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Ted Dreaver

Weight Lifting

“But my Doctor says Weightlifting / CrossFit / Fitness / Powerlifting /  Whatever – is bad for me…”

As if the world isn’t confusing enough these days – am I right?

You decide to make some changes in your life – you want to get stronger, or leaner – maybe you want to lose weight, looking to tone up, or just be more healthy.

You kick it around with your peeps. More often than not your – (insert your favorite authoritarian here – Doctor, Family, Friends, Teacher, Life Coach – whatever,) – says a certain fitness style you may be interested in – is bad for you…

What the hell?

And – I tend to agree.

True fitness training, much like any team sport – should have a level of training and ramp up required to safely become proficient at – well, anything.

Take a deep breath. You didn’t jump in a car and start driving immediately did you?

You don’t think you could step off your couch and expect to be drafted into the NFL in one day – right?

Two extremes – everyone drives, only some of us make the NFL…

However – at the end of the day: Most of us took a year or two to learn cursive. Yeah – the writing style. We were taught – however unwillingly, by our teachers.

My point is – not many of us are “naturals” at most anything. We have to learn and adapt over time. Most of us do this better with people who care about our progress – real trainers or coaches.

The real issue isn’t that these particular fitness styles will “hurt” you. Quite the opposite actually.

It’s that many companies and people focus more on your wallet then they do on making sure you safely get the results you are looking for.

There are PLENTY of gyms and “trainers” out there only too eager to take your money in return for the dopamine rush you get from carrying their key card on your keychain, wearing the free t-shirt and drinking from the super cool shaker bottle they gave you.

Free shit AND – You now can walk into their facility, be ignored and completely wreck yourself. Congratulations.

Then what happens? You got hurt or frustrated with no guidance – no direction. A perfect set up for you to never again try something you may have actually been really good at.

Listen man. There is a better way.

Don’t rush your choice.

Do your research first.

Don’t just pick something because it’s “close to the house” and or  “cheap”.

Think of it this way – McDonalds is close to the house and cheap. If you eat there everyday, I can assure you, you won’t like what you will become.

How do you find a quality facility or trainer related to the fitness style you are interested in then you ask?

First – and this is the hardest part, put convenience on the back burner during this research. You are on a mission to find someone to train you. To physically and mentally CHANGE you. They may not be close to your house – or your job. They also may not be the cheapest.

You will need to worry about convenience AFTER you have all the facts.

Secondly – do some online research in your area. Their website should clearly detail what they are all about and how / who is there to support you. Check out their social media, make sure this is a group you want to be associated with.

Then:

Go there.

Meet with them face to face. Phone calls are lazy in this scenario. Phone calls are for talking to Grandma. You are looking to commit to a program that’s going to change your life. Take the time to do it properly. In person.

Ask at the front desk about how to begin. Is there a process – an onboarding of any type? Ask about the Staff – what are their certifications? How long have they been coaching and or training members?

I can’t stress this enough – ask to talk to the Owner. Find out what they are all about – does it all match up?

If you’ve made it this far and it all sounds good, ask to try a class. Or if that’s not their policy – just sit through one. Are the members engaged? Are the trainers attentive? How’s the vibe? Can you see yourself here for the long haul?

This research goes a LONG way with not only your safety, but the achievement of your goals.

So while your – insert your favorite authoritarian here – Doctor, Family, Friends, Teacher, Coach – whatever, – says a certain fitness style you may be interested in is bad for you:

They may be right if you don’t take the time to do the research needed to begin any new activity.

It’s on you if you rush something as important as this.

I own my own gym – CrossFit Iron Legion in downtown Ocala, Florida. As the Owner – I personally invite you to stop by our place while you are doing your research.

I’d love to talk to you about where you are looking to go with your fitness related goals. While you are here, I’ll personally introduce you to our professional, Doctor led staff and take you on a tour of our well equipped facility.

Be safe out there guys. There are still a few gyms out there that care about you and your progression – its on you to seek them out.

I hope to meet you while you are looking!

– Coach Ted

Weight Lifting

Don’t look back – you’re not going that way. – Ragnar Lothbrok

 

It echoes in my mind. Last year was a year I spent in reflection. I watched the world lose its mind in regards to friends, family, fitness and health.

 

The noise was loud. Deafening. GO LEFT one side screams – GO RIGHT screams the other side. Both of them are so confident in their stance.

 

They are loud, angry and while they think themselves lions, they all remind me of dead eyed sheep, or crazy wild eyed lemmings.

 

As of this writing they still spread confusion and fear as they scream, lips frothing and bodies shaking with their convictions. I don’t think it’s going to stop anytime soon.

 

But. Meh.

 

I’m not a big follower. I’ve always marched to my own drum, blazed my own path – why should that change now?

