30 Mar / 2015
30 Mar / 2015
Are You Training OR Are You Just Working Out?
This is much debated on internet forums and in gyms everywhere. I believe that you need to be tracking your workouts (not all of them, I will explain later) or you are just working out and not doing everything you can to create the change you are seeking.
When you wake up and read the WOD posted for that day, 99% of the time you should know exactly what you are going to go for that day, what you did last time, how you are going to improve this time, etc.
There are many ways that you can track your workouts. There are many apps available on smartphones, an old composition book, OR you can use our ZenPlanner Workout Tracker. Lets look at a few of those options.
Apps like SugarWOD and Beyond the Whiteboard are great in that you can upload your workouts into them (customizing as needed) and track your training. The big downside with these is that there is no comparison to our community and our gym’s programming will not already be uploaded.
This old school method is a great way to keep track of everything that you are doing. The downside is the labor required to transfer your personal records from journal to journal each time you fill the journal. I used to use this method extensively, I still have some journals from when I was in high school and college. With books you still have the issue of not having a gym leaderboard and community.
ZenPlanner Performance Tracking
With our ZenPlanner Performance Tracking (ZP PT) the daily programming is already uploaded for you and there is a “Daily” leaderboard and “All-Time” Leaderboard as well. The ZP PT is mobile friendly. The first time that you open this link on your smartphone it will ask you to save it to your Home Screen. Go ahead and do this and now you can: reserve and log in for classes, view the class calendar, enter your results, and view and manage your profile.
If you don’t have a smartphone, you may use the tablets we have at the gym to log in as well or just click on your icon where you signed in for class and record your results there. If you prefer to head home and do it there, then you can of course just follow the link on your laptop or desktop.
What Should You Be Tracking?
This depends on what you are looking to accomplish. I like to track the following: weight, strength and conditioning benchmarks, food when eating something out of the norm, and the daily WODS. I could track rest and mobility as well but I choose not to as it doesn’t really vary for me. I know my routines and only when completely out of them do I write it down.
I track my weight because it is a goal of mine to lean out and achieve a certain weight, therefore I do this every day. If you are working towards something very specific, you need to track it daily. Not to the point of obsessive but just to be aware of it.
The benchmarks are obviously how I know if my fitness is progressing, maintaining, or slipping. Benchmarks are ESSENTIAL to be tracked. You need to know either your 1,3, or 5 rep maxes in all of the lifts and you should know your personal bests in the girl/hero WODS.
I like to record my daily results whether a benchmark or not because it keeps me in the habit of recording and I will put more comments in regarding my strategy or areas that struggled with so I know what to do if something similar pops up.
As a minimum, you should be tracking your benchmarks. This will make things easier and keep your head in the game. For some, this will be enough. Those that struggle with eating well, daily journaling of what you eat, when you eat it, how you feel after eating it will go a long way to correcting poor eating habits. I use this quite extensively with my clients. Then there are those like myself that need to track something daily to stay in the habit of doing so.
27 Mar / 2015
It is the last Fire It Up Friday of March and this incessant rain is melting away remnants of what was the WORST winter in my memories. For that I am grateful!
Today we have a classic Girl WOD with “Diane” in classes. 45 reps of 225# deadlifts and handstand push-ups! Here is a little strategy on how to approach this wonderful little gem. The deadlift load is a light/moderate weight. Choose the correct weight for this if 225# is on the heavier side, or you will miss the training effect. The reps should be able to be completed unbroken or one break within the sets. If you are dropping the bar each time from waist height, you have too much loaded. Keep a steady pace so that you can actually breathe. (Think breathing similar to what we teach when performing wallballs).
The Handstand push-ups are going to be where you will struggle unless you can perform 21 unbroken handstand push-ups. You want to have a plan going in as to how many clusters you will need to break the volume into. For example, if you 10 reps of HSPU are the most you have ever completed unbroken, then you should aim for 6/5/4/3/2 to complete the set of 21. You will probably need to reduce that down on the set of 15 to something like 4/3/3/3/2 and finally the set of 9 to 3/3/3. The most important thing is to not go to failure on any particular cluster. The primary muscle groups of the HSPU are small and when they are depleted well…
Good luck and FIRE IT UP!
