Power of the CrossFit Community

The power of the CrossFit community goes a long way for many people.

The sense of community at Fern Creek CrossFit is unique; everyone knows one another, there is always someone to help with technique, you compare WOD results, discuss competitions etc.  This doesn’t happen in regular gyms, no one speaks to one another except to occasional ask “are you using this?” At FCCF you know names, life stories … you know the people, they are yours. But why is this community so important?

Social Support

The community at Fern Creek CrossFit always provides support. How often have you encouraged others that haven’t finished the WOD yet or even been cheered on yourself? Often people stay behind after they have finished their workout just to provide moral and verbal support to another Athlete.

The importance of social support is that it provides motivation. When we’re tired and are struggling to complete a workout we begin to doubt our ability to finish, having people encourage us gives us the belief that we can do it!

Without that encouragement, most probably wouldn’t put so much effort in.  CrossFitters always come together when facing tough workouts, we push each other to perform better and faster than ever before.

The support of the CrossFit community even affects us physiologically, changing the hormones in our bodies. Research at Oxford University found that working out in a group resulted in a greater release of endorphins than when working out alone, even when the same amount of work was done. Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that create a sense of excitement, exhilaration and happiness. The release of endorphins is what causes that high you feel when you finish a workout; sometimes known as a “runners high”.

Social Liberation – Power of the CrossFit Community

The Fern Creek CrossFit community is also special because it is full of like-minded people who think it is acceptable to give an all-out effort and train as hard as you want. In a traditional gym, if you carry out a 2k row with 20 air squats EMOM, you would get a lot of funny looks as you jump on and off the rower. Especially when you collapse to the floor afterwards trying to gulp in the air for 5 minutes after you complete your workout!

At Fern Creek CrossFit the community welcomes and encourages you to really test your ability to go all out! We can scream and grunt as we lift heavy weights, we can fall to the floor in a sweaty heap after using the Assault Bike, we can cry with frustration, even laugh at disasters.

This is a special environment filled with incredible people who think it’s ok to do what you want and will even try and help you achieve your goals.

Life Lessons from CrossFit

For the past 8 years I’ve been doing CrossFit.

Cool story, huh?

In the beginning, I wasn’t completely sure I could stick with it. So, eight years in, I feel like I’ve been committed enough to “own it” now.

I never wanted to be one of “those CrossFit people” who are constantly posting about and talking about how they do CrossFit. But on this side of my CrossFit experience, I can see why “those CrossFit people” are always posting about and talking it. The truth is, I love it! It’s one the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. And the reality is, the more you do it, the more you realize that the rewards are about so much more than just the physical and athletic development.

So, for fun, here are some life lessons I’ve learned (or have been reminded of) through CrossFit.

Just Show Up

This has been my motto from day one. When my scheduled allowed, my preferred CrossFit class time was 11:30 AM. Now days, I settle in to 6:30 AM, with Coaching at 5:30 AM. I hate when my alarm goes off at 4:30 AM. And every time it does, a voice inside my head is doing its best to coax me back into bed: “You can take the day off. You’ll go tomorrow. Go back to sleep.” I have to mentally tell myself, “Just show up.” I know that if I can just get there, I won’t regret it.

This is the same with most things in life. We always have a voice inside our head trying to talk us out of the things that matter, and yet, we also have the power to fight that voice off. We may not always be motivated by the end result of something because it seems so far off, but if we tell ourselves to “just show up,” we’ve already taken a major step toward that goal—whatever it is.

Coaching Helps

One of the major elements of CrossFit is the coaching. At Fern Creek CrossFit, we have some wonderful coaches who are chalk full of valuable information. I also may be a little bias. Even as a Coach, If I’m not in a particularly good mood for some reason, it’s easy for me to ignore what the coaches are telling me, or to even get offended that they’d suggest I’m doing something incorrectly! But every time I open myself up to their wisdom, I see results. The truth is, coaching helps.

The same is true in life. As much as we’d like to think we can do things our own way, it often takes an outside observer to point out areas for potential growth and to suggest practical steps of development. If we aren’t open to coaching, we find ourselves ignoring the wisdom of those who have gone before us, and we get offended when they offer help. However, the moment we invite someone to speak into our lives, we allow our potential to be taken to new levels.

