5 Years

Today marks a very special day for us at Boxstar HQ - today we turned 5 years old! Its been a hell of a ride so far with so many ups and downs, and what better way to celebrate by looking at a bit of our history, year by year! 

2013

In 2013 we started with delusions of grandeur, it was the ultimate "build it and they will come" misconception. Little did we know we were getting into one of the most competitive industries around. 

We launched on August 9th of 2013 and started with the most rudimentary of websites and a total of 4 products. Needless to say we did a lot of waiting around, apparently no one wanted to come. But even through humble beginnings, perseverance wins over all. 

(that's our very first tee - our Logo Tee)

2014

2014 would prove to be a very significant year for us as it was the year we decided to be proactive about getting our name out there. We went to competition after competition - almost 2 per month - to promote the Boxstar brand and get our stuff out there. 

We still didn't have much, however, not even a tent! But we had a mantra we believed in and we were determined to make the brand stick. Check out one of our very first booths!

2015

Our third year, 2015, proved to be redefining for us. We had major upgrades in our website and product offerings, introducing shorts and sweatshirts, and over doubling our product line. 

Up until this point we had been primarily an offline seller, doing the majority of our business at competitions and other in person events. After revamping our website, we finally started competing online as well.

2016

In 2016 we booked our first trip to Regionals as a vendor, marking a significant accomplishment for our brand and a huge stepping stone. While we quickly realized we were outclassed (we didn't even have a branded tent!), we had a blast and learned a ton. 

This trip to Regionals really gave us the confidence we needed to head into 2017 full steam ahead - we knew we had a brand people believed in, and we were excited to make a real impact.

2017

We made it to the Games! 2017 was another milestone year for us as a company. As Dave Castro announced the CrossFit Games were moving to our backyard in Madison, we knew that we couldn't afford to miss the opportunity to be a part of it all. In addition to being a vendor at the 2017 CF Games, we also watched as one of our first athletes, Streat Hoerner, qualified for the games as well - we're big time now! 

 

We also launched our extremely successful ambassador program in 2017 which, thanks to our awesome ambassadors, has helped us develop our brand presence so much. 2017 turned out to be more successful for us than 2013 through 2016 combined.

2018

And just like that we are 5 years old, but don't worry, we don't have any plans of slowing down. So what's to come?

In 2018 we launched our Affiliate Wholesale Program with the goal to provide your entire affiliate with the same quality and meaningful gear that you all already love. This program has been incredibly successful so far and is such a great way to promote the Boxstar mentality and Greater Than Yesterday mindset to affiliates everywhere. 

We are also re-opening our ambassador program! We have had the pleasure of meeting so many of our existing ambassadors over the past 18 months and we can't wait to see who else wants to join our team of Ambassadors - click here to apply now!

 

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for all of the support you each have given us over the past 5 years, no matter how big or small it was. We couldn't be more happy and we couldn't be more excited about what the next 5 has in store! 

Thanks, Jason & Jason

August 09, 2018 by Jason Yule

Spring Release *!Teaser!*

Boxstar Nation! It's that time again :)

If you've been keeping an eye on our instagram account then you might have noticed a few sneak peaks at our upcoming releases - we've received some awesome feedback so far and a lot of anticipation! We're super excited for this release; we have some fun spring designs, we are trying some things for the first time (crop top sweatshirt? short sleeve hood?) and we have some reliable classics. 

Here's a sneak peek for the release, keep your eyes peeled for more details!!

 

May 04, 2018 by Jason Yule

How do you Handle Setbacks?

It's easy to do everything right when everything is going right. When you feel like you are in the zone and things are coming naturally, almost effortlessly. You know what I'm talking about - when those snatches feel on point, when the gymnastics stuff feels a little better than normal. You get a little boost of excitement and motivation; "Oh, maybe all this extra work is paying off! I suppose I can do a little bit more.." 

But what about the times when nothing is going right? Or you have a significant setback like an injury that is keeping you on the sidelines? That's what I'm more interested in. How do you handle yourself in these scenarios? What do you tell yourself? What mental games are you playing?

If you've ever experienced a significant injury then you definitely know the feeling. You desperately want to get back in the gym to play with your buddies. The thought of not being able to lift is killing you. Have you ever experienced this? 

Unfortunately, our brains default to a very negative state: "I'm going to lose so much of the progress I've made" or "everyone is going to get so much better than me." In the extremes you might even doubt whether you'll be able to make it back at all. The key is to realize that this is just your subconscious self protecting your ego. 