Beginning next week, on Mondays and Thursdays the Strength Club will be rolled into the 4:30pm class. Attendees should be prepared for 75-90 minutes of training as opposed to the normal 60 minutes.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays will continue to be CrossFit classes.
“OPT Repeatability Test”
3 rounds, at 100% effort:
10 Kettlebell Swings 70/53lbs
10 Kettlebell Swings 70/53lbs
10 Kettlebell Swings 70/53lbs
Rest 12 minutes between rounds.
Complete three rounds for time of:
40/30 pound Dumbbell snatch, 21 reps, right arm
21 L Pull-ups
40/30 pound Dumbbell snatch, 21 reps, left arm
21 L Pull-ups
Post time to comments.
These are squat not power snatches.
Front squat 3-3-3-3-3 reps
Post loads to comments.
Max calories in 10 minutes on the Airdyne or on the erg.
Test: Max Strict Pull-ups
Test: Max Kipping Pull-ups
Conditioning: 5 RFT
15 Unbroken Wallball Shots, 20/14
15 Unbroken Double Unders
Strength/Skill: Ring Dips 5-5-5-5-5
Conditioning: Complete 3 rounds for max distance
Row 4 minutes
rest 3 minutes between sets
Conditioning: AMRAP 20
1 Rope Climb
then perform 3 rounds of:
5 Power Snatch, 75/55
7 OH Squats, 75/55
Strength/Skill: Strict Pull-up Ladder
4 sets building up to 6 reps (work in groups of 3-5 people resting only as your squad performs their reps)
Strength/Skill: Push-up Ladder
4 sets beginning with 5 reps building up to 10 reps (work in groups of 3-5 people resting only as your squad performs their reps)
Conditioning: Tabata Squats
25 Mar / 2015
Typically, I don’t endorse fast food. It’s generally of poor quality, low in nutrients and high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. But sometimes you just have to eat and the only options are quick serve joints such as these. When I get stuck, there are my top go-to options. Remember that none of these are nutritionally ideal – most are still pretty high in sodium and can involve processed ingredients. But eating fast food isn’t about ideal nutrition, it’s about doing the best with what you have where you are.
1. The Burrito Salad
You can actually get this at a number of places – Chipotle and BoLoco for starters – which is why no restaurant name is included. Choose the salad option and top with vegetables, meat of your choosing (preferably grass fed/free range if offered), salsa, guacamole, and beans if you eat them. This will run you in the range of 400-600 calories and provide a filling lunch. The typical chicken salad at Chipotle will also provide 110% of your daily vitamin A, 94% of your daily vitamin C, and 23% of your daily iron needs.
2. The Jimmy John’s “Unwich”
The unwich is any of your Jimmy John’s favorites without the bread. My go to, the Beach Club, is 310 calories, 29 grams of protein, and 8 grams of carbs without mayo. If you remove the provolone too, you’re at 90 calories (in which case you should add something else or order it with half a slice of bread). Either way, you can also add an apple, banana, or yogurt from a nearby convenience store.
3. Sweet Green “Hummus Tahina” Salad or “Harvest Bowl”
While you cannot always assume that salad is the healthiest option (take most of McDonald’s salads), in this case they’re better than what you’ll find elsewhere. And there are now several Sweet Greens (or similar such places) in downtown Boston. My favorite is the mediterranean inspired Hummus Tahina salad (610 calories, not sure who much carbohydrate but with hummus, pita chips, and falafel in there, I would guess about 60 grams. Of course you can always ask those items to be disclosed or on the side) or the Harvest Bowl (685 calories). While neither of these is on the lower calorie side, quality makes up for it, and you can always save some for later (or share – Patrick is usually hungry enough to help me out when I can’t finish something).
4. Starbucks Bistro Boxes
Starbucks is my last ditch choice, but it usually works considering there’s almost one on every corner. Ranging from 270-480 calories, the bistro boxes are balanced and generally filling. The fruit and cheese one is generally my favorite, although all three get my relative thumbs up. As a bonus, they’re lower in sodium than the above options, with my favorite and the Protein Box ringing in at 470 mg (the Chicken and Hummus one is 580 mg). If you’re still hungry, Starbucks has a few other things you can pair these boxes with like bananas, Kind Bars (again, not ideal but not terrible), popcorn, or nuts.
