I'll keep this short. I'm never going to make you stand on a bosu ball and do a squat while at the same time doing flys on a cable machine. You're actually not going to see a bosu ball here at all. Or some cool, new machine. We've never used them and we're cranking out some pretty fantastic results.
We're not fancy here. You walk into Apache and you might be unimpressed... at least at first. No fancy machines. No smoothie bar. No tanning beds. No massage chair.
Part of our workout in class yesterday was to hold a heavy sandbag for 30 seconds. Some grabbed a 200 lbs. sandbag. Some the 120 lbs bag. Some 60 lbs. A few others in between. Sandbags are just that, bags of sand. They are not pretty but they work. They work to help strengthen your grip, build core strength and yeah, even 30 seconds, will get the heart pumping. Besides that they are like real life. They move around. They're unstable. You'll encounter a lot more things in life that are similar to sandbags than some random, fancy machine.
If you're looking for the latest toy or cool new trend in fitness, we are not it. Am I worried? No, I saw Rocky IV. I know what happens.
*Disclaimer: It's not you, it's me. If you're only using fancy machines and doing the cool new thing, I'm really happy for you. I'm stoked anyone is working out no matter what they're doing. Keep it up! It's just not for me.
What is "Murph"? It's a hero workout but if you haven't done it in the past here is a little back story.
Lt. Michael Murphy was a Navy Seal that was killed on a mission while in Afghanistan. His position and that of his three other teammates was compromised by several goat herders. In the ensuing gun battle with the Taliban, Lt. Murphy, or Murph, knew his and his team's situation was dire so he decided to move to an open position under heavy gun fire, knowing the probable outcome, to make an emergency call from his satellite phone. During the phone call Murph was killed. You may remember this story if you've read Marcus Luttrell's book, "Lone Survivor," or seen the movie adaptation. Murph was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor.
Each Memorial Day, Apache, along with many other CrossFit gyms, honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice with a workout.
The workout is:
1 mile Run
1 mile Run
*Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run.
It was one of Lt. Murphy's favorite workouts so it was named in his honor.
First off, it is not an easy workout so of course we can scale it to your ability. It's not uncommon to see some people doing ring rows, push ups on a box, shortening the run distance, etc. This is totally normal and acceptable. If you have questions about scaling, just ask. Second, this is a hero workout and we tend to dig deeper for those. With that being said, please be smart and have a plan.
What do we mean by a plan? Well, you don't have to do the workout exactly as it's listed so you can break up the reps however you'd like. Try to come up with something that will allow you to maintain your form and allows you to finish the workout! If you're not sure, try to keep your reps low. Singles, doubles, triples. Here are some common rep partition strategies:
15 Air Squats
15 Air Squats
12 Air Squats
12 Air Squats
Worried about it? Don't be. It's a CrossFit workout, something you do all the time, and as I said it can be scaled. Your workouts in class are helping prepare you for this workout. (and tons of other awesome stuff) Of course, people always ask if they can do more. You should be good but if you want get a few more runs in you can run a 1/2 mile or a mile before or after class. Or do it on a rest day. I'm sure someone will join you too.
What else can you do to prepare? Make it your job each day leading up to "Murph" (and every other day of your life) to consume enough water so you’re ready to go on Memorial Day. Get some sleep! Make sure you're getting enough sleep each night as we approach the workout. It will aid with recovery and help you perform better in all of your workouts, including "Murph."
By the way, you'll sign up for Murph just like you would a regular class so it will be open a week before 5/28.
Dropping in while on vacation? Just send us an email to let us know. Usually do "Murph" at home by yourself? Give us a call and come do it with a great group of people.
Looking forward to seeing everyone there!
So, you finally did it! Congratulations! Was it a pull-up? Was it 15 lbs. off the scale? Was it your first 5K? Great! Now get back to work. The people you'll meet here are in it for the long haul. And they need you too!
