Prepare for Festivus!


So, you signed up for Festivus! For many people Festivus is their first real fitness competition. This competition is a great way to celebrate your fitness, show off your progress, and have fun with other people in the same boat as you.

If this is your first Festivus, I’m sure you’re wondering how to prepare. We’ve got some tips for you! If this is not your first and you’re wanting to up your game, we’ve also got some tips for you!

  1. Watch the standards—and then rewatch them. This seems obvious but watching the standards extra times will increase your confidence and help you feel more comfortable on the actual day. There’s nothing worse than second guessing yourself mid-WOD. Get to know the WODs and visualize yourself killing it by hitting every movement and every rep perfectly!
  2. Focus on your breathing! When the first WOD starts, your adrenaline will kick in and this could cause your body to short-circuit the natural breathing process. Losing your breath will increase stress and cause you to wear out quickly! Practice a “Box Step Breath”—4 counts in, 4 counts hold, 4 counts exhale.
  3. Keep your food the same. It can be tempting to gear up the day before with carbo loading, fancy energy drinks, or supplements. But if you haven’t been training with it, pass on it for the day of the competition! Friday night and Saturday morning, eat as you normally would with a slight bias toward carbs. Now is not the time to throw your digestive system a curve ball.
  4. Start hydrating early. When you’re dehydrated, your total blood volume decreases. This causes:
    1. Reduced blood flow to your skin and muscles
    2. Increased body temperature
    3. Reduced sweat rates
    4. Increased glycogen use
    5. Increased heart rate
    6. Increased perception of effort

    This is basically your body’s way of forcing you to slow down (to preserve energy), which can compromise your performance. Hydration should start days before you arrive at our gym! Hydrate early and often!

  5. Take the day before off! Stretch, walk, but don’t do any WODS. Your muscles need time to recover from your regular work out routine and to prepare for this day of fun and higher volume!
  6. Arrive early! Plan to arrive early to give yourself time to set up a spot for resting and recovering between WODS. Give yourself time to get your snack in place and learn the layout of our gym.
  7. Don’t wear new clothes! We love to see your amazing and funny team garb! But we do not recommend wearing those team shirts for the first time on competition day. Make sure to take them for a test run so you’re comfortable and happy with the way they fit and feel.
  8. Focus on yourself! Focus on fun! Remember, Festivus is about being able to have fun at exactly the level you are right now. No matter what, it’s a celebration of where YOU are and what YOU can accomplish. Keep your eye on your lane and your mind as calm and controlled as possible. Festivus is as much a celebration of the sport of fitness as it is a competition. One of the VERY best things about this sport is the community. Accept the cheers and bask in the “Good jobs!” We all want everyone else to succeed too!

How You Talk to Yourself Matters


We talk a lot in our gym about technical skills, muscle engagement, and getting stronger because they are so important! However, there is another huge component to progress in the gym, and it’s your self-talk.

Probably from your first day at CrossFit (no…from the night before your first day!) you’ve been battling your mind. Self-talk can either build you up quick, or smash down your skills, confidence, and motivation. Having a group of friends or a coach near to outwardly encourage you is great (and one of CrossFit’s best draws), but if you want to make real gains you’ve got to learn to improve your self-talk.

Research shows that positive self-talk has been shown to enhance performance, and negative self-talk does the opposite. Negative self-talk results in problematic physical responses like muscle tension, loss of focus, and breathing disruptions.

What can we do about negative self-talk?

First, listen to yourself. Have you ever listened to the things you tell yourself before you attempt something difficult?

  • “This is going to suck…”
  • “That’s a lot of weight…”
  • “I won’t be able to complete…”

We can be so mean to ourselves, and so negative!

The words you mutter when the clock starts not only affect you, but they affect the people around you as well! When you give life to the negative thoughts popping up in your head, the people around you will hear and lose confidence in themselves as well.

