Plan the week, Zoom WODs & how they help.

We are 10 days deep into Lockdown 2.0 and we really are here to keep you moving.

We have a number of programs online led by our lovely coaches, that we would love for you to get involved with. But first, we have a few recommendations on how best to set up your week with our offerings.

Set up for a great week!

  1. Pick the classes that you will do each day, a couple days or a week in advance. You can choose a mix of Live WOD classes and Broomstick Weightlifting with Yoga, Mobility, Running, Cycling & Handstand Sessions either Live or on catch up. 
  2. If you have planned your movement for the week you will be able to work in your food to fuel and recover which is super important. This will have huge carry over to your work productivity too and most likely will reduce decision stress. Which sounds pretty good to us. Stuck for ideas on what to cook? Check out pH Nutritions recipes and tips here: https://phnutrition.co.uk/recipes
  3. Set yourself little goals and targets for the week. For example: Basic: Aim to run twice per week Advanced: Aim to run 15-20km next week. Cover off Coach Mark’s Cycling challenge. Attend two online zooms next week. Complete two mobility sessions with Karima and JJ.
  4. Finally remember, that it’s OK to do just a little bit of the above. The goals that you set should be personal and should not be too overwhelming. It could even be that you will get up at a regular wake time each day or simply  cook enough dinner to have it for lunch the next day too.

How will the Zoom WODs help me?

In our programming we utilise ‘Functional Movements’ that have huge carry over to many other movements. These are technically described as ‘Universal Motor Recruitment Patterns’. The best way to explain this is that Universal Motor Recruitment Patterns are elemental, they are the primary colours of movement.

The 7 foundational primary colours of movement we use are:

  1. Running
  2. Jumping
  3. Pushing & Pressing
  4. Pulling
  5. Squatting
  6. Flexion and Extension
  7. Rotating & Twisting

So, by keeping these ticking over and improving during the next few weeks you will come back to the gym and be able to ease in a lot quicker.  We have the CrossFit open coming up (commencing Feb 18th ‘21) so maybe this will help some of you stay super switched on.

Have faith, DB snatches will transfer to your barbell snatch. Handstands will transfer to better mobility and catch positions for any of the jerk movements, push press, or OHS. Burpees will transfer to your deadlifts. The list goes on.  When December 2nd comes around it won’t take much work to get familiar with the barbell and rig once more.

Have an awesome week, everyone! Hopefully see you online!

How you can use Resilience Days to develop your mind ‘game’…

The “Resilience” days in our program, more than anything – are opportunities to work on breath and controlling your own mind. 

Resilience exists when you utilise certain ”mental processes and behaviors in promoting personal assets and protecting self from the potential negative effects of stressors”

Robertson, I.T, et al (2015) “Resilience training in the workplace from 2003 to 2014: A systematic review” Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology88 (3): 533–562

In simpler terms, psychological resilience exists in people who ‘develop psychological and behavioral capabilities that allow them to remain calm during crises/chaos and to move on from the incident without long-term negative consequences.

The idea is simple yet challenging to master: Control your breath and thoughts during a very challenging workout. If you walk away from the workout with a sense that you were able to calm your mind and negative thoughts through breath, then you’re headed in the right direction.

Within our Resilience sessions we would like you all to utilise these 4 tools to deal with the adversity of the WOD, in the hope, this crosses over to other areas of your life.

1. Visualisation: Imagining success, with a lift, a set of thrusters/devils press, a set of/your first pull up/s. You can do this before class or simply take a moment to do this during class.

2. Setting small, achievable goals: This is easy to practice when you see a Chipper WOD. Don’t think about the big set of 100 DB squat snatches you have to do, instead break this down into manageable sets of 5-10reps. This success with the little things will add up.

3. Breathing: One of the most undertrained elements of fitness training and in life. Use the Resilience sessions to practice controlling the way you breathe, deep slow breathing in through the nose (unless your previous rugby/boxing career has left you with a deviated septum) and out through the mouth to reduce tension. Breathing has a two-way relationship with biochemical, biomechanics and psychophysiological systems of the body. Don’t over look this element.

4. Positive self-talk: Assertive positive statements like: ‘I CAN do this’, reminding yourself to ‘stay calm and keep moving forward’ can be game changers. Turn up the positive chatter in your head when times get uncomfortable during a WOD.

If you have tried this and found some success, let us know! hello@shapesmiths.com

What you should know about Practice, Benchmark & Resilience Days…

The way the programming team set things up at Shapesmiths is very unique to us. The system you workout within has developed, with influence from some pretty amazing people, over the course of the last 20 years in the fitness industry.

Last year all the hard work of the team paid off as we can proudly claim to be the fittest gym in the UK and Fifth fittest in the WORLD, judged by the CrossFit Open rankings for our full roster of members. That’s a sign of some pretty healthy individuals!

Below you will learn a little of the background and the why behind what we do. If you want to delve a little deeper we have a blog series available on our Shapesmiths Members Page on Facebook.

CrossFit is a LIFETIME PROGRAM.

If Shapesmiths are running members, or allowing members to run themselves into the ground with huge amounts of exercise and multiple classes in a day, those members won’t be here in 6-months time for one reason or another. This is meant to be a lifetime relationship that we are developing with you.  We want to teach you principles that will stay with you forever, so that you are alway closer to fitness than to sickness, on the continuum

Fitness is typically described by Greg Glassman’s ‘What is Fitness article’ and by his Fitness Pyramid shown here

The one thing that it does not consider is mental and psychological fitness. This is why we add a final foundation, below nutrition…CONTEXT. 

Context is provided by programming that recognises that as an athlete you can have 90+ movements to learn in the CrossFit world. With that being the case we should learn how to PRACTICE movements some days, compete against the clock on others to test and BENCHMARK some of the movements we have been practicing. Additionally, it is beneficial to test our RESILIENCE once in a while, whilst being open to your coach moderating your session depending on what they see in front of them. This is the artisanship of coaching human beings. Essentially it’s your coach knowing what type of day you have had and adjusting the workout so you can get a little bit better than your yesterday self. 

Programming.

The programming itself is a MIND over BODY plan. Programming begins Monday to Friday (5days) x 2 weeks. This gives us 10 days or our 100% in this case. Pre-COVID this leaves the weekends open for organic fluctuation such as team workouts, fun challenges, fundraisers, box ‘throw-downs’, BBQs, Track Sessions, Swim days and more.

Prepare for some percentages to be thrown at you below…

How the programming is split up.

P = Practice Days and make up 60% of training days.

B = Benchmark Days and makes up 30% of training days.

R = Resilience Days and makes up 10%

50% of Benchmark days are movements that we are working on as a gym in a particular training cycle (12 weeks). The other 50% are something we are not practicing. This preserves some of the unknown and unknowable philosophy that CrossFit is famous for. 

The above equalises the training exposure and experience. A particular 12-week cycle is broken down further into a 6-week block. Similar themes are repeated or tweaked, depending on how the 6-week block went. Sometimes we will repeat a benchmark to get a test/retest result so we have another metric to show improvement!

P-days are characterised by intervals with in-built rest periods, For Quality WODs and EMOMs. This allows us to prioritise practice and training as we include ample rest periods to repeat skills without significant fatigue. 

B-days prioritise relative-intensity, based on your ability and challenging yourself sometimes to beat a previous record. These days will often have a time cap to help you make great decisions with intensity [KGs/Reps/Sets/Rounds]

Furthermore, in each two week block the three competition days feature one phosphogenic, one glycolytic and one oxidative test. In other words, one test that lasts 0-10 seconds (like lifting a 1-3rep max deadlift), one that lasts for up to several minutes (like the workout Fran or Helen) and one that lasts for longer than several minutes, like Barbara. Reducing benchmark days further, you’ll see short, medium and long tests. 

R-days, more than anything, are opportunities to work on breath and controlling chatter in your mind. The idea is simple yet challenging to master: Control your breath and thoughts. Generally, the clock doesn’t matter for these workouts. If you walk away from the workout with a sense that you were able to calm your mind and negative thoughts through breath, then you’re headed in the right direction. 

Within our R days we would like you all to practice 4 tools to deal with the adversity of the WOD, in the hope, this crosses over to other areas of our lives.

  1. Visualisation: Imagining success, with a lift, a set of thrusters, a set of/your first pull up/s. You can do this before class or simply take a moment to do this during class.
  2. Setting small, achievable goals: This is easy to practice when you see a MT Chipper WOD. Don’t think about the big set of 100 DB squat snatches you have to do, instead break this down into manageable sets of 5-10reps. This success with the little things will add up.
  3. Breathing: One of the most under trained elements of fitness training and in life. Use the MT sessions to practice controlling the way you breathe, deep slow breathing in through the nose (unless your previous rugby/boxing career has left you with a deviated septum) and out through the mouth to reduce tension. Breathing has a two-way relationship with biochemical, biomechanics and psychophysiological systems of the body. Don’t over look this element.
  4. Positive self-talk: Assertive positive statements like: ‘I CAN do this’, reminding yourself to ‘stay calm and keep moving forward’ can be game changers. Turn up the positive chatter in your head when times get uncomfortable during a WOD.

What is the program set up to achieve? What are the main aims and goals?

1)    There are ten recognized general physical skills within CrossFit’s definition of fitness. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. The first aim of the program is to make you competent in each of these ten skills.

2)    Measurable, Repeatable, Observable. The fact that we use WODify to track your fitness data allows us to quantify, to some extent, the 10 physical skills. Furthermore the CrossFit Open is the major test that we program for at Shapesmiths. It brings the worldwide, and local community together. It is a great too to get valuable date and to compare your fitness/work capacity against previous tests and those in your country, Europe and worldwide.

3)  In short by developing the above you will become prepared for the unknown and unknowable things that may come up in your life. We genuinely believe that the CrossFit program is the greatest hedge against disease and metabolic type disorders. 

A quick note on athletic development.

What if you desperately want that elusive muscle up or bodyweight snatch? This is where the context comes in from our coaches. You may hear us say ‘’You’re not there, yet. We have to work the foundational basics to get you there’’ and then we will insert an appropriate scale/modification.

What if you want to go hard every session? Well that’s understandable. The high intensity workouts are what we all fell in love with, but at some point if we are not working the basics, something is going to give and we won’t have you as a member anymore. 

This is the blending of science and art that we look for in all our coaches here.

The neat thing about this is that it means that all our coaches can coach anyone from general populations to games athletes as no one is above doing the basics otherwise known as ‘doing the common, uncommonly well.’

Shapesmiths Gymnastics Class

This weekend (18.10.20) we launch the Shapesmiths Gymnastics Class. But what is it and why is it good for you to follow? 

First of all it’s important to say that this is not a traditional gymnastics class, full of tumbling, pommel and rhythmic skills.  Instead we work around what we would call ‘CrossFit Gymnastics’ that is…in the most basic of terms…elements of traditional gymnastics that will help you ‘do the fitness’, much better.  

We have put together a structured weekly class program, that is centred on developing and mastering elemental gymnastic positions, flexibility & developing core strength. This is a perfect accompaniment to WOD, Engine AND Weightlifting classes.

The class will initially cover three main elements:

  1. Wrist Mobility
  2. Handstand/Inversion
  3. A developmental gymnastics WOD that builds towards HSPUs.

WRIST MOBILITY 

With 27 bones, 27 joints and over 100 ligaments and tendons your wrist and hand will often need some care and attention when it comes to the movements that we perform in CrossFit.

By working on your wrist & hand mobility not only will we improve handstand related elements, we will also be able to improve other positions, such as your barbell front rack position for front squats and cleans.

This can also have a positive effect on your elbow and in some cases even further up the chain, to your shoulder! Huge benefits!

