Why CrossFit is good for families.

Two years ago in May, my relationship with fitness went through a big overhaul.  Prior to that I was a distance runner and YMCA junkie.  As a half marathoner, most of my training was at night or on the weekend, away from my family.  Yeah, yeah -- I know some people use BOB strollers to take their kids with them, but that just wasn't going to happen with my daughter.  Trust me.  She unbuckled herself and hopped right out mid stride one day... That was the end of that.  So onto the YMCA I went, logging my miles on the dreadmill.  Don't get me wrong, I still love a good treadmill run every once in a while - but it's mainly because I can zone out watching cable.  Running on a treadmill everyday while my kid was in child watch just isn't the idea of fitness I've ever wanted for me or my kids.  

Enter CrossFit. 

From day one of CrossFit, my kids have gone to the box with me more times than not.  Most busy days they stay in the kids' room which has a giant plexiglass window.  Every time they look up - they see mom working out, getting stronger, failing and trying again.   During the calmer days, they are able to sit in the giant tires or on boxes and cheer us on during an AMRAP.  The coaches engage them in tag or rope climbs.  They are learning that fitness is fun.  They are seeing mom & her friends work hard, get strong, and be part of a community.

I'm sure you've heard that song and dance at other places, but here's why CrossFit is different than your other gym: it is a family.  My husband travels often for work but my kids have no shortage of fill-in family because of this place.  

My kids met their best friends at CrossFit.  My daughter loves that Ms. Melyssa is the one that cuts her hair.  My son loves that he can talk to Officer Danny about any weird law enforcement question.  Both of my kids love seeing Coach Kyra at Target and showing her all their new workout gear.  My daughter loves seeing Ms. Tracey at her brother's school and always acts like they have some secret inside joke.  My son loves that he can show Mr. James which new Pokemon he's caught.  There's 30 other people that I could name on this list.  All people that would drop whatever for our kids (and for me & my husband).  All people that have known our kids for the past 2 years- watched them grow, know their quirks and show them love.  In my opinion, that's the pretty awesome and unique part about CrossFit.  

The muscles are just an added bonus.

 -Thanks for reading.  ~Christy

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2016 - Get After It!

Coach Marcia is back! She is a coach and athlete at the Guelph Barbell Club, in Guelph Ontario Canada.

Wow, so the holidays are over and the new year is upon us. Crazy how time flies when your having fun! If you are like most humans, you probably over-indulged a bit in the last few weeks. But don't fret, all is not lost! Even though you may feel like it is true, your muscles do not turn to mush if you miss a few workouts and consume a few too many calories. 

Thankfully, our bodies remember all the training we have put through and with a little work, they are quick to return to your natural athletic state. Here are a few tips for getting back on track.

1) Understand that your choices/mistakes (or whatever you want to call them) are in the past.
Did you need that extra slice of pie? No. Did you eat it anyway? Yes. But why did you eat it? Were you stressed, tired, upset? Were you in a social situation where you couldn't control the food on your plate? Or was it just delicious? Regardless of the reason for overeating, it happened - Let it go. 

2) Don't be too hard on yourself.
You may have a few extra pounds hanging around to remind you of your holiday splurge. I know that I do! But being hard on yourself will not help. Everytime you notice that negative self talk, or hear those voices in your head when you look in the mirror. Stop for a minute, remind yourself of all the great things you have achieved, and say something positive to yourself.

3) Remind yourself of what you want to achieve.
Remember that weight you want to lift? Remember the new skill you want to master? Is a competition coming up soon for which you need to fit into a particular weight class? Or do you have a special event that you want to look great at? Whatever your reason, remember your long-term goals and make a choice to take a step towards them.

4) Set a short-term goal.
After you remember what you want to achieve, decide on a path to get you there and set a short term goal. Celebrating little victories along the way to your goal will help keep you focused.

