The Craic Methodology: Improving the quality of our clients lives through the implementation of Lifestyle, Nutritional, and Fitness practices.

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Who is CrossFit For?

Neil Collins

Neil Collins

After a brief chat with Neil last week, one that began with him saying: “Yesterday my arms were so sore I could barely lift my coffee” I felt the urge to share a little about his story. Neil is currently our oldest male client but you wouldn’t think it from everything he does. This past memorial day we completed the MURPH workout which is an annual event within the CrossFit community to honor those who have fallen serving their country. The workout was created in honor of Michel Murphy who’s story was the inspiration for the book and subsequent movie Lone Survivor. It’s a brutal gauntlet consisting of a 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another 1 mile run.

Every year on Memorial Day we have a large crew show up to do the workout and I learned this year was the first time Neil was able to complete the workout as it’s written without modifying any of the exercises. 4 years in, at 66, he’s still improving constantly. He truly embodies our mindset of Always Learning.


1. How old are you and how long have you been training @ CRAIC?

I turned 66 years of age last February and I’ve been training at CRAIC for 4 years as of last August.

2. What made you try CrossFit?

I’ve always tried to stay in shape. I studied Tae Kwon Do (achieved Black Belt and competed in competitions). I started running and ran in a few road races (5ks and half marathons). I even took up dancin
g when my daughters started dance school. About 5 years ago I started Tae Kwon Do trying for another degree. This worked for a year but been there done that. That’s when I saw the sign outside of the Dedham gym. It peaked my interest so I asked around. A friend told me he had tried to join and said it was to difficult. He also made the mistake saying that I wouldn’t last a month, and yet here I am.


3. Do you remember your first workout?

Yes, I was nervous at first but Glen my first coach set my mind at ease and then began the torture. I actually enjoyed it and could not wait for my next class.

4. Have you ever done any thing like this in the past?

Image 2Yes, Boot camp in the Army. It was tough then also and it made me grow up (I was a very young 19 yrs old). I was in the Army for 3 years and spent time in Germany but came home due to my Fathers passing. I was transferred to
Ft. Devens for a year and eventually I was sent to Viet Nam for a year. I was stationed in 3 different locations.5. What is your favorite part of CrossFit?

It’s hard to say. First of all I love the diversity of activities. I love the challenge and the rewards. Its like our motto
Always different always hard”
. And I couldn’t ask for better coaching. Secondly I love my fellow Craic Heads. The friendship and love that comes with Craic is outstanding. Everyone is so helpful, understanding, and supportive. I always look forward to going to the gym.

6. How many competitions have you entered and how long before you started competing?

I entered my first comp 6 months after joining Craic. It was my first CrossFit Open. I have done 4 Opens, 2 CrossFit New England Masters (55+) and I’m about to do my 4th Ocean State Masters Throwdown on June 6th (a 3rd and 2nd place finish).

7. You recently did your 1st RX Murph after 3 years of doing it modified. Being a Veteran did this accomplishment feel special in any way and why?

It was very special. I never want to fail at Murph! I do it for all Veterans especially those that we lost. On days like Memorial Day I ask my self why was I so lucky. I do it for those who cant. So, and this may sound corny, when I’m doing Murph and start to falter, I call upon their spirits to push me. Lift me. Help me if they can. I make them a part of the challenge. This time my prayers were answered. When I came out the door for my second run I was ready to quit. Then I looked up I saw and heard cheers. “Come o Neil! Lets go Veteran. You can do it!” And then four maybe five Craicheads started running with me (thanks Mitch, Jim, Sean, Jamie, I hope I didn’t miss anyone.). They just said lets go you can do it. I almost broke down in tears. It was amazing and I WILL NEVER FORGET IT!!! Because of this I was able to finish and PR Murph!!!!

8. What advice would you give someone your age that says I’m to old to join CrossFit?

Its simple. I believe that the fountain of youth is not a thing. Its an action. Keep moving. CrossFit may not be for you but you’ll never know unless you try. You cant live in fear of injury or failure. Don’t worry about embarrassment. Hell you’ll be too tired to be embarrassed. I can guarantee, you wont regret the effort. If you do it and its for you, you’ll feel it grab you and it will make you young again!!!…PROMISE




June Member of the Month


This months MOM is Andrew Munchbach – click to find out a little more about him –

Love this “For me, CrossFit is all about the small, quiet victories that are never written on a board or recorded in a workout journal.



Four Stages of Learning – Revisited… Again

I think this is the 3rd of 4th time I have reposted this on the blog over the past few years. I’ve presented this model (not my creation) during talks and its one of the things I get the most positive feedback about. After several recent conversations with people, and things I see in the gym every day I thought it would be nice to revisit it again now.

You may have seen this before and you may think you understand it but if you are frustrated with progress at the moment take the time to reinforce this model into your training.

Learning, Unlearning, and Relearning


The process of learning a new skill can be divided into four stages:

1. Unconscious Incompetence – You are unable to do something and you probably don’t know you can’t do it until you are asked to attempt it. A lot of people who walk though our doors for the first time cannot do an air squat when asked to perform one for the first time. We coach them on what to do, cue them on the positions and spend a lot of time practicing.

2. Conscious Incompetence – At this stage a person is starting to develop the skill however he or she is aware that they are still performing some aspects of the skill incorrectly. Continuing with the air squat as our example, a person may fall back on their butt every couple of reps, let their knees cave in, not go to depth, etc. This is usually a tough time for the client as they are trying really hard but at the same time they are learning a lot at this stage in their development.

3. Conscious Competence – You can perform a skill correctly but must go slow and REALLY focus on what you are doing. With each repetition you are going through a checklist in your mind on the correct sequence of steps and movement patterns. People in this stage have learned a skill but have not yet mastered it.

4. Unconscious Competence – This is the “mastery” stage. A person at this point in their learning process knows how to correctly perform a skill and can do it without thinking about it. On top of this, the person can also perform the skill correctly under various constraints and conditions, such as with speed, with load, mixed with other movements, and under duress (such as a competition). If you have ever watched someone perform a movement so well that they “made it look easy,” you are watching a person who has reached the stage of mastery with that given skill.

If you put in the time to the dedicated and patient practice, you will eventually get to this fourth stage with just about anything you want and can create good habits. Keep in mind that the learning curve for an Air Squat, a Power Clean, and a Muscle-Up are all vastly different.

The big problem is that if you try to rush the learning process, the habit that you end up forming may be incorrect and you will need to unlearn it at a later stage.

“Practice doesn’t make perfect, Perfect practice makes perfect.” Vincent Lombardi  

If you are rushing to add weight to the bar, trying to rip the chain out of the rower, or obsessing with your score on the board then you are missing the point. To use an example, if you bend your elbows too soon when you do power cleans then you’re missing a critical component of the skill, which, if not addressed with dedicated and patient practice, will negate any chance of reaching the stage of mastery for power cleans, and likely many other similar movements (such as rowing and snatches).

“When the arms bend, the power ends.” – Coach B

Unlearning involves working from stage 4 back to stage 2 and Relearning is 2 back to 4, just going a little slower and being more conscious of what you are doing.


I see this problem most often when people are trying to learn how to do Muscle Ups. Someone will work the progressions for a certain amount of time, get their first one then think that they don’t need to practice anymore. When this happens people are trying to jump from stage 2 (Conscious Incompetence) to stage 4 (Unconscious Competence) and then when they can’t do it again they get frustrated.

If you perform a movement correctly once, then miss it five times after that, it means you need to practice more.

The same thing happens with the Olympic lifts. Someone pulls the bar up with their arms on a Clean or presses the bar out overhead on a Snatch. If your coach tells you you did either one of those things it would seem crazy to add weight to the bar right? Well, it happens a lot. These problems are not going to be solved by trying harder or adding more weight. All you are doing is reinforcing the incorrect movement pattern, so in a way you are actually making yourself better at doing it wrong.

In this situation, what doesn’t need to happen is to put more weight on the bar. What does need to happen is to check the ego and take a step back.  Doing so will show that you care enough to fix the problem instead of trying to ignore it. Unless you address things head on they usually continue to build up and can eventually result in hitting a plateau or unfortunate injury.

Take the time to learn how to do things correctly and then take pride in your ability to do so.



Memorial Day

This coming Monday we will have one class at Wood at 9am and will be closed the rest of the day. Dedham will be closed all day. 

We will have multiple options available for those who are unable to the workout as written. 




Site Under Construction

Our site is going through an overhaul over the next couple weeks and in the transition we will no longer be posting a daily blog. The workouts for the week will be posted in the programs section under CrossFit, or Competitive every Sunday evening.

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Moving forward we will be pushing all our content through Instagram, and Facebook so be sure to follow us on both platforms if you don’t already.