How To: Develop Gears for Peak Performance, Part 1

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How To: Develop Gears for Peak Performance, Part 1

In Part 1 of this How To, I discuss what it takes to develop your performance inside the gym, using your car as an analogy.

Your car has an engine and gears. You turn it on in the morning, it’s cold, the engine needs a few minutes to warm up so you can efficiently get from A to B. Before you put it in drive, it settles in at the lowest gear to conserve energy (gas) as it warms up. You slowly pull out of the driveway, continue down your street at the speed limit, turn onto a bigger street with a higher speed limit that kicks your car into a higher gear, then you get onto the freeway with the highest speed and the highest gear your car will hit that day. Then you reverse the process as you near your destination and park.

Imagine a situation where your driveway IS the onramp to the freeway. You would turn the ignition and have to floor it to get up to speed, every time you wanted to go somewhere. Sounds like a problem waiting to happen right?

Truth is, in the gym, many people treat their bodies like the driveway to freeway analogy. They don’t properly warm up, they take warm up sets for granted, and they hit the workout as fast and as hard as they can every time they hear 3, 2, 1, GO. You can do this for a short while but it is not sustainable by any means.

You car idles to conserve energy (gas). There is a reason it settles into specific gears on the streets, to conserve energy, and when you hit the freeway, it does it’s best to conserve energy while moving at top speeds. Gears are meant to get you from A to B at different speeds with efficiency (ie: utilizing the least amount of gas necessary). If your car idled and consumed gas like you were driving 100mph, you would assume it had a problem (because it’s using too much energy).

Hopefully you can see the relationship. Yes, I am saying your body is a machine that needs time to warm up and needs time spent at lower speeds before hitting peak speeds. Let’s further this analogy, hang with me on this.

Approach your one hour in the gym in segments:

1. The class warm up is YOUR warm up; take your time. Just because the person next to you is moving fast does not mean you need to. Move at your own speed to allow your body to get ready for the workout. The warm up is one of the most important and undervalued pieces of lifelong performance and is pivotal for immediate performance results. Let it to be your idle time before gearing up to higher speeds. If you always blaze through the warm up, antsy to get to the exciting stuff, your performance won’t ever get to it’s true potential.

2. Utilize warm up sets properly. Whether you are about to perform weightlifting, gymnastics, or monostructural movements (running, rowing, biking, etc.), you need to prime your body for those specific movement patterns. Don’t be a driveway to freeway athlete, take your time on the streets.

3. It’s time to hit that intensity (ie: get on the freeway). How fast should you go, what movements are involved, and all the outside factors (diet, sleep, and stress) all play a role in your ability to develop your gears. As much as we would like to think we can perform at peak levels every time we play, it’s not realistic for the average person. Some workouts SHOULD be performed at 80% max speed, some 60%, some lower and some at max speed (benchmarks). Speed and intensity are synonymous. Remember that you are training and developing your abilities FOR peak performance, but peak performance is seen when necessary and only when the body is ready for it.

4. After 1-3 are completed, the fun stuff lies ahead, within the WOD. Because workouts are complex and specific, I will post a part 2 in which I discuss developing your gears within WOD’s (how to increase your speed/intensity).

We all value our vehicles and feel the frustration when it breaks down. You take care of your car because you are given an owners manual and a maintenance schedule with months/miles attached to it. Your body gets you from A to B way more than your car. Your body is way more complex than your car. You should take care of it much more than your car. Each hour in the gym is an opportunity to do so. Take your time. Warm up. Be smart with your body.

Stay tuned for part 2.

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Do You Workout For Yourself?

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Do You Workout For Yourself?

We all have different reasons for working out: to lose weight, to be as fit as we were in college, to keep up with our kids, to get that elusive six pack, to be better than we were yesterday. Whatever your reason, I ask you to take one step further and ask yourself that question again: Why do you REALLY workout?

But before you do, I just want to share my personal reason(s) with you, which haven’t always been the same and continue to change and evolve to this day.

