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 anymore”

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 looks the way you want to look. Learn from them, adapt their behaviors, and put in the work.

This is your year.

Mitch Stout

12 Reasons You Should Be Deadlifting

The deadlift is one of the most polarizing exercises in sport and fitness, but it shouldn’t be.

Provided you are training with a certified professional, the movement’s benefits far outweigh the risks associated with avoiding the movement. But, chances are you’ve even been told by a medical professional to avoid the exercise to ensure you don’t hurt your back. Why is that?

I believe a mixed bag reason could lead to injuries associated with the lift. These including well-meaning individuals try to teach themselves the deadlift without the supervision of a certified coach, an improper mix of intensity or volume, wretched form propitiated ego, all the way down to improper footwear while lifting.

When performed correctly and under the guise of a trained professional, the benefits for the deadlift are crazy good for everyone, from a D1 athlete to your grandma, the deadlift is your answer.

Let’s be clear, if you have a medical diagnosis or issue that dictates you approach this movement with caution, do so! There is a multitude of variations of the moment that can still be beneficial, but the king of all strength movements has a world of benefit you can’t get with any other exercise.

Here are my 12 reasons you should be deadlifting:

ONE: Historical records date back to the 6th century B.C. of the lift being performed in Olympia, Greece. This lift has been performed for thousands of years and is ingrained in our daily lives.

TWO: At one point in the 1700s, the Deadlift was named the Health Lift, and it wasn’t until recently it was viewed as something to be avoided.

THREE: Due to the exercise’s complexity, many upper body muscles are also recruited as stabilizers and synergists; more on that to come below. This means you can work your abs while deadlifting (I know, your mind is blown, right?!?!)

FOUR: Some form of the DL is found in every strength sport. From powerlifting to highland games, you will find a variation of the movement. This is because powerful people can know how to deadlift, and powerful people are hard to beat.

FIVE: If you want to be a better athlete, regardless of the sport, you need to deadlift. That’s due to the movement teaching hip flexion. Think about it, is there a sport that doesn’t involve hip flexion? Everything from kicking a soccer ball, throwing a baseball, or using a slap shot in hockey uses the movement.

SIX: The Deadlift the simplest of compound strength movement. This means you will work multiple muscles over multiple joints simultaneously—bang for your buck.

SEVEN: The deadlift lift is a requisite for more complex compound movements like the Olympic clean.

EIGHT: Compound but yet irreducible. This is an important one! This means the benefits you get from performing the movement can NOT be replicated by breaking down the movement into simpler exercises like a plank, hamstring curl, and barbell hip thrust.

NINE: The neuroendocrine response produced by large muscle mass exercises like the deadlift stimulates the body’s anabolic and growth hormones. Consequently, this response proves critical to tissue growth and remodeling and leads to subsequent strength gains. One of my favorite strength coaches has a famous quote to sum this one up, “If you want a bigger bench press, deadlift.” Mark Rippetoe

TEN: Which leads me to the next point, if you want to burn more fat, you need more muscle, which, oh, by the way, the deadlift will help you with. So, deadlift = fat loss.

ELEVEN: The deadlift not only builds muscles, but it will also strengthen bones and connective tissue. This one is a little long, but follow me on this.

Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand (SAID) is a basic exercise science principle. This means that the body will over adapt to the stress the body is forced to endure. Exercise is stress; at least it should be physical stress that is greater than what the body experiences in homeostasis. This stress causes the muscles, bones, and connective tissue to over adapt to ensure safety in the future. Your bones are the framework your muscles and connective tissues are built upon. As your muscles grow, so too will your bones to ensure they can meet the demands the muscles will place on them. So, if you want bones stronger than Wolverine in your 90’s, you need to be deadlifting.

TWELVE: You need it for everyday life. Knowing how to deadlift will help you safely pick your kids up, help your buddy move his couch, and carry 42 grocery bags at the same time (because we all know making two trips is a waste of time); you need to know to deadlift properly.

I could go on, but to spare your time, I believe in the deadlift, and you should too. But, it needs to be performed correctly and under the supervision of a trained professional.

If you would like to start gaining all the benefits of the Deadlift, come train with us. We will set you up for success with our foundation program that includes teaching the Deadlift.