Next, treat yourself as your own training partner. Rescript those negative words into words you’d speak to another member. While we don’t mind saying “I’m so weak” to ourselves, we’d never turn to a fellow CrossFit St. Charles member and say, “you’re so weak”. Think about what you would say to a friend who is struggling:

  • “You can do this!”
  • “It’s just working out”
  • “Consistency always moves you forward, and I’m glad you’re here!”

Remember one day and one work out doesn’t change who you are. Instead of saying “I’m so weak!” because TODAY’S squats were hard, try saying “Today’s squats felt heavier than last week”. Realize that the problem of squats feeling heavy is much smaller than the emotion that is inflating the problem.

Let’s commit to less negative talk, inside our heads as well as outside.

Confessions of a Sunglasses Junkie


Picture of Kim wearing sunglassesHaving light-colored eyes have always made me a bit sensitive to sunlight. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a pair of shades either over my eyes or on top of my head. They are a part of my uniform. ZZ Tops “Cheap Sunglasses” was my theme song.

Then I got Lasik and on my way out of the doctor’s office, I was handed a pair of Maui Jims. My life forever changed.

I cannot exactly say how many pairs of Maui Jims I have previously or even currently own. I’m like that Grandma that collects elephants. You just never know where you’ll find a pair in my house. I may have a pair of Ray-Bans and some Ralph Laurens (do they even count?) and I just got a cool pair of Costas for my birthday but basically I am an MJ snob. Seriously.

Until now.

My niece Melanie recently informed me that she was already for Lake Season. She was wearing a pair of FLOATABLE sunglasses. Of course, I had to try them on. My life forever changed. 

Thes KZ Shades checked all my required boxes.

  1. Plastic Frames-check
  2. Lightweight- (verrrry) Check
  3. Molded Nose bridge- 2nd most important feature. I hate when my shades pull out my hair.
  4. Polarized lenses -1st most important feature
  5. BONUS: They FLOAT!!!

To be honest, I’ve not yet been able to tell the difference in the lenses between these shades and my very high-end sunglasses.

The best news of them all? You can win a pair of these awesome shades for you and a friend this weekend at CrossFit St. Charles! It’s bring a friend weekend and you and your friend that is not a current member of CFSTC can enter our 

“Friends don’t let friends suffer in the sunlight, only in the gym” raffle
“Have some shade but friends aren’t shady” raffle
“Throw some weights but not shade” raffle

And win a set!

4 Things To Do For Success At CrossFit St. Charles


Getting fit and making CrossFit a regular part of your world is not easy. It can be challenging both physically and mentally. It forces you to face some pretty harsh realities. Realities some people would prefer to go their whole lives without ever addressing.

I’ve been submerged into this community for a while now. I’ve noticed that people who are successful are a unique type of person, and it has nothing to do with their athletic background or genetics.

Here are four things I’ve seen successful athletes at CrossFit St. Charles doing:

They are in for the long haul

Even if what brought you through our doors was a short-term goal (lose 10lbs, do a tough mudder, get jacked for a wedding, etc), you eventually learn that fitness isn’t about a 30-day commitment. You stop looking for quick fixes.  Now don’t get me wrong…there’s nothing wrong with a short-term challenge goal! They can jump-start us or get us out of a rut. However, to have long-term success and long-term results, you have to find a way to cultivate and keep new habits for the long haul.

They are learners

“Be a learner” is a core value at my kid’s elementary school and it’s a core value in the life of successful people. Sure, we tell you exactly what to do at CrossFit and you don’t have the think too terribly much. That’s one of the perks! However, when you come to class, we would rather be teachers than drill sergeants. We expect that you’ll ask questions and be curious about the why. When you learn more about why you are doing things, you approach it with greater intention and get a lot more out of it.

They use performance to measure progress

Almost everyone would love to see six-pack abs or big biceps when they look in the mirror… but let me tell you, I recently spent some time with my husband’s 84-year-old Grandma and she was most proud of her ability to put her bags in the overhead compartment on a plane without help. And when you’re 84 I suspect you’ll be mostly interested in your ability to get out of a chair on your own or go swimming with your grandkids.

