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Our first interview and it’s a great one. Greg Martino of CrossFit Virtuosity, heading to the 2014 CrossFit Games in a few short weeks. In Part 1 of 2, Greg discusses how he first found CrossFit, his work with Virtuosity founder Keith Wittenstein, and being a part of the CrossFit Level One Seminar Staff.
When I ask you to picture the top 10 male athletes at ACF–I doubt the latest Member of the Month comes to mind. But go ahead, check Wodify and you’ll consistently find Anthony Carroll amongst the top finishers on a daily basis.
He has an unassuming style and humility that’s not typical from a badass fire breather. There’s a popular t-shirt around ACF that states Actions are Greater than Words and that’s exactly what Anthony personfies.
As CrossFitters we strive to eliminate the holes in our game that exist across the 10 modalities of fitness and when it comes to being well rounded Anthony Carroll is one of the best there is at ACF.
Congratulations to Anthony on being the Albany CrossFit Member of the Month.
Why did you start CrossFit?
Don’t jump to a conclusion without careful thought. Sure, the majority of answers are going to be “because I needed to get into better shape”. That’s great, truly it is. But why?
Was a health concern the main reason? Did you have a life changing experience that made you strive for a change? Was it time to set an example for your children? Your niece or nephew? Maybe a parent? Were you looking for a competitive outlet and thought because you saw some shredded dudes and chicks on ESPN doing pull-ups and weird looking front squats with a press that you could do it…?
Whatever it is, it was motivating enough to do maybe the most difficult part, walk in the doors to the unknown. You’re here. You’ve done more than most. You got started.
If you’ve started recently in your CrossFit journey there is a good chance you are still in the honeymoon phase. You’re seeing gains (#gainZ) consistently. You’re setting PR’s almost weekly. A new gymnastics move may be closer and closer to being a staple in your tool kit. You’re excited about coming to the gym to see what you can improve on daily. That’s great. This blog isn’t for you- yet but continue reading.
This blog is more about reminding those who have been transitioning out of the honeymoon into reality. Some frustrations may have started to mount. You’re not setting weekly or maybe even monthly PR’s. Maybe some of our test/retest benchmark WOD’s haven’t seen the improvement we would have liked- maybe the numbers have gotten a little worse even… yikes.
I’m here to tell you that it’s ok. It doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s completely normal. What you need to do is think back to why you originally walked in the doors. Put yourself in the mindset you were when you first started. Something motivated you to do one of the hardest things we can encounter as human beings, start something new.
Maybe you’ve already accomplished the goals you’ve originally set out to conquer. That’s cool, but that’s not what I mean when I say don’t forget why you started. Your task is a bit more challenging. Your task is to find more motivation and you can’t Google search answers like this. You have to sit down, clear yourself of distractions and dig deep into what matter to you. Put a goal in your mind and re-motivate yourself to accomplish it. Whatever it is, I promise you’ll find yourself in a similar mindset from when you started.
So what’s the moral of the story? When people say, “never forget why you started” you may have to dig a little deeper than the original reason. Never forgetting why you started means finding that mindset you were in before walking through the doors at ACF. The goals will change, but the mindset is always the same.
Sunday mornings. 9:30am. Fish Creek Marina.
I’ll be leading a SUP Yoga Class, aka BOGA! We’ll paddle out exactly at 9:30 so try to get there with some time to rent your board. We’ll anchor down and get to it, to finish up by 11am! The cost will be $35 dollars and that includes the board, paddle, life vest and a yoga class on your board! (If you have your own board, just $15 for class)
Directions: Exit 14 towards Saratoga Lake, turn Left onto Meadowbrook
Rd. (off Route 9P before your reach Saratoga National Golf Course). Take to the end and make right onto Stafford Bridge Rd. Cross over bridge, and first The Kayak Shack is your first right!
It’s 6 o’clock, people are starting to file into the triple wide and you find yourself standing in front of the monitors looking at the WOD. Your coach then begins to go over what you will be doing that day. What kind of thoughts are running through your head? Are you still mentally stuck at work? Or maybe you are thinking about what you are going to eat post WOD. Instead of allowing these thoughts to run through your mind, I challenge you to actually visualize yourself going through the workout.
Lets look at a WOD and see how we can visually go through and prepare ourselves for that workout.
The Workout is:
Box Jumps, 24/20”
As we can see the thruster weight is relatively heavy and we are going to have to break up our sets. How do we break it up? Should I try to go 11/10 or 7/7/7? See yourself going through each rep. If you see yourself breaking down after hitting 11 in a row, then it would be best to go with 3 sets of 7 instead. Now lets take a look at the box jumps. Do I step down from the box or do I jump down and then go into the next rep? Again, visualize yourself going through the movement. See yourself doing the movement both jumping down and stepping down. Which one seems to be more efficient?