I was talking to a friend today about how tomorrow is her 3 year anniversary at Apache and how much she's changed in that short time. Her exact quote was: "So much progress yet so much more to learn." She gets it. She could of stopped when she reached her pull up, weightlifting or aesthetics goal but she continues on knowing that there is more to this whole fitness thing.
When we first meet people at ourIntro Sessions we talk a lot about why they are here and what they are looking for. At first, people will tell us they want to lose 5 lbs. for a wedding in 3 months or try something different to get ready for a Spartan Race but they tend to stick around after their initial goal has been realized. Why? Because fitness can and should be lifelong but it's also fun and rewarding here.
Crazy things happen when you start training with us. Initially, you'll see big time gains and things will be getting easier by the day. You'll look different. You'll walk around differently. This is great but the next step is pretty cool, too. You'll start to get to know the other people in your classes. You'll become part of the community. Why is the community so strong? Because everyone has goals and they are pushing themselves and each other every single day. You'll feel a sense of belonging and from there, even greater accountability. You'll find yourself wanting to be around certain people because it almost feels like they make you better.
Then what happens? You start to become more consistent at the gym. You start to make better choices and live a healthier life. It starts to change other things. You work harder. You have better relationships. You do things you didn't think were possible.
Then, guess what? You become one of those people that others want to be around. People come to the gym because you are there. It's a beautiful cycle.
Want the secret? Just show up and it will happen.
CrossFit is dangerous. I hear this all the time. Almost every day. Mostly by people who have never tried it or been to a CrossFit gym. They all had a friend who heard that their uncle's co-worker's daughter tried CrossFit in Panama once and she cut her hand. So, you know, super dangerous.
First off, after 11 years in CrossFit I have not found it to be dangerous at all especially when we compare it to injury rates associated with pretty much every other activity, including jogging and youth soccer. When you tell your co-workers you're going to start jogging, do they warn you about the dangers of running? Hardly. But when you tell them you are starting CrossFit all the crazy stories and warnings come out.
Do people get injured while doing CrossFit? Sure. It happens. Just like every other activity out there. A friend of mine threw his back out tying his shoes this morning. Another guy I know tore his meniscus jumping out of his truck. Another broke his wrist during an aggressive high five. Don't even get me started on the injuries friends have had while snowboarding, playing basketball and partying too hard in college.
Countless studies, including one from last year (Moran 2017) have shown that "the injury incidence rate associated with CrossFit training was low, and comparable to other forms of recreational fitness activities."
As I said, of course some people pick up an injury while doing CrossFit but is CrossFit always to blame? Not necessarily. Often times, CrossFit will expose injuries you may already have or show how you may be moving in a manner that is causing you pain. How you move is important in everything you do so when you go from being mostly sedentary to starting to work out it's not uncommon to start to experience some pain that normally goes unnoticed in your everyday life. You start CrossFit and you are starting to demand functionality from your body. We are asking you to pick things up, put them down, squat down properly (and often), stand back up, get down on the ground and get back up, pull yourself up, jump, throw things, etc., stuff you either have not been doing or just doing the bare minimum of. We teach you how to do things your body was made to do. We should expect our body to be able to do these things and do them for the rest of our lives. If something hurts while doing these tasks, great, we found something we need to work on and now we can fix it. Daily we hear how members' knees don't hurt while walking up the stairs anymore or how they feel more comfortable and pain free doing daily tasks. This is what we're here for.
Basic tasks aren't supposed to hurt. If they do, let's figure out why and make them better.
In the end, what's more dangerous? Finding an activity that you enjoy, will make your days better and you can do for the rest of your life or sitting on your couch all day and falling victim to everything that comes with that?
I know what I'd choose. Make a decision to get better and stay on the path. It might hurt sometimes but it's worth it.
What do you think is normal?
Is it normal to hit the snooze button repeatedly for an hour every day? Is it normal to deadlift twice a week? Is it normal to eat junk food daily? Is it normal to exercise every single day?
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit." That is a great interpretation of some work from Aristotle by Will Durant and it holds true whether we're talking about fitness or anything else in your life.
