Tag Archives: Beginners

ASK ERIN: is this for me?

23 May

When you first start CrossFit, I’m pretty sure everything looks like this.

Hi Erin-

Thank you again for being such a great coach!  
I am having doubts about my ability to be anything but mediocre at Crossfit.  I left (almost) every class feeling weak and sorry for myself..   
I am definitely motivated by your enthusiasm for me to join, but are you sure this is for me?  I trust I am not the only person that has ever come to you with similar concerns. 
I know you are busy, but if you have a moment I would really appreciate your honest feedback.
Thanks so much.

So, let me say first that the feelings you are having are very familiar (to me personally) and also very common in the world of those who want to begin CrossFit, and who want to see what this world of crazy tall-sock-wearing people holds, but can’t seem to imagine how to get from A to Z.

I started CrossFit with a background in sports, a sincere interest to learn as much as I could, and honestly… nothing much else! I didn’t have a pull-up (not even close). I still characterize myself in terms of Gimli, the dwarf from the Lord of the Rings – “I’m wasted on cross-country! We Dwarves are natural sprinters, very dangerous over short distances.” I could barely overhead squat a bar and it kind of hurt to do so. I had no idea what Olympic Lifting was and I had never done a THING with a kettlebell before. I thought you would ACTUALLY die if you did 100 pullups, 100 pushups, 100 situps, and 100 squats (a workout I have now done in about 20 minutes). I nearly fainted the first time I tried to do a handstand longer than 20 seconds and I was also sure that I would definitely be embarrassing myself if I ever tried doing anything really hard in public – I mean, no one looks right when they’re squatting large amounts of weight. And for a while until I really mustered up the guts, I was really almost content to go on being some nobody in a gym with lots of mirrors, scarily skinny girls running on treadmills, and creepy dudes grunting in the basement.

The truth of the matter is that CrossFit, and I hope specifically CFCC, is really a place where a bunch of nobodies have come to become somebodies. Every person here started out unsure of their strengths, but extremely conscious of their weaknesses. The general progression is that each one of us, slowly but surely, one workout by one workout, one push-up by one push-up just does what’s in front of us… and that this leads to a development of a seed within each of us that we did not know existed.

I never expected to be able to do muscle-ups. I never expected to make it to 13th at the Regional Level of the CrossFit Games. I never expected to be able to clean well over my bodyweight, or snatch pretty dang close to it, or win a PA title in my weight class.  I never expected to love 20+ minute long “chippers” – workouts where you cut through a series of many tasks at a time.  I never expected to be a full 20lbs. lighter than I was without CrossFit. I never expected to OPEN and own a CrossFit gym. 

All of these things sprung from those few things that I had at the very beginning: a background, and a desire to learn.  To that I’d add that time, great teachers, and good friends have done more than just talent ever could.

Here is SPECIFICALLY why I think you fit into this category, but in the end, you know you much better than I do at this point!

1. From what I can tell, your mobility limitations are few. This is HUGE plus.  You have a little trouble getting into the bottom position of the squat, but not much else going on from there that is limiting.  Anything that should be fixed, will make you a more fit person for EVERYTHING in your life.  My principal on that is, if you’re not doing CrossFit, you should be doing something that at least pushes you towards doing the things that you will need to all your life: squat, pick up things (babies? suitcases?) from the ground, and put them over your head.

2. No you don’t have a pull-up, but YES you do have a basic level of conditioning.  Sometimes, when we give someone an easier variation of a movement, say… Ring Row vs. Banded Pull-up, the person takes this to mean that when they finish quickly the workout wasn’t that hard for them.  This couldn’t be farther than the truth.  When I give you a less tough version of a movement sometimes that is because I want to test your ability to bring intensity to a workout. That variation is relatively just as hard for you as it is for anyone else… you just literally finished faster with the same perceived percentage of what should have been harder for you! In a lot of cases, you were able to bring an amount of focus to your training that led you to finish first in the conditioning workouts, and some pretty keen attention to the details of your form as well – if I asked you to complete a movement one way, you really stuck to it!  Even if it was hard!  That kind of integrity and intensity is not easy to find – and it is, in my opinion, the mark of a committed athlete. 

