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That’s right, it’s finally warm and nice outside and we’re doing an all out 1k row in the gym!  So, what are you going to do in preparation and during the 1k to get through it and back outside?  Here is a solid warmup and 3 skills to get you ready and give you something to focus on when that voice inside your head tries to tell you to stop.

 

Renegade Rowing Club Warmup:

1min – 1/2 Legs Only

1min – Full Legs Only

1min – Legs and Body Only

1min – Full Strokes

1min – Pause @1/2 Slide Every Stroke

5min – 10 Strokes On/ 10 Strokes Off, 15 On/15 Off, 20 On/20 Off

 

Performing an appropriate warmup for the workout that is set out each day can make or break a performance.  Above is the warmup we use fairly consistently in classes at CrossFit Boston and at the Renegade Rowing Club.  It’s a good 10min warmup to focus on posture, control, and connection.  Checkout how slow the Renegade Rowing Club approaches the catch in the beginning.  Executing this drill with control will allow you to really focus on putting technique changes into effect and hitting that catch with good timing and connection.

 

Please share what you do for a warmup when rowing is involved in the workout.  What is your focus?

 

Posture, Control, Connection … Get Some!

 

  1. Posture - When dealing with posture we’re looking for the torso to be stacked and strong at all times, whether you’re in the lay back or swinging forward to prepare for the next catch.
  2. Control - When talking about control we are looking at the smoothness of the recovery and how the seat moves toward the catch.  Does it rush forward for the next stroke?  Is there control in the last few inches of the slide to change direction without pushing the boat backwards?  I like to think of control as an ability to stop at any point in time and be in a strong position.
  3. Connection - Last and most important, connection!  Is the seat and handle connected and moving together into and out of the catch as if connected by a strap?  If you can focus on keeping your hips and hands connected as you apply pressure to the footboards you’ll be able to find suspension and become weightless on your seat.  If you want to save some energy and be more efficient during your rowing wods, connection is where it’s at.

Coach Pat at the Newport Navy Base Rowing Workshop last month.

Coach Pat at the Newport Navy Base Rowing Workshop last month.

If you have any questions or are looking for some more tips checkout renegaderowing.com.

 

Also, be sure to sign up for the CFB Yoga Launch on Sunday, May 18th at 8:30am!  - Sign Up Here (link to CFB Google Form)

 

cauliflowerColorful plates are in these days, and  don’t just mean the cool red and mint ones you can get from Crate & Barrel (although those are awesome too). I mean the “eat the rainbow” slogan is starting to take hold in the healthy eating community, and we’re packing our plates full of green, red, blue, purple, orange, and red for maximal vitamins and nutrition. No white foods on our plates!

 

But wait, why no white foods? Well, probably because we’ve been so conditioned to view them as nutrient void, low quality foods. And many white and tan foods are just that – like fried chicken, french fries, white bread, rice, mayonnaise, etc. But some colorful foods are not so good for you either, like ketchup (in red, purple, and green) and green sprinkles from JP Licks. 

 

7329784478_54d0bc2663_mWhite vegetables are white because of flavenoids (a substance known to have antioxidant activity and thought to help prevent cardiovascular disease by decreasing inflammation and platelet aggregation (1)) called anthoxanthins. Some white fruits and vegetables like bananas and potatoes are also a good source of potassium, an important electrolyte in muscle and heart function. 

 

Some white fruits and vegetables have even been given the impressive label of “super food”. Some of these include:

  • Bananas – bananas are high in potassium and are a great pre or post workout snack due to their carbohydrate and potassium content.
  • Garlic – garlic, as well as onions and leeks, is high in allium, which has been associated with protection against colorectal and gastric cancers (2).
  • Ginger – often used as a flavoring, ginger has been associated with such benefits as reduced inflammation in the colon (a precursor to colon cancer), decreased muscle soreness after exercise, and nausea among others (3).
  • Cauliflower – in addition to all the antioxidants, cauliflower is also a cruciferous vegetable high in fiber, and as a bonus it’s super versatile (you can even make rice and “mashed potatoes” out of it). 

