Are you a ticking time bomb?

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As a trainer who has had more than his share of injuries, I empathize a great deal when I see people who are experiencing pain, or moving poorly.

When injuries occur, it is typically a result not performing a movement properly. It is my job as a coach to try to correct the error – And it is the trainee’s job to practice correcting the movement. Even outside of class time. 

If you find yourself frequently slugging through workouts in pain, you are not doing yourself any favors. In fact you are literally a ticking time bomb. It is just a matter of time before it will catch up to you and result in an injury. 

Even seemingly simple movements are often complex. The deadlift is just picking something off the ground. Doing it safely requires a fair amount of hamstring and hip mobility, and the ability to fire your glutes/hamstrings while bracing your core and maintaining a neutral spine.

Here are my suggestions: 

  1. Ask your trainer about how to correct what you are struggling with: Let them set you upon a path to better movement. 

 

  1. Be patient and practice religiously. Mastery takes many repetitions. Low weight, lots of reps at a slow and focused pace can help retrain your brain. 

 

  1. Don’t expect change to happen overnight; but look forward to seeing improvements every step along the way. It can take 3-5 years to correct someone who has a poor squat.

 

  1. Don’t let your ego get in the way. We all have weaknesses. CrossFit is notoriously good at exposing them. Don’t get frustrated if you struggle at some things. 

 

Improving your movement patterns likely means that you will need to dedicate extra time outside of class. Typically the best way to get better at a movement, is simply to practice that movement. Additionally some mobility work will likely compliment it. 

 

Don’t be a ticking time bomb. Mobilize your restrictions. 

Don’t avoid your weaknesses. Run after them.

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Coach Matt Meyer

CrossFit Sabertooth

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Annual Fitness Testing This Week

This week July 2nd – 7th we will be doing our annual fitness testing. Don’t worry…it’s not as scary as it sounds. We have done this every year since 2016!

For new people, this is a chance to set a baseline for yourself. Having an idea of some of your max lifts and benchmark workout scores is super helpful when determining what areas you need to spend your time focusing on.

For more experienced members, this is a chance to re-test your max lifts and benchmark workouts, to see your improvements over last year.

We have modified the schedule this year.

Traditionally our schedule has look like this:

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However, this year will look a little different because we have recently tested many of these in other classes and have no need to revisit them so quickly.

This Week our schedule will look like this:

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We encourage all of our members to come as much as you can this week! Sunday will be an open makeup day so you can hit some that you missed. You can also make these up over the next two weeks, if you aren’t able to make them all this week.

Also — please make sure you record your results in Wodify, including any scaling options you used, weights you chose, etc.

This is a fun week! We hope to see lots of new PRs!!

Next week we will start a new cycle and you can expect to see an email about it over the weekend!

Pulling Out of a Rut

We all get there at some point. After a competition, vacation, illness, or just got lazy and mentally drained. Everyone, including myself, goes through phases where we don’t feel motivated to work on our fitness. Here are a few tips you can do to turn yourself around get back on track.

 

That One Thing You Love Doing! ❤❤❤

Think of the one movement in the gym that you love more than anything else. Set a goal specifically pertaining to it.

What’s your favorite thing? Olympic lifting? Rowing? Pullups? Deadlifting? These are the things that will bring you joy and make you excited. Why not set a specific and realistic goal pertaining to that movement?

Imagine coming to the gym only to work on things that bring you joy! It might mean you will spend more time in open gym and perhaps taking less classes to start off. If this helps you get back into working out. . .great!

Ask a coach for guidance on how to achieve your goal. 

 

Take a serious look at your diet. 🍔🥗🍕🥩

Often times when I find myself in a training rut, I also find myself in a nutrition rut. It’s easy to see how one breeds the other. When we are not eating well, our bodies will respond with lethargy and lack of motivation.

It’s important to take a few minutes and evaluate your current diet. Are you eating out more? fast food? microwave dinners? lot’s of processed foods? If you have fallen off the wagon a bit, just being aware of the situation is a big step toward nipping it in the butt. Make a commitment to start fresh. Go to the grocery store and load up on things that are good for you.

