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It’s been getting super hot and sweaty in the gym this past month, so it seems like a good time to chat about hydration. I’ve posted on it before, and obviously the large portion of this blog post is a repost of this one on sports drinks. But, given how often I get asked “is the snatch a power snatch?” it seems like a reminder on hydration and sports drinks can only help :)

The Short Of It

Basically, don’t show up to a summer WOD (or any WOD, really) really really thirsty. Drinking a 17 oz bottle of water in the 1-2 hours leading up to the WOD is usually sufficient to prevent this. Obviously if you show up in the morning, a cup of water before you leave the house is fine. To replace fluid lost, the rule is 24 ounces for every pound of sweat lost. Don’t feel like weighing yourself? Drink another 17 ounce bottle, or as much of it as you can until you don’t feel thirsty anymore.

Quick Thoughts on Sports Drinks?

They have a purpose, but are highly overused. No, your kid doesn’t need a Gatorade after playing 45 total minutes of soccer. Stick to the orange slices. Who needs them? College football players. Lebron James. Marathoners. Unless you’re a really salty sweater, you don’t need one before/during/after the average WOD. Maybe after Murph or Glen, not after Fran. You may find a benefit during a long Oly because of the sugar, but most people will do fine just drinking water.

The Long Answer on Sports Drinks: REPOST from June 2014

If you played sports as a kid, you probably grew up on the delicious, refreshing beverage called Gatorade (or Powerade, although I think Gatorade is better). Originally invented at the University of Florida (Go Gators) to hydrate the football team during hot summer games, Gatorade now produces a regular and low calorie drink, “natural” versions of these beverages, as well as energy chews and nutrition bars. And their marketing has been stellar – watch any Gatorade ad and you’re pretty much convinced that you should drink this stuff because that’s what the badass athletes do (and who doesn’t want to be a badass athlete). They’re all about that inspiring stuff like hard work and determination. Well, at least most kids probably think that. As adults, we’re just trained to crave it. If I go running in sub 75 degree weather for longer than 30 minutes, I come back craving a blue Gatorade (because maybe the flavor is inspired by some fruit, but we just know it by the color. Yellow is a close second for me). Of course, Gatorade has also gotten some negative press surrounding their use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) – which they’ve since discontinued using – because it had been patented as a flame retardant and is banned in Japan and the European Union.  But, is it OK to drink or should you avoid it?

Sports Drink Pros

Sports drinks are great – and have been successful over the past 40 years – because they provide the unique combination of dilute carbohydrate and electrolytes in an easily digestible format. Sports drinks have essentially been formulated by scientists to provide EXACTLY what athletes need during exercise to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. The average regular Gatorade has 80 calories, 21 grams of sugar, 160 mg of sodium, and 45 mg of potassium. The G2 series is usually 30 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrate with the same electrolyte content as the original.

Other Gatorade perks:

  • Helps prevent hyponatremia (salt deficiency), which generally happens when athletes over hydrate.
  • The taste generally makes you thirsty, so you drink more. When you’re working out for a long time (over an hour) in very hot conditions, that can be a plus.
  • It tastes good. Sometimes water gets old.

Gatorade Cons

Despite loving Gatorade as a kid/teen just kidding I still love it now, this is the part that always makes me sad: the ingredients list. The Blue G2 flavor (apparently called “Glacier Freeze) that I like so much contains the following: Water (fine), sugar (OK I was expecting that), citric acid (not a big deal), sodium citrate (OK that’s the sodium, just with a different companion than table salt), mono potassium phosphate (potassium source), sucralose (commonly known as Splenda), acesulfame potassium (anOTHER artificial sweetener) and Blue 1 (artificial coloring). So, most of the ingredients are fine, not everything that isn’t 100% natural is going to kill you, although I really try to avoid artificial colors.

In addition, a few other sports drink drawbacks:

  • It often gets misused or overused. Pretty sure Lebron James needed some Gatorade in San Antonio when the AC broke, and it’s very useful during a half marathon or other endurance activity. But a lot of kids, adolescents, and even adults nowadays are drinking it while playing video games or at school. Unless you’re sweating your butt off during a workout, you don’t really need an electrolyte drink.
  • The taste generally makes you thirsty, so you drink more. Yes, I realize this was also a pro. But when I return from a 45 minute run, I could benefit from 8-12 ounces and end up drinking nearly the whole bottle before it occurs to me to put it away. That’s a lot of sugar I probably didn’t need.

