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Motivation

Meet the Queen of the Hill for May 2017!

By | Announcements, Community, Featured, Motivation, Success Stories | No Comments

We are jazzed to announce our Queen of the Hill for May 2017:  Alex Kilgore!  This month marks a year that Alex has been training at CrossFit on the Hill (Happy Fitnessversary!), and we are so lucky to call her ours.  Just last month, Alex competed in her first ever Powerlifting Competition.  Our gal PR’d her squat (297#!) and deadlift (375#!).  These incredibly accomplishments reflect the hard work she puts in, day in and day out.  She never cherry picks her workouts, is receptive to suggestions and feedback, and always supports her fellow athletes.  Alex is lovely – inside and out – and is so very deserving of the throne.  

Keep reading to learn more about the Queen!


What brought you to Boston?

I moved to Boston in August of 2014 for a job at Northeastern.

What drew you to CrossFit?

After collegiate rowing, I really missed the team aspect of working out. Lifting alone at lunch was getting pretty boring! I turned to CrossFit because I love the variety and intensity of the workouts, and the fact that I get to do them with a group of awesome people cheering one another on!

What keeps you coming back to COTH?

The people! I love the COTH community so much. Everyone is so friendly, encouraging, and just downright awesome. It’s a group I’m proud to be a part of.

Biggest improvements/struggles with CrossFit?

I’ve added a ton of strength and become a much more well-rounded athlete since joining COTH. I think my biggest struggle now is mastering how to breath correctly and keeping my form tight during metcons.

If you could create your own WOD, what movements would you use?

Rowing, heavy deadlifts, and maybe some dumbbell snatches for fun.

Meat head nickname (with explanation)?

Well, an old rowing buddy called me “Killer Kilgore” on my most recent CrossFit Instagram post, so I’m gonna go with that!

 

Meet the Queen of the Hill for February 2017!

By | Announcements, Community, Featured, Motivation, Success Stories | One Comment

We are excited to announce that Amanda Weinberger is our Queen of the Hill for February!  Amanda has been a member of our community for over two years.  When she isn’t crushing WODs at COTH, she is juggling (and meeting!) the demands of a student-athlete at Wentworth Institute of Technology.  We’ve been fortunate to be part of Amanda’s fitness journey during her off-seasons, and are so pumped every time she returns to us.  Amanda shows up everyday ready to work and eager to learn.  She faces her weaknesses head on, and continues to improve upon her strengths.  If you’ve taken class with Amanda recently, then you’ve probably seen her latest challenge:  max effort pull-ups following every MetCon.  That’s right, regardless of how physically (or emotionally) taxing the WOD may be, Amanda will hop on the rig and challenge herself to perform more pull-ups than she did the day before.  Her drive and hunger are awesome to watch and infectious when you’re nearby.  We are so lucky to have her as part of our family!

Keep reading to learn more about Amanda!


What brought you to Boston?
Wentworth brought me to Boston, it has my major and I was able to play soccer for a few more years.
 
What drew you to CrossFit?
I started CrossFit because it seemed like the obvious next step for me. I have always worked out, lifting in gyms and doing stuff for soccer. But I needed something to keep me going during the winter when I have zero motivation to workout because of the cold. A few people had recommended CrossFit to me and we didn’t have it in my hometown so I thought Boston would be a good place to try it.
 
What keeps you coming back to COTH?
I keep coming back to COTH because it is close and convenient, I love CrossFit, and its like a little family. It doesn’t matter how long I leave for, whenever I come back everyone welcomes me like I haven’t left.
 
Biggest improvements/struggles with CrossFit?
My biggest improvements have definitely been my flexibility. When I first started coming 4 years ago I could not squat properly because of the lack of flexibility in my hips and ankles. I still struggle with a lot of movements overhead and that is my biggest pain point, but overall I have improved so much and for that I am so thankful.
 
If you could create your own WOD, what movements would you use?
WOD: Amanda 2.0 (since Amanda is already one of the nasty girls)
AMRAP 20 mins
20 box jumps
10 front squats
10 strict pull ups
5 hand stand push ups
 
Meat head nickname (with explanation)?
I think my meathead nickname would be A-train. I was on a volleyball team out in Cali and they came up with that when I was hitting killer serves. Idk if thats meathead enough but thats all I got.

