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When you first walk into CrossFit MASS, you might think someone is going to hand you a two hundred pound barbell and tell you to ‘get after it!’, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The first thing we have everyone do is sit with a coach for a few minutes and chat.

We want to know where you’re coming from, what your past workout history is like and if you have anything going on that needs to be taken into account before we begin down the path towards your goals.

Next, (this might even be another day) we start moving. Working one on one with a coach you’ll begin by learning the basic body weight exercises that comprise our workouts. Movements like the squat, push-up and sit-up. These may seem simple on the surface, but doing them correctly, in the beginning, will help you avoid injury and lay the foundation for long-term success.

Not only will your coach show you how to perform theses safely and efficiently, but they’ll take the time to explain the benefits of each movement, and why each needs to be executed in a particular manner.

About 40 minutes in you’ll have covered five core movement patterns. Your coach will then take three of these exercises and combine them into a ten-minute, self-paced workout that will not only challenge you but reinforce the new movement patterns you and your coach have just created.

After you’ve completed the workout, it’s time for a cool down.
Every class at CrossFit MASS finishes with some stretching and mobility, and your first session no exception.

For most people, this format will repeat for another five meetings, which will include integration into the main class or more personal training if they wish to continue working one on one with a coach.

Have questions? Email me at joe@crossfitmass.com or sign up for a No Sweat Intro with a Coach today.


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The 2017 CrossFit Opens season has come and gone. The Thursday night excitement over Dave Castro slowly piecing together these challenging workouts are done. We saw dumbbells for the first time along with classic movements that recur every year. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

But wait!
With the workouts still fresh in your mind, ask yourself – which ones did you like the most or the least? What movement held you back and which movement were you completely prepared for?

If you want to improve for the 2018 season, the time to start is now. Just like our ’test week’, the Opens is a way you put your training to the test and see how you perform with a worldwide community. Some movements are a staple during this season, but we also know at least one workout is repeated from the year before to see how your performance has changed. This could be an increase in reps or a better time.

Now is a time for reflection on this experience.
Were you prepared for that one or couple movements because you have been working on it all year?

Write down your experience and efforts throughout the five workouts. What you lifted for weights and scaling, what tripped you up or you flew through, and how you were feeling. All of this is data you can use to your advantage to increase performance a better mental space.

Once you have journaled your experience, you can use that to help you set a goal, short term or long term for the next season. Some goals may require you to go through a progression, but through that, you will see results in you taking one step closer to accomplishing what you set out for.

Talk to a coach today on how you can get started for 2018.
Pay close attention to your workout data as well!
Click here on why it’s important to track your numbers and log workouts.

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In the last article, we talk about G.A.S and how properly managed stress leads to adaptation. We also touch on how if you have too much stress without the proper recovery it can lead to exhaustion.

We want to avoid exhaustion in training whenever possible. Prolonged time in this state can cause strength to stagnate or even decline. Worst, it can lead a breakdown or injury.

So how do we know if we’re overtraining? Here are a few ways people have found over the years.

HRV – heart-rate variability
HRV is a measure of the time gap between individual heart beats while your body is at rest. The heart speeds up when you inhale, and slows down when you exhale. This difference is known as HRV. A healthy, well-rested body will produce a larger gap, and higher HRV than a stressed-out, overtrained body. I use the ithlete app with a Polar H7 monitor.

Resting Heart Rate
As soon as you wake up in the morning, find your pulse. Using a watch, count the number of times your heart beats in 20 seconds. Multiply this number by three and you have your resting heart rate (RHR) in beats per minute (bpm). Record this for a few weeks to find a baseline average number.

Now after three to four weeks or so of regular activity check your resting morning heart rate in the two or three days after a hard workout. If the number has significantly elevated from its normal average (7 or more beats per minute), that’s a sign that you haven’t fully recovered from the workout. Remember, there is going to be some variability in your daily heart rate regardless of your recovery level, don’t be concerned if you’re 3 to 4 bpm over your normal average on a given day.

Smiley faces.

Yup. Perhaps the simplest most useful measure of how you’re recovering is how you feel. Keep a notebook by your bedside. As soon as you wake, draw a ‘smiley face’ that best suits your current mood. If you consistently find yourself creating one’s and two’s (see above) it’s time to back off the workload and focus on the subject of our next article.

Next up: Enhanced recovery.

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2000px-supercompensation-svgPeople often get in stuck in the notion that the thought “the more work I do, the better I’ll get.” This, unfortunately, is not entirely true.

“The more work you can fully recover from, the better you become.” is far closer to the truth.

You see the real benefits of the work you do in the gym come from your body (and minds) ability to recover and adapt from to it.

In any sports training (or physical rehabilitation), the SAID principle asserts that the human body adapts specifically to imposed demands. In other words, given stressors (Lifting, WoDs) on the human system, whether biomechanical or neurological, there will be a Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands (SAID).

But for SAID to work correctly, you’ll need to manage your GAS or General Adaptation Syndrome. The concept of GAS was put forth by Hans Selye, back in the 1930s and has three distinct stages.

Stage 1: Alarm Reaction: The initial reaction to a stressor that causes an activation of protective processes. Resistance training creates stress such as increased amounts of force on bones, joints, muscles, connective tissues, and the nervous system.

Stage 2: Adaptation (aka Resistance Development Stage): With continued exposure to the same stress the body eventually increases its ability to respond to the demands placed on it. For us, adaptation is where the magic really happens. Given time and the right resources, the body increases its functional capacity to adapt to stressor via super compensation.

Stage 3: Exhaustion: If one is exposed to the same stress (or too much stress overall) for too long they will enter the Exhaustion Stage. At this point, the prolonged stress overwhelms the system. An extended stay in this state can cause one’s strength to stagnate or even decline. Additionally, it can cause a breakdown or injury. Overtraining would be an example of a situation where one has reached this point.

So the name of the game for us is to work back and forth between Stage 1 and Stage 2.
Introduce a stressor then recover and improve;
Introduce a stressor then recover and improve;
Introduce a stressor then recover and improve; ad infinitum…

And unless lives or big money is on the line, we should avoid Stage 3 whenever possible. Exhaustion only serves to slow progress and open us to the possibility of injury.

Next up: Recovery