3. You are going to be very strong.  You can’t tell right now, because everything is hard to apply your already existing strength to. You also can’t tell right now, because you won’t automatically be strong in EVERY position.  People who are THE BEST at deadlifting, squatting, benching, pressing, and Olympic Lifting (Clean n’ Jerk, Snatch) are not always the best at running, pull-ups, and push-ups!  The great thing about CrossFit though is that when you are strong, this is a place to embrace that as an asset!  When you are weak in other ways, this also a place where we don’t let you settle for that!  If you can get behind that idea – then you definitely belong here.

4. I can tell that you are not satisfied… and believe me, even though that’s not an awesome feeling – it is ALL you need to find yourself in a COMPLETELY different place in as little as a month.  The best athletes want more.  They want to be good at everything at once.  They want to come out on top when they can and do better next time when they don’t.  I think you’ve got this in you just because I do – it’s kind of a hunch.  Maybe it’s that the folks watching the Biggest Loser are clearly people who are into the idea of REAL change (even if it’s come by SUPER quickly for some and not-so-much in real life for others).  I absolutely LOVE that Bob Harper is responsible for sending you through our doors!  And just like all good Coaches should, I am obsessed with potential. I don’t doubt yours one bit when I see you train here.  

5. If you feel you need it, there is a community of Coaches and Members who are hugely supportive of each other here.  They know where you’re coming from and they are more than willing to relate to you as you struggle with learning so much and forming new habits. They will laugh with you when you inevitably load your barbell incorrectly a few times. They will high-five you when you get your first pull-up.  They will text you when they see your name at the top of the board every now and then (and who knows, maybe always???)  There is a Foundations class for those who feel they need it which simplifies our sessions and every Coach is also totally open to speaking with you about how best to attend CFCC to mold it to your own goals.  All you ever need to do, is ask!

All this said, and I apologize if this is TERRIBLY long-winded or too personal compared to what you were looking for – being concise is not my strong suit –  I hope you know that I definitely think you will love it here AND do well.  I’m in this business because I LIVE for the potential I see in others – it’s literally what makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up!  I’m also fine with whatever you decide is best for you! What I hope you will do is NEVER be satisfied with less than your best, but ALWAYS know that what you bring today, is more than enough to get you there.  If you ever need someone to help you plan that more specifically, never hesitate toask – that’s what I’m here for!



BUSY Saturday.

19 May

Monday, 5/14/12

13 May

Don’t forget that this is where we are in the Grand Scheme of things PROGRAMMING-wise. Welcome to the second week of the Cycle!


Squat like your momma made ya!

Hybrid Oly with Jim, 7-9am – with Sammy, 530-730pm
ADVANCED Oly with Jim, 9-11am and at 730-930pm
CROGA with Tim at 12pm
FOUNDATIONS with Tim at 630pm
GYMNASTICS with Sammy at 730pm

HYBRID PROGRAMMING for today is here.

FOUNDATIONS for today is here.

GYMNASTICS for today is here.

SELF MYOFASCIAL RELEASE: Foam Roll Hips and Upper Back, 3 minutes.
MOBILITY: Box Assisted 90/90, 1 minute each side.
POSTURE AND STABILITY: Single Leg Squat Hold, 1 minute each side.
DYNAMIC WARM-UP: Tabata Single Leg Squats, switch legs at every interval – use as easy a variation as you would like.
STRENGTH: Back Squat, up to a peak of 3.
METABOLIC CONDITIONING: 2 attempts at a set of 20 reps of Back Squats.
You should record only one successful set (your heaviest one).  If you fail on your first and would like to attempt a second, feel free to use your second attempt for this.  If you finish your first and believe you are capable of a harder set – you may also use the second attempt for this.

The last time we did 20-rep Back Squats.

More Elements graduates!

29 Apr

CFCC has officially hit 200 members – that’s some incredible stuff.

Every round of Elements never ceases to amaze me!  A whole new slew of people has been welcomed into CFCC and each and every one of them is just waiting to fulfill their new-found potential.  Tis the season for growing into something you didn’t think you could be!  More power to you, friends – and to my fellow vintage CFCCers – make sure you say “hi” if you see them around! 🙂

He doesn't always do this - but he was a very SPECIAL member of my Elements class 😉


New classes on the Schedule!