 

Right? Left? Looking for a direction through the noise?

 

There is one direction that has always suited me – and it should help you find your way through this crazy time we are all embroiled in:

 

GO FORWARD.

 

One strong step at a time – forward – in a direction that suits you, your family and your immediate circle of your people. 

 

Forward. Through the noise. Through the distractions.

 

Move forward with and from a position of strength.

 

My reflection over the last year solidified that Iron Legion will be that position of strength for you. We rely on each other here and build each other up through our style of training.

 

At 3, 2, 1 GO! we all work – hard. Together, shoulder to shoulder, we train and build a confidence and a strength that goes with us when we leave these walls.

 

Iron Legion is now more than ever on a mission to Forge Better Humans. We go WAY beyond fitness and we work diligently to develop a ferocious strength and confidence in each and every member here.

 

The outside world gets stranger every day. Inside these walls though we train with a purpose, with strength and direction. 

 

Our commitment to our members has been renewed and stamped firmly in new Iron.

 

Iron Legion welcomes beginners and long time athletes alike. We build and support leaders and doers. The challenges we face in here – prepare us all for anything that comes our way out there.

 

Take a chance. Shut out the noise. Align yourself with others on the same mission as you – and tread FORWARD. One strong, confident step at a time.

 

We got your back. We are here and we are ready to make you the strongest version of yourself. 

 

Do it for you – and for those closest to you.

 

Yours in Strength and Confidence,

 

Coach Ted

 

#strengthoverfear

The “New” Normal. It’s a catch phrase that started going around late April of this year. It’s in reference to some of the new recommendations and in some instances requirements when it comes to living in 2020.

Some of the new normal is – well, actually what most of us should be doing anyway. Washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, keeping a respectful distance, and staying away from others when we are sick.

Others are “uncomfortable” and a change from our regular day to day. Homeschooling kids, wearing masks, shortened business hours, closed businesses, and more – can cause frustration and a lack of patience in a lot of us.

Will it ever end? Thats a topic for another blog…

This entire “new normal” phase of 2020 is wrapped around a virus. A virus that doesn’t appear to have a very negative impact on the majority of our healthy population. 

The healthiest of us seem to shrug it off like a cold.

The immune compromised and the unhealthy stand the biggest challenges when facing this virus.

It stands to reason that a healthy immune system is a huge benefit to anyone in a situation like this. Many folks decided long before this virus to live healthy active lifestyles and their risk during this time is quite low.

Some folks however – have had their eyes opened by the spread of this virus. Their lives before the virus hit may have been less than healthy. And let’s face it:  Life can consume us pretty quick if we don’t make active decisions to prioritize our health. Overworked parents, super stressful jobs, poor eating habits, lack of proper rest, little to no physical activity – leaving many people very vulnerable during this time.

Maybe this is you. Maybe you’ve wished you made better choices before this virus hit. 

Take a deep breath. I have great news – you too can have a healthy, strong immune system! It’s not too late! I want to help.

 

But I caution you – my suggestions are not products or pills. My suggestion is also not to just slap on a mask and hope someone fixes the problem so you can go back to being a danger to yourself and others.

Nope, I’m suggesting 5 ways – 5 Radical Ways – to Live in the New Normal.

 

How does one strengthen their immune systems? I’m not a scientist, but I’ve been around a lot of healthy people in my life. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Start eating like an adult. No fad diets, no shake programs, no sodas. Stop skipping meals. Dump the fried food.

 Food was never meant to be difficult. People make it difficult to make a buck. 

Stick with lean meats, naturally occurring fats and green leafy vegetables. 

Or – just google: “Whole Food Nutrition”. 

If you need help from there shoot me an email. Put the diet coke down. 

2. Go outside. Get some sun. Walk around your neighborhood or take a walk outside while you are at work. 

If you can be alone with your thoughts – do that. If you’d rather involve your family or friends – do that, but get some time outside – in the sun and fresh air, everyday.

3. Drink enough water for you. Water is key first thing in the morning – your brain needs it, your muscles need it. 

Water is also important for flushing out the negative effects of your old life before the new normal began. 

Homework: google: “how much water should I drink for my gender, weight and activity level”. Then get a container and make it happen. Every day. 

Put all the diet cokes in the trash.

4. Rest – you’ve got to get 6-8 hours of rest per day. Rest meaning sleep.  I can’t emphasize this enough. Your body cannot heal itself or fight off anything unless you are well rested.

5. Exercise – find something you enjoy. Don’t just jump on a quick gym membership because it’s “cheap” or “close”. 

You should be looking forward to your workouts and training everyday. If your workouts are drudgery it’s time to change it up. 

There are so many things out there to help us stay active. Find a program that intrigues you – maybe one that makes you nervous and sounds like a challenge. 

