What’s Keeping You From Achieving Your Goals?


If you currently want something in your life that you don’t have then there is a 100% chance that you are human. How you define yourself is by the action you take towards bringing those into your life. Some people make declarations about how they are finally going to make the big change
Generally, if you have a goal you haven’t achieved yet you fall into one of these three camps. 

  • You don’t know what to do and you don’t know how to do it.
  • You don’t think you deserve it.
  • You haven’t put in the work.

So what’s really keeping you from achieving your goals? Let’s find out…
1. You don’t know what to do and you don’t know how to do it.
This is generally the first challenge you encounter when you have a new goal. Luckily it is also the easiest barrier to address when it comes to making positive changes in your life. Whether you seek to earn more money, improve your health, or find your soulmate there are websites, coaches, books, podcasts, and more resources than you know what to do with. Success leaves clues and in the information age we live in you have access to the tools and resources you need to get started on the path to your goal.
“When action is our priority, vanity falls away.”  – Ryan Holiday
Let’s say your goal is to lose 10 pounds and keep it off. Like forever keep it off. Many adults find themselves at a weight they don’t feel comfortable and confident at. The problem is that if you have only ever gained weight since you were a kid and never seen the scale go (and stay) in the opposite direction then you are a total novice. Being a professional weight gainer is easy for you, you’ve done it your whole life. If you want to lose weight then you have to start fresh. It’s time to throw out what you think is true about nutrition and exercise because all of the information you have is through the lens of a person who has only ever gained weight. Let go of ego. Let go of pride. If you want to make the change then you have to start with fresh eyes.
2. You don’t think you deserve it.
This could be thought of as self-sabotage. Maybe since you were a child you have been conditioned to think a certain way. Many of the long-standing beliefs humans hold are instilled by parents, environments, or traumatic experiences. Long ago the brain accepted as fact that “this is the way it is”. If you have a long-held belief that is clashing with one of your current goals then your first order of business is to remove that roadblock. No amount of will power or strategy can overcome a fixed mindset. You are an adult and you are responsible for your own life. You have the power to change any condition that you don’t want. 
“How have I been complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?” -Jerry Colonna
Executive coach and author Jerry Colonna asks a powerful question to himself and his clients. “How have I been complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?” Ask yourself this question in the context of your current goal. If you are struggling to lose weight, what are the things that you have been “okay with” lately? If it’s the food in the fridge that you snack on, skipping your workout, or surrounding yourself with people who have unhealthy habits then that is entirely on YOU to change. That starts by demanding more of yourself. You have to consider yourself worthy of the goal you claim to want. When you are mentally ready to be the person who achieves this goal you will be able to receive it.
3. You haven’t put in the work.
This can be the most frustrating camp to fall into when it comes to not achieving your goals. You may be doing everything right. You hired the coach, you have a strategy, and you’re executing on it every day. So why haven’t you accomplished your goal yet?! 
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” -Vince Lombardi
Whether growing a business or growing your biceps it can be tough when the results haven’t shown up yet. So what should you do?
KEEP GOING! 
Constantly ask yourself: What else could I be doing? Continually revisit camps one and two in this post. Are there any additional resources or tools that could be getting you to your goals faster? Could you work with someone who has proven results in the exact area you are trying to grow? Are there any roadblocks you are creating for yourself? Is there an area where your behavior is inconsistent with the outcome that you seek?
Frustration or anger can itself be a powerful tool. If you are fed up with your lack of progress then you should use that as fuel for your fire. If you have the bandwidth to be upset about your situation then you most likely have the bandwidth to work harder (or smarter 😉 )
If you still don’t know why the results won’t come then you should consider working with a mentor or coach who can help you get there. A great coach will help you set up a framework for success. They will help you develop a SMART goal that aligns with your mission and current state. Understanding the time frame and order of steps necessary to achieve a goal can dramatically improve your mindset and the way you tackle each day. You can break your goal down into manageable chunks and as you check them off you will build momentum towards your big goal. The best coaches will be clear and neutral in their feedback about what it takes to get to you to your goal. 
You want to surround yourself with people who will be supportive and honest your path to success. Avoid the detractors. That includes anyone who tells you they support you, but that you can’t achieve what you want and to “get real”. This life is yours to choose and you can’t waste time with the people that will only hold you back. 

