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7
Mar

Why Short Why Long

When I am writing out the gym’s program, I usually do it in 12-week cycles, and each one is programmed with a specific purpose. We program a few testing workouts at the beginning of the cycle and use those 12 weeks to improve on those movements with the ultimate goal of improving our scores from the testing workouts.

The testing workouts are designed to be different not only in structure and movement but different energy systems as well. The beauty of CrossFit is that it doesn’t focus on making someone fit in one way. An example of this is a runner; most people who run for exercise only train one energy system. They become good at moving slowly for long distances and creating a body that is good at running but usually lacking in strength.  

Another example would be a weightlifter. They train in short, intense sets focusing on moving fast. They only work one energy system and become good at moving fast for a short period of time, and usually, have the capability of moving some heavyweight but anything aerobic they will struggle.

The goal of our program is to create a variance in your workouts so that your body is continually being forced to adapt to the new stress. This is done weekly by varying different time domains, movements, and weights. The difference between our program and other CrossFit gyms is that we create a 12-week goal based cycle that has a purpose. It is structured, not random, and because of this, you can have success without doing workouts that are designed to destroy you.

It is crucial that a gym understands its program. Some gyms purchase programming from another coach or follow an online template that creates a structured program with goals, but the issue I have with this is, the goals established for your gym are someone else’s and not yours.

Find a gym that programs out a structured program of their own. One that creates goals for you through a cycle that isn’t filled with workouts designed to destroy you. To get the most out of a program like this means that you need to show up on the long workouts and the short ones. Because that is where your gains are made.

Richard Andrews

CF-L2

27
Feb

How To Start When You Haven’t Done Anything

A common statement when people are talking about doing CrossFit is, “I am not in shape enough to do it.”

www.games.crossfit.com

When someone says things like this, I imagine they think they need to start getting in shape by hitting the elliptical, lifting some light free weights or maybe begin jogging. I think these are all great ways to get into fitness. The problem is you are doing these alone.

I think the most significant mistake people make when getting into fitness is starting by themselves. Anyone who has begun alone knows that a week or two into hitting the gym by themselves to face the elliptical gets to be a bit boring, and motivation to show up starts to fall off.

Some will go out and find a friend to hit the gym with. This is usually the solution to the problem, but again, anyone who has had a workout buddy knows that at some point they’ll miss. Then you’ll miss. Then the schedule you guys have put together no longer works, and now you are back to working out alone.

So to the person who is looking to start a fitness routine at a CrossFit gym (at least at BayWay CrossFit), you will never be alone. You will always have a trainer there leading you through your workout from start to finish. You won’t have to worry about coming up with a workout, how you are going to warm up for it, how to do certain movements, if you are doing them safely or how to cool down after a workout. All of these things are taken care of for you; all you have to do is show up.

www.crossfit.com

Some people may think that they are not capable of what CrossFitters do, and that is without question false. CrossFit has a fancy way of saying this in that our program is universally scalable. Which means that no matter what the workout is we can make it fit for you, and not just by lowering weights but by making it fit in such a specific way that you are receiving the same stimulus from the workout as anyone else is.

Many people who do not like our program, for whatever the reason, and they like to show videos and pictures of two types of people doing CrossFit.

The first is the person who fails and fails miserably. I am not saying these things do not happen but it is scarce, and at a gym that only does instructor-led classes like ours, it happens even less. If you are with a trainer, they are not going to let you attempt something where you could hurt yourself.

www.games.crossfit.com

The second type of CrossFit person that those who dislike the program show are the CrossFit Games athletes. These are the 1% of 1% — the top athletes in the world. No one should compare themselves to these people. Their bodies look and perform like no other humans in the world. Here is what you can take away from these athletes though. They are proof of how effective the CrossFit program can be. Yes they do it in an extreme manner and I think this is a turn off to the everyday person, but just as 40-year-old former high school quarterback can watch what Tom Brady does and understand the work he puts in to be the best in the world, an everyday CrossFitter can understand what these top people are doing as well.

The point is if you are starting a fitness journey you need a trainer. You need people around you that are going to push you. Find a place that has both, and you will be successful.

Richard Andrews

CF-L2

20
Feb

Is Beer or Soda Better For You?

