9 Reasons Why Your Kids Should Do Crossfit


9 Reasons Why Your Kids Should Do Crossfit

I love Crossfit. I love the emotional release it provides, the fitness, the friendships, and that there’s always something new to learn or improve upon.

Kids Should Do Crossfit? What do you think?

As a good mother should, I have recruited my two sons into the sport along with me. My boys are vastly different from each other in both personality and body type, but both have reaped the benefits of the box.

So, why should your kids do it? Based on my experience in raising boys I believe the reasons are pretty simple. The following, in no particular order, are the motivating factors behind my choice to have my boys in Crossfit.

 1. Confidence

I’ve seen big changes in the attitudes of the kids at Crossfit; some of whom walked into the box for the first time with slumped shoulders, and eyes cast downward. These same boys and girls that lacked self-confidence that first day, today walk around with heads held high and big smiles. They know they are accomplishing something, they see marked improvements in skills, lifts, speed, and the positive feedback from coaches bolsters self-esteem.

 2. Discipline

Sometimes herding a group of 7 – 14 year-olds is a challenge. It’s a class of widely varying abilities and let’s face it some kids have the attention span of a gnat. But because the classes are well structured the kids fall in line, know the flow of the class, and become self-disciplined as a result. They even helping to keep each other engaged throughout the hour.

Jake_snatch

Jake Gapter

 3. Respect

Crossfit coaches command respect. At our box both kids and adults “line-up” before every WOD, and there is a highly organized approach to the entire hour in the box. When a strong and capable coach stands before you, commanding your attention and respect you are hard-pressed not to give it. This transfers out of the box too, and the kids know when their undivided attention is required.

 4. Emotional Release

Kids get the same release from dropping heavy weights as adults do. I cannot tell you how many times my pre-teen has complained about going to Crossfit only to tell me, “I’m so glad I worked out today,” after the class was over. And, now that my son is almost 13 and his hormones are raging there’s no better time in his life to have access to this type of emotional outlet.

 5. The Bond

When your kids grow up, and as they approach the teen years, it’s easy to lose touch. They become interested in the opposite sex, and you become less and less cool with each passing day. Crossfit is a common bond that can spark a conversation and keep you closer.

6.  Better School Performance

Multiple studies have shown that exercise can be beneficial for school age children, and I recently saw an article that talks about how younger kids (age 11) reap the educational benefits of exercise into their teen years. I know that for my boys having a schedule to follow, keeps them focused as they know they only have a certain number of hours to do homework.

 7. Athletic Performance

Improved performance is probably a foregone conclusion, but it’s amazing to see the level of improvement your kids can achieve when they really go hard at Crossfit. When my son started he did pull-ups with the second widest band, today he can crank out kipping pull-ups and even a few strict pull-ups. It took a while for him to do a handstand, but he’s close to handstand push-ups now. And his lifts have seen huge improvements as well.

8. Camaraderie

The culture of Crossfit definitely extends to the kids, and no kid is ever left behind. I think the concept of cheering for the last person, and urging your peers to push themselves is something that should be taught in school – it is certainly taught in the box! When kids first join Crossfit the concepts are clearly foreign to them, but they catch on and the culture becomes a natural part of who they are. If a kid comes in who is a little slower or weaker, it doesn’t matter he/she is met with the same acceptance as the best athlete in the class.

9. They now know what a bad-ass mom (or dad) you really are!

If for no other reason, every Crossfit mom (or dad) should have children who are in awe of their strength and skills! Once your kids have done a few WODs, and know what it takes and just how hard it is, they develop a new appreciation for what you do in the box!

-boxrox

CrossFit Mentality: Starve The Ego, Feed The Soul


Enter a CrossFit gym, and you’ll be sure to step over a pile of unattended egos left at the door.

Nobody really wants to admit that they have one, especially not in CrossFit, where egos are particularly frowned upon. To be honest, it’s a topic that’s not really talked about enough when it comes to CrossFit mentality and mindset.

What image comes to mind when you think of someone with an ego? Here’s what I came across from a brief search online…

crossfit mentality and ego
If the above are the sorts of things you conjured up in your mind too, you’d be forgiven for being blissfully unaware of your own ego. Perhaps you think an ego is an issue reserved for bodybuilders who pose with bulging biceps in front of mirrors all day long. Afterall, you’re just a humble CrossFitter whose only competition is your former self… right?
CrossFit Mentality: Put Your Ego Aside
Let’s be real… we all have an ego. It may not look like the images above, meaning that it’s much more unassuming. You try to shake it off at the door, as requested, but often the ego sneaks in with you and rears its ugly head at feeding time.

Here are a few telltale signs that I personally have let my own ego get in the way:

Not finishing a WOD within the time-cap because I Rx’ed when in reality, I should have scaled (that RX badge of honor on Wodify is just too enticing)
Grinding out a 5RM back squat with questionable form purely because it’s a weight I’ve hit in the past.
Checking–and rechecking–Wodify to see if anyone else in the gym has beat my score.
Doing way more snatches than my program states so that I have at least one ‘Instagrammable’ lift on video
Not completing a particular WOD because ‘I didn’t have the right equipment’ (and therefore felt I couldn’t be competitive enough).
CrossFit Mentality WOD
There’s a fine line between friendly competition and allowing our egos to lead the way. So what’s the difference?

