Scaling workouts and why we do it.

I think its important to understand what scaling a workout means and why a good affiliate will encourage scaling more times then not for specific movements/exercises. Taken directly from a CrossFit Journal article ,  “Effective scaling at an affiliate demands an understanding of CrossFit programming theory, awareness of your athletes’ capabilities and limitations, and quick application of many possible scaling methods”. 

A well thought out workout program will always have a desire stimulus. Stimulus meaning, is the workout designed to a short sprint or a longer , grind it out type workout. Is the load/weight for the workout designed to be heavy or light. Now heavy and light, is all based on each individuals abilities and comfort levels. A properly scaled workout will continue to develop increased work capacity despite someones ability level. The goal of scaling an individual is to 1. maintain safety, 2. show efficiency 3. in the long term, having them perform the workouts as prescribed/RX. 

A good coach will also scale individuals despite their ability level to reach the desired response of any given workout. If there is a workout that is, by design, intended to take 5-7 mins, however if we fail to modify the workout and it takes someone 15-20 mins, we have done them an injustice.

A proper scaling program will scale load/weight ,repetitions and/or the duration of the workout. We do this to make room for growth. 

At Bionic, we encourage scaling for those people who may not always appear to need it. What I mean is if we have an athlete who moves safely and efficiently, however feels as they are stuck in a rut, or we see some room for improvement, we may modify the movements or variations of the movements to stimulate growth both physically and mentally. For example, we may use dumbbells, kettlebells or an odd object for overhead movements or pulling from the ground to create stability overhead or strengthen their posterior chain. We have found that this more effectively addresses imbalances in the body that we can’t address while moving a barbell. On numerous occasions, we have taken someone off of a barbell for a month and modified all movements down to dumbbells, kettlebells or an odd object and when they return to the barbell, they set a new personal record on a lift.

Lastly, scaling is a tool used for someone despite injury. If you tweak your shoulder doing yard work, or hurt your ankle running, at Bionic we still encourage you to show up everyday. We will modify the workout entirely, so you can safely continue to increase your fitness while sick and stay committed to being healthy. You will heal faster the more you keep moving.

Scaling is not failing. Scaling is not done because we want to pick on you. Scaling is done for safety of the athlete, longevity, growth and more efficient movement patterns. So the next time a coach recommends modifying a movement, it is only in your best interest and the only thing stopping you from accepting his/her recommendation is ego. If you check the ego, your progress is endless. 

EVENTS:

12/16 9am-12pm

St Agnes House In-house charity comp.

12/22 5pm

Bionic Annual Christmas Party

12/24 8:30am

“12 Days of Christmas WOD”

How to pick the right CrossFit box

Finding the right CrossFit gym aka box for someone who has never done it before can be easy and challenging at the same time. Easy in the sense, that you may not really know what to look for as far as the  “good” and “bad” and the “do’s” and “don’ts”.  Chances are you will walk into a facility that you found on the internet or heard about from a friend, make a judgment based on first impression and appearance and give it a try.  In this blog, you will be provided with some tips (in no particular  order) on what you should be looking for when choosing the right box to get started. 