5) Get moving!
Recognizing why you slipped up, accepting your faults, and setting short-term goals are great. However, the most important step is getting up, pulling on your workout gear and get moving! Grab a partner, head to your favorite gym and hit a workout hard!

Even the most dedicated athletes fall off the wagon sometimes. But it's the strongest who pick themselves up after a fall and get back on track.

Go on, get going! Start on the path to a better you in 2016!

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The Benefits of Olympic Weightlifting for CrossFit Athletes

Another great post from Marcia! She is CF-1 certified and also has coaching certifications ‎in the sports of Olympic Lifting and Wrestling. Marcia trains out of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Check out her blog, The Snatch Monologues, for more lifting tips!

In every CrossFit gym, you will find a variety of athletes. Everyone has a different body type and has different strengths and weaknesses in the gym. This is often determined by an individual's past athletic experience and genetics.  With some exceptions, most athletes at the box can be categorized into one of the following categories: Endurance, Metcon, or Strength.

The Olympic lifts, the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk, are sometimes overlooked by the general CrossFit athlete.  Why? Because these lifts are difficult and require time to develop appropriate technique. It is much easier for a new gym goer to successfully pick up a deadlift, as compared to hitting a technically sound snatch on their first day in the gym. 

In my experience as both a coach and as an athlete, I have found that after adding Olympic weightlifting to your programming, your CrossFit abilities improve. Therefore, I highly recommend that the general CrossFit athlete should consider focusing on the O-lifts as a performance enhancer.

1. Strength. Resistance training in general will develop strength. Common strength exercises used frequently in CrossFit programming include squats and deadlifts. While these movements are very efficient at increasing strength in specific muscle groups, becoming proficient at the Olympic lifts increases overall strength. The stronger you become, the easier it is to move loads at those prescribed weights!  Don't get me wrong, "Fran" will always be an uncomfortable workout - but when the prescribed weight is 50% of your 1-rep max rather than 90%, the 21-15-9 repetitions of thrusters aren't quite so terrible.

2. Power. Being strong is important to athletes, but power - the ability to display strength quickly - has greater implications to performance. Executing the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk results in significantly greater power output than other strength movements. Increased power will enable the CrossFit athlete to proceed through repetitions, much more quickly. Suddenly,  that Clean ladder that coach has programmed doesn't quite take you as much time to complete!

3. Flexibility. Many athletes, including myself, have the tendency to overlook the importance of flexibility.  Frequent O-lifts drills with an emphasis on proper technique will assist in improving flexibility - especially in the hip and shoulder areas. While lifting will help your flexibility, there is no excuse for omitting a regular stretching routine. Stretching and mobilization will help keep your body resistant to injury, help prevent compensatory muscle patterns and are critical to improving your performance in the gym.

Hopefully, adding more Olympic weightlifting to your training will help you reach your full potential as a CrossFitter.

Photo: Guelph Barbell Club member Jadon Hammill executing the snatch.

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The importance of having a second eye on your technique

Meet Marcia! She is CF-1 certified and also has coaching certifications ‎in the sports of Olympic Lifting and Wrestling. Marcia train out of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Check out her blog, The Snatch Monologues, for more lifting tips!