11 Apr

Hello, friends! We’ve added a number of classes to our schedule for the month of April and until June and I just thought you MIGHT want to know about them via something other than our online schedule.  This schedule is in effect as of tomorrow morning (Thursday)!

Please note that the only regular classes that have been added are Sunday at 10am and 12pm and will be taught by Tim.

CROGA with Tim (in the DOJO/Warm-up area):

Tuesdays and Thursdays at 630am-715am

Mondays and Wednesdays at 12pm-1245p, and 630p-715p

Sundays at 11am

Whether you’re looking to wake your hips up after a heavy day of squatting or PREP your hips for an evening of maxing the Snatch and then your mile time, CROGA is your answer to being able to do both of these things (ALL things???) effectively.  These classes will vary in form but you can expect about 30 minutes of Yoga, and 15 minutes of hardcore mobilitywod.com stay stretching.  If you have specific needs, just ask Timoteo!  He’s there to get you acquainted with the ways YOU can do just a little bit of work to get your body moving the way it was meant to!

CONDITIONING ONLY (in the “Back of the House”/Oly/Elements Area with Tim):

Tuesdays and Thursdays at 715am-8am

Feeling like a little burnt out?  Feeling like your strength is great but your general physical preparedness could be just a bit better? Attempting to format two-a-days that you can actually live through one or two times a week? This class is for you and open to all members of CFCC! It will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 715am and will include a dynamic warm-up, followed by a “metcon” that ranges in length (anywhere from 10-20 minutes). The workouts will not always be running and rowing but you will find that most of them include variants of these movements mixed with others.  The format of the workouts will be simple, easy to review, but not always easy to complete (you will still be breathing hard!).  Any weights used will be light. You’ll be done by 8am!

ADVANCED CLASS, location varied with Tim leading:

Tuesdays at 6pm, Sundays at 2pm

The class is for Advanced Class athletes ONLY and will be an attempt to (most of all anyway) prepare Record for the Regional Level of the CrossFit Games!  She needs you to be there, friends – make plans to try to hit this session as often as you can until May 5th!  For more on the purpose of Advanced Class and how YOU can join in read this post and email me directly at erin@crossfitcc.com if you would like to be considered!

GYMNASTICS with Sammy: 

Tuesday and Thursday at 730pm

Sunday at 9am and 1pm

There is no more Gymnastics on Saturdays!  Gymnastics is a class devoted to the finer points of many of the movements that CrossFit typically borrows from the sport of Gymnastics.  There’s no end to the number of party tricks you may learn in this class and ALL are welcome.  Whether you’re still scared stiff at the idea of being upside down, want your first muscle-up, or seriously want to consider being able to do an iron-cross – this class CAN get you there and you WILL see changes in your performance elsewhere in CrossFit!  Skill work in this class is run in a more clinic-ey style and a conditioning workout which varies in length and intensity is included in just one hour – if you’d like highly individualized attention, please don’t forget that all of your Coaches always have Personal Training hours available.

COMING UP in 2 weeks…


We are still setting down some definite hours but we know these will be available:

Monday and Wednesday, 630pm.

The purpose of the Foundations class is two-fold: we wanted to provide a time, even if it was at a few points during the week, where a recently graduated Elements student and a recently vacationed long-time CFCC member could meet and train together.  In this class you can expect to be setting a foundation for many of the movements that are taught in Elements but also trained in our regular classes.  There will be an 8 person cap on this class and the format of the hour will be very like our regular classes: Mobility Work, Warm-up, Strength, and Metabolic Conditioning.  You can dependably find yourself either squatting or deadlifting in these classes for strength to reinforce patterns for two of the most important lifts in our arsenal of movements.  You can also find yourself completing metcons that are VERY simple in nature (no complicated movements, no crazy names to remember or re-learn but merely all of the movements which are included in our Elements class metcons – simply, reinforced)- and which will typically never run longer than 15 minutes.  This is the first time we’ve ever run a class of this kind and we’re very excited to have the opportunity to offer it.  This class will begin in two weeks time (Monday, 4/30/12).

