fbpx
Consistency Above All

Consistency Above All

Let’s all admit, we really like new things…we love novelty, what’s the newest greatest program, gadget, gear, shoe, piece of equipment, training technique…

As individuals, we display averages…we are the culmination of our habits…we are the average of the 5 people that we spend the most time with…it’s not what we know, it’s what we do consistently…

So what happens if we continue to chase the newest, coolest, shiniest thing we can put our hands on time after time…?

Well…we get…nowhere…

Really?

Think of it this way…you start with a destination.  “I want to drive from Fargo to Grand Forks.” You have a map that you trust will get you to your destination…then…you start deviating from the map…because…your internal voice starts getting loud, chirping about…anything really.  So you start taking exits, and you start making stops, and you can see the road you were on…but this road is brand new and maybe it’s faster but too new for your map to have included it…maybe?

Eventually you get…somewhere….for sure.  Is it where you originally wanted to go, is it where you want to be now?  That’s for you to decide. 

Let me break down this analogy…

You came to Icehouse to look good naked, have energy throughout your day, look good in your clothes, do things that fit people can do…then you talked to a coach and the coach told you to come to Icehouse 3-4 times a week, really get after the workout of that day; drink half of your body weight in ounces of water; eat relatively clean most of the time; sleep 8 hours a night…right?

And you did…for a bit, maybe even for a long while…then what?  

Choose your adventure…

Path #1

You were scrolling Instagram or Facebook and you see all of these people, who you don’t know, pitching these deviations to your plan…new gear, new diet, new training program and your brain somehow convinced you that this map that you had wasn’t the best map to get you to where you want to go, so you start improvising, adding a program here, a program there….

Suddenly you’re training 5-11 sessions a week, and you’ve only got 75% (maybe) of your energy to give to each of your training sessions, you’re tired, you’re under fueled, you’re training at Icehouse like it’s your job (literally) and suddenly the magic has worn a bit…it’s a box to check…sure you see your friends, but you’re super tired and you’re getting your work done to say that you got your work done…

What’s worse is that your stress from training has negatively impacted your performance, and your body composition (remember wanting to look good naked)…you’re not happy, you’re not as strong as you think you should be, and you think you’re not training hard enough so you scroll through more Instagram and pile on more training to combat your overtraining…

What’s the fix?

Talk to a coach, let us help you take a good, honest look at what your goals are, how you’re training, how you’re eating, how you’re recovering, and make sure they’re all supporting your goals

…Too busy for a meeting with a coach?

  • Come to CrossFit or Flux 3-4 times a week, and bring your 100% for that day
  • Get 8 hours of sleep every night
  • Drink half of your body weight in water every day
  • Eat real food, most of the time

Path #2

You were scrolling Instagram or Facebook and you see all of these people, who you don’t know, pitching these deviations to your plan…new gear, new diet, new training program and your brain somehow convinced you that this map that you had wasn’t the best map to get you to where you want to go, so you start improvising…doing more “home workouts”, maybe doing more open gym workouts…?

Suddenly you’re avoiding CrossFit classes because the classes are interfering with the science behind what you’re new program is designed to do…

Then…you’re training by yourself a lot…or not training at all, not on purpose…it just happened…you lost that accountability…and that community…you feel like you made your choice and you can’t come back

What’s the Fix?

Talk to a coach, let us help you take a good, honest look at what your goals are, how you’re training, how you’re eating, how you’re recovering, and make sure they’re all supporting your goals

…Too busy for a meeting with a coach?

  • Come to CrossFit or Flux 3-4 times a week, and bring your 100% for that day
  • Get 8 hours of sleep every night
  • Drink half of your body weight in water every day
  • Eat real food, most of the time

Hey!?! That fix looks awfully familiar…

Yep, remember…the title of this blog is “Consistency Above All”…the truth is you can do just about any program out there.  As long as you are sleeping, you are recovering, you are eating clean, and you are training consistently fitness is attainable.  