Community is Key

What brings someone to CrossFit is the workout; what keeps someone in CrossFit is the community. When most people show up at Fern Creek CrossFit, they have no idea what they are getting into. Most show up in regular clothes during a class, just to ask about what CrossFit is, and how they might go about signing up. Little do they know that all these people they are staring at in awe will soon become their teammates and biggest cheerleaders. I’ll never forget my first time one of the “pros” asked my name, welcomed me to class, and then encouraged me in my workout. From that point forward, I’ve found myself finishing workouts and lifting amounts of weight that I could never do on my own.

This point is very pertinent in life. While many different elements of life might bring someone to a particular spot, it’s always the community that keeps them coming back. The same is true in most aspects of life. Unless we surround ourselves with people who will constantly cheer for us and encourage us, we will never reach our greatest potential.

Excuses are Limitless

I can always think of an excuse to not go to CrossFit—the trick is listening to that excuse or not. “It’s too early.” “I’m sore.” “I’m tired.” “I’ve got a full day today.” “I’m just going to make this an ‘easy week.’” “I skipped a couple days already, so what’s one more?” This part of CrossFit is mental. I’ve learned that I must exercise my mental strength to get past these excuses, as much as I exercise my physical strength. And those are just the excuses to show up! There are even more excuses once I’m in class. “There’s no way I can lift that much.” “I’m not going to be able to finish this WOD.” “There are only 30 seconds left, so I might as well stop now.” Again, the difference is made when my mental strength allows me to ignore these negative thoughts in my head.

Life is full of excuses as well. Whatever your situation, you can always talk yourself out of it. Particularly as we give in to the temptation to constantly compare ourselves to others, we make excuses about why we don’t “measure up.” STOP DOING THAT! You can be great! You just have to get past the mental battle that is holding you back.

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Keep Failing Until You Do

In CrossFit, I fail a lot. But honestly, I probably don’t fail enough. Failing isn’t fun, so I often stop just short of failing. The problem with this method is that I’ve probably missed some PR’s because I didn’t try “just a little more weight,” or “just one more rep.” On the other hand, when I have allowed myself to fail, I’ve recognized the things that I need to work on, and I’ve been able to improve as a result, leading to success at bigger, higher, and faster levels.

I wonder how much potential we eliminate in life by being afraid to fail? I bet it’s a lot! Instead, by viewing failure as an opportunity to learn, we keep pushing the envelope past what we know we are able to do, into the realm of surprising ourselves by what we are capable of doing. When we give ourselves permission to fail—or maybe even when we pursue the point of failure because we know it’ll help us grow—we find ourselves surpassing expectations, sometimes the expectations of others, and sometimes our own.

Humility

Prior to doing CrossFit, I had never worked out seriously or regularly in my life. In fact, that was one of my biggest excuses to overcome before starting: “I’m going to be so much weaker than everyone else there.” And you know what? That was true! I was so much weaker than everyone there. The key word is “was,” because once I humbled myself and gave in to that reality, I opened myself up to growth. Was it humbling? Yes! At times, I’d even try to set up my bar in the furthest corner of the box so no one could see how much weight I wasn’t lifting. CrossFit also has a natural way of reminding you that you are human. The moment I begin to think, “This is going to be easy,” I’m re-humbled by the challenge. But again, through humility I’ve grown.

Life can be humbling as well, right? There are experiences in life that level the playing field, reminding us that we are ultimately not in control. We can do our best to pretend we are tougher than those challenges, relying on our own “pretend strength” to fight through them (which never leads to growth), OR we can humble ourselves, ask for help when we need it, admit our faults and areas of weakness, and start the intentional process of growth—whether personal or professional.

The Perceived Problem is Not Always the Real Problem

One major thing that I’ve learned about physical fitness is that nutritional fitness is 80% of the challenge. While I might think to myself, “Wow, I’m just feeling weak today. My muscles must be fatigued,” the truth is, it’s probably my nutrition! The perceived problem is not always the real problem.

This is definitely the same in life. We often diagnose the problems we see based on just that—the things we can see. More often than not, there is something that lies deeper beneath the surface that is causing our perceived problem. The trick is being able to think abstractly and introspectively as we try to determine what is really going on. Often, it takes an objective third-party, like a therapist or counselor, to draw those answers out.

