296 Morris Road, Schenectady NY 12303 | 518-374-5968 | info@CrossFitSchenectady.com


Do You Dread Exercise?

May 1, 2018

Maybe you just need a change of mindset.

Do you dread going to the gym? Do you hate the idea of exercising? Is it boring? Or embarrassing?
These are very common thoughts so don’t feel alone if you answered yes to any of them. However, I believe these thoughts and feelings can be overcome by changing your mindset on exercise.

Here is what I mean.

I want you to think about why you exercise? Why do you think you need to go the gym? Or why do you think you need to walk, run, bike or swim?
Is it because you need to burn some extra calories? Because your doctor told you it would be good for you? Because you think it will benefit your heart? Are you hard on yourself or do you feel lazy if you do not exercise?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then read on – it is time for a change in your mindset.

I used to think these same things many years ago. I wanted to be thin, strong and healthy and felt that I needed to exercise to do this. But I didn’t know what to do to make the types of changes I wanted. Or if I exercise it was so boring it wouldn’t last long. Pretty much every day I would walk into a gym and go from boring machine to another boring machine. I hated it!! I always dreaded doing it and never looked forward to it. It did make me feel better after I was done but only because I had exercised, and I was convinced that exercising would make me healthy. But it didn’t!

I felt good right after my “workout” each day. But after months it didn’t seem to move me toward my goals of being thinner, stronger and healthier. I would stop what I was doing and try different things to see how my body reacted: Swimming (I had shoulder pain), Yoga (I didn’t get much stronger and my cardio got worse), back to the machines (boring).

Fast forward to today and I am thin, strong and very healthy. Now I workout 4-6 days per week, and have fun doing it. How did I change my mindset?

I found something I enjoy: CrossFit. At CrossFit we lift weights and do “cardio” in the form of pushups, jumping, squats, lunges, rowing, situps, etc… Periodically we “run” at CrossFit when the weather is nice. (I hate running, but if that’s your thing it’s ok…. We can still be friends.) I also play golf (walking) when the weather is nice.

I no longer exercise to burn calories or punish myself. I exercise to have fun, feel better, get stronger and ….. hmmmm….. I never thought of it this way before, but I actually WANT to get better at exercising!

I set goals for exercise, such as how much weight I can lift. And I track my progress in the form of how much weight I lift and how fast I move. I’m always looking to get stronger so each workout I am focused on pushing myself by adding more weight, more reps, or decreasing my rest periods.
Lastly, I don’t force myself to exercise to be healthy. This was a big change in mindset for me. It has taken a while for me to achieve this mindset, but the longer I “exercise” the more I realize how little missing one or two sessions here and there impacts my fitness and health goals. It is more important to stay consistent over the long-term.

So how can you change your mindset?

Find something active you enjoy. If you love to run, then run. If you like to play basketball, then find some friends to play with or join a league. Play golf, tennis, soccer, etc…. Gardening, walking, swimming, etc…. Maybe your activity is playing with your kids, mowing your lawn, or cleaning your house. Just find a fun activity you enjoy doing.

Then, workout to get better at your activities. Anything active requires you to have some basic level of strength, coordination, balance, flexibility, speed, power, endurance. Find a workout program (like CrossFit) that will improve all these things.

You don’t have to be good at your activity, and you don’t have to be good at your workout either! At CrossFit the Coaches are there to make sure you stay safe and have fun at the same time. The variety of exercises and workouts help produce results and keep things from being boring. The CrossFit members can all relate to your struggles and help to reward your accomplishments. Find a workout that does all these things and you’ll get better at your activity and your workouts!

Get out of the mindset that you need to crush yourself to have a good workout. Total exhaustion does not characterize a good workout. When you’re done with your workout you should be sweaty, fatigued and tired. However, by the time you leave the gym you should be feeling more energized than when you started.

I am also a big believer in starting small. What are you currently doing? If you are only walking twice a week do not start running five days a week to get healthy. This will most likely be unsustainable. Maybe start running one day a week if that is what you enjoy while keeping up with your walks on the other two days. After a week or two add in an additional day of running if you feel good and are enjoying yourself.
At CrossFit Schenectady everyone starts with a beginner program. This is where you learn what you are capable of. You’ll also learn a variety of exercises that will stop your workouts from being boring. Your Coach learns about you and how to give you a good workout, but keep you safe! These are all important to starting small and not over doing it!

Get out of the mindset that you need to “exercise” for X minutes Y times a week. If you are feeling tired one day, then relax or maybe go for a long walk. Never force yourself to exercise if your body isn’t feeling right.

In the beginning plan on working out 4-5 days per week and if you make it 3 days that’s great! Once you’re comfortable with your workouts you can plan on 6 days per week (if you have some variety) and you should make it 4-5 days. If you happen to get 6 sometimes that’s awesome! Good for you!

Set a performance goal. If you like to lift weights, there are a ton of goals you can aim for. Maybe you want to do a chin-up, a push-up from the floor, or squat your bodyweight. Whatever it is, find a performance goal and “exercise” to achieve that. You are much less likely to dread exercise if you set these goals.

