For six weeks this winter we will attempt to reset our bodies and increase our fitness. From January 8th until February 18th we will partake in the annual Nutrition Challenge. To keep it simple we will stick to CrossFit New England’s Nutrition Prescription: Eat Real Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants. In these 3 short sentences we will find the guidelines for our six-week challenge. The points will be as follows:
for eating real food
for eating not too much
for eating mostly plants
for sleeping 7+ hours
Real food was once alive and doesn’t come from a box or container. If it has a long shelf life it is a man-made, edible, food-like substance – not food.
Not too much means 3-4 meals a day, no seconds, and no snacking. We will rely on the portion controlled containers to measure our food.
Mostly Plants is just that, every meal needs to consist mostly of vegetables. A plate should be covered with vegetables then the protein and starch can be added. The large section of the container is for vegetables but you are allowed unlimited vegetables at each meal.
Sleep is more important than working out. No amount of working out can undo the negative effects of a poor night’s sleep.
There are no extra points. We know that eating and sleeping right will get you healthy and that is what we will reward with points.
Starts Monday January 8th Ends Sunday February 18th
Start Wednesday January 3rd End Wednesday January 10th
Protein will go in one of the small compartments of your tray. The leaner the better. Grass-fed and organic are ideal. Wild-caught cold water fish are best.
Carbs will go in the other small compartment. We want to have nutrient-dense carbohydrates. Fruits and these starchy carbs will do that for us.
Vegetables will go in the large part of your container. Each meal must have at least this many vegetables. To keep it simple, if it’s a vegetable eat it. Diversify what vegetables are on your plate from meal to meal and you are all set.
A serving size of fat is the size of your thumb. Here are the healthy options like avocado, grass-fed butter, olive and avocado oil, and fish oil.
Nuts & seeds
How many trays?
If you are a male or female over 165lbs you are allotted 4 trays per day.
If you are a male or female under 165lbs you are allotted 3 trays per day. ..
Very simply put pre and post workout supplements are focussed on performance. If you are not where you want to be composition wise then performance is not the priority. For that reason if you are a man over 15 percent body fat or a woman over 22 percent body fat then you do not need to take pre or post workout supplements. ..
“What About” Foods
These are foods that people commonly ask about. “What about this food?”
If it’s a vegetable eat it, if it’s meat eat it.
No cold cuts or cured meats
No almond or coconut flour
No canola or vegetable oil
No honey, agave, maple syrup or sweeteners of any kind
No Rx bars, Quest bars, or any bars
Nut butters must have no added ingredients other than salt
Up to one cup of unsweetened almond milk per day
Up to two tablespoons of grass-fed heavy cream per day
“The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind.” – Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit
What are your goals? It is to loose body fat, and look better naked? Is it to become a better skier, and perform better at pickup basketball on Tuesday nights? Is it to compete in local competitions?
Each day at CrossFit New England, we want to track towards your specific goals. We can do that by tailoring each workout into three categories, each with a unique purpose: Fitness, Performance, and Open.
These tracks are entirely designed with the goal of the athlete in mind, and has absolutely no ties to individual ability level. Whether we are a new CrossFitter, or going on our 10th year of CrossFit, it is our individual goals that determine our track and not our abilities.
These subtle, yet important changes to each workout allow us to create the ideal training day for you, while keeping what we know and love, our exciting group classes, together. We actually were doing this before inside classes, and now it’s just a little more formal
Explanation of the three tracks:
Fitness Those looking to look better naked. Loose body fat, maintain lean muscle-mass, and improve our quality of life. Eager to learn and take on new and challenging movements and workouts, but is not looking to compete in local or online CrossFit competitions.
Performance Wants to become better mountain climbing, skiing, and pickup basketball. Excited to be challenged every day inside the workouts, but is also not looking to compete in local or online CrossFit competitions.
Open Looking to train for the CrossFit Games Open. This track is geared towards the goal of improving one’s scores on the competitive stage, training with specific movements and weights that are seen in competition.
To pull back the curtain a bit, here’s how we create our workouts. We create the overarching “Workout of the Day”, using our unique programming template and formula. From there, we alter this workout just slightly for all three tracks, purely based on the goals of the athlete. This is not three separate programs – it’s simply three variations of the “Workout of the Day”, with your goals in mind.
OPEN “17.2” AMRAP 12: 2 Rounds 50′ DB Walking Lunge (50s/35s) 16 T2B 8 DB Power Cleans (50s/35s) 2 Rounds 50′ DB Walking Lunge 16 Bar MU 8 DB Power Cleans
PERFORMANCE “Hacksaw” AMRAP 12: Ascending Ladder… 3 Kettlebell Swings (53/35#) 3 Goblet Squats (53/35#) 3 Burpees 6 Kettlebell Swings (53/35#) 6 Goblet Squats (53/35#) 6 Burpees … and so on, until time expires.
FITNESS “Hacksaw” AMRAP 12: Ascending Ladder… 3 Kettlebell Swings 3 Goblet Squats 3 Burpees 6 Kettlebell Swings 6 Goblet Squats 6 Burpees … and so on, until time expires.
Post scores to comments.
Box Brief *** Save The Date — Fittest on Earth Screening *** Monday, March 13 in Cambridge Landmark Kendall Square Cinema
Join Ben, Katrin and the CFNE coaches at the Boston screening of the 2017 CrossFit Games documentary!
Purchase tickets here!
The 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games were a grueling five-day, 15-event test to find the fittest man and woman on Earth. “Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness” follows the dramatic story of the top athletes who qualified and competed and offers an inside look at what it takes to be among the world’s elite athletes, both in training and on the competition floor. The CrossFit Games challenge competitors to perform intense physical tasks, but the hardest part is sometimes mental. Athletes often learn the details of the events only minutes before they begin, and everyone handles the pressure differently.
We Are Getting More Space! We have been working on expanding our space since October, and are finally getting very close. We have run into hang up after hang up with the landlord and the town permitting process, but looks like construction should start this week. Yeah!!! We are getting an additional 1,000 sqft, which will allow us to recreate the small room in the new warehouse space and knock down the walls behind the front desk and the whiteboard. This should almost double our “usable square footage”. Super excited about this and it shouldn’t interrupt our classes at all. WE ARE GOING TO LET TULLY RIDE THE ASSAULT BIKE THROUGH THE WALL.
NEW ELEMENTS PROGRAM! New members will be lead through 3 one-on-one sessions with a coach ($75/each). After completing the three sessions they will get a 1-month Unlimited CFNE membership for FREE!!! GET UP TO SPEED IN THREE SESSION AND ENJOY 1 MONTH OF UNLIMITED TRAINING ON THE HOUSE.
NEW BRING A FRIND DAY We are doing “Try a Class For Free Day” the FIRST and THIRD Thursday of every month. These wods are set up to be “first-timer friendly”. We want you to have the opportunity to share your passion for CFNE with your buddies, and these are the days to bring them in. Please wait for these days to bring your friends, kids, neighbors and co-workers. The rest of the month is reserved for you, our CFNE members. HIGH FIVES AND HEADBUTTS WITH YOU AND YOUR BESTIES
NEW CFNE SWEATFEST CLASS Starting next week we will be adding a class at 10:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This class is about cardio, conditioning, and getting sweaty. Think of a mash up between soul cycle, bootcamp, and cardio CrossFit. These wods will not be posted on the CFNE site, but every class will be unique and involve some sort of combination of rowing, running, jumping, burpees, wall balls, biking and outside fun like prowler pushing. This class is free for CFNE members and $20 for non-members (no need to do elements before getting into the SweatFest action). SWEAT, SWEAT, SWEAT.
THE OPEN You can sign up until Monday at 8pm. You can do scaled or RX, and can do different divisions each week. We are doing Friday Night Lights at 6:30pm at CFNE. No need to sign up before. 15.1 brought to you by CFNE – shirts, swag, goodies… 15.2 powered by Redline Gear – beer, gear, and DJ 15.3 powered by Fuel For Fire – Ladies Night at CFNE 15.4 powered by FitVine Wine – healthy wine made by, and for, CrossFit Athletes 15.5 powered by NoBull – give aways and more. GOOD TIMES CFNE….GOOD TIMES.
Maya moves toward the loaded barbell with the utmost concentration. The lift is to be a squat clean, and the bar is setup with more weight than she has ever cleaned previously. She looks calm, almost peaceful; however there is an unmistakable air of intensity. She rolls her hands on the bar and engages her hook grip. For a few moments you think she might be fazed by the lift as she readjusts her hands, but you are wrong. With one last audible breath her performance begins, and she executes with precision setting yet another personal record. Maya is eleven years old. You are probably thinking she’s a natural, born to lift and a child prodigy. Her talent is undeniable, but was she simply born with the gift?
Maya is the daughter of Heather Bergeron. Heather is one the most well respected CrossFit athletes on the East Coast. Heather’s resume boasts an 8th place individual finish in the 2010 CrossFit Games as well as countless other accolades. Heather is also a trainer on CrossFit’s Seminar Staff and co-owner of CrossFit New England (CFNE) along with her husband and Maya’s stepfather, Ben Bergeron. Ben’s resume is equally as impressive as Heather’s. In addition to being a trainer on CrossFit’s Seminar Staff, Ben coached team CFNE to overall victory at the 2011 Game’s as well as crowning a male and female master’s champion in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Ben is widely recognized one of the greatest CrossFit coaches on earth. His knowledge and passion for CrossFit distinguishes Ben among his peers and places him in rarified air in the sport.