Top 3 Tips to Maximize Your Deadlifts


People tend to have polarized feelings about deadlifts. Either they love them or they hate them. If you love deadlifts this is usually for one of three potential reasons. 

You already pull heavy weight. You are considered “strong” or “really good at that” so you enjoy doing it more. Yay dopamine!

Maybe you are favorably built for deadlifts with relatively shorter legs, a relatively longer torso, and long arms. (Ape index off the charts!) You seem to PR every time you walk into the gym.

It’s also possible that you grew up on a farm and have been lugging hay bales and drinking raw milk your whole life. Lifting heavy sh*% is a walk in the park for you.

Check out Mariana as she lifts 320lbs!

If you don’t fall into one of those categories then there is still hope. Let’s explore the top 3 tips to maximize your deadlifts!

  1. Ditch the Mixed Grip
  2. Dial in Your Setup Position
  3. Train Deadlift Variations

1.Ditch the Mixed Grip

One of the best ways to start improving your deadlift is to ditch the mixed grip. Many people worry that grip will be a limiting factor at their maximal percentage lifts but you can easily overcome this by implementing a hook grip. This takes some getting used to since you’ve probably never lifted a bar of this weight with a hook grip and the pressure can seem unreal. Try taping your thumbs the first few sessions to take some of the edge off. The benefits of a double overhand grip is better position on the bar, less torque on the hips and spine, and decreased strain on the bicep. Build up this strength in your training sessions and if you really need to resort to a mixed grip for a competition or 1RM attempt then you will be better for waiting.

2. Dial in Your Setup Position

One of the biggest issues you may be facing with deadlifts is the setup. That first pull off the ground never feels quite right. To overcome this you can practice rolling the bar into position. This may feel more comfortable and your body will naturally find the right position without you fidgeting around. If you are new to lifting or know that your mobility is lacking then you may find it beneficial to practice pulling off of blocks. The higher start position will make it easier for you to engage your posterior chain. Another good option here is to work from the top down with lighter loads. Take the loaded bar from a rack or higher blocks and start standing tall, hips fully extended. Keeping your back and core tight and start pushing your hips toward the wall behind you as the bar descends down your thighs. Keep the bar in contact with your legs and the weight in the middle of your foot and heels. Practice lowering down in a slow control fashion taking 4-5 seconds to lower for each rep. If you have a hard time finding the right position then you should take some one on one time to work with a coach who can provide the right cues to get you properly set up.

3. Train Deadlift Variations

Another way to build confidence in your deadlift is to explore different deadlift variations. Sumo deadlifts, single arm, single leg, trap bar, dumbbells, kettlebells, atlas stones, dballs and tire flips will all help you. Getting stronger is going to help even if it is non specific. There’s no shortage of heavy stuff to pick up off the ground! These variations will train your grip, stabilizers, and strengthen many smaller muscles of the glutes and hamstrings that may not get fully recruited in your normal deadlift style. 

There you go, the top 3 tips to maximize your deadlifts. Now come find us and pull some big numbers!

www.crossfithtown.com/get-started

 

CrossFit: Sport vs Exercise Program


 

CrossFit has exploded in popularity as a fun and effective way to get fit.

It’s popularity has evolved because it works for everyday folks who need to maintain their health but is also extremely popular as a competitive event.

Sometimes it is tough for the outside world to see the differences between the sport of CrossFit that they see on TV and the training methodology they would experience in a local gym. Let’s look at some of the key differences between the sport and the training style so you can make an educated decision on adopting CrossFit into your life.

CrossFit in any form without a doubt incorporates functional movement. Using natural human movement patterns like squatting, hinging, and pressing overhead you will experience these patterns. What varies between competition and class is the technical requirements or difficulty, and the loads used in competition. The Games you see on TV are the best athletes in the world competing head to head. In order to truly differentiate the fittest men and women they must be tested by the most extreme workouts. You will see that they perform weightlifting, gymnastics, and cardiovascular workouts but at much higher intensities and volume than a coach would ever ask you do perform in your local gym.

“Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing favorable adaptation to exercise,” -Greg Glassman

The cool thing is you get to see your favorite athletes being pushed and tested so that they feel the workout is just as challenging as you might feel workouts are. Everyone is safely pushed and challenged to improve themselves. Reaching just a little bit further and tapping into their true potential.

If you want to try a high intensity functional fitness workout like CrossFit you may well be surprised by how friendly and welcoming the community is. You will not be the biggest or smallest, the oldest or youngest, or even the least experienced.