  1. Cleanliness: Is the facility clean and organized. Are things put away in a somewhat organized manner? Are the floors relatively clean or are they covered in dog hair? Check the bathrooms. Are the bathrooms clean and usable. You can teach anyone how to program a workout or coach a class, but you can’t teach someone to truly care and have a passion for what they do. You want to see if they care, check the bathrooms! 
  2. Greetings: When you walk in, does someone come and introduce themselves to you? Is the coach or management at the faculty identifiable, either by apparel or by the attention and control they have over the class. If you walk in during the middle of class and the coach leaves the class unattended to come chat with you for more then 2 mins, then leave and don’t go back…unfortunately at that time, his/her job is to instruct class and not answer questions about the facility.  If the coach or management briefly introduces themselves, and explains that he/she can answer any and all questions you have after class and explains they need to get back to coaching the class….thats a good sign, stick around…you should hear what they have to say! The management has instilled proper core values. 
  3. Questions and answers: Can the person you are talking to answer any and all questions you have. Questions ranging from “What is CrossFit ?” to “what is the class schedule and what programs do you offer?” Does the person answering your questions appear genuinely passionate about why you’re there. Do they appear passionate explaining why they do what they do. More importantly, are you asked why you are interested, or what caused you to go in to their facility?  Were you asked what your health goals are for the future? These questions already set they tone that they are genuinely interested in you.
  4. Location: a well run facility will spend a good amount of time outside, weather permitting. Look around the facility. What kind of road is the facility located on? Is it a quiet side street or a two lane, busy cut thru. This matters, because you want to be safe when outside. Also, look around the parking lot and perimeter of the facility. Is there a large enough area for cars to park along with room to be outside for workouts.
  5. Foundations/On ramp/intro Program: I’ll keep this part simple. If the box/affiliate you are looking at doesn’t require someone new to CrossFit to complete a On Ramp/ Foundations/ or some type of in-depth introductory program then run the other way. They don't offer it for 1 of 3 reasons. 1. They aren't educated enough to do it 2. They just want you to sign up and get your money 3. They are lazy.  Either one is unacceptable. An intro program is crucial to the success of the new member. A well run introductory program will consist of a physical assessment and continue with a progressive program built around your own ability level. It should be designed around the 9 fundamental movements of CrossFit and expand into common movements done on a regular basis. This should take place over multiple one hour classes with no more then a 1:3 coach to athlete ratio. If you are told, “we can watch you during class and catch you up to speed”, that facility only wants your money and could careless about your long term success.  Facilities like that are an embarrassment and should be shut down!
  6. Price:  A facility that is confident in what they offer will not negotiate pricing. They will not de-value what they offer. Its human nature to want a “deal”, but you get what you pay for. If someone is willing to cut their price in half to get you in the door, how much do they actually value what they’re offering. If they are willing to cut pricing, they probably won’t be in business much longer anyways so another reason to find somewhere else to go. 
  7. Reputation: Ask some of the members during your visit why they are there. Ask how long they have been part of the community. Ask them why they continue to stay there. Ask about community events and social outings. This will give you a true understanding of the culture, community and reputation of the box. Ask your friends that do CrossFit, what they have heard about the box/facility you are visiting. Word of mouth and reputation carries a lot of weight in the CrossFit world.
  8. Community: The foundation of CrossFit is based on community and creating a family inside the box. Its about bringing like minded individuals together that share common goals in living an active health lifestyle. Are the members smiling and hanging out before and after classes? Do the members appear to happy and eager to learn?  Are the coaches entertaining the class with education and instruction while having fun at the same time?  Are their college kids sitting in the corner on their computer trying to get some work done because they would rather be at the box where their friends are then sitting in a bar or in their dorm. Does there truly appear to be solid bonds and close friendships? If you can answer yes to those questions, then it sounds like a pretty cool place to be a part of. 
  9. Follow up: Regardless of how the initial meeting went, did the facility follow up with via email or phone call.  If they took the time to reach out to you regarding your first visit, this means they are thinking of you and checking in on your journey into a more active, healthy lifestyle. 

CrossFit is as much a workout and fitness methodology as it is a lifestyle movement to help fix human behavior to cure the worlds most vexing problem, chronic disease.  Its not about the CrossFit Games or being social media famous. Pick a box that sets its core values and mission on community, family and changing human behavior so 10-20 years from now, you are still running around and having fun!

NEWS/ANNOUNCEMENTS:

 

Bionic Charity In-house Comp: 12/16 @ 9am *for any and all levels. Ask management for details

Bionic Christmas Party: 12/22 @ 5pm *catered by Blackmarket Kitchen (paleo approved food)

Christmas Schedule: 12/24: 8:30-10:30 12 Days of Christmas WOD

                                   12/25: No classes

New Hoodies should be in, within the next two weeks. 

