I’m sick and still improving my fitness


Let’s face it.  “Sick” happens, even to CrossFitters. You can be spot on with your diet, consistent in the box,  and hydrated, but still get sick – especially this time of year! 

So, what’s the right thing to do when sick? Here’s what not to do. 

1) Don’t train hard, pretending you aren’t sick.  

2) Don’t completely give up on your fitness.  You can actually use your sick time to move your fitness forward.  

Let’s address #2 from above.  Use your sick time to get better.  What do I mean? “REST and MOBILIZE”.  Most people don’t want to leave the house when sickness strikes, and I know that feeling!  However, if you can leave the house, use this forced “down time” to work on mobility during your usual class time.  If you are contagious, don’t come to the gym obviously.  But even if you have a fever and are contagious, you can mobilize at home!  

If you are stuck at home, I recommend trying to keep your routine as much as possible.  If you come to a morning class, use that same time at home to stretch and mobilize. Heck, you could even do air squats, sit ups, and push ups if you feel good enough!  Keeping your normal “routine” during your sick-time will help you get back into the gym once you are better.  If you aren’t contagious and want to come to the gym, you should do that! 

Coming in for a 30 – 45 minute stretching and mobility session will allow you to focus on problem areas. Tight shoulders, calves or hips? Foam Roll, voodoo band, and stretch your problem areas. This will make you move better and more fluidly than before; and your future self will thank you for it. Feel like you need to get your heart pumping a little bit? Hop on a bike for a few minutes, just don’t go overboard with it.

Don’t stress about not working out while sick; you’re resting, you’re working your mobility, and you will be back at it in a few days.

If you view your illness as an opportunity to work on quality movement, you may surprise yourself with better technique and speed when you come back. Remember, CrossFit isn’t just about intense workouts.  You also need to move well!

Until next time – stay healthy, and train hard!

The Crutches


I’ve been thinking a lot about crutches recently. Actual physical crutches that are needed when we get injured. But also metaphorical “crutches” that we use every day.. 

 

Let’s think about the crutches you see in the picture.  Crutches are wonderful tool for a leg injury. They help us get around, increase our capacity to do normal tasks, and give us the ability to be semi-independent.  In this scenario, our goal is to get off of the crutches as soon as possible, am I right?   We need them for awhile, but at some point they become a hindrance.  There’s one main way to get rid of the crutches.  

We seek help. Usually from a physical therapist or someone else to assist you to walk on your own without the crutches.  It can be a tedious and time consuming process.  We make small improvements by working diligently, and we finally can move around without the crutches.  And even when we put the crutches down, we aren’t yet achieving our full potential.  There is still more work to do.  We have to continue to train ourselves to improve range of motion, strength, stamina, etc.  You get the point?  Let me finish with this;  I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that wanted to rely on crutches for the rest of their life.  Have you?

Now let’s think about crutches in the metaphorical sense. We all have them to varying degrees.  Alcohol, food, caffeine, sugar, sleep, distractions, television, social media, or any other.  I don’t want to vilify these crutches, because not all of them are inherently bad things.  But, I’ll argue that when we use these things as crutches they can hold us back from understanding and pursuing our full potential.  

When we are stressed, depressed, anxious, need to unwind, or unsure what to do, we go to our crutches.  We actively pursue our crutches.  Let that soak in a little bit.

It’s interesting to think about – we know we don’t want to be on crutches because with crutches we can’t reach our full potential.  And yet, it is so easy for us to turn these crutches at certain times. When we are utilizing those crutches, we might say, “I’m happy” or “comfortable” or “this is what I enjoy.”  But I think what we fail to realize is how much more happy or more fulfilled we could be if we didn’t use them.  It’s hard to admit, isn’t it?  Could we all admit there are crutches in our lives we want to get rid of?  So then, how do we stop turning to them?  

Undoubtedly it’s a very complex answer.  But if we go back to our “physical therapist” example I think the best place to start is with help from another person. We need help; whether from a spouse, close friend, mentor, or medical or business professional.  Only then can we figure out how to get off the crutch.  To eliminate the need for the crutches we must first admit that we’re incapable of doing it on our own.  Now let that soak in. 

Possibly you feel that something is holding you back and you can’t quite pinpoint what that is.  Or maybe you know your crutches.    Either way the starting place is the same; turning to the right person for help.  If this is you, I’d be happy to talk and listen to you.  Even though I may not be your “physical therapist”, I want to help you find the right person. I want to see you get on a path to achieving your full potential and removing the crutches in your life.  

 

Coach Nick | nick@kcicrossfit.com | 816-659-3076

How to Stick to Your Workouts – 4 Essential Elements


HOW TO STICK WITH YOUR WORKOUTS 

4 ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS


Sticking to a workout program can be tough. We have good intentions – we know that regular exercise is good for all aspects of your like.  And we all know people who are on-again, off-again with their fitness routine.  And I get it; life gets busy.  Bills, kids, significant others, work, social life, a house to keep up, etc..  So many priorities it makes our head spin!  But, some people still manage to establish a routine and stick with it for a ridiculously long time.  People are able to live a busy life AND stay in shape.  How do they do it?  Did they get lucky?  Is it an incredible amount of discipline?  I assure you, it has nothing to do with any super human powers.  So, below are 4, tangible, implementable actions I feel will make the biggest difference in your ability to stay with the program.  Read on, and then make some small steps in the right direction. 


