And No PRs Were Had

And No PRs Were Had

The entire class just finished snatching. And no PRs were had.

Not. A. Single. One. 

Ten years ago, I would've blamed my athletes. They're not trying, I'd say. They're lazy. It's all their fault. 

Five years ago, I would've beat myself up. Overanalyzed the programming, criticized my coaching. I wouldn't have slept, and for several days, I'd imagine how much I was failing those I care for. 

That's progress, I suppose.

Today, however, after years of anxiety and self-doubt, I'm thrilled.

Let me explain.

Coaches are people like everyone else, generally in need of validation. And I might just be one of the worst.

There's a healthy side to this trait, of course, but there's also a toxic side. Like when numbers become more important than health. And if we're not careful, that's where we'll land. Hollow, and waiting for validation that will never come.

It's not that I didn't expect perfect technique or that I allowed anything short of the best lifts possible, I just wanted pristine technique AND broken records, and I wanted it all the time. And I wanted others to want it as much as I did. 

But it doesn't work that way. Not only do each of us define success differently, but by focusing on lifting better, we almost always lift lighter. And that's a good thing! Because when we stop worrying about the weight on the bar, we're free to focus on how that bar moves.

I still need validated today. I wish I didn't. And I'm not sure it will ever go away, but at least it's a slightly healthier form of validation. I think it is, anyway. 

Today, that validation comes from seeing an athlete's eyes light up when they finally understand that there's more than one way to PR a lift. And knowing beyond knowing, that if forever fitness is indeed the goal, these are the days that mean the most. Days when we all snatched. And no PRs were had. And it was a good day. 

Athlete Of The Month: Josh Anderson

Athlete Of The Month: Josh Anderson

We all have that one friend who's great at listening.

They don't wait for us to stop talking just so they can speak, they relax into the conversation, fully absorbed with what we have to say. They don't mindless react, they thoughtfully respond. Can you picture them?

Often, they're the kind of person who stares at stars and smells flowers. The type of person who doesn't rush, but still manages to get things done — the sort of person who calms everyone else down.

Josh is that person.

Whenever coaches or other CrossFitters speak, Josh listens. Whenever he struggles with a movement, Josh takes his time to fix it. And whenever a skill seems too far in the future to ponder, Josh settles in and gets to work.

Instead of forcing things, instead of getting frustrated, instead of thinking he has all the answers, Josh CrossFit's calmly. Getting a bit better every single day, reaping the rewards, and passing them on to others. And for that, Josh is October's Athlete Of The Month. Congrats, man!

Open Ready: 3 Proven Tactics You Should Do Before Friday

Open Ready: 3 Proven Tactics You Should Do Before Friday

Most days, we sprint into the gym, one sock short, shirt on inside out, still thinking about all the stops we have to make before we go home.

We train for energy. To look good and feel good. And it works. Even if it's rushed, it works.

 

But what if we didn't have to hurry. What if we could take the next five Friday's for ourselves, and use this year's CrossFit Open as a sort of personal day. A day to take our time, appreciate the community, and get lost in the effort. 

 

This year, make The Open about more than just the workout. Make The Open about building habits that last a lifetime.

 

Practice

 

There's always something. 

 

That one skill you have, but not really. Some days you're great at it, and some days you're not. Maybe it's handstands, or doubles, or pull-ups. Whatever it is, now is the time to get after it.

 

Steal a few moments before Friday and practice a much-needed skill. Not only will you be more confident when the movement shows up, but you might finally understand that all some things take is a little extra practice.

 

Decompress

 

When is the last time you took a walk? Like, a real, honest-to-goodness walk. And it doesn't count if you took your phone or put a time limit on it. 

 

How about the last time you genuinely appreciated nature, stared at the stars, or just mindfully stretched stiff muscles without worrying about where you had to be?

 

Whatever you do to decompress, before Friday, do it as often as possible.

 

Love the process

 

If you play the game for applause, for trophies or scholarships or riches, you'll end up empty. If you define yourself by your performance, one day, you'll get beat. And you'll quit.

 

But if you play the game to improve, you'll never stop loving it. You'll be fit for life. 

