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For those of you who do not know me or are reading this testimony wondering if CrossFit is for me like I did just a few short months ago, my name is Brock McCord. My entire life I have been one of the heaviest kids whether it was in my grade at school or even on the football team at my high school. After I finished football in November of 2014 I knew I wanted to lose all of this baggage that I had been carrying around my entire life but I had no idea on where to begin. I always wondered how I would be able to keep motivated just going to the local gym without any football coach or fellow teammates’ motivation which I received during my years playing football. That is when I happened to just stumble upon CrossFit Town Center through a (extremely strong) recommendation from my dad. I remember me and my mom walking into Luke’s office talking about what to expect and the family environment that CrossFit Town Center offered and at that moment I knew I had found home right then and there. After and during my first workout, (which happened to be 5 rounds of 15 overhead squat and 250 meter row, YIKES!) the motivation that I received from complete strangers at the time was unbelievable. People right off the bat knew my name and were waiting until I finished in order to go home and re-rack their weights. Like I said earlier, I knew that I had found home and before I knew it I was completely addicted and it quickly became something I looked forward to each day. That first day I walked in those doors I weighed 310 pounds and at the time of writing this I currently weigh 240 pounds feeling better than I have ever felt in my life.
If I could give a couple pieces of advice to someone who is on the fence about whether or not to try CrossFit Town Center or not, one would be realizing that 95% of losing weight comes outside of the gym. There are 23 hours in the day when you are not working out and no matter how hard you push yourself in the gym, it can be erased in a matter of minutes with unhealthy eating habits. My second piece of advice would definitely be to just come in and try a class. I understand the stereotype for CrossFit is a bunch of huge muscular guys and ladies who throw a bunch of weight around but at CFTC, we are anything but that. Everyone is in different stages and I can guarantee you there is nothing intimidating because everyone working out beside you cares about you and CFTC without a doubt has the best coaches around. Thirdly, find a group of people that you can push, and they can push you to be better as well. For me without a doubt I can thank Brad Mize, Leslie Cronin, Trevor Ross, Brandon Bush, Matt Barnes and Read Hammond. Without them there is no way I could have been successful in staying motivated like I have. And lastly, set specific goals. For example, at the moment my goal is to be able to do ten double unders unbroken (currently I am at 4), previously it was ten pull-ups. Setting small specific goals is crucial to staying motivated and becoming better at any movement or any personal goal you may have.
Thanks for reading my testimony and I hope I was able to clarify any stereotypes or other concerns about whether or not to come in and try a class or coming to a one on one class! Best of
The New Year is upon us and many people are making resolutions for their job, fitness, finances and personal life. However, many people find themselves in a rut or completely abandoning these resolutions with minor interruptions in their lives. To help you maintain a continued focus on your resolutions, the best thing may be not have resolutions at all. Instead, set goals and get specific!
First thing first: The warm up. The warm up starts the second your eyes open in the morning and you become aware of your surroundings and how you feel. Most people wake up needing a good stretch. Before you ever get out of bed, make the decision to spend at least two minutes stretching. The first time you bend over in your day shouldn't be to pick something up. It should be to stretch.
What about the warm up in the gym? GET THERE EARLY. Even though the gym provides a pre-workout warm up routine, you should take a good 5 to 10 minutes of focused work before that.
Two things should dictate what you need to focus on. First; how do you feel? Is your lower back stiff? A calf tight? Is your neck bothering you? Spend a few minutes on the aches you can feel. Move the joints around a bit to get a determination of your mobility and functionality. Are you going to have to make allowances for a joint or muscle during the workout? This is the time to find out. If you have an ache but you're not sure what to do, ASK A COACH!
Second, what's the workout of the day going to be? Look at the Skill, Strength and WOD on the white board to determine what extra work you need to do. If the Skill is double-unders and the WOD has box jumps, then you better get the calves loosened up.
"But Coach, what if I'm running late?" Too, bad! The warm up is the most important part of the workout. If you're late and need to skip the Skill or Strength portion of the work out, so be it. But get the warm up done.