Think about it, we are a very proud people - our main desires in life are to be successful in whatever we are doing. Obviously, a significant injury or setback will hurt our chances of being successful, especially when it comes to fitness. Our subconscious realizes this so it builds a hedge. "If I stop myself now, at least I have an excuse for why I wasn't successful." "Let's not risk giving it another shot and failing."

If these kind of thoughts are happening, or have happened to you, don't get down on yourself. Realize that these are natural, it's the mind's natural way to protect your ego. It doesn't want to let you down. So the key is to understand it, accept it, and tell it that your OK trying and failing. You won't be ashamed. But that is easier said then done, right?

On the surface, of course. Anything is easier said than done. But I do think there is some hope and easy actions you can take to build momentum. I love the small victories theory - when things are negative and not looking so good, don't think about the big picture. Just worry about small victories, doing whatever you can, regardless of the size or scope of it. Some examples of small victories could be getting your diet back on track one meal at a time, just going to the gym to do some mobility, starting the process of a rehab procedure, etc. Do little things that will build momentum.

The other thing you can do, which is tough but totally doable, is to train your mind to be more positive about the situation. Figure out what the benefits are (there are always benefits). For example, if you can't lift weights for 30-60 days, your body and CNS is going to get super healthy and totally recovered for when you get back in the gym. If you can't use your upper body, you can focus on your lower body and vise versa. If you can't do anything, you can focus on other areas of your life such as personal or work. And then do your best to invest time and effort into whatever positive areas you've identified. 

Do you guys have a favorite strategy or mind trick to avoid mental struggles? We'd love to hear what struggles you guys are facing and how you handle them! Comment below!

 

April 20, 2018 by Jason Yule

What are You Willing to Struggle for?

Today I want to get introspective about something I heard recently that I haven't been able to stop thinking about. The quote comes out of Mark Manson's "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" and goes like this:

If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything.

A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.

What are you willing to struggle for? That quote hit me hard. What am I willing to struggle for? What kind of pain am I willing to embrace? Is it the same pain that is required of my desires? My dreams and aspirations? This one definitely isn't easy to answer and requires some thought.

But here's the thing - I'm a CrossFit athlete and I'm assuming most of you are too if you are reading this - we suffer by choice. Suffering doesn't scare me and I doubt it scares you either. So let's re-frame the question to figure out what we really care about. What am I currently suffering for, and what do I want but not willing to suffer for?

In the gym I'll bust my ass with the best of them. I'll work for 2 hours straight, but I'm too "lazy" to do the little things - the drills & skill work, the mobility, the pre-hab stuff that is super important but super tedious. When it comes to nutrition, I prep all of my food, I track throughout the week, but come the weekend I don't seem to care any more. I'd rather be enjoying myself with friends and family.

So as much as I tell myself I want to have a six pack and be the best athlete as I possibly can, its clearly not a priority to me. I'm willing to get uncomfortable (train and log food), but I'm not willing to suffer - I'm not willing to do the really shitty stuff like say no to social events and put in the extra mobility time. I don't think its right or wrong, it just is what it is.

So then what am I willing to suffer for? What am I truly passionate about? Now it's easy for me to tell: my true priorities are my work - I'm willing to get up 4:30am every day to plan and maximize my day. I'm willing to do the routine and mundane stuff that is extremely boring because I know it will push my business forward. I'm willing to sacrifice weekends to go to CrossFit events because that's what I truly care about. 

But hold on, we haven't even gotten to the interesting part yet. What really intrigues me is what happens when what we THINK we are passionate about doesn't line up with what we truly ARE passionate about? I tell myself I want to get to 10% body fat and I want to be a top level athlete, but the proof is in the pudding - I'm not willing to do what it takes. I'm willing to bet you can find a thing or two as well. 

Well it seems to me that there are two options: The first option is to figure out why you think you want something so bad in the first place. Figure out that why so when it comes time to struggle for it you don't think twice; you just know you have to do it. You want to do it. You embrace it. The second option is to just forget it. Stop stressing out about something that clearly isn't that important to you. If it doesn't happen, who cares? You'll still feel great because that stress is out of your life and that's a pretty big win right there. 

If you can relate to this post at all, let me know. Let's figure out what we are truly passionate about so we can maximize that particular area of our life. Look forward to hearing from you! 
April 06, 2018 by Jason Yule

It's All Over

Another year has come and gone, and for most of us the season is over just like that. Your emotions are most likely all over the place - proud of yourself for pushing to the brink each week, disappointed in a select workout or two, disappointment over a weakness you thought you'd do better with, excitement for getting your first Muscle-up or Handstand Push-up. Whatever is going through your head, we can listen to it, harness it, and learn from it.

