What is CrossFit?

You may have noticed the new décor going up on the wall. Our very own, very talented Coach Meg has been working diligently to create, “What is CrossFit?”

As potential new members visit us we often look for visual ways to explain CrossFit. Sometimes a class is going on, other times Coach’s can be creative with their wording but often times new members may be overwhelmed with our technical jargon.

To help explain, “What is CrossFit?” we commissioned Coach Meg to come up with an idea that would communicate not only “What is CrossFit?” but, would show the journey of what we believe.

Coach Meg has spent countless hours crafting this mural, and for that we are so very THANKFUL!

Coach Meg’s creativity is second to none. Her desire for perfection was sometimes overwhelming, but that is just who Coach Meg is.

Coach Meg captured working intently on her creation.

So “What is CrossFit?”

Allow us to take you on a journey, “What is CrossFit?”, well you take constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity while focusing on Nutrition, Metabolic Conditioning, Gymnastics, Weightlifting, and Sport in that order, to develop neurological skills, balance, coordination, accuracy, agility, physical fitness, strength, flexibility, and endurance through short and intense WODS,. And remember to eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Avoid processed food. Practice and train major lifts, master skills of gymnastics, and bike, run, and swim. But most importantly SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER!

Again, we are so thankful for Coach Meg and her awesome work!

Kipping it Real!

Welcome back to Kipping it Real with Coach Meg! I’ve said it before, but you’ve stopped by on a great day! Last weekend I was able to interview our very own Laurie Lawson who has a new credential to share with all of us at Fern Creek CrossFit.

Laurie has been a staple to the early morning classes for years. Her dedication and effort shines with every workout. In lamer terms, she is an absolute beast. Although Laurie happens to be Coach Erick’s wife, she has contributed her own blood and sweat into our facility to make it thrive and consistently steps up when volunteers are needed.

Without further ado, here is my interview with Laurie Lawson.

You recently became a Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism Coach. Congratulations! For anyone who doesn’t know what that entails, can you tell us about the process to get that accreditation?

Thank you! I’m really excited about this! It is a certification course developed by Brianna Battles after she developed complications with her deliveries. She is an athlete, who has degrees in Kinesiology, Coaching and Athletic Administration, but it wasn’t until she had children that she realized the need to look deeper into what exactly happens to a woman’s body when she gives birth. She put together a course for people that would certify them to coach pre and post natal women safely and effectively. There are so many interviews with many professionals such as, Pelvic Floor PT’s, OB/Gyn’s, mental health therapists, and women who are athletes. The course takes roughly 6-8 weeks, with a big test at the end. 

Why is this something that is important to you personally?

As a mother who has given birth to 3 of my 4 kids, it really hit home for me when I sat through a mini session about women and exercising. It upset me that after giving birth to 3 kids and working for an OB/Gyn office for 10 years, none of this information was ever discussed. We are told as women that we are cleared to go back to everyday living. 6-8 weeks is not long enough to heal completely.  Giving birth is considered a major surgery. Any other major surgery your doctor will tell you if may take at least 6 months to completely heal. If that is the case why are we telling women to get back in the gym and get that body back? We end up doing more harm to our pelvic floor than we realize. This is why some women pee when they jump rope or sneeze. We have to properly heal and properly and slowly build back.

When it comes to pregnancy and CrossFit style workouts, are there certain exercises that a pregnant woman should immediately rule out or is each athlete different? 

Yes and no… Each woman is completely different so what works for someone may not work for another. Also during pregnancy there are certain things you may want to stop or modify depending on what trimester you are in. It’s all about paying attention to proper form and watching where the athlete is holding tension in her body. To say all women should or shouldn’t do ‘X’ movement is just not going to work. That’s one reason I love this, it’s not one size fits all.

I was recently surprised to hear how long your body is actually considered “postpartum.” Why is the postpartum period so crucial for an athlete? And for any woman who is going through a tough transition postpartum while trying to get back to the athlete they were, what advice would you give them?

Postpartum is forever. Once you birth a child your body has been changed. A lot of women struggle in the postpartum phase because of the whole ‘get your body back’ talk. It can take up to 6 weeks for your hormones to balance back out. Then there is breastfeeding, sleepless nights, not having a schedule, and even sometimes not knowing what your baby needs. So much goes on in a woman’s head during this phase. She should not have the worry of getting her body or fitness back. We as women need to show ourselves some grace. We have just done some miraculous work. I love that I can talk with women to help encourage them during this time and start at the basics and build from there.

We’ve recently heard more open dialogue about the “pelvic floor” in the sports world and the importance of continuous work as you age. Many women have come forward having never had a single conversation with their doctor and feel overwhelmed with where to start. Can you talk a little bit about the pelvic floor? What is it exactly? Why is strengthening it after birth and as a women ages is important? 

The Pelvic Floor (PF) are muscles that help to hold your uterus, vagina, bladder, and bowel in place. You can have a weak or tight pelvic floor. Both can cause problems. Both can happen even if you have never given birth. When you give birth the baby pushes through your pelvic wall therefore weakening it and stretching it. If a woman is starting the menopause phases she will stop producing certain hormones. As those hormone levels decrease we start to lose elasticity in our PF and the organs that were being held, start to fall. Then you start seeing bladder issues or the feeling that something is falling out. If you start having any of those symptoms my first advice would be to see a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist. They can diagnose what is going on and then the therapist and I can work together to help you strengthen your PF. None of this means you have to stop completely working out. It just means we have to find a new way to reach your goals.