Step outside of your comfort zone and go for it. It’s the New Normal after all!

And there you have it. 5 Radical Ways to live in the New Normal! Any one of these done with consistency will help. I’m asking that you do ALL 5 with consistency and make them a part of your New Normal – forever. 

Let’s make the New Normal exactly what it should be. An opportunity to make a few changes that could very well save your life. 

“New” means – well, new. As in – not the same as before – a drastic change in your lifestyle.

What do you have to lose? 

If you need help or guidance on any of these, I’m here to help. Hit me back and I’ll help you get where you want to go.

Coach Ted

#strengthoverfear

#actionsoverwords

#staysolar

When I started Iron Legion – I wanted to do more than just provide an average gym experience. Anyone could write a couple workouts, buy some flashy equipment and slap a sign on social media that says “open for business”.

 

What many don’t realize – is that’s the easy part. Hell, I’ll even go far enough to say the fun part. It’s why the barrier to entry is so low for gyms, it’s actually easy to get started and really fun to spend the money and sweat building the physical gym space.

 

The hard part starts after you look around your gym and realize no one actually came because you bought the latest shit. They didn’t come because you took it upon yourself to create a space with your bare hands.

 

Clocks ticking. And the rents due. And so is the equipment payment. Yikes.

 

When I started working one on one with people, I noticed right away the kind of impact a coach can have on someone’s life.

 

The kind of impact a leader can have on someone’s life.

 

It wasn’t the equipment. It wasn’t the space. I started training members in my backyard with a medball I made with an old shitty basketball and some duct tape. People kept coming. I can tell you it wasn’t for that medball. Even though it was creative and looked hardcore.

 

I’ve learned over time that it’s no secret that everyone has their own struggles with their day to day life. And each person’s struggles are unique and important to them. 

 

What I found was that a lot of people (including me) are looking for some type of guidance through the chaos. I learned long ago that hard work can help shut out the noise for a while and give clarity.

 

Being able to take some dedicated time to work hard is why a lot of people are drawn to a gym – any gym for that matter. 

 

The problem is, without leadership, they find themselves without direction again and again, facility after facility and they eventually just fail out. Or just get bored to death. 

 

My Staff and I at Iron Legion work day in and day out not only creating cool workouts for you guys, but ways to make you better people all around. We want to find ways to build you up in every level of your life.  To give you the support you need to help grow your confidence, your strength and your camaraderie with others.

 

Our core values of Integrity, Loyalty, Giving Back, Suffering through the Sacrifice of comfort, become the next level of your training. 

 

Over the years we’ve created various different ways to give back to our community and develop our staff and members. And our community shows up in numbers to support our various events: 

 

Down for Donuts – a Down Syndrome Achievement Center Fundraiser, MURPH – a fundraiser for The Navy Seal Foundation, Kimberly Center – a fundraiser for their Center for Children of Abuse, GRIT Strength Challenge – a fundraising collaboration with The City of Ocala Parks and Recreation for disadvantaged youth in our area, Toys for Tots…

 

…and more are ways for us as Iron Legion to set a new standard in the Ocala community. Showing that we have what it takes to give back to those less fortunate. We are proud of these events and our members and fans that support them through volunteering, competing or spectating. We’ve been growing these events more and more over the years.

 

There’s one thing that we’ve been doing every Saturday for almost 8 years now.

 

Our Saturday morning Flag run.

 

We are an active community – not afraid of hard work and deeply respectful of each other. 

 

If you are new, or you witness it downtown – it may just look like an 800m run on a Saturday morning.

 

And it’s on me to make sure that everyone understands that it is so much more.

 

We assemble in front of Iron Legion at 9am every Saturday morning (public welcome). The American Flag is run at the front of the group to lead and represent all active and former duty military that have made it their duty to maintain and fight for our freedoms. 

 

The American Flag also represents every American citizen -every Ocala citizen who puts his or her heart and soul into their family, their career and their people to do the right thing, to make this community a better place.

 

Its flanked by the Blue Line and Red Line flags to represent and honor those who put their lives on the line everyday – Law Enforcement, Fire Department, First Responders, Corrections Officers – every hour of every day to make sure your family is safe and protected.

 

Its backed by the Iron Legion flag to show that we acknowledge everyone striving to make a better world.

 

The crew runs behind the flags. We run together, as a pack to show support. We don’t leave each other behind. Its not a race.

 

We run together, following the American flag’s route – not shaving corners. Integrity. 

 

We run through downtown Ocala as a show of respect, honor and strength of what we believe in.

 

Iron Legion will always have the back of anyone willing to work hard to make a better world. We show respect and honor to anyone that’s fighting to make a difference. Our flags signify those people – and our crew running behind them shows the strength of our support.

