Three Meaningful Components of a Fitness Program

Do you want to know what they are ?

  1. Safety
  2. Efficacy
  3. Efficiency

Do you want to know WHY?? The explanation is simply fascinating! 

Watch (listen to) this video  Technique, Part 1

Adapted from Coach Glassman’s Dec. 1, 2007, L1 lecture in Charlotte, North Carolina, and originally published in the CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide.

In no small part, what is behind this program is the quantification of fitness. This means we put a number on fitness: work capacity across broad time and modal domains. You can assess one’s fitness by determining the area under his or her work-capacity curve. This would be similar to a group of athletes competing in 25 to 30 workouts. Include a range of activities—like three pulls on the Concept2 rower for average watts to a 10-mile run—and a multitude of workouts in between. Compile their overall placing across these events, and everyone then has a reasonable metric of his or her total capacity.

This quantification of fitness is a part of a broader concept that is at the heart of this movement: We call it evidence-based fitness. This means measurable, observable, repeatable data is used in analyzing and assessing a fitness program. There are three meaningful components to analysis of a fitness program: safety, efficacy, and efficiency.

The efficacy of a program means, “What is the return?” Maybe a fitness program advertises that it will make you a better soccer player. There needs to be evidence of this supported by measurable, observable, repeatable data. For CrossFit, we want to increase your work capacity across broad time and modal domains. This is the efficacy of this program. What are the tangible results? What is the adaptation that the program induces?

Efficiency is the time rate of that adaptation. Maybe the fitness program advertises that it can deliver 50 pull-ups. There is a big difference whether it takes six months versus nine years to achieve that.

Safety is how many people end up at the finish line. Suppose I have a fitness program. I start with 10 individuals: Two of them become the fittest human beings on Earth and the other eight die. While I would rather be one of the two fittest than the eight dead, and I do not know if I want to play, I am not going to attach a normative value to it. The real tragedy comes in not knowing the safety numbers.

These three vectors of safety, efficacy and efficiency point in the same direction, such that they are not entirely at odds with each other. I can greatly increase the safety of a program by turning the efficacy and efficiency down to zero. I can increase the efficiency by turning up the intensity and then possibly compromising safety. Or I could damage the efficacy by losing people. Safety, efficacy and efficiency are the three meaningful aspects of a program. They give me all I need to assess it.

This quantification of fitness, by choosing work capacity as our standard for the efficacy of the program, necessitates the qualification of movement. Our quantification of fitness introduces qualification of movement.

For the qualification of movement there are four common terms: mechanics, technique, form and style. I will not delve into them with too much detail: The distinction is not that important. I use both technique and form somewhat interchangeably, although there is a slightly nuanced distinction.

When I talk about angular velocity, momentum, leverage, origin or insertion of muscles, torque, force, power, relative angles, we are taking about mechanics. When I speak to the physics of movement, and especially the statics and less so the dynamics, I am looking at the mechanics.

Technique is the method to success for completion of a movement. For example, if you want to do a full twisting dismount on the rings, the technique would be: pull, let go, look, arm up, turn, shoulder drop, etc. Technique includes head posture and body posture. And there are effective and less effective techniques. Technique includes the mechanics, but it is in the macro sense of “how do you complete the movement without the physics?”

Form is the normative value: This is good or this is bad—“you should” or “you shouldn’t” applied to mechanics and technique.

Style is essentially the signature to a movement; that is, that aspect of the movement that is fairly unique to you. The best of the weightlifting coaches can look at the bar path during a lift and tell you which lifter it is. There are aspects to all of our movements that define us like your thumbprint. It is the signature. To be truly just the signature, style elements have no bearing on form, technique or mechanics. Style does not enter into the normative assessment, is not important to technique, and does not alter substantially the physics.

These four terms are all qualifications to movement. I want to speak generally to technique and form to include all of this, but what we are talking about here is the non-quantification of output; that is, how you move.

By taking power or work capacity as our primary value for assessing technique—and this reliance on functional movement—we end up in kind of an interesting position. We end up where power is the successful completion of functional movement.