Introducing Monthly Lifestyle Challenges

By | Motivation | No Comments

Hello Athletes,

I hope you are well. Does it not feel warm today? I am loving it. By the way, have you signed up for the Open? Sign up now! 

This blog post is to highlight the journey of developing lifelong habits. We are so happy and proud of all of the athletes who continue to make good eating choices. I know groups of athletes have taken the initiative to do Paleo Challenges and encourage each other to make smart eating decisions.We eat to perform, right?Your coaches love to see your commitment to health and fitness.   Keep it up!

This year we want to intentionally challenge you on different levels because it is so much more than food. We plan to release a monthly challenge to make sure we are making those life longs changes in our fitness journey.  Are you ready for the January’s challenge?

January’s challenge comes directly from the Original CrossFitter, CEO and Founder of CrossFit; Coach Greg Glassman. He put out this challenge last November during a lecture at Harvard Divinity School.

Fitness affects other parts of your life. Lets prove it! 

  1. Make a list of all the things that you want to be better at…
  2. No one else is going to read it. So do not be shy.
  3. Seal it and save it in a place that you will remember.
  4. Do CrossFit consistently at least 3 times a week for 6 months.
  5. Then go back to the list and see all the things that you have improved at.
  6. If you want to inspire others, feel free to share it.

You have until the end of the month to do the challenge. Make sure you ask at least one athlete if they did the challenge. Yes, because accountability is what we all need to accomplish our goals.

#ihavebeenchallenged

See you at the box,

Lis’s CrossFit Transformation Story

By | Motivation | No Comments

Athletes,

I hope you are well. I am ecstatic to share this video with you guys. Helping people overcome their fitness struggles and see their transformation is one of the reasons why I love my job. I am blessed!

Here Lis’s transformation story. Please share this video with all those people who think CrossFit it is not for them. Lis was terrified when she started at COTH. Have you seen her squat clean lately. She is FEARLESS!

Special thanks to Missy Elumba from CineMElumba for the beautiful video. Now enjoy!

What’s in a Score?

By | Fitness education, Motivation | No Comments

 

One of the strengths of CrossFit is its competitive rich environment. Workouts are often designed in a way where it is easy to compare your level of fitness to other class mates by comparing “scores” on the white board. It can also be a great indicator of which type of workout or movements you are better or worse at than others. But is what you’re writing on the board a “score”.

In no way do I want to dampen the competitive drive of members, a major differentiator from other styles of facilities. It is often the spark that lights the fire for many members to KEEP pushing themselves and not becoming stagnant in their fitness efforts.

So we often use the term “score” to indicate what to write on the board. But is it really a “score”? We associate “scores” with games and events. A “score” is often how you compare, separate, and claim  a winner amongst teams or individuals, but is that what we are doing in class?

Let’s give some perspective to this. “Class” is not an event or a sport. While CrossFit is the “Sport of Fitness” CrossFit class is just that, a class. Class is the place you develop fitness. An event or sport is where you TEST fitness. A good CrossFit Facility and community recognizes that. Imagine, if in school, each day was a quiz and you were suppose to become smarter from that.

So if it’s not a “score”, what is it? Well whether it doubles as a score or not the values  (weight, reps, time, rounds, etc) that you write on the board are simply a record of your workout. You are simply  placing a quantitative  value on your effort. There is a lot of value in that; accountability, ownership, and comparison or your hard work from past efforts.

This “score” does lack one thing, quality. Below is how Wikipedia defines the two forms of data.

“The term quantitative refers to a type of information based ins quantitative or else quantifiable data (objective properties) —as opposed to qualitative information which deals with apparent qualities (subjective properties). It may also refer to mass, time, or productivity.”

SO, we are in danger of chasing superior quantitative values (scores) from our workout at the cost of quality (better technique, mechanics, consistency). Why don’t we use qualitative scores? Because they are subjective, therefor much more difficult to measure. Each form of data lacks the strength of the other.

