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
What 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
It’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
Do This Exercise To Be More Explosive
For every barbell movement, a level of explosiveness needs to be present. You need to be able to explode out of the bottom of a squat, to perform a deadlift or to perform a power clean or snatch you need to have explosive hips. Nearly all of our power and explosiveness comes from our hips. So, to get more explosiveness and power for your power clean, for example, you should do more power cleans at increasingly heavier weights. That’s true, but let’s talk about an exercise that will greatly improve explosive power, and it doesn’t require touching a barbell!
Let’s continue using the power clean example. In a power clean, there’s an aggressive extension, followed by an immediate flexion in your hips. Those same movements in your hips are present in a box jump, just without a barbell. You can train explosiveness without worrying about the technique of performing a clean!
There are tons of different box jump variations. You can just do them bodyweight, you can wear a weighted vest, start from a seated position, or even hold dumbbells. By holding dumbbells, the arm swing is taken out of the movement and you rely solely on hip drive and leg power. What is most important is that you follow a progressive program. Start by finding a 1RM box jump, then in the following weeks perform 6 sets of 3 at 75%, and then 5 sets of 2 at 85% before retesting a 1RM.
Jumping is the foundation of explosive power. If you want to see improved barbell movements, performing box jumps may give you an extra boost!
By Jared Bradford
Change Your Environment to Match Your Goals
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