 

Also don’t forget about potatoes. They aren’t as bad as you might think (if prepped the right way).

Fire it Up Baby! This has been a tough week of training. The tempo squats were brutal and fun at the same time. Only a CrossFitter would combine “brutal” and “fun” in the same sentence. This upcoming week is promising to be just as challenging in a totally different way. More on that later…Shirtless Bob was so fired up he sent me this pic from the CrossFit in Rome!

Shirtless Bob Roma2 shirtless bob roma1

STRENGTH CHALLENGE AND HYDROSTATIC WEIGHING

This upcoming weekend is the Hydrostatic Weighing with Fitness Wave. As of now there are many spots still available. Friday is almost filled up but Saturday is pretty wide open. Here is the link so you can sign up. Be sure to mark whether you are participating in the challenge or would just prefer the hydrostatic weighing.

POCKET COACH

So, WODIFY is out and Pocket Coach is in!

MemberGuideToPocketCoach This is the link to download a PDF explaining how to use Pocket Coach. Of course the coaches are also available to help you!

PROGRAMMING

This upcoming week’s programming: I have been testing out the next week’s programming for the last few weeks. I did this regularly when I first started out but it has been some time since I had done as frequently as I have been. I started doing this again so that I can better communicate to my coaches and interns what it felt like and the flow of the class should be, etc. This will allow them to better communicate to you as a member what to expect, how to scale, where to push and where to back off. Let me know what you think.

Saturday 5/3

For TOTAL weight:
Deadlift 5-4-3-2-1 reps

Rest 5 minutes

For time:
Box jump (20″ box) 50 reps (step downs only)

Rest 5 minutes

For time:
Run 800m

Sunday 5/4

AMRAP 20

Run 800m
2 rope climbs
**Overhead Lockout with a plate – 45#/25#

This is done with a partner. Partner 1 performs the 800m run and rope climbs while partner 2 completes the OH lockout with a plate. When each person completes the run and 2 rope climbs, you have completed 1 round.

Rest 5-10 minutes

Bench Press – work up to a 10RM

Monday 5/5

1. Back extension 15-15-15 slow and pretty. Snake or wave up.

2. Dumbbell Thruster from 10″ box – 20-15-10 max weight each set.
No “rocking up” or “plunking down”.

3. 5 minutes Max double unders

Tuesday 5/6

1. Muscle snatch – 15-12-9 reps with same load and 1 minute between sets.

2. Five supersets of back extension and sit-ups. Make each exercise slow and tough.

3. Muscle snatch – 15-12-9 reps with same load and 1 minute between sets.

Wednesday 5/7

1. Time five muscle-ups and 50 box jumps on 20″ plyo box.

Stretch/rest 20 minutes.

2. Time five muscle-ups and 50 box jumps on 20″ plyo box.

We’re interested in both times and decay rate from first to second effort.

If you can’t do muscle-ups, substitute fifteen pull-ups and twenty dips for each muscle-up. Must step down from the box.

Thursday 5/8

Warm-up with about ten minutes of EASY rowing. Then…
1. Row a 1K for time. Submit time.

2. Squat (10″ box squat) – 5-3-1 reps
Submit total weight for all three sets.

Friday 5/9

1. Dips 5 x max dips.
Total the five sets. Note assistance if needed.

2. “Julie G” – 3 rounds for time of:

Snatch 1/2 body weight, 10 reps
Powerclean 1/2 body weight, 10 reps
20″ box jump, 15 reps (step down from box)

Saturday 5/10 – CrossFit Total

Back Squat – 1RM
Shoulder Press – 1RM
Deadlift – 1RM

Hey CFB, here’s a little TBT for you!  Thanks for all of the responses and feedback last week.  We hear you and we’re making it happen!  

