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Motivation

26 May

This is a topic that is hit on time and time again. But today, my dear reader, I want to ask you about the different types of motivation or the ways in which coaches motivate. Really, I am asking: ‘Is it actually motivation?’

Do you want to know that your coach is in the best shape of their life via pics or do you prefer to hear how they are going with their training? Does a fitness meme motivate you, or do you prefer some great advice for how to avoid a buffet blow out?
At the moment I am noticing lots of different pics and such on social media that are supposed to motivate you: fit bodies with quotes written over them, coaches flexing biceps or baring their abs to show you that their way works the best. And well, I am not sure that any of them really work that much.

And that is what I want to ask you. What do you want to see from me motivation wise? Do you want me taking selfies in the box and posting them up to show you how I look? Do you want the PRs that I hit to be posted on social media? Because while a new PR of my own motivates me a bit, what REALLY motivates me is seeing PRs that you, my trainees hit.

I know each and every one of you has a life outside the gym, so when I see a new squat PR, a longer string of double-unders or that elusive first pull-up on the PR board, it motivates me no end. For you to go to work every day, tend to family responsibilities and still have enough energy in reserve to do new and amazing things inspires the crap out of me.

I draw my inspiration and motivation from those around me. Yes, I am quite inspired by the efforts of the athletes who have been competing at the regionals, but they are pros, they are sponsored and they can train without distraction. You, my fellow CrossFitters of the 99%, are where the true motivation comes from. You compete with you and you alone, you no longer use the scales or mirror to validate yourself and you have this amazing ability to turn up and put in when it is needed each day that the workout is on.

So hang on … I asked you a question didn’t I? Stuff it! I can answer it myself. I won’t be putting up pics of my abs or biceps – it just isn’t me. I will pop up a pic or two here and there of my PRs. Someone recently told me not to shy away from them, let the world know your successes. And hopefully when you see me struggle and then eventually hit that ever-elusive goal you know I have been after, it will prompt you to keep going and do the same!

About the Author
Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Having lost over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, 2012 Winners of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. The only private training studio in Armidale and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. He is also an avid if not tragic St George Illawarra Dragons fan.

Five truths about CrossFit they probably haven’t told you.

14 May

Five truths about CrossFit they probably haven’t told you

It seems not a day goes by that I don’t read something about what it is we do at CrossFit: that it is some sort of cult or that we are a chiropractor’s best source of business. I usually find these write-ups very amusing. Generally, someone who has never actually set foot in a CrossFit facility writes them, but they are written with all the authority of a seasoned veteran. I guess I have an advantage in that we are the only box in our town so when someone from Armidale comments about CrossFit in any way shape or form I know if they have been in to experience it OR if they are speaking completely out of school. So, here are five things that the people talking about CrossFit may not have told you:

1. We really do give a shit about technique. That’s right: we actually want you to learn how to pick something up without getting hurt. You see it does not bode well for us to have someone come for one or two sessions and then get injured and never get near their goals. A lot of CrossFit movements may look unusual, but they require an amazing amount of body awareness and control to complete. To be successful with both the clean and jerk and the snatch you first have to be proficient in the technique.

2. Most CrossFitters are everyday people. That’s right: accountants, brickies, carpenters, teachers, students, mums, dads, grandparents… We aren’t all gifted athletes who look as though we were chiselled from granite. We are regular everyday people with jobs, responsibilities, hobbies and social engagements. It just so happens that we also like to work out together and with a reasonable amount of intensity. And with that comes an amazing sense of community, so maybe it is a little cult-like because I have never come across a more supportive group of people than the members of our box. They look out for each other, they work out together, they socialise. If that is a cult, then I never want to leave it.

3. We can be a chiropractor’s best source of business. YES, I said we can! You see, when someone starts here I refer them to a chiropractor and physiotherapist to see if they have anything specific wrong that may have been missed for years. And then, once they become an avid CrossFitter they will find that they will seek treatment for any niggles that they have. My anecdotal experiences from working in a commercial gym were that attendees seldom actually sought treatment: they usually used the injury or condition as a “reason” to hold off on exercise for a while. CrossFitters get a mindset that they want to improve, hence seeking treatment and getting over anything that is wrong with them.

