Friday, April 24, 2015

5 Ways To Be a Better Drop In - And a Better Human

Everybody loves lists.  Apparently list articles are the hip way to get everyone's attention:  3 Ways To Improve Your Squat, The 8 Best Ab Exercises, 45 Lessons I Learned In My First Week of Marriage.  So I guess I better get on board.  During my honeymoon in Hawaii, I spent more time at the local CrossFit gym than I did with my wife (lesson #18).  This gave me a chance to reflect upon some things everyone can do when visiting a gym away from home, which amazingly also seem to coordinate with a lot of smart things that we should all be doing at home as well.  Without further ado ...

Become a part of the community ... Immediately.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret:  the community, along with Ed's willingness to take out a 4th mortgage on his home to pay for our new space, are what make BARx the great place that it is.  Most other gyms are the same way.  I often hear people talk about how X gym was so welcoming, and that's great.  But oftentimes, the gym is exactly what you make of it.  By making sure to immediately introduce yourself and say a quick hello to the other members of the class, you are forcing them to be welcoming to you.  It's called being a Forced Extrovert, and if this guy (me) can do it every day of his life, then so you can you.

At Home:  make sure to introduce yourself anytime you see a new member or an unfamiliar face.  Most of us are very good at this already (which is part of what makes BARx so awesome) - but there's always room for improvement.

Or just head off to the corner and lift by yourself in your cage, gazing creepily out at everyone and wondering just how impressed they are by you.  Either way.

Don't Compare The Gym You're In To The One You Have at Home.

Yes, there's no place like home.  I know this better than pretty much anyone else who walks on this planet.  One of the first things I used to be guilty of doing when visiting any new place is immediately comparing the current environment to the one that I'm used to.  This is a defeating exercise.  Every gym has it's own culture, coaches, equipment, and methods of operation.  Does this mean you should do something you're not comfortable with, like use a heavier weight or try to force a movement you're not ready for?  Hell no.  But don't complain (internally or externally) about the way they do things, it will only serve to piss off everybody around you.

At Home:  Appreciate what we have, while also looking for ways to improve.  Just because you shouldn't complain and be outwardly negative doesn't mean you can't make mental notes about things you liked or didn't like and use them to your advantage when you return.

If things get really rough, just click your heels during some double-unders and drag a sled down the yellow brick road back to BARx.

Don't Be An Over-Coaching P.O.S.

This one goes hand-in-hand with the one above.  Whenever you drop in somewhere, I guarantee there will be an instance where you hear someone coaching or teaching something differently than we do at BARx.  I hear about this all the time.  Guess what?  There's a thousand ways to teach someone to do anything, and while some may be more effective in certain circumstances or not inline with your way, they all work in their own place and time.  Don't be a snob, and certainly don't go behind a coaches back or try to undermine what they're saying.  This is a great way to make damn sure that everyone resents you, coaches and athletes included.

At Home:  Uhhhh pretty much exactly the same thing.  One of the biggest pet peeves that any coach has is .... wait for it .... somebody else coaching their damn class.  Unless specifically asked for your opinion or help - by either the coach or one of the class members - resist the urge to interject your oh-so-valuable opinion.  All this famous move accomplishes is 1.) making the coach angry 2.) confusing the person you're supposedly trying to help and 3.) making you look like a complete self-serving jackwagon.  This is one of those times in life where it's helpful to drink a big ol' glass of Shut The F*ck Up.  I carry around a jug of it with me at all times in case you ever need a swig (marriage lesson #12).

It's basically just Gatorade mixed with Everclear, and it works like a charm.

Read The Room, Dude.

This rule at its heart is simply about being a gracious guest.  What's important to remember is that you're not at home, however it can be very easy to fall into old habits instantly and just assume that whatever you're doing is okay.  For me, this applied to following my own programming instead of the class program for the day.  For others, it could be something as simple as sticking around for 15 minutes after class to do some mobility work.  The idea is to make sure these things are okay for you to do rather than simply assuming and running the risk of looking like a jackass at your temporary gym.  The best way to find out:  simply ask the coach or owner before you do something.

At Home:  BARx is pretty lenient about most things that anyone would ever want to do, you know this.  However, it's still important not to get into the habit of making constant assumptions about what's okay and what's not, especially when someone may be waiting on you.  When in doubt - once again - ask the question.  It takes 2 seconds and does you no harm.  Maybe think about this next time you start rolling your calf and chatting about your hair or taking that 40 minute shower while the coach's kid is sitting in the rain after soccer practice because mommy or daddy was late to pick them up.

Yes, most of my references come from the Simpsons.  I'm a child of the 90s.

Pay Your Drop-In Fees You Bum.

