You vs You


November 2013

$100 down, $15 a month: This is where my fitness journey began some five years ago. No, it wasn’t a CrossFit gym (I wish it had been), but it was a start.

I was 6’1″ and a 155-pound beanpole with next to no muscle mass. I was skinny, I had an extremely hard time putting on weight, I wasn’t strong, and for the first time in my 22 years of existence, I lacked confidence.

I remember walking into the gym and thinking “Damn … I’m never gonna look like that guy.” Or, “I’ll never be able to lift much.” Or, “I’ll never be able to do those things.”

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon his content, but somehow in the very beginning of my lifting days I found Greg Plitt (RIP).

See more info on Greg here > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Plitt

Greg was a former Special Forces guy turned fitness pro. He was awesome. Greg had a saying: “Check your pride before you enter the gym, it’s only you vs. you.”

In my early insecure days of fitness, I remember holding this saying close. It didn’t matter what the guy next to me was lifting. The latest Hollywood trend didn’t matter. All that mattered was if I was able to lift more than the previous week. To add the next few pounds or reps to my movements, to continue to build strength and mass little by little.

I still hold this close today. CrossFit is a beautiful tricky beast. We have movements we love and excel at, and then we have the ones we hate and we struggle with. Good — this will only make us better. In the moments of self doubt, when you look to your left and right and begin to compare yourself to the people next to you, remember that shit doesn’t matter.

The only thing that matters is that you are able to lift a little more, move a little faster, and a little better than you did the week before.

It’s just “you vs. you.”

– Coach Brandon

Developing a Winning Mindset


Defeated: That’s the way I felt on the drive down to Virginia from Michigan some two years ago. Sure, I was excited. A change of scenery, warmer weather, a new life … but, in reality, I was crushed mentally.

Throughout most of my life, confidence had never been much of an issue (which my closest friends can attest) but during that drive in Spring 2017, I was a wreck inside.

I constantly felt fear. I heard this voice in my head, as if on repeat. It would say:

“You can’t do this.”

“Don’t pick up the phone.”

“You moved where to do what?”

“That class sucked.”

“I hate teaching the clean.”

The voice would go on and on…

It wasn’t until about a year later, three text messages from a friend, and a small accumulation of wins over time that would completely change my mindset.

The change in my mind began by reading. Self helps, self confidence, sales books, items such as these that many of us have read. Through all my reading and practice there are two things that have stuck with me and fueled the desire to win in my head. One, is a short passage from a book and the other is a handful of text messages from a mentor.

The first, was from Mark Divines “The Way of the Seal”. This is a great read, and I highly suggest it to anyone. Even though Mark details a full schedule on how to approach life and control the thoughts in your mind, I only took one very small portion away from his writings. It’s something he describes as  positive self talk. No specific directions were given on what to say, he merely suggests to tell yourself you are capable of doing certain things (e.g., “you’re going to hit this lift”). This stuck with me.

The second item was a inspirational speech of sorts. It was written to me by a friend, a mentor…someone who’s had a significant impact on my life. As a leader and coach at Ashburn CrossFit, I’d love to say I walk through the door with blood bursting energy 24/7, but that would be a flat out lie. I’m human and I feel emotion just the same as all of my beloved members do. Anyway, about a year ago this member came to me and asked a simple question: “how’s life?”. At the time things weren’t great. Things were tough in multiple capacities. Thankfully, this man possesses the ability to read me like a book. He knew something was up and a few hours later after I returned home from the gym. When I looked at my phone there were three unread text messages from him.

The three text messages whether he intended it or not turned into my “daily inspirational speech”. This became my daily motivational reading. It’s this item more than any others that has transformed my mind into a winning attitude. Today, I’ve read these words close to four-hundred times (once each morning before I begin my day), and even as I write a small script of these words now, I still get chills.

“This is your test. Your test to show the world what type of a business man you are. This is business, real life. And right now you have people trying to take away your ability to eat. In this world, only the hungriest are the one’s who eat, only the hungriest are going to win. The question is Brandon…do you want to win?”

I added one sentence. It’s the last thing I read before I walk out the door and go about my day. It reads:

“I am going to win.”  

– Coach Brandon

 

Making Your Bed


Dear Mom,

You’ve done it! After 27 years, I’ve finally decided to make my bed at the start of each morning.

My whole life I’ve been in some rebellious state against my parents. You know…Because I know more than them…(yeah right, what a joke).

For the length of my entire childhood my Mother was on a mission to make sure all five (yes, I said five) of her children made their bed each morning. I often thought “oh good, something else I have to do for my Mother.”. But lo and behold, my mother was up to her jedi mind tricks again.

Anyone ever have this moment…”Damn my Mom was right.”. If you’re anything like me, this has happened a lot. In fact, I stopped keeping count when I was about twenty when I broke the quadruple digit barrier.

