RWS CrossFit

1133 N Fountain Way
Anaheim, CA 92806, USA
714-414-0594
info@rwscrossfit.com

Squats and presses – why you’ve been doing it all wrong

I still can’t believe how few CrossFit gyms are doing this.

It’s kind of appalling.

I’m referring to one of the main variables involved in any strength-training prescription.

First you have sets, reps, and load.
These are the things that get all the love –
the variables that determine how much total work you’re doing.

But nobody (well, outside of OPEX gyms it seems) thinks of…
TEMPO.

It’s so fucking basic it makes me want to shake people by the shoulders.

Why, oh why, do you NOT think to control how each rep is executed?

(I’m also speaking to my younger self – before about two years ago,
I had only a feeling this was important but it didn’t occur to me as to how.)

But this is 2016, people.
That margin for error we used to have, in terms of programming?
It’s gone now.

You need to dial in HOW they do things if you expect them to get the
best possible results.

I will make a few points toward this.

  1. Accuracy:
    This is one of the ten general skills of fitness.
    I consider it akin to “consistency” in terms of movement,
    and helps ensure that progress is built on a solid foundation.
    Every single rep executed exactly the same develops a high degree of mastery.
    This means breathing, bracing, movement speed, all that jazz.
    Plus once you’ve established control at a slow tempo,
    it’s EASY to speed it up – the tension stays the same,
    but the effect of the stretch-shortening cycle (if present) is amplified.
  2. Strength through the entire range of motion:
    Each movement has its own resistance curve, so to speak.
    Take the squat, for instance: You’re generally going to be
    strongest at the top, where you have the most mechanical advantage;
    you’ll be weakest either just above the bottom or about halfway up,
    since that’s where you’ll be at the greatest mechanical disadvantage.
    Going slow on the way down ensures that you’ve developed control
    through the hardest parts of the movement –
    this means better muscle activation and core stability.
    If you just squat “however,” you’ll bounce the shit out of the bottom
    to “cheat” your way through the hard part.
    Which leads me to…
  3. Structural integrity:
    Once you start bouncing the end ranges of the movement,
    rather than use a controlled stretch-shortening cycle,
    you’re relying on the elasticity of your connective tissues
    instead of the actual strength of your muscles.
    When you’re young and you heal quickly, and your tissues’
    collagen content hasn’t completely gone down the shitter,
    you might be able to get away with this.
    But when you’re 50 and things don’t “bounce back” the way they used to,
    how do you s’pose your knees will feel from all that cumulative microtrauma?
    If you guessed “not that great,” pat yourself on the back.
    Not only that, you’re getting more strength stimulus from less weight –
    this means happier joints.
    On that note…
  4. Increased training effect:
    This comes from being acclimated to increased time under tension.
    I discovered this once I started doing all my squats with a 30X1 tempo –
    three-second controlled negative, no pause, stand up as fast as possible,
    exactly one breath at the top before initiating the next rep.
    With sets of 10, you’re forced to figure out how to breathe while moving under load.
    Also with strict press at a 21X1 tempo – controlling the negative at a steady cadence,
    with one-breath pauses at the top & bottom – for high-rep sets dramatically
    improved the fatigue resistance of my shoulders and arms (a big weakness of mine,
    especially since my wingspan is 5 inches taller than my height).
    You think those things might be useful in Fran?
    That’s how my mediocre-athlete-ass broke three minutes, after seven friggin’ years.
    So in a word, doing all strength work with a controlled negative –
    maybe not SUPER-slow like a bodybuilder, but slower than you’d normally go –
    and a fast concentric, helps you build strength in a way that has TREMENDOUS
    carry-over to other activities (like CrossFit WOD’s).
    Not only are you building maximal strength through the movement’s entire ROM
    and at increased time under tension…which means more muscle mass…
    But at higher reps you’re developing positional strength endurance,
    under fatigue, in a controlled setting, WITHOUT the pressure of “3-2-1 GO!!” and a racing clock.

It’s a one-way street – the benefits of training with slower negatives improve your ability
to lift quickly (by virtue of positional stability at each point in the movement
improving your ability to generate maximal tension),
but if you never slow down the negative you have NO control over it when you’re forced to.

