Have you heard of the story about the teacher with a pebble in his shoe? It goes something like this, a teacher has a pebble in his shoe when he walks into school everyday. First, it starts off as a little limp. Then it turns into affecting his stride. And soon, after a year, he’s walking into class like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

It would’ve been way easier to get rid of the pebble right when he felt it, versus trying to now dissolve a bad habit.

So my question to you is this, what’s the pebble in your shoe? Is it focusing on working out and not enough on recovering? Is it simply getting rid of the junk food in your house? Is it leaving work on time to get to the gym?

So how do we get rid of the pebble in your shoe? The first question you probably ask is, when? RIGHT NOW! Take action on that darn thing because you’re better off now, than when it’s even more painful down the road.

We don’t want you to turn into the Hunchback, cause that’s bad for deadlifts.

CrossFit’s intrigue is that we can get better at everything, at the same time. It’s weird, but when we can do more pull-ups, we can also run long and faster.

This can sometimes distract us though. We want to be the best at everything that looks shiny and new. Clean and jerk. Butterfly pull-ups. Double-unders. Muscle ups. Even walking on our hands.

Sure, these things are necessary later in your CrossFit career, but they’re the wrong things to focus on now. That doesn’t mean don’t work on them, but don’t invest your time in them. Instead your time will be spent better and results will come faster if you focus on the right things;

Eating better.

Proper movement in the Squat, Deadlift, and Press.

Mobility and recovery (stretching, rolling out, and restorative movement)

Meditation and introspective learning about positivity and mindset.

Having fun, even in the most stressful situations – this could be work or just a tough friggin’ WOD.

You can easily get good at the wrong things, but we won’t let you do that cause we’ve made those mistakes and care enough about you to help you avoid them. See you in the gym.

 Like everyone knows, consistency is KEY to any kind of long-term progress. Really, what we’re trying to do as we workout and build ourselves a healthy lifestyle is change our habits. That can be extremely tough, I know! For example, instead of reaching for some potato chips, we go for the fruit and veggies. Instead of sitting on the couch, we go for a walk. These habits are tough to kick, so here are two great tips I’ve found useful for clients at CrossFit Proper and myself!
Mark Yourself Unavailable – This is an easy one. We all have a calendar, whether on our phone, our work calendar, or family one. When you plan your week, mark yourself unavailable during that hour for your workout. No If’s, and’s, or but’s. This will keep you committed and it won’t let anyone be able to get in your way.
Make It Fun & Reward Yourself – Set a goal. Workout 2 times a week. Cook & Eat 3 home-made meals. And if you make those goals, reward yourself with something small, maybe a “cheat” meal after the workout or a new pair of workout shorts.
Set a Countdown! – The key here is to just get to the gym and show up. Some people say it takes about 21 days for habits to form, so take it day by day. You could write on your bathroom mirror or fridge start at 21 and countdown everyday you’ve successfully stuck with your goal. Soon enough, you won’t even need that reminder.
BONUS: Find a buddy! We have so many friendships here at the workouts that sometimes it takes a buddy to say “see you at the gym!”  And if you don’t have a buddy, we can be yours! 🙂
Remember, Consistency is key! See you in the gym!

A couple weeks ago we let members vote for their workouts. This isn’t something we do all the time, but it is fun to do as a break from the regular programming.

Some of you might’ve loved it. Others might have hated it! Ha! One thing you don’t realize is how much choice there is and what to do. There is a mental tax associated with choosing what to do for your workout. Maybe you gravitated towards the things you love and not the things you dislike. In other words, the things you’re good at, not the things that make you better.

It’s fun every so often to choose your workouts, but in the macro scope of your fitness, let us do the hard stuff! We know the reps, sets, movements, and energy systems that are needed to produce results.

All you’ve got to do is show up.

Our legs are sore from Monday. And it’s Friday… Does this mean that sore = progress? Sometimes. Soreness is a natural part of exercise. It’s a sign that your body’s muscles have broken down a bit and that means they’re going to come back stronger than before.

We can get crazy scientific into protein synthesis. Hypertrophy. Eccentric/Concentric. Blah, blah, blah. But all you have to know is this. Moving Properly with intensity specific to your abilities is the key to progress. The other two components are recovery and nutrition. Are you stretching and moving throughout the days after? How long? Are you eating the correct foods and amounts to help you recover? These are all questions you should ask yourself on the daily.

You don’t have to be sore every single session, but it is a good way to see if you pushed yourself enough. If not, we know next time to ramp up the intensity. 🙂

Sore doesn’t equal progress.

Progress = Progress

And how we track that is a two prong approach. “Health” with the InBody Scan (body fat %, muscle mass, etc.) and through your “Fitness” (tracking workouts and weights lifted) as long as the needle is moving in the right direction, that’s progress.

CrossFit has this metaphor about being pro-active in our health. It involves a swim coach and a life guard. A sedentary life and poor diet brings us into a maelstrom of metabolic disease (diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc.) and CrossFit can be the lifeboat to carry us safely. The problem is, most people can’t even tell their drowning until it’s far too late. We’ve cured all kinds of health issues that arise; from high blood pressure to pre-diabetes, the solution is simple, but not easy. Focus on Proper movement. Sprinkle a little intensity. Eat meat & veggies. Simple, not easy.

Physicians are lifeguards.

Trainers are swim coaches.

When you need a lifeguard, you need a lifeguard, not a swim coach. But, if you need a lifeguard, you probably needed a swim coach and didn’t get one.

Did you know we post the workouts online, for free? You can get these done wherever; even I’ll get a workout in at home or another box if I’m on the road.

The thing that I don’t get from a regular gym?

Knowledge and accountability.

Knowledge from a CrossFit Coach comes in many forms. How to move safely. When to put more weight on the bar. What to scale, if help is needed. The knowledge of a Coach is we’ve made the mistake for you, all you’ve got to do is work your tail off and listen.

Accountability is a whole nother’ subject, but it’s simply keeping you honest and getting to the gym. We actually care if you show up – cause if you don’t, we can’t get you any fitter!

So yes, we do tell people you can do this stuff for free, but trust us, it’s so much better with friends!

The health and fitness industry is littered with lies.

Fat is bad for you.

Weight training will make women bulky.

Squats are bad for your knees.

Guys have to be the size of bodybuilders and ladies, stick-figureesque.

The number on the scale is the most important thing during weight loss.

How many of you have “only” been down a few pounds, get discouraged and take your gym shoes off to watch Netflix instead?

Well we just did a Body Scan of a member. It shows exactly the value in the measurement that we track in our gym. It only shows she’s lost about 2 lbs. BUT it also shows she’s down 10.5 lbs of body fat, and built 9.7 lbs of muscle! She’s gone from 28.5% body fat to 20.5%! Way bigger difference than just two pounds huh?

These are the things that really matter.

Once you start your fitness journey, don’t focus so much on the scale number. Focus on the food you eat and the quality of your workouts! Results will follow.

You’re looking for something different.

You’re not sure what to do. Every day you tell yourself that today will be different. That you won’t hit “snooze” and instead get up and exercise. Or, on your way home from work that you won’t drive past the gym this time.

Your spouse is tired of hounding you to do something about your health. “If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your kids”, they say.

You get mad at them for bringing up the subject, so eventually they stop. “It’s not worth fighting over”. Or is it?

Do you want to make it to your kid’s high school graduation? Live to walk them down the aisle at their wedding? Would you like to be the fun grandparent that can play with the kids; or the one that gets winded after 2 minutes and can’t get down on the ground to play because you don’t know how you’ll get back up!

We have people every week contacting us because they want something different. Everyone has their own “why” they want to start. The conversation usually starts with them saying they want to look better. However, after asking “why?” a few more times, it gets down to the real reasons. Try it. Ask yourself “why?”.

No one here cares if you can do a pull up or even 10! No one cares if you haven’t done a push up in 30 years. No one here cares where you are when you get started. But everyone cares when you start. Because unlike your day to day life, here we celebrate even the smallest of successes. It’s what motivates us. And will motivate you.

Don’t look at anyone else in the gym. Just the one person you see in the mirror each morning. Be your own superhero.

A simple way to focus on better nutrition is by shopping only the perimeter of the grocery store. Think about it for a second.

Everything natural ends up on the outside at the local Sprouts. Veggies and fruits. Meats. Eggs. Milk. Nuts and seeds. The things that are good for you don’t have a food label. Everything inside the aisles has a shelf life of 25 years and more than that same number of ingredients we can’t pronounce.

Simple thing, yet hard to do. See you at the meat and veggies section!

If you want to lose weight, one of the building blocks and foundations of nutrition involves simple math. Calories in, versus calories out.

We can track your basal metabolic rate with our InBody Scanner. Your BMR is how many calories you burn at rest (not including exercise). For example let’s say you’re at 1800 calories, what we like to start people on is right at their BMR because exercise bumps it up – let’s just say it’s truly 2200.

If I intake less than I burn. I’ll burn the fat and lose some lbs. The trick is maintaining the muscle mass and not losing it (try eating close to your bodyweight in grams of protein). This is simple math to reach your goals, but only part of the equation.

After last nights class a girl came up to me and told me she hit a PR. (Personal Record) on her back squat. She squatted 183 lbs. She did this on accident by miscounting what was on the bar. Pair that with squatting alongside another strong girl – the perfect storm for a PR and she didn’t even know it.

This same girl also came to us a couple of months ago post-knee surgery, wanting to get stronger. But we didn’t go from knee surgery to all the weights. It was slow, we built the foundation of squatting safely. Then went further with reps and sets. Then reeled it back when it hurt during some runs. But now, now she can squat 183 lbs. Has she arrived at her goal of getting stronger?

We might say so.

Or maybe she’s going to accidentally PR again, and again, and again.

On September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and flown into The Pentagon. All 64 passengers–including six hijackers–were killed. Another 125 people in the building were killed with them. The victims’ bodies are memorialized at the Pentagon Memorial, and they live on in the hearts and minds of a nation.

But one of them left something more.

The victims of the Pentagon attack were taken to Dover Air Force Base. This is where all CIA operatives (spies) are brought before burial. Astronauts from the space shuttle Columbia, victims of the bombing of the USS Cole–they’re prepared for their final rest by the morticians at Dover.

While performing autopsies on the passengers of Flight 77, one of the morticians found the ultimate “message in a bottle”: a short note, hurriedly written, in the stomach of a passenger.

The passenger wrote a note and ate it. Stomach acids protected the note while the plane burned.

What was on the note? That’s confidential. What’s important is that the message was received.

The passenger wasn’t sure whether they’d live or die. But they wrote the note anyway, and ate it, on the very slim chance it would be discovered.

What if you were sending your OWN message in a bottle–to the next thousand people that are getting into fitness and health, or to yourself in the future?

What would you write?

Let’s say you had thirty seconds, a used napkin and room for twelve words or less.

What would you write then?

Write it to me.

Hit “reply” with your message. Type it in, and hit “send”.

I’ll publish them (anonymously) next week.

And if, five years–or five months, or five minutes–from now, you need to hear your words again, ask me for it. I’ll keep them all.

Once in a while I have a conversation with a member about authenticity. He talks about Proper and how we have a genuine care for people’s health and well-being. The cool thing is we also talk about all of our short comings.

Failed reps.

Too many beers on the weekends.

Nagging aches and pains.

But that’s the great thing about the gym, we know you’re not perfect. Kind of like that sign I saw at a church off of Main Street – “Perfect people not welcome”. We all have highs and lows. We all know what to eat, but choose a donut instead. It’s life – and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the 10+ years of doing CrossFit is that we have to be authentic.

We could put up a front and tell you to eat 100% paleo, 365 days a year, but I’d rather ask you if you’re happy where you’re at, then plan from there. Regardless of your answer I think you’re doing amazing – let’s hug it out and get back to living (and some burpees).

#RelentlessAuthenticity

The other day I was grilling some BBQ up outside (the perfect steak of course, ha!) and I stubbed my toe. Pretty bad actually, we won’t get into the graphic details, but it makes squats, lunges, and Box Jumps pretty difficult right now.

Yesterday I let it stop me though. I didn’t workout. I used it as an excuse. Today I won’t though. What I should’ve done yesterday is ask one of our knowledgeable coaches on what to do. They know what’s BEST for me and how I can scale anything!

Don’t let a stubbed toe trick you into not working out.

We read a post on Facebook yesterday with a guy asking an interesting question. He asked “What’s the best way to get over a breakup?” There are over 250+ answers ranging from eat gallons of ice cream to line dancing at a cowboy bar in Norco.

Our answer? The barbell.

The barbell is an amazing teacher. It shows you patience, perseverance, and strength to name a few. The biggest thing we love about it is that it makes you vulnerable. It breaks you down to just, you. You can feel your breathe, your muscles, and more importantly you feel alive. This is the best thing for people going through a struggle – because it brings you back to the most important person in the world – you. It will build you up and make you stronger physically and mentally, guaranteed.

An amazing quote I heard once is that the barbell doesn’t care. It doesn’t care if you had a bad day at work. It doesn’t care if you just broke up with your significant other. It doesn’t care if you’re the fittest person on Earth. At the end of the day it still weights 200 lbs.

If you know, the power of the barbell, you know. If you don’t know, you need to. See you in the gym.

“CrossFit is dangerous!”

“Why do you move so fast when you workout?”

“I can’t lift the wait SHE is lifting!”

No, CrossFit isn’t dangerous. Yes we move fast, intensity is how we get quicker results. You can lift more than her, after you develop a solid foundation.

We start with the Foundations because moving is a skill. It’s a skill to not hurt yourself. To move properly. To know your limits, then push past them a little bit at a time. Safety and being comfortable (with scaling, the movements, how much intensity to put into the workouts) are the two biggest things we care about.

If you have a great foundation, sky’s is the limit.

We recently bought a Traeger grill. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a meat smoker. It controls the temperature, the amount of pellets that get burned, and everything else under the sun to create an amazing meal. It’s a “set it and forget” grill that I recommend everyone to buy.

Regardless of the bells and whistles can you guess what the one thing it doesn’t come with?

Patience.

The traeger is just like your fitness. We have THE program for fitness that works. It burns fat, builds muscle, and gets people off meds with Proper Coaching. We can talk about nutrition and macronutrients, but the only thing we can’t do for you is give you the patience to reap the rewards.

This health and fitness thing is just like cooking an amazing tri-tip. Low (in your squats) and slow (patience).

Depending on when you’re reading this, International Happiness Day is today, or was yesterday. It serves as a day of awareness to remember to smile and appreciate how amazing life is. People come to CrossFit Proper for results. They want to lose weight, build muscle, train for a specific 5k run, or even because it’s their job as a serviceman/woman (LEO, Fire, Military, etc.). But that’s not what they stay for. They stay because it makes them feel good, it makes them happy.

When someone asked the inventor and owner of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, what the #1 reason CrossFit gyms fail, his answer was simple. “They’re no fun.”

From the CrossFit Games Intramural Open we’re in the middle of to silly ice-breaker questions during class, we try to take things serious, but not. Yes, we want to you to hit your goals. We also want you to know that the results on the board doesn’t matter if you aren’t having fun.

Trust us, we’ve done it both ways.  Fitness is always better when you’re having fun and happy. Good thing we’re the #HappyGym 365 days a year. 🙂

 

Starting a new path in life is really, really hard.

This is the story of someone looking to start getting healthier and live longer, as they told it to me. “Jim” is a pseudonym, and he doesn’t like the internet, or writing, or even talking about himself. But this is his story, through his eyes. Missed the first one? Start here.

*****

OK, so last time I said I’d break down what we’re paying at Proper. My wife is really good at budgeting and numbers.

My friends were kinda giving me a hard time about the monthly rates last Saturday, but I had a feeling we were actually a bit ahead. So here are the numbers. But first, my wife is going to change from group training to the Personal Training Program until tax season is over. She’s a stress eater (we both are) and her schedule is rough until April, so she’s going with a more flexible and private program while I stick with my noon group. If you’ve ever seen her in the middle of March, it’s like she’s a totally different person. I think Personal Training is maybe 40 bucks more per month; if that helps her stay in this happy mood until the tax deadline, it’s worth it a hundred times over. God, I sound like one of those Reader’s Digest articles.

So here’s the breakdown:

Me: $125 per month (I go to group CrossFit classes now.)

Her: $199 per month starting next month (the ID program. Basically personal training and nutrition plan, but she can use the Open gym and do her workouts there.

That’s the up-front. Sounds high compared to the $19 deal that I started with, right? BUT she calculated the costs we’re actually saving.

First, she’s not buying those shakes anymore. That’s $99 per month right there. I don’t think they were working anymore anyway.

Second, I can’t believe the CRAP I used to spend money on. I said that I was going for a bagel on Saturdays with the boys, but really it was a donut almost every day. I’d go through Starbucks and grab a sour cream bagel with my coffee in the morning. So that’s over $40 per month. I don’t want to sound like a food nazi, but eating that sugar in the morning just made me feel like crap in the afternoon. I didn’t realize it until now. So usually I’d get a muffin or something off the tray in the front office for energy. Now I don’t even want to.

We also cut out the “junk budget”–all the loose change in our pockets got put in a drawer at the end of the day, and every week we’d spend it on chips and stuff. I’m still having some chips on Saturday nights, but we don’t have a cupboard full of cookies and stuff anymore. It’s just not in the house. If the kids want something, I tell them to go out and get it. So we figured out that’s another 20 bucks per week ($80 per month.) My membership’s almost paid for already. Imagine if we smoked!

We were also getting pizza at least once every week until now, and we’d get takeout almost every night during tax season. This is the first time we added all that up. It’s over $100 per month, and we definitely don’t miss that stuff now. You don’t really know that you don’t feel good until you DO feel good; now we don’t want to feel like garbage anymore. That’s seriously how I feel after eating pizza. I handle gluten just fine and stuff, but all the carbs made me want to sleep.

The big expense, really, is coming from buying clothes and going on dates. Someone else can tell my wife that stuff’s too expensive, because there’s no way I’m going to.