Preparing for the Unknown.

The CrossFit open is upon us which means 5 workouts in 5 weeks, all verified by a judge. It’s the beginning of the CrossFit games and a chance to see how you stack up against the rest of the world, but first and foremost, this should be a chance for you to have fun.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” ― H.P. Lovecraft

With open season comes all sorts of weird ideas and potential fears of the unknown. If you are a competitive athlete (or fancy yourself one), this could be your first issue with the open. But how unknown is the open? Luckily, we have many years we can look back on to help relinquish those potential fears.

These are the movements that will be in the open: Thrusters, Wall balls, Rowing, Chest to bar pull-ups, Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Muscle-ups, Handstand push-ups, Box jumps, Deadlifts, Toes-to-bar, and Double-Unders. There will be a few more, or a few less, but these movements have historically been included and are therefore the movements you would benefit from having trained over the last 3 months.

If you cannot do some of these movements, or have trouble with standard weights of these movements, then the last 6 months would have made for optimal training time. If you cannot do certain movements right now, with less than one month left into the open, you should have no fear, because at this point you shouldn’t even be working on those movements. The movements that will hold people up are handstand push-ups or muscle-ups. This is what statistics over the last 3 years tells us. Being able to don just one of these movements will move you up thousands of points in the rankings, but it will not get you to Regionals or the Games. Rushing through these very complex movements to move up a few slots can also get you very injured and end any hope you have of completing the open; or take you out of the exercise game for long periods of time.

Competition can bring out the best and worst in people. Before you compete, ask yourself why you are competing. Making good choices is your job as an athlete, and your coach’s job is to program and get you ready for your event. If you have not spent the last year working on those skills that you knew you could not do, then now is not the time to rush into dangerous movements. If your programming did not get you where you wanted to be at this point, you may want to investigate finding a new one. The key to dealing with unknowns is to control as much of the situation as you can and work to decrease the amount of unknown.

Control what you can, let go of the rest, as there is nothing you can do about some things. Accepting this fact could make a world of difference in how you approach the open.

-Coach J-

Pure Health CrossFit

At Pure Health Performance, our goal is to help people improve not only in their sport, but all around.  We have trained athletes to reach the highest levels in power lifting and weightlifting, and while we have always valued metabolic conditioning, we’ve moved it into a more prominent focus with the introduction of Pure Health CrossFit.

The aim of Pure Health CrossFit (PHC) is to get individuals better at a multitude of things.  The concept of CrossFit is to train all an individual’s metabolic pathways in one group of exercises.  The model of CrossFit is to work out as a group and better yourself by having accountability with your workouts.  PHC understands that it is impossible to get GREAT at ALL things within the realms of fitness.  With CrossFit the aim to go get good at many things. Initially upon being introduced to a new type of fitness, massive gains should be seen, but these gains will plateau within 3 months of seeing them, as your body will simply adapt to the new stimulus.  Continuing to grow and get better will require more and different stimuli.

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The model we follow is a strategic plan to prepare individuals prepared to perform as well as they want to.  If you are comfortable just coming to the gym on a regular basis to get “fitter” and enjoy life more, we are there for you.  If you are content to come by the gym, and learn a few things, then possibly move on to a more competitive concept, we can handle that, too.  If your grand plan is to compete at any level in CrossFit, we can help you as well.  However, it must first be understood that these three individuals will have three distinctly different types of training.  They all want different outcomes, giving all three of them the same routine, and hoping it all just works out is simply not going to work.

CrossFit encapsulates four different movement types: Gymnastics, Weightlifting, Powerlifting, and Aerobic capacity.  As was said before, upon starting CrossFit for the first time, individuals will see a substantial spike in their abilities in all four of these movements.  This is the human bodies amazing ability to respond to new stimulus.  Strength gains will come quick and even easy.  Your ability to do more in less time will be noticeable in the first 3-4 months of any exercise routine.  It’s after this first 3-4 months that everything will slow down.

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After these 3-4 months, the body will have adapted to your training routine, and now you will have to work harder to see the adaption.  PHC recognizes this concept, and we have specially trained weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, and aerobic capacity coaches that can help with those who may find themselves stuck in a rut.  For example, if an individual wants to specifically get better at weightlifting, they must focus primarily on weightlifting for a period to force the body to adapt to the increased stimulus presented.  Just doing more of the same will only yield more of the same.

PHC also has a policy of making all movements as safe as they possibly can.  Under this mindset, we choose to not program high rep Olympic lifting movements or high rep power lifting movements in the workouts. Unless the individual is specifically training for competitions, there is no reason to risk injury in doing these movements.

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PHC will deliver Open prep starting Mid October every year to begin prepping individuals who plan on doing the CrossFit Open.  These prep workouts will have powerlifting and Olympic lifting movements in them, as CrossFit is expected program these movements into the open workouts.

So, if you are new to CrossFit, we are the place for you.  We offer the ability to learn the movements from individuals who are specifically trained in all the CrossFit movements.  Also, we have a safe and proven method of helping individuals attain a higher level of fitness with great outcome, and minimal risk of injury.

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If you want to move forward and possibly compete at CrossFit, or have done CrossFit in the past, and are feel like you are no longer moving forward in your training, we can help you get better, or move to the competitive level.  We have individuals who have competed at multiple local competitions over the years.  We know what it takes to move you beyond what you may even imagine.

Your membership to Pure Health Performance allows you a unique experience in that we have individuals who are highly skilled at all the movements needed to become as fit as you want to be, under one roof.

