Omega 3’s

Omega-3’s and Exercise

IMG_0008.jpgInflammation, free radical damage, tissue damage, catabolism of nutrient stores. What do these things have in common? They are what commonly occur when we are active in an intense fitness program (CrossFit). Let’s talk about a great source that can help prevent, reverse and repair these unwanted side effects of exercise.

Omega-3’s!

More specifically, fish oil. It’s one of the more popular supplements in the fitness industry. It’s been proven to reduce inflammation, joint pain, improves heart health, and can also improve the hair, skin, and nails. A number of studies have also shown that fish oil increases the deformability of red-blood cells. This is important in exercise because we need optimal blood flow during bouts of cardio or HIIT to reduce lactic acid build up and maintain oxygen to our working muscles.

There are many different kinds of fish oils from many sources. Krill and Cod is the top source for fish oil because the EPA and DHA are packaged as phospholipids, which can be used by your body immediately. Fish oil can also come in liquid form. It’s generally flavored to taste awesome, but some don’t. The benefit of liquid fish oil is that it is absorbed and digested easily and quickly by the body.

Though studies have mainly focused on the effectiveness of Omega-3’s on RBC deformability, muscle damage, and inflammation, there haven’t been many studies done on the links between Omega-3’s and exercise performance. But, if you add a fish oil supplement, you may see the benefits of reduced inflammation and muscle damage, which in turn may benefit your recovery so you can come in to the gym the next day ready to go again!

By Jared Bradford

Electrolyte Imbalance

Electrolyte Imbalance

dsc_0407What do you think of when you hear the word “electrolyte”? Most likely what comes to mind is sugary, expensive and popular sports drinks. They claim to provide us with necessary electrolytes to power us through workouts and keep us hydrated. But what is an electrolyte? Why do you need them? What happens when we have an electrolyte imbalance? Let’s dive in!

An electrolyte is a chemical in the body that regulates bodily functions. They include sodium, calcium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium. Your nerves and muscles depend greatly on these chemicals doing their job and staying in a normal concentration range on the inside and outside of your cells!

Essentially, these electrolytes are responsible for maintaining fluid balance in your body, they play a vital role in muscle contraction (including your heart!), and some also play a role in building protein. This is why you need them. Without calcium and sodium, your muscles will not contract, and you definitely won’t be having a very good workout that day if that’s the case.

So what causes an electrolyte imbalance? Generally a loss of fluid will be the culprit. Loss of fluid can be from sweating or from being sick. This can lead to muscle spasms, weakness, lethargy, and some other serious side effects. Not good!

The good news is, if an electrolyte imbalance occurs due to working out, it’s relatively easy to restore your body back to normal. Yes, those sports drinks will help, but they aren’t the BEST source to replace electrolytes. Food such as bananas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon, and pineapple are all great sources to maintain electrolytes.

We take in a lot of these electrolytes every day through the food we eat. Imbalances happen but if you maintain a healthy diet and constant fluid intake throughout the day, with small sips of water or sports drink during your workout, your electrolytes will be balanced and happy!

By Jared Bradford

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

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

All about Protein

Which Protein do I need?!

Protein powder is everywhere!! You can seemingly find endless companies that sell different types of protein powder. Among these may be Casein Protein, Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Egg Protein, and Plant-based protein. Let’s dive in to the protein powder to see which one does what so you can make an informed decision come purchase time!

Let’s start with Whey Protein. There are two popular types: Isolate and Concentrate. Whey Protein is made by filtering milk, which creates a concentrate protein that includes lactose, some fats, and carbs. Whey Protein becomes an isolate as the filtering process is repeated and the protein becomes more pure. In other words, concentrate contains more leftover lactose, fats and carbs. Isolate is broken down more and contains far less lactose, fats, and carbs. Whey Protein is quickly digested in to the blood stream and is absorbed by muscles faster, making it an ideal immediate post workout choice.

Casein Protein is also derived from milk proteins. However, this type of protein is slow-digesting and is absorbed by the muscles over the course of several hours. For this reason, Casein is popularly taken at night time to give muscles a constant source of protein to grab from.

Plant-based protein comes from, you guessed it, PLANTS! Pea protein is often the main source. Plant-based protein does virtually the same job and Whey protein. This type of protein is great for those with milk allergies, intolerances, or just as an alternative to milk-based proteins.

Egg Protein comes from eggs. It is often the most expensive, but it is a very pure form of protein and is again a great alternative to those with milk allergies or intolerances.

Happy lifting!

By Jared Bradford

Should I take Creatine?

Creatine is not just a fitness supplement. It is found naturally in our body, and is also contained in meats and fish! There are many different types of creatine on the market, created by many different companies. The most tried and true type is Creatine Monohydrate. Not only is it the most used, most common, it is also the most studied.

A creatine supplement supplies the phosphocreatine system with energy. This energy system is used for quick, rapid movements such as sprinting, heavy barbell exercises, or jumping. These movements are considered anaerobic. As such, creatine has been shown to increase performance of the phosphocreatine system, therefore increasing strength, fat-free muscle mass, and anaerobic power output, among others.

