City of Dunwoody Celebrated CFD’s Grand Opening with Ribbon Cutting

The City of Dunwoody hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at CrossFit Dunwoody’s new location on Wednesday, September 23rd at 11:30AM. The ceremony was held at 1343 Dunwoody Village Pkwy, Dunwoody, GA 30338, where CFD has renovated the old Jiffy Lube into a brand new facility with several unique features.

“We are so excited, myself along with members of Dunwoody City Council and City Manager to welcome you to your new home,” said Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deustch. “You have made a very attractive and inviting permanent facility for CFD and we wish you tremendous success. Dunwoody residents, if you haven’t seen it please drop by!”

 

“We just opened up our new facility on August 31st. We’re so excited to lay a foundation here in the City of Dunwoody,” said Glenn Dorris, owner of CrossFit Dunwoody.

Glenn took the City of Dunwoody on a virtual tour of the gym. “We kept it very open, left the bay doors, and we’ve got our rig here for lifting weights and pullups. Our prized feature is our outdoor workout space. We added to the back of the building, it’s completely outdoors. One of the coolest things about the new facility is we’ve got a kid’s room. People are welcome to bring their kids.”

Click here to watch the ribbon cutting ceremony and to see CFD’s gorgeous new space.

Interested in stopping by to see the gym in person? Click here to schedule your free intro session.

How Stress Can Motivate You

Did you know that a little bit of stress can actually maximize your performance?

If you’ve ever been in a flow state and totally lost track of time immersed in the task at hand, you know know how astounding it can be to snap out of it. You were so focused that you couldn’t worry about your bills, external relationships, and the little worries in life.

It turns out that time spent in a flow state is one of the highest corollaries to a fulfilling life. The more time you spend in flow the happier you are. It also turns out that flow is the best way to get good at a particular skill- assuming the activity meets some key criteria. 

The Yerkes Dodson Law examines how as arousal increases so does performance. Being pushed slightly beyond your comfort zone you get hooked. Locked in flow you will continue to push yourself, just barely keeping up with the challenge that is inches from your grasp. They even assigned a specific value to the degree of difficulty. If the level of the challenge is approximately 4% greater than your current skill you will be most likely to get into a flow state.

If you think about great athletes, musicians, artists and other high performing individuals you will see countless examples of them rising to the occasion. Completing the game winning drive as they march their team down the field and scoring with just seconds left on the clock. Playing a guitar lick faster and faster immersed in sweat and the roar of the crowd. These folks are locked into what they are doing to a place that is beyond what conscious mind and ego can interfere with. They are fully present and immersed in the task at hand.

It is important to find the thresholds in your life where you can push yourself and grow. If you feel like a task is too easy you will quickly lose interest and find yourself bored. If it is too difficult, you will feel like it’s hopeless and not actually give your best effort. Find the challenge that is engaging and challenging yet attainable if you truly want to get the most out of yourself!

Want to challenge yourself? Click here to learn more about our programming and start today!

Six Reasons Why You Should Sign Up for that Next Competition!

  1. Have something to work towards. #GOALS

Having goals keeps you motivated, it gives you something to shoot for. You can focus your training (i.e this week I will work on pull-ups, and aim to link 3 by the end of the next week).  

  1. Discover your weaknesses.

It’s easy to say “I’m bad at double unders”, then just avoid them in a class. But with competitions, there’s nowhere to hide. Maybe DU’s or T2B is the only thing keeping you out of the Rx division. If so, this is a great way to dial in on those skills or lifts that you struggle at. Maybe signing up for that competition is the one thing that will finally motivate you to work on what is holding you back.  

  1. You don’t have to compete alone!

More often than not, many competitions will have a TEAM or PARTNER division.  This is a great way to get your favorite workout buddies together, come up with a silly name and have some fun.  Being part of a Scaled Team at an event can be a great way to get your feet wet if you are new to competing. And sometimes this is a great way for you to challenge yourself to step up to that Rx category if you have one of your teammates that might be able to do some of the higher skilled movements (i.e. muscle ups) while you push yourself on some of the heavier weights required.

