A Letter from Coach Andrea

As many of you already know, I have decided to take a job that will take me away from being your coach. I know you will miss my random question of the day and my sassy energy before the sun has even risen (insert my usual sarcasm).

And let us not forget the repetitive introductions ….where everyone rolls their eyes at me. I have said that I memorize names because I want to be able to scream it across the gym to get your attention if your form is off. But in all reality, I think it is important to remember people’s first names, as well as little facts about their personal life – not just their personal records (don’t worry, I remember your PR’s too). I enjoy greeting each and every one of you by name with a smile, song, smirk, dance or laugh on a daily basis. Your name is one of the most personal thing you are given in life.

Let us also not forget that I stand watch over the white board after your workout to collect “scores” or smiley faces. I don’t do this for the sake of the leaderboard or the post on Facebook every night, I do it because I want to hold you accountable for choosing a healthy lifestyle. I feel that if I can motivate you to take your health seriously, maybe one day you can inspire someone else as well. I have always felt that people just need one person to believe in them and their dreams are endless.

Walking into a gym, let alone a CrossFit gym, can be intimidating to some people. With the coaches/community we have at Potomac, I feel that fear can be lessened.

I am so grateful that you have allowed me to be a part of your life – sharing your job woes, family vacations or dating disasters. I know it may be small to some, but I take the job of starting our day very seriously. On the way to work every day, I ask God to allow me to be the light in someone’s day that day. You never know who will be the lucky winner of that energy (or hostility according to John P or Simon if I have not consumed coffee ).

We all have “stuff” to deal with in this lifetime and for one brief hour, I hope I have helped you laugh and not take life too seriously.

I may not be the best at expressing “gushy” emotions, but each and every one of you have had an impact on my life that I will take with me. And I will miss all of you!


How’s Your Non-Exercise Fitness (Also, “Game of Thrones” Spoiler)

Let’s make one thing clear: walking is not exercise. It is locomotion.

However… walking is better than not walking. Standing is better than sitting.

What the remainder of this post is not going to be is a plea for you to take the stairs rather than the elevator. To be frank, I already assume you do that. If you don’t, here’s my plea: take the stairs.

Think about what we do in the gym each day: we warm-up, we talk about the mechanics of a lift or set of gymnastics skills, we talk workout strategy, then we go H.A.M. for a little while, then cool down and maybe do a little mobility work. Each and every thing we do has a purpose and an end. How utilitarian of us! Take that same outline and apply it to your day.

How are you warming up for your morning? Are you taking the time to generate some heat in your hips, shoulders, and ankles; are you strategizing the workout as you do a warm-up 400m run; are you priming your major engines for healthy movement? Are you taking a hot shower and clearing your head, having a decent breakfast, and drinking some stout bulletproof coffee? Or, are you waking up at the last minute, leaving partially prepared and with an un-toasted bagel between your teeth as you jam yourself onto the Metro?

Are you paying attention to the finer points of movement mechanics throughout your day? Before you lift, are you bracing the spine and setting your shoulders? As you sit in your office chair are you flexing at the hip, keeping your weight evenly distributed throughout the foot, and ensuring your knees track over your toes? As you stand at the urinal, are your toes turned out like a duck? I hope not. You have knees and a hip. Use them as they were intended.

You should be taking the stairs, you should be taking your dog for long walks, you should be using a sit/stand workstation, when you walk from your office to the car you should be booking it (as quickly as is socially acceptable). But those are the easy things, really dive in deep.

At the end of the day, how are you cooling down? Are you couch stretching as you re-watch last season of Game of Thrones? (Spoiler alert: R+L=J, if you didn’t see that coming as of Book 2/Season 2 … shame on you.) Are you doing some light foam rolling for 10-15 minutes before bed to fire up that parasympathetic nervous system? Good, you’ll sleep better.

You are only at the gym for an hour a day. We can’t do 23 hours of damage to our body, only to get back to neutral with 1 hour of working out and doing some mobility work. View your day-to-day tasks, your non-fitness activities, as opportunities to reinforce good movement habits and to prime yourself for success in the gym, and for tomorrow. Those 23 hours are a great time to sneak in some extra credit, some accessory work, to help you round out your health. Have fun.

I Don’t Want to Hear it Anymore

Let’s keep this short and sweet. Preferably forever, but absolutely during The Open, no one from PCF is allowed to say the following:

“Yeah, but I scaled.”

Understand? No more. If I or anyone tells you “I’m impressed!” or “Excellent work!” or “That was incredible!” you are not allowed to mention anything about how you scaled or that you scaled. CrossFit is really, really hard… for everyone. Just because you did the workout at 35# and that guy did it at 50# doesn’t mean you worked any less hard or he worked any harder.

Regardless of the weight, the complexity of the movement, the height of the box… I’m quite certain you left your blood, and guts, and sweat, and chalky handprints behind you.

So, knock it off. I don’t care if you scaled to thrusters with a PVC. You worked your ass off, and that should be celebrated.