Am I saying that you should implement slow negatives in WOD’s?
I suppose you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it for “Nancy” or anything.
Although I have used it for assistance-work-type WOD’s with good success.
But no, this is primarily for skill-based strength development work.

And if you’re an Olympic weightlifter where that “bounce” out of the bottom of the squat
is a necessary part of the lift to perfect, you do need to practice that.
But I would submit that at least during a “hypertrophy” block of training
(assuming you’re following a periodized weightlifting program),
your squatting and pressing movements should include slower negatives.

Anyway. That’s the end of my rant.
Go try squatting with a controlled three-second negative with just 75% of your max.
If you’re not used to it, it will absolutely humble you.

In the past, I’ve gone on record saying that you NEED heavy strength work to be a successful CrossFitter.

I still do think that.

But I’ve come to understand that there’s more nuance to it than just “lift heavy thing get strong oogabooga.”

When you look at the musculoskeletal implications of workouts, there are three main types:

  1. Heavy workouts – emphasis on work over 80% 1RM – low rep (<20 total)
  2. Light workouts – emphasis on work under 50% 1RM – high rep (>50 total)
  3. Medium workouts – emphasis on work at 50-75% 1RM – moderate rep (20-50 total)

If you really want to, you can smash all three types of workout into a single training session…
but I wouldn’t recommend it, at least not at high dosage for all three. You’d be pretty wrecked.

Here’s what each workout type does.
[Note: I’m assuming you’re focusing on one of the three – not like “okay I did one rep at 90%,
then five at 75%, and ten at 50%! I did a super awesome workout!”
No you didn’t. You did three mini-workouts and didn’t really achieve anything.]

Heavy workouts:

  • example: 5 sets of 2-4 reps, all >80%
  • high tension on muscle attachments, tendons, fascial tissue
  • high CNS activation – facilitates neurological improvements in strength
  • main damage: connective tissue
  • frequency: once every 72+ hours if multiple reps >90% 1RM
  • strength training effect: high
  • endurance training effect: low
  • hypertrophic response: myofibrillar (muscle strength; “dense”)

Light workouts:

  • example: 75 reps for time, using 30% 1RM
  • high repetition – helps to thicken tendons & connective tissue
  • main damage: metabolic (decreased blood pH, accumulated waste products)
  • causes inflammatory response – breaks up scar tissue, promotes healing
  • frequency: up to every day if volume and work density are low enough
  • strength training effect: low
  • endurance training effect: high
  • hypertrophic response: sarcoplasmic (muscle endurance; pure “size”)

Medium workouts:

  • example: 4 sets of 8-12 reps, all >60% 1RM
  • moderate repetition – highest volume
  • main damage: muscle fibers through repeated eccentric loading
  • frequency: every 48-96 hours, depending on volume
  • strength training effect: moderate
  • endurance training effect: moderate
  • hypertrophic response: both sarcoplasmic and hypertrophic

So how do we put all this together?

I will borrow from the late great Bill Starr and propose an adaptation of his “heavy-light-medium” model.
We need each type of workout for different reasons, and putting them in the correct order
will maximize the gains we can achieve.

We need the heavy workouts for max strength.
Light workouts help the connective tissues regenerate after being beaten to hell.
The medium workouts build the most total muscle, and prep the nervous system
for the loading of the heavy workouts.
We want more muscle, since a bigger muscle has more strength potential.

For example, using the squat…

  • Monday: Build to 3RM, 5 sets >80% 1RM; max unbroken reps @ 80% 1RM
  • Tuesday: 5 rounds – 10 front squat (40% 1RM), 10 C2B pull-ups
  • Wednesday: Snatch – build to heavy double; “Amanda” (9-7-5: muscle-ups, SN 135#)
  • Thursday: active recovery – rowing, wall-ball practice at easy pace
  • Friday: Build to 10RM, 3 sets >60% 1RM; max unbroken reps @ 60% 1RM
  • Saturday: Clean & jerk – build to max 3-position; “Helen” (3 rounds: 400m run, 21 KBS 53#, 12 pull-ups)
  • Sunday: active recovery

Here we have Monday as the “heavy” day,
Tuesday is a very light day followed by another “light” day on Wednesday,
Friday is our “medium” day, and Saturday is a light-medium day.

This is obviously omitting any heavy upper-body work,
which could also follow a heavy-light-medium pattern offset to complement the squat.