Don’t Worry About What Other People Think

This circles back to a couple previous points about humility, excuses, and community. Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles to working out for those of us who haven’t done much of it in the past is the intimidation factor. When I first walked into CrossFit and saw all of those athletes doing hand-stand-pushups, pull-ups, box jumps, and throwing weighted barbells above their heads, my first thought was, “They are going to laugh at me.” As childish as this sounds, you have to understand, I was really weak when I started. I absolutely had to decide not to care what other people thought, or else I would have never given CrossFit a chance. Of course no one ever did laugh at me, but this temptation to care what others “might” be thinking (even though my mind paints it inaccurately toward the negative) is something I have to remind myself to ignore on a regular basis.

In life, I’ve found that the people who might struggle with this the most are also those who have some of the kindest hearts. It’s this same innate desire to please others that creates a person of compassion, but also a person who may tend to create false ideas in their own minds of what other people may be thinking. Sometimes we just need to throw those thoughts to the wayside and say to ourselves, “Even if they are thinking negative things about me, I’m not going to let their thoughts hold me back from my potential.” Depending on your personality, this is sometimes easier said than done.

So there you have it. I do CrossFit, and I’m proud of it.

Coach Erick

Consistency or Intensity: What’s more important?

Consistency or Intensity…which is going to get you to your goals faster?!

Especially this time of year where workouts can be harder to squeeze in between Holiday obligations, what will get you the most bang-for-your-buck for your fitness?

Right now, everyone can likely fall into one of the these three categories:

  1. You are consistent but lack intensity
  2. You have intensity but are NOT consistent
  3. You are consistent AND have intensity

One of them will produce results (but oftentimes much slower than we’d like), one of them will produce results quickly followed by the majority of us quitting because it isn’t sustainable, and one of them will produce results that are ideal for both our short and long term lifestyles.  Each one offers its own positives so let’s start out by acknowledging that doing any of the above is a good place to start!

But let’s break them down:

High Consistency, Low Intensity…

You show up 5 days a week, Monday-Friday.  You complete the workout at a “slow & steady wins the race” pace regardless to workout format (from a 20:00 AMRAP to 3 sets of 4:00 AMRAPs).  You dab some sweat off your brow and carry on with your day.

This consistency is great.  Showing up can be the hardest part so the act of getting in 5 days a week is a big success and will certainly help you see progress in the long run.

Yup, low intensity with high consistency will help you get fitter but it is going to take a while.

High Intensity, Low Consistency…

So if the prior means a long road for progress, this must mean instant results, right?!  Kind of…

Approaching your workouts with High Intensity will help you see faster results.  The science behind interval training supports a faster change in aerobic and anaerobic capacity, calories burned and overall cardiovascular fitness.

However, without consistency (showing up to class 1-2x per week and going 100% all out), your progress may be stunted by injury before anything else.

Giving 100% effort is tough and can make you feel more sore, leading to you needing a handful of days to recover before you feel like you can come in and do it again.  We don’t really recommend this strategy especially because random bouts of going all-out can increase your chance of injury.

So if we had to pick one over the other, High Consistency and Low Intensity is a better place to be than random consistency and High Intensity.

If you need a starting place, Consistency is where you need to begin…then we can work on Intensity.

Consistency and Intensity, in harmony…

Like we just mentioned, establishing a consistent routine is the best place to start.  Whether you are a super newbie or have been a member for a while, showing up consistently just makes you better.  Consistency can look differently for each person depending on your workout experience.  Anywhere from 3 days a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) to 5 days a week can produce positive results.

Once you get the consistency down, we can add in intensity.

Generally, we don’t recommend coming more than 3-days in a row.  This is to help you continue giving your best intensity every session!

By day 3, your body is probably pretty sore, your nervous system is a fatigued and your overall energy levels certainly feel less than they did on Day 1.  So why push it directly into a 4th and 5th day?  Instead, taking a day off to rest and recover and then getting back to it the following day will help you feel better and keep your intensity higher!

Why do we even need Intensity?

We said that consistency in general is better than just intensity, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need intensity too!  Consistency will help you get those goals in the long run…your long-term, 1-year out goals can be reached through your consistent habits.  But sometimes it can be discouraging to stay the path and see the light at the end of the tunnel in the middle of that long-term timeline.

Intensity helps you take slightly bigger leaps to get you to that goal, shortening the timeline and keeping your motivation higher!  Sprinkling in Intensity throughout your consistent routine is the way to balance the two harmoniously.

