BRIGHT SPOTS

Bright Spots

Bright spots are daily victories and successes that you experience inside and outside of the gym. We encourage everyone to focus on daily acts of excellence and celebrate their bright spots because positivity breeds more positivity.

It’s easy to be positive when everything in your life is going well. The hard part comes when you feel like you get knocked down. We all have bad days when we feel like crap during the workout, our job is stressful, and our family is driving us nuts. How we respond to these challenges is a choice.

Choose to stay optimistic during the tough times by changing your mindset. Start by focusing on what’s going well and always remember to include some fun in each day. When you’re having a frustrating day at the gym, remind yourself that training should be fun and the gym should be an escape. Finding just one thing, a bright spot, to be happy about or proud of will help change your mood.

“Bright Spots Friday” (BSF) is way to reflect on your week and revisit all the things that went well. In “The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive,” author Jim Afremow writes “Too often…we think back to what went wrong or what we did not do rather than what went well or what we accomplished…reward yourself for a job well done by keeping success fresh in your mind.”

It’s important to review the high points, PR’s, and positive moments from the week. Overcoming daily challenges and savoring what you have accomplished will lead to future bright spots. Do not undervalue what you’ve accomplished this week. Give yourself a mental high-five and celebrate.

By Conner Edelbrock

Depression + Exercise = :)

dsc_0159It’s no secret: exercise can make you feel better. It can boost your mood, confidence, self-esteem, and can help you achieve personal goals and challenges in your life. That being said, what if exercise could alleviate, halt, and reverse, depression and anxiety?
Exercise works to ease depression and anxiety by releasing and enhancing the effect of endorphins. Endorphins improve immunity, reduce perception of pain, and improve mood. Over 19 million people deal with depression ranging from mild to severe. Can we use exercise to turn this around?

A study was done in 1999 and was published in Archives of Internal Medicine. It divided 156 men and women with depression in to three groups. One group took part in regular, structured exercise, a second group took an SSRI (Anti-Depressant), and a third group did both. After 16 weeks, depression had eased in all three groups. Their scores on a depression rating scales were essentially identical. What could this mean?

The study suggests that if you wish to avoid drugs, exercise may be a suitable alternative. The study also proved that SSRI’s such as Zoloft worked quicker to alleviate depression in comparison to the group that only exercised. However, a follow-up study showed the effects of exercise on depression lasted longer. That is, those who stopped taking their SSRI were far more likely to relapse in comparison to those who stopped exercising.

Exercise can be anything from lifting weights, running, playing sports, to walking; as long it is structured and repeated routine. This could be why CrossFit is such a powerful tool. Not only do we use all forms of exercise, we do it in a supportive, loving community in which every person can do the same work out and feel that same satisfaction at the end of the work out.

By Jared Bradford

All or Nothing

Finding Middle Ground

It’s Sunday night and you reflect on all the poor eating choices you made over the weekend. You vow to be incredibly strict and meticulous with your diet and exercise plan this week. DSC_0009.jpg

Monday: You wake up at 5:00am to hit the gym, and eat egg whites, ground turkey, and asparagus. Boom! You’re feeling like a champ!

Tuesday: You hit another home run. Workout – Check! Diet – Check!

Wednesday: You white knuckle your way through some broccoli and dried chicken and talk yourself into going to the gym after work.

Thursday: Your significant other brings home pizza for dinner or your friends invite you to Happy Hour. You feel the anxiety setting in and think to yourself: I shouldn’t be eating this, but I’ve been so good this week. I’ll just give-in and get back on track next week – You overindulge and feel guilty.

The ‘all-or-nothing’ approach to fitness and nutrition is when you resolve to be perfect. This can be destructive because every action and choice you make requires strict discipline and willpower. It can also lead to an unhealthy obsession with food and an unrealistic fitness plan that isn’t sustainable. In a 2000 study, researchers Mark Muraven and Roy Baumeister demonstrated that self-control is a limited, physiological resource that is easily exhausted.

I want to encourage you to find your middle ground. The middle ground is where the magic happens because it leads to more consistency and more happiness. It’s a fitness and nutrition routine you can maintain all the time rather than a vicious cycle of extreme restriction, binge eating, and guilt.

Focus on building a healthy lifestyle rather than being perfect 100% of the time. Go to Doozies with the kids, eat a piece of pizza, or have a beer. You will get results based on what you do the majority of the time so focus on finding your middle ground.

By Conner Edelbrock

 

Your Mental Game

Your Mental Game

Genna Smith and I recently attended a Sport Phycology Seminar, presented by Mike Caruso, Pro-Strongman competitor.  Here are the ‘knowledge nuggets’ from that seminar.

The brain is a muscle – if you work this muscle it will improve and grow. Tommy Kono, an American Weightlifter, developed a model to successful weightlifting, where 20% of your success is based on power development, 30% is based on technique, and 50% of your success is based on your mindset. Three things you can start doing to improve your ‘mental game’ are visualization, eliminate negativity, and train with a purpose.

Visualization is mental imagery. Devoting time to visualization will make you a more successful athlete. One tool you can use is to watch videos of elite athletes and start to see yourself as those people. Studies have shown that visualization activates the same regions of the brain as physically performing the activity. If you practice visualization before your workouts you will find that you have more energy and you will believe you can achieve what you’ve pictured in your mind is possible.

Second, eliminating negativity from your training and your life will help you create a positive mental framework. Creating an optimal training environment will yield significant gains. One strategy is to train with athletes that are better than you. Pairing up with another athlete during training will elevate your performance. An example of an optimal training environment is at Westside Barbell, which is an “invitation only” elite training facility in Columbus, Ohio that was created by power lifter, Louie Simmons. At Westside Barbell they believe weightlifting is not an individual sport. They commonly have eight athletes working on one bar, and each athlete will take a turn making the lift.

Negativity is draining and you have the choice to surround yourself with positive people as well as eliminating negativity from your life. Everyone experiences times when they are tired, unmotivated, and depressed – this is natural. There is learned optimism and learned helplessness. You choose your mindset. Caruso said ‘you can learn to struggle or you can learn to thrive.’ Always look for a sliver lining in failure, where you learn from your mistakes and move forward.

Lastly, train with a purpose every day. It helps to set daily goals because small success everyday will lead to more success and positivity. Start by setting an intention for each workout:

Today, I’m not going to count the weight.
Today, I’m not going to stop on the run, even if I have to walk, I won’t stop moving.
Today, I’m going to listen to Brittany Spears Pandora Radio and have fun during my workout.

By Conner Edelbrock