Category: Training Tips

The Ultimate Functional Fitness Shoe Comparison

Finding your perfect shoe can be a tall order.

There are so many shoes on the market for all your functional fitness needs. Ultimately, the best way to figure out what you like is to take them for a WOD or two. We have compiled a list of the most popular options with pros and cons to help you make a decision, whether you are new to the functional fitness shoe-buying game or a veteran looking for a change.

Nike Metcon 3 – Starts at $97.48 (sale prices – full price $129.95) 

With a beautiful mesh upper, re-imagined sole and outsole, classy plastic TPU for stability in the heel, a subtler heel clip that the 2s, and the standard swoosh we’ve all come to know and love, the Metcon 3 is a thoughtfully designed shoe. The Metcon 3 is best for an athlete with a standard width foot. If you prefer a more sock-like feel, you might want to give the DSX Flyknits a try. They are a little more expensive than the Metcon 3 but offer more pliability. Heavy sweaters beware.

 

Nike Metcon 3 starts at less than $100 while they’re on sale. Get them here.

 

Best quality: Flex Appeal. These shoes are incredibly attractive and multi-functional.
Worst quality: Squeaky sole, although an improvement from the Metcon 2. If you *like* the box jump squeak, then the downside isn’t a downside at all.

Reebok Nano 7.0 – Starts at $79.99 (sale prices – full price $130)

A vibrant shoe with creative colorways and subtler branding than previous models, the Nano 7.0 is a great option on the market. They have a durable coating on the shoe called “Nano Weave” that will hold up to whatever you throw at it – and the rope climb guard on the inside adds an extra pop of color and added durability. Reebok has also added TPU plastic at the heel to this iteration. The Nano 7.0 runs a little narrow and will be better for narrower-footed folks. Their toe box runs a bit big, though, so you’ll want to try these on if at all possible.

 

Make every nanosecond count with the CrossFit Nano 7.0. Get yours here.

 

Best quality: Highly durable
Worst quality: Overstated color options; a little stiff (on account of the durability)

NOBULL – Starts at $129.99


The NOBULL trainer has a classy, understated design with a Toms-style appeal. The upper is a single piece, made of what NOBULL calls SuperFabric® – a durable, breathable, comfortable fabric that won’t scuff or damage with whatever you throw at it. The NOBULL logo graces the side, so there’s no mistake about the brand, but the sole and upper color options are classic and understated (with the exception of the Lemon Drop Trainer). NOBULLs are also suitable for casual wear, and their look fits the bill of a crossover athletic/casual shoe. But, at the core, the NOBULL is a no-gimmick training shoe that holds up to metcons, barbell movements and looks good at the coffee shop after your workout. You may have to try a few sizes to get the right fit, but once you find the right one, you are sure to be pleased with your purchase.

 

These are one of the most durable functional shoes you’ll find anywhere. Get a pair here while they last.

 

Best quality: Classic no-gimmick shoe – versatile, comfortable and functional
Worst quality: Innocuous logo that some may not like; a little wide

No matter what functional shoe you choose, Rogue is sure to have what you’re looking for at the right price. It’s time to find your new favorite pair of shoes.

If you’ve already found your perfect pair of shoes and are look for a new training program to accompany it, check out our post about preparing for the 2018 Open.

The Best Advice for the 2018 CrossFit Open

CrossFit is a sport that rewards consistency. You don’t have to be the best at anything to win a competition. However, it’s unlikely you’ll come out on top if you’re the worst at anything. Your chances of success are good if you are average across the board and substantially higher if you are better than average across the board.

The best advice you’ll ever receive for the 2018 Open: train your weaknesses. Start now!

If you’re not getting out of your comfort zone and doing the movements you either dread or tend to avoid on a regular basis, you’re not doing yourself any favors. The CrossFit Open is expressly designed to expose weaknesses, so put in the work now and prepare for your best open ever!

It’s far from a comprehensive guide, but here’s a short list to get you thinking. Be honest with yourself!

