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Lifts 4 Gifts 2017, 9 am Sat. December 16 @ The Champions Club

See details here.


Done with the Diagnosis

"I have shin splints"

"I have tendonitis"

In my experience coaching, one of the most crippling thing that happens to athletes is when then get a diagnosis for an acute injury (aka, short-term aches and pains). What's even worse is when the athletes try to diagnose themselves. The actual diagnosis, itself, is used for scientists to be able to reference specific things to each other, and the nature of the words sound way more serious than they are.

For instance, if someone says, "I have a severe Contusion in my leg," my first thought is Jesus, this guy might need to have his leg amputated, blood clots or something nasty. But nope, a contusion is a bruise, plain and simple. Somebody kneed you in the thigh. Walk that bad boy off.

Before I met Sabal, if someone told me they have a facial Epistaxis, I would imagine the horrors of reconstructive surgery and skin graphing. I don't even know what those are. But again, the diagnosis exaggerates the severity; an Epistaxis is a nosebleed.

Anyone remember Buzz? Probably not a true Epistaxis, but then again, it is probably the same thing.For acute injuries, a diagnosis means absolutely nothing to us. In fact, it can do more harm than good. When I hear some of our kids from the track team diagnose themselves with shin splints, they suddenly lose the ability not only to run, but to do push-ups, hollow rocks, and squats. They might as well check themselves into an assisted living home. Or when somebody comes to me with "tennis elbow" or "jumper's knee," they let that diagnosis engulf them. I prefer the Pat method.

"Chris, man, my knee is feeling a little juicy today"

Okay, now we are speaking the same language! Other good examples:

Mr. Carey: "My Achilles was really achy after my ugly attempts at double unders."

Erica: "Chris I have a question: so my back was feeling really bad after max effort deadlifts..."

Mrs. Fitz: "I have some inflammation around my knee after that ninja landing in dodgeball Friday night."

These are specific descriptions of what the athlete is feeling. But more than that, it gives off the vibe that there is a problem with one little thing, not the entire system, and therefore it's possible to work around it. As a coach, this means that we can actually have a legit conversation about taking some cracks at fixing it - whether that involves doing certain mobility drills, or modifying workouts, or jumping on the voodoo bands or Marc Pro. Throwing medical jargon adds a layer of intimidation that tends to stall the athlete's progress and discourages them from using any of their remaining functioning limbs. The only time I can see this coming in handy is when an issue moves past the short-term/acute stage. Jacob, for instance, came into CrossFit this spring talking about, "so I'm pretty sure I messed up by back, so I'll do my best to work around it". As it went on, he got it officially checked out and lo and behold, there was some legit pathology with his spinal disks - which no doubt gave him some relief and closure in knowing that he wasn't just being soft this whole time. But in my opinion, there is one self-diagnosis that trumps every itis or osis in the books:

"I'm sick"

This one really annoys me in the same way that I'm Busy does, and may be subject for another post altogether, but as with above, saying, "my head has been throbbing all day," or, "my nose is all stuffed up," or, "my throat hurts," or even something as simple as, "I'm just feeling a little off today for some reason" gives off the impression that this discomfort is a workable condition. Which, it is.

Leave the diagnosis for the doctors, take a crack at it yourself, and go about your day!

Quote of the Week vol. 219

"There are three kinds of people in the world: those who can count, and those who can't."

- Pat

To be honest, this is an honorary Quote of the Week; he had a better one involving what he would do to the next family member to ask him why he's sweating so bad after a stationary bike effort, but it is by no means work/family safe. So we settle for the dad jokes!

Lifts 4 Gifts 2017

Yes kids, this is the official Lifts 4 Gifts confirmation and announcement, AND it's not even December yet. You should all be proud of Jarrod and me. If you are not proud, for some reason, then your expectations are set way too high. But like I said, it's official now. Here's the essentials.

When: Saturday, December 16, 2017

Time: 9 am

Where: Champions Club/CrossFit Athletic Group. 32301 Stephenson Hwy in Madison Heights

Donation: $20 (or toys)

Is Nasty Nas in the area? About to cause mass hysteria?This event started between the Champions Club and CrossFit BMW in 2011. As with most things in those days, it was the brainchild of Brian the Trainer. Since we could not hold a fundraiser at the school, Jarrod kindly opened up BMW to host, and Lifts 4 Gifts was born. It has undergone a few changes over the years - from location, to the actual lifts performed, to the prizes, but the essentials have always been the same: set a few pr's, keep the form looking mildly acceptable, help families less fortunate than us, and keep the ties strong between the Champions Club and BMW.

This year will run very similar to last year: a time cap for the max back squat, time cap for the max press, then deadlift ladder. You're welcome Wendy! The specifics of the ladder will be revealed closer to the event, but you can read this post for a general overview. We will also open up the event to a few outsiders, so be on the lookout. And, of course, we will all be eager to see if our favorite fan from North Carolina will be participating again:

Other than that, most of you know what to expect. Here's few bullet points to reference if need be:

Donation? Yes, this is a fundraiser first, competition second, and the proceeds will help local families in need. $20 has been the baseline, but if you can't swing that then you can bring in a few toys to donate. Cash works best, and any checks can be made out to the Madison Heights Goodfellows.

What should I bring? Other than the donation, boots or a change of shoes would be a good call if it is raining or showing.

How long will it last? Usually we get everyone out in an hour and a half.

What if it's snowing? Unless the roof collapses, Lifts 4 Gifts will still be on as scheduled. Last year it was too hectic trying to reschedule. If it's a blizzard, just do whatever you can.