Shaping Our Youth

The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’ Maria Montessori

I have not blogged in what seems like ages, but with this topic fresh on my mind, I thought it would be nice to remove them and send them into the world and see how others feel about them. That being said, these are my opinions (meaning you do not have to agree with them, and that is okay, because we can still be friends).


The gym is continuing to grow at an exceeding rate, which is fantastic (and to those that want more space, trust me, we are looking, but it is not as easy as just wanting a new building :P). With the gym growing, our mean age has started shifting downward toward the teens. This is exciting to me as a coach, because it means we can start influencing at a young age, an age where kids are still fluid. They are fluid in their movement patterns, not yet shaped by sitting all day at work and coming home to sit some more. They are not yet plagued with long stressful days at a job they may not love, so they (I won’t say always) come in with a bright attitude to learn and develop new skills. Above all, they are just hilarious and fun to work with, and for all intents and purposes push others in the gym much older than themselves to strive for a little more and to work a little harder.

This being said, I believe that if you are going to coach and train children/kids/young adults, you must take this as a serious task and somewhat of an honor. Think of it this way:

The parent has put trust in you to mold and develop the one thing they cherish most in this world. They have come to you for the purpose of making their young person not only a better athlete, but to help develop them to become a wonderful human being. So taking that into account, there are a couple of things I keep in mind to make sure that I can provide the most to every youth athlete that I train:


  1. It is not/should not be an easy pay day that you string along for as long as possible

They come to you because they need guidance. They want to get stronger, healthier, faster, bigger, and ultimately become better athletes. To some, this means you can just put something down on a piece of paper without a rhyme or reason, and sure it is hard, but is it really doing anything for the kid’s goals? Is it making them better? Is this what they are paying for? At the end of it, did you betray the trust of a parent and youth athlete?

This is something I think about with all of my programs, but especially with my youth. If we teach them well when they start, really teach them, then going forward they will have a very strong foundation that you get to be apart of for the rest of their athletic career!

 2. Teach them to move before they specialize

This should be a priority to all youth coaches. These kids need to be able to perform the most basic of strength movements before they learn to do complex competition lifts. Teach them to run, jump, climb, and ultimately fall in love with movement itself, and then teach them their sport of choice!

This is a philosophy I have developed after starting to work with more and more youth sports teams. Upon programming a strength and conditioning workout,  I realize that they can perform their sport at a high level with almost zero effort.  However, I then ask them to do something as basic as a lunge or push-up, and it is as if I have asked them to perform a heart transplant.

If you let kids be kids and teach them to move, the rest will take care of itself.

3. You have to care

If you choose to work with kids, especially youth athletes, you have to care. I have worked with kids as long as I can remember, and a lot of the time you don’t know what type of house they are coming from. They can be from a caring and loving home, in which case, they will have a strong network of support and have role models they look up to that can help shape their love for sport, a career, and ultimately their future. On the flip side of that, you can get kids from broken homes that are in sport or programs as a way to get away from that for just a little while. This is where it matters, if they don’t have anyone that cares, then how long do you think they will really stick with this? Not only that, but you have to also remember to not only care about them as an athlete, but as a young adult in general. If they are struggling, then talk to them, because if you want to get the best performance out of them, then they need to be there physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Ask any successful athlete, and I almost guarantee, they have a coach that helped  strengthen their passion and love for their sport! They had a coach that went above and beyond to help shape them and provided a strong role model for how coaches should be.

Bottom line: You have to look at your youth athletes as a person first and an athlete second.


With all that being said, when athletes train hard, they don’t always enjoy the strength and conditioning portion of their program (this can be especially true in youth). However, this is a necessary part of athletic development as it helps to keep the athlete injury free through developing strength, power, and correcting imbalances that often develop with the repetitive motions present in almost all sports.

As youth coaches, this is why it is extremely important to keep training fun, exciting, and explain to the youth and parents the purpose of every movement. If we teach them correctly at a young age, we can be apart of providing an individual a long, healthy athletic career and helping to shape the youth of tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

Why Compete?

The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give.

Howard Cosell

Why compete? Why put yourself in a situation where you only have a set amount of opportunities to get it right? Why test the last couple weeks, months, and sometimes years of preparation when you are already happy with your current situation?

Why not?

Think about it. This is the ultimate analogy to life. You prepare, prepare, and prepare some more for the “opportunity of a lifetime” and when that time comes, you are tested on all the preparation up to that point. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t. If you succeed, there is no greater feeling than achieving what you knew you could and basking in your accomplishment with friends and family. If you fail (which in life, at some point, is inevitable) you start by looking at what more you could have done, where your preparation went wrong, and how you can be better prepared for the next opportunity (believe me, there is always another one, you just have to be prepared for it).

This is how I think about competition and this is what it has taught me.


There are no do-overs

Remember when you were a kid and you could just reset the game if things went south? Not in the real world. In the grown adult world, we have to live with the choices we make. While this might sound grim, at least the way I worded it, experiences are the only thing in the world we get to hold on to that make us who we are. Whether good or bad, these experiences shape us and make us the unique person we continually grow to be.

Just like in life, in competition, once you go up to attempt your weight, whether you make it or not, there is no going back. Maybe you miss and think “I should have started 2-3kg lower, I could have made that”, and maybe you could have, but there is no reset. Again, this sounds negative, but this is how you learn. Little by little, this is how you learn about yourself and your athletes. Some athletes can open with a near max attempt, feeding off the pressure it puts on them. Some athletes need an easy opener in order to get the nerves out and gain confidence. Whatever type of athlete you might be, you will never know until you put yourself to the test!


The end result of a process

My response to my clients and athletes that train but don’t want to compete is this:

Why come in 5-6 days a week and put yourself through the aches and pains of training (different from just exercising) and not step on the platform and see the end result?