If you are coming regularly on Mon, Wed and Fri, choose one of those days to be your High Intensity day.  That may mean scaling or modifying a workout to allow you to maintain a high-intensity stimulus.  Our coaches are pros in helping you figure out how to do that, so just ask them for help!

If you are a 3-on, 1-off, 2-on, 1-off routine person, 1 High Intensity day is also great and you can likely handle 2 days even.  You will be able to make the most of your High-Intensity days coming off of our rest days (so, Monday and Friday could be good days to get after it!).

So, get consistent, add intensity, and see your progress excel!

WHY SHOULD I DO THE CROSSFIT OPEN?

You should sign up for the CrossFit Open: Here’s our why

It’s that time of year again—time to register for the CrossFit Open. This year, the action starts March 11.

If you don’t know already, the Open is a three-week-long online WOD competition that is open to every CrossFitter from every box around the globe. Age is not a barrier to joining the fun and neither is experience—scaled WODs are offered.

The Open is not just about WODs, or RX-ing workouts, or pushing yourself to hit PRs. Like CrossFit itself, the heart of the event centers on building a healthy, supportive community through friendly competition.

To play an integral part in a great community challenge—that’s the whole point of the Open and of CrossFit. Each week Fern Creek CrossFit and other CrossFit boxes everywhere around the world ask their members to throw down in a brutal workout and then, at the end, to celebrate everyone’s individual successes. The Open is just a large-scale version of that weekly exercise in community-based exercise.

But there are other important reasons to sign-up for the Open. Here’s a few to consider if you’re still on the fence:

1. To see how far you’ve come.

You come in to the gym three to five times a week and work your butt off. The Open is a great way to showcase the results of all those efforts. More importantly, it will help push you to the next level. We have seen such amazing progress when people are put to the test of the CrossFit Open. The sheer number of first muscle-ups and double-unders is staggering.

2. To count yourself within the community.

Hundreds of thousands of people sign-up for the event each year, and the Open website allows you to see where you rank according to age and location. Don’t get nervous or shy about that part. The only people who should feel bummed about where they rank at the end of the competition should be those that didn’t choose to participate but secretly wanted to.

3. Because you can do it.

The Open is tailored to all athletes—not just the pros—and WODs are scaled accordingly—that means YOU can do it.

Sure, you can still marvel at how the elite athletes make the RX workouts look so easy, but going through your own modified version is a good reminder about what it takes to be at the elite level. It’s also great for your development.

The Open is the one time of the year where you have the opportunity to showcase your skills and development— while being cheered on by a supportive, fun group. Don’t get hung-up on thinking that the Open is for elite athletes only, or that you’re not ready for the challenge. The Open is designed for you and everyone that loves CrossFit. Don’t miss out on a great time.

4. What is your why?

Each day leading up to The Open we will be sharing our athletes “Why.” Don’t forget to check out Fern Creek CrossFit on Facebook and Instagram to see their stories!

2021 CrossFit Open

Click below to register for The Open

Check out this video: 

3 Reasons Why You Can’t Lose Weight

We’ve been in the fitness industry for many, many years and one of the most popular questions we get is this:

How do I lose weight and keep it off for good?

Let’s start by saying there’s no secret diet or magic pill that will get you real results. Our goal at Fern Creek CrossFit is to teach you healthy, sustainable habits that will move you towards your goals each and every day. 

Here are 3 of the most common reasons why you may not be shedding those unwanted pounds:

1. You’re over-estimating the amount of calories you’re burning

Virtually every cardio machine in the gym gives an estimate of the number of calories you are burning while working out. If you wear an Apple Watch or a Fitbit (or another similar device) the amount of calories you burn during an activity are being tracked. Unfortunately, studies show that these devices may be inaccurate in these calculations… by quite a bit. For instance, a 2010 study from the UC San Francisco’s Human Performance Center found that the elliptical trainer (who hasn’t been on one of those for 45 minutes of your life that you won’t get back), over estimates the number of calories burned by an average of 19%! Here’s the breakdown:

  • Treadmill: overestimates by 13%
  • Stair climber: overestimates by 12%
  • Elliptical: overestimates by a huge 42% ?

The number on the screen does not give you permission to grab an extra donut.

When you start a new workout program where you’re up and active at least 3-4 days a week, you will be hungrier throughout the day. This is not a bad thing! If you already have unhealthy eating habits, you’re now just eating more food with refined carbohydrates which may stall results or even cause weight gain.