After 6-12 months of consistency you will hit a wall, then you come and see a coach and we’ll develop a plan together to get over that wall…but you first have to get that 6-12 months of consistency…

…Now is as good a time to get your consistency dialed in with our Icehouse Check-In Challenge going on now until the end of 2019

…Now I understand it’s easy to hear about consistency from a coach, right?  Well if you have any questions about “real world” Icehousers here’s a list of our…

Consistency Champions (10/12 months on our #committed Board)

Angelina Akers; Betsy Bohnenblust; Allie Bondy; Cierra Brinkman; Soni Cariveau; John Dalziel; Elli Feist; Mike Gallagher; Jeremy Grinsteinner; Holly Hagen; Becky Hanson; John Heller; Jordan Larson; KJ Loughead; Tracy Nelson; Racheal Paveglio; Leslie Rumble; Nancy “Shots” Stenger; Alex Vruno; Nick Williams

Honorable Mentions (8/12 Months on our #committed Board)

Sarah Borders; Emma Dunham; Jordan Johnson; Adam Kolling; Emily Monson; Preston Nesemeier; Chad Quamme; Skylar Wehri; Tyler Williams

Consistency Above All…It doesn’t matter what you KNOW…what do you DO consistently?

Guide to Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 2

Guide to Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 2

Meet Day

What to Bring (I always forget something, so here are my musts)

  1. Weightlifting Shoes (or whatever shoes you usually lift in)
  2. Singlet
  3. Any training equipment you usually use to lift. Knee sleeves/wraps, belt, tape. You may want to bring some chalk just in case.
  4. A written down plan for your warm-ups (or a coach who is doing this for you, we can help with this!)
  5. Your USA Weightlifting membership card. You’ll need to show this during weigh in (can be printed out or a digital version on your phone works too).
  6. Food, water, supplements and anything else you like to use before a workout.
  7. Layers of clothing to stay warm, and maybe even a pillow if you’d like to lie down and relax after you weigh-in.Weightlifting

Weigh In

You will get notified (usually via email) of what time your session & weigh ins will be, usually 2-3 hours prior to your session.  If for some reason you are over or under your originally declared weight class, you just need to tell the official at your weigh in BEFORE you hop on the scale. You will also need to tell them your opening lifts at that time. Remember to divide your planned weight in pounds by 2.2 to get the correct weight in Kilos to submit.

The time between weight in and lifting tends to be the most stressful.  Do your best to stay relaxed, stay hydrated eat a light snack or meal (especially if you fasted for weigh in). I like to watch the session happening before me to get a feel for timing and flow of the event, and it’s also a nice distraction and a great way to support your fellow lifters!

Warming Up Overview

Timing warm ups is probably the toughest part of the meet.  I would HIGHLY recommend having a coach or a friend help you plan this out and submit your weights to the marshal, even if they are just the runner so you can focus on lifting it will help.

The lifting order with athletes’ openers will be listed either on a TV, or the cards with attempts will be laid out on the marshal’s table.  You will want to take a look at that list so you can determine the starting order and where you fall within it.  The easiest way to plan is to assume each attempt will take about one minute.

I like to do a warmup before touching the barbell consisting of PVC pass throughs, air squats, inch worms & some yoga flows for shoulders and upper back openers.  Then an empty barbell warm up, finally building up to my snatch opener.

At some point during this time, I like to find a focal point, or something to look at during your lifts on the platform.  I’ll peek around the corner, look above the judge centered in front of the platform and pick a spot that I’ll look at while I lift.  It’s usually a logo, or a wall ball line or even the top edge of the back wall.  Something I can focus on that won’t move if someone in the crowd does.  (At my first meet I missed a lift because I made weird eye contact with someone in the crowd.  Don’t be like me.)

Strategy to Build to Your Opener

The easiest way to explain this is with an example.  You NEED to be flexible in your plan as things change with lifts the day of, but having an outline of your planned building sets will help greatly!

Here is an example of how to time your lifts for the snatch:

In this example there are 10 lifters in your session, and you would like to open with 70kg (154lbs).

There are three lifters opening with 50kg, two opening with 60kg, two opening with 65kg, you at 70kg, and two more at 80kg.