 

CFB Yoga is a Go!

 

Our very own Terese Holm, who has been certified to teach Yoga through Prana in Winchester, MA, will be leading us through an hour of awesomeness.  In order for this to be a regular thing we need at least six people to sign up, but based on responses from last weeks post we should have plenty of people in here breathing, stretching, and posing.  Here are the details and sign up links.  If you have any questions please let me know.  Checkout Terese’s description of the class and sign up below!

 

CFB Yoga – Launch Session!

Sunday, May 18th, 8:30am – 9:30am

Cost: $13

Sign Up Here (link to CFB Google Form)

 

CFB Yoga – June

4 Sessions – Sundays in June as follows

6/8, 6/15, 6/22, 6/29  — 8:30am – 9:30am

Cost: $52 (for all 4 sessions)

Sign Up Here (link to separate CFB Google Form)

 

Terese SetupCFB Yoga with Terese Holm

 

I have been practicing yoga for seven years.  Yoga has helped me in all of my physical endeavors.  I have a strong belief that yoga is beneficial to all walks of life.  Yoga can be used to lengthen and strengthen the muscles of the body, as well as create a mindfulness of how the body moves.  Through the yoga class we will focus on ways to maximize the body’s performance during a WOD, and speed recovery after a WOD.  It is through an organized series of poses we will work to recover from the previous week’s workouts, while also preparing the body for the week to come.   Through a focus of movement and breath we will work to become more conscious of the body’s abilities, which in turn will take full advantage of all our bodies have to offer when working with the movements we see every day at CrossFit Boston.  Terese Snatch

30 Apr / 2014

Is Cholesterol Really The Bogey Man?

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DSCN0161Over the past week I’ve had a few young, healthy people in my life discover they had high cholesterol. Which naturally leads to confusion/fear, considering a. they are young and healthy and b. high cholesterol = death by heart attack. But wait, is cholesterol really the defining factor for your risk of heart disease? I’m no cholesterol expert (there’s been a lot of research since I left clinical nutrition) so I decided to do some refresher research, and this is what I found.

 

Cholesterol Is More Than One Number

 

When you get your cholesterol numbers evaluated, you don’t just find out one big number. There are usually four numbers you get, and a few more you should think about. The ones you get are:

  • Low Density Lipoprotein or LDL – LDL is one of five lipoproteins that transport fat molecules (including cholesterol) through extracellular fluid (the fluid in your body that is outside blood vessels). LDL has been nicknamed the “bad cholesterol” because it transports these fat molecules and deposits them in artery walls, which leads to atherosclerosis.

 

  • High Density Lipoprotein or HDL – HDL is similar to LDL in makeup but is known as the “good cholesterol” because it tends to transport fat molecules away from the arteries (usually into the liver, adrenals, or ovaries or testes). Higher levels of HDL have been associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

 

  • Total cholesterol – this is a measure of all the cholesterol in your blood, including HDL and LDL. This number is going to be higher than just a sum of LDL and HDL.

 

  • Triglycerides – this is a measure of fat buildup in your bloodstream. When you eat, your body converts any excess calories to triglycerides, where they are stored in fat cells. Between meals these are released to provide energy, so regularly eating more calories than are needed can lead to high triglycerides. 

 

Notice a pattern there? Neither HDL or LDL are cholesterol in the first place, they are just the transporters. And cholesterol isn’t necessarily bad for your body, in fact it’s needed to make steroid hormones like androgen hormones and estrogen.