This is not about merely energy exerted. On a graph, you could put work accomplished on the Y-axis and energy expended on the X-axis. Someone could potentially expend a lot of energy and do very little work by being inefficient. Ideally, what that individual would do would see little energy expended for the maximum amount of work. Technique is what maximizes the work completed for the energy expended (Figure 1). For any given capacity, say metabolically, for energy expenditure, the guy who knows the technique is going to be able to do the most amount of work.

Suppose I take two people at random and they are both trying the same task. One is familiar with how to deadlift, and one is not. One knows how to clean, one does not. One knows how to drive overhead, one does not. Suppose they are loading a truck with sandbags. The one familiar with lifting large objects and transporting them is going to do a lot more work.

You can have the argument as to who is stronger. For example, you can use an electromyogram and see with what force the biceps shortens. If you are defining strength as contractile potential, you may end up with the guy with enormous contractile potential—but not knowing the technique of the clean, the jerk, the deadlift, he cannot do as much work.

Figure 1: Technique maximizes the work accomplished for the energy expended.

We, however, do not take contractile potential as the gold standard for strength. Strength is the productive application of force. If you cannot complete work, if you cannot express strength as power, if strength cannot be expressed as productive result, it does not count. Having enormous biceps and quadriceps is useless if you cannot run, jump, lift, throw, press.

This is related to safety, efficacy and efficiency because technique (quality of movement) is the heart of maximizing each of these.

He or she who knows how to do these movements when confronted with them will get a better result in terms of safety. Two individuals attempt to lift a heavy object; one knows how to pop a hip and get under it (clean), and the other guy starts to pull with a rounded back. I can tell you what is likely to happen to he or she who does not know how to lift. If you want to stay safe, you better have good technique, good form.

Efficacy, for any given contractile potential, for any given limit to your total metabolic capacity, he or she who knows the technique will be able to get more work done and will develop faster. If after six months of teaching you how to clean it still does not look like I would like it to, you will not get twice body weight overhead more quickly someone who looks like a natural. You want an effective program, you are going to have to move with quality, you want to get the result quickly—technique is going to be pivotal to your success.

Technique is an intimate part of safety, efficacy, and efficiency.

We can see how this manifests in CrossFit workouts by way of a comparison. I want to look at typing, shooting, playing the violin, NASCAR driving and CrossFit. What these domains have in common is that a marked proficiency is associated with speed. Being able to shoot accurately and quickly is better than quickly or accurately.

You may try to get a job as a typist because you do not make any mistakes. However, for this perfection, you type at a rate of 20 words a minute and only use two fingers. You will never get hired. Playing the violin fast and error-free is critical for a virtuoso. However, someone who gets through “Flight of the Bumblebee” in 12 minutes is not there yet. A NASCAR driver wants to both drive fast and not wreck. In CrossFit, a perfectly exquisite Fran is worthless if it takes 32 minutes.

And yet, it is presented to CrossFit coaches as, “Should I use good form or should I do it quickly?” I do not like my choices. One is impossible without the other.

Technique and speed are not at odds with one another, where “speed” is related to all the quantification of the movement: power, force, distance, time. They are seemingly at odds. It is a misapprehension. It is an illusion.

Can you learn to drive fast without wrecking? Can you learn to type fast without making errors? Can you shoot quickly without missing? Eventually, but not in the learning. One is impossible without the other.

You will not learn to type fast without typing where you make a ton of errors and then work to reduce the errors at that speed. Then you go faster, and then again pull the errors back in, then go faster and pull the errors back in. You drive faster and faster and then you spin out in the infield or you hit the wall.

If you are a race driver and you have never spun out, gone out in the infield or never been in a wreck, you are not very good. If you are a typist and you have never made a mistake, you are very slow. In CrossFit, if your technique is perfect, your intensity is always low.

Here is the part that is hard to understand: You will not maximize the intensity or the speed without mistakes. But it is not the mistakes that make you faster. It is not reaching for the letter P with your pinky and hitting the O. It is not hitting the wrong note that made you play faster. It is not missing the target by two feet that made you a better shooter. It is not running into the wall that made you a faster driver. But you will not get there without it. The errors are an unavoidable consequence of development.

This iterative process of letting this scope of errors broaden then reducing them without reducing the speed is called “threshold training.”