Christophir “Smitty” Smith

Top 3 Reasons To Train With Kettlebells

If you could only buy one piece of equipment to accomplish all of your training what would you buy? Treadmills and cycles are great for cardio but definitely won’t get you stronger. A barbell is great but where do you have room to keep it and let alone use it? Total gym style machines always feel so awkward, the cables never work and they seem to be built for someone elses body. So what exactly can use to transform your body, build strength, burn fat, and improve your cardio?

Enter the kettlebell.

Kettlebells are a great and diverse tool that you should implement into your training. Kettlebell swings train the total body and can be a low impact way to build muscle.They can be used to improve performance as well as make you look and feel strong and capable. Of course a tool is only useful as long as you know how to use it. Consider learning the basics with a certified coach who can show you the ropes. 

Today let’s dive into the top 3 reasons to train with kettlebells so you can see if they are a good fit for your fitness regimen. 

    • Carry Over To Sport and Life
    • Add Variety To Your Training
    • Quick And Effective Way To Train

1. Carry Over To Sport and Life

Kettlebell swings have tremendous carry over to your sport and lifestyle activities. They teach you how to hinge at the hip, one of the most important movement patterns for health and optimal function. A strong and healthy lower back as well as a tight core will be developed rapidly when you train kettlebell swings with good form. You will also develop an iron grip. Grip is one of the best indicators of a healthy human and Harvard has found strong correlation between grip strength and cardiovascular health. 

Swings will also improve your performance with the olympic lifts and power lifts and any other hip dominant movement like jumping. Kettlebell swings teach the dynamic hip extension that is the foundation of a powerful lifter and athlete. When you become strong and proficient with swings you can continue adding load becoming stronger and more explosive in the process.

2. Add Variety To Your Training

You can train Kettlebell swings more often than many other strength movements. Performing swings 2-3 times per week can really improve your strength and endurance and shake up your typical workout routine. By adjusting the weights , the number of sets, repetitions, and how long you rest you can get totally different responses from your kettlebell workout. 

A typical Monday workout could focus on strength and power. You would use fewer reps and a heavy weight taking 2-3 minutes between sets to fully recover. 

Wednesdays workout could be focused on building cardio. Use a light kettlebell and swing it for a long time. Pick a number like 20, 50, or even 100 reps and see how quickly you can get there. Or set a timer for 5:00 and see how many swings you can get in that amount of time. 

On Friday you could train kettlebell swings in a high intensity interval workout. Use light to moderate weights and focus on explosive efforts followed by bouts of recovery.

3. Quick And Effective Way To Train

Learning swings comes easier for some and harder for others. They are also easier to learn than the olympic lifts and far less technical. Swings are a great alternative for individuals who are focused on fitness for their health and young athletes. They also require less time to prepare the body for in terms of warming up the joints, muscles, and nervous system. They can be a fast and fun way to fit in a workout if you don’t have much time.

The kettlebell swings is such an effective tool because it trains both the eccentric (lengthening of the muscle) and concentric (shortening of the muscle) in a dynamic fashion. The snatch and clean both require a focus on a strong concentric contraction as the weight is lifted, Swings offer a different stimulus that may better suit athletes in sports like basketball or soccer or folks whose goal is not to lift maximal weight overhead. 

Kettlebell swings are a fun and effective way to train. Just like most exercises, it’s best to learn from a certified coach so you know you are performing them properly. If you are interested in getting in shape and training in a fun new environment come in for a free consult and we can show where you how training can be fun and get you results!

Ditch the Bench…

The top 8 Press variations you should be training instead

There are an incredible number of options of exercises to train the chest and shoulder muscles. Yet most athletes stick with the same barbell and dumbbell presses year after year. When it comes to training upper body pressing there are many alternative movements that will improve strength and mobility.

If you’re reading this it might just be time for you to ditch the barbell bench and strict press. These exercises are great for building pure strength, but without some variability in your training could leave you vulnerable to injury in other ranges of motion. Selecting a wide assortment of pressing exercises to train your chest, shoulders, and triceps is best for an athlete who is serious about long term growth and success in their sport.