Training for the sport looks very different from what you may think is involved with a regular CrossFit class. Everyday the workout is different and scaled to your specific needs. You coach is more likely to scale the weights or movements in a way that is self limiting (you choose when to stop) rather than push you into doing something that is dangerous or painful.

This style of training is so popular because people are able to experience long term growth in a fun and supportive environment. If you’re ready to join a like minded community of motivated individuals then come check us out!

 

www.crossfithtown.com/get-started

Strength Training for Injury Prevention


Strength training for injury prevention

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

So what should a workout look like?

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

www.crossfithtown.com/getting-started

 

3 Tips To Crush Your Next Competition


3 Tips To Crush Your Next Competition

 

Have you ever gotten anxious before a competition? Maybe you have trouble falling asleep the night before or feel sick to your stomach thinking about how well you’ll perform. You train day in and day out with no issues, but this is different…you’re going to have a score for this one. One that represents you and allows you to be analyzed and compared to everyone else. Maybe you think about all the things that could go wrong.  Whether it is testing a new 1 rep max, performing a benchmark workout, or trying your hand at a fitness competition there is can be a lot running through your mind before a performance. That is why you owe it to yourself to physically and mentally prepare to test at your best.

 

 

  • Stick with your normal routines

 

When NASA trains astronauts to go into space they have rehearsed the entire morning routine leading up to the launch. The same breakfast, the same checklists, the same drive to the station. By performing these repetitions hundreds of times by the time they arrive at launch day there is nothing out of the ordinary for their minds to be distracted by. It is just another day.

 

It’s the same concept with a test. Now is not the time to try anything crazy. Don’t have a crazy big breakfast of eggs and bacon if normally you just down a smoothie before you head out the door. This goes for dinner the night before as well. Maybe try that new sushi restaurant after your competition.Another wise decision is to avoid taking any new supplements. Most folks are tempted to sip on an energy drink or supplement with the hopes of the add performance benefit of whatever is on the label. Maintain your normal caffeine intake. Make sure you consume water.

 

Treat it like any other day at the office, not an important event with high stakes. By normalizing as many conditions as possible and staying relaxed you will conserve energy and keep your body out of the fight-or-flight mode until it actually comes time to compete.

 

This includes the days leading up to the test day as well. You want to taper your volume (the total amount of work) you perform in the days preceding competition but aim to keep a high level of intensity. This means powerful bursts of energy that will keep your nervous system primed to perform at a high capacity. If you go too many days without working hard your body tends to “forget” what it is capable of performing.

 

  1. Warm up with a purpose

If you have a normal warm up routine stick with that. Keep in mind that the warm up should consist of a progressive sequence that gets your body in a peak state to begin the workout or lift you are attempting.

 

Generally this looks like some tissue prep that involves taking your joints through their full range of motion as well as foam rolling, the use of resistance bands aerobic stimulation. Get the blood pumping with a light jog, row, bike, or jumping rope. Follow this up with some dynamic stretching where you progressively increasing intensity and range of motion. Now it’s time for movement specific prep. This could be performing the the movement you will be testing or performing a smaller segment or variation that utilizes similar muscle groups. The goal is to prime your body to recruit as many motor groups as necessary to accomplish the lift.

 

Some individuals tend to under-prepare in their warm up while others overdo it. Aim for that sweet spot where you feel energetic, light, and springy. You should have gotten your heart rate up enough to break a sweat but you should not be soaking through your tee shirt. Once your body is  primed it’s a great time to refocus on your goals for the workout.

 

  1. Get specific about your desired outcome

Specificity is key when it comes to eliminating fear and achieving the outcome you want. Things get a whole lot less scary when you clearly define what you want to happen and how little the negative part would actually affect you. This allows you to decide on a game plan taking into account the highest upside of success meanwhile addressing the potential setbacks and how you will adjust your strategy if any of those were to occur.

 

Mitigating downside is usually a more effective strategy than swinging for the fences. Even if there is an area that you are particularly strong in, say deadlifts, you can’t expect to win a long chipper workout with a move that you consider to be your weakness. Handstand pushups for example. Your strategy should geared toward getting through the set of handstand pushups as quickly as possible by planning out how you will break up the sets and how much rest to give in between. Once you’ve determined your strategy practice it. Your body will know exactly how it feels on rep number 8, rep 17, and rep 29. You’ll be much more effective and able to improve your performance by planning for your weaknesses.