Sure, you can see the body transformation and the increase in weights, these are things you can see in your everyday training. However, to see how your confidence and mental game has changed, you have to put yourself under the pressure of those 3 attempts, those 3 attempts to show off your months of preparation.

If you look back through the blog, you will find a video about how lobsters grow. I come back to this quite often. In order to adapt and grow, the lobster must first under go the stress and pressure of a small shell. Once it feels it has “outgrown its shell,” it finds a space and molts, growing a larger shell so it can continue its journey.

Get it?

In order to grow and become more, you must put yourself under stress and pressure. Got to be the lobster!


Doing well is all relative

Maybe you don’t get 1st, hell, you might place 56/57. Competition is not always about trying to beat the top dog. Take this example:

You have 10 people in your weight class. Your best snatch is 80kg and your opening at 75kg, to give yourself some room and because you are feeling good that day. You look at the card table and see someone opening at 103kg. Now, even if you PR your snatch, there is no way you are going to jump 22kg over your personal best to try and beat that guy.

The point is, if you go on to hit 80,82 or hell even 85 kg, this is a huge accomplishment. Under pressure, in a different setting, and in front of a crowd of people, you managed to lift more that you ever had in a setting of familiarity with friends around to encourage. This is fantastic, and even if you place second to last, you came in and did better than you ever had before and I can guarantee you won’t care about the place you finished, a PR in competition is the best feeling!


How to overcome failure

The one downside (I don’t consider this a downside, but we will address that further down the page) is that if you compete, at some point, you will fail. You will fail to do as well as you want to, you will miss a lift, or you will have an all out poor performance. Just like in the rest of our lives, shit happens, and we move past. We come up with a plan–a plan to make sure the same failure does not happen again. We take what we learn from competition and we come up with a training plan to strengthen our weaknesses and keep are strengths strong.

Failure should not be looked at as something to avoid, but rather embraced as an opportunity to learn and grow.


In short:

Have fun training and put that training to the test on the platform (whether at an in-house competition or at local sanctioned meets). Don’t let the fear of failure be the reason you avoid taking that extra leap to compete. Get a good coach or friend to help you in competition, and you might surprise yourself with how well you do and how much you enjoy the competition itself!

 

Ukrainian Adventure

Life is either a great adventure or nothing.

Helen Keller

My apologies for the late post, but between in and out wifi connections in Germany and getting back into a normal schedule, I just now have time to sit down and type out all my thoughts about my most recent adventures.

For those that don’t know, I had an amazing opportunity to go over seas and train in Kiev, Ukraine at an Olympic Training center in beautiful Koncha Zaspa with the Warm Body Cold Mind fellas (Aleskey Torokhtiy, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist and Dr. Sergei Putsov). I will go into detail below, but first an over arching statement for camp:

The only source of knowledge is experience.

Albert Einstein

I will do my best to describe my training, my stay, and my whole experience during the two weeks training under their watchful eye, but I fear it will not serve it complete justice.


You cannot breed greatness if not surrounded by it

Let me start off by talking about the level of expertise we were surrounded by. I would guess that over the course of two weeks we may have had anywhere from 40-80 years of cumulative knowledge and experience coaching us. I know this sounds like an absurd amount, but let me lay it out for you:

Aleskey Torokhtiy: 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist (which comes from close to 18 years of intense training)

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Dr. Sergei Putsov: PhD in Exercise Science and Ukrainian National team member for numerous years (also roughly 18 years of weight lifting experience)

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Guest Lecturer: Did not get the professors name, but he came in twice for lecture and once to watch a training session. Not only is he a head professor of Exercise Science, but he also serves on the Weightlifting board of Ukraine (not to mention he lifted back in the day)

Vasyl Kulak: 4 time Olympic coach, with multiple medalist under his belt. Not only did he stay and watch most of our training, but he would throw a thumbs up or down into the mix (English was not his main language, but you could get the idea of how you were doing)

Syhmechko Ihor: You can look him up on Instagram or just google his name, he is a 3x Olympian (most recently competing in Rio) , and an all around genuine guy. He stopped by for 1 or 2 trainings, watched over a couple of lifts, and gave some hand gestures (not to mention took time to sit down and eat with everyone, which was pretty awesome)!

Kateryna: During our time there, this was the wonderful women that held us together. She gave out massages, therapy, pre- and post-training mobility, and even helped us with our laundry (she was pretty awesome). On top of that, we come to find she was a European Champion in the 63 kg class going 100/130 (which we could of guessed due to the intensity of our massages… she was very strong).

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Anastasiia: Last, but certainly not least, she worked all the behind the scenes! She was awesome, and was able to help us with anything we needed to make our stay more comfortable and was always willing to help if we had any ailments at all (she really helped me out during a couple of days when I was not feeling so hot). Throughout the week, we all saw her still squeezing in time to go get her training in!

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My point is that through out the two weeks, there was no one that I encountered in our camp that did not have some higher level of knowledge that they could lend to me. This came in the form of different cues, different insights, and sometimes, since multiple people were lifting at the same time, we had all the coaches we needed to watch everyone and give feedback!

If this does not impress you, let me forward some of the knowledge bombs that got dropped!


“We don’t make mistakes”

Now, before I start to type this out, please do not tell me that this is wrong or not the way you learned. This is also not the way I learned, but in going to a training camp you need to go with an open mind in order to get the most out of the expert coaching. I got cues I thought to be wrong, and in a couple of days they helped me to be more technical and move higher percentage weights much faster. My thought is this:

There is not one particular way to weightlift (if there was we would have champions from only that area of the world, which we do not). If you are not an Olympian or expert in the field (10+ years of training and experience), then how can learning different techniques hurt? In my opinion, this can only help. Maybe you retain two or three things from camp that make you better because you incorporated movements or slightly tweaked or perfected something you were already doing, in this, you have become a better Weightlifter, and that is what this sport is all about, those small improvements!