Losing weight is not the mission of your life.

Healthy weight for you is what you weigh when you’re able to do the things you love to do with ease and joy. After that, how thin do you need to be?

HOWEVER! Learning to do a rope climb, clean a barbell beautifully, or do push-ups is so fun! AND a very validating use of your body!

Take a look around you. The fittest people you know in REAL LIFE (not Instagram) are athletes, not fitness models! They’re doing real sports and living real active lives.

Unless your job is to look good on social media, it’s really hard to stay motivated long-term with just the goal of losing weight or improving your physical appearance. Focus on improving what you and your body can DO. You might SEE physical changes that make you proud, but more importantly fitness will stay interesting and fun when you measure it with performance.

They make the practice more important than the results

The first thing we tell new people after they complete foundations is, “Sign up for class and SHOW UP for class!” They often walk in with long-term goals, like 50lbs of weight loss. We try and replace a newbie’s top goal with the goal of a 3 times a week CrossFit practice.

Humans are wired for immediate gratification. This is why big long-term goals like weight loss can be tricky. So how do we go about long-term goals? We realign our goals for short-term gratification. If your goal is showing up 3 times a week, you get immediate gratification each time you complete a class because you’re achieving your goal.

Once you establish practices you can start to stack some more habits in. Eating to function and feel better, sleeping more, 4 days a week of training, etc…  Each of these habits is celebrated and have launched you forward a step. Before you know it, you’re at your long-term goal. So stay in it for the long haul with short-term goals and consistent practices.

A Rope Review with Rutherford


Jump ropes are a staple in everyone’s CrossFit bag, but how do you know which rope is right for you? In this week’s gear review, I’ll give you the low-down on ropes. Why should you listen to a guy who can barely do double-unders (dubs)? Well, this definitely isn’t a “how to do dubs really well” article. It’s about jump ropes, and I happen to have about half a dozen of them! My top three are pictured.

On to the good and bad of these ropes…

Jason R's top three jump ropes

RX Smart Gear

Let’s start with the RX Smart Gear ropes (the orange rope in the picture). This was my 2nd rope and — believe it or not — it is thinner than my first RX rope. The RX ropes are great for executing singles or starting to learn dubs. You can always get a thinner rope to change out with the same set of handles. The handle is girthy (I said it), but the rubber grip makes it easy to hang on during those long jumping WODs. The company has a ton of colored ropes to choose from. Pair that with the custom handles and BOOM! An endless variety of color combinations between the cables and handles! So that’s neat. Overall these are great ropes, but the handles are a bit heavy and the length isn’t adjustable. You’ll also need to know the length of the cable you want, which is difficult to determine when you’re new.

Pros:

  • Interchangeable ropes and handles
  • Customizable color combinations

Cons:

  • Length is not adjustable
  • Heavier handles

SR-2s Speed Rope 2.0

The Fraser (HWPO) SR-2s rope is the red-handled rope in the picture. I purchased the rope when I decided to stop trying singles and move to a speed rope. At 2.3 mm, it’s is thinner than any RX rope I had ever purchased, and the length is completely adjustable. While this rope is not the smallest out there, it was a great rope for getting more dubs than I previously had. I really like this rope overall, but the shortness of the handles started to bother me during long WODs. There is a version with longer handles that would likely alleviate my in-WOD woes with this rope.

Pros:

  • Adjustable length
  • Great weight for discovering a dub rhythm

Cons:

  • The small aluminum handles get slippery as you’re dying in a WOD

RPM Session 3.0

The newest (1 week old) addition to the Rutherford Rope collection is the dark lavender handled RPM 3.0. Judge my color choice if you must, but this thing is fast. The rope turns effortlessly because — according to RPM’s website — it features patented dual axis rotation, which allows your handles to stay on the end of the rope and eliminates torque build-up in the cable. And did I mention this thing is fast? The rope is fully adjustable, and when you find the rhythm with this rope, it is effortless. Although I have done a couple sets of 50 dubs and found it to be smooth, I have found this rope to be difficult to crank out those sets because of its lightweight.