 

In addition to these numbers, you should also pay attention to:

 

  • Cholesterol Ratio – this is the ratio between your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends levels below 5, with an ideal ratio of 3.5 So, if your total cholesterol is 210 (high) but your HDL is 90, that puts you at a ratio of 2.2 (ideal)

 

  • Pattern A vs. Pattern B – according to some newer research, there are different types of LDL. Small, dense LDL and large, buoyant LDL. The small dense LDL is what causes harm to the arteries, whereas the larger, buoyant LDL does little to no harm as it floats happily through your blood vessels. In Pattern A, the small, dense LDL is low while the larger, buoyant LDL and HDL are high. In Pattern B, the small, dense LDL is higher while the large, buoyant LDL and HDL are lower. Pattern B is associated with higher risk of heart disease, while Pattern A isn’t. According to this study, the high carb, low fat/saturated fat diet can turn Pattern A into Pattern B. 

 

 Other Factors

 

We often treat cholesterol like the end all be all risk factor for heart disease. And it is still an important indicator of heart health when interpreted correctly. But there are other factors that determine whether or not you’re having a heart attack. These include:

 

  • Inflammation 
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Weight and anthropometric measures (like body fat)
  • Physical activity levels
  • Genetics

 

All of the above can impact a person’s risk for heart disease (which includes heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart failure). All of these factors should be considered when assessing someone’s risk for heart disease and suggesting prevention and treatment options.

 

My Advice

 

If you find you have higher than “normal”  cholesterol lab values, don’t freak out. Talk to your doctor (or friendly CrossFit Dietitian), who can help you look at your lifestyle and other risk factors that may be in play. And don’t jump on the statin bandwagon before you’ve looked at other things. When should you be worried? I’d be worried if your triglycerides were high, as this indicates a pattern of overeating, if HDL was very low, or if any of these numbers were exorbitantly high.  

27 Apr / 2014

Spring into Summer Strength Challenge

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Sup everyone! I’m hoping you’ve all heard the good news about the new challenge we are rolling out for the summer. If you haven’t, please read Neal’s Fire it up Friday post for the big picture of the program. He mentioned that we were going to roll out more details soon, so here’s the not-so-skinny (see what I did there?). 

First, we want you to get strong. Thats what this is all about. I’m not going to rehash everything that Neal already said, so here’s some more information. The cost is going to be $200 (lump-sum), or $75/month as an add on to your monthly membership. Whoa, whoa, whoa… calm down for a second everyone. This covers the cost of both hydrostatic weigh-ins, a challenge shirt (it’ll be cool, I promise), and prize money for the winner.  “How do you win G2?!” I hear ya. Simply put, the person who gets the strongest while putting on the most muscle. There’s a little more to it, but that will be outlined in the handout that will be available in the gym this week. 

There will be some extra work that will be assigned/strongly-recommended-that-you-complete for every week. This will be in addition to the regular gym programming and will be in the form of mobility, lifting, nutrition advice, etc. Some general guidelines for food will be outlined before the program kicks off too. You can expect to have to do some extra work every day that you come in to work out. Since this is a strength program, the volume will gradually get higher and higher, with some back-off weeks as well. Get ready to work!!

I think between Neal and myself, we have laid out most of the program. If you have any questions, leave a comment or ask a coach. I don’t know about you, but I’m super pumped for this. Strength is my favorite thing to work on! (I just got myself pumped writing that!)

FIRE IT UP! FIRE IT UP!

Awesome week by everyone! Monday was a bruiser with Manion. I was truly impressed with those that gutted it out. Tuesday brought some reverse lunges out of the racks. Deadlifts anyone? There were quite a few of you pulling weight very close to your previous 1RM! It was AWESOME!

I was asked in one of the classes why we were performing lunges as a strength movement. Great question!

We mostly always train bilateral movements, meaning we squat with both legs, press overhead with both arms, two arm snatch, etc. No matter how long or short you have been training the body is great at compensating for imbalances. You may be favoring one side, usually your dominant, without even knowing it. Mixing up the training with a uni-lateral lift every so often is a great way to identify these imbalances and begin working to correct them.

So, if you noticed one leg was much easier than the other, begin adding one day a week after class to perform a quick 3×5 set. Progress the weight in a linear fashion that challenges you but it does not need to be a maximum load.