I both train and coach at Guelph Barbell Club. My teammates and I love our coach and he has helped us make significant strides in developing the skills required to effectively execute the snatch and the clean & jerk. However, my teammates and I make the effort to train with other clubs on a monthly basis and we have gained significant insight into lifting technique by doing so. Whether you train for CrossFit, Olympic Weightlifting or another activity, you likely have a favourite coach. But there is something to be said for having a second set of eyes evaluating your technique. 
As coaches, we often have specific things that we look for when evaluating movement. Depending on our experience with the movement pattern, we may focus on the "big things" like hip extension, or keeping the chest of the bar and occasionally miss a finer detail, like sticking the head through, or the position of the wrists during the lockout. Additionally, when coaches judge the same athletes for an extended period of time, some of those finer technical details become obscured by what appears "normal" for that lifter. This is where a second coach, unfamiliar with the athlete's technique, can be very beneficial.
Recently, I travelled to a friend's CrossFit gym in Charlottetown, PEI (Canada). The first day I was visiting, snatches (my favourite) were programmed. During the warm-up, I noticed that one of my friends was having difficulty getting the bar into a good overhead position, that is stacked over her centre of gravity. I noticed that although her bar path was pretty linear, that she was consistently catching the bar slightly to the front.
The snatch is arguably one of the most technically difficult lift to execute and successfully getting the bar into the overhead position requires a number of things to happen simultaneously. A lifter needs to consider proper foot positioning, tight core, active lumbar spine, hip extension, dropping under the bar, just to name a few. To some, there is a certain amount of magic involved in executing a successful snatch!
As I watched my friend warm up and add more weight on the bar, she kept catching the bar more and more to the front and ultimately ended up missing the lift. Frustrated, she couldn't figure out why the lift was incomplete when everything felt good leading up to the overhead catch position. While observing, I noticed that she was keeping her wrists flexed rather than extended, even when trying to stabilize the bar in the overhead position. 
I made the suggestion that she should flick her wrists into the extended position as she drops under the bar. That one simple little tip helped her go from missing the snatch to catching it easily. Why? You may have heard your coach taking about "stacking" in the overhead position. Stacking the weight over your centre of gravity requires that you use and extended wrist position because it is the most stable way to carry a load overhead. When the wrists are flexed, the overhead position is weak. However, by extending the wrists, we can support more weight overhead. Consider the handstand push up. You wouldn't attempt to support your body weight on flexed wrists during the execution of that movement, would you? The same goes for supporting the weight overhead in a snatch.    
Image 1: Guelph Barbell Club member Tiffany Hinds showing the overhead snatch position with flexed wrists.
Image 2: Guelph Barbell Club member Tiffany Hinds showing the overhead snatch position with extended wrists. 
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Why CrossFit Workouts Are Like Motherhood