 

This year, whether it's your first or your fifth CrossFit Open, ignore the Leaderboard. Don't let the movements scare you. Make the next five Fridays about giving a little more, and get a lot better because of it.

 

Register here and join your Health Factory Crew every Friday from 4-7 pm starting October 11, 2019.

5 Insanely Good Reasons You Should Do The Open

5 Insanely Good Reasons You Should Do The Open

Every year CrossFit has a party and it's called The Open.


Cool thing is; everyone's invited. Even you.


Yes, you, the guy who doesn't have pull-ups. And yes, you, the girl who struggles with box jumps. And yeah, even all you athletes who hate burpees. Join the club!


The Open is our excuse to go a little harder, cheer a little louder, and express our fitness. It's five memorable workouts you don't want to miss. And here's why.


You've Never Done It Before 


Your first Open is like your first time driving a car (I really hope you didn't wreck your first time).


You're finally going places. It's a bit scary, but also exciting. Everyone supports you and cheers for you, and even though you're still learning, you're behind the wheel and in control of something that's only going to make you better. And that feels really good.


You've Done It Before


You know the feeling. You've seen it. Lived it. Loved it.


Open workouts aren't like regular workouts. Sure, your daily workouts are fabulous, but we tend to take those everyday experiences for granted. But not The Open. For those of us who have done The Open before, it's a worthy reminder of just how far we've come. And how much more we have to give.


You'll Meet New People 


We love our CrossFit class. It's ours, after all, what's not to love?


We show up at the same time every day and throw down with the same people and can't imagine it any other way. While this sort of consistency is noble, it keeps us from taking full advantage of our community.


The Open changes that. By bringing us together every Friday night, The Open introduces us to new people who enjoy the same things we do. And with new people, comes new possibilities.


You'll Set New Goals


Routines keep us honest. Progressing. But often, we get lost in the habit and settle into less than our best.


By ransacking our training schedule, introducing us to new movements, and showing us just how much potential we have, The Open ignites a fire that burns bright all year.


When The Open ends, we're left with a rare moment of clarity. An opportunity to set goals WE WILL ACHIEVE by this time next year.


You'll Slow Down


It's weird to think that The CrossFit Open will slow you down, but that's precisely what it does.


For five straight Fridays, you'll join your friends, get after it, judge, and celebrate. The world fades. No rush. No hurry. No worry. Just an atmosphere of accomplishment you don't want to miss. 


The Open at The Health Factory begins Friday, October 11, at 4 pm. Register now!

I’ll Make Up For It Monday

I’ll Make Up For It Monday

Whenever I see someone do a horrible Monday workout, I wonder what they’re trying to make up for.

Too much pie, perhaps? Maybe a weekend bender with friends that ended with one too many beers, lots of nachos, and zero sleep. Or maybe something simpler: Netflix and pizza binge for the win!

Whatever the case, it always reminds me of this; you can’t out-work a bad diet.

But you can’t out-suffer a rough weekend, either. And it doesn’t do us any good trying. A weekend with too many calories, and not enough activity, is simply that. And it can’t be undone with any amount of Monday motivation. Thinking otherwise, eventually, makes fitness a job. And once getting healthy is more business than fun, we quit.

It’s surprising how many people don’t want to hear that. How many cling to the belief that extraordinarily long, absolutely horrendous workouts can somehow buy back the fitness and muscle definition we lost last weekend. And that we should mentally hate ourselves and physically suffer for our so-called screw-up.

Actually, it’s the opposite.

Not only do the punishingly long workouts do less for fitness than we hope, but the endless weekends of suspicious behavior adds up. There’s simply no turning back the clock and no making up for it. No matter how much we sweat. No matter how many calories we burn. No matter how many meals we skip. No matter how hard we workout on Monday.

It’s going into the weekend with that “I’ll make up for it Monday,” attitude that’s keeping us right where we’re at. That’s why we hate Monday’s. Not because they mean back to work, but because they signify getting back on the horse we just fell from, and suffering because of it.

We don’t want to talk about this. It’s unpopular, and by the time we make it to the weekend, we don’t care about last Monday or the next one. So it starts over. And it’s maddening. And for far too many, it’s life. And it’s on rewind.

But you can break the cycle. You can skip this scene because you’ve seen it before. And you’re tired of it.