CROSSFIT BOSTON SPRING INTO SUMMER STRENGTH CHALLENGE (The skinny details)

May 9-10 kicks off the next Challenge here at CrossFit Boston. Keith from Fitness Wave will be here again beginning Friday afternoon through Saturday to perform hydrostatic weighing. If you participated in the Transformation Challenge at the beginning of this year then this will be a great time to check in and see if you are maintaining the progress you worked so hard for. If you missed it the first time around, this is your chance to get dunked and have your body composition analyzed in the most accurate fashion available.

The Challenge

It’s no secret that the greater strength capacity an athlete holds, the better able they will be able to move large loads across long distances. Thus, improving one’s fitness! What will we be testing? THE CROSSFIT TOTAL.

CrossFit Total
Back Squat, 1RM
Shoulder Press, 1RM
Deadlift, 1RM

In one session you will establish the baseline for each lift. This will require a great deal of intensity. From the baseline, participants will be given a program to follow for the next 12 weeks to help improve their numbers. This program will be intended to be performed in addition to the regular classes and it will be explained in further detail in another post.

How Does The Body Composition Factor In?

We are CrossFitters. We need to continue to get stronger to continue progressing as athletes. What we don’t want to see are huge gains in body fat while our strength numbers increase. The program will emphasize growth in lean body mass with minimal, if any, gain in body fat. You may even lose body fat, but we really want to focus on increasing lean body mass. This will improve our strength to body weight ratio and improve our fitness.

Fine Details

Check back in over the weekend for the details as far as cost, what is included in the cost, etc. In the meantime we don’t want to delay your ability to sign up and reserve your spot for the hydrostatic weighing. Click on the link below. It is a live document where you can put your First and Last Name.

REGISTER HERE

PROGRAMMING

Here is this upcoming week’s programming:

Saturday 4/26

1. Tabata
Back Squat, 45#/35#
Pull-ups
Shoulder Press, 45#/35#
Toe 2 Bar

2. Heaving Snatch Balance – work up to a heavy triple

Sunday 4/27

AMRAP 8
Max reps Thruster, 95#/65#
20 OH Walking Lunge, 95#/65#

Partner 1 performs max rep thruster while Partner 2 performs 20 overhead walking lunges. Continue switching back and forth until 8 minutes elapses. Score is Thruster reps.

Rest 16 minutes

AMRAP 8
Max calories Row
15 Deadlift, 225#/155#

Same scheme as AMRAP 1. Score is calories rowed.

Monday 4/28

1. For time

200m run
21 Pull ups
21 Push Jerks, 95/65
200m run
15 Pull ups
15 Push Jerks, 95/65
200m run
9 Pull ups
9 Push Jerks, 95/65
200m run

2A. Strict Pull ups – 3×5-8 AHAP
2B. Pistols – 3×5-10 each leg

Tuesday 4/29

1. Back Squat – 3 x 6-8 reps (TEMPO 3-2-x-2)
a. Dips – 3 x max reps

2. AMRAP 12
10 Front Squat, 155#/105#
10 Knee to elbow

Wednesday 4/30

1. Run 500m x 4

2. Shoulder press – work up to a 2RM

Thursday 5/1

1. EMOM 15 – 2 Squat Clean – Touch and Go AHAP

2. “Erin”
5 rounds for time

40/25 pound Dumbbell Split Cleans, 15 reps
21 Pull-ups

Friday 5/2

1. Row 5k

2. Muscle up Practice

500m Row … that’s not that far…or is it?

 

Stan SnatchWell done on that rowing wod earlier this week.  With a ton of push ups and power cleans thrown in it’s amazing how challenging even 500m on the erg can get.  Everyone hit it hard and that solid work will definitely pay off.

 

I’ve been talking with a member who has been finishing up her yoga certification and we’d like to know if there is any interest in taking a yoga class either pre or post wod once a week.  Thoughts?

