Wednesday, December 9, 2015

2015 Training Review

Today's post is inspired by a recent post from Mentality WOD where you can find by clicking here

Today Dawn asked us to answer some basic Mental and Physical questions about our training over the past year, and since my motivation have been sorta stale here lately I did just that. But first, small disclaimer, I hope answering these questions isn't some form of plagiarism.

Here are my responses:


1. Which relationships helped you grow as an athlete the most this past year?

     This is by far the hardest question listed on here for me to answer. Since I don't ever get to workout with anyone or even have my own coach there are very few relationships for me when it comes to training. I believe this is one of my weakest aspects of training. You don't understand the importance of support whether it's a daily training partner or coach until you don't have one.
      if I had to answer I would say my relationship with The Outlaw Way. I started following the generalized online program this year after OPEX quiz posting and any positive gains from training can largely be tracked back to the consistency of the program. I always knew what was coming each week when it came to strength, and I'd be lying if I didn't get excited about snatch and clean days!

2. Which areas of your mentality improved the most this past year?

     My biggest improvement this year was just worrying about me. In the past I was one of those people who would let the success of others determine my own, and yet I still haven't let that completely go concentrating on the improvements I make or the performance I give is key.

3. Which books, podcasts, speeches or workshops had the greatest impact on your midnset this past year?

     Easy one. The Barbell Shrugged episode featuring Lew Howes called 10 Principles of Success with Lewis Howes. I'm an avid listener of the show, probably mainly because I started listening WAY BACK when, after I met those guys doing a certification and numerous competitions at their gym and the podcast has just continued to improve with great advice majority of the time. But this particular episode was incredibly inspiring to me mentally. Usually Barbell Shrugged focuses on training tips, and from time to time veers off course, but this was unlike any of their previous episodes. I'd never heard of Lewis Howes, and since then I've checked out his book and it's great, I even play on buying it for a Christmas present this year for some people I know who would love it too. But he really made me feel like I have the power to do something great.

4. What were the toughest moments you went through (emotionally and mentally) and how did they help you evolve as an athlete?

     Toughest emotional and mental hurdle was not qualifying for the 2015 CrossFit Regionals. I qualified in 2014 and was more inspired than ever to make it back again when the competition wrapped. Even though this year I was better than previous years in all facets of my fitness, I wasn't able to place high enough to move on to the next level.


1. Which were the toughest moments you went through (physically) and how did they help you evolve as an athlete?

     I really can't pinpoint an exact physical obstacle other than all the nagging tiny injuries that happen when trying to compete at a high level. I've also continued to work through knee issues, a majority injury in high school basketball has created much frustration when trying to get stronger. I know I have to be extremely careful on how much weight I squat and how often I squat and do 5x the recovery work on the right side as my left. I never use my knee as an excuse to not do something, but I do have to be careful and limit my training in certain areas.

2. What were you favorite or major PRs this past year?

     My favorite and major PRs this year would definitely be my weightlifting improvements. I competed in July at the Force Barbell Freedom Classic Meet and won the 69kg women's weight class, and also took home the Battle Axe for being the best female lifter in the competition. Which was pretty sweet considering Tom Stroka won best male lifter and he's a big deal in the weightlifting community. :)

3. Which skill/movement hurdles were you able to overcome this past year?

     Another big skill and movement hurdle I've made was improvements in my gymnastic skills, meaning: pull-ups, toes to bar (which was my biggest weakness in the 2015 Open), muscle ups, etc. I've struggled with these ever since I started CrossFit and when it comes down to a weakness, there are all at the top. Getting stronger overall helped a great deal. I can now knock out much larger sets of muscle ups before fatigue and I was even able to start doing butterfly chest to bar pullups during metcons (except today they were not

4. Which parts of your fitness did you see the biggest gains in?

     Weightlifting. I was able to add 12# to my snatch and 10# to my clean and jerk. Which doesn't seem like much, but its HUGE! Plus I've been hitting higher percentages much more frequently, so win win!

Okay people, enough about me, I just exposed myself big time. Now it's your turn. If you're one of my athletes, I really like to hear some of your answers to these questions. Go ahead and answer any or all of the questions below in the comment section.

Thanks for reading and Until Next Time...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Importance of Continuing Education

If you haven't noticed I've been struggling with this blog for awhile now. I have ideas pop into my head all the time about what I want to write about but finding the time to actually sit down and put them into a post has not been a priority. However, no more excuses!

Today I just submitted my Continuing Education Units to the Board of Certification for Athletic Training, yes I'm an athletic trainer for those of you who don't know. My formal education is in the prevention, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of athletes, but in 2012 I fell into a career change that focuses mainly on strength and conditioning, and of course teaching. 

The BOC requires that for candidates to maintain certification they need to complete 50 units over a 2 year period, 10 of those being Evidence-Based Practice. Oh yeah, and trust me I don't want to take that test again, it was only a 20% pass rate when I took it back in 2009 and thankfully I passed that thing first try, so I'll do whatever it takes to get those 50 CEUs. Seems like a lot right? Well I had nearly 100 credits from the last 2 years, and I only submitted athletic training related activities. 

So here is where I want to start with the importance of continuing education. To me, continuing to better yourself, both mentally and physically, is one of the key players in finding success. I don't think I'm a genius or a know it all by any means. Actually a quote by Albert Einstein fits perfect here and sums up how I really feel about where I am:

"The more I learn, the more I realize how much I do not know." 
- Albert Einstein

But check this out, I was able to do nearly 100 hours of education in a field in which I no longer practice. Secretly in my mind, I'm impressed with myself, but who's counting. But back to it, it's a field where I don't practice right now, did that sink in? And do I think it was all worthless? Absolutely not, in all honesty, I believe I would be a better athletic trainer now that I ever was when I practiced with the amount of continuing education, coaching, and heck even just being a high level athlete myself. I also think that my background in athletic training lends well to my passion for strength and conditioning. Since I have studied so much anatomy, bio-mechanics, injury prevention and rehabilitation I'm able to give clients a bigger picture when it comes to exercise. It also helps A LOT with teaching because I went through so much disciplined education myself. 

I contribute a great deal of my professional success to continuing education. If I would have stopped learning when I finished college, lets be honest, I'd kinda suck at what I'm doing. That isn't to say that college is worthless, I still believe it's one of the best experiences you can put yourself through in life. It gives you a deeper understanding of your field and teaches discipline in a way that is nearly impossible to achieve on your own. But when you do the math: 

college + continuous education = #winning 

The past few years I've been very fortunate to save enough $$ to travel and experience a wide variety of education across the U.S. One of the best perks has been that I've met a lot of really awesome people in the field that otherwise I would have never known. Outside of all the AT stuff I've traveled to, I've been able to dig deeper into my CrossFit education by obtaining my Level 2 (Level 3 will appear in the near future :P), and even deeper in my Weightlifting proficiency with an updated USAW and Eleiko Certified Strength Coach. I've learned a great deal about technique, programming, and especially good old fashioned coaching from these experiences. And dare we not forget the hours and hours and hours I've spent reading books and articles and watching videos. You know, even my social media these days is more like reading a newspaper than just keeping up with friends. By the way: Follow Me on Instagram

I'd really like to hear from you. What do you do to keep educating yourself? Do you attend conferences/workshops, work through online material, read, watch videos, scroll Facebook? Nothing is insignificant if it makes YOU better!

Until next time...