This was not the planned blog post for this week, but after talking with someone from the gym about their soda addiction, I decided I needed to write this because there could be more of you out there.

The reasoning behind the title is that at first glance most would immediately say ‘beer’ is worse for you, but the question is why? Is it because you can buy a coke at any age? Is it because we have known alcoholics or heard about drunk drivers hurting people? I think that sugar and alcohol are both toxins and not good for you, but the advertisement of one dramatically affects the way people perceive it.

I believe that people should not drink sodas at all, and drink alcohol in moderation. Seems silly being in the health and fitness industry but below are few comparisons that may get you to see it the same way.

First, let’s start with the health benefits of these products:

Sodas have ZERO health benefits. They contain zero vitamins or minerals. Beer has some of these, but not enough to provide a substantial amount of micronutrients to stop taking your vitamins. In 2010 the American Heart Association released guidelines stating that there are benefits to having one twelve ounce beer each night. I have yet to find one that says this for sodas.

In the average lagger, there are fewer calories than in a twelve-ounce soda and most light beers have about fifty fewer calories per twelve ounce can. Beer has zero grams of sugar while sodas could have forty or more in each can. If we are counting calories and sugar, I would say someone who drinks two beers a day is much less likely to get a beer belly at the same rate as someone who drinks two sodas a day. Many times, people who may not look obese and think they are healthy do not realize that the effects of sugar and sodas on the liver are just as harmful as someone who is a heavy beer drinker. You could be dying on the inside thinking you are more healthy because you are not drinking beer and not overweight.

The second comparison of beer and sodas is a quick one:

If you need to clean the corrosion off your car battery you don’t pour beer on it first, you pour a coke on it.

The third comparison is addictive properties:

Both beer and sugary sodas have been shown to cause a release of endorphins in the brain. The more you drink of either, the more that is released. The more you drink, the more you build up a tolerance to it and the more you will need to drink in order to get the release of endorphins again. In comparison, both cause the same thing. The main difference here is the more beer you drink, the more inebriated you will become. This creates the issue of response time, bad decisions and other problems that being impaired can cause. Although both drinks are addictive in the same fashion as opioids; only one can create an inebriated state.

The fourth comparison is linked to diseases:

Someone who is an avid soda drinker would think that beer is the ‘more evil’ one of the two in this comparison, but it’s not. When I googled ‘diseases linked to alcohol’ and ‘diseases linked to sugar’ many of the same diseases appeared on both sides including liver health, heart health and kidney function.  But the major player from sugar deaths did not appear on the alcohol list at all, and that is Diabetes.

The primary fight against big soda is because, according to the American Diabetes Association, 40% of all death certificates have diabetes listed on them. This is a significant player in millions of deaths each year, and sugar has been directly linked to them. One soda a day can increase your chances of diabetes by 22% according to a European study done with 350,000 people from eight different countries.

The final comparison is warning labels:

Beer and alcohol  products are required to have a warning label on them letting everyone who drinks it know that they are drinking a product that can cause health issues and impair your senses. Sodas are not required by federal law to have this same warning label on them, but in some cities and states they have or are trying to pass laws where this will be the case. Just based of some basic research into the health benefits of sugar one could conclude that a drink that contains over three tablespoons of sugar each should include a warning label on it in every state and every country. Beer and alcohol companies do not advertise to children because of the legal drinking age and their warning label. Sodas do not have a warning label (yet) but have made a promise not to advertise to children. Seems a little strange?

In comparison, both are bad for you. People have this thought that because you can buy sodas at any age, they are safer for you. Both of these products will kill you at some point. Both will leave you worse after you start them. Both are dangerous; end of story. If you can avoid both for the rest of your life, you will live a longer healthier life.

HOWEVER WHAT YOU DECIDE TO DO IS UP TO YOU. YOU MAKE THESE DECISIONS FOR YOURSELF. BUT, IF I WERE TO ASK YOU, I WOULD EVEN SAY PLEAD WITH YOU…PLEASE DO NOT GIVE YOUR CHILDREN SODAS. DO A QUICK GOOGLE SEARCH ON A FEW STUDIES OF WHAT SODAS ARE DOING TO KIDS. YOU COULD POSSIBLY AND PROBABLY MAKE YOUR KIDS OVERWEIGHT, SICK AND UNHEALTHY BY FEEDING THEM THIS POISON.

