Oak Park Community, allow me to elaborate on yesterday’s video regarding my transition to a new chapter of my professional journey.    

Some of you know, some of you may have forgotten, and some of you don’t know that when I originally moved out to Santa Monica and started coaching here at Oak Park in the fall of 2017, it was solely in the context of providing performance psychology consulting as a part of my 4th internship to complete my master’s degree in Performance Psychology. Given that I have been coaching CrossFit since 2011, it was then a relatively seamless transition back into coaching fitness at the beginning of 2018 here at Oak Park. Part of what made it so seamless is that, unequivocally, the team of coaches at Oak Park are the best group of people I have ever had the pleasure of working alongside.

The past two years have not been without their struggle as I juggled coaching with finishing up both my Master’s in Performance Psychology and my MBA, but it has been such a privilege and honor to be a part of this Oak Park community both as a coach and, especially, as a student. Let me underscore again how much my fellow coaches here at Oak Park mean to me: Other than Oak Park, I have coached at four other gyms, and, at those other gyms, I was similarly fortunate to become good friends with those I coached with. However, never did I respect any of those coaches professionally nor care to learn from any of those coaches like I genuinely do with my fellow coaches at Oak Park. Moreover, it has been so great to regularly coach a community of students that continue to grow their willingness to embrace an ever evolving menu of items that we, as coaches, are inspired to cook up for you in order to fulfill our promise of supporting your intentional, sustainable growth both inside and outside the gym. 

Therefore, it is not without some sadness that after October 4th, I will no longer be coaching at the gym during the week. Nonetheless, I am very excited and ready for this next chapter of getting to coach people outside the gym space and, for a period of time, doing less physical coaching, and a higher frequency of mental performance coaching. 

I have been hired by Higher Echelon to be one of three Cognitive Enhancement Coaches working with LAX Airport’s Transportation Security Agents. Long story short: The government has been unhappy with how the TSA has been performing. In response to this, a company by the name of SAIC conducted a pilot study utilizing performance psychology interventions with a sample size of TSA to see if their performance improved, and it did! Therefore, the government has contracted with Higher Echelon and SAIC to have Cognitive Enhancement Coaches in 8 major airports across the United States working with the TSA to improve their ability to best access and utilize their skillset to get their job done efficiently and effectively, particularly while under pressure.

W/ so much love and gratitude for Oak Park, I embark on this next chapter…


Tuesday
Practice
A) Front Squat 7×5 @ 80% of 3RM
B) 4RFQ
:30 DBall Hold (Rx+ with singing!) :
30 WuTang DBall Push Ups
:30 10m Shuttle Sprints
:30 Rest

Wednesday
Mental Toughness
For Challenge to Complete:
200m Run
20 Burpees
400m Run
40 Wallballs 20/14
600m Run
60 DU
800m Run
80 Situps
600m Run
60 DU
400m Run
40 Wallballs 20/14
200m Run
20 Burpees
   *Soft Cap 38 min/Cap 40min

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of being equipped with the mental models and psychological vernacular that help you to more  objectively discern what you are experiencing and why. Remember, “if you can name it, you can tame it”. Specifically, in my last post, I wrote about distinguishing the difference between stress and pressure, so you are more capable of accurately labeling what is occurring to then more effectively deal with it.  

This week will follow suit but instead of stress and pressure, I’ll provide you with working definitions (these come from Dr. Marc Brackett and the people behind Mood Meter ) to distinguish between emotions, feelings, moods, and dispositions. 

  • EMOTIONS are short-lived responses to stimuli (either real or imagine) and cause shifts in cognition, physiology, expression, and behavior 
  • FEELINGS are the short-term, private experience of emotions. They are often more complex and can represent a mixture of several emotions at once. Love and shame are examples of feelings
  • MOODS are emotional states that may not have an identifiable cause, last longer in duration, and are less intense than the experience of a singular emotion.
  • DISPOSITION is a characteristic long-term pattern of emotion that becomes a baseline of where an individual “lives” emotionally. With planning and practice, it’s possible to change disposition by recognizing long-held tendencies and regulating towards more supportive emotional states.

Tuesday
Practice
A) Power Snatch Complex E2MOM 5
1 x High Hang
1 x Above Knee Hang
1 x Below Knee
1 x Heaving Snatch Balance
B) 4 Rounds For Time:
10 Push Press
15 Pull Ups
20/15 Cal Row

Wednesday
A) Pistol Progression Warmup
B) 5 RFT
10 Dips
100m Dball front rack carry
10 Back Squats @ 50% of 1 RM
    Cap 20min
C) Pistol Test
Max Pistols in 60 sec

As a Mental Performance coach, one of my foundational approaches is to equip others with the mental models and psychological vernacular that helps them to more objectively discern what and why they are experiencing what they are experiencing. Put simply, “if you can name it, you can tame it”. Incorrect labeling and attributing of our thoughts and feelings is one of the surest ways in which our psychological experiences can become chaotic and out of hand. Using the terms stress and pressure interchangeably is an example of not being equipped with the mental models and psychological vernacular that would otherwise protect someone from the mental disarray and clutter that comes from the inability to discern the difference between experiencing stress versus experiencing pressure. 

Stress refers to the situation of too many demands and not enough resources–time, money, and energy–to meet them. 

    -Subjective feelings associated with stress: exhaustion, overwhelm

    -When experiencing stress, reduction is the goal. 

Pressure refers to a situation in which you perceive that something at stake is dependent on the outcome of your performance 

     -Subjective feelings associated with pressure: anxiety, fear, “do or die” sensation 

     -When experiencing pressure, success is the goal. 

Thinking you have to be successful all the time means you are under pressure all the time, and this is unsustainable. More importantly, if this is your default cognitive lens, you will NOT be able to optimally perform and are more likely to experience choking.

Now that you are aware of this distinction between stress and pressure, you can refine your awareness of what you initially might believe to be happening. Ask yourself what are you feeling and then determine if those feelings accurately align with the specificity of the situation you find yourself in, i.e., is anything really at stake? More often than not, what we are feeling is not pressure but stress, and stress is more manageable than pressure.

TAKE AWAY: You cannot regulate your thoughts and behaviors nor manage your emotions effectively if you do not have the mental models and psychological vernacular that support you to be more objectively self aware of what you are experiencing internally and why you are experiencing that. 

* If you want to learn more about this topic of stress versus pressure, I highly recommend checking out Dr. Weisinger’s Performing Under Pressure

 


Tuesday
Competition
6 RFT:
300m Run
15 Box Jump Overs
10 HSPU
5 Power Cleans*
Round 1: 115/75
Round 2: 135/95
Round 3: 155/105
Round 4: 185/125
Round 5: 205/145
Round 6: 225/155

Wednesday
Practice
A) Snatch Complex
B) 4 RFQ:
Row 250m
6-8 Inverted Rows
C) THRUSTER TUFF
3 x :30
Max DB Thrusters
—-rest 2mins—-

 

 

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…