This one never really occurred to me as a huge deal until recently.  With our gym being in the area it is, we don't get a ton of drop-ins.  Apparently sunny Kirkwood isn't a big vacation spot on everyone's bucket list (except mine).  However, some places you visit could be an entirely different story.  The gym in Hawaii for example was very small and received a ton of vacationers and out-of-towners.  For instance, the Saturday Open Gym I attended was over half comprised of non-members.  This means that drop-in fees are probably a huge part of the gym's income.  Do them a favor, and don't make them hunt you down and beg you for cash.  This is the last thing that anybody wants to do and some may even be too nice to do it - in which case now you're just taking advantage of someone.

At Home:  Obviously this one doesn't directly apply at home.  However, I want to use this opportunity to remind you that while membership is expensive, for 99.9% of CrossFit gym owners this is a labor of love and your dues are going towards things like keeping the lights on and the equipment up to date.  What I mean by that is that nobody's getting rich here and driving Lamborghinis to work.  For crap's sake, Steph works 60 hours a week and lives in a van down by the river ... And it's not even a nice river, it's the Meramec river.

To be fair, I'll be living in the BARx trailer out front as soon as my wife kicks me out.  Little does she know that it's all part of the plan ... 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rumors Of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

The Hawaiians couldn't stop me.  They couldn't even tan me.  Legend now has it that I'm the first main-lander to travel to Hawaii and somehow return paler than when he left.  I won't bore you with the slide show of hundreds thousands billions of pictures of the (breathtaking!) Waimea Canyon ... because I don't have access to Lauren's camera.  On a related note, did you know that the canyon looks exactly the freakin' same 4 miles up the trail as it does 5 miles ... and 6 miles ... and 8 miles .... and 10 miles .... and 10.5 miles?  I now do!

After 11 miles it just looks like clouds .... breathtaking clouds that is.  Picture courtesy of THE INTERNET.

However, I do want to share with you the the two pictures that I did take during my honeymoon.  The first is representative of perhaps the greatest thing these tropical islands have to offer:  never ending PooPoo jokes.   I don't know what's sadder:  that I never once relented on the jokes the entire trip, or that Lauren never stopped laughing.

Apparently Pu Pu is Hawaiian for "Poo Poo." 

The next picture is of the second best thing I saw all week, the first being some guy at the luau eating fire (to which I screamed out: "Now that's Paleo!!").  While in Kuwai I had the chance to visit a very cool local CrossFit gym by the name of CrossFit Kapa'a (pronounced "Kuh Pah Ahhh" ... maybe) and check out the native's back squatting technique.  Yep, you guessed it:  breathtaking.

She reminded me of a young Millikan, but with cooler headbands.

Believe it or not I did find some quiet time to dedicate to writing about various training related topics that have been on my mind lately.  Mostly while I sat in the shade of an umbrella or tree during what felt like 12 hours a day of requisite sunbathing.  Some of the writing is actually quite inspired and poetic.  But alas, most of it is barely intelligible drunken psychobabble, in keeping with the ongoing theme of this website.  I hope to sift through it and share the best of it with you over the next several days ... so stay right there on the edge of your seat.  I'll be sure to edit out the prayers for my life during our shaky descent into St. Louis on a 1973 American Eagle Embraer 135.  If that sounds like a cheap knock-off of a REAL plane, that's because IT IS.

I'm all for with skimping on some things to save a few bucks (whiskey for instance) .... but planes?  That seems like a huge gamble.  I knew we were in trouble right after take-off when they asked me to lend a hand pulling up the landing gear.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Going to the Chapel

Happiest of days to BARx's resident crotchety-old-bitter-guy, Tim Layton, and up-and-coming runway model, Lauren Eichholz. They're gettin hitched today!

Rumor has it they met in Tim's dreams (the gym). He was able to score a first date (to an Oly meet) with this smooth pick-up line: 

After realizing this one didn't work:

Call me crazy, but I'm fully expecting to see a 1RM snatch in place of the "first dance" tonight.
Lauren will just lift Tim. #Love

Friday, April 10, 2015

Sometimes You Wanna Go...

We've been in our new space for almost a week now, and it's starting to feel like home.

As Tim mentioned, all credit is owed to the awesomeness of you guys, especially those that were able to help move the gym last Friday. It wasn't easy, but it sure was fun.

At least it was fun for me. I made videos while the boys did all the work. 

Eight hours into the move and "just a few" beers later, people finally started to throw out useful ideas for the new space. For example, we've got this nifty little counter area for a front desk. Bar stools just-so-happen to fit quite nicely under it.

When life hands you lemons, take shots. 

We also realized every bar needs a theme song. The obvious choice?

Donny and Lauren took it one step further by concocting an elaborate plan where the front doors automatically swing open when you say "cheers" and when you step inside and onto the welcome mats, the theme song kicks on, confetti spills, and a cold beer is placed in your hands. For some reason, Ed vetoed the idea.