Any last words of advice for the women of Fern Creek CrossFit or for the men trying to understand more about women’s health?

I know this has been a lot but I hope you can feel how much this means to me. I am a mom of 4 and was recently diagnosed with being in menopause. I have been blown away with everything I have learned through this course. Also having my CF L1 has been so useful. I have started using some of the lessons I’ve learned in my every day training. No woman should ever be made to feel hopeless when she is in these situations. We can work to get you to your ‘new normal’ but you have to have patience and give yourself some grace.

A big thank you goes out to Laurie for sharing her time answering these important questions and opening the dialogue about women’s health. Also, a thank you to you readers for taking time out of your day to catch up around here.

Go do a random act of kindness and check back soon for another edition of Kipping it Real with Coach Meg!

Core Stability

Core, core, core.

We are always talking about keeping our core tight, stabilizing the core, training the core, but what exactly is the core? The core is comprised of muscles in the front, side, and back of the midsection. All these muscles work together to create core stability which is required when working out, especially when it comes to CrossFit. Every time you pick up a pair of dumbbells, get under a heavy barbell, or swing a kettlebell, your core is firing to prevent excessive spinal motion (i.e. rounding your back, overextending, or leaning to one side). Needless to say it plays a very vital role in CrossFit! 

If you want a nice visual explanation check out the Instagram post from Squat University to the right.

In order to support any kind of heavy load properly we need to have a strong and stable core. Like I said, you have probably heard us talk about this a lot, and I have even seen some people put in some extra work to train their core.

People sometimes perform exercises such as sit-ups, GHD sit-ups, or strict toes to bar/hanging knee raises thinking it will give them a stronger core. Unfortunately these exercises do not build a stronger core, they just build strength in that particular motion and aesthetics. If you were trying to build your toe to bar or sit up ability they would be great options, but they will not help you support heavy weights.

In order to build core strength we have to perform movements that train the core to resist motion. Some good examples of this are planks, single arm exercises (presses, carries, RDL), and heavy carries or walks (yoke, dumbbell, barbell). Training these types of movements is going to help increase our core stability. We like to recommend the The McGill Big 3 For Core Stability – Squat University, as a starting point for addressing the core as a weak link. Core stability is ultimately what we need when it comes to supporting external loads which we do A LOT of in CrossFit.

Do Sit-ups Work?

In CrossFit we are always trying to focus on how to improve our physical performance. While having a 6 pack may look great, it does not have any correlation to becoming physically stronger. Do not be fooled by a lot of these flexion movements (sit ups, toes to bar), they will not help you build a stronger core. Do not get me wrong, I am not bashing any exercises that are of that nature, they serve their purpose. When it comes to getting stronger though, we want to make the most of our time and ensure that we are following proper training protocols in order to do so. This is why we need to perform movements that help us prevent excessive spinal motion.

Performing core strengthening movements like the ones we have discussed above can be fairly tricky. Details such as proper bracing and movement patterns need to be on point for the exercises to be the most effective. These movements are not simply the type that you just do them and they work wonders, they take a lot of concentration to be effective. In saying that everyone can perform them and everyone can benefit from them. So please ask a coach to give you some good core exercises to help train your core!

Odd object carries over sit-ups for core stabilization.

New Cycle July 26, 2021

Here we go! The new strength cycle starts this week; we will perform a version of the Russian Squat Cycle with four lifts performed 2-4 times per week. This means that we will have one strength piece with a longer Metcon on some day’s, and on others, we will have two strength pieces with a shorter Metcon.

With the new cycle, the plan will be to perform strength sessions before or after the metcon to hit different stimulus (lifting when fresh and under fatigue). This cycle will last 8 weeks, with week one being a “Prep Week” and week eight a “Max Week.” Olympic lifting will be thrown in the mix but mainly performed in the metcon or separate sessions.

Remember, these cycles allow for slow and steady progress. It is not flashy or quick. If you add 10 pounds on your squat after a 8 week cycle, and then aim to repeat that progress 4 times per year, that is 40 pounds in one year. That is is the significant progress we are looking for in these cycles.

We hope everyone enjoys it; now let’s get STRONG!

Remember, for newer athletes that don’t have a max to go off of, stay light and work on form, and as you develop through the cycle, we can add additional weight, if mechanics and consistency look good.

Hope the last two weeks went well with the start of Skills and Drills. This week we will continue with the strict pull progression (Friday) and no kipping since we start the new strength cycle. We will cut this down to 1x per week moving forward and will progress into muscle ups next.

Learn and Grow Series

We water you, you water us, we grow together!

Fern Creek CrossFit (FCCF) is constantly looking for ways to add additional opportunities for our athletes. Over the least several months, many athletes have expressed a desire for additional instruction on various aspects of CrossFit. We love this enthusiasm and want to support learning and growth any way possible.

The team at FCCF has constructed a plan to begin a series of Learn and Grow sessions focusing in on various aspects and movements of CrossFit, and some topics not directly related to CrossFit, but a benefit to the athlete nonetheless.

Beginning in August, we will be hosting these seminars, free of charge to our members, primarily on Sunday afternoons after Open Gym time. There may be some Saturday morning events based on the instructor schedule. Each session will last 1-2 hours.

Topics to include:

  • Olympic Lifts
  • Rowing
  • Gymnastics
  • Squat Clinic
  • Nutrition
  • Self-Defense
  • Self-Care (Aches/Pains)
  • Core Strengthening
  • Yoga
  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Stay tuned for more information!