Happy New Year!

January 2nd, after the celebrations are over and we’ve had a day to recover, that is when the new year really starts.

It’s when we reflect on the the indulgences of the past two months and really miss being at the gym.

It’s when we get all the gift wrapping and buying and holiday celebrations completed and have a few minutes to breath. Soon kids will be going back to school and decorations will go back in storage.

No it’s time to get some work done. Whether is about sliding back into those trusty healthy habits or creating new ones, now is the time to decide. It’s time to take a hard reset and get back to the freedom of a routine.

See you at the gym! Whether you’ve been at it for a while, are brand new or simply took a break.
Get after making fitness a part of your routine.

CrossFit Gear- Essential #1

Starting Crossfit is the beginning on an amazing journey. In the beginning the learning curve is huge. So much to learn, new movements, new skills and an entirely new language. It’s almost like moving to a new country!

Having the proper gear to help you along the way is extremely helpful.

So here is an idea of what should be in your gym bag!

Essential #1

A good pair of shoes: We prefer a low profile shoe. Thick walking shoes tend to be overbuilt in the heel pushing the balance forward. Most of the weight training we do requires our bodyweight to shift back into the heels. A few recommendations are:

Which shoe your prefer is very personal. All the shoes listed have a low profile, are very light weight and are designed to help you feel rooted during lifts. They also are designed to give you traction during rope climbs and slip during handstand push ups. Some are more flexible than others and the fits are different from line to line.
Expect to replace the inserts if you need  arch support. 

I’ve worn and loved INOV8’s for years and have moved to the NoBull in the past 2 years. I own 1 pair of MetCons and 1 Pair of Nanos. I don’t wear either. It’s best to find someone with your size foot and try on their shoes!

Reebok CrossFit Nano

  • Great design
  • Buy on Amazon
  • Buy some versions locally at the Reebok outlet

Nike MetCons

  • Great design
  • Buy online
  • Sometimes they squeak. Seriously. There is a baby powder fix though


  • Fresh designs
  • Buy online
  • Currently very popular

INOV8 F-lite

  • Super lightweight
  • Minimal barefoot feel
  • Great design
  • Buy online
    This should be your first purchase. It’s not cheap but its worth it.

Congratulations to Cathy!

A big shout out and congratulations to Cathy Hall! Cathy swam in the senior Olympics this last Sunday and walked away with a silver medal! Cathy set this goal, and through Medals Of Honor, dedicated each one of her races to a different fallen soldier. Cathy spent 13 months training her breaststroke, backstroke, and freestyle with Jamie Wansing, and did Crossfit through personal training with Kyle Kellis. She set a goal, made a plan, and knocked it out of the park! Cathy’s been a member of the fam for over 5 years and Crossfit St. Charles is so proud of her and honored to have been part of her journey.

The Goose that Lays the Golden Egg!

From the pen of guest writer John Harder

Who can relate to Veruca? I know that I want muscles and I WANT THEM NOW! Sadly though, just like everything else in life building strength takes time. In the age we live in we’ve become accustom to having everything now. Fast food, high speed internet, instant downloads, etc. We’ve subconsciously trained our brains to believe that absolutely everything is immediate.  I’ve even seen ads for machines that supposedly get your body fit while you sit on the couch. Everything should be “easy” and available “now”. Our bodies, however, are here to remind us that the good stuff that you want to last will take a little more of an investment. When I think about the work that needs to be put in to see the results that we want I think of the farmer. They prep the soil, they plant the seed, they tend to it as the crops grow, they constantly are removing anything that is keeping them from seeing the best yield. When you rush something that needs time and tending to, you may see some results, but they will hardly be the results that are the best possible outcome or, more often than not, lasting. If a watched pot never boils could it be said that a watched muscle never grows? If you find yourself in a place where you are feeling impatient about the results you’re looking for I would suggest starting to count your victories. All of them. Even the small ones. It’s more important to celebrate the things we are doing than beating ourselves up for what we aren’t seeing. Be patient and enjoy the process!