So what are we? What is normal to us? Well, you can easily make something normal if you do it over and over again. Getting up just in time to not eat breakfast, take a quick shower and have road rage outbursts on your way to work is normal if you do it most days. Feeling tired all day then staying up late to watch a Friends re-run is normal if you repeatedly do it.
How do we get out of this cycle? Simple. Start small but change some of your habits. You can't? That's just a lie you tell yourself. The reality is most of us know exactly what we need to do but we try to fight it.
Feedback helps. So where to start? Reflection. Take a few minutes at the end of your day and write down how you could have made the day even better. Write it in a notebook, take a note in your phone, text yourself, whatever, just do it. Don't want to take that time at night? Ok, in the morning, write down a few things that will make today great or could have worked better yesterday. You will start to see patterns of what you need to do and be able to make changes from there.
This little practice of reflection will go a long way in creating change in your daily life, your habits and what is normal to you. Try it tonight. Now you'll have a new positive habit in your life and hopefully the start of many more.
Also, stop hitting the snooze button.
You've heard it all before. Nutrition is 4000% of the equation. Abs are made in the kitchen. You can't out train a bad diet. (Insert other witty saying here.)
While my percentages above might be off, there is something to these old fitness cliches for most people. We are in the gym for typically an hour a day, so those other 23 hours are very important. Of course, what we fuel our body with and how often we do so plays a big role.
When people start to make a change, sign up at the gym, focus on their sleep, start to eat better, there is a lot of information coming at them and sometimes it's hard to put it all together. I'm not going to recommend a certain nutrition plan to follow here but let's take a look at ways people tend to go off the rails with their nutrition, even though they think they're doing the right thing.
A big group at Apache is taking on the Whole Life Challenge right now. (Not too late to SIGN UP if you're still interested in crushing the next 6 weeks with awesome people!) I hope this helps a little to anyone that is just getting started with the WLC or with whatever plan you're following. You made a decision to get healthier, don't let these common mistakes get in your way.
I was training a group of people outside of the gym the other day. We were doing sprints in the parking lot. It was a tough part of the workout but everyone was having a good time, smiling and high-fiving each other. I was happy they were having fun, training hard and felt lucky to take advantage of the nice weather in early April. As I was coaching some running mechanics I noticed that a lot of people in their cars were staring at us. Sure, it was Easter morning and maybe they were just jealous we were outside being awesome while they were stuck in their cars but I couldn't stop imagining what they must be thinking about us and about Apache.
I hear it all the time:
"Apache is a CrossFit gym."
"All they do is lift weights."
"You don't lift weights at CrossFit."
"Apache does that Strongman stuff."
"CrossFit is so intense."
"Apache makes you bench press."
"It's so much conditioning."
"I could never do that."
Ok, I'll clear some things up. We are a CrossFit gym. We lift weights most days but some days not at all. We like to mix things up so of course we add elements of strongman, gymnastics, powerlifting, rowing, etc. We believe in intensity (after mechanics and consistency have been demonstrated of course). We bench press sometimes. We program our workouts in a manner to not make you good at just one thing. And yes, you, whoever you are, can do it.
Everything you think we do at Apache and most of what I said above are just random activities you might do here. But here's the secret, you can do that stuff anywhere. People come here to be coached how to move better, improve their lives, and just generally be healthier.
If you're staying away because you think we have some crazy idea of fitness and we are going to force you to deadlift 500lbs, that's on you. The reality is our coaches make sure every single workout, movement, and lift is relatable to you, not the strongest person in the gym or the fastest runner, you. We constantly think about what is going to help you get better. Can people deadlift 500lbs here? Sure. Do people run sub 6 minute miles here? Sure. Those people come to Apache and get trained in a manner that will make them better. Our coaches will challenge them to continue to improve while also making them work on their weaknesses. That goes for everyone. So if you have never worked out before or you just finished competing at a high level, we got you.
