Thursday, June 30, 2016

Adrenal Fatigue

Are you fatigued often? Do you feel like your progress is slowing down and maybe even heading in reverse ? You might be headed down a path of adrenal fatigue. You may or may not know what this even means. Adrenal fatigue as a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a syndrome, that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level.
The adrenal glands are responsible for balancing and regulating hormones in your body - namely cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that helps you deal with the stress you have in everyday living. If you think of all the little stressful moments your life has, such as sitting in traffic, working out a lot with little rest, not enough water or food, work and relationships, you can see how easy it is to become stressed out.
While stress is normal and a guarantee in life, when you experience constant stress over a prolonged period of time, your body can only take so much before breaking down. Try as your body may to fight, with little relief in sight, adrenal fatigue manifests in some of these common signs and symptoms:
Suppressed immunity
Difficulty losing or gaining weight
Feeling wired and tired at night
Loss of appetite
Poor recovery between workouts or plateaus in progress
Running on fumes every day
Anxiety, stress, and depression
Digestive distress
Cravings for foods high in salt, sugar, or fat
Hormonal imbalance
Muscle and bone loss and muscular weakness
Shortness of breath
Chronic headaches
Autoimmune disorders
Increased PMS or menopausal symptoms
Lightheadedness when getting up from sitting or lying down
Decreased ability to handle stress
Trouble waking up in the morning (despite a full night’s sleep)
Now this is a short list of things for you to consider. However if you do feel you are suffering from many items on the list, you might want to try to change some of your life habits.
-Go to bed at a consistent time
-Drink and eat enough to support life
-Get rid of processed foods and eat all real foods.
-Add in extra rest days during the week.
-Add variety to your workout routine for what is hard medium and light.
If you experience constant fatigue or a plateau in your training, you might find yourself saying things like, “If I just dial in my diet some more,” or “If I just add in a little cardio…” But what you really need is rest, permission to de-stress, a careful look at your nutrition, and education.
The majority of us will experience adrenal fatigue at some point in our lives. Knowledge is power, so take steps today to prevent problems in the future

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Turn the clock off !!

How do you track your progress? For me I track EVERYTHING I do in a notebook. From how I felt, if I slept good or bad and even the weather. All the little details affect your training. One of the most effective ways to track progress is through timing on the clock!
Yes the imfamous 3...2...1... GO ! t’s that last moment before you know you’re about to suffer a little. It’s the best AND worst feeling and it usually makes your heart beat a little faster right before your workout even starts.
Timing your workout is a great way to track and record your progress day to day. Learning how to keep your fitness measured is a foundation to maintain constantly varied functional fitness. However, sometimes when the clock starts you can become a slave to the time forgetting everything your coaches taught you and now your just rushing through the workout. Not to mention you start overthinking and overstressing the time it takes to perform certain workouts. Not every single day has to be a testing or timing day.
You might want to try this!!! Dare I say it ? Turn the clock off! Yes turn it off and ENJOY your workout. The funny thing about the clock is that it's now a race to the finish. There is one thing that you start to forget and that is form first THEN speed. If you are rushing through workouts, not paying attention to your form, then half your reps are good and half are not. This is STILL inconsistent training. Learning to do perfect reps while increasing your intensity over time will yield higher fitness and strength in your training.
Sometimes it’s best not to time yourself and simply try your very best with zero expectations or added stress. try to allow your body to move through your workout at a nice steady pace and accumulate some fitness without adding stress or urgency to get it done as fast as possible. This can be super beneficial for both your future progress as well as your immediate stress levels.
Allow yourself some peace of mind knowing that there is nothing on the line that day. No PRs to set, no time to beat. Work on your fitness and perfect movement. Turn off the clock and enjoy one day of just fun training for you !

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Get out of the HOLE !