A CrossFit Mentality Check-up
When you become obsessed with posting higher scores than someone else on the leaderboard, your focus is no longer on improving your own areas of weakness but on doing whatever it takes to get the best score. If the top spot means borderline reps and scrappy movements, you haven’t won at all.

How healthy the competition is can be measured in how much we let it affect us. Can you use it to keep your mental toughness going in a WOD, congratulate the other members of the class with sincerity afterwards and leave the gym feeling satisfied?

Or does it run a little bit deeper? Do jealousy and resentment start to manifest when other athletes improve at quicker rates? Do you leave the gym feeling deflated, and spend the rest of the day obsessing over how to beat your peers next time?

crossfit mentality and ego
You can choose to resent your training partner for achieving their first pull-up before you; or you can choose to let it inspire you to do the same. Healthy competitors place little importance on the outcome of one particular workout, and can keep their eye on the bigger picture.

I think it’s perfectly acceptable to be competitive. Having grown up with four siblings – for me – life was one big competition. Who could run faster, climb higher, spell better… and don’t get me started on a family game of Monopoly!

I think CrossFit breeds this nature in all of us. The very fact that we have daily leaderboards encourages us to strive for higher placings than our fellow athletes. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s not at the expense of other, more important aspects of your training.

So, how can you get your CrossFit Ego in check?
I can’t sit here and lecture about not comparing yourself to others and expect you to agree with me. Or to not to sacrifice your form just to lift more than your training partner and expect you to listen. It’s taken me the best part of 3 years to come around to the idea, and even then, I’m not always that great at it.

crossfit mental toughness
But I have learned to set markers that aren’t solely based around how heavy, how fast, how much better than someone else…
And it takes extra helpings of humble pie to keep my mind focussed on these markers, and divert my attention away from what everyone else is doing in the gym.

Think about the following scenarios to help you decide whether you’d let your ego slow down your progress as an athlete:

Would you be prepared to take a big chunk off your 1RM deadlift if your back started rounding at 70%? Or would you plow through regardless, just to better your own previous PR?
Are you willing to repeat wall ball reps in which the ball doesn’t actually make it over the line? Or do you shrug it off because, well, everyone counts the dodgy ones, right?
Would you scale the weight in a WOD to ensure you finished it within the recommended timecap? Or do you use the RX weights even though you know you don’t have a hope in hell of finishing?
Here’s the issue; the things we do to impress people, often impress no one. Who’s impressed by speedy-but-sketchy wall balls and ugly deadlifts? Not me.

The very same thing can be said when it comes to social media and getting your ego in check. Are you posting exclusively PR’s – and nothing else – for the sole purpose of getting ‘likes’ and comments from impressed scrollers?

mentality crossfit ego and social media
I get it, the leaderboard (as well as social media) can become all-consuming. There’s so much importance placed on how heavy you can lift, how fast you can finish, how many reps you can do. It’s hard not to get sucked in; it takes a lot of mental toughness not to. There’s nothing wrong with leaderboards and PR’s per se, but using them as your only measure of success can be detrimental.

CrossFit Mentality and WOD’s
Consider this. How high on the leaderboard would you fare if your workouts were judged on quality?

Sure, perfection during a WOD is not the goal, there’s a time and a place to practice with the aim of perfect reps. That being said, they still need to count.

Pull-ups that don’t involve chin breaking the plane of the bar do not count.

Reps of double unders on which you trip do not count.

No one is going to ‘no rep’ you like they would in competition… but you still know. And your coach knows too.

Similarly, perfection is not generally expected when shooting for a new 1RM. But there has to be a cut off point at which you decide what’s more important; getting this bar from A to B by any means necessary, or making a lift that you can be sure is going to be beneficial to your training and transfer to other lifts.

CrossFit Mentality & Ego: Moving Forward
So here’s my challenge to you moving forward: focus on gains of quality, even if it means you temporarily have to take a step back. I guarantee you’ll soon be taking two steps forward as a result.

You can be just as proud of ‘technical PR’s’ as you are when adding weight to the bar – and what’s more, they are markers which aren’t directly comparable to anyone else.

We don’t have a leaderboard for quality, efficiency, flexibility, accountability or effort, so the only person you have to compare yourself to is you. You, yourself, as you are right now. Against the athlete you’ll be several weeks, months, years down the line.

IF you’re interested more on the topic of ego, and competition, I highly recommend one of Coach Ben’s favorite books, Ego Is the Enemy. In it, Ryan Holiday talks about the unwarranted glory that we ascribe to successful people with egos. It’s a must-read for WODprep athletes.

Comment below and let us know your thoughts, or what you might be struggling with when it comes to CrossFit mentality and ego. We’re here to help!

About the Author Shona
Sho is a CrossFit® Level 1 certified Trainer, graphic designer and mom of two. She’s participated in several CrossFit® competitions and has more recently taken her love of Olympic Weightlifting to another level, competing at the Scottish Championships in the 53kg category this past February. A WODprep team member for over a year now, Sho is the creator behind all of our awesome stick figure drawings (and much more).

Change Your Life in 24 Hours


You’ve almost decided to try CrossFit.

You’ve picked out the gym. You’ve been to the website to get familiar with the trainers. Maybe you even walked past during a class and admired what appears to be choreographed chaos.

You have one step left, and it’s through the front door.

I know you have a dozen reasons why you think you can’t do it. Running and jumping aren’t in your wheelhouse at present. You’ve surmised that those things appear regularly in CrossFit, as do pull-ups and burpees. A voice is telling you that you can’t do it.

But I know another voice is urging you to try CrossFit—and you need to listen.

One thing is certain: If you don’t try it, you definitely won’t create the body you envision. The path to that body—that healthy, capable and fit body—runs directly away from your sofa.

I know exactly how you feel.

The first day I walked into CrossFit, I was so obese I couldn’t jump. At all. My body wasn’t capable of creating enough force to propel myself even an inch into the air.

I felt like an imposter.

The author, once 300 lb., made a commitment to diet and exercise and lost more than half her body weight. (Courtesy of Kai Rainey)
If you are worried that you’ll stand out because of your lack of fitness, I have a secret to share with you:

CrossFit humbles everyone daily.

This is not a secret inside the CrossFit community. Ask the fittest person at your new gym about his or her first workout. You’ll hear stories about not finishing, almost puking and being shocked about how much harder it was than it looked.

Here’s another secret: You have a bit of an advantage over the typical fairly fit person who drops in to try a CrossFit class. You already know it’s going to be hard.

In truth, the workouts are always going to be hard because when they start to get easy, you’ll make them harder again. That’s what we do, and that’s how we get fitter and accomplish our goals. We aren’t a bunch of genetic freaks with a high pain tolerance. We don’t love the actual workout while we are doing it, but we love its effects, and the reward is worth the effort.

I want you to experience this transformation, but it’s going to take more than a session or two before you notice the changes your body will start making on Day 1. The space between your first few classes and the first look-what-I-can-do-now moment can be a challenge.

Maybe you’ve even gone to a class here or there but stopped for whatever reason.
I have a proposal for you: Give yourself 24 hours in the form of 24 CrossFit classes.

That’s enough classes to get you past the initial what-was-I-thinking panic and through the week or two when your body threatens to go on strike in protest of your new hobby.

Likely, you will question your decision during every class for at least the first 10 sessions. You’ll be sore. You’ll be sure you are never going to remember the difference between a clean and a snatch. You’ll curse gravity and wall balls. You will swear that you will always hate burpees.

Somewhere between classes 12 and 20, things will start making sense, and you might even find yourself looking forward to the next challenge written on the whiteboard. Trust me.

Reclaiming your life won’t be easy. But it will be worth it. (Megan Hales)
Think of the struggle you feel as an airplane fights nature to climb into the air. Your first 24 classes are like that takeoff. You’re going to have to fight excuses, old habits, the desire to quit. But just like the airplane overcomes gravity, you’ll fight through your excuses and reach “cruising altitude.” Once there, you’ve created a routine, and quitting won’t be on your radar.

Three or four days a week for the next six to eight weeks—that’s all I’m asking for. Don’t look beyond that. The time is going to pass whether you get off the couch or not. How much better for it to pass as you grow stronger and healthier?

Any structure that is meant to last requires a solid foundation at its base. Think of each class as another brick you are adding to the foundation of your health and fitness. When you fill in that 24th brick, your basic foundation will be complete and you’ll be ready to really start building the body and life you want.

Every day, CrossFit cures chronic disease, reverses obesity and saves lives. Spend 24 hours and see what changes CrossFit can make in your life.

BY KAI RAINEY
https://journal.crossfit.com/article/series2-rainey-2

When You Never Rx Anything


The timer beeps, signaling the end of your workout.

You normally feel pretty exhilarated after it’s over, but this was one of those workouts. One where there wasn’t a single movement you could come close to performing.

The rest of the athletes had hung from the rig, doing variations of toes-to-bars and hanging leg raises. Unable even to hang, you were on the floor with a medicine ball between your knees, trying to raise it to your chest.

When the coach saw your frustration with single-unders and quickly switched you to calf raises, you swore the whiz of all the double-unders in the room was even louder than the Metallica blaring overhead.

Shaking arms perched on the edge of a box, your performed “dips” that were barely perceptible. Across the room, your classmates looked far steadier as they moved up and down between the wooden rings.

Trudging toward the wall, you dread the novel you will write to describe your modifications when you log your workout.

All the fist bumps don’t change that feeling. That feeling that you’ll never get “there.” That it’s taking too long to see any improvement. That maybe you are actually in over your head.

I had more than a few of those days early on. A lot of it was due to my own unrealistic expectations.

ALT TEXTJacque Mulleitner in November 2016 (left) and July 2017. She lost 72 lb. and was finally able to fit an autographed jersey Margaux Alvarez gave her at the CrossFit Games in 2015. Keep your eyes on the horizon and keep moving forward. (Mark Tablang)

I had been trapped in the binge-diet cycle and thought anything could change drastically in 30 or 60 days. Even though I started CrossFit morbidly obese, I initially imagined I’d have things like pull-ups and double-unders in a few short months if I came three times a week.

Of course, I quickly realized my imagination had to do some negotiating with reality.