Eat to Lose Weight

“Metabolic damage” and “starvation mode” are probably terms you’ve heard before. They are often used when referring to the physiological changes that take place when someone is eating too little calories for too long. This lack of calories can be from limiting calories or upping exercise without accommodating with more food intake. Our bodies are fantastic at adapting; when we add an extra day of training into our schedule, we might be sore for a week or two but we adapt. Soon it feels like we were always Crossfitting 4 days a week instead of 3. When we take calories out of our diets, we might lose weight for a few weeks but then our bodies adapt and we plateau. Soon our bodies stop changing and it’s like we never ate more.

What exactly is happening here and why? More importantly, what can we do about it?

“Dieting” (for most of us) means “a lot less food and a lot more cardio”. We may acknowledge that strength training is important, and we might get that our hormones’ roles and functions are affected by our food. But most of us ignore that and decide if cutting calories by a little is good, then cutting by a lot must be better and faster! Right? Wrong. It’s damaging to your metabolism. Your metabolism is the orchestration of hormones and processes, including the process of releasing stored fat and burning that fat or re-storing it. It is a process we all want control over.

When it comes to this process we want regulation over, calories matter and so do hormones like insulin. How you reduce calories and at what rate matters to your hormones. I think of a rubber band analogy. To get a result (weight loss) you must put just enough stress (stress = calorie reduction) on it to get movement without it snapping back. Just enough. Not enough stress on your metabolism and you end up staying stuck. Too much stress, and like the rubber band things spring back. We do the same process in strength training! To get stronger we get under just enough weight/tension with just enough speed to challenge our bodies. Not so much that we fail, but enough that we are uncomfortable.

Initially, when there is the wrong kind of stress (or just too much stress overall) on the metabolism, the body simply adapts by turning down the metabolic rate. You see this time and time again when you start a new diet and get results for a like a week…then zip. Nothing. You’ve checked and MyFitnessPal says you’re coming in under recommended calorie intake. But with this turn down of your metabolism (that can happen very quickly) you simply aren’t burning as much as you think you are.

When you cut calories or try to burn more off at the gym, that triggers lower leptin levels and ups those cortisol levels. That brings on cravings for the carbs and sometimes fatty/starchy foods. This makes it super hard to stick to your plan. What this looks like for a lot of us is “clean eating” Monday to Friday and then losing it on the weekend.

What can we do? We need to find the right amount of stress to put on our metabolism to get results but not push it so far it snaps back at us. Start by training smarter, not harder. Follow the programming and don’t go rouge in pursuit of weight loss. Making changes takes time, and the more aggressive the shifts, the more aggressive the possible damage.

Try some strategies, like RP Strength, that slowly and intentionally put stress on your metabolic system for a limited period. Many of us don’t intuitively know how to program for strength gains or how to strike that tension and not snap our rubber band. That’s why we loved CrossFit…someone does it for us. The same is sometimes true with our food intake habits. We don’t intuitively know without a lot of patience and practice how to pull on our metabolic rubber band and not have it smack us in the face. Commit to a long-term program (90 days or more) and be patient and intentional. Learn about your body and its needs, ask questions, rehab your metabolism, and exit starvation mode.

Better Breathing, Better Rowing

Creating a breathing rhythm can really help your rowing workouts. Ideally, the rhythm of your breath will relate to the rhythm of your stroke.

When rowing at lower intensities, many rowers take one breath per stroke. They add a second, shorter breath as they start rowing harder. The optimal point of when to switch from one to two breaths per stroke is highly personal; experiment to see what works best for you.

Consider Your Stroke Cadence

It’s helpful to coordinate the timing of your breathing with the phases of the stroke. Specifically:

During low intensity rowing (one breath)—Exhale gradually on the drive, expelling all remaining air at the finish. Inhale on the recovery.

During high intensity rowing (two breaths)—Exhale as you finish the drive. During the recovery, inhale, then exhale quickly. Inhale again just before the catch.

Create a Pattern

The most important consideration is to create a breathing pattern and stick with it throughout your row. This supplies regular oxygen to your muscles so they can function optimally, and it can also help you increase the intensity of your workout…especially on those days when you are less motivated to put in a hard effort.

Check out Coach Jamies Rowing Clinic on June 3 @9a for more drills and skill to improve your technique and performance