Get out of the HOLE ! Well what is this "hole"? The ‘hole’, as is known in weightlifting, power lifting, Olympic lifting and CrossFit is considered the lowest part of a squat. This is usually the receiving /catching position for the clean and the snatch. How you handle yourself in the can be the limiting or gaining factor on your lifts.
When you lift a weight that you know you can handle in the bottom position, getting back up is not the hard part. You might notice some sticky points in that lift, but overall you know you can stand the weight up because you have done it before. But what happens when you start to overreach that limit on your squat?
Your chest caves, elbows drop, legs start to shake and your knees bend in and out because you are trying so hard. You may be able to stand the weight up, but you do so slowly and without power.
Being able to explode out of the hole helps to carry you through the sticky points of any lift. You know that feeling where fight-or-flight kicks in to make the lift. If you’re moving with power out of the bottom position, then it becomes that much easier to ‘fight’ through the difficult portions of the lift to complete the rep.
To get out of the hole, one must have the mobility and flexibility to get in there. If you can’t hit full depth with just the bar or if it’s a struggle to get there, then you need to go right back to the drawing board and start working on your flexibility. That means working on opening up your hips, working on ankle mobility, wrist and shoulder mobility for the front rack and overhead squat.
Here are two of the best accessory drills that you can work on to help build that explosive power out of the hole.
Pause Squats
During a pause squat, an athlete comes to complete stop at the bottom of the movement, holds the position for however long is dictated, then explodes out of the hole. This is quite literally how you perform the movement.
You must come to a complete stop at the bottom position, below parallel. At this point you can play around with the time you hold the weight, from 1,3,5 or even 10 seconds, but it is important that you use a lighter weight than you normally would for that squat as it’s much harder to come out of the hole from a stationary position than it is from one fluid motion.If you do pause squats enough and become comfortable holding heavy weight in that position, it’s going to make it that much easier to drop down and drive up with power when we know there is no pause involved.
Dead Squats
Dead squats are a squat variation in which you only perform the concentric portion of the lift (the shortening of a muscle as it acts against resistive force which isw the upwards phase of a back squat. Dead squats build starting strength, acceleration strength, limit strength, explosive strength, relative strength and rate of force development.
Performing the dead squat:
Set the bar in a low position in the squat rack, so when you move under the bar you are already starting at below parallel—i.e., you’re already in the hole. Assume your squat stance and stand the weight up explosively.
In addition, lifting a heavy weight with the intent to move it as quickly as possible provides explosive strength benefits. Training like this will force your body and your central nervous system which is responsible for processing information received from all parts of the body, to adapt in a positive manner to the demands you place on it by moving the weight as quickly as possible.
Practice intention with EVERY rep!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Break the BAD eating cycle !

Can you your bad eating cycle ? Many of you can relate to this because you "want" to eat healthy and one of two things happens:
1- You just really don't know what to eat
2- Eating junk food is so much easier than cooking a healthy meal
I get it. You have life responsibilities like work, friends, families. but for some reason taking care of YOURSELF falls short on that list. I am stating that you have the ability to control what you are eating. You either bought it or decided to cook it. Only you can truly commit to changing your behaviors.
Let's talk about food as rewards. Now be honest, do you do this? Maybe this can help you relate: I worked a long day so I deserve this treat.
You are rewarding your behaviors with food and now making an association with that food to a good thing. So every time you do something "good" or "expected" are you going to reward yourself with a treat? Why start to put yourself in that position. It's a hard cycle to break when it becomes habit. Not only does eating like this take a toll on your body, but it also leaves you struggling the next day to stay focused and can really disrupt your sleep patterns. Not to mention, you don't feel the greatest the next day to even want to train. All things that I see as HUGE red flags in your nutrition journey!
One choice can lead into a snowball effect. There is the 80/20% rule that is safe to live by. 80% of the time eat healthy whole foods with a lot of nutritional properties and 20% of the time you can have something a little less healthful. Problem is that a 'treat' turns into a meal and then a full day of eating this way which ruins your plan for progress.
Here is the hard truth about reality, it's very easy to make the decision to change what you are eating BUT you need to apply it to your life ! What is the solution? You need to take ownership of the choices you are making and eat more lean meats and veggies, limit or eliminate the snacks or sugary treats, and find something more productive and less destructive to reward myself with after a long day than bad food.
You will have the willpower to stay on track and desire to train at a higher level! Those two things combined and you will have the most success. Breaking the cycle of eating poorly can be done if you are willing to do the work. Just like a long grinding workout, the best approach is to buckle down and take it a rep at a time.
What are some struggles you have had with staying on task, nutritionally? Let me know and I can help!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I exercise because ______________?

Answer this question:
I exercise because __________?
Everyone is going to have a different reason for this, but there are only THREE legitimate answers:
1.) To improve your health
2.) To improve your level of fitness
3.) Because you like it
Notice one that didn't make the list ? To lose weight ! Scientifically, exercise has many benefits on your health ranging from better sleep, to improved confidence and a healthier blood pressure. But for many, weight loss is not necessarily correlated with fitness. So why do so many people insist it is? Why do so many people do hours of cardio to lose weight ?
Losing weight is simple, burn more calories than you take in. In order to stop being overweight, you need to start moving around and stop taking in more calories than you burn, and the best way to burn more calories than you take in is through exercise. Diet is the number one reason weight loss is stalled or not progressing.
While exercise is highly correlated with levels of fitness and health-related metrics such as blood pressure and cholesterol, using exercise as your solution to lose weight will ultimately fail. You can't out train a bad diet no matter how hard you train.
Did you know you can be fit and obese as well as healthy and obese! Sounds like an oxymoron but it is true. You simply cannot tell by looking whether someone is fit or not.The fitness industry must adapt to this reality, and take hard stands when it comes to sending the wrong message. It’s time for the correlation between the fitness and weight-loss industries to end.
The best way to start this trend is by being truthful about what the bigger issue is. food! The first step in telling the truth about the obesity epidemic is to name the true culprit: sugar and processed and packaged foods in excess quantities. The war on fat isn’t about burning more calories on the treadmill, no it’s about our food, and what's in it. There are 600,000 food items in America. 80% of them have added sugar. Couplet that with lack of exercise and you have a recipe for disaster!
The problem of obesity is one of nutrition. Let's start to be accountable for ourselves and move more, eat healthy and learn about how amazing your body should feel!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pain and Injury.. they are not the same !