  1. Gain inspiration and inspire others.

The camaraderie you get in your local box doesn’t leave when you get to a competition. Sure, everyone would like to win, but that doesn’t mean leaving others in the dirt. You will always see the top athletes stick around until the last person has finished, offering words of encouragement and advice. Be as inspired by the grit and determination of those left on the floor at the time-cap as you are by the flourish of the elite.

  1. Meet new people.

Whether it’s your fellow competitors, volunteers, judges or just watching, you’ve all got something highly emotive in common. This can create a bond you won’t get anywhere else. 

  1. Discover what your body can really do.

Maybe you can’t string T2B together during a WOD or have never run a sub-8 mile during your training. But you will be surprised what you can do come “Game Day”. The adrenaline and energy of the crowds and your fellow competitors can help give you that extra push. Competitions can be an awesome way to PR!  (And you can bet there will be someone there that got it on camera!)

  1. It’s FUN!!!

Ask the majority of CrossFitters that have ever competed and they DON’T do it to WIN, they DO it to FINISH, to COMPETE. And most, even if they said they would only do just one, do another and another! You may not always remember the struggle of training or the exhaustion that comes after the event, but you DO remember the awesome friends you made, the incredible athletic performances and the FUN you had.

If you are looking for more information on competing, what opportunities are out there or even how to focus your training, be sure to ask one of our amazing coaches or set up a personal training session.  If you are not a member, but are curious about CrossFit, whether you ever compete or not, be sure to check out our KICKSTART PROGRAMS including our Comprehensive Kickstart that includes a Movement Screen for Flexibility and Mobility.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: As always, I LOVE WHITEBOARD DAILY (@whiteboard_daily) for quick and easy visual explanations and some great drawings on perspective like the one in today’s blog.

 

Q&A with Bella Zack: High Schooler, CrossFitter, Our Champion

Last weekend CrossFit Dunwoody had one of our own compete in the Garage Games Junior Open in Woodstock, GA. Bella Zack is only 16 years old. She carries with her a water bottle with a sticker that says “Eat. Sleep. CrossFit.” And that pretty much sums her up.  Not only did she participate in last week’s competition, but she placed 1st in her age group to take the top spot on the podium. 

In addition to going to school and working out at CrossFit Dunwoody, she also works part time deep cleaning the gym every day to keep it clean and our athletes safe and healthy.  Her work ethic shines in and out of the gym and we had to know just what motivates this young athlete to grab Crossfit by the horns and dominate the way she does.

So we sat down with her this week and asked her a few questions about what got her interested in CrossFit and why she started competing:

CFD: Tell us about yourself!

Bella: My name is Bella Zack and I am 16 years old. I am a junior in high school at Saint Francis. Some of my hobbies are CrossFit, and I am also involved in Drama at school. When I am not at school or hanging out with my friends, I am at the gym. 

CFD: How did you get into CrossFit? How long have you been at CrossFit Dunwoody?

Bella: In the 7th grade I ran cross country and I liked the way I felt after I finished a race. After the season ended, I needed to find another way to exercise. I started taking CrossFit kids classes at another gym. It was a long commute to get to the gym every night so ended up not going as much as I would have liked. Luckily CrossFit Dunwoody opened up so close to my house! I started working out at CrossFit Dunwoody in October 2017.

CFD: What do you like best about CrossFit/competitions?

Bella: The thing I love the most about CrossFit is that it is different every single day. I also love that there is something that you can improve on every time you come into the gym. The thing I love about competitions is the excitement of showing off what you are capable of and pushing your limits.  

CFD: What made you decide to begin competing?

Bella: I have always wanted to compete but was too scared. I competed in my first competition in December of 2019.  I knew after that I wanted to compete more often and become more serious.

CFD: What advice would you give someone thinking about joining CrossFit?

Bella: If you are thinking about joining CrossFit, you should not be intimidated at all. You can scale any of the movements and the coaches are great at giving modifications. Also, you will feel so much better after you workout. 

CFD: What has competing taught you? Has it changed you in any way?