Anyway, to answer the question posed by the title of this article:
Can you, in fact, get stronger with light met-cons?

No. Not by themselves, anyway.
You need them to HELP you stay healthy and in-shape as you get stronger.

I’ll describe a situation I’ve been in a few times, that maybe you can relate to.

Imagine: You’ve been invited to a party, gala event, or other non-barbecue social function…
and regular (read: non-lifter) folks comprise the majority of attendees.

Two thoughts go through your mind:
1. There won’t be nearly enough meat there.
2. Etiquette dictates that I bring something to contribute,
lest I devour all the meat like a rampaging locust swarm.

We can address both of those problems with one easy recipe.

Prep time: AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FO DAT
Cook time: 20-30 min

INGREDIENTS:

  • Pulled-pork-in-a-can (thanks, Costco!) – 3 pounds
    -or- …y’know, actual pulled pork (slow-cooked pork shoulder)
  • Dry rub seasoning of choice – enough to coat the pork
  • Mini sweet peppers – 4 pounds
  • Guacamole – 2 pounds

Dump cans-o’-pork into a large skillet coated with bacon grease (or butter).
Coat the pork with dry rub and stir-fry until crispy.
While the pork is cooking, rinse the sweet peppers and cut the tops off.
Pull the seeds out.

There are three ways to present this:

  1. When the pork is done, stuff the peppers with it.
    Arrange them all on a platter. Add a tablespoon of guac to each just before serving.
    This would be necessary for cocktail hors d’ouevres.
  2. Leave all three entities separate in their own bowls.
    Let each person self-serve and eat as they see fit.This is my preference, since I’m lazy and hate bothering with food presentation,
    and also because there’s less opportunity for things to get fucked up.
    This would be ideal for buffet-style.
  3. Stuff the peppers, but leave the guac separate for people to self-serve.
    I…don’t know why you’d want to do this.

Another option could be to have barbecue sauce as a side condiment.
Any kind will do, but I’d recommend a sweet mustard-based Carolina-style sauce.
Put that on the pork before the guac, or perhaps cook the pork with it if you like.

Anyway! You end up with a simple, delicious appetizer that can double as a meal in a pinch.
Because who doesn’t like sweet peppers, guac, and pulled pork, right?

What I’m about to detail pulls double duty as both a great steak marinade
AND as the most amazing salad dressing I’ve ever consumed.

I like to use it for both at once. You don’t have to.
But you should.

INGREDIENTS – MEAT MARINADE:

  • 1/2 bottle of red wine
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard (“pardon me sir, but do you have any Grey Poupon?”)
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp rosemary (fresh or dried is fine)
  • 1 tsp black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)

Combine all those in a bowl, then dump into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag along with your steaks.

Marinate for 30-60 minutes.

Pan-fry your steaks with the extra marinade.
When the steaks are done (blood starts seeping through the surface after flipped),
continue cooking down the marinade until you get a viscous reduction.
You should have about 1/2 cup or so when it’s done cooking down.
Be sure to caramelize some of the marinade on the steaks – trust me.

INGREDIENTS – SALAD DRESSING (additional):

  • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

Combine those in a bowl, then add your reduction from the steak pan and stir.
Chill in the freezer for a few minutes, then stir and toss in the salad.

NOTES:

  • All quantities are approximate – I just eyeball stuff.
  • For salad dressing only, do every step that doesn’t involve meat.
    It tastes better with a little beef fat cooked into it though.
  • If you grill your steaks, use a sauce pan to reduce the marinade.
    Again, it won’t be QUITE as mind-blowingly amazing, but still good.
  • Be advised, the marinade will die the steaks a purplish color.
    This makes it a little tricky to gauge when they’re ready to flip.
    Luckily, you’ll have a big margin for error – if you end up flipping them
    back and forth a few times until you see that blood start to seep through
    (indicating you’re right at medium-rare), they’ll be fine.
  • You can probably use this as a chicken marinade as well, but…
    why would you want to NOT eat steak?

If you had to describe these to a foodie, you could call them a
“red wine/Dijon marinade” and “red wine vinaigrette.”

I just call it RDS – Ridiculously Delicious Sauce.

Enjoy. I sure do.

It’s Open season again…

So let me get something straight.

