Worthy Wisdom

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

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

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

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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

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

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