 

Bonus Tip

Test, test, test your equipment beforehand! You do not want your glorious efforts and strategic execution to be thwarted by a loose shoelace or clips that won’t stay tight to your bar. If you might need chalk during the WOD grab your own piece and keep it close by. Talk to whoever is judging you and discuss movement standards and how they will be counting reps. Don’t leave any room for error, after all it’s your score!

 

Have questions about training for a competition? Get in touch with one of our coaches today!

www.crossfithtown.com/get-started

5 Tips To Boost Your Squat


5 Tips To Boost Your Squat

 

“There is never an absolute answer to everything, except of course that you have to do your squats.” – Mark Rippetoe

 

The one exercise that we all know and love is truly the foundation of any strength and fitness conditioning program. Today there is enough equipment and variations to have you perform a different set of squats every day for a year. Depending on your sport, your goals, and who you get your information from there is a lot of terrific and some questionable advice when it comes to squatting. Today let’s explore 5 ways you can boost your squat and stay strong and healthy in the process.

 

 

  • Learn how to sit into the squat

 

Many individuals are familiar with the cue to “sit back” into a squat. This cue is problematic because it causes an anterior pelvic tilt that will cause the athlete to experience a rounding of the low back as they get deeper into a squat, commonly referred to as a butt wink. The goal should be to maintain a neutral spine throughout the entire squat.

 

Practice sitting into a squat by initiating the movement at the hips, knees, and ankles simultaneously. This allows you to keep an upright torso as you lower your body straight down into the squat. Put a stool, box, or medicine ball at a height close to the bottom depth of your squat. Practice lowering to this height and stay engaged with a neutral spine. Use a video camera or grab a friend to learn at what point in the squat your low back starts to round.

 

 

  • The truth about “knees out”

 

The Vagus Knee fault is term used for a lifters knee’s tracking inside the foot, essentially “caving in” during a squat. This is generally due to weakness or an inability to activate the lateral hip rotators and abductors. To correct this fault practice your squat with a mini band wrapped around your knees so you have to actively drive your knees out against the tension of the band. Another correction would be to practice tempo or pause squats that allow your body to develop more muscle memory in these positions.

 

Keep in mind that just because you don’t want the knees to cave inside the feet doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to drive the knees far out past your feet either. For most individuals the knee and thigh should stay aligned with the foot throughout the movement. By driving the knees out too far in the bottom of a squat you will increase risk of injury as well.

 

 

  • Amplify the signal

 

Learning how to breathe properly during a squat can provide a tremendous advantage to your strength and stability. Inhale fully into the stomach and chest creating intra-abdominal pressure before initiating any heavy lift. This creates a solid wall of pressure around the internal organs, chest, and of course the spine allowing you to keep proper form under heavy loads where you may lose your position if not properly braced.

 

The other benefit of creating this pressure is that amplifies the signals from your brain telling your muscles to contract. This might just give you the little extra push you need to stand up that weight.

 

 

  • Learn how to get under the bar

 

One of the biggest areas for rapid improvement in the squat come from approaching it as a full body exercise. The legs are the primary drivers of the squat movement, but by activating your your core and upper body properly you will be able to generate significantly more power.

 

One of the most common reasons for missing a rep in the squat is failing to keep a strong upright torso position. One way to prevent this is to step under the bar like you mean business. As you step under the weight and find the proper position across your traps stand up powerfully under the weight. Pull the bar against your body as if you were trying to wrap it around you like a blanket. This will help you activate your lats, a key factor in staying strong throughout the movement. Finally as you lower into the bottom of your squat squeeze the barbell as if you were trying to crush it in your hands.

 

 

  • Power through your sticking point

 

At first thought you might think that the sticking point (the hardest part of the lift, slowest point of acceleration) would be in the very bottom of the squat but that is not actually the case. The sticking point of the movement is generally encountered as you try to stand up the weight but can’t seem to push through. That’s because your body is at a point where the muscles are at their lowest possible capacity to generate force. At the bottom of the squat the muscles are fully stretched and able to generate “elastic” energy. As you start to stand the stretch is released. The sticking point occurs because the muscles are not at an optimal stretch that generates passive energy but they have not fully returned to a position where they are able to generate enough active tension to overcome the load.