  • The lifters opening with 50kg will likely take all three of their attempts before you open – that’s nine lifts.
  • The lifters opening with 60kg will likely take at least two attempts before you open – that’s another four lifts.
  • The lifters opening with 65kg will likely take one attempt before you open – that’s two more.
  • There’s no need to worry about the guys opening with 90kg, because they’ll open after at least your second attempt.

So given this example, there will be about 15 attempts before your opener (9+4+2=15). And we are assuming 1 min per attempt, so that puts us 15 minutes out from the first lift, so we want to be ready at about that time.

  • 3 lifts out/mins (when there are three lifts before your first attempt) take 68-70kg (last warm-up)*
  • 6 lifts out/mins, take 65kg
  • 9 lifts/mins out take 60kg
  • 12 lifts/mins out take 55kg
  • 15 lifts/mins out, take 50kg
  • 18 lifts/mins out, take 40kg
  • 20 lifts/mins out, warm up with the bar

Since you are the 16th lift of the session, this means you should be done with your general warm-up (rolling out, stretching, etc) and taking the empty bar roughly 5 minutes or a little more before the session starts. Particularly in your first meet, it’s better to be a little bit ahead of the clock than a little bit behind it, so start a few minutes before you really need to and slow down a bit if you get too far ahead.

There is also an introduction that happens just before your session where all of the lifters are introduced.  Takes about 3-5 minutes, so plan for that.  So if this session began at noon given the lifts shown, I’d start my warm up at 11:40 (non barbell stretching), and pick plan to pick up the barbell at 11:50, then lifting every 3 minutes or so.

After snatching is complete, C&J is up next.  Grab a light snack & make sure to hydrate. Meets have a 15 minutes reset between snatch and clean & jerk, so keep an eye on time once the last lifter goes to time your warm ups for the clean & jerk.

You’ll want to do the same math as we did previously to see if you are still 16th to open.  It will likely be a similar spot, but since not all athletes have balanced lifts, you may be quite a bit earlier or later in the session so don’t skip the math!

Warm ups for clean & jerk are similar, but with a few tweaks.  Let’s say you are opening with 90kg (198lbs):

  • 4 lifts/mins out, take 85kg
  • 8 lifts/mins out, take 80kg
  • 12 lifts/mins out, take 75kg
  • 15 lifts/mins out, take 70kg
  • 18 lifts/mins out, take 60kg
  • 21 lifts/mins, take 45kg
  • 24 lifts/mins, take the empty bar (if you take the bar before clean & jerks)

Biggest difference here is we are lifting every 4 minutes/attempts once it gets heavy or so vs 3 for the snatch.  C&J is heavier and more taxing so a bit more rest is helpful between lifts. So if we were 16th again, I’d start with the barbell about 10 minutes prior to the first C&J attempt.

*Some people like to hit their opener in the back before their first attempt. I aim to hit about 5-10 lbs shy of it for my last warm up to save what I can for the bigger lifts/attempts, and its consistent with how I build to heavy lifts in training.  This comes down to personal preference.

Go Time – On the Platform

RELAX. You have put in the work. You had a solid warm up plan, you are ready.

The announcer will call the next lifter, as well as who is on deck.  This is when I stand up and prepare to walk on once they call my name.

The most important thing to remember once your name is called: YOU HAVE TIME! DO NOT RUSH. With 30 seconds remaining on your clock, a buzzer will sound, to let you know where you’re at.

As soon as my name is called I walk to the chalk bucket, and take a deep breath while I chalk up. Upon approaching the bar, find the focal point which you located earlier. Once you’re set on it, don’t take your eyes off of it unless you absolutely have to. Forgot to pick one earlier?  No biggie, simply walk to the center of the platform, take & break & look past the crowd. Find it, then your approach the bar.

DO NOT rush your set-up. Approach, setup, & lift just like you do every time in training. This is probably where I see the most new lifters miss their attempts – they get too excited and hurry through their set-up.

Once you stand up with the lift, WAIT for the down signal! This may be a referee saying “down!” or a buzzer going off. I have even added holding the bar overhead for an extra second to my training to prepare and get used to this. This is probably the most frustrating way to miss a lift in competition, so HOLD THAT BAR!