HANDSTAND/INVERSION

Getting upside down in a handstand for CrossFit newbies is often something that hasn’t been attempted since childhood. The class will slowly develop the basics of inversions so that you can reap the fitness benefits.

By working on straight arm strength you will learn how to use your bones as scaffolding upon which you can more effectively stack load (body weight or external load) and reduce the dependence on the muscles. This will transfer over to other skills such as Olympic Lifting and barbell movements too! 

Gymnastics WOD

At the end of the session we will work through 3-4 exercises, in a WOD-style, that will assist and further develop the elemental positions of gymnastics (think hollow body ‘core’ work, presses, balances and positional work) under mild fatigue.

I CAN’T MAKE THE CLASS…HELP!

If you can’t make Saturday’s classes at 9AM & 10AM the programming is live on WODify for you to see and give a go in open gym! If you follow along you are sure to make some amazing improvements! If you are following in your own time, let us know how you are getting on!

10 things we love. When our members…

We think that our amazing community does a stellar job of helping the coaches and management maintain our arches and help day to day to keep things running smoothly. Below are 10 of the things that we especially love when we see them.  We love when our members…

  1. Come in knowing what the context of the day is (Practice, Benchmark, Resilience). This makes sure we are all on the same page. If you come in a little sleep-deprived to a benchmark day, that’s totally OK.  Just let your coach know what’s going on in your life and we can make a game-time decision on what’s best. If you would like some help with sleep & nutrition, pH Nutrition, lead by Liam Holmes, run the pH Hub, which is a one stop shop for all your nutrition needs. 
  2. Bring the correct gear in their gym bag. It’s great to see lots of members are educated on correct footwear (Flat soled shoes like a Metcon or Nano) and some sort of gymnastic grips to protect their hands.  We would also recommend that you have a skipping rope set up for yourself too! They are a bit like wands in Harry Potter 😉  If you have none of those things and are unsure of the correct footwear, grips or rope comment below this post.
  3. Wait until all members are done before starting to pack away their kit. It’s the worst thing to be finishing a workout, working as hard as you can and the rest of the class is cleaning and chatting it up. When we see our members offer up some gentle encouragement it warms our hearts! Obviously, two caveats to this are that some may not want/need the encouragement and sometimes the coach may have given specific instructions for a cleanup.
  4. Wear clean clothes and deodorant. We sweat a LOT at Shapesmiths. Very easily clothing can pick up smells, especially some technical apparel. So we appreciate everyone that wears clean clothes and wears deodorant/antiperspirant to keep the place smelling so fresh and so clean-clean. 
  5. Cancel classes with enough notice: This is especially awesome as it opens up precious spaces for other members keen to train that day. The notice required is 2 hours for ANY class AFTER 9AM and before 10PM the night before if attending a morning class BEFORE 9AM.  
  6. It used to be that we would love you to help clean up everyone else’s equipment. Right now we LOVE that you all clean your own kit and pop it away nice and neatly.  This is a beautiful thing and it keeps one another safe. 
  7. When you clean up any chalk you spill on the floor. It’s so considerate and it helps keep our facility super clean! You can grab the Dyson vacuum from Arch 5 cupboard to eat up all the dust. Vinegar spray goes on afterwards if there’s no class in the Arch within a couple hours.
  8. Book in and sign in to open gym. It’s so great when we can track who is using the gym. Bonus: we love when you check if there’s a cleaning bucket with Virucidal solution in ready to use. A few of you have been asking how to fix one up. We are so happy to show you. It’s now part of your open gym duties if you have requested access.
  9. When members are booked into one class per day. If we find that members have two bookings per day it’s usually either an accidental double booking or folks are super keen to overdose on CrossFit. Now, we love training too but we generally recommend 1 class per day or that you double-check your booking on WODify by going to MENU > CLASS SCHEDULE > SELECT ‘ALL PROGRAMS’ and take a quick scan down the list to see if you are marked GREEN on more than one class. 
  10. Above all, we love you all have fun and play. We love it when everyone is learning, challenging themselves and having fun. Simple as that. The more smiles and laughs the better.