Side note: should you stumble upon a Chik-Fil-A, I recommend you simply enjoy your breaded chicken sandwich or nuggets and waffle fries. You can eat vegetables later
What are your go to fast food meals?
23 Mar / 2015
22 Mar / 2015
Alright guys and girls. As promised, I am continuing my rant on grip. Last week I discussed how to approach a bar on the ground and why you should want to grab it differently. This week will be shorter, but no less important as we discuss what happens when the bar goes overhead.
To briefly touch on what I discussed last week, grabbing the barbell with purpose and vigor establishes control of the bar. With this minor adjustment, when the bar begins to move, magical things happen unbeknownst to you. The radial tension from grabbing the bar tightly will “radiate” to other parts of your body and generate more torque and control. This makes moving the bar and weight seem just a little bit easier.
Now another reason why we want to grab the bar tightly. When/if the bar needs to go overhead, do you want it to be in your fingertips, or do you want to have a solid grip on the bar where you have control of the bar versus the bar having control over you? My thoughts exactly. So what I’m really trying to convey is a better sense of control. If you start with this:
then you’ll end up looking like this:
But if you start like this:
then you’ll end up like this:
That’s right! World-class. I did say magical things would happen didn’t I? But seriously. Doesn’t it look like he’s got control? Give it a shot. Remember that it takes a lot of practice to make something a habit. That includes gripping the bar correctly. Keep practicing and it’ll become second nature eventually.
I’ve also got an announcement to make. Monday and Wednesday this week @ 4:3pm will be our new Strength Class. Next week and in the weeks following, it will be on Monday and Thursday… same bat time… same bat channel. This class is for all Strength Challenge participants as well as any member who wants to do the class. The programming will be different from what is on the Blog and will coincide with what the Strength Challenge is doing. You can choose to do the entire programming that I have written for them, or we can modify it. I will be coaching these classes just like any other class. The programming may run longer, and at that point, the extra work is to be completed on your own, or you can call it a day. It’s entirely up to you. You’ll get a chance to see what a day of the programming looks like and get in some heavy lifts. I hope to see a bunch of you there! Until next time…
15 Power Snatch
20 Mar / 2015
It has been a great week of training in the gym. Nice to see some faces that have been away this winter getting after it. Mother Nature is still playing some games with us with the weather variability. She’ll settle down soon. I hope.
Fire It Up! Fire It Up!
The PR Bell was ringing this week. Nothing gets me more pumped than when I have an entire class hitting new lifetime personal bests in a lift. It is truly electric. Each person just starts feeding off of the other’s previous attempt and by the end of the session, everyone is moving weight that they never thought they would be able to move.
Meet Justine A!
Please welcome Justine to Our Crew! Justine is in the picture above on the far left. She has been training with me privately since December and just recently began training in our group sessions. She is awesome!
When Justine is not training with us here, she is a Wushu practitioner. Wushu is a form of Kung fu that has developed into a sport and is regulated by the International Wushu Federation. There are two disciplines: forms and sparring. Justine participates in forms. Think rhythmic gymnastics with Kung Fu Panda kicks and swords. AWESOME RIGHT! Justine is training with us to continue advancing in her sport.
Justine is also a Foodie. Audrey, you and her need to get together. You will usually see Justine in our 5:30pm class and be sure to introduce yourself to her and welcome her to Our Crew.
St. Patrick’s Day
Thanks to those that rocked out in great spirit for St. Paddy’s Day on Tuesday. The winner of the $15 Starbucks card is…Audrey H! Audrey was decked out head to toe in green with shamrock headband. Congratulations Audrey! (Her pic can be found on Instagram, I have yet to figure out how to save an image from there!)
SFH – This Saturday Get Some Deals and Save Some $$$$
Will from Stronger Faster Healthier is going to be visiting with us again on Saturday from 9-12. He is going to have a table set up for all to sample products. If you have never used any of SFH’s protein or fish oil, this will be your chance to try before making any purchases.
I personally LOVE the FUEL. FUEL is their anytime, everyday protein and I mix it with some frozen berries, greek yogurt, chia seeds in my blender to make a delicious smoothie.
Any purchases or orders placed this Saturday ONLY, you will receive 10% off your purchase.