4. CrossFit is varied, NOT random. If you are attending a gym or any other place and they say they will throw together a CrossFit workout for you or they are making it up as they write it on the whiteboard then the coach, trainer or your friend has no concept of what CrossFit is about. Yes, it is about preparing for the unknown and unknowable, but that does not mean that it is a bunch of random movements thrown together to form a semblance of a workout. Your box should have progressive programing that is varied enough to continue to elicit a response regardless of your training level. If you look closely at our program you will see an underlying strength program and progressions right through all of our met cons and any supplementary work we do.

5. You don’t have to be fit to start. We have everything from 16-year-old athletes to 65-year-old grandparents in our sessions. AND they do the sessions side by side. I can tailor a workout to suit anyone, but that isn’t to say it is for everyone. You simply might not enjoy it – hence it isn’t for you. By being able to adjust weights, reps and even exercises within a workout you can start out at whatever fitness level you are currently at. I am not going to make you lift more than you ever have before and I am not going to make you keep going when you cannot. You will decide when you need to pause and you will give me that filthy look that lets me know I need to leave you to your devices. But if you come and talk to anyone in our sessions you will find that 95% of them were nowhere near fit when they started out.

So, there are five things that you may not have known about CrossFit. You can argue with them and call them out as lies, but really, I don’t care.

The above five things have been my personal experiences since becoming a CrossFit addict a few years back. I have lived them. I eat, breath, sleep and live CrossFit everyday.

So the next time someone says anything about CrossFit, just ask them or yourself one question:

If they are so vocal and so outspoken about this style of training, why?

Why go to the effort of running something down on the Internet, to a friend, colleague, or family member? For if CrossFit wasn’t affecting them or they weren’t thinking about it, then they wouldn’t even mention it would they?
About the Author
Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Since losing over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, 2012 Winners of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. It is the only private training studio in Armidale and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. Jim is also an avid, if not tragic, St George Illawarra Dragons fan.

Be a new you in 12 weeks!

22 April

Be a new you in 12 weeks!
So you have decided the time is right…

• You are going to get fit and healthy.
• Have the body of your dreams.
• Live like you have always dreamt you would.
• And you are going to do it all in the next 6, 12, 13 weeks?

Now, time for a reality check. It took you how many years to get to where you are today? And you are expecting to right all those years of wrongs in the next two or three months?

It took me around 10 years to figure most of it out. No, I still don’t know it all, but I am learning more every day. I have completed more challenges over the years than I care to remember. I have even won one and was featured in the Australian Ironman magazine. But the true change occurred and I found the new me when I transitioned my thoughts and goals from ones based on aesthetics to goals based on performance.

I used to look in the mirror and then work out what I wanted to change and then write my program based on what muscles weren’t up to scratch. Looking in the mirror time and time again made me view myself in a rather dim light: I was always picking up imperfections. But when it all boiled down to it, I would look better each time, but I would not necessarily be performing better…

I would be eating too much sugar; I would be looking for ways to cut the last bit of fat – not the healthiest of options. And, on top of that, I was never happy.

I no longer work in competition blocks. I work in years, then back to quarters and then to months. What do I want to achieve by month’s end? How heavy will my deadlift be by the end of the first quarter? How much better will I be in a year than I am today?

And that is where the paradigm shift occurred. I started competing with me. You see, the biggest flaw in every challenge out there is that others are judging you on your appearance relative to someone else or some unobtainable ideal.

This, my dear readers is not at all healthy from a mental health viewpoint. When we constantly compare ourselves to others in appearance we are always looking over our shoulder at what others are doing when realistically, all that matters is that you are better than you were yesterday.

 

About the Author
Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Having lost over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, 2012 Winners of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, and the only private training studio in Armidale and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. He is also an avid (if not tragic) St George Illawarra Dragons fan.

Perfection and Perception

29 January

absWomen are barraged with what they should look like by the media. It is also the case that on the other side of the coin us men get belted with perfectionism via other peoples values. I am not trying to win points for either side here, merely drawing your attention to the fact that our health is suffering as a whole from ridiculous stereotypes of what we should and should not be.

While women are made to feel, quite ridiculously, inadequate by some magazines and television programs, men are now not off the radar. You only have to look at headlines for popular magazines. “Who is your girl’s back-up plan?” “Five Pounds Of Muscle in A Month – Pack on lean mass fast with these eight essential bulking strategies “ These are just two headlines from popular men’s “fitness” mags.
The first is reeling us in as it is insinuating that your partner has someone “in case” things go south. I’m sorry trying to point out that someone is inadequate is not the best way to get them to exercise and be healthy. It is creating anxiety in the readers mind. It even suggests that married women are more likely to have a backup plan. I’m sorry this is crap. If you are married and your wife has a backup plan then the two of you have deeper issues than you getting fit. It is just a rubbish anxiety ridden article to get you feeling guilty and then maybe you will want to do what the second headline says.

Alright 5 pounds in a month. Or 2.28kgs in metric. Now I want to ask you one simple little question. Why do you want to add that sort of mass to your frame? I am now constantly hearing from younger males, “I want to be bigger!” Again I ask WHY??? If you cannot answer me with a well thought out and reasoned answer, then I will suggest to you that wanting to get bigger is someone else’s value being placed on you. Needing to bulk up to fight in a heavier category, lift in a weightlifting comp in a heavier category and lift more, compete in a heavier category in bodybuilding are all reasons for getting bigger. Anything else is bullshit. Look I get it as much as anyone that lean mass gives you a faster metabolism and that you are then healthier. But more isn’t always better. Can you afford to buy more food, fruit and vegetables, meat, supplements? Yes extra muscle mass is expensive, to grow it and then to maintain it.

We are now bombarded with images of ripped 6 packs and broad shoulders telling us this is the ideal male, and so we men are now slavishly following what we are being fed by magazines and television that is the image of the perfect male. “If I was a bit bigger I’d be happy, if I had the 6 pack I’d be happier”. The thing is if you are going out, and drinking or eating all the wrong foods, then you are telling me with your actions that the ideal physique you claim to want, is someone else’s value being pressed onto you. To grow, you must be disciplined, you don’t walk past a set of dumbbells and “presto!” you are the non-green version of the Incredible Hulk. And you especially have to be disciplined with your nutrition.

The main thing I am getting at here is do not let anyone else dictate your fitness and health goals, men and women alike, comments from friends saying things like “you look great you don’t need to go the gym anymore” tell me more about them than they do about you. The biggest point is that they have a belief that you are going to the gym to look a certain way, that is utter bullshit, if you are going to the gym for looks you are not doing it for the right reasons. You are doing it to appease someone else.

Focus on your health and wellbeing and you will find that motivation is better. You will also find that by focusing on the process, you will start to look a whole lot better in the mirror. You will be more accepting of who you are and as time goes by you will become a leaner, stronger, fitter version of yourself. And you know what? It isn’t perfect, nor will it ever be. The only men that can look like a Brad Pitt or a Ryan Reynolds is Brad Pitt or Ryan Reynolds. Your genetics are different to theirs. But that is life, there never is a perfect, but if you perceive and view yourself through a kinder light, and see that you look like the best version of yourself, you will find that you will hit all your goals and more.

What is CrossFit??

31 January

It seems that everyone has their 2 bobs worth when it comes to a certain training style. So yes I amCF family going to give you my 2 bobs worth on MY favourite training style. Now just because it is my favourite, does not make it right, nor does it make it wrong. And to me it does not mean it is for everyone.

I have tried a few different training styles over the last 10 years and this is the one that I fell in love with. So what is it for me that I love?

Intensity, variation, general fitness, not focusing on aesthetics are all reasons that I love CrossFit. But above all for me is community. It is belonging to something that is bigger than just myself, just a training style, just another fitness kick. Together we share a common bond as CrossFitters. We work together to reach our own goals.

I have been to, I don’t know how many, fitness classes over the years. And yes there is a little socialising before and maybe after class, but overall it is go, get in a workout that you may or may not push yourself in and go home. I’ve done bodybuilding style workouts, but I am more of a team sports sort of person than an individual athlete and so got bored or lonely pretty quick. I have never seen anything quite like the camaraderie of a CrossFit class anywhere else in the fitness world that I have been exposed to.

Never have I seen such enthusiasm for trying to help someone finish a workout than in a CrossFit WOD. Once someone is recovered it is not uncommon for them to go back and help their fellow athletes out by encouraging them to the end. And trust me, sometimes you need it.

Just about everyone that I have met that does CrossFit does it to get fitter and to try and be the best they can be physically. But there are people with weight loss goals, strength gain goals, skill acquisition goals, and everything in between. But when they work out, they work out as a team. They pick their team mates up off the floor when they need it and they help to get them home.