Need help? We have nutrition coaches that can guide you.

 

Ask a gym buddy. 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♂️

Having a little accountability can go a long way.

Who are you always happy to see at the gym? Ask them if they want to buddy up. You don’t need a complicated plan, but it should be specific enough to hold each other accountable. Something like “We are going to go every Mon, Wed, and Fri at 530pm for the next 6 weeks.”

It’s perfectly natural to go through periods where you don’t feel motivated to workout, but let’s keep them brief. Find a way to regain the excitement. What’s the reason that CrossFit is important to you?

Don’t forget, we are here to help. Reach out to a coach if you’d like to chat.

Coach Matt, CrossFit Sabertooth

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New to CrossFit Sabertooth?  Interested in trying it out? Book a Free Intro HERE!

Your Fitness Base for Everything

 

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Imagine how great it would be able to go out and pick up any sport, game, or recreational activity and immediately be proficient. How about improving at any of these sports or activities twice as quickly as anyone else? You’d be some sort of superhero or genetically gifted athlete right? Or maybe it’s just that you have been working on your functional fitness.

CrossFit is designed to be a general strength and conditioning program using functional movements (movements will real-life applications.) This doesn’t sound exciting, but let’s take a deeper look.

If you spend most of your time training for a specific sport, you will probably get really good at one thing, and just as bad a many others. Distance runners can run forever, but ask many of them to squat, jump, throw, lift, bend, climb and the results won’t likely be stellar. Powerlifters move heavy weights, ask them to run a mile and they might not make a block. You body adapts to what you are giving it.

CrossFit focuses on developing multiple areas of fitness all at once: Endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy. You get better at everything so you can go do anything.

Why should you care? Because if you are not “generally fit” you are missing out on a lot of enjoyment life has to offer. If you have ever said “no” to participating in an activity because you know it would be too physically demanding, you can benefit from CrossFit.

Pick up game of Ultimate Frisbee? Paddleboarding? Wrestle with the Kids, Rock Climbing, Hike the Superior Trail, Trampoline? Tough Mudder? Log Rolling?

Why not treat yourself to the ability to say yes with confidence when opportunities like this come up? 

Are you interested in improving your fitness base? CLICK HERE to find out how!

-Coach Matt Meyer,  CrossFit Sabertooth,  Minneapolis MN

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Sunday Showdown: How do I choose my weights?!

You’ve read the blog posts and you are ready to put yourself out there and snatch and clean and jerk your heart out at our Sunday Showdown on Sunday, April 28th at 12 pm to raise money for Open Arms of Minnesota. Sweet! We love lifting at Crossfit Sabertooth!

Now you may be asking yourself, what weights should I choose for my lifts? In Crossfit classes and competitions, you often have time to make multiple attempts at increasing weights and re-try missed attempts. Part of the challenge of an Olympic lifting meet is you get only 3 attempts each at snatch and clean and jerk.

One way to approach these weights would be to come up with 3 numbers for each lift: one you KNOW you can make, one you THINK you can make, and one you HOPE you can make. These weights should all be relatively close to each other. Depending on what you’re lifting, your jump to the next attempt will likely be only 5-20 lbs. You will gain confidence on the first lift, which will then carry over into your next attempts.

Another way to approach the attempts require you to know your one rep maxes in each lift. If this is your first meet – which I believe for everyone it will be! – start no higher than 85%, and make jumps of 3-5%. The first lift should feel solid; 85% should realistically be a weight you could hit on any given training day, barring any catastrophic injuries or fatigue.

As with any competition, you always want to go in with a plan based on your known abilities. If things go wrong, which they certainly can, you will need to adapt and adjust. With the above tips in mind we are confident you will choose the right weights and smoke all of your lifts!

As a reminder, you can pre-register with the option to deduct the registration fee from Wodify. You may also opt to donate extra money to Open Arms.

