Blog

How Focusing On Your Breathing Can Improve Your Fitness

Breathing is a unique process in the human body. It can occur voluntarily or involuntarily, be a conscious or unconscious decision, and is constantly responding to feedback from sensors in your body. Oftentimes are breathe is being stifled by our emotional state, body position, or

Posture and breath
When you inhale your diaphragm contracts and moves downward expanding the chest cavity and giving the lungs space to expand. This simultaneously lifts the ribs and sternum. When you exhale the diaphragm relaxes and expands into the chest cavity as the ribs and sternum lower.

The key muscles or primary movers in this process are the diaphragm, intercostal muscles, and abdominal muscles. Secondary mover muscles include upper trapezius, scalenes, sternocleidomastoid, levator scapulae, and pectoralis minor.

Poor posture categorized by rounded shoulders and a forward head position can cause these secondary movers to become tight and overworked. This leads to a decline in respiratory function which can further exacerbate the breathing muscles and contribute to even worse posture.

To jump start your muscles involved in breathing try out this stretching and breath practice from Jill Miller at Yoga Tune Up: The Abdominal Vacuum.

So you might be wondering why you should worry about your breath when it’s so easy you can literally do it in your sleep?

Let’s start with the the one we all care about
1. Improved performance. A study at the University of Portsmouth showed that runners who performed inspiratory muscle warm-ups and training experienced a whopping 15% increase in performance after just 6 weeks.

2. Energy
Bringing a mindful focus to breath can also help improve energy. Individuals who practice deep breathing exercises report more energy, improved mental acuity, and getting a better night’s sleep.

3. Digestion
An improvement in breath capacity will lead to a healthier digestive tract. The body has more energy to allocate towards digestion and is more efficient at eliminating toxins.

4. Decrease Stress
Breathing techniques that are designed to bring increased awareness the breath can carry over to other areas of life. It trains the mind to be less emotionally reactive while simultaneously reducing cortisol levels.

5. Heart Rate
Breathing practice has been shown to lower resting heart rate and blood pressure. Try deep belly breaths where the stomach fully expands and holding in at the full exhalation and inhalation points.

Many breathing techniques are geared towards unwinding, shutting down, and moving away from the flight or fight response we are used to feeling. Breath work also has many powerful applications to get us fired up and improve our u

When lifting heavy weights, a full belly breath can be held inside the abdomen throughout the lift. This Valsalva Maneuver provides internal pressure that supports the spine and braces the skeletal muscle throughout the lift. Limit this maneuver for maximal exertion efforts (eg. greater than 80% of your 1rm and 5 reps or less in your working set).

Breathing can also be used to prime your body into a peak state. Using rapid forced inhales and exhales through the nostrils will stimulate the immune system, increase circulation, and leave you feeling alive, alert, and awake.

Now that you know a little about how breathing affects your daily life and the systems of your body what areas do you want to incorporate a breathing practice into? Whether its for our health, relaxation purposes, or to improve our athletic performance we could all benefit from taking a deep breath now and then!

5 Ways to Add Fitness to Your Day

We all lead busy lives. If we are not careful, our fitness is sometimes the first thing to go and before you know it, we are feeling left with less energy. Here are five ways you can add fitness to your day:

1. Increase Physical “Work”
Technology has caused a major shift in the way humans live and made physical activity an optional daily occurrence. Luckily with a creative mindset we can still take advantage of many events in our days that are ripe for the picking with good old fashioned labor. Try some of these challenges to increase your work capacity throughout the day:
• At the grocery store steer clear of the shopping cart. Try to only use a basket (or two) to carry your food. As you navigate the aisles you’ll be improving your grip and building core strength with a bonus deadlift thrown in any time you set your basket down. By choosing to carry the items you will also develop awareness around what you’re purchasing. The bottom line, you get more fit and only the essentials make it home. Your inner hunter-gatherer will be proud!
• Park far away in the parking lot. It’s just as fast as driving up and down the lanes to get as close as possible.
• Take the Stairs. Every step counts and if you’re really motivated try throwing in some lunges.
• Leave the car in the garage.Take a new approach to your daily travel and try to walk or bike to work.

