NEW: Five Ways Olympic Lifting Will (Really) Make Your Life Better

Jen Wirth | January 31, 2019 | no comments
NEW: Five Ways Olympic Lifting Will (Really) Make Your Life Better

NEW ARTICLE: Five Ways Olympic Lifting Will (Really) Make Your Life Better


FULL VIDEO: Olympic Lifting Q&A with Coach Ryan Barlow

What’s Olympic Lifting, you ask?

Good question!

If you’ve heard of the Clean and Jerk, and the Snatch, you’ve heard of Olympic Lifting. It’s in practicing and improving your performance in these two (well, really three) movements that so many benefits are unlocked.

But do you know why the Oly Lifts : Clean and Jerk and the Snatch are such a big part of CrossFit?

I asked Coach Ryan why he thinks that the Olympic Lifts are such an important part of CrossFit. He said, “I think CrossFit and Greg Glassman have realized that these fast lifts, these Olympic movements are critical to training people how to move well, and making them safe, more useful human beings.”
Ryan continued,”In Greg Glassman’s “World Class Fitness in 100 Words,” he says: Practice the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk. These heavy lifts are really important for overall physical health and they’re going to bring you confidence and the ability to take your fitness outside of the gym.”

Use this sign up link for the OlyOne Olympic Lifting Series Starting Feb 5th

Feel free to click on the video below to watch the full Olympic Lifting Q&A Video, released today on the Wildcat YouTube Channel, or keep reading to learn just 5 of the many, many ways that Olympic Lifting can improve your physique, your overall body health, and your life!


Five Ways that Olympic Lifting Can (Really) Improve Your Life!

1. Olympic Lifting Will Improve Your Physical Appearance
– Olympic Lifting Improves your Muscle Tone.

Want great muscle definition? The muscle fibers you can see best are called “fast twitch.” These are the fibers that are developed through the practice of quick, fast movements.

The best athletes to demonstrate the difference between fast twitch and slow twitch muscle are two specific groups of runners: elite Sprinters, and Marathon runners. Sprinters have a lot of fast twitch muscle fibers. Marathoners have more slow twitch muscle fibers. What do the sprinters have in common? Thick, well, muscled arms and shoulders, as well as abs, thighs, and calves.

What do the elite marathoners look like? Thin, light, wispy. No matter how fast you are going, if you settle into a steady pace and just keep running, you are using slow twitch muscles. These athletes are doing something impressive. No doubt about it. But if you want to see your muscles, it’s important to exercise your fast twitch muscle fibers too.

Back to the original point: Olympic Lifting will help you to start seeing your muscles. Olympic movements are quick and fast… like “sprints” for all your different muscle groups. Even when you don’t do them with weight at first (using just a PVC pipe or a broomstick), you will start to feel and see your muscles growing!

Use this sign up link for the OlyOne Olympic Lifting Series Starting Feb 5th

2. Olympic Lifting Will Improve Your Long Term Physical Health

You may have heard that weightlifting is a key way to make sure that your bones retain calcium. This doesn’t mean you can carry 1 pound weights around, and call it good forever. What you need to do is continually challenge your muscles, by increasing the amounts of weight you are able to move and hold static. The heavier the weights your body can control throughout the Olympic Lifts, generally the fitter you are.

As we humans age, if we fail to do weight-bearing exercise, our bones gradually lose calcium. Over time, this can lead to osteoporosis, and then osteopenia, and brittle bones. Brittle bones are dangerous, because when you fall down, they can break. The process is more insidious for women, as hormone level changes start to release calcium from our bones starting in our 30s. Sure, you can take medicine, and eat more leafy greens that might help a little, but if you want to make sure your bones maintain their density, you need to lift some weight.

In addition to strong bones, Olympic Lifting will also give you increasingly stronger muscles, joints. You will get more flexible and your balance will improve.

3. Olympic Lifting Will Improve Your Confidence and Your Health Right Now!

Not only will you stay in great shape as you get older, Olympic Lifting can benefit your health Here and Now, my friend.

First of all, your confidence will increase, and with it your sense of well-being. Practicing Olympic Lifting releases endorphins, natural chemicals that make you, and  your body, feel fantastic. You fee more awake, alert, and energetic, yet also relaxed and in control. It’s better than just coffee. It’s better than a couple of beers. It feels awesome. That’s why people do it. No lie.

Now let’s talk about health benefits. If you click around on the internet, you will find many people who were diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and have since weaned themselves off of Insulin using exercise programs that include Olympic Lifting. Here is a study in the journal Experimental Psychology that shows that six weeks of CrossFit helped people to increase their insulin sensitivity (lowering their average daily blood sugar). That’s cool.

People have also experienced relief from back pain, arthritis, inflammation, and weight loss due to adding Olympic Lifting to their body maintenance [exercise] programs.

Use this sign up link for the OlyOne Olympic Lifting Series Starting Feb 5th

4. Olympic Lifting will make you better at whatever sport you practice outside the gym.

News Flash: It will make you better at CrossFit too! But if you’re not currently a crossfitter (that’s what we call ourselves once we drink the Koolaid ;-), and you like to run, or play soccer, kickball, or basketball… or basically any other sport, then Olympic Lifting will help you increase your muscle strength and explosive power. Your balance and coordination will improve and you may notice that your performance on the field is improving.

Additionally, Olympic Lifting strengthens your joints and tendons, so you will be in less danger of damaging yourself on the playing field.

If you want to some articles about CrossFit (which includes a good amount of Olympic Lifting) and how professional, very well known athletes use it to keep them strong and in shape: Here is one about how high level athletes use CrossFit to get better at their respective sports. This one has a lot of U.S. Pro athletes…. including Charles Barkley.

5. Olympic Lifting will Improve your Mind-Body Connection.

If you have a desk job, it might feel like your body is something of an afterthought. Maybe you only really notice it when you feel that familiar tension in your back, or you find yourself getting out of breath on your way to the mailbox.
Maybe once you get moving, you’ve got a tendency to be somewhat accident prone, clumsy, awkward.

Enhancing and improving the ability of your mind and your muscles to work together is a secret benefit of Olympic Lifting that not many people know about going in. Some call it ‘flow.’ You know, that feeling when you’re moving and graceful and your body feels calm and under control, ready to do whatever you need? If you don’t know that feeling, can you imagine it?
Well that’s the feeling that Olympic Lifting helps cultivate.

Not bad, right? Great body, great long term results, and you get zen too? Sound too good to be true? It’s not.
It’s not too good to be true. It takes work. But it’s worth it. And if you’re interested, you should probably give it a try.

Still reading? Fantastic!

Want to try a Free Sample?

Coach Ryan will be hosting a sample OlyOne Class at Wildcat CrossFit. This Saturday, February 2nd, at 10AM, Wildcat CrossFit Main Gym.
Even if you are not currently a Wildcat member, you are welcome to this free, all levels sample class.
Come in curious, leave having learned something, and with a healthy warm feeling in your muscles, all of them.

Interested in learning more?

Use this sign up link for the OlyOne Olympic Lifting Series Starting Feb 5th!


Jen Wirth | January 30, 2019 | no comments

OLY Lifting Q&A: How Can Olympic Lifting Benefit Athletes who Play Team Sports?

(EXCERPT VIDEO) from an OlyOne Q&A With Coach Ryan


In this video, Wildcat’s Coach Ryan talks about how Olympic Lifting helps improve sports performance, and increases athlete safety out on the field.

All the things that are beneficial when you play a team sport: Coordination, speed, power, and accuracy, Olympic Lifting helps you to develop. Olympic Lifting also strengthens joints and helps to increase your mobility and the range of motion of your muscles. This will protect your body from injury.

The Clean and Jerk and the Snatch, when performed properly, require an incredible amount of coordination. As you get better at these lifts, you will see that improvement translate into improvements in your performance in your practices and games.

Listen to Coach Ryan as he further discusses the benefits of Olympic Lifting.

The OlyOne Olympic Lifting Series Starts Feb 5th.

Interested in learning more?

Use this sign up link for the OlyOne Olympic Lifting Series Starting Feb 5th!

NEW VIDEO: Why is Olympic Lifting Such a Big Part of CrossFit?

Jen Wirth | January 30, 2019 | no comments
NEW VIDEO: Why is Olympic Lifting Such a Big Part of CrossFit?

Why is Olympic Lifting Such a Big Part of CrossFit?

(EXCERPT VIDEO) from an OlyOne Q&A With Coach Ryan

You might be aware of the Olympic Lifts, and you might know that they are found pretty often in CrossFit workouts.
But do you know why the Oly Lifts : Clean and Jerk and the Snatch are such a big part of CrossFit?

I asked Coach Ryan why he think that the Oly Lifts are such an important part of CrossFit.

He said, “I think CrossFit and Greg Glassman have realized that these fast lifts, these Olympic movements are critical to training people how to move well, and making them safe, more useful human beings.”

Coach Ryan continued, ”In Greg Glassman’s World Class Fitness in 100 Words, he says:

‘Practice the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk.’

“… These heavy lifts are really important for overall physical health and they’re going to bring you confidence and the ability to take your fitness outside of the gym.”

Interested in learning more?

Use this sign up link for the OlyOne Olympic Lifting Series Starting Feb 5th:

Who are you? Identity based habit change

Noah Providence | January 28, 2019 | no comments
Who are you? Identity based habit change

Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year

Change is hard. You’ve probably noticed that.

We all want to become better people — stronger and healthier, more creative and more skilled, a better friend or family member.

But even if we get really inspired and start doing things better, it’s tough to actually stick to new behaviors. It’s more likely that this time next year you’ll be doing the same thing than performing a new habit with ease.

Why is that? And is there anything you can do to make change easier?

How to Be Good at Remembering People’s Names

My wife is great at remembering people’s names.

Recently, she told me a story that happened when she was in high school. She went to a large high school and it was the first day of class. Many of the students had never met before that day. The teacher went around the room and asked each person to introduce themselves. At the end, the teacher asked if anyone could remember everyone’s name.

My wife raised her hand and proceeded to go around the room and accurately name all 30 or so people. The rest of the room was stunned. The guy next to her looked over and said, “I couldn’t even remember your name.”

She said that moment was an affirming experience for her. After that she felt like, “I’m the type of person who is good at remembering people’s names.”

Even today, she’s great at remembering the names of anyone we come across.

Here’s what I learned from that story: In order to believe in a new identity, we have to prove it to ourselves.

Identity-Based Habits

The key to building lasting habits is focusing on creating a new identity first. Your current behaviors are simply a reflection of your current identity. What you do now is a mirror image of the type of person you believe that you are (either consciously or subconsciously).

To change your behavior for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself. You need to build identity-based habits.

Imagine how we typically set goals. We might start by saying “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get stronger.” If you’re lucky, someone might say, “That’s great, but you should be more specific.”

So then you say, “I want to lose 20 pounds” or “I want to squat 300 pounds.”

These goals are centered around outcomes, not identity.

To understand what I mean, consider that there are three levels at which change can occur. You can imagine them like the layers of an onion.

There are three layers of behavior change: a change in your outcomes, a change in your processes, or a change in your identity.

The first layer is changing your outcomes. This level is concerned with changing your results: losing weight, publishing a book, winning a championship. Most of the goals you set are associated with this level of change.

The second layer is changing your process. This level is concerned with changing your habits and systems: implementing a new routine at the gym, decluttering your desk for better workflow, developing a meditation practice. Most of the habits you build are associated with this level.

The third and deepest layer is changing your identity. This level is concerned with changing your beliefs: your worldview, your self-image, your judgments about yourself and others. Most of the beliefs, assumptions, and biases you hold are associated with this level.

Outcomes are about what you get. Processes are about what you do. Identity is about what you believe. When it comes to building habits that last—when it comes to building a system of 1 percent improvements—the problem is not that one level is “better” or “worse” than another. All levels of change are useful in their own way. The problem is the direction of change.

Many people begin the process of changing their habits by focusing on what they want to achieve. This leads us to outcome-based habits. The alternative is to build identity-based habits. With this approach, we start by focusing on who we wish to become.

The Recipe for Sustained Success

Changing your beliefs isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. There are two steps.

  1. Decide the type of person you want to be.
  2. Prove it to yourself with small wins.

First, decide who you want to be. This holds at any level—as an individual, as a team, as a community, as a nation. What do you want to stand for? What are your principles and values? Who do you wish to become?

These are big questions, and many people aren’t sure where to begin—but they do know what kind of results they want: to get six-pack abs or to feel less anxious or to double their salary. That’s fine; start there and work backward from the results you want to the type of person who could get those results. Ask yourself, “Who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want?”

Here are five examples of how you can make this work in real life.

Want to lose weight?

Identity: Become the type of person who moves more every day.

Small win: Buy a pedometer. Walk 50 steps when you get home from work. Tomorrow, walk 100 steps. The day after that, 150 steps. If you do this 5 days per week and add 50 steps each day, then by the end of the year, you’ll be walking over 10,000 steps per day.

Want to become a better writer?

Identity: Become the type of person who writes 1,000 words every day.

Small win: Write one paragraph each day this week.

Want to become strong?

Identity: Become the type of person who never misses a workout.

Small win: Do pushups every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Want to be a better friend?

Identity: Become the type of person who always stays in touch.

Small win: Call one friend every Saturday. If you repeat the same people every 3 months, you’ll stay close with 12 old friends throughout the year.

Want to be taken seriously at work?

Identity: become the type of person who is always on time.

Small win: Schedule meetings with an additional 15–minute gap between them so that you can go from meeting to meeting and always show up early.

What is your identity?

In my experience, when you want to become better at something, proving your identity to yourself is far more important than getting amazing results. This is especially true at first.

If you want to get motivated and inspired, then feel free to watch a YouTube video, listen to your favorite song, and do P90X. But don’t be surprised if you burn out after a week. You can’t rely on being motivated. You have to become the type of person you want to be, and that starts with proving your new identity to yourself.

Most people (myself included) will want to become better this year. Many of us, however, will set performance- and appearance-based goals in hopes that they will drive us to do things differently.

If you’re looking to make a change, then I say stop worrying about results and start worrying about your identity. Become the type of person who can achieve the things you want to achieve. Build identity-based habits now. The results can come later.

by James Clear   This article is an excerpt from Atomic Habits, the New York Times bestselling book.

Find out how we can help you become the person you want to be:


VIDEO: Three Tips to Establishing a Better Overhead (Snatch Catch) Position

Jen Wirth | January 26, 2019 | no comments
VIDEO: Three Tips to Establishing a Better Overhead (Snatch Catch) Position

VIDEO: Three Tips to Establishing a Better Overhead (Snatch Catch) Position

…. Starring Coach Ryan

Have you struggled with joint mobility when you are trying to perform Olympic Lifts? You’re supposed to catch the weight straight overhead… but your arms don’t go that way?

Whether you’ve had difficulty with the Overhead (Snatch) or Front Rack (Clean) positions, then this video is for you. Join Coach Ryan as he describes and demonstrates Three actions you can take to increase your lat muscle flexibility and shoulder mobility. He’ll have you catching your Oly lifts like a champ!



Interested in learning more?
Click here to read more about the OlyOne Special Series!

Here is the sign up link for the OlyOne Olympic Lifting Series Starting Feb 5th:


Teen Testimonial

Noah Providence | January 24, 2019 | no comments
Teen Testimonial

Our Teen Classes Start Feb. 5th

Click HERE for more information and to register

Karan Mehta was your average teenager with a weight problem.

Lack of education about nutrition led to a diet of soda and pizza. It had been that way for years.

Mehta became overweight in the fourth grade when he was 9, and by the time he turned 15, he weighed 290 lb. at 5 foot 10. He had trouble sleeping at night and concentrating during the day at school. Though Mehta was just a teenager, his blood sugar was in the prediabetes range.

“I had dark black markings around my waist, too, and the skin under my armpits was a darker color. My pediatrician told me it was a symptom of high blood sugar and prediabetes,” Mehta said. The condition Mehta was referring to is called acanthosis nigricans, a skin disorder characterized by areas of dark discoloration of the skin and linked to insulin resistance.

Mehta wanted to make a change, but he didn’t think he could.

“I wanted to feel better, and I tried a few weight-loss programs,” he said. “I even worked with a personal trainer and dieted independently, but I didn’t have much success.”

Then he started CrossFit at CrossFit 1727 in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, in 2015.

For Karan Mehta, a childhood diet of pizza and soda led to a body weight of nearly 300 lb. and prediabetes at just 15.


Mehta lost 130 lb. and reversed his prediabetes after less than a year of CrossFit and healthy eating.

Immediately, coach Joseph Shea took the teenager under his wing, teaching him about the importance of getting off sugar and processed foods.

“He helped me with meal planning, too, and helped me get off sugary drinks and pizza—pizza was the biggest thing for me,” Mehta said. Soon, he began to enjoy healthy eating.

“I eat a lot of eggs and grilled chicken now. I could eat grilled chicken all day,” he said. Coming from an Indian background, Mehta also found himself dabbling in the kitchen, experimenting with ways to make traditional Indian cooking healthier.

“My parents and I will take a traditional recipe like chicken masala and make it healthier so I can actually eat it,” Mehta said.

Traditional chicken tikka masala is usually served over basmati rice and uses ingredients such as vegetable oil and dairy-based cream in the sauce. To make it a little healthier, chef Nick Massie—commonly known as Paleo Nick—suggests replacing rice with spaghetti squash, vegetable oil with olive oil, and cream with coconut milk.

ALT TEXTFor Mehta, improved fitness led to better concentration, higher grades and more self-confidence.

After just 10 months of CrossFit and following a diet of unprocessed foods—mostly lean proteins and vegetables—Mehta had lost 130 lb. Today, at 18, the recent high-school graduate is a lean 160 lb. and can do things in the gym he never thought he’d be able to. When he started CrossFit, his deadlift maxed out at 95 lb. and he could only run a quarter-mile. Now he can lift 300 lb. and enjoys going for runs of 6 to 8 miles. Even better, his blood sugar has returned to a normal level, and he no longer has trouble sleeping.

“My overall lifestyle has just gotten better,” Mehta said. “I feel a lot more mentally clear now. Especially being in high school, it was really nerve-wracking being overweight. I’m so much calmer now, and my grades have gone up.”

His grades were good enough to earn admission to the University of Chicago, where he is enrolled to study biochemistry starting in September 2018.

“My plan is to find a gym right away,” he added.

While Mehta is excited about moving on to the next chapter of his life, he said he will never forget how his coach at CrossFit 1727 helped put his life on track.

“Joseph (Shea) was the most instrumental part of my weight loss,” Mehta said. “If it weren’t for him, I never would have done it. His leadership and his guidance as a coach helped me feel so welcome. That’s what makes CrossFit so unique. I’ve had a personal trainer before, but never did I have that personal relationship.”

He continued: “Going to the gym didn’t just feel like I was meeting my trainer. It felt like I was meeting my close friend, and that helped me enjoy the process and share laughs along the way.”

Shea, too, said he has enjoyed every moment coaching Mehta. Though Mehta was one of the youngest members of the gym when he joined in 2015, he has always been one of the most coachable and most dedicated to his goals, Shea said.

“The fact that he was younger, and in a way, impressionable, made it easier to give direction because he took all of (my) guidance and applied it,” Shea said. “Karan would seek out the extra help and extra work. Whether it was a cash-out after class or additional conditioning on his own at home, he’d ask what else he could be doing to continue to work toward his goal of weight loss.”

ALT TEXTThere are no shortcuts to fitness. Mehta achieved his goals with hard work and dedication at the gym and in the kitchen.

Mehta’s transformation has inspired the entire CrossFit 1727 community, and has warmed his heart as a coach, Shea added.

“I can say being able to help anyone lose that kind of weight and turn their health around makes all the long hours and hard work worth it, but especially a teenager—who really has to worry about other kids and bullying—makes it extra special.”

Mehta knows firsthand that losing weight isn’t easy. He advises other teenagers looking to get fit to find a way to enjoy the process.

“It’s so easy to get caught up in the thought of, ‘What if it doesn’t pan out and I waste my time?’ It’s easy to doubt yourself,” he said.

“But you just have to enjoy the process. You have to take it day by day and before you know it, you’ll be doing things you didn’t know you could do and wearing clothes you didn’t think you’d ever be able to buy.”

About the Author: Emily Beers is a CrossFit Journal contributor and coach at CrossFit Vancouver. She finished 37th at the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games.


Ryan Barlow | January 21, 2019 | no comments

How Serious Are you About the CrossFit Open?

The CrossFit Open is almost here. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the CrossFit Open, here is a quick overview. The CrossFit Open began in 2011 as an opportunity for the worldwide CrossFit community to compete together as one family. The event lasts five weeks and consists of one workout per week. Each one of these workouts is announced on Thursday night and must be completed (you must submit your score and have a judge’s signature) by 5PM Pacific time on the following Monday. These workouts are incredible tests of work capacity, strength, and skill – the top finishers in each region moving on for a chance at the CrossFit Games (until this year). Sounds like fun, right? It is!

And despite CrossFit’s desire to program constantly varied functional movements, there are only so many movements that Dave Castro (CrossFit Games Director) can throw at us. Over the course of the past 8 years, only 19 movements in total have appeared in an Open workout (see the chart below). Which means we can prepare accordingly.

Over the course of the next few weeks, you will see all of the above movements (and others) in our standard programming. However, the most complicated of these movements always require more practice time in order to achieve mastery. Think about adding a few minutes of double under practice, muscle-up drills, and/or olympic lifting to your daily routine. Improving these high-skill movements is sure to have a dramatic impact on your performance in the upcoming 2019 CrossFit Open. If you would like additional guidance, practice, and feedback on the Olympic lifts, snatch (appearing 100%) and clean (appearing 71.4%), please consider registering for my upcoming OlyOne series. In these classes, I will be able to dissect each lift and provided specific and individualized feedback for each lifter.

So who’s ready to crush the 2019 CrossFit Open? I cannot wait to cheer you on (and maybe no-rep you if I’m your judge) in only 5 weeks. Good luck and happy CrossFitting!


Ryan Barlow, CF-L2

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