Get your name on the list to lift here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1pMal7OZdOyhGNa_hfpjp7e0hKsRmDllefDHE6ZNNVv0/prefill

See you at the Sunday Showdown!

Sunday Showdown: How’s it Gonna Go? – by Coach Sarah

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Photo by Lee Hochstein

So you’ve decided you want to lift at our upcoming Sunday Showdown on April 28th at 12 pm. Awesome! We are so excited to see you smash some weight!

What exactly happens at an Olympic weightlifting meet?

At a USA Weightlifting (USAW) sanctioned meet:

1. Every lifter weighs in about 2 hours before they begin lifting to confirm their weight class.
2. At that time they declare their opening snatch and clean and jerk.
3. The lifter then attempts 3 snatches and 3 clean and jerks. The lifter usually waits between lifts while other competitors make their attempts as the weight on the bar increases.
4. There are 3 judges who will declare a lift good or no good.
5. The goal of any meet is to total, that is, successfully complete at least one snatch and one clean and jerk. The total is the lifter’s highest weight snatch and clean and jerk added together. The lifter’s total is compared to the other totals in their weight class to determine the winner.

What will the Sabertooth Sunday Showdown look like?

Ours will not be a sanctioned meet; however, it will mirror much the same structure:

1. You will weigh in so we can record your bodyweight (see #5 below) and declare your opening attempts.
2. You will declare your opening attempts. We need to know this in order to call you out for your first lift.
3. You will have 3 attempts each at snatch and clean and jerk, waiting as needed in between attempts while the bar weight increases.
4. There will be 1 judge declaring a lift good or no good.
5. Using your top snatch and clean and jerk combined, we will use the Sinclair Coefficient to determine the top male and female lifter. This equation takes into account your body weight and the weight you lifted.

We are opening pre-registration with the option for you to deduct the registration fee from Wodify. You may also opt to donate extra money to Open Arms. Get your name on the list to lift here: https://docs.google.com/…/1pMal7OZdOyhGNa_hfpjp7e0h…/prefill

You are so pumped to lift now! But how do you choose your snatch and clean and jerk weights? Stay tuned next week for our final blog post on how to choose the weights on your attempted lifts!

Join our Sunday Showdown! – by Coach Sarah

On Sunday, April 28th at 1 pm we will be hosting our Sunday Showdown featuring our first Olympic Lifting style meet. Instead of a pre-determined team working out for charity, YOU get to work out for charity!

This will be a great opportunity to test your snatch and clean and jerk in a slightly different environment than a regular class. The focus is solely on lifting – there will be no running or jumping or pull-ups to tire you out.

Still need convincing to participate? Here are some concerns and/or questions we’ve heard floating around.

Will people be looking at me while I lift?

Yes! People will look at you. We unfortunately can’t make everyone close their eyes. Perfect the middle distance gaze – look through people, not at them.

Do I have to squat?

No! In Olympic Lifting, neither the snatch nor the clean standards mandate that you need to pass below parallel. However, Coach Sarah certainly encourages you to squat 🙂

What if I don’t want/need a USAW membership?

If you are the top male or female lifter and do not want or need the USAW membership, consider the following: 1. Donate the membership to another lifter in the gym. 2. Donate the value of the membership to Open Arms.

Can people come watch me?

Of course! All friends and family are invited just like at regular Sunday Showdowns. We encourage any participant or visitor to donate to Open Arms.

I know I won’t win. I can’t lift very much. Should I even bother?

Yes! Just like in our regular classes, everyone is at their own level. You don’t “win” during classes, yet you still show up. Come lift with your friends and, most importantly, support Open Arms in their mission to deliver free, nutritious meals to people living with life-threatening illnesses in the Twin Cities.

Stay tuned for another post where we will provide more logistical details surrounding how the day itself will run. We are excited to see you all slam some barbells!

The Open, Part 6: It’s Over, What to do Now – By Coach Fedde

 

Five weeks of grueling workouts are complete, scores are submitted, and the final placements on the leaderboard are settling in.