Understand this; no amount of fitness, starvation, or suffering can reverse what’s already been done. The body just doesn’t work that way.

But, with a little preparation and a few good weekends under our belt, we can leap ahead. We can feel, look, and perform better than we ever have. And who knows. Maybe we can even enjoy Mondays.

How Will You Take Your Next Shot?

How Will You Take Your Next Shot?

There are two kinds of golfers: Those who believe in making birdies from the rough, and those who don't.

The player who believes saunters to his ball no matter the lie. It's like any other day for him. A professional in spirit, he sets up, as usual, no matter the hit before, and swings.

The athlete who doesn't is still thinking about the shot that put him in the weeds. He's unable to let go. To him, the rough is more than just tall grass; it's everything wrong with his swing, his preparation, his strength, his caddie, and his coach. He doesn't just doubt making a birdie; he questions making the cut.

Bad bounces and poor drives are part of the game. Some players get it and move on to the next flag.

Others need the world to conform to them, absolute planetary alignment, marshmallow clouds in the sky, and a smile from the cute girl in the front row just to have a chance.

What they can't seem to understand is, the rough is still part of the course. They're still in the game no matter the lie. And there are many more shots to take.

How will you take your next shot? Like a bratty child stuck in the weeds, or like an old pro who gets it. After all, grass is grass.

Stop Competing: Start Training

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Stop Competing: Start Training

CrossFitters complicate things. 

We scroll social media and try to do what Rich is doing today, what Fraser did yesterday, and what Wells did last week. We snatch when we should air squat, supplement when we should diet, and workout when we should rest. 

It has something to do with the kind of person CrossFit attracts, or maybe the type of person CrossFit creates. Our own uncompromising addiction to self-improvement encourages us to hurry through the basics, completely ignoring the satisfaction of doing things well.

The struggle is real. We're human, and we get seduced by loud noises and shiny things. Friends encourage us and broken personal records entice us. We end up believing that the only way CrossFit works, the only way we improve, is when we compete. 

False.

Competition is the tip of the spear, proof of the work we've already done. Competition is the occasional expression of consistent training. 

Without training, competition isn't only worthless, it's dangerous.

Training is perfect reps when you're tired, mindful movement no matter what, and meeting standard even if the athlete beside you isn't. Training is how we prepare for competition, and there's no such thing as too prepared. 

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September Athlete Of The Month: Lori Chapman

September Athlete Of The Month: Lori Chapman

Everyone is busy.

Everyone has responsibilities.

Everyone has a choice.

Some choose to skip the things that make them better. Others, like Lori, search them out. It's not always convenient, comfortable, or even entertaining, but Lori does it anyway.

Be it early morning in the gym, hot as a volcano outside, or a workout you'd rather forget existed, let alone attempt, Lori chooses better. And that simple yet incredibly difficult choice to be consistent is paying off.

Today, Lori is stronger than she ever has been, she can run for miles at a time, and she continues to gain new and exciting skills. She's a worker, on and off the gym floor. And most importantly, she's eager! The moment Lori earns a few extra pounds on the barbell, or nails a brand new skill, she celebrates and asks, "what's next?"

Everyone has a choice. Lori simply makes the hard ones. And for that, she's September's Athlete of the Month. Congrats, Lori!

"I Started Crawling" - Leigh Ann's Story

"I Started Crawling" - Leigh Ann's Story

Hello–I'm Leigh Ann, and this is my journey with CrossFit RHEMA as a junk food junkie! 

About two years ago and 80 pounds overweight ... 

I remember thinking to myself that I had to do something; anything. I was so tired, lazy, and eating everything within reach. I would get out of breath walking up a flight of stairs and needed help from my husband just to get off the couch. When we would take our grandchildren to Splash Country, I could not go down the slides because I was unable to hike the stairs–I became so depressed. 

I started talking about this to my niece and nephew (Jessica Etheridge and Wes Daniel), and they mentioned CrossFit. They told me they loved it and that I would too. It all sounded really good to me, and I said I would "think about it." Wes did not have it. He talked to them and scheduled a session with Coach Storm the following week. I was nervous and a bit scared. 

