“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
Welcome to another week of these strange times. I am certainly missing you guys and can not wait for life to get back to normal. That being said, let’s all do our best to focus on what a unique opportunity this time is to be with loved ones and focus on ourselves for a change.
Most of us are at the beginning of week four of a drastically different world and routine; to me, this is exactly the amount of time it takes for people to assume new habits and build new routines that stick. Have you improved habits, or built some that you’re not too happy about? The good news is, it’s never too late to start some healthy, positive habits. In a time when the world is playing YOLO and eating cheetos let’s all collectively focus on the beauty of discipline. You do not need to take part in the “quarantine 15”. Remember your priorities and if you ever feel you are faltering your 631 fam is always here for you- reach out!
Our Virtual CrossFit Class is up and running and going really well. Everyday at 5 pm join us on Zoom for what I have been calling “631 Happy Hour”. You don’t even need to work out, just come chat with you 631 pals. You can reserve a spot right from your Zen Planner app or just click the link on Zen Planner and join from your phone. We are looking forward to seeing you all there!
Get ready for a really fun week guys. We have some super unique strength work focusing on time under tension. Each movement will be four sets of six reps but here is the catch- each set needs to take up one full minute. This means you will need to set a stopwatch on your phone and count five seconds on the way up each rep, five seconds on the way down. This is very different from what we are used to. The focus here is feeling what your muscles are doing, building up that burn, and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Just like last week, our Metcons are very challenging and of longer duration. Stay tuned to our daily emails and Instagram to see the full movement demos of some new exercises.
“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.”
First and foremost I want to offer everyone a heartfelt and genuine thank you. Thank you for all your comments, all your emails, all the DMs, and all the support for myself, my business, and my family. It truly means the world to me. We have been a Community for a decade now and my promise to you is that I will do everything in my power to ensure many, MANY good years to come. A lot of gyms won’t survive this. We will. We will be stronger than ever. We are all 631 STRONG!
Secondly, I have it on fairly good authority that April will bring back business as usual. This is of course, entirely contingent upon how closely we adhere to social distancing. Let’s all be responsible and take this thing seriously so we can get back in the gym where we belong.
Finally, I must admit that I am going a bit stir crazy! This has given me an incredible insight into how much I love Coaching and how much the Community contributes to my mental health. I am sure you too have a greater appreciation for what the gym does for all of our sanity. I must also admit that these dumbbell workouts have been KICKING MY BUTT! Keep moving, stay active, involve the family, and HANG IN THERE!
Keep logging those scores guys- I see you! Keep the posts happening and using the #631athome. Times like these really remind me just how strong a Community we have. My product has never been bumper plates or barbells. My product is the shared mentality of like minded individuals moving together in the intelligent and fun pursuit of fitness. Being a member of this Community means you get world class Coaching, the best programming out there, and strong and meaningful fellowship. We can still share all these things without a brick and mortar building. I’ve moved the gym six times in five different locations- the walls aren’t important, it’s the shared values inside them that matter. Let’s all keep adding to this product no matter what our circumstances bring.
In my never ending effort to bring our Community together even more I will be offering virtual classes every weekday through Zoom. At 5 pm we can all get together to do the WOD or just look on while others hit it. I will be offering Coaching during this hour so if you have any questions about the programming or just want to chat I am available. We will also be having some fun with this and you may see a guest Coach or two…more on this in our daily emails. Of course, we will still provide daily lesson plans and movement demos on our Instagram page.
This week will be full of bangers guys! We can look forward to some longer duration and really taxing WODs. The Strength will be all Tabata sets- 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 total sets. Within that 20 seconds try to get as many reps as possible. The score that you will log will be your LOWEST set. So if you get 25 reps for your first set, but only 2 for your last…your score is 2.
“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action becomes a reality.”