That didn’t mean days like the one described above didn’t sting. After one particularly trying day, I seriously considered asking the owner if he could please, please make sure there was at least one thing I could actually do in each workout. I just couldn’t muster up the boldness to admit how crushing it was to me to modify a workout to the point it was unrecognizable from my perspective.

The first time I heard the phrase “leave your ego at the door,” I didn’t apply it to myself. I assumed that advice was for the strapping bodybuilder who just suffered through Nancy for the first time or the spin instructor who paid tribute to DT.

But the phrase was absolutely meant for me. And it’s also meant for you.

It was during one of those early pity-fests that I found myself reading the words below on the wall at Cross Fixx, and they can probably be found somewhere in your box, too:

Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance. Stamina. Strength. Flexibility. Power. Speed. Coordination. Agility. Balance. Accuracy.

I’d seen those words for weeks, and it finally dawned on me that the list didn’t include muscle-ups, pull-ups, double-unders and handstand push-ups. It didn’t say a thing about Fran, Cindy, Angie or Jackie. Those movements and workouts provide the constant variation that produces fitness and the benchmarks that test it, but mastering a movement or workout isn’t truly the end goal.

We want to live longer, avoid chronic disease and be able to thrive when faced with a challenge. In the gym, that challenge might be Fight Gone Bad. In real life, it might be racing to get help or pulling someone to safety. It could be as profoundly simple as setting an example that keeps your children from becoming obese or makes your aging parents rethink what a healthy meal looks like.

After this realization, things changed dramatically for me. CrossFit had already educated me on the importance of record keeping so I could identify any and all metrics that were improving. I just needed a personal set of benchmarks to record and—hopefully—crush on a regular basis.

Endurance improvements were easy to measure: Row or run/walk for a set period of time and try to go further each week. Or I could run or row a set distance and then re-test to see if I could complete it faster. Sound familiar? These are your basic AMRAP and for-time workouts.

For accuracy, I would see how many wall-ball reps I could complete in a row before a no-rep appeared. When I increased the height of the wall-ball shot, that was a strength PR for me.

For stamina, I would regularly multiply the total reps completed in a WOD by the weight I was using, then divide it by the total minutes to get a weight-per-minute number to try and beat. Yeah, I’m a numbers geek, but seeing the upward trend was motivating and made me care less and less about being able to click the Rx button.

ALT TEXTThis CrossFit Kennesaw athlete lost about 100 lb., and this lift is a PR. (Courtesy of Kelly Johnson/CrossFit Kennesaw)

Five months into CrossFit, I did get to click the Rx button.

I remember being almost dismissive of the accomplishment initially: “Of course you Rx’d this. It’s an easy one.”

It was 10-minute AMRAP of 10 kettlebell snatches at 26 lb. and a 10-calorie row. That day it was easy. Five months prior, I hadn’t been able to strap myself into the rower because my belly blocked me and I lacked flexibility. I hadn’t been able to squat below parallel. In May 2014, when I walked in the door of CrossFit Fixx, there was no way I could have squatted down and pulled a 26-lb. kettlebell to my side. Never mind using the power of my hips to throw it overhead 50 times.

I felt like a freaking rock star.

You will, too—as soon as you realize that you only need to compare yourself to the person in the mirror. No one else. It’s not that hard to become a little better every single day. A little stronger, a smidge faster, slightly more coordinated.

You can only build the body of your dreams with thousands of good nutritional decisions and hundreds of workouts that make you utter phrases such as “pain cave.” There is nothing fast or easy about the process. But it’s not hard, either. Hard is living obese. Getting fit gradually is glorious compared to that. And living fit? I maintain that an entire year of working out and eating clean is easier than any single day of living in the obese body I had for over a decade.

Instead of focusing on all the things you can’t do today, start celebrating the ones you can. Start challenging yourself to add to that list every week until all the can’ts are in the rearview mirror.

This article is Part 4 of 6.

Part 1: “An Open Letter to Those Who Need to Lose Weight”

Part 2: “Change Your Life in 24 Hours”

Part 3: “I’m Working out but Can’t Lose Weight”

Part 5: “Your New Diet in the Real World”

Part 6: “Starting CrossFit: Dealing With Obstacles”

About the Author: Kai Rainey lives with her husband of 21 years in Tucson, Arizona. At 42, she was over 300 lb., with a BMI of 49.9. She lost over half her body weight through CrossFit and healthy eating. In November 2017, she earned a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certificate. She hopes to reach others who are battling obesity and help them take steps to reclaim their lives. Read more at Mylastfatsummer.com.

Cover image: Alicia Baldwin/CrossFit Journal

The Open is over, now what?


The Open is over, now what? 
Train FTW Team, 

Just a quick note to congratulate everyone on the Open and communicate the upcoming focus for all training tracks. Congratulations on Open #1 for 2019, let’s get the rest of 2019’s party started!

– Our TrainFTW Team

Coming Up For TRIBE

  • New focus every 6-8 weeks
  • Testing (Starts week of April 22nd)

We will be changing our template for the remaining 2019. As always our BIG focus for TRIBE is general fitness but we will be adding a spin. A short term focus to work on every 6-8 weeks. This is a great way to boost motivation and engagement in the gym. Communicating with your members what the current focus is and assist in creating realistic goals will help drive athlete retention and referrals.