In this year’s Open we saw…

19.1: wall-ball shots, rowing
19.2: toes-to-bars/knee raises, double/single-unders, squat cleans (similar to 16.2)
19.3: dumbbell overhead-walking lunges, dumbbell box step-ups, strict handstand push-ups, handstand walk/bear crawls
19.4: snatches, bar-facing burpees, muscle-ups/pull-ups
19.5: thrusters, chest-to-bar pull-ups/jumping pull-ups

Now what?

Analysis: What did you do? How did you do? How did you feel? How do you feel about the outcome and how did the outcome compare to your expectations?

Goals: What and why are you planning to focus on?

Action: What daily actions are you going to take to achieve your goals?

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Analysis

Depending on what your goals were for the Open, there are going to be different things you want to consider. Performance in CrossFit is both mental and physical and this is a great time to take stock of both. Here’s a place to start. Grab a pen and paper, and get ready to start journaling.

Feelings and Self Reflection
How did you feel going into the Open? How do you feel coming out? What did you feel between and during workouts? Were you excited, happy, frustrated, sad, etc.?

Take time to think back to what workouts and movements you got hung up on as a result of skill, strength, mentality, or capacity.

Typically we want to brush away less positive thoughts and feelings during a workout, because they can affect how we perform. But, as part of an analysis, it can be useful to figure out where you thrive and have opportunity to build. Both can be useful as fuel.

Stats and Rankings
The Open Leaderboard and Beyond the Whiteboard analyses are great tools to help you add context to your performance.

The good folks from Beyond the Whiteboard take back-end data from the leaderboard and present it in graphs and charts, with light discussion. You can explore how many athletes RXed and Scaled workouts, where athletes got stuck, and what percentile you fall into based on division and performance.

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Find your way to the leaderboard and start sorting, slicing, and dicing. Knowing you’re ranked XXX,XXXth in the world is neat, but it’s a large pool of people and might not useful. Likewise, your standing at Sabertooth is a tiny pool and may not be helpful. Make the pool you’re competing in a meaningful size by setting up a custom leaderboard. You might compare yourself to all men/women in the US, Minnesota, or your age bracket, as examples.

There’s no ‘Name Search’ on custom leaderboards, so to find myself in a custom leaderboard I sort by an individual workout (say, 19.1) scroll until I find my score for that workout, find my rank, and then resort based on rank. There has to be a better way to do it… but this is the best I’m coming up with.

If you’ve done the Open before, compare your previous overall standings to this year and compare workouts you completed that have similar movements to this year.

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Goals

With a good sense of how you did and where you can build, you can start making decisions about where you want to focus your energy.

  1. Write out a list of all the things you want to work on.
  2. Re-write your list in order of importance.. Figure out what’s going to give you the biggest payout, what tangible, quantifiable items are on the top of the list; not just things you think you should work on.
  3. Take the top two things and make them your focus. Save the other items for later.

Write out SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) goals for these two items.

If your goal is to ‘be more efficient at pull-ups,’ make it more specific. Maybe make it, ‘perform one strict pull-up before Memorial Day.’ Alternatively, perhaps you can consistently perform one or two pullups. Maybe make your goal, ‘perform five unassisted, strict pull-ups by the end of April, so I can start working on kipping pull-ups and string together five for Murph on Memorial Day weekend.’

Whatever your goals are, make them realistically achievable, in a set amount of time, and frame them in a way that you’ll know exactly when you achieve them.

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Action

SMART goals are only helpful if you do something about them. You need to build a consistent system or process that will help establish a routine and, ultimately, aid in achieving your goals.

For a lot of us, our systems will be built around getting more experience by doing the ‘things’ we’re working on. Want to lift heavy? You need to have proficient form and lift heavy. Want to do something upside down, like handstands? You’ll have to spend time upside down and on your hands. Whatever the movement or skill: slow down, practice performing it correctly, and strive for quality over quantity.

Figure out what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it, when you’re going to do it, how often you’ll do it, and how long you’re going to do it each time.

If you’re working on building strength to get a single strict pull-up, an action plan might be, ‘after class on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, do six reps of maximum effort static holds with chin over the bar and 30 seconds rest between reps.’

Not sure where to start or have some missing puzzle pieces? Leverage your coaches.

  • Book a Goal Review Session (15 mins/$0) and talk through goals and action-plans.
  • Book a Skill Session (30 mins/$35). If you have a specific skill you want to learn, and it’s nuanced or not in the current programming cycle, a half hour one-on-one with a coach can go a long way to level up your skills.

Parting Words

Whether you’ve gained something from the workouts, the amped atmosphere, or dressing up in costumes, I hope you found something valuable in the Open. Take what you’ve learned and apply it.

The next Open is only six months away. Start getting excited now!

— Coach Fedde

New Programming Cycle! – by Coach Matt

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Constant progress is the goal of all of our cycles!

We began a new cycle this week!

Much of the cycle was based on requests from our members. This cycle will feature some strength and skill work during the week, and some longer, more challenging workout at the end of the week and over the weekend.  

Here is a breakdown:

Monday: Partner Workouts

A favorite pastime in the gym, partner workouts are a method of maximizing skills and stamina to achieve success as group, which means having a solid game plan and putting in 100% effort when it’s your turn to go. Partner workouts can be intimidating if we are placed with people we feel are better than us, or if we are supposed to split reps equally on our weaker movements. Just like any workout, scaling and modifying are encouraged in order to complete the workout successfully. As for intimidation, rest assured your partner and team want you to succeed! On the other hand, partner workouts can also feel like a rest day if we don’t feel challenged enough. But if you are truly giving 100% and don’t feel challenged, consider what 100% means to you and whether you could give more or scale the WOD upwards. Finally, partner WODs are ultimately meant to be fun and build community, and are a great opportunity to get to know your fellow gym members.

Tuesday: Olympic Lifting

Olympic lifting is a lifetime skill – no matter what level you’re on, there is always room for improvement. Fine-tuning a small thing here or there can result in major differences. This cycle will feature complexes. That means we will be stringing multiple movements together in a single sequence. This is to help you build efficiency in your movements, grip strength, and overall strength.

Wednesday: Gymnastics

Gymnastics is one of the bases of CrossFit programming. How well do you move and control your own body weight? We will put that to the test every Wednesday. This gymnastics cycle will focus primarily on building strength. You will see circuits with a emphasis on quality and controlled movements.

Thursday: Squats

Becoming a better squatter will help your overall fitness in countless ways. It will also transfer to improvements in other parts of your programming: Olympic lifting, deadlifting, and practically any other movement that involves lower body and core. This squat cycle will focus on building strength through high volume at medium weight.

Friday: Open Workouts / Girls & Benchmark Workouts

Carrying over from last cycle, Friday’s theme will remain the same.

Repeating workouts (such as CrossFit Open workouts or the benchmarks like the Girls) allows us to compare our current self to our past self to help identify what progress we are making and where we need to focus our time. One of CrossFit’s main tenets is constantly varied fitness, so we can’t repeat workouts too often – otherwise we are just getting better at that specific workout! However, if we can retest a workout once a year or so, we should be able to see definite upward trends. Hopefully we complete the workout faster or heavier or – the best of both worlds – both!

Saturday: Cardio

Saturday’s theme will feature medium to longer endurance-based workouts. They will feature cardio machines and lighter weights. Intensity will be high, loads will be low. Here’s a great chance to challenge and improve your physical and mental endurance. The test in the beginning and end is a 2k Row!

Sunday: Hero WODs

Named after fallen soldiers, these are often some of the most challenging benchmark workouts you will find in CrossFit programming. We will pick up some good data here and be able to revisit some of these workouts in the future. As always, form and quality takes precedence. Scale your workout appropriately so you are safe.

The Open, Part 5: Preparation: How to Fulfill Your Athletic Potential – By Coach Fedde

As coaches, we’ve had our share of workouts where we’ve bombed and workouts where we’ve felt unstoppable. In the Open, we want you to feel unstoppable. So, here are some tips on how you might prepare for Open workouts each week.