Weird. Somebody made a cartoon about Ed's life. 

We also had a few less-than-stellar ideas, including all FIFTY suggestions for where to put the dumbbells. The best suggestion came from Tim: "put 'em by the incline bench. Because bros who bench need dumbbells."  

Seems logical. 

Basically, if you've never experienced Rearranging 101 with Ed Lampitt, try it out sometime. It's a real treat. 

Or just adopt Tim's approach on Moving Day.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tim's Gone So I am Going to Talk About Running

Apparently it takes a wedding to distract Tim long enough to let me slide in and talk about the taboo topic of... running.  If you research CrossFit for more than 3 seconds on the internet, you will learn that there are 10 General Physical Skills that CrossFit targets.  Guess what is at the top of the list!

  1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance: The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
  2. Stamina: The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
  3. Strength: The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
  4. Flexibility: the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint
  5. Power: The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
  6. Speed: The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
  7. Coordination: The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
  8. Agility: The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
  9. Balance: The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
  10. Accuracy: The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.
We are adding Endurance classes to the mix on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30am, 10am, and 6pm to get that blood pumping and learn how to put one foot in front of the other. If you take a look around our very state-of-the-art website that Rachel has obviously not revamped yet (I see this coming very soon), you will notice a tab on the menu strip (or whatever that top line is called) that says "Endurance." Click through and you will find all the info you need to know on our Endurance classes including programming for the week. Since I'm so technologically savvy, I am just going to cut and paste my latest post. For Tim's sake, I made sure to get the required 2 picture minimum in.  Hope to see you in class!


Welcome to the Endurance Blog! I will be posting workouts each week here as well as any info pertinent to Endurance. I will not be as entertaining as Tim nor will my pictures  be as exciting. I did want to offer up a brief description of what our Endurance Program is all about and why you should work some Endurance classes into your BARx routine.

Full resolution ‎ (1,950 × 1,301 pixels, file size: 1.44 MB, MIME ...     
What we want to look like   
What we probably look like

Endurance Classes will focus on increasing cardiovascular endurance, speed, power, and recovery rate. This will be achieved by working on technique and efficiency of movement, interval training, accessory strength work and mobility. If you are training for an endurance event these classes will offer quality speedwork vs long slow distance miles. I will be posting a general training schedule that can be adapted to training for a running race or a triathlon. You do NOT need to be training for an endurance event however to benefit from Endurance class.

Typical Class Format:

  • Dynamic Warm up
  • form drills, accessory strength work
  • interval type of workout with running, rowing, sled pulls, jump rope, cardio based exercises
  • cool down, core work, mobility
**ALL Classes will be at BARx unless otherwise specified on the blog. 

Tuesday April 6th:

Run 8 200M on the top of every 2 min. Record splits

Thursday April 8th:

3 6 min blocks of 800m run + amrap of 5 kbs, 5 burpees
*rest 3 min between rounds


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

For the Love of Butts

Our March Madness Rowing Challenge is in the books, and it's high time we bragged about our Top Strokers. We honestly weren't sure how well this Challenge would go over, since no one actually likes rowing.

Except Andy, of course. #FaceOfLove

So in true competitive fashion, we put a high-dollar prize on the line to incentivize participation:
Sadly, not a Batman mask.

Butt protection is apparently priority #1 for you freaks. Total meters rowed and recorded for the 30 day challenge? 1,169,398 meters. You read that right. Over ONE MILLION meters rowed and recorded in a fight to win a foam pad we stole from the kids' playroom. Booties all over the world thank you for your efforts.

OMG, Becky. Look at her butt.

And since everybody loves a scoreboard, here's a list of the top rowers. These individuals are purely motivated by a desire to save the tush. Tell them congrats and give 'em a big ole slap on the derrière next time you see them.

Top Stroker
Joe Rolfes 102,803 meters

Gold Level Strokers
Melissa Rolfes 77,033
Emily Gabrisch 71,655
Mandy Wright  60,000+

Silver Level Strokers
Kristina Stuber 57,981
Stacey Bealke 45,867
Andrea Gabrisch 44,634
Timothy Reinwald 42,080
Paul Milligan 40,290

Bronze Level Strokers
Melissa Chonos 37,558
Matt Schwent 33,845
Kyle Lopez 31,865
Heather Griswold 29,877
Ryan Whittington 28,640
Mary PettyJohn 27,787
Dave Meyer 23,850
Stephanie Teague 23,639
Noel Sevastianos 23,200
Susie Gaal 22,648

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

All That Power

Guyyyyyys. Did you see the announcement where Tim relinquished #BlogPower to Steph and myself for two whole weeks?!

I know you did because I saw you doing your happy dance:

There's so much to say, but--for now--I'll leave you with this gem and the reminder that there are certain fundamentals, nay Timdamentals, we all must learn in life.
Full video here