Are you in pain? or Injured? This is a common thing I hear as a coach when teaching movement. "Ow that hurt", is commonly used and to ensure that you are moving safe, my job is to identify that "pain" and classify it for what you really mean.
Pain and injury, while they often go hand in hand, are not the same thing. Just because you’re hurt doesn’t mean you’re injured, and it’s entirely possible you could have an injury that doesn’t cause you constant pain. But while minor aches and pains can frequently be resolved independently, legitimate injuries often require the attention of a medical professional that should not be looked over.
Let's start to identify the common things I hear for Pain vs. Injury
-Did something happen? This question usually provides one of the most simple and telling answers. Did your pain start following a specific event? Did you feel a pop or a snap mid movement or did the pain slowly surface over time? Even with overuse injuries, where there is a slow buildup of dysfunction and tissue damage, the actual injury is often the result of some activity that pushed your body past the threshold. Unless there’s an underlying pathology or disease state, most cases where there isn’t something specific that incited the pain probably aren’t a big deal.
-Do you have swelling, bruising, or discoloration? If you have an injury using visual diagnosis and observations such as the color of your skin, if it becomes inflamed and the type of bruising can be a big indicator for something wrong. There may be loss of function independent of any sensation of pain or you may be unable to do something because that task has become intolerably painful. In either case, there’s a good chance you have an actual injury. It’s important to distinguish between task functions that give you some discomfort but can still be performed and motions that are so painful you simply cannot do them. This is one of the biggest differences between being hurt and being injured.
-On a scale from 1-10 what is the pain level? Your pain is passively above a six or it’s a zero but jumps to a nine or ten with activity, there’s a good chance you have an injury. The type of pain is also important. Sharp, stabbing pain, burning, tingling, or numbness are all symptoms that require medical attention. A prolonged dull ache may be resolvable through your own efforts.
-Has this been an issue for a long time ? If the pain persists past 24 hours, but there’s a significant improvement with each consecutive day, then it’s probably not a big deal. If you have something that feels just as terrible on day three as when it happened, it’s probably worth getting it looked at. On the other hand, if it’s mostly resolved but you’re left with a nagging pain that lasts longer than two weeks, it’s also probably time to make an appointment.
If you are having pain, you need to do the following to ensure that you are going to get healthy and strong despite your pain.The solution is simple: reduce the load until you can use proper form. If your technique suffers minor flaws from time to time due to fatigue, it’s not a huge deal, but the more time you spend in bad positions the more likely you are to end up injured.
Injuries are not fun, but for most of us they’re just part of being active. With a little effort and self-awareness you can learn how to separate a speed bump from a car crash and keep comfortably cruising toward your goals.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Can you consider CrossFit a Sport ?

The sport of CrossFit is and always has been about fitness.
CrossFit creates an exercise environment where athletes can work on challenging themselves as well as putting their numbers on the whiteboard and seeing how they rank up against others in a friendly but competitive way.
BUT.. Is CrossFit a sport ?
This all goes back to the classic debate of defining what is and is not a sport. For me, it's an excellent way to train. It's fun and exciting which makes you want to come back for more. Plus a little friendly competition doesn't hurt either.
The “sport/not a sport” argument is more vocal as the regional events are coming to an end and the Games are startting to approach.It is continuing to evolve into a bigger and bigger production. More prize money, more endorsements and live coverage on ESPN are some of the new attractions to this year’s quest to find the “Fittest on Earth.”
But at the heart of all the cameras and TV publicity CrossFit is still all about the competition, and more important, it’s still about the development of the competitive athletes. Masters divisions have grown and expanded and this past year the teens division has evolved. The teams are fitter and more prepared than ever before. Even the field of competitors is growing so much that former number one athletes are starting to struggle to qualify or didn’t even qualify at all for this years Games.
It makes no difference how you approach your relationship to CrossFit. If you’re trying to lose weight, fight against heart disease later in life, work on your overall strength or just love being a part of your local community, CrossFit will help you in all your pursuits. It's a community of people helping people. It's a place where you can go back to the competition side of training and have a goal to work for. You get a sense of what you are made of against others and you have the support of your friends doing it too. The best part is that you have so much room for growth that you can't help but to continue to get better !