Where does that leave us? Moving forward I just want you to gain this new perspective of “scoring” and what you write on the whiteboard. Realize that is just a record of your work on that given day.  It has no indication that you performed each movement in an ideal fashion or that you even put more effort in to the workout than anyone else. Effort is all relative and the level of technique needs to be the highest form of measurement but both are difficult to quantify. What if a “worse” score now would actually help you score “better” months from now?

I”ll close with this. Your score is just a score. How you feel physically, emotionally and mentally means much more. Do you feel stronger and fitter each class or broken down? Does coming to class make you experience joy or does the pressure of performing stress you out? Do workouts make you feel mental exhaustion or focused? At the end of the day what seems to be an all-important score is really just a number that means more to you than it does to your classmates or coaches. We are all working together to develop and express our fitness as a community, scores be damned.

-Coach Josh

Movember Campaign – JJ is coming!

By | Announcements, Motivation | No Comments

Hey gang,

I hope you are well and excited about the King and Queen of the Hill Throwdown on Saturday. We are so excited too.

But we are also excited about our Movember campaign. It is a nation wide campaign to promote Men’s Health and CrossFit on the Hill is sponsoring a team. Which gives you a special insight to Movember. Please visit our team page at mobro.com/crossfitonthehill to help us bring awareness and raise funds. There are a lot of things going on with this.

So to prepare us for Movember, we have a special guest from Movember HQ. His name is JJ and he will join us during at 5:30p on Monday to bring us more information and sweat with us. Please post your questions to the comments and get ready to let your mustache free!

 

When: Moday, October 28th

Time: 5:30p to 7:00p

Where: CrossFit on the Hill

 

One more thing! There is a Nasty Girl WOD involve in this campaign. More details later! Sign up today to our Movember team.

 

See you on the Hill,

Javy

 

Local CrossFit Communities: Promoting More Than Just Physical Fitness

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Community building is a major hallmark of CrossFit and it is a topic that has been well documented in numerous online articles and blog posts. Not surprisingly, most of these pieces focus specifically on the importance of people working out together in a group setting and pushing one another to reach a common goal. While this is arguably the most visible and notable example of community building in CrossFit, there are several other types of stories out there that exemplify a deeper sense of community building. For example, testimonials from individual participants are extremely powerful accounts because they involve an affective or emotional element that emphasizes the ways in which CrossFit impacts an individual’s personal life. Therefore, in order to get a better understanding of the many ways that CrossFit supports the notion of community building, I thought it would be helpful to focus on inspirational stories told by ordinary individuals, which highlight the reasons why they believe in CrossFit and how they have found it beneficial in improving many different aspects of everyday life.

A topic that I feel is rarely addressed in discussions regarding the advantages of CrossFit is the extent to which CrossFit is functional in transforming the lives of individuals outside the realm of fitness and exercise. I believe that too great an emphasis is often put on its effectiveness as a strength and conditioning program, which could potentially have the effect of overshadowing the other benefits it has to offer. Obviously, CrossFit continues to grow at a very fast pace and it is quickly establishing a place of permanency in our cultural consciousness. While it is widely regarded as one of the best ways for people to get in top physical condition, I feel that CrossFit provides much more to the regular participant than just the ability to be in better shape. Perhaps more importantly it promotes the enhancement of various life skills specific to the individual that often get buried under the surface of external or visible progress that usually accompanies exercise.

One of these skills would include being an active participant in a tight-knit group of people with a similar interest. An admirable characteristic of local CrossFit communities is that people constantly have opportunities to build up the community by encouraging and challenging one another to put forth their finest effort and be their absolute best in accomplishing any endeavor. Another notable skill would be the way in which CrossFit enables people to improve their mental strength by putting them in a position to condition their mindsets while battling through various obstacles presented by challenging workouts. Most importantly, these are skills that improve life both inside and outside of the box considering that they are tools people can apply in everyday situations to improve their quality of life.