2. Stretch It Out (Every Chance You Get)
A terrific habit to build is to practice full range of motion and proper biomechanics in the daily activities you already do. How many times a day do you catch yourself hunched over, chin to chest with your neck craning to look into a screen. Ouch! Focus on good posture with shoulders back and eyes gazing straight ahead. See how it affects your mood, confidence and energy levels!
• While grabbing items off of a bottom shelf or cabinet, hold the bottom position of a squat and drive your knees out to the sides. Spending 10 minutes a day in the bottom of a squat can be life changing for your spine, hips, and knees!
• If you’re talking on the phone or typing at your computer incorporate ankle rolls at the same time. Rotate your foot at the ankle as if you were at the beach writing your name in the sand with your toes. Make sure to practice each letter of the alphabet.
• Driving to and from work? This is a great time to work on externally rotating your shoulders while sitting up tall with a proud chest.

3. Equalize The Sedentary Activities
Take advantage of time that doesn’t require movement to work postural muscles or build in fitness breaks. Alternating work and rest periods will increase metabolism and improve circulation. This can even be a great opportunity to develop your strength. By practicing strength daily you can make remarkable improvements in a short amount of time. Strength is a skill and the majority of initial gains in strength are due to neuromuscular adaptations to training.
• For office work or writing try a standing desk or treadmill desk.
• If you’re at home watching television try to practice push-ups, squats, or core exercises during the commercial breaks. One popular method technique is called “grease the groove. The premise is simple, pick a movement you want to improve at and perform a set of the exercise with half of your maximal reps (eg. if your max number of pullups is 10, you will want to perform sets of 5). Rest at least 15 minutes between sets. Repeat as often as possible throughout your day.

4. Get Outside Every Day
Getting outdoors is the perfect chance to reset and reconnect with your body. Whether it’s a park you swing by on the way home from your work or stepping out on the back porch with your morning coffee making time for the outdoors is an essential. Moving outside requires us to apply our bodies to move in new and challenging ways. Some recommendations:
• Climb a tree, seriously when was the last time you did? Go now, you can thank me later…
• Walk or run barefoot. Connecting your feet with the dirt, grass, or sand feels great, allows full range of motion, and strengthens the feet.
• Find a rock, log, or another odd object to be your new “pet rock”. Take your new found pet on a walk and enjoy this new test of fitness.

5. Find A Community
One of the best ways to add fitness to your day is to surround yourself with people who care about their health. Positive social support has been proven to improve adherence to exercise and dietary habits. If you feel like you need help in achieving your health and fitness goals maybe joining a tribe of people on the same journey is the best way to add fitness to your day!

Call us today to Schedule your FREE intro. 845-803-8113 or email us info@eliteprogression.com .

My First Murph

My First Murph

By Coach Dana

 

Flashback to May 2014, I was merely only 6 months into CrossFit & still unsure of what I got myself into. Everyone at the gym was doing “Murph” on Memorial Day weekend so I was too!

I remember the day being insanely hot and I was a little nervous but my choice was already made. After the warm up, we choose our designated pull up bars…I most definitely had at least 2 bands wrapped around the bar & then I went & set up my spot for push-ups… on my knees.

I remember the 1st run & how it was hot as hell and I thought I was going to die- don’t we always think that? But the thing I remember the most is those push-ups… I also remember Jenna by my side cheering me on & not letting me give up.

A majority of you don’t know what the “Old Gym” at CFM was… it was cozy & narrow and it was mostly mats & a small section of carpet. (Yes CARPET… Eli what were you thinking back then?!) Don’t ask me why I chose to do 200 push-ups on the comfort of rug… I guess because I thought it was going to be soft? Guess not. I now kindly ask you to please refer to the picture of my knees. To this day I still have scars there. I guess it’s kind of cool to have scars from your first Murph. Something to always remember where you came from.

The purpose of this post isn’t to give you a play by play of May 26th, 2014. It’s to let you know that we all start somewhere, and quite honestly it doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you started.

Back to 2018, you guys have seen me running with the vest the past few weeks because this year, my 5th time doing Murph I am finally doing it RX! Which leads me to my main point.. it took my 5 years to do what I am capable of doing inside the walls of the gym & I earned my right to do it.

So before you say the words..  “Oh but I didn’t go RX” or “I did it with bands so it doesn’t count” or “But I did them on my knees” … remind yourself; 1. It most certainly does count & 2. It’s OK to not go RX.

RX isn’t expected.. its earned! What IS expected is for you guys to show up & give it everything you got. Most especially during Hero WODs.

So when you see RX next to someone’s name with a kickass time- they earned that! RX = hard work, commitment, & time. Not to say you don’t work hard but if you want that you need to work for it. You need to put in deliberate practice on your weakest skill(s). Attend class even tho its your least favorite movement. Every movement in CF helps improve another movement. So when you skip out on a day programmed with Overhead Squats you are indirectly preventing yourself from improving your Snatch, Front Squat, & any movement that requires your core… oh so pretty much every single movement in CF. 

Don’t expect to be going RX this year, next year or ya know what… even ever.

Remember why you joined Elite Progression. It wasn’t to get better at CrossFit… it was to get better at life, to be a better human and sometimes I think a lot of us forget that. Be compassionate with yourself, for most of you you’re less than 24 months into your CrossFit journey. Enjoy the ride, don’t rush it.

Lastly, check your ego at door this month. Friday’s WODs aren’t for you. They are for the heroes that died for your freedom.

Come in, give it your all, & pay your respects with sweat.

 

5 Reasons to get STRONG

5 Reasons to get STRONG

5 Reasons to get STRONG

Fitness trends come and go and most fall to the wayside for good reason. Most programs fail to produce consistent results. It’s a wonder why so many folks stray away from what is tried and true when it comes to exercise programs?

“The rule is: the basics are the basic, and you can’t beat the basics” -Charles Poliquin

Despite what your goals may be, every individual can benefit from physical resistance training. Not only that, but the health benefits extend far beyond your short term fitness goals. Regardless of why you train, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen.

1. Training for strength produces results.
Whatever your goals, muscle will help you get there. Some companies in the fitness industry has made a fortune around buzzwords like “tone”, “lift”, and “sculpt.” The problem is there’s no way to measure those loose terms. If you want to change your body composition there is only the ability to gain or lose muscle while simultaneously gaining or losing fat. If you are looking for the most efficient way to do make a change then strength training is your best option.

Strength training, or physical resistance training, can be defined as a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. When you gain muscle you increase your bodies basal metabolism (the amount of calories you burn each day before factoring in physical activity). It’s kind of like putting a bigger engine in a car. The car is capable of moving faster or pulling a heavier load (more muscle), but it also uses more fuel (fat) whether it’s cruising down the freeway or idling in the driveway. Strength training helps us “tone” through this muscle gain/fat loss trade.

2. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” -Peter Drucker
Training for strength provides a clear path for success. You can set training goals that are specific, measurable, and produce desired outcomes. A good coach will help you design a plan towards these goals with checkpoints along the way. Your strength training program is a road map to success with clear directions. Sets, reps, and weights lifted safely through the full range of motion are the signals that you’re on track. Many people find that a more detailed plan helps them stay motivated as they experience progress.

3. Age gracefully with more muscle mass.
As we get older strength training is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Physical independence is a key factor in a great quality of life. A comprehensive study of strength training has been proven to:

• Improve motor function
• Lower resting heart rate
• Increase stamina
• Prevent sarcopenia (age related muscle loss)
• Improve bone mineral density
• Prevent and help rehab injuries

Functional strength training will be an asset in daily life too. From picking up grandchildren or bags of groceries to climbing stairs with confidence.