Plan it. Put it in your calendar.

First and foremost, plan your week and workout schedule. The simple act of scheduling training time in your calendar helps to make up your mind that you’re going to do it.  If you don’t have a calendar, get one.  If you are bad at using your current calendar, ask for accountability help.  Planning to do it is powerful.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  It’s just that simple.  

You have to understand that you cannot succeed without a plan.  The plan can, and will be, adjusted along the way but it’s important to just get started.   The next part of that plan is you then have stick to it, and keep those appointments.   This will be hard at first, especially in the first couple weeks.  But once you build the habit of working out, it will start to get easier.  By keeping your workout appointments, and therefore sticking to your plan, your plan will begin to start working for you.  This is the point when most people begin to see real change; not only in their fitness, but also their personal life.  I’m not going to spend time on this, but winning in one area will begin to spill over into other areas of your life.  Work or career, relationships,  sleep quality, will all improve from the mental and emotional strength you get from sticking with the program.  Not to mention that you’re getting fitter and feeling better so your energy levels are also going up.  It’s all very empowering.  Plan it.  Put it in your calendar.


Focus on Habits; not Goals.

Goals are great – and necessary.  However, the challenge with goals is that once the goal is reached, motivation can wain.  A good example would be; you want to lose 15 pounds before your Caribbean cruise.  You’ve got 2 months, 15 pounds to go, and will work out 4 days per week.  The plan is straightforward, and you crush it.  Sweating, running, lifting weights and toning up! Salads for lunch and dinner.  You didn’t even eat the cake at your 4 year olds’ birthday party.  The cruise deadline comes and you look better!  Lost 16 pounds! So, on the cruise and you take some well-deserved rest.  You even have some drinks and rum cake.  

It’s now back to reality and you figure you need a week rest from all the cruising fun.  You’ll get back to the gym next week.  You have fried chicken for lunch.  You look at the weight scale next week and you’ve gained 8 pounds!  But you still weigh less than you did a couple months ago, so it’s not so bad.  Work gets busy and you skip another week in the gym.  Before you know it, you don’t have any new goals, so you never get back at.  Until your next vacation, of course.  A constant up and down of training, and therefore a constant up and down of fitness.  This is what setting goals and not having lifestyle habits can potentially do to you.  That’s why I recommend to everyone to focus on habits, not goals.  Developing the habits of a healthy lifestyle will bring you continued success over the span of your life.  Habits are formed over months and years – in small, daily increments.  Making choices consistently over a period of time will start to make those daily decisions a habit.  Then you just have to maintain those habits when life throws a curveball at you.  So what’s the best way to go about getting these daily habits started?  Have you ever built a snowman?  Start small and build some momentum.  Get some input from your coach on what habits you can, or need, to start first.  Pick one, whichever one you believe you can do, and do it for at least three weeks.  After three weeks it should become easier.  If at that point you feel confident enough, add in another habit.  If after three weeks your feeling confident, add another, and so on and so forth.  If at some point you begin to falter, drop the most recent habit until you gain control again and then can continue the process.  You may also find that three weeks is too soon – that’s ok, because the plan can change.  Just decide what time frame is best for you.  It could be a couple more weeks, or a couple of months.  It’s your journey – just be sure to keep going.  You will be amazed how much you can change in a year with this simple strategy.  Over time, the commitment to daily habits will change you into the person you want to be.  FOCUS ON HABITS, NOT GOALS


Make Friends That Workout

You NEED friends that workout to be able to stay on your fitness journey.  How do I know this?  Let’s say you go to the gym by yourself 5 days per week for an hour each time.  With 168 hours in the week that leaves 163 hours you can spend with people that are either helping achieve your goals, or they can be pulling you away from those goals. They probably love you just the way you are.  People you work with, family, friends. They aren’t bad people, fitness just isn’t that important to most of them, so by default they can pull you in the other direction.  Away from a healthy lifestyle.  Away from whom you want to become.  

So, what I’m saying is you need friends who are working towards a healthy lifestyle.  Better yet – group fitness like CrossFit will introduce you to like-minded people who also have fitness goals!  Wouldn’t it be nice to share some of those 168 hours each week with people that have similar goals to you?  Someone who will tell you that you can do it – and who are doing it with you!  It’s one of the biggest factors in one’s success in almost any aspect of life; family, work, or leisure.  MAKE FRIENDS THAT WORKOUT.  And workout with them!


Remember Why You Are Doing It

Your WHY is the number one determining factor if you’re going to make it in the beginning.  It will be what you go back to and think about when you’re trying to talk yourself out of tomorrow’s workout.  Your why is the glue that holds the whole thing together.  Why do you want to be fit?  Figuring out your true “why” is like “pealing the onion”, because you have to keep pulling back the layers in your why.  The initial answer most of the time is never the real why.  Things like to lose weight, have more energy, and look good in the mirror, are rarely if ever the real reason for making a lifestyle change.  