Here is this upcoming week’s programming:
21 Handstand push-ups
500 meter Row
21 Weighted pull-ups
15 Handstand push-ups
500 meter Row
15 Weighted Pull-ups
9 Handstand Push-ups
500 meter Row
9 Weighted Pull-ups
In teams of two, complete as many rounds as possible in thirty minutes of:
Average body weight back squat, 15 reps
One partner working at a time.
15 Power Snatch
Shoulder press 1-1-1-1-1 reps
Push press 3-3-3-3-3 reps
Push Jerk 5-5-5-5-5 reps
15 calorie row
15 deadlifts 135/95
15 wall balls
Complete as many rounds as possible 20 minutes of:
15 GHD Sit-ups
15 Back extensions
Post rounds completed to comments.
21-15-9 reps for time:
Deadlift 225 lbs
Handstand push- ups
How’s it going CFB?
I must say it’s been awesome seeing everyone attack these reverse benchmarks like “Narf” and “Reverse Elizabeth”. Keep throwing down and finding that high intensity. The results are showing!
Today I wanted to offer up some reading from the Huffington Post:
Take a look and think about how you’re rowing in your pre-class warmups. Are you making any of these mistakes?
If you’d like help or you think there is room for improvement in your rowing, grab me next time you’re in the gym and we’ll get you fixed up.
Have a great day and fingers crossed for more warm weather!
18 Mar / 2015
In light of events in the news last week, I need to take a minute to address the ethical dilemma that seems to be plaguing my professional organization (The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics).
Last week, it was reported in the New York Times that a new “Kids Eat Right” seal would be appearing on Kraft Cheese Singles. This was also riffed by the Daily Show, who noted “It turns out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is an academy in the same way this is cheese.” Great. To add to my embarrassment, this morning, my mom texted me a picture of an article in her home newspaper (the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel) about how nutritionists paid by Coca Cola have recommended mini Coke cans as a “healthy snack” in a number of blogs/articles during American Heart Month. You can see a photo of the article and my color commentary on Twitter. Her caption for the photo was “I guess there are unethical dietitians”. Ya think?
Did the Academy Have Anything To Say For Themselves ?
After much outcry (and plenty of it from dietitians inside and outside the Academy), yes. The “official explanation”is essentially that Kraft Foods contributes funds to the Kids Eat Right campaign, which “was launched to support public education projects and programs that address the national health concern of obesity among our children,” earning them the seal. In a vacuum that explanation works, but of course in real life anyone with half a brain knows that putting the logo of the professional organization for dietitians on a “food” that cannot even legally call itself real cheese (notice it is labeled as a “pasteurized processed cheese product”) will lead many consumers to believe the product is endorsed by nutrition professionals and thus healthier than it actually is.
Aso for the Cola article, the Academy isn’t really to blame for that. That one falls on the individual RDs (although they do take a good deal of sponsorship dollars from Coke, that’s a topic for another day).
Why Am I So Mad?
Because this is both embarrassing and unethical. Actually, the cola thing is beyond unethical. I spent 5 years in college and an intensive supervised practice internship learning about fundamentals of science (chemistry, biochemistry) and nutrition, how to use nutrition to treat and prevent disease, how to counsel clients, to communicate information, and how to interpret and incorporate scientific evidence into my practice. So for someone who has done the same to accept money to tell the American people that a beverage composed entirely of chemicals and high fructose corn syrup is a healthy snack is beyond unethical. Essentially, these “professionals” are using their credential to perpetuate the bad information – and help sell a product – that has had a hand in destroying a number of peoples’ heath and driving chronic illness to record highs. Think about all the quality of life lost to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease (among others) over the last 20 years, and the role soda and junk food has played. Then think about a credentialed health professional promoting some of those products. Almost inconceivable.
The Good News?
I’m not the only one who is upset. Many dietitians feel strongly that the Kids Eat Right seal should be repealed. There’s even a petition on Change.org that has over 4,000 signatures and a hashtag #RepealTheSeal with over 1,000 tweets since the news broke last week.
Why Am I Telling You This?
I hope many if not all of you view me as a credible nutrition resource, and I wanted to let you know that I don’t support unethical and deceptive practices in exchange for sponsorship dollars. When I make recommendation about what is a healthy snack or how to choose supplements, I am making it based on the available scientific evidence and my experience. I hope you’ll continue to trust me, even if there are a few bad apples in my profession.