4. You’ll experience epic brain gains.
Did you know that lifting weights can strengthen your brain just as much as it does your body?
Dr. Yorgi Mavros from the University of Sydney has found that high‐intensity physical resistance training (PRT) results in significant improvements in cognitive function, muscle strength, and aerobic capacity in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Adults who followed a resistance training routine in addition to cognitive training performed significantly better than control groups on a series of mental tests. A couple key factors to note:

1. The participants exercised 2x/ week working to at least 80% of their peak strength.
2. The benefits lasted one year after the exercise prescription had ended.

What does that mean? According to Yorgi, “The stronger people became, the greater the benefit for their brain.” Let that sink in for a minute. You actually grow your brain by training to become stronger! It makes me wonder if Einstein developed his Theory of Relativity in between heavy sets of back squats…

5. Strong moms have healthy babies.
During pregnancy, the question always arises of what does fitness look like for this stage of life? With so much on the line, it’s important to consult with a doctor before beginning any fitness routine. Luckily, there is a tremendous amount to be gained by incorporating a strength training routine under normal circumstances. Resistance training can help alleviate symptoms and improve health outcomes for the mother and child. According to the Mayo Clinic, women who follow a consistent strength training routine during pregnancy can experience:

• Reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
• Boosted mood and energy levels
• Better sleep
• Prevent excess weight gain
• Maintain levels of muscle strength and endurance
• Reduced incidence of gestational diabetes

Not only that but women who train during pregnancy report enhanced body image and better psychological well-being!

Join us for Open House Thursday 4/26, Friday 4/27 & Saturday 4/38 and see how we can help you become and stay STRONG.

Did You Know?

Did you know the average person takes about 5,000 to 7,000 steps per day.
According to the Fitbit tracker, 2000 steps averages to 1 mile.
So 10,000 steps would be 5 miles.

Now while that may be a pretty cool accomplishment for the average sedentary person, does that make them fitter?

Will walking alone 10000 or more everyday make YOU more fit?

 

Here are just a few things to think about before assuming you are on your way to the best shape of your life
with your new step tracker…

1. How long did it take me to accumulate those 10,000 steps?
2. What foods did I consume in the day that it took me to walk that distance?
3. How fit am I now and did the 10000 steps create a challenge for me?

  1. Make sure you strive to complete those steps faster. Or even learn to run the 5 miles and improve your time there.       Running will create higher levels of fitness over walking.

    2. If you think walking Disney World all weekend tallying up 25,000 steps was a workout, don’t forget about the funnel cake, burgers, and alcohol you consumed throughout the day as well. You can’t out walk a bad diet!

    3. If you are fresh off the couch, 5 miles will be a challenge. And congrats for accomplishing that distance!
    However, if you are a year or more into a fitness regime, walking 10,000 steps should be normal.
    Fitness isn’t created by doing normal stuff. Push your body into an uncomfortable place and watch how fit you can/will become.

4 Myths about CrossFit That Might Surprise You

4 Myths about CrossFit That Might Surprise You

1. I won’t “fit” in.
When you show up to a CrossFit gym, you’ll find a different scene than the one you saw on television. Guess what else? You might be farther along in your fitness journey than other people attending the class…
It’s surprising, but one of the biggest factors keeping people from the gym is not being as fit as they want to be. What a catch-22! So, before you rule yourself out from being able to complete the Workout of the Day (or “WOD” in CrossFit lingo) let’s try to view the situation with fresh eyes.
As CrossFit has grown in popularity you’ve seen the well-muscled men and women of the CrossFit Games. As you watch them run, jump, and hoist tremendous weights overhead you think to yourself “I could never do that.”
So, what do you need to do? Try to reach out to a local CrossFit gym and see what it’s like. Like in the popular romantic comedy, Hitch, when the date doctor played by Will Smith teaches his client to move in for a kiss. The man moves in 90% of the distance and lets the woman come in for the final 10%. That’s where CrossFit is going to meet you. By opening the door, you will have access to a supportive and accepting community.
Your coach will help you “scale” to give a similar workout as those athletes on TV. The difference will be with lighter weights, shorter duration, or fewer repetitions. Everyone has unique strengths and weaknesses, but they are always there for each other.