Now I know plenty of people around the world do CrossFit style workouts in globo gyms, their garage, back yard or park on their own. But that to me is all they are doing, working out in a particular style. They are not living the CrossFit lifestyle, they aren’t getting the most out of their workouts, they aren’t sharing in this amazing community that has developed through CrossFit affiliates around the world. My fellow CrossFitters here at CFA are my family, they are the number one reason I keep doing it and will continue to improve it everyday so that they may get the best out of themselves.

I Have To Get Fit First????

20 September

I have now heard this opening line so many times, but I am wondering what it really means.

After all do you change the oil in your car before you get it serviced? Do you clean your house before a house cleaner comes? Ever mowed the lawn before the lawn mower comes around? Not really thought to weed the garden before the gardener comes?

So why is it that when it comes to getting fit we hear time and again, “I have to get fit before I do your class/PT session/bootcamp/CrossFit class/go to the gym!”?

I always thought that going any program that is about physical fitness is about getting yourself fitter. Most people that go to a gym or exercise class are average people, not elite athletes; they just want to be fit and healthy.

Now you might undertake a class or a session and feel the next day like you have been run over by a truck. Believe it or not this is not really a bad thing. This is your body responding to a different stimulus. You have made it do something it has never done before and so it’s response is to adapt to that new stimulus. The soreness that comes about is referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. When you workout you do microscopic damage to your muscles, you then need to repair that damage, and that is where the soreness comes from. It is just a simple case of your body repairing itself.

You might think that you then have to go back to doing what you were before, as that was not hurting, but if that was lying on the lounge then of course it did not hurt. Now if that was another exercise program that was no longer causing a little discomfort the next day then what has happened is that your body has adapted to what you are doing to it and it no longer has a need to change. Hence where you are is where you will stay. You will not get fitter, you will not lose more weight, you will look the same and you will feel the same. If nothing changes, well, nothing changes.

The biggest part of this is that you have changed exercise programs and that the stimulus is completely different to anything you have ever done before, hence the really intense pain the next day, or 2 days later. It is the same reason that when people finally start digging their vegie garden again in spring they end up hardly able to move for the next 2 or 3 days, they just aren’t used to it. That is why people that dig fence lines for a living are not in constant pain, they are used to what they are exposing their body to. Working out is no different to this.

I have spoken to a lot of people after CrossFit WOD and even seasoned veterans get sore, it is all part of the adaptation to your new body. As I type this my abs are so sore, and the thing is I have not targeted them this week, it is just all the work they have been doing.

So please, when you wake up sore and think “What on earth have they done to me?” don’t think you will go back and do something gentler and that will get you ready for harder work. Just keep going with the hard stuff. It is where the results are and where the most satisfaction comes from.

Who Are You Working Out For?

19 September

I am asking you this because there may be a time when it is a spouse or family member that you think you are working out for. You know, you want to look your best for them, or you want to be around to enjoy your time with your kids. Well that will get you into the box and give you that extrinsic motivation you may need.

But once that clock starts and the lactic acid is building up and your lungs feel like they are about to burst you really have to be doing it for you. At that point you have to know that you are doing this so that you are getting better in yourself. The only person you ever have to beat in a workout is the person you were yesterday. We don’t pay too much heed to who comes first in the WOD, we are usually cheering on the person finishing last the loudest. If you completed more reps in Cindy than you did last time or shaved 15 seconds off Karen, than that is what we want to see here. And that keeps the focus on you.

You really have to find your intrinsic motivation to stick with what you are doing. For me CrossFit is the way I love to work out. It challenges me in ways I have never been before but most of all it lets me know who I am at any given point in a workout. When I find that weak point I go ahead and I work it until it is no longer a weak point. Most of our CrossFitters would know that I could not jump rope at all well 6 weeks ago, I am now in the process of linking double unders together, I’m at 3 now!, and that is a start. But a week ago I could not really do one. That is a 200% increase in a week!

Now my challenge to you is to apply this to yourself. At your next WOD forget everything else except YOU. Go after that time, the reps or the weight that will make you even just the tiniest bit better than yesterday, while it might only be a 1kg increase on a snatch, it is an advancement and should be celebrated. YOU outdid YOU.

And when it all comes down to that last rep or second, that is all that really matters.