 

If you find yourself hitting a sticking point in your squats you can train your muscles to become stronger at this particular range of motion. Practice pause squats where you hold in this challenging position for a few seconds. If you still find yourself struggling with the sticking point focus on generating more speed out of the bottom of your squat. Often times this momentum can carry you through the sticking. Make sure the bar keeps moving.

 

If you are serious about learning how to squat stop by to speak with one of our coaches today!

 

www.crossfithtown.com/get-started

 

Missed Lifts and Threshold Training


Missed Lifts and Threshold Training

 

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or new to lifting there always seems to be an area for improvement. As you train each day you are working hard to make progress and hit that next PR.

 

Some days when you’re pushing the weight you might feel your form start to break down. It might be a low catch on the clean you couldn’t quite rack or taking ten steps across the gym floor to stand up a snatch or jerk. You want your lifts to look snappy and butter smooth. A performance worthy of a super slow-mo breakdown to epic music like the folks on Hookgrip. Unfortunately your running man snatch is like that bad high school yearbook photo your girlfriend always laughs at.

 

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

-Winston Churchill

 

You’re working hard and no one is going to hold an ugly lift against you, but sometimes the best way to move forward is with a work smarter not harder approach. Working with an experience olympic lifting coach can help you tackle your weaknesses head on. There are many reasons why you could be missing lifts and many of them have nothing to do with your time in the gym. Sleep, nutrition, stress and recovery are all important areas to consider before addressing the training program itself. If you feel that things outside the gym are good then it is time to look at your training program as well as you as an individual athlete.

 

A proper training program should incorporate some form of periodization. This means alternating volume, intensity, and exercise selection in a fashion that keeps continuous long term progress. The program should address your goals and take into account the whole body of work. If you are missing lifts during a lifting session you first need to identify if the issue is technique based, strength based, or a mobility issue.

 

If it is technique based there are accessory drills to help you address the weak component of your lift. If it is strength based you can adjust the percentages you are working at to ensure you are able to successfully complete. You may also need to incorporate more strength work based on a strength inadequacy or imbalance. You may simply need to dial back volume to prevent neuromuscular fatigue. Mobility issues can be corrected by screening a series of movement patterns to identify where to tackle with stretching and mobilization.

 

Missing a lift during a lifting session has different implications than misses on olympic lifting movements incorporated in a metcon based workout. The first thing you have to remember is the intention behind the workout programming in terms of the energy system being taxed and desired physiological response. It wouldn’t make sense to incorporate Cleans at 90% of your 1 rep max into a workout designed to build aerobic capacity. The lift would slow you down too much in between attempts and make it challenging to repeat the efforts with an elevated heart rate. There could also be a discrepancy between movements that is holding you back. For example it may be dangerous to attempt snatches after performing grip taxing movements like deadlifts, pull ups, and kettlebell swings. Some workouts are designed to tax the grip and that is perfectly fine but you need to be smart about the goals of the workout to keep your training both safe and effective.

 

Finding a coach who can help you improve your technique, strength, and mobility is a surefire way to stop missing lifts! If you want to improve get in touch with us today!

 

www.crossfithtown.com/getting-started

 

5 Reasons To Find Your Tribe


5 Reasons To Find Your Tribe

 

The word tribe may conjure up the image of native americans working together in a small village or a handful of cavemen chasing after a wooly mammoth with crude spears. Tribes have been an essential part of human existence for a long, long time. And guess what? Today they are more prevalent than they have ever been before.

 

By the end of this read you’ll have 5 reasons to go out and find your own tribe.

 

“A Tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to each other, a leader, and an idea.” -Seth Godin

 

The tribes of today certainly have a different look and feel than any image you may conjure up and for good reason. We are now fancy and well off 21st century people that have less need to collaborate for survival in that whole hunter-gatherer fashion. Today we have the iPhone X, the interwebs, and virtual reality glasses. We gather in online communities to fight for causes we believe in, ping our friends when it is time to celebrate a special occasion, and tune in to our favorite artists, athletes, and actors to hear them live from anywhere in the world. There is an incredible opportunity to connect like never before.

 

There’s just one problem. Despite the incredible technological advances people are feeling more alone and unheard than ever before. We have unlimited information, but don’t always know where to start when we want to make a change. There is a conflicting facet to social networks that make people oddly enough, antisocial.

 

If you feel like you’re not being heard in the noise it is probably because you’re not connected with the right people. If there’s an area in your life that feels like it is lacking, it’s probably because it needs to be filled with the right tribe. Your tribe.

