Zach’s Zone

“We are what we habitually do…”

– Aristotle-

Wrath Nation,

It certainly has been awhile since I posted.  In one breath, I apologize for this as I know that many of you have been asking questions and wanting guidance.  In another breath I do not apologize simply for the fact that the reason I have been unable to blog/rant has been because the box has been growing and we have been busy trying to make it the best it has ever been!  Since my last post a great many things have happened.  We have added coaches, classes, admin positions, hosted events and competed elsewhere, organized activities for our members and many other things that happen behind the scenes.  The CrossFit Wrath Staff has been AMAZING in helping, and many times leading many of these initiatives.  We thank you for your cooperation and understanding of our schedule and the craziness that sometimes ensues when we try to manage so many things at once.  One thing is for certain, and that is that CrossFit Wrath is on the rise and better than it has ever been.

Over the last year I have seen many people come in and out of our doors and trained literally hundreds of athletes from collegiate scholarship athletes to stay-at-home moms looking to become better versions of themselves.  We have had the opportunity to witness a shift in the way that people look at their own fitness and in the way they prioritize things with respect to their bodies and their health.  Since opening the gym over 3 years ago we have tried our best to accommodate different schedules and lifestyles to align what WE do with what YOU do.  As a result of seeing these transformations and shifts in priorities, we have naturally been witness to what some might call failures.  I know that word is not a kind one in many eyes but I think that this is a time when I need to be more candid and honest about the realities of training and what is actually required to experience positive VISUAL CHANGE.

To say that “everybody wins” or that there is no such thing as failing is to do ourselves and everyone else around us a disservice [sorry Fun Fair Positive Soccer].  From a personal perspective I can say that have failed in many ways with respect to my own fitness and with respect to the example I want to set for the people I coach.  I have to be honest with myself and say that this is unacceptable and thus requires change.  I must be wiling to change what I have been doing to what I am GOING to do.  But first I must understand what the problem really is.

Good science uses good observation and analysis to identify a problem, and not necessarily the effects of that problem or behavior but rather what is the “root cause”.   I heard that term all the time when I was a supervisor at UPS and it bugged the heck out of me sometimes, but I see now that I simply did not understand what my superiors were telling me.  I did not understand what that term was really referring to.  Root causes are the initial circumstances and changes that start a chain of events thereafter.   As an example, I could say that me failing to execute good technique in my power snatch caused a partial labrum tear in my shoulder which then caused me to lose scapular stability in my shoulder which then ultimately brought on my elbow tendonitis.  [That is, in fact, true in my case btw].  My elbow pain is the EFFECT of the root cause.  It is not the PROBLEM per se, although pain is always a problem when moving right, but I digress; so let’s turn this back on the subject at hand.

How many of you find yourselves a bit frustrated with your current state of fitness?  Perhaps you have been coming to the box for a good length of time but you find yourself still not where you believe your hard work up to this point should have taken you.  Maybe you have just started and are upset that you cannot perform all the movements that your friends can in a workout and you feel somewhat bothered.  Maybe you come in and sweat [A LOT] every time you come to the box and work your freaking tail off only to find that your improvements are tiny at best and you are still holding on to some pounds that you jokingly call your “weighted vest”.

I know some of you very well and some of you I am only beginning to know, but I somehow am pretty sure that if you are reading this post that you could place yourself into at least one of the above scenarios.  In order to do away with those statements above and find yourself in the “best shape of your life” you must first admit that those things are the RESULTS of a collective set of events or actions.  They are the EFFECTS.  What is the root cause or problem related to all of those things?   The root cause is… INCONSISTENCY.

In an effort to not drag this on more than is necessary lets just go ahead and throw out there that I am not going to cite sources.  I absolutely could, but ultimately I am asking you to trust me here.  If you want to we can sit down and talk ad nauseum about all of this, but just go with it for now.  Now believe me when I tell you that nobody hates hearing all of this more than me.  I wish sometimes that attaining results were a bit easier than what I have found it to be.  But sadly, as your coach, I am obligated to tell you the truth.   I am not the one that makes the rules.  I am the messenger.  Like I mentioned above, the real reason that MORE has not happened to you is the result of inconsistency.