Speaking of the roof... yes, the roof should be in tact and keeping the outsides outside. God I wish I could say that with complete confidence... but so far so good!

Anything new this year? We painted the floor. A few new pieces of artwork. A holy and rusty place of matrimony. And did I mention a roof!

Will Jarrod be there on time? Of course not.

Who is Mel? Well, we are not entirely sure, but we think we can rule out 2pac and Bigfoot. Most likely a very nice middle-aged manboy from North Carolina who loves Utah football and has been doing CrossFit out of his garage since the late 2000's.

How will Brian rig this workout in his favor? Excellent question dear boy or girl. If we knew the answer to that, he would already have another method in his pocket. My guess is something to do with a power index and the One Direction Soundtrack.

Will we have enough plates? Whoa boy, I hope so. If Michelle is participating then probably not. Anyone have any spares? 45's? Tires? Trucks?

Any specific gym etiquette we should know about? Space will be a bit crammed, so just be courteous. Again, this is a fundraiser first, not liftoff. Don't be that guy. And strict no-MSU dress code.

Is that handsome boy named Jacob single? Indeed. Single and looking to mingle.

Divisions and prizes? In the past it's been a teenage and adult division, male and female for each, with a small prize awarded to winners. Not sure how it will work this year, but we'll make it up on the fly as always.

Bold predictions? Fine. 35 people in attendance. $500 raised + toys. Jarrod and I are both talked into participating. Somebody drops the metal plates and scratches up Erika Banet's name on the floor. Somebody complains about having spotters on back squats. Katie Shakes and Michelle have a one-on-one fight to the death to settle a tie in their total. Alan participates, single-handedly throwing off the entire plans for distributing squat racks. Somehow Brian still wins.

Hope to see you guys there!

New Graduate: Nick Bewick

Yesterday morning Nick Bewick finished his final day of Fundamentals with a great effort on Helen: 9:45 with a 200m run, 12k kettlebells, and ring rows.

Nick has been by far one of the most entertaining athletes to go through Fundamentals in recent memory. From his Star Wars shirts, to his sarcastic remarks, to his offerings of pounds of roasted coffee and raspberry cream pie, I have enjoyed every minute he's been in. I did his New Kid post pretty late in the process, but it became even more apparent yesterday that his skill and coordination were up to par based on how well he picked up on Unweighting with the Olympic lifts. On the other hand, his upper back is as stiff as a board, so that doesn't help with anything involving the shoulders. And with consistent attendance we should see a pretty quick increase in his strength and conditioning. Look for Nick at the 4:30 session coming right from across the street.

Congratulations Nick!

Ghosts of Champions Club past: Tom Trastevere with a healthy amount of WSU coach Mike Leach

Beast Mode: Summer Rookies

Earlier this week we did 5 rep max deadlifts. It was our first time deadlifting in awhile and it was looking a little inconsisent as expected. For the most part though, everyone started to fix things up after a few sets. In fact, two of our best movers on the day were Summer rookies (and both Berkley natives) Olivia Harbert and Isaac Dawkins. Both of them topped out at 85 lbs. Check it out:

As much as I hate to admit it to her, Olivia moves very well for how new she is. Even during the Summer she seemed to come straight out of Fundamentals with a good sense of where her body was. She is coming back this winter after a fall packed with soccer stuff, so hopefully she can add some consistent attendance to go with her natural athleticism.

Isaac, on the other hand, had none of the coordination Olivia possesses. This might be due in part to the fact that he's a 7th grader with a size 12 shoe. During the Summer 10 am session, Isaac took a very long time to get a feel for what his body was doing for any given movement. He came back to us late last month and has been routinely at the gym 4-5 times per week. Slowly but surely, I'm seeing some improvements in his coordination and strength.

Keep it going kids!

New Graduate: Izzy

Izzy Barone finished her 7th and final Fundamentals session yesterday with Helen; a perfect pre-Thanksgiving workout. Since she is a runner, we did full 400m runs, along with 12k swings and ring rows. She finished with an impressive 8:25.

If it seems like I just did Izzy's New Kid post, it's because I just did; since she's signed up she only missed two days. Like all the runners we've had come through here, Izzy need major improvement on her midline strength. The good news is her upper body and lower body strength are not too far off what most girls come in with. Of course, her strong suite is her endurance, and this will help in our workouts. And skill-wise she was able to pick up on running, Olympic lifts, and even got her first-ever rope climb on Day 4!

Be on the lookout for Izzy at one of the evening sessions with the rest of her Cross Country teammates. And congratulations on finishing Fundamentals!

Ghosts of Champions Club past: a polite Amy Potter

New Kid on the Block: Nick

A little late with this one, but about a week and a half ago, Erica brought in a co-worker from across the street at Henkel to check out the gym. His name is Nick Bewick, and after observing a session he decided to sign up for Fundamentals later that night.

So far Nick has made it through 5 Fundamentals sessions, and is scheduled to finish up this weekend. It's been very entertaining to coach him so far; his dry/sarcastic sense of humor makes me think he's going to fit in just fine. And yes, that picture above is his first day of Fundamentals in khakis.

Nick is a graduate of Shrine High School from the early 2000s and he signed up to help get his general fitness and health up where he wants it. So far the strength and endurance are the major limiting factors, but his coordination is not nearly as bad as he made me to believe. We'll find out for sure, seeing as his next sessions are running and Olympic lifts.

I'll check back in soon.