Richard Andrews
CF-L2

13
Feb

Train Like an Athlete

This is probably my favorite topic to talk or write about. Training like an athlete is something that people do not do enough of and frankly, is what our bodies are designed to do. Training like an athlete or training for functionality is the reason I fell in love with CrossFit, to begin with.

I saw a post by a buddy of mine on Instagram last week, @wilderness_s.c, where he talked about this same subject. Which sparked this post. It is a subject I try to talk about regularly because our program is designed around it and it makes the majority of people nervous because they do not see themselves as athletes. But you do not have to be an ‘athlete’ to train like one, and if you want to get the most out of your workouts, you need to do it.

CrossFit is one of the few exercise programs that has successfully defined fitness and is the basis of our program. Read that definition by Greg Glassman HERE.

One thing that athletes do is train in compound movements. Compound movements are multi-joint movements that involve multiple muscle groups. These movements have a greater effect on hormone response from your body than isolation type exercises do. If your goal is to get fitter, leaner, stronger and lose fat, then you absolutely need this type of response and lots of it.

Compound movements are the way to go.

Compound movements are functional movements but training for functionality is not done by simply adding a squat to your routine. To apply functionality to your workouts you have to add in the factor of time. Determining functionality is found by finding the power output of any movement. Finding the power output can be done by taking the amount of work you did and dividing by the time it took you to complete that work. In simpler terms, moving large loads, long distances and quickly.

Doing some simple math with the equation (work/time) a simple compound movement like the burpee can produce ten times the power output than a common isolation movement like a bicep curl in the same amount of time. Add in the cardiovascular comparison to the movement types and it is a wonder why people still are stuck in the same training methods used in the 1970s.

Any training program can provide you with results but at some point, you are going to plateau using isolation movements, but most people keep on with the same movements because they worked for them before, but unfortunately, they are never going to work for you again.

By applying the simple CrossFit methodology of constantly varied (always different) functional movements (compound exercises) performed at relatively high intensity (moving at your pace but quickly and with a purpose), a person can always produce the bodies proper endocrine response while never hitting a plateau.

Thanks, @wilderness_s.c for the reminder on why we train the way we do!

Richard Andrews

CF-L2

7
Feb

Participation Is Key

In about two weeks CrossFit is hosting its annual worldwide online competition. This year, more than previous years, the open will mean almost nothing to just about everyone… but I still want you to sign up.

Most people do not want to sign up for the open because of an unnecessary performance expectation in each workout. I don’t just mean this for those firebreathers that dominate their boxes whiteboards but also for the everyday CrossFitter who is afraid that they can’t do something.

To those firebreathers (not signed up yet) let me give you the hard truth right away, you are not as good as games athletes. To the everyday CrossFitter fearful of failing at something, you probably will, as we all have. Failure is not a bad thing. As cliche as it is, failure is an opportunity for you to get better. Failure is a roadmap to improving skills or levels of fitness that you currently lack.

The open is a yearly fitness checkup. For people who take CrossFit seriously, you may look at your ranking and try to better your place each year, but for the everyday CrossFitter (which is most of us), the focus should be to get better each year. This could mean doing each workout as prescribed, getting a muscle up, or merely doing something you couldn’t do the year before.

CrossFit has a simple, yet effective method to get you more fit. CrossFit’s theory is that if you are more fit from year to year, you are probably getting healthier along with it. Most people don’t get fitter and at the same time become more unhealthy.

At the gym, we do a twelve-week test to see if we are improving, but those are short term. The open allows for an annual test for you to see just how much you have improved over the course of the year.

The open allows us to create an event that builds comradery, fellowship, and support. It will enable us to develop our community in a positive way. It allows our members to meet people they wouldn’t normally see because of the classes they attend. We split everyone into teams where they work together on strategy and team spirit ideas.

The community feel is something that we get from every class. It is something that is special to a CrossFit gym and plays a part in BWCF even more than most. The open is a chance for all of us to create a lasting bond that is more than the everyday workout. It allows for a community to be built with the purpose of bettering your team rather than solely on the ‘self-interest’ aspect of fitness.

