Posts

What’s working in fitness like…really?

 

Almost a decade ago I was working in a job I didn’t like. I wasn’t very good at it and I wasn’t very happy. Roll it forward to present day and although there have been many bumps along the way, now I enjoy coming to work. Of course working in the fitness industry has some obvious benefits…from slipping into your lulu’s on Monday mornings to spending most of your day not behind a screen. But the primary reward for me, is the opportunity to help others. Trying to help others can make us feel good about ourselves. Narcissistic…? Maybe, but we leave work everyday thankful, knowing that we’ve achieved something important.

CrossFit 353 represents a small sanctuary or hideaway in the heart of leafy Dublin 4. Those that attend soon recognise that the aesthetic goals and improvements in performance are a by product of regularly turning up, having fun and hitting refresh from the stresses and strains of daily life. All classes are lead by qualified coaches. We’re incredibly proud of the coaching team here at CrossFit 353 and invest heavily in this area. We run a dynamic & challenging coaching development program & believe we are on the way to developing some of the best in the business. Our focus isn’t on who can lift the heaviest, run the fastest or shout the loudest. We challenge our coaches to communicate effectively, connect with members and help them feel safe. To give confidence to our members and to deliver on that trust. Trust is earned from investing time and effort in individuals. This is impossible / transparent unless you really care about helping them.

The majority of what we do at CrossFit 353 is class based group training. The social benefits of training with others of different ages, backgrounds and nationalities are considerable. Importantly we are also device free here when on the floor. For some this may represent the only hour of the day away from their smartphone and encourages good old fashioned conversation.

Over the last few months we’ve noticed a significant pick up in Personal Training here at our Bath Avenue base. But which is better… Personal Training or CrossFit? I guess like all things; it depends. Let me use my dad Gerry who has recently started some Personal Training with us here at 353 as an example. Gerry is 65 next month and hadn’t set foot in a gym in the last 64 and a half years. Dad has changed nothing else in his lifestyle other than coming in and training twice a week. The difference in the space of 2 months has been encouraging.  Weight-loss, mobility, cardiovascular & respiratory markers are all moving in the right direction and he is now actively driving the training. It almost seems like he’s enjoying it! Could he do a CrossFit class, sure. But maybe for those later to fitness some one on one attention might be the best place to start. Others prefer the intimacy and focus of one on one training. Again this comes down to the individual. In essence what’s most important is that we’re training regularly. As a wise man once said; “use it or lose it”. And it’s definitely never too late.

 

 

Marc Anthony said “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”. I pretty sure we’re working here but we’re definitely enjoying the journey. The fact we can help others mental and physical wellbeing along the way is the greatest reward. Often a “high 5” or “well done” can go a lot further than we know. Maybe someone is living away from home, in a new city and may not receive any affection or physical contact day to day. The importance of a small gesture or caring word can consciously or otherwise help that individual feel valued.

If perhaps you find yourself in a rut or feeling a bit down in the dumps now & again why not try do something good for another. Give blood  (contact coach Siobhan about doing this with the gym soon) ? Carry the shopping for an elderly neighbour? Give up your seat on the bus? Or maybe just give the Ma a call! Who knows you might even feel better for it!

Best, Peter

 

Still Not Going To The CrossFit Games

Still Not Going To The CrossFit Games

“There is only one certainty in life and that is we are all going to die”

Another year, another amazing 5 weeks, another trip to the CrossFit Regionals (to party) is upon us.

The Open represents an incredible time of year. The Thursday evening nerves, the Friday adrenaline, the Saturday reality check of failing to keep pace with Mat Fraser.

1310f48a-81fb-465c-a42a-7a9c587d0556

My favourite part…seeing people step outside their comfort zone. They attempt the impossible. They see fear ahead of them and stare straight back. We as a gym had a litany of firsts; First pull up(s), muscle ups, handstand push ups, weight that seemed impossible a few weeks go, floating up like it was nothing. 30kg thruster…ha easy. Deadlift this 60kg 45 times… no problem. Doing a WOD into some lifting? Oh you mean the thing we do once a week at 353? It’s so humbling as a coach to watch people you see every day step into the darkness and embrace it. Not giving up, pushing out every little ounce of energy left in their bodies for that extra rep.

The few weeks following the CrossFit Open are always curious. Murmurs in the shadows of crazy ring things they have seen… and they want them by next week. The lament; “had I just repeated those workouts 5 times I could have got 3 spots higher in the world” The crazy idea that if I train 9 hours a day, twice a day, for the next year i’ll make it to the CrossFit Games!!
We all get a little frustrated that we can’t link 17 muscle ups, that bloody Annie Thorisdottir has beaten us…again!

53b3c389-0d7e-4fe0-9a87-62c70e140015

In the excitement of competition we can easily forget why we do what we do. I don’t want to make it to the CrossFit Games. I want to help build 353 to be the best CrossFit gym in the world(Because we already are the best CrossFit Gym in Dublin ;)).

