Why I Do the Crossfit Open… And You Should Too!

By Coach Trea

Greetings Grey Coast Athletes,

Anyone that has taken my classes knows that I LOVE the Crossfit Open. In fact, I think my favorite part of Crossfit is the open.

If you are new to Crossfit, here is a quick summary of the Open. Starting Feb. 21st, and for the following four weeks, Crossfit will announce one workout per week. The WOD will be announced on Thursday night and you will have until Wednesday to complete it. We will always program the Open WOD the day after the announcement, but if you don’t plan on coming into the gym on Friday, you can do it during open gym on another day.

Why is the Open so amazing? Because everyone that does Crossfit, anywhere in the world, is doing the same workout. Hundreds of thousands of people every week, from everyday athletes to professional crossfitters, are putting in their best effort on the same workout.

Here at Grey Coast, we will once again do our own Grey Coast Open Competition. The GCCF Open takes the global competition and brings it into our own box in a fun and encouraging way. We will do the same open workouts, but will have our own leaderboard. This is your chance to go all out on 5 workouts. It is also your chance to encourage your fellow athletes and help them get the best score they can.

The GCCF Open will be slightly different this year from last year. For $20, you can sign up and enter the competition. That will get you an awesome t-shirt and a spot on the leaderboard. We will have a mens and womens division. Scoring the workouts will be identical to the Crossfit Open scores – all Rx scores will be ranked above scaled. Anyone choosing to further scale (or substitute movements) will be ranked below scaled. We will post the leaderboard weekly and the lowest score at the end of the 5 weeks wins.

Athletes are also encouraged to sign up for the Crossfit Open. The Crossfit Open is also $20. The great part about signing up for the global competition is that you will see how you stack up against your peers. The leaderboard is a lot of fun and gives you a great idea about your fitness level (you can see how you do against people your age, living in your same state, etc). Signing up for the global competition also allows you to save your scores and access them anytime. That way you can get a good idea of your fitness journey as you do Crossfit across many years.

GCCF Open registration will start Feb. 1st and close Feb. 21st. Sign up, have fun with the workouts, and encourage your classmates through their workouts.

Small Changes Yield Big Results

If you’re anything like me, I love the idea of a new year, a fresh start, and a chance to do things better. Unfortunately, this time of year simultaneously calls for a seemingly overwhelming sense of angst about ensuring I start the new year with a list of 6,000 things I need to do better at or better with in my life. Paired with these anxieties are often related unrealistic and thus, unattainable goals that admittedly would require more of a total rewiring of my brain than a vision board for me to accomplish. In the end, this leads to falling short of those goals as much a tragic part of the ritual as drafting them in the first place.

So, in an attempt to do things a little bit better (and wiser!), I’ve done my best to spend the last few weeks digging into my habits, rituals, likes, dislikes, routines, and so on to help me craft more than just pitfalls. If your goal is, as mine is, to do and be just a little bit better this year, I’ll share with you what I found in my own self-discovery and provide some tangible targets to make this year an impactful one. 

If you read last year’s blog post, Reevaluating the New Years Resolution, you’ll remember we talked about what makes a goal “SMART”: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Cheesy acronym aside, every goal I didn’t achieve, especially those I bailed on mere days into their existence (RIP little buddies), didn’t fulfill these requirements. 

You don’t need all of them, but you certainly need a majority of them. I even wrote the darn blog post and then proceeded to fill my journal with painfully generic “I want to eat better” style goals. But seriously- Who could live up to that? What does that even mean? And when I get home from school or work late on a Tuesday night after a stressful commute, how could I possibly use this goal as a lighthouse on the shore when I’m surrounded by an ocean of convenience food, hunger pangs, and emotional justifications for “treating myself”? I can’t and won’t be able to live up to what I was seeking. And of course, the cycle of negative feelings towards myself continues, with feelings of inadequacy blinding me to the reality that I never even gave myself opportunity to be successful.

A bit of a disclaimer: I turned 30 this year. I’m not saying this to in anyway imply that I am “old” or “wise” or anything of the sort, but major milestones such as this provide me with yet another opportunity for self-reflection. This year, something I’m working to leave in the decade behind me is being mean to myself. Though the idea of “self-hate” is a bit extreme for my general relationship with the issue, I don’t think it was completely outside of the realm of feelings that were felt in recent memory. At the very least, I can honestly say that the underpinnings of self-doubt and anxiety showed themselves far too often in the decade before.Why do I say this? Because part of learning to love yourself is being honest with where you would like to go, but also recognizing who you are and what you have worked so hard to accomplish to date. It’s about first celebrating the successes and using the realization of those achievements to draft more forward-leaning goals. Only then can we be more vulnerable and honest in our assessment of how we can do better. I knew deep down, when I wrote those goals last year, I deserved better than those vague targets to base my daily routine on. And whatever goals you felt short on last year, you too deserve much more than what you handed yourself. Now that we know better, we can do better. Which brings me to how I’m changing my view on 2019 goals. 