 

So what exactly are the benefits of finding your tribe? Let’s dive in…

 

 

  • Tribes help raise your awareness

 

Like Seth Godin says, a tribe is connected to each other, a leader and an idea. If you already have an idea, for example, I want to improve my health and fitness. Now it is time to find a leader and some friends who are on the same track as you. So often people go on personal crusades to make make a change in their life but they stay in the same environment. By joining forces with your new tribe you will be in a heightened state of awareness with a focus on the habits and activities that your particular tribe engages in.

 

 

  • Tribes create an instant network for success

 

Members of a tribe gain the privilege of caring for one another. When a group of diverse people are able to collect in one place they bring an extensive background of knowledge, contacts, and opportunities to the table. They form a bond over the common interest of the tribe and are able to assist one another based on unique skill sets, each person has strengths they can use to help their neighbor.

 

 

  • Tribes create positive social pressure

 

When you surround yourself with people on a similar mission every individual action has an effect on the group. Individuals will feel the urge to act and perform in a manner that is congruent with the groups goals. That means increased accountability and less stumbling on the part of the individual.

 

 

  • Tribes help you feel a sense of belonging

 

Sebastian Junger in his recent book Tribe:On Homecoming and Belonging, discusses how modern society has been successful in so many ways, but as wealth goes up so does depression. That is because in our daily lives we no longer experience codependence and using our survival instincts. Our brains and bodies are equipped to function in 30-40 person groups taking on a harsh environment that no longer naturally occurs. He has worked closely with military troops and identified that a platoon in combat experiences this feeling at a high level and subsequently experiences a new deepness in their relationships.

 

What does this mean for you? Enduring hardship and struggle (even if it is voluntarily chosen) with a group will bring you closer together and provide you with a sense of belonging that is so primal to us.

 

 

  • Make a difference that is bigger than you

 

Let’s not forget that tribes are also connected around an idea. Achieving a goal or raising awareness to a cause is great but that effect is magnified when you help others do the same. Decisions that carry more weight in their effect will provide a deeper sense of meaning to the individual because they know they are making the world a better place.

 

Now find your tribe and make a ruckus!

www.crossfithtown.com/getting-started

Coffee, Wine, Bacon, and Fitness


Coffee, Wine, Bacon, and Fitness

The truth about some of your favorite indulgences

 

When you’ve gotten into a consistent fitness routine and finally started to feel good about the healthy choices you are making you tend to adopt a few new favorite foods along the way. At the top of the list for many folks are coffee, wine, and bacon. These foods are dietary staples in the fitness community and seem to fall somewhere in the category of “not bad enough to worry about and maybe even good for you.”Obviously with this kind of grey area it’s worth taking a deeper dive into the health benefits and potential pitfalls that can occur when eating these favorite foods.

 

Coffee

More than 450 million cups of coffee are consumed everyday in the united states alone. Coffee also happens to be the world’s number one source of antioxidants due to widespread consumption and high levels of polyphenols and hydrocinnamic acids. Despite its amazing capacity to fight free radicals in our body most people reach for a “cup of joe” each morning for one reason only. That energizing boost of energy from it’s high caffeine content.

 

Caffeine has become a huge catalyst for many of us to have a productive start to our day. For some of us taking one day without it and WHOA, watch out! Caffeine is also a popular beverage choice before a workout due to the increase in focus, energy, and alertness that make us feel ready to perform. Caffeine has even been shown to reduce pain associated with exercise making it a truly powerful training partner. Caffeine may also create a more favorable environment in the cells of muscle tissue that facilitate force production.

 

It also turns out that a cup of coffee can be beneficial post workout as well. When we exercise our bodies utilize glycogen, a form of glucose stored in our muscles, as a fuel source. In one study it was observed that athletes who consumed caffeine with carbohydrates after exercise had 66% more glycogen in their muscles 4 hours later. This significant boost in glycogen storage means you have set the tone for success in your next workout in terms of available energy.

 

Challenges arise when the quantity and timing of caffeine consumption begin to interfere with rest and recovery. Caffeine has been shown to interrupt sleep even when consumed 6 hours before bed time. Individual caffeine sensitivity can vary from person to person so you need to really listen to your body.