Track what you eat using a tool like MyFitnessPal or MacroStax. The simple task of writing down what you eat will help you eat better foods and get your daily intake to a level supported by your activity. We can help you figure out those numbers. Just let us know.

2. You spend the weekend “un-doing” all of your hard work.

After pushing yourself in the gym all week, it’s easy to give yourself a pass on the weekend to order dessert, eat your favorite snacks, or ask for another bowl of chips to go with that queso. You earned it, right? There’s certainly nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while to some of your favorite foods. But people oftentimes underestimate how easy it is to “out-eat” the workouts they did. Breaking this habit requires a mindset shift from the idea that you “earn unhealthy food choices” to pursuing a lifestyle of health and nutrition. We want you to properly fuel your body, enjoy a few intentional treats here and there, and rewrite your story to the weight/size/dress/pair of jeans/etc. you’ve been dreaming about for so long. That feeling is the best dessert!

Proper nutritional habits partnered with all the hard work you’re putting in at the gym and proper amounts of rest will do wonders for your body!

3. You’re looking at the wrong number.

The number on the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Your weight is one single point of data. That’s it. Don’t get so hung up on it in the first place. We don’t worry so much about how many inches tall we are, right? The scale doesn’t define what you’re capable of. It’s an indicator. I can give you a long list of indicators that are just as important:

  • Skeletal muscle mass in pounds
  • Body fat percentage
  • Total daily energy expenditure in calories
  • Triglycerides and Cholesterol
  • 1 rep max front squat in pounds
  • Mile run time in minutes and seconds
  • Max pull-ups in 60 seconds
  • Max push-ups in 60 seconds
  • Max plank hold in seconds
  • 3 rep max deadlift in pounds
  • Time to complete Fran
  • Time to complete Grace
  • Time to complete Isabelle
  • Time to complete Jackie
  • Time to complete Diane

All of these are indicators that help define who you are an a continuum of wellness and fitness (and happiness). We believe if you can deadlift twice your bodyweight, run a 9-minute mile, and finish Grace is under 5 minutes, your health metrics are good and headed in the right direction.

We’ve seen members gain a few pounds on the scale after 6 months in the gym only to find out that they lost 3% body fat and gained lean muscle mass. The best part was, they lost inches around their waist and fit into clothes they hadn’t worn in years. We have an InBody body composition scanning machine in the gym just for this reason. We can give you a better understanding of what’s going on with your body that the number on the scale cannot.

Bottom Line

Realize where you are now is simply a starting point. The only way to make real progress is to put in the effort each day on a consistent basis. The destination is the journey.

Who am I?

Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often.

What’s the story you tell yourself? It’s always evolving and changing based on your experiences. The facts about your past can’t change, but the story you tell yourself about them absolutely can.

Rewrite Your Story

Rewriting your story isn’t about denying the bad things that happened or pretending that they’re good things. It’s about finding meaning in the events of your life, to recognize the learning and growth. It’s about how those events made you who you are. It’s about appreciating that person and taking ownership of where you want to go next.

Fitness Leads to Happiness

Fitness sits on a spectrum that starts on the left with sickness, then moves to wellness, next to fitness, and finally to happiness. We’ve experienced it firsthand, both in our own lives and with our members. When people are healthier and fitter, they are happier.

Wellness to Fitness to Happiness Spectrum

That’s not to say that bad things don’t still happen to us. We’re in the middle of a 100-year pandemic with COVID-19. Not many saw that coming. The world is a rough place. It will knock you down. We just have to keep getting back up. We have to prepare for the fight in whatever form it comes next. Our fitness is the tool that helps us. We need to be stronger than the world is bad.

So what monsters do you face in the story you tell yourself? We know they seem too big to overcome. We once thought ours were too. We can help you start to rewrite your story. Time to exercise your demons – they’ll be doing jumping jacks before you know it!

Who am I?

I want to be healthier and stronger, both physically and emotionally. I want to be a more functional human being and a better version of myself for as many years of my life as I can. I want the same for my family my friends and my community. 

I want to embrace the journey and learn from my mistakes. Failure doesn’t define who I am, because it paves the road ahead for me to become better. And I want to be associated with the community that encourages me, supports me, and values my success as much as their own.

I am a member of Fern Creek CrossFit. And this is where I go to get healthier, stronger, and feel great.