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On any given day, you can never really know how you are going to feel in the gym till you actually start working out. Sometimes you predetermine yourself for success, other times for failure. There are the unexpected PR’s that you never had any intention of getting, or rare occasions when your body says it’s done for the day and you simply cannot perform up to your normal standards. Then there are the golden days when both your heart and your body are synched perfectly together. It’s like you suddenly have super hero powers and can accomplish anything! Think we all tend to love those days.

No matter what kind of a day it is, it’s important to keep at it and work towards whatever goals you may have. Take the good, the bad, and the ugly and keep pushing towards a new tomorrow. Sure you may be angry or disappointed when a workout doesn’t go as planned, but it happens. Remind yourself that IT IS OK. Maybe tomorrow will be the day when everything comes together. That’s the beautiful thing about what we do, we never know. We can only keep trying.

This is one of the many things that separates us from others. It’s the champions within each and every one of us. Good or bad, we refuse to give up. We will do things a 1,000 times till we achieve our desired result. Always analyzing what we were able to accomplish today, and looking forward to what we can do tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a new day. Our fresh start. New opportunity to move forward in becoming the best possible versions of ourselves. Our own goals, our initiative to get things started, or maybe to change directions in search of what we really want out of our workouts. Overall, adding to our quality of life. Take the unexpected successes, the struggles, and the golden days and use it to mold who you are. Always remember, no matter what happens today, tomorrow is yours to make great.

5 Diet Tips to Maximize Muscle Growth

By Adee Zukier

Showing off the muscles you work so hard for is not just about the way you train, but more importantly about the way you eat. Carrying more muscle relative to body fat will make our bodies tighter, help us burn more calories and fit into our clothes better. With that comes a sense of accomplishment and confidence from seeing our bodies change due to our hard work, sweat and determination.

When it comes to building lean muscle mass there are a number of aspects you need to think about. Of course, your training stimulates muscle growth, but your diet is also extremely important. The body requires nutrients in order to build muscle. If you want to pack on muscle you need to not only think about how many calories you are taking in, but also where those calories are coming from. Follow these 5 diet tips to maximize muscle growth:

1. Eat protein
There are a lot of opposing arguments as to the protein requirements for athletes. Recommendations range from .5g – 2g per lb. of body weight. At .5g per lb. a 150lb athlete would be eating 75g of protein per day, which is not very much at all. On the other end of the spectrum that same athlete at 2g per lb. is eating 300g of protein, which may be too much.

What we do know for sure is that protein is necessary for the building, maintenance and recovery of muscle. Protein will also help you feel full longer and aid in the burning of body fat due to its thermic effect; the body burns more calories digesting protein than carbs or fat.

The most important thing for you as an athlete is to ensure that you are getting enough protein in your diet to realize its benefits, but not so much that it will keep you from eating enough of the other macronutrients (carbs and fat). I recommend 1g – 1.5g per lb. of lean body mass (the amount of weight carried on the body that is not fat). This is because fat cells do not have the same protein requirements as muscle.
What sources should you get that protein from? Try not to rely too heavily on supplements and mix up your protein sources to get a variety of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and digestive speeds.

2. Carbohydrates are you friend
Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of fuel. Carbs provide your body with the energy it needs to get through intense workouts more efficiently and directly than any other energy source. To put it simply, your body will break down the carbohydrates into glucose and either use it directly for energy or store it as glycogen for when the body demands it. In order to avoid the body using protein as an energy source, it is important to incorporate carbohydrates into your diet, especially around periods of exercise.

Before training choose slower burning carbohydrate sources such as sweet potato, rice, and pasta due to their ability to keep blood sugar levels consistent and avoid any crashes in energy. Try adding a serving of protein to this meal and amplify all those gains! Save the more sugary carbs for pre/during/post training to boost insulin and maximize the repair and growth of muscles post-workout. For those that follow a Paleo-style diet, carbs do not always equate to candies and grains. You can get your carbs from vegetables and fruit too!

3. Get enough calories
To gain any sort of body mass it’s important that you are in a caloric surplus, the same way that trying to lose body fat requires a caloric deficit. How to set this surplus is the tricky part and completely specific to the athlete and their needs. As a rule of thumb, choose an amount, stick to it and monitor your body weight as well as your body composition. If you are losing weight on the scale while your body composition remains the same you may want to consider increasing calories, if you are gaining weight as well as body fat adjust in the other direction. Contrary to popular belief, if the weight on the scale is going up it is not always muscle so take all factors into account!

4. Drink water
With all this talk of food, don’t forget to monitor your water intake. More than half our body is made up of water so any dehydration will lead to a reduction in the functioning of vital bodily processes. Although water may not be a direct source of energy the same way carbohydrates and fat can be, it is critical in the transport of nutrients to the cells. Without proper hydration it is likely that your training session won’t go as well as it could. Not to mention that your muscles will look bigger and fuller if they are hydrated appropriately.

5. Be consistent
Following these tips will get you on your way, but if you stick to the plan for a few days and then veer off track for the next few, you are unlikely to see any progress. Find a way to motivate yourself to remain consistent. Whether that is a particular coach, gym, training partner or program, stick with it and remember that there is no magic trick to replace hard work and determination. Changes in your body will be cumulative so keep at it and allow your body the opportunity to adapt!