So, going into the quote above. This was something Sergei said to me on a day we were hitting some pretty heavy percentage cleans on our second session of the day. I had worked up to about 85% for some doubles and on the second one I caught and paused at the bottom before standing up. After I completed the lift and dropped the weight he looked at me and said “What is wrong, Why pause”? Obviously, I just looked at him because I had made the lift and thought it to be decent.  He explained: “When you pause in the clean, you have made a mistake because you need to adjust yourself. When we clean, we do not make mistakes, so we don’t pause.” Now, I did not write that to debate whether or not that is the correct thing to coach or do, what I did was give you an example of a cue that opened up my eyes. After that, the clean (which I am not that great at) made so much more sense to me. My focus became less about the catch and where I caught it and more about the path of my pull, resulting in a better bar placement, which then resulted in a better catch!

You see, the big thing I took out of my trip to Ukraine, is that two coaches very rarely are telling you two opposite things. What they ARE doing is describing the same movement with different coaching cues, which is beautiful because just like not every person on the planet learns the same (visual, auditory, and tactile learning), not every athlete is able to grasp the idea the coach is trying to convey from the same cue.

Moral: Research and watch videos. Let your coaches know what cues work and if they don’t ask them to explain it in a different way.


 

“Leave from a full foot”

Again, this is cue is nothing revolutionary, however it was in the way that they taught it to us that really changed my catch ever so slightly (and pair that with changing up my clean pull, Tokyo 2020???). The idea was simple, right? Leave from a full foot in your pull and then catch in a full foot. This avoids a couple of things:

  1. The bar does not fly way out in front of you due to your idea of throwing your hips into the bar and causing it to run away due to the aggressive nature of your hip thrust.
  2. In catching in a full foot we avoid the “toe to heel” catch which can easily throw one off balance and spit you back away from the bar
  3. It makes a really cool sound, so people know you lift…. What it actually does it bring your attention to an aggressive pull and turn over that will result in an all around faster movement, which in time, should lead to heavier weights (if your head game is strong–still working on that one).

This may have been the single most abundant cue during my two week stay (obviously I figured out I had an issue). However, this opened my eyes to why they kept me at such light weights for so many reps and sets (under 60% for at least 20 or more reps). I had a flaw in my game. A small weakness that got bigger and bigger as the kilos got added onto the bar. I had to make the bar look perfect to move to 40 kg, and then make that look perfect in order to add an additional 5kg, and so on and so forth until taking attempts at 70% and above.

Needless to say, two weeks later (I know such a long time, right…) and my warm-up game has changed. My reps and sets under 50% need to look and feel perfect before I will move on to my prescribed weights for the day. This has not only improved my turn over, but decreased the time needed for mobility training post workout due to all the lighter reps being full reps and paused in the bottom (mostly in the snatch and jerk).


 

Warm body, cold mind

Although the above examples are great to explain certain techniques these renown coaches taught me, the part I enjoyed the most was the personal journey they helped facilitate.

Camp was anything but easy, however I went in knowing that I wanted to work (why go to a weightlifting camp to relax…). The volume and work load were two things I was not quite used to and pair that with the mental fatigue from slight changes in my lifts and it was quite draining (don’t worry, we had plenty of nap time and lots of food).

To give an idea;

During my time at the Warm Body Cold Mind training camp I managed to get 18 weight lifting sessions in in a total of 13 days of camp. The break down went as follows: Sundays were lighter more technical days, Monday/Wednesday/Friday were 2x per day training sessions, Tuesdays would be heavy or light depending on the other sessions and feel, and Thursday was our lovely rest day (much needed). Now on top of this, we would do mobility and warm-up for 30 minutes every morning before breakfast and 30-45 minutes before each training session.

If they would have told me that I was going to be training with that much volume and intensity for that many hours a day and that I would still be able to complete roughly 90% of my lifts between 80-90% of my RM in both A.M and P.M sessions, I would have laughed. It was the “mental preparedness” that we talked with both Aleksey and Sergei about on a pretty regular basis. It was the atmosphere they made in the training hall. It was the amazing people that I had the pleasure of training with all week. It was all of these things combined that, although I was tired, sore, mentally drained, when it was time to train everything just kind of slipped away and I looked at the training log and knew what needed to happen (the massages and Ukrainian Rock Sauce really helped as well).

 


It was a family matter

It was not all about training. We took city tours around Kiev on our rest days. We all had our first experience with Banya (if you have an opportunity, check it out because although it sounds a little different it is actually a really cool experience). We ate every meal as a team and if you were lucky enough to have been told to gain weight you even got sent back to your room with food. We stayed up late and got to listen to stories of training, both coaches struggles and successes. We met everyone’s beautiful families and laughed and just hung out and had an all around fantastic time.

This really sunk in with me as I try my best not to make everything I do about business, because training and coaching go so much deeper than that. So to travel half-way around the world, be greeted by coaches of this caliber and whom I have never met, and then to be introduced to their family and for them to share part of their lives with us, well that was just something you would not normally get or expect, and in my opinion made the trip and camp stand out!


If anyone from the WBCM camp reads this, to you I say: 

Thank you for making camp a true adventure. Training with you and getting to know all of you was awesome! I hope one day, sooner than later, our paths cross again!

To the Warm Body, Cold Mind Staff:

You all are awesome! Thank you for organizing the camp, for sharing so much with me, and for teaching me everything you could in a two week time frame. I wish all of you only the best in your future camps and seminars!