 

I ask that everyone run the Flag Runs on Saturday for this reason. I am also going to take this opportunity to reach out to any of our veterans, our active duty service members and anyone who believes that we can make a difference, to support this run. To help us lead our community by setting an example of leadership and integrity. To support the idea that we are truly trying to build something bigger than the normal gym experience.

 

Every Saturday at 9am

 

As the Owner and Leader of Iron Legion – I can assure you that we are building something different here. Something better. It’s not just a workout – it’s a fresh, new perspective on life. One of strength, community and confidence that’s built from the inside out.

We are here to help, and to give back.

Good luck out there! – Ted

I wrote this article some time ago. This is still an issue I see all too often. Most people aren’t giving weightlifting the attention to technique that it deserves – this stalls their progress and frustrates the lifter. Because I’ve seen this problem happening too much, I’d like to share this article with you guys.

Let’s take the dip portion of the Jerk. The Dip portion of most of The “Jerks” I see posted on social media, are simply too fast to apply the proper tensions and muscle sequencing. Heavier weight would cause a faster, shorter dip; but trying to emulate that with light weight only forces the lifter out of position. 

Coaches, Speed should only be added if it doesn’t compromise positioning. If you continue to dip fast, and it keeps pushing you forward to the toes; then stop dipping fast. You’re looking for elasticity in the Dip, if you over tension the quads then the hips will shift underneath you. It should be an obvious correction, but sometimes we like to walk before we can crawl.

You can’t watch Ilya Ilyin perform a 535 pound Jerk, and expect to have the same speed or oscillation for that matter. 

In every lift(especially warming up), start with a smooth pattern, not a fast one, then allow speed to build gradually. I see this happen all too often when people warm up with a barbell. They put 350# of force into a movement that requires much less. The fastest part of most lifts(olympic) will be as you move under the bar. Work on your transitions; timing between the Up and Down phases of each movement.

The Russians and Chinese are two of the most successful weightlifting programs of all time. You can SCREAM at the top of your lungs, “Yeah, but they’re on PED’s!”. My rebuttal will always be, “What country isn’t?”. So we can finally give credit to two systems of teaching that work well, instead of disregarding them completely based on some weird moral dilemma you have with PED usage. Most of their lifters are 5 for 6, and 6 for 6 when not going for World Record Attempts.

Realize that CrossFit is a mix of multiple sports. Look at the Top 10 competitors of each of the individual sports that make up CrossFit. If you want good examples of Olympic Lifting Champions, look them up on YouTube. 

Yes, Asa Bartow’s Snatch is “really pretty”, but he’s no Lu Xiaojun, or Klokov for that matter. Same thing with Gymnastics, or Powerlifting. This is the exact thing that I did when I came in to the CrossFit arena. It’s also a huge reason why when I first started coaching, I received a ton of weird looks.

I wasn’t using the Conventional CF Cues given to me at some cert. I was using real world evidence. 6 years later, I can’t tell you how many people i’ve had come up to me and say “remember when you told me about those internally rotated shoulders” or “I’ve noticed people don’t actually jump, or shrug, at the top of a clean” or “you were right my toes are coming off the ground during my pull, so I should keep my toes down”, etc.

Most of us are so concerned about lifting heavy weight, that we will ALLOW ourselves to move into mechanically shit positions to do so. This is unfortunate, as it usually leads to injury. We need to change our brain when it comes to weightlifting. 

 

Instead of looking at the bar and weights, as such; try and picture it as a Pen and a piece of paper. Your goal is to draw the same line, over and over again. Typically with practice, you will be able to draw that line faster and faster; but there will be an end point to speed and stability. Find that point, and live there. Start thinking of weightlifting as an ART form, instead of just picking up heavy objects. If you don’t like all of that coordination….there’s always Powerlifting, hehe.

 

-Iron Legion Head Coach Jason Philyaw

Motivation.  If you really want to see great strides in your fitness and abilities, it’s no longer enough to know whether or not you are actually motivated.  We need to start digging into how we are motivated.

Let me explain:

There is a ton of research out there that I won’t bore you with that basically says motivation exists on sliding scale with amotivation – the complete lack of motivation on the far left, and intrinsic motivation on the far right.

Amotivation, we try not to concern ourselves with, you can lead a horse to water and all that.  Immediately to the right of amotivation though, is external motivation. It’s the scale between external and intrinsic motivation I am going to focus on.

When I was a kid, my dad used to say, ‘if you don’t clean your room, you will get punished (read ‘spanking’)’.  So, I would go up to my room, pull out a snow shovel and clear a path from the door to my bed. The room was now ‘clean’, in a manner of speaking.  