Ideally working with a coach who can program the best drills and exercises will optimize your training. Here are the top 8 movements that will help you build strong healthy chest and shoulder muscles and convey other performance benefits as well.

  • Behind The Neck Push Press
  • Z Press
  • Filly Press
  • Plyometric Pushups
  • One Arm Dumbbell Bench
  • Bottoms Up Kettlebell Press
  • The Sots Press
  • Landmine Press

Behind The Neck Push Press

The push press performed from behind the neck is a great exercise for developing strength through the full range of motion of the press. It has high transfer to other exercises like the jerk. Many athletes find they are able to develop better neural connection between the dip and drive portion of the lift than when performed in the front rack because the load stays directly over their hips.

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” -Thomas Jefferson

Z Press

Named after the strongman Zydrunas Savickas, the Z Press is a press performed sitting flat on the floor with legs extended in front so your body is in an L shape. It requires trunk strength, hip flexor mobility, hamstring flexibility, and lumbar and thoracic spine health. The Z press can be performed with any implement of your choice and is great for training out inefficient movement patterns in the press.

Filly Press

This is a 1 arm dumbbell Arnold Press while holding a Kettlebell in the front rack position of the non-working arm. This exercise is great for building scapular stability as well as core strength as you balance the two different implements throughout the press. `These are also great for address muscle imbalances.

Plyometric Pushups

The ability to generate power can often be beneficial to athletes. Lifting heavy loads slow is generally not as useful as rapidly being able to generate force. Plyometric push-ups provide a way to train the fast twitch muscle fibers of the chest and triceps. You also achieve a stimulus as you receive your body’s weight during the eccentric deceleration experienced after every rep.

One Arm Dumbbell Bench

One arm movements are great for challenging stability and core strength. For an added challenge try performing this movement with only your upper back resting on the bench while driving your heels into the floor and bridging the hips to full extension.

Bottoms up kettlebell Press

The bottoms up kettlebell press is a very challenging movement that should be learned with extremely light loads. It is tremendous for teaching proper pressing mechanics and learning how to develop stability in the shoulder. You are forced to stay engaged with a tight grip, elbow underneath the wrist, and tension in the total system.

The Sots Press

The Sots press is an tremendous strength and mobility exercise created by weightlifters but beneficial for all. This movement requires you to press from the bottom of a front squat and will force you to increase mobility and strength in the hips, back, and shoulder girdle, while increasing core stabilization. Clearly this movement has huge carry over to athletics and completing it with a moderate load is very impressive.

Landmine Press

The landline is a great tool for developing pressing strength in the upper chest and shoulders. It is effective because it provides a new vector to move weight through and disrupts the vertical resistance curve you are used to with most pressing movements.

There you have it. The 8 pressing variations you should be training!

When implementing new movements or routines into your training safety is the most important factor to focus on. Working with an experienced coach to learn the proper progressions is the key to having long term success!