When the first attempt is done, smile & take a deep breath, the toughest lift of the meet is done. Head straight to the marshals table (or have your coach do it) and declare your next attempt. You should officially declare it within 30 seconds, otherwise you will not be allowed to make any changes. Once you’ve declared, just relax until your next attempt.

Try and pick your attempts so that you don’t have too long a rest between lifts (reference Part 1 on how to pick you attempts before hand). Stay relaxed and follow the same process for every lift.  And most importantly, HAVE FUN!

If you happen to be competing in the Star of the North on June 15th and want some awesome action shots, make sure to sign up with with Samantha Chin at https://www.samanthachinphotography.com/ for an amazing photo package (like the photos in the blog)!

Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 1

Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 1

How to Prepare for Your First Weightlifting Meet

Probably the most intimidating thing about a weightlifting meet is not knowing what to expect or how they work. So let’s go behind the curtain and clear all of that up!  We will go through the pre-meet details here, and part 2 will cover the day of.

Step 1: Pick a Meet & Register

You will want to find a meet that is at least 6 weeks out so you’ll have plenty of time to prepare & train. I personally prefer to go 12 weeks out so I can complete a full training cycle prior.

In order to register you will need to know a few things.

Determine your weight class

They are in Kilos, so take your weight in pounds & divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in Kilos. I would select the one that you fall into at your mid day weight eating as you usually would. You can cut or mass to hit another weight class but I would not recommend doing that for your first meet.  Use the first meet to get a feel for the flow of these events vs worrying about weigh in.

If the competition day rolls around and you gained or lost weight, you can still declare a new weight class.  You just need to tell the judge at the weigh in prior to stepping on the scale.

Weight Classes

USA Weightlifting Membership Number

You will also need to register as a USAW Member in order to compete, so make sure to do that when you sign up for the meet itself! Here is the link to join: USAW Registration.

Search for a local meet that is at least 6 weeks out and get registered HERE.

Step 2: Train & Prepare!

Pick a Training Program/Cycle: Now that you’ve determined when you will be competing, it is time to get a plan together.  There are some great free programs out there, or we can help you put a plan together based on your goals for the meet.  (More to come on this option in June!)

Learn the Rules: If you’ve never seen a weightlifting meet before, I would highly recommend reading through the rules so you are prepared.  There are a long list of rules, and if you’d like to nerd out you can read them all HERE.

A few basic rules are:

  • You get 3 attempts at the Snatch, then 3 at the Clean & Jerk.
  • The order of lifters goes from lowest attempt and builds up from there.You will need to declare your next lift to the scores table so you can be worked into the lifting order.
    • Once a barbell is loaded weight cannot go down. So you will want to make sure your next attempt is submitted so you don’t miss the weight on the bar you want to attempt. (Have a coach or friend help with this, it makes life much easier).
  • You have 1 minute from the time the bar is loaded and you are called lift.
  • If you are following yourself (for example you missed and want to repeat a weight and no other lifters will be attempting that weight), then you get 2 minutes for that lift.
  • You must catch the barbell with locked out arms for it to count. If you press out it will be a no lift.

Determine your Openers

Your opener should be something you can hit for 2-3 doubles during training. You should be able to hit it 1-2 times in the back (for the snatch, not the clean & jerk) with 100% confidence. Then walk out and crush it for your first attempt.

Second attempt should still be something you’re confident in, and not more than a ~4kg increase from the first on the snatch. For Clean & Jerk not more than ~6kg for the second attempt. The third attempt can be a bit more risky, but something you typically make at least two out of three times in training.

Set Goals: This is your first meet, so set your goals accordingly. My first meet’s goals were

  • Have fun
  • Learn as much about meets as possible
  • Get a Total (AKA hit at least 1 snatch & 1 Clean & Jerk)

While it is possible to hit a personal best lift at your first meet, I would plan to pick an opener you know you can hit. Be a bit more conservative as nerves are a funny thing during that first lift with all eyes on you.

Practice!

Find some time to get together during an open gym with friends for a mock meet (we are happy to help). Two weeks before a meet is a great time to try out your openers in this format.  Even if it is just lifting with a few friends with the timer running. Ask someone pretending to be the judge that will be in front of the “platform.” Have them simply give you the “down” call, which is what the judge will do at the meet once you have the bar controlled.