This inconsistency has been present from both training and, more importantly, a nutrition perspective.  “Six pack abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.”  Truer words were never spoken.  Bottom line Wrathians is that ANYTHING above 1.5 cheat MEALS per week is too much.  Notice how I said cheat MEALS and not cheat DAYS?  Eating clean, even SUPER CLEAN, 5 days out of the week only to basically forget it all over the weekend will NOT get you results!  It will NOT help you lose the excess body fat you so desperately want to take off.  Worst news…it would take you until at least WEDNSDAY of any week to make up for the damage from a bad weekend, which basically only leaves you with Thursday and Friday to actually get anything positive from nutrition, then you are right back to the weekend again.   I am sorry to have to tell you but that is the truth.   I can absolutely say that the only time I have witnessed ANYBODY that I coached or worked with experience body composition change was when they were eating LESS than ONE cheat MEAL per week for at least 4 weeks straight.   Read that over again if it didn’t sink in.  Now if you are reading this and start to think that you DO eat THAT CLEAN week after week and that you are still not losing body fat then please start TODAY and keep a COMPLETE food journal for 7 straight days and send it to me then.  I will tell you where you are messing up.   And, as much as it may suck to year, I should probably just throw this out there and say that yogurt and the occasional English muffin are NOT clean eating in any way.  Now for the other half of the consistency equation we get to address training frequency.

I will be as plain and blunt as I can without making you cry.  Coming to the box 3 times per week or less is NOT sufficient to incite CHANGE.   It just isn’t.  I am sorry to have to be the one to break that news to you but that is reality.  That is how the body works.  Training 3 times per week is BARELY enough to maintain the status quo once you have gone through the “breaking in” stage of the first 2 months of CrossFit.   Past that window it literally is not possible to train a total of 3 hours out of a possible 120 or so that you are awake during a full 7-day week.  Again look at that ratio for a second.  Logically could you really get behind the notion that 3 out of a possible 120 hours is enough to get your body to freak out enough that it adapts favorably and changes?  We are all Homo sapiens.  This is a species that came out of Homo erectus roughly 200,000 years ago.  This is the same species that spent the VAST majority of its waking hours MOVING in some way.  We are not a species that evolved to be STAGNANT.  100,000 years ago I can assure you that you would have been MOVING from sun up to sun down and eating what your body SHOULD eat and as a result of this…we ALL would have been SHREDDED as hell!

Wrath Nation I am pleading with you to take these words to heart.  Understand that you have an entire coaching staff at your disposal on a regular basis that cares about you and wants to help you.  We have extensive knowledge and experience with respect to CrossFit and human adaptation.  We have INSTRUCTOR-LED classes 6 days per week to help you achieve what you desire.  We are eager and waiting to help you every time we walk in the doors.  But unfortunately, we cannot change the laws of physics and we cannot FORCE you to be here.  We cannot make you show up to class.   We cannot make you eat better when you are out in your every day life.  We can offer our help but it is up to you to decide that the time is NOW to change!  Now is the time to realize that you do not DESERVE a cheat weekend to blow all your hard work during the week.  You DESERVE and are entitled to RESULTS!   But remember, results do not come from thought or desire alone.  Results come from CONSISTENT ACTION!

 

 [Drops mic…walks out awkwardly like Michael Scott]

 

 

 

 

 

 

COACH’S CORNER – COACH SCRAPPY

Let me start off by saying ‘HI,’ and I miss seeing my Wrath family regularly. For the people who know me, I will be back full-time at some point. But right now, it will continue to be just on the weekends: Friday nights and Saturday mornings. For the people who have not meet me, I am Coach Scrappy. I have been a member of Wrath for over 3 years and a coach for almost 2 years. I have been traveling for work, so I have not been around as much as I would like to but look forward to meeting all of the new people eventually.