To anyone that has a WBCM seminar near them:

Go! These guys have some great advice and tips that they can lend you. Hell, if you have the time check out their next camp in Kiev, because not only is it a great training opportunity, but it is also an amazing time!

Be the change you wish to see

Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever

–Mahatma Gandhi

Post have not been flying off the shelves as usual, but that is not to say that Pure Health is not booming! We have had an amazing start to 2016 from increasing our reach to athletes in the surrounding areas, starting our nutrition services (and seeing great results so far), taking our powerlifters to a state meet (in which we set state records, broke all types of PR’s, qualified for national events, and had a fantastic time doing it), rolled out a brand of coffee (and custom mugs coming in May), and last but not least traveled to the Mash Elite compound to learn from the best.

However, after visiting the Mash Compound and sitting back and observing the best in the business at work, I wanted to share a little of how we plan to get better and put our selves at the top of the performance game in the area!


Size does not matter

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Before you get all “ummm, where is this headed”, don’t worry, I am keeping it G rated. The Mash compound is a small gym made up of a few squat racks, loads of bars and plates, and rows of platforms, yet they produce arguably the best up and coming lifters in america.

So why do I mention this?

Yes, if a building that was in the right spot for the right price comes along we will snag it up, but for the time being the size of our building does not define what we strive to produce with in. If anything, it brings us closer together as athletes and coach, allowing us to work in with each other and produce a little competition with each other. The point is, the equipment and space can never replace atmosphere, programming, and passion.

The biggest tree does not always produce the best fruit


Put effort into both elite and novice athletes

 

The most eye opening experience happened while in North Carolina. Coach Mash, while videoing some of the best young athletes in the country, finished with them and then came over and went through and corrected some technical issues on my snatch.

This, as coaches, is what we need to strive to become. We need to put the same amount of effort into our novice lifters as we do in our advanced lifters. Know that novice lifters need more attention to large movements, as they are just starting their journey down this road. They will need different cues, they will need form broken down, they will need in-depth explanation on what to do , how to do it, and sometimes step by step instructions.

On the opposite hand, you need to pay attention to your advanced lifters. They are there for your guidance because they believe in what you teach them (or sometimes just need a place to lift). So make sure you are giving them the cues they need, even though they don’t need as much as the other 90% of the gym, they still can benefit from hands on coaching and feedback!


Create a fun, competition atmosphere that makes a statement

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The best part of the Mash Compound is the atmosphere.

Does not matter how big your gym is if the atmosphere is live, your gym will continue to produce awesome athletes.

Make your atmosphere fun, exciting, and competitive.

Cheer on the athletes that lift 100lbs and the athletes that lift 400lbs, as both are an accomplishment and a PR is a PR.

Bring Powerlifters, Weightlifters, Crossfitters, ect.. all under one roof to max out together and push each other to become better in each others given sport!

As we all know, not every day can be a good day and lifting or competitive sports. There will be days that you do amazing things and there will be days where you struggle to hit your minimums. However, if you can come into a gym that breeds an atmosphere that is exciting and competitive, I can guarantee that the days you enjoy yourself and PR will far outweigh the days that suck!


Coach smart and effective and continue to learn

The team we have is amazing! We went to competition, had a great time (regardless of outcomes), and brought back a ton of knowledge from our meet. However, this could not have been done without a couple of key items:

You have to coach smart:

Everyone is different, everyone reacts different to failure, pressure, and success. Make sure that you know your team both as athletes and as people and know how they will react to certain situations.

You have to coach effective:

Sometimes it is not about PR’s. As a coach, you always want to see your athletes do well and hit big numbers. However, remember that consistency is key in any sport, and know that your athlete will gain worlds from having a fantastic meet vs. going 3 for 9!

Continue to learn:

If you think you have it all figured out, you might as well stop while you are ahead. In this game, if you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best. This does not mean that you need 50 letters behind your name, a dozen certifications, and use large words to display your concepts. This simply means that you need to travel about and pick up key items from some of the best and bring them back to your athletes. The best thing I heard all weekend was:

If you can go to a seminar and learn just one thing that makes a difference in your coaching, then it was worth every penny

–Travis Mash


 

This is what we strive to become at Pure Health. A gym that is focused on all levels of athlete. A gym that is focused on creating and maintaining an atmosphere that can take you out of your normal life and transport you into a fun, exciting, and competitive realm (think Narnia, but with a beefed up Mr. Tumnus). This gym should feel like a home away from home, a place to go and grind your daily frustration into something worth while. Unlike many other gyms, know that we are not in this game for the money. The hours of programming, coaching, emails, and text are only worth it if we are able to produce a change in our athletes lives, then and only then have we done our job!

 

 

Even a small leak can sink a boat

Take action! An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intention.

–Dr. Steve Maraboli

Whether your journey is strength, athletics, weight loss, rehab, or general health; we all have one thing in common and that is that there is very little (if any) immediate reward in your hard work. Think of it as the classic “rat hits the button and gets a food pellet” experiment, which would be an immediate reward system. Your reward system is more of a “hit the button…then hit it again… then keep hitting the button…then when your just about done you hit it one last time and finally get that food pellet and it starts all over again.”

You cannot start this journey with the mindset that it will be easy or that it will be fast. It is the accumulation of time and training sessions (not just a session here or there) that produce the small steps toward your goal. It is the combination of your warm-up, selective training program, cool-down, nutrition and mobility plan that keep you on a steady pace in the right direction with no plateaus. If you are weak in one or more of these areas, it can tend to add up over time and result in lower performance or injury.