Up next: A Guide to the Day of the meet

 

The Power of Breath

The Power of Breath

Our physiology (body) drives a lot of our behavior and the way that we approach a situation.  

Breathing is one of the few, generally, automatic processes that we, as humans, can exercise some control over.  And it has a great deal of control over which mental state we experience, that is, which part of our central nervous system we are experiencing the world through.

  • Sympathetic Nervous System – Fight, Flight, Freeze
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System – Rest and Digest

Check out the video below for a quick tutorial on the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems:

So what does that have to do with what we do at Icehouse?

In a word…”Everything”.  Understanding which state you’re in and how to bounce seamlessly between the two can be the difference between a BIG personal record lift, or a meltdown mid-workout.  And it can help you determine which of our 3 tracks is best for you for that training session.

Don’t I just want to go hard every training session?  

The short answer is…”No”.  As humans we have a limited supply of fuel for “fight or flight”.  If we stay in that state constantly, it becomes less and less potent, it loses its punch, and we just become highly alert (burned out) and exhausted.

So if going hard isn’t always the “go to”, what are my options?

To make it simple, we’ll keep it at aerobic (oxygen for fuel) and anaerobic (everything else as fuel)

Aerobic – you’re able to breathe through your nose; if you’re unable to do that you have to slow down until you can.  These workouts are designed to move your body and build that base of cardiovascular endurance (allow you to go low and slow for a long time) and are the cornerstone of training for the long haul.

Anaerobic – you’ve got to use your mouth to some extent to bring air in or get air out.  These workouts are designed to create a hormonal response that make you better at everything (quick punch of relatively hard and fast).  We don’t do these often, and to make changes, we don’t need to.

How do I know which state I am in?

One quick check is to pay attention to how your mouth is organized.  This is a quick check for efficient nasal breathing, aerobic and parasympathetic (rest and digest).  

  • Tip of your tongue is at the roof of your mouth
  • Teeth are slightly apart
  • Breathing into your belly through your nose

For more information on the fundamentals of breathwork checkout the Power Speed Endurance blog here

Fitness Outside of the Gym

Fitness Outside of the Gym

It is not about how good you are at exercising.

Even though our members do get quite good at it. There is so much more to Icehouse then just helping you get into the best shape of your life.  Our favorite success stories aren’t around the total number of pounds or inches lost, or how much strength and/or speed is gained.  Those are all awesome & amazing accomplishments, but not what it is about.

Here are 2 of my favorite changes other then just improved fitness we see in our members:

1.Gained confidence

It is not uncommon for someone new to say or think “I can’t do that” when they read the workout.  CrossFit works because it is hard work, but it is absolutely possible.  If it wasn’t it wouldn’t work, and we would not ask you to do something if we didn’t believe you were capable.  We are all capable of so much more then we think!

Slowly we lift a couple more pounds, get a little faster, and/or loose a few pounds.  Before you know it you don’t even bat an eye at the workout because you just know you can do it. You even start trying tougher versions of movements because you’ve been killin’ it.  THAT is amazing!

Even better when a big project/opportunity at work, or a challenge out in the real world shows up you roll up your sleeves and take it on.  Because you are strong.  Because you are capable.  Because you CAN!

2. Saying YES to life

This is my absolute favorite reason to be fit, and why I stick with it.  I never want to have to say no to a fun outing, vacation, or adventure because I am concerned about being fit enough.

When someone shares a post about how they were able to go for a hike with their family on their annual vacation for the first time in years, or go outside and play a game with their nieces or nephews without getting winded THAT is what it’s about.

I understand that at this point you may have back pain, or you may have some knee pain stopping you from getting in shape. We are in pain so we don’t move, and we don’t move because we are in pain, and our bodies are not meant to just sit.  Find someone who can help you with those issues (we have coaches who have experience with all of those issues and can help you build the strength needed to solve them), or check out my recent blog of 5 places to start your fitness journey if you aren’t sure where to begin.

Take care of your body, surround yourself with people who believe in you, and say YES to life!