Kipping it Real with Meredith!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. November’s Athlete of the Month is Meredith Scafe. She was chosen because of her obvious dedication to making fitness and wellness a priority. Since she has started at OPCF, she has not hesitated to ask questions about how to perform a movement correctly, how to scale/modify a workout appropriately, or how to take her fitness to the next level in general. Her positivity and joyful interactions with the other members in her class are an encouragement to everyone. Her hard work is paying off and we love having Meredith as a part of our OPCF community.

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? Since July 2022 (for about 3 months).
What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? I don’t remember. But I’m sure I thought, wow, that was hard, and I’m sure I was super impressed by everyone else who completed it.                      
What has been your favorite workout so far? Strength workouts are my favorite. I enjoyed the squat cycle, where we did 20 squats weekly. 
What is your favorite cheat meal? Burgers and fries                                                              
What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? I wanted to be a vet. Now, I work as a psychology fellow at the University of Kansas Medical Center.   
What do you like to do outside of work? Hang out with our dogs, ride bikes, and spend time with my family.                                                        
What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? Just keep moving!                       
What is your favorite/least favorite movement? My least favorite – WALL BALLS; my favorite – squats.                                              
What’s one CrossFit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? I really want to be able to do pull-ups and/or kip.
What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? I have felt more confident about my ability to do different lifts and movements.         
What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? Being able to focus more on my posture and form during lifts and movements. 
How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? I try to be realistic about how many days I can work out, given my other commitments. I have chosen to work out 3 days during the work week, which has been motivating and is achievable given my schedule!   
What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? Go on a trip to Europe. 

 

Exercising During Pregnancy? Yes or No?

You’ve just received the best news! You’re having a baby! Now, there is a long list of things that need to be figured out before the baby arrives, but at the top of your list is making sure that your baby remains safe and healthy. You’ve talked to your friends and other moms in your circle and most of them say the same thing: “Working out while pregnant is dangerous for the baby and it’s best to just take a break from exercise for a while.” This piece of advice is concerning because you love to work out and the thought of taking a break for 9+ months is giving you a slight bout of anxiety. Well, there’s good news! 

There are actually many positive benefits for mom and baby when it comes to exercising during pregnancy. In regards to the baby, exercising early in your pregnancy can help stimulate placenta growth and function as well as the organs and systems. Staying active through the later stages keeps the baby’s growth and development on track. All of these good things can happen with as little as 30 to 45 minutes of exercise each day. Unless you have serious complications, you should definitely exercise during pregnancy.

So what kind of exercise should you be doing during pregnancy and how does it change throughout each trimester? Well, let’s break it down a little bit.

First Trimester

For many women, the first trimester can feel like the worst because of fatigue, morning sickness, and shifts in your blood circulation can leave you feeling wiped out. However, restrictions on what you can do for exercise are very minimal.

  • You are free to engage in your favorite types of cardio, as long as they don’t include excessive risks of crashing, falling, or seriously hurting yourself (running, cycling, other cardio machines, etc. are fine).
  • This is the perfect time to focus on strength, stamina, and building muscle memory, which is very important when the baby is born. Building and maintaining core strength during this time is also extremely important. You want to choose exercises that strengthen your entire core so that it can remain strong and resilient as your belly continues to grow.

Second Trimester

Oftentimes at this stage of pregnancy, your energy levels return, your tummy starts to show and you can start to feel the baby moving. Your growing belly will start to change your posture, stability, and balance which will need to be taken into consideration when choosing a workout regimen. 

  • When it comes to cardio, your growing belly will make it a lot more difficult. Keep it safe with swimming, spinning, and low-impact fitness classes. 
  • While doing resistance training, focus on posture, core stability, and balance. You want to perform exercises that keep your spine in a proper neutral upright position. (It is during this trimester that your back and neck will start to feel the strain of all the extra weight you are carrying around in the front.) Core stretching and strengthening are very important because they will help reduce round ligament pain.