8 Delicious and Functional Fall Foods

No doubt about it; the holiday season is going to look a lot different this year.
Diwali, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s are all celebrations that traditionally bring friends and family together. The common denominator for all these holidays is delicious foods that evoke enjoyment and memories.
The foods we eat during holidays in the United States mirror the changing colors of nature. Red, yellow, orange, and browns start to dominate both the dinner table and the foliage during these holiday feasts. These comfort foods are warm, hardy, and stick to your ribs. These foods helped prepared folks for the long winter in yesteryears, but for present times, these foods are more often about carrying on traditions passed down from the previous generation.
While many families are choosing to tune down the size of gatherings, the meals we eat will most certainly take on a larger role in making these holidays feel normal.
For those trying to find a balance between making the holiday season feel normal and continuing to make health and fitness a priority, here is a list of foods to keep in mind:
Turkey
Pumpkin
Squash
Apples
Cranberries
Pecans
Brussel Sprouts
Beets
Turkey
Turkey is a very rich source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, and the amino acid tryptophan. It also contains zinc, selenium, and vitamin B12. The skinless white meat of turkey is low on fat and is an excellent source of protein. Don’t be afraid to double down on turkey if you’re missing out on other healthy options at the table.
Pumpkin
Pumpkin is rich in potassium and vitamins A, C, and E. A serving of pumpkin also contains more than 20% of your daily recommended intake of fiber. This fun fall food can be prepared in various ways, so try to keep this dish simple and not too sweet by doctoring it up with freshly ground cinnamon and a little sea salt. And no, a pumpkin spice latte does not count!
Squash
Squash a tremendous source of beta carotene, manganese, and antioxidants like vitamin C. It’s also a great source of potassium that is associated with lowering blood pressure. A roasted acorn squash with a little grass-fed butter and some lean protein can be a simple and delicious harvest dinner!
Apples
Apples are a fan favorite when it comes to fall foods and a fun fall activity. They are a great source of Vitamin K, potassium, and immune-boosting Vitamin C. You also get plenty of dietary fiber (pectin) from this delicious fruit that can help you feel satiated. Eat this fruit whole, add it to a salad, or make it the foundation of a healthy dessert. Bonus points if you pick your own!
Cranberries
Cranberries are a fall superfood high in vitamins, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also correlated with reducing the incidence of urinary tract infection and contain immune-boosting properties to boot! Rather than buying pre-packaged cranberry sauce, try making your own with fresh-squeezed orange juice for a healthier alternative.
Pecans
Pecans are a great source of Vitamin E (which is both immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory), B-vitamins, and magnesium, all essential for a healthy heart and muscle function. A handful of pecans make a great snack, but some pecan-themed desserts can be loaded with sugar so proceed with caution.
Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable that contains potassium, iron, and heart-protective B vitamins—including B6 and thiamin. Brussel sprouts also contain prebiotics, which feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut. You can’t get enough of this crispy, crunchy veggie!
Beets
Beets are a go-to fall food when it comes to fiber, iron, potassium, and folic acids. This superfood can be prepared in various ways, from roasted beets and beet chips to a nice cold glass of beet juice to help you detox.
Enjoying these foods for the holiday season will help boost your functional nutrition while keeping the vitamins and nutrients high.
We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!

Christophir “Smitty” Smith

Trust the Prescription

You know that little 5-minute speech that the coach gives at the beginning of class? When they talk about the workout and how it should feel (“The Stimulus”). That’s a pretty important part of planning out your workout for the day and will help you select the weights you use, reps you shoot for, and how to pace yourself in conditioning pieces. If you’ve ever felt a bit lost during this portion of class then this article is for you!

Let’s dive into how to approach some different types of workouts to better understand how the stimulus of each workout should feel so you scale appropriately for you. Of course, our coaches are always available to answer your questions!

One of the simplest ways to look at each workout is based on the energy system involved.

The 3 main energy systems in our body are: 

  • Phosphocreatine System
  • Glycolytic System
  • Aerobic System

The differences between these systems are based on the source of energy or “fuel” for the activity. These systems are always functioning in our bodies at all times, but depending on the type of activity we’re doing one energy system may be the predominant fuel source.

Training these energy systems improve our ability to use fuel more efficiently, recover more quickly, and improve our overall health as a side effect. It’s important to know what the result you are trying to achieve is for each workout. This makes sure that you get the most out of your efforts without burning yourself out!

The Phosphocreatine System is associated with short intense efforts, usually lasting 10-12 seconds or less. Most dedicated power and strength pieces fall into this category.

An example of a workout item that targets this energy system could look like:
Build to a 3 Rep Max Back Squat with 2:00-3:00 rest between.

Another example could be:
Every 2:00 for 5 sets perform :10 second max effort assault bike sprint.

Notice how in the second prescription we chose a time domain rather a set number of calories on the bike. If the assignment was 10 calories every 2:00 you might see very different time domains based on the athlete. It might take one person :08 seconds to complete 10 calories and another person :30 seconds. This would change the energy system being trained, the rest interval, and totally change the dose response of the workout.

The Glycolytic System is associated with medium to high intensity efforts that can last from :30 – 3:00 and will taper off drastically based on how well trained an individual is. These usually show up as higher rep weightlifting sets or interval style workouts. Efforts in this energy system rely on glucose (blood sugar) to fuel the effort. They also generate lactate that the body works to clear in order to continue the effort. Adjusting the amount of time you rest.