Even a small leak can sink a boat 


 

Warm-up:

From the moment you step foot in the gym, your entire focus needs to be there. While I am a big fan of caffeine (hence having our own coffee blend) and agree that it can do a lot for attention and focus, if you are not mentally in the game, it does not matter how much caffeine you intake, you are going to have a very mediocre training session.

The idea of a great warm-up routine is to get you both physically and mentally prepared in order to maximize gain during your training session. This means that just relaxed foam rolling is not going to cut it (this is borderline mindless and does very little to get your CNS on fire). Things like: Lunges, Inch Worms, empty bar or PVC pipe work, jump rope, rower, bike, etc.. These are the things, in combo with you favorite pre-workout beverage of choice, that will lead to a very awake and alert athlete who is ready to crush PR’s on the daily!

The video below is a short video demoing some our preferred warm-up methods:


 

 Training Program

You can have a hand full of aces, but if you don’t know how to play it, you’ll still lose the match. A proper training program is key to continued growth and success. Have you plateaued for months on end? Is everyone in the gym doing the exact same program? (Each individual athlete has strengths and weaknesses that need to be addressed, so a “one-size fits all program” never works). Do you have a constant, reoccurring injury, and just don’t understand why it keeps coming back? All of these issues can be addressed by proper programming.

All too often, individuals tend to incorporate preconceived ideas of cardio and strength into their program because they think that is the only way to get it in, but you have to make sure and train for your sport. Would you run 3 miles for cardio if you wanted to be the best power athlete in the world? Probably not. Instead, cardio would better consist of sled sprints, lunges, farmer carries, etc..

Basically you need to make sure:

  1. Your program is keeping you progressing without pain and injury
  2. Your program is specific to your goals
  3. Your program improves your weaknesses while maintaining your strengths
  4. Your program is appropriately designed with linear and undulating periodization (essentially make sure there is a rhyme to your reason).

If all of these things check out, then keep doing what you are doing. If you read that and think “I am not sure”, shoot us an email and we can talk.


Cool-down, nutrition, and mobility

In my opinion and experience, this is where people tend to have that small leak that leads to a Titanic-sized sink. I have said it before, but I will say it again:

YOU HAVE TO MOBILIZE AND EAT RIGHT

The unfortunate truth is that you don’t just get to do the things you enjoy (lift, run, swim, bike, wrestle, etc..). You have to spend time outside your structured program to do things such as meal prep, yoga or mobility, recovery, etc..

Cool-down

This can be anywhere from 10-15 minutes post workout. The time spent here is a great way to help increase Range of Motion in areas that need it in order to better perform in our sport of choice. Below is a little video we whipped up to showcase how simple a cool-down can be (don’t mind the unhappy dog barking in the background, he is not a fan of the outdoors):

Nutrition

Bottom line: Fuel for performance, not for fun.

I don’t mean for you to develop a negative relationship with food, nor do I mean for you to tell yourself you cannot have certain items. What I mean to say, is that with programming macros, you are able to eat anything you desire as long as it fits into your daily plan. In my mind, this is the most efficient way of developing proper nutrition and eating habits and can result in a very positive, life long process!

As far as gaining or losing weight, the basics are this simple:

To lose weight you must have a negative calorie balance and to gain you must have the opposite (positive energy balance). This is the basis that all macro programs are based on. After that, it comes down to:

  1. Training sessions per week
  2. Off, light, and heavy training days
  3. BMR
  4. Food timing
  5. Whole foods vs. supplementation

Remember, diet challenges and one-size-fits all nutrition WILL NOT work, as every person is different, and needs minor tweeks to make major changes in body composition. If you have any questions on nutritional programming or need advice on a place to start, send an email our way and we can get you started!

Recovery

This one is simple, but is one of the most overlooked. Follow a couple of simple steps for recovery, and I can guarantee you will see an improvement in your training.

  1. Sleep well and sleep often
    1. Make  sure you are allowing yourself enough sleep. The more intense your training session is, the more recovery you will need in order to perform the next day!
  2. Eat
    1. As I said above, make sure and fuel for your performance. Let go of the preconceived notions that less food equals more weight loss and start thinking about eating enough food to fuel your body and your performance!
  3. Mobility, salt soaks, and massage
    1. The more you dive into the world of elite level training, the more recovery you will need. You will have to start soaking multiple times a week in order to alleviate aches and pains you accumulate over the week.
    2. Mobility MUST be done every single day. You have to make time to put your joints through full ranges of motion and alleviate tight muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
    3. When your own therapy just is not cutting it, go find a professional that can really get in there. Deep tissue massages are a great way to help trigger point areas that might be impeding your performance!

 

Don’t let a small leak sink your boat, make sure and do everything you can to keep your performance constantly improving. If you need help with any of the points above, make sure and contact us and we can get you set up or point your in the right direction!

 

You Cannot Band-Aid® Lazy

“It’s not really about the competition. Your biggest challenge in a race is yourself. You’re often racing against time. You’re frequently running everything through your mind. You’re always competing against preconceived ideas. It’s not really the person next to you that you worry about.”

–Summer Sanders, Olympic Medalist 1992

Before you read this, please know that this post is designed to really make you think*

*elegant way of saying “this is a rant”

If you are in the fitness industry, let me say that at some point in your career you should attend some type of health fair or conference were you have a booth and talk to hundreds of people. The reason I say this is because you tend to learn a lot about people and it really makes you appreciate the people that come to your gym or put time and effort into training with you.

Yesterday, PHP set up shop at a local health fair to hand out information about our gym, what we do, and why you should come and train with us. Not surprisingly, people were not about our booth. However, it was some of the responses we received that lead to this post and everything that follows.

