Getting Better

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So, you don’t think you are getting any better. Most of that is negative think and negative speak. Leave it at the door. Nobody wants to hear it. No negative Nancy’s or Mancys here. Fact of the matter is everyone gets better, perhaps at a different pace. Want to get better faster?

Ask Questions:

Ask good questions. CrossFit is more expensive than other gyms because of the access to personal trainers. Ask them questions. Insanity is doing something the same way and expecting a different outcome. Trainers have a wealth of knowledge to share and should be your go to person with questions about scaling, form, practice, aches and pains, etc.

Set Goals:

You can’t get there if you don’t have a destination. Set tangible numeric goals. Instead of “I want to get better at pull ups” set a goal of “I want to do five unassisted pull ups by March 30th.” Keep your goals realistic. Setting unattainable goals is leads to a path of disappointment and regression.

Track your WOD’s. There are dozens of apps for tracking weights, times, meals, etc. Log your information and then review it before every WOD.

Lift Heavy Weights:

Lift a calf in the morning and then a cow in the afternoon. When someone first starts, the weights should be scaled and more handleable, however once you have several months under your belt and the form is good, pack on the plates. Talk to your Coach about whether the purpose of the WOD is to be fast or you should be using the prescribed weights. We don’t get stronger by lifting the same weights we did six weeks ago.

Two weeks ago your max dead lift was 225, this week your max attempt should be at least five pounds heavier. The rep we don’t get is the one that gives the most benefit. Failure is an important component of getting stronger.

Read:

Do your homework. There is a significant amount of information available which can help anyone overcome sticking points. Stick with reliable sources like CrossFit HQ, Mobility WOD, etc. A quick post on your Facebook account may yield additional resources which have proven useful for your friends. Face it, if you are doing CrossFit, it’s the only thing on your FB page anyway, right?

Heal Thyself:

Generally, we know what’s wrong, we may just have a tough time admitting it. Eating junk and partying two or three nights a week will not lead to success. Unless you are in your late teens and early twenties. For the rest of who are more advanced in years, it’s time to get serious. Eat better, sleep better, rest better, perform better. Getting old is better than the alternative.

Positive Mental Attitude:

Think good things and good things will happen. Visualize success before you step in the door. Don’t make the muscle between your ears an enemy.

Additional Resources:

It seems like other people decided to write about the same topic. See, I do know what I am talking about. Don’t even have a Level 1 Cert.,…yet.

Fifty Ways to Get Better at CrossFit

What I Learned After Three Years

Getting Better at CrossFit

Getting Better

Break a record today.

CrossFitRook

So, You are Thinking About Going Paleo

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You have taken the plunge and are Nano deep in CrossFit. You have taken a sip of the Kool-Aid and are now ready to go all in! It’s time to go Paleo.

Primal Paleo Beginnings:

So, literally the beginning of Paleo is from our primate cave dwelling ancestors. Think paleolithic era….see the connection? Animal fur coats, spears, horrible BO. You’ve got the idea. This period lasted for roughly 2.5 million years and supposedly our ancestors were stronger, with bigger brains, and suffered less disease. It came to an end roughly 10,000 years ago with the agricultural movement; i.e. processed food.See Here

What is Paleo?

Eat lean meat, poultry, fish, seafood, vegetables, some fruit, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats like avocado and animal fats. Don’t trim that steak! Stay away from dairy, starch, processed sugar and processed carbohydrates, legumes (means beans and peanuts people), and sadly alcohol. Nothing is perfect.

What does it Do?

What happens about an hour after you eat a big serving of pasta or bread? You get hungry again, right? It doesn’t make sense considering you just consumed more than enough calories to get you through a few hours. Spikes in blood sugar cause the feeling and the mood swings, etc. that come with it. A Paleo diet stabalizes your blood sugar and some other helpful things as well. Check them out here

Paleo and CrossFit:

CrossFit Approved version here. I am not sure if CrossFit Headquarters fully sponsors Paleo or not. I thought I had read a few things about them moving to Zone. All I know is the best CrossFit athletes I know follow the Paleo eating plan. Want to be successful? Study those who are successful, and then copy the hell out of them, tweaking only what you need to make it better for you.