This week is a milestone for me as it marks my 10th year of doing CrossFit, and needless to say, it has completely changed my life and continues to evolve in my life. I am stronger and fitter than I have ever been. However, one by-product that I never anticipated was how it has helped me grow both mentally and spiritually, as well.
So, looking back over the last 10 years, here all my why’s:
-When I first started CrossFit in 2008, I did it because I competed in triathlons and I needed a
strength and conditioning program to get me stronger and faster for races.
-Within a few months, I ditched triathlons and moved strictly to CrossFit because I loved the
competition aspect of it, and strived to get stronger and faster than yesterday! I pushed myself
to keep up with the people in the gym whom I knew were better than me, and I did all I could to
get to their level.
-Within a year, my love for CrossFit grew and I knew in my heart that I wanted to become a
coach and eventually open my own CrossFit box. So my why shifted to perfecting my craft as a
coach and as an athlete. I wanted to move well and master as many skills as possible so that I
could develop the competency and reputation of someone who not only talked the talk, but also
walked the walk.
-Three years later in 2011, once we opened Tribe and moved into Hawaiian Gardens, although I
still strived to perfect my craft, there was a slight shift to working out in order to set an example
and the bar for the gym. Most of the first athletes at Tribe were brand new to CrossFit, and they
looked to me to set the tone and show them what was possible. It’s crazy to think this now, but
back then I was usually at the top of the leaderboard for every workout! Nowadays, those days
are fewer and far between.
-After about a year or two, the box started to mature, and the gap between me and many of the
athletes at Tribe started to close. So, competition within the box was in full bloom and I found
myself competing more and more to stay at or near the top of the leaderboard. It was like when
I first started CrossFit, and the everyday competition kept me motivated and coming back for more!
-Three years later we open the doors in 2015 to our current location in Los Alamitos. Although
my competitiveness was still in full affect, I could feel something in me slowly changing. Now
well into my 30s, a father of twin toddlers, and a new homeowner, I felt things shifting and this
is where my reasons for working out became cloudy. To be 100% honest, I lost my motivation
and there was period of time where I felt myself just going through the motions of working out, or competing to stay near the top of the leaderboard, because let’s face it, as the owner of
Tribe, I thought to myself, “I should be!” And anytime that I failed to be in at least the top 5, I
would feel defeated and start to question myself, “Why do I even bother?”

At this point, I had been CrossFitting for over 7-8 years now, and I figured maybe I needed to change things up (and there is totally nothing wrong with this, by the way). So, in order to combat this drop in motivation I tried a bunch of different things during the last couple years. First, I started running way more but that got boring. Then, I started playing basketball more and that was fun until I dislocated my ankle. So, at that point I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to finally start focusing on gymnastics, and so I did for about a year and that was pretty fun and rewarding. Then, I got my MovNat
certification, and most recently I immersed myself in Functional Body Building (FBB) almost fell in love with working out again. ALMOST. Through all that, each of these “phases” would serve to strengthen me physically, but something was still missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Then one day, about 3-4 months into FBB, I finally figured it out! For the first few months of FBB, there was a handful of us guys that were doing the workouts together, and I was absolutely loving the change of pace. There was a huge focus on tempos, unilateral loading, and carefully programmed “CrossFit” workouts that weren’t always about going 100% all the time. It allowed me to slow down a great deal and focus more on moving SUPER well, without focusing on the clock all the time.

However, as we moved into more difficult programming, people started to drop off and I found myself working out by myself more and more. One of the great things about CrossFit, is there is always someone around you to motivate you, push you to go workout when you don’t feel like going, to encourage you when you’re only a few more reps away from finishing a workout. This culture of group workouts is so great that people almost dread it to even think about working out by themselves. I know I was (and still am) the same way to a degree. I even have my own garage gym that I barely workout in because I would rather go to the gym where there are other people!

Then one early morning after I had finished coaching the 5/6am classes, I went back and forth in mind about 50 times - should workout or not? It was towards the end of the week, and I could feel the previous days’ soreness and tiredness tugging at me, trying to lull me back home so I could take a nap instead of working out. But I knew that hour or so would be the only time for the next couple days that I would be able to work out. So I ordered a Grande Americano from Starbucks on my mobile app, picked it up, came back to the gym and forced myself to workout. I’d be lying if I said that I felt great during and after the workout, but I didn’t. The workout lasted about an hour and half, and I have never told myself more times in 90 minutes to keep going, despite how tired I felt and how much I just wanted to just stop and go home to sleep. But somehow I finished and it was in that moment, working out completely by
myself (even though I had done FBB workouts by myself many times before) that I came to the
realization that would change my “why” to what is today: For a long time I had not worked out solely for me, or to learn something about myself and who I am as a person.

What do I mean by that?

In that 90 minutes, I learned more about myself than I had over the last 9 years of CrossFit.

-I learned that despite how tired I am, I always have more to give.
-I learned that “The hardest thing to do is work hard when no one is watching” – Ray Lewis
-I learned that “The true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching.” – John Wooden
-I learned that what we do and who we are in the gym says a lot about what we do and who we
are outside of the gym.
-Lastly, I learned that I have ignored myself and my why’s working out for so long. Whether I had
good reasons or bad ones, I focused for so long on making other people happy or trying to prove
myself to other people, that my reasons for why I work out included everyone but ME.

How many of us workout for the ‘Gram’? How many of us constantly focus on the leaderboard? How many of us focus so much on the leaderboard that we end up taking shortcuts in the process? How many of us workout to prove others wrong about what we can or can’t do? How many of us workout for that six pack or that beach ready body that we can’t wait to show off to everyone else?


Or conversely, how many us work out in order to learn something about ourselves? How many of us workout in order to develop more self-discipline? How many of us work out to learn what we do when the workout or life gets hard: take shortcuts, give up, or push through? How many of us have ever spent countless hours working on a single skill that we suck at until we no longer suck at them, as opposed to just doing the things we are good at all the time? How many of us get easily discouraged when they see someone else progressing faster than us, as opposed to seeing what we can learn about ourselves from
that? How many of us don’t care that anyone else is watching or want to make sure people are
watching? How many of us work out to really and simply live out the mantra “to be better than
yesterday”?