By the end of the five weeks, everyone is running on such a high from the excitement that the open has brought them, it’s all anyone can talk about. The way we do the open here, it doesn’t matter if you can do a pull-up or row 500m without taking a break. It is about coming in and working hard for one workout each week and supporting your gym mates.

Each year we grow as a community, and into a great community at that. We can then help build each other up with this community, and hopefully better each others lives through it.

By signing up for the open and participating with us, you are committing to five weeks of betterment. Not only in a test to improve your fitness and in turn improve your health, but also improve your life through community and fellowship.

Sign up, participate and enjoy.

Richard

4
Feb

Mobility! Do It!

Mobility is not just stretching, but most think that stretching will help us get into better positions when working through a tough WOD. Mobility in fitness terms can be seen as the muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments ability to move through a complete range of motion without restriction. It is not just the muscles stretching that is gets your body in the right positions during a workout.

The main issues that I see mobility wise in our gym are Shoulders, Hips and Ankles. Most people have problems with just one of those areas, but at times I have seen a complete train wrecks where they have all three.

Here are my three favorite mobility exercises that can help create some more range of motion through each of these body parts.

Shoulders:

This is a combo session. One movement involves a lacrosse ball and the other a band. Doing both back to back on each shoulder will create some serious range of motion. A reasonable timeline for improvement here if done every day would be 60-90 days.

External Rotation Smash with Lacrosse Ball: Start with about tw minutes on each side.

Banded Bully Stretch – Two minutes minimum on each arm

Hips:

Jobs that require a lot of sitting has ruined most people hips. When your hip flexors are tight, it can really limit the range of motion you can pass through, and at times will cause a good bit of pain when trying to squat. This simple movement will use a band and a mat but if done every day can also create some serious change within 60-90 days.

Banded Hip Opener – Start with a minimum of two mintues on each leg.

Ankles:

Ankles are almost never seen as the problem for most people. We will try to say it is my hips or my hamstrings and glutes are tight. This is why I cannot squat low or why I lean over when I squat. Also, a lot of lower leg pain or injury has been linked to tight ankles. Ankles are annoying to work on and take a lot of work to do it, because of this the time to change takes a bit longer than other areas. If this was done every day, you could expect to see some decent change in range of motion in about six months.

Banded Ankle Distraction – Two sets of two minutes on each foot for bad ankles.

There is one thing you will notice with these mobility exercises, time to change. Each one takes a good amount of time and application before you see any change. This is the reason why people who have been coming to class for five years and still cannot overhead squat or squat on their toes. No one wants to put in the time to increase their mobility, but everyone wants to complain about not having it.  

Richard Andrews

CF-L2

29
Jan

Athlete Spot Light – Jamie S.

We could not be happier to have Jamie as a member at BayWay CrossFit. She is a pleasure to have and has an impressive fitness story. She always has a smile on her face and is a friend to everyone. Thank you, Jamie, for being such an awesome member and a big supporter of BayWay CrossFit!

First Name & Last Initial
Jamie S

Home Town
Anahuac

Age
37

Occupation
Teacher

When did you start CrossFit?
May 2015

When did you start at BWCF?
2017

What are your favorite movements or workouts?
Deadlift, Pushups, and HSPU

What are your least favorite movements or workouts?
SNATCHES!!!