2. CrossFit will make me too big/bulky.
Getting too muscular is a common fear that many women have when they deliberate strength training programs. Developing bigger muscles is a process called hypertrophy. Hypertrophy will occur with a consistent resistance training routine. Training volume, caloric consumption, and hormones all play an important role in the growth of new muscle. Any person you see that appears too muscular may spend as much time training as you do at your full-time job. With that said, it’s one piece of the puzzle and most likely won’t happen on accident.
Most athletes find that lose inches in all the right places even with increased muscle. Clothes fit better, they have a healthy appetite, and even look better naked!

3. Don’t a lot of people who do CrossFit get injured?
Do people get injured participating in CrossFit. Yes.
They also get injured while jogging, moving furniture, walking their dogs, and shaving their legs in the shower. Injuries come from a lack of focus, preparation, or by not listening to our bodies. In fact, the injury incidence in CrossFit fits into a category with most other recreational training activities.
The functional movements used in CrossFit model the movements we complete in everyday life. Practicing fundamental movement patterns reduces the risk of injury and helps us become more confident and competent. A quick internet search will show you the tremendous success stories of individuals who have used CrossFit to overcome past injuries and debilitating diseases.

4. CrossFit will make me worse at my sport.
If you have concerns, talk to a CrossFit gym who has trainers with experience in your sport of choice; football, baseball, triathlon, golf, and snowboarding athletes all can use the CrossFit method. CrossFit can support their sport with workouts built around the various stages of their competitive season.
CrossFit is “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.” It is a system of general physical preparedness (GPP). Being more prepared can benefit all athletes as they adapt to and overcome the rigors of their sport.
CrossFit is also designed to increase work capacity. Moving loads that are heavier, moving them faster, or moving them farther are all examples of increased work capacity. A football player who can perform more work will be stronger on each play he participates in. Increased work capacity will help an individual and team succeed in any sport!

Open House is NEXT week! Join us Thursday April 26, Friday April 27 & Saturday April 28 to try out a class… ON US!

The Power of Choice

Most of us have an area in our life we wish we were performing better in. That part of us that doesn’t quite fit into our own skin. It could be a touchy subject that our spouse and friends know to steer clear of, the elephant in the room. It could be the promotion you still haven’t received, the credit card you haven’t paid off, or the weight you were supposed to lose by the beginning of summer… in 2012.

And because you’re wearing this very uncomfortable skin that’s not quite your size I am happy to tell you that you are exactly where you chose to be today.

I can already hear the objections rising up so let me explain why.

You see I totally understand your story. I understand because it’s yours, mine, and everyone else’s. Sometimes having a new baby, a busy time at work, or the worst timing for a medical emergency/broken down car/economic depression can happen. There are a million and one events in life that can derail us. They are not always fair and can seem impossible to overcome when they show up knocking at our door.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.”
-Arnold Schwarzenegger

At that point we do an admirable thing. We give up on our dream. We set it aside to go fix the problem. We change our identity and become the superhero who knows exactly how to work overtime and take care of a sick parent. We do it because we want to make sure the story has a happy ending. We do it out of love.

And life goes on.

And sometimes the situation gets better. And sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, the situation that called for a superhero 6 months ago no longer needs a hero to save it. But there you stand in cape and tights committed to action. Except now it’s time to go home. Time to write a new story.

Where you stand today is a result of many choices. Some of your hero moments were the big decisions that shaped your trajectory. Like I said, I’m proud of you for doing that. But now it’s time to get back on the path. Your path. The one you stopped telling yourself that you wanted because it hurt too bad to think that it may never come true.

You might think it’s too late (it’s not).

You might want to try, but feel that you strayed too far (you haven’t).

You have to remember you have the power of choice. And it’s a good thing that you do. It gives you the power to turn your greatest adversity into your greatest strength. You always have the option to shy away or to stand and fight.