If you can do the following list of movements,
you should sign up for the Open:

  • overhead squat 65#/45#
  • unassisted pull-up (kipping)
  • barbell thruster 65#/45#
  • power clean 115#/75#

Those are the entry requirements for the “Scaled” division,
based on last year’s workouts at that level.
Any well-rounded CrossFitter past the novice stage can do all of those.
For Rx’d division, the list is a bit tougher (and kipping is allowed):

  • muscle-up
  • chest-to-bar pull-up
  • barbell thruster 95#/65#
  • power clean 185#/115#
  • overhead squat 120#/85#
  • double under
  • squat clean & jerk 165#/110#
  • snatch 115#/75#
  • handstand push-up
  • box jump 24”/20”
  • toes to bar

This is based on previous years’ Open WOD’s.

If some of those are out of reach it’s okay –
that’s why the Scaled division exists.

So now that we have that out of the way…

Reasons why someone would be reluctant to jump in:

1- Can’t do one or more of the movements on the “Scaled” list

(The pull-up is probably the most common limiter.)
I would still suggest doing the Open and plowing through what you can.

It will show you what you’re good at – and not so good at –
compared to your peers worldwide.
And chances are it will light a fire under you to fix your weaknesses.

2- You aren’t a competitive person

Yeah…I used to think I wasn’t competitive either.
Turns out I’m HIGHLY competitive…just cool-headed about it.
You might learn something similar about yourself.

And regardless of any competitive aspect, the Open is still a
valuable assessment tool to evaluate your progress.

 

3- You’re afraid of embarrassing yourself with low scores

Sack up.
Do your best and you have everything to be proud of.

There’s no better feeling after a workout than looking back
and knowing you gave it everything you had.

While high scores earn you props,
low scores do not merit disrespect from anyone.
All we care is that you tried.
Besides, you can’t win if you don’t play.

4- You can’t do any of the movements for the scaled workouts

This concern is actually legit.
At least get the basics down before throwing your hat in the ring.

 

Look, the Open is not like a regular competition.
If you can’t string together chest-to-bars,
squat snatch 150/100+, or run a mile under 8 minutes,
I’m not going to advise you to enter a normal comp.

But this is different – this caters specifically to
beginners AND elite exercisers, on a large enough scale
for anyone to figure out their peer group
and strive to beat them wherever they can.

I’m doing the Open.

Who’s with me?

Why should you track workouts?

…Wait, you aren’t already tracking your workouts?

Okay. Deep breath.

1. The best way to get results is with a structured training program.

This differs from aimless “exercise” by doing
everything with a purpose, towards a set goal.
A coherent training program builds on itself over time to achieve that.

If you don’t know what you’ve been doing,
you have no idea how to continue the program
and thus won’t get to your goals.

2. We can prove whether or not we’re making progress
by documenting what we put in and what we get out.

If any issues come up, we can then diagnose
and effectively troubleshoot them.

3. Seeing your progress over time is a great way to
stay motivated when things get shitty.

If you take this stuff seriously, eventually
it won’t all be sunshine and kittens.
When that happens you need something to keep you going.

 

Things to write in your training log:

  • food, at least until you’re dialed in
  • benchmark times (and loads where applicable)
  • lifts – sets, reps, tempo, and rest times
  • technique points to remember
  • how things are feeling
    (heavy/light, efficient/sloppy, fatigued/rested, injured/healthy)

 

Personally, I use a Word document that is 263 pages long as of 1/28/16.
(Thanks to the magic of Ctrl+F, I can flip through to
compare lifts and workouts instantaneously.)

It dates back 6 years.
I started logging PR’s after about three months of CrossFit
– which was three months too late – , and
I didn’t thoroughly document my training until 18 months in.

That was a HUGE mistake.
Learn from it.

Moral of the story:
Log everything.
You never know when that information will be useful.

[Note: Kristen won the Fall Shred competition by
consistently being more dedicated than anyone else,
and subsequently made faster progress
than any other RWS athlete in years.
Example: when she started out her deadlift was 35#;
she hit 145# for a perfect set of 5 just six weeks later.]

Background:

Growing up, I was a multi-sport athlete (field hockey, track, and softball)
and trained dancer in a variety of techniques.
In my adult life, not too much specific training apart from
running a few miles a day on a treadmill.

