The Power of Insecurities

dsc_0089“When we own our imperfections, our insecurities lose their power over us.”
I developed body image issues at an early age, where I never felt comfortable in my own skin. I started swimming competitively at the age of five. My uniform was a swim suit, which is essentially like working out in your underwear everyday.
When I was in high school, I went through cycles of severe calorie restriction followed by episodes of binge eating. I developed an unhealthy obsession with food and would diet myself down to my ‘goal’ weight over and over again.
I was obsessed with the number on the scale and never happy with my reflection. This unhealthy relationship with food and self-image followed me into my 20’s. I was exhausted from fighting an internal battle and being plagued with self-doubt. I was always searching for solutions and ultimately wanted to feel a sense of peace.
We all want to feel comfortable in our own skin. Our self-concept is the belief we hold about about ourselves and is essential to self-love. I’m not going to pretend that I have it all together. Food and self-acceptance are still challenges, but I’ve slowly found peace with myself through CrossFit and the Worthy family.
Throwing away my scale and learning to fuel my body to be strong (not skinny) was a mental shift. It’s great to be surrounded by a community that believes in me when I don’t always believe in myself and to have coaches that take the time to educate on what ‘food as fuel’ really means.
By: Conner Edelbrock

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

Inner Perfectionist

Slay The Inner Perfectionist
Perfectionism can be a fatal flaw, especially when it comes to CrossFit. You might compare yourself to others; be constantly dissatisfied with your performance; obsess over your position on the whiteboard; overthink a technical lift; or be afraid to fail or appear weak.
To overcome your inner perfectionist, start by focusing on doing you best. Sometimes we have a bad day, when we don’t perform well. Realize that it’s impossible to maintain a peak level of performance every single day. You may not PR or get a gold star every workout. Each day brings an opportunity for us to do our best, but realize there is a process that includes highs and lows.
Focus on long term goals. When we make goals to lift heavier, lose weight, or learn a new skill, we ignore the steps it takes to accomplish those goals. We often expect instant transformation and forget that there is no such thing as an overnight success.
Sometimes we just need to relax and have fun. As a perfectionist, you may get caught up in mastering every detail of a snatch or clean. Realize that there are times to focus on technique and then there are times to relax and just lift.
Lastly, take a step back and look at how far you’ve come. Progress might seem slow, but look at where you started and celebrate what you’ve accomplished.
By Conner Edelbrock

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

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

Broken Chain = Broken Habit

DON’T BREAK THE CHAIN
Meghan White recently shared a strategy for developing better habits that Jerry Seinfeld used to become a funnier comic. Seinfeld said ‘the secret to creating better jokes was to write every single day.’ In order to motivate himself he used a large wall calendar and big red marker.
Each day that he finished his writing task he would draw a large “X” on his calendar. After a few days a chain of red X’s would appear. He said ‘your only job is don’t break the chain.’
We can apply this strategy to forming any new habit, such as going to the gym, eating vegetables, or mobilizing every day. Start by picking one goal and each day you successful complete that goal, mark a big “X” on your calendar.
There is also an app called Streaks, where you digitally mark an “X” on your calendar. A wall calendar serves as a visual reminder to continue your streak, but the app allows you to create several calendars, one for each goal.
One study by the European Journal of Social Psychology said it can take anywhere between 18 – 254 days to create a new habit, but on average it takes 66 days for something to become automatic. Focus one day at a time and soon your resolution will become a lasting habit.
By Conner Edelbrock

Washing Knee Sleeves

dsc_0189
How to Wash Knee Sleeves
Knee sleeves are a great accessory item that offer compression for your joints on squat days, but sometimes we forgot to wash them. Knee sleeves are commonly made out of neoprene, which will absorb moisture and start to smell if we don’t care for them.
After wearing (and sweating) in your knee sleeves, it’s important to prevent mildew from growing. Don’t throw them in your gym bag right away. Make sure you turn them inside out and allow them to air dry.
Washing your knee sleeves after each time you wear them may be excessive. Shoot for washing them after every 3-5 wears. You can throw them in the washing machine on gentle cycle or hand wash them. Use a mild laundry detergent and add 2-4 ounces of distilled white vinegar, which will help kill mildew and odor. Skip the dryer and allow them to air dry.
Neoprene is durable and washing your knee sleeves regularly will improve the condition and reduce the smell.
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

Harness the POWER

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!

Box jumps!

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!dsc_0278

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

Environment = Goals

Change Your Environment to Match Your Goals 
dsc_0028
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