In a CrossFit workout, if you are moving well, I will tell you to pick up the speed. Suppose at the higher speed the movement still looks good: I will encourage you to go faster. And if it still looks good I will encourage you to go even faster. Now the movement starts falling apart.

I do not want you to slow down yet. First, at that speed I want you to fix your technique. What you need to do is continuously and constantly advance the margins at which form falters.

It may be that initially at 10,000 foot-pounds per minute my technique is perfect, but it falls apart at 12,000 foot-pounds per minute. Work at that 10,000 to 12,000 foot-pounds per minute mark to fix the form, and soon enough you will have great technique at 12,000 foot-pounds per minute. The next step is to achieve that technique at 14,000 foot-pounds per minute.

At first, the technique at 14,000 foot-pounds per minute will suffer. Then you must narrow it in. That is the process. It is ineluctable. It is unavoidable. There is nothing I can do about it. That is not my rule.

We are the technique people. We drill technique incessantly, but simultaneously I want you to go faster. You will learn to work at higher intensity with good technique only by ratcheting up the intensity to a point where good technique is impossible. This dichotomy means that it is impossible at the limits of your capacity to obey every little detail and nuance of technique. Some of the refined motor-recruitment patterns are not going to always look perfect.

I do not know of a domain where speed matters and technique is not at the heart of it. In every athletic endeavor where we can quantify the output, there is incredible technique at the highest levels of performance.

Suppose someone set the new world record for the shot put, but his technique was poor. This means one of two things: one, either with good technique it would have gone farther, or two, we were wrong in understanding what is good technique.

Technique is everything. It is at the heart of our quantification. You will not express power in significant measure without technique. You might expend a lot of energy, but you will not see the productive application of force. You will not be able to complete functional tasks efficiently or effectively. You will not be safe in trying.

There is a perceived paradox here that really is not a paradox when you understand the factors at play.

To Squat (below parallel) Or Not To Squat, That Is The Question

To Squat (below parallel) or not to squat, that is the question. So many debates on this subject such as… what about my knees? Won’t they get damaged? I’ve heard it’s not good to let your knees go past your toes.

Consider this, when you see a child playing, often times you’ll see them in a full depth squat,  torso vertical, knees tracking out over toes, heels down in contact with the floor. This is what your body is meant to do and is capable of.

Over the years we have shortened our muscles, tendons and ligaments by doing (or not doing) specific movements with our body. Through this course of action, we have taught our body how NOT to squat. You become a sum of what you consistently do. However, squatting is an essential movement.

“In humans and other primates, the knee joins the thigh with the leg and consists of two joints: one between the femur and tibia, and one between the femur and patella. It is the largest joint in the human body. The knee is a modified hinge joint, which permits flexion and extension as well as slight internal and external rotation.”

Regular physical activity helps maintain joint function, including strength and range of motion in the knees.

Strengthen the muscles that support your knees. Developing strong thigh muscles — especially the quadriceps, hamstrings and abductors — improves range of motion, protects knee cartilage and reduces the stress you place on the knee, says Richard Willy, an assistant professor of physical therapy at the University of Montana School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences.

This is one example of why the basic squat is an essential functional movement and here’s your challenge.

  1. Watch the above video and try for your self
  2. If you are unable to squat as demonstrated in the first video, don’t worry, there’s two more videos to help you
  3. Stay dedicated and perform the squats regularly
  4. Chart small improvements in range, ease of movement, improved points of performance, quantity, etc…
  5. Understand “range of motion is non-negotiable is long as it’s pain free”

 

 

 

Bridges, Tunnels, CrossFit, Infrastructure

Infrastructure. Noun. Definition, the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (eg: buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise. “The social and economic infrastructure of a country”.  Infrastructure has become a popular topic recently due to the 2021 Infrastructure bill proposed to reshape the economy.

Bridges, tunnels, highways, power, water and energy facilities, mass transit and even waste removal are the very systems that support the functionality of our cities, country, and our economy. If that’s so, what  is the infrastructure of the human body? Let’s take a deeper dive. There are 10 main systems in the human body, four of which are responsible for facilitating other systems.