For this week’s topic for Coaches Corner, I want to talk to y’all about CONSISTENCY! Consistency is what makes the last three week’s topics work. To review, we discussed Effort, Intensity, and Listening. To become a better athlete (and yes everyone reading this is an athlete so do not think any differently) we must be consistent in all these areas in our training to see results. We must start off by first being consistent about making it to the box to workout. Yes, we all have busy lives. But if we want to see improvement, we need to be attending classes consistently to constantly improve our skills and strengths. At a minimum, we should be getting to the box 3 times a week and that is just to maintain the level of fitness we are currently at. Coming to the box once or twice a week is not a benefit to you or to any of your class mates. If we are not coming to the box on a consistent basis, we miss out on valuable information that is covered every day on how to improve our fitness. Plus, our body is not getting the exercise it needs to improve beyond its current state. So with everyone’s busy schedule, we have to make exercise a scheduled appointment and sign in to Wodify to help hold each other accountable. However you maintain your schedule— on your phone, a planner, a computer, sticky notes—make an appointment to GO TO THE BOX, and do not break that appointment with yourself.

As a person who was in the box 6 days a week for multiple hours at a time, I know what it is like to be a consistent athlete. I also know what it is like to be inconsistent. When I started traveling for work, I was thrown out of my normal routine and became inconsistent with my box attendance and lost my level of fitness very quickly. It was hard traveling and finding boxes that I could workout at because everywhere I went, I expected the same level of greatness that we get at Crossfit Wrath. It was hard to walk into a box and feel at home when I didn’t find the welcoming and friendly people we have at Wrath. Other boxes also don’t have the level of equipment and cleanliness we have at Wrath. And last but not least, the great leadership in the Wrath coaching staff. We do not know what we have is so awesome until we are forced to experience the other side of that. I found myself making excuses to not go to the box and would only walk into the box once or twice a week when I was home on the weekend thinking I could just make up for the week in 2 days. Well, I was wrong, and quickly began to lose my fitness that I had worked so hard to achieve. Let me tell you, once you lose that level of fitness, it is hard to get it back because you know the amount of work that you had to put in to get there and now you have to do it again—you realize, you should have never stopped to begin with. So value what we have at Crossfit Wrath with the amazing community, awesome equipment, and great coaching by being consistent in your attendance.

Every time you walk into the box, put max effort into what you are doing whether it is metconning of just stretching. Keep your intensity level high because that is how you improve is your fitness, which improves your overall well-being, and listen. Listen to your coaches even though you think you know it all, they might say something that could help you out. I know by attending other boxes that things are taught differently and different people learn different ways, so always be listening to the coaches. Sometimes, it’s one little thing said a slightly different way that makes all the difference you need to PR a lift or get your first pull-up. Listen to your body. If something hurts, then work on rolling and stretching that area. If you think you are injured, listen to your body and take care of that injury. Constantly work on your weaknesses until they become your strengths, and then constantly work on your next weakness. Everyone has a weakness they need to improve, even top level athletes. But you know how they get rid of their weaknesses? They constantly work on it. “We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.”

To my fellow Wrath family: stay consistent in your training and great things will happen. Keep working hard, and I hope to see as many people as possible at the box this weekend.
Until I can be yelling at y’all to keep you motivated in person, Scrappy is signing out.

COACH’S CORNER – COACH CHASE

Coach’s Corner is brought to you by Coach Chase this fabulous Thursday!! And without further ado…(I know the graphic is epically awesome, but the words here are good, too….😏😝)

“Hey y’all, the main emphasis on this week’s coaches corner is the art of listening. Bryant H. McGill once said, “one of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Building on this, I think that the nature of a crossfit class has taken away some opportunities to learn new things. You come in and look at the WoD and decide to start warming up and wait for the class to start. Once the class starts and you’re all warmed up, you walk over to the rack to do back squats while the coach is talking but it’s okay because you’ve back squatted a thousand times. Certainly this time is no different. You get your WoD in and you go home and you really haven’t learned much.

The problem lies in the routine. Routine is our enemy. Now ask yourself this. What did you learn from that class? You can’t do 6×3 of heavy front squats without your knees killing you? Hahaha okay that’s me. So, could there be a chance that the coach who was teaching said something important about the knees before squatting? The point im getting at is that more often than not we come into the gym, get our WoD in, and go home. That is something we want to steer away from. Take the opportunity when you come into class to learn something. It may not happen the first time but I know from experience that all it takes is for someone to give a different cue and it can change your whole perspective on a movement. If you have questions about something DO NOT be afraid to ask. Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question… Well, except for which box is the best in Houston because we all know the answer is Wrath 🐲😏

Recap:
-Take the time out of your day to listen to your coaches because ultimately all we are trying to do is help you. Help me.. Help you!
– Make an effort to learn something new every time you come in the gym. If class is almost over and you haven’t learned anything go ask a question! It doesn’t even have to be related to that specific WoD
– Lastly, let’s make routine our enemy so we can set out and conquer our goals! 💪🏻”

#wordsbyChase #graphiccollaberation #Eleishahasmadskillz #stop #collaborate #andlisten #guesswhosbackwithabrandnewedition

COACH’S CORNER – COACH CHEZ

This week’s “Coach’s Corner” is brought to you by yours truly 💁 Building on what Coach Travis said last week, I hope this message somewhat resonates with everyone. I’d love to hear some feedback and discussion among Wrath Nation!😺 Hope everyone has a great day!! 💪😎

Wrath Nation, listen up.. come in close.. there is something I want to talk about that I believe we can ALL benefit from. (especially me).

Let’s start off with the ACTUAL definition of CrossFit, which is constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement. Simple as that. Routine is the enemy. Go hard and fast. Perform movements that enhance your life outside the box.

Breaking it down even more, let’s just focus on two words. HIGH. INTENSITY. 😳 As crossfitters, intensity is a major component to maximize all that blood, sweat, and tears we leave at the box. What do I mean? Intensity = results. It increases strength, performance, muscle mass, and bone density. You may be thinking like what the heck, Chez? ALL of our workouts are intense.. why are you rambling?? 😏

Well to be honest, I can tell you that I have started to get “comfortable” in my WODs by taking a step back from intensity and I didn’t even notice – I mean I still breathe hard and collapse after every work out. 💀 Shouldn’t that be enough? Not quite..😟 Intensity is giving 100% effort (reference Coach Trav’s post last week) in every WOD. It’s doing MORE work in LESS time. It is picking the barbell up when you REALLY don’t want to. It’s doing 2-3 more reps after your mind says “I CAN’T.” Intensity BURNS. It’s that rolling around in pain after the workout knowing there was no way in hell you could’ve done more.

I can tell you that your mind will almost always give up before your body does. Don’t let it. You are more CAPABLE than you give yourself credit for, and we coaches know it. I want Wrath Nation to trust us when we say: “Keep going,” “Give me more reps,” “You can do this!” because ultimately YOU CAN. We know this, and it’s time for you to find out for yourself. Get the most out of your WODs by pushing yourself to that “dark place” Camille is always talking about. (that’s a CLB reference 💁) Listen to the coach if they scale the WOD for you or if they won’t let you scale the WOD this time. We do it for your benefit and to maximize YOUR RESULTS. Get comfortable being uncomfortable and I guarantee you will get fitter for it. Lastly ask yourself, “Can I do ONE more rep?” and I bet you an orange Kill Cliff the answer will almost always be YES. 😎

Here are some tips to keep the intensity up in your next WOD:
-Don’t make deals with yourself. Start with a game plan and STICK to it! You can always do more than you think! 💪
-Trick yourself. If you plan on resting for 5 seconds – get back at it after 3 seconds rest.
-Commit to doing 2-3 reps more than your normal sets.
-Focus on one thing at a time. Don’t dread those burpees coming up, they aren’t going anywhere and we are all suffering through them together. 🙂
-Be positive. Switch out the negative thoughts with “I got this!” 👊
-Motivate your friends around you!

*Disclaimer: while intensity is CRUCIAL, we want to make sure our form is safe and consistent before we crank the intensity up… ALWAYS listen to your coach! *

COACH’S CORNER – COACH TRAVIS

“Effort” by Travis Ensign

For the inaugural “Coach’s Corner” I wanted to talk about something simple. Something that a new coach like myself, who has so much to learn and improve upon, both as an athlete and as a coach, could talk about that you could really take as fact [or at least well-informed opinion].