When viewing the video of Maya’s squat clean the vast majority of us sit in wonderment. Perhaps some of us frantically press replay to dissect her lift; while others simply throw their hands in the air. In the 20-second video, we witness a masterful performance. Although not 100% flawless, Maya’s effort is close, and many older athletes may indeed be frustrated by the young lady’s effort. The mind runs:
How can an 11 year-old girl move like that? How can an 11 year-old girl move better than some of the best CrossFitters? How can an 11 year-old girl move better than me? How can an 11 year-old girl make it looks so easy?
The answers to these questions are predictable – she is a natural or she was born that way. In the presence of excellence, we are quick to assign innate giftedness to the performer. Without diminishing Maya’s performance in the least, did we just run into the tip of the iceberg? Let’s chat…
Matthew Syed discusses athletes, musicians and professionals at the pinnacle of their respective fields in his book Bounce. The question posed by Syed deals with the idea of talented individuals being born excellent or predisposed to greatness. Syed argues that rather than innate talent, the vast majority of masters and prodigies achieve greatness through thousands of hours of purposeful practice and in most cases a set of unique circumstances. Purpose is an essential element of Syed’s argument for practice. He insists that the pure accumulation of time is not enough to spawn mastery. The practice must be focused and purposeful. After all, if practice alone equates to greatness we would all be world famous formula one drivers. However, when we drive we are anything but focused and purposeful.
When we witness a professional at the top of their game Syed offers that we are actually just seeing the ‘tip of the iceberg’. As we assign labels like ‘genius’ or ‘natural’ we discount the thousands of hours of practice (10,000 Syed cites, to be exact) and the circumstances responsible for the individual’s success. Syed’s work is rife with examples supporting his argument. My intention is not to convince the reader of Syed’s theory. Rather, my hope is to generate thoughtful discussion on the topic and compel the reader to think about talent, success, and excellence.
Maya’s practice in CrossFit can certainly be described as purposeful. At the age of five Maya began her CrossFit journey. She immediately began training with her mom and Ben becoming the beneficiary of quality feedback and a high standard of development. While most five year olds prefer learning through cartoons, Maya began learning through the sport of CrossFit. She studied human movement, learned to see flaws and efficiencies, and even began to coach alongside Ben and Heather. As she grew, so did her CrossFit acumen. Maya watched, listened and studied the actions of Ben and Heather as they trained for and competed in the CrossFit Games. The level of exposure to elite training pushed the young girl past her comfort zone and cultivated her drive for excellence. Maya soon became an impressive athlete in her own right, and her own commitment to physical training is no short of spectacular. She is highly conditioned and spends dozens of hours each week at CFNE. She learns and plays new sports, and through her own volition, spends much of her free time watching CrossFit greats compete daily at CFNE, Reebok ONE, or via CrossFit.com. Maya may very well be the hardest working pre- teen in the Northeast.
By no stretch of the imagination, the girl grew up in a unique environment. Maya is a part of one of CrossFit’s founding families and was raised by arguably CrossFit’s greatest coach-athlete couple. These circumstances are undeniably special. Maya is intimately exposed to the training methods of CrossFit’s fittest individuals; all the while, accumulating thousands of hours of practice. In addition to her immediate family, other CrossFit greats reside in close proximity and surround Maya on a daily basis. The Northeast, Massachusetts in particular, is quickly becoming a hub for elite CrossFit training. EC Synkowski, James Hobart, Mel Ockerby and others are CrossFit sounding boards and coaches for Maya. Beyond the bountiful Northeast, visiting athletes, coaches, and even CrossFit’s Director of Training, Dave Castro, have come to know and work with Maya. On any given night, the Bergeron’s dinner table is the proverbial who’s who of CrossFit. While the discussions at dinner may not start with the topic of CrossFit, they usually get there eventually.
The preceding paragraphs discuss a set of circumstances and hours of purposeful practice that might not immediately come to mind when we see Maya perform. It may be the tip of the iceberg we see in the 20-second video, but the unseen circumstances and hours of practice could be the iceberg itself. Maya is completely immersed in CrossFit and has been for years. She owns more experience than some of CrossFit’s most seasoned athletes and coaches, and yet she’s not even in high school.