Pros:

  • Adjustable length
  • Fast
  • Lightweight
  • Fast
  • Replaceable cables

Cons:

  • Fast

Now, I’m no Jenn Hogan, Ryan Barr, Kris Oberheim, Anthony Menichino, Mike Flynn, Sara Palmier, Ben Stroud, Paul Cegon, Josh Wansing, John Harder, Sarah Floyd, Kyle Pick, or Collette West (I’m sure there are plenty of people that have amazing dubs that I didn’t list here, I just listed the first people that came to mind that dominate their dubs. If I’ve left you off the list, it was unintentional, and I’ll buy you a FitAid once you show me your dub dominance), but I have been through a ton of jump ropes. There are plenty of ropes not mentioned here that are fantastic, such as the Froning SR-1F, Bridges SR-2 Speed Rope 3.0, the Double Under Wonder, and some of the Amazon ropes. If you’re new to the jump rope game, start with a thicker and heavier rope, and move to smaller, lightweight, faster ropes as you improve. Look for cable weight and coating, if the rope is adjustable in length or not, and handle material when shopping for new ropes. ALSO, I’m a talker and have a mild obsession with gear, so if you want to talk ropes, hit me up!


CrossFit Strongman at CFSTC!

What is CrossFit Strongman?

CrossFit Strongman is a program that has been developed for both men and women of all shapes, sizes, and ages. Its purpose is to integrate strongman movements into the CrossFit model that revolves around constant variation. CrossFit Strongman is a  fun and exciting ways to increase our strength and power while simultaneously enhancing our overall fitness. CrossFit Strongman is a pathway for all people to gain strength and improve as athletes while having fun in the process.

Why Do CrossFit Strongman?

CrossFit Strongman has a variety of workout formats and incorporates “odd objects” that would never be seen in a traditional gym. Not only does this present an environment resembling an adult playground, it also helps us better develop functional movements that we frequently use outside of the gym. Since strongman objects are less convenient to lift than a barbell, we become more efficient at lifting loads that we encounter in our daily lives, like lifting a grocery bag or even a child. Likewise, our performance will also improve when we return to using more convenient equipment, like a barbell.

CrossFit Strongman can improve our overall fitness and prepare us for any surprises that life sends our way.

The magic and beauty of Strongman is that anyone can do it. The movements are simple yet powerful. It is a great opportunity for any athlete to get the benefits of explosive movements without the complexity of a barbell. It’s also a great way to train hip and leg drive which are vital to the advanced skills of the Olympic Lifts.

Our Program

In a typical session, we will expose you to, train on and use a strongman skill and implement that skill into a short duration, very high intensity workout.  This is an extremely effective– and fun – way for anyone to increase strength without using a barbell. Because of the awkward size, shape and consistency of the objects in strongman, the lifts tend to be less efficient than those done with a barbell, but are (overall) easier to master and take much less time to become proficient at than the Olympic lifts. These exercises challenge the neuromuscular system in a way a barbell cannot and better mimic challenges found in real life. athletes will learn to lift Atlas stones and sand bags, carry a variety of odd objects, perform farmer’s carries, flip tires, and push and pull sleds, prowlers and other basic objects.  Athletes will also press or load kegs, stones and logs at their relative level of strength.

CrossFit St. Charles Strongman is a Wednesday evening at 5pm course that runs within a 6 week block starting Juy 10-14th. The duration of each class will be  60 minutes. Classes will be held both indoors and out. Since the movements are learned quickly, there are no prerequisites to attend.

Our program is open to current CrossFit St.Charles members and non-members alike, but limited to 12 athletes.