 

I personally love yoga for it’s focus on breathing and stretching while holding strong poses.  If you’d like to get in on some yoga with me once a week please shoot me an email or comment below with your interest.  If we can get enough interest to make it a weekly or monthly session then we’ll get it going. – [email protected]

 

Also, Welcome Stan!  Stan is graduating with Fight Gone Bad this week and will be joining you in group classes next week.  He’s a solid guy from Florida – Go Gators! – who is excited to throw down with you guys.  Be sure to give him a high five next time you see him.

 

Who are you and what are you about?Stan TGU1
 
My name is Stanley Ng, and I’m a South Florida native now in graduate school at BU for mechanical engineering. One of my passions lies in science and cosmology, and I hope to have a hand in answering the many questions of the Universe in my career. I’m also a violinist, so music has been a huge part of my life since I was young. Unfortunately, I was never very active as a kid or as a teenager. It wasn’t until my first year as an undergraduate that I began to consider being physically active. That was short-lived, and my four undergraduate years were spent pulling all-nighters and eating fast food, or whatever food was available. I knew nothing about nutrition. Fast forward to the start of graduate school, and I refused to let myself remain what I was: a skinny-fat 150-lb. guy in his early twenties with zero physical ability. I began weightlifting two years ago in February of 2012, and have been able to gain about 25 pounds. Now, I love being in the gym and being active, pushing myself, and discovering every day what I’m made of.
 
Why did you join CrossFit Boston?
 
Recently, I started to feel “stuck” in my fitness, and I felt I needed something different. I was getting bored with my routines, and I felt that I was unbalanced in many ways and needed some solid direction. That’s when I considered, and thereafter joined, CrossFit Boston. I also don’t have much of a fitness community that I can share this lifestyle with, so it’s my hope that CrossFit Boston can provide that.
 
What are you getting out of the Private Training?Stan TGU2
 
Private training has been able to isolate my instabilities and weaknesses and is teaching me how to address them. I’ve also been getting excellent training on the olympic lifts, which I’ve been interested in learning for some time. Finally, I’ve been taught valuable mobility techniques, as well as proper form on these major lifts. Pat has been an excellent trainer, and I appreciate his patience and his obvious dedication to every one of his clients.
 
What are some of your goals for this year?
 
I’d like to become well-versed in the olympic lifts and the many exercises of CrossFit. I’d also like to increase my endurance and work capacity and just be better every single day. I’m looking forward to making small day-to-day improvements, and learning from the many CrossFitters I hope to meet.
 
What are you looking forward to once you graduate to group classes?
 
I’m looking forward to the environment, people, and the many things I’ll come to learn. As others motivate me, I hope I can become motivation for others as well. I can’t wait to be around a group of people I can share this lifestyle with.
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23 Apr / 2014

Keep It Simple, Stupid

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Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.49.16 AMPicture it, any CrossFit gym, 2014. A well educated adult starts CrossFit at their local affiliate and gets super excited about their health and fitness. After about a month, he hears about the Paleo diet and gives it a shot. He doesn’t really have much guidance, so he buys a book on Amazon and looks at some blogs. Over the next month or so he’s doing pretty well. Eating Paleo about 80% of the time. He makes Paleo muffins or pancakes for breakfasts, some meat and vegetable dishes like Paleo spaghetti or chili. He eats lots of meat (mmmm PROTEIN) and a few veggies on the side. Plenty of dried fruit and nuts throughout the day, and maybe a Paleo cookie or two for dessert. He still drinks some beer on the weekends. After two months, he’s lost a little weight and feels a little better, but isn’t quite seeing the results he wants. After doing some online research, he decides he may need to try intermittent fasting, Zone, or even ketosis to see results. So he comes on in and asks his coach and some other gym members what they think. 