9 tips for preparing for a local competition

Competing: Top 9 Things You Should Know

Competing at a local competition can be loads of fun and a new experience. We workout, prepare, and occasionally get to showcase what we can do with all eyes on us. However, these competitions can be overwhelming and new, especially at first. With a lot of our members competing in some local fun competitions, I though I share some insight on a couple tips that I think new competitors can benefit from:

 

  1. Bring your own food: Unless the competition is extremely well run, there won’t be the highest quality food sources around. Black Market Kitchen has been at the Blackout the past couple of years, which has been great, but I haven’t been to another competition with any comparable food sources. Your best bet is to pack the cooler: A couple full meals with lots of whole food, some sugary snacks for quick recovery, and lots of fluids (water, coconut water, maybe the time for a slightly sugary drink). 
  2. Bring a chair or a pillow: We forget sometimes that we are competing at another box… and boxes tend to be big open rooms with no where to sit. Bring a chair, a pillow, something comfortable because there is a lot of waiting around in between sets. 
  3. Keep your composure: We all love to get amped up before a workout, but keep in mind most comps are anywhere between 3-8 workouts and some even go two days or more. If you are losing composure, whether you are freaking out or just getting over excited, these will both contribute to early fatigue. My first comp was two days long and by the second day I had learned that I had gotten way too excited for day 1 and left little in the tank for day 2. 
  4. Taper before the big day: You need to back off a couple days before the competition so you can perform your best and more importantly, avoid injury. This means a day or two before the comp we should be coming into the gym and just moving lightly (think PVC pipes for barbell movements you will see and bike or rower to get your heart going). This includes a big hearty meal the night before, try to eat bland foods (avoid taco night, chipotle, anything that you’ll pay for the next day). 
  5. How to eat: As simple as I can put it: Have a big meal the day before, keep it bland. Light breakfast high in carbs. After each workout you should be having some type of sugar or carb. Keep fat and protein moderate, basically eat little enough so that your stomach isn’t upset. This is the day you opt for the donut over the salad! There are some great sources online for some good energy bite type food. 
  6. Warm Up: Comps are roughly 6 hours on the fast end. You need to properly warm up and activate your shoulders, hips, and anything sticky before every workout. Foam rollers, PVC pipes, and crossover symmetry (bands or light plates) should be your best friends for the day (supplied by the hosting box). Remember you will be sharing this warm up area with all other competitors so if you can bring your own PVC pipe, bands or foam rollers then try to.
  7. Recovery: Regardless of how good you think you feel, it’d be best to keep movement low intensity for a day or two after. A recovery row or bike at a low intensity for 15-40 minutes the day after would flush some of the bad stuff out of your system. Sleep like you’re on vacation.
  8. Mindset: Stay composed, remember you represent your team, teammate, your box, and yourself. Have fun and give it your best shot, your hard work week in and week out will do the rest! 
  9. Impression: LEAVE EGO at the door. Regardless of how you placed or if you didn’t always agree with the judging standards. Always say thank you to the judge/volunteer for their time and if possible, thank the management for hosting. There is a ton of time and resources put into running a good comp, without them, none of it is possible. Shake hands, high five, cheer on other competitors and have fun! Remember that the foundation of CrossFit is community first.

 

Happy Competing Bionic, see you guys at Misfit! (Team Pinkie and the Gainz - AJ and Jesse are going for gold!) - Coach Jesse

“Team Up, Slim Down” Nutritional Challenge

First and foremost, this time of year (fall into winter) is a miserable time for most people. It gets darker out earlier, its cold, people feel like they have less time in the day and there is usually a direct relation to the mood and energy from the community within the box. So I knew we needed to do something to get members motivated. Not just motivated in classes, but motivated outside of the gym, at home, in their relationships and other hobbies outside of the box.

Coach Jesse was recently added onto the coaching staff after his completion of our Coaches Training Program. Within a couple weeks of his completion, we sat down and had a conversation about nutrition. Jesse is a fanatic when it comes to nutrition from his knowledge thru education as a Biology and his passion for alternative/holistic approach to chronic disease .  He is known to experiment with various diets and nutritional theories to experience the good and bad on a first hand basis.  Within 10 mins of talking we decided a challenge needed to happen. Within that same conversation, which lasted about an hour, we laid out the basic ground work:

1.  Unless people wanted it, no macros, no scales, no measurements..Keep it simple.

*We decided this because counting macros isn’t fun and we wanted to keep this simple and fun. No scales or measurements because we didn’t want participants getting to caught up in what they weighted but rather how they felt, how their cloths fit and energy levels.