It’s time for a new story. You’re the hero and you’re at the turning point in the movie of your life. So what are you going to do next?You’ve endured hardship, learned tough lessons, and fallen time and time again. Wouldn’t this be a great time for everything to turn around?

Maybe you can recruit someone to help you get there, a long lost friend or a wise old mentor. Maybe you need to crank up “Eye of the Tiger” and experience the training it will take to achieve your success.

The time to act is now. Don’t slip back into your old story. You are the hero. The power of choice brought you here. Your choice decides what happens next.

So what are you going to do?

Call or email us today & join our ‘Summer Burn’ program starting April 21st or schedule a time to come in & talk about your goals.
Don’t let another Summer pass you by.

How Eating Better Makes You Feel Better

Nutrition is an individual journey. We owe it to ourselves to determine which foods and what style of eating works best for our bodies. Just like learning any new skill, nutrition takes practice.

The goal should be to develop an approach to eating that makes you feel great, maintain a healthy body, and achieve your goals. We all run into moments of weakness around food, but if your current diet makes you feel angry or sad on a daily basis it’s time for a change.

Let’s take a look at some different ways that eating better can make you feel better:

  1. Improved mental function


Our brain is the control center of the body and just like our muscles and organs it requires fuel to keep it going. In fact, some studies have shown that the brain uses up to 20% of our body’s daily energy.

Focusing on eating to improve our brains function is a great way to feel better. 
The brain loves wild fish like salmon and mackerel. That’s because these fish contain omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA. DHA helps our brain send signals to our body and improves our memories. Try adding 1-2 servings of wild caught fish each week to get an optimal dose.


The foods we eat determine the way our body and mind perform. Next time you reach for that donut try to picture how your brain will run using the donut as fuel. Instead look for some fresh veggies and hummus, a handful of nuts, or a stick of turkey jerky to give your brain some jet fuel to run on.

  1. Add Muscle, Burn Fat

The battle to fit back in those jeans from college starts and ends in the kitchen. No amount of exercise can overcome an unhealthy diet. Figuring out the right foods in your diet is the key to unlocking your ideal body composition. Imagine how good it would feel to go out on your anniversary wearing the suit from your wedding rehearsal! Protein is known for building muscle but it can do more for your body than help you recover after a workout.

Set the bar at breakfast. A high protein breakfast is one of the best ways to improve body composition. Studies have shown that consuming 30g of protein at breakfast helps with satiety and improves glycemic control. This means less desire to snack on high carbohydrate or sugary snacks later in the day. One study showed that participants who ate a high protein breakfast on average consumed 441 calories fewer each day!

  1. Foods that light you up

Eating is often thought of for fueling performance, but food plays another important role as the building block of our cells. Certain foods help build healthy hair, skin, and nails.

If you’re looking for a youthful glow and to get carded until you’re 50 try these 3 superfoods:

 Avocado. Rich in vitamins A, D , E, and many phytonutrients; avocado promote supple skin, help prevent environmental damage and prevent signs of aging.

Bell peppers are high in vitamin C, an essential nutrient for forming collagen which holds hair particles together.

Lentils contain Folate, a B vitamin needed to repair cells in your fingernails and skin. 

  1. Get Creative


Preparing meals from whole foods can be a fun and relaxing part of the day. Learn how to season dishes using herbs, spices, and complementary pairings. This eliminates “empty calories” from your diet that show up in sugary sauces and dressings.

Eating is a time for bonding and camaraderie, get together with family and friends to create a new dish. Focus on great conversation, chewing your food, and turning off the TV and electronics. By giving new meaning and tradition to your meals, eating can be a source of enjoyment beyond just the food.

 

Open House!


Have you been talking about exercising for FOREVER. Yet, you still haven’t started?

What’s holding you back? What excuse have you told yourself? There are a few common reasons we’ve seen throughout the years, don’t let them hold you back from reaching goals you’ve set for yourself. The hardest part is committing to starting, once you do that, leave it to our Team of Coaches to help you reach those goals.