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Being Present !!

You know what gets frustrating? When athletes say they "don't feel anything" yet they are preoccupied with their phones and everything else around them.If you want to get better at a skill you must first respect the complexity of the skill and work on the motor patterns needed to accomplish it. Research shows the most important aspect of motor learning is engagement in the process.
By engaging I mean this : You need to be 100% present !While this may seem like common sense, the frustrating reality is that many athletes who exhibit poor motor control do so because they don’t respect a simple truth: every movement is a skill. Every physical task we perform is a learned skill. We just take most of them for granted like tying your shoes or opening a door. So if you want to move your body better, you need to change your perspective. You have to respect the skill before you can excel at it.
Movement starts in the mind, and intention begets action. It’s why when we see someones body language you have a good idea of what is going on before even talking to them. It’s also why thinking, “I’m going to press this weight,” or, “I’m going to plant my feet, get my breath, squeeze my lats, and press,” will all lead to different results. Think of when you are in class and I tell you a cue and it just does not work. This is the concept I am trying to teach you, to connect it from your mind to your body through mental cues that you give yourself.
Every single rep of every single movement needs to be performed with purpose and presence.When learning a new skill there are two processes we use to collect data:
1-Extrinsic learning is more or less conscious. It involves understanding instruction, technique, and other intellectual insights into what we’re practicing.
2-Intrinsic learning, on the other hand, is the experiential data gathered through our somatosensory system.
While both processes play an important role in skill comprehension, many athletes focus too much on the extrinsic feedback. When you’re constantly looking to your coach or an outside source for what’s wrong with your technique, you may be unintentionally ignoring what your body’s telling you. This is part of why many coaches use minimal instruction, and instead this is why we ask you how did if feel ? I want you to understand your body and what your movement is telling you!
If you want to get better in form, endurance and skill, the answer is not MORE weight. No the answer is more practice. We all train for different reasons. I’m a firm believer that concrete goals are an important part of making progress. But it’s easy to get so wrapped up in what we want to accomplish that we forget what will actually get us there. You must be engaged in the practice of the skill itself, not simply the results you want to get.
The best way to improve motor control:
Acknowledge and respect that every movement is a skill.
Be present and purposeful in your movements. Don’t be distracted.
Try not to overly rely on external coaching. Spend more time listening to your body.
Prioritize skill practice and acquisition over the pursuit of numbers.
Master the skills that drive the process and the results will follow.
Utilize muscle activation drills to teach yourself what muscle activation feels like. Practice using that new feeling while performing more complex movements.

The most important aspect of improved motor control is recognizing every movement is a skill and to develop those skills you need presence and practice. It’s simple, but as you know, simple doesn’t always mean easy.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Stress is Stress

What if I told you that your stress is ruining your training? You do everything you can to recover…or do you? If you find yourself in an over-trained state, it isn't the stress of your lifting, no that stress if from your LIFE.
To demonstrate the idea of how mounting stress can cause turmoil on the body, he pulled out a jug of water and several glasses of various sizes, each representing a person's stress tolerance. Think about the size of your internal glass and consider that every aspect of your life is a potential stressor. Can you identify where your spill over point will be? Are you a coffee cup or a Big Gulp?
From an evolutionary standpoint the only thing we needed to stress about was the threat of an attack from an animal. Our natural fight or flight response was our survival mechanism when things became dangerous. Put yourself into today's society and that is very different Have a confrontations with something that might eat us are few and far between, but our fight or flight response is running at a continual low-level hum. Stress from work, money, relationships, the kids, the in-laws, or your favorite team losing all contribute to keeping the system in a constant state of agitation. Even low-level stress tells the nervous system to be on alert.
Your body releases cortisol, which is a nightmare for someone who is trying to put on muscle. Even stress at a level of two on a scale of 1-10 forces your nervous system to adjust to the proposed threat. A continual state of stress fatigues your nervous system, and sooner or later overtraining occurs and results decrease.
The human body is the most adaptable organism on earth, but years of low-level stress can only be buffered for so long. Many of those tight muscles that you spend time stretching are a result accumulated stress. That tight low back or stiff neck that you battle every morning are very likely your nervous system’s response to your stress level, not some gross asymmetry in your muscles.
If you are in a major training rut, step back and take inventory of your life. What is causing you stress? How can you eliminate it or decrease it ? No one is exempt from stress. Our ability to get strong in the gym correlates directly with our ability to cope with life going on around us. All chronic illnesses have stress as one of the prevailing causes. It can no longer be ignored. Find the thing that gets you centered, calms you down, and allows you to breathe easy. Once you have, your progress in the gym can get back on track.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What is YOUR fitness for?