 

The real reason lays a few layers below that.  What do I mean?  Take the goal to lose weight, for example.  An athlete may give me that response for their reason to workout.  I would then ask the simple question, why?  A typical response to that would be, “well, I guess I want to look better”.  Great.  Why do you want to look better?  After some thought, “I guess I want to look better so I feel more confident”.  Awesome, why do you want feel more confident?  It sounds like a dumb question, doesn’t it?  Everyone wants to feel more confident.  Why ask why?  Sadly, more times than not, the peeling of the onion stops here for most people.  In order to answer this question they have to get really honest with themselves, and most people are not comfortable with that. If you don’t answer these deeper “why” questions, nothing happens.  You stay the same emotionally, and therefore you stay the same physically.  So if you’re going to make a real change this time, you’re going to have to get super honest with yourself.  Dig into what you really want, and why you want it.  Keep asking why until you find your answers.  This is a tough assignment, but it must be done if you really want to make it on your fitness journey.    REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE DOING IT.  Once you have your answer for why you want to stick to a workout routine, the emotion of those things will carry you mentally when you want to stop.  It will put some fire in your belly.  So if you hit a tough spot, remember why you started in the first place and the emotion of your why, and do what you need to do that day to get the win.  

Well there you have it.  I hope this helped clarify what it really takes to develop long lasting health and fitness habits.  If you want to reach out to me with any questions, I’m happy to help.   Email or call: nick@kcicrossfit.com | 816-659-3076

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Nick Prohaska     |    KCI CrossFit     |      816-659-3076       |       nick@kcicrossfit.com

5 Realizations from 7 months of CrossFit


 “I started CrossFit last September.  I’ve learned a few things along the way.”

1. It’s not what I thought it was. I thought it would be bad for my knees and hard on my shoulders. I’m more mobile and flexible now. I thought there would be big sweaty brainless jocks grunting through the gym. CrossFit is for normal people. 
2. It’s good for my brain. Every single workout is different and I love the variety. My coach has patiently broken down all the movements and scaled back to my ability and strength level. There’s alot of terminology to learn and I’m doing work I never thought I’d be capable of a year ago. 
3. It’s good to feel vulnerable because through effort and persistence there is growth. I had to shed my “I’ve been active all my life and I know alot about working out” attitude and get busy learning something totally new. It made me realize that I might need to get better at other things in my life I thought I was good at. I realized I like learning and growing and becoming better at something. 
4. It’s hard- really hard. But so very rewarding. 
5. I’ve only scratched the surface of what I’m capable of doing. I have a long way to go but I’m excited to get to work. 
The point of all this is that my gym, KCI CrossFit, is offering free classes to moms all this week in honor of Mother’s Day. Please join me for a class this week and check it out for yourself!

The Voice In Your Head


 

By definition, the ego is comparative.  It compares us to other people or circumstances around us.  It causes us to define ourselves based on what is going on with other people, objects and places.     Which, left unchecked, can be a very bad thing.  If you are solely defined by outside forces (people, places, objects) the results can be catastrophic.  The good news in this whole debacle is that you can have control over your ego!  You can!  It starts with recognizing the situations and thoughts that are egocentric and making an effort to change. 

Easier said than done?  Let’s start by highlighting a few ego statements to recognize where your ego takes over in the gym.  Then we can make progress!

 

“I used to be able to ____, so I should be able to _____ today”

Fill in the blanks.  Coming back from an injury?  Remembering how fit you were in high school?  Looking at pictures before you had kids?   You are comparing yourself today to a version of you that doesn’t exist anymore – and never will exist again.  That is our human condition.  Nothing stays the same forever, including our bodies and health.  It’s a hard reality to grasp, but we all need to come to terms with this truth.  Comparing our performance in the gym today to how we were 10 years ago needs to stop.  You cannot change yesterday, only today.  Do your best today; give 100% effort.  And then do it again tomorrow.

“I’m too out of shape to ______”

As a fitness professional, this is one of the most saddening excuses to hear.  Yes, you might be too out of shape to do a muscle up or handstand push-up but you are not too out of shape to START.  Whatever “shape” you are in, you must begin somewhere if you need to change.  I know paralyzed men that work hard every day to just lift their hands.  They are not too out of shape to try.  And neither are you.  You just need to start somewhere, period.  What your ego is telling yourself is, “I’m not good enough.”  If you have ever told yourself this statement and haven’t done anything about it, please get in touch with us.  We want to help.

“I should be setting PR’s every day”

No.  The answer is no.  This ego trip will get you hurt.   If you throw a temper tantrum when you miss a PR attempt or cuss out your shoes when you don’t hit your one mile time, you need to check this ego at the door.  Strength and conditioning, technique, and body awareness take time.   Pushing the limits can be a great thing, but it’s not the only thing.  During your training your body goes through ups and downs, peaks and valleys.  That’s why our programming includes recovery time and cycles.  Every day will not be your best, and you need to be ok with that.  Again, give 100% today.  Many of the strongest athletes even reset their “PR” every year to remain grounded. 