A typical athlete will take 5g of creatine per day (about 1 tablespoon). It is best to take a creatine supplement with carbs, as these carbs (Gatorade, for example) will better transport the supplement in the body to the working muscle cells. Creatine may be taken pre or post workout.

Many creatine supplements require a “loading phase”. This typically consists of a 7 days period where a higher consumption of creatine is prescribed. That is, instead of taking 5g per day, 20-30g may be taken. However, there have been studies that show a loading phase adds no benefit and not doing so will not diminish the effectiveness of a daily consumption of 5g.

Creatine is not just for the high-performance athlete! If you are looking for a stronger squat, bench, deadlift, or to add lean muscle mass, you may consider adding creatine to your diet.

By Jared Bradford

6 Ways to get the MOST out of your CrossFit Worthy Experience

6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your CrossFit Worthy Experience

So, you drank the CrossFit Kool-aid and now you can’t wait for the WOD every day. That’s great! You’ve found a form of health and fitness that is fun, healthy, functional, and let’s face it: addicting. We all dread some of the WOD’s, wishing they could just be over with when we are in them (the muscle burning, out-of-breath feeling we all lovingly hate), only to turn around the next day and be right back at it again.

You may be wondering: “How do I get the most out of my training at CrossFit Worthy?” Well, you are in luck because I’m going to lay out 6 straight forward ways to do just that, so at the end of every workout, you will leave the WOD like Luke Skywalker left the Death Star: destroyed. (Yes, there may be several more Star Wars references.)

  1. Set Goals. If they are long-term, make them specific and measureable. Examples might be: do a pull-up, squat x amount of weight, learn double unders, etc. We always have 1-on-1 skills sessions with a coach available for you, which is the fastest way to achieve goals. Uninterrupted time with a coach to focus and go through progressions and drills, work miracles. In the short-term, look to see at what is programmed for the day. Think about what weight you need to hit for that day for the movement, or maybe it’s an opportunity to work on technique. Look over the Metcon for the day. What are the movements? How will you break the reps up? What will your pace be? Know how you are going to attack the workout. Preparation is key.
  2. Visualize success. Positive visualization is a powerful tool for athletes. See your success in your mind before it happens. Put yourself through the reps before they happen. You know how you’re going to feel during a hard metcon. Visualize that too. The muscle burning, out of breath, body screaming at you to stop immediately. Then visualize yourself pushing beyond your limit. Do, or do not. There is no try.
  3. Warm up before and mobilize after your WOD. This one is more specific and direct. We squat a lot in here. Whether that be under a barbell, with a wall ball, a slam ball, an air squat, a clean, or a snatch. It’s a movement our bodies are naturally made for and will do at a moment’s notice, but in order to get the MOST out of your performance, warm up and mobilize every single day.
    • When you arrive, head to a rower or bike for 3-5 minutes to get your heart rate elevated and blood pumping to your muscles. Not only will this prep you for ultimate performance, it will also serve as injury prevention, which is the foundation of our movement goal. Do the dynamic range of motion movements and the Crossover activation; those things alone will improve your performance in dramatic ways. Our goal for you is to move safely, efficiently, and in time, with relatively big weight. Post WOD, roll out your quads, your glutes, your calves, hamstrings. Let no muscle go un-rolled. If something hurts, let your coach know!
  4. Do not fear failure. Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering. …Okay that was dramatic. But, Yoda had a point. Don’t be afraid to fail at a weight that you want to hit (within reason, of course). Any lifter or athlete that wants to push themselves to be their absolute best has failed, over and over again. Pick yourself up, and get back to work. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. That’s where life begins.
  5. Track your work. Nearly everything we do revolves around the process of building reps or building in weight based off of percentages. If you don’t record the lifts you made that day, there will be no way to look back at what you did from the previous weeks to use for the day’s workout. If we are squatting at 62.5% of our 1RM, you need to have that info handy. Keep track of your lifts, progress correctly, and be happy.
  6. Our facility is unique in that our sense of community is one of our strongest points. It is stronger than all of our back squats, deadlifts, clean and jerks, presses and snatches combined. So, continue to be a part of this and communicate with everybody. We all share something in common here: a desire to find our strength, to be the strongest version of ourselves, and to push ourselves to a place we’ve never been before. Attend different class times if you can, odds are there is someone you’ve never met before or haven’t talked to in a while because they usually do afternoon classes and you are an early bird, or vice versa! Above all, enjoy our community and always work together to achieve your potential.

**Bonus!

Use your fitness. Take what you do here and go be awesome out in the world. Don’t limit your fitness and movement inside of our walls. If you want to compete, find a competition and go compete! Go for a hike, a walk, a bike ride, anything that you can think of. Do handstand walks while you grocery shop. Hit some burpees in the middle of class/work to stay energized and fresh. …No, not really, but you know where we’re going with this. Live active and live healthy!

Written by Jared Bradford