So, should you drink Gatorade?

My answer is yes, when it is appropriate and if you prefer it over other options. When is it appropriate?

  • When you’re working out for over 60-90 minutes or in extreme heat conditions
  • When you complete a WOD like last week’s 1K test on the erg and need a little extra sugar before the second WOD. However, in this case you only need a small amount.

What are some other options? Coconut water, diluted juice (full concentrated juice can make you fee sick to your stomach by adding too much sugar – compare 21 grams of carbs in 12 ounces of Gatorade to over 40 grams in the same amount of Naked Juice or OJ).

UPDATE: The Oly lifters have begun using boba tea as an alternative fuel during their lifts. Great idea (as long as you avoid the stuff with lots of milk/non diary creamer. Milk in heat is a bad choice. See: Anchorman), and now I have them to thank for the boba tea kick I’m on.

02 Jul 2015

What are you focused on?

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No, seriously. What are you focused on achieving? Goals are what drive us to grow and excel. Without them, you don’t have purpose. What’s the point of living without purpose?

 

We have implemented a new Goal Board here and encourage you to think of some goals for yourself. There are three columns: 1 Month, 3 Months, and End of Year. I encourage you to think of something that you would like to achieve and write it down on the board. This is something to help hold you accountable for your time invested here. Be SMART with your goals though. Be Specific… 100# Press; Measurable… 100# is about as measurable as it gets; Attainable… if your press is 1RM is 65#, it’s very unlikely that you will get to 100# in a month; Realistic… 35# PR in a month might not be very realistic, but it definitely is for one of your End of Year goals; Timely… this is where you get to push your expectations a little… 35# in 6 months is VERY attainable, so maybe you bump that up to 45# and work your butt off to get there… maybe you get it, maybe you don’t, but if you don’t try…

 

Alright, so now that I’ve given you some advice on HOW to think about a goal, let’s talk about WHAT your goals should be. Many of you have probably never thought about what you should be working towards specifically before. A good idea is to think about a lift you are not particularly good at or would like to hit a certain milestone on and focus on that. If you look at my goals on the board, they are all strength lifts… surprise, surprise, I know… and they are all within grasp with some dedicated time spent working on them. You might even have a Met-Con goal of say Fran is sub 5:00. First thing you need to think about is how far off you are from 5:00, then determine what is holding you back from a faster time.

 

If you need help working on goals and figuring out what a good plan of action will be for you t0 make improvements, that is what your coach is for. Set up a PT with them and formulate a plan of action. I promise you will feel much better about your achievements when you reach them if it was something you have been putting time and effort into. The feeling of victory stemming from hard work is second to none.

 

If you still need more inspiration for goals, read Neal’s Fire it Up Friday post tomorrow to help inspire you…

 

 

Goal Board

09 Jun 2015

Small Changes, Big Results

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I was talking to someone this weekend, who wanted to lose a few pounds but still wanted to “eat how I usually eat”. Basically, he wanted to see results but didn’t have the time or energy to totally revamp his diet. Given that this person has a full time job and goes to graduate school at night, that’s understandable. What I want this person – and you all – to realize is that you don’t have to totally overhaul your diet to see some results.

There is a lot that goes into “how” or “what” you eat. A few factors:

  • WHERE – do you eat most of your meals at home (or pack lunch from home), or do you often eat out?
  • WHEN – how often do you eat? For example do you eat 3 squares or 5 small meals?
  • WHO – do you often eat at your desk alone or with coworkers? With a spouse at the dinner table or whenever you happen to be hungry?
  • WHY – hunger? Boredom? Social construct (birthday cake is a great example of this)?

As I was talking to this person, I realized a few things.

  • They’re busy, and didn’t want to add a lot of extra work to their schedule in the pursuit of healthy diet
  • They liked being able to eat out with coworkers instead of sad desk lunch
  • They WERE open to changing some aspects of their diet within these constructs

What this boils down to then, isn’t a diet overhaul. It’s tweaking. And while to have a perfectly sculpted body a la David Beckham or Yelena Isanbayeva (Go ahead and Google her – and consider this my small part to educate the world on non-traditional Olympic sports) you DO need a complete diet overhaul – and probably an overhaul of your workout regimen too – you do not need this to drop a few pounds.