“I’ve been going to the globo/planet/world/open24/7 gym for years and I’m in great shape.  I’m frustrated and angry that I can’t _______”

This is a very common and sneaky ego trip.  It’s like saying, “I’m a great basketball player.  I’m frustrated I’m not a good football player.”  Obvious, right?  Not always.  Guys are especially prone to this one.  They’ve been programmed that bicep curls and tricep extensions are markers of “good” fitness.  But get into a CrossFit box and you will quickly find out that fitness is defined VERY differently for CrossFitters.  Yes you need strong biceps and pectoral majors, but there’s a lot more to being fit than just strong muscles.  Leave this attitude at the door and you will find yourself growing, learning, and progressing faster than you can imagine.

“I’m not going to do CrossFit until I get in shape”

What??  I don’t understand this.  CrossFit is a highway to drive to achieve and maintain fitness – not a destination to end up at.  You’ve been misinformed by media or other people that you must be super sexy to start CrossFit.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  This thought process is a symptom of “I’m not good enough” ego that you need to let go of. 

“I’m injured so I can’t do anything”

Yes, if you are injured you shouldn’t be doing much.  But there is almost always something you can do.  Similar to the “I’m not going to CrossFit until I get in shape” ego.  There is always something you can be doing, and if your CrossFit coach is worth two cents, they can help you discover things you can do.  (And always consult your doctor, obviously)

“I’m not as strong/fast/lean/sexy as __(other person)___”

One of the most common ego trips we have.  In and out of the gym, our culture is immersed in this egotistic mind-warp.  Novels can be written about this topic, but to keep it short;  Stop doing this.  Especially in the gym.  The beautiful part about CrossFit is that with consistent training, this part of your ego will lessen and become more mature.  Talk to the oldest person in your box, gain some perspective.  In CrossFit, you are only competing with yourself; so make each day better than the one before. 

“I’m not losing/gaining fast enough”

At some point in time you decided for yourself how long it would take to change your weight/size/shape.  But how did you come up with the timetable?  Did you consult a professional? Or multiple professionals?  What about your nutrition? Your sleep? Your hydration?  I’m just putting it out there, but there is a good chance your timetable is either 1) inaccurate or 2) completely unrealistic.  Just because you have a wedding in 2 months, doesn’t make it a realistic goal to lose 30 pounds to fit into a dress.  Please, take a realistic look at your goals and talk to people who know what they’re talking about.  You should ask at least 2 other people help you set your goals. 

“CrossFit is a cult.”

Get over yourself.  If that seems harsh, sorry I’m not sorry.  There’s also a good chance you suffer from one (or more) of the ego statements we’ve listed already.  I’ll admit CrossFit training isn’t for everyone.  But it is designed so that anyone can CrossFit.  Get it?  Communities are built with like minded people – whether that’s a book club, church, business, music group, or CrossFit box.  Our lives our richer and fuller because of the communities we are involved in, and CrossFit is a great way to get active in a community.  The statement that CrossFit is a cult is ignorant and immature. 

“I’m injured.” “CrossFit injured me.”

The final result of our ego taking control. These statements come after one or more of these ego statements run rampant in your training.  If you train too hard, with poor form, with inappropriate workouts, you can injure yourself.  But don’t blame “CrossFit.”  You have control over your training.  You need to take responsibility for your actions and workouts.  Ask more questions before you get injured.  Scale the intensity back.  Use lighter weight.  Spend more time on technique.  Be more patient with the process.  And yes, there is a chance of injury.  There always will be.  The only surefire way to not risk an injury is to sit on the couch and eat cheese balls.  Just don’t roll an ankle walking to the fridge. 

Stay humble, and check your ego at the front door.

CrossFit for Weight Loss


CrossFit is a wonderful thing:  functional movement, constantly varied and performed at high intensity.  The concept is appealing to so many different types of people, and your box and daily WOD’s are a testament to it!  

So how exactly does the CrossFit model apply to so many different people and so many different goals, when at face value everyone in the box is doing the exact same workout? How can someone be losing weight while the person sweating right next to them is trying to gain weight?  The short answer, if you don’t want to continue reading: CrossFit can help you become the shape/size you were meant to be, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all model.  There’s much more than meets the eye.  

You don’t have to troll the internet very long to read success stories about people losing a lot of weight by including CrossFit in their lives: HERE  The truth is, you CAN lose weight with CrossFit, and also gain strength, muscle, and look like you were designed to look!  There are a few things you need to remember if you are ready to try CrossFit to shed the weight. And, I’ll give you the key right away.  To quote Kelly Starrett, “Be patient with the process.  The process works all the time.  You just have to let it work.”

1 –  Nutrition is key.  The guy gaining weight and muscle?  He eats to gain.  (Ladies, you will NOT look big and bulky unless you EAT big and bulky).  If you want to lose weight you need to first understand what you are currently eating and it’s effects on you.  Then you need to let the math sink in that to lose pounds you need to burn more calories than you intake on a regular basis, over time.  All that is next is figuring out what foods are better than others for your dietary needs.  Every person is different and needs different ratios of proteins, carbs, and fats.  The key is to find out what you need and stick to it.  You may want to consult a nutritionist, or someone more versed in nutrition than you are.  Starting to track your intake and output will help you stay on track – and there are dozens of apps to help you do that easily.  You will not lose weight and keep it offlong term without dedicated focus to your nutrition.  Period.  Trust the process, and give it time to work.  