Bella: Competing has helped me get out of my comfort zone and has taught me to push to the limit. Competing has shown me that I am better than I thought!

CFD: How would you describe your daily or weekly workout routine? Nutrition? Sleep habits? 

Bella: I try to workout five to six times a week. Before I go to workout I try to have a protein bar to give me some energy. I try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night but sometimes that does not happen because of school/TikTok/Netflix, etc..

CFD: What advice would you give to someone thinking about competing? 

Bella: If you are thinking about competing you should sign up for one, even if you are in a scaled division. It is super rewarding once you have finished all the workouts. 

CFD: What is your favorite WOD? Favorite movement? 

Bella: My favorite workout is Annie. Annie is a benchmark workout that is 50, 40, 30, 20, and 10 reps of double unders and sit ups. My favorite movement is the deadlift because I feel super strong when I can pick up so much weight.  

CFD: How has COVID changed your workout routine?

Bella: I worked out and did all of the home workouts during quarantine. I was limited on which equipment I had so I definitely repeated a lot of the same movements. When everything was shut down I was in the middle of trying to build up skills to be able to qualify for a competition down in Miami, Florida. It was definitely hard to adjust to the way I was working out and not being able to go to the gym everyday. 

CFD: Why should people join CrossFit Dunwoody? 

Bella: People should join CrossFit Dunwoody because of the amazing community. I am one of the youngest people who workout there and everyone is so welcoming and encouraging. It is truly my happy place. 

 

Everyone at CrossFit Dunwoody is so proud of her for pushing out of her comfort zone and starting to compete.  She is the future of fitness and we can’t wait to watch what she does next.  Especially on TikTok!!

If you are looking for more information on competing, what opportunities are out there or even how to focus your training, be sure to ask one of our amazing coaches or set up a personal training session.  If you are not a member, but are curious about CrossFit, whether you ever compete or not, be sure to check out our KICKSTART PROGRAMS including our Comprehensive Kickstart that includes a Movement Screen for Flexibility and Mobility.

Top 3 Tips to Maximize Your Deadlifts

People tend to have polarized feelings about deadlifts. Either they love them or they hate them. No matter how you feel about them, deadlifts are a great movement to strengthen your entire back and surrounding muscles.

Let’s explore the top 3 tips to maximize your deadlifts!

  1. Ditch the Mixed Grip
  2. Dial-in Your Setup Position
  3. Train Deadlift Variations

1.Ditch the Mixed Grip

One of the best ways to start improving your deadlift is to ditch the mixed grip. Many people worry that grip will be a limiting factor at their maximal percentage lifts but you can easily overcome this by implementing a hook grip. This takes some getting used to since you’ve probably never lifted a bar of this weight with a hook grip and the pressure can seem unreal. Try taping your thumbs the first few sessions to take some of the edge off.

The benefits of a double overhand grip is a better position on the bar, less torque on the hips and spine, and decreased strain on the bicep. Build up this strength in your training sessions and if you really need to resort to a mixed grip for a competition or 1RM attempt then you will be better for waiting.

2. Dial-in Your Setup Position

One of the biggest issues you may be facing with deadlifts is the setup. That first pull off the ground never feels quite right. To overcome this you can practice rolling the bar into position. This may feel more comfortable and your body will naturally find the right position without you fidgeting around.

If you are new to lifting or know that your mobility is lacking then you may find it beneficial to practice pulling off of blocks. The higher start position will make it easier for you to engage your posterior chain. Another good option here is to work from the top down with lighter loads. Take the loaded bar from a rack or higher blocks and start standing tall, hips fully extended. Keeping your back and core tight and start pushing your hips toward the wall behind you as the bar descends down your thighs. Keep the bar in contact with your legs and the weight in the middle of your foot and heels.

Practice lowering down in a slow control fashion taking 4-5 seconds to lower for each rep. If you have a hard time finding the right position then you should take someone on one time to work with a coach who can provide the right cues to get you properly set up.

3. Train Deadlift Variations

Another way to build confidence in your deadlift is to explore different deadlift variations. Sumo deadlifts, single-arm, single-leg, trap bar, dumbbells, kettlebells, atlas stones, dballs, and tire flips will all help you. Getting stronger is going to help even if it is nonspecific. There’s no shortage of heavy stuff to pick up off the ground! These variations will train your grip, stabilizers, and strengthen many smaller muscles of the glutes and hamstrings that may not get fully recruited in your normal deadlift style.

There you go, the top 3 tips to maximize your deadlifts. Now go find a coach and pull some big numbers!

Why High-Intensity Training (HIT) Is Good For You

Today there are so many fitness programs and classes available it can be overwhelming to decide how to train. If you are researching training programs you have probably heard of High Intensity Training (HIT) or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIT is incorporated into many classes and has grown in popularity due to its ability to produce fast and effective results. But what exactly is it…and more importantly how do you decide if it’s right for you?!

Lets answer your top 5 questions about High Intensity Training so you can feel confident in finding a gym, personal trainer, or other fitness option in your local area.

Your top 5 High Intensity Training Questions:

 

  • What exactly is HIT?
  • Is HIT a good fit for me?
  • What does a HIT workout look like?
  • What types of movements are in a HIT workout?
  • What are the benefits of HIT?

 

1.What exactly is HIT?

High intensity refers to a level of intensity that is measured by a high power output or a high rate of perceived exertion. This will be unique to every individual.

A high intensity strength workout will cause high motor unit recruitment. This means it activates a majority of the muscles in your body and generally requires loads >80% of your 1 rep maximum to achieve the desired stimulus.

Near maximal exertion for aerobic work or “cardio” this would be performing exercises at a pace that elevates heart rate and gets you sweating and breathing heavy. You would work at a pace that would be unsustainable for more than a few minutes at a time. These workouts are often set up in an interval fashion where you go hard for a short period of time and then rest. This allows you to repeat the effort several times until the desired training stimulus is achieved. As you train in this way you will improve your ability to train hard for longer periods of time and delay the “burning” feeling commonly associated with HIT.

2. Is HIT a good fit for me?

High Intensity Training is a great fit for anyone looking to get fast results. The key is determining what the definition of “Intensity” is for you. Jumping into a class workout performing movements you haven’t mastered and loads your body is not ready for is a big no-no.

Working with a coach who has experience scaling workouts to meet your needs and abilities is the key to having long term success with HIT training. They will help you choose the exercises, weights, frequency, and duration of your training session to ensure your body gets the stimulus you need with risk of injury or burnout.

Be weary of anyone who promises vomiting or intense pain from their workouts. It’s not an effective way to get the results you want!

3. What does a HIT workout look like?

For a high intensity strength training workout you will be using heavy loads. Ideally greater than 80% of your 1RM as this is the ideal load for gaining strength, building muscle, and improving body composition.

Often times performing multiple exercises back to back at moderate intensity (60-80%) can produce a similar training result. It is important that the movements are carefully selected to ensure that form is not compromised and that the rest time is adequate enough to allow for repeated effort.

If you aren’t familiar with exercises, weightlifting, or just aren’t sure of what your body is capable of then you will benefit from working with a certified and highly qualified trainer or coach. They will analyze your movement and help you develop the motor control and stability to prepare your body for more high intensity forms of exercise.

4. What types of movements are in a HIT workout?

Any type of movement can be incorporated into a HIT workout. Resistance training with barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells are all great tools. You can incorporate resistance bands, chains, battle ropes or medicine balls. Gymnastics implements like pullup bars or rings. Even simple bodyweight movements and plyometrics can be used.

The most important factor when choosing movements is that you have technical proficiency with the movement and can perform multiple reps at a given load with exceptional form. If your form tends to break down when you are fatigued or you have mobility issues that alter your technique then that movement is not a good choice for the high intensity training session.

5. What are the benefits of HIT?

There are numerous benefits that come from High Intensity Training.

The lactic acid produced from properly executed high intensity training will stimulate the release of growth hormone stimulating sugar and fat metabolism. It also increases protein synthesis which means you will build more lean muscle. HIT training also elevates your metabolism helping you burn more calories both during your training session and for many hours after you’re done.

