Coach's Blog

Setting Goals (Part 1)

SetAndReachGoalsAs we begin the month of December and start to wrap up 2015 it is a great time to start thinking about goals for the new year.

With my analytical nature and proclivity towards everything numbers I really enjoy setting a quantitative goal, staying the course, and accomplishing said goal.   This post is a guide  to help you focus your own goals and additional things to keep in mind when setting them.

A lot of people set New Years resolutions, but these are typically vague and seem more like “it would be nice to-s.”   This is what we want to avoid when we set our goals.  We want finite quantitative goals and have a plan laid out to accomplish them.

The first criteria is that your goals need to be SMART, which is an acronym for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.  Though you have probably been exposed to the SMART goal concept in the past it is always good to revisit it:

Smart Goals

While you want a goal to be attainable and realistic do not use these as a crutch to limit yourself.   You can still set high goals just make sure that the time line you give yourself is realistic.

In addition to the 5 “SMART” criteria there are four additional items that I like to use while goal planning for myself or with members.

The first is to write the goal down.  This helps to make the goal real and allows you to be accountable to yourself.  To go even further you can make it public by telling others or using the goal board in the back of the gym this goes even further to help you keep yourself accountable.  Beyond that it helps keep the goal at the front of your mind…you can use post-its on your refrigerator, car steering wheel, or wherever keeps you reminded of the goal.

One-bite-at-a-time-001The next additional criteria is to set intermediate steps if the goal is long term (>4 weeks); while adding 100 pounds to your back squat is a great goal, in order to add 100 pounds you have to first add 10 pounds, then 20, then 30, etc.  Setting smaller intermediate goals helps psychologically by giving yourself realistic steps along the way.  It also gives you a reason to push for the goal in the short term…if your goal is a 6+ month goal it is too easy to justify missing one week or having an extra cheat meal but if accomplishing the next step is a couple weeks out and so close you can taste it then it helps to stay focused.  Just try to eat that elephant one bite at a time.

Third it is best to go ahead and write down how you are going to accomplish that goal…and make that a complimentary goal.  To go back to the back squat example, if your goal is to add 100 pounds to your back squat you should probably squat at least once a week to get there.  Therefore you have just created a new goal: “back squat once a week.”  So what do you do if you have a work function andBedazzled miss the WOD when the gym was back squatting?  You come in during open gym and get under the bar.  Another example if weight loss is your goal, would be to only have a specific number of cheats a week or limit number of alcoholic beverages a week.

Lastly is to set supplementary goals that fight unintended consequences of the original goal. If you have not seen the Brendan Fraser movie Bedazzled he makes a deal with the devil and is granted wishes.  Every time he is granted his wish, but he has not thought about the unintended consequences which always gets him in trouble.  An example is he wishes to be very rich and ends up being a drug cartel being hunted by the DEA.  If your goal is to raise your lifts you may want to add a supplementary goal of maintaining your current body weight or keeping your run times or bench marks, say “Helen”,  the same.  This helps to keep your mind on the goals of increased overall fitness in addition to a specific domain.

54771130Over the next few days start developing and outline of your goals for 2016 and beyond.  Once you have that outline, please  schedule a sit down with a coach to help you plan out all your goals and how you are going to accomplish them.

Now get out there and kick your goals in the face.



CrossFit Wappoo – James Island – Charleston, SC

Why do you CrossFit?

IMG_0924Anyone who has been CrossFitting for a while has probably been asked the question;

Why do you CrossFit?

It is usually asked by a friend, coworker, or family member who is wondering why you can’t shut up about your gym.

If the question was asked to 20 different CrossFitters they would come up with 20 different answers.   Some may echo something they have heard around their gym “I am training for life” … “everything is everything” … “general physical preparedness” … et cetera.  Others may say something off a t-shirt they saw on Facebook “Stronger people are harder to kill” … “To push my limits” … et cetera.   Others may quote a specific goal “I want to get a muscle up” or “trying to hit a body weight snatch.”  While another group will say they enjoy the camaraderie and people.

20150609_180440While all of those are great reasons and definitely some of what motivates people to come to the gym, I think people need to think farther back, back to their first CrossFit workout.  You probably did not know anyone at the gym, though everyone was nice, and some of the movements were different and unfamiliar.  But once the clock started you laid it all out there and as you were laying on the floor gasping for breath you probably said…”that was fun!”

That is it!  That is the first reason you decided to CrossFit…it is FUN.  The workouts change and constantly push your body to their limits way more than you did in your pre-CrossFit life.  While there are some movements and workouts you prefer to others, you still look forward to the workouts and can not wait to get to the gym.

IMG_0136So next time someone asks “Why do you CrossFit?” the simplest answer may just be “It is fun and I enjoy it.”

I want to challenge everyone to be introspective about if you still have fun doing CrossFit; if not, ask yourself what has changed that has taken the joy out of it.  If there is anything as a owner and coach that I can do to bring back the fun for you please let me know.


Meet the Coach – Steven

1. Where are you from, how did you end up in Charleston, and what areas have you lived?steven

I grew up in Matthews, NC and moved to Charleston for dental school about 3 years ago. I went to Erskine College in the middle of nowhere in the upstate as well.

2. How old are you and what is your occupation?

26, and a lifetime student. I am finally in my last year of school ever. Soon I will be a dentist!

3. What is your athletic background, if any?

I grew up playing baseball and basketball mostly, some golf and a lot of ultimate Frisbee in my free time. I played baseball in college

steven14. How did you find CrossFit and when, what lead you to it, and what keeps you coming back?

I did my first crossfit workout in 2007 when my best friend’s family opened a crossfit gym right after we graduated from high school, and I was there every summer and winter break throughout college. I keep coming back because it gives me something competitive in my life and I always find weaknesses to work on and that my strengths continue to improve. And honestly, it is just fun to get to do some of the things we do.

5. What are your favorite and least favorite movements and/or workouts?

I love overhead squats and rope climbs, so the more the merrier. Double unders too.
I HATE sumo deadlift high pull. I don’t even have a good reason, but it is absolutely hands down my least favorite movement in life. Also, an 800m prowler push was the worst workout I have ever ever ever done.

6. What are your CrossFit strengths and weaknesses?steven

Strengths: anything involving squats or jumping
Weaknesses: Shoulder to Overhead, push-ups, rowing

7. What do you enjoy most about coaching?

Seeing people do things they never thought they would be able to, and just continually seeing everyone improving. Getting that first pull-up ever, or finishing a workout that seemed impossible once upon a time is awesome to watch. It’s rewarding to see the athlete come out in people.

8. What would you tell someone who was on the fence about joining or coming in for fundamentals?

steven3I dare you to try.  You will probably surprise yourself with what you are capable of, and it is not as crazy as you might think. You will be so glad that you did!

9. What are your favorite out of gym activities/hobbies?

Eating, drinking coffee

10. Do you have any unique talents, funny story, or a favorite joke you would like to share?


Meet the Coach – Eric Wensel

1.Where are you from, how did you end up in Charleston, and what areas have you lived?337376_3622042434141_991418701_o

I am from Virginia born and raised. I moved to Charleston because I absolutely love the area and the food! Haven’t lived anywhere else.

2.How old are you and what is your occupation?

I am 29 years old and previously was a health and physical education teacher at a middle school in Virginia.

3.What is your athletic background, if any?

While growing up I played baseball, basketball, soccer and dabbled in everything else that was sports related. In high school I focused on wrestling and in college I played some intramural sports.

4.How did you find CrossFit and when, what lead you to it, and what keeps you coming back?

I first heard of CrossFit back in 2008 through a friend that had just started using it. I was intrigued by its intensity and results but never really committed to it until about 2012 when I wasn’t seeing the results I once had. The competitive nature that I have keeps me coming back to it because I know I’ll push myself harder in training.

558301_4073396320863_434045925_n5.What are your favorite and least favorite movements and/or workouts?

Favorite movement is muscle ups and walls balls. Least favorite are C2B pull-ups. Favorite workout is CF Open WOD 13.3.

6.What are your CrossFit strengths and weaknesses?

My strengths are OLY lifting and powerlifting while I would say the running portion is more of a weakness.

7.What do you enjoy most about coaching?

I love paying attention to detail and helping athletes figure out what works best for them in particular movements.

8.What would you tell someone who was on the fence about joining or coming in for fundamentals?252687_481990795161182_918978706_n

I’d say just try it. Everything is scalable and the people are amazing.

9.What are our favorite out of gym activities/hobbies?

I love hanging out at the beach and taking my dog out to play.

10.Do you have any unique talents, funny story, or a favorite joke you would like to share?

You’ll have to come in and ask me.

Meet the Coach – Sam Crist

IMG_16121.Where are you from, how did you end up in Charleston, and what areas have you lived?

I was born and raised on the coast in California, and have lived in middle Tennessee and eastern North Carolina. I moved to Charleston about two years ago when I was looking for a job with the fire department.

2.How old are you and what is your occupation?

I am 27 years old and I work for St. Andrews Fire Department as a driver/firefighter.

3.What is your athletic background, if any?

My first sport was baseball, where I developed a strong passion for the game and was fortunate to be put in a good program that traveled around the state. In high school I played waterpolo for one of the top schools in the country. A basis for both sports was having a foundation in track/field and swimming.
316811_570095193205_720697_n4.How did you find CrossFit and when, what lead you to it, and what keeps you coming back?

I found out about Crossfit in late 2007 (when it was relatively new) during college and would follow the workouts online with a buddy. Initially, I enjoyed the feeling of being smoked and getting to feel the toughness of a workout in less than 10 minutes. I believe that being a member of a Crossfit gym has enabled me to make many lasting friendships; to me it is more valuable than anything else.

5.What are your favorite and least favorite movements and/or workouts?

I enjoy rowing and running. Deadlifting is my favorite barbell movement, air squats are my favorite bodyweight movement, and I also like kettlebells and wallballs. I think that Jackie and Helen are my favorite workouts, but if I happen to be good at any new ones, they will quickly become my new favorites. I’m not a strong presser, so any overhead movement would most likely be my least favorite. I like to train strength with strongman movements using all of that fun equipment.

Sam on wave (1)6.What are your CrossFit strengths and weaknesses?

My specific strength is having good ‘strength endurance’, so I enjoy doing workouts that are tough and last a little bit longer. I am weaker on olympic weightlifting and am eager to become better at it.

7.What do you enjoy most about coaching?

I enjoy being able to teach people that their limits are far from what their mind has told them. As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another. I know that in coaching, I too become a stronger minded man and learn so much about myself.

10400368_523242780815_3525359_n8.What would you tell someone who was on the fence about joining or coming in for fundamentals?

You can spend a lifetime preparing yourself to be ready for something. You do not have to be in shape or know the movements for fundamentals. We teach you the movements, that is what the class is for! You get in better shape by hard work and consistency, and we will encourage you to earn that every day.

9.What are our favorite out of gym activities/hobbies?

I really enjoy surfing, stand up paddle boarding, snowboarding, and skiing. For days where I like to relax more,  I enjoy cooking, reading, and woodworking.

10.Do you have any unique talents, funny story, or a favorite joke you would like to share?

I am classically trained on the violin.