To use my friend as an example, I asked what he ate on a normal day. It was as follows:

Morning: Workout early, eat a banana and large coffee with two sugars (Dunkies of course).

Lunch: Lunch out with coworkers – burrito, chips, and water.

Snacks: Fruit – apple, pear, etc.

Dinner: Something with meat and pasta or rice.

Can you guess what the tweaks were? Give it a try, the scroll past this cute picture of a dog to see if you were right. Photo c/o Lisa L Wiedmeier.

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Small Changes

Morning: Workout early, eat a banana and large coffee with two sugars (Dunkies of course).

Add a few hard boiled or scrambled eggs (or egg muffins) to the banana. Cut one sugar from the coffee. 

Lunch: Lunch out with coworkers – burrito, chips, and water.

Have a rice bowl instead of burrito, add guacamole but avoid the chips. Drink water.

Snacks: Fruit – apple, pear, etc.

Dinner: Something with meat and pasta or rice.

Try to replace pasta and rice with vegetables half the time. Sub riced cauliflower for rice. Use potatoes, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes for starch instead of the grains. Make sure there’s a protein too. 

Caveats

I do have to add a few caveats at the end here. This diet could afford small tweaks because the person is healthy and active and already eating decently (no McDonalds or TV dinners, no huge desserts every day). This approach doesn’t work for all diets, but it does work in some cases. And in those cases, it can make the process of getting healthier seem way less scary.

FIRE IT UP! FIRE IT UP!

The month is already half way complete and it is great to see the whiteboards being re-written. Nothing is more gratifying for us than seeing the smile of a new Personal Record. NOTHING! Ali rocked out as the first female to complete “Nate” as Rx’d and there were 5 in the 5:30pm class last night that hit a 2RM at more weight than his/her previous 1RM!

WushuFoodie, Zack, Cissy, Evan, Shannon, and Courtney rocked the 5:30pm class.

WushuFoodie, Zack, Cissy, Evan, Shannon, and Courtney rocked the 5:30pm class.

Memorial Day Murph is fast approaching. We need a head count of those that will be attending the workout. (5/25 10AM) and how many plan to stick around for some food afterwards. Bring some side dishes to compliment the meat on the grill.

PROGRAMMING

Saturday 5/16
Complete 3 rounds each for time in teams of 3
Run 400m
15 Ground to overhead, 135/95
12 Pull-ups

Performed Relay style with one person working at a time. While one person is working, the other two teammates are holding a 45# plate against their chest.

Sunday 5/17
Strength/Skill: Heaving Snatch Balance – work up to a max single

Conditioning: Complete 5 rounds for max reps
1:00 – Airdyne Calories
1:00 – Wallball shots, 30/20
1:00 – Kettlebell swings, 32/24
rest 1:00

Monday 5/18
Strength/Skill: Push Press 5×3

Conditioning: Reps of 21-15-9 for time
Push Press
Pull-ups

Tuesday 5/19
Strength/Skill: Dips 5×5 AHAP compare to 5/7

Conditioning: AMRAP 15
Row 500m
20 Push-ups

Wednesday 5/20
Strength/Skill: Power Clean 3RM

Conditioning: 3 rounds for time
40# DB Split Clean, 15 reps
15 Strict Pull-ups

Thursday 5/21
Strength/Skill: Front Rack Reverse Lunges – 5×5 each leg

Conditioning: EMOM 16
Odd – 3 Pistols each leg
Even – 7 Burpees

Friday 5/22
Conditioning: 6 rounds for time
Run 200m (Everett Street & Back)
10 Deadlift, 225/155

Skill/Strength: Handbalancing – 6 x hold for max time
Handwalking – 6 x max distance

Today is, apparently according to the Today Show, National Eat Whatever You Want Day. My first reaction was, well…