I WAS planning on giving you guys the second installment of “7 Habits of Highly Effective Fitness People ” but it looks like we are being mandated to share our COVID-19 Response Plans. I can almost promise we will be back to our regularly scheduled fun next week but until then, enjoy the light reading…
COVID-19 Outbreak Response Plan
The health and safety of our participants is our top priority.
Therefore, as we all consume information across a wide range of outlets including the media, vendors, and social media channels, it is vital for all of us to remain aware and responsive to the ever-changing status of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Rest assured, we are in contact with health officials and others in our industry and we continue to monitor the situation. We will rely upon the New York Department of Health and other state agencies, as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the WHO for guidance.
At this time, there are no actions currently suggested for our operations and we look forward to seeing you! However, as recommended by the World Health Organization, we ask that you “stay home if you feel unwell … and follow the directions of your local health authority.”
Our first line of intervention will be all athletes MUST wash their hands at the start of each class, wipe down all equipment with our disinfecting wipes before and after each session, and please..PLEASE stay home if you are not feeling well. Our Staff would be more than happy to provide you with a custom “At Home WOD” if you wish to sweat it out.
We encourage you to seek guidance from health agencies for up-to-date information.
Welcome to De-Load week. We will be taking lots of time to refine our movements and playing with five sets of five. Have some questions and form checks ready for your Coaches. We also get to hit our Member of the Month WOD- “The Shades- Half Murph”.
“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.”
I thought I would change up the normal format of our Blog this week and do a bit of a deep dive into some truths about fitness. I’ll be courteous and split this post into two parts, so we will continue this idea next week. Within this article I mention some supplements I recommend so at the very end I will include links to all of them.
One of my all time favorite books is “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. If you have not read it yet I certainly suggest you pick it up. This wealth of information discusses; being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, thinking win-win, seeking to first understand then be understood, synergize, and sharpening the saw (personal growth). I recently reread this bad boy and it inspired me to give you all…
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Fitness Enthusiasts.”
1. They Sleep
Okay so everyone sleeps…but highly effective fitness minded folks truly prioritize sleep, which is an incredible difference. When an athlete comes to me looking to get in razor sharp shape, the very first question I ask them is- how well do you sleep right now? Deep, restful, restorative sleep should be the backbone of any fitness protocol. If you do not sleep well you are completely undermining your body and its ability to adapt to training. One of my fitness mentors puts it bluntly- “If you are waking up at 4 am to go do cardio you are stepping over hundred dollar bills to pick up pennies”.
I know it isn’t always best for my business but I have consistently advocated that sleep is in fact more important than training. During sleep, your body regulates hormones- namely testosterone and human growth hormone, both of which are incredibly advantageous to optimize. Proper growth hormone levels will allow you to recover from strenuous training and just improve your sense of well being overall.
When it comes to sleep and training it seems one hand washes the other. Physical activity creates more adenosine in the brain, and adenosine can help us trigger the precursors of a good night sleep. Good sleep equals better workouts which equals better sleep.
So what are my first interventions when it comes to getting better quality sleep? Two words- sleep hygiene. Let’s really look into what that means and how we can enhance our own sleep hygiene. First we need to speak a bit about circadian rhythm- a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. This process is driven by light. One can imagine way back in time during our paleolithic days, people arose when the sun came up and started to chill out and begin rest when the sun went down. Humans have evolved to be very biologically mindful of when and where the sun is in the sky and have grown to allow that to dictate chemical behaviors within our bodies. Imagine you are a cave-person chilling out sleeping somewhere; as the sun came up your environment would become warmer, you would be subject to lots of light, and eventually you would see a tremendous amount of blue color from the sky. Our bodies still respond to those very same signals- warmth and blue light. Blue light specifically tells your body, “we are awake, let’s move”. This is a very good thing when the light source is natural (the sun) and it is time to be awake…it is a very bad thing when the light source is unnatural (your phone, a computer, a t.v.) and it is time to go to sleep. Long story short, if we want to increase our ability to get restful, deep sleep we need to severely limit our blue light exposure around bedtime. This means no television at least an hour before bed, no computer at least three hours before bed and (GASP!) no phone either.
