Always a Parent, Forever a Child

As children, most of us couldn’t wait to grow up. It seemed as if we were always counting down to that next big birthday – 13, 18, 21. You know the drill.

Through it all, we just wanted to be treated as adults – or at least “a big kid.” We wanted our parents to stop babying us and see that we could do things on our own. We wanted them to stop embarrassing us (especially in public). And above all else, we wanted them to give us some freedom.

Now that I’m adult, I find myself still looking to my parents for guidance. There are a several things I’ve yet to figure out. What’s the best way to invest my money? How do I talk to my kids about that? Why is being an adult so hard? Do the kids ever shut up? (I can see my parents laughing at that last one.)

My oldest son, Bryce, collecting tickets an the annual Lions Club seniors luncheon.

Bryce collecting tickets an the annual Lions Club seniors luncheon.

Sometimes, the kids are receiving a lesson without either of our knowledge.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to raise our children to be good human beings. What do we want them to learn from us? If we’re screamers, chances are our kids will be too. If we’re not careful about when and where we have our adult conversations, rest assured those little ears are listening. We all need to be cognizant of this.

Do our words and deeds reflect those of Christians who strive to see the best in humanity? To serve others? Do we display love and forgiveness? These are the values we should be teaching our children. And not just on Sundays at church.

Bryce & Kade embracing their inner "nerd".

Bryce & Kade embracing their inner nerd.

As adults, we probably listen to our parents far more than we ever did as children.

Just because we’ve raised our children to know gossip is bad & bullying is wrong, doesn’t mean they won’t still need us to be a good example when they become adults themselves. After all, aren’t we as adults still learning everyday? Learning to be good citizens that go to work and pay our bills. Learning to balance work and kids and our relationships. Don’t we still struggle to do what’s right sometimes? And even fail occasionally?

We still need good role models.

As a parent, our job is never over. We never stop wondering if our children are okay. If they are happy, loved and satisfied with their lives – whether they are 3 or 30. We are still responsible for making sure our children always know their way home. Our home. God’s home.

We are always a parent, forever a child.

5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself & the CrossFit House

CrossFit has gotten a bad rap for the amount of injuries it leads to. And to be fair, there is some validity in these claims. It’s hard to argue that doing CrossFit doesn’t push people to injury when the measure of success is faster time and heavier weight. It’s all about how hard you can push the limits. Right? The greater the risk the greater the reward. Isn’t that what they say?

But let’s be fair. Risk is involved in all things. Let me repeat that.

Risk is involved in all things.

If you are a runner, soccer player, power-lifter or couch potato, you’re at risk for something. The question is, what are you doing about it? And like I’ve said before, CrossFit doesn’t cause injuries. People do.

CrossFit is designed to push your limits. Most sports are. But it’s in those moments of greatness – when someone has surpassed what we thought possible – that we realize limits are worth pushing. When incredible power is achieved. When suddenly, new boundaries are set. When those willing to push hard enough are looked at with awe. With wonder. It’s in those moments where we find ourselves.

I would bet both Rich and Camille’s $275,000 every limit they pushed during their training was worth standing on that podium at the 2014 CrossFit Games as the Fittest Man and Fittest Woman on Earth.

Watch this video and tell me if you disagree.

So, you can hurt yourself in CrossFit (gasp!). Now what? What are you – what am I – doing about it? Because if we want to keep doing this sport we love, we need to start protecting our house.

CrossFit is a company, a lifestyle and its core, a workout regimen. If we don’t start taking responsibility for ourselves, we may not have a house worth coming home to. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but ultimately, it’s about doing the right thing. We need to start holding ourselves and each other accountable – for using proper technique, scaling when necessary, pushing the limits responsibly. Because I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of defending CrossFit when it comes to injuries. I’m tired of the hate articles and the petty “my sport is better than yours” crap.

The bottom line, folks, is we’re all doing something we love while getting fit – be it powerlifting, running, triathlons, CrossFit, Zumba or Pilates. Shouldn’t that be enough? As CrossFitters who are passionate about what we do, it’s high time we start protecting our house – the CrossFit name and our bodies.

Here are 5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself & the CrossFit House

Disclaimer: I’m not certified in CrossFit, kinesiology, chiropractic care or any other medical degree for that matter. I’m just a normal person who loves CrossFit and has learned my fair share about the need for injury prevention. These are a few things I feel will further your love for CrossFit (or whatever sport you love) and allow you to continuing doing it for as long as possible because you’re taking care of your body.

1)  Use proper technique and hold others accountable for doing the same.
Just like runners need to learn the difference between pronation and supination and how it effects them, CrossFitters need to learn the proper technique for the variety of different movements our sport requires. Take the time to watch videos online, attend training camps and practice. You’ve heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” And, while I’m not one to believe perfection can be attained, I do believe in getting as close as possible. So learn the technique and commit to it. Don’t be afraid to hold others accountable as well. Personally, I absolutely want someone to tell me if I’m doing it wrong. Otherwise, we’re all just setting ourselves up for failure – and continuing to give CrossFit a bad name.

2) Embrace your weaknesses.
The Fittest don’t get that way without hours and hours of training. If you watched this year’s Games, you heard Camille say, “Every year, you get better at finding your weaknesses.” Figure out what they are and attack them. After all, that’s what’s standing in your way of victory – and what’s likely causing you injuries if you aren’t taking the time to get the technique right. (Refer back to number 1.)

3) Educate yourself on mobility and recovery.
This is something that came out of nowhere for me. One day, I woke up and my back hurt. I knew it wasn’t due to an injury, but I also knew that it would lead to one quickly if I didn’t do something about it. After a few trips to the chiropractor, I became highly aware of how efficient our bodies can be if we’re taking care of them properly. Recovery isn’t just a supplement you drink after working out. It’s physically helping your body recover from everything you’ve put it through and mobility plays a key role in this. This involves regular (if not, daily) stretching and mobilizing – your muscles, your joints. This is not something to be taken lightly. If you fail to do this, you are setting yourself up for an injury. Period.

4) Get the right amount of sleep and the proper nutrition.
Sleep. Here lately, I haven’t been getting enough of it. And it shows in my daily WODs. There’s plenty of evidence to support why getting the right amount of sleep is important. So, 8 hours – minimum – get it. As for nutrition, this is something I’m most definitely not qualified to talk about. But, I’ve worked with a personal nutritionist as well learned from some of the best when it comes to this. And, there are a few easy things you can be doing to improve your body’s overall health. Fish oil, zinc & magnesium and vitamin D should all be a part of your daily supplements. (More on this below.)

5) Listen to your body and check your ego at the door.
This hits home majorly for me. Nearly two years ago I was hospitalized for pulmonary embolisms. For those unfamiliar, a pulmonary embolism is a blood clot in the lungs – and highly fatal. For a clot to reach your pulmonary artery, it has to have already traveled through one side of your heart. Listening to my body saved my life. Your body is way smarter than you ever thought about being. It knows when something is wrong and it’s usually giving you more than enough signs if that’s the case. Listen. And if there is in fact something wrong, don’t let your ego get in the way of your safety and the safety of those around you.

It’s my hope that by taking these small steps, we can help prevent CrossFit-related injuries and protect the CrossFit name as well as everything it represents. By doing this, we can also make sure what it represents is something we’re proud of.

There are numerous resources readily available online (and from real experts). So instead of pretending to be something I’m not, I’ll just leave a few of these gems for you below.

Technique, Mobility & Recovery Resources:

  • Bruce Barbell – Loads of free videos on gymnastics & Olympic weightlifting.
  • Mike Cazayoux: Joint by Joint Approach – A great introduction to mobilizing your joints.
  • Breaking Muscle – This site has articles for everything from endurance and weightlifting to nutrition and exercises for your kids. Here’s what they have on mobility & recovery.
  • Movement, The Book – If you’re seriously into learning how your joints work, start here.
  • Mobility WOD – While there is a paid version of this site, the free version offers some pretty great content as well. And, worth every penny – I highly recommend buying Kelly’s book, Becoming a Supple Leopard.

Supplement Recommendations:

  • Pure Pharma – High quality supplements that should be part of your daily routine.
  • Top 7 Supplements for Athletes  – Supplement recommendations from CrossFit Invictus, Fittest Team in the 2014 CrossFit Games. (They might know what they’re talking about.)
  • Eat to Perform – Meal planning guide and calculator as well as an online support system. I don’t personally subscribe to this website, but I’ve heard good things.
  • SFH Supplements – Recommendation by Games athlete, Mike Cazayoux.
  • RSP Nutrition – High quality pre and post-workout supplements. I use Fast Fuel, ReGen, AgmaGen and GlutaGen.

*Note: I have not been paid to endorse any of these products or services. These are just some resources I’ve come across during my time as a CrossFitter, either personally or through fellow athletes. Have a resource you love? Share it in the comments below.

 

Bruce Barbell Taught Me Respect

This past Saturday, I had the privilege of attending a Bruce Barbell training program with 7-time World Team member Matt Bruce and CrossFit Games Champion and Hack’s Pack UTE member, Mike Cazayoux. For 8-1/2 hours we covered Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics movements as well as endurance, nutrition and injury prevention.

To say my mind is on overload is an understatement.

Over and over we practiced different lifts, focusing specifically on the snatch and the clean & jerk. Matt Bruce and his crew would walk around us like hawks as we cleaned, jerked & snatched, critiquing our every move. “Shoulders back. Butt up. Tight core. Straight arms on the pull. Come up on your toes for the shrug. Drop under the bar. Elbows up. Fast jerk.”

How am I supposed to do all that and still remember to breathe at the same time? And as if that wasn’t hard enough, they also videoed our every move….and then proceeded to plaster it on the tv in front of everyone and tell us what we did wrong.

And I loved every minute of it.

When Mike Cazayoux took over the gymnastics portion of the program, we drilled through progressions for handstand push-ups, pull-ups, toes-to-bar and muscle-ups. All the while, he basically made these seem like child’s play as he eased into a muscle-up while talking us through the technique. Wait. You can talk & muscle-up at the same time? That’s impressive.

CrossFit Bridge City members with the Bruce Barbell crew.

CrossFit Bridge City members with the Bruce Barbell crew.

And then came nutrition and endurance. Two words: Mind. Blown.

I seriously need to get it together when it comes to my diet. This is something I’ve known for awhile now. Something I know I need to get a handle on if I want to be a real competitor. But after everything Mike had to say about nutrition and eating to perform, it became a little more clear how far off base I really am. How do people continue to live on all the crap we put into our bodies? On stuff that offers zero nutritional value?

That aside, when you get down to the nuts and bolts of the science behind the body’s three different energy systems, it’s truly mind blowing. Throw in metabolic flexibility and you may as well as well be speaking Chinese to me. Luckily, Mike broke it down on a level I could understand. Bottom line: our bodies are amazing machines and we have unbelievable power at our fingertips.

Overall, I give Bruce Barbell a 10 in all aspects of the program. It was easily the best money I’ve spent in a long time. That being said, I learned far more than technique and nutrition this past weekend.

Bruce Barbell taught me respect.

I learned how much respect Olympic weightlifters have for their craft – the barbell, the programming and the technique. I learned how a Games athlete prepares to be the fittest with hours of training and strict nutrition. I learned how much CrossFitters and Olympic Weightlifters respect one another. How much each sport has done for the other. What they continue to do.

To be the best requires intense dedication and commitment – to your training, your nutrition, your technique. It requires humbling yourself to learn from those who have been where you want to be. It requires pushing yourself beyond the limits your mind and body have created. It requires respect.