Our first focus will be on prepping for Murph (May 27th), increasing our pull-up, push-up and running stamina as well as getting used to using weight while moving.

While there will be some workouts designed to direct this focus, but also look at some of the warm-ups and cooldowns to be in direct correlation to these goals.

We will be starting the “Murph” focus the week of April 22nd. That same week we will start our testing phase for 2019. During these tests compare results to 2018 to gauge improvement. We will also repeat these tests approximately 3-4 months later. We recommend utilizing this time period to establish some short-term goals with your athletes to see improvement in their specific desired area. This is an opportunity for a goal with Murph as well as other sport specific or workout goals to be created.

You may have noticed an increase in the strict gymnastics elements over the last couple of months. The primary goals of this have been to help build structural integrity around the joints as well as to intentionally slow athletes down in some conditioning elements. You will see strict elements involved on a consistent basis primarily as accessory work and less frequently in conditioning elements. If you have any questions or concerns on how to implement these at your affiliate, do not hesitate to reach out at any time!

Coming Up For COMPETE 

  • Age Group Qualifier 
  • Testing 
  • Strength
  • October Open 

As you’ve all seen, the 3 weeks after the Open is a “chill”, “recover” and “rejuvenate”, 3 weeks. This is important NO matter what your goals are so PLEASE take these seriously.  Resist the urge to add extra volume and go add extra fun if you need extra!

Congratulations goes out to those that qualified for the Masters! We have a few victors on the team and we are going to celebrate by prepping for the age qualifiers with them. YAY! This will be another opportunity to test our fitness with a little friendly in-house competition.

Our testing for COMPETE starts the week of April 22nd.

After the age qualifiers, we will head into our first major mesocycle to help us prepare for the Open in October. The strength training focus for this mesocycle will have an initial focus on strength/hypertrophy before moving into Olympic lifts. These will be shorter than in 2018 due to the change in competition seasons. We will also utilize a high volume of accessory work during the initial phase of this cycle before moving into more classic conditioning as the priority. Expect another open prep period to start at the beginning/middle of August.

THRIVE 

  • Squats Cycle 
  • Open Workouts 
  • Beyond

Those of you on team THRIVE, know we are in the middle of a squat cycle. We have 6 more weeks. Hang tight it’s about to get fun.

Some have asked about competition and Open workouts. THRIVE is intended for the person looking to stay fit for life, be it for their job, life or their recreational activities. We intentionally do not program for the Open or competition, but please feel free to have fun with them. Matt follows THRIVE exclusively and qualified for the age group qualifier, it is a robust program built for life!

In THRIVE we have cycles of 8-12 weeks of a focused element followed by 2-3 weeks recovery between. This is meant to target common areas people struggle with or just common areas we can all elevate. Feel free to suggest a focus in the feed and comment on how you like them.

For all TEAMS we love your comments and input. Please reach out and let us know how everything is going. Utilize the FEEDS, we’re here for you! 
Thank you again for your trust. If you need anything at all please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Train Hard,
Matt, Eric and the TrainFTW Team
Copyright © 2019 Train FTW, All rights reserved.

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The Power of Choice


Most of us have an area in our life we wish we were performing better in. That part of us that doesn’t quite fit into our own skin. It could be a touchy subject that our spouse and friends know to steer clear of, the elephant in the room. It could be the promotion you still haven’t received, the credit card you haven’t paid off, or the weight you were supposed to lose by the beginning of  summer… in 2012.

 

And because you’re wearing this very uncomfortable skin that’s not quite your size I am happy to tell you that you are exactly where you chose to be today.

 

I can already hear the objections rising up so let me explain why.

 

You see I totally understand your story. I understand because it’s yours, mine, and everyone else’s. Sometimes having a new baby, a busy time at work, or the worst timing for a medical emergency/broken down car/economic depression can happen. There are a million and one events in life that can derail us. They are not always fair and can seem impossible to overcome when they show up knocking at our door.

 

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.”

-Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

At that point we do an admirable thing. We give up on our dream. We set it aside to go fix the problem. We change our identity and become the superhero who knows exactly how to work overtime and take care of a sick parent. We do it because we want to make sure the story has a happy ending. We do it out of love.

 

And life goes on.

 

And sometimes the situation gets better. And sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, the situation that called for a superhero 6 months ago no longer needs a hero to save it. But there you stand in cape and tights committed to action. Except now it’s time to go home. Time to write a new story.

 

Where you stand today is a result of many choices. Some of your hero moments were the big decisions that shaped your trajectory. Like I said, I’m proud of you for doing that. But now it’s time to get back on the path. Your path. The one you stopped telling yourself that you wanted because it hurt too bad to think that it may never come true.

 

You might think it’s too late (it’s not).

 

You might want to try, but feel that you strayed too far (you haven’t).

 

You have to remember you have the power of choice. And it’s a good thing that you do. It gives you the power to turn your greatest adversity into your greatest strength. You always have the option to shy away or to stand and fight.

 

It’s time for a new story. You’re the hero and you’re at the turning point in the movie of your life. So what are you going to do next?You’ve endured hardship, learned tough lessons, and fallen time and time again. Wouldn’t this be a great time for everything to turn around?

