Category Archives: CrossFit

Have You Had Your Heart Attack Yet?

Have You Had Your Heart Attack Yet?

Charlie Sims

I was away from my toothbrush one morning during a camp out with a few of my buddies. My mouth tasted like sleep, and I was kicking myself for being in such a hurry trying to leave the day before. But we had breakfast, drank some coffee, and started piddling with the fire so I soon forgot about the fact that I hadn’t brushed my teeth. In fact, I didn’t think about it again until I got home later that evening.

Surprisingly, contrary to what my dentist and mother always told me; forgetting to brush my teeth didn’t result in a cavity. Maybe I dodged a bullet, or maybe it was something else.

Are you familiar with the idea of a lagging indicator?

Some things have immediate consequences and tend to render immediate behavior changes. If I touch a hot stove, my body will reflexively respond even before it registers with my mind. Whoa!!! Bad idea. Don’t do it.

The immediacy of many of these consequences are motivating enough for us to permanently alter our behavior. The association of negative or positive feedback is so linked to the experience that Pavlov’s Dog comes to mind.

This is where things get complicated. Often times, we do something with a negative and catastrophic consequence, but get zero immediate feedback. Or worse, we’ll get an immediate positive response with behavior that will result in an ultimately negative consequence. This is called a Lagging Indicator.

I don’t get the cavity immediately after forgetting to brush my teeth.
I don’t get lung cancer after my first cigarette.
My car didn’t break down immediately after the “Check Engine” light came on.
I don’t get fat after sitting on the couch for a day.
I don’t have a heart attack after my first doughnut.

But if I keep it up, I will.

Maybe you’re a special case, maybe you just dodged the bullet, or maybe it just hasn’t hit yet.

Sometimes the consequences are immediate, other times they don’t show up for months or years after the fact. By then, it may be too late. We’ve seen enough data to conclude a clear association between certain behaviors and their consequences.

What if the immediate feedback is unpleasant, but the ultimate consequence (read: payoff) is a jackpot?

I don’t get a six pack immediately after eating my first veggie and doing a sit-up.
I don’t get strong immediately after doing one squat.
I don’t get fit after one workout

But if I keep it up, I will.

Are You Tracking?

Are you Tracking?

Charlie Sims

I was having a conversation with one of our athletes a number of months ago. I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but it was long enough ago that I’ve since noticed a significant difference in this athletes approach to his training.

This person showed up a couple times every week. He came in a couple minutes late to class, did a little of this and that, got real sweaty, and walked out. It went on like this for a while, and I noticed that his performance was completely stagnant, he wasn’t getting any better, just sweaty. I guess he was ok with that, but I flagged him down after class one day and asked him how much weight he had used for his front squats that day, and if he felt good about his progress. He looked at me like I was speaking Swahili.

I asked him if he’d be up for a little experiment. And he eagerly agreed to play.

I challenged him to write down the details of his workouts for 2 months. His weights, his times, his, even how he felt during and after the workout.

The two months went by, and I followed along, and amazingly the guy squatting #225 every week for a year, all of the sudden added #40 pounds to his squat. When I asked him about it, he said that he just did what we were telling him to do. Try and add #5 pounds every week.

What’s the point?

Ha! That would have been an impossible task for someone who has no idea how much weight they’re actually using in a given workout. With this athlete, the workout was about the workout until he had numbers to work with. Then it became about the progress. His goals all of the sudden became measurable.

Can you relate to this athlete?

I have 95% of all the workouts I’ve ever done since we opened CrossFit Regeneration. I keep them in notebooks. I love the texture of paper and pen. There’s dried sweat on the pages, and smeared ink. But, occasionally, I get discouraged about my lack of immediate progress. When that happens, I can look back 4 years and see just how far I’ve actually come, and that encourages me to keep it up.

Tracking is huge with what we do. With so many simultaneous goals being juggled at once, it is imperative that we have a handle on our current reality with each (thing) in order to optimize our performance. If I don’t know what my Fran time is; first of all, I can’t carry a real conversation with another CrossFitter, but additionally, I don’t have a target to shoot at on my next Fran attempt. The target defines the progress.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have visual proof of improvement!

Currently, we use Wodify for the majority of our tracking, but I don’t think anything can ever truly replace paper and pen.



Charlie Sims

A story of love and loss, and the benefits of addressing weaknesses.

Last summer, I caught a jerk funny, and because my lower traps are weak, I caught the injury bug. It hurt to put any kind of weight on my shoulders, so no weightlifting at all. It even hurt to pull from the floor. So I put the barbell on the wall, and did one of the only things I could do without pain.


Lunges were my first ever CrossFit Workout.

It was a 400 meter walking lunge for time, and since that day, that single exercise has been in my head more than any other. I was so sore after 12 minutes and a quarter mile, that I swore I’d never do them again!

But that little injury and the nervous energy of wanting to keep up my training shook me out of my fear of lunges. I decided to lunge a quarter mile every day until my back was better.

At first it was pretty brutal, but after only 3 days, my soreness was substantially less. I was able to add running afterward and was feeling pretty awesome… Aside from the pain in my back…

I started adding distance after the first week.

Have you ever made friends with someone who you thought was a jerk until you got to know them? That’s me and lunges.

I lunged exclusively for three weeks while my back healed, and once I could hold a barbell on my back again, I was able to hit a new Back Squat PR.

Immediately after this, I was so convinced of the benefits of lunges that they started making a weekly appearance in our class programming. We did every kind of lunges: distance, overhead, front rack, back rack, front and rear leg elevated, etc.

Everybody complained.

Until Thursday night.


I didn’t know that lunges would be in the Open. In fact, I didn’t think they would, especially like they did, but there they were. My new friend.

And my gym was well prepared.