Where the Magic Happens

comfort“It’s the willingness to keep pushing through new challenges, not shrink from them back into your comfort zone, that separates the successful from the unsuccessful.”

-Jen Sincero, Author

 

Your comfort zone is where you experience no risk, no discomfort, no anxiety, and you’re content doing what you’re doing. When you live in your comfort zone, you are not growing.

If you want to reach your full potential, and continue to develop, you need step outside your comfort zone into your ‘growth zone.’ Do things that scare you by taking on new challenges and experiences. When you voluntarily put yourself in situations that challenge your boundaries, your fears lose power over you.

Stepping outside your comfort zone may make you feel uneasy. If you consistently push yourself out of your warm and cozy comfort zone, you get comfortable being uncomfortable, and it becomes easier to tackle obstacles and try new things. We all felt nervous about attending our first CrossFit class, but look at how much you’ve grown from taking that initial leap.

Commit to doing one thing every month that is outside your comfort zone. It could be entering your first CrossFit competition, speaking in front of a group, or attending a social event that you typically shy away from. Break out of your mold and find out what awaits you on the other side.

Comment below the “one thing” you’re going to do to get outside of your comfort zone!

By: Conner Edelbrock

The Easiest Choice

dsc_0106When we get busy we tend to sacrifice our nutrition by skipping meals, hitting the vending machine, or finding a drive-thru. When we get hungry and don’t have healthy choices at our fingertips, we become victim to whatever is convenient. Make the healthier choice the easier choice. Set yourself up for success each week by getting in the habit of meal prepping.

Meal prepping is spending one day planning your meals for the week ahead. Having ready-to-go meals in your fridge makes your food choices during the week simple. If your nutrition is overly complicated, it won’t be sustainable. Meal prepping will be your best friend because it makes healthier food choices a no-brainer.

Strategies for meal prepping are to pick one afternoon that works in your schedule to do some bulk cooking (typically Sundays work well for most people). Purchase lean protein sources, vegetables, and starches. Cook your meat, chop your vegetables, hard boil your eggs, ready your rice, and bake your potatoes.

Make sure you have a lot of Tupperware containers on hand. Some people like to portion out their meals in each container. The key is to make sure everything is precooked and easy for you to grab in hurry. Crockpots are a great kitchen tool that will allow you to make a lot of food that you can eat throughout the week. Also, invest in a lunchbox. Find a bag that is insulated that you can pack your food in each day.

Don’t forget about snacks! Have healthy snacks, such as nuts, Rx Bars, whey protein packets, baby food pouches, and beef jerky, stashed everywhere. Put them in your car, bag, and desk. If hunger strikes you’ll be ready for it.

BY: Conner Edelbrock

Support, Friend, Community

Strength In Numbers
Research has shown that the most important factor in achieving long term health and wellness is having a support system. Fitness buddies provide motivation, accountability, and healthy competition.
There are days when we all show up to a workout exhausted and are instantly reenergized by our workout companions. A twelve month exercise adherence study at Indiana University found that people who exercised with a partner had only a 6.3% dropout rate, compared to the 43% dropout rate found in those who exercised alone.
Workout buddies are also great for holding you accountable. Many people wouldn’t wake up at 5:00AM if it weren’t for the other athletes joining them at the gym. Working out in groups provides what Jean Fain, of Harvard Medical School, calls common humanity, “the understanding that suffering is part of the human experience, that you are not alone and others suffer similarly.”
Lastly, working out with others will often elevate your own performance. The Kohler Effect is not wanting to be the weakest link in a group or partnership, which is why we often see people push themselves more in a group class vs. individually.
By Conner Edelbrock

Chocolate Milk

Why Runners are Obsessed with Chocolate Milk  (How Runners make the Post-Workout Simpler)

Heart pounding, legs burning, a runner reaches the final stretch of his race. With an all out burst of speed he crosses the finish line. His legs are rubbery as he stumbles to the scoring table and then off to a cooler in the team tent. Thrusting a hand into the cooler, he grabs up his post-run beverage—chocolate milk.