… I don’t have time.

We have classes Monday thru Sunday starting as early as 530 am and as late as 730 pm to accommodate your crazy schedule.

… I can’t afford it.

Our small group classes are capped at 10-15 people so you always have the individual attention you need. Imagine the feel of personal training for significantly less.

… I’m not in shape.

CrossFit is scalable to anyone, including if you have an injury. We’ve coached ages 5 to 70+ and many people with various injuries & surgeries. You don’t need to be in shape to start, you just need to start.

… I don’t know what I’m doing.

Our Team of Coaches are here to teach you everything. Every class is coached from beginning to end. We will walk you through the warm-up, skill and workout of the day. Our job is to get you a great workout while preventing injury, teaching you safe efficient movement & help you reach your goals.

Let us help you change your excuses to actions. Join us for our Open House Thursday 03/29, Friday 03/30 & Saturday 03/31. Check out our schedule & try a class out, on us.

If you have any questions we can be reached at info@eliteprogression.com .

Get Your Mind Right 3

Have you accepted the fact that you might not be as mentally tough as you thought or want to be yet?

Do you day dream of being a mental badass that can take on challenges and push your limits and accomplish them?

Or have you allowed the fear monkey to whisper doubt and stir up anxiety with just the slightest thought of doing a workout?

Getting your mind right is a long long process. Your mind is built to protect you and also built to allow you to thrive and prosper.
So which side do we listen to?  When is it safe to push the boundaries and when do I call it a day and throttle back?

All these questions are figured out ONLY through experience.  The first humans didn’t know fire was hot till they burned themselves.
The first cars didn’t have seat-belts until there became a need to save lives. And you won’t know what your are physically capable of until
you push your body. Period!

Luckily, at Elite Progression and through CrossFit HQ we hold yearly competitions and tests to find out.  Remember the whole observable, measurable and repeatable thing about your training?  Testing allows you to see if your training is creating change in the body and the MIND.
Nothing can highlight these changes more than the CrossFit Open!

Now, let’s say half of you signed up for the open and the other half did not. We are all doing the workouts. But for those that are signed up, there is something different when you start the WOD.  There is this little thing on the line that you can’t shake.  Competition naturally brings out that primal side
of us that says, “you either FIGHT or you FAIL”, and No one likes failing! What seems as simple as just another workout has now turned into not only a test of our training from the year, but a test of our mental will to survive.  We don’t get this test any where else in life. What a Great opportunity!

Ok, let’s take it a step further.  Let us look at how we are mentally preparing for these “tests”.
Modern anxious brain is worried, scared they can’t do something, afraid to look silly, scared they can’t finish or might even fail. They talk about what they can’t do, how it’s going to suck, and blah blah blah all the other weakness they feel.
Ancient primal brain doesn’t think.  It acts.  It falls back on its training and instincts and executes.  Regardless if there was a chance of failure.
They generally don’t speak, they keep quiet not of fear but of focus. Ready to go.  They talk about how fun it will be and make war cries the moment the bell goes off.  They tend to stare blankly only concerned with what they are about to do and not what is ahead of them in the future.
We fall into one of these two categories.  And here is a little secret, we ALL have the ancient primal brain somewhere inside of us.

Learning and practicing to turn OFF that modern fearful brain and go into the more primal action brain can elicit better results in performance not to mention less overall stress.  Less overall stress equates to less cortisol in the body and we all know why that’s beneficial.

Wrapping it up.  Getting your MIND RIGHT before you do the next CF Open WOD or before you do an Elite Progression Skill Level Test is paramount to performance and overall health. More so than what you ate the night before or how sore your muscle feel.
Take a different approach on the next one… Calm the mind by focusing on what you can do. Not what you  think you can’t do.
Stay away from people that talk about being scared and full of doubt, it only triggers our own doubts.
Talk about positive actions and how good it’s going to be to test.  Mass amounts of research has been done on positive self talk, the stuff works!
And be ready to surprise the shit-out-of yourself. Change and growth will quickly follow.