This simple task was about action. Taking action at the very beginning of each day so that I would in turn have a productive day. It took me a while to discover this and it was only after reading Admiral William H. McRaven’s “Make Your Bed” (here’s the link: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2017/08/23/readers-follow-admiral-mcravens-order-make-your- bed/590145001/​) that I connected these dots.

So to you Mom, it only took 27 years, but you can sleep sound knowing your lessons even to this day, even 500 miles away, even years later still have an impact on my life.

Team, the morning sets the tone for day. Make your bed. Until next time. Stay cool.

– Coach Brandon

Nutrition Confusion


 

 

I was talking with a few athletes at the gym recently about the nutrition challenge that just finished up a few weeks ago. We are starting to slide back into old habits. One of those old habits is sugar. But the best thing about this conversation was not the fact that we are all immersed in the same world with the same temptations and access to “easy foods”, finding camaraderie in “slipping”. Not at all! It was the fact that having been away from some of the worst nutritional offenders, like sugar, introducing it again has allowed us to make the connections about what happens to our bodies when we consume it! Light bulb moments! My favorite!

Feeding ourselves and fueling our bodies should be easy. It should not be stressful. Right? But nutrition has gotten very confusing. We have lots of avenues of input: your favorite Pinterest posters, bloggers, magazine articles, friends, grocery store aisles…….. The messages are often conflicting and overwhelming. And on top of it all, you might be responsible for shaping the eating habits of little ones! Talk about stressful!

There are several different schools of thought about nutrition, and lots of sets of rules you can follow. At the end of the day, if you were to make one change for yourself and your children, here is the one I would encourage: get added sugar and artificial sweeteners out of your diet. You’d be amazed at how often it’s added into our foods! Unless you get your food from the outside rim of the grocery store, there are scientists in white coats working day after day, to perfect chemical formulas that keep us coming back for their company’s products. Sugar is often titrated into the formula to light up our taste buds, and keep us returning for more.

Fat has been maligned for decades as a nutritional villain. But, new studies are showing that fat is not the culprit of our health woes we once thought it was. No, my friends, it’s sugar! Here’s an article giving you some information about what happens to our bodies when we consume sugar.

I’m not suggesting you go cold turkey. Great if you can, but small changes last the longest. Start with the obvious sources, and slowly take out a few more sneaky ones as time goes on. I love how she points out in the article that with kids, she allows them to make some choices on their own, that she’s not hardline about “absolutely no sugar”. Life happens, our diet should be something sustainable, and we should teach through example as well as trial and error. So make the best decision you can at each food choice, and don’t worry if you don’t pick the broccoli 100% of the time!   

If you’ve already kicked sugar to the curb, but have other questions, here’s a great interview with Stephanie Gaudreau of Stupid Easy Paleo, though I advise caution for sensitive ears as there is some questionable language. She has a lot of interesting things to say about her career path and how she views nutrition. My biggest take away is that nutrition is always something you are figuring out for you. That it’s individual to you. And that it will change over time as you change, as your needs change, and as your life changes.

If you have questions about nutrition and exercise and how the two work together, come in and see us at Ashburn CrossFit!

 

Kids Fitness


Kids’ Fitness:

Keeping our kids fit can be a struggle these days. There are long days sitting in school, homework at home, and time to relax in front of a screen. And it’s not as easy to send your kids out to play these days. We worry about their safety, our backyards might be smaller, or non existent. Schools get less and less recess time. But, more and more, we are learning that movement is integral to good brain development in children. Many of our kids these days are involved in organized sports, which is great! But for those who dislike sports, or who are not ready for the commitment of travel teams…….. what to do? CrossFit.

CrossFit for kids, especially young children, is not like CrossFit for adults. Children have different needs at different ages. One of the things that makes CF so fabulous for adults is that it is based on scaleable functional movements. Functional, meaning we can take it outside the gym, and it makes our lives easier. We use our bodies in the gym like we use them outside the gym! All of these basic movements are scaleable for kids too!

My young elementary classes center around games and animal movements, and the basic air squat. Kids get to be silly and practice building coordination and stamina as well as basic healthy movement patterns.

Middle schoolers can use light weights once basic functional movements are mastered. Their WODs begin to look a little bit more like the adult WODs, but we still include games and fun!

Teens classes are very similar to adult classes, but always keep the needs of teens in mind. Yes, we use weights, but carefully. Movement patterns are established first. Then weights can be added as long as the movement patterns are strong. If form begins to break down at all, we take the weight away. Most of the WODs include body weight movements, which can be mixed and matched to provide quite the workout! After all, CF is designed to improve your endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy! A lot of great stuff happened in a CrossFit gym!

What I love about CF for any age is the confidence that comes along with it! Every athlete, big or small, has moments when they think, “I never thought I could do that! Wow!” The teens are usually a little lower key about it though. 🙂

Take a look at these nine reasons that kids should do CrossFIt.

If you have any questions about kids and CrossFIt, or want your child to try a free class, email me.  amy@ashburncrossfit.com