Food, drink, and sleep

The Open can be a place where you push yourself a little harder than usual. To be sure you have plenty of fuel in the tank before workouts and a quick recovery after – you’ll want to pay attention to nutrition, hydration, and sleep throughout the open.

🍉🍳 Eat balanced meals with real, whole food (food that you make – or could make if forced to) throughout the week. Aim to have a little something in your stomach before the workout. Have a little something to eat after the workout (with a main focus on carbs and protein for quick digestion).

Listen to your body, eat in your own way, and use foods you know, trust, and enjoy.

💦 Drink plenty of water. If you aren’t hydrated, it will effect your performance and your recovery. Hydration is different for everyone, but a rough goal might be about 80 oz of water per day.

❌🍺 Alcohol will dehydrate you. Skip the alcohol and stick with water (or sparkling water if you’re feeling fancy).

😴 Get plenty of sleep and rest. Aim for 8 hours of sleep – especially Wednesday and Thursday nights.

🧘 Taper your workouts leading up to Open workouts. If you workout on Wednesday and Thursday, be intentional about moderating your intensity those days. At home or as a cool down, get some quality time in with a lacrosse ball and your favorite mobility exercises.

Assess

Each Thursday night at 7 p.m., CrossFit will release an Open workout with an explanation. You can watch the announcements with friends at Sabertooth or at your convenience online at Games.CrossFit.com.

While slightly different compared to last year, the workout announcements will be performed live and you’ll be able to watch athletes perform the workouts. We will keep an ear to the ground on who comes out with good post-workout commentary and strategy – stay tuned.

Once you feel you have a good understanding of the workout, start thinking about what you’re realistically capable of. Think about the movement, weight, equipment, and time-frames involved – how does it relate to other workouts you’ve done? How are you feeling? Are you sore or tired from other workouts? Are you feeling fresh and ready to go?

From that, figure out if it’s a workout that you want to do Scaled or Rx.

Once you know which version you’ll do, start to set some rough expectations for how the workout might feel for you. What sort of pace will you set for yourself? Is there built-in rest, or will you have to find it?

Once you have a good mental picture of how you think the workout is going to go down, test parts of it out in your warmup.

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Warm up

A good warm-up is important for performing your best. We will provide a suggested warm-up but you may choose to do alternate or additional movements that suit you best.

It’s a great time to try out a strategically shortened version of the workout or certain movements involved before it’s go-time. This will not only get your joints and muscles moving so you can perform the movements at your highest level, but will also give you an idea of what to expect.

You might focus on practicing a movement you’re less comfortable with. You might focus on a couple of key transitions between different movements or pieces of equipment.

Do…

  • stuff that will get your heart rate up and make you a little sweaty. If you’re still comfortable wearing your hoodie and your sweatpants, you’re probably not warm.
  • movements that are in the workout (or are similar to movements in the workout)
  • your favorite warm-up movements.
  • dynamic stretches (opposed to static ones that you hold for extended periods of time).

If space on the gym floor is tight for warm-ups and cool-downs, we can spread out into the upstairs studio.

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Solidify your game plan

You have a good idea of what the workout is like on paper and in real life. Coaches will give thorough briefings on the workouts as well as tips and suggestions for how to approach the workout.

The last step is to solidify your game plan in your mind. Talk it through out-loud, or quietly in your head a few times so that when you hear “GO” you’re already gone.

This also a good time to prep for any mental battles. That is, prepare for the moment in the workout when a sliver of negativity sneaks into your thoughts. Aim to keep those slivers small and squelch them early by challenging them.

Have mantra ready, go back to an intention that you set. It can be as simple as “BREATHE” or “YOU ARE STRONG.” One of my favorites is from The Help, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important.” It really has nothing to do with wallballs and bear crawls, but it can crowd out my negative thoughts in an instant.

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3…2…1…GO!

This is it – you’ve prepped for this moment. You may have some butterflies in your stomach… you might not. You have a solid plan, you’re warm, you know what you need to do. Go for it!