I did the least possible work to avoid a punishment.  I was externally motivated to perform a task. I didn’t want to do it; I certainly didn’t go above and beyond what I was willing to do to avoid said punishment.  The idea to clean the room was not my own, and I definitely didn’t enjoy doing it. My motivation was entirely external.

Several years later, I was a proud member of the United States Marine Corps, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and I got my first station; MCBH Kaneohe Bay, HI.  Apparently, the Marines had a pretty high standard for the cleanliness of barracks rooms and those that occupied them.

There is some external motivation involved in the form of push-ups and extra duties if the barracks wasn’t kept as the platoon sergeant thought it should be.  But, since I was one of three in a single room, there was also a sense of accountability. If I screwed up, all three of us got punished. If I screwed up, I would be letting my fellow marines down.  I would feel bad, and internally punish myself. I would call myself all kinds of names in my head and stress about how my fellow marines would view me as a result of my unreliability.

So, I cleaned the room and took care to make sure it was properly completed every day.  I was experiencing Introjected Regulation; I was participating in a task I don’t enjoy to avoid an internal punishment.  Strangely, once I started carrying out my share of the clean-up chores, I started to internally reward myself and feel good about what I was doing. I became even more diligent in these mundane tasks, that I still didn’t enjoy, to experience an internal reward!  Motivation works both ways.

After the Marine Corps I move to SoCal and moved into an apartment with two friends in Newport Beach, CA right across PCH from the ocean.  I immediately started living the party lifestyle while I attended community college. I still didn’t enjoy the task of cleaning my room, however, I noticed that California girls appreciated a clean and well-organized room.  

So, what do you think I did?  Damn right! I spent half an hour a day just making sure that room was spic-n-span!  Seeing the long-term benefits of having a clean room encouraged me to engage in an otherwise unpleasant activity.  I had just learned about Identified Regulation, long term benefits shaped my choice to engage in an otherwise unpleasant activity.  

Five years later, I was back in Hawaii serving as a police officer with the Honolulu Police Department. I had a lovely one-bedroom apartment in downtown Honolulu, right across the street from Aloha Tower and within walking distance of all the great sushi spots and attractions of Chinatown.  

This was the first apartment that was truly my own and I loved living the bachelor life.  I worked hard and I diligently paid my rent. I was still no great fan of cleaning, I would put it off as much as possible throughout the week, but I’d grown up a bit over the previous few years and I knew I needed to start living like an adult should.  Besides, this was my space, I wanted to take pride in it and enjoy it.

That meant you clean your space.  You put away the clothes after the wash, you clean the bathroom before the mold starts to grow – not after it takes over, clean your fridge and run the damn vacuum once a week.  This is called Integrated Regulation; coherence of the activity with your self-values shape the choice to engage in the unpleasant activity.  I was cleaning because the value to me of having my own space that I could enjoy required it.

Many moons later, I have another little apartment, this time in downtown Gainesville.  It’s not much, 500 square feet and could be described as spartan. I love it. It’s just what I need with nothing I don’t.  I keep my place very clean and extremely well organized. The difference is, now I clean the apartment almost daily because I love to clean!!  I love seeing a sparkly and shiny apartment when I come home from classes or work. I enjoy walking in and not seeing clothes piled up on the bed or dishes still in the sink.  

Cleaning is therapeutic and fun for me now.  Even if I just cleaned the bathroom yesterday, I’ll probably give the shower a wipe down after I use it today.  As an added bonus, I get to enjoy my space all the more because I’ve put so much work into it. I take pride in what I’ve accomplished with a 3M pad and some 409, and it makes me want to continue keeping this space as clean as possible.  I’ve finally made the breakthrough into Intrinsic Motivation when it comes to cleaning.

Intrinsic Motivation is the gold standard in sport psychology.  Everything we do to help athletes is to help funnel them into a state of intrinsic motivation with regards to their craft.  

I am never going to the CrossFit Games as an athlete.  I know that and I’m fine with it…mostly. But I will never stop pushing myself every day in the gym. Why?  Because I want to look sexy as fuck by graduation? Partially. But I also just love working out. I love and crave the feeling after a good session with the barbell.  I never want to stop feeling just a little bit sore the next day after a particularly hard METCON. I get off on seeing how hard I can push myself in the middle of a WOD.  Did I push further then yesterday?

I never liked cleaning my room when I was younger, but I always did it for a variety of reasons and motivations.  It’s okay if you don’t love working out or going to the gym every day. It’s okay if you’re doing it for external reasons, or reasons other than love of the process.  Just keep it up, see the results, see the long-term benefits, feel good about your accomplishments and one day, probably sooner than you think, you will cross that threshold into intrinsic motivation when it comes to fitness.  

Coach Dave

Preparing for Birth

 

Written by Isabelle Ramirez

 

Consider birth an athletic event.

