Are you training yet for the 2018 CrossFit Open?

If you’re like most of us, you look to the CrossFit Open each year as a seminal event in your fitness career, and the 2018 CrossFit Open will be no different. Although most of the elements that will be programmed is well known in advance, the combinations are endless. The Open is expressly designed to test the unknown and unknowable and provide a true mark of fitness and expose weaknesses in our fitness and training. After that fifth and final workout, it’s on us to spend the rest of the year attacking those weaknesses so that we can come back better the next time.

Well, we’ve all had nearly 3 months to reflect on our 17.x performances, regionals are now behind us, and the Games are just the corner. If we’re going to come back stronger, faster, and harder to kill for Open Workout 18.1, now is undoubtedly the perfect time to commit to a training strategy for an awesome 2018 CrossFit Open.

In his books and seminars, Mark Rippetoe, a well-known strength coach, is famous for asking the question, “Are you exercising or are you training?” Although the question is a bit perplexing at first, it’s a profound one. He essentially defines exercise as an activity that produces a good sweat and leaves you feeling spent. By contrast, he defines training as an activity that’s part of a broader strategy to achieve specific goals.

If you’re looking for an awesome strength training program, Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength is second to none!

A simple example may be helpful in illustrating the difference: regularly completing sets of 3×5 back squats with “heavy” weight a couple of times a week would fall into the exercise category. However, a regular cadence of 3×5 with slow and steady incremental additions to the weight over an extended period to achieve a specific strength goal would be considered training. Exercise is essentially to burn some calories and produce a response right now. Training is part of a broader strategic plan.

Although Rippetoe is a strength coach, the same concept equally applies to acquiring new skills or triggering specific metabolic responses like aerobic vs anaerobic conditioning. Whatever your situation, make sure you have a thoughtful training strategy for attacking those weaknesses and make yourself accountable to it.

If your training strategy has to just show up to class and do the WOD, be sure to honestly assess whether you’re getting everything you need during the class WODs. A little bit of extra time scheduled with a coach, a strength training program like Starting Strength, or a few gymnastics clinics with additional practice in your garage or backyard might make all of the difference in the when you face 18.1!

If you’re interested in learning more about Rippetoe’s training philosophies or looking to start a new strength program, be sure to check out Starting Strength and Practical Programming for Strength Training.

5 Travel Tips to Keep You on Track This Summer

Summer travel is something many families and individuals look forward to all year – a chance to explore and unwind. But it can be hard to balance a rewarding travel experience with your health goals in a way that doesn’t drive your travel companions crazy. After all, you don’t want to derail a year’s worth of work! We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks for keeping yourself fit during the travel season.

1) Keep your workouts fun. Nothing can kill the mood of a vacation like a long, grueling day of training. Opt for workouts that pack a punch but also keep it fun. Our favorite is the Deck-Of-Cards workout. Assign a movement to each suit, and when that suit comes up, do the number of movements on the card. Bonus points if you leave the Jokers in the deck and assign them a harder movement that you’ll only do once! You can either use a real deck of cards or download an app on your phone if you are traveling light. An example workout  that requires no equipment is:

Clubs: Sit-ups
Spades: Push-ups
Diamonds: Squat Jumps
Hearts: Jumping Jacks
Joker 1: 25 Burpees

If you want to spice things up a bit, throw a jump rope in your bag. For road trips, stick a dumbbell or kettlebell in the trunk so you can get the blood flowing at the rest stops.

2) Plan your meals… If at all possible, choose accommodations that allow you to prepare your own food. Stop in at the local grocery store when you get where you’re going, and buy fresh, local ingredients that will make quick, easy and healthy meals. This will save you money on your trip, and you’ll know exactly what you’re eating!

3)…But be flexible. After all, you are on vacation! Choose a meal or two to splurge at a local restaurant. Your travel companions will thank you, and it will feel that much more special. But still, plan ahead! Scope out the menu so you know exactly what you’ll splurge on (and what you have to look forward to!). Apps like MyFitnessPal can help you stay within reasonable limits if you are trying to hit certain macros.

4) Involve your family and/or friends. Fitness is always more fun with a crowd. Do a workout that is fun for everyone to do – or better yet, take advantage of the outdoor adventures where you are traveling instead of hitting the gym for your daily workout. Go for a hike, kayak, take a bike ride, or play a game like volleyball or spikeball. You’ll still get a great workout, but may experience your vacation venue in a different way than you would if you were grinding in the gym!

5) If you’re flying solo, enlist accountability. Traveling alone can make it hard to stay motivated. Ask a friend to check in on you to make sure you’re staying on track, or even do workouts “together” from afar. Social media can be a great tool for this; utilize MyFitnessPal to track your food intake, and share your journal publicly. Take photos of your workout and post them on Instagram. Drop-in to a local gym and check-in on Facebook. The Internet can be a great accountability tool in a pinch!