  • Skeletal system is made up of over 200 bones, it holds the body together, gives it shape and protects organs and tissues. It also provides anchor point for the muscular system.
  • Muscular system facilitates movement.
  • Cardiovascular system is a pipeline that includes the heart, blood vessels and blood. It also delivers oxygen, white blood cells, hormones and nutrients throughout the body.
  • Nervous system is a communication network of nerve cells used to transmit information and bodily functions. It is comprised of the brain, spinal cord and many other nerves.

We can draw some parallels from the infrastructure of our society to that of the human body.

Therefore, it would be fair to say that if we can rebuild those parts in society, we can also rebuild those parts of the human body.

If reshaping the economy by creating jobs results in stronger bridges and tunnels, faster transportation, and more efficient water and waste management then we can do the same with out bodies.  We can reshape our sickness to wellness and our wellness to fitness. We can build stronger bones via exercise. We can build a faster cardiovascular system by revving the engine. We can fuel our body as well as the high grade fuel we pump into our fancy cars.

So while we all have an opinion on the infrastructure of the country, it is time to all take a stand on the infrastructure of our own body. It is after all the one single thing we have control of.

Synonyms for infrastructure are basis, foundation, support.

Eat (well) Sleep (deep) Train (exercise) Repeat (keep doing it – every day)

 

 

 

Get Fit, For A Change…

If you have ever tried to start a new healthy habit or perhaps eliminate an old one you know difficult change can be.

Our bodies are adaptation machines however and will adapt to the stimulus they experience most frequently. One way to prime your body for change is to exercise. Exercise causes a whole host of changes in your physiology that can make learning a new habit or skill easier. It is also a great replacement for bad habits you are trying to eliminate. Whatever your goal may be fitness can play a huge role in your transformation. The most important part of change is starting, taking action towards your goal. Even if you slip and fall it is way better than never having tried at all.

“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly” -G.K. Chesterton

That’s why if you are interested in pursuing a new career, relationship, or habit you should make it a priority to dedicate time each week to rigorous physical exercise. Exercise has numerous physical benefits but it goes beyond that. The way you eat and the way you move your body has a direct impact on the way you think, your mood, and how you make decisions.

Improving cognitive function can give you the energy and mental stamina to make other great changes in your life. Numerous studies have shown significant brain benefits as a result of both cardiovascular and resistance training routines. Exercise has been proven to increase the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin and other neurohormones like the endorphin dopamine. These act on the opiate receptors in our brain to reduce pain and boost pleasure.

“Nothing will work unless you do.” -John Wooden

Exercise has also been shown to stimulate the growth of the hippocampus, synapses, and glial cells in your brain. The hippocampus is responsible for memory and individuals who exercise are able to better recall information.

Synapses are the junctions where our cells communicate with one another, sending signals throughout the body that guide our actions. Exercise stimulates the growth of synapses which helps reinforce learning. The stronger we develop neural pathways through our synapses the stronger we reinforce the pattern. If you are trying to learn a new routine or information exercise can help.

Glial cells provide support and protection for cells in the brain and central nervous system. Exercises stimulates the growth of these cells helping you literally build a bigger brain. It is believed that a bigger brain leads to enhanced cognitive function.

Exercise also increases blood flow, improves our hormonal balance, and aids digestion and insulin sensitivity. These are all tremendous factors in our ability to be alert and energetic. If you are looking for the attitude, attention, and focus to make positive changes in your life then exercise will help you.

If you don’t know where to begin when it comes to fitness or any other change you want to make in your life get in touch with a coach who can help you. A coach will help you evaluate your situation and come up with a plan that fits your needs and lifestyle. A community that is focused on fitness and self improvement will also help you stay dedicated to your goals.

5 Health Metrics That Are More Important Than Weight

For some strange reason American’s have chosen the scale as their favorite way to track progress around their health. People derive their sense of self worth based on the number facing up at them from between their feet. If you’re someone who draws any sort of emotional reaction, positive or negative, from the scale then you may want to self reflect and consider if there are better options out there. 

The funny part is that weight is such an inconsequential and ambiguous predictor of substance. Just consider this. If you have three avocados-one freshly picked and hard as a rock, one brown soft and ooze, and one firm ripe and tender-which one are you going to slice open to make your guacamole with? It shouldn’t matter if they all weigh 170 grams right…

What you are made of, how you feel, and what you are able to produce are all factors of way greater significance than your weight. 