Thursday, 3/8/12

7 Mar

Specialized Classes: None.
Elements: 9am with Sammy, 6pm with Erin, 7pm with Tim.
CF Games Open: 7am and 7pm, sign up on the old Google Calendar!

Check out Workout 12.3 of the CrossFit Games Open.

Just in case you missed it… the results of the CFCC BCCC – the next one is in April!

In the spirit of healthy (but good) eats, Thai Basil Beef Balls – Easy, makes for a great snack, and is probably a nice change from your average meatball. 🙂

3 classes moving one room: Elements with Liz, Mobility with Tim, and the 730pm session all the way in the back of the room with Chris.

SELF-MYOFASCIAL RELEASE: Foam Roll as needed, 3 minutes.
MOBILITY: Spiderman Stretch, 1 minute each side. Gastroc/Soleus Stretch, 1 minute each side.
DYNAMIC WARM-UP: Review the Hang Clean.
SKILL WORK: Hang Clean, 2 reps, on the minute every minute for 10 minutes.

If you have a bodyweight clean, pick your own weight. If you don’t, ask the Coach! (Sammy). During your rest, listen to your Coach. Those who will need to be critiqued will be held at the same weight until PERFECT form is exhibited – if you want to move up, you’ve got to be perfect. Those with bodyweight cleans may up their weights as needed – the Coach reserves the right to ask you to back down should your form deteriorate to a point where it is no longer profitable. If you were here last week try to work up to something heavier than last week.

STRENGTH: Front Squat, up to a peak of 2. Start higher than you normally would (60% of max).
METABOLIC CONDITIONING: Run the Short Loop four times… for time.

Check out your score from last time!

Tuesday, 3/6/12

5 Mar

Specialized Classes: None.
Elements: 7am with Cassie, 9am with Sammy, 6pm with Erin, 7pm with Tim.

Below, you’ll find a picture of my brother during his Elements (thanks, Chris!) Class.  It’s taken him a long time but for the first time ever, he’s giving CrossFit a real try.  He’s already got some of the spirit that we see in so many of you after just a few months of doing CrossFit – and this is why I love watching people who are new to CrossFit enter our world at CFCC!  You have no idea what you’re capable of – but I’ve seen so many start with just a small step in the right direction, and end up AMAZING me in the end. 

I’m so excited for him (whether or not he chooses to stay :)) because even though I know CrossFit is not for everyone – I think I know enough about it to say that it has made my life richer and my mind stronger, and my body a lot more functional than it used to be.  Who wouldn’t want to give that to someone they love?  If you’d like your friends or family to try CrossFit – tell them to come soon!  Our next stage of Elements begins at the end of March in the new space. If you haven’t told someone about CrossFit NOW is the time.  We’re about to get bigger and better than ever before!

My brother, Joshua - in the elements class.

SMR and MOBILITY: Lax Ball Shoulders (Front and Back), and pick your favorite shoulder stretch(es) with the band, 8 minutes.
DYNAMIC WARM-UP: Skin the Cat Practice.
See this video for more details on why we do this, how to do it well, and what it has to do with your SHOULDER.
STRENGTH/SKILL WORK: Strict Full-ROM (Range of Motion) Handstand Push-up Strength Work and Ring Handstand Push-up Skill Work for those meriting it – taught in the format of the muscle-up day from life-cycle.
METABOLIC CONDITIONING: “Flotsam and Jetsam” AMRAP in 20 minutes: 1 strict muscle-up + 1 dip (perform a muscle-up and then perform an extra dip), 2 skin the cats, 40 double unders.

*If you don’t have a strict muscle-up perform one very hard strict pull-up (at least 70% of your best). If you don’t have an rx’d skin the cat perform a strict L-raise variation on the bars. If you don’t have 40 double unders, complete 100 singles.

“The pitch to which he was aroused was tremendous. All the fighting blood of his breed was up in him and surging through him. This was living., though he did not know it. He was realizing his own meaning in the world; he was doing that for which he was made…. He was justifying his existence, than which life can do no greater; for life achieves its summit when it does to the uttermost that which it was equipped to do.”
-Jack London, White Fang.