Running Dos & Don’ts

Posted: June 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

The weather is getting warmer and many of us are getting outside and getting back to running. You may be feeling new aches and pains or maybe feeling inefficient as you get back into it. Let’s review some common mistakes in running and some fixes that can keep you running and feeling good.

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  1. Not Warming Up

This is a pretty easy one to fix and although people know what to do they choose not to.

Would you snatch or do pull-ups without warming up your muscles or going through the motions first? OF course not. Yet most runners step out of their cars, touch their toes twice and they’re off! Then that first mile or so feels awful. Your ankles aren’t ready for impact, your hips and back are tight and you feel slow. It is my belief that this is why many people say they “can’t run”. They can not get past the first mile of feeling awful.

To prevent this terrible start to your run, take a few minutes and prep your body. You have all done hundreds of warm up at RAW. You know what to do!  (Air-squats, side lunges, ankle rolls, high knees, butt kicks, band some body twists at the least)

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  1. Heel Striking

Now that your warm and running let’s talk about running technique. You’ve probably heard warnings for this error a million times in a million ways. “Don’t heel strike”, “Land on your mid-foot”, “Don’t over-stride”. They all mean the same thing. When your feet strike the ground when your foot is ahead of your hips, your ankles, knees and hips have to absorb the impact while each step is acting like a brake and slowing your progress. There are books  and books written about how to change your form but I have found that the best and easiest way to make a quick change is to just think about turning over your feet faster. Not running faster but think about taking more steps to cover the same distance. This forces your foot to strike the ground under your hips, making it impossible to strike your heel first. This increases your cadence. (If you heel strike it is certain you have a slow cadence)

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  1. Slow Cadence

This bring us to the next mistake. Slow cadence. Optimal cadence for running is 180 foot strikes per minute. The easiest way to figure out your cadence is to count your steps for 15 seconds then multiply by 4. The easiest way to fix a slow cadence is again focusing on increasing your turnover. Turn off the music and listen to your feet when you run. Aim for quick light steps and slowly increase until you can get yourself to 180 comfortably.

  1. Tense Upper Body

Running is not just about the legs, it is a full body activity, and nothing drains a body more in a run than a tight upper body. People often run with tight fists, straight arms, and shoulders shrugged. This is a drain of energy that could be focused on your run. 

To avoid these common mistakes do a “body check” when running. At a predetermined distance (every mile marker, every road intersection etc) go through these steps:

  1. shrug your shoulders then drop them into position
  2. check your angle of your elbows. They should be kept a 90º. DO not release in the back swing
  3. straighten your fingers then allow them to relax
  1. Lazy Feet

Now that I told you to relax I’m telling you not to be lazy! Every stride you take your ankle should be lifted toward your butt, then allowed to fall to the ground, under your hips, in place to be lifted again. When lift occurs and its followed by proper landing, it creates the optimal positioning to utilize forward progression with the least amount of resistance and utilizing gravity to push you along.  If you ‘’scuff” your feet you are not getting proper lifting of the heel. Again… be in tune with your body and listen to your feet. If you hear scuffing you are not getting proper lift.

Now get out there and enjoy the great outdoors and run better than ever before! Ill see you at the Boathouse 🙂

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Constant refinement is a sign of a true athlete.  They are continually working to improve their movement patterns, learning new drills or trying to come to a better understanding of their technique.  It’s not enough to just acquire a skill, but to become efficient and able to reproduce that skill over and over again.  Taking the extra time to work on drills and positions will pay off as you will begin to move better and more effectively in all areas and refine yourself as an athlete.

Jen Harlan: Athlete of the Month

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Congratulations Jen! Very well deserved Athlete of the Month. Ever since Jen showed up she has worked super hard and wanted to learn more. She always has good questions and is never scared to take on a new challenge that we throw at her. Whether it’s a heavier DBall for the workout or a new cue or technique on her gymnastics, Jen never backs down. I’m proud of the progress she has made but even more excited to watch her continue to refine and get better in the future!
Coach Sonny

It has been an absolute pleasure watching Jen grow in her journey here at RAW Training.  She is quiet, modest and very humble.  But, to watch her attack a workout is quite special.  She holds nothing back at 3,2,1…GO!  She is continually improving and wanting to learn.  One of the things I enjoy most about her is how she surprises herself every time she hits that position just right, or the move feels just perfect!  Keep up the great work Jen! Coach Sean L. 
Below are a few thoughts from Jen on her RAW experience.
What does Jen think of RAW?

Raw is an incredible place full of amazing people. The coaching staff and the community are what makes RAW so special. I’ve made some amazing friends, and working out around so many positive people is really inspiring. Every time I come in, I’m just happy to be there. Whether the workout is full of things that I like, or I’m suffering through everything I hate, it’s just so cool to be a part of this community.

The changes I’ve seen in my strength and endurance have been more than I ever expected and could never have accomplished on my own. I’m excited to keep building and improving on everything. As someone who had/has some mobility and form issues, I am so grateful for all of the guidance and help (and patience) from the coaches. I started at RAW for exercise, but its become much more than that, it is more about the camaraderie and friendships, having fun and talking smack during class, and celebrating improvements no matter how big or small.

If you had to write a workout, what exercises would be in it?  
Heavy clean and jerks, HSPU, T2B and some low/red sleds.
What got you to start at RAW?

After years of working out at home to DVDs, I was getting really bored and unmotivated. I heard about “a crazy CrossFit gym in North Park” from some co-workers. That sounded like my kind of place, so after some internet research, I signed up for fundamentals and never looked back.

Sitting in the parking lot right before the first class was so intimidating. All I could hear was the music blasting and barbells dropping, but once I got inside I knew I was going to love it. I look forward to coming to RAW, and even on the days I take off I’m wondering what the workout is.
What is your least favorite lift/exercise?
The ski erg and the bike.

What are your goals for 2019?
My goal is to take everything we are learning in the gymnastics class, put all of those pieces together, and finally get a muscle up.

Another goal is to not forget what I’m supposed to be doing halfway through the workout…the toughest goal of all!

What class/times do you regularly attend?
Either 4pm or 5:15pm during the week and 9am on Saturdays
 

Mike Kelly: Athlete of the Month

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 Congratulations “Kelly” (Mike) for being our June Athlete of the Month.  Man, this guy is a hard worker and its great to see that  it’s paying off.  I really enjoy when he comes in during Open gym and we take a minute or 2 and refine a lift or gymnastic drill.  I know its not always easy making it to the gym, and no matter what is going on, Mike always comes in with a great attitude and a friendly hello.  I want to thank you for allowing me to be your Coach and I look forward to watching you compete in Patriot Games next week.  Good Luck
 Coach Amy

Mike, congrats on being June’s Athlete of the Month.  Your hard work is sure paying off. It is great to see you being consistent and growing as an athlete.  You always put your best effort forward no matter what the wod may be.  You never hesitate to ask questions and you can tell you want to continue to improve.  Your quick wit and great sense of humor make you a joy to coach.  Keep up the great work Mike! Thank you for your continued support throughout the years. 
Coach Sean L.

Below are a few thoughts from Mike on his RAW experience.

 

What does Mike think of RAW? 
RAW is a special place to me. It is somewhere I can go and forget about everything while being challenged in amazing ways. RAW helped me achieve things I never thought possible. I have met many awesome people here as well.

If you had to write a workout, what exercises would be in it?

No doubt, I would have deadlifts, running and sleds. Basically the things no one else likes.
What is your least favorite lift/exercise? 
Overhead squats, by far. I don’t have great mobility with that movement.
What are your goals for 2019?
I want to become more efficient at some of the overhead and gymnastics movements. These are my weaknesses in any wod. Also, keeping my arms straight/locked out! I definitely get yelled at for this more than everything else combined!

What got you to start at RAW?
I had never worked out very seriously at any point in life. I just wasn’t sure where to start and never wanted to feel like I was wasting time going through the motions with no results. After talking to a few friends about CrossFit I knew that was the direction I wanted to go. RAW was a place they all said to check out. I did a little research of my own and visited RAW one time. I believe I signed up that day! Tom Knouff and I started together 4 years ago now. My only regret was that I didn’t start sooner!

What class/times do you regularly attend?  

6am and 4pm are my most common. I think I have been to at least one class at every time though.

R.A.W. ReBuild

Posted: June 6, 2019 in Rebuild, Testimonial

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R.A.W. Rebuild is entering its 6th year and the results are speaking for themselves. Clients have seen an improvement in their mobility, strength, and endurance. One client has improved their lumber bone density by 5.3%! This has all been done while having fun and meeting friends along the way.

Rebuild is designed for beginners, individuals returning from injury and those who would like to get a head start on Crossfit Fundamentals. Our Rebuild coaches give thorough explanations and demonstrations of all exercises. They will work closely with each client and make modifications when necessary. 

R.A.W. Rebuild is a fun and safe place to take your fitness to the next level. Come join us and see for yourself!  We are waiting for you!

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What people are saying about R.A.W. ReBuild:

“When I started RAW Rebuild 5 years ago, I had no idea where this journey would take me.  I had been dabbling with CrossFit for a few years.  Due to kids/work/life, I wasn’t able to make exercise a priority.  I would workout here and there; several days a week, sometimes only once a week.  Every time I walked through those doors, I felt like I was starting over.  I was frustrated and ready to give up.  In a last ditch effort, I decided to researched the RAW class schedule one last time, determined to find something more consistent.  I came across a class called Rebuild.  Hmm…that sure sounded like me.  I was starting from the ground up.  I reached out to Amy Butteri to learn more.  She thought this class might be a good fit for me, so I decided to give it a try.

Our Rebuild class started small.  At first there were only 3 of us coming consistently, 2 days a week.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was what I had been searching for.  From the coaches, to the unique workouts, to the few of us who kept each other accountable for being there twice a week, every week.  Because the class was small, we didn’t want to miss a class. 

Fast fwd a few years and the word got out about this incredible HIIT class.  It is cardio intense with a great mix of strength conditioning.  What started with 3 consistent members has grown to 30+.  Not just 30 people, but 30 people who look fwd to seeing each other 3 times a week.  When 1 of us doesn’t make it…we care.  We are a family unto ourselves.  Supportive of each other, looking out for each other, sharing our lives and taking care of each other.    We are led by an incredible team of coaches who lift us up and challenge us to do more than we believe we can. 

The gains I have made physically, are huge to me.  It was never my goal to set any records or become a competitive athlete.  I wanted to be mentally, physically and emotionally healthier than I had been without exercise.  The most amazing thing is what I’ve been able to accomplish since starting.  A group from our class completed the Terrain race in Erie last month.  I’ve gone from struggling with 15lb kettle bells to consistently swinging 45lbs.  I couldn’t run 1 mile when I started 5 years ago without stopping several times.  Today, I can consistently run 5 miles without stopping.  I’ve just signed up for my first 10 miler in the fall in anticipation of a ½ marathon next spring.  The best part….we barely ever run in Rebuild.   The point being…I didn’t even realize the gains I was making.  

There aren’t enough ways to describe what this class and RAW have done for me.  It’s given me the confidence to try things I never thought possible a few years ago.  I’d encourage anyone considering this class to give it a try.  Commit to doing something great for yourself 3 days a week.  You won’t regret it!”

Sandy L.


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“What does RAW mean to me? Why do I get up so early and go to this place called RAW every M/W/F morning and on an occasional Saturday/Sunday?

It all started 5 years ago at age 55. After thinking about getting back in shape for years. Dealing with the daily stress of business. The reality that my health was not improving, some factors out of my control and many in my control. The stress of having an son deployed at the time to a small combat outpost in Afghanistan. Although successful in many people’s eyes I was a physical and emotional wreck. 

At this time in my life a work collegue and friend (Megan) encouaged me to go to RAW with her. Thank you Megan.

Nervous as hell I went and realized after a short period of time that as Megan had said this was a special place. A special place filled with friendly people who cared. 

After watching me struggle Amy referred me to a new class they where just starting. Called Rebuild, she actually told me she started the class just for me? I mentally committed to it for 3 months, that was 5 years ago. At the same time 2 other people joined the class Sandy and Elliot. The class was hard and having them to share the effort made going more bearable. We held each other Accountable and supported each other when things got tough. A group of 3 is now a community of over 20 on a regular basis. I am stronger, faster, and more fit than I could have imagined. 

But that’s not the whole story. That is not the secret sauce. RAW is my Tribe! It’s a place where I can go and do my best and no matter how bad that is I am never judged but only encouraged buy my piers and the people who train us (Lori and her crew at Rebuild are the best). I believe their passion for what they do and the way they care about us is demonstrated every time I go. Rain, snow of shine they are always there with a smile. 

Thank you for letting me be part of your Family at RAW!”

Ralph L.

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Come check out R.A.W. ReBuild and see what we’re all about! We are offering a free trial for all new clients. If you would like to take advantage of this free trial please contact Amy@raw-training.com to schedule. Or click here: http://raw-training.com/about-us/sign-up-for-a-free-class/

 

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CrossFit is branded as an all-inclusive program that can be scaled up to the most elite level athlete and down to the simplest of workouts for those just starting their fitness journey. We have found here at R.A.W. that this is 100% true.

Recently we began working with a gentleman named Bryon. He came to us eager to make a change in his life and ready to commit to a healthier lifestyle and the hard work that comes with it. Bryon comes in 3 days a week ready to work and does our version of CrossFit that is tailored to him. He does sprints on the Ski Erg, uses battling ropes, performs box squats and deadlifts, and of course uses sleds (everyones favorite) among other modalities.

Since Bryon started working with us he has lost 40 pounds in 10 weeks. This is huge progress and we are incredibly proud of him! We know its not easy walking in the doors, Bryon is consistent and that is all we needed in order to get started. We have talked about the scale being a good data point for progress but not the only one, and definitely not the most important. There are many other things that can be used to measure our progress like energy levels, clothes fitting better, or just daily activities becoming easier as Bryon mentions below.

“Last week I took the kids to the Pirate which includes a 

12-15 minute walk from the car to the gate at PNC. Last year I remember 

being out of breath trying to keep up with the boys walking pace to the 

field . This past visit I had no problem with the walk and actually felt 

good doing it. The same can be said for the walk up the steps from our 

seats. We had great seats down along the field which includes about a 30-40 

step climb  back up to the concourse which in Seasons past always left me 

winded…. This year not a problem! The workouts over the past 10 weeks 

have made many everyday things a lot easier but this night at the game 

really stands out to me. Thanks for all the help!”

Progress can be measured differently for each individual and it all depends on their own personal goals. We’re so proud of Bryon and all our athlete’s hard work they put in on a daily basis. It truly is quite humbling and is motivation for us to continue our work here.

Sonny J. Litwiler

R.A.W. Training

slitwiler30@gmail.com

#WomenWhoWeightLift

Posted: May 27, 2019 in Uncategorized

This is a topic that is near and dear to our hearts at RAW Training. We have so many strong, capable and athletic women of RAW Training who embody health and wellness. Women who weight lift, at all ages, know the benefits and how it positively impacts multiple aspects of their lives.
How many times have you read or heard: “Don’t lift weights because you’ll get too bulky” or “I want to lose weight and get skinnier, so I’ll just do cardio”? Maybe you were once one of these people who said this and/or believed it. Thankfully, here at RAW Training, we know otherwise and are passionately ready to break it down for you.
What do we know about the benefits of weightlifting for women?
We know that it increases our BMR (basal metabolic rate). BMR is the rate in which the body is able to burn calories throughout the day. If your BMR is higher, your body functions more efficiently and continues to burn calories at a higher rate even long after your work out ends.

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Lifting weights increases bone density. This is true at any age BUT is especially important for post menopausal women. There is a significant decrease of estrogen in the body of women after hitting menopause. This decrease in estrogen causes bones to break down easier, but weight training helps keeps those bones strong!
Health overall can be increased due to fewer symptoms associated with arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. It also improves sleep patterns, mood and helps manage stress levels.
Weightlifting adds function to your everyday life! It makes you more capable to complete daily activities such as moving furniture, carrying children, shoveling the driveway, etc. Knowing how to move weight correctly also decreases the risk of injury while performing these functional movements.
Lifting weights makes you feel empowered and builds confidence in your own skin! (This is a personal favorite of mine.)

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So if all of this factual info about the benefits of weightlifting is available knowledge to the general public, why is it that people still believe the myths? Let’s debunk the truth!
Women will NOT get too “bulky” from strength training alone. Various other factors contribute to a woman’s physique including: genetics, diet and hormones.
As a coach, I have worked with women who have felt like lifting weights wasn’t really for them. After spending a little bit of time with the iron, they usually see things differently.

“Before, I lifted weights for maintenance without much thought to actually building strength. But since I’ve started doing personal training, it’s been so empowering to see and use weightlifting as a way to build; not just maintain.” – Neha
“Before coming to RAW I had the misconception that weightlifting was for dudes at Gold’s Gym and Bally’s Fitness who strut around flexing all day. My time with Bri has certainly changed that idea! Weightlifting is for everyone, and especially for women! The strength I feel and the confidence that I have goes with me way beyond the confines of the gym. I feel great, mind and body! After a particularly great session you may even find me strutting around a bit.” -Catherine

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I’m going to wrap things up by telling you what it is about weightlifting that I, personally, love so much. It’s so empowering! I have always been a stronger girl. Growing up, it sometimes seemed to be a negative. When I was a cheerleader, I was never on top of the pyramid. I will tell you this though; I was one of the STRONGEST bases! As a diver, I wasn’t really known for my technique, but I was known as a “power diver” and for my DD (Degree of Difficulty). Currently, being one of the stronger girls in CrossFit makes me feel like I belong there. It gives me confidence inside and outside of the gym. My wish for all women is that they may find this same joy and love for weightlifting that many of us at RAW Training possess. I hope that one day, every woman will feel empowered, strong and confident in their skin!

 

Coach Bri

RAW CrossFit Teen Program

Posted: May 23, 2019 in Kids

I often receive questions regarding our newly formed CrossFit Teen program and what it offers. The goal of the RAW CrossFit Teen Program is to bring the sport of CrossFit with its myriad benefits to our teen athletes while in supportive, positive environment with age appropriate programming. We strive to improve the general fitness of our teens by enhancing mobility, strength and flexibility with age appropriate programming and positive environment. We’ve taken the key components of CrossFit, which our adult clients love so much, and bring them to our teen athletes. It is all done in a small class setting designed to introduce teens to Power/Olympic lifting techniques, gymnastics skills, and proper running form.

 Quite honestly, it’s been a very gratifying experience as a coach to see the overall improvement in the fitness level and confidence of our young athletes during the initial five months of the program. Since its inception, several of our teens have decided to make CrossFit their sport of choice and have even endeavored to take part in the 2019 CrossFit Open, while other of our teen athletes have taken advantage of this unique program to build strength, power, mobility and endurance in order to further their success in their chosen sport.

 

It is my great pleasure and privilege to assist our teen athletes and our goal is that fitness becomes a valuable part of their lifetime fitness journey.  

 

Click HERE for the RAW CrossFit Teen Program

 

–Coach Kevin

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In the first 6 months of RAW LEGENDS, the coaches have seen a tremendous improvement in clients’ functional fitness. Our 50 and older class focuses on balance, mobility, strength, body awareness, metabolic conditioning and cognitive function. The primary goal is to improve quality of life as our clients age, both physically and mentally. We have a wide range of fitness backgrounds creating a supportive and welcoming environment where each client can feel comfortable with folks their own age. RAW LEGENDS not only build stronger bodies but stronger minds as well. The confidence they gain by learning new skills and by setting goals helps them lead the highest quality of life possible as they age. They work extremely hard on the technical skills and the physical and mental benefits of this hard work is evident at the end of the class when they talk about how they are moving better, getting stronger, swinging a golf club with more ease and generally feeling really good about life.

Here’s how Flo and Jim Oakes,  feel about the Legends class:

What I love about Legends is that the classes are structured so that we warm up our muscle slowly and gradually work up to a level where we can challenge ourselves to lift heavier weights and do more cardio without feeling total wiped out. Every week the coaches challenge us to increase the weights we lift to help build up our strength. Each week I look forward to the next workout to see how I can improve my overall fitness. Flo
 Legends is a great class. I like the fact that most people are around my age. Kate and Linda, our instructors, are very thorough in providing us the proper techniques in weight lifting, as well as in other exercises. I look forward to Tuesday and Thursday Legend classes for the great exercise as well as for the great camaraderie in the class. Jim
Here’s a small sample of what you can expect from R.A.W. Legends: