Greetings from Oakland… HAPPY RETEST WEEK! 

While y’all are re-testing, I am in the bay area working with my alma mater where I received my master’s in Sport Psychology. Specifically, I am assisting a group of first year grad students with their teaching of sport psychology concepts to a group of golfers (some of which are as young as seven years old!). The students I am working with are attempting to teach mental toughness, and they are breaking down the all encompassing topic of mental toughness for these golfers by using psychologist Peter Clough’s Four C Model:

  • Commitment
  • Challenge
  • Control
  • Confidence

As students of Oak Park, you are already very familiar with the purpose and importance of CHALLENGE as it pertains to a mental toughness workout. If you need a refresher, I recommend you revisit this blog post. For this post, let’s consider the role that the other 3 C’s play, particular when retesting this week. 

 

  • COMMITMENT is largely about the specificity of goal setting, and your ability to adhere to the goals you set for yourself. For example, how many retest workouts this week are you committed to retesting and WHY? What additional behaviors are you going to commit to before (e.g., breath work), during (e.g., intentional strategy), and after (e.g., mobility) your retest workouts to support the plan you have for yourself? 
  • You only have 100% CONTROL over your thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes (combination of thoughts and behavior). Therefore, the strength of your awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and physiological sensations will determine how well you can exercise control of your behaviors. This behavioral control is most effective when you are least mentally burdened by fixating on that which is out of your control. This is also why we stressed the importance of writing down the variables of each test workout during test week–to clarify what is in your control, so you can replicate it (e.g., seat height on assault bike), and what is out of control so you are less distracted by it (e.g., weather outside when running the urban course). 
  • As for CONFIDENCE, what do you believe to be true about your abilities and how do your beliefs about your capabilities affect how you focus during a workout? Do you believe you are capable of PRing? If not, why not? Your beliefs are a version of your thoughts that YOU have CONTROL over. If not in existence yet, I encourage you to adopt the belief that you are capable of PRing and then super charge this belief with supporting evidence that is true for YOU: For example, I have consistently attended 3-4 classes a week this past cycle, I have been getting more sleep, my mobility has improved, and I have gotten better at nasal breathing.

Now, which of the 4 C’s will be most pertinent to your success and fulfillment during this retest week!?


Tuesday
Retest
A) For Total Feet: (15 Minutes) 3 Broad Jumps
B) 1RM Power Clean (20 Minutes)

Wednesday
Retest
Urban Course 2.0

It’s easy to get lost in the weeds about this diet or that diet, macro nutrient, and/or calorie counting. Hence, I always appreciate big picture guidance that underscores principles, as opposed to methods. Here is a version of nutrition principles that is included as a part of Performance Psychologist Michael Gervais’ and Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll’s Finding Your Best online course: 

 
Eat colorful foods:  
• Eating whole foods in a variety of colors gives us the best chance to obtain balanced nutrition.  
• Aim for 5 different colors on your plate at each of your major meals.
Consume lean protein:
• Protein is essential as it helps build muscle mass, which enhances our metabolism.
• Examples of lean protein include but are not limited to grass fed beef, chicken, wild caught fish, edamame, chickpeas and eggs.
Enjoy healthy fats:
• Healthy fats, in particular those which contain Omega 3’s and monounsaturated fat, are foundational for brain and heart functioning. They also help us stay satiated longer, as they take longer to digest, especially when combined with lean protein and low-glycemic foods such as non-starchy vegetables and beans.
• Healthy fats can be found in certain oils, such as olive and coconut oil, fish such as tuna and salmon, avocados, nuts (e.g.: almonds and walnuts) and seeds like flaxseed and chia.
Other helpful behaviors:
• Start your day with a large glass of water.  
• Watch less TV. The sights, memories, emotions and thoughts that are provoked while watching TV or being exposed to commercials can signal our brain and influence how much and what we want to eat.
• Stop counting calories. Eat more of the right foods.  
• Be mindful of how your body responds to the food and liquid you consume. Practice a short mindfulness body-scan meditation to tune into signals of hunger and fullness.
• Slow down your eating. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to compute satiety.
• Cut back on added sugar and refined/processed carbohydrates such as those found in anything packaged, e.g., cereal, chips, breads, pasta, cookies, soda, etc. 
• It’s natural for you to have cravings. Here’s a good mindful strategy for dealing with them: Pause and notice them, think about where they are coming from, choose how you want to respond.
• Have a plan when eating out. Here are a few suggestions: 1) share a meal, 2) have the server box up half of the meal and bring it at the end to take home, 3) order two small appetizers instead one large meal, giving yourself an option for some lean protein and colorful vegetables, 4) when eating salad look for something with lean protein, nutritious add-ons such as mushrooms or artichokes that are high in fiber, and plain (not candied) nuts. Opt-in to whole fat salad dressing. Studies have found that we absorb more nutrients from vegetables and fruits when paired with fat.
• Change your language around food. Rather than the deprivation mindset e.g. “I can’t eat that…” try, “I don’t eat that…” Research has found this feels more in alignment with self-control.

Tuesday
Practice
A) Back Squat – Find a Heavy 3
B) 3 RFQ
    15/12 CAL AB
    50 Double Unders
    50 Air Squats
Wednesday
Competition
“Helen”
3RFT
400m Run
21 KBS (24/16)
12 Pull Ups

The 4th of July is around the corner, which means two things: 

   1) We are officially basking in the summer months! 

   2) MOST IMPORTANTLY, my birthday is four days away (July 6th)!

I hope you all have a great 4th of July and 4th of July weekend, or, should I say, Jared birthday weekend 😉 


Tuesday
Practice
A) Rope Climb Technique
B) AMMAP 6
     Max Effort Run For Meters
     Rest 2 Minutes
C) EMOM 15
     Minute 1: 5-20 Push Ups
     Minute 2: 5-20 T2B
     Minute 3: 12 DB Reverse Lunges

Wednesday
Mental Toughness
For time, in pairs, complete the work in order:
60 Pull ups
Partner holds DBall in front rack (100/70)

80 Box jumps (24/20)
Partner holds BB OH (135/95)

100 Cal on AB
Partner holds BB at top of DL(135/95)

I saw Dead and Company (newest iteration of The Grateful Dead) at the Hollywood Bowl last night. This was my seventh time seeing them since 2016. 

This is one of my favorite lines of lyrics of theirs from the song Eyes of the World

“Sometimes we live no particular way but our own
And sometimes we visit your country and live in your home
Sometimes we ride on your horses, sometimes we walk alone
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own


Tuesday
Competition
For time:
200 DU

21-15-9
TTB
OHS (95/65)

200 DU

Wednesday
Practice
A) Rope Climbing – Pulling Your Weight
B) 4 rounds on :45 :15
AS Bike for Cals
Lateral Jumps over Parallettes
C) Back Squat – Heavy 20reps

Oak Park’s longest running tradition of memorial day Murph is less than a week away. I am sensing that many individuals are feeling hesitant about coming in that morning because they cannot do Murph as prescribed and/or they are not sure it is a good idea to do it prescribed because of how that will affect them physically.    

First, let me start by saying publicly that I will not be doing Murph as prescribed. Honestly, this is hard for me to accept, particularly because last year I did it prescribed, nasal only. However, my health has not be great the past month, and I recently experienced a very severe low back flare up in which the day after I could not stand from sitting without electric, shooting pain. Therefore, given my personal context, it is not wise for me to do Murph as prescribed. Nonetheless, I know how difficult holding this context in public can be. Amongst the community, especially my fellow coaches, it is tempting for me, like many of you, to want to push myself hard, so much so, I empathize with those who ultimately decide it is easier to not show up than be tempted by doing it how they believe is the “correct” way. 

The only “correct” way to do Murph is to do it in a way that honors your personal context while ALSO getting to EXPERIENCE the camaraderie and fellowship of the community at large. Hence, if you are in town, I encourage you to come next Monday morning no matter what you are currently feeling about how you will do Murph. It is okay to come and not do Murph at all, for some this may best honor your personal context.

When I asked a student today if he was coming to Murph, he responded with hesitation because of an 8 hour drive he will have later that day. He is right to have hesitation considering the potential mixture of 300 squats, 2 miles of running, and 8 hours in the car. Instead, what is likely better for him and his personal context is a 20 minute variation of Murph. 

What version of Murph will best serve you? 

I look forward to seeing many of you and your loved ones this coming memorial day while we collectively remember those who have sacrificed for our country with an  inspirational talk , fancy caffeine, and movement that honors our individual contexts.


Tuesday

Practice

A) Rope Climb Skill Work
B) Tempo Front Squats 3 x 5 @ 3310 Tempo Rest 2 minutes b/w sets
C) AMRAP 18:
    600m Run
    10 Dips
    20 Russian Twists (Single count)
    20 Alt. Rev. Lunges (Single count)

Wednesday

Competition

Franklin Hill – 5k aka….”Double Death Loops”

First, how amazing is this graphic that our current, Aussie, Craftsmen, Henry Elliott made?

My favorite thing about it is how it represents our context training stimuli as the variety of weather required for all of us to continue growing. 

Practice=Rain. Rain is an essential element of growth for our natural habitat. Similarly, without practice, we will not have learned the skills with which to shine. 

Competition=Sunshine. Testing yourself on competition days are opportunities for you to put your skills to the test in order to shine! 

Mental Toughness=Lightning/thunder. Lightning and thunder can often be very physically unsettling and scary. Mental toughness days are meant to evoke a similar uneasiness/discomfort, which creates a challenge opportunity for you to meet!  


Tuesday
Competition
“Diane”
*LEADERBOARD WORKOUT*
21-15-9 reps of:
Deadlift (225/155)
Handstand push-ups
(6 Minute Cap)

Wednesday
Practice
A) Hip/Hinge Archetype Mobiity Time!
B) EMOM 7
5 Power Cleans (60%)
C) 4 Rounds on the 4:00 for Quality
200m Run
10 Box Jumps
Hand-Release Push Ups
   *3:00 Cut Off

I want to give a big thank you to all of you that attended yesterday and/or last monday’s 5-530pm mobility class. As a coach, it does my heart good to see such a full and enthusiastic class of individuals anxious to take advantage of recovery/prehab type training to maximize the amount of growth they can then achieve during the GPP (general physical preparedness) group class. 

Heads up: Those of you planning to attend next week, make sure you are up to date on Game of Thrones, so we can mobilize while debriefing the insane battle at Winterfell that is about to go down this coming Sunday 😉 


Tuesday
Practice
A) :15-:30-:45-:30-:15 Hollow Body Hold Arch Hold
B) Find a Heavy Front Squat (20 Min)
C) 3 RFQ: 400m Run 15 Front Squats (Unbroken)

Wednesday
Competition
“Mina”
FT:
3 Hand stand push ups
6 Power Cleans (135/95)
9 Pull Ups 6 Hand stand push ups
9 Power Cleans (135/95)
12 Pull Ups
9 Hand stand push ups
12 Power Cleans (135/95)
15 Pull Ups
12 Hand stand push ups
15 Power Cleans (135/95)
18 Pull Ups
**KEEP Intensity high…

I first published this blog article on November 19, 2018. 

Why the repost? Well, for many of you, this is probably the first time you are seeing this. And, for those of you about to give this another read, GOOD ON YA because the only form of learning is RE-LEARNING!!! 

The contents of this post (personal context) is especially important when considering how best to approach Re-Test week.


As the title suggests, this post is a continuation of another blog post. If you have yet to read that post or need a refresher, start here

In part 1, I discussed how each day of context (situation) at Oak Park has a particular outcome (result) that the context serves. 

Situation Behavior Result
Practice Pace: Slow/systematic; Priority: Task, process, goal oriented LEARN
Competition Pace: Fast/spontaneous; Priority: Outcome, ego oriented TEST
Mental Toughness Pace: Depends on student
Priority: Goal oriented specific to the challenge
CHALLENGE

Our three types of context (practice, competition, mental toughness) are external contexts, meaning they are programmed independent of you and your internal experience. However, you need to also consider your unique, internal context. 

Consider your internal context in terms of past, present, future.

Past: What has your life been like over the past 48 hours? (sleep? mood? food? hydration? social? work?)

Present: What has your life been like over the past 12 hours? (mood? food? hydration? work? social?)

Future: What will your life entail over the next week? (projects? travel? gatherings? deadlines?)

At Oak Park, we WANT you to have autonomy. We WANT your training to support your life outside the gym and NOT hinder it. Therefore, it is imperative that you take into account your internal context in conjunction with the external context of the day, particularly if it is a mental toughness or a competition day. 

The easiest example of this is showing up to class on a competition day after having been out sick for a week. Most people in this situation know it serves them best to forego the external context of competition in support of their internal context of easing back into training by behaving more in line with what would be more appropriate on a practice day. While this concept is easy in theory, it can be VERY HARD in practice. Why? Because of the social psychology. If 95% of the class is getting after the workout in a competition manner, you, too, in spite of your internal context, are tempted to do the same. We are all guilty of this, myself included. That is why this mental skills work of S x B=R is so important: It helps us to protect against falling prey to what has short term appeal and, potentially, long term consequences. Moreover, this type of behavior is the antithesis of Oak Park’s highest context: INTENTIONAL, SUSTAINABLE GROWTH. 

When in doubt of how to approach a workout, ask yourself: what decision/behavior will be most in service of my sustainable growth as a human being? 


Tuesday
ReTest
1 Rep Max Weighted Pull/Chin Up
1 Rep Max Box Squat
Wednesday
ReTest
3 RFT
Row 60 Cal
100m D Ball Carry
100 Double Unders

I first published this blog article on November 5, 2018. 

Why the repost? Well, for many of you, this is probably the first time you are seeing this. And, for those of you about to give this another read, GOOD ON YA because the only form of learning is RE-LEARNING!!! 


SxB=R is a very practical formula I refer to as a way to help myself and others align behaviors with desired outcome (s) (result). Moreover, this formula takes into account how a desired outcome is influenced by context (situation). 

Let’s consider this formula as it pertains to our programming (practice, competition, and mental toughness days) at Oak Park. 

Situation Behavior Result
Practice Pace: Slow/systematic; Priority: Task, process, goal oriented LEARN
Competition Pace: Fast/spontaneous; Priority: Outcome, ego oriented TEST
Mental Toughness Pace: Depends on student
Priority: Goal oriented specific to the challenge
CHALLENGE

Notice that the primary desired outcome for each of the contexts is different. This does NOT imply that practice days can’t be challenging nor does it imply that you cannot learn something valuable on a competition day. The point is that in order for you to get the most out of the context, you have to understand the main purpose of the context, i.e., the WHY.

  • Why do we practice? We practice, so that we can learn. The learning is often specific to the contents of that day and specific to the growth needs of the student.
  • Why do we compete? We compete, so that we can test our abilities and capacities against others and/or against a previous version of ourselves. While the gray area of process is important, so is the black/white of measuring one’s ability very specifically with hard numerics, e.g., how much weight did you lift versus how did the technique of that lift look (more valuable question on a practice day).
  • It can be more difficult for people to understand the difference between a mental toughness day and a competition day. Therefore, I find this definition helpful: Mental toughness is about purposefully digging yourself into a hole to see how well you can get out of it. Pragmatically, on a competition day, it would not make any sense to dig yourself into a hole because you are trying to “win”. This nuance is important because it helps to understand why we program mental toughness days the way we do, AND how you can get more out of mental toughness days by being more deliberate about how you choose to behave in the workout that is most aligned with challenging yourself.