Why do you think most coaches make you do burpees if you're late to a workout? It's not just a punishment. It's also a great way to make someone warm up and get loose. It's injury avoidance!
Remember, a proper warm up before any kind of workout is your responsibility. You know your body better than anyone. Take the time to warm up and keep those injuries away!
As you walk into your first CrossFit class, a bit nervous, you check out the WOD to get yourself mentally prepared for whats to come in the next hour. Other members are walking in and you notice many of them are carrying gym bags full of goodies. Some check out the whiteboard before changing shoes and you start to worry…"Oh no, I'm not prepared!" "Do I need all this?" "No one told me!"
To “Rx” or not to “Rx”, that is the question….Or is it?? It seems for many that having that Rx written by their name on the whiteboard is the most important thing when walking into that CrossFit box. I’m here to tell you, it’s not!
Now, I know that I am not the strongest girl in the gym, but I take pride in knowing that I am performing the moves correctly and safely. If I am going to do the WOD, I am going to do it right - that may mean with the correct depth in my squat, with full extension in my arms, or with the correct number of reps. Whatever the WOD may be, I am looking for quality in my movements rather than finishing with the fastest time or highest number of reps. We need to look beyond the scores of others and understand that we are competing with ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, performing a WOD “Rx” is a great goal for anyone to have, but remember that if you are sacrificing your form just so you can write Rx by your name, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
Scaled or Rx… how do you decide? This is a question many of us ask ourselves as we analyze the WOD each day. You need to recognize what the intent of the workout is. For example, the infamous workout “Fran” (21/15/9 thrusters and pull ups) is meant to be done in under 5-6 mins. If you are resting more than you are working, then you are missing the point of this particular workout. Fran is meant to be a sprint, so you may need to scale down the weight in order to speed through it and get that gasping for air, burn that we all thrive for (well some of us do!!). You should not rely on the WOD as your means of gaining strength. You need to focus on the strength program for increasing your lifts and you can eventually improve your times or use heavier weights during the WODs.
Rx’ing a movement when you are not ready not only reinforces bad habits, and it can be dangerous, often leading to poor form and injury. Having the necessary baseline strength and technical ability will stay with you. Once you have the proper form and understand the technique, you can then worry about lifting heavier or setting new PRs. Stay true to yourself and don’t let your neighbor or your ego dictate how much weight you put on your bar.
While many of us want to be done first, and want the fastest time on the board, it is important to understand that scaling to make this happen is not benefiting you. If you find yourself repeatedly done before everyone and you are not Rx’ing, you need to review your movements and weights. Some of us scale because we are too scared to try a heavier weight, or do a pull up without a band, or maybe its just because you like to be at the top of the leaderboard. However, you are not doing yourself any favors if you do not challenge yourself properly. Just like putting too much weight on the bar for a WOD, not putting enough weight on that bar can be just as bad. So what if you come in last? We are all there to cheer you on so you can set those PR’s that we all strive for.
It takes experience and a willingness to listen to your coach to find that sweet spot of safety, speed, and quality. Be smart, check your ego at the door, and remember why you’re here.. to get better everyday!
For those of you who don’t know my background, I am not what you would call a “sporty” person, even though I love watching football and so wish I could hit a baseball. (I’m sure our softball team from last year wishes the same thing! Sorry y’all!) I have danced my whole life and dance is still a major part of my everyday routine. Never had I lifted weights or done any sort of training past stretching and core strengthening movements. So, you need to understand when I say, I never imagined myself doing CrossFit. Ever.
The type of exercises on my radar were not effective-- The elliptical just wasn’t cutting it and I had a legitimate fear of walking into the weights area, because I had no clue what to do with them. I felt ridiculous, like I didn’t belong. So, I pretty much steered clear. I don’t know if a rut is what I was stuck in, but I hated the routine I was in. Walking into the gym, getting on a machine for however long and not talking to a single person while I was there. I was surrounded by people just putting in their time. No friends. No support. No fun.