Although it may be difficult (perhaps impossible) to pinpoint the exact number of hours in Maya’s CrossFit education, let’s do some simple math anyway. We will average (1) hour of training for (5) days a week for the past six years (some days she trained much more, other days less; a rough but conservative number) – 1560 hours. We will triple that number, (3) hours a day (5) days a week, to include every video watched, dinner conversation had, discussion participated in, seminar attended, competition attended, sound byte listened, class watched, class coached, class taken, programming overheard, and movement practiced for the past six years (again, a rough figure but realistic for her circumstances) – 4680. Combining the numbers we see that Maya potentially accumulated 6240 hours of purposeful practice in CrossFit. Let that number sink in for a second. Now get ready. If you are casually doing CrossFit for (1) hour, (3) times a week, it will take you the next 40 years to accumulate the number of hours Maya currently owns in CrossFit experience. In the same time you could have a full career, raise a family and retire.
Syed earmarks 10,000 hours as his benchmark for mastery. A number he borrowed from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, a work that deconstructs success in a similar fashion. Gladwell argues the success of persons like Bill Gates, The Beatles and others has more to do with “where those individuals are from” than “what those individuals are like.” Similar to Syed, Gladwell argues “they (the successful) are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that all them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.” Maya may very well be one such beneficiary in the field of CrossFit. She may not be at Syed and Gladwell’s 10,000- hour mark yet, but if her numbers stay constant, she will exceed that figure by 2015. If we accept the argument in favor of purposeful practice and circumstance, imagine how you may feel about your squat clean compared to hers in three years – scary stuff.
I chose to write on this subject for three reasons: first and foremost, my admiration for Maya as an athlete (girl is an absolute rock star, go shake her hand); second, for my interest in the idea of talent and excellence; and, finally, for my distaste of the words “I wish.” Too many times in CrossFit and life, we wish. Whether it’s wishing for more pull-ups, better fitness, a happier marriage or greater success it’s really all the same. My contention is that wishes won’t get you anywhere. The road to excellence, whether professional or personal, takes hard work and practice – hours of it. As the saying goes, ‘aspiration without perspiration is meaningless.’ So get out there, work hard and make it happen.
My hope with this essay is to help you stop wishing and start purposefully practicing the skills necessary to achieve your personal goals. Before I conclude, it is necessary to briefly address the different measures of success CrossFit. Maya is a unique case and might seem somewhat overwhelming for some new to CrossFit. Make no mistake, she is developing at a level far above the norm. If she chooses to continue along this path, she is on her way to a career in the sport of CrossFit. I fervently believe that CrossFit can and should be impactful, healthful, and meaningful for each individual irrespective of age, sex, or level of fitness at the outset. I do not value achievements by Game’s champions over the achievements of athletes on day one. Each and every day that you come to CrossFit and give your best effort, you are getting fitter. No matter the size of the steps in the journey toward fitness, each step is a tremendous achievement.
As you guys know I love coaching. I want every member to get stronger, fitter and faster, but I also want everyone of our members lives to improve outside the box as well. I talk a lot with the classes I coach about the power of positive thinking and tactics to use inside and outside the gym to improve your performance and improve your life.
Today I talked with my classes about “flexing your gratitude muscle.” This is a concept I got from Tim Sanders in his book “Today We Are Rich.” Everyone knows the feeling of gratitude – it feels good, like things are lining up for you. You have more opportunities, better luck and more abundance in you life. We want that feeling as much as possible, but the important realization is that gratitude isn’t a feeling…it’s a muscle. And just like all your other muscles it needs to be worked or it atrophies.
Here are two tactics I have been using to flex my gratitude muscles that I suggest you do.
1. Every morning, while you are in the shower alone with your own thoughts, think about two people that helped you in some way the previous day. This will start your day on the right track – with the feeling of gratitude. You will feel more energized, and like the world is presenting more opportunities for you. This morning I thanked Heather’s parents who came into town and watched the kids so I could go on a romantic dinner with my beautiful wife. I also thought about and thanked Ali for bringing up a few new ways that we could improve the gym. What a nice way to start the day…
2. Turn “have to’s” into “get to’s”. Instead of saying, “I have to drive the kids to camp today,” or “I have to go to work today,” or “I have to go to the gym today,” say, “I GET TO….” How many childless parents would give anything to have the opportunity to drive a child to camp. How many unemployed people are dying for the opportunity to earn a paycheck. How many other people have the opportunity to “Get To” work out at one of the best gyms in the world with some of the best coaches and best people in the world.
Recognize the abundance, good fortune and opportunities you have. Don’t let even the smallest of things pass by without recognizing their beauty, importance and worth. Find the silver lining in all situations. Exercise your gratitude muscle and live a happy more productive life.