Stop viewing exercise to burn extra calories. Exercising actually burns very few calories. What you eat has a much larger impact on losing fat or gaining muscle. Gaining muscle will improve your metabolism and help you burn more calories at rest. Set a performance goal and start exercising to accomplish that goal instead of focusing on calories. Your body composition, strength, fitness, and confidence will all thank me later.

I hope these have convinced you that exercise does not have to be something you dread. You simply must change your mindset and find something you enjoy doing. Exercise does not have to be boring and exhausting. It should energize you and add value to your life, not take away from it.
What do you think? Have you dealt with dreading workouts in the past?

How have you overcome that mindset and become consistent?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Back to basics: Functional Movement Screen

November 16, 2015

On Friday we used the “Functional Movement Screen” to assess your mobility and core stability,

Many of you got sent home with some homework to improve your functional movement.

If you want more details about the Functional Movement Screen, or your homework assignments then
Click HERE!

And Congrats to Heidi for having an Overhead Squat worthy a photo on our new website!

My Snatch isn’t perfect!

February 11, 2013

Every time I get instruction from another professional I learn something. Today I learned that my Snatch is far from perfect. I also learned that I haven’t been teaching it in the most appropriate way for everyone.

I learned two important things from Coach Keith today in our Olympic Weightlifting class. First, my feet in the squat have been getting a bit narrow, so feel free to ask about foot width and question mine in demonstrations. Your foot width will be different depending on sex, hip width and leg segment length.

Secondly and more importantly I learned about shoulder rotation in the setup position. My priorities as a coach are always safety first then technique then intensity. Therefore, I spend a lot of time learning from mobility and flexibility experts about the proper way to prepare for and to perform a movement.

In the 1st picture, Physical Therapist Kelly Starrett from MobilityWOD.com shows “the proper setup position” for a Snatch. (Read his bio and you will see he is THE MOBLITY EXPERT!) Look at the elbows. His elbow pits are facing forward. Kelly explains in several of his blog post videos this position is used to build torque in the shoulders and tighten up the back to prepare for the pull upward on the bar. For those of you with really tight shoulders, striving for this position will help keep the chest upright and the bar moving in a straight upward path. This picture is for you if you have extremely internally rotated shoulders. This describes you if you try to get your “elbow pits” facing each other with your hands on the bar and they just keep facing your butt. If that describes you then keep trying to get into this position.

In contrast, the 2nd picture from Greg Everett at Catalyst Athletics shows “the proper setup position” for the Snatch. Greg Everett is one of the worlds most renowned Olympic Weightlifting teachers and authors. In this picture notice that the shoulders are more over the bar and the elbow pits are facing each other. As Coach Keith explained during today’s class, this setup position limits the need for shoulder rotation during the Snatch. Picture 2 is the setup position you should strive for if you can easily get your “elbow pits” facing forward, or at least facing each other. For you, picture 1 may be “too much of a good thing”.

The lesson I learned (remembered) from this is something I tell all of you very often. Be careful who you listen to about what. Refer to experts about their expertise. Just because someone is popular and on TV or on the internet doesn’t mean they know everything. And, it doesn’t mean you or I will interpret it correctly. If you need to make changes regarding mobility and flexibility, Kelly Starrett at MobilityWOD.com is the go to guy. When making changes regarding your Olympic Weightlifting technique Greg Everett and Coach Keith are the experts.

You should always ask your coach how to correct your weaknesses. However, remember that your CrossFit coach is more likely a “jack of all trades”. We know enough about everything we do to help you reach your general fitness goals as safely and effectively as possible. However, because all of your goals and needs are so different from each other, 1 person can’t be the expert on everything. Your CrossFit coach may offer some suggestions, may tell you where to look for the answer or might say “I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you”.

Are you mature?

January 7, 2012

In an immature overhead squat (right), the forward inclination of the torso requires additional rotation of the shoulder, which can be tolerated at lighter weights.

Try going down only as low as you can without letting your nose come in front of your knees. You can practice with a PVC facing a wall (or a doorway) and see how close you can get.

Whats the hardest part?

February 16, 2012

For me the hardest part of the Whole30 is definitely the CRAP: wine and ice cream! As soon as I’m stressed the first thing I think about is a glass of wine. Then when I think “oh…I can’t have that” then I think about ice cream. Then “Are you serious?” No wine or ice cream? Ugghhhhh!

We all have our “C. R. A. P.”. What do I mean by CRAP? Carbonation, Refined Sugar, Alcohol and Processed foods. I mean the stuff we know isn’t good for us that we love and continue to eat anyway. For the most part I’d say that it only becomes CRAP when you start to over-indulge. If you only have 1 CRAPpy item each week then you are probably doing ok. But, when you are putting over 750 calories of CRAP in your body every day you know you’re in trouble!