What is my purpose in telling you all this?


For the longest time, my “Why’s” for working were outside of myself. My original reason for starting CrossFit was to get stronger and faster for Triathlons. Then it was the high I felt after finishing after each workout, similar to the high I would experience after finishing a race. Then as I became a coach and eventually a box owner, it became about me loving CrossFit so much, that I did everything possible to build myself up as a coach and as an athlete. However, shortly after that, it became about everything else but me.

As my position atop the daily leaderboard started to slip more and more, it became more about being in competition with everyone around me. Then it became this need to show everyone that I still had “it” and fear of not being seen if I wasn’t at the top of the leaderboard every day. Then, after I dislocated my ankle I was forced to shift my focus to gymnastics and even though I wasn’t competing directly with everyone at that point, it became about my need to show everyone that I was now this gymnastics “G” with all my front levers and strict bar muscle-ups. Even when I started MovNat and FBB, it still was about this need to share this new awesome workout program with everyone. Not to discredit the programs themselves and what they have done for me personally as an athlete and as a coach, but I was focusing
so much on what this could do for everyone else that I had lost my why in the process.

So, my purpose is to implore all of you to think deeply about the question, “Why do I workout?” and take some real time to honestly answer that question FOR YOURSELF. Not for the Gram. Not for that beach bod. Not even for your kids. For yourself.

Then and only then, will your true motivation shine through and only then will you be able to really understand your true self and how working out can serve to help you improve on your true self in the gym and more importantly, in life.

Thank you for taking the time to read my humble words and #tribestrong

Sincerely,

Coach Warren

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Movement Consistency

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Movement Consistency

We all have different goals in fitness and movement is the piece that connects all of our goals together. Movement is how we get from A to B, it’s how we pick up our kids, how we lift a 1RM over our head, how we get out of bed in the morning, how we stand from a seated position; above all, it’s how we coordinate the different parts of our anatomy to complete a chosen task. No matter what you strive to become better in, movement is the foundation.

The fitness goal that you have set for yourself is rooted in very basic human movement, don’t get it mixed up. When you see an Olympic Lifter snatch your 1RM deadlift or a gymnast hold an Iron Cross, it’s not because they trained the snatch at peak loads everyday or held the rings in seemingly impossible positions without fail, it’s because they devoted their time and energy to learning the basics. They became experts in performing the basics, let’s call them Basics Experts, which laid out a foundation for their abilities to climb higher and higher.

Another piece that goes along with this idea of becoming a “Basics Expert” is consistency. You have to know how to complete the movement and you have to perform the movement over and over and over again until it gets boring. You may begin to question why it’s necessary, but you know that it’s for the sole purpose of laying out your foundation. While others are speeding past you and going straight toward the flashy moves, you stay your course and practice the basics a little while longer. Even Kobe Bryant stayed after practice to shoot free throws, even as a professional.

The tallest buildings start as a stable foundation.

So next time you do an air squat, a jump, the land after the jump, a deadlift, single unders, box push ups, pull ups, your entire warm up, anything that involves movement, think about how it’s laying down your foundation and how that is one in the same with your goal.

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5 Steps To A Successful Diet

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5 Steps To A Successful Diet

What’s up guys! Do you find yourself wavering between diets? Or even wavering between which diet to even begin with? Dieting can be very confusing but it doesn’t need to be.

In today’s get-it-now, quick-information, grab-and-go society, it’s hard to just start a diet because they all claim to work, AND THEY ALL DO (mostly)! But any diet you decide on needs to have the same focus and commitment as learning a new language. You cannot begin to learn French and then decide two weeks later that maybe Spanish will be better for you and then a month after think to yourself, maybe Japanese is the one, only to find yourself sticking to the comfort zone of your native tongue.

If you want results, you have to put in the time and energy to learn the ins and outs of ONE diet. Pick one, and commit to it for 3 months, minimum, BUT forgive yourself when you don’t hit the nail on the head 100% of the time (because even while learning a new language you might try to say “Good Job!” but instead mistakenly say “You’re Fat!” **true story). If that happens it doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it just means you now know what to avoid, and that’s a great thing because you are learning!

Dieting is all about learning and you have to commit to being a student of the diet in order to reach your goals. No dietary journey is perfect so don’t expect that. Instead, expect hardships, expect mistakes, expect your human nature to desire what you shouldn’t have, but don’t give up!

Try this challenge:

1) Pick a diet and learn the absolute basics of the diet.

2) Focus on breakfast only and make it fit within the diet’s guidelines for two weeks.

3) After two weeks of focusing on breakfast only, keep that momentum and start focusing on lunch for the next two weeks.

4) You’re a month in - Congratulations! Keep it up and now start focusing on dinner for a couple weeks.

5) You’ve made it 6 weeks! By now you have a solid foundation of what breakfast, lunch and dinner looks like within your chosen diet. Over the next 6 weeks continue experimenting and enjoying the fruits of your labor.

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