 

Wine

Red wine has long been touted as “heart healthy” and the best choice if you do wish to drink. However if you are a competitive athlete, trying to build muscle, or on a mission to lose fat there really isn’t much of a place for alcohol in your diet. After all, alcohol is merely empty calories (it will only contribute to fat gain, not lean muscle growth) and interferes with sleep, testosterone production, and puts extra wear and tear on your already busy liver. If you do find yourself in a situation where a drink is fitting, red wine tends to be a better than cocktails and heavy beers when it comes to calories and sugar.

 

What about the heart health benefits and antioxidants in red wine, don’t those make a glass worth it a few times a week?

 

Yes and No. And mostly no…

 

The link between red wine and heart health is still unclear and a positive correlation between the two has not been found. Red wine also doesn’t seem to perform better than other alcohols in its effect on cholesterol and heart health. Some of the hype around red wine comes from its resveratrol content. Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in the skins of grapes. It is possible that resveratrol reduces LDL levels and prevents blood clots. Unfortunately to consume high levels of this nutrient means drinking more alcohol and creating other potential health problems. Resveratrol supplements may not be absorbed that well so look for other good sources in foods like blueberries, peanuts, and plain old unfermented grapes!

 

Bacon

Bacon. Crispy. Crunchy. Delicious.

Is there any dish that can’t be improved by its presence?

Bacon may be the most controversial and beloved food in existence. In the wake of the paleo dietary movement and a shift in the way our country views dietary fat intake bacon has become the “little cheat food that could” for folks in the fitness community.

 

Bacon is made from pork belly and contains high levels of both monounsaturated and saturated fats. Bacon contains the monounsaturated fat oleic acid which is found in other healthy fats like olive oil. Saturated fat, long considered a culprit of heart disease actually plays an important role in our body’s signaling mechanisms. The ratio of different fats in the diet, genetics, and lifestyle choices all contribute to how much saturated fat we can consume for our optimal health.

 

So it turns out that bacon may not be so bad for you after all, but you have to be choosy. You have to consider the quality of the pork and the processing it undergoes during the curing that transforms bacon into the product we all know and love. The process generally involves curing the cuts of pork belly with salt and sugar and then the application of heat through a smoking process. There is also generally the application of some form of nitrates or nitrites to help preserve quality and appearance of the bacon.

 

For starters when you select your bacon product focus on where the pork came from and how it was raised. The tops brands will be pasture raised or humanely raised and organic is definitely an appropriate choice for this food. Next you will want the ingredients list to be short and not too sweet. That means pork, water, sea salt, and a small amount of sugar in the form of brown sugar or maple syrup. If you see a long list of preservatives and words you don’t recognize steer clear.

 

Finally some brands will use different sources of nitrates, even if the brand claims to be nitrate free it will often contain an ingredient like celery powder which has naturally occurring nitrates. Nitrates can convert to a carcinogenic compound known as “nitrosamines” under high temperatures. If you like your bacon crispy and brittle then you increase the chance of consuming these compounds. No fear, our body blocks the effects of these carcinogens in the presence of Vitamin C so grab a slice of orange or grapefruit with your bacon to play it safe!

 

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be sure to enjoy your “healthy” vices in the most appropriate ways possible. If you have questions about nutrition and how other dietary and lifestyle choices are affecting your training it can help to discuss them with a qualified coach who is experienced with nutrition as well.

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3 Key Steps To Starting An Effective Daily Routine


3 Key Steps To Starting An Effective Daily Routine

 

“I’ve been thinking about taking up a meditation practice.”

 

“I really need to drink more water…”

 

“I feel so good when I exercise, I want to go to the gym more often, but can’t find the time!”

 

If you’re like most people you probably have considered starting a new daily routine to optimize one or more aspects of your life. In a world where time has become more and more valuable, distractions are at an all time high, and to-do lists are as long as ever – people are looking for ways to better themselves. One of the most common ways that folks use to make a change is by adopting a new routine.

 

Routines are actions or a combination of actions that yield a specific outcome or result.

They are the surest way to make an impactful change in our lives. By the end of this article you will be familiar with the 3 key steps to consider if you want to start an effective daily routine!

 

“Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.”

-W.H. Auden

 

Step 1: Keep the end result in mind.

 

As humans we have hundreds of little routines we practice each day. Most of these we don’t care to or need to focus on, they simply happen. Adopting a new routine is usually in pursuit of something new that we wish to attain. The benefit of successfully completing the routines could improve us physically, mentally, or emotionally.

 

Make sure to keep the end result in mind as you select your routine.This life changing benefit will keep you motivated and excited to stick with your routine!