After the Open I briefly thought about training outside class, doing more than the hour a day I do. The thoughts of getting personally programmed to improve my weaknesses. But to what end? I want to develop as a coach, be the best damn coach I can be for the members of 353. I love having the opportunity to train with class every day. Outside of coaching y’all it’s the happiest I am. Throwing down with the lunchtime crew, having the banter, experiencing the finest grass fed filet mignon Ireland has to offer.
Im in this game to live as long as I can. To stay out of a nursing home and kick chronic disease in the dick. Competition is healthy, pushing yourself and going darker than ever before is healthy. Beating Andy Hickey in the Open is healthy. That’s competition and now we go back to training. The speedo season is upon us.

The goal is to get fit, high five some people, turn the music up and have an hour to ourselves…with others. We forget that our injury rate at CrossFit 353 is nominal. If we stay healthy and train often we will get better at snatching, we will get our pull ups, those hspu’s will be there in time. Trust the process, train hard, eat clean, have fun. If we can do this we will get there. As ma boi BB(me and Ben Bergeron are on nickname terms) says “ it has to be a low trajectory to a distant horizon”.

 

bf707edf-d927-45bd-b5a8-af481246f27c

What we learnt from this years open is that we are extremely fit. Maybe not compared to the Sara SigmundsDottir or Noah Olsen (Pete Conlon). But we are so far ahead of the general population its scary. Ben Bergeron (BB) told me that 20% of Americans have a gym membership, and only 0.01% of Americans do CrossFit. We forget how we fit we are, how well we are doing, that we have already taken the right steps towards living to 125 and playing tennis with our great grand kids.

We are here to help you inside but more importantly outside the gym. We have Coach Andy ready to get people sexy and ripped. We have Coach Benjo raring to go with some goal setting. We have Coach Siobhan loose and supple for Saturday night twerk night. We will be fitter next year. We’ll also be healthier. We’ll be happier and we’ll be bloody sexier.

As Mark Manson says “we only have so many fucks to give in life, let’s make sure we give fucks about the right things, don’t waste them on the small irrelevant things. We all have problems so lets make them good problems to have. We don’t have to do things, we get to”

We as coaches love you, we always have your best interest at heart. All we want is for y’all to succeed and we’ll do whatever we can to make that happen. Our goal is to make you better human beings. We will do whatever it takes to keep the train that is 353 moving forward. Get on board because it’s going to be some journey.

Peace and Love
Gaz xxx

IMG_1568

PS:

A huge shout out to Connor Colson, an incredible young man who wears our core values on his sleeve unawares. His integrity, humility and hunger over the last the last 6 months has been inspiring. He has made it to the next round of qualification in the 16-17 yr old division. This qualifiers are in April and we know the whole gym is behind him. Best of luck brother. Leave it all out there x

CrossFit south dublin

Are we opening a Restaurant?

Read into the inner workings of programming and coaching head Gary Featherstone at South Dublin’s premier CrossFit gym, CrossFit 353.

Post workout rest during CrossFit Competition

Winners Don’t Compete – Peter Burke

 

Here’s what I think, I think…

  • Do what makes you happy
  • Invest time and energy in your mental and physical wellbeing (ideally in a crossfit gym near me)
  • Be kind to others
  • Don’t settle

Growing up Frank was the kid. He was first pick on all the teams and when he played you were likely to win. Victories came thick and fast and soon became the norm for Frank. At 12 he won footballer of the year. Driving home after the final Franks mum said: “that was a great year, you must be very proud of yourself. Well done”. Frank barely noticed, winning came easily to him. A few years later Frank and his teammates lost in the semi final. Driving home after the game Frank’s mum said, “maybe not your best season, what do you think happened?” Frank was less than impressed; he didn’t like losing and was in foul humour with the ma. During his final year Frank and his pals won the cup. Post celebrations Frank’s mum offered, “ That was a great year, you must be very proud of yourself”. Frank shrugged this off – he had always won.

It wasn’t until a couple of years later Frank understood the lesson being taught. In this instance sport represented the ebb and flow of normal life. Day to day we traverse a subconscious emotional midline. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. When we win it is important to try mark, celebrate and be present in the moment. This is a valuable (yet transient) elevation above the midline. We should try and bank these good feelings. Conversely, sometimes things may not go our way. Here we can try reflecting on the banked feelings of the good times. To understand that like the good times this dip too is transient and normality will return.

Who or why?

Soccer aside or (title) I have no issue with competition. I believe competing to be a great learning tool. To quote McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh “Win or Learn”. My query isn’t on the why or the what, but vitally the who. Who are you competing with?

See Casey Neistats greatest ever Vlog.

Casey alludes to this magnificently in this video. Who are you competing with? If Irish Rugby international Garry Ringrose just competed with a centre in Leinster would he be on the cusp of Lions selection for this summers tour? To compete with another or to set tangible external markers of “success” is limiting and ultimately may leave you unhappy. If I achieve X then I will be happy. Insert “six pack”, “Boyfriend”, “200kg Deadlift” where relevant but when you achieve that, what then? Compete to learn about and better yourself. Try not sweat the small stuff. (P.S it’s all small stuff).