Were you happy when it was over?

Step 1: Review

Go through each Open workout, week by week. If you have videos, watch them and see what stands out to you. Was it a particular movement you struggled with? Or maybe your aerobic capacity (week 1) wasn't as good as your anaerobic capacity (week 2). If you watch your videos, note your splits per rounds and see if anything glaring sticks out. If your final couple rounds are either significantly slower or faster than the rest of your time, then its possible you're pacing needs some work.

I like to have my athletes jot down the top weakness in each workout, whether its a physical hindrance (overall strength, capacity or technique) or mindset hindrance (pacing, confidence, or killer mindset to finish a workout). Once we have 5 weaknesses, we talk about them, see what the root issue is, and then make a plan of attack for the following year.

Step 2: Plan

When reviewing the weaknesses from step 1, make sure to find any overarching themes - these will provide the biggest bang for your buck. If an athlete struggled with T2B, Ring Muscle-ups and C2B Pull-ups, chances are there is a common thread that will help improve all three instead of focusing on each individually. The best fix could be improving body composition (reducing body fat %) which will make all three easier. 

The goal in this step is to boil the 5 weaknesses from step 1 down into 3 major goals for the year. These 3 goals should be the three things that will improve an athlete THE MOST. For example, a goal of improving movement efficiency across all movements will be more significant for most athletes than a goal of getting really good at HSPUs. Once an athlete has mastered most things (hint, they'd be top 100 in their region) then there is probably just one or two specific movements they can focus on.

Step 3: Execute

So you've reviewed your Open, noted the most significant issues from each workout and then identified what the most IMPORTANT things for you to work on over the next 12 months are. This step is the hard part - execute. Since the only person that can make this step happen is you, I won't get too deep into it. I will give some of my favorite strategies, however.

If one of your top 3 areas to improve is:

  • Strength: Find a strength program and stick to it. The only way you'll get stronger is time and consistency. Please do not program hop, that won't help you here. 
  • Movement Efficiency: If technique and efficiency is one of your issues, then your real issue is probably that you compete every day instead of practice.  If you want to improve your efficiency start practicing more, and once or twice per week slow down during your metcon so you can focus on perfect movement. If you try to put up the fastest time every single day you'll never improve here.
  • Body Composition: Honestly probably the biggest thing for most people - if you are a male and you aren't 10-15% BF or a female and not 15-20% BF, this is low hanging fruit. Don't worry about "eating to perform" until you are at a body composition that supports competing. 
  • Mindset: This is a tricky one. You have to train yourself to be confident, to trust your gameplan for a workout, etc. I'm currently experimenting with different strategies here, so if you have a good one, please share with us!

 

Like we already mentioned, we really really hope you guys use your Open performances as a tool to learn and grow from. There is so much valuable information to be had from 5 weeks of competition and so much to learn from. Be smart and utilize it! Review, plan and execute - in a year you'll thank yourself!!

 

March 30, 2018 by Jason Yule

18.5, the Final Test

Castro gave us the option to seal our own fate, and we chose thrusters. Maybe the thought of having a thruster-less open was too much to bear. It just wouldn't be right. 

Today isn't about how to do better in 18.5. There isn't much strategy, its a short workout and you just have to go. Rather, today is about finishing strong, regardless of where you are sitting on the leader board. It's about finishing strong regardless if you are happy, disappointed, or downright pissed off about your current standings.

Over the past 5 weeks we have posted a weekly quote about winning - about how winners think and how winners approach the game. Winners see losing situations as opportunities to grow, and the see winning situations as something they have prepared for over time. So my question to you is, are you looking at your situation as a winner would?

If you are upset about your performances and you just want the Open to be over so you can start working on next year, you have a loser's mentality. A winning mentality realizes that, even though they might not be winning right now, they still have an opportunity to learn something new about themselves. One last opportunity to see what they are made of, to see if they can surprise themselves, to see if they have grown and where they have an opportunity to grow.

 

 

A winner's mentality realizes they have one final week to prepare for future success. They have an opportunity to instill winning habits, a winning approach to competition, etc. A winner approaches this final test as if they are advancing to the next round, even thought in reality they aren't. 

So, regardless of where you are, approach this final weekend like a winner. Realize that the previous 4 weeks have no baring on this week - the only thing that matters is giving 110% effort this week. Be positive, be excited, and be grateful that you have the opportunity to compete in the sport that you love so much. 