One example of an interval workout would be:
4 sets of 10-12 reps of Bench Press with a 40X0 tempo followed by :90 seconds of rest.

Another example would be
Every Minute On The Minute for 8 rounds perform :40 seconds of Russian Kettlebell Swings.

Aerobic workouts cover the broad spectrum of workouts remaining. Most efforts lasting longer than 3 minutes will put you in an aerobic state. If you’ve ever “come out too hot” in a workout you have probably approached the workout as a glycolytic piece and when your body could no longer sustain the effort you switched to an aerobic approach.

A classic benchmark workout that requires an aerobic effort would be:
Cindy, Complete as many rounds as possible in 20:00 minutes of
-5 Pull-up
-10 Pushup
-15 Air Squat

If you are not able to sustain that number of reps or continue completing the movement safely for 20 minutes at a steady pace then you can explore scaling the movements, repetition numbers, or shortening the time domain.

Each day’s class might contain one or more elements of these types of training. There may also be a skill component to a workout that may not be targeting a response from any of these energy systems and is instead geared towards improving movement patterns and transferability of key skills.

Questions about scaling? You know where to find us!

Mitch Stout

 

3 Areas That Are Essential To Mobilize

“It’s not enough to exercise, you have got to sleep. You have got to drink enough water. You have got to develop a practice around maintenance of your body. You have got to learn how to move right.” -Kelly Starrett

Let’s face it, there are times when movement prep and cool-down take a back seat to the actual workout. You might be guilty of jumping right into your main lift of the day because you’re short on time. Maybe your post workout cool-down consists of some gasping and sweat angels on the floor before lumbering to the parking lot in search of your protein shake?

Yes, you can make an argument about how kids don’t stretch before taking off at the playground, but with a few rare exceptions all of us need to make time for mobility if we are training hard. Mobility is equal parts injury prevention and performance benefit. If you want to perform at your maximum capability it is well worth the investment of time. I’ll give you a hint, it doesn’t take much! Let’s look at 3 major areas that can make a huge difference in mobility.

1.Ankles
2.Psoas
3.Thoracic spine

1.Ankles
Tight ankles can be a major impediment in your daily training. If you feel like you are hitting a wall in your lifts and want to improve your squats, deadlifts, cleans, and snatches you may want to give some serious attention to your ankles.

Our musculoskeletal system generates movement through the contraction of muscles on a series of levers, our bones. Some positions are more advantageous than others and our goal as athletes is to take advantage of these positions to generate more power in our lifts.

Shortened range of motion in the ankle will make it difficult to maintain powerful positions in the squat because to achieve depth the body must borrow additional range of motion. This compensation is often shown by the individual turning their feet out to the sides. This is often a less favorable position for our muscles to produce optimal force from and can increase risk of injury.

To prep the ankles and increase range of motion practice sitting in the bottom position of a pistol (1-legged) squat. A pistol squat forces the ankle of the working leg to dorsiflex, or shorten the angle created at the ankle joint.

2.Psoas
The psoas is a tricky muscle that often slips under the radar. It runs from the head of the femur in the hip socket and travels up attaching to the lumbar spine. If the psoas tightens it reduces range of motion in the hip socket and simultaneously pulls the lumbar spine down and in. This usually shows up as pain in the low back.

Mobilize the psoas by exploring positions of hip extension. Think about the backswing of the leg before you kick a ball. This means creating space with movements like the couch stretch. Your low back will thank you.

3.Thoracic Spine
The thoracic spine or t-spine for short refers to the series of vertebrae the length of your rib cage, from the neck down to mid spine. As you can imagine, this area is profoundly impacted by the activities we perform and the positions we keep it in. Sedentary behavior and poor posture will cause the thoracic region to become immobile and lose its ability to flex and extend. This becomes problematic and dangerous especially when overhead movements are involved.

Just like with our ankles, a lack of mobility causes our body to compensate and search for movement in alternative areas when hitting an end range of motion. This means losing stability in order to allow for additional mobility. When the thoracic spine is tight our body finds extra space in the lumbar spine and/or scapula region. Chronic injuries and inflammation tend to spring up in these areas if we continually force this movement during exercises like the overhead press or kipping on the pull-up bar.

These are just 3 areas where mobility can make a huge difference in your performance and your health. If you want to learn more about ways to improve your mobility stop in to speak with one of our coaches today.

Wes Wilson

How Athletes Win The Day

If you’re training a lot, chances are it feels like life is a bit chaotic. You may feel like you don’t have enough time for most things in life. While you’re definitely busy getting better at the gym or on the field or court, you may be missing out on some key routines that could change the way you feel about your day.

“The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.” -Henry Ward Beecher

Healthy Breakfast 

Having a routine to start your morning is just like having a pregame ritual or a set up ritual before you attempt an Olympic lift. Starting your morning off with consistency will help you stay more focused throughout the day and improve your mental attitude which we know is important for athletic performance. A great beverage for the morning is hot water with lemon and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and cinnamon.  I work out first thing in the morning and find it tough to eat before.  Trying different things and asking others around what works for them is a great way to figure it out.  Develop a proactive plan that is repeatable and consistent so you can set yourself up to succeed.  

Stretching or Movement Practice

Getting blood flow allows for a smooth transition into your morning. Bringing awareness to your body will allow you to address any issues that may be surfacing before you get to the weight room. Mobilitywod.com has some great videos on how to stretch and release some of your most pressing aches and pains. Wellness Revolution CrossFit has a romwod.com membership to allow our members the ability to get a consistent programmed stretching routine.  Deep belly breathing is highly encouraged during this part of your morning routine.

Review your goals and visualize your ultimate success

You’re training for something right? Visualizing yourself every morning accomplishing your goal is one of the most powerful things you can do for your training. You create important neural connections and your mind and body become aligned to opportunities that will encourage the realization of your goals.

Take a look at your schedule and be one step ahead of it

Being late to train or practice is never a good feeling. Missing appointments and meetings at work or home can cause undue stress to your situation too. By confronting your schedule head-on in the morning, you’re committing to integrity which translates directly to your training habits.

There you have it, a great way for any athlete to start the day!

Dr. John Vincent

Eat to Thrive, Not Survive

There are a lot of areas in life where “good enough” can be the goal. Ultimately, you have a finite amount of time on this planet and if a task is not important to you then you want to outsource it or put in the minimum effective dose of effort so you can move on with your day. There are also many areas where you should put in your very best work. When it comes to movement you want to be strong and pain-free. When you do your taxes you ensure that they are accurate and timely. When you spend time with the ones you love you put the phone away and are fully present in the moment.

One area that often gets the “good enough” treatment is your diet and nutrition. In my Level 1 Seminar, our flowmaster (head CF coach) talked about the “Theoretical Hierarchy of Physical Development,” which included a pyramid separated into five sections starting from the bottom containing each section getting smaller and smaller until you reached the tip of the pyramid…Guess what’s at the bottom of the pyramid? You guessed it, NUTRITION.  We are what we eat and our fitness starts at a molecular level.  Eat like crap? Perform like crap!  If you skip the “foundations” or ignore the basics, all things you have been working on above it (conditioning, gymnastics, weightlifting & sport) will fall apart or stop progressing immediately or in the future. We as athletes have to learn to prioritize certain aspects of training when the option is given. Nutrition is a great start (and foundation).

When life gets busy or making healthy choices becomes inconvenient the spectrum of foods you consume tends to take a dive in quality. Rather than let slide occur in favor of other activities that seem more important, you may find it worth your while to optimize your diet and nutrition. Here’s why:
Even if the doctor says you are healthy, you are happy with the way you look, and you can’t stand cooking – nutrition is one area that literally transcends into ALL areas of your life.  If you only ever aim for the minimum in your diet then you are capping your maximum potential in how much you can lift, creatively solve problems, and even love your family.