But then I realized I basically eat what I want most days. Maybe not whatEVER I want, but for the most part I don’t dread lunch, I don’t hate breakfast, and my dinner isn’t boring. I like what I eat, and it’s not like I’d actually enjoy eating a cheeseburger everyday. There is a way to eat healthy AND like what you’re eating. I think that’s actually something the Paleo community has done better than any other diet – instead of trying to make some sort of frankenfood no carb no calorie bread or tortilla, they just said F the grains, let’s use delicious herbs and spices to make meat and vegetables taste amazing. Or, let’s repurpose vegetables into old favorite (e.g. Cauliflower rice or “mashed potatoes”). For many, that focus on good food is what makes Paleo sustainable – if your Paleo diet is grilled chicken and broccoli most of the time, you’re either one of those weird people who don’t much care what they eat, or you’re going to run into trouble.

There’s a quote I remember hearing (I don’t remember who said it) that went something like:

“Happiness isn’t having everything you want. It’s wanting everything you have.”

I think that’s a relevant message when it comes to diet. It’s not about being able to eat the things you love when your habits aren’t ideal and achieve your goals, it’s about wanting the foods that are healthy. About choosing baked sweet potato wedges over Ore Ida fries, or choosing cage free eggs and fruit over a waffle. About wanting a healthy, home cooked meal more than you want Shake Shack.  And LIKING that choice.

Photo c/o TMAB2003

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If you’ve read my blog long enough, you know my skepticism of the US food system is pretty healthy. Just this weekend I was shopping for chicken, and stumbled upon the lovely scene above. In just this frame alone the word “natural” is used over 5 times. And that’s only part of the chicken section! I’ve written before about how “natural” basically means nothing, but it is nonetheless confusing. I am always telling people to eat foods closest to their natural form, meaning cheese versus Cheez-Its (although eating them a few times a year at the beach isn’t going to kill you) or roasted potatoes versus potato chips. Generally the “closer to earth” (I will avoid using the word natural because like I said, it means squat) variations of a food are less calorically dense and contain more nutritional value (and nutritional bang for your calorie). So the question is: how do you choose the right meat when everything is labeled natural?

The Best

The best way to get humanely raised, non CAFO beef, chicken, eggs, and pork is to buy it from your local farmer. Visit the farm or farmer’s market and buy it on the spot, or join a meat CSA. Take a look at how the farmer does things – how much time to cows hang out outside. Do chickens get to eat bugs? Look at the egg yolk – it should be more orange than yellow. And make sure the cows have plenty of room to rut around and get muddy. That’s natural for them. Side note: there’s a lot of irony in the fact that this “all vegetarian fed chicken” is promoted as “natural”. In nature (or on the farm), chickens eat bugs. They’re not vegetarians, and it’s not good for them, and may explain higher rates of illness and tendency to turn on each other among industrially raised chickens. This Chicago Tribune article sheds more light and is highly recommended. Seriously, READ THIS. Mainly because I feel strongly and want you to, too.

Back to our topic. As is usual, the right way is also the most expensive option. Patrick and I are currently trying to buy better meats, and this summer our goal is to get all our meat from a local farmer. Hopefully we can also make rent :)

If the above option is too many dinero, then…

The Next Best Thing

After getting it right from Old McDonald, the next best option is buying organic. I’m not super familiar with all of the ins and outs of organic regulations, and I’ve heard buzz recently about organic foods still containing some chemicals and maybe not being as rigorous as we thought.  I haven’t done enough digging to decide if this is a Food Babe rumor or a real concern, but it doesn’t change the fact that organically raised meat is still better than conventional farming right now when it comes to meat. So if you can’t get it form your local farmer, get it from a grocery store that buys from an organic farmer somewhere.

If all organic all the time doesn’t fit,

Buy Organic As Much As Possible

Figure out what works for your budget, and buy organic when you can, conventional the rest of the time. I would start with organic dairy and butter, as those won’t add too much to the grocery bill. Move onto eggs next. Then go to meats, as those are probably going to be the biggest increase.

Tonight’s 6:30 class is canceled. Mobility class is also cancelled tomorrow (Saturday) morning, May 2nd. Coach Mickey will open the gym at 7:45 for open gym and the Whole Life Challenge.