 

Classes May Include:

  • Atlas Stone Lifts/Carries
  • Farmer’s Walks
  • Keg Lifts/Carries
  • Prowler Sled Pushes
  • Sand Bag Carries
  • Tire Flips
    And More…

CrossFit Strongman at CFSTC

Date: July 10-Aug 4 Wednesdays
Time: 5:00pm
Price: $70 (15% discount for CFSTC Members)
Enroll: CrossFit Strongman Course at CFSTC

 

How Mindset Affects Performance


How Your Mindset Affects Performance

There is a lot going on when you step on to that lifting platform or competition floor. Some days you feel strong and focused. Others you can’t quite seem able to connect the dots. You feel slow and foggy or the weight feels heavy.

The mind and body are in constant fluctuation. Our thoughts can instantly change our physiology. Just think of a time when your were made or scared. Your muscles tensed, heart rate quickened, and pupils dilated ready to react.

And the converse is just as true. Our body influences our mental state and thoughts. Think about how chill and carefree you feel after a long walk in nature or how amped you get when exercising or dancing to your favorite song.

Controlling the stressors and other stimuli in your environment is essential when it comes to controlling your mind and body for performance. Stress can have significant impact on performance and can seriously get in the way of your competitive goals if you don’t have a strategy to manage it.

Let’s take a look at why stress is so damaging to performance and some key strategies to combat it…

The Cortisol/Testosterone Relationship

A study of 109 male olympic weightlifters was set up to determine the effects of cortisol as a moderator of the relationship between testosterone and performance in olympic lifting. The study measured pre and post levels of serum cortisol and testosterone to see if there was any effect on performance. It turns out that pre-competition levels of cortisol or testosterone had a significant effect on olympic weightlifting performance. The inverse relationship between testosterone and cortisol shows that the level of stress an athlete experiences before training or competition can significantly impact their testosterone levels and subsequent performance.

Whoop Dee Doo. But what does it all mean Basil?!

Getting stressed about before a competition or intense training session is a surefire way to negatively impact performance. There are several techniques you can utilize to prepare your mind making it an asset rather than a liability. Top athletes all develop their mental game through practices involving goal setting, visualization, and routines.

“The Ultimate Measure Of A Man Is Not Where He Stands In Moments Of Comfort And Convenience, But Where He Stands At Times Of Challenge And Controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is essential to achieving any specific outcome you want in life. When you focus on a specific outcome your mind will constantly be searching for ways to bring the object of focus into being. That can be for the good or the bad. Say you are a weightlifter competing in your first meet. You should set a goal involving the successful completion of a lift at a weight you feel optimistic you can hit. When you set this metric for success you will be determined to achieve the outcome and take confident action towards achieving it. Odds are you will outperform your goal and be able to raise the bar for your next meet.

Visualization

Visualization is the formation of a mental image. As an athlete you want to visualize a successful outcome you desire. Picture yourself achieving your goals with as much detail as possible. From the clothes you are wearing to the sound of the crowd. The way you move, powerful and strong. The sweat on your brow and the heartbeat in your chest. When you get to gameday it will feel like you’ve been there before. Visualization of success also lends itself to positive self talk that will reinforce your mindset and confidence when it comes to competition.

Routines

Routines are extremely useful when it comes to athletes and performance. They help reduce decision fatigue and providing fewer distractions and less to think about on game day. Decide ahead of time your warmup, clothing, equipment, music, and anything else you would use in competition. Practice with it and make it comfortable and familiar. One important consideration with routines is not to get too superstitious or hung up on these items being responsible for your success. You and only you are responsible for your success. Not your lucky sneakers…

If you want to accomplish your goals working with a professional coach is one of the best ways to develop a strategy and system for results. If you want to work with someone to help you create a game plan for your fitness goals get in touch with one of our qualified coaches for a free consult and discussion on how we can help you!