2 – Burning Calories.  CrossFit is notorious for burning calories – studies have shown up to 18 calories per minute in men.  If your main goal is to lose weight, let your coach know that.  Every workout can be modified to your ability level, and to potentially create the most calorie burn, in the safest way.  Also, be ready to put in some extra work.  No one said it’s an easy microwave recipe.  You may need to spend time before or after class doing extra work.  It boils down to how committed you are.  Taking 3 CrossFit classes per week might not be the key to weight loss.  You came in with a specific goal, and just because you thought you knew how to achieve the goal, doesn’t mean that is going to be the way to do it.  Trust the process, and trust your coaches.  

3 – Gaining muscle.  You will get stronger and gain muscle.  That is a fantastic thing!  Again, your nutrition will affect your muscle mass.  Muscles are sexy – in proper proportion.  With greater strength comes the ability to perform better – and that is also sexy.  Becoming stronger and increasing physical capacity makes you more competent and breeds confidence!  The great thing with CrossFit is that the workouts are designed around full body movements and functional fitness, meaning you will get stronger muscles in the areas that you need them.  Muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t freak out if during your weight loss journey you actually gain a couple pounds.  It’s part of the process, and should be expected.  The great news is that as you gain muscle, you will look leaner and have a healthier metabolism – meaning you will burn more calories throughout your day.  It’s a beautiful cycle.  

4 – Community Support.  A good CrossFit box has a solid community and working out with these people has many benefits for you.  Consistency and accountability are essential with every weight loss plan, and CrossFit gives you both.  Also, during group exercise people tend to work harder than they would on their own, encouraging each other to keep going and never quit.  Many people have ditched their personal trainer for CrossFit because it is more cost effective and because of the irreplaceable value of a community.  So, it’s time to reconsider just doing workouts in your garage or living room and join a box!   

5 – It takes time.  I’m sure you didn’t gain the weight overnight.  And it surely won’t come off overnight.  Sustained weight loss will take many months, if not a year or more, depending on where you are.  Give yourself some grace and trust the process.  You may not lose a two pounds a week for a year.  But, even if you lose 50 pounds in a year, that’s a huge accomplishment!  Let me emphasize the importance of nutrition again, as Greg Zuffelato, says, “The people that just do CrossFit and don’t have a nutrition plan do not lose weight.”  When they get serious with the CrossFit program their appetite goes into overdrive and without a proper plan they don’t see any sustained weight loss. They will see a small change in their body fat, but like any other exercise program, if proper nutrition is not part of the plan the results will be disappointing.”  

Still not convinced CrossFit is for you, or a good way to help you lose weight?  The only person you have to prove wrong is yourself.  And if you don’t try, then rest assured nothing will happen.   Or, have you already tried losing weight (with or without CrossFit) and haven’t seen results?  Here’s a good article to help you ask yourself some hard questions:  17 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

The worst thing you can do is stay stagnant and not try.  Get our there and do it.  And be patient with the process. 

Want to know what KCI CrossFit is doing to help athletes lose weight?  

Just Ask!  kcicrossfitters@gmail.com

Why are CrossFit gyms more expensive than traditional gyms?


Now that 2015 is in full swing, New Year’s resolutions are either fading or going strong.  Regardless, everyone is hopping for that better version of themselves in 2015.  In January, gym memberships spike!  Enrollment specials, three free months, personal training sessions, and other incentives are abundant in January.  

CrossFit is a little different.  You don’t find many enrollment specials or months of free memberships.  To add to that, membership are more expensive than most gyms.  This is a deterrent to many.  They aren’t sure what value they are going to get out of a CrossFit membership where they are paying two to three times what they pay at a traditional gym.

We get asked why we are more expensive than traditional gyms all the time!  This is a totally valid question if you are considering CrossFit.  The value you receive has to meet (or hopefully exceed) what you are paying each month.  

In this post, I want to answer this question for a lot of people that ask.  We hope that this sways you to give CrossFit a try, but we know it’s not for everyone.  I just want to make sure you know what is provided so you can make the best decision for yourself possible!

In general, all large commercial gyms operate on a pre-enrollment monthly membership model.  This means that a member signs a contract, for usually no less than a year.  Sometimes there are enrollment fees at sign-up, and other times they will waive these fees for long-term contracts as an inducement for you to enter into a long-term contract.  The idea to a rational consumer is that they are making a commitment, and, because they are paying each month, they want to get their money’s worth.  For the gym, this creates reliable revenue, regardless of whether the gym is actually used or not, or whether the member actually gets results!  They want you to get enough results to keep coming and come back, but not so much that you tear up the equipment. 

The funny thing is that fitness is like education:  for many, they will pay for it, but don’t really want to do it.  Remember back in college where you paid thousand a semester, but still skipped class?  You will pay for education, but you don’t always want education.  The same goes for fitness.  You can be a member, but never do anything and still FEEL like you did.  Our minds are crazy!