Your bedroom should be a cave. Your bed is meant for two purposes and one of them is strictly sleep. Not watching t.v., not “unwinding” on your phone. Try to get your bedroom as dark as possible (I am particularly crazy and put duct tape over the green and blue lights on electronics) and leave your phone in another room or at least somewhat far away from you. If you have an iPhone turn on “Night Shift Mode” which gradually limits blue light as the day comes to an end. Try to get your bedroom cool in temperature as well- for bonus points, program your thermostat to gradually heat up around the time you want to rise in the morning.
Takeaways- Sleep is the foundation we will build our day off of. We regulate all our important hormones during this precious time and adapt to training. Better sleep means better workouts which means better sleep. Get your bedroom dark and cool and limit blue light exposure around bedtime as much as possible. I also recommend adding some ZMA to your pre-bed ritual for it’s positive effects on sleep quality and growth hormone production.
2. They Breathe
Once again, sure everyone breathes, but highly effective fitness enthusiasts do it with intention. Breathing is the most reflexive movement our bodies do. My best guess is that you are doing it right now! The fittest people I know take time out of their day, every day to focus on the breath and improve their ability to breathe better. This practice can come in many forms; meditation, endurance training, all out sprints. The key here is to be mindful of how you are up-taking oxygen into your body.
What are my first interventions to improve breathing? First and foremost become more mindful of the breath. An athlete who is constantly shallow breathing up into their chest, traps raised, shoulders tight, almost gasping, will inevitably have issues training. Shallow chest breathing will hinder mobility in the spine, create some really unstable positions throughout the thoracic, can lead to shoulder injury and pain, and will certainly hinder power output and athletic performance. If we can train ourselves to take deep, deliberate breaths into our diaphragm we can unlock a tremendous tool during training. I suggest taking just five minutes a day to sit quietly and breathe purposefully deep into your belly. There is an easy system known as “box breathing” which simply is breathing in for a five count, holding it for a five count, breathing out for a five count, then having no air for a five count. Repeat this cycle five times and you will see drastic improvements within your first week of practice.
Takeaways- breathing is reflexive and we want to master all of our reflexive movement patterns. Try not to breathe shallow into your chest, rather let’s breathe expansively into our bellies. Try “box breathing” as a simple system for breath control.
3. They eat
Fit people eat and we eat a LOT. When I was competing 8,000 calorie days were the norm and lots of my competitors were pushing 10k daily. One of the first things people on our Nutrition Plan tell me is “wow this is way more food than I thought”. The fact is fit people simply aren’t starving themselves like the common knowledge and popular culture would have us believe. Nobody worth their salt in this business advocates for crash diets or severely restricted calorie or food choices. This is simply not sustainable and the “getting lean and muscular” game is a long one.
Fitness and nutrition obviously go hand in hand. If you have been to any of my nutrition seminars you know how passionate I am about this. I will be real with you- I no longer am eating 8,000 calories a day but I am still very meticulous and deliberate about what I ingest. At first, nutrition is about qualitative means not quantitative. I dislike the calories in versus calories out angle for most people. Of COURSE calories play an enormous part of the fitness equation but most highly effective fitness professionals know it is not the entire equation.
What are my first interventions when it comes to diet? Eat whole, mostly single- ingredient, natural foods. People that eat obvious cheat foods because “they are paleo” or “it’s zero carbs” aren’t even fooling themselves. Find the joy in actually tasting a sweet potato or blueberry or nicely seared steak again. Consume a good amount of protein from a variety of sources. I am certainly a meat eater but if you have some moral or ethical issues with this just be sure to track your protein consumption even closer. I feel it is important to say that if you are looking to maximize performance or increase lean body mass, meat eaters will simply have an easier time than their non meat eating counterparts. Be sure you are getting adequate essential fatty acids- I highly recommend fish oil supplementation and eating fatty fish twice a week. I also place a great deal of emphasis on micronutrients and gut health.
