Archive for May, 2013

Food Freakshow

Posted: May 30, 2013 in Advice, Nutrition



A few weeks ago, I twisted a bunch of you up on the CrossFit 717 Nutrition Headquarters when I posted a question about genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  I took a pretty contrarian stance in that I didn’t understand why they were so bad.  Here is an article by Nutritionist Brian St. Pierre that is pretty much right down the middle and talks about the pros and cons of foods that are modified from their original form.  I think it is good information for all of us.  Who knows, you might even learn something.

Your Own Biggest Fan

Posted: May 27, 2013 in Uncategorized


While struggling through Dan’s weightlifting programming recently, something occurred to me.  The way I approached the bar drastically changed the outcome of my next lift.  Each rep became exponentially easier the more I convinced myself I could do it.  Conversely, each time I thought the weight was going to be heavy, it felt like a ton of bricks.  Same number of kilos on the bar, two different results.

If you have seen me at the box, you know that more often than not I have my headphones in while lifting.  And I have been known to sing along, sometimes out loud (sorry Sandi!).  But why listen to my headphones when there is loud music blasting throughout the box anyway? To me, my music is the best way to keep my confidence high and it gives me the inspiration I need to power through the toughest reps.  I choose songs that not only have a great beat but also have a message that moves me emotionally.  It’s a time when I can block out everyone and everything around me and just focus on the task at hand.  I don’t care how I look or what everyone else is doing, I just care about hitting my reps.  Without music, I tend to think about how heavy the last rep felt.  With music, I know the next rep is going up no problem.  It’s literally night and day.  The only change is the confidence I have in my ability.

The process goes something like this.  I put the weights on the bar and immediately consider how heavy the weight should feel when I lift it.  If it goes up easy, it is going to be a good lifting day.  If it feels heavy, I’ll be grinding it out the whole time.  I scroll through the iPod and find my playlist.  Once the beat kicks in, I start to focus on the lyrics and the imagery associated with them.  I listen until I can feel that unmistakable point where self doubt leaves and I know for sure that I am not going to miss.  I become my own biggest fan. With the bar in my hand, I can feel the adrenaline surge that comes with the mental transformation.  All amped up, the bar feels lighter and I visualize myself completing the lift with perfect form while repeating form cues in my head.  Once any feeling of doubt is gone, I start to tell myself that I am sick of seeing the same numbers on the board and the only way to beat them is to get better each and every time I train.  Once all of these pieces fall into place, the lifts become amazingly easy.

What I see when I dream

What I see when I dream

My experience is your experience.  Whether you are weightlifting like me, trying to set a PR on “Helen”, beating your Total or setting a new personal best 5K time, you need to have the mental component in place to succeed.  Physically, we all have the ability to do more than our mind tells us we can.  Science has proven that our bodies only let us work at a certain capacity unless we tap into that adrenaline surge that kicks us into overdrive.  The difference between you completing those last 3 pull ups or negative splitting your last lap is the confidence you have in yourself to do it.  It really doesn’t get much simpler than that.  Imagine how much progress you could make if you were able to eliminate self doubt every time you trained?  The limits are truly endless.

We all go through life hearing that it is a good thing to be humble and this is true in most situations.  But leave that shit at the door when you come in to train. Walk around with a swagger.  Be confident.  KNOW that every workout is going to be better than the one before it.  Sure, it’s nice to have a group of people cheering for you during a WOD and screaming for you to hit that PR.  It adds to the incredible community we have at CrossFit 717.  But in reality, it is just you doing the workout.

You against yourself.

They don’t mean a thing.  No one cheering for you is going to help you get that bar off the ground or help you get out of the hole on that squat.  They are not going to propel you to finish that last lap or get your ass under the bar on a clean PR.

It’s  just you.

That’s all it will ever be.  You are the only person you can rely on day in and day out.  And when the class ends and everyone leaves, those people who were cheering you on don’t really care if you got your lift or not.  They couldn’t care less if you beat your “Fran” time or just missed it by 5 seconds.  It wont affect their day either way.  But I can guarantee it will affect yours.

The lesson here is that it is OK to be your own biggest fan.  Leave your humility at home.  When the weight gets heavy and self-doubt creeps in, it’s your attitude that matters most.  Forget what everyone else thinks.  Dig deep and find the inspiration you need to make the difference.  The weight is not going to change but you have the power to change the way you view the weight.

You are only as good as you believe you are.  You are only as strong as your doubts.

Now go prove yourself wrong.

I wanted to repost this because I think that most of you did not get a chance to read this the first time around and it is still very applicable to our community.

As I am sure many of you have read by now, Apple founder and Chairman Steve Jobs passed away yesterday at the age of 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.  Steve was, in my opinion, one of the world’s greatest minds and will go down in history with the likes of Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin for his inventions and impact he had on society.  While not entirely obvious, Steve Jobs changed the way all of us go about our daily lives; both professionally and leisurely.  The greatest part of his story is how he started Apple out of his parents’ garage and turned it into the most valuable company in the world, literally.  Recently Apple passed Exxon and Google with a net worth of over $238 billion.  Quite an accomplishment for someone who dropped out of college.