What is YOUR functional fitness for ?
I believe functional fitness comes down to two specific concepts:
1-adaptability
2- putting your fitness into practice in a real application
What people get all caught up in is HOW they are using their fitness. It's awesome that you can bench and deadlift a lot of weight but how does your fitness work for you? It is easy to become comfortable in the indoor setting where it is predictable and safe and controlled but how would you do in the elements ?
Even if you train hard it tends to fall into a rut and doesn’t often push that threshold. Let me ask you this: When is the last time you were nervous before a workout?? Or experienced the fear of learning a new skill? Learning is a skill itself. The more you learn physically or mentally the better you become at the act of learning. So, your next learning challenge is to take your fitness and apply it in some practical sense.

Transferability of fitness from the gym to the real world isn’t as easy as we would like to think. You can be strong but life is in constant motion with many different elements that you need to adapt to. If you never train for the unexpected of different situations that arise can you truly be prepared for life?
You need to learn to challenge this week. To do this you need to get outside of your comfort zone and transfer your fitness. Your comfort zone is dynamic, and if you never push the limits it slowly shrinks. Find different situations where you can expand your limits and see if your fitness truly crosses over.Success is contagious and once you begin to explore new skills and limitations you may want to set new goals.
Knowing that your fitness is working FOR you can be the difference between going out there and trying out new things. How will you know if you can do it unless you try ?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Know your stretches !

There are four different types of stretches and each should be utilized differently. Whether you stretch before or after a workout impacts which type of stretch you should be using.
Static Stretching:
This type of stretching is the kind that most people are familiar with. When you perform a static stretch, you hold a position for 10-60 seconds at a clip. For instance, the classic runner’s stretch where you extend one leg straight out in front of you and reach for your toes is an example of a static stretch. This type of stretching should always be done after a workout when your muscles are warm and ready to be stretched. When done after a workout, it’s the best type of stretch to help elongate muscles to improve flexibility.
Dynamic Stretching:
As the name suggests, this type of stretching is basically the opposite of static stretching. Our members are very familiar with dynamic stretches because we always start class this way. This type of stretching is active and requires the momentum of movement. An example of a dynamic stretch would be leg swings where you move in a quick, controlled way through a full range of motion. This type of stretching is beneficial because it improves the range of motion in your joints while also loosening your muscles. It also increases your heart rate and body temperature, and gets your blood flowing so that you are ready for your workout. Thus, dynamic stretches are the optimal way to warm up before training.
PNF Stretching-
PNF stands for Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. To do this type of stretching, you stretch passively for a few seconds and then push actively against the stressor before relaxing into a passive stretch again. This process is be repeated over and over again. For example, lie on your back and have a partner lift one of your legs straight off of the ground until the stretch becomes difficult. Then, relax your leg against your partner’s hand for about 10 seconds until your partner asks you to push back as hard as you can. Relax your muscles again and watch as your leg is lifted higher than before.
The main benefits of this type of stretching is that allows you to increase your ROM quickly, improve your stability surrounding joints, and allows for greater muscle relaxation. It actually resets your nervous system which is why it’s name suggests a connection between your nerves and your muscles. Because it does call upon your nervous system, it is best to do this type of stretching after a workout or even right before bed.
Ballistic Stretching- A ballistic stretch is any stretch where the athlete utilizes a bouncing motion. For example, the butterfly stretch where one bounces their knees up and down is a ballistic stretch. This is an outdated stretch that should really be avoided.
So now that you know about the four types of stretches, what they are used for and when to do them, how do you know what needs to be stretched? As odd as this sounds, that’s an important question. If you have amazing flexibility in your shoulders, but terrible hamstring flexibility, stop stretching your shoulders out and start working on those hammies. That might sound obvious but we all tend to gravitate towards doing what we are good at when sometimes, we need to spend time focusing on the areas in which we need to improve

Monday, June 13, 2016

Become a MACHINE with this one piece of cardio equipment!

If I can tell you to use one piece of cardio equipment I would tell you to use this one ! What is it?  The rowing machine ! Why you ask?

