Jerry Rice and Joe Montana are two of the greatest players in the history of the NFL, winning multiple Super Championships as teammates on the way to eventually being enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
While their playing careers are often celebrated, you rarely hear anyone talk about their prodigious appetites for hard work. Both were insatiable in their drive to hone their craft and prepare as thoroughly as humanely possible to compete.
In his last off-season , Joe Montana would spend hours daily practicing basic footwork drills you wouldn’t catch a high school quarterback working on.
Jerry Rice famously reported to training camp before the rookies had to report to practice his routes. He could also be seen sitting in on special teams meetings, even though he wasn’t on the special teams unit, so he could set the example of how seriously his teammates should take their preparation.
Jerry is also known for “The Hill.” The Hill is a 2.5 mile uphill trail in the mountains around San Francisco that Jerry would run daily, for time. 2.5 miles on a rough dirty track, entirely uphill. This was in addition to lifting, football practice, and film study. He exemplified the phrase “hard training, easy combat.” When asked why he continued to run the hill everyday even after all of his Pro Bowl seasons, his response was essentially the following, ‘when the 4th quarter came and I was tired, I knew I could still beat my man and perform.’
Put another way in the words of Bob Knight, “Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.”
1 year ago I arrived at the RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certification), the leanest I had ever been at 158 lbs. I was slightly concerned as I looked like an emaciated waif model. Something had change. No more s-medium shirts and svelte-ness. It was time to get my weight up! How does one do this? Food, Rest and Basic Linear Training Program emphasizing compound movements and minimal to very short metabolic conditioning.
As for food I tackled this by increasing my starch intake. I know some paleo zealots will be aghast but yes I ate potatoes(white yikes!), sweet potatoes and other root veggies in large amount as well as plantains. I ate meat. A lot of meat. Generally I would consume an at least 2000 calories in a meal. I am talking a full package of ground beef, with veggies cooked in coconut oil. In addition, I would a a piece of fruit with this as well. The restaurants Parkway Deli and Chipotle got to know me as well I would order double meat omelettes and double meat burrito bowls on the reg. So yes I ate rice as well. I wasn’t eating for a figure competition I was intentionally trying to get my weight up, as to get stronger. You can’t flex bone. In order to reach certain strength levels(If that is your goal you probably will need to gain a few pounds of muscle.
Rest was tricky. When you work long hours, you have to be smart about rest. I would shoot for the elusive 8 hours but more often it became 7 hours with the occasional nap mid day , schedule providing. Rest really came in the form of recovery between exercise . I would strength train every other day, 3 sometimes 4 times a week. If I felt tired or wasn’t “feeling” it I would do some mobility work, light getups or hand to hand swings to get the blood going and “recover”.
In terms of training, my template was the height of boring. Strangely, boring works. My goals were simple though. I wanted to do a 48kg Kettlebell Weighted Pull up and Press a 40kg Bell by years end. Both Goals have been accomplished at this juncture. My long term goals include a 48kg Kettlebell Press. Give me a year and I’ll own it. For conditioning I did heavy swings, heavy carries goblet squats, the occasional sled push, some crawling. Thats it. I rarely touched a barbell, but when I did I still pulled double bodyweight in the deadlift. I rarely did bodyweight stuff and easily banged out over 50 consecutive push ups. Most of my pressing was done in a ladder fashion of 5/3/2 varying between 24 and 32kg. Same with weighted pull ups. I can easily do 5 weighted pull ups with 32 and 36kg now. A year ago 5 reps with 24kg was a challenge.
So there you have it. No insanity, or anything exotic or sexy. Tony Horton or any other celebrity trainer probably would not be impressed. Thats fine by me. I wasn’t training for entertainment or amusement, If I wanted that I would go see a movie. I was training for strength and weight gain. Goal Accomplished: And isn’t the goal to keep the goal the goal?
Many of my mentors within the field of Strength & Conditioning echo similar truisms regarding their advice for making it to, and remaining at the top of the heap. One of the most common refrains is this: ‘Been there, done that, still doing it.’ I’ve also heard the following, ‘when I can no longer do what I am preaching to others, it is time for me to find a new job.’ While this may seem harsh and rigid in thinking, there is merit behind the sentiment. Once you stop honing your craft, you begin to regress.
Many abilities, such as teaching or coaching others, are perishable skills. To remain sharp, they must constantly be worked on and refreshed.