I’ve been involved in CrossFit 353 for the last 4 years. For the first three of these years we were concerned with the activity and movements of our competitors. How were Rob and Alex in Navitas programming class? How many members do Rudds and the FFS boys have? It took us a while to appreciate we are not competing with any of these. There isn’t a finite pool of CrossFit customers that we’re fishing from. It’s quite the opposite. The more people deciding to train – the better for us all. Ben Bergeron suggests your most valuable marketing asset as a gym is your current members. Look after your own. If you’re perpetually looking outwards trying to fill the bucket maybe you’ll miss the leak in the bottom?

For me the paradigm of endless (externally focused) competition cannot be healthy. I was in it for a while but exited swiftly…twice.

Where do I get this stuff?

I’m not great for reading (too impatient). Instead I listen to podcasts. I switch them on when driving or doing the chores – to keep me sane through an hour of hoovering / ironing (more ironing than hoovering – our place isn’t very big). One of my favourites is “The Tim Ferriss Show”. Tim is a serial entrepreneur & investor and interviews high performers across all walks of life from Schwarzenegger to Jamie Foxx. Tim is also a ‘life hacker’. He pushes the boundaries of human performance and shares his journey via audio interview. Admittedly I probably started listening to podcasts like this to see if I could glean some competitive advantage in business or life or somewhere… I wasn’t really sure. The more I listen to Ferriss interviewing, the more the same messages ring home loud and true.

  • Do what makes you happy
  • Invest time and energy in your mental and physical wellbeing
  • Be kind to others
  • Don’t settle

I listened to a Ted talk on the nuisance of social media. Result: I no longer use personal social media accounts. Since removing myself from Facebook I am genuinely happier. I have greater clarity of thought and am more focused. I am embarrassed at the immediate (but fleeting) gratification I used to get from ‘achieving’ 100 likes on instagram (full disclosure very rarely got above 11 likes). I am embarrassed that I would check various social apps innumerable times daily seeking external validation from effective strangers. Then I’d mindlessly scroll, zombie-like, glazed, consuming nonsense. I’d often do this while driving which is probably the most worrying of all.

At the same time as quitting social media I began writing twice daily in the 5-minute journal. This is a super twice-daily ritual. On rising & before sleep you note a few things you are grateful for, what good things happened today and what could have made today better. It’s not so much the content of what you write, more the process of recognising and practicing gratitude and reflection daily. Almost immediately I became a little bit of a nicer person (not hard when you’re naturally grumpy)  – magically beneficial!

The final podcast is “The Brute Strength Podcast”. This is a coaching & training channel and has some outstanding interviews. My favourite was with Michael Gervais of the Seattle Seahawks. Michael opened the interview with: “The origins of sport were to prepare soldiers for combat in times of no war”. I was hooked immediately! Through this podcast Gervais speaks on the psychological benefits of team sports. Gary, Kevin, Andy, Claire, Royce and I all come from team sport backgrounds. I’d like to think we bring some of the elements of team sport camaraderie onto the floor here in CrossFit 353 .

Undoubtedly sport is special. It’s an incredible vehicle to help discover perhaps life’s most important question for any individual “who am I”? Joking aside – who am I? Am I the beautifully edited images shared on social? Or am I the person cursing at a cyclist in traffic? Or am I trying to do good by others mostly?. Personally I’m trying to address this daily. How can you help others if you’re not comfortable in yourself? My good buddy Gary goes into this more in depth in a recent blog post on CrossFit & Training .

Undoubtedly sport and competing can help us unearth this. The key is to understand that in the end, we are only competing with ourselves. If our goals are to make the team, or to get the job or to win the race – whether you achieve it or not…what then? Are you better or worse for winning or losing? There’s an old adage that goes “it’s about the journey not the destination” and I’d tend to agree. Peace!

 

 

Don’t waste your time on jealousy;
Sometimes you’re ahead,
Sometimes You’re behind.
The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

– Baz Luhrmann

Emotions of 353

,

Friday March 10th

Open week 3.

 

Class will run as normal throughout friday, your WOD will be the Open WOD 🙂

,

Thursday March 9th

Warm Up

Laps of love

 

WOD

5 rounds for time:

50 double unders

25 sit ups

 

Skill

30 on 30 off:

plank hold

squat hold

super couch hippy stretch

,

Wednesday March 8th

Warm Up

banded pull aparts

banded oh press

mtn climbers

x20

 

WOD

4 rounds: 9min cap

15 stoh

15burpee over bar

(rx unbroken stoh)

 

Skill

0-4mins:

tabatta hollow

5-9mins:

tabatta arch

10-15mins:

1-5 kipping swing(scale back to active hollow hang)

 

,

Tuesday March 7th

Warm Up

Tabatta(2 x20sec)

bike

burpees

pvc cleans

 

WOD

20min AMRAP

1 hang power clean(scale up to power clean from floor)

3 push up(scale up to hspu)

5 wallball

 

Skill

e2mom x 14mins(6sets + team talk)

set 1-3:

db/kb front squat x 10 reps(focus on front rack stability with awkward object)

team talk x 2mins

set 4-6: Single arm oh squat x 5/5(use db or kb or small plate

make em pretty reps instead of heavy load