The rowing machine uses your own body to create power. With modern populations suffering from inactivity and lifestyle disease, movement is more valuable than ever. Machines at the gym are not really designed to make you work very hard. Just think of all the people you see casually sitting on the bike or walking on a treadmill holding on. Not that any of that is bad because ANY movement is better than none however, make your movement worth it and efficient!
I believe every human is an athlete, and every athlete should row. Rowing transfers well into anything that demands extension of the knees, hips, and elbows, meaning it makes you better at pretty much any sport.Rowing is a time-efficient workout that uses almost every muscle in your body. How to you become a better rower ? I am going to give you some tips to do just that !
1- Find YOUR rhythm. Rhythm is the most important driver of performance in rowing so you need to find one that works for you specifically then we can work on the more technical aspects.Your body works on natural rhythm from your circadian rhythms to your oscillating heartbeats, rhythm is an important aspect of human survival and performance. Rhythm is that focus to block out pain and keep pushing through that threshold.
2- Keep your rowing patterns continuous and moving. A lot of athletes will have a quick pause after they pull. Minimizing this will make you more effective as a rower. Watch any Olympic rower, you shouldn’t be able to tell where one stroke ends and another begins. This is a big task for you to try to tackle in becoming more effective!
3- Row with a purpose and celebrate the small wins ! Whether in rowing, sport, or life, focusing on the things we do have only leads to greater achievement. Ambition is a great asset for long-term improvement, but it has the potential to suffocate short-term success. When you can’t hit your desired pace or start to deviate from your race plan, the rowing machine lets you know instantly. One of the biggest mistakes we make is to frame that instant feedback negatively. Change this mindset and be proud of your smaller achievements like staying on pace, rowing continuously and smoother pulls!
4- The rower is a journey ! Your rowing journey should be focused on the progress you’ve made and not how close you are to rowing perfectly. You have between now and the rest of your life to row better, move better, and get fitter. Enjoy your rowing journey and play the long game. Set smaller obtainable goals and you will see that your rowing skills will get better overtime making you more efficient !
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, START SMALL, AND TAKE YOUR FIRST STEPS TO MASTERING THE ROWING MACHINE TODAY.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Make a Change Today ~!

If you are ready to make a change and you want to see your training count, maybe you should look into the do's and don'ts of weight training. Your body is a machine. It's meant to work hard, recover, and sustain your lifestyle ! However, you do need to make sure that you are following some tips and tricks to make that all worth it !
Let's start with the DO's !
First, EAT HIGH QUALITY FOODS and enough of them. One misconception is that people want to cut foods out and then they are not fueling their bodies properly. It's important to put an emphasis on lean protein, plus carbohydrates (including starch, veggies, and fruit), and healthy fats. When determining how much protein you should consume, aim for at least 1 g per lb of bodyweight. For example, 140# female would shoot for 140 grams of protein per day split into 4-6 meals !
If your going to train, make it count! Nothing is more frustrating than seeing people claim they are training but in reality their workout consists of them walking around and stretching than doing actual work. If you want to get stronger do compound xercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, pull-ups, and overhead presses. These movements require maximum muscle recruitment, and lead to faster muscle growth. It is also important to change up your program to keep your body guessing, and prohibit adaptation.
Sleep... it's just as important! Sleep is essential to the muscle-building process, and should not be compromised. Relaxation and stress reduction can also help in this process. Moving through some yoga poses or listening to a guided meditation before bed or first thing in the morning can be beneficial in clearing your mind and reducing stress.
Here are some things to avoid !
Cardio is just like a workout, MAKE IT COUNT! Don't waste your time walking on the treadmill for hours at a time. Do your cardio like you want to lay it out on the floor ! Too much cardio can be detrimental to lean muscle, but you still need to get your heart pumping to benefit your cardiovascular health.
Recover smart ! Your body can only handle so much stress from life and the gym. You should incorporate lighter days and off days in your training to maximize your results.
Calories are calories BUT the quality is what matters most. Now with all the talk if IIFYM and Macro Counting, learning what foods are good for your body are critical in your performance. Your body needs to have solid nutrition to perform at the top level !
Use these tips to help change your mental plan going into the gym and the efforts you need to make outside the gym to make it all worth while !
Happy Training 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I like BIG BUTTS !

I like big butts and I cannot lie...
In addition to the obvious aesthetic benefits of having a shapely backside, strong glutes are the key to unlocking your full-body power potential. Want to hit a PR in your deadlift and clean ? Strengthen your glutes. PLUS you get the added benefit of protecting your spine.
Why do you want a strong backside? Most people understand that having a strong core is imperative to keeping their spine stable and strong so they can lift heavy things without breaking form and risking injury. But in order to actually lift those heavy things and safely transfer that force across your body, you need to be able to generate enough power. Most of that power comes from your hips, more specifically your glutes.
Any time you bend over at your hips, your glute muscles need to engage to control that movement.Having strong glutes will enable you to generate more power in just about every movement, including running, jumping, and squatting. In addition to generating power, the hip muscles work to stabilize your pelvis and trunk, especially when you’re standing on one leg. And having strong glutes will also help prevent excessive movement in your low back and knees, thus reducing injury to those regions.
Building a better posterior chain is easy if you take the time to perform some exercises that will increase your strength
-2 Legged Bridge
Lay down on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground about hip-width apart. Extend your arms by your sides. Press your feet into the ground as you drive your arms down, raising your hips off the ground. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Then lower your hips all the way back to the ground. Keep your spine long and core tight as you lift and lower your hips. Exhale as you bridge up, inhale as you lower your hips down. Complete 2 sets of 15 reps.
-Lunges in ALL directions
Basic -Reverse lunge
Sanding tall with or without weights in your hands, step your right leg back and bend both knees down to 90 degrees. Then drive off your left leg by pushing strongly into your left foot and engaging your left glute to return to standing. Keep your shoulders packed, your chest high, and your core tight throughout the exercise. Complete 2 sets of 10 reps on both legs.
-Dynamic Skater
Start in an athletic stance with your knees bent, hips back, and chest high. Cross your right leg behind you as you load the left leg. Then drive off the left leg, jumping sideways to land on your right and naturally letting the left leg cross behind you. Immediately drive off the right leg to jump sideways, returning to the left. Your arms will swing as if you were ice skating, helping you drive off your legs and also maintain balance. Start with small lateral jumps, and increase your jump-distance as you get stronger and more comfortable with the exercise.
-Deadlift
Use a kettlebell, dumbbells, or a barbell. Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Pull your hips back as you keep your chest high, keeping your shoulders packed as you reach the weight towards the ground. Then press strongly into your feet to bring yourself back up to standing. At the bottom of the movement, the weight will hover above the ground. Your abs should remain tight and your spine long throughout the movement. Inhale as you reach the weight towards the ground and exhale as you powerfully bring yourself back to standing.
Quick glute activation tips:
-Always move from your hips
-Perform 1-Legged or Asymmetrical Exercises
-Build a booty !

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Aloe Vera is for MORE than just your sunburn!

What if I told you that aloe vera was more than just for sunburn and that you can actually add it to your diet! Aloe vera is most commonly used and known for a topical treatment for sunburns, however there are many uses for this natural herb.
What is aloe vera? Aloe vera is known as the “natural healer” because of the thousands of uses it has for ailments. It is likely it originated in Africa, possibly the Sudan. It has been used for 1000 of years for medicinal purposes. Aloe vera is so powerful it is even being researched for positive effects it may have on cancer and HIV. This natural herb is truly one of natures great creations.
Below are a few reasons to add in this awesome herb into your dietary routine.
Many vitamins and minerals -The bulk of the aloe vera leaf is filled with a clear gel-like substance, which is approximately 99% water. Aloe vera contains many vitamins including A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6.
Building Blocks- Aloe vera contains amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are about 22 amino acids that are necessary for the human body and it is said that 8 of these are essential. Estimates of the amino acids found in aloe range from 18-20 amino acids, with all 8 essential amino acids.
Adapts to stress- Aloe vera is a well-known adaptogen. An adaptogen is something that boosts the body’s natural ability to adapt to external changes and resist illness. This allows you an increased ability to cope with stress which can be from physical, emotional and environmental stress like pollution.
Digestion help- Aloe is known to soothe and cleanse the digestive tract and help improve digestion. The interesting thing about taking aloe internally is that, because it is an adaptogen, it helps with either constipation or diarrhea, helping to regulate your elimination cycles in whatever way you need.
Increase in immune function-Aloe is also an immune enhancer because of its high level of anti-oxidants, which help combat the unstable compounds known as free-radicals, contributing to the aging process.
It's ANTI- Everything- Aloe vera is a: Disinfectant, Anti-biotic, Anti-microbial, Germicidal, Anti-bacterial, Anti-septic, Anti-fungal & Anti-viral. It provides antimicrobial activity thus eliminating many internal and external infections, also active against bacteria. It also helps to treat fungal and viral infections.
You can add this into your diet by simply drinking as small as 2 ounces a day for the amazing benefits !

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Walk through the Fire

Every once in a while it's nice to write from my heart instead of writing more informational things. So many things have been going on and I feel that people can relate to what I want to say about things. First off and foremost, it's apparent that right now in this time of my life changes need to happen.

My goals are forever shifting from what I enjoy doing and how I can continue to challenge myself. The most exciting things I can speak about is my new adventure with The Garage Games as the Northeast regional director. I get the opportunity to speak to other CrossFit boxes and help people plan events for their boxes. It's a great chance to really learn a lot about organization and planning.

Then comes my own personal goals. I have been going  back and forth from what I want to do. But what do I REALLY want to do? I lot of my uncertainty comes from a deep desire to just feel accepted by a community of people. I am holding off on doing a show and my training is now performance based only. The thought of trying to convince myself that I should be stage lean all year round and go back down that road is a chance I am not willing to take. I LOVE training hard. My passion is the grinding of training to really challenge myself. I have never felt the way I do when I hear 3,2,1 GO and competition begins.

My passion is helping people, but what good am I if I can't help myself? What good can I do if I am always worried about the thoughts and opinions of others? I am learning to challenge my energy into something great and that is to educate and change the lives of others ! In order to do this I need to really challenge myself and my self thoughts to make it happen.

Body image is one thing but letting it consume your life is unacceptable which is what I have done for far too long. If anyone else ever had these days of insecurity you know the feeling you get when life seems to be holding you down and you don't know how to get out of it.

In order for me to make an impact I nee to be willing to walk through the fire of my own life and fight the fears that hold me back. I have goals that are bigger than life. To be able to accomplish these goals require 100% dedication but without a goal you just have a dream without a deadline. I have 2 CrossFit competitions coming up that I am training for and I am learning that how I look is not nearly as important as what I can do for this world!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Tips on Becoming Your Healthiest Self !

Tips to become your healthiest self. Ladies I am talking to you specifically for this one. There are so many misconceptions when learning about fitness and health. It's especially hard when there are so many controversial ideas it becomes confusing to choose which one suits you best.
Lift weights often. Lifting will: Improve your bone density due to osteoporosis which hits women harder than men. Improve fat burning and increases lean mass.
Your body fat is supposed to be a little bit higher. Women carry more fat on average than men. When you look at a healthy woman’s body, her true body fat percentage is likely higher than you think. For a man, 12-15% body fat is healthy, while for women the healthiest in general is around 18-25% of body fat.
You are not a man, please portion wisely. en are generally larger, with more muscle mass. Just to stay at their normal weight they require more calories. They can get away with more calories. But since women are smaller in general, eating in an excess amount of calories are not needed. Make sure you’re eating nutrient dense foods and foods that add high volume since you have fewer calories to “work with". Make the most out of your food and be creative !
Please be cautious and avoid the female athlete triad. When women combine heavy, intense training with undereating, they may develop the “female athlete triad“: disordered eating, osteoporosis, amenorrhea. If all that sounds extreme, however the triad is shockingly common among adolescent and young adult female athletes.
Make sure you are utilizing your calcium consumption and taking supplements to aid in this nutrient absorption.Women need more calcium than men. Leafy greens are pretty good sources of calcium, but I wouldn’t rely on them for the entirety of your calcium intake.
Females are more susceptible to the negative effects of stress than men.Girls appear to be more sensitive to the negative psychological effects of child abuse. Overall, females have a greater potential for dysregulated “stress reactivity” in response to stressors and show higher rates of stress-related disorders.
Even “physical” stress, like the oxidative damage caused by exposure to airborne pollution, is more potent in women than men.
Sleep is important ! Do not try to skimp out on this to make up for things in your day. Inadequate sleep was more likely to cause “psychological distress and greater feelings of hostility, depression, and anger” in women than men.
Try to pay attention to your body and what you are doing to support your health overall. Use these tips to increase your quality of life !

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

You DON'T need to choose between steady state and HIIT !

In the fitness world, there are 2 types of cardio training: Steady state and HIIT/Met-cons. You will naturally gravitate towards one or the other because you prefer it. There is a lot of hype around doing quick intervals along with quick lifting and short met-cons that increase your training capacity. However, ruling out longer duration cardio sessions can also decrease your overall fitness gains. I am going to identify why you should try to incorporate both HIIT and steady state into your training program so you are condition as an all around athlete.
HIIT / Met-Cons
First off what are they ? They will encompase but are not limited to exercises such as sprinting, lifting weights and using just bodyweight to perform various styles of HIIT. The froms can inclucde AMRAPs, EMOMs and Tabata training. You can even do circuit training. They help to push you mentally and physically.
There is scientific research that concluded the following:
-1- Build muscle
-2- Improves your overall physique for an athletic build
IF you are only training HIIT/ Met-cons, you are only tasking into 50% of your training capacity. That is 50% you are NOT using. Interval training increases your heart rate and then brings it back to a moderate level before increasing it again. HIIT jumps your heart rate and your anaerobic system but what will happen when we work our aerobic cardiovascular system too?
There are multiple reasons that you should incorporate some version of stead- state cardio training into your programming.
1-At the bare minimum you should try steady state because it will increase your work capacity. Your heart will be stronger, thus you can recover faster and move more efficiently.
2-It battles DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) by producing cellular adaptations that raises how fast your body can remove lactate. This, in turn, helps your body not accumulate excessive lactate until higher intensities.
3-Even though HIIT gets a lot of love for fat burning, only steady-state cardio has been shown to actually oxidize the most fat cells in your body at 65% of your V02 Max.
4-If you incorporate some sort of steady moderate exercise as an active recovery between your lifting sessions or intense HIIT/METCONS it will help your muscles and body recover faster than doing nothing and taking a “rest day”
5-We already know the huge benefits that lifting gives for boosting our muscle building hormone testosterone. And surprise, surprise, steady-state cardio has also been proven to raise dihydrotestosterone in men.
You don’t get bigger and stronger by being in the gym, it’s a matter of how you recover to help you build that strength. By mixing both steady state and HIIT you will begin to really see increased benefits.