Staying on track while you travel may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Implement a few of these tricks to have a great trip while keeping your sights on your health goals!

Kate is Great (Interview with our Director of Operations)

If you have ever worked with us to plan an event anytime recently, there is a good chance you have worked closely with Kate. She came on board back in February 2016, and her responsibilities have evolved to the point that she’s now a co-owner in the business and our Director of Operations. She’s done a tremendous job of keeping things moving (look no further than some of our awesome Facebook Reviews). and we are incredibly lucky to have her as part of the team. Without further adieu: A Q&A with Kate. (She is great!)

How long have you been CrossFitting?
My husband and I wandered into the 9AM Hopper at CrossFit Cool Springs on Saturday, May 24, 2014. The owner invited us to come back for a “workout and community cook-out” on Monday, and we thought that sounded fun. Of course anyone in the CrossFit community stateside knows what that means – and our second CrossFit workout ever was “Memorial Day Murph.” We were either going to quit immediately or be hooked. It was the latter.

What are your most and least favorite movements or workouts?
I absolutely love double-unders, and I’m learning to love Olympic lifts. It’s really important to me to pursue excellent form in my training (Not always at competitions – that’s the time for speed). My love of Oly has increased as my capacity to lift more and lift well goes up. I loathe thrusters. I can’t stress this enough – they are just the worst. 17.5 was a very mixed bag for me.

What was your proudest moment as an athlete?
I am fiercely competitive by nature. Like, “I haven’t had any cavities but my husband has” competitive. I am also my own worst critic, and I’m not very good at positive self-talk. I recently competed on a team at Mayhem for Mustard Seed Ranch, and my team made it to the final. The whole day I felt like I was holding them back because I don’t have a strength, per se – I am not the strongest or the fastest. Leading into the final, my teammates lead me to have a total breakthrough. They basically had to look me straight in the face and tell me that I’m consistent and well-rounded, and my lack of strength IS my strength because I am steady across the board. They also picked me to go last on the waterfall final, and we won that event. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of something fitness related.


Kate Clean

Do you have any game-day rituals?
Great music, witty banter, and a bag of Twizzlers for fuel.

What’s in your gear bag?
A shorter question would be “What isn’t in my gear bag?” I have so much stuff. My staples that you can pretty much find with me at any point are my Reebok legacy lifters, Nike Metcons (I usually like the Men’s colors way better), Rogue Grips, several clean pairs of low-rise socks, and a rope or two. I love my RPM rope, but I just got a Momentum Rope in the mail – literally yesterday. It’s a brand-new rope with a never-come-undone design and I’m excited to give it a spin.

On to professional life – How did you get to this point in your career?
I was running operations for a department at a major automobile headquarters here in the states, and I was beyond miserable. (Cue the video montage reel with my realization that money doesn’t equal happiness, and my eventual liberation from corporate America.) Around that time I reached out to the Throwdowns.com owner, who I knew from my gym, and I also got my L1 and started to coach. The rest is history. Taking care of our customers from start to finish is THE most important thing to me, and that value is what enabled me to rise from a standard account manager to the Director of Operations with an ownership stake in the business. I can truly say that I love what I do.

What is the best part about working for Throwdowns.com?
All the amazing, fitness-minded people all over the world who I am blessed to interact with. You make this fun.

What one thing do you wish event-planners knew?
We have seen it all, so take advantage of that and use us for our knowledge, not just our software! Some of our most successful competitions have involved us in things like workout planning, strategies for maximizing donations, and generally acting as consultants rather than just the registration and scoring provider. And we love doing it.

What are your interests outside of Functional Fitness?
In my free time, you can generally find me with my husband and our army of fur babies. We have three dogs and two cats, plus the occasional foster animal. I love spending time on the water – waterskiing, tubing and kayaking are my favorite. I’ve had tacos 4 times this week (if my nutritionist is reading this, it fit my plan!!), so you could say I’m interested in those. I also really like podcasts. My favorites are Girls Gone Wod, This American Life, Stuff You Should Know and Ask Me Another.

Anything else you want readers to know about you?
I have an identity crisis. My legal first name is Louisa, and just about everyone in real life calls me Weezy, but I introduce myself as my middle name – Kate – because it just feels too strange to introduce myself as “Weezy”. You can call me whatever you wish; I will answer to them all!!

 

Photography taken by The Barbell Spin

Flexibility is Strength

Throwdowns.com understands that you need a solution that does exactly what you need — no more and no less. You know what you need to best run your event, but you don’t want to pay for extra services you don’t need. You need flexibility. And guess what? We have it.