Runners have a long-standing history with chocolate milk that is actually supported by nutritional science. A pint of chocolate milk contains about twelve grams of protein, thirty grams of carbohydrates, and a few grams of fat. This is an adequate balance of macronutrients after a workout.

Building muscle and recovering requires the body to synthesize proteins. Proteins are large molecules in our systems that perform vital functions. Some of the building blocks for proteins, amino acids, are naturally created in our bodies. The rest are salvaged from the protein we eat.

Carbohydrates serve a dual function. The first function is replenishing energy stores. Carbs are broken down into sugars during digestion and stored as glycogen, a starchy molecule readily available to once again become sugar when our body needs energy. The second function is helping proteins enter our cells to be used.  The presence of sugar in the bloodstream triggers insulin release. Insulin signals cells to take in sugar, take in amino acids, and synthesize more protein.

Fats are equally important for recovery, but they are required in much smaller quantities. Fats are composed of lipids. Lipids serve as transportation molecules and give structural strength to cells.  Fats can also be used as a slow, sustainable energy source. A few grams of fat are plenty for a post-workout snack.

Getting nutrients after a workout doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Take a page from the runner’s playbook and grab a chocolate milk.

By Brock Crystal

FRANK SINATRA & POWERLIFTING

dsc_0061Music has become essential to our enjoyment at the gym. Research has shown that music will influence performance in several ways. First, people will naturally follow tempo, which is the principle of entrainment or synchronization. We tend to run, bike, or row to the dominate beat of the music. A faster beat will often lead to increased intensity.
Music also increases motivation and elevates our mood, making our experience at the gym more fun. We use certain songs to get ‘pumped’ or ‘psyched’ before a big lift or competition. However, it’s possible to be overstimulated. If our stress levels skyrocket it could negatively affect our performance. If you become extremely nervous, choose music that is relaxing and calming to bring your heart rate down.
Lastly, music distracts people from discomfort they might experience during a workout. Several marathons have banned the use of music during races to prevent runners from having a competitive advantage. One study, at Brunel University, showed that music helps us tolerate more pain and increases endurance by as much as 15 percent.
Whether it’s Frank Sinatra, Power Metal, or The Black Eyed Peas, find your jam and crush your next workout.
By Conner Edelbrock

Run the day or it’ll run you!

THE SECRET TO DAILY PRODUCTIVITY 
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“Either run the day or the day runs you.” Productivity is making progress in areas of your life that are important. One productivity strategy that is simple and works is:
Do the most important thing first.
Sometimes our to-do list is never ending. Dealing with this challenge starts by defining the top three most important tasks (M.I.T.). This concept isn’t new, but it allows you to evaluate and prioritize your overwhelming list into three manageable items you can conquer at the beginning of each day.
Usually the most important items aren’t the easiest to accomplish. We often spend hours crossing off the simpler items on our list, and never get to the more important ones. By tackling our M.I.T. at the beginning of the day, our energy and effort are at a peak.
If you don’t take time to write down and focus on your M.I.T. your day will escape you. Phone’s will start ringing, emails will start piling up, and your energy will be drained. Start each day with a plan of attack by defining your top three priorities.
P.S. Your workout should be one of these priorities. If you’re not a “morning person” carve out some time every day, where can devote your undivided attention to accomplishing your M.I.T.
By Conner Edelbrock

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

 

Environment = Goals

Change Your Environment to Match Your Goals 
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Your environment encompasses all of the spaces you spend your time, such as your home, car, and office. The best way to start changing your habits are to take control of your environment. When you examine all of these spaces ask yourself: Is my environment helping or hindering my goals?

Strategies for changing your environment are to identify the places that are encouraging unhealthy behaviors, cleaning up those spaces, and implementing a support system.

First, identify the places and cues that are encouraging unhealthy behaviors. Start with your home, especially the kitchen, as well as your car and office because these are the places you have the most control over.