 

It’s like a marathon, requiring mental and physical endurance. You wouldn’t go run a marathon without training would you? Hopefully not.

 

I approached my training for birth like I approached my training in CrossFit. I am 100% convinced that ‘training’ and not just staying active helped me have an almost symptom free pregnancy, birth and recovery.

 

Let’s talk about the difference between the terms “training” and “staying active”.

 

Training would be an intentional, consistent and thought out plan with an end goal in mind.

 

Staying active is invaluable. It’s taking the stairs when there is an elevator available or taking your kids for a walk on the weekend instead of sitting in front of the TV. We all benefit from both.

 

I prefer a training plan to help me train AND stay active. I found BirthFit during my first pregnancy when I was looking for resources for the pregnant athlete. I followed their program during pregnancy and when I decided to begin to workout again.

 

It helped prepare me for the biggest and most challenging workout I will ever do. Even bigger than Murph. (Murph – for reference, is a very difficult workout designed and performed by Navy Seal Mike Murphy)

 

Below are few take-aways from my training journey

 

  1. Give yourself some grace. If you were a stellar athlete before, good for you! You may be able to continue with some movements, or you may not be able to keep up with your past self. Eventually most movements and weights will need to be scaled and modified to fit your new body or any symptoms you may have. Sometimes you will feel great, workout on those days. Some days you will feel like you can’t even manage to drive to the gym, that’s ok too. It will all even itself out in the end. Stressing out about staying in peak shape won’t do anyone any good. Workout when you feel great, don’t feel bad when you can’t.
  2. You CAN squat below parallel (BUT, only if it feels good) The squat is a primal, functional, transferable skill. Some women birth their babies in the squatting position. Keep in mind though – Birth or labor should not be the first time in 9 months that a woman is in the deep squat position.
  3. You CAN still lift. I had a bunch of people tell me not to lift weights or carry my own groceries. If there are no medical conditions preventing you from lifting and you were lifting before you got pregnant, then continue. We’re training for birth, not shying away from it.
  4. Pregnancy is not an excuse to go wild on some cravings. Use this opportunity to fuel your body with what it needs to create your greatest accomplishment. Talk to your healthcare provider about foods to reduce or add to your diet and a multivitamin that works for you. If you’re trending down a path with less than ideal choices, remember point one from above and move on. Food doesn’t make you a bad person. Start fresh with your next meal.
  5. It’s alright to modify. This goes for movements, whole workouts and schedules in general. Step back and realize that the ‘Rx’ doesn’t matter (RX for reference is doing the workout as written, as designed, as prescribed – or as RX’d). The Rx is the Rx only because your head coach deemed it so for your gym population. This one goes back to intention. It’s easy to get swept up in the hype of a big group class and remember how you once performed. Due to hormones in your body, you may not react to a very heavy weight the same way when you weren’t pregnant. This is not safe. Modify movements with abdominal flexion as your baby grows to avoid core dysfunction and replace them with a movement that offers more stability. Your baby and belly will thank you.
  6. Stay off of Instagram. Easier said than done in this brave new world of social media. Social media can be amazing and offer connections to things we would have never found years ago. It can also create expectations that are not set in reality. I’ve scrolled through instagram and found beautiful pregnant momma’s working out and showing off their tiny little bellies. Good for them! It was not good for me though when I started comparing myself and my body to what they were doing or at least looked like they were doing. Comparison is ugly. Do your best to get out of that loop when you notice you’re heading down that path. One woman may be able to run a 5k at 7th months pregnant, another one may need to stop running during their first trimester. Every woman and each pregnancy is unique. So are you.

 

All of these things helped me feel better prepared for the birth of my daughter and later on my son. Each pregnancy and postpartum recovery has been different and challenging in its own way. Don’t let birth -and the toughness it requires, go unprepared for.

 

Women were made for this. You can do it.

 

There are multiple resources available online for the pregnant and postpartum athlete. Do some research yourself and ask your coach to look into safe modifications and consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions concerning training.

 

Isabelle Ramirez is a CF-L1, USAW-L1 and BirthFit coach at CrossFit Iron Legion in Ocala, Florida. She has 2 little ones and loves heavy squat cleans.

The Dreaded Butt Wink: Good, or Bad? I’d rather not take my chances and find out later.

Butt Wink? The heck is that?

It’s a moment in the bottom of the squat – just south of parallel, that the persons pelvis begins to rotate backward and slip under the body.

Here is a question I received from a fellow coach this week regarding the Butt Wink, and squatting. The response is not overly Scientific, but may give you some sound logical insight to this phenomenon and why it should be avoided, when possible.

For reference, I am answering under the understanding that this athlete has plans to be a weightlifter.