The fact of the matter is, we Wrathians all started CrossFit for the same reason[s]. Lose weight, gain weight, build muscle, be more athletic, help in my job, help in my everyday life, rehab and injury, get back that competitive spark I used to have in high school…. basically, we all want to be “a better me”.

These are great goals to have, but how many of us are doing the things necessary to achieve those goals? Anyone realize that we are closer to the start of the 2017 CrossFit Open than we are the start of the 2016 open? Are you satisfied with how far you have come since then? How far you have come since you started CrossFit? If not, why?

The answer, for the vast majority of us, is EFFORT. Are you putting enough effort into two things: 1) Your workouts, each and every one? 2) Are you eating any way close to good enough to promote healthy muscle growth and body fat loss?

The answers for most of us are probably NO and NO… so what do we do about it?

Number one is the easiest. Get your ass to the box, pay attention, and work as hard as you can on your strength, your conditioning, skills that you need improvement on… basically, if you suck at it, spend even more time on it. The dog days of summer are gone [I hope]. I know they really put a hurt on the PM classes. The summer always hits us hard schedule-wise. School is back. No excuses.

Push yourself, and more importantly, push your friends, and they will push you. Don’t let the person next to you get away with hitting the time cap, hoping for the clock to save them. Don’t let them scale the workout when they can do the skill, or should be doing the RX weight.

Show Up! Ladies and Gents, all of the coaches want you at the box as much as you can. Make the time. 2 days a week is not going to cut it. 3 WODs a week at minimum, but we want you there more. Come do the WOD. If you cannot all 5 days, come work on a skill. Stay active. Keep improving. Set realistic, but aggressive goals that you hold yourself accountable to. These goals need to include benchmarks for lifts, WODs, and gymnastic movements, inches lost, weight lost… all the things that you started CrossFit wanting to accomplish, but maybe have lost your way. Now is the time to get it done. Be ready for the next Open, or Wrath Wars II, or just to show off the new you to friends and family this Christmas.

Now, for number two, it is a very simple rule, but yes still hard to follow for most of us: Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise, but not body fat. Eat the right portion for you of the right things, workout hard, and you will get to where you wanted to be, and very likely WAY BEYOND.

I am asking everyone at Wrath to step up their game. Start going to the dark places in WODs that you have been avoiding. Work on the skills and lifts that you have problems with. Push your friends, push yourselves, and really find out what you are capable of. I know that I have a looooooooong way to go before the next Open, and I am going to try to do everything possible to get as much of my faults corrected so I can be the best me I can be.

Until next time..

Coach Rasputin

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::2015::

AAAhhhhhh…FINALLY! A chance to sit down and get back to something I USED to do with relative frequency…BLOG! For those of you that came from the old gym you may remember some of my previous blogs in which I not only coached but also took time to rant a bit about the subject of the day. Needless to say its good to be back at it, haha.

As I sit outside typing away and attempting to somehow impart what simple advice I can to the members of my gym, I simply can’t do it without looking back at the last year and taking inventory of the experiences that have brought me where I am today. My sweet baby girl Marley came into the world exactly one year ago today and I could not be a happier or luckier man to be able to have her as the latest addition to my little family. I thank my wife every day for giving me my daughters and for loving them the way she does. Of course, having a second child was not nearly enough excitement for one year….we also had the best CrossFit Open Season/Event we have ever put on in 2015! We not only moved locations and worked out in our driveway in the meanwhile but with the help of the most generous and caring friend I have ever had, BUILT an entirely new gym in order to make it happen. We have seen our Wrath family grow to add some of the most outstanding and amazing people I have ever met and for that I am truly thankful.

Now with all of the change and “newness” that we have had to manage this past year I also could not think of where I am in terms of my own journey with what I love so much…fitness. I would be lying to myself and any of you reading this to say I am better than I have ever been. With how and where I had to dedicate my time and energy this last year my own fitness had to take a back seat. The circumstances of life always seem to get the better of us and my life is no different. I know how often I am sure you all find yourselves thinking that owning a box must be awesome because you “just get to workout all day.” Oh if it were so, haha. Sorry to disappoint you all but trust me, if the above statement was true you would see a very different Coach Zach in front of you every day at the box. The truth of the matter is that usually running the box means caring and doing more for others than for my own fitness. I find it funny that I always preach the importance of recovery and sleep and yet I am sure that it has been over 3 years since I have gotten adequate sleep. I am sure the 5AM crew gets the brunt of it from me in that regard. Nonetheless, I am forever grateful to be able to help other people and to see all of YOU grow and become better versions of yourselves.