Looking Ahead to the 2017 Online Qualifier

By: Crossfit

The 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games Open is behind us, and it’s time to look ahead to what’s next: the Online Qualifier, which will take place Thursday-Monday, April 20-24, 2017.

Much like the CrossFit Games Open, the Online Qualifier challenges athletes’ mental and physical game with max lifts, high-skill movements and tests of general physical preparedness. In its fourth year, the Online Qualifier will be a stepping stone for both masters and teenagers on their journeys to get to the CrossFit Games.

The top 200 teenagers and masters from each division after the Open will be eligible to compete in the Online Qualifier. The four-day competition will decide which 20 teens and masters from each division will head to Madison, Wisconsin, for the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games.

In the Online Qualifier, athletes will submit scores and/or videos for four workouts. Once the Online Qualifier workouts are released, athletes will have four days to complete them. Athletes submitting scores must use a registered judge for each workout and have their performances validated by a licensed CrossFit affiliate in good standing. In addition, all four workouts must be videotaped. Alternatively, athletes may elect to submit videos of the four workouts online for judging and validation. All videos submitted for review must adhere to standard Open video submission guidelines.

Athletes will have five scores tabulated in order to determine their final rank in the Online Qualifier: four scores from the Online Qualifier workouts and one score based on their final overall rank in the Open. If an athlete fails to post a valid score in an Online Qualifier workout for any reason, they will receive a score of “0” for that workout.

Ties on the overall Online Qualifier Leaderboard will be broken by awarding the best position to the athlete who has the highest result in any single Online Qualifier workout. This includes the score based on the athlete’s final Open rank. If athletes remain tied after this first tiebreaker, the process continues to their next highest single result, and so forth. Results from individual Open workouts will NOT be used to break ties on the overall Online Qualifier Leaderboard. Ties will not be broken for single event results. More than one athlete can share an event result and each will earn the original point value.

Also . . .Regionals Tickets Are On Sale Now!

Tickets are on sale for the second stage of the CrossFit Games Season: Regionals.

After the Open, the top men, women and teams move on to prove their fitness at the Regional level. Only the top five from each division in each of CrossFit’s eight Regionals will advance to the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin.

Regional Schedule

May 19 – 21, 2017

  • East Regional | Albany, New York |Times Union Center

  • South Regional | San Antonio, Texas | Alamodome

May 26 – 28, 2017

  • Pacific Regional | Wollongong, Australia | WIN Entertainment Centre

  • California Regional | Del Mar, California | Del Mar Arena

  • Central Regional | Nashville, Tennessee | Music City Center

June 2 – 4, 2017

  • Meridian Regional | Madrid, Spain | Caja Mágica

  • West Regional | Portland, Oregon | Portland Expo Center

  • Atlantic Regional | Atlanta, Georgia | Georgia World Congress Center

Get Tickets

Regional tickets cost $75 for three days or $30 per day (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Kids 12 and under are admitted free of charge with a ticketed adult. You may purchase tickets here.

Congratulations to all athletes who have completed the 2017 Crossfit Opens. Over the past 5 weeks Dave Castro has definitely thrown some curveballs our way but it was nothing we couldn’t handle! Strengths have shined through, weaknesses exposed, overall a great experience to push through to whatever our journeys have in store for us!

**REMINDER** Come out this Saturday (April 1st) morning to celebrate the end of the 2017 Opens and another year of Crossfit Factory Square! You can sign up for the partner wod on the white board and write down any food items you plan on bringing for the potluck after.

Now let’s get to business. . . . tips on mastering box jumps. This movement terrifies me for no reason other than a box has eaten my shin on more than one occasion. I can do them all day BUT as soon as I let my mind get to me it’s like my life suddenly flashes before my eyes before every one. lol Yea I know I’m ridiculous. Anyways. . . .he’s a good article from Box Life Magazine for a few quick tips.

3 Keys To Better Box Jumps

By Bryant Perkins

Box jumps have long been an integral part of functional movement training. Like running, box jumping is one of those things that looks simple but is often dangerous when performed the wrong way. However, it can be very effective when performed the right way.

Practice and perfect three key elements and you’ll be well on your way to feeling more confident in your jumps.

4Stabilization & Strength
It’s about core stability and core strength. Stable core muscles allow you to hold your initial position, as you land on top of the box, and as you land back on the ground. Strong core muscles allow you drive powerfully into the air, hold your position while in flight, and protect your body from the shock of landing back on the ground.

Plank to achieve better stability
Planks help engage the muscles of the pelvis and lower abdomen, which are vital to the execution of a proper box jump.

How-To: Begin in a plank. Hold 45 seconds. Extend your arms, one-at-a-time, until in a full push-up position. Bring your right knee to your chest and hold for 30 seconds. Take your leg back and bring your left knee to your chest. Hold 30 seconds. Take your leg back to its original position and rest. Repeat the sequence for 3 sets of 4 to 6 holds per leg for max benefits.