Question:

Hey broski I want to get your opinion on the dreaded “butt wink”. I have an athlete that is built like a weightlifter and has awesome squat mechanics but I noticed she has a major butt wink. I have been having her squat to a box to try and prevent the wink, but it is significantly higher than her traditional squat. She says she is losing a lot of strength when she does not reach her previous depth. So my problem is I’m not sure what to tell her”.

I have heard the butt wink is ok and I have heard it is terrible and should not be allowed. I also understand it can be related to hip socket depth as well, so there is no stretch in the world that will fix it. Have you dealt with this problem before? If so how did u tackle it? I’m wondering if I should tear down and rebuild her squat, or just leave it be as she is not experiencing any issues from it (yet). Thanks in advance man hope all is well.

Answer:

I would really have to see her Squat to answer that definitively. If you have a video, or can get one; I’d be happy to check it out.

I try to keep my lifters from letting that happen as much as possible. As Weightlifters, we tend to take plenty of shearing force in the spine at sub-maximal loads when we perform the Snatch and Clean and Jerk.

That said, I like to think of Squats as the opportunity to build tissue and strength through the best Range of Motion (R.O.M) available to the lifter at the time.

When you’re missing R.O.M and speed, in the Squat; those can be built up with lighter jumping exercises at the end of a training session. This should help promote flexibility through dynamic action as well. High Box Jumps, Box Jumps w/ 2 boxes on either side of the feet(for foot speed and landing low), Broad Jumps, Frog Jumps, etc. and Lunges , of some sorts, post lifting.

If it’s structural, then I think you go with what’s safe for the lifter. Even it means keeping them from doing full depth on Cleans, Snatch, Squat, Etc.

Usually shorter Range of motion squatting, with complete control of the speed of movement – is a great remedy. You can see where the problem begins and stay above it. Over a few reps, you may even notice it get better, especially if it’s due to overly tight Hip Flexors and Quads.

And don’t forget – This could also be due to a lack of coordination, as the muscles translate tension to each other; mainly if you have a newer lifter. The nervous system hasn’t quite gotten use to talking with all that muscle at once, so it’s trying to interpret the data as you move. A muscle imbalance could also cause this.

Ask her if she wears heels a lot? (because ankle ROM can be the culprit)

Obviously, we can get way more in depth with the answer; I just wanted to offer sound logic when thinking about the safety of your lifter. Remember, your athletes trust you. I also have my own theory on how a Butt wink is more indicative of weak back extensor and glute muscles, as opposed to tight hamstrings. More Back and Hip Extensions during warm-ups may help get this lifter moving in the right direction.

I hope this helps you in your coaching endeavors in regards to the Butt Wink Question. And to you athletes who made it this far – feel free to apply or discuss these methods with your coach.

Here’s to moving safer and more efficiently!

Cheers!

-Coach Jason

New world? Strong statement I suppose. Make no mistake – those of us involved in building a strength culture are 100% working to create a new world.

 

Stronger Moms = stronger babies. Setting an example right from the start is HUGE. Our community at Iron Legion has some of the most impressive examples of Moms. Moms that have literally decided that THEY are the best example for their children.

 

It’s a running joke at Iron Legion to not drink the water. It’s pretty likely you’ll get pregnant. And let me tell you – we have seen a LOT of babies get their start right here. A LOT.

 

Is it in the water? Nah. But I will say it’s 100% attributed to our community – a community that holds itself to a higher standard. We all want to be the best versions of ourselves for our families – we do that through accountability, nutrition, mindset and great workouts. Healthier, stronger people and families are created as a result.

 

I’ve believed in Moms training to full term, always. I believe that the human body is literally designed to handle WAY more than our current modern society thinks it is. Coolest part is that I get to see it first hand with our Moms.

 

I’ve seen both sides.

 

Moms that immediately stop training a few months into pregnancy – a choice that is theirs and one that I have no business in.

 

But –

 

I have also watched Moms continue to train in some way shape or form for the full term of their pregnancy. And the ones that do – are able to get right back at it sooner.

 

It goes without saying they are happier, healthier and stronger.

 

In all my support of this during the years, I want to tell you about a flaw in myself that I corrected.

 

A couple years back we had a coach give birth. She was one of the ones who trained straight through. I loved her dedication to her training and our community. Still do.

 

She had her baby – and wanted to get right back at it. She would wear her baby in a sling and want to coach.

 

I confess I’m a bit of a knuckle dragger at times. I got this thought that maybe it wasn’t the best “look” to have her coaching on the floor with a baby. I thought it might hurt our “strong” image. I was uncomfortable with it and thought about minimizing her time on the floor.

 

What I was thinking was silly. Stupid. And 100% against what we are all about.

 

I stood behind strong Moms 100%, yet I had an issue with it when they wanted to continue their work, their passion – with their kid? I had an issue with me that I had to deal with.