 

Sound familiar? As I’ve read blogs and spent time around CrossFitters over the past few years, I’ve noticed this happening a fair amount (not calling out anyone in particular, just a general observation). Sometimes we get so caught up in pursuing results via the next big idea, we forget to really think about what we’re doing. This approach can hurt us for a few reasons.

 

1. The Foundation isn’t there. The foundation of CrossFit is nutrition. And in my humble opinion, the foundation of nutrition is a clean, pretty much Paleo diet. I’m talking about a diet mostly fruits and vegetables, with a little meat, some nuts and seeds, healthy fats, and maybe some dried fruit or dark chocolate here and there. While not the ideal diet for everyone, this is where the experiment starts. If you’re not seeing the results you want on a diet like this, there are lots of things to look at (how much are you eating, when are you eating it, what are your goals, how are stress levels, etc). If a diet like this is too strict for you, then your goal should be working to get as close to it as is sustainable for you. 

 

2. It plays into the American Diet System (which sucks). You know this system. Weight Watchers. Atkins. South Beach. Nutrisystem. Jenny Craig. Alli (or what I like to call the lose lose weight by pooping your pants pill).  Anything you’ve ever seen advertised on TV with a tagline like “eat all your favorite foods and still lose weight!”. In America we like to follow diet rules, deprive ourselves, etc. We’ve been so conditioned to adhere to a diet and self shame when we don’t. So while the Zone diet is a WAY better option than Jenny Craig, if you are a person who has jumped from diet to diet,  figuring out a sustainable, clean diet that moves you towards your goals is going to be way more successful then bringing food scales and time restrictions into the equation.

 

3. More stress. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t stand the Zone diet. Weighing all my food makes me feel obsessive and stressed out, negatively impacting my quality of life. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have Camille’s abs this July, but given my experience with this diet, no matter how good it is on paper, it isn’t going to help me. Not when I could do a better job of cutting out alcohol and grains first.  On top of that, stress  negatively impacts weight and health, raising cortisol levels (a hormone released in response to stress that raises blood sugar levels, boosts the metabolism of macronutrients, and suppresses the immune system) and increasing inflammation in the body.  Unless you are a very high level athlete (I’m talking the kind who makes a living from their sport), in all likelihood a complicated diet like ketosis is not worth your time and energy when you could achieve a pretty good level of fitness and body composition just by eating clean most of the time. 

 

Now, I’m by no means telling you NOT to try something new with your diet. It is, after all, YOUR diet. If you’re not having results you should always be trying something new. When it comes to nutrition, dietitians and experts can provide guidance, but ultimately you are your own laboratory. You need to figure out what works for you through trial and error. I am simply pointing out that before you try something complex like carb cycling, you should be eating clean, have cut out processed junk (yes, that includes Paleo baked goods), and achieved a balanced diet that generally makes you feel and perform well. If you want to level up your performance or body composition from there, by all means jump right in. But for most people, keeping it simple will work out best in the long run. Remember, a lot of us have 30-50 or more years to maintain health and fitness. Who wants to be on a crazy, complex diet for 50 years?

 

Have you ever tried a complex diet? How did it go?

22 Apr / 2014

The Power of GRIT

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My CrossFit Kids program is about teaching kids to take care of themselves and value fitness. I also believe in the intrinsic values and qualities sports can IMG_2662-300x200teach. Qualities I think are valuable in life and teaching kids and teens what they mean through sport was central to the mission of my fitness business. I come from an education background and I am always curious about the latest in education studies. I am fortunate to have some great connections with educators in the field of pedagogy and one such professor introduced me to the research done by Angela Lee Duckworth on GRIT. Her work in this field affirms what I have always believed, GRIT is a necessary quality for success.