I started to wean myself off the CRAP about 2 weeks ago. Since then some interesting things have been happening:
1 – I have tons of energy!
2 – All my fingernails broke – I realized I cut 750 calories a day out of my diet and never replaced them!
3 – My blood sugar is starting to regulate again.
4 – I’ve hit a Press, Bench Press and Front Squat PR all in the last 2 weeks.
5 – My cardio (metcon) times still suck!
6 – Some weird hormonal changes (no details on the internet!)
7 – The weirdest: I’ve been cleaning the house, doing laundry and cooking! Maybe that’s part of the hormonal changes? Or energy level? Or perhaps I’m just filling the time I used to use sitting on the coach drinking wine.

Whole30 or Partial30?

February 18, 2012

Below is a typically day diet for me on the Whole30:

Breakfast: Comination of PaleoKit (Jerky, nuts & fruit), hard boiled eggs, fruit and/or Granola. The 2nd to last ingredient in the grain free granola is honey so I guess that’s not exactly Whole30 worthy?

Lunch: Leftover meat and veggies or salad. If I have a salad I’ll use store bought salad dressing . The dressing is of course not totally Whole30 worthy either.

Snacks: Fruit or Jerky

Dinner: Salad (more dressing), Meat and Veggies. See the meat disclaimer below:

Now you all know that I don’t really cook. Ray cooks dinner for me every night so for the most part I have to eat what he makes. He’s been very good about the Whole30 thing but I know I can’t push my luck or the cook will quit! He makes meatloaf with bread crumbs in it. If he makes pork or chicken with a breadcrumb coating I’ll try to scrape it off. When he makes sauce I’ll have the meatballs (best I’ve ever had!) with the bread crumbs in them and have roasted eggplant both with sauce (I forgot and used cheese last time too). Most of the time I don’t really know all the ingredients he cooks with so I’m sure I’m getting some butter I’m not supposed to have. My basic rule is: if it looks like meat, smells like meat and tastes like meat (and doesn’t come from a package with ingredients on it) then I’ll eat it.

So, probably every other day I have a very tiny something that isn’t on the Whole30 plan. Does that mean I’m cheating? Does it mean I shouldn’t bother? Does it mean I can just go back to eating ice cream and drinking wine every day?

Men like Barbells too!

February 19, 2012

This is NOT just for women! Men like barbells too!

The impression given by the article in the Gazette today was that only Women train here. However, about 1/3 of our members are men. In our gym Men and Women of all ages workout side by side. Everyone is treated equally according to their fitness level, not because they are men or women or because of their age. We have some grandparents that can kick some teenage butt!

It’s true that people tend to choose a trainer they can relate to. Some women feel uncomfortable with a male trainer and some men think a woman won’t make them work hard enough. I think the men that train here will disagree!

Check out the leaderboard!

February 24, 2012

Yesterday and this morning we did the CrossFit Games Open workout #1: AMRAP Burpees in 7 minutes. If you did the workout already you can check out the leaderboard to see where you match up to the best of the best! Remember, these are the fittest athletes in the world that you’re comparing yourself too! Some of them were prior professional athletes and many of them have been CrossFitters for years!

If you didn’t do it yet and want to then go for it at home, but make sure you warm up well first! Set a timer and pace yourself! Let me know if you want to do this WOD at the gym and I’ll schedule a time with you.

Each week (if we have the proper equipment) I’ll add the Games Open workout to the agenda. It won’t always be on the same day of the week though so you’ll never know when to expect it!

What always makes you sore?

February 27, 2012

Really, what I want to know is what makes you sore that probably shouldn’t? For me its GHD sit-ups, pistols and high rep pushups. I know that if I do its > 30 GHD situps, > 50 pistols and/or > 50 pushups I’ll be sore the next day or maybe even a few days depending on what else I did with them. I think I should be able to do at least 50 GHD Situps, 80 pistols (40 each leg) and 80 pushups without being too sore the next day.

Why do we need to know?

Two reasons:

1) You need to work on these things to improve them. Before class, after class, on your own time, you should be working on things you suck at. There are 2 types of things you may suck at. The first is a technical skill that you aren’t too good at such as Cleans, Jerks or Snatches. The second type of suck, the one we are talking about today is the stuff you know how to do but your body isn’t strong enough for.

2) These are probably also areas that are tight. If my chest is sore all the time (because we do pushups all the time) then it is probably tight too. And if it isn’t tight yet, it will be getting tighter as I work on improving my performance in that area by doing more pushups!
So, let’s start making our weaknesses our strengths! If you finish a WOD early then work on one of your sucks. Come in early (make sure you warm up) or stay late to work on them too!

Bob Harper in the CrossFit Open

March 6, 2012

For many years I wanted our gym to be a CrossFit affiliate but I thought I wasn’t worthy. I thought that just because I’m not as strong or as fast as the fire breathers that I shouldn’t be an affiliate owner.

I think that Bob Harper (the famous Biggest Loser trainer) is a perfect example for me. He is also a competitor in the CrossFit Open and is currently ranked 231st on the leaderboard.

Bob just proved to me that I made the right decision to be a CrossFit affiliate. If he can compete and not be the best, then I can certainly coach without being the best athelete in the gym!

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