Tell us about your sports & fitness background?
I was always overweight and had no sports or fitness background when I started CrossFit. In 1999 I began a weight loss journey. Weightless surgery, diets, and traditional gym workouts lead to great weightless results, but I was becoming bored and hitting a wall with my results. After starting CrossFit, my goals shifted dramatically! I was no longer just trying to become smaller; I was now motivated to be stronger. CrossFit has helped me overcome some mental blocks and fears. I am more confident in what I am capable of doing, and this outlook has translated over to my career, relationships, and overall view of myself.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD…what was it, and how did it feel?
My dear friend, who has now passed away, introduced me to CrossFit. I was unable to do any of the movements. My coach was very patient and modified all my WODs at the beginning. It became common knowledge that there was a WOD and then he would say ‘except for JAMIE.’ He had his hands full with me. I would carry around a small notebook with details of all the movements we had done. The language was hard for me to remember. I would watch youtube videos of what movements were in the WOD that day. It was quite comical at the beginning, and I still have trouble remembering all the CrossFit lingo.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health, and fitness since starting CrossFit?
I have become so much stronger! I have been able to lose weight and build muscle. Overall CrossFit has changed the way I view fitness. Fitness is mostly mental for me now. If I can overcome the negative thoughts and doubts I have about myself and my ability, then true health becomes easier to attain.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were unexpected?
I did not expect to meet such amazing people. Inside and outside of the gym the BayWay CrossFit community is outstanding! I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn from people who strive for more every day. They have such a passion and perseverance to reach their goals.

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit/BayWay CrossFit moments?
I think my favorite moments at BayWay are those everyday moments. Coming in after work and getting to workout with my BWCF family. Or waking up on Saturday and knowing I will be getting stronger, faster, and better with a group of really great friends.

Any advice for people just getting started?
I think my advice would be to remember that we all start on different levels and that is ok! What we all have in common is the choice to be consistent and show up and not give up. I would also say that “True grit is born out of failure”… and man will know you fail!!!! Facing the fear of failure was a big part of it for me, but there are great things on the other side of that fear.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I am a member of the Houston Rucking Club, and I enjoy getting out in the sun and putting in some miles.

18
Jan

Timeline to BAD

The word fat can be an offensive word, and I don’t mean it to be when using it here, but with the new year, many people are making resolutions to become more fit. The problem is most expect results in a couple weeks or months, but for most people, results may not come for years, and using an example of someone becoming fat is a relatable one that I think most can understand.

Let’s think about someone who just graduated, and is working their first job out of school working a typical job for their part of town or the field they studied. They are somewhat fit after their senior year being a former athlete and attends the gym a few times a week. They make breakfast and bring their lunch to work, but usually pick something up on the way home for dinner after hitting the gym.

A few months into the job they realize that someone is always bringing something to the office for breakfast like doughnuts, kolaches or tacos, so they stop making breakfast so they can sleep a little longer knowing breakfast is at work. They figured they would just add in some extra cardio at the gym each evening.

After a year or so they stopped taking their lunch to work and started going out to eat with their co-workers or the company would cater food a couple times a week. They try to make healthy choices, but most of their co-workers chose restaurants that have minimal healthy options and are more on the fast side of the service industry. When the company caters food it is usually something they can get in bulk like fajitas, chicken wings, sub sandwiches or barbeque. Again, they try to make healthy choices but when they do they are usually harassed by their co-workers and end up eating whatever. They now are trying to make it to the gym every day because they are starting to notice some ‘not so positive’ changes to their body.

A little while after they started eating out every day for lunch they figured they’d stop eating dinner to counter the bad things they’d eaten. After the gym, they would have a protein shake, and that’s it, although the number of times to the gym has fallen back down again, and if they made it to the gym, they mostly stayed on the cardio machines because they were not trying to ‘bulk up.’

This continues for a few years, except the gym has become less and less because they extra cardio made them hate the gym, they were not seeing positive results, and they got burnt out. Now when they look in the mirror, they noticed they have put on a lot of weight in the midsection, and some recent blood work showed they were on the verge of some severe health issues.

It is at this point that someone usually tries to make a change. But this has taken years to get to this point. It did not happen in a few weeks, a few months or even a year, it took multiple years to get here, and it will take years to get back.

Understand that making a lifestyle change that is good or bad takes time, and for it to change your body aesthetically, physiologically and mentally takes time. Becoming FIT or FAT is a long game. It takes time to shape your body, and it takes a lot of work! I will tell you right now it is a lot easier to be fat than it is to be fit, but making a choice to be fit is the right one.

Come to our gym and try a class. See if it is something that you like. We try to help as much off the floor as we do on the floor. If you are at our gym now and are struggling to stay consistent with your food or your exercise send us an email. Don’t wait until it is too late and you have missed a month of workouts. Let’s break through this plateau now and get this year started on the right path!

