PRs and What They Mean
Last week was an incredible week. We tested your strength, skill, and mental fortitude. Everyone did amazingly. As coaches, we love to witness these kinds of weeks. All the hard work our athletes have put in has really paid off. I guarantee though that these may be the last PRs some of you see for a while. I don’t mean that to sound so sinister. I mean to say that many of you are passing from your beginner CrossFitter stages to your intermediate stages. Some of you have probably been in your intermediate stage for some time now.
You may have started CrossFit anywhere from a few months to a year or so ago. You’ve been making unbelievable progress. I’m writing to tell you this isn’t just normal, it’s expected. Much of the progress you’ve made has been from honing your technique, and of course you’ve been getting stronger, too. That’s not to say that you can stop working on technique. You’ve only really just brushed the surface of the rabbit hole of movement technique. But now is the time when you need to start really becoming aware of your body because not all PRs are increases in speed or weight. Some PRs come from moving from a once modified movement to the real deal (like moving from ring rows to pull-ups, or from incline push-ups to push-ups on the floor). These don’t look like PRs necessarily because your times are probably going to slow dramatically. Other PRs come from the difference in how you feel. Maybe your Fran retest time didn’t improve, but you didn’t feel like you had to throw up. That’s a huge PR.
Also remember, that you are your own person with your own life, health considerations, advantages, and limitations. That gym frenemy that you constantly compare yourself to (whether they know it or not) is their own person, too. It doesn’t matter if they’re making PRs and you’re not. To each their own. Focus on you, and train smart. Slow progress is lasting progress.
Much Love My Friends,
Our own Cody Bahr will be holding a rowing workshop on Sunday, September 17 from 12-1pm. Cody is a 6-time medalist at the WIRA west coast rowing championships. Including championships in the men’s heavyweight pair and men’s lightweight 8, both in 2016 on the same day! He is also the 2016 US National Champion in the men’s heavyweight pair as well as a past instructor of UCSB’s indoor rowing class.
Due to the limited number of rowing machines, the class is capped at 7 participants. Cost is $65 for the public, $50 for CFSB members. Email Naomi is you’d like to know more or sign up!
I am so excited to announce the Athlete of the Month, Mr. August – David Baillargeon! His transformation is one of our biggest and most exciting. David sits most of the day studying history, which has caused his body to become tight and scrunched up over the years. After about 6 months of CrossFit, he is now able to squat and jump rope like a boss! One of my favorite things about coaching is seeing the transformations, not just weight-wise or body composition, but confidence in both how our members carry themselves and how they attack challenges. David is a perfect example of this. David, we are so excited to have you and your lovely fiancee Caitlin as part of the CFSB community. Keep up the fantastic work!
“Against my better judgment, I started CrossFit in December of last year. After years (no joke) of trying to get me to join a group fitness class and workout with her, my beautiful girlfriend (now fiancée!) Caitlin convinced me to try CrossFit after she attended some classes in Baltimore last summer. I was, of course, initially skeptical. Although I played sports growing up and in high school, I had never been much of a gym person, and from the little I knew about CrossFit, it sounded intense. I was also terribly out of shape. Even still, I decided to give it a shot. It seemed way more interesting than a typical boot camp-style fitness class, and I figured it could only help with the typical stress and anxiety that accompanies life as a graduate student (Caitlin and I are both grad students in the history department at UCSB). Plus, I could always quit. So, why not?
Well, things didn’t exactly start great. During my first fundamentals session, Naomi had us jump rope to warm up. “Jump rope?,” I thought. I hadn’t jumped rope since I was a small child. After thoroughly embarrassing myself (before we even lifted a bar!), we continued on practicing the kinds of movements and lifts I would come to learn over the ensuing months. Needless to say, I was terrible. My form was bad, I couldn’t keep my back straight, and I could barely lift the bar. Although I had always considered myself to be somewhat athletic, or at the very least coordinated, this was a different ball game. It was a humbling experience.
But, I kept at it. Thanks to the amazing support of all the coaches at CFSB (especially, in those early days, Naomi, Casey, and Janyce!), I continued working on my form one day at a time, and gradually, I got better and better. Fundamentals turned into WOD’s, and after a couple weeks of extreme newbie soreness, I started to feel stronger and more confident in my lifts. Although there are plenty of things I still need to work on (you’re next, HSPU’s…), I’m amazed by how far I’ve come over these past eight months and, in particular, how I seem be enjoying it more and more every week. Considering I never expected to try something like CrossFit (never mind that I would “like” it), the fact that I’m still going seems like something of a minor miracle. And now I can jump rope and lift things and stuff!
I go to CrossFit for many reasons. I go to get in a good workout, to take a break from the books, to feel stronger, and sometimes (still) because Caitlin makes me (although, it should be noted, I rally her to go these days too – how the tables have turned!). But, perhaps most importantly, I go because of the amazing community of folks who coach and work out at CFSB. If not for the patience and guidance of all the coaches who have worked with me, as well as the encouragement from my fellow CFSB members (noon class represent!), there is absolutely no chance I would still be doing this or that I would be having as much fun as I am doing so. You’re all the best!”
7am classes on August 16 and 18 are cancelled. Sorry for any inconvenience. 7am classes will resume on August 21!
Patience & Persistence
This is something that I’ve been really thinking about over the past few months while watching you all get your fitness on. It’s also something that I preach when coaching. No matter the level of the athlete, member, client, or whatever you liked to be called, there are two key ingredients that must be present in order to grow and succeed: patience and persistence. There are those that have the ability to pick up movements within the first 5 minutes, and there are those who may take years. What we all need to remember is that we can all improve in some way whether it’s the elite athlete focusing on consistency and increasing work capacity, an intermediate athlete adding more weight to their lifts, or a beginner athlete increasing their body awareness.
With this work comes the understanding that what we do takes time, heck, everything in life worth anything takes time. You must have patience and know that there will be days where your body and mind are aligned and your workout goes fantastically. Other days where you will feel disconnected. However, you must refuse to give up. This is where persistence comes in. You know you can be better and do better, which is why you keep coming back. Don’t let that one thing, movement, day, person get in your way. Come back into the gym and tackle that movement. You make that bar your bitch!
A memory from my competitive gymnastics days popped into my head while pondering this topic. Balance beam was my favorite event. (Who thought telling young girls that doing flips, spins, and leaps across a 16 feet long, 4 inches wide, 4 feet off the ground piece of wood was a good idea?!) It was scary, but I loved the challenge. I loved how it made my body and mind feel. I remember first learning my “series”, which was two back handsprings in a row. I can’t even count how many times I fell, or my foot slipped and I crashed to the mats, or I “crotched” the beam. There were so many. However, looking back, I never realized how brave I was to get back up on the beam to try it again. I never realized how persistent I was to master this movement.
This is how I see all of you. Your continuous drive to come in and improve your body and mind inspires me every day. Sometimes you may cry, sometimes you may get angry and throw shit, and sometimes you may just sit in a corner to have a moment with yourself, but you do not give up. So, with this month’s “Ninja’s Notes” I want you all to know how much I appreciate your dedication, loyalty, and persistence to be better people, and I am beyond grateful that you choose to do it at CrossFit Santa Barbara.
Coach Ninja xo
Ms. July – Kelly Scott!
Our latest Athlete of the Month is the one and only Kelly Scott! We love having her at our gym. She brings a level of focus, drive, and desire to learn that we as coaches love to see. Congrats, Kelly! Here she is in her own words:
“My introduction to CrossFit happened when my co-worker, Casey Nelson, began to question (or ridicule) my choice of long distance running as my primary exercise. Sure, I was dealing with knee injuries most of the time which often prevented me from playing my competitive sport of choice (tennis), but I really figured as a 40 something year old athlete I’d already seen my best years, physically speaking, and I should just be happy to be competing in races and tennis tournaments sometimes. Eventually I dropped in to a community class or two but in early 2015 I started CrossFit in earnest and was immediately hooked by total inability to do pretty much all of it! CrossFit has a unique way of exposing all your weaknesses and boy were there many. As Casey loved to regularly point out – I couldn’t even squat to parallel for the longest time!!
But I was determined to meet this challenge and over the course of the next couple of years I slowly improved, and I discovered that CrossFit made me a better and healthier athlete. With all the strength training I found I was running faster, was stronger on the tennis court, and injured a lot less. When I started to dial in my nutrition earlier this year with the help of so many at CFSB (Ashley, Julian, Janyce, Casey, Naomi) I really started to see my performance improve.
The coaches and community at CrossFit Santa Barbara have been such an amazing support to me and all the athletes who choose to get their sweat on at CFSB. I love that there’s no judgment about where you are on your fitness journey, and that everyone is encouraged not to compete against the person next to you but to just get a little bit better than you were yesterday. For me, CrossFit and weightlifting have become an essential part of my life both physically and mentally. What better way to get through a work day then to lift heavy stuff during your lunch break or after a day at the office! So, a big thanks to all y’all at CFSB for being awesome and helping me to get a little better each day. I still have so much to improve upon (ahem, gymnastics skills….), but I can now squat for real!!”