I recently had a set back in my professional career and that experience got me thinking about GRIT again. I’ve always been willing to take risks. I went to college when my high school guidance counselor told me I wouldn’t make it. In fact, he was a little more harsh “girls like you don’t go to college.” I set out to prove him wrong. It took me 7 years to finish college while I worked a full time job. During that time I failed out of college once because I just wasn’t ready for the demands of school. I kept going back when everything kept pointing in the opposite direction. I believed that with enough hard work I could make it. I also had seen that poverty was a life I didn’t want to live.

When I applied to graduate school I didn’t know if I could get in. I didn’t have the best grades and my undergraduate school was by no means a top tier school.  Hunter College is part of the CUNY system of New York City and it caters to students on the margins. While I was there I had to take remedial education IMG_3865and learn the basics of high school math. I was in a classroom with other students working full time. There were mothers in the classroom who would bring their babies because they didn’t have anyone else to watch them. I loved it! I understood their story and their drive inspired me.

Dr. Duckworth’s research on GRIT has started important discourse amongst educators and psychologist. She looked at success from a motivational and psychological perspective and what she asked is: Who is successful and why? The quality that kept emerging time after time was GRIT. She noticed that IQ was not the predictor of grades for students and that professionals in sales were most successful if they had long-term passion and perseverance. Adults and kids with mental stamina and the ability “to stick with your future” is what made success because hard work for many years is what makes that “future a reality.” Angela Lee Duckworth

My recent set back got me thinking about my goals for the CrossFit kids program I started 4 years ago. It was reality time for me. I had the next 6 months all planned out and in one phone call everything changed. I was going to take my kids program to another affiliate gym. The new gym had hired me as a consultant for 3 months. I would then leave the kids program behind and move on in the summer to work with inner city kids in another program. Seemed perfect until I got the call that the new home for the kids program was pulling out of the contract. It was the eleventh hour and all I could do was crawl in bed and pull the sheets over my head. “NOT Happening!” I kept saying to myself.

Once I emerged I felt defeated. I called a few trusted people and asked for advice. These are some of their insights:

“Don’t stay in the grey area for to long trying to figure out other peoples motives. Make a new plan and save your kids program.” 
“You started this kids program when no one else was doing this in Boston. Keep it going.”
“Never give up your kids program!”
“This is not a failure but perhaps the best blessing you can’t see right now.”

I started to figure out a new plan. I also started to do what I do when life doesn’t make sense. Work out more and read research on education. I looked at Dr. Duckworth’s research on GRIT from a new perspective.

gym5I took Dr. Duckworth’s GRIT test. I thought I would be the grittiest person in Boston. However, a 3.38 on a scale of 1-5 is not so gritty for someone as gritty as me. I’m a survivor for sure but perhaps at this point my gutsy determination was not enough to pull me through the latest set back. Perhaps what’s still missing is the last part of GRIT that I’m in the middle of trying to figure out—working hard over many years to make my future a reality. The future of the kid and teen program I started four years ago is just not finished yet. I was giving it up just as it was getting to the next level.

Dr. Duckworth has noted, people with GRIT don’t look at set backs or failure as a permanent condition. I liked her message, when we fail we have to be able to start over with lessons learned and find a way to be better. I learned a huge lesson~ Never give up my kids program! I was ready to hand it over to other people. Nice people, I’m not even upset that they pulled out at the last minute. I get to redo this and get it right. I get the opportunity to take this program to the next level. I don’t know what the future will bring but I’m not ready to give up.

I have always believed in the power of GRIT. I think it is a quality worth teaching kids and teens through the sport of fitness that we have all come to love. I continue to learn through my own CrossFit training about my strengths and weaknesses as a person. What I value: Honesty, Hard Work, Giving Back to Those Less Fortunate, and Fortitude, to name just a few. And what I would never do: cheating, stealing and cutting corners. The CrossFit community is full of amazing comeback stories of courage and resolve. This is my little story about getting a second chance to get it right.

How about you? Got GRIT? Is CrossFit a valuable tool in helping you become a little more gritty? 

Take the GRIT TEST

Amanda Cunningham liked this post

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