Thursday 150108

2 Rounds of:
As many rounds as possible in 5 minutes of:
8 Power clean, 55-60% of 1RM power clean
16 Kettlebell swings
Rest 3 minutes

Post rounds to comments and BTWB

Just getting a little mobility action in before the WOD. Is more mobility one of your goals for the year? It's a good one to have.

Just getting a little mobility action in before the WOD. Is more mobility one of your goals for the year? It’s a good one to have.


The “Change your habits, change your life” Challenge run down, By Courtney Shepherd

After sitting with many of you through two meetings about how to approach this challenge, I felt like the information discussed would be worth sharing with everyone. Cause things I say are kind of important like that. We are super excited about the number of Verve athletes that have signed up for this challenge, however, I get the feeling there may be some of you out there that may have set some goals for yourself independent of the challenge. It’s a new year, it’s a natural time for us to approach making changes in our lives, the question becomes, how do I approach those changes? Specifically how do I do this in a way that sets me up for success and sustainability?

A habit is a behavior or action done without thought. I have a horrible habit, when I wake up first thing in the morning, the first thing I do is check my email. Because apparently I believe people attempt to conduct important business with me while I sleep. This morning, when I woke up, I looked at my phone and made the conscious decision to not look at it. I just got up and started my morning. Breaking a habit takes thought, it takes effort and work, until the new habit is formed. We want to spend the next 5 weeks breaking or creating habits based on goals we want to achieve. Here is my example: for the next 5 weeks my goal is to lose weight. Losing weight is not a habit. I will not wake up tomorrow and make the conscious decision to lose weight and have it be so. What I need to do is examine the habits I currently have that are enabling weight gain or preventing weight loss. I eat out 3 meals/ day, 5 days/ week. I drink 5 Cokes/ day. I only go to the gym 1-2 times/ week. Within each of these is the opportunity to change a habit, I can decide to go to the grocery store, buy whole foods, cook and prep meals so I only eat out 1 meal/ day, 5 days/ week. I can start by drinking only 4 Cokes/ day this week, perhaps next week I drop it down to 3 Cokes/ day. I will go to the gym consistently 3 times/ week. While I’m still eating out and drinking Coke, I’ve begun the process of change. These changes will lead me towards weight loss as well as habits that I want to keep beyond 5 weeks.

Let’s talk about goals for a minute. When we write down goals it is important to have 3 things in mind:

  1. The goal needs to be specific and concise. Goal: “I want to go to the gym more”. What is more? When is more? Instead: “I will go to the gym 4 times/ week, I will go Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and 1 day of the weekend”. The more specific the verbiage the easier it is to follow, it leaves nothing open to interpretation.
  2. Goals need to be expressed in a positive tense. Goal: “I don’t want to eat crappy food for 5 weeks”. The words “don’t” and “crappy” are negative. Instead: “I want to cook and eat whole foods for 5 weeks”. You are expressing what you want to do, what you want to do sounds way better than what you don’t want to do.
  3. Goals need to be realistic and achievable (time frame). Goal: “After 5 weeks I want to have taken 1 minute off my Fran time”. Fran is a fast paced/ high intensity workout, if you did Fran yesterday in 5 minutes, try to remember how hard you worked and how you felt after. It is not realistic to believe you can take 1 minute off your time in 5 weeks, the ability for adaptation in your body to make that possible does not exist. It is realistic to want to take :05-:10 off your Fran time.

I want to dive into the idea of “Realistic vs. Non-realistic” goals but before I do, I want to remind everyone about the 10 General Physical Skills/ Adaptations:

  • Cardio/ respiratory endurance, stamina, flexibility, strength.
  • Power, speed.
  • Coordination, balance, accuracy, agility.

I have them written this way for a reason. The first 4 are considered organic adaptations. Meaning you can see an obvious change with improvement in one of these, bigger muscles with more strength, longer tendons with greater flexibility, etc. To improve on these one needs to train. The last 4 are considered neurologic adaptations. Meaning we build neurologic pathways in our body as we improve but it is not visible, there is nothing outward that shows I have better balance then the person sitting next to me. To improve on these one needs to simply practice. Power and speed are adaptations that require both training and practice. This is important because if I were to lock you in a room for 24 hours and tell you upon my return I need you to have a 500# deadlift and a :20 freestanding handstand hold, which one do you think you could realistically achieve in 24 hours? The answer is the handstand hold, because it requires practice. Getting a 500# deadlift requires training. . . a lot of training. These are things we need to keep in mind when we set goals over certain time frames.

I broke down goals most of us would have into 4 categories, in each category I want to give examples of realistic vs non-realistic:

  1. Nutrition/ weight loss– It is not realistic to lose 20 lbs in 5 weeks. I mean it could be, but my guess is it would happen using techniques that are not sustainable beyond the 5 weeks. Remember we are trying to create habits for life. Rather than making a goal about a number on a scale, make a goal to change the habits that effect the number on the scale.
  2. Performance– I hit on this earlier about the Fran time. I will first say if you have performance goals and you are not dialed in with your nutrition, you need to change your goals. You cannot out perform a bad diet.
  3. Weightlifting– You want to improve on your lifts, does this mean you want to lift more or you want to be more technically sound with them? I’ll help you out those are not mutually exclusive. Being more technically sound transfers to lifting more. First, goals should be to get to Verve every Tuesday and Friday. Why? I’m letting the cat out of the bag with high hopes right now. . . every Tuesday and Friday we will be doing heavy lifting. Make these days a consistent part of your routine. More practice=better technique=lifting more weight.
  4. Gymnastics– This is an area that for some of us, can produce the most change in 5 weeks. However, let’s get realistic. You have made a goal to get 1 muscle-up in the next 5 weeks. Do you have unassisted strict pull-ups and unassisted strict rings dips? If the answer is no to one or both of these, you need to change your goal. Too often we put the cart before the horse. If the answer was yes, then you need to practice the muscle-up. Come to open gym, set a clock for 10 minutes and for those 10 minutes work on muscle-up technique. That does not mean jump on the high rings, try a muscle-up, fail, and shake it off cause you have 9 minutes and 30 seconds left to keep working on it. Practicing failing will not spontaneously turn into success.

At the end of the day, none of this will require we spend 2 hours a day in the gym, lifting weights, and doing 3 workouts. Spending 10 minutes, a few days/ week in open gym working on a weakness can go a long way. If you are unsure how to do this, where to start, or even what to do for 10 minutes to work a weakness, ask me. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can help us get the biggest results. I’m happy to help you explore ideas. 

Now is the perfect time to implement change. The kind of change that will become our next good habit to carry through a lifetime. Change your habits, change your life. 




  1. Brent :

    Thanks Courtney for refining how I think about goals i set for myself

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