This short testimonial from Tabata Times is a worthwhile read because it puts the CrossFit experience in perspective for athletes of all ability and interest levels. To briefly summarize, the author touches on several topics including frustrations/criticisms, her own psychology, and the great deal of affection she feels for the CrossFit community she currently belongs to. She raises a good point about the degree of competition involved in CrossFit, arguing that it can become very easy to fall victim to the idea of competitiveness and the notion of “better” crossfitters. She makes it clear that, “the ‘better’ crossfitter, if there is one, is anyone who comes in, tries his or her hardest, and comes back. The one who doesn’t cheat to get a good time, who doesn’t worry about the time they put up or weight, the one who is there to better themselves.”

In addition, the author talks about how CrossFit helped her improve because it helped expose her lack of self-confidence while making her cognizant of her complacency or reluctance to push herself to perform at a higher level. I feel like the majority of athletes tend to underestimate their abilities at some point, whether it is due to an insecurity involving working alongside athletes with more experience, or a simple fear of not being able to perform a specific movement. I strongly believe that typical psychological blocks like these are primarily remedied at CrossFit because of the comfortable and supportive community that each box develops. Building social relationships with others is extremely important for one’s health and CrossFit puts people in a position to consistently engage with others in an encouraging and positive environment.

The author closes by perfectly summarizing CrossFit’s unlimited potential regarding the benefits it provides for the body, mind, and soul: “For once in my life…I FEEL strong. I am PROUD of myself. Not only can I feel my body getting stronger, but my MIND is getting stronger, my SPIRIT is getting stronger, and my life is better. The community Coach Kevin has built has a tremendous effect on my life.”

 

What Would Froning Do?

By | Mobility, Motivation | 4 Comments

Many CrossFitters are mesmerized by the performance of the 3 time “Fittest Man on Earth”, including myself. Many wonder, “how does he do it?”. Does he do secret workouts or is it supplements?

 

I think many assume that he just works out more than others or simply tries harder.  When you see him in youtube videos or competing at the Games many people see a better CrossFitter than everyone else.

 

What I see is a human body that is more biomechanically correct and technically sound compared to his competitors. What I see is a better MOVER than anyone else.

 

See, I’m not from the CrossFit world. I came to it. I’ve focused so much on biomechanics and MOVEMENT in my career and for personal passion. I don’t see exercises, necessarily. I don’t see deadlifts. I see an incredible relationship of multiple tissues contracting or relaxing, using fulcrums and levers resisting gravity.  Breathe is packed tightly against the diaphragm while internal and external obliques, multifidus, the pelvic floor, abdominals and lower back muscles support the core and spine. Musculature of the upper back hold on tight to the shoulders. The arms are simply cables while the hands act as hooks as the spine rises like a drawbridge. I see an incredible amount of teamwork. Any team member that doesn’t perform optimally negatively affects the rest of the team and the overall movement suffers. Even in another teammate’s best efforts, he cannot do the job of anothers at an optimal level. When the team works ideally it has the ability to move faster, carry a greater load, and maybe the most important aspect in regards to CrossFit, it saves energy. When energy systems and breathing are under less stress you provide a greater output of work. CrossFit is exercise programming, which tests that. Your body craves efficiency whether you are sitting on your ass or performing a burpee.

 

On the last event of the 2013 CrossFit Games the athletes had to cross the tennis stadium via walking lunge while holding an axle bar with 165lbs overhead. This is when I was the most impressed with Froning. I was in awe watching him cross the floor with only one short rest.  His movement was incredible. Despite the load there was virtually no swaying of the axle bar over head due to his perfect amount of shoulder mobility and stability. Pelvic position was perfect while his spine stood tall. Never hyperventilating, he is lean enough to watch the harmonized action of his breathing and core muscles. As he exhaled the appropriate core muscles stabilized the body, bridging the gap before the next breathe came in. His entire body moved across the floor with the symmetry of an expert architect. He wrapped up his third straight championship with an unbelievable display of movement and efficiency before jumping into the crowd as if he hadn’t worked out all week.

 

Rich Froning is more energy efficient than you or me. Rich Froning’s body moves better than yours or mine. Exercise is only an expression of movement. CrossFit is a style of exercise. Move better = CrossFit better.

– Josh Gould

CrossFit and the Kohler Effect

By | Motivation | No Comments

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Hey Everyone!