You also tend to accomplish more work in less time with HIT training. This makes it a great way to train for busy folks who can only train 20-30 minutes 2 or 3 days per week. Just remember that training is only half of the equation. Adequate sleep and proper nutrition make sure that your body recovers from and adapts to the training stimulus, giving you the results you want.

There you have it. Answer to your Top 5 questions about HIT training. If you’re ready to talk to a coach to see if High Intensity Training is right for YOU then get in touch with one of our coaches today for a free consult!

 

Progress Plateaued? How is Your Strength Balance?

By Coach Amber Hopeman

Picture this: You have just completed a strength cycle for your back squat. You go to test your 1 Rep Max and… *Cue the sad trumpets*… No improvement. You have trained hard, you’ve eaten well, you’ve made sure to prioritize your recovery and nothing to show for it.

So what happened? Well there are a few factors to consider but for the purpose of this article I want to focus on one: Strength Balance. And let’s take that one step further by talking about unilateral strength, in this case, your left leg vs your right. Imbalances or discrepancies in strength (in addition to mobility and flexibility) can lead to pain and discomfort in the limb that is taking on more of the load but can also lead to poor performance and inevitably plateaus in progress.

“What we see in CrossFit programming is overzealous training of the squat pattern, with some form of squat being strengthened or conditioned on most days. In the novice or intermediate we will also see poor control in the bottom of the squat which increases the absolute load on the anterior knee and hip, and possibly the back. Holding tempo and developing strength in the bottom of the squat are important to develop in athletes who have painful squats.”

But whether your lack of progress is due to pain or not, most of the training we see is bilateral (front squat, back squat, strict press, strict pull-up). When was the last time you trained or beyond that even tested your unilateral strength (Front Rack Step Up, Single Arm Press, Single Arm High Pull)?

In the case of the above scenario a similar situation arose for an athlete. She was stuck at a 225# back squat despite significant training to improve. When she tested her Front Rack Step Up she was able to complete FOUR reps on her right leg with a 45# barbell. Her left leg… ZERO! No wonder a traditional back squat program was not helping. She had been basically squatting with one leg. With a quick shift in her training, she focused on her unilateral strength over the course of the next few weeks with front rack step-ups, bulgarian split squats and other unilateral movements always completing one extra set on her left leg. At the end of the program, she retested her back squat. 245# BOOM!

The takeaway: The strength was there, she always had the potential, she just had to access it.

In another awesome case, PR Star Fitness, a gym in Virginia all tested their athletes back squat numbers. Athletes were given the choice between back squats or step ups for the 6 week cycle. At the end of the 6 weeks, back squat numbers were tested again.
722 total lbs were added to back squat maxes in 6 weeks. Athletes who chose back squats added an average of 6.8 lbs to their squat (3.1% increase). Athletes who chose step ups added an average of 17.5 lbs to their squat (9.5% increase). They also tested Push Press, splitting the gym’s training between Push Press and Landmine Press. Focusing on just bilateral Push Press added an average of 1.4 lbs to an athletes Push Press (1.1% increase). Training the Landmine Press added an average of 13.2 lbs (an 11.1% increase).

So, whether you are struggling to get your first strict pullup, increase your back squat or bench press consider testing your unilateral strength. This just may be what is holding you back. How often does your gym train unilateral movements? Have you ever tested your strength ratios?

Check out the following article Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy Exercises: A Systematic Review for more in depth research on how unilateral exercises have greater benefit than bilateral specific to the squat.

If you are looking for more in depth advice or training suggestions, be sure to ask one of our amazing coaches or set up a personal training session or series to test your own strength balance. If you are not a member, but are curious about CrossFit or learning any of these movements, be sure to check out our KICKSTART PROGRAMS including our Comprehensive Kickstart that includes a Movement Screen for Flexibility and Mobility.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I LOVE WHITEBOARD DAILY (@whiteboard_daily) for quick and easy visual explanations. Another great account to follow on this topic is Active Life Rx (@activeliferx). If you aren’t already following them on IG or FB you should be!