CrossFit is a loaded word in the world of fitness. People either obsessively love it or completely hate it. I sat through many conversations with fellow gym-goers who thoroughly enjoy giving me an earful about all the reasons why they don't like or do CrossFit.
Here's my stance... I love CrossFit and it's OK if you don't.
You're never going to catch me going to Zumba or Yoga, but that doesn't mean that I look down on you if you do. Those things just aren't my cup of tea... and that's OK. I'm not going to corner you and belittle you for enjoying those style or workouts and going to those classes. I'm just happy you have found something that keeps you moving and keeps you in a healthy lifestyle. GO YOU!
Now, back to CrossFit...
When I was pregnant and during my early maternity leave, I lost  A LOT of muscle, which is something that has never happened to me before in my life. I had always been in shape due to being an athlete or being a fitness instructor, and it was tough to accept my postpartum body that was weak, jiggly, and not stong at all. But the option of being weak with a new little baby to take care of was not an option, so after my doctor cleared me at 6 weeks to return back to exercise, I had to focus on gaining back my muscle, not only to lose the pregnancy weight, but to get stronger to be the best Mom I could be. 
Pre-Baby, my workouts were fairly random. I lifted and did CrossFit workouts, but never had any structure to my workout plan. But, again, I was much more fit and in shape back then. It didn't take much to maintain what I had had my entire life. Working out after pregnancy was much different and deserved a little more thought and diligence. 
In order to focus on putting muscle back on, I created a plan with two upper and two lower body days. Sets varied between 3-5 and reps anywhere from 6-12. Now, you're probably thinking, that isn't CrossFit. Yes. I know this. At this time, I had to be more conscious about my form, proper technique, and making sure that I was using the right amount of weight. I needed to build a foundation of muscle for myself. I continued this until I was 6 months postpartum. During this time, I was also learning how to be a new mother. Every day is different with a baby... you honestly never know what your day will bring until you wake up and get going. This is why I only dedicated myself to working out 4 days a week (and on those days I only lifted, no cardio!). If I got in more than 4 days, great, if I only got in 4 days, then that was great too. My focus was on being a new mom to my new little man. 
After 6 months, I felt like I hit a groove. I was getting stronger and shedding the pregnancy weight, Little man was getting into more of a routine and a little bit sturdier himself, and I was feeling a lot more confident overall in most aspects of my life. This is when I decided to bring CrossFit back into my training schedule. 
I decided to add a day to my training schedule, so rather than dedicating myself to 4 days a week, I was going to get in 5. I kept my 2-2 upper and lower body training split for the first part of the week and put my CrossFit workout on the last day. In this CrossFit workout, I throw in a little bit of everything... snatches, cleans, dumbbells, tires, kettlebells, handstands, etc. These are absolutely my favorite workouts of the week and seem to be a reflection of my everyday life. My traditional weightlifting sessions are very routine and methodical, yet my CrossFit workouts are random and constantly challenging, very much like being a mother. Each day I wake up is something different... no two days are ever the same. Some days it's a struggle to push through until the end, but there's no other option. The day must be finished. CrossFit workouts teach you just that. Sometimes when you look at the workout, the only thing you can do is cry and laugh a little on the inside, but you know you're going to do the workout and you're going to get it done. There is no other option. These workouts teach perseverance and that getting through the workout is more rewarding that not doing it at all. There are so many days as a mother that you just don't know how you will get through, but you do it anyways, because your family is worth it. Worth all the blood, sweat and tears. When I walk in for my CrossFit workout on the last training day of my week, I'm tired, I'm sore, and I'm ready for a break. Similar to how I am typically feeling at the end of my week as a mother! I try to use this workout to reflect on all aspects of my week, including how truly blessed I am. I'm healthy, my son is healthy, and we have so many things to be thankful for in our lives. No matter how exhausted or how defeated I may feel at times, I know I am strong and I will find a way to get through things. There is a lot to be thankful in life, and a tough workout or a tough day of parenting is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. 
Check out Alyssa at Barbells Burpees Bacon & Facebook & Instagram
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Hi there Snatchers and Runners! I’m Hilary, one of the Two Babes and a Barbell (the one who did not just give birth to adorable twin boys). Special thanks to Meri and Christy for reaching out to me and sending two of their sweet shirts my way (Gym Unicorn and Wine and Weights, if you were wondering) and giving me the opportunity of sharing some musings with you all over here.

So the title of this post is #tinywin. Let’s have a virtual hands up for all the readers out there who have been CrossFitting (or doing whatever form of exercise it is you love) for a year or more. I’m guessing this is a decent number of you, and you’ve heard all the hype, drank the Kool-Aid, yada yada yada.

You’ve also probably heard that whole thing about how PRs will be raining down that first year (if this is you, it’s soooo awesome – enjoy it!), but at some point, things will slow down, you might feel like you’re stagnating, and you’re stuck in a PR desert (I almost typed PR dessert – which would be amazing. PRs should always be celebrated, and dessert is always a great idea….anyways, I digress….).

I’ve been CrossFitting for almost 2 years, and I am definitely familiar with this cycle. If you add injury to the mix, things can get even more complicated/frustrating (read about my journey with a back injury earlier this year here and here).

This summer, I didn’t PR almost anything. But that doesn’t mean the summer was a waste. I spent a ton of time on mobility and form, and this is where #tinywin comes in. Even before I was injured, I started to realize that I’ve reached a point in my CrossFit career where strength (or lack thereof) is often not the main thing holding me back. That is simultaneously cool (it’s really awesome to look back and see how strong I’ve gotten over 2 years) and extremely frustrating. Meaning my lifts could go up, I could master (or at least be competent at) movements I struggle with, simply by making tweaks to form or changing bad habits/movement patterns (but let’s be honest – that’s not simple AT ALL).