  • What movements in the 2017 Open tripped you up the most?
    • Squat snatches? Bar Muscle-ups? Handstand Pushups?
    • When did you last train these movements?
    • Are you keeping a log and charting progress so that you cam measure progress?
  •  What movements do you hope are not in the 2018 Open?
    • Good candidates are advanced skills we’ve seen in previous opens and in regionals. (It wouldn’t even be that surprising to even see handstand walks given their increasing prominence in regional events.)
    • Do you have a program in place and a training partner to help you attack these weaknesses?
    • Have you been putting in any time with dumbbells?
  • Do you have mobility or range of motion restrictions that hold you back?
    • Proper technique and efficiency in the Olympic lifts are practically one and the same. Mobility and range of motion is essential for all of them, including the “power” variations.
    • Do you know your restrictions, and are you specifically targeting them with focused routines?
    • Try yoga classes, ROMWods, and Mobility WODs and see what works. Test and re-test your ranges of motion where there is restriction.
  • Are you strong enough?
    • Although sometimes overlooked, are you squatting, deadlifting, and pressing enough with heavy weight?
    • Are you stronger today than you were this time last year, or even two years ago?
    • Consider spending the next 3-6 months getting as strong as possible with a linear progression. (If you’re not keeping a log and seeing increases in strength, start today!)

This list could go on and on, but you get the point: train your weaknesses. Try to get to the point that there’s nothing that you truly dread or feel that you just completely can’t do. You don’t have to be the best at it, but don’t allow yourself to be the worst!

Go on the record with a training partner, and keep a training log. Pre-pay for a bundle of personal training sessions with a coach. Do whatever it takes.

Finally, remember: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” (Tim Notke)

Don’t wait till January to think about these things. Start today.

Photography by Ann’s Forever Images.

Gear Essentials That Will Make You Bulletproof in Competition

With so many gear options on the market, it can be hard to pick what to pack on competition day. We have seen it all in the 500 competitions we have been a part of. There are so many options on the market  to choose from, but we wanted to compile a list of “must-haves” to pack in your gear bag for game day.

Without further adieu: The 5 Gear Essentials That Will Make You Bulletproof on Competition Day (or at least will help!):

  1. Hand Protection – Ripping a callous ruins competition day like nothing else. Pack your gymnastics grips, like these Rogue Fitness Gymnastics Grips, to help the fight against ripping. We strongly recommend against using brand new grips for the first time on competition day. If you are between pairs, opt for a more single-use product like Wod & Done Grips.
  2. Knee Sleeves – Competitions test athletes in a variety of ways. One of those way will usually include a heavy or high rep squat movement – thrusters, wall balls, max clean complexes. Pack your knee sleeves to cope with the stress. Pro tip: bring something to put your stinky sleeves in at the end of the day, because *nothing* has the potential to stink up your gym bag quite like used knee sleeves.
  3. Roller – You are going to want to (or NEED to) roll out between events. Your host gym may not have enough rollers for everyone, so pack your own roller just to be safe.
  4. Spare Jump Rope – CrossFitters prepare for the unexpected. That includes unexpectedly breaking a jump rope. Bring along your go-to jump rope and a spare just in case. Who knows – you might have a teammate who forgets to bring theirs along, and you’ll get to save the day with your spare.
  5. Weight belt – You are probably going to want a weight belt for heavy events. Your host gym may have enough for a normal class but not for a full-fledged competition. Bring your own along for added peace of mind. Bonus points if it matches your outfit!

There are so many great gear options to choose from. On competition day, being prepared with your favorite gear is more important than the brand of gear in your bag. These are the five staples we think you should definitely bring along, regardless of brand.

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!

What’s in your gear bag for a CrossFit Competition?

What are the most important items to pack in your gear bag for a CrossFit competition? Much like packing for a vacation or preparing for a shopping trip, we recommend putting together a handy checklist so that you don’t forget anything important. Most competitions are all day affairs, so you’ll want to carefully prepare so that you don’t stress out (or run out to the store) during valuable recovery periods between WODs.

Two of the most obvious categories you’ll want to think about are clothing and nutrition.

Unlike a typical classroom workout in the box, you’ll be completing multiple workouts throughout the day and likely won’t have an opportunity to shower. Unless you like spending the day in sweaty, smelly clothing, be sure to take enough changes of clothing to get you through the day.

Competitions increasingly offer food items for purchase through local vendors, but don’t leave anything to chance. In addition to recovery drinks and protein powders, consider packing a small cooler with a few small meals just in case you need to rely on it. At a minimum, a couple of premixed shakes, a pound or so of cubed chicken breast, some mashed sweet potatoes, and a couple of bananas would make for a good competition lunch box.

Don’t forget the essentials like top notch recovery powders when planning your competition lunch box!

A few essentials to kick off the list:

  • Shaker bottles (including protein & electrolyte powders)
  • Food (shakes, cubed chicken breast, bananas, etc.)
  • Shoes (oly & metcon)
  • Extra clothes (shirts, shorts, socks, etc.)
  • Compression gear (belt, wraps, sleeves, tape, etc.)
  • Personalized/fitted items (jump rope)
  • Miscellaneous (deodorant, phone charger, camera, etc.)

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