As many as  67% of people never show up at the gym! 

CrossFit affiliates, boot camps, cycling studios, and yoga studios actually rely on members to show up to pay their bills.  And, in addition, these businesses have a coach there to guide you through programming and make sure you are doing things properly so you don’t injure yourself.  These gyms must charge more because they provide more services, a specialized atmosphere, and can hold less people.  The space, instructors, and equipment or only part of the equation.  In the end, they must provide an experience that warrants the price tag.  

It should also be noted briefly that CrossFit gyms pay an affiliate licensing fee of around $3,000 per year currently.  This goes toward the initial and ongoing training of coaches.  And the training is damn good.

Now that we’ve talked a little about the business model and pricing structures, it is important to talk about what you are paying for.  There are five main things that you pay for when you go to a gym:  facilities, training services, programming, atmosphere, and community.

1.  Facilities and Equipment

Most traditional gyms are a sea of treadmills, ellipticals, stair climbers, and strength training machines.  Small areas are reserved for free weights, and more and more gyms are getting rid of barbells (because people who have no idea what they are doing are hurting themselves and insurance rates are going way up!).  They goal is to fill the gym with equipment that people can use without instruction.  Most of the equipment have placards that show you step by step how to work the machine.  There may also be additional amenities such as showers, a pool, and childcare which results in higher membership fees, plus additional fees that you might incur.

In a CrossFit affiliate, you will walk in and find no treadmills or ellipticals.  It will look significantly different than any gym you’ve ever experienced before.  It is stripped down to the bare necessities for strength and conditioning programs, then we build from there.  In other words, the focus is on the training and the results instead of the amenities.  The actual workouts are emphasized above all else.  There is a program that members follow.  The programming is designed to provide maximum results in the least amount of time.  Coaches make sure that the program is structured so to reduce the likelihood of overtraining any area, and especially to avoid injury.  You will find bumper plates, rubber flooring, and balls that you can throw around.  We encourage throwing weight (toward the ground, and not each other of course)!

2.  Training Services

What you get with a traditional membership is access to the facility.  If you want training, group training, or specific programming, you will end up paying extra.  By the time you pay for training, your membership would far exceed a CrossFit membership and would make your membership seem like chump change! 

In addition to personal training or group training, there are classes that may be additional such as spin or aerobics.  These classes may be great for you, and you may fit a couple in during a week to boost your regimen.  But, there is a huge difference between exercising and training.

At CrossFit gyms, we train.  Training services — in regards to programming and technique instruction— are included in the cost of the membership. 

It is important to find a good coach that you connect with.  Coaches vary in their methodology or strategies.  Some coaches, albeit very few, push hard and fast with a lot of intensity and yelling.  In our opinion, good coaches focus first on the fundamentals such as technique before requiring too much of you.  If you are new, you want to find a coach that will help take you from where you are to where you want to be.

As a fairly new CrossFitter, I can tell you that this is okay.  There are days where I lifted a PVC pipe and felt like a total weenie, but by the end of the hour, I couldn’t lift said PVC pipe!  I got a great workout with about 6 ounces of weight!

3.  Programming

If you are the type of person who is motivated to create a training program, push yourself, and monitor your results, then more power to you!  I am definitely not that person.  Even when I’m at a traditional gym,  I find myself moving at an easy pace and could end up checking Facebook mindlessly for 5 minutes!  In 5 minutes of a CrossFit workout, I achieve more than I do in 30 minutes to an hour on my own!

One of the major reasons so many people don’t show up at gyms in the first place is because they don’t know what to do when they get to the gym.  With CrossFit, it is likely that you won’t know all the movements, but there will be somebody there to walk you through every step.  There is no need to feel embarrassed or intimidated.  That’s what coaches do — they love to teach and train.  At the end of the day, their joy is arrived from seeing you learn something and get results.

A typical workout will include a warm-up, followed by a strength training or technique portion with instruction and supervision, and then there is a WOD.  

One of the facets of CrossFit that makes it so powerful is the structure.  We find that the framework
and methodology, combined with the fact that athletes never know what’s coming next which causes them to push themselves past what they would normally do, makes them WANT to show up!

4.  Atmosphere

When olympic lifting gyms were gaining steam in the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s, they were a stripped down version of what you see now.  There were racks and a lot of weights.  You could hear the clanging and dropping of weights and there were no treadmills or ellipticals.  If you wanted to run, you went outside.  

Modern gyms are designed to feel more like an upscale bar or a club than a gym.  They are designed to feel inviting, and not intimidating.  And, you know what, this is awesome for most people.  If this gets people off the couch, away from the TV, and moving, then this is awesome!  

CrossFit gyms have a much stronger resemblance to the original olympic lifting gyms than modern gyms.  You will find bars, racks, and bumper plates.  You’ll swing kettle bells, climb ropes, jump on boxes, and throw balls.  In fact, you’ll do a bunch of stuff that is frowned upon at traditional gyms or get you some sort of nasty label.  