Visualizing the workout beforehand can not only give you the confidence to work through the WOD, it can also allow you to see any problems you may run into. So, the next time you are standing in front of those monitors don’t just listen to the WOD being explained. Instead visualize yourself going through it. Think about each movement, the weight you will use, how you will break up your sets. The more variables you can address in your mind, the less you will have to think about during the workout.
I remember witnessing my first competition like it was yesterday. I was just two weeks out of on ramp and I had heard we would be hosting a competition called the Hudson Valley Throwdown. At the time I was still learning the movements and had no clue who was who in the world of CrossFit. At this competition I witnessed extremely gifted athletes demonstrating feats of not only strength, but will and determination. It was amazing to feel the energy that was bouncing off of the walls. That day I turned to a coach and asked, “When is the next competition?” Even though I still had plenty to learn, I knew that day that I wanted to compete. Since that day I have competed in numerous competitions. Each competition that I have competed in has been a team competition.
There is something amazing about working side by side with your friends in order to complete the workouts. For those of you that have never competed before, the only comparison I can make is our weekly partner workouts. On those days you are no longer pushing just yourself through a workout. Instead, you find yourself working harder and pushing not only yourself but your partner as well through the WOD. You and your partner must strategize how to go through each movement, who is better at what, and how you will transition as you move through the WOD.
If you find that you really enjoy these partner workouts, then I highly recommend that you find a team competition. There is really no experience quite like it! You will find yourself moving faster, digging deeper, and challenging yourself in ways you never thought possible. You will also forge friendships that you may never had if you did not compete. There is something truly special about going through a competition with your teammates. It is a moment of bonding that can never be taken away from you.
So now the question is, What are you waiting for?
To grow as individuals it is important that we set goals for ourselves. We should have goals based around all aspects of our lives, whether it be our family, career, finances, or health. While all of these categories are important, I want to discuss the goals that we set for ourselves inside of our box.
For the past year I have had a goal of completing the King Kong workout. King Kong consists of 3 Rounds for time of 1 deadlift at 455#, 2 muscle ups, 3 squat cleans at 250#, and 4 handstand pushups. Looking at this workout I knew that I could complete 3 out of the 4 movements. The squat cleans were going to be the challenging part for me. When I first set this goal my 1RM squat clean was 245#. It was not the best looking squat clean either. Watching and analyzing my squat clean I could see that I was rushing my lift. This caused me to chase the bar with my hips and inevitably I would land on my toes and 80% of the time I would end up missing the lift. Needless to say, in order for me to obtain my goal I knew I was going to have to work not only on getting stronger, but work on my technique as well.
In the following months to come I worked extremely hard to try an fulfill this goal of mine. I spent countless hours watching videos on how to improve my mobility, correct my technique flaws, and increase my overall strength. After doing my due diligence, I then set forth a plan on how I would achieve this goal and by what date. I originally wanted to be able to complete this workout by December of 2013. Unfortunately an injury in October had me out of action for two months and I was unable to achieve my goal by this date. When I got back to 100% I refocused myself on improving my squat clean and getting back the strength that I had lost. I will admit, there were plenty of frustrating moments, but I never lost focus of my goal.
Lets fast forward a few months to June. For my workout that day I had to obtain a 1RM squat clean. I went through my typical warm up weights and hit each one with precision and ease. I start to climb from 225 to 235, then to 245, then to 255. As I hit the 255# clean I was amazed at how good that felt. I had never gotten under the bar that quick with such a good position. So I ended up doing it for another two reps. It wasn’t exactly what I was supposed to be doing during that training session, but it made me realize that I was finally ready for King Kong. So on that day I posted on Facebook that I would be attempting King Kong the following Saturday. I made that post for two reasons. First, I wanted to hold myself accountable and by making that statement, there was no way any negative self talk could stop me from attempting the workout. The second reason was to have the moral support of my fellow cross fitters at Albany CrossFit.
When the day finally came I had quite a few people ask me if I was ready for the workout. My response was an enthusiastic “Yes!”. It was now time to achieve my goal and reap the reward of all of my hard work. As the words 3-2-1 were counted down I told myself “You are going to crush this.” I went through the workout methodically as I had planned. When I got to the squat cleans I reminded myself that I have hit that weight plenty of times before and that I could do it again. After getting that first squat clean I knew that I was finally going to achieve my goal. On that day I did indeed achieve my goal and I even completed the workout well under the time cap I had established for myself. The moral of this story is that I want each and every one of you to write down some goals that you have for yourself. You should have a few goals in mind. Have a 3 month, 6 month, and a yearly goal that you would like to accomplish. It is these goals that will keep you focused and on the right track. If you have any questions or would like to talk about setting some goals please feel free to come and talk with me.