I had some friends that had started CrossFitting, but I thought everything they were doing sounded crazy. I cringed when they told me about their workouts, with a smile on their faces. No way was I going to lift 95 lbs over my head. Pull-ups were laughable to me. The biggest thing going through my head was, I am not in “good enough shape” to even consider walking into a box and trying this whole thing out.
I finally caved. I tried a friend’s box in Houston and tried a couple others but never had that warm and fuzzy feeling like I belonged. I chalked it up as a loss. I had given it a shot, right? About 2 months later, I decided to try again. Thanks to a good friend, and some heavy convincing, we walked into CFTC together to give it a whirl.
I cannot remember my first workout (box jumps maybe?), because I felt like I’d been hit by a very large train... You know that feeling! Something I can remember was the buzz going on around me. As I stood up, and put my equipment away the rest of the class was congratulating me with high fives and fist bumps. Right there. That was the moment I was hooked.
The key for me to sticking with CrossFit was finding the right place. Different CrossFits offer different environments. If you have ever visited another box, you know this is true, and it was so apparent when I walked into CFTC that first afternoon- they offered what I needed. A positive atmosphere where I felt comfortable trying something new.
So many of us in the CrossFit world talk about the community of CrossFit. Community is one of the things that keeps us going in a WOD, and the reason we keep coming back for more. The people are everything. Walking in for your usual afternoon class after being gone for a week, and having multiple people telling you (genuinely) that you were missed is what this is all about. That’s accountability. You have a built in support system. A support system that wants to see you succeed every day.
It doesn’t matter whether you are the first or last to finish that day. You might not lift what the person next to you is lifting, and it’s ok! That’s not what this is about. It matters that you showed up, put in the work and gave it YOUR all. That has been my biggest takeaway from this whole CF experience. It’s a lot easier to succeed when you have your family cheering you on!
My dad always told me to work hard - no matter what. Sometimes that meant dealing with pain, which is something I believe CrossFitters can relate to. With all of the hard work we put into training at CFTC, muscle soreness, fatigue and injury are realities of our sport.
While playing football over the past 10 years, including college ball, I have experienced many types of pain. Throughout my career, I have broken a femur, fingers and toes, dislocated an elbow, and have had a concussion or two. The football player mentality was to tough it out and play through the pain. High school and college players need to be on the field to give themselves the opportunity to play at the next level.
Now a former college athlete, I have to walk a fine line. The “win at all costs” drive is still there, but my goals are now different. I’m not competing for a scholarship, I’m competing to stay in shape, be healthy, and improve my overall fitness. CrossFit is a place where limits are constantly pushed. Being able to interpret and diagnose pain so injuries can be avoided is critical for long term success.
Identifying the difference between pain you can push through and pain you cannot safely train with is the tricky part. Everyone’s pain threshold and tolerance is different. It is imperative that you listen to your body, as this will be your guide. I find being able to dig deep some days and fight through the pain of a workout is a personal challenge. This does not mean you ignore the pain, as there is pain to work through and pain that means stop. Being able to recognize when to keep pushing and when to slow down or stop takes gradual experience and practice.
Sharp, stabbing pains at a localized point are typically an indication that it is time to stop. Sharp, chronic, point tender types of pain with no movement are often related to bone injuries such as stress fractures, caused by repetitive forceful motions. Muscle strains will more often than not, show as a sharp pain with a certain movement.
Soreness is another pain many CrossFit athletes face. It is dependent on multiple factors, but one factor is how hard you push your body in a workout. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) affects numerous athletes, as it is part of the body’s repair process. There will be days you feel sore and will still work out, and days your body will tell you it is time to rest. Pay attention to those signs. There is a point where extremely sore and fatigued muscles indicate you should take a break.
Looking back on my injuries now as an athletic trainer, I realize I should have been more vocal about my various injuries. Proper assessment and advice could have helped me to recover more quickly, and assisted in preventing any new injuries. Always listen to your body, and speak up if you have concerns. Your support team of coaches, athletic trainers and doctors are here to help you continually progress towards your goals.