 

Maybe you can recruit someone to help you get there, a long lost friend or a wise old mentor. Maybe you need to crank up “Eye of the Tiger” and experience the training it will take to achieve your success.

 

The time to act is now. Don’t slip back into your old story. You are the hero. The power of choice brought you here. Your choice decides what happens next.

 

So what are you going to do?

 

[GYM OWNER:] Add a call to action here, like: “Schedule your Free Consult here” with a link.

Energy Systems Exploration


As a living, breathing, blog reading individual you’ve probably learned the basics around how food provides the body with energy. There are actually several different ways that this can occur and they depend on the activity being performed. Depending on our sport or activity, nutrition, genetics, and level of training will each play a role which energy system is primarily utilized. As you can see in the pictures above these athletes have trained to optimize a certain energy system in their body to improve performance at their respective sport. Regardless of which energy system is predominantly used all energy is stored in the form of ATP.

Adenosine Triphosphate or “ATP” is the energy currency of the body. Each of the energy systems in the body have their own way of producing ATP to power our daily activities. There are pro’s and con’s to each energy system but ultimately having a better understanding of how our body uses energy can help us make informed decisions on diet and exercise. Let’s learn about each energy system…

Alactic System aka the Creatine Phosphate System
Lactic Acid System aka Glycolytic
Aerobic System aka Fatty Acid Metabolism

“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.” —Tony Robbins

Alactic System

(aka the Creatine Phosphate System)
What is it: The alactic system utilizes creatine phosphate (CP) as an energy source. It fuels high intensity efforts. Creatine is able to donate its phosphate molecules to the the Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP) molecule allowing it to return to ATP, with potential energy stored in its chemical bonds. Creatine comes from the food that we eat with the highest levels in red meat, pork, poultry, and fish. It can also be supplemented for vegetarians and vegans.

Time domains: This energy system is exhausted in 8-12 seconds for most individuals and you will fatigue when your CP and ATP stores have depleted. It is great for quick bursts of energy.

Efficiency:It requires 30 seconds to 2 minutes to replenish energy stores.

By products: Heat released from the breaking of chemical bonds.

Examples of activity: You may see this energy system in action through the short powerful bursts seen in weightlifters, powerlifters, pitchers, and shot putters.
What training looks like: Training the CP system means using short time domains with long rest periods in between. In the gym this means keeping rep ranges to sets of 6 or fewer reps.

Lactic Acid System

(aka Glycolytic system)
What is it: The lactic acid system utilizes glycogen (glucose stored in the muscles and liver) as a fuel source. It is for longer lasting high intensity activities. Our body is able to store about 500 total grams of glycogen in the muscle and liver tissue which provides around 2,000 calories worth of energy. Running out of this fuel source is commonly referred to as “bonking.” Some athletes consume carbohydrate foods, drinks, and supplements during training and competition to prevent running out of this valuable fuel source.

Time domains: It is the primary fuel source for activities lasting from 30 seconds to about 3 minutes. You know you have fatigued this energy system when hydrogen ion accumulation causes a burning sensation in the muscles.

Efficiency: The lactic acid system is very efficient at providing fuel but fatigues quickly. Due to the long recovery time it is favorable to alternate levels of intensity between glycolytic and aerobic dependence to sustain high output.

By products: The byproduct of this system is pyruvate. Which must be cleared from the blood to continue to utilize this energy system. This can take 30-60 minutes.
Examples of activity: This energy system would rule during a 400 or 800 meter sprint, a hockey lines time on the ice, or most CrossFit workouts. It is seen in mixed use with the aerobic system during longer workouts or soccer and basketball games where the players alternate between a slower jog pace with periods of intense sprinting and jumping.

What training looks like: To train this energy system you can utilize interval style training. Intense bursts of energy followed by a recovery period that allows you to stay at a threshold of high output. These athletes tend to have increased muscle mass and ideally lower body fat percentage.

Aerobic System

(aka Fatty Acid Metabolism aka Krebs Cycle aka Citric Acid Cycle…)
What is it: This is the creation of energy from fat, glycogen or protein in the presence of oxygen used to power low and moderate intensity activities. The mitochondria present in muscle cells takes the available fuel source through a variety of reactions to produce ATP. Since fat molecules packs 9 calories per gram they tend to be the main choice for this energy system. Even the leanest individuals carry enough body fat to fuel many days worth of activity.
Time domains: Any activity lasting more than 3 minutes in duration.

Efficiency: This system produces energy much more slowly than the others. The good news is it can utilize an unlimited fuel supply of fat.

By products: The aerobic system only produces water and carbon dioxide when generating ATP.

Examples of activity: This energy system is your predominant fuel source for jogging, cycling, swimming long distances, and most of your daily activities.

What training looks like: Athletes who have become efficient at using fat as a fuel source are able to convert the energy from fat more quickly, allowing them to sustain higher levels of work capacity for activities with long durations. These athletes are usually easy to spot as they have exceptional muscle definition and extremely low body fat.

