Grip or Gripe

handsThey are the nemesis of CrossFitters everywhere.   No matter how tiny they may be, they will stop you in your tracks….rips, tears, and blisters.  We all know the dreaded feeling.  There you are, crushing some pull ups, and then, you feel it.  A hot spot.  You try to ignore it, but know that just a few reps more will cause a dreaded hand tear.  There is nothing more frustrating than having to stop in the middle of a workout and drop off the bar because your hands hurt.  So, what exactly can be done to avoid this awful predicament?  Well, everyone seems to have their own theory of what works best.  After trying almost everything possible (thanks to Matt), here are a few tips that I have found to work:

  • Keep your hands moisturized! While chalk is essential, it also dries out your hands.   Dry hands are more susceptible to cracks and tears.  The best product we have found to keep your hands moisturized is Climb On!  This amazing lotion bar not only works wonders on dry skin, but absorbs quickly so you don’t have any greasy residue.  Lotion haters rejoice!  Climb On is an essential step in hand care. (No, I am not receiving anything for endorsing this product J)
  • Keep your calluses under control! When you let your calluses get too thick, a rip is inevitable.  There are several methods for this.  Some people are in the pumice stone camp, some people are in the callus remover camp, some people are in the straight razor camp, and finally others are in the dremel camp.   After trying out all the options, Matt and I belong to the dremel camp.  Yes, we went to Home Depot and bought a dremel tool. This power tool now sits on our bathroom counter (much to my dismay).  When your calluses start to build up, just take the dremel and lightly sand them down.  Just be sure not to hold the dremel in the same spot too long…you will dremel more than the calluses!
  • Use Grips! People have very strong opinions on which grip they prefer.  There is not a one size fits all.  Matt has tried pretty much every grip out there…..gymnastic grips, jaw grips, and natural grips just to name a few.  We currently prefer natural grips.  They are thick enough to give your hands protection, yet thin enough that you can still “feel” the bar.  The only drawback is that they do not last forever….depending on how much  you use them, natural grips will last only a few months before they need to be replaced.  Look around the box and see what people are using.  Ask for opinions (since people tend to have a strong opinion on this subject) and choose for yourself.
  • Be aware of how you hold the bar! This is my fourth and final tip.  Pay attention to how you grip the bar.  The bar should be place high on your hand, where your fingers meet your hand.   People tend to grip the bar more towards the middle of their palm.  This type of grip inevitably results in nasty tears.  Because the proper grip may initially feel less secure, my recommendation is to start with some bar hangs using the proper grip.  Get familiar and confident with it; then start using it for your gymnastics movements.  If you are unsure how you are gripping the bar…just ask us!hand care

If you follow these tips, hopefully, your rips will be few and far between.  When they do happen, make sure to take care of them!  Place wet black tea bags on them to help heal, keep them covered if they are an open wound, and use lots of tape when you work out to let them heal.


Now that you know my hand care routine, do you have any tips that have helped you avoid rips?

It Takes a Village

sled pullIt takes a village to raise kids, and parents… lets face it… we could all use a little help. They didn’t come with a manual and each kid is different. What is constant is that children thrive in a positive, fun environment… they move better, drop their negativity and are open to correction. They need a place where the healthy habits they are taught at home are reinforced. For my family, this place has been at Crossfit 1607.

I have watched my kids’ smiles grow as they hear Saturday is coming… they tell all their friends about CrossFit Kids and practice their skills at home. They tumble and play, They pretend play “1607” and Mia becomes coach Mia, making her sister, brother and friends play games, squat and jump.   They have fallen in love with movement and are learning all the essential life skills I was never taught as a kid, or had to learn the hard way. Movement is not a punishment, challenges are exciting, cheering for your fellow competitor is rewarding and that it is ok to not win everything.

Our CrossFit kids classes are filled with laughter and fun. We reinforce skills through games & team work. We are yet to have sad faces leave the gym after class… Including my own. Our family has enjoyed the community and positive environment so much, and are reaping the benefits by watching our kids growing in character and strength. That is something money cant buy.

So if you are sitting on the fence about it, or considering signing your kids up… Just try it out. Come watch on a Saturday…or talk to Coach Michelle or myself. We would love to chat more about it.



The Open…what did it mean to you?

IMG_4156It’s over.  After five weeks of excitement, nerves, energy, and sweat, the 2015 CrossFit Open has ended.  For those few elite athletes, the Open is beginning of the journey to the CrossFit Games.   However, what about the rest of us mere mortals….what did the Open mean to you?

The Open serves many purposes for me, even when I am not competing.  First, the Open means community.  From a workout point of view, getting everyone together in one place and at one time for a WOD is awesome!  The energy and enthusiasm is contagious.  I am suddenly able to find the strength to complete those last 2 reps!  This year, I was reminded even more of how this place feels like home.  After being away for a few weeks, walking in the door Saturday morning and seeing everyone was like walking in the door of your house after being gone from a long trip.

The Open is like hitting a reset button….it always re-energizes me.  Just like everyone else, I can fall into a rut or get discouraged or just get busy with life.  Each year, the Open reminds me of why I love CrossFit!  The adrenaline rush as the 10 second countdown begins, getting one chest to bar pull up for the first time, and the feeling of accomplishment after each WOD are all the reminders I need.  I re-commit to my workouts, rather than just going through the motions.

Most importantly, the Open is a way for me to see how far I have come in the past year as well as set my goals for the upcoming year.  I tend to gravitate to those items that I am best at ….burpees anyone J    When I don’t train my weaknesses, I am able to forgot how bad I am at them.  The Open does not allow me to hide from any movement, but gives me a realistic assessment of both my strengths and weaknesses.  Once I get over my frustration at not being good at everything, I pick one or two movements that I want to focus on over the next year.  Don’t get me wrong…I am not going to stop doing workouts that have my strengths.  I mean, everyone needs a morale booster every once in a while.  However, I am going to put my extra time and energy (and open gym time) into those one or two movements I have admitted that I suck at.  Come the 2016 Open, I will be able to see how much progress I have made when they announce the workouts and I no longer cringe when I hear pull ups.

As I look forward to the year ahead and watching those elite few in the CrossFit Open on tv, I wonder……What did the Open mean to you this year?

Don’t diet…eat paleo!

gopaleo  I hate the word diet. To me, diet implies some sort of awful restrictions for a certain period   of time. People cringe when they hear the word diet in a conversation. There is        immediately a negative connotation associated with this terrible word.

Therefore, I refer to eating paleo as a paleo lifestyle. For me, paleo is the way I choose to eat….for the long term. Eating paleo is just a part of our life. When I say this, I always get the question, “Yeah, but don’t you miss (insert food item here)?” My response is always, no. First, if I really want ____ , I will eat it. Do that one time after eating paleo for a while and you will never crave that item again. Your body will be used to getting clean, nutritious items and will rebel against you when given anything else. Next, if there is an item that I would like to eat, I will make it myself. I would much rather eat a muffin that was made with real ingredients that I feel are nutritious, rather than one that came out of a package. Finally, that is why it is called a LIFESTYLE. You must find a way to incorporate paleo eating into your life for the long term. If that means having ______ on occasion, so be it. Just make sure it is an occasional treat, rather than a nightly snack 🙂

So, why do I feel so passionately about a paleo lifestyle? Simple. I like the way it makes me feel. I am more energized (even in my current sleep deprived state), I sleep better, and my health is great. I know that I am giving my body the nutrients it requires and none of the junk it does not. Paleo is not intended for weight loss. However, eating paleo will help you find your ideal healthy weight…..whether you have weight to lose or if you need to gain weight. I also like that a paleo lifestyle puts the focus on eating whole foods. There is no counting, no weighing, etc. If you are hungry, eat! Just make sure you are eating whole foods.

If I am to be believed that a paleo lifestyle is so fabulous, then why isn’t everyone eating this way? First, people’s initial reaction tends to be negative. They say, “I could never give up (insert food item here).” However, a paleo lifestyle is easier and tastier than most people think…and the benefits are amazing! Interestingly, a majority of the people who completed the paleo challenge are still eating paleo….because they enjoy the way it makes them feel. I will admit that there is one negative. It takes more time. Because you are preparing whole foods that are in their natural state, you must cook. You must spend some time in the kitchen…say 30 minutes as opposed to 10 minutes. This means that being prepared for meal times is key….especially when you get home late and are starving!

I am excited to provide a solution for this one minor issue….Paleo to Go! We are now offering a prepared paleo meal service through the gym. Now, the one hurdle to a paleo lifestyle has been solved! Come to the tasting party Thursday, March 26th from 4-8pm to try these delicious paleo meals. They are great to have for back up, to take to work for lunch, or to give you a night away from the kitchen.

If you have ever wanted to try eating paleo, now is the time!