 

One of the hallmarks of CrossFit is the sense of community building that takes place inside the box. Did you know that there is an entire scientific concept that explains the relationship between working out in a group exercise setting and improved athletic performance? It is called the Kohler motivation gain effect and it essentially describes how individuals find motivation by exercising with other people; and as a consequence, develop the ability to push themselves through the various physical and mental challenges posed by demanding workouts.

There is a great article from Tabata Times that discusses this phenomenon, and according to researchers, the Kohler effect comes into play when an individual perceives that a workout partner or competitor is slightly better or more efficient at a particular exercise. The qualifier here is “slightly better” because it has been discovered that if people sense too great of a distinction in ability level between themselves and another person then it provides no additional motivation to excel and perform at a higher level. In other words, the key is to feel challenged by the performances of other athletes and not feel crushed or defeated.

On another level, the article also mentions that group exercise promotes a substantial increase in endorphin levels, which has been directly linked to improved performance. It is well known that human beings are naturally competitive so it is not really surprising that people participating in CrossFit workouts are getting an added benefit by working out together and being pushed by others. What is interesting, however, is that research studies have shown that in addition to bettering performance, increased endorphin release may potentially be tied to aspects of communality.

To briefly summarize the study noted in the article above, researchers looked at pain tolerance levels of people engaged in long intervals of rowing and found that those who rowed as part of team rowed considerably longer than those who performed the exercise individually. As one author commenting on the study suggests, “As well as potentially improving performance in sport…this endorphin release may be the mechanism that underpins the sense of communal belonging that emerges from activities such as religious rituals, dancing or laughing.” Therefore, CrossFit not only puts you in a position to perform better during workouts but also enables you to utilize your social capital to build relationships with those around you, which I would argue plays a significant role in contributing to overall health and wellness.

 

 

Keys to Sleeping for Performance

By | Motivation | No Comments

 

Hey Everyone!

 

Last week we discussed several of the important benefits that result from getting an adequate amount of quality sleep. In this post we wanted to focus on the keys to sleeping for performance by touching on a few of the measures one can undertake in order actively improve one’s sleeping habits. Putting these simple changes into effect will enable your body to consistently train at an optimal level and help your body recover more efficiently, thereby allowing you to maximize the benefits of your workouts.

 

First, here are some of the basic things you should be doing regularly to ensure proper sleeping patterns:

 

– Proper nutrition: A major component of fitness involves both eating well and getting enough sleep. Better nutrition promotes better sleep, while getting enough quality sleep helps with metabolism; in this way the two are mutually inclusive and work in a cycle.

– Getting extra rest: If you find a certain workout to be particularly challenging for your body or if you are participating in strenuous workouts regularly on a weekly or monthly basis then it would be a good idea to make sure you are getting extra sleep. In these situations, extra sleep will aid in the recovery process and maximize your gains.

– Give up smoking or any other form of tobacco product: This one is pretty self-explanatory.

– Sleeping environment: It’s best to keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool during the night. Different external stimuli such as light, warm temperatures and noise can easily disrupt sleep patterns, which results in poor sleep and an increased chance of feeling fatigued during the day.

 

The following include some of the things that should be avoided or limited in order to promote healthy sleep:

 

– Caffeine: Avoid consuming caffeinated products after the early afternoon since they can keep you awake and shorten the amount of time you will be able to devote to sleeping.

– Eating late: Do not eat a large meal or consume alcohol within three hours of going to bed.

-Napping: Avoid taking long naps during the day. Try to keep each nap to under 30 minutes in duration to prevent confusing your biological clock. Studies show that taking long naps can have a similar effect on the body as jet lag. If a longer nap is necessary, try to sleep for 90 minutes in order to get at least one full sleep cycle; this typically prevents a feeling of grogginess.

– Screen entertainment: Electronic screen technologies emit blue light, which has been found to inhibit the production of melatonin and prevent sleep. If you enjoy watching television right before bed it is recommended that you purchase a pair of blue-light blocking sunglasses. These glasses are inexpensive and you will notice a remarkable difference in sleepiness.

 

For even more tips on sleeping for performance check out Martin Rawls-Meehan’s article on sleep.