Upon my arrival, Coach Storm introduces himself. What a gentle giant he is. My first memory is being told to do a "bear crawl." I didn't know what that was and after Coach Storm explained and showed me what to do, I gave it a go. Oh dear! I made it maybe two "crawls." Maybe? Of course, I immediately started sweating and was out of breath. We later went to the jump ropes. I couldn't do one single jump—not one. Coach Storm wanted me to climb those stairs at Splash Country too, and we made it our goal. We kept going. We meaning, Coach Storm kept coaching and encouraging me, and I kept sweating. 

Coach Storm had me join the "CrossFit Lite" class where I met some wonderful ladies and gained a new coach, Coach Caitlin. These ladies have become such dear friends. They encouraged me and pushed me. I remember one evening we were outside on the monkey bars, and Coach Caitlin told us to do "knee raises." I stood on a huge tire to get up to the bar, hung on, and dropped straight to the ground. There would be no knee raises for Leigh Ann that day. But my friends encouraged me and kept me going and coming to class. I remember thinking to myself—"what have I done? I'll never make it!"

The CrossFit Lite class, after 6-8 months, ended and we were told we would be joining the regular Cross Fit classes. What? You want me to workout with all of those strong athletes? Are you crazy? I must confess, a time or two, I have thought, "I want to look just like her, or her, or her!" Again, the coaches encouraged us and said we would be fine and that they would scale the workout to our level. They really take care to watch everyone and make sure they are doing everything correctly. I gave it a go. (You learn that in CrossFit—a challenge never goes unanswered at CrossFit, or elsewhere in your life—they teach you this in an unspoken way.)

It's been a little over two years now since my first visit with Coach Storm. I have lost about 25 pounds and probably gained that much in muscle mass. I can jump rope now and am even attempting double-unders. Those knee raises? Easy-peasy. Squats? Near perfection. Bear crawls? Hate' em–but I can do 'em! Stairs? I'll race you to the top! 

I have found that every single coach is an amazing and knowledgeable coach–every single one of them. Coach Storm, Coach Dusty, Coach Zach, Coach Caitlin, Coach Josh, and Coach Logan— I can't thank them enough for what they have helped me accomplish. It literally brings tears to my eyes to think about where I've been, how far I have come, and the friends I have made. It's like a second home to me, and every coach and member is my extended family. 

Now, about that junk food junkie thing: I only drink water now and try to watch what I eat, but still eat stuff I should stay far away from (bread, pasta, ice cream). I have signed up to work with Coach Josh on my diet. It starts next week. Stay tuned!

They have a saying painted on the wall at RHEMA – "If all you can do is crawl–start crawling." I took a picture of that the first time I saw it. And that's what I did—I started crawling.


I was unable to hike the stairs–I became so depressed.
I was nervous and a bit scared.
I kept sweating.
I remember thinking to myself—"what have I done? I'll never make it!"
I gave it a go.
I can't thank them enough for what they have helped me accomplish.
I started crawling. 

And so can you ...

Power Of Failure

Power Of Failure

The rope is turning like it's buried in quicksand.

She's folding in mid-air again, not really jumping, more opening and closing like a book. Her Nano's are catching the rope, preventing anything more than a few reps at a time. She fights, again, trying to coordinate her mind and body. One no rep after another. She tries anyway.

It looks more like a seizure in mid-air.

His wrists don't move as much as his everything else. He's trying to fly with a jump rope in his hands, struggling to make his arms and legs work like they're part of the same person. After a few misses, he tries my cue the way a toddler tries a swear word. The cable whips his legs. He tosses the rope across the room and gives-up.

One of these athletes will progress. One of them will not. And I'm not just talking about fitness. I'm talking about life.

Do you remember when you were young; how fast you learned something new? How you went from missing your mark to nailing your target in no time? Were you smarter then, or simply more willing to screw up?

"Failure shows us the way — by showing us what isn't the way," Ryan Holiday says in "The Obstacle is the Way."

Failure is a muscle we're all born with, and like any neglected muscle, it gets weaker when we refuse to train it. Right now, stop caring about who's watching. Don't worry about looking confused. Just move. Mess up. Then do it again. The only thing that makes you look foolish is refusing to try.