Realization 1: I will never, in a million bajillion years, be able to achieve something that is personally or professionally challenging with the sole help of an annual vow of commitment. I need quarterly, monthly, weekly, and hell, DAILY focuses to tailor my year in a meaningful manner. We’ll come back to this in a bit. 

Realization 2: I can’t just write things down because society tells me I should be better at it. For example, as much as I want to care, I am not at a point in my life where I want to keep my house completely organized or keep a beautifully crafted bullet journal. I don’t want to. No, but seriously, that sounds awful to me. So, I owe it to myself to find traits that I truly want to cultivate within myself and stop battling what my brain (or social media for that matter) tells me are the “right” things to care about. Let’s be honest- I’m me, you’re you. I am weird and you are weird and everyone is a different strand of weird. So let’s just be our own weird selves and focus on the things that WE want to be weirdly great at. Because you being in pursuit of your unique weirdness is an awesome, meaningful, valuable contribution to everyone around you. Go forth and be YOU.

Realization 3: It’s not all or nothing. You don’t need a new year, a Monday, or a new journal to begin anew. The journey is an incredibly fun and awkward ride, with many notable downs and setbacks along the way. Know that, expect them, and be nice to yourself when you find yourself there. Chances are, you’re the only one who noticed yourself trip. Just smile, assess the situation, take 5 deep heavy-back-squat-style breaths, and start fresh in that very moment. You deserve it. You truly do and you have to believe that. 

Ok, now that the sappy part is over and you know where the thought process for the goal drafting came from, let’s look at some ideas you can use for your own 2019 journey. Knowing myself, I like to stick with daily and weekly goals, for (embarrassingly) even monthly goals are outside of my mental and emotional bandwidth at this point in my life (but that’s ok, because you know, the uniquely weird thing again). Find what timeline works best for you by allowing for more self check-ins during the first couple of months of the year to determine your best accomplishment strategy. Here’s an example: Are you consistently hitting those monthly goals or do you find yourself strained in week 3, just trying to keep it all from unraveling? If that’s you, weekly goals may be more your style. But if you’re on target for those longer goals, keep at it and check in with yourself again next month. Allow for some trial-and-error here: this part of the self-experimentation could be the most valuable thing you learn about yourself for a while. Don’t be embarrassed or disappointed by what you find. The implementation of the honest answer is what will ultimately help you achieve the most this year. 

So, look at the below goals and use them as inspiration. You can use them as they are or build on them to make them more personal. You shouldn’t strive to be a perfectly robotic form of yourself at the year’s end, so don’t pick all of them. Pick a few. Or choose one for each major category in your life (work, home, family, finances, personal, etc). You can tell those around you about your goals or keep them to yourself. As always, if we can help you in anyway, let us know and we’ll do our best to support you. But whatever you pick, promise me and promise yourself that these goals make sense for YOU and what YOU want 2019 to be. Not me. Not your family or friends. Not your Facebook feed. You.

Find the best way to track these goals and reassess regularly. Keep the big goals in mind, but craft smaller ones that will help keep you inspired. And, as always, base your goals in a greater sense of self-love than ever before. When you fall short of where you wanted to be, recognize and celebrate the courage it took for you to pursue it in the first place and then try a different strategy to get there. Eliminate the negative talk inside your head and be encouraging and real with yourself. 

2019 will be an awesome year for you. Really. Believe it. Now, do what you need to do to get ready and then go get after it. Make it wholeheartedly, shamelessly, and fearlessly yours. And let us know where we can help- Life is always easier with allies. 

I’ll finish with saying I think I can speak for the entire GCCF team when I say how incredibly excited we are to enjoy another awesome year as a gym community! For our members, it will undoubtedly be a period of crushing old personal records, getting stronger, building deeper friendships, and strengthening the greatness that is the GCCF family. Please know that Josh, myself, and the entire GCCF team feel incredibly privileged to be on this journey with you. 

We’re pumped to see what you all will accomplish this year. Let’s make 2019 one for the record books. We’re ready.


Why Weightlifting is Key to Athletic Success

One of the key principles of CrossFit is that it is a strength and conditioning program that involves “constantly varied functional movements preformed at high intensity”. Whether you have been doing CrossFit for 3 days, 3 months or 3 years, you know this means that in a given workout there will be some type of weightlifting movement, gymnastics skill work or straight up cardio with running or rowing. Everyone knows why they should run more. As far as gymnastics goes, the added flexibility and ability to control ones body weight is a topic for another time. I’m here to talk about the benefits of weightlifting.


You probably fall into one of three categories with regards to your attitude around weightlifting.


Camp 1: “I don’t actually care about weightlifting. I just do it because that is what’s on the board.”


Camp 2: “Weightlifting is fun but I don’t take it that seriously.”


Camp 3: “What is cardio? All I care about are PRs.”


Obviously, there is some wiggle room here, but the point is either you enjoy lifting or it’s your least favorite part of doing CrossFit. I’m not here to try to change your mind, but I do want to point out some health reasons as to why working on your weightlifting is worth your time and effort.


For the most part, weightlifting can be broken down into two categories: Powerlifting and Olympic lifting. Powerlifting includes the back squat, deadlift and bench press. Olympic lifting is snatch and clean and jerk. The importance of powerlifting is pretty straight forward and for the most part, clearly functional. Deadlifting helps teach you how to safely get objects off the ground and gives you an idea in day-to-day life why you shouldn’t try to pick up that couch that you know weighs 300 pounds. Back squat teaches you how to safely stand up and sit down, builds muscle in your legs that will help as you get older, and, on some level, gives you an indication on how much weight you can move around (if you can get that 300lb couch off the ground can you move it to another location?). Bench press is getting an object off your chest (if you are under that couch for some reason and it falls on you, can you get it off you?).


Now the functionality of the Olympic movements is a bit harder to demonstrate. When are you ever really going to pick something up, and then catch it in a full squat with arms locked out overhead?? Honestly, I’m not sure. Clean and jerk is a bit more reasonable: getting an object from the floor to overhead, but again, tougher to find an example.


At this point, you may be thinking, “okay, fine. I’ll try a little harder on powerlifting days because I don’t really want to get crushed when my couch falls on me or hurt my back moving it. But Clare hasn’t given me a single reason to work on snatching or clean and jerks”. To help answer this question, check out the below points and linked article to why you should care.


Olympic lifting…


  1. Enhances motor skills- these movements are full body movements which requires multiple muscle systems to work together at the same time. This improves overall coordination.
  2. Improves balance- anyone who has ever snatched knows how much balance keeping that weight locked out overhead requires. Too far in either directions and you are on your butt. Balance is increasingly important as you age.


  1. Improves anaerobic endurance: the explosive bouts of power needed to lift for either of these movements helps your overall anaerobic capacity i.e. sprinting.


The above reasons are from this article. If you want to learn more, here’s the link:


Building more strength in all types of lifts, powerlifting or Olympic lifting, benefits your overall functional health more than you may realize. My challenge to you is try for a month or two to increase your strength and technique in weightlifting, while trying to be aware of how your body and overall fitness has improved.


PS: Keep your eye out for a weightlifting competition in October! It will not be scored solely on the highest numbers lifted, so it’s a good opportunity to test yourself and work to improve your technique!


— Coach Clare

Prioritize Your Progress

If you guys can’t already guess, the theme for July is all about consistency. Summer starts getting into full swing and life happens. Vacations, happy hours, the sun is finally out and it’s not raining, you name it; there are a billion other things to do beside getting in to the gym. Suddenly you start choosing other activities over your hour of fitness (which is fine) but those goals you set at the beginning of the year start slipping a bit further and further away. Or another trap people fall into is the more you miss the more your cardio slips and the longer it takes to recover.
We’ve all been there. And it’s not a bad thing to choose other activities. But we just wanted to give you some tips and tricks for staying on top of your fitness this summer.

1. Make it a priority: if you know you want to hit the M’s game tonight but typically workout at 5:30pm, give the 5am class a shot. Now fitness is out of your way and you have the whole day to yourself. If that’s not happening ask one of the coaches for a bodyweight workout (100 burpees for time anyone?) or go for a run!

2. Be accountable: telling someone or somehow announcing you’re intentions makes you more likely to go. So tell your spouse, check in on Triib ahead of time or make a pack with your friend in class to see them x number of days this week.

3. Don’t overdo it: seems simple enough. But if you are on an unlimited membership and come 3 times a week right now, when the attendance challenge starts don’t decide to come in six days the first week of July and then be so sore you can’t come in until the middle of the month. Be smart and listen to your body!

4. Track your progress: I think most people come in to improve their fitness in some capacity but how can you tell if you are making measurable steps towards that? Triib has tons of information for you to really understand your fitness and assess how you are doing. If you don’t know where to look to see the data, ask a coach! Another great option is a paper journal to get track of your progress. I think most people would be shocked if they looked at where they started their fitness journey at and where they are today. But you can’t do that if you don’t have anything to measure against!

5. Find your why: are you training for a competition? Do you want to be able to play with your kids? Or are you just determined to deadlift 300lbs? Regardless of why you come in think about how your action today drives you towards that goal. And what steps can you take tomorrow to keep moving forward?

It takes 21 days for something to become a habit. That is 21 days of intentionally choosing fitness. Some days will be easier than others, but in the end the more consistent you stay the closer you become to achieving your goals!

– Coach Clare