Third Trimester

This is it! You are almost there. These last few months are usually the hardest for physical activity because weight gain and the size of your belly have reduced your lung capacity. You will also probably feel general aches and pains, have the urge to pee more often, experience swelling, etc. All of these things can influence your ability and desire to work out.

  • Most cardio movements that were fine early on in pregnancy are probably much harder now – running has probably turned more into shuffling or a brisk walk, and biking has presented its own set of challenges because your belly can get in the way of the bars.
  • Resistance training is going to start looking a lot more like rehab rather than an actual workout. It is important to focus on flexibility, joint mobility, and other exercises that will prepare you for labor. Pelvic floor exercises are extremely important to work on at this time. These will help keep the pelvis, spine, and hips mobile, which will relieve some discomfort and help prepare you for labor. 

As you can see, just because you are pregnant, it doesn’t mean you have to stop working out. In fact, there are so many benefits for you and your baby that this should encourage you to continue being active for as long as you can. 

Source: Roar: How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Female Physiology for Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body for Life by Stacy T. Sims, PhD



Kipping It Real with Ryan!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. October’s Athlete of the Month is Ryan Hamm. He was chosen because of how he makes working out a priority by consistently attending several classes each week. He has also made a ton of progress in his movement patterns and his ability to do more difficult gymnastics movements. His hard work is paying off and we love having Ryan as a part of our OPCF community!

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? 6 months
What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was?  I thought it was fantastic and just what I needed.  I don’t recall the actual workout but it was an EMOM with about 5 different movements.
What has been your favorite workout so far? I am not sure I have a favorite.  I just love the variety.
What is your favorite cheat meal? All of them but if I had to choose one it would be Queso Dip…it is no doubt my kryptonite.  
What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? When I was young, I thought I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon, but when I got older, I realized I didn’t want to go to school that long…I now own part of a food distribution company.
What do you like to do outside of work? Hang w/ family and friends, golf, and mountain bike.
What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? Focus on the fundamentals, not the weight.
What is your favorite/least favorite movement? Favorite = Burpees…Least Favorite = Echo Bike
What’s one CrossFit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? To be able to do muscle ups.
What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? I have more energy!
What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? The overall ability to do the movements correctly and gradually add weight.
How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? I figure out what my kids’ activities are for the week and plug the gaps with workouts.
What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet?  In the CrossFit world-kipping pull-ups and/or muscle ups.  In life…travel all over Europe!

 

Can You Improve Your Deadlift without Deadlifting?

Oftentimes, when you have lifted for a longer period of time, it gets more and more difficult to improve your strength numbers. Some athletes respond by doing that lift every single day and always at a heavy weight. Their hope is that the more they do it heavy, the more they’ll get comfortable lifting heavy, and then that will be the push they need to actually be able to lift even more weight. 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work this way. In fact, if you feel yourself hitting a plateau on a certain lift, it can often be more beneficial to take a break from actually performing that lift and focusing more on the accessory work that will strengthen the muscles needed to perform the lift better. With that being said, here are 5 exercises that you can do to improve your deadlift without actually deadlifting: 

  1. Hamstring Curls – these can be done a variety of different ways. You can do them lying on your stomach with a band tied to the rig post, you can do them with a medicine ball, with a physio ball, etc. It is best to do these with a deliberate, slow tempo. Try doing sets of 20-25 reps. 
  2. Single-Leg Kettlebell RDLs – this movement is valuable for improving posterior-chain strength, for improving single-leg glute and hamstring strength and for ironing out any left v. right muscle imbalances that you might have. While performing this exercise, focus on keeping a neutral back and a long torso and keep your hips square. Try performing 3 sets of 8 reps per leg as heavy as possible while still maintaining good positioning and control.
  3. Sled Pulls – heavy sled pulls are an effective way to spend a good amount of time under tension and build strength in your glutes, hamstrings, calves, lower back, and quads (basically your entire lower body). Try doing 3 sets of 30-meter sled pulls as heavy as possible while still maintaining constant movement.
  4. Barbell Hip Thrusts – this movement is especially beneficial because they allow you to get used to lifting under a heavy load. In fact, some people can hip thrust more than they can deadlift, which goes a long way for preparing your nervous system and building your confidence for when you return to deadlifting a heavy barbell. Try doing 3 sets of 10 reps as heavy as possible.
  5. Glute-Ham Raises – this is a more difficult movement to perform so it may be necessary to modify by using a band or pushing off a box at the bottom with your hands (more like a plyometric push-up). Try to keep a perfectly neutral spine and avoid breaking at the hips throughout the entire movement. Try doing 3 sets of 8-12 reps. 

It might be time to take a break from deadlifting for a while. Try adding these accessory movements for the next several weeks and then return to deadlifting and see where you’re at. 

Sources: https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/5-exercises-to-improve-your-deadlift 



Kipping it Real with Elizabeth!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. September’s Athlete of the Month is Elizabeth Dollins. She was chosen because of her evident commitment to her health and fitness. She puts this on display by making class attendance a high priority, pushing herself to do heavier weights and more difficult gymnastics movements in metcons, and constantly striving to improve her technique. She is super encouraging to all of the members in her class and her positive attitude and awesome dance moves shine through! Her hard work is paying off and we love having Elizabeth as a part of our OPCF community!

1. How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? October 2020

2. What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? My first weekend as a CrossFitter, the gym was closed on a Saturday. They wrote a workout we could do outside. It was shuttle runs, every ten yards, down a football field followed by a 100-yard bear crawl….do it all three times. I remember thinking “I’ve been bear crawling forever, I have to be near the end” and I would look up and it had been like 10 yards!
3. What has been your favorite workout so far? I’ve found that I prefer the long, chipper type of workouts where you pace yourself and just keep moving. Especially if there is a run involved so I can use that to catch my breath!
4. What is your favorite cheat meal? Ice cream, always.
5. What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? I wanted to be a physical therapist…then I realized how squeamish I am with blood/injuries/wounds, so that got discarded. I now lead a Catastrophe Response Team, responding to natural disaster events around the country (floods, hurricanes, wildfires, etc.).   
6. What do you like to do outside of work? I like to travel and adventure, especially outside!  I like to run, hike, or paddleboard as often as I can! We are also a big music family… band, choir, show choir, musical theater… all the things… so I get to support my kids in those endeavors as well.
7. What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? Give it 30 days. I know it is overwhelming to start. So many humans. So many words that don’t make sense. All the loud noises. Trust falling to the toilet because your legs are toast. I Googled every movement in the workouts for at least the first month before class. The coaches are so helpful. Ask questions, take feedback, and interact with strangers. You won’t regret it! Come to 9:30! We are a hoot!
8. What is your favorite/least favorite movement? My favorite movement is anything with machines! I love workouts with a lot of biking or rowing! Of the lifts, cleans are my favorite (preferably power). I’ve improved my cleans so much, even just in the last few months since focusing on it in the new Barbell classes!
My least favorite movement is wall balls.  Gross.
9. What’s one CrossFit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? I really want to focus on being more intentional with gymnastics movements, just the very basic ones. I’ll go through periods where I work on them consistently and get so close, then I move onto other things and by the time I circle back I’ve lost that momentum. I want to get to a point where I have the ability to do the movements in most of the Train track workouts, even if it is at a reduced quantity.
10. What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? I’ve gained more confidence in my own abilities, both in and out of the gym. Knowing what my body is capable of, and how far I can push it to do hard things. Whether it is taking third-place in a (scaled) CrossFit competition, hiking across the Grand Canyon, or running a half-marathon, I have more confidence in setting goals, working towards those goals, and crushing those goals.
11. What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? Joining OPCF has had positive ripple effects through every area of my life. The easy answer is to say that I’m stronger. I can lift heavier, push myself harder, and I’ve learned so much from our (very patient) coaches about my body and how to use it correctly and efficiently, and how to fuel it appropriately. But more importantly, I’ve also found the most amazing community of people who are also trying to take care of themselves, and have fun doing it. The relationships I’ve made in my time here have been so awesome! I have a built-in group of friends who willingly (and enthusiastically) say “yes” when we want to do an obstacle course mud run, or when we suggest a 25 mile hike across the Grand Canyon. I have people that encourage and support me, in life and in the gym. I started my fitness journey alone, spending hours on a treadmill in my basement. Trust me, it is better with friends.
12. How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? If I’m being honest, I build my schedule around working out as much as possible. I have young kids, a demanding job, and life is super hectic, but being at the gym is as much a part of my mental health as it is my physical health. If I miss several consecutive days, or have to take a break for whatever reason, I feel the effects of that in my day-to-day life. Sometimes that means functioning in a heightened state of anxiety, sometimes it is not sleeping as well, and other times it is just having less ability to exercise patience with the people around me. Recognizing that it is about so much more than just working out makes it easier to prioritize it! I want to give the people in my life – my family, my employees, my friends – the best version of myself, and working out is part of achieving that goal!
13. What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? I want to do more international travel. I’ve really hit all the areas of the United States now, so I’m ready to get out into the world and see the rest of it!  Let’s climb some mountains!!!!!!!

 

Macronutrients: What are they? Why are they important?

If you’ve been doing CrossFit for a while or have simply been in the fitness space, then you have probably heard the phrase ‘counting macros’ time and time again. It is a phrase that is often used in conversations about nutrition and often the questions, ‘Do you count your macros?’ or ‘What are your macros?’ are common inquiries in a typical CrossFit gym. But what are macros exactly? “Macros” are short for macronutrients and there are 3 types: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Each of these are essential for a healthy, well-balanced diet. Let’s take a look at each of these individually to get a better idea of why they are important.

Protein

Why is protein important? It is involved in many of our body’s basic functions, such as the repair and rebuilding of tissues, hormones, and our immune system. For the average, sedentary, generally healthy adult, they need about 0.8g of protein per kg of body mass to cover basic daily requirements. However, this is just the recommended amount for basic protein turnover and preventing malnutrition. It is not necessarily optimal.

An individual’s protein needs will increase if they are training hard frequently or have a heavy physical job; if they are injured or sick or are recovering from surgery; if they are older (you don’t digest protein as well when you’re older so you need more to meet the basic requirements); or if they’re losing protein for some other reason. Individuals may need more protein if they are trying to lose weight because it can put them in a negative energy balance (protein helps them feel full longer). 

Some good sources of protein include:

  • Beef, bison, and buffalo
  • Chicken and turkey
  • Fish
  • Eggs and egg whites
  • Cottage cheese or strained Greek yogurt
  • Beans and legumes
  • Protein powder

So, now that we know protein is good for us and we need it for basic daily functions, how much do we actually need? You can use your hands as measuring tools. For most people, try eating 1 to 2 palm-size portions of high-protein foods per meal. For highly active people, try eating 2 to 3 palm-size portions per meal.

Carbohydrates

Carbs are not the enemy! In fact, they are necessary for giving our body the energy it needs to function and perform at an optimal level. There are several different types of carbohydrates:

  • Complex carbohydrates – 
    • They come from whole-food sources like vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.
    • They tend to keep us feeling full longer. 
    • They also supply micronutrients, phytonutrients, fiber and water.
    • They keep our blood sugar and insulin levels stable while releasing their energy gradually.
  • Simple, refined, and highly processed carbohydrates – 
    • They digest quickly but tend to leave us feeling unsatisfied.
    • They have been stripped of nutrients and tend to carry sodium and industrial chemicals.
    • They stimulate our appetite and leave us wanting more.
    • They can cause fluctuations in our blood sugar and insulin levels.

The amount of carbs that an individual needs is based on several different factors:

  • How big or small someone is
  • How much lean mass or body fat they have
  • How active they are
  • How intense, long-lasting, and/or frequent that activity is
  • How old they are, and what stage of life they’re at
  • Intake levels of other macronutrients
  • Genetics
  • What foods they like, tolerate, and prefer to eat

When choosing what carbs to eat, keep the following ideas in mind: We thrive best on a mix of carbohydrate types that occur naturally (keyword – naturally) in different types of foods. In most cases, we want to eat relatively slower-digesting, higher-fiber carbohydrates, which we can get if we choose a wide selection of diverse, whole, less-processed foods, such as fruits and root vegetables, whole grains, and beans and legumes. Occasionally, faster-digesting, lower-fiber carbohydrates can be helpful, particularly for athletes or people looking to gain weight. 

How many carbs should you eat daily? As a starting point, try to eat 1 to 2 cupped handfuls of carbohydrates per meal. For highly active people, try eating 3 or more handfuls of carbohydrates per meal or adding more meals (since larger portions can be hard to digest in one sitting). 

Fat

Most people tend to stay away from fat in their diets because they think that it is what causes them to gain weight. However, this is not necessarily the case. Fat has several important jobs in the body and is therefore a necessity of a well-balanced diet. Dietary fat has 6 major roles:

  • It provides us with energy (in fact, it is the most energy-dense macronutrient).
  • It helps make and balance hormones, particularly our steroid hormones.
  • It forms cell membranes.
  • It forms our brain and nervous system. 
  • It helps transport important vitamins.
  • It gives us two fatty acids that we can’t make on our own.

See? Fat is extremely important!

Some healthy sources of fat include:

  • Avocado and avocado oil
  • Cacao (dark chocolate)
  • Fresh coconut and coconut oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Olives and extra virgin olive oil

We know that fat is good for us, but we also want to make sure that we aren’t eating too much fat. Once again, you can use your hand as a measuring tool. For most people, they only need 1 to 2 thumb-size portions of fat-dense foods per meal. For highly active people, they need to be eating 2 to 3 thumb-size portions of fat per meal.

In summary, it is important to remember that we eat foods and meals, not nutrients. Therefore, eating a wider variety of whole foods will increase your chances of eating a more balanced, nutrient-dense diet. Each individual person will need a different amount of macros – there is not a one diet fits all approach, and their macro intake will depend on a variety of different factors. 



Kipping It Real with David!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. August’s Athlete of the Month is David Doell. He was chosen because of his obvious dedication to making fitness a priority and always striving to do his best when he’s in class. It is evident that he wants to get better and he takes the time to learn how to do the simpler movements correctly before trying to advance to something more difficult. This level of patience and perseverance is very admirable. His hard work is paying off and we love having David as a part of our OPCF community.

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? I joined in February of 2022, so roughly 6 months.
What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? I remember thinking this is a hell of a lot more fun than just lifting weights at a regular gym! 
                         
What has been your favorite workout so far? It’s hard to pick just one. I’m a huge fan of the variety of movements and workouts that we do. It keeps things interesting.
What is your favorite cheat meal? Chili dogs.             
                                                 
What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now?  I wanted to build roller coasters growing up. Now I work as a Civil Engineer. 
What do you like to do outside of work? I play a lot of adult-league sports with friends and travel when I can. 
                                                       
What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? Don’t be afraid to ask the coaches for tips. All of them really know their stuff.       
                  
What is your favorite/least favorite movement? Favorite: handstand push-ups. Least Favorite: power snatch.                                               
What’s one CrossFit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? I want to be able to perform any movement listed in the workout, like t2b, muscle-ups, handstand walks. Whatever the workout calls for, that’s what I’ll do.
What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? My overall fitness has greatly improved since starting at this gym. I’ve always focused on strength, but my flexibility, balance, and endurance have all improved as well.

What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? I have come a long way with proper lifting form. I am way more confident when performing lifts and I am comfortable enough to start increasing my weight.   
How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? It’s important to make personal fitness a priority. I set a goal of going at least three times a week after work. 
   
What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? Backpack Ireland. I think we have finally nailed down a trip for 2023.

The Fourth and Final Stage of Pacing Awareness: The Master

The athlete who has progressed to the final stage of pacing awareness is appropriately named ‘The Master’. It is in this stage that the athlete has a “deep intuitive understanding of how to plan appropriately for different workouts and adjust plans on the fly based upon how things are going.” To get to this stage of pacing awareness takes time, lots of practice, and knowing one’s own abilities in a variety of modalities, combinations and time frames. 

At this stage, athletes don’t necessarily need to work on the exact dynamics of pacing, but actually start to become more intune with what their body can do and what situations can lead to failure or a total red line. In order to achieve this, they need to be exposed to a variety of different scenarios so they can develop the internal sense of how they feel with different combinations of movements. They can also get more specific on things they need to work on. For example, an athlete may be pretty good at bar muscle-ups, but when they do a workout that has bar muscle-ups paired with other grip-intensive movements then they completely fall apart. So instead of just working on bar muscle-ups alone, the athlete can focus on workouts that include rowing and bar muscle-ups, or bar muscle-ups and hang power cleans, etc. 

Becoming a ‘Master’ means that the athlete is able to learn and internalize lessons from every workout because they have already developed such a refined view of how they are feeling and how they are expected to feel. This creates a beneficial cycle where the athlete is able to do more training (since they are able to pace appropriately almost every time) which creates more learning (since they are getting more exposure) and also facilitates developing more capacity (since the athlete is now able to do more volume at a sustainable effort). At this point in their athletic journey, they can just get better simply by doing a lot of different movements in a variety of combinations. 

It is important to remember that every athlete is different and may not move through each of the four stages in a linear fashion. Athletes often have different “tendencies”. Some athletes may err on the side of caution and always overplan and other athletes tend to go out super hot and try to hang on. The first group of athletes would benefit from learning to cut loose and go off of feel and the second group of athletes would benefit from developing a bit more restraint and spending more time planning out their sessions. Ideally, the athlete is able to understand where they sit on the spectrum (if they are ‘The Wild Man/Woman’, ‘The Accountant’, ‘The Shrinking Violet’, or ‘The Master’) and therefore can make the adjustments that they need to.  

 

Kipping it Real with Sara!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. July’s Athlete of the Month is Sara Hoffman. She was chosen because it is evident that her health and fitness are important to her because of how she prioritizes working out even with a busy work schedule. She has made great improvements in her movement patterns by listening to the coaches and trying to implement the cues they give her. She is very active in the OPCF community, participating in events that take place outside of the gym, as well as being encouraging to the other members in her class. Her hard work is paying off and we love having Sara as a part of our OPCF community.

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? Since April 2021.

What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? The first non-foundations CF workout I remember was a Saturday ladder workout with teams of three that involved a lot of C&Js, deadlifts, and I think biking. I’m sure I looked panicked trying to find partners, but thankfully, a couple of very welcoming 9:30 classmates (shoutout to Amy & Elizabeth!) asked if I wanted to join their team. I thought I was going to collapse in the middle of the workout, but tried unsuccessfully not to show that. Afterwards, I was so happy and proud that I had finished a “real” CF workout and couldn’t wait to keep going to classes.

What has been your favorite workout so far? I remember really enjoying one Saturday team workout that was synchro everything–GHDs, burpees, DB snatches. It’s fun to have someone pushing you while doing the exact same thing simultaneously. I like the out-of-breath laughs that come with trying to time bar-facing burpees together.

What is your favorite cheat meal? Mac & cheese from the Peanut. Also Chipotle if that’s a cheat meal, but I have it WAY too often to call it that.

What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was a kid, but now work as a pharmacist at a home infusion pharmacy.

What do you like to do outside of work? I love to travel, play volleyball, pet dogs, eat food, and obvi do CF.

What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? Just keep showing up. That’s the hardest thing at first–to keep going even when you feel intimidated or nervous. I used to feel so nervous just to go each day, thinking, ‘What if today is the workout where I drop a dumbbell on my head or somehow majorly embarrass myself?’ But it definitely gets easier! If you keep showing up you will feel more comfortable, make progress and make friends!

What is your favorite/least favorite movement? Least favorite: thrusters Most favorite: D-ball over the shoulder

What’s one CrossFit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? To do a competition!

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? I came to OPCF because it was hard transitioning from a huge, convenient community in college to not really having any community after graduation. Now I have a place I can go that lets me get my workout in AND also is a fun and supportive community. I notice a huge difference when I make it to the gym versus when I don’t. I feel more irritable and anxious when I’m not able to make it in, and more relaxed and happy when I do.

What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? I’m proud to have completed the rim to rim hike at the Grand Canyon with an OPCF group. I love being active and outdoors but have never really been an avid hiker. It was something very hard that we were all proud to accomplish together. Not exactly a CF achievement, but since a major reason I joined was to find a community and make new friends, going on a trip with people from the gym was a huge deal for me.

How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? Some work days I’m able to make 6:30pm if I don’t have to work late or have something else in the evening like volleyball. On days I don’t have to be at the pharmacy, I usually come to the 9:30am class–I like to get my workouts in earlier in the day, but I’m simply not an AM person enough to drag myself to 5:30am.

What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? A helicopter ride! There are so many places I want to see from the sky–Victoria Falls, Hawaii, Great Barrier Reef, New York City.

 

The Third Stage of Pacing Awareness: The Shrinking Violet

It takes time and practice to learn how to pace efficiently. But sometimes, being too good at pacing can actually backfire and hinder an athlete from maintaining their full potential. ‘The Shrinking Violet’ is an athlete who has become so efficient at their pacing that they often underpace a workout and leave too much in the tank. These athletes typically know their numbers so well that they can tell you how many RPMs they should complete any Assault bike workout at, how many minutes they should rest between heavy squat sets, and how many sets of handstand push-ups they should do during a long chipper workout.

This knowledge isn’t necessarily bad, but it can prevent the athlete from working out at their full capacity – they stay away from ‘redlining’ and therefore are no longer aware of what a truly difficult pace is for them. Here are a couple strategies to help you learn how to pace outside of your comfort zone:

Option 1: Pre-determine a specific pace to hit on the machines or how quickly to cycle certain movements. 

Example: if you consistently bike at 63 RPMs, then try something like the following workout but at a higher-than-normal RPMs.

  • 10 rounds:
    • 6 burpees to a 6” target
    • 8 kb swings (70/53)
    • 10 Assault bike calories

The goal of this workout would be to move smoothly and efficiently through the burpees and kettlebell swings and then maintain 65+ RPMs for each round on the bike. This will push you outside of your comfort zone and will probably hurt a lot more than you are used to, and may even result in you blowing up, but it will give you an opportunity to test just where your capacity lies and recalculate if necessary.

Option 2: Regularly include “messy” CrossFit workouts in your training. 

Sometimes it’s easy to spend too much time focusing on building up one’s capacity in running or rowing, strict gymnastics, or barbell cycling, but then shying away from incorporating all of these components together in classic CrossFit-style workouts. Sometimes the simplest couplets or triplets can be the most painful and effective. Take the following workout for example:

  • 10 min AMRAP:
    • 3-6-9-12…power cleans (115/75)
    • 4-8-12-16…bar-facing burpees

This is a great way to practice working outside of your comfort zone because even if you start off pacing this workout well, it will start to get uncomfortable and you will have to adjust your pacing strategy based on how you feel. 

Sources: https://wodprep.com/blog/crossfit-pacing/