As you can see from the graph, our average work capacity is dictated by the length of time we are performing an activity.By training in all three energy systems we can become more efficient in all areas, thus increasing our work capacity across the board.Individuals who only try to utilize cardio or lifting heavy weights to improve work capacity will fall short of their well rounded counterparts. If you’re an individual who wants to improve general health it is beneficial to train each of the energy systems.

If you’re ready to increase you work capacity and become more fit give us a call today and we’ll help you get started!

Maximize Your Macros:


A Consumer’s guide to Fat, Carbs, and Protein…

Diet and nutrition are a highly individual journey and no one answer is true or right for everyone. The simple fact of the matter is that when it comes down to it, you have to figure out what works best for you. However there are some overarching philosophy that can channel your approach to healthy eating. When you figure out a style and frequency in your relationship with food that works well you will notice improvements in energy levels, focus, mood, and of course physical performance.

Fats

Paleo, Ketogenic, and Atkins diet have helped change many of the negative perceptions of fat in the diet. As Americans a far bigger threat to our health is a diet that contain high sugar and processed foods.Fats are not only not bad for you but are an essential source of fuel and micronutrients that make us healthy. It’s important to choose the right types and amounts of fats in your diet that let you operate at your best.

The chemical structure of a fat or fatty acid determines what role it will play in our bodies. Based on this structure we are able to classify fats in certain classes that share similar characteristics.
Fats can be divided into saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.

Saturated fats are found in red meat and coconuts and up until recently have gotten a bad rap as culprits of heart disease. Monounsaturated fats are found in plant foods like nuts, avocado, and olive oil. Polyunsaturated fats include Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s which can be found in fatty fish, flax seeds, and walnuts and are associated with a variety of health benefits.

Fats are essential for energy requirements, hormone production, and make up the wall of every cell in your body. They are also directly related to our immune system and having the right ratio of fats is very important for a healthy inflammation response.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are found across a wide variety of foods and depending on the structure of the molecule our body will respond to eating carbs in very different ways. Carbohydrates have a direct relationship with the glucose levels or blood sugar in our bodies. When our blood glucose levels become elevated our body releases a hormone called insulin to store this extra energy for later when we might have a greater need for it. This glucose is stored in the muscle and liver in long chains known as glycogen or the glucose can be stored in adipose tissue to be utilized later (aka fat storage).

Your goal should be to optimize the amount of carbs that are being stored as glycogen and minimizing excess carbs that would contribute to fat stores. Selecting the right types of foods like vegetables are beneficial because they contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and have a low glycemic index. The glycemic index measures how much a food increases our bodies glucose after consumption. High GI foods include white bread, white rice, and cereals. These foods can be very bad for your waistline, because if your body is not prepared to receive fuel and store it as glycogen they will immediately be stored as fat.
Our bodies can become insulin resistant and requires higher and higher amounts of insulin to store the glucose. Resistance training however, can increase our insulin sensitivity. That means that our cells are highly responsive to storing glucose when insulin is present. Focus on consuming low glycemic carbohydrates that provide key nutrients and avoid high sugar or refined ingredients.

Protein

Protein is found in and comprises most of the cells in our body. It is found in a variety of animal and plant sources. Protein is important because it contains amino acids, tiny molecules that are the building blocks of muscle and also used for the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters. Some of these amino acids are considered essential meaning they must be provided from a dietary source. Without these essential amino acids we will not be able to repair our tissues and certain vital processes will cease to happen.

Since protein helps us recover from and perform optimally during our workouts it is important to consume after a workout for muscle repair. Real food sources of protein include beef, chicken, eggs, and fish. Try to include these foods as staples in your diet. These foods have amino acid content that is similar to what our human body requires for repair. This is also known as the biological value of the protein. Vegetable sources of protein have a lower biological value and may lack one of the essential amino acids needed by humans. These foods must be strategically combined by vegans or vegetarians so they consume all the amino acids needed for tissue repair. As a vegan athlete it can be challenging to meet your needs without supplementation and can be difficult to get a full spectrum of key micronutrients.

Try to consume 1.0 to 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. For a 200 pound man (90 kg) that means 90 grams to 135 grams of protein per day. This will provide enough amino acids for your bodies daily needs. Unfortunately eating more protein doesn’t mean it automatically turns into muscle. Unused protein will be broken down and utilized as a fuel source by the body.

Hopefully knowing a little bit more about each of the macronutrients and how they act in your body will help you to make informed decisions. If you have more questions around a healthy diet give us a call today!

Strength Training for Injury Prevention


“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” -Benjamin Franklin

Life is unpredictable and sometimes in our sports, exercise, and daily life we come out of these unpredictable situations a little bit worse for the wear…

Some folks try to prevent these situations from happening through avoidance, but if you want to have a high quality of life I highly recommend you adopt a strength training program as your physical insurance program. This is certainly a much more proactive approach to mitigating physical injury than hoping for the best.

“If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat.” -Herschel Walker

Or if you are an athlete like Robert Griffin III (pictured above) you may want to consider the risk factors of your sport. Robert, aka RG3, came into the NFL and was an instant phenom and fan favorite for his dazzling display of athleticism that was so uncommon in quarterbacks. His jukes, spins, and leaps were no match for the demands professional football places on an athlete and RG3 has spent most of what was once a promising career watching from the sideline, injured.

You see, despite his athleticism, RG3 has not trained in a way that reinforced a fundamental movement pattern. As we look at the series of pictures highlighting the windup before an explosive jump, We see a valgus knee fault where his knees cave in creating a very compromised position for the joints of his lower extremities. Even though not all injuries are preventable, by focusing more on proper technique and exercises that stabilized the knee joint rather than increasing strength and speed RG3 may have avoided some major injuries in his career.

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” -Beverly Sills

So what should a workout look like?
Exercise should replicate natural human movement patterns. The ones we encounter on a day to day basis. Squat, lunge, hinge, push, pull, rotate and walk. Most exercises fall into at least one and sometimes several of these movement patterns. By addressing all of them in our training we not only improve our functional strength but also prepare our bodies for anything life could throw at them.

In one study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine there was an 88% overall reduction in ACL injury rate in an intervention group of soccer players who participated in an injury prevention program. The right knowledge and a little consistency can go a long way when it comes down to keeping your body healthy.

Is your current training program addressing mobility, recovery, full range of motion, and then total body strength?

If you have suffered from injuries in the past or have concerns with your mobility it is important to address those with your trainer or coach. They will be able to help you by assessing the area of concern and designing a program to help you improve function with goals and checkpoints along the way. It is not always fun, easy, or sexy to do but giving attention to our problem areas will be easier to do the sooner you start.

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ”Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” -Muhammad Ali

Don’t be the dad who throws out his back building sand castles at the beach. Talk to one of our coaches and we’ll help you tackle your challenge areas today!

5 Reasons to get STRONG


Fitness trends come and go and most fall to the wayside for good reason.

Most programs fail to produce consistent results. It’s a wonder why so many folks stray away from what is tried and true when it comes to exercise programs?

“The rule is: the basics are the basic, and you can’t beat the basics.” -Charles Poliquin

Despite what your goals may be, every individual can benefit from physical resistance training. Not only that, but the health benefits extend far beyond your short term fitness goals. Regardless of why you train, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen.

1. Training for strength produces results.

Whatever your goals, muscle will help you get there. Some companies in the fitness industry has made a fortune around buzzwords like “tone”, “lift”, and “sculpt.” The problem is there’s no way to measure those loose terms. If you want to change your body composition there is only the ability to gain or lose muscle while simultaneously gaining or losing fat. If you are looking for the most efficient way to do make a change then strength training is your best option.

Strength training, or physical resistance training, can be defined as a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. When you gain muscle you increase your bodies basal metabolism (the amount of calories you burn each day before factoring in physical activity). It’s kind of like putting a bigger engine in a car. The car is capable of moving faster or pulling a heavier load (more muscle), but it also uses more fuel (fat) whether it’s cruising down the freeway or idling in the driveway. Strength training helps us “tone” through this muscle gain/fat loss trade.

2. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” -Peter Drucker

Training for strength provides a clear path for success. You can set training goals that are specific, measurable, and produce desired outcomes. A good coach will help you design a plan towards these goals with checkpoints along the way. Your strength training program is a road map to success with clear directions. Sets, reps, and weights lifted safely through the full range of motion are the signals that you’re on track. Many people find that a more detailed plan helps them stay motivated as they experience progress.

3. Age gracefully with more muscle mass.

As we get older strength training is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Physical independence is a key factor in a great quality of life.

A comprehensive study of strength training has been proven to:

  • Improve motor function
  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Increase stamina
  • Prevent sarcopenia (age related muscle loss)
  • Improve bone mineral density
  • Prevent and help rehab injuries

Functional strength training will be an asset in daily life too. From picking up grandchildren or bags of groceries to climbing stairs with confidence.

4. You’ll experience epic brain gains.

Did you know that lifting weights can strengthen your brain just as much as it does your body?
Dr. Yorgi Mavros from the University of Sydney has found that high‐intensity physical resistance training (PRT) results in significant improvements in cognitive function, muscle strength, and aerobic capacity in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Adults who followed a resistance training routine in addition to cognitive training performed significantly better than control groups on a series of mental tests. A couple key factors to note:

The participants exercised 2x/ week working to at least 80% of their peak strength.
The benefits lasted one year after the exercise prescription had ended.

What does that mean? According to Yorgi, “The stronger people became, the greater the benefit for their brain.” Let that sink in for a minute. You actually grow your brain by training to become stronger! It makes me wonder if Einstein developed his Theory of Relativity in between heavy sets of back squats…

5. Strong moms have healthy babies.

During pregnancy, the question always arises of what does fitness look like for this stage of life? With so much on the line, it’s important to consult with a doctor before beginning any fitness routine. Luckily, there is a tremendous amount to be gained by incorporating a strength training routine under normal circumstances. Resistance training can help alleviate symptoms and improve health outcomes for the mother and child. According to the Mayo Clinic, women who follow a consistent strength training routine during pregnancy can experience:

  • Reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
  • Boosted mood and energy levels
  • Better sleep
  • Prevent excess weight gain
  • Maintain levels of muscle strength and endurance
  • Reduced incidence of gestational diabetes

Not only that but women who train during pregnancy report enhanced body image and better psychological well-being!

We would love to help you live a healthy strong life. Schedule a Free Consult to learn more.