To me, #tinywin is when I can see hard work paying off. It doesn’t mean a huge PR, but rather that hours (literally) of mobility have paid off, I’m moving better than I was before, or positioning has improved. And, in the long term, I know that sets me up for PRs in the future.

What #tinywins have I seen lately? SO glad you asked….

1. Squats! Since being injured, my coach has really been driving home squat form. Namely, not folding over on back squats when the weight gets heavy (again – my legs are totally strong enough, it’s that darn form thing), but also just sitting back in my heels all the way in an air squat. I’ve done a crap ton of squat mobility and worked lighter squats with emphasis on form all summer long. So when my coach sees me do a heavy single and says “I’m so happy!” - #tinywin

2. Elbows! I always drop my elbows in my jerk (and front squat too). A great font rack position is a struggle for me, and something I’ve really been trying to drill into my head the past few months. I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ve got a ton of shoulder strength, but doing a jerk with elbows down in front is just that much harder. So yesterday I was doing some clean and jerks and asked my coach how my elbows were. He said my elbows looked SO much better and that’s probably why my jerk looked so great. #tinywin

3. Snatch! Don’t we all struggle with this one? The snatch is so technical, I feel like any improvement is huge. I love power snatching, but really struggle with getting under the bar quickly and dropping in a squat snatch. So, when twice in one week, 2 separate coaches complimented me on the bottom position of my squat snatch “Have you always had such great ankle mobility?” and “Your bottom position is looking so much better.”) – you get the idea. #tinywin (x2).

4. Pull-ups! My nemesis/age-old struggle. I’ve not been working on kipping pull-ups at all over the summer because of my back. And the strict pull-ups I’ve been doing have been with more assistance to drill home perfect form/lat engagement. So last weekend, there was a WOD with pull-ups. As per usual, I got my band set up. Then our coach challenged me to try without a band. I was skeptical and sort of annoyed, but agreed to at least try. It was only 3 pull-ups per round, and somehow, I kipped 3 for the first round. I honestly expected not to be able to do pull-ups each round, but somehow got 4 complete rounds in! My first ever RX pull-up WOD. #tinywin doesn’t seem like quite enough for this one. ;)

Anyways, my point is, just because you’re more of a seasoned CrossFitter and PRs might not be as plentiful anymore, there are still victories to be had. And I would argue that a #tinywin might be more helpful and serve you more in the long term than a PR anyway. You just have to shift your perspective a bit and realize that you’re still awesome, and success comes in many forms.

If you like what you read here, feel free to visit our site, and follow along on Facebook and Instagram too. And if you have any #tinywins, reach out and share them with us!

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Race Review: Palmetto 200

Looking for a new adventure? Registration for the Palmetto 200 just opened up! I think everyone should do it at least once, if you dare... here is my (Meri) recount:

With a couple of 24 hour races under my belt (EPIC and Hinson), I decided to join in on the relay race fun. Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the Palmetto 200 with a couple of running friends.

The Palmetto200 is a unique, overnight relay adventure in which you and 11 friends cover 200 scenic miles from the Coble Plaza in Columbia to Patriots Point (just outside of historic Charleston).  The Palmetto200 will treat runners to the Three Rivers Greenway, Santee State Park, Lonestar BBQ, farm communities, lakes, Fort Moultrie, the Ravenel Bridge, historic Charleston and the coastal waters.

You can actually have anywhere from 4 (ultra team) up to teams of 12 people. They can be co-ed or not. We had a team of 9 women of varying abilities from CrossFit junkies up to 100 milers. We decided to divide the 36 legs into 5s - van 1 chose to rotate having one gal run two legs each time. I was in van 2 with four other Charlotte-area mother runners.