Response: “Ohh, that sounds like work.”

“It is thrifty to prepare today for the wants of tomorrow.”
~ Aesop (620 BC – 560 BC)

When this was the response to, “Take a card and check us out”, I had to hold back my true response due to not wanting to be kicked out of the health fair. If this is your response to saying “take a card and have a good day”, than there might not be anything anyone can do for you.

You see, a trainer or coach cannot instill hard work in someone, although having jedi-like mind powers would make us a lot more money. We cannot make you want to be a better person. We can add tinder to the fire, but you have to provide the spark. I hate to use this word, but the issue is that we cannot fix lazy. To be so put-off by the idea of putting in a little work to something truly is astonishing. So, for those of you that get into the gym and bust your ass, drinks on me (not literally), because regardless of how much you think you do, you are above the social norm, so party on!

Response: “Why do that when I can just take medication?”

You have got to be kidding me. This is the response to looking at mobility tools, Kinieso tape, and stretching diagrams. I say, here is a way that you can spend little money, fix your aches and pains, and learn a new skill, and you say “ehhh, I’d rather just take medication”, why??? This is right up there with saying “Exercise is not my thing” or ” I don’t like water”. You don’t have a choice. You don’t get to make those decisions, because guess what, your body NEEDS water and your body NEEDS movement. End of story with no discussion–this is fact, not an opinion. To put it another way, for those of you that have kids and a family:

What if I told you that with an hour and a half a day you could play with your kids/grandkids until you were well in your 60’s, including running, jumping, going on adventures, literally anything you can think of, without fear of catastrophic injury or bodily harm. Who in their right mind would say no to that? Well guess what, this is what happens when you get on a structured exercise program and when you get off those medications (caveat being if you currently need those medications to survive) and learn to start taking care of yourself. Anything less, is just lazy.

Response: “That is just too expensive.”

First of all, I won’t say it’s not, because people come from all different financial backgrounds and while $50/month is chump change to some, it is a weeks work to others. That being said, if you say this while having a fresh dye-job for your hair, a brand-name watch, equestrian boots, and your nails done, I have a hard time believing that $50 is something you do not currently have. What I don’t find hard to believe is that you just find it easier to dress yourself in riches and mask the true issue you have with yourself.

You don’t need new clothes, new hair, new nails, etc.. to be happy with the way you look–you need to do something on a more physical spectrum and get out there and bust your ass, work hard, and be able to be proud of something you have accomplished.

All this is to say, you can put a band-aid on a lot of things; looks, mobility, injuries, ect., but the one thing you cannot band-aid is laziness.

So challenge yourself to be a little better than yesterday. Do a little more each day. Do it for you and your family, not for others and not for vanity sake. Never settle, because there is always room to grow and improve, do not let yourself be stagnant.

 As long as you’re green, you’re growing. As soon as you’re ripe, you start to rot.
–Ray Kroc


 

Little update on coffee:

Heartland Roasters has been killing it and doing wonderful things in the community and has still found time to get our blend going and together. We should have coffee by the end of the week and we will only have #25 for the first release, so if you want some make sure and tell us, because it will be going fast!

Shirt Orders and more

“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.”
― Émile Zola

It’s Monday, this is your chance to start the week off right, no excuses. Everyone is tired this morning, everyone is still sore from their training last week, and the last thing most people want to think about is the training sessions they have scheduled for this week. Unfortunately, at competition time it does not matter how tired you were day in and out, it does not matter if you are sore all the time, and it does not matter how you did not want to do those training sessions, the only thing that matters is did you do enough to make a difference during your event? Did you do enough to be satisfied with the outcome at the meet? Can you look back at all your time leading up to your event and say “I did what I needed to do and have no regrets”. That is all that matters and that is all anyone will see.


 

 

At Pure Health, we feel we are more than just a “come in and get your workout in” gym. We strive to promote a sense of community and togetherness, and feel that in doing so our athletes will go out and promote the same atmosphere in everything they do. Personally, I think we have more than achieved this, as can be seen in how far our athletes have come in such a short amount of time. This type of atmosphere makes individuals want to be in the gym. This type of atmosphere allows playful competition, which pushes individuals to want to be better. This type of atmosphere is the atmosphere needed to PR on a weekly basis!

At the front of this atmosphere is the brand. The brand (our logo) is an extension of what we strive to deliver to both our athletes and any other athlete or visitor to the gym. Our symbol is derived from the combination of a spartan helmet and Valkyrie wings, one a male warrior and the other a female warrior, both known for being the best at what they were trained to do.

All of this to say, if you feel like you embody what we strive to promote, if you want to support what we promote, or you just think the shirts look really cool and want to promote it, we will be taking orders until Tuesday, Feb. 23rd at noon (that would be tomorrow). So make sure and tell anyone that is interested in getting a shirt to get us their size and which one(s) they want and we will get everyone on the list!!


 

Update on coffee:
Bags are in and we are just waiting on labels, but we should have it in a few days to a week, so be on the look out for that update!

We are also in the process of making a limited edition 14oz , hand crafted, coffee mug to go with the release of our signature coffee. These mugs will be very limited edition, as we will only order 25, so once we get the logo file, we will post it  and let you decide!

 

From a different perspective

“Not everybody wants to train. For many, exercise is good enough. They just want to burn calories and have better abs. This is fine, for those people.

But the second you want MORE-when you decide that there will be a goal to accomplish-you’ve graduated to TRAINING.”

–Mark Rippetoe

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If you have been in the training game long enough, and have worked with enough clients, you tend to start to see a trend in reasons that people cannot eat proper or make it to the gym. The most common reasons we hear are:

“I just have a busy schedule so I don’t have time right now.”