Awhile back, I asked a physician family member of mine when she would consider retiring from practicing medicine. Her answer invoked the same feeling; ‘when I am no longer willing to actively keep up with the medical literature.’ She’s in a totally different field, but holds the same opinion. Learn your craft, work on your craft. Re-learn your craft, never stop learning and refining.
In case you haven’t noticed, our numbers are growing. This is a good thing; it poses challenges of course, mainly with space, but more importantly with integration of new members and athletes into our curriculum and system of training. While Elements provides a sound platform for safe training, it is the tip of the iceberg in terms of your movement acumen and competency. This post is meant to be a quick synopsis of how to navigate the early weeks/months of your membership/training at CrossFit Silver Spring.
- First things first: Sign in for class. That computer next to the fridge is our Attendance Kiosk. If you don’t know ask a coach. It’ll take you 2 seconds.
- Read the Blog. Daily. Learn the Lingo, check out the WOD.
- Like us on Facebook. Great for witty updates from Josh and other pertinent info.
- Buy a foam roller and kettlebell. A relatively small investment for times you can’t swing training.
- Expect to be assigned a Level 1 WOD. If you are it simply means we care about your kinetic health and progression as an athlete and member here. Make haste slowly. Training is a cumulative process. You’ll be PR’ing, WOD’ing, crushing it in no time. L1’S are a bridge to a safe, quality movement with the right amount of intensity for beginners.
- Ask questions: If you are not sure, ask. We will not think you are dumb or annoying. We love coaching and explaining/teaching people how to move properly
- Ask questions: If you are not sure, ask. We will not think you are dumb or annoying. We love coaching and explaining/teaching people how to move properly
- Return all equipment to where you found it. Should go without saying.
- Listen. The gym environment can sometimes be overwhelming with large classes, music foreign or new movements to learn. Close your mouth and listen. Pay attention. Absorb.
Follow these guidelines, and your transition from Elements/LIFT to CrossFit classes will be effortless!
I consider a beginner to be someone who has yet to achieve technical proficiency in the core, fundamental movements we perform in the gym. It is easy to attach certain performance numbers alongside this standard of movement quality, but performance should always be subordinate to skillful execution. This is why everyone does Elements, and why we’ve embrace L1 workout programming recently. The learning curve for many people, especially those of you that are new to strength training, can be months, if not years. Most experts refer to this as the novice effect; it is an observation that people who are inexperienced have a window of adaption anywhere from 6-18+ months depending on genetics, training frequency, and several other factors.
For some reason the notion of being a beginner carries a negative stigma. Most people like to view themselves as intermediates regardless of training experience. Remember, experience does not equal expertise. Going to the gym for 15 years, training haphazardly, does not make one an advanced trainee. So what should you do? Embrace being a beginner, be open minded, and hone your craft.
I need you to hone your ability to competently swing, deadlift, press, and squat with multiple implements. Show me proficiency and you will be well on your way to graduating from Novice to Intermediate in no time at all.
Cuisine is a characteristic style of cooking practices and traditions, often associated with a specific culture. Cuisines are often named after the geographic areas or regions that they originate from. A cuisine is primarily influenced by the ingredients that are available locally or through trade. Religious food laws, such as Islamic dietary laws and Jewish dietary laws, can also exercise a strong influence on cuisine. Regional food preparation traditions, customs and ingredients often combine to create dishes unique to a particular region. [Wikipedia]
When did we lose our way dietarily? Probably the day we stopped eating the cuisine of our ancestors and embracing ‘modern’ foods and methods of preparation. Probably stemming from the diversity of the American populace, we have no national cuisine or unified cultural identity. We are also #10 globally in obesity statistics. This is obviously an incredibly complex problem, but allow me to propose a simple solution to start us down the path to improved health.
Adapt the cuisine of your forebears. If you can trace your origins to Western Ireland, eat like the Irish of County Kerry. If you are are from Northern Italy, follow suit. What you will find in learning to eat the cuisine of these peoples, is that almost all cultures place a premium on fresh, local, high quality ingredients. Meals are not something we’re supposed to rush though in order to get to our next ‘thing’, they are the thing itself that we should put thought and effort into and be enjoyed.
Feel free to embrace multiple cultures and cuisines as well. Regardless of what you choose, there is no established cuisine that includes doritos, mystery meat mcnuggets, frozen pizza, or diet soda.