29 Apr 2015

Last Call for Whole Life Challenge

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From Coach Kari:

I’m so excited you have all signed up for the next WLC. As you know it starts this Saturday May 2nd. If you know anyone else interested in joining our team have them sign up! Nicolette and Micky have agreed to help with the first WOD and measurements this weekend.

You have two choices:
-Saturday at 8:00 am
-Sunday at 9:30 class

If you can’t do either let me know and we can make other arrangements.

The team page is up for comments already and hopefully we can plan some potlucks without snow interference!

See you all soon!

Kari

27 Apr 2015

Weekend Recap

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What a weekend! This is the sign that greeted our intrepid athletes as they entered the gym on Saturday morning. Coach Pat doesn’t mess around! We had a slightly smaller throwdown crew, but it was a lot of fun!

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Our first workout of the throwdown was “Kelly, Meet Eva,” a devilish combination of two deadly girl WODs. It was pretty awful, but tons of fun.

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The second and third throwdown WODs were a 1/2-Bear Complex ladder (clean, front squat, shoulder-to-overhead), with barbells weighing 55, 75, 95, 115, 135, 155, 185, 205, 225, and 245 pounds. The maximum weight lifted for the day was Coach Mike with a day’s best 235 pounds. Next was an elimination round featuring two minutes of work followed by 30 seconds of rest/score reporting. Our burpee-filled first round had a tie, so we tacked on one extra round.

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In the end, “I’m Dying 2″ won the throwdown with “Franks & Beans” coming in a close second. Rumor has it that if I had been faster by five seconds in the first workout, there would have been a tie. That tie would have been decided by either rope climbs, or, if Angry Beaver had his way, fireman’s carries. In any case, the throwdown was tons of fun and was expertly run by Coach Pat. Thanks, Sunshine!

After the throwdown, a bunch of us went over to S&S for some awesome company and brunch (eventually). Once the brunch crew dissipated, a smaller group decided to stuff ourselves just a little more with ice cream from Christina’s. It was magically delicious!

And because we are just so bad-ass, our day was not yet over, as we still had our spring celebration to go to. We decided to test our fitness with a little salsa dancing, though we realized that salsa dancing is much more funner the more drunker you are. Accordingly, we met up at the Tavern in the Square for some food and drink. Here is a lovely picture of some lovely human females:

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Look how lovely they all look together! I like how Shannon’s pants match Halfpenny’s shirt and the fractals in Cori’s skirt match the flowers… Anyway…

After some awesome salsa-ing, during which our intrepid leader, Neal, hurt his hip, we decided to go check out one of my favorite DJs ever, DJ Kon, and Middlesex. Tolly, Courtney, Linh, Halfpenny, and I ended up dancing our tired legs off until about 1 AM, when we all collapsed outside on the sidewalk. We even ran into Melissa J. there. It was epic. In any case, it was a fun night, even though we were all exhausted.

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And as if the weekend couldn’t get better, we had a surprise drop-in, Dennis, who flew in all the way from Louisiana. He joined us for a fun little WOD, which included weighted pull-ups. Compare and contrast Mark and Josh’s faces with everyone else’s. BLUE STEEL.

In any case, I’ve been exhausted since and it was worth every sore muscle and bruised toe. Our next throwdown will be at the end of July, so get yourself ready!

Peace and bacon grease,

Mickey

24 Apr 2015

Throwdown!

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Please remember to arrive no later than 9:15 with your judge. Here are the WODs:
10 AM “Kelly, Meet Eva”
3 rounds for time (22 minute cap)
Run 400 meters with a 20# medicine ball, partners must run together
30 box jumps, 24 inches
30 wall ball shots, 20 lb
30 Kettlebell swings, 2 pd
30 pull-ups
10:50 AM Max Lift (14 minute cap)
Bear Complex Ladder
Clean, front squat, STO (squat clean does not count as a front squat)
11:20 AM
Top ten teams advance, in the event that fewer than 10 teams participate, we will eliminate rounds from the top.
AMRAP Every2Minutes Onthe2ndMinute Elimination Round, lowest reps is eliminated.
1. Burpees
2. 135/95 deadlifts
3. Double-unders
4. 135/95 snatch
5. Wall climbs
6. 135/95 OHS
7. Rope climbs
8. Fireman’s carry out and back (each 200m) (no cap, winner takes all the marbles)

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