 

Let me clarify – I’m not talking about someone just wanting to bring their kid to work. I’m talking about someone who was working HARD and making her new situation work any way she could. This person was still finding ways to bring value even though her circumstances had changed so dramatically.

 

And you know what else she was doing?

 

Setting an example of what a strong Mom can look like. Setting an example by staying the course and following her dreams – even with a life changing event!

 

Strong? You bet your ass. It’s the equivalent of carrying a baby to term on a battlefield, having that baby in battle, and then continuing to press on.

 

That motivation and desire to continue forward even though her life had changed so dramatically was, and still is – a very endearing quality. I noticed that our community at Iron Legion didn’t shy away from it. They RECOGNIZED it as the strength it was.

 

I have too. There is simply nothing more badass than a Mom that stands for something. A Mom that leads by example and does whatever it takes to continue to better themselves and their family.

 

I’m glad I had that opportunity to change and grow. I believe our community at Iron Legion is better for it as well.

 

I’m proud to announce we are currently watching a few more Moms pushing back against the status quo and training to full term, and new Moms returning to training and taking charge after their pregnancies. I’m proud of each and every one of them and want to take a minute to thank them for setting a new example for our future generations.

 

We are establishing a new strength culture here at Iron Legion. Our Moms are on the front lines and the first example of strength that a child sees. Want to change the world? Start with yourself. We got your back.

Speed and Strength of course:

Most of us begin our CrossFit journey with an idea of losing some body fat, gaining some muscle, and improving our metabolic conditioning. Getting strong just happens to be one of the side effects of being CrossFit- not necessarily the primary goal. As time carries on, confidence begins to grow. Our original goals are met and we start looking at increasing skill/strength levels.

Barbell movements tend to become a big favorite; especially as we start noticing the higher skill gymnastic movements, like Muscle-ups, Handstand Pushups, and Pistols, might take a bit longer to perfect.

Because of this, some of us might think “well, I guess I’ll just get as strong as possible in the meantime” and so you start searching for maximal strength on the Barbell lifts: the Deadlift, Press, and Squat. This slowly turns into athletes attempting maximal, or near maximal loads, on a weekly basis. This can be detrimental to the Olympic Lifts.

Here is a very cool spreadsheet highlighting your strengths and weaknesses on some of the more complex movements that require speed, like Snatch, Clean, and Jerk:

http://www.waxmansgym.com/calculator/

Some of you… most of you, may have noticed that the spreadsheet pointed out a glaring weakness in Speed movements versus the basic strength movements. If this is the case, then the data is suggesting that you are either:

  1. A) Going too heavy, too often- which is causing your nervous system to be over taxed. This also causes normal muscle sequencing patterns to go awry, which ultimately means you aren’t moving correctly (we’ll say “efficiently” for you CF’ers who LOVE that word). This is why Deadlifting heavy doesn’t necessarily translate to a good (read: safe) Power Clean.

(NOTE: this is usually a problem for more experienced CF’ers)

  1. B) Lacking Technical Proficiency- which is why positions feel “weird” or “painful”. Practicing just Snatch and Clean doesn’t guarantee you will see your greatest potential.

(NOTE: this is more of an issue with beginners, but can also result from lifting TOO heavy)

Both are relatively easy fixes, but both also require discipline….and TIME!

If example A is your problem, try focusing on movement integrity over maximal exertion. Instead of adding weight or getting near maximal loads, see if you can move faster with moderate weights while maintaining the integrity of the exercise. Try coming up faster from your squats, pulling faster on your deadlifts, and pressing the weight overhead with more SPEED.

If example B is your problem, try introducing some new movement patterns that mimic the exercise you need more proficiency at. Sometimes this means going slower and heavier, through a shorter range of motion.

I’ll use the second pull of the Snatch and Clean as an example. If your knees keep caving in during the pull of either movement, then it means your body has not figured out how to connect to the muscle properly at the speed you are demanding. I would suggest getting involved with heavier (90-105%) percentages of your Snatch, but only work the 2nd pull. Again, focus on movement integrity and remember SPEED is the last requirement here. Balance and Positioning are the most important.

Safety Tip: Please refrain from asking other members for advice. Although they are helpful, an experienced coach will give you a much better analysis. A great athlete hack is to video yourself and find some time to sit with a coach and go over your work. By all means use your friends to help you video your work, but ultimately – if you want to get better, engage your coaches for feedback. That’s what we are here for!

The Olympic Lifts (Snatch and Clean and Jerk) are the backbone of functional movement. Time spent learning the complexities of these two lifts will pay HUGE dividends in your training and performance – whether you are pursuing CrossFit or general fitness.

Grab a video camera or better yet, set up some training time with a coach. Your body will thank you for it!

See you in the gym!

  • Coach Jason Philyaw