This nouveau foodie notion of eating seasonally and locally is in fact the oldest method of eating we know. It is also how the rest of the world, especially inhabitants of rural areas everywhere, have and continue to eat.
When your eating habits are based on a cuisine, much like basing your training on principles, you don’t fall prey to fad diets, or training protocols, and other nonsense peddled by the mainstream media or the government. The secret lies in applying the modern knowledge and insight taking place at the forefront of the paleo/primal movement to your cuisine of choice.
By: Colin Cooley
Isn’t this what we all are searching for? In the context of training this is especially true. Programming for strength, performance, health and lean body composition takes direction. Having a plan and following a path takes direction. We, as coaches, give you that direction through our programming, whether that be EZ Strength, Elements, Level 1, etc.
This roadmap, or directions, are for you to use as a guide. Ultimately you are the driver; we navigate. Consider us your Fitness/Performance/Health Wingmen/women. Everyone of you who walked through our doors has goals, but ultimately you want and need direction. You may have tried and have been successful in reaching some of your fitness goals. Something was missing though: Direction.
While Direction may have fueled you decision to join our facility, I truly believe people stay because of connection. Connection to the people who coach, connection to the people you train and suffer with and the spirit the gym embodies: one of strength and ability. A welcoming environment where people are fostered and developed, encouraged and supported. When you are connected to an environment or place, the likelihood of you staying involved and entrenched in the community goes up exponentially. This is a form of strength too: strength in numbers. Lets continue to build together a strong community: one with direction, connection, and support for one another.
I have done several thousand kettlebell swings and get ups in my life. Josh has done thousands of snatches and clean and jerks in his life. Our dedication and passion for the iron is palpable. We live it. It consumes us. News flash: we are not masters yet. Just know that we are coaches, more proficient and adept at our training modalities, but none the less on the same path as all of you in your quest of whatever definition of fitness you seek.
Mastery comes from acceptance. Acceptance that mastery is never fully attainable, but worked towards. When you stop honing your craft and practicing, what’s the point of training? The same question is begged with mastery: what’s the point? I will take continual improvement over a lifetime over aimless, unskilled exercise any day.
Dan John’s 3 Tips for Success in Athletics and Training
1. Show Up
2. Don’t Quit
3. Ask Smart Questions
Sounds like phenomenal advice in any endeavor in life to me. Regardless of what else is going in your life, you need to make time for the gym. No excuses, just make it happen.
Death, taxes, and setbacks. These are all inevitabilities. Expect to have crappy training sessions, dents and dings, and frustration in learning certain movements and skills. Expect these things to happen, and plan to persevere.
Take an active role in your fitness and health. Got questions? Talk to your coach. Talk to people wiser and more experience than you and accelerate your learning curve. Be humble, be inquisitive, and never stop growing.
14 year old Rebekah Tiler 103kg Clean & Jerk
Hervé This’ Chocolate Mousse
How Your Environment Hacks Your Genes for You
EZ Strength 2.0
I want to let you in on a little secret: we all suck, compared to someone. No matter how fit/strong/skilled you are, somewhere there is a female lifter warming up with your max. No matter how weak/slow/unfit you are, somewhere there is someone who is less coordinated, more de-conditioned, and weaker than you are.
Why bring this up? Perspective. Specifically, I see many of our newer athletes get frustrated with their slow progress. “Some quit due to slow progress, never grasping the fact that slow progress… is still progress.”
A few things to keep in mind regardless of where you are on the athleticism continuum:
-The majority (if not the entirety) of the movements we perform in the gym you’ve never done before; at least not at the level of technical performance we demand
-You’re new to CrossFit’s brand of fitness, which is very taxing mentally and physically. Adaptation takes time.
-Many of you are seriously out of shape (relatively speaking) when you first walk through our doors. Couple age, stress, lack of skill/exposure to our movements, lack of fitness, and the learning curve for many of you can be quite slow. You didn’t lose your mobility or physical capacity in a week, it probably happened slowly over several YEARS.
-Since you didn’t get out of shape overnight, thinking you can right the ship in 1, 3, 6 months by coming to the gym twice a week while disrespecting your sleep and dietary habits is simply ridiculous
-Give our advice and training methods time to work and affect change. Do not be shortsighted; there are no quick fixes or secrets, only persistence and consistency.