“It takes a lot of time and money to eat right.”

“When you have a family, you will understand.”

Now, I do not have kids, so I will not make a statement to how much time it takes to raise said kids, but I did find someone who does and who makes time to follow a structured diet and makes time to train, and has competed at a high level in his given sport, so maybe he can shed a little light on that issue. Take a minute to read through the interview we conducted with Ryan McCoy, American Ninja Warrior Competitor, (@ryan_mcninja).

 


Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

Sure, well I’m 26 years old, I have been married to my best friend, Tess, for almost 4 years. We have two wonderful children: Lily (age 2 1/2) and Nathan (2 months) and I work in downstream oil as a business coordinator. My sport of choice would either be obstacle course training or tennis.

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What does a typical day look like for you?

4am:I wake up for work.

5:30am: I’m on the bus answering emails and practicing my Swedish.

6:30ish: I’m walking in the office.

11am: I start working out at the gym in my company’s building.

12:30: I have finished showering and grab a quick Salata salad that I eat at my desk while I work.

5pm: I’m heading home.

6:30-7: I’m actually home. And then the evening is filled with playing, eating dinner, and bath time.

9 or 10: We are in bed.

And then repeat.

What does a typical training session look like for you?

My typical workout is a lot simpler and less structured than when I was training for ninja full time. It usually consists of many pull-ups, push-ups, and other body weight centered workouts. I try to mix up the variances and try new workouts when I see them but since I am working out during my lunch break I don’t have a lot of time for experimentation.

What does your nutrition look like? 

We follow a mostly plant-based diet. A lot of people think you can’t get the protein you need as an athlete this way, but it’s worked out great for me! Developing good habits and meal prepping helps me get out the door fast in the mornings without sacrificing health.

This is a typical days meals for me:

– Breakfast: warm water with lemon and honey; green smoothie (water, chia seeds, spinach, kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, pineapple, banana); oatmeal with homemade almond milk, cinnamon, and raisins

– Lunch: a giant kale and spinach salad with quinoa, chickpeas, and a whole bunch of fruits and veggies

– Dinner: varies from day to day, but typically my wife makes something either legume or grain-based with plenty of vegetables

– Snacks: vegan protein powder shake, nuts and seeds, homemade hummus with vegetables and tortilla chips, apples and bananas with homemade almond butter, occasionally a piece of my wife’s raw cashew cake

My biggest struggle is remembering to drink enough water when I am home because there is always something going on!

How do you recover and what does your mobility look like?

I make sure to maintain a balanced diet and make sure I get plenty of protein. I also try to walk and take the stairs when possible. Slowly working out a plan to workout every day so that I can get a more intense work out in while not over exerting my main ninja muscle groups (back, shoulders, arms, lats, etc).
I am still not very flexible, as my wife likes to tease me about it. But for my training, I try to steer away from static stretches (bend over, touch toes, hold for so much time) and lean more towards dynamic stretches( high leg kick, touch toes at apex of kick).
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What motivates you and how do you deal with failure?

I think the biggest thing is maintaining the active lifestyle so that my kids will, hopefully, follow. I want to show them how fun it can be so they will enjoy it as much as I do. Plus, ninja training is more like playing on an adult sized playground than anything else so my kids just see me having fun.

Man, a bad training session is the worst. When I realize I’m having an unfocused workout I just push through until the end because a less focused workout is better than no exercise. Failure is a matter of perspective. I either look at it as delayed success or as a learning experience. As the first, I just need to work harder.  As the second I get the chance to adapt and grow.

What does you hierarchy look like? 

That’s easy, it’s Family first above all else, and then my job and working out falls in afterwards. I try to make time everyday to stay active, but if work is too busy, one day then it takes priority.

Anything else you would like to add?

Although training has to come last out of the three (family, work, training), it is still something I make time for nearly every day because of how I prioritize other things. Everyone is busy, and almost everyone either works full-time, has a family to take care of, or both, but typically work and family life aren’t what actually get in the way of staying active, but are rather the excuses people tend to make for why they don’t work out. Do you have time to watch an hour of TV several times a week? That’s time you could spend working out. Do you go out to eat every day during your lunch break? I choose to eat my lunch at my desk while I work every day to have time for a quick workout during my lunch break. Do you spend 30 minutes (or more) scrolling through your news feed every day? That’s time where you could be squeezing in a quick cardio workout. Most people don’t realize just how much free time they actually do have because they’ve gotten so used to their routines. Everyone is busy and you’ll find that the most dedicated (hobby) athletes tend to have extremely busy lives with tons of work and family commitments as well, they’ve just learned to prioritize their free time differently.


Regardless of how you feel about the statements made above, the last paragraph of the interview is about as real as you can get. If you say you don’t have time, you are lying to yourself. YOU DO HAVE TIME, you just don’t make time because at the end of the day, training is just not as important to you as you say it is. Now, I am not talking about the folks that can’t make it to the gym for a week here or there due to traveling, family issues, ect. I am talking about the folks that time and time again, day after day, and month after month, that use this excuse as a crutch for the reason they can never make it in.

This is not only an article to challenge your way of thinking and your time management, it is also an article to shed some light on a individual that truly has it together. Ryan is a great example to live by, he is the trifecta of the corporate world: Family man, business man, and an amazing competitive athlete.

For a look at the man himself in action, check out his Ninja Warrior Run.


 

If you just so happen to be one of the folks that trains day in and out and has already committed to this lifestyle, go and check out this Mash Elite Article. This is the coach that programs for myself, and he lays it out about as straight forward as you can get!