 

What changed the most:

I learned how to eat better and more efficiently to consume
the nutrition my body needed to withstand the rigorous workouts.

First and foremost, my eating habits.

Correctly calculating and tracking my macros was a little tedious at first.
I ended up creating a spreadsheet for myself with a list of typical
foods I ate on a daily and/or weekly basis as a quick reference guide
so I wasn’t constantly forgetting to read the nutrition label.
I made entering my food into my spreadsheet a part of my eating routine,
entering in the macros either before I ate or immediately after.
That way I didn’t lose track or forget.
I took my spreadsheet with me at all times if I knew I would be having
a meal away from home so I knew exactly how much I had left for the day.

Weighing my food was extremely beneficial.
Not just for easily calculating macros, but also
training my brain/eye to see what 4oz of food actually looks like.
Hitting my protein was never an issue since I’m such a fan of
chicken, Greek yogurt, and protein powder.
The carbs, not terrible considering the number I had to hit was pretty reasonable.
But the fat, on the other hand, proved to be a bit challenging.
I ate more peanut butter in those 6 weeks than I think I have my whole life.
Good thing I’m partial to Jiffy.
Overall, I just learned how to eat better and more efficiently to consume
the proper nutrition my body needed to withstand the rigorous workouts.

Secondly – I had to change my perception of lifting heavy things.
Prior to joining the Shred and RWS,
I’d never lifted anything heavier than a 10lb dumbbell.
(slightly embarrassed to admit this now considering the progress I’ve made.)
I never went into the “weight area” in my gym
because everything looked so intimidating.
I convinced myself I couldn’t lift any of those things,
and if I tried I wouldn’t be doing so correctly
so I dubbed the “weight area” scary and that was that.
I had to come into the Shred with a a fresh perspective
and change my thinking toward heavy things,
since I had made up my mind and really
wanted to learn something I had been afraid of doing for so long.

Results:

I am conquering my fear more each day and can feel myself
become a little less apprehensive when it comes to
trying a new workout or increasing my weight.
I was able to successfully lose 3.5 inches
(2 from the waist, 1.5 from the hips) as well as 3lbs,
and improved my fitness baseline by 33%.
If those aren’t accomplishments to be proud of, I don’t know what are.
When the pre-Shred baseline workout took me over 25 minutes to complete,
I immediately wanted to run for the hills.
I remember thinking “what the heck did I get myself into…?”
But the competitive athlete side of my brain took over and I became
determined to improve on everything, even if it was just in small successes.
I am conquering my fear more each day and can feel myself
become a little less apprehensive when it comes to
trying a new workout or increasing my weight.

Things learned:

If you really want to make a change,
“I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy” simply doesn’t work.

Aside from everything else I’ve mentioned, I learned
the importance of meal prep and workout scheduling. 
If you really want to make a change,
“I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy” simply doesn’t work.
I put 5 days’ worth of lunches together and threw them all into
separate tupperwares for the grab-and-go convenience.
I knew I had to get to workouts during the week and
if I couldn’t make it to my usual time, I’d figure out
which other time worked best for my schedule.
There really are no excuses, and I humbly admit that
since I used to come up with every excuse in the book.

Also – you can get your burger lettuce-wrapped pretty much anywhere.
You just have to ask. No more need for excessive burger buns!

Advice for new people:

If I can do it, you can do it.
Go in with an open mind, follow the directions, and ask questions.
If I can do it, you can do it.
I had no preconceived notions as to what was going to happen
during this challenge and since I got it into my head I wanted to win,
I had no other choice than to follow the program and not deviate.
The coach doesn’t create unrealistic guidelines.
They are there because he knows by following along,
listening to your body, and doing things correctly,
you will get results.
I really am the perfect example of it.
I’d never taken fish oil in my life.
Points for fish oil?
I got fish oil.
Multi-vitamins used to make me sick.
Points for multi-vitamins?
Get multi-vitamin, adjust serving accordingly by
breaking it in half and taking in 2 doses.
I hit my macros, weighed and prepped my food,
and went to the workouts as often as possible.
If I didn’t understand, I asked questions.
I wanted to understand the changes my body
was going through and why we had to do certain things.
You can’t completely devote yourself to a challenge,
or anything new for that matter, without wanting to fully understand it.
If you don’t, you’re just going through the motions
and that’s not how you get the results you want.