The context of a workout refers to WHAT, the associative, desired outcome refers to WHY, and the behaviors are HOW you go about achieving that desired outcome.

There are an infinite number of behaviors that can be considered, especially when taking into account the infinite ways a workout can be designed. What I have done in the chart above is give you two main filters of behavior (priority and pace). Again, just like how practice days aren’t only intended for you to learn something, the priority and pace listed for practice, competition, and mental toughness days are NOT ALWAYS appropriate given the workout but, for the most part, they are the behaviors best in service of honoring the primary desired outcome–learn, test, or challenge.

When the desired outcome is learning, it is most fitting to prioritize the task and process specific to the goal of that practice day, and, often, the best way to do that is for your pace of movement to be slower and more systematic. 

Whereas, when it comes time to testing yourself, get out of your head, and just move, i.e., allow yourself to behave more fast and spontaneously. 

I wrote “depends” for the pace on mental toughness days. The reason being is that what is challenging for you may not be challenging for someone else. For instance, some of you struggle with “putting the pedal to the metal”; therefore, it will be more appropriately challenging for those of you on a mental toughness day to move fast. Whereas, others struggle moving slower or even holding positions for a longer period of time; therefore, going fast would be the path of least resistance and not nearly as challenging. 

My hope is that this formula S x B=R and thinking about each day of training in terms of What, Why, and How helps you to

  1. See each day of programming as being much more intentional than just exercises to be checked off
  2. Gives you a more strategic and tactical sense of how to approach workouts given the context of the day.

In part 2 of this post, I will dive into considering the intersection between the external context of the day (practice, competition, mental toughness) and your internal, personally relevant context. 


Tuesday
Practice
A) 6 RFQ :40:20
     Min 1: 6-12 Kipping Pull Ups
     Min 2: Seated Lateral MB Toss
     Min 3: 5-7 Hang Power Cleans @ 7-8 RPE
B) Partner AMRAP 4:
     MAX EFFORT D-Ball Ground To Over Shoulder

Wednesday
“Fight Gone Bad”
 3 Rounds :60 each
 Wall Balls (20/14)
 Sumo deadlift high pull (75/55)
 Box Jump (20)
 Push Press (75/55)
 Row for cals
 1min rest

Well, for one, Austyn has been a kickass member of Oak Park for the past 8 and a half months. Many of you have gotten to throw down beside her.

When I first met Austyn last summer, I immediately picked up on how deeply she cares,  thinks about, and is invested in her own growth, so she can better serve the athletes she works with as an Athletic Trainer. This type of drive that Austyn has resonates and inspires me. Therefore, I knew shortly after meeting her that I wanted to get her on my podcast: Behind the Podium–Unveiling the Coach

The finished product is here (you can also find on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play), and I am excited to have our Oak Park community learn more about Austyn from my interview of her. For some additional context, we recorded this last August. 

We cover:

  • How to serve your clients from a physical and mental standpoint
  • Why letting go of perfection can help you move closer towards your bigger purpose
  • Why letting your clients take ownership of their healing can help you help them
  • How to help clients when their motivation is waning
  • Why learning to listen can be your greatest asset
  • Why it’s important to be strong in your weak points

Tuesday
Practice 
A) Ski Erg
    -Sprint start into 21 Cal (Gear 3)
    -Sprint start into 9 Cal (Gear 5)
B) Weighted Pull-up
    -Build to a heavy 2
C) 4RFQ :60:30
    -Weighted Squat/Lunge Complex
    -Max Cal Row (fewest strokes)

Wednesday
Mental Toughness
“Silber Lining”
     FT
    400m Run
    12 Alt Pistols
    16 DB Renegade Rows (35/20)
    20 DB Russian Twists
    800m Run
    24 Alt Pistols
    32 DB Renegade Rows (35/20)
    40 DB Russian Twists
    1250m Run
    36 Alt Pistols
    48 DB Renegade Rows (35/20)
    60 DB Russian Twists (40 min cap)