Jobs’ lived by the mantra of, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”.  He would get up every morning and ask himself this question.  If the answer was “no” too many times in a row, he knew it was time to make a change. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2004, this theoretical question suddenly became much more meaningful as every day actually could have been his last.

In 2005 Jobs gave the commencement speech at Stanford University and it is widely considered to be one of the most outstanding and dynamic of our generation.  I will post it here so you can watch it if you want (and I highly recommend you do).

At one point in the speech, Steve says:

“No one wants to die. Even the people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is just secondary.”

So how does this apply to CrossFit?


Station 717 2.0

Posted: May 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


Well, after a long hiatus, I am ready to start this bitch up again.  Some things came up that forced me to take time off but with the continued expansion of CrossFit 717, I realized this blog could be a great resource for veterans and newbies alike.  For those of you who have followed this blog in the past, you can expect a lot of the same things I used to post about with some new topics mixed in.  For you n00bs, here is a quick intro:

My name is Sean Ireland and I started this thing back in 2011 as a way to share a bunch of cool stuff with a bunch of cool people.  More about me here.  Thankfully, it was well received and people seemed to like the content.  The information was mostly CrossFit based (duh) with some fun regular installments like “Beyond the Athlete” where I would interview members and post their responses so everyone can learn about them and hopefully open up some lines of conversation.  I also concocted “Celebrity Beyond the Athlete” where I would reach out to top athletes from the CrossFit Games and interview them as a cool way for our members to get an exclusive bit of content.  You can see the interviews if you want to scroll back through the blog.

So what can you expect to see on here? Great question.  Here is a list (because I love lists):

  1. CrossFit – Again, duh.  717 is a CrossFit gym and that is what most of you care about so that will be a big part of the content.  I am going to lean on our coaches to help me with this because, as some of you know, I used to be a CrossFitter but now focus primarily on Weightlifting or “Oly Lifting” for you “CrossFittin’ sons of bitches” (credit to Jon North for that quote).  Which leads me to the next topic…
  2. Weightlifting – This is the sport I am most committed to right now so expect to see a good amount of content on this topic.  It will work for the CrossFitters too because lets be honest, all of you need to get stronger at the Oly lifts and it will only improve your overall fitness.  Besides, everyone loves photos and videos of grown men in singlets.
  3. Endurance – Our endurance classes have been a smash hit and Coach Mike Hebe is the main reason.  He one of the most knowledgeable and most qualified coaches we could ever ask for.  I have asked him to be a regular contributor on the blog and he has agreed so he will be posting about everything he feels is pertinent for our endurance athletes and athletes in general.  You can read more about Mike and his awesomeness in his coach’s profile here on the blog.
  4. Nutrition – We all realize how important our nutrition is to our goals so I expect this to be one of the most posted about topics.  Because of that, I have asked our resident Nutrition Coach Karen Polensky to be regular contributor as well.  Besides having an alphabet soup of degrees and licensing behind her name, Karen is truly one of the nicest and most caring people at the box.  She has already helped some of you one-on-one and I am sure the knowledge she brings to the blog will be an awesome addition.
  5. Strength – With the addition of our Strength classes, I feel it is high time to include some pure strength content for those of you who are looking to up your Total and core lifts.  There are many way to skin this cat and I hope to present information on these approaches and explain why each of these work.  Dan and I will coordinate to make sure posts are supporting the current programming he has in place for the Strength classes as well as offering alternatives for those doing it on their own.
  6. Editorials and Original Content – One of things I loved about the blog was the ability to take an idea I had, write it down and share it with all of you.  Now, we have such a huge community that I expect these type of posts to come from more than just me.  More on this in the next section.
  7. Fun Stuff – I plan on reviving both “Beyond the Athlete” and “Celebrity Beyond the Athlete” because they are always interesting, even to me.  There will also be event recaps, competition results and general minutiae.

One of the biggest questions I used to get is “Can I contribute to the blog?”.  My answer is “yes”, I welcome anybody who feels like they want to share to approach me with their idea.  Nothing is cooler than someone who is so proud of their accomplishments and ideas they want to share them with everybody else.  Todd Shirley is a great example of this and you can see his past contributions by scrolling back through the old content.  A few caveats though:

  • I will preview all content before posting to the blog.  If I come back to you with some edits or suggestions, do not take it personally.  I am a content control freak so get over it now.
  • If you are sharing a personal story please try to include personal photos.  People like visuals and a post that only includes  writing is boring.
  • This is a blog, not an e-book so please keeps your posts relatively short and sweet.  Our attention spans get shorter and shorter each year and people want their info quick and dirty.  Obviously, there are exceptions but a good rule of thumb is 3 pages of a Word document or less.

That being  said, I encourage all of you to share with the 717 community.  I know we have some great stories to tell and I look forward to reading all of them,

Well, that’s about it.  Welcome to those of you who are new and welcome back to the ones who remember this blog from a year or so ago.  I am always open to suggestions on how to make the blog better so please feel free share your feedback with me as long as it isn’t stupid.  I hate stupid stuff.

See you around!