How this was important:

There’s no better feeling of accomplishment than
hitting and exceeding goals you set for yourself.
I wanted to learn something new, I was unhappy with my body,
I was new to California and needed a gym to join,
I wanted to do something I was afraid of,
and I wanted to eat better.
So I did something about all of these things and
gave the RWS 6-week Fall Shred a shot.
It became important for me to truly dedicate myself
to this program so I could conquer some, if not all, of my new goals.
As I progressed throughout the Shred, all those goals intertwined.
I ended up learning something new while transforming my body,
making new friends at a new gym, and overcoming a fear,
while learning how to eat better.
I’m proud of myself for not just sticking with the program,
but following through to completion.
There’s no better feeling of accomplishment than
hitting and exceeding goals you set for yourself.

[Want to get in on what Kristen’s got? Click here!]

[Note: Heather has been part of the RWS family for some time,
but after spinning her wheels for awhile
she decided to buckle down and make some changes.
She won our Summer Shred, and nearly won the Fall Shred as well.
Her progress in the past six months has been remarkable,

and on top of quickly becoming one of our strongest athletes
she’s a shining example of the difference nutrition makes.]

Background:

I first started working out at RWS in April 2014.
You could say I attended classes 2 to 3 times a week on a somewhat regular basis.
I would miss a week or two at a time because
“life happens” but still went in when I could make time.
2015 came around and I was not seeing the results I was hoping for.
So I started working out 3 to 4 times a week on a consistent basis and
started making WODs a priority rather than only when convenient.
I began to notice improvements on mobility, lifts, endurance,
and all the things one would expect from regular exercise.
But it was still just that, exercise.
Justin has been telling me since I first started all the foods and sugars
that I would need to stop eating if I ever wanted to see real results.
I can be pretty set in my ways, and I really enjoy food,
so I was never too excited about drastically changing my diet to really start losing weight.
I decided to participate in the Summer Shred to see just
how much I would need to change my diet to “fit my macros.”***
I was nervous and not expecting to do well at all.
Someone has to come in last right?
I like pizza and pasta and beer and there were
not nearly as many carbs in my macros as I was used to eating.
The first few days of the Shred I’m pretty sure I
only ate chicken and eggs as a baseline.
From there I started THINKING about my meals.
I could still eat french fries for lunch.
It just meant that I couldn’t have potatoes with dinner.
The meals became easier to think about and plan as the weeks went on
and I actually felt like I was consuming more food than before.
I was surprised to see that I could still eat pizza and pasta, just not on the same day.
My biggest challenge during the shred was breaking my snacking habits.
I sit at a desk all week and would constantly snack on chips and nuts and such
which quickly chipped away at my carb allowance.
It took a while but I was slowly able to change what and WHEN I ate
to minimize the urge to snack, feel full after meals,
and stay within my macro target zones.
After just a few weeks I realized I was down a belt notch and my clothes were fitting better.
Every week I was hitting a new PR whether it was
lifting more, completing more rounds, or finishing faster.
I FINALLY felt like I was making progress.
I never bothered to weigh myself when I originally started,
I guess I just didn’t want to know.
I do know that I didn’t lose any noticeable weight/fat
between January 2015 and starting the Shred in June.

Results:

For the first time I really FEEL like an athlete.
During the 6-week Shred, I lost 7.5 pounds, 3 inches off my waist and 2.5 off my hips.
I would never have seen that change if I hadn’t changed my diet
(which really didn’t change as much as I originally feared it would have to).
The Shred helped me become more aware of what I was eating and make better choices.
I could still eat a whole pizza if I wanted to, I just had to
plan to and eat other meals accordingly.
Since then, I have continued to follow the “diet” and continue to take tremendous leaps.
I have dialed in what I should eat and when to the point
where I still regularly eat potatoes, pasta, or rice at least once a day
and can even enjoy a beer or two.
In the 6 months since changing my diet I have
lost 25 pounds and 8.5 inches total
(5 from the waist, 3.5 from the hips),
and have continued to PR on a regular basis.
While I now work out 4-6 times a week, almost
all my progress can be attributed to changing my diet.
Regardless of what the scale says, I feel healthier and
stronger than I have in a VERY long time.
I have always considered myself to be athletic
but for the first time I really FEEL like an athlete.
And there is such great support from all the
coaches and members at RWS.
It doesn’t matter what condition you’re in when start,
everyone simply pushes you to do better than you did yesterday.
 *** “Macros” (macronutrients) = daily grams of fat, carbs, and protein
prescribed to each person based on body type and goals

Want to follow Heather’s example and start kicking some ass?
Click here!