Richard Andrews

CF-L2

10
Jan

Performance = Results

There is not another fitness program that I know of that tracks performance in the manner that CrossFit does. Any successful person or business in life tracks performance so why would your exercise be any different? Tracking performance is key to improving fitness, and improving your fitness is the best way to see results.

Like intensity, performance is relative. You are only capable of what you can do, and sometimes people are just better than you. In any type of athletics or exercise, this is one of the hardest things for people to get over. It is easy to make excuses about someone beating you, “They cheated,” “They have done this for longer,” “They do a lot of extra stuff,” “They have more time to prep,” the excuse list is endless. As cliche as it sounds, the only performance you should be worried about is your own, because someone else’s performance is not going to make you better whether you beat them or not.

I believe that if you are continually increasing your performance, you will also increase the results that you see. Those results could be weight loss, fat loss, muscle gain, mental growth, athletic gains or anything else in the fitness realm. Performance is improved by increasing your capacity and applied intensity to a particular movement or movements. An example of building capacity in a movement would be increasing your max pull-ups from 4 reps to 12 reps. As your capacity increases so will your performance in workouts that involve pull-ups. As you learn new movements, you do them slower, but they still find a way to leave you out of breath. As you get better at them not only can you do more reps faster but you are not as out of breath when you finish.

A great example of this is running a mile. You may start with a fifteen-minute mile and be entirely out of breath and completely exhausted, but when you improve your time to nine minutes, you will still be out of breath but because of your training be far less fatigued. That is increasing capacity.

I don’t think that people should focus solely on where they are finishing on the leaderboard each day, but I do believe that people should be trying to improve their workouts each day. Too many times people say, “I don’t care about the whiteboard,” and causes their overall workout to suffer. You should care about the whiteboard and how you are doing. You should always be trying to improve at the things you are not good at. (strength, double unders, pull-ups, etc.) You should continuously strive to refine movements and learn new ones. (ex. Kipping pull-ups to butterfly pull-ups) As your capacity increases so will your performance, this is increasing your fitness. As you improve your fitness, you will enjoy the way you change both physically and mentally.

Richard Andrews

CF-L2

2
Jan

Scaling, Are you doing it right?

CrossFit, by design, is a program where every workout can be made to fit your capabilities. What this means is that no matter what your fitness level, skills or injuries we can modify a workout to fit you and provide with the best workout possible.

Whenever you first start, we have to modify almost every workout. We make sure that you are performing the movements with good form before allowing any weight or intensity to them. We may lower the weight on some workouts or add some time of assistance to help you do movements like pull-ups. If it is something like running, we may shorten a 400m run to 200m. The goal of the modifications is to keep the desired stimulus of the workout.

Maybe you come to us with an old knee injury from a high school sport. You may be in great shape but might need some modifications when it comes to impact movements like box jumps or running. We could substitute box step ups with some loading and a non-impact cardio movement like biking or rowing. Sometimes modifications are necessary to keep you healthy and in the gym. This is hard for people because they want to be doing the same movements that their friends are doing, and it will make them a little discouraged. The thing is even if you are dealing with an old shoulder or knee injury getting a modified workout here is way better than not working out at all or wandering around the local globo gym for an hour.

Now for the paragraph to explain the click bait. I believe that scaling is necessary and needed in many situations, and I or any of my coaches will not force anyone to do something they do not want to or if they do not have the capability to do something. If someone wants to scale something because he or she is not comfortable, then they absolutely should, but at some point, if you’re going to reap the benefits of this program, you are going to have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I have seen it many times where an athlete, who is capable of doing more, wants to scale something back. (again before the ‘never crossfitters’ read this out of context, I would never make anyone do something they do not want to or something they are not capable of) The problem is that these are the same people who struggle with getting strength PR’s, dieting, losing weight, building muscle, stamina, endurance, and speed. I think that intensity is the key to success in anything in fitness. You need to reach outside of your comfort zone and push yourself a little bit. I am not talking about banging your head into the wall or slamming weights, just a little push. Do a bit more weight, hang on to the bar a little longer, push through the burn on the air bike a little further. These things are tough and hard to do, but if you want to see your body change or see your name further up on the leaderboard, you have to push a little harder.

Richard Andrews
CF-L2