To build strength: Wrap a band around the base of a rig. Slip your foot inside the loop and instead of bringing your knee to your chest, pull forward for 12 reps on each foot.
Repeat entire sequence for 3 to 4 sets of 12 reps for max benefits.

3Takeoff Posititon
Your takeoff position is key to achieving lift and accuracy in your jumps. Imagine your body is a tightly coiled spring. Your objective should be to release that spring straight up, not out, and as close to the box as possible.

Positioning yourself closer to the box forces you to drive vertically, decreasing the distance between you and the box before, during and after each jump. A closer position forces you to drive your knees higher, increasing your trajectory, enabling you to achieve maximum lift, clearing the height of the box. The shorter the distance from the box, the faster you can perform each jump.

How-To: Position your body as you would during the start of a hang clean. Rise up slightly onto your mid/forefoot. This foot position will trigger the reflex needed for the initial take off.

Position your arms behind you so that they follow the angle of your torso. Good arm placement aids in timing and balance at takeoff and landing. Your head along with your eyes and chin should be focused forward, not up or down.

2Takeoff & In-flight Mechanics
When you are set to jump, violently swing your arms up towards the sky. This motion will begin to draw your torso up initiating the movement. At the same time, drive your knees up towards your chest in order to leave the ground and complete the lifting process. Your main objective is to clear the height of the box, not necessarily to land on top of it. Think height first!

Tuck Jumps
Tuck jumps are great for practicing your takeoff form and in-flight mechanics without a box.

How-To: Start in the takeoff position. Takeoff from the ground as you would during a box jump, violently throwing your arms up, and driving your knees to your chest at the same time. Land back on the ground and repeat for 2 -3 sets of 4-6 reps for max benefits.

1One-Leg Low Box Jumps
These are perfect for building up the lower leg muscles needed in both the takeoff and landing of your jumps. This exercise will also ensure that you are building the strength, stabilization, and endurance of each individual leg. Legs that are conditioned separately and equally have fewer imbalances, and will be twice as powerful when used together.

How-To: Find a flat surface to jump on about 1ft off the ground. To start, tuck the leg you’re not jumping with behind you and hold that leg, bending it at the knee. Standing on one leg, position your body in the correct position to do a standard box jump. Leave the ground the same way you would during a standard jump as described above. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps per leg for max benefits. Do not alternate.

 

cherry picking

Found this online and couldn’t help myself . . . it’s brilliant.

Cherry picking you say? What? Have I gone off my rocker?? Most certainly not. When I refer to cherry picking I am definitely not referring to those delicious little nuggets of fruit that grow on trees. I’m referring to the term that no one likes to hear or even admit that they tend to do. Let me explain. . . . Like when going to pick cherries, or anything else for that matter, you always looks for the best ones. The pieces that appeal most to you and that you know you will enjoy better than the other not so fortunate ones left behind. Some are easy to find, others may be hidden gems. However no matter what any of them may actually look like, in the end each one picked still holds the same value. One magically isn’t going to give you super powers and the other one won’t suddenly turn into a completely different fruit. (If this does happen to you and you gain super powers, let me know because we need to talk! Lol)

Take the same premise explained for cherry picking – now apply it to your workouts. Yea I know I’m the big meanie that just went there. In all seriousness, REALLY think about it. From time to time we all have a tendency to cherry pick our workouts. Now you’re probably going to say, “But Jen, I never cherry pick. I simply don’t go to class when my body tells me it needs a rest day.” That’s great! You should be doing that to keep yourself safe and give your body time to recover. I’m more so referring to looking at the programmed WOD, seeing something that you HATE doing (or one of your weaknesses) and suddenly deciding that you’re not going to go just because. THAT is cherry picking.

The reason why I bring this up is because I recently caught myself cherry picking. I know I cannot be the only person who is guilty of this. If I’m going to pep talk myself out of this, might as well for everyone else too right?? One good way to help prevent this is to pick a schedule and stick with it. Most of us have a pretty good idea of what our bodies are capable of and know when we need rest days. Use that when picking a schedule. If you can only go 3 days a week, select those 3 days and be consistent. Even something like switching around your days because of what you see is programmed I still consider to be cherry picking. Not going to class on heavy cardio days will never make cardio any easier. OR only going on heavy lifting days won’t help us when gymnastics are programmed.

Like cherries, every one (workout) still holds the same value as the rest. Just because we may not like how one “looks” it doesn’t mean it’s not as beneficial as the rest. For those participating in The Opens, you haven’t had the option to cherry pick a programmed WOD. If Dave Castro says you are going to do burpees, guess what . . . you do the burpees (he’s evil I know). If we only ever do the WODs that we like, we will never get any better at the WODs that we hate.

 

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If you told me I would be able to deadlift 200lbs, do 65lb thrusters, jump onto the 20in box, make my mile time the fastest it has ever been or buddy carry my best friend over my shoulders, I would have told you, you’re nuts!

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As a woman, I’ve never felt more empowered or beautiful! I can’t wait to see what this upcoming year will bring! Thank you CrossFit Factory Square! ♥

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