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Where to begin? I think it appropriate to start with a thank you. Thank you for your hard work, your dedication, and your faith in our programming and training methods. I know that we ask a lot of you. I know that we have exceptionally high standards to which you are held. I know our exercise prescription is unconventional and demanding. We value and appreciate the fact that you get up every morning to answer the bell. Jenny and I are looking forward to providing you, in 2014, more of what you have come to expect from us.

Many of you have expressed interest in participating in competitions. The CrossFit Open will be upon us in the beginning of March. This will be a great opportunity for those with an interest in competing to test the waters without leaving the familiarity and security of our gym. As it gets closer to March I will provide more details on the CrossFit Open.

With the new year comes our next training cycle. We will see fewer “strong man” style movements and more plyometrics, gymnastics, and conventional functional modalities. We will continue to use the SP, BS, DL, C&J, FS, and S as our primary means of strength and power development, though our rep schemes and movement variations will diversify. We will also focus more on rep schemes, movements, and WODs that are likely to be found in the CrossFit Open.

I need to give a Big UNLEASHED Shout Out to everyone for the outstanding effort you have been showing on your DL’s, BS’s, and, especially your KBS’s. It seems every day more and more of you are having breakthrough moments. It is particularly noticeable on your swings. That, my friends, is super moto!

Speaking of KB’s, starting 6 January, every Mon at 0630, Tues at 1715, and Wed at 0930 we will be offering, “Hell’s Bells”. Based almost exclusively on KB’s and rowers, it is going to truly test those that partake. I can assure you, no one will leave disappointed.

How about the Christmas Pahr-tay!?!? It was so much fun. Jenny and I had such a nice time spending a relaxed evening with all of those that attended. The opportunity to meet so many of your spouses/significant others was really special and not something that we will soon forget. The kindness and thoughtfulness you showed us with all the gifts touched us, greatly. It is difficult, in this email, to express our level of gratitude. It is not easy to be the recipient of so much attention.

Good news – the blue and the grey sweatshirts are scheduled to be delivered Thursday 2 January. If you ordered a sweatshirt don’t forget to ask for it!

A few reminders about some upcoming events.

  1. The Olympic Lifting Training Program with Mark Solomon begins 12 January. The Program will consist of 6 sessions, held Sunday’s at 1030. 9 February there will be no class as there is an Olympic Lifting meet at the Buffalo Barbell Club that day.

  2. 9 February: Tom Terhart/Mike Ramsey Memorial Open Olympic Weightlifting Championships – held at the Buffalo Barbell Club. This is another great opportunity for those interested specifically in Olympic Weightlifting to compete or simply watch some great lifters.

  3. We will have our 2nd Annual Athletes Unleashed Spring Feast in April.

  4. On Ramp Class 14-1 commences 6 January and ends 30 January.

  5. On Ramp Class 14-2 commences 3 February.

The Unleashed Family is going to start growing again as the On Ramp classes are starting up. Based on current class sizes, our expected growth, and the direction our programing will be taking Jenny and I are going to start adding some additional gear. Over the next few months you can expect to see additional KB’s, a few more rowers and squat stands, more bands and wall balls, a few more bars. We will continue to accommodate everyone’s needs regardless of class size.

I’m going to erase the 2013 goals board. We are very proud of all those that achieved their goals. Well done! It is a real testament to your hard work and dedication to making yourselves HARD TO KILL. 2014 is here and it is time to throw some new goals up on the board. If you have/had goals that were unreached take some time to do a little introspection. Ponder answers to these 3 questions.

  1. Is your nutrition where it needs to be?

  2. Is your training frequency where is needs to be?

  3. Are your goals realistic?

In my next news letter I will address those 3 questions.

I’ll wrap things up by touching on training. I’m pretty certain you have heard that certain lifts are, “taxing to the central nervous system (CNS)”. Thus, we limit both the frequency of those lifts and the amount of training that is conducted immediately following those lifts. I think it will be beneficial if I explain to you, in simple terms, the reason it is so.

Our muscle fibers contract in response to a stress placed on them. The CNS is responsible for the electric impulses that innervate (or activate) our motor units, which in turn innervate our muscle fibers. This is from where our muscular power comes. The repeated innervating of motor units and the contracting of muscle fibers results in fatigue. This fatigue takes place in two areas: the muscles themselves and the CNS.

When we are weightlifting we know when our muscles get fatigued. Typically we feel a burn and the speed at which we are capable of moving a weight slows. The answer to muscle fatigue is rest, be it two minutes between sets or 8 hours of sleep. It is important to note that muscle fatigue does not result in a break down of form or what we always refer to as, “mechanics”. A breakdown in form is the result of one of two things: 1) an improperly trained athlete (or an athlete that is still developing a movement pattern), 2) CNS fatigue. CNS fatigue takes place when the number of electrical pulses being sent along the nerve path between the CNS and the motor units that are firing muscle fibers exceeds what the body is currently conditioned to handle. As we continue to hammer on the neural pathway the signal transmission weakens. The weaker the signal transmission between the CNS and the muscles being innervated, the more difficult it is to force our bodies to behave in the way in which we intend. In other words – our form degrades. Exercises such as the Snatch and Clean and Jerk require greater numbers of motor units to fire. Similarly, compound (multi joint) exercises like the back squat and dead lift done at or above 90% require massive quantities of motor units firing. Those exercises place a greater demand on the CNS than exercises done with lighter weights and fewer joints. The answer to CNS fatigue is also rest. Specifically we need to rest the neural pathways that we just crushed. This takes more than 2 minutes; it takes more than 8 hours. It can take days. It is the reason that we not only avoid doing exercises two days in a row that heavily tax the CNS, but also limit the number of days in a row we lift to failure.

The body will always seek to reach homeostasis. In doing so, the body adapts and that adaptation to stress is what we enjoy in the form of strength, endurance, speed, power, etc. So, our body’s natural reaction to fatigue, both muscular and neural, is the need for rest. When we give it rest the body has a chance to again establish homeostasis. Achieving homeostasis results in greater performance, but also stagnation. Thus, we must change the stimulus and provide our muscles and CNS with new stressors. Hence, every 6-8 weeks (sometimes more, sometimes less) we change our exercises, rep schemes, percentages, and sets. Now – lets lift!

Thank you for choosing to train with us. We are looking forward to another fantastic year filled with PR’s, goals achieved, personal fulfillment, friendships deepened, and challenges met.

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