Payday! Most of us know when paycheck coming into our household arrives each month, whether it’s every 2 weeks once a month, or 1/15th. My first corporate job was selling insurance and investment services. I was 21 at the time and I remember my boss telling me, “Miles, you need to teach your your clients to pay themselves first.” This resonated with me because it helped me realize that building good financial habits would do nothing but benefit the future me. In the fitness world, planning for your future self is just as important.
We all know that money is great and we need it to survive, but what about your body? What about your mind? What about your mental health? When’s the last time you thought about paying yourself?
Working hard to advance your career at your job/business and even working to advance your family at home (hats off to all you full-time parents!) is great, but YOU still need to advance. YOU still need to be paid. You are ultimately no good to anyone if you can’t take care of yourself first.
There are so many ways exercise can be considered as an investment in your own body. Here are just a few examples of the ‘paycheck’ you can receive each week via exercise:
Build a buffer against sickness and disease
Improve your joint health
Increase your metabolism (hello holiday eating! 🤪)
Boosting energy for better performance at work
Fight against seasonal depression
Save cash (no more need for 2 different sizes of clothes)
Can’t afford a gym? Try setting a timer on your phone and walking 10 minutes out away from your home, and 10 minutes back. Try doing it 3 times a week and notice what it does to your mood. Also research home Yoga routines on YouTube. Find an accountability buddy to check in with you each week. Something is better than nothing.
Apprehensive about coming into a physical gym? No problem! Many gyms like CFSC offer remote personal training and programming so you can keep going at home.
The world is better with you in it, so I ask you to do your part to stick around as long as possible. Pay yourself first.
In the fall of 2007 I’ll never forget those words being spoken to me in the office of my boss and Senior VP of Sales at Philips Electronics. 2007 was memorable for so many reasons. I purchased my first ever home, and had one of the best years in my sales career. Even met my wife Deanna that year!
But as that year went on, rumblings were happening around the country and within my company about an upcoming recession. Back to that fateful meeting…my boss took a big swig of water, a big breath, and said to me, “Miles I’m sorry to inform you that your position has been impacted.”
Shell shocked, and stunned…I had trouble accepting this new reality. Things were going so well for me that year. I was pegged as a rising star within the company with many more promotions to come. But here I was, the company I loved working for so much over the past 4 years no longer had room for me.
What was left to do? Ask why me? Sulk in misery? Get angry?
I had to start asking myself the right questions. What do I mean by that? I had to start asking What questions instead of Why questions.
What are my next steps? What I can I learn from my experience that will help me in my next chapter? What did I learn that would help me teach others?
All of us have had our positions impacted one way or another in 2020. Socially, economically, relationally, spiritually, and politically.
Here’s a thought….what if 2020 was happening FOR you instead of happening TO you? How different would you react? It’s your choice. When I chose to move forward in ‘07, things started happening. I was able to land a work from home position which allowed me more time to work on myself. And that meant finding a new workout regimen. And that meant finding out about CrossFit in 2008. Then that meant starting my own CrossFit gym….and of course that meant me getting the chance to meet YOU!
Death, destruction, and disappointments are a part of life. I encourage you to use them as an opportunity to find new life for yourself and others. Don’t ask Why. Ask What instead. You’ll be surprised at what may come next.
See you at the gym!
Miles Davis is CEO and Founder of CrossFit South Cobb. CFSC has been serving Smyrna / Vinings since 2009.
11 lessons about life I learned in 11 years
Wow! Can you believe it? 11 years have now passed since I took the plunge to go into business for myself. 11 years since I traded in wingtip shoes for Reebok nanos, and Banana Republic slacks for sweatpants and a hoodie. I learned so many amazing lessons about life, relationships, and I learned even more about myself.
Here are 11 of the biggest life lessons I learned in the last 11 years as owner of CrossFit South Cobb:
1. You’re smarter and better than you think you are. Stop being down on yourself, it’s not attractive.
2. No one is up late at night plotting to get you. Everyone has their own problems. You are your own biggest competitor!
3. Happy people are the best people. Both from a staff/customer standpoint and a personal one. Find happy people and keep them in your crew. FYI, it’s not your responsibility to make someone else happy…
4. Don’t let society push you into a personality box. You are malleable and adaptable. Do what you love. Don’t plan your whole life based on some personality test you took 15 years ago.
5. Support is everything. It can come from your partner/spouse, and also from a friend or mentor. Bottom line: find support and latch on to it, even if you have to pay for it.
6. Life and its experiences can happen either TO you or FOR you. It is your choice…choose the latter. Use adversity as a springboard. Here’s how I did it: (SUCCEEDING AGAINST THE ODDS)
7. Our bodies are a temple and a miracle. Take care of your body or you’ll spend years living in regret that you didn’t.
8. Serve your ass off. Life is meant to be best experienced when we give. Donate time, talent, and resources to people who can’t pay you back. There is no better reward.
9. Live a life that your future self will appreciate. Give yourself great memories. You’ll always have them, unlike money.
10. Go for it. Your potential endeavor is either gonna BLOW up 💣 , or it’s gonna blow UP 🚀! Might as well have some fun in the process.
11. LOVE – Let love be your motivator for whatever you’re doing in life. Otherwise, you’re just doing something for recognition or money. Neither of those will last long term, and you’ll hate the person you become.
That’s the magic word in all of this: LOVE. Love shows up everyday ready to serve others. Love builds lifetime relationships. Love also encourages and never tears down.
Did I ever think I’d be owning a gym when I left college? Heck no! Why did I stick around so long? I fell in love with WHO I was becoming as a person. I also understood my life would be a dead end if I only focused on WHAT I could acquire and achieve.
Who are you becoming? Is it the person you thought you’d be? It’s not too late to kindle that love living down inside of you. What are you passionate about that comes easy to you, and serves others? Find it and do it! You’ll be surprised at what happens next.
Until next time!
CrossFit South Cobb
If you know me, you know I typically have a lot to say. I’m the biggest encourager for everyone around me. As a coach I can tell you what it takes to live an abundant life – eating veggies, drinking water, getting quality sleep, not skipping the workout, and being a good human.
Well guess what? I have a confession…I’m great at coaching others but when it comes to myself, I struggle with self–talk, and I’ve discovered I have what’s called an “All or Nothing” mindset. If I’m not dialed in with ALL of these things: nutrition, workouts, and work goals – I feel like I’m failing.
My personality type is The Achiever. I won’t dig into that today but suffice it to say, I want to win and I want everyone around me to win. This sounds like a great personality trait, but it can be deceiving because as I said, if I’m not “winning”, then I’m “failing”. For me there is no in-between. I’m extremely tough on myself. I don’t encourage myself like I would you. I don’t give myself that personal grace that I deserve.
I am certain that we all need a coach or mentor, someone to challenge us and hold us accountable to our dreams and goals. That is what I do for so many. I’ve worked hard the last 6 months on making sure I am a “light” in this uncertain universe we currently live in. But in doing that, I’ve forgotten to put myself first and have been trying to “wing it” with little success. It was time I practiced what I preached for myself.
I started the CrossFit South Cobb Lifestyle Challenge a few weeks ago with Christina, one of the Registered Dietitians on our Nutrition staff. She has really made me dig into some emotional work when it comes to MY nutrition, which lead me to look at the personality traits and habits that are negatively impacting my personal life. Truthfully it has been challenging and uncomfortable, but I know in order for me to level up and achieve my current goals, I have to do the work and get comfortable being challenged and uncomfortable.
I’ve uncovered so many things about myself. My “All or Nothing” mindset is not healthy and I would not coach you to think that way for yourself! I’m personally working really hard to change that mindset and create a new way of celebrating “all the wins” in my life – Big or Small!!
For today I’m celebrating that fact I’ve achieved my goal of drinking 128 ounces of water a day for the past 3 weeks !!!
Big or small, there is ALWAYS something to celebrate. What are YOU celebrating today?
With a running clock with a partner:
0:00 – 15:00
5:00 AMRAP – Calorie Bike or Row or Ski
5:00 AMRAP – Wall balls (20, 14)
5:00 AMRAP – Calorie Bike OR Row or Ski
18:00 – 28:00
5:00 AMRAP – Curtis Ps (135, 95)
5:00 AMRAP – Power Clean + S2OH (135, 95)
*One person works at a time – split however desired. Score = total reps
– Goal: Have fun and come up with strategy to keep work output consistent. Barbell loading should be light enough to complete sets of 3-5 at a time of PC/S2OH & 1-2 Curtis Ps at a time.
Rx+:(Workout Ends with 5:00 AMRAP of Max Ring Muscle-ups after max PC/S2OH – 33:00 WOD)
L3: (115, 75)
L2: (14, 10) (20, 15) (95, 65)
L2: (10, 8) (75, 55)
B) EXTRA CREDIT
Three Way Thoracic Spine Foam Rolling x 60s each
Parasympathetic Breathing x 15-20 breaths – 3 seconds inhale + hold 1 second + 3 second exhale
Strongman class at 8am
Barbell club at 9am
Kids class at 10am
1. Mental Acuity
Multiple studies have shown that exercise improves cognitive ability. In his book “Spark” Dr. John Ratey shows how exercise helps improve focus, fight depression and make better decisions. A sharp mind gives a professional the ability to think through projects, and the entrepreneur the space to develop new ideas, or create a new line of revenue.
2. Energy and Immunity
People who work out regularly are more productive at work than those who don’t, according to research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. These same people miss less work. Physical fitness builds immunity and reduces many major health risks. Absences and decreased productivity can mean lost opportunities for advancement and lower-income. Bosses often look unfavorably upon those who are frequently out of work.
How much difference does one promotion make over a career? A study in the Journal of Labor Research found that men who work out regularly make 6% more than their sedentary counterparts on average. For women, the numbers are higher. Women who work out regularly make 10% more on average than those who don’t.
3. Health Care
A 2012 study by the Journal of the American Heart Association showed a savings of $2500 per year for people that got adequate exercise adjusting that for health care cost rise of 5% per year (est) gives a 2019 savings of $3500.
Taking this a step further at CrossFit Final Call we have routinely seen folks stop taking medicines because their symptoms have gone away. This is in agreement with their doctors and usually after achieving body composition and health goals. Some examples (30 day dose): Statins ($36-$600) , Metformin (extended)- $235-$1200, Xanax $60-$100. Most folks have health insurance, but are still paying co-pays on these drugs.
You may spend less on clothes. The average adult will gain about 2 lbs a year from their 20s through their 50s. What this means is that many of us have about 3 sets of clothes in our closet. What we currently wear, and probably one or two sizes smaller. When our clients are consistent and establish good nutritional patterns we see them drop clothing sizes or have their clothes fit better. One caveat…you won’t be buying bigger clothes, but you may drop some bucks on the smaller cuter ones.
5. Spend less on Fast Food
Seventy percent of Americans eat fast food three times per week at an average cost of $12.50 per meal. Our clients who work on establishing healthy nutrition patterns routinely cut that in half by planning ahead and preparing healthy, nutritious meals and snacks. An average savings of $18 per week is another $950 savings.
How are you trying to improve your push ups?
Are you just trying to do more and more push ups?
Push ups are not as easy as they seem, and there is more technique involved than most realize. Being a bodyweight movement most people do these for a high volume so it is beneficial to make sure you have a good shoulder position throughout the entire range of motion so that you do not create overuse issues. Not everyone has the mobility (range of motion under tension) to perform a push up all the way to the floor so make sure you are strengthening what range you have before forcing yourself into a full depth push up. The shoulder blades should stay down during the entire range of motion and not slide up at the bottom like they will try to do. If the deltoid (shoulder) moves closer to the ground then the pecs at the end range then you do not have the mobility for that range yet.
If this looks familiar I would recommend scaling your push ups until you can maintain the correct position through the full range of motion.
Elevated Push Ups: This will allow you to maintain good tension and correct shoulder position throughout the entire range of motion. By elevating the upper body we can take weight away from the movement. Since this is a bodyweight movement then there is only one weight so we must find ways to reduce the amount that we are pressing until we can maintain the correct tension and a good position for the full range of motion.
In the meantime I would add in accessory work that will help you strengthen the muscles that will be involved in maintaining tension throughout the range of motion.
Here are some recommendations:
Dumbbell Bench Press: This will allow you to move weight at a full range of motion. The dumbbells will allow for you to train stability in the shoulder as well as strengthening the pecs and triceps. Coaches note: make sure you are bringing the shoulder blades down and together before laying on the bench so that it will keep the shoulders in a good position through the full range of motion.
Plank Holds: This will strengthen the position you must hold in order to perform a push up. Just like what you are trying to accomplish with the push up make sure you are keeping the shoulders in a good position. An RKC plank will benefit even more because you must create max tension for a shorter period of time. Coaches note: pull the shoulders into a good position and instead of planking for a long time squeeze every muscle as hard as you can from head to toe for 10-15 seconds and do that for reps.
Chest (Pec) flys: These will help you learn to control the pecs at an extended range of motion. When we are weak in the bottom of the push up it is usually because the pecs do not work as efficiently at the longer length and the shoulders and traps try to take over. The pec fly will allow the pecs to become stronger at the end ranges of motion. Coaches note: focus on maintaining tension in the pec the entire range of motion and only going as far as possible through your range of motion under tension and not allowing pointless reps.
Tricep extensions: The triceps should be the secondary muscles involved in the push up so we should add movements to strengthen these as well. These can be done from many different angles depending on your skill level but if we are looking to improve the push up specifically then I would recommend doing them in a similar position. Lying on your back with the arms straight overhead and only bending at the elbows while the shoulders maintain a down and back position. These can also be done face down with some rings or a bar to add in the core stability of a plank. Coaches note: we are working the triceps so make sure you are not cheating with whatever level you try and choose a weight that you can move correctly.
Try adding these accessory movements into your push up program. I would recommend starting at 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps of the exercises and 3 sets of 10-15 seconds on the RKC plank. This could be done 2 times a week on an upper body focused day to help improve your push ups.
Are you scaling or modifying your workouts?
If you are in the group fitness setting the answer for most of you should be yes.
This does not mean to modify everything about every workout. The idea is that the workout was planned for a hypothetical individual with rep numbers and weights recommended.
You have the opportunity to make it more your personal workout by making sure that the weights and movements fit your skill level and your goal.
Scaling would be referring to more of the change in weight from the recommendation. This could be either up or down. The goal is to achieve a specific outcome for a workout and going too heavy or too light could easily change the feel of the entire workout. This should not be viewed as a bad thing and should be embraced.
Lowering the weight: You may be strong enough for a certain weight but your proficiency in the skill make it difficult to maintain proper technique when you get tired so you should bring the weight down so you can make sure you are accumulating quality reps over heavy garbage reps. This could also be done if you aren’t comfortable with the movement yet and need more practice. It is more important to choose the correct weight and accumulate quality reps so that as you get better and stronger. This way you won’t have to go back and fix technique errors that you engrained later.
Raising the weight: If you are finishing the workout well before the remainder of the group you should look into raising the weight of the movements. As long as form and technique are maintained you should raise the weight to make sure you are getting the stimulus the workout is trying to get. Do not feel limited to the recommended weight just because that was written as the workout.
Modification is a little different. This could be a change in movement completely. Modifications do not always have to look like the movement you are modifying. The goal should be to choose a movement that allows you to improve the skill you would acquire from doing the movement programmed. Progressions are recommended so that you are gaining skills that will build on each other in order to get you to the movement that was originally prescribed.
Modifications can also be done around injuries or painful movements (if there is pain you should consider that an injured). You should ask yourself the question: Why does this movement hurt? What can I do to get better at this movement so that it does not hurt? This could be as simple as adding shoulder bodybuilding instead of a push press if going overhead hurts. If you need help in this area you should ask your coach and let them help you choose movements that are more suited to you.
The bottom line is scaling and modifications should not be viewed as a negative. They allow you to make the workout more personalized to you. This will also help you get better quicker and help prevent injuries.
Fitness is a lifelong journey and staying injury free will give you the most opportunities to continue to get better.
How can I get better at pull ups?
Let’s first discuss what I would consider as a proper pull up. A proper pull up is one in which you start hanging from a bar completely vertical with arms straight at the elbows with an overhand grip. The pull begins with engaging the latissimus dorsi (lats) to lock the shoulders in place and continue the pull until the chin is over the horizontal plane of the bar without reaching with the neck. Then returning back down to the start in the same way.
I realize that is a very specific description but that is for good reason. The simplicity of saying go from under to over the bar allows for a lot of different muscles to compensate for lack of shoulder mobility and the lats not doing their job.
A good indicator that you are not using the proper muscles is the lack of ability to turn the head from side to side throughout the entire range of motion of the pull up.
If this is not possible then you do not own every inch of the pull up and we need to work on the proper progression. There are multiple ways to accomplish this but the key will be for you to pick the progression that works best for you and practice it until it is easy.
Progression 1: The rings
The rings can be used in multiple different ways to help you improve your motor coordination and strength for a pull up. Modifications on the rings include ring rows and squat assisted pull ups. Ring rows will help you learn to engage the lats properly but will be done in the horizontal plane of motion and not the vertical. As ring rows become easy we can work them toward a more of a vertical plane until we get to the squat assisted pull up. The squat assisted pull up is just that, squat directly under the rings so your pulling motion is straight up and down and use the squat as much or as little as you need to make the movement difficult. Some may have a hard time making these harder so you can move to a single leg squat. If you use the single leg squat I would recommend alternating feet so that you do not consistently pull only to one side.
Progression 2: Bands
If used properly bands can give you multiple ways to progress your pull ups. The first way is using the band as the resistance. Tie the band up high and either sit or stand directly under the band. Reach straight up and grab the band and pull down similar to a lat pull down machine. The focus here should be on the lats engaging from the initiation of the movement all the way through the finish. This is a great way to accumulate lots of reps with the proper engagement and movement pattern.
The other way is by using the bands to assist in the pull up. With a band tied on a pull up bar step a foot into the band and stretch it completely until you are hanging straight under the bar with legs extended. Always engage the lats first and continue to pull with the shoulders in an efficient position until the chin is above the bar and then return back to the start. The keys to gaining strength and motor pattern improvement is to go at a pace that does not allow you to bounce out of the bottom of the band and control the movement for the entire range of motion.
Progression 3: Negatives
A negative is the controlled lowering portion of the movement. In a pull up the negative would be going from the chin over the bar down to the start position. These are done in a slow controlled manner and should be done the entire range of motion. I see a lot of these being shorted a few inches from full lock out at the bottom and that is where most need more work. This progression could be done with either of the two progressions listed above or on its own. The focus should be to maintain a good shoulder position and lower yourself as slowly as possible. Rep ranges here should be kept small as the negative will create the most soreness of the progressions listed.
These are just a few of the ways in which you can progress to a pull up. Play with them and find out which one works best for you at your current skill level and practice them multiple times per week or use them instead of the pull ups in a group workout. Talk to your trainer or coach if you are unsure of which ones to use.