2.  We went by a simple guideline for food..A theory I heard on Ben Bergeron’s Podcast and a model I personally use. Eat real food and nothing processed,. No added/processed sugar and only good sources of healthy fats, proteins and starches. 3-4 meals per day based on body type. Eat just enough, not too much, no second servings and no snacking between meals. We also emphasized portion control and what an actual serving size looks like.

Challenge:

*22-2 person teams (mixed and same sex gender) participated. 

*Weekly check-ins with assigned coach

*Weekly challenges (recipe sharing, additional workouts, food journals, specific ingredients being used in meals, etc)

*Daily questionnaires that had to be completed.

*Base line / bench mark workout at the start and at the end.

*Participants had full access to their assigned coach via email, text or in person.

*If you cheated on the diet, your partner suffered the point deducation based on our scoring system. 

*A leaderboard that was updated weekly. 

Results:

After week 2 is when I noticed it. The looks on peoples faces changed.  How they carried themselves, their heads and shoulders were held high. People were smiling more and their general personalities were lit up. Their energy levels all showed a dramatic change for the positive. It was like a light switch, a night and day difference. Around this same time is when I started receiving texts and emails on a daily basis how this challenge was changing their lives. Participants shared personal stories about how much healthier they felt both mentally and physically. Across the board most felt certain tweaks and aches have suddenly gone away.  By the majority, if not all, members who took part in this challenge had an overwhelming positive change in their lifestyle and overall health by simply changing their diet. It was incredible to experience. The community bonded. There was friendly competition along with friendly “trash talking”. The same banter you would hear when a big group of friends got together around a bon fire and reminisced about old times. It was awesome and inspiring.  Then we had the re-test of the benchmark workout. I have to be honest, part of me was nervous because human beings, especially those that do CrossFit are results driven. They want to see consistent, forward progress regardless of how small it is. This re-test would hopefully prove that every thing Jesse and I preached for 5 weeks would show to be true. That healthy eating will improve cardio-vascular health, lower body inflammation, increase energy levels, improve sleep and help you have clarity throughout the day. That the body craves healthy fuel and when its fed properly, the body can do amazing things.

These were the recorded results of the bench mark test for people who had submitted their both times. 

New score/ Old score

Chris T: 18:09 / 19:40

Ricky L:  18:50 / 22:27

Jacqui: 17:55 / 19:44

Kim S: 17:22 / 18:27

Bill F: 17:17 / 21:52

Mike H: 21:42 / 26:08

Jon C: 16:07 / 20:08

Dan E: 18:05 / 22:40

Carlos: 16:30 / 23:16

Steve: 23:01 / 26:16

Sabrina: 20:50 / 22:52

Marci: 19:30 / 20:38

Natalie: 16:55 / 19:44

Celeste: 19:15 / 26:20

Abby:  ?/ 18:35

Jon T:  ?/ 18:43

Chris K: 15:00  / 17:55

Kam: 16:33 / 18:15

Lindsay: 17:02 / 21:02

Mike D: 23:19 / 27:51

Castro: 19:07 / 22:51

Jen R: 16:00 / 22:00

Diana: 13:11 / 20:51

Rob K: 14:36 / 20:44

Gina: 14:46 / 18:05

AJ:  11:54 / 12:15

Lauren:  18:01 / 18:39

Tina R: 18:46 / 19:37

Kyle: 15:30 / 16:42

Jeremy:  14:41 / 21:10

Shannon:  12:09 / 16:49

Lisa W:  16:48 / 18:03

Maurita: 16:00 / 21:46

Taylor: 19:30 / 24:14

*if there are any I forgot, I apologize. These scores were taken from Wodify

The scores speak for themselves. Every single person who took part in the challenge, improved their time by minutes. Jesse and I were shocked. We were expecting/hoping for improvements but this was beyond what Jesse and I expected.  Jesse and i actually had a good laugh because we were so blown away and i think simultaneously said "holy shit, is this legit ?" It was..."Team Up, Slim Down" crushed it.