 

Why join CrossFit Dunwoody? Hear Anna’s fitness journey!

At CFD, we know how CrossFit and fitness can change lives. But don’t take our word for it! Hear it directly from one of our members, Anna Dorris, who joined CFD in 2017 with no previous CrossFit experience.

Click below to listen to Anna’s experience, what to expect when you come to the gym, and why she thinks you should join CrossFit Dunwoody!

 

 

Want to learn more about Crossfit Dunwoody? Click here to schedule your free trial!

Top 3 Reasons To Train Kettlebell Swings

If you could only buy one piece of equipment to accomplish all of your training what would you buy? Treadmills and cycles are great for cardio but definitely won’t get you stronger. A barbell is great but where do you have room to keep it and let alone use it? Total gym style machines always feel so awkward, the cables never work and they seem to be built for someone else’s body. So what exactly can use to transform your body, build strength, burn fat, and improve your cardio?

Enter the kettlebell.

Kettlebells are a great and diverse tool that you should implement into your training. Kettlebell swings train the total body and can be a low impact way to build muscle. They can be used to improve performance as well as make you look and feel strong and capable. Of course, a tool is only useful as long as you know how to use it. Consider learning the basics with a certified coach who can show you the ropes.

Today let’s dive into the top 3 reasons to train with kettlebells so you can see if they are a good fit for your fitness regimen.

  1. Carry Over To Sport and Life
  2. Add Variety To Your Training
  3. Quick And Effective Way To Train

1. Carry Over To Sport and Life

Kettlebell swings have tremendous carry over to your sport and lifestyle activities. They teach you how to hinge at the hip, one of the most important movement patterns for health and optimal function. A strong and healthy lower back as well as a tight core will be developed rapidly when you train kettlebell swings with good form. You will also develop an iron grip. Grip is one of the best indicators of a healthy human and Harvard has found a strong correlation between grip strength and cardiovascular health.

Swings will also improve your performance with the Olympic lifts and power lifts and any other hip dominant movement like jumping. Kettlebell swings teach the dynamic hip extension that is the foundation of a powerful lifter and athlete. When you become strong and proficient with swings you can continue adding load becoming stronger and more explosive in the process.

2. Add Variety To Your Training

You can train Kettlebell swings more often than many other strength movements. Performing swings 2-3 times per week can really improve your strength and endurance and shake up your typical workout routine. By adjusting the weights, the number of sets, repetitions, and how long you rest you can get totally different responses from your kettlebell workout.

A typical Monday workout could focus on strength and power. You would use fewer reps and a heavyweight taking 2-3 minutes between sets to fully recover.

Wednesday’s workout could be focused on building cardio. Use a light kettlebell and swing it for a long time. Pick a number like 20, 50, or even 100 reps, and see how quickly you can get there. Or set a timer for 5:00 and see how many swings you can get in that amount of time.

On Friday you could train kettlebell swings in a high-intensity interval workout. Use light to moderate weights and focus on explosive efforts followed by bouts of recovery.

3. Quick And Effective Way To Train

Learning swings comes easier for some and harder for others. They are also easier to learn than the Olympic lifts and far less technical. Swings are a great alternative for individuals who are focused on fitness for their health and young athletes. They also require less time to prepare the body in terms of warming up the joints, muscles, and nervous system. They can be a fast and fun way to fit in a workout if you don’t have much time.

The kettlebell swings are such an effective tool because it trains both the eccentric (lengthening of the muscle) and concentric (shortening of the muscle) in a dynamic fashion. The snatch and clean both require a focus on a strong concentric contraction as the weight is lifted, Swings offer a different stimulus that may better suit athletes in sports like basketball or soccer or folks whose goal is not to lift the maximal weight overhead.

Kettlebell swings are a fun and effective way to train. Just like most exercises, it’s best to learn from a certified coach so you know you are performing them properly. If you are interested in getting in shape and training in a fun new environment come in for a free consult and we can show where you how training can be fun and get you results!