CrossFit gyms are a communitarian experience, meaning that athletes work together and interact which each other throughout the class, which provides motivation, support, and leads to the formation of relationships.  This brings us to the idea of community.

5.  Community

Community is the largest separating factor between a traditional gym and a CrossFit gym.  It’s an intangible benefit that, at least in my opinion, is worth way more than your membership.

At a traditional gym, 95% of people work out in isolation.  When I am at a traditional gym, I am one of these people.  I rarely go with a partner, and my headphones are glued on my head.  I can get away without taking to one single person when I walk in.  I can scan a card, walk in, sit down, workout and leave.  

I trained this way for so long.  I did strength training, but nobody was there pushing me.  I paid for a personal trainer once, but I found it boring.  I did group training a couple of times, but I didn’t feel like the trainer really cared all that much.  The group was all over the place doing different things.  We weren’t participating in the same activities.  I’ve tried spin classes and yoga classes.  These are great, but you’re not usually making friends.  Most people walk in at the last minute, do their thing, pick up their mat, and leave!

There is very little community at a traditional gym, even in class formats.  I might see people in a gym that I know, but that isn’t ground for building a community.  Going to the same gym and training together are two completely separate concepts.

Since starting CrossFit, I have seen first hand how the concept of training together creates community.  When you are generally doing the same thing, you are there to motivate and cheer each other on to finish.  It doesn’t matter if you got your PR, which is somebody else’s warm up weight.  They cheer you on like you won a gold at the olympics.  When you are the last person on the rower, there are 9 people standing around you huffing and puffing cheering you on the best they can so you’ll finish.  They will stay after the class is over if you aren’t done to cheer you on.  It’s a great experience.

You also start seeing the same people at your classes since you will likely go at specific times that fit with your schedule.  You start developing friendships with people in those classes.  You come early and stay late to chat.

The community aspect of CrossFit gets people excited to go to the gym to see each other and work out.  It pushes each other to do better.  You want to be healthier.  You want to keep up with the group so you can train as hard as you can with your friends, so you start eating better.  You share in hard workouts, and the fact that you finished it together draws you closer together.  

People post about what they did at CrossFit that day because they shared in something with their friends that they want YOU to be a part of.  Most of the time, it’s not about them.  It’s about wanting others to experience the thrill that is CrossFit.

Conclusion

So, I have a question for you:  Are CrossFits really that expensive?  CrossFit affiliates definitely aren’t cheap, but are they worth it?  Would CrossFit give you more value than the $125+ membership cost.  

Sure, you can get a gym membership for $20 per month, but will you get the same benefits from it as you will from being a part of a community that gives 100% to train together?  I can tell you, in my own experience, that my results through CrossFit far exceed my results I get on my own.  And the benefits I receive far exceed the cost of membership.  

Test Flight and Flight School

If you want to try out CrossFit for yourself, we make it super easy.  We offer a Test Flight class every Saturday at 9:15 am.  Simply email Christine Prohaska, owner and head trainer, to RSVP.  Each Saturday, we have a team WOD that is a fun way for you to try it out.  You don’t need to know any movements, technique, or really anything about CrossFit.  Just come as you are.  We’re there to help you through every step of the way!

If you are interested in giving CrossFit a go, or you are getting back into CrossFit, we have a program called Flight School every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 5:15 pm.  At Flight School, you will receive individual or small group training (depending on the number of attendees) that walks you through movements, technique, and terminology for six sessions over two weeks.  You will also have an opportunity to get to know the coaches and the members.  The cost of Flight School is only $39 (a $150 value).

Email us at kcicrossfitters@gmail.com to get started today!

The Top 10 Things I Learned in my First 6 Weeks of CrossFit


I am new to CrossFit.  I started at the first of December and am about 6 weeks in.  I have been traveling a lot, so I haven’t been able to go to classes as much as I want as consistently as I want.  But, I have been able to go to classes and visit traditional gyms.  This gave me an interesting perspective on CrossFit, traditional gyms, and my own workout programming.  I’ve witnessed first hand the difference between what happens at a CrossFit gym and a traditional gym.  I’ve witnessed and heard some hilarious things in the last few weeks, and, most importantly, I’ve learned a lot about the benefits of CrossFit and about myself.  I’m not going to show you a before and after picture because I don’t have one and you don’t want to see it.  Even if I did, I wouldn’t show it!  I have a ways to go before I’m willing to do that.  This is about what I learned in six weeks and how CrossFit has improved many areas of my life.

Years ago, I got into strength training.  I started a very simple program recommended in Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe.  Generally, the training involved 5 sets of 5 reps of squats, deadliest, overhead press, bench press, and barbell rows.  You generally trained three times a week with at least one day between workouts, and you squatted every day!  It was a great program.  I say massive improvements in my strength.  I didn’t know what a deadliest was when I started.  At the height of my training, I hit a PR of 385 pounds.  I put on some pounds.

Then, I got burned out.  Squatting three times a week was brutal, and I started dreading going to the gym.  Instead of pushing through, I started looking at different programs to try for a few weeks.  A few weeks turned into a few months, which turned into a couple of years.  I started the 5×5 training again, but got totally discouraged because I lost a ton of strength.  I knew it would take me a while to get back where I was.