Speaking for myself, I so proud of everyone who took part in this challenge. Im proud you stepped outside your comfort zone and tried something new. I’m honored that you placed your trust in Jesse and I to help guide you on that journey.  There was a ton Jesse and I learned from this experience and we will make the next one that much better.

What seemed to be near impossible in the beginning, became rather simple towards the end. 

Until the next challenge, keep up the hard work!

NEWS:

Next blog: "How to eat for competition". 

Last day to pre-order your new Hoodie is Friday 11/17

Saturday 11/18: Mohegan Sun night out! Dinner at Hash House at 7:30pm. Party Bus leaves Bionic at 6pm sharp!

Upcoming Clinics hosted at Bionic: Dates TBA

Muscle up clinic 

Rowing clinic

Whats your why?

First of all, I want to share how excited I am to be starting our blog/news post. This is something I have been wanting to do for a while and I'm excited to be launching it.

For those who don't know me, my name is Chris and my wife Tina and I are the owners of Bionic CrossFit. I have been involved in the fitness industry for approximately 18 years. I grew up from an early childhood into my early 20's playing competitive hockey. I graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in Sociology and Applied Social Relations. Prior to being a business owner, I had a 12 year career in Law Enforcement. The fitness side of my life has alway been a true passion and something I did on the side as a part time job. CrossFit created an opportunity for me to pursue this passion, help support my family and surround myself with like minded individuals. A lot of the knowledge that I share on fitness and mental mindset comes from my college education, personal experience, mentors,  trial and error and lots and lots of reading on sports psychology, personal/mental growth, various principles of strength training, cardiovascular health, nutrition and really understanding the methodology and science behind CrossFit. I do one simple thing when I read these principles, ideas and methods. I apply it. I apply it to myself or introduce it to my membership with the intention of targeting a specific goal. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  I have learned that I don't always get it right and understand the process of self reflection and having the ability to adapt. This is the key to growth for myself and the members at Bionic. 

As much time as I spend talking to my members about fitness, nutrition and the science behind what we are doing when we exercise, I often find myself spending as much time if not more addressing mental mindset and having a healthy outlook when faced with adversity. The most common question I ask new and current members is "What's your why?".  This is not a term or question I can take credit for. This has been a concept on an approach to success for years for people in leadership roles and athletes alike. This term became main stream when Simon Sinek gave a Teds Talk on "What's your why". I highly recommend listening to/watching it on You tube. Essentially, most people, whether a business owner, a coach, a parent or an athlete, know what you do,  for the most part, know how you do it, but very few know the "why" behind what you do. Your "why" separates you from the rest of the herd. Now I can get all nerdy and talk about your "why".  It essentially comes from 1 of the 5 stages of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, self actualization), but I wont bore you with this. Once you can figure out your "why", you can start shaping your goals/plan around it to have self fulfillment. When you can figure out your "why", you can handle adversity with a more positive mindset and stop wasting energy on things that don't matter or that you can't control. 

When it comes to CrossFit, what is your "why" for coming in everyday? Is to have the the safety of knowing you are getting healthier to decrease the risk of chronic disease? Is to be part of a group that has the same goals and same beliefs? Maybe it's to increase your self esteem by looking better in a bathing suit (it's cool if thats it, we all want to look better), or maybe it is knowing that as grandparent you can keep up with your energetic grandkids. Or maybe, and this seems to be where a lot of people fall into, it's to push yourself to see what you are fully capable of both physically and mentally. We all fall into a category somewhere, so it is important to approach each day with a goal that satisfies this. If what you are doing doesn't help you reach your "why", don't waste your time, energy or resources on it. 

We all have limited time in life and most of us have limited amounts of energy and resources so be smart with what you have. 

Thanks for reading!

NEWS/EVENTS:

Don't forget to sign up for hooded sweat shirt if interested. Deadline is Friday 11/17

Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule:

Wednesday 11/22: No 6:30pm class, Thursday 11/23: 9am only, Friday 11/24: 9am and 12:30pm only

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