Takeaways- do not be afraid to eat, but we must eat the right foods in the right ratios. Eat with intention and with a clarity of purpose of our goals in mind. Don’t be dogmatic about any one way to eat- “I’m paleo” or “I’m vegan” or “I’m carnivore” are much less important than “I’m healthy”. If you want all this spelled out for you in an easily digestible form ( excuse the pun) then I very much recommend our Nutrition Program. We tell you what to eat, why, and when and make it as easy as possible to achieve the results you are after.
4. They think
Thoughts become things. Your internal monologue is as important as what you eat or the weights you lift. I truly believe that mindset mastery must proceed any major physique breakthrough. Just like our other habits, thinking must be done deliberately and with purpose. I treat each training session as an opportunity to become MORE mindful, more in touch with my body, more aware of the mind muscle connection within. There are so many people out there in the fitness space going to workout angry. If we approach workouts with anger we are just reinforcing that mentality. Each session should be a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you might have eaten.
There is also a very cerebral skill acquisition period of fitness that most Coaches are simply, and erroneously skipping right over. If you never dribbled a basketball before it wouldn’t be reasonable to think you could play a pick up game with the Lakers (maybe the Knicks). This is also true of complex movements like a squat or deadlift and certainly true of snatches and clean and jerks. It is incredibly important to think intensely on movement patterns, develop the skill required to execute them with intention, and then put those movements into practice.
What are my first interventions regarding thinking? Meditate. Just five minutes a day will change your life. There are plenty of apps out there that offer free, guided meditations. Or you can simply just sit and breathe (principal #2 anyone?) becoming more mindful. I also recommend spending some time outside of that reptile mind during difficult training sessions. We have all been in that almost panicked mindset of playing number games with ourselves when the reps get hard- “just twelve more reps, that’s two sets of six or three sets of four”. On the other hand we have all been in the place where we just zone out and do the reps and leave. While both places have merit I suggest a third path- take some time and really FOCUS on the particular movement you are doing. If you are performing a back squat really become hyper aware of how your quads contract on the way up, how the weight sits over your mid-line, how you breath into your core, how the weight feels as it is being lifted. Really explore these sensations, how they feel in your body, and maybe more importantly- how they make YOU feel. Do you have a sense of empowerment? How do pull-ups affect your mood? Opening the door to thinking about these movements this way will give you a better understanding of your body and of yourself.
Takeaways- Become cerebral about your fitness. Master a skill then put that skill into practice. Meditate daily.
For numbers 5, 6, and 7 tune in next week! If you enjoyed any of this info or learned something please share this post with someone that you think will benefit. They certainly don’t need to be a member- our goal at 631 is to help as many people as possible live lives they love in bodies they can celebrate!
Get ready for something fun- THROWBACK WEEK! Not only do we get to hit all PRs for our strength we are also hitting some of the best workouts of last year. You could call these Metcons the “Greatest Hits” of 2019. I will be using all the same pictures shared on that day and we should all go through our Zen Planner apps to try to beat our scores. With Throwback Week I am also offering pre-orders on any of our old t-shirts! Time to gear up and get ready to look fresh for spring.
“There is no royal road to anything. One thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures.”
Welcome to March! Warm weather is around the corner, we just need to power through these next few weeks. This is also the tail end of flu season and with recent CoronaVirus scares our Board and myself are asking everyone to please wipe down all your equipment daily. Let’s all make sure we are staying healthy while we are getting healthy!
It is my distinct pleasure to name Paul “Shades” as March’s Member of the Month! Shades always has crazy energy and is looking to put a smile on everyone’s face. Paul is currently training for the NYC Marathon, so if you see a glowing man wearing a construction worker vest and electric lights blinking all over him running by our gym it most likely is him. Everyone please give Shades an extra pound for me this month!