We often treat food as an activity that gets scheduled into the day. Food breaks up the workday and provides structure in the evening. It is a social affair with the family or a way to do business.
The foods you consume during the day are the driving force behind all of this. They not only provide the immediate nutrients needed to fuel your physical and mental performance but are also the long-term building blocks for every cell in your body. Every bite you chew or sip you take is going to be broken down into the amino acids that build your muscles and organs. The fats and oils become the cell walls that handle communication between cells in your body and control processes like your immune system function and inflammatory response. The vitamins and minerals will help your body create the energy it needs to keep you moving and eliminate toxins from your body.
Scientists have even found links between our gut bacteria and neurological disease. The foods you are eating today and the way you prioritize diet could determine your likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. The way you choose to eat is affecting the way you live, both today and 40 years from now. If you want to be your best self for your family, your career, and the things you care about accomplishing in life then taking care of your nutrition is not a “nice to have”. It’s a must.

Not sure where to get started? Start by having a conversation with one of our coaches today.

Mitch Stout

 

4 Ways to Eat Better Without Dieting

If you have ever said any of the following; “I really want to get in shape; feel better; get back on track; lose some weight, or tone up.” You probably already understand the nutritional component is going to be essential to success.

For many, that means getting your diet dialed in. But, before we go down that road, I want you to consider something for a few moments.

The word diet is a noun, and the act of dieting is a verb.

This often-overlooked difference is vitally important to your success. In my 20 years of health, fitness, and coaching experience, I’ve consistently found the people most likely to achieve long term success eat a healthy diet and are not dieting.

Here are my top four tips, in order, for helping you improve your diet right now!

Go from the verb to the noun
Plan, Prioritize, and prepare
Choose Higher Quality foods more often
Eat Slowly & Mindfully

Step 1:
The first step to helping you achieve success needs to be going from the verb to the noun.

I recently had the opportunity to speak to a local Girl Scout meeting to talk about healthy eating habits. I opened up my speech with this question, “What does the word diet mean?” I was so excited to hear this answer, “It’s like, just like, what you eat and stuff.” I was stupid excited to hear her answer. I thought going in, they were going to answer with something along the lines of calorie restriction. But nope. That little girl’s response is how I wish adults would answer the question.

Diet is simply what you eat. You can be on a diet of Ho-Ho’s and Twinkies, but I wouldn’t recommend it. By changing your paradigm of diet, you change how you approach food.

Step 2:
The idea of taking time to plan, prioritize, and prepare seems like it will take too long to fit into your busy schedule. That might be so, but what if you started with just five minutes?

Even a five-minute action can have powerful results. For example, in the next five minutes, I want to you do the following:
Minute 1 – Plan out what day or time you will make your next grocery store run and the amount of time required/allowed to shop.
Minute 2 – Think about what events you have coming up that might present you with a less than optimal situation food-wise and create a plan b.
Minute 3 & 4 – Create a list of meals you would like to eat, focusing on whole minimally processed food choices. (More on that in a moment).
Minute 5 – Plan out when you will prepare the food you will purchase, and you will store it for later.

An example of this sounds like this: I will go to the grocery store after I drop the kids off at day-care on Thursday. I will plan on being in the store for 20 minutes and will grab enough food for 8 meals for me, my wife, and two young boys. I’ll grab enough food for three different dinners and leftovers for lunches. I want two chicken dinners and one steak dinner. I’ll cook one of the chicken dinners that night and set up the other chicken dinner for the crock-pot on Friday and let it cook while I’m working because I know we will not have time to cook Friday night. Saturday night, I’ll fire up the grill for the steaks. I’ll store the meals in individual Tupperware containers as I’m cleaning up Thursday night.

Step 3:
This step is a process and can have multiple stages. This step is the 1% better approach. A vegetable example looks like this, going from canned to frozen, then from frozen to fresh.

Another example might be choosing a product with an extensive list of ingredients you can’t pronounce to one with fewer ingredients that you can pronounce and find in the store you’re shopping at. Chances are you’re not going to find Red dye #9 on Kroger’s shelves.

Step 4:
Finally, eat slowly and mindfully. Eating should be an enjoyable experience, but we too often distract ourselves while we eat. Put the phone down, turn the TV off, and get rid of any other distractions. Take your time as you eat and pay attention to the flavors and textures.

Eating at a slower pace will allow you time to pay attention to your hunger cues and the sensation of being full. This helps with reducing the chances of overeating. If you are up for a real challenge, try putting your unties down after each bite!

I can guarantee, if you follow these four steps, you are on your way to improving your diet without being on a diet.

Christophir “Smitty” Smith