I was going through the motions at the gym.  I was maintaining, but not really seeing any results.  I felt good that I was going to the gym, but I wasn’t giving it my all.

Then, I started CrossFit.  I started for me.  I wanted to try something different, and I hoped that the constantly varied workout would keep me interested and engaged.  I don’t do well with the same routine for too long!  

My experience so far has been great!  Here are a few things I’ve learned in my first 6 weeks:

1.  Working out on my own sucks, and I generally suck at it:  I have always worked out on my own.  I didn’t like having a workout parter because you had to coordinate a time to go that works for everyone, and there was some inconsistency.  I like to get up when I could and go workout without having to worry about somebody else’s schedule.  I also did my own programming, mostly focused on strength.  I would work hard, but not nearly hard enough.  I wouldn’t push myself at all.  I settled for what was easy and routine.  I was, and am, capable of so much more than what I was doing.  I was not pushing myself, and I was definitely not pushing myself to be better.  I was maintaining, and I guess that was okay.  And, what’s funny about that is that I am typically a very driven and motivated person.  I work hard and I’m efficient.  But at the gym, I was lazy.  Doing CrossFit workouts has pushed me to do more than I thought I could and in a supportive environment where people care.  I am now doing more in one hour than I was in a full week of training, and I love it!

2.  Come as you are:  When I started, I didn’t know how to do all of the movements.  I was totally inflexible in my shoulders, elbows, ankles, and, well, everywhere!  Now, I’m about half flexible, which is significant improvement.  I learned that I was making minor mistakes on some movements that had a huge impact on my ability to perform the movement and could lead to a higher risk of injury.  Christine and Steven coached me through some of these.  I certainly don’t know everything, and there is so much more to learn, but I know that my coaches started me where I was and are slowly taking me to where I need to be.

3.  Safety first:  One perception you may have about CrossFit is that it’s intense, or TOO intense.  This may be true at some gyms, but it’s not true at KCI CrossFit.  The coaches are first and foremost focused on your technique, form, and movement.  They want you to be able to achieve maximum results without injury.  They don’t add weight until you’re ready.  I never knew that a PVC pipe workout could be so effective!

4.  Show up ready to give 100% and focus:  When I worked out on my own, I could listen to my music or podcasts and generally jack around between sets.  I would check email and Facebook for minutes at a time.  I would even take phone calls on occasion while doing sets!  There was very little focus.  In a CrossFit workout, you have to get focused.  Not only do you need to be focused, I found that you WANT to be focused so you can give it everything you have.  With other people giving it their all, there is no way I’m going to leave anything behind!

5.  Don’t compare yourself to others:  Every person has a different reason for being at CrossFit, including you.  There is absolutely no reason to compare yourself to anyone but yourself.  You are there to get better, and you get better by following the programming and advice of your coach.  Others are there to motivate and inspire you.  It is a completely judgment free environment.  Give your best, focus on becoming better yourself, and never ever compare yourself to somebody else.

6.  Follow your coaches advice:  I’m not exactly one to follow the rules, unless my CrossFit coach tells me to do something.  If they tell me to do it, I do it without question.  I trust that they know what’s best for me and that they are there to make sure that I grow stronger and faster without injuring myself.  They have taken me through technique drills that increased my range and mobility.  They watch my form and correct me when I’m doing something wrong.  I am confident that I am doing the right things when they are guiding me through the process.  No YouTube video can do that for you.

7.  Eat right:  I don’t follow the Paleo diet…at least not yet…but I have been more conscious about what I’m eating.  If I eat junk, I feel terrible when I work out.  If I eat well, I have a ton more energy that I can put into my workouts.  It also affects my overall energy throughout the day and my mood.  Seeing results from small improvements in my diet makes me want to continue making additional small changes which will create additional positive results.

8.  Your discipline will increase:  By regularly going to classes and working out on my own, my discipline in other areas of my life have increased.  My focus has generally increased, and I know that I am capable of more.  When I don’t want to do something, I have more strength and energy to push through.

9.    If you work hard, you will get results, and you will want more:  After just a few weeks of working hard, I started noticing that I had a little less belly, my mobility was improved, and my overall happiness improved.  There’s something about working hard that releases endorphins that make you feel happy.

10.  The community really cares:  Without knowing many people at KCI when I started, I was amazed at how these complete strangers accepted me and supported me.  I found people cheering me on to finish a rep even when they were out of breath (and
knowing they were about to start again).  The community pushes you to move past what you think you are capable of and supports you in the process.  You also grow closer to the group as you complete these workouts with them.  There is an overwhelming sense of accomplishment that comes after every day you are there.

Finally, I am a little stronger, and a lot more fit than when I started.  I am much less winded when doing workouts.  More importantly, I learned that I can push myself farther in every aspect of my life if I put in focused energy into a task.

If you have wanted to try CrossFit, I highly recommend you try KCI CrossFit.  If you are looking to push yourself a lithe farther, I highly recommend KCI.  

I hope to see you here, and I hope to hear about everything you learned and accomplished in your first six weeks!