So begins week number two in our latest strength periodization. This week we are hitting all threes, starting at around 50% and building up to a tough 90% of our latest 1RM. Triples were always my favorite week- we are able to focus on form while still getting aggressive and moving a lot of weight. I have also programmed one of my very first CrossFit workouts, “300”. This WOD has been the first workout in every new gym I have opened and in a way represents new beginnings for me. I think that tradition still remains true with all our new members, our renewed Board of Directors, and our world-class Coaching Staff, let’s all think of March as the new beginning to something great.
“Each new day is a new opportunity to improve yourself. Take it, and make the most of yourself.”
Last week we introduced a new format to classes and I personally am loving it. In the interest of always adding value I feel we have really crammed the perfect amount of warm up, skill work, knowledge acquisition, strength, and of course fun into every class. Let me and our Coaching Staff know what you guys think.
I know there are lots of new snacks to try at the gym which is great! I only ask that you guys please eat them in the lounge area from here on out. Big E was kind enough to get us some Fit Crunch protein puffs and Dipsy always brings the crazy goods to our snack bowl. In fact, let’s all do our best to utilize our lounge area more the week- if there is any additions you would like to see made back there just say the word!
This Thursday is our Box Night Out! Looks like we will be bowling at Coram Country Lanes right by the gym. Keep in mind there will only be a 5:30pm afternoon class held that day. As always, feel free to bring friends and family.
Welcome to week number four in our hypertrophy based cycle. This week we up the reps from eight to twelve per set. Those of you who played with these movements last week know they are very demanding both neurologically and muscularly. The last set in each move is meant to be a strip set where we will perform a set of twelve then immediately remove some weight and get another set of twelve. Our focus should be on excellent technique, squeezing the proper muscle, and getting a huge pump. Our Metcons are a bit longer than last week including our Member of the Month WOD Wednesday- “Connie-B’s Pumpkin Patch”.
“You dream. You plan. You reach. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are no limits.”
In an effort to provide the most value possible, myself and our Coaching Staff will be doing our best to fill up every minute of classes with fun information pursuant to our mission. Next week we will be adding both a Specific Warm Up where we will review progressions and scaling options as well as a Cool Down. The Specific Warm Up will be fully Coach driven and adds a ridiculous amount of merit to each class. Please keep in mind these will take place at the very beginning of classes so do your best to be on time. Also, you can find the Specific Warm Up only on our website the night before that day’s WOD will be posted- so keep checking our site!
I am very proud to announce our own Conner “Connie-B” as February’s Member of the Month! This kid has absolutely worked his butt of lately. He comes nearly every single day and always puts forth his best effort. I am particularly proud of his pursuit on our Nutrition Program- he has dropped 11 pounds so far! Connie-B is friendly and welcoming and we are so lucky to have his energy as part of our Community. Big respect Conner!
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips + more for topping if desired (we like Enjoy Life dairy-free chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
Add the coconut oil and the honey to a large bowl. If the oil is very hard, microwave for a few seconds until soft but not melted. Stir briskly with a whisk until the syrup and oil are mixed together – this may take a minute or two. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk together until combined.
In a medium bowl, stir together the almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir together with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Scoop mounded tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheet, spacing about two inches apart. Press down gently with your fingers to flatten slightly. Top each with a few additional chocolate chips, if desired.
Bake until set and the edges are golden brown, 8-9 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cookies keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days.
PROGRAMMING Welcome to week three of our latest hypertrophy cycle. We will be playing with some traditional and some really out of the box movements meant to challenge the muscle at all ranges. Each day’s strength will be three sets of eight reps but the last set will be a big strip set. I suggest completing the eight reps then dropping the weight by 30% or so and getting another eight, or just go until failure. I am also introducing some new, exotic, and fun movements in the effort to build the most robust fitness possible.