What you weigh is going to constantly fluctuate. You may lose weight and be less healthy. You may be well hydrated one day and performing well then get totally thrown off because your weight went up a pound or two. This number doesn’t say who you are as a person or how healthy and fit you may be. It’s just an arbitrary number. Stop letting the pounds run your life and change the way you feel about yourself. Instead try one of these alternative ways that measure success off the scale!

Body Fat Percentage

Body fat percentage is an alternative way to track your progress and provides much more actionable information than just your weight in pounds. This takes into account your lean muscle mass. In this way you can actually gain weight in muscle which would consequently reduce your percentage of body fat. This is a clear example of how gaining weight would make you healthier. Plus as you add more muscle to your frame you will burn more calories at rest. The fat will disappear faster and faster on it’s own!

Measurements

Taking specific measurements is a great way to achieve the goals around the way you want to look. Measuring neck, arm, waist, hips, thigh, and calf circumference can help you transform your body without ever worrying about the scale. Losing two inches off your waist will make you look and feel like a whole new person!

Habit Tracking

One of the best replacements for weighing yourself is to instead track daily health habits. If you track metrics like sleep, hydration, servings of veggies, daily walking, and other relevant habits you can focus on the right behaviors to make you look and feel great in the long run. This takes discipline but it is essential to long lasting transformation.

Performance Metrics

Switching your focus to the weight on the bar is a great alternative to the scale. People will often train harder and longer in pursuit of strength and performance goals than solely for aesthetic purposes. If you push yourself more in training the results will speak for themselves!

 

3 Exercises to Fix your Lower Back Pain

The body thrives on balance. Our muscles and joints are happiest when they are getting equal and total range of motion. The spine is no different and since it’s range of motion is smaller than most other joints, imbalances can be felt more intensely.

The spine requires the stability of the supporting muscles that surround it to keep up upright and mobile. When a link in this system is weak, the body will compensate in order to expend the least amount of energy. 

A common issue seen causing that dreaded lower back is due to tight hip flexors, tight spinal erectors, accompanied by weak abs and glutes, also referred to as the lower cross syndrome. The tightness of the body in one area causes another area of the body to become weak. 

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” – Buddhist Proverb

 

So how do you fix or prevent this? Here are three things you can do today to make sure your glutes are firing, your core is tight, and your hips and back muscles stay strong but supple.

  1. Single leg glute bridges, to strengthen the core & glutes. Aim for 3 sets of 15 on each side. Plant the bottom of your feet and palms firmly on the floor. Stack knees above ankles. Lift one foot off the ground and perform a single glute bridge with the other, pressing firmly into your palms, shoulders, and foot to take any pressure off the neck. Try to get the hips as high as possible, then lower to the ground.
  2. Couch Stretch, loosen the tight hip flexors Aim for 2 minutes on each side. Using a couch or a bench, get into a low lunge in front of your object of choice, and the goal of this stretch is to use the front leg to support your weight as you put your back foot on a couch or bench and get your knee as close to the couch or bench as possible to stretch the hip of the back leg.  
  3. Supine single-leg twists to loosen the tight muscles in the lower back.

Lay on your back, hands out to a T, and legs together, bring your right knee up to your chest and let it fall to the left side of your body. Try to keep the spine stacked in a straight line. Repeat on the left leg, bringing left knee to chest then letting it fall to your right, knee resting on the ground or a block. Spend at least a minute on each side.

Incorporate these exercises and stretches into your routine to help ease and prevent lower back pain. As always if anything causes pain, don’t do it and always consult your doctor before trying new things.

