Author: Mike Warkentin

A bagpiper leads a happy group of athletes around a CrossFit gym.

Here’s how—and why—CrossFit 204 members should sign up for our in-house fun-filled competition during the 2019 CrossFit Games Open.

Step 1: Join an internal team—either Müscle Crüe (Damon or Thomas) or The Iron Madams (Scott).

Step 2: Register on the CrossFit Games website.

Step 3: Do the workouts every week starting Feb. 21, either on Fridays in class or on Sundays in open gym. The Open workouts will be the gym workouts, so you aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary—but we will have evening blocks set aside for you to hang out and do the workout with your teammates if you like.

Step 4: Have fun! Points are awarded for gym spirit! This is a “competition” in name only. We’re all about celebrating the 204 community. You can score points for your team by dressing up, cheering and having fun.

Check out the #204Open hashtag on Instagram to see what we did last year—and tag your pics.

If you have any questions, talk to a coach!

A large group of happy people from 18 to 70 jump with their arms overhead in a CrossFit gym.

A large group of happy people from 18 to 70 jump with their arms overhead in a CrossFit gym.If you entered this question in Google, you probably saw a lot of stuff about strength workouts, cardio programs, planning, wearable technology and recovery.

We’ve simplified our answer to your question:

1. Click here to talk to us for free.

We’re going to talk first so you can get all the answers you’re searching for right now.

It can be overwhelming to try and start something new, and it can feel impossible if you’re on your own. You can spend time researching what you should do at the gym, and you can read all about cardio, weight loss, fat loss, high-intensity training (HIIT), strength and power, target heart rate, body composition, nutrition—the list goes on and on.

Or you can just come see us on the west side of Winnipeg. We’ve been on Berry Street since 2012, and you’re going to love our facility.

You don’t need to worry about all the different aspects of fitness for the same reason that you don’t need to know how to repair your car: We’re here to take care of the details. We’re your expert. 

We’ll put together the right plan for you and answer all your questions. You don’t need to learn all about fitness and try to create a plan for yourself. We’ve got you covered. You just need to show up and smile. That’s it.

If you make an appointment to talk to us, you don’t have to prepare to work out. You just come and meet with a friendly coach who will find out all about you and your goals. He or she will then tell you how our programs can help you, and your coach will give you a prescription that will help you accomplish your goals. 

From there, you’ll start a program one-on-one with a coach who will teach you exactly what to do and how to do it. Your coach will also help you out with nutrition information. After eight sessions, you can either continue to work one-on-one or join our group classes. Either way, you’ll have a coach who will tell you what to do and how to do it every day. You don’t have to do anything but show up.

Here are a list of things our program will improve:

  • Strength
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Flexibility
  • Core strength
  • Body weight (lose or gain weight according to goals)
  • Body composition (lose fat or gain muscle according to goals)
  • Balance
  • Co-ordination
  • Power
  • Agility
  • Endurance 
  • Stamina
  • Accuracy 
  • Speed
  • Diet/nutrition
  • Confidence
  • Mood

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about starting a fitness program, we can help. Click below to meet us to discuss the plan that will work for you!  


 

A line of athletes perform a warm-up with kettlebells and dumbbells at CrossFit 204 in Winnipeg.

Your new year has already started.

In fact, 2019 is already well in progress. Whether you know it or not, you’ve already made all the decisions that will take effect next year.

New Year’s Resolutions are closely linked to the fitness industry, and it’s often said that traditional gyms experience a huge spike in January and February as people sign up for memberships they won’t use by March.

At our gym, January is never busier than the other months. We don’t have more people signing up. We don’t have a huge influx of people jumping into CrossFit. We don’t walk into the gym and wonder where all the people came from.

For us, January is almost identical to the other months of the year: A few very special people contact us because they’ve decided they want to invest in their health. They’re ready to start, and we’re thrilled. These people generally stay with us for years, not months.

We’ve found that most people who decide to “get fit in the new year” gravitate toward the various deals and special promotions most facilities run in January, and we understand. If you’re hesitant about starting a program or confused about fitness, it’s easier to dip a toe into the water—and we really hope those people keep working out. But many people never jump in fully and end up wasting $40 a month on a gym membership.

It costs more to start CrossFit with us, and we never offer holiday promotions or quick-fix promises. Our on-ramp is the same price all year: $420. This is because we’re looking for people who are ready to make a significant commitment to long-term health and wellness.

I was recently struck by a Planet Fitness bus-shack poster that said “No commitment!” as if it were a good thing.

I’d never use that phrase in association with a fitness facility. It’s the fitness equivalent of this: “I not sure I like you, but let’s get married. We can always get divorced.”

Or this: “Maybe you aren’t the kind of person who puts in effort.”

You need to commit to things in order to find success. You need to invest. You need to put in some work. You need to set your mind. You need to write in pen, not pencil. You need to make a mark on the wood and saw with confidence. You’re building something, and the time for planning is over.

If you’ve decided that you want invest in health and fitness, we have just a few spots in our On-Ramp program open now. The program involves 8 1-on-1 sessions with a coach, and it includes movement instruction, goal setting and nutrition info—the things that will help you develop healthy habits for life.

But the on-ramp isn’t on sale. We don’t do Boxing Week sales and New Year’s promotions designed to capitalize on resolutions and snap decisions. We want you here for years, not months, and we’re confident that your investment will pay off no matter when you start with us.

We don’t have specials. We have special people.

If you’re ready to commit to health, click here to talk to us about how we can help.

A woman reaches her chin to successfully complete a pull-up after years of hard work.

We’ve been asking you guys about your goals lately. 

This isn’t a New Year’s thing—we don’t really believe in resolutions. As if motivated people need a reason to set goals. 

We know you already have goals because you’re at the gym. Most people don’t work out, and those who do always have a reason. You could stay at home and sit on the couch, but you don’t. You’re after something. Maybe several somethings.

Why do you drag yourself out of bed and head to the gym when it’s cold?

Why do you do 1 more rep when you’d rather rest?

Why do you want to add just 5 more pounds to the barbell and lift it?

We want to know about your goals so we can help you with them. You’ll notice our coaches are asking about goals a lot, and if they haven’t gotten to you yet, they will. Once we know what you want to do, we’re committed to helping you do it, and you can expect some extra motivation and encouragement. 

We encourage you to set at least two goals: one you can accomplish in about a month, and one that will take 6 months to a year. Both should be specific, and both should be reasonable but challenging. Here’s an example: “I want to make sure I get to the gym at least 4 times a week during the holiday season.” Another, this one long term: “I want to add 15 lb. to my deadlift by July 1.” 

Feel free to tell your coaches about your goals, but you can also go further. Write to us at info@crossfit204.com and share your thoughts.

Even better, book a free goal-setting session through our No Sweat Intro system. Just click here and pick a slot. We’ll sit down and talk to you, and we’ll put together a plan to help you accomplish your goals. We’ll help you out along the way, we’ll give you a high five when you accomplish your goal, and then we’ll help you set another one.

So think about it right now: What do you want to accomplish in 4 week? In 6 months?

Now tell us and make it happen!

A closeup of the broken metal sleeve of a silver 45-lb. barbell at CrossFit 204.

A closeup of the broken metal sleeve of a silver 45-lb. barbell at CrossFit 204.This was our first barbell.

When I became fascinated with @crossfit in 2008, I started collecting equipment. I found this bar on Kijiji and drove about 45 minutes to pick it up for $150 or so.

It’s not what people would now call a “good bar.” Its sleeves barely spin, and it wasn’t really made for lifting heavy loads. But it was more than I needed to learn how to lift and to get stronger.

This bar used to sit in the corner of my second-floor apartment, and I would regularly practice cleans and overhead squats in front of the TV. It was stuffed between the seats of my Honda Civic many times and is responsible for many gouges therein. At one point, it served as a clothes rack when @204lifestyle moved in and I needed something strong to support her hefty collection of clothes. Eventually, it went into the basement gym, along with other bars I started collecting, and it was often hauled to @assiniboineathletic, where I taught my first classes.

In 2011, it went to 483 Berry St., where it was used less frequently after we bought a whack of much better bars. But we still used it, and it still did the job.

Whenever we bid farewell to a piece of old equipment, I’m always reminded that people are stronger than steel. This bar is done lifting. But we are not.

Thanks to everyone who squatted or deadlifted with this one over the years. You know who you are.

A female during the second pull of a barbell snatch at CrossFit 204.

It would be easier to win the lottery if you knew the winning numbers in advance.

Same deal with weightlifting. 

It’s easier to lift the bar if you know exactly where it’s going to be.

The other day, I was lifting with Crystal and she asked if she should try a missed clean again. It would have been a PR lift, but I suggested we move on instead of trying to get lucky.

Crystal had the strength and power to make the lift. There was no question about that. But in the sets leading up to the PR attempt, she was swinging the bar away from her.

At lighter weights, the error doesn’t create misses. The bar swings out a bit and loops back to the athlete, who is strong enough to receive it in a less-than-ideal position before grinding through a squat that’s more difficult than it has to be. At heavier loads, the error ensures miss after miss. 

A male performs a barbell snatch during the 2015 CrossFit Games Open.
With practice, you’ll know exactly where the bar is going and increase your confidence significantly.

Crystal pulled the PR attempt and almost made the lift. I’m certain she would have if the bar had been in the right spot—about an inch closer to her torso—but neither of us knew for certain that it would go there on a subsequent attempt. 

We decided to pack it in a make a note to work on positioning to fix this error. That way we could make the lift with confidence rather than luck the next time we attempted it.

Lucky lifting is very common, but it’s a shortcut. The best example is when a bar owns an athlete and pulls him or her forward. All the athlete’s weight goes into the toes, the bar swings away from the body, and the athlete jumps forward, pulled by the bar. In some cases, the athlete happens to jump to exactly the spot where the bar was flung, and if the weight is relatively light and the athlete is strong, a lucky lift is made. 

But it’s not a good lift.

The tempting mistake is to consider the lift an unmitigated success, adjust goals upward and then continue flinging bars and getting lucky about 5 percent of the time. Many, many people do this. 

The smarter play is stowing the ego, backing the weight down and then drilling positioning and mechanics. Fix the errors at very light loads, then work back up. If the error is truly gone, the PR bar will be in the right spot and the lift will be made. And more PRs will follow quickly. At that point, when mechanics and positioning are sound, it’s time to focus on becoming brutally strong—which is easier than becoming precise.

Ever notice how world records usually look “easy”? I once read that it’s because they have to look easy. The loads are so heavy that tiny errors make the lifts impossible. If the bar is in the perfect spot, the athlete doesn’t have to struggle with a tremendous load he or she simply can’t lift if it’s not in the correct spot.

My advice: Enjoy the lucky PRs but recognize them for what they are. And listen to your coach when he or she says “leave it there for today.” That’s your cue to fix some errors so you can hit a PR that feels easy.

When lifting, it’s always better to be good than lucky.