First Week:

Usually sucks. High grocery bill. Spend all day cooking. Need to buy enough tupperware for a family of eight. Then there is the detox. Sugar is a drug. What happens when a drug addict goes without a fix, minus knocking over a gas station? They come down hard. The same is true here. When your body goes without sugar, it craves sugar, and it results in irritability, headaches, stomach pains in some cases. Is it worth it? Hell yes! That crap is no good for you! Stop eating it.

High Grocery Bill:

It’s not cheap to eat healthy. One of the keys to the agricultural age we referenced earlier was to make it easier for people to get food. How did we do that? By processing everything and in turn removing many of the nutrients or just using plain crap to begin with. Animals were taken from the fields and stored in commercialized farms where they were fed hormones and god knows what else to fatten them up more quickly. You can imagine how that ends. Garbage in, garbage out. It is expensive to eat healthy however you are investing in your health. How can you make it more affordable?

Buy in bulk. Find a local butcher and see if you can go in with family or friends from the gym. That makes it easier for meat. Another option is Costco. It might not be grass fed but it is cheaper than what you pay in the grocery store.

Farmer’s Market or Farm Co-op. Again this is a great opportunity to split with family or friends and as our society is beginning to recognize the importance of a better diet, more of these are popping up. A quick Google search is usually all it takes to find one near you.

Preparation:

Fail to plan and plan to fail. Planning meals ahead of time is pretty much a necessity. It is also a great way to save a few bucks by planning your meals around what is on sale at the grocery store. Kylie is the queen of planning meals. Kylie is my wife and partner in crime.

It does take more time to make meals and prepare breakfast and lunch for the work week, however it is very worth the investment. There are hundreds of websites and cook books with meal ideas. Take advantage of the wealth of information that is available on the Internet. It’s more than just games and Facebook.

Detox:

It sucks. You’ll get through it. Just remember that if you cave and eat some junk, you’ll have to start the detox process again. I’ve done it quite a few times. Fall off the wagon and then just get right back on!

Second Week and Forward:

You will notice that your joints don’t hurt as much and you will have more energy. You will also probably sleep better as well. All pretty good benefits. Your workouts will be better and you will generally “feel” better. Friends have stated they no longer get headaches like they used to, etc.

Following are a couple of links that are really helpful including the Whole Life Challenge which is a great way to get started. By tracking your score daily and journaling, you are keeping yourself more accountable.

Whole9

Whole Life Challenge

paleOMG

Have fun out there.

Do You Know Squat?

The lovely squat. Simple in design. Trunk stays perpendicular to the floor, tall chest, butt goes back, knees push outward, butt drops down so your quads are below parallel, and up you come. Repeat as needed with a ton of weight. Sounds easy, right? Look, even a toddler can do it!

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So what is so hard about squatting?

Balancing the Weight:

Stand in front of a mirror for a side view. Try not too flex your biceps. We all know they are huge and beautiful. Pull your shoulders back and up. You will notice a groove between you traps and rear delts. That’s where the bar goes. It doesn’t go on your neck or directly on your traps. Practice it a couple of times and get used to the feeling. If the weight doesn’t feel secure, neither will the squat.

What am I looking at?

I have a tendency to look at the floor or worse yet, look at my feet. The body follows the head. You look down and you fall forward. Not good if you are trying to balance weight on your shoulders. Pick a spot on the wall at eye level. The head and neck should be in a neutral position. Not looking up. Not looking down. It should be comfortable.

Foot Position:

Part of my rehab for my knee is to do squats with a med ball between my back and the wall. I lined up with my toes pointed slightly out, weight on my heels and outside edges of my feet, and as I descended I pushed my knees out. I was immediately told that was wrong and my feet should be straight and my knees tracking straight over my feet. Weird. I did as I was told. It felt completely and totally wrong!

Shoulder width. Weight on the heels and outside edge of your feet. Countless instructional videos from well respected coaches all have the same points.

Justsquat

Squatting

Squat tutorial

Squat Therapy

Get Depth:

If you think you are deep enough, go down more! The crease of your hip should be below your knees. Just keep working on it and you will get there. Lots of stretching for hamstrings hips. Gotta be loose to get low.

Back Up:

As in getting upright again. Drive through your heels while shrugging your shoulders up. The chest as to stay will. There will be a tendency to lean forward. Look up a little and take a deep breath in. Both of these will help you get tall. Repeat as needed.

What squatting tips can our readers provide? Please list them below in the comments section.

Have fun out there! Lift it, swing it, pull it, press it, and climb it. TIME