The New Year’s Resolution Conundrum

res·o·lu·tion
/ˌrezəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/
noun
a firm decision to do or not to do something.
eg. “she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”
Some things happen in life with the flick of a switch. When you want to turn a light on you simply flip the knob, clap your hands or yell across the room to Alexa and “voila”, let there be light.
Others take time to build, layer upon layer, like a brick house. The process can only happen in a very specific way. With a strong foundation, one brick at a time.
On January first many folks scramble to find the switch that will yield the results they are looking for. But behavior change is not a light switch. Behavior change is a process. Getting stronger, eating healthy, or losing weight won’t happen instantaneously. It happens brick by brick. You only get the results if you follow the process. The right plan and the right effort simultaneously.
“You are never pre-qualified to live your dreams. You qualify yourself by doing the work. By committing—even overcommitting—to what you believe you should do.” – Benjamin P. Hardy
If you are committed to an outcome then the process it will take you to achieve your goal should be irrelevant. Your focus is on results now. Your focus is on determining the right plan and taking the first step towards achieving.
If you are someone who worries about how far away you are from your goal then you are focused on the wrong thing. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t.
When you set your goals say exactly what you want. Getting specific here is key. Numbers and dates. These make your goals realistic and allow you to work backward to where you are today. This will help you set realistic expectations for what you can and should be achieving on a given day.
If your goal is to lose 40lbs then it would be impossible to achieve in one session. Your goal doesn’t feel like something that you can actually achieve. By February you may be frustrated that you haven’t hit it.
But if you start thinking about the future version of you that weighs 40 lbs less than you can start to understand what needs to be done. Your focus is not on losing weight but acting like the person who has already lost it.
You might do things like have a gym membership that you use regularly. Have a salad for lunch every day. Go for walks and spend your weekends on the go. You probably have other healthy friends that support your decisions.
“You can not entertain weak, harmful, negative thoughts ten hours a day and expect to bring about beautiful, strong and harmonious conditions by ten minutes of strong, positive, creative thought.” -Charles F. Haanel
In his book The Master Key System, Charles Haanel unpacks the process of achieving one’s goals. He explains that you have to “be it” and “do it” BEFORE you can “have it”. Most people get this process backward. They expect that they will change their behavior once they have achieved their goal. Instead, you must act in accordance with what it means to achieve your goal. Ask yourself, “Would a person who cares about their health make the decision I am about to make?”
The more your decisions and actions align with the goal, the faster it will come to you. Don’t let this New Year slip away from you. Stop looking to flick the switch that will make all of your problems go away.
Instead look for the path that is more difficult, but leads to success. Surround yourself with people doing the thing that you want to be doing. Who look the way you want to look. Learn from them, adapt their behaviors, and put in the work.
This is your year.

What To Do On Your Rest Day?

What to do on your rest day?

1 On rest days, your body generally needs less calories because you’re not as active. …
2 Yoga. Yoga is one of the best things you can do on a rest day. It’s excellent for improving body awareness, breathing, and flexibility.
3 Low-impact workout. Like yoga, low-impact exercise is a great rest day activity. Low-impact workouts help you stay active without overstressing your body.
On rest and recovery days it is important to avoid doing the worst thing you can do for your body… nothing. Examples of rest and recovery activities are walking, static stretch exercises (after a warm up and loosening up period), dynamic stretching, swimming, water running, and riding a bike.
To reach your fitness goals, you totally don’t need to crank out super-intense workouts 365 days a year. You know what you do need? Quality recovery. “There are two stages necessary to making fitness progress,” says Matthew Stults-Kolehmainen, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow in exercise science at Columbia University: You have to work hard and rest hard. See, when you exercise, you’re actually tearing tiny muscle fibers, but while you lay low and replenish, your muscles are able to build back stronger. And the better your recovery—you guessed it—the closer you’ll be to reaching your fitness dreams. Here are the off-day pitfalls you’ll want to avoid to keep your on days on point:

Mistake #1: You’re Determined to Get Fit, and Recovery Day Isn’t Even in Your Vocab
Overtraining will catch up to you. “You don’t have to beat yourself into the ground seven days a week to get where you want to go,” says Albert Matheny, cofounder and trainer at Soho Strength Lab. So take an easy day when you need it. “There are worse things than skipping your class to hit golf balls with your friends,” he says. Stults-Kolehmainen recommends using the Total Quality Recovery (TQR) Scale to tune in to your body’s recovery process: Before every workout, you simply rate how recovered you feel on a scale from zero to 10, 10 being totally fresh and zero being totally whipped. He recommends modifying your workout (think: stretching, light yoga, or an easy elliptical session) for ratings less than five. “Overtraining symptoms and recovery needs are very individual,” says Stults-Kolehmainen, “but the TQR scale gives people an easy way to determine what type of exercise will serve them best that day.”

Mistake #2: You Go for Carbs. On Carbs. On Carbs.
Carbs, we love you, but on our less-active days, we really don’t need so much of you. It turns out that carbohydrates are our body’s preferred fuel source, and when they aren’t readily available, it starts to eat fat. “If you main goal is weight loss,” says Matheny, who is also registered dietician, “limiting your carbohydrate intake can help you reach that goal.” On your off days, he suggests simply cutting out your mid-morning smoothie or going for a lettuce wrap instead of fresh-baked bread on your sandwich at lunch—save those delicious carbs for hard workout days.

Mistake #3: You Give Your Muscles the Cold Shoulder
A tough indoor cycling session, strength day, or extra-long run can give your fitness a boost—but it can also leave your muscles feeling tight and sore, which can eventually wreak havoc on your joints. Myofascial release is a technique that targets soft tissue to help relieve muscular immobility (that stiff feeling) and soreness (that sensation that we love to hate). And you don’t have to schedule a professional massage to reap the benefits of Myofascial release. Matheny recommends targeting large muscles on a foam roller (think your IT band the day after cycling class) and going after smaller areas (like your calves after a run) with a massage stick. Lacrosse, tennis, or baseballs can be massaged into sore, tight muscles too for the same sweet release that the massage stick offers. “Especially if you are sitting most of the day,” says Matheny, “massaging muscles will help prevent the shortening and tightening that can affect your next workout.”

Mistake #4: Your Protein Intake Is Weak
Studies show that under-eating after exercise can majorly dampen recovery. And no wonder: After a strenuous workout, your body is desperate for refueling—yep, that means calories. There’s no better way to get the most recovery bang for your calorie buck than protein. “Protein isn’t just for those trying to gain,” says Matheny. “You need it to maintain lean muscle mass, too.” Even if you’ve just finished an extra-hard effort and know that tomorrow will be an extra-light day, focus on taking in a high-quality mix of protein and carbs soon after your workout, like oatmeal with nuts, berries, and flax seed. Your post-sweat session fuel will play a big role in how you well you recover the next day—and you’ll feel better, too!

Mistake #5: Your Sleep Schedule Looks a Lot Like Your Hair in the a.m.: All Over the Place!
If you focus on optimal nutrition, lots of feel-good stretches, and even sprinkle a sports massage into your recovery days, you should be able to kill your next training session—well, unless you’re not getting adequate z’s.
“(Sleep is) definitely one of the most important recovery strategies,” says Stults-Kolehmainen, noting that a lack of enough high-quality sleep (think seven to eight hours for most of us) will result in extra stress on the body and less energy focused toward muscle recovery. He suggests trying a phone app that monitors your sleep, and then analyzing how recovered you feel based on the amount of sleep you’re getting. Matheny notes that people usually sleep better if they maintain a consistent schedule. No matter when you schedule your workouts and recovery days, try establishing a routine that gets you in and out of bed at relatively the same time every night. That way, you can use your recovery days to, well, recover—and not just guzzle coffee!

Mistake #6: You Take the Elevator—to the Second Floor
Think yesterday’s extra set of pushups gives you permission to sit on your booty all day? Sorry, it doesn’t. Unless you’re recovering from an incredibly taxing workout or competition, like a triathlon, Stults-Kolehmainen recommends that you make movement a part of every day, even recovery days. Why? A more active easy day will ramp up your immune system and get more blood and oxygen moving through your systems. Why does that matter? “Recovery is actually dependent on your immune system,” says Stults-Kolehmainen. In the same way that it helps us overcome sickness, our immune system cleans up the debris from muscle micro trauma caused by exercise. On recovery days, Matheny suggests walking to work, going for a leisurely bike ride, or taking a restorative yoga class to prevent a day of sitting, lounging, and lying down in front of a screen. Even light movement will help repair your muscle’s micro-tears and leave you feeling looser and more energized, not sluggish.