Take a look at what’s on your kitchen counters, in your fridge and pantry. Do you have jars of candy sitting out at home or in the office? Are there candy bars stashed in the glove compartment of your car? Is your freezer stocked with pints of Ben & Jerry’s?

Second, clean up those spaces and remove unhealthy temptations and triggers. Your first instinct might be to throw away all of the junk food, but remember this is a lifestyle change. Think about what’s going to be realistic for you and your family.

If you’re like me and know that bags of chips and pints of ice cream don’t stand a chance of making it through night, remove them from your environment. Don’t buy the foods that make you lose all self-control or consider buying individual portions of your favorite foods or take the time to pre-portion those foods yourself.

The goal is to make the healthiest choice the easiest choice. Stock your kitchen with healthy, whole foods that are easy to access. Preparing your food ahead of time and portioning it out makes it easy to grab-and-go. Having a fruit bowl on the counter vs. a candy jar makes it easier to grab an apple rather than a handful of M&M’s.

Lastly, find and implement a support system. Research has demonstrated that a support system is positively related to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Your relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and coaches will have an impact on creating healthy habits. Surround yourself with people, who are going to support your goals and help you create an environment that will lead to lasting results.

Remember to ask for help. Some people may think it’s a sign of weakness, but we are all here to support your goals and help you create a healthier environment. Setbacks will happen. Living a healthy lifestyle is not a sprint, it’s marathon. Focus on making small changes in your immediate environment that will lead to better habits over time.

By Conner Edelbrock

On and “Off” Day

CFWComp2014-7Do These Things On Your Off Days

Every good training program has rest days. When you find yourself on an off day, here are three things that you can do to maximize your recovery so you are ready for the next day of training.

  1. Myofascial Release. Big fancy term for rolling out. Rolling out is essentially self-massage. When we workout, our muscles get broken down, and as a result can get tight, and fascia can bind and restrict our muscle movement. By rolling out, you break up fascia that is holding your muscles hostage. By breaking up the fascia, your muscles will be able to function normally and you will restore movement. Spend quality time rolling out!
  2. Go for a walk. Not a run, or a jug. Walk. What’s most important about walking is that you’re not sitting. Studies have displayed a slew of benefits that walking, along with a regular exercise program, can provide including reduced risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and cancer. It can also spike your energy levels and help provide mental clarity. It also gets your blood flowing, and blood flow transports nutrients to your muscles which can aid in recovery.
  3. This one is simple. It can be in the form of yoga, or just a stretching routine, or even meditation. There’s a lot of research going on with meditation and deep breathing as an anti-anxiety and anti-depression tool. Meditation can be as simple as sitting down and breathing. Not only will it serve as a relaxation tool, it can focus and center your mind. Take a few minutes on your off day (maybe even every day), and just breathe.

Form good habits on your rest days and you will be rewarded on training day!

By Jared Bradford

Pain Face

Going To The Dark Place  dsc_0169

The Dark Place.
Where you feel searing pain.
Where doubts fill your mind.
Where you want to give up.
Where your knees buckle.
Where your lungs bleed.
Where you can’t breath.
Where you want to cry.

I haven’t experienced the dark place very often as an athlete. It’s scary, it hurts, and it pushes you to your mental, emotional, and physical limits.

The workout was twelve 0.5K sprints on the assault bike. It seemed harmless. My plan was to go outside and do the workout alone, in solitude. I just wanted to ‘get it over with.’

To my surprise, my teammates followed me outside, dragging the other two bikes with them. I watched them push the intensity right out of the gate. I also started to push the watts higher on the following rounds. We were all in this together now.

After round six, we all instantly dropped to the ground after a grueling forty-ish second sprint.

Halfway.

I was there. I was in the dark place. The searing pain and discomfort was unimaginable. My body was screaming at me. I was holding back tears as I pushed through the last six rounds.

The presence of my coach and teammates elevated my intensity. I couldn’t quit. I couldn’t disappoint them or myself.

We can all go to the dark place. It’s not easy or comfortable, but we can all push through that mental barrier to see what our body is really capable of.

By Conner Edelbrock