My father is Greek, and like all good Greek kids do, he played soccer. So, when I was old enough for my first pair on soccer cleats, off I went. Thanks to my asthma, my soccer career came to a very quick end and I officially retired from the sport at age 5. Although I'm sure this must have been slightly disappointing for him at the time, looking back, I'm glad soccer didn't work out for me. I went on to find my love for baseball, and got to keep my Dad, as just Dad.
So, I’ve almost reached the end of my pregnancy. The homestretch. Roughly four weeks to go, and I am ready to give an eviction notice. But, I made it – I’ve continued CrossFit the entire time, and have learned some great lessons along the way. I have had my share of critics and skeptics, those that are genuinely concerned for my well-being (Mom!) and those that thought I was performing some horrible act on my unborn child. But, what I now know and what I have learned during the last eight months is that their skepticism is really based around their lack of information regarding CrossFit and pregnancy.
When I became pregnant there was never a question in my mind if I was going to continue to coach and train at CFTC, it was just a matter of how long I could maintain and when I would have to start scaling my workouts. I was determined to continue and to make it to the end as a coach and an athlete. One of the most common questions people ask me is how long I am going to continue CrossFit. My answer is always “until I go into labor” (just hopefully not mid-WOD!). At one point, CFTC had 11 pregnant members, and I watched as every one of them approached CrossFit differently moving forward. What is most important is that they proceeded with their CrossFit regimen in the way that they felt was best for them and their pregnancy, and I was determined to be around to support, provide information, and to encourage them to maintain a fit and healthy pregnancy at CFTC.
I did not CrossFit with my first two pregnancies, and strongly believe that CrossFitting during my third has benefited me on multiple levels. I’ve gained less weight through continued exercise (56 vs. 30 lbs!), have a strong support system at CFTC, can better control my diet, and have a lot more energy.
Exercise is beneficial for the pregnant body (please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program – had to get that in there!), and what I love about CrossFit is that you can scale or change any movement to meet your needs (pregnant or not). While I was a runner with my first babies and eventually came to a point where I just quit with the discomfort, CrossFit has allowed me to continue by substituting moves in the programming for more comfort and safety. So, I can still WOD with my peers, my moves just may look a little different to meet my needs. CrossFit also provides variety in the workouts, changing the movements on a daily basis, allowing me to stay interested and willing to trudge on, even on my most tired days.
Additionally (and I believe most importantly), CrossFit provides a sense of community as well as a support system. At CFTC I have a group of people that know me on a personal level, and I them. They walk in the door with their own personal battles and triumphs. They are willing to share their highs and lows and we build each other up, cheer each other on, and encourage each other to do more than we sometimes think is possible. Honestly, some days they help me maintain my sanity. Even at my most tired, I get up and go in. Maybe I can only do part of the workout, but I leave feeling energized, mentally and physically, just by being around my CrossFit family.
Another great benefit of CrossFitting while pregnant has been my ability to better control my diet. I love to eat. I REALLY love to eat. And when I first started CrossFit, I made some major life changes, including a diet overhaul – eating healthy can still taste good! CrossFit has helped me maintain a better diet throughout this pregnancy with a much better ability to curb cravings and eat healthier than my previous pregnancies. I find so many women use the fact that they are pregnant as an excuse to eat unhealthy (as I did with my first two), but CrossFit helped me take a different approach this pregnancy. I feel more energetic with an overall satisfaction (and less guilt) with what I have eaten.
In all honesty, I feel apprehensive about what the road to recovery will look like for me after I give birth. I know I have to be patient with healing and rebuilding my strength, but I am also concerned with losing the support system that I have at CFTC while I am away. So, I will keep y’all updated and let you know what post-partum recovery and CrossFit looks like for me and CFTC.
For more specific information regarding CrossFit movements and suggested scaling for pregnancy, please follow the links below: