run. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Trust and enjoy the process. If we can all consistently do the small things day in and day out, our bodies and minds will thank us this time next year!

19
Nov

How to Maintain Motivation this Holiday Season?

The last few months of every year, normally go a little something like this. Halloween rolls around and you tell yourself you’ve been super committed to your health and fitness the last 10 months, so why not just take a few extra days off from the gym next week? The problem with this is, that only 3 weeks after Halloween is Thanksgiving. And then 3 weeks after that is Christmas! See where I’m going here?

Suddenly a day or two turns into a week off from the gym. Then you get down on yourself and say, I will just go all out and wait until Jan 1st to start fresh. What’s the harm in that? So you put your fitness on hold. There will always be that one upcoming event where you tell yourself you can take a few days off from the gym and then get right back into it. The holidays are especially hard because you want to spend time with your friends and family over great food and drinks. I get it, life sometimes gets in the way of your fitness goals. Here’s my biggest piece of advice to stay motivated.

We are creatures of routine. Try to stick to your routine as much as possible (even if you’re traveling). It only takes 10-15 minutes to get a good sweat on. If you can’t make it into the gym that doesn’t mean your health and fitness need to suffer.

We are also goal-oriented. Set a realistic goal over the next 1-2 months. For example, I want to do a total of 20 Boulder CrossFit classes between now and Jan.1st. Once we have that set in our minds, we will inherently want to hit that goal.

Last but not least, don’t get too down on yourself. Treat yourself to a cookie or two and don’t worry about skipping a few extra days here and there. It’s all about moderation during the holidays. Keep the drinks and unhealthy food to a minimum and that will transfer over to your fitness in the gym.

Happy Holidays everyone. Be safe and enjoy the much-needed time off with your friends and family.

-Zach T.

7
Oct

What does RX mean to you/how can that affect your training?

We wanted to write a few thoughts on what RX means to you and how that can affect your training.

The technical definition of RX means as prescribed. In other words, if a workout calls for 3 rounds of 20 wallballs at 20lbs, 20 chest-to-bar pulllups, and 20 box jump at 24in, and you did it exactly as written then you completed the workout RX. However, there is a alot more to this than it appears on paper. How do you choose when to go RX or not in a workout?

At Boulder CrossFit, we use the term RX to convey the intent behind each metcon. Sometimes a workout calls for a fast sprint where most if not all of the barbell work should be done unbroken. Case in point, “Fran”. 21-15-9 of thrusters at 96/65lbs and pullups. This workout is meant to be done in 7 minutes or less. Could most people in our gym do this RX? Absolutely. However, if it’s taking you twice as long as everyone else, you know you missed the intent behind the workout. This means you should have scaled down to hit the suggested time domain. Go much lighter on the barbell and/or do ring rows/banded pull-ups.

On the flip side, some workouts call for long, heavy work which is meant to be done in 20 plus minutes. Think about Hero WODS like “The Sevens” where the average time is about 30-40 minutes long. If you’re finishing this workout in sub 20 minutes that means you scaled down too much. You went too light on the barbell or too easy on the gymnastics portion. Sometimes it’s super hard to know what to scale down and what to do RX. That’s where your coach comes into play. If you are on the borderline of RX or not, talk with your coach and they will guide you in the right direction. Us coaches normally use a percentage of your lifts when deciding what weight to pick. If you find yourself stripping down weight or adding weight in the middle of a metcon, then most likely you didn’t make the right choice from the beginning.

As a general rule of thumb, when you’re first starting out at Boulder CrossFit (first 6 months), most people should NOT be close to RX’ing the workouts. This is where it can either have a positive or negative impact on your training. If you choose to RX workouts and it’s taking you twice as long as the class, your form is more likely to break down when exhausted. This can lead to injury, fatigue, and frustration. Don’t be that person. leave your ego at the door and listen to your coaches/trust the process. If you continue to work the form, show up 3-5x a week and push yourself when needed, you will eventually be RX’ing the workouts.

At the end of the day, let’s not all get so caught up in the term RX. Yes, all of our goals vary but most of us should just try to focus on having fun and getting a great workout in!

-Zach T.

7
Sep

How to embrace the “randomness” of CrossFit and why it’s an effective training program?

Why is there no structured program in CrossFit? Why don’t we follow any plans or have specific days for upper-body or lower-body? Why is the programming so “random”?

These are a few common questions I get from newbies to veterans alike. I thought I would address them all here so there is no confusion from anyone.

When people ask specific questions about programming, our gym follows a simple formula. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we dedicate 10-15 minutes to Olympic lifts (cleans and snatches) and core lifts such as squats, deadlifts, and presses. Tuesday and Thursday we program longer metabolic conditioning workouts with a mixture of “skill” work like learning how to walk on our hands or double unders. We generally follow the CrossFit methodologies of, “constantly varied, high intensity, interval training”. However, we also throw in 2-3 strength cycles throughout the year. One in Winter, one in Spring, and one in Fall and re-test past CrossFit workouts at least 2-3x a quarter. And that’s it in a nutshell.

Sounds simple enough, right? From the outside eye, our workouts are called “random” and “non-structured”. But if you were to join our gym for 1-2 months and were to come everyday, you would see a plan in place. Our plan is to build athletes who enjoy the process of working out and attach the fun to functional fitness. We want people to be able to move safely, and effectively but at the same time be able to perform most if not all exercises at any given time inside and outside of the gym. Our programming reflects that goal.

One of the biggest complaints we hear from CrossFit veterans is they don’t like a gym’s programming. If this is your main concern then you need to re-evaluate your personal goals. Are you training for a body-building contest that requires 3-5 days of specific hypertrophy movements? Or a power-lifting meet where you need to 1 rep max your back squat, deadlift, and bench press? Or an Olympic lifting meet where you need to clean/jerk or snatch your heaviest weight? Or an Ironman that requires several hours a day of swimming, running, and biking? If these are your goals, awesome! Go join a Golds Gym, Powerlifting gym, Olympic lifting gym, or find a personal Ironman coach. However, I personally think you can get it all at Boulder CrossFit.

I’ve followed 12 week back sqaut programs, done Olympic lifting meets in the past, and have run tons of races. Do they work? Yes, of course. If you train specifically around 1-2 movements, day in and day out you’re going to get better. But you know what sounds crazy? After 9 years of doing CrossFit, I’m still able to consistently hit within 85% of ALL my lifts. I’m still able to run within 10 seconds of my fastest PR mile time. And that’s without following a specific program or worrying so much about my split times or percentages every single day.

If you take the average powerlifter, olympic lifter, or ironman athlete and compare them to the average CrossFit athlete, I would guarantee you that the CrossFit athlete is much more well-rounded and would be able to perform any given task or workout thrown at them. Imagine an Ironman athlete who tries to clean and jerk their body weight for 30 reps. Their arms would snap. But a CrossFit athlete being able to run a 10k, swim 800m, and bike 20 plus miles? No problem. Or imagine an Olympic lifter or powerlifter trying to do 50 wallballs and 50 double unders for 3 rounds? Their lungs would collapse out of pure exhaustion. The point here isn’t to say these other training methodologies are worse or bad. The point is to say that CrossFit is the most effective training program for building well-rounded athletes who enjoy the process and have fun doing it with others around them.

Not only does this training methodology work in the long term but it’s fun. Trust me, back squatting for 30 minutes by yourself in your garage 3-4 days a week, is not:) But running 400m sprints combined with thrusters next to a high schooler or retired 60 years old is very fun! Next time you ask about the randomness of CrossFit, make sure you reflect on your own personal goals and then adjust accordingly.

Over the years, I’ve come to embrace and LOVE the semi-randomness that CrossFit follows. Give it a try. It’s less stressful and more fun in the long term!

-Zach T

20
Jun

How to find your perfect Gym?

Living in Boulder, CO there seems to be a gym on every corner in this city. And that’s awesome! If you’re looking for a new gym you have plenty of options. However, our advice is to ask yourself a couple of questions before starting to pay a membership fee at any place.

What type of fitness are you looking for? Is it group classes or a place to go in at 2 am and do your own thing? Is it CrossFit, interval training, yoga, weightlifting, climbing? The list goes on and on. You should first narrow your search down to see what type of fitness routine works best with your body and your goals. Which one of these makes you happier both physically and mentally? Start there and then follow these next steps.

Go to at least 2 of those same types of fitness gyms and try them out! Meet the other members, the coaches, and the owner. You should get a pretty good feel of the culture of the gym after a few classes there. Every single gym is different in its own unique way. Whether it’s a corporate franchise like 24-hour Fitness or an independently own and operated CrossFit affiliate, we are all different when it comes to the look, feel, and overall goals.

Boulder CrossFit’s goal is to, “get fit, have fun and make friends”. It’s that simple. Our training methodology is constantly varied, functional movements performed at relatively high intensity. We make it fun by not making it super competitive or taking ourselves so seriously all the time. We are NOT training members for high-level competitive CrossFit like other gyms in town. At the end of the day, we’re not just trying to make you fit and hit your fitness goals but we’re connecting you all outside of the gym to create long-lasting relationships that go beyond PRs. Whether it’s social get-togethers that lead to new potential jobs or whether it’s just grabbing a quick drink to relax and talk about life, our gym is here for you. That’s Boulder CrossFit in a nutshell.

There is a gym for everyone. Go out there and find your click. You won’t regret it once you do!