 

Some common results people shoot for with their routine include:

  • Decreased stress
  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep
  • Improved mental clarity
  • More time
  • Better performance at school/work/sport

 

Routines to achieve these outcomes might look like:

  • Take 10 deep breaths before beginning a new project at work.
  • Exercise at least three times each week.
  • Turn my phone to airplane mode 1 hour before bed.
  • Make a list dividing each job into its constituent parts.
  • Plan out my daily schedule every morning while I drink my coffee.
  • Visualize what a successful outcome would look like for my upcoming event.

 

rou·tine

ro͞oˈtēn/

noun

 

  • a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.

 

 

Routines are most effective when practiced daily. Sometimes we need to focus extra hard on following through with a new routine until it becomes a habit. This is an important factor to consider in both the selection and implementation of your new routine.

 

Dr. BJ Fogg, a behavioral scientist from Stanford, has a basic behavioral model he uses to describe the steps to change. He claims that in order for a behavior change to happen you need to have the right mix of motivation, ability, and a trigger.

 

If we are highly motivated to complete a task then the odds are that when a trigger occurs we will produce a successful outcome. Likewise we tend to be successful at tasks that are easy to complete even if we are not so motivated to get them done.

 

Makes sense right?

 

The challenge many of us face is that we fail to set up routines that take into account the motivation required to complete a task requiring a higher level of ability. We shoot for the stars and quickly burn out after our initial gusto wears off.

 

Does this mean that we shouldn’t aim to make big dramatic change with our new routine?

 

Kind of…not exactly…but yes.

 

At least Dr. Fogg would advise against it. Instead he suggest focusing on the smallest possible change available to you in your new routine. Consistency wins the long term change game so you should pick a routine that you know you you can complete every single try. This will generate momentum and a new skill that you can apply later to more challenging target areas.

 

Action Step: Get out a pen and paper and spend 5 minutes brainstorming some ideas of areas you would like to implement a routine. Think about the end result you would like to achieve and make note of the top 2 or 3 new routines that would be a first step on the path. Then let’s move on to step 2!

     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Step 2: Determine the lay of the land

 

This is a chance to take inventory of your assets and keep an eye out for potential pitfalls. Implementing a new behavior is challenging because it requires knocking our brain off of autopilot. Rather than coast through our day following the usual agenda we are throwing a strategic interruption to our thought pattern that lets us try something new. This step can be split into two categories:

 

Supporting Factors, things that can help you implement your routine. Some examples could be:

 

  • A supportive partner or best friend
  • A commute to work that offers some alone time
  • Sticky note reminders you place all over your house
  • A trainer, coach, or mentor who wants you to succeed

And

 

Distracting Factors, barriers, or common faults that would get in the way of you completing your daily routine. This might look like:

 

  • Social settings where you may feel awkward practicing your new routine.
  • People who interrupt you and take up your time (EVEN IF YOU YOU LOVE THEM)
  • Physical struggles with things like exercise or waking up early.
  • Bad influences on your diet, behaviors, or actions.

 

Action Step: List the top 3 assets you have that could help you start your routine and then the top 3 distractions that may keep you from succeeding. For the distractions, find a solution for how you could overcome it (eg. Coordinate workout schedules with a friend, sIgn up for a class the night before, or prep healthy lunches for the week on Sunday afternoon)

 

Step 3: Track Your Progress

 

Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the founding father of using routines for personal development knew the importance of tracking and measuring his daily practices. Each morning Franklin asked himself, “What good shall I do today? And in the evening, “What good did I do today?” Taking the time twice each day to check in on his progress created more opportunities for growth and self-improvement.

 

Not only that but Ben cycled through a list of 13 virtues he chose to improve his morality. He would focus on one for a week at a time and document any infractions to the redeeming quality. He noticed significant improvement in his adherence cycling through each virtue four times a year.

 

As you prepare to start your new routine you want to keep track of your progress. Having clear defined parameters will make you more likely to succeed and recreate the process again for future habits.

 

Action Step: Make a plan to track your progress. What is the the key aspect of the routine are you measuring. What time of day will you log your results? Are you writing it in a notebook or on your phone or laptop? What will you write on days when you forget to adhere to your routine?

 

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”Archilochos

So now that you have the 3 key steps to starting an effective daily routine how are you going to implement them?

 

www.crossfithtown.com/getting-started