Now keep in mind that I do not say any of this to invoke sympathy or simply to be overly nostalgic. I am actually reflecting on the reality that I am simply NOT where I WANT to be. Have I taken a few steps back? Yes….no question!! Will I have my best finish in the 2016 Open to date? Not a chance in HELL!!! Do I let that thought further discourage me and keep me from picking myself back up? F&@% NO!!!! See, when I get frustrated that I have to work for MONTHS just to get back to a fraction of my old PRs, and I have to LIVE on the Assault Bike to get some of my engine back again. I try to use that as an opportunity to realize that I am where I am not because of the path that lies before me, but because of the path that lies behind me. I think of truly how far I have COME since I started my journey nearly 6 years ago and how 5 kipping pull ups in a row seemed impossible. I am more amazed at the idea that while I may not be forever improving on a daily or weekly basis and that I may fall off the paleo wagon from time to time, I can still make a choice every day with what I am going to do with my life. I can make a choice to change for the better because, thanks to CrossFit and the knowledge I have gained in my fitness journey, I now know WHAT needs to be done. I know HOW to get headed back in the right direction and to achieve MORE. Many times people are left discouraged in their life decisions not because they don’t have the desire to change for the better but they honestly do not know WHAT TO DO.   To paraphrase wise words I once read, “they (we) are kept from (the right path, getting help, improvement) because they know not where to find it.”  I am sure that many of you have gotten frustrated in the past with fad diets and the newest workout DVD and the new “bikram/intense/Define/Orange/Yoga/Pump FUSION” thingy that you tried and got next to nothing out of it. Something about what we do at Wrath has helped (or at least I hope) you in a way that those things could not. I have seen so much improvement in all of you that I know that you all have been able to see and feel what the HOW is. You may feel like I do in looking at where you “once were” and seeing that you are not there anymore and this may discourage you. DON’T LET IT!! Take joy in the fact that you KNOW HOW to change for the better and improve. You know HOW to have fitness integrated into your daily life. And this all leads to the ultimate idea I want to share with you and the thing that brings me more excitement than anything else…YOUR BEST IS IN FRONT OF YOU!!

Understand that this doesn’t mean that if you were a semiprofessional athlete 20 years ago that you can somehow make it back to the big leagues lol.   But it DOES mean that with the combination of your own determination and inner drive along with the right tools and support (such that found at Wrath J) your best life is in front of you. Regardless of age or where you sit today you should look to the future with hope and excitement. The journey is hard and the road seems long from time to time and we are certain to fall every now and then. This doesn’t mean we are not meant to succeed!! This means we are human and we struggle. But there is beauty in struggle. In struggle we find out what we are made of and we grow stronger. But keep in mind that his growth comes not without struggle. Pushing ourselves past our perceived limits by our peers and the right training can take us to a better place.

I hope that all of us will look at the past year and be thankful for where we are today. Take time to look at what has brought you to where you are now and then take time to refocus your efforts on the future and what CAN be. Make goals for this next year and WRITE THEM DOWN!!! Share them with someone else that will help you hold yourself accountable.   Do not hesitate to let us know how WE can help you accomplish them. Whether you have increased ten fold or have fallen off the wagon a bit simply realize that the hard part is done for you already. You know the answer! You know the HOW!!! Do not let the negative experiences of the past discourage you.   In the immortal words of Mark Twain, “20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

-Coach Zach

WE ARE BACK!

20382_10153096299321478_6479683232154020045_n2We did it. Wrath Nation rose up with relentless commitment and an unwillingness to lose. For that reason, CrossFit Wrath is back, and better than ever. We have a new facility, new equipment, and new plans for the future. What isn’t new are the coaches, the dedication to making Wrathians as strong as they can be, and a belief that our community; our family is stronger than ever. This is just the beginning, and we have so many great things lined up that I cannot wait to share. More coming soon!

Coach Zach