Nobody is here to just lift weights and crush some crazy workout. They are here to get better. They are here to get healthy. They are here to improve their lives. They are here to be coached how to do so.
That's what keeps me coming back. If it was just some sweat fest, I'd be gone a long time ago.
We got you.
Life is tough! We get it so we figured we'd come up with some reasons for you to not go to the gym today.
1. Your bed is so comfy.
2. You forgot to pack your weightlifting shoes.
3. You got out of work 30 minutes late.
4. The Yankees are playing and they only have 160 games left this season.
5. You didn't get enough sleep.
6. You didn't have a great lunch.
7. There is running in the workout.
8. Your 5K is coming up.
9. You're getting married next week.
10. You haven't gone in so long, why start today?
11. You have a trip coming up.
12. You don't have a trip coming up so why bother.
13. You have to watch the the entire "The Office" series on Netflix...again.
14. You have a hot date tonight.
15. It's your birthday.
16. You've been eating really well lately.
17. You haven't been eating really well lately.
18. You have work tomorrow.
19. You haven't been training hard lately.
20. You've been training really hard lately.
21. You forget how to sign up for class.
22. You'll be embarrassed.
23. There are double unders in the workout.
24. You didn't get to eat breakfast.
25. You've got so much going on lately.
26. It's so hot out.
27. It's so cold out.
28. It's raining.
29. It's so nice out.
30. You didn't drink enough water today.
31. Your watch says you got enough steps today.
32. Your friends aren't going today.
33. You'll start working out when it gets closer to summer.
34. Your arm hurts.
35. Your leg hurts.
36. You don't want to get too muscular.
37. You can just work out at home.
38. Somebody cut you off on the way to the gym.
39. You'll just let your husband/wife work out this week instead of you.
40. Your buddies are going out for pizza tonight.
41. You don't have any time.
42. You're too old.
43. You're too out of shape.
44. You cut your finger yesterday.
45. The workout clothes you packed don't match.
46. You just got your nails done.
47. You're sore from the last workout.
48. You didn't feel sore from the last workout so it's not working.
48. It's not Monday and you always start things on Mondays.
49. You didn't see results from yesterday's workout.
50. You already took a shower.
51. It's so far.
52. You forgot your wrist wraps.
53. You didn't have your coffee yet.
54. You ran out of protein powder.
55. You have to get in shape first before you go to the gym.
56. You don't know what the workout is.
57. Your sneakers feel weird and you probably need new ones.
58. You'll go tomorrow.
59. You just don't feel like it.
I gave myself exactly 5 minutes to come up with that list and I could probably keep going for awhile. We're all capable of coming up with plenty of reasons to not go to the gym but the reality is nobody cares that you have to watch "The Office" again, your health and fitness certainly don't, so figure it out and get after it.
*Two things: One, a lot of these "excuses" came to mind because of the amazing people I see at Apache every single day that say things like, "Yeah, I got off work late today but I didn't want to miss my workout" or "I went to a party last night but heard the alarm this morning and got right up to get my workout in." Two, we don't expect you to go to the gym every day.
I'm pretty lucky to be surrounded by dedicated people.
The turkey, the sides, the desserts!!! Yes, Thanksgiving is a pretty amazing day for those of us who like to eat but it can quickly derail all of our progress we've made in the gym lately. It's also the beginning of the holiday season where you'll be invited to party after party and your self control will be tested for sure.
How do we have a good time but not overindulge? Here are a few things you can do to enjoy yourself but not completely change all your healthy habits.
Use these tips to make your holiday more enjoyable and hopefully a little healthier. Any questions, just ask.
I get it. You love to work out. So do I. But are you reaching your potential if you're not taking care of yourself? Ideally, you want to recover as best as you can after each workout. The faster we do that, the more we can get out of the next session and the better progress we'll make.
So, where do we start?
We'll cover some more in the future but this should give you a good start to practicing good recovery habits. Remember, you're at the gym for about an hour a day so that other 23 hours is going to be the most important on your road to awesomeness! Don't take it for granted.