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March 2018

Athletic or Aesthetic? Lame or Legendary?

KB_SnatchWhat's my acid test for any exercise that I personally do or teach my clients?  It's a real simple one - all I do is look at the exercise and determine if the underlying goal of the exercise is Athletic or Aesthetic.  Simple?  Yes.  Effective?  Absolutely!  In case you don't know what I'm talking about, let me explain.  An athletic exercise is going to direct impact on my speed, strength, flexibility, endurance, etc.  An aesthetic exercise is going to give (the layman) the impression that I have speed, strength, flexibility, endurance, etc.

Let me give you an example - how about Biceps Curls for starters?  The goal of the biceps curl is to increase the size and definition of the biceps head in relation to the other muscles in the upper arm.  Increasing the size of the biceps would also require the development of the triceps in order to maintain balance in the upper arm.  What is the athletic purpose of large biceps?  I guess they'll fill out your t-shirt better but will they really improve your performance or just make you look like an athlete?

How about the Kettlebell Snatch?  The goal of the Kettlebell Snatch is increase the athlete's hip speed; enhance anterior and posterior chain integration; increase overhead strength, mobility and flexibility; and develop anaerobic endurance.  The Kettlebell Snatch doesn't overtly emphasize the development of one muscle (group) over another but does promote development of the pelvic girdle and glutes. BTW - not all Kettlebell Snatches are the same. Most are just Swings that end up overhead... a sad and ineffective way to train this great technique.

So which exercise do you think I would do as part of my own workouts as well as recommend to my clients?  Right...

BTW - Someone recently asked me about the Burpee and what I thought of it. If you're asking me about the "Flopee" or the "Slopee" that you seen done in most gyms - absolute waste of time. But, if you're talking about a well executed Burpee (the way that we insist they are performed) - then I think they are a key tool in not only developing strength in the athlete but also assessing their movement and integration. If you don't know what a real Burpee looks like I'll be happy to post a video for you...

"CrossFit is Crazy!?!?"

JohnKalil_2008If you've ever tried something new, something that is not necessarily within the scope of most people's experience, I'm sure you've been told that you're crazy.  Which is shortly followed by "you're going to get hurt", "it's not good for you", "you're going to put your eye out", etc.  I know that's what I was told over 40 years ago when I started training in the martial arts.  I heard the same thing when I started training with Russian Kettlebells back in 2000.  I won't even begin to tell you what I heard when I started doing CrossFit.

All I can say is listen to your heart and follow the path that makes you happy - and ignore the naysayers who will try to steal your dream and diminish your joy.  I know that John Kalil's (pictured) friends probably think he's crazy for doing CrossFit, but if you ask him he'll tell you he's never felt better or more alive.  If you don't believe me just ask him - he's at every class. BTW - that picture is from when John started training with us over TEN YEARS AGO!  John is still going strong at 76 years old and teaches several classes and clients every day!

Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

"It's the same each time with progress. First they ignore you, then they say you are mad, then dangerous, then there is a pause and then you can't find anyone who disagrees with you."
- Tony Benn

Your Brain on Exercise

The United States leads the world in the consumption of antidepressants and mood altering drugs. The number of people that are consuming them on a daily basis is staggering and continues to grow.  What is even more alarming is that the average age that these drugs are being prescribed is getting younger and younger...

What can be done to slow or even reverse this trend? Exercise! Exercise is a tremendous effect on the mood and the whole neurological system. Does it matter what kind of exercise you do? Well, that's debatable. Some scientists believe that movement in and of itself is beneficial. Others believe that certain of movement is more beneficial to certain age groups.  What they ALL agree on is that movement is ESSENTIAL to maintaining your mental health and well being.

Check out this TED Talk by neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki on the mind changing benefits of exercise!

CrossFit Koncepts Mission Statement

IMG_7106The mission of CrossFit Koncepts is to develop every individual to their athletic potential; to restore strength, movement and vitality in their life.

To some, this will be to an Olympic, professional or semi-professional athlete, or even operational level. To others, it will be returning them to the strength, mobility and vitality they had in their youth.

We will accomplish this together by exposing them to a variety of athletic skills and scenarios that will challenge them both physically and mentally - while making the whole experience fun, challenging and exciting.

We will use coaching and teaching methods that have been honed over thousands of hours of working with clients from all walks of life, experience levels and abilities. 

We will strive to push, cajole and challenge our clients to improve their lives by improving their bodies.

Starting a fitness regimen is a daunting task for anyone. By surrounding yourself with people who are on the same path as you, your chances for success are much higher.

CrossFit Koncepts is committed to improving your life... are you?

Stand Up Straight!

Do you know how important your posture is?  Do you really? If you thought that it had an impact on your strength, energy level, respiration, and production of dopamine and serotonin - would you work harder on your posture?  Well you should because your posture impacts all of the things listed above and more.

Want to know more?  Check out Jordan B. Peterson's new book "12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos" and you will learn about this and much more!

Redefining Fitness

IMG_7076The following list (from defines fitness for everyone - the elite athlete, the tactical operator, and the mother of three kids.  All of these attributes are not only requisite for athletes, but for everyone, regardless of their "sport of choice".  Throughout the course of the day/week/life we will touch upon each, or upon several attributes, and our quality of life will be defined by how well we can meet (or exceed) those requirements.

The Ten Foundations of Fitness

  1. Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance - The ability of the body systems to gather, process and deliver oxygen.
  2. Stamina - The ability of the body systems to process, deliver, store and utilize energy.
  3. Strength - The ability of a muscular unit, or a 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

The beauty of this list is that it touches upon all the characteristics that an athlete, tactical operator, mother, father, etc., needs if they are going to thrive in the world.  (By extension, they also define what we should see in our children when they are at play - let's leave that subject for another day though.)

Some of these attributes may be God-given while others are only earned by sweat, blood and determination. Is there an epoch that any one person can reach in all the attributes or is it a never ending pursuit?  The decision is yours.  The only definite is that by pursuing these attributes individually and collectively you will not only improve yourself as an athlete, but as a human being as well.


What is World Class Fitness?

Can you define fitness in 100 words?  I don't know many people who can (trainers included), and those who attempt it spend a lot of time rambling on and on about cardio, exercise selection, reps and sets.  None (so far) has been able to make the correlation that fitness is a combination of fuel (food) and movement (exercise).  They'll figure it out sooner or later; then again maybe they won't.

IMG_7015CrossFit defines fitness as:

  • Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.  Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.
  • Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, Clean, Squat, Presses, Clean and Jerk, and Snatch.  Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: Pull-ups, Dips, Rope Climb, Sit-ups, Push-ups, Presses to Handstand, Pirouettes, Flips, Splits and Holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc., hard and fast.
  • Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow.  Routine is the enemy.  Keep workouts short and intense.
  • Regularly learn and play new sports.

For a more complete understanding of this concept check out this article from the CrossFit Journal.

We at CrossFit Koncepts define fitness as:

  • Eat the highest quality and variety of food that you can on a daily basis. If it comes in a can, box or bag then it is immediately suspect.  Drink more water.
  • Practice moving KB's, bars, etc. from the ground to overhead.  Learn to master your bodyweight in all environments. If two hands are easy, use one.
  • Make workouts fun, varied, intense and comprised of multiple skills.
  • Learn new skills and sports regularly.

Not bad - we did it in 77 words!