  • Easy to launch landing pages
  • Highly configurable registration forms
  • Standard and customizable scoring policies
  • Multiple options for choosing how you get paid
  • Around-the-clock customer support
  • Special pricing for military and charity events
  • Price match guarantees

We are constantly tweaking our business and products based on customer feedback, because our goal is to be a great partner, create relationships that last a lifetime, and make sure that our product is even better the next time that you use it. To that end, we’ve been experimenting with our pricing model and have converged on three options that seem to offer maximum flexibility for the most common needs of the CrossFit competition software market.

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All options are at a predictable fixed price, and our most popular option is the fully-integrated registration and scoring package at $299 USD. However, we also know that some competitions may be looking or last minute scoring solutions so we make it super easy to import your registration data and deliver best-in-class leaderboards to your athletes and spectators. (It’s not all that uncommon to help organizers and coaches get setup as late as the night before.)

We’d love to partner with you on your next event, so if you have an event that doesn’t fit into one of our boxes, let us know! We will build the exact level of service you need, at a price just for you.

Whether it’s in your training schedule or in business: flexibility is strength!

Six Must-Follow Rules to Keep Your Sanity #intheOpen

The Open is practically here and some at Throwdowns HQ are notorious head cases. We wrote up a few stay-sane rules for surviving the Open. If you are anything like us, maybe you will benefit from this list also.

#intheopen #staysane

1. You can only do what you can do. Do your best. Not *insert name of person you are competitive with’s* best. YOUR best.

2. If it hurts – actually hurts (you know your body), stop. Pain is not weakness leaving the body. It’s the body telling you to stop.

3. No redos. Do your very best and move on with your week.

4. Set a designated amount of time to whine, troll the leaderboard, and strategize; and don’t exceed it. Nonverbal whining still counts as whining, so choose your time wisely. We’ll be #leaderboarding with all our friends and frenemies on a custom Throwdowns.com leaderboard.

5. If your 1 rep is 150 pounds, you probably aren’t going to hit 165 for reps, or if it’s a movement you’re not proficient at or have never done successfully, you probably won’t do 15 in a row. Take a breath and review Rule #1.

6. You are probably not going to Regionals. Take a breath and review Rule #1.

**That said, if you are going to Regionals, shoot us a message – we’d love to help you get there with a fundraiser competition at a highly discounted rate.**

Spotlight On: CrossFit for Carson

Throwdowns.com HQ had the pleasure of working with over 200 competitions all over the world in 2016 alone. Many of the events gave some or all of their proceeds to charity, and we pride ourselves on doing the same. We want to take this opportunity to spotlight one of the events in 2016 that tugged a little harder on our heartstrings.

Daniel from CrossFit QFE in Lumberton, NC reached out to us early last fall about putting on their first ever competition – an event to benefit a 5-year-old boy named Carson. Carson was a constant presence in the gym (whether coming along to class with mom, Jonna, or in CrossFit Kids classes), and was/is a true ray of sunshine. Jonna and her three boys – Austin, Jackson, and Carson – were all presences at the box for several years. In a small town like Lumberton, the QFE community is really more like a family. When Carson was diagnosed with TALL leukemia on September 6, 2016, the community was quickly abuzz with the news. They knew they needed to come together to help raise money and support for Carson and his family.

Carson 2

The event, titled “CrossFit for Carson,” was set for October 22 – only 2 weeks after Hurricane Matthew hit the Atlantic coast. It was the first Category 5 hurricane to hit the coast in almost a decade, and even though it had demoted its category by the time it hit Lumberton, the damage was catastrophic. Half of Lumberton was still underwater at the time of the event. They honestly weren’t sure that the competition would be a go until the 16th, when running water came back to the gym. It was no longer a safety hazard to hold the event, but the main road to Lumberton was still underwater. On October 20, just two days before the competition, Highway 95 reopened after being closed for several weeks due to flooding. Daniel described that feeling as “…a Hail Mary that we caught, because it enabled people from either side of Lumberton to get to town.” With just two days until the event, they decided it was a clear “Go!”

CrossFit for Carson itself couldn’t have gone any better. The timing was right, there were minimal glitches, and the turnout both for competitors and community support was incredible. People who knew Jonna and Carson from all walks of life pitched in – not just the CrossFit community. Daniel expressed so much gratitude for all who had a hand in making the day what it was under extreme circumstances.

Carson 3

The silver lining on an already amazing event was that two days before (the same day that the highway opened up), Carson’s bone marrow scans came back clear. He is still in for three years of treatments and the road is long, but this was a huge win for Team Carson.

The CrossFit QFE team rallied and was able to pull off a successful event despite huge obstacles, and we were honored to be a part of it.

If you’d like to donate to Carson’s care, please get in touch with the CrossFit QFE team here.

Carson 4