It All Starts Here



This is where you’ll get coaching on exercise and nutrition.
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This is where we implement our best strategies and techniques for getting you results. 💪🏻👊🏻
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We’ve trained some impressive athletes, but more importantly, we’ve gotten results for grandmothers, office workers, and kids.
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All off this means we have proven strategies that will work for you!
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You’ll be surrounded by a thriving community who wants to see you succeed. People who motivate you to get better, and help you do things you’ve never tried before!

Bring it in


The thing about short term challenges, 30 days paleo, 30 days sugar free, the whole 30- once they’re over, so are your results. –

Here we’re committed to long term results. No crazy restrictions, no excessive exercising. –

We’ve got balanced nutrition and regular training. –
Bring it in, come see us, we’ve got answers for your long term goals.

Athlete of the MonthJune

Christa Moore

Our community is better because of you!

I have been married for 5 years and am officially a boy mom of two amazing little guys, ages 3 and 1 (just turned one so we survived another first year!). In my free time, I love to be outdoors; my family often goes hiking, camping, and fishing. In the last year, I have lost 80 pounds and 35 inches. It was much harder getting my body back the second time around, but RP seriously changed my life!

  • What made you start CrossFit and what has kept you doing it? Has your motivation changed since you first started?

    I originally started Crossfit with the New You Challenge in May 2016 after my baby number one. When I became pregnant again in August 2017 I had several complications that prohibited me from working out my entire pregnancy. I started PT sessions with Ben in June 2018 at three weeks postpartum and basically started from square one. My initial motivation was to lose weight. Within the last few months, however, my motivation shifted more towards an overall lifestyle change. I started RP and increased my gym time from 3 days to 5 days a week. My attitude also shifted from “I have to” to “I get to” and I started to realize how much I enjoy coming to class every morning.

  • What have you learned since joining the CrossFit St. Charles Family?

    I can actually be a morning person! Prior to having two kids, there is no chance I would have worked out at 6am. Now, however, that is my only option; I don’t like to sacrifice my time with the boys in the evening since they go to bed so early. I also started to realize that I can push myself (or mostly Coach Sarah pushes me out of my comfort zone!) and can lift heavier than I think I can.

  • What’s your favorite CrossFit moment?

    Well that’s a tough one because some of them probably shouldn’t be shared; so I’ll just say that the 6 am class has some good laughs every day. I also recently went to my first girls’ night out which was out of my comfort zone because I’m such an introvert. I also love watching everyone hit new PRs in class!

  • What impact has CrossFit had on you outside of the gym?

    I feel much healthier and have increased energy. The most exciting thing though is that Crossfit actually controls my Rheumatoid Arthritis; no medications for me, and I rarely have flares!

  • What’s your next CrossFit goal(s) and how close are you to reaching it?

    So many things! Pull-ups! I am not close as of now but plan to continue building my core, back and shoulder strength and hope to have them by the end of this year. I would love to have them by the fall open but it’s unlikely. Double Unders – I am close; I can usually get dub, single, single, dub. Better form when lifting weights which leads to my goal of increased overall strength.

  • What’s something we might not know about you yet?

    I love to fish! I go to Canada every July for two weeks to fish for pike, walleye, small mouth bass and muskie.

  • What advice might you give to someone who is considering joining CrossFit St. Charles or is new to the gym?

    Find “your” class that you can consistently go too. It makes a huge difference with accountability. If I am not at 6 AM, one of the girls’ text asking where I am. It also helps you feel connected. Do RP! Since I started the RP diet in the last two months I have noticed how much quicker I am building lean muscle and hitting new PRs. Crossfit keeps you humble; someone is always stronger or faster.

  • What’s the Crista motto?

    Suck it up so you don’t have to suck it in!

  • Write us a WOD! What kinda movements do you love? What’s your favorite way to put in work? The combination probably doesn’t make sense but here are my favorites!

    Strength – building to a heavy power clean. WOD - Running (200 or 400 meters), box jumps, sit-ups and hang power cleans