And then crush it. For most of us, we don't get to compete again for 47 weeks, make the most of it, Boxstar Nation! #greaterthanyesterday

 

 

March 23, 2018 by Jason Yule

18.4 - Don't Crack Your Egg Shell!

We were right! Granted the odds would have reasonably predicted that handstand push-ups were going to be in 18.4, I would like to tout the fact that we thought the egg shell represented your fragile head and the dog's nose represented an abmat. And of course we aren't 100% sure that is what Castro was getting at, but hey, sounds good enough to us.

18.4 

Thank the lord Castro didn't give us 16.4 for the third consecutive year. It seemed as if the stars were aligning, and Castro's "out of the box" comment before the Open started made it seem like it could have definitely happened. 

Instead, we get Diane and Diane's old cranky mother. Of course you have to earn your time with the elder, assuming you are proficient enough at these movements. 

18.4 is:

For time (with a 9 minute cap) -
"Diane"
21-15-9
Deadlifts (225/155)
HSPU
Then
21-15-9
Deadlifts (315/205)
Handstand Walk in 5 ft' increments
d
There isn't too much too this one. If you are pretty close to Handstand Push-ups, then you might as well try to get some done. If not, then don't crack your egg! We're excited to see this one unfold, we're thinking there are going to be some blistering fast Diane and "Diane senior" times. 

Let us know how you do, and if you get your first HSPU be sure to tag us!
March 16, 2018 by Jason Yule

18.3 - Pink Sunflowers, Mugs and Muscle-ups

As I’m sipping on my coffee early this morning, the only thought I have to myself is about the mug and two flowers. How does this relate to the shit show that is 18.3? What do the flowers represent? What does the mug represent? What kind of flowers are those even?? (pink sunflowers?)

The real challenge is not in the actual workout itself but trying to figure out how in God’s green Earth that clue of flowers relates to this workout.

Our Thoughts

Our initial thought was that Castro was full of shit. I mean at this point he could post anything and it would be taken as serious as the announcement itself. So why wouldn’t he have a little fun with it and post something totally unrelated and see what happens?

But then remember last week? His picture of wood burning was pretty spot-on, so maybe he isn’t so full of shit after all.

So then what do the two flowers represent? Maybe two different types of muscle-ups? For the first time since 2015 we are getting back on the rings, which is super exciting because we know a ton of people will be getting their first and first few ring muscle-ups this weekend. And then we still have bar muscle-ups, which have been present for now the 3rd consecutive year which is intriguing as well.

Maybe the flowers don’t relate to the Muscle-ups at all, but possibly the double unders. This workout features 800 dubs, which is a crazy huge amount for a single workout and is clearly the key of this workout (assuming your muscle-ups are on point). If you look back at Castro’s mug o’ flowers, you’ll notice that there are two identical flowers (double) and they are stacked one on top of the other (under). Was it not the flowers that were significant but the count and positioning of them?

That seems like the most likely scenario, so in the interest of time we are going to go with it. Now let’s look at the workout.

18.3

18.3 is: 2 RFT of 100 DU, 20 OHS, 100 DU, 12 RMU, 100 DU, 20 DB SN, 100 DU, 12 BMU

Let’s break it down. Assuming you can do all of these movements good enough there are really only two things you need to be concerned with, both directly affecting the double unders.

Double Under Capactiy

First is your double under capacity. I’ve never seen a workout with near this many DU’s, so your calves will get tired and your heart rate will spike. I recommend breaking the double unders up in 25’s or 50’s. Not a long break, just something to give your calves some relief and to keep your heart rate lower. If you go out of the gate with a few big sets, I can almost promise you’ll be tripping up on your rope after 8-10 minutes into the workout. And once your heart rate is jacked up, the only way to fix it is to stand around looking at your rope. Don’t let that happen.

Shoulder Maintenance

The second thing you need to be aware of is that all 4 of the other movements are designed to wear your shoulders down to make the double unders more difficult. I also recommend breaking these movements into manageable sets as well. These are all in the lower rep ranges, so again you don’t need big breaks, but doing these in two or three sets will save your shoulders and also help keep your heart rate down. Again, both things that are crucial for being able to knock out those double unders in the later stage of the workout.

Other Thoughts

Other thoughts to consider:

If any of the non-DU movements are a weakness of yours, then I'd recommend trying to get bigger sets of DUs to save time for the problem movement. Assuming you are going to take bigger breaks during say the ring muscle-ups, you can go faster on the DUs and still recover during your Muscle-up rest. 

If you are close to getting a muscle-up (IE, can get your shoulders above the rings), but just haven’t gotten it yet, then I recommend RXing this workout. Try your best and who knows, maybe the excitement and adrenaline will be enough to get you that first muscle-up! If you aren’t close to a muscle-up, I wouldn’t try to RX this one. Leave your ego at the door, scale it, and get a great workout. I promise you you’ll still get your butt whooped by this one ;)

Have fun guys, and in true Boxstar spirit, accept this one with a smirk and a can-do attitude. This one will be tough for MOST PEOPLE due to the double unders and muscle-ups. If either of those are issues for you, don't get down, use it as an opportunity to get better at them. 

March 09, 2018 by Jason Yule

18.2 is Fireworks

Well, we learned two significant things last night.

First is that HQ clearly could not care less about Castro's announcement and presentation skills. Come on, can't you spare the guy a couple bucks for some public speaking classes? We weren't sure if we should feel slightly embarrassed or if it was too comical watching him trying to awkwardly fit his chicken scratch on that chalk board.

The other thing we learned is that HQ doesn't mind big weights in the Open. Since 2015, the speculation has been that the max clean and jerk event weighed too heavily towards the heavy hitters and didn't favor the "prototypical" athlete they want advancing to Regionals. It looks like there is no truth to that as 18.2A features another 1 rep max clean. We love it. 

Fireworks

 

I've coached over a dozen athletes through the workout so far, and one thing that is holding true is that the athletes feel that 18.2 is actually priming their legs for 18.2A. I've seen a number of PR's already, so assuming you aren't sprinting as fast as Noah and Velner, expect to be strong on the clean.

With that being said, DO NOT dog 18.2 to save yourself for 18.2A. They are seperate workouts and seperate scores, so you have to attack the squats and burpees with everything you have. My recommendation: Pace yourself at about 75-80% through rounds 1-7, and then pick it up on rounds 8/9/10. These final three rounds actually contain 50% of the total reps of the workout, so don't kill yourself on the early rounds. 

Transitions are key again, you'll be messing with the dumbbell a total of 20 times (picking them up and then putting them down). Keep them close to the barbell, I recommend right behind the bumper plates on either side so you can quickly drop into your burpees. And don't forget to breathe on the burpees.

For the max clean, I'd recommend warming up to about 70-80% before hand. Noah and Pat both started at about 60% although I believe that was a little light. Take a solid minute or so of deep belly breaths to slow your heart rate, and then get ready to move some weight. The real limiting factor on the clean is your heart rate, not your leg fatigue or grip fatigue. 

Other than that, its another pretty straight forward and simple workout. Move fast in 18.2 and then move some weight in 2A. We love it and couldn't be more excited about the big weights coming back. Have fun guys!

March 02, 2018 by Jason Yule

18.1, Rifles, and Puppies..

We've all been patiently awaiting the arrival of 18.1, most of us with the anticipation and eagerness of Ralphie on Christmas Eve. What would the new movement be? Would we actually get that Red Ryder Carbine Action Air Rifle? Could it be true? 

Sorry Ralphie, but mom and pops got you the knock-off version. At least that's how we felt when we heard the new movement was DB Hang Clean to Overhead. I mean, sure its still a "new movement" but isn't it really just a knock-off version of the DB Snatch? It's not the pistols or handstand walks we were hoping for. Oh well, we still get to play fitness after a longggg offseason. 

18.1 Tips & Tricks

18.1 is a 20 minute AMRAP of 8 Toes to Bar, 10 Dumbbell Hang Clean to Overhead and 14 or 12 calories on the rower. Nothing sexy, nothing fancy, just a long grinder designed to wear down your grip. There's only a few things to keep in mind:

  1. If your grip isn't a strength, break up the T2B early. Don't be a hero. If your grip goes, then you'll crumble.
  2. Always start with your weak arm first for the DB Hang Clean to Overhead. When it comes to unilateral work, it is common to see global fatigue, meaning even though you are only using one arm at a time, both arms will get tired together. Be smart and use your weak arm first so that your strong arm can make up the difference afterwards. 
  3. Push the row, but not so much that it will blow you up for the other two movements. Unless you are an amazing rower, you probably want to have a 1 to 1 T2B/DBC&OH to Row interval. So if it takes you a minute to complete the T2B and the DB work, you should hold yourself to about a minute on the rower. 

And that's really it. Find a pace that feels comfortable to you, something that is challenging but you won't gas out on the T2Bs. Nothing more really.

And sorry for the knockoff rifle. We decided to upload some motivational pictures of puppies to make up for it...

     

    February 23, 2018 by Jason Yule