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Dave’s Dialect – CrossFit Chichester Programming

Happy New Year everybody!

Dave here with a little piece about our Programming, why we use it, how to use it and how to get the most of it.
First things first, the trial period for the programming is well and truly over and all coaches are in agreement that Thrivestry Programming is here to stay at CrossFit Chichester. The planning and thought process that goes into programming like this is second to none, and that’s where I want to start today.

The strength/skilled elements that we work on in class, and the workouts we all have a love hate relationship with are not random. They are not just chucked together to make you suffer a gymnasticy, high jumping, weight throwing, burpeefied death!… (although when laying on the gym floor in a puddle of your own sweat, it may feel like it…!) Believe it or not, there is method behind the madness!

When nearing the end of a strength cycle, with weights getting heavier, you will find the workouts getting slightly shorter, so to not tax the central nervous system too hard. When the strength cycles are in transition or at the beginning, this is where you will find the longer metcons, that test your cardiovascular fitness and endurance more.

JJ has been designing gym programming for years and years [Since 2004], from helping newbies achieve their first press up, to developing and preparing highly skilled athletes for competition. The diversity of abilities means that the programming you see every day on the big screen in the gym can be whatever you want it to be.

Progression – The process of developing or moving gradually towards a more advanced state.

You may have heard me at the beginning of a class say “this is session 2 of 12 of our Front squat cycle today guys” … Most cycles run for 12 session and get progressively harder from 1-12. This is no accident. Session one will generally begin with a medium rep range and a somewhere between 50-70% of your max effort (in this case front squat) throughout the cycle the rep range will have varied and towards session 12, have shortened, with the % of your max effort increasing to around 75-85%.

Managing to attend most of the sessions and completing each rep with good form, should see your numbers increase in that particular lift by the end of the cycle. Only however, if we are working off the correct percentage, this is why it is so important to find out what our 1 rep max efforts are to make sure we are working off the right numbers.

So why not have a look at the cycles coming up this year (ask a coach to show you if we haven’t already displayed it) and work up to your 1 rep max in an open gym session before the cycle begins. You will reap the rewards from working with your correct numbers and get best out of your training!

Context

Every session we run has its own context, Practice, Competition and Mental Toughness. ‘Coach’ will tell you at some point during the session which one it is for the workout that day. The Context is the recommended overall approach to the class that day. Without a planned approach you will likely stick with the same approach you are comfortable with and you will not get the most out of your training.

Below is a diagram explaining the primary focus and output required for each context:

The goal is always to get better overall, not just win the workout that day. It is like trying to win every battle… but losing the war.

To understand the problems with getting stuck in a particular mode are as follows:

If you do Competition context all the time you will get hurt.
If you do Mental Toughness context all the time you will burn out.
If you do Practice context all the time you will get bored.

But how to you apply this to your training? If all you know when the timer beeps, is “Go Hard”!…
It starts with taking notice as to what the context is for the day, then approaching each part of the class with this mindset.
Pay close attention to the days that aren’t your default mode. If you are someone who always goes as hard as possible, constantly remind yourself on Practice days that the primary focus is quality form, learning, and mastery (not crushing yourself or beating someone else).

If you are someone who is always extremely cautious, someone who always needs the coach to force you to ‘go up’ (in load or skill), be more deliberate on Competition and Mental Toughness days. Push yourself to attempt a heavier load or higher box (with the coach’s agreement). Always record your score on Competition days. Take the time to look up your old score so you have a target to beat. Throw caution to the wind and learn some new skills that might embarrass you on a Mental Toughness day (taking you out of your comfort zone).

Working on weaknesses

The last subject I want to touch on is about working on your weakness, or in another sentence… knit picking the workouts/exercises you like.
I can speak from personal experiences as I used to train this way, lunges… NOPE, overhead squats… NOPE, thrusters… HELL NOPE!
I knew this was wrong, I knew I would not develop as an athlete if I avoided the exercises or training methods I disliked. So I followed a new approach of turning my weaknesses into strengths.

Instead of avoiding them I would work on them, more so even than the exercise I did like, so that I would get better, stronger, fitter and eventually turn them into strengths, meaning I no longer sighed or groaned when I saw they were in the workout of the day!

One of the main things you realise from this approach is that you develop other aspects of your fitness along the way without even realising it. The more lunges I put into my programming, the stronger my legs got individually, which meant I achieved my first ever set of pistols!.. I also felt stronger in my running and other endurance aspects like high calorie assault bike or high rep wall balls.

Ok… So you may not see yourself as an athlete, you may just enjoy the gym and enjoy what you enjoy… but you are never going to experience new ‘Joys’ if you do not open that door and keep developing as a human being. Our bodies are extraordinary, so don’t limit it to what it can do.

If you have any more questions about the programming, or anything else for that matter, please feel free to give me a message of pull me aside in the gym for a chat ☺

Dave is a Coach at CrossFit Chichester. He takes the mid morning classes, and Day time PTs. If you’d like to book an assessment with him, then go here and ask for Dave when we call you! 

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Low Hanging Fruit

Succeed with support: how your social group can help you achieve in fitness (or anything else).

In the group we most associate with most, lies a key contributor or detractor for the success that we deserve. If you’d like to find out if your social network is helping you succeed in your health and fitness goals then fill out this very short survey here.

“This is not a piece of gym equipment!!”

A small note written on the side of our giant cork we have in our kitchen. A wedding gift from some friends, that we had everyone sign or write a short note or word of advice on our wedding day. A great memento of a fantastic day. The short note represented such an example of two opposing opinions. The funny thing was, the cork is heavy, awkward and would be an excellent substitute for a heavy dumbbell if I was stuck for equipment and kit and wanted to do a workout.

It was written by a uni mate who was anything but athletic. To him it must have seemed bizarre and a bit odd, me lumping round a left over curb block which I’d ‘salvaged’ from a building site, bundled into the back of my car, and served me for a year as a decent weight to do workouts in our university house garden, overlooking the beautiful town of Falmouth, in Cornwall.

“This is not a piece of gym equipment!!”

To my uni mates, I was a bit weird, because while they’d be getting up, having their cereal breakfast, and strong coffee, I’d already be done and dusted having had my breakfast earlier, post workout, showered and ready to head to lectures. They did work hard though, it’s just twice or thrice weekly curries that we may be disagreed on.

Luckily, I was focused enough to maintain a good routine, until I became enamoured with a girl at uni, who liked making cakes. I ate so much cake over one summer, I stopped training as much and my six pack went to a four pack. They laughed, but hey, I was still getting laid.

Back in ’08 when I thought trying to balance on the front of a light longboard was a good idea.

Ultimately it was not a match made in heaven, and I got back on the routine, of fitness, cold showers, and only the ‘semi-regular’ curry with my housemates. With my six pack back, I was feeling good, and have learnt that ultimately the cakes not worth it, the feeling of being fit and healthy is.

Consider this, when you’re trying to workout, do the people around you support you in it? For instance saying things like “you go get your session done, I’ll look forward to when you’re back” (an example from wife) not “you’re going to work out now???” (also from my wife!). In relationships, support is everything. Especially when it comes to personal goals. Understanding where the other is coming from, and knowing what they want, makes living together, and working together, cohesive, fun and ultimately successful. In a relationship (or surrounded by unhealthy work colleagues for 8 hours a day) if there isn’t a decent level of support in your goals, then making them turn from dreams to reality is going to be much harder. In fact, they might not even be possible at all.

 

Judge buddies.

From working successfully with clients, sometimes, I’ve not even discussed diet, or training, until, we’ve worked out, how to get the partners on board. If you don’t have a partner, it’ll be friends and family who’ll probably have the biggest influence over you and your health endeavours.

If you don’t have what you would call a ‘supportive network’ around food and eating, don’t despair. Neither did I. Now, I’ve got nothing but a supportive, amazing community, wife, friends and family, because of a few simple strategies which I’ve employed (and still use) over the last 7-8 years.

Strategies to Gain Social Support

  • Communicate your goals effectively, earnestly and honestly to a loved one. The best way to do this is to sit down with a pen and paper write them out (a list of about 5 will do) and put a timeline on those goals. Then explain to your loved one, friends or family member the meaning it would give you to accomplish these.
    • Expressing sincerity with your goals, helps to allow you to be more vulnerable, and endearing to the other party. Making them more likely to be fully on board in helping you (especially if they come up with a plan to help you get there).
    • Making it clear that this is really important to you, and you can’t do it without their support, and help, will help them to feel part of the process and part of why you’re going to succeed with this. This step is important because giving them a sense of purpose within the realm of this goal, will bring you together and make it much more likely that you’ll have at least one person who will help.
    • If this conversation doesn’t go well. Find someone else to have this conversation. If you must make this work with the other party (for instance you live with them!) then try a gentler approach over a sustained period of time. Bring it up often, and their negative response will lessen over time. You will eventually ‘wear them down’ to the point where you make it your goal to get them on board first with you achieving these goals. Two people working on a goal is better than one.
  • Join a group of people who have similar goals. Whether this is a gym, club or social group, having friends who are on a similar path is going to dramatically increase your likelihood of success, because they will help you see methods of success that you didn’t see before. They’ll offer a different perspective and with any luck, inspire you along, when times are tough. Being part of a WhatsApp group is highly beneficial in this regard because communication becomes more frequent and sharing information becomes easier.
    • Explain to your work/boss that this is your goal. The key influencers at your place of work will have a major impact on your success. If they know you’re going to be starting later every Tuesday and Thursday because you’re finishing your longer workout/run/bike ride/swim on these days, but you’re going to be finishing later then this can be a help to them in understanding better you movements (if they’re expecting you to attend an office at a set time).
    • You could also do an event for them which helps promote their brand or if they have a charitable arm, gain sponsorship from them if its a run or a challenge such as a tough mudder, and then they’d be getting a direct benefit from you accomplishing your goal.
    • You could always invite your boss/work colleagues along to do the challenge with you. Gaining support in the office for a diet bet, or having the no junk food rule in the office can have a massively positive impact not only on your success but on those around you.
  • Invite people to join with you on something diet bet if your goals are weight loss related. Even being part of something like weight watchers, or slimming world can still have a hugely positive impact on your success because it’s a supportive community geared towards helping all of you succeed, and providing a level of accountability which you wouldn’t otherwise have if you weighed yourself alone. It provides a space to talk about things with like minded individuals who’ve already been where you are now, and can help provide an outside perspective that is impartial and objective.
  • Employ a coach who’s already done it. Professional coaches, are trained in how to help you get from where you are to where you want to go. We know how it feels sometimes, and we can be a positive source of knowledge and support to help keep you on track, and enjoy the success that you deserve. We all need coaches at some point in life. Why not start right now?

 

If you’d like to learn more about whether you could do with some extra strategies to help be more focused, and gain extra support from those around you take our all new social support questionnaire. It’s totally free, and if you’d like to talk some more put your details into our get started page here.

Social support link here too – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CFCsocialsupport

Thanks for reading,

Archie,
Head Coach.

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5 Years On – Here’s Where it Began

Here are some pics from the old gym. You can find it on our facebook page too, but here are some we picked out:

My first client – my lovely wife Lydia.

Workout done. Henry asleep on the mats. I feel really guilty now looking back.

Steve and I building the monster rig. It cost half the amount of a standard rig, but took about a week to build and 10 people to help build it. Never again.

The old gym looked so bright until we put the matting down!

The final stages of the gym coming together. We learnt a lot.

Mental Health and Why We All Need Community

Operation Connect-at-Christmas.

Over the Christmas period, we are going to be raising awareness and funds for the mental health charity Mind.

When it comes to having good mental health, one of the biggest contributors towards it, is a feeling of community. Surrounded by friends, positive work colleagues, or supportive family members, our brain functions with greater creativity, emotional intelligence, and problem solving abilities. In effect, it functions normally. We are social creatures, and are not meant to operate completely autonomously from others. When we feel isolated or overwhelmed, or depressed, we are more likely to get sick, to be less productive, and more likely to recluse further into our shell. A strong, healthy community, can help almost anyone improve their mental state. We intend to do that for anyone who wishes to be part of our gym.

How to Help Someone Right Now:

As the days get shorter, we see the sun less, we get outside less, and spend more time in front of screens, and not with other people, the likelihood of us experiencing mental health problems goes up significantly. It is up to us, to be on the look out, and understand that many will be experiencing some sort of decline, and to help brighten their day.

This could even be by –

  • Sending a text to someone who matters to you.
  • Inviting them round for tea.
  • Taking them out for a walk.
  • Meeting them for a coffee.
  • Giving them a phone call.
  • Sending them flowers or a card.

The principle is to connect.

Far too often, it can be very easy for us to lack interaction on a daily basis with people who really matter in our life. Heightening feelings of insecurity and worthlessness. Without others, it’s much harder to feel ourselves.

Our gym environment brings people together in the interest of bettering societal health, but there are so many other actions that we can take, that make a huge difference to the happiness levels of all people we come into contact with on a daily basis.

Make a difference today,  by giving someone a call, or sending them a message, it will make a difference, and in some cases, could mean the difference between life and death. Every two hours, someone in the UK commits suicide.

Make a difference today and do something nice for someone you care about.

How to Get Involved

Playlist donation – During class, if you’d like to choose your own playist, then donate £1 into the box. For that you’ll be able to play the music you want most to the class, for the next 15 minutes. Each fifteen minutes costs £1. If you wanted to play Vivaldi for an hour, then that’s £4 please!

Christmas Day Workout – At Christmas, it can often be the most difficult time for many people. So, in order to combat this, we are going to raise money on the day for the workout running at 10am to 11am. The cost for the workout will be £5 per person. It will be a very simple workout, so if you’d like to bring either spectators, then if they can donate a £1 that would be excellent.