Mistake #7: You Spend Your Recovery Days Stressed Out
You are in the midst of a rough week at work with a zillion deadlines, your social life is seriously weighing on you, and your brain starts working overtime the minute you try to fall asleep. To make matters worse, all that extra mental stress you’re carrying around can make you feel more tired, sore, and achy after workouts, too. According to Stults-Kolehmainen, stress management and emotional health actually affect your physical recovery. Why? Because stress—whether it’s coming from work, family, friends, or any other source—has a profound impact on your immune system, dampening its responses and hampering with its ability to focus on repairing your sore muscles. “Our research shows that the accumulation of negative life events is associated with poor recovery,” says Stults-Kolehmainen, referencing a 2012 study he led at the University of Texas. Not to mention, stress can impact your sleep, diet, and how much self-care you engage in overall. Stults-Kolehmainen recommends trying mindfulness practices, like meditation, to reduce post-workout stress. And Matheny notes that if the workout you have scheduled for the day is only adding to your stress load, it’s a good idea to skip the intense session for a fun evening with your friends—bonus if it’s movement-based.

Continue reading “What To Do On Your Rest Day?”

Choose an Environment that Supports You

The environment you place yourself in is arguably the most important decision you can make at any given moment. The actions the environment supports will shape your life and the decisions that you make. Sounds like a big statement but let’s think about it for a minute. Compare a few different potential options of environments you could spend your day in.

On one hand, you could spend your day throwing around heavy weights and being bold, focused and confident in an activity like weightlifting or CrossFit. Think about how you feel after lifting a barbell, or doing pull-ups. How do you feel? Maybe strong, determined, more powerful?

Now let’s consider another way your day’s activity could go. You go to a yoga class where you focus on your breath. Stillness and peace is a common feeling people get. You’re stretching, creating space. Think about how different that feels from the weightlifting you would do at the gym. The feelings you experience from doing yoga may be uplifting, and open. The gestures your and stretches you take your body through in a slowed down type of activity like yoga impacts the way your brain perceives your life.

Let’s analyze a third option. You go to an old friend’s house. You end up sitting on the couch having a few drinks and snacking. You watch a mindless TV show while your friends complains about work and how unhappy they are at their job.

Which experience do you think will make you grow? Which environment will contribute to the person you want to be?

Ding. Ding. Ding. It’s an easy choice right?!

“Surround yourself with people who remind you more of your future than your past.”
-Dan Sullivan

Put simply, you become what you do. Your body communicates who you are to your brain. If you spend your time doing hard work and lifting heavy weights, you start to think how strong you are and how you can do hard things. This will translate into your life. You become the type of person who is strong and can do hard things. In a place like yoga, or maybe running outside, you may experience those feelings of freedom, space and peace. You become a person who experiences these things.

It’s incredible how much how body influences how we think. Activity is so important to everyday life. The next time you’re working out, whatever activity it is that you choose, notice the messages your body sends your mind. Feeling weak in your life, like you can’t do anything right? Get under a barbell and do some hard shit. Feeling like you need more space in your life? Try some yoga or running. With your body as a tool you can create the environment you most need in your life.

“Foundations” by Greg Glassman

CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program. We have designed our program to elicit as broad an adaptational response as possible. CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains. They are Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.

The CrossFit Program was developed to enhance an individual’s competency at all physical tasks. Our athletes are trained to perform successfully at multiple, diverse, and randomized physical challenges. This fitness is demanded of military and police personnel, firefighters, and many sports requiring total or complete physical prowess. CrossFit has proven effective in these arenas.

Aside from the breadth or totality of fitness the CrossFit Program seeks, our program is distinctive, if not unique, in its focus on maximizing neuroendocrine response, developing power, cross-training with multiple training modalities, constant training and practice with functional movements, and the development of successful diet strategies.

Our athletes are trained to bike, run, swim, and row at short, middle, and long distances guaranteeing exposure and competency in each of the three main metabolic pathways.

We train our athletes in gymnastics from rudimentary to advanced movements garnering great capacity at controlling the body both dynamically and statically while maximizing strength to weight ratio and flexibility. We also place a heavy emphasis on Olympic Weightlifting having seen this sport’s unique ability to develop an athletes’ explosive power, control of external objects, and mastery of critical motor recruitment patterns. And finally we encourage and assist our athletes to explore a variety of sports as a vehicle to express and apply their fitness.