Van 1 began the race at 6:30am in Columbia, South Carolina while we went ahead to exchange 6 in Oak Grove, South Carolina. Many of the exchanges took place at small, local churches along the route. They were open no matter what time you came through; we were able to use the facilities and hang out in the parking lot. I think all of the staff at each location was there volunteering their time and energy. We were truly given a giant dose of Southern Hospitality - showing us the bathrooms, offering us coffee or waters, and a couple stations had munchies! When our van was "off," we would drive ahead to our next exchange and sleep. It wasn't uncommon to see sleeping bags spread out in the grass around the vans.

I personally ran 3 legs, with a total of approximately 13 miles. Two were daytime runs - one Friday and one Saturday. My second leg was in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. It was pretty scary (I'm a giant chicken) and I could hear dogs barking. At one point a puppy was running along side of me. It was nice to have some company. Sadly I couldn't keep him, and left him with a Sheriff. Other runners were in front and behind me (yes, passing me).

You read correctly - Sheriff. One of the perks of the race is the HEAVY police presence. Other than a couple of no good, very bad drivers, we were always being watched over by police officers.I never felt unsafe (realistically).

The race concluded, 206 miles later, at Patriot's Point in Charleston, South Carolina. Where a buffet (tacos!) and beer awaited us. My team finished in 32 hours and 44 minutes, placing 79/100. BUT we were the second place All-Female team (they beat us by 3 hours). At which point, we showered, dined on local cuisine, and passed OUT!

Final score: 5/5! It's a must do race, so grab 11 of your closest friends and draw straws on the long legs!

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Sunshine and Spring!


Whoa!  Spring has sprung in Charlotte and Snatch & Run just celebrated our 5 month anniversary!  To mark the special occasion, we are beyond excited to share with you our new logo and all the things we've been developing.  
New Shirts! ***  Taylor H. the creator of our beloved LIFT design just sketched a new "Honor Our Heroes" shirt!  Check it our HERE.  This design pays tribute to all the service men and women that protect our freedom everyday.  As a proud Navy wife (Christy), veteran acknowledgement and tribute is very near and dear to my heart; and what a cool way to show your support!  The back of the shirt details all our favorite Hero WODs.  Perfect for our CrossFitters!
A fun shirt for our ladies is our Weights & Wine design.  Check it out HERE.  The cheeky spirit and stylist font make it the perfect gift for your girlfriends or let's be real... yourself ;)  
Bulk Orders!*** We've had the extreme privilege of crafting some really cool shirts for a diverse group of clients.  This process has evolved our screen printing process and allowed us to purchase some upgraded equipment.  Our favorite is our newly acquired flash dryer.  This baby cures in only 5-10 seconds and gives a brighter look to the finished product.  
Friday Night Lights!***  Over the past month Snatch & Run has hit the road.  In February we were able to host our first non-competitive WOD, the Swolemate Showdown at CrossFit Steele Creek.  The Valentine's Date Night WOD was a wonderful success.  We had a lot of fun raising money, working out, drinking beer and eating cupcakes with our new friends!  We've also hit the road to CrossFit Rock Hill and CrossFit Lake Wylie to see some awesome CrossFit Open throw-downs.  If you're open to us coming to your gym or box, please give us a ring.  We love meeting new members of this Snatchtastic community.
Where we're going*** March and April are chocked full of fun times for Snatch & Run.  We're headed out to at least 3 new boxes and forging some exciting partnerships.  Stay tuned for all the updates and keep being awesome. 
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Spring Box Shirt Orders

Snowmaggedon is upon us in here in Charlotte, NC but Spring is just right around the corner! Time to start thinking about t-shirts and tanks!  

In addition to our full line of shirts and wrist wraps, Snatch & Run also offers full service screen printing.  We pride ourselves in not only being competitively priced, but the having the fastest turn around in town.  If you're in the market for your next season of shirts, give us a call.  We'd love to give you a quote.  

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Welcome to the new home of Snatch and Run™! We are moving platforms to better streamline the ordering process to make it easier on our favorite people - our customers! Like always, if you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us via Email or Facebook!
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