Let’s get this cleared up – we actually DO test 1RM’s in class.

Just not for newbies, unless it’s in a tightly controlled and supervised setting.
(That’s where our lifting meets come in – every max attempt has numerous pairs of eyes on it, along with plenty of spotters for safety.
It’s just not feasible to have that level of control during a regular class with a bunch of people doing stuff simultaneously.)

So why not?

1. Newer peeps often don’t have the structural integrity, core strength, or skill to safely handle a missed lift at max loading without someone watching them like a hawk.

2. New peeps have not developed the nervous system to the point where a true 1RM can even be displayed.

3. We can pretty accurately determine a hypothetical 1RM from a 5RM (for novices) or a 2RM (for intermediates).

4. Your 1RM’s don’t mean shit except for bragging rights. I had to learn this the hard way.
In CrossFit, and in training for your goals, the spectrum of strength endurance (5-20RM) means a lot more than single-effort strength.
(A lot of people with lower 1RM’s than me kept whooping my ass during the Open, and it took me years to figure out why. When I started training with an emphasis on volume instead of loading, low and behold I started PR-ing all my WOD’s and placed closer to where I should in the Open.)

5. It’s a waste of training time on account of 1-4.
A 5RM test has a potent training effect for an athlete at any level.
However, a 1RM test is only meaningful for an advanced lifter.

Here’s the thing – you should test what you train.

To train for a 1RM test, you have to practice heavy sets of 1-3 reps to build nervous system efficiency.
This is not smart if your lifts aren’t at least intermediate-level (like repping out bodyweight on back squat).
You end up with a much higher risk of tweaking and/or injuring yourself because you aren’t building up connective tissue and muscle mass commensurate with your nervous system development.

You might notice with our programming, I have it designed so that novice-level folks do more reps per set than intermediate-level, who in turn do more reps than advanced folks.
This is deliberate.
That’s how we adapt the program to different levels of advancement, and our quarterly testing cycles are matched up to those levels.

So yes, you will eventually test 1RM’s in class.

But you have to EARN it.

T-bo out.

Welcome to the latest incarnation of our nutrition/fat loss challenge!

Here are the rules.

If you don’t have access to the Google sheet for whatever reason,
you must email screenshots of MyFitnessPal data (Saturday – Friday)
by 11:59pm Sunday night.

Points: up to 40 each day

Macro points (15 max)

Protein: up to 7 points

100+% of target → 7
90% of target → 6
80% of target → 5
70% of target → 4
60% of target → 3
50% of target → 2
<50% of target → 1
Not tracked → 0

Fat: up to 3 points

MOE < 10% → 3
MOE < 20% → 2
MOE > 20% → 1
Not tracked → 0

Carbs: up to 5 points

MOE < 10% → 5
MOE < 20% → 4
MOE < 30% → 3
MOE < 40% → 2
MOE > 40% → 1
Not tracked → 0

Workout points (10 max):

RWS WOD or 10:00+ intense effort → 6
WOD: 5:00 – 9:59 intense effort → 4
WOD: 1:00 – 4:59 intense effort → 2
Supplemental cardio → 4
Supplemental guns & buns work → 4
No activity → 0

Sleep points (10 max):

8+ hours → 10
7.5 hours → 8
7 hours → 6
6 hours → 4
<6 hours → 2
Not tracked → 0

Supplement points (7 max):

Fish oil (2000+ mg EPA/DHA) → 1
Multivitamin (must contain zinc & iodine) → 1
Vitamin D (2500+ IU) → 1
NightTime Recovery → 2
Herbal Cleanse → 2

Photo food journal points (3 max):

3+ meals photographed → 3
2 meals photographed → 2
1 meal photographed → 1
No pictures → 0

Scoring for the winners:

50% points (by ranking)
25% fitness improvement (via baseline)
25% inches improvement (waist & hips)